When you view the outside of a church building, what do you see? The features on the exterior of the church can help to determine the architectural style of the church…which may tell you something (or a lot) about the inside(s).
In many parts of the world, the church buildings have been closed for about one-half of 2020; and are now, thankfully, starting to re-open on a limited basis. These closures have felt like a loss in many ways, yet, we have learned that much of the spiritual beauty of the churches and sacred art can be experienced from afar.
The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th highlights the traditional prayer summarizing the key events in the life of Jesus, and His mother Mary (Mysteries of the Rosary). Although, most don’t think of praying the Rosary as a trendy practice, it can be…really!
The memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels marks October 2 on the Church Calendar. It is a celebration that maybe some now relegate to earlier times – those times when the Mass was recited in Latin and the Prayer to Saint Michael was prayed at the end of Mass.
September 28th is the Feast Day of Saint Wenceslaus the patron of Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). He is also the patron of many Catholic Parishes in Europe and the U.S. including several in the midwestern States of Nebraska and Iowa where many Czech immigrants settled in the 1800’s.
At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
The 13th century Stabat Mater is the renting Latin hymn played in a minor key at each Station of the Cross – it echoes across the centuries on September 15, the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.
September 12th is the celebration of the Most Holy Name of Mary, Mother of God. It is a day to contemplate the blessed name via prayers in the form of litanies, chants and song. The feast day originated in Spain in 1513 and the official date was moved various times until settled at its present liturgical date in 2003 by Pope John Paul II.
This week is the celebration of the second event of the Incarnation – the birth of Mary the Mother of Jesus on September 8th. (The first event of the Incarnation is the Immaculate Conception – see more about that on another page under Feast Days on this site.) She was likely born around the year 16 B.C. based on what is reported about her age at the time she gave birth in Bethlehem. She is acknowledged to be the child of Joachim and Anne, both now Saints, and, as such was brought up in a holy way with an understanding that God provides everyone with a purpose. Mary’s purpose would be revealed directly to her at The Annunciation (see more about that on this page https://churchwonders.com/devotions/feast-days/the-annunciation/). Of course, Mary accepted her call which culminated in the birth of Jesus.
Mary is admired, honored and venerated even on the 2,036th anniversary of her humble acceptance of purpose; and is a model for all facing “life decisions” even in the midst of great uncertainty. She is also greatly admired for the ability to face crisis with a calm nurtured in her faith. As the Mother of God, her intercessory powers draw many followers. The joy exhibited by Mother Mary throughout her, sometimes difficult, life is also an imitable trait. The most joyful events of her motherhood such as the Annunciation, the Visitation (and her Magnificat), the birth of Jesus, the Presentation, and the finding of Jesus in the Temple are memorialized as the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
Whatever the reason, she is widely followed and the Feast of her birthday is very popular. Some of the greatest celebrations of her birth occur in India where the nine days leading up to the Feast day are celebrated with Masses, Novenas and other activities. A commemorative flag is usually created for the annual event and it is ceremoniously raised at a solemn Flag Hoisting. It is also very common to have many of her followers make long treks on foot to celebrate the Feast at a holy site; and offer up sacrifices and deprivations during the pilgrimage for the greater glory of God and honor to Mother Mary. The Feast Day itself is marked by Masses attended by throngs of faithful devotees filling the church, as well as the surrounding courtyards and plazas. Typically, a statue of Our Lady is paraded on a palanquin through the streets of the neighborhood surrounding the church with devotees reciting the Rosary and singing hymns of praise.
Two of the largest celebrations of Mother Mary’s birth occur at the churches referenced below. The links provide prayers and videos of the celebrations.
The Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health at Vailankanni in southern Tamil Nadu. http://www.vailankannishrine.net/ (copy and paste link into your browser)