Feast Day of St. Pope Paul VI – May 29

Pope Paul VI was certainly not the most popular pope of the 20th century. The two events that marked his pontificate were not short of controversy, debate and rejection: the Second Vatican Council and the publication of Humane Vitae.

 “Among the popes, Paul VI shines out as one who united in himself the pure faith of Saint Peter and the missionary zeal of Saint Paul,” Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, wrote in a decree published Jan. 25, 2019.

The future pope, Giovanni Battista Montini was born to a Catholic family Sept. 26, 1897, in Concesio, Italy. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 29, 1920. Pope Francis chose to insert the celebration of Saint Paul VI into the Roman Calendar based on this day.

After his ordination, he worked as a member of the Vatican Secretariat of State under popes Pius XI and Pius XII, and also as a chaplain for Catholic university students.

Cardinal Sarah also asserted that, as the Substitute Secretariat of State, “he worked during the Second World War to find shelter for persecuted Jews and refugees.”

Father Montini was named Archbishop of Milan in 1954 and cardinal in 1958 by Pope John XXIII. He helped the current pope in the preparation of the Second Vatican Council, which he chose to continue after he was elected to the See of Peter in June 1963.

The Archbishop of Denver Samuel J. Aquila published a pastoral letter titled The Splendor of Love in February 2018 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, in which he affirmed “the great beauty of the Church’s consistent teaching through the centuries on married love, a love that is so desperately needed today.”

 “Pope Paul VI defended the integrity of married love and warned us against the danger of reducing sexuality to a source of pleasure alone,” Archbishop Aquila wrote. “He teaches us the truth about married love, listing its four essential qualities: It needs to be fully human, total, faithful, and fruitful.”

 “He wished nothing other than the Church would have a greater knowledge of herself in order to be ever more effective in proclaiming the Gospel,” Cardinal Sarah said.

Feast day of St Germanus – May 28

Germanus, one of the glories of the Church in France, was born near Autun, about 496. From his early youth he was exceedingly pious, never missing midnight vespers at a church a mile from his home, regardless of the weather.

Carefully trained for the priesthood, Germanus was ordained by St. Agrippinus, Bishop of Autun, and was made Abbot of St. Symphorian on the outskirts of the town. A contemporary of his tells us that at that time he was already favored with the gifts of prophecy and miracles.

One night in a dream he saw an elderly man who presented him with the keys of the city of Paris, telling him to look after the Parisians and to save them from perishing.

In 554, happening to be in the capital when the bishop died, he was elevated to the see although he tried to refuse the honor with many tears.

Though a bishop, Germanus continued to lead a life of austerity and assiduous prayer, receiving the poor continuously at his residence, and having them at his own table where he not only nourished their bodies but also their souls with holy exhortations.

God granted to the holy prelate’s sermons a great power to move the hearts of peoples of every rank. Under his influence, the spiritual life of the city changed: frivolous dances and profane amusements were abolished, enmities were extinguished and sinners reconciled to the Church.

Even the king, Childebert, son of Clovis and St. Clothilde, until then a worldly, ambitious prince, converted to a life of piety, building religious houses, and placing his coffers in the hands of the holy bishop for the aid of the poor. One of the churches he built became St. Germain des Prés, for generations the burial place of French royalty.

Throughout his episcopate, Germanus strove to reprove the behavior of wayward nobles, and even excommunicated King Charibert, nephew of Childebert, for his wicked, immoral life. During the fratricidal wars that followed by the nephews, he made every effort to reconcile them, but was unsuccessful.

The holy prelate died at the age of eighty, mourned by all his people.

Feast Day of St Rita of Cascia – May 22

Today on May 22, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Rita of Cascia, who the late John Paul II called “a disciple of the Crucified One” and an “expert in suffering.”

Known in Spain as “La Santa de los impossibiles” (the saint of the impossible), St. Rita has become immensely popular throughout the centuries. She is invoked by people in all situations and stations of life, since she had embraced suffering with charity and wrongs with forgiveness in the many trials she experienced in her life: as a wife, widow, a mother surviving the death of her children, and a nun.

Rita was born in the year 1381 in the village of Roccaporena, near Cascia , Italy . Her parents, Antonio and Amata Lotti, considered her birth a very special gift from God, for Rita was born to them as they were already advancing in age. As a young girl Rita frequently visited the convent of the Augustinian Nuns in Cascia and dreamed of one day joining their community. Her parents, however, had promised her in marriage, according to the custom of the day, to Paolo Mancini, a good man of strong and impetuous character. Rita accepted her parents’ decision, resolved to see this as God’s will for her.

After Rita’s husband died, she joined an Augustinian community of religious sisters, where she was known both for practicing mortification of the flesh and for the efficacy of her prayers.

At the age of thirty-six Rita pledged to follow the ancient Rule of Saint Augustine. For the next forty years she gave herself wholeheartedly to prayer and works of charity, striving especially to preserve peace and harmony among the citizens of Cascia. With a pure love she wanted more and more to be intimately joined to the redemptive suffering of Jesus, and this desire of hers was satisfied in an extraordinary way. One day when she was about sixty years of age, she was meditating before an image of Christ crucified, as she was long accustomed to doing. Suddenly a small wound appeared on her forehead, as though a thorn from the crown that encircled Christ’s head had loosed itself and penetrated her own flesh.

For the next fifteen years she bore this external sign of stigmatization and union with the Lord. In spite of the pain she constantly experienced, she offered herself courageously for the physical and spiritual well being of others. During the last four years of her life Rita was confined to bed and was able to eat so little that she was practically sustained on the Eucharist alone. She was, nevertheless, an inspiration to her sisters in religion and to all who came to visit her, by her patience and joyful disposition despite her great suffering.

One of those who visited her some few months before her death — a relative from her hometown of Roccaporena — was privileged to witness firsthand the extraordinary things wrought by Rita’s requests. When asked whether she had any special desires, Rita asked only that a rose from the garden of her parents’ home be brought to her. It was a small favor to ask, but quite an impossible one to grant in the month of January! Nevertheless, on returning home the woman discovered, to her amazement, a single brightly-colored blossom on the bush where the nun said it would be. Picking it, she returned immediately to the monastery and presented it to Rita who gave thanks to God for this sign of love. Thus, the saint of the thorn became the saint of the rose, and she whose impossible requests were granted her became the advocate of all those whose own requests seem impossible as well. As she breathed her last, Rita’s final words to the sisters who gathered around her were, “Remain in the holy love of Jesus. Remain in obedience to the holy Roman Church. Remain in peace and fraternal charity.”

Various miracles are attributed to her intercession, and she is often portrayed with a bleeding wound on her forehead, which is understood to indicate a partial stigmata.

Pope Leo XIII canonised Rita on 24 May 1900. Her feast day is celebrated on 22nd May. At her canonisation ceremony she was bestowed the title of Patroness of Impossible Causes, while in many Catholic countries, Rita came to be known as the patroness of abused wives and heartbroken women. Her incorrupt body remains in the Basilica of Santa Rita da Cascia.

Know your Breed – Welsh Corgis

Originally bred to herd cattle, sheep, and horses, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an active and intelligent dog breed. Welsh Corgis come in two varieties: the Pembroke and the Cardigan. They were registered as one breed by the Kennel Club in the U.K. until 1934, although many breeders believe the two breeds developed separately. Both have similar heads, bodies, levels of intelligence and herding ability, but the Cardigan is slightly larger and heavier boned than the Pembroke.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis (also called Pembrokes, PWCs or Pems) are the smallest of the American Kennel Club’s Herding Group. Their coats can be red, sable, fawn or tri-coloured (red, black and tan), usually with white markings on the legs, chest, neck, muzzle and belly. They also may have a narrow blaze on their heads. Pembroke heads are shaped much like the head of a fox. Their eyes are oval-shaped and dark, and their ears are erect.

It is believed that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is descended from Vallhunds, Swedish cattle dogs that were brought to Wales by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries. Others think they may have been descended from dogs that were brought to Wales by Flemish weavers in the 12th century.

Pembrokes have slowly gained in popularity in the U.S., and today, are among the top 50 most popular breeds for family pets. They’re also popular with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, who received her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi from her father King George VI in 1933.

Pembrokes are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and train-ability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Corgis, despite their dwarfism giving the illusion of small slow legs, can reach up to 25 mph if they are healthy and fit. This is because Corgis tend to use more upper body strength to run than most dogs, giving them enhanced abilities with such activities as agililty and herding and racing.

Feast day of St Christopher Magallanes – May 21

Christopher Magallanes was born in 1869 in the province of Guadalajara, Mexico, of devout parents who were poor farmers. As a youth, he worked as a shepherd, but felt called to be a shepherd of souls. He entered the seminary at nineteen and was ordained at the age of thirty.

He worked as a parish priest in his hometown of Totatiche for two decades, and there also opened a carpentry business to help provide jobs for the local men.

Christopher Magallanes lived under a very anti-Catholic government in Mexico, one determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools, and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Christopher Magallanes established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco. He and the other priests were forced to minister secretly to Catholics during the presidency of Plutarco Calles (1924-28).

When, in the first decades of the twentieth century, the atheistic Mexican government launched a merciless persecution of the Catholic Church, a new constitution banned the training of priests.

Fr. Christopher was arrested on his way to say Mass, imprisoned and condemned to be shot without trial.

Christopher Magallanes shares his feast with 21 other priests and three laymen martyred between 1915 and 1937.

His last words were, “I die innocent, and ask God that my blood may serve to unite my Mexican brethren.”

He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 21, 2000.

Motivational Talks -Bishop Fulton. J. Sheen

Fulton. J. Sheen, or Fulton John Sheen, also called Bishop Fulton Sheen or Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, American religious leader, evangelist, writer, Roman Catholic priest, and radio and television personality.

Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria in 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923.

In 1920, he came to The Catholic University of America to continue his studies. He stayed only a year before leaving to pursue advanced study in philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. Five years later, he returned to Catholic University to teach.

For the next 23 years, Catholic University was where Father Sheen honed his skills as a scholar, educator, orator and evangelist. He worked, first in the School of Theology and Religious Studies, then in the School of Philosophy, teaching courses that touched on both of those disciplines, including “Philosophy of Religion,” “God and Society,” and “God and Modern Philosophy.” Students – and untold numbers of visitors – crowded into Room 112 McMahon Hall to hear his lectures.

Father Sheen’s talents as a preacher did not go unnoticed even in his early years. In January of 1927, at age 30 and still in his first year of teaching at CUA, he was selected to preach at the annual University Mass on the patronal feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. A decade later, it was Monsignor Sheen, not a high-ranking administrator, who was the principal speaker at the University’s Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Steadily the reputation of the young CUA professor grew, first on campus, then in wider circles as his brilliant oratory attracted more attention from the media. Father Sheen’s first experience in broadcasting was in 1926 when he was invited to record a series of Sunday evening Lenten sermons on a New York radio station. Four years later, the young priest was asked to be a summer fill-in for two weeks on The Catholic Hour radio program. The audience response was so positive that he was asked to continue as a weekly speaker on the show.

For 20 years as Father Sheen, later Monsignor, he hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour on NBC (1930–1950) before moving to television and presenting Life Is Worth Living (1952–1957). Sheen’s final presenting role was on the syndicated The Fulton Sheen Program (1961–1968) with a format very similar to that of the earlier Life is Worth Living show. For this work, Sheen twice won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality, and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Starting in 2009, his shows were being re-broadcast on the EWTN and the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Church Channel cable networks. Due to his contribution to televised preaching, Sheen is often referred to as one of the first televangelists.

From 1961 to 1969 he hosted another popular television show, The Bishop Fulton Sheen Show. He published 34 books during his 23-year teaching career at Catholic University and another 32 after he left the University. In addition, transcripts of his weekly radio talks were published in dozens of booklets by the show’s sponsor the National Council of Catholic Men. Many of his other talks and sermons were published as pamphlets. He also was a syndicated columnist in the secular press.

He was consecrated a bishop on June 11, 1951. In the Fall of that year, he began his famous television series, Life is Worth Living. It was a tremendous success, eventually reaching an estimated 30 million viewers each week, which would make it the most widely-viewed religious series in the history of television. He won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality, was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, and became one of the most influential Catholics of the 20th century.

The following video is a Radio Broadcast of Father Sheen, originally aired on March 1, 1942.  The broadcast was a part of the Sheen’s series “Peace” and the talk is entitled “Peace: Spectators and Actors in the Drama of the Cross.” Sheen appeared on The Catholic Hour from 1930-1952 usually in the winter and early spring of each year the Lenten season.

Feast day of St. Bernardine of Siena-May 20

The Catholic Church honors St. Bernardine of Siena on May 20. A Franciscan friar and preacher, St. Bernardine is known as “the Apostle of Italy” for his efforts to revive the country’s Catholic faith during the 15th century.

Bernardine Albizeschi was born to upper-class parents in the Italian republic of Siena during 1380. Misfortune soon entered the boy’s life when he lost his mother at age three and his father four years later. His aunt Diana cared for him afterward, and taught him to seek consolation and security by trusting in God.

He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following Saint Francis of Assisi’s admonition to preach about “vice and virtue, punishment and glory.”

When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown of Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. Although the plague did not infect him, the exhausting work left him weak and he contracted a different sickness that kept him in bed for four months.

After recovering, he spent over a year caring for his aunt Bartholomaea before her death. Then the 22-year-old Bernardine moved to a small house outside the city, where he began to discern God’s will for his future through prayer and fasting.

At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach. He always traveled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town.

Bernardine’s personal devotion to God, which amazed even the strict Franciscans, made his preaching extremely effective. He moved his hearers to abandon their vices, turn back to God, and make peace with one another. He promoted devotion to the name of Jesus as a simple and effective means of recalling God’s love at all times.

Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek—in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. Opposition arose from those who thought it a dangerous innovation.

Later in his life, Bernardine served for five years as the Vicar General for his Franciscan order, and revived the practice of its strict rule of life. Then in 1444, forty years after he first entered religious life, Bernardine became sick while traveling. He continued to preach, but soon lost his strength and his voice.

St. Bernardine of Siena died on May 20, 1444. Only six years later, in 1450, Pope Nicholas V canonized him as a saint.

Related videos on the saint:-

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