On this Feast of St. Blaise, remember to get your throats blessed!
While traveling through Yugoslavia in 1989, I was surprised, while in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to see statues of St. Blaise in every nook and cranny. He is revered in that beautiful city because, according to tradition, he appeared in a dream to some townspeople to warn them of an impending Moslem attack. St. Blaise was an Armenian Bishop who was martyred c. 316. According to tradition, he cured a boy who had a fishbone stuck in his throat, hence the blessing of the throats today.
The picture to the left depicts St. Blaise holding an image of the city of Dubrovnik.
May God, through the intercession of St. Blaise, preserve us from throat troubles and every other evil.
In 1997, Pope John Paul II designated February 2, the Feast of the Presentation, as the World Day for Consecrated Life. This special day, one of the “forgotten legacies” from this beloved Pope’s pontificate, will be celebrated this year on February 5th.
The World Day for Consecrated Life helps the entire Church “to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels and is intended to be an occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord.”
To encourage all members of the Church to pray for vocations to the consecrated life, the IRL has a novena, “Living Signs of the Gospel,” containing Pope John Paul II’s messages for this important day. For a free copy of this novena, please call the IRL offices at (847)573-8975. For bulk purchases, please visit our website.
On January 27, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI greeted participants attending a plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whom he thanked for their service to the Church, particularly in view of the forthcoming Year of Faith.
“As we know”, the Holy Father said, “in vast areas of the earth the faith risks being extinguished, like a flame without fuel. We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of a religious sense which represents one of the greatest challenges for the Church today. The renewal of faith must, then, be a priority for the entire Church in our time. I hope that the ‘Year of Faith’ may contribute … to restoring God’s presence in this world, and to giving man access to the faith, enabling him to entrust himself to the God Who, in Jesus Christ, loved us to the end”.
May we be the fuel to light the flame of faith in our families, neighbors and the world.
This year, the IRL’s Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award will go to the Very. Rev. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., named the 2011 Man of the Year by Inside the Vatican magazine.
In the article, Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor-in-chief of the magazine, wrote: “Sometimes we are able to see a splendid adventure of life and faith just at the moment that it is unfolding. … Such is the case with Father Cassian Folsom and the refounding of the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy—the birthplace of St. Benedict in about A.D. 480—which was closed in 1810, and reopened after 190 years in the year 2000. For what Father Folsom has done for Norcia, for what he has done for monasticism in general and Benedictine monasticism in particular, for what he has done for the Church’s liturgy and for what he has taught all of us about following Christ by his Christian example, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to select Cassian Folsom, who is also an old friend, as our ‘Person of the Year’ for 2011.”
Please join us at the IRL banquet dinner honoring Fr. Cassian which will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. The banquet is just one part of our National Meeting (April 13-15, 2012) which this year is focusing on The Sacred Liturgy as a Foretaste of Heaven. All are invited to attend. Please visit our website for more information.
The most current issue of Our Sunday Visitor (2/5/12) has an article on African American Catholics. The whole article is very interesting but one family stood out. Michael Healy, an Irish immigrant, and his common-law wife and slave, Eliza Clark, had ten children together. They were unable to marry because the laws of the time (early 1800’s) prohibited interracial marriage. Even worse, the children born to them were considered slaves. Therefore, the parents sent their children North for their education and freedom.
Their son James, a Suplician, became the Bishop of Portland, Maine. Their son Patrick, a Jesuit (pictured left), became President of Georgetown University. Sherwood was the rector of Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston. Two of their daughters, Josephine and Eliza, became nuns with the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph and the Congregation of Notre Dame in Canada. What sacrifices the parents made on behalf of their children! What wonderful formation the children must have received from others known only to God! God bless all parents who give so much for the welfare of their children.
A beautiful article on St. Thomas Aquinas by Fr. Brain Mullady, O.P., and his impact on Catholic teachings can be found at the Catholics United for the Faith website. Father makes the point that modern schlolars often miss the crux of Saint Thomas’ thinking, believing that he taught us how to think rather than what to think. “Often his followers have sacrificed what he thought so that they might enlist him as a support for some contemporary philosophy, and so have not done justice to the master.”
During Mass this morning, our Associate Pastor reminded us of the most important legacy that Saint Thomas left for us. When Our Lord told Thomas, “You have written well of me, Thomas! What do you desire?” Saint Thomas famously replied, “Non nisi te, Domine” (Only You, Lord). May we too desire only the Lord!
St. Thomas, pray for our modern day theologians who strive to present ancient truths in our modern times.
Today, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of St. Angela Merici who died in 1474. The Order that she founded, the Ursulines, sent the first missionaries sisters to the New World in 1639. One of these was Bl. Mary of the Incarnation (1599-1672) who was a wife, mother, widow and religious. When she was a young girl, Jesus appeared to her in a dream and asked, “Do you want to belong to me?” She answered, yes!, and later sacrificed everything dear to her to follow His call to go to Quebec to found the first Ursuline convent outside of Europe. When she entered the Ursulines, she told her young son, “God wills it, my son. If we love Him, we should will it, too. It is up to Him to command, and up to us to obey.” She is known as the St. Teresa of Avila of Canada.
In the January 9, 2012, issue of People Magazine is a beautiful article entitled, “How Ashley Found Her Calling,” the story of Ashley Vola and her entrance into the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George of Alton, Illinois. As a youngster, Ashley felt drawn by the witness of the Sisters in her school who were inspiring, kind and fun. As a teenager in love with country music, the desire to consecrate her life to God persisted. One day, while surfing the internet, she read an article by a priest “urging young people to follow their hearts.” She said, “Yes, Lord, I will do it!”
“All of you must be the light of the world. To those of you who think that Christ may be inviting you to follow Him in the priesthood or consecrated life, I make this personal appeal: I ask you to open your hearts generously to Him; do not delay your response. The Lord will help you to know His Will; He will help you to follow your vocation courageously.” Pope John Paul II, St. Louis, MO, 1999.
The most recent Thomas Aquinas College Newsletter highlighted the more than 50 alumni ordained to the priesthood in the College’s first 40 years. Serving as pastors, chaplains, seminary professors, and missionaries in 12 religious orders, 21 states and 8 countries, many more alumni are preparing for the priesthood as seminarians.
President Michael McLean says, “One of the greatest affirmations of the work we do at the College is that so many men who graduate from here go on to answer God’s call to the priesthood.”
Thomas Aquinas College is an Affiliate Member of the Institute on Religious Life. We are pleased to have on our Board of Directors, Rev. James E. Isaacson, S.J.C., Class of ’88.
Please visit the College website for more information.
Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) : Bishop, Evangelist and Spiritual Director.
Though he died almost 400 years ago, his words of wisdom for those desiring to deepen their spiritual life are as pertinent today as they were then. He presented a wonderful image to keep in mind on the value of receiving of Holy Communion regularly: “As the hares living in our snowy mountains grow white from living in the snow, so by perpetually worshiping and adoring beauty, goodness and purity in this Divine Sacrament, you, too, will become beautiful, good and pure” (An Introduction to the Devout Life).
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us and for the Church.