Mass Attendance
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St. Catherine of Alexandria

StCatherinePainting Today is the optional memorial of the virgin, martyr Catherine of Alexandria, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers invoked for protection and healing during the black plague.  

Her life and heroic martyrdom was extolled for centuries in the early church, but the historicity of her birth and death came under scrutiny during the post-Vatican II revision of the Roman calendar and her feastday was removed from the universal church calendar in 1969, along with Sts. Christopher and Barbara and others.

During his historic trip to the Holy Land in 2000 it was John Paul II's fervent prayer to advance the reunification of the Western Latin Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Accordingly, he visited the Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai, the place where it is said the burning bush appeared to Moses and the location of St. Catherine's tomb.



The pope prayed and delivered a homily there,   and the Orthodox Archbishop Damianos greeted him and presented him with gifts, but refused to pray with the pope, calling him only the "president" of the Roman Catholic Church. The primacy of the Pope as Bishop of Rome is one of the issues dividing both churches. John Paul had originally wished to pray with representatives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Orthodox leaders on Sinai, but signs of division were still too strong for such a gesture.

Pope John Paul II took the relatively unusual step of inserting several saints back into the Roman calendar in 2002, among them St. Catherine of Alexandria - a hope of Christian unity.