Monday, April 05, 2021

He Is Risen!

He is risen!  

He is risen indeed!

In the Ukrainian (my wife and I were married in the Ukrainian Catholic Church) this is stated:

Khrystos voskres!

And the response is:

Voistynu voskres!

It is now Eastertide! 

The stone is rolled away!

We begin this season with the First Mass of Easter (about half-way through the Easter Vigil) and it lasts through Pentecost Sunday, which begins the next (and longest) season in the liturgical year.

A reminder to Catholics: One of the precepts of the Catholic Faith is every Catholic must receive Holy Eucharist at least once during Eastertide. We commonly call this precept our "Easter Duty." This will typically be preceded by participating in the Sacrament of Penance (aka: Reconciliation or Confession). This is not to be confused with another precept, that of the so-called "Sunday obligation," wherein every Catholic is obliged to participate in the Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. While attending Mass is required, every Sunday, reception of the Eucharist is not mandatory every Sunday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Patron Saint of Ireland - Patrick

BUT!  Then you hear or read of those who proclaim that St. Patrick was never officially declared a Saint by the Catholic Church - and most of us then say, um, WHAT?! While it is true that St. Patrick was not declared a Saint, in the same manner, most other Saints have been so declared - one must look at the REASON his canonization was different. The fact is, in the first millennium the formal canonization process had not been fully developed. However, to proclaim he was never officially canonized is simply NOT TRUE! The fact of the matter is, in ancient times, starting about 787 A.D., a new church had to have a relic from a Saint before it could be consecrated.

In 1177, a knight named John de Courcy built a new monastery and he, with Bishop Malachy, applied to Pope Urban III for permission to have the remains of Sts. Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille moved to the new monastery. An investigation was conducted and a Solemn Translation (elevato corporis) was approved. Pope Urban sent Cardinal Vivian with his official commission for the verification of the sanctity of the persons (Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille), followed by an all-night vigil prior to moving the remains. For the day, this WAS an official declaration of sainthood by and through the Catholic Church (McCormick, 2011). 

The process of declaring one a saint has changed many, many times throughout the ages, most recently in 1983 and 1997 (McCormick, 2011). So, while St. Patrick's official canonization was not according to the modern means - he was most definitely recognized as a Saint of the Catholic Church and BY the Catholic Church in 1177 A.D.


McCormick, M. (2011). St. Patrick IS a Saint! Ancient Order of Hibernians.       

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Choirs of Angels

Did you know there are nine (9) Choirs of Angels in Heaven?

So, what are the names of these choirs, and is there a scriptural reference?

The Seraphim: Isaiah 6:2; Hebrews 12:22.

The Cherubim: Genesis 3:24; Hebrews 12:22

The Thrones: Colossians 1:16

The Dominations or Dominions: Colossians 1:16

The Virtues: Ephesians 1:21

The Powers: Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16

The Principalities: Colossians 1:16-17

The Archangels: Tobit 12:15; John 5:4; Revelation 12:7-9

The Angels: (Including Guardian or Personal Angels): Daniel 3:28, Daniel 6:22; Matthew 18:10

Additional Reading (and credit for sources):

The Nine Choirs of Angels: 

The Nine Choir Hierarchy of the Angels in Scripture and Tradition: 

What are the categories of Angels (archangels, thrones, dominions, seraphim)? 

Explanation and Hierarchy of the 9 Choirs of Angels: (source of the image below):

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Candlemas - February 2nd

Candlemas - February 2

Christmas IS Over!

Candlemas Eve

Down with the rosemary and bays,
Down with the misletoe;
Instead of holly, now up-raise
The greener box, for show.   
The holly hitherto did sway;
Let box now domineer,
Until the dancing Easter-day,
Or Easter’s eve appear.   
Then youthful box, which now hath grace
Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place
Unto the crispèd yew.

When yew is out, then birch comes in,
And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin,
To honour Whitsuntide.   

Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,
To re-adorn the house.

Thus times do shift; 
Each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed,
As former things grow old.

The poem takes us from Christmastide, taking down our Christmas decorations, to Easter and then Pentecost (Whitsunday) and into summertime - and back to when "cooler oaken boughs..." and it is time again to re-adorn the house for the next Christ Mass celebration.
Today's readings are from the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple - and is the last lectionary reference to the infancy of Jesus for the liturgical year.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Septuagesima Sunday

So, what is this funny word? Septuagesima literally translates to 70, as in 70 days before Easter and is actually the ninth Sunday before Easter. The purpose behind Septuagesima is for the faithful to begin thinking about Lent and what your penance for Lent might be. Septuagesima is not a time of fasting and penance, it is a time of preparation. Lent starts in two and a half weeks, on Ash Wednesday.

So why do we fast during Lent? The Season of Lent, forty days, represents the forty days Jesus spent in fasting and prayer in the desert before entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. For Lent, we offer up something, and it does not have to be huge - but it should be something you would normally do or partake in every day. By offering up something you do all the time - it provides you an opportunity to think of WHY you are offering it up. You offer it up in union with Christ's sufferings, not only in remembrance of his forty days of fasting but also of His Passion and death on the Cross. So, if you give up chocolate, or coffee, or sodas, or desserts, or whatever you choose - so long as it is something you would participate in regularly and will give you that moment of meditation on Christ's suffering which was FOR YOU.

Why is Septuagesima not in the Ordinary Rite of the Catholic Church?  

We'll answer that in the next posting!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Cell Phones in Church

How many times have you been in church and during the sermon or during consecration or, well anytime during Mass and you hear someone's cell phone go off? It can probably be well asserted that most of the time a cell phone in church is wholly unnecessary. Most times because there can be incidents that require individuals to have their cell phones on them. As an example, a doctor who is on-call. Another example could be support personnel for a medical facility or someone awaiting emergency information from or about a loved one. That said, there is no reason the phones cannot be in silent mode. For anyone else, leave your cell phone at home or at least in your vehicle.

Now, if someone forgets to leave their phone outside or forgets to put it into silent mode and it goes off, one can sense the frustration in others. Is it really any more distracting than a child crying? Is it something we could just accept and not take offense to? It seems that some are overly annoyed by cell phones. We can all agree that any methods to avoid distracting others at church should be observed, but can we also make it our responsibility to refocus our attention as necessary when someone messed up and forgot to silence their phone? Consider the feelings of that person too - who now has the focus of many in their pews now on them - they are likely quite embarrassed and well aware of the distraction.

Another valid possibility of cell phones in church is the use of a smartphone app that contains the readings or even a full missal with rubrics to follow the Mass. Some will still frown upon someone using a "screen" in church, but in reality, what is the real difference between an electronic missal and a traditional book or booklet form? Still, if one wishes to use a smartphone app in church, they should do their best not to be distractive to others.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

It Is STILL Christmastide!

Just a reminder! Christmastide BEGAN on Christmas Day in celebration of the Christ Mass and continues even after Epiphany through February 2nd - Candlemas Day!

Keep at least SOME of your Christmas decorations up!


Epiphany, the celebration of the arrival of the "Three Wise Men" from the East. They came bearing gifts for the Christchild. In many Catholic traditions, gifts are given on this day instead of (or on top of) December 25th. It is also a time of reflecting not only on the Infant Jesus, but also upon the baptism of Jesus - when He is revealed by God - and the Trinity is physically present as the Father announces His Son, and the Holy Ghost descends upon Him as a dove. 

The letters C, M, B have two meanings:
• They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
• They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus Mansionem Benedicat, “May Christ bless this house.”

The “+” signs represent the cross and 2021 is the year.

After the chalking of your front door, a blessing should be said. Here is a suggestion from the Carmelites website:

All make the Sign of the Cross.

In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Leader: Peace be to this house and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

12th Day of Christmas - January 5

 On this, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, as we complete the song and the explanation behind each "gift" as well as the fact that the alleged catechetical code behind the song is likely an invention of the 1990s and the Internet - let us not be looking so hard to find a negative.

Image credit:

The alleged catechetical meaning behind the 12th Drummers drumming is the 12 Articles of Faith in the Apostles Creed. These 12 articles are not exclusive to the Catholic Faith, in fact, they are widely held by most Christians throughout the Christian world.

Now, rather than draw attention to the likely fact that this myth was born in the 1990s on the Internet, and rather than find fault in the alleged logic put forth in the 1990s that this song was born out of persecution - why not just accept that there can be a deeper Christian message behind the 12 gifts? Clearly the song marks the (largely Catholic) celebration of the 12 days between the birth of Jesus Christ to the celebration of the coming of the Magi on Epiphany, January 6th - so love the song for its Christian roots!

Another song, similar in nature and from about the same time is the "New Dial Song" (c. 1625 AD). Perhaps some of the musings from this other ancient song have had some influence on the 1990s legend of the 12 Days of Christmas? Here are the words to the "New Dial Song:"

What are they that are but one?

We have one God alone

In heaven above sits on His throne.What are they which are but two?

Two testaments, the old and new,

We do acknowledge to be true.What are they which are but three?

Three persons in the Trinity

Which make one God in unity.What are they which are but four

Four sweet Evangelists there are,

Christ’s birth, life, death which do declare.What are they which are but five?

Five senses, like five kings, maintain

In every man a several reign. What are they which are but six?

Six days to labor is not wrong,

For God himself did work so long.

What are they which are but seven?

Seven liberal arts hath God sent down

With divine skill man’s soul to crown. What are they which are but eight?

Eight Beatitudes are there given

Use them right and go to heaven. What are they which are but nine?

Nine Muses, like the heaven’s nine spheres,

With sacred tunes entice our ears. What are they which are but ten?

Ten statutes God to Moses gave

Which, kept or broke, do spill or save. What are they which are but eleven?

Eleven thousand virgins did partake

And suffered death for Jesus’ sake. What are they which are but twelve?

Twelve are attending on God’s son;

Twelve make our creed. The Dial’s done.

I will close this posting on the Twelfth Day of Christmas with the reminder, it is STILL CHRISTMAS! Christmastide lasts through most of the Season of Epiphany, and ends on February 2nd - Candlemas - which is the last time in the liturgical year that the nativity is mentioned in the readings of the lectionary. So, keep your decorations up a bit longer, at least some of them, as a reminder that we are still celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Monday, January 04, 2021

11th Day of Christmas

 The 11th Day of Christmas - January 4th

From the song, we have the 11 Pipers piping...

A couple meanings could be behind this according to legend. During the 16th through 19th centuries, it was illegal for Catholics to practice their faith in England - so the story goes (may not be true) that the faithful Catholics developed coded meaning in the song, the Twelve Days of Christmas, to publicly sing of their faith without drawing attention to it. One possible meaning is the 11 represents 11,000 - or a lot - of martyrs for the Catholic Faith in England. Another and more popular belief is that the 11 represents the 11 Apostles who remained faithful to Christ through the Crucifixion and Resurrection. 

I say "legend" because there is no real hard evidence prior to the 1990s where this "legend" seems to have begun. Certainly, the song is from the 16th-17th century, but that there are coded meaings behind each verse - well, again, there is just no evidence for this prior to several email chains from the 1990s. That said, I see nothing wrong with attributing these meanings to the verses, but we should be clear about the origins of these meanings.
Catholic Saints for January 4th:

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. (Phil. 2:10).

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus which is kept on the First Sunday in the year; but if this Sunday falls on January 1, 6, or 7 the feast is kept on January 2. The reason for not having the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on these days is due to other feasts already being on those days and since the day for the Holy Name of Jesus moves each year, rather than conflict with non-moving feasts the movable feast moves to January 2 (Circumcision, Jan 1, Epiphany, Jan 6, and Orthodoxy celebrates Christmas on Jan 7). 

“There is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved” (*Epistle). The origin of this feast goes back to the 16th century, when it was already observed by the Franciscan Order. In 1721, during the pontificate of Innocent XIII, its observance was extended to the whole Church. If we wish to see our names written in heaven under the glorious name of Jesus (*Postcommunion), that name must be often on our lips here below. [*Extraordinary Rite].

Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, R: have mercy on us.

God the Son, redeemer of the world,

God the Holy Ghost,

Holy Trinity, one God,

Jesus, Son of the living God,

Jesus, brightness of eternal light,

Jesus, king of glory,

Jesus, son of justice,

Jesus, Son of the virgin Mary,

Jesus, most amiable,

Jesus, most admirable,

Jesus, the mighty God,

Jesus, father of the world to come,

Jesus, angel of great counsel,

Jesus, most powerful,

Jesus, most patient,

Jesus, most obedient,

Jesus, meek and humble of heart,

Jesus, lover of chastity,

Jesus, lover of us,

Jesus, God of peace,

Jesus, author of life,

Jesus, example of virtues,

Jesus, zealous lover of souls,

Jesus, our God,

Jesus, our refuge,

Jesus, father of the poor,

Jesus, treasure of the faithful,

Jesus, good Shepherd,

Jesus, true light,

Jesus, eternal wisdom,

Jesus, infinite goodness,

Jesus, our way and our life,

Jesus, joy of angels,

Jesus, king of Patriarchs,

Jesus, master of the Apostles,

Jesus, teacher of the Evangelists,

Jesus, strength of martyrs,

Jesus, light of Confessors,

Jesus, purity of virgins,

Jesus, crown of all saints, R: have mercy on us.

Be merciful, R: spare us, O Jesus.

Be merciful, R: graciously hear us, O Jesus.

From all evil, R: deliver us, O Jesus.

From all sin,

From Thy wrath,

From the snares of the devil,

From the spirit of fornication,

From everlasting death,

From the neglect of Thine inspirations,

By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,

By Thy nativity,

By Thine infancy,

By Thy most divine life,

By Thy labors,

By Thine agony and passion,

By Thy cross and dereliction,

By Thy sufferings,

By Thy death and burial,

By Thy resurrection,

By Thine ascension,

By Thine institution of the most Holy Eucharist,

By Thy joys,

By Thy glory, R: deliver us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, R: spare us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, R: hear us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, R: have mercy on us, O Jesus.

Jesus, R: hear us.

Jesus, R: graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said: ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you; mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that we may ever love Thee with our whole heart and with all our words and deeds, and may never cease from praising Thee.

Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy name, for Thou never failest to help and govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast fear and love; who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

10th Day of Christmas

 10th Day of Christmas - January 3

10 Lords A-Leaping
Traditional / Catechetical Remembrance*: 
The Ten Commandments

Saints for January 3:

* The "Catechetical remembrance" is likely a myth - it was said that the 12 Days of Christmas song was to help children remember their catechism - but the "gifts" do not really have any memorable link to what they are supposed to represent. Another story is that while Catholics were being persecuted in England, they would sing this song at Christmastide to help remember the tenets of their faith - but again, such a "code" makes little sense. 

Saturday, January 02, 2021

9th Day of Christmas - January 2nd

 On the Ninth Day of Christmas - January 2nd

Nine Ladies Dancing

Traditional / Catechetical Remembrance: 

The Nine Fruits of the Holy Ghost

Again, we must point out that while modern folklore, from the 1990s, states there is a Catholic catechetical meaning behind the song of the 12 Days of Christmas, there really exists no hard evidence to that end. The Snopes website does a fairly good job of explaining the likelihood of the folly of this Catholic or Christian explanation of the song, in fact, One argument is the song refers to Catholics who were persecuted by Protestants in England and another side posits that the song refers to Christians in general were persecuted and the song was a coded message for Christianity to not reveal the Christian faith to others. The chief argument against the latter is that each verse of the song refers to the Christian celebration of Christmas - one is hardly hiding Christianity in this song! I found only one error on their site. 
The only error I found on the Snopes site is a reference regarding the five gold rings to "the five obligatory sacraments of the Church." Well, there are seven obligatory sacraments of the Church, not five.