In two days we will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday which was established by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2000. But Christ’s unfathomable mercy has been available to us long before the Church officially instituted a day to celebrate it. Saint Paul, one of the first Christians, was eager to remind us of that:
How does one become a Saint? Well, repentance is step one, of course, followed by faith in Jesus Christ, frequent participation in the Sacraments, and practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. But the many lists of 7 that the Church offers us to help on our path to Sainthood can be daunting, especially if we don't understand how to implement what they call for on a daily, human level. So why don't we take a small step back, and examine a few ways we can reshape our day-to-day practices by looking at the lives of the Saints.
Pope Francis has offered us a lot of advice on how to be better Christians and people. He's also taken a hard look at some practices among the faithful that have long been accepted in different forms, but that are bad for spiritual health.
On March 25, nine months before Christmas, we celebrate one of the Church’s most important feast days, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Like all solemnities, this feast is one of formal celebration and great joy. The Annunciation is particularly special to many Catholics because it brings together three Catholic beliefs that are intrinsic to our faith.
August 15 marks the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This solemnity celebrates the end of Mary’s earthly life and the beginning of her heavenly life, in keeping with the Catholic dogma that Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven. Though belief in the Assumption dates back to the early days of the Church, it was not declared dogma until 1950.
In the First Letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Christ comes to meet us in each Sacrament. Whether it's Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, or Anointing of the Sick, each one draws us more deeply into the divine life.
Check out this interview with Daniel and Ana Glaze, hosts of the YouTube channel "That Catholic Couple!" In it they discuss the beautiful sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
November is Black Catholic History Month, during which we give special recognition to the contributions of Catholics of African descent. Northern Africa had great importance of the early Church, and some of our most well-known saints, including St. Augustine, St. Monica, St. Martin de Porres, St. Felicity, and St. Perpetua, were African or of African descent. Despite the importance of black Catholics throughout Church history, however, African American Catholics have faced discrimination and hardship.