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St. Michael
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do you, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. Advertise Now

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REFLECTIONS

"Jesus' Baptism"

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John's baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the "baptism" of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father's will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God? Read More »

SAINTS OF

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February 11

Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes

On this day we also remember and offer prayers for those who are sick and suffering. The late Pope John Paul II declared that this day should be also the World Day of the Sick. For this year we will celebrate its 14th year. The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in southern France is the most visited pilgrimage site in the world -- principally because of the apparent healing properties of the waters of the spring that appeared during the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a poor and sickly fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux. The first apparition occurred February 11, 1858. There were eighteen in all; the last took place July 16, of the same year. The mysterious vision Bernadette saw in the hollow of the rock Massabielle, where she and friends had gone to gather firewood, was that of a young and beautiful lady. "Lovelier than I have ever seen" said the child. She described the Lady as clothed in white, with a blue ribbon sash and a Rosary handing from her right arm. Now and then the apparition spoke to Bernadette. One day, the Lady told the girl to drink of a mysterious fountain within the grotto itself, the existence of which was unknown, and of which there was no sign. But Bernadette scratched at the ground, and a spring immediately bubbled up and soon gushed forth. On another occasion the apparition bade Bernadette go and tell the priests she wished a chapel to be built on the spot and processions to be made to the grotto. At first the clergy were incredulous. The priest said he would not believe it unless the apparition gave Bernadette her name. After another apparition, Bernadette reported that the Lady told her, "I am the Immaculate Conception". Though the girl was unfamiliar with the term, the Pope had declared the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary in 1854. Four years after Bernadette's visions, in 1862, the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful "justified in believing the reality of the apparition" of Our Lady. A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle by M. Peyramale, the parish priest. In 1873 the great "national" French pilgrimages were inaugurated. Three years later the basilica was consecrated and the statue solemnly crowned. In 1883 the foundation stone of another church was laid, as the first was no longer large enough. It was built at the foot of the basilica and was consecrated in 1901 and called the Church of the Rosary. A large church called a basilica was built where Bernadette saw Our Lady. Although the apparitions took place over a hundred years ago, miracles still happen there. Many people are cured of sicknesses. Crippled people walk again. Blind people see again. Lonely, broken people find hope again. There, where she once appeared to St. Bernadette, Our Lady still shows her love for us. The grotto is being visited by many pilgrims especially those who are sick because it is believed that you will be healed. And many other Miracles can happen after you visit the grotto.


February 17

Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites

Seven members of Florentine Confraternity founded the Order of Servites of the blessed Virgin Mary. The Servites lead a life of prayer and mortification, meditating constantly on the Passion of the Lord, and venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows.


This order was founded on the feast of the Assumption, 1233 when the Blessed Virgin appeared to seven noble Florentines, who had repaired to the church to follow the exercises of the Confraternity of the Laudesi, and bade them leave the world and live for God alone. Then on Good Friday, 13 April 1240, the hermits received a vision of Our Lady. She held in her hand the black habit, and a nearby angel bore a scroll reading Servants of Mary, Mary told them: “You will found a new order, and you will be my witnesses throughout the world. This is your name: Servants of Mary. This is your rule: that of Saint Augustine. And here is your distinctive sign: the black scapular, in memory of my sufferings.”


Soon after, when the seven were begging alms from door to door in the streets of Florence, they suddenly heard children's voices calling to them, "Servants of holy Mary." Among these children was St. Philip Benizi, then just five months old. Hereafter they were known by this name, first heard from the lips of children. In the course of time they retired into solitude on Monte Senario and gave themselves wholly to contemplation and penance.


The seven founders were:

1. Alexis Falconieri
2. Bartholomew degli Amidei
3. Benedict dell'Antella
4. Buonfiglio Monaldi
5. Gherardino Sostegni
6. Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni
7. John Buonagiunta Monetti


February 21

Peter Damian

Bishop and Doctor of the Church


"Let us faithfully transmit to posterity the example of virtue which we have received from our forefathers." -Saint Peter Damian


Peter Damian was very good to the poor. It was the ordinary thing for him to have a poor person or two with him at table and he liked to minister personally to their needs.


St. Peter Damian was born in 1007, and was left an orphan as a little child. He was taken in by an older brother who abused and starved him. Another brother named Damian became aware of the boy's real situation. He brought him to his own home. It was then that Peter's life took on a whole new direction. He was treated with love, affection and care. So grateful was he that when he became a religious he took the name Damian after his loving brother. Damian educated Peter and encouraged his studies. Peter eventually taught at the university while he was in his twenties. He was thought of as a great teacher. But the Lord was directing him in ways he could never have thought of.


Peter lived in times when many in the Church were too influenced by secular goals. Peter realized that the Church is divine and has the grace from Jesus to save all people. He wanted the Church to shine with the holiness of Jesus. After seven years of teaching, he made the decision to become a monk. He wanted to live the rest of his life in prayer and penance. He would pray and sacrifice so that many people in the Church would become holy. He went to a monastery of St. Romuald. Peter Damian wrote a rule for the monks. He also wrote a life of their holy founder, Romuald. Peter wrote many works of theology to help people deepen their faith. Twice his abbot sent him to neighboring monasteries. He helped the monks begin reforms that would encourage them to live closer to God. The monks were grateful because Peter was so kind and respectful.
Peter was finally called from the monastery. He became a bishop and a cardinal. He was sent on very important missions for various popes throughout his long life.


Because he was a champion of truth and a peacemaker, he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.


February 22

Chair of St. Peter

Since early times, the Roman Church has had a special commemoration of the primatial authority of St. Peter. As witness one of the most renowned of the Apostolic Fathers, the Roman See has always held a peculiar place in the affection and obedience of orthodox believers because of its "presiding in love" and service over all the Churches of God.
The feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome reminds us that St. Peter started the Christian community in that city. The special chair is a symbol of the authority that was given to him by Jesus. Kings of old sat on thrones and ruled. Peter's chair is
a symbol of his authority from Jesus to rule the Church.


St. Peter was martyred for the faith, but down through the ages there has always been a bishop of Rome. He is the pope. The pope rules the whole Church, as St. Peter did, in Jesus' name. We call the successor of St. Peter the Holy Father.


St. Peter was the prince of the apostles and the first pope. Jesus said to him, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). After Jesus went back to heaven, St. Peter preached the Gospel. He guided the small but growing Christian community. At first, Peter labored in Jerusalem and in Antioch, two big cities of the east. Later, he went to preach the Gospel in Rome, the capital of the world.


The evils of pagan Rome would drown his voice no matter how dedicated he may be. But the Holy Spirit was alive in Peter. He courageously took up the ministry Jesus had left him. Never again would Peter deny his Lord. Never again would Peter put his own personal well-being before the good of the Church.


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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

JANUARY 1
MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

Today we begin our new year at the Eucharistic Celebration. We thank God for Mary, Jesus' mother..
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JANUARY 2
ST. BASIL AND ST. GREGORY NAZIANZEN

Sts. Basil and Gregory were born in Asia Minor in the year 330. This area is modern-day Turkey..
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JANUARY 3
ST. GENEVIEVE

St. Genevieve was born around 422 in Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris. While still very young..
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JANUARY 4
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON

St. Elizabeth was called "Mother Seton" by everyone knew her by when she died on January 4, 1821..
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JANUARY 5
ST. JOHN NEUMANN

St. John Neumann was not only quiet, he was short-five feet, two inches tall. His eyes were very kind..
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JANUARY 6
BLESSED ANDRE BESSETTE

St. Alfred Bessette was born on August 9, 1845, not far from Montreal, Canada. He was the eighth..
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JANUARY 7
ST. RAYMOND OF PENYAFORT

St. Raymond was born between 1175 and 1180 in a little town near Barcelona, Spain. He was educated at..
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JANUARY 8
ST. THORFINN

St. Thorfinn's life were discovered in details long after his death. He died in 1285, in a monastery in Belgium. Fifty years later, his tomb..
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JANUARY 9
ST. JULIAN AND ST. BASILISSA

St. Julian and St. Basilissa were husband and wife. They lived in the early part of the fourth century.
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JANUARY 10
ST. WILLIAM

St. William came from a wealthy French family. Even as a boy, he did not waste time fooling around or being idle.
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JANUARY 11
ST. THEODOSIUS

St. Theodosius was born in Asia Minor in 423. As a young man, he set out on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
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JANUARY 12
ST. MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS

St. Marguerite was born in Troyes, France, on April 17, 1620, but spent most of her eighty years in..
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JANUARY 13
ST. HILLARY OF POITIERS

St. Hilary was born into a pagan family on 315 in Poitiers, a town in France. His family was rich and well-known. Hilary received a good education.
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JANUARY 14
ST. MACRINA

St. Macrina and her husband learned the high price of being true to their Christian beliefs.
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JANUARY 15
ST. PAUL THE HERMIT

St. Paul was born into a Christian family in the year 229. They lived in Thebes, Egypt. Paul's parents showed him by their own lives how to love God..
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JANUARY 16
ST. BERARD AND COMPANIONS

Six Franciscan friars accepted from St. Francis of Assisi an assignment to go to Morocco. They were to announce Christianity to the Muslims.
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JANUARY 17
ST. ANTHONY OF EGYPT

St. Anthony was born in 251 in a small village in Egypt. When he was twenty years old, his parents died. They left him a large estate and placed him in charge of the care of his young sister.
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JANUARY 18
BLESSED CHRISTINA

Blessed Christina lived in the sixteenth century. She was born in Abruzzi, Italy. Her baptismal name was Matthia. As she grew up, Matthia felt the call to a life of prayer and penance.
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JANUARY 19
ST. CANUTE

St. Canute was a strong, wise king of Denmark. He lived in the eleventh century. Canute was a great athlete, an expert horseman, and..
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JANUARY 20
ST. FABIAN AND ST. SEBASTIAN

St. Fabian was a pope who died a martyr in 250. It was during the persecution by Emperor Decius.
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JANUARY 21
ST. AGNES

St. Agnes was a Roman girl who died in 304. She was just twelve years old when she suffered martyrdom..
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JANUARY 22
ST. VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA

St. Vincent was martyred in Spain in 304. This was the same year that Agnes was martyred in Rome.
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JANUARY 23
ST. JOHN THE ALMSGIVER

St. John was a dedicated Christian nobleman. He used his wealth and position to help poor people. After his wife passed away, John became a priest and bishop. In 608, he was consecrated the patriarch of Alexandria..
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JANUARY 24
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

St. Francis was born at the de Sales castle in Savoy, France, on August 21, 1567. His wealthy family provided him with an excellent education. By the age of twenty-four, Francis was..
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JANUARY 25
CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL

St. Paul lived at the time of Jesus but as far as we know they never met. Paul was first called Saul. As a young man, he was a very bright student of..
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JANUARY 26
ST. TIMOTHY AND ST. TITUS

St. Timothy was born in Lycaonia in Asia Minor. His mother was a Jew and his father was a Gentile.
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JANUARY 27
ST. ANGELA MERICI

St. Angela was born in the small Italian town of Desenzano, Italy, around 1474. Her parents died when she was ten. She and her only sister, who was three years older, loved each other..
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JANUARY 28
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

St. Thomas lived in the thirteenth century. He was the son of a noble family of Italy. He was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God.
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JANUARY 29
ST. GILDAS

St. Gildas was born around the year 500 in Britain. He set out as a young man to practice a self-sacrificing lifestyle.
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JANUARY 30
ST. BATHILDIS

St. Bathildis was a frightened, Christian English girl could have never imagined what her future would be like.
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JANUARY 31
ST. JOHN BOSCO

St. John Bosco was born in Turin, Italy, on August 16, 1815. His parents were poor farmers. When John was two, his father died. John's mother struggled to keep the family together.
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