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Copyright © 2016, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - December, 2016 [Plain text version]

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+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Newsletter - December, 2016

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of December: Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

* Advent / Christmas Resources

* Novena in Honor of the Birth of Jesus

* Liturgical Feasts in December

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Believe That the Earliest Christians Read the Bible?

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Dear Friend,

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." (Isa. 7:14)

Greetings during this joyful time of year in which we prepare to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our blessed Lord Jesus. We wish you and your loved ones a most holy & joyous Advent and Christmas followed by a blessed new year.

Thanks again for your support of our site and newsletter.

Warmest regards,

Your Friends at

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"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Mt. 3:2) [DR Trans: "Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."]

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MCS News & Notes

* Reminder: For your free 2017 liturgical calendar-flier (Jan.-Dec.), please visit and click your choice of "fliers" links [Note: Fliers are based on the traditional calendar]

* January 2017 Newsletter May be Early or Late: It is possible that the timing of our January 2017 newsletter may be shifted somewhat (perhaps to 12/30/16 or 1/2/17). We hope the earlier or later timing of the newsletter will not cause any inconvenience to our subscribers. [Note: In 2017, January 1 (a customary holy day of obligation) falls on a Sunday]

* Would you be interested? A recent Rosary Week participant suggested that we have a second Rosary Week each year (in addition to our Annual Rosary Week). We would like to get a feel for interest in this. If you would be interested in participating in two (2) Rosary Weeks per year, please let us know before the end of the month (you can reply to this newsletter or use the subscriber feedback page at ). Thanks in advance for any feedback.

* A spiritual bouquet is a free & 'truly Catholic gift that will be appreciated by all'. You can print a free spiritual bouquet card at . [Note: This is a .pdf file. To use: Print card (preferably on colored paper or color the image by hand), fold to 4.25" x 5.5" ("A Special Gift..." should appear in front)]

* Lending Library Update: A few months ago, we indicated in our newsletter that a "generous individual recently donated a number of books to our Lending Library. We are hoping to get new titles added to the library soon (we are pretty behind at this time, so we expect this may take at least a couple of months, but hopefully we can get to this at least by the end of the year)." We are sorry to say that we are very backlogged and have been so very busy that we have not yet been able to get to this. Please note that it takes a bit of work to process the updates to our site and, regrettably, we do not know when we will be able to get to it. Also, since that newsletter was issued, we have received several more boxes of books from other generous donors, so there is quite a bit of work to do in order to get things current. We are considering several options to deal with the expanding library, including adding a quick page to our site listing just some of the new titles (ONLY the titles). We might also consider transferring some of the books to other Catholic lending libraries (or possibly to Catholic organizations/homeschools). If you have any suggestions or are interested in acquiring some of the new titles (at no charge), please let us know the specifics (e.g. what they would be used for, what type of subjects might be of interest, etc.). You can contact us using the subscriber feedback page at ). Please note that if we transferred the books elsewhere, 1-we could only ship to adults who have a physical address within in the United States, and 2-we would ask that they be used/shared (as applicable), but NOT sold. Note that we do NOT recommend or endorse any book/author/publisher/etc.

* Recent Feedback: In the last several weeks or so, we have received several feedback messages asking us questions or otherwise seeking a response, yet no e-mail addresses were provided. Please note that we cannot respond to feedback that does not contain an e-mail address. If you use a feedback option that does not contain an e-mail address field (e.g. 'Share Your Thoughts' feedback option on the far right border), yet you are hoping for a response, please either include your e-mail address along with the rest of your comments or use a different feedback form that contains a field for your email address (e.g. the 'quick feedback' form at ). Although we can't promise to respond to all feedback, we certainly can't respond to feedback that does not contain an e-mail address. Thank you for your understanding.

* Still more e-mail delivery issues: Many subscribers with AOL e-mail addresses may not have received our November newsletter as AOL 'wouldn't accept' many of our e-mails last month. AOL had our IP reputation listed as 'Good', but with the large quantity of emails we sent all at one time, they presumed the e-mails were sp*m (masked to avoid filtering). We tried to get 'whitelisted' with them, but our request was rejected as we do not own our IP number [we 'rent' (so to speak) our IP number from our host - a large company that hosts millions of domains]. We asked our host to make the request on our behalf, but unfortunately, they have not been accommodating towards our request. They did make a change to the server that "may" help, but we will not know for sure until this newsletter is sent out. We have experienced a lot of delivery issues this year and, as our mailing list has grown, it has become increasingly difficult to get e-mail delivered as various providers apparently presume our bulk-sending of e-mail is sp*m. It would really help if subscribers would whitelist us, wherever possible. In any event, we apologize to any subscribers affected by delivery issues. Unfortunately, we often have very little control over these matters.

* Service Delays: Due to medical reasons, please continue to expect some sporadic delays in all correspondence & services (including processing of posts) for the foreseeable future. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for any prayers.

* Help keep us online! Donate any amount (from $1+) at [note that we do NOT sell donor information to third parties and we do NOT contact you about your donation unless it is necessary (e.g. processing problems)]. Thank you for your much needed support!

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- - - - - App News...

* iOS Apps Development Update - First the good news: We are hoping to release a 'simple but powerful' new Catholic app shortly, but we do not have an exact completion date at this time. At the time of this writing, we are fairly close to entering the testing phase for the new app. If all goes well with testing, we could hopefully submit the app for Apple's review before the end of the year. Assuming the app is approved by Apple, it could go live within a fairly short amount of time. However, we may release another version of the same app (for the iPad) around the same time and hold off on going live on the first version until both versions of the app are approved & ready for sale. We can't give too many details at this time, but we feel that customers may be best served with two different versions of this app rather than making the app a universal app. Personally, as customers, we may not care much for two separate versions of the same app, but as developers we can see the benefit of having two different versions (and NO, it is NOT about trying to make more money off the same customers). With two different versions, the developer can better tailor the screens, images, code, etc. for the devices in contrast to a universal app, which can be more of a compromise for the various screen sizes (and can require that additional resources be included, thereby increasing the app's footprint). We have yet to make the final decision about the second version of the app, but we are presently leaning in that direction.

And for the not-good news: Although we have made some progress on the previously mentioned Speedy Dial! update, we still have a long way to go before we (hopefully) release the update. In the meantime, the app is no longer available for sale in Apple's App Store (the Android version is still available on Google Play & Amazon). We are hopeful that we will get out an update for this iOS app before too long (again, we have made some progress in that direction), but any future update is unlikely to go live for months or longer. It is quite possible that we will release more new app(s) before this update is ready.

* Android Apps: We are hopeful that we will (eventually) get to a (single) Android version of the upcoming new app mentioned above, but we are already aware of least one element of the app that would have to be different on the Android platform. We may open up our waiting list again for Android apps (at ) so if you are interested in Android versions of our apps please let us know. For the time-being, we are focused on iOS development, but things may change quickly, as they have in the past.

* New App Video: After our last newsletter was prepared, an update to our Just Checkin' In app was released. This update included adding a demo video to the App Store. The app & video may be viewed at (via iTunes). Please note that our original video was silent, but Apple required that we add audio to the video. The audio seems to add'interesting' quality to the video.

* Reminder: As indicated previously, we are trying to devote all the time we can to app development, therefore we are not presently updating our sites concerning recent app updates/app availability changes. This also includes new app(s) [except for, possibly, brief additions]. In the future, we may create a separate page for each app to cover update(s), and we plan to add information on new app(s), but we do not have a time frame for this project. For current information about our iOS apps and their availability, please visit the App Store. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

* Reviews: If you've purchased any of our apps, we encourage you to please leave a review at your place of purchase. Favorable reviews really help us out! To view selected reviews, please visit

* We send our thanks to all who have purchased & rated our apps. Please know that we depend on app sales to remain online.

* If you have any thoughts to share regarding our apps, please contact us using the e-mail address provided in the app or online at

* For more information concerning currently available apps, please visit (shortcut: ), or visit the applicable app store

Note: Any prices included herein are in U.S. dollars, excluding any applicable tax.

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* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through January 2017

* To shop at in support of, please use this link: (shortcut ). You can shop here for books, household & office products, Catholic items, electronics, and much more. Already shop at It doesn't cost any extra to shop at Amazon using this link, yet we can benefit from your purchases. Thank you for your support!

* Reminder: To help ensure delivery of your newsletter, please put our e-mail address in your 'trusted senders' list - or use other applicable options your e-mail provider may offer to let them know that our e-mail is wanted. Thank you.

* Please visit our Notices page for timely news and other important information regarding -

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The Month of December: Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

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"Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee." (Cant. 4:7)

"O Virgin undefiled, undefiled is your birth." (St. Andrew of Crete, a. 740 A.D.)

"Thou, O Lord, and thy Mother are the only ones who are perfectly beautiful in every respect, for in thee, O Lord, there is no blemish, and in thy Mother there is no stain." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

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Related Resources...

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page) -

* Immaculate Conception / Sinlessness Reflections (quotes from popes & saints) -

* Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception -

* Some Reasons to Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary -

* Some Thoughts on the Blessed Virgin Mary -

* Marian Facts -

* Marian Prayers -

* Popular Marian Devotions -

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Reflections) -

* Marian Scriptural References -

* Marian Encyclicals (click link: "The Blessed Virgin Mary") -

* Marian Apologetics -

* Mary, Our Mother Section -

* Marian Coloring Pages -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"For nothing is worthy to receive God unless it be pure, according to Psalm 93:5: 'Holiness becometh Thy House, O Lord.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"In the matter of sin, it is my wish to exclude absolutely all questions concerning the holy Virgin Mary, on account of the honor due to Christ. For since she conceived and brought forth Him who most certainly was guilty of no sin, we know that an abundance of grace was given her that she might be in every way the conqueror of sin." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The commemoration of the mystery of the Most Holy Virgin, conceived immaculate and immune from all stain of original sin, should, in the first place, urge us to that innocence and integrity of life which flees from and abhors even the slightest stain of sin." (Pope Pius XII, "Fulgens Corona", 1953 A.D.)

"[The Church] did not hesitate to present for the public devotion and veneration of the faithful the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin. By this most significant fact, the Church made it clear indeed that the conception of Mary is to be venerated as something extraordinary, wonderful, eminently holy, and different from the conception of all other human beings" (Pope Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus", 1854 A.D.)

"It was fitting that Jesus Christ should have such a mother as would be worthy of Him as far as possible; and she would not have been worthy, if, contaminated by the hereditary stain even for the first moment only of her conception, she had been subject to the abominable power of Satan." (Pope Pius XII, "Fulgens Corona", 1953 A.D.)

"I consider that the blessing of a fuller sanctification descended upon her, so as not only to sanctify her birth, but also to keep her life pure from all sin; which gift is believed to have been bestowed upon none other born of woman. This singular privilege of sanctity, to lead her life without any sin, entirely benefited the queen of virgins, who should bear the Destroyer of sin and death, who should obtain the gift of life and righteousness for all." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"The devotion to the most blessed Virgin Mary is indeed of long standing among the faithful of Christ who believe that her soul, from the first instant of its creation and infusion into her body, was preserved immune by a special grace and privilege of God from the stain of original sin, in view of the merits of her Son, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of our human race, and who, in this sense, esteem and solemnly celebrate the festivity of her conception...We renew the Constitutions and decrees published by Roman Pontiffs in favor of the opinion that asserts that the soul of the blessed Virgin Mary at its creation, and at its infusion into her body, was blessed by the grace of the Holy Spirit and was preserved from original sin." (Pope Alexander VII, 1661 A.D.)

"[T]he Fathers proclaimed with particular and definite statements that when one treats of sin, the holy Virgin Mary is not even to be mentioned; for to her more grace was given than was necessary to conquer sin completely. They also declared that the most glorious Virgin was Reparatrix of the first parents, the giver of life to posterity; that she was chosen before the ages, prepared for himself by the Most High, foretold by God when he said to the serpent, 'I will put enmities between you and the woman.' - unmistakable evidence that she has crushed the poisonous head of [Satan]. And hence they affirmed that the Blessed Virgin was, through grace, entirely free from every stain of sin, and from all corruption of body, soul and mind; that she was always united with God and joined to him by an eternal covenant; that she was never in darkness but always in light; and that, therefore, she was entirely a fit habitation for Christ, not because of the state of her body, but because of her original grace." (Pope Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus", 1854 A.D.)

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Advent / Christmas Resources

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"The name Advent [from the Latin word 'Adventus', a coming] is applied, in the Latin Church, to that period of the year, during which the Church requires the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the feast of Christmas, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ." (Dom Gueranger)

"Four thousand years of expectation preceded that coming [of the Savior], and they are expressed by the four weeks of Advent, which we must spend before we come to the glorious festivity of our Lord's Nativity." (Dom Gueranger)

"The Child that is born of Mary and is couched in the Crib at Bethlehem, raises his feeble voice to the Eternal Father, and calls him, My Father! He turns towards us and calls us My Brethren! We, consequently, when we speak to his Father, may call him Our Father! This is the mystery of adoption, revealed to us by the great event [of Christmas]. All things are changed, both heaven and on earth: God has not only one Son, he has many sons; henceforth we stand before this our God, not merely creatures drawn out of nothing by his power, but children that he fondly loves. Heaven is now not only the throne of his sovereign Majesty; it has become our inheritance in which we are joint-heirs with our brother Jesus, the Son of Mary, Son of Eve, Son of Adam, according to his Human Nature, and (in the unity of Person) Son of God according to his Divine Nature. Let us turn our wondering and loving thoughts first to this sweet Babe, that has brought us all these blessings, and then to the blessings themselves, to the dear inheritance made ours by him. Let your mind be seized with astonishment at creatures having such a destiny! And then let our heart pour out its thanks for the incomprehensible gift!" (Dom Gueranger)

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* Advent (Topic Page) -

* Christmas (Topic Page) -

* Make Your Own Advent Calendar -

* Advent / Christmas Prayers -

* Advent / Christmas Practices (See 'Traditional Practices', 'Advent / Christmas') [Page also contains fasting / abstinence info.] -

* Advent / Christmas Activities (See 'Holiday Activities') -

* Incarnation / Nativity Reflections -

* Incarnation / Birth of Jesus Reflections -

* Bible Prophecies: Coming of Christ / Supremacy & Facts About Upcoming Messiah -

* Scripture References (Marian Scriptural References) -

* Biblical References / Divinity of Christ / Etc. (Non-Catholics Section, apologetics) -

* Definitions (Advent, Christmas, Christmastide, Etc.) -

* O Antiphons (12/17-12/23) -

* Coloring Pages (Christmas Bells, Christmas Candles, Christmas Card, Nativity, Etc.) -

* 'Spiritual Bouquet' Card - "a great Christmas gift" (See 'Other') -

* Word Search (Christmas) -

* Crossword Puzzle (Christmas) -

* Catholic Travel: Collages (Incl. Bethlehem) -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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Reminder: Don't forget to check the MCS Daily Digest each day. During Advent, the MCS Daily Digest may contain various items to help prepare for Christmas. Visit the MCS Daily Digest at

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Advent Prayer: "I adore Thee, O incarnate Word, the true Son of God from all eternity, and the true Son of Mary in the fullness of time. As I adore Thy divine Person and the sacred Humanity thereto united, I feel myself drawn to venerate likewise the poor Crib that welcomed Thee, when Thou wast a little Child, and which was, in very truth, the first throne of Thy love. Would that I could fall prostrate before it with the simplicity of the shepherds, with the faith of Joseph, and the love of Mary! Would that I too could bend low to venerate this precious memorial of our salvation with the spirit of mortification, poverty and humility, with which Thou, the Lord of heaven and earth, didst choose a manger to be the resting place of Thy dear limbs! And do Thou, O Lord, who didst deign in Thine infancy to be laid in this manger, pour into my heart a drop of that joy which must have been experienced at the sight of Thy lovely infancy and of the wonders that accompanied Thy birth; by virtue of this Thy holy birth, I implore Thee to give peace and good-will to all the world, and, in the name of all mankind, to render perfect thanksgiving and infinite glory to Thine eternal Father, with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Thou livest and reignest one God, world without end. Amen." (Raccolta)

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Novena in Honor of the Birth of Jesus

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The following novena is taken from the Raccolta. It is designed to be said "either in public or private, nine days previous to the 25th day of any month" (i.e. starting from the 16th of the month through the 24th of the month) by the faithful "with a contrite heart" in order to "call to mind more frequently the august Mystery of the Incarnation and Birth of the Divine Word made Man". [Note: Text below is English translation only. We have made some changes to the text below (e.g. spelling changes, translation of 'Gloria Patri, &c'. to 'Glory be...')]

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i. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my own salvation, and for the salvation of all the world, the mystery of the Birth of our Divine Savior.

Glory be...

ii. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my eternal salvation, the sufferings of the most holy Virgin and of St. Joseph in that long and weary journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem; I offer Thee their anxiety of heart when they found no place wherein to shelter themselves, when the Savior of the world was to be born.

Glory be...

iii. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my eternal salvation, the stable where Jesus was born, the hard straw which served Him for a bed, the cold He suffered, the swaddling clothes which bound Him, the tears he shed, and His tender infant cries.

Glory be...

iv. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my eternal salvation, the pain which the holy Child Jesus felt in His tender infant body when He submitted it to the keen knife of circumcision; I offer Thee that Precious Blood which then first He shed for the salvation of the whole race of man.

Glory be...

v. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and glory, and for my eternal salvation, the humility, mortification, patience, charity, all the virtues of the Child Jesus; and I thank Thee, and I love Thee, and I bless Thee without end, for this ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Divine Word.

Glory be...

V. The Word was made Flesh.

R. And dwelt amongst us.

Let us pray.

O God, whose only begotten Son was made manifest to us in the substance of our flesh; grant, we beseech Thee, that through Him our souls may be internally renewed, whom we acknowledge externally like unto ourselves. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee for ever and ever. Amen.

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Note: For more prayers, please try here -

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Liturgical Feasts in December

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for December as they appear at

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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December 2 - St. Bibiana (T)

December 3 - St. Francis Xavier (T)

December 3 - St. Francis Xavier (N)

December 4 - St. Barbara (T)

December 4 - St. Peter Chrysologus (T)

December 4 - St. John Damascene (N)

December 5 - St. Sabbas (T)

December 6 - St. Nicholas of Myra (or Bari) (T)

December 6 - St. Nicholas of Myra (or Bari) (N)

December 7 - St. Ambrose (T)

December 7 - Vigil of the Immaculate Conception (T)

December 7 - St. Ambrose (N)

December 8 - The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T) *

December 8 - The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N) *

December 9 - St. Juan Diego (N)

December 10 - St. Melchiades, pope (T)

December 11 - St. Damasus I, pope (T)

December 11 - St. Damasus I, pope (N)

December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe (T)

December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe (N)

December 13 - St. Lucy of Syracuse (T)

December 13 - St. Lucy (N)

December 14 - St. John of the Cross (N)

December 16 - St. Eusebius of Vercelli (T)

December 21 - St. Thomas, apostle (T)

December 21 - St. Peter Canisius (N)

December 22 - St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (T)

December 23 - St. John of Kanty (John Cantius) (N)

December 24 - Vigil of the Nativity (Christmas Eve) (T)

December 25 - Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas) (T) *

December 25 - St. Anastasia (T)

December 25 - The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) (N) *

December 26 - St. Stephen the First Martyr (T)

December 26 - St. Stephen, First Martyr (N)

December 27 - St. John, apostle & evangelist (T)

December 27 - St. John, apostle & evangelist (N)

December 28 - The Holy Innocents (T)

December 28 - The Holy Innocents (N)

December 29 - St. Thomas of Canterbury (T)

December 29 - St. Thomas Becket (N)

December 31 - St. Sylvester I, pope (T)

December 31 - St. Sylvester I, pope (N)

* Holy Day of Obligation [Note: Christmas falls on Sunday this year]

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, see below and try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at


12/4/16 - Second Sunday in Advent

12/11/16 - Third Sunday in Advent (Gaudete Sunday)

12/14/16 - Ember Wednesday in Advent (T)

12/16/16 - Ember Friday in Advent (T)

12/17/16 - Ember Saturday in Advent (T)

12/18/16 - Fourth Sunday in Advent

12/30/16 - Feast of the Holy Family (N)

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. What popular scapular is well known for cures and conversions, is sometimes called a "pocket scapular" and contains an image of the Blessed Virgin on one side and a picture of Mary's pierced Immaculate Heart on the other side?

2. According to St. Mary Mazzarello, what does true charity mean?

3. Which ecumenical council in the fifth century declared the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God?

4. Who founded the Clerics Regular of St. Paul?

5. How does St. Thomas Aquinas says Christians are guided to heaven?

6. What are "the four greater or patriarchal basilicas at Rome"?

7. Outside of the Gospels, where in the Bible is the Blessed Virgin Mary's motherhood of Jesus' followers confirmed?

8. Where does the primary duty of charity lie regarding those in error?

9. To whom is the expression "Totum nos habere voluit per Mariam" (He willed us to have all through Mary) attributed?

10. Which are the prayers most recommended to us?



1. The popular "Green Scapular" is well known for cures and conversions, is sometimes called a "pocket scapular" and contains an image of the Blessed Virgin on one side and a picture of Mary's pierced Immaculate Heart on the other side.

2. "True charity means returning good for evil - always." (St. Mary Mazzarello)

3. The Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) declared the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God.

4. St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria founded the Clerics Regular of St. Paul.

5. "As sailors are guided by a star to the port, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

6. "The four greater or patriarchal basilicas at Rome" are: S. Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran), S. Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major), S. Paolo Fuori le Mura (St. Paul's Outside the Walls), and S. Pietro (St. Peter's).

7. The Blessed Virgin Mary's motherhood of Jesus' followers is confirmed in Rv. 12:17.

8. "Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be; nor in theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and the goal of the human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting." (Pope St. Pius X, "Notre Charge Apostolique", 1910 A.D.)

9. The expression "Totum nos habere voluit per Mariam" (He willed us to have all through Mary) is attributed to St. Bernard.

10. "The prayers most recommended to us are the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostles' Creed, the Confiteor, and the Acts of Faith, Hope, Love and Contrition." (Baltimore Catechism)


For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at

You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Believe That the Earliest Christians Read the Bible?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Do You Believe That the Earliest Christians Read the Bible? [Note: Topic is directed at Protestants]


* How could the earliest Christians have read the Bible when the first word of the New Testament wasn't written until years after Christ's death?

* How could the earliest Christians have read the Bible when the actual canon of the Bible (list of inspired books) wasn't settled for many years?

* How could the earliest Christians have read the Bible when most of them were illiterate?

* How could the earliest Christians have read the Bible when converts were produced at a much faster rate than hand-written copies of the Bible could ever have been produced (remember that there were no computers, copiers, printers, etc. at that time)?

* How could the earliest Christians have read the Bible when Scripture itself is clear that Christians existed before any single book of the New Testament could ever have been penned?

* How could the earliest Christians have read the Bible when they were being persecuted and logistics would have made the collecting of all books difficult or impossible?

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"The Church was gathered and the faith was believed before every any part of the New Testament was put in writing." (St. Thomas More)

"It is needful also to make use of Tradition; for not everything can be gotten from Sacred Scripture. The holy Apostles handed down some things in the Scriptures, other things in Tradition." (St. Epiphanius of Salamis, c. 374 A.D.)

"When Apostles like Paul - whose letters pre-date the written Gospels - refer to Scripture, they refer to what Christians now call the Old Testament. The early tradition of the Church was oral rather than written, and the New Testament writings are, as Father Philip Hughes notes 'supplementary to the basic knowledge which they presuppose.' The Biblical canon of what was true, valuable, binding, and instructive took centuries to compile and assess. The Bible as we have it today assumed its general form by the end of the second century. The canon of St. Athanasius was agreed upon by the end of the fourth century and became the definitive, authoritative canon for the Western Church with Pope Innocent I's approval of it in 405." (Crocker)

"The New Testament writings, however, are not the foundations of the Church, or even, in a manner of speaking, its operating manual. The Church precedes them. The New Testament consists of teaching tools about Jesus (the Gospels), a history (The Acts of the Apostles), letter of correction and instruction (such as Paul's epistles), and what some consider a symbolic condemnation of the Roman emperor Nero (Revelation), under whose persecution St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred. The New Testament was assembled to serve a Church already functioning and growing ... The original gospel tradition was oral... At the earliest, the first written gospels date two decades after the death of Jesus... There was also the difficulty of establishing the canon." (Crocker)

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In Closing...

Advent Prayer: "Raise up our hearts, O Lord, we beseech thee, to prepare the way of thine only Son; that, by his coming, being reconciled to thee, we may serve thee in holiness all the days of our lives."

Prayer for the Immaculate Virgin Mary's Intercession: "In thy Conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for us to the Father whose Son Jesus, after He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, thou didst bring forth into the world." (Raccolta)

"The unchangeable Image of the Father, the type of his eternity, assumes the form of a servant, and is born of a Virgin-Mother; yet he suffers not any change: for that which he was he continues to be - the true God; but that which he was not he now becomes, being made Man for the love of man. Let us cry out to him: O thou that art born of the Virgin! Have mercy on us." [Liturgy, Christmas Day (Liturgical Year)]

"If then God has such a horror of sin as to have willed to keep free the future Mother of His Son not only from stains which are voluntarily contracted but, by a special favor and in prevision of the merits of Jesus Christ, from that other stain of which the sad sign is transmitted to all us sons of Adam by a sort of hapless heritage: who can doubt that it is a duty for everyone who seeks by his homage to gain the heart of Mary to correct his vicious and depraved habits and to subdue the passions which incite him to evil?" (Pope St. Pius X, "Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum", 1904 A.D.)

"Let us be glad in the LORD, dearly-beloved, and rejoice with spiritual joy that there has dawned for us the day of ever-new redemption. of ancient preparation, of eternal bliss. For as the year rolls round, there recurs for us the commemoration of our salvation, which promised from the beginning, accomplished in the fullness of time will endure for ever; on which we are bound with hearts up-lifted to adore the divine mystery: so that what is the effect of God's great gift may be celebrated by the Church's great rejoicings." (Pope St. Leo the Great)

"The Crib of Bethlehem, even had there never been the Sacrifice of Calvary, would of itself be sufficient to convince us of [the Love of God]. God comes down from heaven for the sake of his creature, man; he himself becomes Man, nay, a Child, and is laid in a manger! Such miracles of love would have sufficed to save the guilty world; how then shall they not have power to prompt men to give their whole heart to their loving God?" (Gueranger)

"And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (Jn. 1:14)

"Let everything that has breath give praise to the LORD! Hallelujah!" (Ps. 150:6)

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