DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN-MON     July 2-5, 1999     vol. 10, no. 128


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Friday, July 2, 1999

      First Reading: Genesis 23: 1-4, 19; 24: 1-8, 62-67
      Psalms: Psalm 106: 1-5
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 9: 9-13

Saturday, July 3, 1999

      First Reading: Ephesians 2: 19-22
      Psalms: Psalm 117: 1-2 and Mark 16: 15
      Gospel Reading: John 20: 24-29


          Though Saint Thomas the Apostle is often referred to as the "Doubting Apostle," in truth he was one of the most faithful, believing of Christ's disciples. This is confirmed in John 11: 16 when Thomas boldly encourages his fellow apostles to go with Jesus to Lazarus where the fear was that they might be stoned, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him." That does not display doubt, but rather undying faith. But Thomas, being human and having withered the many storms Christ underwent, expressed the sentiment many would. In other words, it was almost too much to believe that Jesus had risen. To allay any further sorrow, Thomas put up a defense to the other Apostles with his famous, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." In other words, "don't tease me!" Christ understood and was gentle with Thomas, rebuking him mildly in John 20: 27-29 with "...and be not unbelieving, but believing...Because thou hast seen Me, thou has believed. Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." The last sentence is a great lesson in faith for the majority of us have not seen, yet we believe. That's faith. This event also occurred before the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Even before this Thomas had pledged his undying loyalty with his famous response to Our Lord in John 20: 28, "My Lord and my God!" It was Thomas' way of asking forgiveness for doubting. After Christ's Ascension Thomas was sent to preach in Parthia and the Indies where he gained the glorious crown of martyrdom. In 1972 Pope Paul VI proclaimed him "Patron Saint of India."

SUNDAY, July 4, 1999

    SUNDAY, July 4:
    Fourteenth Friday in Ordinary Time

    Green vestments

      First Reading: Zachariah 9: 9-10
      Psalms: Psalm 145: 1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
      Second Reading: Romans 8: 9, 11-13
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 11: 25-30

   Though it is superseded by the Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 4th is the Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal:


          Saint Elizabeth of Portugal was named after her great-aunt Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Born to of King Peter III of Aragon in 1271, Elizabeth was married off at the age of 12 to Denis, king of Portugal. She bore two children - Constance the future queen of Castile, and Alphonse, successor to the Portuguese throne. Denis was a rogue and fathered multiple children out of wed-lock with numerous women. Rather than leaving him, Elizabeth not only prayed and fasted for him, but went out of her way to provide for the education of these illegitimate children. She constantly was the peacemaker between father and son when strong-headed Alphonse took up arms against Denis. Satan did all he could to hurt Elizabeth, but her faith and devout austerity prevailed. After Denis' death in 1325, Elizabeth tried to enter the Poor Clares but was turned away. Undaunted, she put on the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis where she dedicated the rest of her life to helping others, dying peacefully in 1336 at the age of 65. Ironically the order that had denied her in life, opened their arms to her in death, for she was buried at the Poor Clare Monastery she had helped build in Coimbra. She was canonized by Pope Urban VIII in 1625.

Monday, July 5, 1999

    Monday, July 5:
    Fourteenth Monday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, priest and religious founder and
    Special Mass for Independence Day

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Genesis 28: 10-22
      Psalms: Psalm 91: 1-4, 14-15
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 9: 18-26


          Regarded as the founder of the Congregation of Clerks Regular of St. Paul, Saint Anthony Mary Zaccharia was born in Cremona, Italy in 1502. Guided devoutly by his widowed mother, Anthony made a perpetual vow of chastity and poverty at an early age and set out to be a physician, dedicated to healing. However under the influence of the Dominicans, he was moved toward the priesthood and became a Dominican priest in 1528. Two years later he founded a society called "Eternal Wisdom" and a year later, with the aid of two members of this society, established the Congregation of Clerks. In 1533 Pope Clement VII officially approved the Congregation which was also known as the Barnabites because the seat of the Order was at the Church of St. Barnabas in Cremona. The purpose of the Barnabites was to reform the clergy and laity in lieu of the Protestant Reformation at that time and Saint Anthony Zaccharia preached relentlessly against the influence of Martin Luther and other Protestant leaders while also founding a congregation for women with the help of Countess Torelli, encouraging all to a deeper devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and promoting lay organizations to rally behind the true teachings of Holy Mother Church. He died peacefully in 1539 at the relatively early age of 37.

Tuesday, July 6, 1999

    Tuesday, July 6:
    Fourteenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

    Green or red vestments

      First Reading: Genesis 32: 23-33
      Psalms: Psalm 17: 1-3, 6-8, 15
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 9: 32-38


          Considered the first saint of the 20th Century, Saint Maria Teresa Goretti was born into a poor family in Nettuno, Italy in 1890. At a very early age she showed tremendous maternal instincts, caring for her four younger brothers as well as the neighbors young children while the parents worked in the fields during the day. Her mother had been forced to work the fields since her husband and Maria's father died in 1900. Too poor to afford education, Maria dedicated herself to doing God's Will and went about her work joyously. One of the older boys who worked on the farm, a nineteen year old, lusted after Maria who was only twelve years old in 1902. Regardless he attempted to rape her when no one else was around, but Maria resisted, crying out: "No! No! Do not touch me, Alessandro! It is a sin. You will go to hell!" Her refusal so enraged Alessandro that in a fit of passion he pulled out his field knife and plunged it into her fourteen times and then fled. Bleeding to death, Maria was rushed to the hospital where she lay dying for two more painful days. On receiving the Final Sacrament, the priest asked her if she would forgive her murderer and she lovingly proclaimed, "Yes, I forgive him for the love of Jesus, and I want him to be with me in Heaven. May God forgive him!" Shortly after that she breathed her last death with her lips to the crucifix, clutching the Miraculous Medal. Her assailant Alessandro was quickly arrested and served 26 years in prison. It was during his 8th year in prison that he experienced a conversion experience from a dream of Maria Goretti presenting him with flowers. When he was released from prison in 1928 he went immediately to Maria's mother and begged forgiveness and then accompanied her to Christmas Mass where they received Holy Communion together. He became a Franciscan tertiary and spent his remaining life with the Capuchins. The most fascinating aspect of all this was that both Alessandro and Maria's mother were present for the canonization ceremonies in Rome when Pope Pius XII officially proclaimed Maria Teresa Goretti a saint in 1970. She is one of the greatest role models for young people today in a society that exalts the world, the flesh and the devil.

July 2-5, 1999       volume 10, no. 128


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