Sr. Katherine Marie Chiara McCloskey, HMSS, said she has been meditating on the image of the Holy Family as Advent approaches.
"With all the uncertainty and the craziness in the world right now, I think a lot of us need comfort and nurturing right now," she said. "And so you can go to Mary and Joseph and let them be mom and dad to you...if I'm having a day where I'm just really not okay, I'm going to let Mary and Joseph take care of me."
While Advent and Christmas are joyful liturgical seasons, she added, that doesn't mean that Catholics should ignore any suffering they are experiencing.
"You have to feel your feelings. The worst thing you can do is suppress them. Jesus wants authenticity, he wants to know how you're really doing. I think about the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem - that wasn't easy. God really wants us to tell him how we're really doing," she said.
McCloskey said that it is also important to have a place prepared for prayer, especially if Masses are restricted or canceled.
"Create a place (for prayer) wherever you're living, whether it's a house or apartment...or for some people like myself, I like to be outside," she said.
Sr. Kathryne of the Holy Trinity Lopez, HMSS, said that she would encourage Catholics to select one priest or ministry that speaks to them and follow their Advent homilies or reflections.
"I recommend only choosing one to avoid information overload," she said.
Lopez added that Advent during a pandemic can help Catholics evaluate what they are really waiting for.
"St. Bernard of Clairvaux talks about this third coming of Christ - his coming into our daily lives. And so I really want to challenge us to have a deeper Advent season," she said. "What are we waiting for? Are we just waiting to get out of quarantine, waiting to just be 'free again,' to go back to what we knew, or are we waiting for (Christ) to come, are we preparing for him?"
On their website this year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has compiled numerous resources that Catholics can use for Advent at home, including prayers, saint biographies, and activities, as well as social media posts and bulletin inserts for parishes.
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Allison Rubio, the marketing and content coordinator for the USCCB, said she and her team hoped that the resources would be a source of hope and connection for people during this pandemic Advent season.
"We've been thinking a lot about Easter, which was very different. So with this pandemic continuing into the Advent season, how do we ensure that the faithful are still being reached? And how do we help parishes who have maybe cut down on staff or are working remotely and they don't have that collaboration that they're used to?" she said.
The resources include more traditional things, like an Advent calendar and a blessing for the family Nativity scene. It also includes ideas for new traditions, like creating a Gift of Hope Tree, in which a family thinks about what kinds of gifts Jesus' family may have needed, as a poor family with a new baby. Those gifts are then placed on the tree, and then donated to Catholic Relief Services for families in need.
"I hope that people find them very useful and that they can bring some sense of community to their Advent season this year," Rubio said.
Dr. Jared Staudt serves as the director of formation for the Archdiocese of Denver's offices of evangelization and Catholic Schools, and is a husband and father of six children. Staudt told CNA there are many ways that Catholics can prepare at home for the coming of Christ.
"Advent is a time to trace the story of salvation history so that the coming of Jesus makes sense as the culmination of a long preparation," he said.