Friday  Saints of  December  23 Décimo 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!)

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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  

Oh Mary pray for us sinners who have recourse to thee.

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
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Mary Mother of GOD 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary
Sunday of the Holy Fathers Sunday before the Nativity of the Lord (December 18-24)
On this day the Church commemorates all those who were well-pleasing to God from all ages, from Adam to St Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, those who are mentioned in the geneology of Luke 3:23-38. The holy prophets and prophetesses are also remembered today, especially the Prophet Daniel and the 3 holy youths (December 17).


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.

  Decrees of Vatican's Saint Congregation
Testify to 10 Miracles; 10 Cases of Heroic Virtue; 1 Martyrdom

The highest perfection consists not in interior favors or in great raptures, but in the bringing of our wills so closely into conformity with the Will of God that, as soon as we realize that he wills anything, we desire it ourselves with all our might.
-- St. Teresa of Avila


Our soul has been delivered as a sparrow out of the snare of the fowlers. The snare is broken: and we are delivered. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  -- Ps. 124: 7,8
Sunday of the Holy Fathers Sunday before the Nativity of the Lord (December 18-24)
  250 St. Theodulus Martyr with Saturninus on Crete and still revered there
  303 St. Migdonius & Mardonius Martyred officials of the Roman court
 304 St. Victoria sister Anatolia guard martyred
4th v. Saint Paul, Bishop of Neocaesarea First Ecmenical Council at Nicea
6th v. St. Servulus  beggar in Rome palsy thanked God all his life
 679 St. Dagobert II Martyred king of Austrasia son of King Sigebert II
 890 St. Vintila Benedictine monk hermit  great holiness
 910 Saint Nahum Cyril and Methodius disciple wonderworker man of prayer translate Scriptures Greek to Slavonic
1164 Bd Hartman, Bishop of Brixen; canon; highly respected by the Emperors Conrad III and Frederick I
1193 St Thorlac, Bishop Of Skalholt; daily rule of life, which began with the singing of the Credo, Pater noster, and a hymn directly he awoke; he recited a third of the psalter every day, and had an especial devotion to the titular saints of the churches in which he ministered; formed a community of canons regular, of which he was abbot;
14th v. Saint Theoctistus, Archbishop of Novgorod
14thv. Saints Niphon, Bishop of Cyprus devils often attacked overcame with the help of God received from God gift to discern evil spirits and defeat them, also saw departure of the soul after death.
1464 BD MARGARET OF SAVOY, WIDOW; took the habit of the third order of St Dominic and with other ladies formed a community at Alba. This retired life of prayer, study and charitable works lasted for some twenty-five years; Pope Eugenius IV gave permission for the tertiary sisters to become nuns, in the same place and under the rule of Bd Margaret. During the last sixteen years of her life ecstasies and miracles are alleged in abundance, among them a vision of our Lord offering her three arrows, labelled respectively Sickness, Slander and Persecution
1473 St. John of Kanty professor of sacred Scripture pius generous humble  care for the poor   
1550 St. Nicholas Factor Franciscan preacher native of Valencia
Advent's Great O Antiphons (VII): O Emmanuel December 23 - OUR LADY OF ARDILLIERS (Anjou, France, 1454)
O Emmanuel! King of Peace! Today you enter into Jerusalem, your chosen city; for it is there that your Temple stands. Soon you will have in that place your Cross and your Sepulcher; and the day will come when you will establish there your formidable tribunal. Now you are entering silently and without fanfare in this city of David and Solomon.
It is only the place of your passage on your way to Bethlehem.
However, your mother Mary and her husband Joseph do not traverse it without going up to the Temple, to offer to the Lord their prayers and homage: and so is accomplished, for the first time, the oracle of the Prophet Aggeus who had announced that the glory of the second Temple would be greater than the first.  {(Haggai) Aggeus means feasting, (St. Jerome) or pleasant.
For the Temple, at this moment, possessed an Ark of the Covenant much more precious than that of Moses, but most of all incomparable to any other sanctuary because of the dignity of the One she contains. The Legislator himself is here, not only the stone tablet on which the Law was engraved. But soon the living Ark of the Lord descends the steps of the Temple, and prepares to leave for Bethlehem where different oracles are calling her.
Dom Gueranger The Liturgical Year - Advent - December XXIII

December 23 - The Espousals of the Virgin Mary   Mary in the Midst of Israel's Waiting (XIII)
"This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened for the God of Israel has entered in by it" (Ezek 44:2)

The prophecy of Isaiah foretold the marvelous coming of the Messiah from the womb of a virgin of Israel, but there were also other prophecies that mysteriously evoked the mother of the Savior, her virginity, and the Messiah's birth, as well as his birthplace. First, Isaiah prophesied on a miraculous, painless birth:
"Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child.
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?" (Is 66:7-8)

The prophecies were also spoken about a perpetually closed gate, reserved for the Lord: "The man brought me back to the outer gate of the shrine, one that faces east; it was closed. The Lord said to me: 'This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, neither shall any man enter in by it; for the God of Israel has entered in by it; therefore it shall remain closed'" (Ezek 44:1-2). "A locked up garden is my sister, my bride; a locked up spring, a sealed fountain" (Song 4:12).

And the prophet Micah had also foretold of the Messiah coming from Bethlehem: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrata, being small among the clans of Judah, out of you one will come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. Therefore he will abandon them until the time that she who is in labor gives birth" (Mic 5:2-3).
December 23 - Our Lady of the Rouvre (Italy)
An Absolute Novelty Broke the Daily Monotony

Something that people had never imagined—an absolute novelty broke the daily monotony—something that had never before entered into their hearts! Something that their reason had not even conceived!

Something completely disconcerting: Christmas! God incarnated in a baby’s body. And that disconcerting something—which is beyond human comprehension—is manifested in someone so small. A God who makes gurgling sounds, cries, smiles, and is fed at his mother’s breasts. (…)

This descent of God to the level of our humanity in its most fragile and disconcerting aspect reveals the price that he paid to overturn our history, like a plough tills the soil.

Msgr Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon
In Les mytères du Rosaire, (The Mysteries of the Rosary), Editions de l’Emmanuel


   
1473 St. John of Kanty professor of sacred Scripture pius generous humble care for the poor b. 1390
See October 20 Here
The people of Olkusz in Bohemia in 1431 had every reason to be suspicious of their new pastor. They knew what a Cracow professor would think of their small rural town. But even more insulting, their town was once again being used as a dumping ground for a priest who was "in disgrace."

John had indeed been kicked out of his university position -- unjustly. Rivals who resented John's popularity with the students had cooked up a false charge against him. John was not even allowed to appear at his own hearing or testify in his own defense. So at age 41, he was shipped off to be an apprentice pastor.

Certainly no one would have blamed John if he was furious at such injustice. However, he was determined that his new parishioners would not suffer because of what he happened to him.

But there was no overnight miracle waiting of him in Olkusz. He was nervous and afraid of his new responsibilities. Despite the energy he put into his new job, the parishioners remained hostile. But John's plan was very simple, and came not from the mind but from the heart. He let his genuine interest and concern for these people show in everything he did. Despite working for years without any sign of success, he was very careful not to demonstrate impatience or anger. He knew that people could never be bullied into love, so he gave them what he hoped they would find in themselves.

After eight years, he was exonerated and transferred back to Cracow. He had been so successful that these once-hostile people followed him several miles down the road, begging him to stay.

For the rest of his life, he was professor of sacred Scripture at the university. He was so well-liked that he was often invited to dinner with nobility. Once, he was turned away at the door by a servant who thought John's cassock was too frayed. John didn't argue but went home, changed into a new cassock, and returned. During the meal, a servant spilled a dish on John's new clothes. "No matter," he joked. "My clothes deserve some dinner, too. If it hadn't been for them I wouldn't be here at all."

Once John was sitting down to dinner when he saw a beggar walk by outside. He jumped up immediately, ran out, and gave the beggar the food in his bowl. He asked no questions, made no demands. He just saw someone in need and helped with what he had.

John taught his students this philosophy again and again, "Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause."
In His Footsteps:

John put all his effort into a new and frightening job, that others might have considered beneath him. Today do something you have never done before or do something in a new way, perhaps something that has frightened you or you felt was beneath you. This can be something as simple as trying a different type of prayer or as complex as serving others in a new way.
Patron saint of Poland and Lithuania, also called John of Kanti or John of Kenty. He was born in Kanti, Poland, and was ordained after studies at the University of Cracow. John was ap­pointed a lecturer on Scriptures and was a popular preacher and parish priest for a few years before retaming to his university position. Attacks had been made by jealous associates about his abilities. Famous for his austerities and care for the poor, he was canonized in 1767 and was declared a patron of Poland and Lithuania by Pope Clement XII in 1737.
Prayer: Saint John of Kanty, you were unjustly fired from your work. Please pray for those who are jobless or in danger of losing their jobs that they may find work that is fulfilling in every way. Guide us to ways to help those looking for work. Amen
Sunday of the Holy Fathers Sunday before the Nativity of the Lord (December 18-24)
is known as the
Sunday of the Holy Fathers. On this day the Church commemorates all those who were well-pleasing to God from all ages, from Adam to St Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, those who are mentioned in the geneology of Luke 3:23-38. The holy prophets and prophetesses are also remembered today, especially the Prophet Daniel and the three holy youths (December 17).

The Troparion to the Prophet Daniel and the three holy youths ("Great are the accomplishments of faith…) is quite similar to the Troparion for St Theodore the Recruit (February 17, and the first Saturday of Great Lent). The Kontakion to St Theodore, who suffered martyrdom by fire, reminds us that he also had faith as his breastplate (see I Thessalonians 5:8).\\At Compline on this fourth day of the prefeast of the Nativity we sing, "Let us purify our minds, washing ourselves with the divine Mysteries; let us draw near in soul and body to Bethlehem, that we may behold the fearful dispensation of the birth of the Lord" (Ode Five of the Canon).

250 St. Theodulus Martyr with Saturninus on Crete and still revered there
  In Creta sanctórum Mártyrum Theodúli, Saturníni, Eupori, Gelásii, Euniciáni, Zétici, Leóminis, Agathópodis, Basílidis et Evarísti; qui, in Décii persecutióne, crudélia passi sunt et cápite cæsi.
       In Crete, the holy martyrs Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunicianus, Zeticus, Leomines, Agathopodes, Basilides, and Everistus, who were beheaded after suffering cruel torments in the persecution of Decius.

250 THE TEN MARTYRS OF CRETE
UPON the publication of the edict against Christians under Decius the activity of a barbarous governor soon made victims in the isle of Crete. Among the martyrs who there triumphed none were more conspicuous than Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Cleomenes, Agathopus, Basilides and Evaristus, commonly called the Ten Martyrs of Crete. The three first were citizens of Gortyna, the capital. United in their confession of Christ, they were arrested, dragged along the ground to prison, beaten, stoned by the mob, and at length presented to the governor at Gortyna. As soon as they appeared in court they were ordered to sacrifice to Jupiter, because on that very day their countrymen celebrated a festival in his honour. They answered that they would never sacrifice to idols. The president said, “You shall know the power of the gods; you show no respect to this great assembly, which worships the omnipotent Jupiter, Juno, Rhea and the rest”.
   The martyrs replied that they were only too well acquainted with the history of the life and actions of Jupiter, and that those who look upon him as a god must look upon it as a divine thing to imitate his wickedness.
The people were ready to tear them to pieces on the spot if the governor had not restrained them and commanded the martyrs to be tortured. They endured all with joy, and answered to the cries of the mob, who pressed them to spare themselves by obeying and sacrificing to their gods, “We are Christians and would rather die a thousand times”. The governor at length, seeing himself vanquished, condemned them to die by the sword. They went forth triumphantly to the place of execution, praying that God would have mercy on them and on all mankind, and would deliver their countrymen from the blindness of idolatry. When their heads were struck off, and the crowds dispersed, other Christians buried their bodies, which were afterwards taken to Rome. The fathers who composed the Council of Crete in 458, writing to the Emperor Leo I, claimed that through the intercession of these martyrs their island had been till that time preserved from heresy.
The Greek passio of these martyrs is preserved in two forms. The more trustworthy is that edited by A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus in his Analecta, vol. iv, pp. 224—237. The second belongs to the class usually attributed to the Metaphrast and it is printed in Migne, PG., vol. cxvi, pp. 565-573. The tradition of their martyrdom still seems very strong in the neighbourhood of Gortyna. The village in which they actually suffered bears the name Hagioi Deka (Ten Saints): a broken slab is shown with ten hollow depressions, which is said to mark the places where they knelt to receive the fatal stroke. See the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xviii (1899), p. 280.  
Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Leomenes (or Cleomenes), Basilides, Agathopus, Zeticus, and Evaristus. They were put to death on Crete during the persecutions of Emperor Trajanus Decius (r. 249-251) and are revered on Crete. Ten martyrs of the island of Crete who suffered during the persecution of Emperor Trajanus Decius. They are named Agathopus, Basilides, Eunician, Euporus, Evaristus, Cleomenes, Gelasius, Saturninus, Theodulus, and Zoticus.
The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete: Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompius, Agathopus, Basilides and Evaristus suffered for Christ during the third century under the emperor Decius (249-251). The governor of Crete, also named Decius, fiercely persecuted the Church, and arrested anyone who believed in Christ. Once, ten Christians were brought before him from various cities of Crete, who at the trial steadfastly confessed their faith in Christ and refused to worship idols.

For thirty days they were subjected to cruel tortures, and with the help of God they all persevered, glorifying God. Before their death they prayed that the Lord would enlighten their torturers with the light of the true Faith. Since pain did not influence them, the saints were beheaded.
St. Servulus a beggar in Rome palsy thanked God all his life.
Romæ beáti Sérvuli, qui (ut sanctus Gregórius Papa scribit), a primæva sui ætáte usque ad finem vitæ, paralyticus jácuit in pórticu prope Ecclésiam sancti Cleméntis, et demum, Angelórum cántibus invitátus, ad paradísi glóriam transívit; ad cujus túmulum Deus mirácula crebérrime osténdit.
       At Rome, blessed Servulus of whom St. Gregory writes that from his early years to the end of his life he was a paralytic and had remained lying in a porch near St. Clement's Church, and being invited by the chant of angels, he went to enjoy the glory of Paradise.  At his tomb frequent miracles are wrought by God.

590 ST SERVULUS
IN this holy man was exemplified what our divine Redeemer taught of Lazarus, the poor man full of sores who lay at the gate of the rich man’s house. Servulus was a beggar, afflicted with the palsy from his infancy, so that he had never been able to stand, sit upright, lift his hand to his mouth, or turn himself from one side to another. His mother and brother carried him to the porch of St Clement’s church at Rome, where he lived on the alms of those that passed by, and whatever was left over he distributed among other needy persons. And for all that he was able to save enough to buy some books of Holy Scripture, which, as he could not read himself, he got others to read to him; and he listened with such attention as to learn them by heart. Much time he passed singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God in spite of continual pain. After years thus spent he felt his end draw near, and in his last moments he asked the poor and pilgrims who had often shared his charity to sing hymns and psalms by his bed. Whilst he joined his voice with theirs he on a sudden cried out, “Do you hear the great and wonderful music in heaven?” When he had spoken these words he died, and angels into everlasting bliss carried his soul. The body of Servulus was buried in St Clement’s church, and his feast is annually celebrated in that church on the Coelian Hill outside of which he was wont to lay.
St Gregory the Great concludes the account he gives of Servulus, in a sermon to his people, by observing that the behaviour of this poor sick beggar loudly condemns those who, when blessed with good health and fortune, neither do good works nor suffer the least cross with tolerable patience. He speaks of him as one who was well known both to himself and his hearers, and says that one of his monks, who was present at his death, used to speak of the fragrant smell which came from the dead beggar’s body. Servulus was a true lover of God, not careful and troubled about his own life, but solicitous that God be honoured, and all that he could suffer for this end he looked upon as reward. By his constancy and fidelity he overcame the world and all bodily afflictions.
We know nothing about Servulus but what we learn from St Gregory the Great. See his Dialogues, bk iv, ch. 14, and also one of his homilies, printed in Migne, PL., vol. lxxvi, g. 1333.

According to St. Gregory the Great (b. 540 d. 12 March 604), Servulus was a beggar in Rome, afflicted with palsy since infancy, who lived on alms he solicited from people passing St. Clement's Church. He spent his lifetime giving thanks to God for His goodness, despite the squalor and pain of his life.
Sixth Century

Pope St. Gregory the Great is the only writer who has recorded the touching story of this humble Roman saint of his own day. Like the Lazarus of our Lord's parable of the rich man and the poor man, St. Servulus was a crippled beggar whose piety won him a place "in Abraham's bosom."

Servulus, the pope tells us, was paralyzed from infancy. He could not stand. He could not sit up. He could not carry his hand to his mouth. He could not turn himself about. For even the basic services of life he had to depend on others.

The poor cripple could do nothing to support himself but beg alms. (There was no state welfare in those days, nor was there any system of private charities for the badly disabled.) So his mother and brother carried him daily to a spot in the porch of St. Clement's Church in Rome. There he besaught the charity of churchgoers and passersby.

What was remarkable about this poor man was his devout acceptance of disability. True to his name ("Servulus" means "little servant"), he did not use his ailments as an excuse to neglect the love of God and neighbor. Whatever alms he received beyond his own needs, he passed on to others. With some of the gifts, he brought books on sacred scripture. Although unable to read himself, he had others read to him; and he memorized, pondered and prayed over what he heard. He likewise learned a number of hymns of praise and thanksgiving, and often sang them as he lay on the cold threshold. Singing served the double effect of honoring God and dulling pain.

All this went on, we are told, for a good many years. Eventually, however, Servulus sensed that his life was coming to an end. Confined to his bed at home, he asked that the poor and the pilgrims whom he had come to know, gather at his bedside and join him in singing hymns. Suddenly he cried out. "Do you hear the great and beautiful music in heaven?" These were his last words. His soul, ever beautiful and agile, left the prison of his contorted frame.

The devout beggar of St. Clement's was buried in the very church where he had begged. Each year on December 23, St. Clement's celebrates the feast day of its own special mendicant.

St. Gregory speaks of St. Servulus as if he knew him well. He says that one of his own monks who attended the death and funeral commented on the sweet fragrance that arose from the body of the dead cripple.

The pope found a profound lesson in the virtues of this wise paralytic. He cried shame upon those people gifted with health and wealth who complained of far lighter crosses and were stingy with their possessions.
For St. Servulus, life itself was a gift beyond compare. Father Robert F. McNamara
303 St. Migdonius & Mardonius Martyred officials of the Roman court.
 Nicomedíæ pássio sanctórum Migdónii et Mardónii, quorum alter, in Diocletiáni persecutióne, igne cremátus, alter in fossam projéctus occúbuit.  Tunc étiam Diáconus sancti Anthimi, Epíscopi Nicomediénsis, passus est; qui, cum lítteras perférret ad Mártyres, a Gentílibus tentus est, atque, lapídibus óbrutus, migrávit ad Dóminum.
       At Nicomedia, the passion of Saints Migdonius and Mardonius, one of whom was burned alive in the same persecution of Diocletian, and the other died in a pit where he had been thrown.  A deacon of St. Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, suffered at the same time.  He had been arrested by the heathen when he was carrying letters to the martyrs, and being overwhelmed with stones, went to our Lord.
in the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Migdonius was burned at the stake and Mardonius was drowned in a well.
304 St. Victoria sister Anatolia guard martyred
 Romæ sanctæ Victóriæ, Vírginis et Mártyris, quæ, in persecutióne Décii Imperatóris, cum esset desponsáta Eugénio pagáno et nec núbere vellet neque sacrificáre, ídeo, post multa facta mirácula, quibus plúrimas Deo Vírgines aggregáverat, a carnífice percússa est gládio in corde, rogátu sui sponsi.
       At Rome, St. Victoria, virgin and martyr, during the persecution of Emperor Decius.  She had been promised in marriage to a pagan named Eugene, but because she had refused to marry him and to offer sacrifice to idols, and because by working many miracles she had brought many virgins to the service of God, the executioner thrust a sword into her heart at the request of her spouse.

SS. VICTORIA AND ANATOLIA, VIRGINS AND MARTYRS
THE valueless passio of St Anatolia relates that when she refused, in consequence of a vision, to accept her suitor Aurelius he went to her sister, Victoria,
and asked
her to persuade Anatolia to marry him. Victoria’s efforts were not only unsuccess­ful, but she herself was converted to her sister’s views and broke off her own betrothal with one Eugenius. The young men then removed the maidens from Rome to their respective country villas and tried to starve them into a different frame of mind. Anatolia was denounced as a Christian, and her end is thus summarized in the Roman Martyrology on July 9: “After she had healed many throughout the province of Picenum who were suffering from various diseases and had brought them to believe in Christ, she was afflicted with several punishments by order of the judge Faustinian; and after she had been freed from a serpent that was set upon her and had converted [the executioner] Audax to the faith, lifting up her hands in prayer, she was pierced with a sword.”
Victoria met with a similar fate, perhaps at Tribulano in the Sabine hills. “She refused either to marry Eugenius or to sacrifice and, after working many miracles whereby numerous maidens were gathered to God, she was smitten to the heart by the executioner’s sword at the request of her betrothed”.
Both St Anatolia and St Victoria had a cultus in various parts of Italy, but the real circumstances of their martyrdom are not known. The sentiments regarding marriage expressed in their passio are of the exaggerated and unguarded kind, which, though often found in Christian documents, approximate more to the heretical doctrines of Encratism than to the teaching of the Catholic Church. Like the passio of St Lucy, St Aldhelm of Sherborne utilized that of St Victoria in his works De laudibus virginitatis. 

Although the passio of these martyrs, preserved to us in varying and inconsistent texts (see BHL., nn. 417—420 and 8591—8593), is historically valueless, still there are grounds for believing in their real existence. See P. Paschini, La passio delle martire Sabine Vittoria ed Anatolia (1919); Lanzoni, Le diocesi d’Italia, pp. 347—350; Schuster, Bolletino diocesano per Sabina, etc. (1917), pp. 163—167; and especially Delehaye’s CMH., pp. 364 and 654, with his Etude sur le Légendier romain (1936), pp. 59-60

There is very little known about St. Victoria. With her sister Anatolia, she refused importunate suitors. Both were imprisoned and starved by their suitors but persisted in refusing marriage. Anatolia was converted to Christianity and converted many in Picenum before being denounced for her faith, for which she was tortured and executed at Thora on Lake Velino in Italy. When Victoria refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, she too was executed, perhaps at Tribulano. The guard was converted by their example and was also martyred. Their whole story is probably a pious myth, though they did actually live.
4th v. Saint Paul, Bishop of Neocaesarea First Ecmenical Council at Nicea,
suffered under the emperor Licinius (311-324) At his trial he firmly confessed his faith, and was subjected to beatings. They tortured him also with hunger, but he remained steadfast. Then they scorched his hands with red-hot iron and locked him in a prison at the banks of the Euphrates.

After Licinius was executed in the year 324, when St Constantine became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire, and Christians in prison received their freedom, St Paul returned to his flock. He was a participant at the First Ecmenical Council at Nicea, convened in the year 325, at which the Arian heresy was condemned and the Symbol of Faith adopted. At the end of the Council, the Emperor Constantine solemnly received the Council participants and kissed St Paul's burned hand. After long years of guiding his flock, St Paul peacefully fell asleep in the Lord.

679 St. Dagobert II Martyred king of Austrasia son of King Sigebert II

ST DAGOBERT II OF AUSTRASIA (A.D. 679)
Two French dioceses keep the feast of King Dagobert II, who was the son of another sainted king, Sigebert III ; but there seems no particular reason except popular tradition why he should be regarded as a saint, much less as a martyr.
   He was still a child when he succeeded to the throne of Austrasia in 656, and his guardian, Grimoald, the unworthy son of Bd Pepin of Landen, who gave the crown to his own son, Childebert, exiled him. Dido, Bishop of Poitiers, took Dagobert to Ireland.

 We learn from Eddi’s Life of St Wilfrid of York that that saint befriended Dagobert, who in 675, on the murder of Childeric II, was repatriated by the good offices—and “in style
—of St. Wilfrid and recovered his kingdom. When Wilfrid was on his way to Rome to appeal against St Theodore of Canterbury and King Egfrid, he came to the court at Metz and the king wished to reward his services by bestowing on him the vacant see of Strasburg; but Wilfrid refused it.
 When Dagobert met his death on December 23, 679, while hunting in the forest of Woëvre in Lorraine, it was attributed to “the treachery of dukes with the consent of bishops
. He was buried near by at Stenay. As in the several other similar instances, e.g. St Sigismund of Burgundy, the circum­stances of his death caused Dagobert to be regarded as a martyr and this led to his cultus as a saint.
The tenth-century Life of Dagobert (best edited by B. Krusch in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. ii, pp. 511—524) is of little value, but see Krusch’s supplement in vol. vii, pp. 474 and 494. Eddi’s references to Dagobert are of great interest. They may conveniently be consulted in Colgrave’s edition of the Life of St Wilfrid (1927), and cf. Vacandard, Vie de St Ouen, pp. 283—286. See further Bede’s Eccles. Hist., in Plummer’s edition, vol. ii, pp. 318 and 325; F. Lot, Histoire du moyen âge (5928), vol. i, pp. 282 and 286; B. Krusch in Historische Aufsätze K. Zeumer gewidmet (1910), pp. 411—438; and Gougaud, Christianity in Celtic Lands, p. 153. Referring to the many years Dagobert is said to have spent in Ireland, Gougaud remarks “No doubt this fact accounts for the presence of these Irishmen in Aquitaine at a later time.” Cf. also W. Levison, England and the Continent (1946), pp. 49—51. Dagobert took the throne as a child and was forced into exile. Bishop Dido of Poitiers, France, took him to Ireland when Childebert was named king. Dagobert regained his throne in 675, but he was murdered only four years later. Ebroin, the mayor of the palace, slew him on December 23 while on a hunt­ing trip. Dagobert was a friend of St. Wilfrid.
890 St. Vintila Benedictine monk hermit.
He was a recluse who had a hermitage in Pugino, Galicia, Spain. Vintila drew many disciples and pilgrims because of his great holiness and austere ways.

910 Saint Nahum disciple of Sts Cyril and Methodius wonderworker man of prayer translate Scriptures from Greek to Slavonic.
(May 11), one of their coworkers known as the Five Followers.
St Nahum was a man of great learning, and he spoke several languages.
After a visit to Rome, he settled on the shores of Lake Ochrid. There he built a monastery at the time when St Clement of Ochrid (July 27) was serving as a bishop.
Many monks gathered around St Nahum, who was known as a great wonderworker and a man of prayer.
He also labored to translate the Holy Scriptures from Greek into Slavonic.

St Nahum fell asleep in the Lord in 910, and his holy relics continue to work miracles of healing for those who venerate them in faith.


1164 Bd Hartman, Bishop of Brixen; canon; highly respected by the Emperors Conrad III and Frederick I.
Hartman was born at Polling and educated at the Augustinian monastery of St Nicholas at Passau, wherein he eventually became a canon. His virtues and talents were unusual, and when Conrad, archbishop of Salzburg, wished to introduce regular discipline and the common life among his clergy he invited Hartman to become dean of the metropolitan chapter. This was in 1122. When Hartman had formed these canons to the regular life, Conrad transferred him to the provost-ship of the monastery of Herrenchiemsee in order that it might be reformed, and from there he was called by St Leopold, Margrave of Austria, to the house of canons he had founded at Klosterneuburg.
When the see of Brixen in Tirol became vacant in 1140, Bd Hartman was called to be its bishop, and two years later he founded the regular chapter of Neustift in his cathedral city and liberally endowed it. Shortly after, with one of his cathedral canons, he established the hospice of the Holy Cross for poor pilgrims in Brixen.

Bd Hartman was highly respected by the Emperors Conrad III and Frederick I. He was involved in the troubles between the Frederick I and Pope Alexander III, but neither threats nor promises could alienate him from the Holy See.

After governing his church most holily for twenty-four years he died—in a bath—on December 23, 1164. In 1784 Pope Pius VI confirmed the cultus of Bd Hartman.

There is a medieval Latin Life of Bd Hartman which is printed in Pez, Scriptores rerum austriacarum, vol. i, and which was also edited by H. Zeibig, Vita b. Hartmanni (1846). See upon this H. R. von Zeissberg in the Archiv f. österreich Geschichte, vol. lvi (1878), pp. 447—464. A more modern biography, in German, is that of A. Sparber (1910).

1193 St Thorlac, Bishop Of Skalholt; daily rule of life, which began with the singing of the Credo, Pater noster, and a hymn directly he awoke; he recited a third of the psalter every day, and had an especial devotion to the titular saints of the churches in which he ministered; formed a community of canons regular, of which he was abbot; Two books of the miracles of Thorlac Thorhallsson were written down within a few years of his death.
Christianity was planted in Iceland at the end of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century, and made such progress that the island was soon divided into two dioceses, Skalholt and Holar, which in 1152 were made suffragans of Nidaros (Trondhjem): Iceland had been colonized and evangelized from Norway.
   During the twelfth century two bishops, one from each see, were venerated as saints locally and in Norway, namely, John of Holar and Thorlac of Skalholt. The life of Thorlac is narrated in the Thorlakssaga by a cleric of Skalholt. We are told that Thorlac Thorhallsson was a deacon when he was fifteen and a priest three years later, and then, being a promising young man, was sent abroad to study:  he is said to have visited Lincoln.
After ten years, in 1161, Thorlac returned to Iceland full of reforming zeal. He was joyfully received by his mother and sisters, who expected him to settle down to the semi-secular life led by most of the clergy there in those days, but instead he devoted himself to study and the ministry. His biographer gives an account of Thorlac’s daily rule of life, which began with the singing of the Credo, Pater noster, and a hymn directly he awoke; he recited a third of the psalter every day, and had an especial devotion to the titular saints of the churches in which he ministered.
   Some years later an heirless farmer died, leaving his land and house to the Church with instructions that Thorlac should establish a monastery there, and he accordingly formed a community of canons regular, of which he was abbot. We are told that Thorlac’s mother went with him to Thykkviboer to be cook and housekeeper for the new community. In 1178 he became bishop of Skalholt, and was consecrated by Archbishop St Eystein in Nidaros.
The way was now clear for Thorlac to introduce and promote the higher spiritual standards and improved ecclesiastical discipline, which he knew that the good of souls required and the Church demanded. On the side of discipline this resolved itself chiefly into endeavours to impose the observance of clerical celibacy and to abolish lay patronage and impropriation, with their associated abuse of simony, and his episcopal career is a record of his efforts in these directions and the
successes, difficulties and checks with which he met. He received far more opposition than encouragement, often from men of goodwill or from those to whom he could reasonably look for support, but to the end he did not withdraw from the struggle or modify his policy.
   He had the encouragement of his metropolitan, the forceful St Eystein Jan 26, who was fighting a similar battle in Norway, and with his approval used the weapon of excommunication for the first time in Iceland. In his sixtieth year Thorlac determined to resign his see and retire to the abbey of Thykkviboer, but death overtook him before he could put this resolution into effect, on December 23, 1193. Five years later he was canonized by the althing (assembly) of Iceland. This proceeding of course had no valid ecclesiastical effect, but it encouraged the popular and liturgical cultus that was undoubtedly accorded to Thorlac until the change of religion. The Holy See has not confirmed this cultus. Two books of the miracles of Thorlac Thorhallsson were written down within a few years of his death.

There are certain fragments of Latin lives or breviary lessons relating to St Thorlac, which have been printed by Langebek in his Scriptores rerum Danicarum, vol. iv, pp. 624—630, as well as the Thorlakssaga. A pretty full notice is devoted to him by Gley in the Biographie universelle, but otherwise it seems difficult for any who are not specialists in the Scandinavian languages to learn much about Bishop Thorlac that is reliable. Cf. also Baumgartner in Kirchenlexikon, s.v. Island. The Saga of Thorlac may be read in a German translation by W. Baetke, Islands Besiedlung und älteste Geschichte (1928).

14th v. Saint Theoctistus, Archbishop of Novgorod
Prior to becoming a bishop, was igumen of the Annunciation monastery near Novgorod. After the death of Archbishop Clement in the year 1300, the people of Novgorod chose him as their Archbishop, and Metropolitan Maximus with the bishops Simeon of Rostov and Andrew of Tver consecrated St Theoctistus as Archbishop of Novgorod.

One of St Theoctistus' concerns was the renovation and building of churches. He consecrated cathedrals in the name of Sts Boris and Gleb, and in the name of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. The monastery of Valaam was set in good order during his time.

In the year 1307, because of poor health, the saint withdrew to the Annunciation monastery, where he lived until his death, devoting himself to the ascetic deed of silence. St Theoctistus was glorified in 1664, because of the miraculous healings at his relics. In 1786, the relics of the saint were transferred to Yuriev, where Archimandrite Photius built a chapel in his honor at the local cathedral.

14thv. Saint Niphon, Bishop of Cyprus; devils often attacked, overcame with the help of God received from God gift to discern evil spirits and defeat them, also saw departure of the soul after death.
Born in Paphlagonia, and was educated at Constantinople. In childhood he was gentle and good, and he often attended church services, but in his youth he began to lead a prodigal and sinful life. He sometimes came to his senses, and he was horrified by the extent of his fall; but believing that he was lost and could not receive forgiveness, he resumed his impious life.

He once met a friend who gazed into his face for a long time with astonishment. When Niphon asked why he was staring, the friend replied, "I have never seen your face like this before. It is black, like that of an Ethiopian." These words showed to Niphon his fallen state, and he began to cry out to the Mother of God, begging Her intercession.

After an intense and long prayer he saw that the face of the Mother of God on the holy icon was radiantly bright with a smile. From that time Niphon prayed incessantly to the Queen of Heaven. If he fell into sin, the face of the Mother of God turned away from him, but after tears and prayers, She mercifully turned toward him again. Finally, Niphon completely turned his life around and began to spend his time in prayer and repentance. After an illness, from which he received healing from the Mother of God, he received the Holy Mysteries, and then accepted monastic tonsure and intensified his efforts, exhausting his body in the struggle against the passions.

This struggle lasted for many years, and devils often attacked St Niphon, but with the help of God he overcame them.
He received from God the gift to discern evil spirits and defeat them, and alsoto see the departure of the soul after death.
Already advanced in age, and arriving at Alexandria, he was pointed out to the Patriarch in a vision as one worthy to assume the office of bishop. They made him bishop of the city of Constantia on the island of Cyprus. However, he did not remain there for long. St Niphon knew the time of his death three days beforehand. St Athanasius the Great visited him before his blessed repose. On his deathbed the saint was granted to see angels and the All-Pure Mother of God.
1464 BD MARGARET OF SAVOY, WIDOW; took the habit of the third order of St Dominic and with other ladies formed a community at Alba. This retired life of prayer, study and charitable works lasted for some twenty-five years; Pope Eugenius IV gave permission for the tertiary sisters to become nuns, in the same place and under the rule of Bd Margaret. During the last sixteen years of her life ecstasies and miracles are alleged in abundance, among them a vision of our Lord offering her three arrows, labelled respectively Sickness, Slander and Persecution.
BD MARGARET was allied in blood to the principal royal houses of Europe, her father being Amadeus of Savoy and her mother a sister of the Clement VII who claimed to be pope at Avignon during the “great schism”. In 1403 she made a marriage befitting this high rank, with Theodore Palaeologus, Marquis of Montferrat, a widower with two children, a headstrong soldier but a good Christian at heart. Margaret herself had no children but was devoted to those of her husband, and soon endeared herself on all hands, working selflessly for the people during a plague and the famine that followed it in Genoa.
In 1418 the Marquis of Montferrat died. Margaret, after endeavouring for a time to bring the unhappy marital affairs of her stepdaughter to a successful issue, went to live on her estate at Alba in Piedmont, where she bound herself by vow to widowhood and a life of good works. But she was still young, thirty-six at the most, and politically a most desirable match, and Philip Visconti of Milan wanted to marry her. He was an old enemy of the Montferrats, a man of deplorable character, and Margaret refused him, pleading her vow. So Visconti went off to Pope Martin V and came back with a dispensation for her, but she remained firm in her determination not again to change her state.
In her youth she had been friendly with St Vincent Ferrer, and to strengthen her position she took the habit of the third order of St Dominic and with other ladies formed a community at Alba. This retired life of prayer, study and charitable works lasted for some twenty-five years. There is in the royal library at Turin a volume of the letters of St Catherine of Siena and other matters copied and bound “by order of the illustrious lady, Margaret of Savoy, Marchioness of Montferrat” during this time.
Then Pope Eugenius IV gave permission for the tertiary sisters to become nuns, in the same place and under the rule of Bd Margaret. During the last sixteen years of her life ecstasies and miracles are alleged in abundance,
among them a vision of our Lord offering her three arrows, labelled respectively Sickness, Slander and Persecution. Certainly Margaret suffered from all three. She was accused of hypocrisy, of tyrannizing over her nuns, and her ill-health was attributed to self-indulgence, and Philip Visconti spread the rumour that the convent was a centre of the Waldensian heresy. This was a peculiarly shocking charge to bring against children of St Dominic, and the innocent friar who was their confessor and director found himself in prison. Margaret went to demand his release, but only had her hand brutally crushed between the heavy doors of the castle for her pains, and it was some time before the man was vindicated from the malicious accusation of having corrupted both the faith and morals of his charges.

Bd Margaret of Savoy died on November 23, 1464, strengthened by a vision, seen by others besides herself, of St Catherine of Siena. Her cultus was confirmed in 1669. 

Four or five lives of Bd Margaret seem to have been published in the seventeenth century, that by G. Baresiano appearing in 1638. In more modern times we have an Italian biography by F. G. Allaria (1877), another without the author’s name (Torino, 1883), and a shorter notice included in M. C. de Ganay’s book, Les Bienheureuses Dominicaines (1914), pp. 251—277. See also Procter, Lives of Dominican Saints, pp. 334—337.

1550 St. Nicholas Factor Franciscan preacher native of Valencia Spain, he entered the Franciscans in 1537 and subsequently labored as a preacher. It was his custom to scourge himself before delivering each sermon. In the process of his beatification in 1786, St. Paschal Baylon and Blessed Louis Bertrand were summoned to act as witnesses.

 Friday  Saints of  December  23 Décimo 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.