Author: Acacia St. Anthony

Advent Embertide: What Are The Ember Days?

In a previous article, I talked about Ember Days. To recap: these were quarterly times of penance and fasting that coincided with the seasons. Once a season, on a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, the Church took the time to thank God for the bounty of nature. It was also customary to confer the priesthood and diaconate on Ember Saturdays. We are privileged to have Ember Days that fall in Advent. They are on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after St. Lucy’s Feast Day, which is December 13. That means, this year (2017), our Ember Days fall on December 20,...

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The Origins of the Advent Wreath and Jesse Tree

Advent has arrived! Like Lent, Advent is meant to be a time of preparation prior to Christmas. It is a time of penance. Unlike Lent, Advent does not have obligatory dietary and fasting rules and neither is there a custom of giving something up. In addition, many celebrate Christmas more or less through decorations, music, and parties weeks before the actual day, which obscures further the penitential nature of the Advent season. There are several ways of observing Advent. Two of those ways is by counting it down using an Advent wreath and displaying a physical reminder of the...

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A Precious Gift: The Holy Eucharist

The Catholic Church’s teaching on the Eucharist is one of its defining doctrines. It is its most precious treasure because it is Jesus among us. St. Maximillian Kolbe, who was martyred at Auschwitz, once said, “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” A study in 2013 claims 63 percent of American Catholics believe in Transubstantiation (the bread and wine because Christ’s Body and Blood) and in the Real Presence (that Jesus remains present in the Eucharist). Unfortunately, most of those Catholics, around 50 percent, are unaware that the Church teaches...

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All Hallow’s Eve: Halloween Isn’t What You Think

It’s that time of the year again! Children dress up as superheroes and villains, as ghosts and ghouls. Network television begins showing horror movies and managers deck their stores in cobwebs and pumpkins. Halloween is also when pagans complain that their holiday, Samhain, was stolen away by the evil Christians. History, however, tells a different story. The Meaning of Halloween Every culture, not only the Celtic one that created Samhain, has a holiday that remembered the deceased. For example, Koreans have a three-day harvest festival called “Chuseok”, during which they remember their ancestors. The Chinese celebrate the Hungry Ghost...

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Genuine Femininity: The Rosary and The Churching of Women in the Church Post Vatican II

To read part two of this series, click here. In the first two parts of this series, we looked at a few practices and a sacramental that went to the wayside after Vatican II. In this final part, we’ll talk about the public recitation of the Rosary and a ceremony known as “the churching of women”. The Most Holy Rosary This is something that, happily, is changing but the fact that it needed to is disconcerting in itself. Before beginning this series, I polled some traditionalist Catholics. To my surprise, more than one commented on public recitation of the...

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