Sign of Jesus

Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:00 am

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. But the Ichthys was used as more than just a symbol or a sign of faith. It was also used as ornamentation on monuments, frescoes, catacombs, sculptured representations, rings and seals, according to newadvent.org. 

Fish are the highlight of many Scripture readings throughout the Gospels.

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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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    Have a seat!

    If you’re running a little late for Sunday Mass, you might also run the risk of not finding a seat, especially if it’s Easter Mass or Christmas Eve Vigil Mass. But, we’re the fortunate ones because seats, or church pews, are available to sit while worshipers in the past stood during the entire celebration of Mass. 

    In the Middle Ages, the pulpit in Catholic churches was constructed in the middle of the church and there was quite a bit of

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    Saints of summer

    With a gamut of ways to spend summer leisure hours, as you pack the sunscreen and beach towel, load your camping gear, check your flight reservations or set your GPS, take “the saints of summer” with you.

    Want to be sure you have a smooth trip to your getaway? Call on St. Christopher, the patron saint of travel. 

    If the airline loses your luggage, pray to Anthony. 

    St. Nicholas of Myra is the patron saint of sailors

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    Botafumeiro

    If a smoking Mass can sometimes get under your skin, or in your eyes or nasal passages, be glad that the incense burner is a small one and not the Santiago de Compestela Botafumeiro. At 5.25 feet in height, the Botafumeiro is one of the largest censers in the world.  

    The name Botafumeiro comes from the Spanish words “botar” and “fume” which means “expel smoke,” according to aleteia.org. The giant censer is located in the cathedral at Santiago de

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    Mystagogy

    In the same way as newlyweds enjoy their honeymoon as husband and wife, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults candidates who came into full communion with the church at the Easter Vigil Mass bask in their new relationship with the church and think and reflect on the meaning of it all.    

    The newest members of the church, referred to as neophytes from the Greek meaning “newly planted” or “newly converted,” are in a final period  of catechesis from Easter Sunday through Pentecost called mystagogy.

    The need for ongoing catechesis in the

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    Jesus’ appearances

    The joy of the Easter season is just beginning, as Jesus appeared after rising from the grave to prove there is resurrection of life after death for believers.  

    Three of the four Gospels give more than a half a dozen appearances of Jesus after his resurrection, according to Loyola Press.  

    In St. Mark’s Gospel, women came to anoint Jesus’ body and found the stone of the tomb rolled back. A young man clothed in white was there and

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    Ronald McFish?

    No meat on Fridays during Lent? No problem for Catholics in south Louisiana who consider anything growing in or around a bayou, river, lake, ditch or Gulf of Mexico sustenance for the dinner table.  

    In the past, however, the no meat deal included all Fridays of the year and even Wednesdays during Lent. The rule was initially aimed at prescribing faithful Catholics to eat fruits and vegetables and abstaining from meats, which were much more filling.  

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    Stations of the Cross

    “We adore you, oh Christ, and we praise you … because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” 

    Stations of the Cross (and Knights of Columbus fish fries) are favorite Friday traditions for many Catholics.

    The devotion of the Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, Via Crucis and Via Dolorosa, helps the faithful make, in spirit, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and walk in the footsteps of Christ through his sufferings and death. 

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    Food for thought

    If you are from the ages of 18 to 59, listen up: this fast is for you. During Lent, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. And, “if possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night),” according to the USCCB.  

    But, what is fasting? The Bible is littered with fasting. According to the definition in

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    Divine mercy at Lent

    After Mardi Gras is over, and the streets have been cleaned of – well most – signs of revelry, as trees continue to harbor beaded jewels, many Catholics will “get their ashes” and look grimly ahead and groan over the sacrifices they will have to make during Lent. From dessert to desert.

    Yes, Jesus, we are ready to walk with you “to the end” to that black, grisly Good Friday. Can you make our crosses a little lighter though?

    But in the midst of the arid wasteland, Jesus does more than give us “oasis moments.”

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    The sign of peace

    You know you’ve been there before, in that emotional state – with a heavy heart, mind or spirit, you attend Mass, hoping to find peace with that something or someone through prayer. As the liturgy continues, the worry or concern might be overwhelming and the last thing you want is human contact – with your spouse, your child, your parent or even your neighbor. But, that is exactly what God is calling us to do when we make the sign of peace in Mass.  

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    Your Valentine?

    Order roses. Check. 

    Purchase chocolate. Check. 

    Dinner reservation? Oops, better get on that.

    The country’s most romantic holiday is nearing, and despite what a popular greeting card company might say, Valentine’s Day has Catholic roots, although confusion remains when it comes to St. Valentine.

    A third century priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecute Christians during the reign of Claudius II, St. Valentine of Rome was a Catholic Bishop of Terni who

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    Can you hear the bells?

    Bells will be ringing.

    Or maybe not.

    Depending on the church one attends, altar servers might or might not ring the Sanctus bells during the consecration, trumpeting the turning of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

    According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the how to manual on celebrating the Mass, there are two occasions when bells might be used during the liturgy. Of course, the most common is during the consecration.

    Bells may also be rung shortly before the consecration, according to the GIRM,

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    Epiphany

    With the final needles of the now parched Christmas tree ready to fall to their grave on the den floor, the liturgical season transitions from Christmas to Epiphany. 

    Epiphany, celebrated Jan. 6, is the traditional day to once again haul out the boxes from the attic and refill them with the Christmas decorations and outdoor lightings that have been brightening the homestead since shortly after Santa paraded past Macy’s on Thanksgiving Day. Christmas is officially over, minus the less enjoyable tradition of opening

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    Candy canes rooted in sweet  tradition of Catholicism 

    The stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, and the lights put up without pulling out one’s hair.  

    Now perhaps comes the most delectable part of decking out the house with Christmas cheer: strategically placing the candy canes on the tree, participating in a Christmas tradition rooted in Catholicism.  

    Candy canes? Catholicism?  

    According to legend, those delicious, sugar-powered candies first made their holiday appearance during the 17th century. Originally believed to be developed in Europe as a white

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    A Pearl Harbor hero

    On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Father Al Schmitt, a Navy chaplain aboard the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor, awoke to celebrate Mass on board the Nevada-class battleship.

    Only minutes after the Sunday morning Mass had ended, the Oklahoma was torpedoed during the Japanese’s surprise attack on the Hawaiian Islands. Father Schmitt, along with several other shipmates, was trapped in a small compartment with only a small porthole as an escape route. 

    Father

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    Advent wreath

    Advent is approaching, and in many households and all Catholic churches the traditional wreath celebrating the season will be prominently displayed. 

    The Advent wreath, which is a European tradition, can be an evangelization tool to teach children about the real meaning of the Christmas season. Advent is not only a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus but also a time to prepare our hearts to receive him.

    The wreath, which holds four candles,

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    An angel in the trenches

    As Veterans Day approaches, our country, cities and even churches honor those who have gone into harm’s way or paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom.   

    Perhaps we should also include St. Therese of Lisieux during our Veterans Day celebration. St. Therese, also known as “The Little Flower of Jesus,” is believed to have played significant roles in protecting soldiers on both sides during World War I and World War II.   

    When World War I broke

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    Guardian angels

    Who has never prayed to their guardian angel, whether it’s help to pass a test, perform well in a job interview or help us get through the difficulties of life?

    Guardian angels were even once featured in one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time.

    So exactly who is our guardian angel and does everyone actually have a heavenly protector?

    According to The Catechism of

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    Steps to the priesthood

    On Sept. 15, at Sacred Heart Church in Baton Rouge, seminarians Matthew Dunn and Danny Roussel were admitted to candidacy for the priesthood for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Both Dunn and Roussel are third year theology students at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. According to Father Matt Lorrain, director of seminarians for the Baton Rouge diocese, the simple ceremony is an important step in the discernment process for those considering a vocation. 

    “When you’re descerning a vocation,

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    Faith on the water

    On an early spring day more than 80 years ago, a modest but unique boat first navigated the murky swamp waters of the Atchafalaya Basin.  

    Only this was no ordinary maiden voyage as on April 21, 1936, Mary, Star of the Sea brought faith to the water. For the next five years the chapel boat was a fixture in places such as Belle River and Bayou Pigeon, ultimately covering three civil parishes and some 900 square miles. 

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    Laying on of hands

    The imposition, or laying on of hands, is a common practice in the Catholic faith, used in the administration of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick and holy orders, as well as other rites, including exorcism. 

    The history of the imposition of hands dates to the patriarchs in the Old Testament to convey power, blessing or consecration. It was used in blessing children, consecrating priests and in sacrifice. 

    The imposition first appears in a religious sense in the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. Prior to sacrificing animals, the priests

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    Vessels with a purpose

    The Mass itself is a beautiful celebration, one of sacrifice and celebration. It’s also a sum of many components, including the vessels, each of which serves a significant role in what is a beautiful celebration.

    Perhaps the most sacred is the chalice, which will hold the consecrated body and blood of Christ. The presiding priest might use his own personal chalice, or one provided by the parish. A priest’s personal chalice typically holds some type of significance.

    A member of a religious

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