PRAYERS FOR OUR SHEPHERDS: The Christmas Mass at Dawn Remembers the Humble Worship in a Stable in Bethlehem

 For the celebration of Christmas, the Catholic Church provides separate Scripture lessons and liturgical prayers for four different Masses:  the Vigil, Midnight, Dawn, and Daytime.  Most of us, though, never hear the readings proclaimed for the Mass at Dawn; we are still tucked warmly in our beds at that hour.  That’s an unfortunate loss, because the readings appointed for that Mass are filled with tender grace.After the presents have been unwrapped and the dinner has been savored, when comp … [Read more...]


For a moment I wondered, Is this too sappy?  Too wrought with emotion?But no—This is Mary in her humanity, glowing with love for her newborn.  And it’s Jesus—winsome, eliciting coos and cuddles as only a baby can do.  It’s one of my favorite Christmas paintings.May the Christ Child smile on you and yours this Christmas season, and may the New Year bring you every grace and blessing. … [Read more...]

THE O ANTIPHONS and the Beatles: Great Secrets Revealed?


First, I mean no disrespect—but if you are a theologian or a historian or a liturgist, please pop in here to explain something for me.I’ve been reading about the O ANTIPHONS, those profound anticipatory verses from Isaiah which, in the Catholic tradition, are read at Vespers from December 17 through December 23, leading up to the Christmas season.  Lovely prayers, most certainly!  But over and over in the literature, as an after-note, I read that the first letters of the seven Antiphons, wh … [Read more...]