Reflection on Saints Days & Holy Days Obligation

St. Bridget of Sweden – 23rd July

From the prayers attributed to Saint Bridget : A prayer to Christ our saviour

Blessed are you, my Lord Jesus Christ. You foretold your death and at the Last Supper you marvellously consecrated bread which became your precious body. And then you gave it to your apostles out of love as a memorial of your most holy passion. By washing their feet with your holy hands, you gave them a supreme example of your deep humility.

Honour be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ. Fearing your passion and death, you poured forth blood from your innocent body like sweat, and still you accomplished our redemption as you desired and gave us the clearest proof of your love for all men.

Blessed may you be, my Lord Jesus Christ. After you had been led to Caiaphas, you, the judge of all men, humbly allowed yourself to be handed over to the judgement of Pilate.

Glory be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ, for the mockery you endured when you stood clothed in purple and wearing a crown of sharp thorns. With utmost endurance you allowed vicious men to spit upon your glorious face, blindfold you and beat your cheek and neck with cruellest blows.

Praise be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ. For with the greatest patience you allowed yourself like an innocent lamb to be bound to a pillar and mercilessly scourged, and then to be brought, covered with blood, before the judgement seat of Pilate to be gazed upon by all.

Honour be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ. For after your glorious body was covered with blood, you were condemned to death on the cross, you endured the pain of carrying the cross on your sacred shoulders, and you were led with curses to the place where you were to suffer. Then stripped of your garments, you allowed yourself to be nailed to the wood of the cross.

Everlasting honour be to you, Lord Jesus Christ. You allowed your most holy mother to suffer so much, even though she had never sinned nor ever even consented to the smallest sin. Humbly you looked down upon her with your gentle loving eyes, and to comfort her you entrusted her to the faithful care of your disciple.

Eternal blessing be yours, my Lord Jesus Christ, because in your last agony you held out to all sinners the hope of pardon, when in your mercy you promised the glory of paradise to the penitent thief.

Eternal praise be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ, for the time you endured on the cross the greatest torments and sufferings for us sinners. The sharp pain of your wounds fiercely penetrated even to your blessed soul and cruelly pierced your most sacred heart till finally you sent forth your spirit in peace, bowed your head, and humbly commended yourself into the hands of God your Father, and your whole body remained cold in death.

Blessed may you be, my Lord Jesus Christ. You redeemed our souls with your precious blood and most holy death, and in your mercy you led them from exile back to eternal life.

Blessed may you be, my Lord Jesus Christ. For our salvation you allowed your side and heart to be pierced with a lance; and from that side water and your precious blood flowed out abundantly for our redemption.

Glory be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ. You allowed your blessed body to be taken down from the cross by your friends and laid in the arms of your most sorrowing mother, and you let her wrap your body in a shroud and bury it in a tomb to be guarded by soldiers.

Unending honour be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ. On the third day you rose from the dead and appeared to those you had chosen. And after forty days you ascended into heaven before the eyes of many witnesses, and there in heaven you gathered together in glory those you love, whom you had freed from hell.

Rejoicing and eternal praise be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ, who sent the Holy Spirit into the hearts of your disciples and increased the boundless love of God in their spirits.

Blessed are you and praiseworthy and glorious for ever, my Lord Jesus. You sit upon your throne in your kingdom of heaven, in the glory of your divinity, living in the most holy body you took from a virgin’s flesh. So will you appear on that last day to judge the souls of all the living and the dead; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Thomas, Apostle – 3rd July

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Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. In the Syriac language his name means “twin.” Once when Jesus was going to face the danger of being killed, the other apostles tried to keep the Master back. St. Thomas said to them, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (Jn 11:16).

When Jesus was captured by his enemies, Thomas lost his courage. He ran away with the other apostles. His heart was broken with sorrow at the death of his beloved Lord. Then on Easter Sunday, Jesus appeared to his apostles after he had risen from the dead. He showed them the wounds in his hands and side. Thomas was not with them at the time. As soon as he arrived, the other apostles told him joyfully, “We have seen the Lord.” They thought Thomas would be happy. Instead, he did not believe their message. He hadn’t seen Jesus as they had.

“Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails,” he said, “and put my finger into the nailmarks, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Eight days later, Jesus appeared to his apostles again. This time, Thomas was there, too. Christ called him and told him to touch his hands and the wound in his side. Thomas fell down at the Master’s feet and cried out, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.” You will find this story in the Gospel of John, chapter 20, verses 24–29.

After Pentecost, Thomas was strong and firm in his belief and trust in Jesus. It is said that he went to India to preach the Gospel. He died a martyr there, after proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to many people.

We often hear of St. Thomas referred to as the “doubter.” But the moment he saw the Risen Christ he made an unwavering act of faith. When the priest lifts the sacred Host at Mass, we too can pray the words of St. Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”

St. Thomas pray for us.

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist – 24 June

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John’s parents were Zachary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was an elderly cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zachary and told him that Elizabeth would have a son, whom he should name John. Zachary doubted the angel, because he and his wife were too old to have children. To show God’s power, the angel told Zachary that he would not be able to speak until everything had happened as the Lord had promised.

Later, Gabriel visited Mary and told her that she would become the mother of the Savior. Gabriel also told Mary that Elizabeth was soon to be a mother. Mary went to visit and help her cousin. Then Elizabeth had her baby. Zachary named him John, as the angel had requested. At that moment, Zachary was able to speak again, and he began praising God.

When the neighbors of Zachary and Elizabeth witnessed this, they began to ask each other, “What will this child become?” They knew that God was calling him to something great. John did have a special calling. He was going to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus.

As a young man, John went into the desert to prepare himself for his mission with silence, prayer and penance. Soon crowds started to come to him. They realized he was a holy man. John warned the people to be sorry for their sins. He told them to change their lives, and he gave them the baptism of repentance. That is why he is called John the Baptist. One day, Jesus himself came to John. He wanted to be baptized with John’s baptism to begin making up for our sins. On that day, John told the crowds that Jesus was the Messiah, the one they had been waiting for. He told them and everyone else to follow Jesus. John said, “Jesus must become more and more important and I must become less and less important.” He said that he was not even worthy to loosen the strap of Jesus’ sandal.

St. John the Baptist was a great prophet. He pointed Jesus out and prepared people to follow Jesus. Let’s listen to St. John’s advice and allow Jesus to become more and more important in our lives.

St. John the Baptist pray for us.

St. John Fisher & St. Thomas More – 22 June

St More and Fisher

St. John Fisher

John Fisher was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1469. He was educated at Cambridge University and became a priest. Father John taught at Cambridge, too. He was a wonderful teacher and helped the students grow in their knowledge of the Catholic faith. But there was a lot of confusion about religion in those days. Father John helped people to know the truth about God and the Catholic Church.

In 1504, he became the bishop of Rochester, England. It was a poor diocese. Bishop John was to remain its shepherd for thirty years. Besides being the bishop of Rochester, he was the head of Cambridge University. Bishop John also heard the confessions of King Henry VIII’s mother.

Bishop John had many friends, including the famous scholar, Erasmus, and the great Sir Thomas More. Bishop John and Thomas More would have never guessed that one day they would be sharing a feast day on the calendar of saints!

King Henry VIII became angry with Bishop John for insisting that his marriage to Queen Catherine was true. Then Henry VIII divorced Catherine and married Anne Boleyn in a civil ceremony. The king demanded that people sign an oath of loyalty to him. He made himself head of the Church in England. Bishop John would not sign the oath. He was arrested in 1534 and sent to the Tower of London. The tower was damp and the treatment was harsh. Bishop John suffered very much, but he would not betray his faith. Even though there were no televisions and radios back then, people found out about what Bishop John, Sir Thomas More and others like them were going through. They were shocked and saddened. On 12th June 1535, Pope Paul III named Bishop John a cardinal. He hoped this would make King Henry set him free. But the king only became more angry and mean. After ten months in prison, Cardinal John was beheaded on 22nd June 1535.

Along with his friend, Sir Thomas More, Cardinal John Fisher was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935.
Sometimes it’s much easier to go along with the crowd rather than stand up for the truth. But the story of St. John shows that God will always give us the strength we need to do the right thing.

St. John Fisher pray for us.

St. Thomas More

Sir Thomas More was a famous lawyer and writer. He was born in London in 1478. His father had been a lawyer, too, and a judge. Thomas was always grateful to his father for being so loving and for not spoiling him.

Thomas’ first wife, Jane Colt, died when she was very young. Thomas was left with four small children. He got married again to a widow named Alice Middleton. She was a good but simple woman who could not even read or write, even though Thomas tried to teach her. Thomas made home life enjoyable for his family because he was so pleasant to be with. During meals, one of the children would read from the Bible. Then they would have fun and tell jokes. Thomas often invited poorer neighbours to come to dinner, too. He always helped the poor as much as he could. He loved to delight his guests with surprises. He even kept some playful monkeys as pets. But few people could have imagined how deeply religious Thomas really was. He prayed long hours into the night and performed penances, too. He was very much aware that he needed the grace and help of God to live as a true Christian.

Thomas held important government positions in England. For three years he was Lord Chancellor, another name for prime minister. King Henry VIII used to put his arm around Thomas’ shoulder because they were such good friends. Although Thomas was most loyal to the king, he was loyal to God first of all. In fact, when the king tried to make him disobey God’s law, Thomas refused. King Henry wanted to divorce his wife and marry another woman. However, the pope could not give permission, since that is against God’s law. Henry was stubborn and at last he left the Church. He wanted everyone to recognize him as the head of the Church in England. Thomas could not do that. He chose to remain faithful to the Catholic faith and to God. He was condemned to death for that, yet he forgave his judges. Thomas even said that he hoped he would see them in heaven. He really meant it, too.

At the scaffold, where he was to die, Thomas declared himself “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” He kissed his executioner on the cheek. Then he joked, saying that his beard should not be cut off because it had not done anything wrong. Sir Thomas More was martyred on Tuesday, 6th July 1535, at the age of 57. Sir Thomas More was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935, together with his friend, Bishop John Fisher. He is the patron saint of lawyers.

St. Thomas risked losing everything: his fortune, his position, his own security and even the safety of his family. But he held fast to his Catholic faith, even to the point of sacrificing his life. Like his friend St. John, Thomas was able to remain strong because he prayed and trusted in God. Let’s try to be like him.

St. Thomas More pray for us.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – Solemnity 8th June

Sacred heart of jesus

The Sacred Heart is the centre and wellspring of Jesus’ passionate and infinite love for us.
It represents Jesus’ woundedness, both the physical wound incurred to his physical heart on the cross – by the centurion’s spear, and the spiritual wound of a love so great that He gave up His life, even while this love is scorned by those for whom it was so generously given.

Sacred heart

Prayer: O most holy heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with lively sorrow for my sins I offer you his poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will. Grant, Good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you. Protect me in the midst of danger. Comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen

Reflection for the Most Holy Trinity Sunday.

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We would never have known that God is a family of three persons had it not been told by Jesus. He revealed his startling nature to us for the first time after his baptism. As he came out of the waters of the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove, the heavens opened and a voice said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Mk 1:11) Throughout his life on earth Christ was forever talking about God as his Father and his mission was to do the will of his Father. He referred to himself as God’s only son, and we learn that the Spirit’s job was to carry on and continue in the church the work he had begun.

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Today’s feast of the most Holy Trinity celebrates the mystery of three persons in the one God, all bonded together by love. In the Trinity our minds are brought into loving contact with the complexity and wonder of God, which no language is adequate to describe. His greatness and goodness exceed the boundary of all thought and are beyond our human attempts to comprehend. We should never look on the Trinity as a problem to be solved, Christ has given us this special insight into the inner nature of God to make us aware of the life we share at out baptism, when the Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts, making us adopted children of the Father.

On this feast we pray the simplest of Christian prayers:

‘Glory be to the Father
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning
is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.’

St. Philip Neri – 26 May

st philip Neri

St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was “Good little Phil.” He was always so cheerful and friendly that everyone he met loved him. Philip went to Rome as a teenager. He studied theology and philosophy for three years and was a good student. Above all, Philip was a very active Christian. He lived simply and worked hard. But he also did much good for the people around him. He helped poor children. He donated his time to the sick. He was a friend to people who were troubled and lonely. In fact, he reached out to everybody he could for the love of Jesus.

Philip helped start an organisation of lay people to take care of needy pilgrims. That ministry gradually continued as a famous hospital in Rome. The priest who guided him realised that Philip was doing so much to help the Christians of Rome become fervent again. But it was obvious that Philip had the call to be a priest. He was ordained in 1551, at the age of 36, and quickly became sought after as a confessor. He was available for the sacrament of Reconciliation for several hours every day. The lines of people who came to him grew longer. But Father Philip was never in a hurry. He never ran out of patience and gentleness.

People began to notice that he could read their minds at times. He could also in some circumstances predict the future. The Lord even worked miracles through him. But all Philip wanted to do was bring Jesus to the people. To avoid their admiration, he acted silly once in a while. He wanted people to laugh and forget that they thought he was holy.

Philip was making a difference in Rome. He founded a society of priests called the Oratorians, and the whole city was renewing its faith and devotion. Once he started to think about being a missionary to far–off lands. He was very impressed by the life of St. Francis Xavier, who had died in 1552 at the gate of China. Philip had been a priest for just one year at the time of St. Xavier’s death. Should he leave Rome and volunteer for the missions? A holy Cistercian monk told him, “Rome is to be your mission land.” In fact, Father Philip had become known as “the apostle of Rome.”

Philip spent the last five years of his life offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation to the people. He died at the age of 80 in 1595. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

Cheerfulness is an important part of holiness. St. Philip Neri’s story teaches us that the way to be really happy is to put God and other people first in our lives. If we only think about ourselves we’ll never feel satisfied.

St. Philip Neri pray for us.

St. Bede the Venerable – 25 May

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This saint was famous as a priest, a monk, a teacher and a writer of history. He was born in England around 672. His parents sent Bede to school at the nearby Benedictine monastery. He loved the life of the monks so much that when he grew up he too became a monk. He remained in that same monastery for the rest of his life.

Bede loved the Holy Bible very much. He tells us that it was a joy for him to study the Bible. He loved to teach it and write about it. When he grew older, sickness forced him to stay in bed. His pupils came to study by his bedside. He kept on teaching them and working on his translation of St. John’s Gospel into English. Many people could not read Latin. He wanted them to be able to read the words of Jesus in their own language.

As he grew sicker, Bede realised that he was about to go back to God. He kept on working even when he was seriously ill. At last, the boy who was doing the writing for him said, “There is still one sentence, dear Father, which is not written down.” “Write it quickly,” answered the saint. When the boy said, “It is finished,” the saint said, “Good! You are right—it is finished. Now please hold my head up. I want to sit facing the place where I used to pray. I want to call on my heavenly Father.”

Bede died shortly after, on May 25, 735. He is thought to be the most learned man of his time. His most famous book, Church History of the English People, is the only source for much of early English history. People call Bede by the respectful title of “venerable.” He is also a Doctor of the Church.

If St. Bede were alive today, how much time do you think he would spend watching TV? What adjustments can we make to allow time for important things like study, spending time with friends, reading and prayer?

St. Bede pray for us.

Mary Mother of the Church – 21 May

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Universalis wrote for today’s memorial: http://universalis.com

“The Blessed Virgin Mary has been given the title of ‘Mother of the Church’ since she gave birth to Christ, the Head of the Church, and she became the Mother of the redeemed people before her Son had given up the spirit on the Cross.

Blessed Pope Paul VI solemnly confirmed the title in an address to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council on 21 November 1964 and decreed that the whole Christian people should, by the use of this beautiful title, give still greater honour to the Mother of God.
‘The joyous veneration given to the Mother of God by the contemporary Church, in light of reflection on the mystery of Christ and on his nature, cannot ignore the figure of a woman (cf. Gal 4:4), the Virgin Mary, who is both the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. In some ways this was already present in the mind of the Church from the premonitory words of Saint Augustine and Saint Leo the Great.

In fact the former says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church’ (Decree of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship).”

Pentecost – 20 May

pentecost

It has been a weekend of party’s, yesterday was the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Spirit sealing them together in Holy Matrimony.

Today, Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in Jerusalem, and the Church was formed.

We receive the Holy Spirit throughout our lives, especially at our Baptism, when we are received into the Church, and again in our Confirmation receiving the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. (Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.)

We need to thank God for these wonderful free gifts that He has given to us. We need to pray and Bless His Holy Name, in thanksgiving and honour.
“Bless the Lord my soul, and bless God’s holy name.
Bless the Lord my soul, who leads me in to life.”
Verse from Taize hymn. Ps 103 (104)
(See YouTube clip of Taize chant)

God loves us so much, that He sent down his only son, Our Lord Jesus Christ to be sacrificed for all mankind on a cross, to wipe away the sins of the world. In order to conquer death, and give us life everlasting with Him in Heaven.

This is God’s steadfast love (in Hebrew – hesed). God’s loving kindness.

Jesus is now ascended into Heaven and is seated at God’s right hand, preparing a place for us, with him.

He sent down the Holy Spirit on His Holy Church at Pentecost, making it flourish and fruitful in faith, love and charity. To make us a Christian community fitting to be called the ‘Body of Christ’.

Remain in the Holy Spirit, remain in God’s love.
Praise and Bless the Holy Trinity, One God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Today is our birthday party, let us celebrate, with shouts of joy and singing God’s praises.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O God, who by the light of the Holy
Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant us in
the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever rejoice in
His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen
(Veni, Sancte Spiritus)

Pope St. John I – Martyr – 18 May

Pope St John I

St. John I was a priest of Rome. He became pope after the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. At that time, Italy’s ruler was Theodoric the Goth, an Arian. (The Arians did not believe that Jesus is God.)

In 523 Emperor Justin of Constantinople decreed that the Arians had to give back to the Catholics the church buildings they had taken. This made Theodoric angry. He forced Pope John to go with a delegation of five bishops and four senators to speak to the emperor. The emperor and all the people of Constantinople went out to meet the pope with a joyful welcome. Justin listened to Pope John, and decided to change his harsh policy.

But Theodoric was not satisfied. He imagined there was a conspiracy against him. He thought that Pope John and Justin I were against him. When the pope was returning to Rome he was kidnapped in Ravenna, Theodoric’s capital. Pope John was thrown into prison by Theodoric’s soldiers. There the pope died of thirst and starvation in 526.

When we’re tempted to have mean thoughts about others, we can pray to St. John I. He’ll help us avoid Theodoric’s terrible mistake of acting upon our angry or jealous thoughts.

St. John I pray for us.

St Matthias – 14 May

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St. Matthias was one of the Lord’s seventy-two disciples. He had been a follower of Jesus before the crucifixion. While waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit, 120 of Jesus’ followers gathered to pray. St. Peter asked them to choose an apostle to replace Judas. This was very important because that man would be a bishop, as the other apostles were. Peter said that they should choose someone who had been with Jesus from his baptism in the Jordan River until his resurrection. The first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles tells us what happened. The group proposed two names. One was Matthias, the other was Joseph, also called Barsabbas. Then everyone prayed and asked the Lord to let them know which of the two men should take the place of Judas. Next they cast lots, and Matthias’ name was chosen. He became one of the twelve apostles.

St. Matthias was a dedicated apostle. He preached the Good News in Judea, Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey), and on the Caspian seashore. Many people listened to Matthias. They believed his wonderful message. The enemies of Jesus grew furious when they saw how people listened to Matthias. They decided to stop him by putting him to death. Matthias died a martyr at Colchis. The story of St. Matthias reminds us that we are fortunate to be followers of Jesus and members of his Church. Let’s ask St. Matthias to show us how to be more grateful for all that we have received.

St. Matthias pray for us.

Our Lady of Fatima – 13 May

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On 13th May 1917, three children were watching their sheep in a valley called the Cova da Iria, near the town of Fatima, in Portugal. They were ten-year-old Lucia dos Santos, and her cousins, nine-year-old Francisco and seven-year-old Jacinta Marto.

A flash of lightning suddenly startled them. The children thought a storm was coming, so they quickly began herding their sheep toward home. A second flash made them look around. They saw a beautiful young woman standing above a small oak tree. “Don’t be afraid,” she called reassuringly. “Come closer.” The woman wore a robe and mantle of white, with gold trim. Her hands, joined in prayer, were holding a rosary. She shone with a light that was brighter than the sun. Lucia asked the woman, “Who are you? What do you want?” She answered, “I am from heaven. Come here on the thirteenth of each month for five months.

On 13th October, I will give a sign that will make everyone believe.” The Blessed Mother kept her promise. The children saw her once more on 13th June and 13th July. The mayor of the nearby town of Ourem didn’t like this story of a heavenly lady appearing to children. On the morning of 13th August, he offered Lucia and her cousins a ride to the Cova, where they were supposed to meet the lady again. But once he had them in his car, he brought them to the police station instead, and kept them in custody for two days. He couldn’t outsmart the Blessed Virgin, though. She simply appeared to the children several days later!

A priest of the diocese questioned Lucia about the visions. How many times had they seen the Blessed Virgin? How long did she stay with them? What did she look like? Lucia answered all the questions. The priest also knew that Mary had told the children a secret. But he did not pressure Lucia to tell him what it was. Lucia told the priest a little prayer that Mary had taught them: “My Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.” The Blessed Virgin again visited the children at the Cova on 13th September.

On 13th October 1917, 70,000 people came to the Cova to witness the miracle that Mary had promised. It was a rainy day. But Lucia asked the people to close their umbrellas. The rain stopped. Mary appeared to the children. Suddenly, the clouds left the sky and the sun came out. The crowds saw it spinning and shooting out flames like a fireworks display. One by one the sun took on all the colours of the rainbow. This happened three times and the scene lasted for ten minutes. Then the sun seemed to fall from the sky toward the earth. The people fell to their knees. Many thought it was the end of the world. They wept and asked forgiveness for their sins. Suddenly the sun stopped its fall and returned to its normal colour and its usual place in the sky.

While the sun had been spinning and changing colours, only Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta had seen Mary appear as Our Lady of the Rosary, with St. Joseph beside her holding the Child Jesus. Then Jesus alone appeared and blessed the crowd. Mary also appeared as Our Lady of Sorrows and then dressed as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Mary told the children what she wanted: She asked that people pray the rosary and change their lives. They should ask forgiveness for sins. She also asked that a chapel be built at the Cova da Iria. The chapel was begun in 1919. Together with Lourdes, Fatima has become the most popular place of pilgrimage for Christians.

In December 1918, both Francisco and Jacinta became very sick with the flu. In those days they didn’t have the medicines we have today, and Francisco’s illness turned into pneumonia. He died on 4th April 1919. A few months later, Jacinta’s sickness developed into pleurisy, a disease which seriously affected her lungs. She underwent surgery, but died on 20th February 1920. Lucia entered the convent in 1928, becoming a Sister of St. Dorothy. In 1948 she transferred to the Carmelite monastery in Coimbra, Portugal. As of the date this book was printed, she is still living there as a Carmelite nun.

Our Lady came to Fatima as a loving mother. She wants us to be truly happy and reminds us that this can only happen when we live as Jesus taught.

Let’s pray the rosary often, thinking about the lives of Jesus and Mary.

Our Lady of Fatima pray for us.

St. Pancras – 12th May

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Saint Pancras, a fourteen-year-old orphan, lived in the late third century. He was not a native of Rome. He was brought there by his uncle who looked after him. Pancras became a follower of Jesus and was baptised. Although just a boy, he was arrested for being a Christian during the reign of the emperor Diocletian. Pancras refused to give up his faith. For that, he was sentenced to death and was beheaded. He became a very popular martyr in the early Church. People admired him for being so young and so brave. In 514, a large church was built in Rome to honor him. In 596, the famous missionary, St. Augustine of Canterbury, went to bring the Christian faith to England. He named his first church there after St. Pancras.

St. Pancras and the other martyrs we remember today remind us of the importance of our Catholic faith. It should mean as much to us as it did to each of them. If we need to grow stronger in our faith, let’s ask St. Pancras to help us.

St. Pancras pray for us.

Ascension of the Lord: Thursday 10th May

Ascension

The Ascension of Jesus Christ is meaningful for several reasons:
It signaled the end of His earthly ministry. God the Father had lovingly sent His Son into the world at Bethlehem, and now the Son was returning to the Father. The period of human limitation was at an end.
It signified success in His earthly work. All that He had come to do, He had accomplished.
It marked the return of His heavenly glory. Jesus’ glory had been veiled during His sojourn on earth, with one brief exception at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9).
It symbolized His exaltation by the Father (Ephesians 1:20-23). The One with whom the Father is well pleased (Matthew 17:5) was received up in honor and given a name above all names (Philippians 2:9).
It allowed Him to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
It indicated the beginning of His new work as High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).
It set the pattern for His return. When Jesus comes to set up the Kingdom, He will return just as He left-literally, bodily, and visibly in the clouds (Acts 1:11; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7).
Currently, the Lord Jesus is in heaven. The Scriptures frequently picture Him at the right hand of the Father-a position of honor and authority (Psalm 110:1; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 8:1).

Christ is the Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18), the giver of spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:7-8), and the One who fills all in all (Ephesians 4:9-10).