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.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Martyr and a mass-media evangelizer with a great devotion to the Blessed Mother – which he promoted through his writings and actions. His inspiring life was centered on Mary as the Mediatrix and intercessor to lead to Jesus’ Sacred Heart. He spread devotion through his Militia Immaculata established to fight evil through the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Three important “Apostolic fathers” of the Church are celebrated within a few days of each other. On June 29 is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul who had great influence on the Western Church; and on July 3 is the Feast of Saint Thomas, who had a great impact on the Eastern Church. Each of these apostles of Jesus contributed greatly to the spread of Christianity in the early years of the Church after Jesus death.
The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with a Solemnity this year on June 11. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the following day. Both of these feasts are focused on love with the heart as a symbolic representation. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a reflection on Jesus’ heart full of love for humanity, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary shows the fullness of Mary’s heart with love for the Savior.
May 1st is known as “May Day”, a celebration of working classes and laborers, that was started in 1889 in response to difficult working conditions and long hours during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. In order to incorporate the sacredness of work into the secular holiday, in 1955, Pope Pius XII instituted the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker to be celebrated on May 1st.
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.
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.
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.