Thursday, January 28, 2016
Rome to Dignify Luther's Revolt through Joint Commemoration

Guest post by David Martin

Vatican Radio announced on January 25 that Francis and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) will hold a joint ecumenical commemoration of the "Reformation" on October 31, 2016, in Lund, Sweden. The event will attempt to showcase "the gifts of the Reformation" while lamenting centuries of division over it. The inter-religious conference will also include a "Common Prayer" service which is based on a Catholic-Lutheran liturgical guide published recently by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation.

The October 2016 meeting comes in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation that Catholics and Lutherans will jointly celebrate in 2017, under the title, "Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation." That Catholics and Protestants will jointly commemorate a rebellion that was deliberately begun to destroy the Catholic Faith is certainly no small news. Conniving with Luther's revolt is something that was started by the German Alliance at Vatican II, and now we see it coming to a head.

The worst of it is that this is being advanced under the illusion of divine guidance. The Church's mission is being cast aside in the name of God and replaced with "dialogue," which is nothing more than a denial of the Faith and a willingness to be subverted with error. Christ never once "dialogued" with the people, but rather instructed them on the path of salvation, and this in turn is what He commissioned His priestly representatives to do. (Matthew 28:19,20) The Church's mission from the beginning is to instruct the world on salvation and to extend the riches of Christ to all peoples, that they might leave their particular miseries, idols, and creeds, and be converted to the Catholic Faith.

But now Rome is denying its mission and consorting with the enemies of the Faith in order to gain their gifts and their thirty pieces of silver. This is what the new dialogue of "mercy" boils down to—a stab in the back. The Son of Man is again betrayed with a kiss. What Jesus told Saul at Damascus He now says to our Jesuit pope: "Francis, Francis, why do you persecute Me?"

Catholics the world over were bewildered by a sermon delivered by Francis on January 18, in which he all but excommunicated Christians "who obstinately cling to what has always been done and who do not allow others to change." He condemned Catholics who are of "closed heart" and who resist "change," calling them "obstinate rebels" and "idolaters." To think that we're "idolaters" for adoring the True God and for not allowing ourselves to be led by false spirits and deities that our forefathers knew not!

This is precisely the change that Francis advocates, namely, the spirit of Vatican II, the Charismatics, ecumenism, environmentalism, and now this latest move to be one with Lutherans in a joint-commemoration which will attempt to showcase the so-called "gifts of the Reformation."

Has our dear Holy Father forgotten that Martin Luther was a blasphemer and heretic who taught that Jesus was an adulterer and who dubbed the Sacrifice of the Mass "sacrilegious and abominable?" Thanks to Luther and his rampage, a better part of Europe was led into apostasy. The man was a theological crackpot who rejected six books of the Bible and who preached that Jesus died on the cross so that man can sin freely without the fear of eternal punishment. Consider Luther’s own words:

“Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly... No sin will separate us from the Christ, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.” (From Luther’s letter to Philip Melanchthon, August 1, 1521, LW Vol. 48, pp. 281-282)

Should the Vatican hierarchy be commemorating the work of such a man? Did they forget that Martin Luther was rightfully excommunicated by Leo X in January 1521? How is it that Rome is now finding common ground with apostates who look to Luther as their mentor?

Under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit the Council of Trent condemned Luther and his Reformation and decreed that those who hold to its errors are now an anathema, which means it's no longer a consideration. The Reformation is now a dead issue, forever placed in the tomb, which means Catholics may no longer consider or reevaluate its precepts.

How is it that Rome will now dignify the work of one whom the Church officially holds to be an enemy of the Christian Faith?

See our Prayer for Heretics and say that prayer today.  And for more reading consider: The Errors of Martin Luther.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Prayers for Each Hour of the Day and Night by St. John Chrysostom

These prayers were written by St. John Chrysostom, whose feastday we celebrate today.

1. O Lord, deprive me not of Thy heavenly blessings;

2. O Lord, deliver me from eternal torment;

3. O Lord, if I have sinned in my mind or thought, in word deed, forgive me.

4. O Lord, deliver me from every ignorance and heedlessness, from pettiness of the soul and stony hardness of heart;

5. O Lord, deliver me from every temptation;

6. O Lord, enlighten my heart darkened by evil desires;

7. O Lord, I, being a human being, have sinned; do Thou, being God, forgive me in Thy lovingkindness, for Thou knowest the weakness of my soul.

8. O Lord, send down Thy grace to help me, that I may glorify Thy holy Name;

9. O Lord Jesus Christ, inscribe me, Thy servant, in the Book of Life, and grant me a blessed end;

10. O Lord my God, even if I have done nothing good in Thy sight, yet grant me, according to Thy grace, that I may make a start in doing good.

11. O Lord, sprinkle on my heart the dew of Thy grace;

12. O Lord of heaven and earth, remember me, Thy sinful servant, cold of heart and impure, in Thy Kingdom.

13. O Lord, receive me in repentance;

14. O Lord, leave me not;

15. O Lord, save me from temptation;

16. O Lord, grant me pure thoughts;

17. O Lord, grant me tears of repentance, remembrance of death, and the sense of peace;

18. O Lord, grant me mindfulness to confess my sins;

19. O Lord, grant me humility, charity, and obedience;

20. O Lord, grant me tolerance, magnanimity, and gentleness;

21. O Lord, implant in me the root of all blessings: the fear of Thee in my heart;

22. O Lord, vouchsafe that I may love Thee with all my heart and soul, and that I may obey in all things Thy will;

23. O Lord, shield me from evil persons and devils and passions and all other lawless matters;

24. O Lord, Who knowest Thy creation and that which Thou hast willed for it; may Thy will also be fulfilled in me, a sinner, for Thou art blessed forevermore. Amen.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Octave of Christian Unity: Prayers for the True Faith

Prayer for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul 

O glorious St. Paul, who, from being a persecutor of the Christian name, didst become its most zealous Apostle, and who, to carry the knowledge of Jesus, our Divine Savior, to the uttermost parts of the earth, didst joyfully suffer prison, scourgings, stonings, shipwreck and all manner of persecutions, who didst finish thy course by shedding the last drop of thy blood: obtain for us the grace to accept, as favors bestowed by the mercy of God, the infirmities, sufferings and misfortunes of this life, that we may not grow slack in our service of God by reason of these vicissitudes of our exile, but that we may rather show ourselves all the more devoted, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

V. Pray for us, St. Paul the Apostle.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. 

O God, Who has taught the multitudes of the Gentiles by the preaching of blessed Paul the Apostle: grant unto us, we beseech Thee, that we who keep his memory sacred, may feel the might of his intercession before Thee. Through Christ Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, forever and ever. Amen. (500 days - plenary if recited daily for one month.)

Prayer for Concord and Unity among the Faithful 

Our Lord and our God, to Thee, united by the most strong and sincere fraternal love, we offer our hearts; we pray that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament may be our daily food for body and soul, that Jesus may be the central object of our love, as was that of Mary and Joseph; and lastly, we pray that sin may never disturb our union in Thy Mystical Body on earth, that union which will endure with Thee, Mary, and Joseph, and all the Saints, forever in Heaven. Amen. (300 days, once a day)

Prayer for Perseverance in our Holy Faith 

Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ O my Redeemer, will that terrible moment ever come, when but few Christians shall be left who are inspired by the spirit of faith, that moment when Thine indignation shall be provoked and Thy protection shall be taken from us? Have our vices and our evil lives irrevocably moved Thy justice to take vengeance, perhaps this very day, upon Thy children? O Thou Author and Finisher of our Faith, we conjure Thee, in the bitterness of our contrite and humbled hearts, not to suffer the fair light of Faith to be extinguished in us. Remember Thy mercies of old; turn Thine eyes in compassion upon the vineyard planted by Thine own right hand, and watered by the sweat of the Apostles, by the precious blood of countless Martyrs and by the tears of so many sincere penitents, and made fruitful by the prayers of so many Confessors and innocent Virgins.

O Divine Mediator, look upon those zealous souls who raise their hearts to Thee and pray without ceasing for the maintenance of that most precious gift of Thine, the true Catholic Faith. We beseech Thee, O God of justice, to hold back the decree of our rejection, and to turn away Thine eyes from our vices and regard instead the adorable Blood shed upon the Cross, which purchased our salvation and daily intercedes for us upon the altars. Ah, keep us safe in the One, True, Holy Catholic Faith. Let sickness afflict us, vexations waste us, misfortune overwhelm us! But preserve in us Thy holy Faith; for if we are rich with this precious gift, we shall gladly endure every sorrow, and nothing shall ever be able to change our happiness. On the other hand, without this great treasure of Faith, our unhappiness would be unspeakable and without limit!

O good Jesus, Author of our Faith, preserve it pure within us; keep us safe in the Barque of Peter, though presently in eclipse. Yet keep us faithful and obedient to the Petrine Primacy and raise up a holy man to unite the flocks for the freedom and exaltation of holy Mother Church. O Jesus, Author of our Faith, humble and convert the enemies of Thy Church; grant true peace and concord to all of the remnant Catholic faithful; strengthen and preserve us in Thy holy service to the end, that we may live in Thee, and die in Thee. O Jesus, Author of our Faith, let us live for Thee, and die for Thee. Amen. (St. Clement Mary Hofbauer) (500 days, once a day)

For more information and the Official Prayer for each day of the Octave, see the post on the Octave of Christian Unity
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Octave of Christian Unity: Prayers for Lapsed Catholics

Let us Pray.

Almighty Father, You desire not the death of the sinner, but that he may be converted and live. Pour out upon us Your mercy and hear the prayers of Your servants. Soften the hearts of Your children who have strayed from the true path which You established for their salvation. They are now forgetful of their duties as Catholics, and pursue the pleasures of the world. Grant that they may quickly return to the practice of every Christian virtue, so that their lives may shine with the integrity of faith, the fervor of piety, and the ardor of charity. Restore them all to Your sacraments and the life of Your grace, through the merits of the most precious blood of Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Let us Pray.

O Good Shepherd, you never cease to seek out the lost, to call home the stray, to comfort the frightened, and to bind up the wounded. I ask you to bring (mention names) back to the practice of Faith, and to remove all obstacles that prevent them from receiving your abundant mercy, which flows sacramentally through the heart of your holy Church. Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, their Guardian Angel(s), their Patron Saint(s) and the ever-prayerful St. Monica, may you pardon their sins and unshackle them from whatever hinders their freedom to come Home. For you, O Good Shepherd, loved us to the end and offered yourself to the Father for the salvation of all. Amen.

For more information and the Official Prayer for each day of the Octave, see the post on the Octave of Christian Unity
Novena to our Lady of Good Success

Today, January 24th, is the beginning of the Novena to our Lady of Good Success.  The feastday of our Lady of Good Success is on February 2nd and commemorates the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Quito, Ecuador in 1610 to Mother Mariana along with the archangels and St. Francis of Assisi (thus coinciding with the Feast of the Purification).

For more information on these apparitions, I highly recommend the two part series by Fr. Manuel Sousa Pereira: The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana Vol. I & The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana Vol. II.  Both may be viewed freely online at those links.   Or if you prefer, the books are available for easy purchase online here.

Please print and distribute the following Novena courtesy of the St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation.

Saturday, January 23, 2016
Octave of Christian Unity: Prayer for Freemasons, Occult and New Age Sects

Let us Pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, we implore the clemency of Thy Sacred Heart on behalf of those souls, made in the image and likeness of God, but most miserably deceived by the treacherous snares of Freemasonry and other satanic sects, and going more and more astray in the way of perdition. Let not the Church, Thy Spouse, any longer be oppressed by the domination of this Luciferian cult; but, appeased by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, Thy Mother, and the prayers of the just, be mindful of Thy infinite mercy; and, in spite of their perversity, cause these very men to return to Thee, that they may bring consolation to the Church by a profound humility, a most abundant penance, making reparation for their wicked persecution against the Kingdom of God on earth, the Holy Catholic Church, and thus secure for themselves a glorious eternity; Who livest and reignest, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.(100 days, once a day.)

Let us Pray.

Omnipotent and Eternal God, Who desirest that none should perish, look upon the souls deceived by the snares of the devil that the hearts of these who have gone astray may again be restored to health. Hear the prayers which we offer for the willful blindness of these unbelievers, that recognizing the light of Thy truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from darkness. Stretch forth Thy hand over this nation, which has embraced the wicked errors of Freemasonry, that our countrymen may finally acknowledge Thy power over them; that they may know Thee as we know Thee, for there is no God but Thee, O Lord, and no other true Religion but the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith, to which we submit ourselves with our entire being, imploring the conversion of our nation. Hear the prayers of Thy faithful servants, that all who inhabit our country may know that Thou only art God, Who beholdest from age to age. Amen.

V. May the peoples confess Thee, O God.
R. May all nations acknowledge Thee.

Let us Pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, Whose will it is that all men should be saved and that none should perish, look upon the souls that have wickedly elevated themselves to the divinity, through the foul abomination of Freemasonic thinking and philosophy, and humble their prideful hearts, in order that they may put aside all the perverseness of heresy, and, being truly repentant, may return to the unity of Thy truth. Through Christ Our Lord, Who livest and reignest with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen. (Three Hail Mary's)

(Three Hail Mary's)

For more information and the Official Prayer for each day of the Octave, see the post on the Octave of Christian Unity
Betrothal of the Virgin Mary with St. Joseph (Mass in Some Places)

Today in the pre-1955 Traditional Catholic Missal is the Mass in Some Places (pro aliquibus locis) of The Betrothal of the Virgin Mary with St. Joseph.  Today is also referred to as the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Worthy of reading and meditation today is the sermon given by His Eminence Cardinal Burke in January 2015 on the Marriage of the Virgin Mary with St Joseph.  It is available by clicking here.

The Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Devotion to St. Joseph is also worthy of consideration on this day and in particular, the passage that is bolded for today's feast:
Joseph was "a just man". This praise bestowed by the Holy Ghost, and the privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster-father of Jesus and the Spouse of the Virgin Mother, are the foundations of the honor paid to St. Joseph by the Church. So well-grounded are these foundations that it is not a little surprising that the cult of St. Joseph was so slow in winning recognition. Foremost among the causes of this is the fact that "during the first centuries of the Church's existence, it was only the martyrs who enjoyed veneration" (Kellner). Far from being ignored or passed over in silence during the early Christian ages, St. Joseph's prerogatives were occasionally descanted upon by the Fathers; even such eulogies as cannot be attributed to the writers among whose works they found admittance bear witness that the ideas and devotion therein expressed were familiar, not only to the theologians and preachers, and must have been readily welcomed by the people. The earliest traces of public recognition of the sanctity of St. Joseph are to be found in the East. His feast, if we may trust the assertions of Papebroch, was kept by the Copts as early as the beginning of the fourth century. Nicephorus Callistus tells likewise -- on what authority we do not know -- that in the great basilica erected at Bethlehem by St. Helena, there was a gorgeous oratory dedicated to the honor of our saint. Certain it is, at all events, that the feast of "Joseph the Carpenter" is entered, on July 20, in one of the old Coptic Calendars in our possession, as also in a Synazarium of the eighth and nineth century published by Cardinal Mai (Script. Vet. Nova Coll., IV, 15 sqq.). Greek menologies of a later date at least mention St. Joseph on 25 or 26 of December, and a twofold commemoration of him along with other saints was made on the two Sundays next before and after Christmas.

In the West the name of the foster-father of Our Lord (Nutritor Domini) appears in local martyrologies of the ninth and tenth centuries, and we find in 1129, for the first time, a church dedicated to his honor at Bologna. The devotion, then merely private, as it seems, gained a great impetus owing to the influence and zeal of such saintly persons as St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Gertrude (d. 1310), and St. Bridget of Sweden (d. 1373). According to Benedict XIV (De Serv. Dei beatif., I, iv, n. 11; xx, n. 17), "the general opinion of the learned is that the Fathers of Carmel were the first to import from the East into the West the laudable practice of giving the fullest cultus to St. Joseph". His feast, introduced towards the end shortly afterwards, into the Dominican Calendar, gradually gained a foothold in various dioceses of Western Europe. Among the most zealous promoters of the devotion at epoch, St. Vincent Ferrer (d. 1419), Peter d'Ailly (d. 1420), St. Bernadine of Siena (d. 1444), and Jehan Charlier Gerson (d. 1429) deserve an especial mention. Gerson, who had, in 1400, composed an Office of the Espousals of Joseph particularly at the Council of Constance (1414), in promoting the public recognition of the cult of St. Joseph. Only under the pontificate of Sixtus IV (1471-84), were the efforts of these holy men rewarded by Roman Calendar (19 March). From that time the devotion acquired greater and greater popularity, the dignity of the feast keeping pace with this steady growth. At first only a festum simplex, it was soon elevated to a double rite by Innocent VIII (1484-92), declared by Gregory XV, in 1621, a festival of obligation, at the instance of the Emperors Ferdinand III and Leopold I and of King Charles II of Spain, and raised to the rank of a double of the second class by Clement XI (1700-21). Further, Benedict XIII, in 1726, inserted the name into the Litany of the Saints.

One festival in the year, however, was not deemed enough to satisfy the piety of the people. The feast of the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, so strenuously advocated by Gerson, and permitted first by Paul III to the Franciscans, then to other religious orders and individual dioceses, was, in 1725, granted to all countries that solicited it, a proper Office, compiled by the Dominican Pierto Aurato, being assigned, and the day appointed being 23 January. Nor was this all, for the reformed Order of Carmelites, into which St. Teresa had infused her great devotion to the foster-father of Jesus, chose him, in 1621, for their patron, and in 1689, were allowed to celebrate the feast of his Patronage on the third Sunday after Easter. This feast, soon, adopted throughout the Spanish Kingdom, was later on extended to all states and dioceses which asked for the privilege. No devotion, perhaps, has grown so universal, none seems to have appealed so forcibly to the heart of the Christian people, and particularly of the laboring classes, during the nineteenth century, as that of St. Joseph.

This wonderful and unprecedented increase of popularity called for a new lustre to be added to the cult of the saint. Accordingly, one of the first acts of the pontificate of Pius IX, himself singularly devoted to St. Joseph, was to extend to the whole Church the feast of the Patronage (1847), and in December, 1870, according to the wishes of the bishops and of all the faithful, he solemnly declared the Holy Patriarch Joseph, patron of the Catholic Church, and enjoined that his feast (19 March) should henceforth be celebrated as a double of the first class (but without octave, on account of Lent). Following the footsteps of their predecessor, Leo XIII and Pius X have shown an equal desire to add their own jewel to the crown of St. Joseph: the former, by permitting on certain days the reading of the votive Office of the saint; and the latter by approving, on 18 March, 1909, a litany in honor of him whose name he had received in baptism
The Catholic Encyclopedia further provides an entry specifically for this Feast:
A feast of the Latin Church. It is certain that a real matrimony was contracted by Joseph and Mary. Still Mary is called "espoused" to Joseph ("his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph", Matthew 1:18) because the matrimony was never consummated. The term spouse is applied to married people until their marriage is consummated (Colvenerius, Cal. Marian., 23 Jan.). Peter d'Ailly, chancellor of the University of Paris. (died 1420), and his famous disciple, Jean Charlier, called Gerson, were the first energetic propagators of the devotion in honour of St. Joseph. Gerson worked many years to effect the institution of a special votive feast (Thursday of ember week in Advent), the object of which should be the virginal espousal of Mary and Joseph. Gerson's friend, Henry Chicoti, canon of the cathedral chapter of Chartres, had bequeathed a certain sum for the celebration in the cathedral of this votive feast, for which Gerson had composed a proper Office. It seems that Gerson carried out the will of his friend, but tradition does not tell us on what day the feast was celebrated.

The first definite knowledge of a feast in honour of the espousals of Mary dates from 29 Aug., 1517, when with nine other Masses in honour of Mary, it was granted by Leo X to the Nuns of the Annunciation, founded by Sainte Jeanne de Valois. This feast was celebrated on 22 October as a double of the second class. Its Mass, however, honoured the Blessed Virgin exclusively; it hardly mentioned St. Joseph and therefore did not correspond to the idea of Gerson. Also purely as a feast of Mary it appears in the Missal of the Franciscans, to whom it was granted 21 Aug., 1537, for 7 March (double major). About the same time the Servites obtained the feast for 8 March. The Office of the Nativity of Mary was recited, changing the word Nativilas to Desponsatio. 
After the religious orders, among the dioceses which adopted the feast of the Espousals of Mary, Arras takes the lead. It has been kept there since 23 Jan., 1556. The first proper Office was composed by Pierre Doré, O. P. (died 1569), confessor of Duke Claude of Lorraine. This Office followed the outlines given by Gerson and commemorated both Joseph and Mary. Pierre Doré in 1546 unsuccessfully petitioned Paul III to extend the feast of the Desponsatio B. M. V. to the Universal Church. But even without the recommendation of the Apostolic See, the feast was adopted by many Churches. In Moravia it was in the sixteenth century kept on 18. July. In subsequent times Rome did not favour any further extension of the feast, but after it had been refused (1655) to the King of Spain, it was granted to the German Emperor for Austria, 27 Jan., 1678 (23. Jan.); in 1680 it was conceded to Spain, but transferred (13 July, 1682) to 26 Nov., because in Spain the feast of St. Ildephonsus or St. Raymond is kept 23. Jan. In 1680 it was extended to the entire German Empire, 1689 to the Holy Land (double, second class), 1702 to the Cistercians (20 Feb.), 1720 to Tuscany, and 1725 to the Pontifical States. In our days it is kept in nearly the entire Latin Church on 23 Jan., in the Spanish-speaking countries on 26 Nov., but it has never been extended to the Universal Church. Since Pius V abolished the Office of Pierre Doré and introduced the modern Office, it is again a feast of Mary. The commemoration of St. Joseph in Mass, Vespers, Lauds (decree 5 May, 1736) can only be made by a special privilege. 
Holweck, Frederick. "Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 19 Jan. 2016 .

Bestow upon Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of Thy heavenly grace: that as the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, so the solemn feast of her Espousals may bring us an increase of peace. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Friday, January 22, 2016
Octave of Christian Unity: Prayer for Protestant Sects

Let us Pray.

O Lord, Who wast torn by the rebellion of Thy children whom, at one time within the Ark of Salvation, ventured out into the deep having itching ears, succumbed to the false teachers of Protestant ministers who listened more to the prideful urgings of the devil to break away from the bosom of holy Mother Church and multiply worse than the first thousands of times over. We pray Thee for our formerly Catholic brethren to give them the grace to realize the error of their ways and return to the Barque of Peter. May Thy holy Mother intercede and soften the hearts of those who may not realize the tenets they have been taught are not the full truths Thou charged Thy Apostles to spread throughout the world that all may be one. Show them through Thy wondrous ways that only in the Barque Thou founded can they truly see the marks of the true Faith: one, holy, catholic and truly apostolic. Guide them to accept and cherish Thy blessed Mother and to realize her role which Thou hast chosen for her, the second Eve, as Co-redemptrix of souls. Grant thy true priests the courage to feed Thy lambs with the manna of Thy Spirit so that every people and every tongue may acknowledge and glorify Thee as Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in unity with the Triune Divinity, forever and ever. Amen.

Let us Pray.

Prayer to St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

O Glorious St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, who courageously withstood the vicious opposition of the enraged Protestants whom thou didst so forcefully refute, while winning thousands of former Catholics back to the one, true Fold of Christ; obtain for us an abundance of thy ardent love of the holy Catholic Faith, and thy burning zeal for souls, which led thee to embrace joyfully thy cruel martyrdom by vicious Protestant soldiers, at the command of a Calvinist minister. By the holy indignation whereby thou didst repulse their threats and demand for thy apostasy, obtain for the remnant Catholic faithful a spirit of earnest zeal in our fervent prayer for the conversion of all who have embraced the errors of the demonic sects of Protestantism. Implore the Hearts of Jesus and Mary to dispel the vicious errors which keep them from the Immaculate Heart of the great Mediatrix of All Graces, that they may quickly experience therein the abundant graces of conversion to the one true Catholic Church of Her Divine Son, and final perseverance in grace, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

(Three Hail Mary's)

For more information and the Official Prayer for each day of the Octave, see the post on the Octave of Christian Unity
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Octave of Christian Unity: Prayer for Schismatic Orthodox Churches

Let us Pray.

O Lord, Who hast united all nations in the confession of Thy Name, we pray Thee for our formerly Catholic brethren of the East. Mindful of the eminent place they once held in Thy Church, we beg of Thee to inspire them with the desire to occupy it again, so as to form with us one single Fold, under the guidance of one and the same Shepherd. Grant that they, together with ourselves, may be penetrated with the teaching of those holy Doctors of the Eastern Church, who are also our Fathers in the Faith, and submit themselves in all humility to the voice of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, Who so dearly desires to feed the lost sheep and lambs who have wandered from the Fold. Grant that the spirit of peace and charity, which is the mark of Thy presence with the faithful, may hasten the day in which our prayers may be united with theirs, so that every people and every tongue may acknowledge and glorify Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Amen. (300 days)

Let us Pray.

O Mary, Mother of mercy and Refuge of sinners, we beseech thee, be pleased to look with pitiful eyes upon miserable heretics and schismatics, especially those pitiful souls once united with us in our former community and congregation who have now separated themselves from the true Church. Thou who art the Seat of Wisdom, enlighten the minds that are miserably enfolded in the darkness of ignorance and sin, that they may clearly know that the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ, outside of which neither holiness nor salvation can be found. Finish the work of their conversion by obtaining for them the grace to accept all the truths of our holy Faith and to submit themselves to the true Bishops of Thy Church, the successors of Thy Apostles; that so, being united with us in the sweet chains of Divine charity, there may soon be one only fold under the same one Shepherd; and may we all, O glorious Virgin, sing forever with exultation: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou alone hast destroyed all heresies in the whole world. Amen. Three Aves. (500 days.)

(Three Hail Mary's)

For more information and the Official Prayer for each day of the Octave, see the post on the Octave of Christian Unity
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Octave of Christian Unity: Prayer for the Muslims

Let us Pray.

Let us pray for the diabolical Muslims, that Almighty God may remove evil from their hearts, inspiring them to give up forever their imposter prophet and their worship of the devil, and be finally converted to the One True God and His only Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Let us Pray.

O Jesus, true God and true Man, Redeemer of the whole world, we beseech Thee through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to turn Thine eyes of mercy on those peoples who for so many centuries have been enslaved beneath the cruel yoke of Islam. Grant that they may no more scorn Thy most holy Name nor insolently persecute and enslave the Christian nations. With one ray of Thy light disperse the darkness in which they dwell, that renouncing the evil teachings of Mohammed, they may be brought to the baptism of regeneration, that in the confession of the One True Faith they may adore and glorify Thee, the eternal Word, made man for our salvation, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Let us Pray. Prayer to Mary, Help of Christians

Virgin most powerful, loving helper of the Christian people, how great thanks do we not owe thee for the assistance thou didst give our fathers, who, when they were threatened by the Turkish infidels, invoked thy maternal help by the devout recitation of Thy Rosary! From Heaven thou didst see their deadly peril; thou didst hear their voices imploring Thy compassion; and their humble prayers, enjoined by the great Pope, Saint Pius the Fifth, were acceptable unto thee, and thou camest quickly to deliver them.

Grant, dear Mother, that in like manner the prolonged sighs of the holy Bride of Christ in these our days may come to thy throne and engage thy pity; do thou, moved anew to compassion for Her, rise once again to deliver Her from the many foes who encompass Her on every side. Rise, then, O Mary, incline thyself to hear the prayers of the whole Catholic world, and beat flat to the ground the pride of those wretched men, who in their insolence blaspheme Almighty God and would destroy His Church, against which, according to the infallible words of Christ, the gates of Hell shall never prevail! Let it be seen once more that when thou dost arise to protect the Church, Her victory is sure. Amen.

(Three Hail Mary's)

For more information and the Official Prayer for each day of the Octave, see the post on the Octave of Christian Unity
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Octave of Christian Unity: Prayer for the Jews

Let us Pray.

Let us pray for the unbelieving, perfidious Jews, that the Lord our God may take away the veil that blinds their hearts, and that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Let us Pray.

O God, Who dost also manifest Thy omnipotence by mercy and compassion, listen to the prayers we offer up for the enlightenment of the unbelieving, perfidious Jews, that they may acknowledge the light of Thy truth, Which is Christ, and may be saved from their blindness. Grant, we beseech Thee, all-powerful God, that the remnant of the Jewish people may walk in the way of salvation; and by following the preaching of the blessed John, Thy Precursor, they may safely come to Him Whom he foretold, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord. Amen. (300 days.)

Let us Pray.

Most Sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, turn Thine eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Thy chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may It now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life. Amen.(200 days.)

Let us pray.

God of goodness and Father of mercies, we beseech Thee, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and by the intercession of the Patriarchs and holy Apostles, to look with compassion upon the remnant of Israel, so that they may come to a knowledge of our only Savior, Jesus Christ, and share in the precious graces of Redemption. Amen.

(Three Hail Mary's)

For more information and the Official Prayer for each day of the Octave, see the post on the Octave of Christian Unity
Monday, January 18, 2016
Octave of Christian Unity: Prayer for the Pagans

Let us Pray.

Have mercy on us, Lord of Heaven and earth. Look upon us and send Thy fear upon the nations which have not sought Thee, or, even worse, have persecuted Thy Divine Son in His Apostles and missionaries. Grant that they may know that there is no other God than Thee, and may finally be converted to Thy Holy Catholic Church, and proclaim Thy greatness. Shorten the time, and be mindful of the end, that they may spread abroad Thy wonderful deeds and all the ends of the earth may fear Thee. V. Rejoice, all the earth. R. And serve the Lord in gladness.

Let us Pray.

Almighty, everlasting God, Who seekest not the death but the life of the sinner, receive favorably our prayer and deliver the pagans from the worship of idols and bring them into the fold of Thy One, True Church, to the praise and glory of Thy Name. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen. (300 days.)

Let us Pray.

O God, the everlasting Creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers were made by Thee and formed in Thine own Image and Likeness. Remember that Jesus, Thy Son, endured a most bitter Death for their eternal salvation. Permit not, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thy Son should be any longer despised by unbelievers, but do Thou graciously accept the prayers of thy faithful children, and of thy One, True Church, the Immaculate Spouse of Thy most holy Son, and be mindful of Thy mercy. Grant that the infidels may renounce their pernicious idolatry and wicked unbelief, that they too may some day know Him Whom Thou hast sent, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our Salvation, our Life, and Resurrection, by Whom we have been redeemed, to Whom be glory for endless ages. Amen. (500 days.)

Let us pray.

O Mary, most clement, refuge of sinners, listen to our prayers, and beg of Thy Son that God Almighty may take away iniquity from the hearts of pagans; that abandoning their idols they may turn to the living and true God, and Christ, His only Son, our Divine Lord.

V. Be all confounded, who adore graven images;
R. And who glory in their idols.

Let us pray.

O God, Whose will it is that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth: we beg Thee to send laborers into Thy harvest and grant them to speak Thy word with all confidence; that Thy word may be spread and be glorified, and that all people may know Thee, the only true God, and Him Whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, Who livest and reignest with Thee forever, unto ages of ages. Amen. (3 years indulgence.)

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who alone art the Savior of the whole human race, Who "rulest from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth," mercifully open the treasures of Thy most Sacred Heart to the wretched inhabitants of China, Mongolia, Japan, India and the other Asian countries, who still sit in darkness and the shadow of death, that through the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Immaculate Mother, and of St. Francis Xavier, they may abandon their idols, and prostrating themselves before Thee, may be united to Thy holy Church, Who livest and reignest, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen. St. Frances Xavier, Apostle to the Indies, pray for us.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior of the whole human race, "Who reignest from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth," open Thy most Sacred Heart in mercy to those wretched souls in Africa, and their descendants throughout the world, who still sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Immaculate Mother, and of St. Joseph, her most glorious spouse, they may abandon their idols of every form, and prostrating themselves before Thee, be admitted into Thy holy Church, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

(Three Hail Mary's)

For more information and the Official Prayer for each day of the Octave, see the post on the Octave of Christian Unity
Chair of the Octave of Christian Unity

The Chair of Unity Octave Prayer

Ant. That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that Thou has sent me.

℣. I say to thee, that thou art Peter,
℟. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

Let us pray
Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst say to Thine Apostles: peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, look not upon my sins, but upon the faith of Thy Church; and vouchsafe unto Her that peace and unity which is agreeable to Thy will: Who livest and reignest God forever and ever. Amen.

Intentions of the Octave:
  • 18 January, The Feast of Saint Peter's Chair at Rome: The union of all Christians in the one true faith and in the Church
  • 19 January: The return of separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See
  • 20 January: The reconciliation of Anglicans with the Holy See
  • 21 January: The reconciliation of European Protestants with the Holy See
  • 22 January: That American Christians become one in union with the Chair of Peter
  • 23 January: The restoration of lapsed Catholics to the sacramental life of the Church
  • 24 January: That the Jewish people come into their inheritance in Jesus Christ
  • 25 January, The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul: The missionary extension of Christ's kingdom throughout the world
Prayers For Each Day of the Octave:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the octave of prayers for the unity of the Church from the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome (Jan. 18) to the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (Jan. 25). (Apostolic Brief, Feb. 25, 1916; S. P. Ap., Nov. 15, 1927 and Dec. 10, 1946).
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Feast of St. Marcellus I

Semidouble (1954 Calendar): January 16

On January 16th, after we have concluded the Octave of the Epiphany but still within the Christmas season (which lasts up until February 2nd), we celebrate the feast of Pope St. Marcellus I.

Nothing is known of the life of Pope St. Marcellus I prior to his ascent to the papacy in the early summer of 308 AD.  He led the Church as the Supreme Pontiff during the end of the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian - which led to countless martyrs and a great disruption in the Church.  Pope St. Marcellus faced great struggles as he sought to reconstitute the clergy who had been dispersed and hidden from practicing the Faith openly during the demonic onslaught brought on by Diocletian. 

Pope St. Marcellus I also served in imitation of our Lord, the Good Shepherd, as he sought to welcome back and absolve from sin those who had denied the Faith for fear of being murdered. However, when a group of the apostatized, known as the Lapsi, refused to do penance, St. Marcellus refused to allow their return to the Church. This group had some political pull, and some caused such civil disruption that Emperor Maxentius exiled the Pope in order to settle the matter.

Legend says that Marcellus was forced to work as a stable slave as punishment. The Church considers Pope St. Marcellus I as a martyr since he died of the terrible conditions he suffered in exile.  He died only one year after his ascension to the papacy in 309 AD.  He was initially buried in the cemetery of Saint Priscilla in Rome, Italy, but his relics were later translated to beneath the altar of San Marcello al Corso Church in Rome where they remain today.

Each year during the Stational Churches devotion in Lent, Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Lent observes the Stational Church at the Church of St. Marcellus.  

Traditional Matins Reading:

Marcellus was a Roman, and governed the Church from the reign of Constantius and Galerius to that of Maxentius. It was by his counsel that a Roman Matron, named Lucina, made the Church of God the heir of all her property. He established in the City five and twenty Titles, as so many districts for the administration of baptism and penance to Pagans converted to the Christian religion, and for providing burial to the Martyrs. All this irritated Maxentius, and he threatened Marcellus with severe punishment unless he laid down his Pontificate, and offered sacrifice to the idols.

Marcellus heeded not the senseless words of man, and was therefore sent to the stables, there to take care of the beasts which were kept at the public expense. In this place Marcellus spent nine months, fasting and praying without ceasing, and visiting by his letters the Churches he could not visit in person. He was thence delivered by some of his clergy, and was harboured by the blessed Lucina, in whose house he dedicated a Church, which is now called the Church of St Marcellus. Here did the Christians assemble for prayer, and the blessed Marcellus preach.

Maxentius, coming to hear these things, ordered that Church to be turned into the stable for the beasts, and Marcellus to be made its keeper. Sickened by the foul atmosphere, and worn out by his many cares, he slept in the Lord. The blessed Lucina had his body buried in the Priscilla cemetery, on the Salarian Way, the seventeenth of the Calends of February (January 16). He sat five years, one month, and twenty-five days. He wrote a letter to the Bishops of the Antioch province, concerning the Primacy of the Church of Rome, which he proves ought to be called 'the Head of the Churches.' In the same letter there occurs this passage, that no Council may be rightly celebrated without the authority of the Roman Pontiff. He ordained at Rome, in the month of December, twenty-five Priests, two Deacons, and twenty-one Bishops for various places.

Pope St. Marcellus I, pray for us and for the Church Militant!


O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people. May the merits of the martyred pope Marcellus help us, just as his sufferings have given us cause for spiritual joy. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Do You Know Your Baptism Anniversary?

On this day, the Octave Day of the Epiphany, when we recall the Baptism of Christ, it is especially appropriate for us to remember the importance of our own Baptism anniversary.  Do you know it?  Is it on your calendar?  Do you mark the day in much joy and celebration (as long as it is not during a season of penance such as Lent)?  Do you renew your Baptismal promises on that anniversary?

"I think more of the place where I was baptized than of Rheims Cathedral where I was crowned.  It is a greater thing to be a child of God than to be the ruler of a Kingdom.  This last I shall lose at death but the other will be my passport to an everlasting glory." (St. Louis IX, King of France)
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Pope Francis: We must have dialogue among religions
Guest Post by David Martin

Pope Francis' ecumenical prayer intention for January 2016 is that all religions will collaborate and be one. In his monthly address delivered on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany, the pope said that the diversity of religious groupings on earth "should lead to a dialogue among religions" and stressed that "We should not stop praying for it and collaborating with those who think differently."

The pope's January prayer intentions was released via video and has scandalized Catholics and non-Catholics the world over. In the spirit of Vatican II the pontiff makes use of highly ambiguous wording to make his point seem irrefutable, saying, "Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God."

This is another attempt to use ambiguous language to advance the so-called validity of all religions. Naturally the members of all religions are the "children of God" in that they are created by God, but they are not the "adopted" children of God through baptism, the sacrament which Jesus told Nicodemus was indispensable for salvation. (John 3:5) The implication here is that non-Catholics are all the "members of God's universal Church," which is not true. Without explicitly committing heresy, the pope strongly insinuates that all religions are blessed and guided from above, which blatantly opposes the Church's dogmatic teaching that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true religion on earth, outside of which there exists no salvation. (extra ecclesiam nulla salus) While heresy is promoted, the advocates of ecumenism hide behind his slippery wording and say, "he didn't preach explicit heresy."

Actions will best prove this. If the pope says that members of other faiths are the "children of God," then he is obliged to help them and not deprive them the riches of the Catholic Faith, lest contempt be shown for the Church's mission to Catholicize the nations. The Church's divinely instituted mission is to convert Jews, Gentiles, and members of other religions, but now Rome is denying Christ's commission to "teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" and to "teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Mt. 28:19) A pope's duty is to reach out and convert the outsiders so that they too can possess Christ, and not shrink out of fear and deny the Church's mission just so outsiders will praise him. Under the guise of mercy humanity is being deprived of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is what the Year of Mercy really boils down to.

We give the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt, however, as rumors continue to circulate about his melancholia and his suspected use of anti-depressants to keep it in check. Sadly, the pope is being used as an instrument to spread these ecumenical ideas abroad, and it appears it's beginning to catch up with him. Many have noted that his speech these days is sometimes slurred, as can be heard in the Jan. 6 video.

We can only pray that Pope Francis will stand his ground and state forth the truth and nothing but the truth for good of humanity, remembering that he is the visible representative of He who is "the way, and the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) The world today is treading in fetters and chains, but the truth of the Catholic Faith is what will "make them free." (John 8:32) 
Friday, January 8, 2016
Solemn High Mass at St James in London

These exquisite photos were taken of a Solemn High Mass at St James's, Spanish Place, London. Celebrant: Mgr Gordon Read, LMS National Chaplain. Photos courtesy of John Aron.  Accessed via the group's Facebook Page

Let us pray for all that Archbishop Lefebvre worked for - a true restoration of the sacred and the undoing of so much destruction in the Church and in the modern world.
Catholic Friday Fast

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 of the entire year.

It was on this day of the week that our glorious Redeemer died for us. Please, never forget this, especially at 3 o'clock, the hour that He died. At 3 o'clock attempt to pray a prayer of reparation and remember Our Lord's love and sacrifice 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, January 5, 2016
The Vigil of Epiphany & The Solemn Blessing of Epiphany Water

Semidouble (1954 Calendar): January 5

January 5th is the Vigil of the Epiphany, and it is common in the traditional Roman Rite - in addition to the Byzantine Rite - to bless Epiphany water at this time. Sadly, even the 1962 Missal does not preserve this ancient vigil which was kept up until the changes in 1955 under Pope Pius XII. Those who keep the 1954 Calendar retain this venerable vigil - one of the four principal vigils of the entire liturgical year.

Restore the 54 states, "The Vigil of Epiphany is one of the four major vigils of the year. This is the only vigil which is completely festal in nature, and as such, it is the only vigil without the use of violet, and it has a full Office, in semidouble rite, beginning with (First) Vespers. All other vigils, even the other major ones, don't begin until Matins, but all vigils without exception and by definition end with None." 

Ancient Day of Fast & Abstinence

Father Weiser, in the "Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs," asserts regarding penance in anticipation of the Epiphany: "During the Middle Ages, it had a vigil with a fast and abstinence."
"The Epiphany of Our Lord is the central feast of the Incarnation cycle, which runs from the First Sunday of Advent to Candlemas. Epiphany is not the end, but the apex of this cycle; it brings to full fruition the expectation of Advent’s “Veni, Domine.” Epiphany fulfills Christmas; Our Lord was born in the stillness of the night and manifested His birth only to a few; the Epiphany recounts Our Lord manifesting Himself, human and divine, to the whole world, from which point, His salvific mission begins. 

"As such, Epiphany is one of the four principle feasts of the year, along with Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, traditionally preceded by a privileged and special vigil. (By vigil, we refer to an entire day of preparation before a major feast, not a Mass of the feast itself anticipated the evening before.) Considering the importance of the feast, it is a very strange and unfortunate phenomenon that its ancient vigil, along with its highly privileged octave, was suppressed in 1955, along with many other things. Hence, in the 1962 Roman Calendar, there is no longer a “Vigil of Epiphany,” and January 5 was recast as a generic Christmas feria."

He also adds in regards to the Feast of the Epiphany: "The Armenians keep it as one of their five Daghavar (Greatest Festivals) with a week's fast in preparation and a solemn octave following, of which the second day is also a feast of obligation. 

"The Feast of Christmas is over; the four Octaves are closed; and we are on the Eve of the Solemnity of our Lord's Epiphany. We must spend this January 5 in preparing ourselves for the Manifestation which Jesus, the Angel of Great Counsel, is about to make to us of his glory. A few more hours, and the Star will stand still in the heavens, and the Magi will be seeking for admission into the stable of Bethlehem.

"This Vigil is not like that of Christmas, a day of penance. The Child whose coming we were then awaiting, in the fervour of our humble desires, is now among us, preparing to bestow fresh favours upon us. This eve of to-morrow’s Solemnity is a day of joy, like those that have preceded it; and therefore we do not fast, nor does the Church put on the vestments of mourning. If the Office of the Vigil be the one of to-day, the colour used is White. This is the Twelfth day since the Birth of our Emmanuel.

"If the Vigil of the Epiphany fall on a Sunday, it shares with Christmas Eve the privilege of not being anticipated, as all other Vigils are, on the Saturday: it is kept on the Sunday, has all the privileges of a Sunday, and the Mass is that of the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas Day. Let us, therefore, celebrate this Vigil in great joy of heart, and prepare our souls for to-morrow’s graces.

"The Greek Church keeps this a fasting-day, in memory of the preparation for Baptism, which used formerly to be administered, especially in the East, on the night preceding the feast of the Epiphany. She still solemnly blesses the Water on this Feast. We will in our next volume speak of this ceremony, of which some vestiges still remain in the Western Church."

The traditional Gospel reading for the Vigil of the Epiphany in place up until 1955. Sadly, with the change in 1955, it is not read anytime in the 1962 Missal:

AT THAT TIME, when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child. Who arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: and being warned in sleep retired into the quarters of Galilee. And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by prophets: That he shall be called a Nazarene (Matthew 2:19-23).

The Blessing of Epiphany Water - Background

This rite was inserted into the Roman Ritual in 1890, arguably making it the most recent example of the influence of Greek ceremonial on the Roman Rite prior to the liturgical reforms of the 20th century.

There was apparently a botched attempt to abolish this ritual in the early 20th century, as the following passage from a well-known rubrical guide shows: “(t)he solemn Blessing of Water which had been introduced in some places, and which owes its origin to the Greek Church, as is shown in the Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, 3730 … is to be struck out as abrogated, according to the Decree of the same Congregation, 3792, ad XV, and therefore it is not permitted to use it in the future. It is, nevertheless, retained in the revised edition of the Rituale Romanum (Vatican, typical, 1925), p. 705 ” (No. 547 of Matters Liturgical, 1938 edition, by Joseph Wuest C.SS.R and Thomas Mullaney C.SS.R.). At any rate, the blessing has continued to be used in some communities down to our own day, and is being rediscovered by others. 

It should be noted that prior to 1890, the solemn Blessing of Water was already to be found in some diocesan rituals (especially in Germany). There was also a particularly elaborate form of this blessing that was used at least until 1890 in Sant' Andrea della Valle and some other churches in Rome. It's text -- which is far longer than the 1890 text, with a Lesson and a Gospel reading, responsories and antiphons, a Preface, a Sanctus, and very long blessings.

The Blessing of Epiphany Water - Liturgical Rite Translated into English

The celebrant, vested in white cope, comes before the altar, preceded by acolytes bearing the processional cross and lighted candles. A vessel of water and a container of salt are prepared.

The Litany of the Saints is sung, during which time all kneel. After the invocation "That Thou wouldst grant eternal rest, etc.," the celebrant rises and sings the following two invocations:

℣. That Thou wouldst bless + this water.
℟. We beseech Thee hear us.
℣. That Thou wouldst bless + and sanctify + this water.
℟. We beseech Thee hear us.

The cantors continue the litany. The celebrant then says the Pater Noster silently until:

℣. And lead us not into temptation.
℟. But deliver us from evil.

Psalm 28

Sacrifice to the Lord, ye sons of God; * bring to the Lord the offspring of rams.

Offer to the Lord praise and honor, offer glory to His name; * worship the Lord in His holy court.

The voice of the Lord booms over the waters, the God of majesty hath thundered, * the Lord rules over tempestuous waters.

The voice of the Lord hath power, * the voice of the Lord hath splendor.

The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars, * the Lord doth shatter the cedars of Lebanon.

And scattereth them to skip like a calf, * while His beloved gambol like the young of bison.

The voice of the Lord spreadeth flame into lightning; the voice of the Lord maketh the desert to tremble; * and the Lord shall shake the wilderness of Cades.

The voice of the Lord frighteneth deer to calve untimely, and strippeth bare the forests, * and in His heavens all sing: “Glory!”

The Lord is enthroned upon the flood, * the Lord shall reign as King forever.

The Lord will give strength to His people, * the Lord will bless His people with peace.

Glory be to the Father. * As it was in the beginning.

Psalm 45

Our God is refuge and strength, * a Helper in sorrows which often beset us.

Hence we fear not, though the earth be shaken * and the mountains sink in the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof should roar and foam, * and the mountains quake from its breakers.

Gay billows of the river gladden the city of God; * the Most High hath sanctified His dwelling.

God is in the midst of the city, it shall not be disturbed; * God will help it at earliest dawn.

The heathen were afflicted, and kingdoms brought low; * God spoke, and their land was dissolved.

The Lord of hosts is with us, * the God of Jacob is our protector.

Come ye and behold the works of the Lord, what desolation He hath wrought on their land! * He endeth wars through the boundaries of the earth.

He breaketh the bow and destroyeth weapons, * and shields He burneth in fire.

And He spoke: “Be still, and see that I am God! * I will be exalted by the heathen, I will be exalted by my own.”

The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our protector.

Glory be to the Father. * As it was in the beginning.

Psalm 146

Praise ye the Lord, for it is good to laud Him; * joyful and worthy praise becometh our God.

The Lord rebuildeth Jerusalem, * and will gather the exiles of Israel.

He healeth the heart-broken, * and bindeth up their wounds.

He knoweth the number of stars, * and calleth all by name.

Great is our Lord and great His power, * His wisdom infinite.

The Lord raiseth up the meek, but the wicked He humbleth to the dust.

Sing ye to the Lord in thanksgiving; * praise our God on the harp;

Who covereth the heavens with clouds, * and prepareth rain for the earth.

Who maketh grass to grow on the hills * and herbs for lower creatures.

Who giveth to beasts their food, * and to little ravens that cry unto Him.

He placeth no trust in the strength of a steed, * nor doth man’s fleetness please Him.

The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him * and in them that trust in His mercy.

Glory be to the Father. * As it was in the beginning.

Exorcism Against Satan and the Apostate Angels
We cast thee out, every unclean spirit, every devilish power, every assault of the infernal adversary, every legion, every diabolical group and sect, by the Name and power of our Lord Jesus + Christ, and command thee to fly far from the Church of God and from all who are made to the image of God and redeemed by the Precious Blood of the Divine Lamb +. Presume never again, thou cunning serpent, to deceive the human race, to persecute the Church of God, nor to strike the chosen of God and sift them as wheat +. For the Most High commands thee, + He to Whom thou didst hitherto in thy great pride presume thyself equal; He Who desireth that all men might be saved, and come to the knowledge of truth. God the Father + commandeth thee! God the Son + commandeth thee! God the Holy + Spirit commandeth thee! The majesty of Christ commands thee, the Eternal Word of God made flesh, + Who for the salvation of our race, lost through thy envy, humbled Himself and was made obedient even unto death; Who built His Church upon a solid rock, and proclaimed that the gates of hell should never prevail against her, and that He would remain with her all days, even to the end of the world! The Sacred Mystery of the Cross + commands thee, as well as the power of all Mysteries of Christian faith! + The most excellent Virgin Mary, Mother of God + commands thee, who in her lowliness crushed thy proud head from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception! The faith of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and the other apostles + commands thee! The blood of the martyrs commands thee, as well as the pious intercession + of holy men and women!

Therefore, accursed dragon and every diabolical legion, we adjure thee by the living + God, by the true + God, by the holy + God, by the God Who so loved the world that He gave His Sole-Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but shall have life everlasting – cease thy deception of men and thy giving them to drink of the poison of eternal damnation; desist from harming the Church and fettering her freedom! Get thee gone, Satan, founder and master of all falsity, enemy of mankind! Give place to Christ in Whom thou didst find none of thy works; give place to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church which Christ Himself bought with His Blood! Be thou brought low under God’s mighty hand; tremble and flee as we call upon the holy and awesome name of Jesus, before Whom hell trembles, and to Whom the Virtues, Powers, and Dominations are subject; Whom the Cherubim and Seraphim praise with unfailing voices, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God of Hosts!
The cantors sing the following Antiphon and Canticle:
Today the Church is espoused to the heavenly Bridegroom, for in the Jordan Christ washes her sins: the Magi hasten with gifts to the regal nuptials, and the guests are gladdened with water become wine, alleluia.

Canticle of Zachary Luke 1.68-79
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, * for He hath visited and redeemed His people,

And hath raised up the Abundance of salvation for us * in the lineage of David His servant.

Thus He foretold by the mouth of His holy prophets * who have been from times ancient;

That we might be saved from our enemies – * from the hand of all that hate us.

Now is granted the mercy promised to our fathers, * remembering His holy covenant;

And the oath which He swore to Abraham our father * that He would extend to us;

That we, delivered from the hand of our enemies, * might serve Him without fear,

Living in holiness and righteousness * before Him all our days.

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest, * for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways;

To give knowledge of salvation to His people – * the remission of their sins,

Through the bounteous mercy of our God * in which the Orient from on high hath visited us,

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, * to direct our feet into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father. * As it was in the beginning.
Or instead of the above, the “Magníficat” (Luke 1. 46-55) may be chosen. At the end of either, the Antiphon given above is repeated. Then the celebrant sings:
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.
O God, Who by the guidance of a star didst this day reveal thy Sole-Begotten Son to the Gentiles, grant that we who now know Thee by faith may be brought to the contemplation of Thy heavenly majesty. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, eternally.
℟. Amen.

The Blessing of the Water
℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
℟. Who made heaven and earth.
From here on the Exorcism of Salt and the prayer that follows it; the Exorcism of Water and the two prayers that follow it; the Mixing of the Salt and Water; and the Concluding Prayer are the same texts as the standard Blessing of Holy Water that was printed in the October 5, 2008 edition of this column.

The celebrant then sprinkles the people with the blessed water. Lastly, the “Te Deum” is sung.

The blessed water is then given to the faithful who will use it to bless the sick and their homes.

The Following Printable Blessing is formatted for printing and use: 
Monday, January 4, 2016
Octave Day of the Holy Innocents

Simple (1954 Calendar): January 4th

In an effort to make available the traditional Catholic pre-1955 spirituality, I will be posting the Traditional Mass Propers for the Octave Day of the Holy Innocents, which was traditionally celebrated today. 

This Octave is a Simple Octave, meaning with the reforms of 1911, that only the Feastday and the Octave Day itself was kept. The intra Octave days are not commemorated in the Mass or in the Breviary, which is a departure from the pre-1911 practice where they would have been commemorated in the intervening days.  Those interested in the Breviary for the Octave Day of Holy Innocents as in place before the should click here. 

Dom Gueranger writes in his seminal work on the Liturgical Year for this Octave Day:
"We finish to-day the Octave consecrated to the memory of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem. Thanks be to God, who has given them to us to be our intercessors and our models! Their name will not reappear on the Church’s Calendar until the return of the Christmas Solemnity; let us therefore devoutly approach these sweet Infant Saints—venerate them, love them, and address to them our farewell prayers.

"The Holy Church, which on the Feast vested in the colour of mourning, and this out of condolence with Rachel’s grief, now on the Octave Day clothes herself in the red of her Martyrs, in order to honour these Babes who shed their Blood for Jesus. Notwithstanding, she is full of tender compassion for those poor Mothers, who suffered such agonies of grief at the sight of the murder of their little ones; she continually alludes to them in to-day’s Liturgy, and reads in the Office of Matins a passage from an ancient Sermon which vividly describes their feelings...

"Among these Children thus cruelly massacred, from the age of two years and under, there were some belonging to those Shepherds of Bethlehem who had been called on the Night of our Saviour's Birth to go and adore him in his Crib. These, after Mary and Joseph the first worshippers of the Incarnate Word, thus offered to the God who had called them the most precious treasure they possessed. They knew to what Child their children were sacrificed, and a holy pride filled their souls as they thought of this new proof of God's singular mercy to them in preference to so many others of their fellowcreatures.

"As to Herod, he was foiled in his schemes, as must ever be the case with those who wage war against Christ and his Church. His edict for the murder of every male child that was two years old or younger, included Bethlehem and its entire neighbourhood; but the Child he alone cared for, and wished to destroy, escaped the sword and fled into Egypt. It was another proof of the world's folly in opposing the designs of God; and, in this instance, the very measure that was intended to effect evil produced good: the tyrant enriched the Church of heaven with Saints, and the Church militant with so many fresh patrons."

The American Ecclesiastical Review published in 1902, shared courtesy of Aleteia, explains a very interesting custom observed in a few places, sadly not even kept in the 1962 Missal, on the unique color vestments for both December 28th and January 3rd in honor of the Holy Innocents:

"On Holy Innocents [December 28] violet is ordinarily used at the Mass and Office. For the spirit of the feast indicates a twofold sentiment—that of sorrow with the weeping Hebrew mothers, and that of limbo where the little Innocents were necessarily to be detained until after the sealing of our Redemption in the Resurrection of our Lord. But when the feast of Holy Innocents happens on a Sunday, its spirit mingles with that of the joy peculiar to the octave of Christmas … Hence the Church does not permit violet, which is the color both of sorrow and of penance, on Sunday, indicating by the red color that on that day she forgets the sadness and regards the little victims of Bethlehem simply as martyrs of Christ.
"However, on the eighth day of Holy Innocents she uses rose color. Rose is red tempered by white. Red is the martyr’s sign; white the vane of peace and truth and innocence. Thus the Church indicates by the choice of this color on the eighth day, that at the termination of their course of martyrdom these little ones obtain the heavenly reward of innocence; they are virgins that have passed through the purifying process of a singular baptism by blood … white and red commingled mark the color of our little Innocents in fair, scarce-blushing rose."

Many other sources (e.g. Matters Liturgical, the Catholic Encyclopedia, the 8th Edition of the Baltimore Ceremonial, etc) just refer to the Octave Day of Holy Innocents as a day with red vestments, in contrast to the pre-1955 rubrics which prescribe violet for their December 28th feastday. 


O God, whose praise the martyred Innocents on this day confessed, not by speaking, but by dying, destroy all the evils of sin in us, that our life also may proclaim in deeds, thy faith which our tongues profess. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

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