January 2015 - Overview for the Month
The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3. The first eleven days of January fall during the liturgical season known as Christmas which is represented by the liturgical color white. The remaining days of January are the beginning of Ordinary Time. The liturgical color changes to green — a symbol of the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection.
The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of January 2014
Univeral: That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Evangelization: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)
Feasts for January
The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of January are:
Focus of the Liturgy
The Gospels for the Sundays in January are taken from St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. John and are from Year B, Cycle 1 of the readings.
Highlights of the Month
In the first part of January we continue to rejoice and celebrate Christ's coming at Bethlehem and in our hearts. We have the wonderful feasts of Mary, Mother of God, where we honor Mary's highest title, and then we follow the Magi to the crib as they bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on Epiphany. Finally we reach the culmination of this season with the Baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist. With a touch of sadness we take down our decorations and enter into the liturgical period known as Ordinary Time where we will devote ourselves to the mystery of Christ in its entirety.
This is a time of growth and an opportunity to allow the dignity of Sunday to shine forth, prolonging the joy of Easter and Pentecost. Besides those previously mentioned the month's major feasts include: St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen (January 2), Holy Name of Jesus (January 3), St. John Neumann (January 5), St. Andre Bessette (January 6), St. Raymond of Penafort (January 7), St. Anthony, abbot (January 17), Sts. Fabian & Sebastian (January 20), St. Agnes (January 21), St. Vincent of Saragossa (January 22), St. Francis de Sales (January 24), Sts. Timothy and Titus (January 26), St. Angela Merici (January 27), St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28) and St. John Bosco (January 31).
The feasts of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4) and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25) are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.
The Winter Seasons
The opening days of January may be cold and nature bleak, but the domestic church still glows warm with the peace and joy of Christmas. We dedicate the New Year to Mary on the January 1st Solemnity honoring her as Mother of God; and on January 6, the Solemnity of Epiphany, we rejoice with her, as her Son is adored by the three Wise Men.
Herald John, who ushered in the Advent season, is present once again to close Christmastide on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (The First Luminous Mystery), and to open the Season of Ordinary Time. He points to Jesus, the Lamb of God who unites time and eternity in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and even January’s diminishing darkness seems to echo St. John’s prayer: “He must increase and I must decrease.”
In this liturgical season the Church eagerly follows Our Lord as he gathers his apostles and announces his mission. At Cana’s wedding feast (The Second Luminous Mystery) he performs his first public miracle at the request of his Mother, and his disciples saw his glory and believed in him.
We, his present-day disciples, pray for a like faith as we contemplate the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb and the unique role of the Blessed Mother in the plan of salvation. May we wholeheartedly obey her words of counsel: “Do whatever he tells you.”
Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.
Mary Mother of God
It is through the virginal Motherhood of Mary that the Word was made flesh. In adoring the Son of God made man in the Child of Bethlehem, we recognize that Mary is the Mother of God. Magnificat
Recipe of the Month
Twelfth Night Cake
This cake is made for the Feast of the Epiphany and whoever gets the beans becomes the wise kings.
Activity of the Month
Blessing of the Home
This blessing of the home and inscription of the initials of the three Magi above each door can be performed either by a priest or the father of the family.
A young girl who refused to abandon her practice of the Christian Faith and therefore suffered death at the time of the Diocletian persecution. This symbol expresses her sacrifice for the Faith.
One of the Greek Fathers, Bishop of Caeserea, and brother to SS. Gregory of Nyssa and Peter of Sebaste, was a prolific writer and defender of the doctrine of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The emblem refers to his building up the Church.
The Bishop of Geneva, well loved for his gentleness and moderation, followed the example of Christ by converting through love and patient understanding.
A commander of the army in Milan, Sebastian exerted his influence to strengthen and save fellow Christians during the Diocletian persecution. He was denounced and ordered shot to death with arrows, but when it was discovered that he was still alive, he was beaten to death.
Blessed be His Holy Name.