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.
Religious Minorities in Asia: That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practice their faith in full freedom. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)
The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of January are:
1. Mary, Mother of God, Solemnity
2. Basil the Great; Gregory Nazianzen, Memorial
3. Most Holy Name of Jesus, Opt. Mem.
4. Elizabeth Ann Seton (USA and CAN), Memorial
5. John Neumann, Memorial
6. Andre Bessette, Opt. Mem.
7. Epiphany of the Lord, Solemnity
8. Baptism of the Lord, Feast
13. Hilary; Kentigern (Scotland), Opt. Mem.
14. Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday
17. Anthony, Memorial
20. Fabian; Sebastian, Opt. Mem.
21. Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday
22. Day of Prayer for Unborn, Opt. Mem.
23. Vincent of Saragossa, Opt. Mem.
24. Francis de Sales; Our Lady of Peace, Memorial
25. Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Feast
26. Timothy and Titus, Memorial
27. Angela Merici, Opt. Mem.
28. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday
31. John Bosco, Memorial
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.
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 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.”