Search / 2440 results found

from
to

On Jan. 26, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the liturgical memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, close companions of the Apostle Paul and bishops of the Catholic Church in its earliest days.

Both men received letters from St. Paul, which are included in the New Testament.

Pope Benedict XVI discussed these early bishops during a general audience on Dec. 13, 2006, noting “their readiness to take on various offices” in “far from easy” circumstances. Both saints, the Pope said, “teach us to serve the Gospel with generosity, realizing that this also entails a service to the Church herself.”

The son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father, Timothy came from Lystra in present-day Turkey. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are known to have joined the Church, and Timothy himself is described as a student of Sacred Scripture from his youth.

After St. Paul’s visit to Timothy’s home region of Lycaonia, around the year 51, the young man joined the apostle and accompanied him in his travels. After religious strife forced Paul to leave the city of Berea, Timothy remained to help the local church. Paul later sent him to Thessalonica to help the Church during a period of persecution.

The two met up again in Corinth, and Timothy eventually journeyed to Macedonia on Paul’s behalf. Problems in the Corinthian Church brought Timothy back for a time, after which he joined Paul and accompanied the apostle in subsequent travels.

Like Paul, Timothy endured a period of imprisonment in the course of his missionary work. His release is mentioned in the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews.

Around the year 64, Timothy became the first bishop of the Church of Ephesus. During that same year, he received the first of two surviving letters from St. Paul. The second, written the next year, urges Timothy to visit St. Paul in Rome, where he was imprisoned before his martyrdom.

Ancient sources state that St. Timothy followed his mentor in dying as a martyr for the faith. In the year 93, during his leadership of the Church in Ephesus, he took a stand against the worship of idols and was consequently killed by a mob. The pagan festival he was protesting was held Jan. 22, and this date was preserved as St. Timothy’s memorial in the Christian East.

In contrast with Timothy’s partial Jewish descent and early Biblical studies, St. Titus – who was born into a pagan family – is said to have studied Greek philosophy and poetry in his early years. But he pursued a life of virtue, and purportedly had a prophetic dream that caused him to begin reading the Hebrew Scriptures.

According to tradition, Titus journeyed to Jerusalem and witnessed the preaching of Christ during the Lord’s ministry on earth. Only later, however – after the conversion of St. Paul and the beginning of his ministry – did Titus receive baptism from the apostle, who called the pagan convert his “true child in our common faith.”

St. Paul was not only Titus’ spiritual father, but also depended on his convert as an assistant and interpreter. Titus accompanied Paul to the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem during the year 51, and was later sent to the Corinthian Church on two occasions. After the end of Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, the apostle ordained Titus as the Bishop of Crete.

Paul sent his only surviving letter to Titus around the year 64, giving instructions in pastoral ministry to his disciple as he prepared to meet up with him in the Greek city of Nicopolis. Titus evangelized the region of Dalmatia in modern Croatia before returning to Crete.

Titus is credited with leading the Church of Crete well into his 90s, overturning paganism and promoting the faith through his prayers and preaching. Unlike St. Timothy, St. Titus was not martyred, but died peacefully in old age.

 
Jan. 24 marks the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and Christian unity whose role as a priest and bishop helped bring thousands of Protestants back to the Catholic Church.

In the late 16th and early 17th century, St. Frances de Sales conducted spiritual direction both in person and in written correspondence. This inspired his famous work “Introduction to the Devout Life.”

During his ministry in Switzerland, he wrote and distributed religious tracts that made inroads among Protestants and helped between 40,000 and 70,000 return to the Catholic faith.

Because he is a patron saint of writers, his feast day traditionally marks the release of the Pope’s annual message for World Communications Day. Pope Benedict XVI’s 2013 message reflected on social networks and their potential to strengthen unity and harmony between people. He also warned that these enable a mindset that rewards popularity, rather than rewarding what has intrinsic value.

St. Francis de Sales was no stranger to unpopularity. As a priest he volunteered to lead a mission to return the Calvinist Switzerland back to the Catholic faith. He faced much hostility, including death threats and would-be assassins.

He was born in 1567 in the Savoy region in what is now part of France. He was a diplomat’s son, born into a household with great devotion to St. Francis of Assisi.

He studied rhetoric, the humanities and law in preparation for a political career. He had resolved to hold to religious celibacy and he held a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary, but he kept this strong spiritual life secret from the world.

This devotion clashed with the wishes of his father, who had arranged a marriage for him. The Catholic bishop of Geneva found Francis de Sales a position in the Swiss Church, leading to his ordination as a priest in 1593.

He was named Bishop of Geneva in 1602, after which he worked to restore Geneva’s churches and religious orders. He helped the future saint Jean Frances de Chantal, whom he had served as spiritual director, found a women’s religious order.

He died in 1622 in Lyons at a convent he had helped to found. Frances de Sales was canonized in 1665 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1877.

St. Ildephonsus was the Archbishop of Toledo, and died 23 January, 667. He was born of a distinguished family and was the nephew of St. Eugenius, his predecessor in the See of Toledo. At an early age, despite the determined opposition of his father, he embraced the monastic life in the monastery of Agli, near Toledo. He was ordained a deacon, around the year 630. He was called by King Reccesvinth, near the end of 657 to fill the archiepiscopal throne of Toledo, where he governed the Church of Toledo for just over nine years and was buried in the Basilica of Saint Leocadia.

Ildephonsus had a strong devotion to the Blessd Mother, and it is said that  one day he was praying before the relics of Saint Leocadia, when the martyr arose from her tomb and thanked the saint for the devotion he showed towards the Mother of God. It was also related that on another occasion the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in person and presented him with a priestly vestment, to reward him for his zeal in honoring her.

The literary work of Ildephonsus is more widely known than the details of his life, and merits for him a distinguished place in the role of Spanish writers.

Question: This saint established the Abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy and established the Benedictine Order in 530. Name this saint considered …

On Jan. 21, the Roman Catholic Church honors the virgin and martyr St. Agnes, who suffered death for her consecration to Christ.

Although the details of Agnes' life are mostly unknown, the story of her martyrdom has been passed on with reverence since the fourth century. On the feast day of the young martyr – whose name means “lamb” in Latin – the Pope traditionally blesses lambs, whose wool will be used to make the white pallium worn by archbishops.

Born into a wealthy family during the last decade of the third century, Agnes lived in Rome during the last major persecution of the early Church under the Emperor Diocletian. Though he was lenient toward believers for much of his rule, Diocletian changed course in 302, resolving to wipe out the Church in the empire.

Agnes came of age as the Church was beginning to suffer under a set of new laws decreed by Diocletian, and his co-ruler Galerius, in 303. The emperor and his subordinate called for churches to be destroyed and their books burned. Subsequent orders led to the imprisonment and torture of clergy and laypersons, for the sake of compelling them to worship the emperor instead of Christ.

Meanwhile, Agnes had become a young woman of great beauty and charm, drawing the attention of suitors from the first ranks of the Roman aristocracy. But in keeping with the words of Christ and Saint Paul, she had already decided on a life of celibacy for the sake of God's kingdom. To all interested men, she explained that she had already promised herself to a heavenly and unseen spouse.

These suitors both understood Agnes' meaning, and resented her resolution. Some of the men, possibly looking to change her mind, reported her to the state as a believer in Christ. Agnes was brought before a judge who tried first to persuade her, and then to threaten her, into renouncing her choice not to marry for the Lord's sake.

When the judge showed her the various punishments he could inflict – including fire, iron hooks, or the rack that destroyed the limbs by stretching – Agnes smiled and indicated she would suffer them willingly. But she was brought before a pagan altar instead, and asked to make an act of worship in accordance with the Roman state religion.

When Agnes refused, the judge ordered that she should be sent to a house of prostitution, where the virginity she had offered to God would be violated. Agnes predicted that God would not allow this to occur, and her statement proved true. Legends say that the first man to approach her in the brothel was struck blind by a sudden flash of light, and others opted not to repeat his mistake.

But one of the men who had at first sought to make Agnes his own, now lobbied the judge for her execution. In this respect, the suitor obtained his desire, when the public official sentenced her to die by beheading. The executioner gave her one last chance to spare her life, by renouncing her consecration to Christ – but Agnes refused, made a short prayer, and courageously submitted to death.

St. Agnes, who died in 304, was venerated as a holy martyr from the fourth century onward. She is mentioned in the Latin Church's most traditional Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon.

Sebastian was the son of a wealthy Roman family. He was educated in Milan and became an officer of the imperial Roman army, and Captain of the Guard. He was a favorite of Emperor Diocletian. During Diocletian's persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing both supplies and comfort. He is reported to have healed the wife of a fellow soldier by making the sign of the cross over her. During his time in the army he converted many soldiers and a governor.

Charged as a Christian in 288 in Rome, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. However, he survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian, where the emperor then had him beaten to death.

Reading 1 Heb 7:25—8:6

Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: 
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, 
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests, 
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people; 
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, 
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, 
appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

The main point of what has been said is this: 
we have such a high priest, 
who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary 
and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; 
thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.
If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, 
since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,
as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle.
For God says, “See that you make everything 
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry 
as he is mediator of a better covenant, 
enacted on better promises.

Responsorial Psalm 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17

R.    (8a and 9a)  Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
    but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
    then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
    and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
    I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. 
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
May all who seek you
    exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
    say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia 2 Tm 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 3:7-12

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Saint Canutus, King of Denmark,  succeeded his elder brother Harold on the throne of Denmark in the year 1080. He began his reign by a successful war against the enemies of the state, and by planting the faith in the conquered provinces. Amid the glory of his victories he humbly prostrated himself at the foot of the crucifix, laying there his diadem, and offering himself and his kingdom to the King of kings. After having provided for the peace and safety of his country, he married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Earl of Flanders, who proved herself a spouse worthy of him.

The justice of Saint Canutus as sovereign was well known. He applied himself to the reform of all internal abuses. For this purpose he enacted severe but necessary laws for the strict administration of justice, the repression of violence and tyranny by the powerful, without respect to persons. He favored and honored holy men, and granted many privileges and immunities to the clergy. His charity and tenderness towards his subjects made him study all possible ways to make them a happy people.

During a rebellion in his kingdom, the king was surprised at church by the rebels. He confessed his sins and received Holy Communion. Stretching out his arms before the altar, he was struck down on his knees by the enemies of his Christian reign.