Top Advent apps for 2021

Prepare to enter into the true JOY of the birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. THIS is the Advent Season. Explore some exceptional Advent apps you can add to your phone or tablet–all designed with one thing in mind: to help you improve your relationship with Jesus. No Santas, No snowmen. No tinsel. This is about the reason for the season and getting set for His coming. Are you ready to take this on? Here are some of the best mobile apps and digital content out there for Advent 2021. Yeah, a couple Advent Calendars are listed too.

Hallow – (Free download with access to a bunch of content with subscription option to open full content)

When is the last time you learned a new way of praying? Advent is a good time to turn to prayer with intention. This serene, guided meditation app is all about you and your soul entering a blissful, meditative audio environment to help you pray. The goal? To slide you into a meaningful dialogue with God so you can nurture your relationship with him.

The enormous catalog of content (prayer, meditations, scripture, reflections, bedtime Bible stories, etc.), utilizes peaceful, calming audio to stir your soul–from the velvety voices reading to you, to the soothing music/sounds in a variety of genres. Step by step, you will be led into prayerful meditation like you may never have experienced in your life.

On the free side of this app you get meditations on the Daily Gospel (updated every day), audio Rosary, the “Stuck at home” praylist, Spiritual Communion, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Examen, Spiritual Writing, and Christian Meditation sessions. Each of these offerings comes with a choice of two voices as your guide, three length options, nine background music selections, a journal, prayer reminder options, goal setting and tracking. You also have access to all of the Guest Sessions, and Minute Meditation sessions. The free side also generously includes the Bible in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz.

To unlock the full version of this app to access all its content, you must subscribe (monthly $8.99; annually $69.99). Before you squawk at the price (which I sure did at first!), please consider what you pay for streaming media subscriptions. Content in THIS app can help save your soul (Can you say that about Hulu?) because it’s focused on one thing: to help get you in a mindset to talk to God. That relationship is the most important relationship in your life. And if you are a nominal Catholic routinely going through the motions of your faith, begrudgingly going to Sunday Mass when prodded or not giving God much thought, it’s time to grow up, spiritually speaking. Let’s be honest.

Hallow is so jam-packed with content (packaged in tasteful, minimalist design), it takes eight full minutes to run through everything this amazing app offers (complete with celebrities), as this video demonstrates:

English/Spanish (limited).

FOR ADVENT you can join the Hallow #Pray25 Advent Challenge–join with others online in daily meditations focusing on Mary bringing Christ into the world. (Subscription side of the app only).

Developers say this challenge offers different types of prayer throughout each week, leaning heavily on Scripture to help you understand and grow in virtue. A few highlights:

  • Week 1 Focus: Hope
  • Week 2 Focus : Faith
  • Week 3 Focus: Joy
  • Final 7 Days: Reflections on Christ’s many titles in the traditional “O Antiphons”

Developed by a University of Notre Dame alumnus and guided by experts in the Catholic Church, (including their bishop!), Hallow relies on the riches of the Catholic Church’s ancient teachings on prayer and meditation/contemplation.

Special note: If you can’t quite splurge on the investment in this app, you can sign up for a free trial which runs several weeks. You also have an opportunity to get the full version of the app FREE from Advent through Easter Sunday (2022) IF your parish invests for all parishioners at a special fee (based on number of active members).

If that option doesn’t occur, please consider the free Pray-as-You-Go app listed below in this post. It offers the basics of meditation/reflection (in daily Ignation retreat format) wrapped in a calming audio package with some lovely features like original music and seasonal programing, brought to you by the Jesuits.

BUTTON-appStoreBUTTON-Google play

Pray As You Go Advent Retreat

PAYG_LogoPray-As-You-Go (Free) If you look at no other app for Advent, consider this one–a weekly Advent retreat that takes about 20-25 minutes. To get a taste of the EXPERIENCE this app draws you into, please watch this video.

Pray As You Go is so good at getting you to STOP and meditate, it doesn’t take long for the program to gently lead you out of the craziness of your life and focus on what’s really important. Claiming a few minutes each day to engage in the meditations in this app will make a substantial impact on your preparations for Christmas. The reflections are intensely personal to your journey as you explore the theme from a variety of perspectives, most especially, the Word of God.

What you’re getting is a 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 less than a half hour 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.

The 2021 Advent Retreat theme: “Stepping Beyond.” From developers: “This year has continued to offer many challenges for us in the shadow of the global pandemic. Thankfully, however, many of us are now moving to brighter days and are called to step out again into the fullness of life and step beyond our isolated worlds.”

*Please note – Pray as You Go will release one session each week so you cannot listen ahead of the time. It is important for you to remain in the specific time in the Season of Advent and not skip ahead.

Release Dates:

Session 1   Introduction                 Thursday 25 November, 2021

Session 2   First Week Advent        Monday 29 November, 2021

Session 3   Second Week Advent    Monday 6 December, 2021

Session 4   Third Week Advent       Monday 13 December, 2021

Session 5   Fourth Week Advent     Monday 20 December, 2021

Session 6   Conclusion                   Monday 27 December, 2021

As an added bonus, you will enjoy the wide variety of music in these podcasts all year long (which you can purchase via links on the Pray-As-You-Go web site). Listening to their carefully selected music (in a variety of genres) is usually an absolute gem of an experience, always paired with powerful and thought-provoking meditations on topics you probably have never considered. Be prepared to give this app TIME. Don’t expect them to rush because that’s counter-productive to what they do in these podcasts. Relax and enjoy the serene moments of music or sound effects or even pure silence that they insert where you are to contemplate and ruminate aspects of the mystery of Advent.

BUTTON-appStore BUTTON-Google play

Best Advent Ever

Here’s a program always worth accessing on your mobile device for Advent. If you haven’t experienced the impact of Matthew Kelly’s sincere, gentle and spiritually-awakening reflections, jump into these daily videos (less than five minutes) from Kelly’s apostolate, Dynamic Catholic. Kelly is all about transformation. No matter what you’re going through, he’s the guy who can effortlessly remind us of the larger story in which we are actively participating today, whether we realize it or not. It’s refreshing to listen to the voice of a hard-core, no-apologies Catholic layman. He’s one of the best, and I never miss an Advent or Lent without accessing his anointed, thought-provoking, life-changing reflections.

This year’s Best Advent Ever focuses on preparing you to share the light you’ve found during Advent. Seek the who and what that draws you to the light (prayer, meditation, reading, self-love, genuine friendship) and gain strength to say no to that which draws you toward the dark (worry, fear, procrastination, negative self-talk, toxic relationships).

Sign up for the FREE series at Dynamic Catholic Best Advent Ever page for daily emails with links to videos.


The Chosen App

Binge Jesus, not Netflix. A couple years ago, a little film (see below) spread throughout the internet depicting Christ’s birth from the vantage point of characters who were caught up in an intriguing tale. Did you see it? Captured your heart, didn’t it? This was the pilot episode of the world’s first original television series about Jesus, The Chosen  (Free) for Apple | Android smartphones and tablets [Click that link above on your mobile device and it will automatically take you to the download site on your browser suitable for your device].

Revive your relationship with Jesus and the gospels as you immerse yourself in story lines right out of somebody’s fruitful imagination, unfolded in a way that gets you to see Jesus in a new light. Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that a saint is someone who makes Jesus lovable to others. So the producers of this special series take on the challenge to do just that–-make Jesus lovable to you. And the effect it can have is really quite stunning as you sense his humanity worn as comfortably as an old shoe. These aren’t sappy, sentimental storylines. You are brought into plausible domestic scenes within the actual gospel accounts–the stories you know, but this time from another person’s vantage point, including Peter’s wife, for example.

To watch the series on a monitor or television, simply go to your Chromecast or AppleTV or other streaming device to stream from your phone or tablet. [step-by-step-guide] Subtitles in a variety of languages included.

Coming to a theater near you!  — To launch the Christmas season this December, The Chosen has created a special episode about the birth of Christ through the eyes of Mary and Joseph. This episode will play in select movie theaters throughout the United States starting December 1. Check local theater listings and will be followed up with a Christmas concert of various Christian music artists.

Read our complete review of The Chosen series here. But do yourself a favor and watch this amazing series during Advent. Your soul will thank you. Here’s that episode about the birth of Christ…Kleenex not included.

Magnificat Advent Companion 2021

unnamedMagnificat Advent Companion 2021— Available as an e-book Apple Books ($2.99)  Kindle ($2.99), e-book for Apple ($2.99) Kobo ($2.99) Nook ($2.99) English. This is the digital e-book version of the popular print booklet ($4.99) designed to “accompany you like a beloved friend through the four weeks of Advent,” as developers put it. The paperback print version is usually sold out before Advent, but you can get the electronic version any time. Each year’s Advent Companion is different from the last and tailored for the specific days to coordinate with liturgical readings of the particular year. Languages:  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 one of twenty-four gifted authors
  • Readings and responsorial psalms for Mass each day
  • Plus! one-of-a-kind extras
    • a variety of beautiful blessings (for your Christmas Tree or Advent Wreath) and essays
    • Prayers (including Praying the “O” Antiphons)
    • an Advent Penance Service
    • specially-commissioned poetry
    • a unique feature: the Advent Stations

Here is a review (of a previous version). Some readers mistakenly think the daily prayers fulfill obligations of the Divine Office (Breviary); it does not (as the booklet should probably caution).

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Angelus App

Magnificat Angelus App (Free) Apple | Android

angelus app logo

What better way to prepare for the birth of Christ than to get in the habit of reciting the thrice-daily ancient Angelus prayer announcing his Incarnation? This prayer commemorates the Angel’s message (Angelus) to Mary, announcing to her that she will give birth to Jesus.

Developers remind us:
“This prayer is first and foremost a commemoration of the mystery of the Incarnation: God made man to save us all. By reciting it with a faithful heart, it allows you to unite your everyday life, its joys and sorrows, to God who became one of us. Taking precedence over any daily activity at a specific time, it reminds us “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4), and even more so from the Incarnate Word, our Lord Jesus Christ!”angelusApp
Traditionally church bells would ring three times a day to remind the faithful to pray–morning, noon and night. To help you get into the habit of praying the prayer three times a day, the app offers a way to set up reminders at the hours most convenient for your schedule (it’s set to default 8am, 12pm, and 8pm). No need for church bells.

Through this app you can also watch weekly videos of the Angelus recited by the Pope in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome.

Languages: Latin, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovenian.

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Ultimate Advent Calendars


Who doesn’t love opening up a new window to see the day’s surprise? Gift a digital Advent calendar loaded with custom charm to help engage your family/friends in their preparation for Christ’s coming. We’ve got two nice apps for you to choose from that will WOW them as you subtly evangelize.

Creating your own digital Advent calendar is an enjoyable way to engage your loved ones in faith reflection each day in a most personalized way. You know your friends/family best, so you can customize the calendar to a group or to an individual (make as many calendars as you wish) and then share via social media, text or email with a link.

For my family, I used Pixmas Advent app and included old Christmas photos to bring up heartwarming memories. I added a reflection for the day — a little something religious to think about. For example, Day 1 is an old photo of our Advent Wreath with the text: May Christ’s light illuminate you on your journey each day of your life.


Advent App Calendar

Other great ideas:

  • Scripture text,
  • an inspiring quote from a family member who has passed on,
  • a picture of the church your family attended years ago,
  • a photo of your family nativity set or a special family Christmas ornament,
  • reflections on saints’ feast days during Advent
  • a notice that a gift will be delivered to their door that day.

How about creating your own voucher for doing a work of mercy for them like helping them to shovel snow or create an invitation to join you at tonight’s Adoration with dessert afterwards as your treat? One day can simply be a family recipe. I have a recipe card for a family favorite in our dear grandmother’s lovely handwriting. That made a great photo.  True to the proper nature of Advent calendars, the days do not open ahead of time in the two apps featured below. No peeking allowed!

pixmasPixmas Advent (Free) Apple  This app enables you to create an Advent calendar utilizing 24 of your own photos with ability to include text (think: caption). Because this app is stored online, you can easily send the link to social media, text or email. They don’t have to install this app. Pixmas Advent lets you customize your project for other occasions like countdown to birthdays, vacations, weddings etc. To do this, you choose the number of days you want to set up (so it’s not tied to just 24 days). The benefit to you is the ability to extended this app’s use beyond the Advent season. Think of the evangelization you could do all year long!! One caveat: this app has annoying ads at the bottom of the screen. If you send your link out before December 1, remember to tell your recipients that the first window will not open until December 1st.

NOTE: The 2020 version has been updated with new theme design and options for utilizing a photo countdown.

pixmas screenshots


Now, for the pen-ultimate Advent Calendar…

AdventApp 2019Advent App 2019 (Free) Apple | Google Play (Currently, Google Play OS/Android only supports receiving calendars. Only Apple devices can create the calendars). This app enables you to not only include photos but GIFs, video, text, links and voucher codes to online stores. That got the wheels in your creative mind spinning, didn’t it? The catch? The recipient needs to download this app too so they can access your calendar to them. No biggie, if you can get them to do that.

Obviously, the ability to include multi-media content adds to the enjoyment and creativity of what surely will be the most amazing calendar your friends/family will receive. Open a window and voilà! See a video of you wishing them a joyful advent. Another day could be a picture of a nativity set with a voucher code to Amazon to purchase it. Open another window and it opens up a YouTube video to a special Christmas carol meaningful to the recipient. You can include a voucher code to iTunes to purchase it too.

After creating your calendar, you will receive a code/link that you send to your recipient via email, text, social media etc. Once the link is downloaded, the recipient can open the calendar in the Advent App. You can send calendars to as many as you wish. But remember, they also need to download this app on their device and paste in the code.

Obviously, creating custom Advent calendars (especially if you are creating more than one) requires a bit of time. With Advent App, you do not have to complete your calendars before you send links to recipients. Every time you update, the recipient will automatically receive the update when he/she opens the app (they can’t open days ahead anyway). You can set up push notifications to remind you to update your calendar(s) if you don’t have them finished.

Currently, Google Play/Android only supports receiving calendars. Only Apple can create the calendars.

BUTTON-appStore  BUTTON-Google play

Christmas Tree of Kindness

XmastreekindnessAPPImagine decorating a Christmas tree in which each ornament is placed ONLY when an act of kindness is performed! Christmas Tree of Kindness  Apple (free with optional upgrade $1.99) encourages acts of kindness from you (or your entire family) as you prepare for the birth of Our Lord. While this isn’t a Catholic app per se, (or even Christian, as it doesn’t mention Jesus) it certainly is a creative way to get you engaged in the Advent season by encouraging you to make a conscious effort to spread acts of kindness. It even offers suggestions. Great for kids and adults. Want to invite others in your extended family to join you in decorating a tree? An upgrade version is available for Apple ($1.99). Check out this overview from Rome Reports:



Apps to Enrich Your Time
Throughout the Advent Season

Christmas Music Apps

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells just don’t cut it. A lot of Christmas music we hear during the Advent season has nothing to do with the meaning of the season–where your spiritual attention should be focused, right? One way to change what your hear is to change your SOURCE for Christmas music. So, we’re calling out two important apps to help you do just that.  And yes, they play lots of Christmas music/carols focused on Jesus and the gospel stories surrounding his birth.

iCatholicMusiciCatholic Music (Free) Apple | Android  The #1 Catholic Radio App in the world, iCatholic Radio, offers this separate app dedicated to streaming contemporary music by top Catholic artists on weekdays and Saturdays. Sunday mornings switch to several hours of sacred Gregorian chant, offering perfect background music as you prepare for Mass. With this app you not only get spiritually-enriching Catholic music 24/7 (no matter where you are in the world, and no matter what time you’re listening), but you get valuable on-demand features:

  • audio Rosary
  • audio Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  • Podcasts — talks by noted Catholic authors and priests on a variety of topics.
  • the ability to record a testimonial on how Catholic music has impacted your life
  • quick links to iCM’s social media posts

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greatCatholicmusicGreat Catholic Music (Free) Apple  Living Bread Radio offers a stand-alone app to fill the need for those just looking for well, great Catholic music. Their selection includes hymns that you’d hear in church as well as Catholic contemporary music. This is a basic click and play app. They don’t offer any other resources–just their commercial-free music.

What you’ll particularly enjoy is the professional rendition of so much of the music you hear at Mass. The hymns sound like entirely new compositions (particularly if your parish’s music ministry isn’t exactly ready for prime time). Hear our hymns at full throttle, capturing your imagination and touching your soul.



FORMED– ($9.99/month personal subscription or Free if your parish subscribes) Billed as “the Netflix of Catholic media content,” Formed is an exceptional Catholic faith formation tool–bundling into one platform trusted and popular Catholic videos, audio talks, eBooks and movies all at your fingertips on-demand. This isn’t an app, but you can access this amazing Catholic catechetical/entertainment internet portal on your mobile device. Special content bundled on the Advent theme includes a children’s favorite, Brother Francis cartoons, along with reflections, Hollywood movies and much more to help enrich your Advent journey to Christmas.

If you haven’t been introduced to Formed, you’re in for a whopping treat with on-demand faith formation resources like you’ve never seen before. Imagine having available on your smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer entire video education series produced by trusted and respected catechetical resource powerhouses such as Word on Fire, Symbolon, and Lighthouse Catholic Media. Topics cover adult faith formation, marriage, sacramental formation, Scripture, formation for teens and personal devotion. Check this out… You get more than 300 episodes of video education series including Bishop Robert Barron’s entire CATHOLICISM series (with parish subscription) But that’s not all.

FORMED-devicesYou also get to watch full feature faith-based films; read Catholic eBooks from top Catholic publishers; listen to hours of lectures from your favorite Catholic speakers on a host of topics involving your Catholic faith.

The Augustine Institute partnered with Lighthouse Catholic Media, Ignatius Press, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Word on Fire and Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception to bring you this wealth of resources on demand. The CATHOLICISM series alone costs $100 for the complete DVD set. But through FORMED, you get it (and everything else) for free if your parish subscribes. For $9.99/month  you may take out a personal subscription which includes everything the parish has access to minus the CATHOLICISM series and study guides. But before you take out a subscription, ask your parish if it already subscribes to FORMED. If it does, the parish will supply you with an access code to open up FORMED on line for free. It formats well to all the many digital mobile platforms out there. New content is added periodically. Available in English with several programs available in Spanish. Internet access is needed as no content is downloaded to your device. ROKU and other streaming services offer the app among their selections.

Finally, don’t forget to wander over to our Confession Apps page to help you get ready for the most important Advent preparation, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then be sure you have a Catholic Bible app so you have the Word of God with you always.

Have a blessed and enriched Advent season that transforms your soul!

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Categories: Blog for Catholic Apptitude

Author:Jennifer Kane

Content Evangelist, Jennifer Kane, is a secular Carmelite (OCDS), wife, mother, grandmother who worked for more than 30 years in marketing/communications which included 20 years in radio broadcasting including news director. She holds degrees in Journalism/Communication (BA) and English (MA) from St. Bonaventure University. In 2016 she authored the Vatican application for minor basilica status for The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Olean, New York. Pope Francis granted that title in 2017. Research on the basilica formed the basis of her history book, A Place Set Apart. She previously authored the book, A Worthy and Capable Clergyman, the second part of the history book in a slightly different format. She is founder and editor of the website,, the #1 English language website cataloging/reviewing Catholic apps for mobile devices.

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