Showing posts with label Feastday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feastday. Show all posts
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Vigil of the Assumption
edit_button


On August 14th, the day before the Assumption of Mary, the Church celebrates a penitential, violet Mass on this day of preparation. For Eastern Catholics, the weeks preceding the Assumption are kept in fasting and in penance. For those Catholics in the Latin Rite, the average Roman Catholic does not know of or participate in this period of preparation. However, any Catholic certainly may foster this spirit of penance in preparation for the Assumption. However, the Roman Rite of the Church in the 1962 Missal and previously preserves a one-day period of fasting, abstinence of meat, and penance in a vigil for the Assumption.

Catholicism is not merely an intellectual activity. While we are correct to study, the Faith requires the consent of our wills. We must conform our lives to Christ’s and His Church. We can do this by actually praying and performing actual penance. As a result, the greatest takeaway today is the need to do preparation in the form of prayer and mortification.

And finally, since tomorrow is a Holy Day of Obligation, we should make every effort to do any errands, cleaning, shopping, or work today. We should refrain from working tomorrow and keep the entire day as a Sunday in rest, prayer, relaxation, and with attendance at Holy Mass.

Read today's Mass propers including the commemoration of today's saint, St. Eusebius.

Collect:

O God, You willed to choose the womb of Blessed Mary as Your dwelling place. Grant that we may joyfully celebrate her feast under the shield of her protection; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .
Read more >>
Friday, August 9, 2019
Vigil of St. Lawrence
edit_button


August 9th is a liturgical oddity in many respects in the 1962 Calendar and Divine Office. Whereas in the pre-1955 Office today is the Feastday of St. John Vianney with a Commemoration of the Vigil of St. Lawrence and a Commemoration of St. Romanus, in the 1962 Office it is the Vigil of St. Lawrence with a Commemoration of St. Romanus. While nearly all Vigils were removed between 1954 and 1962 from the Calendar (e.g. Vigil of the Immaculate Conception, Vigils for the Apostles feastdays, Vigil of All Saints, etc), the Vigil of St. Lawrence alone remained. And what is really unique is that in the 1962 Office today's Vespers is of the Vigil of St. Lawrence and not 1st Vespers for St. Lawrence. This is a true oddity.

Let us keep in mind today that as a Vigil we should perform penance in anticipation for tomorrow's feastday of one of the greatest Deacons in the Church - St. Lawrence. May he, the glorious martyr St. Lawrence, intercede for all clerics and all the Faithful in the Church.

Collect:

Attend, O Lord, to Our supplications, and by the intercession of Thy blessed martyr, Lawrence, whose feast we anticipate, graciously bestow upon us Thy everlasting mercy.
Read more >>
Friday, August 2, 2019
Commemoration of Pope St. Stephen I
edit_button


While August 2nd is liturgically dedicated to St. Alphonsus Liguori, the traditional Catholic calendar also includes a commemoration to St. Stephen I today.

Pope Saint Stephen I, was a Roman by birth. He was chosen as the Roman Pope on May 3, 253, and governed the Church for three years. He decided the question of the validity of Baptism when administered by heretics, ordering that the tradition should be preserved according to which it was sufficient that they receive confirmation.

Pope Stephen I reigned during the vicious persecutions of Valerian and Gallienus, and was forced even to conduct his Church councils in the martyrs' crypts. On August 2, 257, as he was finishing his Mass, his persecutors seized him and put him to death while seated in his episcopal chair in the catacombs.

As a reminder, today is also the day to gain the Portuncula Indulgence.

Prayer:

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Stephen I shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this Martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Thursday, July 25, 2019
St. Christopher
edit_button

Today besides the feast of St. James the Greater is the Commemoration of St. Christopher. The following is taken from Catholic Tradition:


AN ANCIENT tradition concerning St. Christophorus relates: He was born in the land of Canaan, and was named Reprobus, that is Reprobate, for he was a barbarous heathen. In stature and strength he was a giant. Thinking no one his like in bodily vigor, he resolved to go forth in search of the mightiest master and serve him. In his wanderings, he met with a king who was praised as the most valorous man on earth. To him he offered his services and was accepted. The king was proud of his giant and kept him near his person. One day a minstrel visited the king's castle, and among the ballads he sung before the court was one on the power of Satan. At the mention of this name the king blessed himself, making me Sign of the Cross. Reprobus, wondering, asked him why he did that. The king replied: "When I make this Sign, Satan has no power over me." Reprobus rejoined: "So thou fearest the power of Satan? Then he is mightier than thou, and I shall seek and serve him."

Setting forth to seek Satan, he came into a wilderness. One dark night he met a band of wild fellows riding through the forest. It was Satan and his escort. Reprobus bravely accosted him, saying he wished to serve him. He was accepted. But soon he was convinced that his new master was not the mightiest on earth. For one day, whilst approaching a Crucifix by the wayside, Satan quickly took to flight, and Reprobus asked him for the reason. Satan replied: "That is the image of my greatest enemy, Who conquered me on the Cross. From Him I always flee." When Reprobus heard this, he left the devil, and went in search of Christ.

In his wanderings, he one day came to a hut hidden in the forest. At its door sat a venerable old man. Reprobus addressed him, and in the course of the conversation that ensued the old man told him that he was a hermit, and had left the world to serve Christ, the Lord of Heaven and earth. "Thou art my man," cried Reprobus; "Christ is He Whom I seek, for He is the strongest and the mightiest. Tell me where I can find Him."

The hermit then began instructing the giant about God and the Redeemer, and concluded by saying: "He who would serve Christ must offer himself entirely to Him, and do and suffer everything for His sake. His reward for this will be immense and will last forever." Reprobus now asked the hermit to allow him to remain, and to continue to instruct him. The hermit consented. When Reprobus was fully instructed, he Baptized him. After his Baptism, a great change came over the giant. No longer proud of his great size and strength, he became meek and humble, and asked the hermit to assign to him some task by which he might serve God, his master. "For," said he, "I can not pray and fast; therefore I must serve God in some other way." The hermit led him to a broad and swift river nearby, and said: "Here build thyself a hut, and when wanderers wish to cross the river, carry them over for the love of Christ." For there was no bridge across the river.

Henceforth, day and night, whenever he was called, Reprobus faithfully performed the task assigned to him. One night he heard a Child calling to be carried across the river. Quickly he rose, placed the Child on his stout shoulder, took his staff and walked into the mighty current.

Arrived in midstream, the water rose higher and higher, and the child became heavier and heavier. "O child," he cried, "how heavy thou art! It seems I bear the weight of the world on my shoulder." And the Child replied, "Right thou art. Thou bearet not only the world, but the Creator of Heaven and earth. I am Jesus Christ, thy King and Lord, and henceforth thou shalt be called Christophorus, that is, Christ-bearer. Arrived on yonder shore, plant thy staff in the ground, and in token of My power and might tomorrow it shall bear leaves and blossoms."

And the Child disappeared. On reaching the other shore, Christophorus stuck his staff into the ground, and behold, it budded forth leaves and blossoms. Then, kneeling, he promised the Lord to serve Him ever faithfully. He kept his promise, and thenceforth became a zealous preacher of the Gospel, converting many to the Faith. On his missionary peregrinations he came also to Lycia, where, after his first sermon, eighteen thousand heathens requested Baptism. When Emperor Decius heard of this, he sent a company of four hundred soldiers to capture Christophorus. To these he preached so convincingly, that they all asked for Baptism. Decius became enraged thereat and had him cast into prison. There he first treated him with great kindness, and surrounded him with every luxury to tempt him to sin, but in vain. Then he ordered him to be tortured in the most cruel manner, until he should deny the Faith. He was scourged, placed on plates of hot iron, boiling oil was poured over and fire was lighted under him. When all these torments did not accomplish their purpose, the soldiers were ordered to shoot him with arrows. This, too, having no effect, he was beheaded, on July 25, 254.

Two great Saints refer to the wonderful achievements of St. Christophorus. St. Ambrose mentions that this Saint converted forty-eight thousand souls to Christ. St. Vincent Ferrer declares that when the plague devastated Valencia, its destructive course was stayed through the intercession of St. Christophorus.

Note: St. Christophorus is usually called St. Christopher. He is the patron of travelers, especially motorists, and is invoked in storms and tempests.

THE life of St. Christophorus conveys a wholesome truth. We ought all to be Christ-bearers, by preserving in our hearts faith, hope, and charity, and by receiving Our Lord worthily in Holy Communion. He alone is worthy of our service. In the service that we owe to men, we ought to serve God by doing His will. We can not divide our heart, for Our Lord Himself says, "No man can serve two masters" [Matt. 6: 24]. If you serve the world, it deceives you, for it can not give you what it promises. If you serve sin, Satan is your master. He, too, deceives his servants, and leads them to perdition. Christ on the Cross conquered these two tyrants, and with His help you can also vanquish them. Therefore, give yourself to Him with all your heart, and you shall find peace in this world, and eternal bliss in the next. St. Augustine learned this truth by sad experience, and therefore exclaims:

"Thou hast created us for Thee, O Lord, and our heart is restless till it rests in Thee."

Collect:

O Almighty God, grant that we who celebrate the birthday of Your blessed martyr Christopher, may be made stronger in our love of You through his intercession. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Commoration of St. Christina
edit_button


In the pre-1955 Calendar, today is the Vigil of St. James.  It is also the Commemoration of St. Christina.  After the changes in 1955, today is reflected in the 1962 Missal as only the Commemoration of St. Christina.

The following reflection is taken from Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger:

Those who consider the life and the different kinds of martyrdom of this holy Virgin, and do not remember what we said in the preface to these volumes, may easily be tempted to suppose that much of what we relate is impossible, and the work of imagination. But as the whole history is founded on indubitable and unobjectionable testimony, we shall relate her life plainly and faithfully, remembering that God chose this holy Virgin, in preference to innumerable others, to honor and glorify His holy faith among the blind heathen, to confound the tyrants and persecutors of Christendom, and to reveal to the world the wonders of His Omnipotence.

The Saint was a native of Tyro, in Tuscany, where her father Urban, was prefect. He was a sworn enemy to the Christians, and hardly passed a day in which he did not call some one of the faithful into his presence, and doom him to suffering and to death.

Christina, who on seeing this, observed at the same time how fearless and happy the Christians were during their torments, was curious to know what kind of men they were, why they were thus persecuted, and what gave them strength to bear so uncomplainingly, nay, so cheerfully, the sufferings they endured. When instructed about all this, the grace of God worked so strongly in her, that she felt an intense desire to be, by means of holy Baptism, numbered among the Christians. She rested not until her desire was fulfilled, and at the age of nine years, she received holy Baptism and with it the name of Christina.

Her zeal was greater than could have been expected at her tender age. She secretly took her father's idols, composed of gold and silver, and breaking them into pieces with the assistance of others, divided them among the poor.

Her father, almost beside himself with rage when he was informed of this, resolved to avenge, with his daughter's blood, the dishonor done to the gods, but not until he had endeavored to win her by kindness from the faith of Christ. Hence he called her to him and all alone with her, urged her, with many manifestations of kindness and at last with menaces, to forsake Christ. Christina, however, said fearlessly:

"Do with me whatever you like, my dear father; you can take my life, but the faith of Christ you have no power to tear out of my heart. My Saviour will strengthen me to suffer patiently all that you have threatened."

Scarcely had she spoken these words, when the inhuman father commanded the executioners whom he had called to scourge her most cruelly over her whole body.

Christina gave no signs of pain during this suffering. After this, the tyrant ordered that the wounds she had received should be enlarged with iron combs and whips with sharp points, which was done with such ferocity, that whole pieces of flesh were torn from the tender body of the Virgin.

Christina stood at first immovable with her eyes turned to heaven, and then praised and thanked the Almighty for so visibly aiding her to bear her pains. The father,--who was no father, but a savage beast,--still more embittered by her conduct, ordered an iron wheel to be brought. Christina was then bound upon it, oil was poured over her, and then the wheel was raised in such a manner that it could be turned. When this was done, a fire was prepared under it, in order slowly to roast the maiden.

Almighty God, however, so effectually strengthened His heroic confessor, that she sang loudly during this terrible torment. She remained unhurt by the flames, while many of the spectators were seized by them and severely injured. The tyrant, astonished at this miracle, would still not relent, but ordered her to be dragged to a dungeon, with the intention to renew her torture on the following day.

Hardly had Christina entered the dungeon, when an angel of the Most High appeared to her and healed her wounds, encouraged her to persevere, and gave her assurance of divine assistance.

When her father was informed that she was so miraculously healed, he immediately sent some executioners into the prison, with orders to tie a large stone around her neck, and cast her into a lake, so that nothing further might be seen or heard of her. But the same angel who had visited her the day before, carried her safely to the shore.

Christina was sent again to the dungeon, and Urban thought of new ways and means to torment her. But when morning dawned, he was found dead in his bed. He had probably died from a stroke of apoplexy, brought on by his uncontrolled anger.

Thus God punished, by a sudden and unhappy death, his inhuman wickedness. Christina was much more pained by the eternal destruction of her father, than by all the tortures she had suffered. The latter, however did not end with her father's death: for Dio, who was Urban's successor, not only in his functions, but also in his cruelty, had Christina brought before him, and as she remained firm in her refusal to abandon the Christian faith, he commanded an iron cradle to be constructed and filled with boiling oil and tar, into which Christina should be cast.

The heroine evinced not the slightest fear of this instrument of torture, but signing herself with the sign of the Cross, she said to the soldiers who cast her into the cradle: "Well have you reason to lay me like a child in a cradle; for it is hardly a year since I was born in holy baptism."

She remained in it a considerable time ; but when they at length perceived that she neither felt pain nor was in the least harmed, they took her out and brought her into the temple of Apollo, commanding her to sacrifice to him. No sooner, however, had Christina set foot in the temple, than she made the sign of the Cross, and the idol, falling from the altar upon the ground, was broken into a thousand pieces.

At the same moment, the prefect Dio, struck with apoplexy, sank dead upon the earth. The soldiers, who had brought Christina into the temple, were terrified by this twofold wonder, and freeing the Virgin from her fetters, they cried aloud: "Truly, the God of the Christians is the only true God." Many of those present abandoned idolatry and became converts to the Christian faith.

When Julian, Dio's successor, heard of Christina and the sudden end of his predecessor, he feared that the people might accuse him of cowardice, if he did not continue the process against a weak woman. Hence he said to her: "Thou must either immediately sacrifice to the gods, or I will cast thee alive into a burning furnace." Christina refused more earnestly than ever to obey, and Julian ordered her to be cast into the furnace, which meanwhile had been prepared.

The order was executed, and Christina remained in it until the fifth day, unharmed, as, in ages past, the three companions of Daniel had been in the furnace of Babylon. She also imitated these in constantly praising God and giving thanks for so many mercies received. Julian ascribed this miracle to magic, and following the advice of a magician, he had Christina thrown into a dark cavern, into which this magician had charmed a great many of the most venomous animals. The holy Virgin once more signed herself with the cross, and none of the animals touched her.

She stood in the midst of them, giving praise to the Almighty, her Protector. To prevent this they tore out her tongue, at the command of Julian; but even then she ceased not praising God. This new miracle converted many to the Christian faith, and the tyrant commanded them at length to fasten her to a stake and pierce her with arrows.

While they bound her fast, her heart was filled with the desire to behold in heaven Him for whom she had suffered so much on earth. She therefore called on God to impart to her the long-desired crown of martyrdom. Her prayer was answered, for one of the arrows found the way to her heart, and her heroic soul went to Him by whose mighty assistance she had conquered three tyrants. Her glorious death took place in the year of our Lord, three hundred. We conclude the life of this Saint with the words of St. Augustine:

"When we consider the perseverance of a human being, tortured in so many ways, it seems incredible. But when we think of the omnipotence of the Most High, the relation will not be deemed impossible."

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS.

I. Saint Christina made use of the opportunity offered her to instruct herself in the new faith, and thus was sooner convinced of its truth. Those tyrants by whom she was tormented had the same opportunity to instruct themselves, but used it not. They therefore did not become convinced of its truth, but remaining in their error, became more hardened in their wickedness, and were thus lost to all eternity; while Christina was saved by the true faith.

So much depends on rightly using opportunities which lead to the path of heaven. How despairing must now be the grief of those tyrants to think that they had the opportunity, but used it not to their salvation. It is now lost to them, and will never again return. Oh! how sad!

Compare with this the happiness which St. Christina now enjoys, because she made use of the opportunities God gave her.

You have also, in your station, opportunities enough to do good and to work out your salvation. Why do you not make better use of them? Believe me, the greatest pain that one endures in hell is to think: "I could have saved my soul, escaped hell, and gained heaven. I had time and opportunity to use the means necessary for it; but I have forfeited them. I have no more time and opportunity now, and shall have them nevermore."

"Oh! how dreadful will be the torment of the damned when they remember that they did not use the opportunity they had to correct their lives, and thus have precipitated themselves into everlasting punishment," says St. Chrysostom. If you wish not to experience these torments yourself, improve better in future the opportunities which are offered to you.

II. Saint Christina, a tender virgin, scarcely ten or eleven years old, suffered for the true faith such terrible tortures, not only with invincible fortitude, but with happiness, praising God, during her martyrdom. What do you suffer for the love of God, and what is your conduct during your suffering?

Your suffering does not deserve the name, when compared with that of St. Christina, and still your conduct is far from that of this holy martyr. Can so different a suffering expect an equal glory in heaven, or do you perhaps think that you can enter heaven without having suffered, although the Saints took possession of it only by suffering?

You yourself will hardly have the heart to affirm this. Oh! then resolve to bear your small trials with greater patience. Murmur not against the Almighty, but praise His wisdom and give thanks to Him that He leads you by the same path by which He led His Saints to heaven, and on which walked even Christ our Lord.

"Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory?" (Luke 24) "All that have pleased God passed through many tribulations, remaining faithful." (Judith 8) Why then would you seek another way than that of the cross?

"The entire life of Christ consisted of crosses and martyrdom, and you desire nothing but peace and pleasure in this world?" Thus speaks the pious Thomas a Kempis; while St. Bernard says : "The only true path that leads us to heaven is the cross and suffering."

Collect:

O Lord, pardon our sins through the intercession of the blessed virgin martyr Christina, who pleased You by her purity and faith. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Sts. Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla And Pancras
edit_button


Semi Double (1955 Calendar): May 12

Like many of the lesser known saints which were forgotten by the Church after the destruction of the Liturgical Calendar in 1969, today's saints, Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancras, are no exception. If you polled 100 average Catholics today, would any of them even know anything about these saints?

The Roman Breviary includes the following account of their holy lives:
The brothers Nereus and Achilleus were eunuchs of Flavia Domitilla and were baptized by St. Peter at the same time as she herself and her mother Plautilla. Because they persuaded Domitilla to consecrate her virginity to God, they were accused of being Christians by Aurelian, who had been betrothed to her, and were sent to the island of Ponza.  
Soon afterwards, they were scourged in an effort to make them sacrifice to idols, and were taken to Terracina, where, after they had overcome the torture of the rack and flaming torches, they were beheaded. Their bodies were taken to Rome by their disciple Auspicius and buried on the Ardeatine Way. As for Flavia Domitilla, who had received the sacred veil of a virgin from Pope St. Clement, she also was deported to the island of Ponza, and after a long imprisonment was taken to Terracina.  
There, by the judge’s orders, her dwelling was set on fire, and she won a glorious death, along with the virgins Theodora and Euphrosyna, her foster-sisters, on May 7, under Emperor Trajan. Their bodies were buried by the Deacon Caesarius. Pancras, born of a noble Phrygian family, was baptized in Rome at the age of fourteen. Under the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, he was arrested; and when he firmly refused to sacrifice to the gods, he was beheaded and so won the glorious crown of martyrdom. His body was buried secretly on the Via Aurelia by the matron Octavilla.
Collect:

O Lord, may the blessed feast of Your martyrs Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla, and Pancras fire us with zeal to serve You more worthily. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Read more >>
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Solemnity of the Patronage of St. Joseph
edit_button

Coronation of St. Joseph

While many Catholics should be familiar with the annual Solemnity of St. Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus Christ, celebrated annually on March 19th, fewer are likely familiar with the Eastertide Solemnity of St. Joseph.

According to Father Francis X. Lasance, it was instituted during the hostile occupation of Rome by the troops of the Italian King, Victor Emmanuel II. The Pope proclaimed St. Joseph the Patron of the oppressed Household of the Faith, entrusting to St. Joseph the defense of Holy Mother Church. 

In the beginning, this Feast Day was observed on the Third Sunday after Easter, but when Pope St. Pius X reformed the liturgical calendar to restore the Sunday Offices to prominence over those of the Saints, the second Feast of St. Joseph was moved to the Wednesday preceding the Third Sunday after Easter. He also raised the Feast to a Double of the First Class and assigned an Octave to it.

While this feastday is not in the 1962 Missal, it is still kept by priests who celebrate Holy Mass according to the pre-1955 reforms. 

At the time of the writing of his illustrious Liturgical Year 15 volume set, Dom Gueranger observed the feast of St. Joseph during Eastertide was said on the Third Sunday after Easter. Here is an excerpt from his work for today's feast:
The Easter mysteries are superseded today by a special subject, which is offered for our consideration. The holy Church invites us to spend this Sunday in honouring the Spouse of Mary, the Foster-Father of the Son of God. And yet, as we offered him the yearly tribute of our devotion on the 19th of March, it is not, properly speaking, his Feast that we are to celebrate today. It is a solemn expression of gratitude offered to Joseph, the Protector of the Faithful, the refuge and support of all that invoke him with confidence. The innumerable favours he has bestowed upon the world entitle him to this additional homage. With a view to her children’s interests, the Church would, on this day, excite their confidence in this powerful and ever ready helper. 
Devotion to St. Joseph was reserved for these latter times. Though based on the Gospel, it was not to be developed in the early ages of the Church. It is not that the Faithful were, in any way, checked from showing honour to him who had been called to take so important a part in the mystery of the Incarnation; but Divine Providence had its hidden reasons for retarding the Liturgical homage to be paid, each year, to the Spouse of Mary. As on other occasions, so here also; the East preceded the West in the special cultus of St. Joseph: but, in the 15th Century, the whole Latin Church adopted it, and, since that time, it has gradually gained the affections of the Faithful. We have treated upon the glories of St. Joseph, on the 19th of March; the present Feast has its own special object, which we will at once proceed to explain. 
The goodness of God and our Redeemer’s fidelity to his promises have ever kept pace with the necessities of the world; so that, in every age, appropriate and special aid has been given to the world for its maintaining the supernatural life. An uninterrupted succession of seasonable grace has been the result of this merciful dispensation, and each generation has had given to it a special motive for confidence in its Redeemer. Dating from the 13th century, when, as the Church herself assures us, the world began to grow cold, (Frigescente Mundo, Collect for the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis.) each epoch has had thrown open to it a new source of graces. 
First of all came the Feast of the Most Blessed Sacrament, with its successive developments of Processions, Expositions, Benedictions and the Forty Hours. After this, followed the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, (of which St. Bernardine of Sienna was the chief propagator,) and that of Via Crucis or Stations of the Cross, with its wonderful fruit of compunction. The practice of frequent Communion was revived in the 16th century, owing principally to the influence of St. Ignatius and the Society founded by him. In the 17th, was promulgated the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was firmly established in the following century. In the 19th, devotion to the Holy Mother of God has made such progress, as to form one of the leading supernatural characteristics of the period. The Rosary and Scapular, which had been handed down to us in previous ages, have regained their place in the affections of the people; pilgrimages to the Sanctuaries of the Mother of God, which had been interrupted by the influence of Jansenism and rationalism, have been removed; the Archconfraternity of the Sacred Heart of Mary has spread throughout the whole world; numerous miracles have been wrought in reward for the fervent faith of individuals; in a word, our present century has witnessed the triumph of the Immaculate Conception, — a triumph which had been looked forward to for many previous ages. 
Now, devotion to Mary could never go on increasing as it has done, without bringing with it a fervent devotion to St. Joseph. We cannot separate Mary and Joseph, were it only for their having such a close connection with the mystery of the Incarnation: Mary, as being the Mother of the Son of God; and Joseph, as being guardian of the Virgin’s spotless honour, and Foster-Father of the Divine Babe. A special veneration for St. Joseph was the result of increased devotion to Mary. Nor is this reverence for Mary’s Spouse to be considered only as a just homage paid to his admirable prerogatives: it is, moreover, a fresh and exhaustless source of help to the world, for Joseph has been made our Protector by the Son of God himself. Hearken to the inspired words of the Church’s Liturgy: “Thou, O Joseph! art the delight of the Blessed, the sure hope of our life, and the pillar of the world!” (Hymn for the Lauds of the Feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph)  Extraordinary as is this power, need we be surprised at its being given to a man like Joseph, whose connections with the Son of God on earth were so far above those of all other men? Jesus deigned to be subject to Joseph here below; now that he is in heaven, he would glorify the creature, to whom he consigned the guardianship of his own childhood and his Mother’s honour. He has given him a power, which is above our calculations. 
Hence it is, that the Church invites us, on this day, to have recourse, with unreserved confidence, to this all-powerful Protector. The world we live in is filled with miseries which would make stronger hearts than ours quake with fear: but, let us invoke St. Joseph with faith, and we shall be protected. In all our necessities, whether of soul or body — in all the trials and anxieties we may have to go through — let us have recourse to St. Joseph, and we shall not be disappointed. The king of Egypt said to his people, when they were suffering from famine: go to Joseph! (Genesis 41:55) the King of Heaven says the same to us: the faithful guardian of Mary has greater influence with God, than Jacob’s son had with Pharaoh.

Read more >>
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
The 26 Holy Martyrs of Japan (Mass in Some Places)
edit_button

Reproduction of a painting of the 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki which originally appeared in the Church of Sao Paulo in Macau, China, now ruined.

February 13: Mass in Some Places

In the back of the Missal in some places on February 13th is the feastday of the Holy Martyrs of Japan. While we may be familiar with the story of St. Francis Xavier's missionary work in Japan or the miraculous appearance of Our Lady in Atika, less known is the story of these heroic martyrs.

The 26 Christian martyrs included Franciscans, Jesuits, and laypeople who were led from town to town and exposed to the insults of the people. They were crucified at Nagasaki and pierced by spears in 1597.

The imperial government at first supported the Catholic mission and the missionaries, thinking that they would reduce the power of the Buddhist monks, and help trade with Spain and Portugal. However, the government increasingly saw Catholicism as a threat. Christianity was suppressed by the Japanese government at the onset of the 17th century despite the fact that there were as many as 300,00 Catholics in Japan by the end of the 16th century. These heroic martyrs died on February 5, 1597. By 1630, Catholicism had been driven underground. Two-hundred and fifty years later, when Christian missionaries returned to Japan, they found a community of "hidden Catholics" that had survived underground.

Prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst consecrate the first fruits of the faith in Japan with the blood of the holy martyrs Peter Baptist, Paul, and their companions who died on the cross in imitation of Thee: grant that while celebrating their feast today, we may be spurred on by their example. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Read more >>
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Ss. Vedast and Amand: The Forgotten Saints of February 6th
edit_button

Today in the Dominican Order for February 6th is celebrated the Memory of Ss. Vedast and Amand. As a side note, February 6th is also the day on which the Office of the Dead is prayed for the repose of the soul of parents of Dominicans who have passed away.

February 6th is in the Traditional Roman Rite the feastday of St. Titus who was assigned to February 6th in 1854. Before 1854, St. Titus' feast day was celebrated in a few calendars on January 4th. The feast of St Titus was added to the General Calendar only in 1854, as a kind of extension of the same general principle behind the addition of St Timothy to the Roman Calendar in 1568.

In the Dominican Rite - and the Sarum Rite likewise - February 6th was never modified to the feastday of St. Titus or even St. Dorothy, who is commemorated in the Roman Missal on February 6th.  Those rites have retained February 6th in honor of Ss. Vedast and Amand

So who were St. Vedast and St. Amand? St. Vedast (also called "Vaast") and St. Amand were both important founders of canonical communities in what is now northern France; their cultus was widely diffused throughout France and passed with the Normans into England which is why they are in Sarum.  St. Amand also Christianised Flanders in present-day Belgium.

Quoted from Catholic Online:
St. Vedast, a native of western France, is best-known as the catechist of Clovis, King of the Franks. Ordained at Toul, Vedast met Clovis when the king required a learned man to accompany him to Rheims after the battle of Tolbiac (496); upon their arrival, Clovis recommended his companion to Archbishop Remigius, who was to baptize the king after his wife, Clotilde had converted him to Christianity. The two clerics evangelized the Franks, and in 499, Vedast was named bishop of Arras and Cambrai, dioceses that had returned to paganism after the raids of Atilla. During his forty-year tenure, Vedast restored the faith of his people and the churches in which they worshipped.
St. Amand was a father of monasticism in ancient Belgium and a score of monasteries claimed him as founder. He found houses at Elnone (Saint-Amand-les-Eaux), near Tournai, which became his headquarters, St. Peters on Mont-Blendin at Ghent, but probably not St. Bavo's there as well; Nivells, for nuns, with Blessed Ida and St. Gertrude, Barisis-au-Bois, and probably three more. It is said, though possibly apocryphal, that in 646 he was chosen bishop of Maestricht, but that three years later, he resigned that See to St. Remaclus and returned to the missions which he had always had most at heart. He continued his labors among the heathens until a great age, when, broken with infirmities, he retired to Elnone. There he governed as Abbot for four years, spending his time in preparing for the death which came to him at last soon after 676. That St. Amand was one of the most imposing figures of the Merovingian epoch, is disputed by no serious historian; he was not unknown in England, and the pre-Reformation chapel of the Eyston family at east Hendred in Birkshire is dedicated in his honor.
The Collect from the Dominican Missal:

O God, You surround and shield us by the glorious witness of Your confessors Vedast and Amand; grant us to be made better by imitating them, and happier by their intercession, through our Lord...
Read more >>
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Feastday of St. John Leonard
edit_button

SemiDouble (1954 Calendar): October 9

October 9th is the feast of St. John Leonard.
The parable of the Mustard Seed growing into a great tree is verified not only in the life of the Church but often in the work of saintly priests. It is vividly true in the career of the Saint honored today. Born in 1543 in Italy, where he died sixty-six year later, John Leonard was first a pharmacist’s helper in Lucca. It was not until he was twenty-six that he began to study for the priesthood. He was forty at the time of his ordination and for the next twenty-five years he engaged in many apostolic labors.  
The heresies of his day were robbing the young, particularly, of their birthright of the true faith. For them he established a Congregation, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. I was, like so many zealous endeavors, threatened with dissolution but was saved by the direct action of the Pope. Burning with great zeal for souls, he wanted to go to the foreign missions but St. Philip Neri, who looked upon him as a real reformer, told him that his mission was to the people of Italy. This vocation at home, however, did not dampen his ardor for the fields afar and, through another priest, he managed to arrange a group to form young men to go as priests to pioneers in the work of the Propagation of the Faith.  
Pope Pius X beatified St. John Leonard, and he was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1938.  
Reflection. —In our day, many people who in their early youth either felt no attraction to a life of zeal for others or were unable through circumstances to fulfill such a desire come “better late than never” to serve God and neighbor. These are generous souls who go forward despite difficulties. See what the world would have missed had St. John Leonard been discouraged.  
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk

Collect:

O God, You filled the blessed confessor John with a wondrous zeal to spread the faith among pagans, and through him You established in Your Church a new congregation to instruct the faithful. Grand that his teachings may lead us, Your servants, to the reward of eternal life. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Vigil of St. Bartholomew
edit_button

While today is the feastday of St. Philip Benizi, there is a commemoration of the Vigil of St. Bartholomew in today's liturgy as well. We could do well to continue to observe these Vigils throughout the year even though the mainstream calendar no longer keeps them.

Taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The feasts of the Apostles are spread throughout the liturgical Cycle as if to show that the Apostles are the foundation on which the whole Church rests. St. Bartholomew is the sixth in the list of twelve, as given by the Evangelists. Like the other Apostles he learned the secrets of the divine law and made them known to the world, confirming them by his martyrdom (Gospel). On this day the liturgy prepares us for his feast of to-morrow (Collect).
Collect:

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the solemn feast of Thine apostle Bartholemew, which we anticipate, may both increase our devotion and advance our salvation.

Read more >>
Friday, August 17, 2018
Hyacinth of Poland
edit_button

Double (1954 Calendar): August 17

St. Hyacinth of Poland was born in 1185 in what was then Upper Silesia (today modern Poland).  He was a relative and possibly the brother of Blessed Ceslas Odrowaz.

St. Hyacinth was educated in both law and Sacred Studies and studied in the illustrious cities of Krakow, Prague, Paris, and Bologna.  Despite his education, he was first and foremost a holy priest.  After his ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of Jesus Christ, he worked to reform convents in his native country.

While on a trip to Rome with Bishop Ivo Konski, his uncle, he witnessed the glorious Patriarch St. Dominic perform a miracle which changed his life.  He became a personal friend of St. Dominic and then one of the first Dominicans. In fact, he was the first Polish Dominican and he brought the Order to Poland.  He was prolific in his work, evangelizing throughout Poland, Pomerania, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Russia, Turkey, and Greece.

During an attack on a monastery, Hyacinth managed to save a crucifix and statue of Mary, though the statue weighed far more than he could normally have lifted; the saint is usually shown holding these two items. Hyacinth never served as provincial nor even a prior, but toiled as a simple friar, focusing on the internal and external missions facing the Polish Dominicans: to deepen their own faith, and to spread it through Poland.

Prayer:

O God, Who sendest us joy year by year on the feast of blessed Hyacintha, Thy Confessor, which we are now keeping: mercifully grant on this day of his heavenly birth that we may grow like him in deed. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Read more >>
Friday, July 20, 2018
Com. of St. Margaret of Antioch
edit_button

Saint Margaret of Antioch by Peter Candid

Today is the feast of St. Jerome Emiliani, great patron saint of orphans, but today also features a commemoration of St. Margaret, Virgin and Martyr.  This St. Margaret is not St. Margaret Mary, who received from Our Lord Himself the First Friday Request.

According to the version of the story in the Golden Legend, St. Margaret was a native of Antioch and the daughter of a pagan priest named Aedesius. Her mother having died soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a Christian woman a short distance from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, St. Margaret was disowned by her father, adopted by her nurse, and lived in the country keeping sheep with her foster mother. Olybrius, Governor of the Roman Diocese of the East, asked to marry her, but with the demand that she renounce Christianity. Upon her refusal, she was cruelly tortured, during which various miraculous incidents occurred.

St. Margaret was tortured at Antioch in Pisidia, in the last general persecution during the third century. After having endured many torments, she finished her martyrdom by the sword.

Collect:

O God, one of the marvelous examples of Your power was granting the victory of martyrdom even to delicate womanhood. May the example of the blessed virgin martyr Margaret, whose birthday we celebrate today, draw us closer to You. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Com. of Sts. Gervase and Protase
edit_button


Today Holy Church commemorates Saints Gervase and Protase.

Sons of St. Vitalis and St. Valeria, these two saints were martyred under Nero at Milan in the 1st century. St. Gervase was beaten to death, and St. Protase, after having been scourged, was beheaded. St. Ambrose discovered their bodies in 386. Their names are included in the litanies of the saints.

Their bodies are vested and open for public veneration alongside the body of St. Ambrose.

Collect:

O God, who year by year dost gladden us by the solemnity of Thy holy martyrs Gervase and Protase, mercifully grant that we, who rejoice in their merits, may be inspired by their examples.
Read more >>
Monday, June 18, 2018
Commemoration of Sts. Mark and Marcellianus
edit_button


Today Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast day of St. Ephrem and also calls to mind a Commemoration of Sts. Mark and Marcellianus

Sts. Mark and Marcellianus were both brothers and deacons of the Roman Church. These two holy martyrs were slain by arrows, after two days of suffering early in the reign of Diocletian.  Their crime?  Being a Catholic.

The Daily Prayers website summarizes their last days in this world:
During the Diocletian period of Christian persecution, St’s Mark & Marcellian were arrested and imprisoned for practising their faith. Despite pleas from their parents and family, St’s Mark and Marcellian, with the guidance of St Sebastian (also imprisoned), refused to renounce their faith and offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. Indeed, St Sebastian converted their parents, the local prefect, other prison officials and many prisoners to Christianity as well as, miraculously healing an official’s wife, Zoe.  
One of the converted officials released the prisoners, however, St’s Mark and Marcellian were later rearrested and condemned to be hanged for a day upside down while nailed between two pillars. They were then pierced with lances. Many of the remaining prisoners and officials were also captured and executed including Zoe, who was burnt alive.
Collect:

O Almighty God, may the prayers of Your blessed martyrs Mark and Marcellian, whose heavenly birthday we celebrate today, rescue us from all the dangers that threaten to overcome us. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Saturday, June 16, 2018
St. John Francis Regis (Mass in Some Places)
edit_button


Today is a feria day on the Universal Calendar but in some parts of the world, it is the Feast of St. John Francis Regis.  His life is summarized by Deacon John Giglio Jr:

Born into a family of some wealth, John Francis was so impressed by his Jesuit educators that he himself wished to enter the Society of Jesus. He did so at age 18. Despite his rigorous academic schedule he spent many hours in chapel, often to the dismay of fellow seminarians who were concerned about his health. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he undertook missionary work in various French towns. While the formal sermons of the day tended toward the poetic, his discourses were plain. But they revealed the fervor within him and attracted people of all classes. Father Regis especially made himself available to the poor. Many mornings were spent in the confessional or at the altar celebrating Mass; afternoons were reserved for visits to prisons and hospitals.

The Bishop of Viviers, observing the success of Father Regis in communicating with people, sought to draw on his many gifts, especially needed during the prolonged civil and religious strife then rampant throughout France. With many prelates absent and priests negligent, the people had been deprived of the sacraments for 20 years or more. Various forms of Protestantism were thriving in some cases while a general indifference toward religion was evident in other instances. For three years Father Regis traveled throughout the diocese, conducting missions in advance of a visit by the bishop. He succeeded in converting many people and in bringing many others back to religious observances.

Though Father Regis longed to work as a missionary among the North American Indians in Canada, he was to live out his days working for the Lord in the wildest and most desolate part of his native France. There he encountered rigorous winters, snowdrifts and other deprivations. Meanwhile, he continued preaching missions and earned a reputation as a saint. One man, entering the town of Saint-Andé, came upon a large crowd in front of a church and was told that people were waiting for "the saint" who was coming to preach a mission.

The last four years of his life were spent preaching and in organizing social services, especially for prisoners, the sick and the poor. In the autumn of 1640, Father Regis sensed that his days were coming to a conclusion. He settled some of his affairs and prepared for the end by continuing to do what he did so well: speaking to the people about the God who loved them. On December 31, he spent most of the day with his eyes on the crucifix. That evening, he died. His final words were: "Into thy hands I commend my spirit."

He was canonized in 1737.
Read more >>
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Commemoration of Saints Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius
edit_button

Today, besides the Feastday of St. John of San Facundo, is the commemoration of Sts.  Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius.

These saints are yet another example to us of the life we are called to live as Christians.  Namely, we are called to devote our entire lives to God and His Church.  While many of us will never suffer death for the Faith, we must be willing to endure all things so long as we keep the Faith and reach Heaven.  These saints, like so many others, help us put that into perspective in our lives in this modern world.

Liturgia Latina summarizes their lives:
These saints, Roman soldiers, noble by birth and illustrious by their virtues, became Christians under Diocletian. Arrested and cast into prison, they were condemned to death and beheaded. Their bodies were thrown to the wild beasts who respected them; they were buried with honour by the Christians.
They suffered and died for the faith around the year 303 AD.

Collect:

O Lord, may the keeping of this festival of the heavenly birthday of Thy holy martyrs, Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor and Nazarius, shed brightness on our lives; and may the eternal glory granted them, be increased by the devout service we pay Thee.
Read more >>
Thursday, May 31, 2018
St. Ferdinand III of Castile
edit_button

Today in Some Places is the Feast of St Ferdinand III of Castille.
He was the son of Alfonso IX, King of Leon, and Berengaria, daughter of Alfonso III, King of Castile. He was declared king of Castile at age eighteen.  
St. Ferdinand was born near Salamanca; proclaimed king of Palencia, Valladolid, and Burgos; his mother advised and assisted him during his young reign. He married Princess Beatrice, daughter of Philip of Suabia, King of Germany and they had seven sons and three daughters. His father (the king of Leon) turned against him and tried to take over his rule. The two reconciled later, and fought successfully against the Moors.  
In 1225, he held back Islamic invaders; prayed and fasted to prepare for the war; extremely devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Between 1234-36, Ferdinand conquered the city of Cordoba from the Moors. Queen Beatrice died in 1236, and he overtook Seville shortly thereafter. He founded the Cathedral of Burgos and the University of Salamanca; married Joan of Ponthieu after the death of Beatrice.  
He died on May 30th after a prolonged illness, and buried in the habit of his secular Franciscan Order. His remains are preserved in the Cathedral of Seville and was canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671.  
Ferdinand was a great administrator and a man of deep faith. He founded hospitals and bishoprics, monasteries, churches, and cathedrals during his reign. Her also compiled and reformed a code of laws which were used until the modern era. Ferdinand rebuilt the Cathedral of Burgos and changed the mosque in Seville into a Cathedral. He was a just ruler, frequently pardoning former offenders to his throne.  
Source: Catholic.org
The following account by Rev. Alban Bulter in the "Lives of the Saints" truly shows how to have a holy death when it describes the death of St. Ferdinand III:
"Before his death he called for all his children, gave them excellent instructions with his blessing, and asked pardon of all the world if ever he had given offence to any. In his agony, holding a blessed taper in his hands, he recommended his soul to God through the merits of his crucified Redeemer in the most pathetic aspirations; then caused the clergy to recite near him the Litanies, and afterwards the Te Deum. This was scarcely finished when he yielded up his soul into the hands of his Creator on the 30th of May, 6 in the year 1252, the fifty-third of his age, the thirty-fifth of his reign in Castile, and the twenty-second in Leon. According to his desire he was buried before the image of our Lady in the great church at Seville, and his body is still preserved in that church in a rich shrine without the least blemish of corruption, and has been honoured with miracles."
Read more >>
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Pope St. John I
edit_button

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): May 27

Today we commemorate Pope St. John I, who reigned from August 13, 523 until May 18, 526 as the 53rd Pope.

The most famous story of Pope John I's life was the delegation he led to Constantinople to negotiate the care of the Catholics there who were suffering under Theodoric the Goth, who was an Arian.  While the mission was successful, Theodoric had Pope John kidnapped and imprisoned as he suspected the Pope of plotting against him.  The frail Pontiff died on May 18, 526 of thirst and starvation in prison.  He had sacrificed his life to care for the flock of Christ.

Collect:

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed John shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians
edit_button

In the Missal today under "Mass in Some Places" is the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians.  The Roman Catholic Daily Missal published by Angelus Press says of today's feast: "The Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians is a feast of thanksgiving, instituted by Pope Pius VII in 1815, when the exile of the Sovereign Pontiffs, consequent upon the troubles caused by the French Revolution, came to an end."

Pope Saint Pius V gave Mary the title: "Help of Christians," after the victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571, and he added this invocation to her litany. When Pius VII returned to Rome on May 24, 1814, after spending five years of exile and captivity, he established the Feast of Our Lady, Helper of the Papal States.

The invocation of Mary as Help of Christians is part of the oldest prayer addressed directly to Mary, the "Sub tuum praesidium," which was found on a papyrus dating, at the latest, from the end of the third century. This prayer was composed at a time of great danger for Christians and for the Church. "Praesidium" is translated as "an assistance given in time of war by fresh troops in a strong manner."

Yet, Mary help of all Christians is not only helpful to those engaged in new wars, as the Gospel shows quite clearly. She is the bearer of joy, readying all Christians of good will to receive God's grace and the many gifts of life. Yes, ultimately, it is the caring woman of Cana who makes victory over dragon and serpent possible -- in letting Christ act on his own terms and at his own hour.

Collect:

O Almighty and merciful God, who didst wondrously appoint the most Blessed Virgin perpetual help for Christians in need of protection, grant in Thy mercy that after battling in life under such a protectress, we may be able to conquer our enemy at death. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>

Subscribe to Future Posts on A Catholic Life

Enter email address:



Copyright / Disclaimer

Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”