Saint Mark, Evangelist

 

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Saint Mark, pray for us!

Saint Mark lived at the time of Jesus. Although he was not one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, he was a cousin of St. Barnabas, an apostle. Mark is called an evangelist because he wrote one of the four Gospels. Mark’s Gospel is short, but it gives many little details that are not in the other Gospels.

 

While still young, Mark went with the two great saints, Paul and Barnabas, as missionaries to bring the teachings of Jesus to Cyprus and other new lands. Before the journey was over, though, Mark had an argument with St. Paul and immediately returned to Jerusalem. Paul and Mark later made peace with each other. In fact, Paul wrote from prison in Rome that Mark came to cheer and help him.

Mark also became a beloved disciple and was like a son to St. Peter, the first pope. St. Mark was made a bishop and sent to Alexandria, Egypt. There many people who heard him preach became Christians. He worked hard to spread love for Jesus and his Church and founded the first famous Christian school in Alexandria.

He went through long and painful sufferings before he died a martyr for his faith. St. Mark’s relics were brought to Venice, Italy. He is the patron saint of that famous city. People go to the beautiful basilica of St. Mark to honor him and to pray to him.

Reflection: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)

O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel, grant, we pray, that we may so profit from his teaching as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. 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 George

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Saint George, pray for us!

It is uncertain when Saint George was born and historians continue to debate to this day. However, his death date is estimated to be April 23 303 A.D.

The first piece of evidence of George’s existance appeared within the works of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland, and Godfrey Henschen’s Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. George was one of several names listed in the historical text, and Pope Gelasius claimed George was one of the saints “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God.”

George was born to a Gerontios and Polychronia, a Roman officer and a Greek native of Lydda. Both were Christians from noble families of the Anici and George, Georgios in the original Greek, was raised to follow their faith.

When George was old enough, he was welcomed into Diocletian’s army. by his late 20’s, George became a Tribunus and served as an imperial guard for the Emperor at Nicomedia.

On February 24, 303 A.D., Diocletian, who hated Christians, announced that every Christian the army passed would be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods.

George refused to abide by the order and told Diocletian, who was angry but greatly valued his friendship with George’s father.

When George announced his beliefs before his peers, Diocletian was unable to keep the news to himself.

In an effort to save George, Diocletian attempted to convert him to believe in the Roman gods, offered him land, money and slaves in exchange for offering a sacrifice to the Roman gods, and made several other offers that George refused.

Finally, after exhausting all other options, Diocletian ordered George’s execution. In preparation for his death, George gave his money to the poor and was sent for several torture sessions. He was lacerated on a wheel of swords and required resuscitation three times, but still George did not turn from God.

On April 23, 303 A.D., George was decapitated before Nicomedia’s outer wall. His body was sent to Lydda for burial, and other Christians went to honor George as a martyr.

Saint George and the Dragon

There are several stories about George fighting dragons, but in the Western version, a dragon or crocodile made its nest at a spring that provided water to Silene, believed to be modern-day Lcyrene in Libya.

The people were unable to collect water and so attempted to remove the dragon from its nest on several ocassions. It would temporarily leave its nest when they offered it a sheep each day, until the sheep disappeared and the people were distraught.

This was when they decided that a maiden would be just as effective as sending a sheep. The townspeople chose the victim by drawing straws. This continued until one day the princess’ straw was drawn.

The monarch begged for her to be spared but the people would not have it. She was offered to the dragon, but before she could be devoured, George appeared. He faced the dragon, protected himself with the sign of the Cross, and slayed the dragon.

After saving the town, the citizens abandoned their paganism and were all converted to Christianity.

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Saint Michael de Sanctis, Priest

 

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Saint Michael de Sanctis, pray for us!

Saint Michael de Sanctis was born in Catalonia, Spain around 1591. At the age of six he informed his parents that he was going to be a monk. Moreover, he imitated St. Francis of Assisi to such a great extent that he had to be restrained. After the death of his parents, Michael served as an apprentice to a merchant. However, he continued to lead a life of exemplary fervor and devotion, and in 1603, he joined the Trinitarian Friars at Barcelona, taking his vows at St. Lambert’s monastery in Saragosa in 1607. Shortly thereafter, Michael expressed a desire to join the reformed group of Trinitarians and was given permission to do so. He went to the Novitiate at Madrid and, after studies at Seville and Salamanca, he was ordained a priest and twice served as Superior of the house in Valladolid. His confreres considered him to be a saint, especially because of his devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and his ecstacies during Mass. After his death at the age of thirty-five on April 10, 1625 many miracles were attributed to him. He was canonized in 1862 by Pope Pius IX. St. Michael de Sanctis is noted in the Roman Martyrology as being “remarkable for innocence of life, wonderful penitence, and love for God.” He seemed from his earliest years to have been selected for a life of great holiness, and he never wavered in his great love of God or his vocation. As our young people look for direction in a world that seems not to care, St. Michael stands out as worthy of imitation as well as of the prayers of both young and old alike. His feast day is April 10.

 

Reflection:

Serving the Lord at a young age is the best! When we start to serve him and love him at our tender years, it is a proof that God is our top priority and all else follows. We can give more when we are young because we are capable of all the sacrifices needed not only spiritually but moreover physically.

Prayer:

O God, light of the faithful and shepherd of souls,
who set blessed Michael de Sanctis in the Church
to feed your sheep by his words and form them by his example,
grant that through his intercession
we may keep the faith he taught by his words
and follow the way he showed by his example.
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 Benedict the Moor

 

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Pray for us, Saint Benedict the Moor!

Saint Benedict the Moor was born a slave near Messina, Italy. He was freed by his master, became a solitary, eventually settling with other hermits at Montepellegrino. He was made superior of the community, but when he was about thirty-eight, Pope Pius IV disbanded communities of solitaries and he became a Franciscan lay brother. He cooked at St. Mary’s convent near Palermo. He was appointed against his will, superior of the convent when it opted for the reform, though he could neither read nor write. After serving as superior, he became a novice master but asked to be relieved of his post and returned to his former position as cook. His holiness, reputation for miracles, and his fame as a confessor brought hordes of visitors to see the obscure and humble cook. He died at the convent, was canonized in 1807, and is the patron saint of blacks in the United States. The surname “the Moor” is a misnomer originating from the Italian IL MORO (the black.) His feast day is April 4th.

 

Reflection:

The Lord does not look on the appearance but in the heart. Our good intention matters the most, for by it our goals are set, the very foundation of our good works. Saint Benedict the Moor, though illiterate yet submissive to God’s Will was able to break the barriers of racism and indifference. His humble submission and profound disposition enable him to be appreciated and loved. He was elevated to the ranks of superior and novice master, an evidence of practicing the virtues in his life.

Prayer:

O God, by whose gift blessed Benedict the Moor persevered in imitating Christ, poor and lowly, grant us through his intercession that, faithfully walking in our own vocation, we may reach the perfection you have set before us in 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 Turibius of Mogrovejo, Bishop

 

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St. Turibius, pray for us!

Together with Rose of Lima, Turibius is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years.

 

Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made the professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events.

When the Archdiocese of Lima in Peru required a new leader, Turibius was chosen to fill the post: He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal the scandals that had infected that area.

He cited all the canons that forbade giving laymen ecclesiastical dignities, but he was overruled. Turibius was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were flagrant, and he devoted his energies and suffering to this area first.

He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with neither bed nor food. Turibius confessed every morning to his chaplain and celebrated Mass with intense fervor. Among those to whom he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation was the future Saint Rose of Lima, and possibly the future Saint Martin de Porres. After 1590, he had the help of another great missionary, Francis Solanus, now also a saint.

Though very poor his people were sensitive, dreading to accept public charity from others. Turibius solved the problem by helping them anonymously.

Reflection

The Lord indeed writes straight with crooked lines. Against his will, and from the unlikely springboard of an Inquisition tribunal, this man became the Christlike shepherd of a poor and oppressed people. God gave him the gift of loving others as they needed it.

From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org

 

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Blessed John of Parma

21.jpgThe seventh general minister of the Franciscan Order, John was known for his attempts to bring back the earlier spirit of the Order after the death of Saint Francis of Assisi.

He was born in Parma, Italy, in 1209. It was when he was a young philosophy professor known for his piety and learning that God called him to bid good-bye to the world he was used to and enter the new world of the Franciscan Order. After his profession, John was sent to Paris to complete his theological studies. Ordained to the priesthood, he was appointed to teach theology at Bologna, then Naples, and finally Rome.

In 1245, Pope Innocent IV called a general council in the city of Lyons, France. Crescentius, the Franciscan minister general at the time, was ailing and unable to attend. In his place he sent Friar John, who made a deep impression on the Church leaders gathered there. Two years later, when the same pope presided at the election of a minister general of the Franciscans, he remembered Friar John well and held him up as the man best qualified for the office.

And so in 1247, John of Parma was elected to be minister general. The surviving disciples of St. Francis rejoiced in his election, expecting a return to the spirit of poverty and humility of the early days of the Order. And they were not disappointed. As general of the Order, John traveled on foot, accompanied by one or two companions, to practically all of the Franciscan convents in existence. Sometimes he would arrive and not be recognized, remaining there for a number of days to test the true spirit of the brothers.

The pope called on John to serve as legate to Constantinople, where he was most successful in winning back the schismatic Greeks. Upon his return, he asked that someone else take his place to govern the Order. At John’s urging, Saint Bonaventure was chosen to succeed him. John took up a life of prayer in the hermitage at Greccio.

Many years later, John learned that the Greeks who had been reconciled with the Church for a time, had relapsed into schism. Though 80 years old by then, John received permission from Pope Nicholas IV to return to the East in an effort to restore unity once again. On his way, John fell sick and died.

He was beatified in 1781.

Reflection

In the 13th century, people in their 30s were middle-aged; hardly anyone lived to the ripe old age of 80. John did, but he didn’t ease into retirement. Instead he was on his way to try to heal a schism in the Church when he died. Our society today boasts a lot of folks in their later decades. Like John, many of them lead active lives. But some aren’t so fortunate. Weakness or ill health keeps them confined and lonely—waiting to hear from us.

Prayer

Lord God, who graciously imbued blessed John with heavenly doctrine, grant, through his intercession, that we may keep that same teaching faithfully and express it in what we do. 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: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/blessed-john-of-parma/

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Kingly Office of Saint Joseph

“Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household; he became ruler over all the king’s possessions.”  Psalm 105:21, NLT

St. Joseph and the Christ Child Enthroned with Four AngelsThis psalm prefigures the office of Saint Joseph in administering the goods of the Lord, the Sovereign King. Saint Joseph, who was simple and silent was chosen by God in governing His greatest goods— Jesus and Mary. He was not inferior in the order of hierarchy because he was the Husband and the Father in the family. His “voice is heard even to the limits of the world” because he is the HEAD, and Our Blessed Lord and Our Lady must obey the voice of Saint Joseph! His power over them was not a cruel dictatorship but a loving devotee.

Saint Joseph looked at Jesus and Mary as persons of great respect. Yet, Our Lord and Our Lady viewed Saint Joseph as a person of high regard. This mutual love that is moving in them projects a kingdom of love here on earth. What a good example of the Holy Family, a family of love, the true realm of charity!

Saint Joseph who was appointed by God to be in charge of His household was responsible. He was trustworthy by the “talent” his Master gave him. Saint Joseph was able to “increase” the “talents” that he had by being a responsible keeper of Our Lord and Our Lady― not lousy yet active— by providing them in order that God’s Will be done.

His justice, his righteousness, and his morality were befitting in becoming the ruler of the king’s possessions. It would be terrible if God chose a wicked man, where will the goods go? For a wicked administrator is liken to a man who throws pearls to the pigs which they trample underfoot.

Let us be like Saint Joseph in dispensing the goods and possessions God has entrusted us. Let it be prudent yet affectionate. Let us be a “Father” rather than a ruler, a dictator and an autocrat. Let us be Christians in all that we do, like Saint Joseph, the man of full of love.

 

Saint Joseph, be our guide!

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