Updated: Aug 23
As a short guide and aid to your September liturgical living, I have compiled some quick tips, ideas, and links to bring joy and festivity into your domestic church. This is not a list of every single September feast day, but will be a very good start.
Note: This is not a full list of resources on my blog for feast day celebrations, activities, and recipes in the month of September. Go browse around for saints and feast days that are special to you.
The Month of September is Dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
Click the graphic below for a recipe to celebrate this feast day.
The Nativity of Mary
The Church has celebrated Mary’s birth since at least the sixth century. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with September. The September 8 date helped determine the date for the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8.
Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s birth. However, the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James fills in the gap. This work has no historical value, but it does reflect the development of Christian piety. According to this account, Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child who will advance God’s plan of salvation for the world. Such a story, like many biblical counterparts, stresses the special presence of God in Mary’s life from the beginning.
Saint Augustine connects Mary’s birth with Jesus’ saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.” The opening prayer at Mass speaks of the birth of Mary’s Son as the dawn of our salvation, and asks for an increase of peace. (Franciscan Media)
Nativity of Mary Collect Prayer
Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Our Lady of Sorrows
The Story of Our Lady of Sorrows
For a while there were two feasts in honor of the Sorrowful Mother: one going back to the 15th century, the other to the 17th century. For a while both were celebrated by the universal Church: one on the Friday before Palm Sunday, the other in September.
The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus’ words from the cross to Mary and to the beloved disciple.
Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary’s sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. Thus, the two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.
Saint Ambrose in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross. Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled. Mary looked on her Son’s wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed, but offered herself to her persecutors. (Franciscan Media)
Our Lady of Sorrows Prayer
O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion, and death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion, and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem, and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object. Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate Mother of God.
To remind us of the bitter, sour taste of suffering.
St. Padre Pio
Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, southern Italy. He was tutored privately until his entry to the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at the age of 15. Of feeble health but strong will, with the help of grace, he completed the required studies and was ordained a priest in 1910.
On September 20, 1918 the five wounds of our Lord’s passion appeared on his body, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Catholic Church. Countless persons were attracted to his confessional and many more received his saintly counsel and spiritual guidance through correspondence.
His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer and continual austerity. His letters to his spiritual directors reveal the ineffable suffering, physical and spiritual, which accompanied him all through his life. They also reveal his deep union with God, his burning love for the Blessed Eucharist and Our Blessed Lady.
On January 9, 1940, Padre Pio announced his grandiose plans to develop a Home for the Relief of Suffering (the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza). The Casa opened its doors on May 5, 1956 as a 300 bed facility, built on the small, sincere and spontaneous donations and prayers of his followers. He also developed an international network of prayer groups for the support of the Casa and its ministry that continues to live on and grow today.
Padre Pio considered the Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza (Casa) his “Work”, inspired and blessed by God, to be a haven of relief from suffering for all of God’s children in pain in body or soul. It is a model community of Catholic Christian health delivery, and has grown into a regional referral center of international renown. Today, with over 1,000 beds and services comparable to most academic research centers of excellence, the Casa is thriving by God’s graces in one of the most remote, desolate and poorest areas of Italy…atop Mount Gargano, four hours from Rome.
Worn out by over half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity in San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968. After a public funeral, which attracted over 100,000 mourners, his body was entombed in the crypt of Our Lady of Grace Church. Increasing numbers flock to his tomb from all parts of the world and many testify to spiritual and temporal graces received.
On the 16th of February 1973, the Archbishop of Manfredonia, Msgr. Valentino Vailati, consigned the documentation to the Sacred Congregation of the Causes of Saints so as to obtain the “nihil obstat” for the beginning of the process of his Beatification.
On December 18, 1997, by the reading of the decree on the heroic virtues, the Holy Father John Paul II declared Padre Pio “Venerable.”, and on June 16, 2002, over 500,000 Padre Pio devotees gathered in Rome to witness Pope John Paul II proclaim Padre Pio, “Saint Pio of Pietrelcina”. (saintpiofoundation)
Prayer to St. Padre Pio
O God, You gave Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Capuchin priest, the great privilege of participating in a unique way in the passion of Your Son, grant me through his intercession the grace of … which I ardently desire; and above all grant me the grace of living in conformity with the death of Jesus, to arrive at the glory of the resurrection. Glory be to the Father… (three times)
For the Capuchin friar!
Michaelmas/ The Feast of the Archangels
The Catholic Church confirms the existence of angels, and that they are active in our lives.
So, what is an angel? What is an archangel? And what makes them so special?
The Catechism states, "The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith," (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 328).
The word, "angel," comes from the Greek word, "aggelos," which means, "messenger."
The Bible recognizes, "nine choirs" of angels. Each choir has a name and a purpose.
The Bible also mentions archangels. Archangels are recognized as leaders, and they are entrusted by God with special duties.
The Bible and the Church recognizes seven archangels, although just three are known by name, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
The name Michael means "one who is like God." His will is focused, immovable, and entirely driven toward accomplishing goodness; he is the protector of souls and wields his powerful sword against the poisonous and indictive aspirations of the devil who Jesus calls a "murderer from the beginning" and the "father of lies" (John 8:44).
St. Michael the Archangel visited three children at Fatima, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta in 1917 to prepare them for the work of the Blessed Virgin.
St. Michael the Archangel said to them, "Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me." Then he prostrated himself and repeated three times: "My God; I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee! I beg Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee!"
During a visit to the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, Pope John Paul II said, "The battle against the devil . . . is the principal task of Saint Michael the archangel."
Scripture narrates the same truth: "Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. Although the dragon and his angels fought back, they were overpowered and lost their place in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent known as the devil or Satan, the seducer of the whole world, was driven out; he was hurled down to earth and his minions with him" (Revelation 12:7-9).
Gabriel means "God is my strength". He was sent from God to Nazareth, "to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, . . . and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you" (Luke 1:27-28).
Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote: "He [Gabriel] came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus, God's strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle" (excerpt from Homily 34, 8-9).
Raphael means "God is my health". He is one of seven angels "who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord" (Tobit 12:15). The meaning of Raphael's name reflects the fact that he touched Tobit's eyes in order to heal them of blindness.
St. Augustine teaches in reference to the angels' office and nature: "Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit,' from what they do, 'angel.'" In other words, the office of the angels is one of mission, as messengers of God, while their nature is defined as non-physical, personal spiritual beings created by God.
The Catechism teaches in reference to the angels' office: "With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven' they are the mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 329; Mt 18:10). The angels are truly beautiful. As we reflect upon them, we are drawn toward a deeper and clearer understanding of God's love for man; for billions of angels, to be sure, are given the personal charge of looking after God's children as their guardian angels.
Every moment of each day, day after day, year after year, our faithful guardian angels stand at our side, focused on our well-being with far greater power and intensity than we ourselves can summon, since the strength of their angelic will is far greater than ours. Let us thank God each day for their protection and guidance, giving to us great advantage here below, for they see the reality of our life in clarity, which is something we often fail to do.
God has commended to each of us an angel for our very own. What love has God for his children, for those he has created in the image of his incarnate Son! (Catholic.org)
St. Michael the Archangel Prayer
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.
Read the story in the recipe post.