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Lit. Year

Nativity Play

Susan Gately provides a clear and simple version of the Christmas story, ideal for a nativity play for young children in school or youth groups.


Praying the liturgy

Cyprian Love OSB traces developments in the Church’s understanding of the role of liturgy in the life of the faithful.


Origins and development of Advent


Vincent Ryan OSB

When the feast of the nativity of the Lord was introduced to Rome in the early years of the fourth century, it was celebrated as a simple memorial and was not preceded by a period of preparation. It was not until about the [...]


A moveable feast: the Sacred Heart

Janice writes to ask: Why does the Feast of the Sacred Heart fall in May this year? I thought that June was the month of the Sacred Heart and that May was the month dedicated to Our Lady. Fr Bernard McGuckian SJ replys to Janice’s query and explains the history behind [...]


Season of great expectations

In this Advent homily, Celestine Cullen OSB explains that the new world promised in the liturgy of Advent is not a world without pain or conflict, but a world in which God’s grace, power, and presence will be there to support and strengthen us.


A fifty day celebration

This is an extract from “Those Three Days: A resource for the celebration of the Easter Triduum”, by John McCann and Pat O’Donoghue. It highlights some suggestions for the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost.


The Santa Claus of loneliness

Bill Long remembers spending Christmas with his friend Thomas Merton at the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemane, Kentucky.


Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is a day of absence and anticipation. Click below.


Three companions for the Advent journey

James Wallace C.Ss.R. proposes that we take three model characters as our ‘companions’ for Advent: John the Baptist, the prophet Isaiah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Good Friday

The paradox of Good Friday is that Jesus courageously, willingly and deliberately goes to his disgraceful death. This has meaning for how we live. Click below.


Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred three-day event of Easter. Click below


The origins and spirituality of the Epiphany

Epiphany is a solemnity or major feast celebrated on 6th January, though – since the reform of the liturgical calendar – it is now marked by many Catholic churches on the Sunday between the 2nd and 8th January, where 6th January is not a holy day of obligation. Patrick Duffy [...]


Advent – an introduction

Advent means ‘coming’. “The advent of the motor car”, means when cars first came to the streets. During advent we look forward to the coming of Jesus. At the end of Advent, on Christmas Day, we celebrate the feast of the coming of Jesus – the birth of the baby [...]


Origins and development of Advent

This article treats of the history and spirituality of Advent as it developed in both the Western and Eastern traditions. The author, Vincent Ryan OSB, also assesses the contribution to Advent spirituality of popular piety in such customs as the Advent Wreath. Finally, he gives an appreciation of the riches [...]


The Italian connection

Italy has had an important impact on how we celebrate Christmas, but Italians also have some unusual practices, writes Fr Michael Collins from Rome.


25. What do we celebrate on Christmas Day and why?

Many Catholics and other Christians are under the impression that what we celebrate on 25th December is the actual birth date of Jesus. Catholics can become quite shocked, scandalised and even go into a belligerent mode when others, like Jehovah Witnesses, suggest that this might not be so. The fact [...]


The liturgical year

How can the liturgical year help us grow in holiness? This talk given by Clifford Howell in the 1950s explains how in some beautiful analogies from nature and biology.


Without Sunday we cannot live

“It is the Mass that matters”, was how the Irish put it the penal times. Pope Benedict recalls how much the Christians of Abitene in Tunisia relied on the power of the Sunday Eucharist to sustain them spiritually in the early 4th century.


Bringing home the Christmas

Chronicler of village life in Ireland, Alice Taylor, recalls some of the Christmas traditions of her childhood for John Scally.


Lent in the 21st Century: Does it have a place?

Breda O’Brien, columnist with The Irish Times reflects on the meaning of Lent and its place in today’s world.


What Easter means to me

Fr George Wadding remembers back to childhood Easters and prays that Easter would recover its former status as the most important feast in the Christian year.


Desperately seeking Easter

Jim Auer reflects on how all of us end up, like Christ, on Calvary, over and over in our lives; yet we can be assured that there is no dying without a rising, no Good Friday without an Easter.


Living the Sunday nowadays

This month the Pope asks us ‘that Sunday be lived as the day on which Christians gather to celebrate the Risen Lord in the table of the Eucharist’. Fr Michael Paul Gallagher SJ explains.


Making space for God

Have we lost the sense of leisure in our lives? Paul Andrews SJ shares some thoughts on appreciating Sunday as a day of leisure.


The Lord’s Day

Joe writes: Some Protestant denominations are almost as strict as the Jews about Sabbath observance. Why are Catholics so lax about it? Fr Bernard McGuckian replys.

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