July 29th is the Feast Day of St. Martha. She is the patron saint of cooks. St. Martha is said to have had contact with Jesus himself during her lifetime. The exact quote is “Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus.” Proof of this relationship is found in the gospel of John, which shows Martha’s inviting Jesus into her home. When Jesus was inside Martha’s home, she served him entirely. Martha was said to have cooked for him, which is one of the reasons that she was the patron saint of cooks. Her hospitality to Jesus during his visits to her home makes her one of the few saints that had personal contact with Christ Himself.
St. Martha is also the patron saint of innkeepers and maids. She believed in serving the Lord, and did so in person, giving us a reason to call upon her in those moments when our function is to serve. She did so with great joy in her heart. Her medals frequently show her with her hands joined in prayer.
O blessed St. Martha, your faith led Jesus to proclaim, “I am the resurrection and the life”; and faith let you see beyond his humanity when you cried out, “Lord I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” With firm hope you said, “I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him”, and Jesus called your brother Lazarus back from the dead. With pure love for Jesus you welcomed him into your home.
Friend and servant of our Saviour, I too am “troubled about many things”. (mention your intentions) Pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope and love, and that Jesus, who sat at your table, will hear me and grant me a place at the banquet of eternal life. Amen.
Today’s commemorated Saint is Saint Alphonsa. She was born August 19, 1910 as Anna Muttathupadathu in a Syro-Malabar family to Cherian Ouseph and Mary Muttathupadathu. In her teenage years, she received many marriage proposals from reputed families. During this time, Theresa of Lisieux appeared and told her that she will become a Saint. St Alphonsa sacrificed her material fortune and wanted to dedicate her life to Jesus Christ. She then walked through a pit of burning chaff to avoid an arranged marriage so she could fulfill her desire to be a religious sister. She joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation and completed her schooling there. She received the postulant veil on August 2nd 1928 and took the name Alphonsa of the immaculate conception in honor of St Alphonsus Ligouri. She started teaching in a convent school but her health started to decline and she was unable to teach. Her health continued to deteriorate over a period of months. She died on July 28th 1946 at the young age of 35. Upon her death, miraculous intervention involving the children of the convent school where she taught took place. Hundreds of miraculous cures took place from her intervention. Many of them involve straightening of clubbed feet. St Alphonsa is the first woman of Indian origin to be canonized as a Catholic saint and is the first canonized saint of the Syromalabar Church. Her tomb at St Mary’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Bharananganam, Kerala has become a pilgrimage site where miracles take place. St Alphonsa is the patron saint against illness.
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" St Alphonsa practiced this word of God in her life. We entrust our country, families and the whole human race for her intercession.
God, give us the strength to receive the sufferings of our daily lives as your loving gifts. Help us to grow in divine virtues without being attracted by the momentary pleasures of this world. Grant us the grace to become symbols of fraternity by constantly radiating the goodness to others. Lord, through the merits and the powerful intercession of St. Alphonsa accepts all our petitions, especially the special needs that we ask for in her name.....(say the need) and bless us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Pantaleon was born in northern Turkey near the Black Sea. His mother, Eubula, died while Pantaleon was still young and his father, Eustorgus, sent him to study under a famous physician. Eventually, he was appointed as the royal physician to the court of Emperor Maximian. During his work as a physician, he experienced miraculous healing of a child who was bitten by a viper and was meant to die. Needing no more proof of the power of the Lord, he was baptized and undertook a course to study his newly found faith. Later he cured a man of blindness and when his father died he liberated the slaves from his family’s estate. Then he sold all of his possessions and gave the money to the freed slaves. He cured other illnesses and soon became known throughout Nicomedia, attracting attention from competing physicians who reported him to the Emperor. Pantaleon was asked to make a sacrifice to the Roman gods but he refused he was sentenced to torture and death. Pantaleon became a martyr when he was beheaded in 303.
St. Pantaleon who during your life had great pity for the sick and with the help of God often relieved and cured them, I invoke your intercession with God, that I may obtain the grace to serve Him in good health by cheerfully fulfilling the duties of my state of life. But if it is God’s Holy Will to allow me illness, pain, and suffering, aid me with your powerful prayer to submit humbly to His trials and crosses, to accept sickness in the spirit of penance, and to bear all patiently according to His Holy Will. Amen.
Saint Joachim and Saint Anne are the parents of Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus. The feast of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne are commemorated on the day of July 26. It is said that Joachim and Anne struggled to give birth due to sterility for decades. However God blessed Saint Anne and revealed through an angel that she will give birth to Mary. It is said that they raised their child with lots of love and devotion. Saint Joachim and Saint Anne are known as the patron saints of grandparents.
Please pray for our grandparents and keep them safe during this global pandemic. They have given us so much love and affection for which I can never thank them enough. Help them to remain constant in God’s love. Amen.
Saint James the Great was one of Jesus' first disciples. James was fishing with his father and brother, Saint John, when Jesus came to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and called for them to become fishers of men. James and John left everything behind and became devout disciples. Later, James was one of the three disciples called by Jesus to witness his Transfiguration. Following Jesus Ascension, James spread the Gospel across Israel, the Roman kingdom and Spain. Later, James returned to Jerusalem where he was killed for his faith by King Herod. St James is widely recognised as the first apostle to be martyred. His feast day is on July 25th and he is the patron saint of Spain and pilgrims.
Help us follow the example of Saint James the Great to leave everything behind to follow Jesus. Help us spread the good news to our friends and family and remain faithful even in difficult moments. Amen.
St. Christina lived during the third century and was the daughter of a rich and powerful judge. Saint Christina was beautiful and attracted many suitors but at the age of 11, her father decided that he wanted her to be a pagan priestess (a religion other than one of the main world religions, specifically a non-Christian or pre-Christian religion). To make her meet his wishes, he locked her in a room filled with gold and silver idols and ordered her to burn incense before them. Saint Christina often peered out her window to take a look at the outside world and realized that there must be a powerful and great creator of the world. She would look at the idols she was stuck with and came to believe that they were false since they were made by man. She began to pray to the creator of the world and asked him to reveal himself to her. That was when she felt an intense fire from deep within her heart. An angel came to St. Christina and taught her the Gospel of Christ. St. Christina smashed the false idols and threw them through the window. When her father came to visit and discovered the missing idols, he questioned St. Christina but she refused to speak to him. He later learned of her new faith and slapped her face until she spoke. She only spoke of her new faith and admitted to destroying the idols. Her father beat her and threw her in prison. Her mother visited her and pleaded for her to change her faith - Christina refused.
The next day, she was taken to trial and was told to plead for forgiveness but she didn’t. As a result, her father ordered her to be tortured. She was tied to an iron wheel above an extreme fire. As she was raked through the flames, her body was burned but she did not die. Saint Christina was thrown into a prison cell and that night an angel appeared. Her wounds were healed that night. Her father found her the next day, unharmed, and ordered a stone to be tied around her neck and she was thrown into a lake. As she sank, an angel untied her and she reappeared, alive, above the water. Finally, he decided to execute her the following morning but he suddenly died the night before. During her imprisonment and torture, Saint Christina converted nearly 300 people. She was eventually killed by a sword after surviving 5 days in a burning furnace. Christina’s story teaches us that having trust in the Lord will always prevail no matter how tough and painful life may be.
Saint Christina, you were subjected to torture and harsh conditions and still maintained your trust in the Lord. Help us to stay faithful and strong in times of struggle as you did. Watch over us in times of need, protect us, hear our prayers. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
St. Bridget of Sweden was born in 1303 to the knight Birger Persson and Ingeborg Bengtsdotter. She was married to Ulf Gudmarsson in 1316. She bore 8 children but only 6 survived infancy. In 1344 her husband died, and because of that, Bridget became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. Bridget came up with the idea of creating a religious community that would then be called the Order of the Most Holy Savior, or the Brigittines. In 1350 Bridget and her daughter made a pilgrimage to Rome with a small group of priests and followers to obtain permission from the Pope to start the Order. After a long wait, Pope Urban V granted the Rule of the Order in 1370. Bridget remained in Rome until her death 3 years later on July 23, 1373. During her stay in Rome, she was a very happy person and was loved by many in Rome. She always had a bright, happy face and went for confession everyday.
O St. Bridget, teach us to be happy like you were in Rome so that others may find us to be very kind. Teach us to have a constant love of God and have strong faith in him. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Mary Magdalene was a very beautiful lady. Everyone paid her a lot of compliments. Her pride was that she forgot that God gave her all that beauty. She wanted to be popular. One day, she saw Jesus Christ and He looked at her and showed her how sorry He was for her sin. She realized her sin and decided to follow Jesus. She knelt at His feet and washed His feet with her tears, she then wiped them with her hair and covered them with perfume. She did all this to show how sorry she was for her sins. After her realization, she loved only Jesus. She never sinned again and she stayed every moment with Him during crucifixion and was the first to witness his resurrection.
O Lord, help us to be like St. Mary Magdalene, a woman of many sins, to realize our sins and turn back to you. Help us to love Jesus as she did and dedicate our lives to you. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Today’s commemorated saint is Saint Lawrence of Brindisi. Lawrence was born on July 22, 1559. His parents gave him the name of Julius Caesar or Caesare in Italian. His parents had died at an early age so he was educated by his uncle at the college of St. Mark in Venice. When he was just 16, he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order and received the name Lawrence and was made a priest at 23. Lawrence has known a variety of languages such as Italian, Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French. Due to this, he was able to study the original texts of the Bible and spent time preaching the Jews in Italy. Lawrence’s sensitivity of people began to surface and he was elected major superior of the Capuchin Franciscan province of Tuscany at the age of 31. In rapid succession, he was promoted to minister general of the Capuchins in 1602. He was appointed papal emissary and peacemaker which branch him to several different countries. An effort to achieve peace in his native kingdom of Naples took him on a journey to Lisbon to cost the King of Spain. While there he got a serious illness which took his life on July 22, 1619. He died on his birthday making him exactly 60 years old.
O God, who for the glory of your name and for the salvation of souls bestowed on the Priest Saint Lawrence of Brindisi a spirit of counsel and fortitude, grant, we pray, that in the same spirit, we may know what must be done and, through his intercession, bring it to completion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
St. Apollinaris was born in Antioch, Syria, now Antakya, Turkey, in the first century AD. According to tradition, Apollinaris was sent by St. Peter to Ravenna to become bishop there. The miracles he performed attracted many converts but roused up some non-believers and they beat Apollinaris many times. In one beating he was cut with a few knives and searing hot water was poured on his wounds and he was put on a ship to be sent to Greece. But he faced beatings over and over again and eventually he was put on a boat going back to Italy. When either Emperor Vespasian or Nero decreed the banishment of Christians, Apollinaris went into hiding. Eventually, he came out of hiding and was leaving the city. As he was passing through the gates he was recognized as “the leader” and he was beaten so savagely that he only survived 7 days after that. In that short period, he foretold the persecution of Christians would
get worse; he died in 79 AD. He is considered one of the first great martyrs of the church. He was beatified during the pre-congregation period, so his Veneration Beatification and Canonization times are not listed.
Direct your faithful, Lord, in the way of eternal salvation, which the Bishop Saint Apollinaris showed by his teaching and martyrdom, and grant, through his intercession, that we may so persevere in keeping your commandments as to merit being crowned with him. 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.