Sunday, December 28, 2014
More Chicagoans Are Leaving the Catholic Church? Voice Your Opinion

Yesterday I saw the front cover of Chicago Magazine featured this headline story: Catholics at a Crossroads: More Chicagoans than ever are leaving the church. Can new archbishop Blase Cupich change that?

I found the article online (see here).  Here are some excerpts from the article.  I will note, they did at least feature some of the traditional Chicago parishes in the article:

Meanwhile, 14 percent of the residents of those two counties—more than 800,000 people—used to be Catholic but have left the church. Put another way: For every 10 Catholics here, there are now four ex-Catholics. Among those born in the United States, the exodus has been greater still. Says Susan Ross, who chairs Loyola University’s theology department, “If it weren’t for Latino immigration, the church in Chicago would be losing many more people.”

Add in Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Misericordia (a group home for the developmentally disabled), 17 Catholic hospitals, and Catholic Charities (which offers over 150 services in 160 locations), and “there’s no single entity beyond the State that does more for Chicagoans than the Catholic Church,” says Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois and the archdiocese’s chief lobbyist in Springfield.

Mary Anne Hackett, a grandmother of 18 from west suburban La Grange, attends yet another church revived by a conservative pastor: the elaborately baroque St. John Cantius in Chicago’s River West neighborhood. Every Sunday, she and her husband, a retired ophthalmologist, make the half-hour drive. “There are tons of young families there,” says Hackett, who is also the president of Catholic Citizens of Illinois, a group that aims to restore traditional Catholic values. (Most of its 1,400 members range from age 40 to 70, and virtually all are white, she says, adding that CCI welcomes those of all races.)
I've added a rather lengthy comment to the article in the comment box. I encourage you to add your own comments, especially fellow Catholics in Chicagoland.  Let's take a stand for Tradition.  Continue here.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Photos: Blessing of Wine on the Feast of St. John

Today is the annual Blessing of Wine for the Feast of St. JohnRead more here.  Photos were taken this morning at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago.

Blessing of Wine for Feast of St. John

Blessing of Wine for Feast of St. John

Blessing of Wine for Feast of St. John

Blessing of Wine for Feast of St. John

Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Remember to Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory this Christmas

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Name Saint
Janine D St. Thomas the Apostle
James B St. John of God
Michelle B St. Louis-Marie de Montfort
Craig J St. Matthias the Apostle
Andrew J St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Christopher J St. Petroc
Suzanne T St. Florentius of Carracedo
Mike T St. Orontius of Lecce
Cormac T Blessed Patrick O'Lougham
Nolan T St. Maximus of Padua
Tim W Our Lady of the Rosary
Gemma D St. Colman
Lucy D St. Gregory of Tours
Julie St. Sanctius of Vienne
Bill St. Walter of Pontoise
Scott St. Jerome
Blake St. Francis Xavier
Josemaria Paulo Jeromino Blessed Chiara Badano
James St. John of Parma
Sandy St. Cornelia the Martyr
Brandon St. Servatus of Tongres
Rachel St. Pantagathus of Vienne
Joey St. Louis IX
Nicole Saint Nathy
Nathaniel St. Timothy
Ava St. Magnus of Fossombrone
Eden Our Lady of Carmel of the Maipu
Jacob St. Andrew the Apostle
Xander St. Ceollach
Genevieve St. Thomas the Apostle
Torres Family St. Willibald
Cathleen St. Irenaeus
Christine M St. Catherine of Alexandria
Evangeline A St. Conon, Bishop of the Isle of Man
Susan M Saint Alena
Lois F. Blessed Crescencio Garcia Pobo
Kathy G St. Anthony
Elynne K St. Pius X
Lisa St Stephn the First Martyr
Troylyn St Andeolus of Smyrna
Tim Blessed Marguerite Robin
TJ The Martyrs of Hayle
Samantha Blessed Pedro Martret y Molet
Jordan St. Quintus the Thaumaturge
Andy M St. Ezekiel Moreno y Diaz
Ignacio G St. Crescentianus
Anne Marie St Gordian
Theresa St. Germana
John Blessed Thomas Guengoro
Joseph St. Claudian of Perga
Katie St. Potamiaena the Elder
Michael Brown, OP St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi
Matthew St. Paul the Apostle
Max St. Chrysanthus
Lisa St. Daniel the Prophet
Bill Blessed Dominik Trcka
Christopher St. Projectus
Sarah St. Nicholas of Myra
John St. Flavian of Autun
Monica Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores-Alonso
Caroline Venerable Anne Cathermine Emmerich
Lucy Espinoza St. Kevoca of Kyle
Mike Viele Martyrs of Constantinople, Feast 7/8
Kathy R St. Rhipsime
Cory L St. Adelbert
Liese E St. Helladius
Franciscus C St. Gregory of Nyssa
Paul Walasek St. Fugatius the Missionary
Fran T Blessed James Thompson
ntitan22 St. Cosmas
spx1313 St. Evasius of Asti
Alley St. Quadratus of Herbipolis
Stephen L St. Hugh of Novara
Judi St. Isaac the Presbyter
Natalie St. Marcellus I
Gloria I Blessed Bezela of Goda
Glen St. Dogmael of Wales
Christina Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau
Mara St. Agathangelus
Michael Blessed Alfred of Hildesheim
Reagan Blessed Filip Geryluk
Karina St. Therese of Lisieux
Juliana St. Candida
Thomas St. Maurice
Elena St. William of Ebelholt
Gregory St. Eithne
Matthew St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza
Kara Saint Timon
CAT C St. Theodulus the Lector
Heather St. Sindeulphus
Dalriata13 St. Apollinaris of Ravenna
Mark L Blessed Basil Hopko
Lila St. Gisogon
Dustin St. Vaast of Arras
Cindy St. Jan Sarkander
Tracy St. Cosmas
Teshia St. Teresa Margaret Redi
Christian St. Fabiola of Rome
Jagear St. Caldeoldus of Vienne
Ashley St. Pius X
Sandy St. Berthold of Parma
Sam St. Hitto of Saint-Gall
Nate St. Catherine of Genoa
Indigo St. Caius, 2nd Century Martyr
Nevaeh Blessed Jose Vega Riano
Livia Blessed Odo of Beauvais
Dawn St. Cloud
Ruth St. Moloc of Mortlach
Rachel St. Acius of Amiens
Ralph St. Rusticus of Narbonne
Maggie St. Jerome
John Saint Poemus of Membressa
Steve Infant Jesus of Prague
Toni St. Edward the King
Ken St. Colette
Tayler Blessed James of Voragine
John Saint Guido Maria Conforti
Lenore Blessed Josefa Naval Girbes
Claire St. Sebastian of Aparicio
Dan St. Leontius
Nikki St. Maruontus
Sebastian St Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena
Chris St. John the Baptist
Christine St. Abban of New Ross
Butch St. Salvius of Amiens
Stephanie St. Joseph the Foster Father of Jesus
Jean M St. Wistremundus of Cordoba
Anna St. Eusebius of Laodicea
Pat M St. Benedicta of Rome
Hailey St. Ouen of Rouen
Donna St. Martin of Tours
Fli K St. Rufino
Barry M. St. Crispin
Susan M. St. Alexis Falconieri
Erin M. St. Gracilian
Alex M. St. Rheticus of Autun
Elly M. St. Kiaran
Anna M. St. Simeon, Bishop and Martyr
Evelyn M. St. Theodosius of Antioch
Katie W St. Chrysanthus
df_seals St. Gotteschalk
Lara P St. Abraham, the Father of Isaac
Heather T St. Hippolytus
Jonathan A St. Rigobert of Rheims
Jeffrey Kirkland St. Stephen the First Martyr
Jess St. George
Jess' future husband St. Damien of Molokai
Jess' Mom Blessed Herman the Cripple
Jess' Dad St. Isidore of Alexandria
N. St. Faustinus
M. St. Clotsindis of Marchiennes
A. St. Hyginus, the Pope
L. St. Romana of Capua
jmr1979  St. Nazarius of Rome
KT Blessed Alexander Briant
Serv St. Patroclus of Troyes
Van Family St. Martin of Tours
Vich Family St. Brynoth I
Mac Family St. John XXIII
Juras Family St. Andrew the Apostle
Anna Blessed Haberilla
Enrico Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Maria Blessed Andre de Soveral
Filip St. Ava of Denain
Beata St. Austrebertha of Pavilly
Apostolate Saint Honoratus of Arles
Spor St. Cadroe 
Doc St. Narcissus of Gerona
Joe Blessed Sebastian Maggi
Monica St. Apollonia
Laura Our Lady of Prompt Succor
Amy St. John of God
Janet G St. Joseph the Foster Father of Jesus
mewliu St. Forannan
Cheryl Blessed Pope Benedict XI
Jacob St. Vulpian of Tyre
Josie Naiser and Monique Barrios Naiser  St. Ioannes Pak Hu-jae
Ramona Andrea D. Blessed Margaret of Savoy
Holly M. Barrios-D. Blessed Guillaume-Nicolas-Louis Leclerq
John, Holly and Ramona D. St. Vitus
Tony, Elizabeth and Ruaidhri D. St. Crispina
Angela Grace D. Our Lady, Assumed into Heaven
Michelle S Blessed André Duliou
Michelle's husband St. Eadsin of Canterbury
Michelle's best friend St. Meneve
Liam O St. Gosbert of Osnabruck
Alma R St. Leudadd of Bardsey
John R St. Plato
Amelia  Blessed Augustine Novello
Fiona St. Noel Chabanel
Isabella St. Juliana of Nicomedia
Dylan St. Frumentius
Francesco St. Agatha
Samantha St. Fiace
Anthony St. Facundinus of Taino
Hannah St. Rosius of Campania
Zoe St. Pretextatus
Mary Ann A St. Giusta de Sardegna
Edmondm1 St. Ennodius
DanielleR Blessed Aaron of Cracow
M Family St. Restitutus of Rome
Father St. Gundenis of Carthage
Joan F St. Rhipsime
Kathy St. Amantius
Mary Venerable Sister Henriette Aymer De La Chevalerie
Ann St. John the Baptist
Stephanie St. Anastasius
GB Blessed Andrew the Catechist
Robin St. Nonno of Porto Romano
Debbie St. Macra of Rheims
Joe St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Thomas Blessed William Andleby
David St. Maturus the Novice
Stephanie St. Agilaeus
dsmccarroll St. Illadan of Rathlihen
Laura St. Joan of Valois
Valerie V St. Fabiola of Rome
Katie V St. John of Bridlington

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.

Here is a prayer to honor any saint:
Friday, December 19, 2014
Bishop Fellay Blesses Nativity Scene at the EU Parliament

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

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

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

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

Today up until 1955 was the Octave of the Immaculate Conception.  Originally referred to as the "Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary," December 8th became a Holy Day of Obligation in 1708 under Pope Clement XI, nearly 150 years before Pope Pius IX dogmatically and infallibly defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Earlier, in 1693, Pope Innocent XII raised the Immaculate Conception to the rank of “Double of the Second Class” with an octave for the Universal Church. Today is the culmination of that Octave.

This, the eighth day from that on which we kept the feast of the Immaculate Conception, is the octave properly so called; whereas the other days were simply called days within the octave. The custom of keeping up the principal feasts for a whole week is one of those which the Christian Church adopted from the Synagogue. God had thus spoken in the Book of Leviticus: 'The first day shall be called most solemn and most holy, you shall do no servile work therein. . . . The eighth day also shall be most solemn and most holy, and you shall offer holocausts to the Lord, for it is the day of assembly and congregation: you shall do no servile work therein.' We also read in the Book of Kings, that Solomon, having called all Israel to Jerusalem for the dedication of the temple, suffered not the people to return home until the eighth day.

We learn from the Books of the new Testament that this custom was observed in our Saviour’s time, and we find Him authorizing, by His own example, this solemnity of the octave. Thus, we read in Saint John, that Jesus once took part in one of the Jewish festivals, about the midst of the feast; and the same Evangelist relating how our Lord cried out to the people: 'If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink’: observes, that it was on the last and great day of the festivity.

In the Christian Church there are three kinds of octaves. Some feasts are celebrated with a privileged octave—that is, one of which the Office is said daily, or at least a commemoration is always made. Other feasts have a common octave, or one whose commemoration may, on greater feasts, be sometimes omitted. And, lastly, some have a simple octave, of which only the Octave Day itself is kept or commemorated. Privileged octaves, whose office is said or commemorated every day, are divided into three Orders. The octaves of the First Order are those of Easter and Pentecost. Those of the Second Order, of which days within the octave exclude all feasts except doubles of the First Class, are the octaves of the Epiphany and of Corpus Christi. The octaves of the Third Order, which must always be commemorated, although days within the octave exclude only the same feasts as do common octaves, are those of Christmas and of the Ascension of Our Lord. The octave of the Immaculate Conception, the first that occurs in the ecclesiastical year, is a common octave.

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

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

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

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

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

Luke 1: 26-28
At that time, The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."

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

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

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

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

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal, 1945
Advent Ember Fast This Week

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 additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence.

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

Ember Days this December: 17, 19, 20

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

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

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Syrian Melkite Church Restored in Iraq

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

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

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

Image Source. Notice on the altar it is written "Hic Verbum Caro Factum Est" (The Word was made flesh HERE)

Today is the Feast of the Translation of the Holy House of Loretto (Mass in Some Places). Dom Gueranger provides a brief overview of this feast:

This feast is not one of those inserted in the universal calendar of the Church; but it is kept throughout Italy, and in many dioceses in various parts of the Christian world, and by a number of religious Orders. It was instituted in thanksgiving for the great favour bestowed on the western Church, whereby God, to console Christians for the loss of the holy sepulchre, miraculously translated into a Catholic land the humble yet ever venerable house, in which Mary received the message of the angel, and where, by the consent of this holy Virgin, the Word was made flesh and began to dwell among us. It is no unusual thing to meet with Catholics, who are sincerely devoted to their holy faith, yet who have never heard of the house of Loretto. It is for their sake that we have resolved to take the opportunity of this feast to give an exact and concise account of this wonderful event."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dom Gueranger also mentions the history of how this feastday became celebrated throughout Italy:

Among the explicit approbations of the holy See regarding the miracle of Loretto, we will mention the Bulls of Paul II, of Leo X, of Paul III, of Paul IV, and of Xystus V; the decree of Urban VIII, in 1632, establishing this feast in the marches of Ancona; the decree of Innocent XII, in 1699, approving the proper Office of the feast; the indults of Benedict XIII, and his successors, extending this feast to several provinces of the Catholic world; and finally, the indult of Benedict XV, extending the office to the whole of Italy.


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

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
The Rorate Mass: A Dawn Mass Said Only By Candlelight

The Rorate Mass takes its name from the opening words of the Introit, which comes to us from Isaiah 45:8: “Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum, aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem." (Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.)

The Rorate Mass is lit only by candlelight. Because it is a votive Mass in Mary’s honor, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet. In the dimly lit setting, priests and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illumined by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ.

The readings and prayers of the Mass foretell the prophecy of the Virgin who would bear a Son called Emmanuel, and call on all to raise the gates of their hearts and their societies to let Christ the King enter; asking for the grace to receive eternal life by the merits of the Incarnation and saving Resurrection of Our Lord.

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

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

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

Catholics in Nagasaki after the Atomic Bomb

Catholics in Nagasaki after the Atomic Bomb

Friday, December 5, 2014
Friday Penance Reminder

Today is Friday, the day in which we commemorate Our Lord's passion and death. It was our own sins that condemned our glorious Lord to death on Good Friday - death on a Cross. As Catholics, we are still bound to either abstain from meat or rather to do some act of penance each Friday in the entire year. It is not just during the holy season of Lent.

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

Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1249 All Christ's faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. On these days the faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence which the following canons prescribe.
Can. 1250 The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Can. 1253 The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Feastday of St. Bibiana

Saint Bibiana by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Santa Bibiana, Rome taken August 30, 2013

On December 2nd the Church commemorates the life of St. Bibiana. As Tradition relates, St. Bibiana was the daughter of the Christians Flavian and Dafrosa.  Flavian was tortured and sent into exile where he died, and Dafrosa was beheaded.  All of this occurred under the rule of Apronianus as Governor of Rome - he was made Governor by Julian the Apostate in 363 AD.

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

Traditional Matins Reading:

Bibiana was a Roman virgin, noble by birth, but more noble by her profession of the Christian faith. For under the most wicked tyrant Julian the apostate, Flavian, her father, was deprived of his dignity of prefect, and being branded with the mark of slavery, he was banished to Aquae Taurinae, and there died a martyr. Her mother, Dafrosa, was first shut up in her own house with her daughters, that she might die by starvation; but shortly afterwards was banished from Rome and beheaded. The virtuous parents thus put to death, Bibiana was deprived of all her possessions, as also was her sister, Demetria. Apronianus, the city prætor, thirsting after their wealth, persecutes the two sisters. They are bereaved of every human help. But God, who gives food to them that are in hunger, wonderfully nourishes them; and the prætor is exceedingly astonished on finding them in better health and strength than before.

Apronianus, notwithstanding, endeavours to induce them to venerate the gods of the Gentiles. If they consent, he promises them the recovery of all their wealth, the emperor’s favour, and marriage to the noblest in the empire: but should they refuse, he threatens them with prison and scourgings, and the sword. But neither promises nor threats can make them abandon the true faith; they would rather die than be defiled by the idolatrous practices of paganism; and they resolutely resist the impious prætor. Whereupon, Demetria was struck down in the presence of Bibiana, and slept in the Lord. Bibiana was delivered over to a woman by name Rufina, who was most skilled in the art of seduction. But the virgin, taught from her infancy to observe the Christian law, and to preserve with the utmost jealousy the flower of her virginity, rose above nature, defeated all the artifices of the wretched Rufina, and foiled the craft of the prætor.

Finding, therefore, that Rufina could in no wise shake the virgin’s holy resolution, and that both her wicked words and frequent blows were of no avail; and seeing his hopes disappointed and his labour thrown away; the prætor became violently enraged, and ordered Bibiana to be stripped by the lictors, to be fastened to a pillar with her hands bound, and to be beaten to death with leaded whips. Her sacred body was left for two days in the Bull-Forum, as food for dogs; but received no injury, being divinely preserved. A priest called John then buried it during the night, close to the grave of her sister and mother, near the palace of Licinius, where there stands at this day a church consecrated to God under the title of St. Bibiana. Urban VIII. restored this church, having there discovered the bodies of saints Bibiana, Demetria, and Dafrosa, which he placed under the high altar.


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

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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