Click below for ideas to celebrate Feast Days in Ordinary Time.

Trinity Sunday

This feast falls on the Sunday following Pentecost.

It is a day to remind the family of the triune nature of God. The two common prayers which remind us of this are the Glory Be and, of course, the Sign of the Cross. Review these prayers with the younger ones or teach them to those who don’t know them. They might also do an art project using the symbols of the Trinity: a triangle; three interwoven circles; a triangle in a circle. Older children can discuss the mystery of the Trinity as taught in the Catechism (232-237). The family itself is a symbol, or sign, of the Trinity: “The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (CCC 2205).

The art project can be used as a centerpiece for dinner. A white tablecloth can be used, since this is a feast. The meal should be special and a dessert would be appropriate. You might want to try the recipe for polenta, a favorite of Pope John XXIII, who was the pope responsible for approving the feast for all Catholics (until then it was only celebrated in certain areas).

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Polenta

Ingredients:

  • 4 c. water, divided
  • 1 c. yellow corn meal
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ lb. grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbs. butter
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Heat three cups water to boiling. Combine corn meal, remaining cup of cold water, and salt; pour into boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Cover; cook over low heat 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Stir in cheese, butter, and pepper; stir until cheese and butter are melted. Serve hot. Makes six servings. If any is left over, it can be chilled, sliced, dusted with flour, and fried for another meal.

This would be a good prayer for today’s meal (taken from the Liturgy of the Hours):

Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy.
Through them we come to know them mystery of your life.
Help us to worship you, one God in three Persons,
by proclaiming and living our faith in you.
We ask you this, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
one God, true and living, for ever and ever.

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Corpus Christi

Thursday after Holy Trinity; sometimes celebrated on the Sunday following.

This is the feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord. The anniversary of the Eucharist is, of course, on Holy Thursday at the Last Supper. However, since this falls in the most solemn of weeks — Holy Week — it cannot very well be celebrated as a feast. Therefore, the Church in her wisdom has assigned another day to celebrate this special feast.

According to Maria von Trapp, in the “old country,” the day was celebrated with a joyous procession in which the whole community participated. It was a true parade, led by an altar boy with a crucifix, followed by school children in their Sunday best, various church organizations carrying banners, religious in their respective habits, and priests in their feast day vestments. These were followed by the pastor carrying the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament. He is carried most reverently, as a king should be, with small girls throwing flowers at His feet and altar boys ringing bells and soldiers marching along either side. The band and choir followed the King playing songs for the people to sing. At various points along the way, which was decorated with flowers, trees, and various finery, the pastor would have benediction. Altars had been prepared ahead of time for this and the raising of the monstrance would be marked by the salute of the soldiers’ guns and the canons thundering from the outskirts.

Our equivalent, in this day and age, is Super Bowl Sunday! Let us begin to bring back the celebration of the truths worthy of such festivities. Let us help our children realize that festivity based on shallow grounds (i.e., football) can be an empty, unfulfilling celebration.

To celebrate the Most Blessed Sacrament in your home today, you can announce the feast day in the morning and plan some fun activities. Go to a park for a hike and pick wildflowers as a decoration for the family altar and the dinner table. Plan a special meal. Have a special dinner and serve dessert. Use your white tablecloth and decorate the table with fresh-cut flowers. Attend Mass as a family and, if your parish doesn’t have a procession, look for one that may still do a procession for this feast.

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Sacred Heart

Friday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost

This feast celebrates the most famous of the many revelations concerning the love burning in the heart of Christ for His beloved children. Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun of the seventeenth century, and made twelve promises for those who would venerate this symbol of divine love with devotion:

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
  2. I will establish peace in their houses.
  3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
  4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death.
  5. I will bestow large blessings upon all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
  9. I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.
  10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in my heart, never to be blotted out.
  12. I promise them in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive communion on the first Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Today would be a good day to begin a devotion in your family to the Sacred Heart. Find a picture portraying the Sacred Heart of Jesus (there are various versions and styles) and display it in your home. Explain to the children the story of St. Margaret Mary and the deep love that Jesus has for them. Also celebrate this day as a feast, with a special dinner and dessert, using a white tablecloth and centerpiece (maybe use the new picture or statue of the Sacred Heart).

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Christ the King

Last Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Old Testament, when God’s chosen people were living under the rule of judges and God spoke to His people through prophets, the people decide that they wanted a king like the other nations. God warned them, through their prophet Samuel, that a king would subject them and take their men to war and force their women to work for him. He warned them that they would be unhappy, but the people pleaded and He gave in. They were ruled by kings for many years (starting with David) and all that God warned came to pass. But He brought them a good king eventually, one that would not enslave them, one that would love them as His own and lead them to His kingdom where all were happy, forever. This King was His only Son, Jesus Christ, and on this day we celebrate His kingship and His eternal kingdom.

Just as this King rules differently from the other kings of this world, the subjects of His kingdom are to live differently. He told us how we may inherit His kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, in the sermon on the mount. There he gave us the eight beatitudes so that we may “be” His subjects.

 “The Beatitudes take up and fulfill God’s promises from Abraham on by ordering them to the Kingdom of heaven. They respond to the desire for happiness that God has placed in the human heart” (CCC 1725).

Today seems a fitting day to review these “be-attitudes” and begin to live them more clearly everyday. These Scripture verses (Matthew 5:3-11) are good ones to memorize. After dinner tonight, reflect on these passages. Discuss the questions and how they relate to your lives. Finish off this feast with a crown cake, as we described on page 11. A crown cake is your favorite flavor of cake, frosted, then decorated with a crown made of gumdrops. You might want to throw a gumdrop in the batter before baking and the family member who gets that piece can be “king” and be excused from chores for a day.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Are our hearts attached to earthly goods?
  • Do we remember that the Lord is the rightful owner of all our earthly goods?
  • Could we be happy and at peace if our dearest possessions were taken from us?
  • How can we be more “poor in spirit”?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

  • Do we realize what a tragedy mortal sin is?
  • Do we reflect on the sins of the world we live in and our own responsibility for them?
  • Do we mourn not only for our sins but those of our brothers and sisters (all mankind)?
  • How can we do penance and repent more deeply for the sins of the world, including our own?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

  • Do we control our resentment at other’s character or behavior?
  • Are we impatient or angry with other’s weaknesses?
  • Do we understand that “meek” is not “weak”?
  • How can we practice this virtue?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

  • Do we thirst for justice and righteousness?
  • Do we remember that peace is the fruit of justice?
  • How can we charitably work for righteousness?

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

  • Can we see the gap between the mercy we show and the mercy we receive from God?
  • Do we truly see others as our brothers and sisters in Christ?
  • How can we be more merciful in our day-to-day living?

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

  • Do we walk in “holy simplicity,” shunning sin and loving God?
  • Do we keep our hearts pure for God to rest in them?
  • Can we simplify our lives and sharpen our focus on God?
  • What can we do today as a family to be pure in heart?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

  • Do we look deep into our souls where God indwells, and find peace?
  • Do we make peace with God daily?
  • How can we share that deep inner peace, the love of God, with others?

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for their is the Kingdom of Heaven.

  • Do we recall that suffering was the measure of God’s love for us?
  • Do we make suffering the measure of our love for God?
  • Do we willing accept the crosses He sends us and shoulder them with humility, notride?
  • How can we help each other to shoulder the crosses of family life?

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