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

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of November: Dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory

* 'One Little Secret of a Happy Life'

* Fifteen Prayers for the Deceased

* Liturgical Feasts in November

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Concept of Praying For the Dead?

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Dear Friend,

"Mercy unto you and peace: and charity be fulfilled." (Jude 1:2)

We hope you are doing well during this beautiful Fall month. We are happy to report that our Third Annual Rosary Week held at the end of last month was a success, with signups received from the majority of states in the U.S. and signups received from a total of four continents. Considering God's goodness & mercy, we hope these modest efforts may result abundant blessings. We would also like to thank you for your support of as we celebrated our 3rd anniversary at the end of last month. It's been a joy to be able to hang on, even despite the many challenges we've encountered.

This month will also bring some significant challenges as we found that we will once again need to switch servers. When our last hosting company was sold, we had to switch to our present server. However, that transition was to a server nearly identical to the one we already had - although it was a bit of a hardware upgrade. This time, the change will not be quite so easy (not that it was easy last time). Although we knew this would have to occur eventually, we had hoped there would be more time to prepare. Nevertheless, our host is confident our site will continue to function properly on this new system. While the purpose of the switch is to maintain security, please let us assure you that the change is preventative and not related to any existing problems. It is important that we remain as diligent as possible concerning security as our server is frequently the target of attack. The new server will have a different, more modern operating system whereas the old server is nearing the end of its lifecycle. The new hardware should also offer some performance advantages. Since major changes like this are very challenging, we'd sure appreciate any prayers you might be able to offer. For more detail concerning the server change, please see below.

Lastly, we'd like to remind that Advent starts at the end of this month (on 11/27/11). It's a good idea to prepare early so that the Advent season will be truly holy. Also note that many who attend the Novus Ordo Mass in the vernacular will experience the new Mass translations for the first time on the first day of Advent. The new translations are designed to be more faithful to the original Latin text (created in the 1960's), and they resolve some obvious translation errors that Catholics have complained about for decades. Of course, those of us who attend the traditional Latin Mass should be unaffected by the new translations. The new vernacular translations of themselves do not alter the Novus Ordo Mass as it is promulgated in Latin, but rather attempt to make the vernacular text a more faithful translation of the 1960's Latin text.

We hope you have a wonderful month of November and that you enjoy a very holy Advent season.

We thank you for your support & wish you God's blessings,

Your Friends at

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'Golden Arrow' Prayer: "May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored, and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen."

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MCS News & Notes

* Upcoming Server Change: To maintain security, we plan to move to a new server. We anticipate the switch will occur on or around 11/7/11. Please expect some outages and functionality issues during this time and shortly afterwards. If all goes well, we hope everything will be back to normal within a couple of weeks. If there are issues during the transition, we may post updates on our blog. Please bookmark our blog ( ) and check it if you encounter problems with our site during this time. We apologize if this change causes any inconvenience.

* Rosary Week: We send our thanks to all who participated in Rosary Week. You helped make this event a success. We also thank those who submitted kind comments with their signups, such as the following (we made a few spelling, spacing, and capitalization changes below)...

"Since I became Catholic last year at Easter, this event keeps me in prayer and helps me learn about and pray the rosary. I love it!"

"Thank you for the info and invitation. As we know the Rosary is much needed at this time with all the evil going on in this world. God bless you in your work"

"Thank you for offering this devotion. You make it very easy for us to participate."

"I pray the Rosary every year with My Catholic Source"

"Many thanks for notifying me, I am always ready to participate in group prayer!"

"I loved it last year I felt like I was part of something big, powerful and holy" 

"Thanks for doing this. It is great and our country is desperate for prayer!! God Bless ya'll."

"Thank you so much for doing this. Praying the Rosary more often is one of my personal goals. This will help me."

"Good idea all the family is with us"

"Rosary Week is a great way for Catholics to bring themselves to praying the rosary. I pray mine daily and I just add another rosary each day during that week for this intentions. Thank you"

As an expression of our appreciation, all Rosary Week participants will be remembered in a Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass to be said by the Priestly Fraternity St. Peter. Please note that the Priestly Fraternity was erected as an institute of pontifical right by the Holy See in October of 1988 (their twofold mission is "the formation and sanctification of priests in the cadre of the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, and secondly, the pastoral deployment of the priests in the service of the Church"). Again, we thank you for your participation and hope you will join us again next year.

* Changes To 'Invite A Friend' Service: The third party 'invite a friend' service we previously utilized is no longer offered by the provider. However, we have added a link to the 'invite a friend' page that can be used to send an e-mail to friends. To invite friends to visit, please visit

* Good News: It is once again possible to shop at in support of! Please use this link to shop at Amazon in support of our site:

* If you joined the Purgatory Release Project effort and plan to submit your form, please do so as soon as possible. For more information, and to start a new form for next year, please visit

* For information on indulgences available in November, please visit . For additional information on indulgences, please try here

* For Advent resources (including 'Make Your Own Advent Calendar', Advent Prayers, Advent Practices, Reflections, Coloring Pages, etc.), please see [Reminder: Advent begins on 11/27/11]

* Please help us improve Feedback from visitors can help us improve the site. If something could be easier to use, better formatted, more clearly worded, etc. we would appreciate it if you'd let us know. Your suggestions are welcome & appreciated. You can leave feedback anytime via chat or our feedback forms. For subscribers, we welcome you to use the special subscriber feedback form at to submit comments. If your comments involve appearance or formatting issues, please include the name of the browser used (and version number, if possible) as well as the URL of the page(s) you are referring to.

- - - - - App News...

* Due to the success of our $.99 All Saints Day app sale (we started a bit early), we are considering extending the sale on our Saints4U app. This app allows the user to quickly search for patron saints (by name, patronage or category), male or female saint names, feasts falling on particular days, liturgical feasts, and more. It features over 6,400 listings, including 1,000+ patronages. More information can be found at (shortcut: ). To purchase this app, please visit

* Our 'most beautiful app', iStations, is still on sale for just $.99. This app features beautiful images, two traditional methods for praying the Stations of the Cross, an audio option with optional auto-advance, selected prayers in English & Latin, easy navigation, and in-app help. It's great for Fridays, Lent, penitential times & family devotions. You can download it today at

* Our most popular app, Catholic Bible References, is still available at the sale price of just $1.99. This app features hundreds of key scripture references concerning Catholic beliefs, 100+ tips for locating related passages (including those related to defending the Catholic faith among 'Jehovah's Witnesses' & Mormons), modern / traditional scripture translations, convenient index, an easy / quick / comprehensive search, selectable text, an Old Testament / New Testament indicator, a quick, easy-to-use interface, and in-app help. Download it today at

* Our Android apps waiting list is growing! If you would like to be notified when Android versions of our apps are available, please go to 

* App reviews: As lamented in the developer world, 'hardly anyone' leaves reviews. While we've also experienced this phenomena, we have received one written review (5 stars! "Great app...this app is very useful...I recommend this to everybody") and some sites show reviews of 4 & 5 stars for two of our apps. Yet, more reviews are needed for a rating to appear in the App Store. If you have purchased one or more of our apps and like it/them, would you kindly review it/them? It sure helps.

Note: All prices herein are in U.S. dollars, excluding any applicable tax. For more information concerning apps, please visit (shortcut: )

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* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through January 2012

* Help keep us online! You can donate from $1 at [note that we do NOT sell donor information to third parties and we do NOT contact you about your donation unless it is necessary (e.g. processing problems)]. Or, to shop at in support of, please use this link: . You can shop here for books, household & office products, Catholic items, electronics, and much more. Already shop at It doesn't cost any extra to shop at Amazon using this link, yet we can benefit from your purchases. Thank you for your much needed support!

* Reminder: To help ensure delivery of your newsletter, please put our e-mail address in your 'trusted senders' list - or use other applicable options your e-mail provider may offer to let them know that our e-mail is wanted. Thank you.

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

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The Month of November: Dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory

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"The pains of Purgatory are more grievous than all the pains of this world" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]he souls in Purgatory can be relieved by our prayers, alms-deeds, all our other good works, and by indulgences, but above all by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

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Related Resources...

* Purgatory (Topic Page) -

* Purgatory Information / Purgatory Release Project -

* Prayers For the Dead -

* Indulgences -

* Purgatory (Reflections) -

* Purgatory (Apologetics) -

* Purgatory (Topical Scripture) -

* Purgatory (Biblical References) -

Also Try...

* Death (Topic Page) -

* Suffering / Death (Incl. When a Loved One Has Died) -

* Request Prayers -

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

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"One of the holiest works, one of the best exercises of piety that we can practice in this world is to offer sacrifices, alms, and prayer for the dead." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"According to the holy Doctors, for every mortal sin a man is obliged by God to seven years of penance in this world, or the equivalent in purgatory; the reason being that every mortal sin is an offense against the seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost." (St. Vincent Ferrer)

"'He shall be saved, but as if by fire.' And because it is said that he shall be saved, little is thought of that fire. Yet plainly, though we be saved by fire, that fire will be more severe than anything a man can suffer in this life." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"If anyone shall say that after the reception of the grace of justification, to every penitent sinner the guilt is so remitted and the penalty of eternal punishment so blotted out that no penalty of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in the world to come in purgatory before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

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'One Little Secret of a Happy Life'

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Note: The following is taken from a 20th century book by Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance. The book bears an imprimatur. [Notice: We have made a few changes to punctuation.]

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One secret of a sweet and happy Christian life is learning to live by the day. It is the long stretches that tire us. We think of life as a whole, running on for us. We can not carry this load until we are threescore and ten. We can not fight this battle continually for half a century. But really there are no long stretches. Life does not come to us all at one time; it comes only a day at a time. Even tomorrow is never ours until it becomes today, and we have nothing whatever to do with it but to pass down to it a fair and good inheritance in today's work well done, and today's life well lived.

It is a blessed secret this, of living by the day. Any one can carry his burden, however heavy, till nightfall. Any one can do his work, however hard, for one day. Any one can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, until the sun goes down. And this is all life ever means to us - just one little day. "Do today's duty; fight today's temptations, and do not weaken or distract yourself by looking forward to things you can not see, and could not understand if you saw them." God gives us nights to shut down upon our little days. We can not see beyond. Short horizons make life easier and give us one of the blessed secrets of brave, true, holy living.

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For more reflections, please visit

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Fifteen Prayers for the Deceased

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Prayer for the Departed

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. (Latin: Fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace. Amen.)

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Prayer of St. Gertrude for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

[Note: It is said that Our Lord will release 1,000 souls from Purgatory for each recitation of this prayer.]

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Prayer to Guardian Angels for the Souls in Purgatory

O Holy Guardian Angels of the poor souls, you who accompanied them so faithfully during life, who so lovingly guarded them from error, misfortune, and sin, help them now when, having escaped from the dangers of the world, they are so near to heaven. Obtain for them from the Most Holy Trinity a full remission of their indebtedness and lead them without delay to the joys of heaven. Amen.

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Prayer for Deceased Parent(s)

O God, who dost command us to honor our parents; in Thy mercy have pity on the souls of my (father and/or mother). Do Thou forgive (him/her/them) their trespasses and look favorably upon any good (he/she/they) may have accomplished. And when my hour shall come to pass from this life, grant me to see (him/her/them) again in the joy of everlasting brightness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Prayer for Loved Ones in Purgatory

My dearest Jesus, whose loving Heart was ever touched by the sorrows of others, look with compassion on the souls of our dear ones in purgatory. O You Who 'loved Your own', hear our cry for mercy and grant that those whom You called from our homes and hearts, may soon enjoy everlasting rest in the home of Thy love in heaven. Amen.

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Prayer for a Deceased Person

Incline Thine ear, O Lord, unto our prayers, wherein we humbly pray Thee to show Thy mercy upon the soul of Thy servant N., whom Thou hast commanded to pass out of this world, that Thou wouldst place him in the region of peace and light, and bid him be partaker with Thy Saints. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Raccolta)

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Prayer for a Deceased Priest

O God, Thou didst raise Thy servant (N.) to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ, according to the Order of Melchisedech, giving him the sublime power to offer the Eternal Sacrifice, to bring the Body and Blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ down upon the altar, and to absolve the sins of men in Thine own holy Name. We beseech Thee to reward his faithfulness and to forget his faults, admitting him speedily into Thy holy presence, there to enjoy forever the recompense of his labors. This we ask through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord. Amen.

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Prayer for the Departed

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. (Latin: Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.)

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Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory

O gentle Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on them. Be not severe in Your judgments, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall upon the devouring flames. And, Merciful Savior, send Your angels to conduct them to a place of refreshment, light, and peace. Amen.

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Mass Prayer For the Souls in Purgatory

Dear Jesus! Let the happiness of this thy visit extend to every portion of thy Church. Thy face gladdens the elect in the holy city; even our mortal eyes can see thee beneath the veil of our delighted faith; ah! Hide not thyself from those brethren of ours, who are imprisoned in the abode of expiation. Be thou refreshment to them in their flames, light in their darkness, and peace in their agonies of torment. Amen. (Liturgical Year)

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Prayer for the Deceased

Receive in tranquility and peace, O Lord, the souls of your servants who have departed this present life to come to you. Grant them rest and place them in the habitations of light, the abodes of blessed spirits. Give them the life that will not age, good things that will not pass away, delights that have no end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory (Esp. Nearest to Heaven)

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, especially that soul which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory, that it may soon begin to praise Thee and bless Thee for ever. Amen. (Raccolta)

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Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory

Most loving Jesus, I humbly beseech Thee, that Thou Thyself wouldst offer to Thine eternal Father in behalf of the Holy Souls in purgatory, the Most Precious Blood which poured forth from the sacred wounds of Thine adorable Body, together with Thine agony and death. And do thou likewise O sorrowful Virgin Mary, present unto Him, together with the dolorous Passion of Thy dear Son, thine own sighs and tears, and all the sorrows thou didst suffer in His suffering, in order that, through the merits of the same, refreshment may be granted to the souls now suffering in the fiery torments of purgatory, so that, being delivered from that painful prison, they may be clothed with glory in heaven, there to sing the mercies of God for ever and ever. Amen.

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Prayer for the Departed

Immortal God, Holy Lord, Father and protector of everything Thou hast created, we raise our hearts to Thee today for those who have passed out of this mortal life. In Thy loving mercy, Father of men, be pleased to receive them into Thy Heavenly company, and forgive them the failings and faults of human frailty. Thy only Son, Christ, our Savior, suffered cruelly that He might deliver them from the second death. By His merits may they share in the glory of His victory over sin and death. We pray for all the faithful who have died, but in particular for those dear to us - parents, relatives and friends. Nor do we forget those who did us good while on earth, who helped us by their prayers, sacrifices, and example. We pray also for any who have done us harm and stand in need of Thy special forgiveness. May the merits of Our Virgin Mother Mary, and those of all Thy Angels and Saints, speak for us and assist them now. This we ask in Christ's name. Amen.

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Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Souls in Purgatory

Most holy Mary, our Lady of Intercession, whose maternal tenderness gathers in one embrace all the souls redeemed by the Precious Blood of thy Son Jesus, we come before thy royal throne with sadness in our hearts as we remember those who have gone before us, but also with unlimited confidence in thine intercession. Death, which burst asunder the bonds of earth, has not destroyed the affection which binds us to those who lived in the same faith as we do. O Mary, countless souls await with unutterable anxiety the assistance of our prayers, and the merits of our good works in that place of expiation. Urged by the charity of Jesus Christ, we raise our countenance and heart in supplication to thee, the compassionate Mother of all believers, in favor of those suffering souls. Make our prayers of good effect, O Mary; obtain for them the power to move the Heart of Jesus our Redeemer through thy motherly intercession. Let thine incomparable holiness supply the defects of our misery, thy love make good our languid affection, thy power strengthen our weakness. Grant, O Queen of heaven, that the ardent desire of the souls of the departed to be admitted to the Beatific Vision may soon be satisfied. We pray to thee, O Mother, especially for the souls of our relations, of priests, of those who were zealous in honoring thee, of those who did good to the souls of others, of those who wept with them and for them and finally, for those souls of those who are forgotten. Grant that one day, when we are all reunited in heaven, we may be able to rejoice in the possession of God, in the happiness of thy dear presence, in the fellowship of all the Saints, thanking thee forever for all the blessings thou hast obtained for us, O Mother, who art our unfailing comfort. Amen. Hail Mary... Hail Mary... Hail Mary... Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen (Raccolta)

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Note: For more Catholic prayers, please try here -

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Liturgical Feasts in November

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

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

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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November 1 - All Saints (T) *

November 1 - All Saints (N) *

November 2 - All Souls (T)

November 2 - All Souls (N)

November 3 - St. Martin de Porres (N)

November 4 - St. Charles Borromeo (T)

November 4 - Sts. Vitalis & Agricola (T)

November 4 - St. Charles Borromeo (N)

November 5 - Feast of Holy Relics (T)

November 6 - St. Leonard (T)

November 8 - Four Holy Crowned Martyrs (T)

November 9 - Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Saviour (T)

November 9 - St. Theodore the Recruit (T)

November 9 - Dedication of St. John Lateran (Lateran Basilica in Rome) (N)

November 10 - St. Andrew Avellino (T)

November 10 - Sts. Tryphon, Respicius & Nympha (T)

November 10 - St. Leo the Great, pope (N)

November 11 - St. Martin of Tours (T)

November 11 - St. Mennas (T)

November 11 - St. Martin of Tours (N)

November 12 - St. Martin I, pope (T)

November 12 - St. Josaphat (N)

November 13 - St. Didacus (T)

November 13 - St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (N)

November 14 - St. Josaphat (T)

November 15 - St. Albert the Great (T)

November 15 - St. Albert the Great (N)

November 16 - St. Gertrude (T)

November 16 - St. Gertrude the Great (N)

November 16 - St. Margaret of Scotland (N)

November 17 - St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (T)

November 17 - St. Elizabeth of Hungary (N)

November 18 - Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul (T)

November 18 - Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul, apostles (N)

November 19 - St. Elizabeth of Hungary (T)

November 19 - St. Pontianus, pope (T)

November 20 - St. Felix of Valois (T)

November 21 - Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

November 21 - The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

November 22 - St. Cecilia (T)

November 22 - St. Cecilia (N)

November 23 - St. Clement I, pope (T)

November 23 - St. Felicitas (T)

November 23 - St. Clement I, pope (N)

November 23 - St. Columban (N)

November 24 - St. Chrysogonus (T)

November 24 - St. John of the Cross (T)

November 24 - St. Andrew Dung-Lac & companions (N)

November 25 - St. Catherine of Alexandria (T)

November 25 - St. Catherine of Alexandria (N)

November 26 - St. Peter of Alexandria (T)

November 26 - St. Sylvester (T)

November 27 - Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (T)

November 27 - St. Virgilius (T)

November 29 - St. Saturninus (T)

November 30 - St. Andrew, apostle (T)

November 30 - St. Andrew, apostle (N)

* Holy Day of Obligation

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


11/20/2011 - Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ (N)

11/27/2011 - First Sunday in Advent (T/N)

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. What does the "Hexaemeron" refer to?

2. What is a "privileged altar"?

3. Does St. Francis de Sales say we should be disturbed at our imperfections?

4. What does St. Alphonsus Liguori say the devil does at death?

5. Who said...? "Your love for me was already there, even when I had no existence, and precisely because you loved me, O good God, you called me from nothingness to existence!"

6. Can anointing of the sick be received after apparent death?

7. Who said...? "To know whom to avoid is a great means of saving our souls."

8. What does the Council of Trent say with regard to receiving the Eucharist directly from the priest?

9. Who said...? "The foolish fear death as the greatest of evils, the wise desire it as a rest after labors and the end of ills."

10. Complete the sentence: "One single act done with aridity of spirit is worth more than __."



1. The Hexaemeron is a Greek term which refers to the biblical account of the six days of creation.

2. A privileged altar is "One at which a plenary indulgence may be gained for a soul in Purgatory by the celebration and application of a [particular] Mass. The privilege is either local (belonging to any priest at a particular altar) or personal (to a particular priest and any altar) or mixed (to certain priests at certain altars)." (Catholic Dictionary) Note that the indulgence is to be applied to the soul for whom the Mass was offered.

3. No. He says, "We must not be disturbed at our imperfections, since for us perfection consists in fighting against them. How can we fight against them unless we see them, or overcome them unless we face them?" (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

4. "At death, the Devil exerts all his powers to secure the soul that is about to leave this world; for he knows, from the symptoms of the disease, that he has but little time to gain her for eternity." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

5. St. Maximilian Kolbe

6. Yes. Although the sacrament should certainly be received while one is clearly living, a priest is justly called even after apparent death (e.g. when the person has no heartbeat, no brainwaves, no breathing, etc.), since one cannot be certain that the soul has left the body until the body reaches a certain, irreversible state (i.e. putrefaction). If given after apparent death, the priest may give the sacrament conditionally

7. St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church"

8. "In the sacramental reception it has always been the custom in the Church of God that the laity receive Communion from the priests and that priests who are celebrating Mass give Communion to themselves. This custom should rightly and deservedly be kept as coming down from apostolic tradition." (Council of Trent, Session 13, Chapter 8)

9. St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church

10. "One single act done with aridity of spirit is worth more than many done with feelings of devotion." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)


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 the Concept of Praying For the Dead?

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 the Concept of Praying For the Dead? (Note: Topic is directed at Protestants)


* If you reject the concept of purgatory, see

* If it is wrong to pray for the dead, why did the ancient Jews pray for their dead?

* If it is wrong to pray for the dead, why does Scripture speak of prayers for the dead (see 2 Macc. 12:39-46)? [Note: Protestants may reject this book of the Bible. If so, see 'Do You Reject the Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament?' at the following location: ]

* If it is wrong to pray for the dead, why does St. Paul pray for the dead Onesiphorus (see 2 Tm. 1:16-18)?

* If it is wrong to pray for the dead, why are there prayers for the dead in the catacombs (where the earliest Christians are buried)?

* If it is wrong to pray for the dead, why did the earliest Christians follow in this practice? Why did the earliest Christians offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the dead? How is it that the followers of Luther can reject a practice that traces back to the origins of Christianity (and even before)?

"We offer sacrifices [Masses] for the dead on their birthday anniversaries ('the anniversary of their birth into eternal life')" [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he ultimately fell into heresy), c. 211 A.D.]

"Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 420 A.D.)

"The prayer either of the Church herself or of pious individuals is heard on behalf of certain of the dead; but it is heard for those who, having been regenerated in Christ, did not for the rest of their life in the body do such wickedness that they might be judged unworthy of such mercy, nor who yet lived so well that it might be supposed they have no need of such mercy." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 420 A.D.)

"Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator [the Mass] is offered for them, or when alms are given in the church. But these things are of profit to those who, when they were alive merited that they might afterwards be able to be helped by these things... There is, indeed, a manner of living so good that these helps are not needed, and again a manner so evil that these helps are of no avail, once a man has passed from this life." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 421 A.D.)

"But by the prayers of the Holy Church, and by the salvific sacrifice [the Mass], and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided, that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. For the whole Church observes this practice which was handed down by the Fathers: that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the sacrifice [of the Mass] itself; and the sacrifice [of the Mass] is offered also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, then, works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead; but for such of them as lived before their death in a way that makes it possible for these things to be useful to them after death." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.)

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"Be generous to all the living, and withhold not your kindness from the dead." (Sirach 7:33)

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In Closing...

"Christian families, which possess a spirit of lively faith, make it their duty, according to their rank and means, to have a large number of Masses celebrated for the dead." (Fr. Schouppe)

"Suffrages for the dead are more agreeable to God than suffrages for the living; because the former stand in more need thereof, not being able to assist themselves, as are the living." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[I]f you assign, on the average, as St. Frances of Rome says, seven years for the expiation of one mortal sin, remitted as to the guilt, who does not see that we arrive at an appalling duration and that the expiation may especially be prolonged for many years, and even for centuries? Years and centuries of torments! Oh! if we only thought of it, with what care should we not avoid the least faults! with what fervor should we not practice penance to make satisfaction in this world!" (Fr. Schouppe)

"I believe that no happiness can be compared with that of a soul in purgatory, except that of the saints in paradise. And this happiness increases in proportion as the rust of sin is consumed away by the fire, enabling the soul to reflect, more and more clearly, the rays of the true sun, which is God. The suffering, however, does not diminish. On the contrary, it is love kept back from its object which causes the pain; and consequently the suffering is greater according as God made the soul capable of a greater perfection of love." (St. Catharine of Genoa)

"To assist the souls in Purgatory is to perform the most excellent of the works of mercy, or rather it is to practice in a sublime manner all the works of mercy together: it is to visit the sick; it is to give drink to those who thirst for the vision of God; it is to feed the hungry, to ransom prisoners, to clothe the naked, to procure for poor exiles the hospitality of the Heavenly Jerusalem; it is to comfort the afflicted, to instruct the ignorant - in fine, to practice all works of mercy in one." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

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