Monday, December 22, 2014
2015 Patron Saint for the Year Devotion

I am very pleased to again be a facilitator for the Patron Saint of the Year Devotion.  I have been part of this annual tradition since 2006 and have helped coordinate devotions for hundreds of families.  It is my pleasure to now be part of the 2015 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion.

You can read about the past devotions at the following posts:
Again, I would like to take a few minutes to explain the devotion, which has its roots in St. Faustina.

When will the saints be drawn?  This year I will start the drawing of saints on the Octave Day of Christmas after the 10 AM Solemn High Mass and the recitation of both the Veni Creator Spiritus and the Litany of Saints.  Saints will be emailed starting that afternoon and thereafter for the next few days.

What is the Saint for the Year Devotion? Here is my post on this from years past to clarify the matter. This is from the person that draws all of the saints. I don't draw the saints. I will merely pass on your name or screenname to her so that she will draw a saint for you. Also, I will pass on the name of any of your family or friends that would like to participate. This isn't superstition. St. Faustina did the same thing!

Last year hundreds of people received saints to be their special patron, and there were miraculous connections. It was truly amazing. We pray that this year the Holy Ghost will again work so that all participants receive a saint that they will be able to pray to for aid throughout the entire year:
Saint for the Year

I want to tell you about the practice of picking a saint at random to be your “holy protector” for the year. Actually, the saint is the one who chooses us though. The tradition of letting a saint “pick you,” is not a new one. St. Faustina wrote about it in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. The excerpt is below.

“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year's Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn't read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 - the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”Excerpt from Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of St. Faustina"

I have a container full of names ... I will be glad to pick out the name for you and send you the name if you prefer. I am so excited by my saint(s) ... I already picked mine. Well, I should say that they picked me ... I have Saints Marcus and Marcellianus ... they are twin brothers who were sent to prison before their death. St. Sebastian visited them continually in prison and helped keep their faith alive. They are buried near St. Felix and are specifically honored in Spain.

OK now ... here are a couple of immediate ironies in regard to these saints ... I have a SPECIAL place in my heart for twins! As a child, I LOVED reading the story about St. Sebastian. I had a children's book of saints and I think I wore out the pages on St. Sebastian! Felix is my grandfather's name! Silvia, our exchange student, is from Spain! I am so excited to have these two saints to walk through 2006 with me! I'm looking forward as to where and how they will intercede for me.
Please pass this message on through your blogs and/or email distribution lists, letting all of the Catholic blogsphere have the chance to participate. I only ask that you give me your email address so that I may contact you when your saint is drawn. Usually within one to two days I can email you about your saint.

So, please either make sure your email address is in your profile or please leave it below in the comment box when you ask to participate. If you wish to remain anonymous, please leave your initials instead of your name.  And, if you would prefer to email me directly and not write your email address in the comment box, please send an email entitled "Saint for the Year 2015" to acatholiclife [at]

So, comment below and pass this message on throughout the entire Catholic Blogsphere!


I handle the planning, marketing, and drawing for this devotion each year without any cost. Please take a minute and if you are a supporter of this devotion, please consider leaving us a free will donation. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps me continue working on this devotion and spreading it further and it helps keep A Catholic Life online.

Please - a donation of only $2.00 is appreciated and helpful!  If each of you contributed only $2.00 I would be able to cover some of the most important updates this blog needs.



If you are not familiar your saint, I encourage you to research online and even pick up a copy of Father Hugo Hoever's "Live of the Saints," from which I read daily.  While the book does not include saints canonized in recent years, it is something that I am highly recommending. 

You may find information on your saint on my page dedicated to the saints: and here is a prayer to honor any saint:
Friday, December 19, 2014
Bishop Fellay Blesses Nativity Scene at the EU Parliament

This exciting update comes from the Society of St. Pius X:
On December 9, 2014, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, was invited to bless the Nativity scene that is set up every year in the hall of the European Parliament of Brussels. Before the ceremony, he addressed a few words to the 30 people present, including 10 deputies. Bishop Fellay first called God’s blessings down upon all those who serve Him in their undertakings. He explained that if Christ is invoked as “Our Lord”, it is because all authority and all good come from Him: “Without Me you can do nothing,” declared Jesus in the Gospel (John 15:5). The bishop commented: “all good comes from God, from Whom we receive all things, be they temporal or spiritual.”

The Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X pointed out that the Nativity scene reminds us of the truths of the Gospel, and that we must have not only the courage, but also the honesty to recognize that Europe’s true roots are at the foot of the manger. Bishop Fellay added that “while the Child was surrounded by shepherds, he was also honored by the three kings, who represent the authorities come from different countries to adore God made man.”

Indeed, it was He who came to save men, hence his name Jesus, which means “savior”. He is also called Lord—Dominus—for He is the King of kings, and individuals and societies need Him. And he quoted Cardinal Pie’s words to Napoleon III: “If the time has not come for Jesus Christ to reign, then the time has not come for governments to last.” The Child of the creche is the Lord, who gives stability and peace.

Continue Reading...
Monday, December 15, 2014
Octave Day of the Immaculate Conception

Today up until 1955 was the Octave of the Immaculate Conception.  As this blog seeks to preserve our Catholic heritage, we will celebrate the Octave Day of the Immaculate Conception today by sharing the prayers of the Mass for this Octave Day:

INTROIT Isaias 61: 10
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels. (Ps. 29: 2) I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

COLLECT - O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin didst prepare a worthy dwelling place for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as by the foreseen death of the same Thy Son, Thou didst preserve her from all stain, so Thou wouldst grant to us also, through her intercession, to come unto Thee with clean hearts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen

Proverbs 8. 23-35
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom: Proverbs. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything, from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out; the mountains with their huge bulk had not yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, not the poles of the world. When He prepared the Heavens, I was there when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths; when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters; when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits; when He balanced the foundations of the earth; I was with Him, forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times, playing in the world: and my delight is to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. V. (Judith 15: 10) Thou art the glory of Jerusalem, thou art the joy of Israel thou art the honor of our people. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Canticles 4: 7) Thou art all fair O Mary, and there is in thee no stain of original sin. Alleluia.

Luke 1: 26-28

At that time, The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."

Luke 1:28
Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. Alleluia.

SECRET  Receive the saving Victim we offer to Thee, O Lord, on the solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: and grant that, as we confess that by Thy preventing grace she was kept free from every stain of sin; so, by her intercession, we may be delivered from all our offenses. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever..

Psalm 88: 36-38
Glorious things are told of thee, O Mary, for He who is mighty hath done great things unto thee.

POST COMMUNION -  May the Sacraments which we have received, O Lord, our God, heal in us the wounds of that sin, from which Thou didst alone preserve the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945

Advent Ember Fast This Week

Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings.

If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence.

Please click here for a special Ember Day Manual, including reflections for the Advent Ember Days.  It is free.

Ember Days this December: 17, 19, & 20

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Round 7: Collectible Catholic Books (Including Catholic Fiction) For Sale

In an update to my posts on the topic, I also have these titles for sale.  Prices include shipping.  Please email me at acatholiclife[at]gmail[dot]com for more information or to order.
The Silver Chalice by Thom Costain, 501 pp, 1952, novel in good condition.  $18

The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi, 144 pp, 1964 ed, good condition.   $16

Run to Daylight by Vince Lombardi, 299 pp, 1964, good condition.  $16

Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell, 570 pp, 1959 novel, good condition with some staining.  $14

Nunsuch, Stories about Sisters by Candida Lund, 234pp, 1982, good condition  $16

Tree and Leaf by J R Tolkien, 1989, very good condition.  $15

The Foundling by Cardinal Spellman, 304 pp, a novel, 1951, good condition.  $16

A Vow of Chastity by Veronica Black, 190 pp, 1991, mystery fiction in very good condition.  $18

Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather, 301 ppm 1927 edition, a moving historical fiction, good condition.  $25

Seek the Fair Land by Walter Macken, 1988 edition, novel in good condition.  $15

The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith by Bruce Marshall, 189 pp, 1945, a novel in good condition.  $22

The Fox and the Camellias by Ignazio Silone, 138 pp, 1961, fiction in good condition.  $20
Friday, December 12, 2014
Syrian Melkite Church Restored in Iraq

Syrian Melkite church restored in Iraq
The Greek Catholic church of Saint George was in ruins 6 months ago when the town of Nabak was still a terrorist stronghold. Since then reconstruction was achieved and the Patriarch visited its Christian community.

Deo Gratias!
Thursday, December 11, 2014
7 Important Anniversaries for Traditional Catholics in 2014

= the 150th of the events predicted by Our Lady at La Salette: "In the year 1864, Lucifer together with a large number of demons will be unloosed from hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God; they will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls".
= the 150th of the prayers given by Our Lady to Fr. Cestac to fight the devils (August Queen of Heaven, heavenly Sovereign of the Angels), on January 13, 1864
= the 150th of the Syllabus against Liberalism by Pius IX, on December 8, 1864
= the 130th of encyclical Humanum Genus against the masonic sect by Leo XIII, on April 20, 1884
= the 130th of his vision and of the "leonaine" prayers at then end of low Masses, on October 13, 1884
= the 100th of the death of St Pius X, on August 20, 1914
= the 40th of Abp. Lefebvre's historical Declaration of November 21, 1974.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Transation of the Holy House of Loretto

 Today is the Feast of the Translation of the Holy House of Loretto (Mass in Some Places).
Towards the end of the thirteenth century, the terrible news reached Europe that the Holy Land was lost to the Christians, who during two centuries had been able to maintain the Latin kingdom there by virtue of their repeated Crusades. But at the time the Church was deploring this painful loss, a new joy was given them: the holy house of Nazareth — site of the birth of the Mother of God, of Her early education and of the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel of the wondrous news of the Incarnation of the Son of God — had been found, transported miraculously, near Tersatz in Dalmatia (Yugoslavia) on May 10th of the year 1291.

Between Tersatz and nearby Fiume, the residents of the region beheld one morning an edifice, in a location where never had any been seen before. After the residents of the region talked among themselves of the remarkable little house surmounted by a bell tower, and which stood without foundations on the bare ground, describing its altar, an ancient statue of Our Lady, and other religious objects which their wondering eyes had seen within it, another surprise came to astound them once more.

Their bishop suddenly appeared in their midst, cured from a lingering illness which had kept him bedridden for several months. He had prayed to be able to go see the prodigy for himself, and the Mother of God had appeared to him, saying, in substance: “My son, you called Me; I am here to give you powerful assistance and reveal to you the secret you desire to know. The holy dwelling is the very house where I was born... It is there that when the announcement was brought by the Archangel Gabriel, I conceived the divine Child by the operation of the Holy Spirit. It is there that the Word was made flesh! After My decease, the Apostles consecrated this dwelling, illustrated by such elevated mysteries, and sought the honor of celebrating the August Sacrifice there. The altar is the very one which the Apostle Saint Peter placed there. The crucifix was introduced by the Apostles, and the cedar statue is My faithful image, made by the hand of the Evangelist Saint Luke... Your sudden return to health from so long an illness will bear witness to this prodigy.”

Nicolas Frangipane, governor of the territory of Ancona, was absent, but when the news was carried to him, he returned from a war in order to verify its authenticity. He sent to Nazareth, at the eastern limits of the Mediterranean Sea, the bishop and three other persons, to examine the original site of the house. Indeed the house was no longer there, but its foundations remained and were found conformable in every detail of dimension and substance, to the stones at the base of the house now in Dalmatia. The testimony of the delegates was drafted according to legal formalities, and confirmed by a solemn oath.

Then, after three years spent in Dalmatia, the house disappeared. Paul Della Selva, a holy hermit of that period and of the region of Ancona, wrote: “During the night of December 10th, a light from heaven became visible to several inhabitants of the shores of the Adriatic Sea, and a divine harmony woke them that they might contemplate a marvel exceeding all the forces of nature. They saw and contemplated a house, surrounded by heavenly splendor, transported through the air.” The angelic burden was brought to rest in a forest, where again the local residents were able to contemplate the signal relics which it contained. The antique Greek crucifix mentioned by Our Lady was made of wood, and attached to it was a canvas on which the words Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, were painted. The cedar statue of the Virgin had been painted also; she wore a red robe and a blue cloak and held the Infant Jesus in Her arms. His right hand was raised in blessing; His left hand held a globe, symbol of His sovereign power.

The story was far from ended. The house moved again, after robbers began to intercept pilgrims coming through the forest to visit the marvel. Twice more it rose from its place, the first time coming to rest on a private terrain, which became then a source of dispute between two brothers; and finally on a hilltop where a dusty and uneven public road became its permanent site. For centuries the people of Dalmatia came across the sea on pilgrimage, often crying out to Our Lady and Her House to come back to them! Finally in 1559, after one such visit by 300 pilgrims, the Sovereign Pontiff had a hospice built at Loreto for families who preferred to remain near the house, rather than return to a land deprived of its sacred presence.

The reddish-black stones of the house are a sort entirely foreign to Italy; the mortar cementing them is again entirely different from the volcanic-ash-based substance used in that country. The residents of the region put up a heavy brick wall to support the house, which was exposed to the torrential rains and winds of the hilltop and was completely without foundation. But no sooner was that wall completed, than they came back one morning to find it had moved away from the house, as if to express its reverence, to a distance which permitted a small child to walk around it with a torch in hand. The Author of the miracle wanted it to be well understood that He who had brought it without human assistance, was capable also of maintaining it there where He had placed it, without human concourse.

The episodes concerning the Translation of the Holy House, all duly verified, were consigned in documents borne to Rome to the Sovereign Pontiffs at various epochs. Pope Sixtus IV declared that the house was the property of the Holy See, and assigned duties to a specified personnel named to be its custodians. By Pope Leo X the indulgence applicable to the visit of several churches of Rome was accorded also to a pilgrimage to Loreto. Eventually a magnificent basilica was built around the house, which within the basilica was itself enhanced by a white marble edicule. Pope Clement IX in 1667, placed the story of the House in the Roman Martyrology for the 10th of December under the title: At Loreto, in the territory of Ancona, translation of the Holy House of Mary, Mother of God, in which the Word was made flesh.

Pope Benedict XIV, a prodigious scholar before he became Pope, established the identity of the house with that of Nazareth, against its detractors, and later worked for the embellishment of the August sanctuary. The feast of Our Lady of Loreto is observed in many provinces of the Church, inscribed in the Proper of their dioceses by their bishops.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 14; Magnificatmagazine, Vol. XXIX, no. 12, December 1994, pp. 260-264 (Magnificat: Saint Jovite, 1994); La Sainte Maison de la Sainte Vierge, by a priest of Montreal (Librairie Saint Joseph: Montreal, 1895).


O God, who through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, didst in Thy mercy sanctify the House of Blessed Mary the Virgin, and by wondrous means didst place it in the care of Thy Church, grant that we may keep aloof from the tabernacles of sinners, and become worthy habitants of Thy holy house. Through the same our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Image Source
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
The Rorate Mass: A Dawn Mass Said Only By Candlelight

The Rorate Mass takes its name from the opening words of the Introit, which comes to us from Isaiah 45:8:
“Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum, aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.”
“Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.
The Rorate Mass is lit only by candlelight. Because it is a votive Mass in Mary’s honor, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet. In the dimly lit setting, priests and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illumined by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ.
The readings and prayers of the Mass foretell the prophecy of the Virgin who would bear a Son called Emmanuel, and call on all to raise the gates of their hearts and their societies to let Christ the King enter; asking for the grace to receive eternal life by the merits of the Incarnation and saving Resurrection of Our Lord.

Ask your priest to offer one this Advent!  Photos and information excerpted from One Peter 5.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Solemn High Mass in the Ruins of Nagasaki, 1949

The following are photos of a Pontifical Solemn High Mass said on the 400th Anniversary of the Arrival of St. Francis Xavier to Japan, and a Requiem Mass for the victims of the Bombing of Nagasaki in the midst of the ruins of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Urakami, 1949.  Notice the reverence of the Mass even in such destruction - something you would be hard pressed to find in the modern Church.

400th Anniversary of Arrival of St. Francis Xavier in Japan

Catholics in Nagasaki after the Atomic Bomb

Catholics in Nagasaki after the Atomic Bomb

Friday, December 5, 2014
Friday Penance Reminder

Today is Friday, the day in which we commemorate Our Lord's passion and death. It was our own sins that condemned our glorious Lord to death on Good Friday - death on a Cross. As Catholics, we are still bound to either abstain from meat or rather to do some act of penance each Friday in the entire year.

It was on this day of the week that our glorious Redeemer died for us. Please, never forget this, especially at 3 o'clock, the hour that He died. At 3 o'clock attempt to pray the 3 o'clock Mercy Prayer. Please remember Our Lord's love and repent today.

Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1249 All Christ's faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. On these days the faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence which the following canons prescribe.
Can. 1250 The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Can. 1253 The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Feastday of St. Bibiana

On December 2nd the Church commemorates the life of St. Bibiana.

As Tradition relates, St. Bibiana was the daughter of the Christians Flavian and Dafrosa.  Flavian was tortured and sent into exile where he died, and Dafrosa was beheaded.  All of this occurred under the rule of Apronianus as Governor of Rome - he was made Governor by Julian the Apostate in 363.

The daughters of these two martyrs were Bibiana and Demetria.  Demetria, after confessing her Faith in the Catholic Faith, was slain.  Bibiana was put to great sufferings as she was placed under the seduction of a wicked woman named Rufina.  As St. Bibiana refused to give in to the assaults, the saint was ordered to be tied to a pillar and beaten with sourges, laden with lead.  And so, the saint was viociously beaten to death for her Faith in Christ, all the while suffering in joy, knowing that by so doing, she would receive the Crown of Martyrdom.


O God, the giver of all good gifts, You united the grace of virginity and the palm of martyrdom in the blessings conferred upon Your servant Bibiana. Unite our souls to You by love Through the intercession of this saint, so that we may be shielded from all danger and obtain the rewards of eternity. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Sunday, November 30, 2014
St. Andrew Christmas Novena Begins Today

Today is the beginning of the St. Andrew Christmas Novena. It is believed whoever says this prayer piously 15 times a day until Christmas will obtain what they ask.

Here is the Christmas Novena:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
All Franciscan Saints (Feast of All Saints of the Seraphic Order)

Today in the Franciscan Calendar is the Feast of All Franciscan Saints.  In honor of this special Feast, let us pray the Litany of All Franciscan Saints.

A Franciscan Litany of All Saints

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
God, the Father, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Queen of the Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Holy Father Francis, pray for us.

All you holy martyrs of the Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Saints Berard, Accursius, Adjutus, Otto, and Peter, Protomartyrs, pray for us.
Saints Daniel, Angelo, Domnus, Hugolinus, Leo, Nicholas, and Samuel, Martyrs of Africa, pray for us.
Saints Nicholas Tavelic, Deodat of Aquitaine, Peter of Narbonne, and Stephen of Cuneo, Martyrs of the Holy Land, pray for us.
Saint Thomas More, Martyr of England, pray for us.
Saints Nicholas Pick, Anthony Hornaer, Anthony of Weert, Cornelius, Francis, Godfrey, Jerome, Nicasius, Peter, Theodoric, Willehad, Martyrs of Holland, pray for us.
Saints Peter Baptist Blasquez, Martin de Aguirre, Francis Blanco, Philip of Jesus of Mexico, Gonzalo García of India, and you holy seventeen Japanese members of the Third Order, Saints Anthony of Nagasaki, Bonaventure, Cosmas, Francis of Fahelante, Francis of Miyako, Gabriel, Joachim, John, Leo, Louis, Matthias, Michael, Paul Ibaraki, Paul Zuzuki, Peter, Thomas Danki, and Thomas Kosaki, Protomartyrs of Japan, pray for us.
Saints John Jones and John Wall, Martyrs of England, pray for us.
Saints Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Protomartyr of the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, pray for us.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Martyr of Auschwitz, pray for us.

All you holy priests of the First Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Gospel and Wonderworker, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, Seraphic Doctor, pray for us.
Saint Benvenute of Osimo, Bishop, pray for us.
Saint Louis of Tolouse, Bishop, pray for us.
Saint Bernardine of Siena, pray for us.
Saint John Capistran, pray for us.
Saint Peter Regalado, pray for us.
Saint James of the March, pray for us.
Saint Peter of Alcantara, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, pray for us.
Saint Joseph of Leonissa, pray for us.
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church, pray for us.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us.
Saint Pacificus of San Severino, pray for us.
Saint John Joseph of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Theophilus of Corte, pray for us.
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, pray for us.
Saint Leopold Mandic, pray for us.

All you holy lay brothers of the First Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Saint Didacus of Alcalá, pray for us.
Saint Salvator of Horta, pray for us.
Saint Felix of Cantalice, pray for us.
Saint Benedict the Black, pray for us.
Saint Paschal Baylon, pray for us.
Saint Seraphim of Montegranaro, pray for us.
Saint Charles of Sezze, pray for us.
Saint Ignatius Laconi, pray for us.
Saint Francis Camporosso, pray for us.
Saint Conrad of Parzham, pray for us.

All you holy virgins of the Second Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Holy Mother Clare of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Agnes of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Colette of Corbie, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Bologna, pray for us.
Saint Veronica Giuliani, pray for us.

All you holy priests of the Third Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Saint Yves of Brittany, pray for us.
Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Palotti, Founder, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Cafasso, pray for us.
Saint Michael Garicoits, pray for us.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Founder, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, Founder, pray for us.
Saint Pius X, Pope, pray for us.

All you holy foundresses of religious congregations who were members of the Third Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Jane of Valois, pray for us.
Saint Angela Merici, pray for us.
Saint Mary Bartholomea Capitanio, pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalen Postel, pray for us.
Saint Vincentia Gerosa, pray for us.
Saint Joachima de Mas y de Vedruna, pray for us.
Saint Mary Josepha Rossello, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.

All you holy men of the Third Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Saint Ferdinand, King of Castile and Leon, pray for us.
Saint Louis, King of France, Patron of the Third Order, pray for us.
Saint Elzear of Sabran, pray for us.
Saint Roch of Montpellier, pray for us.
Saint Conrad of Piacenza, Hermit, pray for us.

All you holy women of the Third Franciscan Order, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Patroness of the Third Order, pray for us.
Saint Rose of Viterbo, Virgin, pray for us.
Saint Zita of Lucca, Virgin, pray for us.
Saint Margaret of Cortona, pray for us.
Saint Clare of Montefalco, Virgin and Religious, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, pray for us.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Saint Frances of Rome, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Genoa, pray for us.
Saint Hyacintha Mariscotti, Virgin and Religious, pray for us.
Saint Mariana of Jesus of Quito, Virgin, pray for us.
Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds, Virgin, pray for us.

All you holy Cordbearers of St. Francis, pray for us.
Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Calasanctius, Founder, pray for us.
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, Virgin and Religious, pray for us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

Let us pray:
Almighty everlasting God, we thank You for granting us the joy of honoring our holy Father Francis and his sainted followers and enjoying the protection of their unceasing prayers. Grant us also the grace to imitate their example and so attain their fellowship in eternal glory. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Vigil of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Vigil of Saint Andrew the Apostle

The following is taken from Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945 Bio: Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition
Today is the last day of the liturgical year. The day preceding a festival is styled a vigil (from the Latin word signifying a night-watch) because in primitive ages the faithful passed in prayer in the church the greater part of the evening and night preceding a festival. Nor did they break their fast until after the holy sacrifice of the Mass had been offered, and Communion given in the course of the vigil. Hence the greater vigils are still observed as fast-days; and the Mass of a vigil has a specially penitential character. Violet or purple vestments are worn by the priest; the Gloria in excelsis is not said.
Saint Andrew, the elder brother of St. Peter, and, like him, a fisherman of the Lake of Galilee, on hearing St. John the Baptist proclaim that Jesus was the Lamb of God, was moved to follow Our Lord, who chose him to be one of the twelve apostles. It is believed that after the Resurrection St. Andrew labored in spreading the Gospel in Eastern Europe, and. made many converts. At the last he was crucified in Patras in the Greek manner. In 357 his remains, together with those of St. Luke, were solemnly translated to the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople. His head is venerated at St. Peter's in Rome. In 1210 his body had been moved to the Cathedral at Amalfi in the Kingdom of Naples. His feast is important not only on account of the position it holds in the Missal (at the beginning of the Proper of the Saints) but more especially on account of the antiphons of the Divine Office and the passages from Holy Scripture read in the Mass.
INTROIT. Dominus secus mare. St. Matt. 4.
JESUS our Lord walking by the sea of Galilee saw two brethren, Peter and Andrew, and he called them saying: Follow me; and I will make you fishers of men. Ps. 19. The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament sheweth his handy-work. V. Glory be.

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that as we do prevent the festival of thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, so he may implore thy mercy for us; that we , being delivered from all our iniquities, may likewise be defended against all adversities. Through.

EPISTLE Ecclus. 44: 25-27; 45, 2-4; 6-9 1-6
 Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. The blessing of the Lord was upon the head of the just man. Therefore the Lord gave him an inheritance, and divided him his portion in twelve tribes: and he found grace in the eyes of all flesh. He magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words He made prodigies to cease. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him His glory. He sanctified him In his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. And He gave him commandments before His face, and a law of life and instruction: and He exalted him. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and girded him about with a girdle of justice: and the Lord crowned him with a crown of glory. Thanks be to God.

 GOSPEL John 1: 35-51
 At that time, John stood, and two of his disciples: and beholding Jesus walking, he saith, "Behold the Lamb of God." And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turning, and seeing them following Him, He saith to them, "What seek you?" Who said to Him, "Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), where dwellest Thou?" He saith to them, "Come, and see." They came, and saw where He abode, and they stayed with Him that day: now it was about the tenth hour. And Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who had heard of John, and followed him. He findeth first his brother Simon, and saith to him, "We have found the Messias" (which is, being interpreted, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus; and Jesus, looking upon him, said, "Thou art Simon the son of Jona; thou shalt be called Cephas," which is interpreted, Peter. On the following day, He would go forth into Galilee: and He findeth Philip. And Jesus saith to him, "Follow Me." Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathamel, and saith to him, "We have found Him of Whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus, the son of Joseph of Nazareth." And Nathanæl saith of him, "Can anything of good come from Nazareth?" Philip saith to him, "Come, and see." Jesus saw Nathanæl coming to Him: and He said to him, "Behold an Isrælite indeed, in whom there is no guile." Nathanæl saith to Him, Whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered, and said to him, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the flg-tree, I saw thee." Nathanæl answered Him, and said, "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Isræl." Jesus answered, and said to him, "Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, thou believest: greater things than these shalt thou See." And He saith to him, "Amen, amen I say to you, you shall see the Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." 

OFFERTORY. Ps. 8. Thou hast crowned him with glory and worship: thou hast made him to have dominion of the works of thy hands, O Lord.

GRANT, O Lord, that this oblation, which we, remembering the festival of thy blessed Apostle Saint Andrew, do offer to be hallowed unto thee, may likewise avail to the cleansing of our souls from all evil. Through.

COMMUNION. St. John 1:41. Andrew saith unto his brother Simon: We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ: and he brought him to Jesus.

O LORD, who hast vouchsafed to feed us with these holy sacraments, we humbly pray thee: that, at the intercession of thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, the mysteries which we have offered in remembrance of his glorious passion may be profitable unto us for the healing of our souls. Through.

Image: St. Andrew salutes the Cross on which he is about to offer his life

Vigil of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Friday, November 28, 2014
Round 6: Collectible Catholic Books for Sale

In an update to my most recent posts on the topic, I also have these titles for sale.  Prices include shipping.  Please email me at acatholiclife[at]gmail[dot]com for more information or to order.

"The Mediaeval Mystics of England, Eric Colledge, ed., 303 pp., 1961, very good condition, hardcover, $25

"The Last Years of St. Paul," Abbe  Constant Fouard, 310 pp., 1906, good condition, hardback, $25

"The Anchorite in the Tabernacle," F. X. Esser, SJ, 192 pp., 1927, Herder publ., very good condition, hardback, $25 (meditations on Eucharist)

"Church History in the Light of the Saints," Rev. Jos. Dunney, 449 pp., 1944, good condition, hb, $25

"Life of the Little Flower,"Msgr. August Laveille, 376 pp., 1953, McMullen publ., good condition, hb, $25

"So Near to God," James Gillis, CSP, 210 pp., 1953, good condition with staining on back cover, hb, $25

"Napoleon and the Pope," E. E.Hales, 206 pp., 1961, good condition, hb $25

"Spurs to Conversion,", Rev. Edw. Betowski, 348 pp., 1936, good condition, hb, $25

"The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, Jean Pierre Camus,  Bishop of  Belley, 232 pp., 1952 , good condition, hb., $25

"St. Joseph and Daily Christian Living," Francis Filas, SJ, 180 pp,, 1961, good condition, hb., $25
Monday, November 24, 2014
40% off the Complete Summary of the Dark Night of the Soul

In honor of today's Feast of St. John of the Cross, we are offering our book summary of his classic "Dark Night of the Soul" for 40% off.  Just enter code DARKNIGHT to save on it.

Our summary of the "Dark Night of the Soul" is meant to make this text understandable for you.  Our summary is approximately 20 pages long.  It is a meaningful and complete summary.  Our summaries allow you to understand such great classics as this book without having to devote many hours to reading the full book.

Link to the summary:
Sunday, November 23, 2014
The Sanctus Candle During Low Mass

 Notice the small candle lit on the altar.  Msgr. Michael Schmitz, ICRSS, celebrating Mass in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo copyright Daniel Nygård.

While those familiar with the Traditional Latin Mass will know of the candles lit and used by the torchbearers for the Consecration at the High Mass, have you noticed a special sanctus candle at a Low Mass?

Fr. Ronald Brown describes:
Being that the "Low Mass" is really a "cut down" version of the High Mass (which is more proper but not practical in most parishes) the one Sanctus candle remains. In some places a "sanctus candle" was lit on a wall bracket on each side of the altar, or on the floor.

The use of the sanctus candle is required by the rubrics and ignored by is called the "sanctus" or "elevation" candle and lit prior to the Canon. The rubrics mandate the use of it.
 The Catholic Encyclopedia describes it accordingly:

"The rubrics of the "Roman Missal" direct that at the Sanctus, even of any private Mass, an additional candle should be lighted and should burn until after the Communion of the priest. This rubric however is much neglected in practice even in Rome itself." in this pic you see it at the Epistle side of the altar.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Nativity Stone Rosary: A One-of-a-Kind Rosary

Last week I received the most beautiful Rosary that I have ever owned.  What makes this Rosary truly special to me, besides the Victorian style to which I am particularly attached, is that on the crucifix is a Nativity Stone.  The Nativity stone is a true piece from the Cave of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

The Nativity Stone is not a relic but it is a powerful connection with the birth of the Divine Son of God. To be able to hold next to our heart a piece of the Cave in which the Lord was born is truly priceless.

(Pictured here is the incredibly beautiful Victorian Prayer Rosary.  The beads, layered in 22K gold, along with the Nativity stone, make this the most beautiful Rosary that I own.  I was elated when I opened the package and found such a beautiful Rosary inside).

Nativity Stones Crosses are unique as they are the only ones selling a cross that contains a stone from the Cave of The Nativity in Bethlehem. In the heart of each piece is a one of a kind authentic Nativity Stone from one time excavation that took place in 1963.

In year 2000 Nativity Stones were even honored with a plaque placed in the Vatican.  The Victorian Prayer Rosary was presented to Cardinal Ruini at the Vatican during the dedication of the Nativity Stones plaque during the year of the 2000 Jubilee.

Each cross includes a numbered certificate of authenticity signed by the Priest of the Church of the Nativity and a booklet telling the story.  

The Rosary itself came in a beautiful velvet gift bag with a draw string.  Along with it came the certificate of authenticity and a wonderful handout on the Nativity Stones.

Nativity Stone sells various Rosaries and crosses each containing a stone from the Nativity. 

I would encourage all of you to check out their website and I happily endorse this.  They can be found at:

A Special Offer to my readers: 20% OFF with Coupon Code: Catholic20 

To learn more about the remarkable Nativity Stones story, please visit:

Monday, November 17, 2014
Support St. Joseph's School in Armada, Michigan

Please join me in supporting St. Joseph's School in Michigan, a Traditional Catholic school that is presently in much need of financial assistance.  Would you considering helping them by sending a donation?
Dear friends,

In the past you have shown an interest in our work here at St. Joseph's Academy, Armada, MI. Please find attached our autumn letter. We hope you enjoy the read!

God bless you all,
Father John Brucciani, principal

Their latest letter to benefactors is as follows:

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Traditional Mass Propers: 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

INTROIT Jer. 29:11, 12, 14
Said the Lord: "I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. You shall call upon Me and I will hear you, and I will bring you back from captivity from all places." Ps. 84:2. Lord, You have blessed Your land; You have restored Jacob from captivity. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - Forgive the offenses of Your people, O Lord, so that through Your merciful goodness we may be freed from the bondage of sin into which we were led by our own weakness. Through Our Lord . . .

Philipp. 3:17-21; 4:1-3
Brethren: Be ye followers of me, and mark those who walk after the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction: whose God is their belly: and whose glory is in their shame: who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself. Therefore my dearly beloved brethren and most desired, my joy and my crown: so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beg of Evodia and I beseech Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have labored with me in the gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.

You have freed us from those who afflict us, O Lord, and You have put to shame those who hate us. V. In God we will glory all the day, and praise Your name forever. 

Alleluia, alleluia! Ps. 129:1-2 Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer! Alleluia!

Matt. 9:18-26

At that time, as Jesus was speaking these things unto them, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored him, saying: "Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live." And Jesus rising up followed him, with his disciples. And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself: "If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed." But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: "Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole." And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a rout, He said: "Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth." And they laughed him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.

Ps. 129:1-2
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer, out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord.

SECRET  We offer this sacrifice of praise, O Lord, to fulfill our debt of service to You. May Your blessings which we cannot merit, continue to reach us through Your boundless mercy. Through Our Lord . . .

Mark 11:24
Amen I say to you, all things whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come to you.

POST COMMUNION -  You have given us the happiness of participating in this Heavenly Banquet, O Almighty God. Let us not now fall victim to any human danger. Through Our Lord . . .

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945

Instruction of Fr. Leonard Goffine for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost from The Church's Year.

I. Filial was the faith, unbounded the confidence, profound the humility of this woman, and therefore, she received health also. Learn from this, how pleasing to the Lord is faith, confidence and humility; let your prayer always be penetrated by these three virtues, and you will receive whatever you ask.

II. The devout Louis de Ponte compares the conduct of this woman to our conduct at Holy Communion, and says: Christ wished to remain with us in the most holy Eucharist, clothed with the garment of the sacramental species of bread, that he who receives His sacred flesh and blood, may be freed from evil concupiscence. If you wish to obtain the health of your soul, as did this woman the health of the body, imitate her. Receive the flesh and blood of Jesus with the most profound humility, with the firmest confidence in His power and goodness, and like this woman you too will be made whole.

III. Jesus called three dead persons to life, the twelve year old daughter of Jairus, ruler of the synagogue, of whom there is mention made in this gospel, the young man at Naim, (Luke 7:14) and Lazarus. (John. 11:43) By these three dead persons three classes of sinners may be understood: the maiden signifies those who sin in their youth through weakness and frailty, but touched by the grace of God, perceive their fall and easily rise again through penance; by the young man at Naim those are to be understood who sin repeatedly and in public, these require greater grace, more labor and severer penance; by Lazarus, the public and obdurate habitual sinners are to be understood who can be raised to spiritual life only by extraordinary graces and severe public penance.

IV. Christ did not raise the maiden, until the minstrels and noisy multitude were removed, by which He wished to teach us that the conversion of a soul cannot be accomplished in the midst of the noise and turmoil of temporal cares, idle pleasures and associations.

Saturday, November 15, 2014
Nativity Fast: 40 Days of Fasting for Christmas

November 15th in the Eastern Rite Churches begins the Nativity Fast. This 40-day long period fasting is a preparation for the holy celebration of Christmas. Like Lent, the Eastern Churches observe a period of 40 days of fasting in preparation for the Nativity of the Lord.

The Tradition of fasting in anticipation for the Nativity of the Lord is not unique to the Eastern Churches - the Latin Rite of the Church had observed this practice for centuries. Latin Rite Catholics today may certainly still observe fasting during this time to spiritually prepare themselves for Christmas. 

Beginning with Vespers on November 15th, the Nativity Fast continues until just before Vespers on Christmas Eve. As with all periods of fasting, Fasting is forbidden on Sundays. Due to many popular feast days occurring between now and December 9th, many places began to adapt the fast to begin on December 10th. Latin Rite Catholics traditionally fasted on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception (December 7th) and on the Vigil of the Nativity (December 24th). Those two days should still be observed by Roman Catholics. In years when these days fall on a Sunday, fasting is suppressed.

The fast's purpose is to spiritually prepare the soul for drawing closer to God. Along with our fasting, we must increase our own prayer life, almsgiving, and good works. Fasting without increased prayer should never be done.

The guidelines for the Nativity fast, in most of the Eastern Catholic churches, are as follows: 
 All days except Sundays, from November 15 to December 12:  
• Abstinence from: All Meats, Dairy Products and Eggs – no animal products.
• No abstinence from: Shellfish, Grains, Vegetables & Vegetable Products, Olive Oil; Fruit, Wine On Sundays fish is allowed until the final week of the Nativity Fast. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the usual year-round restrictions apply.  
December 13 to 24:  
• Abstinence from: All Meat Products, Dairy Products, Eggs, Fish, Olive Oil, Wine
• No abstinence from: Vegetables & Vegetable Products, Fruits and Grains  
On Wednesdays and Fridays, food should not be eaten between meals, and meals themselves should be moderate in size. It is often customary to eat only one meal a day. During the Nativity Fast, from December 13 to December 24 inclusive, the Fast becomes stricter, and olive oil and wine are permitted only on Saturdays and Sundays. Fish is not permitted from the 13th to the 24th. 

Because of the Tradition of Fasting on Christmas Eve in the Roman Catholic Church, that evening is traditionally observed by the Feast of 7 Fishes.

Above all, this time of year as we approach Advent, consider the End of Times and our own Judgment, and await the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, let us embrace some fasting. Fasting on Wednesday and Fridays during this time is preferrable to not fasting at all. Consult your spiritual director and consider undertaking more fasting, almsgiving, and prayer during this preparation time. And when Christmas comes, let us celebrate it joyfully and festively throughout January and until Candlemas on February 2nd. While the world celebrates too early and ceases celebrating on the 2nd day of Christmas, let us not make that same grave mistake.

Image Source:
Traditional Catholicism in Africa

Traditional Catholicism is continuing to grow in Africa.  Below is a copy of the 14th Issue of  Catholic Tradition in Africa.  It is an inspiring portrayal of the Society of St. Pius X's work to save souls in Africa.  This issue features their work in Ghana, Cameroon, and Namibia.

Friday, November 14, 2014
Feast of St. Josaphat

Martyrdom of Josaphat Kuntsevych by Józef Simmler, National Museum in Warsaw

Today is the Feast of St. Josaphat.  In Milwaukee, Wisconsin the beautiful Basilica dedicated to St. Josaphat is one of the greatest architectural wonders in the Midwest.

St. Josaphat is a martyr who lived as a monk and the archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in modern-day Belarus.  He was martyred on November 12, 1623.  He was beatified in 1643 but not canonized until 1867 by Blessed Pope Pius IX.  His body rests today in St. Peter's Basilica under the altar of Saint Basil the Great.

St. Josaphat was born to pious parents.  His family were members of the Orthodox Ruthenian Church which, under the Union of Brest in 1595, reunited with the Roman Catholic Church.  As a young man, St. Josaphat declined both an apprenticeship and a marriage proposal to follow the call to the religious live.  In 1604 at the age of 20, he became a monk of the Ukrainian Order of St. Basil and took the name Josaphat.  In 1609 he was ordained a deacon in the Byzantine Rite.  When St. Josaphat's superior was removed from his post for seeking to undermine the union with the Roman Catholic Church, the Archbishop fo Kiev appointed Josaphat as Superior.

St. Josaphat became a renowned priest and believed unity with Rome to be in the greater interest of the Church.  He pursue great personal sanctity and helped win over a large part of the Orthodox faithful in Lithuania to embrace and accept the union with the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1617, he was consecrated as Archbishop of Polotsk, Lithuania.

In 1623 a priest opposed to the Union named Elias shouted insults at Josaphat as he sought to enter his residence.  A mob soon emerged to defend Elias and they invaded the residence of the saint  As St. Josaphat tried to secure the safety of those with him, he suffered martyrdom.

His martyrdom occurred on November 12, 1623.  He was struck in the dead with a halberd while being beaten and shot.  His body was thereafter thrown into the Dvina River but it was later recovered and buried in Biala, Poland.  In a great miracle testifying to the power of God and the holiness of St. Josaphat, his body was found incorruptible five years after his death.

Basilica of St Josaphat Milwaukee
Basilica of St Josaphat in Milwaukee

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Saint Didacus of Alcalá

  St. Didacus by Francisco de Zurbarán

1955 Calendar (Semidouble): November 13

Today is the Feast of St. Didacus.  While most people are not aware, the City of San Diego, CA is named after St. Didacus of Alcalá.

St. Didacus was a Spanish lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor who served as among the first group of missionaries to the newly conquered Canary Islands. He was born in c. 1400 to poor yet pious parents who named him after St. James, the patron saint of Spain.  In Spanish, St. James is called "St. Santiago" and Diego is a derivative of Santiago.

Even as a young age he was called to the religious life.  He joined the Order of Friars Minor at the friary in Albaida.  He is remembered today for his missionary work in the New World.  For a time he also headed a large monastery he had founded there. St. Didacus was above all a contemplative, and his abundant good works were the fruit of his ardent love of Christ. His charity for the sick was especially moving.

He died at Alcalá de Henares on 12 November 1463.
"St. Didacus was canonized by Pope Sixtus V in 1588, the first after a long hiatus following the Reformation, and the first of a lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor. His feast day is celebrated on 13 November, since 12 November, the anniversary of his death, was occupied, first, by that of Pope Saint Martin I, then by that of the Basilian monk and Eastern Catholic bishop and martyr, Josaphat Kuntsevych" (Source).

There are many miracles attributed to the intercession of St. Didacus.  One such miracle follows:

On a hunting trip, Henry IV of Castile fell from his horse and injured his arm. In intense pain and with his doctors unable to relieve his agony, he went to Alcalá and prayed to Didacus for a cure. The saint's body was removed from his casket and placed beside the king. Henry then kissed the body and placed the saint's hand on his injured arm. The king felt the pain disappear and his arm immediately regained its former strength.

Parroquia de San Diego, Today Printers and Publishers, Bacolod City, Philippines, pp. 176–177

Almighty and eternal God, Your wondrous providence has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the strong. Hear our humble prayer and grant that the prayers of Your blessed confessor Didacus may make us worthy of eternal glory in heaven. Through Our Lord . . .


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