Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 17)

June 16, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after all of the Popes are named, we find the Bishop Cyprian.

St. Cyprian was born in the beginning of the third century at Carthage. He was of distinguished rank, rich, very talented, and very well educated.  Only in a more mature age was he won over to the Catholic Faith; his baptism took place about the year 246. He distributed his great wealth among the poor, made a vow of perpetual chastity, and spent his time in prayer and the study of the sacred sciences.

From the very beginning of his conversion, he was adorned with brilliant virtues and uncommon graces.  How happy he regarded himself in the possession of Christian truth and grace. St. Cyprian was raised to the priesthood, and, as he was so greatly renowned for his learning and exemplary manner of life, he was promoted to the Episcopal See of Carthage in the year 248. The ten years’ episcopacy of the saint (248-258) fell during the time of the most violent persecution and of other exterior misfortunes besides.  Powerful in word and deed, St. Cyprian fulfilled, with indefatigable zeal, his pastoral duties for the salvation of the faithful confided to his care, and for the welfare of the whole Church. He worked diligently for the unity and discipline of the Church against heretics and schismatics, animated all to cheerful endurance of martyrdom, and consumed himself in the ardor of Christian charity. His life, rich in blessings, was terminated by the glorious death of a martyr. He was put to death by the sword in the public place of Carthage, on September 14, 258.

St. Cyprian, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,

Fr. Matt

 

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 16)

June 9, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Sixtus, we find Cornelius.

St. Cornelius ascended the Chair of Peter in the year 251.  St. Cyprian extols him as quiet, modest, and humble. Under the tyrant Emperor Decius, St. Cornelius was in constant expectation of death.  Under the Emperor Gailus, in the year 252, a violent storm arose against the Christians in Rome; but they, with the Pope at their head, maintained the faith with such unanimity, fortitude and strength as to excite universal joy and jubilation, and St. Cyprian could not sufficiently praise and admire them.

St. Cornelius was banished to Centumn Cehlae (Civitavecehia), and there died a martyr on September 14, 252; as on the same day six years later (258) the holy Bishop Cyprian of Carthage was martyred, both names are, therefore, usually mentioned together.  Their joint feast is celebrated on September sixteenth.

St. Cornelius, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,

Fr. Matt

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 15)

June 2, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Clement, we find Sixtus.

The name of Xystus, found in ancient records, is the Greek form of Sixtus.  During the first three centuries, there were two Popes of this name. Sixtus I (115 to about 125) governed the Church during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, when the lot of the Christians was a hard and painful one; he suffered martyrdom and was buried in the Vatican near St. Peter.  His feast occurs on the sixth of April.

Far better known and more celebrated is Sixtus II, a Greek by birth.  His pontificate (257-258) fell during the stormy period of the Valerian persecution of the Christians.  In spite of the Emperor’s prohibition, he ventured to hold divine service in the Catacombs. Discovered by the heathen soldiers and apprehended, he was dragged into the city before the tribunal and condemned; afterward he was again led back to the Catacomb of Praetextatus, in which he had previously celebrated the Holy Sacrifice, and was beheaded on, or near his episcopal throne.  The crown of martyrdom was granted to him on August 6, 258.  His body now rests in the very ancient church situated on the Appian Way, S. Sisto vecchio in Rome.

Which Sixtus is it — the first or the second — that is commemorated in the Canon? Opinions are divided.  To prove that Sixtus I is intended, it is asserted that the five Popes are mentioned in chronological order.  As only Sixtus I reigned before Cornelius, he is mentioned in the Canon in that position.

More and stronger reasons are in favor of Sixtus II.  His memory has ever been highly celebrated in the Church; the Catacombs prove this by many pictures, illustrations, and prayers.  As Sixtus II, in his martyrdom, preceded his glorious Deacon Lawrence, thus is he likewise mentioned before him in the Canon. St. Sixtus II, it is true, occupied the Papal chair only after St. Cornelius; but here there was a reason for departing from the chronological order and placing the name of Sixtus before that of Cornelius.  For this was done that the names of the two Saints, Cornelius and Cyprian, might not be here separated, as they were otherwise always connected in the veneration of the Church. Already in the most ancient Roman liturgy both have a common Mass, as is still the case at the present day.

St. Sixtus, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,

Fr. Matt

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 14)

May 26, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Linus and Cletus, we find Clement.

St. Clement is reckoned among the Apostolic Fathers; he sat in the Chair of Peter

from 88 to about 97 (again, records are sketchy owing to persecutions).  St. Irenaeus writes of him: “In the third place, after the Apostles, the Roman episcopate received Clement, who had seen the Prince of the Apostles, had associated with them, had listened to their sermons and had the Apostolic tradition before his eyes.”

St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Philippians, mentions him among “his co-laborers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.” According to the testimony of ancient writers, St. Clement was endowed with all the qualities of mind and heart that were requisite for the highest ecclesiastical dignities.

The legend relates that the Emperor Trajan banished him to the Taurian Chersoneus (Crimea), where he found two thousand Christians condemned to work in the marble quarries, who suffered greatly for want of water.  Clement prayed, and on an adjacent hill appeared a lamb, from beneath whose right foot a spring of fresh water issued forth. This miracle brought about the conversion of many of the inhabitants. Then Trajan commanded St. Clement to be cast into the sea with an anchor fastened to his neck.  The Christians on the shore fell upon their knees and prayed; and behold! The sea receded three thousand paces, and there appeared, built by the hands of angels, a marble temple in which the body of the saint, together with the anchor, was found.

The mortal remains of the martyr are said to have been brought to Rome by the Greek missionaries, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, during the pontificate of Pope Hadrian II, and placed in the very ancient basilica of St. Clement, near the Coliseum, of which mention is already made by St. Jerome.  His feast is celebrated on the twenty-third of November.

St. Clement, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,

Fr. Matt

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 13)

May 19, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Simon and Jude, we find five Popes listed.  The first of these are Linus Cletus.

St. Linus, the first successor of St. Peter in the See of Rome and, therefore, the second Pope, is assuredly the same from whom St. Paul sends a salutation to Timothy.  He was converted to Christianity by St. Peter, and, as a distinguished assistant of the Prince of the Apostles, he may indeed frequently have taken his place, when the latter was obliged to leave Rome for a time, in order to preach the Gospel elsewhere. St. Linus led the Church from 67 to about 76.  He was decapitated and buried in the Vatican by the side of St. Peter. Under Pope Urban VIII, a tomb was discovered there, bearing the simple inscription: “Linus.” His feast occurs on the twenty-third of September.

St. Cletus (76~91) succeeded St. Linus.  The exact order of the early Popes is difficult to determine owing to the fact of persecution of the Church, including the burning of documents, and the use of slightly differing names between the Latin and Greek records.  It is believed that he erected a tombstone to St. Peter, who had ordained him a Priest. His feast falls on the twenty-sixth of April.

St. Linus and St. Cletus, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,

Fr. Matt

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 11)

May 12, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Matthew we find Simon and Jude.

 

St. Simon, the Zealot, is in the veneration of the Church connected with St. Judas Thaddeus, who was a brother of St. James the Less.  Both Martyrs consumed and sacrificed their lives by their labors in Mesopotamia and Persia, where Simon was cut in two with a sword and Judas was shot to death with arrows. Their holy bodies repose in the cathedral of St. Peter in Rome.

 

Here the record of the Apostles closes, that the holy number twelve should not be exceeded. For the number twelve is symbolical “of the universality of the Church of Christ, which extends to the four quarters of the world, in the unity of faith in the triune God.  Hence the heavenly city Jerusalem, this figure of the Church of Christ in its completion, has four walls and in each wall three portals, the twelve entrances being built upon twelve precious stones which bear the

names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21).  The Apostles not only scattered the seed of the Divine Word, but they labored to bring it to maturity by watering it with the sweat of their brow and by shedding their hearts’ blood.  Built and resting upon the chief cornerstone Christ, the Apostles have thus become the foundation of the Church, which for this reason is called Apostolic.

 

St. Simon and St. Jude, pray for us!

 

For the Greater Glory of God,

Fr. Matt

First Holy Communion

May 5, 2019

We offer our heartfelt congratulations to all of our young people who, for the first time this weekend, are receiving Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist.  This is a momentous milestone in their lives, not just in the aspect of spirituality and faith development, but also in relation to their entire lives. Our lives are given to us by God, and we are naturally oriented toward God.  We are made for God, as St. Augustine astutely observed: “Our hearts are restless, O God, until they rest in Thee.” Because we are made for Eternal Life in Heaven with God, it is most appropriate that we live our lives as close to God as possible, ever loving God more and doing our best to be ever more faithful witnesses to the Gospel.  We are never closer to God than when we receive Holy Communion – the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus, for as Bishop Robert Barron says, when we receive Holy Communion, “we enter Heaven for a moment.” This blessed reality now comes to our First Communicants, and we pray that they will all remain faithful to God and close to the Holy Eucharist all the days of their lives.  And may God, Who has begun the Good Work in them, bring it to completion.

 

For the Greater Glory of God,

Fr. Matt

Divine Mercy

April 28, 2019

The mercy of God is amazing. It is an endless ocean of forgiveness, wherein God casts away every and all sin for eternity. The mercy of God flowing into the human person is something akin to pouring the ocean into a swimming pool: it is an overwhelming experience that fills the pool to capacity, and the ocean water overflows to everything and everyone around it. That’s how God’s mercy works in us. When we receive the incredible mercy of God though Sacramental Reconciliation, God’s mercy floods into us, fills us with Divine Love, and overflows into every relationship in our lives. If you’ve not been to Confession in a while, perhaps you have forgotten how awesome God’s mercy is. Maybe it’s time to open your soul to the One Who wants to free you, Who wants to heal you, Who is the only One Who can save you.

O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world, and empty Yourself out upon us! O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in you!

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Happy Easter!

April 21, 2019

Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the holy anthem rise! Jesus Christ rises from the dead to put a divine exclamation point on all of His teachings. Jesus taught by word and example. He shows us how to live, how to work, how to suffer, how to die, and how to rise. All of these can be done through Him, with Him, and in Him. For this reason, it is critically important for all to strive for Eternal Life. That striving is wrapped up in coming to know God better, to love God more, and to dedicate our lives to the One Who saves us. It subsists in always learning more about our beloved Faith, seeking ways to love God through service to others, and ever strengthening our life of prayer. This is the time-tested model for Sainthood, and we are all called to be great Saints. As Mother Angelica often said, “Don’t miss the opportunity!”

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Palm Sunday

April 14, 2019

Today we celebrate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, and in doing so we begin the holiest week of the liturgical year. Today we carry palms, hearkening back to the reception Jesus got when He entered Jerusalem to the crowds adoring Him. As Holy Week progresses, we will follow our Lord as He approaches the Crucifixion. We will be present in the Upper Room when Jesus institutes the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders. We will follow Jesus as He carries His Cross, and we will worship in vigil awaiting His Resurrection.

These are the highest liturgies of our Church, and the greatest Mysteries of our Faith. Strive to attend as many of this liturgies as you can, and may we all be inspired to know these Mysteries better, to love God ever more, and to strive always for Eternal Life.

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt