Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 December – Saint Peter Pascual (Died 1299) Bishop and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 6 December – Saint Peter Pascual (c 1227 – 1299) Bishop and Martyr, Theologian – born in 1227 at Valencia, Spain (as Spanish: Pedro Pascual, Valencian: Pere Pasqual) and died by beheading on 6 December 1300 at Granada, Spain.

Peter Paschal was born in Valencia on Spain’s east coast in the year 1227.   Peter’s parents were devout Mozarabs (Iberian Christians) who lived under Muslim rule, paying a yearly tax known as a jizyah.   The Mozarabs and the Muslim Arabs co-existed and even spoke a similar language known as peter pascaul.jpg

The founder of the Mercedarians (The Royal, Celestial and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives), St Peter Nolasco (1189–1256), was very good friends of Peter’s family and he and his Mercedarian companions would often stay at Peter’s home when they were on a mission to free Christian captives.   This exposure to these pious men helped to instil in young Peter a deep sense of piety.   Combined with the virtuous, charitable and caring influence of his parents, Peter Paschal grew into a deeply devoted servant of God.

Ironically, the primary influence in Peter’s educational journey was a teacher whom Peter’s parents had ransomed from the Moors years before.   The young man travelled with him to Paris and, under his guidance, studied, preached and taught, developing a fine reputation as a learned and pious man.

Peter then returned to Valencia and Peter Nolasco became his spiritual advisor.   After another year of preparation, he became a full member of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, the Mercedarians.   It was time for him to begin redeeming captive Christians.

Peter Paschal had a brilliant mind and James I, the King of Arragon, appointed him as a teacher of his son, Sanchez.   Sanchez was so influenced by Peter that he himself became a Mercedarian Priest and, in 1262, was made the Archbishop of Toledo.   Since Prince Sanchez was too young to be consecrated, Peter Paschal was appointed to govern the Diocese and was ordained the Bishop of Granada.   Granada was under the control of the Muslims.San_Pedro_Pascual,_de_Francisco_de_Solís_(Museo_de_Huesca).jpg

As Bishop of Grenada, Peter Paschal preached tirelessly about Christianity.   He became known for his intense determination and zeal in redeeming captive Christian slaves who had been imprisoned by the Moors.   His preaching was so potent that many Muslims began to embrace the doctrines of Jesus Christ and convert to Christianity.

Besides preaching, Peter not only continually ransomed captive Christians from the Moors, he also comforted those imprisoned and preached the gospel to their captors.   His ability to bring the Moors to the Church was the reason he was finally arrested. Orders were given that no-one was allowed to visit or speak to Peter.   He was held in prison and constantly treated cruelly and with disdain.   But he was given permission to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day.   And this is where the beautiful miracle, for which St Peter is well-known happened.

One morning, the story goes, while Peter was preparing for Mass, a little boy about the age of five appeared before him.   The boy was dressed in the clothes of a slave and told the Bishop he would gladly serve Mass for him if he would let him.   Peter asked him who he was and the boy said, “I will tell you who I am when you have finished Mass.”   After Mass was finished, Peter asked the boy a few questions and was amazed at the wisdom coming forth from the child.   Then he asked the boy, “Tell me, who is Jesus Christ?”web3-st-peter-paschal-pascal-pere-pasqual-jerc3b3nimo-jacinto-de-espinosa-pd

The boy answered: “I am Jesus Christ.    It is I Who was crucified for your salvation and for that of the whole world, look at My hands and My feet and My side and you will recognise the wounds I received during My Passion.   Because you, have of your own choice, remained prisoner in order to procure freedom for my captive children and because, to obtain their freedom, you spent money sent to procure your own, you have made Me your Prisoner.” Then the little boy disappeared.   Peter Paschal was filled with an indescribable joy.san pedropascual

His Muslim captors sensed and actually revered the sanctity of their prisoner.   They told him if he would never say anything against Mohammad they would give him his freedom.   He said he could never make such a promise.   Shortly thereafter, as Bishop Peter Paschal was saying his thanksgiving after Mass, an executioner came up from behind him and cut off his head.   The date was 6 January 1300.   He was Beatified and Canonised by Pope Clement X on 14 August 1670.

St Peter was one of the first theologians to proclaim that Mary was Immaculately Conceived.mary imm conception .jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 6 December

St Nicholas (270-343) (Optional Memorial)
Full Biography here:


St Abraham of Kratia
St Aemilianus the Martyr
Bl Angelica of Milazzo
St Asella of Rome
St Boniface the Martyr
St Dativa the Martyr
St Dionysia the Martyr
St Gerard of La Charite
St Gertrude the Elder
St Giuse Nguyen Duy Khang
St Isserninus of Ireland
Bl Janos Scheffler
St Leontia the Martyr
St Majoricus the Martyr
Saint Peter Pascual (Died 1299) Martyr
St Polychronius
St Tertus

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Esteban Vázquez Alonso
• Blessed Florencio Rodríguez Guemes
• Blessed Gregorio Cermeño Barceló
• Blessed Heliodoro Ramos García
• Blessed Ireneo Rodríguez González
• Blessed Juan Lorenzo Larragueta Garay
• Blessed Luis Martínez Alvarellos
• Blessed Luisa María Frías Cañizares
• Blessed Miguel Lasaga Carazo
• Blessed Narciso Pascual y Pascual
• Blessed Pascual Castro Herrera
• Blessed Vicente Vilumbrales Fuente

Martyred Salesians of Guadalajara (Spanish Civil War) – 7 beati:
• Blessed Gregorio Cermeño Barceló
• Blessed Ireneo Rodríguez González
• Blessed Luisa María Frías Cañizares
• Blessed Narciso Pascual y Pascual
• Blessed Vicente Vilumbrales Fuente

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 December – Saint Barbara (3rd Century) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 4 December – Saint Barbara (3rd Century) Martyr – died
by being beheaded by her father c 235 at Nicomedia during the persecution of Maximinus of Thrace.   Patronages – against death by artillery • against explosions • against fire • against impenitence • against lightning • against mine collapse • against storms • against vermin • ammunition workers • architects • armourers • artillery • artillerymen • boatmen • bomb technicians • brass workers • brewers • builders • carpenters • construction workers • dying people • explosives workers • fire prevention • firefighters • fireworks • fireworks manufacturers • fortifications • foundry workers • geologists • gravediggers • gunners • hatmakers • hatters • mariners • martyrs • masons • mathematicians • milliners • miners • ordnance workers • prisoners • sailors • saltpetre workers • smelters • stone masons • stonecutters • sudden death • Syria • tilers • warehouses • watermen • 8 cities.   Saint Barbara is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Her association with the lightning, which killed her father has caused her to be invoked against lightning and fire.   By association with explosions, she is also the patron of artillery and mining.

St Barbara with her attributes – three-windowed tower, central panel of St Barbara Altarpiece (1447), National Museum in Warsaw

Because of doubts about the historicity of her legend, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 revision, though not from the Catholic Church’s list of saints.

Saint Barbara is often portrayed with miniature chains and a tower.   As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Barbara continues to be a popular saint in modern times.   A 15th-century French version of her story credits her with thirteen miracles, many rest upon the security she offered, that her devotees would not die before getting to make confession and receiving extreme barbara art.jpg

According to the hagiographies, Barbara, the daughter of a rich pagan named Dioscorus, was carefully guarded by her father who kept her locked up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world.   Having secretly become a Christian, she rejected an offer of marriage that she received through her father.

Before going on a journey, her father commanded that a private bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling and during his absence, Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended.   When her father returned, she acknowledged herself to be a Christian, whereupon he drew his sword to kill her but her prayers created an opening in the tower wall and she was miraculously transported to a mountain gorge, where two shepherds watched their flocks.   Dioscorus, in pursuit of his daughter, was rebuffed by the first shepherd but the second betrayed her.   For doing this, he was turned to stone and his flock was changed to locusts.GHIRLANDAIO_Domenico_St_Barbara.jpg

Dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured, Barbara remained faithful to her Christian faith.   During the night, the dark prison was bathed in light and new miracles occurred.   Every morning, her wounds were healed. Torches that would be used to burn her, were extinquished as they approached her.  Finally, she was condemned to death by beheading.   Her father himself carried out the death-sentence.   However, as punishment, he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body was consumed by flame.   Barbara was buried by a Christian, Valentinus and her tomb became the site of miracles.   This summary omits picturesque details, supplemented from Old French accounts.Master_of_the_Embroidered_Foliage_-_Saint_Barbara.jpg

According to the Golden Legend, her martyrdom took place on 4 December “in the reign of emperor Maximianus and Prefect Marcien” (r. 286–305);  the year was given as 267 in the French version.

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Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 4 December

St John Damascene (675-749) Father & Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
St John’s Life:
And Pope Benedict on St John Damascene:

St Ada of Le Mans
St Adelmann of Beauvais
Bl Adolph Kolping
St Anno II
St Apro
St Barbara (Died 3rd Century) Martyr

St Bernardo degli Uberti
St Bertoara of Bourges
St Christianus
St Clement of Alexandria
St Cyran of Brenne
St Eraclius
St Eulogio Álvarez López
St Ezequiel Álvaro de La Fuente
St Felix of Bologna
Bl Francis Galvez
St Francisco de la Vega González
St Giovanni Calabria
St Heraclas of Alexandria
St Jacinto García Chicote
Bl Jerome de Angelis
St John the Wonder Worker
St Maruthas
St Melitus of Pontus
St Osmund of Salisbury
Bl Pietro Tecelano
St Prudens
St Robustiano Mata Ubierna
St Sigiranus
Bl Simon Yempo
St Sola
St Theophanes

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Eulogio Álvarez López
• Blessed Ezequiel Álvaro de La Fuente
• Blessed Francisco de la Vega González
• Blessed Jacinto García Chicote
• Blessed Robustiano Mata Ubierna


Feast of Our Lady of Liesse and Memorials of the Saints – 2 December

Our Lady of Liesse/Our Lady, Cause of our Joy:  2 December – An ancient statue of the Madonna and Child.   It was brought from Egypt to France during the Crusades by three Knights of Malta who had been briefly captured by Saracens.   It was enshrined at Liesse, diocese of Soissons.   The original statue was destroyed during the French Revolution. A duplicate was installed and crowned in 1857.   Patronage – Diocese of Soissons, France.

St Athanasius of the Caves
St Avitas of Rouen
St Bibiana (4th century died c 361) Martyr
Biography here:

St Chromatius of Aquileia
St Evasius of Brescia
Bl Francisco del Valle Villar
St Habakkuk the Prophet
Bl Ivan Sleziuk
Bl John Amero
Bl John van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1382)
About Blessed Jan:
St Lupus of Verona
Bl Maria Angela Astorch
St Nonnus of Edessa
St Oderisius de Marsi
St Pimenio in Rome
St Pontian
Bl Rafal Chylinski OFM Conv (1694-1741)

Bl Robert of Matallana
St Silvanus
St Pope Silverio

Greek Martyrs of Rome – (9 saints): Several Greek Christians martyred in the persecutions of Valerian – Adria, Aurelia, Eusebius, Hippolytus, Marcellus, Mary Martana, Maximus, Neon and Paulina. They were martyred by various means between 254 and 259 in Rome, Italy and are buried in the Callistus catacombs, Rome.

Martyrs of Africa – (4 saints): Four Christians martyred in Africa in the persecutions of Arian Vandals – Januarius, Securus, Severus and Victorinus.


Sunday Reflection – 1 December – ‘You were not nearer to the Blessed Virgin … than You are to me…’

Sunday Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A and the Memorial of Bl Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916) Martyr

Lord Jesus, You are in the Holy Eucharist.   You are there a yard away in the Tabernacle. Your body, Your soul, Your human nature, Your divinity, Your whole being is there, in its twofold nature.   How close You are, my God, my Saviour, my Spouse, My Beloved!

You were not nearer to the Blessed Virgin during the nine months that she carried You, than You are to me, when You rest on my tongue in Holy Communion.   You were no closer to the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph in the caves at Bethlehem, or in the flight into Egypt, or at any moment of that divine family life, than you are to me at this moment – and so many others – in the Tabernacle.

Mary… was no closer to you when she sat at your feet at Bethany, than I am here, at the foot of this altar.   You were no nearer to Your apostles when you were sitting in the midst of them than You are to me now, my God.   How blessed I am!

(Bl Charles was martyred 103 years ago today, 1 December 1916)

you were not nearer to the blessed virgin - bl charles de foucauld 1 dec 2019.jpg


Thought for the Day – 27 November – What is the surest kind of witness?

Thought for the Day – 27 November – Wednesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:12–19

“But not a hair of your head shall perish.” … Luke 21:9

What is the surest kind of witness?

St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church

“You can be a witness to Christ every day.   You were tempted by the spirit of impurity but… you considered that chastity of spirit and body should not be soiled – you are a martyr or, in other words, a witness to Christ…  You were tempted by the spirit of pride but, seeing the poor and needy, you were seized by tender compassion and preferred humility to arrogance – you are a witness to Christ.   Better still – you have not given your witness in word alone but in deed as well.
What is the surest kind of witness?   “Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus Christ came among us in the flesh” (cf. 1Jn 4,2) and who keeps the commands of the Gospel…  How many there are each day of these hidden martyrs of Christ who confess the Lord Jesus! The apostle Paul knew that kind of martyrdom and witness of faith rendered to Christ, he who said:  “Our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience” (2Cor 1,12).   For how many people have made a confession of faith exteriorly but denied it interiorly!…   So be faithful and courageous in interior persecutions so that you may also win the victory in exterior persecutions.   There are “kings and rulers,” judges of formidable power, in the persecutions within, likewise.   You have an example of these in the temptations undergone by our Lord (Mt 4,1ff.)”… (Sermon 20 on Psalm 118)what-is-the-surest-kind-of-witness-st-ambrose-13-july-2019 and 27 nov 2019

“When I feel overwhelmed by misfortune,
the greatest joy that the Lord can give me,
is to go to the altar, to put my forehead against it
(as on the day of my ordination to the priesthood)
and to feel the presence of the only reality.
Not only does calm return
but my body seems to be annihilated,
the only true life begins,
the life of that which is intangible.”

Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyrwhen-i-feel-overwhelmed-by-misfortune-bl-leonid-feodorov-7-march-2019 and 27 nov 2019