– Miguel Augusto (*)
During the day, aside from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Church offers us the Liturgy of the Hours that begins in the morning with the prayers called Lauds and ends with the night prayers called Compline, which includes an examination of conscience. Priests and religious are obligated to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office. This prayer routine practice is also recommended for the laity.
Historically, Jews prayed at fixed intervals throughout the day. King David, who is believed to have written the Psalms, proclaims: “Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice” (Ps 55:17).
The Jewish people began a tradition of praying three times a day: morning, afternoon and evening. This developed into a program of praying the Psalms as they expressed the many desires of the human heart. Jesus also prayed the Psalms on multiple occasions. Many will recall the words of Psalm 22 uttered from the Cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
The Church also remembers the saint of each day. Some families still meditate daily on Sacred Scripture together, pray the Rosary to Our Lady and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Each month of the year is dedicated to a particular devotion that could be based on historical events, a specific aspect of the Liturgical Calendar or even a combination of both.
Devotions of the Week
Sunday – Sunday is dies Dominica, the Lord’s day. We remember the Resurrection of Christ and the Blessed Trinity. On this day, we must abstain from unnecessary servile work and fulfil the precept of attending Holy Mass.
Monday – Day dedicated to the Holy Spirit and the Souls in Purgatory.
Tuesday – It’s the day to pay homage to the Holy Face of Jesus and also the Angels.
Wednesday – Many Catholics make a special devotion to St Joseph by attending Mass on the first Wednesday of the month for seven consecutive months and offering Communion in his honor and salvation to those who are on the verge of death. The seven months recall Saint Joseph’s seven agonies and seven joys.
Thursday – Many Catholics make the so-called “Holy Hour,” dedicating an hour of worship to the Blessed Sacrament.
Friday – A day to meditate on the Passion of Christ. Some people have the custom of the “First Friday Devotion” in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This implies going to Mass and receiving Communion in reparation to the Sacred Heart, on the first Friday of the month, for nine consecutive months. The Church asks the faithful to refrain from eating meat or to replace it with another sacrifice or act of charity.
Saturday – We have the devotion to Our Lady. It is customary to do what is called the “Devotion of the First Saturdays.” It implies going to confession, Mass, receiving Communion, and meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, for five consecutive months, in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – a request from Our Lady of Fatima (Portugal).
The devotions of each month
January – It is the month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. After the Christmas Octave, the Church celebrates it on the 2nd of January. It is a very important celebration, but it sometimes goes unnoticed, because of the festivities of the childhood of Christ, January has also become the month dedicated to Jesus’ Childhood.
February – It is the month dedicated to the Holy Family. Although the beginning of Lent changes according to the civil calendar, a good part of February gives us a space of time between the Christmas celebrations and the greater focus on public life and the ministry of Jesus, which occurs in Lent.
March – It is the month of devotion to Saint Joseph (March 19). The solemnity of Saint Joseph dates from the end of the 15th century. Over the centuries, the entire month of devotion to St Joseph has become part of the tradition. In a society that seems to despise the importance of marriage and fatherhood, St Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary who had the responsibility to care for Jesus and Our Lady, is a holy model of a Christian father, obedient and faithful to God.
April – It is dedicated to the devotion of the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit. This tradition has been developed because Easter Sunday is usually celebrated in April, and even when it starts in March, the Easter season continues in April.
May – It is the month of the Virgin Mary. The devotion to the Mother of God, in May, explicitly dedicated to Mary dates back to Baroque times (17th century). Because of the American Mother’s Day holiday during this month, Catholics use that time to remember the role of Mary Most Holy as a mother, a model for Christian mothers, in love and fidelity to the will of God.
June – It is the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is very old, even the Church Fathers already spoke of her. From the Lord’s heart on the Cross, blood and water sprang up, symbols of Baptism and the Eucharist, and also of the Church, Spouse of Christ. Devotion to the Sacred Heart encourages participation in Eucharistic Adoration and receiving Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month.
July – It’s dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord. The feast of the Precious Blood is on the first Sunday of the month.
August – It is the month dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. Increased Eucharistic adoration is recommended. August is also dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and on August 15 the Church celebrates the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven in body and soul. Seven days later, on August 22, we have the Feast of Our Lady’s Queenship. The crowning of Mary as Queen of all creation is the culmination of all the privileges granted to Our Lady, raised by the Most Holy Trinity above the choirs of angels and all the saints.
September – It is traditionally dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary since the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows also takes place in September. The Sorrows of Our Lady are: Simeon’s prophecy; flight to Egypt; loss of the Baby Jesus in Jerusalem for three days; the encounter with Jesus on his way to Calvary; presence at the foot of the Cross; the descent of Jesus from the Cross, and the burial of the Lord.
October – It’s the month of the Missions and the Holy Rosary due to the anniversary of the victory of the Battle of Lepanto and the Feast of “Our Lady of Victory.” In 1913, Pope Pius X set the date of the celebration on 7th of October for the whole Church. From 1960, with the reform of the Liturgical Calendar, Pope John XXIII proclaimed the new Marian title for this feast: “Our Lady of the Rosary.” He dedicated the month of October to the Holy Rosary and apostolic missions.
November – It’s dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory. On 1st of November we have the Solemnity of All Saints. On the next day, we celebrate All Souls Day (November 2); the deceased faithful are celebrated.
December – It’s dedicated to the Advent, the coming of Christ. It refers not only to the preparation for the birth of the Child Jesus – which took place over two thousand years ago – but also sets an invitation to a spiritual and pious preparation for the second and definitive coming of the Lord.