Saturday, April 28, 2012

Third Sunday after Easter (April 29)/Fourth Sunday of Easter (OF)


Today’s Gospel in the Extraordinary Form is St John 16:16-22 – Our Lord speaks of his entry into heaven.  In the Ordinary Form the Gospel is St John 10:11-18 (the good shepherd, the hireling and the wolves).

Friday, April 27, 2012

St Peter Canisius, memorial (April 27)


Pope Benedict XVI gave a General Audience on the saint in February 2011:

"Today I want to talk to you about St Peter Kanis, Canisius in the Latin form of his surname, a very important figure of the Catholic 16th century.

He was born on 8 May 1521 in Nijmegen, Holland. His father was Burgomaster of the town. While he was a student at the University of Cologne he regularly visited the Carthusian monks of St Barbara, a driving force of Catholic life, and other devout men who cultivated the spirituality of the so-called devotio moderna [modern devotion].

He entered the Society of Jesus on 8 May 1543 in Mainz (Rhineland — Palatinate), after taking a course of spiritual exercises under the guidance of Bl. Pierre Favre, Petrus [Peter] Faber, one of St Ignatius of Loyola’s first companions.

He was ordained a priest in Cologne. Already the following year, in June 1546, he attended the Council of Trent, as the theologian of Cardinal Otto Truchsess von Waldburg, Bishop of Augsberg, where he worked with two confreres, Diego Laínez and Alfonso Salmerón. In 1548, St Ignatius had him complete his spiritual formation in Rome and then sent him to the College of Messina to carry out humble domestic duties.

He earned a doctorate in theology at Bologna on 4 October 1549 and St Ignatius assigned him to carry out the apostolate in Germany. On 2 September of that same year he visited Pope Paul III at Castel Gandolfo and then went to St Peter’s Basilica to pray. Here he implored the great Holy Apostles Peter and Paul for help to make the Apostolic Blessing permanently effective for the future of his important new mission. He noted several words of this prayer in his spiritual journal.

He said: “There I felt that a great consolation and the presence of grace had been granted to me through these intercessors [Peter and Paul]. They confirmed my mission in Germany and seemed to transmit to me, as an apostle of Germany, the support of their benevolence. You know, Lord, in how many ways and how often on that same day you entrusted Germany to me, which I was later to continue to be concerned about and for which I would have liked to live and die”.

We must bear in mind that we are dealing with the time of the Lutheran Reformation, at the moment when the Catholic faith in the German-speaking countries seemed to be dying out in the face of the fascination of the Reformation. The task of Canisius — charged with revitalizing or renewing the Catholic faith in the Germanic countries — was almost impossible.

It was possible only by virtue of prayer. It was possible only from the centre, namely, a profound personal friendship with Jesus Christ, a friendship with Christ in his Body, the Church, which must be nourished by the Eucharist, his Real Presence.

In obedience to the mission received from Ignatius and from Pope Paul III, Canisius left for Germany. He went first to the Duchy of Bavaria, which for several years was the place where he exercised his ministry.

As dean, rector and vice chancellor of the University of Ingolstadt, he supervised the academic life of the Institute and the religious and moral reform of the people. In Vienna, where for a brief time he was diocesan administrator, he carried out his pastoral ministry in hospitals and prisons, both in the city and in the countryside, and prepared the publication of his Catechism. In 1556 he founded the College of Prague and, until 1569, was the first superior of the Jesuit Province of Upper Germany.

In this office he established a dense network of communities of his Order in the Germanic countries, especially colleges, that were starting points for the Catholic Reformation, for the renewal of the Catholic faith.

At that time he also took part in the Colloquy of Worms with Protestant divines, including Philip Melanchthon (1557); He served as Papal Nuncio in Poland (1558); he took part in the two Diets of Augsberg (1559 and 1565); he accompanied Cardinal Stanislaw Hozjusz, Legate of Pope Pius IV, to Emperor Ferdinand (1560); and he took part in the last session of the Council of Trent where he spoke on the issue of Communion under both Species and on the Index of Prohibited Books (1562).

In 1580 he withdrew to Fribourg, Switzerland, where he devoted himself entirely to preaching and writing. He died there on 21 December 1597. Bl. Pius IX beatified him in 1864 and in 1897 Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him the “Second Apostle of Germany”. Pope Pius XI canonized him and proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1925.

St Peter Canisius spent a large part of his life in touch with the most important people of his time and exercised a special influence with his writings. He edited the complete works of Cyril of Alexandria and of St Leo the Great, the Letters of St Jerome and the Orations of St Nicholas of Flüe. He published devotional books in various languages, biographies of several Swiss Saints and numerous homiletic texts.

However, his most widely disseminated writings were the three Catechisms he compiled between 1555 and 1558. The first Catechism was addressed to students who could grasp the elementary notions of theology; the second, to young people of the populace for an initial religious instruction; the third, to youth with a scholastic formation of middle and high school levels. He explained Catholic doctrine with questions and answers, concisely, in biblical terms, with great clarity and with no polemical overtones.

There were at least 200 editions of this Catechism in his lifetime alone! And hundreds of editions succeeded one another until the 20th century. So it was that still in my father’s generation people in Germany were calling the Catechism simply “the Canisius”. He really was the Catechist of Germany for centuries, he formed people’s faith for centuries.

This was a characteristic of St Peter Canisius: his ability to combine harmoniously fidelity to dogmatic principles with the respect that is due to every person. St Canisius distinguished between a conscious, blameworthy apostosy from faith and a blameless loss of faith through circumstances.

Moreover, he declared to Rome that the majority of Germans who switched to Protestantism were blameless. In a historical period of strong confessional differences, Canisius avoided — and this is something quite extraordinary — the harshness and rhetoric of anger — something rare, as I said, in the discussions between Christians in those times — and aimed only at presenting the spiritual roots and at reviving the faith in the Church. His vast and penetrating knowledge of Sacred Scripture and of the Fathers of the Church served this cause: the same knowledge that supported his personal relationship with God and the austere spirituality that he derived from the Devotio Moderna and Rhenish mysticism.

Characteristic of St Canisius’ spirituality was his profound personal friendship with Jesus. For example, on 4 September 1549 he wrote in his journal, speaking with the Lord: "In the end, as if you were opening to me the heart of the Most Sacred Body, which it seemed to me I saw before me, you commanded me to drink from that source, inviting me, as it were, to draw the waters of my salvation from your founts, O my Saviour”.

Then he saw that the Saviour was giving him a garment with three pieces that were called peace, love and perseverance. And with this garment, made up of peace, love and perseverance, Canisius carried out his work of renewing Catholicism. His friendship with Jesus — which was the core of his personality — nourished by love of the Bible, by love of the Blessed Sacrament and by love of the Fathers, this friendship was clearly united with the awareness of being a perpetuator of the Apostles’ mission in the Church. And this reminds us that every genuine evangelizer is always an instrument united with Jesus and with his Church and is fruitful for this very reason.

Friendship with Jesus had been inculcated in St Peter Canisius in the spiritual environment of the Charterhouse of Cologne, in which he had been in close contact with two Carthusian mystics: Johannes Lansperger, whose name has been Latinized as “Lanspergius” and Nikolaus van Esche, Latinized as “Eschius”.

He subsequently deepened the experience of this friendship, familiaritas stupenda nimis, through contemplation of the mysteries of Jesus’ life, which form a large part of St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. This is the foundation of his intense devotion to the Heart of the Lord, which culminated in his consecration to the apostolic ministry in the Vatican Basilica.

The Christocentric spirituality of St Peter Canisius is rooted in a profound conviction: no soul anxious for perfection fails to practice prayer daily, mental prayer, an ordinary means that enables the disciple of Jesus to live in intimacy with the divine Teacher.

For this reason in his writings for the spiritual education of the people, our Saint insists on the importance of the Liturgy with his comments on the Gospels, on Feasts, on the Rite of Holy Mass and on the sacraments; yet, at the same time, he is careful to show the faithful the need for and beauty of personal daily prayer, which should accompany and permeate participation in the public worship of the Church.

This exhortation and method have kept their value intact, especially after being authoritatively proposed anew by the Second Vatican Council in the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium: Christian life does not develop unless it is nourished by participation in the Liturgy — particularly at Sunday Mass — and by personal daily prayer, by personal contact with God.

Among the thousands of activities and multiple distractions that surround us, we must find moments for recollection before the Lord every day, in order to listen to him and speak with him.

At the same time, the example that St Peter Canisius has bequeathed to us, not only in his works but especially with his life, is ever timely and of lasting value. He teaches clearly that the apostolic ministry is effective and produces fruits of salvation in hearts only if the preacher is a personal witness of Jesus and an instrument at his disposal, bound to him closely by faith in his Gospel and in his Church, by a morally consistent life and by prayer as ceaseless as love. And this is true for every Christian who wishes to live his adherence to Christ with commitment and fidelity. Thank you."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pope St Cletus, memorial (April 26)


From the martyrology:

"At Rome, the birthday of St. Cletus, the pope who governed the Church the second after the apostle St. Peter, and was crowned with martyrdom in the persecution of Domitian."


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

St Mark, Class II


From the martyrology:

"At Alexandria, the birthday of St. Mark the Evangelist, disciple and interpreter of the apostle St. Peter. He wrote his gospel at the request of the faithful at Rome, and taking it with him, proceeded to Egypt and founded a church at Alexandria, where he was the first to preach Christ. Afterwards, being arrested for the faith, he was bound, dragged over stones, and endured great afflictions. Finally he was confined to prison, where, being comforted by the visit of an angel, and even by an apparition of our Lord himself, he was called to the heavenly kingdom in the eighth year of the reign of Nero."

ANZAC Day (Australia and New Zealand): Lest we forget

ANZAC Day commemorates first and foremost the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipolli in 1915, the first major battle that our troops fought in World War I. 

But it is also a day when those two nations remember all those who fought and died in all of the wars and conflicts those nations have fought in.

On this day Requiems are said or sung rather than the feast of St Mark celebrated, by special permission.

The traditional hymn associated with the day is Abide With Me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

St George, memorial (April 23)


Saint George (c. 275/281 – 303) was a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a soldier in the Guard of Diocletian.

According to the wikipedia:

"It is likely that Saint George was born to a Christian noble family in Lod, Syria Palaestina during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD, and he died in Nicomedia. His father, Gerontius, was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother, Polychronia, was from Palestine. They were both Christians and from noble families of Anici, so the child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgius (Latin) or Geōrgios (Greek), meaning "worker of the land". At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George's mother, Polychronia, died. Eastern accounts give the names of his parents as Anastasius and Theobaste.

Then George decided to go to Nicomedia, the imperial city of that time, and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius — one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.

In the year AD 302, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George never accepted.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda in Palestine for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.

 St George and the dragon
 
The wiki reports:
 
"According to the Golden Legend, the narrative episode of Saint George and the Dragon took place in a place he called "Silene", in Libya; the Golden Legend is the first to place this legend in Libya as a sufficiently exotic locale, where a dragon might be imagined. In the tenth-century Georgian narrative, the place is the fictional city of Lasia, and it is the godless Emperor who is Selinus.

The town had a pond, as large as a lake, where a plague-bearing dragon dwelled that envenomed all the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene used to feed it two sheep every day, and when the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king's daughter, who is in some versions of the story called Sabra. The king, distraught with grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, decked out as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.

Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess, trembling, sought to send him away, but George vowed to remain. The dragon reared out of the lake while they were conversing. Saint George fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross, charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon's neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash.

The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the people at its approach. But Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptised, he would slay the dragon before them. The king and the people of Silene converted to Christianity, George slew the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. "Fifteen thousand men baptized, without women and children." On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease.

Traditionally, the sword with which St. George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, a name recalling the city of Ashkelon, Israel. From this tradition, the name Ascalon was used by Winston Churchill for his personal aircraft during World War II (records at Bletchley Park), since St. George is the Patron Saint of England."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Second Sunday after Easter (April 22): Good Shepherd Sunday/Third Sunday of Easter (OF)



The Gospel in the Extraordinary Form this Sunday is St John 10:11-16:

"11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep. But the hireling and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flies: and the wolf casts and scatters the sheep, 13 and the hireling flies, because he is a hireling: and he has no care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd: and I know mine, and mine know me. 15 As the Father knows me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep. 16 And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring. And they shall hear my voice: And there shall be one fold and one shepherd."

In the Ordinary Form the Gospel is St Luke 24:35-48.

St Anselm OSB, Class III (April 21):the struggle between State and Church


Best known perhaps for his proof of the existence of God, St Anselm (1033-1109) is very much a satin for our times when the relationship between Church and State is once more in dispute.

St Anselm was a Benedictine monk who entered the monastery of Bec at the age of 27 and became abbot in 1079.  Under his rule the monastery became famous as a centre of learning, attracting students from all over Europe.

He was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093, but underwent several periods of disagreement exile due to struggles with King William II and Henry I over his assertion of the freedom of the Church from lay control (the investiture dispute), and the requirement of the State to submit to the spiritual advice of the Church.

He was proclaimed a doctor of the Church in 1720.

In 1909 Pope Pius X issued an encyclical on the saint. As it deals with issues all too pertinent to current struggles between Church and State, here are some extracts from it by way of a taster.

Pius X: Communium Rerum

"Amid the general troubles of the time and the recent disasters at home which afflict Us, there is surely consolation and comfort for Us in that recent display of devotion of the whole Christian people which still continues to be "a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men" (I Cor. iv. 9), and which, if it has now been called forth so generously by the advent of misfortune, has its one true cause in the charity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For since there is not and there cannot be in the world any charity worthy of the name except through Christ, to Him alone must be attributed all the fruits of it, even in men of lax faith or hostile to religion, who are indebted for whatever vestiges of charity they may possess to the civilization introduced by Christ, which they have not yet succeeded in throwing off entirely and expelling from human society... all must see, and let the enemies of Catholicism be persuaded of it, that the splendor of ceremonial, and the devotion paid to the August Mother of God, and even the filial homage offered to the Supreme Pontiff, are all destined finally for the glory of God, that Christ may be all and in all (Coloss. iii. II), that the Kingdom of God may be established on earth, and eternal salvation gained for men.

This triumph of God on earth, both in individuals and in society, is but the return of the erring to God through Christ, and to Christ through the Church, which We announced as the programme of Our Pontificate both in Our first Apostolic Letters "E supremi Apostolatus Cathedra" (Encyclica diei 4 Octobris MDCCCCIII.), and many times since then. To this return We look with confidence, and plans and hopes are all designed to lead to it as to a port in which the storms even of the present life are at rest. And this is why We are grateful for the homage paid to the Church in Our humble person, as being, with God's help, a sign of the return of the Nations to Christ and a closer union with Peter and the Church.

This affectionate union, varying in intensity according to time and place, and differing in its mode of expression, seems in the designs of Providence to grow stronger as the times grow more difficult for the cause of sound teaching, of sacred discipline, of the liberty of the Church. We have examples of this in the Saints of other centuries, whom God raised up to resist by their virtue and wisdom the fury of persecution against the Church and the diffusion of iniquity in the world.

One of these We wish especially in these Letters to commemorate, now that the eighth centenary of his death is being solemnly celebrated. We mean the Doctor Anselm of Aosta, most vigorous exponent of Catholic truth and defender of the rights of the Church, first as Monk and Abbot in France. and later as Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate in England. It is not inappropriate, We think, after the Jubilee Feasts, celebrated with unwonted splendor, of two other Doctors of Holy Church, Gregory the Great and John Chrysostom, one the light of the Western, the other of the Eastern Church, to fix our gaze on this other star which, if it "differs in brightness" (I. Cor. xv. 41) from them, yet compares well with them in their course, and sheds abroad a light of doctrine and example not less salutary than theirs. Nay, in some respects it might be said even more salutary, inasmuch as Anselm is nearer to us in time, place, temperament, studies, and there is a closer similarity with our own days in the nature of the conflicts borne by him, in the kind of pastoral activity he displayed, in the method of teaching applied and largely promoted by him, by his disciples, by his writings, all composed "in defense of the Christian religion, for the benefit of souls, and for the guidance of all theologians who were to teach sacred letters according to the scholastic method" (Breviar. Rom., die 21 Aprilis). Thus as in the darkness of the night while some stars are setting others rise to light the world, so the sons succeed to the Fathers to illumine the Church, and among these St. Anselm shone forth as a most brilliant star.

In the eyes of the best of his contemporaries Anselm seemed to shine as a luminary of sanctity and learning amid the darkness of the error and iniquity of the age in which he lived. He was in truth a "prince of the faith, an ornament of the Church . . . a glory of the episcopate, a man outranking all the great men" of his time ("Epicedion in obitum Anselmi"), "both learned and good and brilliant in speech, a man of splendid intellect" ("In Epitaphio") whose reputation was such that it has been well written of him that there was no man in the world then "who would say: Anselm is less than I, or like me" ("Epicedion in obitum Anselmi"), and hence esteemed by kings, princes, and supreme pontiffs, as well as by his brethren in religion and by the faithful, nay, "beloved even by his enemies" (Ib.). While he was still Abbot the great and most powerful Pontiff Gregory VII wrote him letters breathing esteem and affection and "recommending the Catholic Church and himself to his prayers" (Breviar. Rom.. die 21 Aprilis): to him also wrote Urban II recognizing "his distinction in religion and learning" (In libro 2 Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 32); in many and most affectionate letters Paschal 11 extolled his "reverent devotion, strong faith, his pious and persevering zeal, his authority in religion and knowledge" (In lib. 3 Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 74 et 42), which easily induced the Pontiff to accede to his requests and made him not hesitate to call him the most learned and devout of the bishops of England.

And yet Anselm in his own eyes was but a despicable and unknown goodfor-nothing, a man of no parts, sinful in his life. Nor did this great modesty and most sincere humility detract in the least from his high thinking, whatever may be said to the contrary by men of depraved life and judgment, of whom the Scripture says that "the animal man understandeth not the things of the spirit of God" (I Cor. ii. 14). And more wonderful still, greatness of soul and unconquerable constancy, tried in so many ways by troubles, attacks, exiles, were in him blended with such gentle and pleasing manners that he was able to calm the angry passions of his enemies and win the hearts of those who were enraged against him, so that the very men "to whom his cause was hostile" praised him because he was good ("Epicedion in obitum Anselmi").

Thus in him there existed a wonderful harmony between qualities which the world falsely judges to be irreconcilable and contradictory: simplicity and greatness, humility and magnanimity, strength and gentleness, knowledge and piety, so that both in the beginning and throughout the whole course of his religious life "he was singularly esteemed by all as a model of sanctity and doctrine" (Breviar. Rom., die 21 Aprilis).

Nor was this double merit of Anselm confined within the walls of his own household or within the limits of the school - it went forth thence as from a military tent into the dust and the glare of the highway. For, as We have already hinted, Anselm fell on difficult days and had to undertake fierce battles in defense of justice and truth. Naturally inclined though he was to a life of contemplation and study, he was obliged to plunge into the most varied and most important occupations even those affecting the government of the Church, and thus to be drawn into the worst turmoils of his agitated age. With his sweet and most gentle temperament he was forced, out of love for sound doctrine and for the sanctity of the Church, to give up a life of peace, the friendship of the great ones of the world, the favors of the powerful, the united affection, which he at first enjoyed, of his very brethren in troubles of all kinds. Thus, finding England full of hatred and dangers, he was forced to oppose a vigorous resistance to kings and princes, usurpers and tyrants over the Church and the people, against weak or unworthy ministers of the sacred office, against the ignorance and vice of the great and small alike; ever a valiant defender of the faith and morals, of the discipline and liberty, and therefore also of the sanctity and doctrine, of the Church of God, and thus truly worthy of that further encomium of Paschal: "Thanks be to God that in you the authority of the Bishop ever prevails, and that, although set in the midst of barbarians, you are not deterred from announcing the truth either by the violence of tyrants," or the favor of the powerful, neither by the flame of fire or the force of arms; and again: "We rejoice because by the grace of God you are neither disturbed by threats nor moved by promises" (In lib. iii. Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 44 et 74).

In view of all this, it is only right, venerable brethren, that We, after a lapse of eight centuries, should rejoice like Our Predecessor Paschal, and, echoing his words, return thanks, to God. But, at the same time, it is a pleasure for Us to be able to exhort you to fix your eyes on this luminary of doctrine and sanctity, who, rising here in Italy, shone for over thirty years upon France, for more than fifteen years upon England, and finally upon the whole Church, as a tower of strength and beauty..."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

St Apollonius: layman, apologist and martyr (April 18)

From the martyrology:

"At Rome, blessed Apollonius, a senator under Emperor Commodus and the prefect Perennius. He was denounced as a Christian by one of his slaves, and being commanded to give an account of his faith, he composed an able work which he read in the Senate. He was nevertheless beheaded for Christ by their sentence."


There are a number of surviving early accounts of St Apollonius (d. 185). 

A Roman senator, he was well versed in philosophy. After he was denounced as a Christian, he read to the senate, according to Saint Jerome, "a remarkable volume" in which he defended the Christian faith. As a result, he was condemned to death on the basis of the law established by the Emperor Trajan.


The sources say he was subjected to two investigations, the first by the Prefect Perennius, the second, three days later, by a group of senators and jurists. The hearings were conducted in a calm and courteous manner. Apollonius was permitted to speak with only rare interruptions, aimed at getting him to tone down his remarks, which were making him liable to punishment.

Apollonius was not afraid to die, because, he said: "There is waiting for me something better: eternal life, given to the person who has lived well on earth."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

St Anicetus, Pope (from the martyrology), April 17 (EF); April 20 (OF): the date of Easter controversy


From the martyrology:

"At Rome, St. Anicetus, pope and martyr, who received the palm of martyrdom in the persecution of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and Lucius Verus."

St Anicetus was Pope between around 150-167.

During his pontificate St Polycarp of Smyrna, a disciple of John the Evangelist, visited Rome to discuss the celebration of Passover with the Pope, marking the start of the controversy between the Eastern and Western Churches over the date of Easter.  The two agreed to differ and Pope St Anicetus granted St Polycarp and the Church of Smyrna the ability to retain the date to which they were accustomed.

St Anicetus was the first pope to condemn heresy by forbidding Montanism. He also actively opposed the Gnostics and Marcionism.

His feast is celebrated on April 20 in the Novus Ordo calendar.

Monday, April 16, 2012

St Bernadette Soubirous (April 16): visions of Our Lady



From the martyrology:

"In the city of Nevers in France, St. Mary Bernard Soubirous of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, also called the Christian Institute. She was favoured with frequent apparitions and conversations at Lourdes with Mary Immaculate, the Mother of God. In 1933 her name was added to the roll of holy virgins by Pope Pius XI."


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Octave Day of Easter (April 15)/Second Sunday of Easter (OF)


This Sunday has acquired various titles down the centuries, including (but not limited to!):
  • Dominica in Albis, of White Sunday,  reflecting the day on which the newly baptised members of the Church put aside the white garments traditionally received at their baptism;
  • Low Sunday, in contrast to the previous 'High' Sunday;
  • Quasi modo Sunday, for the opening words of the Introit of the Mass (as newborn babes....);
  • St Thomas Sunday, for the Gospel (in both the EF and OF, St John 20:19-31), which tells the story of St Thomas' doubts and Our Lord's response;
  • Second Sunday of Easter (Novus Ordo);
  • Divine Mercy Sunday.
The Office from this week follows the Ordinary of Eastertide/Paschaltide:
  •  at Lauds there only three antiphons, as the first three psalms are said under one antiphon of alleluias;
  • at Vespers the psalms are said under one antiphon;
  • at all the day hours there is a chapter, hymns, responsory/versicle etc of the season.
There are also proper antiphons for the Benedictus and Magnificat canticles at Lauds and Vespers each day.

Easter Saturday

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Monday


The Gospel today is St Luke 24:13-35, Jesus appears to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday of Holy Week


Today the Gospel is the Passion according to St Luke.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday of Holy Week


Today's Gospel is the passion according to St Mark.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday in Holy Week (April 2)


Today's Gospel is St John 12:1-9, St Mary Magdalene anoints the feet of Our Lord.