Thought for the Day – 30 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Three Grades of Perfection – The Third Grade
“The Third Grade of perfection consists in preferring suffering to pleasure, humiliation to honours and the cross, to an easy life. By these means, we imitate Christ better and show our love for Him. The way of the cross, is the way of Jesus and is the only path to holiness. It is easier for those who walk this path to be detached from sin and from the world and to remain close to Jesus. This is the way which the Saints chose.
In which grade of perfection are we? Even if we are still far from the peak of the third grade of perfection, we should, nevertheless, work hard to reach it, It is particularly essential that we should stand firm in the first grade of being faithful to the motto of St Dominic Savio: “Death rather than sin!”
One Minute Reflection – 30 April – The Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Virgin, Doctor of the Church – 2 Corinthians 10:17-18; 11:1-2, Matthew 25:1-13
“But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” – Matthew 25:6
REFLECTION – “The souls’ husband is the Holy Spirit, by His grace. When His interior inspiration calls the soul to repentance, then every enticement of vice is in vain. The pride that wants command, the greed and lust that consumes everything: this was the master that used to control and ravage the soul. Their very names have been removed from the repentant sinner’s mouth… When grace is poured into the soul and gives it light, God makes a covenant with sinners. He is reconciled with them… Then is celebrated the wedding of the Bridegroom with His bride, in the peace of a pure conscience.” – St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we which do keep the birthday of Thy blessed Virgin Catherine and do year by year renew her memorial with solemn gladness in Thy presence, may likewise be conformed to the pattern of her saintly walk with Thee. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 30 April – The Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
Holy Trinity, Holy Love By St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
Holy Spirit, come into my heart; draw it to Thee by Thy power, O my God, and grant me charity with filial fear. Preserve me, O beautiful love, from every evil thought, warm me, inflame me with Thy dear love and every pain will seem light to me. My Father, my sweet Lord, help me in all my actions. Jesus, love, Jesus, love. Amen.
Saint of the Day – 30 April – Saint Gualfardus of Augsburg (1070-1127) Hermit, Monk, Miracle-worker. Born in 1070 at Augsburg, Germany and died on 30 April 1127 at San Salvatore Priory, Verona, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – harness makers, saddlers. Also known as – Gualfardus of Verona, Gualfardo of … Wolfhard of… (Germanic version of his name). Additional Memorials – 1 May in Verona and 27 October (translation of relics).
The Roman Martyrology states today: “In Verona, Saint Gualfardo, who, a saddler from Germany, after many years spent in solitude, was welcomed in this City by the Monks of San Salvatore.”
A saddle-maker by trade, Gualfardus, obeying his inner desire for a life entirely dedicated to God, after spending some time in Verona, withdrew into solitude, in a nearby place. known as all’Adige.
Following the example of St Romuald, Founder of the Camaldolese Order of Hermits, at Mount Corona, Gualfardus spent twenty years in hiding in this solitary place, in prayer to God. Then some boatmen, who were sailing on the river discovered him and it wasn’t long before others sought him out, thus forcing him to move to Verona to the Church of St Peter.
After a while, he passed to the Church of the Blessed Trinity outside the city walls and was finally received with great joy as an oblate by the Camaldolese Monks of St Salvatore di Corteregia in Verona. There, Gualfardus remained for ten years until his death.
Gualfardus reached the highest degrees of contemplation and holiness, with incessant prayer, night vigils, fasts, penances; all interwoven with serenity, modesty and prudence, which reflected peace and intimate union with God.
A contemporary Monk, who was the author of his first ‘Vita,’ described the fervour with which Gualfardus conversed with the faithful and with the Camaldolese Monks and the many miracles obtained by Gualfardus both in life and after his death.
He died in the Convent of Verona on 30 April 1127. The Veronese celebrate his feast on 1 May, as protector of saddlers, while the Camaldolese Order and the Roman Martyrology remember him on 30 April, the anniversary of his birth into heaven.
St Lawrence of Novara St Louis of Córdoba St Mariano of Acerenza St Maximus of Ephesus St Mercurialis of Forlì St Peter of Córdoba St Pomponius of Naples St Quirinus of Rome St Rodopiano of Aphrodisias St Sophia of Fermo St Swithbert the Younger Bl Ventura of Spello Bl William Southerne
Martyrs of Montpellier: A group of 70 Mercedarian Friars, led by Blessed Luigi Puell, who were Martyred by Huguenots for trying to bring people back to the Catholic Church. They were Martyred in 1567 in Montpellier, France.
Thought for the Day – 29 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Faith and Charity
“Our faith should be suffused by love of our neighbour , as well as, by the love of God. We should love our neighbour as ourselves. Does anybody really practise this fundamental Christian precept? Once again, let us contrast the magnificent mansions and places of entertainment of the rich, with the slums and hovels where thousands are living, in conditions which are not fit for rational human beings. Is this Christianity? Is this the teaching of the Gospel?
What would Jesus say about such aspects of modern life? It would seem, that the Gospel is still a closed book for many Christians.
Let us examine ourselves on this commandment, which is so generally ignored that the consequences are likely to be disastrous for everybody. Let us investigate how much responsibility we bear for this sad and dangerous state of affairs. Let us make appropriate resolutions, which will save us from the peril of God’s final and fearful condemnation – “Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire… As long as you did not do it for one of these least ones, you did not do it for me!” (Cf Mt 25:41-46).”
Quote/s of the Day – 29 April – 2 Timothy 2:8-10; 3:10-12, John 15:1-7
“I am the vine, you the branches; whoever remains in me and I in him, the same bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
“My sheep hear My Voice; and I know them and they follow Me.”
“He [Christ], protects their faith and gives strength to believers, in proportion to the TRUST, that each man, who receives that strength, is willing to place in Him.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Martyr, Father of the Church
“The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on Himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Place all your trust in God, let Him be your fear and your love. He will answer for you, He will do what is best for you. You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger and a pilgrim wherever you may be and you shall have no rest, until you are wholly united with Christ. Why do you look about here when this is not the place of your repose?”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
“For the branch,” says St Augustine, “there can be no half-measures. Either it remains united with the vine, or it is thrown into the fire.” The same holds true for each one of us. We must choose, either close union with Jesus, or separation and spiritual death. We must decide between a life of fervour in Christ, or a life of tepidity and sin.”
One Minute Reflection – 29 April – The Memorial of St Peter Martyr of Verona OP (1205–1252) Martyr, Priest – 2 Timothy 2:8-10; 3:10-12, John 15:1-7
“I am the vine, you the branches; he who abides in me and I in him, the same bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
REFLECTION –“The Lord calls Himself, the vine and those united to Him, branches, in order to teach us how much we shall benefit from our union with Him and how important it is for us to remain in His love. By receiving the Holy Spirit, Who is the bond of union between us and Christ our Saviour, those who are joined to Him, as branches are to a vine, share in His own nature.
On the part of those who come to the vine, their union with Him depends upon a deliberate act of the will; on His part, the union is effected by grace. Because we had goodwill, we made the act of faith that brought us to Christ,and received from Him, the dignity of adoptive sonship which made us His own kinsmen, according to the words of Saint Paul: – He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
The prophet Isaiah calls Christ the foundation because, it is upon Him that we as living and spiritual stone, are built into a holy priesthood to be a dwelling place for God in the Spirit. Upon no other foundation than Christ, can this temple be built. Here Christ is teaching the same truth by calling Himself the vine, since the vine is the parent of its branches and provides their nourishment.
From Christ and in Christ, we have been reborn through the Spirit, in order to bear the fruit of life; not the fruit of our old, sinful life but the fruit of a new life, founded upon our faith in Him and our love for Him. Like branches growing from a vine, we now draw our life from Christ and we cling to His holy commandment in order to preserve this life. Eager to safeguard the blessing of our noble birth, we are careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit Who dwells in us and Who makes us aware of God’s presence in us.
Let the wisdom of John teach us how we live in Christ and Christ lives in us – The proof that we are living in Him and He is living in us, is that He has given us a share in His Spirit. Just as the trunk of the vine gives its own natural properties to each of its branches, so, by bestowing on them the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, gives Christians a certain kinship with Himself and with God the Father because they have been united to Him by faith and determination to do His will in all things. He helps them to grow in love and reverence for God and teaches them to discern right from wrong and to act with integrity.” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Archbishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from: Commentary on the Gospel of John).
PRAYER – Saint Thomas Aquinas in Eulogy for Saint Peter the Martyr Here silent is Christ’s Herald; Here quenched, the People’s Light; Here lies the Martyred Champion Who fought Faith’s holy fight.
The voice the sheep heard gladly, The light they loved to see He fell beneath the weapons Of graceless Cathari.
The Saviour crowns His Soldier; His praise the people psalm. The Faith he kept adorns him With Martyr’s fadeless palm.
His praise new marvels utter, New light he spreads abroad And now the whole wide city Knows well the path to God.
Morning Offering By St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
My God, just as I wish to love nothing more than You, so I wish to live, only for You. I offer You all my thoughts, all my words, all my actions and all my sufferings of this day; please bestow Your holy blessing, upon them all. Amen
Saint of the Day – 29 April – Saint Severus of Naples (Died 409) Bishop of Naples for 46 years, Confessor, friend of St Ambrose, constructor of four Basilicas and the first Baptistry in the West. Died in 409 of natural causes. Patronages – Naples and St Severus in Foggis, Italy.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “In Naples, St Severus, Bishop, loved by St Ambrose, as a brother and, by his Church ,as a father.”
In the catalogue of the Neapolitan Bishops, Severus is shown in twelfth place. Practically nothing is known of his life prior to his Episcopal appointment. Severus completed his Episcopate from February 363 to 29 April 409, therefore, a few decades after the freedom of worship decreed by Emperor St Constantine to Christians (313). It was certainly a period in which the two religions, pagan and Christian, were forced to coexist and the regurgitation of paganism was frequent.
His work took place after these pagan returns and the violent attacks of the Arian heretics. The Church of Naples, with its enlightened guide, flourished in the True Faith of Christianity – Severus brought back to the City , the remains of his predecessor, St Maximus (4th century), who had died in exile in the East, during the Arian persecution. It must be said,that St Maximus was the tenth Bishop of Naples and Severus ,the twelfth, therefore, between the two, there was the Arian usurper Zosimus, who probably returned, during his six years as Bishop, to the True Faith and was, therefore, considered the 11th legitimate Bishop.
Several ancient documents confirm, that he won esteem and affection, not only of Christians,but also of pagans. He was a friend of St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, who had the opportunity to meet him during the Plenary Council of Campania, held in 392 in Capua.
The foundations of four Basilicas are attributed to him, one of which, adorned with marble and precious mosaics, was dedicated to the Saviour. Of this ancient Basilica later called St George Major, only the apse remains. The construction of the famous Baptistery of Naples is unanimously also attributed to Severus, about thirty years earlier than that erected at the Lateran by Sixtus III (432-440) and, therefore, is the oldest in the West. The Baptistery is currently leaning against the Basilica of Santa Restituta in the Cathedral of Naples. It is inspired by oriental canons, with mosaics considered to be the most precious among those that have come down to us.
Outside the City walls, Severus had a cemetery Basilica built a short distance from the Basilica of St Fortunato, where he had the relics of Bishop St Maximus interred. and those of St Januarius. From this Basilica, the relics of both Saints were translated, towards the middle of the 9th Century, to an oratory of the urban Basilica of St Severus. St Severus himself too was buried in this Basilica outside the walls and in 1310 translated to the High Altar of the Cathedral of Naples
The Saint is also the Patron Saint of the City and Diocese of St Severus, in the Province of Foggia.
Fascinating fact: The City of Naples has more than 50 official Patron Saints, although its principal Patron is the Martyr Bishop Saint Januarius.(Died c 304). His life here: https://anastpaul.com/2017/09/19/saint-of-the-day-19-september-st-januarius/ Co-patrons of Naples and years of designation: Saint Januarius (305) Saint Thomas Aquinas (1605) Saint Andrew Avellino (1622) Saint Patricia (1625) Saint Francis of Paola (1625) Saint Dominic (1641) Saint James of the Marches (1647) Saint Anthony of Padua (1650) Saint Francis Xavier (1654) Saint Theresa of Avila (1664) Saint Philip Neri (1668) Saint Cajetan (1671) Saint Agnellus of Naples (1671) Saint Severus of Naples (1673) Saint Agrippinus of Naples (1673) Saint Aspren (1673) Saint Euphebius (1673) Saint Athanasius of Naples (1673) Saint Nicholas of Bari (1675) Saint Gregory the Illuminator (1676) Saint Claire of Assisi (1689) Saint Blaise (1690) Saint Peter of Verona (1690) Saint Joseph (1690) Saint Michael (1691) Saint Francis of Assisi (1691) Saint Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi (1692) Saint John the Baptist (1695) Saint Francis Borgia (1695) Saint Candida the Elder (1699) Saint Mary of Egypt (1699) Saint Anthony Abbot (1707) Saint Ignatius Loyola (1751) Saint Mary Magdalene (1757) Saint Irene (1760) Saint Emidius (1760) Archangel Raphael (1797) Saint Anne (1805) Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (1835) Saint Augustine (1835) Saint Vincent Ferrer (1838) Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1840) Saint Francis Caracciolo (1843) Saint John Joseph of the Cross (1845) Saint Pascal Baylon (1845) Saint Francis Jerome (1845) Saint Roch (1856) Saint Joachim (1895) Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds of Jesus (1901) Saint Lucy (1903) Saint Gertrude the Great (1927) Saint Rita of Cascia (1928)
Madonna del Sangue / The Bleeding Madonna in Re, Piedmont, Italy (1494) – 29 April:
Without doubt this is one of the most important places of worship in the whole of Piedmont – the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sangue in Re stands imposing and majestic on the skyline of the Vigezzo Valley. It owes its origin to the blood shed from a fresco of the Madonna del Latte (the Nursing Madonna) originally painted on the façade of the small Church of San Maurizio.
On 29 April 1494, a group of young people met in front of the Church to play a traditional village game, piodella, which consisted of throwing a flat stone against a wooden cylinder on which a coin was placed. One of them, particularly unlucky in the game, became angry and threw his stone at the Church, striking the portrait of Our Lady. The following morning the fresco of the Madonna began to bleed from her forehead. The blood continued to flow abundantly for about 20 days and many sick and infirm inhabitants of the valley, after strengthening their devotion to the Madonna were healed, thanks to miracles, which were officially recognised by the civil and religious authorities of the time.
In 1606 the construction of a larger Church began, completed in 1628 but the influx of pilgrims from all over Italy and neighbouring Switzerland, required an even larger structure. In 1894, four hundred years after the miracle, it was thus decided to build a new Sanctuary. Work on the Sanctuary began only in 1922 and the Consecration took place on 5 August 1958.
The celebration of the miracle takes place every year from 29 April to 1sMay, with a heart-felt and well-attended pilgrimage on foot.
Abbots of Cluny: A feast that recognises the great and saintly early abbots of Cluny Abbey: • Saint Aymardus of Cluny • Saint Berno of Cluny • Saint Hugh of Cluny • Saint Mayeul • Saint Odilo of Cluny • Saint Odo of Cluny • Saint Peter the Venerable
St Antonius Kim Song-u St Ava of Denain St Daniel of Gerona St Dichu St Endellion of Tregony St Fiachan of Lismore
St Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109) St Hugh the Great, Priest, Abbot of Cluny from 1049 until his death., founder-builder of numerous Monasteries, Convents , Hospitals and the biggest Church in Europe prior to the building of St Peter’s, apostle of the poor, the sick, the marginalised by the feudal system, ecclesiastical Reformer, holy father to his Monks and servant to all who needed him,. He was one of the most influential leaders of the monastic orders from the Middle Ages. St Hugh the Great: https://anastpaul.com/2021/04/29/saint-of-the-day-29-april-st-hugh-of-cluny-1024-1109-st-hugh-the-great/
Bl Robert Gruthuysen St Senan of Wales St Severus of Naples (Died 409) Bishop St Theoger St Torpes of Pisa St Tychicus St Wilfrid the Younger
Martyrs of Cirta: A group of clergy and laity Martyred together in Cirta, Numidia (in modern Tunisia) in the persecutions of Valerian. They were – Agapius, Antonia, Emilian, Secundinus and Tertula, along with a woman and her twin children whose names have not come down to us.
Martyrs of Corfu: A gang of thieves who converted while in prison, brought to the faith by Saint Jason and Saint Sosipater who had been imprisoned for evangelising. When the gang announced their new faith, they were Martyred together. They were – Euphrasius, Faustianus, Insischolus, Januarius, Mammius, Marsalius and Saturninus. They were boiled in oil and pitch in the 2nd century on the Island of Corcyra (modern Corfu, Greece. Also known as: • Martyrs of Corcyra • Seven Holy Thieves • Seven Holy Robbers • Seven Robber Saints
Thought for the Day – 28 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Mercy of God
“Let us meditate, in particular, on certain passages in the Gospel in which God’s Mercy stands out most vividly and appealingly. There is the incident of the adulteress who is brought before Our Lord by the hypocritical Pharisees. According to the law, she should have been stoned to death. Jesus looks at her accusers, who harbour, in the secrecy of their own hearts, God knows how many abominations but strut about in public with the mien of stern and impeccable judges. Then He rivets His gaze upon the shamefaced woman, who is looking like a soiled rag thrown away on a dust-heap. When Jesus addresses her relentless judges, His voice is steady: “Let him who is without sin among you, be the first to cast a stone at her.” When they all drift away with lowered heads, Jesus says pityingly to the woman: “Has no-one condemned thee? … Neither do I condemn thee. Go thy way and from now on, sin no more” (Cf Jn 8:3-11).
Elsewhere, Jesus is called “the good shepherd” Who knows His sheep and calls them to Himself one by one. If a poor sheep is lost, He leaves the other ninety-nine of His flock and searches for it, nor does He rest until it has been found. When He sees that it has been injured, He carries it back to the fold upon His shoulders.
Who could forget the touching parable of the prodigal son? He had left the home of his aging father and had gone to a distant country where he had squandered his inheritance in the course of a low and worldly life of pleasure. When all his money had been spent, he was very much alone and was reduced to such circumstances, that he took a job looking after unclean animals. One day, when he was weeping over his fare, he made a sudden resolution, “I will get up and go to my father and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee. I am no longer worthy to be called thy son.” His father had been waiting for him for many years. He met and embraced him and gave him the kiss of pardon. Then he held a great feast because his son had repented and come home. He “was dead and has come to life, he was lost and is found” (Cf Lk 15:11-32).
No matter how great our faults may be, let us trust in the infinite Mercy of God and when we go to Him repenting and sorrowful, He will grant us forgiveness and peace.”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 April – The Memorial of St Paul of the Cross CP (1604-1775), St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) and St Peter Chanel SM (1803-1841)
“The world lives, unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus, which are the Miracle of Miracles, of the Love of God!”
“The Passion of Jesus, is a sea of sorrows but, it is also, an ocean of love. Ask the Lord to teach you to fish in this ocean. Dive into its depths. No matter how deep you go, you will never reach the bottom.”
“Entrust yourself entirely to God. He is a Father and a most loving Father at that, Who would rather let Heaven and earth collapse, than abandon anyone who trusted in Him.”
St Paul of the Cross (1604-1775)
“The ‘Our Father’ contains, all the duties we owe to God, the acts of all the virtues and the petitions for all our spiritual and corporal needs.”
“Both Saint Bernard and Saint Bonaventure say, that the Queen of Heaven is certainly no less grateful and conscientious, than gracious and well-mannered people of this world. Just as she excels in all other perfections, she surpasses us all in the virtue of gratitude – therefore, she would never let us honour her, with love and respect, without repaying us one hundred fold. Saint Bonaventure says, that Mary will greet us with grace, if we greet her with the Hail Mary.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 April – The Memorial of St Paul of the Cross CP (1604-1775) and St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716 – 1 Corinthians 1:17-25, Luke 10:1-9
And He said to them: “The harvest indeed is great but the labourers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He send labourers into His harvest.” – Luke 10:2
REFLECTION – “The Gospel that has just been read to us, invites us to seek out what this harvest might be, of which the Lord says to us, that: “The harvest is great, the labourers are few, so pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.” So it was that, in addition to those twelve disciples whom He called Apostles, (those who have been sent), He sent out seventy-two others. All of them, as His own words reveal, were sent to work at a harvest that had already been prepared. What harvest is this? They were not going to reap a harvest from the Gentiles, where nothing had yet been sown, so we must think of a harvest among the Jews. It was in order to reap this harvest that the Lord of the harvest came. But to the other peoples He sent, not reapers but sowers. Among the Jews, then, there was a harvest but elsewhere, the sowing. And it was particularly while reaping among the Jews, that He chose the Apostles. Harvest time had come, the harvest was ripe, for the prophets had done their sowing among them…
Did not the Lord declare to His disciples: “You say the harvest will be a long time. I tell you, look up and see, the fields ripe for harvest,” (Jn 4,35)? And again, He said: “Others have done the work and you are sharing the fruits of their work,” (ibid v.38). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the prophets have done the work, they worked hard to sow the seed. At His coming, the Lord found the harvest to be ripe and He sent out the reapers, with the scythe of the Gospel.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 101).
PRAYER – Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst gift Thine holy servant Paul, with great love that he might preach the Mystery of Thy Cross and hast been pleased, that through him, a new family should grow up in Thy Church, grant unto us at his prayers, that upon earth we may so call Thy sufferings to mind, as worthily to gain the fruit thereof in Heaven. Who lives and reigns with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 28 April – The Memorial of St Paul of the Cross CP (1604-1775)
Oh Jesus, My Love By St Paul of the Cross (1604-1775)
Oh Jesus, my Love, may my heart be consumed in loving Thee. Make me humble and holy, giving me childlike simplicity, transform me into Thy holy Love. O Jesus, Life of my life, Joy of my soul, God of my heart, accept my heart as an altar, on which I will sacrifice to Thee, the gold of ardent charity, the incense of continual, humble and fervent prayer and the myrrh of constant sacrifices! Amen
Saint of the Day – 28 April – Blessed Luchesius TOSF (c 1180 – 1260) Married Layman, Apostle of the poor and the sick, the first Franciscan Tertiary, Penitent. Born as Luchesius Modestini at Poggibonsi, Umbria, Italy and died in 1260 at Poggibonsi, Umbria, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – death of children, lost vocations, of Poggibonsi, Italy. Also known as – Lucchese, Luchesio, Luchesius of Poggibonsi. Beatified in 1273 by Pope Gregory X (cultus confirmed).
The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Poggibonsi in Tuscany, the blessed Lucchese, who, at first greedy for profit and then converted, wore the habit of the Third Order of Penitents of St Frances, sold his goods and distributed them to the poor, serving God and neighbour in poverty and humility, according to the spirit of the Gospel.”
A contemporary of Saint Francis, Luchesius Modestini was born around 1180 in a small village in Tuscany. In his early life he was a soldier. He was stationed at one point in Poggibonsi, a small but thriving town between Florence and Siena. When he abandoned his military career, he settled there and married a local woman named Buona.
Luchesius became a merchant, selling provisions to the many pilgrims travelling the Via Francigena, the main highway from the north to Rome, who passed through the town. He became very successful and also engaged in moneylending. Both he and his wife, gained the reputation as grasping, unfeeling people.
In his early 30s, Luchesius underwent a religious conversion and began to reach out to help the poor of the area. His wife followed his example and the two of them began to think about separating in order to devote themselves to God in religious life. Saint Francis visited Poggibonsi shortly afterward and the couple approached him for advice. Perhaps at his recommendation, they decided to remain together as a married couple and persevere in their life as penitents living in the world.
According to tradition, Francis clothed them with the habit, thus making them the first people to become lay Franciscan penitents. They retained only a small piece of farmland for themselves and devoted the rest of their lives to sharing what they had with the poor and needy.
Dedicated to penance and prayer, he frequently approached the Sacraments and spread the perfume of his holiness in the village and its surroundings, confirmed, even in life, by the gift of miracles. He was assiduous in listening to and meditating on the Word of God, in being present at the Liturgy and in all the fraternal and community celebrations,. Luchesius was dedicated to all sorts of penances, in silence, in detachment from things and from the world, in humility, in patience and in enduring crosses and temporal miseries.
Thus he spent the rest of his life loving God, the poor and the sick and spreading the sweet perfume of Christ everywhere through his goodness and mercy.
As they grew older, according to tradition, when Buonadonna saw her elderly husband failing, she begged him not to die before her; shortly after, she fell victim to a fever and they died the same day, 28 April 1260. They were buried in the Franciscan Church , which was later dedicated to him (see below)and a popular cult began immediately, which was officially recognised by the Church in 1274.
St Benedict of the Bridge St Cronan of Roscrea St Cyril of Turov Bl Gerard of Bourgogne Bl Hanna Helena Chrzanowska OSB (1902-1973) Bl Józef Cebula Blessed Luchesius TOSF (c1180 – 1260) Layman – The first Franciscan Tertiary
It is with great sorrow that I send condolences to the family, friends, clergy, colleagues and flock of Bishop Daniel Lytle Dolan (28 May 1951-26 April 2022), long-time Pastor of Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, who died suddenly on the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel, 26 April. He was 70 years old. Réquiem aetérnam dona ei, Dómine, et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat in pace. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen
“Soar up my Soul, unto thy rest Cast off this loathsome load. … The flowers of everlasting spring, do grow for thy repast.”
St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr
Bishop Dolan was a follower and benefactor of Anastpaul.com for many years now. He was a Holy and learned man. A true follower of Christ, “meek and humble of heart.” I would like too, to mention Bishop Dolan’s extended flock, in particular, those in France, Nigeria and South Africa, I mention Marie and Pauline, who now, like myself feel bereft of a true Father.
“And I saw the river, over which every soul must pass to reach the Kingdom of Heaven and the name of that river, was suffering. And I saw a boat which carries souls across the river and the name of that boat, was love.”
Thought for the Day – 27 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Do you remember the occasion when the Apostles, their minds filled with ambitious speculation, approached Jesus and asked Him who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? Our Lord called a little child and placed him in the centre of the group. “Unless you turn and become like little children,” He said, “you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 18:3).
How different are God’s designs from the desires of men! His ways are full of simplicity and humility, in a sharp contrast with our pride and ostentation. Jesus taught us this lesson, not only in His discourses but, also in His life. He was God and He became man; He was rich and He became poor. He left His heavenly mansion and came down ro live in a stable in Bethlehem and to the home of a poor carpenter in Nazareth. For thirty years He performed a tradesman’s job in this obscure village in Galilee. It was only when He had already spent thirty years teaching us His love of poverty, that He emerged to preach the Gospel in public. After He had preached and worked miracles for three years, He sank back into the depths of lowliness and was even condemned to die upon the Cross. This is a tremendous lesson for us. This is the road which we must travel, if we ae to follow Jesus!”
Quote/s of the Day – 27 April – The Memorial of St Peter Canisius SJ (1521-1597) Doctor of the Church
“Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.”
Prayer of a Catechist to Jesus, Lover of Children
O Jesus, Friend of children, Who from Thy most tender years did grow visibly in wisdom and in grace before God and men. Who at the age of twelve, was seated in the Temple, in the midst of the doctors, listening to them attentively, humbly asking them questions and exciting their admiration by the prudence and wisdom of Thy discourse. Who didst receive, so willingly, the children, blessing them and saying to Thy disciples: Let them come to Me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Inspire me as Thou did inspire the blessed Peter Canisius, model and guide of the perfect Catechist, with a profound respect and a holy affection for childhood, a taste and a marked devotion for instructing them in Christian doctrine, a special aptitude, in making them understand its mysteries and love its beauties. I ask this of Thee, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Peter Canisius. Amen.
St Peter Canisius (1521-1397) Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 27 April – The Memorial of St Peter Canisius SJ (1521-1397) Confessor, Doctor of the Church and St Peter Armengol OdeM (c 1238-1304) – 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Matthew 5:13-19
“Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so, will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments, will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Matthew 5:19
REFLECTION – “For what reason then does He call some of these commandments “least,” although they are so magnificent and lofty? Jesus spoke this way because He was about to introduce His own teaching, as a new law . As He humbles Himself and speaks of Himself with great modesty, so He refers to His own teaching in the same manner. In this way, Jesus teaches us to practice humility in everything. And besides, since some suspected His teaching to be a new departure, He temporarily taught it in a more reserved way.
But when you hear “least in the Kingdom of Heaven,” you are to think of nothing but hell and punishment. For it was His practice to speak, not only of the joy the Kingdom brings but also, of the time of the resurrection and the fearful event of the Second Coming.
Think of one who calls a brother a fool. That one, transgresses only one commandment, maybe even the slightest one and falls into hell. Compare that one with another, who breaks all the commandments and instigates others to break them too. Do both have the same relationship to the Kingdom? This is not the argument Jesus is making. Rather, He means, that one who transgresses only one of the commands will, on the final day, be the least—that is, cast out—and last and will fall into hell!” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (The Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 16).
PRAYER – God, Who didst give strength and learning to blessed Peter Thy Confessor for the defence of the Catholic faith, mercifully grant, that by his example and teaching, the erring may be saved and the faithful remain constant in the confession of truth. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 27 April – The Memorial of St Peter Canisius SJ (1521-1397) Doctor of the Church
I Beg You, O Lord By St Peter Canisius SJ (1521-1597) Doctor of the Church
I beg You, O Lord to remove anything which separates me from You, or You from me Remove anything that makes me unworthy of Your sight, Your control, Your reprehension, of Your speech and conversation, of Your benevolence and love. Cast from me, every evil that stands in the way of my seeing You, hearing, tasting, savouring and touching You, fearing and being mindful of You, knowing, trusting, loving and possessing You, being conscious of Your Presence and as far as maybe, enjoying You. This is what I ask for myself and earnestly desire from You. Amen
Saint of the Day – 27 April – Saint Peter Armengol OdeM (c 1238-1304) “The Martyr who Wasn’t,” Spanish Priest of the Mercedarian Friars, Penitent, Mystic, Born as Pedro Armengol Rocafort in c 1238 at Tarragona, Urgell region, eastern Spanish Pyrenees and died on 27 April 1304 at Tarragona, Urgell region, eastern Spanish Pyrenees of natural causes. Patronages – Persecuted Catholics, Conversion of the youth. Also known as – “The Martyr who Wasn’t,” “The Unconquerable Martyr of Jesus Christ,” “The Gangster Saint,” Pere Ermengol, Pedro Armengaudius, Peter Ermengol, Pietro Armengaudio. Beatified on 28 March 1686, by Pope Innocent XI and Canonised on 8 April 1687, by the same Pope. His body was incorrupt until it was destroyed during the horrors of the Spanish Civil War.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Tarragona, the blessed Peter Armengaudius, of the Order of Blessed Mary of Merry for the Redemption of Captives, who endured many tribulations in Africa in ransoming the faithful and finally closed his career peacefully, in the Convent of St Mary of the Meadows.”
From Gangster to Convert Pedro Armengol Rocafort was born in Tarragona in c 1238 to the nobleman Arnau Armengol Rocafort, descendants of the Counts of Urgel, whose ancestors were directly linked to the Counts of Barcelona and the Monarchs of Aragon and Castile.
Despite the great care taken by his parents regarding his education, young Peter gave himself over to a life of total dissipation, vice and caprice. “Abyssus abyssum invocat” (Deep calleth on deep), say the Scriptures. Thus Peter joined a gang of criminals who, pursued by Justice, led the life of bandits in the mountains. Soon, young Armengol became the leader of that gang.
Penance for His Misdeeds Filled with shame, the repentant youth retired to a Mercedarian Monastery in Barcelona. With an ardent desire to repair the injuries done to God, he became a Monk in that religious order founded by Saint Peter Nolasco to ransom Catholics captured by the Mohammedans. He requested the habit with such insistence and gave such conclusive proofs of his vocation, that he was received into the Mercedarian Order by the Venerable William de Bas, the French-born successor of the holy Founder.
The disorderly passions were now conquered by Peter Armengol in religious life. He understood how to subdue them with such promptitude, through penance, mortification of the senses and continual prayer, that even before he reached the end of his novitiate, he had managed to subject them to the dominion of his will and reason.
During the eight years of his profession, he was entrusted with the important task of dealing directly with the ransom of captives. He carried out this function in the Provinces of Spain, which were still in the power of the Saracens. Nonetheless, his greatest desire was to go to Africa and become a captive himself, for the ransom of Christians.
On an expedition to that continent, he arrived in Bugia in the company of Friar William Florentino. There, they ransomed 119 captives without any incident. However, before departing, Friar Armengol learned of a prison where18 children were incarcerated, who, impelled by the threats of punishments, remained in danger of denying the Faith. The religious happily offered himself as hostage for the ransom of the innocent captives.
His release was promised in exchange for a stipulated sum. But, if the payment did not arrive within the set time, he would suffer harsh punishments. Divine Providence had disposed that this man of God would thus give proof of his special confidence in the omnipotent mediation of the Blessed Virgin, to whom he was deeply devoted.
Flaming Torch of Confidence In captivity, Friar Armengol worked prodigies of charity among the infidels, converting many by the efficacy of his preaching. The time prescribed for the delivery of the money came and passed without the payment being made. The infidels threw him in prison and even denied the food necessary for his sustenance but Our Lord, by means of His angels, miraculously provided for his survival.
Tired of tormenting him, the Moors conspired to take his life. They accused him of blaspheming Mohammed and of being a spy sent by the Christian kings, thus raising the ire of the Saracen Judge who condemned Friar Peter to death by hanging. When everything seemed lost, Friar Armengol prayed to Our Lady and confided in her.
The unjust execution was carried out and Peter’s body was left hanging from the gallows. The Moors wanted his corpse to feed birds of prey. Thus, the holy man’s body remained suspended. Six days had elapsed when Friar William arrived with the ransom money. Learning what had happened, he went with great sorrow, in the company of some captives, to see the lamentable sight. Reaching the site of the execution, he noticed that the body did not emit a bad odour but rather exhaled a heavenly fragrance. To their astonishment, Friar Armengol spoke, telling them that the Blessed Mother saved his life. Astounded by the stupendous miracle, some pagans converted to the Catholic religion on the spot.
Learning of the portentous miracle, Barcelona impatiently awaited the return of the unconquerable Martyr of Jesus Christ. In the City, they received him with great joy, escorting him from the port to his Monastery, giving thanks to Our Lord for His marvels. The religious wanted to hear from Friar Peter’s mouth what had happened but despite their earnest pleas, he would not speak. Finally, the Superior ordered him to tell all that had occurred. Obedient, the man of God spoke:
“The Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our own Mother, asked her Most Holy Son, to conserve my life. Having obtained this favour, this same sovereign Queen, sustained me with her most holy hands, so that the weight of my body, would not hang upon the rope by which I was suspended!”
For the rest of his life, Friar Armengol had a twisted neck and a pale complexion, authentic signs of what had taken place. He retired to the Monastery of Our Lady de los Prados, where he practised heroic virtue and spent his days in familiar conversation with the Queen of Angels, whom he loved so dearly with filial devotion.
Recalling the miracle of his hanging, he frequently told the religious of the Monastery of this marvel:
“Believe me, my dear brothers, that I do not believe myself to have lived, except for those few but most happy days when, hanging from the gallows, I was held to be dead.”
He rendered his soul to God on 27 April 1304. Our Lord deigned to give proofs of the glorification of His servant with seven miracles, the cures of three men and four women, even before his death. On 28 March 1686 Pope Innocent the XI approved the public cult to the Saint and formalised his Canonisation tbghhe following year at St Peter’s in Rome. On 14 October 1688, Pope Benedict XIV inscribed Saint Peter Armengol in the Roman Martyrology.
The Tomb of the Saint Today the remains of Saint Armengol can be found in Guardia dels Prats. The small village still preserves much of its medieval character: tortuous, narrow stone-studded streets, buildings that recall old palaces or noble residences and a charming Romanesque–style Church.
The body of Saint Peter Armengol was preserved incorrupt until 1936. During the Spanish Civil War, however, communist marauders invaded and sacked the Church, carrying off his venerable body to the public square where they burned it. Some children gathered up what they could of these ashes and took the precious remains to their homes, where their mothers kept them with great care.
Later, after the communists were vanquished, the precious relics were returned to the Church, where they are kept in a reliquary over the main Altar – largely forgotten by “progressive” Catholics – in silent testimony of the sanctity of the Catholic Church. However, there remain some true faithful who, each year, pocess with a statue of this wonderful to honour his memory.
In our times of profound moral crisis, let us ask Saint Armengol to obtain for us before the throne of God, graces of unbending fidelity, unwavering hope and heroic confidence in the powerful intercession of Our Lady.
Source: Cf. Abbe Rohrbacher, Histoire Universelle de l’Eglise Catholique, vol. 20, Gaume Freres Libraires, Paris, 1845, pp. 40-43.
St Pollio of Cybalae St Simeon of Jerusalem St Stephen of Tarsus St Tertullian of Bologna St Theophilus of Brescia St Winewald of Beverley
St Zita of Lucca (1212-1272) Virgin, Laywoman, Apostle of the Poor. – Her reputation was such that Dante in the Inferno referred to the City of Luccam, her birthplace and home, as “Santa Zita.” P atronages – housewives, butlers, housemaid, domestic servants (proclaimed by Pope Pius XII), housemaid, lost keys, maids, manservants, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, servants, servers, single laywomen, waiters, Lucca, Italy. Her body is incorrupt. Biography:. https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/saint-of-the-day-27-april-st-zita-of-lucca/
Martyrs of Nicomedia: A group of Christians murdered together for their faith. In most cases all we have are their names – Dioscurus, Evanthia, Felicia, Felix, Germana, Germelina, Johannes, Julius, Laetissima, Nikeforus, Papias, Serapion and Victorinus. They died at Nicomedia, Bithynia, Asia Minor (modern Izmit, Turkey).
Jesus Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Wishing you all a most Blessed and Holy Easter! Alleluia!
“This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 117:24
I am taking a few days off to rest a while and to rest your inboxes.
My deepest gratitude to the benefactors of “Breathing Catholic.”Your faithfulness and love are in my heart and my prayers. May the Risen Lord fill your hearts with His infinite love, may He protect your faith and your families..
Our Morning Offering – 17 April – Easter Sunday – The Lord is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
He is Risen, Tell the Story By Father Willard F Janusch (1930-2018)
He is risen, tell the story to the nations of the night; from their sin and from their blindness, let them walk in Easter light. Now begins a new creation, now has come our true salvation. Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
Mary goes to tell the others of the wonders she has seen; John and Peter come a’running what can all this truly mean? O Rabboni, Master holy, to appear to one so lowly! Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
He has cut down death and evil, He has conquered all despair; He has lifted from our shoulders, all the weight of anxious care. Risen Brother, now before you, we will worship and adore You. Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
Now get busy, bring the message, so that all may come to know there is hope for saint and sinner, for our God has loved us so. Ev’ry church bell is a’ringing, ev’ry Christian now is singing. Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
A Parish Priest, Seminary Professor and prolific Musician and Hymnist, Fr Willard wa Ordained in 1956 and died at the age of 88 in 2018.
Thought for the Day – 16 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Death of our Saviour
“Jesus had now come to the last morning of His earthly life. The Blood had been drained from His Body as a result of His fatal Wounds and He felt a great thirst, “I thirst,” He murmured in a weak voice. He expressed in these words, not only His physical thirst but also, His spiritual thirst for souls. He had given everything for the eternal salvation of men, yet, He realised with Divine foresight, that many would refuse to co-operate with His infinite love, His thirst was a burning love for us and it was answered, on the physical level, by the vinegar which was given to Him to drink and in the moral order, by our ingratitude.
Seeing that His mission was fulfilled with His last breath, Jesus entrusted His soul to His Heavenly Father, “Father, into Thy Hands, I commend My spirit” (Lk 23:46). Then, in order to show that His Death was voluntary, He cried out in a loud Voice, “It is consummated!” (Jn 19:30). Jesus was dead!
Let us prostrate ourselves before His lifeless Body covered with sores and furrowed with blood. Let us vow, never to offend Him again. Let us give Him our minds, our hearts, our souls, our whole being. Let us love Him more and more!”
Holy Saturday (Vigil Mass of Easter) – 16 April – Matthew 28:1-7
“When Christ should appear, Who is your Life, then you also shall appear with Him, in glory.” – Colossians 3:4
“And at the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre.”
Ancient Christian Writer Anonymous (An excerpt from Homily on Holy Saturday)
The Lord Descends into Hell
SOMETHING STRANGE IS HAPPENING — there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and He has raised up all who have slept even since the world began. God has Died in the Flesh and hell trembles with fear!
HE HAS GONE TO SEARCH for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, He has gone to free from sorrow, the captives Adam and Eve, He Who is both God and the Son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the Weapon that had won Him the Victory. At the sight of Him, Adam, the first man He had created, struck His breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper and rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.”
I AM YOUR GOD, Who, for your sake, have become your Son! Out of love for you and for your descendants, I now by My Own Authority, command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness, to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the Life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in My image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in Me and I Am in you; together, we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
FOR YOUR SAKE I, your God, became your Son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, Whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden and I was Crucified in a garden.
SEE ON MY FACE the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in My Image. On My Back see the marks of the scourging I endured, to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My Hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I SLEPT ON THE CROSS and a sword pierced My Side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My Side has healed the pain in yours. My Sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
RISE, LET US LEAVE THIS PLACE. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise but I will enthrone you in Heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life but see, I Who am Life itself, am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The Kingdom of Heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity!
“…He Slept, so that We might be Awakened, He Died, so that We might Live.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“The Lord, although He was God, became man. He suffered for the sake of those who suffer, He was bound for those in bonds, condemned for the guilty, buried for those who lie in the grave but He rose from the dead and cried aloud: “Who will contend with Me? Let him confront Me.” I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves. Who has anything to say against Me? I, He said, Am the Christ, I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot, bound the strong one and taken men up to the heights of Heaven. I Am the Christ. Come, then, all you nations of men, receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you. I Am your Forgiveness. I Am the Passover which brings salvation. I Am the Lamb Who was immolated for you. I Am your Ransom, your Life, your Resurrection, your Light, I am your Salvation and your King. I will bring you to the heights of Heaven. With My own Right Hand I will raise you up and I will show you the Eternal Father.”
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