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St. Sechnall of Ireland

2022-11-28T05:01:24+08:00

Feast date: Nov 27 St. Sechnall was born in 375, and around the year 439 was sent from Gaul to assist his uncle, Saint Patrick, in Ireland, together with Auxilius and Iserninus in thier missionary work there. He became the first bishop of Dunslaughlin in Meath, and then auxiliary bishop of Armagh. He wrote several hymns, notably the alphabetical hymn Audites, omnes amantes Deum (the oldest known Latin hymn written in Ireland) in honor of Patrick and the earliest Latin hymn in Ireland, and Sancti, venite, Christi corpus sumite.He died in 447, and his feast day is November 27.Printed with permission from Catholic-Defense.

St. Sechnall of Ireland2022-11-28T05:01:24+08:00

St. Peter of Alexandria

2022-11-27T05:01:11+08:00

St. Peter of Alexandria Feast date: Nov 26 Local commemorations of the fourth-century martyr Saint Peter of Alexandria will take place on Nov. 25 and 26. Although his feast day in the Western tradition (on the latter date) is no longer a part of the Roman Catholic Church’s universal calendar, he remains especially beloved among Catholic and Orthodox Christians of the Egyptian Coptic tradition. Tradition attests that the Egyptian bishop was the last believer to suffer death at the hands of Roman imperial authorities for his faith in Christ. For this reason, St. Peter of Alexandria is known as the “Seal of the Martyrs.” He is said to have undertaken severe penances for the sake of the suffering Church during his lifetime, and written letters of encouragement to those in prison, before going to his death at the close of the “era of the martyrs.” Both the date of Peter’s birth, and of his ordination as a priest, are unknown. It is clear, however, that he was chosen to lead Egypt’s main Catholic community in the year 300 after the death of Saint Theonas of Alexandria. He may have previously been in charge of Alexandria’s well-known catechetical school, an important center of religious instruction in the early Church. Peter’s own theological writings were cited in a later fifth-century dispute over Christ’s divinity and humanity. In 302, the Emperor Diocletian and his subordinate Maximian attempted to wipe out the Church in the territories of the Roman Empire. They used their authority to destroy Church properties, imprison and torture believers, and eventually kill those who refused to take part in pagan ceremonies. As the Bishop of Alexandria, Peter offered spiritual support to those who faced these penalties, encouraging them to hold to their faith without compromise.  One acute problem for the Church during this period was the situation of the “lapsed.” These were Catholics who had violated their faith by participating in pagan rites under coercion, but who later repented and sought to be reconciled to the Church. Peter issued canonical directions for addressing their various situations, and these guidelines became an important part of the Eastern Christian tradition for centuries afterward. Around the year 306, Peter led a council that deposed Bishop Meletius of Lycopolis, a member of the Catholic hierarchy who had allegedly offered sacrifice to a pagan idol. Peter left his diocese for reasons of safety during some portions of the persecution, giving Meletius an opening to set himself up as his rival and lead a schismatic church in the area. The “Meletian schism” would continue to trouble the Church for years after the death of Alexandria’s legitimate bishop. Saint Athanasius, who led the Alexandrian Church during a later period in the fourth century, claimed that Meletius personally betrayed Peter of Alexandria to the state authorities during the Diocletian persecution. Although Diocletian himself chose to resign his rule in in 305, persecution continued under Maximinus Daia, who assumed leadership of the Roman Empire’s eastern half in 310. The early

St. Peter of Alexandria2022-11-27T05:01:11+08:00

St. Catherine of Alexandria

2022-11-26T05:01:12+08:00

St. Catherine of Alexandria Feast date: Nov 25 Catholics and other Christians around the world celebrate today, Nov. 25, the memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria, a revered martyr of the fourth century.St. Catherine was the subject of great interest and devotion among later medieval Christians. Devotees relished tales of her rejection of marriage, her rebuke to an emperor, and her decision to cleave to Christ even under threat of torture. Pope John Paul II restored the celebration of her memorial to the Roman Catholic calendar in 2002.Catherine's popularity as a figure of devotion, during an era of imaginative hagiography, has obscured the facts of her life. It is likely that she was of noble birth, a convert to Christianity, a virgin by choice (before the emergence of organized monasticism), and eventually a martyr for the faith. Accounts of Catherine's life also agree on the location where she was born, educated, and bore witness to her faith. The Egyptian city of Alexandria was a center of learning in the ancient world, and tradition represents Catherine as the highly educated daughter of a noble pagan family. It is said that a vision of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus spurred her conversion, and the story has inspired works of art which depict her decision to live as a virginal “spouse of Christ.” The Emperor Maxentius ruled Egypt during Catherine's brief lifetime, a period when multiple co-emperors jointly governed the Roman Empire. During this time, just before the Emperor Constantine's embrace and legalization of Christianity, the Church was growing but also attracting persecution.Catherine, eager to defend the faith she had embraced, came before Maxentius to protest a brutal campaign against the Church. At first, the emperor decided to try and persuade her to renounce Christ. But in a debate that the emperor proceeded to arrange between Catherine and a number of pagan philosophers, Catherine prevailed – with her skillful apologetics converting them instead. Maxentius' next stratagem involved an offer to make her his mistress. She not only rebuffed the emperor, but also reportedly convinced his wife to be baptized. Enraged by Catherine's boldness and resolve, the Emperor resolved to break her will through torture on a spiked wheel. Tradition holds that she was miraculously freed from the wheel, either before or during torture. Finally, she was beheaded.Maxentius later died in a historic battle against his Co-Emperor Constantine in October of 312, after which he was remembered disdainfully, if at all. St. Catherine, meanwhile, inspired generations of philosophers, consecrated women, and martyrs. Ironically, or perhaps appropriately – given both her embrace of virginity, and her “mystic marriage” to Christ – young women in many Western European countries were once known to seek her intercession in finding their husbands. Regrettably, the torture wheel to which she herself may have been subjected was subsequently nicknamed the “Catherine wheel,” and used even among Christian kingdoms.Today, St. Catherine of Alexandria is more appropriately known as the namesake of a monastery at Mount Sinai that claims to be the

St. Catherine of Alexandria2022-11-26T05:01:12+08:00

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

2022-11-25T05:01:14+08:00

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions Feast date: Nov 24 During his papacy, Pope John Paul II canonized a group of 117 martyrs who died for the Roman Catholic Faith in Vietnam during the nineteenth century. The group was made up of ninety-six Vietnamese, eleven Spaniards, and ten French. Eight of the group were bishops, fifty were priests and fifty-nine were lay Catholics including a 9-year-old child. Some of the priests were Dominicans, others were diocesan priests who belonged to the Paris Mission Society. This feast day, and the witnesses of the lives of the martyrs, give testament to the sufferings inflicted on the Vietnamese Church, which are among the most terrible in the long history of Christian martyrdom.

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions2022-11-25T05:01:14+08:00

St. Columbanus

2022-11-24T05:01:14+08:00

St. Columbanus Feast date: Nov 23 An originator of Ireland's unique monastic tradition, who went on to serve as a missionary to continental Europe during the early Middle Ages, the abbot Saint Columbanus – also known as St. Columban – is honored by the Catholic Church on Nov. 23. Despite their similar names and biographies, St. Columbanus is not the same person as Saint Columba of Iona, another monk from Ireland who spread the faith abroad and lived during the same time period. In a June 2008 general audience on St. Columbanus, Pope Benedict XVI said he was “a man of great culture” who also “proved rich in gifts of grace.” The Pope recalled him as “a tireless builder of monasteries as well as an intransigent penitential preacher who spent every ounce of his energy on nurturing the Christian roots of Europe which was coming into existence.” “With his spiritual energy, with his faith, with his love for God and neighbor,” St. Columbanus “truly became one of the Fathers of Europe.” According to Pope Benedict, the course of the Irish monk's life “shows us even today the roots from which our Europe can be reborn.” Born during 543 in the southeastern Irish region of Leinster, Columbanus was well-educated from his early years. Handsome in appearance, he was tempted by women and was eventually advised by a nun to follow her example and flee from temptation by embracing monasticism. His mother disapproved of this intention, but his will prevailed even when she tried to prevent him from leaving home. The aspiring monk studied initially with Abbot Sinell of Cluaninis, before moving on to a monastery headed by the abbot later canonized as Saint Comgall. It was under his direction, in the Abbey of Bangor in County Down, that Columbanus formally embraced the monastic calling, as one of a growing number of monks drawn to the Bangor community's ascetic rigor and intellectual vitality.   Though Columbanus was known as a dedicated monk and scholar, around the year 583 he felt called to undertake foreign missionary work. Initially denied permission by the abbot, he was eventually allowed to depart with a band of twelve men, with whom he sailed to Britain before reaching France around 585. There, they found the Church suffering from barbarian invasions and internal corruption. Received with favor by King Gontram of Burgundy, Columbanus and his companions founded a monastery in an abandoned Roman fortress. Despite its remote location in the mountains, the community became a popular pilgrimage site, and also attracted so many monastic vocations that two new monasteries had to be formed to accommodate them. These monastic communities remained under Columbanus' authority, and their rules of life reflected the Irish tradition in which he had been formed. Meanwhile, as they expanded, the abbot himself sought greater solitude, spending periods of time in a hermitage and communicating with the monks through an intermediary. As heirs to the Irish monastic tradition, Columbanus and his monks ran into differences with the

St. Columbanus2022-11-24T05:01:14+08:00

St. Cecilia

2022-11-23T05:01:09+08:00

St. Cecilia Feast date: Nov 22 St. Cecilia's family was one of the principle families of Rome. According to the cultural custom of the time, Cecilia's family betrothed her to a pagan nobleman named Valerian despite St. Cecelia's consecration to God. On their wedding night, Cecilia told Valerian that she had sworn to remain a virgin before God and that an angel guarded her body, protecting her virginity from violation. She told Valerian that he would be able to see this angel if he went to the third milestone along the Via Appia and was baptized by Pope Urban I. Valerian went to the milestone as Cecilia had instructed, and there was baptized. She later converted his brother as well. During that era, it was forbidden for anyone to bury the bodies of Christians, so newly-baptized Valerian and his brother dedicated themselves to burying the bodies of all the Christians they found. For this, they were arrested and brought before a judge who ordered them to worship the Roman god Jupiter, and were martyred when they refused to deny their Christian faith. The police then came for Cecilia and strongly advised her to renounce her faith. In reply, she told them that she would prefer to die than to denounce the true faith. According to legend, upon hearing her response, they brought her to a large oven with the intention of suffocating her with the hot and toxic gasses it emitted. However, instead of choking, Cecilia began to sing. Infuriated, her persecutors attempted to behead her, but after three strokes of the sword, Cecilia was still alive and her head was not severed. The soldiers then left her covered in blood in her own home, where she remained for three days before she died. The church Santa Cecilia in Trastevere was built on the site of the house where she lived. St. Cecelia is known for "singing in her heart to the Lord" upon her wedding day, despite her consecration to God. She is the patron Saint of musicians and poets because of this sentiment and her alleged singing within the oven during her martyrdom. Her fortitude may inspire the modern Catholic in the trials of life and inspire one to find God within music.

St. Cecilia2022-11-23T05:01:09+08:00

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

2022-11-22T05:01:56+08:00

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Feast date: Nov 21 The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated annually on November 21st, commemorates the presentation of the Blessed Virgin as a child by her parents in the Temple in Jerusalem. Before Mary's birth, her parents received a heavenly message that they would bear a child. In thanksgiving for the God's gift of Mary's birth, they brought her to the Temple to consecrate their only daughter to The Lord.The celebration of the Feast is first documented in the 11th century within the Byzantine Catholic Church. It was introduced into the Roman Catholic Church in the 15th century by Pope Gregory XI, then removed from the calendar by Pope Pius V in the mid 16th century. Pope Sixtus V later reestablished the feast in 1585, and it is still celebrated today, commemorating the faith of her parents, Joachim and Anne, and the purity of Mary.

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary2022-11-22T05:01:56+08:00

St. Bernward

2022-11-21T05:01:12+08:00

St. Bernward Feast date: Nov 20 Saint Bernward served as the thirteenth Bishop of Hildesheim, Germany during the middle of the tenth century. His grandfather was Athelbero, Count Palatine of Saxony. After having lost his parents, Bernward was sent to live with his uncle Volkmar, who was the Bishop of Utrecht. His uncle enlisted the assistance of Thangmar, the pious and well-educated director of the cathedral school at Heidelberg, the help with Bernward's education. Under the instruction of Thangmar, Bernward made rapid progress in Christian piety as well as in the sciences. He became very proficient in mathematics, painting, architecture, and particularly in the manufacture of ecclesiastical vessels and ornaments made of silver and gold.Saint Bernward completed his studies at Mainz, where he was then ordained a priest. In lieu of being placed in the diocese of his uncle, Bishop Volkmar, he chose to remain near his grandfather, Athelbero, to comfort him in his old age. Upon his grandfather’s death in 987, he became chaplain in the imperial court, and the Empress-Regent Theophano quickly appointed him to be tutor of her son Otto III, who was only six years old at the time. Bernward remained at the imperial court until 993, when he was elected Bishop of Hildesheim.A man of extraordinary piety, he was deeply devoted to prayer as well as the practice of mortification, and his knowledge and practice of the arts were employed generously in the service of the Church.Shortly before his death in 1022, he was vested in the Benedictine habit. He was canonized by Pope Celestine III in 1193.

St. Bernward2022-11-21T05:01:12+08:00

St. Raphael Kalinowski

2022-11-20T05:01:08+08:00

St. Raphael Kalinowski Feast date: Nov 19 Saint Raphael was born  in 1835 as Joseph, son of Andrew and Josepha Kalinowski in present day Lithuania. Saint Raphael felt a call to the priesthood early in his life, but decided to complete his education. He studied zoology, chemistry, agriculture, and apiculture at the Institute of Agronomy in Hory Horki, Russia, and at the Academy of Military Engineering in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Raphael became a Lieutenant in the Russian Military Engineering Corps in 1857. During his post he was responsible for the planning and supervised construction of the railway between Kursk and Odessa. He was promoted to captain in 1862 and stationed in Brest-Litovsk. In Bret-Litovsk he started, taught, and covered all the costs of a Sunday school, accepting anyone interested.In 1863 he supported the Polish insurrection. He resigned from the Russian army and became the rebellion's minister of war for the Vilna region. He only took the commission with the understanding that he would never hand out a death sentence nor execute a prisoner. He was soon arrested by Russian authorities, and in June of 1864 he was condemned to death for his part in the revolt. Fearing they would be creating a political martyr, they commuted his sentence to ten years of forced labour in the Siberian salt mines. Part of his sentence was spent in Irkutsk, where his relics have been moved to sanctify the new cathedral.Upon his release in 1873, he was exiled from his home region in Lithuania. He moved to Paris, France, and worked there as a tutor for three years. In 1877 he finally answered the long-heard call to the religious life, and joined the Carmelite Order at Graz, Austria, taking the name Raphael. He studied theology in Hungary and then joined the Carmelite house in Czama, Poland. He was ordained on January 15, 1882.Saint Raphael worked to restore the Discalced Carmelites to Poland, and for church unity. He founded a convent at Wadowice, Poland in 1889, and worked alongside Blessed Alphonsus Mary Marurek. He was a noted spiritual director for both Catholics and Orthodox. He was considered  an enthusiastic parish priest and spent countless hours with his parishioners in the confessional. Saint Raphael died in 1907 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1991.Source: Catholic-forum.com

St. Raphael Kalinowski2022-11-20T05:01:08+08:00

Dedication of the Churches of Peter and Paul

2022-11-19T05:01:37+08:00

Dedication of the Churches of Peter and Paul Feast date: Nov 18 This feast celebrates the dedications of two of the four major basilicas of Rome. Saint Peter’s Basilica was originally built in 323 by the emperor Constantine.  The basilica was constructed over the tomb of Peter the Apostle, the Church’s first Pope.  After standing for more than a thousand years, Pope Julius II ordered the building to be torn down due to structural concerns.  The construction of the new church spanned over 200 years before its completion. It was dedicated on Nov. 18, 1626.  It is considered the most famous church in Christendom.Saint Paul´s Basilica is located outside the original walls of Rome. It was also originally built by the emperor Constantine though it was destroyed by fire in 1823. Donations from around the world made the reconstruction possible. Before the completion of Saint Peter´s Basilica, St Paul's was the largest church in Rome.  The Basilica was built over St. Paul´s grave.  Pope Pius IX consecrated the Basilica in 1854.These two churches continue to draw millions of faithful pilgrims each year as well as many visitors from other faiths .

Dedication of the Churches of Peter and Paul2022-11-19T05:01:37+08:00