The Virgin and Child with Saints Peter and Paul | Girolamo Figino

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

June 29. We celebrate two great saints today, Saints Peter and Paul. Saint Peter is often considered the Apostle to the Jews and Saint Paul to the gentiles (based, most probably, on his extensive travels among the gentiles). Together they witnessed to the budding of Christianity, and both laid down their lives for the faith.

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Detail | Ceiling of the Assumption of Mary in Santa Maria Immacolata a via Veneto, Rome | photo by Livioandronico

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

August 15. The doctrine of the Assumption of Mary is recent: 1950. But the belief among the faithful that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the time of her death dates to the early Church. Mary is also the summation of all Christians—what happened to her, will happen to us. Thus, she is the testimony of our own resurrection at the end of time.

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The Immaculate Conception | Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

December 8. Under the title of the Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin is the patron of the United States. Thus this is a major feast--in fact a Holy Day of Obligation--for the Church in the United States of America.

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St. John the baptist | Alessandro Rosi

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

June 24. Saint John the Baptist is one of the few saints who have two feast days. Today we celebrate his birth, which Saint Luke narrates in his Gospel. There Saint Luke draws a parallel between the births of Jesus and John, pointing out the important role in the history of salvation that Saint John the Baptist would play.

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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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Stained glass window, Mielno, Poland | photo by Tineau

Transfiguration of the Lord

August 6. Whatever happened on Mount Tabor within the hearts of Peter, James and John, we will never know. The experience was more than words can describe. But certainly, the three Apostles had an experience of the glory of Jesus, the Son of God. In the Gospels, this event follows shortly after Jesus’ description of his human suffering, which will come before the glory of the resurrection. Suffering and glory are inextricably link in the mind of Jesus.

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Statue of Venerable Matt Talbot | flickr

Venerable Matt Talbot

June 18. Perhaps no one has done more to address the issue of alcoholism than Venerable Matt Talbot. An active alcoholic himself, he designed a program of support that has helped millions. Many are thankful.

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Venerable Pierre Toussaint

Venerable Pierre Toussaint

May 28. Born in Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave, Venerable Pierre Toussaint lived an exemplary Catholic life both before and after gaining his freedom. Married and then widowed, Pierre continued his charitable works well into his elder years. He originally was buried outside St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, a church to which he was once refused entrance because of his race.

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Memorial Tablet | Master of the Spes Nostra

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 31. Today’s feast is both about two women and about two men. The Blessed Virgin Mary goes to visit Elizabeth to assist her in her final days of pregnancy. But as she greets Elizabeth, the babe in Elizabeth’s womb—John the Baptist—leaps for joy at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb. Great mysteries of life are at play here.

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