Saints: May 2010 Archives

Saint Philip Neri

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Neri.jpgOne of the epitaphs of Saint Philip Neri's is:

"Philip Neri, learned and wise, by sharing the pranks of children himself became a child again."


Father Frederick Miller's excellent article ''Saint Philip Neri and the Priesthood'' gives a glimpse into this wonderful saint.

On a personal note, I went to Neri's tomb at the Chiesa Nuova (Rome) yesterday to offer a prayer for a friend, and myself, and found consolation.

Remember, ''To pray well requires the the whole man.''

St Damien-of-Molokai iconjpg.jpgFather of mercy, in Saint Damien You have given us a shining witness of love for the poorest and most abandoned. Grant that, by his intercession, as a faithful witnesses of the Heart of Your Son Jesus, we too may be servants of the most needy and rejected.

Pope Benedict XVI canonized Damien de Veuster on October 11, 2009. Saint Damien is counted among the North American Martyrs and six other saints for a total of 15 saints of the USA. A wiki-article has a brief outline of Saint Damien's life.

A number of resources have been pulled together for Saint Damien here.

The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary have published the texts for the Divine Office and the Mass for the liturgical memorial of Saint Damien found here.
Blessed Gregoty Frackowiak.jpg

Gregory Frackowiak was the youngest of our four martyrs was 31 when he was beheaded on May 5, 1943, in the prison of Dresden. Brother Gregory consciously offered his life as a substitute for others [does this sound the Law of the Gift spoken of my Jesus and recalled often by Pope John Paul II?]. His willingness to claim responsibility for some thing he did not do saved several people (including his brother) from certain imprisonment and death. This heroic gesture makes him similar to another martyr of the same war -- St. Maximilian Kolbe, who also gave his life for someone else in the concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Gregory is his religious name. He was born Boleslaw Frackowiak in Lowecice (a small village not far from Poznan). One of twelve children, he grew up in a deeply religious atmosphere. At the age of 18 he entered the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) novitiate in Gorna Grupa. From the beginning he exhibited great joy in being a missionary Brother. He worked both as a receptionist and as a professional binder in the printing press. Among the people of the area he was remembered as someone with a special sensitivity towards the poor. He had numerous visitors, because he was known for providing something to eat, a warm welcome, and a good word for everyone. Some called him "the friend of the poor."

His gentleness, simplicity, and deep spirituality were also appreciated by the students of the minor seminary, who enjoyed his presence and sought his advice. His work as a bookbinder in the printing press was acknowledged as exemplary by both lay employees and by the confreres. When Brother Gregory professed his final vows on September 8, 1938, he was deeply convinced that he was offering his life to God for the mission of Christ and of the Church. He had no idea how quickly and how radically he would be expected to live out that commitment.

When World War II began, Brother Gregory was part of the SVD community in Gorna Grupa. When this house was made an internment camp for priests, the brothers were forced to leave. For a while he lived with relatives in Poznan. There he served as the sacristan at St. Martin's Parish. He also taught catechism to children and even baptized some of the newborn. One day the pastor was arrested by the Gestapo. Since he could no longer safely hide the Blessed Sacrament, Brother Gregory took upon himself the task of distributing it among the faithful. For an entire day and night he and others in the parish knelt in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Then with great reverence he distributed Holy Communion to those present.

Eventually Brother Gregory was able to find work in a printing press at Jarocin, a small town not far from his home. Like many others, he received and passed on some anti-Nazi material. However, Fr. Paul Kiczka, SVD, advised him to discontinue receiving and passing on these pamphlets, and so he stopped. A year later these activities were discovered by the Gestapo.

Among those arrested were men who had wives and children. Wouldn't the others be saved if he took on himself the whole responsibility for this anti-Nazi activity? "May I accept the responsibility for them?" he asked his spiritual director. Fr. Kiczka responded: "If you have the courage and strength. It would mean sacrificing your life." Gregory made his confession and received Holy Communion. After his thanksgiving he shook his confrere's hand and said, "Till we meet again -- but not on this earth." He went home, where he was arrested the following day. He "confessed" his crime, and immediately afterwards some of the other suspects were freed. Gregory was transferred from the prison in Jarocin to Poznan and then finally to Dresden, where he was beheaded.

A few hours before his death Gregory wrote to his relatives. A few sentences from that letter reveal his readiness for death: "I am writing to you for the last time in this world. By the time you receive this letter I will no longer be among the living. Today on Wednesday (5.5.1943) at 6:15 PM I will be executed. Please pray for me. It is already one o'clock, and at two o'clock the priest will bring me Jesus. Don't cry, but pray for my soul. I leave it to you, whether you want to communicate to my mother the manner of my death. I am completely at peace. I greet all of you, and I will wait for you in God's presence. Please greet all the Missionary Brothers in Bruczkow. After the war bring my cassock there. God bless you. Remain faithful Catholics. Forgive any faults of mine. I'm sorry for my poor mother. May God protect you. Till we see each other in heaven."

Blessed Gregory Frackowiak was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 13, 1999, together with three companions from the Society of the Divine Word, as part of a group of 107 Polish martyrs of the Second World War.

This biography provided by the Society of the Divine Word, this religious congregation out if you think you have a vocation. We need more Blessed Gregorys....

Sts Philp and James.jpg
Philip, he who sees Me, sees also the Father, alleluia.

O God, who makes us glad by the yearly festival of Thine Apostles Philip and James, grant we beseech Thee, that we who rejoice in their merits may be taught by their example.

JJ O'Connor.jpgToday, we also remember the soul of John Joseph Cardinal O'Connor, PhD, archbishop of New York, 1984-2000. He died 10 years ago today.

O God, Who was pleased to raise Thy servant John Joseph O'Connor to the dignity of the episcopate; we beseech Thee, vouchsafe to admit him to the communion of Thy bishops forevermore.
Holy Family at Table JMosaert.jpgGod, creator of the world, placed man upon the earth to till it and to keep it, alleluia.

O God, the creator of all things, Who imposed on man the law of work; grant in Thy goodness that, by the example of Saint Joseph and under his patronage, we may accomplish the work that Thou commands us to do and attain the reward  that Thou has promised us.

Saint Joseph, patron of workers, pray for us.

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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About this Archive

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

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Saints: June 2010 is the next archive.

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