The Fourth Day of the Octave of Christmas
The Holy Innocents (Feast)
Notre-Dame de Pontoise / Our Lady of Pontoise, France (13th Century) – 28 December:
Pontoise is an old Town built around a bridge across the Oise and its Shrine dates from around the 13th Century, as is evidenced by a charter of donation from the year 1231. Our Lady of Pontoise is about seven leagues from Paris. This image, is celebrated for many miracles which are wrought there.
The Statue of Our Lady of Pontoise is of marble and stands over 1,8 metres in height. The Madonna wears a short veil and a dress with long tight sleeves. Our Lady’s face is framed by her hair. The Divine Child lays His hands on an orb that His mother holds.
The Statue was, according to tradition, carved by a pious youth in the quarry at Blangis, near Abbeville and brought to Pontoise. In 1226 the Archbishop of Rouen dedicated a Chapel there and in 1249 it was made a Parish Church, and the sSatue was placed outside, over the main entrance. The Church was visited by the Saint-king, Louis IX.
In around 1434 the Church was destroyed by the English soldiers fighting in the area. The faithful Catholic, determined to rebuild the Shrined. It was partly finished when the French reconquered the territory. They finished the rebuilding in 1484.
During the years of 1580 and 1650, when the plague was destroying the country, people flocked to Our Lady of Pontoise and the danger was averted. Again in 1849 a cholera epidemic was averted through her intercession, so that the Shrine had the name of being powerful against plagues.
In Reformation times, a devout Protestant tried to steal the Statue and failing that, knocked off the head of the Infant and threw it into the river. A fisherman had spread his nets just below the bridge and the severed head was saved and returned to the Statue.
In 1585 the Church was destroyed again by the English; in 1790 by the revolutionaries. Each time the Statue was saved and returned; the last time by a man who bid on it at an auction-house and kept it until the troubled days were over. The Church was rebuilt in 1800 and a century later was still extant; the yearly thanksgiving procession for Our Lady’s protection from the plague is held annually. The Statue now resides inside the Church. Replicas of the statue were placed over many doorways of the City after the plague of 1640 and some are still there today.
St Anthony of Lérins (c 428-c 520) Monk, Hermit.
St Caesarius of Armenia
Saint Caterina Volpicelli (1839-1894) Religious and Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of which Order she is the Patron.
BL Claudia Weinhardt
St Domitian the Deacon
St Domnio of Rome
St Gowan of Wales
Bl Gregory of Cahors
Bl Hryhorii Khomyshyn
St Iolande of Rome
Bl Johannes Riedgasser
Blessed Matthia de Nazzarei OSC (1253-1319) Virgin, Nun of the Poor Clares, Abbess, gifted with the charism of miracles and prophecy.
Bl Nicolas Mello
Bl Otto of Heidelberg
St Simon the Myroblite
St Theonas of Alexandria
St Theodore of Tabenna
St Troadius of Pontus
20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians who were murdered during in 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey) during the persecutions of Diocletian. Many of them were killed en masse when they were ordered, during Christmas Mass, to sacrifice to idols; when they refused, they were locked in the churches and the buildings burned around them. We know some details of a few of them, but most are known only to God. The names we have are – Agape, Anthimos, Domna, Domna, Dorotheus, Esmaragdus, Eugene, Euthymius, Glykerios, Gorgonius, Hilary, Indes, Mardonius, Mardonius, Maximus, Migdonius, Migdonus, Peter, Peter, Theophila, Theophilus and Zeno. 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey).
Martyrs of Africa – (3 saints): Three Christians murdered together in Africa for their faith. The only details to survive are their names – Castor, Rogatian and Victor.