New Year’s Prayer (by Archbishop Carroll.): Prayer of the Day for Friday, January 01, 2021

Almighty and eternal God,
You have, through Jesus Christ,
revealed Your glory to all nations.
We pray You to preserve the works of Your mercy,
that Your Church,
being spread through the whole world,
may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Your name.

We pray You, who alone are good and holy,
to endow with heavenly knowledge,
sincere zeal,
and sanctity of life our Chief Bishop,
Pope John Paul II, the vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ,
in the government of …

Mary the Blessed Virgin: Saint of the Day for Friday, January 01, 2021

Mary, also known as St. Mary the Virgin, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Mary Mother of God or the Virgin Mary is believed by many to be the greatest of all Christian saints. The Virgin Mother “was, after her Son, exalted by divine grace above all angels and men.”

Mary is venerated with a special cult, called by St. Thomas Aquinas, hyperdulia, as the holiest of all creatures. The main events of her life are celebrated as liturgical feasts of the universal Church.

Mary’s life and role in …

The Last Day. A Sacred Day.

2020. The last day. A sacred day. A blessed memory of what has been, despite all, a year also blessed. The year when Jesus came. Comes. Will keep coming. Every day. Every hour. Every minute into 2021.

Today’s Gospel shines with “coming” language, connecting words, relationship, loving, living, lighting…

As we end this year, we may be saying good riddance to the darkness, hoping for something better in 2021. Jesus, however, comes into the darkness. He comes to bring life. He arrives with the light. And the darkness cannot overcome him.

When we choose living, pleasing others, reaching out in whatever way possible… we are Christ today, lighting the way through our living and our loving.

When we choose to light up someone’s sorrowful eyes, shed light on a confusing or painful situation, or offer the light of comfort to another… We are Christ. Today. And. Tomorrow.

We can be Christ because Christ has already showered his living and lighting and loving gifts on us.

The darkness brings out Christ in you because Christ is in you,
he came for you,
to melt the darkness with the touch of his presence,
so that through you and all he has touched,
no one might be alone in the world.

Despite isolation, stay with the living, lighting and loving today and tomorrow. Despite foreboding thoughts, believe in the living, lighting and loving today.

Fear less, and live more. Turn on all the lights in your heart and love more. Loving will warm our own hearts even as we give this love away.

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Sr. Kathryn J. HermesKathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey. Website: Public Facebook Group: For monthly spiritual journaling guides, weekly podcasts and over 50 conferences and retreat programs join my Patreon community:

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St. Sylvester: Saint of the Day for Thursday, December 31, 2020

St. Sylvester, born in Rome, was ordained by Pope St. Marcellinus during the peace that preceded the persecutions of Diocletian. He passed through those days of terror, witnessed the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, and saw the triumph of Constantine in the year 312. Two years later he succeeded St. Melchiades as Bishop of Rome. In the same year, he sent four legates to represent him at the great Council of the Western Church, held at Aries. He confirmed it’s decision and imparted them to …

Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, December 31, 2020

O sacred and adorable Trinity, hear our prayers on behalf of our holy Father the Pope, our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us. Bless, we beseech Thee, during the coming year, the whole Catholic Church; convert heretics and unbelievers; soften the hearts of sinners so that they may return to Thy friendship; give prosperity to our country and peace among the nations of the world; pour down Thy blessings upon our friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and upon our …

Admiring Anna

Who is this mysterious woman we hear about in today’s Gospel (and this past weekend’s Gospel, for that matter)? 

Anna only appears one time across all four Gospels, in this passage from Luke. Yet, she is one of the more intriguing characters and someone from which we can learn a lot. 

Being a prophetess, Anna was blessed to have a close relationship with God and was advanced in a lot of spiritual ways. One thing that sticks out to me is her wisdom. Yes, Anna lived until she was 84 years old – a long life by today’s standards – which was well beyond the typical lifespan in ancient times, meaning that she was able to accumulate and grow in wisdom in a strictly secular sense. 

However, Anna was also spiritually wise as we can see in verse 39, “And coming forward at that time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Israel.” Anna knew who the child Jesus was – the Messiah who was long awaited by Israel. 

Wisdom is an oft-desired quality but can we say that we ourselves are spiritually wise? Can we truly say that we know Jesus as our Savior and Messiah? Even if our answer is no, fear not – for we can grow in spiritual wisdom. A great place to start would be asking the Holy Spirit to intercede for us and bestow His gift of wisdom upon us. We can’t just stop there, though. We need to work to know our Lord Jesus Christ – we come to know him in prayer, in receiving the sacraments and in each other. 

This is another thing that Anna does so well – she “never left the temple” and worshiped with “fasting and prayer.” It’s no wonder that Anna knew who Jesus was – because she constantly spent time in His Father’s house (that is, the temple – see Luke 2:49). 

How are you doing with prayer and the sacraments? Has your prayer life gone by the wayside? Have you stopped attending Mass due to the convenience of watching Mass from your recliner with a cup of coffee? If we are to truly know our Lord, these are things that cannot be set aside. 

As we approach the start of a new year, take a moment to pause and evaluate your spiritual life, using Anna as an example. If there’s an area or two where you need improvement, look to her for inspiration. 

May we all continue to know and serve the Lord better in 2021.

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Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.

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St. Theresa of the Child Jesus: Prayer of the Day for Wednesday, December 30, 2020

O wondrous Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, who, in thy brief earthly life, didst become a mirror of angelic purity, of courageous love and of whole-hearted surrender to Almighty God, now that thou art enjoying the reward of thy virtues, turn thine eyes of mercy upon us who trust in thee. Obtain for us the grace to keep our hearts and minds pure and clean like unto thine, and to detest in all sincerity whatever might tarnish ever so slightly the luster of a virtue so sublime, a virtue that …

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Reading 1 1 JN 2:3-11

The way we may be sure that we know Jesus 
is to keep his commandments. 
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him. 
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. 
The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining. 
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. 
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. 
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 5B-6

R. (11a)  Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name. 
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!



Alleluia LK 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him 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.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. 
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. 
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Joys and Sorrows

Becoming a parent is a profoundly meaningful, deeply moving, beautifully life-changing moment. It also opens up a whole vista of possibilities, uncertainties, and challenges. How will we provide for this child? What will we teach him? What will he become? Even entering into this with strong faith and firm hope, parenthood requires a great deal of prudence, resilience, adaptability, generosity, and self-sacrifice.

Parents cannot help but hear deeply every comment made about their child. “Your baby is so beautiful!” “He’s getting so big!” “He’s so alert!” “He seems a little cranky…” “Is he rolling over yet?” Each word can make a mother’s heart soar with joy, rest contentedly, begin to fret, or ache with pain. Surely this was true for the parents of Jesus as well.

Obeying the Law of Moses, Mary and Joseph travel to the Temple to present the baby Jesus to the Lord, bringing the prescribed sacrifice. God again enters the Temple, but quietly. No one notices anything about this poor, young family. No one recognizes this Child, except Simeon (and Anna, see tomorrow’s Gospel). Simeon is awaiting the Messiah, watching for the Promised One, and the Holy Spirit leads him to this quiet little family. And then he says words that amaze the parents: “This child is our salvation! This child is light! This child is the glory of Israel!” How the parents hearts must have rejoiced at these words, this confirmation that God was powerfully at work already.

But then, Simeon addresses different words to Mary: “This child will be contradicted. A sword will pierce through you too.” It must have felt like the sword was already in her at those words. Why was this necessary? “So that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

I’ve always marveled that the 5th Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is also the 1st Sorrow of Mary’s Heart (see ). In this life, joy is always tinged with sorrow, and sorrows also have their joys. In this case, Mary’s intimate bond with Jesus would mean that her YES to the angel at the Annunciation was a YES to full motherhood and all that being the Mother of God would demand. She would feed him, clothe him, teach him, pray, and suffer with him, all the way to the Cross. She would snuggle him, marvel at him, anticipate his needs, ponder his heart.  She would be his mother, and when Jesus gave all of humanity to her from the Cross (“Behold your mother.”), she would – as the New Eve – be Mother to everyone who becomes brother and sister of Jesus through Baptism.

Mary and Joseph are not just Christmas decorations. They are real Christians, real parents, who experienced real hardship, and lived by real faith and hope and love! And now they are real intercessors who understand our needs and can really pray for us to the Son of God, who was also their son. And a son always listens attentively to his parents.

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is

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