ASCENSION OF THE LORD - Feast (40 Days after Easter)
This feast represents the Lord's Ascension into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father until the end of the world. However, we know that he has not abandoned us, because ten days later on what we now celebrate as the Feast of Pentecost he sent His Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Luke has the following passage on the Ascension.
Luke 24:50-54 - Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.
ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD - Feast (March 25)
The Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary who was to become the Mother of God and said " Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Great will be his dignity and He will be called the Son of the Most High."
BAPTISM OF THE LORD - Feast (Sunday after Epiphany)
All 3 of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) contain the story of Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. Each of the three Gospel accounts ends with "And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'" In each of the Gospels this is immediately prior to Jesus 40 days and nights of temptation in the desert. You can find these verses starting at Matthew 3:13, Mark 1:9 and Luke 3:21.
BIRTH OF JESUS - CHRISTMAS - Feast (December 25)
The celebration Birth of the Lord did not come into being until around the 4th century. It was the Christianization of the pagan feast Sol Invictus, which means "Invincible Sun." The pagan feast began to be celebrated in Rome under the Emporer Aurelius in 274 A.D. The Gospel according to Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-14 are the only two Gospels to include a section on the Birth of Jesus. Luke's version is the story most often acted by children in plays.
EPIPHANY - Feast (Sunday between January 2 & January 8)
For the Greeks the word "Epiphany" was used to describe the manifestation of a god among humans. The Greek Fathers of the Church used it for the Incarnation of the Son of God. The Magi visiting the Christ child is said to have taken place on this day. The significance of them coming to see Christ is that three wealthy, earthly kings were paying homage to the one true King of kings.
HOLY CROSS - Feast (September 14)
While there is not a lot of information about this feast we do know that it actually celebrates two different events. First, is the discovery of the Lord's cross by the empress, St. Helena, in approximately 320 A.D. The other is the dedication of the Constantinian basilicas at the sites of the Holy Sepulcher and of Calvary in 335 A.D. St. Helena's feast day is August 18th but, is not celebrated as part of the Liturgical Calendar.
PRESENTATION OF THE LORD - Feast (February 2)
This feast was originally celebrated in Jerusalem beginning about the 4th century A.D. In the 5th century it began to be celebrated in Rome. In Greek it is known as the "Feast of the Meeting". It is also known as Candlemas Day because it is the day that the Church traditionally blesses candles.
The Gospel reading for this day is from Luke chapter 2 and includes the Canticle of Simeon in versus 29-32. This canticle is said as part of Night Prayer (Compline) every night in the Liturgy of the Hours.
Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel
THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
In approving the devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Church did not trust to the visions of St. Margaret Mary; she made abstraction of these and examined the worship in itself. Margaret Mary's visions could be false, but the devotion would not, on that account, be any less worthy or solid. However, the fact is that the devotion was propagated chiefly under the influence of the movement started at Paray-le-Monial; and prior to her beatification, Margaret Mary's visions were most critically examined by the Church, whose judgment in such cases does not involve her infallibility but implies only a human certainty sufficient to warrant consequent speech and action.
The worship although paid to the Heart of Jesus extends further than the Heart of flesh. It is directed to the love of which his Heart is the living and expressive symbol. On this point the devotion requires no justification, as it is to the Person of Jesus that it is directed; but to the Person as inseparable from His Divinity. Jesus, the living apparition of the goodness of God and of His paternal love, Jesus infinitely loving and amiable, studied in the principal manifestations of His love, is the object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, as indeed He is the object of the Christian religion. The difficulty lies in the union of the heart and love, in the relation which the devotion supposes between the one and the other. Is not this an error long since discarded? If so, it remains to examine whether the devotion, considered in this respect, is well founded.
TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD - Feast (August 6)
The feast of the Transfiguration is based in part on this Gospel account from Luke 9:27-32. Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God. About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.