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Copyright © 2011, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - May, 2011 [Plain text version]

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* Eastertide Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of May: Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary

* Christ's Visit To His Blessed Mother After His Resurrection: A Reflection of Thomas a Kempis

* Liturgical Feasts in May

* Rogation Days: Some Facts & History

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject Mary's Title 'Mother of God'?

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Dear Friend,

Pax vobis! ("Peace be to you!") [Jesus' words to his disciples after the Resurrection (see Lk. 24:36, Jn. 20:19, etc.)]

Greetings & best wishes to you and yours at this most joyous time of year. We hope you had a blessed Easter and will continue to have a blessed Eastertide.

This year, Eastertide will continue all the way through the month of May, with the Ascension & Pentecost both falling in June (on 6/2/11 & 6/12/11 respectively). A quick check of the calendar finds that these two feasts will not both occur in June again until 2038. Due to the late start of Lent, Rogation days will not occur until the end of the month and the number of Sundays after Pentecost is just 23.

In the words of St. Augustine, we hope you will 'keep the Quinquagesima with joy, as having received your wages' ["A denarius, then, which takes its name from the number ten, is given, and this joined with the forty makes up fifty; whence it is that before Easter we keep the Quadragesima [40 days] with labor, but after Easter we keep the Quinquagesima [50 days] with joy, as having received our wages. Now to this, as if to the wholesome labor of a good work, which belongs to the number forty, there is added the denarius of rest and happiness, that it may be made the number fifty." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)]

We thank you for being a subscriber to the mailing list and wish you God's blessings,

Your Friends at

P.S. For Eastertide resources, please see link below ('MCS News & Notes')

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"This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein." (Ps. 117:24/118:24)

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MCS News & Notes

* New: We've added a 'staff favorites' notation to various items appearing on Note that 'staff favorites' may appear on Topic Pages (see ) or elsewhere throughout the site. For more information concerning the 'staff favorites' designation, please see

* Progress Update: As expected, we're still working on site beautification and incorporating links to Topic Pages throughout However, progress over the next few months may be slower than before since we are simultaneously working on another project that is very 'labor intensive'. Although we can't reveal the details of the project at this time, we are excited about it & hope it may help us to remain online. Look for more details in a future newsletter.

* For Eastertide resources, please visit

* Did you know? We love feedback! It is very helpful for us to know what visitors think, both good & bad. We take feedback very seriously in our efforts to improve While we are edified by positive feedback, we ask that you please don't shy away from negative criticism. It is a fact that we have made some important changes to our site's appearance & features in response to user feedback. You do us a kindness by letting us know what we are doing right *and* where we can improve. To submit feedback about our site (or newsletter), please use our subscriber feedback form at ). Thanks in advance for any feedback!

* Reminder: Our Third Annual Rosary Week is scheduled for 10/24/11 - 10/30/11. Please plan to join us by praying the rosary each day that week for the indicated intentions. A sign up sheet should be available shortly.

* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through May 2011

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* Please visit the "Notices" page for timely news and other important information regarding -

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The Month of May: Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary

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"Mary is our sure way to Christ." (Pope St. Pius X)

"What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard." (Bl. Pope Pius IX)

"Many and well known are the proofs of her solicitude, manifested from time to time even in a miraculous manner." (Pope Leo XIII)

"We have the Virgin as universal advocate in all things, for she is more powerful in whatever necessity than are the other Saints in particular needs." (Pope Pius XII)

"The clients of Mary will necessarily be saved; the salvation of those who are not protected by Mary is impossible." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"After that, [Jesus] saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own." [Jn. 19:27 (DR Trans.)]

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* Do Catholics Worship Mary? -

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* Mary, Our Mother Section -

* Marian Coloring Pages -

* Word Searches (Blessed Virgin Mary) -

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Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"[I]f we have some chance of salvation, we have it all from Mary." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"[D]evotion to the Virgin Mother of God [is] a sign of 'predestination' according to the opinion of holy men" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947)

"To be devout to you, O holy Virgin, is an arm of salvation which God gives to those whom He wishes to save" (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church)

"I have never read of any saint who did not have a special devotion to the glorious Virgin" (St. Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church, 13th century A.D.)

"[A] virgin [Eve] had cast us out from paradise, through a virgin [Mary] we have found eternal life" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Mary's life should be for you a pictorial image of virginity. Her life is like a mirror reflecting the face of chastity and the form of virtue. Therein you may find a model for your own life...showing what to improve, what to imitate, what to hold fast to." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 377 A.D.)

"All those who love the Mother of God, that is to say, all true Catholics, are persuaded that, after God, Mary is our principal support in our conflicts with Satan. This persuasion is not merely a pious conjecture; it rests on constant experience and on dogmatical foundations the most unshaken." (Fr. Delaporte)

"The Lord, the apostles, and the prophets have taught us that we must venerate in the first place the Holy Mother of God, who is above all the heavenly powers. If anyone does not confess that the holy, ever virgin Mary, really and truly the Mother of God, is higher than all creatures visible and invisible, and does not implore with a sincere faith her intercession, given her powerful access to our God born of her, let him be anathema." (Second Council of Nicaea)

"What Lucifer has lost by pride, Mary has gained by humility. What Eve has damned and lost by disobedience, Mary has saved by obedience. Eve, in obeying the serpent, has destroyed all her children together with herself, and has delivered them to him; Mary, in being perfectly faithful to God, has saved all her children and servants together with herself, and has consecrated them to His Majesty." (St. Louis Marie de Montfort)

"Mary in the work of redemption was by God's will joined with Jesus Christ, the cause of salvation, in much the same way as Eve was joined with Adam, the cause of death. Hence it can be said that the work of our salvation was brought about by a restoration in which the human race, just as it was doomed to death by a virgin, was saved by a virgin. Moreover, she was chosen to be the Mother of Christ in order to have part with him in the redemption of the human race." (Pope Pius XII)

"By divine decision, the new Eve, mother of the new generation of the living, is the irreducible enemy of Satan and, together with the Savior, has the task of defeating Satan and crushing his head. The pride of the rebellious angel is given a deadly blow, from the moment in which God makes use of a creature, and in particular a woman, to realize the plan of redemption entrusted to His Son. Satan has other and no less important reasons for nourishing a particular hatred against Mary. In this regard, it is interesting to report the testimony of exorcist priests, who agree that when the name of Mary is pronounced, a person possessed or disturbed by a demon manifests the most violent reactions." (Fr. Fanzaga)

"One of the most amazing features of this marriage [at Cana] is that it was not the wine servant, whose business it was to service the wine, who noticed the shortage, but rather Our Blessed Mother. (She notes our needs before we ourselves feel them.) She made a very simple prayer to her Divine Son about the empty wine pots when she said: 'They have no wine.' Hidden in the words was not only a consciousness of the power of her Divine Son but also an expression of her desire to remedy an awkward situation. Perhaps the Blessed Mother had already seen Our Lord work many miracles in secret - although He had not yet worked a single one in public. For if there had not already been a consciousness of the truth that He was the Son of the Omnipotent God, she would not have asked for a miracle." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"If Mary is the Mother of God, what wonder, then, that God has glorified and will glorify, though all ages, her power of intercession with Him for all men? The Eternal Father has chosen Mary to be the mother of His only Son; the Holy Spirit chose her as His spouse. The Son, who has promised a throne in heaven to the apostles who preached His word, is bound in justice to do more for the Mother who bore Him, the eternal Word. If we believe in honoring our mother, surely He believes in honoring and glorifying His. Now what honors, what prerogatives, should God bestow on her whom He has so favored, and who served Him so devotedly! How should she be honored whom the King of Heaven deigns to honor!... How should Jesus reward the loving Mother who bore Him, nursed Him, saved Him in his infancy from a most cruel death? Is there any honor too high for her whom God himself has so honored? Is there any glory too dazzling for her whom the God of glory has chosen for His dwelling place?" (Muller)

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Christ's Visit To His Blessed Mother After His Resurrection: A Reflection of Thomas a Kempis

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The following is taken from a 1904 edition of Thomas à Kempis' "Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ". The publication bears an imprimatur. We have made some changes to the original text (e.g. spelling & punctuation changes, shortening, combining paragraphs).

Note: The Blessed Virgin Mary was not among the women who came to Jesus' tomb on Easter as it is believed that she knew of His Resurrection -- and that Jesus himself appeared to her after rising from the dead. The reflection below refers to this belief.

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How unspeakable was the joy with which holy Mary, Thy Mother, was filled in that hour when she saw Thee, her Son, adorned with dazzling splendor, and in a Body more glorious than the brightness of the sun, and exceeding in beauty all the stars of Heaven. How intensely and how heartily did her spirit rejoice in Thee, O Jesus, her Lord and her Salvation, on that day above every other day of her life in this world. How eagerly did she gaze at Thy glorious Body, that Body which a short while ago she had wept at seeing cruelly scourged and nailed to the Cross, which she had seen pierced in Its right side by Longinus' lance, and had afterwards laid in the Sepulchre as a Corpse. Deservedly, then, is Mary, whose heart at Thy Passion was rent with a keener grief than those of others, whose tears had been more copious than those of others, and whose grief had moved many others to weep with her - deservedly then is Mary today made happy above her wont by seeing Thee in glory; deservedly is she filled with new comfort. This, O Lord, was the moment when Thou didst bring to pass that word of Thine, which at the Supper Thou didst speak for the comfort of Thy Apostles (and didst assuredly make known to Thy afflicted Mother), saying : "I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you, and will see you again; and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you."

Thou hast indeed done well, O most kind Jesus, in visiting as a Son Thy dearly loved Mother, in greeting her reverently, in speaking to her sweetly, in comforting her heartily, in showing to her the joy of Thy countenance, in driving away from her all sadness, and in wiping away all tears of sorrow from her eyes... Thou didst not send an Angel, nor even an Archangel; not Michael, nor Gabriel, nor Raphael, Thy glorious messengers; nor any noble earthly knights, gorgeous to behold, clad in gold and silver and in precious stones, to wait upon our dear Lady, Thy Mother, the Queen of Heaven; but, Thou, O King of Glory, Jesus Christ, Thou camest Thyself in person, early in the morning before the break of day, unseen of men, without a messenger to announce Thee, to visit Thy most blessed Mother, as she knelt instant in prayer, and awaited full of faith Thy return in Thy glorious Body from the Tomb. For she knew that all things must be fulfilled even as Thou hadst Thyself foretold, and as the holy prophets had long ago spoken of Thy Passion and Thy Resurrection. Of a truth this is the day which Thou hast made a Day of Gladness; a day rightly and deservedly to be esteemed more holy, more illustrious, more celebrated and more joyful than all other days in the year.

With all Thy holy ones in Heaven, and with all Thy devout and faithful ones upon earth, I praise and honor Thee for the sweet converse and the secret conference, which Thou hadst with Thy holy and dearly loved Mother Mary in her chamber, into which no noise of the world could come; where Thou didst discuss with her Divine mysteries concerning the Kingdom of God, the joys of Paradise, the choirs of Angels, and the holy souls redeemed from Hell and given a share in the joys of Paradise along with Enoch and Elias. Oh that I had been there, and had heard Thy sweet words; that I had secretly stood near the window, and had listened attentively, unseen by the eye of man, to every word which fell from the lips of my Lord Jesus Christ as He talked with His Mother about the joys of the citizens of heaven. With what intense gladness would my heart have rejoiced in the Lord, could I, for my comfort in my earthly pilgrimage, so full of dangers as it is, have remembered even one or two words of that sacred converse! But perchance what passed was what man may not utter, which ought to be kept secret, which ought to be meditated on in the joyous music of the heart alone. Blessed is he who knows that music, who by meditation rises above all earthly things, who is busy all day with Jesus and Mary, and neither cares, nor thinks, about what is going on in the world.

It seems to me that no mortal man was worthy of being present at this converse, but only the holy Angels, and the souls of the just who follow their Lord with reverence and with joy whithersoever He goes. Perchance too that conference was so exalted and so heavenly, and that visit to the Mother's humble dwelling was so surpassingly sweet, that neither were the Apostles allowed at that time to enter it, nor could they have taken in the wondrous mysteries which Jesus, glorified of the Father, then discussed with His Mother, blessed Mary full of grace. Rather therefore, O Lord Jesus, would I leave all those things to Thee and to Thy holy Angels, humbly asking forgiveness of all my sins and shortcomings from Thee, Who makest known to babes Thy hidden treasures, and feedest starvelings with the bread of Heaven.

O most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, Who after Thy bitter Passion and joyful Resurrection didst appear calm and joyous, in all the brightness of Thy glorified Body, to Thy most holy Mother Mary, and in place of her trouble and distress didst fill her heart with new and unspeakable gladness, have mercy, I pray Thee, upon me, Thy poor weak suppliant, who am so often sorely troubled in my earthly pilgrimage. Lo, I fall low before Thee this day; full of affection I keep on knocking at the door of Thy loving Mother, and I pray that in the time of my affliction Thou wouldst vouchsafe to come into the secret place of my heart, to console and comfort me, and to preserve me, on the one hand from undue sadness, and on the other from unbecoming joyousness. Kindle in my heart, I beseech Thee, and keep alive in it renewed fervor and greater devotion and thankfulness to Thee, that so I may learn to turn my back upon all the vanities of this world, to seek the things which are above, to choose like Mary the things which are eternal, to meditate on the things of God, and to rejoice in Thee alone. Oh that to me, poor and of no account as I am, it might be given to ponder these things more earnestly than ever before, and to tarry longer with Jesus my Lord; that so the whole world and those who love it may become distasteful to me, and I may be able to shut them out of my sight. O most sweet Jesus, mayest Thou, together with Thy most sweet Mother Mary, and Thy holy Angels, be more pleasing and delightful to me than all else besides; kindle, I pray Thee, in my inmost heart the fire of Thy love; come oftener to visit me, and bless me more and more abundantly; keep me devoted to Thee; and when the trials and troubles of this life are over, bring me safely to that heavenly Kingdom, where Thou livest and reignest, etc.

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For more reflections, please go to

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Liturgical Feasts in May

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for May as they appear at

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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May 1 - St. Joseph the Workman (T)

May 1 - Sts. Philip & James, apostles (T)

May 1 - St. Joseph the Worker (N)

May 2 - St. Athanasius (T)

May 2 - St. Athanasius (N)

May 3 - Finding of the Holy Cross (T)

May 3 - St. Juvenal (T)

May 3 - Sts. Alexander I (pope), Eventius, Theodulus (T)

May 3 - Sts. Philip & James, apostles (N)

May 4 - St. Monica (T)

May 5 - St. Pius V, pope (T)

May 6 - St. John before the Latin Gate (T)

May 7 - St. Stanislaus of Cracow (T)

May 8 - Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel (T)

May 9 - St. Gregory Nazianzen (T)

May 10 - St. Antoninus (T)

May 10 - Sts. Gordian & Epimachus (T)

May 12 - St. Pancras (T)

May 12 - Sts. Nereus, Achilleus & Domitilla (T)

May 12 - St. Pancras (N)

May 12 - Sts. Nereus & Achilleus (N)

May 13 - St. Robert Bellarmine (T)

May 13 - Our Lady of Fatima (N)

May 14 - St. Boniface (T)

May 14 - St. Matthias, apostle (N)

May 15 - St. John Baptist de la Salle (T)

May 15 - St. Isidore (N)

May 16 - St. Brendan (T)

May 16 - St. John Nepomucene (T)

May 16 - St. Ubaldus of Gubbio (T)

May 17 - St. Pascal Baylon (T)

May 18 - St. Venantius of Camerino (T)

May 18 - St. John I, pope (N)

May 19 - St. Peter Celestine, pope (T)

May 19 - St. Pudentiana (T)

May 20 - St. Bernardine of Siena (T)

May 20 - St. Bernardine of Siena (N)

May 21 - St. Christopher Magallanes & companions (N)

May 22 - St. Rita of Cascia (T)

May 22 - St. Rita of Cascia (N)

May 23 - St. John Baptist de Rossi (T)

May 25 - St. Gregory VII, pope (T)

May 25 - St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (T)

May 25 - St. Urban I, pope (T)

May 25 - St. Bede the Venerable (N)

May 25 - St. Gregory VII, pope (N)

May 25 - St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (N)

May 26 - St. Eleutherius, pope (T)

May 26 - St. Philip Neri (T)

May 26 - St. Philip Neri (N)

May 27 - St. Bede the Venerable (T)

May 27 - St. John I, pope (T)

May 27 - St. Augustine of Canterbury (N)

May 28 - St. Augustine of Canterbury (T)

May 29 - St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (T)

May 30 - St. Felix I, pope (T)

May 30 - St. Ferdinand III (T)

May 30 - St. Joan of Arc (T)

May 31 - St. Angela Merici (T)

May 31 - St. Petronilla (T)

May 31 - The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces (T)

May 31 - The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

May 31 - Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, see below & try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at

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5/1/11 - Low Sunday (Quasimodo Sunday) (T) | Divine Mercy Sunday (N)

5/8/11 - Second Sunday after Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday) (T) | Third Sunday of Easter (N)

5/15/11 - Third Sunday after Easter (T) | Fourth Sunday of Easter (N)

5/22/11 - Fourth Sunday after Easter (Cantate Sunday) (T) | Fifth Sunday of Easter (N)

5/29/11 - Fifth Sunday after Easter (T) | Sixth Sunday of Easter (N)

5/30/11 - Rogation Monday (T)

5/31/11 - Rogation Tuesday (T)

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Rogation Days: Some Facts & History

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The following is taken from a 1910 publication entitled "A Pulpit Commentary on Catholic Teaching". The original work bears an imprimatur. We have made some changes to the original text (e.g. spelling changes, formatting changes, combining paragraphs, shortening, etc.)

Note: Rogation Days ('minor') are traditionally the "Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day [this year: 5/30, 5/31, 6/1], specially set apart to supplicate the mercy of God and his blessings upon mankind." (Catholic Dictionary) It was customary to fast and abstain on Rogation Days.

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"In my affliction I called upon the Lord, and I cried to my God: And he heard my voice from his holy temple: and my cry came before him into his ears." (Ps. xvii, 7.)

The three days immediately preceding the feast of the Ascension are observed as special days of supplication. The Litany of the Saints is solemnly chanted on each of these days, which are known as Rogation. The name Rogation is derived from the Latin word which is equivalent to the Greek litaneia, from which we have the English litany; for the litany has always been chanted in the processions of this solemn triduum and recited by the clergy in the divine office... Such processions in the liturgical services of the Church are surely befitting as a profession of faith in the majesty and omnipresence of God. Are we not entirely dependent on Him? Do we not owe Him the homage of our whole being, and therefore external as well as internal worship? We are composite beings composed of body as well as soul. Matter as well as spirit. Are we not, therefore, bound to worship Him externally as corporal creatures, as well as internally as spiritual creatures, and thus to render to Him the homage of our whole being?

The gallant soldier who fights for his king and country and sheds his blood on the field of battle is honored with a procession. His remains, covered with the flag of his country - the flag for which he so bravely fought - are carried in triumph. The people follow in procession, keeping time with the martial airs which sound his requiem, while booming cannon acknowledge his services to a grateful country. Indeed, it is the custom of ages that all who have deserved well of their country, the high and mighty, the warrior, the statesman - all who are distinguished by honor, by patriotism, by virtue - are honored by processions which sound their praises and show forth their people's admiration and gratitude. So says the inspired author of Ecclesiasticus: "Let us now praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation, such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power, and endowed with their wisdom, showing forth in the prophets the dignity of the prophets. Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation. Let the people show forth their wisdom and the Church declare their praise" (Eccl. xliv). If it is, then, befitting that grand and [jovial] processions should proclaim the dignity of kings and potentates, and should voice the bravery and victories of heroes, how much more befitting that processions in the liturgical services of the Church should voice our faith in the omnipresence of God, and proclaim our dependence on Him in all our temporal and spiritual concerns.

The processions of the Rogation days date back to about the middle of the fifth century. Dauphany, a province of France, was visited by a terrible earthquake in the year 459. The country suffered at the same time from failure of the crops and other fearful calamities which so terrorized the people that they believed the whole country to be doomed to destruction. The holy Bishop of Vienne, St. Mamertius, seeing in those dreadful events a visitation of God, ordered a strict fast for the three days preceding the Ascension, and called upon his priests and people to walk in solemn procession to the church, with himself at their head, for each of the three days of the triduum, while the Litany of the Saints was chanted in chorus, supplicating Heaven to avert the impending doom of their city and the province of Dauphany. And, as in Ninive, when its people were moved to repentance by the cry of Jonas, the prophet, the avenging hand of God was withdrawn. The earth devastated by the earthquake assumed its verdant hue, and, as at the beginning, by the fiat of the Almighty, it brought forth plants and herbs and fruit in abundance, so that there was plenty of food for man and beast, and the country of Dauphany and the city of Vienne rejoiced in the bounty of God. So remarkable was the favor of Heaven obtained through those public exercises of piety that the example of the saintly Mamertius was followed by other bishops in their respective dioceses until the devotion of the Rogation days was held all over the kingdom of the Franks. Thence it spread to Spain, Italy, Germany and ultimately through the whole of Europe. Pope Leo III authorized it for the whole Catholic world, at the same time abolishing the fast and other penitential exercises originally in connection with the devotion. The processions originally held year after year on the triduum of the Ascension in grateful remembrance of the wonderful favor of God shown the people of Dauphany in their deliverance from the fearful calamity which visited, were, as the devotion spread to other countries and became more general, held, as they are today, as a profession of faith in the majesty and all-ruling presence of God and to supplicate His divine mercy and grace for all.

These Rogations were also a preparation for the great feast of Ascension. It is customary among all people to make a suitable preparation before the celebration of any great event; and the elaborateness of the preparation and the enthusiasm manifested in it are proportionate to the magnitude and importance of the event. The feast of the Ascension is the finale of the mysterious dealings of God with men in the great scheme of Redemption. It may, indeed, be regarded as the complement of the Resurrection, the one festival unfolding and showing what is hidden in the other, just as the Epiphany, which heralds to the world with more than royal proclamation the Infant Savior, may be regarded as the complement of Christmas - the day of His obscure nativity in the little city of David.

By His Resurrection the Savior gave proof of His divinity, and therefore of His sufferings and death, having that efficacy which makes full and condign satisfaction to the offended majesty of God; by His ascension He has given ample testimony, before many witnesses, that He is the risen Savior. The Ascension, therefore, forms with the Resurrection one united whole in proving the Savior's divine mission to the world. It, furthermore, brings home to us the consoling fact that we have in Him a Mediator of justice enthroned and pleading for us at the right hand of His Eternal Father. Surely, then, we should make a befitting preparation for so great a festival. Moreover, the thought that we have so powerful a mediator interceding for us at the heavenly throne, and that His ascension is a pledge of His mediation, should give us confidence in offering up our supplications on the solemn triduum of that glorious feast.

The Litany of the Saints is chanted by the clergy and people in the processions of the Rogation days. The litany is also added to the divine office recited by the clergy on those days. Hence, the name given to the solemnities celebrated. Litanies are a very ancient form of prayers. The Greek word from which we have the English litany means an entreaty, corresponding with the Latin word from which we have Rogation. Hence, the Rogation days are days of entreaty, or petition to almighty God to obtain His favors; and the litany is the special prayer of petition which is offered up in the processions of those days. The Litany of the Saints, which is the one chanted in those solemn processions, is the only liturgical litany which has place in the public services of the Church on those days, as well as on the occasion of the consecration of cemeteries and churches, the ordination of priests, and the consecration of bishops. It is, therefore, strictly speaking, the only liturgical litany, although the litanies of the Most Holy Name of Jesus and of the Blessed Virgin have long been authorized by the Church to which, in recent years, is added the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Litany of St. Joseph.

Of all the litanies, that of the saints is by far the oldest, if we except the Kyrie eleison, which is the primitive form of all litanies. In their original purpose of supplicating the Throne of God, the litanies were connected with fasting and prayer. Consequently, they were not appropriate for Sunday and festival services. Hence, we may conclude why the Rogation on which the litanies were solemnly chanted were held on weekdays, and in preparation for the festival of the Ascension. According to ancient writers, the original form of the litanies consisted in the repetition of the Kyrie eleison solemnly chanted. As the centuries passed by additions were being made until about the time of St. Gregory the Great, when, with some subsequent additions approved by the Church, the Litany of the Saints, as now used in the liturgy, was formed. There was an earlier form bearing the name of St. Ambrose. Another, probably of a very primitive form, was composed by St. Mamertius, Bishop of Vienne, on the occasion of the processions instituted by him on the solemn Triduum of the Ascension.

The litany chanted on the Rogation days is called the lesser litany, to distinguish it from the litany of the procession of St. Mark's Day, which is known as the greater litany - sometimes the sevenfold litany. This procession with the litany takes its name from its having been composed by Pope St. Gregory of seven classes of people: the clergy, boys, young men, girls, married persons, and widows. Near the close of the sixth century a contagious pestilence raged in the city of Rome. Thousands were carried away by the sweeping sickness. Among them an illustrious victim, Pope Pelagius II. Pope St. Gregory accordingly ordered special prayers of supplication and appointed a procession of extraordinary solemnity of the seven classes among the people. The Litany of the Saints was chanted in appeal to Heaven for deliverance from the pestilential disease. And lo! as the procession advanced the plague disappeared. Heaven was propitiated. An angel was seen on the pinnacle of the Castle of Rome sheathing a bloody sword as a pledge of deliverance from the terrible sickness. In memory of the event the gilt statue of the Archangel Michael was set upon the castle. And the Castle of Rome became the Castle of St. Angelo.

We have seen what remarkable favors have been obtained through liturgical processions. Their efficacy in propitiating Heaven is as notable as the antiquity of their origin; and their origin goes back through the centuries to the grand and impressive ceremonial of Israel, voicing the ordinances of [God]. The litany chanted is the beautiful Litany of the Saints, with its intercessory appeals, ascending as sweet incense before the throne of God, as we are reminded in the Book of Revelation (viii, 4). Surely, then, we should make those beautiful devotions with confidence, so that we may exclaim in accents of joy with the Psalmist: "In my affliction I called upon the Lord; and I cried to my God: And he heard my voice from the holy temple; and my cry before Him came into His ears" (Ps. xvii, 7).

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. What is another term for Eastertide?

2. What does 'Advocatus Diaboli' (or 'Advocátus Diáboli') refer to?

3. Who said...? "It is right and proper to affirm that Mary, whom Jesus made his constant companion from the house of Nazareth to the place of Calvary, knew, as no other knew, the secrets of his Heart, distributes as by a mother's right the treasures of his merits, and is the surest help to the knowledge and love of Christ."

4. Why is the paschal candle which is lighted on Easter morning extinguished at the Mass on Ascension Day?

5. Does the Pope have the authority to add or change doctrines?

6. Was Christ visible to all and at all times during the forty days He remained on earth after His resurrection?

7. What philosophical system, so highly praised by the Church, has been under "relentless attack" by Modernists?

8. When establishing the (traditional) feast of Mary's Queenship on 5/31, what did Pope Pius XII also decree?

9. The Resurrection is referred to in which article of the Apostles' Creed (as it is traditionally divided)?

10. What did Pope St. Pius X say about those who "put aside the divinity of Jesus Christ, and then to mention only His unlimited clemency, His compassion for all human miseries, and His pressing exhortations to the love of our neighbor and to the brotherhood of men"?



1. Paschaltide

2. Latin for 'Devil's Advocate' (traditionally part of the beatification / canonization process)

3. Pope St. Pius X

4. "The paschal candle which is lighted on Easter morning signifies Christ's visible presence on earth, and it is extinguished on Ascension Day to show that He, having fulfilled all the prophecies concerning Himself and having accomplished the work of redemption, has transferred the visible care of His Church to His Apostles and returned in His body to heaven." (Baltimore Catechism)

5. No. As stated by the First Vatican Council, "The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successor of Peter that by the revelation of the Holy Spirit they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the Apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth." As the 'Oath Against Modernism' (prescribed by Pope St. Pius X) states, it is a "heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously."

6. "Christ was not visible to all nor at all times during the forty days He remained on earth after His resurrection. We know that He appeared to His apostles and others at least nine times, though He may have appeared oftener." (Baltimore Catechism)

7. Scholasticism, which has earned the Church's highest praise, has been under "relentless attack" by Modernists ["the worst enemies of the Church" (Bl. Pope Pius IX)]. This system has long been the bane of heretics. As Pope Leo XIII has said, "For it has come to light that there were not lacking among the leaders of heretical sects some who openly declared that, if the teaching of Thomas Aquinas were only taken away, they could easily battle with all Catholic teachers, gain the victory, and abolish the Church. A vain hope, indeed, but no vain testimony." (Pope Leo XIII, "Aeterni Patris", 1879 A.D.)

8. "[B]y Our Apostolic authority We decree and establish the feast of Mary's Queenship, which is to be celebrated every year in the whole world on the 31st of May. We likewise ordain that on the same day the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary be renewed, cherishing the hope that through such consecration a new era may begin, joyous in Christian peace and in the triumph of religion." (Pope Pius XII, "Ad Caeli Reginam", 1954)

9. The fifth article [Note: For more information, please see ]

10. "[I]t is the fashion in some quarters to first put aside the divinity of Jesus Christ, and then to mention only His unlimited clemency, His compassion for all human miseries, and His pressing exhortations to the love of our neighbor and to the brotherhood of men. True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors. Further, while Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their false ideas, however sincere they might have appeared. He loved them all, but He instructed them in order to convert them and save them. While He called to Himself in order to comfort them, those who toiled and suffered, it was not to preach to them the jealousy of a chimerical equality. While He lifted up the lowly, it was not to instill in them the sentiment of a dignity independent from, and rebellious against, the duty of obedience. While His heart overflowed with gentleness toward the souls of goodwill, He could also arm Himself with holy indignation against the profaners of the House of God, against the wretched men who scandalized the little ones, against the authorities who crush the people with the weight of heavy burdens without putting out a hand to lift them. He was as strong as he was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised; knowing and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of perfect happiness in heaven: the royal way of the Cross." (Pope St. Pius X, "Notre Charge Apostolique", 1910 A.D.)


For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at

You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject Mary's Title 'Mother of God'?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Do You Reject Mary's Title 'Mother of God'? (Note: Topic is directed at certain Protestants)


* How can you object to the title of 'Mother of God' since Jesus is truly God (see ) and Mary is truly His Mother?

* How can you object to the title 'Mother of God' when Scripture prophecies that a virgin will bear God (see Isa. 7:14)?

* How can you object to the title 'Mother of God' when Scripture states that Virgin is to bear Emmanuel ("God is with us") [see Mt. 1:23]?

* How can you object to the title 'Mother of God' when it may be seen in Scripture that St. Elizabeth calls Mary "the mother of [her] Lord" (see Lk. 1:43)

* How can you object to the title 'Mother of God' when Scripture states that God's Son was born of a woman (see Gal. 4:4)?

* Do you argue that Mary cannot be the Mother of God because she is mother of Jesus' humanity only? Do you also tell your mother she is mother only of your body, not of your soul? How can you separate the two? Once Christ has assumed human flesh, how can you separate His divine nature from His human nature?

* Do you object to the title "Mother of God" because you think it means Mary existed before God? If so, you should know that this is not the teaching of the Catholic Church! The Catholic Church teaches that Christ - being God - existed from all eternity and that his Mother Mary - being a creature - exists in time. However, once Christ assumed human nature by the power of the Holy Spirit inside of Mary, Mary became His mother. "Mary is both daughter of God and mother of God!" Even though Mary is Mother of God, the Catholic Church does not teach that she is in any way divine. Rather, she is a creature - albeit the most perfect creature of all.

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"If anyone does not agree that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead." (St. Gregory of Nazianz, Doctor of the Church, c. 382 A.D.)

If you say Mary wasn't the mother of God, do you say to the Lord, "Leave the body, so that I may worship you?" (St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"Certainly she who performed the role of the Creator's handmaid and Mother is truly and in perfect reality God's Mother, and Lady and Queen over all creation." (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church, c. 8th century A.D.)

"If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is true God, and that therefore the holy Virgin is Mother of God (Dei genetricem-Theotokon), since she bore, after the flesh, the incarnate Word of God, let him be anathema." (Council of Alexandria, 430 A.D.)

"Can. 1. If anyone does not confess that God is truly Emmanuel, and that on this account the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (for according to the flesh she gave birth to the Word of God become flesh by birth), let him be anathema." (Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D.)

"Such do we see to have been done in the birth of Emmanuel; the Word of God was born of the substance of His Father; but because He took on Him flesh, making it His own, it is necessary to confess that He was born of a woman according to the flesh. Where seeing He is truly God, how shall any one doubt to call the Holy Virgin the Mother of God?" (St. Cyril, Doctor of the Church)

"Although the name God is common to the three Persons, yet sometimes it stands for the Person of the Father alone, sometimes only for the Person of the Son or of the Holy Ghost... So that when we say, 'The Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God,' this word God stands only for the incarnate Person of the Son." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"If any one does not, in accord with the Holy Fathers, acknowledge the holy and ever-virgin and Immaculate Mary as truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit God the Word Himself, who before all time was born [begotten] of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned." (Pope St. Martin I, 649 A.D.)

"Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, who is God and man. She is therefore the mother of God. This is a dogma of the faith accepted as such from the earliest times, as is evident from countless expressions of the Fathers, and it was defined by the Council of Ephesus in 431. It does not mean, of course, that Mary generated the Godhead, any more than an ordinary mother generates her son's soul. It means simply that she is the mother of a Person who is God. This is her fundamental dignity, and the origin and justification of all the honor which Catholics pay to her." (Catholic Dictionary)

"The Word, then, was God, and He became also Man; and since He was born according to the flesh for the sake of mankind, it is necessary that she who bore Him is the Mother of God. For if she did not bear God, neither is He that was born of her to be called God. If the divinely inspired Scriptures name Him God, as God having made Man and incarnate, He could not become Man in any other way that through birth from a woman: how then should she who bore Him not be the Mother of God?" (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, c. 432 A.D.)

"Just as when a man's soul is born with its body, they are considered as one being: and if anyone wish to say that the mother of the flesh is not the mother of the soul, he says too much. Something like this may be perceived in the generation of Christ. For the Word of God was born of the substance of God the Father: but because He took flesh, we must of necessity confess that in the flesh He was born of a woman. Consequently we must say that the Blessed Virgin is called the Mother of God, not as though she were the Mother of the Godhead, but because she is the mother, according to His human nature, of the Person who has both the divine and the human nature." (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church)

"We proclaim that the Holy Virgin is properly and truly the Mother of God; for since He that was born of her is true God, she that bore the true God, incarnate of her, is true Mother of God. For we hold that God was born of her, not as if the Divinity of the Word took the beginning of His existence from her, but that God the Word, who was begotten of the Father timelessly before the ages, and who subsisted with the Father and with the Spirit eternally and without beginning, in these last days took His abode in her womb for our salvation, and without change took flesh of her and was born. For the Holy Virgin did not bear mere man but true God...not with a body brought down from heaven, not passing through her as through a channel, but homoousios with us, having taken flesh from her though subsisting in Himself. For if the body had come down from heaven and did not share in our nature, of what use were His becoming Man? For the purpose of God the Word in becoming Man was that the very nature which had sinned and fallen and become corrupted might triumph over the deceiving tyrant and thus be freed of corruption." (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church, c. 8th century A.D.)

"A Mother of God! It is the mystery whose fulfillment the world, without knowing it, was awaiting for four thousand years. It is the work which, in God's eyes, was incomparably greater than that of the creation of a million new worlds, for such a creation would cost him nothing; he has but to speak, and all whatsoever he wills is made. But that a creature should have become Mother of God, he has had not only to suspend the laws of nature by making a Virgin Mother, but also to put himself in a state of dependence upon the happy creature he chose for his Mother. He had to give her rights over himself, and contract the obligation of certain duties towards her. He had to make her his Mother, and himself her Son. It follows from all this, that the blessings of the Incarnation, for which we are indebted to the love wherewith the Divine Word loved us, may and ought to be referred, though in an inferior degree, to Mary herself. If she be the Mother of God, it is because she consented to it, for God vouchsafed not only to ask her consent, but moreover to make the coming of his Son into this world depend upon her giving it. As this his Son, the Eternal Word, spoke his Fiat over chaos, and the answer to his word was creation; so did Mary use the same word Fiat: let it be done unto me, she said. God heard her word, and immediately the Son of God descended into her virginal womb. After God, then, it is to Mary, his ever blessed Mother, that we are indebted for our Emmanuel." (Dom Gueranger)

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For more apologetics resources, please visit

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In Closing...

Christus Resurrexit! Vere Resurrexit! (Latin For: Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!)

"The Resurrection is the greatest of Christ's miracles because all He taught and did is confirmed by it and depends upon it. He promised to rise from the dead and without this fulfillment of that promise we could not believe in Him." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Moreover, one must remember that the Blood of Christ shed for our sake and those members in which He offers to His Father the wounds He received, the price of our liberty, are no other than the flesh and blood of the virgin, since the flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary, and however much it was exalted in the glory of His resurrection, nevertheless the nature of His flesh derived from Mary remained and still remains the same" (Pope Leo XIII, "Fidentem Piumque Animum", 1896 A.D.)

Novena For Easter: "Jesus, Who didst confound all Thine enemies by clothing in glory and splendor that body which had been the victim of the cruelty of man, give me grace to die to myself that I may rise again with Thee, and after Thy likeness lead a new, divine, immortal life: new, by change of conduct, divine by the generosity and purity of my love, immortal by perseverance in well doing. Work in my heart, O Lord, this happy change; make me pass from death to life, from darkness to light, from a life full of imperfections to a life perfect and worthy of Thee. Make me go on from light to light, from virtue to virtue, till I come at last to Thee, O God of virtue, source of all life, and of all light. To thee also I turn, O holy Virgin, Mother of Our Savior, on this joyous feast; deign to make me a partaker of that divine joy which thou didst feel on the blessed day of His Resurrection. Dry my tears and free my heart from all oppressive sadness. Let Thy risen Son enter into my heart, as through the closed doors, into the upper chamber. Let Him say to me, as to the apostles, "Peace be to thee"; let Him show to me, as to Thomas, His sacred wounds; let Him abide with me continually, and never more depart from me. Amen."

"Being the sure means and the straight and immaculate way to go to Jesus Christ and to find Him perfectly, it is by her that the souls who are to shine forth especially in sanctity have to find Our Lord. He who shall find Mary shall find life (cf. Prov. 8:35), that is, Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6). But no one can find Mary who does not seek her; and no one can seek her who does not know her; for we cannot seek or desire an unknown object. It is necessary, then, for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known." (St. Louis Marie de Montfort)

Christ, rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, alleluia; death shall no more have dominion over Him, alleluia, alleluia. (Communion)

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