12th Day: Epiphany, Brothers André and Guy, and Drummers

So, what about that star the Magi followed?

This year, by happy confluence of daily and weekly cycles, January 6 falls on Sunday, so we get to celebrate Epiphany on its proper date. I don’t mean proper as opposed to improper. I mean it in the original sense of “belonging to.” Epiphany truly belongs on January 6, but in many countries, including the United Staes, where it has not been traditionally a day of obligation or a civil holiday, its observance is transferred to the second Sunday after Christmas in order to enable participation by greater numbers of the faithful. This year, no need to transfer.

Actually, throughout the world there is no consistent way of celebrating the Epiphany; it’s one of those feasts that has many cultural variations.  It’s one of those testimonies of wonderful diversity when we would rather have comfortable uniformity.

Why not make it a family celebration?  Here are some hints about what you can do. Or if it’s too late for planning it this year, bookmark it for next year.

And the Christmas/Epiphany star? Well, here’s what Br. Guy Consolmagno, Director of the Vatican Observatory, has to say.

Brother Guy is a pretty interesting guy, as is demonstrated in this video:

BTW, I’m conducting a fundraiser on Facebook for the Vatican Observatory. If you might be moved to help support their important work, please check it out here.

Meanwhile, today we also celebrate the feast of Saint André Bessette, a Canadian Holy Cross brother who died in Montreal in 1937 at the age of 91. He is truly a saint for our time, who became a willing instrument of God’s healing and saving grace through his openness to all people and his embrace of the ordinary.

Here’s a wonderful reflection on his life by Fr. Thomas Rosica, of Canada’s Salt and Light TV:

. . . and a trailer for the full-length documentary from the same source:

. . . and a documentary-report from Springfield, Massachusetts, where some of his relatives still live:

The last of the gifts: Twelve Drummers Drumming.  The percussion section.

Religiously, yesterday’s Eleven Pipers represent the eleven faithful Apostles (excluding Judas) who “pipe” the message of Christ throughout the world. Today’s Twelve Drummers represent the twelve articles of faith as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed:

1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Pipes and Drummers – quite a spectacle.


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