The final day in the Octave of Easter is known in the Church as the Second Sunday of Easter, or Sunday of Divine Mercy. This has not always been the case—the observance of this day as Divine Mercy Sunday was not proclaimed until 2000. The proclamation at that time was a rare and special event for the Church.
The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter is observed on February 22nd every year. In part, the feast celebrates the physical chair of Saint Peter, which is preserved as a relic behind the altar at Saint Peter’s Basilica. More importantly though, the feast celebrates the spiritual authority that the chair represents.
Of the many, many Catholic religious orders in the world, the Jesuits (officially called the Society of Jesus) hold the honor of being the largest male religious order. But just who are the Jesuits?
If you have ever studied the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, then you have most likely encountered discussions on the concept of sola Scriptura. Translated as “Bible alone” in English, sola Scriptura refers to the belief that sacred Scripture is the only definitive authority on Christianity, and that the Bible is complete and infallible. This view is prominent among Protestant denominations.
If you have ever seen images of winged lions associated with St. Mark, whose feast day is April 25, you may have wondered why this creature represents the evangelist. The association with the lion is quite strong—not only does the winged animal represent St. Mark, but it also is the symbol of the city of Venice, where it is believed that St. Mark’s remains now rest. This tradition of symbolism actually has its roots in scripture and sacred art.
During Holy Week, bishops from dioceses around the world celebrate the Chrism Mass. Though the Chrism Mass is usually on the morning of Holy Thursday, it can fall on another day of the week if need be. During the Mass, three types of oil are blessed for each church in the diocese to use throughout the coming year. In addition to the blessing of the oils, all the priests and bishops of the diocese publicly renew their priestly promises at the Chrism Mass.
The official prayer of the Catholic Church has many names; the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours and the Breviary each refer to this rich prayer that has undergone various modifications throughout the centuries. At its core, though, the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary is meant to sanctify the day with prayer and offer praise to God at all hours.
This week, we celebrate the feast of St. Catherine Labouré. If you’ve never heard of her, there’s a good chance you have heard of something that is very close to her heart: the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, more commonly known as the Miraculous Medal.