Feast of the Circumcision

Laudetur Iesus Christus on this the seventh day within the Octave of Christmas.  Tomorrow is the solemnity of the feast of the Circumcision, the 8th day when Christ first shed his blood, also known as the Octave Day of Christmas.  We post reflections for tomorrow’s feast day by Dr. Mike Foley, as well as Dom Prosper Gueranger:

Below is a listing of the Masses starting at midnight at some parishes. Please note that due to a last minute change, St. Ann parish will be unable to offer Confessions after the 9am Latin Mass tomorrow.  Secondly, St. Thomas will offer a blessing of religious objects after its 10am High Mass tomorrow

Saturday January 1 – feast of the Circumcision & Plenary Indulgence (see below)

  • Our Lady of Grace, Greensboro, 12 midnight High Mass (1.5 hours north of Charlotte)
  • St. John the Baptist, Tryon, NC 12 midnight Latin Mass (2 hours west of Charlotte)
  • St. Ann, Charlotte – 9am Low Mass (NO CONFESSIONS AFTER MASS)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas, Charlotte – 10am High Mass (followed by monthly blessing of religious objects)
  • Prince of Peace, Taylors, SC, 12 noon Latin Mass (2 hours southwest of Charlotte)
  • Our Lady of the Lake, Chapin, SC – 1:30pm Low Mass (2 hours south of Charlotte)

FYI: The midnight Masses of January 1 are on the late evening of December 31 and begin at midnight January 1.

Plenary Indulgence for December 31 & January 1

There is a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions offered on the last day and first day of the year when one takes part in the recitation of the Te Deum hymn (Friday December 31) and the Veni Creator (Saturday January 1) in a church or oratory. The former is recited in thanksgiving for the blessings the past year, and the latter is to ask for divine assistance for the coming new year. Learn more here: https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/12/plenary-indulgence-reminders-te-deum-on.html (prayers are attached)

Feast of Pope St. Sylvester – December 31

Today, Friday December 31, is the second to last day of the Octave and in the liturgical calendar the Church seemingly offers an unusual choice of a saint during this important week – Pope Saint Sylvester who reigned between the years of 314-335 AD, and was one of the first Popes to not die a martyr. Why place him on the calendar within the Christmas Octave? As Dom Prosper Gueranger mentions in his book The Liturgical Year, Pope Sylvester was the “Messenger of Peace”, who transitioned the Church and society into the peaceful era after Christianity was legalized in 313 AD with the Edict of Milan. St. Sylvester symbolizes the coming of the Prince of Peace, who came into the world with His Nativity on Christmas to bring peace between God and man. Gueranger writes:

So far, the only ones we have seen standing round the Crib of our Jesus have been Martyrs: Stephen, overwhelmed with the shower of stones; John, the Martyr in heart, who survived his fiery torture; the Holy Innocents, massacred by the sword; Thomas, murdered in his cathedral; these are the champions of Christ, who keep guard in the palace of Bethlehem. Yet all Christians are not called to be Martyrs. Besides this countless battalion of the King’s favourite soldiers, there are other troops of sainted heroes which form the heavenly army; and amongst these there are the Confessors, who conquered the world without shedding their blood in the combat. Though the place of honour in the service of the King belongs to the Martyrs, yet did the Confessors fight manfully for the glory of his name and the spreading of his Kingdom. The palm is not in their hands, but they are crowned with the crown of justice, and Jesus, who gave it to them, has made it be part of his own glory that they should be near his throne.

The Church would therefore grace this glorious Christmas Octave with the name of one of her children, who should represent at Bethlehem the whole class of her unmartyred Saints. She chose a Confessor—St Sylvester: a Confessor who governed the Church of Rome, and therefore the universal Church; a Pontiff whose reign was long and peaceful; a Servant of Jesus Christ adorned with every virtue, who was sent to edify and guide the world immediately after those fearful combats that had lasted for three hundred years, in which millions of Christians had gained victory by martyrdom, under the leadership of thirty Popes—predecessors of St Sylvester—and they, too, all Martyrs.

So that Sylvester is messenger of the Peace which Christ came to give to the world, of which the Angels sang on Christmas Night. He is the friend of Constantine; he confirms the Council of Nicæa; he organizes the discipline of the Church for the new era on which she is now entering: the era of Peace. His predecessors in the See of Peter imaged Jesus in his sufferings; Sylvester represented Jesus in his triumph. His appearance during this Octave reminds us that the Divine Child who lies wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and is the object of Herod’s persecution, is, notwithstanding all these humiliations, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the world to come.[Isa. ix 6]


A blessed Christmas Octave and a peaceful New Year to all.