Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Jerome, Patron Saint of Bible Scholars & Librarians

St JeromeSaint Jerome (345-420) Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

Born into a wealthy family in Stridon, present day Croatia according to Catholic News Agency Jerome benefited with a Christian education courtesy of his father who sent him to Rome for instruction in philosophy and classical literature, he led a misspent youth according to SQPN dominated by a struggle between worldly pleasures which brought him many temptations.

Baptized in 360 by Pope Liberius, Jerome would travel widely among the monastic and intellectual centers of the new Christian empire. Upon returning to the community of his birth, Jerome would study Theology, mastering Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean, together with working closely with two future Saint’s Chromatius of Aquileia and Heliodorus who were outstanding teachers of orthodox theology.

St. Jerome was above all a Scriptural Scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew between 390-405 according to Franciscan Media (between 390-394 according to EWTN St. Jerome translated the Books of Samuel, Kings, Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) and also wrote commentaries, which are a great source of Scriptural inspiration to us today.

Summarizing his scholarly works St. Jerome once said: “I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: ‘Search the Scriptures,’ and ‘Seek and you shall find.’ For if as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

On this date in 420 St. Jerome died in Bethlehem where he had established a Monastery.

More here from American Catholic and here by Fr. Jose de Siguenza

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of Saint’s Michael, Gabriel and Raphael — Archangels From God

ArchangelsSaint’s Michael, Gabriel and Raphael Archangels from God
Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(Franciscan Media) Angels — Messengers from God, appear frequently in Scripture but only Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are named.

St. Michael appears in Daniel’s vision as ‘The Great Prince’ —Daniel 12:1 who defends Israel against its enemies; In the Book of Revelation, Archangel Michael, leads God’s armies to final victory over the forces of evil. —Revelation 12:7-12; also see: Rev 12:7 & Commentary –USCCB Devotion to Michael is the oldest Angelic devotion, rising in the East in the 4th century–the Church in the West began to observe the Feast, honoring Michael and the Archangels in the 5th century.

St. Gabriel also makes an appearance in Daniel’s visions:
Daniel 8:15-16; Daniel 9:21-27  and Luke 1:26-36 — St. Gabriel appears to Mary who consents to give birth to the Messiah Jesus.

St. Raphael activities are confined to the Old Testament story of Tobit–According to Jewish Encyclopedia St. Raphael is one of the seven Archangels who brings prayers before God, although he is not one of the six who buried Moses, he is the second among the six or seven angels, Saint Michael as the most prominent.

The Feast Day’s of Saint Gabriel (24 March) Saint Raphael (according to SQPN formally was on the 24 October) were added to the Roman calendar, joining their Feast Day’s to St. Michael.

More here from American Catholic here from EWTN and here USCCB

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of “Good King” Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr for Christ

Saint Wenceslaus

Saint Wenceslaus (907-929)
Image: Pinterest

(EWTN) Born in Prague Bohemia what is today the Czech Republic, Wenceslaus was the son of Duke Wratislaw a Christian and Dragomir a wicked heathen according to Catholic Encyclopedia — Wenceslaus received a good Christian education from his Grandmother Saint Ludmilla (Feast Day: 18 September)

Following the death of his father (Duke Wratislaw) Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity — Wenceslaus was urged by the people to take the reigns of government, he would place his Duchy, under the protection of Germany and introduced German Priests.

Wenceslaus took the vow of chastity and became known and respected for his virtues. — Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title.

For religious and national motives and at the instigation of his evil mother Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw at the door of the Church according to SQPN and buried there. 

Emperor Otto responded to Wenceslaus death by invading Bohemia according to Catholic News Agency and engaging in battle for several years conquering the region. Otto I forced Boleslaw (some write Boleslaus) to reverse the anti-Christian measures that he and his evil mother Dragomir had taken.

There is no evidence that Dragomir who died soon after the murder of Wenceslaus ever repented for the murder of her son. Boleslaw however came to regret his wicked deed of murdering his own brother (and repented) when he learned of miracles that were taking place where Wenceslaus was buried.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on this date in 2009 in the Czech Republic during his homily said: “This is the lesson we can learn from Saint Wenceslaus, who had the courage to prefer the Kingdom of Heaven to the enticement of world power. His gaze never moved away from Jesus Christ who suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps…As an obedient disciple of the Lord, the young Prince Wenceslaus, remained faithful to the Gospel teachings he had learned from his Grandmother Saint Ludmilla — In observing these, even before committing himself to build peaceful relations within his lands and with neighboring countries, he took steps to spread the Christian faith, summoning Priests and building Churches…he was benevolent to the poor, clothed the naked, gave food to the hungry, welcomed Pilgrims just as the Gospel enjoins. He (Wenceslaus) did not allow injustice to be done to widows, he loved all people whether rich or poor. — He learned from the Lord to be merciful and gracious…”

Saint Wenceslaus is the subject of the well known favorite Christmas Carol ‘Good King Wenceslaus’ written  in 1853 by English Hymnwriter John Mason Neale in collaboration with music editor Thomas Helmore.

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, Patron Saint of Charitable Societies

Saint Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
Image: Aquitaine

(EWTN) Born in France Gascony, Vincent like his fellow Saint Francis de Sales (Feast Day: 24 January) who was his friend and contemporary, performed an invaluable service to the Church in a period of confusion and laxness.

In 1625 St. Vincent de Paul established the Congregation of Priests of the Missions according to Catholic News Agency as part of an effort to evangelize rural populations and foster vocations to remedy a priest shortage in which he wrote courtesy of the Vatican a wonderful message so practical, for even in our day:

“Our vocation is to go and enflame the heart of men, to do what the Son of God did, He who brought fire into the world to set it alright with His love. What else can we wish for than for it to burn and consume all things?

Thus it is true that I have been sent not only to love God but also to make men love Him.

It is not enough to love God if my neighbor does not love Him. I must love my neighbor as the image of God and the object of His love and do everything so that in their turn men love their Creator who knows and considers them as His brothers who He has served. I must obtain that they love each other with mutual love, out of love for God who loved them to the point of abandoning to death His very Son. So that is my duty.

Now if it is true that we are called to bear God’s love near and far, if we must set nations alight, if our vocation is to go and spread this divine fire in the whole world, if it is so my brothers, if it is really so, how must I myself burn of this divine fire.

How can we give love to others, if we do not have it among us? Let us look if it is so not generally but if each one has it within himself, in due amount because if love is not on fire in us, if we do not love each other as Jesus Christ loved us and if we do not act as He did. how can we hope to spread such love throughout the world? You can not give what you do not have. The precise duty of charity consists of ‘doing to others what you reasonably would like done for yourself.’ Do I really behave towards my neighbor as I wish he would towards me?

Let us look at the Son of God. Only our Lord can be so taken by love for creatures so much as to leave His Father’s throne and take a body subject to infirmity and why? In order to establish among us, with His word and example, the love of our neighbors. This is the love that led Him to the Cross and accomplished the wonderful work of our redemption. If we had a little of such love, would we stay here with folded arms? Oh! No, love can not remain barren, it urges us to obtain Salvation and relief for others.”

Not long after establishing the ‘Congregation of Priests of the Mission’ Fr. Vincent de Paul worked with the future Saint Louise de Marillac (Feast Day: 15 March) to establish the ‘Daughters of Charity’ dedicated to serving the sick, poor and neglected.

Under Sister Louise de Marillac direction, the Order collected donations which Fr. Vincent de Paul distributed widely among the needy. — These contributions went toward homes for abandoned children, a hospice for the elderly and a large complex where some 40,000 poor people were given lodging and work.

Admired for great accomplishments during his lifetime, Fr. Vincent de Paul, maintained great personal humility, using his reputation and connections to help the poor and strengthen the Church.

Fr. Vincent de Paul passed away on this date in 1660 only months following the death of St. Louise de Marillac (1591-1660) — In August 1729 he was Beatified by Pope Benedict XIII and Canonized in June 1737 by Pope Clement XI

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs for Christ

Sts Cosmas and Damian Martyrs

St. Cosmas and St. Damian
Image: Garden of Mary

(CNA) Cosmas and Damain were twins born in 3rd century Arabia into a Christian family and grew up in the region around the border between what’s now modern day Turkey and Syria, both became Physicians and according to EWTN attained a great reputation, charging nothing for their medical services, called ‘Anargyros’ and thus were able to win many souls for Christ, earning them a place of prominence in the Christian communities.

When the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian (from around 284 to 305 — see also: Feast of Saint Januarius Feast Day:19 September) the ‘Perfect Lysias’ had Cosmas and Damian arrested and ordered them to deny their faith in Christ, when they refused, they were repeatedly tortured but in a miraculous manner would suffer no injuries from either water, fire, air or crucifixion. Their Torturers weary of what they realized would be an impossible task, finally beheaded the brothers. — In Rome, Pope Felix IV (526-530) erected a Church in their honor.

Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian are invoked in the Canon of the Mass and the Litany of Saints.

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Today Christians Honor Saint’s Louis & Zelie Martin

Blessed Louis Martin...

Saint Loius Martin & Saint Zelie Guerin
Image: Carmelite Sisters of Ireland

(Franciscan Media) Born in France Bordeaux 1823 Louis’ desire to join a religious community went unfulfilled as he didn’t know Latin, he therefore trained to become a watchmaker.

Subsequently upon moving to Normandy, he met and fell in love with the highly skilled lacemaker Zelie, who also had been disappointed by her attempted to enter a religious order in her life — In 1858 Louis and Zelie were married and God blessed them with 9 children though two sons and two daughters died during infancy.

Louis would help manage his wife’s Zelie lacemaking business in their home while raising their children — Louis would become a widower when his wife Zelie died from breast cancer just months before her 46th birthday.

Following Zelie’s death, Louis moved his family to France Lisieux, to be near his brother and sister-in-law who helped with the education of his 5 surviving girls. — In 1889 Louis would suffer two paralyzing strokes according to SQPN followed by psychological trauma which resulted in his hospitalization for the next three years.

As Louis health deteriorated, his eldest daughter entered the Monastery of Mt. Carmel at Lisieux in 1888 — Subsequently, all 4 of her siblings also  entered into a religious life becoming Nuns, the youngest of which became Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (Feast Day: 01 October)

In 1894 their father Louis passed away. — Both Louis and Zelie were Venerated declared ‘Heroic in Virtue’ in 1994 by Pope Saint John Paul II and Beatified in 2008 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI — In October, both Blessed Louis Martin and Blessed Zelie Martin will be Canonized by Pope Francis in Rome during the Synod of the Family.

More here from the Carmelite Sisters of Ireland and here by EWTN

Today Christians Honor Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Image: Pinterest

(Franciscan Media) Blessed John Henry Newman was an Anglican convert to Catholicism according to NC Register who later became a Cardinal and one of the great modern teachers of the faith. Through a diligent study of the Scriptures and Fathers of the Church, Cardinal Newman pursued the truth wherever it would lead him, his intellectual honesty and courage led him to give up the prestige he enjoyed at Oxford University in order to convert to the Catholic Church at the age of forty-four…

Born in England London, John Henry studied at Oxford’s Trinity College, was a tutor at Oriel College and for 17 years was a Vicar of the University Church St. Mary the Virgin located in the center of Oxford for over 700 years.

After 1833 John Henry Newman was a prominent member of the Oxford Movement which sought a renewal of ‘Catholic’ thought and practice within the Church of England in opposition to the Protestant tendencies of the Church.

Historical research made Newman suspect that the Roman Catholic Church was in closest continuity with the Church that Jesus established and in 1845 he was received into full communion as a Catholic. Two years subsequently, Newman was Ordained a Priest in Rome and joined the Congregation of the Oratory, founded three centuries earlier by Saint Philip Neri (Feast Day: 26 May) — Returning to England, Fr. Newman founded ‘Oratory’ Houses in Birmingham together in London and for seven years, served as a Rector of the Catholic University of Ireland.

Before Fr. Newman, Catholic theology tended to ignore history, preferring instead to draw deductions from first principles–much as plane Geometry does. After Fr. Newman, the lived experience of Believers was recognized as a key part of theological reflection.

Fr. Newman eventually would go on to write 40 books and 21,000 letters that survive. Most famous are his book length Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine 1878 — Fr. Newman accepted Vatican I’s teaching on ‘Papal Infallibility’ while noting its limits, which many people who favored that definition were reluctant to do.

When Fr. Newman was made a Cardinal in 1879 he took as a motto: “Cor ad cor loquitur” (“Heart speaks unto heart”) which as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI points out, this “gives us an insight to his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God.” — Cardinal Newman, “reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness, as he wrote in one of his many fine sermons: A habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency–prayer, I say,has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualizing and elevating the soul. A man, is no longer what he was before; gradually…he has embedded  a new set of ideas and become(s) embedded with fresh principles.” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, IV 230-231)

Cardinal Newman passed away in August 1890 of Pneumonia — Three years after his death, a ‘Newman Club for Catholic Students’ began at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and in time, Cardinal Newman’s name was linked to ministry centers at many public and private colleges and universities throughout the United States.

In 1991 Pope Saint John Paul II Venerated Cardinal Newman with a decree of Heroic Virtues; On the 19 September, 2010 Cardinal Newman was Beatified by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

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