Christmas Novena

“Happy new year!” Dad greeted me this morning. Advent has arrived, the first day of the liturgical year, the time to remember the waiting of Israelites for the coming of the Messiah, and prepare for Christmas. One of the ways I’m getting ready is by saying the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena, which I have heard of but never done before. Though its not technically a novena, it consists of saying this beautiful prayer 15 times a day from Nov 30, (St. Andrew’s day), until Christmas:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [State your intention(s) here…] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

This seems like a good way to keep continuously in mind the true reason of Christmas on mind throughout the day, and I strung together some plastic purple beads together to keep track of the number of times I’ve said it. I’m looking forward to starting it Tuesday.

Association of the Living Rosary

A few days ago I received a thick packet in the mail and I opened it hastily. It was from the Universal Living Rosary Association, which has over 11 million members all praying a single decade of the rosary daily. When I got the envelope open, I couldn’t find the card which had my assigned decade amidst all the pamphlets and holy cards of Saint Philomena, the patroness of the organization and also my confirmation saint. I found it eventually, however, and my decade is the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven. If you would like to enroll and be assigned a decade, you can visit


Feast of Saint Philomena


St. Philomena is my confirmation saint, so I was very happy to hear that our priest was having a special mass on her feast day, August 11, and that there would be a blessing with a first class relic (part of Philomena’s bone) and the oil that burns before her tomb afterwards. It was in a beautiful little church in the town of Salem about forty minutes away, and our whole family drove out for the mass.


The altar is decked in red and gold in honor of Philomena's martyrdom.

The Carmelite nuns made this special Saint Philomena vestment.

The Carmelite nuns made this special Saint Philomena vestment.

Alexander with a holy card of Philomena.

Alexander with a holy card of Philomena.

After mass we were anointed with the oil, and then had a chance to kiss the relic. Alexander was a little confused when it was his turn to kiss the relic, and opened his mouth instead. I think he thought he was about to receive his First Holy Communion. Fortunately, Dad was next to him and he told Alex what he was supposed to do.


The anointing with the oil. (Different than the anointing of the sick)


Daniel waits for his turn.


The end procession, with Landon at the front.

After Mass, I took a close up picture of the pretty statue of St. Philomena and her relic.




Maundy Thursday


I cooked lamb again this year for Maundy Thursday, in remembrance that Jesus was celebrating the Passover with his disciples at the Last Supper. I also found recipes for the other traditional Passover dishes. I found a picture of what a dish of Passover foods looks like (there’s a very specific way to set it all up) and Mom and I replicated it:



Ash Wednesday Supper


I tried making pretzels for our Ash Wednesday supper a few years ago, which turned out to be a total flop. This year I abandoned the idea and made some oatcakes instead, and we ate them with butter and cheese. Well, most of us ate them that way, Dad had his with peanut butter, and he liked them.



Feast of St. Philomena


Today, August 11, is the feast day of my confirmation saint, St. Philomena. 


We beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant us the pardon of our sins by the intercession of Saint , virgin and martyr, who was always pleasing in Thy sight by her eminent chastity and by the profession of every virtue. Amen.

Illustrious virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena, behold me prostrate before the throne whereupon it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I entreat thee to intercede for me with God, from the heights of Heaven deign to cast a glance upon thy humble client! Spouse of Christ, sustain me in suffering, fortify me in temptation, protect me in the dangers surrounding me, obtain for me the graces necessary to me, and in particular 
(Here specify your petition).

Above all, assist me at the hour of my death. Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us. Amen.

O God, Most Holy Trinity, we thank Thee for the graces Thou didst bestow upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, and upon Thy handmaid Philomena, through whose intercession we implore Thy Mercy. Amen.