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Daily Catholic Question

Why is the celebration of holy days and feasts different from place to place?

Over the centuries traditions and customs regarding feasts or holy days of obligation have varied from nation to nation. They have also varied in the United States. In the early years of colonization, dioceses like San Francisco and New Orleans followed the liturgical calendars of the founding nations: Spain and France. Under British rule, Roman Catholics of the United States observed 36 feasts of obligation kept in England. In 1777 Pope Pius VI reduced the holy days of obligation for England and its colonies to 11. And in 1789 Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first U.S. bishop, removed the obligation from the feast of England’s patron, St. George.

In our time, before Vatican II, the U.S. bishops had obtained approval to observe just six of 10 feasts of obligation in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. After Vatican II, with the publication of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the earlier revision of the liturgical calendar, there was much discussion in this country of what feasts or solemnities should be observed as days of obligation. Canon 1246, #2, of the new Code permits the bishops’ conference, with prior approval of the apostolic see, to suppress the obligation of some feasts in the Code or transfer their celebration to a Sunday.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 4/29/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 5/1/2013


Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Heavenly Father, I am sure there are frequently tiny miracles where you protect us and are present to us although you always remain anonymous. Help me appreciate how carefully you watch over me and my loved ones all day long, and be sensitive enough to stay close to you. I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.

 
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