Sunday 24th October 2021

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Catholic Heroes… St. Katharine Drexel

October 19, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Katharine Drexel

By DEB PIROCH Picture this: You grew up in a loving, Catholic household. You never knew your mother, who died just weeks after your birth. But you saw your father devote half an hour every evening to prayer in the house chapel. Your stepmother was devout and loving as well, and she was in your life since you were age two. Weekly, she threw open the doors to the poor and, with your father, gave food, clothing, and other help to those in need. Yours was a privileged home, which knew how to share what you had with those less fortunate. (This wasn’t socialism; it’s a corporal work of mercy.)As a young lady, at age 21 you made your social…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Lawrence

October 12, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Lawrence

By DEB PIROCH This week’s column is particularly dedicated to all the cooks preparing for the Thanksgiving feast, less than two months away. In searching out recipes, one could do worse than remember the patron saint of cooks: St. Lawrence.St. Lawrence, despite having died as long ago as 258 AD, is among the most remembered of the saints, for his sense of humor, as well as his sanctity. For those who might like to assert he didn’t exist, we have very early accounts of his existence, as well as churches and basilicas, which offer proof. Often, we also turn to a contemporary for the closest biography of the saint, but as we find none in existence, we turn next to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… What’s In A (Saint’s) Name?

October 5, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… What’s In A (Saint’s) Name?

By DEB PIROCH Why do we use a saint’s or other Christian name as our given choice? Early Christians took new names in Baptism, just as many of us are given these names at infant Baptisms. We also may take a saint’s name at our Confirmation (or stick with our Christian baptismal name), and religious often take another name when they take their vows.These all indicate a conscious embrace of new Christian life, the putting on of the wedding garment and making all things new in Christ. So, too, a bride takes the name of her husband as she sheds her single life and embraces the married one.If you thought you were imagining a trend in odd name-giving, it’s not…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Eligius

September 28, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Eligius

By DEB PIROCH He is the patron saint of goldsmiths, engineers, metalworkers, coin collectors, horses — and clockmakers and watchmakers. In anticipation of November, when the time changes from daylight savings time, we’re presenting St. Eligius.St. Eligius (588-660) was born to Christian parents near Limoges in Gaul, what is present-day France. Eucherius and Terrigia, as they were named, indicate a clear background of Roman-Gallic heritage! They apprenticed their boy to Abbo, the goldsmith and chief of the mint. Butler’s Lives says that Abbo was also devout and this seems to have furthered the holiness in young Eligius, who attended Divine Office rain or shine.There is a medieval sourcebook, a copy of the life of Eligius, written by a contemporary and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Nicholas Owen

September 21, 2021 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. To go to Mass was…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mariam Of Jesus Crucified

September 14, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mariam Of Jesus Crucified

By DEB PIROCH Her parents had tried so hard to have a child. Again and again they had a little boy, one after the other dying in infancy. After losing 12 boys, Mariam’s mother said to her father: Let’s go to the Holy Grotto in Jerusalem and pray to the Blessed Virgin to intercede for a girl.Mariam’s parents were Greek Melkite Catholics, and hailed from what is Syria today, descendant of the early Church in Antioch where followers of Christ were first called Christians. This was a predominantly Muslim area.The two journeyed over a hundred miles on foot to pray at the Holy Grotto in Jerusalem for her birth. And naturally, their prayers were answered: This baby girl was born…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Richard Gywn

September 7, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Richard Gywn

By DEB PIROCH Richard Gwynn (1537-1584), the protomartyr of Wales, was born to a family of average income and attended Oxford and Cambridge. The first he chose not to finish, the second he could not finish, due to the ascent of Queen Elizabeth I to the throne. (Catholics were forbidden to attend.) He returned to Wales where, despite having been unable to finish his formal education, he became a schoolmaster and nonetheless taught young children. He had six children with his own with wife Catherine, and three survived to adulthood.He who had been a strong Catholic remained so, and his feelings on being required to attend Anglican services and acknowledge the Queen as Supreme Head of the Church in England…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… What’s In A (Saint’s) Name?

September 5, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… What’s In A (Saint’s) Name?

By DEB PIROCH Why do we use a saint’s or other Christian name as our given choice? Early Christians took new names in Baptism, just as many of us are given these names at infant Baptisms. We also may take a saint’s name at our Confirmation (or stick with our Christian baptismal name), and religious often take another name when they take their vows.These all indicate a conscious embrace of new Christian life, the putting on of the wedding garment and making all things new in Christ. So, too, a bride takes the name of her husband as she sheds her single life and embraces the married one.If you thought you were imagining a trend in odd name-giving, it’s not…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Joan Of Arc

August 31, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Joan Of Arc

By DEB PIROCH St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431) is the patroness of France. What is there to learn from the beautiful, mysterious life and martyrdom of St. Joan of Arc? So many of us have heard her story, perhaps read Bernard Shaw’s excellent play about St. Joan, or watched one of the films.Yet for those who do not know her, she was said to be singularly pious and from a peasant family. She watched the animals in the field, or sewed or spun, but could not even read or write. As historical background, the French King Charles VI had gone insane, and the French throne seized by the English king, Henry V. But then both died around the same time.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Saints Cosmas And Damian

August 24, 2021 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Saints Cosmas And Damian

By DEB PIROCH “These two physicians cured as many people by their prayers as they did by their medical knowledge, and now in Heaven they still care for the sick miraculously” — St. Gregory of Tours. + + Saints Cosmas and Damian (270-303) and their three brothers were born of Arabian blood to a faithful Christian mother. The brothers are often referred to as “twins,” though they may have just been close in age. Tradition says they worked together as physician (Cosmas) and pharmacist (Damian), charging no fees and treating those they could. Giving away medical care was unheard of, as the fees one collected for this service could normally be quite high. This was laudable and the men’s services…Continue Reading