Category Archives: Saints

Saint Callistus and Ember Days

Happy feast day of Pope Saint Callistus. The Church liturgically remembers this early pope because of his leadership and spiritual care in the face of trial and heresy. Slave, failed banker, convict and pope. He’s a late second century personage. Studied theology, ordained a deacon and a great counselor. Killed in 222 a riot against Christians. He’s the patron saint of cemetery workers. The pope’s biography is incomplete and often untrustworthy due to the lack of good records from this time. This Pontiff shows how to face our trials (and death): with Christ alone. Don’t give into the temptation of nihilism. Seek what God has shown us: Himself.

The liturgical scholars tell us that Callistus gave us the Ember Days. Before the revision of the Liturgy, the Church observed days of prayer and fasting (outside Fridays, Advent and Lent, and certain other days) with Ember days. There exists for sets of Ember days corresponding more-or-less with the change of seasons. So, Ember Days were known by the faithful from about AD 220 to 1969. Callistus links our Christian life with a good dose of Old Testament theology and typology.

As typical, when you touch something ancient it has the possibility of disintegrating, which is what happened to the Embers. The 1969 revision of the Church calendar reads:

“In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions and the different needs of the people, the conferences of bishops should arrange the time and plan of their celebration. Consequently, the competent authority should lay down norms, in view of local conditions, on extending such celebrations over one or several days and on repeating them during the year. On each day of these celebrations the Mass should be one of the votive Masses for various needs and occasions that is best suited to the intentions of the petitioners.”

The Holy Martin Family

Martin FamilyOn Sunday, October 18th, the Holy Father will canonize the parents of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (the Little Flower on Sunday. Louis Zélia Martin, whose children entered religious life. One of the girls is our beloved Little Flower was a Carmelite (like three of her sisters) and another, Léonie, became a member of the Visitation Order. Léonie’s cause for sainthood was introduced recently.

Saints beget saints.

The Martin family is a good group to go to for intercession.

Feast of the Holy Bishops of Milan

Milan's cathedralImagine being part of a diocese in which 36 of your past bishops are saints (and others being considered for sanctity)!!!

Holiness leads others to holy living.

Today, the Church in Milan commemorates 36 holy bishops.

They are:

• Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster
• Blessed Andrea Carlo Ferrari
• Pope Pius XI
• Saint Ambrose of Milan
• Saint Ampelius of Milan
• Saint Anathalon of Milan
• Saint Antoninus of Milan
• Saint Auxanus of Milan
• Saint Benedict Crispus of Milan
• Saint Benignus of Milan
• Saint Calimerius of Milan
• Saint Castritian of Milan
• Saint Charles Borromeo
• Saint Datius of Milan
• Saint Dionysius of Milan
• Saint Eugene of Milan
• Saint Eusebius of Milan
• Saint Eustorgius II of Milan
• Saint Eustorgius of Milan
• Saint Gaius of Milan
• Saint Galdinus of Milan
• Saint Geruntius of Milan
• Saint Glycerius of Milan
• Saint Honoratus of Milan
• Saint John Camillus the Good
• Saint Lazarus of Milan
• Saint Magnus of Milan
• Saint Mansuetus of Milan
• Saint Marolus of Milan
• Saint Martinian of Milan
• Saint Mirocles of Milan
• Saint Natalis of Milan
• Saint Protasius of Milan
• Saint Senator of Milan
• Saint Simplician of Milan
• Saint Venerius of Milan

Saint Matthew

Saint Matthew from Canterbury Codex AureusToday’s liturgical memorial highlights an important aspect of putting oneself under God’s authority and how everything is not as expected. Most people believe that they should be assigned roles in the community of faith (or any other community for that matter) based on experience and training. Sound sensible? Well, not according Jesus. What we see in Jesus certain ministerial arrangements of the Twelve Apostles and their talents we not as expected. Saint Matthew’s experience of managing money (he was a former tax collector) was not used. Jesus appointed Judas, not Saint Matthew, to be in charge of the money. How often this happens in the ministry of the Church! Bishops and religious superiors often ask their subjects to things that they may not have been trained for, or even have the desire to do. Clearly this is a helpful lesson to all tempted to be troubled over how they aren’t used as they should be (humanly speaking)!

What does the feast of Saint Matthew mean for the Church? This feast of Matthew indicates that if we say we place our lives into the hands of God, then we need to expect the unexpected and trust that Someone greater than ourselves may have a deeper insight into our humanity than we have for ourselves. Christ is the Divine Being who knows us better than we know ourselves! Think of Psalm 139. How freeing it can be if we allow the Lord to take the lead and truly guide our hearts and minds and hands for His greater glory and not our own! I think it is a beautiful experience to allow God’s grace to open a new vista of what it means to be a disciple of the Lord who comes to offer new life (a new ministry?) through another person so that the default answer to a question of Christian life is positive rather than the typical negative. Saint Matthew’s experience in the very early community of faith is very instructive for us who believe that we are our own measures. Can you imagine abundance? Can you imagine doing something new and exciting that you’ve never thought of before now?

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam

Frederic OzanamBlessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853) was aFrench scholar and with some friends and students founded the Conference of Charity, later known as the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. For him, “Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveler who has been attacked. It is justice’s role to prevent the attack.”

He was “A man convinced of the inestimable worth of each human being, Frédéric served the poor of Paris well and drew others into serving the poor of the world. Through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, his work continues to the present day.”

In 1997 at the Cathedral of Paris, Ozanam was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

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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