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May 2019

St. Brendan the Navigator

St. Brendan appears as a young boy in our church's windows of St. Ita, who was one of his most influential teachers. He was friends with two other Holy Cross Window Saints, St. Bridget and St. Columba. His efforts to spread the gospel were not limited to monastic settlements nearby, but extended to foundations planted during his missionary expeditions. 

According to one Irish legend, he celebrated mass on a remote island which, unbeknownst to him, was the back of a large sea creature.

 May our admiration of his courage inspire us to be unashamed of our Christian discipleship.

Engraving at Australian Maritime Museum of St. Brendan celebrating Mass on the back of whale.

St. Isidore the Farmer


St. Isidore the Farmer was reputed to have been helped by an angel in working his fields while he took time to worship at Mass. Whatever time we give to God is repaid in God's generosity. Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament report that they seem to have more time for the accomplishment of daily tasks more effectively when they take time out of busy schedules to pray. (Even St. Isidore had bunnies eating his crops!)


Terrorists Attack And Burn Catholic Church Killing 6 Worshipers and Priest

Smoke billows from burning Catholic Church


Father Simeon Yampa, Martyred Priest

The attack took place in the small town of Dablo, about 200 kilometres north of the capital, Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso, Africa.

The faithful were leaving church after the 9 AM Mass, when about 20 suspected jihadists on motorcycles encircled the church.

From reports by eyewitnesses, it appears that their target was the 34-year old Burkinabe priest, Father Simeon Yampa, in charge of interreligious dialogue in his diocese. When he tried to escape, the terrorists chased and killed him.

Returning to the church, they forced the faithful to lie on the ground, picked out five of them and shot them.

Dablo mayor, Ousmane Zongo, told Reuters the attackers then burned the church, looted a pharmacy and some other stores, and left.

No one has claimed responsibility but the attacks bore the hallmarks of Islamic extremists who are known to be active in the area.

“The Holy Father has learned with sorrow about the news of the attack on the church in Dablo, Burkina Faso. He prays for the victims, for their families and for the entire Christian community in the country," said a spokesperson for the Vatican. 

The Liturgical Word

The-WordWhen the children are at morning mass, I am aware that the prayers in the Roman missal have vocabulary they may not understand. When there is time, I try to explain some of the words.  The Post communion prayer today had the word "imbue" (or variant "embue"). The Roman Missal uses it frequently as "imbued with your Spirit" or "imbued with your grace."

Some synonyms for imbue are: permeate, saturate, diffuse, suffuse, pervade.


The Inspiration of the Holy Spirit Can Be Spontaneous

Today's first reading reminds us that some of the promptings of the Spirit can be spontaneous and lead to immediate action. While we might be accustomed to carefully discerning the Will of God in our lives and looking for subtle clues the Holy Spirit can also provide sudden impulses like those given to the Ethiopian eunuch to be baptized. 

Amen to the spontaneous, life-giving impulses which come to us like surprise parties!

Rembrandt's Philip Baptizing the Eunuch

A Beatification From Bayonne

SisterSister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a native of Bayonne, New Jersey was declared a blessed by Pope Francis. The official ceremony was held in the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark on October 4, 2014 and  was the first beatification to take place on American soil. Sister Miriam served in the community of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, New Jersey. After entering religious life at the age of 24, she died only two years later. Her life of prayer and dedication to God inspired many prayers for her intercession after her death. The many favors supplicants received apparently hastened her cause for beatification. The church verified miracle for her beatification was the healing of a young boy's blindness from macular degeneration.


Holy Orders


As we hear about St. Stephen's ministry in the morning readings at mass, it's a good opportunity to think about the three holy orders of ordained ministry in the Catholic Church.

The vocations of bishop, priest and deacon have been passed down through the centuries and just as their missions are distinctive, so is their liturgical garb.

The symbol of diaconal office is the stole worn over one shoulder, the priest's office by a stole worn suspended from the neck and the bishop's by the miter and crozier. The vesture for mass is a dalmatic for the deacon and chasuble for the priest and bishop.


Sts. Philip and James

Each of these saints is mentioned in readings for today's mass. Since St. James is often depicted holding a club as the instrument of his martyrdom, his patronage has been invoked by fullers and pharmacists, both groups which use club-like instruments in their profession: fullers to flatten wool and cloth and pharmacists to grind and compound medications. 

StJamesSaint James on the main facade of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

(Does it look a little like a golf club to anyone?)

PharmHealing herbs and emollients from a pharmacist.

St. Athanasius

I liked this battered icon of St. Athanasius and though I fixed up the cracks and dents in its halo, I left the poor saint battered as I imagine he would have been from his multiple exiles for teaching the truth about the Son of God. May St. Athanasius give us courage to embrace the true faith.