Calendar & Seasons

"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni

Why We Celebrate the Dormition and Assumption of Mary

On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year, that date falls on next Saturday. Here in the United Staes, the assumption is ordinarily a Holy Day of Obligation, but because it falls on Saturday this year, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity […]


On Lenten Failures and Easter Resurrections

This year, I didn’t pull out the Lenten decorations I use as visual aids to help my children during the forty days in the desert.  My crown of thorns wreath, the purple cloth, the sacrifice jar and the other small devotional items I implement as best Lenten practices stayed housed in their Rubbermaid containers in the garage. I suppose this is […]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco)
Photograph © by Andy CoanMission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

Good Friday and the Victory of the Cross

The terror of crucifixion Terrorism is nothing new.  It’s probably as old as the human race. In fact the cradle of civilization, now Iraq, was the home of the most infamous terrorists of antiquity, the Assyrians.  Their goal was to conquer their neighbors in a way that would minimize  initial resistance and subsequent rebellion.  To do this, they knew fear […]


How to Observe 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 […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Eliminating Obstacles in 2015 (and Beyond)

As I considered what to write for this New Year’s Day post, I reflected on years of well-intended resolutions to lose weight, go to daily Mass, pick up a new hobby, play more tennis, etc. which ended in failure as my desires clashed with the reality of my busy schedule and stubborn resistance to change. I like goals, but I […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Yes Virginia, There is a Baby Jesus

by Sister Timothy Marie, O.C.D. Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles Dear Virginia, I am writing to tell you about something that has been on my mind for several weeks. It has bubbled up within me, percolating up and down my brain and saturating my thoughts.  Like coffee grounds in a coffeemaker, flowing in and out […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst

Keeping the Memory of Christmas and Resisting the Siren Call of Our Culture

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King!  Merry Christmas!  It is a wonderful day as we celebrate our Savior’s birth with friends and loved ones. It is also an appropriate day to focus on what is most important and reject the siren call of our culture. I have enjoyed this Advent season, perhaps more […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Murillo"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Murillo

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 Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants"The Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants

We Cannot Excuse Ourselves

As Catholics, we have a wonderful opportunity over the next week as we patiently await the arrival of Jesus to show our co-workers, friends, family, community and the world the beauty of our faith and the great capacity for love in our hearts.  As we prepare ourselves, what are we doing to help others?  How do we keep our focus […]

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) 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 […]