January 19 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Holy Name
The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. St. Paul tells us that eventually every knee shall bend at the name of Jesus. Holy Name Societies used to flourish in the parishes of the United States. These pious societies of lay people were initiated to promote the devout utterance of the name of God and to combat blasphemy. At the beginning of the New Year of Grace now is a good time to renew a commitment to keep the Third Commandment, which forbids using the Holy Name in vain. The name of God, of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary and the saints should always be kept in reverence. The tradition was always to make a slight bow of the head whenever the name of Jesus was uttered.
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. You are the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that your Name may be blessed for all times…
by Thomas Kempis
January 12 – The Baptism of the Lord: Baptism Day
Do you know the date of your baptism? It is a very pious tradition to celebrate the anniversary. The new life of Christ, the seed of eternal life is given to us at baptism, and it should be celebrated as every bit as important as our birthdays. The Church even offers a plenary indulgence to anyone who renews their baptismal promises on the anniversary of the day.
It would be good to ensure that we retain the sacramentals of our baptism: the candle and the white garment. Even if these items are lost we can celebrate the baptism anniversaries with a new candle. These anniversaries are something that should certainly be taught to children and become a family tradition.
Baptismal Anniversary Prayer (Adapt the words to your circumstances)
Remember this, Name.
You have been washed in the saving waters of baptism and anointed with holy oil.
Place on your head and in your heart the sign of the cross of salvation.
Trace the sign of the cross on the head and heart.
January 5 – Epiphany of the Lord: King Cake
Traditionally Catholic countries have celebrated Epiphany as the beginning of the festive season of light right up till Ash Wednesday. In some countries new kings were even coronated on January 6 (the traditional day of Epiphany). Twelfth Night is a crowning moment of the Christmas season and is always celebrated on the twelfth day of Christmas, which is the vigil of the Epiphany.
One custom for celebrating the day of the kings is to make the king cake. In honor of the Kingship of Jesus and the three kings who traveled to find him, a special oval cake is made and inside the cake is hidden a bean or pea or small plastic baby. Whoever gets the slice of cake with the prize is the “king” or “queen” of the party and is celebrated as such. The king cake is a reminder that our joy, the joy of celebration and feasting, should be in the Lord and in our communion with each other through him. Gift-giving is a great way to enhance the celebration just as the kings brought gifts to the newborn Jesus.
Click here for the Catholic foodie’s King Cake recipe.
December 29, 2019 – The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph: Holy Family Consecration
For Families who Wish to Consecrate Themselves to the Holy Family
O Jesus, our most loving Savior! Thou Who was sent down from Heaven to enlighten the world by Thy teaching and example, and Who didst will to pass the greater part of Thy holy life in Nazareth, subject to Mary and Joseph, and thereby didst hallow the household which was to be the pattern for all Christian families, do Thou in Thy goodness receive our household which this day consecrates itself to Thee. Protect and guard us, strengthen us in Thy holy fear, establish in our hearts the peace and concord of Christian Charity, so that each one of us becoming like to the Divine model of Thy family, may be sharers of eternal joy.
O Mary, most loving Mother of Jesus Christ, our Mother, through thy love and mercy intercede, that Jesus receive this act of Consecration, and pour out upon us His graces and blessings.
O Joseph, most holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, help us by thy prayers in all our necessities, both of body and soul; that together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and thyself we shall praise and thank Jesus Christ, our Divine Redeemer. Amen.
December 22, 2019 – Fourth Sunday of Advent: Las Posadas
The Advent tradition of the Posadas originated in Spain and spread to Mexico via missionaries. A group of pilgrims imitates the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Pre-arrangement is made by friends and or family to participate. The pilgrim group journeys from one friend’s house to another (as many houses as is arranged ahead of time). Along the way the pilgrims pray the rosary and carry candles. At the first home the pilgrims sing a song asking for the home to welcome them into the Inn. As in the Gospel scene those in the first home sing that they have no room at the Inn. This continues for as many homes as all agree to. At the last home all are finally welcomed and a celebration commences.
The Posadas (a name which means dwelling in English) is not meant to be just another Christmas party but truly an Advent exercise in communion with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
For songs and more information, click here.
December 15, 2019 – Third Sunday of Advent: The “O” Antiphons
From December 17 through the 23 the Church intensifies its Advent desire for the coming of Christ. Each day the Church sings Mary’s
Magnificat with the “O” antiphons so as to emphasize seven ways Christ fulfilled the Old Testament. It is a great practice to pray the Magnificat with these antiphons each night:
O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with
power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his
people: come to save us without delay!
O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
December 8, 2019 – Second Sunday of Advent: Tradition of St. Lucy
St. Lucy is celebrated on December 13. It is known that Lucy was a young woman from Syracuse in Italy and was martyred in the 4th century. The story is that Lucy refused marriage to a pagan man so he betrayed Lucy to the Roman authorities. Eventually Lucy’s eyes were gauged out as a form of torture. Most images of St. Lucy appear with her holding her eyes on a tray.
Lucy means “light.” One very pious family custom has the oldest daughter in a family wear a white dress and a wreathe crown on her head. She walks through the house on St. Lucy’s Day with a candle waking the other members of the family and inviting them to breakfast with St. Lucy sweet rolls.
December 1, 2019 – First Sunday of Advent: St. Andrew’s Day
St. Andrew Day’s is celebrated on November 30 and is traditionally a major solemnity in the Greek Orthodox Church. The Patriarch of Constantinople (considered the Ecumenical Patriarch for all Orthodox Churches) is considered the successor to St. Andrew. Every year the pope sends representatives to Constantinople (now Istanbul) to celebrate with the Greek Orthodox (the Patriarch of Constantinople in turn sends a representative to Rome on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul). St. Andrew’s Day also helps to designate the beginning of the Season of Advent. The first Sunday of Advent is always the first Sunday after the Feast of St. Andrew in the Latin Rite.
It is fitting that Advent would follow upon St. Andrew’s Day as he was the first Apostle called by Jesus. Andrew, it appears, was a disciple of John the Baptist and was sent by John to follow Jesus. As such, Andrew is a great saint to prepare us for the coming of Jesus. In the Gospel of John Andrew asks Jesus where he is staying and Jesus replies, “Come and see.” This is the spirit of Advent. With St. Andrew let us come and see where Christ is in our lives.