Monday, December 31, 2012
Feast of Pope St. Sylvester I

Image: St. Slyvester I baptizes Constantine the Great.
Double (1954 Calendar): December 31
Commemoration (1962 Calendar): December 31 
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): December 31

Saint Sylvester was born in Rome as the son of Rufinus. When he reached the age to dispose of his fortune, he took pleasure in giving hospitality to Christians passing through the city. He would take them with him, wash their feet, and serve them at table. He reigned as the Vicar of Christ from January 31, 314 to December 31, 335, succeeding Pope Miltiades.  During his pontificate were built the great churches founded in Rome by Constantine, (e.g. Basilica of St. John Lateran, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, St. Peter's Basilica) and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. In 325, the Council of Nicea occurred, and although St. Slyvester did not attend, he sent two legates in his place.  St. Slyvester thereafter confirmed the decisions of the First Council in the history of the Church. 

The Feast of St. Sylvester was in previous times a Holy Day of Obligation. Yet in the 1962 Missal, it was reduced to a mere commemoration since the feria days in the Octave of Christmas were raised to the II class in 1960.
Numerous legends dramatize his life and work, e.g., how he freed Constantine from leprosy by baptism; how he killed a ferocious dragon that was contaminating the air with his poisonous breath. Such legends were meant to portray the effects of baptism and Christianity's triumph over idolatry. For a long time the feast of St. Sylvester was a holyday of obligation. The Divine Office notes: He called the weekdays feria, because for the Christian every day is a "free day" (the term is still in use; thus Monday is feria secunda). 
Compiled from Heavenly Friends, Rosalie Marie Levy and The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
While the most popular focus this day is on the New Years Eve, let us not forget that today is the seventh day of Christmas.  A plenary indulgence may be gained, under the usual conditions, by reciting the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the past year. 


Eternal Shepherd, do Thou look favorably upon Thy flock, which we beseech Thee to guard and keep for evermore through the blessed Sylvester, Thy Supreme Pontiff, whom Thou didst choose to be the chief shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee. in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.  Amen.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Martyrology of St. John the Apostle

Today is the glorious Feast of the Apostle St. John.  Of this saint, the Roman Martyrology says:
At Ephesus, the birthday of St. John, apostle and evangelist. After writing his gospel, and after enduring exile and writing the divine Apocalypse, he lived until the time of Emperor Trajan and founded and governed the churches of all Asia. Worn out with age, he died in the sixty-eighth year after the passion of our Lord and was buried near Ephesus. 
Many countries around the world have the tradition of blessing wine in the name of Saint John on this day, his feastday. Often a sweetened, spiced red wine is prepared and served hot (alcohol is evaporated after boiling for five minutes). At dinner on Saint John's Day, the father blesses a large cup of wine. Each member of the family takes a drink and passes the cup, saying "I drink to you in the love of Saint John".  Click here for the prayer of Blessing.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Good King Wenceslas (Feast of St. Stephen) Hymn

In honor of this 2nd Day of Christmas and today's Feast of St. Stephen:

"Good King Wenceslas" is a popular Christmas carol about a king who goes out to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by the heat miraculously emanating from the king's footprints in the snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (907-935), known in the Czech language as Svatý Václav.

The lyrics of the carol are by English hymn-writer John Mason Neale, Warden of Sackville College, East Grinstead, Sussex (18181866). He may have written his carol sometime earlier, since he carried on the legend of St. Wenceslas on which it is based in his Deeds of Faith (1849). Neale was known for his devotion to High Church traditions. According to older Czech sources, Neale's lyrics are a translation of a poem by Czech poet Václav Alois Svoboda, written in Czech, German and Latin.

The tune is that of "Tempus Adest Floridum" ("It is time for flowering"), a 13th-century spring carol, first published in the Swedish/Finnish Piae Cantiones, 1582.

In or around 1853, G. J. R. Gordon, her majesty's envoy and minister in Stockholm, gave a rare copy of the 1582 edition of Piae Cantiones to Reverend Neale and to Reverend Thomas Helmore (Vice-Principal of St. Mark's College, Chelsea). The book was entirely unknown in England at that time.
Neale translated some of the carols and hymns, and in 1853, he and Helmore published twelve carols in Carols for Christmas-tide (with music from Piae Cantiones). In 1854, they published a dozen more in Carols for Easter-tide. The inspirational copy of Piae Cantiones is now said to be in the British Museum.

The lyrics of Neale's carol bear no relationship to the words of "Tempus Adest Floridum". A text beginning substantially the same as the 1582 "Piae" version is also found in Carmina Burana as CB 142, where it is substantially more carnal.
Why do Catholics Celebrate Martyrdom?

The Liturgical Year by 
Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.
The Martyrs are given to the world that they may continue the ministry of Christ on the earth by bearing testimony to his word, and by confirming this testimony by their blood. The world has despised them; like their divine Master, they have shone in the darkness, and darkness has not understood their light. Nevertheless many have received their testimony, and the seed of the Martyr's blood has brought forth in them the rich fruit of Faith. The Synagogue was cast off by God for having shed the blood of Stephen, after having imbrued its hands in that of Jesus. Unhappy they who cannot appreciate the Martyrs! Let us who are Christians take in the sublime lessons taught us by their generous sacrifice; and let our respect and love for them testify that we are grateful for the noble ministry they have fulfilled, and are still fulfilling in the Church. The Church is never without Martyrs, just as she is never without Miracles: it is the twofold testimony that she will give to the end of time, by which she evidences the divine life she has received from her almighty Founder.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
2013 Patron Saint for the Year Devotion

UPDATE (JANUARY 26, 2013): All results are now posted below. The 2013 devotion is now closed with 276 participants!  Thank you!

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 2013 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.

 St. Louis IX - Virgin and Child Adored by Saint Louis, King of France

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 dozens 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 Spirit 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]

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


I participate in 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.


Sharon K St. John Baptist de la Salle
Lisa B St. Catherine Laboure - feastday 11/28
Rosary Girl St. Thomas Aquinas - feastday 3/7
Elynne St. Augustine of Canterbury - feastday 5/28
Anna St. Hilary - feastday 1/14
Alma R St. Andre of Canada
Cathy T St. Placidus - feastday 10/5
Jessamine St. Anselm - feastday 4/21
Jessamine's mom St. Casper (Wisemen)
Jessamine's dad St. Januarius - feastday 9/19
Gie St. John of the Cross
Lory St. Albert the Great - feastday of 11/15
Andy Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau
Mira St. Matthias
Frederick St. Boniface - feastday of 5/14
Maximilian St. Ignatius of Loyola - feastday of 7/31
Jessamine's future husband St. Charles Borromeo - feastday of 11/4
Redita Our Lady of Ransom - feastday of 7/24
A. St. Ludger - feastday of 3/26
J. St. Edbert - feastday of 5/6
R. St. Genevieve - feastday of 1/3
C. St. Julia - feastday of 5/22
Beata St. Leocadia - feastday of 12/9
Krista St. Julia - feastday of 5/22
William St. Marie Soubirous - feastday 2/18
Ashley Our Lady of Ransom - feastday of 7/24
Daniel K St. Mary of the Cross
Anastacia S St. Raymond of Penafort - feastday 1/23
Susan G St. Bartholomew
Rethinam  A St. Paul the Apostle
Tim W St. Callistus - feastday 10/14
Kirsten S St. Damascus - feastday 12/11
Barry M Family Frei Galvao
Andy M St. Paul the Apostle
Reene C St. Francis of Paula - feastday 4/2
Sharry G St. Pius X - feastday 9/3
Karleen St. Vincent de Paul - feastday 7/19
Suzanne T St. Louis IX - feastday 8/25
Peter R St. Medard - feastday 6/8
Antoniette Q St. Casimir - feastday 3/4
Catherine Benedict Joseph Labre - feastday 4/16
Cyrene St. Vitus - feastday 6/15
Ashley St. Susanna - feastday 8/11
Cindy St. Gregory Naxianzen - feastday 5/9
Dustin (son) St. Nicholas - feastday 12/6
Hailey (granddaughter) St. Damian - feastday 9/27
Lila (friend) Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Ray St. Hyacinth - feastday 9/11
Rosalina St. Apollinarius - feastday 1/8
Cristian  St. Peter Canisius - feastday 4/27
Nicolaus  St. Eusebius - feastday 8/14
Elena  St. James - feastday 7/25
Pablo  St. Alphonsus Liguori - feastday 8/2
Steve St. Petronilla - feastday 5/31
Toni St. Mary Dei Pazzi - feastday 5/29
Stephanie St. Elizabeth of Hungary - feastday 11/19
Trissi St. Volusian - feastday 1/18
Ken St. Tiburtius - feastday 8/11
John St. Felician - feastday 6/9
Lenore St. Dorothy - feastday 2/6
Dan St. Julius - feastday 4/2
Christopher St. Linus - feastday 9/23
Bill (husband) St. Tiburtius - feastday 8/11
Julie (wife) St. Anicetus - feastday 4/17
Scott (son) St. Robert Bellarmine - feastday 5/13
Blake (son) St. Thomas Aquinas - feastday 3/7
Lara P St. Tiburtius - feastday 8/11
Linda K St. Cyprian - feastday 9/16
The Torres Family  St. Theodulus - feastday 5/3
Joey St. Quintin - feastday 10/31
Nicole St. Nemesion - feastday 12/19
Nathaniel St. Teresa - feastday 10/15
Ava  St. Casimir - feastday 3/4
Eden St. Jovita - feastday 2/15
Jacob St. Victorian - feastday 1/12
Xander St. Maria Goretti - feastady 7/9
The Canich Family St. Cyril of Jerusalem - feastday 3/18
Alyson G St. Abdon - feastday 7/30
Joannie St. Cosmas - feastday 7/27
Sequoia S St. Lucy - feastday 12/13
Dymphna St. Lupicinus - feastday 2/28
Franciscus Carmelo  St. Robert of Newinister - feastday 6/7
Anonymous St. Gregory - feastday 11/17
Anonymous' husband St. Paulinus - feastday 6/22
Camie St. Eustace - feastday 9/20
Cheryl St. Battista
Susan St. Firminus - feastday 9/25
Suso St. Olympias - feastday 12/17
J Walden St. Richard - feastday 4/3
Denise G St. Martha - feastday 7/29
Mary T St. Robert Bellarmine - feastday 5/13
Michael Y St. Mary Dei Pazzi - feastday 5/29
Steve Dixon, OP St. Theodulus - feastday 5/3
John (my husband) St. Anselm - feastday 4/21
Joseph (our son) St. Stephen - feastday 12/26
Theresa (myself) St. John Bosco - feastday 1/31
Claudia St. Robert of Newinister - feastday 6/7
Heather B St. Thomas More - feastday 7/6
Mariah St. Faustina
Randy Koralewski family St. Ephrem the Syrian - feastday 6/18
Zach St. Anicetus - feastday 4/17
Ana St. Hubert - feastday 11/3
Molly St. Bertille - feastday 11/5
Maggie St. James - feastday 5/11
Ben Guardian Angels - feastday 10/2
Katrina St. Gregory - feastday 11/17
Janet St. Ladislas - feastday 6/27
Joe St. Catherine of Siena - feastday 4/30
Rachel St. Barbatus - feastday 2/19
Jack St. Acacius - feastday 4/9
Sabine St. Primus - feastday 6/9
Manuel St. Wilfrid - feastday 10/2
Gabriella St. Peter of Alcantara - feastday 10/19
Paul W St. Callistus - feastday 10/14
Tim V St. Cloud - feastday 7/7
Elizabeth C St. Joseph the Workman - feastday 5/1
Paul St. Eventius - feastday 5/3
Deborah St. Matthias
Judy St. Pius X - feastday 9/3
Joan St. Giulia Salzano
John St. Cassian - feastday 8/13
Holly St. Cyril - feastday 7/7
Ramona St. Celestine - feastday 4/6
Fran Our Lady of Ransom - feastday of 7/24
Don St. Barbatus - feastday 2/19
Susan St. Catherine of Sweden - feastday 3/22
Lydia St. John Francis Regis - feastday 6/16
V. Family St. Bartholomew
Enrico St. John Cantius - feastday 10/20
Maria St. Gertrude - feastday 11/16
Peter St. Wilfrid - feastday 10/2
Victoria St. Ursula - feastday 10/21
Beata Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
IT St. Maria Goretti - feastday 7/9
IN St. Achilleus - feastday 5/12
OR St. Marcellus - feastday 10/30
Marty St. Philip Neri - feastday 5/26
KMOPAIC St. John Capistran - feastday 3/28
Hkbflyers St. Hyacinth - feastday 8/17
Bigbmike St. Bonaventure - feastday 7/14
Blackjack St. Euphrasia - feastday 3/13
Nikki St. Raphael - feastday 10/24
Joey B St. Jude - feastday 10/28
Dominic St. Silverius - feastday 6/20
Gabe's Boy St. Alexius - feastday 7/17
Peter S St. Cosmas - feastday 7/27
KathyR St. Eleutherius - feastday 9/6
Heidi St. Juvenal - feastday 5/3
Lisa W St. William - feastday 1/10
Amelia G St. Jerome - feastday 9/30
Sandy St. Philip Neri - feastday 5/26
AnissaG St. Gerard Majella - feastday 10/16
LanceG St. Cassian - feastday 8/13
JacobG St. William - feastday 1/10
ElizabethG St. Hedwig - feastday 10/16
MichaelG St. Eulogius - feastday 3/11
JosephG St. James - feastday 5/11
JohnG St. Albinus - feastday 3/1
Laura G St. Raymond Nonnatus - feastday 8/31
Troylyn St. Mathilda - feastday 3/14
Tim St. Rufina - feastday 7/10
TJ St. Venantius - feastday 5/18
Samantha St. Gregory - feastday 11/17
Jordan St. Slyvester - feastday 11/26
Tracy St. Romanus - feastday 2/28
Teshia St. Francis of Assisi - feastday 10/4
Christian St. Cyprian - feastday 9/16
Jagear St. Sabinus - feastday 12/30
Mark St. Joachim - feastday 8/16
Jess St. James - feastday 7/25
Rebecca St. Alexius - feastday 7/17
Clare St. Apollinarius - feastday 1/8
Sue St. Ephrem the Syrian - feastday 6/18
Rita C St. Thomas the Apostle
Annabelle St. Paul - feastday 6/29
Joannie St. Cyprian - feastday 9/16
Marty St. Cassian - feastday 8/13
John L St. Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception
John G St. Marcellinus - feastday 6/2
Brendan B St. Gregory Barbarigo - feastday 6/17
Guy C St. Sabinus - feastday 12/30
Kathyrn D St. Gregory Barbarigo - feastday 6/17
Josemaria C. St. Thomas of Villanova - feastday 9/22
Jon H. St. Louise de Marillac - feastday 3/15
Jneuman St. Elphege - feastday 4/19
Carolyn C St. Christina - feastday 7/24
Helen G St. Peter Nolasco - feastday 1/28
Anne-marie St. Wilfrid - feastday 10/2
Mrs Mouw St. Slyvester I - feastday 12/31
Bernadette T St. Hyacinth - feastday 8/17
Maribeth S St. Dormitilla - feastday 5/12
Vi D St. Simon - feastday 10/28
Kathy St. Luke - feastday 10/18
Cheryl St. Robert Bellarmine - feastday 5/13
Jacob St. Peter Damian - feastday 2/23
Michele S St. Antonius - feastday 5/10
Michele's Husband St. James of La Marcha - feastday 11/28
Michele's Best Friend St. Petronilla - feastday 5/31
Mark A St. Perpetua - feastday 3/6
Michael B St. John the Apostle 
W. St. Susanna - feastday 8/11
A. St. Hegesippus - feastday 4/7
Abigail St. Louis IX - feastday 8/25
Jonathan A St. Jude - feastday 10/28
Lois F St. Benedict - feastday 3/21
Kathy St. Mary of the Cross
Jim St. Damien Joseph de Veuster
Benjamin 40 Martyrs of Sebaste
Michael St. Paulinus - feastday 6/22
Joseph St. Primus - feastday 6/9
Ramzi St. Raphael - feastday 10/24
Pam St. Faustinus - feastday 1/20
Noah St. Candida Maria de Jesus
Noella St. Wilfrid - feastday 10/2
Kate St. Alphonsus Liguori - feastday 8/2
Jean St. Charles of St. Andrew
CJV St. Cyril of Alexandria - feastday 2/9
Randy Our Lady of Lourdes
Mary St. Damien Joseph de Veuster
Josefina St. Anselm - feastday 4/21
Peter St. Isaac Jogues - feastday 9/26
Jennifer S St. Stanislaw Soltys
Mary K St. Jane Frances de Chantal - feastday 8/21
Joseph St. John Chrysostom - feastday 1/27
Lucielle St. John Baptist de Rossi
Patrick St. Onesimus - feastday 2/16
James St. Lucy - feastday 12/13
Patricia St. John Damascene - feastday 3/27
John St. Catherine of Siena - feastday 4/30
Mary St. Euphrasia - feastday 3/13
Francis St. Rufina - feastday 7/10
Janet R St. Potamiaena - feastday 6/28
Minetta St. Paulinus - feastday 6/22
Joanne St. Jerome Emilian - feastday 7/20
Rob W St. Primus - feastday 6/9
Aaardvark St. Melchior
Erika St. Felicitas - feastday 3/6
Brittany St. Daria - feastday 10/25
Lucy E St. John Chrysostom - feastday 1/27
Elizabeth D St. Placidus - feastday 10/5
Lisa St. Wenceslaus - feastday 9/28
Melissa St. Andrew - feastday 11/30
Ruby St. Candida Maria de Jesus
Tom P St. John Gualbert - feastday 7/12
Helen T St. Slyvester I - feastday 12/31
Beverly St. Melchiades - feastday 12/10
Cidi St. Susanna - feastday 8/11
Katrina St. Gertrude - feastday 11/16
Krishan St. Cyril - feastday 7/7
Kay W St. Zachariah - father of St. John the Baptist
Christine St. Bridget - feastday 10/8
Ross W St. Scholastica - feastday 2/10
Amanda W St. Padre Pio
Lee K St. Julian the Hospitaller - feastday 1/9
Joseph Jr L St. Raphael - feastday 10/24
Jeannie L St. Boniface - feastday of 5/14
Teresa L St. Paul the Apostle
Anthony L St. Eventius - feastday 5/3
Mark W St. Euphrasia - feastday 3/13
Fina St. Benedict - feastday 3/21
Missio St. John Cantius - feastday 10/20
C/R St. Martin - feastday 11/12
Requestor St. John Chrysostom - feastday 1/27
Requestor's husband St. Edbert - feastday of 5/6
John St. Apollonius - feastday 4/18
Nikki St. Vincent Ferrer
Bbr1012 St. Victor - feastday 1/12
Michelle Our Lady of Lourdes
Rick St. Teresa - feastday 10/15
Sean St. Andrew Avellino - feastday 11/10
Derek St. Cyril of Alexandria - feastday 2/9
Dorothy St. Marcellinus - feastday 4/20
Sekyle St. Soter - feastday 4/22
Evangeline A. St. Andre of Canada
Tally St. Candida Maria de Jesus
Jacklyn C. St. Potamiaena - feastday 6/28

If you are not familiar your saint, I encourage you to research online and even pick up a copy of Father Hugo Hoever's "Live of the Saints," from which I read daily.  While the book does not include saints canonized in recent years, it is something that I am highly recommending.  You may find information on your saint on my page dedicated to the saints: and here is a prayer to honor any saint:
Monday, December 24, 2012
Increase of Franciscan Tertiaries within the SSPX

Recently, the Franciscan Third Order maintained by the SSPX saw an increase via two ceremonies held at St. Anthony de Padua Church in Mt. Holly (Charlotte), North Carolina.

The first occurred on November 25th when the pastor, Fr. Dominique Bourmaud clothed two novices. While the second took place on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8th - with the enrollment of 13 new members into the Confraternity of the Cord of St. Francis.

St. Anthony's now has 7 novices and 22 cordbearers, while the North Carolina chapels have 3 professed tertiaries.

Angelus Press 2013 Calendar

A few days ago my 2013 calendar arrived in the mail.  I opted to again go with the Angelus Press Liturgical Calendar for a 2nd year in a row, after finding such great value and beauty in their 2012 calendar.  The 2013 calendar is again a work of beauty.

The 2013 Catholic Liturgical Calendar from Angelus Press features 13 of the most striking and important events in the history of the Papacy. From the humble Galilean fisherman through the glories of the medieval papacy, and into the glorious popes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this calendar will help you to meditate upon the institution established by Christ to govern His Church.

In addition to a brief history of each of the pictures, the liturgical calendar includes the rank and liturgical color of each day of the year according to the 1962 Roman Missal, as well as current disciplinary law and recommended traditional discipline for all days of fast and abstinence.

Sunday, December 23, 2012
Mass Propers: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Traditional Propers:

Isaias 45: 8
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. -- (Ps. 18. 2). The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- Drop down dew, ye heavens . . .

COLLECT - O Lord, we beseech Thee, stir up Thy power, and come, and with great might succor us: that by the help of Thy grace that which is hindered by our sins may be hastened by Thy merciful forgiveness. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

1 Corinthians 4: 1-5
Brethren, Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers that a man be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you or by man's day: but neither do I judge my own self. For I am not conscious to myself of anything: yet am I not hereby justified, by He that judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge not before the time, until the Lord come: Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise from God.

Psalms. 144: 18, 21
The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him: to all that call upon Him in truth. V.: My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless His Holy Name.

Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Come, O Lord, and tarry not: forgive the sins of Thy people Israel. Alleluia

Luke 3: 1-6

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina, under the high priests Annas and Caiphas: the word of the Lord was made unto John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins, as it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight His paths: every valley shall be filled: and every mountain shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Luke 1: 28, 42
Hail Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

SECRET - O Lord, we beseech Thee, look down favorably upon these present Sacrifices: that they may profit us both unto devotion and salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - 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; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

Isaias 7: 14
Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son: and His name shall be called Emmanuel.

POST COMMUNION - Having received Thy gifts, we beseech Thee, O Lord: that as we frequent this Mystery, so the world of our salvation may advance. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God . . .

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Ember Saturday of Advent

Recall that today, being the Saturday of the Advent Ember Days, is a day of fasting and 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.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Advent Embertide

Ember Days can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5)

Advent Ember Days This Year: December 19, 21, and 22

From New Advent:

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

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

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

From Catholic Culture:

Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Beginning of the O Antiphons

The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

Here is a link to the chanting of the O Antiphons in Latin:

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Morning Star)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

Image Source: O Antiphons via Catholic Eye Candy
Monday, December 10, 2012
New Audio Conference by Bishop of Santa Rosa

To learn more and to purchase The Soul of the Apostolate Audio Guide by Bishop Robert Vasa please click here.
Catholic Perspective on the English Reformation: Part IV


On November 28 1554, Cardinal Reginald Pole was introduced to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor Stephen Gardiner as having come ‘upon one of the weightiest causes that ever happened in this realme; and which perteineth to the glory of God, and youre universall benefit.’ As the lawful representative successor of Saint Peter, Pole had been despatched to absolve the kingdom of the grave sins of heresy and schism, and to reconcile the Church in England with Rome.

The Cardinal presented his case to the assembled politicians and clergy as would a physician to his colleagues. The root cause of the once happily Catholic kingdom’s problems, he stated, had been King Henry VIII’s concupiscence. The King’s personal rejection of Papal authority and subsequent breach with Rome had plunged England into a state of schism, which had led to heresy and disobedience to the Church which had resulted in scandals, troubles and misfortunes. Pole reassured his audience however, that as the pope and the Apostolic See loved the kingdom, he had come to ameliorate and to palliate. As the kingdom’s ills could only be cured if it once again acknowledged the pope as Supreme Teacher and Pastor of the Church, it was imperative that the lawmakers who had defied the pope and denied him his primacy, repeal each and every anti-Papal statute forthwith.

The following day, a delegation comprising both Houses and led by Bishop Gardiner, presented Philip and Mary with a humble petition in which its members declared their sorrow, repenting at the schism, and their disobedience. They begged they could once again be, be received into the unity of the Church. Finally, they not only promised to repeal the anti-Catholic Acts passed during the previous reign, but they also expressed the fervent hope that their King and Queen would intercede on their behalf to absolve them of their collective sin. Thus, on November 30, the feast day of Saint Andrew, Cardinal Pole formally absolved the two Houses of Parliament from the guilt of schism and heresy.

Silence descended upon the great hall as all three hundred men sank to their knees and listened as the cardinal pronounced the solemn words of the formal absolution in Latin. And then, slowly making the sign of the cross over the assembly, Pole finally restored those present ‘to the communion of the holy church in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.’ Upon being given absolution, the entire hall spontaneously erupted with a resounding Amen! The entire assembly then accompanied the King and Queen to the chapel where they sang the Te Deum, whilst the kingdom’s swiftest horses and strongest riders were despatched to Rome whereupon Pope Julius ordered that public processions be held to rejoice at England’s return to the fold.

Author's Biography: This is a guest post written by Dr. Bella d'Abrera.  Bella Wyborn d’Abrera, who is based in London, is a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne. She completed her Masters degree at the University of St. Andrews, and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Cambridge in 2003. She is also the author of  ‘A King with a Pope in His Belly’ and ‘Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers.’
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Mass Prayers: Second Sunday of Advent

Dom Gueranger writes: "The Office of this Sunday is filled, from beginning to end, with the sentiments of hope and joy, with which the soul should be animated at the glad tidings of the speedy coming of Him who is her Saviour and Spouse. The interior coming, that which is effected in the soul, is the almost exclusive object of the Church’s prayers for this day: let us therefore open our hearts, let us prepare our lamps, and await in gladness that cry, which will be heard in the midnight: 'Glory be to God! Peace unto men!' The Roman Church makes the Station to-day in the basilica of Holy-Cross-in-Jerusalem. It was in this venerable church that Constantine deposited a large piece of the true cross, together with the title which was fastened to it by Pilate’s order, and which proclaimed the kingly character of the Saviour of the world. These precious relics are still kept there; and, thus enriched with such a treasure, the basilica of Holy-Cross-in-Jerusalem is looked upon, in the Roman liturgy, as Jerusalem itself, as is evident from the allusions made in the several Masses of the Stations held in that basilica. In the language of the sacred Scriptures and of the Church, Jerusalem is the image of the faithful soul; and the Office and Mass of this Sunday have been drawn up on this idea, as the one of the day."

Traditional Propers:

Isaias 30:30
People of Sion, behold the Lord shall come to save the nations: and the Lord shall make the glory of His voice to be heard, in the joy of your heart. -- (Ps. 79. 2). Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- People of Sion

COLLECT - Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son: that through His coming we may attain to serve Thee with purified minds. Who liveth and reigneth, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God . . .

Romans 15:4-13
Brethren, What things soever were written, were written for our learning: that, through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures, we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind and with one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also hath received you unto the honor of God. For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: but that the Gentiles are to glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: Therefore will I confess to Thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and will sing to Thy Name. And again He saith: Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people. And again: Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, and magnify Him, all ye people. And again, Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse; and He that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing: that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Psalms. 49: 2,3,5
Out of Sion, the loveliness of His beauty: God shall come manifestly. V.: Gather ye together His Saints to Him, who have set His covenant before sacrifices. Alleluia, alleluia. V.: (Ps. 121. 1) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go unto the house of the Lord. Alleluia.

Matthew 11: 2-10

At that time, when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, sending two of his disciples, he said to Him: Art thou He that art to come, or look we for another? And Jesus, making answer, said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them: and blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me. And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send my Angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee.

Psalms 89: 7,8
Thou wilt turn, O God, and bring us to life, and Thy people shall rejoice in Thee: show us, O Lord, Thy mercy, and grant us Thy salvation.

SECRET - Be appeased, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the prayers and sacrifices of our humility: and where we lack pleading merits of our own, do Thou, by Thine aid, assist us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son . . .

PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it 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; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

Baruch 5: 5; 4:36
Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and behold the joy that cometh to thee from Thy God.

POST COMMUNION - Filled with the food of spiritual nourishment, we humbly entreat Thee, O Lord, that by our partaking of this Mystery, Thou wouldst teach us to despise the things of earth, and to love those of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son . .

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