Category Archives: Saints

All Saints Day

All Saints Day ErspamerSaints are the fruits of the Holy Eucharist. Holy men and women extrovert the grace of Communion and say to us that living the Gospel is possible and reasonable. In Mane nobiscum, Domine, Pope Saint John Paul writes:

We have before us the example of the Saints, who in the Eucharist found nourishment on their journey towards perfection. How many times did they shed tears of profound emotion in the presence of this great mystery, or experience hours of inexpressible “spousal” joy before the sacrament of the altar!

Today is also the day on which Saint John Paul II was ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ 69 (1 November 1946). In the twenty-six years of being the Roman Pontiff, John Paul gave us more than 1,300 blessed and 480 saints.

Chiara Luce Badano

Luce Badano“I offer everything, my failures, my pains and joys to Him, starting again every time the Cross makes me feel all its weight. The important thing is to do God’s will. I might have had plans about myself but God came up with this. The sickness came to me at the right time… [and] now I feel like I am wrapped into a wonderful design that is slowly unfolding itself to me.”

A member of the Focolare ecclesial movement, she wrote to Chiara Lubich, the founder of the movement: “I’ve rediscovered the Gospel in a new light. Now I want this book to be the sole purpose of my life!”

(Blessed Chiara Badano, who died on October 7, 1990 at the age of 18 after a painful struggle with osteosarcoma. She was beatified in 2010; her feast day is today.)

Saint Luke

Luke painting the BVMToday the church remembers Saint Luke, the apostle and evangelist, “Scriba Mansuetudinis Christi” [writers of Christ’s gentleness] (Dante).

Known as the physician and evangelist of mercy.

History tells us that Saint Luke was a native of Syrian Antioch, and that he was a companion of the Apostle Paul (Phil.1:24, 2 Tim. 4:10-11). The Church historian and Father Eusebius (AD 260-340), described Luke in this manner: “Luke, who was by race an Antiochian and a physician by profession, was long a companion of Paul, and had careful conversation with the other Apostles, and in two books left us examples of the medicine for the souls which he had gained from them” (Eccl. Hist. 3.4.6; LCL 1:197)

One of the many key elements of Saint Luke’s Gospel and his Acts, is the reality of sacrifice that we all are forced to confront in our lives. No life has meaning without sacrifice. Hence, Saint Luke is also pictured with the symbol of the ox, a symbol of sacrifice connecting with the sacrifice of Jesus. Some scholars say the earliest date of Luke’s death is AD 84.

Louis and Zélie Martin, saints

Saints MartinsSaints Louis and Zélie Martin are models of holiness for us today, especially for families. The Martins were married in Alencon, France, in 1858 and gave to history nine children. Zélie Martin died of cancer in 1877, at the age of 45 and Louis died when in 1894, at 70 years.

Pope Francis canonized Louis and Zélie today and beatified in 2008.

Saints Louis and Zélie are the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and another daughter and candidate for sainthood, Léonie  Martin, who became Sister Françoise-Thérèse of the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen.

Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, described Louis and Zélie Martin as “an extraordinary witness of conjugal and family spirituality.”

At the wish of Pope Francis the faithful were invited to pray before the mortal remains of the new saints at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Saints Louis and Zélie model for us the vocation of Catholic parents. Despite many difficulties and sufferings they persevered and kept strong faith. In an age when so many families suffer, let us pray for the strengthening of families.

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.”

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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