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Posts Tagged ‘Martyrs’

"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622 (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Ah, yes, Christmas, that time of year with a winter nip in the air (unless you live in parts of Florida where record highs in the 80s are forecast this weekend) and the time of year when the thoughts of old school Protestants (meaning those few Protestants who still find the need to base their beliefs on a militant anti-Catholicism), New Age “pagans,” and militant atheists turn yet again to the supposed “pagan” origins of Catholicism. Along with Easter and Halloween, the Feast of Christmas is yet another of those celebrations we are told “prove” the pagan origins of Catholicism. After all, everyone knows Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular are nothing more than “dressed up” paganism. It’s just too bad everyone is wrong…

Instead of merely reposting my piece on the true, non-pagan, origins for the December 25th date of Christmas, I share this link to a wonderful piece by Rev. Dwight Longenecker which does an excellent job of explaining (yet again) once and for all the true background of the Christian celebration of Christmas on December 25th.

Allow me to highlight a few points from Rev. Longenecker:

1. The “pagan origin” claimants begin with the capital mistake of assuming that mere resemblance proves causality. Simply because two things resemble each other does not mean one is the cause of the other. Two things can be strikingly similar yet share absolutely no causal relationship what-so-ever. Simply because Christians and pagans observed certain feasts at similar times throughout the year does not mean one automatically caused the other.

2. The Roman feast most often associated with Christmas by the “pagan originists” is Saturnalia, a Roman feast for the god Saturn which was held from December 17 to 23. However, this feast, while occurring on the wrong date (if Christianity “co-opted” this feast, why not make the date of Christmas December 17th to really sock it to those pagans?), also had nothing to do with the imagery of the solstice and the return of the sun. The focus of this feast centered more on the theme of sacrifice-to-appease-the-gods-for-a-good-harvest.

3. The Roman feast associated with the solstice was Dies Natalis Sol Invictus. The only problem here is the inconvenient fact that this feast wasn’t instituted until around AD 278, well after the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, and for quite some time remained a rather minor feast with a small cult. Further, we find no evidence that Sol Invictus was celebrated on December 25th until AD 360 – decades after Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in AD 315. In fact, the promotion of the feast was due to the influence of Julian the Apostate who attempted to turn back the tide of Christianity sweeping the Empire. Huh, so that means Sol Invictus was used by the Roman authorities in an attempt to “win back” Christians to paganism, not the other way around.

4. The “pagan origins” nonsense completely ignores the fact that thousands (some sources say millions) of Christians lost their property and in many cases their lives over their complete refusal to, as Rev. Longenecker puts it, “offer so much as one grain of incense to the pagan gods.” Yet, the “pagan originists” would have us believe the very people who were giving their lives over refusal to participate in anything even resembling paganism suddenly decided to “co-opt” pagan festivals.

5. If we actually take time to read the historical record provided us in the writings of the early Church Fathers, we find a clear answer as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. As early as AD 386, we find a sermon by St. John Chrysostom linking the date of Christmas to the date of the Annunciation (the day the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus). The wording of his sermon suggests this linking was already a long-accepted tradition within the Church. We need to remember early Christians were primarily Jewish converts and thus the roots of Christianity are in Judaism, not Romanism. The Jews believed the world began on March 25th. They also believed great men died on the same date as the date of their conception. Therefore, we find the early Christians believed the date of Jesus’ conception was March 25th. Let’s count nine months and see what we find: December 25th.

So, just as I pointed out last time, the date of Christmas has nothing to do with Romans or paganism, but everything to do with early Jewish belief and the dating of Jesus’ conception by early Christians.

Merry Christmas!

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All Saints by Fra Angelico (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

October: Month of the Most Holy Rosary

November: Month of the Holy Souls

Sunday, October 30 – Feast of Christ the King (Traditional) / 31th Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Marcellus the Centurion (309), Martyr (Historical)

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (1617), Widower, Lay Brother (Historical)

Monday, October 31 – All Hallows’ Eve

St. Wolfgag (994), Bishop of Ratisbon (Historical)

St. Quentin (287), Martyr (Historical)

Tuesday, November 1 – All Saints Day (Holy Day of Obligation)

Wednesday, November 2 – All Souls Day

Thursday, November 3

St. Martin de Porres (1639), Religious, Priest in South America (Traditional – some places, New)

St. Malachy O’More (1148), Primate of Armagh, Ireland (Historical)

Blessed Ida of Toggenburh (1226), Matron, Hermitess (Historical)

Friday, November 4 – First Friday, Obligatory Day of Abstinence (or Other Suitable Sacrifice)

St. Charles Borromeo (1584), Bishop, Cardinal, Patron of Seminarians (Traditional, New)

Sts. Vitalis and Agricola (3rd Century), Martyrs (Tradiational)

Saturday, November 5 – First Saturday

Feats of the Holy Relics Preserved in the Churches of the Diocese (Traditional – some places)

Sts. Zachary and Elizabeth (1st Century), Parents of St. John the Baptist (Historical)

St. Bertilla (692), Virgin, Religious, Abbes (Historical)

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St Teresa of Avila (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Month of the Most Holy Rosary

Sunday, October 9 – 17th Sunday after Pentecost (Traditional) / 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Denis (Dionysius), Bishop, Patron Against Demons and Headaches, and Companions (Rusticus and Elecutherius) (3rd Century), Martyrs (Traditional, New)

St. John Leonardi (1609), Priest, Founder (Traditional, New)

St. Louis Bertrand (1581), Priest, Religious (Historical)

St. Dionysius the Areopagite (1st Century), Bishop, Martyr (Historical)

Monday, October 10 – Columbus Day (Observed)

St. Francis Borgia (1572), Priest, Religious, Patron of Portugal (Traditional)

St. Ghislain (Gislenus) (680), Abbot (Historical)

Tuesday, October 11

The Divine Maternity of Our Lord (Traditional)

St. Firminus (543), Bishop (Historical)

Wednesday, October 12 – Columbus Day

St. Wilfrid (709), Bishop of York (Historical)

Our Lady of the Pillar (36) (Historical)

Thursday, October 13

St. Edward the Confessor (1066), King and Patron of England (Traditional)

St. Gerald of Aurillac (909), Patron of Bachelors and the Handicapped (Historical)

Friday, October 14 – Obligatory Day of Abstinence (or Other Suitable Sacrifice)

St. Callistus I (222), Pope, Martyr (New, Traditional)

Saturday, October 15

St. Teresa of Jesus (Teresa of Avila) (1582), Virgin, Religious, Doctor of the Church, Reformer of Carmel, Patroness of Headache Sufferers (New, Traditional)

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St Joseph of Cupertino

September – Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Sunday, September 18 – 14th Sunday After Pentecost (Traditional) / 25nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Joseph of Cupertino (1663), Priest, Religions Patron of Aviators and Those Who Fly (Tradiational)

Monday, September 19 – The Most Holy Name of Mary (Traditional / New)

St. Januarius (Gennaro) (340), Bishop, Martyr, Patron of Naples and Companions (Traditional / New)

(Our Lady of La Salette, 1846)

Tuesday, September 20

St. Eustance (Patron Against Fire – Temporal or Eternal) and Companions (118), Martyrs (Traditional)

Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Priest, Paul Chong Hasang, Catechist, and Companions (1839-1867), Korean Martyrs (New)

Wednesday, September 21 – Ember Wednesday in September (Traditional): Day of Fast and Partial Abstinence

St. Matthew (65), Apostle, Evangelist, Martyr (Patron of Bankers and Accountants) (Traditional / New)

Thursday, September 22 – The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady (Traditional) / Our Lady of Sorrows (New)

St. Thomas of Villanova (1555), Bishop, Religious, Patron of Valencia (Traditional)

St. Maurice and Companions (c. 285), Martyrs (Traditional)

Friday, September 23 – Ember Friday in September (Traditional): Obligatory Day of Abstinence

St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) (1968), Priest, Religious, Stigmatist (New)

St. Linus (79), Priest, Martyr (Tradiational)

St. Thecla (1st Century), Virgin, Martyr, Invoked for the Dying (Traditional)

St. Constantinus the Sacristan (1st Century) (Historical)

Saturday, September 24 – Ember Saturday in September (Traditional): Day of Fast and Partial Abstinence

Our Lady of the Ransom (1218) (Traditional)

St. Pacific of San Severino (1707), Priest (Historical)

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St. Notburga (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

September – Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Sunday, September 11 – 13th Sunday After Pentecost (Traditional) / 24nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

Sts. Protus and Hyacinth (257), Brothers, Martyrs (Traditional)

St. Adelphus (5th c.), Bishop (Historical)

St. Paphnutius (356), Bishop (Historical)

Monday, September 12 – The Most Holy Name of Mary (Traditional / New)

Tuesday, September 13

St. John Chrysostom (407), Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Orators (New)

Wednesday, September 14 – Exaltation of the Holy Cross (335, 629) (Traditional / New)

St. Maternus (1st c.), Bishop (Historical)

St. Notburga (1313), Virgin, Patroness of Peasants, Servants, and the Poor (Historical)

Thursday, September 15 – The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady (Traditional) / Our Lady of Sorrows (New)

St. Nicomedes (90), Martyr (Traditional)

St. Catherine of Genoa (1510), Widow (Historical)

Friday, September 16 – Obligatory Day of Abstinence

St. Cornelius (253), Priest, Martyr and St. Cyprian (258), Bishop, Martyr (Traditional / New)

Sts. Euphemia, Lucy, and Geminianus (4th c.), Martyrs (Tradiationl)

Saturday, September 17

St. Robert Bellarmine (1621), Jesuit, Bishop, Cardinal, Doctor of the Church (New)

The Imprinting of the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (1224) (Traditional)

St. Hildegarde (1179), Abbot (Historical)

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St Nicholas of Tolentino

September – Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Sunday, September 4 – 12th Sunday After Pentecost (Traditional) / 23nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Rosalia (1166), Virgin, Patroness of Palermo, Sicily (Historical)

St. Rose of Viterbo (1252), Virgin (Historical)

St. Marinus (4th Century), Hermit (Historical)

Monday, September 5

St. Laurence Justinian (1455), Bishop, First Patriarch of Venice (Traditional)

St. Bertin (698), Abbot of Saint-Bertin (Historical)

Tuesday, September 6

Blessed Bertrand of Garrigues (13th Century), Priest (Historical)

St. Eleutherius (585), Religious (Historical)

Wednesday, September 7

St. Regina (286), Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of Poverty (Historical)

St. Cloud (560), Priest, Hermit (Historical)

Thursday, September 8 – Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary (c. 15 BC) (Traditional / New)

St. Adrian (304), Martyr (Traditional)

St. Corbinian (Corbin) (725), Bishop (Historical)

Friday, September 9 – Obligatory Day of Abstinence

St. Peter Claver (1654), Priest, Jesuit, “Apostle of the Negroes” (Traditional – Some Places / New)

St. Gorgonius (303), Martyr (Traditional)

Saturday, September 10

St. Nicholas of Tolentino (1306), Priest, Religious, Patron of Mariners (Traditional)

St. Pulcheria (453), Virgin, Empress (Historical)

Bls. Apollinaris Franco, Charles Spinola, and Companions (1622), 205 Martyrs of Japan (Historical – Some Places)

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Pope St. Pius X (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

August – Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

September – Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Sunday, August 28 – 11th Sunday After Pentecost (Traditional) / 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Augustine (430), Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Theologians (Traditional, New)

St. Hermes (132), Martyr (Traditional)

Monday, August 29 – Beheading of St. John the Baptist (c. 32) (Traditional, New)

St. Sabina (127), Martyr (Traditional)

St. Medericus (Merry) (700), Abbot (Historical)

Tuesday, August 30

St. Rose of Lima (1617), Virgin, First Canonized Saint of the Americas, Patroness of South America and Gardeners (Traditional)

Sts. Felix and Adauctus (304), Martyrs (Traditional)

St. Fiancre of Brie (670), Hermit, Patron of Gardeners and Cab Drivers (Historical)

Blessed Bronislava (1259), Virgin, Patroness of Happy Death and Disease Prevention (Historical)

Wednesday, August 31

St. Raymond Nonnatus (1240), Religious, Patron of Midwives (Traditional)

St. Aristedes (2nd Century) (Historical)

Thursday, September 1

St. Giles (724), Abbot, Patron of the Physically Disabled (Traditional)

Twelve Holy Brothers (258), Martyrs (Traditional)

St. Anna, the Prophetess (1st Century) (Historical)

Friday, September 2 – First Friday (Obligatory Day of Abstinence)

St. Stephen (1038), King of Hungary (Traditional)

St. Agricolus (700), Bishop, Patron of Avignon (Historical)

St. Ingrid of Sweden (1282), Virgin (Historical)

Saturday, September 3 – Fist Saturday

St. Gregory the Great (604), Priest, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Teachers and Music (New)

St. Pius X (1914), Pope (Traditional)

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