Nativity Fast Traditions for Byzantine Catholics

Source: Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix The Byzantine Catholic Church invites all to participate more fully in the central mysteries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through her calendar of feasts and fasts. The feast of the Nativity of Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Christmas, December 25) is one of […]

The Family Altar: Establishing a Place of Prayer

As a young junior high school student, I wasn’t fast enough to run most track and field events. But one event I could participate in was the relay race.

A large part of our training was concerned with handing off the baton. The idea was to sprint as fast as you could to the next runner on your team. His job was to meet you about fifteen yards before the hand-off and run with you, being careful to match your pace exactly. In this way, you didn’t have to stop to hand him the baton; you could continue the race without losing momentum. If everything went smoothly, the baton was passed from one hand to the next and the race progressed.

The hand-off was the single most important part of the race. Not that it was that difficult, mind you; it just led to the worst of consequences if it wasn’t managed properly. The running part was easy. You simply did your best and that was that. But the hand-off had to be conducted with care lest – horror of horrors – you dropped the baton and thereby cost your team precious time and probably the race as well.

What is the Liturgical Year?

In a pastoral letter issued at the close of the Second Vatican Council (1965), our Bishops, together with Cardinal Joseph Slipyj, defined the Liturgical Year as: “A liturgical cycle of the universal or some particular Church, that consists of Sundays, weekdays, the feasts of our Lord, the Mother of God, the saints and the periods of fasting and forbidden times.”

We call the Liturgical Year the Ecclesiastical or Church Year, because it contains the Church Calendar, which in some respects is similar to and in others differs from the civil calendar. In the Eastern Church the Church Year differs from the civil calendar in that it does not begin the New Year with the first of January as does the civil year, but begins it with the first day of September, which is called the Beginning of the Indiction. This means that the whole cycle of our Church Year begins with the first of September and ends with the thirty first of the following August.