St. Francis of Assisi, for example, introduced the creche about eight centuries back. (December 24, 2009).
Today's America made decorated evergreen trees a part of the Christmas celebration. It's a 'natural part' of this midwinter celebration - for folks whose cultural roots are largely in Europe. Catholics elsewhere have their own ways. (January 10, 2010)
Something New for ChristmasLike I said, after almost two millennia, Catholic celebrations of Christmas are a bit on the predictable side. Even the matter of the Pope encouraging Catholics to pray for some particular thing: We sort of expect that.
This year, there's something "highly exceptional:"
"Pope Benedict XVI heralded the beginning of Advent this year with an unprecedented worldwide pro-life vigil. On Saturday night at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, he urged respect for human life and warned against adult 'selfishness' and the 'darkening of consciences' in modern society.I recommend reading the rest of that article: I think that Catholic News Agency does a pretty good job of understanding what Catholic officials say - and reporting what's said without too much distortion. Understanding Catholicism helps, I think.
"On Nov. 27, St. Peter's was the center of global focus, as dioceses around the world joined the Pope's invitation to prepare for the season of Christmas by joining in a special Vespers service for the unborn.
"Although it is common for the Pope to encourage prayer for particular intentions, the request for a coordinated worldwide vigil – to be held on the same date and approximately the same time, in all dioceses – is highly exceptional...."
Vigil For Life: 'Missed It By This Much'I quoted the old Get Smart comedy in another blog on Friday, which may explain that "missed it by this much" thing.
I was on the road with my wife and a daughter when the vigil happened. In short, I missed participating in that Vespers service - centered in Rome and followed around the world.
Can't say that I'm pleased about that - but I'm not going to tie myself in knots over it, either.
I put together a sort of 'better-late-than-never' resource list. The Advent link page at the Holy See's website is a pretty good resource for anyone who uses English and wants a framework for preparation and worship this Christmas season. My opinion.
- "Vigil for All Nascent Human Life – Saturday, November 27, 2010"
Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (November 27, 2010)
- "Advent 2010"
Benedict XVI, St Peter's Square (November 14, 2010)
- "Advent: Hazardous Road Conditions, Holiday Shopping, and More"
(November 23, 2010)
- "Pope Attacked at Christmas Eve Mass: And What He Said"
(December 24, 2009)
- "Christmas? Yeah, it's a Pretty Big Deal"
(December 24, 2009)
- "Giving Gifts at Christmas is Good: But Get a Grip!"
(December 22, 2009)
- "The True Meaning of Christmas"
(December 24, 2008)
- "Pope heralds beginning of Advent with pro-life vigil"
CNA/EWTN News (November 28, 2010)