Day 20: Friday 18 December 2020

Welcome to Day 20 of our Advent Calendar! 

“Christmas is a week away,” Pope Francis reminded those present for the weekly General Audience this time last year, inviting them to ask themselves “how am I preparing to celebrate the birth of the Lord?”

A simple, but effective way, he told them, is to make a crib.

This, he told them, is exactly what he did: “I went to Greccio, where Saint Francis set up the first crib, with the people who lived there. And I wrote a letter recalling the significance of this tradition.”

The Pope went on to describe the crib as a kind of living Gospel that “brings the Gospel into the places of our lives: our homes, schools, workplaces, community centers, hospitals and clinics, prisons and squares.”

It reminds us, the Pope said, of how the Lord showed His love for us by being born as one of us.

To make a crib, he continued, “is to celebrate God’s closeness, and to rediscover that He is real, concrete and alive,” and the baby Jesus with open arms tells us that God came to embrace us in our humanity.

It is nice, the Pope said, to stand before the crib and share our daily, lives, hopes and concerns with the Lord.     

Then, he went on to speak of the other figures in the crib: Mary and St. Joseph who symbolise the joys, worries and harmony of family life.

Readings for Friday of the Third Week of Advent

Jer 23:5-8. Ps 71:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, R/ cf. v7. Mt 1:18-24.

The O Antiphons 

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common sayings. We might conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.

Click here to listen to today’s Antiphon O Adonai (O Lord). 

Advent Thought for the Day

Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for the Day on a different theme. Today’s Thought for the Day is a Prayer for Our Earth taken from Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical on Care for Our Common Home. The prayer is read by Joe Long. 

Click below to listen to the audio:

The Words of Pope Francis 

“A culture of care as a path to peace” is the Message of the Holy Father for the World Day of Peace to be celebrated on 1 January 2021. Care, common good, promotion of human rights, solidarity, safeguarding of creation: COVID-19 highlighted how everything is interconnected. There will be no peace without a culture of care, says the Pope. 

In his message which was released on 17 December Pope Francis says, “At a time like this, when the barque of humanity, tossed by the storm of the current crisis, struggles to advance towards a calmer and more serene horizon, the “rudder” of human dignity and the “compass” of fundamental social principles can enable us together to steer a sure course. As Christians, we should always look to Our Lady, Star of the Sea and Mother of Hope. May we work together to advance towards a new horizon of love and peace, of fraternity and solidarity, of mutual support and acceptance. May we never yield to the temptation to disregard others, especially those in greatest need, and to look the other way; instead, may we strive daily, in concrete and practical ways, “to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another”.

You can read his message in full here

#LivingAdvent 2020 #SharingHope

During Advent we are sharing family prayers and suggestions for acts of kindness or charity that all of us are encouraged to undertake during the month of December. 

Advent Act of Kindness 

Do something to help someone who is feeling poorly in your family or someone who is sick in hospital. 

Advent Act of Charity 

Support families in need this Christmas. Give what you can to local parish food banks.


We invite you to share our message of hope each day of Advent on your social media or website. Here is today’s message of hope: 

Advent Prayers

Our Prayer Intentions for the Day to Pray Together 

1. We pray for our Church;
that it will preach faith to all nations
in honour of Jesus’ name.

2. We pray for those who are travelling
at this time of year;
that they will arrive safely
to their destination.

An Advent Family Prayer
Loving God,
as your light grows in the dark of winter,
brings its gifts of hope, peace, joy and love to our world.
Just as you sent the star of Bethlehem to lead the way to your Son,
guide us to follow your ways of justice and peace.
As we remember the journey of Mary and Joseph,
may the Holy Family be a source of courage for our family,
inspiring us to read out in friendship to all those in need.
Help us to see in the Christ child this Christmas
the one who came to end all divisions.
And may the Lord bless us
and keep us safe today and always.


Blessing of the Christmas Tree in the Home
This blessing can be prayed on the day that
the family puts up the Christmas tree. Once
the lights are ready to be switched on, the
prayer can begin:

All make the Sign of the Cross
A member of the family turns the lights of
the tree on and the blessing is then recited:

Lord our God,
We praise you for the light of creation:
The sun, the moon, and the stars of the
We praise you for the light of Israel:
The Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of
the Scriptures.
We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son:
he is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the Prince of
Who fills us with the wonder of your love.

Lord God,
Let your blessing come upon us as we
illumine this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives us be a sign
of the joy that fills our hearts.
May all who delight in this tree come to the
knowledge and joy of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Friday Penance during Advent

Make a special effort at family prayer. Make the Stations of the Cross. Do something to help the poor, sick or lonely.

christmas music

Advent Music

Concordia Choir singing Wake, Awake, For Night Is Flying. Conductor, Rene Clausen.
From The Concordia Choir -Folk Songs, Spirituals & Hymns CD. Click here to listen.


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