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Thu, Mar 25th - 10:17AM

Lady Day

The Annunciation by Fra AngelicoLady Day is the British name for the festival of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. The festival takes place on March 25 and celebrates when the angel told Mary she was to become the mother of Jesus.

Until 1752, Lady Day was the beginning of the legal year in England, and it is still a Quarter Day (date for the payment of quarterly rates or dues).

In the middle ages three other dates marking the most important days in the life of the Virgin Mary were also called Lady Days. Her conception (December 8), her birth (September 8), and the Assumption (August 15) when she was received into heaven.

Shown above is The Annunciation, a panel painting by the 15th-century Italian artist Fra Angelico, who was also a devout Dominican monk. Angelico included scenes from the Bible in separate panels underneath the main picture. This piece is now in the Prado Museum, Madrid.

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Tue, Mar 16th - 3:31PM

Saint Jude Thaddeus

Saint Jude StatuetteLittle is known of the life of the apostle Jude after Pentecost.   He was once the 'forgotten' saint; his name almost lost in history.   In modern times, Saint Jude has acquired considerable popularity as 'patron of lost causes'.   This is said to have originated because nobody invoked him for anything since his name so closely resembled that of Judas who betrayed Jesus; consequently he favors even the most desperate situations of his clients.

More on   Saint Jude Through History

Shown is an alabaster statuette made in England around 1410-1430.   It was attached to a wooden framework to be placed eleventh in a row of twelve apostles.   It is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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Wed, Mar 10th - 12:43PM

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross were introduced by the Franciscans in the 14th century. Since then, a procession has wound through the Via Dolorosa (Latin for "Way of Sorrow"), a street in the Old City of Jerusalem every Friday. It is the path that Jesus walked from the residence of Pontius Pilate to Mount Golgotha and his crucifixion.

Ecce Homo Arch on the Via Dolorosa The stations along the way represent:

1. Christ's condemnation by Pilate
2. his receiving of the cross
3. his first fall under its weight
4. the meeting with his mother, Mary
5. the carrying of the cross by a passerby, Simon of Cyrene
6. the wiping of Christ's face by Veronica
7. Christ's second fall
8. his exhortation to the women of Jerusalem
9. his third fall
10. the stripping of his garments
11. the crucifixion
12. the death
13. the presentation of the body to Mary
14. the burial

The last five stations are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the site of the garden of Joseph of Arimathea where Jesus was placed in his tomb.

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Tue, Mar 2nd - 3:21PM

A man appears before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

"Have you ever done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asks.

"Well, I can think of one thing," the man offers. "Once, on a trip to the Black Hills, out in South Dakota, I came upon a gang of high-testosterone bikers who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. So I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker. I smacked him on the head, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring and threw it on the ground, and told him, 'Leave her alone now or you'll answer to me.'"

St. Peter was impressed. "When did this happen?"

"Just a couple minutes ago."

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