Monday, 25 June 2018

Saint Dominic Henares

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The 25th of June is the feast day of Saint Dominic Henares (1764-1838).

Saint Dominic Henares lived between 1764 and 1838 and was born in Spain to a poor family. In 1790 he was ordained a priest in the Dominican Order. He was sent as a missionary to the Far East ten years after and went to Mexico the Philippines and then to North Vietnam. In 1804 he became a Bishop of Phunhay, Vietnam. However, the Vietnamese emperor prohibited Catholicism in 1841 and persecuted the Church where villages were sent to exile and priests tortured and then killed. People who assisted in catching priests were also rewarded. On June 25, 1848, Bishop Henares was arrested and beheaded in Nam Dinh. The soldiers and villagers who helped in his arrest received great compensation. The estimated amount of Catholic martyred in Vietnam between 15th and 20th centuries is between 130 000 to 300 000, which Saint Dominic Henares was one. Pope St. John Paul II canonised them in 1988. The collective memorial for 117 of the Vietnamese Martyrs is on November 24.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

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Image: Russian icon of the Nativity of John the Baptist

The 24th of June is the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. It is also known as the Birth of John the Baptist, or Nativity of the Forerunner, or, in German, Johannistag.

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

THE birth of St. John was foretold by an angel of the Lord to his father, Zachary, who was offering incense in the Temple. It was the office of St. John to prepare the way for Christ, and before he was born into the world he began to live for the Incarnate God. Even in the womb he knew the presence of Jesus and of Mary, and he leaped with joy at the glad coming of the son of man. In his youth he remained hidden, because He for Whom he waited was hidden also. But before Christ’s public life began, a divine impulse led St. John into the desert; there, with locusts for his food and haircloth on his skin, in silence and in prayer, he chastened his own soul. Then, as crowds broke in upon his solitude, he warned them to flee from the wrath to come, and gave them the baptism of penance, while they confessed their sins. At last there stood in the crowd One Whom St. John did not know, till a voice within told him that it was his Lord. With the baptism of St. John, Christ began His penance for the sins of His people, and St. John saw the Holy Ghost descend in bodily form upon Him. Then the Saint’s work was done. He had but to point his own disciples to the Lamb, he had but to decrease as Christ increased. He saw all men leave him and go after Christ. “I told you,” he said, “that I am not the Christ. The friend of the Bridegroom rejoiceth because of the Bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.” St. John had been cast into the fortress of Machærus by a worthless tyrant whose crimes be had rebuked, and he was to remain there till he was beheaded, at the will of a girl who danced before this wretched king. In this time of despair, if St. John could have known despair, some of his old disciples visited him. St. John did not speak to them of himself, but he sent them to Christ, that they might see the proofs of His mission. Then the Eternal Truth pronounced the panegyric of the Saint who had lived and breathed for Him alone: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist”

Reflection.—St. John was great before God because he forgot himself and lived for Jesus Christ, Who is the source of all greatness. Remember that you are nothing; your own will and your own desires can only lead to misery and sin. Therefore sacrifice every day some one of your natural inclinations to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, and learn little by little to lose yourself in Him.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Saint Joseph Cafasso

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Image: Saint Joseph Cafasso (1895)

The 23rd of June is the feast day of Saint Joseph Cafasso (15 January 1811 – 23 June 1860). In Italian his name is Giuseppe Cafasso. He is the patron saint of Italian prisons, prison chaplain, prisoners and those condemned to death.

Saint Joseph Cafasso lived between 1811 to 1860 and was born in Castelnuovo d’Asti, Italy to a family of peasants. He had a physical deformity of the spine which meant he was stunted and crippled. He entered the seminary in Turin where he met Saint John Bosco. Saint Joseph taught Saint John Bosco and encouraged his mission to minister to the town’s street youth. Saint Joseph became a professor of moral theology and was a famed preacher and confessor. He did his job well and was known as the “Priest’s Priest.” Entire days were spent preaching in prisons, hearing the prisoner’s confessions and he advocated for improvement to the poor conditions of the prisons. He then earned the name of “Priest of the Gallows.”

Friday, 22 June 2018

Saint Thomas More

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Image: Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein 1527.

The 22nd of June is the feast day of Saint Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535). He is the patron saint of adopted children; civil servants; court clerks; difficult marriages; large families; lawyers, politicians, and statesmen; stepparents; widowers; Ateneo de Manila Law School; Diocese of Arlington; Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee; Kerala Catholic Youth Movement; University of Malta; and the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Arts and Letters.

Saint Thomas More lived between 1478 and 1535 and was born in London to a lawyer and a judge. Educated in the finest schools, he became an English statesman. He served in many positions in public administration, including in the King’sCouncill and as a diplomat. A Catholic, husband and a father, he was known for his moral integrity, humour and learning. He became a Lord Chancellor, as he was promoted by King Henry VIII. However, he resigned from his high post when the king divorced from his wife and declared himself sovereign of the Church in England. Saint Thomas More was then imprisoned in the Tower of London by King Henry, after he refused to to approve of the king’s decision to defy the Catholic Church. More testified that the Church had autonomy over the state, that the Pope is the head of the Church and that marriage was indissoluble in the eyes of God. He was condemned and beheaded, a martyr for the faith.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

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Image: The Vocation of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga by Guercino circa 1650.

The 21st of June is the feast day of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (9 March 1568 – 21 June 1591). He is the patron saint of young students, Christian youth, Jesuit scholastics, the blind, AIDS patients, and AIDS care-givers.

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

ALOYSIUS, the eldest son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione, was born on the 9th of March, 1568. The first words he pronounced were the holy names of Jesus and Mary. When he was nine years of age he made a vow of perpetual virginity, and by a special grace was ever exempted from temptations against purity. He received his first Communion at the hands of St. Charles Borromeo. At an early age he resolved to leave the world, and in a vision was directed by our blessed Lady to join the Society of Jesus. The Saint’s mother rejoiced on learning his determination to become a religious, but his father for three years refused his consent. At length St. Aloysius obtained permission to enter the novitiate on the 25th of November, 1585. He took his vows after two years, and went through the ordinary course of philosophy and theology. He was wont to say he doubted whether without penance grace would continue to make head against I nature, which, when not afflicted and chastised, tends gradually to relapse into its old state, losing the habit of suffering acquired by the labor of years. “I am a crooked piece of iron,” he said, “and am come into religion to be made straight by the hammer of mortification and penance.” During his last year of theology a malignant fever broke out in Rome; the Saint offered himself for the service of the sick, and he was accepted for the dangerous duty. Several of the brothers caught the fever, and Aloysius was of the number. He was brought to the point of death, but recovered, only to fall, however, into slow fever, which carried him off after three months. He died, repeating the Holy Name, a little after midnight between the 20th and 21st of June, on the octave-day of Corpus Christi, being Prather more than twenty-three years of age.

Reflection.—Cardinal Bellarmine, the Saint’s confessor, testified that he had never mortally offended God. Yet he chastised his body rigorously, rose at night to pray, and shed many tears for his sins. Pray that, not having followed his innocence, you may yet imitate his penance.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Blesseds John Fenwick and John Gavan

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Image: John Fenwick, by Martin Bouche, print, published 1683

The 20th of June is the feast day of Blesseds John Fenwick (1628–1679) and John Gavan (1640–1679). They were English Jesuits, executed at the time of the fabricated Popish Plot. They were beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI.

John Fenwick’s parents were protestant and disowned him when he converted to the Catholic faith. They were both accused of being involved in the Popish Plot, along with three other Jesuits. The Popish Plot was a fabricated conspiracy in England during the anti-Catholic hysteria. They were charged with plotting the assassination of King Charles II and condemned with High Treason and subversion of the Protestant religion. John Gavan acted as the spokesman for the group during their trial. Both of the priests were condemned to be hung, drawn and quartered. The King knew they were innocent but did not want to pardon them, and declared that they should be hung only in an act of clemency. They were martyred together on 20th of June 1679.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Saints Gervasius and Protasius

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Image: Martyrdom of Gervasius and Protasius

The 19th of June is the feast day of Saints Gervasius and Protasius (d. 2nd century). They are also known as Saints Gervase and Protase, Gervasis and Prothasis and in French Gervais and Protais. They are the patron saints of Milan; Breisach; haymakers; and invoked for the discovery of thieves.

The following is from Catholic Encyclopedia:

Martyrs of Milan, probably in the second century, patrons of the city of Milan and of haymakers; invoked for the discovery of thieves. Feast, in the Latin Church, 19 June, the day of the translation of the relics; in the Greek Church, 14 Oct., the supposed day of their death. Emblems: scourge, club, sword.

The Acts (Acta SS., June, IV, 680 and 29) were perhaps compiled from a letter (Ep. liii) to the bishops of Italy, falsely ascribed to St. Ambrose. They are written in a very simple style, but it has been found impossible to establish their age. According to these, Gervasius and Protasius were twins, children of martyrs. Their father Vitalis, a man of consular dignity, suffered martyrdom at Ravenna under Nero (?). The mother Valeria died for her faith at Milan. The sons are said to have been scourged and then beheaded, during the reign of Nero, under the presidency of Anubinus or Astasius, and while Cajus was Bishop of Milan. Some authors place the martyrdom under Diocletian, while others object to this time, because they fail to understand how, in that case, the place of burial, and even the names, could be forgotten by the time of St. Ambrose, as is stated. De Rossi places their death before Diocletian. It probably occurred during the reign of Antoninus (161-168).

St. Ambrose, in 386, had built a magnificent basilica at Milan. Asked by the people to consecrate it in the same solemn manner as was done in Rome, he promised to do so if he could obtain the necessary relics. In a dream he was shown the place in which such could be found. He ordered excavations to be made in the cemetery church of Sts. Nabor and Felix, outside the city, and there found the relics of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius. He had them removed to the church of St. Fausta, and on the next day into the basilica, which later received the name San Ambrogio Maggiore. Many miracles are related to have occurred, and all greatly rejoiced at the signal favour from heaven, given at the time of the great struggle between St. Ambrose and the Arian Empress Justina. Of the vision, the subsequent discovery of the relics and the accompanying miracles, St. Ambrose wrote to his sister Marcellina. St. Augustine, not yet baptized, witnessed the facts, and relates them in his “Confessions”, IX, vii; in “De civ. Dei”, XXII, viii; and in “Serm. 286 in natal. Ss. Mm. Gerv. et Prot.”, they are also attested by St. Paulinus of Nola, in his life of St. Ambrose. The latter died 397 and, as he had wished, his body was, on Easter Sunday, deposited in his basilica by the side of these martyrs. In 835, Angilbert II, a successor in the See of Milan, placed the relics of the three saints in a porphyry sarcophagus, and here they were again found, January, 1864 (Civiltà Cattolica, 1864, IX, 608, and XII, 345).

A tradition claims that after the destruction of Milan by Frederick Barbarossa, his chancellor Rainald von Dassel had taken the relics from Milan, and deposited them at Altbreisach in Germany, whence some came to Soissons; the claim is rejected by Milan (Biraghi, “I tre sepoleri”, etc. Milan, 1864). Immediately after the finding of the relics by St. Ambrose, the cult of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius was spread in Italy, and churches were built in their honour at Pavia, Nola, etc. In Gaul we find churches dedicated to them, about 400, at Mans, Rouen, and Soissons. At the Louvre there is now a famous picture of the saints by Lesueur (d. 1655), which was formerly in their church at Paris. According to the “Liber Pontificalis”, Innocent I (402-417) dedicated a church to them at Rome. Later, the name of St. Vitalis, their father, was added to the title. Very early their names were inserted in the Litany of the Saints. The whole history of these saints has received a great deal of adverse criticism. Some deny their existence, and make them a Christianized version of the Dioscuri of the Romans. Thus Harris, “The Dioscuri in Christian Legend”, but see “Analecta Boll.” (1904), XXIII, 427.

STOKES in Dict. Christ. Biog., s.v.; KRIEG in Kirchenlex., s.v.; BUTLER, Lives of the Saints (19 June).

FRANCIS MERSHMAN

Monday, 18 June 2018

Saints Mark and Marcellian

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Image: Saint Sebastian, with Saints Mark and Marcellian

The 18th of June is the feast day of Saints Mark and Marcellian (d. c. 286). They were martyred at Rome under the Emperor Diocletian.

The following is from Butler’ Lives of the Saints:

MARCUS AND MARCELLIANUS were twin brothers of an illustrious family in Rome, who had been converted to the Faith in their youth and were honorably married. Diocletian ascending the imperial throne in 284, the heathens raised persecutions. These martyrs were thrown into prison, and condemned to be beheaded. Their friends obtained a respite of the execution for thirty days, that they might prevail on them to worship the false gods, Tranquillinus and Martia, their afflicted heathen parents, in company with their sons’ own wives and their little babes, endeavored to move them by the most tender entreaties and tears. St. Sebastian, an officer of the emperor’s household, coming to Rome soon after their commitment, daily visited and encouraged them. The issue of the conferences was the happy conversion of the father, mother, and wives, also of Nicostratus, the public register, and soon after of Chromatius, the judge, who set the Saints at liberty, and, abdicating the magistracy, retired into the country. Marcus and Marcellianus were hid by a Christian officer of the household in his apartments in the palace; but they were betrayed by an apostate, and retaken. Fabian, who had succeeded Chromatius, condemned them to be bound to two pillars, with their feet nailed to the same. In this posture they remained a day and a night, and on the following day were stabbed with lances.

Reflection.—We know not what we are till we have been tried. It costs nothing to say we love God above all things, and to show the courage of martyrs at a distance from the danger; but that love is sincere which has stood the proof. “Persecution shows who is a hireling, and who a true pastor,” says St. Bernard.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Saint Emily de Vialar

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Image: Emily de Vialar

The 17th of June is the feast day of Saint Emily de Vialer (1797–1856). She is also known as Émilie de Vialar. She was a was a French nun who founded the missionary congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition.

The following is from Wikipedia:

Emily de Vialar was born on 12 September 1797 to Antoinette Portal and Jacques de Vialar. At a young age, Saint Emily was taught by her mother how to read and was also taught of God’s existence. Emily was born 3 years after the Reign of Terror, in the same year as Pope Pius VI was taken prisoner by French troops. She was the oldest of 3 children and was baptized in secret. At age 7, Emily moved to a boarding school in Paris. After a long journey, her mother got a horrible sickness. Antoinette’s father was trying to cure her as he lived in Paris and was also a doctor. However, on 17 September 1810, at the age of 35, her mother died. Poor Emily was only 15 when her died. She argued with her father daily, who wanted to pursue a religious life. In private, she lived a life of celibacy and prayer.

After many years spent between family tyranny and minor worldly pleasures, Emily decided to turn to God for help. She started helping local poor people in need but her father was furious. He would shout at her for helping out. She also helped with unfortunate women in her town get a better education. On Christmas she and 3 other women founded the sisters of Saint Joseph of the apparition. The congregation spread through Algeria, Tunisia, Greece, Malta, Jerusalem, and the Balkans. Emily and 17 other sisters received a formal approval for the rule of congregation in 1835.

After years, her grandfather had died and left a huge fortune for Emily and her brothers. And with that money, she decided to open her congregation. With that, she left her father’s house on Christmas Day, 1832.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Saint John Regis

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Image: Saint John Regis

The 16th of June is the feast day of Saint John Regis (31 January 1597 – 31 December 1640). He was born Jean-François Régis, and also known as Saint John Francis Regis and St. Regis. He is the patron saint of Regis University, Regis High School, New York City, Regis Jesuit High School Aurora, Colorado, and lacemakers.

The following is from Butler’s Lives of the Saints:

ST. JOHN FRANCIS REGIS was born in Languedoc, in 1597. From his tenderest years he showed evidences of uncommon sanctity by his innocence of life, modesty, and love of prayer. At the age of eighteen he entered the Society of Jesus. As soon as his studies were over, he gave himself entirely to the salvation of souls. The winter he spent in country missions, principally in mountainous districts; and in spite of the rigor of the weather and the ignorance and roughness of the inhabitants, he labored with such success that he gained innumerable souls to God both from heresy and from a bad life. The summer he gave to the towns. There his time was taken up in visiting hospitals and prisons, in preaching and instructing, and in assisting all who in any way stood in need of his services. In his works of mercy God often helped him by miracles. In November, 1637, the Saint set out for his second mission at Marthes. His road lay across valleys filled with snow and over mountains frozen and precipitous. In climbing one of the highest, a bush to which he was clinging gave way, and he broke his leg in the fall. By the help of his companion he accomplished the remaining six miles, and then, instead of seeing a surgeon, insisted on being taken straight to the confessional. There, after several hours, the curate of the parish found him still seated, and when his leg was examined the fracture was found to be miraculously healed. He was so inflamed with the love of God that he seemed to breathe, think, speak of that alone, and he offered up the Holy Sacrifice with such attention and fervor that those who assisted at it could not but feel something of the fire with which he burned. After twelve years of unceasing labor, he rendered his pure and innocent soul to his Creator, at the age of forty-four.

Reflection.—When St. John Francis was struck in the face by a sinner whom he was reproving, he replied, “If you only knew me, you would give me much more than that” His meekness converted the man, and it is in this spirit that he teaches us to win souls to God. How much might we do if we could forget our own wants in remembering those of others, and put our trust in God!

Our Lady of Medjugorje

June 02, 2018 Message to Mirjana

Dear children, I am calling you to accept my words which I am speaking to you as a mother, with a simplicity of heart, so that you may set out on the way of complete light and purity, of the singular love of my Son, man and God. A joy - a light indescribable in human words - will penetrate your soul and the peace and love of my Son will take hold of you. I desire this for all of my children. Therefore, you, apostles of my love, you who know how to love and forgive, you who do not judge, you whom I encourage, you be an example to all those who are not going on the way of light and love or who have diverted from it. By your life show them the truth. Show them love because love overcomes all difficulties, and all of my children thirst for love. Your unity in love is a gift to my Son and me. But, my children, remember that to love also means to desire the good for your neighbor and to desire conversion of your neighbor's soul. As I am looking at you gathered around me, my heart is sad, because I see so little brotherly love, merciful love. My children, the Eucharist - my Son alive among you - His words will help you comprehend, because His word is life, His word makes the soul breathe, His word brings about cognition of love. Dear children, anew, I am imploring you as a mother who desires the good for her children: love your shepherds, pray for them. Thank you.

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