Saturday, February 02, 2019

Candlemas Day (or, why Punxatawney Phil is a Catholic)

“When the days
were completed
for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus
up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written
in the law of the Lord,
Every male that
opens the womb
shall be consecrated
to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice
of a pair of turtledoves
or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.”

(Luke 2:22-24)


Today, both the Eastern and Western churches observe the Feast of the Purification of Mary (known as "Candlemas" in the West), exactly forty days after Christmas. In the Catholic tradition, the Christmas Cycle officially ends with this day, and preparation for Lent can begin, which includes the "Carnival" season in much of South America. But today, and throughout the world, the faithful will process in and around their churches bearing lighted candles, which are blessed for the coming year.

The origin of this feast is described in detail, in this excerpt from the classic work of Dom Prosper Guéranger, OSB, entitled The Liturgical Year.

The mystery of today's ceremony has frequently been explained by liturgists, dating from the 7th century. According to Ivo of Chartres, the wax, which is formed from the juice of flowers by the bee, always considered as the emblem of virginity, signifies the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant, who diminished not, either by His conception or His birth, the spotless purity of His Blessed Mother. The same holy bishop would have us see, in the flame of our Candle, a symbol of Jesus who came to enlighten our darkness. St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking on the same mystery, bids us consider three things in the blessed Candle: the wax, the wick, and the flame. The wax, he says, which is the production of the virginal bee, is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on top, is His divinity.

This year's announcement is here, provided by CBS News. This is the short version. The entire thirty-minute pre-recorded livestream (and if you are ready for a less conventional approach, at least in part), is to be found here.

Many years ago, when the world of "Saint Blog's Parish" was young, Duncan Maxwell Anderson of HMS Blog described certain customs of the season, as well as suggestions for family celebrations. Included are some fun facts about the real origins of Groundhog Day:

In Catholic Europe, they say that if Candlemas is clear and bright, there will be six more weeks of winter. In Germany, this idea became, "If the bear comes out and sees his shadow, he will grumpily go back into his cave, and winter will last another six weeks."

Then this feat of prediction was ascribed to German badgers.

And since badgers are not found in the eastern U.S., German immigrants to this country were obliged to depend for meteorological guidance on a species of marmot called by the Indians 'weejak' or woodchuck, also called ... the groundhog.

Today, if Punxatawney Phil sticks his nose out, you tell me if he isn't carrying a candle-holder. He's Catholic, you know.

You just can't argue with reasoning like that, don't you think?

Or don't you?
 

Friday, January 18, 2019

2019 “ProLifeCon” Twitcast and Transcript

Today it begins, our ninth annual “Twitcast” joining pro-life bloggers from near and far, who all had the good sense once again, to come in out of the cold during the annual March For Life, for this year's ProLifeCon, the “premiere conference for the online prolife community” hosted once again by the Family Research Council in Washington DC.

During the event, this video clip provides a live feed of the proceedings. With its conclusion, and before the end of the day, you are invited to view the full pre-recording (which is not accessible on all browsers; no to Safari, yes to Chrome). You can learn more at the FRC website, follow the magic hashtag on Twitter: #prolifecon, or follow yours truly at: twitter.com/manwithblackhat.

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And ... it's on! Sarah Perry, Director of Partnerships, FRC, kicks off the annual event. #prolifecon
8:33am

Patrina Mosely, Director, Life, Culture & Women's Advocacy, FRC. #prolifecon
8:35am

"This will be forty-five years of marching for life." #prolifecon
8:35am

A new publication, "Planned Parenthood Is Not Pro-Woman." #prolifecon
8:37am

Christopher Baggett, National Director of Communications, Human Coalition #prolifecon
8:37am

"An innovative idea has the power to change lives." Like the smartphone. #prolifecon
8:38am

What if the internet could help people search for information more easily? "Backrub" was invented in 1996. Later renamed "Google." #prolifecon
8:40am

2004-07, the most commonly researched topics and queries related to abortion (especially abortion clinics). #prolifecon
8:42am

2007, an idea is conceived, what if we could reach women online ...? #prolifecon
8:42am

2009-10, Human Coalition launched a test for reaching women online to offer alternatives to abortion. #prolifecon
8:43am

2012, The Contact Center: "What if we answered the calls ...?" #prolifecon
8:45am

"If we could answer the calls with professional call center staff who had the benefit of testing to refine their approach and scripting ..." #prolifecon
8:46am

2014, Centralized national care system of owned and operated clinics in abortion-dense cities. #prolifecon
8:47am

2018, What about telemedicine? Top search on Google about abortion, the "abortion pill." Women were looking for an immediate solution. #prolifecon
8:49am

2018, Virtual Telemedicine Clinic. What if we could expand our reach and increase speed to service? #prolifecon
8:50am

"We can, we will, and we must." #prolifecon
8:52am

Obianuju Ekeocha, Founder, Culture of Life Africa #prolifecon
8:52am

cultureoflifeafrica.com #prolifecon
8:53am

Researching proliferation of illegal abortion services in Africa. In preparing a documentary, many women came forward with their stories. #prolifecon
8:55am

A clip from the documentary "Strings Attached" is shown. #prolifecon
8:56am

Women in Africa are being "ideologically colonized" with abortion. #prolifecon
8:57am

"No one tells African women about the side effects of contraception." #prolifecon
8:58am

stringsattachedfilm.com #prolifecon
8:58am

"So, today, we get to go to Hollywood." #prolifecon
8:59am

Panel Discussion: Cary Solomon, Writer, Director & Producer, "Unplanned." Ashley Bratcher, Lead Actress, "Unplanned." #prolifecon
9:00am

"Most divisive issue in history." No middle ground. #prolifecon
9:05am

"We have had atheists praying. I don't know how that works." #prolifecon
9:07am

Ms Bratcher shares her story of telling her mother about the movie she would be in, about the transformation of former abortion clinic operator Abby Johnson. #prolifecon
9:09am

The movie "Unplanned" releases in March. #prolifecon
9:11am

unplannedmovie.com #prolifecon
9:12am

Congressman Ralph Norman (R-SC) #prolifecon
9:12am

"I got into politics because I thought it was a way to give back ... in a good way." #prolifecon
9:13am

"The United States is only one of seven nations worldwide that offers abortion on demand, along with China and North Korea." #prolifecon
9:16am

"96 percent of women who come to Planned Parenthood are told that abortion is the only solution." #prolifecon
9:18am

General summary of legislative action in Congress, and how "your activism makes so much difference." #prolifecon
9:19am

Patrina Mosley of FRC is at the steps of the Supreme Court, reporting live. #prolifecon
9:27am

Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) #prolifecon
9:29am

"Everyone realizes now, the power of digital media." #prolifecon
9:30am

"DNA tells us that every human being is unique. When a human sperm unites with a human egg, it becomes a human person, with human DNA. We didn't have the technology to know that 30 years ago, we do now." #prolifecon
9:32am

"Science tells us of the reality of a human life from one cell to natural death." #prolifecon
9:34am

"Life is not a political construct, but a scientific reality." #prolifecon
9:47am

Kristan Hawkins, President, Students for Life of America #prolifecon
9:48am

Ms Hawkins' presentation begins with the fable of the tortoise and the hare. #prolifecon
9:50am

Public support among millennials for life-affirming clinics significantly outweighs sending taxpayer dollars for Planned Parenthood. #prolifecon
9:54am

"A conscience regulation" for employers and health care plans who and which object to abortions as a matter of principle. #prolifecon
10:21am

Dr Ingrid Skop, MD #prolifecon
10:25am

Opens with video appearance about the myths surrounding abortion. #prolifecon
10:25am

frc.org/myths #prolifecon
10:26am

"We have more legislation to protect lab rats from feeling pain, than we do for children we are terminating." #prolifecon
10:30am

"We offer free counseling for women who are considering abortions, also their partners." #prolifecon
10:32am

For more information: frc.org/myths #prolifecon
10:34am

Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) #prolifecon
10:34am

(Two hours with no break.) #prolifecon #WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot
10:35am

"Planned Parenthood published my phone number, and I got the most vile calls, and I had to disconnect the phone for two weeks." #prolifecon
10:40am

Proposing the "Save Our Children Act" to prohibit abortions by dismemberment. #prolifecon
10:40am

Joining us from Skype, Ann McElhinney, Writer & Producer, "Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer." #prolifecon
10:44am

A jury interviewed was shocked by what was actually legal in a "good" abortion. #prolifecon
10:46am

The movie is not as graphic as the book, in describing the details of the procedures in the documentary. #prolifecon
10:47am

"We have been the number one DVD being sold on Amazon." #prolifecon
10:47am

DVD and VOD available on Amazon this coming Tuesday the 22nd. #prolifecon
10:48am

"It's a horrible thing that has happened in Ireland [voting to legalize abortion], but people didn't understand what they were voting for." #prolifecon
10:49am

facebook.com/gosnellmovie #prolifecon
10:50am

The two most successful and largest viewings, in Berkeley and Manhattan, were booked for every viewing, but these large theaters cancelled the showings anyway. #prolifecon
10:51am

"Send a message to Hollywood, that people want to see [this movie]." #prolifecon
10:55am

gosnellmovie.com #prolifecon
10:56am

Claire Chretien, Journalist, Life Site News #prolifecon
10:56am

lifesitenews.com #prolifecon
10:57am

"We've been covering the abortion issue for over twenty years." #prolifecon
10:58am

LSN's website was threatened with being taken down by its provider, the origin of which was Adam Flanders, a gay activist and known registered sex offender. #prolifecon
11:01am

"We must not be afraid to call things by their proper name." #prolifecon
11:02am

For more information: lifesitenews.com #prolifecon
11:03am

"Using Social Media to Advance a Culture of Life" Panel: John Reid, Digital Media Director, FRC; Lyndsey Fifield, Social Media Manager, The Heritage Foundation; Andrew Moore, Digital and Creative Director, SBA List. #prolifecon
11:06am

"The majority of Americans are pro-life. Why are we only yelling at the most rabid pro-choice people?" #prolifecon
11:11am

"If you've got a phone, you can share this." #prolifecon
11:14am

"Share not only one's own content, but each other's." #prolifecon
11:21am

It was here that this writer had just about enough of "the usual suspects" and staged an intervention during the Q&A, including an alternative to "stupid pet tricks." See and hear it for yourself on the video playback of the event, starting at 2:50:14.

Patrina Mosley makes another screen appearance from the National Mall. #prolifecon
11:27am

"This has been a full morning. Speak out for people who cannot speak for themselves." #prolifecon
11:27am

And ... we're out! #prolifecon
11:28am

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Stay tuned for the post-mortem commentary, "ProLifeCon Reconsidered" coming soon.
 

Monday, January 07, 2019

“Old Calendar” Christmas

Today, many Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians, who still follow the Julian Calendar (now running thirteen days behind the newer and more accurate Gregorian Calendar), will celebrate the Feast of the Nativity. This is particularly the case in parts of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and with "Old Calendar" jurisdictions here in North America (such as the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia). It is surely advantageous to do your last-minute shopping when everyone else is finished, but it is otherwise a truly counter-cultural practice. Here we feature a collection of Slavic Christmas hymns, sung in both English and Slavonic.

Christos Razdajetsja!
    Christ is born!

Slavite Jeho!
    Glorify him!
 

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Christus Mansionem Benedicat!

VIDEO: A 2008 performance of "March of the Kings" ("Marche Des Rois") by Nowell Sing We Clear (Tony Barrand, Fred Breunig, Andy Davis and John Roberts) at Latchis Theater, Brattleboro, Vermont.

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At the Mass for the Day, the faithful are given chalk that has been blessed by the priest, as well as special holy water known as "Epiphany water." The blessing for it, which takes place only for this occasion, is to be found in the traditional Rituale Romanum, and includes a prayer of exorcism. The blessed chalk and the holy water are then taken home, to be used that evening.

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The Blessing of the Entrance to the House (“Chalking the Door”)

The one who is the Officiant begins with the Sign of the Cross, as the others respond ...

Pax + huic dómui.
(Peace + be unto this house.)

Et ómnibus habitántibus in ea.
(And to all who dwell therein.)

...and then continue with Psalm 71(72) "Deus, judicium":

Give the King your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the King's son;

That he may rule your people righteously
and the poor with justice.


That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people,
and the little hills bring righteousness.

He shall defend the needy among the people;
he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.


He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure,
from one generation to another.

He shall come down like rain upon the mown field,
like showers that water the earth.


In his time shall the righteous flourish;
there shall be abundance of peace
till the moon shall be no more.

He shall rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.


His foes shall bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust.

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute,
and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.


All kings shall bow down before him,
and all the nations do him service.

For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress,
and the oppressed who has no helper.


He shall have pity on the lowly and poor;
he shall preserve the lives of the needy.

He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence,
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.


Long may he live!
and may there be given to him gold from Arabia;

May prayer be made for him always,
and may they bless him all the day long.


May there be abundance of grain on the earth,
growing thick even on the hilltops;

May its fruit flourish like Lebanon,
and its grain like grass upon the earth.


May his Name remain for ever
and be established as long as the sun endures;

May all the nations bless themselves in him
and call him blessed.


Blessed be the Lord GOD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds!

And blessed be his glorious Name forever!
and may all the earth be filled with his glory.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Then the Officiant says the following prayer:

Lord God of Heaven and Earth, who hast revealed thine only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star: Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill them with the light of Christ, that their love for others may truly reflect thy love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

If necessary, the Officiant or another steps up onto a chair or stepladder, and with a piece of blessed chalk, writes over the entrance to the house.

“Christus ...” (“May Christ ...”)

          C

“Mansionem ...” (“this dwelling ...”)

          C      M

“Benedicat.” (“... bless.”)

          C      M      B

“In the coming year ...”

20      C      M      B

“... and in the years to come.”

20      C      M      B      19

“In the name of the Father ...”

20  +  C      M      B      19

“and of the Son ...”

20  +  C  +  M      B      19

“... and of the Holy Spirit.”

20  +  C  +  M  +  B      19

Everyone responds: “Amen.”

20  +  C  +  M  +  B  +  19

The doorway is sprinkled with Holy Water blessed for the Epiphany. The inscription is to be removed on the Feast of Pentecost.

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For those who require "the short form," there is this one from the Church of Saint Mary in Clifton Heights, New York. On those nights when the weather is particularly inclement, one can simply read from the Gospel of John while inscribing over the door ...

In the beginning was the Word, (inscribe 2)

and the Word was with God, (inscribe 0)

and the Word was God. (inscribe +)

He was in the beginning with God. (inscribe C)

All things came to be through him, (inscribe +)

and without him nothing came to be. (inscribe M)

And the Word became flesh (inscribe +)

and made his dwelling among us, (inscribe B)

and we saw his glory, (inscribe +)

the glory as of the Father’s only Son, (inscribe 1)

full of grace and truth. (inscribe 9)

… then with the Holy Water, making the sign of the cross three times over the entrance, proclaiming “Christus ... Mansionem ... Benedicat” and calling it a night.

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This day is remembered throughout the world by various names. In many parts of Europe, Epiphany retains its distinction as "Little Christmas." Among the Greek Orthodox, the waters of the harbor are blessed by the local priest. In Spanish-speaking countries, it is known as “Dia de los Tres Reyes” (“Day of the Three Kings”). There are parades on the main street, such as this one in Madrid, Spain.

Although we know the "kings" were not actually royalty at all, but scholars in astronomy and other sciences who came from Persia, tradition has associated Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar (their names as rendered in the apocryphal gospel accounts) as representing the Orient, Arabia, and Africa, the three great land masses of the known world in the first millennium.

As with the eve of Saint Nicholas Day in parts of western Europe, children in the Hispanic world are known to leave their shoes out and receive candy and other treats by the next morning. In Spain, children traditionally received presents on this day, rather than on Christmas, although recent years have seen both Christmas and Epiphany as a time for gift-giving.

I just love parades.

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This day is also the occasion for the solemn pronouncement of movable feasts for the coming year, using the chant from the Pontificale Romanum. Other resources can be found at reginamag.com.
 

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Christmastide: Twelfth Night

When I was growing up back in Ohio, the village of Milford had their own way of disposing of old Christmas trees. They would be collected and taken to some field at the edge of town, stacked in a big pile, and "Twelfth Night" would be celebrated with the lighting of a bonfire dubbed the "yule log."

This is remarkable when you consider that Milford is a town first settled by (and more than two centuries later, is still more or less dominated by) Methodists and not "Catlickers." Of course, my parents -- may God rest their souls -- didn't go for that sort of ribaldry, so I never actually saw it, but I would always read about it that week in the local rag known as The Milford Advertiser.

(Here we note that Protestants in the northern states did not celebrate Christmas until well into the 19th century. It was even outlawed by the northern colonies in the early years of European settlement. The southern colonies, on the other hand ...)

These days, I imagine people would have a hard time penciling it in between trips to soccer practice and PTA meetings. In fact, since leaving the Buckeye State to seek my fortune elsewhere, I learned that the town has yielded to other priorities, as in this little gem I read a few years ago, from the county's Office of Environmental Quality:

“Many recycled trees are sent through a wood chipper and are used as mulch.”

They have got to be kidding. That kills the holiday magic right there. Why celebrate the glory of the season, when you can spend the rest of the year spreading it on your lawn and walking all over it?

Meanwhile, here at Chez Alexandre, we will celebrate Epiphany on the traditional day all along (which, thankfully, falls on a Sunday, lest the bishops worry too much about inconveniencing the huddled masses into attending the Masses). Tomorrow the lights that are traditionally left on all during Christmastide, will finally be shut off in the evening and taken down. They will be put back in storage along with the decorations, waiting for the season to return.

Last of all, the dying tree is sent to its final resting place -- in the years that we actually have a live tree, which we didn't this year ... but that's another story.

Joy, health, love and peace
Be all here in this place
By your leave we will sing
Concerning our King.

Our King is well dressed
In silks of the best
In ribbons so rare
No King can compare.

We have traveled many miles
Over hedges and stiles
In search of our King
Unto you we bring.

We have powder and shot
To conquer the lot
We have cannon and ball
To conquer them all.

Old Christmas
    is past
Twelvetide
    is the last

And we bid
    you adieu
Great joy
    to the new.

 

Christmastide: Day 12 (St Telesphorus/St John Neumann)

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming ...”

These drummers rocked and rolled up 3.5% from last year, they just couldn’t be beat. 2018 PRICE: $3,038.10 (+3.5%)

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Contrary to popular opinion (including people who should know better), the sixth day of January is not the twelfth day of Christmas. The day before, the fifth of January, is the twelfth day of Christmas. The following day, the sixth of January, is the first day of Epiphanytide.

Don't believe me? Get the calendar, do the math, and thank me later.

Meanwhile ...

The reformed Roman calendar honors Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, a native of Bohemia and Redemptorist priest who was appointed Bishop of Philadelphia in the mid-19th century, and who was a key figure in spreading the Faith to an ever-expanding United States of America.

In the traditional Roman calendar, Mother Church remembers Pope Saint Telesphorus, elected Bishop of Rome in 126, and martyred ten years later. It is said that the tradition of celebrating Mass on Christmas at Midnight, the celebration of Easter on Sundays, the keeping of a seven-week Lent before Easter, and the singing of the Gloria, all are attributed to his pontificate, but the historical accuracy of these claims are in doubt.

Tonight, a season ends, and here at Chez Alexandre, we start the day by taking the ornaments down from the tree. Tomorrow, a new season begins. Stay tuned ...
 

Friday, January 04, 2019

Christmastide: Day 11 (St Elizabeth Ann Seton)

“On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven pipers piping ...”

These talented pipers piped up this year and saw a nice raise in return. 2018 PRICE: 2,804.40 (+3.5%)

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The end of Christmastide draws near, but is still with us. And yet, by the end of the workweek, life has returned to turn to normal. Trees are taken down and sitting on the curb, and commercials for "holiday sales," having been extended just beyond the first day of the new year, fade into the realm of yesterday's news. Meanwhile ...

Today is the feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph, the mother of the Nation's parochial school system, and patroness of Catholic schools. Canonized a saint by Pope Paul VI in 1975, she was the first native-born American to be raised to the altar.

From the original motherhouse in Emmitsburg, Maryland, a branch house was established out west, known today as the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, based at Mount Saint Joseph-on-the-Ohio, located on the city's once-predominantly Catholic west side. This order did much to build, not only the parochial school system in this part of the Midwest through their teaching apostolate, but the health care system as well, through the establishment of Good Samaritan Hospital in 1852.

Concerning the role of women Religious and the health care apostolate, much has changed in recent years, to say the least. In light of certain health care legislation signed into law in the United States, and the capitulation by certain "leaders" of women religious orders, in forcing others to cooperate in acts against the Gospel of Life, let us pause for a moment to consider the irony.

And hope that the current administration sees fit to restore some common sense to the issue.
 

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Christmastide: Day 10 (St Geneviève)

“On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten lords a-leaping ...”

The price to hire high-flying men to entertain your true love rose after two years of stagnant growth. 2018 PRICE: $10,000.00 (+3%)

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It is also the day that both the Eastern and Western churches remember the French shepherd girl Saint Geneviève, who lived in the mid- and late-fifth century. Her sanctity was noted at a very early age by Saint Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, who consecrated her to God at the age of seven. Genevieve is the patroness of the city of Paris, which has been saved through her intercession more than once, the first time from her contemporary, Attila the Hun.

Geneviève loved to pray in church alone at night. On one such occasion, a gust of wind came into the church and blew out her candle, leaving her in darkness. She attributed this act of nature to the Evil One himself, that he was trying to frighten her. Thus she is often depicted holding a candle. Other images show an irritated devil standing nearby.

In sixteen and a half years of this weblog's existence, her commemoration has been a popular one. Don't ask me why.
 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Christmastide: Day 9 (The Holy Name of Jesus)

“On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine ladies dancing ...”

Despite a growing economy and rising demand for dancers, dance companies did not raise wages (and thus, prices) for the sixth year in a row. 2018 PRICE: $7,552.84

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The traditional Roman calendar associates this day with the Holy Name of Jesus.* It used to be associated with the day before, with the Feast of the Circumcision. (In fact, the Gospel reading for both feasts is identical.) Then in 1913, Pope Pius X moved it to the Sunday between the second and the fifth January inclusive, and in years when no such Sunday existed, to be observed on the second of January. Don't ask me why.

The circumcision of a newborn male under Jewish law must take place eight days after the child's birth, at which time he is given his name. Small wonder, then, that the Gospel readings for both feasts in the traditional Roman calendar are the same. The Anglicans and Lutherans celebrate both on the first of January, as did the Roman church for quite some time -- you know, being the eighth day and all.

And speaking of names ...

I once heard a comedian pose this important theological question: “If Jesus was Jewish, why did He have an Hispanic name?” That occasion aside, it gives us an occasion of our own, to consider that the name "Jesus" was not an uncommon one in His day. Brian Palmer writes for Slate:

Many people shared the name. Christ's given name, commonly Romanized as Yeshua, was quite common in first-century Galilee. ("Jesus" comes from the transliteration of Yeshua into Greek and then English.) Archaeologists have unearthed the tombs of 71 Yeshuas from the period of Jesus' death. The name also appears 30 times in the Old Testament in reference to four separate characters -- including a descendant of Aaron who helped to distribute offerings of grain (2 Chronicles 31:15) and a man who accompanied former captives of Nebuchadnezzar back to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:2) ...

How would Christ have been addressed by those around him?

He certainly would not be addressed as "Mister Christ." In fact, "Christ" was not a name, but an honorific, a title if you will, from the Greek Khristós for "anointed one." The Hebrew word was Moshiach or "Messiah." He would have been known by His given name, and the name of His father -- “Yeshua bar Yehosef” or “Jesus Son of Joseph.” In later centuries, or in present-day Iceland, we might easily surmise His being addressed as “Jesus Josephson,” Or, given the nature of the family business, He might have been known as “Jesus Carpenter.”

We also know that He eventually left Nazareth in Galilee, the town of His childhood, for other parts of that country, as well as Samaria and Judea. In those places, He would have been just as likely addressed as “Yeshua Nasraya” or “Jesus of Nazareth.” The Gospel accounts tell us of the inscription on the Cross, which gave both His name and His offense, in three languages: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (actually, “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum” in Latin, “Ihsoûs ó Nazoraîos ó Basileùs tôn ’Ioudaìov” in Greek, and “Yeshua HaNazarei v Melech HaYehudim” in Hebrew). After all, a guy from a hick town like Nazareth would have been rather conspicuous in a high-falutin' place like Jerusalem, especially outside of the High Holydays.

The Scriptures also record him being addressed as “Jesus Son of David.” A man would also have been known for his extended family; that is, his tribe or house, as in “Yeshua ben David” or “Jesus of the House of David.” But even though family lineage was everything in Jewish society, such an address might not have been as common in everyday use.

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Devotion to the Holy Name has also been the inspiration for the National Association of the Holy Name Society. HNS chapters have been the basis for men's clubs in Catholic parishes for generations. Their mission includes the corporal works of mercy (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the afflicted, that sort of thing), and acts of reparation for the misuse of the holy name.

On that note, we have a couple of Holy Name stories.

First is an account from an old veteran Scouter, an American living in Mexico.

"While visiting my present Mexican hometown several years ago, I got an urgent message to call collect to an unfamiliar number in Chicago. Turned out it was the FBI, hoping I could help them; did I know anyone in México named 'Chuy,' a common nickname for anyone, male or female, carrying the name Jesús. When I told the agent yes, explained that there were seven in the village where I was staying, including the sheriff, he responded, 'Oh, you mean there's more than one?'"

And of course, I have one of my own.

Once I had a confessor who gave me very good advice, for those occasions when I would, shall we say, use a very short form of the Jesus Prayer in a very inappropriate context. He advised me that I say immediately afterward, “Blessed be His holy name.” It's no substitute for recourse to the Sacrament of Penance, but it's a rather handy form of reparation.

Whatever works.

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* At one time combined with the Feast of the Circumcision on 1 January, before the 1913 calendar reforms of Pope Pius X, thus the revisionist conspiracy is even worse than many are led to believe. And for those who think they know it all, the controversial liturgist Annabale Bugnini was only born the previous year, calling his own part in said conspiracy into question.