Category Archives: Saints

Saint Patrick

shamrockChrist with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

“The Miracle of St. Patrick”

Saint Polycarp

St PolycarpBishop of Smyrna (Asia Minor), Polycarp was martyred between 155 and 167. Aside from an epistle he wrote to the Philippians and a letter addressed to him by Ignatius of Antioch, he is known especially for the account of his martyrdom, the first such account to be written after the narrative of Stephen’s martyrdom in the Acts of the Apostles.This extraordinary narrative was composed shortly after Polycarp’s death. Many passages should be quoted here, like this one, where the governor invites Polycarp to curse Christ. Here is the bishop’s response: “For eighty six years I have been his servant and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme against my king and savior?” This text is also the first one where we find a mention of the cult of relics and of the celebration of the anniversary of the martyrdom: “Collecting the remains that were dearer to us than precious stones and finer than gold, we buried them in a fitting spot. Gathering there, so far as we can, in joy and gladness, we will be allowed by the Lord to celebrate the anniversary day of his martyrdom, both as a memorial for those who have already fought the contest and for the training and preparation of those who will do so one day.”

(H. Musurillo [ed.], The Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Oxford, 1972, pp. 9, 17).

Illustr.: St Polycarp. Martyrdom of St Polycarp – Menologion of Basil II (Vatican).

Saint Valentine’s Day

St Valentine

Saints Cyril and Methodius

Cyril and Methodius processionCyril and Methodius are as it were the connecting links or spiritual bridge between the Eastern and Western traditions, which both come together in the one great Tradition of the universal Church. For us they are the champions and also the patrons of the ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, for the rediscovery through prayer and dialogue of visible Unity in perfect and total communion, “the unity which”, as I said on the occasion of my visit to Bari, “is neither absorption nor fusion”. Unity is a meeting in truth and love, granted to us by the Spirit. Cyril and Methodius, in their personality and their work, are figures that awaken in all Christians a great “longing for union” and for unity between the two sister Churches of East and West.

John Paul II
Speech, ecumenical meeting in the Basilica of Saint Nicholas at Bari
26 February 1984

Blessed (Saint) José Sánchez del Río

José Sánchez del RíoBesides being the beginning of Lent and the feast day of the great Saint Scholastica, twin sister of Saint Benedict, it is the feast day of the remarkable Blessed (soon-to-be Saint) José Sánchez del Río. The pious mantra that comes to mind is ¡VIVA CRISTO REY! when one thinks of this holy man. Recall the anti-Catholic government soldiers said:  “If you shout, ‘Death to Christ the King’, we will spare your life.” His response: He only answered: “Long live Christ the King! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!”

At 13, José was the flag-bearer in the Cristero army fighting (fiercely fighting in mid-1920s) for the right to remain Catholic in the face of anti-religious government policies. Also serving the Cristero army were two older brothers, Macario and Miguel. Mexican government troops captured José and imprisoned, abused, mutilated, him having ordered the young man to reject Jesus Christ and His Church on this date in 1928. José refused and was given the martyr’s crown. The details of his death are gruesome: he hacked with machetes, stabbed with bayonets and finally shot on 10 February 1928 in Sahuayo, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico.

The body of the saint is interred in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sahuaro, Mexico with a bone fragment relic enshrined in the church of the Immaculate Conception, Taft, Texas.

Barely seen in this image one sees Pope Benedict praying before the tomb of the Saint José Sánchez del Río when he visited Mexico. It was Benedict who declared him a martyr and who beatified José on November 20, 2005. Pope Francis will declare him a saint 2016.

May Saint José Sánchez del Río show us how to live the virtue of fortitude in the face of hardship.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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