WASHINGTON — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is offering online resources for prayerful preparation for Advent and Christmas. The daily suggestions for reading, reflection, and prayer during the Advent and Christmas seasons are now available online. In addition to a clickable online Advent calendar, with each click opening "doors" to a page of suggested reading, the online page also offers daily reflections, prayers, suggested activities and bilingual calendars that can be printed.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) provides the online Advent and Christmas resources at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/advent/index.cfm and http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/christmas/index.cfm.
This year, in addition to the traditional bilingual calendar for Advent that can be printed out, the USCCB is also offering a second bilingual Advent calendar specifically for families, with daily suggestions for prayers and activities to do as a family in preparation for Christmas. Suggestions include creating a Jesse Tree, blessing the family Nativity, and taking time to learn about Advent traditions around the world.
Other Advent resources on the website include liturgical notes on the season, a commentary on the proper prayers of the Advent season from the Roman Missal, and prayers and blessings from the USCCB publication, "Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers." Also included are lectio divinas for the four Sundays of Advent.
For Christmas, in addition to the clickable calendar and the bilingual calendar that can be printed, there are lectio divinas for four feast days during the Christmas season — the Solemnity of Christmas; the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God; and the Solemnity of the Epiphany. The lectio divinas are also available in English and Spanish.
Advent begins on Dec. 3 and continues until the evening of December 24 when the Christmas season begins. The Christmas season will conclude with the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 8, 2018.