September, 2013 - Overview for the Month
The month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, whose memorial the Church celebrates on September 15. September falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green.
The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of September 2013
General: That people today, often overwhelmed by noise, may rediscover the value of silence and listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters.
Missionary: That Christians suffering persecution in many parts of the world may by their witness be prophets of Christ's love. (See also www.apostleshipofprayer.net)
Feasts for September
The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of September are:
Focus of the Liturgy
The Gospels for the Sundays in September 2013 are taken from Year C, Cycle 1, the Gospel of St. Luke.
Highlights of the Month
During September, as in all of Ordinary Time (formerly known as Time After Pentecost), the Liturgy does not focus on one particular mystery of Christ, but views the mystery of Christ in all its aspects. We follow the life of Christ through the Gospels, and focus on the teachings and parables of Jesus and what it means for us to be a follower of Christ. During Ordinary Time we can concentrate more on the saints and imitate their holiness as Christ's followers.
This month the main liturgical feasts are St. Gregory the Great (September 3), St. Peter Claver (September 9), Holy Name of Mary (September 12), St. John Chrysostom ( September 13), Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14), Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian (September 16), St. Robert Bellarmine (September 17), St. Andrew Kim and Companions (September 20), St. Matthew (September 21), St. Pio (September 23), Sts. Cosmas and Damian (September 26), St. Vincent de Paul (September 27) and St. Jerome (September 30).
The feasts of the Birth of Mary (September 8), Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15), and Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (September 29) are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.
Month of the Harvest
Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.
The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks were known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."
Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Since the reorganization of the Roman calendar in 1969 after the Second Vatican Council, Ember Days are still retained in principle, but how and when they are to be observed is at the discretion of each country's Episcopal Conference. There is no longer set Mass readings for the Ember Days in the Ordinary Rite.
Another harvest feast is September 29, the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Before the revision of the calendar, this used to be only the feast of St. Michael. In many countries this day was referred to as "Michaelmas" and is celebrated with traditional foods and customs.
By Jennifer Gregory Miller, 2003.
Explanation of Ember Days—Three days set apart for fasting, abstinence, and prayer during each of the four seasons of the year. They were the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after St. Lucy (or Lucia, d. 304) (December 13), the First Sunday of Lent, Pentecost, and the feast of the Holy Cross (September 14). Since the revision of the Roman calendar in 1969, Ember Days are to be observed at the discretion of the National Conference of Bishops. Moreover, their observance may be extended beyond three days and even repeated during the year. Possibly occasioned by the agricultural feasts of ancient Rome, they came to be observed by Christians for the sanctification of the different seasons of the year, and for obtaining God's blessing on the clergy to be ordained during the Embertides. (Etym. Anglo-Saxon oemerge, ashes.) — Modern Catholic Dictionary by John A. Hardon, SJ, Doubleday, 1980.
And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.
Triumph of the Cross
This feast commemorates the rescue of the true Cross of Christ by Emperor Heraclius in a victory over the Persians. Our Mother the Church sings of the triumph of the Holy Cross, the instrument of our salvation.
Recipe of the Month
St. Michael's Waffles or Gaufres
In France, paper-thin sweet wafers called gaufres were baked by street vendors. Serve waffles on St. Michael's Day to continue this tradition.
Activity of the Month
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is an appropriate feastday to thank God for the blessing of Christ dying on the Cross, which opened the gates of heaven for mankind. Here is a family project which involves making a homemade cross.
The Monogram of the Blessed Virgin.
The letters of the name "Maria" are evident in this ancient symbol. A crown was sometimes placed over the monogram by Medieval artists.
The moneybags refer to the occupation of St. Matthew before he was called to follow Christ. He was a tax gatherer known as Levi.
The great work of the Archbishop of Constantinople to overcome crime, heresy, and corruption was interrupted by avaricious enemies who effected his exile, which lasted four years, and ended with his death.
One of the Four Western Fathers, along with Sts. Augustine of Hippo, Ambrose of Milan and Gregory the Great. He contributed courage and wisdom in his defense of the truth. His translation of the Bible into Latin, known as the Vulgate, is in general, the version authorized in the Roman Catholic Church.
Happy the heart of the blessed Virgin Mary, which without dying earned the palm of martyrdom beneath the Cross of our Lord.
Sorrowful Heart of Mary,
Pray for us.