Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Sts. Cletus and Marcellinus

Semi Double (1954 Calendar): April 26th

The following is taken from Dom Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year for April 26, in Volume VIII of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.
"Two bright stars appear this day on the ecclesiastical cycle, proclaiming the glory of our Jesus, the Conqueror of death. Again they are two pontiffs, and martyr pontiffs [a reference to the feast day of Sts. Soter and Caius on April 22]. Cletus leads us to the very commencement of the Church, for he was a disciple of Peter, and his second successor in the See of Rome. Marcellinus was a witness of the great persecution under Diocletian; he governed the Church on the eve of her triumph. Let us honour these two fathers of Christendom, who laid down their lives in its defence; and let us offer their merits to Jesus, who supported them by His grace, and cheered them with the hope that one day they would share in His Resurrection."
Dom Guéranger then reproduces the accounts of the two saints found in the Breviary:
"Pray for us, O holy Pontiffs, and look with fatherly love upon the Church on earth, which was so violently persecuted in your times, and at the present day is far from enjoying peace. The worship of idols is revived; and though they be not of stone or medal, yet they that adore them are as determined to propagate their worship as were the pagans of former days to make all mean idolaters. The gods and goddesses now in favour are called Liberty, Progress, and Modern Civilization. Every measure is resorted to, in order to impose these new divinities upon the world; they that refuse to adore them are persecuted; governments are secularized, that is, unchristianized; the education of youth is made independent of all moral teaching; the religious element is rejected from life as an intrusion: and all this is done with such a show of reasonableness that thousands of well-minded Christians are led to be its advocates, timid perhaps and partial, but still its advocates."
"Preserve us, O holy martyrs! from being the dupes of this artful impiety. It was not in vain that our Jesus suffered death, and rose again from the grave. Surely after this He deserves to be what He is - King of the whole earth, under whose power are all creatures. It is in order to obey Him that we wish no other liberty save that which He has based upon the Gospel; no other progress save that which follows the path He has marked out; no other civilization save that which results from the fulfillment of the duties to our fellow men, which He has established. It is He that created human nature and gave it its laws; it is He that redeemed it, and restored to it is lost rights. Him alone, then, do we adore. O holy martyrs! pray that we may never become the dupes or slaves of the theories of human pride, even if they that frame or uphold them should have power to make us suffer or die for our resistance."


O Eternal Shepherd, do Thou look favorably upon Thy flock, which we beseech Thee to guard and keep forevermore through the blessed Cletus and Marcellinus Thy Martyrs and Supreme Pontiffs, whom Thou didst choose to be the chief shepherds of the whole Church. Through our Lord.

Prophetic Words of Blessed Jacinta

Note: Blessed Jacinta is set to be canonized this year.  She died at a very young age. But even as a young child, she was a seer of Our Lady of Fatima and her words have much wisdom and truth in them far beyond the age of a young girl:
"Tell everybody that God grants us His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that they should ask her for them, that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be honored along with Him, that they should ask the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace because God has placed it in her keeping."

"Wars are nothing but punishments for the sins of the world."

"Our Lady can no longer hold back the arm of her beloved Son from the world.  It is necessary to do penance.  If people change their ways, Our Lord will still avail the world; but if they do not, the chastisement will come."

"If men do not change their ways, Our Lady will send the world a punishment like of which has never been seen.  It will fall first...upon Spain."

Thursday, April 20, 2017
What Does Easter Mean? Is Easter Pagan?

This is taken from Dr. John Pepino's article in Memento put out in April 2017 by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter:
Easter is the "most blessed day of ours!" North African Bishop Commodian exclaimed in the 240s AD.  What light do the Fathers of the Church shed on the meaning of this feast?

St. Bede, writing in eight-century England, reports that "Easter" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name for April, Eostur-monath, named after their goddess Eostre, the patroness of the dawn or the spring.  The Latin term Pascha (From which comes the term paschal candle), taken over unchanged from the Greek derives from the Hebrew word for the Passover, Pasah.  The meaning of these words is worth pondering in our preparation for Easter.

First, Easter: Bede indicates that the retention of the pagan name brought with it no connotation of the old religion; now Christians, Englishmen "call the joy of a new solemnity (Easter) by the word they used to in the old religion" (On the Reckoning of Time 15).  There is no more paganism left here than in the names of weekdays or months (Thursday for Thor, January for Janus, etc.).  For Bede, the predominant meaning of Easter is joy.

Pascha conveys a number of meanings, all connected to Easter.  The early Christian writers of Alexandria, Egypt focused on the Resurrection of Our Lord as a fulfillment of the Passover of the Jewish people through the Red Sea and ultimately into the Holy Land.  Our joy is in passing from death to life through Baptism as well as in partaking of the feast of the slain Passover Lamb in Holy Communion, as we "pass over from the things of this life to God" (as third-century writer Origen wrote in Against Celsus 22).  The dominant note here is of movement: from slavery to freedom, from darkness to light, and from the world as it is now to paradise restored after the Resurrection of the Dead.  The Old Testament readings of the Vigil Mass, particularly the twelve lessons in the traditional Easter Vigil, recall and develop this theme.
Regardless of the name used, the celebration of our Lord's Resurrection on Easter/Paschua is the greatest celebration in the Christian year. No one who claims to be a follower of Christ can not celebrate it. The apostles themselves instituted the annual celebration to commemorate our Lord's Resurrection and themselves instituted a fast (which we call Lent in English) to prepare for it.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
St. Hermenegild

Double (1954 Calendar): April 13th

In the sixth century St. Hermenegild, the elder son of King Leovigild, the heretical Visigothic ruler of Spain, married a French princess and was converted to the true religion by her holy example.

King Leovigild regarded the converted prince as a traitor and had him put to death. But remorse worked on the royal father's heart, and he died advising his remaining son to become a Catholic and thus to bring the whole nation of the Visigoths in Spain into the Catholic Church.

Saint Hermenegild, Martyr from the Liturgical Year, 1870
It is through a Martyr's palm-branch that we must today see the Paschal Mystery. Hermenegild, a young Visigoth Prince, is put to death by his heretical father, because he courageously refused to receive his Easter Communion from an Arian Bishop. The Martyr knew that the Eucharist is the sacred symbol of Catholic unity; and that we are not allowed to approach the Holy Table in company with them that are not in the true Church. A sacrilegious consecration gives heretics the real possession of the Divine Mystery, if the priestly character be in him who dares to offer Sacrifice to the God whom he blasphemes; but the Catholic, who knows that he may not so much as pray with heretics, shudders at the sight of the profanation, and would rather die than share, by his presence, in insulting our Redeemer in that very Sacrifice and Sacrament, which were instituted that we might all be made one in God. 
The blood of the Martyr produced its fruit: Spain threw off the chains of heresy that had enslaved her, and a Council, held at Toledo, completed the work of conversion begun by Hermenegild's sacrifice. There are very few instances recorded in history of a whole Nation rising up in a mass to abjure heresy; but Spain did it, for she seems to be a country on which heaven lavishes exceptional blessings. Shortly after this she was put through the ordeal of the Saracen invasion; she triumphed here again by the bravery of her children; and ever since then, her Faith has been so staunch and so pure, as to merit for her the proud title of The Catholic Kingdom. 
St. Gregory the Great, a contemporary of St. Hermenegild, has transmitted to us the following account of the martyrdom. The Church has inserted it in her Second Lessons of today's Matins.

O God, who didst teach blessed Hermenegild, Thy Martyr, to choose the heavenly kingdom rather than an earthly throne: grant us, we beseech Thee, that, following his example, we may despise the fleeting things of time and seek what is eternal. Through our Lord . . .
Thursday, April 6, 2017
First Friday Devotion for April

I want to remind you that tomorrow is the First Friday of the month. Because tomorrow is the first Friday of the Month, many Catholic parishes will have special Masses for the First Friday Devotion.
"With foresight, the divine heart of Christ merited and ordered all the favors which we have received, disposing them for each of us in particular. How our hearts would be inflamed with love for so many favors! Consider that they were destined for us by the will of the Father, to be borne in the heart of the Savior, Who earned them for us by His sufferings, above all by His passion." - St. Francis de Sales
Beginning on December 27, 1673, through 1675, Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque asking her to receive Him in Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month and to meditate on His passion from 11:00 PM to 12:00 midnight each Thursday. He also revealed to her twelve promises for all who are devoted to His Sacred Heart; he asked for a Feast of the Sacred Heart to be instituted in the liturgical calendar of the Church. Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque with twelve promises for those devoted to His Most Sacred Heart.

Promises for those devoted to the Sacred Heart:

1. "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life."
2. "I will establish peace in their homes."
3. "I will comfort them in their afflictions."
4. "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death."
5. "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings."
6. "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy."
7. "Tepid souls shall grow fervent."
8. "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection."
9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored."
10. "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts."
11. "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out."
12. "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

Prayer of Reparation:

O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of thee the conversion of poor sinners.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
RIP John Venarri

John Venarri Editor of Catholic Family News passed away this morning.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let the perpetual light shine upon them.
And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
R. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
St. Francis of Paola

Double (1954 Calendar): April 2nd

St. Francis was born to parents who were childless for many years.  Yet the parents pleaded through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi that they should be given children by God.  And so their prayers were heard.  They had three children, of which St. Francis of Paola (Paula) was one of them.

As a young boy, St. Francis journeyed to Rome on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi and decided to followed the will of God and become a hermit.  Before he was even 20 years old he began to attract followers and thus founded the Hermits of Saint Francis of Assisi, who were approved by the Holy See in 1474. In 1492 they were renamed the Franciscan Order of Minim Friars, with the use of "Minim," it meant that they counted themselves as the least worthy of those in the household of God.

St. Francis was regarded as a miracle worker, prophet, and defender of the poor.  In 1464 St. Francis wanted to cross the Straits of Messina to reach Sicily, but a boatman refused to take him. St. Francis responded by laying his cloak on the water, tying one end to his staff to make a sail, and then he proceeded to sail across with his companions. Franz Liszt wrote a piece of music inspired by the incident.

At the request of Pope Sixtus IV, he journeyed to Paris and helped Louis XI prepare for death.  He also used his position to help restore peace between France and Brittany by advising a marriage between the ruling families and between France and Spain by persuading Louis XI to return some disputed land.

St. Francis had a love for animals and took a vow to never eat any animals, even fish.  According to his biographers, it is said: "Francis had a favorite trout that he called ‘Antonella.’ One day, one of the priests, who provided religious services, saw the trout swimming about in his pool. To him it was just a delicious dish, so he caught it and took it home, tossing it into the frying pan. Francis missed ‘Antonella’ and realized what had happened. He asked one of his followers to go to the priest to get it back. The priest, annoyed by this great concern for a mere fish, threw the cooked trout on the ground, shattering it into several pieces. The hermit sent by Francis gathered up the broken pieces in his hands and brought them back to Francis. Francis placed the pieces back in the pool and, looking up to Heaven and praying, said: ‘Antonella, in the name of Charity, return to life.’ The trout immediately became whole and swam joyously around his pool as if nothing had happened. The friars and the workers who witnessed this miracle were deeply impressed by the miracle."

St. Francis also raised his pet lamb from the dead after it had been killed and eaten by workmen. "Being in need of food, the workmen caught and slaughtered Francis’ pet lamb, Martinello, roasting it in their lime kiln. They were eating when the Saint approached them, looking for the lamb. They told him they had eaten it, having no other food. He asked what they had done with the fleece and the bones. They told him they had thrown them into the furnace. Francis walked over to the furnace, looked into the fire and called ‘Martinello, come out!’ The lamb jumped out, completely untouched, bleating happily on seeing his master."

St. Francis of Paola died on Good Friday, April 2, 1507, in Pelssis, France. He died as the Passion, according to St. John, was read to him. He was canonized in 1519 by Pope Leo X. Tragically, in 1562, Huguenots (Protestant heretics) broke open his tomb, found his body incorrupt, and burned it; the bones were salvaged by Catholics, and distributed as relics to various churches.

The Influence of the Minims on Beer

The Minims went out to continue long after St. Francis of Paola passed to Heaven.   

Concerning fasting, it was his order, the Minims, who began the “beer fast” of the monks. George Ryan, writing for uCatholic, explains:

“In the early 1600s, Paulaner friars of the Order of Minims moved from Southern Italy and settled in the monastery Neudeck ob der Au in Bavaria. The friars observed a strict ascetic lifestyle, living in perpetual abstinence from all meat and dairy products. This ‘Lenten way of life,’ termed vita quadragesimalis in Latin, is a distinct character of the Order of Minims. Because they already observed a Lenten lifestyle year-round, they invented a beer only diet for Lent as a special fast beyond what they already observed.

“In 1634, the Paulaner friars came up with a special brew, so malty and rich they could sustain themselves on it alone for the entire 40 days of Lent. The “liquid bread” as they called it, was full of carbohydrates and other nutrients, with the idea being that liquids cleanse both body and soul. It was a common belief that the more “liquid bread” one consumed, the more purified they would be for Lent.

“The doppelback, as it is called in German, was quite strong for its time, and people occasionally got drunk off it. When the friars recipe improved, they feared the beer was too tasty and intoxicating to be drunk during Lent.

“Around the year 1700, they sent a barrel to the pope asking for his opinion. However, on its travels through the Alps and through the hot Italian sun, it went foul and the pope received a flagrant concoction that resembled nothing of the original brew. After tasting it, the pope sent a message that the disgusting liquid would most definitely help cleanse the friars of their sins, and so the Order of Minim’s tradition of leitenbock was born: 40 days without solid food, drinking only water and beer.”

Those wishing to honor St. Francis of Paola should plan to pray the 13 Fridays in Honor of St. Francis of Paola starting in January of each year.


O God, the exaltation of the lowly, who hast raised Thy blessed Confessor Francis to the glory of the Saints; grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and example we may happily obtain the rewards promised to the lowly. Through Our Lord . . .

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