Celebrating Liturgical Seasons
Growing by Experiencing the Feasts and Seasons of the Church Year
Gerard van Honthorst, 1622
The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him…
Click here for an interactive calendar of
reflections and activities for the Christmas season.
The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are popular symbols of the season and a tradition in many Christian homes. It is also traditional to exchange Christmas gifts with family and friends as a way to honor God the Father's gift of his only son to the world. Having received the gift of Christ, we naturally want to pass that gift along to our loved ones.
Let Catholic Social Teaching Shape Your New Year - Find this Article on our Social Justice Tab.
Christmas and Catholic Identity
by Joe Paprocki
The celebration of Christmas is unabashedly Catholic.
I describe Catholic identity as being characterized by five traits:
The Nativity Story in Icons
narrated by Alexander Scourby
The video tells the story of the Nativity of Jesus told through icons, including icons from the Monastery Icons collection, as well as frescoes from the medieval Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Decani in Kosovo, and mosaics from The Church of the Holy Saviour, a medieval Byzantine Orthodox church in Constantinople.
Heralded as “the greatest voice ever recorded,” actor and narrator Alexander Scourby’s superb narration of the Bible has moved listeners for decades. In a new partnership with the Scourby Foundation, Monastery Icons presents the first of a series of inspirational videos that combine Scourby’s narration with the classic imagery of icons by Brother Simeon Davis and ancient iconographers.
In this video, Mr. Scourby reads from the Gospel narratives of Saint Luke (Lk 2: 1-20) and Saint Matthew (Matt. 2: 1-12).
How parishes can turn ‘Christmas Catholics’
into regular Massgoers
For those who call the particular parish home, Christmas is the chance to welcome the stranger, to be the good innkeeper and not the bad one. And who knows, the welcome you extend to the infrequent Mass-goer might be what brings that person into community. And next year you both will be welcoming a new stranger together.
Do You Know About the 3 Most Beautiful and Important Symbols of Christmas?
Important feasts such as Christmas require great preparation. Catholics throughout the ages have creatively come up with all sorts of ways to do so, many of which are symbolic.
The tradition of the church incorporates material symbols because they help us get a better grasp on the spiritual realities that they are representing. Over the years, the Church has assumed certain traditions from the peoples that She has evangelised; or she created on her own certain forms that would help to “materialise” the spiritual realities that She was trying to transmit and offer. These are catechetical tools that aid us in keeping in the Mysteries of our faith and helping others to do so as well.
Advent and Christmas are liturgical times that are particularly rich in symbols. Often we are used to them but are still lacking many of the key elements that can help us take full advantage of them. Catholic Link posted these three infographics in an article intended to familiarise us with the origin, history and meaning of these symbols so as to enrich our preparation and experience this Christmas. Read the full post.
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 1st, 2017
From antiquity, Mary has been called “Theotokos“, or “God-Bearer” (Mother of God). The word in Greek is “Theotokos”. The term was used as part of the popular piety of the early first millennium church. It is used throughout the Eastern Church’s Liturgy, both Orthodox and Catholic. It lies at the heart of the Latin Rite’s deep Marian piety and devotion.
May each one of us be a God-Bearer in our world and make Christ’s love, peace and joy known by our lives.
Epiphany, the Feasts of The Three Kings
Epiphany is traditionally celebrated 12 days after Christmas on the 6th of January (in the United States it is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8) and is the time when Christians remember the Wise Men (also sometimes called the Three Kings) who visited Jesus. In countries around the world, Epiphany is celebrated with parties, traditional foods and festivities.
Epiphany Eve (also known as Twelfth Night) marks the end of the traditional Christmas celebrations and is the time when you were meant to take Christmas decorations down - although some people leave them up until Candlemas.
Prayers For Christmas
The Jesuits USA Northeast Province would like to wish you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year. They have prepared a selection of Christmas prayers which can be used for reflective prayer and during celebratory gatherings.
You can view the prayers below and download them by clicking here.
Welcome, O Child of Bethlehem!
Fill our hearts with your Father’s peace.
May you help make us ministers of that peace,
enabling us to be God’s people of good will.
May your Spirit prevail in our homes
and hearts every night and every day.
May the song of the angels be sung
and heard with joy in every season of the new year:
Peace on earth to all God’s people.
I Said a Christmas Prayer for You
I said a Christmas prayer for you
because the season’s near.
I didn’t ask for riches
but for gifts so much more dear.
I asked for joyful gatherings
with your family all around,
and for carols to inspire you
with their old familiar sound.
I asked for quiet moments
in your heart on Christmas morn,
For a special time to celebrate
the Savior who was born…
Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
remove the hopelessness that blinds us;
cleanse us of the hurts
that divide us from others;
restore us to hope,
that we may work for the gifts
we wish for those we love.
May the grace of your Christ
who comes to shepherd us
help us to care for one another;
may the good news we hear
in our struggles bring joy and
hope to all our mornings;
may your coming to us as
one of us inspire us to lift up
one another to the dignity of being
your daughters and sons.
Nativity Prayer by St. Augustine
Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
(St. Augustine of Hippo, AD 354-440)
Read more: http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/times/christmas_prayer.html#ixzz4Ta7hJVAa