Even if you are not Latin American, you’ve probably heard the word Quinceanera before. You may even have witnessed such a ceremony for a teen girl at a church. A Quinceanera is the beginning of a celebration called Fiesta Rosa (Pink Party), where a fifteen-year-old girl celebrates her coming-of-age. Quinceañera means “fifteen years old,” which explains the name of the celebration.
Graduation, a wonderful time, opens the door for a different kind of life to begin. I graduated from college only a few years ago; not long enough for me to forget the mixed emotions that came along with throwing my cap into the air. Remember that this is the beginning. Be proud of your degree, but if you have regrets about whether you reached your true potential in undergrad (we all do—mine are longer than the treaty of Versailles) remember that future opportunities are still ahead. The curtain has dropped on act one, but it will open for many more acts, on many other stages. So, congratulations, graduates. And here are some quotes to remember as you venture out into the world “and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).
As Catholics, we know that the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith: it is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pope Francis said, “The Eucharist is at the heart of ‘Christian initiation’, together with Baptism and Confirmation, and it constitutes the source of the Church’s life itself. From this Sacrament of love, in fact, flows every authentic journey of faith, of communion, and of witness.”
For children who are preparing to receive Holy Communion for the first time, this is a big deal. And for all of us, no matter how many times we have received Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, it should always be a big deal.
First Holy Communion is a rite of passage in a young Catholic’s life that usually happens around the age of seven or eight. It is one of the three of the Sacraments of Initiation into the Catholic Church along with Baptism and Confirmation.
At this major event a child will, for the first time, receive Jesus—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—in the Blessed Sacrament, usually along with many other children their age. And parents have a lot to think about and prepare to celebrate this sacred occasion in their child’s life: the outfit, the ceremony, the food, and the festivities.
We’ve compiled some best practices regarding invitations, guests, and gifts for First Communion Day. These are not hard and fast rules but rather guidelines to help make the start of First Communion season easier to handle.
Funeral Masses are an ideal time to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when many are faced squarely with the reality of the transitory nature of our present life, and the weight of eternity in the life to come. Funerals are the time when we ask ourselves hard questions, such as, “Is my relationship with God where it should be?”, and “Am I ready to die?”, often without a satisfying answer.
Many are calling this the homily by Rev. Paul Scalia at the funeral of his father, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the best they have ever heard. It is well worth reading carefully and watching (even again) because this was a special moment in American history, as well as in Catholic evangelization, that was broadcasted across the country.
Below is the full text of Rev. Scalia’s homily at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, February 20, 2016, accompanied by the video.
Have you been asked to write a letter to someone who is preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation?
Many parishes have retreats in which the Confirmation candidates are given letters from their loved ones and friends to encourage and inspire them as they prepare to receive this sacrament. These letters are special because they come from different sources: friends, loved ones, or mentors within the Church. Trying to find words of inspiration from the Bible, the Catechism, or from our own personal experience can be difficult, though.
The Christmas Posadas tradition begins!
Las Posadas is a wonderful 400+ year old Advent celebration in many Latin countries. For 9 days, from December 16th-24th, the faithful prepare for Christmas by acting out and reliving the days Mary & Joseph experienced as they journeyed to Bethlehem as told in the Gospels. They traveled from place to place seeking rest, only to be rejected, causing the Baby Jesus to be born in a manger.
This Catholic Christmas tradition was brought to Mexico in the 16th century by Spanish Augustinian friars as they evangelized the New World. Today the Las Posadas continues to be a wonderful way share and celebrate our Christian faith and heritage.
Devotion to Mary Untier (or Undoer) of Knots was localized to Germany. It was commissioned for a home altar in honor of Our Lady’s intercession preventing the divorce of a 17th-century German couple. Jorge Bergoglio, while studying in Germany, discovered this 300-year-old painting of Mary and its story. He was struck by the image and the story behind it, and brought the devotion back to Argentina where it spread widely. Since he became Pope Francis, this favorite devotion of his is growing in popularity around the world.
A “Holy Year” and “Jubilee” are synonymous terms. The concept goes back to the Old Testament when Moses declared every 50th year a jubilee, that is, a holy year to be observed by all of Israel which included the remission of debts, the liberation of slaves, and a rest from the cultivation of the land.
For the Catholic Church, the first Jubilee was proclaimed by Pope Boniface VIII in 1300. It gradually increased in frequency from being celebrated every half century, to every 33 years, and then to every 25 years as the norm. A Jubilee is “ordinary” if it falls every 25 years, and “extraordinary” when it is proclaimed outside the usual time to commemorate some outstanding event.
After the Holy Year in 1975 under his predecessor, Pope St. John Paul II called for a Holy Year in 1983 (to commemorate the 1950th anniversary of the Year of Redemption, that is, the year 33 A.D. on which Jesus died on the Cross) and again in 2000. The Jubilee of the Year 2000 was the last one celebrated by the Church.
After the opening Mass yesterday, today is the first day our bishops got down to business for the Ordinary Synod on the Family. Read the Holy Father’s Homily for the Sunday Opening Mass and his remarks at Monday’s opening discussions.
I noticed a few neat providential coincidences for this important event in the life of the Church that I thought I’d share with you: