4 Theories on the Date of Christmas

December 2, 2008


Contrary to the popular belief that Christmas was set on Dec. 25 simply to rival a pagan feast, there are at least 4 theories explaining the date from a Christian perspective.  All of them may be true.

Theory 1: Day of Creation and the Conception of Jesus.

David Bennett at Per Christum has an excellent article beginning with this explanation:

The main reason early Christians chose December 25th for the date of Christmas relates to the date of the creation of the world. Jewish thought had placed the date of creation on March 25th, and it was early Christian writer Sextus Julius Africanus who suggested that Christ became incarnate on that date (it makes great symbolic sense!).

According to Sextus Julius, since Christ became incarnate from the moment of his conception, this means that, after 9 months in the Virgin Mary’s womb, Jesus was born on December 25. While the scope of Julius’ influence is unknown, nonetheless, we encounter a Jewish reason why the date of December 25th was chosen for the birth date of Jesus. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate Advent, Question Christmas

November 29, 2008


This year may be the best one in a long time for all Christians to re-examine Christmas and take Advent to heart.  A bad economy and a Walmart stampede which gave new meaning to “Black Friday,” offer us good occassion to reflect on the inanity of the American “Christmas” Season.

For years I have been deeply disturbed by the grand materialistic orgy that is the gringo Xmas.  The Lord who came to us in humble human vesture, in utter simplicity and taught us to find our serenity in the goods of heaven rather than the goods of this world has become hopelessly lost in a sea of Santa’s hocking gadgets which rob us of time and mental energy to reflect upon and deepen our spiritual lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Liturgical Reforms Arrive in Bangladesh

August 22, 2008

First Communion at Holy Cross College, Dhaka,

run by the Congregation of Holy Cross

HH Benedict XVI’s call to reform the practice of the liturgy takes root in Bangladesh. I am personally pleased to see that Holy Cross is taking a leading role in liturgical reform.

BANGLADESH Church Tries To Protect Traditional Hymns, End Loud Singing

DHAKA (UCAN) — Bangladeshi Catholic hymns are “out of control,” sometimes sung too loudly or performed by pop-style bands, so much so that some claim the deep spirituality the music is meant to inspire gets lost.The Episcopal Commission for Liturgy and Prayer (ECLP) has responded to the problem by trying to bring order to the chaos and restore a level of uniformity and a proper atmosphere for Bangla-language hymns. It did so in a six-day training program for liturgical music experts and performers that was conducted July 13-18 at the Holy Spirit Major Seminary in Dhaka. Read the rest of this entry »

Vatican ‘Surprised’ at Plan to Move Parish into Anglican church

August 11, 2008

Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Wirral, to be abandoned

No, it’s not a case of Church swapping.  They are going to live together.  Ignoring all recent developments to the contrary, some “ecumenists” will not be deterred from their plans to blur the important distinctions between Anglicanism and Catholicism.  Apparently, this wacky idea includes the dumping of a grand Depression-era basilica style Catholic church building. Read the rest of this entry »

Fr. Joseph Gelineau, SJ, dead at 87

August 11, 2008

If you are Catholic, over 60 and into liturgical music, you will know his name and remember his psalm tones which were all the rage in the early 60’s. His psalm tones were much influenced by Gregorian chant, had simple, poignant phrasing typically in a minor tone conveying an often sad-sweet, sublime mood appropriate to the ancient liturgy but also modern. His later chants written for the Taize community were much brighter in spirit and reached several generations of European youth seeking access to the contemplative through music. Read the rest of this entry »

Then Sings My Soul

April 14, 2008

The Mass is a beautiful thing. The depth of the mystery I experience grows on me continuously. It is a mystery for several reasons (and I am certain that I can not name them all). What always immediately comes to mind is that as we celebrate the Mass we transcend time so we are present at the sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary. We also make a quick journey through the history of our salvation, beginning with the fall of mankind up to the Eucharist and the reception of God’s blessings with the command to evangelize the whole world. This is not something the Roman Catholic Church just made up one day. This is the way the first Christians worshiped their God, the liturgical format was something inherited by the Church from Israel because the first Christians were all Israelites. The classical interpretation of the Song of Songs is God’s approach to Israel and Israel’s response to the advances of their God. What a perfect metaphor! Beginning with the fall of man God has been approaching mankind as a lover attempts to seduce his object of Read the rest of this entry »

Eucharistic Prayers-Part I: Reforms of the 50’s and 60’s

April 1, 2008

Since September 14, 2007, the Sunday when general permission was given for the celebration of the the traditional rite of the Mass, Latin Rite Catholics whether they know it or not have been living in a very new era.

Now is as good a time as any to take a look at our current Eucharistic prayers and come to appreciate all of them for their beauty and power to bring us the greatest gift in this life as well as understand some of their limitations.

1950’s Liturgical Reforms
Over a century of liturgical scholarship in Germany, France and the United States had built up a pressure in academic circles for a general reform of the liturgy by the late 1940’s. Some of these reforms were put into effect in the 50’s by Pius XII. Read the rest of this entry »

Eucharistic Prayers-Part II: From One to Four

April 1, 2008

There are presently 9 Eucharistic prayers now in use in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Twas not always thus, however. For four hundred years prior to the Second Vatican Council, there was only one Eucharistic Prayer in general use in the Latin Church (others such as the Ambrosian Rite of Milan and the Dominican Rite are not for general use, but for particular settings).

Through a complicated maze of scholarship, popular demand, and political pressures, the 1960’s saw the multiplication of the Eucharistic prayers for general use from one to four, each called by its Roman numeral, I-IV . In the 1970’s five other particular use Eucharistic Prayers were added to the sacramentary namely the Eucharistic Prayers for Children I, II, III and for Reconciliation I and II.

Eucharistic Prayer I: The Roman Canon

The Roman Canon is the longest and perhaps the most ancient of the Eucharistic prayers. St. Ambrose had quoted portions of it in the mid 300’s. Among the ancient Eucharistic prayers of the various rites, East and West, it has a strikingly unique structure with a heavy emphasis on the sacrificial nature of the sacrament and the role of the priest in offering it. Read the rest of this entry »