Tag: Christmas

Should We Say Christmas or Xmas?

Should We Say Christmas or Xmas?

Christmas is often called Xmas. Some folks don’t think it’s appropriate to call Christmas ‘Xmas’ as that takes the ‘Christ’ (Jesus) out of Christmas (as Christmas comes from Christ-Mass, the Church service that celebrated the birth of Jesus). But that is not quite right! In the Greek language and alphabet, the letter that looks like an X is the Greek letter chi / Χ (pronounced ‘kye’ – it rhymes with ‘eye’) which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Christos. The early church used the first two letters of Christos in the Greek alphabet ‘chi’ and ‘rho’ to create a monogram (symbol) to display the name of Jesus. This looks like an X with a small P on the top: ☧

The symbol of a fish is sometimes used by Christians (you might see a fish sticker on a car or someone wearing a little fish badge). This comes from the time when the first Christians had to meet in secret, as the Romans wanted to kill them (before Emperor Constantine became a Christian). Jesus had said that he wanted to make his followers ‘Fishers of Men’, so people began to use that description.

When two Christians met, one person drew half a basic fish shape (often using their foot in the dust on the ground) and the other person drew the other half of the fish. The Greek word for fish is ‘Ikthus’ or ‘Ichthys’. There are five Greek letters in the word. It can also comprise of a sentence of Christian beliefs ‘Ie-sous Christos Theou Huios So-te-r’ which in English means “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour”. The second letter of these five letters is X or Christos!

So Xmas can also mean Christmas, rather it should also be called ‘Christmas’ rather than ‘X-mas’

What Are The Holy Days of Obligation In The Catholic Church?

What Are The Holy Days of Obligation In The Catholic Church?

On holy days of obligation, Catholics are obliged to participate in Mass. Every Sunday is a holy day of obligation, as are six other days throughout the year. In the United States, these holy days of obligation are

  • January 1: The Feast of Mary, the Mother of God

  • 40 days after Easter Sunday: Ascension Thursday

  • August 15: Assumption of Mary into heaven

  • November 1: All Saints’ Day

  • December 8: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

  • December 25: Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord

Holy days are like Sundays in that Catholics must attend Mass, and if possible, refrain from unnecessary servile work. Some Catholic countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Ireland, give legal holiday status to some of these holy days, so people can attend Mass and be with family instead of at work.

In the United States, Christmas Day (December 25) and the Immaculate Conception (December 8) are always days of obligation. Christmas and Easter (which always falls on Sunday) are the highest-ranking holy days, and the Immaculate Conception is the feast for the United States. However, if any of the other holy days falls on a Saturday or Monday, they aren’t considered holy days of obligation, because they’re back-to-back with Sunday. The concern is that it would be burdensome to many Catholics to have to go to church two days in a row.

To make things even more confusing, some parts of the United States have moved holy days, such as the Ascension from Thursday to the closest Sunday. If in doubt, it’s best to call the local Catholic parish or just go to Mass anyway. Attending Mass is never a waste of time, even if it ends up not being a holy day of obligation.

Europe has four more holy days than the United States observes: January 6 (Epiphany), March 19 (St. Joseph), Corpus Christi (Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which is the Sunday after Pentecost, which is 50 days after Easter), and the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul (June 29).



Pope Francis Invites All Catholics To Celebrate “True Christmas”

Pope Francis Invites All Catholics To Celebrate “True Christmas”

During the Angelus on Sunday, the pope gave a few last suggestions to prepare Christmas.
Pope Francis
“Please, we need to find a moment this week to stop and imagine the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph in their journey to Bethlehem. Imagine their trip: the road, the fatigue, but also their joy, their excitement, and then their angst, because there is no room for them, their worry… All that. To do this, the nativity scene is very useful.”
With just a few days to go until Christmas, the pope warned that gifts and dinner preparations should not distract from the true meaning of Christmas.
Pope Francis
“Let’s try to go into the “true Christmas,” that of the Jesus that comes, “God-with-us,” close to us, to receive the grace of this feast, which is a grace of closeness, love, humility and tenderness.”
The pope also gave thanks for all the messages he received for his 80th birthday, and he asked for prayers for the peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 



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