Calendar & Seasons

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There is Something About St. Patrick

There is something about St. Patrick that is breathtaking. No, it is not a shamrock, although the meaning behind the shamrock has something to do with it. If you would ask someone what St. Patrick’s Day is all about, they would probably say “shamrocks” or “Ireland” or “St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland forever.” I’m not saying those [...]

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The Promise of Lent

There’s been some mistake, God. We seem to have lost a few weeks this year, and rumor has it that Lent is right around the corner. I AM NOT READY, God. I have just made a major life change, jumped off the proverbial cliff, trusting you to catch me. In the midst of the turmoil and uncertainty — and the [...]

"Christ in the Desert" by Kramskoy"Christ in the Desert" by Kramskoy

40 Ways to Get More Out of Lent

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of Lenten ideas.  But it’s a start!  Many of the resources mentioned here are available on my website at www.crossroadsinitiative.com or can be found by visiting my links page. Take 30 minutes to pray, ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance, look over this list, and make a few practical Lenten resolutions.  Be careful.  [...]

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What you need to know about Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time and the Liturgical Seasons The liturgical season of Christmas came to an end with the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord this past Sunday. We have just concluded the first week of Ordinary Time, the longest season of the Church’s liturgical year, which began Monday. Ordinary Time is separated into two parts of the [...]

Adoration of the Shepherds (detail)
Gerard van HonthorstAdoration of the Shepherds (detail) Gerard van Honthorst

Contemplation for the Christmas Season

by Sister Timothy Marie, OCD Sometimes the early morning sky, just before the light of the new day dawns, is so still and quiet that I think I am at the threshold of heaven. The atmosphere itself is permeated in a prayerful stillness. The beauty of these moments absorbs my total being and resonates within my soul. Prayer is easy [...]

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Learning from the Shepherds at Midnight Mass

This message, indeed, “cannot leave us indifferent.” Because it is true, “it changes everything.” There is something beautifully symbolic about the tradition of Midnight Mass. It shows that Christians are so eager for Christmas to begin that they want to start celebrating on the first moment of Christmas day. People who ordinarily never go out late at night and are [...]

The Prophet Isaiah by MichelangeloThe Prophet Isaiah by Michelangelo

What are the “O Antiphons” and why should I care?

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil. Introduction On the evening [...]

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Our Merciful Mother – Our Lady of Guadalupe

by Sister Ines, O.C.D. In every approved Marian apparition, Our Lady has a specific mission. Each one reveals a determined and specific message – a unique and necessary goal. In the Anáhuac Valley of Mexico, on a barren hill called Tepeyac, Our Lady of Guadalupe came as a “merciful Mother,” a healer and restorer of all who are broken in [...]

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Five Tips For Keeping the Season of Advent Holy in Our Domestic Churches

It’s that wonderful and holy time of year that our Church calls “Advent.” We might be planning (or at least hoping) to observe this Advent season in a holier way than we have in the past but aren’t quite sure how to accomplish it. After all, there’s that crazy time factor to deal with – or shall I say, the [...]

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Four Practical Steps to a Better Advent

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent. Already! Don’t worry, if you have not begun your watchful preparation, it is not too late… One of my strongest, most enduring memories from my childhood is the time spent preparing for Christmas. We did not have any family traditions involving the Advent Wreath or the Jesse Tree. And most certainly, like all the other children [...]