The Roman Catholic church celebrates the feast of St. Therese
of the Infant Jesus and the Holy Face, also known as 'the Little
Flower' on October 1st of every year. She died on September
30th and traditionally the saints feast day if held on the following
day. St. Therese's home church in France celebrates her Feast
Day on the last Saturday of September no matter what the date.
While many saints are celebrated with prayer and special rituals
festivals, a St.Therese festival appears to be celebrated primarily
by simple prayer, spiritual service and kindness to others. "The
little way" is her signature, meaning the simple love from
the heart and acceptance in communion with God are the most fervent.
The rose is her symbol. Shortly before her death she said,
"After my death I will let fall a shower of roses. I will
spend my Heaven doing good on earth." Many miracles in
her name are accompanied by the presence of or the scent of roses.
Feast Days, Or Holy Days within the Church have been celebrated
since the first century. A feast not only commemorates an event
of a person it also serves to excite the spiritual life by reminding
it of whom and what the feast represents.
The solemnities of Easter and Pentecost together with the weekly
Lord's day (Sunday) were the universal Christian feasts until
the third century. Epiphany and Christmas were added during the
fourth century. The feasts of the Blessed Virgin were added in
the sixth and seventh century; also the feasts of the confessors
St. Martin and St. Gregory.
By the ninth century, in England. confirmed feasts were Christmas,
Epiphany, three days of Easter, the Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, Sts. Peter, Paul, Gregory and All Saints day.
By the French revolution the ecclesiastical calendar was radically
abolished, and as of the reorganization of the French Church,
in 1806, only four feasts remained: Christmas, the Ascension,
the Assumption, and All Saints.
And so, throughout time the number of feasts have varied according
to the Pope's decree. Today there are eight feast (or Holy days)
designated by the Church in addition to Sundays when Catholics
are required to attend Holy Mass. They are: the Solemnity of Mary
(Jan1) Epiphany (or the Solemnity of the Holy Family Jan 6); Easter
(the resurrection of Jesus Christ); Ascension (the ascension of
Jesus into heaven forty days after Easter): the Assumption of
the Blessed Virgin Mary (when her body and soul were assumed to
heaven at the time of her death Aug 15); All Saints Day (celebrating
all saints in one feast day Nov 1); the Immaculate Conception
(celebrating the conception of the Virgin Mary as the only human
ever conceived without original sin Dec.8) and Christmas (the
birth of Christ Dec.25).
The feasts of the saints, except for All Saints day, are not holy
days of obligation when one is required to attend Mass. But, each
saint has a day set aside in their honor. The Calendar of saints
is a traditional method of organizing the liturgical years by
associating each day with one or more saints.
The system began in the early Christian church as a custom to
commemorate martyrs on the yearly date of their death--or birth
into heaven. In Latin, dies natalis or 'day of birth.
There are two categories of saints, martyrs and confessors.
Martyrs are regarded as having died giving service to the lord.
Confessors are holy people who died natural deaths. Confessors
are also called, virgin, pastor, bishop, monk, priest, founder,
abbot, apostle, doctor of the church or a combination of those
Many children are given the baptismal or confirmation name associated
with a saint during his/her birth, baptism or confirmation. Some
mark the 'name day' of the saint whose name he/she bears with
special attention as in a birthday celebration.
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