Friday 4th December : St. John Damascene (675-749)

He was a Syrian Christian theologian. He became a priest in the monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem and was a leading figure in the defence of icons in the iconoclastic controversy.

Sunday 6th December : 2nd Sunday of ADVENT

St. John the Baptist calls to us to straighten out our lives, to lower the mountains of pride o that God's grace can lead us to do what he wants with us. There is no place for our selfishness and pride in St. Peter's new heaven and new earth.

Monday 7th December : St. Ambrose (340-397)

Became governor of the Roman province whose seat was in Milan. In 374, the laity insisted on his becoming bishop though he was still not baptised. He defended orthodoxy in brilliant preaching and through his writing. Patron of Milan, bee-keepers and domestic animals.

Tuesday 8th December : Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

We celebrate Mary who from the first instant of her existence in the womb of her mother Anne was "by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved free from all stain of original sin".

Wednesday 9th December : St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548)

He saw the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December 1531.

Thursday 10th December : Our Lady of Loreto

This celebration helps all people, especially families, youth and religious to imitate the virtues of that perfect disciple of the Gospel, the Virgin Mother, who, in conceiving the Head of the Church also accepted us as her own.

Friday 11th December : St. Damasus I

Born around 304 and died on this day in 384, elected Pope in 366. He insisted on the apostolic foundations of the Roman See and was active in opposing fourth-century heresies. He commissioned St. Jerome to prepare the Vulgate version of the Bible.

Saturday 12th December : Our Lady of Guadalupe

Patron of hte Americal. This memorial recalls the apparitions in December 1531 to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on Tepeyac Hill, near Mexico city.

Saturday 12th December : St. Finnian

Studied in Idrone (Co. Carlow), and later in Wales. On his return he settled in Clonard, Co. Meath, around 520, where he established a famous school. His pupils, among whom were Canice, Colum Cille and Brendan, were the initiators of the great monastic expansion in Ireland. He died in 549 and is remembered as the tutor of the saints of Ireland.