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The Circumcision of Our Lord

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The Octave-Day of Christmas

The Circumcision of Our Lord

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

In the modern calendar the final day of the Octave of Our Lord’s Nativity is celebrated as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and at times the ancient Church said two different Masses on this day, one for the Octave-Day of Christmas and one for Our Lady. For centuries, however, this day was titled the Circumcision of Our Lord, commemorating the first shedding of Our Lord’s Precious Blood, when in accordance with the Old Law the Child Jesus was circumcised and given His Holy Name eight days after His Birth. The traditional Mass and Office of the Feast of the Circumcision do not fail to repeatedly honor and invoke the Mother of God, while also emphasizing the Holy Family’s devout observance of the Old Covenant in proper preparation for fulfillment in the New Covenant. Today, the first day of the new year, Catholics may obtain an indulgence for publicly singing or reciting the hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus, asking the blessing of God the Holy Spirit upon the coming year.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for January 1st

THE Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Octave of His Nativity.

At Rome, St. Almachius, martyr, who, by the command of Alipius, governor of the city, was killed by the gladiators for saying, “Today is the Octave of our Lord’s birth; put an end to the worship of idols, and abstain from unclean sacrifices.”

In the same city, on the Appian way, the crowning with martyrdom of thirty holy soldiers, under the emperor Diocletian.

Also at Rome, under the emperor Alexander, St. Martina, virgin, who endured various kinds of torments, and being beheaded, received the palm of martyrdom. Her feast is kept on the 30th of this month.

At Spoleto, in the time of the emperor Antoninus, St. Concordius, priest and martyr, who was beaten with clubs, and then put to the torture. After a long confinement in prison, where he was visited by an angel, he lost his life by the sword.

The same day, St. Magnus, martyr.

At Caesarea, in Cappadocia, the demise of St. Basil, bishop, whose festival is kept on the 14th of June, the date of his consecration as bishop.

In Africa, St. Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspoe, who suffered much from the Arians during the persecution of the Vandals, for holding the Catholic faith and teaching its excellent doctrine. After being banished to Sardinia, he was permitted to return to his diocese, where he ended his life by a holy death, leaving a reputation for sanctity and eloquence.

At Chieti, in Abruzzo, the birthday [into heaven] of St. Justin, bishop of that city, illustrious for holiness of life and miracles.

In the diocese of Lyons, in the monastery of St. Claude, St. Eugendus, abbot, whose life was eminent for virtues and miracles.

At Souvigny, St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny, who was the first to prescribe that the commemoration of all the faithful departed should be made in his monasteries the day after the feast of All Saints. This practice was afterwards received and approved by the universal Church.

In Tuscany, on Mount Senario, blessed Bonfilius, confessor, one of the seven founders of the Order of the Servites of the blessed Virgin Mary, who, herself, suddenly called her devout servant to heaven.

At Alexandria, the departure from this world of St. Euphrosyna, virgin, who was renowned in her monastery for the virtue of abstinence, and the gift of miracles.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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