Countdown to Christmas: December 18: A prayer for those taking exams, Santa comes to John Carroll, today’s O Antiphon, and some classic holiday music



In the last Advent days leading up to Christmas, I will share some reflections, prayers, and music for you to enjoy during this very hectic holiday season.

Santa spreads cheer at John Carroll:

Fine Arts Chair Bruno Baran donned his full-length Father Christmas outfit this morning and made his way through the halls of John Carroll distributing candy canes and giving cheerful encouragement to all our students on their way to their Religion and Science semester finals.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino:

Did you know that Saint Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of all those taking exams?

I took the classic old prayer that our grandparents might have said before their exams and updated it for use with my John Carroll students this morning. Did you ever pray to Saint Joseph of Cupertino when you took your high school or college exams? How about Saint Thomas of Aquinas, patron saint of students? All good things come to those who work hard.

Prayer to Saint Joseph of Cupertino, Patron Saint of Those Taking Exams:

O Saint Joseph of Cupertino,

who by your prayer, obtained from God the blessing to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew:

Grant that we, like you, may succeed in the exams we take here at John Carroll today.

In return, we promise to make you known and to encourage others to pray to  you for their scholastic needs as well.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of students, pray for us.

O Holy Spirit, enlighten us.

Our Lady of Good Studies, pray for us.

Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of Divine Wisdom, enlighten us.


God is good!! All the time!!

Due to reports of his supernatural levitations during prayer and Mass, St. Joseph of Cupertino is also known as the saint patron of pilots and airline passengers.

Today’s “O Antiphon”

“O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!”

—Today’s Antiphon for December 18


Classic Holiday Music for your Enjoyment:

“The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) sung by Nat King Cole

This favorite holiday classic always reminds me of my college days in the 1970s at Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. The seniors would stay up all night on the eve of the Immaculate Conception and adorn the massive main lobby of Fournier Hall with a towering festive live tree and fully-themed decorations throughout the nearby hallways. When finished, they would ring the bells and wake everyone up to come see their special-theme holiday masterpiece. My freshman year found the seniors gathered around the Christmas tree arm in arm singing “The Christmas Song” when my friends and I arrived. I will never forget the poignancy of that special moment.


“White Christmas”

 I hear that warmer air is making its way to the mid-Atlantic region, so before all the snow melts, enjoy this heart-warming Christmas classic. I found this nostalgic clip from the December 20, 1957 Frank Sinatra ABC Christmas special where Frank joins Bing Crosby in his dreams for a “White Christmas.”



Prayer for December 18:

Oh, Adonai, dearest Lord,
Compassionate God of justice,
so many areas of my life seem imprisoned
but you promise me real freedom
and peace in my life.

Renew my spirit and free my soul.
Please, open my heart
which you have bathed in the longing of Advent.

I am awe-struck as your glory fills the earth
and I want to follow you in caring for others.
Grant me the grace to see
how you shine your light on the poor
who have such a special place in your heart.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!


Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.