DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     October 13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 195


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Wednesday, October 13, 1999

    Wednesday October 13:
    Twenty-eighth Wednesday in Ordinary Time
    78th Anniversary of Final Apparition at Fatima

    Green vestments

      First Reading: Romans 2: 1-11
      Psalms: Psalm 62: 2-3, 6-7, 9, 13
      Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 42-46

Thursday, October 14, 1999

    Thursday October 14:
    Twenty-eighth Thursday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Pope Saint Calixtus I, Martyr

    Green or red vestments

      First Reading: Romans 3: 21-30
      Psalms: Psalm 130: 1-7
      Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 47-54

Feast of Pope Saint Calixtus I, Martyr

          Born into slavery in Rome, Saint Callistus I or Saint Calixtus was placed in charge of a bank by his owner a Roman pagan by the name of Carpophorus. Because he was not educated he lost the bank's funds through manipulation by Jewish investors who were trying to filter the money out through devious means. Fearing he would be blamed, Callistus fled. He was captured at Porto and sentenced to the salt mines but not before he was subjected to the hand mill to join hardened slaves. Finally his creditors asked for his release so they could again use him as a ruse to pilfer more funds. Once they were successful, they again pointed the finger at Callistus who was arrested in the Synagogue trying to recover the money and prove his innocence. Again he was sentenced in 186 to the Sardinian mines, but in 199 the mistress of the Emperor Commodus, the young Marcia effected his release. Pope Saint Victor intervened on Callistus' behalf and sent him to Anzio in Italy where in 217 he was baptized and ordained by the current pope Saint Zephyriunus whom Callistus would succeed. Callistus was brought back to Rome with the Holy Father and became a friend and advisor of Zephyrinus. Back in Rome the Pope appointed Callistus procreator of the cemetery on the Appian Way which would become the Catacomb of the Popes and is today St. Callistus Cemetery where 46 Popes and over 200,000 Christians are buried. In 217 his beloved friend was martyred and Callistus became the 16th chosen in the line of Peter. However, his appointment was bitterly opposed by Saint Hippolytus who had also been a candidate for the papacy. Hippolytus set himself up as the pope, thus becoming the Church's first antipope. Callistus pronounced Latin as the official language and this further angered Hippolytus who had been born into nobility and favored Greek over Latin, considered the language of the commoners. Callistus had always clung to the needs of the poor. Those like him, who had been slaves, or non-Romans or who were poor were rejected and in turn they rejected the Greek either out of lack of formal education or their despise for what pagan Rome stood for. They, in turn, adopted Latin as a means of communication and it was quickly embraced by the Christians who were, for the most part, in and among the poor as Christ had directed. Yet insurrection was inevitable from the Greek camp. Fired up by Hippolytus, those who favored Greek objected vehemently to the abandonment of their language. It's interesting to not that only a few things of Greek such as the Kyrie Leison were retained. It was an all-out victory for Callistus and for Latin, but left scars that lasted for centuries and eventually led to a split between East and West. Though his successor St. Zephyrinus is considered the "Father of Ecclesiastical Latin", it was Callistus who decreed it the official language of the Church. As time passed, more and more Latin was incorporated into the liturgy of the Mass. It also became a possessive tongue where the Christians guarded and treasured this new speech. Callistus also reasoned that if the liturgy was conducted in Latin universally, Christians could more readily identify and participate wherever they went. From 220 to 1965 this was the rule rather than the exception. Unfortunately, today it's the exception rather than the rule. He served as pontiff for five years, eventually being driven to return to his roots of a poor slave by taking shelter in the poor and populous quarters of Rome to elude the terrible persecution of the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus who eventually caught up with him in 222. On October 14 Severus had Callistus severly beaten with clubs and his remains thrown into a well where today the church Santa Maria in Trastevere now stands.

October 13, 1999       volume 10, no. 195


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