It sticks out like a sore, green thumb in the middle of a sober liturgical period. As a lifelong Catholic — and a lifelong Irishman — I struggle with squaring my prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial with a holiday (one of my favorites) whose excesses include dying an entire river green. When I’m supposed to be fasting and giving things up and attending penance services, along comes this holiday — this feast day — that contradicts the whole Lenten vibe with its parades and corned beef. Find more about Saint Patrick online.
Saint Thomas was born at Roccasecca, Italy in 1225 of the family of the Counts of Aquino. He entered the Order at Naples at age 17, was a disciple of St. Albert the Great, and at age 25 earned the title of “doctor” from the University of Paris. The Summa Theologiae is his best-known work, and is one of the most influencial works of philosophy and the Church. It was published in 1485. Watch a video about St. Thomas online.
John Bosco was born August 16, 1815, in Becchi, Italy. He was the youngest son of Francesco Bosco and Margherita Occhiena and had two older brothers, Antonio and Giuseppe. St. John Bosco was canonized on Easter Sunday, 1934 and he was given the title, “Father and Teacher of Youth.” Saint John Bosco is the patron saint of apprentices, editors and publishers, schoolchildren, magicians, and juvenile delinquents. His feast day is on January 31. Watch a video about him online.
The feast of the Holy Family, which is situated appropriately between Christmas and New Year’s Day, serves as a context for the events it bridges: the birth of Christ and the octave of Mary. Living in a loving manner sometimes can be most difficult within the family (the domestic Church), where intimate conflicts yield deep wounds, and where routine and familiarity can breed contempt and complacency. So we look to the Holy Family as models of fraternal love in a world of fractured family life and institutions. You’ll find the entire reflection online.
Every day of the Christmas octave is filled with meaning that reflects back on the Nativity, not just the birth of Christ but the impact, the reality of the birth. Octaves can be traced back to the Old Testament, Each of these feast days within the octave continues the joys of Christmas Day and helps us in our attempt to understand the mystery of the Incarnation. Read all about the octaves online.