May: the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary

05-01-2018Monthly Reflection

The month of May is the "month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady," and it is the occasion for a "moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world [pay] to the Queen of Heaven. During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God's mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance" (Paul VI: Encyclical on the Month of May, no. 1).

This Christian custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century. In this way, the Church was able to Christianize the secular feasts which were wont to take place at that time. In the 16th century, books appeared and fostered this devotion.

The practice became especially popular among the members of the Jesuit Order — by 1700 it took hold among their students at the Roman College and a bit later it was publicly practiced in the Gesu Church in Rome. From there it spread to the whole Church.

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April: the month dedicated to the Holy Spirit

04-01-2018Monthly Reflection

The month of April is dedicated to the Holy Spirit. To believe in the Holy Spirit is to profess that the Holy Spirit is one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, consubstantial with the Father and the Son: "with the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified." (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

The Holy Spirit is the Person of Love in the life of God. He is also like a breath, an aspiration of infinite Love, from which we draw the breath of life.

On the day of Pentecost the Divine Spirit communicated such an abundance of life to the whole Church that to symbolize it "there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they (the Apostles) were sitting."

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March: the month dedicated to St. Joseph

03-01-2018Monthly Reflection

We don't know much about him except what is mentioned in the Gospels. Joseph was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus. Holy Scripture proclaims him as a "just man," and the Church has turned to Joseph for his patronage and protection. Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Quamquam Pluries (On the Devotion to St. Joseph) in 1889 explains why we place so much trust in this saint:

"Thus in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life's companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honor, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity. And Joseph shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men. Hence it came about that the Word of God was humbly subject to Joseph, that He obeyed him, and that He rendered to him all those offices that children are bound to render to their parents. From this two-fold dignity flowed the obligation which nature lays upon the head of families, so that Joseph became the guardian, the administrator, and the legal defender of the divine house whose chief he was. And during the whole course of his life he fulfilled those charges and those duties. ...It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ."

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February: the month dedicated to the Holy Family

02-01-2018Monthly Reflection

This year the first thirteen days of February fall during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. The remaining days of February are the beginning of Lent. The liturgical color changes to purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of February 2018

That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)

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January: the month dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus

01-01-2018Monthly Reflection

The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3. The first eight days of January fall during the liturgical season known as Christmas which is represented by the liturgical color white. The remaining days of January are the beginning of Ordinary Time. The liturgical color changes to green — a symbol of the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of January 2018

Religious Minorities in Asia: That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practice their faith in full freedom. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)

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December: The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

12-01-2017Monthly Reflection

The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on December 8. The first 2 days of December fall during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time and are represented by the liturgical color green. The next 22 days fall during the liturgical season of Advent and are represented by the liturgical color purple. The remaining days of December mark the beginning of the Christmas season. The liturgical color changes to white or gold — a symbol of joy, purity and innocence.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of December 2017

The Elderly: That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations. (See also www.apostleshipofprayer.net)

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November: Month of the Souls in Purgatory

11-01-2017Monthly Reflection

Prayer of the Month

Prayer for the Dying

O most merciful Jesus, Lover of souls, I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thine Immaculate Mother, cleanse in Thine Own Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony and who are to die this day. Amen.

God, Lord of mercies, grant to the souls of Your servants and handmaids, the place of refreshment, the bliss of eternal rest and the splendor of Your light. 

  • November 2
  • Out of the depths I cry
  • to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!

The month of November is dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory, whose feast is celebrated on November 2. The entire month of November falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time and is represented by the liturgical color green.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of November 2017

Christians in Asia: That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions. (See also www.popesprayerusa.net/)

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October: the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary

10-01-2017Monthly Reflection

The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7. October falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of October 2017

Universal: Workers and the Unemployed, that all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good. (See www.popesprayerusa.net)

Feasts for October

September: Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

09-01-2017Monthly Reflection

The month of September (Overview - Calendar) is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Devotion to the sorrows of the Virgin Mary dates from the twelfth century, when it made its appearance in monastic circles under the influence of St. Anselm and St. Bernard. The Cistercians and then the Servites undertook to propagate it. It became widespread in the fourteenth and especially the fifteenth centuries, particularly in the Rhineland and Flanders, where Confraternities of the Sorrowful Mother sprang up. It was in this context that the first liturgical formularies in her honor were composed. A provincial council of Mainz in 1423 made use of these in establishing a "Feast of the Sorrows of Mary" in reparation for Hussite profanations of her images.

In 1494 the feast appeared in Bruges, where the Precious Blood of Christ was venerated; later on it made its way into France. It did not, however, become widespread in France before Benedict XIII included it in the Roman Calendar in 1727 and assigned it to the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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August: the month dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

08-01-2017Monthly Reflection

“My heart hath rejoiced in God my Savior, because He that is mighty hath done great things for me.”

The month of August is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of August 2017

Artists: That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation. (See also Apostleship of Prayer International Website)

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