The Christmas Season continues! Choose a couple (or more!) feasts to celebrate in your home this week. Here’s what we have on our calendar:
January 2nd: Celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany
The word Epiphany means “manifestation” or “showing forth.” Historically, several moments in Christ’s early life and ministry have been celebrated as “epiphanies,” including his birth in Bethlehem, the visit of the Magi, his baptism by John, and his first miracle at Cana.
- Attend Mass.
- Read and discuss the Gospel for this Sunday.
- Read about the Magi’s visit to Jesus.
- A popular Epiphany tradition in many cultures, King Cake is a sweet cake in which a small figure of a baby is hidden. Searching for the baby in the cake imitates the Magi’s search for the baby Jesus. Make one for your Sunday celebration, either a simple one using canned cinnamon rolls like this one on Catholic Icing or a more traditional one like this one on Catholic Cuisine.
- An Epiphany tradition is to use chalk blessed at the Masses for Epiphany to bless one’s home in the New Year. Even if blessed chalk isn’t available, you can still celebrate this ritual. Use chalk to write the following above the front door of your home: 20+C+M+B+XX (XX=the last two numbers of the current year). The numbers represent the current year; the letters represent the three Magi–Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar–and the prayer Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which is Latin for “May Christ bless this house.” Then pray The Blessing of Home and Household on Epiphany.
- Read the Gospel account of the Magi’s visit.
- Sing We Three Kings!
- Go star-gazing. The magi followed a star to find Jesus. Download a free star-gazing app that can help you identify stars and constellations.
January 2: Celebrate the Feast of Saints Basil and Gregory
(Because it’s a Sunday and it’s Epiphany, this memorial is technically suppressed, but you can still observe it in your home, especially if your family has a special devotion to these saints.)
Saints Basil and Gregory were friends and Bishops of the Church.
January 3: Celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
What did a name signify originally? The name should express the nature of a thing… to St. Joseph the angel <Gabriel> not merely revealed the name but explained its meaning: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” The Messiah should not only be the savior, but should be called Savior. With Jesus, therefore, the name actually tells the purpose of His existence. This is why we must esteem His name as sacred. (The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch)
The whole month of January is actually dedicated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus!
- Eat alphabet soup! See if you can spell Jesus’ name (or names like Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Christ, etc.), as well as your family members’ names.
- Names are important! Talk about how each person in the family’s name was chosen. If you don’t know the story, it’s a great time to visit with parents and grandparents and find out.
January 4: Celebrate the Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was the founder of the first U.S. Catholic parish school and the first person born in the United States to be declared a saint.
- Read about St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
- Or, watch this short video about her.
- Make some colonial brown bread to enjoy with supper.
- Or because St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was from New York, eat some classic New York foods like pizza, cheesecake, and black and white cookies.
- Pray for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s intercession.
January 5: Celebrate the Feast of St. John Neumann
St. John Neumann left his homeland to dedicate himself to ministering to European immigrants in America. He is credited with setting up the first system of diocesan parochial schools in the United States.
- Read about St. John Neumann.
- Make kolaches, a fruit-filled pastry common to the region where St. John Neumann was born.
- Pray for St. John Neumann’s intercession.
January 6: Celebrate St. André Besette
St. André was a Canadian brother in the Congregation of the Holy Cross who performed humble tasks for over forty years and entrusted all of those who flocked to his cell to the care of St. Joseph, to whom he had a life-long devotion.
- Eat Canadian food for supper. Have you ever tried poutine? It sounds a little different to many Americans but is pretty simple and very hearty and delicious.
- Pray this Prayer to St. Joseph for Protection, to follow in St. André Besette’s example for us.
January 7: Celebrate St. Raymond Penafort
St. Raymond Penafort was a Superior-General of the Domincan Order from Barcelona, Spain. His writings are invaluable in the Church canon. He worked diligently in freeing slaves, as well.
- St. Raymond worked to educate others in the understanding of the Sacrament of Penance. Make sure your family knows the Act of Contrition and if you haven’t been to Reconciliation lately, there’s no time like the present!
- Eating Spanish food for supper would be appropriate today. Or, these taco boats are a great illustration to accompany the story of St. Raymond “sailing” on his cloak across the Baltic Sea after he was thrown overboard.