House of Loreto | J L Buchner | photo by unknown

Blessed Anthony Grassi

December 18. Blessed Anthony Grassi had a deep devotion to Our Lady of Loreto from his childhood. He joined the Oratorian Fathers at 17, and was known as a very good student. Struck by lightning at age 29, Anthony was paralyzed for a few days before recovering, and becoming somewhat a changed man.

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Bible open to the Psalms

Sharing the Word for December 18, 2017 – Third Week of Advent – Year 2

There are times when we don't know what to do. God doesn't generally send us an angel to lead us, but he always finds a way to point us in the right direction.

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Detail | Head and torso of the recumbent figure of Pope Urban V | photo by Jean-Marc Rosier

Blessed Pope Urban V

December 19. Blessed Pope Urban V was a simple man who never wanted to be pope. He was quite content to remain in his Benedictine monastery. But, when called to serve the Church, Blessed Urban did so with great devotion and wisdom.

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Saint Dominic of Silos enthroned as a bishop | Bartolomé Bermejo | photo by Galería online

Saint Dominic of Silos

December 20. The connection between Saint Dominic of Silos and Saint Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order, is a curious but interesting one. Separated by 1000 years, the two men were linked by a prophecy given by Saint Dominic of Silos to the mother of the other Dominic.

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Detail | Saint. Petrus Canisius | photo by SchiDD

Saint Peter Canisius

December 21. An important Catholic reformer in Germany, Saint Peter Canisius earned a master’s degree at age 19, and then joined the Jesuits. He was a great writer and patron of the sick and imprisoned. Peter Canisius was an active member of the Council of Trent, and implemented its decisions. He also taught at the university level and helped found many colleges and seminaries.

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Blessed Jacopone da Todi | Paolo Uccello | photo by The Yorck Project

Blessed Jacopone da Todi

December 22. Blessed Jacopone da Todi’s life changed radically when his wife died in an accident at a local tournament. Turning from his self-indulgent life, he eventually became a Franciscan friar, but life was not easy even then. Jacopone is most known for writing the beautiful hymn, "Stabat Mater," in the later years of his life.

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Tomb of Saint John Cantius | Krakow, Poland | flickr

Saint John of Kanty

December 23. Saint John of Kanty was a beloved priest in Kraków, Poland, where he taught Scripture. A simple, humble man, Saint John was often taken advantage of, but maintained his generous attitude to those in need. He died on Christmas Eve of 1473.

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The Christmas celebration in the forest of Greccio | Giotto di Bondone | Fresco in the Upper Church of Saint Francis, Assisi | photo by The Yorck Project

Christmas at Greccio

December 24. Being a man who wanted to experience things with all of his senses, Saint Francis decided one Christmas to depict the birth of Jesus with live animals and real people. This “first crèche” was created in Greccio in 1223. Our tradition of having a Christmas crèche in our homes and churches continues the practice begun all those years ago.

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Nativity | Martin Torner

The Nativity of the Lord

December 25. All feast days celebrate, in one way or another, the gifts of God granted to us human beings. Today we celebrate THE gift─the Son of God made flesh. A gift granted to all people of all times and places. Truly we have been gifted.

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St Stephen | Domenico Ghirlandaio | photo by www.wga.hu

Saint Stephen

December 26. If it weren’t for Saint Luke telling us about the selection and martyrdom of Saint Stephen in Acts of the Apostles, we would know nothing about him at all. The little we do know, however, speaks volumes about what kind of man he was, his love for Jesus, and the early Church community.

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