This Day in the Church

This Day in the Church.

St. Sharbel Makhlūf

St. Sharbel was a Lebanese monk, born in a small mountain village and ordained in 1858. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he spent the last twenty-three years of his life as a hermit. Despite temptations to wealth and comfort, Saint Sharbel taught the value of poverty, self-sacrifice and prayer by the way he lived his life. This optional memorial is new to the USA liturgical calendar and was inscribed on July 24, 2004.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Apollinaris. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on July 20. St. Bridget’s feast in the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on October 8.

According to the Roman Martyrology, today is the feast of St. Liborius, the son of an important family in Gaul, who became Bishop of Le Mans and played a leading part in spreading Christianity in Gaul at the end of the fourth century.

St. Bridget

Patron saint of Sweden, Bridget married a young prince and lived happily with him for 28 years, bearing him eight children. St. Catherine of Sweden was their daughter. After her husband died, Bridget founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior, erecting at Vadstena a double monastery for monks and nuns. Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, she later went to Rome, where she worked for the return of the Popes from Avignon. She died of natural causes in 1373, at the age of seventy-one. This Scandinavian mystic is famous for her Revelations concerning the sufferings of our Redeemer.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Apollinaris. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on July 20. St. Bridget’s feast in the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on October 8.

According to the Roman Martyrology, today is the feast of St. Liborius, the son of an important family in Gaul, who became Bishop of Le Mans and played a leading part in spreading Christianity in Gaul at the end of the fourth century.

Bl. Peter Vigne

Bl. Peter Vigne, a French priest, was beatified on October 3, 2004 by Pope John Paul II and proposed to the universal Church as an example of a tireless missionary and apostle of the Most Holy Sacrament.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Portugal. Her optional memorial in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on July 5.

Sts. Priscilla and Aquila a Jewish couple from Rome who had been exiled to Corinth, were friends of St. Paul in the first century and mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. They hosted St. Paul on his visit to that city and were probably converted by him. Their names are listed in the Roman Martyrology.

Historically today is the feast of St. Edgar the peacemaker, king of England in 975.

“For all these the final day of their lives, the day on which they completed their earthly service is honored. But for John the day of his birth, the day on which he began this mortal life is likewise sacred. The reason for this is, of course, that the Lord willed to announce to men His own coming through the Baptist, lest if He appeared suddenly, they would fail to recognize Him. John represented the Old Covenant and the Law. Therefore he preceded the Redeemer, even as the Law preceded and heralded the new dispensation of grace.”

St. John the Baptist

“Apart from the most holy solemnity commemorating our Savior’s birth, the Church keeps the birthday of no other person except that of John the Baptist. [The feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin had not yet been introduced.] In the case of other saints or of God’s chosen ones, the Church, as you know, solemnizes the day on which they were reborn to everlasting beatitude after ending the trials of this life and gloriously triumphing over the world.

“For all these the final day of their lives, the day on which they completed their earthly service is honored. But for John the day of his birth, the day on which he began this mortal life is likewise sacred. The reason for this is, of course, that the Lord willed to announce to men His own coming through the Baptist, lest if He appeared suddenly, they would fail to recognize Him. John represented the Old Covenant and the Law. Therefore he preceded the Redeemer, even as the Law preceded and heralded the new dispensation of grace.”

Immaculate Heart of Mary

In the midst of the second world war Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the special protection of our Savior’s Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart, and in 1944 he decreed that in the future the whole Church should celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is not a new devotion. In the seventeenth century, St. John Eudes preached it together with that of the Sacred Heart; in the nineteenth century, Pius VII and Pius IX allowed several churches to celebrate a feast of the Pure Heart of Mary. Pius XII instituted today’s feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the whole Church, so as to obtain by her intercession “peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue” (Decree of May 4, 1944).

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

“I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment” (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).

Sixteenth century Calvinism and seventeenth century Jansenism preached a distorted Christianity that substituted for God’s love and sacrifice of His Son for all men the fearful idea that a whole section of humanity was inexorably damned.

The Church always countered this view with the infinite love of our Savior who died on the cross for all men. The institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart was soon to contribute to the creation among the faithful of a powerful current of devotion which since then has grown steadily stronger. The first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart were composed by St. John Eudes, but the institution of the feast was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. The celebration of the feast was extended to the general calendar of the Church by Pius IX in 1856.

St. Columba of Iona, Abbot

St. Columba, or Columkill, apostle of the Picts, was of illustrious Irish descent. He was brought up in the company of many saints at the school of St. Finian of Clonard. Being an ordained priest, and having founded many churches in Ireland, he went to Scotland with twelve companions, and there converted many of the northern Picts to the faith of Christ. He founded the monastery of Iona which became the nursery of saints and apostles. He also evangelized the northern English. He died on June 9, 597 at the foot of the altar at Iona while blessing his people, and was buried, like St. Brigid, beside St. Patrick at Downpatrick in Ulster.

Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. Pope Leo XIII declared in his Encyclical of September 22, 1891: “We may affirm that nothing, by the will of God, is given to us without Mary’s mediation, in such way that just as no one can approach the almighty Father but through His Son, likewise no one, so to speak, can approach Christ but through His Mother.”

St. Justin

St. Justin, apologist and martyr, was one of the most important Christian writers of the second century. He himself tells how his study of all the schools of philosophy led him to Christianity, and how he dedicated his life to the defense of the Christian faith as “the one certain and profitable philosophy.”

St. Philip Neri

St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) was born in Florence and died in Rome. He lived a spotless childhood in Florence. Later he came to Rome and after living for fifteen years as a pilgrim and hermit was ordained a priest. He gradually gathered around him a group of priests and established the Congregation of the Oratory. He was a man of original character and of a happy, genial and winning disposition. A great educator of youth, he spent whole nights in prayer, had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and burned with an unbounded love for mankind. He died on the feast of Corpus Christi.