Friday, December 31, 2010

A FAMILY PRAYER FOR THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY

Father: Christ has appeared among us.

All: Come, let us adore Him.

Mother: The precious gifts which the Magi brought to the
Lord this day are threefold,
and they are signs of divine mysteries.
By gold the power of the King is signified,
by frankincense His great priesthood,
by myrrh the burial of the Lord.

All: The Magi worshipped the Author of our salvation in
the crib,
and of their treasures they brought to Him gifts of
mystic nature.

Youngest Child: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and
to the Holy Ghost.

All: As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

Father: Let us pray. O God,
by the leading of a star Thou didst manifest Thine
only begotten Son
to the Gentiles on this day;
mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith,
may be brought to contemplate the beauty of Thy
majesty.
Through the same Jesus Christ Thy Son.

All: Alleluia.

The following hymn serves well as a conclusion.
Additional verses may be composed by members of the
family.

The Wise Men tune Jesu Dulcis Memoria
Now there appeared a brilliant Star
Which led the wise Men from afar.
They came and, kneeling down, adored
And offered gifts to Christ, the Lord.

[From The Story of the Redemption for Children.]

[Source: Christmas to Candlemas in a Catholic Home by
Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville,
Minnesota.]



















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Background of Epiphany and some traditional customs that can be implemented for the feast in your home.

Directions
The Middle Ages, with its love for pageantry and the picturesque, celebrated the Feast of the Three Kings with much pomp and ceremony. Their lives were dramatized, picturing them first as Magi, members of a learned and respected priesthood, then as counselors of a king, tutors of princes, skillful astrologers, and interpreters of dreams, and finally as kings with their offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What little was known about them offered fascinating material for dramatization: their call, their wanderings in the desert as they followed the star, their detention by Herod, their adoration of the Christ-Child, their return home to Babylon and Persia, and the subsequent conversion of their people to Christianity.

Another custom peculiar to this feast and prevalent in Germany and other European countries is "star caroling." Three young men, colorfully dressed, accompanied by a star-bearer, go singing from house to house. In return for their "star songs" they receive some little recompense. In many localities these young men are altar boys who are thus rewarded in some slight way for their serving at Mass.

Epiphany is a large celebration, especially in Spanish speaking countries. Things look different around the household: the infant Jesus in the manger now has a small gold crown and is wearing regal robes. The figures of the wise men have reached Bethlehem, completing the nativity scene.

Reminiscent of Christ's baptism in the Jordan and the administration of Baptism on the vigil of the Epiphany is the blessing of water as it is still done in many churches. This "Water of the Three Kings" is then used in the blessing of homes on the following day.

According to a central European custom pastors also may bless pieces of chalk for each family to use in inscribing the names of the three Magi over their doorways, as a manifestation of their Christian faith and a protection against the powers of evil.

The Church extends itself on Epiphany to the homes of the faithful. The custom of blessing the home probably grew up on account of the words in the Gospel, "And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down they adored Him." The priest blesses the house if he can be present, but if not, the father of the family may do so. He leads the family (and any guests who may have been invited for the occasion) from room to room, blessing each and inscribing the initials of the three Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) above the doors with the chalk that has been previously blessed. The doors are inscribed with the following:

20 + C + M + B + 10

The initials are separated by crosses and the year above the door. The initials CMB also stand for the words "Christus Mansionem Benedicat" which means "May Christ bless this house". This inscription above the entry of our house should be a reminder to us that we should be with and go to Christ in all our comings and goings.

A Twelfth Night Cake or Bread is usually baked, and the "Three Kings" are invited: either members of the family or other guests. If they are older, they can get involved in blessing the house by marking their "initial" over the doors. The children can prepare for the "Kings" by creating crowns and perhaps royal capes to wear.

Compiled from With Christ Through the Year, Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B. by Jennifer Gregory Miller


Jennifer Gregory Miller Jennifer G. Miller


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What are the
FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS
What are the "O Antiphons"?

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.
The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. Let’s now look at each antiphon with just a sample of Isaiah’s related prophecies :


O Sapientia: “O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” (11:2-3), and “Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom.” (28:29).
O Adonai: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” (11:4-5); and “Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us.” (33:22).

O Radix Jesse: “O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

O Clavis David: “O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.” Isaiah had prophesied, AI will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open.” (22:22), and “His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over His kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever.” (9:6).

O Oriens: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” (9:1).

O Rex Gentium: “O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.” Isaiah had prophesied, “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (9:5), and “He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (2:4) .

O Emmanuel: “O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The Lord himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”

(7:14). Remember “Emmanuel” means “God is with us.”

According to Professor Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.








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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Saunders, Rev. William. “What are the ‘O Antiphons’?” Arlington Catholic Herald.

Reprinted with permission of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

THIS WEEK


Hope that you are taking some time to reflect on the greatest event in history....God becomming one of us....WOW!!!


Last week I posted a link to the daily homilies offered by the Bishops' Conference. Just to make sure you all got it the link is:usccb.org/video/reflecions.shtml....the talks are only about three minutes long and are a nice way to begin the day.


TECH.MISHAP!!!You will notice a white hallow on my shoulder in the vido of the homily. this is not to be taken as a sign of my somewhat dubious holiness but simply light coming in the window.

Second Sunday of Advent

Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Hallelujah Chorus

Be a Franciscan

If you would like to find out more about Holy Name Province (New York Province) of the Franciscans click here:http://www.hnp.org/ The winter issue of" BE A FRANCISCAN" can be found by going to "join us" and scrolling down to "BE A FRANCISCAN"