Saint of the Day for Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

St. Finbar

He was the son of an artisan and a lady of the Irish royal court. Born in Connaught, Ireland, and baptized Lochan, he was educated at Kilmacahil, Kilkenny, where the monks named him Fionnbharr (white head) because of his light hair; he is also known as Bairre and Barr. He went on pilgrimage to Rome with some of the monks, visiting St. David in Wales on the way back. Supposedly, on another visit to Rome the Pope wanted to consecrate him a bishop but was deterred by a vision, notifying the pope that God had reserved that honor to Himself, and Finbar was consecrated from heaven and then returned to Ireland. At any rate, he may have preached in Scotland, definitely did in southern Ireland, lived as a hermit on a small island at Lough Eiroe, and then, on the river Lee, founded a monastery that developed into the city of Cork, of which he was the first bishop. His monastery became famous in southern Ireland and attracted numerous disciples. Many extravagant miracles are attributed to him, and supposedly, the sun did not set for two weeks after he died at Cloyne about the year 633. His feast day is September 25th.

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Martyrs of Chalcedon

A group of forty-nine Christians slain in Chalcedon during the reign of Emperor Diocletian . Records indicate that the martyrs were members of the choir in the church of Chalcedon.

Daily Reading for Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Reading 1, Amos 8:4-7

 

4 Listen to this, you who crush the needy and reduce the oppressed to nothing,

5 you who say, 'When will New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and Sabbath, so that we can market our wheat? Then, we can make the bushel-measure smaller and the shekel-weight bigger, by fraudulently tampering with the scales.

6 We can buy up the weak for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals, and even get a price for the sweepings of the wheat.'

7 Yahweh has sworn by the pride of Jacob, 'Never will I forget anything they have done.'

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8

 

1 Alleluia! Praise, servants of Yahweh, praise the name of Yahweh.

2 Blessed be the name of Yahweh, henceforth and for ever.

4 Supreme over all nations is Yahweh, supreme over the heavens his glory.

5 Who is like Yahweh our God? His throne is set on high,

6 but he stoops to look down on heaven and earth.

7 He raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the dunghill,

8 to give them a place among princes, among princes of his people.

Reading 2, First Timothy 2:1-8

 

1 I urge then, first of all that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be offered for everyone,

2 for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live peaceful and quiet lives with all devotion and propriety.

3 To do this is right, and acceptable to God our Saviour:

4 he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth.

5 For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and humanity, himself a human being, ChristJesus,

6 who offered himself as a ransom for all. This was the witness given at the appointed time,

7 of which I was appointed herald and apostle and -- I am telling the truth and no lie -- a teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth.

8 In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument

Gospel, Luke 16:1-13

 

1 He also said to his disciples, 'There was a rich man and he had a steward who was denounced to him for being wasteful with his property.

2 He called for the man and said, "What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer."

3 Then the steward said to himself, "Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed.

4 Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes."

5 'Then he called his master's debtors one by one. To the first he said, "How much do you owe my master?"

6 "One hundred measures of oil," he said. The steward said, "Here, take your bond; sit down and quickly write fifty."

7 To another he said, "And you, sir, how much do you owe?" "One hundred measures of wheat," he said. The steward said, "Here, take your bond and write eighty."

8 'The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.'

9 'And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they willwelcome you into eternal dwellings.

10 Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great.

11 If then you are not trustworthy with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches?

12 And if you are not trustworthy with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?

13 'No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.'

 


 

Saint of the Day for Monday, September 23rd, 2019

St. Padre Pio

St. Padre Pio was an Italian priest who was known for his piety and charity, as well as the gift of the stigmata, which has never been explained.

St. Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione, on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy. His parents were peasant farmers. He had an older brother and three younger sisters, as well as two other siblings who died in infancy. As a child, he was very religious and by the age of five he reportedly made the decision to dedicate his life to God.

Fortunately, his parents were also very religious and they supported his Catholic development. His family attended daily Mass. Francisco served as an altar boy at his local parish. Francisco was known for taking on penances and his mother once scolded him for sleeping on a stone floor.

Francisco's community was also supportive. Saint's days were popular celebrations and commonly celebrated in his town.

From his tender age, Francisco had a peculiar ability. He could see guardian angels, spoke with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. This was not something taught to him, but occurred so naturally that he assumed other people could see them too.

Although Francisco and his family was very religious, they were also very poor, which required that he work. He spent many years as a child tending to a small flock of sheep owned by his family. Unfortunately, the work meant he was unable to attend school regularly, so he quickly fell behind other kids his age.

Francisco was sickly as a child. He suffered an attack of gastroenteritis at age six and when he was ten, he had typhoid fever.

In 1897, after three years of schooling, Francisco expressed to his parents that he wanted to become a friar. His parents traveled to a nearby community of monks and asked if Francesco could join them. He was evaluated, despite his young age, and was told that he needed more education before he could join.

To prepare Francesco, his parents decided to hire a private tutor. To pay the cost of the tutor, Francesco's father traveled to America to find work, and sent the money home.

At the age of 15, Francisco was finally ready and he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin friars at Morcone. He took the name of "Pio" in honor of Pope Pius I, whose relic he often saw at his local chapel.

At the age of 17, Brother Pio became extremely ill and could only digest milk and cheese. He was sent to the mountain for better air, and when this did not work, he was sent home to his family. Amid all this, he continued to study for the priesthood.

On one occasion during prayer, a fellow monk astonishingly reported he saw Pio levitate during an episode of ecstasy.

Brother Pio became a priest in 1910, but was permitted to remain at home because of his poor health.

In 1915, with World War I afflicting the world, Padre Pio was summoned for military service. He was compelled to leave a tiny community of monks, with whom he was then housed, and drafted into medical service. However, he was so sickly that he was often sent home, only to then be recalled for service. In March 1916, he was finally dismissed because of his poor health.

On September 20, Padre Pio was hearing confessions when he felt pain in his hands and feet. He noticed the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, appearing on his hands and feet. The experience was painful. Bleeding occurred. The wounds smelled of roses, and although they continued to weep, they never became infected. Doctors who later examined the stigmata were amazed at their perfectly round shape.

By 1919, word began to spread about Padre Pio's stigmata and people came from far away to examine him.

Padre Pio became popular with the people he encountered and soon began to attribute supernatural occurrences to him. For example, he was said to levitate, and able to perform miracles.

His popularity became a source of concern for the Church and the Vatican began to restrict his activities to minimize public interaction. Padre Pio himself was uncomfortable with his newfound popularity and the attention he received because of his stigmata. A Church investigation into his stigmata concluded that his condition was not faked.

By 1934, the Vatican began to change its attitude towards Padre Pio and he was again allowed to perform public duties. He could preach, despite never being officially licensed by the Church to do so. Pope Pius XI encouraged people to visit him.

In 1947, Fr. Karol Wojtyla visited Padre Pio who prophetically told him he would rise to the highest post in the Church." Fr. Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1978.

Padre Pio used his newfound popularity to open a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo. The facility opened in 1956.

Pope Paul VI reviewed the controversies surrounding Padre Pio and dismissed any concerns over his conduct and the authenticity of his stigmata.

Padre Pio became internationally famous. He was known for his piety, charity and the quality of his preaching. He famously advised, "Pray, hope and don't worry."

He had other illnesses, as well, including cancer which was miraculously healed after just two treatments. Other problems, such as arthritis, which plagued him in his later years, never went away.

Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968. His funeral was attended by over 100,000 people.

 

Pope John Paul II recognized Padre Pio as a saint on June 16, 2002. His feast day is September 23. He is the patron of civil defense volunteers, adolescents, and the village of Pietrelcina.

Saint of the Day for Saturday, September 21st, 2019

St. Matthew

Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and he was likely born in Galilee. He worked as a tax collector, which was a hated profession during the time of Christ.

According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and asked, "Follow me." With this simple call, Matthew became a disciple of Christ.

From Matthew we know of the many doings of Christ and the message Christ spread of salvation for all people who come to God through Him. The Gospel account of Matthew tells the same story as that found in the other three Gospels, so scholars are certain of its authenticity. His book is the first of the four Gospels in the New Testament.

 

Many years following the death of Christ, around 41 and 50 AD, Matthew wrote his gospel account. He wrote the book in Aramaic in the hope that his account would convince his fellow people that Jesus was the Messiah and that His kingdom had been fulfilled in a spiritual way. It was an important message at a time when almost everyone was expecting the return of a militant messiah brandishing a sword.

It is thought he departed for other lands to escape persecution sometime after 42 AD. According to various legends he fled to Parthia and Persia, or Ethiopia. Nothing is recorded of Matthew's passing. We do not know how he died, if his death was natural or if he was martyred.

Saint Matthew is often depicted with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7, which reads, "The first living creature was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third living creature had a human face, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle."

Matthew was a tax collector and is therefore the patron saint of bankers. The Church established St. Matthew's feast day as September 21.

St. Matthew Prayer

O Glorious St. Matthew, in your Gospel you portray Jesus as the longed-for Messiah who fulfilled the Prophets of the Old Covenant and as the new Lawgiver who founded a Church of the New Covenant.
Obtain for us the grace to see Jesus living in his Church and to follow his teachings in our lives on earth so that we may live forever with him in heaven.