Tuesday, March 28, 2017
St. John of Capistrano

Double (1954 Calendar): March 28th

Today is the Feast of St. John of Capistrano.  On feastdays in Lent, more usually the Mass of the Lenten feria is said with only a commemoration of the feast - unlike the other seasons in the Church's liturgical year.

St. John of Capistrano was a Franciscan Friar and priest from Italy who was famous as a preacher, theologian, and inquisitor. John Capistran was the friend of four Popes: he reformed his order, and he evangelized Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Poland.

St. John was born in Abruzzi on June 24, 1385 in the kingdom of Naples. He became a famous lawyer and then was appointed governor of Perugia. At the age of 39 he entered the Franciscan Order.

St. John famously led a crusade against the Ottomons at the Siege of Belgrade. Mohammed II had taken the city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Empire, and was marching towards Belgrade. Pope Callistus III decreed a crusade and St. John Capistrano preached it in Pannonia and the other provinces. He enrolled over 70,000 Christians, aided by the Hungarian nobleman, John Hunyady. The warriors went to battle not with guns but pitchforks. Aided by the prayers of St. John Capistrano, the battle led to over 120,000 Turks slain and the retreat of Mohammed II, who was wounded himself. He renounced afterwards his intent to conquest the Christian West.

This victory at Belgrade in 1456 occurred as St. John neared the end of his earthly life. He died on October 23, 1456 in modern day Croatia. He was the chosen instrument of God for the defense of Christendom. May we have recourse to St. John's protection through our prayers and may we join in penance as we continue our Lenten discipline.


O God, blessed John manifested the power of the most holy name of Jesus when he led the faithful in triumph over the enemies of the Cross. May we overcome the deceits of our spiritual enemies and receive the crown of justice from You through the intercession of this saint. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord . . .

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