Proper of the Saints and Feasts

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Proper of the Saints and Feasts

Friday, October 25:

    Traditional Simple Feast of Saints Christiana and Daria, Martyrs

      Simple Feast. Red Vestments.

Saints Chrysanthus and Daria

   Chrysanthus was the son of a Roman senator, born in Egypt. While still young he went with his father to Rome, where his superior intelligence was quickly appreciated. Convinced of the vanity of idol worship, he undertook every means at his disposition to learn the truth and deliver his soul from the doubts afflicting him. An elderly gentlemen was pointed out to him as a sage, and Chrysanthus went to him with his questions. The old man, who was a Christian, had no difficulty in opening the eyes of the young neophyte; Chrysanthus instantly embraced the truth with ardor and became an apostle.

   His father, at first astonished, became irritated and decided to bring his son back from what he called his superstitions and errors. No means were effectual for this purpose. Thus, influenced by his associates, the father locked him in his palace and sent a courtesan to seduce his purity.

   When the first one did not succeed, others were commissioned for the infamous task, and finally a vestal virgin, Daria, priestess of an idol regarded as the empire’s bulwark, attempted every artifice to corrupt the young Christian. Instead, she herself became the conquest of grace. The two Christians saw themselves united by the bonds of faith, hope and charity, and determined to add to these holy chains those of a virginal marriage. This decision brought about liberty for Chrysanthus and gave him the means to continue his preaching of Christ. Many conversions among the officers of the Roman society with which he was already familiar, were the fruit of the apostolate of the young spouses, including that of the tribune Claudius, with his household and seventy soldiers.

   But complaints began to be addressed to the prefect of Rome, who arrested the young couple. After enduring torments, Chrysanthus was shut up in the Mamertine prison, and Daria was sent to a house of ill fame. But the Lord watched over both of them as He had done over many others, and they surmounted their trials, intact and pure. To be done with them, the irritated emperor had them buried alive. It appears this torment was chosen in order to inflict on Daria the death reserved for unfaithful vestals. The principal relics of Chrysanthus and Daria are in the Abbey of Saint Avold in the diocese of Metz. Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12.

Saturday, October 26:

    Anticipated Vigil of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles, Brothers and Martyrs, and the feast of Pope Saint Evaristus, 5th Successor of Peter who was martyred in 105.

      Vigil. Violet or Red Vestments.

Pope Saint Evaristus

   Saint Evaristus succeeded Saint Anacletus on the throne of Saint Peter, elected during the second general persecution, under the reign of Domitian. That emperor no doubt did not know that the Christian pontificate was being perpetuated in the shadows of the catacombs. The text of the Liber Pontificalis, says of the new pope:

   “Evaristus, born in Greece of a Jewish father named Juda, originally from the city of Bethlehem, reigned for thirteen years, six months and two days, under the reigns of Domitian, Nerva and Trajan, from the Consulate of Valens and Veter (96) until that of Gallus and Bradua (108). This pontiff divided among the priests the titles of the city of Rome. By a constitution he established seven deacons who were to assist the bishop and serve as authentic witnesses for him. During the three ordinations which he conducted in the month of December, he promoted six priests, two deacons and five bishops, destined for various churches. Evaristus received the crown of martyrdom. He was buried near the body of Blessed Peter in the Vatican, on the sixth day of the Calends of November (October 25, 108). The episcopal throne remained vacant for nineteen days.”

   The Bollandists explain two passages of this text as follows: Saint Anacletus had ordained twenty-five priests for the city of Rome; Saint Evaristus completed this institution by settling the boundaries of each of these titles, and filling the vacancies which probably occurred during the persecution of Diocletian. As for the decree by which he ordains that seven deacons make up the cortege of the bishop, we find in the first epistle of Saint Anacletus a text which helps us to grasp and better perceive the discipline of the early Church. There existed amid the diverse elements which composed it in its first years, proud minds, envious souls, ambitious hearts which could not bear the yoke of obedience, and who by their revolts and incessant detraction fatigued the patience of the Apostles. The deacons were to be the Pope’s guards against their ill-intentioned projects.

   It was at the same time as Saint Ignatius, the illustrious bishop of Antioch, that Pope Saint Evaristus gave his life by martyrdom. The acts of his martyrdom are lost, but we perceive that the same faith, heroism and devotion united the churches of the East and of the West. He is often represented with a sword because he was decapitated, or with a crib, because it is believed that he was born in Bethlehem, from which his father migrated.

    REFLECTION: The disciples of the apostles, by assiduous meditation on heavenly things, were so rapt by foreshadowings of the life to come, that they seemed no longer to inhabit this world. If Christians esteem and set their hearts on earthly goods and lose sight of eternity, they are no longer animated by the spirit of the primitive Saints and have become children of this world, slaves to its vanities and to their own irregular passions. If we do not correct this disorder of our heart and conform our interior life, with its decisions and propensities, to the spirit of Christ, we cannot be heirs to His promises.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

SUNDAY, October 27:

    Solemn Feast of the SOVEREIGNTY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, SUPREME KING and the 23rd Sunday After Pentecost

      Double of the First Class. White Vestments.


The magnificent copyrighted painting of Christ the King was created by Matthew Brooks who has graciously given us permission to use here. For more of his exquisite work we encourage you to go to Art for Catholic Restoration.

   A relatively new feast, Pope Pius XI established it be celebrated on the last Sunday in October with his encyclical Quas Primas. It was changed after Vatican II to transplant the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, which, prior to that was the Last Sunday After Pentecost. Of all the changes made by the post-conciliar Church, this was one of the least offensive since it was so close to the last Sunday of October and still a fitting time to celebrate the apex of all we strive for - Jesus Christ, our Spiritual King - the Lord and Giver of life, Maker of law, the supreme judge and ruling Authority in the minds, wills and hearts of all mankind. If only those who made the changes took it further in upholding and promoting the Social Kingship of Jesus, Who began His public ministry by announcing in Mark 1: 14, "the kingdom of God is at hand" and just before His crucifixion affirmed to the high priests His rightful title as King of Heaven and earth, "you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of Heaven."

   In celebrating this feast we pay homage to our Sovereign King as His subjects in fulfilling the words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:32-33, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be King over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." Shortly after this solemn Double of the First Class Feast, the liturgical cycle is completed and a new liturgical year begins anew with the First Sunday of Advent and preparation for His coming. A time to prepare for Christ the King, Whom as a little child the three kings bowed down to, as we should always do as His loyal, humble, and obedient servants to our Heavenly King.

Monday, October 28:

    Double of the Second Class Feast of the Apostles Saints Simon and Jude, Martyrs
      Double of the Second Class. Red Vestments.

SAINT SIMON and SAINT JUDE, Apostles and Martyrs

   Simon was a simple Galilean, a brother of Jesus, as the ancients called one’s close relatives — aunts, uncles, first cousins; he was one of the Savior’s four first cousins, with James the Less, Jude and Joseph, all sons of Mary, the wife of Alpheus, or Cleophas, either name being a derivative of the Aramaic Chalphai. The latter was the brother of Saint Joseph, according to tradition. All the sons of this family were raised at Nazareth near the Holy Family. (See the Gospel of Saint Matthew 13:53-58.) Simon, Jude and James were called by Our Lord to be Apostles, pillars of His Church, and Joseph the Just was His loyal disciple.

   Saint Simon the Zealot or the Zealous, was the name this Apostle bore among the twelve. He preached in Egypt, Mauritania (Spain), and Lybia, leaving behind him the fertile hills of Galilee, where he had been engaged in the healthful cultivation of the vineyards and olive gardens. He later rejoined his brother, Saint Jude, in Persia, where they labored and died together. At first they were respected by the king, for they had manifested power over two ferocious tigers who had terrorized the land. With the king, sixty thousand Persians became Christians, and churches rose over the ruins of the idolatrous temples.

   But the ancient enemy, who never sleeps, rose up, and when the two went elsewhere the pagans commanded them to sacrifice to the sun. Both Apostles, just before that time, had seen Our Lord amid His Angels. Simon said to Jude, “One of the Angels said to me, I will take you out of the temple and bring the building down upon their heads. I answered him, Let it not be so; perhaps some of them will be converted.” They prayed for mercy for the people and offered their lives to God. Saint Simon told the crowd that their gods were only demons, and ordered them to come out of the statues, which they did, revealing themselves under hideous forms. But the idolaters fell on the Apostles and massacred them, while they blessed God and prayed for their murderers.

   Saint Jude has left us a short but powerful epistle, written after the death of his brother James, bishop of Jerusalem, and addressed to the new Christians being tempted by false brethren and heretics. He is the Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases. Some accounts relate Jude was crucified on the cross as an example to all, but most hold to the tradition that he was clubbed to death and beheaded. He is often depicted holding the face of Jesus and a club, the instrument of his martyrdom. In some illustrations, a flame protrudes from his forehead representing the power of the Holy Ghost.

    REFLECTION: Zeal is an ardent love which makes a man fearless in defense of God’s honor, and earnest to make known the truth at all costs. If we desire to be children of the Saints, we must be zealous for the Faith.

Source: Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950).

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