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Showing posts with label Feastday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feastday. Show all posts
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 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. 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 . . .
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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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Friday, August 17, 2018
Hyacinth of Poland
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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
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Friday, July 20, 2018
Com. of St. Margaret of Antioch
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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 . . .
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Com. of Sts. Gervase and Protase
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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.

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.
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Monday, June 18, 2018
Commemoration of Sts. Mark and Marcellianus
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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 . . .
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Saturday, June 16, 2018
St. John Francis Regis (Mass in Some Places)
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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.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Commemoration of Saints Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius
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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.
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Thursday, May 31, 2018
St. Ferdinand III of Castile
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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."
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Sunday, May 27, 2018
Pope St. John I
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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 . . .
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Thursday, May 24, 2018
Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians
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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 . . .
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Mass of St. John Baptist de Rossi
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Today in Some Places of the world, the Mass of St. John Baptist de Rossi is said.  While not on the Universal Calendar, we can learn much from his life.

The following is taken from Butler's Lives of the Saints:
St. John Baptist de Rossi is the first instance in modern times of the canonization as Confessor of a priest belonging to no religions Order or Congregation. He was born at Voltaggio, a little town about fifteen miles north of Genoa, February 22, 1698. From the first he was distinguished for his piety and purity. The parish church was his favorite resort, and thither he would hasten after the early morning class to serve as many Masses as he could. The gravity and modesty he showed in holy places struck all who saw him, and many declared he was like a little angel just come down from heaven and still full of the vision of God. When our Saint was ten years old, a wealthy couple of Genoa visited Voltaggio; attracted by the unaffected piety and winning ways of the boy, they obtained from his parents permission to adopt him, and took him to their palace, where he was treated as their son. 
After a residence of three years in Genoa, he removed, with his mother's consent,—his father having died in the mean while,—to Rome, where his cousin, Laurence de Rossi, was the Canon of S. Maria in Cosmedin. There he began at once to attend the lower classes of the Roman College, and there was no more industrious or saintly student to be found. At the age of eighteen he received the tonsure, and the following year minor orders. He was then selected for a lengthened course of scholastic theology; but in striving to purify his soul he overtaxed his strength, and one day, while devoutly hearing Mass, he fell on the floor of the church in a swoon. From that time out he was subject to epileptic fits, which rendered his projected studies impracticable. This being the case, our Saint looked elsewhere.  
A course of lectures on the text of St. Thomas, then being delivered, was attracting no little attention, and a large number of students attended. As the labor of following the course was comparatively light, John Baptist joined the class. In spite of his feeble health he applied himself most indus602 triously, and still practised such mortifications as were prudent. Walking along the streets, his eyes were never raised from the ground, and in the coldest weather he wore no gloves. ; When he was twenty-three years old he was ordained a priest. The first shape his charity assumed was an active interest in the young students who flock to Rome from every part of the Catholic world. He organized special services for them, preached sermons specially suited to them, and gathered them about him in his visits to the hospitals, to assist him in soothing and relieving the sick and dying. This charitable work over, they would enter a church and recite the Rosary aloud, after which they would enjoy themselves at some innocent game. 
Another charity which attracted our Saint was the spiritual care of the drovers and cattlemen who frequented the market-places. The most of these were ignorant and depraved, caring for no one and with no one to care for them. By visiting their haunts at early dawn, before their work began, John Baptist won them by his kind words, and at last led many to the confessional who had not been there in years, and some who had never been. Hitherto he had not heard confessions himself, but now, at the instance of his bishop, he applied for and received faculties for the administration of the Sacrament of Penance. 
In February, 1735, John Baptist, much against his own inclination, was appointed assistant to his cousin, Laurence de Rossi, who was growing feeble ; and when, two years after, that good man died, his property and canonry were left to our Saint. Within a fortnight the new Canon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin had got rid of a great part of the property. He entered upon the duties of his new office at once, and soon gathered round him crowds of devout worshippers. His confessional was besieged by eager penitents, but always the poorest and most ignorant. The rich and noble he managed to put off, saying they could find confessors in plenty. He would never permit the confessional to be a medium for almsgiving. He himself would not bestow an alms from that tribunal on a penitent, no matter how poor, nor would he there accept a present from the rich, as he feared it might deter him from speaking plainly and freely. His devotion to the poor and ignorant was remarkable. He sought out the most abject and abandoned people, and pursued this work of Christian charity with such zeal as to merit the title of " Venator Animarum," the hunter of souls. In 1740, when Pope Benedict XIV. determined to institute catechism classes for the instruction of criminals serving short sentences, he found an able assistant in our Saint. He had no difficulty in winning the hearts of the convicts from the start, and there was a perceptible reformation wrought in a short time. 
The endless labor and the severe penances which the Saint imposed on himself finally told on his delicate frame, and on May 23, 1764, a stroke of apoplexy ended his mortal life, and brought him the endless bliss of the presence of God, for which his soul had so long yearned. 
After the death of the holy man many miracles bore witness to his sanctity. Among others was the case of Sister Mary Theresa Leonori, of the Convent of St. Cecilia at Rome, who in 1859 suffered from a throat disease which the best medical authorities pronounced incurable. Wasted and enfeebled by her sickness, entirely deprived of speech, suffering great pain, and unable to partake of any nourishment, her death was momentarily looked for. Human aid failing her, the pious Sister besought the help of St. John Baptist, and Our Lord, to show His love for His faithful servant, deigned to work a miracle at the Saint's intercession. Sister Mary Theresa was instantly cured and rose from her bed of suffering a well woman.
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Saturday, May 19, 2018
Commemoration of St. Pudentiana
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): May 19

Today Holy Church commemorates St. Pudentiana, the sister of St. Praxedes.

St. Pudentiana was a daughter of a Roman senator, who consecrated herself wholly to Christ and gave away her goods to the poor. All of this was done at a remarkably young age.  She died in the year 160, when she was only 16 years of age.  Young but full of holiness.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch:
According to an ancient tradition, St. Peter was the guest of the senator Pudens during his stay in Rome. Pudens had two daughters, Pudentiana and Praxedes, virgins who dedicated themselves wholly to acts of charity. After the death of their parents, Pudentiana and her sister Praxedes distributed their patrimony to the poor. The fact that Puden's entire household of some 96 persons were baptized by Pope Pius I (d. 154) is ascribed to their zealous activities. When Christian services were forbidden by the Emperor Antoninus Pius, Pius I celebrated Mass in their home. The saints were buried next to their father in the catacomb of St. Priscilla. One of Rome's most ancient stational churches is dedicated to St. Pudentiana.
Collect:

Hear our prayer, O God our Saviour, and let us learn the spirit of true devotion from Your blessed virgin Pudentiana, as we joyfully celebrate her feast. Through Our Lord . . .
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018
St. Isidore the Farmer (Mass in Some Places)
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While not on the Universal Calendar, May 15th is the Feast of St. Isidore the Farmer in Some Places.  In some places within the US and Canada, his feast is celebrated on October 25, and other locations and some Traditionalist Catholics in that area, though not elsewhere, keep the March 22 date. This latter date is due to the fact that when St Isidore's feast was first inserted into the calendar for the United States in the year 1947, the feast day of Saint John Baptist de La Salle was still being celebrated on May 15, with the result that the celebration of his feast was assigned to March 22.

This account of his life comes from the Roman Breviary:
Isidore the Farmer was a native of Madrid, Spain. He was hired as a plowman to labor in a place just outside the Spanish capital. While engaged in this occupation it was not long before he reaped a plentiful harvest of virtues.
His imitation of Christ and the Saints was indeed admirable. He would never go to work in the morning without first seeking the kingdom of God and visiting the churches dedicated to God or to his blessed Mother. As a result of these visits he was often late for work in the fields, thereby bringing upon himself the displeasure of his employer. One day his employer, who had observed the farmer from a vantage-point and was waiting for him in order to upbraid him, was surprised to see two Angels dressed in white, each plowing with a team of oxen, and Isidore in the midst of them. The news of this miracle spread far and wide and thereafter his employer and others held Isidore in high esteem.
His charity towards the poor was so ardent that he used to distribute to the needy the earnings of his labors. Indeed it is related how on one occasion he brought along a crowd of beggars to a confraternity dinner; the others had already eaten and nothing remained but the portion reserved for Isidore. Accordingly the man of God with extraordinary faith began to distribute the remaining portion which by a wonderful multiplication was enough to feed and satisfy all those poor people. Among the other wonderful things told about this Saint, the following is noteworthy. While out on the fields, one hot summer day his employer suffering from a very great thirst longed dor a drink of water. There was however no spring or other source of water there. Thereupon Isidore struck the ground with the goad-stick he used to carry and immediately there gushed forth a spring which to the present day has never ceased supplying water in great abundance. 
At length in extreme old age, renowned for holiness, he fell asleep in the Lord and was buried in the cemetery of St. Andrew. Here his body remained until the citizens of that place were admonished by God to provide a more honorable resting place for it by bringing it to the church. At that time it was found intact and uncorrupted; it also exhaled a most fragrant odor which is noticeable even in our time. His body was transferred to the church and enshrined in a conspicuous place where God has honored it with striking miracles. More than once the city of Madrid and other places in Spain felt the benefit of these miracles throgh Isidore's intercession. Finally, after almost four hundred years, Isidore now famous for holiness and miracles was enrolled among the number of the Saints by Pope Gregory X. 
Collect:

O Merciful God, shield us from the pride that comes from learning, through the intercession of Your holy farm worker Isidore. May his merits and example help us to please You by our humble service. Through Our Lord . . .
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Monday, May 14, 2018
St. Boniface of Tarsus
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Simple (1955 Calendar): May 14

Born a pagan in the 3rd century, Boniface Boniface was one of Aglaida's slaves. Both were pagans and lived in debauchery together and some legends say they were lovers.

Yet by the grace of God, the tired of their sinful way of life and both discovered Christianity as a meaningful way. Aglaida decided to send him on an errand to collect holy relics. Finding upon arrival at Tarsus that the authorities were torturing Christians, he openly declared himself to be a Christian. For this he was executed with savage cruelty in 307 AD.  Providentially, his own body constituted the relics that were brought back to Aglaida, who in turn became a Christian.

Prayer:

O Almighty God, may the prayers of Your blessed martyr Boniface aid us as we celebrate his feast today. Through Our Lord . . .

Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Monday, April 9, 2018
Feast of Blessed Julie Billiart
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In the back of your 1962 Daily Missal is likely a section for feasts in certain places and for certain congregations. These feastdays are not on the Universal Church but are unique to certain dioceses or religious orders.  Yesterday on April 8th was one such feast - the Feast of Blessed Julie Billart.  Despite being called Blessed in the 1962 Missal, she was subsequently canonized in 1969.

St. Julie Billiart was confined for 22 years to her bed due to paralysis.  Miraculously cured, she founded the Institute of the Sisters of Notre-Dame for the care and Christian education of poor girls.


St. Julie Billiart was born in 1751 and died in 1816. At a young age she released her love was for teaching and she carried on that mission throughout her life, and the Congregation she founded continues her work.

Catholic Online summarizes her life:
Julie was the fifth of seven children. She attended a little one room school in Cuvilly. She enjoyed all of her studies, but she was particularly attracted to the religion lessons taught by the parish priest. Recognizing something "special" in Julie, the priest secretly allowed her to make her First Communion at the age of nine, when the normal age at that time, was thirteen. She learned to make short mental prayers and to develop a great love for Jesus in the Eucharist. 
A murder attempt on her father shocked her nervous system badly. A period of extremely poor heath for Julie began, and was to last for thirty years. For twenty-two of these years she was completely paralyzed. All of her sufferings and pain she offered up to God.
When the French Revolution broke out, Julie offered her home as a hiding place for loyal priests. Because of this, Julie became a hunted prey. Five times in three years she was forced to flee in secret to avoid compromising her friends who were hiding her. 
At this time she was privileged to receive a vision. She saw her crucified Lord surrounded by a large group of religious women dressed in a habit she had never seen before. An inner voice told her that these would be her daughters and that she would begin an institute for the Christian education of young girls. She and a rich young woman founded the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. 
At Amiens, the two women and a few companions began living a religious life in 1803. In 1804, Julie was miraculously cured of her illness and walked for the first time in twenty-two years. In 1805, Julie and three companions made their profession and took their final vows. She was elected as Mother General of the young Congregation. 
In 1815, Mother taxed her ever poor health by nursing the wounded and feeding the starving left from the battle of Waterloo. For the last three months of her life, she again suffered much. She died peacefully on April 8, 1816 at 64 years of age. Julie was beatified on May 13, 1906, and was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1969. Her feast day is April 8th.

Collect:

O God, Who didst will that in her unconquered love of Thy cross blessed Julie should raise up in Thy Church a religious family for teaching the daughters of the poor: grant through her intercession that by steadfast endurance of suffering we may obtain eternal joys.  Who livest and reignest...
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