March 4, 2001
volume 12, no. 63

Sunday and Monday, March 4th and 5th

SUNDAY, March 3, 2001    Meditation

      First Reading: Deuteronomy 26: 4-10
      Psalms: Psalm 91: 1-2, 10-15
      Second Reading: Romans 10: 8-13
      Gospel Reading: Luke 4: 1-13
Though it is superseded by the Sunday Liturgy, March 4th is also the Optional Feast of Saint Casimir, Prince and Patron Saint of Poland.

Optional Feast of Saint Casimir, Prince and Patron Saint of Poland

       The patron saint of Poland was a saintly young prince named Saint Casimir. He was known for his virginal chastity and for truly living what he preached for the 26 years he lived on this earth. Born in 1458 into nobility, his mother Elizabeth of Austria raised him in the True Faith. At 13 he was elected King of Hungary in hopes of toppling the rival king Matthias Corvino. However, through Casimir's prayers, peace and compromise were reached and the Hungarians were reconciled with Corvino. This enabled Casimir to abdicate the throne and devote his life to prayer as he preferred over the life of royalty. Yet while his father was in Lithuania, Casimir was again promoted - this time to the office of regent in Poland. Though he preferred a more contemplative lifestyle, he accepted this office with dignity and despite his youth, showed wisdom beyond his years in administering with great prudence and virtue. Casimir nurtured a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, dedicating his life to her and turning down an offer of marriage to the daughter of the German Emperor Henry III. In 1843 Casimir was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Lithuania and shortly after that contracted the fatal disease of tuberculosis, passing on to his Heavenly reward on March 4, 1484 at the young age of 26 in the court of Grodno. Amid great grief and pomp the Polish people honored him, burying him under the altar in the Chapel of Our Lady in the castle of Vilna. He was canonized 37 years later in 1521 by Pope Leo X, but it wasn't until 1602 that the Poles and Lithuanians realized Casimir had been made a saint since the original bull never reached Poland since Leo's successor Pope Hadrian VI had assumed Leo X had sent it and therefore did not follow-up. As it were, Leo died before he could dispatch the original bull and it was lost in the shuffle. Once it was discovered, Pope Clement VIII took care of officially notifying the Polish people by reissuing the papal bull. Almost immediately the Polish King Sigismund III began erecting a chapel honoring Casimir in Vilna and it was completed by his successor King Wladislaus IV.

Monday, March 5, 2001    Meditation
    Lenten Weekday
      First Reading: Leviticus 19: 1-2, 11-18
      Psalms: Psalm 122: 2-3
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 31-46

March 4, 2001
volume 12, no. 63
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