News for Catholic living from the Diocese of Little Rock
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Dec. 30, 2022

In 1979, English teacher and hymnologist Hugh D. McKellar of Canada wrote a short article, "How to Decode the Twelve Days of Christmas," in which he theorized the song’s lyrics were intended to teach the catechism of the Church following the Protestant Reformation.

Carol or catechism?

The traditional 12 Days of Christmas begins Dec. 25 and ends the day before Epiphany, following around the same time period as the Church's Christmas season. Some believe the carol "The 12 Days of Christmas" conveys the the teachings of the Church. Is there any basis for this?
In "The 12 Days of Christmas," some believe three French hens symbolize:

A. Faith, hope and love
B. the Trinity 
C. the Magi

(Answer at the bottom)


Each December we celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas. “The best-known story about Bishop Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married. Over the centuries, in honor of St. Nicholas' generosity, the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast day developed. In English-speaking countries, St. Nicholas became, by a twist of the tongue, Santa Claus..." (see Franciscan Media for more). His generosity was truly transformational for the women and their families. The Christmas season is a time to explore generosity. God’s generosity in his self-gift in Jesus is truly ineffable.

Reflection: Take some time to visit with Jesus about generous, transformational giving this season. Explore with Jesus ways to make a transformational difference in someone’s life, like St. Nicholas did. 

— Deacon Danny Hartnedy


Mary Mother of God
Jan. 1

A manuscript fragment in Greek from the fourth century refers to Mary as the “Mother of God.” The feast was introduced near the end of that century; it is the oldest Marian feast in the Roman liturgical calendar. Mary was definitively called “Theotokos,” or “God-bearer,” at the Council of Ephesus in 431. 


Truth about money, family

I’m 32 and a teacher. My house is my only debt, and there’s $55,000 left on my mortgage. My mom and dad offered to pay off the rest of my mortgage by loaning me the money with a very small interest rate. I know you don’t like the idea of mixing money and family. What do you think about this offer?
What the Bible says about...


Prayers for retired pope

At the end of his weekly general audience Dec. 28, Pope Francis asked for prayers for the 95-year-old retired pope. "I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for emeritus Pope Benedict." He "is sustaining the church in silence," Pope Francis said. "Remember him. He is very sick."


On the seventh day of Christmas...


1: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, New Year’s Day
6: Madrigal Christmas Celebration, Little Rock
8: Epiphany
9: Baptism of the Lord


"When we trust too much in ourselves and not in God's grace, then the Evil One finds the door open. So, he organizes an expedition and takes possession of that house."

— Pope Francis, Dec. 14

December aSpirations

OCA senior spreads awareness of human trafficking
 Top five Catholic stories of 2022

• School raises money with living Nativity
Answer: A
A theory is the French hens stood for faith, hope and love. 

Did you get the right answer? Let us know!
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Malea HargettHave a news tip? Please contact me. 
Your humble editor, 

Malea Hargett
Arkansas Catholic
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