Sunday, December 30: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
God uses the family to teach relationship: our relationship with the Father as children, Jesus as brother, Our Lady as Mother, the Church as the bride of Christ. On this feast of the Holy Family, we have the opportunity to pray and meditate on the family God chose for His own Son.
May the Holy Family, who had to overcome many painful trials, watch over all the families in the world, especially those who are experiencing difficult situations. May the Holy Family also help men and women of culture and political leaders, so that they may defend the institution of the family, based on marriage, and so that they may sustain the family, as it confronts the grave challenges of the modern age!…may Chtistian families find the light and strength to be united and grow as the ‘domestic church’, especially in their diligent participation in he celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday. “St John Paul II
Monday, December 31: St Sylvester, Priest, Pope (c 250-335):
St Sylvester was born in Rome. He enjoyed providing shelter to Christians passing through the city, and would take them with him, wash their feet, serve them at table and give them all the care the needed in the name of Christ. One such Christian was Timothy of Antioch. After Timothy’s death, Sylvester was imprisoned for helping Timothy, but later released upon the death of the governor. Under the tyranny of Diocletian, Sylvester strengthened the confessors and martyrs, and God preserved his life from many dangers. Sylvester became Pope in 314. He is remembered in particular for the Council of Nicea, the triumph of the Church, and the Baptism of Constantine (when Constantine was cured of leprosy).
Tuesday, January 1: The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
“Today, the liturgy of the Octave of Christmas presents to us the icon of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. The Apostle Paul points her out as the “woman” through whom the Son of God entered the world. Mary of Nazareth is the Theotokos, the One who “gave birth to the King of Heaven and earth for ever” (Entrance Antiphon; cf. Sedulius). At the beginning of this new year, let us place ourselves with docility at the school of Mary. We want to learn from her, the Holy Mother, how to accept in faith and prayer the salvation that God never ceases to offer to all who trust in his merciful love.” St John Paul II
Wednesday, January 2: St Basil the Great, Priest, Bishop (329-379)
After studying various modes of religious life, St Basil founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor, and his principles influence Eastern monasticism today. Basil stood strong against Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, and was at its height. He worked hard to unite and rally his fellow Catholics, who were crushed by tyranny. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition. Basil was best known as a speaker. His writings rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church. Seventy-two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as “the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth.
“The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”
Patron: hospital administrators, reformers, monks, education, exorcism, liturgists
Thursday, January 3:The Most Holy Name of Jesus
Jesus, the name that is above every name. St. Bernardine of Siena, a 15th-century Franciscan used devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus as a way of overcoming bitter class struggles and family feuds in Italian city-states. The devotion grew, because of Fr. In 1721, Pope Innocent XIII extended this feast to the entire Church.
“To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living.” St John Neumann
Friday, January 4: St Elizabeth Ann Seton
Mother Seton is first American to be canonized. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity, opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage, while raising her five children. She was born a protestant, in high society, married a wealthy business man, William Magee Seton, who died of Tuberculosis. At 30, Elizabeth was widowed, penniless, with five small children to support. While in Italy Elizabeth witnessed three basic points that led her to become a Catholic: belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ. To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore.
“How sweet, the presence of Jesus to the longing, harassed soul! It is instant peace, and balm to every wound.”
Patron: Catholic Schools
Saturday, January 5: St John Neumann, Priest, Bishop (1811-1860):
John Neumann was born in what is now the Czech Republic. After studying in Prague, he came to New York. There he did missionary work, and joined the Redemptorists becoming its first member to profess vows in the United States. He continued missionary work in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio. As bishop of Philadelphia, he organized the parochial school system into a diocesan one. He drew into the city many teaching communities of sisters and the Christian Brothers. John Neumann became the first American bishop to be canonized.
“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”
Patron: Catholic education