St. Robert Bellarmine – 17 Sept

St. Robert Bellarmine was born in Italy in 1542. As a boy, he was not interested in playing games. He liked to spend his time repeating to his younger brothers and sisters the sermons he had heard. He also liked to explain the lessons of the catechism to the little farm children of the neighborhood. Once he had made his first Holy Communion, he used to receive Jesus every Sunday.

It was his great desire to become a Jesuit priest, but his father had different plans for him. Robert’s father hoped to make a famous gentleman out of his son. For this reason, he wanted him to study many subjects and music and art, too. For a whole year, Robert worked to persuade his father. At last, when he was eighteen, he was permitted to join the Jesuits. As a young Jesuit, he did very well in his studies. He was sent to preach even before he became a priest. When one good woman first saw such a young man, not even a priest yet, going up into the pulpit to preach, she knelt down to pray. She asked the Lord to help him not to become frightened and stop in the middle. When he finished his sermon, she stayed kneeling. This time, however, she was thanking God for the magnificent sermon.

St. Robert Bellarmine became a famous writer, preacher, and teacher. He wrote thirty-one important books. He spent three hours every day in prayer. He had a deep knowledge of sacred matters. Yet even when he had become a cardinal, he considered the catechism so important that he himself taught it to his household and to the people.

Cardinal Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. He was proclaimed a saint in 1930 by Pope Pius XI. In 1931, Pius XI declared St. Robert Bellarmine a Doctor of the Church.

We can ask St. Robert to help us realize how important our religious instruction classes are. We should make an effort to be on time for classes, to pay attention and complete our assignments, and to take the study of our faith seriously.

Return to St. Mary’s College Oscott. Yr 5.

Today starts my return to Oscott college, as I continue towards the priesthood for the Lancaster diocese. I am now starting year 5 so not long to go. Please keep me and my fellow seminarians in your prayers.

Keys dates to remember me:

Sunday 13th September 2020: Receiving Candidacy

Sunday 27th June 2021: Ordination to Diaconate

July 2022: Ordination to the Priesthood.

St. Aidan of Lindisfarne – 31 August

St. Aidan was a seventh-century Irish monk. He lived at the great monastery of Iona, which St. Columban had founded. St. Oswald became king of North England in 634. He asked for missionaries to preach to his pagan people. The first missionary to go soon came back complaining that the English were rude, stubborn, and wild. The monks got together to talk about the situation. “It seems to me,” St. Aidan said to the returned monk, “that you have been too harsh with those people.” He then explained that, as St. Paul says, easy teachings are to be given first. Then when the people have grown stronger on the Word of God, they can start to do the more perfect things of God’s holy law.

When the monks heard such wise words, they turned to Aidan. “You should be the one to go to North England to preach the Gospel,” they said. Aidan went willingly. He took on his new assignment with humility and a spirit of prayer. He began by preaching. King Oswald himself translated Aidan’s sermons into English until the saint learned the language better. St. Aidan traveled all over, always on foot. He preached and helped the people. He was kind to the poor and preferred a simple lifestyle. He did much good and was greatly loved by the people. After thirty years of St. Aidan’s ministry, any monk or priest who came into the village was greeted with great joy by all the villagers.

On the island of Lindisfarne, St. Aidan built a large monastery. So many saints were to come from there that Lindisfarne became known as the Holy Island. Little by little, the influence of these zealous missionaries changed North England into a civilized, Christian land. St. Aidan died in 651.

We can learn from St. Aidan’s life that the witness of a joyful, kind person truly touches others. When we need help seeing the good in people, we can pray to St. Aidan.