Patron of miners
St. Barbara was the daughter of a third-century pagan named Dioscuros. Because Barbara was extremely beautiful, he imprisoned her in a tower whenever he was away to protect her from harm. Despite her father’s overprotectiveness, Barbara discovered the Christian faith and decided to convert. When Dioscuros learned that his daughter had become a Christian, he flew into a rage and ordered that she be tortured and beheaded.
St. Barbara is the patron saint for miners and all those who work with fire and explosives. Because legend says that Dioscuros was struck by lightning after he killed his daughter, people began to think that Barbara could control thunder. Soon they began to pray to her to protect them during thunder and lightning storms.
When gunpowder was invented, the noise reminded people of thunder, and miners began to ask St. Barbara for protection against accidents from the use of explosives.
In Europe, a statue of St. Barbara is often found at the entrances of mines or tunnels, and some mining companies incorporate her name in their company’s title. Australia also holds an annual St. Barbara’s Mining and Community Festival in December. In the Czech Republic, St. Barbara’s Cathedral was built by rich mine owners, and many of its interior decorations reflect mining life.
Until the post-Vatican II reform of the liturgical calendar, the universal feast of St. Barbara was celebrated on December 4. Today her feast is generally a local celebration.
“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
The human race has different ways of reckoning the year.
The chinese calendar has its own system for determining when a year starts and when it ends. There’s also the Jewish calendar, a Muslim calendar, and, of course, the Gregorian calendar, which is the one most commonly used around the world.
This week the Church begins the Catholic liturgical year. Our “New Year’s Day” is the first Sunday of Advent.
The liturgical calendar revolves entirely around Jesus Christ. Every year, the Church celebrates his whole story. Advent and Christmas focus on the his birth. The Christmas season ends with Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, the beginning of His public ministry. Lent leads up to the holy Triduum, and the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Pentecost celebrates Jesus’ pouring out of the Spirit upon us. The rest of the year proclaims all that Jesus said and did.
Not only does the Church’s calendar begin and end with Jesus, something else is interesting about the beginning of the liturgical year in Advent: The Gospel reading is always about the end of the world. At first that might seem strange – to begin with the ending. But isn’t that the way I map out any trip?
If I’m trying to figure out how to get somewhere, I start with my destination.
And my destination is…?
Spend some quiet time with the Lord and reflect upon this