DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     October 20, 1999     vol. 10, no. 200


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Wednesday, October 20, 1999

    Wednesday October 20: Twenty-ninth Wednesday in Ordinary Time
    Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross, priest and religious founder

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Romans 6: 12-18
      Psalms: Psalm 124: 1-8
      Gospel Reading: Luke 12: 39-48

Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross, Priest and Religious Founder

        The Founder of the Passionists, Saint Paul of the Cross was born Paul Francis Danei on January 3, 1694 in the tiny village of Ovada, Italy near Genoa. He was the oldest child in a merchant family that had come upon hard times and so Paul learned austerity and sacrifices growing up in his family. At 19 be joined the Venetian army in their battle with the Turks, but disenchanted, left after a year. Propositioned to marry, he turned the young suitor down and opted to retreat to Castellazzo in Lombardy where he could pray. During this time he received numerous locutions and visions from the Blessed Mother which gave him purpose to what God intended for this young man. In one vision in 1720 he beheld Our Lady dressed in a black habit with the name of Jesus and His cross emblazoned on her chest. She instructed Paul to found a religious order which would be dedicated to preaching on the Passion of her Divine Son. After much investigation as to the private revelation, the bishop of Alessandria granted him permission to begin the order. Rather than jumping right in, Paul went back to Castellazzo to pray for forty days and forty nightswhile he wrote the rule for the Congregation of the Passion. Then, with his loyal younger brother John Baptist, and two other men they began living the rule and traveled to Rome to obtain papal approval from Pope Innocent XIII who refused their request in 1723. However, undaunted and prayerful, they continued to persevere and, in 1727 the Passionists were approved for the diocese by Innocent's successor Pope Benedict XIII who also ordained Paul and his brother in St. Peter's Basilica. The first Passionist house was established on Mount Argentaro, but most of the novices fell away because they couldn't live the strict rule. Still encouraged, Paul and his companions pressed on and opened the first monastery in 1737. Four years later Pope Benedict XIV gave approval for the rule for the religious institute named the Barefoot Clerks of the Holy Cross and Passion. Through Paul's tireless efforts he and his band of a few men preached throughout his country. As the fame of their preaching reached far and wide, the Passionists grew in demand. Paul was responsible for many, many conversions through his austere life and his mystic supernatural gifts of prophecy, miracles, healings and visions. Conversion of sinners was his greatest concern and to which he dedicated his life. Seeing the massive fruits reaped by the Passionist Fathers, Pope Clement XIV gave full papal approval for the congregation in 1769 and gifted to them for their headquarters the church of Sts. John and Paul in Rome. Two years later Paul was able to establish the first convent for the Passionist nuns in Corneto, Italy. He grew extremely ill in 1772 and during the last three years of his life he led a life patterned after Jesus, offering all his sufferings for the reparation of souls. He died after 80 years of service to God in Rome on October 18, 1775 and was canonized 92 years later by Pope Pius IX who celebrated this saint as "one who lived what he preached and brought the importance of Christ's Passion and Death to the people."

Thursday, October 21, 1999

      First Reading: Romans 6: 19-23
      Psalms: Psalm 1: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: Luke 12: 49-53

October 20, 1999       volume 10, no. 200


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