November 22, 2000
volume 11, no. 239
LITURGY for Wednesday and Thursday, November 22-23, 2000
Wednesday, November 22, 2000
First Reading: Apocalypse/Revelation 4: 1-11
Psalms: Psalm 150: 1-6
Gospel Reading: Luke 19: 11-28
Feast of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Born into a Patrician family in Rome and raised a Christian, Saint Cecilia still was afforded all the luxury of a family of wealth in pagan Rome. Though she had disgarded this way of life,l vowing herself to virginity, her father thought otherwise and forced her to marry a young pagan man by the name of Valerian. During the pagan nuptial ceremony songs of merriment and sensuality were played, but Cecilia didn't hear it for her heart was dedicated to God alone and that was her song as the Acts of of St. Cecilia proclaim, "While instruments were playing (at her wedding feast) profane music, Cecilia sang rather to God in her heart." Because of this she has been chosen patron saint of music and musicians. On their wedding night Cecilia disclosed her vow to her new husband and rather than going into a rage, Valerian, who loved her dearly, was converted by a vision of St. Cecilia's guardian angel and forever honored her vow of virginity, not consummating their marriage. He became so enraptured with Christianity that he converted his brother Tiburtius. Both dedicated their lives to carrying for the survivors of loved ones who had been martyred as well as burying the martyrs. Caught by the Roman guards burying the martyrs they were arrested by the prefect Almachius who ordered them to sacrifice to the gods. When they refused both Valerian and Tiburtius were beheaded along with Saint Maximus who was converted on the spot, so impressed by their faith and determination. When Cecilia brought the three bodies back to her villa along the Appian Way to be buried there, she, too, was arrested. The guards tried to suffocate her in her room, but she miraculously survived. When brought before the prefect, Almachius tried to dissuade her from her ideals as he did with her husband, but Cecilia would have nothing to do with the world, the flesh and the devil. He then ordered that she also be decapitated, but the executioner bungled the job and Cecilia was not killed instantly, but rather lingered in pain for three days before expiring around September 16, 235. Dates vary among historians, some placing it as early as 230, others 250 but research shows Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus died during the end of the reign of the Roman Emperor Alexander who ruled between 222 and 235. Therefore the most accurate date would be 235. Commemoration of St. Cecilia began in the 600's after they discovered facts about her inscribed on the walls of the catacomb of Saint Callistus. Pope Paschal I dedicated the basilica of St. Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome in 824 where he transfered her relics and commissioned a mosaic depicting Cecilia standing between Valerian and Tiburtius.
Thursday, November 23, 2000
First Reading: Apocalypse/Revelation 5: 1-10
Psalms: Psalm 149: 1-6, 9
Gospel Reading: Luke 19: 41-44
Feast of Pope Saint Clement I, Martyr
The third successor of Saint Peter, and fourth pope Pope Saint Clement I was elected pontiff in 88 AD. He ruled the See of Rome for most of the last decade of the First Century. During that time he restored the Sacrament of Confirmation as St. Peter had instructed. He also is the one who assigned the popular phrase "Amen" which means "so be it" at the end of all prayers. Clement authored many letters, specifically to the Corinthians in which he capsulized the role of the Church in rebuking schism, "They who are great," he wrote, "cannot yet subsist without those that are little, nor the little without the great. In our body, the head without the feet is nothing, neither the feet without the head. And the smallest members of our body are useful and necessary to the whole." Fearing his influence, the Roman Emperor Trajan had Cement exiled to the Crimea. There the Holy Father converted so many that the enraged Emperor had him carted out to sea and there, with an anchor tied around his neck, cast into the depths of the Mediterranean. He has been venerated ever since the end of the 4th Century in the basilica of St. Clement in Rome.
Feast of Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, Priest, Religious and Martyr
Venerated throughout Mexico, Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro was a Jesuit priest who was martyred during the Church persecutions early in this century. Born in the shadow of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1891, Miguel entered the Jesuit seminary. Throughout his life Miguel was a victim soul, suffering much in reparation for others. He suffered particularly severe stomach ailments. While in the Mexican novitiate in 1911, revolution broke out and by 1914 the Jesuits feared for their lives. Miguel, along with many of his colleagues, were sent first to Laredo, Texas to continue their studies, then to California. They were then sent by the Provincial to Nicaragua, but were soon called to Spain. In his final year of studies, as a deacon, Miguel was assigned to Belgium where he was ordained in 1925. He was reassigned to his beloved Mexico City but within a month the Mexican regime banned all public worship. In secret Father Pro ministered to the faithful, always staying a step ahead of the government spies. However, in November 1927 a car which had been previously owned by one of Miguel's brothers was seen tossing a bomb toward Mexican President Calles' car along Paseo de la Reforma. Needless to say all the Pro brothers were arrested and a kangaroo court condemned them to a firing squad. The youngest brother, at the eleventh hour, was granted a reprieve and exiled to the U.S. Miguel and his other brother were not so fortunate and they were both marched into the courtyard on November 23, 1927. There, as the government rifles were aimed at the two men, Father Miguel stretched out his arms wide proclaiming in a loud, clear voice: "Viva Cristo Rey!" which in English means "Long live Christ the King!" Shots rang out and within seconds Miguel had joined the long list of martyrs. Three years later a campaign for his beatification was begun. He is still waiting canonization. With his devotion to "Cristo Rey" it is fitting that he is honored right around the Solemnity of Christ the King. For more on Blessed Miguel, see
Blessed Miguel Pro - one of the Top 100 Catholics of the Century
Feast of Saint Columban, Abbot
Born in West Leinster, Ireland around 540, Saint Columban was a product of the fruits of Saint Patrick's missionary efforts. Though Columban's mother objected to his entering the monastery at Bango, he did, becoming a monk. With 12 other monks he was sent to evangelize France in 585, then still called Gaul. Five years later Columban was given land to contruct a monastery at Annegray and followed that with two more houses in Luxeuil and Fontaines. Soon after he had followers through most of Western Europe who built like monasteries in upper France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. With the number of monks swelling to well over 250, St. Columban penned a Rule for the monks in addition to a guide for confessors called a Penitentiary. Because of his origins, Columban installed Celtic usages in the monastery which he defended as exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction. Angered by this, the bishops expelled him from France in 603 after Columban had written Pope Saint Gregory the Great defending his position against the impositions placed on him by the Gallican bishops. He settled in Burgundy in the south part of France but was soon banished from there along with all his monks because he refused to act as celebrant for King Theodoric II who would not give up his concubines. Returning to Ireland by sea, Columban was shipwrecked and was offered refuge by King Theodebert II of Neustria, where he went to Metz, east of Paris in Northern France evangelizing the Alemanni around the area of Bregenz. All was going well until his old nemesis Theodoric waged war on Theodebert and captured the land. Columban again had to flee, this time going east through Switzerland and south through the Italian Alps where he was welcomed by Milanese King Agilulf who was an Arian Lombard. Soon after Columban founded the monastery of Bobbio in the Lombard mountains south of Milan and just north of Genoa near the Mediterranean. There he wrote the Monastic Rule, and many treatises against the Arian heresy. Bobbio became one of the great monasteries of that time period, a center of culture for learning and spirituality. Columban died on November 23, 615 at the age of 72. In 1969, Pope Paul VI proclaimed his feast be celebrated in the Roman Calendar on November 23rd.
November 22, 2000
volume 11, no. 239
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