August 19, 2000
volume 11, no. 144

LITURGY for Saturday and Sunday, August 19-20, 2000

Saturday, August 19, 2000

    Saturday August 19:
    Weekday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint John Eudes, Priest, Religious Founder and Educator and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Ezechiel 18: 1-10, 13, 30-32
      Psalms: Psalm 51: 12-15, 18-19
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 19: 13-15
Feast of Saint John Eudes, Priest, Religious Founder and Educator
        Known for his tremendous devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, Saint John Eudes was born in 1601 in Normandy, France. The first born of seven children, John was given an excellent Catholic education by his parents who sent him to the Jesuit schools and later the Congregation of the Oratory in Paris. At the youthful age of 24 John was ordained an Oratorian priest and later became the superior general of the Order in Caen. It was a good training ground for this saint who at the age of 42 left the Oratorians so he could begin a new order - the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, dedicated to the Two Hearts with the principal purpose of fostering vocations and establishing reputable seminaries for forming virtuous future priests who would reach out to all - the sick, poor and dying included. A year later John founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity which later became the Institute of the Good Shepherd. Throughout his life, St. John Eudes preached relentlessly in the cities and seminaries. During the time of plague he spent two solid months with very little rest ministering to infirm and dying souls. He became a spiritual physician of the highest degree with total dedication and consecration to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts which became the symbol for his Order, commonly called Eudists. On August 19, 1680 this French saint died at the age of 79, his earthly mission completed.
Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday
        Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne (see archives December 23, no. 25 issue, volume 7). He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

SUNDAY, August 20, 2000

      First Reading: Proverbs 9: 1-6
      Psalms: Psalm 34: 2-7
      Second Reading: Ephesians 5: 15-20
      Gospel Reading: John 6: 51-58
Though superseded by the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 20th is the traditional Feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church:

Feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church
        A rebirth of the Cistercian Order can be attributed to a great Cistercian saint born in Burgundy, France in 1090: Saint Bernard. He entered the Cistercian abbey in Citeaux, France in 1113, convincing thirty friends and relatives to join him. Naturally, this influx led to the revival of the Cistercian Order and within three years of becoming a priest, Bernard was sent with twelve others to establish a new monastery at Clairvaux which was to be the daughter house of Citeaux. Bernard was chosen Abbot and as word of his devotion and knowledge grew the people sought him out from the poorest peasants to bishops, kings and Popes. One of them, Pope Blessed Eugene III commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe which also enabled Bernard to found many monasteries in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Sicily and even Syria. Kings beseeched him to serve as a peacemaker whenever possible and Bernard was revered not only for his holy life, but for his great writings. One of the greatest prayers he wrote was the Memorare to Our Lady. He was devoted heart and soul to his Crucified Lord and received many visions and messages through private revelation, one of which was his zeal to help the suffering Christ so that he offered to help Him bear the terrible suffering of the cross. Christ comforted Bernard and inspired him to carry His word and faith to all parts of Europe and the mideast, entreating the saint to defend the true pontiff Pope Innocent II as opposed to the antipope Anaclete II. Bernard died peacefully on August 20, 1153 five weeks after the death of his pontiff Blessed Eugene III. Bernard, also known as "Hammer of heretics", was canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1174 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1830 by Pope Pius VIII.

August 19, 2000
volume 11, no. 144