Tag Archives: Christianity

Advent (1st Sunday)

Advent Wreath (1st Sunday)
Photo :Micha L. Rieser(Wikimedia Comos)

Advent is not just a countdown till Christmas but an important part of the liturgical year in preparation for the birth of Jesus. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans and other Christian denominations observe this special time. Advent is a short period of only four weeks (Sundays and weekdays) leading up to Christmas Day. Usually, Advent begins on or after the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle on 30 November. Eastern Orthodox uses the Julian calendar for their liturgical year, so they start 13 days after the current Gregorian calendar date.

The word Advent comes Latin word adventus, meaning coming or coming to, is a time of preparation for the birth of Christ and a reminder that Jesus will return. Christians are reminded during this period to not be distracted or weighed down by all the commercialization that is going on around Christmas and focus on deepening their relationships with God. For Catholics it will be solemn masses, setting up Advent wreaths, reciting special prayers, and being more concerned about our fellow human beings. There are also special Advent songs and music that are used during this time as well.

Anglicans uses both traditional and modern rituals which include Advent processions, carols, and using Advent calendars (Catholics are doing this as well). Lutherans focus on God’s grace and his redemption. They incorporate Advent hymns, scripture, and lighting Advent candles as well. For Eastern Orthodox, it involves fasting until Christmas Day, daily prayers, and greatly anticipating the important event that is to come.

Whatever the denomination, Christians are preparing themselves for not only the birth of the savior but his return one day (the Final Judgment). So, it is a time of preparation, repentance, faith, and loving our fellow human beings. It also means to seek reconciliation through prayer and going to a priest or minister to get forgiven for our sins. Advent is not a time of merely counting down the clock and buying presents but spending time preparing for this important holy day that is to come. And a time to get closer to God as well.


Klein, Camilla. “Which Christian Denominations Celebrate Advent? – Christian Educators Academy.” Christian Educators Academy, 26 May 2023, www.christianeducatorsacademy.com/which-christian-denominations-celebrate-advent.

Infoplease. “Advent: Dates, Traditions, and History.” InfoPlease, 18 Nov. 2021, www.infoplease.com/culture-entertainment/holidays/advent-dates-traditions-and-history.

Staff, CNA. “What Is Advent Anyway?” Catholic News Agency, 1 Dec. 2023, www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/42900/what-is-advent-anyway-a-cna-explainer.

—. “The Beautiful Meaning and Purpose of Advent.” Crosswalk.com, 13 Nov. 2023, www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/the-beautiful-meaning-and-purpose-of-advent.html.

All Saints Day

The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs (about 1423-24)
Fra Angelico (circa 1395–1455)
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

All Saints’ Day (Solemnity of All Saints, All Hallows, Hallowmas or All Saints’)is celebrated on 1 November by most Western Christians and is to honor all saints known and unknown. In some Catholic countries, it is a holiday. It is a holy day of obligation for most Catholics except when it falls on a Saturday or Monday. In that case it is celebrated on Sunday. Eastern Orthodox is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost and is called All Saints’ Sunday.

Pope Boniface IV formally started All Saints’ Day on May 13, 609 AD. He also established All Souls’ Day to follow All Saints Day. Pope Gregory III (731-741 AD) moved it to 1 November as that was the day the foundation of a new chapel (St. Peter’s Basilica) was being laid. He wanted to dedicate the new chapel to All Saints. Halloween then became part of a three-day period called ‘Days of the Dead” which it is the first day of (the vigil), then followed by All Saints and then by All Souls (those in purgatory). During the reign of Pope Gregory IV (82y-844 AD), he decided to make the feast of All Saints (just celebrated in Rome at that point) universal meaning all dioceses had to observe it.

All Saints  Day is a public holiday in Ireland where all schools, businesses and government is closed.

Good Friday

Ecce homo by Antonio Ciseri(1821-1891)
Public Domain

Today is Good Friday, an important event in the Christian liturgical calendar. Some argue the word Good is a corruption and used to mean God Friday. Others argue it always meant that the day is meant to be pious or holy. For Christians, Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. Observant Christians will mark the day by silent meditation, prayer, and church attendance. Many will fast during the day, particularly during the hours of 12 noon to 3 p.m. Hot Cross Buns are a traditional food many cultures use on this day (and through the Easter season). Most Catholics and Christians will avoid eating meat on this day and usually the main meal will be fish. Good Friday (and sometimes Easter Monday)are public holidays in many countries. Good Friday always occurs on the Friday before Easter Sunday.

For Further Information:

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day (17 March)

St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland.
Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and St. Patrick, Goleen, County Cork, Ireland
Photo:Andreas F. Borchert/Wikimedia

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and known for bringing Christianity to Ireland. He was born in 390 A.D in Britain and raised by a Christian family. However he was not much interested in God and at the time was illiterate. When he was 16, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland where he was forced to work as a shepherd on a hillside. All alone except for his sheep and captors. he began to cry out to God for rescue him. He had a dream in which God revealed himself and that he would be going home.

Risking his life, he boarded a ship for Britain where he returned to his family. He was welcomed back but realized that he had been transformed by God. He entered a monastery to pursue his calling as a Catholic priest. As a result of his education, he came to understand Holy Scripture and impressed his peers and superiors with his character. He would be made a bishop in due course. Nearly three decades after this slavery in Ireland, he felt a call from God that he had to return to Ireland and spread the word of Jesus to a people who had become lost. This was no easy journey for him since travel was difficult but he faced hostility from those who opposed him trying to convert people away from paganism. Patrick was ready though to face the trials that might take his life (he was attacked and beaten by thugs and Irish royalty disdained him) and persevered in proclaiming the Gospel and training converts.

His courageous leadership and his crisscrossing the countryside paid off as thousands and more would be converted. Churches were being established and he was training those to shepherd the church after he was gone. He would die on March 17, 461 A.D. He has been venerated as a saint and patron saint of Ireland since then by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches. In Ireland it is a solemnity and thus a holy day of obligation. It is also a cultural day as well to celebrate Ireland. Traditionally many in Ireland will wear shamrocks, wear green, attend Mass, watch parades, have a special breakfast and dinner, and of course celebrate by having a beer in their favorite pub (or outside due to the crowds). It has been a public holiday in Ireland since 1903. Since the feast does fall within Lent and is a solemnity in Ireland, it is permissible to eat foods normally excluded during this time (or any food you have selected to give up). However outside of Ireland should the day fall on a Friday, the local bishop will provide guidance. Usually the bishop will give dispensation to allow Catholics to eat meat but usually asks they fast on a day during that week or the following one.


There are a lot of food traditions associated with Saint Patrick’s Day. Many foods though are more inspired than what was traditionally served in Ireland. And some would never be served ever in Ireland, such as green beer. It would be an insult to chemically dye a beer green in a country that loves their beer. So do not make the mistake of asking for green beer should you be in Ireland on Saint Patrick’s Day. They may laugh it off or you may be cut off and forced to stand outside the pub and mocked for your audacity.

One food associated with Ireland is soda bread. This was a common staple (and still is) in Ireland but it was originally a very humble bread free of all the leavenings and additions you see in grocery stores. Since yeast is rather hard to use in the wet climate of Ireland (they had yeast they could use for sourdough and from other sources), baking soda ultimately became important for making the daily bread, It only has five ingredients: flour, buttermilk, salt, sugar, and baking soda. And because you simply made it into ball, no kneading was needed. One very good recipe can be found at Old World Garden Farms which has the traditional recipe and shows how it can be made.

Once you master how to make it, you will see that it is actually a very tasty bread for daily use. And if you like raisins, go for it. I like it either way (plain or with raisins). And the ingredients are very inexpensive, So if you are looking to get in touch with your Irish roots, try making this soda bread. Now Max Miller, who does the excellent Tasting History series over on YouTube, has a video on this very subject.


Here is a brief but very good overview of Saint Patrick done by The History Guy.



A very popular song in Ireland is The Minstrel Boy by Thomas More. One rendition ended up, in all places, in Star Trek:The Next Generation. Chief O’Brien meets with his old commanding officer (Captain Maxwell) to convince him to back down from a confrontation he is sure to lose with with Captain Picard. They reminisce about a fallen comrade who used to sing this song. And O’Brien sings with Maxwell, forcing him to realize he has made a mistake. It is from the season 4 episode The Wounded.

Here is a fuller version done by John McDermott in 2022. It is beautiful and rousing version of this song.





Saint Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is used by many to show their affection or love for someone they care about. It has spawned an industry for greeting card makers, candies, and of course flowers. However there is a real religious component as many Christian denominations celebrate it as feast day, commemoration, or optional for the local diocese (such as the Catholic Church). Valentine was the name of many Christian martyrs in the early Church resulting in them all being remembered for their acts of sacrifice for the faith. Some denominations, such as Eastern Orthodox Church, celebrate a particular St. Valentine on two different days.

Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland Photo: Blackfish (Wikimedia Commons)
Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland
Photo: Blackfish (Wikimedia Commons)

The association with romantic love could be linked to an ancient Roman festival has been made but there is no evidence of any link. Most seem to believe the link began with Chaucer’s Parlemont of Foules where he indicates birds choose their mates on St. Valentine’s Day, although 14 Feb might not be the day Chaucer was referring to. Other poems made the association of love and St. Valentine’s Day in the medieval period and English Renaissance. For those who needed love verses but lacked the ability to compose them, publishers starting offering them. Then putting them on paper and sending them became possible. Paper valentines became very popular in 19th century England resulting in their industrial production. They became popular in the United States as well. With such cards being popular, you needed other things to accompany a card. Roses and chocolates became popular, likely due to skillful marketing to associate them with the day. And so Valentine’s Day became a very major day for greeting card companies, chocolate makers, and sellers of flowers (roses being the most popular flower for the day).

Of course we ought to remember that it is based upon Valentine, who became a saint after he was martyred in Rome in 269 and buried on Flaminian Way. He is the patron saint of Love, Young People, Happy Marriages.

Today is Epiphany Sunday

Wise Men Adoration(Bartolomé Esteban Murillo)
Photo: Public Domain (This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.)

We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage. (Matthew 2:2)


Epiphany Sunday in most Christian liturgical calendars is celebrated on the nearest Sunday after January 6, the traditional observed day of the Epiphany. The Catholic Church will celebrate if it falls on a Sunday or on a Sunday between January 2 and January 8. Since Eastern Orthodox uses the Julian calendar, it will occur 13 days later. Epiphany or Three Kings Day is to celebrate the arrival of The Magi (Three Kings or Wise Men). During the Middle Ages, this was a major feast day (a solemnity) requiring attendance at church on that day. However as many people had to work it became more difficult to attend, the Catholic Church decided to make it easier for people to attend on Sunday, when most do attend church. Some Protestant churches celebrate the Epiphany season from January 6 till Ash Wednesday.






Today is Christmas Day (Eastern Orthodox)

The Eastern Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar for its liturgical calendar. So all their major observances (Christmas & Easter) occur 13 days later. Which is why today is Christmas Day in many countries where Orthodox Christians reside. Many of my friends are gathering today to celebrate this special day. So that is why I am reposting Merry Christmas today to wish happiness and joy to my friends in Eastern Orthodox.


Titanic News Channel wishes everyone a blessed and joyous Christmas Day. Merry Christmas!


The Adoration of the Shepherds (Gerard van Honthorst 1590–1656)
Image: Public Domain (Wikipedia)

….And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!” (Dickens, A Christmas Carol)





Today is Epiphany Day, the Twelfth day of Christmas

Adoración de los Reyes Magos
El Greco (1541–1614)
Public Domain

Epiphany or Three Kings Day is celebrated on January 6 by most Western Christian denominations. It is the day set aside to celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem and the presentation of their gifts to Jesus. The Catholic Church decided to move its observance to the Sunday after Christmas so people would not have to take off work to attend mass.

Epiphany Day is the twelfth day after Christmas Day and usually concludes the Christmas season. Twelfth Day observances vary by country and some celebrate it on the evening before. Usually there are special celebrations involving foods and special cakes. If a Christmas log was lit for the season, it is now extinguished. King cake (a traditional part of the feast) is almost always present. Children often get gifts of candy or other things from the Wise Men. In Italy, the Christmas Witch La Belfana delivers gifts on Epiphany Eve to stockings children put up before bed. They awake to the delight of treats in the stockings. In Spain, it is celebrated as Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings’ Day) where families gather to celebrate the day.

One good way to celebrate it with the family is to gather before the nativity to remember what the holiday is all about. Christmas music should be played, and a nice midday meal served. Then taking down the Christmas tree can be done together. The nativity scene can remain up until the Baptism of the Lord which ends the Christmas season on the liturgical calendar.

Remembering the Children Killed by King Herod

Massacre of the Innocents
Matteo di Giovanni (1435–1495)
Public Domain

The Feast of the Holy Innocents or Innocent’s Day (December 28) is to remember the slaughter of male children 2 years and younger in Bethlehem and in its vicinity by Herod the Great. The story as related in the Gospel of Matthew (2:16-18). Herod was angered when the Wise Men did not return to him after locating the Messiah. No one can say with certainty how many were killed. Some have doubted it happened at all, but it would be consistent with Herod the Great’s personality. He had no problems executing even members of his family if he thought they were betraying him. And since Bethlehem was a small area, the slaughter may not have been widely noticed.

Nearly all the Christian churches observe the feast day though not on the same day. The Catholic Church and most western churches observe it on December 28 but Eastern Orthodox celebrates on December 29. The slain children are treated as martyrs of the church. It is not certain when it was first observed. While the exact date of the deaths is unknown, it is kept in the octave of Christmas as it followed the birth of Jesus. However, it is believed it took place sometime after Jesus’s birth. Matthew says the Wise Men saw the child with his mother indicating he was no longer a baby. And Herod had learned from the Wise Men the approximate date of the birth.