Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A AND the FIRST SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD +2020 and Memorials of the Saints – 26 January

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
instituted by Pope Francis on 30 September 2019, the 1600th Anniversary of the death of St Jerome.
Pope Francis announced and instated via his Apostolic Letter Aperuit Illis, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time to be the “Sunday of the Word of God” in order to promote a closer relationship with holy Scripture and its dissemination in the world.

“A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but, rather, a yearlong event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the Risen Lord,”

May the Sunday of the Word of God help his people to grow in religious and intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures. For as the sacred author taught of old: “This word is very near to you ,it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance” (Dt 30:14).

Given in Rome, at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, on 30 September 2019, the liturgical Memorial of Saint Jerome, on the inauguration of the 1600th anniversary of his death.

Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio of the Holy Father Francis, “Aperuit illis”, instituting the Sunday of the Word of God, 30.09.2019

St Timothy (Memorial)
St Titus (Memorial)

St Alberic of Citreaux O.Cist (Died 1109)
St Robert of Molesme O.Cist (1028-1111)
St Stephen Harding O.Cist (c 1060-1134)
The Story of the 3 Founders of the Cistercian Abbey:

St Alphonsus of Astorga
St Ansurius of Orense
St Athanasius of Sorrento
St Conan of Iona
Bl Eystein Erlandsön
Bl José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero
Bl Marie de la Dive veuve du Verdier de la Sorinière
Bl Michaël Kozal
St Paula of Rome

St Theofrid of Corbie
St Theogenes of Hippo
St Tortgith of Barking

Martyred Family of Constantinople: Saint Mary and Saint Xenophon were married and the parents of Saint John and Saint Arcadius. Theirs was a wealthy family of Senatorial rank in 5th century imperial Constantinople, but were known as a Christians who lived simple lives. To give their sons a good education, Xenophon and Mary sent them to university in Beirut, Phoenicia. However, their ship wrecked, there was no communication from them, and the couple assumed, naturally, that the young men had died at sea. In reality, John and Arcadius had survived and decided that instead of continuing to Beirut, they were going to follow a calling to religious life and became monks, eventually living in a monastery in Jerusalem. Years later, Mary and Xenophon made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – where they encountered their sons. Grateful to have their family re-united and taking it as a sign, Xenophon and Mary gave up their positions in society in Constantinople, and lived the rest of their lives as a monk and anchoress in Jerusalem. A few years later, the entire family was martyred together.
They were martyred in 5th century Jerusalem.
St Xenophon
St Mary
St John
St Arcadius

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 25 January – Saint Poppo of Stavelot (977-1048)

Saint of the Day – 25 January – Saint Poppo of Stavelot (977-1048) Abbot, Reformer, Ascetic – born in 978 at Flanders, Belgium and died on 25 January 1048 at Marchiennes, France of natural causes.    He became one of the best known abbots of Stavelot and was one of the first recorded Flemish pilgrims to the Holy Poppo_von_Stablo_3

The Vita Popponis, the biography of Poppo, was written shortly after his death by the monk Onulf and the abbot Everhelm of the abbey of Hautmont.    According this source Poppo belonged to a noble family of Flanders, his parents being Tizekinus and Adalwif. About the year 1000 he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with two compagnons.   Soon after this he also went to Rome.   He was about to marry a lady of noble family, when a miraculous experience made him end his military career.   Late at night, a flame burst out of the sky and kept his lance radiating.   He believed this to be an illumination of the Holy Spirit and soon after, he decided to enter the monastery of Saint Thierry at Rheims (1005).saint-poppo-netherlandish-15th-century

Around 1008 Abbot Richard of Saint Vannes at Verdun, who was a zealous reformer of monasteries, took Poppo to his monastery.   Richard made Poppo prior of St Vaast in Arras, in the Diocese of Cambrai, about 1013.   Here Poppo proved to be the right man for the position, reclaimed the lands of the monastery from rapacious vassals and secured the possession of the monastery by deeds.   Before 1016 he was appointed to the same position at Vasloges (Beloacum, Beaulieu) in the Diocese of Verdun.

In 1020, the German emperor Henry II, who became acquainted with Poppo in 1016, made him Abbot of the abbeys of Stavelot and Malmedy (in Lower Lorraine, now Belgium) and in 1023 the Abbey of St Maximin at Trier.

He became even more important during the reign of Conrad II.   From St Maximin, the Cluniac reform now found its way into the German monasteries.   The emperor placed several imperial monasteries under Poppo’s control or supervision, as Limburg an der Hardt, Echternach, St Gislen, Weissenburg, St Gall, Hersfeld, Waulsort, Hautmont and Hastières.   Soon after Poppo transferred these positions to his disciples.   The Bishops and laymen who had founded monasteries placed a series of other monasteries under his care, like St Laurence at Liège, St Vincent at Metz, St Eucharius at Trier, Hohorst, Brauweiler, St Vaast, Marchiennes etc.   However, the reform of Richard of Saint-Vanne had no permanent success in the German Empire.

Personally Poppo practised the most severe asceticism.   He had no interest in literary affairs and was neither particularly prominent in politics.   During the reign of Henry III he lost influence.    Death overtook him while he was staying at the abbey of Marchiennes.    Poppo was later buried in the abbey of Stavelot.01-25-1048-poppo


Feast of the Conversion of St Paul and Memorials of the Saints – 25 January

Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – 25 January

St Agape the Martyr
St Agileus of Carthage
St Amarinus of Clermont
St Ananias of Damascus
Bl Antoni Swiadek
St Apollo of Heliopolis
St Artemas of Pozzuoli
St Auxentius of Epirus
St Bretannion of Tomi
St Donatus the Martyr
St Dwynwen
St Emilia Fernández Rodríguez de Cortés
St Eochod of Galloway
St Joel of Pulsano
St Juventinus of Antioch
Bl Manuel Domingo y Sol
St Maximinus of Antioch
St Palaemon
St Poppo of Stavelot (977-1048)
St Praejectus of Clermont
St Publius of Zeugma
St Racho of Autun
St Sabinus the Martyr


Second Thought for the Day – 24 January – Devotion Must be Practised in Different Ways

Second Thought for the Day – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A and The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” – Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity)

Devotion Must be Practised in Different Ways

Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Bishop and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Introduction to the Devout Life

“When God the Creator made all things, He commanded the plants to bring forth fruit each according to its own kind, He has likewise commanded Christians, who are the living plants of His Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each one in accord with his character, his station and his calling.

I say that devotion must be practised in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman.   But even this distinction is not sufficient, for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.

Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a Bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian, or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin, about increasing their income, or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious, or on the other hand, for a religious to be constantly exposed like a Bishop to all the events and circumstances, that bear on the needs of our neighbour.   Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganised and intolerable?   Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently but in no way, does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all.   On the contrary, it perfects and fulfils all things.   In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion.

The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.   True devotion does still better.   Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, it even embellishes and enhances it.

Moreover, just as every sort of gem, cast in honey, becomes brighter and more sparkling, each according to its colour, so, each person, becomes more acceptable and fitting in his own vocation, when he sets his vocation in the context of devotion.   Through devotion, your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the Prince becomes more faithful and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.

It is therefore an error and even a heresy, to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households.   I acknowledge, my dear Philothea, that the type of devotion which is purely contemplative, monastic and religious can certainly not be exercised in these sorts of stations and occupations but, besides this threefold type of devotion, there are many others fit for perfecting those who live in a secular state.

Therefore, in whatever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.”

St Francis de Sales, Pray for Us!

in whatever situations we happen to be in - st francis de sales pray for us 24 jan 2020


Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – St Francis de Sales

Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A and The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” – Doctor of the Church: Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity)

“Let us think only
of spending the present
day well.
Then, when tomorrow
shall have come,
it will be called
and then, we will think
about it.”

let us think only of spending the present day well - st francis de sales - 24 jan 2020

“Don’t get upset
with your imperfections.
It’s a great mistake,
because it leads nowhere –
to get angry
because, you are angry,
upset at being upset,
depressed, at being depressed,
disappointed, because
you are disappointed.
So don’t fool yourself.
Simply surrender
to the Power of God’s Love,
which is always greater
than our weakness.”

dont-get-upset-with-your-imperfections-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2018 and 24 jan 2020

“Don’t sow your desires
in someone else’s garden,
just cultivate your own, as best you can;
don’t long to be other than what you are
but desire to be thoroughly what you are.
Direct your thoughts,
to being very good at that
and to bearing the crosses, little or great,
that you will find there.
Believe me, this is the most important
and least understood point to the spiritual life.
We all love according to what is our taste,
few people like what is according to their duty
or to God’s liking.
What is the use of building castles in Spain
when we have to live in France?”

dont-sow-your-desires-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2018 - 24 jan 2020

“The work is never finished, we have continually to begin again and that courageously. What we have done so far is good but what we are going to commence, will be better and when we have finished that, we shall begin something else that will be better still and then another – until we leave this world to begin a new life that will have no end because it is the best that can happen to us.

It is not then a case for tears, that we have so much work to do for our souls, for we need great courage to go ever onwards (since we must never stop) and much resolution to restrain our desires.   Observe carefully this precept, that all the Saints have given to those who would emulate them – to speak little, or not at all, of yourself and your own interests.”

the-work-is-never-finished-st-francis-de-sales-27-march-2019 and 24 jan 2020

“Cook the truth in charity,
until it tastes sweet.”

cook-the-truth-in-charity-until-it-tastes-sweet-st-francis-de-sales-23-may-2018 and 24 jan 2020

“Half an hour’s meditation
each day is essential,
except, when you are busy.
Then a full hour is needed.”

half an hour's meditation each day - st francis de sales 24 jan 2020

“Consider all the past as nothing
and say, like David –
Now I begin to love my God.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church

consider all the past as nothing and say like david now i begin to love my god - 24 jan2019 st francis de sales


One Minute Reflection – 24 January – May I know You and make You known.

One Minute Reflection – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of St Francis De Sales OFM Cap (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church ” – Readings: 1 Samuel 24:2-20 (3-21), Psalm 57:2-4, 6, 11, Mark 3:13-19

He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him … Mark 3:14

REFLECTION – “Jesus calls those he wanted.    Jesus chooses.   They come to him.   He calls the Twelve to be with Him.   While they are with Him, listening to Him teach, witnessing the miracles He works, living with Him, the Twelve get to know Him, first hand.
They KNOW Jesus, not just about Jesus.
Jesus consecrates them as He takes them apart – forming them to carry on and continue His work.
Having consecrated them – he commissions them, as He sends them forth to preach the good news.
Jesus chooses.
Jesus consecrates.
Jesus commissions.
This explains the dynamics of genuine discipleship.
The disciple must learn TO BE WITH Jesus, before he attempts TO DO ANYTHING FOR Jesus.
We can be Apostles – only – if we have first been disciples WITH Him.” … Msgr Alex Rebello CMF (Diocese Wrexham, Wales) Claretian Priestmark 3 14 he appointed twelve - jesus chooses msgr rebello bible diary 24 jan 2020

PRAYER – “O my God and my Father, may I know You and make You know, love You and make You loved, serve You and make Your served, praise You and make all creatures, praise You.” [St Anthony Mary Claret CMF (1807-1870)] Lord God, true light and creator of light, grant us the grace to see clearly by the light who is Light, Your only Son. Lead us in His path and send us Your Spirit. Grant us the strength to grow in holiness so that our struggle against the powers of darkness may we a victory over temptation. May the intercession of the master of spirituality, St Francis de Sales, help us and protect us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.may I know you and make you known - st anthony mary claret 24 oct 2019



Saint of the Day – 24 January – Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515)

Saint of the Day – 24 January – Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515) a Countess and member of the Third Order of St Francis, Laywoman, mother, widow, apostle of the poor and sick – born on 3 March 1463 in Verola Alghise (modern Verolanuova), Brescia, Duchy of Milan (in modern Lombardy, Italy) and died on 24 January 1515 in Binaco, Duchy of Milan (in modern Lombardy, Italy) of a fever.   Patronages – Widows, Married couples, Franciscan tertiaries, difficult marriages, victims of adultery.   Additional memorial – 23 January in paola vision

Paola Gambara Costa was born on 3 March 1463 in Brescia as the first of seven children to the nobles Giampaolo Gambara and Taddea Caterina Martinengo.

In her childhood she delighted in spiritual reading and reflection on the Gospel and harboured an ardent desire to become a nun later in life.   But this dream was cut short when her parents decided to arrange her marriage to Count Lodovico Antonio Costa – the Lord of Benasco – and she saw this as the will of God manifesting itself and so complied with the wishes of her parents.   The marriage came about after Count Bongiovanni Costa visited her parents and was struck with her virtue and so wanted her as his nephew Lodovico Antonio’s wife.   Her decision to become a nun worried the count who sent her to Blessed Angelo Carletti – a Franciscan priest – who persuaded her that marriage was a call from God to embrace a different kind of life still in accordance with Christian values.

The pair married in autumn 1485 and the pair travelled to the small Benasco province for the ensuring celebrations.   She endured her new husband’s expensive tastes, seeing it as her role to be faithful to him, even if she did not live the excessively luxurious life paola costs

Her confessor around this time was Father Crescenzio Morra from Bene though she later reconnected with Carletti who became her friend and spiritual advisor as well as a confessor.   Carletti kept her on the path of virtue and advised her to enrol in the Third Order of Saint Francis, while learning to appreciate the poor and to detest the lavishness of the secular world.   She joined in 1491 with the permission of her husband.   Gambara often deprived herself of food in order to bring it to the sick and on one occasion took off her shoes and gave it to an old woman who was struggling barefoot through the snow.

In 1488 she gave birth to her sole child Giovanni Francesco and named him in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.   To mark this occasion, she managed to persuade her husband to distribute large amounts of food to the poor of their paola costs almsgiving

But her excessive charitable works and almsgiving soon vexed her husband, who reproached her for her conduct and ridiculed her in front of their servants and the servants followed their master’s example and joined in ridiculing their mistress.

Costa soon acquired a mistress – the daughter of the Podestà of Carrù – and he allowed her to live in the castle in 1494 even though Paola resided there.   In 1495 her son left for Chieri for his education and Father Carletti died on 11 April 1495.   She attended his funeral in Cuneo – he had died at the convent of Sant’Antonio where he had fallen ill.

In 1500 she reunited with her parents and siblings when she returned to her hometown on a brief visit.   In 1504 her late husband’s mistress fell ill with abdominal pains and it was Paola who comforted her and forgave her as she died.   Also in 1504 her son – now a page – returned to his home.

Her husband later repented and approved her good works and also consented to her wearing the habit of her order in public.   Costa became ill in 1504 and she began to tend to him.   The two travelled to Cuneo to ask for the intercession of her former confessor Carletti and when her husband was healed, attributed the healing to him – Costa celebrated a banquet in commemoration of this and undertook a pilgrimage to the priest’s grave in thanksgiving with his wife at his side.   This conversion was short-lived however, for her husband died not long after in paola costs and mary

On 14 January 1515 she was struck with an extreme fever that caused her great pain and she died on 24 January 1515 in the town of Binasco in Milan after having confessed and received the Eucharist for the final time.

Blessed Paola was buried in a church outside the walls of convent of Rocchetta that she had helped re-build.  When the church was destroyed in 1536 during a war between Francis I and Charles V, Paola’s body was re-interred in the nearby castle and later enshrined in a chapel built by the Counts of Costa in the Franciscan monastery of Bene paola body

Her Beatification received formal ratification on 14 August 1845 once Pope Gregory XVI issued a decree that recognised that there existed an enduring and longstanding local ‘cultus’.