I’m learning that this pilgrimage is so much more than catechetical talks. It is also very much about relationships. One of my prayer intentions coming in was to meet and develop new Catholic friendships. That is for sure happening! There are so many cool and interesting Catholics on this trip. Because I went with a group from a different parish, I didn’t really know anyone. Now that we’ve been sharing such a transformative experience together, I’m getting to know everyone better and the conversations we’re having are really helping me to grow in my faith.
World & Culture
Our prayer life is a continuing journey. Each word uttered to God in the silence of our hearts is a step towards Him. The Way of Saint James is a source of inspiration to us. But Jesus Himself is the True Way, a Way that all of us are called to follow. To pray the rosary is to meditate on the life of Christ. Mary will lead us to Him, and through the power of this prayer, we will find ourselves on The Way and in the arms of Truth Himself.
If you are invited to a Quinceañera celebration, a very special gift for the young lady is expected from guests. Godparents (padrinos) are usually the sponsors for the bouquet, the “last doll,” sometimes for the limousine, and even the gown—so thank God for padrinos! And boys don’t get to have such a party, so it’s good to be a girl, don’t you think?
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.
It is not a coincidence that Catholic Latinos are highly devoted to the Virgin Mary. It is a heritage from Spain and it is due to the series of mystical manifestations that occurred throughout the histories of these countries. There is a long list of Marian devotions in Latin America; they are almost innumberable. Some titles of Our Lady represent a whole nation, with other titles for nearly every town, city, and region. Out of all the many Marian devotions in Latin America, below are the top four most popular:
The “Day of the Cross” is a popular part of religious and cultural identity in many Latin American countries. “Holy Cross Day” is based on an old liturgical feast celebrating the discovery of the true cross of Christ. The day is honored with processions, singing, and hundreds of decorated crosses along roadsides and other public places.
Once again, Our Lord has granted the Church a Eucharistic Miracle to strengthen our faltering faith in, and proper reverence toward, this central teaching of the Catholic faith: When Jesus said, “This is my body,” and, “This is my blood,” he meant it literally.
“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – Jesus
If Mother Angelica bore so much fruit during her earthly life, which is plainly evident, we can only imagine how much more she will do so in heavenly glory. And this kind of holy life is only accomplished in the same way Jesus accomplished it: through the Cross.
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.
In Latin America it is a strong tradition to celebrate Lent in a deep and vivid way. It is often characterized by reviving the Passion of Christ through dramatizations and processions in the main streets. Thousands of people, old and young, join in the celebrations that last late into the night.
There are also many other cultural traditions associated with Lent. If you are a Latino, here is a fun list that you may find familiar!