Monday, December 31, 2018
2019 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion

UPDATE (January 13, 2019, at 9:20 AM CST): The final 2019 Saint for the Year Drawing has now taken place and all results are now below. Thank you for all 375 people who participated. Sadly only 5 people have donated to this project which takes hours to prepare for and hours more to conduct. I hope though that everyone through this grows in grace, invokes their patron often in 2019, and makes ever great spiritual progress. To those who wish to contribute, please send in a donation below and leave any comments on what you get out of this devotion in the comments box. God bless!

UPDATE (January 7, 2019, at 11:50 AM CST): The next Saint for the Year Drawing has now taken place and all results are now below. On additional drawing will take place next Sunday on the 13th so you may still sign up if you haven't yet.  Also, for anyone looking for a prayer to your saint, you may always use the Prayer to Venerate Any Saint.

UPDATE (January 1, 2019, at 1:10 PM CST): The Saint for the Year Drawing has now taken place.  Unlike some sites that offer a similar devotion, my devotion is manually done. In a single jar I have likely around 1,000 saints name and these are drawn for you after the High Mass said for the Octave Day of Christmas. As the drawing occurs, I pray the Litany of Saints (and continue to repeat it until all names are drawn).  The saint names on paper are also blessed with Holy Water and/or Blessed Salt prior to the drawing. 

My devotion does not skew to modern saints, saints whose names we all know, or even saints celebrated on the traditional calendar. I include all canonized saints so you will likely see many names here you don't recognize.  Spend the time to learn about these holy men and women!

Please note, overseeing this devotion is very time intensive and as of yet none of the 315 names submitted has donated to help support this initiative. If you find this devotion helpful and would like to support A Catholic Life in the next year, please submit a donation.  Your donation is especially important since I am not currently working professionally aside from my writing/speaking/catechesis work so the donation is quite helpful to me and to this blog.

It is my hope that you will pray to your special patron this year, remember them on their feast day, and invoke their intercession. As mentioned in my post on the devotion, this takes up considerable time for me each year so thank you for those who have (or will) donate a small donation (even $5 - $10) for all of the time involved. Unfortunately, if few people donate I likely won't be able to continue to do this devotion in future years.

Please join me in praying the Litany of Saints and asking for a holy 2019 for all of us. For my own listing of the saints, please click here to learn more about the saints.

Lastly, those who would still like to participate may leave names in the comments box. There will be two remaining drawings: one on January 6th (Feast of the Epiphany) and the following Sunday of January 13th (Octave Day of the Epiphany).

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 2019 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion.

SPONSOR: This Devotion is being sponsored this year by  Whether you are looking for godparent preparation courses, Sacramental preparation for your children, or just to better learn the Faith as an adult, has courses for all ages and walks of life.  Check out's affordable programs and make it a resolution in 2019 to learn and live the Faith better than ever before.

You can read about the past devotions at the following posts:
Again, I would like to take a few minutes to explain the devotion.

When will the saints be drawn?  This year I will start the drawing of saints on the Octave Day of Christmas after the morning's Solemn High Mass and after the recitation of both the Veni Creator Spiritus and the Litany of Saints.  Drawings will occur as the Litany of Saints are again recited.  That means results will likely be posted in the early afternoon (US Pacific Time) on January 1st.

How do I enter?  Just add the names of everyone (you and your family) that you want to be included in the drawing in the comment box below.  DO NOT also email them to me.  Please leave all entries here in the comment box.

This year, saints will be posted here after the drawing is complete.

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 screen name 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.

So, 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.  Anonymous requests without names or initials will NOT be part of the drawing.  Do not add the same request more than once.  If your comment is posted below, it will count.

Note: DO NOT email me your entries.  Leave all submissions here in the comments box.

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

Results of the Drawing

Name Saint
Jay St. Thomas the Apostle
Kelly Blessed Jane of Aza
Emily St. Gabriel Lalemant
Kyla St. Adelaide of Italy
Suzanne St. Leudwinus
Sue St. Tironensian Order
Missy St. Anthony of Egypt
John Blessed Augustine Novello
Joe Blessed John of Fiesole
Jen St. Sigo
Josh St. Rhipsime
Joan St. Padre Pio
Matthew W St. Anthony of Padua
Anna S St. Ava of Denain
Natalia S St. Theophilus of Corte
Sergei S St. Jan Sarkander
Diane W St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti
Chris W Blessed Basil Hopko
Mark W St. Crispin
Michelle W Blessed James Salomonio
Michael W St. Marcellus I
Rick St. Quadratus of Herbipolis
Theresa (Terry) St. Agatha
Nicole Blessed Alvarez
Gary St. Quintian of Rodez
Brandon St. Gosbert of Osnabruck
Brynn Blessed Andre Duliou
Baby to be born in May St. Walric
Kristin  St. Cecelia
Jim St. Richard of Vaucelles
Stephen St. Ioannes Pak Hu-jae
Michael St. Dominic de Guzman
Kelsey St. Vitus
Douglas Pope St. Silverius
Michelle Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta
Shaun St. Theophilus of Corte
Stephanie St. Hilarion
Christina St. Martha
Bryan Blessed Aaron of Cracow
Gianna Blessed Columba
Leilani St. Nonno of Porto Romano
Dominic Pope St. Linus
Madison Blessed Robert
Darla St. Anthony Zaccaria
Jeff St. Leudadd of Bardsey
Garrison St. Jeanne-Marie de Maille
Alex St. Albert the Great
Lucas Blessed John of Salerno
Kiora St. Bernadette Soubirous
Carolyn St. Timothy
Joseph St. Cecelia
Kathryn St. Phililp the Apostle
Laura L. St. Crispin
Gordon L. St. Adelbert
Dorothea T. St. Joan Elizabeth Bichier des Ages
Matthew L. St. Anselm of Canterbury
Ben E. Blessed John Liccio
Jeannie E. St. Adelbert
Felicity E. St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
Sarah E. St. Jeanne de Lestonnac
Veronica E. St. Wenceslaus
Joseph E. St. Mary Magdalene
Patricia R. St. Simeon, Bishop and Martyr
Monica M. St. Adelaide of Italy
Michael Patrick M. St. Bartholomew
Robert James M. St. Pretextatus
Diane S. St. Hitto of Saint-Gaul
Kellen M. Blessed Guillaume-Nicolas-Louis Laclerq
Shannon L. Blessed Francis de Posadas
Baby L. The Seven Holy Brothers
jmr1979 St. Ennodius
Katie St. Peter Chanel
Bob Blessed Sadoc and Companions
Elizabeth L. St. Thomas Aquinas
Barbara B. St. Sigo
Kim L. Blessed John Liccio
Michelle D. Blessed Andrew of Peschiera
Janine D St. Ennodius
Kyle D St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
William T. Blessed Sadoc and Companions
Julie T. St. Rita of Cascia
Blake T. Blessed John of Fiesole
Scott T. St. Hitto of Saint-Gaul
Ruth S. St. Crispin
Ryan Blessed Robert
Jeremy St. Adelin of Seez
Debbie Blessed Giles of Assisi
Cathleen St. Raymond of Toulouse
Tim W St. Sylvester
Jeffrey D St. Simeon-Francois Berneux
Michael D Blessed Jane of Portugal
Francis D Blessed William Andleby
Nicholas D St. Hilary of Poitiers
Dominic D Holy Maccabees
Peter D St. Louise de Marillac
Andrew D St. Joseph of Leonissa
Max D St. Maturus the Novice
James D St. Jane Frances de Chantal
Mason C Blessed Diana
Griffin C St. Alena
Elijah C St. Maurice
Isaac C St. Lambert of Vence
Nathan B St. Boniface
Dominic B Blessed Stephana
Kathy R St. Colman
Lois F. St. Crescentianus
Harry Tucci St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza
Isabella Tucci St. Maurice
Flikie St. William of Pontoise
Lucy D St. Peter of Juilly
Gemma D  St. Patrick
Anne D Blessed Gonsalvo
Sarah K. St. Joseph of Leonissa
Ruth K.  St. Julie Billiart
John K. St. Catherine of Genoa
Rachel D. Blessed Augustine of Biella
Ralph D. St. Germana
Maggie D. St. Ceollach
Muriella A. St. Facundinus of Taino
Alexander Our Lady of Carmel of the Maipu
Mary K. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
Mark K. St. Polycarp
Mary Ann St. Bruno
Lorny St. Titus
Gary St. Louis Gabriel Taurin Dufresse
Sheila St. Norbert
Joe St. John of Bridlington
Steve St. Patroclus of Troyes
Chris St. Prosper of Aquitaine
Parker St. Sigo
Sara St. Raymond of Barbastro
Brian Blessed Odo of Beauvais
Brandon St. Anthony of Padua
Shauna St. Catherine of Genoa
Nicholas Blessed Dalmatius
Levi St. John Nepomucene Neumann
Milo St. Simon of Lipnica
Josemaria Paulo Carvalho-Von Verster  St. Pierre Dumoulin-Borie
Christina St. Padre Pio
Susan M St. Nicholas of Myra
Richard M St. Louis Gabriel Taurin Dufresse
Gregory M St. Valentine of Rome
Frederick M St. Claudian of Perga
Chad M St. Iraenaus of Lyons
LK St. Cosmas
TK St. John Bosco
GAH St. Edward the King
SF St. Tironensian Order
CR St. Emily de Vialar
JT Blessed Francis de Capillas
FBA St. Jerome
SMA St. Guarinus of Sitten
CGA St. Padre Pio
Brandon Blessed Diana
Rachel St. Paulinus of Trier
Sydnie St. Juliana Falconieri
Kalab St. Therese of Lisieux
Fred Blessed Josefa Naval Girbes
Elaine Blessed James Benefatti
Sandy St. Juan Diego
Dick Blessed Matthew Carrieri
Dave St. Augustine of Canterbury
Robert Pope St. Silverius
Sue Anne St. Clare
Autumn St. Venant de Viviers
Abbie St. Benedict Joseph Labre
Austin St. Rosa Venerini
Trey St. Aymard of Cluny
Kierra St. Giusta de Sardegna
Liam St. Charles Garnier
Lincoln St. Agatha
Leah Blessed Odo of Beauvais
Lilly St. Juliana of Nicomedia
Jean St. Wenceslaus
Patrick St. Conon, Bishop of the Isle of Man
Michele St. Juan Diego
Amelia St. Frances of Rome
Fiona St. Charles Borromeo
Isabella St. Stanislaus Kostka
Patrick Gerard St. Emily de Vialar
Timothy St. Joseph Marchand
Michael St. Ebontius
Mary Ellen St. Prosper of Aquitaine
Dylan Holy Maccabees
Francesco St. Andrew Fournet
Mary Blessed Margaret of Costello
Kristine Blessed Marcolino
Joey V St. Iraenaus of Lyons
Sean G St. William of Pontoise
Elizabeth "Lisa" B. St. Aloysius Gonzaga
Marian E. St. Florentius of Carracedo
Kim St. Poemus of Membressa
Danny Blessed James of Voragine
Aaron St. Gregory of Nyssa
Sharra Blessed Aimo
Andrew Blessed Frances Gil
Stormy St. Dogmael of Wales
Francesca Jameelah St. Basil the Great
Cindy Blessed Andre de Soveral
Dustin St. Hugh of Novara
Lila St. Kevoca of Kyle
Hailey St. Raymond of Barbastro
MC St. Guido Maria Conforti
AC St. Elzear of Sabran
Michael B St. Patroclus of Troyes
Matthew B St. James the Greater
Max B St. Rigobert of Rheims
Bruce B Blessed Stephana
Joyce B St. Noel Chabanel
Jennifer B St. Antoine Daniel
Kevin B St. Petroc
Tony B Blessed Odo of Beauvais
Janet B Blessed Andrew of Peschiera
Linda Q St. John of God
BEM family St. Theodore Guerin
MS Blessed Filip Geryluk
RS St. Acius of Amiens
JC St. Anastasius
Heidi M. St. Nazarius the abbot
Kaytlyn M.  St. Poemus of Membressa
Sara G. St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier
Bernadette F. Blessed Terence
Heather S. St. Ansgar
Melani T. St. Josemaria Escriva
Cynthia S. St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Anna  St. Vincent of Saragossa
Meg  St. Joseph, the foster Father of Jesus Christ
Catherine St. Nazarius of Rome
Katie St. Athanasius
Brandon Blessed Alphonsus and Companions
Amy St. Adelelmus of Flanders
Jocelyn St. Polycarp
Glenna Blessed Chiara Badano
David St. Filippo Smaldone
Madalena Blessed Dalmatius
Kevin Our Lady of Fatima
ABG St. Hugh of Novara
VBG St. Chrysanthus
JJL St. James the Greater
JSL St. Pretextatus
AMBG St. Maximilian Kolbe
JLG St. Agatha
Roman St. Augustin Schoeffler
Valerie V Blessed James Benefatti
Olindo V St. Charles of St. Andrews
Katie V St. Guido Maria Conforti
Richard V Blessed Francis de Posadas
Sara V  St. Magloire
Violet V St. Laurent-Joseph-Marius Imbert
SRN St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
GAN St. Anthony of Egypt
AJN St. Augustin Schoeffler
JMN St. Adelelmus of Flanders
Ronald F Blessed Francis Gil
Joan F Blessed Francis de Capillas
George Fincik St. Floribert of Liege
Mark Angelo St. Phililp the Apostle
Jenna S Blessed James of Bevagna
Christine Mac St. Maruontus
Robert Mac Blessed William Andleby
Casey Mac St. Bernard of Thiron
Colin Mac St. Mary Magdalene
Steven P. St. Domnin
Brian P. St. Theodosius of Antioch
Sr. Eva DiC. St. Alexander of Jerusalem
Joseph DiC. St. Crescentianus
Joseph P. McC. St. Fabiola of Rome
AnnMarie St. Martin de Porres
maribeth santos St. Clotsindis of Marchiennes
Jan B Blessed James Salomonio
Dennis T St. Baldwin of Rieti
Joan T St. Bernadette Soubirous
Charis favour St. Joan of Arc
Christopher Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau
Teresa Blessed Odo of Beauvais
Marie St. Aloysius Gonzaga
Christine St. Anthony Zaccaria
Joshua St. Projectus
Noah Blessed Francis Gil
The Rohlena family St. Anthony of Padua
Helen Bruni  Blessed Anthony della Chiesa
Katharine St. Bede the Venerable
Terry St. Poemus of Membressa
Katharine St. Theodosius of Antioch
Gemma Pope St. Sixtus II
Paul St. John Bosco
Jenny St. Jean-Louis Bonnard
Gemma St. Matthias
Amy Blessed James of Bevagna
Mia St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
Charlotte St. Sebastian of Aparico
Mark St. Anthony of Egypt
Alfie Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau
Jovita Blessed Jane of Portugal
Katharine O'Brien St. Joan of Arc
Daniel St. Charles of St. Andrews
Amy St. Aloysius Gonzaga
Elaine Blessed Filip Geryluk
Graham St. Peter Chanel
Andy M St. Giles
Maryann Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio
Steve S Blessed Columba
Jill  St. Benedict
Steve St. Dominic Savio
Erica Blessed Aaron of Cracow
Dean St. Alexis Falconieri
Chelsea S St. Julian the Hospitaller
Judy St. Joan of France
David St. Paul Miki
Deanna  St. Hilary of Poitiers
Larry St. Auspicius of Toul
Kaitlyn St. Rita of Cascia
Jordan St. Vincent de Paul
Jamie St. John Cantius
David  St. Ambrose
Xavier D Blessed Dominik Trcka
Jacob D Blessed Julia Rodzinska
PATRICE  St. Richard of Vaucelles
RAYMOND Pope St. Telesphorus
SAM L St. Auspicius of Trier
KELLY S Blessed Augustine of Biella
JENNIFER  Blessed Margaret of Costello
"THAT ONE DUDE"  St. Francis of Assisi
ALLISON  St. Leudwinus
SARAH  St. Kiaran
LAUREN  St. Catherine of Siena
COREY St. Prosper of Aquitaine
RILEIGH  St. Aderald
AMIERA Blessed John of Fiesole
GIOVANNI  St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti
FRANNIE St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza
Jimmy W.  St. Guido Maria Conforti
Carolyn W.  St. Gundenis of Carthage
Andy B.  St. Kevoca of Kyle
John St. Peter Fourier
Kathy St. Cajetan
Mary St. Augustin Schoeffler
Adam Pope St. Anacletus
David St. Jeanne-Marie de Maille
Mary Anne St. Scholastica
Jane St. Francis of Assisi
Thomas St. Hugh of Novara
Daniel Blessed Marie
Lucy St. Colette of Corbie
Monica St. Catherine of Siena
Nick St. Gordian
Peter St. Caldeoldus of Vienne
Claire St. Willibald
Lily St. Bernadette Soubirous
Susie St. Barnabas
Baby #3 Blessed Margaret of Savoy
Jim St. Alexis Falconieri
Rebecca  St. Paul of the Cross
Johnny D St. Joan of France
Debbie St. Henry II
Joe St. Francis of Assisi
Thomas St. Auspicius of Toul
David St. Januarius
Stephanie St. Marie of the Incarnation
Veronica A St. Leudwinus
Kristen A St. Damien of Molokai
Roman B Blessed Bartholomew of Vincenza
Louise T.M St. Gregory of Tours
Jeffrey A.M St. Titus
Joshua J.M St. Fugatius the Missionary
Addie M. Blessed Andrew of Peschiera
Mischa M St. Rhipsime
Hannah Sofia M St. Nicholas of Myra
Jessica N St. Joseph of Leonissa
BN St. Frances Cabrini
Hannah K St. Filippo Smaldone
Young K St. Leontius
K Family St. Adelaide of Italy
TD St. Magnus of Fossombrone


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.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Can A Priest Hear My Confession at an Airport or on a Cruise Ship?

For most Catholics, our encounters with the Sacrament of Penance are in a confessional.  But can you ask a priest who is passing through an airport or walking down the street to hear your confession?

Question: May I ask a priest in a public place like an airport to hear my confession?

The Sacrament of Confession is ordained by God as the means by which mortal sins performed after Baptism are forgiven.  A Catholic may not "pray to God himself" as some falsely allege - our Lord Jesus Christ in His order for the world instituted the Sacrament and gave the power to forgive sins to priests to exercise in His name (cf. John 20:21-23).  He never told a single soul to pray directly to Him for forgiveness; rather, He respected the order He instituted - it was our Lord Himself who after curing the lepers told them, "Go, show yourselves to the priest" (Luke 17:14).

The Sacrament of Confession requires proper form and matter.  The matter for the validity of the Sacrament is threefold: 1) a contrite heart of a sinner who intends to amend his life, 2) confession of all mortal sins in number and kind since one's last valid Sacramental Confession, and 3) the intent to carry out the penance prescribed (cf. Canon 4 of Fourteenth Session of the Council of Trent).

The form is the exactly worded formula of absolution: "God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit."

Furthermore, the Sacrament of Confession requires a validly ordained Catholic priest who possesses the faculties to forgive sins in the name of Christ Himself. For this matter, it is helpful to turn to the Code of Canon law which will also provide us an answer to our original question.
Can.  965 A priest alone is the minister of the sacrament of penance. 
Can.  966 §1. The valid absolution of sins requires that the minister have, in addition to the power of orders, the faculty of exercising it for the faithful to whom he imparts absolution. 
§2. A priest can be given this faculty either by the law itself or by a grant made by the competent authority according to the norm of ⇒ can. 969. 
Can.  967 §1. In addition to the Roman Pontiff, cardinals have the faculty of hearing the confessions of the Christian faithful everywhere in the world by the law itself. Bishops likewise have this faculty and use it licitly everywhere unless the diocesan bishop has denied it in a particular case. 
§2. Those who possess the faculty of hearing confessions habitually whether by virtue of office or by virtue of the grant of an ordinary of the place of incardination or of the place in which they have a domicile can exercise that faculty everywhere unless the local ordinary has denied it in a particular case, without prejudice to the prescripts of ⇒ can. 974, §§2 and 3. 
§3. Those who are provided with the faculty of hearing confessions by reason of office or grant of a competent superior according to the norm of cann. ⇒ 968, §2 and ⇒ 969, §2 possess the same faculty everywhere by the law itself as regards members and others living day and night in the house of the institute or society; they also use the faculty licitly unless some major superior has denied it in a particular case as regards his own subjects.
And thus, we come to our answer which is addressed in Canon 967.2. A priest who possesses the faculty to hear confessions habitually, by virtue of his office or by grant of his ordinary can validly hear confessions anywhere unless expressly denied by the ordinary of the place. This is not done, at least I have never heard of it being done. So yes, a priest with faculties to hear confessions can hear them anywhere - at the airport while he is passing through, while on vacation, while on a cruise ship, etc.

Do not delay and allow thoughts of "does the priest have permission to hear my confession" enter into your mind.  If you need to avail yourself of this Sacrament, do not delay!
The Inseparable Bond between the Annunciation and Christmas

Guest Post By David Martin

The Feast of Christmas is a sublime mystery that radiates throughout the earth each year unto the edification of many. To think that the Creator of all things was born into the world as man!

Yet there is still a greater mystery, and that is that the Creator assumed human flesh and became man. This occurred, not when Christ was born, but upon the Blessed Virgin's “fiat” after the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the Mother of God. It was then that the Holy Ghost miraculously engendered Christ in the womb of Mary, who had never nor would ever know man corporeally.

The Mystical City of God by Venerable Mary of Agreda, which has the backing of five centuries of popes, provides a beautiful insight as to what occurred in Mary's soul immediately after the Archangel entered her chamber and announced that she would bring the Son of God into the world.

Her most pure heart, as it were by natural consequence, was contracted and compressed with such force, that it distilled three drops of her most pure blood, and these, finding their way to the natural place for the act of conception, were formed by the power of the Divine and Holy Spirit, into the Body of Christ Our Lord. Thus the matter, from which the most holy humanity of the Word for our Redemption is composed, was furnished and administered by the most pure heart of Mary and through the sheer force of her true love. At the same moment, with a humility never sufficiently to be extolled, inclining slightly her head and joining her hands, She pronounced these words, which were the beginning of our salvation: "Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum" (Luke 1:31).  
At the pronouncing of this "fiat," so sweet to the hearing of God and so fortunate for us, in one instant, four things happened. First, the most holy Body of Christ Our Lord was formed from the three drops of blood furnished by the heart of most holy Mary. Secondly, the most holy Soul of the same Lord was created, just as the other souls. Thirdly, the Soul and the Body united in order to compose His perfect humanity. Fourthly, the Divinity united Itself in the Person of the Word with the humanity, which together became one composite being in hypostatic union; and thus was formed Christ true God and Man, Our Lord and Redeemer. This happened in springtime on the twenty-fifth of March, at break or dawning of the day, in the same hour, in which our first father Adam was made.
One has to wonder if maybe the Feast of the Annunciation will one day be raised to the same solemnity as Christmas, whereupon it too would be a holy day of obligation. At a time when pro-life vs. pro-death is becoming the big issue on earth, this would serve mightily to remind people that life begins when we are conceived, not when we are born.

And too, it would add another star in Our Lady's crown in that it would cause people to take a closer look at this infallible Church teaching concerning how Holy Ghost engendered Christ in the Blessed Virgin without the aid of man. It would place the spotlight right on the miracle!

This no doubt would shed increased light on why Catholics Hail Mary, since it was through the Archangel's salutation to Mary—"Hail, full of grace" (Luke 1:28)—that God opened up the story of man's redemption. This plan for man’s redemption would have never been fulfilled had Mary not consented to God’s proposal.

For she was preordained from the beginning of time to be that spotless receptacle through whom the Messiah was to be channeled into the world. Her predestined role was set in motion when she said "Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum."

It is an error to think that God would have chosen another woman to birth the Messiah had Mary said no to God. In the same way that God did not choose another Eve after her fall, neither would He have chosen another Mary had she declined from assisting the Almighty. Mary was the second Eve who reversed the mistake of the first Eve, thus opening the way for man's salvation. And how interesting to note that Ave providentially is Eva spelled backwards!

Hence we are indebted to Mary. Like the shepherds who "came with haste" and "found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger" (Luke 2:16), we too must approach Our Lady if we ever expect to see her Son. For it is Mary who brings Christ to man, without whom we will never know Christ. For God has given her complete custody over the children of earth. If Mary doesn't show us her Son, who will?

Our reflection on the mystery of the Annunciation should serve to deepen our reflection on the mystery of Christmas, whereby we understand that it concerns Mary's divine motherhood. After all, who do we congratulate at a baby shower, the mother or the child? And whereas we indeed congratulate and prostrate ourselves before the Christ Child at Christmas, we may not leave the mother out of the picture, for it is her Son Whom we celebrate at Christmas. Like the shepherds who came in haste, we too must ask Mary's permission to see her Son, which if we do, we will be given the necessary grace to know who Christ truly is. 

Monday, December 24, 2018
Traditional Blessing of a Christmas Tree Pre-Vatican II

The Christmas tree represents the Tree of Life in the Garden of Paradise. But that tree was but a figure of the true Tree of Life which it foreshadowed--the Tree of the Cross upon which Our Lord Jesus Christ Redeemed us by His Death, and obtained for us the life of supernatural grace. Thus, our Christmas tree is also a symbol of Christ Himself, Who hung upon the Cross for love of us. The ornaments and decorations which we place upon the tree represent our acts of love, prayer, and sacrifice, by which our souls are adorned with the beauties of Divine Grace, merited for us by Our Divine Lord upon the Cross. The bright lights shining upon the tree represent Christ as the Light and Life of the whole world. Finally, the gleaming star on top of the tree is a reminder of the Star of Bethlehem, guiding the Three Holy Kings to the stable cave. This radiant star is also a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who as the Mother given to us from the Cross--the Tree of Life--by our Savior Himself, guides weary mankind to the foot of the manger, wherein lies her Divine Son, the Light of the World, and the Lord and Savior of all mankind.

Traditional Blessing of a Christmas Tree Pre-Vatican II (1955):

Sometime during the evening of December 24th, the Father or other head of the family [Leader:] blesses the Christmas Tree after it has been decorated.  It will be lit during the Blessing.  The others [All:] make the responses.

[Leader:]  O God, come to my assistance.

[All:] O Lord, make haste to help me. 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.

[Leader:] Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for He comes.

Psalm 95
"Cantáte Dómino cánticum novum"

1. Sing to the Lord a new song; * sing to the Lord, all you lands.

2. Sing to the Lord; bless His name; * announce His salvation, day after day.

1. Tell His glory among the nations; * among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.

2. For great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; * awesome is He beyond all gods.

1. For all the gods of the nations are things of nought, * but the Lord made the heavens.

2. Splendor and majesty go before Him; * praise and grandeur are in His sanctuary.

1. Give to the Lord, you families of nations, give to the Lord glory and praise; * give to the Lord the glory due His name!

2. Bring gifts, and enter His courts; * worship the Lord in holy attire.

1. Tremble before Him, all the earth; * say among the nations: The Lord is king.

2. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; * He governs the peoples with equity.

1. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; * let the plains be joyful, and all that is in them!

2. Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for He comes; * for He comes to rule the earth.

1. He shall rule the world with justice * and the peoples with His constancy.

2. Glory be to the Father and to the Son * and to the Holy Ghost.

1. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.

[Leader:] Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for He comes.

[Reader:] A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah:
Thus saith the Lord: The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice and shall flourish like the lily. It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it: the beauty of Carmel and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord and the beauty of our God. Now, O Lord, on us have mercy.

[All:] Thanks be to God.

[Leader:] And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse.

[All:] And a flower shall rise up out of his root.

[Leader:] O Lord, hear my prayer.

[All:] And let my cry come to Thee.

[Leader:] Let us pray. O God, who hast made this most holy night to shine forth with the brightness of the True Light, deign to bless this tree (the tree is sprinkled with holy water) which we adorn with lights in honor of Him who has come to enlighten us who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. (The tree is lit.) And grant that we upon whom is poured the new light of Thy Word made flesh may show forth in our actions that which by faith shines in our minds. Through Christ our Lord.

[All:] Amen. 

Adapted from Elsa Chaney, The Twelve Days of Christmas (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1955) pp. 43-45, Imprimatur: +Peter W. Bartholome, DD, Archbishop of Saint Cloud.
Friday, December 14, 2018
Ember Days of Advent: Mark Your Calendars

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

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

Ember Days this December: 19, 21, and 22

From Angelus Press Daily Missal:
At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: after the First Sunday of Lent for spring, after Pentecost Sunday for summer, after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14th September) for autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for winter. They are intended, too, to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Ordinations generally take place on the Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good priests. The Ember Days were until c. 1960 fastdays of obligation.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
First Saturday of December

On Saturdays, Catholics traditionally have taken part in the "First Saturdays Devotion" which entails going to Mass and receiving Communion for the first Saturday of the month for 5 consecutive months in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This devotion is not to be confused with the First Friday's Devotion, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On July 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved and granted indulgences for the practice of the First Saturdays of twelve consecutive months in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The First Saturday Devotion did not originate as part of the apparitions of our Blessed Lady in Fatima, but the devotion did quickly spread further following our Lady's series of appearances to the three shepherd children in 1917.

Our Blessed Lady's words to Sr. Lucia at Fatima:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. 
The First Saturday Devotion consists of offering the First Saturday of the month for five consecutive months in reparation for the many and grievous sins committed in our world. A further explanation of our Lady's request is below:
  • You must go to the Sacrament of Confession. Your reception of the Sacrament may be 8 days before the Saturday as long as you stay in a state of grace.
  • You must receive the Holy Eucharist and as always, it must be in the state of grace or risk the most grievous sin of sacrilege
  • You must pray 5 decades of the Holy Rosary of our Lady, including the Fatima Prayer.
  • Finally, the last requirement consist of "keeping Mary company" for 15 minutes while meditating on all of the Mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to her. This can be done by reading Scripture or other writings relevant to the Mysteries, meditating on pictures of the Mysteries, or simple meditation. Materials for meditation and education on each of the Rosary mysteries is available online.


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