A Week of Saints (September 16-22, 2019)

Monday, September 15th:  Sts. Cornelius, Priest, Pope and Cyprian, Priest, Bishop, Martyr (d. 253)

Because there was no pope for 14 months the Church was governed by a college of Priests.  Cornelius was elected pope “by the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of most of the clergy, by the vote of the people, with the consent of aged priests and of good men.”

Cornelius’s two-year term as pope had to deal with the readmission of Christians during the time of persecution.  Novatian, a Priest was not in favor of this, and had appointed an antipope. This antipope not only denied the church to forgive these Christians, but also murder, adultery, and fornication.  Cornelius held a synod and ordered the “relapsed” to be restored to the Church with the usual “medicines of repentance.”

Cyprian (d. 258) . Cyprian was very educated and a famous orator.  He was generous to the poor and mad a vow of chastity before becoming a Priest.  A friend of Pope Cornelius, he followed him as pope and not the antipopes, although he was not completely on board with St Cornelius.  Cyprian was martyred standing firm in his faith.

Cornelius: “There is one God and one Christ and but one episcopal chair, originally founded on Peter, by the Lord’s authority. There cannot, therefore, be set up another altar or another priesthood. Whatever any man in his rage or rashness shall appoint, in defiance of the divine institution, must be a spurious, profane and sacrilegious ordinance”

Cyprian: “You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother…. God is one and Christ is one, and his Church is one; one is the faith, and one is the people cemented together by harmony into the strong unity of a body…. If we are the heirs of Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are the sons of God, let us be lovers of peace”

Tuesday, September 17:  St Robert Bellarmine, Priest (1542-1621)

He worked on church doctrine against the Protestant Reformers.  His most famous work is his three-volume Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable.  He used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, “The walls won’t catch cold.”  Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, 

“Love is a marvelous and heavenly thing. It never tires and never thinks that it has done enough“

Patron: canon lawyers, catechists

Wednesday, September 18:  St. Joseph of Cupertino, Priest (1603-1663)

Joseph is most famous for levitating at prayer.  Already as a child, he liked prayer. After a short time with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventuals. He cared for the friary mule, then Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. Though studies were very difficult for him, Joseph gained a great deal of knowledge from prayer.  He fasted and wore iron chains for much of his life.

Patron:  Air Travelers, Astronauts, Pilots

Thursday, September 19:  St. Januarius, Bishop, Martyr (c 305)

St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento. He went to visit two deacons and two laymen in prison. He also was imprison. They were thrown to the wild beasts, but when the animals did not attack them, they were beheaded. What is believed to be Januarius’ blood is kept in Naples, as a relic. It liquifies and bubbles when exposed in the cathedral. Scientists have not been able to explain this miracle to date..

Patron:  blood banks, volcanic eruptions

Friday, September 20:  Ss. Andrew Kim Tae- gon and Paul Chong Ha-Sang and Companions, Martyrs (1821-1846)

This first native Korean priest was the son of Korean converts. After Baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years he managed to return to his country. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest. Back home again, he was assigned to arrange for more missionaries to enter by a water route that would elude the border patrol. He was arrested, tortured and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital. Paul Chong Hasang was a lay apostle and married man, aged 45..

Saturday, September 21:  St. Matthew Apostle, Martyr (time of Christ)

Matthew was a Jew who collected Roman taxes. Tax collectors were generally hated as dishonest traitors by their fellow Jews. The Pharisees lumped them with “sinners”. So it was shocking to them to hear Jesus call such a man to be one of his intimate followers. Matthew got Jesus in further trouble by having a sort of going-away party at his house. The Gospel tells us that “many” tax collectors and “those known as sinners” came to the dinner. The Pharisees were still more badly shocked. Matthew is one of the twelve Apostles.

Sunday, September 22:  St Maurice, Martyr (3rd Century)

Maurice and his fellow legionnaires refused to sacrifice to the gods as ordered by the Emperor. The entire Legion of over six thousand men were put to death. To the end they were encouraged in their constancy by Maurice and two fellow officers, 

Patron: Vatican’s Swiss Guard, armies, weavers, cloth makers

A Week of Saints: Sept 9-15, 2019

Monday, September 9:  St Ciaran, Priest (516-549)

St. Cieran was born in Connacht, Ireland, the son of a carpenter. He was considered the most learned monk at Clonard. He was forced to leave a monastery,  for what they considered his excessive charity.  With eight companions he eventually came to a spot on the Shannon River, which later became the famous Clinmanoise, This monastery became known as a great center of Irish learning, with St Ciaran it’s  Abbot. He is is one of the “twelve apostles of Ireland”. Many extraordinary miracles are attributed to St Ciaran. 

Tuesday, September 10:  St. Thomas of Villanova Bishop(1488-1555)

St. Thomas was from Castile in Spain and achieved a superior education at the University of Alcala.  He became a popular professor of philosophy there.  He was ordained a priest while an Augustian friar.

He was a teacher, despite his absentmindedness and poor memory. When provincial of the friars, he sent the first Augustinians to the New World. He was appointed the archbishopric of Granada.  He wore the same habit that he had received in the novitiate, mending it himself. Several hundred poor came to Thomas’s door each morning and received a meal, wine and money. When criticized because he was at times being taken advantage of, he replied, “If there are people who refuse to work, that is for the governor and the police to deal with. My duty is to assist and relieve those who come to my door.” Thomas of Villanova was  called  “the almsgiver” and “the father of the poor.”

“Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember that he of whom you are speaking is your brother, and as he is in the way of salvation, God can make him a saint, in spite of his present weakness.”

Wednesday, September 11:  St. Cyprian, Bishop (d. 258)

Highly educated, a famous orator.  He became a Christian as an adult, within two years he had been ordained a priest and was chosen, against his will, as Bishop of Carthage.  During a plague in Carthage, he urged Christians to help everyone, including their enemies and persecutors.  One of the early writers of the Primacy of the Pope. He refused to sacrifice to the pagan deities and firmly professed Christ, Africa, and was martyred by the Roman proconsul. 

“He [Christ] protects their faith and gives strength to believers in proportion to the trust that each man who receives that strength is willing to place in him.”

Patron: North Africa

Thursday, September 12:  The Most Holy Name of Mary

The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513 and in 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1683, John Sobieski, king of Poland, brought an army to the outskirts of Vienna to stop the advance of Muslim armies loyal to Mohammed IV in Constantinople. After Sobieski entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he and his soldiers thoroughly defeated the Muslims. Pope Innocent XI extended this feast to the entire Church.

Friday, September 13:  St. John Chrysostom, Bishop (d. 407)

.St. John, was named Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) on account of his eloquence.  He lived the life of an anchorite in the mountains near Antioch, but the poor state of his health forced him to return to Antioch, where he was ordained a priest.

He was advanced to Bishop of Constantinople and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. But he had enemies, the empress Eugoxia, and he was sent into exile.

In the midst of his sufferings, he found the greatest peace and happiness. He had the consolation of knowing that the Pope remained his friend, and did for him what lay in his power.

“These are two things: sin and repentance. Sin is a wound; repentance is a medicine. Just as there are for the body wounds and medicines, so for the soul are sins and repentance. However, sin has the shame and repentance possesses the courage.”

Patron:  education, epilepsy, lecturers, orators, preachers

Saturday, September 14:  The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus’ head: Then “all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on.”

Sunday, September 15:  Our Lady of Sorrows

The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus’ words to Mary and to the beloved disciple.  Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary’s sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. St. Ambrose in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross. Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled. Mary looked on her Son’s wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed but offered herself to her persecutors.

A Week of Saints, September 2-8, 2019

Monday, September 2:  Blessed John Francis Burté  Priests, martyr (d. 1772)

These priests were victims of the French Revolution. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy required all priests to take an oath which was a denial of the faith. These men refused and were executed.

John Francis Burté became a Franciscan, and after ordination taught theology. Later he was arrested and held in the convent of the Carmelites.

With 182 others, including several bishops and many religious and  priests.  They were massacred in Paris in 1772.

Tuesday, September 3:  St. Gregory the Great, Pope (540?-604)

At the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.

He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners,  and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of “Gregorian” chant is uncertain.

In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called “the Great,” hehas been given a place with Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.

“We make Idols of our concepts, but Wisdom is born of wonder”

Patron:  Musicians, singers, students, and teachers

Wednesday, September 4:  St. Rose of Viterbo, Secular Franciscan (1233-1251)

Rose achieved sainthood in only 18 years of life. She had a great desire to pray and to aid the poor. She lived a life of penance and was generous to the poor.  She became a Secular Franciscan at age ten, and began preaching in the streets about sin and the sufferings of Jesus.

“Prayer reveals to souls the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures. It fills them with light, strength and consolation; and gives them a foretaste of the calm bliss of our heavenly home“

Patron:  people in exile; people rejected by religious orders;     

Thursday, September 5,:  St. Teresa of Calcutta Religious Sister, (1910-1997)

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, was short in stature but known throughout the world for her work among the poorest of the poor.she founded the Missionaries of Charity, as a diocesan religious community. At age 18 she entered the Loreto Sisters of Dublin. She was sent to the Loreto novitiate in Darjeeling, India. It was there she chose the name Teresa .

While riding a train, Sister Teresa heard what she explained as “a call within a call. She was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them, and give up her life with the Sisters to “follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.”

The work was exhausting, but she was not alone for long. Volunteers who came to join her in the work, some of them former students, became the core of the Missionaries of Charity. Other helped by donating food, clothing, supplies, the use of buildings. In 1952 the city of Calcutta gave Mother Teresa a former hostel, which became a home for the dying and the destitute. As the Order expanded, services were also offered to orphans, abandoned children, alcoholics, the aging and street people.

For the next four decades Mother Teresa worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor.  She traveled the world inviting others to see the face of Jesus in the poorest of the poor. In

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Patron: World Youth Day, Missionaries of Charity 

Friday, September 6:  Blessed Claudio Granzotto (1900-1947)

At the age of nine his father died, and six years later he was drafted into the Italian army.  His artistic abilities, especially in sculpture, led to study and earn a diploma in art.   When Claudio entered the Friars Minor, his parish priest wrote, 

“The Order is receiving not only an artist but a saint.” Prayer, charity to the poor and artistic work characterized his life, which was cut short by a brain tumor, and died on the feast of the Assumption.

Patron:  sculptors, artists

Saturday, September 7:  Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853)

Frédéric was a French scholar. He founded with fellow students the Conference of Charity, later known as the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. 

“Let us go in simplicity where merciful Providence leads us, content to see the stone on which we should step without wanting to discover all at once and completely the windings of the road.”

 Patron:  politicians, lawyers, philanthropists, laborers

Sunday, September 8:  Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church has celebrated Mary’s birth since at least the sixth century. Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s birth. Tradition tells us that Anna and Joachim were infertile but prayed for a child, with a promise of a child that will be a part of Salvation.

And Then He Rested

I like to take photographs. When composing a picture, I look through the view finder, and try to find the impression I want of my subject. When I finally see what appeals to me, and I’m happy with it, I release the shutter, and find gratification in the click of my camera, knowing that I’ve accomplished my goal. I imagine a chef feels the same way, when adding that final ingredient that creates the perfect bite, or an artist, with the last brush stroke of a masterpiece, a composer, engineer, surgeon, writer, designer etc. We have all experienced the feeling of completion and satisfaction with the result. That moment we know we’re done, because we’ve poured ourselves into something, and we think, this is it. This scratches the itch, and any more, would be meaningless.

It’s good to remember, when I see something breathtaking in nature, that as beautiful as that is, God rested after he created us, humanity. In His own Image He created them, male and female. WE are that last brush stroke of the Creator.

A Week of Saints August 26th- September 1, 2019

Monday, August 26:  St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (1556-1648)

He was respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise. He put aside his career, because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.  He provided a free school for deprived children. He opened the first free public school in Rome

“Those who instruct many in virtue, will shine like the stars for all eternity”

Patron: Catholic Schools

.Tuesday, August 27:  St. Monica, wife, mother(322-387)

St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan, who although was generous, he was also violent tempered. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. St Augustine was not living a Christian life and Monica prayed many years for his conversion.  One priest told her, “it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.” St Augustine finally converted, and was baptized by St Ambrose.

“One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.”

Patron: of Wives and Abuse Victims

Wednesday, August 28:  St. Augustine, Priest,  Bishop(354-430)

 St Augustine lived a self satisfying life that didn’t include a faith in God.  His mother St Monica prayed devotedly for him for 17 years. He pursued many spiritualities and philosophies.  Through the intercession of St Monica and the instruction of St Ambrose he converted

He wrote many books teaching us how to live for Jesus and not fall into temptation and sin.

“A man may lose the good things of this life against his will; but if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent.”  

Patron:  brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes

Thursday, August 29:  The Passion of St. John the Baptist


St. John the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod, at the bidding of his stepdaughter. His wife didn’t like John, because he pointed out her adultery, so she conspired with her daughter to have him be headed. 

Friday, August 30:  St. Jeanne Jugan (1792-1879)

Jean had a passion for serving the poor and elderly. She became a nurse, and then joined a third order group founded by St John Eudes. She is the founders of The Little Sisters Of The poor

“Remain little, hidden by humility in all God wants from you, as being only the instruments of his work.”

Saturday, August 31:  Sts. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (time of Christ)

Joseph was a respected, wealthy leader, who had become a disciple of Jesus. He requested the body of Jesus and wrapped him in his shroud and placed him in a tomb. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act.

Patron: funeral directors, pallbearers

Nicodemuswas a Pharisee.  Nicodemus secret.y went to Jesus at nigh, to better understand his teachings. Later, Nicodemus spoke up for Jesus at the time of his arrest and assisted in Jesus’ burial.

Sunday, September 1:  St. Giles, (d. 710?)

He was one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages. He built a monastery that became a popular stopping-off point for pilgrims making their way to the Holy Land.   In England, many churches and hospitals were dedicated to Giles. He was  among the “14 Holy Helpers”, a p group of saints to whom people prayed, especially for recovery from disease and for strength at the hour of death. Such devotion made his popularity spread. 

Patron: poor, disabled, epileptic