Friday, November 30, 2018

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.

An Explanation of the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

The opening words of this prayer—"Hail and blessed be the hour and moment"—may seem odd at first. But they reflect the Christian belief that moments in the life of Christ—His conception in the womb of the Blessed Virgin at the Annunciation; His birth in Bethlehem; His death on CalvaryHis ResurrectionHis Ascension—are not only special but, in an important sense, still present to the faithful today. The repetition of the first sentence of this prayer is designed to place us, mentally and spiritually, there in the stable at His birth, just as an icon of the Nativity or a Nativity scene is meant to do.
Having entered into His presence, in the second sentence we place our petition at the feet of the newborn Child.

Definitions of Words Used in the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

  • Hail: an exclamation, a greeting
  • Blessed: holy
  • Most pure: spotless, unstained; a reference to Mary's Immaculate Conception and her lifelong sinlessness
  • Vouchsafe: to grant something, especially to someone who doesn't deserve it on his own
  • Desires: something one wants strongly; in this case, not a physical or gluttonous desire, but a spiritual one
  • Merits: good deeds or virtuous actions that are pleasing in God's sight

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Miraculous Medal Feast Day - November 27th

Undecayed body of St Catherine Laboure who died 1876 and the chair in which Our Lady sat
The undecayed corpse of St Catherine Labore and the chair in which our Lady sat during one of the apparitions.


The design of the "Miraculous Medal" was shown by Our Lady during her apparition to a young French nun Sr Catherine Labore in the Rue du Bac, Paris in 1830. Mary showed Catherine this design of this new medal she wanted people to have and then she asked her to get them manufactured. Sr Catherine with the help of her Spiritual director got the medal produced and it was originally called the "Medal of the Immaculate Conception". Since there was a plague in France at the time and there was many cures through the medal the people of France just called it the "Miraculous Medal".

The Front of the medal

On the front of the medal we see Mary standing with her heel crushing the head of the serpent Satan who is on top of the world. Mary is showing us that she is the immaculate "New Eve" who was never conquered by satan to sin. During the apparition Catherine could see rays coming from Mary's hands down onto the world. These are the graces that Mary obtains for us from her Divine Son Jesus to help us conquer satan and his temptations for us to sin. Mary is the "Mediatrix of all Graces". Catherine saw gaps in the rays coming from Mary's hands and she asked Mary the reason for that and Mary told her that the missing rays were to symbolize the graces she could get for people but they do not ask her to get them. Around the border of the medal during the apparition Sr Catherine saw the prayer "Oh Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to you" which again shows that Mary is the sinless New Eve.

The Back of the medal

Around the border of the back of the medal we see 12 stars which symbolize the Church which Jesus founded on the 12 Apostles. We are all called to be apostles and to share our Faith with others. In the center of the medal we see a Cross on top of an Altar with a large M underneath. The "M" beneath the Cross symbolizes Mary our Mother who stood and suffered at the foot of the Cross at Calvary as her Divine Son suffered for our sins. This large "M" beneath the Cross may also symbolize the Catholic Mass because during the "Consecration" of the Mass we too are present at the foot of the Cross at Calvary. At the Consecration of the Mass the "Bread and Wine" are changed into the real "Body and Blood" of Jesus Christ at Calvary where He suffered and died for sinners on Good Friday. Underneath the large M there are two hearts Burning with Love for mankind. On the left is the Sacred and Divine Heart of Jesus which is on fire with so much Love for mankind that he died on the Cross for all of us. His Heart is crowned with thorns by our sins but also by the pain He suffers because so many of us do not really believe that He Loves us even though He suffered so much to prove that to us. The heart of Mary is also on fire with love for us because she became our Mother also when she became the Mother of Jesus. Her heart is pierced with the tremendous Sword of suffering and Sorrow of Calvary which was predicted to her by Saint Simeon when Jesus was presented as a child in the Temple. Mary also loves us so much because Jesus Loves us so much.

Conclusion

The Medal is a "Sacramental" which means that it is used by God to grant graces to His children and it should be blessed by a priest. Mary asked "people" (not just Catholics or Christians) to wear the medal around their neck and she would protect them from satan if they asked her for help. There are so many small and big miracles through the medal which remind us that it really is from Heaven. Sr Catherine was very humble and remained anonymous behind her Spiritual Director all her life. She died in 1876 and when the Church had examined her life and declared that she was truly a Saint it was discovered that her body had never decayed.

Novena Prayer to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

(Novena is said for nine days)

O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this novena, if they be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the souls for whom we pray.
(Here form your petition)
You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son Who hates iniquity. Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone so that our every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels and of men. Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (3 times).

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary



On November twenty-first the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast finds its origins as early as the second century according to apocryphal source, the Protoevangelium or the book of James. This feast was already commemorated in the East by the sixth century. Pope Gregory XI heard of this feast being kept in Greece in 1372 and introduced it at Avigon. In 1585 Pope Sixtus extended to the universal Church. This feast refers to Our Lady's presentation at the temple in Jerusalem as a small child. When she was only three years old, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. There she was taught, lived with other little girls and was cared for by pious women. The Blessed Virgin was happy to begin serving God in the Temple. Even as a little Child Mary's life was centered on God. She studied the Sacred Scriptures and awaited and hope for the coming of the Messiah. On this feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary let us ask Our Lady to help us to consecrate ourselves entirely to God.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a Child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbor." --St. Germanus, homily on the Presentation of the Mother of God