Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

Christmas Candle & Tree

An Advent tradition for many is to begin praying the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena on November 30. The novena is not actually addressed to Saint Andrew but to God Himself, asking Him to grant our request in the honor of the birth of His Son at Christmas. It is attributed to Saint Andrew given the prayers traditionally begin on his feast day. . . . → Read More: Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

Hundreds of Nativities on Display at Annual No Room at the Inn

Inspiring others to join in efforts to reduce poverty  

A sample nativity scene on display at "No Room at the Inn"

More than 300 nativity scenes from around the world will be on display Sunday, December 4 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. in downtown Des Moines. The exhibition of nativities is the centerpiece of events hosted by Catholic Charities of Des Moines intended to inspire others to join in efforts to help lift people out of poverty with dignity.

In addition to an array of traditional and unique nativity displays from around the world, local choirs and a live nativity scene will be featured. Bishop Pates and Bishop Emeritus Charron . . . → Read More: Hundreds of Nativities on Display at Annual No Room at the Inn

Get in Shape

I set several deadlines this year to lose a few pounds, but I kept putting it off. I kept saying, “I’ll do that later.” And then the next holiday or special event arrived and the new outfit I bought got left hanging in the closet, tags still on, because it didn’t look quite the way I envisioned it looking on me when I bought it.

A new liturgical year began Sunday with readings that reminded me that it’s time to get in shape. Blessed Pope John Paul II said in a 1996 homily, “Advent is the liturgical season that prepares us for the Lord’s birth, but it is also the time of . . . → Read More: Get in Shape

The Advent Wreath


A little more about the rich tradition of Advent wreaths, the purple and pink candles, and a prayer blessing for them. . . . → Read More: The Advent Wreath

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Start Your Thanksgiving Day Feast With This Prayer

Lord, we thank you for the goodness of our people and for the spirit of justice that fills this nation.

We thank you for the beauty and fullness of the land and the challenge of the cities.

We thank you for our work and our rest, for one another, and for our homes.

We thank you, Lord: accept our thanksgiving on this day.

We pray and give thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.

R: Amen.

From: Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers

For additional reading on the Catholic roots . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Occupy Advent

Take back Christmas by preparing your heart to receive Christ.

Poster by Joel Gehman. Source:

Like homecoming weekend in a college town, there are currently no vacancies. Everything, it seems, is occupied. Occupy Wall Street. Occupy San Francisco. Occupy DC. Begun as Occupy Dataran in Kuala Lumpur in late July, the Occupy movement has spread around globe like wildfire in just over three months. “The 99%” seem intent on taking back financial and government institutions that have apparently been corrupted by the minority who presumably control them by their concentration of wealth. The majority are fed up with their interests not being represented, so they’re moving in and . . . → Read More: Occupy Advent

Less Turkey, More Thanksgiving

The Catholic roots of the word Thanksgiving and it’s history in America. . . . → Read More: Less Turkey, More Thanksgiving

Catholicism 101: The History of Christ the King

Celebrated one week prior to the first Sunday of Advent — a purposeful time of preparing, waiting, and making straight the path for Jesus in our lives — the feast that proclaims Christ being Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe is just as relevant today as ever. Here’s the history of Christ the King. . . . → Read More: Catholicism 101: The History of Christ the King

Catholics with Disabilities: Part of the Fabric or on the Fringe?

Kathleen & Julianna

it’s not all that surprising that a diagnosis of Down syndrome, with its laundry list of potential medical and developmental issues, so often leads to abortion. After all, so many people have not been steeped in the belief that one’s worth is unconnected to their abilities. If they have no personal experience to offset the “scary bad,” the inertia must seem irresistible. So now comes the really hard question: what do we do about it? Here are a few ideas. . . . → Read More: Catholics with Disabilities: Part of the Fabric or on the Fringe?

Clip Out, Photocopy & Pass-On Advent Guides

The National Catholic Register’s 2011 Advent Guides

I enjoy receiving our printed copy of the National Catholic Register this time of the year for the clip out, photocopy, and pass-on Advent guides. Previous years’ clip-outs still remain in my prayer journal, and I refer to them often (e.g., the How (and Why) of Daily Prayer and Praying the Rosary).

This Advent the National Catholic Register challenges each reader to invite someone back to Mass, and they have provided a helpful guide titled How (and Why) to Return to Sunday Mass to give to your invited guests. As stated on the guide, “All that is needed to save some souls is for someone to show courage and reach . . . → Read More: Clip Out, Photocopy & Pass-On Advent Guides