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ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP

ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP

ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP – MEMORIAL: NOVEMBER 14

St Laurence O’Toole, Patron of the Diocese and City of Dublin, was born near Castledermot, County Kildare, in 1127. His father was Maurice O’Toole, prince of the territory now called South Kildare, and his mother was daughter of O’Byrne, prince of the north-eastern portion of Co. Kildare.

The cross was his portion from childhood, for from ten years old till he was twelve, he was a hostage of Dermot MacMurrough, who treated him with relentless cruelty. Ferns, then a wild and desert place, was probably the scene of the hardships and privations of our Saint. Here, no doubt, the foundation was laid of that wonderful mortification, and spirit of contemplation and prayer, which distinguished his later life.

At the demand of Maurice O’Toole, our Saint was transferred to the custody of the Bishop of Glendalough, under whose care his health, impaired by privation and neglect, returned, and he engaged in a course of study with the greatest ardour. Some time after he became a monk of St Kevin’s Monastery, Glendalough, was ordained priest, and later, in 1153, was chosen Abbot by the monks.

On the death of Gregory, Archbishop of Dublin, 1161, St Laurence was elected to succeed him, and was consecrated by Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh, in the Church of the Holy Trinity (now Christ Church), Dublin, 1162. In 1179 he attended the Third General Council of the Lateran, and Pope Alexander III made him Delegate Apostolic of the Holy See for the Kingdom of Ireland.

Full of virtues and labouring for the peace of his beloved but afflicted country, he died at the age of 53, on the 14th November, 1180,at the Abbey our Lord, at Eu, Normandy. At the moment of his holy death the Abbey was so flooded with celestial light that it was thought to be on fire. St Laurence was canonised by Pope Honorius III, in 1225, who mentions in the Bull of Canonisation that seven dead persons were restored by his intercession.

– St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

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O GLORY OF THE POLISH RACE (HYMN)

O GLORY OF THE POLISH RACE (HYMN)

O glory of the Polish race,

O splendour of the priestly band,

Whose lore did thy Lyceum grace,

John, father of the fatherland.

 

The law of the supernal will

Thou teachest both in word and deed;

Knowledge is naught – we must fulfill

In works, not barren words, our creed!

 

On foot to Apostolic Rome

Thy pilgrim spirit joyful hied;

Oh, to our everlasting home

The path declare, our footsteps guide!

 

Again, in Sion’s holy street,

Anew thou wet’st with tearful flood

The pathway of the Saviour’s feet

Erst wet with His redeeming Blood.

 

O sweet and bitter wounds of Christ,

Deep in our hearts imprinted stay,

That the blest fruit the sacrificed

Redeemer gained, be ours for aye!

 

Then let the world obeisance due

Perform, O God, to thy high will;

And let our souls, by grace made new,

Sing to thee a new canticle!

 

From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

 
 

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ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: DECEMBER 23

John was born in the diocese of Cracow in the town of Kenty, from which he took his surname Cantius. His parents Stanislaus and Anna were holy and respectable people. From his infancy, his sweetness of disposition and innocence gave hope of the greatest virtue.

HE BECAME A PRIEST 

After becoming a priest, he increased his ardour for Christian perfection. For some years he administered the parish of Ilkusi with great efficiency. Whatever time was left from his studies he devoted partly to the salvation of his neighbour, especially preaching sermons on sacred subjects, and partly by prayer.

ON FOOT, HE MADE FOUR VISITS TO ROME

He made four visits to Rome, travelling on foot and carrying his own luggage, both to show honour to the Apostolic See and, as he used to say, to save himself from the punishments of Purgatory through the indulgences obtainable there daily.

HE ABSTAINED ENTIRELY FROM MEAT

He guarded his virginal purity most vigilantly, and for about thirty-five years before his death abstained entirely from flesh-meat. On Christmas Eve [1473], his soul took flight to heaven. Pope Clement III added him to the list of the saints, and he is honoured as one of the foremost patrons of Poland and Lithuania.

PRAYER:

Grant, we beseech you, almighty God, that by following the example of blessed John, your Confessor, we may advance in a knowledge of holiness and, by showing pity for others, obtain your forgiveness through his merits. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold titles added]

 

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ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 14

Callistus, a Roman, ruled the Church when Antoninus Heliogabulus was emperor. He instituted the four periods of the year which are known as Ember Days – days on which, in accordance with the apostolic tradition, fasting was to be observed by all. He built the basilica called St Mary across-the-Tiber and enlarged the ancient cemetery on the Appian Way, in which are buried many holy Priests and martyrs. For this reason, it is called the cemetery of Callistus. He reigned five years, one month and twelve days.

HE WAS CROWNED WITH MARTYRDOM

After a long imprisonment, during which he was starved and frequently scourged, he was thrown head-downward into a well. He was crowned with martyrdom under the Emperor Alexander and was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way, at the third mile-stone from the City, on the day before the Ides of October [222]. Afterwards his body was carried to the basilica of St Mary across-the-Tiber, and was placed under the high altar, where it is venerated with the greatest devotion.

From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

PRAYER:

God of mercy,

hear the prayers of your people

that we may be helped by Saint Callistus,

whose martyrdom we celebrate with joy.

Through our Lord…

 

 

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ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR

ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR

ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: JUNE 21

Aloysius, the son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione della Stivere, was baptised so quickly, since he was in danger of death, that he seemed to be born to heaven almost before he was born on earth.

HE MADE A VOW OF PERPETUAL VIRGINITY 

He kept this first state of grace so faithfully that it was believed that he was confirmed in it. At Florence, when he was nine years old, he made a vow of perpetual virginity before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, upon whom he always looked as a parent.

AN ANGEL IN THE FLESH

By a special grace of God, he kept this vow untried by any conflict either of mind or body, so he might be truly called a man without flesh or an angel in the flesh. Having transferred to his brother the right to his ancestral rank, he joined the Society of Jesus at Rome.

HE JOINED THE SOCIETY OF JESUS

Even in the novitiate he began to be considered a master of all virtues. His love for God was so ardent that it gradually weakened his body. Including his neighbours also in his marvellous love, while he was eagerly serving them in the public hospitals, he caught a contagious disease. So, slowly consumed by it, on the eleventh day before the Calends of July [1591], having already begun his twenty-fourth year of age, he departed to heaven. Benedict XIII entered him among the saints and commended him as a model of innocence and chastity, and at the same time as the special patron of students.

PRAYER:

O God, bestower of heavenly gifts, who in the angelic youth Aloysius joined wondrous innocence of life to an equally wondrous love of penance; grant, by his merits and prayers, that we who have not followed him in his innocence may imitate him in his penance. Through our Lord…

– From: And Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added]

 

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ST FRANCIS BORGIA, CONFESSOR

ST FRANCIS BORGIA, CONFESSOR

ST FRANCIS BORGIA, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 10

Francis,the fourth Duke of Gandia, first shone as an example of upright life at the court of the Emperor Charles V. When he escorted the body of the Empress Isabella to Granada for burial, seeing in her countenance, so horribly changed by corruption, the fate of all mortals, he bound himself by a vow to abandon all things and to serve only the King of kings.

HE VOWED TO SERVE ONLY THE KING OF KINGS

Therefore, after the death of his wife, Eleanor of Castile, he entered the Society of Jesus. He was chosen by St Ignatius as Commissary-General for Spain, and a little later, though against his will, he was selected as the third Prepositor General of the whole Society. Pope Pius V appointed him an associate of Cardinal Allessandrino in an embassy to unite Christian princes against the Turks. Francis undertook this arduous journey and, nevertheless, happily completed his life’s course at Rome, as he would have wished, in the year of salvation 1572. He was added to the number of the saints by Clement X.

PRAYER:

O Lord Jesus Christ, model of true humility and its reward, we beseech you, that as you made blessed Francis one of your glorious imitators by his contempt for earthly honours, grant us to follow his example and to share in his glory. Who live…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST JOHN LEONARD, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN LEONARD, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN LEONARD, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 9

John Leonard was born not far from the city of Lucca, and from very early boyhood appeared mature and serious. At the age of twenty-six, God called him to enlist among the soldiers of the Church. At first he had to study elementary Latin with little boys, but in a short time he advanced to such an extent in the knowledge of literature, philosophy and theology that scarcely four years had passed when, under obedience, he was elevated to the priesthood.

THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

He founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, whose care and zeal effected a great reform in the city-state of Lucca. Thereupon, he encountered most bitter insults from wicked men but, bearing all things cheerfully and with resignation, he obtained the confirmation of his congregation from Gregory XIII.

MISSIONARY PRIESTS

Greatly saddened that so many people in distant places were without the light of the Gospel, he took counsel with the most holy Bishop Vives and founded a society of priests who would take upon themselves the task of training qualified young men to be sent to distant lands for the propagation of the faith. Never relaxing in his sacred ministry, in sack-cloth and ashes, he passed to the Lord at Rome on the ninth day of October in the year 1609. Pius XI enrolled him among the saints.

PRAYER:

O God, who in a wondrous way graciously urged blessed John, your Confessor, to propagate your faith among the pagans, and through him brought together a new religious family in your Church for the education of the faithful, grant your servants so to profit by his teaching that we may reach everlasting rewards. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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