Second Thought for the Day – 8 January – Blessed Fr Titus Zeman

Second Thought for the Day – 8 January – Third day after Epiphany and the Memorial of Blessed Titus Zeman SDB (1915-1969) Priest and Martyr

Many people who knew Fr Titus offered their testimony about his character, dedication and courage, even before the events that led to his martyrdom.   One of his students described him as “my spiritual father.”   Another calls him “simple-hearted, very funny and a great sportsman.”   He helped hide Jews during World War II and hide nuns when the Red Army advanced through Slovakia.   A Salesian student of theology remarked on how he helped clean up their school after the Russians left it full of excrement and stinking like a sewer:  “I saw there his great love and tenacity for his work.   He was a true Salesian who did everything in a humble way.   It was clear he liked us, the young students of theology, a lot.   He saw us as the hope for the Salesian Congregation in Slovakia.”bl titus zeman mass celebration of his birth

Fr Zeman’s “funeral was exceptionally touching … not only because of its outer aspects (it was a true triumph of sympathy, wonder and gratitude) but, mainly because such unity of emotion … is truly rare.   There was not only a homily at the Mass but also several speeches and a funeral oration.   All of the speakers emphasised the great qualities of the deceased – conscientiousness, strength of his spirit, profound faith, strong will, transcendental devotion to God’s will but mainly absolute self-sacrifice for the priestly ideal and effort to save young priestly vocations for the Church and the Salesian Society.”1-9 Zeman funeral (800x532)

Blessed Titus’s best known saying is probably, “Even if I lose my life, I do not consider it a waste, knowing that at least one of those whom I have saved has become a priest to take my place.”   At his funeral the Slovak provincial noted that more than 50 priests and religious owed their vocations to him, his life was a kernel of wheat that fell to the ground and produced abundant fruit.   “If every priest who died in Slovakia left such religious posterity, the funerals of Slovak priests would mean not a decrease but an increase in the priestly ranks.”

Blessed Titus Zeman, Pray for the Salesians, for all the Church, our Priests and us all, amen!

Prayer for the canonisation of Fr Titus Zeman

Almighty God,
you called Fr Titus Zeman
to follow St John Bosco’s charism.
Under the protection of Mary Help of Christians
he became a priest and an educator of the young.
He lived in accordance with your commandments,
and was known and respected among the people
for his friendly character and availability to everyone.
When the Church’s enemies
suppressed human rights and freedom of the Faith,
Fr Titus did not lose courage
and persevered in the way of truth.
Because of his fidelity to his Salesian vocation
and because of his generous service of the Church,
he was incarcerated and tortured.
He bravely resisted his torturers
and was mocked and humiliated because of this.
He suffered it all out of love and with love.
We ask you, almighty Father,
to grant that Blessed Titus
be enrolled among your saints
and through his intercession,
grant us the grace that we now ask you.
Through Christ Our Lord,
Amenbl titus zeman pray for us no 2- 8 jan 2020


Thought for the Day – 8 January – Death

Thought for the Day – 8 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Third Day after Epiphany


death - we must always be ready - bacci - 8 jan 2020.jpg

In theory, everybody believes in death.
In practice, many live as if they did not believe in it.
So, it is necessary and helpful, for us to meditate on death.
We begin to die on the day when we were born.
People say:  “I have lived twenty, thirty or forty years.” But, if they said, “I have used up twenty or thirty or forty years of my life,” how many would then be left?   We do not know, we only know that death will come at the very moment when we least expect it.
Let us always be prepared.
“You also must be ready, because at an hour that you do not expect, the Son of Man is coming.” (Lk 12:40)

We must always be ready.
Let our faith be lively and active and our minds turned towards God, Who is waiting for us.
There is no need to be afraid.
He is good and merciful.
He desires our salvation.
This is a wonderfully consoling thought.   God desires my salvation!
Let us surrender ourselves to Him, therefore, as if we had to die this very moment!

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – “Take courage, it is I” and Bl Titus Zeman

Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – Third day after Epiphany, Readings: 1 John 4:11-18, Psalm 72:1-2, 10-13, Mark 6:45-52 and the Memorial of Blessed Titus Zeman SDB (1915-1969) Priest and Martyr

“They had all seen him and were terrified.   But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, be not afraid!” (Mark 6:50)

Prudentius (c 348 – c 413) (formally known as Aurelius Clemens Prudentius) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed during today’s Mass:

Thus I by my loquacious tongue
From the heaven of silence am led
Into perils unknown and dark.

Not as Peter, disciple true,
Confident in his virtue and faith,
I am as one whose unnumbered sins
Have shipwrecked on the rolling seas.

How easily can I be shipwrecked,
One untaught in seafaring arts,
Unless you, almighty Christ,
Stretch forth Your hand with help divine.

(Against Symmachus, 2)

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was a Roman Christian poet, born in the Roman province of Tarraconensis (now Northern Spain) in 348.   He probably died in the Iberian Peninsula some time after 405, possibly around 413.
Prudentius practised law with some success and was twice provincial governor, perhaps in his native country.   Towards the end of his life (possibly around 392) Prudentius retired from public life to become an ascetic, fasting until evening and abstaining entirely from animal food and writing poems, hymns and controversial works in defence of Christianity. Prudentius later collected the Christian poems written during this period and added a preface, which he himself dated 405.
The poetry of Prudentius is influenced by early Christian authors, such as Tertullian and St. Ambrose, as well as the Bible and the acts of the martyrs.   His hymn Da, puer, plectrum (including “Corde natus ex parentis” – “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”) and the hymn for Epiphany O sola magnarum urbium (“Earth Has Many A Noble City”), both from the Cathemerinon, are still in use today.mark 6 5- it is I be not afraid - how easily can I be shipwrecked - prudentius 8 jan 2020.jpg

“Even if I lose my life,
I do not consider it a waste,
knowing that at least one of those
whom I have saved,
has become a Priest
to take my place.”

Blessed Titus Zeman

even if i lose my life - bl titus seman 8 jan 2020.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 8 January – “Take courage, it is I, be not afraid!”

One Minute Reflection – 8 January – Third day after Epiphany and the Memorial of Blessed Titus Zeman SDB (1915-1969) Priest and Martyr, Readings: 1 John 4:11-18, Psalm 72:1-2, 10-13, Mark 6:45-52

“Take courage, it is I, be not afraid!” … Mark 6:50mark 6 50- it is I be not afraid 4 may 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “All ships have a compass which, when touched by the magnet, always turns towards the polar star.   And even when the boat is making its way in a southward direction, yet the compass does not cease turning towards its north at all times.

In the same way, let the fine point of your spirit always turn towards God, its north. ( … ) You are about to take to the high seas of the world, do not on this account, alter dial or mast, sail or anchor or wind.   Keep Jesus Christ as your dial, at all times, His Cross for mast on which to hoist your resolutions, as a sail.   Let your anchor be, profound trust in Him and set out early.   May the propitious wind of heavenly inspirations ever fill the sails of your vessel more and more and cause you, to speed forward, to the harbour of a holy eternity. ( … )keep jesus christ as your dial at all times his cross for mast - st francis de sales 8 jan 2020.jpg

Should everything turn upside down, I do not say around us but within us, that is to say, should our soul be sad, happy, in sweetness, in bitterness, peaceful, troubled, in light, in darkness, in temptation, in rest, in enjoyment, in disgust, in dryness, in gentleness, should the sun burn it or the dew refresh it, ah!, this point of our heart, our spirit, our higher will, which is our compass, should, nevertheless, always and at all times turn unceasingly, tend perpetually towards the love of God.” … St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) – Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church

PRAYER – God and Father, light of all mankind, make our hearts radiant with the splendour of that light which long ago You shed on our fathers in the faith and give Your people the joy of lasting peace.,, May the prayers of Your blessed saints and martyrs be a comfort on our journey. ,,Blessed Titus Zeman please pray for us all.   Through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, titus zeman pray for us 8 jan 2020.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 8 January – Our Lady, Help Of Christians

Our Morning Offering – 8 January – Third day after Epiphany and the Memorial of Blessed Titus Zeman SDB (1915-1969) Priest and Martyr

As today is the Memorial of the Priest and Martyr, Blesssed Titus Zeman of the Salesians of St John Bosco – a man whose life is an excellent example of faithfulness to Don Bosco’s cause, especially through the zeal and love that he showed to save the vocations of young Salesians under the Communist regime of Czechoslovakia, let us pray St John Bosco’s prayer to Our Lady Help of Christians, to whom Blessed Titus gave all the honour of his work.

Our Lady, Help Of Christians
By St John Bosco (1815-1888)

Most Holy Virgin Mary,
Help of Christians,
how sweet it is to come to your feet
imploring your perpetual help.
If earthly mothers cease not
to remember their children,
how can you,
the most loving of all mothers forget me?
Grant then to me, I implore you,
your perpetual help in all my necessities,
in every sorrow and especially in all my temptations.
I ask for your unceasing help
for all who are now suffering.
Help the weak,
cure the sick,
convert sinners.
Grant through your intercession,
many vocations to the religious life.
Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians,
that having invoked you on earth
we may love and eternally thank you in heaven.
Amenour lady help of christians by st john bosco 24 may 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 8 January – Blessed Titus Zeman SDB (1915-1969) Priest and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 8 January – Blessed Titus Zeman SDB (1915-1969) Priest and Martyr, a professed member of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Professor, Catechist, Defender of the Faith and of the oppressed.   Born on 4 January 1915 in Vajnory, Bratislavský, Slovakia and died on 8 January 1969 in Bratislava, Slovakia of heart failure, aged 54.   Patronage‎ – ‎Persecuted Christians.

Blessed Titus studied in Italian cities prior to his ordination and worked in Slovakia to protect fellow Salesians after the communist regime outlawed religious orders.   He was arrested after attempting to send Salesians out of the country and was imprisoned from 1952 until 1964 and died due to poor health sustained from the prison conditions.   He has been acclaimed as a Martyr and Defender of religious titus zeman v lg.jpg

Fr Titus was born into a Catholic family on 4 January 1915, at Vajnory, near Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.   As early as age 10 he had wanted to become a priest.   After completing his secondary studies with the Salesians, in 1931 he entered the novitiate.   He professed vows in 1932 and on 7 March 1938, made his perpetual profession at Sacred Heart in titus zeman young.jpg

He did his theology at the Gregorian University in Rome and then went to Chieri, where he spent his free time at the oratory.   In Turin in 23 June 1940, he achieved the goal of Priestly Ordination.   On 4 August 1940, he celebrated his first Mass at Vajnory, his titus zeman icon.jpg

After his Ordination, he was assigned briefly to the Salesian youth centre in Bratislava but then the provincial sent him to University to take a degree in chemistry and natural sciences, which he did.   He was then sent to teach in the diocesan high school at Trnava in 1943.   There, he was loved and respected by the students because of his cheerful, calm but no-nonsense yet fatherly disposition.   Always ready to assist people, he made many friends.   On at least one occasion he gave a place of safety to protect a Jewish youth.

After the war the high school was nationalised and the government ordered that Crucifixes be removed from the classrooms.   Fr Titus and two other teachers procured and put up new ones, to the displeasure of the principal.

Fr Titus moved to the Salesian school in Trnava and was prefect of studies in 1946-1947, then Catechist in 1947-1949 while also helping in several parishes.

Saving Vocations with Clandestine Escapes:
In mid-April 1950, when the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia banned religious orders and congregations and suddenly arrested and began to intern religious in concentration camps, on the night of 13-14 April —“the night of the barbarians”—the Slovak provincial believed it was necessary to organise clandestine trips to Turin so that young religious (both clerics and coadjutors) could complete their studies and he asked Fr Titus to undertake, the risky activity of smuggling them across the border to Austria. He carried out two such expeditions for more than 60 young Salesians, giving the credit for their success to Mary Help of Christians and winning the admiration of Fr Peter Ricaldone and the other superiors in titus zeman art

During a third expedition in April 1951, he and the other fugitives were caught and arrested.   He then underwent a difficult trial, during which he was accused of being a traitor to his country and a Vatican spy and he risked the death penalty.   On 22 February 1952, in consideration of attenuating circumstances, he was instead condemned to 25 years in prison.

A Slow Martyrdom:
Fr Titus was released from prison after 12 years on 10 March 1964.   He was suffering obviously from the long ordeal in prison and survived only five years, dying on 8 January 1969.   He was very much known for his holiness and, indeed, his martyrdom. He lived his life of suffering with a great spirit of sacrifice and as an offering:  “Even if I lose my life, I do not consider it a waste, knowing that at least one of those whom I have saved has become a Priest to take my place.”bl _titus_vieden-obraz-v lg 2.jpg

Zeman was acclaimed a Servant of God in 2010 under Pope Benedict XVI after the Canonisation process commenced in Bratislava – the cause was taken with ascertaining whether Zeman had died “in odium fidei” (in hatred of the faith).   Pope Francis approved his Beatification on 27 February 201 – the Beatification occurred in Bratislava on 30 September 2017.beatification zeman-8


Our Lady of Prompt Succour and Memorials of the Saints – 8 January

8 January – Our Lady of Prompt Succour
Such wonderful miracles – read about the Marian Patron of Louisiana here:

St Abo of Tblisi
St Albert of Cashel
St Athelm of Canterbury
St Atticus of Constantinople
St Carterius of Caesarea
Bl Edward Waterson
St Ergnad of Ulster
St Erhard of Regensburg
St Eugenian of Autun
Bl Eurosia Fabris (1866-1932)

St Garibaldus of Regensburg
St Gudule of Brussels
St Helladius
St Julian of Beauvais
St Lawrence Giustiniani
St Lucian of Beauvais
St Maximian of Beauvais
St Maximus of Pavia
Bl Nathalan of Aberdeen
St Patiens of Metz
St Pega of Peakirk
St Severinus of Noricum
St Theophilus the Martyr
St Thorfinn
Blessed Titus Zeman SDB (1915-1969) Priest and Martyr

The above film was the winner of the International “Festival dobrých správ” (of Good News) honoured a short film about the life of blessed Titus Zeman SDB.   The video entitled “Titus Zeman – a martyr for spiritual freedom to follow oneʹs vocation” was first place in the category of short films under 15 minutes and takes a closer look at the heroic sacrifice of the Salesian.
The author of the winning film is Salesian past pupil Roman Maturkanič from Slovakia who currently works as a film director.    “Probably the biggest challenge was to narrate the very eventful life of Titus in such a short time.   We won the first place prize, but we could say that this is Titusʹ victory,” said the director of the film’s achievement in the competition.

St Wulsin of Sherborne

Martyrs of Greece – 9 saints: A group of Christians honored in Greece as martyrs, but we have no details about their lives or deaths – Euctus, Felix, Januarius, Lucius, Palladius, Piscus, Rusticus, Secundus and Timotheus

Martyrs of Terni – 4 saints: A group of Christian soldiers in the imperial Roman army. Executed during the persecutions of emperor Claudius. Martyrs. – Carbonanus, Claudius, Planus and Tibudianus. They were martyred in 270 in Terni, Italy.