Friday, May 31, 2024

Our June 1st Saint of the Day describes the timeless Mass, from 155 AD


St. Justin Martyr’s timeless description of the Mass in the early church 

By DAVID A. KING, Ph.D.|Published March 30, 2024

My OCIA elect are preparing for acceptance into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil, the week after this issue of The Georgia Bulletin is published. They are all excited about their multiple faith journeys finally uniting as one when they receive the sacraments for the first time. 

One of the great joys of working with OCIA is that catechesis constantly reminds me of my own conversion experience, as well as my abiding love for the church. I’ve been a Catholic for well over half my life now, but I still remember the anticipation and gratitude I felt at finally being able to participate fully in the Mass. 

When the novelist Walker Percy was asked why in the world someone like him would ever become a Catholic, he said simply, “The reason I am a Catholic is that I believe that what the Catholic Church proposes is true.” So do I.  Percy goes on to say “I’d as soon let it go at that and go about my business. … I have not the least desire to engage in an apologetic or a polemic or a ‘defense of the Faith.” I feel the same way. 

Not a month goes by that I am not called upon to debate with someone, who is usually well meaning, matters of church teaching. The questions seem to always start the same way: “Where is that in the Bible?” A sly smile often precedes the inquiry, and I know the interrogation will probably become a volley of Bible verses fired from the nooks and crannies of both Old and New Testaments. 

As someone raised Baptist, I can hold my own in what we used to call a “Sword Drill,” but I don’t enjoy it. I would rather try to explain that my concept of church is “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” that depends upon a sound protection of teaching and practices entrusted generation unto generation for more than 2,000 years.   

After conversations like these, I often turn to some of the classic apologies for Catholicism. I’ve already mentioned Walker Percy. Of course there is G.K. Chesterton. My favorites include Romano Guardini on the liturgy, Flannery O’Connor’s wonderful letters, and Thomas Merton’s contemplations and conjectures. Long before these moderns, there was St. Justin Martyr, whose description of the Mass in the early Church circa 155 A.D. is a timeless monument to the beauty and truth of Catholic tradition and apostolic teaching. 

A defender and explainer 

St. Justin was born in Samaria, to a Greek family, circa 100 A.D.  He converted to Christianity at Ephesus, in about 130, and was martyred by beheading in the year 165. One of the great early church fathers, he was an important defender and explainer of the faith in the still pagan Roman Empire.  Among his few writings that have not been lost, we have two Apologies and a Dialogue. 

St. Justin had a zeal for education, and in his early years he sought out many teachers, most of whom failed to convince him. A seeker, he had like all of us an innate desire to know God.  Legend has it that Justin met an elderly Christian man on the beach who evangelized him by telling him about the importance of the Prophets. As he studied further, Justin became enamored of both Christianity’s aesthetic qualities as well as its basis in Hebrew history and prophecy. 

St. Justin Martyr, who wrote the First Apology, is depicted in this work by Andre Thevet. Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Following his conversion, Justin began to formulate a philosophy of Christianity that placed the Word of God, Logos, at its center.  Justin argued that Logos, along with the working of the Holy Spirit, was responsible for a type of proto or pre-Christianity, in which the great prophets and philosophers had intimations of Christ before he became incarnate. Like St. John, Justin believed that indeed the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” 

Further, like St. Thomas Aquinas many centuries later, Justin argued that faith required both belief and intellect. A person could have an innocent and sincere faith yet support that hope through philosophical reasoning. 

St. Justin’s work is refreshing because it is so fundamentally sound and clear. These qualities are certainly apparent in his famous description of the Celebration of the Eucharist in the early church. In the passage, which appears in the First Apology dedicated to Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, Justin explains what we do at Mass, how we do it and why we do it. He reveals the Mass as essentially unchanged, and reminds us that it is liturgical, memorial and sacrificial.  He underscores the Real Presence: “the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.” 

The description of Mass is only about 500 words long, but it references nearly all the components of the liturgy we celebrate today. It never fails to startle me every time I read it, and it remains one of the most memorable teaching aids on what Catholics profess to believe about the Eucharist. It exemplifies the importance of tradition, both in terms of how we hand one another along and how we safeguard our history and affirm its relevance to the present time. 

St. Justin covers the essence of Lawful Reception: “No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.” He reminds us that “We do not consume the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink.” He references the Gospels, “the recollections of the Apostles,” and affirms what they teach about the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.”  He says of this teaching that “The Lord gave this commandment to them and ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things.” He affirms the Trinity, writing that all we receive comes through the “Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.” 

Justin considers equality and community essential to the Eucharistic liturgy: “The rich among us help the poor and we are always united.” He describes Christians as meeting in “common assembly.” 

What today we call the Liturgy of the Word was clearly a component of St. Justin’s Mass. There was a prophetic reading, and a reading of the Gospels. There were communal prayers. I chuckle that Justin was mindful of the congregation’s attention span. What we might think of as a homily is given “as long as there is time.” 

The Liturgy of the Eucharist, though not described in detail, closely adheres to current practice, and includes an offertory, presentation of gifts and a eucharistic prayer. There is even a collective Amen. Justin notes that when the Eucharist is distributed “everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to those who are absent.”   

Justin, who himself was likely a deacon, describes how those who are able make a monetary donation that is used to “help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need.” 

How early Christians lived 

St. Justin’s recollection is almost a miniature catechism. If I were not already Catholic, and I read this ancient description, I would immediately want to know more. St. Justin is describing true Christianity, and not only in terms of worship practices and Sacraments. He affirms that early Christians were living Christ’s message in practical and necessary ways. Most of all, he demonstrates the love that the congregation had for one another. 

The description concludes with an explanation as to why the Christians meet on Sunday: “because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead.” 

Sadly, Christianity today is fragmented and divided. Many people have lost all sense of what Christ meant by church. St. Justin Martyr reminds us, in clear and eloquent prose, of the simple yet great gifts of our Catholic faith. 

Justin wrote the First Apology as an answer to questions that the emperor had about Christians and their worship. The description of the Eucharist becomes something more than an explanation, however. It is a testament to the truth we profess, and an invitation to share in the joy of practicing that truth in the enduring Catholic Church. St. Justin, pray for all our elect across the archdiocese as they prepare to enter fully into that mystery. 

First Saint of the Day for June


St. Justin

All the voices around Justin clamored that they had the truth he sought so desperately. He had listened to them all since he first came to Rome to get his education. They each shouted that they held the one and only answer but he felt no closer to the truth than when he had started his studies. He had left the Stoic master behind but the Stoics valued discipline as truth and thought discussion of God unnecessary. He had rejected the Peripatetic who seemed more interested in money than discussion. The Pythagorean had rejected him because he didn't know enough music and geometry -- the things that would lead him to truth. He had found some joy with the Platonists because the contemplation of ideas gave wings to his mind, but they had promised wisdom would let him see God and so, where was God?

There was one place that Justin always escaped to in order to get away from these shouting, confusing voices and search out the quiet inner voice that led him to truth. This place was a lonely spot, a path that seemed made for him alone in a field by the sea. So sure was he of the isolation of his retreat that he was shocked one day to find an old man following him.

The old man was not searching for truth but for some of his family. Nonetheless they began a discussion in which Justin identified himself as a philologian, a lover of reason. The old man challenged him -- why was he not a lover of truth, a lover of deeds. Justin told him that reason led to truth, and philosophy led to happiness. This was certainly an interesting thing for Justin to say since he had not found the truth in the study of reason or happiness in his quest among the philosophers! Perhaps the old man sensed this for he asked for Justin's definition of philosophy and of happiness.

In the long discussion that followed, Justin spoke eloquently to the old man's searching questions but even Justin had to admit that philosophers may talk about God but had never seen him, may discuss the soul but didn't really know it. But if the philosophers whom Justin admired and followed couldn't, then nobody could, right?

The old man told him about the ancient prophets, the Hebrew prophets, who had talked not of ideas but of what they had seen and heard, what they knew and experienced. And this was God. The old man ended the conversation by telling Justin to pray that the gates of light be opened to him.

Inflamed by this conversation, Justin sought out the Scriptures and came to love them. Christ words "possess a terrible power in themselves, and are sufficient to inspire those who turn aside from the path of rectitude with awe; while the sweetest rest is afforded those who make a diligent practice of them."

Why hadn't Justin known about Christianity before with as much as he had studied? He had heard about it, the way other pagans of second century Rome had, by the rumors and accusations that surrounded the persecution of Christians. The fearlessness of their actions made him doubt the gossip, but he had nothing else to go by. Christians at that time kept their beliefs secret. They were so afraid that outsiders would trample on their sacred faith and descrate their mysteries that they wouldn't tell anyone about their beliefs -- even to counteract outright lies. To be honest, there was good reason for their fears -- many actors for example performed obscene parodies of Christian ritual for pagan audiences, for example.

But Justin believed differently. He had been one of those outsiders -- not someone looking for trouble, but someone earnestly searching for the truth. The truth had been hidden from him by this fear of theirs. And he believed there were many others like him. He exhorted them that Christians had an obligation to speak of their faith, to witness to others about their faith and their mysteries.

So Justin took his newfound faith to the people. This layman became the first great apologist for Christianity and opened the gates of light for so many others. He explained baptism and Eucharist. He explained to the pagans why they didn't worship idols and why that didn't make them atheists. He explained to the Jews how Christians could worship the same God but not follow Jewish laws. He explained to the Greeks and the philosophers how philosophy did not take into account the dignity of humankind. He wrote long arguments known as apologies and traveled to other lands in order to debate publicly. His long education in philosophy and rhetoric gave him the skills he needed to match his oponents and the Holy Spirit gave him the rest.

It is not surprising that Justin was arrested during the persecution under Marcus Aurelius. Along with four others (Chariton, Charites, Paeon, and Liberianus) he was brought before the Roman prefect, Rusticus, to be accused under the law that required sacrificing to idols. When Rusticus demanded that they "Obey the gods at once, and submit to the kings," Justin responded, "To obey the commandments of our Saviour Jesus Christ is worthy neither of blame nor of condemnation."

When Rusticus asked what doctrines he believed, Justin told him that he had learned all the doctrines available during his quest but finally submitted to the true doctrines of the Christians, even though they didn't please others. (An understatement when he was under danger of death!)

When Rusticus asked where the Christians gathered, Justin gave a response that gives us insight into Christian community and worship of the time: "Where each one chooses and can: for do you fancy that we all meet in the very same place? Not so; because the God of the Christians is not circumscribed by place; but being invisible, fills heaven and earth, and everywhere is worshipped and glorified by the faithful."

When Rusticus asked each of them if they were a Christian, they all responded the same way: "Yes, I am a Christian." When Rusticus tried to put responsibility for this on Justin, they responded that God had made them Christians.

Just before Rusticus sentenced them he asked Justin, "If you are killed do you suppose you will go to heaven?" Justin said, "I do not suppose it, but I know and am fully persuaded of it."

Justin and his fellow martyrs were beheaded in the year 165 and went to be with the Truth Justin had longed for all his life. He is often known as Justin Martyr and his works are still available.

Pope Francis special prayer intention for the month of June


Pope's June prayer intention: 'For those fleeing their own countries'

Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of June 2024, and invites everyone to pray for people who flee their home countries.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis' monthly prayer intention this June is for "those fleeing their own countries."

The Pope invited the Church to pray for this intention in this month's The Pope Video, released on Tuesday. The prayer intention is entrusted to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network during the month in which the United Nations commemorates World Refugee Day on 20 June.

Produced in collaboration with Tele VID and with the support of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Pope Video for June is a story about the borders in various parts of the world.

In his video, the Pope reminds Christians that “whoever welcomes a migrant welcomes Christ,” and expresses how often this context is forgotten.

Number of displaced exceeds World War II

In recent years, the number of people who have been displaced has exceeded that during the Second World War.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in 2023, there were 110 million people forcefully displaced throughout the world.

In this context, Pope Francis has repeatedly asked throughout his pontificate that migrants be accompanied, promoted and integrated.

At the beginning of the video, the Pope says, “The feeling of uprootedness or not knowing where they belong often accompanies the trauma experienced by people who are forced to flee their homeland because of war or poverty.”

'God walks with His People'

For this reason, he exhorts, “we promote a social and political culture that protects the rights and dignity of migrants, a culture that promotes the possibility that they can achieve their full potential.”

Consistent with the intention of this video message, each year since 1914, the Church has invited the faithful to pray for migrants on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

“God walks with His People” is the theme chosen for the 2024 Day, which will be held on 29 September.

Cardinal Czerny: Protecting rights enhances communities

Cardinal Michael Czerny, the Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which organizes the World Day, reflected on Pope Francis' reminding us that God is journeying alongside His people.

"The Holy Family," the Prefect recalled, "had to take refuge in a foreign land because Baby Jesus’s life was in danger," and therefore, he invited, "All of us are invited to welcome, protect, promote and integrate any person who has fled their homeland to save their lives or who are searching for a dignified future."

"By protecting the rights of migrants, the integral human development of every person," Cardinal Czerny reaffirmed, "is promoted," and "communities that welcome them, are enriched in multiple ways.”

Fr. Fornos: 'We are one human family'

Father Frédéric Fornos S.J., International Director of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network, reflected on this month's intention, likewise recalling the drama of migrants and refugees.

“Migrants fleeing from war and hunger, often survivors of desperate journeys, are the object of political battles,"he lamented. "It is important to remember that they are not numbers or statistics; they are people. Our personal and collective histories are marked by migration. Rather than treating migrants like a burden or a problem, we should find solutions based on compassion and respect for their human dignity. "

"This vision," he continued, "is rooted in the Gospel and prayer and the Church’s magisterium reminds us of this.”

The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network

The Pope Video is an official global initiative with the purpose of disseminating the Holy Father's monthly prayer intentions. It is carried out by the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer). Since 2016, The Pope Video has had more than 203 million views across all the Vatican’s social networks and is translated into more than 23 languages, receiving press coverage in 114 countries.

The videos are produced and created by The Pope Video Prayer Network team, coordinated by Andrea Sarubbi, and distributed by La Machi Communication for Good Causes. The project is sponsored by Vatican Media.

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is a Vatican foundation, with the mission of mobilizing Catholics through prayer and action in response to the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church. These challenges are presented in the form of prayer intentions entrusted by the Pope to the entire Church.

Eucharistic Pilgrimages underway: walking the Eucharist across America


National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is ‘bringing out the best in people,’ pilgrims say

Charlie McCullough, in grey hoodie, walks with the Eucharistic procession through southern Texas. | Credit: Issy Martin-Dye

More than 7,000 people attended a Eucharistic procession in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 27, 2024. Credit: Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York prays before the Eucharist as it is transported by boat past the Statue of Liberty. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno/CNA

Marching under a brutal south Texas sun, Charlie McCullough stopped this week to briefly talk to a young bystander as the southern route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage passed through Victoria. The twentysomething man, who grew up Protestant and in the foster care system, had lots of questions for McCullough about what this large group of Catholics was doing, and why.

Later on, McCullough said he encountered the young man again — he told him he had not only been inspired to pray for the first time in years, but he also wanted to continue to accompany the pilgrimage, despite not yet being Catholic. McCullough, who is one of the 23 young men and women accompanying the Eucharist all the way to Indianapolis, said although he doesn’t expect to see the young man again in this life, he hopes to reunite with him one day in heaven.

“On pilgrimage, it’s so easy to see the best in people,” McCullough said at a Wednesday press conference with several fellow Perpetual Pilgrims, adding that he believes it is “the presence of the Lord bringing out the best in people.” The Juan Diego Route, the southernmost of the four, began in Brownsville, Texas, and has included many distinctly Hispanic expressions of Catholicism.

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is an unprecedented Catholic effort to walk with the Eucharist thousands of miles across the United States, inviting thousands of people to join along the way as a public witness to the Church’s teaching that the Eucharist is truly the body of Jesus Christ. 

Collectively, the pilgrims will walk over 6,500 miles and will traverse four different routes, beginning on opposite sides of the country and meeting in Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress July 17–21. 

Beginning on Pentecost weekend, the four blockbuster pilgrimages began simultaneously with large, enthusiastic crowds present at each starting point. Now, nearly two weeks in, the nearly two dozen young people dedicated to walking with the Eucharist say they’ve experienced amazing enthusiasm, hospitality, and reverence among the crowds of people who have met them so far. 

Kai Weiss, a native of Germany now doing graduate studies in Washington, D.C., is traversing the northern Marian Route, which began at the headwaters of the Mississippi in northern Minnesota. He mentioned as a major highlight the four-and-a-half-mile Eucharistic procession from St. Paul Seminary to the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, which attracted a massive crowd of 7,000 people. He also said it was a wonderful experience to visit the elderly at a nursing home in St. Paul, praying the rosary with the residents in the presence of the Eucharist. 

Outside of the large cities, however, Weiss said the crowds have been no less enthusiastic. When the pilgrims processed through the Diocese of St. Cloud — often through small towns of 200 people — crowds were out, church bells were ringing, and first communicants appeared on the side of the road with flowers.

“The enthusiasm in the small towns was shocking,” he said, adding that although the days have been long and exhausting in many ways, he has found that the Lord always provides “some kind of spark” to help the pilgrims keep going. 

The eastern Seton Route has so far included stops at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the shrine at the former home of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, as well as a scenic crossing of the Brooklyn Bridge. Zoe Dongas, a Perpetual Pilgrim on the route, called the moment when Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York blessed the Statue of Liberty with the monstrance a ​​“setting out into the deep” moment that communicated to her that “Christ wants to bless our country.”

Chas Firestone East, a pilgrim on the western Junipero Serra Route, echoed Weiss’ amazement at the numbers they’ve seen even in small parishes, saying that he didn’t expect the massive welcome the pilgrims received at a rural parish in Oregon. He also said he has heard about at least one conversion connected to the pilgrimages — a photographer working for a secular newspaper who decided to become Catholic after covering the pilgrimage in Lake Tahoe.

The amount of actual walking the pilgrims do each day varies and is often affected by weather or terrain. The Serra Route pilgrims, with by far the longest distance to traverse, have been driving a lot through rural areas, while much of the urban stretches of the pilgrimage have so far been done on foot, often at least 10 miles a day. 

Shayla Elm, a fellow Juan Diego Route pilgrim with McCullough, said the enthusiasm they’ve encountered so far shows “how hungry people are to show their faith.”

“We’re giving a lot of Catholics the opportunity to be Catholic, to be Eucharistic, to show that love to the world,” she said. 

Catholics throughout the U.S. are encouraged to register to join the pilgrims in walking short sections of the pilgrimages and joining in numerous other special events put on by their local dioceses.

To read more articles about the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and National Eucharistic Congress, visit the National Catholic Register.

Today's Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Ordinary Time: May 31st

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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May 31, 2021 (Readings on USCCB website)


Almighty ever-living God, who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb, inspired her to visit Elizabeth, grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit, we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.











The feast of the Visitation recalls to us the following great truths and events: The visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation; the cleansing of John the Baptist from original sin in the womb of his mother at the words of Our Lady's greeting; Elizabeth's proclaiming of Mary—under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost—as Mother of God and "blessed among women"; Mary's singing of the sublime hymn, Magnificat ("My soul doth magnify the Lord") which has become a part of the daily official prayer of the Church. The Visitation is frequently depicted in art, and was the central mystery of St. Francis de Sales' devotions.

The Mass of today salutes her who in her womb bore the King of heaven and earth, the Creator of the world, the Son of the Eternal Father, the Sun of Justice. It narrates the cleansing of John from original sin in his mother's womb. Hearing herself addressed by the most lofty title of "Mother of the Lord" and realizing what grace her visit had conferred on John, Mary broke out in that sublime canticle of praise proclaiming prophetically that henceforth she would be venerated down through the centuries:

"My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me, and holy is His name" (Lk. 1:46).

—Excerpted from the Cathedral Daily Missal

This feast is of medieval origin, it was kept by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its observance spread throughout the entire Church. Previously it was celebrated on July 2. Now it is celebrated between the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and the birth of St. John the Baptist, in conformity with the Gospel accounts. Some places appropriately observe a celebration of the reality and sanctity of human life in the womb. The liturgical color is white.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Petronilla. The feast of the Queenship of Mary is now celebrated in the Ordinary Rite on August 22.

Aurelia Petronilla was guided in the Faith by St. Peter, the first pope. She died three days after refusing to marry a pagan nobleman, Flaccus. She is included in the Roman Martyrology.

The Visitation
And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda. [Lk. 1:39]

How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke's description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. "Those days" in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was his impulse.

Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child which came before anything or anyone else.

The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child, too, and although Mary's own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth's need—almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her.

She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother's womb and leapt for joy.

I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it more abundantly. [Jn. 10, 10] Even before He was born His presence gave life.

With what piercing shoots of joy does this story of Christ unfold! First the conception of a child in a child's heart, and then this first salutation, an infant leaping for joy in his mother's womb, knowing the hidden Christ and leaping into life.

How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady? What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar to her was the mother of her God?

She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.

If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by Our Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers.

If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, "in haste," to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love.

And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them.
—Excerpted from The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander

Patronage: St. Elizabeth: Expectant mothers.

Symbols and Representation: St. Elizabeth or Elisabeth: Pregnant woman saluting the Virgin; Elderly woman holding St. John Baptist; huge rock with a doorway in it; in company with St. Zachary.
St. Zacharias or Zachary: Priest's robes; thurible; altar; angel; lighted taper; Phyrgian helmet.

Highlights and Things to Do:

  • Read Luke 1:39-47, the story of the Visitation. Read and meditate on the words of the Magnificat and the Hail Mary, two prayers from this feast. For those with children, depending on the ages, assign memorization for these prayers. Also discuss the meaning of the text as a family.
  • This feast reminds us to be charitable to our neighbors. Try to assist some mother (expectant or otherwise), visit the elderly or sick, make a dinner for someone, etc.