Wednesday 8th July 2020

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Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph, Patron Of Fathers

July 2, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph, Patron Of Fathers

By DEB PIROCH This week’s column is a personal labor of love. You see, our family has had a special devotion to St. Joseph (Josef) going back generations. My Father’s grandparents on both sides, maternal and paternal, were immigrants from Slovakia. And because it was quite common to name the eldest boy after St. Joseph, protector of families, most of my male relatives are named Joseph. For instance, my great-grandfather, Josef, had four children — the son named Josef. Two of his three daughters married a Joseph.My father, brother, and his son are among the Josephs. Sadly, I have no children . . . but if I had had a girl and worried about future children, perhaps there would have…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Nicholas Owen

June 18, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Nicholas Owen

By DEB PIROCH First you see him . . . and then you don’t. Dangerous times call for dangerous measures. During the reign of Elizabeth I and James I of England, St. Nicholas Owen was the expert at creating what became known as “priests’ holes,” or secret hiding spots for clergy. Located in the homes of wealthy recusant Catholics, these were hidden compartments or locations where priests could hide at a moment’s notice when agents came hunting Catholics. If one were caught, as Catholicism was treason, the price paid was martyrdom. With King Henry VIII’s break with Rome, when he declared himself the head of the Church of England, an anti-Catholic persecution began. To be a Catholic was a crime.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . The English Carthusian Martyrs

June 11, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . The English Carthusian Martyrs

By DEB PIROCH “Reformation.” “Dissolution of the monasteries.” The words sound so calm and reasonable. As if English Catholicism just faded away when, in truth, it was attacked by a despot who caused such harm to the faith that the people have never recovered. We speak, of course, of King Henry VIII. What is profoundly sad is that this king, once a faithful Catholic himself, had made the pilgrimage to honor Our Lady of Walsingham, and had even written a defense of the sacraments. For this he was honored with a special title, Defender of the Faith, which British monarchs ironically still lay claim to today. Prior John Houghton was a man who preferred the quiet life, yet was elected…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

June 4, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

By DEB PIROCH Great rulers there have been many, but pious royals who fed the hungry, sheltered orphans, built churches and abbeys instead of empires — those are few. St. Margaret of Scotland did, however, and her confessor and chief biographer, Turgot, later bishop of St. Andrews, named her the “Pearl of Scotland.” She was born in Hungary but came to England as a young girl about ten years old, her father having been called back to his country; her relative, Edward the Confessor, was childless and needed a successor to the throne. Unfortunately, Margaret’s father died soon after his arrival, but in time her brother became king. That is, until William the Conqueror prevailed at the Battle of Hastings…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Titus Zeman

May 28, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Titus Zeman

By DEB PIROCH “Even if I lost my life, I would not consider it wasted, knowing that at least one of those that I helped has become a priest in my place” — Slovak priest, Blessed Titus Zeman. + + + Czech Communists attempted to eliminate the Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia, beginning in 1945, Prime Minister Klement Gottwald working hand-in-hand with Stalin. The government began by imprisoning two bishops and 170 Slovak priests. Slovakia in the east was targeted as the most Catholic region, at 82 percent. General George Patton, who commanded the U.S. Seventh and then Third Armies against the Nazis, was an outspoken critic of Stalin and felt the U.S. should have continued fighting World War II after…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort

May 21, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort

By DEB PIROCH During the month of Mary, we turn to St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716), a saint inseparable in devotion to Christ’s Blessed Mother. His feast falls on the anniversary of his death, April 28, as if he is joyfully pointing us to the Marian month ahead. Many are familiar with Pope St. John Paul’s personal motto, “Totus tuus,” or “totally yours,” meaning to Christ through Mary. Many are unaware this was shortened from St. Louis de Montfort’s own motto, “Totus tuus ergo sum.” So inspired was John Paul II by the works of St. Louis de Montfort that he read and reread them during the dark days of Nazi-occupied Poland. Around the same time, Pope Pius XII…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John of Nepomuk (Nepomucen)

May 14, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. John of Nepomuk (Nepomucen)

By DEB PIROCH “A humble Confession displeases Satan and, if he could, he would make you omit Holy Communion” — The Imitation of Christ. + + + The devoted patron saint of both Slovakia and Bohemia, St. John Nepomuk is lovingly remembered on his feast day, May 16. Few others would be so identified with Slavic countries, other than the “Apostles of the Slavs,” Saints Cyril and Methodius. His name is a corruption of St. John of Nepomuk, his Bohemian village birthplace, in today’s Czech Republic. In the fourteenth-century borders were constantly changing and oh so different: The Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of the Romans . . . and the Holy Roman Empire! The head of all three was…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Teresa Benedicta Of The Cross

May 7, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Teresa Benedicta Of The Cross

By DEB PIROCH “The great thing for us to do is to embrace the Cross” — Autobiography, St. Teresa of Avila. One evening while visiting a friend, a young German-Jewish, gifted philosopher began reading St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography. Brought up in an observant Jewish home, she had long ago ceased her belief and turned atheist. She read the whole night through. When she finished, she knew she would become Catholic. Edith Stein, gifted Jewish academic and student and teacher of philosophy, was born October 12, 1891 on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Feast of Atonement. The last of eleven children in her family, she was born in the Prussian town of Breslau in Germany, now Poland. Her father died just…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… The Mysteries Of St. Cecilia

April 30, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… The Mysteries Of St. Cecilia

By DEB PIROCH English alternative: St. Cecily Virgin and Martyr Feast: November 22 Birth, death, and martyrdom dates — unknown Our Church is based on apostolic succession, with our beliefs founded in Tradition passed on directly from Christ Himself and the apostles, as well as through biblical writings. All other religions are either false religions (based on another god rather than on the Trinity) or cannot claim the fullness of the faith. In discussing St. Cecilia, one of the most ancient martyrs of Catholicism, many of the details of her life cannot be established as easily as with a modern saint. We do not know the dates of her birth, death, or even martyrdom. However, she was so famous that…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. George

April 23, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. George

By DEB PIROCH “Ring, then, ye bells, upon St. George’s Day, / From every tower in glad accordance ring; /And let all instruments, full, strong, or sweet, / With touch of modulated string, / And soft or swelling breath, and sonorous beat, / The happy name repeat, / While heart and voice their joyous tribute bring, /And speak the People’s love for George their King” — Excerpt, Ode for St. George’s Day by Robert Southey (1774-1843). We have a Church filled to overflow with a wealth of saints. The challenge in delving back through the centuries are that some details are missing and blur with time. But while we may not be able to directly cite details or words as…Continue Reading