Philip’s fast

40 Days of Advent Meditations

According to the Byzantine Catholic Rite

By Catherine Moran, Ph.D.



Why is it called Philip’s Fast

Byzantine Advent Traditions

Mediations and readings for the 40 days of Advent


Appendix A, B, C and D



In western liturgical tradition, the word advent, the coming of Christ, is the name given to the four weeks before Christmas. The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means arrival. St. Jerome, in the Latin Vulgate, also used this word to translate the Greek word, parousia, which in the New Testament refers to the Second Coming of Christ. Advent then is a time to reflect on two advents, or arrivals of Christ. The first being the commemoration of His birth in Bethlehem and the other being the preparation for his second coming.

The origin of advent traces its roots in both the western and eastern churches in the 4th century. It begins the same time every year, November 15th and is called in the Eastern Rite Catholic Church Philip’s fast, since it begins on the feast of St. Philip. It is also known as the Nativity Fast, Winter Fast, and Christmas Lent.

Advent as we know it in the Western culture began in the 4th century when Pope St. Gregory I shortened the length of the fast and the advent season to the first four Sundays before Christmas. It was at this time that he changed the Advent Season to also begin the Church Year for the Western Church while the Eastern rite Catholics retained the Church year on September 1st. During the Protestant revolt, the Protestants retained Advent, but rejected the fasting part.

Later the Roman Catholic or Western Church also no longer fasted during Advent.

The celebration of the birth of our Lord was celebrated in middle of the fourth century. The Church at Rome was the first to celebrate our Lord's birth on the date of December 25th. St. John Chrysostom stated that the Roman Christians knew the date of Christ's birth since the imperial city archives were accessible to them.

According to the sermons of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, the Eastern Church celebrated Christmas around the year 379 or 388. When St. Gregory left Constantinople, the celebration of Christ's Nativity on December 25 was stopped. In 395 Emperor Honorius reinstated the  celebration and St. John Chrysostom writes that the emperor introduced it in imitation of the Church at Rome. We first read of an advent or preparatory period before Christmas mentioned in a decree of the Council of Saragossa (380). The Council Fathers stated that every Christian should attend daily liturgy from December 17 until the Theophany (January 6th). At the Synod of Mac (581) in France it was decreed that from November 11, the day of St. Martin, until December 24 every Christian should fast 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday).

The present advent season was established at the Council of Constantinople (1166). The Council decreed that the fast would begin on November 15 and last until December 24. This established another 40 day fast.

The advent fast is often called "Phillip's Fast" because it begins on the day after the feast of St. Phillip. The Church introduced this fast to prepare the faithful to celebrate the birth of Christ. The regulations for the fast were more lenient than the great fast of lent. Only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were days of strict fasting without meat, dairy products or oil.

This ancient fast not only prepares us for the birth of Christ but also prepares us for the feast of Theophany. Unfortunately this fast has fallen away due to the extreme commercialism of the Christmas season. Theologically, the birth and the public ministry of Christ are linked together. This fast was created to prepare us to receive Christ into the world and then begin His  public ministry at His baptism at the River Jordan. At the Nativity on December 25th, we begin to prepare for the feast of Theophany on January 6th. Unlike the commercial world we live in, Christmas does not end on December 26th, but moves forward to the feast of the Theophany. It is during this feast that we experience the beginning of Christ's revelation of the mysteries of God. This event points out the Mystery of the Trinity.

There are several ways to prepare ourselves for the Birth of Jesus during this Advent season. This is by prayer, fasting, almsgiving and love.

1. Prayer - During Advent, whether you follow the Eastern Rite tradition or the Western Rite tradition, try spending at least 15 minutes in the morning and evening in prayer each day. Your morning prayer can be scripture readings and meditations. You may use the readings and meditations in this book. The evening prayer can be the family rosary.

In the Eastern tradition, we pray the Jesus prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” You can recite this prayer many times during the day. It helps center you and keep your thoughts focused on God. Display your nativity scene in a prominent place in the home, or you can display the icon of the Nativity. You can then take time during the day and meditate on the mysteries surrounding the story of Christ’s Birth. You can also invite your family and friends over to pray with you.

2. Fasting: The fasting guidelines for the Eastern Rite Catholics for Advent are in appendix

B. During advent you can abstain from meat and dairy products on Monday,

Wednesday and Friday. Dairy is allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays but still no meat. Again, women who are pregnant or nursing and children are exempt from fasting. Small sacrifices though, can be made, such as substituting fish for meat, and abstaining from certain foods/drinks like soda, alcoholic beverages, candy and desserts. You can also eat enough at each meal that is sufficient to meet your nutritional needs, without feeling full. Fasting can also take other forms, such as refraining from entertainment –television, movies, radio, internet, and reading novels. This is also a time to practice virtues and eliminate your vices. You can do this by refraining from gossiping and other uncharitable habits.

3. Almsgiving: You can give your time, talent and gifts to your parish or a special charity.

Clean your house and give any excessive items or possessions and give them to poor and needy, for example your local St. Vincent’s DePaul society. Spend less on gifts for family and friends and give the money you would have spent to your local charities.

4. Love: Meditate on the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes and try to practice one or two each week. Examine your conscience every night before bedtime, asking for God’s forgiveness and the graces you need to improve yourself. Find opportunities to share your faith with others.

Byzantine Advent Traditions

Some of the Byzantine Advent Traditions are in appendix B- the oplatky and the Christmas Eve dinner. Eastern Rite Catholics have several beautiful traditions during Advent. A candle holder in the shape of a six-pointed Star of David holds six red candles for each week before Christmas. There is one white candle in the center to be lit on Christmas Eve. We can see with this tradition, where the Western Rite tradition of their advent wreath developed. There is also a 40-day Advent Calendar which gives children a surprise for each day before Christmas. Finally there is a “St. Philip’s Chain” made out of strips of paper containing good deeds or prayers offered by the children during every day during Advent. On Christmas Eve it can be used to decorate the Christmas tree.

The time before Christmas is meant to be spent in quiet and prayerful expectation. It is a time of waiting, fasting and prayer. The secular culture of today’s world has removed this aspect of advent and replaced it with parties, frenzied shopping and a loss of the sense of the sacred time that this season represents. The feasting for Eastern Catholics begins at Christmas and lasts for 12 days. This is the time for the parties, family and friends and gift giving. If you have never been to an Eastern Rite Church, especially during the Christmas Season, then please come to partake of our breathtakingly beautiful liturgy and traditions. Meditations and reading for the 40 days of Advent. These meditations were written during my holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

1st Day:

November15 -

Luke 1:26-35

And in the 6th month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the Virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in, and said to her: “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.” Mary having heard, was troubled by his words and wondered what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: “Fear not, Mary, for you have found grace with God. Behold you shall conceive in your womb and shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give Him the throne of David, his father and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of His Kingdom there shall be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel: “How shall this be done because I know not man?” And the angel said to her: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you and therefore also the holy shall be born of thee and shall be called the Son of God.”

Meditation: It is at this point in salvation history that God intervenes and our salvation begins. It is fitting that the first day of advent’s meditations begins with this scripture reading. All of  heaven held their breath in anticipation of Mary’s ‘fiat’, for with her ‘yes’ we are saved. I cannot conceive of what would have happened if Mary had said “no” to God’s request. God would never have imposed His Will upon Mary’s will. This “yes” had to come freely from her lips. Just as Eve’s refusal to obey God’s command brought sin into the world. So too Mary’s (the second Eve) fiat brought salvation into the world. A lovely, unknown and humble maiden would now crush the proud head of Satan. God loves the humble of heart and it is the humble ones He uses to accomplish great things. Something to ponder upon is: There will never be anyone who will ever surpass Mary’s humility.

Pray today for a humble spirit – so that at Christ’s birth you can rejoice with heaven.

“Nothing is difficult for the humble” St. Faustina

“The holy fathers teach that there are two kinds of humility: to regard oneself as lower than everyone else, and to ascribe all one’s achievement to God. The first is the beginning, the second the consummation.” St. Gregory of Sinai, The Philokalia

2nd Day

November 16

Matthew 1: 18-24

Now the generation of Christ was in this way: “When His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: ‘Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary for your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son and you shall call Him Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. Now this was done that it might be fulfilled that which the Lord spoke by the prophet saying:

‘Behold a virgin shall be with child and bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which means, God is with us.’ And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took unto him his wife.

Meditation: This particular scripture passage has many points to ponder and meditate upon.

1. What the term ‘just man’ means according to Jewish understanding. The Jewish term for just is righteousness and it means: righteous, integrity, equity, justice, straightness, upright, just, straight, innocent, true, and sincere. It is best understood as the product of upright, moral action in accordance with some form of divine plan.

2. What the word espousal means according to Jewish customs - Betrothed, or engaged to be married. There was commonly an interval of ten or twelve months, among the Jews, between the contract of marriage and the celebration of the nuptials (see Genesis

24:55; Judges 14:8; Deuteronomy 20:7), yet such was the nature of this engagement, that unfaithfulness to each other was deemed adultery. See Deuteronomy 22:25,

Deuteronomy 22:28.

3. Mary’s trust in God and her grief over Joseph’s dilemma was that we must always trust God, in good times and especially the bad times.

Pray today for the grace to always trust in God.

“Be trustful, firmly believing that God always provides for souls who trust in him. Then the devil is powerless, because the power of the trust in Him.” St. Catherine of Sienna “My God, let me know and love you, so that I may find my happiness in you.” St. Augustine of Hippo

3rd Day

November 17

Genesis 12: 1-2

And the Lord said to Abram: “Go forth out of your country and from your family and out of your father’s house and come into the land which I shall show you and I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and magnify our name and you shall be blessed.”

Meditation: Aside from God’s initial promise of a Messiah to Adam and Eve to save us from sin, we see here God initiating this promise through Abram. Again as with Mary, God did not force Abram, but waited on his free will to respond to God’s call. How often do we hear God’s call in our everyday lives and sadly, how often do we turn our backs on God’s call? How often do we say, ‘no’ to God’s call? God calls everyone to the greatness of sanctity. We may never be called to the great calling of founding a new nation like Abraham, but we are never the less called to be holy. This call comes to us at every moment of our lives,but we only have to be quiet to hear it and like Mary and Abraham, to say “yes” to this call.

St. Padre Pio to the Ventrella Sisters , March 8, 1918 wrote: God wants to speak to you through the thorns, the burning bushy, the clouds, the lightening, as He did with Moses, but we prefer Him to speak to us through a sweet, gentle breeze as He did with Elijah. But what do you fear, daughters? Listen to Our Lord as He speaks to Abraham as well as to us: “Fear not,…I am your shield’. (Genesis 15:1)

Today ponder on using your free will to say yes to God’s call to holiness.

“Do not forget that holiness consists not in extraordinary actions, but in performing your duties towards God, yourself and others well.” St. Maximilian Kolbe

“What happens will be what God desires. We are in the power of God, not in our own power.”

St. Perpetua, The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity

4th day

November 18

Genesis 17: 5-6

Neither shall your name be called Abram, but you shall be called Abraham: because I have made of you a father of many nations. And I shall make you increase exceedingly and I will make nations of you and kings shall come out of you.

Meditation: The change of Abraham’s name is very symbolic of an inner conversion – a metanoia – changing of oneself. Just as Abram’s name change initiated his new chosen path by God, so too our inner conversion is a change from a life of sin to walking the narrow path of holiness to God. This change is never easy, for the evil one never sleeps and is ever vigilant in his efforts to drag us back into the darkness of sin. Christmas is the light of God entering into the darkened world of sin. To prepare ourselves for His coming, we must change and reject from sin. By keeping our eyes focused on God, this change is possible.

Ask yourself often today, “Am I willing to change – so that I no longer walk in the darkness of sin but in the grace and light of God?”

“When you are in the state of grace, you are free.” St Ignatius of Loyola

“He would never come and knock at the door unless he wished to enter; if he does not always enter, it is we who are to blame.” St. Ambrose

5th day

November 19

Genesis 17: 15-16

And God said to Abraham: “Sarai, your wife, shall not be called Sarai, but Sarah. And I will bless her and of her I will give you a son whom I will bless and he shall become nations and kings and people shall spring from him.”

Meditation: God’s way is indeed a mystery; Abraham and Sarah are proof of this. From this aged, childless couple, God promises that nations shall spring forth. This was the mystery –  how could this be accomplished? Trusting in God’s word is never easy. This is verified in this scripture reading. Abraham and Sarah both doubted that this great promise would ever happen. Yet it did, because we can never completely see the fabric of God’s will as it unfolds.

Many times we have trouble seeing the string that is woven into the fabric. In our limited finite minds, we often think we know the answers, when in reality we know nothing. When I was young, I use to play a game with my friends. One person would put on a blind fold and then was turned around many times. The other person would then guide the blind folded person around outside. Eventually they would stop and asked the question, “Where are you?” Before this happened, the blind folded person would have to be willingly lead by his friend, trusting that he would keep him safe. Many times when I was being led around, I would resist following because in my darkened mind, I was sure I was going to be pulled into a wall or step into a ditch. The guide would have to say, “Come on it’s safe, I’m not going to hurt you.” In the end, I always guessed wrong about where I thought I was headed. This game correlates with our relationship with God. We must blindly place our trust in Him and let Him gently guide us on our road to Heaven so that when the angel of death gently removes the blind fold from our eyes, to our surprise will be revealed the joy and beauty of heaven.

Ponder today on the trust we need to follow God blindly, like Abraham and Sarah did. “Cast yourself often into His arms or into His divine Heart, and abandon yourself to all His designs upon you.” St. Margaret Mary

“When mind and heart are united in prayer and the soul is wholly concentrated in a single desire for God, then the heart grows warm and the light of Christ begins to shine and fills the inward man with peace and joy. We should thank the Lord for everything and give ourselves up to His will; we should also offer Him all our thoughts and words, and strive to make everything serve only His good pleasure."

-St. Seraphim of Sarov

6th Day

November 20

Genesis 21: 1-3

And the lord visited Sarah as he had promised and fulfilled what he had spoken. And she conceived and bore a son in her old age, at the time that God had foretold her. And Abraham called the name of his son, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.

Meditation: The imagery in this scripture reading is beautiful to meditate upon. Sarah in her old age bore the son promised her, who would go on to father many nations. Mary, a young maiden, gave birth to a Son who would save all nations. One would be the father of nations, while the other would save those nations from their sins.

Sarah’s old age at the birth of Isaac represented the long hold that Satan had on mankind before the birth of Christ. While Mary’s youth at the birth of her Son, represented that the dawn of our redemption and salvation was now at hand. The angels rejoiced at the birth of Jesus. The long time of darkness was at an end. The light of the world had come - Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Ponder today on God’s immense love for us, that in the fullness of time He sent His Only begotten Son to save us from our sins.

“God loves, He desires nothing else than to be loved; for He loves only that He may be loved.”

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

“Whoever loves God, loves his neighbor.” St. Basil the Great

7th Day

November 21 – Presentation of Mary in the Temple

TROPARION - Today is the prelude of the benevolence of God and the herald of the salvation of man, for the Virgin plainly appears in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also with full voice cry out to her: "Hail, Fulfillment of the Creator's Plan"

KONTAKION - The most pure Temple of the Savior; The precious Chamber and Virgin; The sacred Treasure of the glory of God, Is presented today to the house of the Lord. She brings with her the grace of the Spirit, Therefore, the angels of God praise her: "Truly this woman is the abode of heaven."

Genesis 26: 1-5

And when a famine came into the land, after the barrenness which had happened in the days of Abraham; Isaac went to Abemelich, king of the Palestines to Garara (2200 B.C.)

And the Lord appeared to him and said: “Go not down into Egypt, but stay in the land that I shall tell thee. And sojourn in it, and I will be with thee and I will bless thee: for to you and your seed I will give all these countries, to fulfill the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will multiple your seed like the stars in the heavens: and I will give to you the posterity of all these countries, and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blest, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my precepts and commandments and observed my ceremonies and laws. So Isaac lived in Gerara.

Meditation: God’s unfolding plan for our salvation continued with Isaac. Again it was contingent upon Isaac’s free will in doing what God asked of him. Like his father, Abraham, Isaac obeyed God’s commands. Like his father, he could not see or understand the complete picture, but with faith he believed. St. Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews writes of this faith chapter 11 verses: 1-35. St Paul opens with: Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.” I strongly recommend reading the complete passage on faith. (Heb 11:1-35 in appendix A) Faith needs nurturing and must be lived from one moment to the next. Faith is believing without seeing, accepting God’s will without understanding, walking blindly while holding God’s hand, and letting God work in your life. This is no easy task. During this advent season we must imitate Abraham and Isaac and walk in faith with God, waiting for His promises to be fulfilled in us.

Pray today for an increase in your faith.

“If you are armed with the armor of faith, nothing can harm you.” St. Francis de Sales “Faith gives wings to prayer, and without it no one can fly upward to heaven.” St. John Climacus

8th Day

November 22

Genesis 28: 1-4

And Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him saying: “Take not a wife of the stock of Canaan. But go and take a journey to Mesopotamia of Syria, to the house of Bathuel, your mother’s father and take a wife from one of the daughters of Haban, your uncle. And God Almighty bless you and make you increase and multiply you that you may be a multitude of people. And I give the blessings of Abraham to you and to your seed after you, that you may possess the land of your sojournment, which he promised to your grandfather.

Meditation: Again we read of God’s promise to Jacob, given to Abraham his grandfather, God’s plan for our redemption – begins to unfold. Many times in our lives we want and desire things from God and we want it now. But God’s time table does not always fit into our plans. We do not always see the whole picture as God does. Isaac is telling his son Jacob, that from him shall spring forth nations. He must up root himself to walk the path laid out before him. Jacob is willing and obedient to his father’s command.

Pray today for this blind obedience to do God’s will.

“Happy are those who are obedient, for God will not suffer them to go astray.” St. Francis de Sales

“In the first Adam, we offended God by not performing his command; in the second Adam we have been reconciled, becoming ‘obedient unto death.’” St. Irenaeus

9th Day

November 23

Genesis 28: 10-17

But Jacob departed Bersabee and went to Haran. And when he was come to a certain place and would rest in it after sunset, he took the stones that lay there and put them under his head and slept there. And he saw in his sleep a ladder standing upon the earth and the top touching heaven: the angels also and God ascending and descending by it; and the Lord leaning upon the ladder, saying to him: “I am the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and God of Isaac; the land where you sleep, I will give to you and your seed. And your seed shall be the dust of the earth, you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north and to the south: and in you and your seed all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed. And I will be your keeper wherever you go and will bring you back into this land and neither will I leave you, until I have accomplished all that I have said.” And when Jacob woke up he said: “Indeed the Lord is in this place and I knew it not.” And trembling he said: “How terrible is this place! This is no other but the house of God and the gate of heaven.”

Meditation: This incident in Jacob’s life shows how God interacts in our lives and His deep love for us. He is not a God who is distant from us. He is guiding, directing and loving us. The angels in Jacob’s dream are the messengers of God’s will. The word angel means messenger. These angelic spirits are constantly ascending and descending from heaven to earth. They love us very much and want to help us reach heaven. We are but travelers’ on this earthly journey to heaven.

Ponder today upon how often we get caught up in our earthly affairs, and forget our one and only goal which is heaven.

“In heaven you have all you desire.” St. Alphonsus Liguori “At the present we have a human body, but in the future we will have a celestial one.” St. Basil the Great

10th Day

November 24

Genesis 35:9-12

God appeared again to Jacob, after he returned from Mesopotamia and Syria and he blessed him, saying: “You shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name. And He called him Israel, and said to him: “I am God Almighty, increase and multiple, nations and  peoples of nations shall come from you and kings shall come from you. And the land I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give to you and your seed after you.”

Meditation: We read that God’s promise is a living promise, that He continually renews to Jacob, now called Israel. Jacob has shown God repeatedly his obedience and love. How would we have reacted if we had lived during Jacob’s time? How would we have responded to God’s call? The world at that time was under the power of Satan, without grace and no sign of redemption. The promise, I am sure, at times seemed vague and distant to Jacob. How grateful we should be, living in this grace filled time.

Pray today for the virtue of gratitude and thankfulness for the graces and blessings God has bestowed upon us.

“We should not accept in silence the benefactions of God, but return thanks for them.” St. Basil

11th Day

November 25

Genesis 46: 2-4

Israel heard God by a vision in the night calling him and saying to him: “Jacob, Jacob.” And he

answered him: “Lord, here I am.” God said to him: “I am the most almighty God of your father;

fear not, go down into Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with

you there and will bring you back again. Joseph also shall put his hands upon your eyes.”


Meditation: Israel is now given the command to enter into Egypt but not before he is promised

to return to the land promised him by God. In all of his important discussions, Israel has always

consulted with God first. This is so important to remember. How often do we talk to God in

prayer about the important decisions we must make? Our Lady and St. Joseph always prayed first and then afterwards did the will of God. The Holy Family is our model to imitate. God is there and waiting to be consulted. Unfortunately how many people do not seek God’s help?

Always remember this very important lesson- pray and then react.

Pray today for the grace to be faithful in my prayers.

“If we are calm and persevering, we shall find not only ourselves, but our souls, and with that, God Himself.” St. Padre Pio

“The essence of prayer is therefore the spiritual lifting of the heart toward God.” St. Theophan

the Recluse

12th Day

November 26

Genesis 48: 1-5

After these things, it was told to Joseph that his father was sick; and he set out to go to him, taking his two sons, Manasses and Ephraim.

And Israel was told: “Behold our son Joseph comes to you.” And being strengthened he sat on his bed. And when Joseph came into him, he said: “God Almighty appeared to me at Luza, which is the land of Canaan and he blessed me; and he said: “I will cause you to increase and multiply, and I will make of you a multitude of people and I will give this land to you and your seed after you for an everlasting possession.” So your two sons, who were born to you in Egypt before I came to you, shall be mine. Ephraim and Manasses shall be reputed to me as Ruben and Simeon.”

Meditation: We read here of God’s promises being made to Israel and being handed down to Joseph and his two sons. Time is all present to God and He simultaneously sees all things and knows all things. Yet God’s omniscient plan is gradually unfolded and revealed to His chosen people. This is God’s plan of redemption and His great love and mercy for us. This is the hope and love of the Christmas season and especially the Advent season.

Pray today for the gift of hope.

“Hope is the power behind love…When hope fails, so does love.” St. John Climacus

13th Day

November 27

Genesis 48: 15-16

And Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph and said: “God in whose sight my fathers, Abraham and Isaac walked, God that feeds me from youth until this day. The angel that delivered me from all evils, bless these boys. And let my name be called upon them, and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they grow into a multitude upon the earth.”

Meditation: Jacob’s blessing is a precedent of the great blessing of the birth of Jesus, Our Savior. Just as Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons that they would multiply and fill the earth, so to, Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection would be the cause of a multitude of souls being saved. Through Jesus, many would come into the fold of Holy Mother Church.

Pray today for the grace of the conversion and salvation of souls through the world. “Pray, pray especially for souls who have no one to pray for them.” Our Lady of Fatima

14th Day

November 28

Genesis 49: 1-2, 8, 10

And Jacob called his sons and said to them: “Gather yourselves together that I may tell you the things that shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together and hear O’ ye sons of Jacob, hearken to Israel your father.

Juda, you shall your brethren praise. Your hands shall be on the necks of your enemies. The sons of thy father shall bow down to thee. The scepter shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he comes that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations.”

Meditation: Jacob is foretelling the events that will occur with the birth of Jesus. Juda’s tribe would be the strength of Israel until the birth of Jesus. At this time, due to the Jewish rejection of Jesus, the scepter would be taken away from them.. We must carefully prepare ourselves spiritually for the birth of Our Savior.

Pray today for the grace of perseverance.

“The crown will be given neither to beginners, nor to the advanced, but to the victorious, to those who persevere to end.” St. Margaret Mary

“Whatever good is to be attained, struggle is necessary. So do not fear temptations, but rejoice in them, for they lead to achievement. God helps and protects you.” St. Barsanuphius

15th Day

November 29

Genesis 49: 28-32

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. These things their father spoke to them, and he blessed every one of them with their proper blessings. And he charged them saying; “I am now going to be gathered to my people: bury me with my fathers in the double cave, which is in the field of Ephron the Hethite, over against Mamnbare in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought together with the field of Ephron the Hethite for a possession to bury in. There they buried him and Sara his wife, there was Isaac buried with Rebecca his wife; there also Lia lie buried. And when he had ended the commandments, wherewith he instructed his sons, he drew up his feet upon the bed, and died and he was gathered to people.

Meditation: Jacob’s final blessing of his twelve sons, that is the twelve tribes, is finished. He instructs his sons to bury him with his father and his wives. During this Advent season, our longing should only be for Our Savior, Jesus, for His coming and birth. While Jacob shared with his sons his desire of the physical coming of the Messiah we too should diligently prepare ourselves spiritually for the commemoration of His Holy Birth.

Pray today for the grace to be immersed in the spiritual preparation for the Advent season.

“Through the study of books one seeks God: by meditation one finds him.” St. Padre Pio

16th Day

November 30

Genesis 50: 22-25

Joseph dwelt in Egypt with all his father’s house: and he lived a hundred and ten years. And he saw the children of Ephraim to the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasses were born on Joseph’s knees. After which he told his brethren: God will visit you after my death and will make you go up out of this land, to the land which he swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And he made them swear to him saying: “God will visit you, carry my bones with you out of this place.” And he died being a hundred and ten years old and being embalmed he was laid in a coffin in Egypt.

Meditation: God’s blessing (through Jacob) to Joseph was great. He lived a hundred and ten years and lived to see the children of Ephraim to the third generation. What a blessing! He foretold that like his father Jacob, he too would be buried in the land of his fathers. A greater blessing is now given to all of us with the birth of Jesus,

Pray today for the grace to be aware of God’s great blessings God has given us.

“Render thanks to God. O great and good Creator, how much do I owe to thee, since out of my nothingness you have made me what I am. How can I ever worthily bless your holy name and thank your infinite goodness.” St. Francis de Sales

17th Day

December 1

1 Samuel 16: 1, 11-13

And the Lord said to Samuel; How long will you mourn for Saul, whom I have rejected from reigning over Israel? Fill thy horn with oil and come that I may send thee to Isai the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. And Samuel said to Isai: Are here all they sons? He answered: There remains yet a young one, who keeps the sheep. And Samuel said to Isai, send and fetch him, for we will not sit down till he comes. He sent therefore and brought him. Now he was a ruddy and beautiful to behold, and of a comely face.

And the Lord said: Arise, and anoint him, for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward; and Samuel rose up and went to Ramatha.

Meditation: With the anointing of the shepherd boy, David is made king. The Lord did not choose the oldest and strongest of David’s brothers, but instead chose David. David was the youngest and at that time, the weakest due to the birth order. It is from the royal house of David that the Messiah would be born. The unfolding of God’s plan is many times mysterious and unknown to us, but it is always a great wonder to meditate upon. In turn let us meditate how in the weak God finds strength, so that no flesh may glory in His sight.

Ponder today on how God always chooses the lowly and the humble to accomplish his great works.

“I know nothing. I was nothing. For this reason God picked me out.” St. Catherine Laboure

“The more one is humbled, the more one is exalted.” St. John Chrysostom

18th Day

December 2

2 Samuel 2: 1-4a

And after these things David consulted the Lord saying: Shall I go up into one of the cities of Juda? And the Lord said to him: Go up. And David said: Whither shall I go up? And he answered him: Into Hebron.

So David went up, and his two wives, Achinoam the Jezrahelitess and Abigail the wife of Nabal of Carmel. And the men also that were with him, David brought up every man with his household: and they abode in the town of Hebron. And the men of Juda came, and anointed David there, to be king over the house of Juda. And it was told to David that the men of Jabea Galaad had buried Saul.

Meditation: After the death of King Saul, David is anointed King. Our Lord spoke to David and instructed him where to go. Just God as spoke and directed David, He too speaks and guides us today. Like David we must be prayerful and open to hearing God’s voice. We can only do this in the silence of our hearts. God’s direction is not always as obvious as it was with David, but if we are quiet within ourselves, we will hear the gentle breeze of His voice guiding and directing us. Just as Mary accepted obediently the Will of God, so too we must model ourselves after her.

Ponder today upon how we must silence the external and internal noises that distract and pull us away from God. Advent is a time of preparation, and we cannot properly prepare our hearts for Christmas unless we find time to listen for God’s voice in the silence of our souls.

“In order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one’s soul and to keep silence; no a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God. One can speak a great deal without breaking silence, and, on the contrary, one can speak very little and be constantly breaking silence.” St. Faustina

“The lover of silence draws close to God. He talks to him in secret and God enlightens him.” St. John Climacus

19th Day

December 3

2 Samuel 5: 1-5

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron saying: Behold we are thy bone and thy flesh. Moreover yesterday also and the day before, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that did lead us out and bring in Israel: and the Lord said to thee: Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be prince over Israel. The ancients also of Israel came to the king of Hebron, and King David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David to be king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began his reign and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Juda seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned three and thirty years over all Israel and Juda.

Meditation: David reigned as King for a long time. This is symbolic of Our Divine King whose reign shall be forever. The messiah’s arrival was anxiously awaited for thousands of years.

Every generation prayed to blest to witness the Messiah’s reign of peace. Many women prayed that she would be the chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. Only one lowly and humble maiden prayed to be the handmaiden of the mother of the messiah. It was this lowly maiden; pure and immaculate, that God chose for His mother. In her humility, Mary’s acceptance of God’s Will became our redemption and salvation. Our heavenly mother’s “yes” should resound daily in our hearts during this advent season. Never let a day go by without thanking her.

Pray today for the grace of a deep and profound thankfulness for our salvation obtained by Mary’s fiat.

“She is so beautiful that to see her again one would be willing to die.” St. Bernadette

“The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God" -Saint Irenaeus, Father of the Church

20th Day

December 4- St John Damascene 676-749. The Icon or Image Doctor

1 Chronicles 13: 1-4

And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds and with all the commanders. And he said to all the assembly of Israel: If it please you; and if the words which I speak come from the Lord our God, let us send to the rest of our brethren into all the countries of Israel, and to the priests and the Levites, that dwell in the suburbs of the cities, to gather themselves to us. And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we sought it not in the days of Saul. And all the multitude answered that it should be so: for the word pleased all the people.

Meditation: At David’s request the Ark of the Covenant, is returned to Jerusalem. The ark is highly symbolic in the Old Testament. It symbolizes Christ’s Church and also Our Lady. She is this symbolic ark whose womb carried what the heavens could not contain. With the coming of the Messiah, the Old Testament is fulfilled, not replaced or abolished. The return of the ark by King David is a prefigurement of Christ our King restoring the state of grace to mankind. We are no longer held in bondage by Satan, but now freed and released by Christ. The rejoicing of Israel upon the return of the ark palls in comparison to the rejoicing of heaven upon man’s return to the state of grace.

Ponder today upon Adam and Eve’s original state of grace and their fall from grace and what Jesus and Mary paid to return man back to this state of grace.

“Oh what tenderness does God embrace a sinner that returns to him.” St. Alphonsus Liguori

“The law detects, grace alone conquers sin.” - Saint Augustine of Hippo

21st Day

December 5

1 Chronicles 16: 7-36

In that day David made Asaph the chief to give praise to the Lord with his brethren. Praise ye the Lord, and call upon his name: make known his doings among the nations. Sing to Him, yes, sing to Him: and relate all his wondrous deeds.

Praise you his holy name, let the heart of them rejoice, that seek the Lord. Seek you the Lord and his power, seek you his face evermore.

Remember his wonderful works, which he hath done, his signs and the judgments of his mouth. Oh you seed of Israel his servants, you children of Jacob his chosen.  He is the Lord our God, his judgments are in all the earth. Remember forever his covenant, the word, which he commanded to a thousand generations. The covenant which he made with Abraham, and his oath to Isaac.

Saying,To thee will I give the Land of Canaan; the lot of your inheritance. When they were but a small number, very few and sojourners in it. And they passed from nation to nation; and from kingdom to another people. He suffered no man to do them wrong: and reproved kings for their sake.

Touch not my anointed, and do no evil to my prophets. Sing you to the Lord, all the earth, show forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the gentiles, his wonders among all people.

For the Lord is great and exceedingly to be praised, for he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Praise and magnificence are before him, strength and joy in his place.

Bring you to the Lord, O you families of the nations, bring you to the Lord glory and empire. Give to the Lord glory to his name, bring up sacrifice and come you in his sight; and adore the Lord in holy becomingness.

Let all the earth be moved at his presence, for he hath founded the world immoveable. Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations; the Lord hath reigned.

Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; let the fields rejoice and all things that are in them.

Then shall the trees of the wood give praise before the Lord; because he is come to judge the earth.

Give you glory to the lord, for h is good; for his mercy endures forever. And say you: Save us, O God our savior, and gather us together and deliver us from the nations that we may give glory to thy holy name and may rejoice in singing thy praises.

Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel from eternity to eternity; and let all the people say amen, and a hymn to God.

Meditation: This passage is the psalm of praise written by David when the ark was placed in the tabernacle. During the middle of our advent journey it is good to be joyful and to sing the praises of God – reflecting, as David, on all the wonderful things God has done for us in His mercy, love and goodness. This advent is a time to reflect on this great mystery and to continue to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus.

Pray today that you will always remember to thank God everyday for His great compassion and mercy for us.

“His mercy is so great that He has forbidden none to strive to come and drink of this fountain of life. Blessed be he forever.” St. Teresa of Avila

“We should not accept in silence the benefactions of God, but return thanks for them.’ St. Basil

22nd Day

December 5

1 Kings 2: 1-5

When the time of David’s death drew near, he gave these instructions to his son Solomon: “I am going the way of all mankind. Take courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the Lord your God, following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do wherever you turn, and the Lord may fulfill the promise he made on my behalf when he said, “If your sons so conduct themselves that they remain faithful to me with their whole heart and with their whole soul, you shall always have someone of your line on the throne of Israel. You yourself know what Joab, son of Zeruiah, did to me when he slew the two generals of Israel’s armies, Abner, son of Ner and Amasa, son of Jether. He took revenge for the blood of war in a time of peace and put bloodshed without provocation on the belt about my waist and the sandal on my foot.

Meditation: David, prior to his is death, puts his house in order. He gave his son, Solomon, a blessing and the same promise God made to him that was contingent on his faithfulness and obedience to God. We are given this same advice, and are expected to be faithful and obedient to all God’s commands. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus, but it is also a time to reflect on our faithfulness and obedience to God.

Pray to today for the grace to be faithful and obedient to all God asks of us.

“Obedience is more pleasing to God than all the sacrifices of penitential works, or of alms deeds, which we can offer to him. St. Alphonsus Liguori

“In obedience our own will is sacrifice.” St. Gregory I, the Great

23rd Day

December 7

1 Chronicles 22: 1, 6-11

Then David said: “This is the house of God, and this altar for the holocaust of Israel. And he called for Solomon his son: and commanded him to build a house to the Lord the God of Israel.

And David said to Solomon: “My son, it was my desire to have built a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word came of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Thou has shed much blood, and fought many battles, so thou canst not build a house to my name, after shedding so much blood before. The son that shall be born to thee shall be a most quiet man: for I will make him rest from all his enemies round about him and therefore he shall be called Peaceable and I will give peace and quietness to Israel all his days. He shall build a house to my name, and he shall be a son to me, and I will be a father to him. I will establish the throne to his kingdom over Israel forever.’ Now then, my son, the Lord be with thee and do you prosper, and build the house to the Lord thy God, as he has spoken to thee.”

Meditation: David’s desire to build a temple for God is denied him. Solomon is given duty.

How many times have we wished to do something and could not do it or accomplish it? Did we accept this disappointment gracefully or did we pray on the matter to discern God’s will or did we balk, whine and complain? We all desire great things, yet what good is this, if they are not of God? Seek first His Divine will, and then obey. Jesus always sought the Will of the Father before acting. What a beautiful example we have to imitate.

Pray today for the grace to always seek out the will of God in our lives.

“The demon has only one door by which to enter into our soul: the will; there are no secret doors.” St. Padre Pio

24th Day

December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception

TROPARION - Today the bonds of barrenness are loosed: God has heard the prayers of Joachim and Anne, and has promised against all hope the birth of the Maiden of God; from whom the Infinite Himself is to be born as a man, He who had ordered the Angel to cry out to her, "Hail! O full of grace, the Lord is with you!"

KONTAKION - Today the universe rejoices, for Anne has conceived the Mother of God in a manner provided by God Himself: for Anne has borne the one who will bear the Word in a manner beyond all telling.

1 Chronicles 29: 23-30

Then for the second time they proclaimed David’s son Solomon king, and they anointed him as the Lord’s prince, and Zadok as priest. Thereafter Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king in place of his father David: he prospered and all Israel obeyed him. All the leaders and warriors, and also all the other sons of King David swore allegiance to King Solomon. And the Lord exalted Solomon greatly in the eyes of all Israel, giving him a glorious reign such as had not Thus David, the son of Jesse, had reigned over all Israel. The time that he reigned over Israel was forty years: in Hebron he reigned seven years and in Jerusalem thirty-three years. He died at a ripe old age, rich in years and wealth and glory and his son Solomon succeeded him as king.

Now the deeds of King David, first and last, can be found written in the history of Samuel the seer, the history of Nathan the prophet, and the history of Gad the seer, together with the particulars of his reign and valor, and of the events that affected the kingdoms of the surrounding lands.

Meditation: Solomon is anointed king of Israel. His reign was one of great peace and joy. His wisdom was great and renowned throughout the know world. This is a prefigurement of Jesus’ kingdom. Our Lord’s kingdom, however unlike Solomon’s, will never end and Jesus’ wisdom is infinite. Christ’s wisdom is first manifested in the gospel of Luke with the child Jesus in the temple. Luke’s gospel states that he grew in grace and wisdom. The Jewish people, who lived  during Solomon’s reign, were indeed blest, but today we have one who is greater than Solomon, whose reign of peace and infinite wisdom will last forever.

Pray today for the grace to grow in wisdom and grace before God.

“Wisdom is God himself – such is his glorious origin.” St. Louis de Montfort

“If any man be wise, let him show his wisdom to good deeds, not by words.” St Clement of


25th Day

December 9

Psalm 132: 11-18

The Lord swore to David a firm promise from which he will not withdrew: “Your own offspring I will set upon your throne; If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I shall reach them, their sons, too forever shall sit upon your throne.” For the Lord has chosen Zion; he prefers her for his dwelling.

Zion is my resting place forever; in her I will dwell, for I prefer her. I will bless her with abundant provision, her poor I will fill with bread. Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her faithful ones shall shout merrily for joy. In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David; I will place a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon him my crown shall shine.”

Meditation: Advent is a time of waiting and praying, but it is also a time of rejoicing – for our salvation is nigh. This psalm reflects this great joy of the anticipation of Christ’s arrival. It also tells of God’s blessings for His people, not only in the Old Testament, but down through time to the present day. We are the people of God, and He became man to redeem us, and to show us His great love and mercy.

Pray today and ponder on the love and mercy of God.

“God loves, he desires nothing else than to be loved; for he loves only that he may be loved.”

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

“He who is loved receives not harshness but mercy.” St. Ambrose

26th Day

December 10

Isaiah 2: 1-5

The word that Isaiah, son of Amos saw, concerning Juda and Jerusalem: and in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it.

And many people shall go, and say: Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall come forth from Sion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised anymore to war.

O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Meditation: The book of Isaiah will be utilized until December 21st. How beautiful is this scripture passage from Isaiah? In the bible, the time of the new law before the coming of Christ till the end of the world is referred to as the “last days”. This is because no other age or time shall come after it. We are living in this age right now. In Isaiah’s writing, the reference in regards to the mountains shows the perpetual visibility of Christ’s Church, this because a mountain on top of a mountain cannot be hidden. Christ’s Church is visibly present until the end of ages.

Ponder today on the fact that it is so beautiful to meditate upon the fact that we are living in the times longer for by the Old Testament prophets.

“May the perfect love of God reign in our hearts.” St. Louis de Montfort

27th Day

December 11

Isaiah 7: 3, 10-15

Then the Lord said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field. Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: Ask for a sign from the lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky. But Ahaz answered: “I will not ask. I will not tempt the Lord.” Then he said, Listen, O house of David. Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also wary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child and bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel. He shall be living on curds and honey by the time he learns to reject the bad and choose the good.

Meditation: This is probably one of Isaiah’s most famous prophecies. We hear it read in church: “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” It would take centuries for this to come to pass. Our Lady was a virgin before, during and after the birth of Christ. At Fatima, when she appeared to the three children, she had a star on her right hip, left knee and right foot. This is symbolic of her virginity before, during and after the birth of Christ. Because of this great privilege, we have Mary not only as our intercessor, but also as our heavenly mother.

Spend time today meditating and thinking about his great mystery.

“Love, serve and honor Mary with all your heart, and you will gain and possess entirely the heart of the Heavenly Father. He will love you and bless you abundantly, and she will repeat, after her Divine Son: “For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved me.” St. John Eudes

“He who is devout to the Virgin Mother will certainly never be lost.” St. Ignatius of Antioch

28th Day

December 12 – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Isaiah 9: 2-3, 6-7

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: to them that dwell in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. Thou has multiplied the nation and has not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before you as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils.

For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

His empire shall be multiplied and there shall be no end of peace: He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and forever; the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Meditation: Today if a person is in the darkness of sin, it is because they freely have chosen it.  Yet before the birth of Jesus, all nations, walked in this darkness, not out of choice, but because of the sin of Adam. With the birth of Jesus, a great light was seen- the light of our redemption.

How many times have you personally sinned against the law of God? How many times have you been forgetful of God’s mercy?

Pray today for the grace to be ever mindful of God’s greatest gift to us – His Son.

“Through Christ we see as in a mirror the spotless and excellent face of God.” St. Clement of Rome

29th Day

December 13

Isaiah 11: 1-5, 11

And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears.

But he shall judge the poor with justice and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand the second time to possess the remnant of his people, which shall be left from the Assyrians and from Egypt and from Phetros, and from Ethiopia and from Elam and from Sennaar, and from Emath and from the islands of the seas.

Meditation: As we approach the birth of Christ, Isaiah has been our guide, as he was for the Jewish people in the Old Testament. He wrote of the spiritual kingdom of the coming Messiah confirming again that it is from the house of David, the Messiah will be from. Isaiah writes of the great deeds the Messiah will perform and the great peace He will give to his people. We can experience this peace now as a fore taste of heaven. This peace is offered to all who embrace it. The saints experienced in their joys and even their sorrows. We see this undercurrent of peace throughout their earthly lives. In spite of their crosses, trials and sorrows, this peace permeated their existence. It shone forth to all who came in contact with them. Anyone who was privileged to meet Blessed John Paul II during his lifetime has experienced this peace.

Pray today for this peace, the grace to recognize it and embrace it.

“So you want peace of heart? Then do not seek health, nor wealth, not power, or luxury. Seek wisdom in God’s sight, stick to the virtues and nothing will be able to make you sad.” St. John Chrysostom

30th Day

December 14

Isaiah 40: 1-2

Be comforted, be comforted, my people, says your God. Speak you to the heart of Jerusalem, and call her: for her evil has come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven; she has received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.

Meditation: Have you ever waited for something wonderful to happen, not knowing when it would happen, but only knowing that it would happen? Initially you are excited and joyful, but as time goes on you might become anxious and even worried about when the event would take place. As time passes you might even become despondent. Your waiting feels like an eternity.

This the way it was for the Jewish people of the Old Testament. Isaiah in this scripture reading comforts the people and gives them new hope and joy; encouraging them by telling them that which they are waiting for is their redemption and salvation. He reassures them of the coming but they must wait patiently. We too must learn to cultivate patient when we are praying for God’s help.

Pray today for the grace of perseverance and patience.

“Pray, hope and don’t worry.” St. Padre Pio

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” St. Augustine

31st Day

December 15

Isaiah 42: 1, 6-9

Behold my servant, I will uphold him: my elect, my soul delights in him: I have given my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. I the lord have called thee in justice, and taken thee by the hand, and preserved thee. And I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles

That thou might open the eyes of the blind, and bring forth the prisoner out of prison and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I the Lord, this is my name: I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to graven things. The things that were first, behold they are come and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I will make you hear them.

Meditation: Christ, through His humanity, is the servant of God. God’s covenant with the Jewish people is also the light of the Gentiles. Jesus did not become man just to save the chosen people but also to save mankind. The gospel is to be preached to everyone. How wonderful this is for all of us. During this advent time, reflect often on this thought. The greatest gift I will ever receive is Jesus. What can you give Him in return this Christmas? The gift of yourself is all Jesus wants from you. You can never give too much of yourself to Jesus.

He will never be out done in generosity.

Pray today for the courage to give your all to Jesus.

The following is a quote from “The Way of Divine Love” dictated by Our Lord to Sister Josefa Menendez. “I shall be your reward, exceedingly great and you will never regret any sacrifice you have made for Me during your life.”

32nd Day

December 16

Isaiah 49: 5-7

And now says the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be his servant, that I may bring back Jacob unto him, and Israel will not be gathered together: and I am glorified in the eyes of the Lord, and my God is made my strength. And he said: It is a small thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to convert the dregs of Israel. Behold, I have given you to be the light of the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation even to the farthest part of the earth.

Thus said the Lord the redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to the soul that is despised, to the nation that is abhorred, to the servant of the rulers - Kings shall see, and prices shall rise up and adore for the Lord’s sake, because he is faithful and for the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.

Meditation: The theme of the servant is again written about in this scripture passage; the servant being Jesus. He will bring salvation to the Gentiles, and to the very ends of the earth.

Remember God’s love for His Church is perpetual, unending and forever. We are the Church, and the living body of Christ. St Paul wrote that Christ is the head and we are the body. It is for us that he was born in Bethlehem to show us His great love. Such a love is inconceivable for our limited human mind to contemplate much less comprehend.

Pray today to never forget how much God loves you.

“Divine love brings with it every good and banishes every evil.” St., Catherine of Genoa "In love did God bring the world into existence; in love is God going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of the one who has preformed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised." - St. Isaac of Syria

33rd Day

December 17

Isaiah 56: 1-2, 7

Thus says the Lord: Keep your judgments and do justice; for my salvation is near to come and my justice to be revealed. Blessed is the man that does this and the son of man that shall lay hold on to this: that keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, that keeps his hands from doing any evil.

I will bring them into my holy mount, and will them joyful in my house of prayer; their holocausts, and their victims shall please me upon my altar; for my house shall be called the house of prayer, for all nations.

Meditation: God is asking all of us to keep His commandments. This invitation is for everyone.

God is calling everyone to do this because salvation is near at hand. With the birth of Jesus, our redemption is close. Creation, as it was before the fall of Adam, will be restored and renewed.

Grace will enter the world once again and everything shall be made holy in the eyes of God. His Church is holy therefore His house will be called a house of prayer. This meditation during the advent season is beautiful to ponder upon.

Prayerfully ponder on how awesome it is to enter in to God’s house and sit in His presence and offer Him all your prayers, concerns, joys and sorrows.

“To love God is the true object of our heart.” St. Ignatius of Loyola “It can happen that when we are at prayer some brothers come to see us. Then we have to choose either to interrupt our prayer or to sadden our brother by refusing to answer him. But love is greater than prayer. Prayer is one virtue among others, whereas love contains them all. “ - St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 26th Step 43

34th Day

December 18

Isaiah 60: 1-6

Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem; for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and a mist the people; but the Lord shall arise kings in the brightness of thy rising. Lift up the eyes round about and see: all these are gathered together, they are come to thee: thy sons shall come from afar and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side.

Then shall you see and abound and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged, when the multitude of the sea shall be converted to you, the strength of the Gentiles shall come to you.

The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Madian and Epha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense; and show forth praise to the Lord.

Meditation: Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the Messiah are filled with joy and anticipation of Christ’s Church and how the light of the faith shall shrine forth throughout the world and shall spread to all nations. Verse 4 reflects on the future saints of the church and their great glory.

Finally we read in verse 6 the prophecy of the three Magi and visitation to give their homage and adoration and gifts to the new born king.

Pray today for the grace to strive to become the saint that God has called you to be.

“It is possible to be a saint anywhere and everywhere when one really wishes to become one.”

St. Claude de la Colombiere

“One cannot possible understand the teaching of the saints unless one has a pure mind and is trying to imitate their life.” St. Ambrose

35th Day

December 19

Isaiah 60: 19-22

Thou shall no more have the sun for thy light by day, neither shall the brightness of the moon enlighten thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee for an everlasting light and thy God for thy glory.

The sun shall go down no more, and thy moon shall not decrease; for the Lord shall be unto thee for an everlasting light and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

And thy people shall be all just, they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hand to glorify me. The least shall become a thousand, and a little one a most strong nation; I the Lord will suddenly do this thing in its time.

Meditation: In this scripture reading, Isaiah is writing about the glory of the Church Triumphant in heaven. In the earlier part of chapter 60, the prophet writes of the illustrious promises made by God to the church Militant on earth. I recommend reading it. All these promises will be made possible by the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. He is the perfect sacrifice, the mediator, the redeemer and through Him these promises became a reality. This is a beautiful meditation during the advent season. We are no longer the people in waiting for the promise to be fulfilled, but the people in whom all God’s promises have already been fulfilled.

Pray today to be thankful that you live in the time of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Adam and Eve.

Christ sowed the seed of salvation in humanity in order that it might grow especially in each individual soul.” St. Edith Stein

36th Day

December 20

Micah 5: 2-4

And thou Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler of Israel; and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity. Therefore will he give them up even till the time wherein she that travails shall bring forth; and the remnant of his brethren shall be converted to the children of Israel. And he shall stand, and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the height of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall be converted for now shall he be magnified even to the ends of the earth.

Meditation: The writings of the prophet Micah bring us closer to the desired day of the nations, and the birth of the Messiah. Micah designates Bethlehem as the city of the birth of Jesus. On Christmas day, we should in spirit kneel with Joseph and Mary at the foot of the manager adoring our God. We need to imitate the meekness of the shepherds and the humility of the three Kings, while approaching the infant Jesus. Today you should prepare your heart to receive Him on Christmas day.

Pray today for the grace of quiet and solitude, so that the hustle and noise of the holidays will not overwhelm you.

“Each day try to find a few minutes of that blessed solitude which you so much need to keep your interior life going.” St. Josemaria Eschriva

37th Day

December 21

Isaiah 66: 22-23

For the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make to stand before me says the Lord, so shall your seed stand and your name. And there shall be month after month, and Sabbath after Sabbath; and all flesh shall come to adore before my face, says the Lord.

Meditation: This is the final time Isaiah is used during Philip’s fast. If you read chapter 60 in Isaiah, you will note that Jesus came not only for the Jews but for the Gentiles too. The call of the Gentiles into the Church is throughout the book of Isaiah. Jesus came to save everyone not just a select few. On Christmas day we need to reflect on this fact, Jesus descended from heaven to save me! Think about this: if you were the only on in need of redemption, Jesus would have endured all of his suffering and passion for you. This is value of one soul!

Ponder today on this thought: the value of one soul and God’s immense love for us. Our Lady’s request at Fatima was to pray for souls who have no one to pray for them.

38th Day

December 22

Zephaniah 3: 14-20

Give praise, O daughter of Zion, about, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away thy judgment, he has turned away thy enemies; the king of Israel, the Lord is in the midst of thee, thou shall fear evil no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem; fear not; to Zion: let not thy hands be weakened. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save: he will rejoice over thee with gladness, he will be silent in his love, he will be joyful over thee in praise.

The triflers that were departed from the law, I will gather together, because they were of thee: that you may no more suffer reproach for them. Behold I will cut off all that have afflicted thee at that time: and I will save her that halts, and will gather her that was cast out: and I will get them praise and a name, in all the land where they had been put to confusion. At that time, when I will bring you; and at the time that I will gather you: among all the people of the earth, when I shall have brought back your captivity before your eyes, says the Lord.

Meditation: Christmas is just three days away, so why does the Church have us reading in scripture about the conversion of the Gentiles and why the references to the blindness of the Jews and their final conversion at the end of the world? Remember there is no time in eternity – God sees all things, past, present and future. That which Zephaniah prophesied will now eventually, in the temporal realm of man take place. In God’s eyes all this has already taken place, but in man’s limited sense of time, we are still waiting for certain prophecies to be fulfilled. The joy of Christmas is close at hand, but it never hurts to sometimes focus on the complete picture.

Pray today for the grace of love to enter our hearts during this time of waiting.

“For love is repaid with love alone.” St. Francis de Sales

“Love binds us fast to God.” St. Clement of Rome

39th Day

December 23

Luke 1: 39-56

And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste into the city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. She cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that has believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spleen to thee by the Lord.

And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Because he has regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he who is might, has done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He has shown might in his arm: he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their seat and has exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he has sent away empty. He has received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever. And Mary stayed with her about three months; and she returned to her own house.

Meditation: This reading from St. Luke’s gospel reflects on Mary. Mary’s faith was perfect; her will and God’s will are one. Her magnificat is a prayer of faith, thanksgiving and joy. That which God promised repeatedly throughout the Old Testament was accomplished in Mary. Yet Mary never thinks about herself. In her great humility she goes to help her elderly cousin Elizabeth.

It is interesting that on Blessed John Paul II’s visit to Mexico, he made the following statement: “O America, America, how is that the mother of Our Lord should come to you?” He was referring to apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego. At that time the Americas were one land. She came to the central part and expressed her motherly concern to St. Juan Diego. It is the most beautiful of all of Our Lady’s earthly apparitions, particularly her maternal love and concern for us her spiritual children. She said: “Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed, Do not fear that sickness nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my protection and in the crossing of my arms. Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”

This advent season Our heavenly Mother is saying this to all of us her children.

Pray today for the gift of faith and a childlike love for Our Heavenly Mother – who loves us so much.

“He who is devout to the Virgin Mother will certainly never be lost.” St. Ignatius of Antioch

40th Day

December 24

Matthew 1: 1-17, 2: 1-12

Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham. Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers, Judah fathered Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse; and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa, Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah, Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah, Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah; and Josiah fathered Jechoniah and his brothers. Then the deportation to Babylon took place, After the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor, Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud, Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob; and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ. The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, 'Where is the infant king of the Jews?

We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.' When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, 'At Bethlehem in Judaea, for this is what the prophet wrote: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the leaders of Judah, for from you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel.' Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared and sent them on to Bethlehem with the words, 'Go and find out all about the child, and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.' Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were given a warning in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to  their own country by a different way.

Meditation: Christmas Eve is the time to finish making ready our hearts for the birth of Jesus.

We read today about the genealogy of Jesus, his birth, and the visit of the Magi. These things all had been foretold many times through the prophets. Joseph and Mary were privileged to witness the fulfillment of God’s promise to man. This is the day that brought forth the promise of peace – the angels sang of this peace to the shepherds on the hillside: “Peace on earth to men of good will.” This peace is in the hearts of all who seek out the will of God and then do His will.

Pray today for the gift of peace.

“True peace is born of doing the will of God and bearing with patience the sufferings of this life.” Blessed Pope John XXIII

“So you want peace of heart? Then do not seek health, nor wealth, nor fame, nor power, nor luxury. Seek wisdom in God’s sight, stick to the virtues and nothing will be able to make you sad.” St. John Chrysostom

BIBLIOGRAPHY copyright 1997 and written by Rev. Msgr. Russell A. Duker,

Archdiocese of Pittsburgh

Christbearers - Meditations for the Pre-Christmas Fast, Christmas and Theophany. The booklet is available from the Office of Religious Education of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Pittsburgh.

Appendix A

Hebrews 11: 1-35

Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not. For by the ancients obtained a testimony. By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God; that from the invisible things visible things might be made.

By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice exceeding that of Cain, by which he obtained a testimony that he was just, God giving testimony to his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaks.

By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God.  But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him.

By faith Noah, having received an answer concerning those things which as yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world; and was instituted heir of the justice which is by faith.

By faith he that is called Abraham, obeyed to go out in to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

By faith he abode in the land, dwelling in cottages, with Isaac and Jacob, the co-heirs of the same promise.

For he looked for a city that hath foundations; whose builder and maker is God.

By faith also Sarah herself, being barren, received strength to conceive seed, even past the time of age; because she believed that he was faithful who had promised.

For which cause there sprung even from one (and him as good as dead) as the stars of heaven in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

All these died according to faith, not having received the promises, but beholding them afar off, and saluting them, and confessing that they are pilgrims and strangers on the earth.

For they that say things, do signify that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mindful of that from whence they came out, they had doubtless time to return. But now they desire a better, that is to say, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered Isaac: and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son; (to whom it was said: “In Isaac shall they seed be called”)

Accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Whereupon also he received him for a parable.

By faith also of things to come, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and adored the top of his rod.

By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the going out of the children if Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, denied himself to be the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; rather choosing to be afflicted with the people of God, than to have the pleasure of sin for a time, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasure of the Egyptians. For he looked unto the reward.

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the fierceness of the king: for he endured as seeing him that is invisible. By faith he celebrated the pasch, and the shedding of the blood; that he, who destroyed the firstborn, might not touch them.

By faith they passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land; which the Egyptians attempting, were swallowed up.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, by the going round them seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with the unbelievers, receiving the spied in peace.

And what shall I yet say? For the time would fail me to tell of Geodon, Barac, Samson, Jepthe, David, Samuel, and the prophets.

Who by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, because valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners.

Women received their dead raised to life again. But others were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection.

Appendix B

Fasting guidelines for Advent according to the Byzantine Catholic Rite

The Christmas Fast Guidelines

The Holy Canons specify the following guidelines:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays to December 12:

• Abstinence of: Meat & Meat Products, Dairy Products

• No abstinence of: Fish, Shellfish, Vegetables & Vegetable Products, Olive Oil; Fruit, wine

On these days there is no regulation of the number of meals or quantity of food taken:

Wednesdays & Fridays, and all weekdays

Dec 13-24:

• Abstinence of: Meat & Meat Products, Dairy Products, fish, Olive Oil, Wine

• No abstinence of: Shellfish, Vegetables & Vegetable Products, Fruits

On Wednesdays and Fridays, food should not be eaten between meals, and meals themselves

should be moderate in quantity. It is often customary to eat only one meal a day. During the

Christmas Fast, from December 13 to December 24 inclusive, the Fast becomes stricter, and

olive oil and wine are permitted only on Saturdays and Sundays. Fish is not permitted from the

13th to the 24th.

Christmas Eve Dinner according to Byzantine Catholic Tradition

SVIATA VECHERA OR "HOLY SUPPER" is the central tradition of the beautiful celebrations in Ukrainian homes. The dinner table sometimes has a few wisps of hay on the embroidered table cloth as a reminder of the manger in Bethlehem. Many Canadian and American families wear their Ukrainian embroidered shirts on this

When the children see the first Star in the eastern evening sky, which symbolizes the trek of the Three Wise Men, the Sviata Vechera may begin. In farming communities the head of the household now brings in a sheaf of wheat called the didukh whi the ancient and rich wheat crops of Ukraine, the staff of life through the centuries. Didukh means literally "grandfather spirit" so it symbolizes the family's ancestors. In city homes a few stalks of golden wheat in a vase

A prayer is said and the father says the traditional Christmas greeting, "Khristos rodyvsya!" (Christ is born!) which is answered by the family with "Slavite some families the Old Slavic form Khristos razhdayetsya is used.

Christmas Holiday starts on Christmas Eve, and during that day there is a lot to prepare for a 12 course meatless dinner (representing the 12 apostles) consisting of:

Kutia – whole wheat dish

Kolach (recipe) – special Christmas braided br  with a clove of fresh garlic and honey beautiful Christmas Eve occasion which represents the importance of are often used to decorate the table.

Yoho!" (Let Us Glorify Him!) In AT THE END OF THE SVIATA VECHERA the family often sings Kolyadky, Ukrainian Christmas Carols.

In many communities the old Ukrainian tradition of caroling is carried on by groups of young people and members of organizations and churches calling at homes and collecting donations.

The favorite Ukrainian carol is Boh predvichny (God Eternal) which has a very beautiful melody and Iyrics. Some Ukrainian carols are because they mention Ukraine while others are ancient pagan songs of a thousand years ago which have been converted into Christian carols.

(Taken from of cooking going on bread(resembling babka), which is served l ch unusual ead(

Borscht with vushka – Red Beet soup with mushrooms filled dumplings

Kapusniak – Sour kraut soup

Holubki – meatless stuffed cabbage

Varenyky (Pierogies) filled with various fillings (potato and cheese, cabbage, fruit,

cheese, etc)

Several fish dishes

Pickled herrings are a must

Fresh Mushroom Sauce

Pickled mushrooms

Baked Beans with flax oil

Kompot – mixed fruit tea type hot drink

Large assortment of cookies, sheet cakes, torts, angel wings cookies (khrusty), and home made donuts

The following are recipes for the Christmas Eve Meatless Meal.

Khrystos Razhdayetsya!

Christ is Born!

Taken from:

1. Kutya

2 cups cleaned wheat 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

3-4 quarts water 1/3 cup honey, dissolved in

1 cup cleaned poppy seed 1/2 cup hot water

2/3 cup sugar

Wash wheat in cold water and soak overnight in the 3 to 4 quarts of water. The next day, bring the water to a boil then simmer for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The wheat is ready when the kernals burst open and the fluid is thick and creamy. Chop the poppy seed in a food processor and set aside. Mix honey, sugar and hot water. Before serving mix the honey mixture, poppy seeds, chopped nuts and wheat.

More honey can be added to taste.

2. Borshch

1 cup fresh or dried mushrooms 3 cups shredded cabbage

1 large onion - chopped 1/2 cup tomato juice

3 tbsp. vegetable oil 3 peppercorns

2 cups beets, sliced into strips 2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup diced carrots lemon juice (to taste:tart, not sour)

1 potato, diced salt and pepper

1/2 tsp. dill (fresh or frozen) 8-9 cups water

1 tsp. parsley (fresh)

Saute onion in oil until transparent. Add mushrooms- saute slightly and set aside. Cover beets, carrots, potato, parsley/dill with water and cook until barely tender. Add cabbage and cook until slightly tender. Add onions, mushrooms, tomato juice and salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice with caution since you want the borshch tart, not sour. Bring to boil and serve.

3. Baked/Fried Fish

- any variety of fish baked or fried, but if frying use only vegetable/olive/hemp oil (in keeping with the meatless nature of the meal)

4. Osyletsi (Pickled Fish)


2 filleted Whitefish (preferably caught while ice fishing) or 4 salt herrings


2 large onions (sliced)

1 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tbsp pickling spices

Additional sugar if desired

1 glass of dry white wine

Wash the whitefish (or herrings) fillets and soak in cold water for about 12 hours, changing the water 2 or 3 times. Wash again and cut into the size you want to serve. Place into a jar or crockery with a layer of sliced onion and some milt between the layers of fish. Boil vinegar, water, wine, spices, and additional sugar for 10 minutes. Let the boiled mixture cool. Strain and pour it over the fish. Let stand at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. Then store in the fridge for another half day.

5 & 6. Holubtsi (Cabbage Rolls)

- buckwheat and rice filled

To prepare the cabbage:

Place one large head of cored cabbage in a deep pot of boiling water to which salt has been added. Remove the leaves as they become soft. Cool and drain the leaves and remove any remaining core. Cut the leaves to the desired size (personally I cut them about 3" wide). Grease a casserole dish and place a few leaves of cabbage to line it. Put a tablespoon full of filling (filling recipe follows) into each leaf and roll it up tucking in the edges of the leaves as you roll. Arrange the holubtsi in layers, adding some fried onions and garlic (to taste, sautéed in olive oil) between the layers. When the dish is filled place extra prepared cabbage leaves over the top to prevent scorching. Cover and place in 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs or until both the cabbage and filling are tender. For a nice variation you could also use grape or beet leaves. Also, you could pour some tomato juice over the top to add flavor.


1. Rice Filling

2 cups rice

2 cups water

2 tsp. salt

1 medium onion (chopped)

4 tbsp olive oil


Wash rice well. Add water and stir in salt. Bring to boil and cook for one minute. Stir and cover. Turn down heat and simmer until rice starts to get tender. Take off of heat and let stand covered until the rest of the water is absorbed. The rice at this stage will only be partly cooked. Saute chopped onion in olive oil and add to the rice. Season to taste. Cool and roll into cabbage.

2. Buckwheat Filling

2 cups buckwheat groats

2 tsp. salt

1 medium onion (chopped)

4-5 tbsp. olive oil

4 cups water

Brown groats very lightly in the oven. Place in pot with boiling salted water. Add 4 tbsp olive oil. Cook until water is absorbed. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. After baking allow the buckwheat to cool. Saute chopped onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the sautéed onions to the cooked buckwheat. Cool and fill the holubtsi.

7 & 8. Varenyky (pyrogies)


4 cups flour 1. Combine flour and salt

2 tsp salt 2. Add rest of ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil 3. Knead until smooth and elastic

2 eggs well beaten 4. Cover and let stand at least 15 min.

1 cup water 5. Roll out thin on a floured board

6. Cut out rounds with a glass or beer mug


i. Potato

2 cups mashed potatoes 1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tbsp. vegetable oil salt and pepper to taste

- saute onions in oil, season, add potatoes and mix well.

ii. Kapusta (sauerkraut)

2 cups sauerkraut 4 tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped pepper to taste

- bring sauerkraut to boil in some water. Rinse, cool, drain and squeeze out water. Chop

finer if you want. Saute onions in oil and add to sauerkraut, season to taste.

iii. Prune filling

1 cup prunes honey to taste

1/2 cup water

-bring prunes and water to a boil, let cool and drain. Chop prunes very fine and add honey to taste.

To make:

Add 1 tbsp of filling to each round of dough , fold over and pinch the dough together well. When boiling add a little salt and oil to the water so they don't stick together. When they come to the surface, they're ready.

8. Cooked beans

2 cups white beans 2 cloves garlic

7 cups water 1 onion, diced

1/8 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. cooking oil

1 tsp. salt

Boil beans in water and add baking soda and salt when almost done. Continue simmering until beans are tender. Drain if necessary and set liquid aside for later. Mash beans well, adding bean liquid a little at a time until it is of a thick consistency. Crush garlic and stir into beans. Saute onions in oil and put on top of beans before serving.

9. Kapusta and peas

2 cups sauerkraut 1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water salt and pepper

1/2 cup dried peas 1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 medium onion, chopped 2 tbsp. flour

Soak peas overnight. Rinse and drain. Cover with fresh water and cook until tender.

Drain. Rinse sauerkraut in cold water and drain. Add the water and cook for 15 minutes.

Combine peas and sauerkraut. Save the liquid. Saute onion in oil. Sprinkle flour over onions and brown lightly. Pour liquid from cooked sauerkraut and peas; add crushed garlic and stir until sauce thickens. Add sauce to sauerkraut and peas, stir and add salt and pepper to taste, simmer for 30 minutes and serve.

10. Beets with Mushrooms

3 cups chopped beets 1 clove garlic

1 medium onion, chopped finely salt and pepper to taste

3-4 tsps. oil 1/2 tsp.lemon juice

1 cup mushrooms (fresh or canned)

Chop the raw beets finely and then boil in a bit of water until tender yet firm. Add lemon juice to beets. Simmer for 5 minutes. Rinse mushrooms in hot water. Drain. Saute onion in oil, then add mushrooms and crushed garlic and simmer for a half hour. Combine with beets and simmer a further 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

11. Compote

Get an assortment of dried fruits such as apples, apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, figs or raisins and soak the fruit overnight in water. Next day, simmer until tender and add honey to sweeten to taste.

12. Pompushky

For the dough, it's easiest if you have a bread machine with a manual setting. In that case all you do is make up a batch of sweet dough, letting the machine take care of the kneading then following the directions after the (*). If not here is the longer, more traditional method.


8 cups flour

2pkg. yeast

3 cups milk

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast as instructed on package. Let stand 10 minutes. In a large bowl, put in part of the flour (about 6 cups), making a well in the middle. Beat the eggs lightly, add melted butter, milk, sugar and salt. Add this mixture to the flour along with the yeast. Mix well and knead until dough is soft and not sticky adding the remaining flour only as necessary.

Knead about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until double in bulk. Punch down and knead lightly. Let rise again. (*) Take a small amount of dough, roll on a lightly floured table. It must be fairly thick. Cut out rounds, coffee mugs work well. Place a small amount of filling in the centre bringing the edges together and pinch well to seal tightly. Place pompushky seam side down on lightly floured surface, cover and let rise a while, about 15 minutes. Do not let over rise. Deep fry in Canola Oil, about 375F for about 3minutes turning them to brown on both sides. When removing try to have most of the oil back into the pan, then leave the pompushky on paper towel for more oil to come off.


Poppy Seed (Maky)-

1 cup poppy seed

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

1 cup raisins (opt)

1 tsp. vegetable oil

Grind the clean dry poppy seed in a coffee grinder and add to the moistened raisins. Add honey, nuts, vegetable oil well and then fold into the poppy seed- raisin mixture. Ready to be used.


1 lb. apricots

Sugar to taste

1/4 cup crushed walnuts

Dash of cinnamon

1 tsp. of lemon juice

Boil apricots until soft. Drain thoroughly. Put through food processor or blender. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well. Ready to be used.


the same recipe as for apricots but with 1 lb. of pitted prunes.


Christmas Eve is viewed as the holiest night of the year for Eastern Catholics. The family gathers for a meal together. Traditionally, the meal would not begin until the first star was seen in the sky. This observance was symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem that led the Magi to Christ.

The table is set with the family's finest and covered with a white cloth to symbolize Christ's swaddling clothes. The father or mother of the household dips a finger in honey and traces a cross on the foreheads of all the other family members saying, "May you be as industrious as a bee and as sweet as honey" and then the family joins together to say grace.

The first food of the meal is OPLATKY (the Christmas wafer). The oplatky itself represents Christ and is similar to a Communion wafer but larger and usually embossed with a nativity scene. Oplatky is eaten with honey to symbolize the sweetness of life.

Traditional foods served at the Christmas Eve dinner include: mushroom soup, BOBALKY, and fish. These foods have symbolic meanings. The sauerkraut juice in the mushroom soup represents that we must accept the bitter as well as the sweet in life and it represents Christ's suffering for mankind. Bobalky are small bits of baked bread dough that are served with sauerkraut or poppy seeds. These were served as the meal would have been meatless in homes that were observing the Advent fast.

Often, an extra place setting is filled with a serving of each item on the table. This plate is left outside for family members who had passed away but are not forgotten.

Appendix C

Troparions and Kontakions for Christmas

The word troparion refers to a short, poetic hymn. It is also known as the apolytikion or "dismissal hymn," which is the main troparion of the day. "Troparia" is the plural of "troparion," and "apolytikia" is the plural of "apolytikion."

On Sundays, the troparion apolytikia have as their themes the Resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ on the third day. There are eight resurrectional troparia, one for each of the eight modes of the Byzantine chant system. The Sunday troparia are dedicated to the Resurrection, because Sunday is the first day of the week, that is, the day when Christ rose from the tomb. Each mode has its own hymns, including its own apolytikion, kontakion and hypakoe troparia.

Each day of the week has a unique commemoration, as reflected in the daily apolytikia or troparia. Monday commemorates the incorporeal powers, that is, the angels. Tuesday commemorates St John the Baptist and Forerunner, as the last of all the Old Testament prophets that "pointed" to Christ. Wednesday   commemorates the betrayal of Christ to the High Priests. Thursday commemorates the Apostles and their successors, the hierarchs. Friday commemorates the Crucifixion of Christ. Saturday commemorates All-saints, the Mother of God who is Theotokos and the first of all saints, and the souls of all those who have passed from this world.

Since every day of the year has some type of saint (martyr, hierarch, righteous, apostle, etc.) or a feast-event (the Nativity of Christ, the birth of St John the Baptist, the birth of Mary Theodokos, etc.), each day has its own particular troparion.

The kontakion was originally a long poem of like-metered strophes which are considered to have homiletic origin [that is, based on sermons]. It received its name, it is thought, from the 'kontarion' [or, scroll] from which the hymn was read in Church. The most famous composer of kontakia [i.e., the plural of 'kontakion'] was the 6th-century saint Romanos the Melodos

[Romanus the Melodist; XYZ[\Y]; born ca 490 in Syria; died ca ^556 in Constan_nople]. The first hymn was known as the 'koukoulion', and all other hymns of the kontakion followed its meter. These are known as 'oikoi'. This form of hymn is the precursor to another, later form known as the 'kanon' or canon.

Romanus was the greatest of all Byzantine hymn-wrights, and his narrative-odes, or religious ballads, have a fervor, simplicity, and power, of which later Greek hymnody shows little trace.

After the iconoclastic strife in the early seventh century, the liturgical books were altered by St. John of Damascus or his followers and only the preludes of the odes of Romanus were left. The original music consequently disappeared. (Tillyard [3])

Today, only the 'koukoulion' and first 'oikos' are used, except for rare circumstances and in the much-beloved Akathist Hymn (which is used in the period of the Great Fast). For this reason the 'koukoulion' is now normally referred to as the kontakion hymn.

(Taken from: )

The following is and a bit easier to read and understand.

The preparation rites, the Litany of Peace, the antiphons, the Little Entrance.... We seem to be moving right along; which is deceptive; because, if we keep moving at this pace we’ll still never finish by the end of the summer. But push on we must. Which pushes us right into another one of those parts of the Divine

Liturgy which is so familiar to us even though what we know of it’s origins or meaning is incomplete: in this case, the Troparia and Kontakia. In pigeon Slavonic we often call them simply Tropars and Kondaks.

They are, of course, hymns; and—like most early Christian hymns—their origin goes back to the ancient Hebrews and the Psalms.

From the days of the Apostles themselves, the Psalms of David were used as hymns by the early Christians, as they are still today—in case you haven’t noticed, the liturgical services of our Church (and all Eastern Churches) are laced through and through with Psalms. The antiphons, which we looked at two weeks ago, are a good example. But, remember that the Psalms are from the Old Testament. Now, according to the early Christians, the entire Old Testament points to the advent of Christ; and many of the early Fathers of the Church—Basil the Great, Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria and, of course, John Chrysostom himself—spent a lot of time and a lot of sermons explaining the true meaning of the Old Testament books in light of Christ. Where the Psalms were concerned, they were being used as hymns in church; but the early Fathers wanted to make sure that the people singing them knew how they related to Christ. So, beginning in the third century, many of these ancient Fathers began to compose little explanations for each Psalm in the form of refrains which were added to the beginning and end of the Psalm. As time went on, hymnographers in the Church began to compose a variety of refrains for each Psalm for various feasts or occasions: Christmas, Easter, Theophany, Dormition; and as the number and variety of feasts and celebrations grew in the Church, so did the variety and number of refrains added to the beginning and end of each Psalm to show how that Psalm could be sung in honor of that particular feast.

Now, when you look at a Troparion or Kontakion today, you might very well ask, “Well, where is the Psalm?” Good question. You see, in the early Church, they weren’t concerned with how long the service was. They weren’t anxious to get home to watch a ball game or pile in the car to drive to grandma’s or run out to the Old Country Buffet for lunch; if they were ever concerned with getting out of the Liturgy quickly it would have been because they were running away from people who wanted to cut their heads off or feed them to lions. In the early days of the Liturgy in Constantinople, when the service could easily run for three or four hours, a good hour and a half of that would be spent in signing Psalms. Of course, the Church wasn’t competing with TV, sports or the   short attention span of an impatient congregation; present company excepted, of course. But as the years progressed, it seemed desirable to shorten the service somewhat; and what were sacrificed were the Psalms: first, by cutting them short to one or two verses—as we saw with the antiphons—and, in some cases, eliminating them altogether, leaving only the refrains composed by the Fathers of the Church, leaving what we know today as the Troparia and Kontakia. The same would be true for the Stichera we sing at Vespers, which have the same history.

The first Troparia and Kontakia composed seem to be traceable to a saint whose minor feast we celebrate every year: St. Ephraem the Syrian, who’s work first appears in the second century; but many believe he may have been a personal disciple of St. John the Evangelist. St. Ephraem, in addition to being a bishop and a very learned theologian, was also an extremely gifted musician, and he composed his hymns as a clever way to inoculate his people from the many heretical ideas that were already floating around the early Church. His early Troparia and Kontakia, composed in the Syriac language, set a high standard for all the other hymnographers who came after him; and there were many. His hymns touched on the major truths of the faith: death, judgment, the resurrection, and so forth. The Greek speaking hymnographers, in Contantinople and elsewhere, who came after him, used him as their model in both style and content. Among them were Fathers of the Church such as Methodius of Olympus, Synesius of Ptolmais, Gregory Nazianzen (Patriarch of Constantinople), Sophronius (Patriach of Jerusalem), John Damascene, and the most prolific of them all, St. Romanos the Hymnographer, whose image graces the ceiling of this very church in which we worship, and whose hymns continue to be used in our Church today. In fact, most of the texts in our services for Christmas are exclusively his. Last year Pope Benedict devoted one of his General Audience addresses to him.  Of course, most of the music that these men composed to go along with their beautiful words has long since passed out of use. Later on, the various Eastern Churches would compose their own music to fit these ancient texts—music which reflected their own unique cultures. Probably the most complicated musical system in use by any Eastern Church today is the one used by our own Ruthenian Church, with our various tones and so forth. Russian and Greek and Arabic Christians.... When they look at our music it makes their heads spin. But that doesn’t seem to bother most of our people, especially since we’ve been singing these same melodies, in Slavonic and later in English, for over 300 years. In fact, go to any church in our Metropolia and you’ll find the people singing.

Whether we are adept at singing the Troparia and Kontakia or not, we need to resist the temptation to simply let them roll by without paying attention to them. We need to somehow focus on their words. Our ancestors did not sing them just for the sake of singing songs; it wasn’t like it is today in the Western Church, where you open up the hymnal and just choose one whenever the Missal calls for a hymn. Our Liturgy doesn't allow us to choose these hymns for ourselves; they are specified for each Sunday and Holy Day of the year. These hymns contain,  over the course of the year, an entire compendium of the Christian Faith in poetic form. Our ancestors knew their religion inside and out, and were able to preserve it in the face of virulent persecution, not because they had read books or attended classes and seminars, but because they sang the truths of their faith every single Sunday over the course of the year. The Communists could not burn it out of them. They had been singing the theological truths of the Christian religion since childhood.

That’s why it doesn’t matter whether we sing them well; what matters is that we sing them. When I celebrate the Liturgy on a weekday and have no cantor to help me and no congregation  present, I still sing the Troparia and Kontakia. I don’t always sing them well, but I still sing them. When I scold you for not singing, it’s not because I’m some kind of maniacal music lover; it’s because it’s the singing of these texts which enables us—as it did for our ancestors—to preserve our faith and pass it on to our children. That’s why the page numbers for them are up on the hymn board: they’re not supposed to be sung by the cantor doing a solo with you sitting there listening; you’re supposed to sing them. The cantor’s just there to help you.

In the Western Church, in medieval times, the architects of the great Gothic cathedrals like Notre Dame and Chartre, told the story of Christianity in relief carved in stone and in their beautiful stained glass windows, so that people could learn their religion simply by being present in church. But a thousand years before Notre Dame was ever conceived, the hymnographers of the Eastern Churches were doing the same thing in song. We need to sing these hymns because that’s how we preserve our faith and how our church survives.

Father Michael Venditti

Troparion of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ "Thy nativity, O Christ our God, has shown to the world the light of wisdom; for by it, those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to adore Thee the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Orient from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee." Kontakion of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ "Today the virgin, gives birth to the incomprehensible One; and the earth offers a cave to the unapproachable One; Angels and shepherds glorify Him; the Wisemen journey with a star; since for our sakes is born the ETERNAL GOD, as a little Child."

Appendix D

Bio of the author

Catherine Moran, Ph.D.


Resides in: Niles, OH

Family: Husband David + 5 Children

Education: Bachelor of Science in General Studies (Major:

Biology, Chemistry, and Speech) Degree from Kent State University

Master of Science in Education from Breyer State University

Doctor of Philosophy in Education from University St. John of the Cross –

Certified Irlen Screener – Irlen Institute, Long Beach, CA

Certificate in Teaching - Ohio

Career/Work Experience:

* 20 + years of Home Schooling her five children.

* Teaches undergraduate and graduate online courses.

* Registrar for Breyer State University since 2001

* Private Tutor since 1997

* Speaker at conferences in U.S.

* Home Schooling Consultant since 1996

* Board member – Breyer State University since 2001

* Chief Academic Officer – Breyer State University since 2001

* Board member – Northern Ohio Adoption Services 1999-2005

* Guest speaker on the History Channel – November 2009.

* Board member – IHM Conferences – 2006 to present.

* Secretary/Treasurer of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima- Byzantine


Associations and Memberships:

President of the Catholic Homes School Network of America (CHSNA)

Member of the Round Table, a national organization of Catholic Home Schooling


Founder and past leader of the Ohio Educators' Catholic Home Schooling Network

Secretary/ Treasurer for the Byzantine Blue Army Chapter for Warren, OH

Secular Franciscan since 1978 and served as prefect of her fraternity for three years.


Author of the following books: “Doorway to Heaven” , “The Unique Learner –

Homeschooling Children with Learning Disabilities” and “Philip’s Fast – 40 Days

of Advent Meditations According to the Byzantine Rite”.

Instrumental in founding and organizing a national homeschooling organization.

Founded and organized a state wide networking homeschooling organization.

Founded and organized a nationwide networking homeschooling organization.

Co-chaired from 1984-1987 and 1991-1995 local conferences for the World Apostolate of Fatima.

Co-chaired in 1983 and 1986 local month long visitation program for the World

Apostolate of Fatima.

Member of CHSNA delegation that went to Rome, Italy to dialogue with Pope John Paul II, congregations and curias in 1995, 1997 and Pope Benedict in 2006.

National Speaker at homeschooling conferences in the U.S.

Five children – 2 adopted from Ukraine 1998-99.


Home schooling in general with emphasis on teaching those with learning disabilities.

Catherine home schooled her second son, who is dyslexic and had ADHD. He

graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor psychology and computer

science August of 2003. Her daughter has auditory processing disorder, dyslexia and ADD.

Boredom – Trivial nuisance or the Mother of all Problems.

How many times have we heard our children say to us: “Mom! I’m Bored!” This very statement by our children is telling us something. What we do not want is this problem to carry over into the educational aspect of our children’s day –to-day lives. This presentation will cover the problem along with along with motivational helps in teaching our children whose major complaint is boredom.

The 21stCcentury Syndrome – Stress! Understanding & Coping with Stress in Our Daily Lives.

Stress is a major part of everyday lives. How do we recognize it much less deal with it? This presentation covers the causes of stress and how to handle it. With a little bit of knowledge and God on your side, you should be able to alleviate much of the stress in your daily life.

Heaven’s Weapons for the Spiritually Disabled

Whether we realize it or not we are all spiritually disabled. This presentation discusses these heavenly weapons and how we are to use them to defeat the world, the flesh and the devil. In the 13th century, Our Lady told St. Dominic that one day she would use these weapons to save the world.

Help! My Child is not Learning: Developing Learning Skills

This presentation will identify and explain vital learning skills needed for your child to be a successful student. Areas discussed will be memorization, task completion, essay/report writing, math skills and time management – to name a few.

"Tips on Teaching the Academics" gives many helpful suggestions on not only recognizing the many problems that can surface while teaching your children, but includes tips and suggestions from the many years of home schooling her children.

Homeschooling 101: The Basics of Getting Started. Excellent talk on the “how to’s” of starting to home school your children. This is a must for beginning parents and parents considering home schooling their children.

Discovering and Implementing Your Child’s Learning Style. How does your child learn? What is the best method of teaching your children? Tips on how to teach your children.

Controlling and Eliminating Stress in Home Schooling. There are many factors that cause unnecessary stress in home schooling. Some stress can be avoided, others minimized by pre-planning and making arrangements beforehand, while others require simple planning on a day- to-day basis. Excellent talk on this important subject for home schooling families.

Overcoming Obstacles to Your Child’s Learning Style Using Different Methods of Teaching. What do you do when your child just can’t seem to continue with his lessons? Dr. Moran will address the different approaches available that may work for you and your child. Once the parent recognizes the child’s learning style, Dr. Moran will present alternative teaching methods and techniques to help motivate your child in the 4 R's (Reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic and religion).

Motivating the High School Student. Are you having trouble keeping your teenager motivated and in your home school? This talk gives helpful ideas and suggestions on keeping your high school student motivated and staying focused.

Marian Modesty for your Sons and Daughters: This presentation covers the lost virtues of Chastity and Modesty. Included in the presentation are the teachings of the Church, quotes from Pope Pius XII on Modesty, and examples from the lives of the saints. All parents and teens need to hear this presentation. Jacinta, the little seer of Fatima, said before she died, “More souls go to hell for sins of flesh.”

Myths and Solutions for ADD/ADHD - This presentation covers the many myths we hear about ADD/ADHD along with natural solutions to help home schooling parents of children with ADD/ADHD. It also covers some of the "causes" of this problem. With so much talk about ADD/ADHD today, it is very important to have this information

Teaching the Unique Learner: This talk covers how to recognize learning disabilities, resources to help the home schooling parents and tips and ways to teach a child with learning disabilities.

The 3 Last Things: Parties, Prom and Football - Mrs. Moran not only has successfully home schooled two of 5 children through high school, but knows first hand how to survive the pressures of the high school years. This talk was given at a home schooling conference. She covers how to survive the pressure parents are put through by their teens to go to High School with their friends.

Saintly Virtues for Saintly Children, This presentation explains why it so important for our children to have the many virtues instilled in them while they are young, so that they grow up to be saintly men and women. Examples are taken from the lives of the saints and the teaching of the Church.

Teaching and Living the Beatitudes in the 21st Century. The Emphasis in the presentation is how to live the beatitudes today. Examples taken from the saints and the period of time they lived and then it is applied to our times is emphasized. Mrs. Moran has given this talk to many High School students and youth groups.

St. Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus and Role Model for Today's Fathers, This particular presentation delves into the origin of the devotion to St. Joseph as it is taken from scripture, Church Fathers, Church teaching, the saints and oral tradition. It shows how St. Joseph is the role model for home schooling families. Mrs. Moran encourages devotion to St. Joseph for all spiritual and temporal needs.

Spiritual and Educational Priorities for Large and not so Large Home Schooling Families. This talk stresses the spiritual aspect of home schooling and why it so important and how to make it number the #1 priority in your home schooling family. A definite must for all home schooling parents to hear and know.

“Am I Not Here?” This wonderful talk is centered on fostering Marian devotion in our children and of course adults too. This covers Our Lady's most famous apparitions starting with Saragossa, Spain when she bilocated to St. James and his disciples up to Fatima in1917. You cannot foster love and devotion to Our Heavenly Mother if you do not know her! This talk was originally requested by 10th grade students in a Catholic high school. Those who know Our Heavenly Mother will appreciate this talk, those who don’t know her, need to here this presentation.

Our Lady of Sorrows Refuge for the Overworked and under- appreciated Home Schooling Mom. The core of this presentation is the 7 sorrows of Our Lady and how they apply to home schooling families, especially the mother. It is in her sorrows that we draw the strength we need to home school our children in this world today. The seven sorrows are presented as a guide for home schooling mothers. The many points presented make excellent material to meditate and think upon. Mrs. Moran’s material is taken from the writings of the saints and also from the writings of the late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Mary’s Power: Help for the Home Schooling Family – Mrs. Moran in this talk addresses the power of Our Heavenly Mother. The following points are presented: Her power in general; utilizing the writings of the saints and the Church, her power through her holy name, MARY, again utilizing the writings of the saints and the Church, and her power through her prayer: the Hail Mary. Finally her power through her Holy Rosary, her weapon for the family and the answer to the problems facing home schooling families today is covered. It is the evil one, the devil, who does not want parents to home school their children. In this talk, the weapons needed to defeat him are explained. Mary is our refuge, our hope and our mother.

Avoiding the Wide Road: The Church’s Teaching on Hell This presentation was originally given to a teenage youth group. They requested this topic. It covers the Church's teaching on Hell, using the Church's teachings on hell, the saints’ writings and examples on the existence and reality of hell, along with the Fatima vision to the three children on hell. It is a topic today that is sadly neglected.

Lord, Teach Us to Pray. This presentation delves into prayer, its importance, the types of prayer, especially mental prayer and the sacraments in our daily lives. It has often been called the Royal Road to Heaven. This very title stresses why we not only should pray but why we need to pray everyday if we want to go to heaven. The material is taken from Church teaching and the writing of the saints.

The 4 Dimensions of Sin - Deceive, Defile, Desensitize and Deaden - This presentation covers what sin does to a person's whole being. How sin desensitizes one's reaction to the sins of today. This goes hand in hand with the impact sin has had on the virtues of Chastity and Modesty, along with other virtues. Mrs. Moran covers how to protect yourself from having this devastating effect happen to you and your family.

The Culture of Death and the Loss of the Sense of the Sacred. This presentation was given several years ago. It basically covers how the loss of the sense of the sacred has established in our culture today a culture of death. This is because when society loses the sense of the sacred, there is nothing left but this culture of death. This loss did not happen overnight. Mrs. Moran explains its inception and progression and how it has affected all of society today.

The Holy Angels: Our Forgotten Companions. This presentation if desired has slides that can be given with or without the talk. It addresses Angels in Church teaching, Scripture, oral and written tradition and in the writings and lives of the saints. Mrs. Moran stresses the importance of loving your guardian angels and knowing what they can do for you. An excellent talk to instill devotion to the Holy Angels in family.

The Two Hearts are One: This presentation was give at the IHM conference in 2004. This talk covers the origins and Church teachings on the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It includes private revelations from the saints and their writings. Through her research, Mrs. Moran shows that the Two Hearts are indeed one and a great gift of grace from God to this sinful generation. A must for lovers of the two hearts of Jesus and Mary to hear.

Heaven's Weapon: This talk is on the holy rosary, the origin of the rosary, the power of the rosary, along with many examples in history showing how the praying of the rosary has saved the world during various times in history. Mrs. Moran has given this talk many times in the past and at conferences. It is a very important talk, because people can become lukewarm and negligent about praying the rosary. The devil attacks the hardest here. He does not want the rosary prayed. Everyone needs to realize the importance and the power of this pray. Mrs. Moran includes the apparitions of Our Lady on the Rosary and what Our Heavenly Mother has asked of her children concerning this very powerful prayer.

Our Lady's Mantle: This presentation is on the Brown Scapular. Along with the rosary, these are the two weapons Our Heavenly Mother gave us to defeat the world, the flesh and the devil. She told this to St. Dominic in the 13th century. Mrs. Moran includes how this great gift from heaven was given to us along with the many examples from the lives of the saints on the power of this great sacramental. These two talks, Heaven's Weapon and Our Lady's Mantle cover what Our Lady has given to us to defeat the evil one. The rosary and the brown scapular are the two greatest sacramentals of our time, given to us by Our Heavenly Mother, who wants to protect and save her children.

All of Mrs. Moran’s spiritual talks are taken from her book, "The Doorway to Heaven". The book has approval from her bishop that the contents are free from doctrinal error. The "Holy Angels" presentation also has a nihil obstat and imprimatur.

Additional topics by request

Her book, "The Doorway to Heaven" contains the many lectures she has given over the

past 20 years on the various aspects of our rich and beautiful Catholic Faith.

Her latest book, “The Unique Learner – Home Schooling Children with Learning

Disabilities” is now available.

Just finished is “Philip’s Fast – 40 days of Advent Meditations According to the Byzantine

Catholic Rite.

Many of her lectures on home schooling are taken from her latest book still in the editing

and writing stage: “Home Schooling for Heaven, not Harvard.”

Additional Information:

She has been homeschooling her 5 children for the past 20+ years and speaking at

homeschooling conferences around the country. She is president of the Catholic Homes School

Network of America. She is a member of the delegation that went to Rome, Italy in 1995, 1997

and 2007 that spoke about Catholic Home Schooling in America with the various congregations

and curia in Rome. The delegation was privileged to have an audience with the Holy Father

and to receive Holy Communion from Pope John Paul II. She is the founder and past leader of

the Ohio Educators' Catholic Home Schooling Network. She has spoken about Catholic

Homeschooling to many groups and at many conferences with the emphasis on the challenge

of teaching a child with learning disabilities. She has successfully home schooled her second

son who is a dyslexic and had ADHD. He is a graduate of YSU: majoring in Criminal Justice

with a minor psychology and computer science. Her "Tips on Teaching the Academics" gives

many helpful suggestions on not only recognizing the many problems that can surface while

teaching your children, but includes tips and suggestions from the many years of

homeschooling her children.

Other topics include: Marian Modesty in dress and deportment, Saintly Virtues for saintly

children, Teaching and living the Beatitudes in Modern Times (emphasis on examples from the

saints and their times and how to apply it to today), St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus and role

model for today's fathers, Spiritual and Educational Priorities for (large) homeschooling families.

Other topics by request.

She became a Secular Franciscan in 1978 and served as prefect of her fraternity for three years. She is presently Secretary-Treasurer of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima - Byzantine Chapter of Warren, OH and also the speaker for the chapter. She has presented the Fatima message to over 20,000 + children and adults in the Northeastern Ohio and tri-state area. She has been the keynote speaker in many conferences and retreats. She is a past board member of the Northeastern Ohio Adoption Services (NOAS). Catherine and her husband adopted a sibling group, a brother and a sister from Ukraine. She also co-produced and developed a slide/video presentation on the Holy Angels. She is a parishioner of Sts. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church, and member of the Altar and Rosary Society and St. Benedict's Guild. Through the Blue Army of Lady of Fatima, she helped start and establish:

1. First Friday Eucharist Vigils

2. The International Rosary March on the first Sundays of May and October in her


3. She has twice co-chaired the visit of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady o Fatima to her diocese.

Her book, "The Doorway to Heaven" contains the many lectures she has given over the past 20 years on the various aspects of our rich and beautiful Catholic Faith. Excellent resource book for Homeschooling moms.

Contact information:

Catherine Moran, Ph.D.

174 Morningside Rd

Niles, OH 44446

330-652-4923 home

330-647-3833 cell