Saturday, December 31, 2005
Upcoming Indulgences

If you don't know what an indulgence is or how to get one, please view my Indulgences post.

December 31 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Te Deum is recited publicly on the last day of the year. Otherwise a partial indulgence is granted to those who recite the Te Deum in thanksgiving.

January 1 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Veni, Creator Spiritus is recited on the first of January or Pentecost.

Thanks to St. Peter's Helpers for pointing this out.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Friday, December 30, 2005
The Pope Has an Adviser?

Yes, he does. And it makes since as I read the article on Catholic News. While Pope Benedict XVI is a great theologian, he has had help by theologian advisers. It's not that the Pope is unsure, but there is just so much to do. The adviser helps by writing the papal documents and speeches. Many times words are taken the wrong way by non-Catholics that the adviser helps the Holy Father by constantly revising words for them not to be taken any way out of context.

Let us pray for non-Catholics and all others that they come to the fullness of the truth of Jesus Christ in His Catholic Church; let us pray for Christian unity as Our Savior cried out in the Garden on the night He was betrayed, "Let them be one".

And, Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical called "God is Love" will be released to the public shortly. I will certainly be linking to that when it becomes available.
A prayer to Venerate any Saint

ETERNAL Father, I wish to honor St. (Name), and I give You thanks for all the graces You have bestowed upon him (her). I ask You to please increase grace in my soul through the merits of this saint, and I commit the end of my life to him (her) by this special prayer, so that by virtue of Your goodness and promise, St. (Name) might be my advocate and provide whatever is needed at that hour. Amen.

PROMISE: "When you wish to honor any particular saint and give Me thanks for all the graces I have bestowed on that saint, I increase grace in your soul through the merits of that saint. When you commit the end of your life to any of the saints by special prayers, I appoint those saints to be your advocates and to provide whatever you need at that hour."-Our Lord to St. Gertrude

From the book: Prayers and Heavenly Promises, Compiled from Approved Sources, by Joan Carroll Cruz.
Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain

NOTE: Catholics Don't "worship" saints; we simply honor them for their great lives for Our One Lord, Jesus Christ. We are called to imitate our Lord and the saints give us a model to follow in the imitation of Christ.
Novena for the Unborn

Today is my 3rd day in praying the Novena for the Unborn, but anyone can still join in praying it.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Feast of the Holy Family

Greater Double (1955 Calendar): Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany (or January 12th if Jan 13th falls on a Sunday)

Second Class (1962 Calendar): Sunday after the Epiphany

"The Feast of the Holy Family is of recent origin. In 1663 Barbara d'Hillehoust founded at Montreal the Association of the Holy Family; this devotion soon spread and in 1893 Leo XIII expressed his approval of a feast under this title and himself composed part of the Office. The Feast was welcomed by succeeding Pontiffs as an efficacious means for bringing home to the Christian people the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and by the restoration of the true spirit of family life, stemming, in some measure, the evils of present-day society. These motives led Benedict XV to insert the Feast in the universal Calendar, and from 1921 it has been fixed for this present Sunday."

Traditional Mass Propers for the Holy Family

The Father of the just one greatly rejoices. Let your father and your mother be joyful, and let her who bore you be glad. Ps. 83:2, 3. How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and faints for the courts of the Lord. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - O Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified home life with untold virtues by being subject to Mary and Joseph. May they assist us to imitate the example of Your Holy Family, so that we may share with them their eternal happiness; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .

Commemoration of the First Sunday After The Epiphany - O Lord, mercifully hear the plea of those who call upon You, that Your people may understand their duty and be strengthened to fulfill it. Through Our Lord . . .

Col. 3:12-17
Brethren: Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another. Even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly: in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

One thing I have asked of the Lord; this will I seek after: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Happy they who dwell in Your house, O Lord! They shall praise You forever and ever.

Alleluia, alleluia! Verily You are a hidden king, the God of Israel, the Savior. Alleluia!

Luke 2:42-52

And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem. And his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: "Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." And he said to them: "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my father's business?" And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace with God and men.

Luke 2:22
The parents of Jesus took Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.

SECRET O Lord, we offer You this sacrifice in atonement for our sins. May the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God and blessed Joseph, ever bestow Your peace and grace upon our families. Through our Lord . . .

Luke 2:51
Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.

POST COMMUNION - We are refreshed by Your heavenly Sacrament, O Lord Jesus. Help us always to follow the example of Your Holy Family, that Your glorious Virgin Mother and blessed Joseph may meet us at the hour of our death, and find us worthy to enter with You into Your eternal home; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .

Consecration to the Holy Family:

O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou protect us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace and concord in Christian love: in order that by living according to the divine pattern of Thy family we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by the kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

O Saint Joseph, most holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, help us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal needs; that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity. Amen.

Say an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be three times.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
The Angel's Prayer at Fatima

"Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners. "
Don't be cotsent with knowing about Christ, but truly seek to love Him. He said, "Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" (Matthew 28:20). He is truly with us in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar - our God is present. Love Him, do not just know about Him. It is for this reason that Eucharist Adoration is one of my favorite forms of prayer.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, From the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX)
Pope Benedict: "God Loves Every Embryo"

Pope Benedict XVI recently announced that God does love every embryo. Life is life regardless, as life begins at the moment of conception. It was still when Our Lord was in the womb, that St. John the Baptist, also leapt in His womb out of joy. St. John the Baptist felt Our Lord's shining presence while both of them were still unborn!

Today we live in a society where people take such sinful acts as artificial contraception and abortion much lighter than they truly are. Let us remain faithful in opposition to such horrible practices. Please, join with me in my Novena for the Unborn.

St. Augustine: "Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it; right is right even if no one is doing it."

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
My Catholic Reflections Blog

Thank you, Thank you

So many people have asked for saints, and I have been able to meet many other bloggers. I haven't been able to visit all of the bloggers, but I found one blog that is very good, My Catholic Reflections. Please check it out.
Feast of the Holy Innocents

Feast (1969 Calendar): December 28
Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): December 28

Besides the 4th Day in the Octave of Christmas, today is also the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents. Today in times past was also a Holy Day of Obligation.

Matthew 2:13-18 (Douay Rheims):
And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him. Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
From the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy:
Since the sixth century, on December 28, the Church has celebrated the memory of those children killed because of Herod's rage against Christ (cf. Mt 2:16-17). Liturgical tradition refers to them as the "Holy Innocents" and regards them as martyrs. Throughout the centuries Christian art, poetry and popular piety have enfolded the memory of the "tender flock of lambs"(125) with sentiments of tenderness and sympathy. These sentiments are also accompanied by a note of indignation against the violence with which they were taken from their mothers' arms and killed.

In our own times, children suffer innumerable forms of violence which threaten their lives, dignity and right to education. On this day, it is appropriate to recall the vast host of children not yet born who have been killed under the cover of laws permitting abortion, which is an abominable crime. Mindful of these specific problems, popular piety in many places has inspired acts of worship as well as displays of charity which provide assistance to pregnant mothers, encourage adoption and the promotion of the education of children.
Traditional Mass (1962 Rubrics) said on December 28, 2018, at the St. Mary's Oratory in Rockford.

The following is an explanation of today's feastday with the pre-1955 traditions. The main differences between the pre-1955 liturgy for the Holy Innocents and the one used in the 1962 Missal is that the vestments are purple before 1955 and the gradual and alleluia are omitted today:
Holy Innocents or "Childermas Day" is celebrated on December 28. The Gospel tells the story simply. "Herod sent and slew all the boys in Bethlehem who were two years old or under." He had intended to include the Son of God among the murdered babies. To recall the grief of their mothers the Church wears purple today. In Mass she hushes her joyous Gloria in Excelsis and the Alleluias. And yet there is joy in her services. Children sing with the choirs in the great cathedrals; and in ancient times other functions were given to them — hence the name "Childermas" or Children's Mass.  
The feast of the Holy Innocents is an excellent time for parents to inaugurate the custom of blessing their children. From the Ritual comes the form which we use on solemn occasions, such as First Communion. But all parents need to do is to sign a cross on the child's forehead with the right thumb dipped in holy water and say: May God bless you, and may He be the Guardian of your heart and mind — the Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Source: Catholic Culture 
Holy Innocents Day As A Day of Penance?

At some point in the past, at least in one place, there was a fast and abstinence from flesh meat and foods cooked in fats on Holy Innocents Day. Cardinal Schuster and Fr. Lasance mention the fast, which would seem appropriate in honor of the children who were martyred on this day. This is a worthwhile optional practice we may want to do as well, and we can offer up this penance for the souls of the unborn.

Reminder to Pray for the Unborn:

Today we remember the brutal murder of those little martyrs. Yet, today we still have the same assault on the little ones among us - the unborn. Please pray for the unborn today that we might all respect such small lives. Today is a great day to begin a novena for the unborn. This is even more important than ever since the souls of aborted children do not enter Heaven. Unlike the Holy Innocents who died before Baptism was made necessary for salvation by the command of Christ, today's children (born and unborn) must be baptized.


O God, Whose praise the martyred Innocents on this day confessed, not by speaking, but by dying: destroy in us all the evils of sin, that our life also may proclaim by deeds Thy faith which our tongue professes. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal


The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form celebrated on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Dec 28, 2007, by Fr. Jason Vidrine at Our Lady of Wisdom Church on the UL Campus in Lafayette, LA
A Holy Family Prayer

This prayer is taken from Prayer Book for Religious, compiled by Fr. F. X. Lasance, S.J. (Benziger Brothers, 1904)

O most loving Jesus, Who by Thy sublime and beautiful virtues of humility, obedience, poverty, modesty, charity, patience and gentleness, and by the example of Thy domestic life, didst bless with peace and happiness the family Thou didst choose on earth, in Thy clemency look down upon this household, humbly prostrate before Thee and imploring Thy mercy. Remember that this family belongs to Thee; for to Thee we have in a special way dedicated and devoted ourselves. Look upon us in Thy loving kindness; preserve us from danger; give us help in time of need, and grant us the grace to persevere to the end in the imitation of Thy Holy Family; that having revered Thee and loved Thee faithfully on earth, we may bless and praise Thee eternally in heaven.

O Mary, most sweet Mother, to thy intercession we have recourse, knowing that thy Divine Son will hear thy prayers.

And do thou, O glorious Patriarch, St. Joseph, assist us by thy powerful mediation, and offer, by the hands of Mary, our prayers to Jesus. Amen.
Saint of the Year Project

Thank you all for the strong interest. As soon as I get a saint for those of you who recently asked, I will post it here. Thanks again for the interest.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005 Fundraiser is a great site. It is a customizable Catholic homepage where you can add links, weather, and other features. You can even subscribe to blog feeds like mine and get a preview on that site. Right now is hosting a fundraiser to stay running through 2006. If you can, please make a donation there.

To put my blog's feed on, click here.
Illinois Abortions at 31 year low!

It is great news to hear that in 2004 Illinois abortions reached a 31 year low. In 2004, 41,577 abortions were performed, a two percent decrease from the 42,228 that were done in 2003. But, this is still so many little lives slaughtered. Don't be content with just this. Let us continue to stand up for life and fight it no matter what state we may life in.

Source: Life Site News

Christ reign in your hearts. May He guard all of His children, born and unborn. Amen

Thanks to Catholic Fire linking to the story
St. John the Apostle and Evangelist

"When Jesus, therefore, had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own." (John 19:26-27, Douay Rheims)

Feast (1969 Calendar): December 27
Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): December 27

Besides the 3rd Day in the Octave of Christmas, today is also the Feast Day of St. John. Today in times past was also a Holy Day of Obligation.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Our Lord was taken from us and sentenced to death, all his disciples left him - every last one except one. St. John the Apostle was the only one to return to the Cross. It was there that He saw the love of the Lord - for Jesus Christ willingly gave up His life for us. St. John was given the gift of Mary, Our Lord's Mother, and Mary was given to us then. That day we were redeemed and Mary became Our Mother as well. It was St. John who was there. It was also St. John who wrote the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John. 

St. Jerome (ca. 347 to ca 420) wrote about St. John in his Lives of Illustrious Men. His short biography portrays a man dedicated to bringing the word of God to others despite many obstacles:
"John, the apostle whom Jesus most loved, the son of Zebedee and brother of James…wrote a Gospel, at the request of the bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus and other heretics and especially against the then growing dogma of the Ebionites, who assert that Christ did not exist before Mary. On this account, he was compelled to maintain His divine nativity. But there is said to be yet another reason for this work, in that when he had read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, he approved indeed the substance of the history and declared that the things they said were true, but that they had given the history of only one year, the one, that is, which follows the imprisonment of John and in which he was put to death. So passing by this year the events of which had been set forth by these, he related the events of the earlier period before John was shut up in prison so that it might be manifest to those who should diligently read the volumes of the four Evangelists….

"In the fourteenth year then after Nero, Domitian having raised a second persecution he was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse, on which Justin Martyr and Irenaeus afterwards wrote commentaries. But Domitian having been put to death and his acts, on account of his excessive cruelty, having been annulled by the senate, he returned to Ephesus under Pertinax and continuing there until the time of the emperor Trajan, founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and, worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord’s passion and was buried near the same city" (Wace and Schaff, eds. 1892. pg. 364-365)

St. John is truly the Apostle of Charity: "The Blessed Evangelist John lived at Ephesus down to an extreme old age, and, at length, when he was with difficulty carried to the Church and was not able to exhort the congregation at length, he was used simply to say at each meeting, My little children, love one another. At last, the disciples and brethren were weary with hearing these words continually, and asked him, Master, wherefore ever sayest thou this only? Whereto he replied to them, It is the commandment of the Lord, and if this only be done, it is enough" (Divinum Officium Website. 1960 rubrics, Matins, December 27. Reading 6)

Blessing of Wine

Some people even have traditions on this Feast day of Blessing Wine. For information on this and the prayers, visit the link. Keep this tradition alive.

Octave of St. John

Traditionally, before the 1962 changes, there was an Octave associated with the Feast of St. John.  January 3rd was the Octave Day of St. John.  Those attached to this older calendar may still pray the Breviary on January 3rd using the prayers for the Octave Day of St. John


Of Thy goodness, O Lord, shine upon Thy Church, that, enlightened by the teachings of blessed John, Thine Apostle and Evangelist, she may attain to everlasting gifts. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Monday, December 26, 2005
Feast Day of St. Stephen

Saint Stephen, martyr of Christ, ora pro nobis. Amen

Feast (1969 Calendar): December 26
Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): December 26

Today is the second day in the Octave of Christmas, and today is also the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr. What we know about him comes from the Acts of the Apostles. His account is recorded in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7. Today in times past was also a Holy Day of Obligation.

"If you know what witness means, you understand why God brings St. Stephen, St. John, and the Holy Innocents to the crib in the cave as soon as Christ is born liturgically. To be a witness is to be a martyr. Holy Mother Church wishes us to realize that we were born in baptism to become Christ — He who was the world's outstanding Martyr" (Love Does Such Things by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O.)

"We have only just celebrated the birth of our Lord and already the liturgy presents us with the feast of the first person to give his life for this Baby who has been born. Yesterday we wrapped Christ in swaddling clothes; today, he clothes Stephen with the garment of immortality. Yesterday, a narrow manger cradled the baby Christ; today, the infinite heaven has received Stephen in triumph" (St. Fulgentius, Sermon 3)

Today is also the most appropriate day for the hymn Good King Wenceslas.

"The painting is by Blessed Fra Angelico (1400-1455). Saint Peter is ordaining Stephen to the diaconate while Saint John the Beloved (whose feast we will keep tomorrow), holding his Gospel, looks on. The composition is remarkable: the three heads of Peter, John and Stephen form a triangle, a symbol of communion in the Three Divine Persons. Peter is handing over the chalice and paten; they are very large. Fra Angelico makes the Most Holy Eucharist central; he paints what Saint Thomas Aquinas taught, i.e. that the unity of the Church is constituted and held together by participation in the adorable Body and Blood of Christ" (Vultus Christi Blog)


Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, so to imitate what we revere, that we may learn to love even our enemies: for we celebrate the heavenly Birthday of him who knew how to pray for his very persecutors to our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Christmas 2005: Urbi et Orbi

I finish my Christmas blogging today with a link to the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) address by Pope Benedict XVI for Christmas Day. May His words help lead us all closer to Christ, the Lord.

Some of his words from his address:

"At Christmas we contemplate God made man, divine glory hidden beneath the poverty of a Child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger; the Creator of the Universe reduced to the helplessness of an infant. Once we accept this paradox, we discover the Truth that sets us free and the Love that transforms our lives. On Bethlehem Night, the Redeemer becomes one of us, our companion along the precarious paths of history. Let us take the hand which he stretches out to us: it is a hand which seeks to take nothing from us, but only to give.

"With the shepherds let us enter the stable of Bethlehem beneath the loving gaze of Mary, the silent witness of his miraculous birth. May she help us to experience the happiness of Christmas, may she teach us how to treasure in our hearts the mystery of God who for our sake became man; and may she help us to bear witness in our world to his truth, his love and his peace."

Image Source: MSNBC
Christmas Appeal: Pray for the Souls in Purgatory Today

The above image of Holy Mass is of a Tridentine Catholic Mass for Christmas Mass at Midnight.

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. 

According to private revelation, 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, the day of baptism, and the anniversary of death. The more we work for the poor souls now, the more others will pray for us, and the more merciful Christ will be with us if we make it to 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. We would do well to say this on Christmas as well:

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.
St. John Chrysostom's Christmas Homily

"What shall I say? And how shall I describe this birth to you? The Eternal One has become an infant. He who sits upon the sublime and heavenly throne now lies in the manger. For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His word, taking my form He gives me His spirit, and so, He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares me for the treasure of life. He takes my form to sanctify me. He gives me His spirit, that he may save me."
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Midnight Mass 2005 from the Vatican

Tonight was Pope Benedict XVI's first Christmas Mass as pope. It was a beautiful ceremony in the heart of Vatican City. And, in his homily, our Holy Father offered prayers for the Middle East and for the unborn. Read his homily through the Vatican's website.

He reminded those present that the splendor of Christmas "shines on every child, even on those still unborn." It was that moment the Word was made Flesh. Tonight we recall the awesome miracle of Christ being born in Bethlehem in the richest of poverty.

He ended his homily with a prayer to God: "Lord, fulfill your promise! Where there is conflict, give birth to peace. Where there is hatred, make love spring up! Where darkness prevails, let light shine." If you didn't know, the tradition of a midnight Mass goes back to Pope St. Telesphorus in the early 100's AD.

Image Sources: Reuters
Advent Ends

Today is the last day of Advent, as at last, we have arrived at the Birth of Christ. Let the joy of this Christmas Season fill your heart and may the joy of our ultimate meeting with our God fill our heart with unceasing splendor.

+ 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. +

Merry Christmas to all of my readers. May God Bless you all.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
Bethlehem Turnout highest since 2000!

Pilgrims are pouring in Bethlehem, the highest number since 2000. As many as 30,000 are coming into the city as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of Christ. Please keep these pilgrims in your prayers as we all, regardless, are journeying spiritually with them to Bethlehem.

Read the Story at CBS News
Nashville Dominicans

I was watching EWTN last night and a short 10 minute special was on the Dominicans Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, Tennessee. They are also called the Nashville Dominicans. Their website is full of great information, and I love how they spend so much time in daily prayer. If you are thinking of a vocation as a nun or someone you know, I'd recommend this site.

In that short TV special, one of the sisters quoted St. Catherine of Sienna, and her words have been in my mind all night long.

"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire" -- St Catherine of Sienna

Image Source: Nashville Dominicans
Friday, December 23, 2005
Hurricane Update

It seems to have been a little while since Hurricane Rita and Katrina devoured parts of the United States. But, the devestation is still there. With Christmas just around the corner, please say a prayer for those people that may not have a home this year. Let us all unite with the true poverty of Christ.

I received this news in an email:

1. Of the 84 elementary schools in New Orleans, only 16 are open now-and 43 have no projected re-opening date, stranding 25,000 students.

2. Twenty-three New Orleans parishes have been destroyed.
Image Source: In the Public Domain NASA
St. John of Kanty

"Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause." (Saint John of Kanty)

Double (1955 Calendar): October 20
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): December 23

Today the Church remembers St. John of Kanty, also called St. John Cantius. St. John Kanty (June 23, 1390 - December 24, 1473) was born in Kanty, Silesia, Poland. He became a priest and professor of theology at the University of Cracow although he greatly feared the responsibility. But, he took the responsibility seriously and soon won over the hearts of his parishioners.

St. John of Kanty kept only enough money and clothes on him to support him while all the rest was available to anyone that needed help. He ate sparingly, took in no meat, and slept little. When he did sleep, he slept on the floor. During his life, he made four trips to Rome and one trip to Jerusalem hoping to be martyred. He died on December 24, 1473, in Cracow of natural causes. He was declared patron of Poland and Lithuania in 1737 by Pope Clement XII.

Traditional Matins Reading:

John was born at Kenty, a town in the diocese of Cracow; and hence his surname Cantius. His parents were pious and honorable persons, by name Stanislaus and Anna. From his very infancy, his sweetness of disposition, innocence, and gravity, gave promise of very great virtue. He studied philosophy and theology at the university of Cracow, and taking all his degrees proceeded professor and doctor. He taught sacred science for many years, enlightening the minds of his pupils and enkindling in them the flame of piety, no less by his deeds than by his words. When he was ordained priest, he relaxed nothing of his zeal for study, but increased his ardour for Christian perfection. Grieving exceedingly over the offences everywhere committed against God, he strove to make satisfaction on his own behalf and that of the people, by daily offering the unbloody Sacrifice with many tears. For several years he had charge of the parish of Ilkusi, which he administered in an exemplary manner; but fearing the responsibility of the cure of souls, he resigned his post; and, at the request of the university, resumed the professor’s chair.

Whatever time remained over from his studies, he devoted partly to the good of his neighbour, especially by holy preaching; partly to prayer, in which he is said to have been sometimes favoured with heavenly visions and communications. He was so affected by the Passion of Christ, that he would spend whole nights without sleep in the contemplation of it; and in order the better to cultivate this devotion, he undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. While there, in his eagerness for martyrdom he boldly preached Christ crucified even to the Turks. Four times he went to Rome on foot, and carrying his own baggage, to visit the threshold of the apostles; in order to honour the apostolic See to which he was earnestly devoted, and also (as he himself used to say), to save himself from purgatory by means of the indulgences there daily to be gained. On one of these journeys he was robbed by brigands. When asked by them whether he had anything more, he replied in the negative; but afterwards remembering that he had some gold pieces sewn in his cloak, he called back the robbers, who had taken to flight, and offered them the money. Astonished at the holy man’s sincerity and generosity, they restored all they had taken from him. After St. Augustine’s example, he had verses inscribed on the walla in his house, warning others, as well as himself, to respect the reputation of their neighbours. He fed the hungry from his own table; and clothed the naked not only with garments bought for the purpose, but even with his own clothes and shoes; on these occasions he would lower his cloak to the ground, so as not to be seen walking home barefoot.

He took very little sleep, and that on the ground. His clothing was only sufficient to cover him, and his food to keep him alive. He preserved his virginal purity, like a lily among thorns, by using a rough hair-shirt, disciplines, and fasting; and for about thirty-five years before his death, he abstained entirely from fleshmeat. At length, full of days and of merits, he prepared himself long and diligently for death, which he felt drawing near; and that nothing might be a hindrance to him, he distributed all that remained in his house to the poor. Then, strengthened with the Sacraments of the Church, and desiring to be with Christ, he passed to heaven on Christmas Eve. He worked many miracles both in life and after death. His body was carried to St. Anne’s, the church of the university, and there honourably interred. The people’s veneration for the saint, and the crowds visiting his tomb, increased daily; and he is honoured as one of the chief patrons of Poland and Lithuania. As new miracles continued to be wrought, Pope Clement XIII solemnly enrolled him among the saints, on the seventeenth of the Kalends of August, in the year 1767.


Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that by the example of St. John, Thy Confessor we may make progress in the science of the Saints, and by showing mercy to others may obtain through his merits forgiveness from Thee. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Let the Star Guide Us

"Faith also guides us and we follow securely in its light the way which leads to God, His homeland, just as the Holy Magi, guided by the star, symbol of faith, reached the desired place" (St. Padre Pio).

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
World Youth Day Themes Announced

I was very happy to follow World Youth Day 2005 so closely on EWTN, and now the themes for the next three years have been annouced.

2006 and 2007 will be celebrated at the diocesan level unlike the international celebration in Sydney in 2008. The 2006 theme is based on verse 105 of Psalm 119: "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path." And, the 2007 theme is based on John 13:34: "Love one another, as I have loved you."

The 2008 theme, which will be celebrated internationally in Sydney, is "You will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses" (Apostles 1:8)

Image Source: AFP/Pier Paolo Cito

Thursday, December 22, 2005
Year in Review: 2005

Pope Benedict XVI recently released a 2005 year in review for the Church. In it, he talked about World Youth Day, the Year of the Eucharist, and Pope John Paul ll. And, if I may say so, it truly was an amazing year for the faith.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- By any measure, it was an extraordinary year for Pope Benedict XVI.

Most of the world has followed the highlights through the lens of the mass media -- his election in the April conclave, his visit to Germany in August, his growing popularity and even his fashionable ecclesial clothing.

On Dec. 22, the pope offered a personal look at the year in review. Although he spoke for nearly an hour, he barely mentioned his own election -- a demonstration of the humility he has shown from the beginning of his pontificate.

Instead, he focused on the death of his predecessor, World Youth Day, the closing of the eucharistic year and the commemoration of the Second Vatican Council.

And, of course, on Jesus. Born in a manger, the pope said, Jesus has a power "completely different from the destructive power of violence," and far more effective.

The occasion was the pope's annual pre-Christmas encounter with the Roman Curia. The pope wore his red velvet cape trimmed with ermine, the Clementine Hall was decorated with poinsettias, and a Christmas tree was bedecked with lights.

The idea was to exchange season's greetings with Vatican officials; Pope Benedict gave them a nine-page speech.

He began by paying tribute to Pope John Paul II, saying the late pope's fame as a world traveler and communicator only made his final days of suffering and silence more powerful.

Interestingly, it was a TV image that stuck out in Pope Benedict's mind: when the late pope was shown in his apartment the week before his death, gripping a cross as he watched the Way of the Cross broadcast from Rome's Colosseum.

Pope Benedict recalled his own first papal trip, a visit to Germany to preside over World Youth Day. But his biggest memory was not the cheering and chanting that greeted him from the immense crowd. Instead, he said, it was the sound of silence -- the "intense silence of those million young people" as they prayed together in a field before the exposed Eucharist.

The pope said the rediscovery of adoration in the church was also evident at the world Synod of Bishops in October, which closed the Year of the Eucharist. He said eucharistic adoration and the Mass were once seen in opposition, but that seems to have been overcome in the modern church.

The pope saved his most detailed analysis for Vatican II, which ended 40 years ago. It's a subject that has generated decades of debate within the church, including some critical comments by the pope when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Source: CNS
President Bush signs Umbilical Cord Bill into law

I was very pleased to hear that the Umbilical Cord Adult Stem Cell bill passed by Congress was just signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 20, 2005. This bill will help Adult Stem Cell Research and not embryonic stem cell research.

The measure would provide $79 million in federal funding for the collection and storage of umbilical cord blood. It provides a total of $265 million for life-saving stem cell therapeutic therapy, cord blood and bone marrow treatment. The bill also reauthorizes the national bone marrow transplant system, combining it and the cord blood in the same database. (SOURCE: Life News)
Perfect Birthday Present for Jesus Christ

What are you giving Christ for His birthday? It seems that so many people don't understand the true stories behind the giving of gifts. The truth is that Jesus is the reason for our season. We celebrate the second greatest day of the year when Christ took human nature, knowing that He had assumed a human nature for the purpose of dying for us.

And, Christ was not born in glory, but rather in a small manger - a feeding container for animals. And, there, in swaddling clothing, the King of Kings was born in complete humility and poverty. This is what Christmas is about - thanking Christ for His love! Our God came and saved us! But, He is not gone. He is still with us as He promised. And, today we see Him truly present in the Holy Eucharist. We remember during this season of Advent the three comings of Christ (1) in Bethlehem as a person, true man and true God, (2) in the Holy Eucharist, (3) in the Final Judgment when the world and all peoples shall be judged.

So what present are you giving Christ in season? My advice - give Him your heart, a pure heart. Go to Confession before Christmas and seek the Lord's forgiveness. Develop the habit of going to Confession weekly (at least every other week)! Seek out Christ, who so loved us that He was born in humility knowing that He would die for us. Cleanse your heart and receive Him on Christmas Day in Holy Communion.

May Christ reign in your heart, cleansed and restored to grace through the Confessional.
Jesus is Love

"What greater love is there than God’s love for each one of us? His love isn’t a fantasy. It is real." --Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Pope Benedict XVI: 43 Open for Canonization

Pope Benedict XVI recently opened the way for 43 beatifications to take place, an important part on the way to being declared a saint. Thirty-four are martyrs from the Spanish Civil War from 1936 and the religious persecution during that time.

- Venerable Servant of God Luigi Boccardo, Italian, priest of the archdiocese of Turin, Italy, founder of the Order of Sisters of Christ the King, a contemplative branch of the Poor Sisters of San Gaetano (1861 - 1936).

- Venerable Servant of God Luigi Monza, Italian, priest of the archdiocese of Milan, Italy, founder of the Secular Institute of the Little Apostles of Charity (1898 - 1954).

- Venerable Servant of God Mose Tovini, Italian, priest of the diocese of Brescia, Italy (1877 - 1930).

- Venerable Servant of God Agostino Thevarparampil, known as "Kunjachan," Indian, priest of the eparchy of Palai, India (1891 - 1973).

- Venerable Servant of God Eustachio Van Lieshout, Dutch, professed priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Picpus) (1890 - 1943).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa di Gesu, nee Maria Scrilli, Italian, founder of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Carmel (1825 - 1889).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa di San Giuseppe, nee Anna Maria Tauscher van den Bosch, German, founder of the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus (1855 - 1938).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria della Passione di Nostro Signore Gesu Cristo, nee Grazia Tarallo, Italian, of the Institute of Crucified Sisters Adorers of the Holy Eucharist (1866 - 1912).

- Venerable Servant of God Elia di San Clemente, nee Teodora Fracasso, Italian, professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (1901 - 1927).


- Servants of God Victorio Chumillas Fernandez, Spanish, professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor (1902 - 1936), and 21 companions, of the same Order of St. Francis, martyrs.

- Servants of God Antero Mateo Garcia, Spanish, husband and father, of the Third Order of St. Dominic (1875 - 1936), and eleven companions of the Second and Third Orders of St. Dominic, martyrs.

- Blessed Simone da Lipnica, Polish, professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor, (1440 - 1482), whose cult was confirmed by the Holy See on February 14, 1685.

- Blessed Camilla Battista Varano, Italian, professed nun of the Order of Poor Clares (1458 - 1524) whose cult was confirmed by the Holy See on April 7, 1843.

- Servant of God Carlo Bascape, ne Giovanni Francesco, Italian, of the Congregation of the Clerics Regular of St. Paul (Barnabites), bishop of Novara, Italy (1550 - 1615).

- Servant of God Massimo Rinaldi, Italian, of the Congregation of Missionaries of St. Charles, bishop of Rieti, Italy (1869 - 1941).

- Servant of God Paolo Giuseppe Nardini, diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family (1821 - 1862).

- Servant of God Eustachio Kugler, ne Giuseppe, German, professed religious of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God (1867 - 1946).

- Servant of God Isabella De Rosis, Italian, founder of the Congregation of Reparatrix Sisters of the Sacred Heart (1842 - 1911).

- Servant of God Josefa Segovia Moron, first director of the Teresian Institute (1891 - 1957).
Boycott American Girl Dolls

February 2007 Update: "The 'I CAN' campaign initiated by American Girl in Sept. 2005, ended with more than $200,000 donated to Girls Inc. amid protests, pickets, and a boycott of American Girl Inc. products in Dec. 2005" (Source)

Original Post: If you haven't heard, American Girl Dolls are selling an "I can" bracelet, which funds Girls Inc, an abortion and homosexuality supporter. Girls Inc. also opposes abstinence-only education. I am boycotting the group along with many prominent pro-life groups and I hope you will join me in this campaign.

For each "I can" bracelet sold, Girls Inc, gets 70 cents in addition to their $50,000 donation from American Girl. So far, as a result of the boycott from November 1st, Bath and Body Works has stopped selling the "I can" bracelet.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
St. Dominic of Silos

St. Dominic of Silos (1000 - 1073) was born into a peasant family and spent much time in the solitude of the fields. He became a priest. However, one day he quarreled with the king and was exiled with two other monks. St. Dominic of Silos established a monastery in what was believed to be an unfavorable area of Spain. But, the monastery soon became the site of numerous reported healings.

Nearly 100 years after his death, a young woman visited his tomb. She was Joan of Aza, and there St. Dominic of Silos appeared to her and told her that she would bear another son. That son was to be St. Dominic who founded the Dominicans.
Monday, December 19, 2005
I have a special Saint for this year

Last Update: The 2007 Devotion will begin on December 1, 2006. Watch my blog's main page for updates.

Important Update: I have received many requests, so I will contact you or post your saint on my blog as soon as I get an email from the woman doing this on who your saints are. It shouldn't be much longer than a few days at most.

Jan 8th Update: Thank you for your interest in the Saints Project. I'm still getting requests :) If you asked for a saint then check the results page. That is the only page that I will post the results on.

This is a long post, but please read this. I received this email from a kind woman who is drawing saints randomly for others. If you would like a saint please just ask.

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.

I was very excited and asked for a saint and she picked St. Apollonius (feast day 04/18) for me. Would anyone like me to ask her to pull a saint for them? Please give me some way to contact you, though, whether it is email or through another blog.

Thanks for all of the interest in this devotion
The Model of St. Joseph

Let us allow ourselves to be infected by the silence of St. Joseph," Pope Benedict XVI recently said. "We need it very much, in a world that is often too noisy."

Please live this Christmas knowing that we don't celebrate a day of presents for ourselves but a day of rejoicing. What are you giving Christ for His birthday? Why not go to Confession and give Him your pure heart and love?

What we know of St. Joseph comes from the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke. And what the scriptures tell us is that St. Joseph was a silent servant of God. St. Joseph owned little possessions but he was a descendant of David and full of the grace of God. There is not one recorded sentence spoken by St. Joseph, but the Gospels are clear that he acted kindly towards Mary and Jesus. He cared for them when Herod sought to kill Our Lord, and after the threat passed, he quietly passed away. For that reason, he is frequently recognized as the patron of a peaceful death.
The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas song poster by Xavier Romero-Frias


According of popular tradition, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly from 1558 until 1829. During that era this carol was written as a catechism song for young Catholics. It had two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ. A partridge often feigns fury to draw attention to herself and away from her young to protect them from danger. Because of its self-sacrifice the partridge was used to represent Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments. Because they have one mate for life the turtle doves represent enduring relationships, such as the unbreakable bond between the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation. (Eggs represent new life.)

Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit [Ed. this catechetical story would be more apt if this represented the seven sacraments, something that Anglicans then did not accept.]

The eight maids a-milking stand for the eight beatitudes which Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount to spell out blessings for the meek and lowly.

Nine ladies dancing represent the fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

The ten lords a-leaping stand for the law and leadership symbolized by the Ten Commandments.

The eleven pipers stood for the eleven disciples who remained faithful to Christ.

The twelve drummers drumming represented the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
The Best Christmas Present for a Mother

Today seemed like a normal day until dreadful news hit my ears. Many people in my community, and at ages under 18, have legally had abortions. They have actually legally killed their very child, a creation of God's own hands. They have murdered an innocent child and the world accepts this!

Speak out against abortion! How can we sit here and say we are Catholic when children are murdered legally everyday. And, I realized it isn't just far away, but it is real. The very people in your community may have had abortions. Speak out against abortion; talk to your friends. Spread the pro-life message through conversation, not just through the Internet. We have to evangelize throughout life. We are called to do this now!

The best Christmas gift for your mother - tell her "thank you" for saying yes to your life because too many people in our society can't love.

Please pass along this website to others bloggers. This page: "The life and death debate over a baby" is one of the better pages I've seen on explaining pro-life values. Anyone wanting to defend life should read that page.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Awards and Distinctions

This post contains the list of A Catholic Life's many awards and honors received.  Thank you to everyone who continues to support A Catholic Life.






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