Monday 28th September 2020

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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Michael

September 24, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Michael

By DEB PIROCH At the end of the month (September 29) we celebrate the feast of some of the greatest angels honored by the Church: Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. St. Michael is an archangel, biblically referred to as a “prince” and, one of seven archangels, ordered in the second highest choir of the angels. Theologians still debate his exact position in the angelic hierarchy. It is enough to know that he is a powerful intercessor, chosen for us by God in the fight against evil. As we approach his feast, we should honor all the angels who stood with God. But here in this article, we attempt to explain what we do know of St. Michael and urge all…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Kateri Tekakwitha

September 17, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Kateri Tekakwitha

By DEB PIROCH The Lily of the Mohawks, as she is known, was born near Auriesville, N.Y., in 1656. As you will know, here the North American Martyrs sowed the seeds of early martyrdom in the New World and St. Isaac Jogues had been martyred merely a decade earlier. Kateri’s mother was a Christian Algonquin. The Algonquins and the Mohawks fought over territory; Kateri’s mother was captured and eventually married the Mohawk chief.Sadly, at the age of four, her family fell victim to the smallpox. Both parents died and while Kateri survived, she was left with facial pockmarks and loss of sight in one eye. Her name, “Tekakwitha,” means a person who bumps into things. When she was about ten,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Gerard Majella (1726-1755)

September 10, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Gerard Majella (1726-1755)

By DEB PIROCH Part 2 Last week’s column examined the basic outline of St. Gerard Majella’s life. Because so many are unfamiliar with just how exemplary this “saint of obedience” was, we have been asked to delve more into the life of the saint who died so young, at age 29. He attributed all the miracles he performed — too numerous to mention, even in a second column — to the virtue of obedience.This religious brother was a Redemptorist, a relatively new order at the time St. Gerard joined it. Indeed, it was founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori a mere six years after Gerard’s birth. Its mission is primarily focused on “imitating the virtues and examples of Jesus Christ, Our…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Fisher: A Man Of His Word

August 27, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. John Fisher: A Man Of His Word

By DEB PIROCH “The Fort is betrayed, even of them that should have defended it” — St. John Fisher.Two saints share a common feast day (June 22): St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More. Both were very active in royal and political circles, and served at the highest levels. Yet both were devout Catholics. These two highly regarded saints chose to surrender their offices and their lives, when a mere “Yes” to the King’s Oath of Supremacy would have saved them from execution.John Fisher was of exemplary character. Son of a mercer, a tradesman who dealt in cloth, he entered Cambridge at 14 and so excelled, he was given special allowance to speed up his Ordination and became a priest…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mary Magdalene

August 20, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mary Magdalene

By DEB PIROCH “They have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him. When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master)” (John 20:13-16).Mary was the first recorded to see Christ after the Resurrection. What we know of St. Mary Magdalene is confined to the Gospels, in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Camillus And His “Red Cross”

August 13, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Camillus And His “Red Cross”

By DEB PIROCH Now, as countries across the globe are being visited by COVID-19, and many in the United States are quarantined with no access to either family, friend, or priest, we would do well to remember St. Camillus and the order he founded. Camillians, ministers to the sick, wear black robes emblazoned with a red cross — some say dramatically to “frighten the Devil,” but rather for the obvious reason of being ministers of Christ. This was the first “red cross” order, founded long before today’s non-religious Red Cross organization began. First, to St. Camillus.Our Italian boy was born in Bucchianico, Abruzzo, in 1550, son of an officer and a mother well past the usual age of childbearing (some…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Junipero Serra: America’s First Hispanic Saint

August 6, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Junipero Serra: America’s First Hispanic Saint

By DEB PIROCH What grounds do Black Lives Matter anarchists have for beheading statues of St. Junipero Serra? In a word, none. It’s time to lay to rest the lie that Christianization of the American Indians or, indeed, indigenous people anywhere, is a crime against their native cultures. The mode used by Fr. Juniper Serra (1713-1784) and, indeed, the Catholic Church worldwide, is “inculturation” — the habit of respecting native cultural practices not in conflict with Christianity.Missionaries were not angry conquerors, but religious motivated to spread the love of the faith and Christ’s message for mankind. Father’s efforts were always meant to benefit the natives, beginning foremost with the faith, but also providing education and governance and knowledge of trades,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Charles Lwanga Of Uganda And Companions

July 30, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Charles Lwanga Of Uganda And Companions

By DEB PIROCH As the world becomes increasingly politically correct, we would do well to remember the sainthood of St. Charles Lwanga and his 24 or more companions who went to their deaths over 160 years ago, upholding chastity and resisting the deviant sexuality ordered by their king.Born in Buganda in south-central Uganda under the rule of good King Muteesa I, Charles would go on to serve in the royal court of his successor, King Mwanga II. Sadly, the latter was an evil man who forced homosexuality and pedophilia on those around him. Charles worked as a page at court and at age 25 was newly Catholic.The King particularly detested Christianity, as its new followers defied him in not approving…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Valentine: Saint Of Love And Epilepsy

July 23, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Valentine: Saint Of Love And Epilepsy

By DEB PIROCH One . . . or two? During the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II, we hear of the martyrdom of St. Valentine. Changes were occurring in the Roman Empire; in the third century governments as opposed to mere local authorities began persecution of Christians and forbade conversion to the faith. It was circa AD 269 that St. Valentine lived.The alleged skull of the saint is preserved as a relic at Santa Maria in Cosmedin, a minor basilica in Rome.There is some confusion as to whether there were one or two martyred St. Valentines, according to Butler’s Lives. Indeed, some online sources speak of a third St. Valentine. In any case, the official Roman Martyrology (AD 354) lists…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Jakob Gapp: The Martyr Who Impressed Himmler

July 16, 2020 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Blessed Jakob Gapp: The Martyr Who Impressed Himmler

By DEB PIROCH Jakob Gapp, was born the seventh and last child to Austrian parents just before the turn of the last century, in 1897. Schooled religiously, like so many in those days, he attended a Franciscan school from age 12. Due to the distance, it meant he was often away from home for longer periods. He left shortly before finishing to serve in World War I at the Italian front, and then was interned in an Italian POW camp before returning home.After finishing his schooling, Jakob felt called to the religious life. Instead of the Franciscan order, he found drawn by the Society of Mary, and entered. Additionally, he later opted to study for the priesthood, and was ordained…Continue Reading