Action Alert!

Liturgical Year Blog

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

Entering the Season of Lent

Having Ash Wednesday begin so early in February makes it difficult to me to get into gear. Every year I make some decisions on what areas to focus on during Lent, but even as I choose them, I always wait for God to send me His penance for me for Lent. He knows just what I need. And when Lent...

Presentation of the Lord: A Light for the Nations

February 2nd, in the Ordinary Form, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord; in the Extraordinary (1962) Calendar the feast is known as the Purification of Mary. This is traditionally called "Candlemas" because of the blessing of candles before Mass on this day. As I was putting my...

The End of Christmas: Dispelling the Misconceptions

Most Catholics recognize the end of the Christmas season ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which occurred in the Ordinary Form/current calendar on Sunday, January 10, and the Extraordinary Form on January 13th. But there are some Catholics who claim that it is still Christmas and...

Christmas to Candlemas: When is the Real End of the Christmas Season?

This post was originally published in January 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...

January 22: Day of Prayer and Penance in the United States

January 22 marks the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court legalizing abortion. Most of us know it as the day for the March for Life, when pro-lifers from all over the country converge to be a public witness for those innocent lives that have no voice. Not everyone...

The Diversity of Epiphany

For Catholics living in the United States attending mass in the Ordinary Form, January 3 is the transferred Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Elsewhere, such as in Rome, Epiphany is celebrated on the traditional date of January 6.  The word "Catholic" means universal, but it...

Celebrating Epiphany and the Christmas Season

This post was originally published in 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! Our family observes the Twelve Days of Christmas...

The Octave of Christmas

"On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." Everyone is familiar with the carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas." And although some people have already thrown their Christmas tree to the curb and taken down their Christmas decorations, there are the reminders...

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!

As I finalize the preparations for Christmas, my thoughts go back to Christmases past, both from my childhood and my own family. Through all the years at Grandma's house, or recovering from surgeries, there are two traditions for our children that have stayed constant, even if was a...

Observing the O Antiphons

December 17 begins the "O" Antiphon Days, my very favorite part of Advent. These are ancient antiphons that all begin with "O" found in the liturgy from December 17-23. They are particularly in the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) before the Magnificat in the Evening Prayer...

Sharing the Gift of Mercy with Our Brothers and Sisters

December 12 marks the second anniversary of my open heart surgery. Such a short sentence doesn't capture all the inconvenience, pain, emotion and healing involved before and after the surgery. For me and my family, this was a pivotal moment in our lives. I have brushed the face of death but...

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Opens the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patronal feast of the United States and a holyday of obligation. This day also marks the opening of the Holy Door and the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  The choice of this feast day to open the...

The Spirit of Advent: Listening to Christ

Even before the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone, the new Liturgical Year begins. The First Sunday of Advent is this Sunday, November 29. It is a little difficult to transition from Thanksgiving into Advent; I am still putting away the table decorations, restoring our downstairs and cleaning up...

Prayers of Thanksgiving

I apologize that due to technical difficulties, this post could not be made active earlier. 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. Serious accidents were avoided;...

Feastday Highlights: Solemnity of Christ the King

This post was originally written in 2014. This Sunday the Liturgical Year ends not in a sad or a small way, but culminates in the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. During November the liturgy has been keeping an eschatological theme and this feast...

What Can We Do?

In 2001 we said we would never forget. Fourteen years later a younger generation now feels the outrage of terrorist attacks on innocent people. France is not a war-torn country, but a popular place, where many people visit, and almost everyone seems to have some connection or memory related to the...

November: Close Connection of the Communion of the Saints

This is my annual reminder that November 1 begins the special opportunity to earn plenary indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Visit a cemetery and pray for the departed from November 1-8 and visit a church or oratory on All Souls Day, November 2, praying the Our Father and the Creed. You...

Halloween is for Catholics

It's the return of the annual controversy of whether Catholics should celebrate Halloween in a secular way. As a parent trying to do the right thing, it's a struggle to find the right balance for their own family. I wrote a long post last year, Halloween: Celebrating Like a Catholic. In...

November: a Month of Poor Souls and Cemeteries

This post was originally written in November 2014. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins (2 Mach. 12:46). Every November I like to make a "Public Service Announcement" of the Church's opportunities at the beginning...

Halloween: Celebrating Like a Catholic

This blog post was originally written in October 2014. Ready or not, Halloween is Saturday. This is the second highest grossing commercial holiday in America, and also one of the most controversial. Fundamental Christians believe it should be completely rejected because it has roots as a pagan...

Taking Stock: Advent Wreath and Candles

This is not to ensue panic, but Advent begins November 29, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. That is in less than 6 weeks or 6 Sundays from now. Do you know where your Advent wreath is? And more importantly, do you have Advent candles and KNOW where they are? I was grateful to my friend...

Louis and Zélie Martin: Patron Saints for the Domestic Church

This Sunday, October 18, 2015, Pope Francis canonized Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. This is the first husband and wife to be canonized together, emphasizing their cooperation with the graces of the sacrament of matrimony.  The...

The Family Rosary: A Month for Renewal

October 7 is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, but the entire month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, which makes it another liturgical opportunity for renewal. The liturgical seasons of Lent and Advent are times for beginning again, time for change and renewal. Quarterly...

St. Francis of Assisi -- Setting the Record Straight

This post was written in October 2014. This year, 2015, October 4 falls on a Sunday, so the memorial St. Francis is not universally observed, but we still might want to honor him in small ways without overshadowing the primacy of Sunday. =================== October 4 marks the memorial of St....

Feasting for Junípero 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 spending time in getting to know this new family member. One...

America's New Saint, Junípero Serra

...[W]e declare and define Blessed Junípero Serra to be a Saint and we enroll him among the Saints, decreeing that he is to be venerated as such by the whole Church. Yesterday Pope Francis, with these words, canonized Junípero Serra. This humble Spanish Franciscan friar is one of...

Memorable Saint Stories

After just a few years of practice, following the Liturgical calendar within your Domestic Church can become second nature to the family; it can become an inseparable part of the family's organic routine. In our family, there are certain feasts and saints that we highlight annually, whether it...

Fall Ember Days

Football games and pumpkin spice beverages and foods return; Autumn is upon us. Sadly, that is what the fall season means to so many people. We have lost contact the actual natural signs of the seasons of the year and turn to manmade expressions as signals for the change of seasons. But a pumpkin...

Recognizing the Humanity of Our Faith

Last Saturday our family returned from a week-long beach vacation in the Outer Banks. It was an unparalleled week of perfect weather, especially considering it was the end of August and beginning of September. As I sat on the shoreline recharging my "batteries", contemplating the...

Monica and Augustine: Glimpsing into the Unity and Vastness of Marriage and Family

As we reach the end of August, two of my favorite late August feast days are of Saints Monica and Augustine. Last year I discussed the familial example these mother and son pair provide. This year I have been dwelling further on their example of marriage and family, particularly living out...

Breaking Bread throughout the Liturgical Year

This upcoming Sunday concludes a series of five Sundays with the Gospel taken from John Chapter 6, the discourse on the Bread of Life. Jesus was preparing the people for his upcoming greater gift of Himself in the Eucharist. Jesus recognized bread as a universal daily sustenance and staple of...

Feastday Highlights: The Assumption

From the archives, originally written in August 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...

Evangelism in a Glass

In my last post I shared some simple ideas on ways to bring different wines to enhance adult celebration of the Liturgical Year. Those thoughts were originally scribbled on the back of an envelope 10 years ago. My husband and I have enjoyed inserting a bit of the "liturgical" in sharing...

Toasting through the Liturgical Year

When Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist, He used the universal basics of life, bread and wine, to be transformed into His Body and Blood. The Mass, repeated daily all over the world, transforms the humble offerings of bread and wine into the Eucharist. In every county grapes are grown and...

On Pilgrimage with St. James the Greater

July 25 is the feast of St. James the Greater, apostle. St. James the Greater was one of the twelve Apostles, but had a special relationship with Jesus. How many times do we hear of the threesome, Peter James, John? They were present at the Transfiguration, they also were called to...

Mary and Martha and our Place in Bethany

This article was originally published in 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...

Imitating St. Camillus: Beginning with Charity

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 Calendar. Despite St. Camillus' own incurable leg...

Fighting Evil? There’s a Summer Saint for That

I've been busy with summer traveling, pool fun, and a little minor foot surgery, but have not been immune to feeling a little disheartened by the headlines this summer. With news of Jenner transgenderism, Supreme Court redefinition of marriage, laws forcing people to go against their beliefs,...

Nativity of St. John the Baptist: A Family Feast

As the day of the Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist comes to a close, our domestic church hasn't seen too much of physical feast day celebration, as we are saving up the treats for after dinner. Following the inspiration of how St. John ate grasshoppers and honey, mint...

Witnesses for Christ: Prayer, Fasting and Bonfires!

Today is the memorial of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, English martyrs who died defending the faith. After a week of ferial days except St. Romuald, the Church calendar unfolds several important feast days these next two weeks.  June 21st marked the beginning of the Fortnight of...

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.