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Friday, December 14, 2018
Ember Days of Advent: Mark Your Calendars
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Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. 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 partial abstinence.

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

Ember Days this December: 19, 21, & 22

From New Advent:

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

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

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.
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Monday, December 10, 2018
2019 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion
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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 CatechismClass.com.  Whether you are looking for godparent preparation courses, Sacramental preparation for your children, or just to better learn the Faith as an adult, CatechismClass.com has courses for all ages and walks of life.  Check out CatechismClass.com's affordable programs and make it a resolution in 2018 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!

Support

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.

paypal.me/MPlese
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Saturday, December 1, 2018
First Saturday of December
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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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