The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3. The first eight days of January fall during the liturgical season known as Christmas which is represented by the liturgical color white. The remaining days of January are the beginning of Ordinary Time. The liturgical color changes to green — a symbol of the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection.

The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of January 2018

Religious Minorities in Asia: That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)

Feasts for January

The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of January are:

01. Mary, Mother of GodSolemnity
02. Basil the Great; Gregory NazianzenMemorial
03. Most Holy Name of JesusOpt. Mem.
04. Elizabeth Ann Seton (USA and CAN)Memorial
05. John NeumannMemorial
06. Andre BessetteOpt. Mem.
07. Epiphany of the LordSolemnity
08. Baptism of the LordFeast
13. Hilary; Kentigern (Scotland)Opt. Mem.
14. Second Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
17. AnthonyMemorial
20. Fabian; SebastianOpt. Mem.
21. Third Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
22. Day of Prayer for UnbornOpt. Mem.
23. Vincent of SaragossaOpt. Mem.
24. Francis de Sales; Our Lady of PeaceMemorial
25. Conversion of St. Paul the ApostleFeast
26. Timothy and TitusMemorial
27. Angela MericiOpt. Mem.
28. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
31. John BoscoMemorial

Focus of the Liturgy

The Gospels for the Sundays in January are taken from St. Mark, St. Matthew and St. John and are from Year B, Cycle 2 of the readings.

January 7th – Epiphany of the LordThis Gospel is about the Wise Kings visit to the Christ Child.
January 14th – 2nd Sunday of Ordinary TimeThis Gospel is about John the Baptist proclaiming “Behold the Lamb of God”.
January 21st – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary TimeJesus speaks in the synagogue in Nazareth.
January 28th – 4th Sunday in Ordinary TimeJesus frees the man with the unclean spirit.
Highlights of the Month

In the first part of January we continue to rejoice and celebrate Christ’s coming at Bethlehem and in our hearts. We have the wonderful feasts of Mary, Mother of God, where we honor Mary’s highest title, and then we follow the Magi to the crib as they bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on Epiphany. Finally we reach the culmination of this season with the Baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist. With a touch of sadness we take down our decorations and enter into the liturgical period known as Ordinary Time where we will devote ourselves to the mystery of Christ in its entirety.

This is a time of growth and an opportunity to allow the dignity of Sunday to shine forth prolonging the joy of Easter and Pentecost. Besides those previously mentioned the month’s major feasts include: St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen (January 2), Holy Name of Jesus (January 3), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4), St. John Neumann(January 5), St. Andre Bessette (January 6), St. Anthony, abbot (January 17), Sts. Fabian and Sebastian (January 20), St. Vincent of Saragossa(January 23), St. Francis de Sales (January 24), the Conversion of St. Paul(January 25), Sts. Timothy and Titus (January 26), St. Angela Merici (January 27), and St. John Bosco (January 31).

The feasts of St. Raymond of Penafort (January 7), St. Agnes (January 21) and St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28) are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

The Winter Seasons

The opening days of January may be cold and nature bleak, but the domestic church still glows warm with the peace and joy of Christmas. We dedicate the New Year to Mary on the January 1st Solemnity honoring her as Mother of God; and on January 7, the Solemnity of Epiphany, we rejoice with her, as her Son is adored by the three Wise Men.

Herald John, who ushered in the Advent season, is present once again to close Christmastide on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (The First Luminous Mystery), and to open the Season of Ordinary Time. He points to Jesus, the Lamb of God who unites time and eternity in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and even January’s diminishing darkness seems to echo St. John’s prayer: “He must increase and I must decrease.”

In this liturgical season the Church eagerly follows Our Lord as he gathers his apostles and announces his mission. At Cana’s wedding feast (The Second Luminous Mystery) he performs his first public miracle at the request of his Mother, and his disciples saw his glory and believed in him.

We, his present-day disciples pray for a like faith as we contemplate the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb and the unique role of the Blessed Mother in the plan of salvation. May we wholeheartedly obey her words of counsel: “Do whatever he tells you.”

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