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12 Days of Christmas

December 26th began a 12-day series of posts with the purpose of helping readers deepen their appreciation for, and celebration of, the 12 Days of Christmas, a season which traditionally concludes with the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th.

Canon Todd: The Light Born In Darkness

Today, January 6th, is historically the Feast of the Epiphany, a day of obligation in places where still celebrated, and the conclusion of the traditional 12 Days of Christmas. Of course, in the United States and many other countries, the feast (and the obligation to attend Mass) is officially transferred to the Sunday that falls between January 2nd-8th. As such, the obligation to attend Mass on January 6th is not binding and has not been for many years. However, in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (or Traditional Latin Mass) Epiphany is still celebrated on January 6th. One of the Read More

Too Many Vocations?

By Fr. Brian Fallon | Assistant Director of Vocations Priest shortage? Not in 1800's Bohemia! Hi, I’m Fr. Brian Fallon from the Vocation Office, and my jaw dropped onto my Roman Collar when I learned St. John Neumann was denied ordination because his home diocese had too many priests! January 5 is the feast day of St. John Neumann (b. 1811), not to be confused with Blessed John Henry Newman (I do that a lot). Flustered at being denied, John Neumann headed to the United States, and was ordained a priest of New York in 1836. As a parish priest Read More

Catholic Schools: Models of Christianity

By Sue Brown | Director of Marketing and Community Relations - Catholic Education Office Archbishop Carlson has called us to continue to beOne in our efforts to secure the future of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. To whom can we pray and ask for guidance? Two saints, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Neumann, whose feast days are today and tomorrow, are excellent choices. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native-born American to be canonized by the Church. She experienced both wealth and poverty in her short 46 years, and converted to Catholicism because of the Read More

Fr. Pastorius: Who is your higher power?

Fr. Tom Pastorius is pastor of Epiphany Parish in South City. He was gracious enough to share with the Virtual Vestibule an advance copy of his homily for the Feast of the Epiphany, January 3, 2016. There was a young lion who wandered from his father to test whether or not he would get the same respect from the other animals as his father did. As the young lion approached some monkeys, he roared and asked, "WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE?" The monkeys, being afraid, responded, "YOU are!" The lion replied, "And don't you forget it!" The lion Read More

Why God Became Man

By Mr. Carl Sommer | Lecturer in Church History & Patristics, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary The Church’s Liturgical Calendar is packed with a great deal of hidden beauty. Nowhere is this more evident than on January 2, the Eighth Day of Christmas by traditional reckoning. This day is also the feast of Saints Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, two of the three great Saints who are known as the “Cappadocian Fathers.” The coincidence of celebrating their feast day within the Christmas season is startling. The Cappadocian Fathers spent a good part of their lives trying to understand the mystery of the Incarnation and Read More

Bp. Rice: Mary, Mother of God

The following is the prepared text of the homily delivered by Bishop Edward Rice at a Midnight Mass for the feast of Mary, Mother of God, January 1, 2016 at Holy Redeemer in Webster Groves. Another year has passed into eternity and another year is about to unfold.  This becomes a natural opportunity to look to the events of this past year and take away some lessons that can help us in the year to come.  It is often the case that people use this moment, the transition from one year to the next to make a resolution, symbolic of Read More

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Avid sports fans know late December through early January as “the most wonderful time of the year” and not just because of the Christmas holiday. Between mid-December and January 11 more than three dozen nationally-televised college football bowl games are played (including two today which will decide the participants in the National Championship game and no less than five bowl games tomorrow), while in the NBA a slate of high-profile games take place in prime-time on Christmas day and by the time the New Year begins the season will be about one-third complete. College basketball competition gets tougher as Read More

Opening Holy Doors of Charity

By Monsignor Jack Schuler | Director of Mission Integration, Catholic Charities of St. Louis On December 8th Pope Francis officially inaugurated the Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy. Normally, Jubilee Years are held every 25 years but the Holy Father has proclaimed an "Extraordinary Jubilee" or Holy Year of Mercy. The year officially began when he opened the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica. Over three million people are expected to walk through the Holy Door this Jubilee Year. Walking through the Holy Door symbolizes a new beginning, a deeper step into mercy. I stumbled upon a very powerful definition of mercy, one that Read More

Christmas Is All About Me

By Giovanni Madriz | Program Coordinator, Office of Hispanic MInistry This year my Christmas wishes for those I love are all about me. I am pretty sure it’s the same for most of us:  during Christmas the most noble of feelings surface in our hearts and we can be overcome by a strong urge to share those feelings with those around us. Since the beginning of Advent I have often find myself in my daily interactions wishing blessings upon those I greet when I wake up, when I arrive to my work, or when I casually encounter them throughout the day. Read More

Protecting the Holy Innocents

Fear and uncertainty sometimes drive people to do the unthinkable. Consider the story of King Herod of Judea, who centuries ago ordered the killing of any boys two years and younger living in the area of Bethlehem. Fearful of losing the throne to a newborn “King of the Jews,” Herod commanded a mass execution of these Holy Innocents. (The feast of the Holy Innocents is observed December 28.) Centuries later, the story hasn’t changed much. Our modern-day “king” is Planned Parenthood – that is, “king” of abortions in this nation. They’ve taken advantage of the vulnerable state of women Read More

Mercy and the Holy Family

On this day of Christmas, my True Lord gave to me—the Feast of the Holy Family! Not only is today the annual celebration of this special day honoring Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the exemplary “domestic church,” the church of the home, but this year, the Jubilee Year of Mercy, offers another surprise. Today, Pope Francis celebrates the Jubilee of Mercy for Families with a Mass for families in St. Peter’s Basilica. One might think our Holy Father would be “familied-out” by now, right? In just about a year’s time, he has presided over two bishops’ synods on the Read More

Bring Back the Pie!

The majority of Catholics have fallen into the same mindset as the general culture when it comes to the schedule of celebrating holidays. Easter doesn't suffer as much as Christmas, presumably because Easter isn't a major retail holiday season, so the stakes aren't as high, economically speaking. Sure, McDonald’s does a big business in fish sandwiches during Lent, and Cadbury gets its share due to goo-filled chocolate eggs. Christmastide is greatly abused and forgotten these days, to say nothing of poor Advent. Starting today, we enter the REAL Christmas season. Just as the rest of the world is putting Read More