Liturgical Year Blog

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

The Jesse Tree, Part 1: Relating the Old Testament to Children

When I was young, my family had a Jesse Tree as part of our Advent traditions. The tree itself was a simple 4-foot artificial tree. I was seven when my mother made the ornaments out of salt dough and painted with acrylic paint using designs suggested in The Twelve Days of Christmas Kit published...

Anticipating Christmas, Beginning with Saint Andrew

November 30, the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, is this Wednesday. As I mentioned last week, November 30 is the pivotal date for the beginning of Advent, starting the Sunday closest to November 30. Also on November 30 starts the tradition to pray the Christmas Anticipation Prayer fifteen...

Advent: Beginning the New Liturgical Year

Similar to last year, Advent 2016 begins on the Sunday right after Thanksgiving. Applying the rule from Universal Norms of the Liturgical Year and the New General Roman Calendar: Advent begins with First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of the Sunday that falls on the closest to 30 November and it...

Prayers of Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving Day

Originally published in November 2015. It’s been a long three days of cooking and cleaning preparing for our Thanksgiving meal. Twenty-five family members will be gathering around our table today. Only minor injuries were sustained during preparation. Thanksgiving in the United...

Feastday Highlights: 11-11, Honoring the Real St. Martin of Tours

From the 2014 archives: November 11 in the ecclesiastical calendar marks the Memorial of St. Martin of Tours. For modern American readers, this date doesn’t bring to mind too many Catholic traditions in this country. This date was formerly Armistice Day, and is now a federal holiday,...

Prepping for the Final Days

There are a few more days left in the “Poor Souls’ Octave” to gain a plenary indulgence applicable only to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. The Church is currently remembering the Poor Souls in Purgatory during November, especially the first eight days of the month. Our family is...

November Octave and Novena

Although it is not quite November, the “triduum” of All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints Day and All Souls Day begins tomorrow. November 1 begins the “Poor Souls’ octave” during which a plenary indulgence for the Poor Souls in Purgatory can be gained each...

St. John Paul II: Top Ten Connections

In honor of the feast of St. John Paul II, this is a repost from October 2014 archives: Recently my husband and I watched The Roosevelts: An Intimate History by Ken Burns. When the film reached Franklin Delano Roosevelt dying after serving as president of the United States for 12 years, there...

Feast Day Highlights: The North American Martyrs

October 19 is the memorial of Sts. Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf, priests and martyrs and companions, otherwise known as the “North American Martyrs.” These saints include: Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf (or Jean), Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel,...

Good King Wenceslaus

September 28 is the Optional Memorial of St. Wenceslaus (or Wenceslas) and St. Luis Ruiz and Companions. The priest has the option of choosing either saint for celebrating Mass, and lately it seems the Japanese martyrs are chosen in my parish. But our family is very fond of St. Wenceslaus and try...

Change and the Liturgical Year

Last week I attended my very first school parent meeting as a parent. After eight years of homeschooling, our family is now taking a different path for our sons' education. Our oldest entered 7th grade at the local Catholic junior and senior high school and we decided to...

Our New Saint, Teresa of Kolkata (Calcutta)

Unless you live a completely "unplugged" life, it seems to be common knowledge that little Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known as Mother Teresa of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), will be canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday, September 4, 2016. Her feast day has been the following day,...

I Would Rather Be a Peasant: Contemplating the Rural Life

The month of July is just a recent memory. With the change of months, I reluctantly switched my Magnificat to the August edition.  I will miss the July issue and its inspiration. While I was recuperating from this summer's foot reconstructive surgery, my father (in his...

Feastday Highlights: The Assumption

From the archives, originally written in August 2014. Please Note for 2016: August 15 is not a holyday obligation in the United States. The diocese of the United States celebrate only six Holydays of Obligation during the Liturgical Year. In most provinces the Solemnity of the Ascension is...

Restoring a Catholic Culture through Liturgical Cooking: Early August Thoughts

A repost from August 2014, with ideas for St. Dominic, St. Lawrence and St. Clare:  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...

St. Lawrence's Universal Appeal

August 10 marks the Feast of St. Lawrence (Laurence) of Rome, deacon and martyr, known for his charity for the sick, poor and abandoned. Under the persecution of Emperor Valerian he was grilled to death on a gridiron in 258.  St. Lawrence and St. Stephen are the two deacons...

The Transfiguration: August 6

The Feast of the Transfiguration carries my thoughts to grape jelly and weddings. Because the cycle of the Liturgical Year repeats annually, the seasons of the year and family life and memories become intertwined with our celebrations with the Church Year. Happy...

First Celebration of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Today the Church celebrates for the first time the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, July 22. Previously this was an obligatory memorial, but last month the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments elevated the memorial to a feast. Read more about...

Imitating St. Camillus: Beginning with Charity

This post was originally published in July 2015. July 18 is in the USA the Optional Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis. On the General Roman Calendar his feast is July 14, but in the USA that is the Obligatory Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, so Camillus is transferred on the USA Liturgical...

Celebrating for Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Due to my foot surgeries two years in a row, our family has been sidelined again this summer. We usually travel near the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to my husband's hometown to participate in the Mount Carmel festival, sponsored by the Italian parish Our Lady...

Catholics Do the Strangest Things

The celebration of St. Maria Goretti's feast on July 6 reminds me of the opportunity our family had last October to view the relics of St. Maria Goretti, which were touring the eastern United States (and perhaps returning in 2017 for the western portion).  To a...

Angelus Bells

Last week I wrote about Ordinary Time, Writing Our Acts. A large part of living in Ordinary Time is establishing a rhythm of prayer in our lives.  Our family has been trying to remember to pray the Angelus once or sometimes twice a day. In times past, local church bells gave reminders...

Feasting for Junípero Serra

From the 2015 archives for the feast of St. Junipero Serra: We have a brand new American saint, St. Junípero Serra; he is the first saint canonized on American soil. Our family is still enjoying celebrating this new saint. He is a new member of our Catholic Family, and we have been...

Celebrating the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

June 29 is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. This is a holyday of obligation in most countries (but not in the United States).  This is major holiday in Rome, with schools, shops and banks closed. The day is filled with both religious and secular celebrations. During...

Not So Ordinary Time—Writing Our Acts

The Easter season ended rather abruptly for me with major foot surgery on May 25. Recovery has been slow and painful, with a lot of sleepless nights. The pain and lack of sleep has made it difficult for me to gather my thoughts and write as much as I would like, but in a way...

Elevating St. Mary Magdalene's Celebration

One of the headlines this week is the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has raised the memorial of St. Mary Magdalene on July 22nd now to a feast.  At first glance this can be considered just a minor story; it can be considered simply an announcement on...

Celebrating Trinity Sunday at Home

Reposting this from the 2015 archives to celebrate the feast of the Trinity: As the Liturgical Year returns to the "Season of the Year" or "Ordinary Time," the pattern does not fall completely into place. The first few Sundays are special solemnities of Our Lord, so...

The Pontifical Swiss Guard's Vatican Cookbook: A Family Cookbook

Images of the Pontifical Swiss Guards always seem to invoke intrigue. Eyes are immediately drawn into the colorful and unique uniforms. The Guard’s exclusive role as protector of the Pope and the Vatican City invites lots of questions about their life. The publication of The Vatican...

Preparing for Pentecost Filled with Joy

It is difficult for me to realize that the fifty days of Easter is about to end this Sunday. This Easter season has flown by. Our family has been busy, and it seems consistent that once the spring season and Easter is upon us there are more events on our calendar. We are...

The Solemnity of the Ascension: The Feast Who Was Thursday

Bumping up this 2014 post for the feast of the Ascension, whether it is celebrated on Thursday or Sunday.  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...

The Spirit of the Liturgy, Part Two: Liturgy and Popular Piety

I’m continuing my discussion on Romano Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy with Leila Lawler. In Part One I considered Guardini’s discussion of our work or "mental exertion" so as to receive greater benefits from the Liturgy. This week I'm discussing the...

The Spirit of the Liturgy, Part One: Mental Exertion

This Lent I joined Leila Lawler in reading of The Spirit of the Liturgy by Romano Guardini. Although I haven't been able to keep up with the discussions, I've been reading on my own, hoping to find some time to share my thoughts. I'm looking forward to reading together the next...

The Easter Octave

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it, alleluia! With the whole Church we rejoice at the resurrection of Christ! The Church celebrates the Easter season or Eastertide. St. Athanasius said "[t]he fifty days from the Sunday of the Resurrection to Pentecost...

Contemplating Good Friday and the Annunciation

Today the world recalls the passion and death of Jesus. There is sadness and mourning in the air. This year our family has decided to spend the three hours from noon to 3 at church, attending the Seven Last Words and then Stations of the Cross, and then the Celebration of the...

Traditions of Holy Thursday

Wednesday of Holy Week is pivotal because it marks the end of Lent. Holy Thursday begins the sacred Triduum -- the holiest days of the Church year. The liturgy reflects the beauty of the Paschal mystery and the Passover Feast of Christ. But how is this day spent in popular piety? What do...

Holy Week in the Home

Holy Week is aptly named because it is the holiest week of the Liturgical (and calendar) year. But it is also one of the busiest weeks of the year for our family, so I annually review my plans and revise according to our changing needs. There is more time spent in church due to the...

Catholic PSA for Palm Sunday: Treat Blessed Palms with Reverence

Originally published in 2015, this PSA needs to be annually remembered. Public Service Announcement: The palms we receive on Palm Sunday are blessed objects or sacramentals that need to be treated reverently, not as toys, mere craft material or trash. Every Palm Sunday I just cringe...

Celebrating St. Joseph

Every new year, I like to check the calendar for upcoming dates for the Liturgical Year. I start turning the monthly pages to see when is Ash Wednesday, is Easter early or late, etc. One thing in particular is to see what part of Lent do the solemnities of St. Joseph and the Annunciation...

Passiontide and Veiling of Images

Yesterday when I dropped my son off for classes at the homeschool co-op in the neighboring parish, we noticed the veiled statues around the church and chapel. Our parish doesn't follow this tradition, so it was a wonderful opportunity to discuss and research a little about the veiling of...

A Peek into our Daily Roman Walk

Two weeks ago I shared our plan for our daily Lenten journey following the Roman stations. I thought I would share our progress and what it looks like in our home. My sons are ages 8 and 12 and are at an age of transition. The daily countdown calendar to Easter doesn't make as much as an...

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