Tag Archives: Christmas

How does the Vatican celebrate Christmas?

Edward Pentin, a National Catholic Register journalist and based in Rome, wrote a good article on Christmastide –Vatican style. We are in the middle of Advent and it’s time to think of Gaudete Sunday this coming weekend. Read Pentin’s article.

Significance of the Christmas Tree

Vatican Chrsitmas tree.jpegMy mother and the neighbors have had the Christmas tree up for a week. We’ve got three small trees. In fact, my neighborhood is alighted with Christmas lights. New York’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit last week with several stars entertaining us with “Christmas songs.” The Vatican put its Christmas tree, a gift from the good people of Bolzano, Italy (a German speaking of Italy where Pope Benedict has vacationed in the past) A little too early for my tastes. SO, it MUST be Christmas time!!! What does it all mean? But what does the Christmas tree stand for? How ought the Christmas tree be interpreted by the Catholic?

The Christmas tree began as a reminder of the tree of life and the life-giving cross of Jesus Christ. When you see the evergreen Christmas tree you will also see the life-giving tree of life on which Jesus hung as our crucified savior.
For those interested, a short history is helpful.

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God in Man is manifest (Epiphaniam Domino)

Epiphany Giotto.jpgLo, God in man is manifest!
tell out the joyous story:
tell how the Wise Men
worshipped the Son Incarnate.

Sages from furthermost Orient stream to bow before His boundless power. Who is the King whom the prophets foretold should come to save both Jew and Gentile?

Lo! He humbleth Himself from His throne of glory, taketh on Him the form of servant. He who is God before all ages now is born of the Virgin Mary.

See fulfilled is Balaam’s prophetcy:
Out of Jacob shall a star arise–
so ’twas promised! See the Wise Men offer Him their costliest presents:
Gold and myrrh and fragrant incense.

Rising up in power and majesty,
He shall strike with dread discomfiture
Moab’s princes.

Offerings significant: incense shows His Godhead;
gold, His kingdom; myrrh, His passion.
Join, then, in one solemn chorus and raise
the melody of praise and glory,
which may betoken oblations most rare
which to our Lord we fain would offer.

Praying that His true protection
over all nations be extended,
now and forever.  Amen.

from the Sarum Use of the Mass, Epiphaniam Domino

The Christ Child is the Church’s strength in the face of difficulty

Like Mary, the Church does not fear because that Baby
is her strength. However she does not keep Him for herself. She offers Him to
all those who seek Him with a sincere heart, to the humble ones of the earth
and to the distressed, to the victims of violence and to all those who long for
good and peace. (Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi 2009)

New Year: keeping Christ in our lives

Vatican new year.jpgNow is the old year passed away.
Let us begin the new this day.
Praising our God, who here on earth
Kept us in quietness and mirth!
Oh, like the glad new year may we
Wholly renewed this day be,
Praising our God eternally!

Child of our love, O Jesus dear,
Thou who art still our Savior here,
Thee do we pray with all our heart:
Never more leave us, nor depart.
Save us from war, from hate, from fear;
Keep us in peace together here;
Grant us a tranquil, joyous year!

Gladly together then will we,
O highest God of heaven, to thee
Bring through the year our songs of praise,
And evermore through endless days
Here will on earth our time shall be,
And then, throughout eternity,
Singing with joyful hearts to Thee!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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