Liturgical Year Blog

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

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...

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 from the Liturgy. This week I'm discussing the...

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...

The Easter Octave

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 days from the Sunday of the Resurrection to Pentecost...

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...

Traditions of Holy Thursday

Wednesday of Holy Week is pivotal because it marks the end of Lent. Holy Thursday begins the sacred Triduum -- the holiest days of the Church year. The liturgy reflects the beauty of the Paschal mystery and the Passover Feast of Christ. But how is this day spent in popular piety? What do...

Holy Week in the Home

Holy Week is aptly named because it is the holiest week of the Liturgical (and calendar) year. But it is also one of the busiest weeks of the year for our family, so I annually review my plans and revise according to our changing needs. There is more time spent in church due to the...

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...

Celebrating St. Joseph

Every new year, I like to check the calendar for upcoming dates for the Liturgical Year. I start turning the monthly pages to see when is Ash Wednesday, is Easter early or late, etc. One thing in particular is to see what part of Lent do the solemnities of St. Joseph and the Annunciation...

Passiontide and Veiling of Images

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 opportunity to discuss and research a little about the veiling of...

A Peek into our Daily Roman Walk

Two weeks ago I shared our plan for our daily Lenten journey following the Roman stations. I thought I would share our progress and what it looks like in our home. My sons are ages 8 and 12 and are at an age of transition. The daily countdown calendar to Easter doesn't make as much as an...

Lentitude Adjustment

The Church is nearing the end of the Second Week of Lent. I find the first two weeks the hardest. Once a personal plan of prayer and penance is chosen, it takes some time to adjust to the change of outlook and habits for the next six weeks. For a weak sinner like me, being only two weeks into the...

Lenten Ember Days

This post was originally written in 2014, updated for Lent 2016.  This Wednesday, February 17, 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...

Following the Roman Lenten Stations

Although I would never consider myself a Pollyanna, I try to remain positive when writing on the Church's Liturgy and Liturgical Year. The Council of Vatican II brought many changes to the Liturgy, and although the closing of the Council occurred 51 years ago, I see the Church still struggling...

Entering the Season of Lent

Having Ash Wednesday begin so early in February makes it difficult to me to get into gear. Every year I make some decisions on what areas to focus on during Lent, but even as I choose them, I always wait for God to send me His penance for me for Lent. He knows just what I need. And when Lent...

Presentation of the Lord: A Light for the Nations

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 candles before Mass on this day. As I was putting my...

The End of Christmas: Dispelling the Misconceptions

Most Catholics recognize the end of the Christmas season ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which occurred in the Ordinary Form/current calendar on Sunday, January 10, and the Extraordinary Form on January 13th. But there are some Catholics who claim that it is still Christmas and...

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

This post was originally published in January 2014. The Christmas season ended on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Or did it? It seems inevitable every Christmas that there will be polite disagreement among Catholics as to when the Christmas season officially ends. Usually...

January 22: Day of Prayer and Penance in the United States

January 22 marks the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court legalizing abortion. Most of us know it as the day for the March for Life, when pro-lifers from all over the country converge to be a public witness for those innocent lives that have no voice. Not everyone...

The Diversity of Epiphany

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 celebrated on the traditional date of January 6.  The word "Catholic" means universal, but it...

Celebrating Epiphany and the Christmas Season

This post was originally published in 2013. The Christmas season always seems over too quickly! It's not that we're packing the days full of activity, but rather our resting and relaxing and enjoying the Christmas glow makes time fly! Our family observes the Twelve Days of Christmas...

The Octave of Christmas

"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 people have already thrown their Christmas tree to the curb and taken down their Christmas decorations, there are the reminders...

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!

As I finalize the preparations for Christmas, my thoughts go back to Christmases past, both from my childhood and my own family. Through all the years at Grandma's house, or recovering from surgeries, there are two traditions for our children that have stayed constant, even if was a...

Observing the O Antiphons

December 17 begins the "O" Antiphon Days, my very favorite part of Advent. These are ancient antiphons that all begin with "O" found in the liturgy from December 17-23. They are particularly in the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) before the Magnificat in the Evening Prayer...

Sharing the Gift of Mercy with Our Brothers and Sisters

December 12 marks the second anniversary of my open heart surgery. Such a short sentence doesn't capture all the inconvenience, pain, emotion and healing involved before and after the surgery. For me and my family, this was a pivotal moment in our lives. I have brushed the face of death but...

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Opens the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patronal feast of the United States and a holyday of obligation. This day also marks the opening of the Holy Door and the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  The choice of this feast day to open the...

The Spirit of Advent: Listening to Christ

Even before the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone, the new Liturgical Year begins. The First Sunday of Advent is this Sunday, November 29. It is a little difficult to transition from Thanksgiving into Advent; I am still putting away the table decorations, restoring our downstairs and cleaning up...

Prayers of Thanksgiving

I apologize that due to technical difficulties, this post could not be made active earlier. 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. Serious accidents were avoided;...

Feastday Highlights: Solemnity of Christ the King

This post was originally written in 2014. This Sunday the Liturgical Year ends not in a sad or a small way, but culminates in the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. During November the liturgy has been keeping an eschatological theme and this feast...

What Can We Do?

In 2001 we said we would never forget. Fourteen years later a younger generation now feels the outrage of terrorist attacks on innocent people. France is not a war-torn country, but a popular place, where many people visit, and almost everyone seems to have some connection or memory related to the...

November: Close Connection of the Communion of the Saints

This is my annual reminder that November 1 begins the special opportunity to earn plenary indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Visit a cemetery and pray for the departed from November 1-8 and visit a church or oratory on All Souls Day, November 2, praying the Our Father and the Creed. You...

Halloween is for Catholics

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 right balance for their own family. I wrote a long post last year, Halloween: Celebrating Like a Catholic. In...

November: a Month of Poor Souls and Cemeteries

This post was originally written in November 2014. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins (2 Mach. 12:46). Every November I like to make a "Public Service Announcement" of the Church's opportunities at the beginning...

Halloween: Celebrating Like a Catholic

This blog post was originally written in October 2014. Ready or not, Halloween is Saturday. This is the second highest grossing commercial holiday in America, and also one of the most controversial. Fundamental Christians believe it should be completely rejected because it has roots as a pagan...

Taking Stock: Advent Wreath and Candles

This is not to ensue panic, but Advent begins November 29, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. That is in less than 6 weeks or 6 Sundays from now. Do you know where your Advent wreath is? And more importantly, do you have Advent candles and KNOW where they are? I was grateful to my friend...

Louis and Zélie Martin: Patron Saints for the Domestic Church

This Sunday, October 18, 2015, Pope Francis canonized Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. This is the first husband and wife to be canonized together, emphasizing their cooperation with the graces of the sacrament of matrimony.  The...

The Family Rosary: A Month for Renewal

October 7 is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, but the entire month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, which makes it another liturgical opportunity for renewal. The liturgical seasons of Lent and Advent are times for beginning again, time for change and renewal. Quarterly...

St. Francis of Assisi -- Setting the Record Straight

This post was written in October 2014. This year, 2015, October 4 falls on a Sunday, so the memorial St. Francis is not universally observed, but we still might want to honor him in small ways without overshadowing the primacy of Sunday. =================== October 4 marks the memorial of St....

Feasting for Junípero 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 spending time in getting to know this new family member. One...

America's New Saint, Junípero Serra

...[W]e declare and define Blessed Junípero Serra to be a Saint and we enroll him among the Saints, decreeing that he is to be venerated as such by the whole Church. Yesterday Pope Francis, with these words, canonized Junípero Serra. This humble Spanish Franciscan friar is one of...

Memorable Saint Stories

After just a few years of practice, following the Liturgical calendar within your Domestic Church can become second nature to the family; it can become an inseparable part of the family's organic routine. In our family, there are certain feasts and saints that we highlight annually, whether it...

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