DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     May 20, 1999     vol. 10, no. 98


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Thursday, May 20, 1999

    Thursday, May 20:
    Seventh Thursday of Easter and
    Feast of Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest, religious and missionary

    White vestments

      First Reading: Acts 22: 30; 23: 6-11
      Psalms: Psalm 16: 1-2, 5, 7-11
      Gospel Reading: John 17: 20-26


          Saint Bernardine was born of noble parentage in Siena, Italy near the end of the 14th Century. While a youth he practiced the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, even to personally taking care of an old woman who was very holy. From her he learned a true respect for God and devotion to the Church. Upon her death following a long illness, Bernardine entered the Franciscan Order. There he dedicated his life to God and vowed to be a great preacher of the Holy Name of God. One day in 1408, while the great preacher Saint Vincent Ferrer was preaching to a group of young Franciscans, he stopped in the middle of his sermon to prophesize that there was among this group one who would go on to become a greater preacher than himself and would bring great honor to Holy Mother Church. Bernardine never dreamed it was him Ferrer was talking about for he had a speech impediment that hindered him from speaking eloquently to the people. Yet, true to St. Vincent's prediction, Bernardine went on to become just that as God cured him through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For 38 years Bernardin spread devotion to the Holy Name through his inspiring words and example. The fruits of his labors produced countless conversions and reformed most of Italy but, as is true of anyone who willingly takes up the cross, he suffered great persecution by detractors, even being proclaimed a heretic by some in the Church. Yet through all his trials he persevered, trusting in the truth and God's providence. He was finally proclaimed innocent and absolved of any wrongdoing. The Feast of the Holy Name commemorates the path of salvation for all of us following the example of Christ: suffering in order to attain triumphant glory. This was the path Bernardin traveled throughout his life, succumbing on Ascension Eve in 144 while his fellow Franciscans were chanting the antiphon, "Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men."

Friday, May 21, 1999

    Friday, May 21:
    Seventh Friday of Easter and
    Feast of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, bishop and religious founder

    White vestments

      First Reading: Acts 25: 13-21
      Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-2, 11-12, 19-20
      Gospel Reading: John 21: 15-19


         Canonized by Pope John Paul II on December 3, 1995 Saint Eugene de Mazenod was the Bishop of Marseilles and founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the same order which claims the new head of the Chicago archdiocese Cardinal Francis George, OMI and this ministry's Spiritual Director Father Al Svobodny, OMI. Eugene DeMazenod was born into aristocracy in 1782 in Aix-en-Provence and as a youth wandered around Europe. At age 20 he returned to France to try to recoup his family fortune without success. In 1807 he experienced a second conversion and began acing as a dedicated lay person, helping the poor. This ministry drew him closer to the priesthood and he was ordained a priest, returning to Aix with a deep desire to minister to the downtrodden and God's neediest children. The work was overwhelming and near death, he turned to a group of priests to help in a community. Regaining his strength he led this community of like-minded priests through the countryside, drawing up the Rule of Life for the eventual order he would found. Though he wanted to be a missionary first, he realized that by accepting the appointment of bishop he could save his fledgling order of Missionary Oblates. True to God's promise, Eugene became Bishop of Marseilles and Superior General of the Oblates and within a few years the new congregation grew at a rapid rate with missionaries sent from France to Canada, the U.S., other parts of Europe, Africa, Australia and the Philippines. In 1861 Eugene died at the age of 79 with his heart afire with love of the Crucified Christ armed with the weapons of the mission cross and rosary in his hands he left this temporal life with the name of Mary on his lips.

May 20, 1999       volume 10, no. 98


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