Saints

Saint Giulia Salzano

GiuliaSaint Giulia was noted for her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary and founded a congregation of nuns called the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to teach children about the faith and spread the love of the gospel.

Canonized by John Paul II as a saint of the "new evangelization," she reminded her sisters they must always be ready to defend the faith and teach its truths, especially to young children. She hoped this mission would be hers until her dying day.

 

 


St. Brendan the Navigator

Holy Cross Church doesn't have a window dedicated to St. Brendan, but he is pictured in one of our windows. He is shown as one of the saintly students of St. Ita, who does have a dedicated window. St. Brendan was inspired to set out into unknown waters to preach the gospel in far off lands. 

The statues in Ireland depicting him emphasize his courage and his great zeal. 

St Brendan Vikings
St Brendan Vikings

 


Sts. Philip and James

Philip and james

Though each was an apostle of the Lord, each was very different. James, observant Jew not insistent on imposing Jewish law on Gentile converts, was the first bishop of Jerusalem and conferred with St. Paul on the mission of the early church. Philip recruited Nathaniel and was rebuked by Jesus in this morning's gospel for failing to understand that Jesus and the Father are One.

The diversity of the Universal Catholic Church was established from the beginning and should be seen as a strength not a weakness. Let us pray for a spirit of mutual respect as we each follow the Lord.

 


St. Athanasius

Athanasius

Our Catholic concept of God, Trinity and the Union of Divine and Human Natures in Christ owes much to the preaching, teaching and courageous persistence of St. Athanasius. For hundreds of years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the church wrestled with how the human nature of Jesus interacted with his identity as the Son of God. An early and persistent heresy in the church held that Jesus, though most perfectly human was created by God the Father and hence not equal to God the Father in His Divinity.

St. Athanasius, despite being exiled five different times for his belief, preached that Jesus was truly Divine and truly human and developed theological language to help us understand this mystery, or at least teach it clearly.

It is because Jesus was truly human and truly Divine that our redemption by his death and resurrection are assured, not merely a fine point in theological debate!

Thanks be to St. Athanasius for his courage and preaching.


St Mark, Evangelist

https://theurgetowander.com
St. Mark's Square With Leonine Column in Venice

 

MarkLion
A close-up of the lion atop the column. From theurgetowander.com

The lion has been the iconographic symbol for St. Mark from the early days of the church. The lion is the symbol of the city of Venice, Italy, which has claimed St. Mark as their patron. The courage of a roaring lion is sometimes required to witness the gospel in inimical times and places.

 


Bread is the Staff of Life

Shutterstock_237888646
My father used to say this all the time, but he didn't have the spongy, tasteless Wonderbread in mind. I wasn't really sure how exactly food was a staff, but we had bread available for most dinners, especially when company visited. The discovery of harvesting grain, removing the chaff, grinding the flour and baking the dough for nourishment gave us one of the most important foodstuffs for the human family. The bad nutritional rap modern, chemically adulterated, bleached and fiber-free bread has given this staple food should not be what we think about when we hear Jesus reassure us that He is the Bread of Life. 

Jesus' Body and Blood in the Eucharist is the basic food for human spiritual thriving and He has promised us that whoever eats this Bread will live forever. 

 


Saint Stephen and Saint Paul

In this morning's reading from Acts chapters 7 and 8, we have the ironic and hard to comprehend scene of St. Stephen being stoned to death while Saul (St. Paul) supervises. Most artistic representations of the scene avoid clearly depicting Saul at the martrydom, but this icon from The Holy Order of St. Stephen does not shirk from depicting it.

With this jarring scene bouncing around in our heads, it is well to remember that God's plan for the Church is sometimes unclear to us, but always leads to salvation. We can also take solace in the forgiveness extended to us for any wrongdoing, even a notorious one.

I'm not aware of any churches named jointly for Sts. Stephen and Paul, but it would be a spiritually challenging idea.

https://en.holyorderofststephen.org/


Solemnity of the Annunciation

Annunication
It's always interesting when the liturgical cycle and the temporal cycle collide and give us pause to reflect on Salvation History, God's plan for the world. Though we celebrate the timeless truth of the Logos, we also avow that Jesus became the Christ in time. The Annunciation to the Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God and her acceptance of the role, her "fiat," is placed nine months before the liturgically celebrated date of Jesus' birth on December 25th. Yet, since the date of Easter is not fixed and varies according to the lunar/solar calendar, this year the feast is celebrated at the conclusion of the Octave of Easter.

Confusing perhaps, but a reminder that we all have one foot in time and one in eternity thanks to the Paschal Mystery of Christ in which we participate by our baptisms.

Alleluia!


It's Easier To Speak Out Against God Than Against The Government



Trio

Three Blesseds are on the Roman Calendar this morning. Cardinal Bishop Clemens von Galen, Blessed Marian Gorecki and Blessed Bronislaw Komorowski. Fathers Gorecki and Komorowski are numbered among the 108 Catholic martyrs of WWII so recognized by John Paul II ( The group comprises 3 bishops, 52 priests, 26 members of male religious, 3 seminarians, 8 female religious, and 9 lay people ).

They spoke out against the evils of Nazism, prior to and just after the invasion of Poland by the Germans in WWII. Gorecki and Komoroski were arrested and imprisoned the day of the invasion and died in concentration camps. Well before the Nazis began the genocidal "final solution," Bishop von Galen went on to preach several powerful sermons against the Nazis, condemning especially their euthanasia program for invalids and those who suffered from mental illness. He spent the war  under virtual house arrest.

Speaking our against God seemingly few consequences in this life, but dare we speak out against the prevailing tide of popular opinion? Blasphemy against God is tolerated, even encouraged in our culture; speaking up in God's favor brings censure and condemnation.

 


Join Us For the Rumson St. Patrick's Day Parade Today at 1 PM

Whether you cheer along the line of march, or join with the contingent of our own parishioners who will be carrying the Irish Saints Banners from our windows, come enjoy the sunshine and the joy!

Blessed St. Patrick

We your spiritual sons and daughters

Remember the courage

With which you proclaimed

The Catholic faith throughout Ireland.

We ask you to inspire us

With the same courage

To witness our faith

To our own land.

You made the shamrock

A sign of the most wondrous

Mystery, The Holy Trinity.

Through your intercession

May this Trinity

Protect all who march

Under its banner

And give glory and honor

To God’s name

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


St. Claude de la Colombiere

ClaudeA Jesuit priest who became confessor to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and was the first to believe the authenticity of her visions and revelations. St. Claude and St. Margaret Mary promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart during a time in the French Church when Jansenism (a particularly severe and gloomy spirituality) was afoot. 

The mercy of a loving Jesus was a refreshing and necessary counterpoint to this viewpoint.

He was later transferred to England and became the confessor to the Duchess of York but was falsely ensnared in the "Popish Plot" during the Titus Oates controversy, was imprisoned and nearly lost his life but for the intercession of King Louis XIV.

His health suffered greatly during his cruel imprisonment and he never fully recovered after his return to France.

His bones are preserved in the chapel outside which this statue stands. He points to an image of the Sacred Heart inscribed with the words, "He loved but was loved not." This highlights an aspect of devotion to the Sacred Heart which is to make reparation for the insults and slights to Jesus' love for us.


Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

RichardSalbato
Religious, visionary, stigmatist - on the path for sainthood after a temporary suspension due to conclusions that some of her writings dictated and translated were embellished by the translator many years after her death. Her cause for sainthood is proceeding on the merits of her life, since her writings will not be considered as proof of sanctity at St. Pope John Paul II's instructions. Her writings came to light in modern times partly due to the influence they had on Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ. 

The official church position on the authoritative nature of private revelations has always been reserved and skeptical and doesn't promulgate private revelations dogmatically.

Receiving the stigmata is a relatively uncommon phenomenon and seems to occur in some who have a great devotion to the passion of Christ. St. Francis of Assisi and in modern times, St. "Padre" Pio also received the wounds of Christ in their bodies. 

Such saints remind us that sanctity isn't always so simple and that there are more things in heaven and on earth than we understand.

 

 


Candlemas Day or Punxsatawney Phil ?

As I researched the history and meaning of Candlemas Day and its interrelationship with the Presentation of the Lord and/or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, especially with regard to secular observances of the occasion, I was struck by one particular comment: "In the United States, the celebration of the Candlemas Day has largely been supplanted by Groundhog Day." Sad commentary? 

Presentation

Punxsutawney-phil


Saint Brigid - A Holy Cross Window Saint

Saint_Brigid_by_Patrick_Joseph_TuohyBrigid is part of the Irish Trinity of saints along with Patrick and Columcille. As with many of the ancient Irish saints, her life story is probably part legend, part history.

Baptized by St. Patrick and witness to his preaching, Brigid dedicated her life to Christ and eventually founded the first dual monastery in Ireland with an enclosure for men and an enclosure for women. 

Many miracles and healings are attributed to her intercession. She is another example of the leadership role woman played in the Irish Church.