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Friday, May 17, 2013
St. Paschal Baylon

1955 Calendar (Double): May 17

Born on the Feast of Pentecost in 1540, St. Paschal lived a quiet start to his life, just as our Lord did.  His name Paschal refers to "the Pasch (or "Passover") of the Holy Ghost" which is the Spanish term for Pentecost.  Until the age of 20, Paschal (1540-92) tended flocks on the hills of Aragon. He would carry a book with him and beg passersby to teach him the alphabet and to read, and as he toiled in the fields he would read religious books.

He then became a Franciscan Brother and spent the rest of his years mainly as doorkeeper in various friaries of Spain. St. Paschal chose to work in poverty as he said, "I was born poor and am resolved to die in poverty and penance."  All through his life he was animated with a burning love for the Holy Eucharist, a love so intense that it enabled him to speak triumphantly to heretics about the most obscure mysteries of the Faith. He was a mystic and contemplative, and he had frequent ecstatic visions. He would spend the night before the altar in prayer many nights. At the same time, he sought to downplay any glory that might come from this piety.

Pope Leo XIII declared him patron of all Eucharistic confraternities and congresses.  Christian art usually depicts him wearing the Franciscan habit and bearing a monstrance, signifying his devotion to the Holy Eucharist. During the Red Terror at the time of the Spanish Civil War his grave was desecrated and his relics burned by anticlerical leftists.


O God, who didst adorn blessed Paschal Thy Confessor with a wonderful love for the holy Mysteries of Thy Body and Blood: mercifully grant that we too may be worthy to receive the rich spiritual graces which he received from this divine banquet; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal


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