October 13, 2000
volume 11, no. 199

LITURGY for Friday and Saturday, October 13-14, 2000

Friday, October 13, 2000

    Friday October 13:
    Weekday in Ordinary Time
    83rd Anniversary of the Final Apparition at Fatima

    Green vestments

      First Reading: Galatians 3: 7-14
      Psalms: Psalm 111: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 15-26

Saturday, October 14, 2000

    Saturday October 14:
    Weekday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Pope Saint Callistus I, Martyr and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or Red or White vestments

      First Reading: Galatians 3: 22-29
      Psalms: Psalm 105: 2-7
      Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 27-28

Feast of Pope Saint Callistus I, Martyr

        Born into slavery in Rome, Saint Callistus I or Saint Calixtus was placed in charge of a bank by his owner a Roman pagan by the name of Carpophorus. Because he was not educated he lost the bank's funds through manipulation by Jewish investors who were trying to filter the money out through devious means. Fearing he would be blamed, Callistus fled. He was captured at Porto and sentenced to the salt mines but not before he was subjected to the hand mill to join hardened slaves. Finally his creditors asked for his release so they could again use him as a ruse to pilfer more funds. Once they were successful, they again pointed the finger at Callistus who was arrested in the Synagogue trying to recover the money and prove his innocence. Again he was sentenced in 186 to the Sardinian mines, but in 199 the mistress of the Emperor Commodus, the young Marcia effected his release. Pope Saint Victor intervened on Callistus' behalf and sent him to Anzio in Italy where in 217 he was baptized and ordained by the current pope Saint Zephyriunus whom Callistus would succeed. Callistus was brought back to Rome with the Holy Father and became a friend and advisor of Zephyrinus. Back in Rome the Pope appointed Callistus procreator of the cemetery on the Appian Way which would become the Catacomb of the Popes and is today St. Callistus Cemetery where 46 Popes and over 200,000 Christians are buried. In 217 his beloved friend was martyred and Callistus became the 16th chosen in the line of Peter. However, his appointment was bitterly opposed by Saint Hippolytus who had also been a candidate for the papacy. Hippolytus set himself up as the pope, thus becoming the Church's first antipope. Callistus pronounced Latin as the official language and this further angered Hippolytus who had been born into nobility and favored Greek over Latin, considered the language of the commoners. Callistus had always clung to the needs of the poor. Those like him, who had been slaves, or non-Romans or who were poor were rejected and in turn they rejected the Greek either out of lack of formal education or their despise for what pagan Rome stood for. They, in turn, adopted Latin as a means of communication and it was quickly embraced by the Christians who were, for the most part, in and among the poor as Christ had directed. Yet insurrection was inevitable from the Greek camp. Fired up by Hippolytus, those who favored Greek objected vehemently to the abandonment of their language. It's interesting to not that only a few things of Greek such as the Kyrie Leison were retained. It was an all-out victory for Callistus and for Latin, but left scars that lasted for centuries and eventually led to a split between East and West. Though his successor St. Zephyrinus is considered the "Father of Ecclesiastical Latin", it was Callistus who decreed it the official language of the Church. As time passed, more and more Latin was incorporated into the liturgy of the Mass. It also became a possessive tongue where the Christians guarded and treasured this new speech. Callistus also reasoned that if the liturgy was conducted in Latin universally, Christians could more readily identify and participate wherever they went. From 220 to 1965 this was the rule rather than the exception. Unfortunately, today it's the exception rather than the rule. He served as pontiff for five years, eventually being driven to return to his roots of a poor slave by taking shelter in the poor and populous quarters of Rome to elude the terrible persecution of the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus who eventually caught up with him in 222. On October 14 Severus had Callistus severly beaten with clubs and his remains thrown into a well where today the church Santa Maria in Trastevere now stands.

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). 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."

October 13, 2000
volume 11, no. 199

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