Saints: January 2010 Archives

Saint John Bosco

| | Comments (0)

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.

St John Bosco.jpg

Because today is a Sunday, the Church does not observe the feast of Saint John Bosco, known also as Don Bosco. However, in the Salesian family, Don Bosco's it is a feast day. My encounters with members of the Salesian family have been few so I've poked around their website to learn a little more of the spirit of Don Bosco. The paragraphs are excerpts of a May 10, 1884 letter by Saint John Bosco, considered by some to be the "Magna Carta" of Salesian Education. It is included as an appendix to the Constitutions of the Salesian Society, and given to members of the Salesian Family. In the USA the Salesians are not as known as in other parts of the world. Here, their educational system was perceived to be competing with the Jesuits, and Salesians could not compete. The Jesuits have about 47 high schools in all the major cities. Be that as it may, Saint John Bosco provides for us an insight into effective pastoral ministry. The Salesians of Don Bosco are influential in various sectors of the Church, primarily in education and with the youth. The reasons for this fact are evident in the letter below. If you are interested in the Salesian priests and sisters, visit their website.

From the letter of Don Bosco

By a friendly informal relationship with the boys, especially in recreation. You cannot have love without this familiarity, and where this is not evident there can be no confidence. If you want to be loved, you must make it clear that you love. Jesus Christ made himself little with the little ones and bore our weaknesses. He is our master in the matter of the friendly approach. The teacher who is seen only in the classroom is a teacher and nothing more; but if he joins in the pupils' recreation he becomes their brother. If someone is only seen preaching from the pulpit it will be said that he is doing no more and no less than his duty, whereas if he says a good word in recreation it is heard as the word of one who loves.

How many conversions have been brought about by a few words whispered in the ear of a youngster while he is playing. One who knows he is loved loves in return, and one who loves can obtain anything, especially from the young. This confidence creates an electric current between youngsters and their superiors. Hearts are opened, needs and weaknesses made known. This love enables superiors to put up with the weariness, the annoyance, the ingratitude, the troubles that youngsters cause. Jesus Christ did not crush the bruised reed nor quench the smouldering flax. He is your model. Then you will no longer see anyone working for his own glory; you will no longer see anyone punishing out of wounded self-love; you will not see anyone neglecting the work of supervision through jealousy of another's popularity; you won't hear people running others down so as to be looked up to by the boys: those who exclude all other superiors and earn for themselves nothing but contempt and hypocritical flattery; people who let their hearts be stolen by one individual and neglect all the other boys to cultivate that particular one. No one will neglect his strict duty of supervision for the sake of his own ease and comfort; no one will fail through human respect to reprimand those who need reprimanding. If we have this true love, we shall not seek anything other than the glory of God and the good of souls. When this love languishes, things no longer go well. Why do people want to replace love with cold rules? Why do the superiors move away from the observance of the rules Don Bosco has given them? Why the replacement little by little of loving and watchful prevention by a system which consists in framing laws? Such laws either have to be sustained through punishment and so create hatred and cause unhappiness or, if they are not enforced, cause the superiors to be despised and bring about serious disorders. This is sure to happen if there is no friendly relationship. So if you want the Oratory to return to the happiness of old, then bring back the old system: let the superior be all things to all, always ready to listen to any boy's complaints or doubts, always alert to keep a paternal eye on their conduct, all heart to seek the spiritual and temporal good of those Divine Providence has entrusted to him. Then hearts will no longer be closed and deadly subterfuge will no longer hold sway. The superiors should be unbending only in the case of immoral conduct. It is better to run the risk of expelling someone who is innocent than to keep someone who causes others to sin. Assistants should make it a strict duty in conscience to refer to the superiors whatever they know to be an offence against God.

Saint Angela Merici

| | Comments (2)
St Angela Merici.jpgBorn in northern Italy in 1474, Angela Merici was orphaned by the age of 10, she was soon alone in this world without her nuclear family since her older sister suddenly died. Called to a life committed to the Lord, Angela was a Franciscan tertiary (today known as Secular Franciscan) who devoted herself to as much time in prayer as possible. She was particularly devoted to Christ crucified because it is "the book from which the soul learns," having spent hours in prayer before the crucifix. On pilgrimage to the Holy Land she went blind but was miraculously healed after prayer before the cross.

In a vision from the Lord, Angela formed a group of women who would care for families and the education of children. The group was called the Company of Saint Ursula and in some places it is referred to the Institute of Saint Ursula. Marcocchi's 1986 biography of the saint he said, "In 1535 Angela Merici founded at Brescia the Company of St Ursula. Its members observed the evangelical counsels without being bound by vows; they wore no particular habit; they did not lead a common life as in a monastic community, but lived with their own families and earned their own living. This initiative, aimed at inserting consecrated virgins into the world, introduced a feature of great innovation, as it took shape outside a monastery, in other words, outside the structure which for centuries had channeled religious life for women (XV)." At this time in the Church, the Company of Saint Ursula was a completely new form of religious life that many churchmen had problems with it because it challenged every sort of preconceived notion of what and how women acted in church and society. The only form of religious life offered to women was the cloister or the hospital. An apostolic life like that of the Franciscan and later of the Society of Jesus for women was unknown. Angela lived under the spiritual influence of Saints Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Genoa, and later those who followed the converted solider of Manresa. Angela would not only heed the spiritual doctrines of the Franciscan but keenly the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Angela died in 1540, the year the Jesuits were approved by Pope Paul III for the Church universal.

Saint Angela Merici was canonized by Pope Pius VII and is the patron saint of physically challenged people, sick people, and orphans. Her body remains incorrupt.

My hope is that a revival of the Company of Saint Ursula (the Ursulines) would happen...we need their witness today. Pray for this grace.
Titus ordained by Paul.jpgFor your servants and your bishops,
God, this day our thanks we bring.
Timothy and Titus, teachers
Of your word: their praise we sing.
In the church's youngest days
They were faithful to your ways;
With Saint Paul the gospel preaching,
Each day saw them new souls reaching.

With such witnesses surrounded,
Let us run in faith our race
That, with Jesus as our leader,
Buoyed up with Spirit's grace
We may reach our heav'nly goal,
True in body and in soul.
Praise the Father, Son, and Spirit!
We are saved through Jesus' merit!

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2009, World Library Publications
87 87 77 88;  FREU DICH SEHR

icon of Titus being ordained by the Apostle Paul

Conversion of Saint Paul

| | Comments (0)
Gladly will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Conversion of St Paul HSpeckaert.jpg
Among the biblical readings from today's liturgy there is the celebrated text of St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians in which the Church is compared to the human body. The Apostle writes: "As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The Church is understood as a body, which forms with Christ, who is the head, one single whole. Nevertheless, what the Apostle wishes to communicate is the idea of unity in the multiplicity of charisms, which are the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks to these gifts the Church presents itself as a rich -- and not a uniform -- living organism, the fruit of the one Spirit who leads all into a profound unity, assuming the differences without abolishing them and realizing a harmonious ensemble. It prolongs the presence of the risen Lord in history, especially through the Sacraments, the Word of God, the charisms and the offices distributed in the community. For this reason, it is precisely in Christ and in the Spirit that the Church is one and holy, that is, an intimate communion that transcends and sustains human capacities.

I would like to emphasize this aspect while we are observing the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity," which concludes tomorrow, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Following tradition, I will celebrate vespers in the afternoon in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, with the participation of representatives from the other Churches and ecclesial communities present in Rome. We will ask God for the gift of the complete unity of all the disciples of Christ and, in particular, according to this year's theme, we will renew the commitment to being together witnesses of the crucified and risen Lord (cf. Luke 24:48). The communion of Christians, in fact, makes the proclamation of the Gospel more credible and efficacious, as Jesus himself said as he prayed to the Father on the eve of his death: "That they may be one ... that the world might believe" (John 17:21).

(Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, January 24, 2010; Image of the "Conversion of Saint Paul" by Hans Speckaert)

St Francis de Sales2.jpg

In graciousness and dignity
Saint Francis led Christ's own,
That through the gospel's gentle love
Reforming strength be shown.

Mid fractious striving, Francis preached
The Cath'lic faith and shared
His riches with the poor he met;
Bore witness everywhere.

May each of us, by Francis led,
Commit our lives anew
To Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
God loving, wise, and true. 

J. Michael Thompson, Copyright © 2009, World Library Publications


Today is also the 44th World Communications Day, on feast of the saintly patron is Saint Francis de Sales who tirelessly brought the faith to others in an understandable way. Those claiming to be interested in the New Evangelization, especially seminarians, pay attention to what the Pope is saying! What is your diocese doing to reach out to those not hearing the Gospel on Sunday morning? How does your parish measure up to the Pope's ideas? Does your seminary promote communication, in its various forms, for the good of teaching the faith? Are you, as a Catholic, prepared to meet the post-modern era? If not, why?


The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World:
New Media at the Service of the Word.

The theme of this year's World Communications Day - The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word - is meant to coincide with the Church's celebration of the Year for Priests. It focuses attention on the important and sensitive pastoral area of digital communications, in which priests can discover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and for the Word of God. Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level. Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of these media make them all the more important for a fruitful priestly ministry.

All priests have as their primary duty the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, and the communication of his saving grace in the sacraments. Gathered and called by the Word, the Church is the sign and instrument of the communion that God creates with all people, and every priest is called to build up this communion, in Christ and with Christ. Such is the lofty dignity and beauty of the mission of the priest, which responds in a special way to the challenge raised by the Apostle Paul: "The Scripture says, 'No one who believes in him will be put to shame ... everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Rom 10:11, 13-15).

Responding adequately to this challenge amid today's cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies. The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more Saint Paul's exclamation: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" (1 Cor 9:16) The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.

The spread of multimedia communications and its rich "menu of options" might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different "voices" provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.

Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ. They will best achieve this aim if they learn, from the time of their formation, how to use these technologies in a competent and appropriate way, shaped by sound theological insights and reflecting a strong priestly spirituality grounded in constant dialogue with the Lord. Yet priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a "soul" to the fabric of communications that makes up the "Web".

God's loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in the digital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and engaging. Our pastoral presence in that world must thus serve to show our contemporaries, especially the many people in our day who experience uncertainty and confusion, "that God is near; that in Christ we all belong to one another" (Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2009).

Who better than a priest, as a man of God, can develop and put into practice, by his competence in current digital technology, a pastoral outreach capable of making God concretely present in today's world and presenting the religious wisdom of the past as a treasure which can inspire our efforts to live in the present with dignity while building a better future? Consecrated men and women working in the media have a special responsibility for opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord's presence, to grow in expectation and hope, and to draw near to the Word of God which offers salvation and fosters an integral human development. In this way the Word can traverse the many crossroads created by the intersection of all the different "highways" that form "cyberspace", and show that God has his rightful place in every age, including our own. Thanks to the new communications media, the Lord can walk the streets of our cities and, stopping before the threshold of our homes and our hearts, say once more: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me" (Rev 3:20).

In my Message last year, I encouraged leaders in the world of communications to promote a culture of respect for the dignity and value of the human person. This is one of the ways in which the Church is called to exercise a "diaconia of culture" on today's "digital continent". With the Gospels in our hands and in our hearts, we must reaffirm the need to continue preparing ways that lead to the Word of God, while being at the same time constantly attentive to those who continue to seek; indeed, we should encourage their seeking as a first step of evangelization. A pastoral presence in the world of digital communications, precisely because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, non-believers and people of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute. Just as the prophet Isaiah envisioned a house of prayer for all peoples (cf. Is 56:7), can we not see the web as also offering a space - like the "Court of the Gentiles" of the Temple of Jerusalem - for those who have not yet come to know God?

The development of the new technologies and the larger digital world represents a great resource for humanity as a whole and for every individual, and it can act as a stimulus to encounter and dialogue. But this development likewise represents a great opportunity for believers. No door can or should be closed to those who, in the name of the risen Christ, are committed to drawing near to others. To priests in particular the new media offer ever new and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the Church's mission, to build a vast and real fellowship, and to testify in today's world to the new life which comes from hearing the Gospel of Jesus, the eternal Son who came among us for our salvation. At the same time, priests must always bear in mind that the ultimate fruitfulness of their ministry comes from Christ himself, encountered and listened to in prayer; proclaimed in preaching and lived witness; and known, loved and celebrated in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation.

To my dear brother priests, then, I renew the invitation to make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications. May the Lord make all of you enthusiastic heralds of the Gospel in the new "agorà" which the current media are opening up.

With this confidence, I invoke upon you the protection of the Mother of God and of the Holy Curè of Ars and, with affection, I impart to each of you my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2010, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales.


Saint Agnes

| | Comments (0)
St Agnes3.jpgAlmighty and everlasting God, you choose those whom the world deems powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of your youthful martyr Agnes,  that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in you.

Let us now our voices raise,
Wake this day with gladness;
God has now to joy and praise
Changed our human sadness--
Joy that Agnes won her crown,
Entered heaven's portal
When she laid the mortal down
For the life immortal!

Praise we God, whose wondrous grace
Showered on this martyr,
Giving strength in death's fierce face
Not with sin to barter;
Rather claiming Christ as Lord,
Vowed to him forever.
Fullest praise let us afford,
Hymns that shall cease never!

To the Father, giving life,
Endless praise be given,
To the Son, who through death's strife
Brings us all to heaven,
To the Spirit, Paraclete,
Filling all with graces
Be our song of joy complete,
Through the endless ages.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2009, World Library Publications
76 76 D

For more on Saint Agnes, read the post from last year which includes a brief paragraph on the blessing of lambs.

What the video on the blessing of lambs whose wool is used for the weaving of pallia.

Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau

| | Comments (0)
Bl Basil Moreau.jpg

Spirituality. He practiced poverty to a heroic degree. He never looked to do anything for himself. It was his view that everybody should have better than he had and that everybody should have the best. He learned a deep sensitivity in dealing with others. He was a man who understood people. When he was a young priest, he was supposed to go study theology and he said, "I don't know theology, I can't do this, I am not equipped to do this." And, his spiritual director wrote, "Rejoice above all that you see nothing in yourself to depend on in this new post. That's a very good beginning, to put nothing of yourself into it and to await the Lord who will not fail you."

(Cardinal McCarrick's address on Blessed Basil Moreau, Stonehill College)

A prayer and other info on Blessed Basil Moreau may be found here.

Saint Hilary of Poitiers

| | Comments (0)
St Hilaire Poitiers.jpg

Saint Hilary worked tirelessly to defend the faith from wrong-thinking Christians, typically called heretics. What follows is Hilary's teaching on God the Father.

It is the Father from whom everything that exists has been formed. He is in Christ and through Christ the source of all things. Moreover, His being is in Himself and He does not derive what He is from anywhere else, but possesses what He is from Himself and in Himself. He is infinite because He Himself is not in anything and all things are within Him; He is always outside of space because He is not restricted; He is always before time because time comes from Him.... But, God is also present everywhere and is present in His entirety wherever He is. Thus, He transcends the realm of understanding, outside of whom nothing exists and of whom eternal being is always characteristic. This is the true nature of the mystery of God; this is the name of the impenetrable nature in the Father.

(On the Trinity, Bk. 2, Ch.6; ML 10, 54; FC XXV, 39-40) 

The Liturgical prayer for Saint Hilary may be prayed here.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa

| | Comments (0)
St Gregory of Nyssa3.jpgYou have shown forth your watchfulness, and were a fervent Preacher of godliness: by the wisdom of the teachings you have gladden the Church's faithful, Righteous Father Gregory, entreat Christ our God to grant us his great mercy. (Troparion, tone 3)

God our Father, Saint Gregory, Your bishop, praised You by the splendor of his life and teaching. In your kindness, as we forget what is past and reach out to what is before us, help us to attain that vocation to which we are called.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa once said:

A greedy appetite for food is terminated by satiety and the pleasure of drinking ends when our thirst is quenched. And so it is with the other things... But the possession of virtue, once it is solidly achieved, cannot be measured by time nor limited by satiety. Rather, to those who are its disciples it always appears as something ever new and fresh.

More on Saint Gregory of Nyssa may be read here.
Into Your Hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. For the name of Jesus, and in defense of the Church, I am willing to lay down my life.

Father, we honor the martyrs Philip and Herman, Your bishops and Your monastic priests, Theodore and Cornelius. Through their struggles and by their intercession may we willingly accept any hardship while serving Your beloved people.

Blessed André Bessette

| | Comments (0)

Blessed André Bessette, your devotion to Saint Joseph is an inspiration to us. You gave your life selflessly to bring the message of his life to others. Pray that we may learn from Saint Joseph, and from you, what it is like to care for Jesus and do his work in the world. Amen.

St Andre Bessette.jpg
Pope John Paul II said this of Brother André:

A daily crowd of the sick, the afflicted, the poor of all kinds--those who were handicapped or wounded by life--came to him. They found in his presence a welcome ear, comfort and faith in God. Do not the poor of today have as much need of such love, of such hope, of such education in prayer?

One of Brother André's friends said of him: "He spent his whole life speaking of others to God, and of God to others." 

More on Blessed --soon to be a saint-- André is found here, including the liturgical prayer.

Info on Brother André's canonization of will be announced here soon.

Saint John Neumann

| | Comments (0)

sjnmosaic.jpgMerciful Father, You have given me all that I have in this world, even life itself. In all my daily needs, help me to remember the needs of others too. Make me aware of the need to pray to You not just for myself but for the Church, the Pope, for the clergy and for people who suffer any need.

Make me as selfless as Saint John Neumann. Throughout my life, give me the grace to direct my first thoughts to the service of You and of others. Make my prayer - "Your will be done" knowing that in Your mercy and love, Your will for me is my sanctification. I ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen. (Prayer to Saint John Neumann)

The liturgical prayer, a brief chronology and a prayer for the saint's intercession may be found here.

Canonization homily of Pope Paul VI, Sunday, 19 June 1977

Greetings to you, Brethren, and sons and daughters of the United States of America! We welcome you in the name of the Lord!

The entire Catholic Church, here, at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, welcomes you with festive joy. And together with you, the entire Catholic Church sings a hymn of heavenly victory to Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, [1811-1860] who receives the honor of one who lives in the glory of Christ.

In a few brief words we shall describe for the other pilgrims some details of his life, which are already known to you.

We ask ourselves today: what is the meaning of this extraordinary event, the meaning of this canonization? It is the celebration of holiness. And what is holiness? It is human perfection, human love raised up to its highest level in Christ, in God.

At the time of John Neumann, America represented new values and new hopes. Bishop Neumann saw these in their relationship to the ultimate, supreme possession to which humanity is destined. With Saint Paul he could testify that "all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1 Cor. 3, 22). And with Augustine he knew that our hearts are restless, until they rest in the Lord (St. Augustine, Confessions, 1, 1).

His love for people was authentic brotherly love. It was real charity: missionary and pastoral charity. It meant that he gave himself to others. Like Jesus the Good Shepherd, he lay down his life for the sheep, for Christ's flock: to provide for their needs, to lead them to salvation. And today, with the Evangelist, we solemnly proclaim: "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn. 15, 13).

John Neumann's pastoral zeal was manifested in many ways. Through faithful and persevering service, he brought to completion the generosity of his initial act of missionary dedication. He helped children to satisfy their need for truth, their need for Christian doctrine, for the teaching of Jesus in their lives. He did this both by catechetical instruction and by promoting, with relentless energy, the Catholic school system in the United States. And we still remember the words of our late Apostolic Delegate in Washington, the beloved Cardinal Amleto Cicognani: "You Americans", he said, "possess two great treasures: the Catholic school and the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Guard them like the apple of your eye" (Cfr. Epistola 2 June 1963).

And who can fail to admire all the loving concern that John Neumann showed for God's people, through his priestly ministry and his pastoral visitations as a Bishop? He deeply loved the Sacramental of Reconciliation: and like a worthy son of Saint Alphonsus he transmitted the pardon and the healing power of the Redeemer into the lives of innumerable sons and daughters of the Church. He was close to the sick; he was at home with the poor; he was a friend to sinners. And today he is the honor of all immigrants, and from the viewpoint of the Beatitudes the symbol of Christian success.

John Neumann bore the image of Christ. He experienced, in his innermost being, the need to proclaim by word and example the wisdom and power of God, and to preach the crucified Christ. And in the Passion of the Lord he found strength and the inspiration of his ministry: Passio Christi conforta me! (The Passion of Christ strengthens me)

The Eucharistic Sacrifice was the center of his life, and constituted for him what the Second Vatican Council would later call "the source and summit of all evangelization" (Presbiterorum Ordinis, 5). With great effectiveness, through the Forty Hours Devotion he helped his parishes become communities of faith and service.

But to accomplish his task, love was necessary. And love meant giving; love meant effort; love meant sacrifice. And in his sacrifice, Bishop Neumann's service was complete. He led his people along the paths of holiness. He was indeed an effective witness, in his generation, to God's love for his Church and the world.

There are many who have lived and are still living the divine command of generous love. For love still means giving oneself for others, because Love has come down to humanity; and from humanity love goes back to its divine source! How many men and women make this plan of God the program of their lives! Our praise goes to the clergy, religious and Catholic laity of America who, in following the Gospel, live according to this plan of sacrifice and service. Saint John Neumann is a true example for all of us in this regard. It is not enough to acquire the good things of the earth, for these can even be dangerous, if they stop or impede our love from rising to its source and reaching its goal. Let us always remember that the greatest and the first commandment is this: "You shall love the Lord your God" (Matt. 22, 36).

True humanism in Christianity. True Christianity-we repeat -is the sacrifice of self for others, because of Christ, because of God. It is shown by signs; it is manifested in deeds. Christianity is sensitive to the suffering and oppression and sorrow of others, to poverty, to all human needs, the first of which is truth.

Our ceremony today is indeed the celebration of holiness. At the same time, it is a prophetic anticipation-for the Church, for the United States, for the world-of a renewal in love: love for God, love for neighbor.

And in this vital charity, beloved sons and daughters, let us go forward together, to build up a real civilization of love.

Saint John Neumann, by the living power of your example and by the intercession of your prayers, help us today and for ever.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

| | Comments (0)
St Elizabeth Ann Seton3.jpg
Lord Jesus, Who was born for us in a stable, lived for us a life of pain and sorrow, and died for us upon a cross; say for us in the hour of death, Father, forgive, and to Your Mother, Behold your child. Say to us, This day you shall be with Me in paradise. Dear Savior, leave us not, forsake us not. We thirst for You, Fountain of Living Water. Our days pass quickly along, soon all will be consummated for us. To Your hands we commend our spirits, now and forever. Amen. (a prayer by Saint Elizabeth Seton)

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821), a native of New York was socialite, a wife, a mother, a convert to Catholicism and a foundress of a religious community of women. Seton is the first native-born American citizen to be canonized. She founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows With Small Children, New York City's first private charitable organization, and founded the U.S. Sisters of Charity. Seton was responsible for the parochial school system in the USA. 

A video was made of Seton and you can watch the trailer here.

Even more on Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton may be found here, including the liturgical prayer for her.
Sts Basil, John Gregory.jpg

Saint Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea was one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church. He lived c. 329 to January 1, 379. Theologians place Saint Basil after Saint Athanasius as a defender of the Church against the heresies of the fourth century (the most destructive of the faith was the Arian heresy).

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 325-389) was also from Cappadocia and a friend of Basil, followed the monastic way of life for some years. Eventually the Church called Nazianzus to be a priest and later bishop of Constantinople (in 381). Saint Gregory was given the title "The Theologian" because of his learning and oratory.

Many icons of Saints Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil include Nazianzus' brother Saint Gregory of Nyssa. The group is known as "The Three Cappadocians." Some make the claim that Basil outshines Nazianzus and Nyssa in practical genius and actual achievement. BTW, the icon presented here does not include Nyssan but Saint John Chrysostom.

The liturgical prayer for today's memorial may be found here.

Saint Basil the Great writes on life's journey:

We read in the Book of Psalms: 'Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor follows in the way of sinners.' Life has been called a 'way' because everything that has been created is on the way to its end. When people are on a sea voyage, they can sleep while they are being transported without any effort of their own to their port of call. The ship brings them closer to their goal without their even knowing it. So we can be transported nearer to the end of our life without our noticing it, as time flows by unceasingly. Time passes while you are asleep. While you are awake time passes although you may not notice.

All of us have a race to run towards our appointed end. So we are all 'on the way'. This is how you should think of the 'way'. You are a traveller in this life. Everything goes past you and is left behind. You notice a flower on the way, or some grass, or a stream, or something worth looking at. You enjoy it for a moment, then pass on. Maybe you come on stones or rocks or crags or cliffs or fences, or perhaps you meet wild beasts or reptiles or thorn bushes or some other obstacles. You suffer briefly then escape. That is what life is like.

Pleasures do not last but pain is not permanent either.

The 'way' does not belong to you nor is the present under your control. But as step succeeds step, enjoy each moment as it comes and then continue on your 'way'.

Commentary on Psalm 1, 4 (PG 29, 220)

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]



Humanities Blog Directory

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Saints category from January 2010.

Saints: December 2009 is the previous archive.

Saints: February 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.