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November 26, 2003

The Christmas-Epiphany Season

Divine Infant King Jesus, Come down into our Hearts!We apply the name of Christmas to the forty days which begin with the Nativity of Our Lord, December 25th, and end with the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, February 2nd. It is a period which forms a distinct portion of the Liturgical Year; as distinct, by its own special spirit, from every other, as are Advent, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. One same Mystery is celebrated and kept in view throughout the entire forty days.

The Season of the Epiphany, which extends beyond the forty days, continues the observance of the same Mystery and its celebration. Thus, the Festival of the Birth of Christ (and the Divine Maternity) are continuously celebrated by all faithful Catholics until the transition to the Season of Lent.

Neither the Feasts of the Saints, which so abound during this time, nor the advent of Septuagesima, with its mournful purple, which often begins before the Christmas-Epiphany Season is over, are able to distract our Holy Mother the Church from the immense joy of which She received the good tidings from the Angels on that glorious Night, for which the world had been longing 4,000 years. The Catholic Faithful will remember that the Liturgy commemorates this long expectation by the four weeks of Advent.

The custom of celebrating the Solemnity of Our Savior’s Nativity by a commemoration of forty days’ duration is founded on the Holy Gospel itself; for it tells us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, after spending forty days in the contemplation of the Divine Fruit of her glorious Maternity, went to the Temple, there to fulfill, in most perfect humility, the ceremonies which the Law demanded of the daughters of Israel, when they became mothers. The Feast of Mary’s Purification is, therefore, part of that of Jesus’ Birth; and the custom of keeping this holy and glorious period as one continued festival goes back to the earliest days of the Church.

The characteristic of this Holy Christmas-Epiphany Season is the joy which the whole Church feels at the Birth of the Incarnate Word and the admiration of that glorious Virgin, who was made the Mother of God. There is scarcely a prayer, or a rite, in the Liturgy of this glad Season, which does not imply these two grand mysteries: an infant-God, and a Virgin-Mother. In the Western Church there is a continual commemoration of the fruitful virginity of the Mother of God, including a special prayer in her honor in every Holy Mass. In the Eastern Church, in addition to the frequent commemorations of the Divine Maternity of Mary (Theotokos) in their Offices of this Season, they have a special veneration for the twelve days between Christmas Day and the Epiphany, which in their Liturgy, are called the Dodecameron. During this time they observe no days of Abstinence, and the Catholic Emperors, out of respect for the great Mystery, decreed that no servile work be permitted, and that the courts of law must be closed from December 24th until after January 6th.

From a brief historical review of this Holy Season, we can well understand why the period of Christmas-Epiphany has ever been a Season most dear to all true Christians, who fervently and joyfully celebrate it for the entire forty days.


Christmas Devotions (Dec. 25-Jan. 2) Indulgenced Prayer to the Infant Jesus
Prayers to the Eternal Father Christmas Hymns
The Circumcision of Our Divine Lord & the Solemnity of the Mother of God (Jan. 1)
The Holy Name of Jesus (Jan. 2) The Holy Family
The Epiphany: Feast of the Three Holy Kings Our Lady of Prompt Succor
Our Lady of Banneux, Virgin of the Poor The Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Christmas Devotions in Honor of the
Nativity of Our Divine Infant King

The following devotions are recited in their entirety before Christmas Midnight Mass.
The indicated portions are recited daily throughout the Forty Days of Christmas

Reflection on the Meaning of Christmas
Sundays & Thursdays throughout the Christmas-Epiphany Season

It is especially in the Great Work of the Incarnation and Redemption that God’s infinite Goodness and Mercy shines forth. His eternal design of sending His own Son into the world to redeem the human race, broken and bruised by sin, and of restoring to it the children’s inheritance and heavenly beatitude, is the masterpiece of His Wisdom and Love.

Christmas recalls the wonderful Mystery of the Incarnation, which renders God visible, in order that we may listen to Him, imitate Him, and unite ourselves to Him. It renders an infinite God passible, for He finds in His Humanity the means wherewith to suffer, to expiate, to merit, and to heap graces upon us. It is through the flesh that man turns away from God; it is in becoming Flesh that God delivers man. The Word of God assumes our human nature to redeem us, and to make us holy by giving us a share in His Divinity.

Holy Mother Church wills that the celebration of the mystery of Our Lord’s Incarnation should bring us the grace that we may live a new life, more exempt from sin and imperfection, more free from attachment to ourselves and creatures. She would have us to understand above all that Christ, in exchange for the humanity which He takes from us, wishes to make us partakers of His Divinity by sanctifying grace, that He may take more complete possession of us. This will be the grace of His new Divine Birth in us, which is the meaning and spirit of Christmas.

Daily: "And it came to pass while they were there, that the days for Her to be delivered were fulfilled. And She brought forth Her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke ii. 6, 7)

V. Christ is born to us.
R. Come, let us adore Him!  Glory be to the Father...

I. Jesus In Eternity
December 26th & 27th, Sundays & Thursdays

"And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And we saw His glory?glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father?full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

"Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands. They will perish, but Thou wilt continue; and they will all grow old as does a garment; and as a covering Thou wilt change them, and they shall be changed." (Heb. 1:10-12)

"Thine are the heavens, and Thine is the earth, the world and its fullness Thou hast set firm; justice and judgment are the foundation of Thy throne." (Ps. 68:12, 15)

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…

Let us Pray: O God, Who hast made this most holy night to shine forth with the brightness of the true Light, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who have known the mystery of His light on earth, may also experience His joys in Heaven, Who with Thee livest and reignest forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

II. Jesus In Time
December 28th & 29th, Mondays & Fridays

"And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. And we saw His glory?glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father—full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

"While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, Thy Almighty Word, O Lord, leapt down from Heaven from Thy royal throne." (Wis. 18:14-15)

"A Child is born to us, a Son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulders, and His Name shall be: Wonderful, Counselor, God, the Mighty One, Father of the world to come, Prince of Peace." (Isa. 9:6)  Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...

Let us Pray: Grant, O Almighty God, we beseech Thee, that we, upon whom has been poured the new light of Thy Word-made-Man, may show in deeds what shines by faith in our souls; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

III. Jesus In Mary
December 30th & 31st, Tuesdays & Saturdays

"Today the King of Heaven deigned to be born of a Virgin, that He might win back fallen mankind for the heavenly kingdom. The hosts of angels rejoice, because eternal salvation has appeared for the human race." (Roman Breviary) Hail Mary...

"The Mother gave birth to the King, Whose Name is eternal, retaining both the joys of motherhood and the honor of virginity. No one has ever appeared who might be compared to Her, nor will another follow who is like to Her." (Roman Breviary) Hail Mary...

"O Holy and Immaculate Virgin, how shall I praise Thee as I ought? Thou hast borne in Thy womb Him Whom the Heavens could not contain." (Roman Breviary) Hail Mary...

Hymn: "Alma Redemptoris Mater"

Sweet Mother of our Redeemer, hear Thou Thy people’s cry,
Star of the Sea, and Portal of the Sky.
Mother of Him Who Thee from nothing made,
Sinking, we strive, and call to Thee for aid.
Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to Thee,
Thou Virgin first and last, let us sinners Thy mercy see.

Let us Pray: O God, Who didst will that Thy Word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin at the message of an Angel, grant to us, Thy suppliants, that we who truly believe Her to be the Mother of God, may be helped by Her intercession with Thee. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

IV. Jesus in Us
January 1st & 2nd, Wednesdays

"The grace of God our Savior has appeared to all men, instructing us, in order that, rejecting ungodliness and worldly lusts, we may live temperately and justly and piously in this world; looking for the blessed hope and glorious coming of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and cleanse for Himself an acceptable people, pursuing good works." (Titus 2:11-14)

Hymn: "Jesu Redemptor Omnium"

Jesus, Redeemer of the world, Who, ere the earliest dawn of light,
Wast from eternal ages born, immense in glory as in might.

Immortal Hope of all mankind, in Whom the Father’s face we see,
Hear Thou the prayers Thy people pour this day throughout the world to Thee.

Remember, O Creator Lord! That in the Virgin’s sacred womb
Thou wast conceived, and of Her flesh didst our mortality assume.

This ever blest recurring day, its witness bears, that all alone,
From Thy own Father’s bosom forth, to save the world Thou camest down.

O Day! To which the seas and sky, and earth and Heaven glad welcome sing;
O Day! Which healed our misery, and brought on earth salvation’s King.

We, too, O Lord, who have been cleansed in Thine own fount of Blood Divine,
Offer this tribute of sweet song on this blest natal day of Thine.

O Jesu, born of Virgin bright, Immortal glory be to Thee;
Praise to the Father infinite and Holy Ghost eternally. Amen.

V. The Lord has made known, Alleluia.
R. His salvation, Alleluia. (Psalm 97:2)

Hymn to the Infant Jesus
Daily throughout the Christmas-Epiphany Season

Jesus! Unto Thee I flee, through Thy Mother praying Thee,
In my need to succour me; truly I believe of Thee.

God, Thou art with strength to shield me, full of trust I hope of Thee,
Thou Thy grace wilt give me, all my heart I give to Thee.

Wherefore of my sins repent me, from their breaking, I beseech Thee,
Jesus! From their bonds to free me, firm my purpose is to mend me.

Never more will I grieve Thee, wholly unto Thee I give me,
Patiently to suffer for Thee, Thee to serve eternally.

And my neighbor, like to me, I will love for love of Thee.
Little Jesus, I beseech Thee, in my need to succour me.

That one day I may enjoy Thee, safe with Joseph and with Mary,
And Angels all, eternally. Amen.

Sweetest Jesus, grant me an increase of faith,
hope, and charity; a contrite and humble heart!

Indulgenced Prayer to the Infant Jesus
Daily throughout the Christmas-Epiphany Season

Divine Infant Jesus, reign over my heart!Our most lovable Lord Jesus Christ, Who, becoming an Infant for us, didst vouchsafe to be born in a stable to free us from the darkness of sin, to draw us more closely to Thee, and to inflame us with Thy holy love, we adore Thee as our Creator and Redeemer, we acknowledge and choose Thee for our King and Lord, and we offer to Thee the tribute of all the affections of our poor hearts. Dear Jesus, Our Lord and God, deign to accept this offering, and, in order that it may be worthy of Thy gracious acceptance, forgive us our sins, enlighten us, inflame us with that holy fire which Thou didst come to bring into the world to enkindle in our hearts. May our souls thus become a perpetual sacrifice in Thy honor; grant that we may always seek thy greater glory here on earth, in order that we may one day come to enjoy the beauty of Thy infinite perfections in Heaven. Amen.

Prayers to the Eternal Father

Monday & Saturday

Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my own salvation and for the salvation of the whole world, the mystery of the Birth of our Divine Savior. Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...

Tuesday & Saturday

Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my eternal salvation the sufferings of the most holy Virgin and of Saint Joseph in that long and weary journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I offer Thee the sorrows of their hearts when they found no place wherein to shelter themselves when the Savior of the world was born. Pater... Ave... Gloria...

Wednesday & Sunday

Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my eternal salvation the sufferings of Jesus in the stable where He was born, the cold He suffered, the swaddling clothes which bound Him, the tears He shed, and His tender infant cries. Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...

Thursday & Sunday

Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my eternal salvation the pain which the Holy Child Jesus felt in His tender Body when He submitted to Circumcision. I offer Thee that Precious Blood which then, for the first time, He shed for the salvation of the whole human race. Pater... Ave... Gloria...

Friday & Sunday

Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my eternal salvation the humility, mortification, patience, charity, all the virtues of the Child Jesus; and I thank Thee, and I love Thee, and I bless Thee without end for the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Divine Word.

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be....

V. The Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt amongst us.

Let us Pray

O God, Whose only begotten Son was made manifest to us in the substance of our flesh, grant, we beseech Thee, that through Him, Whom we acknowledge to be like unto ourselves, our souls may be inwardly renewed, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Devotions in honor of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ
and the Solemnity of the Mother of God

Feast: January 1st

Reflection on the Circumcision

In the Old Law, Circumcision was a rite of initiation into the service of God and a promise to believe and act as He had revealed and directed. The law of circumcision continued until the death of Christ, and since our Savior was born under the Law, "it became Him to fulfil all justice" and submit to it, for He had come to teach mankind obedience to the Law of God. He was circumcised that He might "redeem them that were under the Law," by freeing them from its servitude, and that those who were slaves before might be set at liberty, and "receive the adoption of sons" in Holy Baptism, which, by Christ’s institution, succeeded circumcision.

Holy Mother Church reminds us of a "wonderful exchange" that took place between God and man. In exchange for the humanity which He took, the Incarnate Word gave us a share in His Divinity. What Christ is by nature, namely, the Son of God, we are to be by grace, God’s adopted sons.

In imitation of our Infant Savior, we should renew holy fervor in our hearts and resolve to be more generous in the service of God. Let us foster union with Christ by sanctifying grace, which makes us children of God, and henceforth live a new life of detachment from sin and attachment to God.


"When eight days were fulfilled for His Circumcision, His Name was called JESUS." (Luke 2:21)

"Because of His exceedingly great love for us, God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." (Roman Breviary) Glory be to the Father...

I. The Creator Becomes Man
January 1st, 2nd & 3rd

"The root of Jesse has budded forth; a Star is risen out of Jacob; the Virgin hath brought forth the Savior. O our God, we praise Thee!" Our Father...

"When Thou wast born of a Virgin in a wonderful manner, the Scriptures were fulfilled: Thou hast come down like rain upon the fleece in order to save the human race. O our God, we praise Thee!" (Roman Breviary) Our Father...

"O wonderful exchange! The Creator of the human race, taking upon Himself a body and a soul, has deigned to be born of a Virgin, and, appearing here below as man from no human generation, has made us partakers of His Divinity." (Roman Breviary) Our Father...

II. Born of a Virgin Mother
January 1st, 4th, 5th & 6th

Rejoice with me, all you who love God, for, because I was a little one, I pleased the Almighty, and gave birth to the God-Man. Hail Mary...

In the bush which Moses saw, burning yet not consumed, we have a figure of the preservation of thy glorious virginity. O Mother of God, intercede for us! Hail Mary...

Hymn: "A Solis Ortus Cardine"

From the far blazing gate of morn to earth’s remotest shore,
Let every tongue confess to Him Whom Holy Mary bore.

Lo! the great Maker of the world, Lord of eternal years,
To save His creatures, veiled beneath a creature’s form appears.

A spotless Maiden’s virgin breast with heavenly grace He fills;
In her pure womb He is Conceived, and there in secret dwells.

That bosom, chastity’s sweet home, becomes, O blest reward!
The Shrine of Heaven’s immortal King, the Temple of the Lord.

And Mary bears the Babe foretold by an Archangel’s voice:
Whose Presence made the Baptist leap, and in the womb rejoice.

A manger scantily strewn with hay becomes the Eternal’s bed;
And He Who feeds each little bird, Himself with milk is fed.

Straightway with joy the heav’ns are filled, the hosts angelic sing;
And shepherds hasten to adore their Shepherd and their King.

Praise to the Father! Praise to Him, the Virgin’s Holy Son!
Praise to the Spirit Paraclete, while endless ages run. Amen.

V. The Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt amongst us. (John 1:14)

Let us Pray

O God, Who by the fruitful virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary hast bestowed upon mankind the rewards of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we have worthily received the Author of Life, Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Devotions in honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Feast: January 2nd, or the Sunday between Jan. 1st & the Epiphany

Daily throughout the Month of the Holy Name of Jesus

Reflection on the Holy Name of Jesus
Read on Sundays throughout January

Jesus, the very thought of Thee with sweetness fills my breast...Holy Mother Church, having made known to us the Incarnation of the Son of God, now unfolds to us the glories of the Holy Name. The origin of this Feast goes back to the sixteenth century.

Among the Israelites a child received his name at the rite of Circumcision. On the day that the Divine Infant was Circumcised, He received the Name of Jesus, which signifies ‘Savior’, and which had been given Him by the Angel before He was Conceived. That Name, so beautiful, so glorious, the Divine Child did not wish to bear for one moment without fulfilling its meaning. Already at the moment of His Circumcision He showed Himself a Savior by shedding for us that Blood, of which a single drop is more than sufficient for the ransom and salvation of the whole world. The Church begins the year with the Name of Jesus, because She wishes that it should be imprinted upon us each day of that year. May the adorable Name of Jesus be impressed, above all, upon our whole being, upon all our actions; may it ever be on our lips, and in our hearts!


"Whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved."
(Rom. 10:13)

V. The Adorable Name of Jesus, Which is above every other Name;
R. Come let us adore! (Roman Breviary) Glory be to the Father...

I. The Command
Sundays, Mondays & Thursdays

"Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to thee Mary, thy spouse, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Ghost. And She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." (Matt. 1:20-21) Our Father...

Canticle of Contrition

V. For Thy Name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my sins, for they are great.
R. Blessed is Thy Name, O God of our fathers, Who, though offended, art mindful of mercy and dost pardon our sins in the time of need.
V. Arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us for Thy Name’s sake!
R. Save us, O Lord, our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may praise Thy holy Name and find our joy in praising Thee.

Hymn: "Jesu Dulcis Memoria"

Jesus, the very thought of Thee, with sweetness fills my breast,
But sweeter far Thy face to see, and in Thy Presence rest.

No voice can sing, no heart can frame, nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than Jesus’ Name, O Savior of mankind.

O Hope of every contrite heart, O Joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art! How good to those who seek.

But what to those who find? Ah! This, no tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is, none but His loved ones know.

Jesus, our only Joy be Thou, as Thou our prize wilt be;
Jesus, be Thou our glory now, and through eternity. Amen.
(St. Bernard)

II. The Fulfillment
Tuesdays & Fridays

"And when eight days were fulfilled for His Circumcision, His Name was called Jesus, the Name given Him by the Angel before He was Conceived in the womb." (Luke 2:2) Our Father...

Canticle of Confidence

V. O Lord, our Master, how wonderful is Thy Name in the whole world!
R. People of all ages will be mindful of Thy Name, O Lord.
V. All the nations Thou hast created shall come and adore Thee, O Lord, and praise Thy Name, because Thou art great and dost wonderful things; Thou alone art God.
R. Those Who have known Thy Name will put their trust in Thee, for Thou never forsakest those who seek Thee, O Lord.
V. All who put their trust in Thee, O Lord, will be happy forever, and all those who love Thy Holy Name will find their highest joy in Thee.
R. My soul has yearned for Thy Holy Name, O Lord.

Hymn: "Jesu Rex Admirabilis"

O Jesus, King most wonderful, Thou Conqueror renowned,
Thou sweetness most ineffable, in Whom all joys are found.

When once Thou visitest the heart, then Truth begins to shine;
Then earthly vanities depart; then kindles Love Divine.

O Jesus, Light of all below, Thou Font of life and fire,
Surpassing all the joys we know, and all we can desire.

May every heart confess Thy Name, and ever Thee adore;
And, seeking Thee, itself inflame, to seek Thee more and more.

Thee may our tongues forever bless, Thee may we love alone;
And ever in our lives express the image of Thine own. Amen.
(St. Bernard)

V. "But I will rejoice in the Lord."
R. "And I will exult in God my Jesus." (Habacuc 3:18)

Let us Pray

O Almighty and Eternal God, Who hast created and redeemed us, look favorably upon our prayers, and deign to accept with kindly and benign countenance the sacrifice of the Saving Victim which we have offered to Thy Majesty, in honor of the Name of Thy Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ; that, by the pouring forth of Thy grace into our souls, we may rejoice to see our names written in Heaven under the glorious Name of Jesus, as a pledge of eternal predestination. Through the same Christ Our Lord, Who together with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

III. The Glory of the Name of Jesus
Wednesdays & Saturdays

"Appearing in the form of man, Christ humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even to the death on a Cross. Therefore God also has exalted Him and has bestowed upon Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:8-11) Our Father...

Canticle of Praise

V. I will find all my joy in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy Name, O Almighty!
R. I will praise Thy Name unceasingly, and will glorify it with thanksgiving.
V. I will praise Thee, O Lord, my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Thy Name forever, because Thou, O Lord, art kind and mild, and most merciful to them who call upon Thee.
R. Blessed, praised, and exalted forever be Thy Holy Name of Glory. And blessed forever is the Name of Thy Majesty, Thou Who alone dost perform wonderful things.
V. May we praise Thy great Name, for it is awe-inspiring and holy.

Hymn: "Jesu Decus Angelicum"

O Jesus, Thou the Beauty art of angel worlds above;
Thy Name is music to the heart, enchanting it with love.

Celestial Sweetness unalloyed! Who eat Thee hunger still;
Who drink of Thee still feel a void, which nought but Thee can fill.

O my Sweet Jesus! hear the sighs which unto Thee I send;
To Thee mine inmost spirit cries, my being’s hope and end!

Stay with us, Lord, and with Thy Light, illumine the soul’s abyss;
Scatter the darkness of our night, and fill the world with bliss.

O Jesus, Spotless Virgin-flower, our life and joy,
To Thee be praise, beatitude and power, through all eternity. Amen.
(St. Bernard)

"Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17)

Closing Oration

Let us Pray: O God, Who didst appoint Thine only-begotten Son to be the Savior of the human race, and didst command that He should be called Jesus, mercifully grant that we who honor His Holy Name on earth, may also enjoy Him forever in Heaven. Through the same Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus and Hymn are
added on the Feast of the Holy Name and all Sundays

Devotions in honor of the Epiphany
of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Feast: January 6th; Recite as indicated throughout the entire Season

Reflection on the Epiphany
Read on Sundays throughout the Epiphany Season

The Adoration of the Three Holy KingsEpiphany means, in particular, the manifestation of the Savior to the Gentile world, in the person of the Magi. The way in which the Magi acted shows us the qualities that our faith ought to have. They were faithful to the inspiration of grace. They did not doubt nor stay to reason, but immediately began to carry out their decision. If we listen faithfully to the call of grace, we shall come to Christ, Who is the Life of our soul. The Church would have us associate ourselves with the adoration of the Magi and offer the infant God the gold of a life full of love and fidelity, the frankincense of a prayerful faith, the myrrh of our sorrows, tears, and sufferings which we unite to His own. When God makes the light of the Gospel shine in the sight of the pagans, or permits His Truth to be realized by those living in error, the Epiphany is renewed. The Epiphany is continued also in the faithful soul when her love of Christ becomes more fervent and steadfast, for then Christ begins to manifest Himself and lives in her by His Divine grace. While at Christmas we admire the union of Our Lord’s Divinity with His humanity, at the Epiphany, we honor the spiritual union of our souls with Him.


"Behold the Lord, the Ruler has come, and the Kingdom, power, and domination are in His Hand."

V. Christ has appeared to us.
R. Come, let us adore Him! Glory be to the Father...

I. The Invitation
Sundays, Wednesdays, & Fridays

Leader: When the Three Holy Kings saw the Star, they said to each other, "This is the sign of the great King; let us go and search for Him, and offer Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh." (Roman Breviary)

All: Begotten before the day star, and before the ages, the Lord, our Savior, has appeared to the world today. Our Father...

V. "The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents."
R. "Kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts." (Ps. 71:10)

Let us Pray

O God, Whose only-begotten Son has appeared in the substance of our flesh, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be inwardly reformed by Him, Whom we have recognized as similar to us outwardly, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

II. The Star
Mondays & Thursdays

Leader: "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, there came Magi from the East to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newly-born King of the Jews?... For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him...’ And behold, the star that they had seen in the East went before them, until it came and stood over the place where the Child was." (Matt. 2:1-2, 9)

All: "Arise, be enlightened, Oh Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light and kings in the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about and see; all these are gathered together; they are come to thee; thy sons shall come from afar." (Is. 60:1,3-4) Pater Noster...

Let us Pray

O God, Who (on this day) didst make Thine only-begotten Son known to the Gentiles by the guidance of a star, mercifully grant that we, who already know Thee by faith, may be brought to the vision of the beauty of Thy Majesty; through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

III. The Gifts
Tuesdays & Saturdays

Leader: And entering the cave, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down, they adored Him. And opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

All: The Three Holy Kings came from the Orient to Bethlehem, to adore the Lord, and having opened their treasures, they offered precious gifts: gold, as to the Great King; frankincense, as to the True God; myrrh, for His burial. Our Father...

Leader: Thou, O Christ, Who art the Light of light, hast appeared, to Whom the Magi offered gifts.

Hymn: "O Sola Magnarum Urbium"

Bethlehem, of noblest cities, none can once with thee compare;
Thou alone the King from Heaven didst for us Incarnate bear.

Fairer than the sun at morning was the star that told His Birth,
To the lands their God announcing, hid beneath a form of earth.

By its lambent beauty guided see the eastern kings appear;
See them bend, their gifts to offer, gifts of incense, gold, and myrrh.

Solemn things of mystic meaning: Incense doth the God disclose;
Gold a royal Child proclaimeth; Myrrh a future doom foreshows.

Holy Jesus in Thy brightness to the Gentile world displayed,
With the Father and the Spirit, endless praise to Thee be paid. Amen.

V. May every land adore and praise Thee!
R. Let it sing praise to Thy Name, O Lord.

Let us Pray

Graciously look upon the gifts of Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by which gold, frankincense, and myrrh are no longer laid before Thee; but He is sacrificed and received, Who by those same gifts was signified, Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

I. Sunday, Wednesday, & Friday

O Holy Three Kings! you were living in continual expectation of the rising of the Star of Jacob, which would announce the birth of the true Sun of Justice; obtain for us an increase of faith and charity, and the grace to live in continual hope of beholding one day the light of heavenly glory and eternal joy. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

O Holy Three Kings! who at the first appearance of the wondrous star left your native country to go and seek the newborn King of the Jews; obtain for us the grace of corresponding with alacrity to every Divine inspiration. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

O Holy Three Kings! who regarded neither the severity of the season, nor the inconveniences of the journey, that you might find the new-born Messias; obtain for us the grace not to allow ourselves to be discouraged by any of the difficulties which may meet us on the way of salvation. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

II. Monday & Thursday

O Holy Three Kings! who, when deserted by the star in the city of Jerusalem, sought humbly, and without human respect, from the rulers of the Church, the place where you might discover the object of your journey; obtain for us the grace to have recourse, in faith and humility, in all our doubts and perplexities, to the counsels of our Superiors, who hold the place of God in this life on earth. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

O Holy Three Kings! who were gladdened by the reappearance of the star which led you to Bethlehem; obtain for us from God the grace that, remaining faithful to Him in afflictions, we may be consoled in time by His grace, and in eternity by His glory. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

O Holy Three Kings! who, entering full of faith into the stable of Bethlehem, prostrated yourselves on the earth, to adore the new-born King of the Jews, though He was surrounded only by signs of poverty and weakness; obtain from Our Lord for us a lively faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the true spirit of poverty, and a Christ-like charity for the poor and suffering. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

III. Tuesday & Saturday

O Holy Three Kings! who offered to Jesus Christ gold, frankincense, and myrrh, thereby recognizing Him to be at once King, God, and Man; obtain from Our Lord for us the grace never to present ourselves before Him with empty hands; but that we may continually offer Him the gold of our charity, the incense of our prayer, and the myrrh of our penance and mortification. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

O Holy Three Kings! who, when warned by an angel not to return to Herod, traveled back to your country by another road; obtain for us from Our Lord the grace that, after having found Him by true repentance, we may avoid all danger of ever losing Him again. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

O Holy Three Kings! who were the first among the Gentiles called to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and who persevered in the True Faith till your death, obtain for us of Our Lord the grace of living always in conformity to our baptismal promises [and especially in accordance with our Religious Vows], leading ever a life of faith; that like you we may attain to the beatific vision of that God Who now is the object of our faith. Glory be to the Father...

V. St. Gaspar, St. Melchior, and St. Balthasar, R. Pray for us.

"And they followed His Star..."

Devotions in honor of the Holy Family
Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany until the end of the Month of the Holy Family

Reflection on the Holy Family
Read on Saturdays throughout the Month of the Holy Family

All that the Gospels tell us of Christ’s hidden life at Nazareth with Mary and Joseph is that "He was subject to them", and that He "advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men." Having stooped so far as to take a nature like to ours, sin excepted, He wished also to be "obedient unto death." Jesus could say of His Mother and Foster Father what He said of His Heavenly Father, I do always the things that please them. Out of a life of thirty-three years, Jesus, Who is Eternal Wisdom, chose to pass thirty years in silence and obscurity, obedience and labor. Truly, He is a hidden God!

The Holy Family is a model for all Christian families. In the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are exemplified the proper relations that should exist between husband and wife, parents and children. There was filial devotion to God in that family circle of the three holiest Persons Who ever lived. While Joseph supported the Holy Family by his labor, Mary managed the household, and Jesus assisted both of them. They were united in their daily tasks, and sanctified them by prayer and meditation. By practicing the domestic virtues of charity, obedience, and mutual help, they sanctified family life. We should often implore them to sanctify our own families by their example and intercession.

"Verily, Thou art a hidden God, the God of Israel, the Savior."

(Isa. 45:15)

"And when they had fulfilled all things as prescribed in the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth."

(Luke 2:39)

V. Christ, the Son of God, Who was subject to Mary and Joseph;
R. Come let us adore! (Roman Breviary) Glory be to the Father...

The Little Chaplet of the Holy Family
Prayed in entirety on the Feast

Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday

1. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of loving Holy Mother Church, as we are bound to do, above every earthly thing, and of ever showing forth our love by the witness of our deeds. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...

2. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of openly professing, as we are bound to do, with courage and without human respect, the Faith that we received as Thy gift in holy Baptism. Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Gloria...

Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday

3. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of sharing, as we are bound to do, in the defense and propagation of the Faith, when duty calls, whether by word or by the sacrifice of our fortunes and our lives. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...

4. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of loving one another in mutual charity, as we are bound to do, and establish us in perfect harmony of thought, will, and action, under the rule and guidance of our Most Reverend Bishop.

Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Gloria...

5. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of conforming our lives fully, as we are bound to do, to the commandments of God’s law and those of His Holy Church, so as to live always in that charity which they set forth.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...

Hymn: "O Lux Beata Cœlitum"

O Highest Hope of mortals, Blessed Light of saints above,
O Jesus, on Whose Boyhood, home smiled with kindly love.

And thou who gently nursed Him, O Mary, highly graced,
Amidst His peaceful slumber, whose arms thy God embraced.

And thou of all men chosen to guard the Virgin’s fame,
To whom God’s Son refused not a Father’s gracious name.

Born for the nations’ healing, of Jesse’s lineage high,
Behold the suppliants kneeling, O hear the sinners’ cry!

The sun, returned to evening, dusks all the twilight air:
We, lingering here before Thee, pour out our heartfelt prayer.

Thy home was as a garden made glad with fairest flowers;
May life thus blossom sweetly in every home of ours.

Jesus, to Thee be glory, the Maiden-Mother’s Son,
With Father and with Holy Ghost, while endless ages run. Amen.

V. Enlighten us, O Lord, by the example of Thy Holy Family;
R. And guide us in the way of peace.

Let us Pray

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who by Thy obedience to Mary and Joseph didst sanctify family life with the splendor of Thy virtues, grant that by Thy help, we may be instructed by the example of Thy Holy Family, and become partakers of their eternal happiness. Who livest and reignest with the Father, in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Christmas-Epiphany devotions should always be concluded
with at least one appropriate seasonal hymn.

Our Lady of Banneux, the Virgin of the Poor
Feast: January 15th

Our Lady of Banneux, Virgin of the PoorTwelve days after the last apparition of Our Lady of Beauraing, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in nearby Banneux in the Diocese of Liége, Belgium. On that January 15, 1933, the Bishop of Liége had consecrated his diocese in a most solemn manner in honor of the Mother of God under the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This consecration was done in response to the apparitions at Fatima. Near the same hour, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Mariette Beco, a child eleven years of age, whose father was a Socialist and did not practice his Faith. (He was converted during the apparitions.)

Our Lady appeared eight times in the afternoon, in the family garden, where Mariette awaited her praying the Rosary. On four occasions she beckoned Mariette to follow her down a nearby road to a spring. Here she instructed Mariette, as she had instructed Saint Bernadette, to dip her hands into the water.

She revealed, "I am the Virgin of the Poor; this spring is reserved for the sick of all nations. I come to relieve those who suffer." Our Lady asked for a small chapel. When Mariette related the apparition to the parish chaplain, he asked for a sign before he would believe. After Mariette petitioned this of Our Lady, she responded, "Believe in me; I shall believe in you." The chaplain was not satisfied with this and secretly said to himself, if the Lady answers, "I am the Mother of the Savior—the Mother of God," he would believe.

At the last apparition Our Lady repeated these very words, which are now emblazoned in the Shrine. While leaving Mariette, Our Lady placed her hand on Mariette's head, blessed her and confided a secret as she had done to other seers, and said, "Pray very much. Adieu." Ecclesiastical approval was given by the Bishop on August 22, 1949. The water of the spring has been attested by many miracles in healing the sick.

Invocations to Our Lady of Banneux

Blessed Virgin of the Poor,
lead us to Jesus, the Source of Grace.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, save all of the nations.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, Fountain of Grace, sanctify us.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, console those who suffer.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, Health of the Sick, console those who are ill.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, intercede for each of thy children.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, we believe in thee.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, do thou believe in us.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, we shall pray very much.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, bless us.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor,
Mother of the Savior, Mother of God,
we praise and glorify thee with fervent gratitude. Amen.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor
Feast: January 15th

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Thou art, after Jesus our only hope. O Most Holy Virgin, whose merits have raised Thee high above angel choirs to the very throne of the Eternal Father, and whose foot hath crushed the head of the infernal Serpent, thou art all powerful against the enemies of our salvation. O Holy Mother of God, Thou art our great Mediatrix, most merciful and most loving. We implore thee then, to hasten to our assistance, and as Thou didst once save the city of thy suppliant children from ravaging flames, do Thou now have pity on our misery, and obtain for us the graces we beg of Thee. Deliver us from the wiles of Satan, assist us in the many trials which beset our path in this vale of tears, and be Thou unto us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor, now, and especially at the hour of our death. Amen.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, who amidst the tribulations of this world, dost watch over us and over the Church of Thy Divine Son, be unto us and to Holy Mother Church, truly, Our Lady of Prompt Succor; make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life, Thou mayest be our succor, and obtain for us (here ask the particular favor you desire). Furthermore, dearest Lady, assist us to gain life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

The Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Triduum: Jan. 20th-22nd; Feast: Jan. 23rd

Read on the Feast only:
This Feast arose from popular devotion in the fifteenth century. By the espousals among the Chosen People, a legal marriage was contracted, and therefore, Mary and Joseph were truly husband and wife. They were deeply devoted and faithful Spouses, as the ardent love they cherished for God naturally overflowed into a pure love and affection for one another. Each virginal Spouse was a continual source of joy and edification to the other; hence, they are the only truly perfect models for husbands and wives. Let us pray to them that the peace and happiness which constantly reigned in the Holy Family, may reign in all of our families, which we have consecrated to them.

"Do not be afraid, Joseph, Son of David, to take unto thee Mary, thy Spouse, for That Which is begotten in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins." (Matt. 1:20-21)

Let us Pray

Assist us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, by the merits of the holy Spouse of Thy most holy Mother, so that what we cannot obtain of ourselves, may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Most glorious Queen of the Universe, Mary ever Virgin, who didst bring forth Christ the Lord, the Savior of all, plead in our behalf for peace and salvation. Hail Mary...

Mary speaks:

"I have asked one thing of the Lord, and after this I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; that I may see the delight of the Lord and may visit His Temple." (Psalm 26:4)

Let us Pray

Bestow on Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gifts of Thy heavenly grace, that we for whom the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the beginning of salvation, may be blessed with peace on the solemn Feastday of her Espousals. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Christmas-Epiphany Hymns


1. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels: O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

2. Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation, Sing all ye citizens of Heav’n above: Glory to God, in the highest glory! O come let us adore Him…

3. Yea, Lord we greet Thee, born this happy morning. Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n. Word of the Father, now in Flesh appearing. O come let us adore Him…

4. Adeste fideles, Laeti triumphantes; Venite, venite in Bethlehem; natum videte, Regem Angelorum: Venite adoremus, venite adoremus, venite adoremus Dominum.


1. Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plain, and the mountains in reply echoing their joyous strain:

Gloria in excelsis in Deo! Gloria in excelsis in Deo!

2. Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strain prolong? What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heav’nly song? Gloria in excelsis...

3. Come to Bethlehem and see, Him Whose Birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the Newborn King. Gloria in excelsis...

4. See Him in a manger laid, Whom the choirs of angels praise; Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, while our hearts in love we raise. Gloria in excelsis...


1. The first Noel the angels did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay: In fields where they lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter’s night that was so deep. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.

2. They looked up and saw a star shining in the east beyond them far. And to the earth it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.

3. And by the light of that same star, Three Wise Men came from country far. To seek for a King was their intent, and to follow the Star wherever it went. Noel...

4. This star drew nigh to the northwest. O’er Bethlehem it took its rest. And there it did both stop and stay, right over the place where Jesus lay.

5. Then entered in those Wise Men three, fall reverently upon their knee, and offer’d there in His Presence, their gold and myrrh and frankincense. Noel...


1. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin Mother and Child! Holy Infant, so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.

2. Silent Night! Holy Night! Shepherds quake at the sight! Glories stream from Heaven afar, Heav’nly hosts sing, ‘Alleluia’ Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ the Savior is born.

3. Silent Night! Holy Night! Son of God. Love’s Pure Light! Radiant beams from Thy Holy Face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at Thy Birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy Birth.

4. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! Alles schläft, einsam wacht, nur das traute, hoch heilige Paar, holder knabe im lokkigem Haar. Schlaf in himmlischer Rüh, Schlaf in himmlischer Rüh.


1. Joy to the world! the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King; Let ev’ry Heart prepare Him room, and Heav’n and nature sing, and Heav’n and nature sing, and Heav’n, and Heav’n and nature sing.

2. Joy to the world! the Savior reigns; let men their songs employ. While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains; repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy, repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

3. No more let sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.

4. He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His Righteousness, and wonders of His love, and wonders of His love, and wonders, wonders of His love.


1. We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder Star.

O, Star of wonder, Star of might, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, guide as to the perfect Light.

2. Born a Babe on Bethlehem’s plain, gold we bring to crown Him again; King forever, ceasing never, over us all the reign.

3. Frankincense to offer have I; incense owns a Deity nigh. Pray’r and praising, all men raising, worship God on High.

4. Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume breathes a life of gath’ring gloom. Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

5. Glorious now behold Him rise, King and God and Sacrifice; Heav’n sings ‘Alleluia’ ‘Alleluia!’ earth replies.


1. O Come Little Children, O come one and all. To Bethlehem haste to the Manger so small. God’s Son for a Gift has been sent you this night, to be your Redeemer your joy and delight.

2. He’s born in a stable for you and for me. Draw near by the bright gleaming starlight to see. In swaddling clothes lies so meek and so mild, and poorer than angels the heavenly Child.

3. See Mary and Joseph with love-beaming eyes are gazing upon the rude bed where He lies. The shepherds are kneeling with hearts full of love, while angels sing loud ‘Alleluias’ above.

4. Kneel down and adore Him with shepherds today. Lift up little hands now and praise Him as they. Rejoice that a Savior from sin you can boast, and join in the song of the Heavenly Host!

5. Ihr Kinderlein kommet, O kommet doch all, zu krippe ihr kommet in Bethlehem stahl. Und seh’t was in dieser Hoch heilige Nacht. Der Vater im Himmel fuer Freude uns bracht.

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