Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 2 April – Blessed Vilmos Apor (1892–1945) Bishop Martyr

Saint of the Day – 2 April – Blessed Vilmos Apor (1892–1945) Bishop Martyr, Chaplain of the Order of Malta – born as Baron Vilmos Apor de Altorja on 29 February 1892 at Segesvár, Transylvania, Hungary and died by shooting on 2 April 1945 at Gyõr, Hungary. (Also known as – Vilhelm, Gulielmus, William).   Patronages – Abuse victims, Sexual abuse victims, Activists, Virgins, Military chaplains.

He became famous for protesting against the persecution of the Hungarian Jewish population and for his steadfast commitment to the poor.   His outreach also extended to abuse victims with a particular emphasis on the protection of women – it would be this latter point that saw him sustain fatal injuries leading to his death.   The Bishop dedicated himself to being an opponent of both communism and Nazism and used his sermons as a chance to condemn them, at a great personal risk to himself.   He was a beloved figure in his Diocese where people hailed him as a great saint upon learning of his death which came as a profound shock and loss to the Diocese he had served during the course of most of the war.bl VILMOS APOR

Vilmos Apor de Altorja was born in 1892 as the sixth of eight children to the nobles Baron Gábor Apor (1851–98) and Countess Fidelia Pálffy ab Erdöd (1863–1934);  one was stillborn and three died in their childhoods.   One sister was Gizella and another was Henrietta who was his junior and an elder brother was Gábor.   His elder brother served in World War I but later became a Hungarian delegate to the Vatican until his resignation in 1944 in protest of the German occupation of his homeland.   His father died in his childhood due to complications from diabetes.   His mother was strict but caring and imparted sage religious instruction to her children.   He served as an altar server during his childhood and his love for the Priesthood intensified to the stage where he harboured an interest in becoming a Priest himself.   Bishop Miklós Széchnyi was his uncle.

Year one of his initial education saw him teach Henrietta how to read and she often got him to instruct her in catechism.   He even asked his mother once for a chalice and missal for Christmas.   He attended high school at a Jesuit-run school in Kalksburg where his desires to become a Priest intensified further, despite his initial homesickness.   Apor liked Latin as well as historical studies and received outstanding marks in these subjects, while a treatise on the historical Church, earned him a prize.    He also liked tennis and swimming.   He then transferred to another Jesuit school at Kalocsa.

He decided to begin his studies for the Priesthood despite his mother’s wish that he wait a little while longer – she consented at Christmas in 1909 – and the local Bishop was delighted to receive him in 1910.   The Bishop sent him to Innsbruck for further studies with the Jesuits in 1910, where he later received a doctorate in theological studies, the rector there was a relative of his.   He was made a subdeacon on 22 August 1915 and was elevated to the diaconate on 23 August.

He received his Ordination to the Priesthood on 24 August 1915 and he celebrated his first Mass on 25 August, with his mother and sisters, Henrietta and Gizella, in attendance. Gabor could not be there because he was on the battlefront and was unable to obtain leave.    Vilmos was first sent to Gyula on 31 August 1915 and he preached his first sermon on the following 8 September.   On 27 March 1916 he opened an office for the protection of women that became a predominant focus for him on his pastoral mission while on 4 January 1917 he was sent as a chaplain to the Italian front before being transferred as such to Austria and then back to Gyula at the start of 1919 at the end of the war.BL Wilhelm_Vilmos_Apor

Pope Pius XII appointed him as a Bishop in 1941 and he received his Episcopal Consecration a month later.    His brother, Gabor, paid for his new Episcopal vestments.  He took formal possession of his new Episcopal See on 2 March 1941.   On 25 February 1941 – in a unanimous decision – the town council of Gyula made him an honorary citizen, due to his commitment to it’s people and his strong and tireless activism.   He became noted for his strong dedication to the poor and his tireless commitment to a range of social justice issues.

In summer 1944 he wrote to the Hungarian Primate Jusztinian Serédi to persuade him to take a strong stance against the government.   He also appealed to the Gestapo headquarters in Berlin in an attempt to free the Jews of his Diocese from the ghetto and negotiated with the Nazi command to spare the town from a siege.   The introduction of racial laws sought to further make matters worse and so the bishop spoke out for those affected from racial slurs and other forms of persecution.   He provided supplies to those Jews being deported through his Diocese and also sheltered those made homeless after air raids in the Episcopal palace while he himself withdrew to a small room for himself.

On the afternoon of 28 March 1945 – Good Friday – as Soviet troops reached his Diocese he offered safe haven to numerous women and children in his residence and also protected women who feared being raped.   Four or five drunken Soviet soldiers arrived with the intention of bringing 100 women to their barracks but Apor had them well-hidden in the cellar.   He refused to give them up and a long altercation saw an officer making threats with his gun and soon gave chase to a girl who came out of her hiding place, the girl screamed “Uncle Vilmos!  Help!” and he ran to her defense and shouted at them:  “Out! Get out of here!”   The officers turned to leave but one officer turned around and opened fire with a machine gun that shot him three times.   Apor suffered a first shot that grazed his forehead as well as a second in the right sleeve of his cassock and the third that perforated his abdomen.   Meanwhile the soldiers became frightened and fled the scene.bl vilmos apor protecting

He lent on the arms of two of his aides and walked towards the cellar with blood coming from his forehead.   A doctor administered first aid and his sister, Gizella, aided the doctor in placing her brother on a stretcher.   But getting to the hospital took longer due to checkpoints and had to stop several times, since the Russians wanted to inspect the ambulance, the blanket had to be taken off him on these occasions so the Russians could see there was no hidden treasure.   Professors Jung and Petz – who had known Apor – performed the operation which seemed to be successful and saw a slight improvement on Holy Saturday when he received the Eucharist, with his sister at his side.   He thanked God for having accepted his sacrifice and for the fact that the women he protected were still safe.   On Easter his condition deteriorated due to an infection – he made his confession and was given the Anointing of the Sick.   He remained lucid with his sister and Doctor Jung at his side, in addition to the nurses and the parish priest.

He died from his injuries not long after, in the afternoon of 2 April 1945, Easter Monday. István Sándor witnessed a stretcher on 3 April being carried from the hospital and saw the bishop’s remains as it was being transported.   The funeral was put on hold due to conflict in the area but was carried out within a week of his death.   His remains were buried in a Carmelite church as his confessor was the Carmelite priest Erno Szeghy.   His remains were later relocated to the Diocesan Cathedral.   St Pope John Paul II visited his tomb in 1996.

1280px-tomb of bl vitmor aGyőr_Apor_Vilmos_sírja
Blessed Vilmos Apor’s tomb carved by the Hungarian sculptor Sándor Boldogfai Farkas (1907–1970)

The theologian and cardinal-elect Hans Urs von Balthasar was his nephew.   St Pope John Paul II had named him as Cardinal in 1988  . He died, however, in his home in Basel on 26 June 1988, two days before the ceremony which would have granted him that position, therefore, he is often called “Cardinal” and is also a Servant of God.

St John Paul II confirmed on 7 July 1997 that Blessed Vilmos was killed “in odium fidei” (in hatred of the faith) and thus approved his Beatification.   The pope presided over his Beatification on 9 November 1997 in Saint Peter’s Square.bl vilmos apor statue

Today, there stands a statue in District XII of Budapest in Hungary in his honour and the place itself has been named Apor Vilmos tér according to the Hungarian standard of name order.

The Collect of the Mass of the Order of Malta on the Memorial of Blessed Vilmos

Almighty and Eternal God,
through your grace, Bishop Vilmos,
by courageously shedding his blood for his flock,
earned a martyr’s crown.
Grant that we, despite the difficulties of our daily lives,
may do Your will and offer our good works
for the salvation of our brothers and sisters.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.  Amen

statue of bl vilmos apor

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 2 April

St Francis of Paola O.M. (1416-1507) (Optional Memorial)st francis paola my snip
St Francis’s Life:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/saint-of-the-day-2-april-st-francis-of-paola-o-m-1416-1507/

St Abundius of Como
St Agnofleda of Maine
St Appian of Caesarea
St Bronach of Glen-Seichis
St Constantine of Scotland
St Ðaminh Tuoc
Bl Diego Luis de San Vitores-Alonso
St Ebbe the Younger
St Eustace of Luxeuil
St Francis Coll Guitart
St John Payne
Bl Leopold of Gaiche
St Lonochilus of Maine
St Musa of Rome
Bl Mykolai Charnetsky
St Nicetius of Lyon
St Pedro Calungsod (1654–1672) MartyrST+Pedro+Calungsod
His Life and death:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/02/saint-of-the-day-2-april-st-pedro-calungsod-1654-1672-martyr/

St Rufus of Glendalough
St Theodora of Tiria
St Urban of Langres
St Victor of Capua
Blessed Vilmos Apor (1892–1945) Bishop Martyr

Posted in Act of SPIRITUAL COMMUNION, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Devotion for the Month of April – The Blessed Sacrament

Devotion for the Month of April – The Blessed Sacrament

DEVOTION for april the BLessed SACRAMENT

Holy Thursday, the day on which Catholics celebrate the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper, falls most often in April and so it is no surprise that the Catholic Church dedicates this month to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
In these very sad times when we cannot attend the Passion week ceremonies, we need to focus our hearts and minds, much, much more on the Passion of Our Lord, on the Holy Eucharist and on our Communion with our Lord and Saviour.
Neither are we able to attend Eucharistic Adoration, live, though there are many ‘live’ opportunities online for both Holy Mass and Adoration.

This beautiful prayer by St John Damascene, with a slight adaptation, may be used as our Spiritual Communion.

God, my God, inextinguishable and invisible fire,
You make Your angels flaming fire.
Out of Your inexpressible love,
You have given me Your divine Flesh as food
and through this communion
of Your immaculate Body and precious Blood,
You receive me as a partaker of Your divinity.
Permeate all my body and soul, all my bones and sinews.
Consume my sins in fire.
Enlighten my soul and illumine my mind.
Sanctify my body and make Your abode in me,
together with Your blessed Father and all-holy Spirit,
that I may always abide in You,
through the intercession of Your immaculate Mother and all Your saints.
Amen
Prayer of St John Damascene (675-749)
Father and Doctor of the Churchconsume-my-sins-in-fire-...-and-make-your-abode-in-me-st-john-damascene-9-feb-2020 and 1 april 2020

Now, at least, in this great depredation we suffer, we might truly understand and agree with the words of St Claude:

If we only knew the treasure we hold in our hands!
St Claude de la Colombiere SJ (1641-1682)

“God is more honoured by a single Mass
than He could be by all the actions of angels and men together,
however fervent and heroic they might be.
Yet, how FEW, hear Mass
with the intention of giving God
this sublime honour!
How FEW think,
with joy on the glory, a Mass gives to God.
How FEW rejoice,
to possess the means of honouring Him
as He deserves! . . .
If we only knew the treasure we hold in our hands!”

Let us pray, all day, for the restoration of the Holy Mass!

god is more honoured by a single mass - st claude de la colombiere 1 april 2020

Posted in GOD is LOVE, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, The PASSION

Thought for the Day – 1 April – The Passion of Our Lord

Thought for the Day – 1 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Passion of Our Lord

he came to bear the weight of our offences - bacci 1 april 2020

“The Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the most profound mysteries of our religion.
It is a mystery of infinite goodness and mercy, that, out of love for fallen humanity, the Eternal Word of God, should have assumed a human form and become man, in order to show us the way to Heaven and to enable us, to reach it.
Jesus came amongst us, to instruct us, to call us, to perfection and to give us, an example and the necessary help.
But He did much more than this.
He came also to bear the weight of our offences and to offer Himself, as a spotless victim of love and suffering in expiation of our sins.
All this, seems too great a mystery, almost inconceivable, in fact, until we consider that the charity of God is as infinite as His nature.
This is why, the Saints experienced hours of ecstasy contemplating the Passion and Death of our Divine Redeemer.
Whenever St Gertrude looked upon the figure of Jesus nailed to the Cross, she could not restrain her tears.
She was accustomed to say, that God was specially merciful towards those who meditated on the Passion and Death of Jesus.
St Bernard writes, that even as the rocks were rent asunder at the Death of Our Redeemer, so, our sin-hardened hearts, should feel as if they were breaking, when we meditate on His Sufferings.
Let us meditate, therefore, on the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
If we are sinners, as unfortunately, we all are, we shall we moved to weep for our sins.
If we are imperfect and lukewarm, we shall be set on fire with love and a determination, to requite, as far as possible, the infinite charity of Jesus Christ.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2020, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FREEDOM, QUOTES on TRUTH, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 1 April – Freedom

Quote/s of the Day – 1 April – Wednesday of the Fifth week of Lent, Today’s Gospel: John 8:31-42

“If you continue in my word,
you are truly my disciples
and you will know the truth
and the truth will make you free.”

John 8:31-32

john 8 31-32 if you continue in my word

“He came to lead our lives
away from corruption to Himself
and gave us freedom in place of slavery.”

Saint Anastasius II of Antioch (550-609)

he-came-to-lead-our-lives-away-from-corruption-st-anastasius-of-antioch-1-april-2019 and 1 april 2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2020, LENTEN PRAYERS & NOVENAS, LENTEN THOUGHTS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FREEDOM, QUOTES on PRAYER, The WORD

Lenten Reflection – 1 April – Let us then recognise both our voice in His and His voice in ours. 

Lenten Reflection – 1 April – Wednesday of the Fifth week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95, Responsorial psalm Daniel 3:52-56, John 8:31-42

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples
and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”…John 8:31-32

john-8-39-40-if-you-were-abrahams-children-wedfifthweeklent-10-april-2019 and 1 april 2020

Daily Meditation:
Enlighten our minds and sanctify our hearts.

“God could give no greater gift to men than to make His Word, through whom He created all things, their head and to join them to Him as His members, so that the Word might be both Son of God and son of man, one God with the Father and one man with all men.   The result is that when we speak with God in prayer, we do not separate the Son from Him and when the body of the Son prays, it does not separate its head from itself, it is the one Saviour of His body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who prays for us and in us and is Himself the object of our prayers.
He prays for us, as our priest, He prays in us, as our head, He is the object of our prayers, as our God.
Let us then recognise both our voice in His and His voice in ours.   When something is said, especially in prophecy, about the Lord Jesus Chris,t that seems to belong to a condition of lowliness, unworthy of God, we must not hesitate to ascribe this condition to one who did not hesitate to unite Himself with us.   Every creature is His servant, for it was through Him that every creature came to be.” … Saint Augustine (354-430) Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church

he prays for us - st augustine - 1 april 2020

Intercessions:
Blessed be God, the giver of salvation,
who decreed that mankind should become a new creation in Himself,
when all would be made new.
With great confidence let us ask Him:
Lord, renew us in Your Spirit.

Lord, You promised a new heaven and a new earth,
renew us daily through Your Spirit,
– that we may enjoy Your presence forever in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Help us to work with You to make this world alive with Your Spirit,
– and to build on earth a city of justice, love and peace.
Free us from all negligence and sloth,
– and give us joy in Your gifts of grace.
Deliver us from evil,
– and from slavery to the senses,
which blinds us to Your love, freedom and truth.

Closing Prayer:

Grant that I may love You
and be loved by You
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

O God of love,
You are
and shall be forever,
the only delight of my heart
and the sole object of my affections.
Since Jesus said,
‘Ask and you shall receive,’
I do not hesitate to say,
‘Give me Your love
and Your grace.’
Grant that I may love You
and be loved by You.
I want nothing else.
Amen

grant-that-i-may-love-you-and-beloved-by-you-st-alphonsus-liguori-1-april-2019 and 1 april 2020