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.
Monday May 24th, 2021 is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church – a new Memorial in the Church calendar. Mary the Mother of Jesus is known by numerous titles in the Church, some of which are designated for celebration as Solemnities, Feasts or Memorials. Three Solemnities are Holy Days of Obligation, and some of the most well-known titles of Mary are celebrated on these days: Mary, Mother of God (Jan 1); Mary, Assumed into Heaven (Aug 15); and the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8).
“Jesus, I trust in You”, a now familiar message, is from an image is less than 100 years old (1934) and Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated for only 20 years! The celebration of the 50 days of Easter continues this Sunday with the message: God loves all and His mercy is greater that sin. Sunday’s feast reminds all to call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through to others. Thus, all will come to share this joy.
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.
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.