Thursday, December 31, 2009

St. Sylvester I

St Sylvester, whom God appointed to govern his holy church in the first years of her temporal prosperity and triumph over her persecuting enemies, was a native of Rome and son to Rufinus and Justa. According to the general rule with those who are saints from their cradle, he received early and in his infancy the strongest sentiments of Christian piety from the example, instructions, and care of a virtuous mother, who for his education in the sound maxims and practice of religion, and in sacred literature, put him young into the hands of Charitius, or Carinus, a priest of an unexceptionable character and great abilities. Being formed under an excellent master, he entered among the clergy of Rome and was ordained priest by Pope Marcellinus, before the peace of the church was disturbed by Diocletian and his associate in the empire. His behaviour in those turbulent and dangerous times recommended him to the public esteem, and he saw the triumph of the cross by the victory which Constantine gained over Maxentius within sight of the city of Rome, on the 28th of October 312. Pope Melchiades dying in January 314. St. Sylvester was exalted to the pontificate, and the same year commissioned four legates, two priests, and two deacons to represent him at the great council of the Western church, held at Arles in August, in which the schism of the Donatists, which had then subsisted seven years, and the heresy of the Quartodecimans were condemned, and many important points of discipline regulated in twenty-two canons. These decisions were sent by the council before it broke up, with an honourable letter, to Pope Sylvester, and were confirmed by him and published to the whole church. The general council of Nice was assembled against Arianism in 325. Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret say that Pope Sylvester was not able to come to it in person on account of his great age, but that he sent his legates. Gelasius of Cyzicus mentions that in it "Osius held the place of the Bishop of Rome, together with the Roman priests Vito and Vincentius." These three are named the first in subscriptions of the bishops in the editions of the acts of that council and in Socrates, who expressly places them before Alexander, patriarch of Alexandria, and Eustathius, patriarch of Antioch. St. Sylvester greatly advanced religion by a punctual discharge of all the duties of his exalted station during the space of twenty-one years and eleven months; and died on the 31st of December 335. He was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla. Pope Sergius II translated his body and deposited it under the altar in a church dedicated to God in his memory. Mention is made of an altar consecrated to God in his honour at Verona, about the year 500; and his name occurs in the ancient Martyrology called St. Jerome's, published by Florentinius, and in those of Bede, Ado, Usuard, &c. Pope Gregory IX, in 1227, made his festival general in the Latin church; the Greeks keep it on the 10th January. After a prodigious effusion of Christian blood almost all the world over, during the space of three hundred years, the persecuting kingdoms at length laid down their arms and submitted to the faith and worship of God crucified for us. This ought to be to us a subject of thanksgiving. But do our lives express this faith? Does it triumph in our hearts? It is one of its first precepts that in all our actions we make God our beginning and end, and have only his divine honour and his holy law in view. We ought, therefore, so to live that the days, hours, and moments of the year may form a crown made up of good works, which we may offer to God. Our forgetfulness of him who is our last end, in almost all that we -do, calls for a sacrifice of compunction at the close of the year; but this cannot be perfect or acceptable to God unless we sincerely devote our whole hearts and lives to his holy love for the time to come. Let us therefore examine into the sources of former omissions, failures, and transgressions, and take effectual measures for our amendment and for the perfect regulation of all our affections and actions for the future, or that part of our life which may remain.

help and sustain your people
by the prayers of Pope Sylvester.
Guide us always in this present life
and bring us to the joy that never ends.
We ask this through Christ our Lord who
lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
One God forver and ever.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

St. Felix I

Felix was chosen as Pope on 5 January 269. Felix was the author of an important dogmatic letter on the unity of Christ's Person. He received the emperor Aurelian's aid in settling a theological dispute between the anti-Trinitarian Paul of Samosata, who had been deprived of the bishopric Antioch by a council of bishops for heresy and the orthodox Domnus, Paul's successor. Paul refused to give way, and in 272 the emperor Aurelian was asked to decide between the rivals. He ordered the church building to be given to the bishop who was "recognized by the bishops of Italy and of the city of Rome". The notice about Felix in the "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to him a decree that Masses should be celebrated on the tombs of martyrs, The author of this entry was evidently alluding to the custom of celebrating Mass privately at the altars near or over the tombs of the martyrs in the crypts of the catacombs ,while the solemn celebration always took place in the basilicas built over the catacombs. This practice, still in force at the end of the fourth century, dates apparently from the period when the great cemeterial basilicas were built in Rome, and owes its origin to the solemn commemoration services of martyrs, held at their tombs on the anniversary of their burial, as early as the third century. Felix probably issued no such decree, but the compiler of the "Liber Pontificalis" attributed it to him because he made no departure from the custom in force in his time.
It is not certain that St. Felix I was a martyr but if he is then may GOD recieve him in his glory.

Lord you gave Felix I the strenght to lead your church may we recieve all blessings that he now bestows upon us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

St. Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket was born in London,England in 1118. He was a cleric of the diocese of Canterbury,he first became chancellor to the king and then in 1162 was chosen bishop. His tireless defense of rights of the Church against Henry the II prompted the king to exile Becket to France for six years. After returning to his homeland, he endured many trials and in 1170 was murdered by agents of the king, for not denouncing his faith. He was martyred by being decapitated. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is recognized in the Catholic Church as a Bishop and Martyr. His Patron Saint of Independence of the Church against the State. His attributes are the palm of martyrdom and a sword stuck in his skull. He was canonized by Pope Alexander III.

Almighty and eternal God may
the life and martyrdom of your servant Thomas
help us be born in you in heaven
so we to can be saints.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day of the Holy Innocents

In the second chapter of the Book of Matthew is recorded the story of the Massacre of the Holy Innocents, an event which recalls the Pharaoh's instructions to midwives during the time Israel was enslaved in Egypt:
Exodus 1:15-16, 22:
And the king of Egypt spoke to the midwives of the Hebrews: of whom one was called Sephora, the other Phua, Commanding them: When you shall do the office of midwives to the Hebrew women, and the time of delivery is come: if it be a man child, kill it: if a woman, keep it alive...
...Pharaoh therefore charged all his people, saying: Whatsoever shall be born of the male sex, ye shall cast into the river: whatsoever of the female, ye shall save alive.
Since the sixth century, on December 28, the Church has celebrated the memory of those children killed because of Herod's rage against Christ (Mt 2:16-17). Liturgical tradition refers to them as the "Holy Innocents" and regards them as martyrs. Throughout the centuries Christian art, poetry and popular piety have enfolded the memory of the "tender flock of lambs" with sentiments of tenderness and sympathy. These sentiments are also accompanied by a note of indignation against the violence with which they were taken from their mothers' arms and killed.
Since the sixth century, on December 28, the Church has celebrated the memory of those children killed because of Herod's rage against Christ (cf. Mt 2:16-17). Liturgical tradition refers to them as the "Holy Innocents" and regards them as martyrs. Throughout the centuries Christian art, poetry and popular piety have enfolded the memory of the "tender flock of lambs"(125) with sentiments of tenderness and sympathy. These sentiments are also accompanied by a note of indignation against the violence with which they were taken from their mothers' arms and killed.

the Holy Innocents offered you praise
by the death they suffered for Christ.
May our lives bear witness
to the faith we profess with our lips.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Sunday, December 27, 2009

St. John the Apostle

John son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James, was able to capture images with exquisite literary sublime thoughts of God. Man of spiritual elevation, is considered the eagle that rises to the dizzy heights of the Trinitarian mystery, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
It's the closest to Jesus and he is near at the most solemn of his life. It is with him at the Last Supper, during the process and, alone among the apostles, witnesses his death at the hand of the Virgin. At the foot of the cross John represented us when Jesus told him Mary was his mother. Making Mary our mother . But contrary to what may suggest the representations of art, John was not a fanciful and delicate man, and it would put the nickname Master him and his brother James - "sons of thunder" - to show us a lively temperament and impulsive, outside commitments and doubts, to seem intolerant.
In the Gospel he presents himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Although we can not inquire into the secret of this ineffable friendship, we can guess a certain analogy between the soul of the "son of thunder" and the "Son of man", who came to earth to bring not only peace but also the fire . After the resurrection, John parmanecerá long time with Peter. Paul in his letter to the Galatians, speaks of Peter, James and John "as the pillars" of the Church.
In Revelation John says he was persecuted and relegated to the island of Patmos by the "word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." According to tradition, John lived at Ephesus in the company of the Virgin, and under Domitian was cast in a boiler boiling oil, which was unhurt, but with the glory of having given him also his "testimony". After the banishment in Patmos, he returned to Ephesus where he tirelessly urged the faithful to brotherly love, as shown by the three letters contained in the New Testament. He died of old age in Ephesus during the reign of Trajan, circa 98. John is one of 4 Evangelists and 1 of 12 Apostles. John was the youngest apostle.

God our Father,
you have revealed the mysteries
of your word thruugh John the Apostle.
May your Divine word lead us
to Heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

St. Stephen

Stephen was born in the 1st Century in Jerusalem. Stephen is the very First Martyr in the Catholic Church, this is why he is referred to as a ProtoMartyr. Stephen's story is in Acts 6:5-15 and Acts 7:55-60. Stephen was chosen by the The Twelve (Peter, Andrew, John, James, James,Phillip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Thaddeus, Simon and Barnabas.)to be another follower and proclaim the "good news" that was Christ. Since Peter was made the Bishop and later Pope by Christ, he and the Twelve decided to make St. Stephen a Deacon. Stephen is usually depicted in the Deacon's Dalmatic also with the stones at his head and with the Palm of the Martyr(as we see above). Later on in the Acts of the Apostles it mentions where St. Stephen had traveled to Acts 11:19-20. While they killed Stephen a young man named Saul of Tarsus who had approved of the killing later proclaimed a mass persicution of any Christians. To this many went into hiding but many were killed such as Stephen. To the many of Stephen's killers, they all saw him and were frightened at the fact that Stephen was bright as the sun and he seemed as an angel, Stephen then said, "...I can see my Lord in the clouds in heaven...". Stephen had spread the Gospel of Christ to parts of the Mediterranean, where we will later see another Great Saint finish the job St. Stephen had just started, that young man named Saul of Tarsus would later become that man who would convert and proclaim many parts of the Mediterranean.

Lord you blessed your beloved son Stephen to be the first to bear witness to your infinite love. May we not shy away from any oppourtunity to be witnesses of our faith. Lord the gates of heaven opened up for your beloved son Stephen and he was crowned First of Martyrs. May we recieve every blessing from the blood shed by our brother St. Stephen.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Nativity Of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Nativity of Our Lord is one of the world's most celebrated Christian Traditions.

Christ was born in the manger in the town of Bethlehem. The Nativity was announced at the Annunciation and ended at the Nativity. Before that was the birth of Saint John the Baptist. While the Virgin Mary was pregnant Saint Joseph took her on a donkey to Bethlehem so the Child Jesus could be born among us. While Christ was being born the Three Wise Men went to King Herod's temple. They thought that the new born king was in the temple. They asked Herod where the new born King Of The Jews was. Herod got worried that Jesus was going to throw him of his throne. Herod told them when they found Jesus to tell him where he was so he could pay his salutations to Christ. The Three Wise Men followed a star to get to Jesus. While Mary and Joseph were looking for some place to stay they saw an inn but it was full. They went to the manger where people put their donkeys,horses,cows,and pigs. Once they went in Mary gave light to the world. The Child Jesus was born in the manger. When Jesus was born the town people went to visit him even an angel visited him. Once the wise men saw the star shine bright they followed it and saw Jesus they brought him gifts of gold,myrrh,and frankincense. Once Herod heard Jesus was born he sent his soldiers to slaughter any infant from the ages of 0 years old-2 years old. While Joseph was asleep he had a dream where the Angel told him to flee to Egypt. Once Herod's soldiers got to Bethlehem it was to late Jesus and His family had left. But they killed every infant from the ages of 0 years old-2 years old. We in the Catholic Church celebrate these martyrs as the Holy Innocents.

Father may the birth of your son
Jesus help us understand the true meaning of
Christmas. May we be born in heaven so
we may adore your blessed son Jesus Christ.
Whom we ask to hear our prayer.


St. Peter Nolasco

Born in Barcelona, Spain, 1189.
At 15, he suffers the death of his father and is ready to share their many blessings to sanctify what her mother nods.
Years later, being of marriageable age, a pilgrimage to Montserrat. There, at the foot of the Virgin, could understand the emptiness of worldly vanities and the treasure of eternal life. He promised then to the Virgin kept pure and devoted to your service.
Those were the times that Muslims had looted the coasts and Christians as slaves to Africa. The horrible condition of these victims was indescribable. So many were losing faith believing that God had abandoned them. Pedro Nolasco was a merchant. Decided to dedicate his fortune to the release of the greatest number of slaves. He remembered the words of the gospel: "Do not store their fortune in this land where thieves to steal and moth devours and rust to corrode. Store their wealth in heaven, where no thieves who steal, neither moth nor rust devour that the damage "Mt 6:20.
In 1203 the San Pedro Nolasco lay in Valencia began the redemption of captives, redeeming his own heritage to 300 captives. Form a group willing to share their goods and organizes expeditions to negotiate redemptions. Its status as traders facilitates their work. They traded to rescue slaves. When they ran the money-form groups, guilds to raise the "alms for the captives." But there comes a time when aid is exhausted. Peter Nolasco is raised in a religious order to enter or be in the desert. Entered a period of reflection and deep prayer.
Intervention of the Virgin for the foundation
On the night of 1 to 2 August 1218, the Virgin appeared to Peter Nolasco. According to a dubious tradition, also the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Raymond of Penafort, and King James I of Aragon, and reported three separate his desire to found an order to redeem captives.
The fact is that Mary's heart deeply moved Pedro Nolasco to found the Order of Merced and formalize the work that he and his bandmates were already for 15 years. On August 10, 1218 at the high altar of the Cathedral of Barcelona, in the presence of King James I of Aragon and Bishop Berenguer de Palou, establishing the new institution. Peter and his companions received the habit and received the shield with four red stripes on a yellow background of the Crown of Aragon and the white cross on red background, head of the cathedral of Barcelona. Pedro Nolasco Blessed always recognized as the true founder of Our Lady of Mercy order. The patron is Our Lady of Mercy. "Merced" means "mercy".The order is also known as the Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives or the Mercedarians.(More about La Virgen de la Merced and San Nolasco).
The new order was secular in the early days. Its first location was the hospital of Santa Eulalia, near the royal palace. They gathered to indigent prisoners and returning from Moorish lands and had nowhere to go. They continued the work that had previously done to raise awareness about the captives and raise money for their release. They were often accompanied by ex-prisoners, because when one was rescued, was required to participate for a while in this service. Normally each year on expeditions were redemptive. San Pedro continued his personal journey in search of Christian slaves. In Algeria, Africa, he was taken prisoner but managed to win their freedom. Taking advantage of his gifts as a merchant, organized successful collections by many cities to the slaves.
The monks were, besides the three vows of religious life, poverty, chastity and obedience, a fourth, devoting his life to free slaves. On entering the order the members undertook to stay instead of a captive who was in danger of losing faith, if that money does not reach to pay the redemption. Among those who remained as slaves is San Pedro Ermengol, a nobleman who entered the order after a dissolute youth. This fourth vow distinguished the new community of Merced.
Nono approved by Pope Gregory the community and Saint Pedro Nolasco was named Superior General.
King James said that if he had succeeded in conquering the city of Valencia, this was due to the prayers of Peter Nolasco. Every time I got a victory he attributed to the prayers of this saint.
Before he died, at age 77 (on December 25 of 1258), delivered the Psalm 76: "Thou, O God, and do wonders, you showed your power to the people and with your arm that has rescued the captives were enslaved .
His intercession did many miracles, and Pope Urban VIII declared him a saint in 1628. He is in the Roman Martyrology.

Father almighty may the life
of your servant Peter Nolasco
help us get closer to the Eucharist
by going to your Divine Church.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

St. Adela and Irmina

They were daughters of Dagobert II. Dagobert acceded to the throne of Austrasia at the age of seven, upon the death of Sigebert III, but was quickly deposed. Dagobert fled to Ireland and returned to Metz in 673 and claimed the throne. During exile, he married an Anglo-Saxon princess named Matilda and had five children, with saints Adela and Irmina among them.
Both women were engaged to marriage to noblemen, but both became widows. Irmina was widowed before her marriage, and she founded a Benedictine convent at Horren in Trier. When a plague threatened her community, she gained the help of Saint Willibrord. When the pestilence passed by the convent, she gave Willibrord the lands for his abbey in Echternach.
Adela was married and had a child by her husband, Alberic. Alberic died within a few years of the marriage. Despite multiple marriage offers, she chose to take up holy orders as well. She founded the convent of Palatiolum in lands that were then undeveloped outside of Trier. The site later developed into the town of Pfalzel. She was the first abbess of this convent and died on December 24, 735.
There is no image of the sisters.

Lord may the our prayers bind with Ss. Adela and Irminia so that religious vocations may increase.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.AMEN.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

St. John Cantius

Born at Kenty, near Oswiecim, Diocese of Krakow, Poland, 1412 died at Krakow, 1473, and was buried there under the church of St. Anne; his feast is on 20 October. He was the son of Stanislaus and Anne who were pious country people; he received his primary education at his native town, and then being sent by his parents to the Academy of Krakow, he soon impressed his professors and colleagues with his pleasant and amiable disposition; always happy, but serious, humble, and godly, he won the hearts of all who came in contact with him. Having made excellent progress in the study of philosophical and theological sciences, he was graduated first as bachelor, then as master and doctor, was ordained priest and then appointed professor of theology at the Academy of Krakow, from where he was sent, after a short time, by his superiors to Olkusz, Diocese of Krakow, to be parish priest. Being afraid of the great responsibility of parish work, he very soon left the parish, and was again appointed professor of Sacres Scripture at the Academy of Krakow, which position he held without interruption until his death. As testified by Michael Miechowita, the medieval Polish historian and the saint's first biographer, extreme humility and charity were conspicuous in his life; he took as his motto:
Conturbare cave: non est placare suave,
Infamare cave; nam revocare grave.
He distributed to the poor all the money and clothes he had, retaining only what was absolutely necessary to support himself. He slept but little, and on the floor, ate very sparingly, and was a total abstainer from meat after he became a doctor. He made one pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the desire of becoming a martyr among the Turks, and four pilgrimages to Rome on foot. During his life he performed various miracles, which were multiplied after his death at his tomb. He was canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Roman Breviary distinguishes him with three hymns; he is the only confessor not a bishop who is thus honoured.

Father may your servant
John help us get closer to your Divine
Please grant us this through
Christ our LOrd.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

St. Chaeromon

Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was instituted by Emperor Trajanus Decius, Chaeromon was an elderly man. He and several companions fled into the Arabian desert and were never seen again. The bishop and his companions are listed as martyrs.

There is hardly anything known about Saint Chaeromon other than the information written above.

Lord, you led your humble servant Chaeromon
into the land of Martyrs,
let us follow his example and never fear death for the Faith.

Monday, December 21, 2009

St. Peter Canisius

Saint Peter Kanijs born in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, in 1521, and may be defined as a hierrro placed between the anvil, ie white irritation raised his clear preaching in Protestant circles, and the malevolence that I tried envy among them fellow religion. Son of the mayor of Nijmegen, Pedro Kanijs, Latin Canicius, was able to attend excellent schools: canon law and civil law at Louvain in Cologne.
In this city liked to spend free time in the monastery of the Carthusians. No one suspected that the young lawyer, whom the father had secured support in his profession, take a hair shirt under her dress. Reading the brief treatise on the Spiritual Exercises, had recently written to San Ignacio, determined the turning point of his life: the pious practice ended in Mainz under the direction of Father Faber, entered the Society of Jesus and was the eighth Jesuit in solemn vows. The young congregation was able to cultivate their favorite studies and their love of learning, to Him we owe the publication of the works of St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Leo the Great, St. Jerome and Osio de Córdoba.
He lived in the very climate of reform and counter. He actively participated in
Peter Canisius, Saint
the Council of Trent as theologian of Cardinal Truchsess and adviser of the Pope. He was distinguished by the depth of his theological, for his zeal and activity, but also by the spirit concialiador. St. Ignatius called him to Italy, then sent to Sicily to found the first of the famous colleges, then to Bologna to teach theology to resubmitting to Germany, where for thirty years, as provincial superior, spent his best energies in as difficult a time characterized by the breakdown of the Protestant church. He rightly called second apostle of Germany (the first was St. Boniface).
As a writer not only devoted to works of scholarship, but also and especially the catechetical, tailoring teaching to the capacity of small and large. St. Pius V offered him a cardinal, but Peter Canisius 1e asked the Pope to let him in his humble service to the community, spending their time in prayer and penance. He died in Freiburg (Switzerland) on 21 December 1597. In 1925 he was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church.

Almighty and Eternal God
we ask you that the life
of servant Peter help us
understand that we can get closer to you
through the Eucharist.
We ask this through Christ our LOrd.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

St. Dominic of Silos

Benedictine abbot and defender of the faith. Born in Canas, Navarre, Spain, circa 1000, he entered the Benedictines at San Millan de Ia Cogolla. King Garcia III of Navarre challenged him when he became abbot of the monastery, and Dominic refused to surrender part of the Benedictine lands to the crown. For this he was exiled, going to King Ferdinand I of Castile and Leon, who made him abbot of St. Sebastian Abbey at Silos, now called St. Dominic’s. Dominic reformed the abbey, built the cloisters in Romanesque style, and started a scriptorium that became famous throughout the region. One of the most beloved saints in Spain, Dominic also rescued Christian slaves from the Moors. Dominic’s shrine is noted for its place in the birth of Dominic de Guzman, the founder of the Order of Preachers. Dominic de Guzman’s mother begged for a child there. Dominic was also noted for miracles of healing.

Lord may the memory of St. Dominic of Silos be an example, so that we too may live a life of sanctity.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

St. Anastasius I

Nation was Roman, his father was called Maximus. He was elected Pope Gratian prevail, and it happened in the Apostolic San Sericius in December 398. He had the high priesthood three years, ten months and twenty days.
Was that priests were not seated, but standing and leaning when Evagelia read or sing in the church, and that no pilgrim was largely if Transmarine, was admitted into the clergy if he brought no witness who was sealed and signed by five bishops. This ordered by the Manichean, which then were much esteemed in Africa, and to corrupt Catholics sent many of their people to various parts where they could plant their heresies. Was also weak or crippled, or any others that lacked any member, were not clerics.
Consecrated the church in the region called Crescentina second in via Mamertine. Held twice orders for the month of December, and ordered them to 8 priests, 5 deacons and 10 bishops, and having served the Lord faithfully (because the world was not worthy of enjoying long time, as St. Jerome, his contemporary, it was made Pope for his great holiness and to apostolic poverty and more than 70 years of age, and also because in his time did not see the ever triumphant surrendered to Rome, mistress of the world), passed from this life to possess this eternal pril for 27 year 401, Gratian prevail, according to some Arcadius and Honorius.
St. Athanasius Donatist heresy fought in North Africa and condemned the errors of Origen.
His holy body was buried in the cemetery of St. Peter at the Bear Pleat and his death was vacant chair aspostolic 21 days.

He is the 39th Pope of the Church.He is also a confessor

Almighty father may the
vicar of of Peter and confessor of the
Church St. Anastasius I help us get closer to you
In the Eucharist.
We ask this through Christ our lord.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Lady of Expectation

Celebrated on 18 December by nearly the entire Latin Church. Owing to the ancient law of the Church prohibiting the celebration of feasts during Lent (a law still in vigour at Milan ), the Spanish Church transferred the feast of the Annunciation from 25 March to the season of Advent, the Tenth Council of Toledo (656) assigning it definitely to 18 December. It was kept with a solemn octave. When the Latin Church ceased to observe the ancient custom regarding feasts in Lent, the Annunciation came to be celebrated twice in Spain, viz. 25 March and 18 December, in the calendars of both the Mozarabic and the Roman Rite (Missale Gothicum, ed. Migne, pp. 170, 734). The feast of 18 December was commonly called, even in the liturgical books , "S. Maria de la O", because on that day the clerics in the choir after Vespers used to utter a loud and protracted "O", to express the longing of the universe for the coming of the Redeemer (Tamayo, Mart. Hisp., VI, 485). The Roman "O" antiphons have nothing to do with this term, because they are unknown in the Mozarabic Rite. This feast and its octave were very popular in Spain, where the people still call it "Nuestra Señora de la O". It is not known at what time the term Expectatio Partus first appeared; it is not found in the Mozarabic liturgical books. St. Ildephonsus cannot, therefore, have invented it, as some have maintained. The feast was always kept in Spain and was approved for Toledo in 1573 by Gregory XIII as a double major, without an octave. The church of Toledo has the privilege (approved 29 April 1634) of celebrating this feast even when it occurs on the fourth Sunday of Advent. The "Expectatio Partus" spread from Spain to other countries; in 1695 it was granted to Venice and Toulouse, in 1702 to the Cistercians, in 1713 to Tuscany, in 1725 to the Papal States. The Office in the Mozarabic Breviary is exceedingly beautiful; it assigns special antiphons for every day of the octave. At Milan the feast of the Annunciation is, even to the present, kept on the last Sunday before Christmas. The Mozarabic Liturgy also celebrates a feast called the Expectation (or Advent ) of St. John the Baptist on the Sunday preceding 24 June.

You chose Our Mother the Ever Virgin Mary,
to be your mother in this world,
may we be guided by her intercession into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

St.Lazarus of Bethany

The first and main source of information we have is the Gospel of Lazarus. Bethany lives in a short distance from Jerusalem, as I like to call a residential area. His house is also home to Saint Martha and Saint Mary of Bethany her sisters. And until it feels the Gospel story is not he who calls the shots at the mansion. It seems to Marta who manages the day roost. Someone has been attributed to the poor health of Lazarus that fact certainly rare in a society in which women painted little or at least did not have much to say. Nor do I assert that this assumption is supported by the story, because it could be that the age difference between them is a figure for the prevalence of Martha that perhaps should take over the house after the death of his parents who On the other hand, we have not the slightest reference.
The fact is that Jesus Christ often visited the house well when moved from side to side in his apostolic wanderings when I needed a shelter or rest to rest your tired body. He was comfortable. It was a lovely family. With them there were no secrets. Awaiting the arrival of salvation that God had promised from ancient and they suspected imminent. There was trust and like Jesus entertained pilgrim became worthy of the betrayal of Jesus.
One day Lazarus became ill, there was no remedy among those usually applied to solve its bad and died. However much they brought to Jesus, He came to Bethany four days after he had been buried. Accompanied by sisters, surrounded by his disciples, referred by grieving friends who accompanied the sisters to relieve pain, before the tomb comes a dramatic fact: Jesus was deeply moved and wept openly for the dead friend. Reza and gives an authoritative voice
Lazarus of Bethany, Saint
"Lazarus, come out!" And died four days that he was stinking out the tomb and lives.
Then things happen quickly. The heads of the people who already had between eyes to Jesus, to find that it is impossible to hide the obvious, that people-between curious and amazed "moves to Bethany to see who was buried alive but died days ago, the voices are transmitting a continuous and unstoppable fact that they are left alone, decide to accelerate the death of Jesus and Lazarus include in their plans of extermination.
So much for historical reference about Lazarus.
From this great marvel, the amazing human capacity left free rein to the imagination that recreates the story by putting the host in the crosshairs of the possibilities and begins to generate the fable. Some do match the Lazarus of the parable of Dives and end up pointing to him as protector of infirmaries, leprosy and sore, the boldest talk about him as a disciple of Jesus who comes to the bishop and martyr of Christ ends up dying. Others do navigator to Gaul and tireless preacher of the Gospel in Marseille ...

Father may the disciple of
Christ St.Lazarus help us
get closer to you and our Mother the Virgin Mary
so we to can be come disciples of
Christ and his holy word.
Father may Christ grant us this.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

St. Mary Di Rosa

Saint Mary (Paula) Di Rosa December 15 The pounding on the barricaded door of the military hospital sent every heart thudding in terror. In the middle of the war in Brescia (Italy) in 1848, the wounded, sick, and those who cared for them knew what that pounding meant. The shouts from beyond the door came from soldiers, not obeying any command but their inner desire to destroy and plunder. Who could do anything to stop them? The only people here were some Sisters, the Handmaids of Charity, who devoted themselves to helping the sick. The doctors had not even wanted them there. The doctors wanted medical people who were secular and military, not nuns. And in the face of this new danger they were even more useless! Worse than useless -- because that Paula (as she was known) di Rosa was actually moving to open the door!

When the door swung wide, the soldiers saw their way blocked with a great crucifix held by Paula di Rosa and two candles held by two of the six sisters who stood by her. Suddenly their frenzy to destroy disappeared, and full of shame before this display of courage and faith, they slunk back into the shadows.

Throughout her life, Paula di Rosa was never afraid to open the door on a new opportunity to serve God, especially when she was unsure of what lay beyond. People who didn't know her well must have thought she was too frail and delicate for these ventures, but she came armed not only with her faith but boundless energy, intelligence, and hunger to serve.

Born in 1813, she had tackled enormous projects from the time she was seventeen, arranging retreats and special missions for her parish and setting up a women's guild. Because of all she accomplished, when she was only twenty-four she was asked to be supervisor of a workhouse for poor girls. After two years, she became concerned because there was no place for the girls to go at the end of the day. Night held special dangers for these girls and Paula wanted to give them a safe place to stay. The trustees refused to provide that place. For Paula the choice was easy -- she once said that she could never go to bed with a clear conscience if she had missed the chance to do some good. So she quit the workhouse to set up a boardinghouse for poor girls while helping her brother with a school for the deaf.

At 27 she stood before another door. She was appointed superior of the Handmaids of Charity, a religious society whose purpose was to dedicate all their time and attention to the suffering in hospitals. With her friends Gabriela Bornati and Monsignor Pinzoni, she won the respect of those who thought of these "handmaids" as intruders.

Then in 1848, her whole life seemed to fall apart. First she lost Gabriela and then Monsignor Pinzoni died, leaving her without the support and friendship she had come to depend on. War started in Europe and her homeland was invaded. Facing that kind of grief and turmoil, many others would have crawled into bed and pulled the covers over their head. But Paula had always seen opportunity in everything that came her way. War meant that many would be wounded and displaced by the war so she and her sisters went to work at a military hospital and even went out to the battlefield to give spiritual and physical comfort to the wounded and dying.

She died in 1855, going through the final door, unafraid and joyful to be joining her Lord forever.

Saint Mary, you weren't afraid to take new opportunities. It's frightening when we are asked to do something that is different or new. We would rather stay in our safe and comfortable routines. Help us to embrace each obstacle in our path as a new opportunity to serve God.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

St.Virginia Centurione Bracelli

Virginia Centurione, Bracelli widow, was born on April 2, 1587 in Genoa (Italy). She was the daughter of George Centurione, Doge of the Republic in the year 1621-1622, and Lelia Spinola, both descendants of ancient noble families. Baptized two days later, received her first religious and literary formation of his mother and a tutor.
Although since his teens expressed an inclination to the life of the cloister, had to accept the decision of his father, who wanted to marry, on 10 December 1602, with Grimaldi Bracelli Gaspar, a young wealthy heir of an illustrious family, but inclined to a disorderly life and gambling addiction. She gave birth to two daughters: Lelia and Isabella.
Virginia married life was short lived. Gaspar Bracelli, however the marriage and parenthood, did not abandon his dissipated lifestyle, to the point of endangering its own existence. Virginia, with her great patience, prayer and affection, tried to convince her husband to undertake a modest life. Unfortunately, Gaspar was sick, but Christian died on June 13, 1607 in Alessandria, assisted by his wife, who had moved there to heal him.
Now a widow with only 20 years, Virginia took a vow of perpetual chastity, dismissing the chances of remarriage, as suggested by his father, and she lived in retirement at his mother-in to apply to education and property management their children and dedicating herself to prayer and charity.
In 1610 she clearly felt the special vocation "to serve God through the poor". Although she was strictly controlled by her father, without ever neglecting the care of his family, he began working for the needy. She personally helped distributing in alms half of her wealth, or through charitable institutions of that time.
Once conveniently placed their daughters in marriage, Virginia was entirely devoted to the care of abandoned kids, the elderly and the sick, and promotion of the marginalized.
The war between the Republic of Genoa and the Duke of Savoy, supported by France, increasing unemployment and hunger, led Virginia in the winter of 1624-1625, to welcome at home, first to fifteen young abandoned, then by increasing the number of fugitives in the city, to the poor as he could, especially women, providing all your needs.
After the death of her mother-in August of 1625, not only began to accept girls who came spontaneously, but she herself went through the city, especially the most notorious neighborhoods in search of more need and who were in danger of corruption.
In order to meet the growing poverty, led to the Hundred Ladies of Mercy protective of the Poor of Jesus Christ, an association which, in conjunction with the local chapter of the "Eight Ladies of Mercy," had the specific task of check directly, through home visits, the needs of the poor, especially if they were paupers.
To intensify the initiative of hosting the young, especially during times of plague and famine in 1629-1630, Virginia was forced to take on lease the empty convent of Monte, where he moved on April 14 in 1631 with her beneficiaries, which came under the protection of Our Lady of Refuge. Three years after the Work already had three houses in which lived about 300 acogidas.Por that Virginia saw fit to ask for official recognition to the Senate, which he gave on 13 December 1635.
The beneficiaries of Our Lady of Refuge became for Santa in his "daughters" par excellence, with whom she shared the food and clothing, and taught them catechism and train them to work for that earned their own livelihood.
Intending to give the work its own office, having renounced the acquisition of Montecalvario because its too expensive, he bought two adjacent houses on the hill of Carignano, who, with the construction of a new annex of the church dedicated to Our Lady of Refuge, became the mother house of the Work.
The spirit that animated the institution founded by Virginia Bracelli was generally presented in the Rule compiled in the years 1644-1650. It is confirmed that all houses are the only Institution of Our Lady of Refuge, under the direction and administration of the Protectors (lay nobleman appointed by the Senate), reaffirming the division between the "daughters" with habit and "daughters" habit, but all must live - even if not votes - such as more observant nuns in obedience and poverty, working and praying, they also must be willing to go to serve in public hospitals as if they were forced through a vote.
Over time, the Institution is divided into two religious congregations: the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Calvary Refuge and the Daughters of Our Lady on Mount Calvary.
Following the appointment of the Protectors (July 3, 1641), who were considered the real top of the Work, Virginia disengaged herself more in the government of the house she was subject to his will and follow their rules, even in the acceptance of any youth in need. She lived as the last of his "daughter", dedicated to serving the house, went out in morning and afternoon to beg for the sustenance of the house. She cared for a mother to everyone, especially the sick, giving them more humble.
Already in previous years had started a healing social action, designed to cure the roots of evil and in relapse prevention: the sick and disabled were hospitalized in the Institute of for them, the men were sent on work initiated the women were exercising at the looms and doing sewing work and the children were obliged to go to school.
Growing up activities and the efforts, Virginia declined around the number of partners, especially middle and upper class women, who feared compromising their reputation in dealing with corrupt people following a guide, albeit noble and holy appreciates a little reckless in their companies.
Abandoned by the Auxiliary, in fact overruled by the protectors in the government of his work, and occupying the last place among the sisters in the house of Carignano, while his physical health was weakening rapidly, Virginia seemed to find new strength in solitude moral.
On March 25, 1637 that the Republic would get to the Virgin Mary as protector. She pleaded to the Archbishop of the city the institution of the Forty Hours, which began in Genoa at the end of 1642, and the preaching of parish missions (1643). She intervened to settle the frequent and bloody rivalries that, for trivial matters, arising between the noble families and knights. In 1647 she achieved the reconciliation between the Archbishop and the Government of the Republic, battling each other for pure prestiges issues never lose sight of the most abandoned, he was always available, regardless of social rank, for any who turned to her for help.
Enriched by the Lord with ecstasy, visions, locutions and other special mystical gifts, gave up his spirit to the Lord on December 15, 1651 at the age of 64.
The Pope John Paul II proclaimed her blessed, during his apostolic trip to Genoa, 22 September 1985, the same pope canonized in the Vatican Basilica on 18 May 2003.
she is one of the incorruptables.

Father may the life of your holy daugter
Virginia be to us a way of life to follow
may we follow her example so we to become saints.
We ask this through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns
with you and the holy spirit on GOD forever and ever.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Saint John of the Cross

Born in Spain in 1542, John learned the importance of self-sacrificing love from his parents. His father gave up wealth, status, and comfort when he married a weaver's daughter and was disowned by his noble family. After his father died, his mother kept the destitute family together as they wandered homeless in search of work. These were the examples of sacrifice that John followed with his own great love -- God.

When the family finally found work, John still went hungry in the middle of the wealthiest city in Spain. At fourteen, John took a job caring for hospital patients who suffered from incurable diseases and madness. It was out of this poverty and suffering, that John learned to search for beauty and happiness not in the world, but in God.

After John joined the Carmelite order, Saint Teresa of Avila asked him to help her reform movement. John supported her belief that the order should return to its life of prayer. But many Carmelites felt threatened by this reform, and some members of John's own order kidnapped him. He was locked in a cell six feet by ten feet and beaten three times a week by the monks. There was only one tiny window high up near the ceiling. Yet in that unbearable dark, cold, and desolation, his love and faith were like fire and light. He had nothing left but God -- and God brought John his greatest joys in that tiny cell.

After nine months, John escaped by unscrewing the lock on his door and creeping past the guard. Taking only the mystical poetry he had written in his cell, he climbed out a window using a rope made of stirps of blankets. With no idea where he was, he followed a dog to civilization. He hid from pursuers in a convent infirmary where he read his poetry to the nuns. From then on his life was devoted to sharing and explaining his experience of God's love.

His life of poverty and persecution could have produced a bitter cynic. Instead it gave birth to a compassionate mystic, who lived by the beliefs that "Who has ever seen people persuaded to love God by harshness?" and "Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love."

John left us many books of practical advice on spiritual growth and prayer that are just as relevant today as they were then. These books include:

Ascent of Mount Carmel

Dark Night of the Soul

and A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ

Since joy comes only from God, John believed that someone who seeks happiness in the world is like "a famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air." He taught that only by breaking the rope of our desires could we fly up to God. Above all, he was concerned for those who suffered dryness or depression in their spiritual life and offered encouragement that God loved them and was leading them deeper into faith.

"What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom -- your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won't find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you." -- Saint John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross, in the darkness of your worst moments, when you were alone and persecuted, you found God. Help me to have faith that God is there especially in the times when God seems absent and far away.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


St.Lucy was born in Sicily 283 AD.Lucy was a beautiful rich virgin.Lucy had a many young men who wanted to marry her.Lucy denied them because she took the vows of virginity.One day one young man saw her and asked to marry him.She denied him.He got frustrated at her and accused her of being Catholic.In 304 the emperor tried to make her denounce her faith.But she would always say "Long Live Christ the King and the Holy Spirit." So he asked her "Is the holy spirit in you?" She responded "Those who's hearts are pure are the temples of the Holy Spirit." The emperor was furious and told her furiously "Well I will make you fall in to the hands of sin and the Holy Spirit will abandon you." She responded again saying "I will never happen because the Holy Spirit will protect me." But nothing could make her sin. She said to them "Do you not see I am the temple of the Holy Spirit and that he protects me?" The emperor had her eyes taken out but GOD healed her. The emperor asked to burn her on the stake but she did not burn.At last he had her stabbed once the sword past through her heart she did not die until a priest brought the Eucharist to her. She died after she received communion.She died 304 AD in Sicily.

She the patron saint of blind; martyrs; Perugia, Italy; Mtarfa, Malta; epidemics; salesmen, Sicily, Italy,and throat infections.

Father almighty may the crown
of martyrdom and blood of Saint Lucy
be a seed for us to grow in faith in
you so we can get closer to your holy church.
We ask this through Christ our lord.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Lady of Guadalupe

On the morning of that cold 12th day of December, on the hill of Tepeyac a Miracle occurred which lead to conversion of many Natives of the Mexico. The Blessed Mother of Christ had appeared for the very first time in the Americas, and not to a wise man, nor king, nor priest, Our Blessed Mother appeared to the humble Indian of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. As he walked the 4 miles to get to the nearby church to attend to mass and catechism, Juan Diego was amazed at what he heard; he was hearing the sweetest songs from the sweetest birds, but before him stood the Ever Virgin Mary. At first he was startled and took precautions, but then the Virgin said to him "Juan Diego, my beloved little boy where are you off to?" To this Juan Diego shied away but then replied with "My little lady, my beloved I am off to church so I can learn about the Glorious teachings of God." Our Lady told Juan Diego to go to the Bishop and tell him that she wanted them to build a church on that ground which they stood. Juan Diego wished she would have chosen another but she made it pretty clear that she wanted him to do so. Juan Diego went to Bishop Zumarraga's home and asked the guards to let him, after some time with the guards he spoke to the bishop and said, "Sir Bishop, I have the seen the Mother of Christ, the Lady of the Sun and the Moon at her feet, and she demands that we build a church on Tepeyac Hill." To this the bishop thought he was kidding, to which he asked Juan Diego to go away and come back some other time.
Dec.10th- Juan Diego walked along the hill and saw the Virgin, she asked "Did the Bishop agree?" Juan Diego replied bashfully, "No he has said that he needs a sign." The Virgin sent him off to the Bishop's Home, the guards again denied him entry but later reconsidered, again the bishop sent him off home, but this time he sent the two guards after him. The Guards followed him but were soon lost and went back to the bishop and said that Juan Diego was just crazy.
Dec.11th- Juan Diego walked along the hill and again the Virgin appeared to him and this time she was more insistent, as was the Bishop about the sign he was needing to prove this. Juan Diego went to the Bishop's home and told him and again Bishop Zumárraga was upset at the lack of the sign he was to bring him.
Dec. 12th-On this day Juan Diego was walking along the hill side, but due to the fact that his uncle was sick, he decided to take a shorter route into the city. In his mind he thought "If I go left, the Lady of the Sky will stop me and delay me and my uncle will soon die. But if I go right I will have no delay, so I'll go right." As he walked along the right side of the hill, the Virgin appeared to him and asked,"Juan Diego the littlest of my children, where are you going?" Juan Diego again bashful due to the fact that the Virgin had caught him trying to avoid her answered "My Lady, how are you this morning? Are you doing well?" He then tells her,"My Lady I cannot stay and talk for my uncle is really ill and needs a priest to come confess him." To this the Blessed Mother replies,"Worry not about you uncle for I have healed him, but rather yet go to Bishop Zumárraga and take him the sign I am about to give you." Then Juan Diego is sent by the Virgin to cut some flowers from the side of the Barren Hillside, and to his amazement he finds the sweetest and freshest smelling flowers. Juan Diego takes the flowers to the the Blessed Mother who then touches his Tilma and tells him to let no one see inside. Juan Diego runs to the Bishop's home and he ran into the guards who were very much determined not to let him in. One of them tried to grab the Tilma, to this one flower fell out and when the guard bent down to get it, it vanished away in his hand. Once he was before the bishop he said,"Most Reverend Father you asked for a sign from the Lady of the Sky, and she has sent me to you with this." Then Juan Diego revealed the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which might I add was painted by the Hand of God.
Today the Virgin of Guadalupe is venerated not only in Mexico and the Americas but also in England, Spain, Germany, Philippines and many more nations. The Mantle Our Lady is wearing is said to have been the star's arrangement that night as you can see in this image.
In the late 20th Century NASA decided to test the authenticity of the Tilma and all test seem to point that the Tilma was alive. They tested the Virgin's eyes and the pupils dialated when exposed to light, as a human's does when exposed to light. They felt that the womb was warm like pregnant woman's stomach should be, and that it had a faint heart beat. The acutal image of Our Lady is not stamped or attached to the tilma, that the image is actually floating over the tilma about 1/132nd of an inch above the tilma. They also noticed that the Virgin's eyes had two different images, one being that of Bishop Zumárraga and the guards kneeling before the image and the other being that of a man looking somewhat like Christ.

Many saw Our Lady's appearcance very much like that of the Mestizo children that were being born to the Spanish Soldiers by the Native women. Which the children were being descriminated against so she appeared as the the defender of the NEW CHILDREN OF THE NEW WORLD.
The apparition of Our Lady was what led many of the New Nations to convert and remain faithful to her and Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord you have blessed this New World with the Image of the Virgin of Guadalupe,
let it be faithful to your word and attentive to Our Mother's new message of love and hope.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Friday, December 11, 2009

St.María Maravillas de Jesús

Born in Madrid on 4 November 1891. From his childhood he wished to devote himself to God and devoted his youth to help the needy. Attracted by the spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, and moved by his love for the Virgin Mary, entered the Caramel of El Escorial on October 12, 1919.
In 1924 he founded a monastery of Carmelite nuns in El Cerro de los Angeles, the geographical center of the peninsula, near the monument of the Sacred Heart, as a place of prayer and sacrifice for the Church and Spain.
During the religious persecution Mother Maravillas was noted for its spirit of reparation, strength, serenity and trust in the Lord. Under the sign of fidelity to Santa Teresa founded ten places Carmels recovering Teresa and John of the Cross tradition. Prioress for many years, taught his sisters testified about their virtues and distinguished himself by his mystical life, apostolic zeal and kindness combined with firmness against those who had the real mother. He died at the Caramel of The Aldehuela, 11 December 1974, expressing "What happiness to die Carmelita!".
She was beatified by your Holiness on 10 May 1998.
Canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 4, 2003.

Father may the spirit of your
daughter Saint María Maravillas de Jesús
be helpfuk to us so we can get closer
your son Jesus Christ who we ask to hear are


Thursday, December 10, 2009

St. Eulalia and Julia of Merida

St. Eulalia and Julia of Merida, Virgins and Martyrs. Eulalia and Julia of Merida were born in Spain in the last decade of the third century. It is almost universally accepted that she and her sister suffered martyrdom for the Faith. What little else is known of her to date is based mostly on legend. It is believed that Eulalia, as a twelve year old girl, tried to remonstrate with Judge Dacian of Merida for forcing Christians to worship false gods in accord with the edict of Diocletian. Even though Dacian was at first amused and tried to flatter her, Eulalia would not deny Christ.
St. Eulalia shouted out "Isis Apollo Venus nihil est,Maximianus et ipse nihil:illa nihil, quia facta manu;hic, manuum quia facta colit"
which translates to "Isis, Apollo and Venus are naught,Nor is Maximian anything more;Nothing are they, for by hand they were wrought,He, for of hands he the work doth adore."

Finally, Dacian ordered that her body be torn by iron hooks. Fire was applied to her wounds to increase her sufferings, and in the process her hair caught fire. She was asphyxiated by the smoke and flames, gaining the crown of martyrdom around the year 304. It is also said that when she was dead a dove flew out of Eulalia's mouth, to this many soldiers cowarded. This frightened away the soldiers and allowed a miraculous snow to cover her nakedness, its whiteness indicating her sainthood.

Lord you blessed these 2 very brave girls with the fruit of Martyrdom, let us also wish to shed our blood for your beloved word.
We ask this through Our Lord and Fountain of Salvation, Jesus Christ, with his death and glorious resurrection gave us Eternal Life.

Pictures:top one is St. Julia of Merida
bottom one is St. Eulalia of Merida

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

St.Juan Diego

Juan Diego was born July 12, 1474,Calpulli of Tlayacac,Cuauhtitlan, Mexico. He was a humble Indian, an ethnic Indian Chichimecs, born around the year 1474, in Cuautitlan, which at that time belonged to the kingdom of Texcoco. Juan Diego was baptized by the first Franciscans, about 1524. In 1531, Juan Diego was a mature man, as about 57 years old, built others with his testimony and his word, in fact, approached him to intercede for the needs, demands and pleas from his people; and "asked and begged that the Lady of the sky, all was granted."
Juan Diego was a righteous man, the seeds of those virtues were inculcated, cared for and protected by their ancient culture and education, but were full when Juan Diego had the great privilege of meeting with the Mother of God, Holy Mary of Guadalupe, where instructed to wear at the head of the Church and the whole world the message of unity, peace and love for all men, it was this meeting and this wonderful mission that gave fullness to each of the beautiful virtues that were in the heart of this humble man and was converted into a model of Christian virtues, Juan Diego was a humble and simple, obedient, patient, grounded in faith, firm hope and great charity.
Shortly after having lived the important time of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Juan Diego turned himself fully to serving God and His mother, conveyed what he had seen and heard, and prayed with great devotion, though he grieved much people stay home and distant from the Hermitage. He wanted to be near the sanctuary
to attend to every day, especially mud, which for Indians was a real honor, as Fray Geronimo Mendieta recalled: "In the temples and all things dedicated to God have great reverence, and boast the old, no matter how major they are, to sweep the church, keeping the custom of his ancestors in times of their heathen temples in sweeping their devotion (even the same gentlemen). "
Juan Diego went to entreat the bishop to let him be anywhere to go, along the walls of the chapel and to serve as long as possible to the Lady of Heaven. The bishop, who was very fond of Juan Diego, granted his request and allowed him to build him a house next to the Chapel. Seeing his uncle Juan Bernardino served his nephew
Juan Diego, Saint
very well to our Lord and your precious Mother, I wanted to follow, to be together, "but Juan Diego did not agree. He said it was advisable to be at home, to keep the houses and land that their parents and grandparents left them.
Juan Diego said the great nobility of heart and fervent charity when his uncle was seriously ill, Juan Diego also expressed his faith by being with a light heart, to the words addressed to him by Our Lady of Guadalupe, who assured him that his uncle was completely healthy, was an Indian from a religious force that enveloped all his life who left their homes and lands to live in a cottage, on one side of the chapel, to be completely dedicated to temple service of his beloved girl's Heaven, the Holy Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, who asked him that temple to offer her comfort and her motherly love to all men and women. Juan Diego had "his moments of prayer that God knows how to convey to them that love him and within the capabilities of each, working out in deeds of virtue and mortification." We were also relates to the Nican Motecpana " Every day was busy with spiritual things and swept the temple. He prostrated himself in front of the Lady of Heaven and prayed with fervor, and often went to confession, communion, fasting, doing penance, discipline, girded sackcloth mesh and hid in the shadow alone being able to dedicate themselves to prayer and be invoking the Lady from heaven. "
Any person who approached Juan Diego had a chance to hear his Guadalupano Event details, how this event happened and the wonderful privilege of being the messenger of the Virgin of Guadalupe, as indicated by the Indian Martin St. Louis when he gave his testimony in 1666: "All this was told that Diego de Torres Bullón this witness with great distinction and clarity that he had said and told the same Indian Juan Diego, because I was busy." Juan Diego was a true missionary.
When Juan Diego was married to Mary Lucia, who had died two years before the apparitions, had heard a sermon of Fray Toribio de Benavente where exalted chastity, which was pleasing to God and the Blessed Virgin, so that the two decided to live, we are told: "She was widowed two years before it appeared that the Immaculate Conception, died his wife, named Maria Lucia. Both lived chastely. "As also testified P. Luis Becerra Tanco, "the Indian Juan Diego and his wife Maria Lucia, kept chastity since receiving the water of Holy Baptism, through hearing one of the first ministers of the gospel many encomiums of purity and chastity, and he loves our Lord virgins, and this reputation was constant to those who knew and reported the two married a long time. " Although this does not prevent that Juan Diego has had offspring, either before baptism, either by the line of another relative, because, by historical sources we know that Juan Diego actually had children; on this, one of the main documents is preserved in the Archives of the Convent of Corpus Christi in the City of Mexico, which states: "Sister Gertrude of Saint Joseph, her parents caciques [Indian nobles] Dn. Diego de Torres Vazquez and Da. Mary of the Assumption of the region di Xochiatlan [...] and held by a descendant of Juan Diego happy. "What is important is also the fact that Juan Diego inspired the pursuit of holiness and perfection of life, even amid the members of his own family, as his uncle, as we saw, noting as Juan Diego had given very good service from the Virgin of Guadalupe and of God, to follow him, although he agreed that Juan Diego was preferable to stay at home, and now we also have the example of Sister Gertrude of Saint Joseph, a descendant of Juan Diego, who joined a monastery, to consecrate his life to serving God, reaching the perfection of life, seeking holiness.
The fact is that Juan Diego ever built others with his testimony and his word constantly approached him to intercede for the needs, demands and pleas from his people and "asking, begging that the Lady of heaven, all was granted. "
The Indian Xuarez Gabriel, who was between 112 and 115 years old when he testified in 1666, Legal Information, declared how Juan Diego was a true advocate of his people, saying, "that the Holy Image told that Juan Diego hand and place, where he had to make the Hermitage, which was where he appeared, that has been made and saw her start this witness, as I said where many men and women who go to see and visit like this has witnessed many times over and begged him to help, and said Indian Juan to be his people, intercede for him. "The old Indian Gabriel Xuarez also noted important details about the personality of Juan Diego and the great confidence that he had the people to intercede for your needs: "the said Juan Diego," said Gabriel Xuarez-be natural for him and the district Tlayacac, Injun was a good Christian, God-fearing, and their conscience, and always seen live quietly and honestly, without note or scandal of person who always saw him engaged in ministries of service to God our Lord, going very promptly to the doctrine and divine offices, very commonly exercised it because all the Indians at that time heard the witness say he was a holy man, and who called him the pilgrim, because I always saw him walking alone and only went to church doctrine of Tlatelolco, and after he appeared to the Virgin told Juan Diego of Guadalupe, and left his people, houses and land, leaving his uncle, because his wife was dead, he moved to a house Juan Diego that he was glued to the Hermitage, and there were very commonly the natives of this town said to him in that spot and ask him to intercede with the Holy Virgin give them good seasons in their fields, because in that time we all had the Holy Man. "
The Indian Conception Joanna also gave his testimony in this report, confirm that Juan Diego, in fact, was a holy man, for he had seen the Virgin, "all Indians and India declared, in this town that you would to see the Ermita said, holding always a saint, and this witness not only to hear him say those parents, but to many others. While the Indian Xuarez Paul remembered what he had heard about the Indian humble messenger of Our Lady of Guadalupe, said that for the people, Juan Diego was so virtuous and holy that was a true role model, the witness said that Juan Diego was "friend that all should live well, because as the saying has mentioned that his grandmother was a holy man, and that it please God, their children and grandchildren were like him, for he was so happy that he spoke with the Virgin, on whose cause you always had this view and all this people. "The Indian Don Martin of St. Louis even said that the common people:" I saw him do great penance to Juan Diego, and at that time holy man told him. "
As mentioned, Juan Diego died in 1548, shortly after his uncle Juan Bernardino, who died on May 15, 1544, both were buried at the shrine that both loved. It tells us in the Nican Motecpana: "After sixteen years of serving there Juan Diego to the Lady of Heaven, died in fifteen hundred and forty-eight, then the bishop died. At the time he was greatly consoled the lady of heaven, who saw him and told him it was time to go to achieve and enjoy in heaven, as promised. He was also buried in the temple. I walked in the seventy-four years. "Nican Motecpana In her exemplary holiness is exalted:" Hopefully we should serve him well and all of us to avoid disturbing things of this world, that we too can attain the eternal joys of heaven ! "

Almighty and eternal GOD
may your servant Juan Diego
help us get closer to Our Blessed Mother
the Virgin Mary.
We ask this through Christ our lord.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Immaculate Conception

In the eighth century it became a feast of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the only one of Mary's feasts that came to the Western Church not by way of Rome, but instead spread from the Byzantine area to Naples and then to Normandy during their period of dominance over southern Italy. From there it spread into England, France, Germany, and eventually Rome.
Prior to Pope Pius IX's definition of the Immaculate Conception as a Roman Catholic dogma in 1854, most missals referred to it as the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The festal texts of this period focused more on the action of her conception than on the theological question of her preservation from original sin. A missal published in England in 1806 indicates the same collect for the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was used for this feast as well.
The first move towards describing Mary's conception as "immaculate" came in the eleventh century. In the fifteenth century Pope Sixtus IV, while promoting the festival, explicitly tolerated those who promoted it as the Immaculate Conception and those who challenged such a description, a position later endorsed by the Council of Trent.
The proper for the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Medieval Sarum Missal, perhaps the most famous in England, merely addresses the action of her conception.
The collect for the feast reads:
O God, mercifully hear the supplication of thy servants who are assembled together on the Conception of the Virgin Mother of God, may at her intercession be delivered by Thee from dangers which beset us.
In 1854, Pius IX made the infallible statement Ineffabilis Deus: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin."

Lord, you chose your Mother the Virgin Mary,
to be kept free from Original Sin,
let us ask for her glorious intercession so that we may forgiven from our sins
and saved from eternal damnation.
We Pray to her 3 Hail Mary's.
Mother may your love and blessings be with us always.
In the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. AMEN

Monday, December 7, 2009


The young prefect of Liguria and Emilia Ambrosio was born in Trier about the year 340, a Roman family. It was still a catechumen, by acclamation when he was elected to the see of Milan, December 7, 374. Within Christian religion had to learn almost everything, and were devoted primarily to studying the Bible so hard that soon learned thoroughly. But Ambrose was not a pure intellectual: it was above all an excellent administrator of the Christian community. It was a real spiritual father of the young emperors Gratian and Valentinian II and Theodosius I dreaded, who did not hesitate to criticize harshly, demanding a public penance in atonement for having murdered the people of Thessalonica to end a revolt. Ambrose is the symbol of the church reborn after the hard years of hiding and persecution. Through him the Church of Rome tried without any servility to political power.

His personal qualities were what attracted her devoted attention. Ambrose daily activity was devoted to conducting their own community and pastoral preaching meeting its obligations to its people over a weekly homily. St. Augustine, who was a regular listener to the sermons of Ambrose, tells us in his Confessions that the prestige of the eloquence of the Bishop of Milan was great and very effective tone of this apostle of friendship.

His books that have reached us are quick and repurposing transcripts of his speeches, little or no review. His famous exegetical comments before being collected into volumes, had been preached to the Christian community of Milan. They note the familiar tone of the shepherd who goes with his faithful amiable simplicity. They feel the heart throb of a great bishop, that it excites poignant emotion in his listeners with arguments full of emotion and interest. As a good pastor likes to teach his people liturgical songs. So he composed a number of hymns, some are still familiar in the Ambrosian liturgy. He introduced in the West alternated singing of psalms.

Among his writings are not directly related to his preaching, we recall the De officiis ministrorum because, emphasizing the familiar and welcoming text Ciceronian its entirety, shows that Christianity can assimilate without danger of altering the meaning of good news these moral values natural that the Roman pagan world and in particular capable of expressing. Ambrose died in Milan on April 4, 397. He is a Doctor of the Church.

Father you gave us Saint Ambrose
to give us knowledge to get
closer to you and our Blessed Mother The Virgin Mary.
May we get closer to you in the Eucharist.
We ask this through Christ our lord who lives and
reings with you and the holy spirit one GOD forever and ever.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saint Nicholas

St. Nicholas, called "of Bari", Bishop of Myra (Fourth Century) 6 Dec. Feast day. The great veneration with which this saint has been honored for many ages and the number of altars and churches which have been everywhere dedicated in his memory are testimonials to his holiness and of the glory which he enjoys with God. He is said to have been born at Patara in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor. Myra, the capital, not far from the sea, was an episcopal see, and this church falling vacant, the holy Nicholas was chosen bishop, and in that station became famous by his extraordinary piety and zeal and many astonishing miracles. The Greek histories of his life agree that he suffered imprisonment of the faith and made a glorious confession in the latter part of the persecution raised by Dioletian, and that he was present at the Council of Nicaea and there condemned Arianism. The silence of other authors makes many justly suspect these circumstances. He died at Myra, and was buried in his cathedral.

This summary account by Alban Butler tells us all that is known about the life of the famous St. Nicholas, and even a little more; for his episcopate at Myra during the fourth century is really all that seems indubitable authentic. This is not for lack of material, beginning with the life attributed to the monk who died in 847 as St. Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople. But he warns us that "Up to the present the life of this distinguished Shepard has been unknown to the majority of the faithful", and sets about enlightening their ignorance nearly five hundred years after the saint's death. This is the least unreliable of the "biographical" sources available, and a vast amount of literature, critical and expository, have grown up around them. Nevertheless, the universal popularity of the saint for so many centuries requires that some account of these legends should be given here.

We are assured that from his earliest days Nicholas would take nourishment only once on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that in the evening according to the canons. "He was exceedingly well brought up by his parents and trod piously in their footsteps. The child, watched over by the church enlightened his mind and encouraged his thirst for sincere and true religion". His parents died when he was a young man, leaving him well off and he determined to devote his inheritance to works of charity. An opportunity soon arose. A citizen of Patara had lost all his money, and had moreover to support three daughters who could not find husbands because of their poverty; so the wretched man was going to give them over to prostitution. This came to the ears of Nicholas, who thereupon took a bag of gold and, under cover of darkness threw it in at the open window of the man's house. Here was a dowry for the eldest girl and she was soon duly married. At intervals Nicholas did the same for the second and third; at the last time the father was on the watch, recognized his benefactor and overwhelmed him with his gratitude. It would appear that the three purses represented in pictures, came to be mistaken for the heads of three children and so they gave rise to the absurdstory of the children, resuscitated by the saint, who had been killed by an innkeeper and pickled in a brine-tub.

Coming to the city of Myra when the clergy and people of the province were in session to elect a new bishop, St. Nicholas was indicated by God as the man they should choose. This was at the time of the persecutions at the beginning of the fourth century and "As he was the chief priest of the Christians of this town and preached the truths of faith with a holy liberty, the divine Nicholas was seized by the magistrates, tortured, then chained and thrown into prison with many other Christians. But when the great and religious Constatine, chosen by God assumed the imperial diadem of the Romans, the prisoners were released from their bonds and with them the illustrious Nicholas, who when he was set at liberty returned to Myra." St. Methodius asserts that "thanks to the teaching of St. Nicholas the metropolis of Myra alone was untouched by the filth of the Arian heresy, which it firmly rejected as death-dealing poison", but says nothing of his presence at the Council of Nicaea in 325. According to other traditions he was not only there but so far forgot himself as to give the heresiarch Arius a slap in the face. Whereupon the conciliar fathers deprived him of his episcopal insignia and committed him to prison; but our Lord and His Mother appeared there and restored to him both his liberty and his office. As against Arianism so against paganism, St. Nicholas was tireless and took strong measures: among other temples he destroyed was that of Artemis, the principal in the district, and the evil spirits fled howling before him. He was the guardian of his people as well in temporal affairs. The governor Eustathius had taken a bribe to condemn to death three innocent men. At the time fixed for their execution Nicholas came to the place, stayed the hands of the executioner, and released the prisoners. Then he turned to Eustathiujs and did not cease to reproach him until he admitted his crime and expressed his penitence. There were present on this ocfcasion three imperial officers who were on their way to duty in Phrygia. Later, when they were back again in Constantinople, the jealousy of the prefect Ablavius caused them to be imprisoned on false charges and an order for their death was procured from the Emperor Constantine. When the officers heard this they remembered the example they had witnessed of the powerful love of justice of the Bishop of Myra and they prayed to God that through his merits and by his instrumentality then might yet be saved. That night St. Nicholas appeared in a dream to Constatine, and told him with threats to release the three innocent men, and Ablavius experienced the same thing. In the morning the Emporor and the prefect compared notes, and the condemned men were sent for and questioned. When he heard that they had called on the name of the Nicholas of Myra who had appeared to him, Constatine set them free and sent them to the bishop with a letter asking him not to threaten him any more but to pray for the peace of the world. For long this was the most famous miracle of St. Nicholas, and at the time of St. Methodius was the only thing generally known about him.

The accounts are unanimous that St. Nicholas died and was buried in his episcopal city of Myra, and by the time of Justinian there was a basilica built in his honor at Constantinople. An anonymous Greek wrote in the tenth century that, "the West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him. Wherever there are people, in the country and the town, in the villages, in the isles, in the furthest parts of the earth, his name is revered and churches are built in his honor. Images of him are set up, panegyrics preached and festivals celebrated. All Christians, young and old, men and women, boys and girls, reverence his memory and call upon his protection. And his favors, which know no limit of time and continue from age to age, are poured out over all the earth; the Scythians know them, as do the Indians and the barbarians, the Africans as well as the Italians." When Myra and its great shrine finally passed into the hands of the Saracens, several Italian cities saw this as an opportunity to acquire the relics of St. Nicholas for themselves. There was great competition for them between Venice and Bari. The last-named won, the relics were carried off under the noses of the lawful Greek custodians and their Mohammedan masters, and on May 9, 1087 were safety landed at Bari, a not inappropriate home seeing that Apulia in those days still had large Greek colonies. A new church was built to shelter them and the pope, Bd. Urban II, was present at their enshrining. Devotion to St. Nicholas was known in the West long before his relics were brought to Italy, but this happening naturally greatly increased his veneration among the people, and miracles were as freely attributed to his intercession in Europe as they had been in Asia. At Myra "the venerable body of the bishop, embalmed as it was in the good ointments of virtue exuded a sweet smelling myrrh, which kept it from corruption and proved a health giving remedy against sickness to the glory o f him who had glorified Jesus Christ, our true God." The translation of the relics did not interrupt this phenomenon, and the "manna of St. Nicholas" is said to flow to this day. It was one of the great attractions which drew pilgrims to his tomb from all parts of Europe.

It is the image of St. Nicholas more often than that of any other that is found on Byzantine seals; in the later middle ages nearly four hundred churches were dedicated in his honor in England alone; and he is said to have been represented by Christian artists more frequently than any saint except our Lady. St. Nicholas is venerated as the patron saint of several classes of people, especially, in the East, of sailors and in the West of children. The first of these patronage is probably due to the legend that during his life time, he appeared to storm tossed mariners who invoked his aid off the coast of Lycia and brought them safely to port. Sailors in the Aegean and Ionian seas, following a common Eastern custom, had their "star of St. Nicholas" and wished one another a good voyage in the phrase "May St. Nicholas hold the tiller". The legend of the "three children" gave rise to his patronage of children and various observances, ecclesiastical and secular, connected there with; such were the boy bishop and especially in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the giving of presents in his name at Christmas time. This custom in England is not a survival from Catholic times. It was popularized in America by the Dutch Protestants of New Amsterdam who had converted the popish saint into a Nordic magician (Santa Claus = Sint Klaes = Saint Nicholas) and was apparently introduced into this country by Bret Harte. It is not the only "good old English custom" which, however good, is not "old English", at any rate in its present form. The deliverance of the three imperial officers naturally caused St. Nicholas to be invoked by and on behalf of prisoners and captives, and many miracles of his intervention are recorded in the middle ages.

Curiously enough the greatest popularity of St. Nicholas is found neither in the eastern Mediterranean nor north-western Europe, great as that was, but in Russia. With St. Andred the Apostle he is patron of the nation, and the Russian Orthodox Church even observes the feast of his translation; so many Russian pilgrims came to Bari before the revolution that their government supported a church, hospital and hospice there. He is a patron saint also of Greece, Apulia, Sicily and Loraine, and of many citiesand dioceses (including Galway) and churches innumerable. At Rome the basilica of St. Nicholas in the Jail of Tully (in Carcere) was founded between the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh centuries. He is named in the preparation of the Byzantine Mass.

Lord, you have blessed us with the memory of St. Nicholas, let his spirit of goodwill come to us, so we may help others unconditionally.