DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     June 25-27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 123


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Friday, June 25, 1999

    Friday, June 25:
    Twelfth Friday in Ordinary Time
    Eighteenth Anniversary of the Apparitions in Medjugorje

    Green vestments

      First Reading: Genesis 17: 1, 9-10, 15-22
      Psalms: Psalm 128: 1-5
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 8: 1-4

Saturday, June 26, 1999

    Saturday, June 25:
    Twelfth Saturday in Ordinary Time and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or White vestments

      First Reading: Genesis 18: 1-15
      Psalms: Luke 1: 46-50, 53-55
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 8: 5-17


          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, volume 7). 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."

SUNDAY, June 27, 1999

      First Reading: 2 Kings 3: 8-11, 14-16
      Psalms: Psalm 89: 2-3, 16-19
      Second Reading: Romans 6: 3-4, 8-11
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 37-42

   Though it is superseded by the Liturgy of Sunday, June 27 is normally the feast of Saint Cyril of Alexandria:


          A staunch defender of the Faith, Saint Cyril of Alexandria was born in Alexandria in the year 370 AD and died there 64 years later with the Church stronger for his efforts. He was officially proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1883. He was the nephew of the Patriarch of Alexandria - Theophilus and, under his influence, was prejudiced against Saint John Chrysostom who was deposed at the synod of 403 in which Cyril was present. In 412 Cyril became Patriarch of Alexandria. Throughout his life he refuted all heresies, specifically Nestorianism which was promulgated by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople in 428. Nestorius denied the divinity of Jesus and then that Mary was not truly the Mother of God. This infuriated Cyril so that he addressed the matter to Pope Celestine I who made it a priority to excommunicate Nestorius if he persisted. The Pope charged Cyril with the duty of informing Nestorius and the Syrian bishops in Ephesus. The letter Celestine had sent with Cyril was badly interpreted by the Syrians and they, in turn, thinking it was Cyril's own handwriting, charged Cyril with heresy. He was imprisoned and abandoned until the Council of Ephesus, convened by the emperor Theodosius in 431 in which the saint was exonerated. After this Cyril went on to write profound treatises on the Incarnation and the dogma of Mary's Divine Motherhood.

Monday, June 28, 1999

    Monday, June 28:
    Feast of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr and
    Vigil of Saints Peter and Paul

    Red vestments

      First Reading: Genesis 18: 16-33
      Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-4, 8-11
      Gospel Reading: John 21: 15-19


Born in Smyrna in 120 AD, Saint Iraneaus was a disciple of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna who had often listened at the feet of the Apostle St. John the Evangelist. Sent by Polycarp to France - then Gaul, Iraneaus became a priest in Lyons ordained by St. Ponthinus, Bishop of Lyons, during the terrible of persecution of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Upon Ponthinus' death, Iraneaus succeeded him as the Ordinary of Lyons. In this office, besides dodging Roman persecution, he fought the growing heresies of Gnosticism. Because of his training by Polycarp and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Iraneaus wrote a treatise against the Gnostics that has been handed down and contains the essence in systematic presentation of Catholic Doctrine. His preaching and evangelizing effected countless conversions throughout Gaul as he dispatched many missionaries to all parts of the country. In 203 he was captured by the Romans and the Emperor Severus ordered his execution along with hundreds of other Christians there in the city of Lyons where they all received their crowning glory through martyrdom.

June 25-27, 1999       volume 10, no. 123


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