Dominicans honor one of their own today, Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza. This was a man who used his skills as a preacher to challenge the heresies of his day.
Bartholomew was born in Vicenza around 1200. At 20 he entered the Dominicans. Following his ordination he served in various leadership positions. As a young priest he founded a military order whose purpose was to keep civil peace in towns throughout Italy.
In 1248, Bartholomew was appointed a bishop. For most men, such an appointment is an honor and a tribute to their holiness and their demonstrated leadership skills. But for Bartholomew, it was a form of exile that had been urged by an antipapal group that was only too happy to see him leave for Cyprus. Not many years later, however, Bartholomew was transferred back to Vicenza. Despite the antipapal feelings that were still evident, he worked diligently—especially through his preaching—to rebuild his diocese and strengthen the people’s loyalty to Rome.
During his years as bishop in Cyprus, Bartholomew befriended King Louis the Ninth of France, who is said to have given the holy bishop a relic of Christ’s Crown of Thorns.
Bartholomew died in 1271. He was beatified in 1793.
Reflection: Educating ignorant people is an act of mercy. We must present to them the Truth that lies alone in Christ Jesus. If they accept it then they will be enlightened and if not, they will not obtain the fullness of reality. This truth in Jesus is liberating. It frees us from the burden of ignorance and immorality. Only in this Truth that we can live the fullness of life. And lastly, fullness of life means happiness with God forever.
Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who chose blessed Bartholomew to preside as Bishop over your holy people, we pray that, by his merits, you may bestow on us the grace of your loving kindness. 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.