Traditional Catholic Calendar 2019
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Monday, April 1, 2019
: Feria
Monday, April 1, 2019

: Fast
Monday, April 1, 2019

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
: St. Francis of Paula, C
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

SAINT FRANCIS of PAULA
Thaumaturge, Founder
(1416-1507)

At the age of fifteen, Saint Francis left his poor home at Paula in Calabria, Italy, to live as a hermit in a cave on the seacoast. In time disciples gathered around him, and with them, in 1436, he founded the Order of the "Minims." He chose this name that they might always consider themselves the least of monastic Orders. They observed a perpetual Lent, never touching meat, fish, eggs, or milk. Francis himself made the rock his bed; his best garment was a hair shirt, and boiled herbs were his only fare. His first consideration in all things was Caritas, charity.

Saint Francis was a thaumaturge, which denomination indicates a miracle-worker known for his virtually unceasing wonders. The Church recognizes that God, as a rule, does not raise up more than one every century. He cured the sick, raised the dead, averted plagues, expelled evil spirits, and brought sinners to penance. But opposition arose; a famous preacher, misled by a few misguided monks, set to work to preach against Saint Francis and his miracles. The Saint took no notice of it, and the preacher, finding that he made no way with his hearers, determined to go to see this poor hermit whom he did not know, and confound him in person. The Saint received him kindly, gave him a seat by the fire, and listened to a long exposition of his own frauds. He then quietly took some glowing embers from the fire, and closing his hands upon them unhurt, said, "Come, Father Anthony, warm yourself, for you are shivering for want of a little charity." Father Anthony, falling at the Saint's feet, asked for pardon, and then, having received his embrace, left him, to become his panegyrist and himself attain great perfection.

When the avaricious King Ferdinand of Naples offered him a gift of money for his convent, Francis told him to give it back to his oppressed subjects, and softened his heart by causing blood to flow from the ill-gotten coin.

King Louis XI of France, trembling at the approach of death, sent for the poor hermit to come and ward off the foe whose advance neither his fortresses nor his guards could check. Francis went at the Pope's command, leaving his country and his foundations there, which he foretold he would not see again; and he prepared the king for a pious death. He set the court to marveling when a delicately seasoned fish, which the king had ordered prepared for his guest's dinner, swam away after Saint Francis cast it into the pool from which it had been taken. And the successors of King Louis showered favors on their remarkable guest, desiring him to remain in France. It was God's will that retained him there.

His Rule for the Order of Minims was adopted also by women religious, and spread throughout Europe; a less rigorous Rule was adapted for the Third Order Secular for those who desired a life of penance in their state. His name was reverenced everywhere in the Christian world; his prophecies were, during his lifetime, and are still today, held in great veneration. He died at the age of ninety-one, on Good Friday, 1507, with the crucifix in his hand and the last words of Jesus on his lips: "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."

Reflection. Rely in all difficulties upon God. The faith and love which enabled Saint Francis to work miracles will do wonders for yourself, by giving you strength and consolation in proportion to your confidence and your efforts


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: Fast
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

: Fast
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019
: St. Isidor, ECD
Thursday, April 4, 2019

SAINT ISIDORE
Archbishop and Doctor of the Church
(639)

Saint Isidore was born of a ducal family, at Carthagena in Spain. His two brothers, Leander, Archbishop of Seville, Fulgentius, Bishop of Ecija, and his sister Florentina, are all recognized by the Church as Saints. As a boy Isidore despaired over his poor success in study, and ran away from school. Resting in his flight at a roadside spring, he observed a stone, which had been hollowed out by the slow but constant dripping of water. This lesson decided him to return, and then, by determined application, he succeeded.

He went back to his master and with the help of God became, even as a youth, one of the most learned men of the time. He assisted in converting Prince Recared, the leader of the Arian party; and with his aid, though at the constant peril of his own life, expelled that heresy from Spain. Then, following a call from God, he turned a deaf ear to the entreaties of his friends, and embraced a hermit's life. Prince Recared and many of the nobles and clergy of Seville went to persuade him to come back, representing the needs of the times and the good he could do, and had already done, among the people. He refused, and, as far as we can judge, his retreat gave him the necessary opportunity of acquiring the virtue and power which afterwards made him an illustrious Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

On the death of his brother Leander, he was called to fill the vacant see. As a teacher, ruler, founder, and reformer, he labored not only in his own diocese, but throughout Spain, and his influence attained foreign countries. He died in Seville on April 4, 639, and within sixteen years of his death was declared a Doctor of the Catholic Church.

Reflection. The strength of temptation usually lies in the fact that its object is something flattering to our pride, soothing to our sloth, or in some way attractive to the baser passions. Saint Isidore teaches us to listen neither to the promptings of nature nor the plausible advice of friends, when they contradict the voice of God.


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: Fast
Thursday, April 4, 2019

Friday, April 5, 2019
: St. Vincent Ferrer, C
Friday, April 5, 2019

SAINT VINCENT FERRER
Thaumaturge, Dominican Missionary
(1357-1419)

This wonderful apostle, the "Angel of the Judgment," was born at Valencia in Spain in 1357. At the age of eighteen, he was professed in the Order of Saint Dominic. After a brilliant course of study he became Master of Sacred Theology, and began to preach. For three years he read only the Sacred Scriptures, and came to know the entire Bible by heart. He brought the light of Christ to the Jews of Valencia, and their synagogue became a church.

Grief at the great schism then afflicting the Church reduced him to the point of death at the age of forty, but Our Lord Himself whom he saw in glory, healed him and bade him go forth to convert sinners, "for My judgment is near." In the language of Scripture, a judgment is a time of trial during which the good become better by prayer and abandonment to God's Providence, and the impious blaspheme. The judgment which was to fall upon Europe, the rending of the robe of Christ through the still greater fragmentation of the Church, would follow soon after Saint Vincent's time; his passage preserved large numbers of souls from its fatal dangers.

This virtually miraculous apostolate lasted twenty-one years. He preached throughout western Europe, in the towns and villages of Spain, Switzerland, France, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland. Everywhere tens of thousands of sinners were reformed. Infidels, heretics, Jews were enlightened and warmed by the Sun of Justice. Stupendous miracles enforced his words. Twice each day the "miracle bell" summoned the sick, the blind, the lame to be cured, and the most obdurate sinners became Saints. Speaking only his native Spanish, he was understood in all tongues. Processions of ten thousand penitents followed him in perfect order. Convents, orphanages, hospitals, arose where he passed.

Amid all the honors which came to him, his humility remained profound, his prayer constant. He always made prayer his principal preparation for preaching. Once, however, when a person of high rank was to be present at his sermon, he neglected prayer for study. The nobleman was not particularly struck by the discourse which had been thus carefully laid out. But he came again to hear the Saint, and the second sermon, for which Saint Vincent's supplications before the Crucifix were the preparation, made a deep impression on his soul. When Saint Vincent heard of his reaction, he remarked that in the first sermon it was Vincent who had preached, but in the second, Jesus Christ.

Saint Vincent fell ill at Vannes in Brittany, and received the crown of everlasting glory in 1419.

Reflection. "Whatever you do," said Saint Vincent, "think not of yourself, but of God." In this spirit he preached, and God spoke by him; in this spirit, if we listen, we shall hear the voice of God.


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: Fast & Abstinence
Friday, April 5, 2019

Saturday, April 6, 2019
: Feria
Saturday, April 6, 2019

: Fast
Saturday, April 6, 2019

Sunday, April 7, 2019
Sunday, April 7, 2019

Monday, April 8, 2019
: Feria
Monday, April 8, 2019

: Fast
Monday, April 8, 2019

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

: Fast
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

: Fast
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019
: St. Leo I, PCD
Thursday, April 11, 2019

SAINT LEO the GREAT
Pope
(398-461)

Saint Leo was born in Rome. He embraced the sacred ministry, was made Archdeacon of the Roman Church by Pope Saint Celestine, and under the same Vicar of Christ and Saint Sixtus III, had a large share in governing the Church. On the death of Sixtus, Leo was chosen Pope, and consecrated on Saint Michael's day, 440, amid great joy.

It was the time of terrible trial which preceded by thirty years the definitive fall of the Roman Empire. Vandals and Huns were wasting the provinces of the empire, and Nestorians, Pelagians, and other heretics wrought still more grievous havoc in souls. While Leo's zeal was making headway against these perils, there arose the new heresy of Eutyches, who confounded the two natures of Christ. At once the vigilant pastor proclaimed the true doctrine of the Incarnation in his famous "tome"; but fostered by the Byzantine court, the heresy gained a strong hold upon the Eastern monks and bishops. After three years of unceasing toil, Saint Leo brought about its solemn condemnation by the Council of Chalcedon, the Fathers all signing his tome, and exclaiming, "Peter has spoken by Leo."

Soon after, Attila with his Huns broke into Italy, and marched through its razed cities upon Rome. Leo went out boldly to meet him, and prevailed on him to turn back. His chieftains were astonished to see the terrible Attila, the "Scourge of God," fresh from the sack of Aquileia, Milan and Pavia and with the rich prize of Rome within his grasp, turn his great host back to the Danube at the Saint's word. They asked him why he had acted so strangely. He told them he had seen two venerable personages - who are generally supposed to be Saints Peter and Paul - standing behind Saint Leo; and impressed by this vision, he withdrew. Two years later the city fell a prey to the Vandals, but Leo saved it again from total destruction. He died in 461 after having ruled the Church for a little over twenty years.

Reflection. Saint Leo loved to ascribe all the fruits of his unsparing labors to the glorious Head of the Apostles, who, he often declared, lives and governs in his successors. If the perils of the Church are as great now as in Saint Leo's day, Saint Peter's solicitude is not less.


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: Fast
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019
: Feria
Friday, April 12, 2019

: Fast & Abstinence
Friday, April 12, 2019

Saturday, April 13, 2019
: St. Hermenegild, M
Saturday, April 13, 2019

SAINT HERMENEGILD
Martyr
(586)

Leovigild, Arian King of the Visigoths, had two sons, Hermenegild and Recared, who were reigning conjointly with him. All were Arians, but Hermenegild married a zealous Catholic, the daughter of Sigebert, King of France, and by her holy example was converted to the faith. His father, on hearing the news, denounced him as a traitor, and marched to seize his person. Hermenegild tried to rally the Catholics of Spain in his defense, but they were too weak to make any stand; and after a two years' fruitless struggle, Hermenegild surrendered on the assurance of a free pardon. Once he was safely in the royal camp, the king had him loaded with fetters and cast into a foul dungeon at Seville.

Tortures and bribes were in turn employed to shake his faith, but Hermenegild wrote to his father that he regarded the crown as nothing, and preferred to lose scepter and life rather than betray the truth of God. At length, on Easter night, an Arian bishop entered his cell, and promised him his father's pardon if he would receive Communion from his hands. Hermenegild indignantly rejected the offer, and knelt with joy for his death-stroke, praying for his persecutors. The same night a light streaming from his cell told the Christians keeping vigil nearby that the martyr had won his crown and was celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord with the Saints in glory.

King Leovigild, on his death-bed, was changed interiorly. He had been witness to the miracles that had occurred after his son's cruel death, and he told his son and successor Recared to seek out Saint Leander, whom he himself had persecuted. Recared should follow Hermenegild's example, said the king, and be received by the bishop into the Church. Recared did so; and although his father himself had not had the courage to renounce the false faith publicly, after his father's death the new king labored so earnestly for the extirpation of Arianism that he brought over the whole nation of the Visigoths to the Church. "Nor is it to be wondered," says Saint Gregory, "that he came thus to be a preacher of the true faith, since he was the brother of a martyr, whose merits helped him to bring so many into the haven of God's Church."

Reflection. The victory of Saint Hermenegild teaches us that constancy and sacrifice are the best arguments for the faith, and the surest way to win souls to God.


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Sunday, April 14, 2019
Sunday, April 14, 2019


: St. Justin, M
Sunday, April 14, 2019

ST. JUSTIN
Martyr

St. Justin was born of heathen parents at. Neapolis in Samaria, about the year 103. He was well educated, and gave himself to the study of philosophy, but always with one object, that he might learn the knowledge of God. He sought this knowledge among the contending schools of philosophy, but always in vain, till at last God himself appeased the thirst which He had created. One day, while Justin was walking by the seashore, meditating on the thought of God, an old man met him and questioned him on the subject of his doubts; and when he had made Justin confess that the philosophers taught nothing certain about God, he told him of the writings of the inspired prophets and of Jesus Christ Whom they announced, and bade him seek light and understanding through prayer. The Scriptures and the constancy of the Christian martyrs led Justin from the darkness of human reason to the light of faith. In his zeal for the Faith he travelled to Greece, Egypt, and Italy, gaining many to Christ. At Rome he sealed his testimony with his blood, surrounded by his disciples. "Do you think," the prefect said to Justin, "that by dying you will enter heaven, and be rewarded by God?" "I do not think," was the Saint's answer; "I know." Then, as now, there were many religious opinions, but only one certain-the certainty of the Catholic faith. This certainty should be the measure of our confidence and our zeal.

Reflection. We have received the gift of faith with little labor of our own. Let us learn how to value it from those who reached it after long search, and lived in the misery of a world which did not know God. Let us fear, as St. Justin did, the account we shall have to render for the gift of God.


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Monday, April 15, 2019
Monday, April 15, 2019

: Fast
Monday, April 15, 2019

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

: Fast
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

: St. Anicetus, PM
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

SAINT ANICETUS
Pope, Martyr
(161)

Saint Anicetus, the eleventh successor of Saint Peter, succeeded to Saint Pius I and reigned for eleven years. During that time he had to combat in particular the dangerous errors of gnosticism, Christ's ancient enemy, already rampant in the days when Saint John the Apostle wrote his letters to the churches of Asia. Saint Anicetus was visited in Rome by Saint Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who desired to consult with him, and whom he in turn asked to celebrate the feast of Easter in the Church of Rome, as Saint Ireneus, Polycarp's disciple, relates. They had not been able to find a solution to the question of a difference in the date of Easter in the Orient and the Occident, which Pope Saint Victor would later settle, but remained close friends. Saint Anicetus' vigilance protected his flock from the wiles of the false preachers Valentine and Marcion, who were attempting to corrupt the faith in the capital of the empire.

Saint Anicetus established the tonsure for the clergy as a practice of ecclesiastical discipline; a letter to this purpose, which he wrote to the bishops of the churches of Gaul, is still extant.

The Roman Breviary tells us that he received the palm of martyrdom for the Christian faith, one month after the death of the Emperor Antoninus the Pious. Of the first fifty-four bishops of Rome, as they are seen portrayed in the Basilica of Saint Paul in Rome, fifty-three are honored among the Saints; and of two hundred and forty-eight popes, from Saint Peter to Clement XII (1740), seventy-eight are named in the Roman martyrology. In the primitive ages the spirit of fervor and perfect sanctity was conspicuous in most of the faithful, and especially in their pastors. The whole tenor of their lives breathed it, in such wise as to render them living miracles, angels on earth, breathing copies of their Divine Redeemer, the odor of whose virtues and holy law and religion they spread on every side.

Reflection. We find an example of true friendship in the fashion Saint Anicet honored Saint Polycarp, in the absence of a complete understanding. Let us judge by this rule whether our love and our friendship for God is sovereign. Does inconstancy, manifested in our words or acts, never betray the insincerity of our heart? If, after making protestations of inviolable friendship and affection for a fellow-creature, we ceased to honor him when our reason and his did not perfectly concur, would not the whole world justly call our pretended friendship a mockery?


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: Fast
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Thursday, April 18, 2019

: Fast
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019
Friday, April 19, 2019

: Fast & Abstinence
Friday, April 19, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019
Saturday, April 20, 2019

: Lenten Fast Ends at 12 Noon
Saturday, April 20, 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019
Sunday, April 21, 2019

: St. Anselm, ECD
Sunday, April 21, 2019

SAINT ANSELM
Archbishop of Canterbury
(1034-1109)

Saint Anselm was a native of Piedmont. When as a boy of fifteen he was forbidden to enter religion after the death of his good Christian mother, for a time he lost the fervor she had imparted to him. He left home and went to study in various schools in France; at length his vocation revived, and he became a monk at Bec in Normandy, where he had been studying under the renowned Abbot Lanfranc.

The fame of his sanctity in this cloister led King William Rufus of England, when dangerously ill, to take him for his confessor and afterwards to name him to the vacant see of Canterbury to replace his own former master, Lanfranc, who had been appointed there before him. He was consecrated in December, 1093. Then began the strife which characterized Saint Anselm's episcopate. The king, when restored to health, lapsed into his former sins, continued to plunder the Church lands, scorned the archbishop's rebukes, and forbade him to go to Rome for the pallium.

Finally the king sent envoys to Rome for the pallium; a legate returned with them to England, bearing it. The Archbishop received the pallium not from the king's hand, as William would have required, but from that of the papal legate. For Saint Anselm's defense of the Pope's supremacy in a Council at Rockingham, called in March of 1095, the worldly prelates did not scruple to call him a traitor. The Saint rose, and with calm dignity exclaimed, "If any man pretends that I violate my faith to my king because I will not reject the authority of the Holy See of Rome, let him stand, and in the name of God I will answer him as I ought." No one took up the challenge; and to the disappointment of the king, the barons sided with the Saint, for they respected his courage and saw that his cause was their own. During a time he spent in Rome and France, canons were passed in Rome against the practice of lay investiture, and a decree of excommunication was issued against offenders.

When William Rufus died, another strife began with William's successor, Henry I. This sovereign claimed the right of investing prelates with the ring and crozier, symbols of the spiritual jurisdiction which belongs to the Church alone. Rather than yield, the archbishop went into exile, until at last the king was obliged to submit to the aging but inflexible prelate.

In the midst of his harassing cares, Saint Anselm found time for writings which have made him celebrated as the father of scholastic theology, while in metaphysics and in science he had few equals. He is yet more famous for his devotion to our Blessed Mother, whose Feast of the Immaculate Conception he was the first to establish in the West. He died in 1109.


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Monday, April 22, 2019
Monday, April 22, 2019

: Sts. Soter & Caius, PPMM
Monday, April 22, 2019

SAINT SOTER
Pope, Martyr
(170)
and SAINT CAIUS
Pope, Martyr
(296)

Saint Soter was raised to the papacy upon the death of Saint Anicetus in 161. By the sweetness of his discourses he comforted all afflicted persons with the tenderness of a father, and assisted the indigent with liberal alms, especially those who suffered for the Faith. He liberally extended his charities, according to the custom of his predecessors, to remote churches. He aided in particular that of Corinth, to which he addressed an excellent letter. Saint Dionysius of Corinth in his letter of thanks to Saint Soter, adds that the Pontifical letter together with the letter of Saint Clement, Pope, was read for the edification of the faithful on Sundays, during their assemblies to celebrate the divine mysteries.

One of Saint Soter's ordinances required all Christians except those in public penance to receive Communion on Holy Thursday. Saint Soter vigorously opposed the heresy of Montanus, and governed the Church up to the year 170. He was martyred on April 22, 170, under the emperor Marcus Aurelius, and buried on the Appian Way in the cemetery of Callixtus.

Pope Saint Caius, born in Dalmatia, was a relative of the emperor Diocletian. The cruel emperor did not for that reason spare him or his family during the bloody persecution of the years 283 to 296, during which the Christians of Rome were obliged to conceal themselves in caverns and cemeteries.

Saint Caius counseled a patrician named Chromatius to receive the tracked disciples of Christ in his country residence. He himself went to visit them on a Sunday, and said to the faithful assembled there that Our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing the fragility of human nature, established two degrees in the practice of Christianity, confession and martyrdom. Our Saviour did so, he said, "so that those who do not believe they could stand up under torment, may nonetheless conserve the grace of the faith by their confession." Our Lord had indeed specified, "When you are persecuted in one city, flee to another..." Then he said, "Those who wish to stay in the house of Chromatius, remain with Tiburtius, while those who prefer to return with me to the city, come." Several followed him back to Rome; among them are the martyrs of the same persecution, the brothers Saints Marcus and Marcellinus, and Saint Sebastian.

Saint Caius himself received the crown of martyrdom in the final year of the persecution, 296, and was buried in the cemetery of Callixtus, where his body was found in 1622, with an inscription identifying him as Vicar of Christ.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2019
: Easter Tuesday
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

: St. George, M
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

SAINT GEORGE
Martyr, Patron of Soldiers
(303)

Saint George was born in Palestine of Christian parents, towards the close of the third century. In early youth he chose a soldier's life, and soon obtained the favor of Diocletian, who advanced him to the grade of tribune. But when the emperor began to persecute the Christians, George rebuked him at once for his cruelty, sternly and openly, and announced his resignation. Having foreseen that the words he would say might bring about his death, he had first distributed his wealth and clothing to the poor.

"Young man," Diocletian said to him, "think of your future!" "I am a Christian," George replied, "and nothing in this world is the object either of my ambition or my regret. Nothing can shake my faith." He was subjected to a long series of torments, and finally beheaded.

There was something so heartening in the defiant cheerfulness of the young soldier, that every Christian felt a personal share in this triumph of Christian fortitude. Devotion to Saint George is very ancient and widespread in the Church. A fourth-century church dedicated to him at Constantinople is believed to have been built by Constantine, and his name is invoked in the most ancient liturgies. In Europe, Malta, Barcelona, Valencia, Aragon, Genoa, and England have chosen him as their patron. Even beyond the circle of Christendom he was held in honor, and invading Saracens learned to exempt from desecration the image of the one they hailed as the "White-horsed Knight."


Reflection. Saint Bruno wrote: "What shall I say of fortitude, without which neither wisdom nor justice is of any value? Fortitude is not of the body, but is a constancy of soul; with it we are conquerors in righteousness, patiently bearing all adversities, and in prosperity are not puffed up. Fortitude is never conquered, or if conquered, is not fortitude."


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Wednesday, April 24, 2019
: Easter Wednesday
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

: St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, M
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

SAINT FIDELIS of SIGMARINGEN
Martyr
(1577-1622)

Saint Fidelis was born of noble parents at Sigmaringen in what is now Prussia, in 1577. In his youth he frequently approached the Sacraments, visited the sick and the poor, and spent many hours before the altar. For a time he followed the legal profession and was remarkable for his advocacy of the poor and his respectful language towards his opponents.

Finding it difficult to be both a rich lawyer and a good Christian, Fidelis entered the Capuchin Order and embraced a life of austerity and prayer. Hair shirts, iron-pointed girdles, and disciplines were penances too light for his fervor. At Weltkirchen, where he was Superior of the convent during an outbreak of the plague, he devoted himself indefatigably to the care of the sick soldiers and citizens. Animated by a desire for martyrdom, he rejoiced at being sent with several fellow Capuchins on a mission to Switzerland, which the newly-founded Congregation of the Propaganda named him to preside. There he braved every peril to rescue souls from the errors of Calvin.

When preaching one day at Sevis he was fired at by a Calvinist, but fear of death could not deter him from proclaiming divine truth. After his sermon, when leaving the city he was waylaid by a body of his enemies, who attacked him and tried to force him to embrace their so-called reform. But he said, "I came to refute your errors, not to embrace them; I will never renounce Catholic doctrine, which is the truth of all ages, and I fear not death." On this they fell upon him with their daggers; and the first martyr of the Propaganda, losing his life for Christ, went to find in heaven the veritable life his Master promised to all who are losers for His sake.

Reflection. We delight in decorating the altars of God with flowers, lights, and jewels, and it is right to do so; but if we wish to offer to God gifts of higher value, let us, in imitation of Saint Fidelis, labor to save souls who would be lost; that is to offer Him the ornaments of paradise which He so ardently longs to acquire.


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Thursday, April 25, 2019
: Easter Thursday
Thursday, April 25, 2019

: St. Mark, Ev
Thursday, April 25, 2019

SAINT MARK
Evangelist
(63)

Saint Mark was converted to the Faith by the Prince of the Apostles, whom he later accompanied to Rome, acting there as his secretary or interpreter. When Saint Peter wrote his First Epistle to the churches of Asia, he affectionately joined to his own salutation that of his faithful companion, whom he calls "my son Mark." The Roman people entreated Saint Mark to put in writing for them the substance of Saint Peter's frequent discourses on Our Lord's life. This the Evangelist did under the eye and with the express sanction of the Apostle, and every page of his brief but graphic Gospel so bore the impress of Saint Peter's character, that the Fathers used to name it "Peter's Gospel."

Saint Mark was then sent to Egypt to found the Church of Alexandria. There his disciples became the wonder of the world for their piety and asceticism; Saint Jerome speaks of Saint Mark as the father of the anchorites who at a later time thronged the Egyptian deserts. There, too, he set up the first Christian school, the fruitful mother of many illustrious doctors and bishops.

After governing his see for many years, Saint Mark was seized one day by the heathen, dragged by ropes over stones, and thrown into prison. On the morrow the torture was repeated, and after receiving the consolation of the sight of Angels and the voice of Jesus, Saint Mark went to his reward.

It is to Saint Mark that we owe the many pictorial touches which often give such vivid color to the Gospel scenes, and help us to visualize the very gestures and appearance of our Blessed Lord. It is he alone who notes that in the temptation Jesus was "with the beasts;" that He slept in the boat "on a pillow"; that He "embraced the little children". He alone preserves for us the command, "Peace, be still!" by which the storm was quelled, and even the very Aramaic words He spoke, the "Ephpheta" and the "Talitha, cumi!" by which the dumb were made to speak and the dead to rise.

Reflection. Learn from Saint Mark's Gospel to keep the image of the Son of man ever before your mind, and to ponder every syllable which fell from His lips.


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Friday, April 26, 2019
: Easter Friday
Friday, April 26, 2019

: Sts. Cletus & Marcellinus, PPMM
Friday, April 26, 2019

SAINT CLETUS
Pope and Martyr
(89)
SAINT MARCELLINUS
Pope and Martyr
(304)

Saint Cletus was the third Bishop of Rome, succeeding to Saint Linus, which circumstance alone commends his eminent virtue among the first disciples of Saint Peter in the West. A church and a hospital founded by him, though ruined and rebuilt several times, survived until the 18th century, and the memory of his charity was so well conserved by the Romans, that the Crucifers who then were still serving in his hospice, considered him their founder.

Saint Cletus was martyred after the peaceful reign of the Emperor Titus, when Domitian replaced him; the date was April 26th of the year 89. He was buried near Saint Peter in the Vatican, where his relics are still.

Saint Marcellinus, who was of Roman origin, succeeded Saint Caius as bishop of Rome in 296, about the time that Diocletian set himself up for a deity, impiously claiming divine honors. In those stormy times of persecution, seventeen thousand Christians of all ages and both sexes were put to death in the various provinces, churches were destroyed, and heaven was populated with martyrs.

Saint Marcellinus was beheaded with three others, and their bodies remained without burial in the forum for thirty-six days, to strike fear into the hearts of their fellows. It was on the 26th of April in the year 304 that a priest named Marcel came at night, with other priests and deacons of Rome, to gather up their relics, which they laid to rest in the Priscilla catacomb.

Reflection. It is a fundamental maxim of Christian morality, and a truth which Christ has established in the clearest terms by innumerable passages of the Gospel, that the cross, sufferings and mortification are the road to eternal happiness. Our Lord Himself, our model and our Head, walked on that path, and His great Apostle reminds us that He entered into bliss only by His blood and His Cross. (Heb. 9:12)


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: Abstinence
Friday, April 26, 2019

Saturday, April 27, 2019
: Easter Saturday
Saturday, April 27, 2019

: St. Peter Canisius, CD
Saturday, April 27, 2019

SAINT PETER CANISIUS
Doctor of the Church
(1521-1597)

Born in 1521 of a distinguished family of Holland, Saint Peter Canisius studied in Cologne and received his license as doctor of civil law; he then went to Louvain (Belgium) to learn canon law. These studies followed close upon the days when Luther had burnt the papal bulls at Wittenberg, Germany. Soon Saint Peter, become a Jesuit, was teaching at the University of Cologne; he was there when the unfortunate archbishop of that city fell into the new heresy. The Catholics who desired to depose him needed a deputy to the emperor to present their request, and Saint Peter was chosen.

His mission, seconded by the Holy Spirit, succeeded; and the deputy was remarked by a Cardinal, who desired to send him to the Council of Trent as his representative and theologian. Saint Peter's superior, Saint Ignatius of Loyola himself, approved this choice, and the young Jesuit took his place among the Fathers of the Council. He was commissioned to draft a memoir on the exact nature of the errors being propagated in the lands of the reform, in consort with the Pope's theologian, another Jesuit named Jacques Laynez. Their work was admired; the Council was dissolved soon afterwards, however, and Saint Peter was recalled to Rome by Saint Ignatius, to consult with him concerning the formation of the religious and the future of their Order.

Afterwards Saint Peter and two other Jesuits founded a college at Ingolstadt, going there with only two books in their baggage, the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius and the famous Ratio Studiorum, or Plan of Studies of their Order. Saint Peter was named Rector of the University by that institution.

He was in demand everywhere; King Ferdinand of Rome obtained his presence for Vienna. A pestilence broke out there, and he was most often found at the bedside of the dying, caring for the bodies and regenerating the souls of the unfortunate citizens. He opened a boarding school for boys, and Vienna soon found itself reborn in the faith: the famous Catechism of Saint Peter Canisius had much to do with the renovation. During his lifetime it appeared in more than 200 editions, in at least twelve languages. It remains a monument of the triumph of the Church over error in the time of Luther.

Its author had tried to keep his name a secret but did not succeed, and then several nations disputed the honor of his presence. But Saint Peter was Provincial of Germany, named by Saint Ignatius, and he concerned himself above all with the colleges at Prague, Ingolstadt and Munich. Until his death in 1597 the Apostle of Germany continued the valiant and perpetual combat of the Church against error. For a long time forgotten, Saint Peter was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI in 1927.


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Sunday, April 28, 2019
Sunday, April 28, 2019

: St. Paul of the Cross, C
Sunday, April 28, 2019

SAINT PAUL of the CROSS
Founder
(1694-1775)

The eighty-one years of this Saint's life were modeled on the Passion of Jesus Christ. In his childhood, when praying in church, a heavy bench fell on his foot, but the boy paid no attention to the bleeding wound, and spoke of it as "a rose sent from God." As a young man, he wished to be a religious, but his confessor, who had determined to humiliate him, commanded him to go to a dance. As he stepped out onto the floor out of obedience, the strings of the musicians' instruments broke, and the event ended.

About this time, the vision of a scourge with "love" written on its lashes made him understand that "God wanted to scourge my soul, but out of love." His thirst for penance would indeed be satisfied. In the hope of dying for the Faith, he enlisted in a crusade against the Turks; but a voice from the Tabernacle told him to return home, because another war, a spiritual one, was awaiting him there.

At the command of his bishop, he began while a layman to preach the Passion, and a series of crosses tested the reality of his vocation. He made a retreat of forty days in a damp outbuilding near the church of Castellazzo, and there he wrote in five days the Rule for a Congregation which he knew he had to found. A penitential trip across the Apennines in winter, without coat, hat or sandals, and with virtually no food, made under obedience to consult a bishop, was only the first of his long journeys. The bishop could not give approbation to his intentions. Having been jeered at on the road, he said, "These scoffings were of great benefit to my soul."

In the hermitage where he dwelt on his return to Castellazzo, several companions came to join him, but all of them save his faithful younger brother, John Baptist, deserted him. He taught catechism to the children, and when he preached before adults he held them spellbound for two hours. The Passion's full sanctifying power was bearing fruit through him. Nonetheless, when he went to Rome the Sovereign Pontiff refused him an audience; it was only after a delay of seventeen years that papal approbation was obtained and the first house of the Passionists opened on Monte Argentaro, which was the site Our Lady had pointed out.

Saint Paul of the Cross established for his Order, on the breast of their black habit, a badge he had seen in a vision, having on it the Holy Name of Jesus and a cross surmounting a heart with three nails, in memory of the sufferings of Jesus. But he invented another more secret and durable sign for himself. Moved by the same holy impulse as Blessed Henry Suso, Saint Jane Frances de Chantal and other Saints, he branded on his chest the Holy Name; it was still found there after his death. His heart beat with a supernatural palpitation which was especially vehement on Fridays, and the heat at times was so intense as to scorch his shirt in the region of his heart.

Saint Paul of the Cross suffered for forty-five years from spiritual desolation, an expiatory suffering which he bore with perfect patience. Despite fifty years of incessant bodily pain and all his trials, he read the love of Jesus in all things, though demons were tormenting him constantly. At one time his sciatica prevented him from sleeping for forty days; he prayed for the grace of an hour's sleep, but to this Passionist's prayer, heaven saw fit to remain deaf. Such was the life of one of the greatest disciples of Christ's Passion. He died while the Passion was being read to him, and so passed like his Lord from the cross to eternal glory.


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Monday, April 29, 2019
: St. Peter of Verona, M
Monday, April 29, 2019

SAINT PETER of VERONA
Dominican Priest and Martyr
(1206-1252)

In 1205 the glorious martyr Peter was born at Verona of Manichean parents; there he nonetheless attended a Catholic school. One day his Manichean uncle asked what he learnt there. "The Creed," answered Peter: "I believe in God, Creator of heaven and earth." No arguments could shake his faith, and at the age of sixteen he received the habit from Saint Dominic himself at Bologna.

After his ordination, he preached to the heretics of Lombardy and converted multitudes. Saint Peter was constantly obliged to dispute with heretics, and although he was able to confound them, still the devil took occasion thereby to tempt him one day against faith. Instantly he had recourse to prayer before an image of Our Lady, and heard a voice saying to him the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, "I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith may not fail; and thou shalt confirm thy brethren in it." (Luke 22:32)

He often conversed with the Saints, and one day the martyred virgins Catherine, Agnes and Cecilia appeared to him and conferred with him. A passing religious, hearing their feminine voices, accused him to their Superior, who without hesitation or questions, exiled him to a convent where no preaching was being done. Saint Peter submitted humbly, but complained in prayer to Jesus crucified that He was abandoning him to his bad reputation. The crucifix spoke: "And I, Peter, was I too not innocent? Learn from Me to suffer the greatest sorrows with joy." Eventually his innocence was brought to light; for his part, he had learned in his solitude to love humiliation and confusion.

Again engaged in preaching, miracles accompanied his exhortations. He traveled all over Italy and became famous. Once when preaching to a vast crowd under the burning sun, the heretics defied him to procure shade. He prayed, and a cloud overshadowed the audience.

Every day at the elevation of the Mass he prayed, "Grant, Lord, that I may die for Thee, who for me didst die." His prayer was answered. His enemies, confounded by him, sought his life. Two of them attacked him in 1252 on the road to Milan and struck his head with an axe. Saint Peter fell, commended himself to God, dipped his finger in his own blood, and wrote on the ground, "I believe in God, Creator of heaven and earth." He was then stabbed to death. The brother religious accompanying him also suffered death. The details of the crime were made known by Saint Peter's murderer, named Carino, who after fleeing from justice confessed his crime, asking for a penance from the Dominican Fathers. He took the habit, and according to their testimony lived the life of a saint and persevered to the end. Miracles at Saint Peter's tomb and elsewhere converted a great many heretics.

Reflection. From his boyhood Saint Peter boldly professed his faith among heretics. He spent his life in preaching the Faith to them and received the glorious and long-desired crown of martyrdom at their hands. Are we, too, courageous, firm, zealous, full of prayer for their conversion, and unflinching in our profession of faith?


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Tuesday, April 30, 2019
: St. Catherine of Siena, V
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

SAINT CATHERINE of SIENA
Virgin
(1347-1380)

Catherine, the daughter of a humble Christian tradesman, was raised up to be the guide and guardian of the Church in one of the darkest periods of its history, the fourteenth century. As a child, prayer was her delight. She would say the "Hail Mary" on each step as she mounted the stairs, and was granted in reward a vision of Christ in glory. And He revealed to her the secrets of Christian perfection. When only seven years old she made a vow of virginity, afterwards enduring bitter persecution for refusing to marry.

Her parents persisted long in their refusal to allow her to enter religious life, her only ambition; but she made a kind of spiritual and penitential convent cell in her heart's depths, and there she found her Beloved and conversed with Him each day. At the age of fifteen she was permitted to enter the Third Order of Saint Dominic, but continued to reside in her father's house, where she united a life of active charity to the prayer of a contemplative Saint. Our Lord bestowed on her His Heart in exchange for her own, gave her Communion with His own hands, and imprinted on her body the marks of His wounds.

From this obscure home the seraphic virgin was taken by Providence to defend the Church's cause. Her life became a continuing miracle. Armed with Papal authority and accompanied by three confessors, she traveled through Italy, reducing rebellious cities to the obedience of the Holy See, and winning hardened souls to God. In the sight of virtually the whole world she sought out Gregory XI at Avignon, brought him back to Rome, and by her letters to the kings and queens of Europe made good the Papal cause. She was the counselor of Urban VI, and sternly rebuked the disloyal cardinals who took part in electing an antipope.

Long had the holy virgin foretold the terrible schism which began before she died. Day and night she wept and prayed for unity and peace. But in spirit she saw the entire city of Rome full of demons, who were tempting the people to revolt and even to slay the Vicar of Christ. With intense earnestness Saint Catherine begged Our Lord to prevent this enormous crime. Their seditious temper was subdued by her prayers, but they vented their rage by scourging the Saint herself, who gladly endured all for God and His Church. She died in Rome in 1380, at the age of thirty-three.

Reflection. The seraphic Saint Catherine willingly sacrificed the delights of contemplation to labor for the Church and the Apostolic See. How deeply do the troubles of the Church and the consequent loss of souls afflict us? How often do we pray for the Church and the Pope?


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