St. Botvid

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Saint Botvid,pray for us !

Saint Botvid was born in the province of Sudermannland in Sweden and came from a pagan family. Pagans were people who believed in false gods and false teachings. When he went to England, he got converted and became a Christian. Although he was not a priest, he had a great wish to spread the good news of the gospel. He wanted to share the gospel message with his own countrymen and decided to be a lay missionary.

St. Botvid returned to Sweden to work for the Lord there. After many years he decided it would be good to have the Gospel preached in Finland, too. So he bought a Finnish slave and taught him the Catholic religion. He then set the slave free to go back to Finland and take the good news of salvation to his people.

That man repaid the saint for his goodness by a terrible act of ingratitude. St. Botvid set out in a boat to take him across the Baltic sea to Finland. When they went ashore and the saint was asleep, the wicked slave killed Botvid and sailed away with the boat.

When the saint did not return, friends searched for him until they found his body. He died in 1100. St. Botvid is honored as a martyr of charity and as one of the apostles of Sweden.

Reflection: Today we might consider showing our appreciation and gratitude to people who have helped us in so many ways, especially our parents and teachers.

Prayer: O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Botvid with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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St. Pantaleon

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Saint Panteleon, pray for us !

St. Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He was such a famous doctor that Emperor Galerius Maximian asked him to be his own personal doctor. There, at the wicked, pagan court, he got into trouble. Pagans were people who believed in false gods and false teachings. Pantaleon was a Christian, but little by little, he began to follow the bad example of the people around him. He began to agree with the false wisdom praised by the pagans. At last, he committed the great sin of completely giving up his Christian faith.

A holy priest named Hermolaos was very sad to see the famous doctor desert Jesus. He went to him and with his wise, kind words, he made Pantaleon realize what a big sin he had committed. Pantaleon realized he had made a horrible mistake. He hated his sin and joined the Church once more.

To make up for what he had done, he wanted with all his heart to suffer and die for Jesus. He followed Jesus’ example by doing works of charity and by taking care of poor sick people without any charge. He healed many sick people only by prayer.

When Emperor Diocletian began torturing the Christians, Pantaleon at once gave away everything he owned to the poor. Soon afterward, some jealous doctors accused him of being a Christian. He had two choices. He could either give up his religion or he could tell the truth and be put to death. Pantaleon absolutely refused to hurt Jesus anymore. He bravely admitted he was a Christian and no amount of torture could make change his mind.

At the trial he challenged the pagan priest to cure a man who was paralyzed. The called upon their false gods but nothing happened. Then Pantaleon in the name of Jesus cured the man. Many pagans who saw this miracle became Christians. After he was killed for his faith, people showed a strong devotion to this saint. In the East he is called the “great martyr and wonder-worker.”

Reflection: Do I listen to friends or do things that might weaken my faith in Jesus? We pray that the Holy Spirit may guide our hearts and minds.

Prayer: O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Panteleon with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his  footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

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Blessed Eugene III, Pope

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Blessed Eugene III, pray for us !

Peter dei Paganelli di Montemagno was born near Pisa in Italy. When Peter grew up, he became a priest and worked in Pisa for a few years. Later, he felt the need to get closer to God and joined the Cistercian monks in Clairvaux in France.

St. Bernard was the superior at the monastery of Clairvaux. His feast day is August 20. Peter respected Bernard and the two soon became good friends. Peter too chose “Bernard” for his religious name and tried to live like the saint.

St. Bernard sent his namesake, Bernard, to become the superior of a monastery in Rome called Tre Fontaine. Then in 1145, Pope Lucius II died and a most unusual thing happened. When the cardinals met at the funeral of the pope, they decided to elect the new pope as quickly as possible. And together they elected Abbot Bernard to be pope. The abbot, who was not a cardinal, did not attend the meeting.

He was shocked when he was told. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was surprised too. He felt sorry for Bernard. He wrote an open letter to the cardinals: “May God forgive you for what you have done,” he said. “You have involved in responsibilities and placed among many people a man who fled them both.”

Accepting God’s will, Bernard chose to be called Pope Eugene III. His time as pope brought him many difficulties. The Roman senate threatened to oppose him if he did not let them keep stolen property.

A man who was earlier sent away from the country went to Pope Eugene and asked forgiveness. But he soon fell back into his old ways. He even joined a group that was directly against the pope. Pope Eugene had to leave Rome a few times because of the dangers surrounding him. One of his fellow monks wrote to St. Bernard of Clairvaux about Pope Eugene: “There is no arrogance or domineering way in him.” St. Antoninus, called Pope Eugene “a great pope with great sufferings.” Pope Eugene died on July 8, 1153 at Tivoli in Italy.

 

Reflection: As Christians, we should be ready to suffer for it is our vocation to suffer not for suffering sake but for the Lord. Our Divine Master had already told us that before the world had hated us it was He who was hated by the world first. Therefore, there is nothing to be worried about when persecutions and hardships comes for by these we glorify God through our perseverance and fortitude.

Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who chose blessed Eugene III to preside over your whole people and benefit them by word and example, keep safe, we pray, by his intercession, the shepherds of your Church along with the flocks entrusted to their care, and direct them in the way of eternal salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Saint Joseph Cafasso

june23.jpgSaint Joseph Cafasso was born into a wealthy family at Castelnuovo d’Asti in northern Italy, near the city of Turin. Four years later, one of his most famous students St. John Bosco (feast day – March 31) was born in the same town. Joseph was born with a deformed spine which crippled him for life. But he had loving parents who were willing to make big sacrifices so Joseph could study in Turin to become a priest.

Joseph met John Bosco and talked to him at the church in 1827 when John was twelve. At that time Joseph was studying at the seminary to become a priest. After they talked, the excited John ran all the way home. “Mom, Mom,” John called, “I met him, I met him!” “Who?” his mother asked. “Joseph Cafasso, mother. He’s a saint, I tell you.” Mrs. Bosco smiled and nodded gently.

In 1833, Joseph was ordained a priest. He began his priestly work and went to an excellent school of theology (religious studies) for priests. When Father Cafasso graduated, he became a theology professor at the college in Turin. He taught many young priests over the years. They could tell that he really loved them.

Father Cafasso was known as the priest who believed in the gentle and loving mercy of God. His kindness gave people courage and hope. He guided many priests, religious and lay people. He helped John Bosco begin his great priestly work with boys and guided him in starting his religious order known as the Salesians. Father Cafasso directed other founders, too.

There were many social needs in Father Cafasso’s time. One of the most urgent was the prison system. Prison conditions were disgusting and he worked hard to improve them. But what most moved Father Cafasso was the custom of hanging in public, prisoners sentenced to death.

Father Cafasso went to them and heard their confessions. He stayed with them, telling them of God’s love and mercy until they died. He helped over sixty prisoners who repented and died in the peace of Jesus. Father Cafasso called them his “hanged saints.”

Father Cafasso also became the pastor of St. Francis Church in 1848. He was a wonderful example for people to follow promoting devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He also did some great works in the Church. Father Cafasso died on June 23, 1860. His faithful friend, St. John Bosco, preached the homily at his funeral.

Reflection: The life of this saint was marked by kindness and understanding of the people of his time. How do I treat my brothers and sisters?

Prayer: We humbly ask you, almighty God, that at the intercession of  blessed Joseph Cafasso  you may multiply your gifts among us  and order our days in peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Saint Thomas More, Martyr

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Saint Thomas More, pray for us !

St. Thomas More, Martyr (Patron of Lawyers) St. Thomas More was born at London in 1478. After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, he entered Oxford to study law. Upon leaving the university he embarked on a legal career which took him to Parliament. In 1505, he married his beloved Jane Colt who bore him four children, and when she died at a young age, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children. A wit and a reformer, this learned man numbered Bishops and scholars among his friends, and by 1516 wrote his world-famous book “Utopia”. He attracted the attention of Henry VIII who appointed him to a succession of high posts and missions, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. The rest of his life was spent in writing mostly in defense of the Church. In 1534, with his close friend, St. John Fisher, he refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and was confined to the Tower. Fifteen months later, and nine days after St. John Fisher’s execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience and wished his judges that “we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation.” And on the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as “the King’s good servant-but God’s first.” He was beheaded on July 6, 1535. His feast day is June 22nd.

Reflection: We should not let ourselves be put on moral compromise. If our friend is erring, we should correct them and tell them the truth. And if our faith is at stake, we should hold firm on it no matter what. Our faith should one day be our crowning glory in Heaven. Let us be like Saint Thomas More, who stands up for his faith and for the Church of Jesus Christ unafraid of whatever consequences may come. Lastly, earthly honors are less important than celestial glory !

Prayer: Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Thomas More to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his  triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

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Blessed Michelina of Pesaro

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Blessed Michelina, pray for us !

Blessed Michelina was born at Pesaro, Urbino in Italy. Her family was very rich and she married Duke Malatesta when she was twelve years old. Blessed Michelina was a happy person by nature and did not seem to have a problem in the world. But when she was just twenty, her husband died. All of a sudden, Blessed Michelina found herself alone with a little son to raise.

The young mother anxiously tried to find happiness in the things around her. She attended one party after another and was always on the look out for fun and fancy meals. She couldn’t seem to have enough of the good things that life offered.

After a while though, she realized that her son needed her more and that she was also responsible for how she used her money and time. She felt as though her life was empty and decided to settle down and became a responsible adult.

A holy Franciscan lay woman named Syriaca lived in Pesaro. Syriaca realized that Michelina was really a wonderful person who needed guidance. Syriaca and Michelina became good friends and soon Michelina became prayerful too. She took good care of her child and home. She spent her free time helping the poor and needy. She visited the lonely and took care of those too sick or too old to look after themselves.

Then her son died and she became a lay Franciscan. At first, her relatives were concerned and were not happy when she gave away her fancy clothes and started to eat plain food. They thought she was mad and decided to lock her up. But after a while, they realized that Blessed Michelina was truly a holy woman.

Blessed Michelina lived her whole life in the same house in Pesaro. She died in 1356 at the age of fifty-six. In her memory, the people of her town kept a lamp always lit in her home. In 1590, Blessed Michelina’s house was made into a church.

Reflection: Holy friendship is so essential in our spiritual maturity. It is in this state that one can admonish the other for the love of God without offending that person be. Guiding one other is a characteristic of a good Christian for Saint Paul says, “that none of us lives for oneself and none of us dies for oneself”, therefore, our brethren’s salvation is also our business to do, a loving concern for one’s neighbor. Do we lend our time for an erring brethren and bring him back for God?

Prayer: O God, who alone are holy and without whom no one is good, command, we pray, through the intercession of blessed Michelina., that we be numbered among those who do not deserve to be deprived of your glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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St. John Francis Regis, Confessor


Born into a june16family of some wealth, John Francis was so impressed by his Jesuit educators that he himself wished to enter the Society of Jesus. He did so at age 18. Despite his rigorous academic schedule he spent many hours in chapel, often to the dismay of fellow seminarians who were concerned about his health. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he undertook missionary work in various French towns. While the formal sermons of the day tended toward the poetic, his discourses were plain. But they revealed the fervor within him and attracted people of all classes. Father Regis especially made himself available to the poor. Many mornings were spent in the confessional or at the altar celebrating Mass; afternoons were reserved for visits to prisons and hospitals.

The Bishop of Viviers, observing the success of Father Regis in communicating with people, sought to draw on his many gifts, especially needed during the prolonged civil and religious strife then rampant throughout France. With many prelates absent and priests negligent, the people had been deprived of the sacraments for 20 years or more. Various forms of Protestantism were thriving in some cases while a general indifference toward religion was evident in other instances. For three years Father Regis traveled throughout the diocese, conducting missions in advance of a visit by the bishop. He succeeded in converting many people and in bringing many others back to religious observances.

Though Father Regis longed to work as a missionary among the North American Indians in Canada, he was to live out his days working for the Lord in the wildest and most desolate part of his native France. There he encountered rigorous winters, snowdrifts and other deprivations. Meanwhile, he continued preaching missions and earned a reputation as a saint. One man, entering the town of Saint-Andé, came upon a large crowd in front of a church and was told that people were waiting for “the saint” who was coming to preach a mission.

The last four years of his life were spent preaching and in organizing social services, especially for prisoners, the sick and the poor. In the autumn of 1640, Father Regis sensed that his days were coming to a conclusion. He settled some of his affairs and prepared for the end by continuing to do what he did so well: speaking to the people about the God who loved them. On December 31, he spent most of the day with his eyes on the crucifix. That evening, he died. His final words were: “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

He was canonized in 1737.

Comment:

John longed to travel to the New World and become a missionary to the Native Americans, but he was called instead to work among his own compatriots. Unlike many famous preachers, he isn’t remembered for golden-tongued oratory. What people who listened to him heard was his own fervent faith, and it had a powerful effect on them. We can recall homilists who impressed us for the same reason. More importantly for us, we can also remember ordinary people, neighbors and friends, whose faith and goodness touched us and brought us to deeper faith. That is the calling most of us must follow.

Prayer:

We humbly ask you, almighty God,  that at the intercession of blessed John Francis  Regis
you may multiply your gifts among us  and order our days in peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,  who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From: http://www.americancatholic.org/

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