Quarantined due to Coronavirus? Send an Online Prayer Request

Prayer Request Against Coronavirus

I had heard of the power of an online prayer request but did not believe much in its strength till one day, I decided to send one and seek God’s divine grace.

We were all happy as well as exhausted. My family and I had just spent the last week having a relaxing and blissful holiday abroad. Although I scanned the newspapers every morning and did my fair share of catching up on the latest happenings worldwide, I did not pay much attention to the growing pandemic of Coronavirus. After all, we were on our much-awaited holiday and wanted to make the most of our break. Moreover, the newspapers did not say much about whether Coronavirus had reached the city where we lived or the one where we were holidaying. So there really wasn’t much to rattle my nerves or get worried about my family. I decided to enjoy my holidays to the hilt and let the news reports take a back seat for the time being.

The day of our return flight dawned near. On our way to the airport, while we were waiting at a traffic signal, the cab driver turned on the radio. The newsreader was relaying how the deadly Coronavirus was quickly spreading and endangering the lives of everyone. The news hardly mattered to me because we were heading home and there were no reports of any cases being positive in our city. We reached the airport and, after the formalities were over, we all headed to the lounge for a cup of coffee. It was here that I heard some passengers discuss how fast Coronavirus was being detected all over the world and the preventive measures and advisories being broadcast all over the media. I logged in to my email and found that it had been flooded with messages issued in the public interest by our government and how to take precautionary measures to stay safe. My Facebook page was inundated with posts of new cases being detected and how people were getting paranoid about the situation by the day. Still, I brushed aside these reviews and proceeded to board my flight. 

The flight attended handed each one of us a small bottle of hand sanitizer and asked everyone to use it diligently. This seemed a bit strange as I had never seen anything like this before. Still, my family and I decided to follow the instructions as there was no harm in doing it. Personal hygiene was always on top of my mind, particularly when it came to my 3-year-old kid.

Our flight landed on time. We were all exhausted after the long flight and wanted to reach home as quickly as possible. As we started collecting our luggage, we noticed that there was a commotion at the other end of the airport. This section of the departure lounge was full of passengers who had disembarked from international flights. We collected our luggage and were about to head out when we were stopped by security guards. One of the guards checked our passports and asked us to follow him. We went with him and found ourselves joining the queue of people who had come from abroad. The guard explained to us that we would be quarantined like the other passengers and tests would be conducted for Coronavirus. We could only leave the airport if the test results were negative. We were whisked away to a segregated segment of the airport and kept in isolation. After a few hours, swabs were collected from our nose and throat and sent to a laboratory for analysis. We were told that it would take 24-72 hours for the results to come back.

I had already hit the panic button and started praying for my family. My husband told me to be strong but I was more concerned for my child than anyone else. I remembered that a cousin had sent an online prayer request and was able to tide over a crisis at a crucial period in her life. I shared my thoughts with my husband who readily agreed o send an online prayer request to a church in the Holy Land and seek His blessings. When we received an email with the photographs and video of our prayer request against coronavirus, we felt a surge of relief. Although we waited anxiously for the results, our turbulent mind was calm.

The test results came back after three days. All three of us had tested negative and the authorities told us that we were free to go home. We hugged each other and tears of joy flowed down my cheeks. The Lord had answered our prayers and blessed us with His divine touch. In my heart, I knew the power of an online prayer request and how it can show us the path in the most trying times.

What is St. Patrick’s Day?

What is St. Patrick’s Day?

Whether you love wearing green and believe that St. Patrick’s Day gives you the perfect opportunity to literally “go green”, or your keen ear for Irish music and taste for Irish food and drinks brings you out on the streets to celebrate, there is much more to the day than just great food and revelry. You maybe Irish at heart or join the colorful and grand parade every year, but have you ever wondered about its origins and the meaning of the symbols associated with this day? And what is the religious significance associated with this day? Let’s explore this uniquely Irish day of celebration.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th to commemorate the death anniversary of the revered patron saint of Ireland. From the early 13th century, St. Patrick’s Purgatory is commonly associated with spiritual healing and penance; the place is significant as it is here that St. Patrick had a vision assuring believers that whoever visited the sanctuary in faith and penitence would have their sins pardoned. Hence, the site draws scores of believers who pay homage to the patron, particularly on St. Patrick’s Day. But if planning a pilgrimage is not on your cards for personal reasons, a prayer request to the holy land  could go a long way in providing you with spiritual succor. A prayer request can bring inner peace by strengthening your belief and faith.

Who is St. Patrick?

St. Patrick was born in Banna Venta Berniae, a small town in Roman Britain, towards the end of the fourth century. Although his real name was Maewyn Succat, he chose to be called Patricius. There are many monikers associated with him, such as Moagonus, Succetus, and Cothirthiacus. During his lifetime, St. Patrick worked relentlessly in Ireland to spread Christianity throughout the region. He is believed to have baptized several thousands of people, guided women to nunhood, converted the princes in the region, ordained new priests, and helped in the formation and establishment of more than 300 churches. 

Although Patrick was never canonized by the Catholic Church as there was no formal canonization process in place during the first millennium, he was proclaimed a saint by popular acclaim due to his work as a priest and helping to spread Christianity all over Ireland. St. Patrick preached the Gospel for more than 40 years and many believe that he may be responsible for popularizing the Shamrock, the three-leafed clover plant signifying the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Symbols of St. Patrick’s Day

The Shamrock is the most common symbol associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Many people can be seen wearing green attire as the color has found favor over time. There are many religious symbols that have gained significance, including serpents, snakes and the Celtic Cross. St. Patrick added the Sun onto the Christian Cross as it was a powerful Irish symbol and created a Celtic Cross. There are also other symbols related to Ireland seen on St. Patrick’s Day, like the harp; it was used in Ireland for centuries. Symbols like the Leprechaun, a mythological creature, as well as a pot of gold that the leprechaun keeps hidden, are also associated with this day.   

Why March 17?

Although there has been much debate over when and where St. Patrick died, it is widely believed that he died in Saul at Downpatrick on March 17. Hence, the date has been marked to commemorate his death.

In the 17th century, St. Paddy’s Day was started as a religious celebration to mark the arrival of Christianity in Ireland as well as venerate the life of St. Patrick. This day was always celebrated on the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death, popularly believed to be March 17, 461 AD. As time passed and more Irish crossed the Atlantic, the Feast Day celebration gradually gained popularity. In the early 1600s, the Feast Day was officially recognized and placed on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar due to the efforts of Irish Franciscan friar and historian Luke Wadding. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in a Spanish colony in Boston in 1737.

Why the color green?

If you ever wondered why green is the color of choice when celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, you need to go back in time. The color associated with Feast Day and St. Patrick was blue until the Irish soldiers wore green when they fought against the British during the Irish Rebellion. In 1978, the song The Wearing of the Green, sung by the Irish soldiers during the war made green the new color associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Also the color of shamrocks, green emerged as Ireland’s mainstay color.

What is St. Joseph’s Day?

What is St. Joseph’s Day?

If you religiously wear red on St. Joseph’s Day or simply tuck into the grand feast laid out to celebrate the day, you may have also wondered about the history, significance, and traditions associated with this particular date. You attend mass to commemorate the occasion yet your heart wants to know more about the little-known facts about St. Joseph’s Day or interesting nuggets of information that have surfaced over time. Read on to find out more about the day and what makes it an important date on the calendar. For those of you who are unable to attend mass due to frail health or personal reasons, a prayer request can bring you a step closer to the Lord and strengthen your soul. A prayer request will enable you to be a part of the celebration in spirit without having to find the time or gather the resources required to travel anywhere. 

Who is St. Joseph?

St. Joseph’s name appeared for the first time in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. He was a carpenter by trade, the husband of the Virgin Mary, and the foster-father of Jesus Christ. He is a biblical figure whose lineage can be traced back to King David. The Bible states that Joseph was born in circa 100 BCE and died in circa 1 AD in Israel. Although he finds mention in the Bible, the 13 New Testament books written by Paul in the form of epistles do not even make a fleeting reference to him. Also, the first of the Gospels, the Gospel of Mark, does not mention his name.

The exact date and circumstances of the death of St. Joseph are not known. It is believed that he died before Christ’s ministry began. Joseph was declared the patron of the universal Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870. Pope Pius XII declared May 1 as the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955.

The veneration of St. Joseph can be traced back to the 9th century. Nutritor Domini was an early title associated with him; it was to pay tribute and honor him as the Guardian of the Lord. His name finds a place in the Feast of the Holy Family, approximately on December 30 as well as the Christmas story.

When is St. Joseph’s Day Celebrated?

Traditionally, St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated two days after St. Patrick’s Day, i.e. March 19. It is celebrated by the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, and the Anglican Community. The Western calendars had accepted and marked the date in the 10th century. Studies show that St. Joseph’s Day had been accepted in Rome way back in 1479 and in 1621, it was added to the General Roman Calendar.

Why is it Celebrated?

St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated to honor the Patron Saint of Workers or San Giuseppe with plenty of food. But when we talk of food, we are referring to certain types of food that denote deep symbolic importance as well as small but significant gestures that promise to bring good luck. St. Joseph is revered as he brought relief to the peasants of Sicily during a severe drought on the island in the Middle Ages. The peasants prayed to the Lord through St. Joseph asking for rain so that they could survive and promised that if the harsh drought came to an end, they would hold an annual feast to honor the Lord and St. Joseph.

The food items served during the feast are blessed by a priest. There are two feast days to commemorate St. Joseph. The first date is March 19 that falls during the season of Lent; it marks the Solemnity of St. Joseph. The other one falls on May 1 to mark the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

Customs Embedded in Tradition

People attend mass and gather for a big feast as St. Joseph’s Day commemorates how the revered saint saved and helped the Sicilians to survive a severe famine during the Middle Ages. The Almighty answered the prayers of the people through St. Joseph’s intercessions. Hence people wear the color red in honor of the patron saint. A huge altar is prepared and decorated with flowers and food. The altar is also known as St. Joseph’s Table or La Tavola Di San Giuseppe. The food is contributed by everyone; the table is laid out with pasta and breadcrumbs, meatless foods, minestrone, seafood, and other delicacies. The breadcrumbs denote sawdust as St. Joseph was a carpenter. Fava beans must be included as it is considered to be lucky as it was the only crop that survived the harsh drought while all the other crops died. It is widely believed that if one carries a dried fava bean with him/her, the person is blessed with good fortune and will never be without money.

How to Celebrate St. Joseph’s Day

How to Celebrate St. Joseph’s Day

If you love watching the parades on St. Joseph’s Day or bingeing on zeppole (doughnuts) and sfinge (cream puffs), there’s much more to this day than the grand processions and feast laid out for one and all. Those of you who attend mass religiously before partaking of the lavish spread may have at some point in time thought about the tradition, customs, and facts that make this day stand out as an important one. But what if your circumstances act as a deterrent and stand in the way of your celebrating the day? A prayer request could be the solution that you are looking for so you, too, can participate in this solemn occasion. Although you are not physically present, a prayer request will bring the much-needed peace to your mind and let you soak in the spirit of the occasion. Read on to delve deep into the facts and history that make this day so special and why it is observed all over the world.

The History of St. Joseph’s Day

Every year, St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated on March 19. It is also known as La Festa di San Giuseppe or the Feast of Saint Joseph. It is believed that St. Joseph was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the stepfather of Christ. Since the 10th century, certain Western calendars had started marking and celebrating March 19 as St. Joseph’s Day. The custom was adopted by the Romans by the late 15th century. Pope St. Pius V spread the acceptance of this date to the Roman Rite. It has been observed that between the late 19th century and the middle of the 20th century, people organized a Feast Day in veneration of St. Joseph as the husband of the Virgin Mary. Initially, St. Joseph’s Day was celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter; with time, it was moved to the Wednesday before and renamed as The Solemnity of Saint Joseph but in 1955, Pope Pius XII abolished this celebration. 

St. Joseph’s Table

People don red attire as it is customary to wear this color on St. Joseph’s Day and participate in the celebrations. Participants construct an altar also known as St. Joseph’s Table and decorate it with candles and flowers, particularly white carnations and lilies. Food and wine are placed on the table. The food items include lemons, fish, seafood, and fava beans; these food items have a symbolic meaning and considered to be lucky. Fava beans must be included as it is the only crop that had survived the severe drought in the Middle Ages in Italy. It is also considered to be lucky as people believe that a dried fava bean brings good luck and fortune to a person who carries it with him or her. Breadcrumbs are included in the recipes as St. Joseph was a carpenter; the breadcrumbs denote sawdust or the dry earth left behind after the drought. But care is taken not to include any meat dishes, as St. Joseph’s Day falls during the season of Lent.

According to popular belief, if a woman who wants to get married manages to steal a lemon from St. Joseph’s Table, she will have better luck in finding a husband. 

According to the legendary story, St. Joseph interceded on behalf of the villagers during a severe famine in Sicily and prayed for rain. The Lord answered his prayers and the famine came to an end. The villagers held an annual feast to honor the Almighty and St. Joseph. This gave birth to the tradition of well-to-do families preparing large meals and distributing the food to the less fortunate people like the homeless, ill, and poor. 

The Three Tiers of the Table

St. Joseph’s Table comprises three tiers that symbolize the Most Holy Trinity. The topmost tier holds a statue of the saint amidst greenery and flowers, particularly lilies. The other two tiers are decorated with food and other items such as candles, and symbolic pastries and bread shaped like fish and doves. 

The Table is always blessed by a priest and a basket is kept for the people to place their prayer petitions.

What is Eaten on St. Joseph’s Day?

Traditionally, the food items laid out on St. Joseph’s Table must include fava beans and lemons. Stuffed artichokes, other vegetables, and a bean soup known as minestras are served during the feast. There is an assortment of bread but it is baked into symbolic shapes such as a hand, cross, or staff. Cheese is not eaten on this particular day. Certain dishes are sprinkled with dry breadcrumbs as a topping. Dessert includes cookies with almonds and sfinges rolled in sugar or filled with custard or cream.

How Does the Day End?

The words Viva La Tavola di San Giuseppe mark the beginning of feasting. After feasting is over, the altar is broken. This is followed by Tupa Tupa or Knock Knock signifying the Holy Family’s search for shelter before Christ’s birth. Three children dressed as the Holy Family knock on three doors seeking shelter; they are refused twice and welcomed in the third house.

At the end of the day’s celebrations, every participant is given a bag containing fruits, pastries, cookies, bread, a medal with an engraving of St. Joseph, a Holy Card and/or a sanctified fava bean.

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