During the four weeks of Advent, we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ through prayer and meditation. We recall the First Coming of Jesus as Saviour of the world, and anticipate his promised Second Coming at the end of time. And in the midst of busy Christmas preparations, we look for practical ways to practice the holiness of this season in our everyday lives even with the Covid pandemic about us. .
Video ADVENT in 2 MINUTES
Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for the First Sunday of Advent 2020
Some resources from Cafod
Scripture Union Scotland and Ireland has produced a 3-part short film series on the meaning of Christmas… The link to register for this free resource is here: Download
YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN AN ADVENT DAY OF RECOLLECTION ONLINE (DRUMALIS CENTRE)
Sr Pam Thimmes OSC, Poor Clares, Faughart, will lead an Advent Day of Reflection on Saturday, 19 December from 10 am – 4 pm, hosted by Drumalis via Zoom.
For most of us 2020 has been an unprecedented time – a time of change, loss and grief, confusion, discovery, wonder and uncertainty. In some ways it has been an extended advent (arrival, emergence). Isaiah’s words came to his people in exile. This day of reflection will allow us to bring these feelings and experiences of exile and newness of life into focus and perceive anew Christ born among us and living among us. Our souls, like Mary’s have been pierced and transformed. Let us open our hearts to God’s newness born each day among us. Do we see it and how do we live it?
The cost for the Day of Reflection is £20 per person or £30 per household. To book please contact Drumalis tel 028 28272196/ 28276455 (Mon-Fri, 9 am-5 pm). For more information please see attached poster.
During Advent we have our Week of Witness recalling all who have suffered for their faith.
“Week of Witness” – 25 November –2 December
“Week of Witness” will take place from Wednesday 25 November – Wednesday 2 December 2020. During the week, we will remember all who have given great witness to their faith in the past and those who continue to give witness today and all who will continue to give great witness in the future.
On Wednesday 25th November (Red Wednesday) Archbishop Martin will celebrate a special Liturgy in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh at 7.30pm. People are invited to wear something red as we remember all who have given and all who continue to give great witness to their faith.
A message from the Irish bishops: “Keep Christ at the Centre of Christmas”
With the beginning of Advent last Sunday, preparations have begun in earnest in parishes across the country for the celebration of Christmas – albeit in a very different context this year. Priests working with Parish Pastoral Councils are making decisions at a local level on how best to celebrate Christmas in a safe manner. We extend our sincere gratitude to parish teams throughout the country – including stewards and cleaners – who generously ensure that our churches are safe environments where people can confidently assemble for worship. Their task, as Christmas approaches, will not be easy, and we appeal to all the faithful to cooperate fully with them.
We strongly encourage the faithful to keep Christ at the centre of Christmas this year. Clearly it will be impossible for our usual large congregations to assemble for Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We wish to remind Catholics that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days remains suspended during the pandemic. But Christmas is about more than just one day. Families are welcome to attend Mass at some point during the twelve days from Christmas Eve to Epiphany. Christmas Masses will also be widely available over webcam and we strongly encourage families to “tune in” from the “domestic churches” of their living rooms and join with those who are gathering in their local churches in welcoming the birth of the Christ-child.
It is possible to experience the spiritual richness of this special season in many ways. Our homes can become “little churches” where we invite the Christ-child in. The age-old tradition of having a Christmas crib in the home and gathering there as a family to pray or to sing a carol will be especially meaningful this year. We also invite families or “household bubbles” to pay a visit to their local church at some time during the twelve days to offer a Christmas prayer at the crib and pray together for their families and for those particularly impacted by the pandemic.
The hope of Advent and the joy of Christmas inspire us to reach out to those in greatest need at this time. Keep Christ at the centre this Christmas by bringing the hope and joy of his birth to people who are sick, isolated, lonely or poor. A simple act of kindness can make such a difference. Charities such as the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Crosscare, Trócaire and World Missions Ireland will welcome much needed contributions as they have been unable to raise funds in the normal way during the pandemic.
We are particularly conscious of those whose livelihoods have been seriously threatened by the pandemic. We keep in mind those for whom Christmas time may bring feelings of sadness – people coping with bereavement, families that cannot be together, those in care homes who can only have limited visits from their loved ones. Christmas can be difficult for Irish emigrants and migrants living in Ireland, who are unable to travel home. We pray that the time will come very soon when sorrow will ease and loving connections can be fully restored.
Traditionally many people turn at this time of the year to ask for God’s forgiveness and for healing of spirit. Although it may not be possible for all who wish to go to Confession to safely avail of the sacrament, we encourage the faithful to confidently place their trust in God’s mercy through an Act of Perfect Contrition.
As we continue our journey through the season of Advent, waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, we are acutely aware of the yearning in our country and in our world for hope and consolation. In some ways the Covid-19 restrictions open up greater opportunities for prayer and for reflection, for family time and space to enter into the true meaning of Christmas