It is wonderful to have you here to make time to prepare your heart to receive Christ this Christmas. It is important to stop in the busy-ness of our lives and create a space where we can converse with God.
There are so many times in the Bible where we are told that it is in the silence that God speaks to us. In 1Kings 19:11-13 we hear of Elijah going to the mountain of the Lord to look for God. He hears a violent wind, an earthquake and fire. God was not in any of these, finally there was a gentle breeze and at last God asks of Elijah, “Why are you here”
It is also reported several times in the Gospels that Jesus himself went away from the crowds to converse with His Heavenly Father.
Finally, the Psalmist wrote “Be still and know that I am God” Ps 46:11
We hope that this time of listening to God’s word, teaching and reflection helps you to find the will of God in your life, in this moment.
Below you will find the link to each of the reflections that we have prepared. Each of the links will be activated on the Saturday night before the date indicated. Included in each day will be:
- An audio link to the Gospel of the Day
- A video with a reflection on the Gospel
- A downloadable reflection sheet with the Gospel and reflection questions based on the video.
- Links with further reading ideas and podcasts
- Some advent music to help with reflection
You can do this retreat how you wish in whatever order you wish. You might want to have a journal to write in, however that is not necessary.
Below are the wonderful people who took time out to work on a reflection for you. We are so grateful for their thoughtfulness and their time.
First Sunday of Advent – Mrs Sarah CM McDonald
Sarah is married to James. They are blessed with four children, whom Sarah has homeschooled for the past eight years. Sarah gained a degree in Education, had a cerebral haemorrhage and returned to study Chinese Medicine and shiatsu therapy. By her account, she wasted her 20s gallivanting around the world before experiencing a conversion in Paris at the 1997 World Youth
Sarah worked for a time for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in their Vocations office, and met and married James. An unexpected move to Sydney kicked off a career as a homeschooler. Her particular educational interests are proper grammar and the transmission of a lively Catholic faith. She & James have been members of the Emmanuel Community for 20 years.
Second Sunday of Advent – Anna Krohn
Anna Krohn is a graduate in theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity. She has worked as a researcher for the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute and for the Bioethics Centre at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.
She is the convenor and founding member of the Anima Women’s Network which provides encouragement, formation and interaction between women of faith. Anna has also worked with a number of other women’s organisations as a speaker and writer.
She is also a former member of the Board of Trustees of Campion College, and has worked as a lecturer and tutor in healthcare ethics and spirituality at Australian Catholic University.
Anna has authored many articles and given many presentations on various aspects of Catholic faith, professional ethos and pastoral welfare, especially in the areas of bioethics and applied theology. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation on the topic of Affectivity in the Thought of Dietrich von Hildebrand.
She is married to Anthony Krohn, a former member of the Refugee Tribunal and a barrister in administrative law with a particular expertise in immigration and refugee. Anthony and Anna are both on the Managing Committee of the Caroline Chisholm Library, a cultural hub in Melbourne.
Third Sunday of Advent – Fr Marcus Goulding
Fr Goulding was ordained to the priesthood this year for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. His awareness of his priestly vocation developed gradually, but when he was was altar serving at his home parish when he was in year six he recalled looking up at the consecrated host during the elevation and thinking very clearly: ‘I wonder if I could do that?’ Over the following years, this simple thought gathered strength, snowballing into a lingering question and eventually into a deep conviction. Nevertheless, this process was not guaranteed or automatic. It was only possible because, through God’s grace, he was able to respond openly and freely to God’s vocational gift. Family, the Mass, adoration, personal prayer, retreats, confession, the Rosary, spiritual direction and the witness of many priests were all important factors that enabled him to understand and freely embrace God’s gift.
He was ordained this year and is now on his first placement as assistant priest at St Francis Xavier and St Clare Churches in Box Hill. He told us that the greatest thrill of priesthood so far has been offering Mass and hearing confessions, two moments where he experiences in a profound way Christ the High Priest working through him.
Fourth Sunday of Advent – Bishop Richard Umbers
Bishop Richard was born in Auckland, New Zealand, the youngest of five children. He originally studied management at the University of Waikato in 1989 but transferred to University of Sydney in 1992. He later qualified with a Bachelor of Economics from University of Sydney and a Masters of Management from the University of Waikato, New Zealand.
He entered the Opus Dei Seminary of Cavabianca, Rome in 1996 and studied at Santa Croce Pontifical University, Rome, achieving a Bachelor of Theology in 1999. Between 1999-2002, Bishop Richard studied at the University of Navarre, Spain where he received a Doctorate in Philosophy. On 14 February 2002, and was ordained a deacon and later ordained a priest on 1 September 2002.
Bishop Richard has worked pastorally as a School and University Chaplain at a number of NSW colleges. He was Chaplain of Warrane College, Redfield College, Creston College and Kenvale College and also tutored and lectured at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney. Bishop Richard was most recently a representative of the Archbishop on the Council of Priests of the Archdiocese of Sydney and a member representative for the Archdiocese to the St John of God Hospitals.
He is widely published in the area of philosophy, regularly addresses gatherings of youth, has an interest in social media and has a library of his own podcasts.
We just wanted to thank the people who helped us behind the scenes to bring this idea to life, especially:
Anne Maree Quinn
Fr Pascal Corby OFM Conv
Fr John Corriagan
Fr Nicholas Dillon
Professor Tracey Rowland