Below are some ideas of celebrations and observances that may be helpful in your ministry during the month of September. There are many opportunities noted here. Choose those which are most needed in your community.
Labor Day: Labor Day is the first Monday of September in the United States. Several popes have written documents on the value and dignity of work. Each year the United States bishops release a statement for Labor Day. You can access it here along with several other helpful resources.
Catechetical Sunday: The third Sunday of September is Catechetical Sunday in the United States. This year’s theme is “Teaching about God’s Gift of Forgiveness.” You can access a myriad of resources from the bishops’ website here.
Special Sunday: There are four Sundays this month. Interestingly, September 14 is the celebration of the Exaltation of the Cross. Since it ranks higher than a Sunday in Ordinary Time, it will replace the usual celebration. So we’ll have a special Sunday treat this month as we take a moment to meditate and reflect on the mystery of God’s love in the sacrifice of the cross.
Feast days: Everyone knows I love feast days! There are four in September. The first is Mary’s birthday on September 8. The second is the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14 which, as I mentioned above, falls on Sunday this year. The third is not celebrated this year because it is replaced by the Sunday celebration and that is Saint Matthew on September 21. The fourth is the Archangels (Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael) on September 29.
Other liturgical celebrations: There are some great saints this month from Gregory the Great (September 3) and Jerome (September 30) to Peter Claver (September 9) and Padre Pio (September 23). We also have some saints who are strongly identified with their countries like the Korean Martyrs (September 20) and the Filipino Martyrs (September 28). You can combine their stories with information about their countries (especially Korea because Pope Francis just traveled there last month). And we don’t want to forget John Chrysostom (September 13), Cornelius and Cyprian (September 16), or Robert Bellarmine (September 17).
Other than her birthday celebration on the 8th, a special mention here of the other days in honor of Our Lady: her Holy Name on September 12 and Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15. A Way of the Cross from Mary’s perspective (or “Via Matris”) would be appropriate to celebrate this month.
If you don’t know the stories and legends of Saint Januarius (September 19) then you need to read his Wikipedia page pronto! Many Catholics don’t know about him and I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty interesting.
Many ministries and schools do community service. Saint Vincent de Paul, the Saint of Charity, is celebrated on September 27.
Outside of the United States, there are some liturgical celebrations you may find helpful in your ministry. In many countries, September 24 is Our Lady of Mercy. It’s also Our Lady of Walsingham, the patron of the Anglican Rite church in England and Wales. These are Anglicans who have converted to Catholicism through a special permission from the Vatican. They are allowed to keep certain traditions from their history when they join the Catholic Church. You might also remember Blessed Teresa of Calcutta on her memorial, September 5.
Cardinals: I like to highlight cardinals on their 80th birthdays in my class. This milestone marks the end of their curial memberships and at that point they are no longer eligible to vote in a papal conclave. This month, three cardinals turn 80: Cardinal Sardi on September 1; Cardinal Cordes on September 5; and Cardinal Rodé on September 23. I will post brief biographical PowerPoints around their birthdays.
Jewish Calendar: The celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the new Jewish year will begin at sundown on September 24. They will begin year 5775 of their calendar.
September 6: Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day
September 7: National Grandparents Day
September 11: Patriot Day
September 17: Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
September 19: National POW/MIA Recognition Day
September 28: Gold Star Mother’s Day
United Nations Calendar:
September 5: International Day of Charity
September 8: International Literacy Day
September 12: United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation
September 15: International Day of Democracy
September 16: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
September 21: International Day of Peace
September 25: World Maritime Day
September 26: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
September 27: World Tourism Day
Local Celebrations: Be sure look up your own local celebrations. Here are some ideas: (1) the patron of your parish; (2) the anniversary of the dedication of your parish; (3) the patron of your diocese; (4) the date of the founding of your diocese; (5) the birthday of your bishop or the anniversary of his ordination; (6) the birthday or the anniversary of the ordination of your pastor, chaplain, or parish priest.
This month is my pastor’s ordination anniversary along with the anniversary of the founding of our parish and the patronal feast of our diocese.
So what did I forget? Shoot me an email or comment below if you can think of a useful celebration that I’ve omitted.