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Behind the Catholic Counter

Saint Anthony the Abbot, not from Padua

St. Anthony the Abbot

Today is the Feast of Saint Anthony the Abbot! He was a native of Egypt, and, among many other things, the namesake of the popular Saint Anthony of Padua. Saint Anthony the Abbot was born in southern Egypt to wealthy parents, but they died when he was only in his late teens; he inherited their land and was given charge of his unmarried sister.

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The Twelfth Day of Christmas – Feast of St. John Neumann, Bishop

Saint John Neumann

In America it isn't easy being Catholic. Christmas always makes this particularly obvious as we're bombarded things we must buy, movies we must see and parties we must attend. Even the best in our culture would have us believe that the true meaning of Christmas is spending time with family. The belief in America as the land of opportunity has often been twisted into the idea that America is the place for me to live my life and further my material interests.

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The Eleventh Day of Christmas – Elizabeth Ann Seton, convert and saint

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton was born into the Bayley family in 1774, just two years before the American Revolution. She grew up in affluence among the socialites of New York City. Her mother was the daughter of an Episcopalian Rector and she died when Elizabeth was a youngster of three. Her father was a doctor and professor, and he saw to …

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The Tenth Day of Christmas – The Holy Name of Jesus

Adoration of the Holy Name of Jesus

Why honor the Holy Name of Jesus? In the New Testament, St. Paul writes that God the Father “bestowed on him (Christ Jesus) the name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is …

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The Ninth Day of Christmas – The Feast. of St. Basil the Great

Saint Basil the Great

Who was Saint Basil the Great? St. Basil was Bishop of Caesarea (an area now in eastern Turkey) in the fourth century and is one of the foremost Doctors of the Church who, along with St. Athanasius, is noted as an outstanding defender of Christian orthodoxy during the Arian heresy – a heresy that denied the Divine Nature of Christ, …

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If Mary Isn’t the Theotokos, the Mother of God, Who is She?

The Mother of God the Theotokos

On December 31 we usher in the New Year with late night champagne, half-baked resolutions and epic movies. But in the midst of this activity the Church asks us to celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Theotokos – the Mother of God; a feast day of epic proportions and fulfilled covenants, a dogma that sheds as much light on the nature of …

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The Fifth Day of Christmas – Feast of St. Thomas Becket

Saint Thomas Becket

 Who was Saint Thomas Becket? On December 29, the Catholic Church remembers St. Thomas Becket, the other Thomas who was martyred for the Catholic Faith in England by a king named Henry over matters of Church governance. Thomas was born in London on the 21st of December in either 1117 or 1118 to Gilbert Becket and Matilda Roheise. His parents were buried in Old St. Paul's Cathedral. When …

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The Fourth Day of Christmas – Feast of the Holy Innocents

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Who were the Holy Innocents? Herod was the king in Judea at the time Christ was born. He was an unpopular king, working as he did for the Romans, and his cruelty knew no bounds. He feared any threat to his power, and news of this newborn king troubled him. The wise men, whom he had asked to report the …

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The Third Day of Christmas – Feast of St. John the Evangelist

John the Evangelist

Who was Saint John the Evangelist? December 27th is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, frequently referred to as “the Beloved Disciple” in the Gospels. He was one of the first disciples called by Christ and is considered the author of the Gospel of John, at least the first of the Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. He …

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