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Reflections and insights on building a rich spirituality and cultural identity by the following the Liturgical Year.

Cosmas, Damian and Saints of the Canon by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Friday

September 26 is the combined optional memorial of Cosmas and Damian, two saints of the Roman Canon (or Eucharistic Prayer I). Although not much is known about these twin brothers, there is much to be learned from contemplating their feast. Medical Missionaries Cosmas' and Damian's...

Contemporary Observation of Ember Days by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Sep 23, 2014

Even Catholics who lived before Vatican Council II would say that Ember Days are one of the most confusing Catholic practices. Ember Days are an extension of our agrarian roots, but were usually seen merely as fast and abstinence days on the calendar. Most Catholics born after 1965 typically have...

The Week in the Shadow of the Exalted Cross by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Sep 14, 2014

Beginning with Sunday, this week unfolds a mosaic of feast days that all relate to the cross of Christ and refer back to Sunday's feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Sunday, or the "Lord's day" is the "primordial feast" and "basis and center of the liturgical...

Most Holy Name of Mary: What's In a Name? by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Sep 11, 2014

September 12 marks the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a few days following the Memorial of her Nativity. This feast is the counterpart of the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Honoring the Holy Name of Mary as a feast was originally established...

The Nativity of Mary: Family and Birthday Blessings by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Sep 7, 2014

The feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary continues Our Lady's Thirty Days which began on the feast of the Assumption. This feast is the last of the Church's celebration of earthly birthdays celebrated in the Liturgical Year, the other two being the Birth of John the Baptist and...

Feastday Highlights: The Familial Example of Sts. Monica and Augustine by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 26, 2014

As August closes, we celebrate back-to-back memorials of famous mother and son, St. Monica and St. Augustine of Hippo. Here are some more "family feasts" for my family, as the 28th is my parents' wedding anniversary. Saints Monica and Augustine became the special intercessors for my...

St. Pius X: Restoring All Things in Christ by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 21, 2014

August 21 marks the hundredth anniversary of the death of Pope St. Pius X, who reigned from 1903 to 1914. When I think of St. Pius X, there are notables from his papacy that come to mind: the changing the age of reception of First Communion from 12 or 14 to the age of reason, around the age of 7...

Feastday Highlights: The Queenship of Mary by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 19, 2014

The Queenship of Mary on August 22nd is a title of Mary that is more difficult to grasp in this more "democratic" era. Most queens around the world are ceremonial and symbolic and do not rule a county. Revisionist history presents most queens as corrupt or power-hungry. The Blessed...

Feastday Highlights: The Assumption by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 13, 2014

The month of August has only one solemnity, and it is also a Holy day of Obligation: August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul into heaven. This feast has the juxtaposition of being one of the oldest feasts of Mary dating back to the sixth century but...

Restoring a Catholic Culture through Liturgical Cooking: Early August Thoughts by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 8, 2014

I'm currently reading Eternity in Time: Christopher Dawson and the Catholic Idea of History edited by Stratford Caldecott and John Morrill. It is a collection of essays by various authors honoring Christopher Dawson's life and work as a Catholic historian. Throughout the...

Feastday Highlights: The Transfiguration by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 5, 2014

Interspersed throughout the Season of the Year (Ordinary Time) are feasts of Our Lord that are not directly connected to the Temporal Cycle, but integrated in the Sanctoral Cycle. There are two cycles within the Liturgical Year, Temporal (or Proper of Time) and Sanctoral. The Temporal Cycle...

Sts. Anne and Joachim: Our Family Support by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jul 25, 2014

Many years ago as a small infant I became a member of the Catholic Church, baptized as "Jennifer Ann" in St. Anne Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. Being named after the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus always felt as a special privilege. As time has...

Mary and Martha and our Place in Bethany by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jul 22, 2014

I had not planned a vacation, but the past couple of weeks became a vacation by default with health concerns and funerals and family events. I hope to be back more in the swing of writing, especially as the Church celebrates some of my favorite saints at the end of July. Within a week we...

St. Benedict's Far-Reaching Impact by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jul 10, 2014

After a June full of multiple solemnities, July takes a bit of a respite from multiple high feasts. The Sundays and the two feasts of apostles (Thomas and James) are the highest feast days. The rest of the month sets the rhythm of Tempus per Annum or Season of the Year or Ordinary Time (discussed...

Feastday Highlights: the Hearts of Jesus and Mary by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 27, 2014

The final weeks of June are full of multiple feasts, including several solemnities. If you are one for adding dessert to celebrate special feast days, this time can be hard on the waistline! We end this week with the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus which falls the third Friday after...

Mid-Summer Feasting: The Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 22, 2014

Merry Christmas! I know it’s not December, but June 24, Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, is often referred to as “Summer Christmas” because it is exactly six months from Christmas. The cult of St. John the Baptist, the Precursor of Christ is very ancient, which...

Feastday Highlights: Corpus Christi by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 20, 2014

The Thursday (or Sunday in the United States) following the feast of the Holy Trinity is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Latin title Corporis et Sanguinis Christi). This feast is traditionally referred to as Corpus Christi, as there were originally two separate feast days,...

Feastday Highlights: St. Anthony of Padua by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 12, 2014

June 13th is the memorial of St. Anthony of Padua. Although Portuguese by birth, he is also (unfortunately?) "adopted" by the Italians and a special saint of the Franciscan order. Nicknamed the "Wonder Worker of Padua," St. Anthony is most known for the prayers and miracles...

Return to Tempus Per Annum or Ordinary Time by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 11, 2014

On Sunday we celebrated the end of the Easter Season with the Solemnity of Pentecost. The reorganization of the Liturgical Calendar in 1969 removed the octave, so the day after Pentecost we entered into Tempus per Annum or Ordinary Time, also known as "Time after Pentecost" in the 1962...

The Solemnity of Pentecost by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 6, 2014

Since the feast of the Ascension, the Church has been liturgically preparing for Pentecost. The universal Church is back to her regularly scheduled program, with all the Church celebrating the same liturgy, unlike the Ascension week. The Solemnity of Pentecost is the birthday of the...

Feastday Highlights: The Visitation by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 30, 2014

The Church closes the month dedicated to Our Lady with the Feast of the Visitation falling on the last day of May. This feast celebrates the events described in Luke 1:39-56, with the Blessed Virgin Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth after the Annunciation. The feast arose from medieval times,...

The Solemnity of the Ascension: The Feast Who Was Thursday by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 27, 2014

The sixth week of Easter and the Seventh Sunday of Easter is a liturgical time with a bit of an identity crisis. This week was often referred to as Rogation Week before the revision of the calendar in 1969, and the Solemnity of the Ascension is traditionally celebrated on Thursday. But much of...

The Hound of Heaven Never Rests by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 15, 2014

Stories of conversion or reversion to Catholicism are very captivating. I love to read how God works His grace and unfolds His plan; we are seeing the Hound of Heaven in active pursuit. I respect those who make those big leaps of faith and answer God's call. I often wonder if I would be able...

St. Isidore the Farmer and Rogation Days by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 14, 2014

Of all the saints on the calendar, St. Isidore the Farmer ranks as one of my favorite saints. (I can rarely narrow down to only one favorite, but I will say he is included in my "Top 10".) I'd like to have a garden statue dedicated to St. Isidore. I've only seen St. Francis and...

Laying the Foundation: The Little Oratory by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 9, 2014

The family is the root of society, and a miniature reflection of the Mystical Body, the family of God. We can all agree there is a crumbling of the traditional family. Oftentimes the family is isolated, no longer having the support system of grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins or even...

May: The Month of Mary by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 6, 2014

I must confess that even though I have been a practicing Catholic all my life, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary has never come easily to me. Growing up our family always practiced devotion to Mary in various ways. We would daily pray five decades of the rosary, wear the Brown Scapular, pray...

Easter: Fifty Days of Rejoicing by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 22, 2014

The Lord has risen from the dead, as he said; let us all exult and rejoice, for he reigns for all eternity, alleluia. (Entrance Antiphon, Monday within the Octave of Easter) After Lent's forty days of preparation for Easter, it would be anticlimatic to celebrate the feast of...

Mandatum: Love One Another by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 17, 2014

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed...

Holy Week Preparation by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 9, 2014

Holy Week is one of the busiest weeks of the year for our family. Preparing for Christmas, especially when we have to plan celebrations for both sides of the family and possible travel is also busy, but it never reaches the level of planning as Holy Week. I think the main difference is that we are...

Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 4, 2014

I don't keep a written bucket list, but I do have a mental list of things I would like to do some day (with most of the restrictions being lack of funds). One item on the list is to travel to Rome with my family. I have been been blessed to have visited Rome twice, the second time with my...

Mid-Lent: Technology Helps To Avoid the Slump by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 1, 2014

This past Sunday we celebrated Laetare Sunday: “Rejoice, Jerusalem”. We have passed the halfway mark of Lent and closer to the feast of the Resurrection! Only 19 more days in Lent (if you include the Triduum). Gaudete Sunday and Laetare Sunday--these are the "Rose" (or...

Understanding Our Family's High Feasts by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 28, 2014

The Church just celebrated two solemnities in March within a week of each other, the Solemnity of St. Joseph and the Solemnity of the Annunciation. While there are other solemnities throughout the year, no other part of the Liturgical Year does a solemnity stand out in such marked contrast to the...

The Annunciation and Lent: Celebrating New Life through a Mary Garden by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 23, 2014

March 25 marks the second solemnity that falls during the Lenten season, the Annunciation of the Lord. God chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, having prepared her without sin to be a worthy vessel for His Son. The angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she shall be the Mother of God. At the moment Mary...

Solemnity of St. Joseph: A Family Celebration by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 18, 2014

Wednesday, the Solemnity of St Joseph, is always a bright and welcome celebration amidst the penitence of Lent, "Solemnities are counted as the principal days in the calendar." (General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar). We put aside our Lenten purple. The priest dons white...

Feastday Highlights: St. Patrick and the Paschal Feast by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 13, 2014

March 17 is the feast of St. Patrick, and almost everyone knows something about St. Patrick, ranging from some truths, some untruths, some exaggerations and some larger-than-life legends. He wrote very little, and there are prayers attributed to him, such as the Lorica or Deer’s Cry that he...

Lenten Wake-up Call by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 7, 2014

Plunging into Ash Wednesday with fasting and abstinence is such a "rude" awakening of the senses to Lent. No matter how hard I try to "ease" into fasting, the day is always very difficult. The Ash Wednesday sermon of Pope Francis zings right at the heart of Lent: We are...

Lenten Mnemonics: Keeping our Focus in Lent by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 28, 2014

It is a late start this year, but Lent will finally begin on March 5. It is less than one week away. I have feelings of both dread and anticipation for this season: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." My first thoughts when I think of this liturgical season: L =...

Lent: A Time of Contemplation for All by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 20, 2014

Many years ago while I was discerning my life's vocation, I was drawn to the contemplative life, particularly the Poor Clares. So when the nearby Poor Clare convent had a "Come and See" weekend during Lent, I jumped at the opportunity. The invitation said I was to come on Saturday...

Feastday Highlights: February 14, Letters and Love by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 13, 2014

This morning we awoke to a blanket of snow. While I know much of the country has been digging themselves out all winter, this area rarely gets anything more than a few inches at a time, so a foot of snow is a welcome change. The timing of the snow coincides with the Winter Olympics. Did anyone...

Singing Our Lady's Praises by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 10, 2014

February 11 is the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. This feast, established in 1907 by St. Pius X, re-presents the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. This is such a pivotal dogma, yet many Catholics struggle to understand this definition and even the whole veneration of Mary. As a...

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