Category Archives: Saints

Blesseds Francisco & Jacintha

Bl Jacinta & Francisco.jpgUnless you change and become like little children you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

God of infinite goodness who loves the innocent and exalts the humble grant that, in imitation of Blesseds Francisco and Jacintha, we may serve You with purity of heart and so be worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
I would recommend watching the recently released movie, “The 13th Day” on the Fatima apparition of Our Lady. It is a beautiful movie!

Saint Josephine Bakhita

Thumbnail image for St. Josephine Bakhita.jpg

With the Church we pray:

God, who drew blessed Josephine from abject servitude to
the dignity of being your daughter and a spouse of Christ, grant to us, we ask, that by her example, we may follow the crucified Jesus with constant love, and be lovingly ready to persevere in mercy. 

The young Miss Bakhita (1869-1947) was entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of the Catechumens in Venice and it was there that she came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who He was” ever since she was a child. “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see him, to know Him and to pay Him homage…”

After several months in the catechumenate, Bakhita received the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist) and was given the new name, Josephine on January 9, 1890. With expressive eyes that sparkled, revealing intense emotions, she radiated joy. Josephine was often observed kissing the baptismal font and saying: “Here, I became a daughter of God!”

The Arabic word “Bakhita” means fortunate one. Indeed, Saint Josephine was fortunate. The Vatican biography written at the time of her canonization can be found here. When Pope John Paul II canonized Josephine she was the first Sudanese saint and she is the patron of evangelical reconciliation and freedom.

Would that we all kissed the baptismal font!!!

What does Saint Agatha teach us today?

“Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of blessed Agatha, virgin and martyr; at whose passion the angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God.” (Introit)

St Agatha healing GLanfranco.jpg

Today’s feast of a young virgin martyr is the last in a series courageous women of faith over the last few months. My The heart is always moved when I hear their story of faith and suffering and meditate on their iconography. As you know, the Roman Canon (the Eucharistic prayer at Mass) mentions a number of early women martyrs and then liturgical calendar recalls four virgin-martyrs that just cannot be forgotten: Cecilia (November), Lucy (December), Agnes (January) and Agatha (February).
History tells us that Agatha was martyred during the Decian persecution in AD 254. She suffered her breasts being torn off but later healed and restored by Saint Peter. Undeterred Agatha fearlessly faced the cruelty of her tormentors. She was buried in Catania, Sicily. Agatha had a double crown: of virginity and martyrdom thus becoming a praiseworthy witness of Christ, the patron of her home city and the whole Church and the patron those living with the diseases of the breast. To her we look for divine mediation for a cure for breast cancer. Let us remember the words of the Communion antiphon (verse): “He who deigned to heal my every wound and to restore my breasts, Him I invoke as the living God.”
Shortly after the death of Agatha people and the Church, in particular, recognized her holiness in a public way. Her name was entered in the Roman Canon (the first Eucharistic Prayer) very early in Christian history while Pope Symmachus built a basilica in Agatha’s honor as did Saint Gregory the Great as well as a few other popes and bishops.
Agatha is remembered not only for the courage, strength and love that sustained her in times of trial, but also her single-mindedness and praise of of God alone. Her love for God was stronger than human cruelty, pain and suffering. AND this is key: a determined focus on God, for how else are healed and saved? Catholic spirituality tells us to pattern our lives on Christ and the saints. The former because he is God made flesh, our Savior, the who loves us beyond all telling; the latter because they make the gospel concrete for us –the saints tell us that a life of holiness is possible and beautiful. But this singular focus Agatha’s is tough to focus on because of human frailty and personal distractions.
The Church’s hagiography acknowledges today the virginity of Agatha as a good thing to imitate, but the Church also acknowledges, as Ildefonso Schuster points out, “Virginity is not, however, a universal law; it is a special vocation, to which God calls only certain chosen souls, those generous souls who with the spiritual sword of mortification voluntarily take upon themselves perfect chastity, in order to consecrate themselves body and soul to God.”
Our praise is for God’s bestowal of many graces on Agatha, notably healing of body. May we also be filled with the spirit of Agatha when trial stares us in the face.

Blessing of Bread, Wine, Water and Fruit for the relief of throat ailments on the Feast of Saint Blase

Blessing of Bread, Wine, Water and Fruit for the
relief of throat ailments on the
Feast of Saint Blase, Bishop and Martyr 


V. Our
help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be
with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

bread.jpg

O God, Savior of the world, Who
did consecrate this day with the martyrdom of the most venerable Blase,
granting him among other gifts the power of healing all who are afflicted with
throat ailments; we humbly beseech Your boundless mercy, and beg that these
fruits, bread, wine, and water, which Your devoted people today, be blessed +
and sanctified + by Your goodness. May they who taste thereof be fully healed
of all afflictions of the throat, as well as every infirmity of soul or body,
through the prayers and merits of the same Blase, Pontiff and Martyr. You who
live and reign God, forevermore.

R. Amen.

The items are sprinkled with holy
water.

Blessing of Candles on the feast of Saint Blase

Blessing of Candles on the feast of Saint Blase,
Bishop & Martyr


San Biagio.jpg

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven
and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

O God
of gentleness and might, by You Word alone You did create the manifold things
of the world, and did cause this same Word, Maker of all things, to take flesh
in order to repurchase us. You are great and wonderful, awesome and
praiseworthy, a doer of wonderful deeds. Wherefore, in professing his fealty to
You, the glorious martyr and bishop, Blasé did not fear any manner of torment,
but gladly accepted the palm of martyrdom. In virtue of which, among other
gifts, You did bestow on him this prerogative -of healing all ailments of the
throat. Thus we beg Your Majesty that overlooking our guilt, and considering
only his merits and intercession You world grant to bless + and sanctify + and
bestow Your grace on these candles. Let all Christians of good faith whose
necks are touched with them be healed of every malady of the throat, and being
restored in health and cheer, let them return thanks in Your holy Church, and
give praise to Your wondrous name which is blessed forever. Through our Lord,
Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, God, eternally.

R. Amen.
St Blase candles Feb 3 2010.jpg
The candles are sprinkled with holy water. Then
the pries, holding two crossed candles to the throat of each one to be blessed,
as they kneel before the altar, says:

Through the intercession of Saint Blase,
Bishop and Martyr, may God deliver you from sickness of the throat and from
every other evil. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.

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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