Category Archives: Roman Catholic

March 25: Waffle Day

wafflesAt first glance, Waffle Day may seem to be just another silly food holiday, but this March 25 celebration actually has some funny roots. The holiday originated in Sweden, due to a strong similarity in pronunciation between the words Vårfrudagen (Our Lady’s Day) and Våffeldagen (Waffle Day).

Giovanni Battista Salvi Il Sassoferrato, Jungfrun i bön 1640-1650For centuries, much of western Christianity has celebrated March 25* (nine months before Christmas) as the Feast of the Annunciation (in other words, the announcement from the angel Gabriel to Mary that she was to have a child, the son of God). It’s often referred to as Lady Day, Our Lady’s Day, or, in Sweden, Vårfrudagen.

Since Our Lady’s Day and Waffle Day sound so similar in Swedish, people took to celebrating Our Lady’s Day with waffles! In addition, March 25 is very close to the vernal equinox,  so the day has also become a bit of a de facto celebration of spring.

SPRING!It seems that other countries (especially the U.S.) heard the words “Waffle Day” and immediately responded “Ooh! I like waffles!” Sounds good to me!

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Luke 1:31-33

*Correction: It is always celebrated on March 25, unless that happens to be a Sunday and unless that happens to fall during Holy Week. In 2013, March 25 is the Monday of Holy Week (Easter is this coming Sunday), so most groups move the Feast of Annunciation all the way to April 8, the day after Divine Mercy Sunday. Whether or not that moves Waffle Day is up for debate, but the general consensus is no.

Two more things:
1) In 2013, March 25 is also the first day of Passover.
2) March 25 is also Tolkien Reading Day, and the day that Sauron fell. I blogged last year about this holiday for one of my favorite authors here.

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February 11: World Day of the Sick

In 1993, Pope John Paul II set aside February 11 as a special day of prayer for suffering, both your own and others. This World Day of the Sick has become a day to recognize the struggles of those with long term illnesses as well as to honor health care workers of all types.

I may not be Catholic, but this is a topic close to my heart. This year’s papal message for World Day of the Sick quotes another papal address from 1965. Speaking to those suffering throughout the world, the address says in part:

“Know that you are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are His living and transparent image.”

This year’s message continues with the parable of the Good Samaritan, who went out of his way, putting himself at great risk, to help someone he was supposed to dislike. The story finishes with the following exchange:

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:36-37

January 1: World Day of Peace

peace_dove [image credit http://sweetclipart.com/peace-dove-olive-branch-629]Since 1967, the Catholic church has celebrated January 1 as the World Day of Peace. I may not be Catholic, but I think that peace is a great thing to focus on as we begin the new year.

Of course, if you really want my two cents (and if you don’t, why are you reading this?!), I think there’s very little I, personally, can do to promote “world peace,” i.e., peace between nations, ethnic groups, etc. On the other hand, I can move mountains for peace within my family, among my friends, and with all those I come in contact with throughout my day. On this first day of 2013, may our lives be a blessing to all those around us.

“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

April 3: St. Mary of Egypt

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. . .   Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:5&12

St. Mary of Egypt lived in the fourth century. According to her biographers, she became a prostitute at a young age, a job which she greatly enjoyed. Around age 30, she went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the sole purpose of finding more clients there and along the journey.

In Jerusalem she was suddenly confronted by the realization of her sinfulness, when a force stopped her from entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. She prayed for forgiveness and crossed the Jordan, becoming a hermit. After many years of solitude, she met a monk named St. Zosimus of Palestine. After sharing stories, he left, and returned the next year to share Communion with her. She died the next day, and Zosimus told her story to the other monks at the monastery.

Many traditions celebrate her life on different days. April 3 is her feast day in the Catholic church.

February 19: Saint Day of Barbatus of Benevento

Saint Barbatus, also called Barbas, was a bishop in the Italian city of Benevento in the seventh century. He was known for preaching about the Christian life and against sin and idolatry – preaching that made his hearers very uncomfortable. As a result he was alternately ignored and slandered until he prophesied that the East Roman Emperor Constans II would attack.

 To whom can I speak and give warning?
Who will listen to me?
Their ears are closed
so they cannot hear.
The word of the LORD is offensive to them;
they find no pleasure in it.
But I am full of the wrath of the LORD,
and I cannot hold it in.

Jeremiah 6:10 & 11a

When Constans II laid siege to the city, the people destroyed their idols and used material from the temple of Isis to repair the city wall. Eventually Constans II left, and Barbatus was honored as the city’s bishop. His feast day is celebrated every year on the anniversary of his death, February 19, 682.

January 31: Don Bosco

Don Bosco (also called Giovanni or John Bosco) was a Italian priest in the mid 19th century, known for his love of children. He pioneered the “Preventive System of Education,” saying that children grow and learn best when they are loved and know that they are loved. He taught reason, religion, and kindness, frequently by using music and games.

Sounds like a good idea to me!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 1:4

 

 

January 28: Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was a thirteenth century Italian nobleman who defied his family and become a Dominican priest. He is best known for his in depth theological writings, particularly Summa Theologica. 

In today’s world, it seems to me that feelings often supersede logic. I believe we would do well to practice thoughtfulness on the feast day of one of the church’s great thinkers.

 

“A simple man believes anything, 
   but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.”

Proverbs 14:15