No Santas or snowmen here. These apps are about the serious business of preparing for the birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Are you ready to take this on? Here are some of the best apps out there for Advent 2016.
Xt3 Advent Calendar 2016 (Free) For Apple iPhone; Apple iPad and Android phone, Android tablet. Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, this calendar app opens up each day with new resources and material to aid your Advent journey to Christmas day. From developers:
This calendar is a Christian resource well suited for youth groups, parishes, schools, or for your own personal Advent journey.
Each day you will see a new feature, including a daily reflection and bible quote, as well as a multimedia item of interest.
You will only be able to view the calendar features up to the present date. The first calendar feature will appear on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2016 and ends January 8, 2017.
An internet connection will be required to view linked content, so make sure you have an adequate data allowance with your device if you wish to view them.
Here’s a video explaining the features of this nifty app packaged with useful, creative resources.
Magnificat Advent Companion 2016 — Apple, ($1.99) Kindle ($2.99), Kobo ($2.99), e-book for Mac and iOS ($2.99) English. The paperback print version is sold out, but you can get the electronic version any time. The app version ($1.99) is only for iOS format [iPhone/iPad/iPodTouch] English, French and Spanish. From the publishers of Magnificat:
- a practical, page-a-day format featuring original meditations on the Gospel reading of each day by nineteen gifted authors.
- Each issue of the Advent Companion is never the same as the last and contains these one-of-a-kind extras that you won’t find anywhere else:
- a variety of beautiful blessings and essays
- an Advent Penance Service
- specially-commissioned poetry
- a unique feature: the Advent Stations
Here is a review of a previous version.
Pray-As-You-Go offers its popular audio Advent Retreat. 2016 version is God With Us–a reflection on the ‘O’ Antiphons. From developers: These antiphons [short sentence recited before a psalm] are “traditionally used in the anticipation of Jesus’ coming to dwell among us. You might like to think of them as seven ways of expressing Jesus and they are often known for being a sung response to introduce the Magnificat at evening prayer in the final days of Advent. Their origin can be traced back to the prophecies of Isaiah, who tells of the coming Messiah.”
Pray As You Go offers powerful and thought-provoking meditations on topics you probably have never considered. Be prepared to give this app TIME. You can’t rush the experience because that’s counter-productive to what they do in these podcasts. Relax and enjoy the serene moments of music or sound effects that they insert where you are to contemplate and ruminate aspects of the mystery of Advent.
What you’re getting is a weekly updated digital audio retreat available as a podcast from iTunes podcast feeds or off their web site or off their free app, Pray-As-You-Go Apple , Android. Produced by Jesuit Media Initiatives out of Britain, in collaboration with Sacred Space , the audio retreat invites you to spend about about 11 minutes per day in a systematic method of prayer and meditation as you listen to and reflect on God’s word along with gentle reflections offered by the Jesuits. You can also download the audio files from their SoundCloud account.
As an additional bonus…You will enjoy the wide variety of music in these podcasts which you can purchase via links on the Pray-As-You-Go web site. This was an absolute gem of an experience to listen to last year.
Adventus ($2.99) iOS There is a FREE “lite” version that has half the meditations available. Here is a full-force meditation/reflection app designed to help you prepare for Christmas–all of it including the 12 days of Christmas following December 25. Using traditional (and quite famous) works of art, the app stimulates you to engage each day with its feast on the liturgical calendar and with reflections on the Gospels by Père Médaille, S.J.
To help you to meditate every day, there is a daily reminder feature in which you can set to your desired time. We want to list all the meditations to illustrate just how serious this app takes the Advent preparation. If you’re that serious about it too, please dive in!
First Week of Advent:
• Sunday: The Last Judgment
• Monday: On the Sentence in favor of the Just
• Tuesday: On the Sentence pronounced against the Wicked
• Wednesday: The Sinner Arraigned at the Judgment Seat
• Thursday: On the Necessity of a General Judgment
• Friday: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”
• Saturday: On the Predestination of the Blessed Virgin
Second Week of Advent:
• Sunday: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” – I
• Monday: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” – II
• Tuesday: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” – III
• Wednesday: St. John came to preach the Baptism of Penance – I
• Thursday: St. John came to preach the Baptism of Penance – II
• Friday: On the Penance which St. John preaches
• Saturday: On the Sacrament of Penance
Third Week of Advent:
• Sunday: On the Uncertainty of the State we are in
• Monday: On the Decision of our Fate
• Tuesday: On the Presence of God
• Wednesday: On the Words: “Who art Thou” – I
• Thursday: On the Words: “Who art Thou” – II
• Friday: On the Words: “Who art Thou” – III
• Saturday: On True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Fourth Week of Advent:
• Sunday: St. John hears in Prison of the Works of Christ
• Monday: “Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen”
• Tuesday: “Blessed is he whosoever shall not be scandalized in Me!”
• Wednesday: “To the poor the gospel is preached”
• Thursday: On Poverty of Spirit
• Friday: On the Doubt of St. Joseph
• Saturday: On the Journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem
Twelve Days of Christmas
• Christmas Day
• Feast of St. Stephen
• Feast of St. John the Evangelist
• Feast of the Holy Innocents
• The End of the Year
• On the Blessings we have received from God during the Year
• On our Omissions during the Year
• The Circumcision
• On the Name of Christian
• Third Day of the Year
• On the Good Resolutions we should make at the Beginning of the Year
• On the Mystery of God becoming Man for the Redemption of Mankind
Lectio Divina for Advent (Free) iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Android tablet Advent calendars are designed to unpack a daily gift or message each day of the season. This is better–Unpack daily Scripture readings during the season! This is done through Lectio Divina or a meditative, prayerful way of reading Scripture. The Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay (Australia) has taken their popular Advent Lectio Divina to the app format which offers a reflection for each week of Advent as well as Christmas and Epiphany, an overview of the Advent season and information about Lectio Divina for your Scripture passages. You’ll need to read the lengthy instruction on Lectio Divina before you begin, but it’s important to get you started correctly so you get the most out of the Scripture served up to you for the week. Granted, the app is for the 2014 season using Mass readings from that year, but it still works for any year. Developers may update this for 2015.
Load nifty virtual Advent wreaths on your smart device. We’ve got you covered for iOS and Android.
Virtual Advent Wreath ($.99) iOS. This is my favorite advent wreath app. It is as realistic as it gets. No prayers, a little background music (which you can turn off). You light the realistic candles in a lovely low-light setting and just pray on your own. Peaceful and serene. The flames respond to rotation of the device. And you can blow the candle(s) out–literally. I’m serious! So cool. Annoying ads at the opening, but once you’re in the virtual wreath, it’s just you and your candles. I have had this on in the middle of the night when I just want to pray a bit. Extremely realistic – and safer than the real thing.
Advent Wreath ($.99) Android. This app misses the fancy, realistic graphic sizzle we have come to expect in apps these days but, hey, it works if all you need is a simple Advent wreath in the palm of your hand. From developer: “Touch the wicks to light the candles and enjoy the peaceful, soothing flickering of the flames. Easily gather your friends and family for your very own Advent Wreath lighting no matter how busy you are.” Here’s a cool feature: the candles slowly burn down as the days of Advent pass by. You also have the option to turn the burn rate up for a more dramatic effect.
Advent Wreath Live ($.99) Android only. Live Advent wreath wallpaper From developer: Beautiful 3D rendering counts down the days until Christmas in style. Candles sync to your device calendar and burn down as the weeks of Advent pass. Note: This is a Live Wallpaper, not an app. After installing, long press on your Home Screen to access the Live Wallpaper chooser.