Posts Tagged ‘Catholic’

The All-Star Saints of August

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Have you noticed that certain months of the year produce a particularly stellar selection of famous saints’ feasts? August is one of those months, beginning on the first day with St. Alphonsus Liguori, doctor of the church and founder of the Redemptorists. Actually, this celebration of saintly all-stars really begins on July 31 with the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. Ignatius’ day fell on a Sunday this year, which is why you didn’t hear much too about him in church. But the Jesuit blogs were busy.

Back to August.  The fourth day of the month celebrates St. John Vianney, patron of priests. Yesterday, Aug. 8th, was the Feast of St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, and of recently canonized St. Mary McKillop, the pride of Australia. Today, the 9th, is for St. Edith Stein, who was executed during World War II in the Auschwitz gas chamber, and tomorrow commemorates St. Lawrence the Martyr, who may hold the record for the most gruesome death.  On Aug. 11th, the Church celebrates three famous females: the saints Susanna, Clare and Philomena. Another famous female saint is venerated on August 12, St. Jane Frances de Chantal. Two days later comes the feast of s second 20th century martyr, St. Maximilian Kolbe, who took the place of a doomed young husband at Auschwitz. His feast falls on Sunday this year. Of course, on Aug. 15, the church will observe the Feast of the Assumption.

For those of you who are of Hungarian descent, the feast of your national patron, St. Stephen the Great. is on Aug. 16.  Aug. 18 is the feast of St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who ended the persecutions against Christians in the year 312. Helena is credited with the discovery of the cross of Christ. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, monastic reformer, is honored on Aug. 20, while the feast of Pope St. Pius X is the next day. Aug. 22 is the feast of St. Andrew the Scot, who actually was an Irishman. The feast of St. Rose of Lima, patroness of the Americas, is on Aug. 23, followed the next day by the feasts of St. Bartholomew and St. Nathanial, who were the same man! Don’t ask me how that happened.

Aug. 25 brings the feast of King St. Louis of France, credited with discovering Jesus’ crown of thorns, then building the exquisite St. Chapelle in Paris to house the crown and other precious relics. That church is the inspiration for the Lady Chapel in our own St. Patrick’s Cathedral and for St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford, Conn. St. Louis shares Aug. 25 with St. Genesius, patron of actors, who was converted while satirizing the role of a catechumen about to be baptized. God touched him right in the middle of the performance.  On Aug. 27, one of the great women of the church is honored – St. Monica, mater to St. Augustine of Hippo, whose feast is the very next day.

Who’s your patron saint? Google your name and find its origin. Maybe you carry the name of one of these or the hundreds of August saints I haven’t mentioned. Maybe some facet of your personality or life resembles that of your namesake.  Or, if you have an August birthday, find out whose feast it is. Celebrate your connection.

I’ll be on vacation for the next few weeks but if I see something interesting, I’ll post. Enjoy the rest of this saint-rich month.

Is someone calling you?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

If you have been baptized, yes. As I was reminded about a week ago in a homily, the lay faithful  are called to be priests, prophets and kings (or queens). Surprised? Check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

All of us are expected to be evangelists; spreading the Gospel is the reason the Church exists. The trick is to be alert for and open to our call from the Holy Spirit, to listen to it, and to act on it.

Perhaps that call is inviting you to become a parish catechist. Oh, you might say, you don’t want to teach little kids. That’s fine. There are are adults and adolescents who want you to pass on the Faith to them in a lively and engaging way. In fact, there is a huge need for catechists of adults and adolescents.

That sounds interesting, you might also say, but you are not a teacher. You never took an education course in your life. If this is your concern, stop worrying. The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office has a variety of resources and a training program for catechists that you can take either in live classroom settings or on line.

The Catechist Formation Program is divided into two parts. The first level of formation for a catechist provides you with opportunities for growth as a person of faith; you also learn effective teaching/facilitating skills and develop a plan for your ongoing training and developing spiritual life. The second level of formation deepens your training by focusing on essential areas of theological training, such as Scripture, the Creed, and morality. Your program will focus on the audience you wish to serve: children, adolescents or adults.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, Archbishop Dolan will preside over the annual certification ceremony for catechists at Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, N.Y. He will also award the Catechetical Medal of Honor to those who have given 25 or more years to the ministry of catechesis in the archdiocese. Twenty-five years may seem a very long time but the recipients always say that the years simply flew by.

Perhaps there is a certification ceremony in your future or even a Medal of Honor. If you want to know more about being a catechist and all the wonderful resources available to you, visit our website. Most important of all,  talk to your pastor or to your parish director/coordinator of religious education. Even you are not currently a catechist, take the courses anyway so that when your call comes, you’ll be ready to answer it.

Let’s hear it for San Giuseppe

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Correct me if I am wrong but I am not aware that anyone has ever asked the Archbishop of New York to lift the Lenten abstinence rule when the feast of St. Joseph (March 19) falls on a Friday, as it does this year. Yet, whenever St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Lenten Friday, there’s big outcry for an exception to the meatless Friday regulation.

As they used to say in my old neighborhood, “that’s no fair.”

Now you might have thought that with my Irish name and semi-Irish heritage, I would be blogging about Patrick’s Feast today.  Well, I’ve looked around and it appears that everyone, up to and including the Pope, has that pretty well covered.

So….let’s turn to the big story on St. Joseph – from his place in Scripture to some nice ways to observe his feast, besides attending Mass: what to cook and what to bake, a song or two and, of course, the connection between him and the return of the swallows to Capistrano on March 19. I’ve discovered that it’s customary to eat fish on Joseph’s feast, wherever  day it falls on the calendar.

And by the way, St. Joseph actually is a more important saint than Patrick. I heard this myself in my parish church on Sunday. It’s that great big one on Fifth Avenue and 50th Street.

So Happy St. Joseph’s Day to you and prayerful thanks to this strong, quiet man for being a role model for husbands and fathers.

Lent at the last minute

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Here we are with Lent upon us. Have you decided how you and your loved ones will keep this holy season?  No? To be honest, I haven’t either and I suspect we are not alone.

Perhaps the February snows have literally bogged us down. It’s snowing again here in Manhattan.  Or maybe the President’s Day weekend and Valentine’s Day got in the way. Or maybe, just maybe, life is so much more hectic than it was just a few years ago.

However, longing for simpler days won’t bring them back…and perhaps they were not so simple anyway. But that doesn’t mean we can’t de-clutter a small portion of each day,  setting aside a few minutes for prayer and meditation on the greatest-ever act of love: our redemption by Jesus Christ.

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, my wonderful colleague and Archdiocesan Catechetical Office webmaster, Jim Connell, provides “Lent 2000: Journeying in Faith” for you. Visit each day of Lent and join with your archdiocesan, regional and parish catechetical leaders and catechists.

Here are more Lenten web resources for daily prayer, reflections on the Sunday readings, and a special Lenten Day of Prayer and Reflection for catechetical leaders, catechists, and all adults who would like to join us at Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, N.Y., on March 3.

Sacred Space – The Irish Jesuits and available in several languages

Keeping Lent with St. Luke – “Thinking Faith” at the British Jesuits

Thoughts for Lent from St. Augustine – from the Augustinians of the Midwest

Lenten Day of Prayer - Archdiocesan Catechetical Office – March 3

I will add more  resources as I find them and invite you to submit some of your favorite Lenten spirituality sites  (of course, I will have to review them and decide whether or not to publish them here).

A Blessed Lent.