St. Elizabeth of Portugal was born in Zaragoza, Spain on January 4th, 1271. She was born to a royal family, which helped her quickly learn self-discipline and a longing for spirituality. This prepared her for the challenge of marriage at the age of 12, when she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. Elizabeth was able to live her life devoted to God through her acts of charity, such as attending mass, and her acts of piety, helping the sick, the poor, pilgrims, and others in need. At the same time she remained devoted to her husband, who was very sinful. Elizabeth long sought peace for Denis, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She was a peacemaker when tensions arose in several situations, even with her son and her husband, and maintained her devotion to God while carrying these burdens. Elizabeth died of hyperthermia on July 4th, 1336.
Oh God, you gave Saint Elizabeth the gift of reconciling enemies. Through her intercession, give us the courage to work for peace and charity so we may be closer to you, Amen.
Saint Thomas the Apostle in today's commemorated saint. Saint Thomas the apostle was born in the First Century AD Galilee, Roman Empire. Saint Thomas the Apostle, also called Didymus, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Saint Thomas the Apostle made one remark and has been branded as “Doubting Thomas” ever since. But if he doubted, he also believed. He made what is certainly the most explicit statement of faith in the New Testament: “My Lord and My God!” and, in so expressing his faith, gave Christians a prayer that will be said till the end of time. He also occasioned a compliment from Jesus to all later Christians: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” Saint Thomas the Apostle was equally well-known for his courage. Perhaps what he said was impetuous since he ran, like the rest, at the showdown but he can scarcely have been insincere when he expressed his willingness to die with Jesus. The occasion was when Jesus proposed to go to Bethany after Lazarus had died. Since Bethany was near Jerusalem, this meant walking into the very midst of his enemies and to almost certain death. Saint Thomas the Apostle died in 53 CE at Saint Thomas Mount, India.
O St. Thomas, the Apostle of India, Father of our faith, you spread the light of Christ in the hearts of the people of India. You humbly confessed “My Lord and My God” and sacrificed your life for love of him. We pray to you to strengthen us with love and faith in Jesus Christ so that we may dedicate ourselves totally to the cause of the kingdom of justice, peace, and love. We pray that through your intercession we may be protected from all trials, dangers, and temptations and be strengthened in the love of the Triune God, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
St. Oliver Plunkett was born on November 1st 1625 to parents of Hiberno-Norman heritage. His early education was entrusted to his cousin Patrick Plunkett, Abbot of St. Mary’s, Dublin and brother of Luke Plunkett who was the first Earl of Fingall and who later became successively Bishop of Ardagh and Meath. As an aspirant to the priesthood Oliver Plunkett set out for Rome in 1647, under the care of Father Pierfrancesco Scarampi of Roman Oratory. He was ordained a priest in 1654 and deputed by the Irish bishops to act as their representative in Rome. When he returned to Ireland he tackled drunkenness among the clergy. On the enactment of the Test Acts in 1673, which were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test and brought that only people taking communion in the established Church of England were eligible for public employment and had severe penalties, St. Oliver did not agree with the acts for doctrinal reasons which led to the college closing and being demolished. Oliver Plunkett went into hiding but was later arrested. He was later found guilty of “promoting the Roman faith”. Oliver Plunkett was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on 1 July 1681. He was the last catholic martyr to die in England. St Oliver Plunkett is the patron saint for peace and reconciliation in Ireland.
Most Holy St Oliver, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, our Church honours your sacrifice and invokes your help in seeking God’s almighty power. St Oliver, inspire our Church and Pope. Guide them in new ways to enlighten and draw the vulnerable, lost and non-believers to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Help all souls in our troubled world to find everlasting faith in the Risen Christ. Assist me St Oliver, in my imminent necessities, as I now humbly place my request in your special care but, may the will of God the Father be done. (Share your request) Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you to look on this, my prayer, with mercy and compassion. Amen.
Saint Junipero Serra was born on November 24, 1713 on an island in Spain. Most of his childhood was spent in a classroom, first as a student of theology and then a professor. When he turned 35, Saint Junipero Serra gave it all up and then followed his desire to work as a missionary and convert people. Serra went to Vera Cruz, Mexico and worked there for 18 years to convert native peoples. He went to Mexico City to settle his differences with a military commander. During his time in Mexico, he was in danger most of the time due to military commanders, non-Christian native peoples and even a bite he received from an insect that would be sometimes life-threatening. Saint Junipero Serra dealt with a lot of pain and suffering. However, even through all of this, he managed to baptize 6,000 people in his life. Junipero Serra passed away from tuberculosis on August 28, 1784. During his lifetime, Serra founded 8 missionaries and 12 more were founded after his death. Junipero Serra always had the motto to always go forward and never back and the word zeal described him best. He is the patron saint of vocations to the Church ministry.
O God, in Your ineffable mercy, You chose Saint Junípero Serra as a means of gathering many peoples of the Americas into Your Church. Grant that through his intercession our hearts may be united in You in ever greater love, so that at all times and in all places we may show forth the image of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
In A.D. 64, a huge fire of unknown origin destroyed a large section of Rome. The empire of Rome at the time, Emperor Nero, blamed the Christians for the start of fire. He used the fire as an excuse to persecute and kill the Christians. Some were put into animal skins and hunted, crucified and even burned alive. Although we don’t know the total number of martyrs, on this day we remember each martyr and their firm faith even during the time of their death.
O God, just as the first martyrs of the church of Rome remained in prayer and stayed faithful during their persecution, help us to remember you even during the most difficult moments in our life. Amen.
Paul, whose original name was Saul, was a Jew from Tarsus. He was an influential Pharisee, who had a strong hatred towards Christians. Paul believed that Christians were preaching against the Law of Moses and spent much of the first half of his life persecuting Christians. However, during Paul’s journey to Damascus, he had a vision that changed his life. After this powerful vision, he became a devout Christian and dedicated his life to spreading the gospel to the world. During the next 20 years, he preached ceaselessly and established several churches and communities in Asia Minor. St. Paul’s feast day is June 29 and he is the patron saint of missionaries, evangelists, writers, journalists, authors, public workers, rope and saddle makers, and tent makers. Saint Peter was a native of Bethsaida and was one of the 12 apostles who followed Jesus Christ. He is known for his “little faith” as he doubted Jesus several times. There were many notable times when Peter didn’t truly believe in Jesus until he saw proof, and we have learned those stories at a young age and they are also present in the Gospel. Saint Peter was the first pope and died in Rome. It is said that he was crucified on the Vatican Hill with his cross upside down because he declared himself unworthy to die the same way Jesus did.
St.Irenaeus was born about the year 125, in one of those maritime provinces of Asia Minor where the memory of the apostles was still cherished and where Christians were numerous. He was most influenced by St. Polycarp who had known the apostles or their immediate disciples. Irenaeus came to serve as a priest under its first bishop, St. Pothinus, an oriental like himself to the church of Lyon.In the year 177, Irenaeus was sent to Rome.It was the spread of gnosticism (the doctrine of salvation by knowledge) in Gaul, and the ravages it was making among the Christians of his diocese, that inspired him to undertake the task of exposing its errors. He produced a treatise in five books in which he sets forth fully the inner doctrines of the various sects, and afterwards contrasts them with the teaching of the Apostles and the text of the Holy Scripture. His work, written in Greek but quickly translated to Latin, was widely circulated and succeeded in dealing a death-blow to gnosticism. The date of death of St. Irenaeus is not known, but it is believed to be in the year 202. The bodily remains of St. Irenaeus were buried in a crypt under the altar of what was then called the church of St. John, but was later known by the name of St. Irenaeus himself. This tomb or shrine was destroyed by the Calvinists in 1562, and all trace of his relics seems to have perished.
It is not thou that shapest God. it is God that shapest thee. If thou art the work of God await the hand of the artist, who does all things in due season. Offer Him thy heart, soft and tractable, and keep the form in which the artist has fashioned thee. Let thy clay be moist, lest thou grow hard and lose the imprint of his fingers
St Cyril was born in the late 300’s in Alexandria, Egypt. He was a nephew of the city’s patriarch, and at a young age received a classical and theological education in the great city. In 412, St Cyril succeeded his uncle as the new patriarch of the city. He attacked the pagan churches of the Novations in the area. Throughout his life, St Cyril worked to combat the false truths that were being spread by other religious leaders, such as Nestorianism, which claimed that Mary wasn’t the mother of Jesus because Jesus was divine. For the rest of his life, St Cyril wrote treatises and documents that explicitly described the doctrines of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation of Christ to make sure that untruths didn’t sully the faith of the Catholic Church during that time. He is known for being a brilliant theologian and preserving the Alexandrian Catholic culture.
O God, who made the Bishop Saint Cyril of Alexandria an invincible champion of the divine motherhood of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who believe she is truly the Mother of God, may be saved through the Incarnation of Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Blessed Raymond belonged to the noble Lull family and was born at Palma on the island of Mallorca in 1236. At a very early age he became a page at the royal court; and before he was 30 years old he had been advanced to the position of marshal and high steward to King James of Mallorca. For several years Blessed Raymond Lull followed the lead of other courtiers, serving the world and vanity. For some time past Raymond had perceived in himself the desire for nobler things than human honors. He recognized in the bishop's sermon the call of God to forsake all things and to win for Christ the infidels on the northern coast of Africa. Without hesitation Blessed Raymond followed the call. He resigned his offices, left the royal court, and founded a college in which missionaries, particularly those who belonged to the Order of Friars Minor, should receive the necessary training in the languages of northern Africa. He himself joined the Third Order of St Francis, and for nine years retired to the solitude of Mt Randa in order to prepare himself by prayer and study. God favored him with much heavenly inspiration and granted him extraordinary knowledge so that, in spite of his numerous undertakings he was able to write admirable things about the most difficult questions in philosophy and theology.
O God, who in your Saints have given an example and brought us protection in our weakness to help us tread the path of salvation, mercifully grant that we, who honor the heavenly birthday of blessed Raymond, may, through his (her) example, make our way to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Born in 1184 in Prussia she was amidst luxury and power but died the death of a simple servant of the poor. Jutta and her husband, both of noble rank. The two were set to make a pilgrimage together to the holy places in Jerusalem, but her husband died on the way. The newly widowed Jutta, after taking care to provide for her children, resolved to live in a manner she felt was utterly pleasing to God. She disposed of the costly clothes, jewels, and furniture befitting one of her rank, and became a Secular Franciscan, taking on the simple garment of a religious. From that point on Jutta did everything to tend to the poor and the sick. She became close to God because once when she was at prayer, Christ Himself appeared to her and said to her lovingly, “All My treasures are yours, and yours are Mine.”
Blessed Jutta of Thuringia, give us the strength to leave behind our material goods and follow God for eternal life in Heaven with Him. Amen.