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CHRISTMAS SEASON 2023

Discover Christmas

The Christmas Season provides an opportunity to grow in the love, light and presence of God in our world through us!   Here are some resources to set a foundation in prayer and practice this Christmas Season to not only grow in the love and light of God but become the love and light through all we think, say, and do!

Family Prayers for the Christmas Season

Christmas Manger Prayer

O God, whose mighty Son was born in Bethlehem those days long ago, lead us to that same poor place, where Mary laid her tiny Child. And as we look on in wonder and praise, make us welcome him in all new life, see him in the poor, and care for his handiwork the earth, the sky and the sea. O God, bless us again in your great love. We pray for this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Catholic Moment provides more prayers like this one for the Christmas Season:

DECEMBER 31

Feast of the Holy Family

Looking for a Video on “Humanness” of the Holy Family?  Check out this real look at the honest perspective in the lives of the Holy Family and what it means for us today.

JANUARY 1

The Feast day of Mary Mother of God

Have you ever pondered the words, Mary, mother of God?  I mean, how is Mary, the Mother of God?  Why is she given that title?  Read about it here from the Website: Catholic Straight Answers:

To understand the title, “Mother of God,” we must first clearly understand Mary’s role as mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  As Catholics, we firmly believe in the incarnation of our Lord:  Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Confer Luke 1:26-38 and Matthew 1:18-25.)  Through her, Jesus Christ– second person of the Holy Trinity, one-in-being (consubstantial) with the Father, and true God from true God– entered this world taking on human flesh and a human soul.  Jesus is true God and true man.  In His person are united both a divine nature and a human nature.  Mary did not create the divine person of Jesus, who existed with the Father from all eternity:  “In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity.  Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly ‘Mother of God’ (Theotokos)” (Catechism, #495).  As St. John wrote, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory:  The glory of an only Son coming from the Father filled with enduring love” (John 1:14).

For this reason, sometime in the early history of the Church, our Blessed Mother was given the title “Mother of God.”  St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), for example, composed in his Eucharistic Prayer for the Mass an anthem in honor of her:  “It is truly just to proclaim you blessed, O Mother of God, who are most blessed, all pure and Mother of our God.  We magnify you who are more honorable than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim.  You who, without losing your virginity, gave birth to the Word of God.  You who are truly the Mother of God.”

JANUARY 4

Feast of our Patron St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Did you know our Parish Patron Saint’s Feast day always falls on January 4th during the Christmas Season?  What better way to celebrate her feast day than to find out more about who she was!  Check out the following video on her life here:

And then go on a tour of her National Shrine for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, MD:

Prayer for the intercession of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Lord God,
You blessed Elizabeth Ann Seton with gifts of grace;
As a wife and mother, educator and foundress,
So that she might spend her life in service to your people.
Through her example and prayers
May we learn to express our love for you
In love for one another.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.
Amen.

 

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Pray for us!

JANUARY 7

Feast of the Epiphany

Jesuits.org offers this beautiful Prayer for Epiphany:

A Prayer for the Feast of the Epiphany

I wonder sometimes

If one of the stars that lit Abraham’s night

Was the one that led the Magi to Jesus.

A dark canvas speckled by the most generous brush—

What an improbable promise to an old man.

But our God has never been daunted by the unlikely, the impossible.

What a sight for the Magi, too,

A baby resting on hay, his cries mingled with braying and bleating.

I like to think they heard in those everyday sounds a holy chorus,

Saw in that noisy tableau a Creator serenaded by His creation,

All of it embodied, enfleshed—

All of it good.

And when we’ve left our gifts for this implausible King,

May we, like the Magi, go home by another way—

Having encountered the holy,

May we protect it, guard it,

Trail its light behind us wherever we go.

A sacred arc transposed from heaven to earth,

May we ourselves become the star,

Leading the way to Emmanuel.

Amen.

You may also choose to bless your house with the traditional blessing:

The Epiphany blessing is a simple blessing written on the main entrance door of your home as follows:  The first two digits of the year + C + M + B + the last two digits of the New Year.  So this year, it would look like this:  20 + C + M + B + 22.

The meaning behind the letters C + M + B

There are traditionally two meanings behind the letters C, B, and M

  1. The initials of the wise men: Caspar, Balthazar, and Melchior

  2. The first letters in the Latin Phrase: Christus Mansionem Benedicat (meaning May Christ Bless this House).

 

What do I need to bless my home?

  • Holy Water (you may have a bottle from last year’s Christmas Kit)

  • Chalk

  • A Door

 

The Actual Blessing of your Home

Make the sign of the cross and sprinkle some holy water on the door.  Then, recite a simple prayer like the following or similar:

 

“Loving God, bless this household and all who enter.  May all who pass through this door be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and a desire to do your will.  We ask this through Christ Jesus, our only Savior and King. Amen”

 

You can find more extended Epiphany Blessings online if you wish.

 

If you have more than one person in your home, each person can take a turn writing the letters over the door and blessing the home.  This might be a beautiful way to have your entire family involved in the blessing and can be a wonderful reminder that your family reflects the presence of Christ’s love all year round! 

JANUARY 8

Baptism of the Lord

Have you ever thought about why Jesus was baptized? You may wish to renew your own baptismal vows.

  • Do you reject Satan?  R. I do.

  • And all his works?  R. I do.

  • And all his empty promises?  R. I do.

  • Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?  R. I do believe.

  • Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?  R. I do believe.

  • Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting?  R. I do believe.

This is our faith.  This is the faith of the Church.  We are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN.

 

BUT WAIT…. There’s one more Feast day to consider!

FEBRUARY 2

Candlemas

What?  You have never heard of Candlemas?  Well, before Groundhogs day was Groundhogs day, our Catholic Faith traditions celebrated Candlemas.  Check out the video below or visit Building Faith to learn more!

Catholic Culture shares more insight into the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, along with reflections and prayers.

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