Saturday, September 30, 2023

St Jerome: From Feminist, Vitriolic, Remorsefully Licentious, Many Enemies, Reluctant Priest, Vulgate Author to Doctor of the Church

September 30 is Feast Day of Saint Jerome.  Saint Jerome is a person one can easily identify with: As a young man drawn to libertinage, with a curious mind, he learns to stand on principle, eventually becoming an ascetic and a Bible Scholar. Saint Jerome was a Feminist, and an easy target of the noted Porphyry's accusation that the Christian communities were run by women and that the favor of the ladies decided who could accede to the dignity of the priesthood. Stubborn with a bad temper, Jerome could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and for Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and Saint Jerome went after him or her with his eloquence and sometimes sarcasm. As Winston Churchill said, "You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life." 

Traditionally, Saint Jerome is regarded as the most learned of the Latin Fathers

St. Jerome, patron saint of irascible, morbidly sensitive old curmudgeons 

As a young man off to study, Jerome was licentious. As C. S. Lewis said,  Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a cleverer devil.”   While, Jerome indulged himself quite casually he was remorseful  and suffered terrible bouts of guilt afterwards.  He was a reluctant Priest, yet he became a scholar, translated the Bible from Hewbrew into Latin and eventually became Doctor of the Church 

Saint Jerome, nee Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus was born at Stridon around 342–347 AD but  not baptized until about 360–369 in Rome, where he had gone with his friend Bonosus of Sardica to pursue rhetorical and philosophical studies. By his own admission, as a student, Jerome indulged himself but was remorseful, suffering terrible bouts of guilt afterwards. To appease his conscience, on Sundays he visited the sepulchers of the martyrs and the Apostles in the catacombs. This experience reminded him of the terrors of Hell.  

In a piece published in Aleteia, Philip Koslosky writes: "Anger is a feeling, and in itself it is not sinful. It is even possible that anger can spur us on to do something heroic and stand up for those who are being persecuted. St. Jerome was known to lash out at people and spew angry comments, but it was his repentance that saved him"

The Gospel of Saint Matthew in Chapter 21 describes Jesus cleansing the Temple

"Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And he said to them, “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’  but you are making it a den of thieves.”

Jerome is often pictured with a stone, which he would use to beat his chest as he repented for his sins. Once, upon seeing a painting of the great saint, Pope Sixtus V commented: “You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you.” 

He eventually became a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldaic. After his preliminary education, he went to Rome,  then to Trier, Germany. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers.  As protégé of Pope Damasus I, and in order to put an end to the marked divergences in the western texts of that period, Pope Damasus encouraged Jerome to revise the available Old Latin versions of the Bible into a more accurate Latin on the basis of the Greek New Testament and the Septuagint, resulting in the Vulgate - Jerome undertook a revision of the Vetus Latina Gospels based on Greek manuscripts. He also updated the Psalter containing the Book of Psalms then in use in Rome, based on the Septuagint.  The Vulgate was adopted as the Bible text within the Western Church. Ot eventually eclipsed the Vetus Latina. By the 13th century it had taken over from the former version the designation versio vulgata  (the "version commonly used") or vulgata for short.

According to SBC Called, a Bible translator works in a cross-cultural context to facilitate the translation of the Word of God into the heart language of a local people. The goal of every Bible translation project is to produce a translation that is clear, accurate, natural, and acceptable to the people for whom it is translated. In order for a people group to meaningfully engage with the Bible and be transformed by its message, exegetical accuracy, linguistic naturalness, and cultural sensitivity are vital aspects of a translation. 

Jerome was known for his teachings on Christian moral life, especially to those living in cosmopolitan centers such as Rome. In many cases, he focused his attention on the lives of women and identified how a woman devoted to Jesus should live her life. This focus stemmed from his close patron relationships with several prominent female ascetics who were members of affluent class.  The resulting inclination of these women towards the monastic life, away from the indulgent lasciviousness in Rome, and his unsparing criticism of the secular clergy of Rome, brought a growing hostility against him among the Roman clergy and their supporters. Soon after the death of his patron Pope Damasus I on 10 December 384, Jerome was forced to leave his position at Rome after an inquiry was brought up by the Roman clergy into allegations that he had an improper relationship with the widow Paula.

Jerome traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ’s life with an outpouring of devotion.  He spent five years in the desert of Chalcis giving himself up to prayer, penance, and study. Finally, he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. Jerome died in Bethlehem, and the remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Koslosky concludes:  "What separates us from the saints is not our mistakes, but our ability to ask forgiveness from God and others. If we do that, we have much more in common with the saints that we might expect."

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, Philipino, Martyred While Being Catholic In Japan.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, patron saint of Filipino youth, the Philippines, people working overseas, and altar servers was martyred for being a Christian His feast day is September 28.

"I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God;
Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him shall I offer." Saint Lorenzo Ruiz's -the first Filipino martyr to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church - last words as he and his companions were water boarded to entice them to renounce their faith.

Waterboarding is a brutal practice whereby an interrogator straps a prisoner to a board, places a wet rag in his mouth, and by pouring water through the rag induces controlled drowning. It is a paradigmatic torture technique that has long been considered a war crime. ACLU

Yet waterboarding was not enough. Afterwards, Lorenzo was subjected to a form of torture known as tsurushi, or "gallows and pit." Ana-tsurushi (lit. "hole hanging"), also known simply as tsurushi (lit. "hanging"), was a Japanese torture technique used in the 17th century to coerce Christians ("Kirishitan") to recant their faith. The victim was hung head-down by the feet.

One of the victim's hands would be held tight with a rope, but the other would be left free so that he could signal his willingness to recant.

The technique was said to be unbearable for those submitted to it. The body was often lowered into a hole, itself often filled with excrement at the bottom. Typically, a cut would be made in the forehead around their temples in order to let blood pressure decrease in the area around the head.
The objective was to break their resolve to renounce their faith or they would eventually die. Sometimes there was a doctor to resuscitate them only to be tortured again. An estimated 2,000 Christians died as martyrs. Christians were let go after apostatizing, and in this way the Shogunate practically purged Christianity from Japanll0

Lorenzo refused to recant.

According to the record of his death, his last words were, "I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God. Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him I shall offer. Do with me as you please."

His traveling companions were all killed, steadfast until the end.

The history of the Catholic Church in Japan is anything, if not of perseverance. After St Francis Xavier and his fellow missionaries entered the country in the 1540s, the Church’s efforts were a striking success, bringing in 300,000 converts over the next 60 years.

But local leaders resented these dramatic inroads from abroad, and issued a nationwide ban on Christian missionaries, followed by a ruthless campaign of persecution, forcing the faithful to go underground for centuries. The Tokugawa shoguns eradicated Christianity in Japan via murder, persecution and decrees. In 1638, an estimated 37,000 people, mostly Christians were massacred after the Christian-led Shimabara Rebellion. In 50 years, the crackdown policies of the shoguns reduced the number of Christians to near zero. And as Tertulian prophesied: “We spring up in greater numbers the more we are mown down by you: the blood of the Christians is the seed of a new life. As of 2021, there were approximately 431,100 Catholics in Japan (0.34% of the total population), 6,200 of whom are clerics, religious and seminarians.

During its nearly 500-year presence, however, Japanese Catholicism has produced many heroic figures, including 40 saints and 200 Blesseds.

Lorenzo was beatified by Pope John Paul II on February 18, 1981. The beatification ceremony was held in the Philippines making it the first beatification ceremony ever held outside the Vatican.

A miracle attributed to his intercession occurred in 1983. A two-year-old girl, Alegria Policarpio, suffering from hydrocephaly, a condition she had since birth, was miraculously cured.

His canonization took place at the Vatican on October 18, 1987.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz was born circa 1600 in Binondo, Manila in the Philippines to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. Both were Christians and took care to raise Lorenzo as a Catholic. He served in his parish church as an altar boy and calligrapher and joined the Dominican Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.

Later, he married a woman named Rosario. The happy couple had three children, two sons and one daughter. By all accounts, the family was ordinary and happy.

In 1636, Lorenzo was falsely accused of killing a Spaniard. To protect his family, he fled on board a ship with three Dominican priests and a leper. The ship departed the Philippines on June 10, 1636, bound for Okinawa. When they arrived in Japan, they did so in the middle of an ongoing Christian persecution.

Lorenzo was arrested by Japanese officials for the crime of being a Christian and ordered to recant his faith. When he refused he was imprisoned. On September 27, 1637, Lorenzo and his companions were taken to Nagasaki to be tortured and killed if they would not recant their faith and eventually martyred.

Saint Lorenzo, pray that we may persevere in our faith.


Sacrifice lies at the heart of love. To love is not only to will the good of the other, but also to be willing to take action to bring about the good of the other, and such action often requires sacrifice of some sort.


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Grumpy Old Saint Vincent de Paul: Father Of The Poor

Vincent de Paul, CM (24 April 1581 – 27 September 1660), was an Occitan French Catholic priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor. By his own account, Vincent was a grumpy person with a short fuse, quick to anger and but for the grace of God he would have been hard and repulsive, rough and cross.

 Eventually he was renowned for his compassion, humility, and generosity.
Vincent de Paul has become known as the “The Apostle of Charity” and “Father of the Poor.” His contributions to the training of priests and organizing parish missions and other services for the poor shaped the Church's role in the modern world.

 Just three days after being elected bishop of Rome and successor to St. Peter, 76-year-old Pope Francis, who even two weeks later hadn't yet referred to himself as pope, told representatives of the international media, “I would so like a poor church, one for the poor!”

Two miracles have been attributed to the work of Vincent de Paul, a nun cured of ulcers, and a laywoman who was healed of paralysis. Saint Vincent died at Paris, 27 September 1660. He was beatified 21 August 21, 1729, by Pope Benedict XIII and canonized 16 June 1737 by Pope Clement XII Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies. Outstanding among these, is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1833 by his admirer Blessed Frédéric Ozanam.

According to the Catholic Catechism: "By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors." CCC 828

“We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God" - Vincent de Paul

The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent de Paul’s eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life.

In 1622 Vincent was appointed a chaplain to the galleys. After working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley slaves, and although Vincent was too humble to accept leadership at first, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians. These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages. In the city, he organized the rich women of Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects, founded several hospitals, collected relief funds for the victims of war, and ransomed over 1,200 galley slaves from North Africa. He was zealous in conducting retreats for clergy at a time when there was great laxity, abuse, and ignorance among them. He was a pioneer in clerical training and was instrumental in establishing seminaries.

Founded in Paris by Frederic Ozanam in 1833, the St Vincent de Paul Society was established by like-minded individuals who wanted to put their faith into action. Frederic, along with his university colleagues, wanted to respond in a practical way to the hardship and poverty he was witnessing

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian- 3rd Century Arabian Physicians & Free Medicine

Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian along with their younger brothers Anthimus, Leontius and Euprepius, were martyred during the Diocletianic or Great Persecution because they would not renounce their faith.

While Emperor Nero is often depicted as the architect of early Christian martyrdom due to the brutal ways in which he sought to eliminate the fledgling religion, Christian persecution started with the crucifixion of Jesus as foretold in the Gospel of Matthew and is still going on

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household.” - Matthew 10:34

Early Christians were persecuted at the hands of both Jews, from whose religion Christianity arose, and the Romans who controlled many of the early centers of Christianity in the Roman Empire.

Three decades after Christ’s crucifixion, Emperor Nero began the Roman Empire’s persecution of the early Christians. It all culminated with executions in Nicomedia almost 300 years later. Emperor after emperor tried to stifle the Christian faith with prohibitions, extreme torture, and monstrous methods of execution. But it didn’t help much. Roman governors reported that condemned Christians seemed almost elated at the prospect of becoming Christian martyrs

Not sure if Cosmas and Damian along with their younger brothers Anthimus, Leontius and Euprepius, were elated to be martyred during the Diocletianic or Great Persecution that extended several years beyond the reign of Diocletian, where as many as 3,500 Christians were executed under the authority of Imperial edicts. Yet, this pales in comparison with the 19th-century Korean persecutions of Catholic Christians where nearly 10 000 Koreans were martyred, mostly laypeople. As Tertulian prophesiedno: “We spring up in greater numbers the more we are mown down by you: the blood of the Christians is the seed of a new life.
Tertullian , born c. 155/160, Carthage was an early Christian theologian and moralist. He became impressed by the courage, morality, and uncompromising monotheism of Christian martyrs, that he converted to Christianity.

The common

Cosmas and Damian were physicians and early Christian martyrs. They practiced their profession in the seaport of Aegeae, then in the Roman province of Syria. Cosmas and Damian were third century Arabian-born twin brothers who embraced Christianity and practiced medicine and surgery without a fee earning the name anargyroi (from the Greek Ἀνάργυροι, 'the no money" or 'unmercenaries') doctors; bringing many to the Christian faith

They were arrested by Lysias, governor of Cilicia, modern day Çukurova, Turkey during the Diocletian persecution because of their faith and fame as healers. They stayed true to their faith, enduring being hung on a cross, stoned and shot by arrows and finally suffered execution by beheading. Anthimus, Leontius and Euprepius, their younger brothers, who were inseparable from them throughout life, shared in their martyrdom

As early as the 4th century, churches dedicated to the twin saints were established at Jerusalem, in Egypt and in Mesopotamia. Devotion to the two saints spread rapidly in both East and West. Theodoret records the division of their reputed relics - Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus (Greek: Θεοδώρητος Κύρρου; c. AD 393 – c. 458/466) was an influential theologian of the School of Antioch, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus -  Their relics, deemed miraculous, were buried in the city of Cyrrhus in Syria. Churches were built in their honor by Archbishop Proclus and by Emperor Justinian I who restored the city of Cyrrhus, dedicated it to the twins. Justinian brought their relics to Constantinople, where after his cure, ascribed to the intercession of Cosmas and Damian, Justinian, in gratitude also built and adorned their church at Constantinople

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Feast of the Poor Brother Who Prays: Padre Pio

Today, September 23rd. we celebrate a poor brother who prays, Padre Pio's feast day. Padre Pio is patron saint of healing. Born Francesco Forgione, into a poor Italian farm family, from a young age, Francesco very much wanted to be a friar. When he was sixteen, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

Six years later, joined the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Rotondo. He spent many hours every day hearing Confessions. The height of his apostolic commitment was the celebration of the Holy Mass. He described himself as “a poor brother who prays.” “Prayer is the greatest weapon we have,” he said. It is “a key to open the heart of God.”
Diaries from Padre Pio's spiritual director note that the saint began to experience ecstasies and apparitions as early as age 4 or 5. However, Padre Pio didn’t realize that these were extraordinary experiences; he kept many of them to himself, thinking they were ordinary. Through more and more visions and encounters with the healing work of God, Padre Pio's trust in Him only continued to grow, though as he struggled through his early life.


According to Vatican News, In 1948, Padre Pio heard the Confession of a young Polish priest, Father Karol Wojtyła, who thirty years later would ascend the throne of Peter, taking the name John Paul II. It was during John Paul’s pontificate that Padre Pio was declared blessed. During the rite of beatification, the Pope said that in the humble friar, we see the image of Christ suffering and risen. “His body,” he said, “marked by the ‘stigmata,’ showed the intimate connection between death and resurrection… Not less sorrowful, and humanly much more scorching, were the trials he had to suffer as a consequence, one could say, of his singular charisms.” For Padre Pio, “suffering with Christ” was a gift: “In contemplating the Cross on Jesus’ shoulders,” he said, “I always feel strengthened and I exult with holy joy… All that Jesus suffered in His Passion, I too have suffered, insofar as it is possible for a human creature.”

As the world was suffering the scourges of World War I, one day in September, aftet Padre Pio said Mass at San Giovanni Rotondo, he received a miraculous vision: he saw someone with Christ’s crucifixion wounds. After the vision, Padre Pio realized he was physically dripping with blood. He had received the stigmata. Stigmata are mystical phenomena where holy people receive some or all of the bodily wounds of Christ's crucifixion - bodily marks, scars, or pains corresponding to those of the crucified Jesus Christ—that is, on the hands, on the feet, near the heart, and sometimes on the head (from the crown of thorns) or shoulders and back (from carrying the cross and scourging). They are often presumed to accompany
five wounds of Christ replicated in the human body. Around 400 people, including St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Siena, have claimed to have received the stigmata.

While the story of each Saint is incredible, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, more commonly known as “Padre Pio,” is one of the most extraordinary and fascinating saints of modern times, with an incredible number of miracles attributed to him. Yet, some 1,500 miles away from the birth place of Padre Pio, Youssef Antoun Makhlou was born on May 8, 1828, one of five children, in the mountain village of Bekaa Kafra, the highest by elevation in Lebanon. Makhlou was a hermit who died in 1898 canonized in 1977 as Saint Charbel, revered for his healing miracles among Lebanon's Christians. Some have turned to taking soil from Saint Charbel's grave, boiling it, then drinking it as an alternative to medical treatment.

Alice Fordham, in the piece titled In Lebanon, Some Turn To Beloved Local Saint For Solace And Protection From COVID-19, writes that
"In a country where a financial crisis has left health care threadbare and unreliable, many have begun turning to the saint to ward off the coronavirus."

On Wednesday, we honored Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and nearly 10,000 other Korean Martyrs, mostly laynpeople, who were killed in Korea for their faith during the 19th-century persecutions of Catholic Christians. This is not only an uber sumplification of the diversity in the universal church, but also an illustration of Saint Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

Throughout the letter, the author repeatedly draws a stark contrast between the authentic life of a true believer and the false testimony of one who would profess Christ, but live a life of greed, impurity, vile speech, hatred, and anger. This life, Ephesians makes clear, is not the life of a believer. "But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the extent of the full stature of Christ - Eph 4:1-7, 11-13

Padre Pio pray for us

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, Korean Seeds Of New Life

Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and nearly 10,000 other Korean Martyrs, mostly laynpeople, were killed in Korea for their faith during the 19th-century persecutions of Catholic Christians. Andrew Kim Tae-gon is the first native-born Korean priest, and is patron saint of Korea. 

St Paul & St Andrew

Today, we venerate 103 of these Koreans who have been declared saints.  Together with the saints we have honored year-to-date and the ones we shall be honoring the rest of the year not only give further credence to the fruitfulness of faith in the face of persecution, but as Tertulian said: "We spring up in greater numbers the more we are mown down by you: the blood of the Christians is the seed of a new life."

These martyrs also demonstrate that the biggest threat to China, Europe or any totalitarian government is not the United States, but Christianity. The Catholic Catechism makes it clear: "There is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God" (Rom 13:1). Every human community needs an authority in order to endure and develop. (CCC 1919). "The political community and public authority are based on human nature and therefore belong to an order established by God" (GS 74 § 3).(1920) Authority is exercised legitimately if it is committed to the common good of society. To attain this it must employ morally acceptable means. (1921) The diversity of political regimes is legitimate, provided they contribute to the good of the community. (1922)  Political authority must be exercised within the limits of the moral order and must guarantee the conditions for the exercise of freedom. (1923)

From 1392–1897, the Great Joseon Dynasty ruled all of what is today North and South Korea. Though shamanism and Buddhism were among the religious beliefs of Koreans during that period, Confucianism was the main philosophical, ethical, and political system. Within that system, a clear hierarchy was established within the family and social structures, with the king on top. This class system was at the heart of their culture. Ancestors were also highly honored and even ritually worshiped, and various human virtues were emphasized, studied, and fostered.  Christianity was for sure an anathema.

The first Christians in Korea were baptized by invading Japanese soldiers in the late 1500s. By 1777, several Christian texts made their way to Korea. When a missionary priest visited the country more than a decade later, he found 4,000 Christians living without the sacraments for they had never seen a priest before

The Korean monarchy, not unlike other authoritarian governments,  feared Christianity and repressed it with several violent persecutions between 1791 and 1866. Andrew’s parents were converts to the faith, and his father, grandfather, and several uncles were executed for it. Andrew’s mother was left destitute and had to rely on begging for survival.

According to Faith ND, Andew was baptized at the age of 15, and soon after left for Macao, China to enter a seminary. After further missionary work, he was ordained a priest and returned to Korea to minister and evangelize. Two years later, at the age of 25, he was captured as he made his way along the Korean shoreline to find safe and secret passages for other missionaries. He was tortured and beheaded on September 26, 1846.

Chong Hasang was the son of converts to Christianity and though several members of his family were martyred, he also sought the faith. He took a job serving a government interpreter, which allowed him to travel to Beijing. There, he asked the bishop to establish a diocese in Korea and send priests, which happened in 1825.

As a lay leader and married man, Paul  advocated for Christians  to the Korean government. When another persecution broke out, he was arrested and tried, was tortured, then placed on a cross and died. His mother, Cecelia Yu Sosa, was also martyred that same year from injuries following repeated whippings.

May the blood spilled by our Korean brothers and sisters continue to be the seed of a new life.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Feast of St. Januarius

Each story of a saint is always inspirational, unique, intriguing, marvelous, right out of superheroes movies, often fantastic and entertaining, bordering on the incredulous. Saint Januarius does not disappoint.

Saint Januarius, patron saint of Blood Banks 

Today is the feast of St. Januarius, The bishop of Naples, when the Blood of Naples Bishop, affectionately known as San Gennaro liquefies in recurring miracle.

The blood of saint Gennaro liquefied at the city's cathedral on Tuesday morning, The miracle was announced at exactly 10.03 by Archbishop Mimmo Battaglia, to lengthy applause from the faithful, according to Italian state broadcaster RAI News

The Church believes that the miracle takes place in response to the dedication and prayers of the faithful. When the miracle occurs, the mass of reddish dried blood, adhering to one side of the ampoule, turns into completely liquid blood, covering the glass from side to side.

According to documentation cited by the Italian media Famiglia Cristiana, the miracle has taken place since at least 1389, the first instance on re

The saint's blood traditionally liquefies three times a year: in commemoration of the transfer of his remains to Naples (the Saturday before the first Sunday in May); on his liturgical feast (Sept. 19), and on the anniversary of the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in 1631 when his intercession was invoked and the city was spared from the effects of the eruption (Dec. 16).

In 250, Roman Emperor Decius implemented the first empire-wide, systemic persecution of Christians. As the bishop of Benevento, San Gennaro, along with his companions Festus, Desiderius, Sossus, Proculus, Euticius, and Acutius, Januarius was arrested as part of the Christian persecution of Diocletian in 305. The bishop and his friends were thrown into the lions den, not unlike when Daniel was thrown into the lion's den: The story of Daniel in the lion's den teaches us about the promises and faithfulness of God, even if we feel like everything has been lost. In Daniel's case some of the king's wise men were jealous, in an unwise move, the men knew Daniel prayed to God, so they tricked the king into making a new law. Anyone who prayed to God would be thrown into a lions' den. Daniel chose to pray to God anyway. God sent his angel to shut the lions' mouths while Daniel was in their den overnight. Surely Daniel prayed to God for his protection throughout his long night in the den! Surely San Gennaro prayed to God as well. Just like with Daniel, the lions did not touch San Gennaro or his friends.

"I often wonder how the soldiers and the crowds responded when this sort of thing happened. Did they yell at the lions? “Eat! Eat those awful Christians! Come on, they taste so good!” Or did some of them get scared and sense that these Christians might really be onto something?) Eventually, the soldiers decided to simply kill the men themselves. They chopped off their heads." Wrote Fr. Damian Ference in the piece titled Saint Januarius, patron saint of blood banks. Talk about a letdown!

According to the legend, after the martyrdom of San Gennaro, a woman collected and kept some of the martyr's blood in an ampoule, while bishop's body was placed first in Fuorigrotta and then in Catacombs of Capodimonte. Why would the women even fo that? Father Ferences says that Christians, because of their belief in the resurrection of the body, go to great lengths to assure the proper burial of a body. Just as Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus’ body after his death on the cross, some of the faithful would have requested the bodies and heads of Januarius and his six companions and in this case, the blood of San Genaro which made its way to Naples. The bishop’s bones are buried in the crypt of the cathedral. The ampoule still contains some of his dried blood.

Experiments have been conducted, yet there has been no medical or scientific explanation for this strange phenomenon. The brilliant Cardinal Newman said, “I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples."

When the blood doesn’t liquefy, the Neapolitans take it as an omen of misfortune.

The blood did not liquefy in September 1939, 1940, 1943, 1973, 1980, nor in December 2016 and 2020.

The relic also remained solid the year Naples elected a communist mayor, but it spontaneously liquefied when the late Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Terence Cooke, visited the St. Januarius shrine in 1978

In 2015, while Pope Francis was giving some advice to the religious, priests, and seminarians of Naples, the blood liquefied again.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs

Saint Cornelius:  Patron Saint of cattle and domestic animals

Invoked against earaches, epilepsy, fevers, and twitching

Saints Cornelius and Cyprian lived and served Christ and His Church during a time not significantly different from what we are going through today: Take away ad hominem attacks, politispeak slander and euphemisms, it’s obvious that we have a full on attack on Judeo-Christian values - the very ones America was founded uponl and attacks  on Christianity by Corporate America, including Bud Light, Delta Airlines, NorthFace,  the US Navy, Kohl’s, Major League Baseball,  Los Angeles Dodgers, Target,  USSoccer,  et al, ad the White House, DOJ, FBI and Main Stream Media are in lock step to promote the Christo-Fascist, America Is Racist narratives

Saints Cornelius and Cyprian faced severe persecution from the state and led the people of God through that suffering by word and example. They also vigorously supported the unity of the Church, were merciful to sinners, and were true shepherds of their flocks.

Cyprian, born Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus, was the son of wealthy pagan parents in North Africa. Well-educated in Greco-Roman literature and rhetoric, he had a successful career as a lawyer and teacher. Around the age of forty-six, he converted to Christianity and gave much of his wealth away, devoting himself to prayer and asceticism. Within three years, he was ordained a deacon, a priest, and finally, the Bishop of Carthage, in modern-day Tunisia, North Africa, around the year 249.

Saint Cyprian of Carthage is second in importance only to the great Saint Augustine as a figure and Father of the African church. He was a close friend of Pope Cornelius, and supported him both against the anti-pope Novatian and in his views concerning the re-admittance of apostates into the Church.

His writings are of great importance, especially his treatise on The Unity of the Catholic Church, in which he argues that unity is grounded in the authority of the bishop, and among the bishops, in the primacy of the See of Rome.

In 250, Roman Emperor Decius implemented the first empire-wide, systematic persecution of Christians.
During the persecutions, Pope Fabian was martyred. Once Emperor Decius died and the persecutions ended, a group of bishops gathered in Rome and elected Cornelius as the new pope. Novatian was displeased with this development and had himself ordained as a second bishop of Rome, positioning himself as the first antipope.  After Emperor Decius died, Gallus became the Roman emperor. While Gallus did not continue the empire-wide persecution of Christians, he did support the restoration of pagan Roman religious practices. Within a year of becoming emperor, he had Pope Cornelius exiled to Centumcellae (modern-day Civitavecchia), a city just outside Rome, on the Mediterranean coast. A year later, due to harsh conditions, Pope Cornelius died in exile and is considered a martyr.

As we honor these early saints, ponder the impact that they had on the early Church. Their witness affected the people of their time and has had an ongoing effect upon subsequent generations. Honor these holy men of God by imitating their courage and mercy in your own life so that God will use you to influence not only those in your life, but also those who will come after you in ways that are known only to God.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Memorial of St. John Chrysostom

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of StJohn Chrysostom (347-407). St. John was born in Antioch. With St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil, he forms the group of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. As Archbishop of Constantinople, his courageous stance against the vices of even the wealthy caused him to be exiled several times. In 407, he died while in in exile.


The word 'Chrysostom' means 'golden mouthed. ' This name was given to him for his preaching and public speaking skills, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders.

Saint John Chysistom taught against cruelty, tyranny, war, and bloodshed, maintaining that it is altogether improper for Christians to wage war and that peace and quiet are to be taught in the kingdom of Christ.

When he was eighteen, St. John Chrysostom decided to became a monk-hermit, living in a cave, studying the Scriptures, and putting himself under the discipline of an old hermit named Hesychius. However, his health broke under this austere regimen and he returned to Antioch, was ordained a priest, and began his remarkable career as a preacher

During the next twelve years, he electrified Antioch with his fiery sermons, filled with a knowledge and an eloquence that were astonishing. It was during this period that he received the nickname Chrysostom, or golden mouth, for his words seemed to be pure gold. In 397, when the see of Constantinople became vacant, the Emperor Arcadius appointed John patriarch, and since it was feared that he would refuse the honor, he was lured to Constantinople and consecrated bishop of the city in 398.

John found himself in a nest of political intrigue, fraud, extravagance, and naked ambition. He curbed expenses, gave lavishly to the poor, built hospitals, reformed the clergy, and restored monastic discipline. But his program of reform made him enemies, in particular the Empress Eudoxia and the Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria. The city in turmoil, his life threatened, John was exiled by the emperor in the year 404.

The papal envoys were imprisoned, and John — defended by the pope and ordered restored to his see — was sent further into exile, six hundred miles from Constantinople, across the Black Sea. Worn out and sick, he died of his hardships at Comana in Pontus. His last words were, "Glory to God for all things."
—Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens

"The present world is a theater, the conditions of men are roles: wealth and poverty, ruler and ruled, and so forth. When this day is cast aside, and that terrible night comes, or rather day—night indeed for sinners, but day for the righteous—when the play is ended, when the masks are removed, when each person is judged with his works, not each person with his wealth, not each person with his office, not each person with his authority, not each person with his power, but each person with his works, whether he is a ruler or a king, a woman or a man, when he requires an account of our life and our good deeds, not the weight of our reputation when the masks are removed, then the truly rich and the truly poor are revealed."
—St. John Chrysostom

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a memorial celebrated on 12 September, to commemorate all the privileges bestowed upon Mary by God and all the graces received through her intercession and mediation. 

Mary's Highest Title: Mother of God: The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is Theotokos ("God-bearer") because her son Jesus is both God and man: one Divine Person with two natures (divine and human). This name was translated in the West as "Mater Dei" or Mother of God.

Meanings ascribed to Mary's name by the early Christian writers and perpetuated by the Greek Fathers include: "Bitter Sea," "Myrrh of the Sea", "The Enlightened One," "The Light Giver," and especially "Star of the Sea." Stella Maris was by far the favored interpretation.

Most Holy Name of Mary Prayer;

“Look to the star of the sea, call upon Mary … in danger, in distress, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart … If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err.