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Father McGivney beatified

Posted November 18, 2020 at 12:00 am

The Oct. 31 beatification of Father Michael McGivney at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut was a boost for the priesthood, the Knights of Columbus and young Catholics. 

Blessed Father McGivney, who was an American priest and recognized by the church for his humility, charity and concern for all people, founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 as a fraternal Catholic’s men order to help widows and orphans. It is the largest lay Catholic organization in the world with two million members dedicated to a range of educational, charitable and religious activities. The Knights look up to Father McGivney for inspiration, heavenly guidance and intercession for their needs. 

Father McGivney, who died during the flu pandemic of 1889-1890, is credited with the healing of a child

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    Clergy and science

    From hikers lying on their backs in a field looking up at a star-studded sky to scientists with PhDs in astrophysics looking through sophisticated telescopes, people seek to answer the burning question, “How did this all begin?”

    The “Big Bang Theory” is popular, because most everyone loves something that begins with an “explosive moment.”

    But there is indeed science behind this theory, and it was introduced by a Belgian Catholic priest

    Father Georges Lemaître was also an astronomer and cosmologist who studied Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and observed some of the conditions of

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    Remote pet blessings available

    The feast of St. Francis is rapidly approaching, traditionally a time to make appointments to have the pets groomed, bathed and looking spiffy.

    After all, you want Fido and Fluffy to sparkle for the annual blessing of the animals held at parishes nationwide throughout the commemorating St. Francis’ feast day, which is Oct. 4. But what’s one to do when the country is in the midst of a pandemic?

    Pets can also be infected with COVID-19, although research is still a bit spotty regarding if they can pass the virus along to their owners. Regardless, owners

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    Mission of catechists remains unchanged

    From the earliest of times, when God inscribed the Ten Commandments on a tablet with his finger for Moses to present to the people, and the teachings of the prophets, which was fulfilled in Jesus, God has been teaching people about himself.

    Each year on Catechetical Sunday, this year falling on Sept. 20, the church celebrates the role of catechists in carrying this work of instructing people on the faith and evangelization.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in its prologue, “Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the church’s efforts

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    Finding hope

    People who are in lock-down mode, whether emotionally, spiritually or at home, because of the COVID-19 virus can find hope by celebrating a feast which reminds them of the time St. Peter broke out of prison with some heavenly help.  

    The feast of St. Peter in Chains was a feast day commemorated on Aug. 1 to recall St. Peter’s miraculous release from captivity from the jail in Jerusalem. The account is recorded in Acts 12:6-7: “On the very night before

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    The ‘greater’ St. James

    On July 25, Catholics will celebrate the feast day of St. James the Apostle, whose closeness to Jesus helped St. James overcome his flaws until his life was ended with courageous faith. 

    St. James is sometime called “James the Greater.” Researchers say that is most likely because he was older or taller, rather than more important, than the other apostle named James. 

    St. James, a Galilean, was one of Jesus’ first disciples. He and his brother, John, were

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    Mass in any language

    Although churches in the Diocese of Baton Rouge have opened their doors, albeit with capacity restrictions, many throughout the country remain shuttered, leaving people to view Mass either via livestreaming, or through other means, such as Catholic Life TV in our diocese.

    In the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, enriched with a tremendous cultural diversity, the closings posed an especially imposing dilemma, mainly how to reach people of varying ethnicities. Previously, the diocesan cable channel NET-TV broadcast Sunday Masses in English and Spanish but the need was so much greater.

    So the diocese dipped into its

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    Sacred Heart

    On June 19, Catholics will converge at the scene of a divine fire, where Christ’s physical heart represents his burning love for humanity during the popular Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    The Feast of the Sacred Heart falls 19 days after Pentecost and the Friday after the feast of Corpus Christi, which is also called the “Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.”

    According to Catholic Encyclopedia, during the earliest days of the church, “Christ’s open side and the mystery of blood and water were meditated upon, and the church was beheld issuing

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    Creed vs creed

    During Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, Catholics have a choice of creeds following the homily. One is the Nicene Creed and the other is the Apostles’ Creed. While the latter is a shorter version of the former, both cover the same territory.

    According to catholicstraight
    answers.com, the word “creed” is derived from the Latin word “credo” which means, “I believe.” The creeds are a “statement of faith” which includes the belief in the Trinity and the path of salvation: “Initiated by the father, the history of salvation culminates in Jesus and through the work of

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    Celebrating Mary

    Two special days – the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the solemnity of Pentecost – mark the end of May, the month of Mary, which in their own way are each centered around birth. In 2020 both feast days will be celebrated May 31. 

    Because a solemnity is a feast of highest rank, Pentecost “overshadows” the feast of the visitation. 

    Pentecost, one of the major solemnities of the

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    In the name of the Father

    If you’ve ever been a part of a group prayer, you can always spot the Catholics in the crowd. They are the ones who cross themselves, at the beginning and at the end. So how did we come to mark ourselves “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” 

    According to aleteia.org, writings from the third century refer to Christians making the sign of the cross over their bodies. Early Christian apologist Tertullian wrote,

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    Crowning Mary

    As the month of May approaches, the church prepares to honor Mary. With the difficulties surrounding the coronavirus, however, church leaders have already been heralding the call to turn to the Blessed Mother for her maternal intercession.

    In March Pope Francis composed a prayer to Mary “Our Lady, Health of the Sick” (one of her titles in the Litany of Loretto) and implored her protection during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also responded, when USCCB president Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles urged the faithful to turn to Our Lady

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    Holy oils

    In ancient times, oil was a sign of abundance and joy. 

    In the Old Testament, in particular, kings, priests and, occasionally, prophets were anointed with oil, symbolizing that person’s goodness and healing presence in the community.  

    Throughout Sacred Scripture the spiritual symbolism of oil is evident, perhaps nowhere as prominent as in well-known Psalm 23 “You anoint my head with oil,” which signified favor

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    Corona, a little known saint

    Even in times of a worldwide pandemic, there appears to be a saint for every cause.

    But regarding the coronavirus, don’t believe everything you hear or read.

    Although it is seemingly true that for every crisis, occupation, event or country, Catholic saints have got you covered, this one may best be categorized as myth.

    Lost something? Pray for the intercession of St. Anthony, who is also the patron saint of Lisbon, Padua and other places in Portugal. Is it hurricane season? Check out St. Medardus.

    Of course, there is St. Joseph,

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    Anointing of the Sick

    People might often be concerned that a friend or loved one who receives anointing of the sick, whether in the hospital or their home, might be nearing death.

    But receiving the church’s sacrament of physical and spiritual healing is not always a prelude to one’s passing.

    According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “In the church’s sacrament of anointing of the sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin  and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival

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    Messiah: priest, prophet & king

    The term “messiah” comes from the Hebrew word meaning “anointed one.” This term was applied to priests, prophets and kings in the Old Testament. The people given these titles were first anointed with water or oil to consecrate them for their specific mission. Sometimes even the Spirit of God anointed someone to their role.  

    According to the Catholic Bible Dictionary, kings were most frequently called “messiahs” or “anointed ones.” There are several instances throughout the Old Testament where men are anointed as kings.

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    St. Gabriel

    In the biblical story of the Annunciation, the Archangel St. Gabriel told Mary she would be the mother of the long-awaited savior (Lk 1:26-35). St. Gabriel also appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist (Lk 1:11-20). But the appearance of St. Gabriel in the Bible goes beyond the Gospels. Knowledge of the angel Gabriel is evident in the ancient Jewish tradition as well, and there is a lot of speculation about his role in salvation history. 

    St. Gabriel first

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    Come let us adore him

    We know the story of the three wise men following a bright star to see the baby Jesus. There’s even a Christmas carol that is quite popular during Mass on the feast of the Epiphany, “We Three Kings.” So, who were these guys, exactly, and what is their role in the birth of Jesus, the manifestation of God as man? According to Scripture, Matthew Chapter 2:1, “magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.” According to catholicstraightanswers.com, in the days of King Herod, magi were part of a priestly caste from Persia where astrology was prominent. The Magi explained

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    O celebrate!

    We have reached the point in the Christmas countdown where you don’t have to count how many days  but how many Os are left.

    The Roman Catholic Church has been singing the O Antiphons, also known as “the great Os (not to be confused with a popular LSU coach),” since at least the eighth century. O Antiphons are the verses for the ancient hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the seven antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Liturgy of the Hours for Vespers from Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 the Christmas Eve Vigil. 

    They are described as “a magnificent theology that

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    Catholic Thanksgiving

    The yearly pageantry featuring paper pilgrim hats, bonnets and Indian headdresses allude to the traditional picture of the “first” Thanksgiving gathering in 1621 at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts of Native Americans and European Puritan pilgrims. But Catholic sources noted there were two thanksgiving events held several decades before that which were deeply rooted in the Catholic faith, through Spain’s cultural influence.  

    The first event, according to catholicstand.com, was Sept. 8, 1565, upon the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St.

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    New liturgical year

    From August through December, Louisianians can be extremely busy. Fall, y’all, means back to school shopping and early morning carpools.

    There are also Saturday football tailgating from Baton Rouge to Hammond, soccer tournaments and church parish festivals. Sunday means Mass, jambalaya cook-offs and, of course, the New Orleans Saints. And sprinkled among that crowded schedule are a number of holidays – BIG ONES: Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

    And, for Catholics, there is also an extremely busy liturgical calendar. From Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, there are a total of 49

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    Saints, Halloween and Catholicism

    All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas, is celebrated in honor of all canonized saints from Christian history, according to christianity.com. The Catholic Church, as well as the Methodist Church, Lutheran Church and other protestant denominations celebrate it on Nov. 1. However, the Eastern Orthodox and associated Eastern Catholic churches observe All Saints Day on the first Sunday following Pentecost.  

    The exact origins of this feast day are uncertain. But after the legalization of Christianity in 313, a common commemoration of the saints, especially the martyrs, appeared in various areas throughout

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    Month of the Rosary

    The month of October may be the quintessential month of fall with its cooler temperatures, fallen leaves, football schedule, apple harvests and shorter days, but it is also the month of the rosary because the liturgical feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on Oct. 7. It is believed that the Our Father and Hail Mary were recited with prayer beads in the Middle Ages. According to catholicculture.org, Mary appeared to St. Dominic in 1206 after he had been praying because of failure in combating the Albigensian heresy. The website states, “Mary praised him (St. Dominic)

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    St. Michael’s waffles

    For Catholics there are feast days and then there are days to feast (think Thanksgiving, July 4th). However, one feast day offers up a tradition that involves both prayer and … well, not fasting, and that is the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, celebrated on Sept. 29. 

    The feast day is called Michaelmas, or the Mass that celebrates St. Michael, similar to Christmas (Christ’s Mass) and Candlemas (Candle Mass where candles used throughout the year are blessed). The Feast of St. Michael

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    St. Peter Claver

    Long before Martin Luther King Jr. became the face and voice of the civil rights movement, and long before he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolent activism, there was St. Peter Claver.   

    Born in 1580 in Verdù, Spain, he was educated at the University of Barcelona before joining the Jesuits at age 20, according to aleteia.org. He volunteered to minister in the Spanish colonies and in 1610 was sent to Cartagena, Columbia. At

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    Papal java

    While some in the health industry bedevil coffee with a harrowing list of negative health effects that are countered with a list which frames a halo over it with a list of health benefits, go ahead and enjoy your cup of java from a Catholic perspective because it has been blessed by a pope.  

    According to the website aleteia.org, legend has it that around the year 850 an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi was the first to discover the effects of coffee

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    Sign of Jesus

    You’ve seen it on cars, you’ve seen it on pendants or necklaces. But what exactly is that fish symbol, sometimes called the “Jesus Fish”? In Greek, it’s known as the Ichthys, or “fish,” according to aleteia.org, and its Greek letters, ΙΧΘΥΣ, “are the initials of the words in the Greek phrase that translates to ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.’ ” 

    The origin of the symbol dates to the second century and “for Christians under persecution, the Ichthys became a covert sign to identify their beliefs,” according to aleteia.org.

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    Celebrating Mary

    On Aug. 15, countries around the world will celebrate in different ways the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also called the Feast of Dormition by the Eastern Orthodox Church.  In ancient times, the Assumption of Mary was celebrated by public illumination and night-time bonfires.   

    In Italy, there are colorful processions through the streets and a fireworks exhibit, according to aglobal world.com.  In Sicily and rural areas outside of Rome, the processions are

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    Holy water cleanses both soles and souls

    As Catholics, when we walk into a church or a chapel our eyes automatically scan the walls near the entrance. What are we looking for? Holy water.  

    The holy water font comes in many different forms in our modern day churches from marble bowls attached to walls to freestanding basins. Still other churches offer holy water in flowing fountains, tempting very small children to dip more than just their tiny fingers into the blessed waters.  

    The origin of

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    St. Bridget

    As debates over the role of women in the Catholic Church continue, St. Bridget of Sweden, as Pope Benedict XVI said, is “one of those women who, despite having lived several centuries ago, still has much to teach the Church and the world.”

    St. Bridget, whose feast day is July 23, came from Uppland, Sweden. She obeyed the wishes of her pious parents, who were known for helping people, and married a Swedish prince at 14. They had a happy marriage and raised eight children, including the virgin St. Catherine of Sweden.

    St. Bridget and her

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