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Saints of the Day: Protomartyrs of Rome

June 30th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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Protomartyrs of Rome

Feast Day: June 30

After a raging fire destroyed two-thirds of Rome in 64, Emperor Nero blamed Rome’s Christians to divert suspicion from himself. Those acknowledging their Christianity were arrested and executed. Some were covered in wax and set afire as torches; some were sewn into animal skins and cast into the arena with wild animals; others were crucified. Sts. Peter and Paul died in the same persecution.

The feast of these earliest martyrs of the Roman church is celebrated a day after the joint feast of Peter and Paul. The Roman historian Tacitus said the

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer Jean-Léon Gérôme https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jean-L%C3%A9on_G%C3%A9r%C3%B4me_-_The_Christian_Martyrs%27_Last_Prayer_-_Walters_37113.jpg

“The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer” by Jean-Léon Gérôme Wikimedia Commons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jean-L%C3%A9on_G%C3%A9r%C3%B4me_-_The_Christian_Martyrs%27_Last_Prayer_-_Walters_37113.jpg

protomartyrs were to be pitied “for it was felt that they were being sacrificed to one man’s brutality.”

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Feast of the Day: Conversion of Paul the Apostle

June 29th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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Conversion of Paul the Apostle

Feast: June 29

When the Jewish Pharisee Saul set out from Jerusalem to Damascus, his aim was to persecute the fledgling Christian community. The dramatic story

Conversion of St. Paul

Conversion of St. Paul

of St. Paul’s miraculous conversion is told several times in the Acts of the Apostles and New Testament letters.

Paul became the Apostle to the Gentiles and carried Christ’s message around the Roman Empire. He shares a feast with St. Peter on June 29. The January feast was known as the “translation” in the martyrology of St. Jerome; it may originally have commemorated the moving of Paul’s relics.  Now, it appropriately closes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Paul is the patron saint of Greece, Malta and the Cursillo movement.

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Saints of the Day: Blessed Madeleine Fontaine and Companions

June 27th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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Blessed Madeleine Fontaine and Companions

Feast: June 27

Martyred during the French Revolution, Mother Madeleine Fontaine, 71, and Sisters Francoise Lanel, Therese Fantou and Jeanne Gerard, all in their

Depiction of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (Wikimedia Commons PD/USA)

Depiction of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (Wikimedia Commons PD/USA)

40s, were Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

Their community at Arras cared for the town’s sick and ran a girls’ school. In 1793 their goods and school were confiscated, but they refused to take an oath demanded by the Revolutionary Convention.

Arrested in February 1794, they were executed in June.

The nuns went to the infamous guillotine singing “Ave Maris Stella”; they were beatified in 1920.

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Saint of the Day: Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer

June 26th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer

Feast Day: June 26

Born in Barbastro, Spain, Josemaria was ordained a priest in 1925. In 1928, he founded Opus Dei, Latin for “God’s work,” as an apostolate in the

Blessed Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of the personal prelature Opus Dei, is pictured in a 1972 file photo. (CNS photo courtesy Opus Dei)

Blessed Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of the personal prelature Opus Dei, is pictured in a 1972 file photo. (CNS photo courtesy Opus Dei)

ordinary circumstances of life, especially work, focusing on the universal call to holiness. It includes laypeople, priests and seminarians.

Msgr. Escriva died in 1975 in Rome, where he had lived, directing the international organization, since 1946. In 1982 Opus Dei was given the status of a personal prelature, the equivalent of a nonterritorial diocese. Its founder was beatified in 1992 and canonized in 2002.

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Saint of the Day: Nativity of John the Baptist

June 24th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Feast: June 24

In the Gospels, John, a kinsman of Jesus through their mothers, preached repentance and baptized to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. This feast

St. John the Baptist, by Leonardo da Vinci (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

St. John the Baptist, by Leonardo da Vinci (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

marks his exceptional birth to the aged priest Zechariah and the equally aged and barren Elizabeth.

The angel Gabriel announces his birth in a vision to Zechariah, who hesitates in believing and is struck mute until eight days after John’s birth.

Then, Zechariah, in a beautiful canticle that ends the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, proclaims that John “will be called prophet of the Most High.”

John’s eventual beheading is commemorated with an Aug. 29 feast. A patron saint of Canada and Jordan, John is also the patron of Florence and the Knights Hospitaller of St. John.

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Saint of the Day: Joseph Cafasso

June 23rd, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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St. Joseph Cafasso

Feast Day: June 23

Born in Italy’s Piedmont region, Joseph studied at a seminary near Turin. He was ordained a diocesan priest in 1833, and continued studies in

St. Joseph Cafasso (Wikimedia Commons PD/USA)

St. Joseph Cafasso (Wikimedia Commons PD/USA)

theology at the Institute of St. Francis in Turin. Despite having a twisted spine, Joseph became a popular lecturer at the institute and in 1848 its rector. He was a wise mentor to his priest students, including St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesians, with whom he had an enduring friendship. He was a well-known confessor and spiritual adviser, and an advocate for prisoners, accompanying more than 60 condemned men to their public execution by hanging.

 

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Saints of the Day: John Fisher and Thomas More

June 22nd, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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St. John Fisher

Feast Day: June 22

A Yorkshire draper’s son, John was one of the “new men” of Tudor England, a distinguished scholar at Cambridge University who

St. John Fisher (CNS)

St. John Fisher (CNS)

was ordained at age 22.

Privately austere, John held several high offices: chaplain to a king’s mother, vice chancellor and chancellor of Cambridge, bishop of Rochester, counselor to Catherine of Aragon during King Henry VIII’s divorce proceedings against her.

But John steadfastly refused to accept Henry as head of the church in England, and was imprisoned.

The pope named him a cardinal, which further enraged Henry, who ordered John’s beheading.

He shares this feast with his friend and fellow martyr, Thomas More; their heads were impaled on London Bridge two weeks apart.

 

St. Thomas More

Feast Day: June 22

Born in London, Thomas studied at Oxford, married and had four children.

King Henry VIII took this brilliant lawyer into his service in 1518, knighted him and named him lord chancellor.

St. Thomas More (CNS)

St. Thomas More (CNS)

But Thomas broke with the king when he divorced Catherine of Aragon and set himself up as supreme head of the church in England.

In 1532 Thomas resigned his post, and in 1534 was arrested when he refused to take the oath to the new Act of Succession.

Imprisoned for more than a year in the Tower of London, he was convicted of treason and beheaded.

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Saint of the Day: St. Aloysius Gonzaga

June 21st, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Feast Day: June 21

Born to a noble Italian family, Aloysius served as a page in Spain and Italy. His father opposed a religious vocation, planning

Notre Dame Abbey Beaugency, France

St. Aloysius Gonzaga (CNS)

instead a military career for his oldest son. But Aloysius joined the Jesuits in Rome in 1585, taking his vows two years later. His health had been compromised by kidney disease, but he served in a Jesuit hospital opened in Rome when plague struck the city. He died of plague while ministering to the sick. St. Robert Bellarmine, his spiritual director, said the young Jesuit’s austere religious practices and penances were so extreme that others should not follow them. Canonized in 1726, Aloysius later was declared protector of young students and patron saint of Catholic youth.

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Saint of the Day: St. Alban

June 20th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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St. Alban

Feast Day June 20

By Catholic News Service
Believed to be Britain’s first martyr, Alban was a pagan living at Verulamium, now St. Albans. During a Roman persecution, he

St. Alban (CNS)

St. Alban (CNS)

sheltered a fleeing priest who baptized him, and was himself arrested and put to death. He is first mentioned in a fifth-century life of St. Germanus; the Venerable Bede expanded the earlier story, including a lively account of the execution by beheading and some supernatural signs that accompanied it. Successive churches, including a Benedictine abbey and an Anglican cathedral, have occupied the traditional hilltop site of the martyrdom.

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Saint of the Day June 19: St. Juliana of Falconieri

June 19th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:

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St. Juliana of Falconieri

Feast Day: June 19

Juliana was the only child of a wealthy couple in Florence, Italy, who had built the church of the Annunciation there. She refused to

St. Juliana of Falconieri (CNS)

St. Juliana of Falconieri
(CNS)

marry and was enrolled as a tertiary with the Servite order; her uncle, St. Alexis Falconieri, was one of the seven founders of the Servites. For nearly 20 years, Juliana lived a devout and useful life at home. In 1304 she formed a community of tertiary sisters who devoted themselves to prayer and good works in Florence. She is considered the foundress of the Servite community of nuns, and was canonized in 1737.

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