Posted in Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 27 January – Heavenly Father, Do with Me as You Will

Our Morning Offering – 27 January – Monday of the Third week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of Blessed George Matulaitis MIC (1871-1927)

Heavenly Father, Do with Me as You Will
By Blessed George Matulaitis MIC (1871-1927)

I kiss the hand of Your providence,
I entrust myself fully
and completely to Your guidance.
Heavenly Father, do with me as You will,
if it pleases You, O Lord,
to lead me along wondrous ways.
Behold Your servant!
Send me where You will!
Like a child I hasten to Your embrace, carry me.
If it pleases You to lead me,
along a road beset by adversity,
obstacles and difficulties,
I thank You very much.
I think that as I travel this road,
I will not lose my way
because it is the road
taken by my Redeemer Jesus Christ.

From the Journal of Blessed George, Archbishop.
(I Part:  St Petersburg 1910-1911)heavenly fther, do with me as you will by bl george matulaitis 27 jan 2020

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 27 January – Blessed George Matulaitis MIC (1871-1927)

Saint of the Day – 27 January – Blessed George Matulaitis MIC (1871-1927) Archbishop of Vilnius from late 1918 until his resignation in 1925, Apostolic Nuncio in Lithuania, Founder of the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Handmaids of Jesus in the Eucharist, Professor, Spiritual Director – he served as the Superior-General of the Marian Fathers from 1911 until his death and is known as the “Renovator of The Marians.”   Born as Jurgis Matulaitis-Matulevičius on 13 April 1871 at Lugine, Lithuania and died on 27 January 1927 of appendicitis at Kaunas, Lithuania.   Patronages – Teachers, Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Handmaids of Jesus in the Eucharist.   He worked in secret to revive the Marian Fathers after the Russian authorities suppressed all religious orders and he even relinquished his teaching position to better dedicate himself to that secret revival.   He was a noted teacher and spiritual director who set up other branches of the order, in places such as Switzerland and the United States, far from Russian authorities.Bl-George-

George was born in the village Matulaitis Lithuanian Lugine  on 13 April 1971, the last of the eight children of Andrew and Ursula Matulaitis.   At age ten he was orphaned and his older brother, John, became his guardian.   After after elementary school he was put to work in the countryside.   At 18 years, in 1889, he followed the brother John Matulewicz to Poland, where the family name changed from Matulaitis in Matulewicz.

He completed his higher studies at the seminary in Kielce and then in Warsaw and finally at Roman Catholic University in Petersburg, where he was Ordained as a Priest on 20 November 1898.   In June 1899 he became a Master in Theology, in December he enrolled at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, where in 1903 he obtained a degree in theology, with a brilliant thesis on which was published in Krakow.BL GEORGE MUTULAITIS AS A seminarian

He was posted immediately as a professor and held the chair of Latin and Literature in the Canon Law Seminar Kielce, from 1902-1904 and from 1907 to 1909 in Dogmatic Theology and Sociology at the Catholic Seminary in Petersburg.

In 1909 while he was still professor at the Theological Academy, 38 years old and with a promising career ahead of him, Matulaitis made a momentous decision.   He decided to become a religious, to follow more closely in the footsteps of Christ.   Having received permission from Rome, he made the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in a private chapel in Warsaw.   At the same time, his close friend and fellow professor, Francis Būčys, was received into the novitiate.   This was the beginning of the revival of the Marian Congregation.   Closed down by the Russian government, it had only one surviving member.   Matulaitis was convinced that God was leading him to resurrect this dying community and infuse it with new george matulaitis young generalsuperior

The Marian Fathers were well known to him — they worked in his parish church at Marijampole in Lithuania.   He had been baptised by one of their generals.   Now he resolved to revive and prepare them for an apostolate in the modern world.   He gave up lecturing on sociology and taught dogmatic theology instead.   He began to rewrite the Constitutions and at the same time directed his two novices.   In the fall of 1910 he began to keep a journal in which he recorded his thoughts, inspirations and resolutions.

In 1911 Matulaitis was elected superior general of the Marians and remained in this position until his death.   He was also novice master since they were so few.   That same summer the novitiate was transferred to Fribourg, Switzerland, for St Petersburg proved to be too dangerous – the Russian secret police had been conducting raids and searches for secret religious organisations.   Under cover of the life of the University of Fribourg, Matulaitis hoped that the novitiate would be safer and grow more rapidly.

In 1913 he and two young Lithuanian Marians travelled to the United States to start a mission in Chicago.   In 1915, unable to leave Poland because of the war, Matulaitis gathered the Polish Marians together at a monastery outside Warsaw.   This was the beginning of the Polish province.   During this period the Marians and several sisters cared for a number of war orphans.   Matulaitis himself would often go into German-occupied Warsaw to beg for provisions for the children.   He would often return in the evening sitting on a wagonload of coal or potatoes.

A number of interesting stories circulated in the area about the young priest and professor who was not afraid of the Germans.   Once he went to a German official to ask for cots for the children.   “You are a priest, you should trust in divine Providence.   Why are you bothering me?!” barked the German.   “That is true,” replied Matulaitis quietly “but Providence often works through good people.”   Shamefaced, the German wrote out an order for the cots.   However, the priest kept coming back.   He was cursed at for being an infernal nuisance.   Matulaitis humbly listened to the tirade, then said:  “All that is for me but what do you have for the children?”

bl george at Bielany near warsaw poland 1917
Fr George Matulaitis-Matulewicz at Bielany near Warsaw, Poland, 1917.

Serving the poor was a priority in all the religious communities that Matulaitis founded. In the spring of 1918 he went to Lithuania to restore the Marian monastery in Marijampole and to start a novitiate.   In the fall of that same year he founded a Lithuanian community for women, the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, popularly known as the Sisters of the Poor.   Several years later he founded another religious community for women in Belorussia, the Servants of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.   All these communities are still active.

Despite his own wishes to remain a simple religious, in the fall of 1918 George Matulaitis was appointed Bishop of Vilnius by Pope Benedict XV.   He was consecrated in Lithuania, at the cathedral in Kaunas on 1 December and the installation ceremonies took place in the Vilnius cathedral on 8 December.   He was not well known to the people of Vilnius and was very much aware of the difficulty of his mission.   In his inaugural sermon he presented himself to his flock humbly and sincerely:   “I stand before you a stranger and therefore, first of all, I ask one thing of you — to regard me as the servant of Christ who has been given you to show you the way to heaven and to guide you to eternal happiness.   From now on, we shall live together as one big spiritual family of which I am to be the father and head, as we move forward along our wearisome spiritual journey.”bl george official pic matulewicz_card521

The years that followed were not easy for the new bishop – the territory of Vilnius in the three following years changed hands and was occupied by eight different governments, German, Russian Bolshevik, Polish, Lithuanian, all of whom called him to interrogation. Because of his refusal to take sides or to promote the interests of one political party or nation against another, Bishop Matulaitis was criticised, attacked and denigrated.   Yet, he remained gracious and cordial even to those who publicly vented their antagonism or snubbed him personally.   In some cases his goodness won them over.BL GEORGE MATULAITIS

In the summer of 1925 Matulaitis’ resignation from the diocese of Vilnius was accepted by Pope Pius XI, his personal friend and colleague.   Poland had signed its Concordat with the Vatican and Vilnius was going to be made an archdiocese.   Matulaitis was well aware that he had to withdraw.   He quietly left Vilnius and went to Rome where he hoped to establish the Marian generalate and a house of studies.   However, the pope made him titular Archbishop of Adulia and appointed him Apostolic Visitor to Lithuania.BL Jurgis gEORGE Matulaitis

In June he sailed to the United States to attend the International Eucharistic Congress in Chicago.   He also visited 92 Lithuanian parishes and gave over 200 homilies and speeches.   Everywhere he was welcomed with great enthusiasm.   The railway car in which he was travelling was even painted violet in his honour!   Back home, he began work on the Concordat between Lithuania and the Vatican.   However, he did not live to see its completion.   Blessed George, true apostle of his homeland of Lithuania, died after an appendix operation in Kaunas on 27 January 1927 at the age of 56.

Throngs of people came to mourn him, all the church bells of Kaunas pealed a final farewell.   Every national group recognised the enormity of their loss for he had been a father to all.   Thousands attended the funeral.   He was buried in the crypt of Kaunas cathedral but the remains were transferred to his own parish church in Marijampole in 1934.  bl george matulaitis Funeral

On 11 May 1982, the Congregation for the Saints issued a decree stating that during his lifetime Archbishop George practised virtues to a heroic degree.  On 28 June 1987, the Holy Father, St John Paul II solemnly Beatified him at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  beatification of bl george 28 june 1987

On the occasion of his Beatification, a special repository was made for the remains and an altar constructed.   This has now become a National Shrine where Lithuanians and people from other countries come to pray.

bl george relics and chapel
Marijampole Basilica:
the altar of Blessed George’s chapel has contained the relics of the Blessed since 1987.
Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saint – 27 January

St Angela Merici (1474-1540) (Optional Memorial)
Full Biography:

Bl Antonio Mascaró Colomina
St Avitus
St Candida of Bañoles
St Carolina Santocanale
St Devota of Corsica
St Domitian of Melitene
St Emerius of Bañoles
Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis-Matulewicz/George Matulaitis MIC (1871-1927)

St Gilduin
Bl Gonzalo Diaz di Amarante
St Henry de Osso y Cervello
St John Maria Muzeyi
Bl John of Warneton
St Julian of Le Mans
St Julian of Sora
St Lupus of Châlons
Bl Manfredo Settala
St Marius of Bodon
Bl Michael Pini
St Natalis of Ulster
St Paul Josef Nardini
Bl Rosalie du Verdier de la Sorinière
St Theodoric of Orléans
St Pope Vitalian

Martyrs of North Africa – 30 saints: A group of 30 Christians martyred together by Arian Vandals. The only details to have survived are four of their names – Datius, Julian, Reatrus and Vincent. c 500 in North Africa.

Datius of Africa and 46 companions

Lucius of Africa and 40 companions


Thought for the Day – 26 January – Blessed are the Poor

Thought for the Day – 26 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Blessed are the Poor 

Blessed are the rich.”
This, is the judgement of the world.
But Jesus says: “Blessed are you poor” (Lk 6:20).
Whom are we to believe?
Naturally, we must believe Jesus.
A certain amount of confusion could arise, however, in our understanding of this maxim.
It becomes clear from the context of St Luke and still clearer in the words of St Matthew, who writes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Mt 5:3).
It is necessary, therefore, as St Jerome and others have commented, to be poor in our detachment from our possessions.

If a poor man longs for riches and envies and hates the wealthy because of their possessions, he is NOT poor in spirit.
Therefore, he cannot receive the blessing of which Our Lord spoke.
In the same way, a rich man may be attached to his great wealth.
Perhaps, he aims at nothing else but to increase it and, because he is thinking of it all the time, neglects his duty to God and to his neighbour.
Above all, love of riches may causes him to be lacking in justice and charity.
The behaviour of such a man is contrary to the law of God.
Meditate carefully on this point and do not neglect to make, whatever resolutions, seem necessary.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote of the Day – 26 January – Sunday of the Word of God – ‘His only Word’

Quote of the Day – 26 January – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A “Sunday of the Word of God”

“In giving us His Son, His only Word,
He spoke everything to us at once
in this sole Word –
and He has no more to say…
because what He spoke
before to the prophets in parts,
He has now spoken, 
all at once, by giving us
the ALL, Who is His Son.”

St John of the Cross (1542-1591)
Doctor of the Churchin giving us his son - sun of the word of god - his only word - snip 26 jan 2020


Sunday Reflection – 26 January – “Be Living Lamps”

Sunday Reflection – 26 January – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A “Sunday of the Word of God”

“Be Living Lamps”

Blessed James Alberione
(1884 to 1971)
Founder of the Society Of St Paul
and the Daughters Of St Paul

“Your role before the tabernacle [is to be] living lamps
before Jesus in the Eucharist,
handmaids of honour of the tabernacle
and of its Divine Dweller,
angels of the Eucharist who receive and who give,
souls who hunger and thirst for the bread of the Eucharist
and the water of His grace,
hearts that share with their Spouse in the Eucharist
His desires, His goals, His self-sacrifice for all,
the intimate confidantes of Jesus in the Host,
listening to His every word of life
and meditating on it in your heart, as Mary did.”

be living lamps before jeus in the eucharist bl james alberione 26 jan 2020


One Minute Reflection – 26 January – ‘…shine in the Kingdom like children of light.’

One Minute Reflection – 26 January – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 8:1-4 (8, 23–9:3), Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14, 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17, Matthew 4:12-23

“…the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light and for those, who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.”…Matthew 4:16matthew 4 16 the people who sat in darkness no 2 26 jan 2020

REFLECTION – “All these things we know to have taken place ever since the three wise men, aroused in their far-off land, were led by a star to recognise and worship the King of heaven and earth.   The responsiveness of that star exhorts us to imitate it’s obedience and, as much as we can, to make ourselves servants of that grace which invites us all to Christ.   For, whoever lives religiously and chastely in the Church and “sets his mind on the things which are above, not on the things that are upon the earth” (Col 3:2) resembles that heavenly light in a certain sense.   So long as he maintains in himself, the brightness of a holy life, he points out to many, like a star, the way that leads to God.   All having this concern, dearly-beloved… you will shine in the Kingdom like children of light.”…St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Churchfor whoever lives religiously and chastely - st leo 26 jan 2020

PRAYER – Lord, may the radiance of Your glory, light up our hearts and bring us through the shadows of this world, until we reach our homeland of everlasting light. Grant we pray, that by the intercession of Your holy Mother and ours, our way may be smoothed and our troubles eased. We ask this through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.holy mother pray for us 30 jan 2019

Posted in Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, The WORD

Our Morning Offering – 26 January – O Christ, Deign to Kindle our Lamps

Our Morning Offering – 26 January – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A “Sunday of the Word of God”

O Christ, Deign to Kindle our Lamps
By St Columbanus (543-615)
Excerpt from the 12th Spiritual Instruction, 2-3

“O Christ, deign to kindle our lamps,
our most sweet Saviour,
that they may shine continually in Your temple
and receive perpetual light from You,
light perpetual,
so that our darkness may be enlightened
and the world’s darkness
may be driven from us.
Thus enrich my lantern with Your light,
I pray You, Jesus mine,
so that by it’s light there may be disclosed to me,
those holy places of the holy,
which hold You, the eternal priest of the eternal things,
entering there the courts
of that great temple of yours,
that I may constantly see,
observe, desire You only
and loving You alone,
may behold You,
so that before You
my lamp may ever shine and burn.
I beg You, most loving Saviour,
to reveal Yourself to us who beseech You,
so that knowing You,
we may love You only,
love You alone,
desire You alone,
contemplate You alone,
by day and night
and ever hold You in our thoughts.
Amen o Christ deign to kindle our lamps by st columbanus sunday of the word of god 26 jan 2020


Sunday of the Word of God – 26 January

Sunday of the Word of God – 26 January
Making the Scriptures
Part of our Everyday Lives


What is the Word of God?

We often identify the Bible as the Word of God. This is not wrong but God speaks to our hearts in many different ways.   For instance, He speaks to us in prayer and through our conscience and often through other people.   Hence, the Word of God covers much more than a printed book.   Nevertheless, the Bible is the privileged collection of communications between God and His people.   These stories and poems have nourished the lives of the people of Israel and the Christian Church, right through the centuries and they continue to nourish us today.   They tell the story of God’s love and our salvation from ancient times onwards.   The scriptural texts offer us both challenge and encouragement for our lives and are especially valuable to us through the hope they offer us at dark moments.

The Holy Spirit and the Scriptures

The Holy Spirit was at work in the whole process of the formation of the Scriptures.   This is why, even though many people across different times and places contributed to the writing, we believe that the Scriptures are divinely inspired.   But the Holy Spirit’s work does not come to an end with the writing of the text.   The Holy Spirit, who dwells in us by virtue of our baptism, is also at work in us as we listen to the text.   Therefore, through the Spirit’s inspiration, the words of Scripture can become a living Word of the Lord to us here and now.ArmstrongD-READING BIBLE

Opening the Law and the Prophets (see Luke 4:17) – On Reading the Old Testament as Christians

When Saint Luke, in his Gospel, portrays the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he does so in the following way:

“Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”(4:16–18).

St Jerome

For Luke, the one in whom Christians place their trust as their Lord and Saviour, who is—in the words of the Nicene Creed—God from God, Light from Light and who sits at the right hand of the Father, was, is and remains, a Jewish male from Galilee.   Our Saviour is a Jew from Galilee.   To lose sight of His essential and enduring Jewishness is to distort Jesus, it is to divorce Him from His people, and to blind us to the reality and power of the Word made flesh (see John 1:14).

Jesus, the Galilean Jew, began His “public” life with words from His Scriptures.   His life ended with word from His Scriptures—in His anguish of the cross, He prays the beginning of Psalm 21 (22):  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”   To express what He’s about and to say who He is, Jesus proclaims His Scriptures—what Christians call the Old Testament.   Today also, truly to understand what God is doing in Christ (see 2 Cor 5:19), the followers of Christ are called to read and pray the Old Testament so that we may come to a sense of the mysteries that are veiled in all our lives and revealed in Christ (see St Augustine, On the Spirit and the Letter § 27).

Because the Old Testament communicates the mysteries of God’s life and ours, to come to know God’s word in the Old Testament is to know the power of God.   This is why St Jerome famously says that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ: – it is not that we gain “information” about Christ that is otherwise inaccessible, rather, to have one’s heart opened by the word of God is to come to know the one in whom the “the power and wisdom of God” has taken flesh.   It is to know “Christ—the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24).
This means that Christians are called to read the Old Testament like Christ read it – in a way that opens the heart, that recognises the faithfulness of God to His people and to the everlasting covenant made with them, that sees in the words of the Law, the Prophets and the writings, the threshold of the Word of God.

To read like Christ is to see the Law not as a burden but as the revelation of God’s will.
To read like Christ is to see in the Psalms the most wonderful school of prayer.
To read like Christ is to submit oneself to the prophets’ call to justice and their witness to the power of God.
To read like Christ is to read as one who is “last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35), who avoids all haughtiness and refuses to put the other in the wrong.
Such a person resists the distortions of history which have caused so much suffering to God’s chosen people, the brothers and sisters of our Lord.

rembrandt's mother reading bible - sun of the word of god 26 jan 2020
Portrait of Rembrandt’s mother reading a lectionary, ca. 1630 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).   The painting has more recently been attributed to Gerrit Dou.

…The Proclaimed Word is a Word not just in the past but a Word here and now, given to this liturgical assembly to shape, challenge and sustain their ongoing following of the Lord.   Every time a Christian community gathers, it is making a bold statement about where they have come from, who they are and where they hope one day to be.   The Scriptures nourish the boldness of the community, once more today, we are urged to allow the Word of God to nourish us as both individuals and communities.

Jesus also calls to Himself a group of disciples in today’s gospel account.   He invites them to come and walk in His ways.   Through their response, they set out on a path of discipleship leaving all behind them, it is a way that will lead some of His followers to martyrdom and others to betrayal: words of fidelity and words of treachery.   The Scriptures nurture the path of the disciples in their following of Jesus and walking in His ways, by taking the word and allowing it to shape and mould our identity as Christians. The Word proclaimed every Sunday in our Eucharistic celebration, the Word heard in the very ordinary circumstances of our daily lives, the words that we speak every moment, let all of them be, for us, moments of salvation and gifts to others….Catholic Bishops of Ireland

Official logo for the Sunday of the Word of God unveiled at Vatican


An icon of the encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus was chosen as the official logo for the worldwide celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God.

The colourful logo is based on an icon written by the late-Benedictine Sr Marie-Paul Farran, a member of the Our Lady of Calvary Congregation, who lived and worked at its monastery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

The logo was presented to the press at a Vatican news conference on 17th January, ahead of the newly established Sunday of the Word of God, which is being celebrated on 26th January this year.

The logo was presented to the press at a Vatican news conference on 17th January, ahead of the newly established Sunday of the Word of God, which is being celebrated on 26th January this year.

The logo shows the Resurrected Christ holding in his left hand a scroll, which is “the sacred Scripture that found its fulfilment in his person,” Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, told reporters.

By his side are two disciples: Clopas and his wife, Mary. They both fix their gaze on Christ while Clopas holds a stick to indicate “a pilgrimage,” the archbishop said.

Mary is holding one hand upward and with her other hand seems to be touching the Lord, reaffirming that he has fulfilled the ancient promises and is the living Word that must be proclaimed to the world, he said.

Holding the stick in one hand, Clopas’ free hand is pointing the road ahead, which all disciples are called to take in order to bring the Good News to everyone, Archbishop Fisichella said.

There is a star overhead symbolising evangelisation and the “permanent light” that guides their journey and shows them the way, he added.

It is also important, he said, to notice the feet of all three are depicted as being in motion, representing that the proclamation of the Risen Christ cannot be accomplished by “tired or lazy disciples” but only by those who are “dynamic” and ready to find new ways to speak so that sacred Scripture may become the living guide of the life of the church and its people.


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A AND the FIRST SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD +2020 and Memorials of the Saints – 26 January

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
instituted by Pope Francis on 30 September 2019, the 1600th Anniversary of the death of St Jerome.
Pope Francis announced and instated via his Apostolic Letter Aperuit Illis, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time to be the “Sunday of the Word of God” in order to promote a closer relationship with holy Scripture and its dissemination in the world.

“A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but, rather, a yearlong event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the Risen Lord,”

May the Sunday of the Word of God help his people to grow in religious and intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures. For as the sacred author taught of old: “This word is very near to you ,it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance” (Dt 30:14).

Given in Rome, at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, on 30 September 2019, the liturgical Memorial of Saint Jerome, on the inauguration of the 1600th anniversary of his death.

Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio of the Holy Father Francis, “Aperuit illis”, instituting the Sunday of the Word of God, 30.09.2019

St Timothy (Memorial)
St Titus (Memorial)

St Alberic of Citreaux O.Cist (Died 1109)
St Robert of Molesme O.Cist (1028-1111)
St Stephen Harding O.Cist (c 1060-1134)
The Story of the 3 Founders of the Cistercian Abbey:

St Alphonsus of Astorga
St Ansurius of Orense
St Athanasius of Sorrento
St Conan of Iona
Bl Eystein Erlandsön
Bl José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero
Bl Marie de la Dive veuve du Verdier de la Sorinière
Bl Michaël Kozal
St Paula of Rome

St Theofrid of Corbie
St Theogenes of Hippo
St Tortgith of Barking

Martyred Family of Constantinople: Saint Mary and Saint Xenophon were married and the parents of Saint John and Saint Arcadius. Theirs was a wealthy family of Senatorial rank in 5th century imperial Constantinople, but were known as a Christians who lived simple lives. To give their sons a good education, Xenophon and Mary sent them to university in Beirut, Phoenicia. However, their ship wrecked, there was no communication from them, and the couple assumed, naturally, that the young men had died at sea. In reality, John and Arcadius had survived and decided that instead of continuing to Beirut, they were going to follow a calling to religious life and became monks, eventually living in a monastery in Jerusalem. Years later, Mary and Xenophon made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – where they encountered their sons. Grateful to have their family re-united and taking it as a sign, Xenophon and Mary gave up their positions in society in Constantinople, and lived the rest of their lives as a monk and anchoress in Jerusalem. A few years later, the entire family was martyred together.
They were martyred in 5th century Jerusalem.
St Xenophon
St Mary
St John
St Arcadius


Thought for the Day – 25 January – Mediocrity

Thought for the Day – 25 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul


we cannot be content with half-hearted efforsts - bacci 25 jan 2020

“A Christian cannot be satisfied with mediocrity.
He must strive for perfection.
This is the command of Jesus.
“You, therefore, are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
The same counsel is given in the Old Testament:  “You shall make and keep yourselves holy, because I am holy” (Lev 11:44).
The Apostles had the habit of referring to all the Christians of their time, as holy.
For instance, St Paul addresses the faithful of the church of Ephesus, in this way, (Eph 1:1), while, St Peter describes the Christian community as “a holy nation, a purchased people” (1 Peter 2:9).

We cannot be content with half-hearted efforts but, must work hard to become holy.
“I come,” says Jesus, “that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10).
Some day we shall either be saints in Heaven, or among the damned in Hell.
Whoever is satisfied with MEDIOCRITY, BETRAYS the mission of Christ.
He returns ingratitude for His infinite goodness and SQUANDERS His divine grace.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – ‘When Paul is blinded, he gets his vision.’

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul

“I have appeared to you for this purpose,
to appoint you as a servant and witness, 
of what you have seen and what you will be shown.
I shall deliver you from this people
and from the Gentile,s to whom I send you,
to open their eyes, that they may turn
from darkness to light
and from the power of Satan to God,
so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins
and an inheritance among those, who have been consecrated by faith in me.”

Acts 26:16-18

acts-26-16 I have appeared to you for this purpose - conversion of st paul - 25 jan 2020

“Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us,
what man really is and in what our nobility consists
and of what virtue this particular animal is capable.
Each day he aimed ever higher,
each day he rose up with greater ardour
and faced with new eagerness,
the dangers that threatened him.
He summed up his attitude in the words:
“I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead”…
The most important thing of all to him, however,
was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.
Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father & Doctor of the Church

chrysostum-on-paul-2018 25 jan 2020

“When Paul is blinded,
he gets his vision.
God has mysterious ways
of entering our life.
With Paul,
God seemingly gate-crashed.
With us, God might need
a little more time!”

Msgr Alex Rebello

Diocese of Wrexham, Waleswjen paul is blinded he gets his vision - gatecrashed msgr alex rebello bible diary 25 jan 2020

“I live, no longer I
but Christ lives in me,”

Galasians 2:20

galasians 2 20 i live no longer i but christ lives in me 25 jan 2020


One Minute Reflection – 25 January – ‘He had lived for himself…’

One Minute Reflection – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, Reading: Acts 22:3-16, Psalm 117:1-2, Mark 16:15-18

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” … Mark 16:15mark 16 15 go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation - 25 jan 2020

REFLECTION – “Paul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus literally revolutionised his life (…)   Thus, it is important to realise what a deep effect Jesus Christ can have on a person’s life, hence, also on our own lives (…)  how does a human being’s encounter with Christ occur?   And of what does the relationship that stems from it consist? (…)   Paul helps us to understand the absolutely basic and irreplaceable value of faith.   This is what he wrote in his Letter to the Romans:  “We hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (3:28).   This is what he also wrote in his Letter to the Galatians: “[M]an is not justified by works of the law but only through faith in Jesus Christ” (2:16) (…)   “Being justified” means being made righteous, that is, being accepted by God’s merciful justice to enter into communion with Him and, consequently, to be able to establish a far more genuine relationship with all our brethren and this takes place on the basis of the complete forgiveness of our sins.   Well, Paul states with absolute clarity that this condition of life does not depend on our possible good works but on the pure grace of God – “[We] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24).

With these words St Paul expressed the fundamental content of his conversion, the new direction his life took as a result of his encounter with the Risen Christ.  Before his conversion, Paul had not been a man distant from God and from his Law.   On the contrary, he had been observant, with an observance, faithful to the point of fanaticism. In the light of the encounter with Christ, however, he understood that with this, he had sought to build up himself and his own justice and that with all this justice, he had lived for himself.   He realised that a new approach in his life was absolutely essential.   And we find this new approach expressed in his words:  “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

Paul, therefore, no longer lives for himself, for his own justice.   He lives for Christ and with Christ.” … Pope Benedict XVI – General audience of 08/11/06before his conversion paul - pope benedict 25 jan 2020

PRAYER – Today Lord, we celebrate the conversion of St Paul, Your chosen vessel for carrying Your name to the whole world.   Help us to make our way towards You by following in his footsteps and by being Your disciples before the men and women of our day.   Grant that by the prayers of St Paul, we too may say, “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever,


Our Morning Offering – 25 January – Great convert Teacher of the Faith

Our Morning Offering – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul

Breviary Hymn
Feast of the Conversion of St Paul

Great convert Teacher of the Faith
Who never ceased from preaching Christ,
Saint Paul impart to us your zeal,
That we may reach the joys unseen.

All glory to the Trinity,
Forever honour, sov’reignty,
To God Almighty be all praise,
Beginning and the End of all.
Amengreat convert teacher of the faith - feast of the conversion of st paul 25 jan 2020

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 25 January – Saint Poppo of Stavelot (977-1048)

Saint of the Day – 25 January – Saint Poppo of Stavelot (977-1048) Abbot, Reformer, Ascetic – born in 978 at Flanders, Belgium and died on 25 January 1048 at Marchiennes, France of natural causes.    He became one of the best known abbots of Stavelot and was one of the first recorded Flemish pilgrims to the Holy Poppo_von_Stablo_3

The Vita Popponis, the biography of Poppo, was written shortly after his death by the monk Onulf and the abbot Everhelm of the abbey of Hautmont.    According this source Poppo belonged to a noble family of Flanders, his parents being Tizekinus and Adalwif. About the year 1000 he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with two compagnons.   Soon after this he also went to Rome.   He was about to marry a lady of noble family, when a miraculous experience made him end his military career.   Late at night, a flame burst out of the sky and kept his lance radiating.   He believed this to be an illumination of the Holy Spirit and soon after, he decided to enter the monastery of Saint Thierry at Rheims (1005).saint-poppo-netherlandish-15th-century

Around 1008 Abbot Richard of Saint Vannes at Verdun, who was a zealous reformer of monasteries, took Poppo to his monastery.   Richard made Poppo prior of St Vaast in Arras, in the Diocese of Cambrai, about 1013.   Here Poppo proved to be the right man for the position, reclaimed the lands of the monastery from rapacious vassals and secured the possession of the monastery by deeds.   Before 1016 he was appointed to the same position at Vasloges (Beloacum, Beaulieu) in the Diocese of Verdun.

In 1020, the German emperor Henry II, who became acquainted with Poppo in 1016, made him Abbot of the abbeys of Stavelot and Malmedy (in Lower Lorraine, now Belgium) and in 1023 the Abbey of St Maximin at Trier.

He became even more important during the reign of Conrad II.   From St Maximin, the Cluniac reform now found its way into the German monasteries.   The emperor placed several imperial monasteries under Poppo’s control or supervision, as Limburg an der Hardt, Echternach, St Gislen, Weissenburg, St Gall, Hersfeld, Waulsort, Hautmont and Hastières.   Soon after Poppo transferred these positions to his disciples.   The Bishops and laymen who had founded monasteries placed a series of other monasteries under his care, like St Laurence at Liège, St Vincent at Metz, St Eucharius at Trier, Hohorst, Brauweiler, St Vaast, Marchiennes etc.   However, the reform of Richard of Saint-Vanne had no permanent success in the German Empire.

Personally Poppo practised the most severe asceticism.   He had no interest in literary affairs and was neither particularly prominent in politics.   During the reign of Henry III he lost influence.    Death overtook him while he was staying at the abbey of Marchiennes.    Poppo was later buried in the abbey of Stavelot.01-25-1048-poppo


Feast of the Conversion of St Paul and Memorials of the Saints – 25 January

Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – 25 January

St Agape the Martyr
St Agileus of Carthage
St Amarinus of Clermont
St Ananias of Damascus
Bl Antoni Swiadek
St Apollo of Heliopolis
St Artemas of Pozzuoli
St Auxentius of Epirus
St Bretannion of Tomi
St Donatus the Martyr
St Dwynwen
St Emilia Fernández Rodríguez de Cortés
St Eochod of Galloway
St Joel of Pulsano
St Juventinus of Antioch
Bl Manuel Domingo y Sol
St Maximinus of Antioch
St Palaemon
St Poppo of Stavelot (977-1048)
St Praejectus of Clermont
St Publius of Zeugma
St Racho of Autun
St Sabinus the Martyr


Second Thought for the Day – 24 January – Devotion Must be Practised in Different Ways

Second Thought for the Day – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A and The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” – Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity)

Devotion Must be Practised in Different Ways

Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Bishop and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Introduction to the Devout Life

“When God the Creator made all things, He commanded the plants to bring forth fruit each according to its own kind, He has likewise commanded Christians, who are the living plants of His Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each one in accord with his character, his station and his calling.

I say that devotion must be practised in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman.   But even this distinction is not sufficient, for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.

Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a Bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian, or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin, about increasing their income, or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious, or on the other hand, for a religious to be constantly exposed like a Bishop to all the events and circumstances, that bear on the needs of our neighbour.   Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganised and intolerable?   Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently but in no way, does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all.   On the contrary, it perfects and fulfils all things.   In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion.

The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.   True devotion does still better.   Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, it even embellishes and enhances it.

Moreover, just as every sort of gem, cast in honey, becomes brighter and more sparkling, each according to its colour, so, each person, becomes more acceptable and fitting in his own vocation, when he sets his vocation in the context of devotion.   Through devotion, your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the Prince becomes more faithful and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.

It is therefore an error and even a heresy, to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households.   I acknowledge, my dear Philothea, that the type of devotion which is purely contemplative, monastic and religious can certainly not be exercised in these sorts of stations and occupations but, besides this threefold type of devotion, there are many others fit for perfecting those who live in a secular state.

Therefore, in whatever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.”

St Francis de Sales, Pray for Us!

in whatever situations we happen to be in - st francis de sales pray for us 24 jan 2020


Thought for the Day – 24 January – Following Jesus

Thought for the Day – 24 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Following Jesus

John 14 6 i am the way - there is only one reform necessary - bacci 24 jan 2020

“When we have renounced ourselves and have embraced our cross with resignation and love, we must follow Jesus.
We must follow Him in a special way as the infallible Teacher of truth.
The teachings of men cannot satisfy our intellects.
Still less, can they satisfy our hearts.
What they teach is either incomplete or false.
This is proved by the fact that the doctrines of mean have succeeded and replaced one another, down through the centuries while “the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25).

The teaching of Christ produces an extraordinary renovation in the individual, in the family and in society.
It is this renewal which we call Christianity and Christian civilisation.
There is a wide chasm between paganism and Christianity.
This gulf would be even wider, only for the fact that Christianity has not yet been fully put into practice throughout the universe.
There is only one reform necessary.
This is to realise the Christian ideal everywhere.
We must begin by carrying it out ourselves.
Let us follow Jesus, Who is saying to us:  “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). “He who follows Me does not walk in darkness” (Jn 8:12).

Let us follow our divine Master and we shall be sure that we are travelling towards Heaven!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – St Francis de Sales

Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A and The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” – Doctor of the Church: Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity)

“Let us think only
of spending the present
day well.
Then, when tomorrow
shall have come,
it will be called
and then, we will think
about it.”

let us think only of spending the present day well - st francis de sales - 24 jan 2020

“Don’t get upset
with your imperfections.
It’s a great mistake,
because it leads nowhere –
to get angry
because, you are angry,
upset at being upset,
depressed, at being depressed,
disappointed, because
you are disappointed.
So don’t fool yourself.
Simply surrender
to the Power of God’s Love,
which is always greater
than our weakness.”

dont-get-upset-with-your-imperfections-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2018 and 24 jan 2020

“Don’t sow your desires
in someone else’s garden,
just cultivate your own, as best you can;
don’t long to be other than what you are
but desire to be thoroughly what you are.
Direct your thoughts,
to being very good at that
and to bearing the crosses, little or great,
that you will find there.
Believe me, this is the most important
and least understood point to the spiritual life.
We all love according to what is our taste,
few people like what is according to their duty
or to God’s liking.
What is the use of building castles in Spain
when we have to live in France?”

dont-sow-your-desires-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2018 - 24 jan 2020

“The work is never finished, we have continually to begin again and that courageously. What we have done so far is good but what we are going to commence, will be better and when we have finished that, we shall begin something else that will be better still and then another – until we leave this world to begin a new life that will have no end because it is the best that can happen to us.

It is not then a case for tears, that we have so much work to do for our souls, for we need great courage to go ever onwards (since we must never stop) and much resolution to restrain our desires.   Observe carefully this precept, that all the Saints have given to those who would emulate them – to speak little, or not at all, of yourself and your own interests.”

the-work-is-never-finished-st-francis-de-sales-27-march-2019 and 24 jan 2020

“Cook the truth in charity,
until it tastes sweet.”

cook-the-truth-in-charity-until-it-tastes-sweet-st-francis-de-sales-23-may-2018 and 24 jan 2020

“Half an hour’s meditation
each day is essential,
except, when you are busy.
Then a full hour is needed.”

half an hour's meditation each day - st francis de sales 24 jan 2020

“Consider all the past as nothing
and say, like David –
Now I begin to love my God.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church

consider all the past as nothing and say like david now i begin to love my god - 24 jan2019 st francis de sales


One Minute Reflection – 24 January – May I know You and make You known.

One Minute Reflection – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of St Francis De Sales OFM Cap (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church ” – Readings: 1 Samuel 24:2-20 (3-21), Psalm 57:2-4, 6, 11, Mark 3:13-19

He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him … Mark 3:14

REFLECTION – “Jesus calls those he wanted.    Jesus chooses.   They come to him.   He calls the Twelve to be with Him.   While they are with Him, listening to Him teach, witnessing the miracles He works, living with Him, the Twelve get to know Him, first hand.
They KNOW Jesus, not just about Jesus.
Jesus consecrates them as He takes them apart – forming them to carry on and continue His work.
Having consecrated them – he commissions them, as He sends them forth to preach the good news.
Jesus chooses.
Jesus consecrates.
Jesus commissions.
This explains the dynamics of genuine discipleship.
The disciple must learn TO BE WITH Jesus, before he attempts TO DO ANYTHING FOR Jesus.
We can be Apostles – only – if we have first been disciples WITH Him.” … Msgr Alex Rebello CMF (Diocese Wrexham, Wales) Claretian Priestmark 3 14 he appointed twelve - jesus chooses msgr rebello bible diary 24 jan 2020

PRAYER – “O my God and my Father, may I know You and make You know, love You and make You loved, serve You and make Your served, praise You and make all creatures, praise You.” [St Anthony Mary Claret CMF (1807-1870)] Lord God, true light and creator of light, grant us the grace to see clearly by the light who is Light, Your only Son. Lead us in His path and send us Your Spirit. Grant us the strength to grow in holiness so that our struggle against the powers of darkness may we a victory over temptation. May the intercession of the master of spirituality, St Francis de Sales, help us and protect us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.may I know you and make you known - st anthony mary claret 24 oct 2019


Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 24 January – O Love Eternal

Our Morning Offering – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Yea A and the Memorial of St Francis De Sales OFM Cap (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church ”

O Love Eternal
By St Francis De Sales (1567-1622)
“The Gentle Christ of Geneva”
Doctor of the Church

O love eternal,
my soul needs
and chooses You eternally!
Ah, come Holy Spirit,
and inflame our hearts with Your love!
To love – or to die!
To die – and to love!
To die to all other love
in order to live in Jesus’ love,
so that we may not die eternally.
But that we may live in Your eternal love,
O Saviour of our souls,
we eternally sing,
“Live, Jesus!
Jesus, I love!
Live, Jesus, whom I love!
Jesus, I love,
Jesus who lives and reigns
forever and ever.
Ameno-love-eternal-st-francis-de-sales-10-aug-2018 and 24 jan 2020


Saint of the Day – 24 January – Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515)

Saint of the Day – 24 January – Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515) a Countess and member of the Third Order of St Francis, Laywoman, mother, widow, apostle of the poor and sick – born on 3 March 1463 in Verola Alghise (modern Verolanuova), Brescia, Duchy of Milan (in modern Lombardy, Italy) and died on 24 January 1515 in Binaco, Duchy of Milan (in modern Lombardy, Italy) of a fever.   Patronages – Widows, Married couples, Franciscan tertiaries, difficult marriages, victims of adultery.   Additional memorial – 23 January in paola vision

Paola Gambara Costa was born on 3 March 1463 in Brescia as the first of seven children to the nobles Giampaolo Gambara and Taddea Caterina Martinengo.

In her childhood she delighted in spiritual reading and reflection on the Gospel and harboured an ardent desire to become a nun later in life.   But this dream was cut short when her parents decided to arrange her marriage to Count Lodovico Antonio Costa – the Lord of Benasco – and she saw this as the will of God manifesting itself and so complied with the wishes of her parents.   The marriage came about after Count Bongiovanni Costa visited her parents and was struck with her virtue and so wanted her as his nephew Lodovico Antonio’s wife.   Her decision to become a nun worried the count who sent her to Blessed Angelo Carletti – a Franciscan priest – who persuaded her that marriage was a call from God to embrace a different kind of life still in accordance with Christian values.

The pair married in autumn 1485 and the pair travelled to the small Benasco province for the ensuring celebrations.   She endured her new husband’s expensive tastes, seeing it as her role to be faithful to him, even if she did not live the excessively luxurious life paola costs

Her confessor around this time was Father Crescenzio Morra from Bene though she later reconnected with Carletti who became her friend and spiritual advisor as well as a confessor.   Carletti kept her on the path of virtue and advised her to enrol in the Third Order of Saint Francis, while learning to appreciate the poor and to detest the lavishness of the secular world.   She joined in 1491 with the permission of her husband.   Gambara often deprived herself of food in order to bring it to the sick and on one occasion took off her shoes and gave it to an old woman who was struggling barefoot through the snow.

In 1488 she gave birth to her sole child Giovanni Francesco and named him in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.   To mark this occasion, she managed to persuade her husband to distribute large amounts of food to the poor of their paola costs almsgiving

But her excessive charitable works and almsgiving soon vexed her husband, who reproached her for her conduct and ridiculed her in front of their servants and the servants followed their master’s example and joined in ridiculing their mistress.

Costa soon acquired a mistress – the daughter of the Podestà of Carrù – and he allowed her to live in the castle in 1494 even though Paola resided there.   In 1495 her son left for Chieri for his education and Father Carletti died on 11 April 1495.   She attended his funeral in Cuneo – he had died at the convent of Sant’Antonio where he had fallen ill.

In 1500 she reunited with her parents and siblings when she returned to her hometown on a brief visit.   In 1504 her late husband’s mistress fell ill with abdominal pains and it was Paola who comforted her and forgave her as she died.   Also in 1504 her son – now a page – returned to his home.

Her husband later repented and approved her good works and also consented to her wearing the habit of her order in public.   Costa became ill in 1504 and she began to tend to him.   The two travelled to Cuneo to ask for the intercession of her former confessor Carletti and when her husband was healed, attributed the healing to him – Costa celebrated a banquet in commemoration of this and undertook a pilgrimage to the priest’s grave in thanksgiving with his wife at his side.   This conversion was short-lived however, for her husband died not long after in paola costs and mary

On 14 January 1515 she was struck with an extreme fever that caused her great pain and she died on 24 January 1515 in the town of Binasco in Milan after having confessed and received the Eucharist for the final time.

Blessed Paola was buried in a church outside the walls of convent of Rocchetta that she had helped re-build.  When the church was destroyed in 1536 during a war between Francis I and Charles V, Paola’s body was re-interred in the nearby castle and later enshrined in a chapel built by the Counts of Costa in the Franciscan monastery of Bene paola body

Her Beatification received formal ratification on 14 August 1845 once Pope Gregory XVI issued a decree that recognised that there existed an enduring and longstanding local ‘cultus’.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 24 January

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) (Memorial) – Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” and the “Gentleman Saint”



St Anicet Hryciuk
St Artemius of Clermont
St Bartlomiej Osypiuk
Bertrand of Saint Quentin
St Daniel Karmasz
St Exuperantius of Cingoli
St Felician of Foligno
St Filip Geryluk
Bl Francesc de Paula Colomer Prísas
St Guasacht
St Ignacy Franczuk
Bl John Grove
St Julian Sabas the Elder
St Luigj Prendushi
St Macedonius Kritophagos
Bl Marcolino of Forli
Bl Marie Poussepin
Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515)
St Projectus
St Sabinian of Troyes
St Suranus of Sora
St Thyrsus
Bl William Ireland

Martyrs of Asia Minor – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. The only details to survive are four of their names – Eugene, Mardonius, Metellus and Musonius. They were burned at the stake in Asia Minor.

Martyrs of Podlasie – 13 beati: Podlasie is an area in modern eastern Poland that, in the 18th-century, was governed by the Russian Empire. Russian sovereigns sought to bring all Eastern-rite Catholics into the Orthodox Church. Catherine II suppressed the Greek Catholic church in Ukraine in 1784.   Nicholas I did the same in Belarus and Lithuania in 1839. Alexander II did the same in the Byzantine-rite Eparchy of Chelm in 1874 and officially suppressed the Eparchy in 1875.   The bishop and the priests who refused to join the Orthodox Church were deported to Siberia or imprisoned.   The laity, left on their own, had to defend their Church, their liturgy, and their union with Rome.
On 24 January 1874 soldiers entered the village of Pratulin to transfer the parish to Orthodox control.   Many of the faithful gathered to defend their parish and church.   The soldiers tried to disperse the people, but failed.   Their commander tried to bribe the parishioners to abandon Rome but failed.   He threatened them with assorted punishments but this failed to move them.   Deciding that a show of force was needed, the commander ordered his troops to fire on the unarmed, hymn-singing laymen. Thirteen of the faithful died, most married men with families, ordinary men with great faith.
We know almost nothing about their lives outside of this incident.   Their families were not allowed to honour them or participate in the funerals and the authorities hoped they would be forgotten. Their names are:
• Anicet Hryciuk
• Bartlomiej Osypiuk
• Daniel Karmasz
• Filip Geryluk
• Ignacy Franczuk
• Jan Andrzejuk
• Konstanty Bojko
• Konstanty Lukaszuk
• Lukasz Bojko
• Maksym Hawryluk
• Michal Wawryszuk
• Onufry Wasyluk
• Wincenty Lewoniuk
• shot on 14 January 1874 by Russian soldiers in Podlasie, Poland
• buried nearby without rites by those soldiers
6 October 1996 by Pope John Paul II

Martyrs of Antioch:

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Second Thoughts of the Day – 23 January – Blessed Benedetta Carried her Cross to Teach us all!

Second Thoughts of the Day – 23 January – Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964) “The White Winter Rose” An Extraordinary Love

Blessed Benedetta Carried her Cross to Teach us all!

“Her bed became the pulpit from which Benedetta ‘preached without preaching’ lessons of patience, humility, fortitude, resignation to God’s will, the value of the Cross endured with Christ and for Christ.”

Father Francis Xavier Grasso SJ

In 1963 Benedetta had another operation which it left her blind.   She could barely speak and could only move her left hand.   However, the number of her visitors increased, as word of her holiness and her gentle understanding, even in this great suffering and of her great love of God, which she was able to impart to all.   Patience, said Benedetta, was “the weapon with which Christ conquered the darkness.”

In a letter to a young man who suffered similarly, she wrote:

“Because I’m deaf and blind, things have become complicated for me. …Nevertheless, in my Calvary, I do not lack hope.   I know that at the end of the road, Jesus is waiting for me.   First in my armchair and now in my bed, where I now stay, I have found a wisdom greater than that of men — I have discovered that God exists, that He is love, faithfulness, joy, certitude, to the end of the ages. …  My days are not easy.   They are hard.   But sweet because Jesus is with me, with my sufferings and He gives me His sweetness in my loneliness and light in the darkness.   He smiles at me and accepts my collaboration.”

Blessed Benedetta, your world became as small as a Communion wafer.
You were immobilised, deaf and blind and yet you were a powerful witness to the love of God and the Blessed Mother.
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is hidden and small too, silent, immobilised and even weak — and still all powerful!
Please pray for me, Benedetta, that I will collaborate, as you did, with Jesus in whatever way He wishes to use me.
May I be granted the grace to allow the almighty Father to speak through my littleness and loneliness, too.

Blessed Benedetta, please Pray for Us All!bl benedetta bianchi porro pray for us no 2 23 jan 2020


Thought for the Day – 23 January – Carrying our Cross

Thought for the Day – 23 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Thursday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Carrying our Cross

When we have renounced ourselves in order to do the will of God in every detail, we must embrace our cross everyday.
We must carry it with resignation and love, in the footsteps of Jesus.
Each of us has his cross.
It might be, ill health or financial distress.
It might be, some person whom we feel to be intolerable and with whom we hve to live.
It might be, humiliation or calumny.
It might be, some temptation, which we find hard to fight and which is continually causing us to fall.
It might be, all of these things together.
Whatever it is, it is our cross.

To rebel, would be to make things far worse.
Our cross would only become heavier and more unbearable.
Jesus tells us to embrace it, as He did.
He tells us to bow beneath it’s weight and follow Him.
If we accept His invitation, at once our cross will seem lighter.
A man who is in love, does not feel fatigue.
We must carry our cross out of love of God and in the hope of a heavenly reward.
Then we can say with St Francis de Sales – “Suffering passes but the experience of having suffered for the love God remains.”
We shall understand how true were Our Lord’s words – “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).

The cross, which we accept, from the hands of Jesus and out of love for Him, is a sweet burden.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 23 January – Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964) “The White Winter Rose”

Quote/s of the Day – 23 January – Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964) “The White Winter Rose” An Extraordinary Love

“Sometimes I find myself defeated
under the weight of this heavy cross.
Then, I call upon Jesus
and lovingly cast myself at His feet,
He kindly permits me,
to rest my head on His lap.”

sometimes i find myself defeated under the weight - bl benedetta porro 23 jan 2020

(Bl Benedetta in a letter to a friend)

“For those who believe,
everything is a sign!”

for those who believe everything is a sign bl benedetta porro 23 jan 2020

“Life has only one face – LOVE.”

Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964)life has only one face - love bl benedetta porro 23 jan 2020


One Minute Reflection – 23 January – ‘…Cry to God for help and grace.’

One Minute Reflection – 23 January – Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7, Psalm 56:2-3, 9-13, Mark 3:7-12 and the Memorial of Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964) “The White Winter Rose” An Extraordinary Love

… For he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him…. Mark 3:10

REFLECTION – “And so long as we are in this life, whenever, we in our folly, revert to the contemplation of those who are damned, our Lord tenderly teaches us and blessedly calls us, saying in our souls:  “Leave it alone, my beloved child, attend to me.   I am enough for you and rejoice in your Saviour and in your salvation.”   And I am sure that this is our Lord working in us.   The soul which is pierced with this, by grace, will see it and feel it.   And even though this deed may truly be accepted as done for men in general, still this does not exclude particular men. (…)

And furthermore, He gave special understanding and teaching about the working and revelation of miracles, thus:  “It is known that I have performed miracles in time past, many, most great and wonderful, glorious and splendid and what I have done I always go on doing and I shall in times to come.”   It is known, that before miracles, come sorrows and anguish and trouble and that, because we ought to know our own weakness and the harm that we have fallen into through sin, to humble us and make us cry to God for help and grace.

And afterwards great miracles come and that is from God’s great power and wisdom and goodness, showing His might and the joys of heaven, so much as this may be in this passing life and that is for the strengthening of our faith and as this may increase our hope in love.   Therefore, it pleases Him to be known and worshipped in miracles.   Then this is His intention, He wishes us not to be oppressed because of the sorrows and travails which come to us, for it has always been so, before the coming of miracles!” … Julian of Norwich (1342-after 1416) – Revelations of divine love, ch. 36mark 3 10 for he had healed many - it is known julian of norwich 23 jan 2020

PRAYER – Lord God, true light and creator of light, grant us the grace to see clearly by the light who is Light, Your only Son. Lead us in His path and send us Your Spirit. Grant us the strength to grow in holiness so that our struggle against the powers of darkness may we a victory over temptation. May the intercession of the extraordinary fortitude and love of Blessed Benedetta Porro, help us and protect us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.blessed benedetta bianchi porro pray for us 23 jan 2020

Posted in Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 23 January – Thank You, Jesus

Our Morning Offering – 23 January – Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964) “The White Winter Rose” An Extraordinary Love

Blessed Benedetta last words were “Thank You”

Thank You, Jesus
By Cardinal Nicholas Cusa (1401-1464)

Thank You, Jesus,
for bringing me this far.
In Your light, I see the light of my life.
Your teaching is brief and to the point,
You persuade us to trust in God,
You command us to love one another.
You promise everything
to those who obey Your teaching,
You ask nothing too hard for a believer,
nothing a lover can refuse.
Your promises to Your disciples are true,
nothing but the truth.
Even more, You promise us Yourself,
the perfection of all
that can be made perfect.
Amenthank you jesus by card nicholas cusa 12 aug 2019

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 January – Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964)

Saint of the Day – 23 January – Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964) Laywoman – born on 8 August 1936 at Dovádola, Forli, Italy and died on 23 January 1964 at Sirmione, Italy of complications resulting from her Recklinghausen Disease­Neuro-Fibromatosis.BL Pellegrinaggio-per-la-beatificazione-di-Benedetta-Bianchi-Porro_articleimage

Benedetta Bianchi Porro was born at Dovadola as the second of six children to Guido Bianchi Porro and Elsa Giammarchi.   She was baptised “in necessity” at the request of her mother with water from Lourdes, she received formal baptism on the following 13 August with the name of “Benedetta Bianca Maria”.   Three months after her birth she fell ill with polio and required a brace on her left leg and an orthopedic shoe in order to prevent her spine from deforming.   From March to May 1937 she suffered repeated bouts of bronchitis.

From the age of five she began to keep a journal in which to record experiences, one such entry was at the age of seven:  “The universe is enchanting!  It is great to be alive!”   Porro attended school at a Convent school run by the Ursulines Benedetta was always very homesick while away at school.   In 1942, the family moved to Sirmione.

During her childhood on one particular occasion, her brother Gabriele was involved in a brawl with a boy who mockingly called Porro a cripple and while the mothers of both boys separated them, she said:  “He called me ‘the cripple’ – what is wrong with that? It’s the truth!”bl benedetta child

In May 1944 she received her First Communion in the Church of the Annunciation where she received a Rosary that she would always keep with her.   A fortnight later she was Confirmed by the Bishop of Modigliana, Maximilian Massimiliani.   For the 1950 Holy Year convoked by Pope Pius XII, she and her aunt Carmen travelled on pilgrimages to Assisi, Rome and Loreto.

At the age of thirteen she began to lose her hearing.   She first noticed this on 15 February 1953 when questioned by a teacher in Latin class as she was unable to hear all the questions put to her. At this time, Benedetta also began to stagger and required the use of a cane in order to walk.

In October 1953 – at the age of seventeen – she travelled to Milan where she went to enroll in a physics course in order to appease her father but she instead discovered that her true calling was to medicine.   Here also, she realised that her true vocation was to engage with others as a doctor, to help those who needed aid the most.   Some of her teachers opposed having a pre-medical student who was partially deaf but she proved to be a brilliant benedetta teen

Her illness progressed to the point where she was admitted into a nursing home on 12 July 1955 for a femur condition and for the subsequent rehabilitation.   On the following 26 October, she asked for permission to enroll in clinical medicine and pathology courses.   In November 1955, she was permitted to retake an oral examination from the previous summer but she did so in writing instead and passed with excellent results.

In 1957 her studies reached the point where she could diagnose herself – it was soon discovered that she had fallen victim to the rare Von Recklinghausen’s disease, which would leave her blind and deaf.   Due to her illness, she was forced to leave medical school.   Confined to her home, she began to evangelise others through correspondences in which she discussed faith and love of God.   Friends from medical school visited her on a frequent basis.

Benedetta underwent several operations on her head in the next few years.  Before the last of these, on 27 February 1963, Benedetta admitted her fear to Maria Grazia, who reminded her of this passage from Diary of a Country Priest, a novel by Georges Bernanos:   “If I am afraid, I will say without shame, ‘I’m afraid’ and the Lord will give me the strength.”   For a long time, Benedetta softly repeated this phrase and bit by bit, peace took hold of her.   She thanked her friend effusively.   The day after the operation, she announced that she was now blind but she asked that no- one tell the surgeon, so as not to sadden him.   She accepted this cross of blindness that in 1955 had terrified her and her soul was at peace:  “There is nothing to do but trust in God, with eyes closed.   I am in the process of living simplicity, that is, the stripping of the soul.   How beautiful it is!   One becomes so light and free!”

Although, towards the end, she lost all the senses – the last were taste and sight – Benedetta continued to serve and heal others.   Assisted at home by her mother, she communicated through sign language (with one hand) and transmitted to the world her messages.   Although blind, she was able to see into the soul of those who came to visit her, understanding, even before they themselves, what they needed.  She discovered that silence is the means by which God speaks to the soul and in that total silence of her senses, she grew in intimacy with Jesus.   “We need to give God to others, without love, nothing matters,” she wrote in the diary.BL BENEDETTA BIANCHI PORRO B Berti

In May 1962 she undertook a pilgrimage to Lourdes.   There, she met 22-year-old Maria who was sobbing beside her.   Porro took her hand and urged her to beseech the Blessed Virgin Mary for her intercession, at which point Maria was healed.

At the end of a pilgrimage to Lourdes said, “I don’t need a cure.   I have faith and that is enough.   I came for others.”   And that statement fuelled her intention to be little and to give extraordinary love in the everyday things of each day.   “Whoever comes closer to Jesus through suffering – she suggested to a young visitor – will become kinder, whoever distances himself becomes more cruel without even realising.”

From that point on, for nearly a year, Benedetta was like an inaccessible castle, with neither doors nor windows.   Nevertheless, two little ‘peepholes’ remained open to the outside world—a weak voice to make herself heard and her left hand, which ‘miraculously’ remained functional.   With the fingers of this functioning hand, her loved ones traced on her face the letters of the Italian alphabet for the deaf, which she did not see but could feel (for example, the «b» was formed with the tips of the index finger and middle finger pressing together, resting on the cheek).   She could thus communicate! Her room was besieged by visitors who came to encourage her but also to ask for her help.BL BENEDETTA B Annigoni

Benedetta had the gift of spreading joy around her.   She gave advice and showed everyone the ‘narrow way’ that leads to God.   She told her best friend, who could not bear to see her physically suffering so much:   “We must accept the mystery, Maria Grazia.   What fills us with anguish is asking ourselves ‘why’.   The Lord gives us as much suffering as we can bear—not more, not less.”   Her friend would later testify, “I then unexpectedly noticed something that had changed in her since becoming blind.   A great peace enveloped her, as though she felt completely freed from fear and anxiety.”   Don Gabriele, a priest who often brought her Holy Communion, would receive this confidence:   “If for a brief instant, temptations arise, I call on Him and even if I am pale with fear, I immediately feel the presence of the Lord, who consoles me.”BL BENEDETTA BIANCHI PORRO B Carmelitana Savona miniatura

On 21 January 1964, feeling that the definitive meeting with Jesus her Spouse was very near, Benedetta made her Confession and received Communion.   During the night of the 22nd, she asked her nurse to remain close by, because Satan was tempting her:   “Emilia, tomorrow I will die.   I feel very ill.”   In the morning, her mother noticed that a white rose had opened in the garden.   A rose in bloom, in January!   She announced her discovery to Benedetta, who replied, “This is the sign I was waiting for!”   She then reminded her of a dream she had had on the previous All Saints’ Day – she went into the family burial vault and saw it decorated with a white rose dazzling with light.   A little later, stricken by a hemorrhage, she died at the age of twenty-seven, murmuring, “Thank you.”

Declared venerable by St Pope John Paul II, Benedetta Bianchi Porro was laid to rest in a Sarcophagus in the Abbey of Saint Andrew, in Dovadola near Forlì.bl benedetta Tomba

Pope Francis confirmed a miracle attributed to her intercession in a decree on 7 November 2018.   She was Beatified on 14 September 2019.   The Beatification recognition was celebrated at the Cathedral of Santa Croce in Forlì, Italy, presided by Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu.

The current Postulator of the cause is Father Guglielmo Camera.BL BENEDETTA PORRO B Tommasi statua 1979-1980


Memorials of the Saints -23 January

St Marianne Cope TOSF (1838-1918)

Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 23 January: Feast in honour of the Blessed Virgin’s espousal to Saint Joseph. It is certain that a real matrimony was contracted by Joseph and Mary.   Still Mary is called “espoused” to Joseph (“his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph”, Matthew 1:18) because the matrimony was never consummated. The term spouse is applied to married people until their marriage is consummated.   This feast dates from 1517 when it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation by Pope Leo X with nine other Masses in honour of Our Lady.   Adopted by many religious orders and dioceses, it was observed for a time by nearly the whole Church but is no longer in the Calendar.mary and joseph - espousal

St Abel the Patriarch
St Agathangelus
St Amasius of Teano
St Andreas Chong Hwa-Gyong
St Aquila the Martyr
St Asclas of Antinoe
Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964)
St Clement of Ancyra
St Colman of Lismore
St Dositheus of Gaza
St Emerentiana
St Eusebius of Mount Coryphe
Blessed Henry Suso OP (1295-1366)
Blessed Henry’s Life:
St Ildephonsus (506-667)

Bl Joan Font Taulat
St John the Almoner/the Merciful (Died c 620)
Bl Juan Infante
St Jurmin
St Lufthild
St Maimbod
Bl Margaret of Ravenna
Martyrius of Valeria
St Messalina of Foligno
St Ormond of Mairé
St Parmenas the Deacon
St Severian the Martyr