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St. Epiphanius of Salamis

2022-05-13T05:01:21+08:00

St. Epiphanius of Salamis Feast date: May 12 On May 12 the Catholic Church honors Saint Epiphanius of Salamis, an early monk, bishop and Church Father known for his extensive learning and defense of Catholic teachings in the fourth century.During a 2007 visit with the Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus, Pope Benedict XVI praised Epiphanius as “a good pastor” who “pointed out to the flock entrusted to him by Christ, the truth in which to believe, the way to take and the pitfalls to avoid.”“At the beginning of this third millennium,” the Pope reflected during the visit, “the Church finds herself facing challenges and problems not at all unlike those which Bishop Epiphanius had to tackle.”Epiphanius was born in Palestine around 310 or 315, the son of Greek-speaking Jewish parents. He is said to have been drawn to the Church after seeing a monk give away his clothing to a person in need. Not long after his conversion, he became a monk himself, spending time in the Egyptian deserts.Around 333 he returned to the Holy Land and built a monastery near his birthplace in Judea. Epiphanius showed great dedication to the rigors of monasticism, which some of his contemporaries considered excessive, although he insisted he was only seeking to work faithfully for God’s kingdom.The devoted monk was also a man of extraordinary learning, versed in the Hebrew, Egyptian, Syrian, Greek, and Latin languages and literature. For over two decades, until 356, Epiphanius was a disciple and close companion of Saint Hilarion the Great, a monk known for his wisdom and miracles.The spiritual bond between them remained unbroken after Hilarion left Palestine around 356. Hilarion’s influence within the Church of Salamis, in present-day Cyprus, led to its choice of Epiphanius as bishop in 367.During his years in Palestine, Epiphanius had frequently offered guidance and help in the Church’s struggle against Arianism, the heresy which denied Jesus’ eternal existence as God. As a bishop, he went on to write several works arguing for orthodox teaching on subjects like the Trinity and the Resurrection.Determined to protect the Church from error, Epiphanius became involved in various controversies and was known as a strong voice for orthodoxy. In some instances, however, his zeal was misguided or uninformed, as when he inadvertently became involved in a plot against Saint John Chrysostom.Likewise, some of Epiphanius’ apologetic works are regarded today as inaccurate or flawed on certain points. Nonetheless, he is revered among the early Church Fathers, and his writings – which contain important formulations of orthodox belief – are cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.St. Epiphanius of Salamis died in 403, while returning from Constantinople after distancing himself from the attempt to depose St. John Chrysostom. Sensing the approach of death, he gave his disciples two final pieces of advice: to keep God’s commandments, and guard their thoughts against temptation.He was buried on May 12, after his ship’s return to Salamis. The Seventh Ecumenical Council, in 787, confirmed his reputation as a Church Father worthy of

St. Epiphanius of Salamis2022-05-13T05:01:21+08:00

Our Lady of Good Counsel

2022-04-27T05:01:03+08:00

Our Lady of Good Counsel Feast date: Apr 26 On the Feast of St. Mark, April 25, 1467, at the close of a festival in Genazzano, Italy, a cloud descended upon an ancient 5th-century deteriorated church, dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, the festive crowd found a small, fragile image of the Blessed Virgin and Child on a thin sheet of plaster. The painting is said to have hung in mid-air, suspended without support, floating, on a small ledge. This particular fresco is said to date to the time of the Apostles. It had long been venerated in Albania’s capital city, Scutari. Much of the church of Our Lady of Good Counsel was destroyed in World War II, but the image remained intact and in place. The miraculous image is still there today after more than 500 years. Countless miracles have been attributed to the prayerful intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Many pilgrims visit the church in Genazzano, and take part in the annual spring celebration, observed on April 25. Elsewhere in the world, the feast is celebrated April 26.

Our Lady of Good Counsel2022-04-27T05:01:03+08:00

Sts. Caius and Soter

2022-04-23T05:01:13+08:00

Sts. Caius and Soter Feast date: Apr 22 Cauis and Soter, Popes of the early Church, are both venerated in tradition as martyrs, though no reliable account of their martyrdom survives today.St. Soter was born in Fundi, in Italy. The date of his birth is unknown but we know that he was Pope for eight years from 166 until his death in 174.Soter´s papacy was an example of what seems to have been the remarkable tradition of generosity exercised by the bishop of Rome. This tradition and Soter´s personal charity and paternal love for his universal flock can be evidenced from a letter to Pope Soter by Bishop St. Dionysus of Corinth, quoted in the 4th century “Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius”: “This has been your custom from the beginning, to do good in manifold ways to all Christians, and to send contributions to the many churches in every city, in some places relieving the poverty of the needy and ministering to the Christians in the mines, by the contribution which you have sent from the beginning, preserving the ancestral custom of the Romans, true Romans as you are. Your blessed bishop Soter has not only carried on the habit but has even increased it, by administering the bounty distributed to the saints and by exhorting with his blessed words the brethren who come to Rome, as a loving father would his children." (IV, xxiii, 9- 15)In the same letter of Dionysus we learn that Pope Soter had written a letter to the Corinthians which was read in the Church alongside the epistle of St. Clement and was held in high esteem.Though his kindness extended to all persons, he was a fierce opponent of heresy, having been said to have written an encyclical against Montanism – the teachings of a heretical sect which believed that a Christian who had sinned gravely could never be redeemed.Pope St. Caius reigned for 13 years from 283 until his death in 296 just before the Diocletian persecution. He was a relative of the Emperor Diocletian – instigator of one of the last great persecution of Christians in the early years of the Church. Early in his papacy Caius decreed that a man must be a priest before he could be ordained a bishop.He is said to have been driven into hiding in the catacombs for eight years whence he died a confessor, however the source from which this information is gleaned is considered unreliable by most historians.Both St. Soter and St. Caius are buried in the cemetery of St. Calixtus and are venerated on the date of the death of Pope St. Caius.

Sts. Caius and Soter2022-04-23T05:01:13+08:00

St. Anselm

2022-04-22T05:01:08+08:00

St. Anselm Feast date: Apr 21 On April 21, the Catholic Church honors Saint Anselm, the 11th and 12th-century Benedictine monk and archbishop best known for his writings on Christ's atonement and the existence of God.In a general audience given on Sept. 23, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI remembered St. Anselm as “a monk with an intense spiritual life, an excellent teacher of the young, a theologian with an extraordinary capacity for speculation, a wise man of governance and an intransigent defender of the Church's freedom.” St. Anselm, the Pope said, stands out as “one of the eminent figures of the Middle Ages who was able to harmonize all these qualities, thanks to the profound mystical experience that always guided his thought and his action.”Anselm was born in Aosta, part of the Piedmont region of present-day Italy, around 1033. While his father provided little in the way of moral or religious influence, his mother was a notably devout woman and chose to send Anselm to a school run by the Benedictine order. The boy felt a profound religious calling during these years, spurred in part by a dream in which he met and conversed with God. His father, however, prevented him from becoming a monk at age 15. This disappointment was followed by a period of severe illness, as well as his mother's early death. Unable to join the monks, and tired of mistreatment by his father, Anselm left home and wandered throughout parts of France and Italy for three years. His life regained its direction in Normandy, where he met the Benedictine prior Lanfranc of Pavia and became his disciple.Lanfranc recognized his pupil's intellectual gifts and encouraged his vocation to religious life. Accepted into the order and ordained a priest at age 27, Anselm succeeded his teacher as prior in1063 when Lanfranc was called to become abbot of another monastery.Anselm became abbot of his own monastery in1079. During the previous decade the Normans had conquered England, and they sought to bring monks from Normandy to influence the Church in the country. Lanfranc became Archbishop of Canterbury, and asked Anselm to come and assist him.The period after Lanfranc's death, in the late 1080s, was a difficult time for the English Church. As part of his general mistreatment of the Church, King William Rufus refused to allow the appointment of a new archbishop. Anselm had gone back to his monastery, and did not want to return to England. In 1092, however, he was persuaded to do so. The following year, the king changed his mind and allowed Anselm to become Archbishop of Canterbury. But the monk was extremely reluctant to accept the charge, which would involve him in further struggles with the English crown in subsequent years.For a three-year period in the early 12th century, Anselm's insistence on the self-government of the Church – against the claims of the state to its administration and property – caused him to be exiled from England. But he was successful in his struggle, and returned

St. Anselm2022-04-22T05:01:08+08:00

St. Anastasius of Sinai

2022-04-21T05:01:28+08:00

St. Anastasius of Sinai Feast date: Apr 20 On April 20, Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine tradition honor Saint Anastasius of Sinai, a seventh-century monk and priest known for his scriptural commentaries and defenses of Church teaching. The Roman Catholic Church has traditionally celebrated St. Anastasius on the following day, April 21, though this memorial is not widely celebrated in modern times. The Eastern Orthodox churches, meanwhile, commemorate him on the same date as their Eastern Catholic counterparts. Even within the Eastern Christian tradition, St. Anastasius' legacy has been somewhat obscured by the renown of other authors. In his own era, however, the Sianite's writings were acclaimed as the work of a “new Moses.” At least one of his works, the “Hodegos” (or “Guide”), remained in use within the Greek Church for many centuries. No extensive biography of Anastasius exists, and it is unclear whether he was born in Egypt (as some traditional accounts relate) or in Cyprus. His date of birth is also unknown. In his own writings, Anastasius speaks of being captivated by the proclamation of the Gospel during church services, and being awestruck by Christ's Eucharistic presence as a young man. He eventually made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and took up residence as a monk on Mount Sinai in Egypt around the middle of the seventh century. He eventually became the abbot of St. Catherine's Monastery. Anastasius' life was outwardly uneventful in most respects, though he did leave his monastic cell to defend the Church's teachings against heresy and error. He met or learned about many holy men in the course of his travels, and described their lives in writings that survive to this day. Among Anastasius' doctrinal opponents were the monophysites, who were in error regarding Jesus' divine and human natures; and the monothelites, who professed a related error regarding Christ's human and divine wills. Though he was not the most important opponent of either heresy, Anastasius' contributions earned him a place among the Church Fathers in the Eastern tradition. The monk of Sinai also defended the Christian faith against Jewish objections. In one of his major works, the “Commentary on the Six Days of Creation” (or “Hexaemeron”), he explained how the first three chapters of Genesis predicted and prefigured the coming of Jesus Christ. Other surviving writings by the saint include his homilies, and a series of “Questions and Answers” addressing pastoral matters. St. Anastasius is said to have lived to an old age, and attained to great holiness through prayer and asceticism, by the time of his death sometime after the year 700. Some confusion has resulted from the conjunction of his Eastern feast day, April 20, with that of another saint who was also named Anastasius and associated with Mount Sinai. But this other St. Anastasius, though celebrated on the same date, lived earlier and led the Church of Antioch.

St. Anastasius of Sinai2022-04-21T05:01:28+08:00

Blessed James Oldo

2022-04-20T05:01:02+08:00

Blessed James Oldo Feast date: Apr 19 James Oldo experienced a radical conversion that led him to become a Franciscan tertiary, and later a priest.He was born in 1364 into a rich family in Lodi, Italy. He married at a young age, and he and his wife both led a very self-indulgent lifesyle. One day, a traveling reproduction of the Holy Sepulchre came to thier town. As a joke, James lay down on it to compare his height to Christ's.As soon as he laid down on it, he was instantly converted, and became a tertiary soon after.At first, his mother and wife were opposed to the change they saw in him, but soon they grew attracted to his new ways and became tertiaries as well. The family turned their mansion into a chapel and worked with the sick and with prisoners. When James’ wife died, he became a priest. His acts of penance were so severe that his bishop had to order him to eat at least three times a week. He was a celebrated preacher, who inspired many to enter the religious life. He also prophesied wars and his own death. He died at the age of 40 in 1404. When his body was moved seven years after his death, it was found incorrupt.

Blessed James Oldo2022-04-20T05:01:02+08:00

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin

2022-04-19T05:01:03+08:00

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin Feast date: Apr 18 April 18 commemorates the feast of Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin, a Canadian woman whose life was a story of obedience in the face of personal setbacks.Esther Blondin was born in 1809 to a pious, French-Canadian farm family in southern Quebec. When she was old enough, she began to work as a domestic servant for a merchant and later for the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. While she worked for the sisters, she learned to read and write. During that time, Esther decided to enter the congregation as a novice. However, her health forced her to abandon the pursuit. Nevertheless, the literacy she had obtained opened doors for her and she became a teacher, and eventually a director at a parochial school. She was aware of the high levels of illiteracy in the area, and when she was 39 years old, she sought to found an order that taught both boys and girls in the same school. The year was 1848 and her idea was radical, as schools taught boys and girls separately. Eventually, the pioneering woman received the requisite permission, and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne was founded. Esther was the superior and took the name Marie-Anne. Though she was the founder and superior, Sister Marie-Anne faced much oppression from the congregation’s chaplain. He eventually had her removed from her position, and she was prohibited from holding any administrative roles for the rest of her life. She spent her last 32 years without complaining, working in the order’s laundry and ironing room. Despite her demotion, her order continued to grow and spread across Canada and the United States. Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin died in 1890. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin2022-04-19T05:01:03+08:00

Easter Sunday

2022-04-18T05:01:06+08:00

Easter Sunday Feast date: Apr 17 Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year.To have a correct idea of the Easter celebration and its Masses, we must remember that it was intimately connected with the solemn rite of baptism. The preparatory liturgical acts commenced on the eve and were continued during the night. When the number of persons to be baptized was great, the sacramental ceremonies and the Easter celebration were united. This connection was severed at a time when, the discipline having changed, even the recollection of the old traditions was lost. The greater part of the ceremonies was transferred to the morning hours of Holy Saturday.Commemorating the slaying of the true Lamb of God and the Resurrection of Christ, the corner-stone upon which faith is built, it is also the oldest feast of the Christian Church, as old as Christianity, the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments.  The connection between the Jewish Passover and the Christian feast of Easter is real and ideal. Real, since Christ died on the first Jewish Easter Day; ideal, like the relation between type and reality, because Christ's death and Resurrection had its figures and types in the Old Law, particularly in the paschal lamb, which was eaten towards evening of the 14th of Nisan. In fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration; the liturgy (Exsultet) sings of the passing of Israel through the Red Sea, the paschal lamb, the column of fire, etc. The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast. Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar. Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method, and commemorated the death of Christ on the 15th of Nisan and His Resurrection on the 17th of Nisan, no matter on what day of the week they fell. For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip. 

Easter Sunday2022-04-18T05:01:06+08:00

St. Hunna

2022-04-16T05:10:50+08:00

St. Hunna Feast date: Apr 15 Known as "the Holy Washerwoman", St. Hunna was a 7th century noblewoman who cared for and bathed the poor of Strasbourg, France. Pope Leo X canonized her in 1520. She is the patroness of laundry workers and laundresses.

St. Hunna2022-04-16T05:10:50+08:00

Pope St. Martin I

2022-04-14T05:01:01+08:00

Pope St. Martin I Feast date: Apr 13 Catholics celebrate the memory of Pope St. Martin I on April 13. The saint suffered exile and humiliation for his defense of orthodoxy in a dispute over the relationship between Christ's human and divine natures.Martin was born in the Italian city of Tuscany, during either the late sixth or early seventh century. He became a deacon and served in Rome, where he acquired a reputation for education and holiness. Pope Theodore I chose Martin as his representative to the emperor in Constantinople during a period of theological controversy between the imperial capital and the Roman Church.The dispute in which Martin became involved, first as the papal nuncio and later as Pope himself, was over Christ's human nature. Although the Church had always acknowledged the eternal Son of God as “becoming man” within history, some Eastern bishops continued to insist that Christ's human nature was not entirely like that of other human beings.During the seventh century, authorities within the Byzantine Church and empire promoted a version of this heresy known as “monothelitism.” This teaching acknowledged that Christ had two natures –  human and divine – but only one will: the divine. Pope Theodore condemned the teaching, and excommunicated Patriarch Pyrrhus of Constantinople for holding to it.Martin inherited this controversy when he succeeded Theodore as Pope. At the Lateran Council of 649, he followed his predecessor's lead in condemning Pyrrhus' successor, Patriarch Paul II, who accepted Emperor Constans II's decision to forbid all discussion of whether or not Christ had both a human and a divine will. Pope Martin condemned monothelitism completely, and denounced those who held to it.He insisted that the teaching which denied Christ's human will could not be glossed over as an irrelevant point. To refuse to acknowledge Christ's distinct divine and human wills, he believed, was to deny the biblical teaching that Christ was like humanity in everything other than sin.The Byzantine emperor retaliated against Pope Martin by sending his own representative to Italy during the council, with orders either to arrest the Pope or have him killed. A henchman of the emperor, who attempted to assassinate the Pope while he was distributing Holy Communion, later testified that he suddenly lost his eyesight and could not carry out the death sentence.In 653, the emperor again sought to silence Pope Martin, this time by sending a delegation to capture him. A struggle ensued, and he was taken to Constantinople before being exiled to the island of Naxos for a year. Those who tried to send help to the exiled Pope were denounced as traitors to the Byzantine empire. Eventually he was brought back to Constantinople as a prisoner, and sentenced to death.The Pope's appointed executioners stripped him of his clothes and led him through the city, before locking him in a prison with a group of murderers. He was beaten so severely that he appeared to be on the verge of death. At the last moment, however, both the Patriarch of

Pope St. Martin I2022-04-14T05:01:01+08:00