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Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Does St. Jude Hospital Fund Stem Cell Research?
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I recently wrote to St. Jude's Hospital to determine the answer to this important question for Catholics.  As to the answer, it is a positive one to hear.

Question: I received information in the mail to donate to St. Jude. I am interested but I need to know does St. Jude in any way support or fund Planned Parenthood, abortion, or human embryonic stem cell research? I can not and will not donate to anyone who does. Thank you.

Answer:

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for your interest in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude is one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of childhood cancer and other deadly childhood diseases. All donor contributions are provided directly to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to support St. Jude programs. We do not support or fund the programs that you mentioned in your email.

If you would like additional information on the lifesaving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, please visit our website at www.stjude.org. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact our Donor Services department at 1-800-822-6344 Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 11:00 pm CT. Thank you again for contacting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Sincerely,

Sherry Howard
Donor Services
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis TN 38105
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Christmas Mass Propers: Mass at Midnight, Mass at Dawn, and Mass During the Day
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First Mass at Midnight

White
1st Class Feast with 2nd Class Octave
[STATION AT THE ALTAR OF THE CRIB AT ST. MARY MAJOR'S]
INTROIT ¤ Ps. 2, 7

   Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te. -- Quare fremuerunt gentes: et populi meditati sunt inania? V.: Gloria Patri . . . -- Dominus dixit ad me . . .
   The Lord hath said to me: Thou are My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. -- (Ps.2. 1). Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? V.: Glory be to the Father . . . -- The Lord hath said to me . . .


   COLLECT.--O God, Who hast made this most holy night to shine forth with the splendor of the true Light: grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who have known the mysteries of His light on earth, may enjoy also His happiness in heaven. Who with Thee liveth and . . .

EPISTLE ¤ Titus 2. 11-15
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to Titus.
[Our Lord will manifest Himself to all the elect, when, at the end of the world, shall take place the glorious apparition of the great God.]

   Dearly beloved, The grace of God our Savior hath appeared to all men, instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ: Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to Himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak and exhort: in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL ¤ Exodus 16. 6, 7

   Tecum principium in die virtutis tuae: in splendoribus Sanctorum, ex utero ante luciferum genui te. V.: Dixit Dominus Domino meo: sede a dextris meis: donec ponem inimicos tuos, scabellum pedum tuorum.
   Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Dominus dixit ad me, Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te, Alleluia.

   With Thee is the principality in the day of Thy strength: in the brightness of the Saints, from the womb before the day star I begot Thee. V.: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.
   Alleluia, alleluia. V.: (Ps. 2. 7). The Lord hath said to me: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Alleluia


GOSPEL ¤ Luke 2. 1-14
† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
[St. Luke tells us of the birth of Our Lord: And Mary brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.]

   At that time there went out a decree from Causar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an Angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the Angel said to them: Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: for this day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.

OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 23. 7

   Laetentur coeli, et exsultet terra ante faciem Domini: quoniam venit.
   Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad before the face of the Lord: because He cometh.


   SECRET.--May our offering on this day's feast be acceptable to Thee, O Lord, we beseech Thee: that by Thy bounteous grace, though this sacred intercourse, we may be found like unto Him, in whom our nature is united to Thee. Who with Thee liveth and reigneth . . .

PREFACE
Preface of the Nativity

   Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: Quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium nova mentis nostrae oculis lux tuae claritatis infulsit: ut, dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilum amorem rapiamur. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militai coelestis exercitus, hymnum gloriae tuae canimus sine fine dicentes:
   It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, for through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, the new light of Thy glory hath shone upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge God in visible form, we may through Him be drawn to the love of things invisible. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Throne and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:

SPECIAL FORM OF COMMUNICANTES
Communicantes for Christmas

   Communicantes, et noctem sacratissimam celebrantes, quo beatae Mariae intemerata virginitas huic mundo edidit Salvatorem: sed et memoriam venerantes, in primis ejusdem gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genetricis ejusdem Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et . . .
   Communicating, and keeping this most holy night, in which the spotless virginity of blessed Mary brought forth a Savior to this world; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also . . .

COMMUNION ¤ Isaias 40.5

   In splendoribus Sanctorum, ex utero ante luciferum genui te.
   In the brightness of the Saints, from the womb before the day star I begot thee.


   POSTCOMMUNION.--Grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we, who rejoice in celebrating by these Mysteries, the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may by worthy lives, deserve to attain unto fellowship with Him. Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity . . .



Second Mass At Dawn

White
1st Class Feast with 2nd Class Octave
[STATION AT ST. ANASTASIA]
INTROIT ¤ Isaias 9. 2, 6

   Lux fulgebit hodie super nos: quia natus est nobis Dominus: et vocabitur Admirabilis, Deus, Princeps pacis, Pater futuri saeculi: cujus regni non erit finis. -- Dominus regnavit, decorem indutus est: indutus est Dominus fortitudinem, et praecinxit se. V.: Gloria Patri . . . -- Lux fulgebit hodie super nos . . .
   A light shall shine upon us this day: for the Lord is born to us: and He shall be called Wonderful, God, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the world to come: of whose reign there shall be no end. -- (Ps.92. 1). The Lord hath reigned, He is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded Himself. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . A light shall shine upon us . . .


   COLLECT.--Grant us, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we on whom the new light of Thy Incarnate Word is poured, may show forth in our works that brightness, which now doth illuminate our minds by faith. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who . . .

Note: There is a commemoration of St. Anastacia here.


EPISTLE ¤ Titus 3. 4, 7
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to Titus.
[The goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, that being justified by the grace of Our Lord we may be heirs of life everlasting.]

   Dearly beloved, The goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared: not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy. He saved us by the laver of regeneration and renovation of the Holy Ghost, whom He hath poured forth upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior: that, being justified by His grace, we may be heirs according to hope of life everlasting: in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 117. 27, 26, 23

   Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini: Deus Dominus, et illuxit nobis. V.: A Domino factum est istud: et est mirabile in oculis nostris.
   Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Dominus regnavit, decorum induit: induit Dominus fortitudinem, et praecinxt se virtute. Alleluia.

   Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord: the Lord is God, and He hath shone upon us. V.: This is the Lord's doing: and it is wonderful in our eyes.
   Alleluia, alleluia. V.: (Ps.92. 1) The Lord hath reigned, He is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strenth, and hath girded Himself with power. Alleluia.


GOSPEL ¤ Luke 2. 15, 20.
† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

   At that time the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed to us. And they came with haste: and they found Mary and Joseph, and the Infant lying in the manger. And seeing they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this Child. And all that heard wondered: and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 92. 1, 2

   Deus firmavit orbem terrae qui non commovebitur: parata sedes tua, Deus, ex tunc, a saeculo tu es.
   God hath established the world, which shall not be moved: Thy throne, O God, is prepared from of old; Thou are from everlasting.


   SECRET.--May our gifts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, prove worthy of the Mysteries of this day's Nativity and ever shed forth peace upon us: that, as He who was born as man, shone forth also as God, so may these earthly creatures bestow on us that which is divine. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

PREFACE
Preface of the Nativity

   Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: Quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium nova mentis nostrae oculis lux tuae claritatis infulsit: ut, dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilum amorem rapiamur. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militai coelestis exercitus, hymnum gloriae tuae canimus sine fine dicentes:
   It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, for through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, the new light of Thy glory hath shone upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge God in visible form, we may through Him be drawn to the love of things invisible. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Throne and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:

SPECIAL FORM OF COMMUNICANTES
Communicantes for Christmas

   Communicantes, et diem sacratissimum celebrantes, quo beatae Mariae intemerata virginitas huic mundo edidit Salvatorem: sed et memoriam venerantes, in primis ejusdem gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genetricis ejusdem Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et . . .
   Communicating, and keeping this most holy day, on which the spotless virginity of blessed Mary brought forth a Savior to this world; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also . . .

COMMUNION ¤ Zacharias 9. 9

   Exsulta, filia Sion, lauda, filia Jerusalem: ecce Rex tuus venit sanctus, et Salvator mundi.
   Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold Thy king comes, holy, the Savior of the world.


   POSTCOMMUNION.--May the new life of this Sacrament, O Lord, ever restore us, especially on the Nativity of Him whose wondrous Birth hath overcome the old nature of our manhood. Through the same Jesus Christ Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee . . .


Third Mass During the Day

White
1st Class Feast with 2nd Class Octave
[STATION AT ST. MARY MAJOR'S]
INTROIT ¤ Isaias 9. 6

   Puer natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis: cujus imperium super humerum ejus: et vocabitur nomenejus, magni consilii Angelus. -- Cantate Domino canticum novum: quia mirabilia fecit. V.: Gloria Patri . . . -- Puer natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis . . .
   A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us: Whose government is upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called, the Angel of Great Counsel. -- (Ps.97. 1). Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . A child is born to us . . .


   COLLECT.--Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the new birth of Thine only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free, who are held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God . . .

EPISTLE ¤ Hebrews 1. 1-12
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.
[It was by the Word that God made the world. Let the nations and kings come and adore Him. -- The Angels fall down and worship Him.]

   God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world: Who being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance, and upholding all things by the word of His power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the Majesty on high: being made so much better than the angels as He hath inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels hath He said at any time: Thou art my Son, today have I begotten Thee? And again: I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son? And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith: He that maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. And: Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of Thy hands are the heavens. They shall perish, but Thou shalt continue: and they shall all grow old as a garment: and as a vesture shalt Thou change them and they shall be changed: but Thou art the selfsame, and Thy years shall not fail.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 97. 3, 4, 2

   Viderunt omnes fines terrae salutare Dei nostri: jubilate Deo, omnes terra. V.: Notum fecit Dominus salutare suum: ante conspectum gentium revelavit justitiam suam.
   Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Dies sanctificatus illuxit nobis: venite gentes, et adorate Dominum: quia hodie descendit lux magna super terram.

   All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God: sing joyfully to God, all the earth. V.: The Lord hath made known His salvation: He hath revealed His justice in the sight of the Gentiles.
   Alleluia, alleluia. V.: A sanctified day has shone upon us: come ye Gentiles and adore the Lord: for this day a great light hath descended upon the earth. Alleluia


GOSPEL ¤ John 1.
† Beginning of the holy Gospel according to St. John.

   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was in God's presence, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was made nothing that was made: in Him was life, and the life was the Light of men; and the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to testify concerning the Light, that all might believe through Him. He was not the Light, but he was to testify concerning the Light. That was the true Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him to them He gave power to become sons of God, to them that believe in His Name, who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.[Here all kneel.] And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us: and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 88. 12, 15

   Tui sunt coeli, et tua est terra, orbem terrarum et plenitudinum ejus tu fundasti: justitia et judicium praeparatio sedis tuae.
   Thine are the heavens, and Thine is the earth, the world and the fulness thereof Thou hast founded: justice and judgment are the preparation of Thy throne.


   SECRET.--Sanctify, O Lord, the gifts offered to Thee, by the new birth of Thine Only-begotten Son: and cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God . . .

PREFACE
Preface of the Nativity

   Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: Quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium nova mentis nostrae oculis lux tuae claritatis infulsit: ut, dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilum amorem rapiamur. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militai coelestis exercitus, hymnum gloriae tuae canimus sine fine dicentes:
   It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, for through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, the new light of Thy glory hath shone upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge God in visible form, we may through Him be drawn to the love of things invisible. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Throne and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:

SPECIAL FORM OF COMMUNICANTES
Communicantes for Christmas

   Communicantes, et diem sacratissimum celebrantes, quo beatae Mariae intemerata virginitas huic mundo edidit Salvatorem: sed et memoriam venerantes, in primis ejusdem gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genetricis ejusdem Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et . . .
   Communicating, and keeping this most holy day, on which the spotless virginity of blessed Mary brought forth a Savior to this world; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also . . .

COMMUNION ¤ Ps. 97. 3

   Viderunt omnes fines terrae salutare Dei nostri.
   All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.


   POSTCOMMUNION.--Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that as the Savior of the world, born on this day, is the Author of our heavenly birth, so He may also be to us the Giver of immortality. Who with Thee . . .

At the end of the Third Mass, the Last Gospel is not read as usual. Instead, Matthew 2. 1-2 is read.
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Christmas 2013 Urbi et Orbi
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Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours
(Lk 2:14)

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the whole world, Greetings and Happy Christmas!
I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people.

I ask everyone to share in this song: it is a song for every man or woman who keeps watch through the night, who hopes for a better world, who cares for others while humbly seeking to do his or her duty.

Glory to God!

Above all else, this is what Christmas bids us to do: give glory to God, for he is good, he is faithful, he is merciful. Today I voice my hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God, the Father who has given us Jesus. My hope is that everyone will feel God’s closeness, live in his presence, love him and adore him.

May each of us give glory to God above all by our lives, by lives spent for love of him and of all our brothers and sisters.

Peace to mankind

True peace - we know this well - is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely “façade” which conceals conflicts and divisions. Peace calls for daily commitment, but making peace is an art, starting from God’s gift, from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ.
Looking at the Child in the manger, Child of peace, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!

Too many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fueling hatred and vengeance. Let us continue to ask the Lord to spare the beloved Syrian people further suffering, and to enable the parties in conflict to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid. We have seen how powerful prayer is! And I am happy today too, that the followers of different religious confessions are joining us in our prayer for peace in Syria. Let us never lose the courage of prayer! The courage to say: Lord, grant your peace to Syria and to the whole world. And I also invite non-believers to desire peace with that yearning that makes the heart grow: all united, either by prayer or by desire. But all of us, for peace.

Grant peace, dear Child, to the Central African Republic, often forgotten and overlooked. Yet you, Lord, forget no one! And you also want to bring peace to that land, torn apart by a spiral of violence and poverty, where so many people are homeless, lacking water, food and the bare necessities of life. Foster social harmony in South Sudan, where current tensions have already caused too many victims and are threatening peaceful coexistence in that young state.

Prince of Peace, in every place turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue. Look upon Nigeria, rent by constant attacks which do not spare the innocent and defenseless. Bless the land where you chose to come into the world, and grant a favourable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence.

Lord of life, protect all who are persecuted for your name. Grant hope and consolation to the displaced and refugees, especially in the Horn of Africa and in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Grant that migrants in search of a dignified life may find acceptance and assistance. May tragedies like those we have witnessed this year, with so many deaths at Lampedusa, never occur again!

Child of Bethlehem, touch the hearts of all those engaged in human trafficking, that they may realize the gravity of this crime against humanity. Look upon the many children who are kidnapped, wounded and killed in armed conflicts, and all those who are robbed of their childhood and forced to become soldiers.

Lord of heaven and earth, look upon our planet, frequently exploited by human greed and rapacity. Help and protect all the victims of natural disasters, especially the beloved people of the Philippines, gravely affected by the recent typhoon.

Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; we need his caress. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need his caresses. God is full of love: to him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness. 

Christmas greetings after the Urbi et Orbi Message:
 
To you, dear brothers and sisters, gathered from throughout the world in this Square, and to all those from different countries who join us through the communications media, I offer my cordial best wishes for a merry Christmas!

On this day illumined by the Gospel hope which springs from the humble stable of Bethlehem, I invoke the Christmas gift of joy and peace upon all: upon children and the elderly, upon young people and families, the poor and the marginalized. May Jesus, who was born for us, console all those afflicted by illness and suffering; may he sustain those who devote themselves to serving our brothers and sisters who are most in need. Happy Christmas to all!
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Monday, December 23, 2013
Christmas Eve: Fasting & Abstinence
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It has been a long standard custom up until Vatican II to observe fasting & abstinence from meat on Christmas Eve.  It is a custom I still observe and encourage you to do so as well.  The feasts and celebration of the Lord's Nativity should wait until the Nativity begins.

This day is known as the Feast of Seven Fishes for many Italians who will customarily have a dinner of seven fishes in honor of the seven Sacraments and seven days of Creation.


The 1917 Code stated for all Latin Rite Catholics in Canon 1252:
§ 1. The law of abstinence alone is to be observed on all Fridays.
§ 2. The law of abstinence and fast together is to be observed on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays and Saturdays of Lent, the Ember days [all day], and on the Vigils of Pentecost, the Assumption, All Saints, and the Nativity.
§ 3. The law of fast alone is to be observed on the other days of Lent.
§ 4. On Sundays and days of obligation the law ceases except on a feast of obligation during Lent; and the vigils are not anticipated; likewise the law ceases on Holy Saturday at noon.
This Tradition of Fasting is still observed in the Byzantine Tradition.  I quote:
The Christmas Fast, in preparation for the feast of the Nativity on December 25, is one of the minor fasts of the Church. This fast of forty days was introduced in the 12th century. Counting back 40 days from the feast of the Nativity, the fast begins on the evening of November 14 - the feast of the holy apostle Phillip. As a result, it is traditionally called Phillip's Fast or the Phillipian Fast (in Slavonic, Filipovka).

This fast is not penitential, but is rather a fast of preparation, like the pre-Communion fast. By abstaining from certain foods, we are opening up a "space" in our lives through asceticism and obedience, into which God may enter.

One final day of strict fasting awaits us. Normally, this would be the Vigil (in Greek, Paramony) of the Nativity, December 24. But Saturday and Sunday are never days of strict fasting in the Byzantine Rite (with the single exception of Great and Holy Saturday). So when December 24 falls on one of these two days, the day of strict fast is anticipated on Friday.
On this day, a special service called the Royal Hours is celebrated. This service consists of the daytime services of the First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, Ninth Hour, and Typika, celebrated with special psalms and readings for the Nativity. (This service is called royal because, at one time, the Emperor himself always attended the service.) Each part of the service has an Old Testament prophecy, an Epistle reading, and a reading from the Holy Gospel.

The Vigil of the Nativity

Finally, we have come to the very eve of the Nativity - the Paramony or Vigil of Christmas (December 24). If it is a weekday, it is a day of strict fasting, with the Royal Hours celebrated during the day, and Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil in the evening.
If December 24 is a Saturday or Sunday, the Divine Liturgy may be celebrated in the morning, and we sing the troparion of the Vigil:
At that time, Mary registered in Bethlehem with the elder Joseph, who was of the house of David. She had conceived without seed and was with child; and her time to give birth had come. They found no room in the inn, but the cave became a pleasant palace for the Queen. Christ is born to raise up the likeness that had fallen.
The fast is not quite over; if there is a meal or Holy Supper in the evening of December 24, after Vespers, it is a meatless one. But we have arrived at the feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Source: Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburg
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Christmas Prayers for the Poor Souls in Purgatory
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As Catholics, we acknowledge Purgatory, a temporary state where those that die with venial sin may be cleansed/purified before entering Heaven. Those in purgatory, however, may be helped by our prayers. I don't want to explain the whole doctrine now though, so please see the link for more information.

I just wanted to remind everyone what I learned only a few weeks ago, that the Blessed Virgin Mary helps release more souls from Purgatory on Christmas Day than on any other day. Remember, Christ saves us, but His Mother Mary, who was assumed into Heaven, helps by bringing these souls to Our Lord in Heaven through her prayers. Please say a prayer for the souls in purgatory especially today.

There are more souls released from Purgatory during the Consecration of the Mass than at any other time. Christmas is the day of the year when most souls are delivered; followed by feast days of Our Lord, Our Lady, and great saints. Souls receive much grace from prayers offered for them on their birthdays, day of baptism, and anniversary of death. The more we work for the poor souls now the more others will pray for us, the more merciful will Christ be with us when we’re in Purgatory.

Our Lady asked that we pray very much for the poor souls; she asked that we pray:
5 Apostle's Creed
1 Hail Holy Queen
1 Our Father
1 Glory Be
1 Requiem

Our Lady said that if we pray the prayers "we’ll deliver so many souls, so many souls. The Holy wounds are the treasure of treasurers for the souls in Purgatory." As Scripture states, "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins" (2 Mac 12:46)

In an approved apparition by the Church, Our Savior, Jesus Christ, gave St. Gertrude the Great this prayer. She said that 1,000 souls would be released every time it is said:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Note: The above image of Holy Mass is of a Tridentine Catholic Mass for Christmas Mass at Midnight.
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Sunday, December 22, 2013
American Cancer Society Supports Planned Parenthood
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The American Cancer Society is not considered a pro-life organization for the following reasons:

1. Support for human embryonic stem cell research
2. Grant funding at facilities known prominently for human embryonic stem cell research
3. Grant funding for morally questionable research
4. Grant funding to Planned Parenthood
5. Referrals to Planned Parenthood as a health information/education resource
6. Donations to the Lance Armstrong LiveStrong Global Cancer Campaign (see entry for LiveStrong)
7. Failure to acknowledge the link between previously induced abortion and risk for breast cancer
8. Suggested fertility options including IVF, embryo freezing, egg/sperm donation and surrogacy

From: http://www.all.org/charities American Life League

Catholics have other options for charities.  See my post: Top 10 Charities for Traditional Catholics.
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Saturday, December 21, 2013
Reflection by Theophilus for Ember Saturday of Advent
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Recall that today, being the Saturday of the Advent Ember Days, is a day of fasting and partial abstinence. Ember Days are days favored for priestly ordinations, prayer for priests, first Communions, almsgiving and other penitential and charitable acts, and prayer for the souls in Purgatory. Note that medieval lore says that during Embertides, the souls in Purgatory are allowed to appear visibly to those on earth who pray for them.

Because of the days' focus on nature, they are also traditional times for women to pray for children and safe deliveries.



To Autolycus Book I, Chapters V and VI
By Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, ca. A.D. 160

For as the soul in man is not seen, being invisible to men, but is perceived through the motion of the body, so God cannot indeed be seen by human eyes, but is beheld and perceived through His providence and works. For, in like manner, as any person, when he sees a ship on the sea rigged and in sail, and making for the harbour, will no doubt infer that there is a pilot in her who is steering her; so we must perceive that God is the governor [pilot] of the whole universe, though He be not visible to the eyes of the flesh, since He is incomprehensible. For if a man cannot look upon the sun, though it be a very small heavenly body, on account of its exceeding heat and power, how shall not a mortal man be much more unable to face the glory of God, which is unutterable? For as the pomegranate, with the rind containing it, has within it many cells and compartments which are separated by tissues, and has also many seeds dwelling in it, so the whole creation is contained by the spirit of God, and the containing spirit is along with the creation contained by the hand of God. As, therefore, the seed of the pomegranate, dwelling inside, cannot see what is outside the rind, itself being within; so neither can man, who along with the whole creation is enclosed by the hand of God, behold God. Then again, an earthly king is believed to exist, even though he be not seen by all; for he is recognised by his laws and ordinances, and authorities, and forces, and statues; and are you unwilling that God should be recognised by His works and mighty deeds?

Consider, O man, His works -- the timely rotation of the seasons, and the changes of temperature; the regular march of the stars; the well-ordered course of days and nights, and months, and years; the various beauty of seeds, and plants, and fruits; and the divers species of quadrupeds, and birds, and reptiles, and fishes, both of the rivers and of the sea; or consider the instinct implanted in these animals to beget and rear offspring, not for their own profit, but for the use of man; and the providence with which God provides nourishment for all flesh, or the subjection in which He has ordained that all things subserve mankind. Consider, too, the flowing of sweet fountains and never-failing rivers, and the seasonable supply of dews, and showers, and rains; the manifold movement of the heavenly bodies, the morning star rising and heralding the approach of the perfect luminary; and the constellation of Pleiades, and Orion, and Arcturus, and the orbit of the other stars that circle through the heavens, all of which the manifold wisdom of God has called by names of their own. He is God alone who made light out of darkness, and brought forth light from His treasures, and formed the chambers of the south wind, and the treasure-houses of the deep, and the bounds of the seas, and the treasuries of snows and hail-storms, collecting the waters in the storehouses of the deep, and the darkness in His treasures, and bringing forth the sweet, and desirable, and pleasant light out of His treasures; "who causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: He maketh lightnings for the rain;" who sends forth His thunder to terrify, and foretells by the lightning the peal of the thunder, that no soul may faint with the sudden shock; and who so moderates the violence of the lightning as it flashes out of heaven, that it does not consume the earth; for, if the lightning were allowed all its power, it would burn up the earth; and were the thunder allowed all its power, it would overthrow all the works that are therein.
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Friday, December 20, 2013
2014 Patron Saint for the Year Devotion
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UPDATE: RESULTS ARE IN.  SCROLL DOWN TO SEE!

UPDATE 2: Thank you to the 214 people who participated in this devotion.  As of now the drawings for 2014 have closed.  Thank you again and I'll be in contact with you in December 2014 regarding the 2015 Patron Saint of 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 2014 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.


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 2013" to acatholiclife [at] gmail.com

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

Support

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.


Results:



Name Saint
Susanne M. St. Maria Goretti
Amelia G St. Hyacinth feastday 9/11
Alma R St. Thomas Aquinas feastday 3/7
Evangeline St. Gertrude Comensoli
Antoniette St. Romanus feastday 8/9
Andy M St. Perpetuus feastday 4/8
Michael St. Catherine feastday 11/25
Matthew St. Hilary feastday 1/14
Max St. Nazarius feastday 7/28
Cory L St. Guilia Salzano
Diane K St. Bertha feastday 7/4
Kathy L St. Marius feastday 1/19
Elizabeth C St. Eligius feastday 12/1
Elynne W The Guardian Angels
Cathleen St. Ephrem the Syrian
Edmund St. Theodulus feastday of 5/3
Carla St. Augustine of Canterbury
Anna St. Elizabeth feastday of 7/8
Larry St. Lupicinus feastday of 2/28
Betty St. Ladislas feastday of 6/27
Perry St. Caius feastday of 4/22
Fran T St. Fabian feastday 1/20
GentleHeart64 St. Didacus feastday 11/3
Kathy G St. Mary of the Cross
Karleen St. Hyacinth feastday 8/17
Guy C. St. Cajetan feastday 8/7
Terry St. Tarasius feastday 2/25
John St. Bede feastday 4/10
Joseph St. Agnes
Heidi M St. Plutarch feastday 6/28
ABG St. Romanus feastday 8/9
JL St. John Francis Regis
Anna B St. John Leonard feastday 10/9
Bill St. Ambrose
Julie St. Ladislas feastday of 6/27
Scott  St. Hyacinth feastday 8/17
Blake St. Ludger feastday 3/26
Jonathan A 40 Martyrs of Sebaste 
James A St. Eventius feastday 5/3
Ron A St. Thomas of Canterbury
Jessa St. Abraham feastday 3/16
Jessa's sister M. Seven Holy Brothers feastday 7/10
Jessa's  sister L. St. Camillus of Leilis feastday 7/18
Jessa's  future husband St. Theodore Guerin
Jessa's  dad and mom St. Barbara feastday 12/4
Joe St. Philogonius feastday 12/20
Monica St. John Baptist de Rossi
Laura St. Jerome
Amy St. Marcellinus feastday 6/2
Judy St. Jerome
Joan St. Frances Cabrini
Anonymous St. Alphonsus Liguori
Kathy R St. Hospitius feastday 5/21
Lisa E St. Martin de Porres
Lisa B St. Theodore Guerin
Michael Y St. Paternus feastday 4/15
Mariah St. Julia feastday 5/22
Monica M. St. John Gualbert feastday 7/12
Cynthia V St. Medard feastday 6/8
N Alan Anderson St. Paul the Apostle
Rosalinda L St. Methodius feastday 7/7
Lujan St. Albert the Great
Enrico St. Helena feastday 8/18
Joy St. Perpetuus feastday 4/8
Pancreatius St. Edward feastday 10/13
Filip St. Rufina feastday 7/10
Anna St. Luigi Guanella
Serv St. Anthony Claret feastday 10/23
Va Family St. Ludger feastday 3/26
Vi Family St. Crescentia feastday 6/15
Leissue Claim St. Hyacinth feastday 8/17
Leissue Home St. Filippo Smaldone
Leissue Doc St. Joseph Calasanctius feastday 8/27
Ramzi St. Barbatus feastday 2/19
Pam Seven Holy Brothers feastday 7/10
Noah St. Willibrord feastday 11/7
Noella Our Lady under the title "Our Lady of the Rosary"
Kate St. Crescentia feastday 6/15
Paul W St. Perpetuus feastday 4/8
Unknown St. Marcellinus feastday 6/2
Cathy T St. Barachisius feastday 3/29
Ray St. Josaphat feastday 11/14
Rosie St. Caspar
Cristian St. Alpohnsa of the Immaculate Conception
Nicolaus St. Bede feastday 4/10
Elena St. Quintin feastday 10/31
Pablo St. Tarasius feastday 2/25
Ruth Seven Holy Servite Founders
Dan & Kristin S. St. John Leonard feastday 10/9
Sandy St. Anthony of the Desert
Brandon St. George Preca
Rachel St. Paul of the Cross
Sue St. Bernardo Tolomei
Rebecca St. Joseph the Foster Father of Jesus Christ
Clare St. Peter of Alacantara feastday 10/19
Mark St. Rafael Guizar Valencia
Jess St. Bernard feastday of 8/20
Lucy L St. Frumentius feastday 10/27
Lucy E St. Andrew the Apostle
Sonya B St. Melchior
Susan St. Chrysenthus feastday 10/25
Madalena Our Lady under the title "Our Lady of the Rosary"
A. Dawn M. Anderson St. Julius feastday 4/12
Lois F St. Albinus feastday 3/1
Gemma D St. Paul the Apostle
Barry M. St. Frei Galvao
Susan M. St. Perpetuus feastday 4/8
Erin M.  St. Mary of the Cross
Alex M. St. Philogonius feastday 12/20
Elly M. St. Edward feastday 10/13
Anna M. St. Francis Xavier feastday 12/3
Evelyn M.  St. John the Apostle
Tim W St. Catherine Laboure feastday 11/28
Steve St. Bernardine of Siena feastday of 5/20
Toni St. Ethelreda feastday of 6/2
Stephanie St. Soter feastday of 4/22
Christine St. Mary feastday of 3/16
Butch St. Arcangelo Tadini
Ken St. Paul the 1st Hermit
John St. Elizabeth feastday of 7/8
Lenore St. Barnabas feastday 6/11
Baby #1 St. Matthias 
Dan St. John Joseph of the Cross feastday 3/5
Baby #2 St. Bernard feastday of 8/20
Christopher St. Hilary feastday 1/14
Craig V St. Edward feastday 10/13
Vangie M. St. Louis IX
Lisa St. Anthony Zaccaria feastday 7/5
Franciscus Carmelo The Guardian Angels
Sequoia S St. Gregory Barbarigo
Aimee St. Damien Joseph de Veuster
Jay St. Thomas Apostle
Cameron St. Ludger feastday 3/26
Liam St. Albert the Great
Callie O. The Holy Innocents
Anonymous St. Ethelreda feastday of 6/2
Anonymous' son Patrick St. Teresa feastday 10/15
Lisa St. Felix of Valois
Bill St. Cornelius feastday 9/16
Christopher St. Abachum feastday 1/19
Sarah St. Eusebius feastday 8/14
John St. Quintin feastday 10/31
Monica St. Dominic feastday 8/4
Caroline St. Leocadia feastday 12/9
Bekki St. Andrew Avellino feastday 11/10
Cindy St. Marcellus feastday 1/6
Lila St. Basil the Great
Dustin St. Boniface
Hailey St. Damien Joseph de Veuster
Janet G St. Andrew the Apostle
Seppy P St. Felicitas feastday 3/6
Pete R St. Eligius feastday 12/1
fwkoes St. John of Avila
Lucy D St. Victor feastday 7/12
Roger St. Eusebius feastday 12/16
Demi St. Frances Cabrini
Renee M St. Anthony Zaccaria feastday 7/5
Chistine M St. Bridget feastday 10/8
Catherine St. Mary dei Pazzi feastday 5/29
Tony M St. Martha feastday 1/19
Michelle St. Polycarp
Rick St. Donatian feastday 5/24
Sean St. Benjamin feastday 3/31
Derek St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus Milleret
Dorothy St. Hyacinth feastday 9/11
Mark L St. James feastday 7/25
Pete S St. Donatian feastday 5/24
Jon H St. Cyril feastday 7/7
Cynthia H. St. Martha feastday 1/19
John R.  St. Anthony of the Desert
Lisa S. St. Melchior
Nanette St. Caspar
Dalleys St. Victorian feastday 1/12
Christina B Seven Holy Brothers feastday 7/10
John M. R.  St. Rafael Guizar Valencia
Judi S. St. Euphrasia feastday 3/13
Sharon K St. Callistus feastday 10/14
Michael C 40 Martyrs of Sebaste 
Heather St. Peter feastday 6/29
M Porter St. James feastday 7/25
Debbie St. Vincent feastday 1/22
Joe The Guardian Angels
Thomas St. Margaret feastday 6/10
David St. Cyril feastday 7/7
Stephanie St. Camillus of Leilis feastday 7/18
abjeschke089 St. Stanislaus feastday 5/7
Cheryl St. Marcellinus feastday 4/20
Jacob St. Cyril of Alexandria
Alicia St. Silverius feastday 6/20
Alicia's Mom St. Porphyrius feastday 2/26
Barb St. Veronica of Milan feastday 1/13
Jim St. Acacius feastday 5/8
Nathalie C St. Evodius feastday 5/6
Gorraiz Family St. Abachum feastday 1/19
Pamela M St. Stanislaw Soltys
Danielle R St. Jerome
Please-eaileron St. Theodore Guerin
Denise G St. Camillus of Leilis feastday 7/18
Kathy S St. Simon feastday 10/28
Michael V St. Anthony Zaccaria feastday 7/5
Liz St. Eleuthenus feastday 9/6
Ayden St. Anne feastday 7/26
Sean. Jr St. Veronica of Milan feastday 1/13
Barbara St. Daria feastday 10/25
Daryl St. Fabian feastday 1/20
Jeanie St. Eventius feastday 5/3
Lawrence St. Peter of Alacantara feastday 10/19
Erika St. Barbara feastday 12/4
Jared S St. Januarius
Mark St. Veronica feastday 7/12
Kay St. Edward feastday 10/13
Ross St. Gregory feastday 1/4
Carol St. Marcellinus feastday 4/20
Lawrence St. Marcellus feastday 10/30

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: http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2005/09/saints.html and here is a prayer to honor any saint: http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2006/01/prayer-to-venerate-any-saint.html
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