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He Made It One More Sunday

It shouldn’t surprise me–the incredible amount of interest in the fate of Fr. Altman–but it does. For those of you who are interested, he made it one more Sunday at our parish. (Remember, this whole process could take awhile.)

Naturally our church was filled with visitors today, making Communion twice as long. Not that we cared. I spoke with one family that drove three hours with their five little children. Two old ladies, from somewhere far away, sat in front of us, asking my daughter to set their missal ribbons and loving every minute of it. I met two other families from California afterwards, and LifeSiteNews filmed it all.

Of course Father’s local, faithful families were there too. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

A Happy Trinity Sunday to all of you!

I’m sorry I don’t have any new photos this week, but as you can imagine, it’s nice to just be and pray at Mass.

P.S. I am going on vacation for a few days. It might be a week or two before I update here.

P.P.S. We’re moving into our Summer Schedule. I hope to write about that soon.

This photo is from a few weeks ago, but today’s vestments were the same for Trinity Sunday.

P.P.P.S. All right, I know this is a ridiculous number of post scripts, but I have to link to my sons’ favorite server video. Likely you’ve already seen it, as it’s a year old, but it’s hysterical. Watch it again for fun HERE.

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Father Altman’s Last Sunday?

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday–a glorious day in honor of the coming of the Holy Spirit. In spite of the great liturgical beauty, however, it was also heart-rending, as Father Altman announced that the bishop is requesting his resignation. Apparently there are powerful people out there who do not like Father’s clearcut teaching, and who are applying pressure on the local bishop to silence him.

I understand there is a canonical process to be followed, and things may still turn out favorable for our parish and Father, but we also know from John 15, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” We are not very hopeful.

The whole situation is rather ironic, though. A faithful priest, preaching the Truth, is silenced, while other vocal priests, preaching open heresy, are promoted and adored.

In the very end, Truth will prevail. It just might not be on this earth.

If you’d like more, click HERE for LifeSiteNews.

Photos From Pentecost Sunday

Father Altman silently praying the Sequence while the schola sings the corresponding verses in Latin.

I apologize for the haziness of the photos; it’s all that lovely incense, however.

Father always prays a thanksgiving after Mass with the altar servers. I cannot tell you how beautiful it is to witness this. How many priests take the time to pray a thanksgiving? Let alone with the altar servers? (Photo submitted by a reader.)

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Ascension Thursday, Not Sunday

Yesterday marked exactly 40 days since the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is known as the feast of the Ascension. Since Easter Sunday is always on a Sunday, then the great feast of the Ascension, is always on a Thursday.

Since Vatican II, however, many dioceses have transferred the feast of the Ascension to the following Sunday. I think this does a disservice, however, to the faithful for at least two reasons, if not more.

  1. The original Holy Spirit Novena becomes muddled at best and completely lost at worst. You see, prior to ascending into heaven, Christ commanded the disciples to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which they did for nine days. (From Friday to the Vigil of Pentecost.) After praying for nine days, the Holy Spirit did indeed come. We name this feast Pentecost as it comes exactly 50 days after the Resurrection. (Pentecost meaning 50.) Moving the Ascension to Sunday, corrupts the original plea to pray for nine days. (The word novena comes from the Latin word for nine.)
  2. The Pascal Candle, which symbolizes the Risen Christ, loses significance. On Ascension Thursday, after the Gospel reading, the Pascal candle is extinguished. Remember, the Pascal Candle symbolizes the Risen Christ. Therefore, it should not remain lit once Christ ascends into heaven, which again, happens on a Thursday. This “extinguishing” serves as a reminder to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. If the feast day is moved, however, the candle loses significance.

There are others who have written at length about these things. If you want more, Fr. Z wrote a short bit HERE on the absurdity of Ascension “Thursday Sunday.”

Photos For Fun

I snapped a few shots yesterday of the Ascension Mass at St. James the Less with Fr. Altman. Note the Pascal Candle and remember to begin praying the Holy Spirit Novena today!

Incensing the altar, prior to the Gospel reading.

The reading of the Gospel. Note the Pascal Candle off to the left, which is still lit.

Extinguishing the Pascal Candle* after the Gospel.

The Sanctus.

*The altar boys affectionately nicknamed our Pascal Candle “Terror of Demons,” after noting the prayer that “every evil device of Satan depart” at it’s blessing on Holy Saturday.

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The 8th Day: Low Sunday

Easter is so important that it gets an octave, or eight days, not just one. Easter Sunday, or High Sunday, is the first day of the octave and today, the eighth day, is the last Sunday–Low Sunday.

I love octaves. It’s the only time when “time” is suspended, as one day is drawn out over eight.

To make matters more complicated (or fun!) there are a few other names given to today too–Dominica in Albis and Quasimodo Sunday. The former is so called because the neophytes, or the newly baptized at Easter, would now lay aside their baptismal garments, which were white. The word “Dominica” has refers to the Lord’s Day and “albis” refers to the color white.

The name “Quasimodo” comes from the introit for today which reads, “Quasi modo geniti infants…” This means, “As newborn babes..” It was a common practice to refer to particular Masses by the opening words of the introit.

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also Divine Mercy Sunday in the the New Calendar. Deo gratias!

In honor of this glorious day, I snapped a few photos of the Traditional Latin Mass at St. James the Less with Fr. Altman presiding.

The canon of the Mass.
The servers are about to pray the Confiteor before receiving Holy Communion.
The servers line up for the Last Gospel, which Fr. Altman reads in the background.
The Recessional

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Palm Sunday Penitential Procession

As we officially enter Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, I’m offering a quick photo post of our Penitential Procession. It was a bit breezy outside, but beautiful nonetheless.

As the procession turned a corner, I quickly snapped these shots. You can see Fr. Altman near the stop sign. The choir, which you cannot see, is near the turn, followed by the rest of the flock–all holding palm branches.

Check out that smoke from the thurible. During the Mass, which followed, the incense was so thick, I felt veiled in mystery, literally. Father likes to lay it on thick.

The procession ends at the church doors with the choir chanting Gloria Laus et Honor. Then, father strikes the doors with the end of the processional cross, which is a pre-55* liturgical action, and represents Christ breaking open the doors of heaven by the power of the cross.

Truly, if you’ve never attended a Traditional Latin Mass Holy Week, give it a shot. It’s glorious.

May God bless you this coming week!

*Pre-55 refers to the Holy Week that the Church celebrated for hundreds of years until Annibale Bugnini began his liturgical tinkering, ultimately ending with the 1970 Novus Ordo Missae.

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Passion Sunday is Coming

Passion Sunday is only a few days away.  Get your purple cloth ready!

Here’s a shot of our mantel from last year:

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In our home, I only veil the images where we gather as a family to pray, which happens to be the living room.

Passion Sunday is also Judica Sunday

On Passion Sunday, Psalm 42 is highlighted in the Introit and pleadingly states,

“Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for Thou art God my strength.”

“Judica” is the latin word for “judge,” which is where we get the name.

If you’ll remember in the TLM, Psalm 42 is also prayed every Sunday during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, but on Passion Sunday these prayers are omitted and will not return until Easter Sunday.  This is something like the Gloria and the Alleluia, which disappeared earlier, however, at the beginning of the “Gesima” Sundays.  All of these are omitted because they are associated with the Paschal joy of the Risen Christ.

In other words, we have this stripping away of Pascal references in order to sharpen our awareness of Christ’s Passion, which is why we refer to these final two weeks of Lent as Passiontide.

It’s beautiful how it all comes together.

Veiling of Images for Passiontide

My children always look forward to Passion Sunday, if only to see the images disappear from our fireplace mantel and the church.

All statuary in St. James the Less are veiled for Passiontide, except those way, way up high on the crossbeam.

This tradition of veiling images began sometime in the ninth century to reflect the readings of the TLM.  For example, the Gospel for Passion Sunday is always John 8 wherein the Jews take up stones to cast at Jesus, but he mysteriously passes through the crowd unseen and then hides.  Therefore, the veiling of images reminds us that Christ’s Divinity was hidden at the time of His Passion and death.

Think about that for a minute.  Again, it’s astounding how all these things come together.  Of course His Divinity was hidden!  Otherwise everyone would have believed, not just that centurion at the foot of the cross.

Secondly, veiling also strips us of visual stimuli.  Throughout the year we may become accustomed to looking at and praying with our crucifixes and icons, and so taking them away for a time helps us paradoxically to become more aware of them.

Seriously, I’m always excited for Easter Sunday for the obvious reasons, but then, how exciting to see these beautiful statues again!

Give It a Try

If you’ve never veiled your images at home before, give it a try.  It’s pretty easy to do.  I just bought a yard of purple cloth at Hobby Lobby and cut it into squares.  I’ve also heard of families using purple tissue paper in a pinch.

And speaking of veiling…

Ah, what a lovely thing to do for love of Jesus. Dear ladies, have you ever tried veiling yourself? We, too, “hide” ourselves to be only visible to Him.

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Kids and Lent

It’s not too late!  Would you like any ideas for your children during this Lenten Season?  If so, read on.  If not, I’ll see you next time.

The Children: Lent 2021

Before you read on, however, I want to remind you that all families are different, and just because the following works for us, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll work for you.  I only offer this with the thought that it may give you an idea or two, if you’d like one.

Without further ado…

The 3 pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  So I’ll break it down for you.

Prayer

The four older children join my husband and me every morning for Lauds.  I’ve written about it here.  Even though we’ve been doing this for years, most mornings the children are in a drowsy stupor.  We’d like for them to be more intentional during this time, if possible.  So we’re working on it.  The Eldest has her own breviary; it’s likely time to invest in books for the boys too.

At breakfast every morning I normally read aloud from the Bible, but during Lent, I’m reading the Mass propers and readings from our 1962 missal, this is especially beautiful because the readings correspond to the Stational Churches, which my husband reads in the evening.

If you’re not familiar with the Roman Stational Churches, you’re missing out!  They are ancient; they are holy.  Click HERE for the particular booklet that I’m talking about, which is available from Biretta Books.  (Or was available.)  NLM, however, does a great job of posting actual pictures of the churches in Rome with commentary.  Click HERE for an example.

We are also praying St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Stations of the Cross in our home every Friday night.  A few years ago my husband had ordered a bunch of those booklets from Tan Publishing.  When Friday night rolls around, the girls and I grab a copy, the boys process with lighted candles, and my husband leads the prayers in front of homemade plaques that a dear friend of mine gave me a few years ago.  It’s lovely.

Fasting

The children are all too young to do any serious fasting, but they’re not too young to begin somewhere.  Since all them are capable of abstaining from desserts and candy for 46 days, they do that.  Of course we don’t eat meat on Fridays, but that’s a given.  We do that all year around anyway.

But the older children can do more.  On Fridays, they eat plain bread for breakfast, and then during Lent, they add a day–Wednesdays.

Almsgiving

As the children don’t earn any money at all, this one’s out.

Let Us Know!

If you have any other great ideas, I’d love to hear about them.

Lastly…Need a boost?  My husband and I greatly enjoyed Patrick Coffin’s interview with Tony Roman, a restaurant owner in California who’s fighting back.  (How I wish more men would follow his example.)  His heroes are Jesus Christ and George Washington.  Watch it now, for I’ll bet it gets censored and disappears.

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Our Lady of Lourdes Today

Happy Feast Day!

Our family will be slipping off to Mass to honor Our Lady of Lourdes this morning in the bitter, bitter cold. Afterwards, we’ll be driving straight to Dunkin’ Donuts. Then later? We’ll probably watch an old movie of St. Bernadette. There was a black and white one done in the 1940s, based off of Franz Werfel’s novel The Song of Bernadette. (Have you ever read that book? It’s worth it.) There was another movie too, done later, that I also enjoy. We’ll see.

In any case, I like Our Lady of Lourdes. I like everything about it–Our Lady beautifully illumined and attired, and yet appearing in a pig sty, humble Bernadette dutifully following her instructions, Bernadette’s rotten home life, her incessant coughing, her drunken father, her sweet brothers–all of it!

If you’ve never watched one of those movies, take a break today. Sit down and enjoy one with your children.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

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Candlemas and Crayon Wreckers

Yesterday was Candlemas, February 2nd, which is sometimes referred to as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or even the Presentation of Our Lord (in the Temple). It marks the fortieth day since the birth of Jesus and the end of the Christmas season.

Last night, during the Confiteor, at St. James the Less parish.

Prior to Mass, there was a special blessings of candles. If you’d like a detailed explanation of the great symbolic beauty of this blessing and Candlemas, click HERE for Fr. Z.

Our family loves this holy day. Why? I can think of 6 reasons:

  1. Most of the church’s lights are left off, with only one illuminating the altar.
  2. Every candle the church owns is lit and flickering mysteriously.
  3. Every person, old enough to reasonably hold a candle, gets one.
  4. There’s a procession with innumerable altar boys and acolytes and the rest of us holding our candles in clouds of incense while the choir chants beautiful antiphons in Latin.
  5. Prior to the procession, father blesses, incenses, and sprinkles with holy water everyone’s candles that had been brought from home and placed on or near the St. Joseph altar. (We had a big box blessed for use in our home.)
  6. Did I mention we get to hold lit candles nearly the whole time?
Beginning of the Procession. The rest of the servers and acolytes are already in the aisle. The whole congregation filed after father and processed around the church in candlelight.

Kids naturally love this, but so do adults. If you ever get a chance to attend one, jump at it.

Broken Crayon Syndrome and Crayon Wreckers

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a problem that this household has. It’s called Broken Crayon Syndrome.

Let me explain. The other day the Little Girls brought to my attention the lack of pretty crayon colors. In other words, we only had “ugly” colors left: green yellow, peach, and apricot. All the “pretty” colors were used up and gone. You know, like pink and purple.

Unused, ugly crayon colors. Therefore, these crayons have an especially long lifespan.

Since I’m an attentive and obliging mother, I dutifully bought a new pack of 24 crayons a month or so after the lodged complaint. Naturally the girls were very excited to use the new crayons, and sat right down to color. Now, no coloring books could be found, nor could any clean, white paper, but that didn’t bother them. Undaunted, they just took some cardboard out of the garbage can and hacked away.

Until, SNAP! Broken crayon. SNAP, SNAP! More broken crayons. SNAP, SNAP, SNAP! Broken crayons everywhere! In their race and excitement to color, they just broke the crayons. But what’s worse, they didn’t even care! They could still use them. Ah!

But I cared about those broken crayons–those lovely pinks and purples and blues! What a shame. What if I happened to want to color? It does happen every now and then. (Ok, fine, it doesn’t, but still.)

How long do you suppose that blue lasted? Oh, about 3 seconds for one Crayon Wrecker to smack away at that piece of garbage you can see there. And note the broken purple in the box.

What a bunch of Crayon Wreckers.

I caught one Crayon Wrecker red-handed, coloring on some cardboard. Guess how long that crayon remained intact? Oh, .2 seconds.

Good thing she’s cute.

And willing to use broken crayons because I’m not buying new ones for at least a year. I don’t care if we’re only down to “ugly” colors.

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Septuagesima Sunday is Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Septuagesima Sunday*–in the Old Calendar.  Kind of a funny name, no?  It means that we’re on the threshold of Lent.  Are you ready?

Septuagesima, Sexagesima, & Quinquagesima Sundays

In the Old Calendar, the three Sundays prior to Ash Wednesday were specifically dedicated to preparing one for Lent, and they have Latin names: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima.  They mean, seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth, which is to say, it’s roughly 70 days until Easter, 60 days until Easter, and fifty days until Easter.  Tomorrow, we’ll be at Septuagesima.

In the Old Calendar during the three weeks prior to the actual start of Lent, priests wore violet vestments and certain elements of the Mass were dropped, like the Gloria and the Alleluia.  (In fact, there’s a sweet tradition of physically burying the Alleluia, only to dig it up again at Easter.)  All of these things were meant to get you thinking.  Sober up, people!  Let’s start preparing.

The 3 Pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, & Almsgiving

During these fore-lenten Sundays, my husband and I like to begin preparing for Lent.  We take a look at the classic 3 pillars of lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Below I’ll offer a few thoughts for you all to consider.

Prayer:

  1. Do you set aside a time to pray, every single day?  If not, what’s stopping you?
  2. For those of you who are married, are you praying with your spouse?  Every day?
  3. Or how about learning to pray the breviary? Lauds? Compline?
  4. For those of you with children, are you praying with them every day?
  5. How about a daily family rosary?
  6. Fathers, are you blessing your children every day?
  7. And finally, go to confession!  At bare, rock-bottom minimum, go at least once this season.  If you’d like a challenge, consider going every other week or so.
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Again, go to confession!  You won’t regret it.

Fasting:

Fasting is the second great pillar of Lent.  In our culture, this one gets ignored a lot.  And we need it.  I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Mark 9:28-29, “And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast [the demon] out?”  And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”

Do you have something in your life that needs casting out?  Try fasting.  Do you know of someone who really needs Jesus?  Try fasting.

If you’ve never done this before, start small.  Give up one meal a week.  If you’re accustomed to weekly fasting, try two days a week.

But NOT if you’re pregnant or nursing. Goodness, mothers, be careful with this one. I’ve written about it before. Here.

Almsgiving:

This one’s a little tricky, as every family is in a different place financially.

The point during Lent is to work towards the virtue of generosity – the virtue of being unattached to material goods and in gift giving.  During Lent, one may look at it in two ways:

  1. How can our family work towards giving more of our total income?
  2. In what ways am I able to make a monetary sacrifice during Lent to benefit a charity?

The first one…again, as each family is different, this one cannot have some uniform answer.  Wherever you’re at on this one, take a step towards giving more of your total income.  If you’re currently giving 1%, try 2% and so on.

A true tithe would be a full 10% of your income, however.  (The word tithe means one tenth.) If you really want a challenge, and are already tithing 10% of your income, then give 10% of your total income before taxes.  And tithe that bonus too.

The second point…during Lent make an additional monetary sacrifice.  For example, maybe you are accustomed to dining out a few times each month.  Consider not eating out, and expressly give that budgeted money away to your favorite charity.

In the end, God cannot be outdone in generosity, and He will reward you.  Just take the first step.

And Lastly, a Lenten Challenge

Have you ever wondered what it was like for most Catholics throughout the history of our Church to pray the Mass?  I mean, what was it like for St. Catherine of Siena to receive the Eucharist?    Or which Mass inspired the great writings of St. Thomas Aquinas?  Or the great missionaries? Or St. Therese the Little Flower? Or Padre Pio?

For nearly 2000 years Catholics have been worshipping the same way at the Latin Mass, and if you’ve got one near you, check it out.  Don’t worry about not understanding everything. Who cares, you know? Everyone has to start somewhere.

Some of you, however, may not have access to any Mass or Sacraments at all, and my heart breaks for you. Truly. Just the other day I received an email from a gentleman in South Africa. They are starving for Truth there. For that matter, people are starving for Truth everywhere. In Canada, too. For example, there’s this piece written by one of my favorite writers at OnePeterFive, Dan Millette. My heart breaks for his family. What a difficult situation.

In any event, God does know of your particular situations, and He cares.

May God bless you all this Lent.

*Want more about Septuagesima Sunday? Click HERE for a piece at New Liturgical Movement

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The Goodness of God

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write something here. This morning it struck me that I had better speak up and speak loudly about the goodness of God. I am choosing this topic for a few reasons.

Why Write About the Goodness of God?

  1. Because it’s true, God is good.
  2. Yes, He really is, even if godless government officials are mandating all kinds of madness and the world seems incredibly dark and upside down, and God seems nowhere to be found. (He is very much to be found, however.)
  3. Satan hates it when we glorify God and speak of His goodness.
  4. Again, Satan really does hate it. In St. Faustina’s Diary–a book everyone should read–Satan howls at Faustina in a fury, “She writing everything, she’s writing everything, and because of this we are losing so much! Do not write about the goodness of God; He is just!”

Now, I am not St. Faustina, but Satan is Satan, and it’s true that he hates for anyone to acknowledge the goodness of God, which is why we should frequently do this.

Did you notice, by the way, what Satan screamed at Faustina? The truth. Because she’s writing about the goodness of God, Satan loses. He even admits that God is a just God. Incredible.

So this morning, after a harrowing night of insomnia and children incessantly waking up, I’m speaking about God’s goodness.

God’s Goodness

Last night we were at Monday Night Prayer Group, where five families gather together with their babies and young children and kneel to pray the rosary. Amidst the squirming mayhem, I noticed that one father actually fell asleep during it all. He was so tired, he slumped in a chair, and was out. When he awoke, he smiled and acknowledged that he was worn out. You see, he knew that his pregnant wife was at her wits’ end and needed a break, so he held the crying baby all night so that she could sleep.

And he smiled about it.

I thought about that last night when I was lying awake at 10pm, 11pm, and then at midnight when I finally got out of bed to pray. I knelt in front of a picture of Jesus and listened to my husband sleeping and also thought of a friend of mine, recovering from a serious illness. I then thought of my son and the heartrending headaches he had had earlier in the day. I thought of my dad, too.

What could I do?

I did the only sensible thing one can do. I thanked God for the insomnia and prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet. Then I reminded Him that I would need a superabundance of grace in a few hours to start this day.

And here I am. God is good, even if I’m really tired and had no chance of sleeping in. (I never do.) In fact, I had to get up even earlier this morning to see my husband and the twins out the door by 6:15 to serve Cardinal Burke’s Low Mass at 7am.

I could have been angry or sulky about getting up even earlier, but that would have been silly and a waste of energy–of which I’ve got precious little. No, I had better focus on being extra patient, as I tend to snap a lot quicker when I’m tired. (May it please His Majesty not to test me beyond my strength.)

This is a good day, though, you know? After Lauds and driving two other children to school, the rest of us ate breakfast. We did grammar and Latin. The boys are out running the dog now. The little girls are playing house, and I’m about to chop vegetables in preparation for supper’s casserole.

Blessed be God!

I also listened to this song, which touched me because it’s true, even if a bit emotional.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:4-6).

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8 Things I AM Doing This Advent

Today I hope to detail a few things that our family will be doing this Advent, which officially begins this afternoon after the praying of Nones, which precedes Vespers.

I want you to remember, however, when reading this list, that this is just what works for our family. Your Advent may look a bit differently, and that’s ok!

8 Things I AM Doing This Advent

  1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This one should be obvious, except that it isn’t in our current deplorable state of affairs… Of course we’ll be attending Mass on all Sundays and Our Lady’s feast day December 8th, but we’ll also be attending Mass on December 12th, which is Our Lady of Guadalupe. There may be other days too, but these are the For Sures.

2. Confession. Again, I shouldn’t have to mention confession, except that I do because I think people aren’t going. Look, if you’re not going to confession at least every month, you’re risking your soul. We’re talking about eternal life here. I don’t care about any potential health concerns. Go to confession!

This stuff is important. It’s basic catechism. Most of you know that if you should happen to die in Mortal Sin, you’re going to Hell. But venial sins and imperfections need to be confessed regularly too, as there’s a tremendous of amount of grace given in this Sacrament. So, go to confession!

Really, there’s no excuse, unless you can’t find a priest willing to do his God-Given Duty. In that case, say an Act of Contrition, make reparation for your sins, and keep looking for a priest. There are good priests out there.

3. Fasting. While Advent isn’t as penitential as Lent, it is still meant to be a time of fasting. In our household, everyone old enough to receive Holy Communion eats plain bread for breakfast every Friday throughout the year, including Advent. During Advent we step it up a bit–no candy, sweets, or desserts. My husband–no stranger to year ’round fasting–adds an additional day of fasting from food. He normally fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays, and this year for Advent, he’s adding Mondays. I only mention this to inspire you. If you want more, watch Dr. Marshall’s short, 15-minute video on fasting and Advent.*

Me? If I’m pregnant or nursing, fasting is out. As it is, I’m not pregnant or nursing, so I’ll be fasting, but only on Fridays, which I find incredibly difficult, probably because I need more practice.

Lastly, my husband and I are accustomed to drinking a glass of wine maybe three nights a week with dinner. During Advent? We’re cutting it back to only one night.

4. I am doing additional penance. Look, I need to. Not just for my sins, but look around. The world needs Christians willing to do penance. I wasn’t going to mention it, but then I thought, hey? Sometimes it’s encouraging to hear that others are doing extra penance. So, I’m taking cold showers every Friday, which I will continue even when Advent ends. (Again, I wouldn’t do this if I was pregnant or nursing, but I’m not.)

5. Our family will be observing a traditional meatless Christmas Eve. When I was a little girl, I thought it funny that my dad’s family always ate Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve. Now I wonder, was it intentional? I don’t know, and I can’t ask my grandma because she died years ago. In any case, we’re bringing it back.

6. Advent Wreath. Who doesn’t love lighting candles in the dark? Every evening, as we gather at the dinner table to pray before eating, the children run around and shut off every light in the house. Then, they light the candles according to the week.

7. O Come, O Come Emmanuel. After lighting the Advent Wreath, we all sing at least two verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” in the dark. Maybe this year in Latin? We’ll see tonight.

8. Setting up the Nativity Set. Naturally we’ll be setting up the Nativity Set today. In fact, I’m going to cut this post short–to do just that. Maybe I’ll post a few shots of it later on. The children do so enjoy playing with all the animals and the stable. They usually can’t reach Mary and Joseph, however, as I place them high up on shelves to travel around the house.

Lastly, if you have any questions, be sure to ask. Sometimes I assume something is clear, when it isn’t…

I hope you all have a blessed Advent!

*Want another family’s take on Advent? Dr. Marshall and his wife, Joy, discuss what they do HERE.

UPDATE: A few hours later…the nativity set is out!

And where are Mary and Joseph?

In a different room, making their way to Bethlehem…