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

Mary and Martha and our Place in Bethany by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Tuesday

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: 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...

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...

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