The Holy House of Loreto

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The Holy House of Loreto
Feast of the Translation: December 10

Eighteen miles south of Ancona, and about three miles from the Adriatic coast of Italy, stands the city of Loreto (also spelled Loretto) on the summit of a hill. A vast basilica with a great dome forms the most treasured of all the Pope’s “extraterritorial” Vatican State properties, enshrining, as it does, one of the most sacred and important of all Our Lady’s Shrines — the Home of the Holy Family, “the Holy House of Loreto.” Written at the door of the basilica are these words: “The whole world has no place more sacred… For here was the Word made Flesh, and here was born the Virgin Mother…” On entering the basilica, one finds beneath the central dome, and just behind the high altar, a rectangular edifice of white marble, richly adorned with statues. The white marble, however, forms only a protective crust. The contrast between the exterior richness and the poverty of the interior is startling. Inside are the plain, rough walls of a cottage of great antiquity, thirty feet long by fifteen feet wide and about fifteen feet high. In the center of the House of Our Lady, there is a replica of a wooden statue of the Madonna. The original one, made of cedar of Lebanon, arrived at Loreto together with the house, but has since been destroyed. Continue reading

Feast of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Feast of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

SO great are the advantages we reap from the incarnation of the Son of God, and so incomprehensible is the goodness which he hath displayed in this wonderful mystery, that to contemplate it, and to thank and praise him for the same, ought to be the primary object of all our devotions, and the employment of our whole lives. In the feast of the Conception of the immaculate Virgin Mother of God we celebrate the joyful dawning of that bright day of mercy, the first appearance which that most glorious of all pure creatures made in the world, with those first seeds of grace which produced the most admirable fruit in her soul. Continue reading

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

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IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Church’s Year
Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

On this day and the ensuing eight days, the Catholic Church celebrates with special solemnity the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What does the Catholic Church understand by the Immaculate Conception?

By the Immaculate Conception she does not understand that great grace by which Mary preserved herself pure from every, even the least, actual sin; for, as concerns this, the Church has long since declared that Mary never sinned: nor does she understand by it her continual virginity, for it has been for a long time a doctrine of faith that both before and after the birth of her divine Son Mary remained a pure virgin; nor yet that she was sanctified before birth,; as were the Prophets Jeremias and John the Baptist, who were both conceived in sin, but by a special grace of God were released from it before their birth; neither does she understand by it the conception of Christ from the Holy Ghost, that is, that Mary unstained conceived the Son of God of the Holy Ghost; and without the assistance of man, for this was always the unalterable doctrine of the Church: she does understand by it that exalted favor, that unshared privilege, by which the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moments of her conception, by a special grace and favor on the part of God in reference to the merits of Jesus, our Saviour, was preserved from every stain of original sin. Continue reading

ST. LEOCADIA

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ST. LEOCADIA, Virgin, Martyr.

ST. LEOCADIA was a native of Toledo, and was apprehended by an order of Dacian, the cruel governor under Diocletian in 304. Hearing of the martyrdom of St. Eulalia, she prayed that God would not prolong her exile, but unite her speedily with her holy friend in His glory. Her prayer was heard, and she happily expired in prison. Three famous churches in Toledo bear her name, and she is honored as principal patroness of that city. In one of those churches most of the councils of Toledo were held. Her relics were kept in that church with great respect, till, in the incursions of the Moors, they were conveyed to Oviedo, and some years afterward to the abbey of St. Guislain, near Mons in Hainault. They were finally carried back to Toledo with great pomp, and placed in the great church there on the 26th of April, 1589.

Reflection.—Were we not blinded by the world and the enchantment of its follies, the near prospect of eternity, the uncertainty of the hour of our death, and the repeated precepts of Christ would produce in us the same fervent dispositions which they did in the primitive Christians.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894].
December 9.

Saint Ambrose

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Saint Ambrose

Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
(340-397)

When in the year 369 Saint Ambrose, the young son of a Roman Senator, was sent by Probus, the Prefect of Italy, to the large province of Liguria Emilia in Italy, the officer said to him, Go and act not as a judge, but as a bishop. Ambrose, though not Christian, had already resisted by his probity the corrupting influence of the Roman youth of his day. In Liguria he showed himself to be clement as directed, and his great erudition also became well known to the inhabitants of the region. In the year 374 he was already governor of the province, at the moment when at Milan, in this same region, a bishop was needed for that great see. Since the heretics in Milan were many and fierce, he went to preserve order during the election of the new prelate. Though he was still only a catechumen, it was the Will of God that the provincial governor be chosen by acclamation. Despite his protestations and his subsequent flight from Milan when they were not accepted, he was found, baptized and consecrated for the archiepiscopal see.
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