Thomas Maria Fusco, the seventh of eight children, was born on 1 December 1831 in Pagani, Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Sarno, Italy, to Dr Antonio, a pharmacist, and Stella Giordano, of noble descent. They were known for their upright moral and religious conduct, and taught their son Christian piety and charity to the poor.
This Day in the Church
This Day in the Church.
St. Polycarp of Smyrna, was converted to Christianity by St. John the Evangelist. He was a disciple of the apostles and friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was ordained bishop of Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey) and was about eighty-six when the Roman pro-consul urged him to renounce Christ and save his life. St. Polycarp said, “For eighty-six years I have served Him and he has never wronged me. How can I renounce the King who has saved me?” He suffered martyrdom in 155 by burning at the stake in the amphitheater of Smyrna.
Bl. Isabel was the sister of St. Louis and the daughter of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile. In her youth, Isabel, or Elizabeth, showed an extraordinary devotion to exercises of piety, modesty, and other virtues. She refused offers of marriage from several noble suitors in order to continue a life of virginity consecrated to God.
Franciso and Jacinta Marto were officially declared saints of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis on May 13, 2017, in Fatima, Portugal. The brother and sister who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the fields of Fatima, witnessed the apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as Our Lady of Fatima. Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta on May 13, 2000, on the 83rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima. Both under 12 years old, they were the youngest non-martyrs to be beatified in the history of the Church.
St. Barbatus was born in the territory of Benevento in Italy, toward the end of the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great, in the beginning of the seventh century. His parents gave him a Christian education, and Barbatus in his youth laid the foundation of that eminent sanctity which recommends him to our veneration.
Flavian was elected Patriarch of Constantinople in 447. His short episcopate of two years was a time of conflict and persecution from the beginning. Chrysaphius, the emperor’s favorite, tried to extort a large sum of money from him on the occasion of his consecration. His fidelity in refusing brought on him the enmity of the most powerful man in the empire.
The time has now come in the Church year for the solemn observance of the great central act of history, the redemption of the human race by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Roman Rite, the beginning of the forty days of penance is marked with the austere symbol of ashes which is used in today’s liturgy. The use of ashes is a survival from an ancient rite according to which converted sinners submitted themselves to canonical penance. The Alleluia and the Gloria are suppressed until Easter.
Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is a celebration marking the time until the start of the penitential season of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting and penance through a period of 40 days until Easter. The time after Epiphany until Lent begins is often referred to as “Carnival” when Catholics and others celebrate with festivities before the time of penance.
The Jesuit Priest St. Claude de la Colombière was the first to believe in the mystical revelations of the Sacred Heart given to St. Margaret Mary in Paray le Monial Convent, France. Thanks to his support, St. Margaret Mary’s superior also believed, and propagation of the devotion to the Sacred heart was started.
According to the Roman Martyrology, today is the feast of St. Catherine de Ricci a native of Florence, Italy, who became a Dominican tertiary in 1535 and eventually filled the offices of novice-mistress and prioress. She was famous for her ecstasies in which she beheld and enacted the scenes of our Lord’s passion. It is said that she met St. Philip Neri, in a vision who was still alive in Rome. Three future popes were among the thousands who flocked to her convent to ask her prayers.