The month of August is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.
August is often considered the transitional month in our seasonal calendar. It is the time of the year we begin to wind-down from our summer travels and vacations and prepare for Autumn — back to school, fall festivals, harvest time, etc. The Church in her holy wisdom has provided a cycle of events in its liturgical year which allow the faithful to celebrate the major feasts in the life of Christ and Mary. Most notably, during August, we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) and the feast of the Assumption (August 15).
The other main feasts of this month are St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1), St. John Mary Vianney (August 4), Dedication of St. Mary Major (August 5), Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6), St. Sixtus II and Companions and St. Cajetan (August 7), St. Dominic (August 8), St. Teresa Benedicta (August 9), St. Clare (August 11), Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus (August 13), St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14), St. Stephen of Hungary (August 16), St. John Eudes (August 19), St. Bernard (August 20), St. Pius X (August 21), the Queenship of Mary (August 22), St. Louis of France (August 25), St. Monica (August 27), St. Augustine (August 28) and the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (August 29).
The feasts of St. Lawrence (August 10) and St. Bartholomew (August 24) fall on a Sunday so they are superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.
“Liturgical information courtesy of CatholicCulture.org”
The days of summer have provided a welcome change of pace. However, while vacations afford us the time to relax and refresh, the change of habits and routines can also have a negative impact on our spiritual lives. As if to re-ignite us, the Church offers us in the plethora of August feasts vivid examples of the virtue of perseverance: six martyrs — two who are named in Canon I of the Mass and two who were martyred during World War II; seven founders of religious congregations, as well as three popes and two kings; the apostle, St. Bartholomew; the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine and St. Monica, his mother; the humble patron saint of parish priests, St. John Vianney, and the patron of deacons, St. Lawrence, who joked with his executioners while being roasted alive.
It is never too late to begin — as the life of the reformed sinner, St. Augustine teaches us — nor too difficult to begin again, as demonstrated by the conversion of the martyr, St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein). We present-day members of the Mystical Body are certain of the reward to which we are called, for Christ’s Transfigured body (August 6) is a preview of that glory. Moreover, in the Assumption of his Mother (August 15), Our Lord has demonstrated his fidelity to his promise. Her privilege is "the highest fruit of the Redemption" and "our consoling assurance of the coming of our final hope — the glorification which is Christ’s" (Enchiridion on Indulgences).
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the most perfect example of Christian perseverance, but she is also our advocate in heaven where she is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth (August 22). Mary is the "Mother of Perpetual Help", the patroness of the Congregation founded by St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1). "No one who has fled to her protection is left unaided" is the claim of the Memorare of St. Bernard (August 20). Heretics have returned to the faith by the prayers of her Rosary, first preached by St. Dominic (August 8) in the twelfth Century, and hearts have been converted by the graces received while wearing her Miraculous Medal, promoted by St. Maximillian Kolbe (August 14) and adopted as the "badge" for the Pious Union he founded. Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!
The phenomenon of Christmas and Easter Catholics -- those who attend Mass only on the two greatest holy days of the year -- is often noted with a touch of horror by those who attend Mass every Sunday. Worse yet are those who come to church only to be "carried" (baptism), "married," and "buried."
But while we're often quick to point fingers at others, we tend to forget that proclaiming the Gospel, living the Faith, and believing in the truths that the Catholic Church teaches are the work of a lifetime. Simply showing up doesn't cut it. Pope Benedict reminds us that evangelization is an ongoing process. Some of the areas in which Christianity has been preached the longest are in the most desperate need of hearing the Gospel, and even those who still consider themselves Christians can lose sight of the truths of the Catholic Faith.
In recent years, surveys have shown that many who consider themselves faithful Catholics have begun to see what they receive in the Sacrament of Holy Communion as merely a symbol, and not the actual Body and Blood of Christ. But the entire Catholic sacramental worldview flows from the recognition that being a Christian means becoming part of the Body of Christ. If we regard the Host as mere bread, we have separated ourselves from Christ. As Christ Himself said (John 6:54), "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you."
If being a Christian is no longer a living faith but more like a box that we check on a census form, then we have lost the essence of what it means to be a Christian. While we are still indelibly marked by our baptism and confirmation, we cannot expect those sacraments alone to save us. As members of the Church, the Body of Christ, we are called to preach the Gospel of Christ to all nations, but that first requires us to hear it, embrace it, and live it ourselves. As Pope Benedict notes, that is our true identity as Christians; anything less is just a label.
On the first day of the week, the Lord's Day, God assembles the beloved people to hear the word, to reflect upon it, to offer the living sacrifice of praise, and to eat and drink the banquet of the Lord. Then God sends them forth to proclaim this love by their words and actions.
Sunday is the original Christian feast day, following the tradition handed down from the apostles' time, for this was the day of the Lord's resurrection. Today's Christian communities continue this tradition by celebrating every Sunday as the day of the risen Lord.
Ordinary Time begins after the feast of the Baptism of Jesus and ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. During the Sundays of these weeks the readings are remembering the many aspects surrounding the life of Christ.
The Mass admits of limitless levels and layers of understanding. A richness of outward signs points to inward realities of grace; sensible symbols become gateways to the mystical realm. The Church wisely uses externals – words, gestures, and material things we can see, hear and smell – to surround the sacred mysteries that will sanctify her children.
With urgency, therefore, the Magisterium encourages us to participate fully and actively in the liturgical sacrifice: by coming to it with proper dispositions; by offering our lives with the sacrifice of Christ our High priest; by growing in our knowledge and appreciation of the Mass; and by leading our children, through instruction and example, to a deeper understanding and love of the faith and the liturgy.
There are few prayer forms that are as “kid-friendly” as the rosary. While an entire rosary might be too much for some kids, a decade of the rosary can be the perfect length for a short, yet meaningful family prayer time. Holding a sacred object is important to children, and the rosary provides that. Each of the 10 Hail Marys within a decade can be an opportunity to have different children lead by saying the first half of the prayer. Before each bead, family members can take turns offering a specific prayer intention.
Want a fun and simple way to bring the Sunday Mass readings alive? With just a few minutes’ preparation, your family can enjoy fun activities, discussion time and even a creative snack, but best of all, your family will remember the time spent together learning more about God.
Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvelous light.
In a prayer well made, troubles vanish like snow under the rays of the sun.
So, when you're down and out, and nothing else seems to be working, the prayer to St Jude is here for you.
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We are a Catholic community inspired by the Father’s love and mercy to help fulfill the mission of Christ. Our Pastor is Monsignor Jeremiah (Jerry) Desmond
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