The Feast of The Annunciation occurs on March 25th of each year, nine months before Christmas Day. The Annunciation commemorates Mary’s “Fiat” – the acceptance of her role as the Mother of Jesus. The scene is a favorite topic for inspirational stained-glass windows as shown below.
Friday March 19, 2021 is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Feast Day is more special in this Year of St. Joseph proclaimed by Pope Francis to run from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021 to mark the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.
The Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes was joyfully celebrated for nine days at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Halasuru, Bangalore, India. The festivities culminated with a trilingual celebration (Tamil, Kannada, English) on February 14, 2021 at the Grotto on the church grounds. The culminating celebration included a High Mass, a Procession, the Rosary and Adoration and Benediction.
Thursday February 11th is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes – a celebration of Our Lady’s first appearance on February 11, 1858 (also a Thursday) to a young Bernadette Soubrious at a grotto near Lourdes, France. The Feast Day was joyously celebrated last year at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Halasuru, Bangalore, India – read all about it here, and see the Schedule of Events for 2021 too!
Today, January 20th, the Feast of Saint Sebastian, is a moment to visit (virtually) some churches in India with a special dedication to this early Christian saint. Saint Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers and athletes – and also a protector from plague. The saint is usually pictured as a young man tied to a post/tree with his right arm tied over his head and left arm behind his back – with visible wounds in his body from arrows.
The Feast of Infant Jesus is January 14th and relates to the devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague that reaches far beyond the Czech Republic. In fact, the story revolves around a statue that originated in Spain rather than central Europe. The image, itself is a confluence of seeming contradictions: of kingship and innocence, of parochiality and worldwide veneration, and of waxing and waning devotion. These contradictions are also attractions, and devotion to Infant Jesus has touched countless lives with countless blessings.
This time of year brings out the awe and joy (O!) in the music of the Advent and Christmas Seasons – especially in the “O Antiphons“. The exclamation of “O” or “Oh” is an audible release of an emotion, itself unseen.
George Frideric Handel’s Messiah was first performed in Dublin, Ireland in 1742 as a charitable fund-raising event and is a favorite among Christmas-season musical pieces.
The early part of the December calendar is full of meaningful liturgical feast days and memorials as we move into the heart of Advent on the way to Christmas. Of course, the season of Advent is about watching and waiting, but it is also about anticipation of the birth of Jesus
Advent starts a new liturgical cycle in the Church each year; and 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 tells of the coming of a Messiah who will rescue the plighted from sufferings and establish a new kingdom to satisfy all wants.