All posts filed under: Feast day

From the Archives: St. Nicholas Day Treat Bag

Saint Nicholas Day has come to be one of my favorite Advent traditions.  It is a bright and celebratory spot in the waiting weeks of Advent, and it reminds us of a man of faith who loved, and brought joy to, children.  There are many great resources about Saint Nicholas: Saint Nicholas Center – A site packed full of information on “the original Santa Claus,” with lots of information on Saint Nicholas, and ideas for activities, food, and other ways to celebrate. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend – This story elaborates on the idea that Saint Nicholas’ good works and generosity all stemmed from his love for God. The Baker’s Dozen – My favorite St. Nicholas Day story, about a baker who learns to be generous and open-hearted the hard way.  The illustrations in this book are stunning. In past years, we have done homemade gifts for all of our kid friends, and delivered them on Saint Nicholas Day, with a little note.  Since we have a new baby in the house …

Stories of the Saints, and Costumes!

We are slowly building a collection of picture and chapter books about important figures in church history.  It always amazes me how much children enjoy reading biographies!  Here are a few recommendations from our library: Saint Valentine – A beautifully illustrated story of a Roman Christian saint; on whom our traditions of Valentine’s Day are based.  The illustrations are done in cut paper mosaic and are very lovely. Saint Patrick – One of the many faith-based books from author and illustrator Tomie DePoala. Trial and Triumph – A great compilation of histories of people throughout church history.  Good for older kids.  Be aware there is some mildly anti-Catholic sentiments; but overall an informative and useful book, with stories from the early church through modern times. If you have a look on Amazon, you will find a larger selection of books, including these that look interesting: Brigid’s Cloak Roses in the Snow The Miracle of Saint Nicholas The Prayer of Saint Francis And….if you need some Halloween/Saints Day costumes, be sure to check out Kendra’s posts: 150 …

Rich in Love: The Story of St. Francis

Thank you to Jeremy Downey for sharing with us the story of St. Francis, which he wrote for our church’s Godly Play program. At the bottom of this post, you can see the books on St.Francis recommended by Jeremy and his wife Jennifer. Rich in Love: St. Francis, a Godly Play-Inspired Story Francis was born in the town of Assisi, in Italy. His father was a wealthy merchant, who named his son Francis—which means “Frenchman”—because he loved the fine wares and delicious food of France. Francis grew up loving fine food and wine and beautiful clothes and music and dancing as well, and he loved to have wonderful parties with his friends so he could share these things with them. He wanted to be brave and strong and to protect his town from enemies, so when Assisi went to war against a nearby town he rode off with the soldiers to fight. In the battle Francis was captured and made a prisoner, and he had to live for a year in a dark and miserable dungeon. But …

Angels and Architecture

We asked Art Historian Sandy McNamara (also, our priest’s wife) about art that can help shape our imagination concerning angels. So much of what we see of angels (in terms of art) can be very kitschy and can perhaps trivialize our conception of these powerful and glorious creatures. The following is her response, drawing our attention to the reality that angels surround us as we worship.  From the earliest days of the Christian faith the church building itself has had a much bigger role in expressing the symbolic meaning of the liturgy and belief than it has in modern times.  According to a short little book entitled Liturgy and Architecture by a professor at Notre Dame both the plan of the Christian church building, as well as the furniture and paintings, derived directly from  Jewish synagogue worship.  In the synagogue a raised platform was situated in the middle of the rectangular room, which held an ark-like container storing the Torah and a seat for the rabbi who would remove the scriptures and read them in the service.  …

Dragon Bread for Michaelmas

The Feast of Saint Michael and all Angels on September 29 remains a somewhat mysterious feast day to me, perhaps rightly so, as it deals with otherworldly creatures, the “heavenly hosts.”  The collect for the day sheds some light on what we can teach our children about the importance of this feast: O Everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thine appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. The Epistle reading for the day, from Revelation 12:7-12, reminds us that, “There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon… and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil.” In our home, we have traditionally made a loaf of sweet bread, similar to challah, and shaped the dough into the shape of a dragon during the second rising.  Any dough recipe will do; I particularly …

Preparing for Michaelmas

Phil James, of Dappled Thoughts, recently sent us a booklet on Michaelmas he wrote for his grandchildren. We are so impressed by this booklet and are very excited that he is letting us share it with you! We know you will really appreciate both his reflections on angels and what they mean for our understanding of reality, in addition to getting a glimpse into his family’s Michaelmas traditions. Thank you, Phil, for sharing this with us! Why is Michaelmas one of your family’s favorite celebrations? Honestly, I think it’s because of the fantastic nature of the menu. Once a year we eat roasted dragons tongue (which tastes a lot like pork). That’s obviously notable. And while it’s not unusual for friends to be at any of our celebrations, somehow Michaelmas developed so that the inclusion of friends in the evening became a necessary ingredient. Also, Michaelmas is a gate of sorts. We leave the unique charms of summer behind and prepare for All Hallow’s Eve, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas’s twelve days and Epiphany. This means the …

“The Person of Love in the Life of God”

We have compiled some quotations for pertaining to Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, from the Church Fathers and others. St. Iranaeus: “He had promised through the prophets that in these last days he would pour out his Spirit on his servants and handmaids, and that they would prophesy. So when the Son of God became the Son of Man, the Spirit also descended upon him, becoming accustomed in this way to dwelling with the human race, to living in men and to inhabiting God’s creation. The Spirit accomplished the Father’s will in men who had grown old in sin, and gave them new life in Christ.” St. Ambrose of Milan: “So, then, the Holy Spirit is the River, and the abundant River, which according to the Hebrews flowed from Jesus in the lands, as we have received it prophesied by the mouth of Isaiah. This is the great River which flows always and never fails. And not only a river, but also one of copious stream and overflowing greatness, as also David said: “The stream of …

Simple Pentecost Traditions for the Home

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:7-11 (ESV). As always, we would direct you to the extensive repository of information to be found at Full Homely Divinity. We thought we would also highlight a few ideas. Pentecost Litany Here is a printable of a Litany of the Holy Ghost, provided by our priest Fr. Wayne McNamara: Litany of Holy Ghost Barefoot on Pentecost: When researching this day, we learned that one Pentecost tradition is to go outside barefoot on Sunday morning and walk around in the dew. This originated from a verse in the …

Ascension Day: Christ Our King & Christ Our Brother

In the past, when I’ve thought about the Ascension, I’ve wondered, “What’s the big deal about Christ floating up into the clouds?”  I’ve felt that perhaps, the Ascension is slightly anti-climactic after the resurrection event. My imagination also has been stunted, since I can’t seem to picture the Ascension in any way that doesn’t seem ridiculous, whether flannel-graph-childish or Cape-Canaveral-Spaceship-launch. But this year, meditating on the Ascension has brought me great joy because this statement has been singing through my mind: The Ascension means that Christ is our King and is also our Brother. The Ascension is more than a miracle showing Jesus’ mastery over the physical world. It is Christ’s enthronement, when he is seated at the right hand of God as King and Priest. To be seated at God’s right hand is a frequent Biblical metaphor, especially noteworthy in Psalm 110, where a figure is foretold who unites the offices of King and Priest, with all things subjected under him.  Hence, right before his Ascension, Christ could declare “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given …

What are the Rogation Days?

This upcoming Sunday is Rogation Sunday, followed by the Rogation Days on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The lore of these days includes “beating of the boys” and a mysterious pastry called “Rammalation Biscuits,” so research was particularly interesting. What are the Rogation Days and how did they begin? From the always helpful Anglican resource Full Homely Divinity: The Rogation Days, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, originated in Vienne, France (not Vienna, Austria), in 470 after a series of natural disasters had caused much suffering among the people. Archbishop Mamertus proclaimed a fast and ordered that special litanies and prayers be said as the population processed around their fields, asking God’s protection and blessing on the crops that were just beginning to sprout. The Latin word rogare means “to ask”, thus these were “rogation” processions. In an agricultural society, closely connected with the soil and highly vulnerable to the uncertainties of nature, this was an idea that took root quickly, and the custom spread around Europe and over to Britain. The Sunday before the Rogation …