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.