ST DENIS- SHEMINI ATZERET-LEIF ERIKSON DAY
Psalm 111, verse 5
He gives food to those who FEAR him, he remembers his covenant forever.
St. Denis was born in Italy. In 250 he was sent to France with six other missionary bishops by Pope Fabian. Denis became the first bishop of Paris. He was beheaded in 258 with the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius at Catulliacum, now Saint-Denis. One of the many legends about his torture and death was that his body carried his severed head some distance from his execution site. St. Denis is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers who was invoked particularly in the Middle Ages against the Black Plague.
Patron: against frenzy; against strife; headaches; against diabolical possession; France; Paris, France.
Symbols: beheaded bishop carrying his head — sometimes a vine growing over his neck; mitered head in his hand or on book; white chasuble; tree or stake; sword; Our Lord with chalice and host.
Things to Do:
- Learn more about the Fourteen Holy Helpers and their historical context.
- Bake a French (or Parisian) pastry. Cooking with the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf has 3 recipes for St. Denis — St. Denis Turnovers, Saint Denis Tartlets and Brioche Saint-Denis (Praline Cake).
- Read in The Golden Legend for some of the legends or stories about St. Denis.
Shemini Atzeret (Hebrew: שמיני עצרת), means 'The eighth day break' or 'the eighth day of assembly'. It is celebrated preceding Simchat Torah and in some regions celebrated together with it. Services for this holiday often include a Geshem, prayer for rain.
Shemini Atzeret Facts
On Shemini Atzeret there used to be a gathering of all men for a hearing of the Torah at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Reference to this is made in the Biblical book of Nehemiah (verse 8:18). Shemini Atzeret is observed in Orthodox communities with candle lighting in the evening, Kiddush (sanctification over wine) and two challah breads. This is representative of all Jewish High Festivals and an evening and morning festive meal. Two Challah breads are used to commemorate the Sabbath in the wilderness. During this time Manna (edible substance that God provided for Israelites during time in the desert) fell from Heaven in a double portion on Friday, so that on the Sabbath day, the Israelites, did not need to perform the work of gathering Manna. Often an additional service after the morning service is held in Orthodox Synagogues. Hallel (Psalms with praise) is recited. Observant Jews do not work on this day. A popular prayer on Shmini Atzeret is called Yizkor, Remembrance. It serves to honor dead relatives. Even one of the happiest Jewish Holidays of the year, dead relatives (parents, siblings, spouses and children) are remembered. This helps remind that we would not be who we are and where we are without these people.
Shemini Atzeret Top Events and Things to Do
· Pray for Rain. Shemini Azeret and Simchat Torah is often accompanied by prayers for the rain. The holidays are in the autumn, which is a critical period in Israel for harvests.
· On Shmini Atzeret, it is customary for Orthodox Jews to spend an 'extra day with God' and postpone their return to work and to mundane tasks.
Leif Erikson Day
Leif Erikson Day serves to honor Viking Explorer Leif Erikson and celebrate Nordic-American Heritage. Erikson is believed to have been the first European to set foot on the North American continent, having done so nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. He established a settlement called Vinland and although its exact location is not known, it is believed that it is near L'anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland, Canada, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1925, Leif Erikson was officially recognized by President Calvin Coolidge as the first explorer to discover the continent. It took another four decades for the day to become official when, in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared October 9th as Leif Erikson Day. In 2015, President Barack Obama reproclaimed the day and called upon Americans to celebrate the day appropriately in honor of Nordic-American heritage and the explorers that embarked on the expeditions that led to the creation of the United States.
Leif Erikson Day Facts & Quotes
· Leif Erikson was actually born in Iceland, but his family was Norwegian. He died in Greenland in the year 1020.
· On October 9, 1825, the first wave of Norwegian immigrants arrived on US soil in New York City. Between 1825 and 1925, nearly one-third of Norway's population immigrated to the US.
· Erikson named his settlement Vinland or Wineland due to the many grape vines that he discovered there.
· There are more than 4.5 million Americans with Norwegian ancestry living in the US today, of which 55% live in the Upper Midwest states.
· Histories have been written and more will be written of the Norwegians in America, but no man can tell adequately of the tearing asunder of tender ties, the hardships and dangers crossing the deep, the work and worry, the hopes and fears, the laughter and tears, of men and women who with bare hands carved out of a wilderness a new kingdom. - Rønning, N. N., from the book Fifty Years in America
Leif Erikson Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Purchase a Leif Ericson Millennium Commemorative Coin from the US Mint. The coins were released at the beginning of the century however you can purchase some from collectors online or even try to find them in public circulation.
· Visit one of the many Leif Erikson statues in the United States. There are statues in Boston, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, Virginia, Seattle, Minnesota and North Dakota.
· Take a trip to Iceland, Norway or Greenland and visit the homelands of Leif Erikson.
· Take a trip to UNESCO site of L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada. This is believed to be the site of Erikson's first New World settlement.
· Watch a movie about Vikings and Leif Erikson. Some movies include Leif Ericson (2000) and The Vikings (1958), The Viking Sagas (1995) and the 13th Warrior (1999).
· Have Beer and Pizza while watching a Viking movie.
Fitness Friday-Sleeping Workout
Recognizing that God, the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength, mind, soul and heart.
Having trouble sleeping? Try some light catholic reading.
“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of the past centuries.” This quote is by the famous philosopher Descartes. Although I am not a fan of everything Descartes has to say, I don’t think he’s too far off here. Reading a good book by a good author is indeed like having a conversation with them. By reading their book you’re looking into their mind, experiencing their world, and learning their wisdom. In my opinion there are no greater people to have “conversations” with through their writing than Catholic saints. Catholic saints have written some of the most beautiful literature which inspires, educates, encourages, and informs us how to live a holy and happy life. Here is a list of ten classic Catholic books which any and every Catholic should read at some point in their life.
*If you’re not much of a reader, or if you don’t have much free time to pick up a book, many of these classic Catholic books have audio book versions.
· The Imitation of Christ by St. Thomas a Kempis
· Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
· Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross
· The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila
· The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux
· An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
· City of God by St. Augustine
· Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas
· The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
· The Confessions by St. Augustine
can tell, this list of great Catholic books by wonderful Catholic saints is in
no particular order. These are just 10 of the many Catholic books written
by wonderful saints who have so much timeless wisdom to share. Who
wouldn’t want to have a conversation with any of these wonderful saints?
What books would you add to this list of classic Catholic books?
What does your favorite classic Catholic books list look like?