By Ann Marie Foley - 28 November, 2019
Archbishop Eamon Martin has urged people to share on social media the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference online Advent calendar.
“I ask that people would not just reflect on the content personally but share it with others on social media. At this busy time I encourage everyone to take a few moments of pause in the stillness to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas which is that Christ is alive and that He is our hope,” he said at the launch.
This is the sixth year the online Advent calendar has been made available and it can be accessed behind a virtual door each day during the season of Advent. The calendar has prayers and suggestions for acts of kindness or charity that individuals and families are encouraged to undertake during December. The calendar also shares tips on how families can care for creation, our common home, by having a more sustainable Christmas.
Welcoming this year’s calendar, the Archbishop of Armagh and Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore said: “The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Catholic new year and the time of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s coming at Christmas. It is a time of waiting, conversion and hope.”
He added that Advent also helps people to prepare for the second coming of Christ at the end of time, which Christians must always be prepared for. He invited people to take just five minutes a day to reflect on the meaning of Advent and Christmas amidst all the rush and busyness of life.
He welcomed the inclusion on the calendar of some of the messages that Pope Francis gave in Christus vivit (“Christ is alive”), his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation to young people.
“The message of ‘Christ is alive’ is that Jesus is our hope and that he lives within us. The seasons of Advent and Christmas occur in the depth of winter, reminding us that Christ was born to bring hope to a darkened world,” he said.
The messages of Pope Francis for young people in Christus vivit apply to all and to the young person inside all, he said.
The 2019 online Advent calendar will go live on www.catholicbishops.ie on the first Sunday of Advent, 1 December 2019. It can be added to websites or social media pages via a link, and updates will be available on an Advent Facebook page and on Twitter and Instagram.
Separately this year, one focus is on sustainable Advent calendars, like those which do not include plastic-wrapped treats which cannot be recycled or reused. For example, Veritas has an Advent calendar in natural wood depicting the Nativity with numbered drawers into which daily treats can be placed. It can be used year after year. Likewise, its Blackboard Advent Calendar is described as ‘long lasting’.