September 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 183

LITURGY for Wednesday and Thursday, September 27-28, 2000

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

      First Reading: Proverbs 30: 5-9
      Psalms: Psalm 119: 29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 1-6

Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest and Religious Founder

       Though Saint Vincent de Paul was not a doctor like Saints Cosmas and Damian whose feasts are celebrated the day before, Vincent performed in the same loving, charitable and merciful manner as did the twin saints thirteen centuries before him. Vincent was born in Gascony, France in 1581 into a poor, but holy Catholic family who fostered in him a vocation to the priesthood. Thus at only 19 Vincent became a priest. While enroute to a mission across the sea he was captured by high Moslem sea pirates and spent two years in prison and then sold as a slave in Tunisia. There, through prayer and his example, he was able to convert his master to Christianity and allowed to return to France. While in Paris, his spiritual director Pere Peter de Berulle suggested that he accept the appointment of pastor of a small parish at Clichy just outside of Paris. There he recruited numerous young men to assist him, instilling in them a love for the priesthood. Shortly after he was appointed to serve as the chaplain to a rich family of the French aristocrat where he remained for twelve years. During this time satan tempted him severely, but Vincent persevered and volunteered to minister to sailors and ship-builders in the port cities, remembering his earlier travails on the seas. This association led him to become chaplain to the galley-slaves who were endeared to Vincent because he cared much in the same way as Saint Peter Claver, his Spanish counterpart half way around the world in Columbia at the same period of time. Yet, his apostolate of teaching the catechism and ministering to the poor and peasants of the French countryside became paramount, especially after meeting Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane Francis Chantal. It was shortly after this in 1622 that he was appointed superior of her convent of the Visitation in Paris where he remained until his death in 1660. Seeing the needs of the people, Vincent gathered a group of young men to assist him in ministering to the people. This was the beginning of the Vincentians (Congregation of the Mission or Lazarists as they were known in France) which were approved by Pope Urban VIII in 1633. That same year Vincent founded the Daughters of Charity along with Saint Louise Marillac. This order of extern nuns was dedicated to a social agenda of ministering to the poor. To keep the line of priests continuing for the Vincentians, Vincent established numerous seminaries and thus formulating the clergy was added to the mission of the order. Both Louise and Vincent died in 1660, the latter passing away in Paris on September 27 which ultimately became his feast day as proclaimed by Pope Clement XII in 1737 when he officially canonized Vincent. Towards the end of the 19th Century, Pope Leo XIII, a pontiff of great social order conscience, decreed Vincent patron of all charitable works universally. Today, in practically every parish, there is a St. Vincent de Paul Society which dedicate themselves to collecting goods to distribute to the poor or selling them so that the money can be donated to those less fortunate.

Thursday, September 28, 2000

    Thursday September 28:
    Weekday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, Ruler and Martyr
    Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz, Husband, Father and Companions, Martyrs

    Green or Red vestments

      First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1: 2-11
      Psalms: Psalm 90: 3-6, 12-14, 17
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 7-9

Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, Husband, Ruler and Martyr

        Born in 907, Saint Wenceslaus of Prague was the first Slav to be canonized. His canonization was expedited because of his martyrdom at the hands of his brother who was jealous. Their father had died early in their life and they were educated and cared for by their grandmother Saint Ludmilla who also was martyred in a sinister family plot by their own mother who had grown bitter and jealous. At the tender age of 15 Wenceslaus ascended to the throne as king of his country where he ruled with wisdom and concern, stressing God's Will in all things, which angered the pagans of his land who mounted an underground opposition to overthrow him. Even though Wenceslaus knew his mother's heart was not pure, he prayed incessantly for her and would not exile her, hoping she would see the light of God's way. Even though he had all the proof in the world of her involvement in his grandmother's death, he rebuked those who urged him to take revenge with the words, "Why do you want to prevent me from applying the Divine Law of Jesus Christ and to obey His commandments? I reject your advice because I want to serve God with all my heart." A few years later, after Wenceslaus had married and bore a son, the opposition got to his brother Boleslaus who, realizing he was younger and would not be successor to the throne now that Wenceslaus had a heir, became embittered and was easy prey for their machinations. Thus, on September 26 Boleslaus invited Wenceslaus to attend Mass with him in celebrating the feast of Saint Cosmas and Damian. However it was a trap to lure Wenceslaus into a secluded area away from his entourage of guards where Boleslaus struck the holy king on the head from behind with his sword. The blow did not immediately kill Wenceslaus who struggled with his own flesh and blood for his very life as blood flowed profusely from his skull, but though the king was stronger, Boleslaus' accomplices lying in wait behind the pillars emerged and thrust their swords into Wenceslaus' back, felling the holy Slav ruler. Three years later his remains were transfered from the cemetary to the church of St. Vitus in Prague where he was greatly venerated and fifty years later the people were openly celebrating with great pomp and circumstance the feast of St. Wenceslaus for he had been so loved and so promoted the Catholic faith that many conversions had taken place.

Saint Lawrence Ruiz, Husband, Father and Companion Martyrs

        This feast commemorates the first Filipino martyrs Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, a layman and his fifteen companions met their death in Nagasaki in 1637 at the hands of heathen Japanese warriors. Born in China, Lorenzo migrated to the Philippines where he settled in the Chinese section in Manila called Binondo. A father of four children, he was forced to flee with Dominican missionaries, who were enroute to Japan to spread the faith, because he had unjustly been accused of a crime being blackmailed because of his honesty and virtuous life. The companions were composed of all those somehow associated with the Dominicans either as clergy or lay order. Two days after Christmas of 1637 word finally reached Manila that Lorenzo and his Dominican companions had all been slayed. Immediately the people gathered at the church of Santo Domingo to sing a solemn Te Deum in honor of their fallen compadres. These saints were canonized 350 years later by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Manila on October 18, 1987.

September 26, 2000
volume 11, no. 182

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