Calendar & Seasons

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

What we should know about 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. In the United States, the assumption is ordinarily a Holy Day of Obligation, but because it falls on Monday this year, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of […]

"The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection" (detail) by Eugene Burnand"The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection" (detail) by Eugene Burnand

We Do Not Face Death Alone

The serpent’s bite was a deadly one.  The venom had worked its way deep into the heart of the entire human race, doing its gruesome work.  The anti-venom was unavailable until He appeared.  One drop was all that was needed, so potent was this antidote.  Yet it was not like Him to be stingy.  He poured out all he had, […]


Crossing the Threshold of Holy Week

It caught me by surprise that the Carmelite Sisters keep a complete and prayerful silence during the Holy Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, not speaking until the conclusion of the evening Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. I remember when I was the “new kid on the block,” a recently-arrived postulant who was learning more and […]


A Lenten Reflection on Christ in the Desert

“…if anyone wishes to seriously exercise the spiritual life, he had better know that the company of people that hold our own faith and worship in our own churches is a most difficult company to keep. And we ought not to pretend we can follow God very far unless we know that it is a desert like asceticism.” I write […]


What’s so ordinary 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 on Sunday, January 10th. And now we are well into the second week of Ordinary Time, the longest season of the Church’s liturgical year. Ordinary Time comprises two parts of the liturgical year, separated by the […]

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

Christmas JOY Amid Challenges

It was a blessed and happy Christmas in so many ways. My grandson was here for his very first Christmas! I was surrounded by my five children, my husband, my daughter’s husband, and one daughter’s significant other—all coming together to celebrate in the heart of my home. Needless to say, I was extremely thankful. It was a whirlwind of crazy […]


What I Learned from Failing at Advent (Again)

My standard response, whenever anyone asks how my Advent is going, is “Well, I’m failing.” I don’t say it as a matter of course or as a habit, but because it’s usually true. This year was no different. In fact, if anything, this year was the worst since I’ve been Catholic and trying to actually observe Advent. The weeks leading up […]

"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 Nativity" (Gerburt Christi detail) by Franz von Rohden"The Nativity" (Gerburt Christi detail) by Franz von Rohden

The Holy Family: Salvation and Love

As Christians, we are very familiar with Advent as a season of waiting, but really, our whole life is, essentially, a long season of waiting. Particularly, we wait for the last Advent—the last coming of Christ at the end of time. Every Advent gives us the opportunity to pause, and very intentionally focus on what we should be doing every […]

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo

What are the “O Antiphons”?

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 […]