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Category: The Liturgical Year

Following her leadership in creating the resources for the Liturgical Year available on CatholicCulture.org, Jennifer Gregory Miller writes more about key feasts and themes.

September Ember Days

The 2019 September Ember Days begin on Wednesday, September 18. From the Archives of September 2015: 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...

St. Lawrence’s Universal Appeal

From the Archives: This post was originally published in 2016. 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...

Preparing for a Shift in the Liturgical Year

The Church is nearing the end of the Easter season. Depending on where you live, the Solemnity of the Ascension will be celebrated this Thursday or Sunday, and the following Sunday will close the Easter season with the Solemnity of Pentecost. The next day begins Ordinary Time, but first with a...

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 of the...

Mary, Our Mother

I think I’ve mentioned here before that my full-time day job the last few years has been the Elementary CGS catechist and assistant in a local Catholic Montessori School. Our Elementary class has 36 children ages 6-12. At different times of the year the extra activities with school and...

The Easter Octave

From the archives, originally posted March 30, 2016: 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...

Salvaging Lent by Keeping the *Holy* in Holy Week

I’m not ready for Holy Week. I admit it. It’s been a busier Lent than I prefer. We’ve been juggling sports, with ending and beginning seasons, both practices and games, extra preparation for First Communion, a short family trip to South Carolina and Tuesday practice round at the...

Catholic PSA for Palm Sunday: Treat Blessed Palms with Reverence

Originally published in 2015, I think it helps to have an annual reminder. 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...

Laetare, Jerusalem! Rejoice!

Easter is almost here! “With childlike joy the Church begins to count the days.” Rev. Pius Parsch describes the Fourth Sunday of Lent so perfectly! (The Church’s Year of Grace, Volume 2, p. 212). While there is not much change liturgically for the Fourth Sunday of Lent except for...

Preparing for Lent

I recently picked up a book from the library by Katrina Rodabaugh entitled Mending Matters. It’s a book on how to recycle clothes by repairing, patching, stitching, and darning but in a decorative way. She had begun a fast from fashion, trying to buy minimally and only from...

Presentation of the Lord: A Light for the Nations

From the Archives, originally published in 2016: 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...

Candlemas: The Feast of Light and Hope

From the Archives, originally published in 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...

Baptism is a New Beginning

I’ve been distracted this weekend by several inches of snow. It has been a few years since Virginia has gotten measurable white stuff! The snow days gave me some extra time to test out new recording software and equipment for our multimedia interface. I’m not quite ready to unveil an...

Musing on the O Antiphons

December 23rd is the day our family affectionately calls “Christmas Adam” and the last of the ‘O’ Antiphons, “O Emmanuel” or “God with Us.” The acrostic for the Latin names of the ‘O’ Antiphons is now complete: ERO CRAS: Tomorrow I will...

Rejoice, the Lord is Near! Gaudete Sunday, Ember Days and O Antiphons

See my post from 2013, O Come!! The O Antiphons for further reflection on the O Antiphons. The Advent liturgy is so rich, varied and beautiful. Every time the liturgical cycle repeats, it is another opportunity to enter more deeply into the Church’s liturgy as She prepares for Christmas....

Advent Feast: Our Lady of Guadalupe

This post was originally written in 2013. I’m so grateful to Our Lady marking this 5 year anniversary of my heart surgery! ========= Marian themes are predominant throughout the liturgy of Advent and Christmas; in fact the whole month of December could be dedicated to the Blessed...

Advent: Ever Ancient, Ever New

A new Liturgical Year begins on Sunday and begins with the season of Advent. The Liturgical Year repeats, again and again and again. The season of Advent holds before us the threefold focus of Jesus: contemplating Him in history at Bethlehem, receiving Him in mystery in the Eucharist and our...

The Catholic Tradition of Harvest Feasts of Thanksgiving

While many Americans are pondering what to do with the leftovers of their Thanksgiving feast, I am taking some time pondering the custom of thanksgiving to God and our Thanksgiving holiday. I’m not ready to get into Christmas preparations! I have heard some Catholics express reservations in...

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 States...

All Saints’ Octave and November’s Dedication to the Holy Souls

From the archives: This post was originally published on November 1, 2018: I’m late for my annual reminder to pray for the souls in Purgatory in November. Today begins the unofficial “All Saints Octave” (traditionally this would have been the All Saints Octave) that begins...

A Year of Repentance and Ember Days

On September 10, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik announced a Year of Repentance for his diocese “to fast and pray for the purification of the Church in light of the scandal of child sexual abuse.” His letter was addressed to the clerics (priests, deacons and seminarians) of the...

Prioritizing the Liturgical Calendar: Part 1.5, Keeping Track of the Feasts

“How do you keep track and celebrate all those feasts and saint days?” is the most common question I receive from families who are trying to live the Liturgical Year in their domestic church. The Church Calendar has a myriad of feasts. The idea of remembering and celebrating all those...

The Protomartyrs of Rome: Remembering Our Firsts

This Saturday, June 30, is the Optional Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. This is a relatively newer feast, created in the 1969 reform of the General Roman Calendar. Vatican II called for a reform of the General Calendar;

Reading the Fine Print for the Liturgical Calendar (Part 1)

Was anyone else a little surprised by the celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist this past Sunday? After I mentioned how there will be six months of monotonous green Sundays, the very next Sunday was a solemnity. After Mass,...

Celebrating the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

This post is from the archives. It was originally published June 29, 2016: 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...

Our Summer Plans and Work in Ordinary Time

Two weeks ago it was the first time since February 11 (the Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time) that the priest wore green liturgical vestments on Sunday. After Pentecost, the Church resumed the count of the weeks of Ordinary Time, picking up at the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time, but the first two...

Actiones Nostras, Direct Our Actions, Lord—Our Daily Prayer As We Exit the Upper Room

In my last post (my dear Theophilus...) the Church was concluding Lent and entering into Holy Week. I mentioned that migraines and eye problems were interfering with computer and writing time. The problems improved in time for my “busy season” at school and the atrium and the extra...

Celebrating in the Home for the Holy Triduum

I did not mean to be silent so long, but Lent came early for me, and I’ve been struggling with my eyes and migraines since January. In turn, this has hampered my computer time. With the final push of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week, I don’t have anything too original to write....

Passiontide and Veiling of Images

From the archives: This is a repost from Passiontide 2016. 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...

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

This post was originally published in January 2014. It is revised and now includes the 1962 Extraordinary Form dates for Christmas. This post contains tables which may not be easily displayed on mobile devices. The Christmas season ended on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Or did it? It...

Epiphany Home Blessing

In the Book of Blessings or Roman Ritual, there is a traditional home blessing, usually done on Epiphany or during the Christmas season. I have written a few times about the traditions of Epiphany, including the Diversity of Epiphany, and how our family celebrates Epiphany. This is a...

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will. On the first Christmas night, the angels announced these glad tidings to the poor shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem. Since then, Christmastime is cited as the time of peace. It is said because the Son of God came...

The Octave of Christmas

(From the archives: This post was originally written in January 2016. It is updated to reflect the Christmas 2017-18 season.) “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...

Advent Reading: The Last Battle

Several years ago my sons and I listened quite slowly to the whole series of Narnia by C. S. Lewis on audio in our car. It was a delightful journey. We really enjoyed the British readers for the series. I’m usually hesitant to buy audio cds, but this was an excellent investment. My sons are...

Advent: Focusing on the Essential with Expectant Delight

Advent begins this Sunday. December 3 is the latest date that Advent can begin, which also makes it the shortest Advent possible. The Fourth Week of Advent is only one day. We are beginning a new Liturgical Year. Happy New Year! It is a human tendency to look forward to seasonal or time shifts...

Remembering the Poor Souls and the End

I’m a day behind on my annual reminder for the Poor Souls. November is the month dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Although we can and should pray throughout the year for the Poor Souls, the Church provides wonderful opportunities to earn indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory...

For All The Saints

I did not plan on taking such a long sabbatical from writing, but “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Our summer became unexpectedly busy for our family. Ever since my brother’s ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) diagnosis I mentioned at the end of May, we have...

Halloween is for Catholics

From the archives, originally written October 2015: 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 correct balance for their own family. I wrote a long...

Gluten-Free and Holy Communion

“Gluten-free” is a popular buzzword right now, found in the news, food packaging, recipes, menus and diets. And it seems like the Catholic Church is responding to the current trend. On July 8, the Congregation for Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued a Circular Letter to...

Summer or Pentecost Ember Days

The Wednesday following Pentecost traditionally begins the Summer or Pentecost Ember Days. I have written several posts on Ember Days (links at the end of this post) but never touched on the Ember Days following Pentecost, hence yet another post on Ember Days. I’m in the midst of packing for...

God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

My youngest brother, Joe, received a grim health diagnosis of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) this week, and all of my family is reeling at this news. He is young (35), married and with 4 children. Trying to make sense out of this suffering is...

The Relevancy of Fatima, One Hundred Years Later

Saturday, May 13, marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to three children at Fatima, Portugal. Those who were born after 1989 don’t have as many memories of Fatima devotions. While the historical significance might not be as relevant, there are still some pertinent...

Holy Thursday Meal

It always seems the end of Lent and Holy Week God sends extra opportunities for penance. This year was no different. My cousin died last week. This week our elementary atrium (ages 6-12) had a three-day retreat in preparation for Easter, which was wonderfully rich, but very time-consuming. Now it...

The Oases of Lent: Celebrations of St. Patrick, St. Joseph, Annunciation and Family Days

We are now in the beginning of three feasts of March (almost always in Lent) that are not part of the Lenten Season. Two are included in the Sanctoral (saint) Calendar, and only one is integral to the Temporal Calendar (following the life of Christ). These are stand-alone feasts that provide a...

Making Our Lenten Plans

Ash Wednesday is right around the corner. This is another year with a later beginning to Lent. I should have used the extra weeks of Ordinary Time as an opportunity to be extra-prepared for Lent, but it seems the last days of Carnival or Mardi Gras are always full of extra activity, keeping me...

Our Work in Ordinary Time

There are two and half weeks remaining before Lent begins. I’m actually not writing about preparing for Lent, but about living in the present moment in this Tempus per Annum, Time of the Year or Ordinary Time. There are only two and a half weeks remaining for this first part of Ordinary...

Connected In Christ

This past Friday I visited my cousin. While a family visit is usually an everyday event, this was an important family get-together. You see, my cousin is dying from cancer. She is only fifty years old, fifteen months older than I am. Growing up we were very close. I would say we were as close...

The New Year: Redeeming the Time

I find it hard to believe that the month of January is almost halfway over. Since Advent began it has been very busy in my family, including the flu taking down various members this week. But time continues. The Church celebrated Christmas and now has entered tempus per annum or Ordinary...

The Diversity of Epiphany

From the archives, January 2015. The home blessing link is updated for 2018, and includes a printable form. 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...

The Jesse Tree, Part 2: Finding the Essential for the Family

I’m concluding my Jesse Tree discussion, just as Advent closes. In Part One I discussed presenting the Old Testament to children, using the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as a guideline. The aspects I want to carry forward in my home are presenting the Old Testament in a deliberate manner,...

Beginning the O Antiphons

I’m interrupting my Jesse Tree posts because the O Antiphons begin tomorrow, December 17. This is one of my favorite parts of the Liturgical Year and so I try to not let a year pass without writing something about them. (My apologies for the delay on the Jesse Tree Part Two as family...

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...

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...

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...

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 traditional “All Saints’ Octave” often referred to as the “Poor Souls’ octave” during...

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....

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 role as Eucharistic...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 winding down a school year...

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...

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...

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...

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