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Thursday, September 21, 2017
Blessed Noel Pinot

Introibo ad altare Dei

Blessed Noel Pinot, priest & martyr (feast February 21), Noel was born at Angers in 1747. He became a priest and excelled in ministering to the sick. In 1788, he was made pastor at a parish in Louroux Beconnais, which he revitalized spiritually through his piety and preaching.

Father Noel refused to take the oath of allegiance to the new French Republic which denied the authority of the Church, and was sentenced to be deprived of his parish for two years. Nonetheless, he continued to carry out his ministry in secret. Later, the holy priest even took clandestine possession of his parish and continued his pastoral work, managing to avoid capture for his defiance of the Revolutionary edict.

However, one day while fully vested for Mass, Father Noel was captured and dragged through the streets to the jeers of hostile spectators and soldiers. He remained in jail for twelve days and was given the death sentence for refusing to take the oath. The holy priest went to the guillotine still vested for Mass and uttering the words that began the pre-Vatican II Mass: “I will go to the altar of God, to God Who gives joy to my youth.” He joined his sacrifice to that of his Master on February 21, 1794, and was beatified in 1926.

Source: Facebook
St. Matthew the Apostle

Double of the II Class (1954 Calendar): September 21

Before St. Matthew became an Apostle, he was a publican or, more colloquially, a tax collector. St. Matthew may have worked for the Roman Empire or for Herod Antipas. The Roman Empire collected taxes indirectly by farming out the collection process to members of the rich Equestrian class. These Equestrians bought the right to collect taxes at public auctions. The taxes were then deposited in the Roman Treasury while the Equestrians hired local men to collect the taxes from the district’s inhabitants. Anything over the agreed amount of taxes was income to the Equestrians with the local tax collector also collecting his percentage of the earnings. Corrupting elements were built into every transaction.

Without strong safeguards, the collection of custom duties may become arbitrary and tyrannical. The tax collector is able to force merchants or travelers to unpack every wagonload and loosen every package. To add the injury of national pride to monetary loss, the local tax collectors were Jewish helping the hated invader, Rome. Even if St. Matthew worked for Herod Antipas, he would still have been ostracized:
“Even in Galilee, where one like Matthew may have been serving Herod Antipas and may have been collecting lawful customs from the caravans which moved along the great commercial highway, he would be regarded with suspicion and classed with social and religious outcasts.” (Erdman. 1920. pg. 7)
Publicans were in the same class as heretics and offenders against the Church. Of course, this is not to say that St. Matthew himself was dishonest or tyrannical as he went about his tax-collecting. It is, however, a measure of his ambition or his need for money that he was willing to take a job that was despised by the rest of the inhabitants of Galilee. The Gospels tell us that St. Matthew did well too – well enough to host a banquet for many of his friends when he decided to follow Jesus. It is even more remarkable then that he walked away from his lucrative if unsavory occupation and towards Jesus when Christ called him.

Learn more in Frances Spilman's book "The Twelve: Lives and Legends of the Apostles"


O Lord,may the prayers of the blessed apostle and evangelist Matthew help us to obtain the graces we ourselves cannot acquire by our merits. Through our Lord . . .
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
St. Eustace and Companions

Double (1954 Calendar): September 20

St. Eustace was a distinguished Roman officer. He owed his conversion to the vision of a stag with a crucifix between its antlers, seen by him while he was hunting. His wife and their two sons became Christians at the same time. In about the year 120 AD, St. Eustace and his wife and two children, after undergoing many cruel tortures, were martyred for having refused to offer sacrifice to false gods.


O God, who granted us the grace to celebrate the birthday of Your blessed martyrs Eustace and companions, grant that we may also share their eternal happiness in heaven. Through our Lord . . .
September Ember Day Alert

Remember that this week contains the Fall Ember Days.

Catholics have forgotten this ancient and venerable tradition! Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday - mark your calendars! Up until the late 1960s, Catholics between the ages of 21-59 were bound to the Laws of Fast on these days; those who have reached their 7th year or older were bound by the law of abstinence.

The Ember Days were instituted for a good harvest and to draw down God’s blessings upon the September ordinations. Pray for priests! Join in this ancient fasting, abstinence, and prayer tradition beginning today on Wednesday and then again this upcoming Friday and Saturday as penance.

Learn more in the Ember & Rogation Day Manual
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Anniversary of Our Lady of La Salette

On September 19, 1846, the Blessed Mother appeared to two young people at La Salette, France. Both of the children, Maximin Giraud, age 11, and Melanie Calvert, age 15, along with the local villagers, had become lax in prayer and participation in the Sacraments.

Mary appeared only once to the children. Through tears, she called for a renewal of faith. Specifically, she warned that those who did not obey the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath Day and to honor our Lord, were causing Jesus great pain. This vision and message was received and taken to heart by thousands of people, as word of the vision spread.

La Salette brought a revival of faith during a time when such renewal was greatly needed. Unlike the visionaries of Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe and elsewhere, the visionaries at La Salette struggled and could not seem to adjust to instant fame and intense scrutiny. Both of the visionaries wandered from place to place and seemed to flounder throughout the rest of their lives.

Source: Course on Mariology
Monday, September 18, 2017
Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit Seeks to Expand

Within the walls of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey, rows of simple crosses mark the graves of sisters who have gone before. It’s a potent symbol of life in the monastery, where women enter cloistered life intending never to leave, even in death.

These Dominican nuns have been in this place of peace for almost 100 years, sustaining the Church every day through their prayer and devotion. And while many religious orders are facing an aging religious population and steady decline, these sisters have seen the opposite trend.

In the past 10 years, 12 new women have entered the life, seven have stayed, and a steady stream of new young women visits to discern whether or not this is the life for them.

Continue Reading on Our Sunday Visitor
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Feast of Ss Cornelius and Cyprian

Semidouble (1954 Calendar): September 16

Today the Catholic Church commemorates two friends in the service of Christ and his Church who are mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass.
Pope Cornelius (251-253) was the successor to Pope Fabian. During his reign a controversy arose concerning the manner of reinstating those who had fallen from the faith under the duress of persecution. The Novatians accused the Pope of too great indulgence and separated themselves from the Church. With the help of St. Lucina, Cornelius transferred the remains of the princes of the apostles to places of greater honor. On account of his successful preaching the pagans banished him to Centumcellae, where he died. St. Cyprian sent him a letter of condolence. At the time of Pope Cornelius there were at Rome forty-six priests, seven deacons, seven subdeacons, forty-two acolytes, fifty-two clerics and more than five hundred widows who were supported by the Church (according to Cornelius' letter to Bishop Fabian of Antioch). 
Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus, illustrious as a pagan rhetorician in Carthage, embraced the true faith in the year 246 and was soon thereafter consecrated priest and bishop of that city (248). He was an energetic shepherd of souls and a prolific writer. He defended the unity of the Church against schismatic movements in Africa and Italy, and greatly influenced the shaping of Church discipline relative to reinstating Christians who had apostatized. He fled during the Decian persecution but guided the Church by means of letters. During the Valerian persecution (258) he was beheaded. He suffered martyrdom in the presence of his flock, after giving the executioner twenty-five pieces of gold. St. Jerome says of him: "It is superfluous to speak of his greatness, for his works are more luminous than the sun." Cyprian ranks as an important Church Father, one whose writings are universally respected and often read in the Divine Office. His principal works are: On the Unity of the Church; On Apostates; a collection of Letters; The Lord's Prayer; On the Value of Patience. 
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

O Lord, let the prayers of Your blessed martyr bishops Cornelius and Cyprian, whom we honor today, gain us Your protection. Through our Lord . . .
Friday, September 15, 2017
Commemoration of St. Nicomedes

Today the Church recalls a lesser known saint in the Commemoration of St. Nicomedes.  His life is recounted in Butler's Lives of the Saints:
HE was a holy priest at Rome, who was apprehended in the persecution of Domitian for his assiduity in assisting the martyrs in their conflicts, and for interring their bodies. Refusing constantly to sacrifice to idols, he was beaten to death with clubs about the year 90. His tomb was on the road to Nomento, and he is commemorated on this day in the sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great, and in the Martyrologies of St. Jerom, Bede, &c. See the Acts of SS. Nereus and Achilleus.

Stay close to Your people, O Lord, so that the brilliant merits of Your blessed martyr Nicomedes may help us, and his prayers win for us Your unfailing mercy. Through our Lord . . .
Monday, September 11, 2017
Sts. Protus and Hyacinth

Simple (1955 Calendar): September 11

September 11th is the Feast of Ss. Protus and Hyacinth.
The story of most martyrs of the first three centuries is so obscured by legend that it is difficult for us to cull out the historical kernel; this is true of today's saints. Tradition tells us that the brothers Protus and Hyacinth were chamberlains to the holy virgin Eugenia (listed as a martyr on December 25 in the Roman Martyrology) and were baptized along with their patron by Bishop Helenus. They devoted themselves zealously to the study of Sacred Scripture and lived for a time with the hermits in Egypt, illustrious for humility and holiness of life. At a later date they accompanied Eugenia to Rome and were arrested by Emperor Gallienus (260-268) for their profession of the Christian faith. In no manner could they be persuaded to deny the faith or worship the gods. Accordingly, after an inhuman scourging, they were beheaded on September 11. 
Veneration of the two martyrs in the Church of Rome dates to venerable antiquity. Ancient registers contain their names, Pope Damasus praises them in verse at the end of the age of martyrs. The cemetery of Basilla marked the site of their graves; relics of St. Hyacinth were discovered there in 1845 and now are honored in the chapel of the Propaganda. 
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

May the glorious profession of faith of Your blessed martyrs Protus and Hyacinth strengthen us, O Lord, and may the power of their intercession shield us. Through our Lord . . .
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Video Reminder On the Importance of Modesty

Francis Empowers Bishops to Lay Down Their own Liturgical Regulations

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Villavicencio, Colombia, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini.)
Guest Post By David Martin

Pope Francis has issued a motu proprio Magnum Principium, a modification of Canon Law 838, which grants bishops’ conferences greater control over the translation of liturgical texts. This includes the power to make adaptations which the bishops deem appropriate for their regions. 

Until now, Canon 838 (§1) stated that "The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, namely, that of the Apostolic See." Paragraph §2 said: "It is for the Apostolic See to order the liturgy of the universal Church," but now the Apostolic See has the task of "recognizing adaptations approved under the law of the Episcopal Conference." (§2) In other words, the power of the Curia is reduced from authorizing to approving texts that are generated by episcopal conferences.

Paragraph §4 makes it clear that the pope has now given bishops the power to determine much of the Church's liturgical direction. "Within the limits of his competence, it belongs to the diocesan bishop to lay down in the Church entrusted to his care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all."

This opens the door, not only to greater liberty in translating liturgical texts, but to creativity in drafting their own texts. What we are seeing is a further attempt to pull the Catholic world away from the Church's centralized authority and have a whimsical free-for-all.

Francis himself, on October 17, 2015, called for a "healthy decentralization" of power in the Roman Catholic Church, including changes in the papacy and greater decision-making authority for local bishops, so this latest motu proprio is part of his plan to execute this decentralization.

It calls to mind the subversive designs of Mgsr. Annibale Bugnini—the key liturgical planner of Vatican II and principal architect of Sacrosanctum Concilium—as he relayed them to Masonic Grand Master Licio Gelli in a *letter dated July 2, 1967: "The greatest liberty was given to choose between the various formulas, to individual creativity, and to chaos!"

Under the pretext of making the Faith more accessible to the laity, the enemies of the Church introduced vernacular at Vatican II for the purpose of rendering the Church secular and divided, as opposed to holy and universal. It appears that Rome is now going the full nine yards with this plan.

However, if holiness, unity, and crystal clear communication from God to man is what Francis aspires for, he will promptly scrap these modernist trappings and return the Mass to its original formula in the Latin Tridentine Rite—the formula which accomplished this perfectly through the centuries. This is what Pope Benedict XVI aspired for during his active pontificate, so why shouldn't Francis?

In speaking of the Traditional Latin Mass, Pope Benedict said on April 30, 2011: "What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well." (Universae Ecclesia)

The irony of all this liturgical updating is that Latin—the very thing that modernists despise—is all too conveniently used as a tool to pull the faithful away from their Latin heritage. Perfidious documents such as the latest are published in Latin to make them appear "religious," but is this not Pharisaic? Vatican bureaucrats should at least have the decency to publish their revolution in their own Esperanto and reserve Latin for the holy things of God.

*This correspondence is taken from Andrea Tornielli's Dossie Liturgia Uma Babel Programada, that appeared in the June 1992 issue of 30 Days.
Monday, September 4, 2017
Blessed Agnes of Bagno

September 4th is the Feastday of Blessed Agnes of Bagno.  Blessed Agnes was a 12th century Camaldolese nun at Santa Lucia near Bagno di Roma in Tuscany (modern day Italy).  Her shrine is at Pereto.  She was a friend of Blessed Joan of Bagno di Romagna.  Devotion to Blessed Agnes of Bagno was confirmed in 1823 but she is not listed in the Roman Martrology. 

May we never forget the lives of these lesser known saints whose lives can still serve as great inspiration for all of us.

Source: The Book of Saints: A Comprehensive Biographical Dictionary by Basil Watkins.  Now fully revised and updated The Book of Saints is a comprehensive biographical dictionary of saints canonised by the Roman Catholic Church. It contains the names of over 10,000 saints, including all modern ones, with significant information about their lives and achievements. Each section begins with an illustration of a particular saint, and the volume includes a list of national martyrs, a bibliography, and a helpful glossary.
St. Rose of Viterbo (Mass in Some Places)

While a feria day on the Universal Calendar, today is in some local calendars the Feast of St. Rose of Viterbo.
Almighty God did marvelous things in the soul of Saint Rose of Viterbo. It appears that her parents gave her that name by divine inspiration, for it was symbolic of her entire career. As long as she lived, she bloomed like a sweet-scented rose in the garden of the Church, and in full bloom as she was transplanted to Paradise. 
Before she was able to speak, Saint Rose attempted to pronounce the sweet names of Jesus and Mary; and as soon as she had learned to walk, she asked to be taken to church and to other retired and quiet places to pray. When religious discourses were given, she would listen with great attention. 
When Saint Rose was only 3 years old, God showed how pleased He was with her in a most wonderful way. One of her maternal aunts died. The family were standing around the bier weeping aloud. Deeply moved by the sorrow of her relatives, little Rose went to the coffin, raised her eyes to heaven, and prayed silently. Then she placed her little hand on the body of her deceased aunt and called her by name. The dead woman immediately opened her eyes and reached out to embrace her little niece, who had raised her to life again. 
The child entertained a great compassion for the poor; she always tried to save some food to give to the poor. One day when she left the house with some bread in her apron, she met her father, who asked her in curt fashion what she was carrying off now. The frightened child opened her apron and fragrant roses were found in it. 
When she was 7 years old, Saint Rose of Viterbo retired to a little cell in her father's house. There she spent almost all her time in contemplation and in practicing rigorous penance. She prayed much for the conversion of sinners. Meanwhile our dear Lord was preparing her for an extraordinary mission.

St Rose was not yet 10 years old when the Blessed Mother of God instructed her to join the Third Order of St. Francis. Shortly after, our Lord appeared to her on the Cross, wearing the crown of thorns on His head and bleeding profusely from all His wounds.
St Rose, aghast at the sight, called out: "O my Lord, who has reduced Thee to this state?"
Our Lord replied, "My love, my deep love for men has done this." 
"But," asked Rose, "who has so pierced and torn Thee?" 
"The sins of men have done it," was our Lord's answer. "Sin, sin!" cried the saint, and she scourged herself to make atonement for the sins of the world. 
By divine inspiration, Rose then took a cross in her hand and went up and down the streets and public squares of her city telling people of the terrible tortures our Lord suffered and of the heinousness of sin. Every now and then she would emerge from her solitude to entreat the people to do penance. 
The town of Viterbo, which belonged to the Papal States, had revolted against the authority of the pope. Disregard for religion and moral degradation were the order of the day. But the sermons of this little missionary had marvelous results. The people came in crowds to hear her. The stone on which she stood was seen to rise in the air, and she was sustained there by a miracle while burning words issued from her lips. The greater part of the citizenry had already resolved to do penance and to return to the legitimate papal allegiance when Saint Rose of Viterbo and her parents were repelled by the civil authorities. 
The result was that she now had a wider field of activity. At Soriano and later at Vitorchiano, her preaching had the same blessed results. In the latter place, a sorceress had done much harm among the inhabitants. Fearing that after her departure this woman would undo the good effected there, Rose was desirous of her conversion. Her initial efforts failed. Then our saint had an immense pile of wood prepared in the public square; fire was set to it, and Rose stepped into the fire and mounted to the top of the pile. She remained untouched for three hours in the midst of the flames, singing the praises of God. The sorceress now cast herself at Rose's feet and was sincerely converted. 
Meanwhile the rightful authority of the pope had been re-established at Viterbo, and Rose could return. She was now 15 years old and anxious to enter the convent of the Poor Clares. As she had no dowry, she could not be admitted. 
"Well," said Rose, "you will not receive me while I am alive, but you will receive me after I am dead." She and several companions repaired to a secluded dwelling, where they intended to live as a community. The ecclesiastical authorities, however, did not approve of the plan, and Rose returned home. She died 2 years later, filled with the joyous desire of being united with her God.  
Two and a half years after her death she appeared three times to Pope Alexander IV, who was in Viterbo at the time, and told him to have her body removed to the convent of the Poor Clares. When this was done, her body was found incorrupt; and it has remained in that condition to this day. Miracles are constantly occurring at her tomb. Pope Callistus III canonized her in 1457. 
Although her skin is dark, the body of the saint is still flexible and the internal organs in good condition. In 1921 the heart was removed to be placed in a reliquary for a procession, and it was found to be unblemished and perfectly intact at that time. 
Excerpted from: The Franciscan Book Of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, OFM
Friday, September 1, 2017
Commemoration of the Holy Twelve Brothers

The martyrs join with all the saints in praising the glory of God

The "Holy Twelve Brothers" refer to the fourth-century apostles who refused to offer sacrifice to pagan gods. Africans by birth, these saints were martyred in various places in the third century under the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. Four were beheaded in Potenza, Italy on August 27. Three were beheaded at Vanossa on August 28. The others were beheaded at Sentiana on September 1. They were brought together and enshrined at Benevento in 760.

Today is also the Feast of St. Giles.


O Lord, may the martyrdom of these brothers warm our hearts with joy, enliven our faith by an increase of virtue, and comfort us by the added number of intercessors we have in heaven. Through our Lord . . .
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Commemoration of Ss. Felix and Adauctus

Each year we recall on August 30th not only the life of St. Rose of Lima but also Ss. Felix and Adauctus.

St. Felix was a Roman priest who was beheaded in c. 303 AD. And St. Adauctus was a Christian layman who insisted on sharing the crown of the martyred priest. Since his name was not known, he was simply called by the Latin equivalent of "added on." Thus, we refer to him as St. Adauctus rather than the name he was called on earth.


O Lord, we humbly implore Your majesty to defend us through the intercession of Your saints, just as You fill us with happiness by the celebration of their feast. Through our Lord . . .
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
St. Sabina

Today we rejoice along with the Holy Church in the Commemoration of St. Sabina, in addition to the Martyrdom of John the Baptist.

Saint Sabina was a matry from Rome who lived in the 1st century AD until 126 AD.  She was the widow of Senator Valentinus and daughter of Herod Metallarius.

St. Sabina was converted to the Faith by her servant, St. Serapia.  Upon St. Serapia's denouncement as a Christian and subsequent martyrdom by decapitation, St. Sabina rescued her remains and had them moved to the family mausoleum.  Like St. Serapia, St. Sabina too was denounced  and accused of being a Christian.  And after she consented to being one, she was martyred under Elpidio the Prefect in the city of Vindena in the state of Umbria, Italy.

In 430 AD, her relics were brought to a special basilica in her honor in Rome which was built on the spot of a former temple to Juno.  Indeed, the Christian has conquered the Roman pagans.  This church is now the world headquarters of the Dominican Order.

May we pray for the fortitude and patience of the martyrs like St. Sabina.


O God, one of the marvelous examples of Your power was granting the victory of martyrdom even to delicate womanhood. May the example of the blessed martyr Sabina, whose birthday we celebrate today, draw us closer to You. Through our Lord . . .
Monday, August 28, 2017
St. Hermes

Saint Hermes is the figure in the back, in armor. Other saints pictured include Saint James the Great, Saint Joseph,Saint Ghislain, and Saint Eligius.

Few people are likely aware that we as Catholics invoke St. Hermes.  St. Hermes - not at all to be confused with the fictitious mythological deity by the same name - was a real person.  He was a martyr with companions his Rome, who all suffered at the hands of a judge named Aurelian. They are mentioned in the Acts of Pope St. Alexander I .

Butler's Lives of the Saints writes of him:
HE suffered at Rome in the persecution of the emperor Adrian about the year 132. His tomb on the Salarian Way was ornamented by Pope Pelagius II. and his name is famous in the ancient western Martyrologies.
Let us invoke his patronage today, along with today's other saint, St. Augustine of Hippo.


O God, it was Your strength that kept the blessed martyr Hermes unfaltering under suffering. May we follow his example in spurning earthly riches for love of You and in fearing no worldly harm. Through our Lord . . .
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Bishop Fellay's Sermon in Fatima

Excerpts from the SSPX Website:
He first recalled the vision of hell that the three shepherd children of Fatima contemplated with horror; he explained that this fear is salutary and that those who seek today to anesthetize consciences by offering them a broad path are truly assassins of souls.

Then Bishop Fellay emphasized that the message of Fatima is a message of hope: those who practice the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary will be saved. This divine promise of salvation offers us an easy means: all we have to do is take it seriously. We must make reparation for the offenses against the Most Blessed Mother of God. Like little Francisco, we must seek to console the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let us accept all trials generously, offer them up, and sacrifice ourselves by faithfully accomplishing our duty of state, seeing souls through the eyes of Jesus Christ as He gazed at them from His Cross, and the eyes of Our Lady, standing at the foot of the same cross, stabat Mater.

In conclusion, the Superior General forcefully repeated that the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is willed by God for the world today. Not a superficial or mechanical devotion, but a profound one: her Heart must be our intimate refuge. The prelate also announced that he would renew the consecration of Russia right after the Mass, just as Archbishop Lefebvre did here in Fatima thirty years ago. Of course, it is up to the  Holy Father and all the bishops of the world in union with him to make this consecration. The Society’s act of consecration is a way of expressing its desire to answer Heaven’s request, while fully aware of its limits, with the lively hope that the Vicar of Christ will one day consecrate the country himself.

The Rosary Crusade draws to a close, but its spirit lives on: let us never cease to beg with our fervent prayers the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which will come when God wills. But we are assured it will come!
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Com. of Sts. Timothy, Hippolytus and Symphorian

1954 Calendar: Commemoration (August 22nd)

Besides today being the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is the annual day we commemorate Ss. Timothy, Hippolytus, and Symphorian.  The following is shared from Liturgia Latina's website:
Timothy of Antioch came to Rome in 310 and was martyred in 311. He was cruelly beaten and quicklime was sprinkled over his torn flesh. At last he was beheaded. 
On the same day at Ostia, Hippolytus, bishop of Porto, was thrown into a hole filled with water and received the crown of martyrdom about A.D. 225. 
Again on the same day, about A.D. 180, under the reign of Aurelian, Symphorian, who was still a young man, was beheaded at Autun. While he went to execution his mother said to him: "My son, my son, remember eternal life; look up to heaven and see the One who reigns there; life is not taken from thee, it is exchanged for a better one."

Deny us not, O merciful Lord, Thy help: but listening to the prayers of Thy blessed martyrs Timothy, Hippolytus and Symphorian, stretch forth over us the right hand of Thy merciful forgiveness.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Empress Helena (Mass in Some Places)

While not on the Universal Catholic Calendar, in some parts of the world today is the Feast of Empress Helena. The following is taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia on St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, the one who legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire:

The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage; St. Ambrose, in his “Oratio de obitu Theodosii”, referred to her as a stabularia, or inn-keeper. Nevertheless, she became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus. Her first and only son, Constantine, was born in Naissus in Upper Moesia, in the year 274. The statement made by English chroniclers of the Middle Ages, according to which Helena was supposed to have been the daughter of a British prince, is entirely without historical foundation. It may arise from the misinterpretation of a term used in the fourth chapter of the panegyric on Constantine’s marriage with Fausta, that Constantine, oriendo (i. e., “by his beginnings,” “from the outset”) had honoured Britain, which was taken as an allusion to his birth, whereas the reference was really to the beginning of his reign. 
 Her son’s influence caused her to embrace Christianity after his victory over Maxentius. This is directly attested by Eusebius (Vita Constantini, III, xlvii): “She (his mother) became under his (Constantine’s) influence such a devout servant of God, that one might believe her to have been from her very childhood a disciple of the Redeemer of mankind”. It is also clear from the declaration of the contemporary historian of the Church that Helena, from the time of her conversion had an earnestly Christian life and by her influence and liberality favoured the wider spread of Christianity. Tradition links her name with the building of Christian churches in the cities of the West, where the imperial court resided, notably at Rome and Trier, and there is no reason for rejecting this tradition, for we know positively through Eusebius that Helena erected churches on the hallowed spots of Palestine. Despite her advanced age she undertook a journey to Palestine when Constantine, through his victory over Licinius, had become sole master of the Roman Empire, subsequently, therefore, to the year 324. It was in Palestine, as we learn from Eusebius (loc. cit., xlii), that she had resolved to bring to God, the King of kings, the homage and tribute of her devotion. She lavished on that land her bounties and good deeds, she “explored it with remarkable discernment”, and “visited it with the care and solicitude of the emperor himself”. Then, when she “had shown due veneration to the footsteps of the Saviour”, she had two churches erected for the worship of God: one was raised in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem. She also embellished the sacred grotto with rich ornaments. This sojourn in Jerusalem proved the starting-point of the legend first recorded by Rufinus as to the discovery of the Cross of Christ. 
Her princely munificence was such that, according to Eusebius, she assisted not only individuals but entire communities. The poor and destitute were the special objects of her charity. She visited the churches everywhere with pious zeal and made them rich donations. It was thus that, in fulfilment of the Saviour’s precept, she brought forth abundant fruit in word and deed. If Helena conducted herself in this manner while in the Holy Land, which is indeed testified to by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, we should not doubt that she manifested the same piety and benevolence in those other cities of the empire in which she resided after her conversion. Her memory in Rome is chiefly identified with the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme. On the present location of this church formerly stood the Palatium Sessorianum, and near by were the Thermae Helenianae, which baths derived their name from the empress. Here two inscriptions were found composed in honour of Helena. The Sessorium, which was near the site of the Lateran, probably served as Helena’s residence when she stayed in Rome; so that it is quite possible for a Christian basilica to have been erected on this spot by Constantine, at her suggestion and in honour of the true Cross. 
Helena was still living in the year 326, when Constantine ordered the execution of his son Crispus. When, according to Socrates account (Hist. eccl., I, xvii), the emperor in 327 improved Drepanum, his mother’s native town, and decreed that it should be called Helenopolis, it is probable that the latter returned from Palestine to her son who was then residing in the Orient. Constantine was with her when she died, at the advanced age of eighty years or thereabouts (Eusebius, “Vita Const.”, III, xlvi). This must have been about the year 330, for the last coins which are known to have been stamped with her name bore this date. Her body was brought to Constantinople and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles. It is presumed that her remains were transferred in 849 to the Abbey of Hautvillers, in the French Archdiocese of Reims, as recorded by the monk Altmann in his “Translatio”. She was revered as a saint, and the veneration spread, early in the ninth century, even to Western countries. Her feast falls on 18 August.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Prayer of Pope Pius XII to Our Lady of the Assumption


O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and Mother of Humanity, we believe with all the fervour of our faith in your triumphal Assumption both in body and in soul into heaven where you are acclaimed as Queen by all the choirs of angels and all the legions of saints; we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord who has exalted you above all other pure creatures and to offer you the tribute of our devotion and our love.

We know that your gaze, which on earth watched over the humble and suffering humanity of Jesus, in heaven is filled with the vision of that humanity glorified and with the vision of uncreated Wisdom, and that the joy of your soul in the direct contemplation of the adorable Trinity causes your heart to throb with overwhelming tenderness; and we, poor sinners whose body weights down the flight of the soul, beg you to purify our hearts so that, while we remain below, we may learn to see God and God alone in the beauties of his creatures.

We trust that your merciful eyes may deign to gaze down upon our miseries and anguish, upon our struggles and our weaknesses; that your countenance may smile upon our joys and our victories; that you may hear the voice of Jesus saying to you of each one of us, as He once said to you of His Beloved Disciple: "Behold you son," and we who call upon you as our Mother, we, like John, take you as the guide, strength and consolation of our mortal life.

We are inspired by the certainty that your eyes, which wept over the earth crimsoned by the blood of Jesus, are yet turned toward this world racked by wars and persecutions, the oppression of the just and the weak. From the shadows of this vale of tears, we seek in your heavenly assistance, tender mercy, comfort for our aching hearts, and help in the trials of Church and country.

We believe finally that in the glory where you reign, clothed with the sun and crowned with stars, you are, after Jesus, the joy and gladness of all the angels and the saints, and from this earth, over which we tread as pilgrims, comforted by our faith in the future resurrection, we look to you our life, our sweetness, our hope; draw us onward with the sweetness of your voice, so that one day, after our exile, you may show us Jesus, the blessed fruit of your womb. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Sunday, August 13, 2017
Sts. Hippolytus and Cassian

Simple (1954 Calendar): August 13

Hippolytus was a prominent priest of the church of Rome at the beginning of the third century and guardian of St. Laurence. Together with the Pope St. Pontian he was exiled to Sardinia, and his sufferings ended in martyrdom A.D. 235. In about the year 320, officials at Imola, Italy, arrested Cassian, a Christian schoolmaster. The governor ordered him to be tortured by his own pagan pupils. After making barbarous sport of Cassian in various ways, the pagan boys stabbed their former teacher to death with their stilettos.

The following is taken from Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876:

St. Hippolytus, an officer of the body-guard of the emperor Decius, had been born in the darkness of idolatry, but he had become a Christian, with all his household, in consequence of witnessing the many miracles which St. Lawrence performed while in the prison under his charge. He had also been present when the saint, lying on the red-hot gridiron, endured the most terrible tortures. At the sight of the heroism of St. Lawrence, he was filled with the desire to denounce himself a Christian, but he was prevented by St. Lawrence. But when this martyr had gloriously ended his combat, Hippolytus, with the assistance of a priest, named Justinus, buried the sacred remains with great devotion and veneration. The emperor on being informed of it, had Hippolytus seized and brought before him. He asked him if it was true that he had become a Christian? Hippolytus answered firmly: "Yes, I am a Christian, and moreover resolved to die such." The emperor, who had always highly esteemed him, endeavored, first by promises and then by menaces, to induce him to forsake Christ. As, however, all was unavailing, he caused him to be tortured.

He was accordingly stretched on the ground, whipped with scourges, and beaten with clubs so fearfully, that it was believed he could not survive. But God, by a visible miracle, prolonged his life. Keeping his eyes fixed upon Heaven, he frequently repeated: "I am a Christian, I suffer for Christ's sake." After having been tormented for a long time, he was cast into prison, and the prefect received the order to behead him. Before executing this order, however, he went to the house of Hippolytus to secure his property. Finding the entire household had become Christians, he took them beyond the gates of the city and had them beheaded. Concordia, an old and holy matron, who had been Hippolytus' nurse, was scourged until she expired, because she encouraged the others to remain firm in their faith. At last, Hippolytus was taken out of prison and fastened to the tails of two horses, and dragged by them until he was torn to pieces, and his heroic soul was in the presence of Him Whom he had so fearlessly confessed.

On the same day, though at another place, St. Cassian suffered a martyrdom of unprecedented cruelty. This saint, was bishop of Brescia, but had been banished from his See on account of his faith. He intended to go to Rome and offer the Pope his services for the salvation of souls in some other place. On his way, he changed his mind, and taking up his residence at Imola, a town in Italy, he resolved to teach children to read and write, hoping that occasion would not be wanting to do good. In this apparently humble position, he was no less zealous than he had been in the administration of his diocese. He taught the children with love and gentleness, and endeavored to inspire them with respect for the Christian faith, fear and horror of sin, and love of virtue and piety. He continued in this occupation with great zeal for some years, to the great benefit of young and old, when suddenly a terrible persecution of the Christians arose.

He was one of the first who were taken prisoners. The tyrant commanded him to sacrifice to the gods. The holy bishop and teacher refused, as might have been expected, and tried to convince the judge of his fearful blindness in worshipping dumb idols or making gods of godless men. The tyrant, furious at his arguments, ordered the executioners to strip him of his clothes and tie his hands behind his back, and leave him exposed to the mercy of the children whom he had taken such pains to teach. The children, who had been taught that Cassian was a magician and consequently must die a most painful death, took their sharp iron pencils with which, in those days, they wrote upon their wax tablets, and pierced him with them till the blood ran profusely from his veins. This torture lasted long and was extremely painful. The saint, however, never complained of the ingratitude of his pupils, nor gave a sign of impatience, but praised and thanked the Lord until his soul went to Heaven to receive the crown of martyrdom.


O Almighty God, grant that our solemn celebration of the feast of your holy martyrs Hippolytus and Cassian may increase our devotion and bring us closer to our salvation. Through our Lord . . .
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Solemn High Mass for 10 New Carmelite Nuns in Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s Carmelite Monastery of St. Joseph and St. Anne, at 66th Avenue and Old York Road, celebrated the 115th anniversary of its foundation with a Solemn High Mass on the evening of Wednesday, July 26. 
The Carmel, which was established by nuns from the Boston Carmel and originally located at 18th and Poplar Streets then at 44th and Spruce Streets, has been at its current monastery since 1910, according to the Prioress, who in keeping with the Carmelite charism does not wish to be named. 
The nuns themselves were an unseen presence at the Mass because of their rules of strict enclosure. They only receive visitors from behind a screen. 
The Mass was celebrated in the monastery’s beautiful chapel which was designed by Maginnis and Walsh, the Boston architects that later designed the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The celebrant was the monastery’s new chaplain, Father Scott W. Allen, F.S.S.P. (Fraternal Society of St. Peter). 
The Mass itself was in Latin in the Extraordinary Form using the 1962 Missal. It was unlike the typical Ordinary Form Masses that are usually celebrated in a vernacular language using modern translations of the Scripture readings. 
The Latin at the Extraordinary Form Mass was straight from the fourth century Vulgate Bible of St. Jerome, with a pamphlet that provided English translations taken from the Douay-Rheims Bible was compiled from 1582 to 1610. 
Wherever they come from, they are welcome to this quiet gem of prayer in Philadelphia where day after day, year after year this small band of religious women live out the hidden life, all for the greater honor and glory of God.
Read more at Catholic Philly
Monday, August 7, 2017
Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Cardinal Newman

Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
(Composed by Cardinal Newman)

Lord, have mercy on us

Christ have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us.

Christ graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,

Have mercy on us.

God the Son, redeemer of the world,

Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost,

Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,

Have mercy on us.

Heart of Mary, Pray for us.

Heart of Mary, according to the heart of God, Pray for us.

Heart of Mary, united to the Heart of Jesus, Pray for us.

Heart of Mary, organ of the Holy Ghost, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, sanctuary of the Divine Trinity, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, tabernacle of God Incarnate, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, immaculate from thy creation, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, full of grace, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, blessed among all hearts, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, Throne of glory, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, most humble, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, holocaust of Divine Love, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, fastened to the Cross with Jesus Crucified, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, comfort of the afflicted, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, refuge of sinners, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, hope of the agonizing, Pray for us

Heart of Mary, seat of mercy, Pray for us

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

Immaculate Mary, meek and humble of heart.

Make our hearts according to the Heart of Jesus.

Let us pray: O most merciful God, who for the salvation of sinners and the refuge of the miserable, wast pleased that the Most Pure Heart of Mary should be most like in charity and pity to the Divine Heart of Thy Son, Jesus Christ: grant that we who commemorate this sweet and loving Heart may, by the merits and intercession of the same Blessed Virgin, merit to be found according to the Heart of Jesus. Through the same Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Note: The saintly John Henry Newman, in filial devotion to the Mother of God and of man, composed this litany in honor of the Immaculate (Pure) Heart soon after his reception into the Catholic Church (1845).

Taken from “Kyrie Eleison” by Benjamin Francis Musser.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Prayer Request for a Lapsed Catholic Near Death

Can you please pray for Larrine, a long time friend of my dad. She is 87 and being put in hospice. She was baptised Catholic but does not have any desire to believe or practice the Faith. I pray thru our Lady's intercession for a conversion in time before she dies.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Sts. Abdon and Sennen

Simple (1954 Calendar): July 30

The following is taken from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

"The decrees of eternal Wisdom ordained that the West should be honoured before the East with the glory of martyrdom. Yet when the hour had come, Jesus was to have, beyond the Tigris, millions of witnesses by no means inferior to their forerunners, astonishing heaven and earth by new forms of heroism. Impatient of the delay, two noble Persians won their palm on this day by the command of Rome. By shedding their blood they paid tribute for their native land to the eternal City; and now they protect our Latin Churches, and receive the prayers and praise of the West. France receive a goodly portion of their sacred relics; and the city of Arles-sur-Tech, in Roussillon, can show to an incredulous generation the sarcophagus, from which flows a mysterious liquor, a symbol of the continual benefits bestowed on us by these holy martyrs."
During the of Decius, two Persians, Abdon and Sennen, were accused of burying on their own estate the bodies of the Christians which had been exposed. By order of the Emperor they were apprehended and commanded to sacrifice to the gods. As they refused to obey, and moreover with the greatest constancy proclaimed Jesus Christ to be God they were placed in close confinement, and when later Decius returned to Rome they were led in chains in his triumphal march. They were dragged to the Roman idols, but to show their hatred of the demons, they spat upon them. Upon this they were exposed to the fury of lions and bears, but the beasts did not dare to touch them; at length they were put to death by the sword. Their bodies were dragged by the feet before the statue of the sun, but they were secretly carried away and buried by Quirinus the deacon in his own house."

Hearken to our earnest prayers, O blessed martyrs! May the faith at length triumph in that land of Persia whence so many flowers of martyrdom have been culled for heaven. Before the time appointed for the struggle to begin in your native land, ye went to meet death elsewhere, and thus ye gained a new fatherland whereon to bestow your love. Bless us, the fellow-citizens of your choice, and bring us all to the eternal fatherland of all the children of God.
Be Religious or Be Damned - Sermon by St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney does not mince words as he warns his people in the following sermon. We too should heed his admonitions. "There is always the person who says to me, "What harm can there be in enjoying oneself for a while? I do no wrong to anyone; I do not want to be religious or to become a religious! If I do not go to dances, I will be living in the world like someone dead!" My good friend, you are wrong. Either you will be religious or you will be damned."

The sermon is available this week only on the Servants of the Holy Family Website.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
St. Ignatius Retreat House: A Week For Reflection

Four years ago I went on an Ignatian retreat at the Society of St. Pius X’s retreat house in Phoenix, Arizona.  The retreat was a very spiritually energizing time and one that left a mark on me.  As a Third Order Dominican, a retreat of at least 3 days is highly recommended in our Rule of Life – and for all Catholics, not just Dominicans, there is a plenary indulgence available to those who go on retreat for at least 3 days.

Yet over the past four years from work to my graduate coursework, I could not find time to go on a retreat.  This year I made it a personal resolution to go on retreat and I’m happy to share my experiences from my recent Ignatian retreat at St. Ignatius Retreat House in Ridgefield, CT.  This retreat is structured just as the one at Our Lady of Sorrows in Phoenix as it follows the Ignatian spiritual exercises and is led by SSPX priests.

My retreat began on July 10th (just a two weeks ago) and lasted through the subsequent Saturday at midday.  It was admittedly, a very difficult time.  As we are all accustomed to busy-ness and noise, I welcomed the opportunity to disconnect and pray.  Yet, for the same reason, it was by the end of the 2nd day, a very difficult endeavor.  It really helped me improve my patience, perseverance in trial, and helped me better restructure my life to the Lord’s will.

The retreat generally runs daily from 6 AM until 8:30 PM.  Retreatants rise at 6 AM and assemble for Prime at 6:30.  Meditation follows and then Mass at 7:15.  Breakfast is at 8 AM and then conferences until lunch time at 12:30 PM.  Then a series of afternoon conferences until Rosary at 6 PM.  Dinner is served at 6:30 PM and then one final conference at 7:30 PM.

The conferences follow the Ignatian Spiritual exercises which I have written on in the past.  For those who do not have a copy of “Christian Warfare,” the book is a must-have.  Not only does it contain the text of the Spiritual Exercises but it contains numerous prayers, the Mass prayers, devotions, Confession resources, and much more.  It is truly a book for those who wish to engage in the fight against the powers of darkness.

Some of my main takeaways from the retreat include:
  • Needing to better align my life to the Lord’s will
  • Making time each day and evening for meditation
  • Making time for 10 – 15 minutes of spiritual reading daily
  • A true acknowledgement that the devil is real and we are in a battle. He constantly fights us and tempts us.  Let us recall this to mind every single day and in all temptations.  He is real and he is really seeking to destroy us at every moment in the day.  Be vigilant and fight!
  • Heaven is hard – very hard.  Hell is real, and many souls go there forever
  • Confession requires true sorrow.  Don’t turn the Sacrament into a revolving door every month or week.  It is a real battle and it’s hard but we must fight temptations.
These were some of my insights from the meditations that followed each conference.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to have gone and prayed for everyone that reached out to me and requested special prayers.  I ask for your prayers that despite great difficulties, I better conform my life to the Lord’s will and fight the good fight.

For those who wish to learn more about going on retreat, please click here for the SSPX retreat site.  The site lists the many benefits of the retreats.  Find this time to spiritually recharge – your soul’s salvation may depend on it.

Photos From My Trip:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The Twelve: Lives and Legends of The Apostles

In honor of today's Feast of St. James the Greater, I am happy to announce Frances Spilman's latest book on the Apostles.  I was very honored to have served as the editor for this work.

What were the Apostles of Jesus really like? is pleased to announce that its latest online course and paperback will examine the Gospels, the Fathers of the Church, Apocryphal writings, encyclicals and other sources to search out the Apostles’ personalities and history.

Along the way we will look at the prayers, poetry, music and architecture the Apostles inspired and see how these twelve men are still teaching us today almost 2,000 years after their deaths. We will see how the faith spread throughout the Roman Empire and even beyond its borders and how each Apostle met his death. You will be surprised at the many different paths of the Apostles as they witnessed for Christ.

If you can not name all 12 Apostles and a description of what each of them did after the Ascension, this course is for you!

To learn more on the online course: Please Click here

To preview the paperback book option: Please Click here

Frances Spilman lives in a small town in northern New Jersey.  She went to Catholic schools from Grammar to Graduate school and taught CCD for several years.  She has played the organ in Catholic Churches for almost 45 years and has recently started to work with both 40 Days for Life and LifeRunners.  Frances is the author of both “A Step Towards Heaven: An Introduction to Religion” (2015) and “The Councils of the Catholic Church: Nicea to Now” (2015).  Both of her previous books are available on or directly through as an online course. 
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Book Review: Return to Order
Last year I began to read an electronic copy of "Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society--Where We've Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go" by John Horvat II

Mr. Horvath's book was full of truly insightful wisdom detailing the root causes of society's fall from its former glory.  Many may point to the sexual revolution, the World Wars, or the industrial revolution as the cause.  All of these however are merely symptoms and consequences of a much larger disorder.  In "Return to Order," the true culprit is identified as "frentic intemperance."

Mr. Horvath points to the consequences of these actions when he describes secularism: "Secular society is the logical consequence of a predominantly materialistic society...personal belief in God is allowed and even encouraged as long as it is confined to the personal unofficial realm. A secular society in general is one which is officially purged of all references to a reality beyond that of our naturalistic and materialistic world."

He continues by quoting Plino Correa de Oliveira who calls secularism a "curious form of atheism," and then continues expounding on the topic in a rather insightful manner.

But Mr. Horvath's book does more than provide these good and clear-cut explanations, it also and powerfully addresses the errors in the modern economy.  He writes, "Our great error is that we have turned economic activity into an end in itself.  We have separated economics from the influence of those human sciences and norms that should orient all human actions.  Economics, which should be a faithful servant to help man reach his end in life, thus becomes a domineering master."

What is the best society?  In "Return to Order," it is described as being organic, possessing upright spontaneity, and fostering and built on a virtuous order.  In Chapter 26, Mr. Horvath outlines the ordering principles of autonomy, authority, vital flux, and subsidiarity as vital principles which must return to our society if we are to reverse the calamities of the past decades and centuries.

I recommend the book for those looking to better understand the root cause of today's societal woes and a very easy and inspiring read on how we might restore order to our world.
Friday, July 21, 2017
St. Praxedes

Simple (1954 Calendar): July 21

Praxedes was a Roman virgin and sister of the virgin Pudentiana. When the Emperor Marcus Antoninus persecuted the Christians, she devoted both her time and her wealth to consoling them, and doing them every charitable service in her power. Some she concealed in her house: others she encouraged to firmness of faith. She buried the dead, and saw that those who were imprisoned wanted for nothing. But at length being unable to bear the grief caused by such a wholesale butchery of the Christians, she prayed God, that if it were expedient for her to die he would take her away from so much evil. Her prayer was heard, and on the 12th of the Calends of August, she was called to heaven, to receive the reward of her charity. Her body was buried by the priest Pastor in the tomb where lay her father and her sister Pudentiana, in the cemetery of Priscilla, on the Salarian Way.

The following is taken from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

On this day Pudentiana’s angelic sister at length obtained from her Spouse release from bondage, and from the burden of exile that weighed so heavily on this last scion of a holy and illustrious stock. New races, unknown to her fathers when they laid the world at the feet of Rome, now governed the Eternal City. Nero and Domitian had been actuated by a tyrannical spirit; but the philosophical Cæsars showed how absolutely they misconceived the estinies of the great city. The salvation of Rome lay in the hands of a different dynasty: a century back, Praxedes’ grandfather, more legitimate inheritor of the traditions of the Capitol than all the Emperors present or to come, hailed in his guest, Simon Bar-Jona, the ruler of the future. Host of the Prince of the Apostles was a title handed down by Pudens to his posterity: for in the time of Pius I, as in that of St. Peter, his house was still the shelter of the Vicar of Christ. Left the sole heiress of such traditions, Praxedes, after the death of her beloeved sister, converted her palaces into Churches, which resounded day and night with divine praises, and where pagans hastened in crowds to be baptized. The policy of Antoninus respected the dwelling of a descendant of the Cornelii; but his adopted son, Marcus Aurelius, would make no such exception. An assault was made upon the title of Praxedes, and many Christians were taken and put to the sword. The virgin, overpowered with grief at seeing all slain around her, and herself untouched, turned to God and besought him that she might die. Her body was laid with those of her relatives in the cemetery of her grandmother, Priscilla.


Mother Church is ever grateful to thee, O Praxedes! Thou hast long been in the enjoyment of thy divine spouse, and still thou continuest the traditions of thy noble family, for the benefit of the Saints on earth. When, in the eighth and ninth centuries, the martyrs, exposed to the profanations of the Lombards, were raised from their tombs and brought within the walls of the eternal City, Paschal I sought hospitality for them, where Peter had found it in the first century. What a day was that 20th of July 817, when, leaving the Catacombs, 2300 of these heroes of Christ came to seek in the title of Praxedes the repose which the barbarians had disturbed! What a tribute Rome offered thee, O Virgin, on that day! Can we do better than unite our homage with that of this glorious band, coming on the day of thy blessed feast, thus to acknowledge thy benefits? Descendant of Pudens and Priscilla, give us thy love of Peter, thy devotedness to the Church, thy zeal for the Saints of God, whether militant still on earth or already reigning in glory.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
St. Vincent de Paul

Double (1954 Calendar): July 19

Vincent de Paul, a Frenchman, was born at Pouy, near Dax, in Aquitaine, and from his boyhood was remarkable for his exceeding charity towards the poor. as a child he fed his father’s flock, but afterwards pursued the study of humanities at Dax, and of divinity first at Toulouse, then at Saragossa. Having been ordained priest, he took his degree as Bachelor of Theology; but falling into the hands of the Turks was led captive by them into Africa. While in captivity he won his master back to Christ, by the help of the Mother of God, and escaped together with him from that land of barbarians, and undertook a journey to the shrines of the apostles. On his return to France he governed in a most saintly manner the parishes first of Clichy and then of Châtillon. The king next appointed him Chaplain of the French galleys, and marvellous was his zeal in striving for the salvation of both officers and convicts. St. Francis of Sales gave him as superior to his nuns of the Visitation, whom he ruled for forty years with such prudence, as to amply justify the opinion the holy Bishop had expressed of him, that Vincent was the most worthy priest he knew.

His paternal love brought relief to every kind of misfortune. The faithful groaning under the Turkish yoke, destitute children, incorrigible young men, virgins exposed to danger, nuns driven from their monasteries, fallen women, convicts, sick strangers, invalided workmen, even madmen, and innumerable beggars. All these he aided and received with tender charity into his hospitable institutions which still exist. When Lorraine, Campania, Picardy, and other districts were devastated by pestilence, famine, and war, he supplied their necessities with open hand. He founded other associations for seeking out and aiding the unfortunate; amongst others the celebrated Society of Ladies, and the now widespread institution of the Sisters of Charity. To him also is due the foundation of the Daughters of the Cross, of Providence, and of St. Genevieve, who are devoted to the education of girls. Amid all these and other important undertakings his heart was always fixed on God; he was affable to every one, and always true to himself, simple, upright, humble. He ever shunned riches and honors, and was heard to say that nothing gave him any pleasure, except in Christ Jesus, whom he strove to imitate in all things. Worn out at length, by mortification of the body, labors, and old age, on the 27th September, in the year of salvation 1660, the 85th of his age, he peacefully fell asleep, at Paris, at Saint Lazare, the mother-house of the Congregation of the Mission. His virtues, merits, and miracles having made his name celebrated, Clement XII enrolled him among the Saints, assigning for his annual feast the 17th July. Leo XIII, at the request of several Bishops, declared and appointed this great hero of charity, who has deserved so well of the human race, the peculiar patron before God of all the charitable societies existing throughout the Catholic world, and of all such as may hereafter be established.

 The following is taken from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

Vincent was a man of faith that worketh by charity. At the time he came into the world, viz., at the close of the same century in which Calvin was born, the Church was mourning over many nations separated from the faith; the Turks were harassing all the coasts of the Mediterranean. France, worn out by forty years of religious strife, was shaking off the yoke of heresy from within, while by a foolish stroke of policy she gave it external liberty. The Eastern and Northern frontiers were suffering the most terrible devastations, and the West and center were the scene of civil strife and anarchy. In this state of confusion, the condition of souls was still more lamentable. In the towns alone was there any sort of quiet, any possibility of prayer. The country people, forgotten, sacrificed, subject to the utmost miseries, had none to support and direct them but a clergy too often abandoned by their bishops, unworthy of the ministry, and well-nigh as ignorant as their flocks. Vincent was raised up by the Holy Spirit to obviate all these evils. The world admires the works of the humble shepherd of Buglose, but it knows not the secret of their vitality. Philanthropy would imitate them; but its establishments of today are destroyed tomorrow, like castles built by children in the sand, while the institution it would fain supersede remains strong and unchanged, the only one capable of meeting the necessities of suffering humanity. The reason of this is not far to seek: faith alone can understand the mystery of suffering, having penetrated its secret in the Passion of our Lord; and charity that would be stable must be founded on faith. Vincent loved the poor because he loved the God whom his faith beheld in them. “O God!” he used to say, “it does us good to see the poor, if we look at them in the light of God, and think of the high esteem in which Jesus Christ holds them. Often enough they have scarcely the appearance or the intelligence of reasonable beings, so rude and so earthly are they. But look at them by the light of faith, and you will see that they represent the Son of God, who chose to be poor; he in his Passion had scarcely the appearance of a man; he seemed to the Gentiles to be a fool, and to the Jews a stumbling-block, moreover he calls himself the evangelist of the poor: evangelizare pauperibus misit me.” This title of evangelist of the poor, is the one that Vincent ambitioned for himself; the starting point and the explanation of all that he did in the Church. His one aim was to labor for the poor and the outcast; all the rest, he said, was but secondary. And he added, speaking to his sons of St. Lazare: “We should never have labored for the candidates for priesthood, nor in the ecclesiastical seminaries, had we not deemed it necessary in order to keep the people in good condition, to preserve in them the fruits of the missions, and to procure them good priests.” That he might be able to consolidate his work in all its aspects, our Lord inspired Ann of Austria to make him a member of the Council of Conscience, and to place in his hands the office of extirpating the abuses among the higher clergy and of appointing pastors to the churches of France. We cannot here relate the history of a man in whom universal charity was, as it were, personified. But from the bagnio of Tunis where he was a slave, to the ruined provinces for which he found millions of money, all the labors he underwent for the relief of every physical suffering, were inspired by his zeal for the apostolate: by caring for the body, he strove to reach and succor the soul. At a time when men rejected the Gospel while striving to retain its benefits, certain wise men attributed Vincent’s charity to philosophy. Nowadays they go further still, and in order logically to deny the author of the works, they deny the works themselves. But if any there be who still hold the former opinion, let them listen to his own words, and then judge of his principles: “What is done for charity’s sake, is done for God. It is not enough for us that we love God ourselves; our neighbor also must love him; neither can we love our neighbor as ourselves unless we procure for him the good we are bound to desire for ourselves, viz.: divine love, which unites us to our Sovereign Good. We must love our neighbor as the image of God and the object of his love, and must try to make men love their Creator in return, and love one another also with mutual charity for the love of God, who so loved them as to deliver his own Son to death for them. But let us, I beg of you, look upon this Divine Savior as a perfect pattern of the charity we must bear to our neighbor.”

The theophilanthropy of a century ago had no more right than had an atheist or a deist philosophy to rank Vincent, as it did, among the great men of its Calendar. Not nature, nor the pretended divinities of false science, but the God of Christians, the God who became Man to save us by taking our miseries upon himself, was the sole inspirer of the greatest modern benefactor of the human race, whose favorite saying was: “Nothing pleases me except in Jesus Christ.” He observed the right order of charity, striving for the reign of his Divine Master, first in his own soul, then in others; and, far from acting of his own accord by the dictates of reason alone, he would rather have remained hidden forever in the face of the Lord, and have left but an unknown name behind him.

“Let us honor,” he wrote, “the hidden state of the Son of God. There is our center: there is what he requires of us for the present, for the future, for ever; unless his Divine Majesty makes known in his own unmistakable way that he demands something else of us. Let us especially honor this Divine Master’s moderation in action. He would not always do all that he could do, in order to teach us to be satisfied when it is not expedient to do all that we are able, but only as much as is seasonable to charity and conformable to the Will of God. How royally do those honor our Lord who follow his holy Providence and do not try to beforehand with it! Do you not, and rightly, wish your servant to do nothing without your orders? and if this is reasonable between man and man, how much more so between the Creator and the creature!” Vincent then was anxious, according to his own expression, to “keep alongside of Providence,” and not to outstep it. Thus he waited seven years before accepting the offers of the General de Gondi’s wife, and founding his establishment of the Missions. Thus, too, when his faithful coadjutrix, Mademoiselle Le Gras, felt called to devote herself to the spiritual service of the Daughters of Charity, then living without any bond or common life, as simple assistants to the ladies of quality whom the man of God assembled in his Confraternities, he first tried her for a very long time. “As to this occupation,” he wrote, in answer to her repeated petitions, “I beg of you, once for all, not to think of it until our Lord makes known his Will. You wish to become the servant of these poor girls, and God wants you to be his servant.” For God’s sake, Mademoiselle, let your heart imitate the tranquility of our Lord’s heart, and then it will be fit to serve him. The Kingdom of God is peace in the Holy Ghost; he will reign in you if you are in peace. Be so then, if you please, and do honor to the God of peace and love.”

What a lesson given to the feverish zeal of an age like ours, by a man whose life was so full! How often, in what we can call good works, do human pretensions sterilize grace by contradicting the Holy Ghost! Whereas, Vincent de Paul, who considered himself, “a poor worm creeping on the earth, not knowing where he goes, but only seeking to be hidden in thee, my God, who art all his desire,”—the humble Vincent saw his work prosper far more than a thousand others, and almost without his being aware of it. Towards the end of his long life, he said to his daughters: “It is Divine Providence that set your Congregation on its present footing. Who else was it, I ask you? I can find no other. We never had such an intention. I was thinking of it only yesterday, and I said to myself: Is it you who had the thought of founding a Congregation of Daughters of Charity? Oh! certainly not. It is Mademoiselle De Gras? Not at all. O my daughters, I never thought of it, your ‘sœur servante’ never thought of it, neither did M. Portail (Vincent’s first and most faithful companion in the Mission). Then it is God who thought of it for you; Him therefore we must call the Founder of your Congregation, for truly we cannot recognize any other.”

Although with delicate docility, Vincent could no more forestall the action of God than an instrument the hand that uses it, nevertheless, once the Divine impulse was given, he could not endure the least delay in following it, nor suffer any other sentiment in his soul but the most absolute confidence. He wrote again, with his charming simplicity, to the helpmate given him by God: “You are always giving way a little to human feelings, thinking that everything is going to ruin as soon as you see me ill. O woman of little faith, why have you not more confidence, and more submission to the guidance and example of Jesus Christ? This Savior of the world entrusted the well-being of the whole Church to God his Father; and you, for a handful of young women, evidently raised up and gathered together by his Providence, you fear that he will fail you! Come, come, Mademoiselle, you must humble yourself before God.”

No wonder that faith, the only possible guide of such a life, the imperishable foundation of all that he was for his neighbor and in himself, was, in the eyes of Vincent de Paul, the greatest of treasures. He who compassionated every suffering, even though well deserved; who, by a heroic fraud, took the place of a galley-slave in chains, was a pitiless foe to heresy, and could not rest till he had obtained either the banishment or the chastisement of its votaries. Clement XII in the Bull of canonization bears witness to this, in speaking of the pernicious error of Jensenism, which our Saint was one of the first to denounce and prosecute. Never, perhaps, were these words of Holy Writ better verified: The simplicity of the just shall guide them: and the deceitfulness of the wicked shall destroy them. Though this sect expressed, later on, a supreme disdain for Monsieur Vincent, it had not always been of that mind. “I am,” he said to a friend, “most particularly obliged to bless and thank god, for not having suffered the first and principal professors of that doctrine, men of my acquaintance and friendship, to be able to draw me to their opinions. I cannot tell you what pains they took, and what reasons they propounded to me; I objected to them, amongst other things, the authority of the Council of Trent, which is clearly opposed to them; and seeing that they still continued, I, instead of answering them, quietly recited my Credo; and that is how I have remained firm in the Catholic faith.”

How full a sheaf dost thou bear, O Vincent, as thou ascendest laden with blessings from earth to thy true country! O thou, the most simple of men, though living in an age of splendors, thy renown far surpasses the brilliant reputation which fascinated thy contemporaries. The true glory of that century, and the only one that will remain to it when time shall be no more, it to have seen, in its earlier part, Saints powerful alike in faith and love, stemming the tide of Satan’s conquests, and restoring to the soil of France, made barren by heresy, the fruitfulness of its brightest days. And now, two centuries and more after thy labors, the work of the harvest is still being carried on by thy sons and daughters, aided by new assistants who also acknowledge thee for their inspirer and father. Thou art now in the kingdom of heaven where grief and tears are no more, yet day by day thou still receivest the grateful thanks of the suffering and the sorrowful.

Reward our confidence in thee by fresh benefits. No name so much as thine inspires respects for the Church in our days of blasphemy. And yet those who deny Christ, now go so far as to endeavor to stifle the testimony which the poor have always rendered to him on thy account. Wield, against these ministers of hell, the two-edged sword, wherewith it is given to the Saints to avenge God in the midst of the nations: treat them as thou didst the heretics of thy day; make them either deserve pardon or suffer punishment, be converted or be reduced by heaven to the impossibility of doing harm. Above all, take care of the unhappy beings whom these satanic men deprive of spiritual help in their last moments. Elevate thy daughters to the high level required by the present sad circumstances, when men would have their devotedness to deny its Divine origin and cast off the guise of religion. If the enemies of the poor man can snatch from his deathbed the sacred sign of salvation, no rule, no law, no power of this world or the next, can cast out Jesus from the soul of the Sister of Charity, or prevent his name from passing from her heart to her lips: neither death nor hell, neither fire nor flood can stay him, says the Canticle of Canticles.

Thy sons, too, are carrying on thy work of evangelization; and even in our days their apostolate is crowned with the diadem of sanctity and martyrdom. Uphold their zeal; develop in them thy own spirit of unchanging devotedness to the Church and submission to the supreme Pastor. Forward all the new works of charity springing out of thy own, and placed by Rome to thy credit and under thy patronage. May they gather their heat from the Divine fire which thou didst rekindle on the earth; may they ever seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, never deviating, in the choice of means, from the principle thou didst lay down for them of “judging, speaking, and acting, exactly as the Eternal Wisdom of God, clothed in our weak flesh, judged, spoke, and acted.”

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