Tag Archives: saint

Saint John Neumann

O God, who called the Bishop Saint John Neumann, renowned for his charity and pastoral service, to shepherd your people in America, grant by his intercession that, as we foster the Christian education of youth and are strengthened by the witness of brotherly love, we may constantly increase the family of your Church.

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Our challenge today is to imitate what is celebrated in the person of this saintly American bishop.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

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This is the generation which seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s burning zeal to find you, grant by her intercession and example that we may always seek you with diligent love and find you in daily service with sincere faith.

Saint Elizabeth Ann was responsible for the Catholic school system in the USA, and many of the Catholic hospitals. She was the first US saint. How good it would be if a revival of vocations to the Sisters of Charity. Right now, the Sisters of Charity are on the verge of vanishing.

The saint and his bear: Saint Seraphim of Sarov

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Several years ago I was introduced to the figure of Saint Seraphim of Sarov ((1759-1833). He was a monk, priest, hermit and ascetic. He was known for his wisdom and humanity. In the Orthodox church he held the title of “startsy,” that is, a charismatic elder (in the strict sense of the word) “anointed” by the Holy Spirit with the gifts of prophesy, healing, discernment of God’s will. Saint Seraphim, you might say, was a spiritual father.

There is a story about Saint Seraphim that gives an interesting side to the man. It reads something to this effect,

“Two nuns from a
certain convent once came to visit Saint Seraphim. Suddenly a bear lumbered
unexpectedly out of the woods and frightened the visitors with his appearance.
“Misha,” – said the saint, – “why do you frighten the poor orphans! Go back and
bring us a treat, otherwise I have nothing to offer to my guests.” Hearing
these words, the bear went back into the woods, and two hours later he tumbled
into the holy elder’s cell and gave him something covered with leaves. It was a
fresh honeycomb of purest honey. Father Seraphim took a piece of bread from his
bag, gave it to the bear, pointed to the door – and the bear left immediately.”

I wonder if Saint Seraphim is invoked by those who have troubled bears? I am sure his guidance would be helpful.

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The Holy Innocents

Today’s feast of The Holy Innocents has renewed meaning with the recent tragedy involving the death of 20 children in Newtown, CT on December 14. The entrance antiphon for Mass is rather startling (as is the Collect): “The innocents were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord.”

So many violations of human dignity come to mind. Most notable resonances of recent days are the Newtown children, but there are also the countless of children aborted daily, the merciless killing of the elderly, sick, immigrants, and the list can go on. There is much work to protect human life.

Christmastide is filled with opportunities to recall those who died for Christ: Saint Stephen, the Holy Innocents, Saint Thomas Becket, CT little ones. The 16th century Coventry Carol, was sung as part of a pageant demonstrating chapter 2 of Matthew’s Gospel where Herod kills male children under the age of two. The unknown author captures the scene perfectly, and even today it has a poignant message.

The Most Reverend Peter A. Rosazza published this editorial on his Facebook page:

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On December 28th
our church commemorates the massacre of the Holy Innocents by King Herod
shortly after the birth of Jesus. The Magi disturbed Herod when they asked him
where they could find the new-born King since they had been led by his star to
Jerusalem. Herod, jealous of his power, sent soldiers to kill all baby boys two
years of age and younger in Bethlehem and its surroundings. Some scholars
estimate the number at approximately twenty-eight.

Just two weeks earlier, on
December 14th, another massacre of innocents occurred. As we know, eight boys
and twelve girls, between the ages of six and seven, along with six women, were
executed by twenty-year old Adam Lanza who had first killed his own mother. The
principal of the school another woman ran toward him and were killed in the

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Saint John the Evangelist

St John on a 12th c MS.jpgToday we honor the Apostle who likely knew the Lord’s
mind and heart the best. Typically, Holy Church uses Scripture to bring us into
the sacred Liturgy but today the entrance antiphon is taken from the other leg
of the Magisterium, that of tradition to orient our prayer and belief. We are

This is John, who reclined on the Lord’s breast at supper, the blessed
Apostle, to whom celestial secrets were revealed and who spread  the words of life through all the

With the Church we pray,

O God, who through the blessed Apostle John
have unlocked for us the secrets of your Word, grant, we pray, that we may
grasp with proper understanding what he has so marvelously brought to our

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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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