Thought for the Day – 30 September The Memorial of St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor of the Church
This is a saint of explosive likes and dislikes, of tremendous zeal and passion.
As a young man, he made friendships which lasted a lifetime but his thunderous invectives against his enemies, against heretics and critics are just as famous. Thus, he is seen to be the most ‘human’ of saints but still (and this is of huge encouragement to us) one of the most powerful forces for good in the entire history of the Church.
He was, as someone has said, no admirer of moderation whether in virtue or against evil.
He was swift to anger but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others.
The mortifications he inflicted on himself are legend – even a tiny bit of these would do us well in tempering our own sins.
I, personally, feel less worried about my leanings to explosive anger when I look at Jerome for he is an example to us of learning control, of fighting evil, of doing penance but also of growing in sanctity, of loving the Church and the Holy Scriptures and thus becoming master of tendencies to lose control!
Quote/s of the Day – 30 September
The Memorial of St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor
“What Jerome is ignorant of, no man has ever known.”
St Augustine of Hippo
“Every day we are changing, every day we are dying and yet we fancy ourselves eternal.”
“It is our part to seek, His to grant what we ask; ours to make a beginning, His to bring it to completion; ours to offer what we can, His to finish what we cannot.”
“If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert for fear, that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us that it is dangerous to try to get to heaven without the Bread of Heaven.”
“Without doubt, the Lord grants all favours which are asked of Him in Mass, provided they be fitting for us.”
“To be a Christian is a great thing, not merely to seem one. And somehow or other, those please the world most, who please Christ the least… Christians are made, not born.”
“If a soul is not clothed with the teachings of the Church. he cannot merit to have Jesus seated in him.”
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”
Our Morning Offering – 30 September – Memorial of St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor
O Lord, show Your mercy to me By St Jerome
O Lord, show Your mercy to me
and gladden my heart.
I am like the man on the way to Jericho
who was overtaken by robbers,
wounded and left for dead.
O Good Samaritan,
come to my aid.
I am like the sheep that went astray.
O Good Shepherd,
seek me out and bring me home
in accord with Your will.
Let me dwell in Your house
all the days of my life
and praise You for ever and ever
with those who are there. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 30 September – The Memorial of St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor
In your fight against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood…..Hebrews 12:4
REFLECTION – “Martyrdom does not consist only in dying for one’s faith.
Martyrdom also consists, in serving God, with love and purity of heart,
every day of one’s life.”…St Jerome
PRAYER – Dear and Holy God, let me offer You all my daily struggles against sin and evil.
Grant me the strength to resist even to the shedding of blood, if it should be required of me.
Sustain me ever more with Your word and help me to find in it, the source of life.
St Jerome Pray for us. Amen
Saint of the Day – 30 September – St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor of the Church – Priest, Confessor, Theologian, Historian, Hermit, Mystic – born Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius also known as Girolamo, Hieronymus, Jerom and the Man of the Bible – (347 at Strido, Dalmatia – 419 of natural causes). His body was interred in Bethlehem and his relics are now enshrined at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, Italy. Patronages – • archeologists• archivists• Bible scholars• librarians; libraries• schoolchildren; students • translators• Saint-Jérôme, Québec, city of• Saint-Jérôme, Québec, diocese of• Taos Indian Pueblo. Attributes – • cardinal’s hat, often on the ground or behind him, indicating that he turned his back on the pomp of ecclesiastical life• lion, referring to thelion who befriended him after he pulled a thorn from the creature’s paw• man beating himself in the chest with a stone• aged monk in desert• aged monk with Bible• aged monk writing • old man with a lion• skull• hourglass.
St Jerome was a man of extremes. He lived to age 91 even though he undertook extreme penances. Jerome had a fierce temper but an equally intense love of Christ. This brilliant saint was born in Eastern Europe around 345. His Christian family sent him to Rome at age 12 for a good education. He studied there until he was 20. Then he and his friends lived in a small monastery for three years, until the group dissolved. Jerome set out for Palestine but when he reached Antioch, he fell seriously ill. He dreamed one night that he was taken before the judgment seat of God and condemned for being a heretic. This dream made a deep impression on him.
He is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin mainly from the Hebrew (the translation that became known as the Vulgate) and his commentaries on the Gospels. His list of writings is extensive. Jerome was strong willed. His writings, especially those opposing what he considered heresy, were sometimes explosive. His temperament helped him do difficult tasks but it also made him enemies. Jerome was named a Doctor of the Church for the Vulgate, his commentaries on Scripture, his writings on monastic life and his belief that during a controversy on theological opinions, the See of Rome was where the matter should be settled.
In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia. After his preliminary education, he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers. He once served as private secretary to Pope Damasus.
Skilled in the study of languages and exegesis, he laboured for more than 20 years to translate most of the Bible into the Latin language. Jerome’s edition, the Vulgate, is arguably the most influential translation of the Bible. During the Council of Trent (1545–1563), the Vulgate was affirmed as the official text of the Church. He is still considered the Church’s greatest Doctor of Scriptures.
He conferred this praise upon St. Augustine: “As I have done, you applied all your energy to make the enemies of the Church your personal enemies.” This eulogy is consistent with the counsel of St. Augustine: “You must hate the evil, but love the one who errs.”
Regarding St. Jerome the Roman Breviary says: “He pummeled the heretics with his most harsh writings.”
St Jerome was orthodox in his theology and was a defender of historic Christianity. However, his greatest contributions to the faith came in terms of biblical studies and translation.
Jerome insisted that Bible translations should come from the languages Scripture was originally written in. For example, instead of relying on the popular Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures of the time (the Septuagint), Jerome utilized ancient Hebrew copies that he considered more reliable.
Jerome believed that Christians should be well grounded in and possess a good knowledge of Scripture. In his commentary on Isaiah, Jerome stated: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Jerome modeled and advocated the Christian ascetic and scholarly life. The life of a monk seems well suited for a Bible translator.
After these preparatory studies, he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ’s life with an outpouring of devotion. Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally, he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. Jerome died in Bethlehem and the remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome.
“When the Latin Fathers are represented in a group, Saint Jerome is sometimes in a cardinal’s dress and hat,
although cardinals were not known until three centuries later than his time but as the other Fathers held exalted positions in the Church
and were represented in ecclesiastical costumes and as Saint Jerome held a dignified office in the court of Pope Dalmasius,
it seemed fitting to picture him as a cardinal.
The Venetian painters frequently represented him in a full scarlet robe, with a hood thrown over the head. When thus habited, his symbol was a church in his hand, emblematic of his importance to the universal Church.
Saint Jerome is also seen as a penitent, or again, with a book and pen, attended by a lion.
As a penitent, he is a wretched old man, scantily clothed, with a bald head and neglected beard, a most unattractive figure.
When he is represented as translating the Scriptures, he is in a cell or a cave, clothed in a sombre coloured robe and is writing, or gazing upward for inspiration. In a few instances, an angel is dictating to him. – from Saints in Art, by Clara Irskine Clement
St Jerome (Memorial) (347-419) Father and Doctor
St Amatus of Nusco
St Antoninus of Piacenza
St Castus of Piacenza
St Colman of Clontibret
Bl Conrad of Urach
St Desiderius of Piacenza
St Enghenedl of Anglesey
St Eusebia of Marseilles
Bl Frederick Albert
St Honoratus of Canterbury
St Ismidone of Die
Bl ean-Nicolas Cordier
St Leopardus the Slave
Bl Ludwik Gietyngier
St Midan of Anglesey
St Simon of Crépy
St Ursus the Theban
St Victor the Theban
Martyrs of Valsery Abbey: An unknown number of Premonstratensian monks at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Valsery, Picardie, France who were martyred by Calvinists. They were martyred in 1567 at Valsery, Pircardy, France
Thought for the Day – 29 September – The Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
We are celebrating the Feast of the three Archangels who are mentioned by name in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. But what is an Angel? Sacred Scripture and the Church’s tradition enable us to discern two aspects.
On the one hand, the Angel is a creature who stands before God, oriented to God with his whole being. All three names of the Archangels end with the word “El”, which means “God”. God is inscribed in their names, in their nature.
Their true nature is existing in His sight and for Him. In this very way the second aspect that characterizes Angels is also explained: they are God’s messengers. They bring God to men, they open heaven and thus open earth. Precisely because they are with God, they can also be very close to man.
Like an angel to others Indeed, God is closer to each one of us than we ourselves are. The Angels speak to man of what constitutes his true being, of what in his life is so often concealed and buried. They bring him back to himself, touching him on God’s behalf. In this sense, we human beings must also always return to being angels to one another – angels who turn people away from erroneous ways and direct them always, ever anew, to God. If the ancient Church called Bishops “Angels” of their Church, she meant precisely this: Bishops themselves must be men of God, they must live oriented to God. “Multum orat pro populo” – “Let them say many prayers for the people”, the Breviary of the Church says of holy Bishops. The Bishop must be a man of prayer, one who intercedes with God for human beings. The more he does so, the more he also understands the people who are entrusted to him and can become an angel for them – a messenger of God who helps them to find their true nature by themselves, and to live the idea that God has of them.
St Michael: making a space for God in the world
All this becomes even clearer if we now look at the figures of the three Archangels whose Feast the Church is celebrating today. First of all there is Michael. We find him in Sacred Scripture above all in the Book of Daniel, in the Letter of the Apostle St Jude Thaddeus and in the Book of Revelation.
Two of this Archangel’s roles become obvious in these texts. He defends the cause of God’s oneness against the presumption of the dragon, the “ancient serpent”, as John calls it. The serpent’s continuous effort is to make men believe that God must disappear so that they themselves may become important; that God impedes our freedom and, therefore, that we must rid ourselves of him.
However, the dragon does not only accuse God. The Book of Revelation also calls it “the accuser of our brethren…, who accuses them day and night before our God” (12: 10). Those who cast God aside do not make man great but divest him of his dignity. Man then becomes a failed product of evolution. Those who accuse God also accuse man. Faith in God defends man in all his frailty and short-comings: God’s brightness shines on every individual. It is the duty of the Bishop and of every christian, as a man of God, to make room in the world for God, to counter the denials of Him and thus to defend man’s greatness. And what more could one say and think about man than the fact that God Himself was made man? Michael’s other role, according to Scripture, is that of protector of the People of God (cf. Dn 10: 21; 12: 1).
Dear friends, be true “guardian angels” of the Church which will be entrusted to you! Help the People of God whom you must lead in its pilgrimage to find the joy of faith and to learn to discern the spirits: to accept good and reject evil, to remain and increasingly to become, by virtue of the hope of faith, people who love in communion with God-Love.
St Gabriel: God who calls
We meet the Archangel Gabriel especially in the precious account of the annunciation to Mary of the Incarnation of God, as Luke tells it to us (1: 26-38). Gabriel is the messenger of God’s Incarnation. He knocks at Mary’s door and, through him, God himself asks Mary for her “yes” to the proposal to become the Mother of the Redeemer, of giving her human flesh to the eternal Word of God, to the Son of God. The Lord knocks again and again at the door of the human heart. In the Book of Revelation He says to the “angel” of the Church of Laodicea and, through him, to the people of all times: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (3: 20). The Lord is at the door – at the door of the world and at the door of every individual heart. He knocks to be let in, the Incarnation of God, His taking flesh, must continue until the end of time. All must be reunited in Christ in one body – the great hymns on Christ in the Letters to the Ephesians and to the Colossians tell us this. Christ knocks. Today too He needs people who, so to speak, make their own flesh available to Him, give Him the matter of the world and of their lives, thus serving the unification between God and the world, until the reconciliation of the universe. Dear friends, it is your task to knock at people’s hearts in Christ’s Name. By entering into union with Christ yourselves, you will also be able to assume Gabriel’s role: to bring Christ’s call to men.
St Raphael: recovering sight
St Raphael is presented to us, above all in the Book of Tobit, as the Angel to whom is entrusted the task of healing. When Jesus sends His disciples out on a mission, the task of proclaiming the Gospel is always linked with that of healing. The Good Samaritan, in accepting and healing the injured person lying by the wayside, becomes without words a witness of God’s love. We are all this injured man, in need of being healed. Proclaiming the Gospel itself already means healing in itself, because man is in need of truth and love above all things.
The Book of Tobit refers to two of the Archangel Raphael’s emblematic tasks of healing. He heals the disturbed communion between a man and a woman. He heals their love. He drives out the demons who over and over again exhaust and destroy their love. He purifies the atmosphere between the two and gives them the ability to accept each other for ever. In Tobit’s account, this healing is recounted with legendary images.
In the New Testament, the order of marriage established in creation and threatened in many ways by sin, is healed through Christ’s acceptance of it in His redeeming love. He makes marriage a sacrament: His love, put on a cross for us, is the healing power which in all forms of chaos offers the capacity for reconciliation, purifies the atmosphere and mends the wounds. The priest is entrusted with the task of leading men and women ever anew to the reconciling power of Christ’s love. He must be the healing “angel” who helps them to anchor their love to the sacrament and to live it with an ever renewed commitment based upon it.
Secondly, the Book of Tobit speaks of the healing of sightless eyes. We all know how threatened we are today by blindness to God. How great is the danger that with all we know of material things and can do with them, we become blind to God’s light. Healing this blindness through the message of faith and the witness of love is Raphael’s service, entrusted day after day to the priest and in a special way to the Bishop. Thus, we are prompted spontaneously also to think of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Sacrament of Penance which in the deepest sense of the word is a sacrament of healing. The real wound in the soul, in fact, the reason for all our other injuries, is sin. And only if forgiveness exists, by virtue of God’s power, by virtue of Christ’s love, can we be healed, can we be redeemed.
“Abide in my love”, the Lord says to us today in the Gospel (Jn 15: 9). At the moment of your Episcopal Ordination he says so particularly to you, dear friends. Abide in His love! Abide in that friendship with Him, full of love, which He is giving you anew at this moment! Then your lives will bear fruit, fruit that abides (cf. Jn 15: 16). Let us all pray for you at this time, dear Brothers, so that this may be granted to you. Amen.
Benedict XVI, fragments of a homily (to Bishops) given on September 29, 2007
Quote of the Day – 29 September – – The Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
St Gregory the Great teaches us about the Archangels and why they are distinct from angels.
You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature.
Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits.
They can only be called angels when they deliver some message.
ANGELS & ARCHANGELS
Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.
Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God” Gabriel is “The Strength of God” and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”
Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.
GABRIEL & RAPHAEL
So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle. [Luke 1:11-38]
Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.
This post on the archangels is an excerpt from a homily on the Gospels (Hom. 32, 8-9: PL 76, 1250-1251) by St Gregory the Great is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael today.
One Minute Reflection – 29 September – The Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee name Nazareth, to a virgin ….Luke 1:26-27
REFLECTION – Angels take different earthly forms at the bidding of their master, God.
They thus reveal themselves to human beings and unveil the Divine Mysteries to them……St John Damascene
PRAYER – God of all Wisdom, You direct the ministry of angels and of human beings. Grant that the angels who always minister to You in heaven may defend us during our life on earth and protect us from evil. Grant this, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen
Saints of the Day – Feast of The Three Archangels – 29 September
The liturgy celebrates the feast of these three archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael (Who is like God?) was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel (Strength of God) announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, “Hail, full of grace,” is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael (Medicine of God) is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that, “[T]he existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.”
Angels are pure, created spirits. The name angel means servant or messenger of God. Angels are celestial or heavenly beings, on a higher order than human beings. Angels have no bodies and do not depend on matter for their existence or activity. They are distinct from saints, which men can become. Angels have intellect and will and are immortal. They are a vast multitude but each is an individual. Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels listed in the Bible. In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim, and 9) Seraphim.
The name of the archangel Michael means, in Hebrew, who is like unto God? and he is also known as “the prince of the heavenly host.” He is usually pictured as a strong warrior, dressed in armour and wearing sandals. His name appears in Scripture four times, twice in the Book of Daniel and once each in the Epistle of St Jude and the Book of Revelation. From Revelation we learn of the battle in heaven, with St. Michael and his angels combating Lucifer and the other fallen angels (or devils). We invoke St Michael to help us in our fight against Satan; to rescue souls from Satan, especially at the hour of death; to be the champion of the Jews in the Old Testament and now Christians; and to bring souls to judgment.
Patronages: Against temptations; against powers of evil; artists; bakers; bankers; battle; boatmen; cemeteries; coopers; endangered children; dying; Emergency Medical Technicians; fencing; grocers; hatmakers; holy death; knights; mariners; mountaineers; paramedics; paratroopers; police officers; radiologists; sailors; the sick; security forces; soldiers; against storms at sea; swordsmiths; those in need of protection; Brussels, Belgium; Caltanissett, Sicily; Cornwall, England; Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida; England; Germany; Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama; Papua, New Guinea; Puebla, Mexico; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Sibenik, Croatia; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Attributes: Angel with wings; dressed in armour; lance and shield; scales; shown weighing souls; millstone; piercing dragon or devil; banner charged with a dove; symbolic colours orange or gold.
St Gabriel’s name means “God is my strength”. Biblically he appears three times as a messenger. He had been sent to Daniel to explain a vision concerning the Messiah. He appeared to Zachary when he was offering incense in the Temple, to foretell the birth of his son, St John the Baptist. St Gabriel is most known as the angel chosen by God to be the messenger of the Annunciation, to announce to mankind the mystery of the Incarnation.
The angel’s salutation to our Lady, so simple and yet so full of meaning, Hail Mary, full of grace, has become the constant and familiar prayer of all Christian people.
Patronages: Ambassadors; broadcasting; childbirth; clergy; communications; diplomats; messengers; philatelists; postal workers; public relations; radio workers; secular clergy; stamp collectors; telecommunications; Portugal; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.
Attributes: Archangel; sceptre and lily; MR or AM shield; lantern; mirror; olive branch; scroll with words Ave Maria Gratia Plena; Resurrection trumpet; shield; spear; lily; symbolic colours, silver or blue.
Our knowledge of the Archangel Raphael comes to us from the book of Tobit. His mission as wonderful healer and fellow traveller with the youthful Tobias has caused him to be invoked for journeys and at critical moments in life. Tradition also holds that Raphael is the angel that stirred the waters at the healing sheep pool in Bethesda. His name means “God has healed”.
Patronages: Blind; bodily ills; counselors; druggists; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; healers; health inspectors; health technicians; love; lovers; mental illness; nurses; pharmacists; physicians; shepherds; against sickness; therapists; travellers; young people; young people leaving home for the first time; Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.
Attributes: Staff; wallet and fish; staff and gourd; archangel; young man carrying a staff; young man carrying a fish; walking with Tobias; holding a bottle or flask; symbolic colours, gray or yellow.
St Anno of Eichstätt
St Casdoe of Persia
St Catholdus of Eichstätt
Bl Charles of Blois
St Dadas of Persia
St Diethardus of Eichstätt
St Fraternus of Auxerre
St Gabdelas of Persia
St Grimoaldus of Pontecorvo
St Guillermo Courtet
Bl John de Montmirail
Bl John of Ghent
St Lazaro of Kyoto
St Liutwin of Trier
Bl Luigi Monza
St Miguel de Aozaraza
St Quiriacus of Palestine
St Rene Goupil
Bl Richard Rolle
St Sapor of Persia
St Theodota of Thrace
St Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz
Martyrs of Thrace – 3 saints: Three Christian men murdered in Thrace for their faith. They are – Eutychius, Heracleas and Plautus.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Antonio Arribas Hortigüela
• Blessed Antonio Martínez López
• Blessed Dario Hernández Morató
• Blessed Francesc de Paula Castelló Aleu
• Blessed Francisco Edreira Mosquera
• Blessed José Villanova Tormo
• Blessed Pau Bori Puig
• Blessed Vicente Sales Genovés
• Blessed Virgilio Edreira Mosquera
Thought for the Day – 28 September – The Memorial of St Wenceslaus
Good example lives on. St Wenceslaus’ generosity to the poor was legendary and his sanctity known everywhere.
He made peace with his mother so that he could govern and with the surrounding monarchs. He worked with the Church, ended the persecution of the Christians, brought back exiled priests and built churches. Wenceslaus set an example all could follow. He gave alms to those who were poor and was just to those who were rich, he visited prisoners and promoted the religious and educational improvement of his people.
“Good King Wenceslaus” was able to incarnate his Christianity in a world filled with political unrest. While we are often victims of violence of a different sort, we can easily identify with his struggle to bring harmony to society. The call to become involved in social change and in political activity is addressed to Christians; the values of the gospel are sorely needed today, the example of St Wenceslaus is still an inspiration to us all.
“Repentance raises the fallen, mourning knocks at the gate of Heaven and holy humility opens it.”
“Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 September – The Memorial of St Wenceslaus
There will …be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous who have no need to repent.…Luke 15:7
REFLECTION – “Nothing makes God happier than a person’s amendment of life,
conversion and salvation.
This is why He sent His only Son to this earth.”…St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Holy God, help me to amend my life constantly and be sincerely converted to You. Let me seek Your interests rather than my own and be ever more closely united with You.
St Wenceslaus, who was assassinated by his own brother but who, by his holiness opened his brother’s eyes to repentance, please pray for us, that we may always seek the forgiveness of God. Amen
My God, I give You this day.
I offer You, now,
all the good that I shall do
and I promise to accept
for love of You,
all of the difficulty that I shall meet.
Help me to conduct myself during this day,
in a manner pleasing to You, Amen.
Saint of the Day – 28 September – St Wenceslaus (907-935) King of Bohemia, Martyr – also known as Vaceslav, Vaclav, Wenzel, Wenceslas, Václav. (907 at Prague, Bohemia (in Czech Republic) – 28 September 929 by assassination). Patronages – brewers, Bohemia, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, Moravia, Prague, Czech Republic, archdiocese and the city. Attributes – banner, crown, eagle, staff, soldier, horse, armour.
St Wenceslaus was born around the year 907. His father Duke Wratislaw was a Catholic but his mother Princess Dragomir practiced the native pagan religion. She would later arrange the murders of both Wenceslaus and his grandmother Ludmilla, who is also a canonised saint. During his youth, Wenceslaus received a strong religious education from Ludmilla, in addition to the good example of his father. He maintained a virtuous manner of living while attending college near Prague, making significant progress both academically and spiritually. But with the death of his father Wratislaw, the devout young nobleman faced a spiritual and political crisis.
His mother Dragomir, who had never accepted the Catholic faith, turned against it entirely. She seized her husband’s death as a chance to destroy the religion his parents had received from Sts Cyril and Methodius, through methods that included purging Catholics from public office, closing churches and preventing all teaching of the faith. Dragomir’s Catholic mother-in-law Ludmilla urged Wenceslaus to seize power from his mother and defend their faith. His attempt to do so resulted in the division of the country into two halves: one ruled by Wenceslaus, advised by Ludmilla; the other ruled by Wenceslaus’ younger brother Boleslaus, who had absorbed his mother’s hatred of the Church.
Wenceslaus, who would have preferred to become a monk and not a duke, fortified himself in this struggle through fervent prayer, extreme asceticism, charitable service and a vow of chastity. Meanwhile, his mother carried out a plot to kill Ludmilla, having her strangled in her private chapel. St Ludmilla’s liturgical feast day is 16 September.
The Bohemian duke also faced the threat of invasion from abroad, when Prince Radislaus of Gurima demanded that Bohemia submit to his rule. When Wenceslaus sought to avoid a war by challenging him in single combat, two angels are said to have appeared, deflecting the javelin thrown at Wenceslaus and immediately inspiring Radislaus to drop to his knees in surrender.
During his period of rule, Wenceslaus received the relics of several saints from the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, who also conferred on him the title of “King Wenceslaus.” But some noblemen of his own country resented the saintly king’s strict morals and allied themselves with Dragomir and Boleslaus. Wenceslaus’ brother sought to appear as a peacemaker, inviting the king to his realm for a celebration. When Wenceslaus was praying in a chapel during the visit, Boleslaus’ henchmen attacked and wounded him. Boleslaus himself delivered the final blow, killing his brother by running him through with a lance. St Wenceslaus died on 28 September 935.
Emperor Otto responded to St Wenceslaus’ death by invading Bohemia and making war against Boleslaus for several years. He succeeded in conquering the region and forced Boleslaus to reverse the anti-Catholic measures he and his mother had taken. There is no evidence that Dragomir, who died soon after the murder of St.Wenceslaus, ever repented of killing her family members. Boleslaus, however, came to regret his sin when he learned of the miracles that were taking place at his brother’s tomb. He moved St Wenceslaus’ body to a cathedral for veneration by the faithful.
St Wenceslas was considered a martyr and a saint immediately after his death, when a cult of Wenceslas grew up in Bohemia and in England. Within a few decades of Wenceslas’ death, four biographies of him were in circulation. These hagiographies had a powerful influence on the High Middle Ages conceptualisation of the rex justus, or “righteous king”, that is, a monarch whose power stems mainly from his great piety, as well as from his princely vigour.
Referring approvingly to these hagiographies, the chronicler Cosmas of Prague, writing in about the year 1119, states:
But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.
Several centuries later the legend was claimed as fact by Pope Pius II.
The hymn “Svatý Václave” (Saint Wenceslas) or “Saint Wenceslas Chorale” is one of the oldest known Czech hymns in history. Its roots can be found in the 12th century and it still belongs to the most popular religious songs to this day. In 1918, in the beginning of the Czechoslovak state, the song was discussed as one of the possible choices for the national anthem. His feast day is celebrated today while the translation of his relics, which took place in 938, is commemorated on 4 March.
Since 2000, the feast day of Saint Wenceslas is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrated as the Czech Statehood Day.
Good King Wenceslaus
Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho’ the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.
“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”
“Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.”
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.
“Sire, the night is darker now and the wind blow stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, my good page. Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.”
In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.
St Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila (Optional Memorial)
St Wenceslaus of Bohemia (Optional Memorial) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raxyo8yRYwE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1EW1MSFfpE – Msgr Charles Pope – My recitation of the old carol
Bl Aaron of Auxerre
St Alodius of Auxerre
St Annemond of Lyons
Bl Bernardine of Feltre
St Chariton of Palestine
Bl Christian Franco
St Conval of Strathclyde
St Exuperius of Toulouse
St Faustus of Riez
St John of Dukla
St Laurence of North Africa
St Lioba of Bischofsheim
St Martial of North Africa
St Martin of Moyenmoutier
St Paternus of Auch
St Privatus of Rome
St Salonius of Geneva
St Silvinus of Brescia
St Solomon of Genoa
St Tetta of Wimborne
St Willigod of Moyenmoutier
St Zama of Bologna
Augustinian Martyrs of Japan: The first Augustinian missionaries arrived in Japan in 1602 and met with immediate success; many were brought to the faith; many of them became Augustinians; and many of them were martyred in the periodic persecutions of Christians. This memorial commemorates all of them, whether they have a sanctioned Cause for Canonisation or not. They include:
• Blessed Bartolomé Gutiérrez Rodríguez
• Blessed Ferdinand Ayala
• Blessed Francisco Terrero de Ortega Pérez
• Blessed Ioannes Mukuno Chozaburo
• Blessed Laurentius Kaida Hachizo
• Blessed Mancius Yukimoto Ichizaemon
• Blessed Martín Lumbreras Peralta
• Blessed Melchor Sánchez Pérez
• Blessed Michaël Ichinose Sukezaemon
• Blessed Pedro de Zúñiga
• Blessed Petrus Sawaguchi Kuhyoe
• Blessed Thomas Jihyoe of Saint Augustine
• Blessed Thomas Terai Kahyoe
• Blessed Vicente Simões de Carvalho
• Saint Magdalena of Nagasaki
Martyrs of Antioch – 37 saints: A group of 30 soldiers and 7 civilians who were murdered together for their faith. The names that have come down to us are – Alexander, Alphinus, Heliodorus, Mark, Neon, Nicon and Zosumus. c 303 at Antioch, Pisidia (in modern Turkey).
Martyrs of China – 120 saints: A common memorial for the hundreds of the faithful, lay and clergy, who have died for their faith in the last couple of centuries in China. They were Canonised on 1 October 2000 by Pope John Paul II.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Francesc Xavier Ponsa Casallach
• Blessed Josep Casas Juliá
• Blessed Josep Casas Ros
• Blessed Josep Tarrats Comaposada
• Blessed María Fenollosa Alcaina
• Blessed Santiago Mestre Iborra
Thought for the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
Most remarkably, Vincent was by temperament a very irascible person—even his friends admitted it. He said that except for the grace of God he would have been “hard and repulsive, rough and cross.” But he became a tender and affectionate man, very sensitive to the needs of others. Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies. Outstanding among these, of course, is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1833 by his admirer Blessed Frédéric Ozanam.
St Vincent found himself deeply shocked by the religious state of the people around him and he found himself thrust into his life’s work.
Sometimes, something just has to be done and there is no-one else to do it. And God will provide the way, He will change that inner being – who perhaps is often “rough and cross” to do His work. All St Vincent did was relinquish himself totally in trust. He handed himself over, hauled up that cross and followed Him who leads.
The gaze of Christ rests upon us and your cross is lying at your feet – have you felt it, have you seen it?
Quote/s of the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
Humility and charity are the two master-chords: one, the lowest; the other, the highest; all the others are dependent on them. Therefore it is necessary, above all, to maintain ourselves in these two virtues; for observe well that the preservation of the whole edifice depends on the foundation and the roof.
With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.
As it is most certain that the teaching of Christ cannot deceive, if we would walk securely, we ought to attach ourselves to it with greatest confidence and to profess openly that we live according to it and not to the maxims of the world, which are all deceitful. This is the fundamental maxim of all Christian perfection.
Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord’s words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills.
One Minute Reflection – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit…Romans 15:13
REFLECTION – “Free your mind from all that troubles you; God will take care of things. You will be unable to make haste in this (choice) without, so to speak, grieving the heart of God because he sees that you do not honour Him sufficiently with holy trust. Trust in Him, I beg you and you will have the fulfillment of what your heart desires.”….St Vincent de Paul
PRAYER – Father, You endowed St Vincent de Paul with the spirit of an apostle to give himself to the poor and to the training of priests. Give us, good Lord, a share of the same spirit, that we may love what he loved and do as he taught. Fill us with hope and total trust and abandonment to Your Holy Providence. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. St Vincent de Paul, pray for us, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
Lord, Teach me How to Pray St Vincent de Paul
You selected the poor
and simple people to be Your Apostles.
Look upon Your poor servant
kneeling before You now.
I recognise that I am simple and poor too.
Dear Lord, please teach me how to pray
as You taught Your disciples
upon their humble request.
If it pleases You in Your goodness
to grant me that grace,
I shall be able to pray well
and much better
than I could ever could hope for
if left to my own efforts.
Lord, I trust that You will bless me
with the fulfillment of this request.
Saint of the Day – 27 September – St Vincent de Paul C.M. (1581-1660) known as the “Great Apostle of Trumpets” – Priest, Founder, Apostle of Charity, Doctor of Canon Law, Reformer of society and priests, founder of Hospital and Orphanages (24 April 1581 near Ranquine, Gascony near Dax, southwest France – the town is now known as Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Landes, France – 27 September 1660 at Paris, France of natural causes). His body was found incorrupt when exhumed in 1712 and the incorrupt heart is displayed in a reliquary in the chapel of the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity in Paris. St Vincent was Beatified on 13 August 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII and Canonised on 16 June 1737 by Pope Clement XII. Patronages – lepers; against leprosy, all charitable societies (given on 12 May 1885 by Pope Leo XIII), charitable workers; volunteers, horses, hospital workers, hospitals, lost articles, prisoners, for spiritual help, Madagascar, Brothers of Charity, Richmond, Virginia, diocese of, Saint Vincent de Paul Societies, Sisters of Charity, Vincentian Service Corps. Attributes – 16th century cleric performing some act of charity, cleric carrying an infant, priest surrounded by the Sisters of Charity, cannon ball and sword (referring to prisoners of war he ransomed).
St Vincent was born of poor parents in the village of Pouy in Gascony, France, about 1580. He enjoyed his first schooling under the Franciscan Fathers at Acqs. Such had been his progress in four years that a gentleman chose him as subpreceptor to his children and he was thus enabled to continue his studies without being a burden to his parents.
In 1596, he went to the University of Toulouse for theological studies, and there he was ordained priest in 1600.
In 1605, on a voyage by sea from Marseilles to Narbonne, he fell into the hands of African pirates and was carried as a slave to Tunis. His captivity lasted about two years, until Divine Providence enabled him to effect his escape.
After a brief visit to Rome he returned to France, where he became preceptor in the family of Emmanuel de Gondy, Count of Goigny, and General of the galleys of France. In 1617, he began to preach missions, and in 1625, he lay the foundations of a congregation which afterward became the Congregation of the Mission or Lazarists, so named on account of the Priory of St. Lazarus, which the Fathers began to occupy in 1633.
The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent de Paul’s eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life.
The Countess de Gondi–whose servant he had helped–persuaded her husband to endow and support a group of able and zealous missionaries who would work among poor tenant farmers and country people in general. Vincent was too humble to accept leadership at first but after working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley slaves, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians. These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages.
It would be impossible to enumerate all the works of this servant of God. Charity was his predominant virtue. It extended to all classes of persons, from forsaken childhood to old age. The Sisters of Charity also owe the foundation of their congregation to St. Vincent. In the midst of the most distracting occupations his soul was always intimately united with God. Though honoured by the great ones of the world, he remained deeply rooted in humility. The Apostle of Charity, the immortal Vincent de Paul, breathed his last in Paris at the age of eighty in 1660.
St Vincent De Paul is among the Incorruptibles. The Incorruptibles are Catholic Saints who’s bodies show no decay after their death. The Incorruptibles are a consoling sign of Christ’s victory over death, a confirmation of the dogma of the Resurrection of the Body, a sign that the Saints are still with us in the Mystical Body of Christ, as well as a proof of the truth of the Catholic Faith – for only in the Catholic Church do we find this phenomenon.
St Vincent de Paul (Memorial) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrwez_neJT4
St Adolphus of Cordoba
St Antonio de Torres
St Barrog the Hermit
St Bonfilius of Foligno
St Ceraunus of Paris
St Chiara of the Resurrection
St Deodatus of Sora
St Fidentius of Todi
St Florentinus the Hermit
St Gaius of Milan
St Hilary the Hermit
St Hiltrude of Liessies
Bl Jean-Baptiste Laborie du Vivier
St John of Cordoba
St Marcellus of Saint Gall
St Terence of Todi
Martyrs of Aegea – (3 saints)
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Crescencia Valls Espí
• Blessed Herminia Martínez Amigó de Martínez
• Blessed José Fenollosa Alcaina
• Blessed Maria Carme Fradera Ferragutcasas
• Blessed Maria Magdalena Fradera Ferragutcasas
• Blessed Maria Rosa Fradera Ferragutcasas
Thought for the Day – 26 September – The Memorial of Blessed Pope Paul VI
Blessed Pope Paul’s greatest accomplishment was the completion and implementation of Vatican II.
Its decisions about liturgy were the first ones noticed by most Catholics but its other documents—especially the ones about ecumenism, interfaith relations, divine revelation, religious liberty, the Church’s self-understanding and the Church’s work with the entire human family—have become the Catholic Church’s road map since 1965. (Fr Don Miller OFM)
Quote/s of the Day – 26 September – The Memorial of Blessed Pope Paul VI
“For you deal here above all with human life and human life is sacred; no one may dare make an attempt upon it…. Respect for life, must find here ….in the Assembly, its highest affirmation and its most rational defense. Your task is to ensure that there is enough bread on the tables of mankind and not to encourage an artificial control of births, which would be irrational, in order to diminish the number of guests at the banquet of life.”
“We must see to it that enthusiasm for the future does not give rise to contempt for the past.”
“Never reach out your hand unless you’re willing to extend an arm.”
“Liturgy is like a strong tree whose beauty is derived from the continuous renewal of its leaves but whose strength comes from the old trunk, with solid roots in the ground.”
One Minute Reflection – 26 September – The Memorial of Blessed Pope Paul VI
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”…Acts 1:8
REFLECTION – ” But above all, we place our unshakable confidence in the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church and in theological faith upon which rests the life of the Mystical Body.”….Blessed Pope Paul VI (SOLEMNI HAC LITURGIA – (CREDO OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD) 30 June 1968
PRAYER – Holy God, through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son in union with the Holy Spirit, with Mary Mother of the Church, St Joseph her spouse, the communion of Saints, we pray, be with us, lead us, guide us, never leave us. Blessed Pope Paul VI, today we pray to you to make our special intention, that you will constantly pray for the beloved Church of Christ, His Mystical Body, for us all, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 26 September – The Memorial of Blessed Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)
Prayer for a Pure Faith Blessed Pope Paul VI
Lord, I believe:
I wish to believe in You.
Lord, let my faith be full
and let it penetrate my thought,
my way of judging Divine things
and human things.
Lord, let my faith be joyful
and give peace
and gladness to my spirit,
and dispose it for prayer with God
and conversation with men,
so that the inner bliss
of its fortunate possession
may shine forth in sacred
and secular conversation.
Lord, let my faith be humble
and not presume
to be based on the experience
of my thought and of my feeling;
but let it surrender
to the testimony of the Holy Spirit,
and not have any better guarantee
than in docility to Tradition
and to the authority of
the magisterium of the Holy Church.
Saint of the Day – 26 September – Blessed Pope Paul VI Bishop of Rome, Marian devotee, Pro Life Advocate, Evangelist, Reformer, Canon Lawyer, Promoter of Workers’ rights (born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini (26 September 1897 – 6 August 1978) Patronages – Archdiocese of Milan, Paul VI Pontifical Institute, Second Vatican Council, Diocese of Brescia, Concesio, Magenta, Paderno Dugnano.
Born near Brescia in northern Italy, Giovanni Battista Montini was the second of three sons. His father, Giorgio, was a lawyer, editor and eventually a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. His mother, Giuditta, was very involved in Catholic Action.
After ordination in 1920, Giovanni did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1924, where he worked for 30 years. He was also chaplain to the Federation of Italian Catholic University Students, where he met and became a very good friend of Aldo Moro, who eventually became prime minister. Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigade in March 1978 and murdered two months later. A devastated Pope Paul VI presided at his funeral.
In 1954, Fr Montini was named archbishop of Milan, where he sought to win disaffected workers back to the Catholic Church. He called himself the “archbishop of the workers” and visited factories regularly while overseeing the rebuilding of a local Church tremendously disrupted by World War II.
In 1958, Montini was the first of 23 cardinals named by Pope John XXIII, two months after the latter’s election as pope. Cardinal Montini helped in preparing Vatican II and participated enthusiastically in its first sessions. When he was elected pope in June 1963, he immediately decided to continue that Council, which had another three sessions before its conclusion on December 8, 1965. The day before Vatican II concluded, Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras revoked the excommunications that their predecessors had made in 1054. The pope worked very hard to ensure that bishops would approve the Council’s 16 documents by overwhelming majorities.
Paul VI had stunned the world by visiting the Holy Land in January 1964 and meeting Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in person. The pope made eight more international trips, including one in 1965, to visit New York City and speak on behalf of peace before the United Nations General Assembly. He also visited India, Columbia, Uganda and seven Asian countries during a 10-day tour in 1970.
Also in 1965, he instituted the World Synod of Bishops and the next year decreed that bishops must offer their resignations on reaching age 75. In 1970, he decided that cardinals over 80 would no longer vote in papal conclaves or head the Holy See’s major offices. He had increased the number of cardinals significantly, giving many countries their first cardinal. Eventually establishing diplomatic relations between the Holy See and 40 countries, he also instituted a permanent observer mission at the United Nations in 1964. Paul VI wrote seven encyclicals; his last one in 1968 on human life–Humanae Vitae–prohibited artificial birth control.
Pope Paul VI died at Castel Gandolfo on August 6, 1978, and was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica. He was beatified on October 19, 2014.
Pope Francis and Blessed Pope Paul VI – (The Image below is Pope Francis wearing his favourite stole. It is actually the stole that Blessed Pope Paul VI wore.)
During his recent visit to Bozzolo, Italy, Pope Francis declared his desire to be able to canonise Paul VI.
According to a report today in the blog Il Sismographo, a miracle is being studied by the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, which if recognised, will pave the way for Blessed Pope Paul VI’s canonisation.
The miracle is related to the healing of a child on December 25, 2014, after a complicated pregnancy and a premature birth. The mother went to the Sanctuary of Graces in Brescia and prayed for Blessed Paul VI’s intercession for her tiny daughter’s survival.
“During his recent visit to Bozzolo, Pope Francis repeated his desire to canonise Paul VI,” noted Don Adriano Bianchi, director of the news service of Paul VI’s home diocese, Brescia, in a report on the subject in the journal Brescia oggi, on July 18.
The miracle approved for the beatification of Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) was also related to a difficult pregnancy. A woman was encouraged to abort her child because the baby was disabled. She refused the abortion and entrusted the baby to Paul VI’s intercession, because of his encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968). The infant survived, without any health concerns whatsoever. Paul VI was beatified on October 19, 2014, at the conclusion of the first Synod on the Family.
A pope remembered
Catholics remember Blessed Pope Paul VI for a number of key reasons – he oversaw and closed Vatican II, introduced the new rite of Mass, was the first pope to travel globally, began and fostered full communion with the Orthodox Church – in which the mutual excommunications (1054) were reversed and withdrawn and issued the immensely unpopular and widely rejected encyclical Humanae Vitae.
Many faithful Catholics hold the encyclical as the jewel in the crown of his pontificate, but also a thorn of sorrow – he never wrote another encyclical for the 10 years left of his pontificate, such was the backlash against it, including from within the church by bishops, priests and laity.
But there’s a real gem from Paul VI’s papacy that still, 47 years on, remains largely unknown, but it shouldn’t be.
Paul VI’s Year of Faith
On February 22 1967, Paul VI announced a Year of Faith, on the occasion of the nineteenth centenary of the martyrdom of the apostles Sts Peter and Paul.
Paul VI’s Year of Faith concluded in Saint Peter’s Square on June 30 1968. It was then that the hidden gem, the “solemn utterance” was given by this pope to the Church – his Credo of the People of God. The Credo was published an Apostolic Letter in the form of motu proprio, with the Latin title Solemni hac liturgia.
In the midst of disorientation and confusion in the Church and at a time when society was in the throes of the sexual revolution and the influence of atheistic communism, Blessed Pope Paul VI pronounced his Credo. “Today we are given an opportunity to make a more solemn utterance. “As once at Caesarea Philippi the apostle Peter spoke on behalf of the twelve to make a true confession, beyond human opinions, of Christ as Son of the living God, so today his humble successor, pastor of the Universal Church, raises his voice to give, on behalf of all the People of God, a firm witness to the divine Truth entrusted to the Church to be announced to all nations,” he said in his introduction to the Credo,” he announced.
A catastrophic time for the Church and the World
Paul VI was fully aware of the dire situation the Church and the world found itself in. Perhaps today’s Catholics will sympathise, as they look around at the rampant rates of abortion, rising cohabitation, divorce, the legalising of same-sex marriage and declining practice of the faith.
“We see even Catholics allowing themselves to be seized by a kind of passion for change and novelty,” he said, and lamented the “disturbance and perplexity in many faithful souls” because of harm being done to the deposit of faith.
The Credo he professed is based on the Creed of Nicea, which Catholics around the world recite every Sunday at Mass, “the creed of the immortal tradition of the holy Church of God”as Paul VI called it. Building on the Creed of Nicea, Paul VI’s Credo deliberately sought to be “to a high degree complete and explicit” because at a time of such terrible confusion and heterodoxy, clear teaching was more necessary than ever.
Special emphasis is made around the divinity of Christ, the doctrines on the Blessed Virgin Mary, the nature, structure and authority of the Church and her pastors, original sin, the inspired nature of sacred scripture, the sacrificial nature of the Mass and the doctrine of transubstantiation – in short, all the teachings of the Church at that time being doubted, rejected and “revised,” as exemplified by the Dutch catechism, published in 1966, and with the blessing of the Dutch bishops.
How the Credo came to be
In 2008, leading Italian Vatican reporter, Sandro Magister, wrote an article on the interesting history of how the Credo came about.
The French Thomist philosopher Jacques Maritain had the idea of Pope Paul VI issuing a profession of faith, spurred on by the publication of the Dutch catechism. Magister quotes a letter of Maritain to Cardinal Charles Journet. “The Sovereign Pontiff should draft a complete and detailed profession of faith, in which everything that is really contained in the Symbol of Nicea would be presented explicitly. This will be, in the history of the Church, the profession of faith of Paul VI.” Cardinal Journet photocopied the letter and gave it to the Pope when he next met him. Two days after Paul VI announced the Year of Faith, Maritain wrote, “Is this, perhaps, the preparation for a profession of faith that he himself will proclaim?”
Magister tells us that at the request of Paul VI, Maritain drafted a profession of faith. He finished it on 11 January 1968 and on the 20 January he sent it to Journet. The following day, Journet sent it to Paul VI. With a grateful acknowledgement, and a few amendments, the draft was became the Credo.
The Credo today
Since then, St. Pope John Paul II has given the Church the Catechism of the Catholic Church, publishing in 1992. Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI made his own contribution in 2005, with his Compendium to the Catechism and Catholics still profess the Creed of Nicea at every Mass. 47 years on this month, let us join and make our own, the words and sentiments of Blessed Pope Paul VI, the next time we’re at Sunday Mass:
This is the Full Credo – http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/motu_proprio/documents/hf_p-vi_motu-proprio_19680630_credo.html
and here are the final two verses:
We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in paradise forms the Church of Heaven where in eternal beatitude they see God as He is and where they also, in different degrees, are associated with the holy angels in the divine rule exercised by Christ in glory, interceding for us and helping our weakness by their brotherly care.
We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are attaining their purification and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion the merciful love of God and His saints is ever listening to our prayers, as Jesus told us: Ask and you will receive. Thus it is with faith and in hope that we look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
Blessed be God Thrice Holy. Amen.
“To the glory of God most holy and of our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, for the profit and edification of the Church…we now pronounce this profession of faith.”
St Cosmas (Optional Memorial)
St Damian (Optional Memorial)
St Amantius of Tiphernum
St Callistratus of Constantinople
St Colman of Elo
St Cyprian of Antioch
St Eusebius of Bologna
St John of Meda
St Justina of Antioch
Bl Louis Tezza
St Marie Victoire Therese Couderc
St Nilus the Younger
Bl Pope Paul VI
St Senator of Albano
St Vigilius of Brescia
Martyrs of Korea – 12 saints: Twelve lay people in the apostolic vicariate of Korea who were imprisoned, tortured and martyred together in the persecutions in Korea.
• Saint Agatha Chon Kyong-Hyob
• Saint Carolus Cho Shin-Ch’ol
• Saint Catharina Yi
• Saint Columba Kim Hyo-Im
• Saint Ignatius Kim Che-Jun
• Saint Iulitta Kim
• Saint Lucia Kim
• Saint Magdalena Cho
• Saint Magdalena Ho Kye-Im
• Saint Magdalena Pak Pong-Son
• Saint Perpetua Hong Kum-Ju
• Saint Sebastianus Nam I-Gwan
They were beheaded September 1839 in Seoul Prison, South Korea and Canonised on 6 May 1984 by St Pope John Paul II.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Amalia Abad Casasempere de Maestre
• Blessed Andreu Felíu Bartomeu
• Blessed Antonio Cid Rodríguez
• Blessed Josefa Romero Clariana
• Blessed Manuel Legua Martí
• Blessed María Jord´ Botella
• Blessed Pau Castell´ Barber´
• Blessed Teresa Rosat Balasch