Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family
By: Maria Von Trapp from 1955
With every passing year I realize more deeply how joyful our religion is. The more one penetrates into what it means to be Catholic, the fuller life becomes.
There is one great art that we are taught from our childhood and for which we cannot be grateful enough, and that is how to celebrate feasts. The little ones grow up hearing again and again: "Today is the feast of St. Joseph" "Next week is the feast of the Annunciation.. the feast of St. John... the feast of the Holy Family... the feast of the Assumption." And these are not words only. Soon the children discover that these days have a truly festive character. Later, when they grow up and learn to use their own missals, they find that Holy Mother Church prepares a feast for us almost every day of the year. Naturally, these feast days are not equally important. Two of them, the anniversaries of Our Lord's Resurrection and of the Descent of the Holy Ghost, are of such magnitude and solemnity that the Church assigns a whole week to them. She wants to teach her children to take time for celebrating. What a necessary lesson for us of the fast-living twentieth century, when time has become money and the most important even in people's lives - their wedding - has been reduced from the ten-day celebration of old to a ten minute formality at the Justice of the Peace!
For Easter and Pentecost the Church permits no other feasts to interfere. This is called "a privileged octave of the first order." There are other great feast days, such as Epiphany and Corpus Christi, Christmas, the Ascension, the fast of the Sacred Heart, and the feasts of the Blessed Mother, which also have an octave, and at last a commemoration of that feast is made each day.
If the first place is given to the feasts of Our Lord, the second is given to those of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then come the holy angels, and they are followed by the saints who had a share in the plan of the Incarnation, as St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and the other Apostles, whose feasts are always celebrated with special solemnity.
Then we are told to celebrate as a feast of dedication of churches, the anniversaries of the martyrdom of the saints, the commemoration of holy popes, bishops, teachers of the Church, confessors, virgins and all holy women. According to their importance these feasts will be more or less solemnly celebrated; but even a simple feast day is a feast day.
Once in a while there is a day in the calendar when we do not celebrate a feast. This is called a "ferial day." During most seasons these are few and far between, and it is all the more striking, therefore, to come to the six weeks of Lent and find that the Church has prepared a special mass for every ferial day and wishes her children to refrain from celebrating feasts during these weeks of penance. That makes the great Alleluia, which introduces the feast of the Resurrection, all the more jubilant.
Living through this cycle of festive evens every year, one cannot help but learn that one should not just live one's life, or spend one's life, or go through one's life, but celebrate one's life. Whether the days are filled with bliss or mourning, we have learned to live almost each one as a special feast day. As the Introit of many a Mass bids us: "Guadeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes." ("Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating this festival day.")
If the time from the First Sunday in Advent until Pentecost seems like one long uninterrupted celebration of the greatest mysteries of our faith, the time from Pentecost to the end of the Church Year appears much more sober.
The second half of the Church year is referred to in Austria as "The Green Meadow," because of the green color of the vestments on the Sundays after Pentecost, whereas, until then, they had been violet, red, or white. If the festive character of the first part of the year is comparable to the mountain chains of the Alps or Andes, the single feasts in the months after Pentecost are like isolated peaks towering above the green meadow.
Feasts of the Green Meadow
Two more weeks until the 2011-2012 Holy Simplicity Planner
starts! Get your copy now in time to get the most use out of your home*school*Liturgical Year planner! Plan next years lessons, yearly goals, daily task sheet and more!
For the Month of May
Children, 'tis the month of Mary,
Strew her altar-steps with flowers,
And your guileless witness bear
What a genial faith is ours!
To our Blessed Lady offer
Joyous hymns of love and praise;
Make atonement for the scoffer,
For he knows not what he says.
May for you is doubly blooming,
Life itself is in its Spring,
No dark clouds o'er you looming,
All seems fair and promising.
Therefore, to most holy Mary
Consecrate your hearts and live,
She will not forget her servants
When their trial-hour arrives.
Wait then for not more to-morrows,
Cast ourselves before her feet,
She will soften all your sorrows;
She who is with grace replete,
In affliction will not leave you,
But, when life has passed away,
Will with open arms receive you
Into everlasting May.
In this blessed month of Mary
Heavenly Father, grant to me
True devotion to that Mother
Who alone was worthy thee;
Grief for every thing that grieved her,
Joy for all that gave her joy;
And in those who've not believed her
Worthy of our love, destroy
Whatso'er it is that blinds them,
Through her suffering Son, we pray
Till at length Thy mercy find them,
And they, too, to Mary pray.
Poems for Catholics & Convents and Plays for Catholic Schools
By: The Sisters of Mercy
In celebration of the Assumption of Mary we were reading out of Dom Guranger's books The Liturgical Year
the Gospel for the Mass Prayers of the Assumption. The explaination of this particular Gospel finally explained to me a story of the Bible I had wondered about, I thought I would share. Also a reminder that this day is not just one of feasting and crafts but in remembering our Holy Mother and what a good example she has set for us in how to love Her Son and how to gain Heaven!"Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Luke Ch. x
At that time, Jesus entered into ta certain town; and a certain women named MArth received Him into her house; and she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lor's feed, heard His word. But Marth was busy about much serving; who stood and said, Lord, hast Thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? Speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering said to her, Martha, Martha, though art careful, and art troubled about many things: but one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Dom Guranger's explaination- To this Gospel the Roman Liturgy formely added, as the Greek and the Mozarabig still add, the following verses from another chapter of St. Luke: "As He spoke these things a certain woman from the crowd lifing up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it."
The words thus added turned the peopl'e thoughts towards our Lady; still the episode of Marth and Mary in the Gospel of the day remained unexplained. We will use the words of St. Bruno of Asti to express the reason tradition gives for the choice of this Gospel. 'These two women,' he says, 'are the leaders of the arm of the Church, and all the faithful follow them. Some walk in Martha's footsteps, others in Mary's; but no one can reach our heavenly fatherland unless he follows one or the other. Rightly, then, have our fathers ordained that this Gospel should be read on the principle feast of ou Lady, for she is signified by these twho sisters. For no other creature combined the privileges of both lives, active and contemplative, as did the Blessed Virgin.
Like Marth she received Christ, yea, she did more than Marth, for she recieved Him not only into her house, but into her womb. She conceived Him, gave Him birth, carried Him in her arms, and ministered to Him more frequently than did Martha. On the other hand, she listened, like Mary, to His words, and kept them for our sake, pondering them in her heart. She contemplated His humanit, and penetrated more deeply than all others into His Divinity. She choose the better part, which shall not be taken away from her." 'He', continues St. Bernard, 'whom she reveived at His entrance into this poor world, receives her today at the gate of the Holy City. No spot on earth so worthy of the Son of God as the Virgin's womb: no throne of heaven so lofty as that whereon the Son of Mary places her in return. What a reception each gave to the other! The sacred Bread, for which we are indebted to Mary, remains always with us. May it, through her intercession, preserve us from all evils!"
It's been a busy day here! We started off our day with some friends over to join us in our Assumption day celebration. We talked about the great truths of the Holy Catholic Faith, made new friends and frosted some lavender/lemon sugar cookies in the shapes of flowers and the letters to make Mary's name.
After our company left I got moving in the kicthen and made peach chiffon pie as mentioned in the previous post
. The ginger snap crust and peaches holding true to herbs/spices and fruits being on the menu during this feast day. For dinner we had pasta with pesto sauce using basil fresh from the garden. Served with Assumptia Salad (also mentioned on the previous Assumption post
). I had ment to make bread as well but we had so much fun this morning with our new friends that it had skipped my mind. Wheat being another harvest item that was traditionally blessed at this time. Needless to say that my two little guys were anxiously awaiting their fun and festive dinner!
Between our morning visit and making dinner my youngest and I made a couple of Assumption Banner from the Seton Art 1 book (which I love and recommend not just to those doing first grade). We colored the picture of Mary, cut it out and glued it on a blue sheet of card stock. Then we added glitter to highlight the rays of light and white sand and glitter for the clouds beneath (the book says to use cotton balls but I couldn't find ours). Then we added some ribbon and hung them up! It was a fun day to help our little ones remember why this is a Holy Day of Obligation and of the religious importance.
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"Joy to thee, O Queen of heaven! Alleluia;
He whom though wast meet to bear, Alleluia,
As he promised, hath risen, Alleluia.
Pour for us to him thy prayer, Alleluia."
On Monday, August 15th, we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption in the year of Our Lord 2011. The Church has always held the tradition that Mary was assumped to Heaven in body and soul but in 1950 Pope Pius the XII made it an official dogma of the Catholic Church. This is the day that we celebrate Mary's 'falling asleep' as, she being the only human free from original sin, could not die but fell asleep and was raised into Heaven. This day is also called the 'blessing of the herbs and flowers' and as such many herbs and flowers as well as wheat are incorrpurated into to this feast day. In addtion to these items visit our Feast of the Assumption page.
by Dom Guranger, Time After Pentecost Book IVSermons of the Cure d' Ar's
on the AssumptionThe Life of the Blessed Virgin
Mary By: Anne Catherine EmerickCatholic Life- Feasts, Fasts and Devotions By Washbourne
The Beauties of the Catholic Church
By: Rev. F. J. ShadlerCrafts/Activites
No Sew Fun Fruit Lacing Project
This feast day has it's traditions in blessing herbs and flowers but Mary is also know for certian fruits such as: apples, cherries, figs, grapes, leeks, olives, oraganes, peaches, pears, pomegranate and strawberries. Make some fruit lacing cards in honor of the 'fruits of Mary'.Stich/Sew a Lavendar Sache
as a reminder of our Blessed Lady!Hersey Kiss Rose Craft, Roses
are a sure symbol for Our Lady, make a few and turn them into a crown of roses!Tissue Paper Roses
, also makes a great crown for Our Blessed Mother!Field Trips/Outings
Visit a flower/herb garden
Go for a hike and find flowers and wild herbsPlant a Mary Garden
, or read about the herbs and flowers planted in them. Make a paper Mary Garden!
We are sharing our word find print out as well!
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Today we made our triptych altar craft, each of the boys made a light blue and I made the middle dark blue one using some beads we bought at a rummage sale, some dollies, glue and some glitter. We used some holy card print outs of Our Lady from Holy Reflections. It made a nice addition to our home altar in preperation for "Our Lady's Falling Asleep" on Monday.
This holy day of obligation is on August 15th, the day that the Catholic Church celebrates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, body and soul. This is a very old feast day and the most celebrated of Our Lady's feasts. It was always a long held pious belief but on November 1st 1950 Pope Pius the XII put forth the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus
defining the dogma of Mary's Assumption. Pope Pius XII wrote, "By the power of God, Mary was assumed into Heaven. there Mary was crowned Queen of all and because she is our Queen and Mother, we should pray to her often, asking her to intercede for us."
Any prayers that are in honor of our Lady are appropriate for this day including the Hail Mary, Hail, Holy Queen, The Magnificat, The Litany to Our Lady and others.
To help children understand the importance of this day one might begin with saying some of the above mentioned prayers, reading about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and perhaps a coloring page. Seton Press puts out an Art 1 Book for Young Catholics
that has a banner activity in it featuring Our Lady Assuming into heaven, A Year with God
published by Catholic Heritage Curricula has a book mark activity including a prayer and you will also find other various activities along with history/traditions on our page dedicated to Feast of the Assumption
"Your sacred and happy soul, as nature will have it, was separated in death from your most blessed and immaculate body; and although the body was duly interred, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay...Your most pur and sinless body was not left on earth but you were transferred to your heavenly throne, O Lady, Queen, and Mother of God in truth." ~St. John DamasceneTraditions of Various Countries
From The Holyday BookBy Francis X WeiserHungary- Celebrates with solemnities, pageants, parades and universal rejoicing. France-
A pageant with figures of angles descending in the church to find a seplicure filled with flours and ascending again with the imagine of Our Lady dressed in most lovely garments while the hymn Madonna is played. Our Lady's statue is carried through the cities and towns while church bells ring and the faithful sing hymn's in Mary's honor.Armenia-
A week of fasting prior to the Feast of the Assumption which was 3 days of celebration following with a solemn liturgical octave.Germany-
The 30 days including the Assumption are called 'Our Lady's Thirty days." They give her the title 'Our Lady of Grains' (being the harvest season).Central Europe-
"Our Lady's Herb Day" Herbs are taken before the solemn service of the Assumption where they are blessed.Sicily-
People abstain in part or all from fruit during the first two weeks of August in honor of the Blessed Virgin. Fruit is brought to the church for blessings on the actual feast day and then served at dinner. Gifts of fruit baskets are also given on this day.Italy-
A Procession on this day is of utmost importance to the Italians. They carry The Blessed Virgin's statue under an arch greatly decorated with branches and flowers, the arch represents the gate to heaven.
In many other countries processions are held on this day in Our Lady's honor where they are lead by a priest as they walk through fields and meadows asking God's blessing on their harvest and offering up prayers and hymns.Portugal-
Fishermen's boats are blessed and this custom has made it's way to the United States in certain fishing towns.