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).