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Liturgical Year Blog

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

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 quick...

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...

Fall Ember Days

The 2017 September Ember Days begin on Wednesday, September 20. 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...

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...

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...

God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

My youngest brother received a grim health diagnosis 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 difficult. I was in church praying and crying. My reply came as I viewed the image of Christ...

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...

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...

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...

Catholic PSA for Palm Sunday: Treat Blessed Palms with Reverence

Originally published in 2015, this PSA needs to be annually remembered. 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 trash. Every Palm Sunday I just cringe because...

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 The Twelve Days of Christmas Kit published...

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 Christmas Anticipation Prayer fifteen...

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...

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...

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 “Poor Souls’ octave” during which a plenary indulgence for the Poor Souls in Purgatory can be gained each...

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. But our family is very fond of St. Wenceslaus and try...

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,...

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