Showing posts with label Feastday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feastday. Show all posts
Sunday, February 9, 2020
Commemoration of St. Apollonia
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): February 9

Today is the feastday of St. Cyril of Alexandria which includes a Commemoration of St. Apollonia. St. Apollonia was a virgin and of Alexandria who died for Christ during the bloody persecution of the faithful in 249 AD.

The following is taken from the Roman Martyrology: "At Alexandria, in the reign of Decius, the birthday of St. Apollonia, virgin, who had all her teeth broken out by the persecutors; then, having constructed and lighted a pyre, they threatened to burn her alive unless she uttered with them certain impious words. Deliberating a while within herself, she suddenly slipped from their grasp, and prompted by the greater fir of the Holy Ghost with her, she rushed voluntarily into the fire which they had prepared. Those responsible for her death were struck with terror  at the sight of a woman who was more willing to die than they to kill her."

This account was preserved in a letter of Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, in what is now Syria. She is the patron saint of dentists.

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 Apollonia, whose birthday we celebrate today, draw us closer to You.
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Thursday, February 6, 2020
Commemoration of St. Dorothy
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): February 6

Today is the feastday of St. Titus with a commemoration of St. Dorothy in the Office and at Mass.

St. Dorothy was a virgin of Caesarea in Cappadocia, who was condemned to be beheaded toward the end of the third century. Before her execution, she had the happiness of winning for Christ two apostates who had been ordered to pervert her.

Catholic Tradition writes the following:
Dorothy was a virgin Martyred at Caesarea in Cappadocia in about A.D. 313, during the persecution of the Christians by Roman Emperor Diocletian. She had refused to marry or to worship idols and was, therefore, sentenced to death. As she was on her way to her execution, a young scribe or lawyer named Theophilus jeered at her and taunted her for her piety. According to her legend, he called out, "Send me some of the fruits and flowers from that garden you speak of, where you are going to your bridegroom." She responded, "Thy request is granted." As she knelt at the executioner's block, she prayed for Theophilus's wish to happen, and as she did, an Angel appeared before her with a basket of three apples and three roses. After she died, the basket was delivered to Theophilus, some say by the Angel and some by a child. He was immediately converted and was himself executed. St. Dorothy is always represented with the basket of roses; sometimes there are also apples.
Collect:

O Lord, pardon our sins through the intercession of the blessed virgin martyr Dorothy, who pleased You by her purity and her faith. Through Our Lord . . .
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Thursday, January 23, 2020
Commoration of St. Emerentiana
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 23

Today is the feastday of St. Raymond of Peñafort which includes a Commemoration of St. Emerentiana. Just a few days ago we celebrated the feast of the Virgin-Martyr St. Agnes, who has been held in high regard since ancient times, and whose name is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. St. Emerentiana is the foster-sister of St. Agnes, who was stoned to death by a pagan mob while she was praying at the young martyr's tomb.

The following is taken from the Roman Martyrology: "At Rome, the holy virgin and martyr, St. Emerentiana. Being yet a catechumen, she was stoned to death by the heathens while praying at the tomb of St. Agnes, her foster sister."

Dom Gueranger writes the following devotional account in his Liturgical Year:
Three days have scarcely passed since the martyrdom of St Agnes, when the Liturgy, so jealous of every tradition, invites us to visit the Martyr's tomb. There we shall find a young Virgin named Emerentiana; she was the friend and foster-sister of our dear little heroine, and has come to pray and weep at the spot where lies her loved one, so soon and so cruelly taken from her. Emerentiana has not yet been regenerated in the waters of Baptism; she is going through the exercises of a Catechumen; but her heart already belongs, by faith and desire, to Jesus. 
Whilst the young girl is pouring forth her grief over the tomb of her much loved Agnes, she is surprised by the approach of some pagans; they ridicule her tears, and bid her pay no more of this sort of honour to one who was their victim. Upon this, the child, longing as she was to be with Christ, and to be clasped in the embraces of her sweet Agnes, was fired with holy courage—as well she might near such a Martyr's tomb—and turning to the barbarians, she confesses Christ Jesus, and curses the idols, and upbraids them for their vile cruelty to the innocent Saint who lay there. 
This was more than enough to rouse the savage nature of men, who were slaves to the worship of Satan; and scarcely had the child spoken, when she falls on the tomb, covered with the heavy stones thrown on her by her murderers. Baptized in her own blood, Emerentiana leaves her bleeding corpse upon the earth, and her soul flies to the bosom of God, where she is to enjoy, for ever, union with him, in the dear company of Agnes.
Collect:

O Lord, pardon our sins through the intercession of the blessed virgin martyr Emerentiana, who pleased You by her purity and her faith. Through Our Lord . . .
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Saturday, January 18, 2020
Commemoration of St. Prisca
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St. Prisca Baptized by St. Peter from the Church of Santa Prisca

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 18

Today is the feastday of St. Peter's Chair at Rome which includes a Commemoration of St. Paul since each time St. Peter is mentioned in a Collect a prayer to St. Paul is offered as well, and vice versa. Today's liturgy also commemorates the triumph of St. Prisca who was martyred during the third century.

Note: Today is the day to begin the Prayers for the Octave of Christian Unity

The following is taken from America Needs Fatima, a great website worth visiting and supporting:
There are actually three St. Priscilla’s who lived in the first few centuries of the Church – all of whom were martyrs – and two of them share the same feast day of January 18! It is the virgin martyr St. Prisca that the Church primarily celebrates today though.

Prisca was born of a noble family in Rome during the reign of Claudius II. Most likely a Christian from birth, she was arrested during the persecutions when she was a young teenager and brought before the Emperor for questioning. Despite her youth, Prisca courageously proclaimed and upheld her Catholic Faith, even though she knew that by doing so in those days was ultimately the pronouncement of her own death sentence.

She suffered terrible tortures, one of which was being taken to the arena to be devoured by wild beasts. Rather than devour her though, the lions are said to have licked her feet! Finally, she was taken outside the city walls and beheaded. Legend tells us that when she was martyred, a great eagle appeared above her and protected her body for several days until the Christians were able to retrieve it.

The young martyr was buried in the Catacomb of St. Priscilla - the catacomb named after the St. Priscilla, wife of a Roman senator, who shares the same feast day of January 18 with the child-martyr, Prisca. She is said to have opened her home near the catacomb to Christians and to have befriended St. Peter who used her home as his headquarters in Rome. She was martyred during the reign of Emperor Domitian. As an interesting fact, there is probable speculation that this St. Priscilla was a family relation of the child-martyr St. Prisca, who is buried in her catacomb.

The third St. Priscilla was a disciple of St. Paul and wife of the Jewish tentmaker, Aquila.
Collect:

Almighty God, we celebrate today the birthday of Your blessed virgin Martyr Prisca. May her feast fill us with joy, and may we profit by the example of her great faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and rules with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Commemoration of St. Maurus
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 15

Besides the feastday of St. Paul the First Hermit, today is the Commemoration of St. Maurus. Often these only commemorated saints are too often neglected when there are many ways that we can improve our own lives if only we would imitate their lives, even to a small degree.

St. Maurus, was a sixth-century disciple of St. Benedict, who helped to introduce the monastic life in France. He was rewarded by God with the gift of miracles because of his heroic spirit of obedience. While he is one of many Benedictine saints, his life is specifically honored by being included in the Church's Liturgy.

The following is taken from Archives of the OSB:
St. Maurus, abbot and deacon, son of Equitius, a nobleman of Rome, was born about the year 510 and died in 584. When he was about twelve years old, his father placed him under the care of St. Benedict at Subiaco, to be educated in piety and learning. When he had grown up, St. Benedict chose him as his coadjutor in the government of the monastery. He was a model of perfection to all his brethren, but especially in the virtue of obedience. 
St. Maurus was favored by God with the gift of miracles. To show in what high degree the Saint possessed the gift of miracles, it will be sufficient to cite a few examples of how he miraculously cured the sick and restored to health those who were stricken with a grievous affliction. It has already been stated, according to the testimony of Pope St. Gregory the Great, in the Second Book of his Dialogues, how when a youth, St.Maurus rescued St. Placid from drowning... 
Since St. Maurus miraculously freed many persons from their bodily afflictions through the sign of the Cross and the relic of the true Cross of Christ, in many monasteries of the Order of St. Benedict from time immemorial, after the example of this miracle-worker, the custom of blessing the sick with the relic of the true Cross, has prevailed, in order to restore their health. But until recent years, there was no uniform and approved formula of blessing of the Church. There existed a number of old and new formulas, which were essentially the same, but differed from each other in many details. Some formulas were exceedingly lengthy. In the face of these facts, the Rt. Rev. Dom Maurus Wolter OSB, President of the Beuronese Congregation, petitioned Rome for an approved and authentic formula. A carefully prepared and much abbreviated formula was therefore presented to the Sacred Congregation of Rites for its approval. 
Continue Reading...
Collect:

Let the blessed Abbot Maurus intercede for us, O Lord. May his prayers win us Your help, since our own actions cannot merit it. Through Our Lord . . .
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Tuesday, January 14, 2020
St. Felix of Nola
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 14

Besides the feastday of St. Hilary of Poitiers, today is the Commemoration of St. Felix of Nola. He is not to be confused with St. Felix I, St. Felix II, or others by the same name who are commemorated in the liturgical year.

St. Felix of Nola was a priest of Campania during the third century, who manifested heroic Christian courage in the service of his bishop, St. Maximus, during the cruel persecution under Emperor Decius. He sold off his possessions in order to give to the poor but was arrested and tortured for the Christian faith during one of the persecutions before Christianity was legalized. He died in approximately 250 AD.

The following is taken from Catholic.org:
Felix was the son of Hermias, a Syrian who had been a Roman soldier. He was born on his father's estate at Nola near Naples, Italy. On the death of his father, Felix distributed his inheritance to the poor, was ordained by Bishop St. Maximus of Nola, and became his assistant. When Maximus fled to the desert at the beginning of Decius' persecution of the Christians in 250, Felix was seized in his stead and imprisoned. He was reputedly released from prison by an angel, who directed him to the ailing Maximus, whom he brought back to Nola. Even after Decius' death in 251, Felix was a hunted man but kept well hidden until the persecution ended. When Maximus died, the people unanimously selected Felix as their Bishop, but he declined the honor in favor of Quintus, a senior priest. Felix spent the rest of his life on a small piece of land sharing what he had with the poor, and died there on January 14. His tomb soon became famous for the miracles reported there, and when St. Paulinus became bishop of Nola almost a century later (410), he wrote about his predecessor, the source of our information about him, adding legendary material that had grown up about Felix in the intervening century. His feast day is January 14th.
Collect:

Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the example of Your saints may urge us on to a better life, so that we may imitate the deeds of those whose feasts we celebrate. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
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Tuesday, November 26, 2019
St. Leonard of Port Maurice
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November 26th is the Feast of St. Sylvester the Abbot. It is in addition also the feastday of St. Peter of Alacantra, who was one of the first martyrs for combating the heresy of Arius. In the Divine Office a Commemoration is made of him.

Furthermore, in some places it is also the feastday of St. Leonard of Port Maurice. The following account is taken from the St. Benedict Center:
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar. He lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missioners in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades. He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. But Saint Leonard’s most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He is sometimes called the Saint of the Stations of the Cross. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks’ mission in Rome, the Pope and the College of Cardinals came to hear him. Saint Leonard of Port Maurice also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching.
Spend some time reading one of his greatest sermons: The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved by St. Leonard of Port Maurice

Read more on his life at Nobility.org.
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Wednesday, November 13, 2019
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
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On November 13th, in the United States we keep the traditional feastday of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. On the Universal Calendar, today is the Feast of St. Didacus and in various particular calendars, the Benedictines today celebrate the Feast of All Benedictine Saints, and the Dominicans keep the Commemoration of All Dominican Souls on this day. The life of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is read as part of the Martyrology entry for December 22nd, the anniversary of the date of her passing to eternal life. In the United States, her feast is celebrated on November 13th, the day of her beatification, in order to avoid conflicting with the greater ferias of Advent.

From childhood Frances Cabrini desired to become a missionary for Christ. After some unsuccessful starts, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Codogna, Italy; and in 1889 at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, she accepted the invitation of New York's Archbishop Corrigan to work among the numerous Italian immigrants of that era. Mother Cabrini founded orphanages, schools, and hospitals all over the United States, and extended her institute to Central and South America, France, Spain, and England. Everywhere her work succeeded only through her unbounded trust in God's providence. Though always in poor health, she traveled constantly, crossing the Atlantic 25 times in spite of a great fear of ocean voyages.

A naturalized citizen of the United States, Mother Cabrini died in 1917 in the convent of her great hospital in Chicago, and was canonized in 1946, the first American citizen-saint.

Collect:

O Lord, Jesus Christ, You enkindled the fire of Your Sacred Heart in the holy virgin Frances Xavier so that she might win souls for You in many lands, and establish a new religious congregation of women in Your Church. Grant that we too may imitate the virtues of Your Sacred Heart through her intercession, so that we may be worthy of the haven of eternal happiness, who lives and rules with God the Father . . .
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Thursday, September 26, 2019
Blessed Dalmatius Monerio
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Beloved Dominican Saints, a painting by Bernadette Carstensen, commissioned by the St. Joseph Province for the 800th jubilee of the Order of Preachers, portrays 24 Dominican saints and blesseds. St. Dominic, the founder, appears kneeling in the center left. Image courtesy of the artist, Bernadette Carstensen, © Dominican Province of St. Joseph, 2015

Today in the Dominican Order, the Feast of Blessed Dalmatius is celebrated. Little information exists for this truly heroic saint online aside from the text from the Short Lives of the Dominican Saints published originally in 1901.  As the life of this truly holy man is worth imitating, here is an excerpt from that book:
Blessed Dalmatius Moner was born of pious and respectable parents at a small town in Catalonia, about A.D. 1291. From childhood he was distinguished for innocence and piety. He received a good education at Girona, which was completed at the University of Montpellier. Entering the Dominican Order at the age of twenty-five, he made it his lifelong study perfectly to conform his conduct to the requirements of the Rule and the Constitutions. He was employed for many years in teaching, but at length humbly resigned this office from a desire to devote himself more closely to the service of God. 
Blessed Dalmatius led a life of extreme penance and mortification. He seldom ate anything but herbs and vegetables, almost raw, and in the burning heat of a Spanish summer would entirely abstain from drinking for as many as twenty consecutive days. His scanty rest was taken on the bare ground; he afflicted his body with continual fasts, disciplines, and other austerities, and devoted himself day and night to the exercises of prayer and contemplation.  Continue reading... 
Collect:

O God who didst make Thy humble servant Dalmatius glorious for many miracles and virtues, and didst wonderfully inflame him with Thy love, to the despising of all earthy things, grant, we beseech Thee, through his intercession, that we may be disengaged from all earthy affections and freed from all adversities, and have no desire but for the things of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Vigil of the Assumption
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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 . . .
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Friday, August 9, 2019
Vigil of St. Lawrence
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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.
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Friday, August 2, 2019
Commemoration of Pope St. Stephen I
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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 . . .
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Thursday, July 25, 2019
St. Christopher
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Today besides the feast of St. James the Greater is the Commemoration of St. Christopher. He is one of the 14 Holy Helpers.

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

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.

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 . . .
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Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Commoration of St. Christina
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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 . . .
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Sunday, May 12, 2019
Sts. Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla And Pancras
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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
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Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Solemnity of the Patronage of St. Joseph
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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.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019
The 26 Holy Martyrs of Japan (Mass in Some Places)
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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 Roman Martyrology entry on February 5th reads:
At Nagasaki in Japan, the passion of twenty-six martyrs. Three priests, one cleric, and two lay brothers were members of the Order of Friars Minor; one cleric was of the Society of Jesus, and seventeen belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis. All of them, placed upon crosses for the Catholic faith, and pierced with lances, gloriously died in praising God and preaching that same faith. Their names were added to the roll of saints by Pope Pius IX.
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
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Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Ss. Vedast and Amand: The Forgotten Saints of February 6th
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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...
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Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Feastday of St. John Leonard
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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. It 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 
Body of St. John Leonardi (c) A Catholic Life Blog, 2016.

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 . . .
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Thursday, August 23, 2018
Vigil of St. Bartholomew
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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.

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