Category Archives: Saints


john-xxiiiAlmighty ever-living God,
who chose blessed John the Twenty-third to preside over your whole people
and benefit them by word and example,
keep safe, we pray, by his intercession,
the shepherds of your Church
along with the flocks entrusted to their care,
and direct them in the way of eternal salvation.

St Abraham

sacrifice-of-abrahamIn the Roman Martyrology today, is the feast day of St. Abraham, patriarch and father of all believers, who is celebrated by all three of the monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). “The LORD took Abram outside and said, ‘Gaze into the sky and count the stars–if you are able to count them!’ Then he said to him, ‘So will your descendants be.’” (Genesis 15:5)

As you know, the Roman Martyrology is the official list of saints recognized by the Catholic Church. Several times on this blog I have drawn our attention to various OT prophets that we commemorate as saints and now Abraham brings us closer to the reality that the Church transcends time as well walks on earth.

The Orthodox Church commemorates Father Abraham on August 21 with Isaac, and Jacob. With the help of the Orthodox we can appreciate the place of Abraham in our theology from a hymn sung on the second Sunday preceding Christmas, the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers:

Come feast-lovers, let us extol with hymns the assembly of the forefathers – Adam the first father, Enoch, Noah, and Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and those after the Law – Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Samuel; and with them Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the twelve Prophets, with Elijah and Elisha, and all the rest.

The author at St Sypridon Church’s web writes this that I believe is helpful for Catholics, too:

“The Church’s high esteem for the Old Testament saints is also seen in her custom of depicting the forefathers and prophets around the base of the interior central dome of a church. And by remembering these saints in her liturgical calendar, the Orthodox Church demonstrates her understanding that the Body of Christ transcends limitations of time and space. This awareness is clearly expressed at every Divine Liturgy: “And again we offer unto You this reasonable service for all those who in faith have gone before us to their rest: patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and every righteous spirit made perfect in faith.”

St Theodore Guerin

saint-mother-theodore-guerinA little known saint in these parts is an American woman called Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Today is her liturgical commemoration. Mother Theodore is the foundress of the Sisters of Providence in Indiana. For the time being, Saint Theodore’s liturgical devotion is restricted to the dioceses in Indiana.  She is a recognized saint of the Church, and her ability to assist us in our efforts to live holy lives is well documented. She was known for her great trust in God’s Providence and her holiness of life.

In October 1840, Mother Theodore and a group of sisters was invited from France to Indiana to serve in this portion of the Lord’s Kingdom. Travel to the USA and to Indiana caused them great hardships. And their challenges did not end there. Mother Theodore had many requests for her small community to serve the needs of the new diocese in Indiana. Mother Theodore and her sisters set to work serving those in their neighborhood, and quickly set to work establishing schools for the poor.  On a personal level, she suffered many hardships, from the severe conditions of their rugged dwellings to personal health problems that eventually led to an early death in 1856.

Saint Mother Theodore, Pray for us!

St Jerome

bigot-trophime-st-jeromeTypically remembered as curmudgeon, the Church remembers Saint Jerome, priest, monk and Doctor of the Church known for the depth of scriptural learning and his translation of the Bible into what we call the Vulgate, the Latin version of sacred Scripture. Among the many significant things Jerome was known for is his insistence on the necessity for Christians knowing the Old Testament.

The Church has experience with human nature an never fails to recognize the God-given mission of his people: Jerome is the patron saint of people with difficult personalities. You’ll notice many of the pictures of Jerome position him in the regalia of a cardinal (a position that did not exist in Jerome’s era) yet more realistic is his sacrificial life, the ascetic life for the training of all Christians to be in relationship with Christ Jesus, with others for the sake of building the Kingdom of God.

Historians tells us that Jerome was born around 340 as Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius in present-day Croatia, and homeschooled in the Christian faith from his father and later was sent him to Rome for instruction in rhetoric and classical literature. Pope Liberius baptized Jerome in 360.

Drawn to monastic and intellectual centers of the newly Christian empire (remember that Christianity had recently become legal), he set out to learn and be formed by a proper sense of culture (focussed on the Savior) and knowing the history, language, and sacred writ. His studied under Chromatius and Heliodorus, who were outstanding teachers of orthodox theology. Both were named saints.

Saint Jerome once said, “I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: ‘Search the Scriptures,’ and ‘Seek and you shall find.’ For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

Saint Jerome died in his Bethlehem monastery in 420.

Feast of the Archangels

In the Matins service this feast the Church prays: “Wherever your grace casts its shadow, O Captain and Archangel Michael, the Devil is driven out, for Lucifer, the fallen morning star, cannot bear to behold your light. We, therefore, beg you to quench the fiery darts he casts against us and deliver us from his temptations.”

All of us —you, me, the angels, the Son of God— have a mission given by God the Father. For a moment, let us consider the heavenly beings, the archangels.

The archangel Raphael bears a name which means God Has Healed; he appears clothed as a traveler. Raphael wears the traveler’s dress throughout the Book of Tobit because he guides young Tobias on his journey and brings God’s deliverance and healing to Tobit and Sarah. His traveler’s staff takes the form of a caduceus, indicating his special care for those engaged in healing ministries; it’s also conveying God’s healing to Tobit of his blindness. Moreover, Raphael is traditionally seen as the protector of travelers and physicians, plus having agency in bringing Tobias and Sarah together and therefore, he is often invoked by those seeking a loving marriage and a godly spouse.

The archangel Gabriel, Strength of God, is the Angel of the Annunciation, who identified himself to Zachary (Lk. 1:19) as one who stand(s) in the presence of God. He stands here closest to the Star and with his feet planted firmly on rock, for his message brings light and joy to all

the earth. In Gabriel’s left hand he holds an icon of the Theotokos of the Sign, indicating the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, the Son of God, and in his right he grips a staff surmounted by a lily, symbol of peace, a role he had of sounding the Last Trumpet (cf. Rev. 8:2-5). Christians consider Gabriel to be the angel of mercy and consolation.

Clad in armor and bearing a shimmering sword, the Archangel Michael, Who Is Like God?, is the champion of justice and angel of righteousness. Michael raises up an image of Man clothed in the white robe of Baptism, while casting into hell Satan (cf. Rev.12:7-9) and the fallen angels who serve him. In several ways Michael is like Gabriel because he is the link between the Old and New Covenants: he is invoked in time of warfare, both physical and spiritual, and to rescue souls from the clutches of the Devil, especially at the moment of death. As Pope Leo XIII reminded the Church, Michael is a powerful heavenly being in the struggle against evil.

May we revere the Archangels all the more by invoking their protection.

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]
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