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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Patron Saint of Jesuits & Soldiers

Saint Ignatius of LoyolaSaint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) Image: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(CNA) Born into a noble family on Christmas Eve in Spain Guipuzcoa, Ignatius served as a Page in the Spanish Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, later becoming a Soldier in the Spanish Army where he would become wounded during the ‘Siege of Pamplona’ in 1521

During Ignatius’ recovery he would read about the ‘Lives of the Saint’s’ and this experience led him to undergo a profound conversion which led him to dedicate his life to Catholicism.

After making a general confession in a Monastery in Montserrat, Ignatius proceeded to spend almost the entirety of the year in solitude and prayer, during which time he would write his famous Spiritual Exercises following which he would make a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land where he worked to convert Muslims to Christianity but could not remain as he had planned according to Franciscan Media because of the hostility of the Turks.

Ignatius would spend the next 11 years in various European universities, finally returning to Spain and then France where he would receive his degree in Theology — While many held him in contempt because of his Holy lifestyle, Ignatius’ wisdom and virtue attracted some followers and ‘The Society of Jesus’ (The Company of Jesus) was born.

In 1540 the ‘Society of Jesus’ received approval by Pope Paul III and it grew rapidly, Ignatius was elected to serve as its first General and became friends with St. Philip Neri (Feast Day: 26 May) During this time despite all that he had to do in the ‘Society’ Ignatius still found time to find homes for Orphans, Catechumens and Penitents. — Ignatius founded the ‘Roman College’ intended to be a model of all other colleges of the ‘Society of Jesus.’

Ignatius’ final years were spent in partial retirement according to EWTN the correspondence inevitable in governing the ‘Society of Jesus’ left him with no time for active ministry which in themselves he much preferred. Ignatius health began failing in his latter years and he was nearly blind by 1556 at the time of his death.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was Beatified in 1609 by Pope Paul V and Canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV

On the 22 April, 2006 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI presided over a Eucharistic Celebration for the ‘Society of Jesus’ addressing the Fathers & Brothers of the Society present at the Vatican Basilica , calling to mind the dedication and fidelity of their founder saying:

“Saint Ignatius of Loyola was first and foremost a man of God who in his life put God, his greatest glory and his greatest service first. He was a profoundly prayerful man for whom the daily celebration of the Eucharist was the heart and crowning point of his day.

Thus he left his followers a precious spiritual legacy that must not be lost or forgotten. Precisely because he was a man of God, St. Ignatius  was a faithful servant of the Church, in which he saw and venerated the Bride of the Lord and the Mother of Christians and the special vow of obedience to the Pope which he himself describes as ‘our first and principal foundation’ was born from his desire to serve the Church in the most beneficial way possible.”

Today the Jesuits (The Company of Jesus) have more than 500 universities and colleges together with more than 30,000 members that teach more than 200,000 students annually.

More here from American Catholic

Related: Pope Francis Homily on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Peter Chrysologus

St Peter ChrysologusSaint Peter Chrysologus –Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(CNA) Born in Italy Imola in 406 Peter Chrysologus was an adult convert to Christianity — Following his study of Theology, Peter was Ordained a Deacon by Imola’s local Bishop Cornelius, whom he greatly admired and regarded as his spiritual father.

Bishop Cornelius, Peter’s mentor is credited with teaching Peter the values of humiliated and self-denial which benefited him as he lived as a Monk for many years, embracing a lifestyle of self-discipline, simplicity and prayer. Peter’s simple monastic lifestyle however would come to an end in 430 subsequent to the death of Archbishop John of Ravenna — Following this, the Clergy and the people of Ravenna chose a successor asking Cornelius (still the Bishop of Imola) to journey to Rome and obtain Papal approval of their candidate. Bishop Cornelius would take Peter with him, then still a Deacon to see Pope Sixtus III

Tradition relates that Pope Sixtus III had experienced a vision from God on the night before the meeting with Bishop Cornelius and Peter, commanding him to overrule Ravenna’s choice of a new Archbishop — Pope Sixtus  subsequently declared that Peter was to be Ordained as the new Archbishop to replace the late Archbishop John of Ravenna.

In Ravenna the new Archbishop Peter was received warmly by the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III and his mother Galla Placidia, she is said to have given him the title ‘Chrysologus’ (signifying ‘Golden Speech’) because of his preaching skills.

Throughout the Archdiocese, Bishop Peter Chrysologus encountered the surviving remnants of paganism along with the various abuses and distortions of Catholicism — Bishop Peter Chrysologus would exercise zeal and pastoral care in curbing these abuses while evangelizing non-Christians during his leadership of the Church in Ravenna.

One of the major heresies of his day was ‘Monophysitism’ which held that Christ did not possess a distinct human nature in union with his eternal divine nature. Bishop Peter Chrysologus labored to prevent the westward spread of this error promoted from Constantinople by Eutyches.

Archbishop Peter Chrysologus also would make improvements to Ravenna’s Cathedral, together with overseeing the construction of several new Churches. Near the end of his life he addressed a significant letter to Eutyches in 448 stressing the Pope’s authority in the monophysite controversy.

Sometime before his death in 450 Bishop Peter Chrysologus returned to Imola his birthplace — In 451 the Church would officially condemn monophysitism.

More here from American Catholic and here from EWTN

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Martha, Patron Saint of Homemakers

Saint MarthaSaint Martha — Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(EWTN) Mary, Martha and Lazarus were close friends and are represented by St. John (Feast Day: 27 December) as living at Bethania but St. Luke (Feast Day: 18 October) would seem to imply that they were at least at one time, living in Galilee, without mentioning the town but it may have been Magdala and we should therefore suppose that ‘Mary of Bethania’ and St. Mary Magdalene (Feast Day: 22 July) are the same person.

There isn’t any doubt that Martha was an active sort of person according to Franciscan Media — On one occasion Luke 10:38-42 Martha is seen preparing the meal for Jesus and served the dinner.

Yet as Biblical scholar Fr. John McKenzie (1910-1991) pointed out, Martha need not be rated as a “unrecollected activist.” The Evangelist is emphasizing what Our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual:

  • “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on…seek first His kingdom and his righteousness…” Matthew 6: 25-33
  • “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.” —Luke 4:4
  • “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” —Matthew 5:6

St. Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death: “Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.” —John 11:25-27

Scripture commentators point out that in writing his account of the raising of Lazarus, St. John intends that we should see Martha’s words to Mary before Lazarus was raised as a summons that every Christian must obey. In Martha saying: “The Teacher is here and is calling for you,” John 11:28

Jesus is calling every one of us to resurrection–now in Baptismal faith, forever in sharing His victory over death and all of us, as well as these three friends, are in our own unique way, called to special friendship with Him.

More here from American Catholic and here from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Leopold Mandic

St Leopold Mandic

Saint Leopold Mandic (1887-1942)
Image: Pinterest

(Franciscan Media) Born in Croatia, Leopold Mandic was the 11th of 12 children of a devout Christian and industrious family according to Vatican Radio his parents Peter and Carlotta Mandic owned a fishing fleet.

Leopold joined the ‘Capuchin Franciscans’ and was Ordained several years later in spite of his health issues–Physically challenged, delicate and having a height of only 1.35 Meters (4.4 feet) with a clumsy walk, he could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly and for many years suffered from severe arthritis together with poor eyesight but despite his disabilities, Fr. Leopold Mandic developed tremendous spiritual strength and used to repeat to himself:

“Remember that you have been sent for the salvation of people, not because of your own merits, since it is the Lord Jesus and not you who died for the salvation of souls.”

A teacher of Patrology (the study of the Church Fathers) Fr. Leopold Mandic taught the Clerics of his province for several years but he is best remembered for his work in the Confessional where he sometimes spent 13 to 15 hours daily. — Several Bishops would seek him out for his spiritual advice.

Fr. Leopold Mandic’s dream was to go to the Orthodox Christians and work for the reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy but unfortunately his health never permitted it — Often he would renew his vow to go to the Eastern Christians, this cause of unity was constantly in his prayers.

At a time when Pope Pius XII said that the greatest sin of our time is “to have lost all sense of sin,” (a plague that seems prevalent in our day too, I digress) — Fr. Leopold Mandic had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God’s grace awaiting human cooperation.

Suffering from esophagus cancer, in July 1942 while preparing for the liturgy Fr. Leopold Mandic collapsed, he would subsequently be given last rites — Franciscan Friars that had gathered at his bedside reportedly began singing the ‘Salve Regina’ and when they saw that Fr. Leopold Mandic had passed away they sang “O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary.”

Fr. Leopold Mandic often had said, “A Priest must die from apostolic hard work, there is no other death worthy of a Priest.” — Fr. Leopold Mandic did what he said.

In 1976 Pope Paul VI Beatified Fr. Leopold Mandic — On the 16 October, 1983 he was Canonized at St. Peter’s Square by Pope Saint John Paul II

More here from American Catholic

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Today Christians Honor Blessed Antonio Lucci

Blessed Antonio Lucci

Blessed Antonio Lucci (1682-1752)
Image: Tinh Tham

(Franciscan Media) Born in Italy Agnone a city famous for manufacturing bells and copper crafts, he was given the name Angelo at Baptism.

Angelo attended the local school run by the ‘Conventual Franciscans’ and joined them at the age of 16, completing his studies for the Priesthood in Assisi where he was Ordained in 1705 — Further studies led to him receiving his Doctorate in Theology and appointments as Teacher in Agnone, Ravello and Naples.

Fr. Lucci was elected Minister Provincial in 1718 and the following year he was appointed Professor at ‘St. Bonaventure College’ in Rome, a position that he held until Pope Benedict XIII selected him as Bishop of Bovino in 1729

Pope Benedict XIII said of Fr. Lucci: “I have chosen as Bishop of Bovino and eminent theologian and a Great Saint.”

Bishop Lucci’s 23 years in his position were marked by visits to local Parishes and a renewal of Gospel Living among the people of his Diocese — Bishop Lucci dedicated his episcopal income to works of education and charity. At the urging of the ‘Conventual Minister General’  Bishop Lucci wrote a major book about the Saints and Blesseds in the first 200 years of the Conventual Franciscans.

In 1989 Pope Saint John Paul II Beatified Bishop Lucci, three years after his close friend St. Francis Fasani was Canonized.

More here from American Catholic

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Saint’s Joachim & Anne

Sts Joachim and AnnaSaint Joachim & Saint Anne –Image: uCatholic

(Franciscan Media) In the Scriptures, Matthew and Luke furnish a legal family history of Jesus, tracing ancestry to show that Jesus is the culmination of great promises, not only is his mother’s family neglected, we also know nothing factual about them except of their existence–Even the names: Joachim and Anne come from a legendary source written more than a century after Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection.

The heroism and holiness of these individuals however is inferred from the whole family atmosphere around Mary in the Scriptures–Whether we rely on the legends about Mary’s childhood or make guesses from the information in the Bible, we see in her fulfillment of many generations of prayerful persons, herself steeped in the religious traditions of her ancestors.

The strong character of Mary making decisions, her continuous practice of prayer, her devotion to the Torah, her steadfastness in moments of crisis and her devotion to her family–all indicate, a close knit and loving family that looked forward to the next generation, even while retaining the best of the past.

Saint’s Joachim and Anne, whether these are their real names or not, represent that entire quiet series of generations, who faithfully performed their duties, practice their faith and establish an atmosphere for the Coming of the Messiah but remain obscure.

More here from American Catholic