According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Sylvester. He was the son of a lawyer and had also studied law before becoming a canon in his native town of Osimo. He was a zealous and fervent priest. His determination to retire into solitude was caused by the sight of the decomposing corpse of a friend. He at first lived as a hermit at Grotta Fucile, and then on Monte Fano where followers came to join him. He gave them the habit and Rule of St. Benedict together with certain other customs which reflect his own aspirations and the devotional tendencies of his day. He died in 1267 at the age of ninety.
From time immemorial St. Catherine had been venerated at the monastery on Mount Sinai when, in the fifteenth century, the monks discovered her body. Legend has made of her a young Christian of Alexandria who rejected the advances of the Emperor Maximinus and routed a meeting of learned men gathered together to induce her to deny Christ. This feast was restored to the calendar in 2002.
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and companions, martyrs. St. Andrew was one of 117 people who were martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. John of the Cross which is now celebrated on December 14. It is also the commemoration of St. Chrysogonus, a martyr of Aquilea at the beginning of the fourth century. His name occurs in the Canon of the Mass.
Historically today is the feast of Sts. Flora and Mary, Christian martyrs of Cordoba, Spain. Flora was raised a Christian in secret by her mother, who was married to a Muslim. Betrayed by her brother, she was beaten and given to him to abuse because of her faith. Escaping, Flora met Mary, the sister of a martyred deacon. They surrendered to Muslim authorities and were placed in a brothel. Still clinging to the faith, Flora and Mary were beheaded.
The most famous of Irish monks, St. Columban was born around 525-530. Well educated and desiring to be a “pilgrim of God,” Columban traveled to France and founded several well-disciplined monasteries as centers of religion and culture. Because of difficulties he decided to return to Ireland. A shipwreck directed him towards Rome and to the founding of his final monastery, at Bobbio in Italy. The aged Abbot died on this date in 615. His feast was moved from November 21. It is celebrated on November 23 by Benedictines and Ireland.
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of the Presentation of Mary. The three feasts of the birthday of Our Lady, the holy Name of Mary and her Presentation in the Temple correspond in the Marian cycle with the first three feasts of the cycle of feasts of our Lord: namely, Christmas, the Holy Name of Jesus, and His Presentation in the Temple (February 2).
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Felix of Valois, one of the courageous companions of St. John of Matha in the foundation of the Trinitarian Order for the redemption of captives in the hands of the Moslems. He died in 1212, at the motherhouse of the Order in the diocese of Meaux.
Saint Raphael was born in 1835 as Joseph, son of Andrew and Josepha Kalinowski in present day Lithuania. Saint Raphael felt a call to the priesthood early in his life, but decided to complete his education. He studied zoology, chemistry, agriculture, and apiculture at the Institute of Agronomy in Hory Horki, Russia, and at the Academy of Military Engineering in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The whole Church celebrates today the dedication of the two great Roman basilicas of St. Peter at the Vatican and of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls. The basilica of St. Peter stands on the site of the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, where stood Nero’s circus. It was here that St. Peter was executed. Recent excavations have shown that the present basilica which, in the seventeenth century replaced the ancient Constantinian basilica, was built over the tomb of St. Peter, just as the previous basilica. It was consecrated by Urban VIII on November 18, 1626. St. Paul-outside-the-Walls, situated at the other end of the city on the Ostian Way, is built near the place St. Paul was martyred. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1823 and was rebuilt in sumptuous fashion by Gregory XVI and Pius IX and consecrated by the latter on December 10, 1854. The celebration of the anniversary of these two dedications has been kept, nevertheless, on November 18.
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, religious. She was the daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary, and wife of Duke Louis IV of Thuringia. She is famous for her great kindness and inexhaustible charity towards the poor and the sick. November 19 is the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary in the Extraordinary Form.
St. Margaret (c. 1045-1093) was the great-niece of St. Edward the Confessor. She was a Saxon princess, raised in Hungary in exile. Returning to England, she had to flee once again after the Battle of Hastings, to the court of Malcolm, the King of Scotland, whom she married shortly thereafter. She proved to be a model mother and exemplary queen who brought up her eight children in an atmosphere of great devotion and worked hard to improve the morality of her subjects.