Memorial of the Church of St. Mary Major (and a summer snowfall!)

On August 5th, the Dedication of the Church of St. Mary Major is commemorated each year in the General Roman Calendar; and in this Papal Basilica, the story surrounding the Miracle of the Snows is also celebrated. The average high temperature during the summer month of August in Rome is 89 degrees F (32C), yet despite this warm period, tradition holds that on August 5th, 358, it snowed on the Esquiline Hill, the location of the Church of St. Mary Major (Church of Santa Maria Maggiore)!

Titles of St. Joseph

The Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on March 19th. This is only one of the important titles of St. Joseph in the Catholic Church which are: 1) the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary; 2) the Foster-Father of Jesus; 3) the Worker; 4) the Patron of the Universal Church; and 5) the Patron of a Happy Death.

Infant Jesus of Prague Feast Day and Novena

“The more you honor me, the more I will bless you.” These are the words that Father Cyril of the Mother of God, O.C.D., a Carmelite priest, heard from a statue of the Infant Jesus in 1637. January 14th is a date of honor for the Infant Jesus.

Isaiah’s Poetry of Advent

The Advent season of watching, waiting and hope starts on November 28, 2021. In the daily and Sunday Mass readings of Advent, we are greeted by the verse of one of the greatest ancient poets in the Book of Isaiah. The Prophet Isaiah’s poetry of hope tells of the coming of a Messiah who will rescue the plighted from sufferings and establish a new kingdom to satisfy all wants.

St. Gertrude the Great

St. Gertrude the Great was a German abbess, a mystic and an early adherent to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She had many writings which still resonate nearly 700 years later about her struggle to reconcile her humanness with her role as a bride of Christ. Her title “the Great” was conferred by Pope Benedict XIV in the 17th century making her the only woman saint to be called “the Great”. This attribute refers to her prowess as a theologian and writer; and to distinguish her from Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn under whom Gertrude the Great lived and learned until succeeding her as abbess in about 1286.

St. Jerome – Ascetic and Doctor of the Church

St. Jerome was a 4th century influencer whose writing, theological ideas and translation of the Bible into Latin (“the Vulgate”) continues to resonate today. His ascetic life had characteristics of St. John the Baptist – “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’” (John 1:23) . St. Jerome spent four of his early adult years in the desert of Chalcis in Syria where he composed the first group of his many letters on theology and asceticism. His life was so impactful, that he was among a group of four men who were declared Doctors of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in the 13th century. His Feast Day is September 30th in the Roman Catholic Church and June 15th in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

An Adventure Story – St. Raphael in the Book of Tobit

The Feast Day of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael is September 29th. The adventure story of the Angel Raphael is told in the Book of Tobit. Although called “Saints”, the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are angels, rather than “saints” who have been seemingly around since the beginning of time. An angel is a being described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as follows: “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith.” The purpose of angels is described as, “With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God.”

St. Ludmila – Feast Day September 16

St. Ludmila is a favorite of people of Czech heritage and in-laws; and the patroness of Bohemia. She is the grandmother of the famed St. Wenceslaus and was instrumental in the spread of Christianity in Bohemia during her reign and that of her grandson.