The Great Feasts of September

09-16-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

There are so many great feast days in September.  There is the birthday of Our Lady on September 8 one of only three birthdays celebrated by the Church: Our Lord’s, Our Lady’s and St. John the Baptist.  The birthday according to the Faith is the re-birth of baptism and hence the importance of the name-day of the person and entering eternal life. There is the feast of the great doctor and father of the Church St. John Chrysostom on September 13.

Then there’s the great feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14 one of the oldest feasts in the Church.  A great book about the discovery of the Holy Cross of Christ is the story of St. Helena the mother of Constantine the Great.  British author Evelyn Waugh has written a short resume of St. Helena’s life. 

The very next day September 15 is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.  It reminds us of the martyrdom of our Lady. Her sufferings were so intense and in union and witness to her Son and the will of God that the Church considers her a martyr. Her martyrdom is beautifully filmed in the movie The Passion of the Christ.  September 29 is the feast of the great Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.  In the traditional liturgy it is simply the feast of St. Michael and each Archangel has a separate feast.  Michael means Who is like God; Gabriel means the power of God; and Raphael means the healing/medicine of God.  St. Michael has a special role in the warfare against and defeat of God’s enemy Satan and the apostate angels. 

September is also the month of the Autumn Ember Days.  Ember days are days of fasting and penance in consecrating the seasons of the year to Almighty God.  The Ember Days of September are September 23, 25, 26.  There is no longer a special liturgy for these days in the ordinary form of the Mass but there are special Masses in the traditional liturgy and in the Anglican Ordinariate which is comprised of former Anglicans who have come into full communion with the Catholic Church and have retained traditions from their Anglican days in a special rite approved by Pope Benedict XVI.  Actually if you observe this rite closely it retains many of the traditions of the Roman rite going back to Catholic England. Maintained in the traditional form of the Mass is the feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino on September 18.  There is a movie version of his life called The Reluctant Saint starring Maximillian Schell. 

On September 30 there is the feast of the father and doctor of the Church  St. Jerome the patron of biblical scholars, who translated the Bible into Latin called the Vulgate.