Wednesday  Saints of this Day December  21 Duodécimo Kaléndas Januárii.  
Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum
et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.
And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs,
confessors, and holy virgins.
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас! (Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!)

Mary Mother of GOD

St. Thomas_Apostle
 
Pope Authorizes 12 14 2015 Promulgation of Decrees Concerning 17 Causes,
Including Servant of God William Gagnon
November 23 2014 Six to Be Canonized on Feast of Christ the King

CAUSES OF SAINTS April  2014  

Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List

Acts of the Apostles

Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

How do I start the Five First Saturdays?

Mary Mother of GOD 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary

Pope Benedict XVI to The Catholic Church In China {whole article here }
The saints “a cloud of witnesses over our head”,
showing us life of Christian perfection is possible.

"Sing and rejoice, daughter of Zion; for, behold, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of you" (Zech 2:10)
The expectation of the Messiah was also announced by the prophets as a cause for great joy and exultation, foretold to the mysterious "daughter of Zion", and the humble Blessed Virgin Mary never once imagined she would be that blessed one.

No matter how good food is, if poison is mixed with it, it may cause the death of him who eats it. So it is with conversation. A single bad word, an evil action, an unbecoming joke, is often enough to harm one or more young listeners, and may later cause them to lose God's grace. -- St John Bosco

1st v. ST THOMAS, APOSTLE (72 A.D. feast day kept by Malabar and Syria)
 253 St. Themistoeles martyred With companion Dioscorus
        St. Honoratus of Bishop of Toulouse
 300 St. Severinus Bishop of Trier
 303 St. Glycerius Martyred priest of Nicomedia  
 609 St. Anastasius II Patriarch of Antioch successor of Anastasius
        St. John Vincent Benedictine bishop and hermit
        Bl. Adrian Dominican martyr + 27 companions in Dalmatia 
1597 St. Peter Canisius Jesuit founded colleges; delegate to Council of Trent; first issue of the Catechism
1839 St. Andrew Dung Lac native Vietnamese martyr
        St. John & Festus Martyrs of Tuscany

He who wishes to love God does not truly love Him if he has not an ardent and constant desire to suffer for His sake.
-- St. Aloysius Gonzaga
December 21 – Our Lady of Saint Acheul (Amiens, France) 
 
A woman healed by Our Lady  
Anne Claire and Bernard Noirot-Nerin (a French family) are the parents of four children, all teenagers and young adults. Anne Claire used to be involved in many community activities and lived at a fast pace. On February 2, 2011, she fell off her bike and was in a coma for several months.

Three times, she came close to death... After coming out of the coma, she relapsed on May 30th... On September 9, 2011, she plunged into another coma. Doctors attempted a very difficult operation but failed eight times. During the last surgery, Anne Claire caught meningitis. By mid-November, only the beating of her heart attested that she was still alive.

On December 8, 2011, the feast of the Immaculate Conception... Anne Claire’s husband was by her side in the hospital like every night, while she was still in a coma. The doctor asked her his usual question: "Mrs. Nerin, how are you?" She immediately replied "I’m very well, thank you."

The immense joy of her re-awakening was offset by some hard facts about her condition. She was paralyzed on the right side, spoke with difficulty, and her vision was blurred. She started rehabilitation and each day brought some progress. In the summer of 2012, Anne Claire was finally able to go home...
Marie Lorne  fr.aleteia.org


"Sing and rejoice, daughter of Zion; for, behold, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of you. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of you,
and you shall know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me to you" (Zech 2:10-11).
 "Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel shout aloud! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has turned your enemy away. The Lord is king of Israel among you, Israel; you have nothing more to fear. When the day comes, the message for Jerusalem will be: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hand hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the warrior-savior" (Zeph 3:14-17).


Reflections on the conditions of the Messiah's coming divided the Elders of Zion, as evidenced by the Talmud (Sanhedrin Treatise XI). Must Israel be corrupt so that God would send the Messiah as Savior, or should it be holy and immaculate to merit his coming? They are both compatible, because if there was corruption among the people, there was also the Immaculate to attract the Messiah: "You are all beautiful, my love. There is no spot in you" (Song 4:7). "The King will fall in love with your beauty (Ps 45:10-18). "Who is she who looks forth as the morning, beautiful as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?" (Song 6:10). As in the Book of Wisdom, we can say that she is "a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God's active power, and image of his goodness"
(Wis 7:26). "She is indeed more splendid than the sun, she outshines all the constellations;
compared with light, she takes first place" (Wis 7:29).

December 21 - Our Lady of Seven Sorrows (Italy, 1672)
Shall I Nurse You?
She asked him, "What should I call you? Man? But your conception is divine. God?
But you are clothed with our flesh and blood. What shall I do for you? Shall I nurse you with my milk or glorify you?
Shall I care for you like a mother or worship you like a maidservant?
Shall I kiss you like my son or pray to you like my God? Should I give you milk or incense? What a ineffable mystery!
Heaven uses you as a throne and you lie in my arms! You give yourself wholly to the inhabitants of the earth,
Yet you do not deprive Heaven of your presence."   Saint Basil

Advent's Great O Antiphons (V): O Oriens December 21 - OUR LADY OF SAINT ACHEUL (Amiens, France)
Divine Sun, O Jesus! You come to tear us from eternal night: Be forever blessed! But how you do test our faith, before you shine before our eyes in all your splendor! How you love to veil your rays, until the moment chosen by your heavenly Father, when you will reveal the blaze of your glory!
You are now crossing Judea; you are approaching Jerusalem; Mary and Joseph's journey draws to its end. On the way, you meet a multitude of people walking in all directions, each to his ancestral city, to satisfy the census. Of all these people, none has guessed how close you were, O divine Orient!
Mary, your Mother, is seen by them as a common woman; at the most they might notice the majesty and the incomparable modesty of that august Queen, might vaguely feel the striking contrast between such sovereign dignity and such humble condition; but they quickly forget about the happy meeting. If they look upon the mother with such indifference, will they even give a thought to the son not yet born to visible light?
And yet you are yourself this son, O Sun of justice!
Increase the faith within us, but increase our love too. If these people loved you, O liberator of the human race, you would manifest yourself to them; their eyes would not see you yet, but at least their heart would burn within their chest, they would desire you, and they would hasten your coming by their prayers and sighs.
Dom Gueranger  The Liturgical Year - Advent - December XXI

December 21 - Our Lady of Saint-Acheul (Amiens, France)
After His Ascension, the Virgin Mary Comforted the Apostles
When the soul abides in the love of God — how good and gracious and festive all things are!
But even with God's love, sorrows continue and the greater the love, the greater the sorrow.
Never by a single thought did the Mother of God sin, nor did she ever lose grace, yet vast were her sorrows, when she stood at the foot of the Cross her grief was as boundless as the ocean and her soul knew torment incomparably worse than Adam's when he was driven from paradise, in that the measure of her love was beyond compare greater than the love which Adam felt when he was in paradise.

That she remained alive was only because the Lord's might sustained her, for it was His desire that she should behold His Resurrection, and live on after His Ascension to be the comfort and joy of the Apostles and the new Christian peoples.

Saint Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938)

Excerpt from: Saint Silouan the Athonite, XI, On the Mother of God, by archimandrite sophrony (Sakharov), translated from the Russian by Rosemary Edmonds, Stavropegic Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Essex, 1991, p. 390-393.



St_Thomas_by_Caravaggio
1st v. ST THOMAS, APOSTLE (72 A.D. feast day kept by Malabar and Syria)
 Calamínæ natális beáti Thomæ Apóstoli, qui Parthis, Medis, Persis et Hyrcánis Evangélium prædicávit; ac demum in Indiam pervénit, ibíque, cum eos pópulos in Christiána religióne instituísset, Regis jussu lánceis transfíxus occúbuit.  Ipsíus relíquiæ primo ad urbem Edéssam, in Mesopotámia, deínde Ortónam, apud Frentános, translátæ sunt.
      At Mylapore, the birthday of the blessed Apostle Thomas, who preached the Gospel to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, and Hyrcanians.  Having finally penetrated into India, and instructed those nations in the Christian religion, he died pierced with lances at the order of the king.  His remains were first taken to the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia, and then to Ortona.
ST THOMAS was a Jew and probably a Galilean of humble birth, but we are not told that he was a fisherman or the circumstances in which our Lord made him an apostle. His name is Syriac, and means the “twin”; Didymus, as we know he was also called, is the Greek equivalent. When Jesus was going up to the neighbourhood of Jerusalem in order to raise Lazarus to life the rest of the disciples endeavoured to dissuade Him, saying, “Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?“ But St Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him”, so ardent was his love of his Master. At the last supper, when our Lord said, “Whither I go you know, and the way you know”, it was Thomas who asked, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?” and so drew from Him those words in which are contained the whole Christian faith, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No man cometh to the Father but by me.” But this apostle is especially remembered for his incredulity after our Lord had suffered, risen from the dead, and on the same day appeared to His disciples to convince them of the truth of His resurrection. Thomas was not then with them and refused to believe their report that He was truly risen: “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Eight days later, when they were all together and the doors shut, the risen Christ was suddenly in the midst of them, greeting them: “Peace be to you.” Then He turned to Thomas and said,” Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand and put it into my side. And be not faithless, but believing.” And Thomas fell at His feet, exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus answered, “Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.”

   This is all that we are told of St Thomas in the New Testament, but, as with the other apostles, there are traditions, of great unreliability, about his missionary activities after the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. Eusebius states that he sent St Thaddeus (Addai; August 5) to Edessa to baptize King Abgar, and the field of his own ministry is assigned to Parthia and “the Medes, Persians, Carmanians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians and other nations in those parts”. But the most persistent tradition is that which says that he preached the gospel in India. This is supported from several seemingly independent sources, of which the chief is the Acta Thomae, a document dating apparently from the first quarter of the third century. The story told by these acta is as follows:
When the Apostles at Jerusalem divided the countries of the world for their labours, India fell to the lot of Judas Thomas (so he is often called in Syriac legends). He was unwilling to go, pleading lack of strength and that a Hebrew could not teach Indians, and even a vision of our Lord could not alter his resolution. Thereupon Christ appeared to a merchant named Abban, the representative of Gundafor, a Parthian king who ruled over part of India, and sold Thomas to him as a slave for his master. When he understood what had taken place, Thomas said, “As thou wilt, Lord, so be it”, and embarked with Abban, having only his purchase price, twenty pieces of silver, which Christ had given to him. During the voyage they landed at a port and were present at the wedding festivities of the ruler’s daughter. At the playing of a Hebrew flute-girl Thomas was moved to sing, and he sang of the beauty of the Church under the figure of a bride. But as he sang in his own tongue nobody but the flute-girl understood him; and she loved him, but he sat with his eyes on the ground and would not raise them to her. That night Jesus Christ, having the appearance of Thomas, appeared to the bridal pair and persuaded them to a life of complete continence. When the ruler heard of this he was indignant and sent for the stranger, but Abban and Thomas were gone,
and only the flute-girl remained, weeping because she had not been taken with them.
But when they told her what had befallen the young couple she put away her grief, and went to wait upon them.

   Meanwhile Abban and Thomas continued their journey and came to Gundafor’s court in India, and when the king asked the apostle’s trade he replied, “I am a carpenter and builder. I can make yokes and ploughs and ox-goads, oars for boats and masts for ships; and I can build in stone, tombs and monuments and palaces for kings.” So Gundafor ordered him to build a palace, and Thomas laid out the plans, with “doors towards the east for light, windows towards the west for air, a bake-house on the south, and water-pipes for the service of the house on the north”. Gundafor went on a journey, and in his absence Thomas did no building but spent all the money given him for the work on the poor, saying, “That which is the king’s to the kings shall be given”. And he went about the land preaching and healing and driving out evil spirits. On his return Gundafor asked to be shown his new palace. “You cannot see it now, but only when you have left this world”, replied Thomas. Whereupon the king cast him into prison and purposed to flay him alive. But just then Gundafor’s brother died, and being shown in Heaven the palace that Thomas’s good works had prepared for Gundafor, he was allowed to come back to earth and offer to buy it from the king for himself. Gundafor declined to sell, and in admiration released Thomas and received baptism together with his brother and many of his subjects.
“And at dawn he broke the Eucharist and let them partake at the table of the Messias; and they rejoiced and were glad.”

Afterwards Thomas was preaching and doing marvels throughout India, until he got into trouble with a King Mazdai for converting (“bewitching”) his wife, his son and other important people. Eventually Thomas was led to the top of a hill where, on orders from the king, “soldiers came and struck him all together, and he fell down and died”.

He was buried in a royal sepulchre, but afterwards some of the brethren carried away his relics to the West.

 It is now commonly agreed that there is no truth behind the extravagant but interesting story just outlined, though there was undoubtedly a king named Gondo­phernes or Guduphara, whose dominions about the year A.D. 46 included the territory of Peshawar; and attempts have been made to identify King Mazdai (whose name might be traced to a Hindu original) with the contemporary King Vasudeva of Mathura. Unfortunately, speculation about St Thomas cannot be left there.
   At the other end of India from the Punjab, along what is known as the Malabar Coast, particularly in the states of Cochin and Travancore, there is a large population of native Christians who call themselves, “the Christians of St Thomas”. Their history is known in detail since the sixteenth century, but their origin has not yet been indisputably determined—though theories are far from wanting. There have certainly been Christians there since very early times, and in their liturgy they use forms and a language (Syriac) that undoubtedly were derived from Mesopotamia and Persia. *{* In addition to other native Christians there are over 1 million Christians of St Thomas, of whom more than a half are Catholics (called “of the Syro-Malabar rite”. Also, since 1930, the small body of the Syro-Malankara rite). Most of the remainder are now Jacobites, but there is a considerable number of “Reformed Syrians” (who particularly arrogate to themselves the name of St Thomas Christians: Mar Thomakkar) and some Protestants, as well as a tiny group of Nestorians. All these divisions have happened since 1653.}

They claim, as their name indicates, to have been originally evangelized by St Thomas in person. They have an ancient oral tradition that he landed at Cranganore on the west coast and established seven churches in Malabar; then passed eastward to the Coromandel Coast, where he was martyred, by spearing, on the “Big Hill”, eight miles from Madras; and was buried at Mylapore, now a suburb of that city.
There are several medieval references to the tomb of St Thomas in India, some of which name Mylapore; +(+ It is stated in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that King Alfred in 883 sent Sighelm, Bishop of Sherborne, with offerings to Rome and to SS. Bartholomew and Thomas in India, in fulfilment of a vow) In 1522 the Portuguese discovered the alleged tomb there, with certain small relics now preserved in the cathedral of St Thomas at Mylapore. But the bulk of his reputed relics were certainly at Edessa in the fourth century, and the Acta Thomae relates they were taken from India to Mesopotamia. They were later translated from Edessa to the island of Khios in the Aegean, and from thence to Ortona in the Abruzzi, where they are still venerated.
The Roman Martyrology combines several legends and adopts the view that St Thomas preached the gospel to the Parthians, Medes, Persians and Hyrcanians, passed into India, and was there martyred at “Calamina”. This name occurs only in later writings and nobody has yet succeeded in identifying the place; upholders of the Malabar tradition have of course endeavoured to connect it with the neighbourhood of Mylapore. The Martyrology mentions the translation of his relics to Edessa on July 3, but in Malabar, and indeed throughout the Syrian churches, this date is the principal feast of St Thomas, commemorating his martyrdom “in the year 72 A.D.”

The apocryphal Acts of St Thomas may be most conveniently consulted in the edition of Max Bonnet (1883). It is generally agreed that the original text has not been preserved in its primitive shape but that the Greek form in which it has come down to us does not very materially depart from its first conception. The Syriac version has undergone much more substantial revision and interpolation. Although the strong gnostic colouring of these acts has been exaggerated (see on this Harnack, Die Chronologie der altchristlichen Litteratur, vol. i, pp. 545—549) still it cannot be mistaken, and, as Fr P. Peeters rightly insists, the apocryphal character of the document was patent to all orthodox teachers in the early Church. It is denounced by St Epiphanius, by St Augustine, by St Turibius of Astorga, by Pope St Innocent I and in the decree of Pseudo-Gelasius. The Syrian Greek who was probably the fabricator of the story would have been well able to learn from traders and travellers such details as the name Gondophernes with other topical matter, and this colouring does not warrant us in supposing that any germ of historical truth forms the basis of the Acta Thomae. See on all this Peeters in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xviii (1899), pp. 275—279 ; vol xxv (1906), pp. 196—200; vol. xxxii (1913), pp. 75—77; vol. xliv (1926), pp. 402—403. These notices all deal with books, which propound theories from divergent points of view, founded on the contents of the apocryphal acts. A few may be mentioned as roughly representative of the considerable literature of the subject. A. von Gutschmid (Kleine Schriften, ii, pp. 332—394) was dominated by the idea that the acts represent a Christianized version of Buddhist legends. Sylvain Lévi in the Journal Asiatique for 1897 strove to elucidate names and incidents as if he were dealing with an historic document; W. R. Philipps in The Indian Antiquary for 1903, and J. F. Fleet in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for 1905 brought criticism to bear on the identifications of Lévi; Bishop Medlycott in his uncritical book, India and the Apostle Thomas (1905), sought to find confirmation in the acts for the tradition that St Thomas died at Mylapore; Fr J. Dahlmann, Die Thomas-Legende (cf. Fr Thurston in The Month for August 1912, pp. 153—163), attached great importance to the historic data of the story but did not attempt to reconcile it with Mylapore, while Father A. Väth in a booklet, Der hl. Thomas, der Apostel Indiens (1925), follows circumspectly in the same course. At the same time the defenders of the southern India tradition have not been silent. Among many brochures printed in support of the claims of Mylapore, the book of F. A. D’Cruz, St Thomas the Apostle in India (1929), deserves notice. It takes account of such later literature as the articles of Dr A. Mingana and D. J. N. Farquhar in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, Manchester (1925). Beyond doubt a few Pahlavi (i.e. Parthian) inscriptions, seemingly Christian in character, engraved round crosses, exist at Mylapore and in Travan­core. It is likely enough that the Malabar Coast was evangelized from Edessa at a later date, and that in the course of time a confused tradition connected this with the Apostle St Thomas himself. Father Thurston summarizes the question in the Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. xiv, pp. 658—659. The Apostles in India (Patna, 1953), by A. C. Perumalil, is a useful popular summary.

253 St. Themistoeles martyred With companion Dioscorus.
 In Lycia sancti Themístoclis Mártyris, qui, sub Décio Imperatóre, pro sancto Dióscoro, qui quærebátur ad necem, se óbtulit, et, equúleo tortus, raptátus ac fústibus cæsus, martyrii corónam adéptus est.
      In Lycia, St. Themistocles, martyr.  In the reign of Emperor Decius, he offered himself to take the place of Dioscorus, whom they were seeking to slay.  He was tortured on the rack, dragged over rough ways and scourged, and thus obtained the crown of martyrdom.
put to death during the persecutions under Emperor Valerian (r. 253-260). Themistocles was a shepherd in Lycia (modern Turkey).
He died by beheading after refusing to divulge the hiding place of Dioscorus who was himself later martyred.

St. Honoratus of Toulouse Bishop of Toulouse 3rd century
France, the successor of St. Saturninus. Honoratus consecrated St. Firminus as bishop of Amiens.

300 St. Severinus Bishop of Trier.
 Tréviris sancti Severíni, Epíscopi et Confessóris.       At Treves, St. Severinus, bishop and confessor.
Germany. No details of his labors are available. Trier is the oldest see in Germany.
303 St. Glycerius Martyred priest of Nicomedia.
 Nicomedíæ sancti Glycérii Presbyteri, qui, in persecutióne Diocletiáni, multis torméntis vexátus, demum, in ignem conjéctus, martyrium consummávit.
      At Nicomedia, St. Glycerius, priest.  During the persecution of Diocletian he was subjected to many torments, and finally fulfilled his martyrdom by being cast into the flames.
in Asia Minor. He was burned at the stake.
609 St. Anastasius II Patriarch of Antioch successor of Anastasius.
 Antiochíæ sancti Anastásii, Epíscopi et Mártyris; qui, Phocæ Imperatóris témpore, a Judæis, in seditióne ab ipsis contra Christiános facta, sævíssime necátus est.       At Antioch, St. Anastasius, bishop and martyr.  During the reign of Emperor Phocas he was cruelly murdered by Jews in a riot which they had instigated against the Christians.
although some scholars believe that there was only one such prelate. This Anastasius was murdered in an uprising of Syrian Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity.

609 ST ANASTASIUS II, PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH, MARTYR
Another Anastasius succeeded the intrepid defender of orthodoxy, St Anastasius I of Antioch, in that see in 599. He at once sent a profession of faith and notice of his election to Pope St Gregory the Great, who in his reply approved the orthodoxy of Anastasius and urged him, as the first fruits of his episcopate, to purge the Antiochene churches of simony. In the year 609 the Syrian Jews broke out into riots, provoked by the forced “conversions” among them of the Emperor Phocas, and among their Christian victims was the patriarch. After treating him with great indignity they put him to death, mutilated his corpse, and burned it. The imperial officers punished this crime with a severity and injustice no less criminal. Anastasius was looked on as a martyr and his name has been inserted in the Roman Martyrology, but he receives no cultus in the East. The translation into Greek of St Gregory’s De cura pastorali is due to St Anastasius II, though some have assigned it to his predecessor and identified the two bishops as one. Nevertheless, St Anastasius I was a separate person, who was exiled from his see for twenty-three years for having opposed the amateur theologizing of the Emperor Justinian; he is commemorated on April 21.
Apart from two letters of Pope St Gregory I, we know nothing of St Anastasius but what we learn from Theophanes, Chronographia, in Migne, PG., vol. cviii, p. 624. See also DHG., vol. ii, c. 1460. 
St. John Vincent Benedictine bishop and hermit 7th century.
He was a native of Ravenna and a hermit at Monte Caprario.

Bl. Adrian Dominican martyr + 27 companions in Dalmatia 13th century.
Adrian and twenty-seven others were executed by Muslims for confessing Christ.

1597 St. Peter Canisius Jesuit founded colleges delegate to Council of Trent first issue of the Catechism
 Fribúrgi Helvetiórum item natális sancti Petri Canísii, Sacerdótis e Societáte Jesu et Confessóris, doctrína et sanctitáte præclári; qui, difficíllimis Germániæ tempóribus, fidem cathólicam strénue deféndit ac propagávit.  Eum vero Pius Undécimus, Póntifex Máximus, Sanctórum catálogo adscrípsit, simúlque Doctórem universális Ecclésiæ declarávit, et ipsíus festum quinto Kaléndas Maji agéndum esse decrévit.
At Fribourg Switzerland, the birthday also of St. Peter Canisius, priest of the Society of Jesus, a confessor famed for his sanctity and learning.  He defended and spread the Catholic faith with the utmost zeal in Germany during its most difficult times.  Pope Pius XI added him to the list of the saints, and at the same time declared him to be a doctor of the universal Church, appointing his feast to be observed on the 27th of April.

b: 1521

In 1565, the Vatican was looking for a secret agent. It was shortly after the Council of Trent and the pope wanted to get the decrees of the Council to all the European bishops. What would be a simple errand in our day, was a dangerous assignment in the sixteenth century. The first envoy who tried to carry the decrees through territory of hostile Protestants and vicious thieves was robbed of the precious documents. Rome needed someone courageous but also someone above suspicion. They chose Peter Canisius. At 43 he was a well-known Jesuit who had founded colleges that even Protestants respected. They gave him a cover as official "visitor" of Jesuit foundations. But Peter couldn't hide the decrees like our modern fictional spies with their microfilmed messages in collar buttons or cans of shaving cream. Peter traveled from Rome and crisscrossed Germany successfully loaded down with the Tridentine tomes -- 250 pages each -- not to mention the three sacks of books he took along for his own university!

Why did the Vatican choose Peter Canisius for this delicate task?
Born in Holland in 1521, Peter had edited and written several volumes on Church history and theology, been a delegate to the Council of Trent, and reformed the German universities from heresy. Called to Vienna to reform their university, he couldn't win the people with preaching or fancy words spoken in his German accent. He won their hearts by ministering to the sick and dying during a plague. The people, the king, and the pope all wanted to make Peter bishop of Vienna, but Peter declined vigorously and administered the diocese for a year.

For many years during the Reformation, Peter saw the students in his universities swayed by the flashy speeches and the well-written arguments of the Protestants. Peter was not alone in wishing for a Catholic catechism that would present true Catholic beliefs undistorted by fanatics. Finally King Ferdinand himself ordered Peter and his companions to write a catechism. This hot potato got tossed from person to person until Peter and his friend Lejay were assigned to write it. Lejay was obviously the logical choice, being a better writer than Peter. So Peter relaxed and sat back to offer any help he could. When Father Lejay died, King Ferdinand would wait no longer. Peter said of writing: "I have never learned to be elegant as a writer, but I cannot remain dumb on that account." The first issue of the Catechism appeared in 1555 and was an immediate success. Peter approached Christian doctrine in two parts: wisdom -- including faith, hope, and charity -- and justice -- avoiding evil and doing good, linked by a section on sacraments.

Because of the success and the need, Peter quickly produced two more versions: a Shorter Catechism for middle school students which concentrated on helping this age group choose good over evil by concentrating on a different virtue each day of the week; and a Shortest Catechism for young children which included prayers for morning and evening, for mealtimes, and so forth to get them used to praying.

As intent as Peter was on keeping people true to the Catholic faith, he followed the Jesuit policy that harsh words should not be used, that those listening would see an example of charity in the way Catholics acted and preached. However, his companions were not always as willing. He showed great patience and insight with one man, Father Couvillon. Couvillon was so sharp and hostile that he was alienating his companions and students. Anyone who confronted him became the subject of abuse. It became obvious that Couvillon suffered from emotional illness. But Peter did not let that knowledge blind him to the fact that Couvillon was still a brilliant and talented man. Instead of asking Couvillon to resign he begged him to stay on as a teacher and then appointed him as his secretary. Peter thought that Couvillon needed to worry less about himself and pray more and work harder. He didn't coddle him but gave Couvillon blunt advice about his pride. Coming from Peter this seemed to help Couvillon. Peter consulted Couvillon often on business of the Province and asked him to translate Jesuit letters from India. Thanks to Peter , even though Couvillon continued to suffer depression for years, he also accomplished much good.

Peter died in December 21, 1597. He is known as the Second Apostle of Germany and was named a Doctor of the Church.
In His Footsteps

Peter believed in the importance in learning and understanding the Catholic faith. If it is available to you, resolve to read a portion of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. Don't try to read too much but consider reading a page a day. Before we can spread our faith we must have a solid foundation in ourselves.
Prayer: Saint Peter Canisius, you saw the good in even the most troublesome of people. You found their talents and used them. Help me to see beyond the behavior of others that may bother me to the gifts God has given them. Amen

St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597)
The energetic life of Peter Canisius should demolish any stereotypes we may have of the life of a saint as dull or routine. Peter lived his 76 years at a pace which must be considered heroic, even in our time of rapid change. A man blessed with many talents, Peter is an excellent example of the scriptural man who develops his talents for the sake of the Lord’s work.

He was one of the most important figures in the Catholic Counter-Reformation in Germany. His was such a key role that he has often been called the “second apostle of Germany” in that his life parallels the earlier work of Boniface.

Although Peter once accused himself of idleness in his youth, he could not have been idle too long, for at the age of 19 he received a master’s degree from the university at Cologne. Soon afterwards he met Peter Faber, the first disciple of Ignatius Loyola, who influenced Peter so much that he joined the recently formed Society of Jesus.

At this early age Peter had already taken up a practice he continued throughout his life—a process of study, reflection, prayer and writing. After his ordination in 1546, he became widely known for his editions of the writings of St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Leo the Great. Besides this reflective literary bent, Peter had a zeal for the apostolate. He could often be found visiting the sick or prisoners, even when his assigned duties in other areas were more than enough to keep most people fully occupied.

In 1547 Peter attended several sessions of the Council of Trent, whose decrees he was later assigned to implement. After a brief teaching assignment at the Jesuit college at Messina, Peter was entrusted with the mission to Germany—from that point on his life’s work. He taught in several universities and was instrumental in establishing many colleges and seminaries. He wrote a catechism that explained the Catholic faith in a way which common people could understand—a great need of that age.

Renowned as a popular preacher, Peter packed churches with those eager to hear his eloquent proclamation of the gospel. He had great diplomatic ability, often serving as a reconciler between disputing factions. In his letters (filling eight volumes) one finds words of wisdom and counsel to people in all walks of life. At times he wrote unprecedented letters of criticism to leaders of the Church—yet always in the context of a loving, sympathetic concern.

At 70 Peter suffered a paralytic seizure, but he continued to preach and write with the aid of a secretary until his death in his hometown (Nijmegen, Netherlands) on December 21, 1597.
Comment:  Peter’s untiring efforts are an apt example for those involved in the renewal of the Church or the growth of moral consciousness in business or government. He is regarded as one of the creators of the Catholic press, and can easily be a model for the Christian author or journalist. Teachers can see in his life a passion for the transmission of truth. Whether we have much to give, as Peter Canisius did, or whether we have only a little to give, as did the poor widow in the Gospel (see Luke 21:1–4), the important thing is to give our all. It is in this way that Peter is so exemplary for Christians in an age of rapid change when we are called to be in the world but not of the world.
Quote: When asked if he felt overworked, Peter replied, "If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all."
St. John & Festus Martyrs of Tuscany.
Italy. Their Acta are no longer extant.

1839 St. Andrew Dung Lac native Vietnamese martyr.
companion of St. Peter Thi. Andrew, born in 1785, was a priest in Vietnam, his homeland. He was arrested and beheaded on December 21 with Peter Thi. He was canonized in 1988.



 
 Wednesday  Saints of this Day December  21 Duodécimo Kaléndas Januárii.  

Pope Francis  PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR  December 2016
Universal: End to Child-Soldiers.
That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe  That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and
truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.
   `   

God Bless Mother Angelica 1923-2016
ewtnmissionaries.com

On Death and Life
"Man Needs Eternity -- and Every Other Hope, for Him, Is All Too Brief"
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас!    (Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!)
                      
 
                                                                           
     
We are the defenders of true freedom.
  May our witness unveil the deception of the "pro-choice" slogan.
40 days for Life Campaign saves lives Shawn Carney Campaign Director www.40daysforlife.com
Please help save the unborn they are the future for the world

It is a great poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish -- Mother Teresa
 Saving babies, healing moms and dads, 'The Gospel of Life'

"Man Needs Eternity -- and Every Other Hope, for Him, Is All Too Brief"
It Makes No Sense Not To Believe In GOD 
Every Christian must be a living book
wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel

Jesus brings us many Blessings
 
The more we pray, the more we wish to pray. Like a fish which at first swims on the surface of the water, and afterwards plunges down, and is always going deeper; the soul plunges, dives, and loses itself in the sweetness of conversing with God. -- St. John Vianney

  Month by Month of Saintly Dedications


The Rosary html Mary Mother of GOD -- Her Rosary Here
Mary Mother of GOD Mary's Divine Motherhood: FEASTS OF OUR LADY
     of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary

May 9 – Our Lady of the Wood (Italy, 1607) 
Months of Dedication
January is the month of the Holy Name of Jesus since 1902;
March is the month of Saint Joseph since 1855;
May, the month of Mary, is the oldest and most well-known Marian month, officially since 1724;
June is the month of the Sacred Heart since 1873;
July is the month of the Precious Blood since 1850;
August is the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary;
September is the month of Our Lady of Sorrows since 1857;
October is the month of the Rosary since 1868;
November is the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory since 1888;
December is the month of the Immaculate Conception.

In all, five months of the year are dedicated to Mary.
The idea of dedicating months came from Rome and promotion of the month of Mary owes much to the Jesuits.  arras.catholique.fr


Pray that the witness of 40 Days for Life bears abundant fruit, and that we begin again each day to storm the gates of hell until God welcomes us into the gates of heaven.

If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways:
either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid.
Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten;
he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth.-- St. Thomas Aquinas


      We begin our day by seeing Christ in the consecrated bread, and throughout the day we continue to see Him in the torn bodies of our poor. We pray, that is, through our work, performing it with Jesus, for Jesus and upon Jesus.
The poor are our prayer. They carry God in them. Prayer means praying everything, praying the work.
We meet the Lord who hungers and thirsts, in the poor.....and the poor could be you or I or any person kind enough to show us his or her love and to come to our place.
Because we cannot see Christ, we cannot express our love to Him in person.
But our neighbor we can see, and we can do for him or her what we would love to do for Jesus if He were visible.
-- Mother Teresa
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee.  I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not love Thee.  O most Holy trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly.
 I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the Tabernacles of the world,  in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended,
and by the infite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I beg the conversion of poor sinners,  Amen Fatima Prayer, Angel of Peace
Mary's Divine Motherhood
Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI { 2013 } Catholic Church In China { article here}
1648 to1930 St. Augustine Zhao Rong and 120 Companions Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria -- 600s.
        Depending on China's relations with outside world,
Christianity for centuries was free to grow or forced to operate secretly.

How do I start the Five First Saturdays? 
Called in the Gospel “the Mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the Mother of my Lord” (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly Mother of God (Theotokos). 
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
“The Blessed Virgin was eternally predestined, in conjunction with the incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. By decree of divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving mother of the divine Redeemer, an associate of unique nobility, and the Lord's humble handmaid. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ.”
The voice of the Father is heard, the Son enters the water, and the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove.
   THE spirit and example of the world imperceptibly instil the error into the minds of many that there is a kind of middle way of going to Heaven; and so, because the world does not live up to the gospel, they bring the gospel down to the level of the world. It is not by this example that we are to measure the Christian rule, but words and life of Christ. All His followers are commanded to labour to become perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect, and to bear His image in our hearts that we may be His children. We are obliged by the gospel to die to ourselves by fighting self-love in our hearts, by the mastery of our passions, by taking on the spirit of our Lord.
   These are the conditions under which Christ makes His promises and numbers us among His children, as is manifest from His words which the apostles have left us in their inspired writings. Here is no distinction made or foreseen between the apostles or clergy or religious and secular persons. The former, indeed, take upon themselves certain stricter obligations, as a means of accomplishing these ends more perfectly; but the law of holiness and of disengagement of the heart from the world is geeral and binds all the followers of Christ.

Join Mary of Nazareth Project help us build the International Marian Center of Nazareth
http://www.worldpriest.com/
THE EUCHARIST, A MYSTERY TO BE BELIEVED POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS OF THE HOLY FATHER BENEDICT XVI
There are over 10,000 named saints beati  from history
 and Roman Martyology Orthodox sources

Miracles by Century 100   200   300   400   500   600   700    800   900   1000    1100   1200   1300   1400  1500  1600  1700  1800   1900  Miracles_BLay Saints
Morning Prayer and Hymn    Meditation of the Day    Prayer for Priests    Our Bartholomew Family Prayer List  Here
We are called upon with the whole Church militant on earth to join in praising and thanking God for the grace and glory he has bestowed on his saints. At the same time we earnestly implore Him to exert His almighty power and mercy in raising us from our miseries and sins, healing the disorders of our souls and leading us by the path of repentance to the company of His saints, to which He has called us.
   They were once what we are now, travellers on earth they had the same weaknesses, which we have. We have difficulties to encounter so had the saints, and many of them far greater than we can meet with; obstacles from kings and whole nations, sometimes from the prisons, racks and swords of persecutors. Yet they surmounted these difficulties, which they made the very means of their virtue and victories. It was by the strength they received from above, not by their own, that they triumphed. But the blood of Christ was shed for us as it was for them and the grace of our Redeemer is not wanting to us; if we fail, the failure is in ourselves.
   THE saints and just, from the beginning of time and throughout the world, who have been made perfect, everlasting monuments of God’s infinite power and clemency, praise His goodness without ceasing; casting their crowns before His throne they give to Him all the glory of their triumphs: “His gifts alone in us He crowns.”
“The saints must be honored as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, as John the theologian and evangelist says: ‘But as many as received him, he gave them the power to be made the sons of God....’ Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering, and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory” Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

Called in the Gospel the Mother of Jesus, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as the Mother of my Lord (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son,  the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly Mother of God (Theotokos).
Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, quoting the Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart ... From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
On Friday during Holy Communion, He said these words to me, His unworthy slave, if I mistake not:
I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that its all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on nine first Fridays of consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they will not die under my displeasure or without receiving their sacraments, my divine Heart making itself their assured refuge at the last moment.
Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness.
He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. In the first great revelation, He made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Heart with all Its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation.
He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart, and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings. In her last illness she refused all alleviation, repeating frequently: What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God, and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.
With regard to this promise it may be remarked: (1) that our Lord required Communion to be received on a particular day chosen by Him; (2) that the nine Fridays must be consecutive; (3) that they must be made in honor of His Sacred Heart, which means that those who make the nine Fridays must practice the devotion and must have a great love for our Lord; (4) that our Lord does not say that those who make the nine Fridays will be dispensed from any of their obligations or from exercising the vigilance necessary to lead a good life and overcome temptation; rather He implicitly promises abundant graces to those who make the nine Fridays to help them to carry out these obligations and persevere to the end; (5) that perseverance in receiving Holy Communion for nine consecutive First Firdays helps the faithful to acquire the habit of frequent Communion, which our Lord eagerly desires; and (6) that the practice of the nine Fridays is very pleasing to our Lord He promises such great reward, and all Catholics should endeavor to make nine Fridays.
How do I start the Five First Saturdays? by Fr. Tom O'Mahony.
On July 13,1917, Our Lady appeared for the third time to the three children of Fatima an showed them the vision of hell and made the now - famous thirteen prophecies. In this vision Our Lady said that 'GOD WISHES TO ESTABLISH IN THE WORLD DEVOTION to Her Immaculate Heart and that She would come TO ASK FOR THE COMMUNION OF REPARATION ON THE FIRST SATURDAYS...'  Eight years later, on December 10, 1925, Our Lady did indeed come back. She appeared (with the Child Jesus) to Lucia in the convent of the Dorothean Sisters in Pontevedra.
The Child Jesus spoke first:
'HAVE COMPASSION ON THE HEART OF YOUR MOST HOLY MOTHER WHICH IS COVERED WITH THORNS WITH WHICH UNGRATEFUL MEN PIERCE IT AT EVERY MOMENT, WHILE THERE IS NO ONE TO REMOVE THEM WITH AN ACT OF REPARATION.'

THE GREAT PROMISE
Our Lady then said: 'MY DAUGHTER LOOK AT MY HEART SURROUNDED WITH THORNS WITH WHICH UNGRATEFUL MEN PIERCE IT AT EVERY MOMENT BY THEIR BLASPHEMIES AND INGRATITUDE. YOU, AT LEAST, TRY TO CONSOLE ME, AND SAY THAT I PROMISE TO ASSIST AT THE HOUR OF DEATH WITH ALL THE GRACES NECESSARY FOR SALVATION, ALL THOSE WHO, ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF FIVE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS GO TO CONFESSION AND RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION, RECITE FIVE DECADES OF THE ROSARY AND KEEP ME COMPANY FOR A QUARTER OF AN HOUR WHILE MEDITATING ON MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY, WITH THE INTENTION OF MAKING REPARATION TO ME.'

The Five Reasons
Lucia once asked this question of Our Lord and received as an answer: 'MY DAUGHTER, THE MOTIVE IS SIMPLE, THERE ARE FIVE KINDS OF OFFENCES AND BLASPHEMIES UTTERED AGAINST THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY: (1) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: (2) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST HER VIRGINITY: (3) BLASPHEMIES AGAINST HER DIVINE MATERNITY: (4) BLASPHEMIES OF THOSE WHO OPENLY SEEK TO FOSTER IN THE HEARTS OF CHILDREN INDIFFERENCE OR EVEN HATRED FOR THIS IMMACULATE MOTHER: (5) THE OFFENCES OF THOSE WHO DIRECTLY OUTRAGE HER IN HOLY IMAGES.'
From the above, it is easy to see that each of the Five Saturdays can correspond to a specific offence. By offering the graces received during each First Saturday as reparation for the offence being prayed for, the participant can hope to help remove the thorns from Our Lady's Heart.
What Do I Have To Do?
The devotion of First Saturdays, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima, carries with it the assurance of salvation. However, to derive profit from such a great promise of Our Lady, the devotion must be properly understood and duly performed.
The requirements as stipulated by Our Lady are as follows:
(1) CONFESSION, (2) COMMUNION, (3) FIVE DECADES OF THE ROSARY, (4) MEDITATION ON ONE OR MORE OF THE ROSARY MYSTERIES FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES, (5) TO DO ALL THESE THINGS IN THE SPIRIT OF REPARATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, and (6) TO OBSERVE ALL THESE PRACTICES ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF FIVE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS.
(1) CONFESSION: A reparative confession means that the confession should not only be good (valid and licit), but also be offered in the spirit of reparation, in this case, to Mary's Immaculate Heart. This confession may be made on the First Saturday itself or some days before or after the First Saturday within the preceding octave would suffice.
(2) COMMUNION: The communion of reparation must be sacramental duly received with the intention of making reparation. This offering, like the confession, is an interior act and so no external action to express the intention is needed.
(3) THE ROSARY: The Rosary mentioned here was indicated by the Portuguese word 'terco' which is commonly employed to denote a Rosary of five decades, since it forms a fourth of the full Rosary of 20 decades. This too must recited in a spirit of reparation.
(4) MEDITATION FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES: Here the meditation on one mystery or more is to be made without simultaneous recitation of the Rosary decade. As indicated, the meditation may be either on one mystery alone for 15 minutes, or on all 20 mysteries, spending about one minute on each mystery, or again, on two or more mysteries during the period. This can also be made before each decade spending three minutes or more in considering the mystery of the particular decade. This meditation has likewise to be made in the spirit of reparation to the Immaculate Heart.
(5) THE SPIRIT OF REPARATION: All these acts, as said above, have to be done with the intention of offering reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the offences committed against Her. Everyone who offends Her commits, so to speak, a two-fold offence, for these sins also offend her Divine Son, Christ, and so endanger our salvation. They give bad example to others and weaken the strength of society to withstand immoral onslaughts. Such devotions therefore make us consider not only the enormity of the offence against God, but also the effect of sins on human society as well as the need for undoing these social effects even when the offender repents and is converted. Further, this reparation emphasises our responsibility towards sinners who, themselves, will not pray and make reparation for their sins.
(6) FIVE CONSECUTIVE FIRST SATURDAYS: The idea of the Five First Saturdays is obviously to make us persevere in the devotional acts for these Saturdays and overcome initial difficulties. Once this is done, Our Lady knows that the person would become devoted to Her immaculate Heart and persist in practising such devotion on all First Saturdays, working thereby for personal self-reform and for the salvation of others.

Unless Russia is converted, the movement against God and for sin will continue to spread, promoting wars and persecutions, and making the attainment for peace and justice impossible for this world. One means of obtaining Russia's conversion is to practise the Fatima Message. The stakes are so great that to encourage Catholics to practise the devotion of the First Saturdays, Our Lady has assured us that She will obtain salvation for all those who observe the first Saturdays for five consecutive months in accordance with Her conditions.
At the supreme moment the departing person will be either in the state of grace or not. In either case Our Lady will be by his side. If in the state of grace, She will console and help him to resist whatever temptations the devil might put before him in his last attempt to take the person with him to hell. If not in the state of grace, Our Lady will help the person to repent in a manner agreeable to God and so benefit by the fruits of redemption and be saved.

God loves variety. He doesn't mass-produce his saints. Every saint is unique, for each