Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Feast of Saint Brigid, Abbess and Patroness of Ireland (From Goffine’s Devout Instructions)

Saint Brigid of Ireland

February 1

Saint Brigid was born about the year 453 at Fochard, in Ulster. When about twenty years old she received the veil from Saint Mel, the nephew and disciple of Saint Patrick. So many sought the religious life under her direction that a convent, the first in Ireland, was erected for her and she was made superior. From this parent stem branched forth other convents in different parts of Ireland, all which acknowledged her as their mother and foundress. Several churches in England and Scotland are dedicated to God under her name, and some also in Germany and in France. After seventy years devoted to the practice of the most sublime virtups, corporal infirmities admonished our saint that the time of her dissolution was nigh. For half a century she had irrevocably consecrated herself to God, and during that period great results had been attained. The day on which our abbess was to quit this life, 1 February 523, having arrived, she received the blessed body and blood of her Lord in the Blessed Eucharist, and, as it would seem, immediately after her spirit passed forth, and went to possess Him in that heavenly country where He is seen face to face and enjoyed without danger of ever losing Him. Her body was interred in the church adjoining her convent, bnt was some time after exhumed, and deposited in a splendid shrine near the high altar. In the ninth century, the country being desolated by the Danes, the remains of Saint Bridget were removed to Down-Patrick, where they were deposited in the same grave with those of Saint Patrick. Their bodies, together with that of Saint Columba were translated afterwards to the cathedral of the same city, but their monument was destroyed in the reign of King Henry VIII. The head of Saint Bridget is now kept in the church of the Jesuits at Lisbon.

The Introit of the Mass:

Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore, O God, Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. My heart hath uttered a good word. I speak my works to the King.” Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Give ear to us, O God our Saviour, that, as we celebrate with joy the solemnity of blessed Bridget Thy virgin, so we may improve in the affection of piety. Through Christ, Our Lord, Amen.

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 10:17-18; 11:1-2

Brethren: He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commendeth himself is approved, but he whom God commendeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly, but do bear with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13

At that time Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who, taking their lamps, went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise; but the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

-- Goffine’s Devout Instructions

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saint Francis de Sales

Francis was born into an era which would prove to be troublesome for the Church, for in the sixteenth century the Reformation would bring the Catholic Church into crisis mode, as Martin Luther defied Rome and so was excommunicated in 1520.

Francis was born to a noble couple in the year 1567 in the Savoy region of France. Both his parents, Francois and mother Francoise, were deeply devout and from them Francis also learned to love the Faith which would also lead him to the Priesthood. At first Francis parents tried to persuade their son into a profitable career, and to marry a woman of similar nobility, but after a struggle Francis parents capitulated to their son embracing the Priesthood.

His parents would also provide a good example to the young Francis as he watched them practice the corporal works of mercy and their compassion for the underprivileged in the society around them. So even though Francois and Francoise were of noble birth, still they were not haughty or prideful and treated all with respect and courtesy.

Francis at the age of 13 left home to study with the Jesuits in Paris, where he was instructed by some of the best teachers and was guided as to the Teachings of the Church, this sound teaching would hold Francis in good stead in the foreseeable future. From Paris Francis then completed his studies at Padua where he studied law, to please his father and studied theology in his spare time. Through this difficult time of trying to please both his Father and the call he felt towards the Priesthood, Francis spent much time in prayer about his situation. It was not until Francis was offered the position of Provost of Geneva that his father finally gave up the struggle and allowed Francis to follow his longing to enter the Church.

And though Francis was now able to pursue his dream he found himself beset with doubts and scruples of what he felt were his inadequacies. But upon praying in Church, all of Francis doubts were removed, and in 1593 Francis was ordained into the Priesthood. This was a great honour for Francis parents who attended his first Mass, whereupon they received the Eucharist from the hands of their own son, what a blessing!

And though God had blessed Francis with a high intellect still Francis spoke as one to his parishioners, as he served them with compassion, mercy and love. Father Francis kept his sermons to the point and did not expound on deeply theological issues to the people of his parish, for he was a man of the people and was able to convey his love of God in a simple context without compromising God's Truth.

It was this love of Divine Truth that set Father Francis in conflict with the people of Chablais, where many had embraced the teachings of Calvin. It was here that Francis would prove himself a great son of the Church as he fought Calvin's heresies not by direct attack but by his letters which denounced each and every Calvinistic heresy! Through this non aggressive approach the people of the region began to listen to Fr. Francis and to re think their break with the one True Church. Francis love of the Faith and his diplomatic skills were certainly in evidence when confronting the people of Chablais, who were won over by his obvious piety and sanctity.

But Francis though gentle by nature was no pushover and once he had denounced the Calvin heresy then demanded alongside the Duke of Savoy that all who preached a different Gospel should be expelled from the region, rather than re-contaminate the good which had been done. Francis being prudent by nature was well aware that one bad apple could once again infect the area with the same heresies as before, the Duke of Savoy agreed and expelled all Calvinistic Ministers from the region.

In 1602 Francis once again returned to Paris a city which was close to his heart, Francis at this time also formed a strong friendship with Henry IV and other members of the nobility, for though Francis truly loved and esteemed the poor, he also did not show favouritism when speaking about the Faith, and so he treated both poor and rich with equality.

Upon the death of Bishop de Granie, Francis then became Bishop of Geneva in the year 1602. He set about restoring all things proper back to the Church and visited many parishes as he also reformed many of the Religious Orders. But Francis personality was such that he could win people over to what is pleasing to God. Through his own diplomatic skills he was able to soothe many a ruffled feather, and by his patient and gentle manner he was able to persuade many to follow the Church and its Teachings without compromise.

Bishop Francis worked so hard it is a wonder if he ever found time to rest, for though he would accomplish many things his greatest love was for prayer and through prayer comes action. Through everything Francis retained a deep love for those less well of and tried to the best of his ability to ease their hardship. This was done in several area's for Bishop Francis also began a course of teaching the Faith to both young and old in order to build up the Faithful and keep the Protestant Reformation from overtaking the one true Church. He did this in such a skilful way that he won the admiration of both rich and poor alike, for Francis though a Bishop of the Church, practiced an austere life and did not grant himself special privileges.

During this time he would come to meet a woman and it was to Jeanne de Chantal that Bishop Francis would come to impact and change the course of her life. Bishop Francis could also count Vincent de Paul amongst his closest friends for all three were truly devoted to the poor and their plight. And it would be with Jeanne de Chantal that he would begin his Order, 'The Institute of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin' which overtime would become known as the 'Visitation Order'.

Francis de Sales was not only a great man of Faith, he was also a man of great heart, who with conviction, firmness, gentleness and compassion spread the message of the Gospels. To love one another, Bishop Francis lived this creed to the end.

Francis de Sales died in the year 1622.

Saint Francis de Sales was Canonized in the year 1665 by Pope Alexander VII. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Blessed Pius IX in 1877.

Some Quotes

"Be who you are and be that well."

"Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections."

"Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength."

"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time."

"Those who love to be feared fear to be loved."

Friday, January 23, 2015

Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints On January 22, 2015

Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father Francis received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:


- attributed to the Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa Casini, Italian foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1864-1937);


- Servants of God Fidela (nee Dolores Oller Angelats) and two companions, Spanish professed nuns of the Institute of Sisters of St. Joseph, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 26 and 29 August 1936;

- Servants of God Pio Heredia Zubia and seventeen companions, of the Trappists of Cantabria and the Cistercian nuns of the Congregation of St. Bernard, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936;

- Servant of God Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa (ne Bakali), South African layperson, killed in hatred of the faith in South Africa on 2 February 1990.


- Servant of God Ladislao Bukowinski, Ukrainian diocesan priest (1904-1974);

- Servant of God Aloysius Schwartz, American diocesan priest, founder of the Sisters of Mary of Banneux and the Brothers of Christ (1930-1992);

- Servant of God Cointa Jauregui Oses, Spanish professed nun of the Company of Mary Our Lady (1875-1954);

- Servant of God Teresa Gardi, Italian layperson of the Third Order of St. Francis (1769-1837);

- Servant of God Luis De Trelles y Nuogerol, Spanish layperson and founder of the Nocturnal Adoration Society in Spain (1819-1891);

- Servant of God Elisabeth Maria (nee Erizabe-to Maria) Satoko Kitahara, Japanese layperson (1929-1958);

- Servant of God Virginia Blanco Tardio, Bolivian layperson (1916-1990).

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