January 5 is the twelfth day of Christmas
Feast of Saint John Neumann
|Born in Bohemia (modern Czech Republic), John Neumann came to the United States to participate in the missions. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1836, was accepted into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer — commonly known as the Redemptorists — and was consecrated as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania March 1852.He worked in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, and of course Pennsylvania. He knew the value education and wanted to ensure the poor in particular has access to good education. He organized the first diocesan-run Catholic school system in America because of discrimination against Catholic immigrants. In addition to being the founder of the American Catholic education system, he publicly fought “The Know Nothings”, an anti-Catholic political party, who were setting fire to convents and schools.He died from a stroke January 5, 1860 at the age of 48.
He was beatified by Pope Paul VI on October 13, 1963. He was the second to the last saint canonized by Pope Paul VI in June, 1977. So far, he is the only male American saint.
To strengthen the American Catholics who were being persecuted, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, in April 1853 Saint John Neumann introduced the ancient practice of 40 Hours Devotion to America. This is a time where an holy place is designated and the Blessed Sacrament is adored over 40 continuous hours.
As we start the new year, could you make it a goal to spend 1 of your 168 hours each week before the Blessed Sacrament.
In honor of Saint John, here is the recipe he may have eaten: Czech Christmas Bread, which they call Vanocka.
|Today is the end of Christmastide and is Epiphany Eve. Tonight is for Twelfth Night celebration. The final frenzy of feasting, drinking and often-raucous merrymaking before returning to the daily grind of survival for the rest of the winter.Shakespeare’s wrote Twelfth Night to be performed tonight in 1602. Twelfth Night cake or Kings’ cake is a beatifically decorated cake in which a carved or cast metal version of the Baby Jesus was placed. Sometimes a paper, coin, or bean was used. The party guests were advised to chew their pieces carefully because the person who found the object became the royalty of Twelfth Night.The traditional drink of tonight’s party is Wassail. The name comes from the old English term “Waes hael” which means be well. It is ale-based with spices and honey. Rather than saying “Cheers”, we wish “Wassail” at a toast.
George Washington Partied Here
In George Washington’s papers, he only mentions attending church service on Christmas Day. He often spent the rest of day working on the year-end business matters of his plantation.
For Twelfth Night though, he and Martha often entertained groups of relatives and friends throughout that day. Part of the reason for the large parties was to celebrate their anniversary. They were married in Williamsburg, Virginia on Twelfth Night in 1759.
To give you an idea of how big a party the Washingtons threw, among Martha papers is her recipe for a Twelfth Night cake that included 40 eggs, four pounds of sugar, and five pounds of dried fruits.
Twelve Drummers Drumming
|Today’s gifts are Twelve Drummers Drumming representing the twelve articles of the Apostle’s Creed.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” ~ Saint Jerome