Liturgical Calendar for 2017
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Liturgical Calendar for 2017
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, our Lady’s greatest title. This feast is the octave of Christmas. In the modern Roman Calendar only Christmas and Easter enjoy the privilege of an octave.
Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors. This is the ninth day of the Christmas season.
USA: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious
Born in New York, Elizabeth Seton married and became a mother of five children. After her husband’s death, she converted to Catholicism and founded the American Sisters of Charity, a community of teaching sisters which began Catholic schools throughout the United States, especially helping with the education of underprivileged children.
Saint John Neumann, Bishop
John Nepomucene Neumann was born in Bohemia. While in the seminary he felt a desire to help in the American missions. After coming to the United States he was ordained in New York in 1836.
The Epiphany of the Lord
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany. “The Lord and ruler is coming; kingship is his, and government and power.” With these words the Church proclaims that today’s feast brings to a perfect fulfillment all the purposes of Advent. Epiphany, therefore, marks the liturgical zenith of the Advent-Christmas season.
The Baptism of the Lord
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. This brings to an end the season of Christmas. The Church recalls Our Lord’s second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan.
St. Anthony, Abbot
Anthony “the Great”, the “Father of Monks”, ranks with those saints whose life exercised a profound influence upon succeeding generations. He was born in Middle Egypt (about 250) of distinguished parents.
Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
St. Agnes (c. 304) like St. Cecilia, is to be numbered among the most famous martyrs of Rome. When the Diocletian persecution was at its height, and when priests as well as laymen were apostatizing from the faith, Agnes, a girl of twelve, freely chose to die for Christ.
Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
January 22 is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the day established by the Church of penance for abortion, has been formally named as the “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” On this day (or January 23rd when January 22nd falls on a Sunday) your parish, school or religious formation program may celebrate the Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life.
Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
His ardent love of God and souls, his great kindliness, rare wisdom and sure teaching made St. Francis exceptionally influential in bringing about conversions and in guiding souls in the spiritual life. He won back to the faith more than 70,000 heretics, thus restoring to the Church a great part of the Chablais, which had been ravaged by Protestantism.
The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle
St. Paul, named Saul at his circumcision, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, was born at Tarsus, the capitol of Cilicia. He was a Roman citizen. He was brought up as a strict Jew, and later became a violent persecutor of the Christians. While on his way to Damascus to make new arrests of Christians, he was suddenly converted by a miraculous apparition of Our Lord.
Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops
St. Timothy, born in Galatia in Asia Minor, was baptized and later ordained to the priesthood by St. Paul. The young Galatian became Paul’s missionary companion and his most beloved spiritual son. St. Paul showed his trust in this disciple by consecrating him bishop of the great city of Ephesus. St. Timothy was stoned to death thirty years after St. Paul’s martyrdom for having denounced the worship of the goddess Diana.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church
St. Thomas Aquinas is the Dominican order’s greatest glory. He taught philosophy and theology with such genius that he is considered one of the leading Christian thinkers. His innocence, on a par with his genius, earned for him the title of “Angelic Doctor.”
Saint John Bosco, Priest
St. John Bosco was the founder of the Salesian Society, named in honor of St. Francis de Sales, and of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians. His lifework was the welfare of young boys and girls, hence his title, “Apostle of Youth.” He had no formal system or theory of education. His methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people. He was an enlightened educator and innovator.
The Presentation of the Lord
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Lord which occurs forty days after the birth of Jesus and is also known as Candlemas day, since the blessing and procession of candles is included in today’s liturgy.
Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan.
Saint Scholastica, Virgin
Today, February 10th is the day that the Catholic Church remembers St. Scholastica, a nun who was the twin sister of St. Benedict, the “father of monasticism” in Western Europe.
Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop
St. Cyril was a priest and a philosopher and accompanied his brother St. Methodius to Moravia to preach the Gospel. They both perfected a Slavonic alphabet which is now known as the Cyrillic alphabet and translated the liturgy into this language. They were summoned to Rome, where Cyril died on this date in 869, and Methodius was consecrated bishop and sent to Pannonia.
The Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle
This feast brings to mind the mission of teacher and pastor conferred by Christ on Peter, and continued in an unbroken line down to the present Pope. We celebrate the unity of the Church, founded upon the Apostle, and renew our assent to the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, extended both to truths which are solemnly defined ex cathedra, and to all the acts of the ordinary Magisterium.
Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr
Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, disciple of Saint John the Apostle and friend of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, was a revered Christian leader during the first half of the second century.
The time has now come in the Church year for the solemn observance of the great central act of history, the redemption of the human race by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Roman Rite, the beginning of the forty days of penance is marked with the austere symbol of ashes which is used in today’s liturgy.
First Sunday of Lent
Second Sunday of Lent
Third Sunday of Lent
St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, was probably born in Bethlehem and probably died in Nazareth. His important mission in God’s plan of salvation was “to legally insert Jesus Christ into the line of David from whom, according to the prophets, the Messiah would be born, and to act as his father and guardian.”
The Annunciation of the Lord
The Annunciation is a mystery that belongs to the temporal rather than to the sanctoral cycle in the Church’s calendar. For the feast commemorates the most sublime moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus it is a feast of our Lord, even as it is of Mary, although the liturgy centers wholly around the Mother of God. — The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Today we commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem for the completion of the Paschal Mystery. In the old calendar before Vatican II, the Church celebrated Passion Sunday two Sundays before Easter, and then Palm Sunday was the beginning of Holy Week. The Church has combined the two to reinforce the solemnity of Holy Week.
Monday of Holy Week
Today the liturgy presents two noteworthy characters who play dissimilar roles in the Lord’s passion. One fills us with solace and comfort; the other with uneasiness and wholesome fear. Their juxtaposition produces a powerful effect by way of contrast. The two characters are Mary of Bethany and Judas.
Tuesday of Holy Week
Like the Pharisees we are quick to condemn the faults of others, often as a means of justifying ourselves. We cannot expect Christ to approve self-righteous indignation at our neighbor’s weakness.
Wednesday of Holy Week
Wednesday is known as Spy Wednesday because on this day Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces (Matt 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:1-6).
The last three days of Holy Week are referred to as the Easter or Sacred Triduum (Triduum Sacrum), the three-part drama of Christ’s redemption: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Holy Thursday is also known as “Maundy Thursday.” The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum (commandment) .
“It is accomplished; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.” We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee. Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world. Today the whole Church mourns the death of our Savior. This is traditionally a day of sadness, spent in fasting and prayer.
Holy Saturday — Easter Vigil
On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on his suffering and death. The altar is left bare, and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated. Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days.
Easter is the feast of feasts, the unalloyed joy and gladness of all Christians. In the very center of the Mass, the great prayer of thanksgiving, from the first words of the Preface, expresses the unrivaled motive for this joy: if it is right to praise You, Lord, at all times, how much more so should we not glorify You on this day when Christ our Passover was sacrificed, for He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world, who by His Death destroyed our death and by His Resurrection restored our life. Easter means, then, Redemption obtained — sin destroyed, death overcome, divine life brought back to us, the resurrection of our body which is promised immortality. With such a certitude, we should banish all trace of sadness.
Divine Mercy Sunday
“I shall sing forever the Lord’s mercy.” (Ps 89 ) This Sunday is popularly known as Mercy of God Sunday. Between 1930 and 1938 Christ appeared to Sister Faustina, a Sister of Mercy in Poland who initiated the Divine Mercy devotion.
Saint Mark, Evangelist
St. Mark, the author of the second Gospel, was the son of Mary whose house at Jerusalem was the meeting place of Christians. He was baptized and instructed by St. Peter. In about the year 42 A.D. he came to Rome with the Prince of the Apostles. There at the request of the faithful he wrote his Gospel about the year 50 A.D.
St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor
Catherine Benincasa, born in Siena at a date that remains uncertain, was favored with visions from the age of seven. Becoming a tertiary of the Dominican Order, she acquired great influence by her life of prayer and extraordinary mortifications as well as by the spread of her spiritual writings.
Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria and a great defender of the orthodox faith, throughout his life opposed the Arian heresy. By denying the Godhead of the Word the Arians turned Christ into a mere man, only higher in grace than others in the eyes of God. St. Athanasius took part in the Council of Nicea in 325 and until the end remained a champion of the faith as it was defined by the Council.
Saints Philip and James, Apostles
St. Philip The Apostle Philip was one of Christ’s first disciples, called soon after his Master’s baptism in the Jordan. St. James the Less, a brother of the Apostle Jude, was of Cana of Galilee. He is the author of one of the Catholic Epistles in the New Testament.
Solemnity of the Ascension
At the end of His earthly life Jesus ascends triumphantly into heaven. The Church acclaims Him in His holy humanity, invited to sit on the Father’s right hand and to share His glory.
Saint Philip Neri, Priest
St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) was born in Florence and died in Rome. He lived a spotless childhood in Florence. Later he came to Rome and after living for fifteen years as a pilgrim and hermit was ordained a priest. He gradually gathered around him a group of priests and established the Congregation of the Oratory.
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The feast of the Visitation recalls to us the following great truths and events: The visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation; the cleansing of John the Baptist from original sin in the womb of his mother at the words of Our Lady’s greeting; Elizabeth’s proclaiming of Mary—under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost—as Mother of God and “blessed among women.”
Saint Justin, Martyr
St. Justin, apologist and martyr, was one of the most important Christian writers of the second century. He himself tells how his study of all the schools of philosophy led him to Christianity, and how he dedicated his life to the defense of the Christian faith as “the one certain and profitable philosophy.”
Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
One of 22 Ugandan martyrs, Charles Lwanga is the patron of youth and Catholic action in most of tropical Africa. He protected his fellow pages (aged 13 to 30) from the homosexual demands of the Bagandan ruler, Mwanga, and encouraged and instructed them in the Catholic faith during their imprisonment for refusing the ruler’s demands.
And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak (Acts 2, 1-4).
Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
St. Boniface, a monk of Exeter in England, is one of the great figures of the Benedictine Order and of the monastic apostolate in the Middle Ages. Gregory II sent him to preach the Gospel in Germany. He evangelized Hesse, Saxony and Thuringia and became Archbishop of Mainz. He well earned the title of Apostle of Germany, and Catholic Germany in our own times still venerates him as its father in the faith.
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
The fundamental dogma, on which everything in Christianity is based, is that of the Blessed Trinity in whose name all Christians are baptized. The feast of the Blessed Trinity needs to be understood and celebrated as a prolongation of the mysteries of Christ and as the solemn expression of our faith in this triune life of the Divine Persons, to which we have been given access by Baptism and by the Redemption won for us by Christ. Only in heaven shall we properly understand what it means, in union with Christ, to share as sons in the very life of God.
Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church
St. Anthony was born at Lisbon, Portugal. He bacame a canon regular and then a Franciscan preaching the Gospel everywhere in Portugal and Italy. Both as a theologian and as a popular preacher he fought vigorously against heresy.
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) is a Eucharistic solemnity, or better, the solemn commemoration of the institution of that sacrament. It is, moreover, the Church’s official act of homage and gratitude to Christ, who by instituting the Holy Eucharist gave to the Church her greatest treasure.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
St. Aloysius Gonzaga’s outstanding quality was his radiant purity and the Church praises this perfect innocence with the words, “Thou has made him little less than the angels.” He was baptized in the womb, because his life was in danger, and he made a vow of chastity at the age of nine. When he was sixteen he joined the Society of Jesus and died at the age of twenty-three in 1591 as a result of his devoted nursing of the plague-stricken.
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
“I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment” (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).
The Birth of St. John the Baptist
Apart from the most holy solemnity commemorating our Savior’s birth, the Church keeps the birthday of no other person except that of John the Baptist.
Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
St. Irenaeus was born in Asia Minor around the year 140. It is not known when he came to Gaul. He was a priest of the Church of Lyons during the persecution of 177 when St. Pothinus, first bishop of the city and the first martyr of Lyons, was put to death.
Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Veneration of the two great Apostles, Peter and Paul, has its roots in the very foundations of the Church. They are the solid rock on which the Church is built. They are at the origin of her faith and will forever remain her protectors and her guides.
Saint Thomas, Apostle
St. Thomas, the disciple who at first did not believe, has become for the Church one of the first witnesses to her faith. She is fond of appealing to his testimony and frequently puts in our mouths those simple words whereby he expressed the fervour of his regained faith: “My Lord and my God.”
Saint Benedict, Abbot
St. Benedict was born at Nursia in Umbria in about 480 and was sent to Rome to be educated, but soon left the world to live a solitary life at Subiaco. After living in a cave in the mountains for two years as a hermit, he had acquired such a reputation that disciples came in numbers to join him and important Roman families entrusted him with the education of their children. He organized a form of monastic life in twelve small monasteries.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin (USA)
Kateri was born in 1656 near the town of Auriesville, New York, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior. She was baptized by Jesuit missionary Fr. Jacques de Lambertville on Easter of 1676 at the age of twenty. She devoted her life to prayer, penitential practices, and the care of the sick and aged in Caughnawaga near Montreal (where her relics are now enshrined).
Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
St. Bonaventure was born in Italy in 1221. He joined the Franciscan Order and went to Paris for his studies. He was made General of his Order and deserves to be reckoned its second founder for his work in consolidating an institution that was as yet ill-defined in nature. St. Bonaventure died at Lyons in 1274 during the general Council between Greeks and Latins held in this city. Dante had already included him among the inhabitants of his “Paradise”. He is known as the Seraphic Doctor.
Saint Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene wasted the great beauty that God had given her in a life of sin, but one day she saw Christ and was touched by grace. On the day of our Lord’s crucifixion, she stood with the Mother of Jesus at the foot of the cross. At early dawn on the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene and other women who had ministered to Jesus went to the Lord’s sepulcher. Two angels said to them, “He is not here, but is risen….Go, tell his disciples.”
Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It was in the home of Joachim and Ann where the Virgin Mary received her training to be the Mother of God. Thus, devotion to Ann and Joachim is an extension of the affection Christians have always professed toward our Blessed Mother. We, too, owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for their help in our Christian formation.
Saint Martha, Virgin
Jesus liked to stay at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, his friends at Bethany, when he was in Judea. One of these visits has ever remained dear to Christian memory. On that occasion Martha, busily serving the Master, asked Him to persuade Mary to help her. Without in any way reproaching Martha, Jesus explained to her that certain souls, called by God, should choose a better part still — the primary duty of listening to Him and contemplating Him.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
In the year 1521 a cannon ball fractured the left leg of Captain Ignatius Loyola, the future founder of the Jesuits. While he was convalescing, Ignatius read about Christ and His saints and thus turned wholly to God. He then undertook to equip himself for Christ’s service by acquiring a good classical and theological education. The members of the Society of Jesus became the shock troops of the Church in the battle against the spread of Protestantism in Europe, as well as one of the greatest foreign mission organizations that the world has known. Ignatius died on July 31, 1556.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
St. Alphonsus de Liguori was a great preacher of the Gospel to the poor. His charity and apostolic spirit led him to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer to carry on this work. He sent his Redemptorists, as our Lord did the Apostles, into the countryside and the market towns and villages, to announce the Kingdom of God. He became Bishop of Sant’ Agata dei Goti, near Naples, and died at the age of ninety, in 1787. For his great works on Moral Theology he has been declared a Doctor of the Church.
Saint John Vianney, Priest
St. John Baptist Mary Vianney (1786-1859) was born in Dardilly and died in Ars, France. Although his talents were limited and his education meager, he was ordained a priest in 1815. After three years at Ecully, he was appointed parish priest of Ars. Here he spent almost forty-two years of his life, devoting himself to prayer, mortification, and pastoral works. His success in directing souls made him known throughout the Christian world.
Feast of the Transfiguration
This feast became widespread in the West in the 11th century and was introduced into the Roman calendar in 1457 to commemorate the victory over Islam in Belgrade. The Transfiguration foretells the glory of the Lord as God, and His Ascension into heaven.
Saint Dominic, Priest
At the end of the twelfth century the Church in France was ravaged by the Albigensian heresy, a doctrine which was not only entirely unchristian but which, in addition, constituted a social evil. Effective measures were required to be taken to combat it. Where others had failed, a Spanish canon, Dominic Guzman, succeeded. He was notable for his learning and love of poverty. The Order of Friars Preachers, which he founded about the year 1215, was endowed by him with these two characteristics; instead of manual labor, as practiced by the Cistercian monks, he required his friars to work with their minds by preaching and teaching. He died at Bologna on August 6, 1221. His friend, Gregory IX, canonized him three years later.
Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
Lawrence was chief among the seven deacons who served the Roman Church during the mid-third century. The young cleric held a position of great trust, caring for the goods of the Church and distributing its alms among the poor. He was arrested under the Emperor Valerian in 258, laid upon a gridiron and slowly roasted to death. When placed upon the glowing gridiron, he jested with his executioners and the cruel tyrant. “Now you may turn me over, my body is roasted enough on this side.”
Saint Clare, Virgin
St. Clare of Assisi was the first woman to practice the life of entire poverty as taught by St. Francis. Placed by him at the head of a few companions in the small convent of San Damiano, she governed her community for forty-two years thus founding at the gates of Assisi the Order of Poor Clares.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
Maximilian Mary Kolbe was born in Poland. He consecrated himself to the Lord in the Franciscan Order. Filled with love for the Virgin, he founded the Militia of the Immaculate Mary and, with his preaching and writing, undertook an intense apostolic mission in Europe and Asia. Imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Second World War, he offered himself in exchange for the father of a large family who was to be executed. He was given a lethal injection when he failed to die fast enough from starvation in the concentration camp. John Paul II proclaimed him the Patron of Our Suffering Century.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption. Thus he solemnly proclaimed that the belief whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the close of her earthly life, was taken up, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, definitively forms part of the deposit of faith, received from the Apostles.
Saint Pius X, Pope
Joseph Sarto was born in humble circumstances at Riese, a small village in Venetia, on June 2, 1835. He was successively curate, parish priest, bishop of Mantua, Patriarch of Venice — offices to which his keen intelligence, hard work and great piety caused him to be quickly promoted. He was elected Pope on August 4, 1903, and took the name of Pius X. As chief pastor of the Church he displayed untiring self-sacrifice and great energy; he was an intrepid defender of the purity of Christian doctrine.
The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The faithful, under the guidance of an unerring Catholic instinct, have ever recognized the queenly dignity of the Mother of “The King of kings and Lord of lords”: the Fathers, the Doctors of the Church, Popes, down through the centuries, have given authoritative expression to this truth and the crowning testimony to this common belief is to be found clearly expressed in the wonders of art and in the profound teaching of the liturgy.
Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
St. Bartholomew, a doctor in the Jewish law, was a dear friend of St. Philip the Apostle. Because Bartholomew was a man “in whom there was no guile,” his mind was open to the truth. He went willingly with Philip to see Christ, and recognized the Savior immediately as the Son of God. After having received the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost, Bartholomew evangelized Asia Minor, northwestern India, and Greater Armenia.
Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
St. Augustine (354-430) was born at Tagaste, Africa, and died in Hippo. His father, Patricius, was a pagan; his mother, Monica, a devout Christian. He received a good Christian education. As a law student in Carthage, however, he gave himself to all kinds of excesses and finally joined the Manichean sect. He then taught rhetoric at Milan where he was converted by St. Ambrose. Returning to Tagaste, he distributed his goods to the poor, and was ordained a priest. He was made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became a great luminary of the African Church, one of the four great founders of religious orders, and a Doctor of the universal Church.
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary was born to be the mother of the Savior of the world, the spiritual mother of all men, and the holiest of God’s creatures. Because of her Son’s infinite merits, she was conceived and born immaculate and full of grace. Through her, Queen of heaven and of earth, all grace is given to men. Through her, by the will of the Trinity, the unbelieving receive the gift of faith; the afflicted are tendered the works of mercy; and the members of Christ grow in likeness of their Head. In Mary all human nature is exalted. We rejoice in her birthday, as the Church has done from the earliest times.
Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
St. John Chrysostom, born in Antioch about 347 A.D., was a great genius. His powerful eloquence earned him the surname of Chrysostom, or golden mouthed. With St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil, he forms the group of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. As Archbishop of Constantinople, his courageous stance against the vices of even the wealthy caused him to be exiled several times. As a result he died in 407, still in exile.
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
This feast was observed in Rome before the end of the seventh century. It commemorates the recovery of the Holy Cross, which had been placed on Mt. Calvary by St. Helena and preserved in Jerusalem, but then had fallen into the hands of Chosroas, King of the Persians. The precious relic was recovered and returned to Jerusalem by Emperor Heralius in 629.
Our Lady of Sorrows
Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady has its roots in Sacred Scripture and in Christian piety, which always associates the Blessed Mother with her suffering Son. Today’s feast was introduced by the Servites in order to intensify devotion to Our Lady’s Sorrows. In 1817 Pius VII — suffering grievously in exile but finally liberated by Mary’s intercession — extended the feast to the universal Church.
Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Today the Church commemorates two friends in the service of Christ and his Church. Cornelius, a Roman, was the twenty-first Pope during the reign of the Emperor Gallus and Volusian. He had to oppose Novatian, the first anti-pope, who believed that apostates who repented could not be forgiven. Helped by St. Cyprian, Cornelius confirmed his papal authority. He was beheaded in exile at Civitavecchia, Italy in 253. Saints Cyprian and Cornelius are mentioned in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) of the Mass.
Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
During the 17th century the Christian faith was brought to Korea through the zeal of lay persons. From the very beginning these Christians suffered terrible persecutions and many suffered martyrdom during the 19th century. Today’s feast honors a group of 103 martyrs. Notable of these were Andrew Kim Taegon, the first Korean priest, and the lay apostle, Paul Chong Hasang. Also among the Korean martyrs were three bishops and seven priests, but for the most part they were heroic laity, men and women, married and single of all ages.
Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
At the time that Jesus summoned him to follow Him, Matthew was a publican, that is, a tax-collector for the Romans. His profession was hateful to the Jews because it reminded them of their subjection; the publican, also, was regarded by the pharisees as the typical sinner. St. Matthew is known to us principally as an Evangelist. He was the first to put down in writing our Lord’s teaching and the account of His life. His Gospel was written in Aramaic, the language that our Lord Himself spoke.
St. Padre Pio – Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest
Padre Pio was born in 1887 in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina. He joined the Capuchin Friars at the age of sixteen and was ordained a priest seven years later. For fifty years at the monastery of San Giovanni Rotundo he was a much sought after spiritual advisor, confessor, and intercessor whose life was devoted to the Eucharist and prayer. Yet despite such notoriety, he would often say, “I only want to be a poor friar who prays.”
Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
St. Vincent de Paul (1576 – 1660) was born in Gascony, France, and died in Paris. He studied theology at Toulouse and was ordained a priest in 1600. As a young priest he fell into the hands of Mohammedan pirates who carried him off to Africa. After his return to France he became successively parish priest, grand almoner of the galley slaves, and spiritual director of the Visitation nuns. He founded the Congregation of the Priests of the Mission or Lazarists to preach especially to country people.
Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
The liturgy celebrates the feast of these three archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael (Who is like God?) was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel (Strength of God) announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, “Hail, full of grace,” is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael (Medicine of God) is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.
Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Born in Dalmatia of a Christian, Jerome (345-420) was baptized in Rome, while taking his classical courses. He then studied under the best masters in foreign cities. But the Church had need of this extraordinarily gifted man. Jerome heard and obeyed the divine call, made a vow of celibacy, and withdrew for four years to a hermitage in the Syrian desert. The Holy Father soon summoned Jerome to Rome and entrusted him with the enormous task of revising the Latin Bible. This work, which took 30 years to complete, is the Vulgate version of the Scriptures. He also wrote many other works, mostly commentaries on the books of the Bible.
The Holy Guardian Angels
Each person on earth has a guardian angel who watches over him and helps him to attain his salvation. Angelical guardianship begins at the moment of birth; prior to this, the child is protected by the mother’s guardian angel. This protection continues throughout our whole life and ceases only when our probation on earth ends, namely, at the moment of death. Our guardian angel accompanies our soul to purgatory or heaven, and becomes our coheir in the heavenly kingdom.
Saint Francis of Assisi
St. Francis (1182-1226) was born and died in Assisi. He was the son of a rich merchant, Bernardone, received a good education, and in the beginning followed the ways of the world. He was taken prisoner in the battle between the Assisians and Perugians, and after his release decided to abandon everything for Christ. His father became extremely displeased at his action, and disinherited him. In 1220 he founded a new order which in ten years numbered five thousand brothers. His followers were called Friars Minor because they were to consider themselves as the least among religious. Out of humility Francis never accepted the priesthood but remained a deacon all his life. He had a great love for God’s creatures and called them his brothers and sisters. His ardent love of God merited for him the name of Seraphic.
Our Lady of the Rosary
The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted to honor Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and all Christians had prayed the Rosary for victory. The Rosary, or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the best prayers to Mary, the Mother of God.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
St. Ignatius is one of the great bishops of the early Church. He was the successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death by wild beasts during the Emperor Trajan’s persecution. On his way to Rome, he wrote seven magnificent letters, which we still have today, concerning the Person of Christ, his love for Christ, his desire for martyrdom and on the constitution of the Church and Christian life.
Saint Luke, Evangelist
St. Luke, the inspired author of the third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles, was a native of Antioch in Syria and a physician, and one of the early converts from paganism. He accompanied St. Paul on a considerable part of his missionary journey. He was also his companion while in prison at Rome on two different occasions. His account of these events, contained in the Acts, is firsthand history.
Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs
Saints Issac Jogues and John de Brébeuf (priests and martyrs) and their companions (martyrs) were Jesuit missionaries who died as martyrs in North America where they preached the Gospel.
Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
Today the Church celebrates the feast of Sts. Simon and Jude whose names occur together in the Canon of the Mass and are also celebrated on the same day. Possibly this is because they both preached the Gospel in Mesopotamia and Persia where it is said they had both been sent, but in actual fact we know nothing for certain about them beyond what is told us of their being called as Apostles in the New Testament. St. Jude is the author of a short Epistle which forms part of the New Testament.
Solemnity of All Saints (Holy day of Obligation)
Today the Church celebrates all the saints: canonized or beatified, and the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision that are only known to God. During the early centuries the Saints venerated by the Church were all martyrs. Later on the Popes set November 1 as the day for commemorating all the Saints. We all have this “universal call to holiness.”
All Souls’ Day
“On this day is observed the commemoration of the faithful departed, in which our common and pious Mother the Church, immediately after having endeavored to celebrate by worthy praise all her children who already rejoice in heaven, strives to aid by her powerful intercession with Christ, her Lord and Spouse, all those who still groan in purgatory, so that they may join as soon as possible the inhabitants of the heavenly city.” —Roman Martyrology
Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop
St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) was a member of a noble family and a nephew of Pope Pius IV. He was made a Cardinal at the age of 23 and assisted the Pope in administering the affairs of the Holy See and in governing the Church. Soon thereafter he was made Archbishop of Milan. His endeavors on behalf of the 19th Ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1564) were especially meritorious and fruitful. He helped to direct and guide it and bring it to a successful conclusion. He then proceeded to enforce its decrees in the Archdiocese of Milan and thoroughly reformed Catholic life in his See. During a plague he walked barefooted in the public streets, carrying a cross, with a rope around his neck, offering himself as a victim to God for the transgressions of his people.
The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, the oldest and highest ranking of the four major basilicas in Rome. The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, the official ecclesiastical seat of the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, not St. Peter’s Basilica as so many mistakenly believe. The Basilica is also called the Church of Holy Savior or the Church of St. John Baptist. In ancient Rome this was the church where everyone was baptized. It the oldest church in the West, built in the time of Constantine and was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324.
Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Leo the Great, pope and doctor, during whose pontificate the Council of Chalcedon (451) defined that Christ is one divine person with two natures, divine and human. It was a confirmation of his Epistola Dogmatica (Tomus) to the Patriarch Flavian of Constantinople. He vigorously defended the unity of the Church. He detained the onrush of the barbarians under Attila.
Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Martin of Tours, bishop. St. Martin is the first bishop and confessor honored by the Church in the West. He was a principal apostle of Gaul, where his feast was celebrated as a holyday of obligation with an octave and popular celebrations.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin (USA)
Today the dioceses in the United States celebrate the memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin, born in Lombardy, Italy, one of thirteen children. She came to America as a missionary, founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. She is the first American citizen to be canonized.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, religious. She was the daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary, and wife of Duke Louis IV of Thuringia. She is famous for her great kindness and inexhaustible charity towards the poor and the sick.
Tue The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of the Presentation of Mary. The three feasts of the birthday of Our Lady, the holy Name of Mary and her Presentation in the Temple correspond in the Marian cycle with the first three feasts of the cycle of feasts of our Lord: namely, Christmas, the Holy Name of Jesus, and His Presentation in the Temple (February 2).
Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr. St. Cecilia is one of the most famous and most venerated of Roman martyrs. Her body was discovered in 822 and transferred to the title church that bears her name in Trastevere in Rome.
Saint Andrew Dũng-Lạc, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and companions, martyrs. St. Andrew was one of 117 people who were martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862.
Feast of Christ the King
The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man’s thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.
Saint Andrew, Apostle
St. Andrew was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee, a fisherman by trade, and a former disciple of John the Baptist. He was the one who introduced his brother Peter to Jesus, saying, “We have found the Messiah.” Overshadowed henceforth by his brother, Andrew nevertheless appears again in the Gospels as introducing souls to Christ. After Pentecost, Andrew took up the apostolate on a much wider scale, and is said to have been martyred at Patras in southern Greece on a cross which was in the form of an “X”. This type of cross has long been known as “St. Andrew’s cross.”
First Sunday of Advent
For us Catholics, the new Liturgical Year commences with the first Sunday of Advent. In this new liturgical year, the Church not only wishes to indicate the beginning of a period, but the beginning of a renewed commitment to the faith by all those who follow Christ, the Lord. This time of prayer and path of penance that is so powerful, rich and intense, endeavors to give us a renewed impetus to truly welcome the message of the One who was incarnated for us.
Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
St. Ambrose (340-397) was born at Treves in Gaul, a territory which embraced modern France, Britain, Spain, and part of Africa. He studied in Rome and later became governor of Liguria and Aemelia with residence at Milan. While supervising the election of a new bishop of Milan in 374, he himself was suddenly acclaimed the bishop. He was only a catechumen at the time. He was ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop on Dec. 7.
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the solemn dogma defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854. As Our Lady Immaculately Conceived is the patroness of the United States of America, this is a holy day of obligation in the United States.
Second Sunday of Advent
“As the journey of Advent continues, as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist’s call to conversion sounds out in our communities. It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and to welcome the Son of God Who comes among us to make divine judgement manifest. The Father, writes St. John the Evangelist, does not judge anyone, but has entrusted the power of judgement to the Son, because He is the Son of man.
USA: Our Lady of Guadalupe
In 1910 Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared Patroness of Latin America, and in 1945 Pope Pius XII declared Her to be the Empress of all the Americas. She appeared to an Indian convert named Juan Diego on December 9, 1531. She left a marvelous portrait of herself on the mantle of Juan Diego. This miraculous image has proved to be ageless, and is kept in the shrine built in her honor, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
St. Lucy (283-304) was born in Syracuse, Sicily, where she also died. She was of a noble Greek family, and was brought up as a Christian by her mother, who was miraculously cured at the shrine of St. Agatha in Catania. Lucy made a vow of virginity and distributed her wealth to the poor. This generosity stirred the wrath of the unworthy youth to whom she had been unwillingly betrothed and who denounced her to Paschasius, the governor of Sicily. When it was decided to violate her virginity in a place of shame, Lucy, with the help of the Holy Spirit, stood immovable. A fire was then built around her, but again God protected her. She was finally put to death by the sword. Her name appears in the second list in the Canon.
Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church
St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) was born and died in Spain. His parents were poor and could not give him training in any trade. Hence he became the servant of the sick in the hospital of Medina. In 1563 he offered himself as a lay brother to the Carmelite friars, who, however, perceiving his unusual talents, had him ordained a priest. When he was about to join the more severe Order of the Carthusians, the saintly Teresa persuaded him to remain and help her in the reform of the Carmelite Order.
Third Sunday of Advent
Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice”. Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath. “Rejoice: the Lord is nigh.” As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us.
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today is the second of the O Antiphons, O Adonai (O Almighty God). As Moses approached the burning bush, so we approach the divine Savior in the form of a child in the crib, or in the form of the consecrated host, and falling down we adore Him. “Put off the shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground . . . I am who am.” “Come with an outstretched arm to redeem us.” This is the cry of the Church for the second coming of Christ on the last day. The return of the Savior brings us plentiful redemption.
The entire liturgy of Christmas Eve is consecrated to the anticipation of the certain and sure arrival of the Savior: “Today you shall know that the Lord shall come and tomorrow you shall see His glory”
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Today the Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, the first day in the octave of Christmas. Throughout Advent the Church longed ardently for the coming of our Savior. Today she celebrates His birth with unrestrained joy. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” The Son of God became man to give us a share in that divine life which is eternally His in the Blessed Trinity. Christmas time begins on December 24 with the first Vespers of the feast and ends on the feast of the Baptism of Christ. The Christmas feast is a festival full of joy.
Saint Stephen, The First Martyr
Today is the second day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stoned outside Jerusalem, he died praying for his executioners. He was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles; he was “filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit,” and was “full of fortitude.”
Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
Today is the third day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist. Born in Bethsaida, he was called while mending his nets to follow Jesus. He became the beloved disciple of Jesus. He wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Apocalypse.
The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
During this octave of Christmas the Church celebrates the memory of the small children of the neighborhood of Bethlehem put to death by Herod. Sacrificed by a wicked monarch, these innocent lives bear witness to Christ who was persecuted from the time of His birth by a world which would not receive Him. It is Christ Himself who is at stake in this mass-murder of the children; already the choice, for or against Him, is put clearly before men.
Feast of the Holy Family
Scripture tells us practically nothing about the first years and the boyhood of the Child Jesus. All we know are the facts of the sojourn in Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the incidents that occurred when the twelve-year-old boy accompanied his parents to Jerusalem. The observance of this feast hopes that it might instill into Christian families something of the faithful love and the devoted attachment that characterize the family of Nazareth. The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families.