Things That Can Ruin the Liturgical Experience

My family and I have had the opportunity to travel a bit, which is a blessing. With those travels, we have attended Mass at various local parishes. So, reading Jeffrey Tucker’s “Five Ways to Ruin the Mass” kind of struck a chord in me. A few times we have found ourselves in the middle of a Mass feeling a little confused and uncertain as to whether we are actually in attending a Roman Catholic Mass. There are certainly some things that can ruin the liturgical experience. The author captures exactly the things that lead me and my husband to feel this way–celebrants improvising liturgical texts, politicized prayer of the faithful, replacement of Mass propers.

The Holy Mass is the central act of Catholic worship. For this very reason, I believe that it is improper for anyone to change any of the details of the the Catholic Mass according to his own penchant. I would describe the traditional Catholic Mass as mysterious, glorious, reverent, awe-inspiring, and holy, and  I would like for it to be this way forever. Wouldn’t you? What are some things that can ruin the liturgical experience in your opinion?

Thanksgiving Traditions: How Does Your Family Spend the Holiday?

With it being Monday of a holiday week I figured that I would post about the Thanksgiving traditions of my family. A recent post titled, “Holiday Traditions” from Dad’s Round Table sparked my creativity on this one. One Thanksgiving tradition in my family is the post-meal Thanksgiving touch football game. Getting up and moving around after you eat is a great way to stop that food hangover that often kicks in during the second NFL game on Thanksgiving. We always divide up the teams as parents vs. kids to make it interesting and exciting. The kids get so hyped up for this game it is great!

Another Thanksgiving family tradition we have is the post-dessert bingo game with grandma. She shops for little prizes to give the kids and everybody gathers around for a half hour or forty five minutes to play. Both of these traditions have been going on for years in my family and I hope they never stop. In my opinion, no matter what your tradition is, if it helps your family to spend more time together its a win!

What are your family’s Thanksgiving traditions?

Thanksgiving Traditions: How Does Your Family Give Thanks

Every family has their own special Thanksgiving traditions that they take part in every year. It might be the special dessert that your aunt makes for everybody or how the family gets together for a game of bingo with grandma after dessert. My family had a kids vs. parents touch football game for many years that we all looked forward to very much. I think people should make a point this year to teach their children what being thankful for is all about. All the time families lose sight of what the holiday is truly about.

A post that I saw today on Grandparenting with a Purpose was really wonderful. It was all about teaching the younger members of your family what Thanksgiving should be all about. Giving thanks to God and spending time together are what is really important, and this post titled “What is Your Thanksgiving Family Tradition” is something that all families should read.

I’m curious, how does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? Do you have any special traditions?

The origin of the Advent Calendar

As per tradition, every year my mom buys me an advent calendar.  They’re always different, yet contain equally ridiculous themes: “Christmas Around the World,”  “Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Santa’s Workshop,”  etc.  When I was younger I only cared for advent calendars because it meant a guaranteed chocolate each day.  As I got older I more or less dismissed the calendar, and it came to be just another silly way mom showed her love.

But this year, as I prepare for yet another random calendar, I find myself pondering over the origin of the calendar.  Where and when was the advent calendar invented, and why do we need a paper calendar with perforated lines around each day; why can’t we just remember the date in our heads?

Well, according to an article on that mycatholicblog found here, the tradition of the Advent calendar is explained as such:

The term Advent comes from the Latin “adventur”, meaning arrival.The tradition of marking the Advent dates back to the early 19th century, when when religious Protestant families made a chalk line on their front door for every day in December until Christmas Eve. According to Sellmer-Verlag, the Dutch on-line museum of Advent Calendar history, the first Advent Calendar was handmade in 1851. Early Advent styles also included the Advent Candle, in which a ring or wreath of 24 candles would be used to illuminate each day until Christmas.

Sellmer-Verlag, the Dutch on-line museum of Advent Calendar history, cites the German-born Gerhard Lang as the inventor of the first mass-produced Advent Calendar. Lang was inspired by the calendars he remembered his mother making for him as a child. She would attach a candy to a hand-drawn cardboard calendar. Instead of candies, Lang’s printed version featured tiny pictures that could be affixed to each day of the Advent. Lang later produced several different versions of the calendar, including ones with little doors to open, revealing a picture for each day.

The German printing company Sankt Johannis capitalized on Lang’s idea, producing calendars with Bible verses instead of pictures behind each window. The Advent Calendar became increasingly popular in Germany and throughout Central Europe until World War II, when manufacturers were forced to shut down production due to the war rationing on cardboard.

By the 1940s, the tradition of the Advent Calendar had jumped the Atlantic Ocean and taken root in American culture. Here, the first chocolate-filled calendars were sold in the late 1950s.

Still, I’ve come to realize that despite the theme of the particular advent calendar, the most important factor is that all advent calendars put just a bit more emphasis the upcoming day of December 25th.  Ultimately, it’s up to all of us to remember the true meaning of the holiday, and why Christmas is celebrated.  But hey, if we can do that and eat some chocolate, why not!