Get ready for your Thanksgiving feast by running 2 or 5 miles through downtown Rochester. The race starts outside the Blue Cross Arena and ventures towards the University of Rochester campus. This out and back course is flat, fast and fun for the whole family. Prizes will be awarded to top overall winners, top masters, and top age group winners.
The Feast of the Annunciation is one of the most important in the Church calendar. First, it celebrates the actual Incarnation of Our Savior -- the Word made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary. Second, it is a principal Marian feast. Two other feasts honoring Our Lord's mother, the Assumption (August 15), and the Immaculate Conception (December 8), are celebrated as Holy Days of Obligation in the United States. New Year's Day, January 1, is observed as a Solemnity of Mary.
Many Catholics who are deeply concerned with the defense of the life of unborn children believe that it would be most fitting if the Feast of the Annunciation were also to be accorded this status. Although it seems unlikely that the American bishops will add another obligatory feast to the Church calendar, we can certainly take on the 'obligation' ourselves to attend Mass, if at all possible. In any case, it is most appropriate that we encourage special celebrations in the \"Domestic Church\"-- even, perhaps, in our parishes.
* Make a special Annunciation Candle. Use a fat \"pillar candle\" of white or blue. Carve a niche in the wax large enough to fit inside it a tiny image (or picture cut from a Christmas card) of the Infant Jesus. Fasten a \"curtain\", made from a small piece of white cloth, over the opening with pins pushed into the wax. The candle wax represents the purity of the Virgin. The Baby is \"hidden\" within the body of the candle. Light the candle when the Angelus or Rosary is said on this Feast. The same candle can be saved from year to year. It can also be used on other feast days and solemnities of the Blessed Virgin (Assumption, Immaculate Conception); as well as on Pro-life observances (e.g., January 22, in the U.S.). On Christmas the little curtain would be removed from the niche so the Infant can be seen.
The Feast of the Annunciation cuts across many factions of Christianity, but it is specially celebrated in Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. The holiday is counted as one of the eight great feasts of God in Orthodox Christianity, and it is a major Marian feast.
Feast days and solemnities are important celebrations, especially in Catholic churches. However, while a solemnity is of the greatest importance, a feast day is only of secondary importance in the liturgical calendar. Most solemnities also have their own Vigil Mass that begins the prior evening, which feasts do not have, except for the feasts of the Lord.
The celebration of the birth of Christ has become the most obvious religious-based public festival of American life. Its arrival in December is prepared for months in advance. It is the one event which generates the most anticipation and to which the most tradition and custom have attached themselves. Individual homes and whole cities dress up for Christmas. In popular sentiment it has eclipsed the greater feast of the Resurrection, and has completely dwarfed its twin festival, the Epiphany.
The Christian Church in the first three centuries of its existence knew of only one great festival, Pentecost (by Pentecost is here meant the complete celebration of the Christian Passover from the cross and resurrection to the 50th day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit). Every Sunday was considered a feast in that it was a gathering to proclaim the mighty redemption brought by the death and resurrection of Christ. This festival of redemption was realized weekly by the Holy Eucharist, the presence of the victorious Risen Christ in the midst of the assembly. It was realized yearly in the great Paschal Feast in the administration of baptism. We see that in this ancient period the interest and emphasis was not at all on the historical facts concerning what happened to Jesus, but rather how what happened to Jesus now happens to those who join His Church; how the new believer dies and rises to new life in Christ through baptism and how in the Eucharist the believer participates directly in the sacrifice of Christ.
It is to the Church of Rome, however, that we must give the credit for the origins of the feast of the birth of Christ. But on what was this feast based and why was December 25th chosen as the day for its celebration
Unfortunately most of society has reverted to celebrating the pagan winter holiday under the excuse of celebrating the birth of Christ. The Romans had their Saturnalia, but modern man has his Santa, reindeer, drinking parties and materialism to highlight his feast. In spite of all of this Christians are still called to celebrate joyfully in the Spirit, the coming of the Messiah. As the Christians of old celebrated under the guise of Saturnalia, so the modern Christian must still celebrate the true feast as the rest of our society keeps its pagan winter holiday. The Church at one time conquered and transformed that pagan holiday into the sublime celebration of the coming of the Sun of Righteousness. She still is challenged to transform and transfigure and to proclaim that coming and to lead men beyond tinsel and cheap lights to the true meaning of this holiday: the glorification of the true Gladsome Light of the Holy Glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ. 59ce067264