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

Monica and Augustine: Glimpsing into the Unity and Vastness of Marriage and Family by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 25, 2015

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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 21, 2015

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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 14, 2015

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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Aug 9, 2015

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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jul 31, 2015

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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jul 24, 2015

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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jul 22, 2015

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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jul 18, 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 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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jul 14, 2015

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 by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 24, 2015

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! by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 22, 2015

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...

St. Anthony's Bread by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 12, 2015

It might come as a surprise to some who attend Mass on June 13 that since there are two obligatory memorials for this Saturday, they are treated as optional memorials for the day. The celebrant of the Mass can choose either the St. Anthony of Padua which always falls on June 13, or the Immaculate...

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 9, 2015

There are only eighteen (18) total solemnities throughout the Liturgical Year, but in May and June there are no fewer than seven solemnities: Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart are all celebrated in less than five weeks, with two more solemnities in late...

Solemnity of Corpus Christi: Remembering by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 9, 2015

Last night my family attended Seton School's graduation Mass and commencement. My oldest nephew was member of this class of 2015. My family has been part of this community since 1986, the year I graduated from the school, and continued to 2000 when my youngest brother graduated. That's six...

Celebrating Trinity Sunday at Home by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Jun 9, 2015

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 there will not be the green vestments and a numbered Sunday but white vestments and the...

Summer: More Time for the Lord, not a Vacation from Him by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 26, 2015

Periodically Pentecost Sunday falls the same weekend as Memorial Day. Although seemingly different in focus, both celebrations reflect shifts in our daily lives. Pentecost marks the close of the Easter season and the beginning of Tempus per Annum or Ordinary Time. Memorial Day is the unofficial...

Pentecost with Mary, Queen of Apostles by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 22, 2015

More often then not, the close of the Easter season with the feast of Pentecost falls during the month of May, which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We do not need to exclude one for the other, but in actuality honoring Our Lady directly complements our celebration of the birthday of the...

Pentecost and Confirmation by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 20, 2015

Restoring the order of the sacraments of initiation made the headlines again this week as Archbishop Aquila of Denver made an announcement that he will be implementing this change in his diocese. His pastoral letter Saints Among Us will be published on May 24. Under the restored...

Celebrating First Holy Communion by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 13, 2015

First Holy Communion is fresh on my mind since our youngest son received Jesus for the very first time on May first. It is a such a privilege and joy to be a witness to our child's reception of the sacraments and to grow in his relationship with...

The Solemnity of the Ascension: The Feast Who Was Thursday by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 12, 2015

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...

St. Isidore the Farmer and Rogation Days by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 11, 2015

The traditional Rogation Days of Ascension Week begin today, May 11. This post was written in 2014, but still applicable today. Of all the saints on the calendar, St. Isidore the Farmer ranks as one of my favorite saints. (I can rarely narrow down to only one favorite, but I will say he is...

The Role of Christ and Sacramental Graces in Sacramental Catechesis by Jennifer Gregory Miller - May 5, 2015

Earlier last week, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu, Hawaii issued a letter stating that his diocese is returning to the proper order of reception of the sacraments of initiation: If one looks at the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” one notes that the first three sacraments...

Remembering the Sacraments: Our Family Life in Christ by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 25, 2015

During the Easter season, particularly in the month of May which is also dedicated to Mary, many children receive for the first time the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We have a first communicant in our own family; my son receives Jesus for the first time on Friday. It is not just because of the...

"Celebrating" the Easter Season by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 21, 2015

In the Passover Seder observed by many Jews there is the particular question by the youngest, "Why is this night different than any other nights?" As a Catholic, I like to shift this question around to apply to the most pivotal weeks of the Church year, Holy Week and the Octave of...

Easter: Fifty Days of Rejoicing by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 6, 2015

This post was originally written for 2014. The links have been updated for 2015. The Lord has risen from the dead, as he said; let us all exult and rejoice, for he reigns for all eternity, alleluia. (Entrance Antiphon, Monday within the Octave of Easter) After Lent's forty days...

Holy Saturday: Come and Mourn With Me Awhile by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Apr 4, 2015

To me, Holy Saturday is the longest and the hardest of the days of the Triduum. It is a day of limbo; life is in a kind of suspension. Except for the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) or Blessing of Easter Baskets (or Blessing of Animals on Olvera Street in Los Angeles), there is no liturgy...

Catholic PSA for Palm Sunday: Treat Blessed Palms with Reverence by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 28, 2015

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 palms are abused and such a distraction during Mass. The sound of palms...

Praying in Rhythm with the Feasts and Seasons: The Rural Life Prayerbook by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 27, 2015

There were two Catholic publications printed in 1946 that were ahead of their time. The National Catholic Rural Life Conference (NCRLC) published a small booklet entitled With the Blessing of the Church, translated by Most Rev. J. H. Schlarman and Father Philip T. Weller published a Latin and...

Holy Week Preparation by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 24, 2015

This post was originally written for 2014. The links have been updated for this year. Holy Week is one of the busiest weeks of the year for our family. Preparing for Christmas, especially when we have to plan celebrations for both sides of the family and possible travel is also busy, but it...

The Solemnity of the Annunciation: the Moment of Incarnation in Our Lives by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 24, 2015

With the Church we celebrate a second solemnity in the month of March and also during the Lenten season: the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. This is such a pivotal feast in our Catholic faith, and unfortunately it seems overshadowed by all the celebrations for St. Patrick and St. Joseph...

Lenten Conversion and Repentance: The True Vine and the Sacrament of Reconciliation by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 20, 2015

On Ash Wednesday the Church exhorted us to "Repent and believe in the Gospel." The ashes were the sign of the turning of our hearts back to God. The main themes throughout Lent are 1) baptism and 2) conversion and repentance. Not all of us are catechumens preparing to receive Baptism for...

The Great Saints of March: Patrick and Joseph by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 17, 2015

I always look forward to mid-March. My birthday falls on March 16 and it marks the beginning of a series of breaks from the Lenten focus and a little festivity. Not everyone is celebrating my birthday, but the Church honors two very popular saints, Patrick and Joseph, within three days (and...

Fasting and Mercy by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 13, 2015

The theme of conversion is a thread that runs all through Lent, but conversion takes on different aspects throughout the phases of Lent. The first two and a half weeks focused on the interior turning of hearts; the liturgy urges the faithful to reflect and examine consciences thoroughly. The...

Are Sundays Part of Lent? by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Mar 7, 2015

I clearly recall a Lenten sermon from my childhood during which the priest shared a statistic that chocolate stores are more profitable during Lent than the rest of year. At the beginning of Lent many people make the resolutions to give up sweets resulting in slow sales. By mid-Lent these...

Lenten Ember Days by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 25, 2015

This Wednesday, February 25, within the First Week of Lent marks the beginning of the traditional dates of the Lenten Ember Days. With the reorganization of the Liturgical Year by Vatican II, the Ember Days were retained within the Ordinary Form, but dates and form were left to the episcopal...

The Missing Element In My Lenten Penance by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 24, 2015

On Ash Wednesday my youngest son asked if the next two days were Holy Thursday and Good Friday. His question reflects my initial feelings of Lent: "We have to do this for 40 days?" I start looking for any kind of respite because I give into "Brother Ass" (as St. Francis...

It's About the Cross, Not the #Ashtag by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 18, 2015

I was surprised to see controversy arising from the idea of taking an Ash Wednesday selfie showing one's ashes and posting it on social media. Even the USCCB had a contest using the #ashtag as an entry. While I'm not a fan of hashtags, I did find this one rather clever. Before there...

Carnival: Part Two, the Final Countdown by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 17, 2015

See Carnival Part One: A Season of Contrasts which illustrated how the Carnival season provided a spiritual focus but incorporated both physical and spiritual aspects.   Last year my husband's co-workers planned a Mardi Gras party at the office, but a snowstorm closed down work...

Preparing for Lent: Seven Lessons the Flu Taught Me by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 13, 2015

The beginning of Lent is less than a week away. These final days are the last bastion of celebration, but also time to strategize how we will spend this holy season. Unfortunately, my planning came to a halt last week when I was struck down by the flu. Mothers usually are not allowed even one sick...

Blaising the Way to Keeping Healthy by Jennifer Gregory Miller - Feb 2, 2015

February 3rd has the choice of an optional memorial of two different saints: St. Blaise and St. Ansgar. St. Ansgar is a newer addition to the General Roman Calendar for that date. But St. Blaise, the bishop and martyr who died in 316 A.D. has been honored on February 3rd for many centuries. His...

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