Posted in SAINT of the DAY, St PETER!, The WORD

Saint of the Day – 20 October – Saint Cornelius the Centurion (1st Century)

Saint of the Day – 20 October – Saint Cornelius the Centurion (1st Century) traditionally believed to have become the First Bishop of Caesarea,
a Roman Centurion who is considered to be the one of first Gentile to convert to the Faith, (along with the conversion and Baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch – Acts 8). as related in Acts of the Apostles 10:1-49. The Baptism of Cornelius and his household, is an important event in the history of the early Church, for it points to the first century use of infant Baptism.

St Peter Baptising Cornelius, the Centurion, by Francesco Trevisani, 1709

“Now in Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a Centurion of the Cohort called the Italica, devout and God-fearing along with his whole household, who used to give alms generously to the Jewish people and pray to God constantly. One afternoon about three o’clock, he saw plainly in a vision, an Angel of God come in to him and say to him, “Cornelius.” He looked intently at him and, seized with fear, said, “What is it, sir?” He said to him, “Your prayers and almsgiving have ascended as a memorial offering before God. Now send some men to Joppa and summon one Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with another Simon, a tanner, who has a house by the sea.” When the Angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from his staff, explained everything to them and sent them to Joppa.

St Cornelius’ dream

The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime. He was hungry and wished to eat and while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky. A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.” But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.” The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.” This happened three times and then the object was taken up into the sky.

Domenico Fetti – St Peter’s vision of a sheet with animals

While Peter was in doubt about the meaning of the vision he had seen, the men sent by Cornelius asked for Simon’s house and arrived at the entrance. They called out inquiring whether Simon, who is called Peter, was staying there. As Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said [to him] “There are three men here looking for you. So get up, go downstairs and accompany them without hesitation because I have sent them.” Then Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your being here?” They answered, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, respected by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So he invited them in and showed them hospitality. The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him.

On the following day he entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.” While he conversed with him, he went in and found many people gathered together and said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with, or visit, a Gentile but God has shown me that I should not call any person profane or unclean. And that is why I came without objection when sent for. May I ask, then, why you summoned me?” Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this hour, three o’clock in the afternoon, I was at prayer in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling robes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your almsgiving remembered before God. Send therefore, to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter. He is a guest in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.‘ So I sent for you immediately and you were kind enough to come. Now, therefore, we are all here in the presence of God to listen to all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

St Peter at St Cornelius’ house

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word [that] he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.m We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and (in) Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised (on) the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify, that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptising these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?” He ordered them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for a few days. ” – Acts 10:1-49

A Centurion by James Tissot (not necesarily St Cornelius)
Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HYMNS, St PETER!, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 5 August – St Peter

Quote/s of the Day – 5 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Readings: Numbers 20: 1-13; Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9; Matthew 16: 13-23

“Upon this rock I will build my church”

Matthew 16:18

“… Out of all the world,
one man, Peter … is chosen.”

“Nothing escaped the wisdom and power of Christ,
the elements of nature lay at His service,
spirits obeyed Him, angels served Him.
… And yet, out of all the world,
Peter alone was chosen to stand at the head,
for the calling of all the peoples
and the oversight of all the apostles
and Fathers of the Church. .”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father and Doctor of the Church

And what shall we say of Peter?
Even if he had undergone nothing for Christ,
it would be sufficient to celebrate him today
in that he was crucified for Him…
He well knew where, He Whom he loved,
He whom he longed for was… –
his cross has been his road to heaven.”

St Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167),

O Peter, who were Named by Christ!
By Stanbrook Abbey
For the Feast of the Chair of St Peter

O Peter who were named by Christ!
The guardian-shepherd of His flock,
Protect the Church He built on you
To stand unyielding, firm on rock.

Your weakness, Christ exchanged for strength,
You faltered but He made you true.
He knew the greatness of your love
And gave the keys of heav’n to you
.

Unseen, eternal Trinity,
We give You glory, praise Your name,
Your love keeps faith with faithless men,
Through change and stress, You are the same.
Amen

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St PETER!

Thought for the Day – 1 August – ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church!’

Thought for the Day – 1 August – Thursday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Feast of St Peter in Chains

Homily of St Augustine

Peter alone among the Apostles was accounted worthy to hear – A – men I say to thee, that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.   Worthy indeed was he, to be the foundation-stone, the supporting pillar, the key to the kingdom, in building up the peoples into the house of God.   Concerning this, the divine word says – And they laid, it says, their sick, that when Peter passed by, his shadow at the least might fall on them.   If at that time the shadow of his body could give aid, how much more now can the fullness of his power?   If a mere breath of air from him, as he passed by, was of such benefit to suppliants, how much more his favour now that he remains steadfast?   With good reason is the iron of those Penal chains held throughout all the churches of Christ to be more precious than gold.

If the shadow of him who visited was so potent to cure, how much more the chains of him who binds?   If even the mere appearance of an empty image could have the force of healing in it, how much more healthfulness should the chains, with which he suffered, whose iron weight had pressed upon his sacred members, deserve to draw forth from his body?   If he was so mighty to help his suppliants before his martyrdom, how much more must he avail after his triumph?

Happy those bonds, which by touching the Apostle rendered him a Martyr and so from manacles and fetters themselves were changed into a crown!   Happy chains, which brought their prisoner even unto the cross of Christ, not so much for condemnation as for consecration!

Jesus said to His disciples – Who do men say that the Son of Man is?   Peter answered and said – Thou art Christ, the son of the living God.   And I say to thee – that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church!the chains of st peter hymn 1 aug 2019.jpg

Hymn
The Chains of Saint Peter

How blessed is the force of prayer!
Eager for Peter’s fate,
Thy soldiers, Herod, bound him fast,
And watch’d before the gate.

But Jesus has His soldiers, too,
They also vigils keep,
They watch to prayer, while Peter rests
In faith composed in sleep.

And Jesus other soldiers has,
Responsive to the call
Of prayer His holy angels come,
Sent by the Lord of all.

Prayer brought an angel down from heaven,
Sentries and bars are vain,
With heavenly light the prison shines,
Unlocked is Peter’s chain.

St Peter, Pray for Us!

st pope peter apostle and martyr pray for us 22feb2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Saint of the Day – 5 February – St Agatha (c 231- c 251) Virgin and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 5 February – St Agatha (c 231- c 251) Virgin and Martyr.   St Agatha was born at Catania or Palermo, Sicily and she was martyred in approximately 251 at Catania, Sicily by being rolled on coals.   She is one of seven women, who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.   Patronages – against breast cancer, against breast disease, against earthquakes, against eruptions of Mount Etna, against fire, against natural disasters, against sterility, against volcanic eruptions, of bell-founders, fire prevention, jewelers, martyrs, nurses, rape victims, single laywomen, torture victims, wet-nurses, Malta, San Marino, 64 cities.   Attributes – breasts on a dish, crown of flowers, embers, knife, loaves of bread on a dish, pincers, shears, tongs, veil, virgin martyr wearing a veil and bearing her severed breasts on a silver platter, martyr’s palmleaf.

st agatha header 2

One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, Agatha was put to death during the persecution of Decius (250–253) in Catania, Sicily, for her determined profession of faith.   Her written legend comprises “straightforward accounts of interrogation, torture, resistance and triumph which constitute some of the earliest hagiographic literature”.   Although the martyrdom of Saint Agatha is authenticated and her veneration as a saint had spread beyond her native place even in antiquity, there is no reliable information concerning the details of her death.

According to Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend of c 1288, having dedicated her virginity to God, fifteen-year-old Agatha, from a rich and noble family, rejected the amorous advances of the low-born Roman prefect Quintianus, who then persecuted her for her Christian faith.   He sent Agatha to Aphrodisia, the keeper of a brothel.   The madam finding her intractable, Quintianus sent for her, argued, threatened and finally had her put in prison.   Amongst the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts with pincers.

ST AGATHA - LGst agatha 3saint-agatha-francesco-guarino

After further dramatic confrontations with Quintianus, represented in a sequence of dialogues in her passio that document her fortitude and steadfast devotion, Saint Agatha was then sentenced to be burnt at the stake but an earthquake saved her from that fate; instead, she was sent to prison where St Peter the Apostle appeared to her and healed her wounds. Saint Agatha died in prison, according to the Legenda Aurea in “the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-three in the time of Decius, the emperor of Rome.”

Saint Agatha is a patron saint of Malta, where in 1551 her intercession through a reported apparition to a Benedictine nun is said to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion.   Agatha is the patron saint of bell-founders because of the shape of her severed breasts and also of bakers, whose loaves were blessed at her feast day.   More recently, she has been venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients. She is claimed as the patroness of Palermo.   The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mt. Etna was attributed to her intercession.   As a result, apparently, people continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire.

Agatha is buried at the Badia di Sant’Agata, Catania.   She is listed in the late 6th-century Martyrologium Hieronymianum associated with Jerome and the Synaxarion, the calendar of the church of Carthage, ca. 530.438px-Catania's_duomo_and_balloons

Two early churches were dedicated to her in Rome, notably the Church of Sant’Agata dei Goti in Via Mazzarino, a titular church with apse mosaics of c 460 and traces of a fresco cycle, overpainted by Gismondo Cerrini in 1630.   Agatha is also depicted in the mosaics of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, where she appears, richly dressed, in the procession of female martyrs along the north wall.

Basques have a tradition of gathering on Saint Agatha’s Eve (Basque: Santa Ageda bezpera) and going round the village. Homeowners can choose to hear a song about her life, accompanied by the beats of their walking sticks on the floor or a prayer for the household’s deceased.   After that, the homeowner donates food to the chorus.[25] This song has varying lyrics according to the local tradition and the Basque language.

An annual festival to commemorate the life of Saint Agatha takes place in Catania, Sicily, from February 3 to 5.   The festival culminates in a great all-night procession through the city for which hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents turn out.catania_i_cannalori

St Agatha’s Tower is a former Knight’s stronghold located in the north west of Malta.  The seventeenth-century tower served as a military base during both World Wars and was used as a radar station by the Maltese army.

Burial of St Agatha, by Giulio Campi, 1537
Burial of St Agatha, by Giulio Campi, 1537

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 July – St Apollinaris Bishop Martyr, Disciple of St Peter

Saint of the Day – 23 July – St Apollinaris (1st Century) – Bishop Martyr, Disciple of St Peter (born in Antioch, Turkey and was Martyred by being stabbed with a sword c 79 at Ravenna, Italy).   His relics are at the Benedictine abbey of Classe, Ravenna and in Saint Lambert’s Church, Düsseldorf, Germany.  Patronages – epilepsy; gout, archdiocese of Ravenna-Cervia, Italy and 6 cities.

NO 1 ST APOLLINARIS

St Apollinaris was a native of Antioch in Roman Province of Syria.   As the first Bishop of Ravenna, he faced nearly constant persecution.   He and his flock were exiled from Ravenna during the persecutions of Emperor Vespasian (or Nero, depending on the source).
He was made Bishop of Ravenna, Italy, by Saint Peter himself.   The miracles he wrought there soon attracted official attention, for they and his preaching won many converts to the Faith, while at the same time bringing upon him the fury of the idolaters, who beat him cruelly and drove him from the city.   He was found half-dead on the seashore and kept in concealment by the Christians but was captured again and compelled to walk on burning coals and a second time expelled.   But he remained in the vicinity and continued his work of evangelisation.   We find him then journeying in the Roman province of Aemilia [in Italy].   A third time he returned to Ravenna.   Again he was captured, hacked with knives, had scalding water poured over his wounds, was beaten in the mouth with stones because he persisted in preaching and was flung into a horrible dungeon, loaded with chains, to starve to death;  but after four days he was put on board a ship and sent to Greece.   There the same course of preachings, miracles and sufferings continued and when his very presence caused the oracles to be silent, he was, after a cruel beating, sent back to Italy.

San Pietro sends Saint Apollinaris to Ravenna to convert the city

All this continued for three years and a fourth time he returned to Ravenna.   By this time Vespasian was Emperor, and he, in answer to the complaints of the pagans, issued a decree of banishment against the Christians.   Apollinaris was kept concealed for some time but as he was passing out of the gates of the city, was set upon and savagely beaten and stabbed but he lived for seven days, foretelling meantime that the persecutions would increase but that the Church would ultimately triumph.

StApollinarisST APOLLINARIS.3.jpgMartyrdom of St Apollinaris Lattanzio Querena ––19th. century