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Bishops’ online Advent calendar proving popular

By Sarah Mac Donald - 13 December, 2013

AdventOver 5,000 hits have already been notched up in just twelve days by the Irish bishops’ recently launched Advent calendar.  
The new interactive online calendar was launched on 1 December by Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh. 
According to Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer with the Catholic Communications Office, there has already been “a lot of really positive feedback to the calendar from parents who are using it each day with their children.”
She explained that the nature of the virtual calendar lends itself to use in the classroom and the home.
“People are using the daily prayer intentions and enjoying the musical offerings of Advent pieces that are not as widely known as some of the traditional Christmas carols.”
She said that those using the calendar were also responding very well to the special Advent daily prayer intentions and to excerpts from Evangelii Gaudium, the Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis.
Speaking at the launch of the calendar, Archbishop Eamon Martin described the season of Advent as “a time of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s coming at Christmas.”
“Advent also prepares us for the second coming of Christ at the end of time,” he said. 
The Archbishop added, “Each day of Advent amounts to a period of time which allows us to journey and reflect on ‘the joy of the Gospel’.”
The Advent Calendar provides new content each day including:
–           Mass readings of the day;
–           Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel);
–           Advent videos: blessing of the crib in the home, blessing of the advent wreath in the home, prayer when lighting the lights on the Christmas tree, family table prayer;
–           Advent music;
–           information on saints during the Advent such as Saint Nicholas on 6 December;
–           family prayers (mother and child, children, grandparents, parents and godparents);
–           prayers for the season: for families in need, for those suffering neglect and violence, for Irish emigrants, for those in prison, for those who are sick, for those in difficulty;
–           Tweets from individuals, parishes, Irish Church agencies and from the Vatican;
–           resources for Advent and Christmas from Veritas;
–           Trócaire Global Gifts for 2013 information campaign;
–           Crosscare’s Dublin Food Bank appeal;
–           Christmas messages from Irish bishops in preparation for the Nativity of our Lord.
The Advent Calendar can be accessed at www.catholicbishops.ie/advent-calendar

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