The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) continues the tradition of providing online resources for the Advent and Christmas seasons with daily suggestions for prayer, reflection and action beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, December 1. The content is presented in a clickable calendar format, with each date opening a page of suggestions and links.
The calendars feature audio retreats in English and Spanish for the four Sundays of Advent and the three Sundays of the Christmas season. The retreats were produced by Franciscan Media and made possible by the bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign. The half-hour audio retreats feature music, a Scripture reflection and Q&A from a different bishop each week.
The bishops hosting the retreats are Auxiliary Bishop Alberto Rojas of Chicago, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, Bishop David J. Walkowiak of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois. Bishops Rojas, Taylor and Malloy recorded their contributions in both English and Spanish for the first, second and fourth Sundays of Advent, respectively. Bishop Walkowiak is featured in the English retreat for the third Sunday and Archbishop Broglio is the guest for the Spanish retreat for that week.
There are three feast day Sundays in the brief Christmas season. The retreats for the feast of the Holy Family (December 29) feature Bishop John M. Quinn of Winona, Minnesota (English) and Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of Brooklyn, New York (Spanish). Auxiliary Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of Indianapolis is the guest for the English retreat on Epiphany (January 5) and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo of Seattle is featured in the Spanish retreat for Epiphany. For the final Sunday of Christmas, the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, is featured in the English program and Archbishop Thomas G.Wenski of Miami, the Spanish.
The calendar is interspersed with excerpts from Pope Francis’ audiences and homilies from the first year of his papacy and observations on Catholic doctrine and practices from the For Your Marriage website’s “Catholic 101” series. Other resources highlighted on the calendars include a Festival of Lesson and Carols podcast, a list of recommended holiday-themed movies from USCCB, and prayers and blessings from the USCCB publication Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers.