Tuesday 12th December 2017

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Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Miguel Pro

December 12, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Miguel Pro

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Cristero War in Mexico (1926-1929) was one more episode in the universal and eternal conflict between the Catholic Church and secularist governments. The seeds of the conflict were sown at the turn of the century, leading to the enactment of the Mexican constitution in 1917. Then it was enflamed when President Plutarco Elias Calles (president from 1924-1928) decided to enforce the rules of the constitution in order to eradicate the influence of the Catholic Church in Mexican society. When the Mexican government suppressed religious celebrations, and closed Catholic hospitals, schools, and churches, a grassroots uprising began and spread rapidly. Over 500 Cristero leaders were executed, along with the more than 2,000 supporters and 40 priests who…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Damasus I

December 5, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Damasus I

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord gave us a very comforting promise in Matt. 16:18 when He said, “And I say to thee: ‘Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’.” The Catholic Church has survived the intrigues of numerous antipopes. An antipope is a “false claimant to the Holy See in opposition to the Pope canonically elected” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, p. 31). Pope St. Damasus was the fourth Pope who had to persevere against an antipope: Ursinus (366-367). Damasus’ parents originally came from Lusitania, an ancient Iberian Roman province. His father, Antonius, and his mother, Laureatia, lived in Rome when he…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Charles De Foucauld

November 28, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Blessed Charles De Foucauld

By CAROLE BRESLIN A priest once said, “Great sinners make great saints.” This we know to be true when we reflect on the lives of saints such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Mary Magdalen, and St. Augustine of Hippo. Such is also true of Blessed Charles De Foucauld who lived in the 19th century. Charles, who was born on September 15, 1858 in Strasbourg, France, had a younger sister named Marie. The boy remembered his mother whom he deeply loved and recalled how she taught him his morning and evening prayers: “My God, bless my father, mother, Grandfather and Grandmother Foucauld, and my little sister….” In 1864, Charles and Marie lost both their parents and Grandmother Foucauld, leaving Charles…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vicente Liem De La Paz

November 21, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Vicente Liem De La Paz

By CAROLE BRESLIN Vietnam received its first missionaries of the Catholic Church in the 1500s. These missionaries were predominantly Portuguese in the 16th century, with French Jesuits and the Dominicans coming in the 17th century. Throughout the following centuries the priests and missionaries suffered excruciating tortures and martyrdom. When the Communists captured northern Vietnam, Catholics fled to the south and the country was partitioned. When the south was also captured, many fled the country, and those who remained were persecuted. Today Catholic religious orders are flourishing, more Catholic schools and institutions are opening, and the number of professed Catholics is increasing. The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church, as we have heard so many times. The first…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

November 14, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

By CAROLE BRESLIN Quite frequently saints have left their home country and died in another country, but most of them died in a foreign land because they left to serve as missionaries to Asia, Africa, or America. The land of Hungary, however, has seen a few saints depart because they were of royal families, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who went to Germany to be married, and St. Margaret of Scotland. They lived virtuous lives, loved the poor, and made heroic sacrifices. Thus they became saints. Margaret’s parents were heirs to the throne of England around the time of 1016 when King Ethelred died. The royal family was forced to flee when the Danes invaded England and controlled the throne…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blesseds Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov, And Josaphat Chichkov

November 7, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Blesseds Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov, And Josaphat Chichkov

By CAROLE BRESLIN At the end of World War II, the USSR took control of countries in Eastern Europe. The governments were led by Communists who were great enemies of organized religion, especially the Catholic Church. As conditions worsened, the persecution and suppression of the Catholic Church increased in its severity. In November 1952, the Bulgarian government, after a puppet trial, executed 40 “enemies of the state” under the shroud of darkness. The actual events were not revealed until many years later after Pope St. John Paul II precipitated the fall of the Iron Curtain. Among the persons executed were three priests: Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov, and Josaphat Chichkov. Kamen Vitchev In Srem, near Topolovgrad, Bulgaria, a peasant family had…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Pignatelli

October 31, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Pignatelli

By CAROLE BRESLIN Since the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola up to the mid-eighteenth century, the order of priests and brothers had met with phenomenal success. But despite the high respect the Jesuits received from Popes, bishops, and kings, they eventually found themselves exiled and suppressed. The same bishop who started the Jansenist movement had been rejected by the Jesuits when he applied to become a novice. Enraged by this rejection, he vowed to destroy the Jesuits and — along with other forces working against the order — nearly did so. His undermining of the order slowly worked its way through all levels of society and the Jesuit priests were suppressed in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Saints Simon The Zealot And Jude Thaddeus

October 24, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Saints Simon The Zealot And Jude Thaddeus

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are two apostles who shared names with yet another apostle: St. Simon, who became Peter, and Simon the Zealot; and St. Jude Thaddeus and Judas Iscariot. These apostles are frequently confused by Christians, but clearly they were different persons. On October 28, St. Simon and St. Jude, both members of the first twelve apostles, traveled together around the Mideast, preaching the word of God. Their feast is celebrated together because they were martyred in the same place on the same day. St. Simon The Zealot St. Simon the Zealot, one of the most obscure apostles, was called Kananaios or Kananites in ancient manuscripts of Mark 3:18 and Matt. 10:4. In Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13 his…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

October 17, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is little recorded. There is not much information about St. Catherine of Alexandria but her impact on the early Church provides material for deep reflection. Alexandria, a great city at the mouth of the Nile River in Egypt was the center of Hellenistic knowledge at the turn of the fourth century. St. Catherine’s family lived in Alexandra since her father, Constus,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Edward The Confessor

October 10, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Edward The Confessor

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Middle Ages, England not only endured the raids of the Vikings, but also suffered from the raids initiated by Denmark and Normandy to control the small kingdom across the straights. Battles and intrigues were frequent, leaving little peace until the time of King Edward the Confessor. Even his reign experienced the plots and conspiracies so common when a kingdom is sought by more than one party. Edward, the son of King Ethelred the Unready and his second wife, Emma of Normandy, was born in 1003. He was the seventh son of Ethelred, but the firstborn of his second wife who also gave birth to another son, Alfred, and daughter, Godgifu. The family lived in Islip,…Continue Reading