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Catholic Fire Returns to Blogger

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Three years after Jean Heimann moved the Catholic Fire blog to her new author website, Catholic Fire returns to the Google Blogger platform. Jean, unfortunately, is no longer able to maintain the blog, but fifteen years of her blogging efforts are still available here.

Those of you who are fans of Jean's work may be interested in this update on her situation by her friend Judy Phelps:

To Jean’s readers: My name is Judy Phelps, and I am a friend of Jean’s. I am writing this to give you an update about the many things that have changed in Jean’s life recently.

Jean’s beloved husband, Bill, died on February 16th. He had heart surgery to address a valve problem, and unfortunately developed bleeding in the following days, and the doctors were not able to save him.

Upon visiting Jean the day after Bill’s death, another friend from church and I became quickly aware that Jean was not in a condition to take care of herself. It became apparent that Bill had been her caregiver and, with him …

7 Quick Takes: Christmas Movies and Books

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1. Believe is one Christmas movie I am looking forward to viewing this year. It opens in theaters on Dec. 2. Here is a review from Variety, Here is a brief synopsis from the website. For years, the small town of Grundy, Va. has relied on the Peyton family to provide the highlight of the year—the annual Christmas pageant. When Matthew Peyton (Ryan O’Quinn) inherits the family business, the responsibility of the Christmas pageant also falls on his shoulders. But as financial hardships fall on the town, Matthew finds himself overwhelmed. As his business profits plummet and his workers begin to strike, Matthew is forced to make a decision between selling the family business and cancelling the beloved pageant or sticking out hardships despite his rapidly declining popularity in the community. Through chance events, Matthew meets Clarence (Issac Ryan Brown), a boy who believes in miracles, and his mother Sharon (Danielle Nicolet). His newfound friends impact Matthew’s life in a way he never…

Ten Fascinating Facts about Advent

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1. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means "coming" or "arrival."

2. The Advent Season always begins four Sundays before Christmas; so it is rarely four full weeks long, but only between three and four weeks, depending on what weekday Dec. 25 happens to be in a certain year.

3. The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called "Gaudete Sunday" (from Latin, meaning "Rejoice!), because the "Entrance Antiphon" of this Sunday's Mass is taken from Paul's letter to the Philippians: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near." (Phil 4:4+5b)

4. In the Roman Catholic Church, the official liturgical color for most of the Season of Advent is violet. Only on the Third Sunday of Advent is a rose (pink) colored candle lit, as a symbol of joy; the priest may also wear rose vestments on this Sunday.

5. Advent wreaths have their origins in the folk traditions of northern Europe, where in t…

Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

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Today is the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. He is the patron of fishermen, singers, unmarried women, and women who wish to become mothers.

St. Andrew, son of Jonah, was the brother of the Apostle Peter, and like his brother, was born at Bethsaida in Galilee. He was a disciple of John the Baptist and became the first to follow Jesus. A fisherman like St. Peter, Saint Andrew first introduced Saint Peter to Christ. Both occupied the same house at Capharnaum.

At first the two brothers continued to carry on their fishing trade and family affairs, but later, the Lord called them to stay with Him all the time. He promised to make them fishers of men, and this time, they left their nets for good.

As one of the Twelve Apostles, Andrew was very close to Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Pal…

St. Cecilia: Patron of Poets and Musicians

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On November 22, the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr. St. Cecilia, patroness of musicians, is one of the most famous and most venerated of Roman martyrs.

It is believed that St. Cecilia was born in the 2nd or 3rd century A.D., although the dates of her birth and martyrdom are unknown.

Tradition tells us that Cecilia was a Roman girl of a patrician family who had been brought up as a Christian. She fasted often and wore a coarse garment beneath her rich clothing. Although she had consecrated her virginity to God, her father betrothed her to a young pagan named Valerian.

When the wedding day arrived, Cecilia sat apart from her guests, repeating psalms and praying. After the ceremony, when the guests had departed and she was alone with her husband, Cecilia made known her great desire to remain a virgin, saying that she already had a lover, an angel of God who was very jealous. Valerian, shaken by fear, anger, and suspicion, said to her: “Show me this ange…

The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Today, November 21, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the fact that the parents of Our Lady brought her to the Temple and handed her over to live there for a long period as a virgin consecrated to the Temple, contemplating God exclusively.  Also known as the Dedication of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the feast originated in the East, where it is called the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos Into the Temple.

The story of the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary captures the essential gospel portrayal of Mary totally committed to living out the will of God in her life. Her own willing, steadfast obedience lies at the heart of her life of self-sacrifice offered in love.


History of the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Protoevangelium of James (7-8), and the writing entitled "De nativit. Mariae" (7-8), state that Joachim and Anna, faithful to a vow they had made, presented the …

Advent with St. Teresa of Calcutta: Daily Meditations

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The word Advent comes from the Latin word advenio, which means "to come to," and denotes the coming of Christ. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts and souls for the Savior’s three comings: (1) the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love at Christmas, (2) Christ’s coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and (3) His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.

In her inspirational book, Advent with St. Teresa of Calcutta: Daily Meditations, author Heidi Hess Saxton presents twenty-eight daily meditations based on the wisdom of St. Teresa of Calcutta as it relates to each day’s Scripture readings. With an Introduction written by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle and a Foreword by Bishop Robert Barron, this beautiful devotional assists us in entering into the peace, joy, and love of this liturgical season. The book is divided into six sections: each of the four weeks of Advent, the Christmas week through Epiphany, and the feasts days and ot…

Winners of the Magnificat Advent Companion Giveaway

The winners of the electronic Magnificat Advent Companion Giveaway are: Amy and Deacon John Giglio Jr. Please contact me at jean.heimann@gmail.com to claim your prize. If you do not contact me within one week, your prize will be forfeited.

Miraculous Medal Novena begins

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This novena begins on November 19 and continues through November 27.

(Recite this prayer for nine consecutive days.)

O Immaculate Virgin Mary,
Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother,
penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal,
we your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this novena,
if they be beneficial to our immortal souls,
and the souls for whom we pray.

(Here mention your petition)

You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son who hates iniquity.
Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone so that our every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater glory.

Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of …

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Princess and Bride of Christ

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We are frequently entertained and fascinated by the lifestyles of royalty and their romantic adventures in books and movies. However, St. Elizabeth was a real-life princess, who served as an exemplary model of the heroic virtues of charity and humility. Her life is not a fairy tale, but is a true story of authentic love.

Born in Bratislava, Hungary in 1207, Princess Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew of Hungary and his wife Gertrude. Her aunt was St. Hedwig and her great niece was St. Elizabeth of Portugal.

Elizabeth was betrothed at the age of four to Prince Herman of Thuringia (in central Germany) and grew up in his father's court. In 1216, Hermann, who Elizabeth was to marry, died. After this, she then became engaged to Ludwig, the second son. The couple married when she was fourteen and he was twenty-one.  She loved him and bore him three children. They were very happy together and deeply devoted to one another. Ludwig was protective of his wife and the couple often pr…

Today's Saints: St. Gertrude the Great and St. Margaret of Scotland

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St. Gertrude the Great

St. Gertrude was born in Eisleben, Germany in 1256. As a five-year-old, she was received into the monastery of the Cistercian nuns in Helfta. She was an intellectually gifted student with a gentle disposition who applied herself to her studies, concentrating on literature and philosophy.

At the age of twenty-six, Gertrude had the first of many visions of Jesus which brought about a deep interior conversion, drawing her into the innermost recesses of His Sacred Heart. Her heart symbolically united in a vision to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she was a precursor of the later devotion to the Sacred Heart. She also advocated frequent reception of the Eucharist and devotion to St Joseph.

Similar to other mystics, such as St. Teresa of Avila, the Passion of Christ was her favorite devotion and when she meditated on it, or on the blessed Eucharist, she was often unable to control the torrents of tears which flowed from her eyes. She frequently went into ecstasy when she m…

St. Albert the Great

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By Jean M. Heimann

On November 15, the Church celebrates St. Albert the Great, "the light of Germany", uniquely named the “Universal Doctor” because of his vast knowledge and writings. He was the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages. A Dominican priest and the Bishop of Regensburg, Germany, he was the first of the medieval academics to apply Aristotle’s philosophy to Christian thought.

Albert was born in Lauingen on the Danube, near Ulm, Germany in 1206 to a knight from a noble family. As a young man, he studied at the University of Padua and there he met Blessed Jordan of Saxony, the Dominican who made the rounds of the universities of Europe, attracting the best young men of the universities into the Dominicans.

At age 16, Albert entered the Dominican Order and was ordained a priest in 1228. He was then sent to teach in Cologne, where he was renown for his lectures on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. After several teaching assignments in his order, …

St. Lawrence O'Toole, Benedictine Peacemaker

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The saint of the day for November 14 is St. Lawrence (also spelled Laurence) O'Toole, a Benedictine abbot and archbishop of Dublin.

St. Lawrence O'Toole was born around 1128 in County Kildare, Ireland.  His father was the chief of Hy Murray, and his mother one of the Clan O'Byrne.

At the age of 10, Lawrence was taken hostage by King Mac Murehad of Leinster, who treated him with such cruelty that his father convinced the King to turn him over to the Bishop of Glendalough.

In 1140, Lawrence obtained permission to enter the monastic school of Glendalough; he studied there for thirteen years and became known for his piety and learning. So great was his reputation in the eyes of the community that on the death of Abbot Dunlaing, at the young age of 25, he was unanimously chosen to supervise the Abbey of St. Kevin.

In 1161, Lawrence was chosen as Archbishop of Dublin. In his new position, he reformed much of the administration and clerical life in his diocese, worked to restore…