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Saint of the Week: Nicholas

November 30th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Nicholas

Fourth Century

Feast Day: December 6

St. Nicholas (Thinkstock)

From the ninth century in the East and the 11th century in the West, Nicholas has been one of the most popular saints in Christendom and art, and the patron of many countries, dioceses, churches and cities.

He was bishop of Myra in Lycia (now Turkey). According to folklore, he saved three girls from prostitution, restored to life three murdered children hidden in a brine-tub or saved from death three unjustly condemned men.

There is no evidence that he attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 or suffered persecution for his faith.

“Santa Claus” comes from the Dutch form of his name: “Sinte Klaas.”

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Saints of the Week: All Saints

October 25th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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All Saints

Feast Day: November 1

The Apostles’ Creed lists “the communion of saints” among Catholic beliefs, and since at least the ninth century the church

Fresco depicting All Saints, Giustao da Padova (Wikimedia Commons)

has honored everyone in heaven, including angels, formally recognized martyrs and saints, and all those who had died in God’s friendship, with a November feast.

As early as 411, the Eastern church celebrated a feast of all martyrs in May.

The custom gradually spread to other regions and included nonmartyrs.

In England the feast formerly was known as All Hallows, that is, made holy, which gave rise to Halloween.

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Saint of the Week: John Paul II

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Saint John Paul II

Feast Day: October 22

When this popular pope died in 2005, crowds in St. Peter’s Square chanted “santo subito” (“sainthood now”).

Pope John Paul II(CNS photo/Joe Rimkus Jr.)

The Vatican heard, and the sainthood cause for the jet-setting pontiff who helped bring down European communism was put on the fast track; he was beatified in 2011 and canonized in 2014.

A Pole and former actor shaped by World War II and the Cold War, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

In his 26-year pontificate, he evangelized on trips to 129 countries, upheld traditional church doctrine against dissent, connected with the world’s youth, and named more than 450 new saints.

He also modeled Christian values by forgiving his would-be assassin and living an increasingly frail old age in public.

His feast is celebrated on the anniversary of his papal inauguration, Oct. 22, rather than the traditional date of death which is used for most saints.

 

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Saint of the Week: Teresa of Avila

October 12th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Teresa of Avila

Feast Day: October 15

In Castilian Spain, Teresa was born to a wealthy family and educated in an Augustinian convent.

St. Teresa of Avila by François Gérard (Wikimedia Commons)

Eschewing marriage, she entered the Carmelites in 1536.

She began to practice contemplative prayer during a long illness, and grew dissatisfied with the bigness and worldly distractions of her convent.

After a “second conversion” in 1555, she founded the reform-minded Discalced Carmelites and wrote several books.

For her contribution to mystical theology and Christian spirituality, Teresa was named a doctor of the church in 1970.

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Saint of the Week: Our Lady of the Rosary

October 5th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Our Lady of the Rosary

Feast Day: October 7

Dominicans and local rosary confraternities began celebrating a feast honoring Our Lady of the Rosary in the 15th century.

Madonna del Rosario, Simone Cantarini (Wikimedia Commons)

As Christian and Turkish forces met in battle in the Gulf of Lepanto (near Greece) on Oct. 7, 1571, Pope Pius V asked Mary to protect Catholic lands and Catholics to pray the rosary. The ensuing Christian victory was attributed to Our Lady of the Rosary.

In 1572 the pope allowed some celebrations of Our Lady of Victory on the first Sunday in October; in 1573 the feast was changed to Our Lady of the Rosary, and in 1716 the feast became universal.

The Oct. 7 date was fixed in 1913.

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Saints of the Week: Guardian Angels

September 28th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Saints of the Week: Guardian Angels
Feast Day: October 2

The concept of guardian angels, as developed in Catholic theology and piety, has biblical roots.

Guardian Angels (CNS)

The angel Raphael aids Tobit and his family; one angel interprets for the prophet Zechariah, while another guides Cornelius in Acts of the Apostles; and angels are called “ministering spirits sent to serve” in the Letter to the Hebrews.

In Matthew, Jesus teaches: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd.”

Pope Clement X set this date as the feast of guardian angels in the 1670s.

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Saint of the Week: Vincent de Paul

September 20th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner, Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Vincent de Paul

Feast Day: September 27

Born in southwestern France, Vincent began priestly studies in 1595 and was ordained in 1600.

St. Vincent de Paul (Wikimedia Commons)

In 1605, he was taken off a ship attacked by pirates.

After two years as a slave in Tunisia, he escaped and returned to France, taking up parish work outside Paris.

From about 1615, he dedicated his life to serving the poor.

To that end, he founded the Confraternity of Charity, the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) and, with St. Louise de Marillac, the Daughters of Charity.

In 1885 Pope Leo XIII named him the patron of all works of charity.

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Saint of the Week: Joseph of Copertino

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St. Joseph of Copertino

Feast Day: September 18

Because this Italian Franciscan was seen to levitate and move through the air, usually toward a

“S. Giuseppe da Copertino si eleva in volo alla vista della Basilica di Loreto”, by Ludovico Mazzanti (Wikimedia Commons)

tabernacle or statue of Mary, he is a patron saint of airline pilots, crews and passengers, as well as astronauts and test-takers.

A poor, unschooled peasant from Copertino, Joseph entered a friary in 1620.

He was dismissed for failing to complete even simple tasks, but joined another friary through family connections. There he learned to read his missal and breviary, and he approached exams by praying hard.

He was ordained in 1628.

The “flights,” which he could not control, prompted investigations by two Inquisitions; Joseph was exonerated, but could not celebrate Mass publicly or participate in public functions.

He was canonized in 1767.

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Saint of the Week: Maximilian Kolbe

August 9th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Maximilian Kolbe

Feast Day: August 14

Raimund Kolbe, born in Russian Poland, was ordained a Franciscan, Maximilian Mary, in Rome.

St. Maximillian Kolbe (Wikimedia Commons)

St. Maximillian Kolbe (Wikimedia Commons)

In the 1920s, he reopened a ruined Polish friary, started a Marian press and was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Despite his illness, he had successful Marian missions to Japan and India before returning to Poland in 1936.

After the 1939 invasion of Poland, the Franciscans’ criticism of the occupiers prompted the arrest of Maximilian and four others, who ended up in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Maximilian volunteered for martyrdom, taking the place of a married man being executed by starvation.

This man was present at the saint’s 1982 canonization.

Maximilian is the patron of prisoners, journalists and others.

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Saint of the Week: St. Mary Helen MacKillop

August 2nd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Mary Helen MacKillop

Feast Day: August 8

Mother MacKillop is Australia’s first native-born saint and its patron.

St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

The oldest of eight children of Scottish immigrants, Mary began working with children as a governess.

With encouragement from a priest-adviser, Mary founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the continent’s first religious order, to open schools and orphanages for poor children in rural areas and to serve the aged and friendless by setting up women’s shelters.

She took the name Mary of the Cross, and survived episcopal opposition, disrespect and even excommunication.

The order received papal approval in 1888, and her 2010 canonization in Rome drew thousands of pilgrims from Australia, where she is considered a national heroine.

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