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7 Quick Takes Faith Formation Feast Days Holy Days of Obligation Ink Slingers Kerri Saints

7 Quick Takes Friday, no. 20: All Saints Facts and Trivia

7_quick_takes_smFor today’s 7 Quick Takes fun and in honor of the feast day we celebrate, I thought I’d bring you a little history and a bit of trivia all about today.

–1–

The feast day we celebrate today, All Saints’ Day, can trace its origins back to the 7th century when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to Our Blessed Mother and all the martyrs. This has been celebrated in Rome ever since on the 13th of May.  This date, May 13th, is the original commemoration of all the martyrs of the Church.

–2–

In the 9th century, the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI dedicated a church to “All Saints.” He had originally wished to dedicate it to his wife who had recently passed away and had led a devout life, but was forbidden to do so. In this way, if she was in Heaven, she would be remembered with all the saints whenever the feast was honored.

–3–

Eastern churches celebrate the Feast of All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost and is known as All Saints’ Sunday.

–4–

The Communion of Saints
The Communion of Saints

All Saints’ Day on November 1 as celebrated today was moved to this date by Pope Gregory III (731-741) after he consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter to all the saints. He fixed the anniversary for this consecration on November 1. Pope Gregory IV (827-844) expanded this anniversary to the entire Church.

–5–

All Saints’ Day is considered a national holiday in several countries, usually those with a strong Catholic heritage. It is also a Holy Day of Obligation in many countries, including the United States (so get thee to Church today!).

–6–

Customs vary throughout the world. In many places people visit the graves of loved ones and light candles, clean the graves, leave flowers, and clean and repair the graves. One of the most interesting customs I found was in areas around Lisbon, Portugal where children go out in the morning asking for “Bread for God.” This custom commemorates the earthquake that destroyed the city on November 1, 1755. Children collect bread, cakes, dried fruit, pomegranates, and nuts.

–7–

Another interesting piece of trivia, the NFL team the New Orleans Saints takes it’s name from All Saints Day, due in part to the large Catholic population of New Orleans.

 References:

“All Saints’ Day” at Catholic.org

“Halloween and All Saints Day” at Catholic Culture

“All Saints’ Day” at the Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent

“The Catholic Origins of Halloween” at uCatholic (although it is an article about Halloween, it also describes a bit of the history of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day; a very interesting read)

Pão-por-Deus” no Dia de Todos os Santos (All Saints’ Day) a blog post about a woman’s first experience of the central Portugal tradition of children asking for cakes and bread on November 1.

“New Orleans Saints” from Wikipedia

For more Quick Takes, head on over to Jen’s place where you will be treated to many 7 Quick Takes posts on this first day in November. Happy All Saints’ Day!

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Faith Formation Holy Days of Obligation Ink Slingers Martina

Get Thee to Mass Tomorrow! All Saints’ Is A Holy Day of Obligation

::This post was first featured on October 31, 2011::

A recent discussion in our group uncovered that one member’s church had advertised All Saint’s Day not as a Holy Day of Obligation, but rather some vague description called a “holy day of opportunity.” I just had to take the opportunity to 1) clarify what the Church teaches on Holy Days of Obligations and 2) if your church has done something similar, I want you to understand that this is not correct and you are entitled to the Truth of what our Faith teaches instead of vague descriptions that cause confusion and even mortal sins if you do not attend Mass due to the ambiguity.

The Church calls our basic obligations to the Faith, meaning the absolute bare minimum one can do to participate in their Faith, precepts. They can be found in the Catechism #2041-2043 and they outline five points. They are:

  • You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor. We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. This requires attending Mass, “and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.”
  • You shall confess your sins at least once a year. We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.”
  • You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season. This “guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.”
  • You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church. “The fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.” See below for more about fasting & abstinence.
  • You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church. “The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.”
As this constitutes the bare minimum, how can we view this with respect to how we are doing on a daily basis? Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. St. Paul says
24* Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win.p25Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.q26Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.27No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
St. Paul knows well that the people in Corinth are very familiar with the ways of the world, particularly sports. We would reason, logically, that if we wanted to do well, or even excel in sports, we would have to commit to do what it takes to get the results we want. St. Paul points out that the reward for excelling is a perishable crown. These days we can win trophies and medals, plaques and accolades to mark our accomplishments – things that ultimately have no bearing on our salvation. Is this the legacy we want? To go the distance for the things that ultimately have no value in the next life? Or is St. Paul encouraging us to approach the Faith with the same zeal an athlete would? The answer is YES!
Think of these precepts as the bare minimum you can do to “get in the game” or bottom rung participation of the Faith. Is that truly what we want? Is that what God wants us to go for? The bottom rung? How often do you feed yourself? Would you expect to be malnourished if you fed yourself at minimum? How about feeding your faith? The same goes in that respect, too.
So…all this to say, get thee to Mass tomorrow. If you haven’t made time to attend Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation {HDO}, then tomorrow’s a good day to start!
God bless!
Categories
Andrea Doctrine Faith Formation Feast Days Holy Days of Obligation Ink Slingers Saints

Why We Love All These Saints

STOP! We know today is a Holy Day of Obligation, yes? Do not pass go, do not collect $200, get thee to Mass! Okay, moving on.

Happy happy All Saints, from all of us to you! We hope that you become a saint so you can party, too! (Who else did you think would be writing today?)

I am thrilled to be writing on this day because, as you know, I love me some Communion of Saints. So, I am ecstatic to give a synopsis of the life of every saint the Church recognizes! I hope you have a few hours to spare! Haha! I kid.

At first blush, All Saints Day may seem like a pretty random day to pick as a Holy Day of Obligation (hereafter HDO). Almost like they were trying to meet a quota of HDOs for the year and this happened: “Okay guys, it’s either All Saints or Michaelmas. Heads: Michaelmas, tails: All Saints.”

It is, in fact, a most appropriate HDO, and not at all random.

For one, in the Apostle’s Creed, we confess: “… I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.”

So important is this belief that it is professed immediately after our belief in the holy catholic Church and immediately before our belief in the forgiveness of sins. Appropriately so! Our belief in the holy catholic Church includes the Church Triumphant. And, the very fact that there is a Church Triumphant means that there is forgiveness of sins, and it works.

The Communion of Saints is so important because it is the full expression of our hope. In other words- there are saints in Heaven, they are connected to us because we are part of the same Church- the Body of Christ- that they are (though we are in the Church Militant), and they have obtained life everlasting through Jesus Christ, our Lord- and so can we.

When we celebrate All Saints, what we’re really celebrating is the hope of Calvary that has reached its fruition, a hope that we, too, “run the race with endurance” to realize ourselves. What we’re saying every November 1st isn’t, “Remember those cool dead people?” but, “Hallelujah! These cool people are alive!”

It’s why the early Church, though persecuted, could joyfully worship in catacombs. It’s why the catacombs are filled with pictures and names of saints. It’s why the stories of martyrs were preserved for future generations. It’s why we have relics.

We don’t believe in cubicle Catholics. We’re not isolated, all by our lonesome. We know that as the Body of Christ, we suffer with each other and, especially today, rejoice with those who rejoice. We look to Heaven and rejoice with the saints who completed their race well and enjoy the beatific vision of God because we are commanded to love one another, and because we know better than anyone that the grace of God is not without effect- the Church Triumphant being, as I’ve said, Exhibit A.

Like all Catholic doctrines that seem peculiar from the outside looking in (until you understand it), we celebrate the saints because we’re wild about Jesus. He died so we could have life, and the saints in Heaven have that in abundance! We know He loves us and His Church, so we love them, too.

The saints were a powerful tool in my own conversion. Before I decided to take the plunge, as I was becoming more convinced- I was totally dragging my feet. I was miserable, whining at God that I did not want to be Catholic. I did not want it in a train. I did not want it in a plane. Not in a boat or in a tree, I did not want to convert, you see.

So, I started to pull a Gideon, and put out various fleeces for God. A sign! I needed a sign, because I felt like I was going crazy. Who becomes Catholic, after all? (This guy.) One such fleece came in the form of the Saint Name Generator, run by Jen from Conversion Diary. It instructs you to pray while your saint is being chosen, and so I did:

“God, if you really want me to be Catholic, then spell it out for me. If it’s okay for me to pray to saints, then give me one in this generator that You want me to have.” And I waited. And then, my saint popped up! St. Mary Magdalen, patron of: Converts. I almost fell off of my couch.

(Lest you think this was mere coincidence, it was not the only fleece that God in His mercy deigned to give me. One night as I lay in bed, I told Him matter-of-factly, “You know, I am not the spiritual head of my household. My husband is supposed to be. I can’t go gallavanting off to be Catholic and drag him and my son with me. So, You’re gonna have to let him know if this is what you want.” I went to sleep thinking, “Problem solved!” Hehe, painted You into a corner now, God! Literally, the next day my husband was walking by me and out of the blue he turned to me and said, “I think we should be Catholic.” and kept right on a-walkin’ as I stood there frozen in pure shock. Game, set, match. God: eleventy billion. Andrea: zero.)

Things got even more hilarious when I started to actually try to pray to saints. If you’ve always been Catholic, you probably won’t appreciate this, but it was literally painful. I was just waiting for the lightning strikes to rain down from heaven. Throwing out a “Pray for us!” didn’t seem so bad, because I figured that was pretty obvious- if they couldn’t hear me, then no harm, no foul. But actually praying personal petitions, especially to the Blessed Mother, took me awhile because I always started my prayers with a long, rambling preamble:

“Ok, Jesus. I’m going to talk to your Mom now. If this isn’t kosher, then please just totally ignore what I’m about to throw out there, and please, mericiful God, forgive me. Also! Please don’t in any way, shape, or form answer my prayer if this is wrong. That will only confuse me because I’ll take it as confirmation that Your Mom was, in fact, praying for me. So, I’m gonna go ahead and start now, just so You know…”

I just imagine Jesus sitting at His heavenly desk, leaning on His elbows and rubbing His temples while Mary peeks her head in the door saying, “Is she ready for me yet or is she still talking?”  “She’s still talking. We gave her St. Mary in the Saint Name Generator, what more does she want?!”

Clearly, I finally got the message.

So, who are your favorite saints and why?

 

St. Mary Magdalen, pray for us!

St. Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us!

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, pray for us!

All the angels and the saints, pray for us!

 

This topic is so big, and so near to my heart that there is much I’d love to say, but time and space constrain me. So! If you’re looking for a little catechesis on the Communion of Saints (particularly of apologetic value), then please feel free to visit a previous post I wrote outlining Scriptural support for this doctrine. Catholic Answers is another invaluable resource to Scriptural support for this doctrine, as well as fleshing it out in the early Church. 

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Faith Formation Holy Days of Obligation Ink Slingers Martina

Get thee to Mass tomorrow! All Saint’s is a Holy Day of Obligation…

A recent discussion in our group uncovered that one member’s church had advertised All Saint’s Day not as a Holy Day of Obligation, but rather some vague description called a “holy day of opportunity.” I just had to take the opportunity to 1) clarify what the Church teaches on Holy Days of Obligations and 2) if your church has done something similar, I want you to understand that this is not correct and you are entitled to the Truth of what our Faith teaches instead of vague descriptions that cause confusion and even mortal sins if you do not attend Mass due to the ambiguity.

The Church calls our basic obligations to the Faith, meaning the absolute bare minimum one can do to participate in their Faith, precepts. They can be found in the Catechism #2041-2043 and they outline five points. They are:

  • You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor. We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. This requires attending Mass, “and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.”
  • You shall confess your sins at least once a year. We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.”
  • You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season. This “guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.”
  • You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church. “The fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.” See below for more about fasting & abstinence.
  • You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church. “The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.”
As this constitutes the bare minimum, how can we view this with respect to how we are doing on a daily basis? Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. St. Paul says
24* Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win.p25Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.q26Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.27No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
St. Paul knows well that the people in Corinth are very familiar with the ways of the world, particularly sports. We would reason, logically, that if we wanted to do well, or even excel in sports, we would have to commit to do what it takes to get the results we want. St. Paul points out that the reward for excelling is a perishable crown. These days we can win trophies and medals, plaques and accolades today to mark our accomplishments – things that ultimately have no bearing on our salvation. Is this the legacy we want? To go the distance for the things that ultimately have no value in the next life? Or is St. Paul encouraging us to approach the Faith with the same zeal an athlete would? The answer is YES!
Think of these precepts as the bare minimum you can do to “get in the game” or bottom rung participation of the Faith. Is that truly what we want? Is that what God wants us to go for? The bottom rung? How often do you feed yourself? Would you expect to be malnourished if you fed yourself at minimum? How about feeding your faith? The same goes in that respect, too.
So…all this to say, get to Mass tomorrow. If you haven’t made time to attend Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation {HDO}, then tomorrow’s a good day to start!
God bless!