St. Stephen is the patron saint of deacons, altar servers, stonemasons and casket makers. Saint Stephen lived an exemplary life as one of the seven deacons appointed by the Apostles to perform charitable acts to the poor. As his feast day, December 26, draws near, let us look back to his life and legacy and look for lessons we can learn from it.
The Christmas story is referred to many times throughout the Bible. It captures the beautiful gift that God gave to humankind which is the gift of His only son, Jesus Christ. Christmas reminds us of how Jesus became human in order to save us but it is not just the account of his birth. The Christmas story also lets us see how Christ’s arrival transformed the lives of the people surrounding Him.
To many of us, Christmas Day and December have become irrevocably intertwined but did you know that during the first 300 years of Christianity, the birth of Jesus Christ wasn’t observed in December? In fact, sometimes Christmas Day wasn’t observed on a particular date at all.
As members of the Catholic Faith, we should all be excited for Christmas Day not because of the parties, delicious food and merrymaking but because of the spiritual meaning behind this holiday. This once-a-year occasion reminds us of Jesus Christ’s birth, an extraordinary event that shows us just how much God loves us. Many families gather together on Christmas day to celebrate and spend time with one another. Here are 5 ideas on how you and your family can make your get-together more meaningful.
There are many Catholic symbols that we can use in our everyday lives to remind us of our faith. Some choose to wear religious items for this purpose and one of the most popular example is the four and five way medal. These devotional medals are beautiful proclamations of our devotion to God.
The Holy Mother has appeared in visions to many blessed people around the world. Through these people she has given many important revelations, instructions and messages. One such person was Juan Diego, an ordinary man from Mexico who relayed the Holy Mother’s desire to have a church built in her honor on Tepayac Hill. The Marian apparition that Juan Diego witnessed has since been associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most well known titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Advent Season starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day or the Sunday that is closest to November 30 and it ends on Christmas Eve or December 24th. If Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, it is considered the fourth Sunday of Advent and the time after sundown is considered to be Christmas Eve. To prepare for the beautiful celebration of Advent, let’s look into its meaning and reflect its importance in our lives as Christians.
Saint Juan Diego is the patron saint of indigenous peoples. He is not just recognized as the first Roman Catholic indigenous saint from the Americas, he is well known for having seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary four times. We celebrate his feast day every year on December 9.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated every December 8. It is considered a holy day of obligation or patronal feast and some countries even declare it a public holiday. As this date draws near, let us look back to the meaning of this doctrine to better appreciate its significance in our Catholic Faith.
One of God’s greatest teachings is to love our neighbors just as we love ourselves. It is impossible to be capable of love without feeling mercy and compassion.
Both mercy and compassion refer to the concern we feel for people in need. But although they seem synonymous in the surface, and their usage is sometimes interchanged, they have significant differences.
Our Catholic creed captures the essence of our faith and the truths that are at the heart of Catholic Church teachings. The Catholic creed is as relevant today as it was in the formative years of the church. To better appreciate the importance of our Catholic creed we need to understand what it really is.
The Nicene Creed is another common Catholic creed. This profession of faith is part of Mass and is recited at the start of Liturgy of the Eucharist and after the reading of the gospel and homily.
The Nicene Creed emphasizes many of the fundamental tenets of our faith. Its core affirmations include its statement of belief in the immortality of the soul, resurrection and forgiveness of sins through the baptismal process.
The Apostle’s Creed is perhaps one of the most well-known Catholic creed and is a summary of the apostles’ faith. Sometimes called the Symbol of the Apostles, it is an early statement of Christian belief and has been used by Christians since the fourth century.
The Athanasian Creed is an early summary of Christian doctrine. The authorship is often attributed to Athanasius, the archbishop of Alexandria, who lived in the 4th century A.D., hence the name.
The role of the Catholic Church in society has existed for many centuries. The Catholic Church is more than an institution. Its influence and authority extends beyond borders, embracing everyone from all walks of life.
It is a home founded in love and faith – the everlasting love God promised his people and the unwavering faith they honour Him with for the rest of their days. When the times get tough, His people turn to him for guidance and there is no better place to find that than in the arms of the church.
We all look forward to having a delicious dinner with the family on Thanksgiving but there’s more to this occasion than just eating roast turkey and stuffing. Meaningful thanksgiving traditions help us remember the true essence of this wonderful holiday which is gratitude.
Families often have traditions that capture their faith in God and cultivate their love for one another. These include special gatherings on religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, and All Saints’ Day. Traditions, ideally, should focus on values and relationships rather than material things. Parents can use these traditions as teachable moments to highlight Catholic faith and values.
We will be celebrating the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary on November 17. In time for this occasion, let us look back to the story of this remarkable woman. The patron saint of hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, widows, dying children and homeless people lived a remarkable life filled with lessons that we can learn from.
Catholic evangelization is one of the main responsibilities of the church and it is as relevant today as it was in the formative years of the early Christian church. The Catholic Church is not just an evangelizer, she is a community made up of believers. As members of the Catholic Church, we all share the responsibility to spread the good news to others.
The Catholic Church teaches us to hold marriage as sacred. It is a gift from the hand of God, who created male and female in his image so that they may become one body. The vision of marriage for the Catholic Church is deeply rooted in the Scripture. In marriage, the love between a man and a woman is blessed by God, a union in faith and a response to God’s call to holiness. The couple becomes the symbol of God’s love on earth.
As Catholics, do we have any special considerations to keep in mind when naming our child? Are we required to name our child after a saint or can we name them with anything we want? What are the reasons why parents choose the name of saints as Catholic baby names?
As Christian parents how do we develop our child’s faith? We have a responsibility to train our children in the ways of God and one of the first steps is to cultivate their faith.
Faith is an important part of our spiritual journey here on earth so how do we share this with the younger generation?
Are you struggling in your spiritual life? Do you find yourself feeling indifferent toward your religious convictions? If so, you might be experiencing demonic oppression.
Demonic oppression may sound like the stuff that horror movies are made of but it is a very real concern for us Catholics.
A papal conclave is important to us members of the Catholic Faith on so many levels. To better understand the historical, cultural and personal significance of a papal conclave we need to know what this process is about.
The topic of Catholics and Halloween is a controversial one. Many people around the world celebrate Halloween with costume parties, scary decorations and trick-or-treating from one house to the next. Should Catholics participate in these traditions? Should we celebrate Halloween?
IVF is one of the many methods used to overcome infertility but this procedure has stirred up many moral and religious debates. What is IVF and what is the the views of the Catholic Church on it?
There are about 65.6 million refugees, asylum seekers and migrants around the world according to the UN Refugee Agency. Beyond this unprecedented figure are stories of people who have been forced away from the security of their own homes and have to find their way in strange, unfamiliar countries.
Salvation and redemption are at the core of our Catholic Faith. You have probably read about salvation in the bible or heard the word redemption during mass. Are these two concepts interchangeable? What are their key differences?
A pilgrimage is a journey that pilgrims make to a place that is considered holy. To us Catholics, a pilgrimage is more than just traveling to historic sites and viewing religious relics. It is a journey with a deeper and more spiritual meaning.
As Christians, we are expected to manifest the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives. These twelve fruits are different from the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. They are granted to us during our baptism and perfected through the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The seven gifts serve as virtues for us to follow while the twelve fruits are the actions that those virtues produce. We are expected to manifest these fruits in our lives as Christians.
Did you know Physician-assisted suicide is legal in five US states? Although it may seem like a viable option if we think about the painful effects of the patient’s degenerative disease, it is not reason enough to consider ending a life.
Some temptations are easier to overcome than others and we often hear people use the phrase, “I am only human and humans are bound to sin” in order to justify falling into temptation. But is this argument valid?
The Catholic Faith liturgy follows its own unique set of religious rituals and traditions which are part of the Catholic Mass Order. As a member of the Catholic Faith, you probably observed some of these practices which include sitting, standing and kneeling during mass. So why do we do these things and what do they signify?
As Catholics we have been taught about charity work through the gospels and various practices like outreaches. Thomas Aquinas esteems charity as “the most excellent of the virtues.” What does charity mean in the context of the Catholic Faith and why is charity work important to us as Catholics?
Some people put religion at the center of their family relationships and traditions while others do not put as much importance on it. Let’s look into the differences between religious and nonreligious families to better understand how religion affects their relationships.
Catholic cremation is a divisive topic within the Catholic Faith community because not many people understand the Church’s teachings on it. When a loved one passes away, it is up to surviving family members to make arrangements regarding what to do with the remains and cremation may come up as a possible option.
Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of Catholic cremation and what the Church says about it.