Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

Our Lady of the RosaryHappy Feast Day of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Image: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(CNA) On this date the Church celebrates the annual Feast of ‘Our Lady of the Holy Rosary’ in honor of the 16th century naval victory which secured Europe against a militant Islamic invasion — Pope Saint Pius V attributed the victory to the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle through a campaign to pray the Rosary and receive Communion throughout Europe.

Sailors on more than 200 ships prayed the Rosary and received Communion in preparation for the battle.

Some accounts say that Pope Pius V was granted a miraculous vision of the ‘Holy League’s’ stunning victory. Without a doubt, Pope Pius V understood the significance of the day’s events. Vastly outnumbered the ‘Holy League’ won a dramatic and decisive battle against the Muslims destroying their entire fleet in 1571

Pope Leo XIII was particularly devoted to ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’ producing 11 Encyclicals on the subject of this Feast and its importance in the course of his long Pontificate.

The purpose of the ‘Holy Rosary’ is to help meditate on the great mysteries of Our Salvation. Pope Pius XII called it a compendium of the Gospel. The main focus is on Jesus–his birth, life, death and resurrection. — The ‘Our Fathers’ reminds us that Jesus’ Father is the initiator of Our Salvation; The ‘Hail Mary’s’ reminds us to join Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all of the mysteries of His earthly and heavenly existence; The ‘Glory Be’s’ reminds us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Holy Trinity.

The ‘Holy Rosary’ appeals to many, it is simple–the continually repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.

More here from American Catholic and here from USCCB

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Bruno, Founder of The Carthusian Order

St Bruno

Saint Bruno (1030-1101)
Image Courtesy: Catholic Online

(EWTN) Born in Germany Cologne, Bruno is believed to have belonged to a prominent family, while little is known of his youthful days, one does know that he studied Theology in the present day French City of Rheims before returning to Germany where he was Ordained a Priest around 1055 and soon thereafter returning to Rheims, Fr. Bruno became head of the school and taught that he attended for nearly two decades, acquiring an excellent reputation.

Fr. Bruno became Chancellor of the local Diocese in 1075 his time as Chancellor coincided with an uproar in Rheims over the behavior of its new Bishop Manasses de Gournai — Suspended by the decision of a local council the Bishop appealed to Rome, while attacking and robbing the homes of his opponents. Fr. Bruno left the Diocese during this period even though he was considered a possible successor to Bishop Manasses, though Fr. Bruno was uninterested in leading the Church in Rheims.

Having resolved to renounce their worldly goods and positions and enter a religious life, Fr. Bruno and two of his friends. Inspired by a dream to seek the guidance from Bishop of Grenoble (later Canonized Saint Hugh of Grenoble Feast Day: 01 April) Fr. Bruno settled in the Chartreuse Mountains in 1084 joined by a small group of scholars looking to become Monks.

In 1088 one of Fr. Bruno’s former students was elected as Pope Blessed Urban II — Six years into his religious life, Fr. Bruno was called to leave his remote South Eastern France Monastery to assist Pope Urban II in his struggle against a rival papal claimant as well as the hostile Emperor Henry IV

Fr Bruno would serve as a close advisor to Pope Urban II during this critical period, around this time he would reject another opportunity to become a Bishop, this time in the Italian region of Calabria. While he received Pope Urban II blessing to return to his monastic life, Fr. Bruno was required to remain in Italy to help Pope Urban II periodically rather than returning to the Monastery that he loved in France.

Around 1090 Fr. Bruno befriended Roger Great Count of Sicily and Calabria who granted land to Fr. Bruno’s group of Monks which enabled the founding of the Monastery of St. Stephen in 1095 — The Monks were known then as they are to this day for their strict practice of self-discipline, poverty and prayer.

Fr. Bruno passed away on this date after making a notable profession of faith, which was preserved for posterity. In his final testimony, he gave particular emphasis to the doctrine of Christ’s Eucharistic presence, which had already begun to be questioned in parts of the Western Church:

“I believe in the Sacraments that the Church believes and holds in reverence and especially that what has been consecrated  on the altar is the true Flesh and the true Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which we receive for the forgiveness of our sins and the hope for eternal salvation.”

Veneration of St. Bruno was given final approval in 1514, he was never formally Canonized as the Carthusians were averse to all occasions of publicity however Pope Clement X extended his Feast to the entire Church in 1674

More here from American Catholic and here from The Carthusian Order

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Patron Saint of World Youth Day

St Maria KowalskaSaint Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)
Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(Franciscan Media) St. Faustina name is forever linked to the annual Feast of Divine Mercy (celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter) the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Divine Mercy Prayer, recited each day at 3:00 PM by many people.

Born in what is now, West Central Poland (part of Germany before WW I) Sister Maria Faustina, worked as a housekeeper in three cities before joining the ‘Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy’ in 1925–In addition to carrying out her work faithfully serving the needs of the Sisters and the local population, she also had a deep interior life, this included receiving revelations from the Lord Jesus, messages that she recorded in her diary at the request of Christ and her Confessors.

At a time when some Catholics had an image of God as such a strict Judge that they may be tempted to despair about the possibility of being forgiven, Jesus chose to emphasize His mercy and forgiveness for sins acknowledged and confessed.

“I do not want to punish aching mankind but I desire to heal it,” Jesus told St. Faustina, “pressing it to My merciful heart.” (Diary 1588) The two rays emanating from Christ’s heart St. Fautina said, represents the ‘blood and water’ poured out after Jesus’ death. (John 19:34)

While Sister Maria Faustina knew that the revelations she had already received did not constitute holiness itself, she wrote in her diary: “Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God.” (Diary 1107)

Sister Maria Faustina died on this date in Poland Krakow of tuberculosis–she was Beatified in 1993 and Canonized in 2000 by Pope Saint John Paul II

More here from American Catholic and here and here from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

St Francis of AssisiSaint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) Image Courtesy: Catholic Online

(Franciscan Media) Born in Italy Umbria, Francis (baptismal name ‘Giovanni’) father Pietro Bernardone returned from a trip to France to find out his wife had given birth to a son. Far from being excited and overjoyed according to Catholic Online Pietro was furious because his wife had their baby baptized as ‘Giovanni’ after St. John the Baptist — The last thing that Pietro wanted in his son, was a ‘Man of God’ for he wanted a man of business, a cloth merchant like he was and especially wanted a son who would reflect his infatuation with France, so Pietro had him renamed ‘Francesco’ which was equivalent in calling him a Frenchman.

Francesco (‘Francis’) enjoyed a very rich easy life growing up because of his father’s wealth and the permissiveness of the times. From the very beginning everyone loved Francis as he was a happy go lucky young lad–when he was picky, people would excuse him, when he was ill, people cared for him. if he did poorly in school people excused him, in many ways, he was too easy to like for his own good–no one attempted to control or teach him.

As he grew up, Francis became the leader of the crowd of young people who spent their nights at wild parties–Francis himself acknowledged his misspent youthful days saying, “I lived in sin,’ during that time.

Serious illness brought young Francis to see the error in his ways with his frolicking life–prayer lengthy and difficult, led Francis to a self emptying  like that of Jesus Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in a payer:

“Francis! Everything that you have loved and desired in the flesh, it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know My will and when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy.”

From the Cross in the neglected field Chapel of San Damiano, Christ told Francis: “Go out and build up My House, for it is nearly falling down.” Francis would become the totally poor and humble workman. Francis must have suspected a deeper meaning to ‘build My House’ but he would have been content to be the rest of his life the ‘poor nothing man’ actually putting brick-on-brick on abandoned Chapels.

Francis gave up all of his possessions, piling even his clothes before his father Pietro (who was demanding restitution for Francis’ gifts to the poor–so that he would be totally free to say: “Our Father in Heaven.” Francis was for a time considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door-to-door to get money for his work, evoking sadness and disgust in the hearts of his (now) former friends and ridicule from the thoughtless but genuineness will tell.

A few people began to realize that Francis was actually trying to live a Christian life. He really believed what Jesus said about proclaiming the Kingdom of God, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money–not even an extra tunic.’ —Luke 9:2-3

Francis’ first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an Order but once it began, he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. Francis’ devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church’s unity. Francis was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching the Good News, he decided in favor of the latter but always returned to solitude whenever he could.

During the last years of Francis’ relatively short life (he passed away at the age of 44) he was half-blind and seriously ill. Two years prior to his death, Francis received the ‘Stigmata’, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

Francis passed away on this date in Italy Portiuncula and was Canonized in 1228 by Pope Gregory IX

More here from American Catholic

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Theodore Guerin, First Saint of Indiana

St. Theodore GuerinSt. Theodore Geurin (1798-1856)
Image Courtesy: Guerin Catholic High School, Noblesville, Indiana

(CNA) Born in France Brittany, Anne Therese (birth name) grew up at a time that the French government was shutting down Seminaries and Churches–Anne’s life was shattered when her father was murdered while she was only 15 according to Franciscan Media following this tragedy, Anne helped to care for her mother and younger sister together with her cousin a Seminarian lived in hiding in her families home, while there he instructed Anne thoroughly in faith and theology which Anne exhibited a remarkable knowledge of.

In 1823 at the age of 26 Anne entered the ‘Sisters of Providence’ and took the name Sister Saint Theodore, according to SQPN and made her final vows in 1831 — In 1840 Sister Saint Theodore was sent to the State of Indiana in order to found a Convent of the ‘Sisters of Providence’ in the Diocese of Vicennes located in the far south-western part of the state. There Sister Saint Theodore pioneered Catholic education and would open the first Girls Boarding School.

Sister Saint Theodore became well known for her Heroic witness in faith, her hope and her love of God. During the fledgling years at the Convent of ‘Our Lady of the Woods’ were challenging (now called, Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods) with the ever present danger of it being burned down by the anti-Catholics. Persecution also came within the Church from Sister Saint Theodore own Bishop, who on not being able to tamper with the ‘Sisters of Providence’ Order’s Rule, excommunicated her–the excommunication was eventually lifted by his successor.

Sister Saint Theodore’s ‘holiness was evident to people who knew her,’ writes the Vatican and many described her simply as “Saintly” she possessed the ability to draw out the best in people, to enable them to attain more than they thought possible–her love was one of her greatest hallmarks, she loved God, God’s people, the ‘Sisters of Providence’ together with the Church and the people that she served.

Sixteen years after arriving at ‘Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods’ Sister Saint Theodore passed away, during the years of her life, she touched countless lives which continues to this day.

Sister Saint Theodore was Beatified in 1998 by Pope Saint John Paul II and Canonized in 2006 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

More here from American Catholic

If You Were To Die Tonight, Where Would You Spend Your Eternity?

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 -Image Courtesy: The 4 Men Prayer Groups

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. 

Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

Now is the acceptable time – now is the day of salvation! 2 Corinthians 6:2B
Image Courtesy: Sister Veronica Paul

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Our Guardian Angels

Guardian AngelCelebration of the Feast of Our Guardian Angels
Image: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(Franciscan Media) “For He hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” —Psalm 90:11 — Perhaps no aspect of Christian devotion is as comforting to parents as the faith that an Angel is watching over their children from dangers both real and imagined. Yet ‘Guardian Angels’ are not only for children, their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayers and to present their souls to God at death.

The concept of an Angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and faith based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it.

Jesus words in Matthew 18:10 “See that you despise not one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their Angels in Heaven always see the face of My Father who is in Heaven,” best supports that belief.

Devotion to ‘Our Guardian Angels’ began to develop with the birth of the Monastic tradition. St. Benedict gave it impetus at St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Feast Day: 20 August) the great Christian reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the ‘Guardian Angels’ that Angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.

A ‘Feast in Honor of the Guardian Angels’ was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615 Pope Paul V, added it to the Roman calendar.

More here from American Catholic and here from EWTN

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Asks For Forgiveness But Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Facebook @Mark Zuckerberg Claims One Thing But Does Another…

“Therefore I will judge you…all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions , otherwise iniquity will be your ruin.” Ezekiel 18:30

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux — Pray For Us

St ThereseSt. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) Image: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(Franciscan Media) “I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick-up a pin for love can covert a soul,” said Therese of the Child Jesus’ who was born in France Normandy and daughter of Blessed Louis & Zelie Martin (Feast Day: 25 September — To be Canonized this month during the Synod of the Family)

A Carmelite Nun (known also as ‘The Little Flower’) she entered the Convent as a teenager and lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the Convent in France  Lisieux — All 4 of Sister Therese’s siblings also entered into a religious life becoming Nun’s.

Sister Therese’s preference for hidden sacrifice did convert souls to Christ, few Saint’s of God are more popular than this young Nun. — In her biography “The Story of the Soul” (available at Ignatius Press) has been heard, read and loved throughout the world.

According to SQPN Sister Therese, “defined her path to God and holiness as ‘The Little Way’ which consisted of a child-like love and trust in God.”

Sister Therese passed away at the age of 24 following her long battle with tuberculosis — Sister Therese was Beatified in 1923 and Canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI; In 1997 St. Therese was declared a ‘Doctor of the Church’ by Pope Saint John Paul II

More here from American Catholic and here from Catholic Ireland

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