Day 21: Saturday 19 December 2020


Welcome to Day 21 of our Advent Calendar!

Christ in our homes
For generations Irish families have put a light in the window to invite Jesus, Mary and Joseph into their homes for Christmas. I invite everybody to bring Christ into their home with family prayer. Light a candle near your crib and gather round it for a moment of prayer. Somebody could read the Gospel from Luke chapter 2 and sing a carol or you could simply say the Hail Mary together asking God’s blessing on everyone in the house and for those who feel isolated, vulnerable or particularly impacted by the pandemic.

Gathering around the Dinner table this Christmas I encourage you to remember all the people who have ensured that throughout this pandemic that we have had access to food.  The farmers, food producers, delivery drivers and the staff who have worked in all of our local shops and stores. I include a Christmas family Grace before meals for the Christmas season.

Bishop Alan McGuckian

Readings for Saturday 21 December 2019

Jg 13:2-7, 24-25. Ps 70:3-6, 16-17, R/ cf. v 8. Lk 1:5-25.

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 parlance. One may thereby 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 O Antiphon ‘O Radix Jesse’ (O Root of Jesse).  

Advent Thought for the Day

Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for the Day Today. Today’s Thought for the Day is from David O’Hare from Trocaire who talks about his time in Honduras this year working with local communities to defend their human rights. He also shares an insight into how Covid-19 has impacted the communities as well as two recent hurricanes. Trocaire’s Christmas Gifts can help these communities to get back on their feet. 

Click below to listen to the audio. 

The Words of Pope Francis 

Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world.  The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!”.

Thus begins the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus vivit (Christ is alive) by Pope Francis.  This year’s Advent Calendar is featuring Pope Francis’ words from Christus vivit. Today’s excerpt is on the Holy Spirit: 

131. Ask the Holy Spirit each day to help you experience anew the great message. Why not? You have nothing to lose, and he can change your life, fill it with light and lead it along a better path. He takes nothing away from you, but instead helps you to find all that you need, and in the best possible way. Do you need love? You will not find it in dissipation, using other people, or trying to be possessive or domineering. You will find it in a way that will make you genuinely happy. Are you seeking powerful emotions? You will not experience them by accumulating material objects, spending money, chasing desperately after the things of this world. They will come, and in a much more beautiful and meaningful way, if you let yourself be prompted by the Holy Spirit.

#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 

Don’t forget to say thank you as you go about last minute shopping today. Be patient with those around you too! 

Advent Act of Charity 

Make a promise to sign up to help out with some local charity in the New Year. 


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: 

Our Prayer Intentions for the Day to Pray Together 

1. For all priests;
that their words and deeds may provide an example
of faithful discipleship and
be a source of encouragement to others.

2. For all our relatives and friends who have died;
that they may become one with Christ
in the kingdom of heaven.

multiple candles

The Meaning in the Shadows
This little child, his words, his life and his death,
is God communicating to you how much you are
This little child reveals a God whose love for you
is so great that neither your mind nor even your
unlimited imagination, can grasp how much you
are loved.
This little child reveals a love which from the moment
you were created, is God’s gift to you for
life and for eternity.

Father Peter McVerry SJ The Meaning in the Shadows, Veritas, 2003.

Choose Life: Prayer for the Child in the Womb

Lord Jesus, you are the source and lover of life.
Reawaken in us respect for every human life.

Help us to see in each child the marvellous
work of our Creator.
Open our hearts to welcome every child as a
unique and wonderful gift.

Guide the work of doctors, nurses and
May the life of a mother and her baby in the
womb be equally cherished and respected.

Help those who make our laws to uphold the
uniqueness and sacredness of every human life,
from the first moment of conception to natural

Give us wisdom and generosity to build a
society that cares for all.

Together with Mary, your Mother,
in whose womb you took on our human
Help us to choose life in every decision we

We ask this in the joyful hope of eternal life
with you, and in the communion of the
Blessed Trinity.


Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.
All the Saints of Ireland, pray for us.

Advent Music

christmas music 3

Behold a Virgin Bearing Him 

Behold a virgin bearing him Who comes to save us from our sin; The prophets cry: prepare his way! Make straight his paths to Christmas Day.

Behold our Hope and Life and Light, The promise of the holy night; We lift our prayer and bend our knee To his great love and majesty

Click here to listen to this beautiful hymn about Mary.


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