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Copyright © 2013, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - November, 2013 [Plain text version]

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+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Newsletter - November, 2013

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

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

* Reflection on Purgatory: "Neglect of prayer for the dead is contrary to the general duty of charity"

* An Easy & Effective Way to Help the Holy Souls

* Liturgical Feasts in November

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Concept of Indulgences?

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Dear Friend,

"May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thes. 5:23)

We hope this newsletter finds you doing well during this beautiful Fall month. This month starts with the feasts of All Saints & All Souls, it offers opportunities for special indulgences, it ends with the Feast of Christ the King (Novus Ordo Calendar), and is quickly followed by the start of Advent (on December 1st).

As for last month, we are happy to report that our Fifth Annual Rosary Week was a success, with signups received from at least half of the states in the U.S. and from at least 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 5th anniversary at the end of last month. We're happy to have been able to stay online, even despite the many challenges we've encountered.

We hope you will have a wonderful month of November, filled with God's blessings.

Your Friends at

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"We render thanks unto you, O King invisible, who framed all things by your measureless power, and in the multitude of your mercy have brought all things into being from nonexistence." (St. John Chrysostom)

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MCS News & Notes

* Rosary Week: We send our thanks to all who participated in our Fifth Annual Rosary Week. You helped make this event a success. 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.

* 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 . Thank you for helping the poor souls! Did you know? The Purgatory Release Project has been recommended on a Junior Legion of Mary blog. Why not join in too?

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

* To request prayers for your deceased loved ones, please visit the Prayer Requests section at

* Notice Re: Possible Functionality/Accessibility Issues: When we roll out the new view/search pages mentioned below, we expect there may be some functionality/accessibility issues as we update and test the pages. Examples of issues may include: pages not being accessible, error messages, problems with searches, problems with listing records, problems with the display, problems with links (e.g. links not working, links going to wrong location), problems with text/images, etc. If you experience issues, please (1) try refreshing the page, or (2) please return at a later time. If problems persist, please let us know.

* New View/Search Pages: As part of our site redesign, we are switching to a new style of view/search pages. Where possible, we have generally tried to make the appearance & functionality of the new pages as similar as possible to the old pages. Note however, that the new view / search pages may now be more integrated, making it possible to search from within view pages. They may also allow expanded search options and pagination options/links. Note that the appearance and options may vary by page. In order to have the best experience with these new pages, please note the following...

1) It may be necessary to wait a moment for all elements of pages to appear - please be patient while pages are loading.

2) The pages are framed by default. Your browser must support iframes to view content of framed pages. If applicable, it may be possible to view pages without frames (look for link to unframed version). We may provide this option for users' convenience, however we generally do *not* recommend using unframed pages.

3) If data is truncated, scroll to view all.

4) Navigation of content in framed pages may be independent of the main page (e.g. separate scrolling, separate 'jump to top' links).

5) Do NOT use any wildcards in searches unless specifically stated otherwise.

6) For all search features to work properly, it may be necessary to allow cookies.

7) For additional help & tips concerning these pages (including screen shots), please visit

Lastly, please note that although many of the new pages are in the works, at this time just one of the new pages has gone live (namely the 'Catholic Trivia' Q & A Search page at ). While we believe this page is 'close to final', we do plan to make at least a few changes to it. We hope you will like the new pages.

* Have you experienced slowness / connectivity issues with our new server? Since we were recently forced by our host to switch servers, we have noticed some intermittent slowness and connectivity issues. We have brought this matter to our host's attention and they have assured us that they are "continuously collaborating with [the operators of the data centers] to improve network stability and performance." They attribute some of the "headaches" to "extreme growing pains" in the data center and claim that they have been "actively working to improve the datacenter." They indicated that their senior leadership teams "have pulled together to define our plan to improve the datacenter and make it truly world class." They stated that they "have begun moving on a large upgrade to the datacenter and it's overall infrastructure." Further, they state that they are committed to preserving their role "as the best web hosting provider available and continue to actively make significant investments to improve our systems and get them to where they need to be", but they note that some of the improvements "do require time to put fully into place." While we greatly regret the issues and any inconvenience to our visitors, at this time we plan to stick with our present host for various reasons (e.g. amount of time required to change, expenses involved in change, increased costs of the change in the future, possible compatibility issues while our site is undergoing redesign, etc.). If problems persist, we may be forced to reconsider. If you experience prolonged or repeated problems accessing our site (outside of our maintenance window), please let us know.

* Advent begins this year on 12/1/13. If you'd like to get a hold of some Advent resources a little early (including 'Make Your Own Advent Calendar', Advent Prayers, Advent Practices, Reflections, Coloring Pages, etc.), please visit

* Please invite your friends to visit For our "easy to use" invite-a-friend page, please visit . Please invite some friends today! Your support helps keep us going!

* Please invite your friends & family to subscribe to our newsletter at . Thank you!

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- - - - - App News...

* As mentioned previously, our apps have experienced various issues since the introduction of iOS7 ("the most significant update since the original iPhone" according to Apple). These issues were NOT present in earlier versions of the iOS and, thankfully, they do NOT seem to affect the functionality of most of our apps. We have looked into possible resolutions for these issues, but found that the required fixes are more extensive than we had hoped. Unfortunately, at this time, we cannot justify the expense of re-coding our apps for Apple's new iOS. While we still offer the present versions of our apps for sale, please note that we have suspended iOS app development indefinitely. For more information on how iOS7 affects our apps, please visit

* Get it while you can: Our Saints4U app is not compatible with iOS 7. In fact, we are planning to discontinue this app at some point in the future. While we strongly believe this is a great app for locating patron saints, saint names & feasts, we cannot justify the expense of re-coding this app to work with the new iOS. In the meantime, as the app may still be useful for basic searches and listing of saint names, we have reduced the selling price of the app to $0.99 and have included a notice in iTunes regarding the incompatibility of this app with iOS7. Get it today at

* If you have any thoughts regarding our apps, please contact us using the e-mail address provided in the app or online at

Note: Any prices included herein are in U.S. dollars, excluding any applicable tax.

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* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through January 2014

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* 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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"'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.)

"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)

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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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"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")

"Day and night I am pursued by the same thought: One does not pray enough for the dead. Eighty thousand people die in this nation every day." (Bl. Eugenie Smet)

"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)

"[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)

"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")

"Someone says: 'It is nothing to me to know how long I stay in purgatory, so long as I go on finally to eternal life.' Let no one say that, beloved brethren, because that purgatorial fire itself will be more difficult than any punishments that can be seen or imagined or felt in this life." (St. Caesarius of Arles)

"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)

"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. Catherine of Genoa)

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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Reflection on Purgatory: "Neglect of prayer for the dead is contrary to the general duty of charity"

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The following selections are taken from a treatise on purgatory by Fr. John Nageleisen appearing in a 19th century publication. The original publication bears an imprimatur. [Note: We have made some changes to the original text (e.g. punctuation & capitalization changes, combining paragraphs)]

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It is, alas, undeniably true that the great majority of men are but little interested in the Suffering Souls who so ardently desire help. Some neglect this duty because they are infidels. They deny the existence of Purgatory, and consequently they do not believe that the faithful can aid the souls confined in it. Besides the infidels, who judge all things religious according to their own limited views, those also deny the middle state, who are separated from the communion of the Catholic Church. Others neglect to assist the Suffering Souls because they have no true conception of this duty, nor of the great advantages to be gained by performing this work of charity. Those separated from the Church do not help the Poor Souls because they do not believe in Purgatory; and many negligent Catholics, despite their belief in this doctrine, do not aid the Suffering Souls because they consider it too inconvenient to do so.

The disbelief in the existence of Purgatory and the neglect of prayer for the captive souls detained in it are both very harmful. Disbelief is in conflict with the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which from the earliest ages has taught the existence of a middle state and the efficacy of prayer for the dead; neglect of this prayer is contrary to the general duty of charity, which obliges us to come to the aid of our fellow man when and wherever we can. How ungrateful of us and how detrimental to the Suffering Souls, if we Catholics refuse them this Christian charity either because we are ignorant of it or do not sufficiently esteem it! ... [W]ould that every Catholic were filled with fervent, heroic zeal for this work of charity - how many Poor Souls would then be released from their painful captivity! Thereby the number of saints in heaven would be increased to the greater glory of God, while at the same time the salvation of souls here on earth would be greatly promoted.

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With the sole exception of their duration, the torments of Purgatory are the very same as those of hell; the only difference is that the former are temporary, the latter everlasting. This is the doctrine of St. Thomas, who says: "The same fire punishes the damned in hell and the just in Purgatory, and the least pain in Purgatory exceeds the greatest we can suffer in this world." It is true, then, that our works have to undergo purification after this life. As gold and silver are refined in the crucible, so are they cleansed of the dross of earthly imperfections in the flames of divine wrath. Oh, what an indescribable sea of fire in which the Suffering Souls are immersed! Flames encircling them, flames penetrating them, flames unceasingly tormenting them!

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Mindful of the consolation of the Holy Souls at the assurance of their future beatitude, St. Francis of Sales says, "The thought of Purgatory is productive rather of consolation than of terror. Most persons are afraid of Purgatory, because they regard themselves rather than the glory of God." And he ascribes this to those preachers who refer only to the punishments of the middle state, and do not remind their hearers also of the consolations and joys by which the sufferings of the Holy Souls are mitigated. "Great as the torments of Purgatory are," he continues, "so that they can not in any way be compared with the utmost suffering in this world, the interior consolations granted there are nevertheless so ineffable that no earthly bliss and enjoyment can equal them." Even in this life there are occasions when joy and sorrow dwell together in the human heart...

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There are people who cannot bear the thought of Purgatory. They are distressed to think that after serving God all their lives, after passing victoriously through their many trials, they should proceed from the sufferings on their deathbed to remain for years in the cleansing flames of an unparalleled fire. Let them abandon their unreasonable dread. If we die in the love of God we will be reconciled to the ordinations of His will. We will rejoice at escaping hell, at being sure of our salvation, at suffering purification according to the will of God and for love of Him, without expecting increase of our merit or our reward; we will rejoice that every obstacle to the operation of grace and to the practice of virtue is removed from us, and that we are drawing nearer and nearer to God without the least danger of ever losing Him. Justified souls rejoice at undergoing that final purification which enables them to render complete reparation to the offended majesty of God, and they regard their sufferings as a favor of divine mercy. Therefore, to feel distressed at the prospect of Purgatory indicates a want of submission to the will of God. Faber observes, that whosoever considers himself as having deserved hell, is glad and grateful to go to Purgatory.

Finally, there are others, such as do not wish to amend their lives, who are wont to declare that they will be satisfied to go to Purgatory after death, if only they escape hell. They speak without reflection and know not what they say. For if they continue voluntarily in their vices and sins, they will have to suffer a most intense Purgatory if they are so fortunate as to escape hell. Then there may be even pious persons inclined to make little of the punishments of Purgatory, because of the consolations granted to the Suffering Souls, albeit the pain is thereby not diminished in the least. Such depreciation of the torments of purification is offensive to God. Faber informs us, that when Blessed Henry Suso, as a consequence of his familiar intercourse with God, began to think less of the punishments of Purgatory, our Lord warned him that this was displeasing to Him. For Purgatory is a place of punishment, not of reward. Therefore many theologians declare that the least pain of Purgatory exceeds by far not only every temporal suffering, but the sum of all temporal sufferings.

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It is only by the special favor of the goodness and mercy of God that we are permitted to shorten the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory. When, therefore, souls suffer a long time in it, it is in great part the fault of surviving Christians, who are either careless and lukewarm in their prayers for them, or have too high an opinion of their virtues. Another reason for the long duration of the suffering of some souls is their inability to do anything for themselves, the great number of faults and negligences of which they have been guilty, and particularly their neglect and want of charity during life for the souls of the faithful departed; finally, the immaculate purity required of those that enter heaven.

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For who knows but what the souls of our departed ones are among the number of those unfortunates, who, if they are not assisted by our suffrages, see the end of their sufferings only after the lapse of years, so that they, poor children of the Sacred Heart, pine and sigh for relief in their torments? Oh, how few Christians know the true state of their conscience, the actual amount of their indebtedness to Divine Justice, to be paid after their departure from this world! True, our Judge is merciful, but His mercy does not abate His justice; and this is appeased only by good works in Christ Jesus, our Redeemer: by Holy Mass, prayer, alms-deeds and acts of mortification, or other works for the relief of the Holy Souls. Christian soul, what have you done, what do you do for this purpose?

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For More Reflections, Try Here -

For More on Purgatory, Try Here -

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An Easy & Effective Way to Help the Holy Souls

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The following is taken from the treatise on purgatory by Fr. John Nageleisen mentioned above. [Note: We have made some changes to the original text (e.g. punctuation & capitalization changes)]

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Holy water may be used not only for the purpose of benefiting persons present, but may also be applied with the intention of procuring its blessed effects for the absent, and especially for the Suffering Souls. In this case the prayer of the Church ascends to heaven in favor of the person or soul intended to be helped. A drop of holy water is sometimes more effectual than a long prayer. Our prayer is often distracted and lukewarm; the prayer of the Church connected with holy water always pleases God... Hence the Suffering Souls thirst for holy water, and could we but witness their yearning for a drop of it, we would certainly not omit to refresh them at least in the morning and evening and sometimes during the day with its sacred dew...

The following is related by the learned...Mendo in his life of St. Martin, canon regular of Liege, the manuscript of which is still preserved in the convent of St. Isidor: There were many saints who were privileged to enjoy the visible intercourse of their guardian angels; and this holy servant of God during his whole life was similarly attended by the soul of a priest from Purgatory. This soul revealed to him, among other particulars concerning the punishments of that state of purification, that the souls felt a great mitigation of the pain of fire as often as the faithful sprinkled with holy water the graves in which their bodies were buried, feeling its effect in about the same manner as when in life a person overcome by heat is refreshed with water.

With regard to the use of holy water the directions of the Church and the example of our ancestors are the unerring compass which we must follow. Hence, if we desire to be worthy children of the Church and of our glorious predecessors in the faith, we must do as follows: As often as we enter a church, we ought to sprinkle ourselves with holy water, dipping our bare fingers into it and devoutly making the sign of the cross. Thereby we drive away Satan, and excite ourselves to recollection in prayer... We should not omit to have holy water at home, preserving it in an appropriate vessel and in a decent place. In Catholic Europe there was a time when not a house was to be found in city or country, no matter how rich or poor the dwellers therein, where holy water, the crucifix and sacred images were not kept. Even today we find these indications of a true religious spirit wherever true faith has a home. The use of holy water is very ancient. Some are of the opinion that it was introduced by the apostles. Its introduction in homes where its use was hitherto unknown, would go far to revive the spirit of faith.

If hitherto we have made use of holy water from custom, simply because we were thus trained, let us henceforth do so from a conviction of its usefulness and with due regard to its purposes. Convinced that we give great consolation to the souls in Purgatory by the devout application of holy water, can we regard it as troublesome to give a drop to them on leaving or entering the room? It is a commendable custom when using holy water to give one drop for ourselves and the loving members of our family to receive protection for soul and body; a drop for the dying, especially dying sinners, that God may be moved to grant them the grace of conversion; and a third drop for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory. Oh, how much of blessing and true welfare, of merit and grace we would obtain during the course of the year for our dear ones and for innumerable others by this easy practice, thereby gaining a great number of intercessors during life, in death, and for the time of our own purification in Purgatory! As often as we perform this service for the Suffering Souls, they will requite it by interceding for us with an ardor impossible to the most saintly persons on earth. And God willingly hears their prayer, it being the prayer of His elect, and vouchsafes an immeasurable amount of grace to their helpers.

Hence the devout Christian, who is zealous for the glory of God and intent on his salvation and on the release of the Suffering Souls, makes it a practice to use holy water often - at home as well as in church. He sprinkles himself on entering the church and on leaving it; he is careful to keep it at home, and sprinkles himself on rising in the morning, before leaving the house, and before retiring for the night. Many zealous Christians make it a practice to take holy water as they enter or leave a room, in temptation, danger of lightning, etc. Good parents bless their children with it every evening.

When using this salutary sacramental, let us pray that God, for the sake of our Redeemer's Blood, may grant to the souls in Purgatory refreshment in their pains and speedy relief. Behold how light and fleeting the vapor of steam: yet these few drops of diluted water are powerful enough to move enormous burdens! How small and inconsiderable is a gnat, how insignificant its sting; yet under certain circumstances such a sting may cause death! Now, if things so small and apparently so insignificant may cause death, why should not small things have saving properties? A drop of holy water possesses them. Oh, what comfort it gives to a Suffering Soul!

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For More on Purgatory, 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 and try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at


11/24/13 - Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ (N)

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. What does St. Elizabeth Ann Seton recommend when one is excited to impatience?

2. What does the Golden Legend refer to?

3. What does St. Gregory of Nazianzus say is the proof of holiness?

4. What does the "tetragrammaton" refer to?

5. What does the Catechism of the Council of Trent call man's "greatest misery"?

6. What does St. John Bosco say to do if you want our Lord to give you many graces?

7. What does the "Tome of Leo" refer to?

8. What does St. John Vianney recommend if something uncharitable is said in your presence?

9. What does the communion of saints mean?

10. Should a person stay from confession because he thinks he has no sin to confess?



1. "When you are excited to impatience, think for a moment how much more reason God has to be angry with you than you can have for anger against any human being; and yet how constant is His patience and forbearance." (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

2. The Golden Legend refers to a highly popular, classic collection of stories of the saints from the middle ages.

3. "And the proof of holiness is not to work miracles, but to love our neighbor as ourselves, to think truly of God, and of our neighbor better than of ourselves." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

4. "The name Yahweh, by which God was called among the Hebrews, was written with only four consonants, the vowels being omitted, and is therefore called the tetragrammaton." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

5. According to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, "Although man is continually beset by these evils, yet his greatest misery is that many of these appear to him not to be evils at all. It is a proof of the most calamitous condition of man, that he is so blinded by passion and cupidity as not to see that what he deems salutary generally contains a deadly poison, that he rushes headlong after those pernicious evils as if they were good and desirable, while those things which are really good and virtuous are shunned as the contrary. Of this false estimate and corrupt judgment of man thus expresses His detestation: Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness of light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. In order, therefore, to delineate in vivid coloring the misery of our condition, the Sacred Scripture compares us to those who have lost their sense of taste and who, in consequence, loath wholesome food, and prefer that which is unwholesome."

6. "Do you want our Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit Him seldom." (St. John Bosco)

7. The "Tome of Leo" refers to a letter sent by Pope St. Leo the Great to the bishop of Constantinople in 449 A.D. This letter discusses Christ's two natures in one person.

8. "If something uncharitable is said in your presence, either speak in favor of the absent, or withdraw, or if possible, stop the conversation." (St. John Vianney)

9. "The communion of saints means the union which exists between the members of the Church on earth with one another, and with the blessed in heaven and with the suffering souls in Purgatory." (Baltimore Catechism)

10. "A person should not stay from confession because he thinks he has no sin to confess, for the Sacrament of Penance, besides forgiving sin, gives an increase of sanctifying grace, and of this we have always need, especially to resist temptation. The saints, who were almost without imperfection, went to confession frequently." (Baltimore Catechism)


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 Indulgences?

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 Indulgences? [Note: Topic is directed at Protestants]


* Do you reject the concept of indulgences because you don't really understand what they are?

"An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Can. 992 An indulgence is the remission before God of temporal punishment for sins whose guilt is already forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful gains under certain and defined conditions by the assistance of the Church which as minister of redemption dispenses and applies authoritatively the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose culpable element has already been taken away. The Christian faithful who are rightly disposed and observe the definite, prescribed conditions gain this remission through the effective assistance of the Church, which, as the minister of redemption, authoritatively distributes and applies the treasury of the expiatory works of Christ and the saints." (Norms for Indulgences)

* Do you reject the concept of indulgences because you think they are a 'license to sin'? If you believe this, you are quite mistaken regarding the Church's teaching on indulgences. Indulgences actually have nothing at all to do with future sin. One cannot gain an indulgence for future sin - nor do indulgences do pardon future sin! Rather, indulgences simply remit punishment due to past sin which has already been forgiven. Furthermore, if a person was planning to commit grievous future sin, he or she would not be worthy of forgiveness - and would therefore not be able to obtain an indulgence.  

* Do you reject the concept of indulgences because one cannot "buy forgiveness"? While it is true that one cannot "buy forgiveness", indulgences have nothing to do with forgiveness of sin. Rather, indulgences deal with remitting penalties for sins that are already forgiven. Remember that there are two consequences to sin - guilt and punishment. Guilt is remitted by confession. Indulgences cannot remit guilt, but only punishment.

* Do you think indulgences forgive sin or eliminate the need for confession? If so, you should know that indulgences do not forgive sin, but remit punishment due to already forgiven sin. They do not eliminate the need for or substitute for Confession, but rather presuppose that one has already received sacramental absolution in Confession (for those who were in a state of mortal sin).

* Do you think indulgences remit the need for restitution? If so, you should know that indulgences do not eliminate the requirement of restitution, but should be obtained in addition to making restitution. For example, if someone were to steal an item from another, he should go to Confession (and receive sacramental absolution), restore the item (or otherwise make full restitution), and obtain indulgences.

* Do you reject the concept of indulgences because you think they are a scheme to make a profit? If this was true, why is little to nothing charged for them? Why are they offered to the faithful simply for reading Scripture, saying prayers, etc.? If money has been connected with certain indulgences, can you not see the biblical basis of alms atoning for sin (see Sirach 3:29)? Can you not see how a civil court may offer a choice of prison time or paying a fine? Are you further unaware that the Church rejects the practice of simony as gravely sinful? Certainly she would not offer the remission of penalties by a means that was gravely sinful! No, payments connected with indulgences are not buying a "spiritual thing", but may be likened to "paying a fine" instead of doing some other (probably more arduous) penance.

* Do you reject the concept of indulgences because of abuses in the past? The fact that something is abused does not make the thing abused wrong! Rather, it is the abuse itself that is wrong! While abuses are known to have happened in the past, they were not formally sanctioned by the Church. Instead, those who committed the abuses were responsible for them.

* Do you reject the concept of indulgences because you don't think the Catholic Church has the power to grant them? Have you ever considered that Jesus' lawful ministers (priests of the Catholic Church) have been given the great power to forgive sins ["Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (Jn. 20:23)], and therefore the Church must also have the lesser power to remit the penalties to due sin? As the Baltimore Catechism states, "We show that the Church has the power to grant Indulgences, because Christ has given it power to remit all guilt without restriction, and if the Church has power, in the Sacrament of Penance to remit the eternal punishment - which is the greatest - it must have power to remit the temporal or lesser punishment, even outside the Sacrament of Penance." (Baltimore Catechism)

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"He who gains an indulgence is not, strictly speaking, absolved from the debt of punishment, but is given the means whereby he may pay it." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

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For more apologetics resources, please visit

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In Closing...

"Oh! If it were but known how great is the power of the good souls in Purgatory with the Heart of God, and if we know all the graces we can obtain through their intercession, they would not be so much forgotten. We must, therefore, pray much for them, that they may pray much for us." (St. John Vianney)

"Those who seek to perfect themselves in every aspect of virtue should look to the lives of the saints, which are like living and breathing works of art, and thus by imitation try to reproduce their virtues in their own life." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"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)

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.]

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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