Celebrating the Feast of Blessed Solanus Casey

Celebrating the Feast of Blessed Solanus Casey

30 July: Blessed Solanus Casey. Born Bernard Francis Casey to Irish immigrants in 1870, he first considered the priesthood after witnessing a brutal murder as a young man. In seminary, he struggled with studies and mastering languages. Because of his poor grades, Blessed Solanus was dismissed. He was sent to a Capuchin Franciscan community. Blessed Solanus was hesitant but heard the Blessed Mother tell him to “go to Detroit” and so he did. He donned the Franciscan habit and chose the name Solanus, after a 17th-century missionary. Franciscan life was a good fit, but academic difficulties caused his superiors to decide he would remain a “simplex priest” (meaning he could not preach or hear confessions). Fr. Solanus was assigned to be the monastery’s porter: the main link from the friars to the outside world. He soon became renowned as “the doorkeeper” who gave gentle counsel and miraculous intercession. He would listen to anyone at any time, day or night. People would line up for blocks just to have a moment with him. He told them to “thank God ahead of time.” One story of his miraculous intercession is told about a friar who came to see Solanus on his way to have emergency dental work done. Fr. Solanus blessed him and told him to trust God. While the friar was at the dentist, a lady who came to visit the monastery brought Fr. Solanus two ice cream cones. Too busy to eat them, Fr. Solanus shoved the cones into his desk drawer, much to the dismay of his secretary. After more than half an hour, the friar returned from the dentist, his tooth found miraculously healthy. He went to thank Father Solanus, who pulled out perfectly frozen ice cream cones from his drawer on the hot summer day, which he offered to the friar to celebrate. Fr. Solanus was also known for quirky habits such as playing his harmonica to the monastery bees; for singing in a loud squeaky voice as he played his violin; and for eating his breakfast all mixed together as a penance– cereal, prune juice, coffee, and milk in the same bowl. Blessed Solanus’ last years were spent suffering severe pain but he never complained. He died on July 31, 1957, and tens of thousands lined up to view his body before burial. Thousands more have sought his miraculous intercession. Blessed Solanus was beatified in 2017. November 3 and July 30 are both dates associated with his feast.

Ideas for celebrating this feast day at home:

    • Enjoy ice cream cones today! For a crazy menu twist, try mixing up all your breakfast foods and drinks in the same bowl, like Blessed Solanus did, as a penance. 
    • Do something for the poor. Fr. Solanus is known for starting the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, which to this day cares for Detroit’s poor. Our own parish ministry, St. Vincent de Paul, is teaming up with the Knights of Columbus to provide turkey dinners and warm coats to those in need this holiday season. See the bulletin for specifics on how you can help them take care of the poor in our community.
    • Watch a fascinating video on the extraordinary life of Blessed Solanus Casey. Click here to watch for free on FORMED.
Celebrating Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Celebrating Our Lady of Mount Carmel

This liturgical feast was likely first celebrated in England in the 14th century to give thanksgiving to Mary, the patroness of the Carmelite Order. The Order was founded at the site thought to have been the location of Elijah’s cave, 1,700 feet above sea level on Mount Carmel. (The mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on which the prophet Elijah famously challenged the priests of Baal and won the people over to the true God.) According to Carmelite tradition, hermits lived at the site from the time of Elijah until the Carmelites. They think that from the time when Elijah and Elisha dwelt on Mount Carmel, priests and prophets, Jewish and Christian, lived holy lives at the adjacent fountain of Elisha. A Carmelite monastery was founded at the site shortly after the Order itself was created, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title “Star of the Sea” (“stella maris” in Latin). The Carmelite Order has grown to be one of the major Catholic religious orders worldwide, although the physical monastery at Carmel has had a difficult history. During the Crusades, the monastery often changed hands (it was converted into an Islamic mosque, a hospital, and then in 1821 was destroyed). A new monastery was constructed on Mount Carmel over a cave. The cave, now the crypt of the church, is called “Elijah’s grotto” by the Carmelite friars who have custody of the monastery. One of the oldest scapulars is also associated with Mount Carmel and the Carmelites. The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, according to Carmelite tradition, was presented by Our Lady to St. Simon Stock (the Carmelite Father General) on July 16, 1251. Our Lady gave Saint Simon the following promise, saying: “Receive, My beloved son, this habit of thy order: this shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire… It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.” The Carmelites refer to her by the title “Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” The spread of the Carmelites in Europe is also largely attributed to the work of St. Simon Stock. The Carmelite Order was formally approved in 1274 at the Council of Lyon. The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel entered the Church calendar in the 18th century. However, since the 15th century, devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Brown Scapular, a sacramental associated with promises of Mary’s special aid for the salvation of the devoted wearer. {Note: wearing the Scapular demonstrates a commitment to follow Jesus, like Mary, the perfect model disciple of Christ. It is an expression of the belief that the bearers of the scapular will reach heaven, aided by Mary’s intercession. The Carmelites insist that it is not a magical charm, an automatic guarantee of salvation, or an excuse for not living the Christian life. It is instead a sacramental approved by the Church for centuries which demonstrates a commitment to follow Jesus, like Mary, and to live a life of prayer and faithfulness to God.}

Ideas for celebrating this feast at home:

  • Feast day treats should be “carmel” themed: cookie bars with caramel icing; Oatmeal ‘Carmelite’ Bars; Brown scapular cake; candy scapular sundaes; “brown scapular” brownies; caramel dip with fruit; caramel apples; or really, just about anything drizzled in caramel syrup – like a big scoop of ice cream!
  • Learn more about the Brown Scapular. Today’s feast is a perfect time to start wearing one, if you don’t already. Purchase one, or for a feast day activity, make your own! Ask a priest to enroll you in the brown scapular society (in order to receive all the blessings associated with the Scapular, it is necessary to be formally enrolled. The enrollment is made once by a priest or authorized person).
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel coloring pages for kids available here.
  • Build a Mary garden on her feast day: ideas here.
POP recognized as Best Place of Worship, Best Private School and Best PreSchool in the Upstate

POP recognized as Best Place of Worship, Best Private School and Best PreSchool in the Upstate

PRINCE OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH WINS ‘BEST OF UPSTATE’ AWARD FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW

Prince of Peace Catholic School also won two ‘Best of’ awards

TAYLORS, SC (JULY 9, 2024) – Prince of Peace Catholic Church and School is thrilled to announce they’ve won three “Best of the Upstate” awards from the annual contest run by the Greenville News. More than a quarter million votes were cast.

Prince of Peace Catholic Church took home the Best Place of Worship for the third year in the row and the school took home Best Private School and Best Preschool in the Upstate.

“The Holy Mass is a sacred time where we are able to experience heaven for a moment,” said Father Christopher Smith, pastor at Prince of Peace Catholic Church. “We strive to engage all the senses during Mass and invite every member of the congregation to worship in a way that brings them into that heavenly space. We are honored to accept this award and invite anyone interested in learning about the Catholic faith to our beautiful Masses.”

Prince of Peace Catholic Church is an extraordinary parish for ordinary people, providing an authentic Catholic experience for parishioners and visitors alike. The parish turns 50 years old this year, is part of the Diocese of Charleston, and has many ministries that cater to an extremely diverse parish.

Prince of Peace Catholic School is the principle apostolate of the Church for the handing on of the Catholic faith.The school encompasses grades K3-8th and has served as a beacon of academic excellence and spiritual growth since 2002.

“We are supremely proud of our Catholic school, its students, and staff,” said Father Smith. “One of my greatest joys is to visit with the students and see how they are growing not only academically in a challenging environment, but spiritually in their Catholic faith. Our school is a true testament to the commitment of our parish to support a place of education where children can be given the opportunity to graduate with academic achievements and a deep, vibrant faith.”

To learn more about Prince of Peace Catholic Church and School, please visit https://princeofpeacetaylors.org/. The church and school are located at 1209 Brushy Creek Road, Taylors.

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Celebrating the Sacred & Immaculate Hearts

Celebrating the Sacred & Immaculate Hearts

7 June: Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This Solemnity is celebrated on the Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi. The Sacred Heart is depicted as a flaming heart surrounded by a crown of thorns, with a cross on top and bleeding from a wound. (It is often displayed with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is also on fire, surrounded by a crown of flowers and pierced by a sword.) This feast was celebrated in seventeenth century France at the request of St. John Eudes. But the history of this devotion goes much farther back; it was highlighted by the fathers of the Church, including Origen, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Hippolytus, St. Irenaeus, St. Justin Martyr, and St. Cyprian. This devotion was also given form in the 12th century by St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his famous “O Sacred Head Surrounded.” In 1673, Jesus appeared to a French nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. He told her that he wished to be honored in Eucharistic adoration during a holy hour on Thursdays, that he desired a feast day devoted to his Sacred Heart, and that he desired the faithful to receive Holy Communion on first Fridays. It took years, but eventually devotion to the Sacred Heart spread throughout the world. In 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the whole Church.

8 June: Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the midst of WWII, Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the protection of our Savior’s Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart. He decreed that the Church should celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary so as to obtain by her intercession “peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue” (Decree of May 4, 1944). This is not a new devotion; in the seventeenth century, St. John Eudes preached it together with that of the Sacred Heart; in the nineteenth century, Pius VII and Pius IX allowed a feast of the Pure Heart of Mary. In Scripture, Simeon’s prophecy portrayed Mary with her heart pierced with a sword; and at the foot of the Cross, we are shown the Heart of Mary. Mary was not merely passive at the crucifixion, “she cooperated through charity” as St. Augustine says, “in the work of our redemption.”

Both of these feasts use the heart as a symbol of love. In the Sacred Heart, the emphasis is on God’s love and mercy. Love so intense that the symbol is a human heart encircled with a crown of thorns, crowned with a cross, and radiating flames: this is how much Christ loves us. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart stems from Mary’s privileged status as the Mother of God. She provides a model for what our own hearts should look like. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of gratitude for Jesus’ great love for us; devotion to the Immaculate Heart indicates our desire to emulate the way in which Mary loves Jesus.

NOTE: these are moveable feasts

Ideas for celebrating these feast days at home:

(sources: teachingcatholickids.com; The Catholic All Year Compendium; Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 ed.; catholicculture.org)