Sunday 22nd January 2017

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Catholic Heroes… Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi

January 17, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi

By CAROLE BRESLIN Beginning at the mouth of the Niger River in the Gulf of Guinea, you can reach some of the most remote areas of Africa. About 150 miles inland from the delta, the Anambra tributary branches to the northeast and if you travel another 15 miles up the river, you can disembark and travel another five miles to the east to Aguleri, a village in Nigeria where Iwene Tansi lived. This area was a British colony at the time of his birth in September 1903, to traditional non-Christian parents. An altercation between the Nigerians and the British left a lasting impression on his father, ultimately resulting in Iwene becoming not only a Christian, but one whose cause for…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. André Bessette

January 10, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. André Bessette

By CAROLE BRESLIN High on Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec, stands the largest Catholic church in Canada, the Basilica of St. Joseph’s Oratory. As the pilgrims climb the steps through the lovely grounds and statuary, they can turn and see the city of Montreal spread out below. Once inside they can visit the main statue of St. Joseph, surrounded by hundreds of votive candles. This magnificent church had very humble beginnings — a vision of a sick and frail man who could not seem to keep any job to support himself. On August 9, 1845, in the small village of Mont-Saint-Grégoire, 25 miles southeast of Quebec, a child was born. Isaac Bessette, a carpenter, and his wife, Clothilde Foisy, a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

January 3, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds our finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in our minds for considering the things of God. St. Anthony of Egypt, a young man who had been left a great estate, comprehended this truth more than anyone of his time. Thanks to the biography written by St. Athanasius (died 373), a detailed history of St. Anthony of Egypt is available. In 251, a Christian couple in Egypt gave birth…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Thorlak Thorhallsson

December 26, 2016 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Thorlak Thorhallsson

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Iceland, the land on the far north of the Atlantic Ocean, the people prepare for Christmas with traditions that go back nearly 1,000 years. They thoroughly clean their homes from top to bottom. Then they prepare a meal of cured skate (shark meat), mashed potatoes, and a shot of Brennivin as they close out the final day of Christmas fasting. This is called Thorlak’s Tradition. In the tapestry of Icelandic history, he became the patron saint of Iceland. In Iceland, the earliest inhabitants included Irish monks who came for the quiet solitude of the distant land. However, they were soon driven out by the Vikings who brought their Norse paganism in the ninth century. Around 900,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Stephen, Protomartyr

December 20, 2016 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Stephen, Protomartyr

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the popular Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, a different gift is given for each of the twelve days of Christmas. This celebration of twelve days begins with December 26, the Feast of St. Stephen, and ends with the Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on January 6. The Catholic Church celebrates the Christmas octave, eight days of observing the great Feast of Christmas, from December 25 through January 1. The day after the birth of Christ, the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church, is celebrated by many Christian denominations. Outside of Sacred Scripture little or nothing is known about St. Stephen. In the Acts of the Apostles, the speech given by Stephen when…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Cantius

December 13, 2016 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. John Cantius

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the heart of Chicago, about three miles from Lake Michigan, sits a Roman Catholic church, a stunning example of baroque architecture erected in the late 19th century by Polish immigrants. Widely known for its reverent liturgies and faithfulness to the teachings of the Catholic Church, it attracts visitors from all over the country. In April 2016, this glorious church — St. John Cantius — was voted “the most beautiful church in America.” It is filled with precious, stunning sacred art; it is the home of excellent liturgical music; and is also the home of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius is a new order founded in 1998 dedicated…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Damascene

December 6, 2016 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Damascene

By CAROLE BRESLIN “The Fathers of the Church were those saintly writers of the early centuries whom the Church recognizes as her special defenders of orthodoxy. And the Patristic Age is the period during which they lived. “It is generally held that the last of the Western Fathers (Latin) was St. Bede the Venerable (673-735), and the last of the Eastern Fathers (Greek) was St. John Damascene (675-749). Their writings have been the most influential in shaping the minds and hearts of Christian believers. Every one of these men has so deeply inspired future generations that he would qualify as father in spirit not only of Christianity but of all human civilization” (Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, The Catholic Lifetime Reading…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Peter Fourier

November 29, 2016 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Peter Fourier

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Catholic Church, there are many examples throughout history of religious orders that have been reformed or have been in need of reform. After many years the members of religious orders tend to relax rules until they do not live much differently than the laity. It seems that discipline and fervor are closely related — without one you will not have the other. St. Peter Fourier recognized this truth both in his personal life and the life of both the parishioners he guided and the order that he later reformed in the late 1500s. Peter Fourier was the eldest of three sons, born on November 30, 1565 in Mirecourt, France. This village was located in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

November 15, 2016 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. Joseph Moscati

November 8, 2016 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Joseph Moscati

By CAROLE BRESLIN Most of the saints were in the priesthood or the religious life, but there are many saints who were lay persons, such as Saints Felicity and Perpetua, Louis and Zelie, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Frances of Rome, St. Agnes, St. Pier Giorgio, and many, many more. Some of the lay saints, although they thought they would enter the religious life, were advised that they could do more in their lay positions, such as St. Joseph Moscati, a brilliant and most holy doctor of medicine. Benevento, Italy, nearly 40 miles northeast of Naples, became a favored vacation spot for many Italians. Francesco Moscati, a prominent lawyer and president of the Court of Assize in…Continue Reading