Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. John of Kanty, a 15th-century professor and priest in Krakow. He was known not only as an orthodox teacher of the faith, but also for his piety and kindness.
He is also known as St. John Cantius, perhaps even more so now with the establishment in 1998 of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, a thriving religious community of men under his patronage.
The members of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius seek personal sanctity by imitating Christ in radical opposition to the values of this world. They wish to “Restore the Sacred” in the Church, in the world, and in their own lives in pursuit not only of their own sanctification, but also the salvation and sanctification of all.
The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius’ mission, in the context of parish ministry, is to help Catholics rediscover a profound sense of the sacred through solemn liturgies, devotions, sacred art, sacred music, as well as instruction in Church heritage, catechetics, and Catholic culture.
Because the Eucharist Sacrifice is the summit and the source of all Christian worship and life, members of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius order their own lives, as well as their pastoral work in parish ministry, above all to the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours and the sacraments—the primary sources of life and grace within the Church.
The sacrament of Penance places an especially prominent role in the pastoral ministry of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius as a rich source of grace, particularly for those approaching the Eucharist.
The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius desire to be faithful to their vocation to “Restore the Sacred.” They believe they are called to do this in a particular way as a clerical Institute of apostolic religious life. They look to St. Augustine, their spiritual father, and to St. John of Kęty, (Cantius) their patron saint, for inspiration in living out the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience as well as in “faithful obedience to tradition” in liturgical matters.
When St. John Cantius’ feast day was inserted into calendar of saints in 1770, it was initially assigned to October 20, but it was moved in 1969 to December 23, the day before the anniversary of his death, which occurred on Christmas Eve 1473. Some traditionalist Catholics continue to observe pre-1970 versions of the Roman Calendar. In the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite the General Roman Calendar of 1962 is used, and therefore in that liturgical use his feast day is still on October 20.