Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents' Day is observed on December 28, 2015. The Massacre of the Innocents is the biblical narrative of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman appointed King of the Jews. The number of infants killed is not stated, however the Holy Innocents have been claimed as the first Christian martyrs. The commemoration of the massacre of these "Holy Innocents" - considered by some Christians as the first martyrs for Christ - first appears as a feast of the western church in the Leonine Sacramentary, dating from about 485.

Today, the date of Holy Innocents' Day, also called The Innocents' Day or Childermas or Children's Mass, varies. The 27th of December is the date for West Syrians and East Syrians. 28th December is the date in the Church of England, the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church (in which, except on Sunday, violet vestments were worn before 1961, instead of red, the normal liturgical colour for celebrating martyrs). The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the feast on 29 December.

Rachel still weeps for all children killed by the evil actions of those participating in governance. There is an ongoing struggle between life and death. Christians are engaged in that conflict every single day. We cannot ever withdraw from the obligations it entails. One of those obligations is the defense of the Right to Life of children in the womb. Those who use Pope Francis in some contrived effort to persuade Catholics to back down from such an unequivocally Pro-Life position are selectively reading this Pope. Francis is simply reminding us that our defense of the child in the womb must also include a defense of all human persons and all of the poor and vulnerable. No-one, to use the words of Francis - can be discarded.

The killing of the Holy Innocents continues in this age through legal abortion and every politician or political leader who
supports it is a Herod.
On December 28th Roman Catholic Christians commemorate the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents, the male Hebrew children slaughtered by an evil ruler named Herod:

"When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more'. (Matt. 2)

Rachel still weeps for all children who are killed by the evil actions of those participating in governance. There is an ongoing struggle between life and death underway. Christians are engaged in that conflict every single day. We cannot ever withdraw from the obligations it entails. One of those obligations is the defense of the Right to Life of children in the womb.

Medical science confirms what the Natural Law, our conscience, the Word of God and the unbroken Christian tradition have long confirmed, the child in the womb is one of us. We all know it. We routinely operate on her when she needs our help and place her back in her first home of the womb until birth. We prosecute a criminal who, in committing a crime against his mother, kills him as well.

The abortion lie has been visibly revealed through 3 and 4d ultrasound technology. The beauty of that child now adorns our walls and fills our wallets. Every procured abortion is the intentional killing of such a holy innocent. This act is as immoral as the intentional killing of child outside of the womb. That is because we are always human persons in development. The me at 61 years old is the same me who was alive at 27 years old, only developing in the continuum of the span of days we call our human life.

No politician or public official who supports legal abortion is a real friend of the poor. That is true regardless of their party affiliation and no matter what rhetoric or political sophistry they engage in. As Mother Teresa reminded us, the baby in the womb is the poorest of the poor. The Obama Administration continues the evil of Herod by funding this killing of Holy Innocents.

The killing of the Holy Innocents continues in this age through legal abortion and every politician or political leader who supports it is a Herod.Planned Parenthood receives millions in government grants and contracts. A majority of the members of the Congress of the United States are now complicit in evil by failing to remove funds from the recent budget compromise bill. That money will now go to Planned Parenthood to continue the evil of funding abortions. This is utterly reprehensible.

This nefarious organization has dressed itself up as a Health Care Provider. They include the taking of the life of innocent children under what is euphemistically called reproductive services. There is nothing reproductive about abortion. It is not a service to the child who is being killed, the mother, the father or society. Nor is it health care. It is killing children, plain and simple. Funding it is always morally repugnant. Every member of Congress who supported the current budget bill and failed to act to remove the funding for Planned Parenthood should be ashamed of themselves.

On September 22, 2013, Pope Francis addressed an international gathering of Catholic Gynecologists and told them "Every child that isn't born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord." Every child killed by legal abortion in this age is a Holy Innocent. Every politician who supports this killing, implicitly or explicitly, carries on the evil of Herod.

Quodvultdeus was a deacon and Church father in the 5th century. He wrote concerning the evil ruler named Herod whose murder of the Hebrew children we recall today in the Roman catholic Liturgical calendar:

"A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and forever in the life to come.

"Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children.

"You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.

"Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God's adopted children.

"The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the savior already working salvation.

"But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it. How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory."

For my fellow Catholic Christians, let me state it emphatically, the teaching of our Church is absolutely clear. Every professing Catholic is duty bound to embrace it - and act on it in the exercise of their citizenship. This teaching is summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It cannot- and it will not - ever change:

"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. (Jer 1:5; cf. Job 10:8-12; Ps 22:10-11) "My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. (Ps 139:15).

"Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: "You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish." (Didache 2,2:SCh 248,148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19,5:PG 2 777; Ad Diognetum 5,6:PG 2,1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9:PL 1,319-320.) God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. (GS 51 § 3)"

"Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae - by the very commission of the offense," and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.


"The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation: "The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.

"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights." (CCC #2271 - 2273)

Elected leaders and political candidates who oppose the Natural Law Right to Life of the child in the womb - and directly or indirectly promote abortion as a legally protected choice - are the King Herod's of this hour. We cannot - and we must not - support any candidate for public office who will not recognize the inalienable Right to Life of every single human person, including the child in the womb. We must be unequivocal in our defense of every innocent human life from conception to natural death.

Those who use Pope Francis in some contrived effort to persuade Catholics to back down from such an unequivocally Pro-Life position are selectively reading this Pope. Francis is simply reminding us that our defense of the child in the womb must also include a defense of all human persons and all of the poor and vulnerable. No-one, to use the words of Francis, "can be discarded". I end with some more words from the speech he gave to the Catholic gynecologists in 2013:


"A widespread mentality of profits, the "culture of waste," that today enslaves the hearts and minds of so many, comes at a terribly high cost: it requires the elimination of human beings, especially if they are in a weaker physical or societal condition. Our response to this mentality is a "yes" to life, one that is decisive and without hesitation. "The first right of a human person is his own life. He has other goods and some of these are quite precious; but this is the foundational good, the condition for all others" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, Nov. 18, 1974, no. 11).

"Material things have a price and can be sold, but human persons have a dignity; they are worth more than material things and have no price. So many times, we encounter situations where we see that life is of little account. For this reason the attention to human life in its totality has become in recent times a true and appropriate priority for the Magisterium of the Church, particularly to the most defenseless; that is, to the disabled, to the sick, to the unborn child, to the infant, to the elderly, the most defenseless forms of life.

"In the fragile human being, each of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh has experienced the indifference and the loneliness to which we often condemn the most impoverished, both in the countries of the developing world and in affluent societies. Every child that is not born, but condemned unjustly to being aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord, who even before birth, and then as soon as he is born, experiences the rejection of the world.

"And every elderly person, and-I have spoken about the child; let us turn to the elderly, another point! And every elderly person, even if he is infirm or at the end of his days, carries within himself the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the "culture of waste" proposes to us! They cannot be discarded!"

Rachel Still Weeps: The Killing of the Holy Innocents by Planned Parenthood and Politicians Must End. Pray, live and vote Pro-Life.


By Deacon Keith Fournier
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!


Let us bow down before Him - the CHRIST,
The One Who gave Himself as Ransom for our souls!
The only One that WOULD, the only One that COULD.
Oh come let us adore Him, but not just today, and not just halfheartedly ... but every day and with all our hearts!

Christmas itself bespeaks peace and love. It's a time when we stop, even if just for a brief moment and recognize each other as brothers and sisters of the same family. All one in the Body, for that is what we truly are if we call ourselves Christians. We, for the most part, set aside petty differences and some, by the grace of God, hurts and resentments that have festered for years and even decades. This is the magic of Christmas. The Grace, Love and Peace that He gives freely if we but look in His direction and receive it.
Let everyone's prayer be to have this not just today, but always and forever!
The Jubilee Year of Mercy is over - Pray like you never have before! Especially for those souls that feel the world is more real than eternity. This could very well be the last chance for Mercy we have, and those that miss it, will have to walk through the Door of Justice. I pray that our Lady's Immaculate heart will triumph by the 100th Anniversary of Fatima. With the world tight in the evil one's grips, now more than ever do we see prophecy unfolding before our very eyes. Pray for families of the faithful martyrs of our day who are being given white robes till their number is complete. Pray for hearts and eyes to open, ears to hear and souls to KNOW the Truth that *is* Jesus. PRAY FOR ALL THOSE THAT MISSED THE PHENOMENAL GRACES FROM THE YEAR OF MERCY! Stay in the state of grace ... Confession and Communion are needed to remain strong and give us the grace and stamina to support each other in prayer and every other way we can, especially with evangelization. 

Please let our prayer for this next year be for those that have lost their way, strayed from the path and not only forgot the precious Gift of Christmas, but the reason and the Path to Easter Sunday that leads to Eternal Happiness. Pray for those in mortal sin that are in so much darkness, they can't even SEE the light, let alone what surrounds them in this valley of tears. 

Let our daily prayer be:
"Eternal God, thank You for sending Your only begotten Son to the world to offer us a way back to You. That He suffered and died for our sins is too hard for our human intellect to fully understand and we cringe to know our own sins put Him there. But we beg You Father to accept our continuous prayer; united to the Perfect & Holy Passion of Jesus, we offer You our joys, sorrows, breaths, heartbeats and tears to strengthen the faithful, renew the lukewarm, restore the fallen away and convert the proud. Merciful Father, Whose tender Love has no bounds, grant, in Your Goodness and Mercy that we always embrace Your Perfect Will in all things with a joyful heart. Please cover us with the Precious Blood of Jesus in which we trust and rely. Send the Holy Spirit to renew our souls and our land that it may bring You honor and glory and we may, once again, be a nation under God! Bring us daily closer to the Sacred & Immaculate Hearts and increase our Faith that we may always strengthen each other, in Jesus' Name. Amen."

Let this new year renew in our souls the fervent hope that all be saved and none be lost. Let us remember always to pray and do penance for those in our families and all we hold dear that have fallen away to renew and SHARE their Faith with all who cross their path, as we should. Pray especially for those whose hearts are good but necks are stiff; those who do good for others but for whatever reason have turned away from formal practice and are too proud to search for the Truth; for those who feel they have been hurt (real or perceived) by God and have hardened their hearts towards Him ... and for those that satan has convinced that they're 'good enough' to get into heaven as they are, putting worldly things first rather than eternal things. 

Above all else: PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!

Ephesians 6:12: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood; but against principalities, powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."


"The date is December twenty-fifth, but to the humble man, it is Christmas; the manger is a throne; the straw is royal plumage; the stable is a castle; and the Babe is God. He found Power because He was weakness, and the Infinite, Immense and Eternal God, because He was little – for it is only by being little that we ever discover anything big. He lies upon straw on earth and yet sustains the universe and reigns in Heaven; He is born in time, and yet He existed before all time; Maker of the stars under the stars; Ruler of the earth an Outcast of earth; filling the world, lying in a manger. And yet the proud man sees only a Babe. The humble, simple souls, who are little enough to see the bigness of God in the littleness of a Babe, are therefore the only ones who will ever understand the reason of His visitation. He came to the poor earth of ours to carry on an exchange; to say to us, as only the Good God could say: You give Me your humanity, and I will give you My Divinity; you give Me your time, and I will give you My eternity, you give Me your weary body, and I will give you Redemption; you give Me your broken heart, and I will give you Love; you give Me your nothingness, and I will give you My All. Thus the birthday of the God-Man is the children’s day, in which age, like a crab, turns backwards, in which the wrinkles are smoothed by the touch of a recreating hand, in which the proud become children, and the big become little, and all find God."  ~~(The Eternal Galilean)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Eve

THE CHRISTMAS BIRDS
It was a particularly cold and blustery Christmas Eve this year ..... Carol bundled up the children for Midnight Mass, and tried one last time to encourage Jim to join them. Now, Jim was a kindly man; a good father a loving husband ... in fact, there was nothing anyone could say at all against this upstanding civic leader !
Jim's only 'deficit' (if you could call it that), was that he chose not to go to Church ............................. ever.
It wasn't that he didn't believe in God.. it was simply that he felt 'uncomfortable' with structured religious activities of any sort, hence he avoided them as much as possible.
At any rate, Carol and the children had left and Jim settled down in front of a nice roaring fire with his slippers, the newspaper and a cup of his favorite raspberry hot chocolate. This was HIS time to relax, with most of the hustle bustle of the season behind him now, he relished the thought to be alone and kick back!
He placed his "reading" glasses auspiciously at the end of his nose and began to peruse the newspaper. "THUMP"... "THUMP" he heard against the front of the house. "hmmmmm, must be some kids having one last snowball battle before Mass" he thought to himself with a grin, remembering his own youth!
Again he heard: "THUMP"..."THUMP".... "THUMP", but this time against the glass of the new bow window just installed this past fall! He figured he'd better stick his head out the door and have a chat with the kids before things got out of hand. When he turned on the front light and looked out the door there was noone in sight at all. Convinced that he needed MORE rest and relaxation than he thought, he returned to his paper, his fire and his (now) luke-warm raspberry hot chocolate.
No sooner did he sit down, then once again, the "THUMPING" started; but this time it was harder and more frequent. Determined to confront whoever was playing games with him and robbing him of his solitude, he bundled himself up, went out the back door and around the house to 'catch 'em in the act'!!
As he made his way around the house in the blustering wind, and snow storm, he marveled as he recalled how, in his youth, he was impervious to such trivialities!
He rounded the west corner of the house and could see plainly the front landing and the bow window that he was attempting to protect. His plan of attack worked! There were the villians right there in plain sight!! Much to his surprise however, it was not a snowball fight at all ... it was a group of cold, frantic birds.
The "THUMPING" he heard, was their feeble attempt to find some shelter from the biting storm that raged wildly. Jim's heart melted at this pittiful sight!! He ran to the barn, and put on the light, hoping that they would notice and take shelter in there for the night ..... but HOW to get them IN there? He ran in the house, grabbed a loaf of bread and made a trail of crumbs from the front door to the barn, but - to no avail. He turned off the front door light and paraded back and forth from there to the barn with a flashlight, hoping the birds would follow him, but his strange presence only served to frighten them and add to their misfortune.
Finally, in his frustration, and knowing that if he didn't do SOMETHING to save them, they would surely DIE ... he got a broom and attempted to SHOO them into the barn. Unfortunately, this caused more havoc than the other attempts, and left Jim standing there feeling completely helpless.
As he was mulling over his feeble attempts and trying to find a way to make the birds UNDERSTAND that he was trying to help them and bring them to safety, he realized that whatever he did only served to frighten them. He thought: "If I could only just become ONE OF THEM, then they wouldn't be afraid of me, and I could make them understand that I was only trying to ......... trying to .......... "
At that very moment the Church bells rang, Jim realized that this was exactly what Jesus had done for humankind. He became ONE OF US so He could SHOW US THE WAY to salvation ("safety"). Jim fell to knees in adoration of that Little Babe in the Manger and thanked God for the Precious Gift of His SON on the first Christmas, so very long ago!!

(He also started going to Church with the family on a regular basis! )
not the end .... it's just ........... the BEGINNING :-)

May the New Year be especially kind to US ALL!


Eternal Father, may Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Beg the Holy Spirit to engulf the minds and hearts of all mankind to be open to the Truth, Love,
Mercy and Goodness of Christ our Lord, Savior and Triune God!
When you pray ... do not forget your friends and loved ones; both here on earth and those that have stepped into eternity.
May the Good Lord shower His most Choice Blessings on those that love Him and
open the hearts and minds of those that are
selectively blind and deaf.
May He have mercy on us all!
Amen.

Keep the wicks trimmed and the oil lamps full!


 The song says: "A Child, A Child shivers in the cold, let us bring Him silver and gold ..."  
 Let us all, on this Christmas Eve and throughout our lives, not give Him what the WORLD considers valuable, but let us give Him what TRULY IS VALUABLE and that which He desires MOST ... our love for Him and for each other. We have but to open our hearts to invite Him in ..
He waits always ready to enter! God bless us, yes ... EVERYONE! ;)
Merry Christmas and may the New Year be especially kind to us!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Our Lady of Guadalupe - December 12th

In 1531, a poor Indian, who had been baptized Juan Diego, was walking through the Mexican countryside to attend mass in honor of Our Lady. He heard beautiful music and saw a radiant cloud. In it appeared a beautiful Lady. She spoke in his native language and wore native dress. She sent him to the Bishop to tell him to build a chapel on that spot. The Bishop asked for a sign from the Lady. Juan was going to visit her but his uncle became seriously ill so he tried to avoid her. But he had to use the same path to see his uncle. She appeared to him again and told him his uncle would be cured and to cut some roses that were growing on the top of the hill. This was a cold December day. He did as she requested and brought the roses to the Bishop wrapped in his tilma (cape). When the Bishop opened the tilma, there was a magnificent picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When St. Juan Diego next saw his uncle, he had been completed cured as the Lady had said. Until this time few natives had converted to Catholicism, within a few years millions had. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patron of the Americas and Her shine is one of the most visited.




The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe

"Here I will show myself as a loving Mother to you and
to all those born in these lands, and to all those
who love me and trust in me, for I am your loving mother."
 

In Mexico in 1531, God permitted Our Lady to appear to a recently converted Aztec Indian named Juan Diego. To him was given arguably the greatest treasure in the church - the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a true image of Mary the Mother of Jesus, when she was with child.
When Juan Diego first saw the Blessed Mother, he was a 57 year old widower and she seemed to him to be about 18. She appeared to him 4 times, and once to his uncle Juan Bernadino, who was cured of his sickness. When first Juan saw her it was at the foot of the Tepeyac Hill (in what is now Mexico City). She was in a brilliant light, and called to him softly. She told him that she was the ever Virgin, Holy Mary, Mother of the True God who is the Author of Life, the Creator of all things, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, present everywhere. Her purpose in coming was to ask Juan Diego to tell the bishop that she wished a sanctuary to be erected in that place where she would be honored. 





When the Spanish bishop asked for a sign to prove Juan Diego's story, Our Lady gave Castille roses, which she herself arranged in the Indian's cloak or 'tilma', telling Juan to show them to no-one but the bishop. When he did so, the roses cascaded forth, revealing on the tilma a miraculous image of Our Lady as she had shown herself to Juan Diego.
The name Guadalupe comes from an ancient shrine of Our Lady in Spain. The bishop was unable to understand the Indian name of Tecoatlexpeuh, which means "she who crushes the head of the serpent", and thought it sounded like 'de Guadalupe', by which name it has been known ever since. Within 7 years of the apparitions, 9,000,000 Indians had converted to Christianity from their pagan Aztec religion. It is the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the history of the Church.


To the Indians the picture told the great truths of Christianity. Mary is robed with the sun and is standing on the moon. The Aztecs offered human sacrifices on a massive scale so as 'to keep the natural order in creation'. She is wearing the dress of an Aztec princess, and the black sash at her waist indicates that she is pregnant. When the image was crowned by the Papal Envoy on 12th December 1981, to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the feast of the roses, a great light shone forth from her womb over the whole congregation in the Basilica. This miracle lasted for 20 minutes, could be seen by all present, and was visible even on television. Our Lady is supported by her Guardian Angel, Saint Michael. Together they brought to an end the practice of human sacrifice by the Aztecs, and together, by the power of God, they will bring to an end the killing by abortion of unborn babies in our own times.


The figure of Our Lady is 4'11" high. It is unutterably beautiful and deeply compelling. Her hands are joined in prayer. Our Lady of Guadalupe is silent and humble, but her words to Juan Diego are a comfort for us all:
"...Know for certain that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God...here I will show and offer all my love, my compassion and protection to the people. I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping and their sorrows...their necessities and misfortunes..Listen and let it penetrate your heart...

Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and my protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the fold of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?"
Discoveries about the tilma of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Patroness of the Americas

Would you like to read something that will not only surprise you, but might change your way of thinking forever.....? Then read what science has discovered about the tilma of the Virgin of Guadalupe:
 Scientists from the NASA Research Center have carried out extensive tests on the fabric and image and have discovered no scientific explanation, since the picture is neither painted, dyed or woven. It is made from the fibers of the maguey cactus and it has not been treated with sizing, a fabric of which the ordinary life span is 20 years. Enlargements were made and it was discovered that the reflection of the bishop looking in astonishment could clearly be seen in the pupil of Our Lady's eyes (more information below). This hidden miracle has been kept for the 20th century, an age where there is so little faith.

1. Ophthalmalgic studies made on the eyes of Mary detected that when the eye is exposed to light, the retina contracts, and when the light is withdrawn, it returns to a dilated state, just as happens with a living eye.
2. The temperature of Juan Diego's tilma, made of a material that comes from fibers of the maguey cactus, maintains a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees, the same as that of a living human body.
3. One of the doctors who analyzed the tilma placed his stethoscope below the black band at Mary's waist, and heard rhythmic beats at 115 pulses per minute, the same as that of a baby in the maternal womb.
4. No sign of paint has been discovered on the tilma. From a distance of 3-4 inches from the image, one can see only the maguey cactus fibers of the material: the colors disappear. Scientific studies have not been able to discover the origin of the coloration, nor the way the image was painted. They cannot detect vestiges of brush strokes or any other known painting technique. NASA scientists confirm that the paint material does not belong to any known element on earth.
5. When the material was examined under a laser ray, it was shown that there is no coloration on the front or the back of the cloth, and that the colors hover at a distance of 3/10th of a millimeter (1/100th of an inch) over the cloth, without touching it. The colors actually float above the surface of the tilma. Isn't that amazing?
6. The rough material of the tilma has a lifespan of no more than 20-30 years. Several centuries ago, a replica of the image was painted on an identical piece of maguey cloth and it disintegrated after several decades. Nonetheless, during the almost 500 years of the miracle, the cloth with the image of Mary remains as strong as it was on the first day. Science cannot explain why the material has not disintegrated.
7. In the year 1791, muriatic acid accidentally spilled on the upper right side of the tilma. During the period of 30 days, without any special treatment, the affected fabric re-constituted itself miraculously.
8. The stars that appear on the mantle of Mary reflect the exact configuration of positions that could be seen in the sky of Mexico on the day the miracle happened.
On the right side of the Virgin's mantle, the southern constellations are indicated:
At the top are 4 stars that form part of the Orphiuchus constellation.
Below it to the left, we find Libra, and to its right, at what seems an arrow point, is the beginning of Scorpio.
In the middle are the constellations of Lupus and, to its left, an end point of Hydra.
Further down, we can clearly see the Southern Cross: above it appears the slightly inclined square of the Centaurus constellation.
On the left side of the Virgin's mantle we see the northern constellations:
At her shoulder, a fragment of the stars of the Herdsman constellation; below it and to the left is the Great Bear. To its right is Berenice's Hair; below it, Hunting Dogs, and to its left, the Thuban, which is the brightest star of the Draco constellation.
Below the 2 parallel stars (which still form part of the Big Bear) we find stars from another pair of constellations: the Auriga and, at the bottom, 3 stars of Taurus.
Thus, in their totality and proper places, the 46 most brilliant stars that can be seen on the horizon of the Valley of Mexico are identified.
9. In the year 1921, a man concealed a high power bomb in a flower arrangement and placed it at the feet of the tilma. The explosion destroyed everything around it, except for the tilma which remained intact.
10. Scientists discovered that the eyes of Mary have the 3 refractive characteristics of a human eye.
11. In the eyes of Mary (only about 1/3rd inch in size), miniscule human figures were discovered that no artist could have painted. The same scene is repeated in each eye.
Using digital technology, the images in the eyes were enlarged many times, revealing that each eye reflected the figure of the Indian Juan Diego opening his tilma in front of Bishop Zumarraga. Do you know the size of this scene? One fourth of a millimeter (1/100th of an inch).
It is evident that all these unexplainable things were given to us for a reason:
To catch our attention. Have they caught yours?

To close, let us look at 3 surprising facts:
1. In the Indian language, 'Guadalupe' means to "crush the head of the serpent." It properly refers to Genesis 3:15 - Mary, the conqueror of evil.
2. The image also depicts a detail from Apocalypse 12: "And a great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet."
3. The Virgin wears a black band at her waist, which symbolizes pregnancy, to indicate that God wanted Jesus to be born in the 3 Americas, in the heart of each American. "While I live I will praise the Lod: I will sing praise unto my God while I have any being" (Ps 146:2)

Scientists from the NASA Research Center have carried out extensive tests on the fabric and image and have discovered no scientific explanation, since the picture is neither painted, dyed or woven. It is made from the fibers of the maguey cactus and it has not been treated with sizing, a fabric of which the ordinary life span is 20 years. Enlargements were made and it was discovered that the reflection of the bishop looking in astonishment could clearly be seen in the pupil of Our Lady's eyes (more information below). This hidden miracle has been kept for the 20th century, an age where there is so little faith.

 In 1977, the tilma was examined using infrared photography and digital enhancement techniques. Unlike any painting, the tilma shows no sketching or any sign of outline drawn to permit an artist to produce a painting. Further, the very method used to create the image is still unknown. The image is inexplicable in its longevity and method of production. It can be seen today in a large cathedral built to house up to ten thousand worshipers. It is, by far, the most popular religious pilgrimage site in the Western Hemisphere.

The Virgin will be with you always, whenever you need her
- she will never abandon you

Never forget the words Mary spoke to Juan Diego:
"My little child, the smallest of all, let nothing afflict you. Do you not know that you are in my lap? Am I not here, I, who am your mother?"

And YOU are her child as well -
you will always be Mary's special son or daughter.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

St. Andrew's Feast Day with Christmas Novena (November 30th - Christmas Eve)


The Christmas Novena
Say 15 times a day from St. Andrew's Day (30 November), ending on Christmas Eve

Hail, and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight in Bethlehem in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, Oh my God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires, through the merits of our Savior, Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. Amen.
(Mention your intentions.)

(It is piously believed that this Novena will obtain all asked if prayed as prescribed with reverence and devotion.)
Imprimatur: +MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York; 2/6/1897

Another Prayer for the Feast of Saint Andrew - November 30th

We humbly entreat Thy majesty, O Lord, that as the blessed Apostle Andrew was once a teacher and ruler of Thy Church: so he may be a constant advocate for us before Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Church celebrates the feast of Saint Andrew on November 30, an important date in the annual liturgical calendar, because it determines the date of the First Sunday of Advent, which is the Sunday nearest this Feast. Saint Andrew is the patron saint fishermen, and of both Scotland and Russia.

Andrew was St. Peter’s brother, and was called with him. "As Jesus was walking by the sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him" (Matthew 4:18-20).
John the Evangelist presents Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." Andrew and another disciple followed Jesus. "Jesus turned and saw them following Him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’ So they went and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day" (John 1:38-39a).

Little else is said about Andrew in the Gospels. Before the multiplication of the loaves, it was Andrew who spoke up about the boy who had the barley loaves and fishes (see John 6:8-9). When the Gentiles went to see Jesus, they came to Philip, but Philip then had recourse to Andrew (see John 12:20-22).
Legend has it that Andrew preached the Good News in what is now modern Greece and Turkey and was crucified at Patras.

As in the case of all the apostles except Peter and John, the Gospels give us little about the holiness of Andrew. He was an apostle. That is enough. He was called personally by Jesus to proclaim the Good News, to heal with Jesus' power and to share his life and death. Holiness today is no different. It is a gift that includes a call to be concerned about the Kingdom, an outgoing attitude that wants nothing more than to share the riches of Christ with all people.

The Relics of Saint Andrew

Like most important saints, Andrew was not left in his tomb to rest in peace. According to St. Jerome, Andrew's remains were taken from Patras to Constantinople in the fourth century by order of the Roman emperor Constantine an, according to tradition, a few body parts were taken by St. Rule to Scotland before they made it to Constantinople. These relics were held in St. Andrew's Cathedral, but were likely destroyed in the Scottish Reformation. In 1208, St. Andrew's remains were moved from Constantinople to the Church of Sant' Andrea in Amalfi, Italy. In the 15th century, Andrew's head was brought to St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.
In 1879, the Archbishop of Amalfi sent Andrew's shoulder blade to the reestablished Catholic community in Scotland. In September 1964, Pope Paul VI returned Andrew's head to Patras as a gesture of goodwill to the Christians in Greece. In 1969, when Gordon Gray was in Rome to be appointed the first Scottish Cardinal since the Reformation, he was given some relics of St. Andrew with the words, "Saint Peter gives you his brother." These are now displayed in a reliquary in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

 This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Russia and Scotland, as well as fishermen, singers, unmarried women, and would-be mothers; especially if having problems conceiving.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Christ the King Novena 11/11-12/7

Novena to Christ the King
Recite One Our Father, One Hail Mary and One Glory Be per day followed by the Novena Prayer:

O Lord our God, You alone are the Most Holy King and Ruler of all nations. We pray to You, Lord, in the great expectation of receiving from You, O Divine King, mercy, peace, justice and all good things. Protect, O Lord our King, our families and the land of our birth. Guard us we pray Most Faithful One. Protect us from our enemies and from Your Just Judgment Forgive us, O Sovereign King, our sins against you. Jesus, You are a King of Mercy. We have deserved Your Just Judgment Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us. We trust in Your Great Mercy. O most awe-inspiring King, we bow before You and pray; May Your Reign, Your Kingdom, be recognized on earth. Amen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Souls Day November 2nd


All Souls Day is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity. The Anglican church is the largest protestant church to celebrate the holy day. Most protestant denominations do not recognize the holiday and disagree with the theology behind it.
According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places. The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes. The second is hell, where those who die in a state of mortal sin are naturally condemned by their choice. The intermediate option is purgatory, which is thought to be where most people, free of mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser (venial) sin, must go.
Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. There is scriptural basis for this belief. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32. "Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out... Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin."
Additional references are found in Zechariah, Sirach, and the Gospel of Matthew. Jewish tradition also reinforces this belief as well as the tradition and teaching of the Church, which has been affirmed throughout history.
Consistent with these teachings and traditions, Catholics believe that through the prayers of the faithful on Earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven.
The belief in purgatory has not been without controversy. Certainly, some flagrant abuses of the doctrine were used to raise money for the Church during the renaissance. Famously, Martin Luther argued with the monk, Johan Tetzel, over the sale of indulgences. Indulgences were sold as spiritual pardons to the poor and applied to the souls of the dead (or the living) to get people into heaven. The abuse of indulgences and the blatant, sometimes fraudulent practice of selling indulgences for money, led to Luther's protest.
When Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, he omitted the seven books of the canon which refer to prayers for the dead. He then introduced the heretical belief that people are simply saved, or not, and argued that there is no need to pray for the dead to get them into heaven.
The Church reeled from Luther's accusation, and reformed its practice of selling indulgences. However, it reemphasized the Biblical and traditional practice of praying for the departed and the importance of such prayers.
All Souls Day is celebrated in much of the western world on November 2. Other rites have their own celebrations. The Eastern Orthodox Church has several such days throughout the year, mostly on Saturdays. All Souls Day is not a holy day of obligation. It should not be confused with All Saints' Day, which is a holy day of obligation.
Many cultures also mark the day differently. In North America, Americans may say extra prayers or light candles for the departed. In parts of Latin America, families visit the graves of their ancestors and sometimes leave food offerings for the departed.

More about All Souls' Day from Wikipedia

All Souls' Day commemorates the faithful departed. In Western Christianity, this day is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. The Eastern Orthodox churches observe several All Souls' Days during the year. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins and from attachment to mortal sins cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass (see Purgatory).[1] In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory.
The official name of the celebration in the Roman Rite liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is "The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed".[1]
Another popular name in English is Feast of All Souls. In some other languages the celebration, not necessarily on the same date, is known as Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos or de los Difuntos in Spanish-speaking countries; halottak napja in Hungary; Yom el Maouta in Lebanon, Israel and Syria).
The Western celebration of All Souls' Day is on 2 November and follows All Saints' Day, which commemorates the departed who have attained the beatific vision. If 2 November falls on a Sunday, the Mass is of All Souls, but the Office is that of the Sunday. However, Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers) for the Dead, in which the people participate, may be said. In pre-1969 calendars, which some still follow, and in the Anglican Communion, All Souls Day is instead transferred, whenever 2 November falls on a Sunday, to the next day, 3 November, as in 2008.
The Eastern Orthodox Church dedicates several days throughout the year to the dead, mostly on Saturdays, because of Jesus' resting in the tomb on Saturday.

The Western celebration

All Souls' Day procession, Tucson, Arizona, 2008
Historically, the Western tradition identifies the general custom of praying for the dead dating as far back as 2 Maccabees 12:42-46. The custom of setting apart a special day for intercession for certain of the faithful on November 2 was first established by St. Odilo of Cluny (d. 1048) at his abbey of Cluny in 998.[2] From Cluny the custom spread to the other houses of the Cluniac order, which became the largest and most extensive network of monasteries in Europe. The celebration was soon adopted in several dioceses in France, and spread throughout the Western Church. It was accepted in Rome only in the fourteenth century. While 2 November remained the liturgical celebration, in time the entire month of November became associated in the Western Catholic tradition with prayer for the departed; lists of names of those to be remembered being placed in the proximity of the altar on which the sacrifice of the mass is offered.[3]
The legend connected with its foundation is given by Peter Damiani in his Life of St Odilo: a pilgrim returning from the Holy Land was cast by a storm on a desolate island. A hermit living there told him that amid the rocks was a chasm communicating with purgatory, from which perpetually rose the groans of tortured souls. The hermit also claimed he had heard the demons complaining of the efficacy of the prayers of the faithful, and especially the monks of Cluny, in rescuing their victims. Upon returning home, the pilgrim hastened to inform the abbot of Cluny, who then set 2 November as a day of intercession on the part of his community for all the souls in Purgatory.

Eastern-Rite Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox churches

Among Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians, there are several All Souls' Days during the year. Most of these fall on Saturday, since Jesus lay in the Tomb on Holy Saturday. These are referred to as Soul Saturdays. They occur on the following occasions:
  • The Saturday of Meatfare Week (the second Saturday before Great Lent).the day before the Sunday of the Last Judgement
  • The second Saturday of Great Lent
  • The third Saturday of Great Lent
  • The fourth Saturday of Great Lent
  • Radonitsa (Monday or Tuesday after Thomas Sunday)
  • The Saturday before Pentecost
  • Demetrius Saturday (the Saturday before the feast of Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki.26 October) (In the Bulgarian Orthodox Church there is a commemoration of the dead on the Saturday before the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel.8 November, instead of the Demetrius Soul Saturday)
(In the Serbian Orthodox Church there is also a commemoration of the dead on the Saturday closest to the Conception of St. John the Baptist.23 September)
Saturdays throughout the year are devoted to general prayer for the departed, unless some greater feast or saint's commemoration occurs.

Protestantism and Roman Catholic Church

At the Reformation the celebration of All Souls' Day was fused with All Saints' Day in the Anglican Church, though it was renewed individually in certain churches in connection with the Catholic Revival of the 19th century. The observance was restored with the publication of the 1980 Alternative Service Book, and it features in Common Worship as a Lesser Festival called "Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls' Day)".
Among continental Protestants its tradition has been more tenaciously maintained. Even Luther's influence was not sufficient to abolish its celebration in Saxony during his lifetime; and, though its ecclesiastical sanction soon lapsed even in the Lutheran Church, its memory survives strongly in popular custom. Just as it is the custom of French people, of all ranks and creeds, to decorate the graves of their dead on the jour des morts, so German [3] and Polish people stream to the graveyards once a year with offerings of flowers and special grave lights (see the picture), and among Czech people the custom of visiting and tidying graves of relatives on the day is quite common even among atheists. In North America, however, most Protestant acknowledgment of the holiday is generally secular, celebrated in the form of Halloween festivities.

Folklore

The origins of All Souls' Day in European folklore and folk belief are related to customs of ancestor veneration[citation needed] practised worldwide, through events such as the Chinese Ghost Festival, the Japanese Bon Festival, or the Mexican Day of the Dead. The Roman custom was that of the Lemuria.
In Tirol, cakes are left for them on the table and the room kept warm for their comfort. In Brittany, people flock to the cemeteries at nightfall to kneel, bareheaded, at the graves of their loved ones, and to anoint the hollow of the tombstone with holy water or to pour libations of milk on it. At bedtime, the supper is left on the table for the souls.
In Bolivia, many people believe that the dead eat the food that is left out for them. In Brazil people attend a mass or visit the cemetery taking flowers to decorate their relatives' grave, but no food is involved.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saints' Day


All Saints' Day is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls' Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven.
Although millions, or even billions of people may already be saints, All Saints' Day observances tend to focus on known saints --that is those recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church.
All Saints' Day is also commemorated by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as some protestant churches, such as Anglican, Lutheran and Anglican churches.
Generally, All Saints' Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day, unless they have an excellent excuse, such as serious illness.
Other countries have different rules according to their national bishop's conferences. The bishops of each conference have the authority to amend the rules surrounding the obligation of the day.
All Saints' Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD. Boniface IV also established All Souls' Day, which follows All Saints.
The choice of the day may have been intended to co-opt the pagan holiday "Feast of the Lamures," a day which pagans used to placate the restless spirits of the dead.
The holy day was eventually established on November 1 by Pope Gregory III in the mid-eighth century as a day dedicated to the saints and their relics. The May 13 celebration was subsequently abandoned.
In Ireland, the Church celebrated All Saints' Day on April 20, to avoid associating the day with the traditional harvest festivals and pagan feasts associated with Samhain, celebrated at the same time.
Following the establishment of the Frankish Empire, and following the reign of Charlemagne, the holy day, which was already celebrated on November 1, became a holy day of obligation by decree of Pope Gregory IV and Louis the Pious, who was king over a portion of Charlemagne's former empire.
Following the Protestant Reformation, many Protestants retained the holy day, although they dismissed the need to pray for the dead. Instead, the day has been used to commemorate those who have recently died, usually in the past year, and to remember the examples of those who lived holy lives.
The Catholic practice however, celebrates all those who have entered heaven, including saints who are recognized by the Church and those who are not.
Holy day customs vary around the world. In the United States, the day before is Halloween and is usually celebrated by dressing in costumes with themes of death commonly associated. Children go door-to-door in costume, trick-or-treating, that is soliciting candy from their neighbors. The holiday has lost much of its connection to its religious origins.
Although nearly everyone celebrates Halloween for the fun of the secular holiday, the following religious solemnity, is not widely practiced or acknowledged by most Americans unless they are Catholic.
In other countries, such as Portugal, Spain and Mexico, traditional practices include performance of the play, "Don Juan Tenorio" and offerings made to the dead. All Saints' Say occurs on the same day as the Mexican "Dide los Innocentes" a day dedicated to deceased children.
Across much of Europe, the day is commemorated with offerings of flowers left on the graves of the dead. In Eastern Europe, candles are lit on graves instead of offerings of flowers.
In some places, such as the Philippines, graves can be painted and repaired by family members. Many of these practices blur the distinction between All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
These celebrations often blur the distinction between All Saints' Day, which is properly dedicated to those who are in heaven, and All Souls' Day, on which prayers are offered for all those who have died, but have not yet reached heaven.
In Mexico, the Day of the Dead holy days extend from October 31 through November 2.
It is important to remember these basic facts:
Halloween is a secular holiday that comes the night before All Saints' Day.
All Saints' Day is on November 1, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation.
All Souls' Day in on November 2, and it is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation.
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that has spread in popularity into parts of the United States and across Latin America. It is celebrated from October 31 through November 2, to coincide with both the American tradition and the Catholic holy days. Those three days are dedicated to all of the dead.to all of the dead.

More about All Saints' Day from Wikipedia

All Saints' Day (in the Roman Catholic Church officially the Solemnity of All Saints and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas[1]), often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honor of all the saints, known and unknown.
In Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls' Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Catholics celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven (the 'church penitent' and the 'church triumphant', respectively), and the 'church militant' who are the living. Other Christian traditions define, remember and respond to the saints in different ways.

In the East

Eastern Orthodox icon of All Saints. Christ is enthroned in heaven surrounded by the ranks of angels and saints. At the bottom is Paradise with the bosom of Abraham (left), and the Good Thief (right).
Eastern Christians of the Byzantine Tradition follow the earlier tradition of commemorating all saints collectively on the first Sunday after Pentecost, All Saints' Sunday.
The feast of All Saints achieved great prominence in the ninth century, in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor, Leo VI "the Wise" (886.911). His wife, Empress Theophano.commemorated on December 16.lived a devout life. After her death in 893,[2] her husband built a church, intending to dedicate it to her. When he was forbidden to do so, he decided to dedicate it to "All Saints," so that if his wife were in fact one of the righteous, she would also be honored whenever the feast was celebrated.[3] According to tradition, it was Leo who expanded the feast from a commemoration of All Martyrs to a general commemoration of All Saints, whether martyrs or not.
This Sunday marks the close of the Paschal season. To the normal Sunday services are added special scriptural readings and hymns to all the saints (known and unknown) from the Pentecostarion.
The Sunday following All Saints' Sunday.the second Sunday after Pentecost.is set aside as a commemoration of all locally venerated saints, such as "All Saints of America", "All Saints of Mount Athos", etc. The third Sunday after Pentecost may be observed for even more localized saints, such as "All Saints of St. Petersburg", or for saints of a particular type, such as "New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke."
In addition to the Sundays mentioned above, Saturdays throughout the year are days for general commemoration of all saints, and special hymns to all saints are chanted from the Octoechos.

In the West

The Western Christian holiday of All Saints' Day falls on November 1, followed by All Souls' Day on November 2, and is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.
The origin of the festival of All Saints celebrated in the West dates to May 13, 609 or 610, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. There is evidence that from the fifth through the seventh centuries there existed in certain places and at sporadic intervals a feast date 13 May to celebrate the holy martyrs.[4] The origin of All Saints' Day cannot be traced with certainty, and it has been observed on various days in different places. However, there are some who maintain the belief that it has origins in the pagan observation of 13 May, the Feast of the Lemures, in which the malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were propitiated. Liturgiologists base the idea that this Lemuria festival was the origin of that of All Saints on their identical dates and on the similar theme of "all the dead".[5]
The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731.741) of an oratory in St. Peter's for the relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", with the day moved to 1 November and the 13 May feast suppressed.[6]
This usually fell within a few weeks of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which had a theme similar to the Roman festival of Lemuria, but which was also a harvest festival. The Irish, having celebrated Samhain in the past, did not celebrate All Hallows Day on this November 1 date, as extant historical documents attest that the celebration in Ireland took place in the spring: "...the Felire of Oengus and the Martyrology of Tallaght prove that the early medieval churches [in Ireland] celebrated the feast of All Saints on April 20."[7]
A November festival of all the saints was already widely celebrated on November 1 in the days of Charlemagne. It was made a day of obligation throughout the Frankish empire in 835, by a decree of Louis the Pious, issued "at the instance of Pope Gregory IV and with the assent of all the bishops", which confirmed its celebration on November 1. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV (1471.1484).[8]
The festival was retained after the Reformation in the calendar of the Anglican Church and in many Lutheran churches. In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, it assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6. In many Lutheran Churches, it is moved to the first Sunday of November. It is also celebrated by other Protestants of the English tradition, such as the United Church of Canada, the Methodist churches, and the Wesleyan Church.[9]
Protestants generally regard all true Christian believers as saints and if they observe All Saints Day at all they use it to remember all Christians both past and present. In the United Methodist Church, All Saints' Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in November. It is held, not only to remember Saints, but also to remember all those that have died that were members of the local church congregation.[10] In some congregations, a candle is lit by the Acolyte as each person's name is called out by the clergy. Prayers and responsive readings may accompany the event. Often, the names of those who have died in the past year are afixed to a memorial plaque.
In many Lutheran churches, All Saints' Day and Reformation Day are observed concurrently on the Sunday before or after those dates, given Reformation Day is observed in Protestant Churches on October 31. Typically, Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress is Our God is sung during the service. Besides discussing Luther's role in the Protestant Reformation, some recognition of the prominent early leaders of the Reformed tradition, such as John Calvin and John Knox, occurs. The observance of Reformation Day may be immediately followed by a reading of those members of the local congregation who have died in the past year in observance of All Saints' Day. Otherwise, the recognition of deceased church members occurs at another designated portion of the service.

Roman Catholic Obligation

In the Roman Catholic Church, All Saints' Day is a Holy Day of Obligation in many (but not all) countries, meaning going to Mass on the date is required unless one has a good reason to be excused from that obligation, such as illness. However, in a number of countries that do list All Saints' Day as a Holy Day of Obligation, including England & Wales, the solemnity of All Saints' Day is transferred to the adjacent Sunday if 1 November falls on a Monday or a Saturday, while in the same circumstances in the United States the Solemnity is still celebrated on November 1 but the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated.

Customs

All Saints' Day at a cemetery in O.wi.cim, Poland, 1 November 1984
In Portugal, Spain, and Mexico, offerings (Portuguese: oferendas, Spanish: ofrendas) are made on this day. In Spain, the play Don Juan Tenorio is traditionally performed. In Mexico, All Saints Day coincides with the celebration of "DĂ­de los Inocentes" (Day of the Innocents), the first day of the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebration, honoring deceased children and infants. In Portugal, children celebrate the PĂŁpor-Deus tradition, and go door to door where they receive cakes, nuts and pomegranates. This only occurs in some areas around Lisbon.
In Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and American Cities such as New Orleans people take flowers to the graves of dead relatives.
In Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Croatia, Austria, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Catholic parts of Germany, the tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.
In the Philippines, this day, called "Undas", "Todos los Santos" (literally "All Saints"), and sometimes "Araw ng mga Patay" (approximately "Day of the dead") is observed as All Souls' Day. This day and the one before and one after it is spent visiting the graves of deceased relatives, where prayers and flowers are offered, candles are lit and the graves themselves are cleaned, repaired and repainted.
In English-speaking countries, the festival is traditionally celebrated with the hymn "For All the Saints" by William Walsham How. The most familiar tune for this hymn is Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Catholics generally celebrate with a day of rest consisting of avoiding physical exertion.