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Nativitas et Epiphania

THE OLD ROMAN Vol. II Issue XVIII W/C 3rd January 2021

Between the Nativity and the Epiphany

WELCOME to this eighteenth edition of Volume II of “The Old Roman” a weekly dissemination of news, views and information for and from around the world reflecting the experience and life of 21C “Old Romans” i.e. western Orthodox Catholics across the globe.
CONTRIBUTIONS… news items, magazine, devotional or theological articles, prayer requests, features about apostolates and parish mission life are ALL welcome and may be submitted via email. Submissions should be sent by Friday for publication the following Sunday.
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A Pastoral Epistle for the New Year - +Jerome of Selsey

The Old Roman View




Of your charity... prayer requests from around the Communion
Old Roman Mass Directory... Old Roman missions around the world
Old Roman Clerical Directory
The Old Roman Subscription Form
A Pastoral Epistle
HE The Most Revd Jerome Lloyd OSJV
Titular Archbishop of Selsey


Unum autem, quae quidem retro sunt obliviscens, ad ea vero quae sunt priora, extendens meipsum,ad destinatum persequor, ad bravium supernae vocationis Dei in Christo Jesu. Phil iii.13, 14 [But one thing I do: forgetting the things that are behind, and stretching forth myself to those that are before, I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.]

The apostle's words are apt for us all to consider as we enter into the new year. 2020 will no doubt long be remembered as an "annus horribilis". Yet from the adversity came a wellspring of charity, largely motivated by people of faith, and of these predominantly Christians. While the secularist authorities and governments of our contemporary politics tore themselves apart with confusion and indecision, it was the networks and the community knowledge of the churches that ensured the vulnerable and lonely were fed, informed and included in contingencies.

The past is indeed behind us and if we hope for a more positive future, we must continue to generate charity within our communities. Several of our missions operate charitable apostolates and projects that benefit the disadvantaged in society. Not only does this realise the teaching of Our Lord, but it also affects favourably the regard of others for the Church.

Charity is itself evangelistic by nature, reaching out and serving others generates and perpetuates charity, people respond positively, not just as recipients, but wanting to share in and contribute to the effort. 2021 begins in the grip still of Covid. If every Christian focused on realising their purpose and vocation in life, i.e. to realise themselves as extensions of God's charity and to realise His will in manifesting and increasing charity, 2021 need not be a fearful prospect but an exciting opportunity.

Let us continue to support and pray for each other as we enter the new year. Let us continue our charitable efforts with renewed vigour. Let us strive to glorify God with our good works and enable Christ to draw people to Himself, by reflecting and mirroring His divine compassion in and through ourselves and our efforts.

May God bless us all.

✠Jerome Seleisi
The Old Roman View
Another New Year provides another opportunity to make resolutions… what should Old Romans think about in framing their resolutions for another year?

One of the attributes often recognised about Old Romans is our resoluteness. Despite the trials and tribulations in the 150 years since annexation from Rome, Old Romans have persisted in maintaining our resolve to continue and perpetuate the primitive and orthodox Catholic Faith. Even and despite times when individuals have despaired and contemplated reconciliation with Rome, Archbishop Mathew among them, yet others remained steadfast, holding to the Truth of the Gospel and the apostolic teaching. Contemporary Old Romans are inheritors then of a great legacy of fidelity despite the odds, and we should resolve to continue and perpetuate this dogged adherence to the Truth.

How should we manifest this resolve? By continuing faithfully the perennial traditions and customs of the Latin Church for the benefit of contemporary and future generations. How do we do this? By “keeping on, keeping on”! Every mission, every parish, every oratory as a community and fellowship should resolve to grow in faith, hope and charity over the next year and every Old Roman personally determine to deepen and demonstrate their fidelity and commitment in love to Jesus Christ. Availing themselves of the Sacraments and making them available to as many as would be saved by the True Faith, the Faith of generations of saints, theologians, doctors of the Church and the apostles.

One thing we should all as Old Romans never take for granted, is the great blessing the Holy Ghost has perpetuated in our Church, the power and efficacy of the Sacraments. The priests among us should never cease to make available the restorative Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, never fail to offer the august and most holy sacrifice of the Mass as they are able, daily if at all possible, lending their hearts and voices to Christ our great High Priest in prayer, praise and supplication. Likewise the faithful among us should strive to prefer the worship of almighty God above all things in life, attending and lending their voices and prayers to those of our priests, for themselves and for the communities we live in and would serve. So few have the consolation and assurance we Old Romans do of unquestionably valid Sacraments! Let us all neither abuse nor take for granted this gift of assured grace!

To help us all persevere in the resolve of our forbears, perhaps take to heart the message of the Primus in his homily for St Sylvester (Dec 31). When we are tired, weary, forlorn or despairing, when we are dejected, bored or otherwise tempted to forsake our resolve; imagine standing at the foot of the Cross before our Saviour in His Passion and “tell it to Jesus”… is the excuse we would give to recuse ourselves from our obligation to sacrifice our time, efforts and charity worthy of His act of selfless love in sacrifice for us? Perhaps keep about your person a crucifix and when tempted to miss Mass or divine service, when contemplating transgressing God’s law of charity, attempt to justify your intention to Our Saviour upon the Cross.
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ORDO w/c Sunday 27th December 2020
    OFFICE   N.B.
03.12 S Octave Day of St John 
Com. Octave of H.Innocents
Com. Octave of St Thomas
(W) Missa “In medio ecclesiae” (see notes)
sd 2a) Oct.H.Innocents
3a) Oct.St Thomas
04.12 M Octave of Holy Innocents
Com. Octave of St Thomas
(R) Missa “Ex ore infantium

sd 2a) Oct.St Thomas
05.12 T The Vigil of the Epiphany
Com. Octave Day of St Thomas
(W) Missa “Dum medium”
Or in Europe
Octave Day of St Thomas of Canterbury
Com. Vigil of the Epiphany
(R) Missa “Gaudeamus

2a) Oct.St Thomas
3a) de S. Maria

2a) Vigil of Epiphany
3a) de S. Maria
06.12 W
(W) Missa “Ecce advenit”  
di Gl.Cr.Pref.Epiphany
07.12 T In the Octave of the Epiphany
(W) Missa “Ecce advenit”   
sd 2a) de S. Maria
3a) Pro.Ecclesia

08.01 F In the Octave of the Epiphany
(W) Missa “Ecce advenit”  
sd 2a) de S. Maria
3a) Pro.Ecclesia

09.12 S In the Octave of the Epiphany
(W) Missa “Ecce advenit”  
sd 2a) de S. Maria
3a) Pro.Ecclesia

10.12 S Feast of the Holy Family
Com. Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany
 Octave of the Epiphany
(W) Missa “Exsultat gaudio
gd 2a) Sun.Of.Epiphany
3a) Oct.Epiphany

Nota Bene
a) The Feast of the Holy Name is celebrated traditionally on the second Sunday after Epiphany NOT on the Sunday following the Circumcision.
b) The Blessing of Epiphany Water takes place either at the end of Compline of the Vigil or at the end of Matins after the ninth lesson on the Feast itself.

From Ceremonies of the Roman Rite described by Fr Adrian Fortesque
  • The EPIPHANY is, liturgically, one of the three greatest feasts of the year. Its colour is white. 
  • Matins of the Epiphany begin with a special form. The Invitatorium is not said, nor Domme labia mea aperies nor Deus in adiutorium. After the silent Pater noster, Ave Maria, and creed, the ofiice begins at once with the first antiphon. This occurs only on the feast itself, not during the octave.
  • The Feast of the Epiphany is a Double of the first class with an Octave. This Octave does not admit of the observance of any other Feast except those of the Patron or Title or of the Dedication of the Church, and even then the Octave must be commemorated; if however one of these Feasts occur on the Octave Day it must be transferred to the first available day and the Services will be of the Octave. 
  • In the Mass a genuflection is made at the words of the gospel Procidentes adoraverunt eum under the same conditions as noted above for Christmas; that is, the celebrant does not genuflect when he reads this gospel if the deacon will sing it later.
  • In cathedrals and the principal church of each place, after the gospel the movable feasts of the year are announced. If this is done a white cope is prepared in the sacristy for the priest or deacon who will do so. A lectern stands on the gospel side of the choir, or the pulpit may be used. The lectern or pulpit is covered with a white cloth. The priest or deacon who will announce the feasts goes to the sacristy during the gradual and puts on the cope over his surplice. He comes out, makes the usual reverences to altar, celebrant and choir, and announces the feasts. The form for doing so, with the chant, is in the Pontifical at the beginning of its third part.
  • The Blessing of Epiphany Chalk and of homes (see attached) may be performed at the end of the Epiphany Mass after the Last Gospel or on the Vigil after the Blessing of Epiphany Waters.
KEY: A=Abbot A cunctis=of the Saints B=Bishop BD=Benedicamus Domino BVM=Blessed Virgin Mary C=Confessor Com=Commemoration Cr=Creed D=Doctor d=double d.i/ii=double of the 1st/2nd Class E=Evangelist F=Feria Gl=Gloria gr.d=greater-double (G)=Green H=Holy Heb.=Hedomadam (week) K=King M=Martyr mpal=missae pro aliquibus locis Mm=Martyrs Pent=Pentecost P=Priest PP/PostPent=Post Pentecost PLG=Proper Last Gospel Pref=Preface ProEccl=for the Church (R)=Red (Rc)=Rose-coloured s=simple s-d=semi-double Co=Companions V1=1st Vespers V=Virgin v=votive (V)=violet W=Widow (W)=white *Ob.=Obligation 2a=second oration 3a=third oration
Liturgical Notes for the Vigil of Epiphany: Guest Article by Mr John Rotondi
The Epiphany of Our Lord is the central feast of the Incarnation cycle, which runs from the First Sunday of Advent to Candlemas. Epiphany is not the end, but the apex of this cycle; it brings to full fruition the expectation of Advent’s “Veni, Domine.” Epiphany fulfills Christmas; Our Lord was born in the stillness of the night and manifested His birth only to a few; the Epiphany recounts Our Lord manifesting Himself, human and divine, to the whole world, from which point, His salvific mission begins.

Epiphany brings to fruition the gradual unfolding of the manifestation of Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, as God made man. The word Epiphany itself is a Greek word meaning “manifestation”; the Eastern Churches call the feast Theophany, meaning the manifestation or appearance of God. St. Paul writes to Titus (2, 11) in a passage often repeated during this season, “The grace of the saving God has appeared (‘epephane’ in Greek) to all men.” At His Nativity, the Word made flesh is manifested to the Holy Family, to shepherds, to lowly beasts of burden. At His Circumcision on the eighth day, the Word Incarnate is given the name Jesus in the temple, and He sheds His first drops of blood for our redemption. And now, He is fully revealed to the world in three ways which this feast of Epiphany celebrates simultaneously: His adoration by pagan wise men from the East; His baptism in the Jordan, at which His divinity and the Triune God are revealed, and the mission of St John the Baptist, which dominated the liturgy in Advent, is fulfilled; and His first miracle, the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana.

As such, Epiphany is one of the four principle feasts of the year, along with Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, traditionally preceded by a privileged and special vigil. (By vigil, we refer to an entire day of preparation before a major feast, not a Mass of the feast itself anticipated the evening before.) Considering the importance of the feast, it is a very strange and unfortunate phenomenon that its ancient vigil, along with its highly privileged octave, was suppressed in 1955, along with many other things. Hence, in the 1962 Roman Calendar, there is no longer a “Vigil of Epiphany,” and January 5 was recast as a generic Christmas feria. This post will describe the Roman Liturgy of Epiphany Eve as it existed prior to that time.

Epiphany Eve is like Christmas Eve in that both are privileged vigils which exclude the celebration of other feasts and may be celebrated on a Sunday. (Non-privileged or common vigils would be anticipated on Saturday if they fell on a Sunday.) Unlike Christmas Eve, that of Epiphany because it is part of Christmas season, takes on a festal character: its color is white instead of violet. It is a joyful vigil without penitential elements, either in text or in fasting and abstinence; Dom Guéranger elaborates in The Liturgical Year:

This Vigil is not like that of Christmas, a day of penance. The Child, whose coming we were then awaiting, in the fervor of our humble desires, is now among us, preparing to bestow fresh favors upon us. This eve of tomorrow’s Solemnity is a day of joy, like those that have preceded it; and therefore, we do not fast, nor does the Church put on the vestments of mourning, even in those churches where the Octave Day of St. Thomas of Canterbury is not observed. If the Office of the Vigil be the one of today, the color used is white.

This is the twelfth day since the Birth of our Emmanuel. If the Vigil of the Epiphany fall on a Sunday, it shares, with Christmas Eve, the privilege of not being anticipated, as all other Vigils are, on the Saturday: it is kept on the Sunday, has all the privileges of a Sunday, and the Mass is that of the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas Day. Let us, therefore, celebrate this Vigil in great joy of heart, and prepare our souls for tomorrow’s graces.

The last words of our Advent were those of the Spouse, recorded in the prophecy of the Beloved Disciple: Come, Lord Jesus, come! We will close this first part of our Christmas with those words of the Prophet Isaias, which the Church has so often spoken to us : unto us a Child is born! The heavens have dropped down their Dew, the clouds have rained down the Just One, the earth has yielded its Savior, The Word Is Made Flesh, the Virgin has brought forth her sweet Fruit--our Emmanuel, that is, God with us. The Sun of Justice now shines upon us; darkness has fled; in heaven there is Glory to God; on earth, there is Peace to men. All these blessings have been brought to us by the humble yet glorious Birth of this Child. Let us adore Him in His Crib; let us love Him for all His love of us; and let us prepare the gifts we intend to present to Him, with the Magi, on tomorrow’s Feast. The joy of the Church is as great as ever; the Angels are adoring in their wondering admiration; all nature thrills with delight:--Unto us is born a little Child! (vol. 1, pp. 484-5)

As a festal Office, that of the Epiphany Vigil begins with First Vespers on the evening of January 4. The antiphons and psalms, as well as the chapter, hymn, verse, and Magnificat antiphon are taken from the feast of the Circumcision; the collect, however, is that from the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas. Compline is the same this evening of January 4 as it has been during the Christmas season thus far.

Matins and Lauds are also largely taken from the feast of the Circumcision. The lessons of the first nocturne continue the Epistle to the Romans begun on December 29; those of the second are taken from a Christmas sermon of (pseudo-)St Augustine in which he, like Dom Guéranger, refers to the fulfilment of the “Rorate caeli” of Advent. Those of the third nocturne are taken from St Jerome’s treatise on the Gospel of the Vigil’s Mass (noted further below); the Te Deum is sung as on feasts. Lauds are also repeated from the Circumcision, with the Collect of Sunday.

Prime and Terce follow at their usual times; the Mass of the Vigil is celebrated after Terce, rather than after None, as is the case with the other three major vigils. The Mass Propers are taken from the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas – i.e. the Introit Dum medium, etc. The Gloria in excelsis is sung. After the Collect there are two commemorations, the first of St Telesphorus, Pope and Martyr, the second of the Virgin Mary. The Epistle is repeated from the Sunday within the Octave, but the Gospel today is proper, St Matthew 2, 19-23, which recounts the death of Herod and the return of the Holy Family from Egypt to Nazareth, the continuation of the previous day’s Gospel on the Octave of the Holy Innocents. (This Gospel passage does not appear in the 1962 Missal.) The Credo is sung by special rubric for this vigil. The Preface is of the Nativity, the last time it is sung this season, but the proper Communicantes of Christmas is not said.

Sext and None are sung in the afternoon at their usual times, after which, the Vigil of the Epiphany comes to an end; there is no color change to mark the transition, since white is used for both vigil and feast. The feast of the Epiphany then begins with First Vespers, at which is sung the Magnificat antiphon “The Magi seeing the star, said to themselves: this is the sign of the great King; let us go and seek after Him, and let us offer him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, alleluia.” The Roman Liturgy will continue to emphasize the Magi and their gifts in the texts of the Epiphany, though again, we celebrate three manifestations.

The most noteworthy aspect of the Liturgy on Epiphany Eve is the solemn blessing of water given in the Roman Ritual for this evening, an ancient eastern tradition borrowed in recent centuries by the West. The significance of this ceremony cannot be understated; Easter and Pentecost, the only two feasts of the year more important than Epiphany, are both preceded by solemn baptismal vigil rites. The Epiphany Water, however, is not baptismal water, but evokes the same theme of baptismal cleansing; this ceremony connects us to the second (and arguably the most important of the three) manifestations we celebrate, the Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan. Hence, Easter, Pentecost, and Epiphany are all preceded by vesperal, baptismal-themed rites.

This ceremony has had two iterations in the West. The first was observed before 1892 and was much more elaborate, mimicking, to a large extent, a Matins’ service. The older ceremony also has many parallels to the Paschal Vigil on Holy Saturday, notably in the inclusion of sung Prophecies. The second iteration is a scaled down rite and came to be codified in the Roman Ritual after 1892.
Epiphany Resources
Vigil of the Epiphany Pew Missalette
Rite of Blessing of Epiphany Waters
Epiphany Pew Missalette
Blessing of Chalk
Blessing of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh
Epiphany House Blessings
Join Archbishop Jerome of Selsey as he explores and explains the mysteries of the Sacred Liturgies of Christmastide from Advent through to Candlemas.
Monday's 6.45pm GMT
by Abbot Gueranger

The Vigil of the Epiphany
The Feast of Christmas is over; the five Octaves are closed; and we are on the Eve of the Solemnity of our Lord’s Epiphany. We must spend this fifth of January in preparing ourselves for the Manifestation which Jesus, the Angel of the Great Counsel, is about to make to us of his glory. A few more hours, and the Star will stand still in the heavens, and the Magi will be seeking for admission into the stable at Bethlehem.

This Vigil is not like that of Christmas, a day of penance. The Child, whose coming we were then awaiting, in the fervour of our humble desires, is now among us, preparing to bestow fresh favours upon us. This eve of tomorrow’s Solemnity is a day of joy, like those that have preceded it; and therefore, we do not fast, nor does the Church put on the vestments of mourning, even in those churches where the Octave Day of St. Thomas of Canterbury is not observed. If the Office of the Vigil be the one of today, the colour used is White. This is the Twelfth day since the Birth of our Emmanuel.

If the Vigil of the Epiphany fall on a Sunday, it shares, with Christmas Eve, the privilege of not being anticipated, as all other Vigils are, on the Saturday: it is kept on the Sunday, has all the privileges of a Sunday, and the Mass is that of the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas Day. Let us, therefore, celebrate this Vigil in great joy of heart, and prepare our souls for tomorrow’s graces.

The Greek Church keeps this a fasting-day, in memory of the preparation for Baptism, which used formerly to be administered, especially in the East, on the night preceding the feast of the Epiphany. She still solemnly blesses the Water on this Feast. We will, in our next section, speak of this ceremony, of which some vestiges still remain in the Western Church.

The holy Church of Rome commemorates today the holy Pope and Martyr, St. Telesphorus. This Pontiff began his reign in the year 127; and among his decrees, we find that of his prescribing the holy sacrifice of the Mass to be offered up on Christmas Night, in order to honor the hour when our Savior was born: he also ordered that the Angelic Hymn Gloria in excelsis should be said, on most days, at the beginning of Mass. This devotion of the holy Pope towards the great Mystery which we are now celebrating, renders his commemoration at this season of the year doubly dear to us. Telesphorus suffered a glorious martyrdom, as St. Irenaeus expresses it, and was crowned with eternal glory in the year 138.

The Mass of the Vigil of the Epiphany is that of the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, except the Commemoration of St. Telesphorus and the Gospel.

The Feast of the Epiphany
The Feast of the Epiphany is the continuation of the mystery of Christmas; but it appears on the Calendar of the Church with its own special character. Its very name, which signifies Manifestation, implies that it celebrates the apparition of God to his creatures.

For several centuries, the Nativity of our Lord was kept on this day; and when, in the year 376, the decree of the Holy See obliged all Churches to keep the Nativity on the 25th December, as Rome did – the Sixth of January was not robbed of all its ancient glory. It was still to be called the Epiphany, and the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ was also commemorated on this same Feast, which Tradition had marked as the day on which that Baptism took place.

The Greek Church gives this Feast the venerable and mysterious name of Theophania, which is of such frequent recurrence in the early Fathers, as signifying a divine Apparition. We find this name applied to this Feast by Eusebius, St. Gregory Nazianzum, and St. Isidore of Pelusium. In the liturgical books of the Melchite Church the Feast goes under no other name.

The Orientals call this solemnity also the holy on account of its being the day on which Baptism was administered, (for, as we have just mentioned, our Lord was baptised on this same day.) Baptism is called by the holy Fathers Illumination, and they who received it Illuminated.

Lastly, this Feast is called, in many countries, King’s Feast: it is, of course, an allusion to the Magi, whose journey to Bethlehem is so continually mentioned in to-day’s Office.

The Epiphany shares with the Feasts of Christmas, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost, the honour of being called, in the Canon of the Mass, a Day most holy. It is also one of the cardinal Feasts, that is, one of those on which the arrangement of the Christian Year is based; for, as we have Sundays after Easter, and Sundays after Pentecost, so also we count six Sundays after the Epiphany.

The Epiphany is indeed great Feast, and the joy caused us by the Birth of our Jesus must be renewed on it, for, as though it were a second Christmas Day, it shows us our Incarnate God in a new light. It leaves us all the sweetness of the dear Babe of Bethlehem, who hath appeared to us already in love; but to this it adds its own grand manifestation of the divinity of our Jesus. At Christmas, it was a few Shepherds that were invited by the Angels to go and recognise THE WORD MADE FLESH; but now, at the Epiphany, the voice of God himself calls the whole world to adore this Jesus, and hear him.

The mystery of the Epiphany brings upon us three magnificent rays of the Sun of Justice, our Saviour. In the calendar of pagan Rome, this sixth day of January was devoted to the celebration of the triple triumph of Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire: but when Jesus, our Prince of peace, whose empire knows no limits, had secured victory to his Church by the blood of the Martyrs – then did this his Church decree, that a triple triumph of the Immortal King should be substituted, in the Christian Calendar, for those other three triumphs which had been won by the adopted son of Caesar.

The Sixth of January, therefore, restored the celebration of our Lord’s Birth to the Twenty-Fifth of December; but, in return, there were united in the one same Epiphany, three manifestations of Jesus’ Glory: the mystery of the Magi coming from the East, under the guidance of a star, and adoring the Infant of Bethlehem as the Divine King; the mystery of the Baptism of Christ, who, whilst standing in the waters of the Jordan, was proclaimed by the Eternal Father as Son of God; and thirdly, the mystery of the divine power of this same Jesus, when he changed the water into wine at the marriage-feast of Cana.

But, did these three Mysteries really take place on this day? Is the Sixth of January the real anniversary of these great events? As the chief object of this work is to assist the devotion of the Faithful, we purposely avoid everything which would savour of critical discussion; and with regard to the present question, we think it enough to state, that Baronius, Suarez, Theophilus Raynaldus, Honorius De Sancta-Maria, Cardinal Gotti, Sandini, Benedict 14th, and an almost endless list of other writers, assert that the Adoration of the Magi happened on this very day. That the Baptism of our Lord, also, happened on the sixth of January, is admitted by the severest historical critics, even by Tillemont himself; and has been denied by only two or three. The precise day of the miracle at the marriage-feast of Cana is far from being as certain as the other two mysteries, though it is impossible to prove that the sixth of January was not the day. For us the children of the Church, it is sufficient that our Holy Mother has assigned the commemoration of these three manifestations for this Feast; we need nothing more to make us rejoice in the triple triumph of the Son of Mary.

If we now come to consider these three mysteries of our Feast separately, we shall find, that the Church of Rome, in her Office and Mass of to-day, is more intent on the Adoration of the Magi than on the Other two. The two great Doctors of the Apostolic See, St. Leo and St. Gregory, in their Homilies for this Feast, take it as the almost exclusive object of their preaching; though, together with St: Augustine, St. Paulinus of Nola, St. Maximus of Turin, St. Peter Chrysologus, St. Hillary of Arles, and St. Isidore of Seville, they acknowledge the three mysteries of to-day’s Solemnity. That the mystery of the Vocation of the Gentiles should be made thus prominent by the Church of Rome, is not to be wondered at; for, by that heavenly vocation which, in the three Magi, called all nations to the admirable light of Faith, Rome, which till then had been the head of the Gentile world, was made the head of the Christian Church and of the whole human race.

The Greek Church makes no special mention, in her Office of to-day, of the Adoration of the Magi, for she unites it with the mystery of our Saviour’s Birth in her celebration of Christmas Day. The Baptism of Christ absorbs all her thoughts and praises on the solemnity of the Epiphany.

In the Latin Church, this second mystery of our Feast is celebrated, unitedly with the other two, on the sixth of January, and mention is made of it several times in the Office. But, as the coming of the Magi to the crib of our new-born King absorbs the attention of Christian Rome on this day, the mystery of the sanctification of the waters was to be commemorated on a day apart. The day chosen by the Western Church for paying special honour to the Baptism of our Saviour is the Octave of the Epiphany.

The third mystery of the Epiphany being also somewhat kept in the shade by the prominence given to the first, (though allusion is several times made to it in the Office of the Feast,) a special day has been appointed for its due celebration; and that day is the second Sunday after the Epiphany.

Several Churches have appended to the Mystery of changing the water into wine that of the multiplication of the loaves, which certainly bears some analogy with it, and was a manifestation of our Saviour’s divine power. But, whilst tolerating the custom in the Ambrosian and Mozarabic rites, the Roman Church has never adopted it, in order not to interfere with the sacredness of the triple triumph of our Lord, which the sixth of January was intended to commemorate; as also, because St. John tells us, in his Gospel, that the miracle of the multiplication of the Loaves happened when the Feast of the Pasch was at hand [St. John, vi. 4], to which, therefore, could not have any connection with the season of the year when the Epiphany is kept.

We propose to treat of the three mysteries, united in this great Solemnity, in the following order. To-day, we will unite with the Church in honouring all three; during the Octave, we will contemplate the Mystery of the Magi coming to Bethlehem; we will celebrate the Baptism of our Saviour on the Octave Day; and we will venerate the Mystery of the Marriage of Cana on the Second Sunday after the Epiphany, which is the day appropriately chosen by the Church for the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

Let us, then, open our hearts to the Joy of this grand Day; and on this Feast of the Theophany, of the Holy Lights, of the Three Kings, let us look with love at the dazzling beauty of our Divine Sun, who, as the Psalmist expresses it [Ps. xviii. 6], runs his course as a Giant, and pours out upon us floods of a welcome and yet most vivid light. The Shepherds, who were called by the Angels to be the first worshippers, have been joined by the Prince of Martyrs, the Beloved Disciple, the dear troop of Innocents, our glorious Thomas of Canterbury, and Sylvester the Patriarch of Peace; and now, to-day, these Saints open their ranks to let the Kings of the East come to the Babe in his crib, bearing with them the prayers and adorations of the whole human race. The humble Stable is too little for such a gathering as this, and Bethlehem seems to be worth all the world besides. Mary, the Throne of the divine Wisdom, welcomes all the members of this court with her gracious smile of Mother and Queen; she offers her Son to man, for his adoration, and to God, that he may be well pleased. God manifests himself to men, because he is great: but he manifests himself by Mary, because he is full of mercy.

The great Day, which now brings us to the crib of our Prince of Peace, has been marked by two great events of the first ages of the Church. It was on the sixth of January, in the year 361, and Julian, (who, in heart, was already an apostate,) happened to be at Vienne in Gaul. He was soon to ascend the imperial throne, which would be left vacant by the death of Constantius, and he felt the need he had of the support of that Christian Church, in which it is said he had received the order of Lector, and which, nevertheless, he was preparing to attack with all the cunning and cruelty of a tiger. Like Herod, he, too, would fain go, on this Feast of the Epiphany, and adore the new-born King. The panegyrist Ammianus Marcellinus tells us, that this crowned Philosopher, who had been seen, just before, coming out of the pagan temple, where he had been consulting the soothsayers, made his way through the porticoes of the Church, and, standing in the midst of the faithful people, offered to the God of the Christians his sacrilegious homage.

Eleven years later, in the year 372, another Emperor found his way into the Church, on the same Feast of the Epiphany. It was Valens; a Christian, like Julian, by baptism; but a persecutor, in the name of Arianism, of that same Church which Julian persecuted in the name of his vain philosophy and still vainer gods. As Julian felt himself necessitated by motives of worldly policy to bow down, on this day, before the divinity of the Galilean; so, on this same day, the holy courage of a saintly Bishop made Valens prostrate himself at the feet of Jesus the King of kings.

Saint Basil had just then had his famous interview with the Prefect Modestus, in which his episcopal intrepidity had defeated all the might of earthly power. Valens had come to Caesarea, and, with his soul defiled with the Arian heresy, he entered the Basilica, when the Bishop was celebrating, with his people, the glorious Theophany. Let us listen to St. Gregory Nazianzum, thus describing the scene with his usual eloquence. “The Emperor entered the Church. The chanting of the psalms echoed through the holy place like the rumbling of thunder. The people, like a waving sea, filled the house of God. Such was the order and pomp in and about the sanctuary, that it looked more like heaven than earth. Basil himself stood erect before the people, as the Scripture describes Samuel – his body, and eyes, and soul, motionless as though nothing strange had taken place, and, if I may say so, his whole being was fastened to his God and the holy Altar. The sacred ministers, who surrounded the Pontiff, were in deep recollectedness and reverence. The Emperor heard and saw all this. He had never before witnessed a spectacle so imposing. He was overpowered. His head grew dizzy, and darkness veiled his eyes.”

Jesus, the King of ages, the Son of God and the Son of Mary had conquered. Valens was disarmed; his resolution of using violence against the holy bishop was gone; and if heresy kept him from at once adoring the Word consubstantial to the Father, he, at least, united his exterior worship with that which Basil’s flock was paying to the Incarnate God. When the Offertory came, he advanced towards the Sanctuary, and presented his gifts to Christ in the person of his holy priest. The fear lest Basil might refuse to accept them took such possession of the Emperor, that had not the sacred ministers supported him, he would have fallen at the foot of the Altar.

Thus has the Kingship of our new-born Saviour been acknowledged by the great ones of this world. The Royal Psalmist had sung this prophecy – the Kings of the earth shall see him, and his enemies shall lick the ground under his feet [Ps. lxxi. 9, 11].

The race of Emperors like Julian and Valens was to be followed by Monarchs, who would bend their knee before this Babe of Bethlehem, and offer him the homage of orthodox faith and devoted hearts. Theodosius, Charlemagne, our own Alfred the Great and Edward the Confessor, Stephen of Hungary, the Emperor Henry 2nd, Ferdinand of Castile, Louis 9th of France, are examples of Kings who had a special devotion to the Feast of the Epiphany. Their ambition was to go, in company with the Magi, to the feet of the Divine Infant, and offer him their gifts. At the English Court, the custom is still retained, and the reigning Sovereign offers an ingot of Gold as a tribute of homage to Jesus the King of kings: the ingot is afterwards redeemed by a certain sum of money.

But this custom of imitating the Three Kings in their mystic gifts was not confined to Courts. In the Middle-Ages, the Faithful used to present, on the Epiphany, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, to be blessed by the Priest. These tokens of their devotedness to Jesus were kept as pledges of God’s blessing upon their houses and families. The practice is still observed in some parts of Germany: and the prayer for the Blessing was in the Roman Ritual, until Pope Paul 5th suppressed it, together with several others, as being seldom required by the Faithful.

There was another custom, which originated in the Ages of Faith, and which is still observed in many countries. In honour of the Three Kings, who came from the East to adore the Babe of Bethlehem, each family chose one of its members to be King. The choice was thus made. The family kept a feast, which was an allusion to the third of the Epiphany-Mysteries – the Feast of Cana in Galilee – a Cake was served up, and he who took the piece which had a certain secret mark, was proclaimed the King of the day. Two portions of the cake were reserved for the poor, in whom honour was thus paid to the Infant Jesus and his Blessed Mother; for, on this Day of the triumph of Him, who, though King, was humble and poor, it was fitting that the poor should have a share in the general joy. The happiness of home was here, as in so many other instances, blended with the sacredness of Religion. This custom of King’s Feast brought relations and friends together, and encouraged feelings of kindness and charity. Human weakness would sometimes, perhaps, show itself during these hours of holiday-making; but the idea and sentiment and spirit of the whole feast was profoundly Catholic, and that was sufficient guarantee to innocence.

King’s Feast is still a Christmas joy in thousands of families; and happy those where it is kept in the Christian spirit which first originated it! For the last three hundred years, a puritanical zeal has decried these simple customs, wherein the seriousness of religion and the home enjoyments of certain Festivals were blended together. The traditions of Christian family rejoicings have been blamed under pretexts of abuse; as though a recreation, in which religion had no share and no influence, were less open to intemperance and sin. Others have pretended, (though with little or no foundation,) that the Twelfth Cake and the custom of choosing a King, are mere imitations of the ancient pagan Saturnalia. Granting this to be correct, (which it is not,) we would answer, that many of the old pagan customs have undergone a Christian transformation, and no one thinks of refusing to accept them thus purified. All this mistaken zeal has produced the sad effect of divorcing the Church from family life and customs, of excluding every religious manifestation from our traditions, and of bringing about what is so pompously called, (though the word is expressive enough,) the secularisation of society.

But let us return to the triumph of our sweet Saviour and King. His magnificence is manifested to us so brightly on this Feast! Our mother, the Church, is going to initiate us into the mysteries we are to celebrate. Let us imitate the faith and obedience of the Magi: let us adore, with the holy Baptist, the divine Lamb, over whom the heavens open: let us take our place at the mystic feast of Cana, where our dear King is present, thrice manifested, thrice glorified. In the last two mysteries, let us not lose sight of the Babe of Bethlehem; and in the Babe of Bethlehem let us cease not to recognise the Great God, (in whom the Father was well-pleased,) and the supreme Ruler and Creator of all things.


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Octave Day of St John the Evangelist, Apostle; Comm. the Octaves of the Holy Innocents and St Thomas of Canterbury: Missa “In medio Ecclesiae”

St. John, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry. He became the “beloved disciple” and the only one of the Twelve who did not forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion. He stood faithfully at the cross when the Savior made him the guardian of His Mother. His later life was passed chiefly in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. He founded many churches in Asia Minor. He wrote the fourth Gospel, and three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him. Brought to Rome, tradition relates that he was by order of Emperor Dometian cast into a cauldron of boiling oil but came forth unhurt and was banished to the island of Pathmos for a year. He lived to an extreme old age, surviving all his fellow apostles, and died at Ephesus about the year 100.

St. John is called the Apostle of Charity, a virtue he had learned from his Divine Master, and which he constantly inculcated by word and example. The “beloved disciple” died at Ephesus, where a stately church was erected over his tomb. It was afterwards converted into a Mohammedan mosque.

John is credited with the authorship of three epistles and one Gospel, although many scholars believe that the final editing of the Gospel was done by others shortly after his death. He is also supposed by many to be the author of the book of Revelation, also called the Apocalypse.

INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 15: 5

In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory.. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat In the midst of the Church…


Of Thy goodness, O Lord, shine upon Thy Church, that, enlightened by the teachings of blessed John, Thy Apostle and Evangelist, she may attain to everlasting gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Commemoration of the Holy Innocents
O God, Whose praise the Innocents, Your martyrs, this day proclaimed, not by speaking, but by dying, put to death in us all the wickedness of sin, so that Your faith which our tongue professes may be proclaimed also by our life. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of St Thomas of Canterbury
God, for Whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas fell by the swords of wicked men, grant, we beseech Thee, that all who implore his help may obtain the effect of their petition leading to salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen.

EPISTLE Ecclesiasticus 15: 1-6

Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. He that feareth God will do good: and he that possesseth justice shall lay hold on her, and she will meet him as an honorable mother. With the bread of life and understanding she shall feed him and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink: and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved: and she shall hold him fast, and he shall not be confounded: and she shall exalt him among his neighbors, and in the midst of the Church she shall open his mouth, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with a robe of glory. The Lord our God shall heap upon him a treasure of joy and gladness, and shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA  John 21: 23, 19

This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say: He should not die. V. But: So I will have him to remain until I come: follow thou Me.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. (John 21: 24) This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things: and we know that his testimony is true. Alleluia.

GOSPEL  John 21: 19-24

At that time Jesus said to Peter: Follow Me. Peter turning about saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on His breast at supper and said: Lord, who is he that shall betray Thee? Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? Follow thou Me. This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but: So I will have him to remain till I come: what is it to thee? This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things: and we know that he testimony is true.


The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall be multiplied like the cedar that is in Libanus.


Receive, O Lord, the gifts we bring to Thee on the feast of him, by whose pleading we hope to be delivered. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.

Commemoration of the Holy Innocents
Let not the gracious prayer of Your saints fail us, O Lord, but may it make our offerings acceptable to You and obtain for us Your mercy. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of St Thomas of Canterbury
Sanctify, O Lord, the offerings dedicated to Thee, and, by the intercession of blessed Thomas, Thy martyr and bishop, look upon us with mercy for the sake of them. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.

PREFACE of the Apostles

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, to entreat Thee humbly, O Lord, that Thou woulds not desert Thy flock. O everlasting Shepherd; but through Thy blessed Apostles, wouldst keep it under Thy constant protection; that it may be governed by those same rulers, whom as vicars of Thy work, Thou didst set over it to be its pastors. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of The glory, evermore saying:

COMMUNICANTES For the Nativity of Our Lord

Communicating, and keeping this most holy day, on which the spotless virginity of blessed Mary brought forth a Savior to this world; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say: He should not die; but: So I will have him to remain until I come.


We who have been refreshed by heavenly food and drink, humbly entreat Thee, O our God, that we may be strengthened also by the prayers of him, in whose commemoration we have received them. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.

Commemoration of the Holy Innocents
We have partaken, O Lord, of the dedicated gifts: may they , we beseech You, help us through the intercession of Your saints both for this life and life eternal. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of St Thomas of Canterbury
May this communion, O Lord, cleanse us from guilt and, by the intercession of blessed Thomas, Thy martyr and bishop, make us the companions of Him Who is our heavenly healing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.


How are Old Roman vocations to the Sacred Ministry discerned, formed and realised? If you are discerning a vocation to the Sacred Ministry and are considering exploring the possibility of realising your vocation as an Old Roman or transferring your discernment, this is the programme for you! 
Questions are welcome and may be sent in advance to anonymity is assured.
Richard Challoner (1691–1781) was an English Roman Catholic bishop, a leading figure of English Catholicism during the greater part of the 18th century. The titular Bishop of Doberus, he is perhaps most famous for his revision of the Douay–Rheims translation of the Bible.
Consider first, how many years of your life are now past and gone; how long it is since you first came to the knowledge of good and evil; and in what manner you have spent all this precious time, given you for no other end but that you might employ it in the love and service of your God, and in securing the salvation of your immortal soul. Alas! have any of these past years been spent in such a manner as to answer this great end? Is not that one and only business for which you came into the world, still to be begun? Have not all these years, which one after another have flowed away into the gulf of eternity, been utterly lost to your souls? It is well if they have not; considering how soon the greatest part of Christians, after their coming to the use of reason, fall from the grace of their baptism; how quickly they gave themselves up to follow the bent of their corrupt inclinations and passions; and in what a forgetfulness of God they generally pass their days. Ah! my soul, what a sad thought it would be, if during all these years thou hast hitherto lived, instead of storing up provisions for a happy eternity, thou hast been only 'treasuring up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath!'

Consider 2ndly, the present state and condition of your conscience. What is your life at present? How stand accounts between your soul and God? What would you think, if this day you were to be called to the bar of divine justice? Would you not earnestly desire a delay? alas! how few live in the manner in which they would be glad to be found, when death shall overtake them! and yet they are not ignorant, that death generally comes when least expected, and that, generally speaking, as men live, so they die. Ah! my soul, deceive not thyself, not suffer thyself to be imposed upon by the enemy. Thy time, to all appearance, will be much shorter than thou art willing to think; this very year perhaps may be thy last; it will certainly be so to many thousands, who expect it as little as thyself. Set, then, thy house in order now; begin this very day to rectify the whole state of thy interior, and live henceforward as thou desirest to die. There cannot be so great a security where eternity is at stake.

Consider 3rdly, that the mercy of God has borne with you for so many years past, and, notwithstanding all the provocations of your repeated crimes and perpetual ingratitude, has brought you now to the beginning of this New Year, out of a sincere desire, that now at least you might begin a new life, and such a life as might secure to your soul that true life which never ends. You have been, alas! like the barren 'fig-tree, planted in his vineyard,' which hitherto is willing to try once more, in hopes of our doing better for the future. But, O take care to disappoint him no more, by refusing him the fruits he expects of a thorough amendment of life, lest he pass an irrevocable sentence, for the barren tree to be cut down, and cast into the fire.

Conclude to begin, from this very hour, to turn away from sin; and to dedicate yourselves henceforward in good earnest to the love and service of your God. Alas! how few Christians seem to be truly in earnest in this greatest of all concerns, where their all is at stake for eternity.
1. On New Year's Day
2. On beginning a new life with a new year
3. On the rules of a new life. From Titus ii.
4. On what we are to renounce by the Christian's rule
5. On the lives we are to lead by the Christian's rule
6. On the Epiphany
7. On the wise men's journey to Bethlehem
8. On the faith and offerings of the wise men
9. On the offerings we are to make, by the example of the wise men
Revd Dr Robert Wilson PhD
Octave of St. John the Evangelist
Today marks the Octave of the great feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, which we celebrated last Sunday. Last week we discussed how St. John’s Gospel is not simply a theological treatise, but also holds the key to understanding the chronological development of Jesus’ ministry and shows a close acquaintance with the topography of Palestine. Today we will take this further and examine how St. John’s Gospel also holds the key to understanding the other three Gospels theologically. 

All of the Gospels are aiming to show what is really going on in what takes place in the development of Jesus’ ministry, but St. John goes further than the others in penetrating beneath the surface. Thus, in the other three Gospels it is made clear that Jesus’ miracles are not simply wonderful deeds, but the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah about the eyes of the blind being opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. The Kingdom of God, future in its fullness, is now being inaugurated through Jesus’ words and mighty works. But St. John penetrates even further by showing that the miracles are not only signs of how the kingdom of God is being inaugurated on earth. They are also signs which reveal the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Thus, after the miracle of the changing of water into wine it is said that this was the first of Jesus’ signs. He thus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in him (John 2). In the other Gospels it is made clear that the Feeding of the Five Thousand is a sign in the present of the future messianic banquet at the end of history. St. John penetrates even further in showing how it points not only to the messianic banquet inaugurated in Jesus’ ministry, but also to Jesus himself as the giver of the bread of life (John 6).

In the other Gospels it is made clear how Jesus used parables to describe how the Kingdom of God was being inaugurated during his ministry. It is sometimes inaccurately said that St. John’s Gospel has no parables, though in fact it does have parables such as the Parable of the Good Shepherd (John 10) and the True Vine (John 15). However, what is already implicit in the other Gospels is now made explicit. Jesus had come to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel because he was himself the Good Shepherd. The parables are not simply about the inauguration of the Kingdom of God. They also speak of the nature of Christ himself as the true king of Israel, even though most did not recognise him in the days of his earthly life.

In the other Gospels it is made clear that the central focus of Jesus’ message is that the time is fulfilled and that the Kingdom of God, future in its fullness, is now being inaugurated in history. People are called to repent and believe the good news. How people respond to Jesus’ proclamation will determine whether they are saved or condemned on the last day. In St. John’s Gospel this is made even more explicit by it being made clear that judgment is not just what will happen on the last day, but is happening already. As people pass judgment on Jesus’ claims they are passing judgment on themselves. 

It is sometimes said that, whereas in the other Gospels Jesus is clearly shown as the friend of social outcasts who teaches about turning the other cheek and going the second mile, in St. John’s Gospel Jesus’ love is restricted to his disciples. In fact this theme is also present in St. John’s Gospel, where Jesus befriends the adulterous Samaritan woman (John 4) and heals the paralysed man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5). However, it is true to state that the love of Jesus for his disciples is more prominent in this Gospel than in the other gospels. But what St. John is doing, here as elsewhere, is making clear not only the breadth of Jesus’ love but also the depth of his love. A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. 

In the other Gospels it is made clear that Jesus was marked out among men by his unique authority. He is declared to be Son of God at his birth and at his baptism, this claim is tested in his temptations, confirmed again at his transfiguration and above all at his resurrection. However, while this unique claim is always implicit it is rarely made explicit. Occasionally the veil is lifted as when Jesus declares that all things have been delivered to him by his Father and no one knows the Father save the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal to him. In other words, he alone truly knows the Father and consequently true knowledge of God is only through him. In St. John’s Gospel this implicit claim is made explicit. It is emphasised again and again that Jesus makes no claims for himself in his own right, but everything for what God is doing through him. He can do nothing on his own authority, but in everything what he has been taught by the Father. There is no need to look beyond him. For to have seen him is to have seen the Father. He and the Father are one. That is why he gives a peace that the world cannot give. That is the secret of his authority. The Son is everything that the Father is, except he is the Son and not the Father. They are utterly identified, but not identical. He is the Word made flesh, the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. No man has ever seen God, but the only begotten Son has made him known.

R. G. Collingwood defined history as the “inside of the event”, in other words the purpose of historical writing is to make clear what is really going on in what takes place. St. John’s Gospel, as the testimony of one who saw the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in the days of his earthly life, is therefore the supreme example of an historical writing. It makes clear the inside of the event. The disciples had not fully understood Jesus in the days of his earthly life, but after he was risen from the dead and through the inspiration of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, they came to understand what had really been going on in what had happened. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had said. We today, we have not seen but have believed, can join with those who first ratified the Gospel in St. John’s presence. “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and has written these things, and we know that his witness is true.”
Saint John
THE OCTAVE DAY 3rd January

Saint John, brother of Saint James the Greater, the Apostle of Spain, is the beloved disciple. He was privileged, with his brother and Saint Peter, to behold the Saviour raise up a dead child to life, then saw Him transfigured on the mountaintop; he alone reposed his head on His breast at the Last Supper. After the crucifixion it is he who, with Saint Peter, hastened to the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection. Standing beside Mary at the Cross, he had heard his Master confide that Blessed Mother to him to be henceforth his Mother also. He took his precious treasure for refuge to Ephesus when the persecution of the Jerusalem Christians became too intense; and from there he went out to evangelize Asia Minor, of which he became the first Archbishop. He was later exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse, but afterwards returned to Ephesus.

Compared with an eagle by his flights of elevated contemplation, Saint John is the supreme Doctor of the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. Endowed with an astounding memory, he was able even in his later years, to reproduce the discourses of Christ in such a way as to make the reader experience their power and impact on their audiences as if present to hear them. He is the author of five books of the New Testament, his Gospel, three Epistles, and the last canonical prophecy, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John — all of which were composed after the ruin of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

In his extreme old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia, and Saint Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: My dear children, love one another.

Saint John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan, that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ, Saint John then being about ninety-four years old, according to Saint Epiphanus.

Reflection: Saint John is a living proof of Our Lord's beatitude: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Heavenly Friends, by Rosalie M. Levy (St. Paul: Boston, 1958).


The Holy Innocents
THE OCTAVE DAY 4th January

The wily king Herod, who was reigning in Judea at the time of the birth of Our Saviour, learned from three Wise Men from the East that they had come to Jerusalem, advised by a star in the heavens, in search of the newborn King of the Jews. Herod's superstitious fear of losing his throne was awakened, and he grew troubled. He called together the chief priests, questioned them, and learned from them that the awaited Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. He said to the strangers: When you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may go and adore Him.

The star which had guided the Magi re-appeared over Bethlehem, and they found the Infant and adored Him, and offered Him their royal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, recognizing by these His perfect Divinity, His royalty, and His prophesied sufferings. God warned them in a dream afterwards not to go back to Herod, and they returned to their lands, rejoicing, by a different route. Saint Joseph, too, was warned during his sleep by an Angel to take the Child and His Mother and flee into Egypt, for Herod will seek the life of the Infant.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men would not return, he was furious, and in his rage ordered that every male child in Bethlehem and its vicinity, of the age of two years or less, be slain. These innocent victims were the flowers and first-fruits of the Saviour's legions of martyrs; they triumphed over the world without having ever known it or experienced its dangers.

Reflection: That the Holy Innocents may be invoked to be preserved from illusion is the Church's belief. Herod's illusion of threat from the newborn King cost their lives... How few, perhaps, of these innocent little ones, if they had lived, would have escaped the dangers of the world! From what snares, what sins, what miseries were they preserved! Surely they rejoice now in their fate. We often lament, as misfortunes, many accidents which in the designs of Heaven are the greatest mercies.

The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources, by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).


Saint Thomas Becket
THE OCTAVE DAY 5th January

Saint Thomas, son of an English nobleman, Gilbert Becket, was born on the day consecrated to the memory of Saint Thomas the Apostle, December 21, 1117, in Southwark, England. He was endowed by both nature and grace with gifts recommending him to his fellow men; and his father, certain he would one day be a great servant of Christ, confided his education to a monastery. His first employment was in the government of the London police. There he was obliged to learn the various rights of the Church and of the secular arm, but already he saw so many injustices imposed upon the clergy that he preferred to leave that employment rather than to participate in iniquity. He was perfectly chaste and truthful, and no snares could cause to waver his hatred for any form of covert action.

He was employed then by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him on missions to Rome and permitted him to study civil law at the University of Bologna (Italy) for an entire year. After a few years, witnessing his perfect service, he made him his Archdeacon and endowed him with several benefices. The young cleric's virtue and force soon recommended him also to the king, who made of him his Lord Chancellor. In that high office, while inflexible in the rendition of justice, he was generous and solicitous for the relief of misery. He was severe towards himself, spending the better part of every night in prayer. He often employed a discipline, to be less subject to the revolts of the flesh against the spirit. In a war with France he won the respect of his enemies, including that of the young king Louis VII. To Saint Thomas, his own sovereign, Henry II, confided the education of the crown prince. Of the formation of the future king and the young lords who composed his suite, the Chancellor took extreme care, knowing well that the strength of a State depends largely on the early impressions received by the elite of its youth.

When Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury died, the king insisted on the consecration of Saint Thomas in his stead. Saint Thomas at first declined, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be threatened by his own obligations to uphold the rights of the Church against infringement by the sovereign, whose tendencies were not different from those of his predecessors. In the end he was obliged by obedience to yield. The inevitable conflict was not long in coming. Saint Thomas resisted when the king's courtiers drew up a list of royal customs at Clarendon, where the parliament of the king was assembled, and Henry obliged all the bishops as well as the lords to sign a promise to uphold these without permitting any restrictions whatsoever. Many of these pretended customs violated the liberties of the Church, and some were even invented for the occasion. Saint Thomas, obliged in conscience to resist, was soon the object of persecution, not only from the irritated king but by all who had sworn loyalty to his nefarious doings.

Saint Thomas took refuge in France under the protection of the generous Louis VII, who resisted successfully the repeated efforts of Henry to turn away his favor from the Archbishop. The Pope at that time was in France, and he, too, was besieged by Henry's emissaries, but knew well how to pacify minds and protect the defender of the Church. Thomas retired to a Benedictine monastery for two years, and when Henry wrote a threatening letter to its abbot, moved to another. After six years, his office restored as the Pope's apostolic legate, a title which Henry had wrested from him for a time, he returned to England, to preach again and enforce order in his see. He knew well that it was to martyrdom that he was destined; it is related that the Mother of God appeared to him in France to foretell it to him, and that She presented him for that intention with a red chasuble. By this time the persecuted Archbishop's case was known to all of Christian Europe, which sympathized with him and elicited from king Henry an appearance of conciliation.

A few words which the capricious Henry spoke to certain courtiers who hated Thomas, sufficed for the latter to decide to do away with the prelate who contravened all their unchristian doings. They violated a monastic cloister and chapel to enter there while he was assisting at Vespers; the Saint himself prevented the monks from resisting the assassins at the door. Refusing to flee the church as the assassins summoned him to do, he was slain before the altar, by cruel and murderous repeated blows on the head. He died, saying: I die willingly, for the name of Jesus and for the defense of the Church.

The actions of the Pope in this conflict make clear what all of history teaches: the lives of the Church's Saints themselves comprise the history of the world. The humility of Thomas had prompted him, after a moment of weakness he had manifested in a difficult situation, to judge himself unfit for his office and offer his resignation as Archbishop. The Pope did not hesitate a moment in refusing his resignation. He judged with apostolic wisdom that if Thomas should be deprived of his rank for having opposed the unjust pretensions of the English royalty, no bishop would ever dare oppose the impingements of iniquity on the Church's rights, and the Spouse of Christ would be no longer sustained by marble columns, but by reeds bending in the wind.

The martyred Archbishop was canonized by Pope Alexander III on Ash Wednesday, 1173, not yet three years after his death on December 29, 1170, to the edification of the entire Church.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 14


St Thomas a Becket (Feast 29-Dec) ~ Michael Davies
Vigil of the Epiphany
December 30 Bishop of Spoleto and his Companions Martyrs
(† 303)
Vigil of the Feast of the Epiphny
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

"And he arose, and took the child and its mother, and came into the land of Israel."--Matt. 2.

Three times, as the Gospel narrates, an angel appeared to St. Joseph in a dream, and spoke to him; and every time he immediately complied with the injunctions which he received--and was silent. The angel spoke to Joseph, but not he to the angel, although, as St. Chrysostom, in the spirit of wisdom, remarks: There would have been reason enough for some words, for surely the dear saint must have had certain questions to ask. Even Mary spoke with the angel. Joseph remained silent; and we have no record in Holy Scripture of a single word that he uttered.

Mary, together with St. Joseph, sought the child Jesus, sorrowing, and found him in the temple. The loving mother exclaimed: "Why hast Thou done this to us?" but his foster-father remained silent; and it would seem that, by this silence, a deep mystery of faith is implied, in perfect accord with the calling of him who was chosen to be the earthly father of the Saviour, and the representative of His heavenly Father. The eternal Father never spoke to the human race, since, as St. Paul says, in his Epistle to the Hebrews: "So God spoke in the beginning always by his angels with men."

So He did on Mount Sinai, when the law was announced to the chosen people of God; and to Moses in the burning bush, as St. Paul also says; and, lastly, through his only-begotten Son. Certainly, in this regard, the silence of St. Joseph can not serve as a model for us, but, in other cases, which very often occur in life, it can. All of them are contained in the principle: Never to murmur against divine Providence, but to bear all sufferings--whatsoever that God sees fit to send us--with patience for love of Him.

O Mary, mother of sorrows, who stood beneath the cross without a murmur, obtain for us the resignation of thy chaste spouse, St. Joseph! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honour of God!

An angel appeared to St. Joseph in a dream, and bade him fly with Mary and the child into Egypt; and, without one single question, he immediately arose and departed that very night. And the same spirit of obedience continued to influence him; for we read of his return to Palestine as soon as his angelic visitant again appeared in a dream and bade him retrace his steps.

If we give proper attention to this rare virtue--silence--which characterized the saint whom we delight to honour today, we will be inspired to accept lovingly all the trials which the Lord pleases to send, and bear them without a murmur. That St. Joseph was a just man, the Scripture gives unequivocal testimony; and, after his immaculate spouse, he may be considered the greatest among the saints--a distinction which he merits from his relations to Jesus and Mary. But the pure gold of his virtue was destined to be tested in the crucible of the weary toils, labours, and troubles of life; and his silence, in every phase, is a most eloquent proof of the perfection of his union with the most holy will of God.

As it was for Mary, so also was it for him the favourite maxim in life: "I am a servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to His word." St. Joseph was silent. This silence, at the command of the angel to undertake the long and toilsome journey, proves that his was a living faith in the disposition of Divine Providence, and the wisdom of the Lord in ordaining all things. He neither asked nor thought why he should set off in such haste to Egypt; nor whether there could not be found a place in Israel where he might conceal himself with Mary and the little Infant without traversing the desert's burning sands. He neither asked nor wondered why the flight was even necessary for the Incarnate Son of God; why, since He was God as well as Man, He could not conceal or protect Himself; or, by a sudden death, take Herod from this world, that all might be well. Nothing of all this found a place in the heart of the great St. Joseph. No; he let God order all things for him, and thought of the hidden counsels of the Lord; for, as St. Paul most justly asks: "Who was his Counsellor?"

He obeyed and was silent, making no inquiries as to how he would provide for the holy family in Egypt-- a land where all to him was new and strange. He trusted in God, and hoped, with Abraham, the father of the faithful, against hope. This holy silence points, at the same time, to his deep humility and self-denial. He neither asked nor thought why the angels might not come to transport him, with the mother and child, from Palestine to Egypt through the air, as they did with Elias--who was conveyed in a fiery chariot to heaven--and as was done with the prophet Habacuc.

The Blessed Virgin was to ride to Egypt on a beast of burden, while St. Joseph was to walk by her side, which he did with an alacrity and pleasure all the greater that he had thereby an opportunity of proving his love for Jesus and Mary, for whose comfort on the journey he evinced the utmost solicitude. He was silent, but his heart conversed with God in those unutterable sighs of the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul expresses himself in speaking of the hidden life in God through the practice of prayer.

The silence of St. Joseph points to his interior contemplative life. Prayer is the source of all grace; speaking of which St. Paul again says: "I can do all in Him who strengthens me." So St. Joseph traveled in silence to Egypt with the mother and child, and in silence he returned. What a lesson for us! What an example to imitate! Too often, however, it presents a striking contrast to the general conduct of Christians. How few, even among the children of the Church, submit, in silence and with resignation, in the trials of life, to the most holy will of God! and how often we hear the most unreasonable complaints from those who can not resolve to "kiss the hand that smites them!"

And, worse than all, the wicked murmuring against God, into which these complaints degenerate, fills the heart with despondency, gives scandal, and deprives the offender of those sufferings which, had they been patiently borne, would have one day changed into bright gems to adorn a heavenly crown. This rebellion is the cause of our frequently committing grievous faults; and whence comes it, then, beloved in Christ, that man encourages such dispositions, that he complains and mourns as one without hope? Because he does not possess the virtues of St. Joseph, of which I have spoken to you. His faith in the all-disposing providence of God is not sufficient. "No evil in the city which is not made by the Lord," as we read in the Old Testament; by which we are to understand that whatever happens by the divine permission is for our salvation,--we must see in it His divine hand, and bow to the most holy will of God. We are too prone to look upon the occurrences in this world, in the light of the present, as they place themselves before our eyes, never considering that the Lord has ordained them, in a most wonderful manner, for some wise end, hidden from us at the time, but fully revealed at a later period in life. Thus what we suffered so keenly from, and what we at the moment considered a great evil, may have been, in reality, sent to promote our eternal salvation; but, beguiled and deceived by self-love and self-will, we venture to challenge our Creator, as it were, to give an account of what He permits to befall us. This is because we are deficient in the humility and self-denial of St. Joseph. He was just; he was, through his relation to Jesus and Mary, by his royal blood and freedom from all personal sins, elevated to the highest rank in heaven above all the other saints.

We suffer and murmur, yet we have, perhaps, committed sins, and, it may be, deserved hell. Happy for us if the Lord changes the eternal punishment incurred and merited by our mortal sins into a temporal penalty after the guilt has been forgiven. And although we had even already blotted out this punishment through penance and indulgences, does not God give us, through sufferings, particularly when they are unmerited, the most precious opportunity to lay up the richest store of merits, and to cast the greatest weight upon the scale of heavenly joys? Think of Mary, herself, who stood as Queen of Martyrs beneath the cross.

Who could think of her and murmur? Who could behold that loving mother enduring her sorrow in silence, and not accept their trouble as coming, not from man, but from God? The devout and humble Christian will, with St. Joseph, thank and praise the Lord; for the more patiently we carry our cross in His imitation, the more like unto Him we shall become--the more precious shall we be in His sight. Yes, the nearer we follow Him in life, the nearer we shall be to Him in His empire of glory.

Joseph remained silent,--we murmur and complain. Why? We are wanting in that spirit of zeal in prayer which should enkindle and increase in us the fire of divine love, and strengthen us to suffer even with joy. We are also wanting in that ardent love toward Jesus and Mary, which ever reminds us that they walked first in the royal road of the holy cross. Let us, then, suffer, without a murmur, all that Christ is pleased to send us; for He often rewards us, even here below, with the benediction of His divine love. Child of the Church, do you hear this? Oh, what a day of grace for you will not that be, upon which you resolve firmly never more to murmur at the will of God! Oh, may it be today! What should particularly encourage you is, that there are but few who suffer with patience, and you should delight in being the one to give an edifying example.

Consider, finally, how quickly and with what determination St. Joseph obeyed the command of the angel. The Gospel says: "Immediately he arose from sleep and set out upon his journey." Might he not have remained sleeping until morning? This feature in his character stands in strong contrast to one which is often prominent in the life of the every-day Christian. I allude to a fatal delay in putting in practice the resolution to do good--to lead a better life. Men make resolutions for the sanctification of their lives, but there is no earnestness of purpose. They neglect to fulfil them until at last they entirely abandon the idea of leading a better life; and, instead of advancing in the way of Christian perfection, they retrograde. Beloved in Christ, resolve, from this very moment, that it shall be otherwise with you.

The Feast of the Epiphany, whose vigil we celebrate today, most beautifully confirms all that I have said by the example of the holy three kings. They also, as soon as they beheld the star, arose and set out on their journey. They were rewarded, for they found the Infant God.

Their first question was: "Where is He?" and, as soon as they received the answer, their generous and loving hearts gave little thought to what Jerusalem might think or say. The opinion of the world troubled them not; but, firm in their resolve to find Him, they followed the star. Happy for you, beloved in Christ, if you, with the dispositions of the Magi, prostrate yourself before the Infant Jesus; and, as they offered their gifts to Him, do you, from the depths of your hearts, make this solemn promise: "O Divine Child, from this very moment I resolve to accept whatever sufferings Thou dost please to send, without a murmur; and henceforth to fulfill my resolution without delay."

This will be an offering more precious than gold, frankincense, or myrrh; for it is a holocaust of your love to Jesus and Mary, for the greater honor and glory of God, for your own salvation, and the salvation of others. Amen!
Commemoration of St. Telesphorus, Pope and Martyr

The holy Church of Rome commemorates today the holy Pope and Martyr, St. Telesphorus. This Pontiff began his reign in the year 127; and among his decrees, we find that of his prescribing the holy sacrifice of the Mass to be offered up on Christmas Night, in order to honour the hour when our Saviour was born: he also ordered that the Angelic Hymn Gloria in excelsis should be said, on most days, at the beginning of Mass. This devotion of the holy Pope towards the great Mystery which we are now celebrating, renders his commemoration at this season of the year doubly dear to us. Telesphorus suffered a glorious martyrdom, as St. Ireneus expresses it, and was crowned with eternal glory in the year 138.
The Epiphany
January 6th 

The Church commemorates on this feast three different mysteries, in which Jesus Christ made Himself known to man and manifested His glory; the adoration paid by the Wise Men of the East, the baptism He received from St. John, and the first miracle wrought by Him in Galilee, by changing water into wine. She dwells, however, more particularly on the first of these mysteries, and exhorts us to imitate the example of the Magi, the first fruits of the Gentiles converted to the faith, by offering to Him the gold of pure and ardent charity, the incense of fervent prayer, and the myrrh of penance and self-denial, without which we are Christians only in name.

Homily of St. Gregory the Great

Dearly beloved: As you have heard in the Gospel lesson, an earthly king was troubled when the King of Heaven was born. Earthly greatness is thus brought to confusion when the Majesty of Heaven appears. But, we ask, why is it, pray, that at the Redeemer's birth an angel appeared to the shepherds in Judea, while from the east, the Magi were led to adore Him, not by an angel, but by a star? The reason would appear to be this. To the Jews, as creatures possessing the use of reason, a reasoning being, that is an angel, speaks. The Gentiles, who do not seem to possess the use of reason, are not led to the knowledge of the Lord by a voice, but rather, by a sign. Hence, St. Paul says: Prophecies are given to believers not to unbelievers; and signs to unbelievers not to believers. Therefore the prophecies were given to the Jews, as to believers, and not unbelievers, whereas to the Gentiles, as to unbelievers, and not believers, signs were given.

Note further! It was the Apostles who preached the Redeemer--after He had reached His age of perfection--to those same Gentiles, even as a star, and not human voices proclaimed Him to the nations when He was an Infant, too young to speak. Surely common sense demands that the tongues of men should proclaim the Lord and His teaching, even as voiceless elements proclaimed Him before He had begun to speak. With all the signs which point to the birth and death of the Lord, consider how stony were the hearts of those Jews who would know Him neither through prophecies nor through miracles.

All elements in nature testified that their Creator had come. Let me indicate them in our everyday fashion. The heavens knew that He was God, for they sent a star to herald Him. The sea knew Him, for it bore up His feet upon it. The earth knew Him, and trembled when He died. The sun knew Him, and hid his light. The stones and walls knew Him, and were rent at His death. Hell knew Him, and gave up its dead. All the insensible elements of nature knew Him, but even up to this minute the hearts of the unbelieving Jews will not recognize Him as God, and--more hard than rock--will not be rent in penitence.

Homily of St. Augustine

Our Lord Jesus Christ, dearly beloved, Who from eternity is the Creator of all things, today, being born of a mother, has become for us a Saviour. Today, of His own will, He is born for us in time, that he might lead us to eternal life in the Father. God is made man that man might be God. Today is the Lord of Angels become man, that man might eat the Bread of Angels.

Today is fulfilled that prophecy: Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour. He Who had made others was Himself made that He might save those Who would perish. For in the psalm man confesses: Before I was humbled, I sinned. Man sinned and became guilty; the God-Man is born that He might deliver the guilty. Man indeed fell, but God descended. Man fell miserably, God descended mercifully. Man fell through pride, God descended with grace.

O miracle! O marvel! My brethren. The laws of nature are changed in man. God is born. A virgin conceives without knowing man; the Word of God weds her who knows not man. At one and the same time she is both mother and virgin--she becomes a mother, yet is undefiled. The Virgin bears a Son, yet knows not man. She is inviolate, but not barren. He alone is born without sin; the son born apart from the cooperation of man, conceived not in the concupiscence of the flesh, but through obedience of the virgin's soul.

St. Alphonsus De Liguori
The Adoration of the Magi

Jesus is born poor in a stable; the angels of heaven indeed acknowledge Him, but men abandon and forsake him on earth. Only a few shepherds come and pay him homage. But our Redeemer was desirous of communicating to us the grace of His redemption, and begins therefore to manifest Himself to the Gentiles, Who knew Him least. Therefore he sends a star to enlighten the holy Magi, in order that they may come and acknowledge and adore their Saviour. This was the first and sovereign grace bestowed upon us--our vocation to the faith; which was succeeded by our vocation to grace, of which men were deprived.

Behold the wise men, who immediately, without delay, set off upon their journey. The star accompanies them as far as the cavern where the holy Infant lies: on their arrival they enter; and what do they find? They found the child with Mary. They find a poor maiden and a poor Infant wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes, without anyone to attend on Him or assist Him. But, lo! on entering into the little shed these holy pilgrims feel a joy which they had never felt before; they feel their hearts chained to the dear little Infant which they behold. The straw, the poverty, the cries of their little Saviour--Oh, what darts of love! Oh, what blessed flames are they to their enlightened hearts ! The Infant looks upon them with a joyful countenance, and this is the mark of affection with which he accepts them amongst the first-fruits of His Redemption.

The holy kings then look at Mary, who does not speak --she remains silent; but with her blessed countenance that breathes the sweetness of paradise she welcomes them, and thanks them for having been the first to come and acknowledge Her son (as indeed He is) for their Sovereign Lord. See also how, out of reverence, they adore Him in silence, and acknowledge Him for their God, kissing His feet, and offering Him their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Let us also with the holy Magi adore our little King Jesus, and let us offer Him all our hearts.

Affections and Prayers

O amiable Infant! Though I see Thee in this cavern lying on straw poor and despised, yet faith teaches me that Thou art my God, who earnest down from heaven for my salvation. I acknowledge Thee, then, for my sovereign Lord and Saviour; but I have nothing, alas, to offer Thee. I have no gold of love, because I have loved creatures; I have loved my own caprices, but I have not loved Thee, O amiable infinite One! I have not the incense of prayer, because I have lived in a miserable state of forgetfulness of Thee. I have no myrrh of mortification, for I have often displeased Thy infinite goodness that I might not be deprived of my miserable pleasures. What then shall I offer Thee? I offer Thee my heart, filthy and poor as it is; do Thou accept it, and change it. Thou camest into the world for this purpose, to wash the hearts of men from their sins by Thy blood, and thus change them from sinners into saints. Give me, therefore, I pray Thee, this gold, this incense, and this myrrh. Give me the gold of Thy holy love; give me the spirit of holy prayer, give me the desire and strength to mortify myself in everything that displeases Thee. I am resolved to obey Thee and to love Thee; but Thou knowest my weakness, oh, give me the grace to be faithful to Thee! Most holy Virgin, thou who didst welcome with such affection and didst console the holy Magi, do thou welcome and console me also, who come to visit thy Son and to offer myself to him. O my Mother, I have great confidence in thy intercession! Do thou recommend me to Jesus. To thee do I intrust my soul and my will; bind it forever to the love of Jesus!


Links to Government websites; remember these are being updated regularly as new information and changes in statuses develop:
For the ORC Policy Document click below
Coronavirus Policy Document
The Coronavirus Policy document [above] mentions specifically consideration pastorally of those in isolation, whether self-isolating i.e. a person or someone in their household has symptoms, or quarantined i.e. positively infected and required to convalesce at home or receive treatment in hospital. As the guidance posits, those who are hospitalised are unlikely to be permitted visitors, but in the section "Pastoral Care of the Isolated" those who are in isolation at home may require regular contact and communication as well as occasional practical assistance e.g. to get supplies.

The Policy suggests that parishioners and clergy... 
  • inform one another as soon as possible of any church member becoming isolated,
  • that the pastor or church secretary records the date of the start of a person's isolation (to calculate the date they should be free of infection),
  • that the pastor make every effort to stay in regular contact with the isolated person.
The Policy also suggests for those parishes/missions with a localised congregation in a neighbourhood, a system of "street wardens" be established. A "street warden" is a nominated member of the church who agrees to become a point of contact between the church and any church member living on their street who is self-isolating, and even perhaps for anybody else as well (as a form of witness and outreach). The "street warden" would let the pastor know of someone becoming self-isolating, would maintain regular contact with the member perhaps through electronic means eg mobile phone, talking through a door or window and be prepared to arrange the supply of provisions eg medicine or food etc. 
Practical advice for staying at home
You might be worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include having to stay at home and avoid other people.

This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. 

Eat well and stay hydrated
  • Think about your diet. Your appetite might change if your routine changes, or if you’re less active than you usually are. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels.
  • Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health. Changing your routine might affect when you drink or what fluids you drink. It could help to set an alarm or use an app to remind you. You should drink enough during the day so your urine (pee) is a pale clear colour.
  • You can use over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, to help with some of your symptoms. Use these according to the instructions on the packet or label and do not exceed the recommended dose.
  • If you are self-isolating, you can ask someone to drop off essential food items for you. If they do this, ask them to leave food at your doorstep, to avoid face-to-face contact with each other.
Take care of your immediate environment
  • If you are spending a lot of time at home, you may find it helpful to keep things clean and tidy, although this is different for different people.
  • If you live with other people, keeping things tidy might feel more important if you’re all at home together. But you might have different ideas about what counts as 'tidy' or how much it matters. It could help to decide together how you’ll use different spaces. And you could discuss what each person needs to feel comfortable. 
  • Cleaning your house, doing laundry and washing yourself are important ways to help stop germs spreading, including when there are warnings about particular diseases. 
  • When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.
  • Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.
  • Other household waste can be disposed of as normal. To minimise the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load.
  • If you do not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after your 7-day (for individual isolation) or 14-day isolation period (for households) has ended when you can then take the laundry to a public launderette.
For parents and carers of children and young people
  • If you are working from home more than usual, you may find it especially difficult if you are also looking after children would usually be in nursery, school or college while you work.
  • Think about how to balance your work with caring for your children. If you have an employer, they may be able to help you balance your work and childcare responsibilities.
  • Some employers may ask if there is another adult who can supervise your children while you’re working. It may help to speak to your employer if you are concerned about this.
  • Think about being more lenient with your children’s social media and mobile phone use during their time at home. If your children would normally go to school or college, they will be used to being around other children for several hours a day. They might find it difficult to be removed from this, especially if they're also worried about their health.
  • Ask their school or college if any digital learning is available while your children are at home, and what technology they may need. Remember to add time in for breaks and lunch.
  • You can also think about card games, board games and puzzles, and any other ways to stay active or be creative.If no digital learning is available, you could encourage your children to select books or podcasts they'd like to explore during their time away from school or college.
  • For older teens, there are free online courses they could try out.
Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing
If you are staying at home more than you usually would, it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

Keeping in touch digitally
  • Make plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person.
  • You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
  • If you’re worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other. 
  • Think of other ways to keep in contact with people while meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you've not seen for a while. 
"Online is the only place I can really make friends, so that helps obviously. For people who cannot get out to socialise, the internet is a link to the outside world. It IS a social life of sorts."

If you're worried about loneliness
  • Think about things you can do to connect with people. For example, putting extra pictures up of the people you care about might be a nice reminder of the people in your life.
  • Listen to a chatty radio station or podcast if your home feels too quiet.
Decide on a routine
  • Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall. 
  • Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.
  • If you aren’t happy with your usual routine, this might be a chance to do things differently. For example, you could go to bed earlier, spend more time cooking or do other things you don’t usually have time for.
  • Think about how you’ll spend time by yourself at home. For example, plan activities to do on different days or habits you want to start or keep up.
If you live with other people, it may help to do the following:
  • Agree on a household routine. Try to give everyone you live with a say in this agreement.
  • Try to respect each other's privacy and give each other space. For example, some people might want to discuss everything they’re doing while others won’t.
Try to keep active
Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities you can do. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:
  • cleaning your home 
  • dancing to music
  • going up and down stairs
  • seated exercises
  • online exercise workouts that you can follow
  • sitting less – if you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.
Find ways to spend your time
  • Try having a clear out. You could sort through your possessions and put them away tidily, or have a spring clean.
  • You could also have a digital clear out. Delete any old files and apps you don’t use, upgrade your software, update all your passwords or clear out your inboxes.
  • Write letters or emails, or make phone calls with people you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
Find ways to relax
There are lots of different ways that you can relax, take notice of the present moment and use your creative side. These include:
  • arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling
  • DIY
  • colouring
  • prayer and meditation
  • playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
  • writing.
Keep your mind stimulated
  • Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
  • There are lots of apps that can help you learn things, such as a foreign language or other new skills.
Fr Thomas Gierke OSF shares an insight into his bi-vocation as a priest and an EMS
Divine Mercy, Bacoor
Christmas greetings to the Primus and "Auntie" Barbara!
Santa Isidro Labrador, Laguna
painting the church
Tagapo Chapel, Laguna
Santa Cruz, Houston
The parish priest and hospital chaplain receives the mRNA-1273, more commonly known as the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Brighton Oratory

Persons experiencing homelessness encounter significant barriers to self-care and personal hygiene, including limited access to clean showers, laundry and hand washing facilities. The obstacles to personal hygiene associated with homelessness may increase risk of infectious disease, yet hygiene-related behaviours among people experiencing homelessness receives limited attention. 

Due to COVID the situation for people sleeping on our streets has become more difficult as homeless provision services affected by the pandemic have ceased operating or had to scale back significantly their operations; some unable to operate at all. For Brighton & Hove there is no only one provider of showering and washing facilities for those sleeping rough.

Usually at this time of year, the Archbishop would be planning a Christmas Day lunch with the Salvation Army for the homeless, but due to COVID restrictions, regrettably neither the regular Wednesday drop-in nor Christmas Day Lunch are realisable.

The Archbishop is supporting a new homeless project in Brighton & Hove, Soup & socks that will be tackling food poverty and serving the homeless of the city a hot meal four nights a week throughout winter. In addition to socks, His Grace is keen to provide necessary items for personal hygiene, toiletries, sanitiser, change of underwear and particularly women’s health items such as sanitary towels and fresh wipes. These items are often overlooked. Funding for such items is seldom available.

Please help the Archbishop to help others by way of a donation so that necessary personal hygiene items can be purchased wholesale and distributed to those who need them most.

King of Mercy Mission
Adoration Chapel Appeal
An opportunity to present Christ - Emmanuel - in the heart of people's lives. To bring the peace of Christ's presence to the hustle and bustle of daily life. To provide an opportunity for spiritual encounter in a worldly environment...

The King of Mercy mission in Detroit, currently being established by the order of Little Marion Sons (FMCD), has the opportunity to create an Adoration Chapel in the heart of a shopping mall south of the city of Detroit, Michigan. The concept is to provide a spiritual oasis where people can take time out to pray. The chapel will be supported by a religious 
repository selling devotional objects, rosaries. icons, statues, books etc, the proceeds from which will support an outreach programme to the local homeless population.

The Little Marion Sons need help to cover initial costs for moving chapel appointments from storage to the outlet and fitting out the spaces for a sanctuary, shop and café areas.
You can make a tax-exempt donation to the order via PayPal.

Filii Minimi Cordis Dulcissime, LLC is a registered charity 501(c)(3) and non-profit company registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), EIN: 47-3962843

Following last issue's article about "How to participate in online worship" Metropolitan Jerome took the opportunity this past week to record a series of four talks on "How to worship online". In each episode his grace gives both a theological dimension as well as practical suggestions as to the disposition one should have toward worship online and to maximise the spiritual experience.
EPSIODE 1: first principles
EPISODE 2: preparation
EPISODE 3: practicalities
EPISODE 4: Spiritual Communion
Angelus & Mass
Angelus & Rosary
Timings are GMT London UK

0830 Mass
1200 Angelus
1800 Angelus & Rosary

0830 Mass

Timings are GMT London UK

LIVE broadcasts from The Brighton Oratory, UK
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Old Roman TV and The Old Roman are not free to produce. Though the considerable hours to conceive, edit produce and broadcast programmes and bulletins are given voluntarily, there are some monthly costs involved ref web platform subscriptions etc for hosting channels as well as professional software for producing the published content. Please prayerfully consider becoming an ORtv Benefactor today and help defray the costs currently born by only a few faithful souls. A larger number of regular subscribers would not only cover costs but enable even more programmes and aid our mission to spread the Faith! Become a Patron of Old Roman TV and receive gifts and special offers as well as exclusive access to content!
QUESTION: What benefits do I derive from watching the traditional Latin Mass on the internet? I know I don’t get the full benefit I would if I were there in person.

RESPONSE: It is clear, based on the teaching of pre-Vatican II theologians regarding hearing Mass over the radio or television, that one could not fulfill his Sunday obligation by viewing a Mass broadcast over the internet. The law requires physical presence at the Holy Sacrifice, or at least being part of a group that is actually present (in the case of a congregation so large, for example, that it spills out beyond the doors of the church into the street).

So, if you were able to be physically present at Mass under the usual conditions on a Sunday or a Holy Day, you would be obliged to go to it. You could not choose instead to remain at home glued to your computer— or indeed, to remain in the church parking lot, hovering over your I-Phone — and still fulfill your duty to assist at Mass.

Thus the question of the obligation.

However, the spiritual benefit of a broadcast Mass is another matter — you can indeed benefit from it. This is clear from the comment of Fr. Francis Connell, a well-known moral theologian at Catholic University in the 1950s, who addressed the question of hearing Mass over the radio:

“One may participate in the benefits of the Mass without being actually present — namely, by directing one’s intention and devotion to the sacred rite. By hearing Mass over the radio one can certainly foster his devotion, and thus profit considerably from the offering of the Holy Sacrifice. Indeed, it could happen that one who participates in the Holy Sacrifice in this manner will gain much more benefit than many of those who are actually present.” (Father Connell Answers Moral Questions [Washington: CUA 1959] 75–6)

So, in these days when true Masses offered by real priests are few and far between, Catholics can at least have the consolation of knowing that a facet of modern technology so often used for evil can also be used to foster their own devotion — and indeed, to bring to them the benefits of a true Mass, wherever it is offered.
Archbishop Jerome highlights aspects of the liturgies and customs of Christmas and it's Octave, in this continuing series exploring the Traditional Latin Rite liturgy from Advent through to Candlemas.
The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6. This feast commemorates the manifestation of Christ, especially to the Magi, but also of the theophany of the Trinity at His baptism and of His divinity at the wedding feast at Cana.

Tradition tells us that the names of the magi were Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. The men were astrologers from Persia who were looking for the star that would lead them to the promised Messiah. This was prophesied in the Book of Micah. According to the Gospel narratives, the wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts were very meaningful. Gold was a precious and expensive gift, and showed how important Jesus was, representing his kingship. Frankincense is a sweet perfume which was often burned in the temple to worship God. It was a sign of Jesus’ divinity and that He should be worshipped. Myrrh was used to keep things fresh, and it was used by the women to anoint Jesus’ body when He died; bringing it as a gift, the wise men foretold His suffering and death.

Theophany is revelation of the Most Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son, the Son was baptised by Saint John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a dove. From ancient times this Feast was called the Day of Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since God is Light and has appeared to illumine “those who sat in darkness,” and “in the region of the shadow of death” (Mt.4:16), and to save the fallen race of mankind by grace.

The transformation of water into wine at the Marriage at Cana or Wedding at Cana is the first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John [John 2:1-11]. In the Gospel account, Jesus, His mother and His disciples are invited to a wedding, and when the wine runs out, Jesus delivers a sign of His glory, proving His divinity by turning water into wine. It is considered to have symbolic importance as the first of the seven signs in the Gospel of John by which Jesus’ divine status is attested, and around which the gospel is structured. The miracle may also be interpreted as the anti-type of Moses’ first public miracle of changing water (the Nile river) into blood. This would establish a symbolic link between Moses as the first saviour of the Jews through their escape from Egypt and Jesus as the spiritual saviour of all people.
The season of Epiphany has (along with Advent) some of the most striking office hymns of the liturgical year “Bethlehem of noblest cities” and “Why impious Herod dost thou Fear?” The Collect is also very powerful when it speaks of how after this life we may “attain the fruition of thy glorious Godhead.” This points to the central purpose of the Christian life, to become by grace what He is by nature. St. Augustine develops this theme further in the “City of God” when he speaks of the final rest without weariness in the end without end.

Dr Robert Wilson, Lector, The Bristol Oratory, UK
Epiphany Water
There is a special blessing for water on the feast of the Epiphany because of its connection to the celebration of Jesus’ baptism. This ancient rite of the blessing of the waters, with its extraordinarily powerful prayers of exorcism, renders Epiphany Water more spiritually potent than ‘ordinary’ holy water (also, exorcised salt is part of the ritual and is used to ‘make’ Epiphany water). The exorcisms are unique to the Epiphany water and make it a powerful sacramental against attacks of Satan so that “wherever this water and salt is sprinkled it may turn aside every attack of the unclean spirit”. The water is poured into the Holy Water tank and is used in the blessings of the homes during the Octave of the Epiphany.
The home is blessed on the Feast of the Epiphany or during the Octave by a priest or senior member of the household. The purpose of the blessing is to witness to the Faith and to beseech salvific benefits and protection from evil. Holy water is sprinkled throughout the home and, using blessed chalk, the lintel of each exterior-leading door is marked with the year and initials of the three kings, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. The initials also form the first letters of the Latin prayer Christus mansionem benedicat [May God bless this house], and serve as a reminder of the date and purpose of the blessing.
Epiphany Chalk
Chalking the door is a Christian Epiphanytide tradition used in order to bless one’s home.

Either on Twelfth Night (January 5), the twelfth day of Christmastide and eve of the feast of the Epiphany, or on Epiphany Day (January 6) itself, many Christians chalk their doors with a pattern such as this, “20 † C † M † B † 19”, with the numbers referring to the calendar year (20 and 20, for instance, for this upcoming year, 2020); the crosses stand for Christ; and the letters have a two-fold significance: C, M and B are the initials for the traditional names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar), but they are also an abbreviation of the Latin blessing Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which means, “May Christ bless this house.”

The chalk used to write the Epiphanytide pattern is blessed by a priest or minister on Epiphany Day; faithful then take the chalk home and use it to write the pattern. This custom of chalking the door has a biblical precedent as the Israelites in the Old Testament marked their doors in order to be saved from death; likewise, the Epiphanytide practice serves to protect Christian homes from evil spirits until the next Epiphany Day, at which time the custom is repeated. Families also perform this act because it represents the hospitality of the Holy Family to the Magi (and all Gentiles); it thus serves as a house blessing to invite the presence of God in one’s home.
The blessing of the Epiphany waters always moves me, the dramatic exorcisms and benedictions really bring home the reconciliation of all Creation by the Incarnation…

Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey
Epiphany Customs
Epiphany Eve (also known as Twelfth Night) marks the end of the traditional Christmas celebrations and is the time when you were meant to take Christmas decorations down – although some people leave them up until Candlemas.

Epiphany is mainly celebrated by Catholics and Orthodox Christians. It’s a big and important festival in Spain, where it’s also known as ‘The festival of the three Magic Kings’ – ‘Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages’, and is when Spanish and some other Catholic children receive their presents – as they are delivered by the Three Kings!

In Spain on Epiphany morning you might go to the local bakers and buy a special cake/pastry called a ‘Roscón’ (meaning a ring shaped roll). They are normally filled with cream or chocolate and are decorated with a paper crown. There is normally a figure of a king (if you find that you can wear the crown) and a dried bean (if you find that you’re meant to pay for the cake!). In Catalonia it’s known as a Tortell or Gâteau des Rois and is stuffed with marzipan.

In France you might eat a ‘Galette des Rois‘, a type of flat almond cake. It has a toy crown cooked inside it and is decorated on top with a gold paper crown.
There are similar traditions in Mexico where Epiphany is known as ‘El Dia de los Reyes’ (the day of The Three Kings). It’s traditional to eat a special cake called ‘Rosca de Reyes’ (Three Kings Cake). A figure of Baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake. Whoever has the baby Jesus in their piece of cake is the ‘Godparent’ of Jesus for that year.

In Portugal, people take part in Epiphany carol singing known as the ‘Janeiras’ (January songs). On the Island of Madeira they’re known as the ‘Cantar os Reis’ (singing the kings).

In Italy, some children also get their presents on Epiphany. But they believe that an old lady called ‘Befana’ brings them. Children put stockings up by the fireplace for Befana to fill.

In Austria, at Epiphany, some people write a special sign in chalk over their front door. It’s a reminder of the Wise Men that visited the baby Jesus. It’s made from the year split in two with initials of the names that are sometimes given to ‘the three wise men’, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, in the middle. So 2020 would be: 20CMB20. The sign is meant to protect the house for the coming year. Some parts of Germany also have the tradition of marking over doors. The ‘Four Hills’ Ski Jumping Tournament also finishes on 6th January in Bischofshofen, Austria.

At Epiphany in Belgium, children dress up as the three wise men and go from door to door to sing songs and people give them money or sweets, kind of like Trick or Treating on Halloween. Children in Poland also go out singing on Epiphany.

In Ireland, Epiphany is also sometimes called ‘Nollaig na mBean’ or Women’s Christmas. Traditionally the women get the day off and men do the housework and cooking! It is becoming more popular and many Irish women now get together on the Sunday nearest Epiphany and have tea and cakes!

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (which celebrates Christmas on 7th January), twelve days after Christmas, on 19th January, the three day celebration of Ethiopians Timkat starts. This celebrates Jesus’s baptism.

In New Orleans, Louisiana, in the USA, on Epiphany/King’s Day, the Christmas Tree is either take down or the ornaments are replaced with Purple, Gold and Green ones and it’s then called a ‘Mardi Gras Tree’! People also like to eat ‘King Cake’ (a cinnamon pastry with sugar on the top and sometimes filled with cream cheese or jelly/jam). The King Cake will have a little baby plastic doll inside (which represents Jesus); whoever gets the piece with the baby has to supply the next King Cake! Some people have “King Cake Party” every Friday before Lent (the time before Easter).
We continue to love, pray and help each other, whether we are on Earth, in Purgatory on in Heaven.
Weekly News Roundup 
Rosary Guild
The Manghera family Rosary Guild is once again taking orders for homemade rosaries, scapulas, Miraculous Medals and holy cards to support their parish mission!  If you are interested to place an order, please contact Fr Kristopher 
How to pray the Rosary
  1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the “Apostles’ Creed”
  2. Say the “Our Father”
  3. Say three “Hail Marys” for Faith, Hope, and Charity
  4. Say the “Glory Be”
  5. Announce the First Mystery and then say the “Our Father”
  6. Say ten “Hail Marys” while meditating on the Mystery
  7. Say the “Glory Be” (Optional: Say the “O My Jesus” prayer requested by Mary at Fatima)
  8. Announce the Next Mystery; then say the “Our Father” and repeat these steps (6 through 8) as you continue through the remaining Mysteries.
  9. Say the closing prayers: the “Hail Holy Queen” and “Final Prayer”
  10. Make the “Sign of the Cross”
If you’ve never prayed the Rosary before, this article will give you the basics; and, if you’re returning to the Rosary after a long time away, you can use this article as a "refresher course." Keep in mind, though, that there are no "Rosary police" checking up on you to make sure that you’re doing it "the right way."

In the long run, you may pray the Rosary however you prefer to pray it. The main objective of the Rosary is the same as any method of prayer—to nourish your intimacy with the triune God and with the communion of saints in this world and the next. So whatever serves that purpose is good.

If you want to pray the Rosary in the customary manner, however, there is a traditional way to go about it. The prayers of the Rosary will be provided here, in case you don’t already know them.

Because praying the Rosary involves repetitive prayer, it’s a good idea to have a rosary. If you don’t have a religious goods store in your area, you can find several sources on the Internet—some of which even offer free rosaries.

There are two basic ways to pray the Rosary—alone or with one or more people. If you are praying the Rosary with others, the custom is for one person to lead the group, primarily by saying the first half of each prayer and announcing each of the mysteries. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll assume here that you are praying the Rosary by yourself. If you join a group, most likely many of those present will understand how to pray the Rosary as a group, so all you’ll need to do is follow along. When praying the Rosary alone, you may either recite the prayers aloud or say them silently—it’s up to you.

The rosary consists of six Our Father beads and five decades (sets of ten) Hail Mary Beads plus one set of three Hail Mary beads. The Apostles’ Creed is said on the crucifix, and the Glory Be is said on the chain or knot after each set of Hail Marys. The Hail, Holy Queen is said at the end of the Rosary. Here’s how to go about it. You may be surprised when you see how easy it really is:

Make the Sign of the Cross

You begin the Rosary by making the sign of the cross using the small crucifix on the rosary. Simply hold the crucifix on your rosary with your fingers and trace the sign of the cross on your forehead, your chest, and then your left and right shoulders while saying,

In the name of the Father [forehead], and of the Son [chest], and of the Holy [left shoulder] Spirit [right shoulder]. Amen.

Say the Apostles’ Creed

Still holding the crucifix, pray the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Say the Our Father

Holding the first bead of your rosary (the bead closest to the crucifix), pray the Our Father:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

(If you came, or are coming, to Catholicism from a Protestant tradition, remember that Catholics say a doxology—"For the kingdom, and the power, and the glory are yours now and forever"—only in the context of the Mass, and then it is separated from the Our Father by a prayer said by the priest.)

Say Three Hail Marys

Next, hold each of the three beads in the next series one at a time, and pray a Hail Mary for each bead:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee (you). Blessed art thou (are you) among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy (your) womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Say the Glory Be/Doxology

Holding the chain or knot that comes after the series of three Hail Mary beads, pray the Glory Be:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, world without end. (now and forever.) Amen.

If you like, you can say the following lines at the end of each Glory Be:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy (your) mercy. Amen.

It’s up to you whether you use this prayer, or not. If it appeals to you, go ahead and say it. If not, skip it.

Say the Five Decades

The next set of prayers—consisting of an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be—is repeated five times, once for each mystery of the Rosary. While holding the next, single bead, announce the first mystery of the kind you are praying today—joyful, sorrowful, glorious, or luminous. For example, "The first joyful mystery, the annunciation." Theoretically, the idea is to meditate or reflect upon this mystery while praying an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be. If you can do that, great. If not, don’t worry about it. Personally, I suspect that the repetitive nature of the Rosary actually short-circuits conscious reflection on anything—let alone a mystery of faith—and acts something like a mantra does in the meditation methods of Zen Buddhism. The Rosary gives the fingers and tongue something to do, so that your mind and heart can "go deep," as it were, in wordless prayer.

After announcing the first mystery, and still holding the single bead, pray the Our Father. For each of the ten beads in the first decade of the Rosary, say one Hail Mary. When you reach the chain or knot after the tenth Hail Mary bead, say one Glory Be. Then hold the next single bead, announce the next mystery, say an Our Father, say the next set of ten Hail Marys, and say another Glory Be. Do this until you finish all five decades.

Say the Hail, Holy Queen/Salve Regina

When you have completed the fifth decade of the Rosary and said the final Glory Be, say the Hail, Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee (you) do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; (the children of Eve;) to thee (you) do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale (valley) of tears. (in this land of exile.) Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine (your) eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, (lead us home at last and) show unto us the blessed fruit of thy (your) womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

If you wish, you may also add this final verse-and-response prayer:

V: Pray for us, O holy mother of God,
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

And that’s it. That’s all there is to praying the Rosary. After you have prayed the Rosary a few times, you’ll know how easy it is. The more you pray the Rosary, however, the deeper you’ll get into it and the more you’ll discover its spiritual riches.

An excerpt from The Rosary Handbook by Mitch Finley.

Fr. Anthony Cekada's Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI.
Spiritual Conferences by Bishop Sanborn
Broadcast on Fridays, "Contra Mundum" looks at the issues affecting 21C Christians today and proposes how to overcome them through faith, hope and charity. Treating contemporary issues frankly, using inspiring testimonies from around the world, Divine Revelation, traditional piety and praxis to encourage, equip and enable Christians to respond to them.
Old Roman Clergy literally from across continents discuss spirituality and the Christian life in the 21C
Any questions? Email them to anonymity assured!  
Previous episodes:
A 21C bishop wonders aloud about contemporary Christian life, the Gospel mission and the Church from the perennial perspective of Tradition and the Apostolic faith...
How are Old Roman vocations to the Sacred Ministry discerned, formed and realised? If you are discerning a vocation to the Sacred Ministry and are considering exploring the possibility of realising your vocation as an Old Roman or transferring your discernment, this is the programme for you! 
Questions are welcome and may be sent in advance to anonymity is assured.
For health & well-being…
John & Peggy A, Sue D, Bob F, Linda I, Michael & Esther K, Andrew M, Margaret S, Sandra W, Karen W, Paul & Margaret W, John M,  Christopher, Lyn B, Simon G, Dagmar B, Karen K, Debbie G, Finley G, Diane C, Paul, +Rommel B, Penny E, Colin R, John, Ronald, Lilian & family, Ruth L, David G, David P, Fr Graham F, S&A, +Charles of Wisconsin, Fr Terrence M, +Guo Xijin, +John P, Karl R-W, Fr Kristopher M & family, Mark Coggan, Fr Nicholas P, Ounissa, Ronald Buczek, Rik C, Juanita Alaniz & family, Shirley & Selwyn V, Trayanka K, Amanda A, Evelyn B, Matt & Bethan, Ros R, Ralph S, Brenda M, Carmen, Tony, Marie, Ryan, Eva, Tello, Olive S, David, Joyce T, Ray & Ruth M, Diane & Rebecca, Czarina, William H., Zofia K., Sean H., Laura P, +Andrew Vellone, Marvin, Rene, Czarina, Hunter, Audrey, Susie, Ed Julius De Leon, Trayanka, Bayani Antonio, Jovita Villanueva, Migdelio, Tomas, Divina Dela Paz Labayen, Patrick H, Katherine G, Angela & Claire D, Maria, James T, Luke & Mariane, Eugenia B, Cristina H, Marina M,  

For those vocationally discerning…
James, Breandán, Manuel, Vincent, Darren, Akos, Roger, James, Adrian, Carlos, Thomas, Yordanis, Nicholas, Tyler, Micha, Michael, Pierre, Bryan, Abel, Neil, Austin, Dan, David, Adam, Brian, Felix, Paul

For the faithful departed…
Lauretta (21.01.19), Clive Reed (23.01.19), Fr John Wright (24.01.19), Shelley Luben (11.12.18), Mick Howells (13.12.18), Daniel Callaghan (13.02.19), Alfie (Hub guest), Père Pierre Fournier (08.02.19), Jill Lewis (24.02.19), Cynthia Sharpe Conger (28.02.19), Richard (Ricky) Belmonte (10/03/19), Fr Leo Cameron OSA (29.03.19), Fr John Corbett (30.03.19), Deacon Richard Mulholland (Easter Day), Peter, Bernard Brown (27.06.19), Peter Ellis (01.08.19), Petronila Antonio (10.09.19), Fr Mark Spring (13.09.19), Jean Marchant (15.09.19), Mary Kelly (15.10.19), John Pender (23.10.19), Fr David Cole (17/12/20), Fr Graham Francis (03.01.20), Pauline Sheila White (06/01/20), Wendy Lamb (04/03/20), Sister Sienna O.P. 02.04.20 (COVID19), David Harvey 05.04.20 (COVID19), Fr Antonio Benedetto OSB, Pam Finch, Alejandro Garcia, Mrs Hayes, Kevin Browne, +Amadeus Dion Batain, Anthony Page, Ravi Zacariah, Jeniffer Basbas Lopoz, Amelia Santos Mcasera, Evelyn Tantay Batitis, Teroy Ambrad, Escolastico Ibanez, Angelita Lachica Morales, Amadeus Dion Batain, Fr Beaumont Brandie, Pjerin, Tom, Ambrocio Cruz, Natividad Cruz, Anita Cruz, Alice Juan, Officer Sutton, Peter Sheriff (05.06.20), Walenty Kolosionsek (30.06.20), Fr Bill Scot, Emmanuel Narciso, Remedios Legaspi, Robin Plummer (15.07.20), Eunice Banag (09.08.20), Fr Anthony Cedaka (11.09.20)

For those who mourn…
Barbara R & family, Brenda W & family, Joseph S, Catherine L & family, Rev George C & family, Jean C, Margaret & Bonita C, Debbie M & family, Phil E & Family, Adrian Kelly & family, Fr Nicholas Pnematicatos & family, Fr Andrew White & family, Richard Cole & family, the Francis Family, the White family, the Finch Family, the Garcia Family, the Hayes Family, the Browne Family, the Zachariah Family, the Brandie Family, the Manghera Family, the Cruz Family, the Hounsome Family, the Sheriff Family, The Banag Family, The Havelock Family, The Balanescu Family, The Macsim Family,

For those defending the faith...
Aid to the Church in Need (supporting persecuted Christians)
Association of Christian Teachers (Christians who work in – or care about – education)
Centre for Bio-ethical Research (pro-life) UK / USA
Christian Hacking (pro-life)
Christian Legal Centre (safeguarding the legal freedom of Christians)
Barnabus Fund (supporting persecuted Christians)
Jerusalem Merit (supporting the Iraqi refugee community in Jordan)
40 Days for Life (pro-life)


PHILIPPINESBacoor Parish of Jesus the Divine Mercy, Copper St. Platinum Ville, San Nicolas III, Bacoor, Province of Cavite

Sundays 0600 Mass
  0800 Mass
  1030 Mass & Children’s Catechesis
  1130 Baptisms
  1700 Mass
Wednesdays 1800 Mass (1st Weds’ Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Devotions)
Thursdays 1800 Mass
Fridays 1800 Mass (1st Fri’ Sacred Heart Devotions)
Saturdays 1800 Holy Hour

PHILIPPINES, Lagunas Parish of San Isidro Labrador, Dita, Sta. Rosa

Sundays 0730 Mass
  1000 Baptisms
1st Wednesday 1800 Mass & O.L. Perpetual Succour Devotions
1st Friday 1800 Mass & Sacred Heart Devotions


UK, Brighton The Brighton Oratory of SS Cuthman & Wilfrid, 1-6 Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton BN2 3HD Telephone +44 7423 074517

Sundays 0830 Mass & homily
Daily 0800
Mass & homily
Compline & Benediction
Wednesdays 1730 Holy Hour & Benediction
  1900 Conference
Saturdays 0830 Mass & homily
  1000 Catechism Conference

Full schedule of services for Lent & Easter at

UK, Bristol The Little Oratory of Our Lady of Walsingham with Saint Francis, 11 The Primroses, Hartcliffe, Bristol, BS13 0BG

Sundays 1030 Sermon & Holy Communion
  1500 Vespers


USA, Brooklyn, NY Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, Mustard Residence 440 Lenox Road, Apt 3H Brooklyn, New York 11226

USA, Chicago IL Parish Mission of St Anne, Church of the Atonement, 5749 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660 Telephone: (773) 817 – 5818

Sundays 1800 Mass & homily (2nd of the month)
Wednesdays 1930 Catechism & Reception Class

USA, Chicago IL Missionary Franciscans of Christ the King, The Friary

Sundays 1100 Mass

USA, Glendale AZ St. Joseph’s Mission Contact address: 7800 N 55th Ave Unit 102162 Glendale AZ 85301 Telephone +1 310 995 3126

Sundays 1115 Mass

USA, Houston, TX Santa Cruz Mission address: 13747 Eastex FRWY, Houston, TX 77039

Sundays 1100 Mass
    Confessions 1015-1045
    1st Sunday, Adoration 0945-1045
Fridays 1200 Via Crucis devotions

USA, Las Vegas, NV Christ the King 4775 Happy Valley Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89121 Telephone 702 379 4320 or 702-215-3930

Sundays 0800 Mass (Spanish)
  0945 First Communion and Confirmation Catechesis / English and Spanish
  1100 Mass (Bilingual)
  1300 Mass (English)
  1700 Mass (Spanish)
Thursdays 1900 Holy Hour

USA, Phoenix, AZ Santo Niño Catholic Community address: 3206 W. Melvin St., Phoenix, AZ 85009 Telephone +1 623 332 3999

Sundays 1000 Mass (English)
  1100 Escuela para Primera Comunion y Confirmaccion
  1130 Misa en Espanol
  1700 Misa en Espanol

CHILE, Santiago Child Jesus Chapel Tegualda #321, La Florida. Santiago de Chile

Sundays 1200 Mass
Fridays 1930 Stations of the Cross & Mass
Please be aware that orthodox and authentic Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions, bishops and clergy are usually listed with the Old Roman Catholic Clerical Directory, which the faithful and enquirers are strongly invited to contact if unsure as to the credentials of a cleric presenting himself as “Old Roman Catholic”.
Copyright © 2021 The Old Roman Catholic Church, All rights reserved.

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