A new twist on the Halleluiah Chorus Thursday, Dec 10 2009 



An Epiphany House Blessing Thursday, Jan 8 2009 

Our home now smells of incense–the incense of Epiphany.  Every room and every closet has been blessed.  And on the outside of every entrance to the house is the sign of the Wise Men–Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. 


Our priest has prayed for our protection and used the very powerful water of Epiphany to bless our home.

This is another of the sacramentals that has been lost in the last 40 years.  Thanks to the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, it is making a comeback. 

The blessing can be found here.

Epiphany Tuesday, Jan 6 2009 

Epiphany, or Theophany as it is known in the Eastern Rite, is celebrated on January 6 in most places around the world.  But the Holy See has allowed local Bishops’ Conferences to set their own schedule of Holy Days and, taking the path of least resistance, the American bishops have chosen to move Epiphany to a Sunday to avoid having a mandatory Holy Day of Obligation fall on a weekday. 

The day is generally thought of as commemorating the arrival of the three kings to the manger where Jesus lay.  That is really too simple, because it is the  revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. It is kind of an “ah ha” moment for the world to realize the divinity of God in the infant Jesus.  The kings were gentiles who came to see THE King, but it is not clear whether or not they realized the profundity of the mystery they witnessed.  They came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

We might ask ourselves what the meaning of the gifts they carried was.  As Catholics, we see the gifts as prophetic.  Gold was the precious medal which symbolized earthly kingship, but it also symbolized virtue.  Who could be more virtuous than Christ?  Frankincense was a symbol of the priestly vocation.  In the Tridentine Rite, as well as in the Eastern Rite, there is a beautiful prayer which says “let my prayers rise up to You like incense, and the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrfice.  O Lord, set a watch before my mouth, a guard at the door of my lips.  Let not my heart incline to the evil of engaging in deeds of wickedness.”   So the prayer is lifted up to God as the smoke from the incense.  Myrrh was an oil used in the preparation of the body for burial, and thus served prophetically as a symbol of suffering and death.

Our family opened gifts on Sunday, the day the Am Church celebrates Epiphany, because it is hard to get everybody together during the week.  However, we are looking forward to the beautiful Epiphany Mass and proclamation of the date of Easter when we attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form tonight.

Today I pray that Mike will always be faithful to the Catholic Faith which is the most valuable gift he received on the day of Baptism.  It is the anniversary of his own Chrismation (Confirmation) and reception of Holy Communion.michael-chrismation

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas Monday, Jan 5 2009 

We celebrate St. John Neumann, a holy priest who came from Bohemia to this country to care for the souls of the poor in the cities and on the frontier.  He lamented the deplorable living conditions in which he found many Catholics and worked tirelessly on their behalf.  He was eventually made a bishop.

Today I pray for our good priests and bishops who work tirelessly to save souls.  Most Americans may not live in physical poverty today, but countless millions live in spiritual poverty.  May God send us holy priests to relieve the spiritual poverty of American Catholics.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas Sunday, Jan 4 2009 

We generally celebrate St. Elizabeth Seton, the great convert from Anglicanism who left her mark not only in the establishment of orphanages and hospitals, but in the establishment of the Catholic School system in America.  Not bad for a widow and mother of five children, thrown into poverty and rejection because of the death of her husband and her conversion to Catholicism.  In addition, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

“Mother Seton was canonized a saint in 1975—the first native-born North American to be thus honored. In addition to being the patroness of Catholic schools, she is also the patroness of parents who have lost children, people who are ridiculed for their piety and those who have problems with their in-laws.”  (See link to St. Elizabeth Seton).

Mother Seton teaches us that setbacks in life need not paralyze us.  They can serve to strengthen us and can be a catalyst for reaching beyond our own problems to help others whose problems are even greater. 




I began by saying that we generally celebrate Mother Seton on this eleventh day of Christmas, but the Church, in order to facilitate the celebration of some feastdays by the maximum number of people has moved the celebration of Epiphany to this Sunday.  I will write about Epiphany on Tuesday, January 6, which is the universal date for its celebration.

Today I pray for all my homeschooling friends and family, that through the intercession of St. Elizabeth Seton, their zeal for teaching their children the Faith and all the other subjects will be blessed.  I also pray that they will not get discouraged by the ups and downs which are inherent in their vocations of wife, mother and teacher.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas Saturday, Jan 3 2009 

We celebrate the Holy Name of Jesus.  In our world gone made where the name of God in any form is used in vain, today is a good reminder of the sacredness of the name of Jesus.  As a child, I was taught to nod my head whenever I used the name of Jesus in prayer.  It was unthinkable to use it in any other way.  I have noticed in a few places the practice is coming back.  Once children are taught to bow their head at the Holy Name, that gesture will become part of their prayer. 

Today I pray that the name of God will once again be respected by all people and due reverence given to the One who created us all.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas Friday, Jan 2 2009 

We celebrate the Feast of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen.  The link tells you about St. Basil but not about St. Gregory Nazianzen.  St. Gregory was born in 330 and loved learning, so much that he traveled from place to place seeking out good teachers.  He joined St. Basil as a hermit and was subsequently ordained a priest and then elected bishop of Constantinople.  He was a renown teacher, being called Theologus due to his eloquence in teaching about God.  These two saints are honored in the universal Church and are two of the many saints from the Eastern Catholic Church which comprises many rites.

Today I pray for my friend Mike as he follows the vocation that God is calling him to.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas Friday, Jan 2 2009 

The day was so full that I didn’t get to post this, so I am day late.  Today was the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; in the old rite it was the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord.  We had a very challenging homily from our good priest, who wished us not a ‘Happy” New Year but a “Holy” New Year.  His challenge was to be holy as we are called to be and to let go of the superficial that seems to define happiness today. 

Being the first day of January 2009, we served Navajo tacos (thank you Karman) and were blessed to fill three tables with 23 people.  Resolution number 1–strive for holiness in all things.  Resolution number 2–pray more.  Resolution number 3–be more faithful about reaching out to friends.  Resolution number 4–spend less, make do with what I have.

I should be able to keep at least one of those resolutions–right? 🙂

On the Seventh day of Christmas Wednesday, Dec 31 2008 

We celebrate St. Sylvester, one of our early popes.  He  was responsible for building the basilicas of St. Peter and St. John Lateran and his representatives were at the Council of Nicea which promulgated the Nicene Creed.  Today, we should ask St. Sylvester’s intercession for our own Pope Benedict, that God will grant him many happy years as leader of our Church and protect him from harm.  We are so blessed to have the hierarchy to guide the Church, and God has given us a line of faithful popes.  Despite the fact that some of the popes were less than stellar, not one has given false teaching from the “Chair” or ex cathedra.  That shows the importance of the Holy Spirit which has guided the Church from the time of Pentecost. 

Prayers for the pope are essential, and ingrained in me.  From the time of my childhood, my mother taught me to say an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the pope everytime I entered a new church for the first time.  Perhaps you, my dear reader, could also pray for the  pope when you enter a Catholic church for the first time as a recognition of the supremacy of the pontiff and also his care for the entire Church, even the little mission out in the country that you might happen upon.

On the Sixth Day of Christmas Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

This is another of those confusing dates if you have one foot in the Novus Ordo and the other in the Extraordinary Form, because the Feast of the Holy Family was celebrated in the New Rite last Sunday.  The Liturgy of the Hours says “When there is no Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, the feast of the Holy Family is celebrated today.” 

So here we are.  The Holy Family is certainly something to celebrate and it serves as a model for all of us.  There are so many things to contemplate–the make-up of the family, the Virgin birth, the mystery surrounding the Child and His conception, the way the King of the Universe was subject to Joseph, the holiness of Joseph and his fidelity, the suffering of Mary, the exile they suffered, etc.  Let us today invoke the Holy Family to pray for our families and all the particular needs of the individual members of our families.

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