Traditional Catholic Calendar 2019
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March 2019 : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Friday, March 1, 2019
: Feria
Friday, March 1, 2019

: Abstinence
Friday, March 1, 2019

Saturday, March 2, 2019
: Feria
Saturday, March 2, 2019

Sunday, March 3, 2019
Sunday, March 3, 2019

Monday, March 4, 2019
: St. Casimir, C
Monday, March 4, 2019

SAINT CASIMIR
King of Poland
(1458-1483)

Casimir, the second son of Casimir III, King of Poland, was born in 1458. From the custody of a very virtuous mother, Elizabeth of Austria, he passed to the guardianship of a devoted master, the learned and pious John Dugloss. Thus animated from his earliest years by precept and example, his innocence and piety soon ripened into the practice of heroic virtue.

In an atmosphere of luxury and magnificence the young prince fasted, wore a hair shirt, slept upon the bare earth, prayed by night, and watched for the opening of the church doors at dawn. He became so tenderly devoted to the Passion of Our Lord that at Mass he seemed quite rapt out of himself; his charity to the poor and afflicted knew no bounds. His love for our Blessed Lady he expressed in a long and beautiful hymn, familiar to us in English as "Daily, Daily, Sing to Mary". At the age of twenty-five, sick with a long illness, he foretold the hour of his death, and chose to die a virgin rather than accept the life and health which the physicians held out to him in the married state.

The miracles wrought by his body after death fill an entire volume. The blind saw, the lame walked, the sick were healed, a dead girl was raised to life. At one time the Saint in glory, seen in the air by his army, led his Catholic countrymen to battle and delivered them by a wondrous victory from the schismatic Russian hosts.

One hundred and twenty-two years after his death Saint Casimir's tomb in the cathedral church of Vilna was opened, that the holy remains might be transferred to the rich marble chapel where it now lies. The place was damp, and the very vault crumbled away in the hands of the workmen; yet the Saint's body, wrapped in robes of silk, still intact, was found whole and incorrupt, and emitting a sweet fragrance which filled the church and refreshed all who were present. Under his head was found his hymn to Our Lady, which he had had buried with him.

Reflection. May the meditation of Saint Casimir's life make us increase in devotion to the most pure Mother of God - a sure means of preserving holy purity in our own soul.


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Tuesday, March 5, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

: Sts. Perpetua & Felicitas, MM
Wednesday, March 6, 2019


: Fast & Abstinence
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Thursday, March 7, 2019
: St. Thomas Aquinas, CD
Thursday, March 7, 2019

SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS
Doctor of the Church
(1225-1274)

The great Saint Thomas was born of noble parents at Aquino near Naples in Italy, in 1225; his century was replete with great names and Christian works, yet he dominates it by the power of his thought and the perfection of his works. In his childhood he was the provider for the poor of the neighborhood during a famine; his father, meeting him in a corridor with the food he had succeeded in taking from the kitchen, asked him what he had under his cloak; he opened it and fresh roses fell on the ground. The nobleman embraced his son and amid his tears, gave him permission to follow thereafter all inspirations of his charity.

The young student, like the holy man Job, made a pact with his eyes and forbade them to see anything which might favor in his heart any desires for a life of ease. At the University of Naples he led a retired life of study and prayer, and continued his charities, giving all he had which was superfluous. He was recognized already by his professors as a genius, but it was Saint Albert the Great who later said of his disciple whom some called "the mute ox", that "some day the lowing of this ox will resound throughout the entire world."

At the age of seventeen he received the Dominican habit at Naples. His family opposed this choice, and he was set upon by his brothers on his way to Paris. They attempted in vain to remove his holy habit, but he was taken in custody and obliged to suffer a two years' captivity in their castle of Rocca Secca. Neither the caresses of his mother and sisters, nor the threats and stratagems of his brothers, could shake him in his vocation. His older sister was won over by him and renounced a brilliant marriage to embrace religious life; later she was Abbess of her convent in Capua.

While Saint Thomas was in confinement at Rocca Secca, his brothers endeavored to entrap him into sin, but the attempt only ended in the triumph of his purity. Snatching from the hearth a burning coal, the Saint drove from his chamber the courtesan whom they had concealed there. Then marking a cross upon the wall, he knelt down to pray. Immediately, while he was rapt in ecstasy, an Angel girded him with a cord, in token of the gift of perpetual chastity which God had given him. The pain caused by the girdle was so sharp that Saint Thomas uttered a piercing cry, which brought his guards into the room. But he never related this grace to anyone save Father Raynald, his confessor, a short time before his death. Thus originated the Confraternity of the Angelic Warfare, for the preservation of the virtue of chastity.

Having at length escaped, Saint Thomas went to Cologne to study under Blessed Albert the Great, and afterwards was sent with him to Paris, where for several years he taught philosophy and theology. The Church has ever venerated his numerous writings as a treasure of sacred doctrine; in naming him the Angelic Doctor she has indicated that his science is more divine than human. The rarest gifts of intellect were combined in him with the most tender piety. Prayer, he said, had taught him more than study. His singular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament shines forth in the Office and hymns which he composed for the feast of Corpus Christi. To the words miraculously uttered by a crucifix at Naples, "Well hast thou written concerning Me, Thomas. What shall I give thee as a reward?" he replied, "Naught save Thyself, O Lord." Saint Thomas was loved for his unfailing gentleness and his readiness to lend his services or great lights to all who sought them. He died at Fossa Nuova in 1274, on his way to the General Council of Lyons, to which Pope Gregory X had summoned him.

Reflection. The knowledge of God is for all, but hidden treasures are reserved for those who have ever followed the Lamb.


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: Fast
Thursday, March 7, 2019

Friday, March 8, 2019
: St. John of God, C
Friday, March 8, 2019

SAINT JOHN of GOD
Founder
(1495-1550)

Nothing in the early life of John Ciudad, born of a poor couple in a town of Portugal, foreshadowed his future sanctity. Following a traveler whose description of Madrid had captivated his imagination, this only son of his parents ran away from his home. Soon regret and misery overtook him, but he was ashamed to return to his abandoned parents. In effect his mother, struck with a fever, but advised by an Angel that John would have to undergo long trials which would strengthen his virtue, departed this life only a few days after his adventure began.

For several years the renegade was engaged in tending sheep and cattle in Spain; his employer eventually offered him his only daughter in marriage and thereby a rich heritage, but John was interiorly advised that such was not his vocation. He left in secret the next day, joined the army of Spain against the French, later against the Turks. When he was about forty years of age, feeling profound remorse for his life which lacked order and purpose, he returned to his home village, only to learn of the death of both his parents. "I am not worthy to see the light of day!" exclaimed the grief-stricken voyager. He visited the cemetery, suffocated by his sobs, and cried out, "Pardon, pardon! O mother! Eternal penance!"

He resolved to devote himself to the ransom of Christian slaves in Africa, and on his way served the sick in a hospital. Meeting an aged nobleman at Gibralter, unjustly exiled and on his way to Africa, John offered to go there as his servant, to remain with him and his family and support them by his labor. Count DaSilva fell ill in the new climate and soon died, thanking John for his unfailing aid, and predicting he would some day be one of Spain's greatest apostles. His family received amnesty and returned to Spain.

John, too, returned there by the advice of his confessor, and sought to do good by selling holy pictures and books at low prices. Finally the hour of grace struck. At Granada a sermon by the celebrated John of Avila shook his soul to its depths, and his expressions of self-abhorrence were so extraordinary that he was taken to the asylum as one insane. For a time he acted this role purposely, in order to be whipped daily as a remedial measure. His confessor was John of Avila, who when he learned of this told him to cease his pretense and do something useful. Thereafter he employed himself in ministering to the sick.

He began to collect homeless poor, and to support them by his work and by begging. One night Saint John found in the streets a poor man who seemed near death, and, as was his wont, he carried him to the hospital, laid him on a bed, and went to fetch water to wash his feet. When he had washed them, he knelt to kiss them, but was awestruck: the feet were pierced, and the print of the nails shone with an unearthly radiance. He raised his eyes, and heard the words, "John, it is to Me that you do all that you do for the poor in My name. It is I who reach forth My hand for the alms you give; you clothe Me; Mine are the feet that you wash." And then the gracious vision disappeared, leaving Saint John filled at once with confusion and consolation.

The bishop became the Saint's patron and gave him the name of John of God. When his hospital was on fire, John was seen rushing about uninjured amid the flames until he had rescued all his poor. After ten years spent in the service of the suffering, the Saint's life was fitly closed when he plunged into a river to save a drowning boy, and died in 1550 of an illness brought on by the attempt. He was fifty-five years old.

Reflection. God often rewards men for works that are pleasing in His sight, by giving them grace and opportunity to do other works higher still. Saint John of God often attributed his conversion, and the graces which enabled him to do his works of love, to his self-denying charity in Africa.


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: Fast & Abstinence
Friday, March 8, 2019

Saturday, March 9, 2019
: St. Frances of Rome, Vid
Saturday, March 9, 2019

SAINT FRANCES OF ROME
Widow
(1384-1440)

Frances was born in Rome in 1384. Her parents, of high rank, overruled her desire to become a nun, and when she reached the age of twelve, married her to Lorenzo Ponziano, a Roman noble. During the forty years of their married life they never had a disagreement. While spending her days in retirement and prayer, Saint Frances attended promptly to every household duty, saying, "A married woman must leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares." She once found the verse of a psalm, at which she had been four times thus interrupted, completed for her in letters of gold. Her ordinary food was dry bread, and secretly she would exchange with beggars good food for their hard crusts.

Two of her children died young. Her son was nine years old when he foretold his father's death wound and his own coming departure for heaven; and then he returned a year later with an Angel whom she saw clearly. He said he had come for his little five year-old sister, that she might be placed among the Angels with him. He left the Angel with her in exchange, to remain always.

During the invasion of Rome in 1413, Lorenzo was banished, his estates confiscated, his house destroyed, and his eldest son taken as a hostage. Frances saw in these losses only the hand of God, and blessed His holy Name. When peace was restored Ponziano recovered his estates, and after her husband's death, Saint Frances founded a Community of Benedictine Oblate nuns. At the age of forty-three, barefoot and with a cord about her neck she asked admission to the community, and was soon elected Superior.

She lived at all times in the presence of God, and among many visions was given constant sight of her Angel, who shed such a brightness around him that the Saint could read her midnight Office by this light alone. He shielded her in time of temptation, and directed her in every good act. But when she fell into some fault, he faded from her sight, and whenever any unsuitable words were spoken before her, he covered his face in shame. Saint Frances died on the day she foretold, March 9, 1440.

Reflection. God has appointed for each one of us, to protect us from all evils, a Guardian Angel whose warnings we are bound to heed. Let us listen to his voice here below, and we shall see him hereafter when he leads us before the throne of God.


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: Fast
Saturday, March 9, 2019

Sunday, March 10, 2019
Sunday, March 10, 2019

: Forty Holy Martyrs
Sunday, March 10, 2019

The FORTY MARTYRS of SEBASTE
(320)

The Forty Martyrs were soldiers quartered at Sebaste in Armenia, about the year 320. When their legion was ordered to offer sacrifice to idols, they refused to betray the faith of their baptism, and replied to all persuasive efforts, "We are Christians!" When neither cajolings or threats could change them, after several days of imprisonment they were chained together and taken to the site of execution. It was a cruel winter, and they were condemned to lie without clothing on the icy surface of a pond in the open air until they froze to death.

The forty, not merely undismayed but filled with joy at the prospect of suffering for Jesus Christ, said: "No doubt it is difficult to support so acute a cold, but it will be agreeable to go to paradise by this route; the torment is of short duration, and the glory will be eternal. This cruel night will win for us an eternity of delights. Lord, forty of us are entering combat; grant that we may be forty to receive the crown!"

There were warm baths close by, ready for any among them who would deny Christ. One of the confessors lost heart, renounced his faith, and went to cast himself into the basin of warm water prepared for that intention. But the sudden change in temperature suffocated him and he expired, losing at once both temporal and eternal life. The still living martyrs were fortified in their resolution, beholding this scene.

Then the ice was suddenly flooded with a bright light; one of the soldiers guarding the men, nearly blinded by the light, raised his eyes and saw Angels descend with forty crowns which they held in the air over the martyrs' heads; but the fortieth one remained without a destination. The sentry was inspired to confess Christ, saying: "That crown will be for me!" Abandoning his coat and clothing, he went to replace the unfortunate apostate on the ice, crying out: "I am a Christian!" And the number of forty was again complete. They remained steadfast while their limbs grew stiff and frozen, and died one by one.

Among the forty there was a young soldier named Meliton who held out longest against the cold, and when the officers came to cart away the dead bodies they found him still breathing. They were moved with pity, and wanted to leave him alive, hoping he would still change his mind. But his mother stood by, and this valiant woman could not bear to see her son separated from the band of martyrs. She exhorted him to persevere, and lifted his frozen body into the cart. He was just able to make a sign of recognition, and was borne away, to be thrown into the flames with the dead bodies of his brethren. Their bones were cast into the river, but they floated and were gathered up by the faithful.

Reflection. All who live the life of grace are one in Christ. But besides this there are many special ties, resulting from community life, or at least of prayer in common and pious works. Thank God if He has bound you to others by these spiritual ties; pray that the bond which unites you here may last for eternity.


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Monday, March 11, 2019
: Feria
Monday, March 11, 2019

: Fast
Monday, March 11, 2019

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
: St. Gregory the Great, PCD
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT
Pope, Doctor of the Church
(540-604)

Saint Gregory the Great was a Roman of noble Christian birth, the son of a canonized Saint, his mother, Saint Silva; and he was the nephew of two others, Saints Tarsilla and Emiliana. At thirty years of age he became the Prefect of Rome, the highest civil dignity of that city. On his father's death in 574 he gave his great wealth to the poor, turned his house on the Caelian Hill into the monastery which now bears his name, and for several years lived as a perfect monk. His famous exposition of the Book of Job dates from his monastic years.

The Pope drew him from his seclusion in 578 to make him one of the seven deacons of Rome; and for seven years he rendered great service to the Church as what we now call Papal Nuncio to the imperial court at Constantinople. He had been sent there to obtain assistance against the Lombard invasions, but returned with a conviction which was a foundation of his later activity, that no help could any longer be obtained from that court. When he was recalled to Rome he became Abbot of his Monastery, then known by the name of Saint Andrew's.

While still a monk the Saint was struck by the sight of some fair-complexioned boys who were exposed for sale in Rome, and heard with sorrow that they were pagans. "And of what race are they?" he asked. "They are Angles." "Worthy indeed to be Angels of God," said he. He at once obtained permission from the Pope to set out to evangelize the English. With several companion monks he had already made a three-days' journey when the Pope, ceding to the regrets of the Roman people, sent out messengers to overtake and recall them. Still the Angles were not forgotten, and one of the Saint's first cares as Pope was to send, from his own monastery, Saint Augustine and forty more monks to England.

On the death of Pope Pelagius II, Saint Gregory was compelled to take upon himself the government of the Church, and for fourteen years his pontificate was a perfect model of ecclesiastical rule. He healed schisms, revived discipline, and saved Italy by converting the wild Arian Lombards who were laying it waste; he aided in the conversion of the Spanish and French Goths, who also were Arians, and kindled anew in Britain the light of the Faith, which the Anglo-Saxons had extinguished in blood. He set in order the Church's prayers and chant, guided and consoled her pastors with innumerable letters, and preached incessantly, most effectively by his own example. Many of his sermons are still extant and are famous for their constant use of Holy Scripture. His writings are numerous and include fourteen books of his letters.

Saint Gregory I died in 604, worn out by austerities and toils. The Church includes him among her four great Latin doctors, and reveres him as Saint Gregory the Great.

Reflection. The champions of faith prove the truth of their teaching no less by the holiness of their lives than by the force of their arguments. Never forget that to bring others to God you must first see to your own soul.


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: Fast
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

: Ember Day - Fast
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Thursday, March 14, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, March 14, 2019

: Fast
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019
: Feria
Friday, March 15, 2019

: Ember Day - Fast & Abstinence
Friday, March 15, 2019

Saturday, March 16, 2019
: Feria
Saturday, March 16, 2019

: Ember Day - Fast
Saturday, March 16, 2019

Sunday, March 17, 2019
Sunday, March 17, 2019

: St. Patrick, EC
Sunday, March 17, 2019

SAINT PATRICK
Bishop, Apostle of Ireland
(373-464)

If the virtue of children reflects honor on their parents, much more justly is the name of Saint Patrick rendered illustrious by the innumerable lights of sanctity which shone in the Church of Ireland during many ages, and by the colonies of Saints with which it peopled many foreign countries. The Apostle of Ireland was born in Scotland towards the close of the fourth century, in a village which seems to be the present-day Scotch town of Kilpatrick, between Dumbarton and Glasgow. He calls himself both a Briton and a Roman, that is, of mixed extraction, and says his father was of a good family named Calphurnius. Some writers call his mother Conchessa, and say she was the niece of Saint Martin of Tours.

In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity in Ireland by barbarians. There he was obliged to shepherd cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amid snow, rain, and ice. The young man had recourse to God with his whole heart, in fervent prayer and fasting, and from that time faith and the love of God acquired a constantly renewed strength in his tender soul. After six months spent in slavery, Saint Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and was informed that a ship was then ready to sail there. He went at once to the seacoast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel, but he could not obtain his passage - probably for want of money. Patrick was returning to his hut, praying as he went, when the sailors, though pagans, called him back and took him on board.

Some years afterwards he was again taken captive, but recovered his liberty after two months. While he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that He destined him for the great work of the conversion of Ireland. His biographers say that after his second captivity he traveled into Gaul and Italy, and saw Saint Martin, Saint Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Saint Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. It is certain that he spent many years in preparing himself for his sacred calling. Great opposition was raised to his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relatives and by the clergy. They made him great offers in order to detain him among them, and endeavored to affright him by exaggerating the dangers to which he exposed himself amid the enemies of the Romans and Britons, who did not know God. All these temptations cast the Saint into great perplexity; but the Lord, whose Will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him and he persevered in his resolution.

He therefore left his family, sold his birthright and dignity, and consecrated his soul to God, to serve strangers and carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland, to preach the Gospel where the worship of idols still generally reigned. He traveled over the island, penetrating into the remotest corners, and such was the fruit of his preaching and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of persons. Everywhere he ordained clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and founded monasteries, not without many persecutions.

Saint Patrick held several councils to regulate the discipline of the Church he had planted. Saint Bernard and the tradition of the country testify that he fixed his metropolitan see at Armagh. He established other bishops, as appears by the acts of a council and various other documents. He not only converted the whole country by his preaching and wonderful miracles, but also cultivated this vineyard with so fruitful a benediction from heaven as to render Ireland a flourishing garden in the Church of God, and a land of Saints. He converted and baptized the kings of Dublin and Munster and the seven sons of the king of Connaught, with the majority of their subjects, and before his death almost the whole island. He founded three monasteries and filled the countryside with churches and schools of piety and learning. He died and was buried at Down in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and moved to another part of the same church.

Reflection. By the instrumentality of Saint Patrick the Faith remained for long centuries as fresh in Ireland as when it was first planted. Ask him to obtain for you the special grace his children receive: to prefer the loss of every earthly good to the least compromise in matters of faith.


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Monday, March 18, 2019
: St. Cyril of Jerusalem, ECD
Monday, March 18, 2019

SAINT CYRIL of JERUSALEM
Bishop, Confessor, Doctor
(315-386)

Saint Cyril was born at or near the city of Jerusalem, about the year 315. He was ordained a priest by Saint Maximus, who gave him the important charge of instructing and preparing the candidates for Baptism. This office he held for several years, and today we still have one series of his instructions, given in the year 347 or 348. They are of singular interest as being the earliest record of the systematic teaching of the Church on the Creed and Sacraments, and as having been given in the church built by Constantine on Mount Calvary. They are solid, simple, profound, precise, and saturated with Holy Scripture, and, as a witness and exposition of the Catholic faith, invaluable.

On the death of Saint Maximus, Cyril was chosen Bishop of Jerusalem. At the beginning of his episcopate a cross was seen in the sky, reaching from Mount Calvary to Mount Olivet, and so bright that it shone at noonday. Saint Cyril gave an account of it to the emperor, and the faithful regarded it as a presage of victory over the Arian heretics.

While Saint Cyril was Bishop of Jerusalem, the apostate emperor Julian resolved to defy the words of Our Lord (Luke 21:6) by rebuilding the ancient temple of Jerusalem. He employed the power and resources of a Roman emperor; the Jews thronged enthusiastically to him and gave munificently. But Cyril was unmoved. "The word of God abides," he said; "one stone shall not be laid on another." When the attempt was made, a pagan writer tells us that horrible flames came forth from the earth, rendering the place inaccessible to the scorched and frightened workmen. The attempt was made again and again, and then abandoned in despair. Soon after, the emperor perished miserably in a war against the Persians, and the Church had rest.

Like the other great bishops of his time, Cyril was persecuted, and was driven twice from his see; but on the death of the Arian emperor Valens, he returned to Jerusalem. He was present at the Second General Council of Constantinople, and died in peace A.D. 386, after a troubled episcopate of thirty-five years.

Reflection. "As a stout staff," says Saint John Chrysostom, "supports the trembling limbs of a feeble old man, so does faith sustain our vacillating mind, lest it be tossed about by sinful hesitation and perplexity."


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: Fast
Monday, March 18, 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
: St. Joseph Spouse of BVM
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

SAINT JOSEPH
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin,
Virginal Father of Jesus
and Patron of the Universal Church
( ca. 30)

Saint Joseph was by birth of the royal family of David, but was living in humble obscurity as a carpenter, until God raised him to the highest office ever accorded a mortal man, by choosing him to be the spouse of the Virgin Mother, the virginal father and guardian of the Incarnate Word. Joseph, says Holy Scripture, was a just man. He was innocent and pure, as became the husband of Mary; he was gentle and tender, as one worthy to be named the father of Jesus; he was prudent and a lover of silence, as became the master of the holy house; above all, he was faithful and obedient to divine calls.

His conversation was with Angels rather than with men. When he learned that Mary bore within Her womb the Lord of heaven, he feared to take Her as his wife; but an Angel bade him put his fear aside, and all doubts vanished. When Herod sought the life of the divine Infant, an Angel told Joseph in a dream to fly with the Child and His Mother into Egypt. Joseph at once arose and obeyed. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed both him and his little Family to many inconveniences and sufferings; the journey with a newborn infant and a tender virgin was long, and the greater part of the way led through deserts and among strangers. Yet Saint Joseph alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return.

Saint Chrysostom observes that God treats in this way all His servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing with afflictions, seasons of consolation. It is the opinion of the Fathers that when the Holy Family entered Egypt, at the presence of the Child Jesus all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled, and in many places fell to the ground. The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages fruitful in Saints.

After the death of King Herod, of which Saint Joseph was informed in another vision, God ordered him to return with the Child and His Mother into the land of Israel, which our Saint readily accomplished. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus had succeeded Herod in that part of the land, and apprehensive that the son might be infected with his father's vices, he feared to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done, for the education of the Child. Therefore, directed by God through still another angelic visit, he retired into the dominions of Herod Antipas in Galilee, and to his former habitation in Nazareth.

Saint Joseph, a strict observer of the Mosaic law, journeyed each year at the time of the Passover to Jerusalem. Our Saviour, in the twelfth year of His age, accompanied His parents. Having participated in the usual ceremonies of the feast, the parents were returning with many of their neighbors and acquaintances towards Galilee, and never doubted that Jesus was with some of the company. They traveled on for a whole day's journey before they discovered that He was not with them. But when night came on and they could find no trace of Him among their kindred and acquaintances, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost haste to Jerusalem. We are left to imagine their tears and their efforts to find Him. After an anxious search of three days they discovered Him in the Temple, discoursing with the learned doctors of the law, and asking them such questions as aroused the admiration of all who heard Him. His Mother told Him with what grief and earnestness they had sought Him and asked, "Son, why have You dealt with us in this way? Behold, Your Father and I have searched for You in great affliction of mind." The young Saviour answered, "How is it that You sought Me? Did You not know that I must be about My Father's business?" In this way Jesus encourages all young persons who are called to serve God to persevere in that high vocation, whatever the cost. But we are told that although He had remained in the Temple unknown to His parents, in all other things He was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and living there in all dutiful subjection to them.

As no further mention is made of Saint Joseph, he must have died before the marriage feast of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt that he had the happiness of the presence of Jesus and Mary at his death, praying beside him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments; therefore he is invoked for the great grace of a happy death and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that hour.

Reflection. The words of the Pharaoh to those who applied to him for aid, "Go to Joseph" are fitting for the second great Joseph of sacred history. Saint Teresa of Avila said she never had recourse to him in vain. Saint Joseph, vicar of the Eternal Father upon earth, protector of Jesus in His home at Nazareth, and affectionate lover of all children for the sake of the Holy Child, should be the chosen guardian and model of every true Christian family.


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: Fast
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

: Fast
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019
: St. Benedict, Ab
Thursday, March 21, 2019

SAINT BENEDICT
Father of Western Monasticism
(480-543)

Saint Benedict, blessed by grace as his prophetic name seemed to foretell, was born of a noble Italian family in Umbria, in the year 480. As a boy he showed great inclination for virtue, and maturity in his actions. He was sent to Rome at the age of seven, to be placed in the public schools. At the age of fourteen, alarmed by the licentiousness of the Roman youth, he fled to the desert mountains of Subiaco, forty miles from Rome, and was directed by the Holy Spirit into a deep, craggy, and almost inaccessible cave, since known as the Holy Grotto. He lived there for three years, unknown to anyone save a holy monk named Romanus, who clothed him with the monastic habit and brought him food.

He was eventually discovered, when, one Easter day, God advised a priest who lived about four miles from there, to take food to His servant, who was starving. The priest searched in the hills and finally found the solitary, and they took their meal together. Some shepherds also knew of his retreat, and soon the fame of this hermit's sanctity began to spread. The demon persecuted him, but to no avail; when a temptation of the flesh assailed him, he rolled in a clump of thorns and nettles, and came out of it covered with blood but sound in spirit.

Disciples came to him, and under his direction, numerous monasteries were founded. The rigor of the rule he drew up, however, brought upon him the hatred of some of the monks, and one of them mixed poison with the Abbot's drink. When the Saint made the sign of the cross on the poisoned bowl, it broke and fell in pieces to the ground.

Saint Benedict resurrected a boy whose father pleaded for that miracle, saying "Give me back my son!" He replied, "Such miracles are not for us to work, but for the blessed apostles! Why will you lay upon me a burden which my weakness cannot bear?" But finally, moved by compassion, he prostrated himself upon the body of the child, and prayed: "Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, and restore the soul which Thou hast taken away!" And the child rose up, and walked to the waiting arms of his father. When a monk lost the iron head of his axe in a river, the Abbot told him to throw the handle in after it, and it rose from the river bed to resume its former place.

Six days before his death, Saint Benedict ordered his grave to be prepared, then fell ill of a fever. On the sixth day he asked to be carried to the chapel, and, having received the sacred Body and Blood of Christ, with hands uplifted and leaning on one of his disciples, he calmly expired in prayer, on the 21st of March, 543.

Reflection. The Saints never feared to undertake any work for God, however arduous, because distrusting self they relied for assistance and support wholly upon prayer.


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: Fast
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Friday, March 22, 2019
: Feria
Friday, March 22, 2019

: Fast & Abstainence
Friday, March 22, 2019

Saturday, March 23, 2019
: Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Saturday, March 23, 2019

The SEVEN SORROWS
of the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Church twice commemorates the sorrows of its heavenly Mother. The Friday of Passion week, since the 15th century, and also Sept. 15 have been dedicated by the universal Church to Her Compassion. Why is this so? To understand this double liturgy, we must know that Mary is also the Mother of the Mystical Body. The present feast was instituted by Pius VII after his return from his captivity and exile, which lasted from 1809 to 1814. Christ no longer suffers, and for Our Lady also, all suffering as we understand it has ceased. Nonetheless, the prophet Jeremias in his Lamentations, asks: "To whom shall You be compared, O Virgin? Your affliction is like the ocean." A mother who is happy in her home weeps just the same over the sorrows of her children. The statues and pictures of Mary all over Europe wept before the Revolution in France, and Her statues weep again today, in many places. The Passion of Christ continues in His elect, in particular in His Vicar on earth, from whom He does not separate Himself, and against whom the force of hell is deployed unceasingly. The mysterious compassion of the Mother is forever acquired for the Mystical Body of Her Son, which must reproduce the divine death in its human nature, elevated above its natural condition by the superhuman power of grace.

Mary's great sorrows began at the prediction of Simeon that a sword would transpierce Her heart. Soon afterwards, She was obliged to flee with the newborn Infant, already object of a fatal search. She lost Him in the temple for three inexpressibly painful days; She met Him on the road to Calvary, and the sight indeed pierced Her heart. She saw Him die, heard His final cry, and witnessed the opening of His side with the effusion of His last drops of blood, mingled with water; She received in Her arms the inert body of the most beautiful of the sons of men. Finally, She was obliged to depose Him in a tomb, leave Him there and return with Her adopted son, John, to a deicidal Jerusalem.

The Queen of Martyrs has never ceased to encourage Her children on earth to bear their own crosses, which complement the Passion of Christ. He suffered first the ordinary contradictions of life; for three years He was taunted and regarded as a menace by those who should have recognized Him and His mission. He knew hunger, cold and fatigue; He slept so heavily in a boat amid a tempest, that we can only suppose He was exhausted. He knew what it was to be abandoned in need and to lose, to the empire of various passions, followers He had called His. Christ is our forerunner in all human sorrows and difficulties. Mary, as His Mother, offered to God with Him all the afflictions of His earthly life, and She continues to offer those of the Church, for its sanctification, for the souls in Purgatory and the salvation of souls.


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: Fast
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Sunday, March 24, 2019
Sunday, March 24, 2019

: St. Gabriel the Archangel
Sunday, March 24, 2019

SAINT GABRIEL ARCHANGEL

The day before the great feast of the Annunciation, the Church celebrates the feast of the Archangel who brought to earth the glad tidings that Mary was chosen to be the Mother of the Incarnate God.

This angelic Messenger appears several times in the history of God's chosen people. He came to Daniel the prophet after he had a vision of the future Persian and Greek empires, to explain the vision to him, as Daniel narrates in the eighth chapter of his book. So great was the Archangel's majesty that the prophet fell on his face trembling.

The Angel of the Incarnation again appeared to the prophet to answer his prayer at the end of the exile, and advise him of the exact date of the future Redemption by the long-awaited Messiah.

When the fullness of time had come, Gabriel was sent several times as the harbinger of the Incarnation of the Most High God. First, to the Temple of Jerusalem, while Zachary stood at the altar of incense, to tell him that his wife Elizabeth would bring forth a son to be called John, who would prepare the way of the Lord. (Luke 1:17) Six months later the great Archangel again appeared, bearing the greatest message God ever sent to earth. Standing before the Blessed Virgin Mary, this great Archangel of God trembled with reverence as he offered Her the ineffable honor of becoming Mother of the Eternal Word. Upon Her consent, "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." It was he, we can readily believe, who also fortified Saint Joseph for his mission as virginal father of the Saviour.


Gabriel rightly bears the beautiful name, the strength of God, manifesting in every apparition the power and glory of the Eternal. According to some of the Fathers of the Church, it was Saint Gabriel, Angel of the Incarnation, who invited the shepherds of Bethlehem to come to the Crib to adore the newborn God. He was with Jesus in His Agony, no less ready to be the strength of God in the Garden than at Nazareth and Bethlehem. Throughout Christian tradition he is the Angel of the Incarnation, the Angel of consolation, the Angel of mercy.


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Monday, March 25, 2019
: Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Monday, March 25, 2019

ANNUNCIATION of the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

This great festival takes its name from the happy tidings brought by the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin, announcing the Incarnation of the Son of God. It commemorates the most important embassy that was ever known, an embassy sent by the King of kings, and performed by one of the chief princes of His heavenly court, and directed, not to the great ones of this earth, but to a poor, unknown virgin who, being endowed with angelic purity of soul and body, and perfect humility and submission to God, was greater in His eyes than the mightiest monarch in the world.

When the Son of God became man, He could have taken our nature without the cooperation of any creature; but He was pleased to be born of a woman, the One announced in the third chapter of Genesis. In choosing Her whom He raised to this most sublime of all dignities, He was turning to the one maiden who, by the riches of His grace and virtues, was of all others the most holy and the most perfect. The purpose of this embassy of the Archangel was to give a Saviour to the world, a victim of propitiation to the sinner, a model to the just, a son to this Virgin who would remain a virgin, and a new nature to the Son of God - the nature of man, capable of suffering pain and anguish in order to satisfy God's justice for our transgressions.

When the Angel appeared to Mary and addressed Her, the Blessed Virgin was troubled; not at his coming, says Saint Ambrose, for heavenly visions and conversation with the blessed spirits had been familiar to Her, but what alarmed Her, he says, was the Angel's appearing in human form, in the shape of a young man. What added to her alarm on this occasion was his words of praise. Mary, guarded by her modesty, was in confusion before expressions of this sort, and dreaded even the shadow of deluding flattery. Such high commendations made her cautious, until in silence She had more fully considered the matter: "She deliberated in her mind," says Saint Luke, "what manner of salutation this could be."

The Angel, to calm her, said: "Fear not, Mary, for Thou hast found favor before God." He then informed Her that She was to conceive a Son whose name would be Jesus, who would be great and the Son of the Most High, and possessed of the throne of David, Her illustrious ancestor. Mary, out of a just concern to know how she may comply with the will of God without prejudice to Her vow of virginity, inquired, "How shall this be?" Nor did She give Her consent until the heavenly messenger informed Her that it was to be a work of the Holy Spirit, who, in making Her fruitful, would not alter in the slightest Her virginal purity. In submission to God's will, without any further inquiries, She expressed Her assent in these humble but powerful words: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto Me according to thy word." What faith and confidence Her answer expressed! What profound humility and perfect obedience!

Reflection. Humility is the foundation of a spiritual life. By it Mary was prepared for the extraordinary graces and virtues which would ever enrich Her, and for the eminent dignity of Mother of God.


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: Fast
Monday, March 25, 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

: Fast
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
: St. John Damascene, CD
Wednesday, March 27, 2019

SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE
Doctor of the Church
(676-780)

Saint John was born in the late 7th century, and is the most remarkable of the Greek writers of the 8th century. His father was a civil authority who was Christian amid the Saracens of Damascus, whose caliph made him his minister. This enlightened man found in the public square one day, amid a group of sad Christian captives, a priest of Italian origin who had been condemned to slavery; he ransomed him and assigned him to his young son to be his tutor. Young John made extraordinary progress in grammar, dialectic, mathematics, music, poetry, astronomy, but above all in theology, the discipline imparting knowledge of God. John became famous for his encyclopedic knowledge and theological method, later a source of inspiration to Saint Thomas Aquinas.

When his father died, the caliph made of him his principal counselor, his Grand Vizier. Thus it was through Saint John Damascene that the advanced sciences made their apparition among the Arab Moslems, who had burnt the library of Alexandria in Egypt; it was not the Moslems who instructed the Christians, as was believed for some time in Europe. Saint John vigorously opposed the ferocious Iconoclast persecution instigated by the Emperor of Constantinople, Leo the Isaurian. He distinguished himself, with Saint Germain, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the defense of the veneration of sacred images.

The Emperor, irritated, himself conjured up a plot against him. A letter was forged, signed with Saint John's name, and addressed to himself, the Emperor of Constantinople, offering to deliver up the city of Damascus to him. That letter was then transmitted by the Emperor to the Caliph of Damascus, advising him as a "good neighbor" should do, that he had a traitor for minister. Although Saint John vigorously defended himself against the charge, he was condemned by the Caliph to have his right hand cut off. The severed hand, by order of the Caliph, was attached to a post in a public square. But Saint John obtained the hand afterwards, and invoked the Blessed Virgin in a prayer which has been preserved; he prayed to be able to continue to write the praises of Her Son and Herself. The next morning when he awoke, he found his hand joined again to the arm, leaving no trace of pain, but only a fine red line like a bracelet, marking the site of the miracle.

The Saint was reinstated afterwards to the favor of the local prince, but he believed that heaven had made it clear he was destined to serve the Church by his writings. He therefore distributed his property and retired soon thereafter to the monastery of Saint Sabas near Jerusalem, where he spent most of his remaining years in apologetic writings and prayer. Occasionally he left to console the Christians of Syria and Palestine and strengthen them, even going to Constantinople in the hope of obtaining martyrdom there. However, he was able to return to his monastery. There he died in peace at the age of 104, and was buried near the door of the monastery church, in the year 780.


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: Fast
Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019
: St. John Capistran, C
Thursday, March 28, 2019

SAINT JOHN CAPISTRAN
Confessor
(1385-1456)

Saint John was born at Capistrano, near Naples in Italy, in 1385. Having studied both secular and canon law, he became so skilled in it that his reputation spread over all of Italy. He was imprisoned during a war and abandoned by his protector for some time, during which his young wife died. He resolved while still in prison to serve in the future no other interests but those of God. His property was sold at his command, his ransom paid, and from his prison he entered a monastery near Peruse where the Rule of Saint Francis was observed in its purity.

The superiors, fearing this vocation to be a passing fancy, tested him severely, even sending him away twice; but he remained day and night at the door, suffering joyfully all trials. His heroic perseverance disarmed their fears and severity, and he was admitted to religious profession.

For seven years he practiced great austerities, cared for the sick in the hospitals, and preached on all sides the word of God. In this, say his biographers, he succeeded so admirably that few preachers in the course of all the centuries can be compared with him. He became a disciple of Saint Bernardine of Siena, assisting him in public conferences and discussions. Like many great servants of God he was calumniated, as though he had taught errors; he went to Rome to justify his teachings in the presence of the Pope and a group of cardinals, which he did admirably well, and they recognized the obvious innocence of the accused Saint.

Afterwards he preached all over Italy, and everywhere brought about the reform of lives. Five Popes in succession gave commissions to this remarkable Franciscan to represent them in important affairs, and he traveled to France, Austria, Poland and Germany. Everywhere his negotiations were crowned with success. But none of the Popes succeeded in raising him to the episcopal dignity; their efforts met an absolute resistance in his humility.

His extraordinary qualities proved to be of great assistance to the Holy See in another circumstance. When Mohammed II was threatening Vienna and Rome, Saint John Capistran, at the bidding of Pope Callixtus III, enrolled for a crusade 70,000 Christians. In a vision he was assured of victory in the Name of Jesus and by the Cross he bore. Marching at the head of the crusaders, he entered Belgrade at the head of the army. This General of the Friars Minor won a remarkable victory in that year of 1455, when 40,000 of the enemies of the Christians perished, but virtually none among the latter. He himself died the following year at the age of 71. He is regarded as a martyr, for enemies of the faith twice succeeded in giving him poison, which was ineffectual; he died only from the immense fatigue he had suffered in the defense of the city of Belgrade. "An infinity of miracles" followed his death. He was canonized in 1690.


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: Fast
Thursday, March 28, 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019
: Feria
Friday, March 29, 2019

: Fast & Abstinence
Friday, March 29, 2019

Saturday, March 30, 2019
: Feria
Saturday, March 30, 2019

: Fast
Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sunday, March 31, 2019
Sunday, March 31, 2019

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