Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Wolfgang, Patron Saint of Stroke Patients

Saint WolfgangSt. Wolfgang (924-994) Image Courtesy: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(Franciscan Media) Born in Swabia what is now SW Germany and receiving an ecclesiastic by a tutor at home according to EWTN by a Tutor, later Wolfgang attended the celebrated monastic school on the Reichenau, here he would form a strong friendship with Henry, a young noble and brother of Bishop of Poppo of Wurzburg, who would later go onto be Archbishop of Trier.

Meanwhile Wolfgang, remained in close contact with the Archbishop, teaching in his Cathedral school and supporting his efforts to reform the Clerical discipline and spirituality according to SQPN in his diocese.

Upon the death of the Archbishop Henry of Trier, Wolfgang entered the Order of St. Benedict in the Abbey of Maria Einsiedeln in Switzerland  and was Ordained a Priest according to EWTN in 968 — Subsequently appointed director at the Monastery school there. Later Fr. Wolfgang was sent to Hungary as a missionary, though his zeal of good will yielded limited results.

Following the death of Bishop Michael of Ratisbon (23 September, 972) Bishop Piligrim obtained from the Emperor Otto II, the appointment of Fr. Wolfgang as Bishop of Ratisbon (modern day Germany Regensberg) Christmas Day 972 — Bishop Wolfgang’s services in this new position were of the highest importance not only for the diocese but also for the cause of civilization.

As Bishop of Ratisbon, Fr. Wolfgang would become the Tutor of Emperor Saint Henry II who learned from him the principles which would govern his Saintly and energetic life.

Bishop Wolfgang, initiated reforms of the Clergy and of religious life. Preaching with vigor, effectiveness and always demonstrating a special concern for the poor, he wore the habit of a Monk and lived an austere life.

The draw to a monastic life of prayer and solitude never left Wolfgang, at one point he would leave the diocese so that he could better devote himself to prayer but his responsibilities as Bishop of Ratisbon, called him back.

In 994 Bishop Wolfgang became ill while journeying, he died on this date at Pupping Linz (modern day Austria) — In 1052 Bishop Wolfgang was Canonized by Pope Leo IX

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Jesuit Lay Brother

St Alphonsus RodriguezSt. Alphonsus Rodriguez (1533-1617)
Image Courtesy: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(America Magazine) Alphonsus had come to the ‘Society of Jesus’ by a circuitous route. Born in Spain Segovia, Alphonsus was the second son of a prosperous cloth merchant. When St. Peter Faber (Favre) one of the original Jesuits visited the city to preach, the ‘Rodriguez Family’ provided hospitality to the Jesuit Priest Fr. Faber, who would help prepare the young Alphonsus for his First Communion.

At the age of 12 Alphonsus was sent to the Jesuit College at Alcala but his father’s death, put an early end to his studies and he was sent back home to take over the family business. — At the age of 27, Alphonsus would get married, he and his wife Maria would have three children (two died during infancy) one child survived according to SQPN but would later die, together with his wife Maria. Heavy taxes and expenses led Alphonsus to the brink of financial ruin. Many biographers depict him as feeling like a failure in life.

In his desperation Alphonsus called on the Jesuits for help and guidance–the lonely Widower prayed for many years to understand God’s desire for him.

Gradually Alphonsus found within himself the desire to become a Jesuit. At the age of 35 he was deemed to old to begin the long training for the Priesthood and besides lacked the education required according to SQPN and was rejected for entrance but Alphonsus’ holiness was evident to the local Provincial who accepted him into the Novitate as a Brother two years later–he stayed there for only 6 months before being sent to the Jesuit school in Spain Majorca in 1571 where he assumed the duties of porter/doorkeeper.

Each time Brother Alphonsus would open the door he said to himself, “I’m coming Lord.” — This practice reminded him to treat each person with as much respect as if it were Jesus Himself.

In 1605 Peter Claver then a 25 yr old Jesuit Seminarian (he would later be Canonized, St. Peter Claver Feast Day: 09 September) met the humble 72 yr old Brother Alphonsus at the college. The two would meet almost daily for spiritual conversations and in time, Alphonsus would encourage the young Peter Claver, to consider working overseas as a Missionary to the Spanish colonies.

This prospect thrilled Peter, who wrote to his Provincial for permission and in 1610 now a Priest, was sent to Cartagena (a port city) present day Colombia, to work with the West African Slaves (slavery was repeatedly condemned by Pope Paul III during the previous century) which had been captured and imprisoned by Slave Traders and shipped to South America.

Brother Alphonsus humbleness and holy life he led, attracted many to him. While his life as a doorkeeper may have been humdrum, he caught the attention of Poet and fellow Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) who made St. Alphonsus Rodriguez the subject of one of his poems.

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez died on this date in 1617 he was Beatified in 1825 by Pope Leo XII and Canonized in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII

More here from American Catholic and here from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate Feasts of St. Narcissus of Jerusalem & Blessed Chiara Luce Badano of Italy

Saint NarcissusSt. Narcissus of Jerusalem (99-215)
Image: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(Franciscan Media) Life in second and third century Jerusalem couldn’t have been easy but St. Narcissus, managed to live well beyond 100 and some speculate he lived until 160

Details of Narcissus’ life are sketchy but there are many reports of his miracles. The miracle by which he is most remembered, was turning water into oil for use in the Church lamps on ‘Holy Saturday’ when the Deacons had forgotten to provide any.

We do know that Narcissus was already an old man when he became Bishop of Jerusalem according to SQPN during the late second century. Known for his holiness, there are some hints also that many people found him to be harsh and rigid in his efforts to impose Church discipline.

One of Narcissus’ many detractors accused him of a serious crime however none of the Christians in his diocese believed it, nevertheless he would use the occasion to retire from his role as Bishop and live in solitude and prayer–his disappearance was so sudden and convincing that many people believed that he died.

Several successors were appointed during Narcissus years in isolation. Finally, Narcissus appeared in Jerusalem and was persuaded to resume his duties as Bishop, by then he had reached an advanced age, so a younger Bishop was brought in to assist Bishop Narcissus until his death. 

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Blessed Chiara BadanoBlessed Chiara Luce Badano (1971-1990)
Image: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(CNA) Born in Italy Savona on this date in 1971, ‘The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints’ issued a decree in 2008 recognizing the heroic virtues of Chiara Luce Badano, who belonged to the Focolare Movement and died at just 18 yrs of age.

Chiara was the daughter of Ruggero Badano and Maria Teresa Caviglia, who waited 11 yrs to have a child.

“Amidst our great joy, we understood immediately that she was not only our daughter but also a daughter of God,” her mother Maria Teresa said, according to a biography published by Focolare. — Since childhood, Chiara showed a deep love for God and a strong but docile character, she was joyful, kind and very active.

At the 9 Chiara joined the Focolare Movement and in 1985 Chiara moved to Savona, to continue her education. According to her biographers, “Chiara had a difficult time despite her great efforts, she was held back one year and this made her suffer greatly.”

Chiara had made many friends, loved sports, especially tennis, swimming and hiking, together with singing and dancing, she dreamed of one day becoming a flight attendant however at the age of 16 she decided to pursue the consecrated life. — Chiara had a close relationship with the founder of Focolare Movement Chiara Lubich, who have her the name ‘Luce.’

Soon after this time, Chiara Luce was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her shoulder, she would begin intensive chemotherapy while continuing on with her daily life with the same joy and faith. — This same joy and faith moved Chiara Luce even though she was ill, to donate all of her savings to a friend who was going to be a Missionary to Africa.

Despite the efforts by her doctors, Chiara Luce illness progressed rapidly and she lost the use of her legs in which she said to her family: “If I had to choose between walking or going to heaven, I’d choose heaven.”

In July 1989 Chiara Luce suffered a severe hemorrhage and her death appeared to be imminent, she told her parents: “Don’t cry for me, I’m going to see Jesus. At my funeral, I don’t want people to cry but rather to sing with all their voices.”

Chiara Luce would pray for the strength to do God’s will. “I don’t ask Jesus to come for me to bring me to heaven. I don’t want to give Him the impression that I don’t want to suffer anymore.”

Chiara Luce would ask her mother to help her prepare and plan her funeral, or as she would call it her “wedding feast.” Giving her mother Maria Teresa specific instructions about how she should be dressed, the music, the flowers, the hymns to be sung and the readings, she then asked her mother to repeat the words:

“Now Chiara, go to Jesus.”

Chiara Luce would breathe her last and went to be with her Savior Jesus Christ on the 07 October, 1990 surrounded by her parents, her friends had gathered just outside her door. Chiara’s final words were: “Ciao, be happy because I am.” — Some 2000 people would attend her funeral.

The cause for Chiara Luce Beatification was opened in 1999 by Bishop Livio Maritano, he said that his decision was based upon, “Chiara’s way of living, especially the extraordinary example she gave during the last stage of her life. — I had no doubt about promoting her cause,” he said.

Chiara Luce was Beatified in 2010 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

More here from EWTN

Related: Chiara Luce: A Luminous and Modern Day Model –Focolare

Antisemitism: San Francisco Police Need Your Help In Locating Black Racist That Drew Swastika at BART Station

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Simon the Apostle & St. Jude Thaddeus

Saint's Simon and JudeSaint Simon the Apostle and Saint Jude Thaddeus
Image Courtesy: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(Vatican) Today Christians honor two of the Twelve Apostles: Simon the Cananean and Jude Thaddeus (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Christ) — Let us look at them together says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, not only because they are placed next to each other in lists of the Twelve according to:

Matthew 10:3-4  Mark 3:18  Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13 but also because there is very little information about them, apart from the fact, the New Testament Canon preserves one Letter attributed to St. Jude Thaddeus.

Simon was given a nickname that varies in the four lists: While Matthew and Mark describe him as a ‘Cananean’ Luke instead describes him as a Zealot. — In fact, the two descriptions are equivalent because they mean the same thing. In Hebrew, the verb ‘qana’ means to be jealous, ardent and may be said both of God, since He is jealous with regard to His chosen people. See: Exodus 20:5 and of men who burn with zeal in serving the one true God with unreserved devotion such as Elijah. See: 1st Kings 19:10

Therefore it is highly likely that even if this Simon was not exactly a member of the nationalist movement of ‘zealots’ he was at least marked by passionate attachment to his Jewish identity, hence for God, his people and (the) Divine Law.

If this was the case, Simon was worlds apart from Matthew who–had an activity behind him as a tax collector, that was frowned upon as entirely impure. This shows that Jesus called His disciples and collaborators without exception, from the most varied social and religious backgrounds. It was people who interested Him, not social classes or labels and the best thing is, that in the group of His followers, despite their differences, they all lived side-by-side, overcoming imaginable difficulties. Indeed what bound them together was Jesus Himself, in whom they all found themselves united with one another.

This is clearly a lesson for us (today) who are often inclined to accentuate differences and even contrasts, forgetting that in Jesus Christ, we are given the strength to get the better of our continual conflicts.

Lets us also bear in mind, that the group of Twelve is the prefiguration of the Church, where there must be room for all charisms, people and races, all human qualities that find their composition and unity in communion with Jesus.

Then with regard to Jude Thaddeus, this is what tradition has called him, combining two different names, in fact: Matthew and Mark call him simply ‘Thaddeus’ Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18 — Luke calls him ‘Judas son of James’ see: Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13

The nickname ‘Thaddeus’ is uncertain as explained either as originating from the Aramaic ‘tadda’ which means breast and would therefore suggest ‘magnanimous’ or as in an abbreviation of a Greek name such as ‘Teodoro’ as Teodoto.

Very little about Saint Jude has come down to us. John alone mentions a question that he addressed to Jesus at the Last Supper:

Thaddeus asks Jesus: “Lord how is it that You will reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?” See: John 14:22

This is a very timely question that we also address to the Lord: Why did not the Risen One reveal Himself to His enemies in His full glory in order to show that it is God who his victorious? Why did He only manifest Himself to His disciples?

Jesus’ answer is mysterious and profound. The Lord says: “Those who love Me will keep My word and My Father will love them and We will come to them and make Our home with them.” See: John 14:23

This means that the Risen One, must be seen, must be perceived also by the heart, in a way so that God may take up his abode within us. The Lord does not appear as a thing. He desires to enter our lives and therefore his manifestation is a manifestation that implies and presupposes an open heart. Only in this way do we see the Risen One.

Rest here from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on St. Simon and St. Jude

Related: St. Simon the Apostle –EWTN

St. Jude Thaddeus –Catholic News Agency

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Frumentius of Ethiopia & Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza

St FrumentiusSt. Frumentius –Image: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(CNA) St. Frumentius helped in a great capacity to bring Christianity to Ethiopia — Born in Lebanon, he was shipwrecked in East Africa while voyaging on the Red Sea, only he and his brother Saint Aedeius survived.

They were subsequently taken to the King at Ethiopia and became members of the Court, when the King passed away, the two brothers stayed on as part of the Queen’s Royal Court — She permitted the two brothers to introduce Christianity to the country, as well as opening up trade between Ethiopia and the West.

Frumentius convinced St. Athanasius (Feast Day: 02 May) to send Missionaries from Alexandria — Frumentius was later consecrated as the Bishop of Ethiopia. During his lifetime, he helped to convert many people to Christianity before his death in 380

Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza

(Franciscan Media) Dominicans honor one of their own today. — Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza was born in 1200 in Italy, at the age of 20 he entered the Dominicans, following his Ordination into the Priesthood, he would go on to serve in several leadership positions. — As a young Priest, he founded a military Order whose purpose was to keep civil peace in towns throughout Italy.

In 1248 Fr. Bartholomew was appointed a Bishop, for most men, this appointment would be an honor, a tribute to their holiness and their demonstrated leadership skills but for the new Bishop Bartholomew, it was a form of exile that had been urged by an anti-papal group that was only too happy to see him leave Cyprus. — Not many years later however, Bishop Bartholomew was transferred back to Vicenza. Despite the anti-papal feelings that were still evident, Bishop Bartholomew worked diligently, especially through his preaching, to rebuild his Diocese and strengthen the people’s loyalty to Rome.

During his years in Cyprus, Bishop Bartholomew befriended King Louis IX of France, it is said he gave the Holy Bishop Bartholomew a relic of Christ’s Crown of Thorns.

Bishop Bartholomew passed away in 1270 he was Beatified in 1793 by Pope Pius VI

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Peter of Alcantara

St Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562) Image Courtesy: Pinterest

(EWTN) Born in Spain Alcantara, Peter’s father was born in a noble family with his father Governor and his mother was of the noble family of Sanbia.

Following a course of Grammar and Philosophy in his native community, Peter was sent at the age of 14 to the University of Salamanca — Returning home two years later, Peter would become a Franciscan in the Convent of the ‘Stricter Observance of Manxaretes’ at the age of 22 he was sent to found a new community of the ‘Stricter Observance’ at Badjoz — In 1524 Peter was Ordained a Priest and the following year, made Guardian of the Convent of ‘St Mary of the Angels’ at Robredillo.

Fr. Peter within a few years began preaching with much success, he preferred ministering to the poor; Fr, Peter’s sermons taken largely from the Prophets and Sapiential Books/Writings (Wisdom) breathe the tenderest human sympathy.

Despite Fr. Peter’s success as a minister, still he was not above washing dishes and chopping firewood according to Franciscan Media he did not seek attention, indeed he preferred solitude and prayer — It is said, that he only 90 minutes each night. Fr. Peter’s penitential side was also evident when it came to food and clothing, while others spoke of Church reform, Fr. Peter’s ‘reform’ began with himself, his patience was so great that a Proverb arose regarding Fr. Peter:

“To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara.”

In 1544, Fr. Peter received permission to form a group of Franciscans that followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These Friars became known as the ‘Alcantarines’ — Some of the Spanish Friars who went to North & South American during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this order. By the end of the 19th century the ‘Alcantarines’ were joined by other observant Friars to form the Order of the Friars Minor.

Fr. Peter passed away at the age of 63 in Spain and was Beatified in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV and Canonized in 1669 by Pope Clement IX

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Life Is Short, Would You Be Ready to Meet Your Maker Today?

Life is Short“For the wages of sin is death but the FREE GIFT of God
is ETERNAL LIFE in Christ Jesus Our Lord.” —Romans 6:23

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony of Saint Anne Galvao

Fr Anthony...

St. Anthony of Saint Anne Galvao
Image: Catholic Thoughts

(Franciscan Media) God’s plan in an individuals life takes unexpected turns which become life-giving through cooperation with God’s grace.

Anthony was born in Brazil Guaratingueta near Sao Paulo to a deeply religious family of high social standing. — According to the Vatican Anthony’s father Antonio Galvao de Franca, was active in the would of commerce, belonged to the ‘Third Order of St. Francis’ and was known for his generosity. Anthony’s mother Izabel Letite de Barros, bore 11 children before her premature death in 1755 at the age of 38 she too was well known for her generosity, in fact, when she passed, none of her clothes could be found because she had given them all to the poor.

When Anthony was 13 yrs old his father Antonio, sent him to a Jesuit Seminary in Belem but due to a growing anti-Jesuit climate, Antonio later recommended that Anthony pursue his vocation with the Franciscan Friars instead.

In 1760 at the age of 21,  Anthony entered St. Bonaventure Friary in Macacu in Rio de Janeiro, during this period, Anthony was known for his devotion, zeal and exemplary values. In 1761 Anthony made his solemn profession and took the Franciscan vow to defend the Blessed Virgin Mary’s title of the ‘Immaculate’ at the time, it was still a controversial doctrine. One year later, Anthony was Ordained as a Priest and sent to St. Francis Fiary in Sao Paulo, where he continued his studies in theology and philosophy. — In 1768 Fr. Anthony was appointed Preacher, Confessor and  Porter at the Convent, an important post.

Within a few years, Fr. Anthony was appointed Confessor to the ‘Recollects of St. Teresa’ a group on Nun’s in Sao Paulo — Subsequently, Fr. Anthony and Sister Helena Maria of the Holy Spirit, founded a new community of Sisters, under the patronage of ‘Our Lady of the Conception of Divine Providence’ with Sister Helena Maria’s premature death the following year, this left Fr. Anthony, responsible for the new congregation, especially for building a Convent and Church adequate for their growing numbers.

Fr. Anthony served as the Novice Master for the Friars in Macacu and as Guardian of ‘St. Francis Friary’ in Sao Paulo. Subsequently Fr. Anthony founded ‘St. Clare Convent in Sorocaba Sao Paulo — After 11 months, he returned to ‘St Francis Friary’ — Because of his old age, Fr. Anthony obtained permission from the Bishop and Guardian to stay at the Recolhimento da Luz, where he passed away two days before Christmas.

On this date in 1998 Fr. Anthony of Saint Anne Galvao was Beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II and Canonized in 2007 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Patron Saint of ‘The Claretians’

St Anthony ClaretSt. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) Image: Catholic Online

(CNA) Born in Spain Catalonia at Salent in the Diocese of Vich, Anthony was trained for manual labor since his father was a weaver according to EWTN but in 1829 Anthony entered the Seminary at Vich and Ordained into the Priesthood in 1835 and was subsequently assigned as a pastor in his home parish and for 10 yrs worked there.

In 1849 Fr. Anthony gathered together 5 other Priests and formed the basis of the ‘Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary’ –popularly known as ‘The Claretians’ subsequently at the suggestion of the Queen of Spain Isabella II, Fr. Anthony was named Archbishop of Cuba Santiago in 1850 successfully reforming the Clergy and Laity, preaching against Slavery and regularized numerous marriages.

As a result of Archbishop Claret’s activities, he would often receive death threats and on one occasion, an attempt was actually made on his life.

In 1857 Archbishop Claret was recalled back to Spain as Confessor to the Queen00in this position, he was able to exert some influence in the naming of Bishop’s together with establishing a ‘Center for Ecclesiastical Studies’ at the Escorial (Monastery in Central Spain) and worked towards the recognition of religious orders in Spain.

In 1869 while in Rome preparing for the ‘First Vatican Council’ Archbishop Claret followed Queen Isabella II into exile and at the insistence of the Spanish Ambassador, Archbishop Claret was placed under house-arrest in the Cistercian Monastery in France, where he would subsequently breathe his last on this date in 1870

Archbishop Claret was Beatified in 1934 by Pope Pius XI and Canonized in 1950 by Pope Pius XII

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