Of all the Marian feasts of the Church, this day dedicated to Mary, Mother of God, is the greatest. Drawing on scriptural and patristic sources, it celebrates Mary’s role in the Incarnation and in redemption. In this way, her special relationship with her son is emphasized, and she is acknowledged as a model of the Church. January 1 is marked as a holy day of obligation in Canada.
A feast dedicated to Mary’s conception first appeared in the 7th century and by the 12th century it was firmly established in England. In the 13th century, great thinkers such as St. Bernard and St. Thomas Aquinas debated whether Mary could have been born without original sin if, as St. Paul says, all persons are ...More
This celebration dates back to about the 4th century. Because his name is Greek, it is assumed Stephen was a Jew of the diaspora (Jewish communities outside Israel) who had resettled in Jerusalem. Stephen is the first-named among the seven deacons chosen to minister to Greek-speaking Christians in Jerusalem at the very dawn of the Christian church. He is ...More
Also known as John the Divine, the apostle John was the son of Zebedee and the brother of James, and a fisherman. John was very close to Jesus and was present at the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the Agony in the Garden. John is the “beloved disciple” referred to in the gospels. While ancient ...More