Friday, 23 November 2012

New Pledge of Allegiance

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Litany of The Blessed Virgin Mary
Litany of Loreto
The litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
was approved by Pope Sixtus V in 1587

It is also know as the LITANY OF LORETO, for its first-known place of origin, the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, Italy 
where its usage was recorded as early as 1558.

Later advocations were added as follows:

Queen of the Most Holy Trinity (1675)
Queen Conceived without Origianal Sin (1883)
Mother of Good Counsel (1903)
Queen of Peace (1917)
Queen Assumed into Heaven (1950)
Mother of the Church (1980)
Queen of Families (1995)


Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God.
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.*
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,   Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,

Queen of angels,
Queen of partiarchs,
Queen of prophets,
Queen of apostles,
Queen of martyrs,
Queen of confessors,
Queen of virgins,
Queen of all saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace,
Lamb of God, You take away
sins of the world; spare
us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away
the sins of the world; graciously
hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Your take away
the sins of the world; have mercy
on us.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.
* Pray for us is repeated
after each invocation.

Let us pray.
Grant, we beg you, O Lord God,
that we your servants
may enjoy lasting health of mind and body,
and by the glorious intercession
of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
be delivered from present sorrow
and enter into the joy of eternal happiness.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Special Prayer During Advent


Let us pray.
O God,
you willed that, at the message of an angel,
your word should take flesh
in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
grant to your suppliant people,
that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God,
may be helped by her intercession with you.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

From Christmas to the Purification


Let us pray.
O God,
by the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary,
you bestowed upon the human race
the rewards of eternal salvation;
grant, we beg you,
that we may feel the power of her intercession,
through whom we have been made worthy
to receive the Author of life,
our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.
R. Amen.

During Paschaltime

Let us pray.
O god, who by the Resurrection of your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
granted joy to the whole world,
grant, we beg you,
that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother,
we may attain the joys of eternal life.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Advent -- Prepare for the Lord

Advent Wreath with 3 purple candles and one rose colored...the White is Christmas Day

Advent Preparing for Christ's Birth 

and His Second Coming

In the Catholic Church, Advent is a period of preparation, extending over four Sundays, before Christmas. (For more details, see "When Does Advent Start?") The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, "to come to," and refers to the coming of Christ. This refers, first of all, to our celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, to His Second Coming at the end of time.

Our preparations, therefore, should have all three comings in mind. We need to prepare our souls to receive Christ worthily.

 When Does Advent Start?

For 2012 it begins December 2, 2012 and ends December 23, 2012.

Advent is called a "little Lent," because, like Lent, it is a time of repentance. While fasting during Advent used to be universal, most Western Christians today treat Advent as an early part of the Christmas season. Eastern Rite Catholics (and the Eastern Orthodox), however, continue to celebrate Advent with the Philip's Fast, named after the Apostle Philip. The fast doesn't really have anything to do with the Apostle Philip, other than the fact that it starts on November 15, the day after his feast in the Eastern calendar. It runs through Christmas Eve, December 24.

Celebrate Advent . . . With a Fast!
By Scott P. Richert, Guide November 15, 2012

Like most fasts in the Eastern Church, Philip's Fast is fairly strict and includes abstinence from meat, eggs, and dairy products on all weekdays, and fish, oil, and wine on most days. (Different Eastern Churches observe the fast more or less strictly; because extreme fasting can affect your health, you should never increase the strictness of a fast beyond what the Church prescribes without consulting with your priest.)

While Roman Rite Catholics are no longer bound to fast during Advent, reviving the tradition of repentance during Advent can help us better appreciate our Christmas celebration. Pope John Paul II called on Western Catholics to learn more about the traditions of our Eastern Rite brethren; joining them, even if for only one day a week, in celebrating Philip's Fast is a very good way to do so.

When Does the Christmas Season Start?

Christmas Day is the first day of the Christmas Season. The period of feasting continues until Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas, and the Christmas season proper continues until the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas)--February 2--a full 40 days after Christmas!

What most people think of as "the Christmas season," the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, roughly corresponds to Advent, the period of preparation for the Christmas feast. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. It's meant to be a time of preparation--of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and repentance. In the early centuries of the Church, it was observed by a 40-day fast, just like Lent, which was followed by the 40 days of feasting in the Christmas season.

The Symbols of Advent

In its symbolism, the Church continues to stress the penitential and preparatory nature of Advent.   As during Lent, priests wear purple vestments, and the Gloria ("Glory to God") is omitted during Mass.   The only exception is on the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, when priests can wear rose-colored vestments. As on Laetare Sunday during Lent, this exception is designed to encourage us to continue our prayer and fasting, because we can see that Advent is more than halfway over.

Why Do Priests Wear 
Purple During Advent?

All of these things are signs of the penitential nature of Advent and a reminder that the Christmas season hasn't started yet. I've mentioned before that Advent was once known as a "little Lent," and so the penitential color of purple makes an appearance, the organ is muted, and the Gloria--one of the most festive hymns of the Mass--isn't sung. Our thoughts, even on Sunday, are supposed to be on preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ, both at Christmas and at the Second Coming.

Just as during Lent, however, the Church allows us some rest as we pass the halfway point of Advent. The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday, because "Gaudete" ("Rejoice") is the first word of the entrance antiphon at that Mass. On that Sunday, your priest will likely wear rose vestments--a color that still reminds us of the penitential purple, but also has a lightness and joy to it, reminding us that Christmas is drawing near.

What Is Gaudete Sunday?  

The Third Sunday of Advent

The Introit for Gaudete Sunday, in both the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo, is taken from Philippians 4:4,5: "Gaudete in Domino semper" ("Rejoice in the Lord always").

Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season, so the priest normally wears purple vestments.  But on Gaudete Sunday, having passed the midpoint of Advent, the Church lightens the mood a little, and the priest may wear rose vestments. 

The change in color provides us with encouragement to continue our spiritual preparation—especially prayer and fasting—for Christmas.
For this same reason, the third candle of the Advent wreath, first lit on Gaudete Sunday, is traditionally rose-colored.

The Advent Wreath

Perhaps the best-known of all Advent symbols is the Advent wreath, a custom which originated among German Lutherans but was soon adopted by Catholics. Consisting of four candles (three purple and one pink) arranged in a circle with evergreen boughs (and often a fifth, white candle in the center), the Advent wreath corresponds to the four Sundays of Advent. The purple candles represent the penitential nature of the season, while the pink candle calls to mind the respite of Gaudete Sunday. (The white candle, when used, represents Christmas.)


The History of the Advent Wreath

A typical German Adventskranz, or Advent wreath.

 The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

By the Middle Ages,  
the Christians adapted this tradition and 
used Advent wreathes as part 
of their spiritual preparation for Christmas.   

After all, 

Christ is
 “the Light that came into the world” 
to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God 
(cf. John 3:19-21). 

By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more 
formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. 
The wreath is made of various evergreens, 
signifying continuous life. 

Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning 
which can be adapted to our faith: 

The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; 

pine, holly, and yew, immortality; 

and cedar, strength and healing. 

Holly also has a special 
Christian symbolism: 
The prickly leaves remind us 
of the crown of thorns, 
and one English legend tells 
of how the cross was made of holly. 

The circle of the wreath, 
which has no beginning or end, 
symbolizes the eternity of God, 
the immortality of the soul, 
and the everlasting life found in Christ. 


Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used 
to decorate the wreath 
also symbolize life and resurrection. 

All together, 
the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality 
of our soul and the new, everlasting life 

promised to us through Christ, 
the eternal Word of the Father, 

who entered our world 
becoming true man and who 
was victorious over sin and death 
through His own passion, death, and resurrection.

The four candles represent 
the four weeks of Advent.  

A tradition is that each week represents 
one thousand years, 
to sum to the 4,000 years
 from Adam and Eve 
until the Birth of the Savior.  

Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.

The light again signifies Christ, 
the Light of the world. 

Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout Christmas season.

By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas.

In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. 

A traditional prayer service using the Advent wreath proceeds as follows: 

On the First Sunday of Advent, 
the father of the family blesses the wreath, praying: 
O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, 
pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, 
and grant that we who use it may prepare
 our hearts for the coming of Christ and 
        may receive from Thee      
              abundant graces. 
Who livest and reignest forever. 

He then continues for each of the days of the first week of Advent, 

O Lord, stir up Thy might, 
we beg thee, 
and come, that by 
Thy protection 
we may deserve 
to be rescued from 
the threatening dangers 
of our sins 
and saved by Thy deliverance. 
Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.”  

The youngest child then lights 
one purple candle.

During the second week of Advent,
the father prays: 

O Lord, stir up our hearts 
that we may prepare for 
Thy only begotten Son, 
that through His coming 
we may be made worthy to serve 
Thee with pure minds. 
Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” 

The oldest child then lights 
the purple candle 
from the first week plus 
one more purple candle.

During the third week of Advent,
 the father prays: 

O Lord, we beg Thee, 
incline Thy ear to our prayers 
and enlighten the darkness 
of our minds by the grace 
of Thy visitation. 
Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.”

 The mother then lights the two previously lit purple 
candles plus the rose candle.

Finally, the father prays during the fourth week of Advent

The father then lights all of the candles of the wreath.
O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee, and come; 
and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy grace, 
Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. 
      Who livest and   
    reignest forever. 

Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, 
the wreath and its prayers provide us a way 
to augment this special preparation for Christmas.    
Moreover, this good tradition helps us 
to remain vigilant in our homes and 
not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

Celebrating Advent

 We can better enjoy Christmas—all 12 days of it, from Christmas Day to Epiphany—if we revive Advent as a period of preparation. Abstaining from meat on Fridays, or not eating at all between meals, is a good way to revive the Advent fast. (Not eating Christmas cookies or listening to Christmas music before Christmas is another.) We can incorporate such customs as the Advent wreath, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena, and the Jesse Tree into our daily ritual, and we can set some time aside for special scripture readings for Advent, which remind us of the threefold coming of Christ.

Holding off on putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations is another way to remind ourselves that the feast is not here yet. Traditionally, such decorations were put up on Christmas Eve, but they would not be taken down until after Epiphany, in order to celebrate the Christmas season to its fullest.