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

Mandatum: Love One Another by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Thursday

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...

Conquerors and Martyrs by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 5, 2014

Today (February 5th) is the Memorial of St. Agatha. The very next day, Feburary 6, the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Paul Miki and companions. Back to back are two memorials of Martyr Saints. St. Agatha is one of the earlier Roman martyrs, who died around 250 A.D. under the Roman...

The Saints: Our Empathetic Brothers and Sisters by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 2, 2014

Coming in at the heels of Candlemas Day is another feast that again features blessed candles, the optional memorial of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr. This time the candles do not focus on light but on health. Since about the 8th century the Church has blessed throats in honor of St. Blaise asking...

Candlemas: The Feast of Light and Hope by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jan 31, 2014

This Sunday, February 2, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, forty days after Christmas. In the 1962 Extraordinary Form Calendar the feast is the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and commonly referred to as Candlemas. In the current calendar this Sunday...

Feastday Highlights: St. Brigid of Ireland, February 1 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jan 29, 2014

The General Roman Calendar does not have a saint for February 1st, but in Ireland this is the Feast of St. Brigid, the patroness of Ireland (also referred to as Brigit, Bridget, Brighid, or Bride). St. Brigid and St. Patrick share the honor of planting Christianity deep in the hearts of the...

Feastday Highlights: January Ends with Three Italian Educators by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jan 25, 2014

The last week of January in the current Ordinary Form of the Calendar has the unique distinction of celebrating three saints that were both educators and also from neighboring regions of northern Italy. These are saints that the Church holds before us as examples and intercessors for those who are...

Feastday Highlights: Conversion of St. Paul, January 25 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jan 24, 2014

After the close of the Christmas season with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the first Feast in Ordinary Time is the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle on January 25. This is a solitary feast of St. Paul compared to the shared solemnity of June 29 with St. Peter. Tradition has that in the...

Our Ordinary Walk of Life: Understanding Tempus per Annum by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jan 23, 2014

Here’s a bit of Catholic trivia to use at your next Catholic gathering: When is the First Sunday in Ordinary Time? In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite there is No First Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is usually on Sunday and the following day is the...

Christmas to Candlemas: When is the Real End of Christmas? by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jan 15, 2014

The Christmas season ended on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Or did it? It seems inevitable every Christmas that there will be polite disagreement among Catholics as to when the Christmas season officially ends. Usually the discussion revolves around when to take down the Christmas...

Remembering Our Baptism by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jan 9, 2014

My husband and I were struck by the theme of Pope Francis' General Audience from January 8: Learn and Celebrate the Day of Your Baptism (complete text here): Baptism is the Sacrament “on which our faith is based, and which grafts us to Christ and His Church, as living members....

Celebrating the Christmas Season by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Dec 31, 2013

The Christmas season always seems over too quickly! It's not that we're packing the days full of activity, but rather our resting and relaxing and enjoying the Christmas glow makes time fly! We observe the Twelve Days of Christmas only in small ways. Our celebrating during this time...

Jesus Is the Meaning of Life and History by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Dec 26, 2013

Around the Christmas tree, the torn wrapping paper has been discarded, replaced by Lego sets in various stages of building. Baby Jesus rests in His manger, the Advent wreath candles have been replaced with red (it's not the liturgical color white, but it's all I could find) and the...

O Come!! The O Antiphons by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Dec 16, 2013

Although not highlighted on most calendars, I consider December 17 as a red letter day. This date marks the second part of Advent, the beginning of the O Antiphons. The O Antiphons are seven precious jewels of our Catholic Liturgy, counting down the last seven days before Christmas with building...

Advent Feast: Our Lady of Guadalupe by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Dec 10, 2013

Marian themes are predominant throughout the liturgy of Advent and Christmas; in fact the whole month of December could be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. But the second week of Advent I always consider the most Marian week, since it usually includes two high feasts of Mary. Both of these...

Collect-ing for Advent by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Dec 2, 2013

Advent is one of my favorite liturgical seasons. While it is penitential, the element of joyful expectation for Christmas really shines through the tone of the liturgy. It reminds me of the final weeks of gestation, with the anticipation and preparation for the new baby to finally arrive. But...

The End and the Beginning: The Cycle of the Liturgical Year by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Nov 26, 2013

I love late autumn in Virginia. The seasonal changes are so tangible: colder nights, bare trees, piles of crunchy dead leaves, shorter days, early and longer darkness, and, the biggest contrast to me, the outdoor silence. There are no birds singing, no crickets chirping, no other creatures making...

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