Tag Archives: saint

Saints Joachim and Anne, grandparents of Jesus

Today, is the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the remembrance of Our Lord’s maternal grandparents. Here we are able to relate to the humanity of Jesus, and not just His divinity. The genius of God that we are able to trace a genealogy!

While the secular world has a grandparents’ day, the Church has one too. Today. The feast of Saints Joachim and Anne could serve well as an occasion to recall the fact of our grandparents, and also be the occasion to consider the grace of having an extended family.

I am grateful for both the paternal and maternal grandparents God gave me. It was a privilege to have both sets of grandparents until 1987, when my paternal grandfather died; I was further graced by having a grandmother in my life until I was 33. Thanks be to God! My grandparents were wonderful and brilliant people who nurtured me and the family. It was my maternal grandmother, Marion, who taught me my prayers. Grandparents can be great models of a life of discipleship.

The Ordinary Form of the Latin Church observes today as the feast day for Joachim and Anne while the Extraordinary Form celebrates today as Saint Anne’s feast and then Saint Joachim on August 16; the Byzantine Church observes the feast on July 25 and claims the feast being observed as early as AD 550; in Rome some say the feast was observed in the 8th century. The Orthodox Church honors Anne with the title of “Forebearer of God.” Catholicism is a historical religion but here we have not concrete evidence to give except to say it is the sacred tradition of the Church that what liturgically recall today is in fact true. This is so because we believe that not only does God act reasonably but He acts in history. What we know about Saints Joachim and Anne does not come from the canon of sacred Scripture (the Bible) but from a source outside the approved biblical narrative in a text called the Protoevangelium Jacobi –or, the Gospel of James– written about AD 150-170. This text is not terribly reliable but it is referenced by the Church. In many ways Joachim and Anne reflect the experience of Abraham and Sarah, the narrative of Samuel and his mother Hannah (I Kings), and later John and Elizabeth. In Hebrew, Anne is translated as Hannah.

I am happy to say that the image above is that of a friend, Adrienne M. Keogler.

Saint James, the apostle that teaches us a lesson about selfishness

St James and pilgrim shell

Today we liturgically remember a witness of the Lord, Saint James the Greater, Apostle.

Sadly, we also must pray for the 77 people killed, and countless others injured, in a train accident on the 24th in Compostela; some headed home, many going for the annual feast.

James was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration and one of those who slept through most of the Agony in the Garden. He was the first of the apostles to be martyred. The Tradition of the Church says that the relics of Saint James were brought to Spain sometime after his martyrdom. The shrine at Compostela is one the greatest pilgrimage center in western Europe. One of the symbols of Saint James is the scallop-shell, is also the emblem of pilgrims generally.

As Dom Alban Hood said in his homily today at his Abbey in England:

It’s easy for us to criticize James and John and their mother, as if none of us at some time or another have not been guilty of having made selfish requests of God! Yet the lives of these people give us hope that as our relationship with God matures, human selfishness might be replaced by service. For his part, St. James did indeed achieve that greatness he desired. But he did so only through service- by drinking the chalice of Jesus, and giving his life for him.

Today’s feast is an opportunity for us to ask ourselves: Are we selfish, or are we servants? St Paul reminded us a moment ago that the treasure of God’s power within us belongs to him, not us and is carried through this life in earthenware vessels. We may yearn for status and a sense of importance, even an entry in Who’s Who but Jesus and the scriptures remind us that God’s way is radically different from human standards and values.

James truly was a Son of Thunder and had learnt bravely that to be on the right hand or the left hand of Jesus in glory, was to experience something of the pain and ignominy of Calvary.

Saint James, pray for Spain, and pray for each of us!

Saint Mary Magdalen

Magdalen raised by Angels GLanfranco.jpgThe day dawns, Mary, bright with joy,

The Lord is victor over death;
You hasten to anoint the Christ,
The truth, thought cold and void of breath.
You come in haste but ’tis to hear
A white-robed angel gladly tell,
“The one you’re seeking rose again,
He broke apart the gates of Hell.”
Your love requires a greater joy,
You ask the gard’ner where He lay,
A “Mary!” turning see the Lord
Your teacher, Jesus Christ, the Way.
The tearful Virgin you upheld,
Beneath the cruel gallows tree
And so Christ chose you first of all
As witness of his victory.
O lovely flow’r of Magdala,
Whose love of Christ earned such apart,
Pray we may also have this gift,
The flame of love within our heart.
Lord Jesus, give us such a love,
To olive like Mary all our days,
And so with her in heaven’s life
To sing your ever-lasting praise.
Text trans. Kenneth Tomkins, OSB, 1992, Quarr Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Today is a perfect day to pray for the Pope and our bishop. It is also a perfect day to pray for Christian unity and to pick up a good book on the Church’s history. Perhaps even pray with Matthew 16.


Grant, we pray, O Lord our God, that we may be sustained by the intercession of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, that, as through them you gave your Church the foundations of her heavenly office, so through them you may help her to eternal salvation.

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop

The martyrs realized what they taught

This day has been made holy by the passion of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. We are, therefore, not talking about some obscure martyrs. For their voice has gone forth to all the world, and to the ends of the earth their message. These martyrs realized what they taught: they pursued justice, they confessed the truth, they died for it.

Saint Peter, the first of the apostles and a fervent lover of Christ, merited to hear these words: I say to you that you are Peter, for he had said: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Then Christ said: And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. On this rock I will build the faith that you now confess, and on your words: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church. For you are Peter, and the name Peter comes from petra, the word for “rock,” and not vice versa. “Peter” comes, therefore, from petra, just as “Christian” comes from Christ.

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Saint Barnabas


With the Church we pray

O God, who decreed that Saint Barnabas, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, should be set apart to convert nations, grant that the Gospel of Christ, which he strenuously preached, may be faithfully proclaimed by word and by deed.

Saint Barnabas died in AD 61. What we know of Barnabas comes most from the Acts of the Apostles, which we heard in today’s Mass readings but he also shows in several of Saint Paul’s Letters.

Who was Barnabas? Some scholars say that Barnabas was the cousin of Saint Mark on the basis of Colossians 4. We know he was of the tribe of Levi (making him a member of the priestly class), a native of Cyprus and a landowner there before selling the land to support the Church in Jerusalem, Moreover, he was trained in the Christian faith and a teacher of the same (see Acts 13).

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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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