Advent, a season of joyful expectation before Christmas, began on Nov. 30 this year. CNS photo/Tom McCarthy Jr.

Advent app guides families

By  Erin Jamieson, Youth Speak News
  • December 19, 2014

A new Advent web app is keeping busy families focused on Christ this holiday season.

The team at, a ministry of Holy Cross Ministries, created the Advent Reflections web app, accessible via smartphone, tablet or computer. The app provides a line from the day’s readings, along with a brief reflection, to help families think about prayer during the busy Advent season. It is an extension of Holy Cross Ministries’ ongoing work to promote and encourage the family and prayer, especially during the hustle and bustle of December that can make it difficult for families to carve out time to reflect and pray on the Advent season. “The season goes by so quickly,” said Susan Wallace, marketing director at Holy Cross Ministries. “We all have good intentions but we get so busy… this (app) is a way to put yourself in the presence of God, to feel hope and joy and reshape our Advent experience.”

Based in the United States, Holy Cross Ministries was founded more than 70 years ago by Fr. Patrick Peyton. In its earliest days, Peyton travelled to Hollywood to use radio as an effective way to spread his message of prayer, peace and family to the world. Today, in a similar fashion, Family Rosary developed a web app to be accessible to families on the go: quick, easy and meaningful. At under a minute each, each day has a line of Scripture, taken from the daily readings, and a brief reflection set to calming music. The app is free of charge and is available to anyone with Internet access.

Wallace says that the “simple, practical prayer guide” was the goal of the app. “People are all over the place at this time of year, so how do we still help them pray? We put it on the tablet, or phone, that they carry with them.”

Last year, a smartphone app was released for Advent reflections. Some users found the smartphone app difficult, so this year it was removed in favour of the more convenient web app. The whole family can sit around a computer to enjoy each other’s company and pray together. On Dec. 10, the daily Scripture was Matthew 11:29-30: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” The reflection invited listeners to “let God be a yoke for you by helping you use your gifts today… whatever tasks you are called to do.” The app is guilt free — even if users miss a day they need not worry. All the previous reflections are still available to revisit as often as needed.

This is not Family Rosary’s first app. A few years ago it released a rosary app, meant to guide families through praying the rosary together. The app had more than 50,000 downloads and counting. Wallace says it’s important to support families in prayer throughout the whole season, “all the way to the epiphany. Fr. Peyton always said, ‘a family that prays together stays together.’ ”

For the app, visit

(Jamieson, 19, is a second-year Knowledge Integration student at the University of Waterloo, Ont.)

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