110. Why are the weeks preparatory to Christmas called Advent?
From the Latin word, "Adventus," which means coming.
111. When did the custom of keeping Advent originate?
The custom of keeping Advent originated in the fourth century in the churches of the East. It was only towards the end of that century that the date of Christmas was fixed for December 25th.
112. When is the first Sunday of Advent?
The first Sunday of Advent is the Sunday nearest to the Feast of St. Andrew, November 30th.
113. How is Advent kept?
Advent is kept by special prayer.
114. What is the earliest proof of special Advent exercises?
In a passage of St. Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks we find that St. Perpetuus, one of his predecessors in the See, had decreed in a. d. 480 that the faithful should fast three times a week from the feast of St. Martin (November 11th) to Christmas.
115. What was this period called?
This period was called St. Martin's Lent and his feast was kept with the same kind of rejoicing as Carnival.
116. When did this original observance of Advent cease?
Probably in the twelfth century, but the change was gradual and in time Advent came to be observed in its now modified form!
117. Which are the three "coinings" of Our Lord so often alluded to in the Liturgy for Advent?
1st. His coming in the Incarnation. 2d. His coming to each soul. 3d. His coming at the Last Judgment.
118. What does St. Bernard say of these comings?
He says, in the first Our Lord comes in the weakness of human nature; in the second, He comes in spirit and with power; in the third He comes in glory and in majesty.
119. What connection is there between the first coming and the length of Advent?
The world waited four thousand years for the Incarnation, we wait four weeks spent in special preparation.
120. What color is worn for church functions during Advent?
Purple is worn except on feast-days. This color shows with what sincerity the Church unites herself in spirit with the true Israelites who waited, in sackcloth and ashes, the coming of the Messiah.
121. What omission is there in the Ordinary of the Mass during Advent?
Except on the feast-days of Saints, the "Gloria in Excelsis" is omitted and instead of "Ite Missa est" the priest says "Benedica-mus Domino."
122. Is Advent a time of mourning then?
No, because though the "Gloria in Excelsis" and the "Te Deum" are not said, the "Alleluias" are continued.
123. Where is the station for the first Sunday in Advent?
In the Church of St. Mary Major under the protection of Our Lady and in this basilica where the Manger is kept, the Church begins Advent.
124. What is meant by the word station as used in the Missal?
The stations marked in the Missal, refer to former times when the clergy and people of Rome went in procession to the particular church named for that day and there said office and celebrated or assisted at Mass.
125. Where is the station of the second Sunday?
In the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, one of the oldest churches in Rome. Here the relics of the True Cross with the title, "Presented by Constantine the Great to this Church" are kept with great care.
126. Is there anything special to the third Sunday?
The third Sunday is called "Gaudete" because of the first word in the Introit; the organ is played, the priest wears a rose-colored vestment and the deacon and subdeacon wear dalmatic and tunic respectively. In the Cathedral the Bishop assists wearing the mitre, known as "precious" (i. e.r a mitre adorned with precious stones). The station is at St. Peter's.
127. When do the Advent Ember Days occur?
The Advent Ember Days occur on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after the third Sunday in Advent.
128. When did this custom originate?
From the very first centuries, the Church set apart three days in each of the four seasons as special days of petition and thanksgiving.
129. Besides consecrating the season to God, what other object has the Church in the Advent Ember Days?
She wishes to secure God's blessing on the ceremony of ordination, fixed for the Saturday of this week and (formerly at least) proclaimed to the people on Wednesday.
130. Is there anything special to the December ordination?
Yes, according to the directions of the early Popes, December was the only month during many centuries in which Holy Orders were conferred. Exceptions were made only for some extraordinary reason.
131. When the fourth Sunday and Christmas Eve coincide which takes precedence?
The vigil takes precedence.
132 Name some of the feasts which occur during Advent?
The feast of St. Andrew (November 30th) though it does not always occur in Advent will be found in the Missal at the opening of the Ecclesiastical year.
133. In order of time what feast comes next?
The feast of St. Francis Xavier (December 3d). He is called the Apostle of the Indies; he converted hundreds in India, and when his mission was well established there, he longed to go to China, but he died on the Island of Sancian, within sight of his Promised Land.
134. What feasts are kept on December 8th and December 18th?
On December 8th the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, and on the eighteenth the feast of the Expectation of Our Lady.
135. When was the dogma of the Immaculate Conception defined?
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was defined an article of faith on December 8, 1854, by Pope Pius IX.
136. What do you mean by the "O Antiphons"?
The "O Antiphons" are special Antiphons sung at Vespers from the seventeenth to the twenty-fourth of December. They are so called because each one begins with the interjection O (e. g., O wisdom proceeding from the mouth of the Almighty, etc.).
137. How is the vigil of Christmas Day spent?
In prayer and fasting but in the spirit of hope which sees its desires on the eve of fulfillment. If the vigil falls on Sunday, the office and Mass of the vigil are said in preference to those of the fourth Sunday.
138. How does the Church celebrate the Midnight Birth?
By Midnight Mass, which the faithful as far as possible attend.
139. What special privilege is granted to priests for this feast?
Each priest is allowed to say three Masses in honor of the triple birth of Our Lord: 1st. His generation from Eternity from the Father. 2d. His birth as man. 3d. His birth in the souls of the faithful.
140. Has the privilege been extended to any other days?
Yes, the Holy Father extended the privilege to November 20 since 1915, for the repose of the souls of those fallen in the War, and others according to his intentions.
141. Name some of the feasts which fall within the Octave of Christmas.
St. Stephen, St. John, The Holy Innocents, St. Thomas of Canterbury.
142. How does the Church show her sympathy with the mothers of the Holy Innocents?
She leaves aside the color of joy (white) and uses purple vestments which is the color of mourning. She also suppresses the Gloria (unless the feast falls on Sunday then the color of the vestments is red) and the Alleluias.
143. How does the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury differ from those we have been speaking about?
He does not belong to the first ages of the Church, neither is his name written in Scripture as those of St. Stephen, St. John and the Holy Innocents.
144. What are the next great feasts?
The feast of the Circumcision and the feast of the Epiphany, which are kept on January 1st and January 6th respectively.
145. What is the meaning of the word Epiphany?
The word Epiphany means "manifestation" and was chosen to signify God's showing Himself to man.
146. By what other name is the feast sometimes called?
It is sometimes called the feast of the Holy Lights, because it was one of the days chosen in the early Church for baptism, which is the sacrament of illumination, in memory of the baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan which tradition fixed for January 6th.
147. Has it still another name?
Yes, it is familiarly called King's Day in honor of the Magi whose arrival in Bethlehem the Church commemorates on this day.
148. What is meant by the triple manifestation?
The three manifestations of Our Lord mentioned in the offices on this one feast, are: 1st. His manifestation to the Magi guided by a star which had led them to His abode in Bethlehem; 2d. The manifestation of His divinity declared by the voice of the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan; 3d. The manifestation of His Power in changing water into wine at the marriage feast of Cana.
149. How did Christian Sovereigns once honor the faith of the Eastern kings?
By offering gifts of gold, incense and myrrh on the feast of the Epiphany.
150. Name some of the Sovereigns whom history records as faithful to the practice.
Theodosius and Charlemagne; Stephen of Hungary; Edward the Confessor; Ferdinand of Castille; Louis IX of France.
151. Name some of the feasts which fall between the Octave of the Epiphany and Septuagesima.
St. Paul the Hermit, St. Agnes, the Conversion of St. Paul, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Francis of Sales.
152. When is the feast of St. Agnes kept?
On January 21st, and on this day the Church honors her name by blessing two lambs. These lambs are then sent to a Monastery of nuns, by whom the lambs are tended.
153. What is made with their wool?
From their wool are made the Palliums sent by the Holy Father as a sign of their jurisdiction to all Patriarchs and Archbishops throughout the Catholic world.
154. When is Septuagesima Sunday celebrated?
Septuagesima Sunday is the ninth Sunday before Easter. The Liturgy from this day forward is of a penitential character. The altar is unadorned, the hymn "Gloria in Excelsis" is not sung, and purple or violet colored vestments are used. Besides this the Hebrew ejaculation of praise Alleluia is omitted no matter how solemn be the feast that is celebrated. .
155. What other changes appear in the Liturgy?
After the Gradual of the Mass a Tract, i. e., a series of verses from the psalms, is substituted for the Alleluia.
156. What does the word Lent mean?
Lent is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning Spring. It is the name given to the solemn fast observed by Catholics in preparation for Easter.
157. Is the practice of the Lenten fast an ancient one?
The Lenten fast dates back to Apostolic times as is attested by St. Jerome, St. Leo the Great, St. Cyril of Alexandria and others.
158. What custom prevailed up to the ninth century?
Up to the ninth century it was the custom not to break the fast until sunset. After that it was allowed to break the fast at the hour of none, that is 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and in the twelfth century this had become general. In the fourteenth century it became the general custom to break the fast at midday.
159. What other custom prevailed in the Middle Ages during the time of Lent?
From the ninth century onwards it was forbidden to carry arms or wage war during Lent.
160. Of what are we reminded by the forty days of Lent?
In the fast of forty days we are reminded of the forty days deluge—the forty years wandering in the desert, the forty days fast of Moses before he received the Tables of the Law, the forty days fast of Elias—and Our Lord's fast of forty days.
161. Mention some of the Rites which formerly prevailed in the Western Church during Lent.
All during Lent an immense veil or screen of violet was hung between the choir and the altar, so that the faithful could no longer see the sacred Mysteries which were celebrated at the altar.
162. What did this veil symbolize ?
This veil symbolized the mourning and spirit of penance of sinners who are not worthy to behold the Majesty of God. It also signified the humiliations of Christ, which veiled His divinity. This custom is still observed in the Metropolitan Church of Paris.
163. Did the Lenten fast always last forty days?
No, the length of the Lenten fast varied, and up to the time of Pope Gregory the Great, a. d. 600, lasted only thirty-six days and this older practice is still observed at Milan according to the Ambrosian Liturgy, but after the example set us by Our Lord Himself, a Lent of forty days has become practically universal.
164. From what ceremony does Ash Wednesday take its name?
Ash Wednesday takes its name from the ceremony of the faithful receiving ashes on that day, which is a vestige of the primitive rite, when public sinners did penance each year in sackcloth and ashes.
165. How are the ashes obtained for the ceremony of Ash Wednesday?
The Rubrics prescribe that the ashes used on this day, should be obtained by the burning of the palms blessed on Palm Sunday of the year before.
166. When do the Lenten Ember Days occur?
The Lenten Ember Days are on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after the first Sunday in Lent.
167. What is meant by Ember Days?
The Ember Days called in Latin "Quatuor Tempora" are the Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays of four weeks taken in each of the four seasons of the year and set apart as days of strict fasting and abstinence.
168. When did they originate?
They originated in Rome at the time of the Emperor Con-stantine. They were first days of prayer and later were chosen as the regular days for giving Holy Orders.
169. What addition is there to the Mass on the Ember Wednesdays, and Saturdays?
Two or more Epistles or Lessons are added, together with additional prayers or Collects.
170. What is there to be noticed about the fourth Sunday in Lent?
On the fourth Sunday in Lent which is called Mid-Lent Sunday, the Liturgical austerity of Lent is somewhat relaxed. The altar is adorned with flowers, the organ is played, and the priest may wear rose-colored vestments instead of violet ones.
171. What custom is observed at Home on this Sunday?
On the fourth Sunday of Lent the Pope blesses a rose made of gold, known as the Golden Rose, and carries it himself in procession. The rose is afterwards bestowed as a mark of special favor on some remarkable personage.
172. What is Passion Sunday?
Passion Sunday is the fifth Sunday in Lent. From this date the Preface of the Holy Cross is said daily at Mass, and as in Masses for the dead the Psalm, "Judica me" and the "Gloria Patri" are omitted.
173. What striking practice is customary in the churches from Passion Sunday to the end of Lent?
The crosses, statues and pictures in the churches are all veiled from Passion Sunday till Holy Saturday.
174. Why are they covered?
All crosses and images are covered during Passiontide to inspire the faithful with greater compunction, in being deprived of the consolation of seeing these objects of devotion.
175. What Feasts of Saints usually occur during Lent?
St. Matthias, Apostle, February 24th or 25th; St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, March 7th; St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor, March 12th; St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, March 17th; St. Joseph, March 19th; St. Benedict, March 21st; St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor, April 11th.
176. When the Feast of St. Joseph and the Annunciation of Our Lady fall in Passiontide when are they kept?
The feast of St. Joseph is transferred to Wednesday in Low Week and the Annunciation to Monday in Low Week.
177. Why is Holy Week so called?
It is so called on account of the grandeur and holiness of the great mysteries which it commemorates.
178. Since when has Holy Week been set apart for special veneration by the faithful?
In the third century it was already in great veneration, and in the fourth century St. John Chrysostom speaks of it in one of his homilies as "the Great Week."
179. How does the Church prepare us by her Liturgy for the celebration of the Passion in Holy Week?
The "Gloria Patri" is no longer said. The Lamentations of Jeremias are sung at the evening office. The vestments of violet are changed for black on Good Friday. The crosses are veiled and the statues and pictures also.
180. Why is Palm Sunday so called and what mysteries are commemorated on that day?
It is so called because palms are solemnly blessed on that day and distributed to the faithful in memory of Our Lord's entry into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass.
181. What meaning do the Fathers of the Church give to the use of these animals?
The ass represents the Jews who had been long under the yoke of the Law, and the colt "upon which no man yet hath sat" represents the Gentiles.
182. What Gospel is read on Palm Sunday and what is the meaning of the procession on that day?
The Gospel of St. Matthew is read at Mass on Palm Sunday because St. Matthew was the first Evangelist to write the Passion, and the procession in memory of the deliverance of the Jews from their slavery in Egypt and of their entrance into the Promised Land. It signifies also Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
183. Why is the office of Tenebrae so called?
Tenebrae means darkness, and it is so called from the ceremony of extinguishing the candles during it, till at last it is finished in total darkness recalling that of Calvary.
184. What is the meaning of the candles lighted during Tenebrae?
They mean the light of faith; the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity being symbolized by the triangular candlestick.
185. When are these candles extinguished?
At the end of each of the fourteen Psalms a candle of the triangular candlestick is extinguished, and a candle on the altar at the end of every second verse of the Benedictus, showing how the Jews were deprived of the light of faith when they put Our Lord to death. The fifteenth candle representing the Light of the world is hidden for a time behind the altar and brought out at the end of Tenebrae still burning.
186. On which days of Holy Week are the other three Gospels of the Passion read?
St. Mark's Gospel is read on Tuesday, St. Luke's on Wednesday, and St. John's on Good Friday.
187. In olden times how many Masses were celebrated on Maundy Thursday?
Three solemn Masses were celebrated. Before the first there took place the ceremony of the "reconciliation of the penitents." The second Mass was accompanied with the blessing of the Holy Oils (and Chrism). The third Mass which is the only one said in our days, is in memory of the Last Supper and the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament. It is one of the most solemn of the whole year.
188. Why are there fewer Masses on Maundy Thursday?
The Church wishing to bring before us the grandeur and unity of the Last Supper given by Our Lord to His Apostles and in their persons to us all, forbids the celebration of private Masses on this day unless in a case of great necessity. Only one Mass is offered in each church at which all the priests assist and communicate, wearing the stole as symbol of the priestly office.
189. In what does this Mass differ from the others in Holy Week?
Though the office of this -day is of the Passion, the Mass is of the Holy Eucharist and is therefore filled with joy and thanksgiving. The vestments are white like those worn on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday the "Gloria in Excelsis" is sung during which the bells joyfully peal.
190. Why are the hells and the organ silent after the Gloria?
The silence is to honor Our Lord's silence during His Passion and also to express the mourning of the Church.
191. Why is the kiss of peace not given as is usual at a High Mass?
This is to remind us of Judas, who chose this sign of friendship, a kiss, with which to betray Our Lord, and the Church wishes to remind us of this traitorous act.
192. What do the Rubrics prescribe on this day at the consecration?
That two Hosts should be consecrated, one for the sacrifice of the Mass, the other for Good Friday.
193. What is done with the second Host?
After Mass It is borne in solemn procession to a side-altar or Repository decorated with lights and flowers, where It remains for the adoration of the faithful until Good Friday morning.
194. What is the meaning of stripping the altars after Vespers ?
This ceremony refers to the stripping of Our Savior's garments and the bareness of the altars signifies that in His Passion He lost all His beauty and comeliness. The priest and choir say
or chant the twenty-first Psalm, "Deus, Deus meus," during the ceremony.
195. How is the Blessed Sacrament carried to the altar of repose?
The Blessed Sacrament is not carried in a monstrance as on the feast of Corpus Christi, but in a chalice veiled in white silk. The faithful follow, carrying candles and singing the "Panee Lingua."
196. What is the ceremony of the "Mandatum"?
The washing of the feet called in the Rubrics "Mandatum " or the "Commandment," owes its institution to the words and example of Our Savior when He washed the Apostles' feet before the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament. It reminds us to imitate Our Lord's humility in offices of charity, as well as to cleanse our souls from the stains of sin.
197. Is there any other reason why this ceremony is called the "Mandatum" ?
Yes, it is so called because the first word of the Antiphon sung during the washing of the feet begins with the word "Mandatum," taken from the Gospel of the day.
198. Is this custom of ancient origin?
Yes, St. Paul speaks of it as one of the holy widows' offices to the Saints. It was customary in the times of the martyrs. In the Lives of the Saints frequent allusions are made to it, and today the Holy Father gives the example to the whole Church, which is followed by Bishops and Catholic sovereigns as in ancient times.
199. Who are generally chosen to take part in this ceremony?
Twelve poor people are chosen, but the Holy Father washes the feet of thirteen priests of thirteen different nations. In Cathedral Churches thirteen is the number chosen.
200. What is the reason of this number?
It is supposed to arise from an incident in the life of St. Gregory the Great; one day as he was washing the feet of twelve beggars, a thirteenth was found among them. He had entered unperceived and was an angel sent by God to show how pleasing to Him was St. Gregory's charity.
201. What pious custom is there of honoring the Blessed Sacrament on Maundy Thursday?
It is customary to pay seven visits to the altar of repose on this day, either to seven different churches or to one, and in religious houses there is night-adoration.
202. What are the principal ceremonies on Good Friday? The Divine service is divided into four parts: 1. There is reading of prophecies; 2. then follow the beautiful prayers in supplication for all men imploring that the fruit of the Passion may be applied to all; 3. after these prayers there is Adoration of the Cross; 4. the Mass of the Presanctified.
203. Why is the Mass so called?
The Mass of the Presanctified is so called because the priest does not consecrate on Good Friday, but consumes the second Host, which he consecrated during the Mass on Maundy Thursday.
204. Which are the principal ceremonies on Holy Saturday?
On this day the altars deprived of their ornaments on Maundy Thursday are again clothed. The office begins with the lighting of a triple candle to signify the light of Christ and the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.
205. What special blessings precede the office of Holy Saturday?
Outside the Church door the celebrant and deacons go to'a place prepared for the blessing of the new fire and incense. The fire represents Christ risen from the tomb outside the Gates of Jerusalem, hence the reason that fire is blessed outside the Church.
206. When is the Paschal Candle blessed and what does it signify ?
The Paschal Candle is blessed by the deacon before the office and is a figure of the Body of Jesus Christ; not lighted at first, it represents Him dead and the five blessed grains of incense fixed in it denote the aromatic spices that embalmed His five Sacred Wounds.
207. What does the lighting of the Paschal Candle signify?
It is a representation of Our Lord's Resurrection, and the
lighting of the lamps and other candles afterwards teaches us that
the Resurrection of the Head will be followed by that of the members.
208. What other special blessing takes place on Holy Saturday?
The baptismal font is also blessed with very beautiful and sacred ceremonies.
209. Does Mass begin immediately after the blessing of the new fire?
No, the celebrant now changes his white vestments for a purple chasuble and reads twelve Prophecies in a low voice at the Epistle corner of the altar while one or more deacons in turn read them aloud in the church.
210. Why are the Prophecies read before Mass?
The Prophecies are read before Mass because in olden times the neophytes received baptism, and the Prophecies, each followed by a prayer, were read during the long baptismal rites.
211. What follows the reading of the Prophecies?
The priests and deacons sing the Litany of the Saints prostrate on the altar steps, to implore heavenly blessing on all the neophytes in the different parts of the world.
212. What takes place immediately after the Litany?
While the deacons are singing the last "Kyrie Eleison," the celebrant goes up to the altar clad in white vestments. He incenses the altar and intones the "Gloria," then the bells ring, the organ peals and the church is flooded with light.
213. What is the origin of the word Easter?
The word Easter is of pagan origin, but by a coincidence of dates has been, by the Teutonic and other peoples whose language they have influenced, preserved to denote the feast of the Resurrection. In other languages a word is employed derived from the word Pasch or Passover.
214. When is the feast kept?
Easter is kept on the first Sunday following the full moon after March 21st. The earliest possible Easter day is March 22d, the latest, April 25th.
215. What is the distinctive feature of the Easter rite?
The constant repeating of the word "Alleluia," the Hebrew shout of joy, which means "Praise the Lord."
216. Why is the following Sunday called Low Sunday?
Low Sunday is so called by contrast with Easter or High Sunday. It has this name, however, only in English, in the Liturgy it is called "Dominica in Albis," Sunday in white garments, as those baptized on Holy Saturday laid aside the evening before this day their white robes worn since then.
217. What are the Rogation Days?
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day are called Rogation Days from the Latin word signifying Asking or Petitioning. The Roman Church, in the eighth century, set them apart as days of special prayer for the fruits of the earth. On each day the Litany of the Saints is sung or said.
218. Are they fast days?
There are no fasts between Easter and Whitsun Eve in memory of the word of Our Lord: "Can the children of the Bridegroom fast whilst the Bridegroom is with them?"
219. What special ceremony is there on Ascension Day?
On Ascension Day the Paschal Candle is extinguished. It has burned during Mass for forty days since Easter, symbolizing the life upon earth of the risen Christ.
220. What likeness is there between Whitsun Eve and Holy Saturday?
Like Holy Saturday, Whitsun Eve was set apart by the primitive Church for the administration of solemn baptism. Six prophecies are read, the font is blessed, the Litany of the Saints sung, and bells are rung at the "Gloria."
221. Whence the name of Whitsunday?
It is so called in English in allusion to the white robes of the newly baptized, the Ecclesiastical name is Pentecost.
222. What is the meaning of the word Pentecost?
The word Pentecost means fiftieth. It is the Jewish Feast of Weeks, celebrated on the fiftieth day after the Pasch and made sacred to Christians by the coming down of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles.
223. Why are the vestments red on Whitsunday?
The vestments on Whitsunday are red in memory of the Holy Ghost having come down in the form of tongues of fire.
224. What is the Octave day of Whitsunday called?
The Octave day of Whitsunday is called Trinity Sunday, as it is celebrated in honor of the Holy and Undivided Trinity.
225. Why is a feast kept in honor of the Blessed Sacrament on the following Thursday as well as on Maundy Thursday?
Maundy Thursday is partly taken up with commemoration of the Passion and therefore the Church cannot rejoice as fully as she would wish to do in the thought of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. We owe the feast to a vision of St. Juliana of Liège.
226. Is there any great feast kept at this time?
The Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi is consecrated to the Sacred Heart in response to an appeal for reparation made by Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary.
227. How many Sundays after Pentecost are there?
The least number is twenty-four. If Easter has been an early one and the Sundays after Epiphany omitted, these are inserted after the twenty-third Sunday.
228. What feasts of Our Lady are kept between March 22d and December 1st?
The greatest feast is that of the Annunciation, called in England, Lady Day, March 25th. It is kept in honor of the announcement made by the Archangel Gabriel to Our Lady of the Incarnation of the Son of God.
229. What lesser feast do we keep in her honor?
Our Lady Help of Christians, May 24th, instituted in thanksgiving by Pope Pius VII. for the end of the exile of the Sovereign Pontifs; the Visitation, July 2d; Mount Carmel, July 16th; her Nativity, September 8th.
230. Are any of Our Lady's feasts Holydays of obligation?
Yes, the feast of the Assumption of her body into Heaven, which we keep August 15th, is a holyday of obligation, and the Immaculate Conception, December 8th.
231. Name some other feasts in honor of Mary at this time of the year?
The Immaculate Heart on the Saturday following the Octave of the Assumption and the Holy Name of Mary, September 12 th, instituted in thanksgiving for the defeat of the Turks at Vienna by Sobieski and the deliverance of Europe from the infidels.
232. Why is the Litany of the Saints sung on the feast of St. Mark, April 25th?
This day sacred to the gods of Pagan Rome was by some of the early Popes set apart as a day of special prayer for the averting of God's anger, and the imploring of His blessing on the labors of the year. St. Gregory the Great obtained on this day the miraculous cessation of a terrible plague.
233. Why are some feasts, such as those of the Apostles, said to have vigils?
A vigil means a watch. The early Christians spent the eve of the feast in prayer and watching. All vigils were formerly fast days.
234. Why is the Nativity of St. John the Baptist kept on June 24th, whilst no other Saint's birthday is kept?
Because, unlike all other saints who were born in original sin, the birth of St. John was holy owing to the visit of our Blessed Lady.
235. Is there any reason for the single feast of SS. Peter and Paul?
SS. Peter and Paul were both martyred on the same day at Rome, St. Peter crucified, St. Paul beheaded. Now, one is never mentioned without the other.
236. What is Petertide?
The time between the Feast of St. Peter, June 29th, and the Feast of his Chains, August 1st, is called Petertide.
237. Why is this latter day called Lammas?
At the Altar of St. Peter at Vincula where his chains are kept, it was formerly the custom on this day to offer the first bread baked from the wheat harvest of the year. This gave to the feast its popular name of "Loaf-Mass" or Lammas.
238. Why is the Creed said at Mass on the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, alone of all women saints?
Because she is styled by the Church "the Apostle of the Apostles," being sent by Our Lord to them to announce His Resurrection.
239. When is the feast of the Seven Dolors of Mary?
The Seven Dolors of Mary are commemorated on September
15th. This is one of the few Masses that has a Sequence, viz., the Stabat Mater.
240. What feast is kept on September 14th?
The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to commemorate the victory of the Emperor Heraclius over the Persians when he recovered the True Cross from their possession, and carried it in triumph to Jerusalem.
241. What is the special devotion of October?
The Rosary recited in common to obtain perfect liberty for the Holy Father.
242. Why do we keep one feast in honor of all the Saints on November 1st?
To honor all those in Heaven, canonized or uncanonized. It is a day of rejoicing in the Communion of Saints. Because of this same communion the following day we commemorate all the faithful departed who are still suffering in Purgatory and we try to assist them by our prayers.