DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     September 17-19, 1999     vol. 10, no. 177


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Friday, September 17, 1999

    Friday September 17:
    Twenty-fourth Friday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop, Religious and Doctor of the Church

    Green or White vestments

      First Reading: 1 Timothy 6: 2-12
      Psalms: Psalm 49: 6-10, 17-20 and Matthew 5: 3
      Gospel Reading: Luke 8: 1-3


        Born into a noble family in 1542 in the village of Montepulciano, Italy shortly after the Protestant Revolt through Europe, Saint Robert Bellarmine joined the Jesuit seminary at the age of 18, studing at the Roman College in Padua and at Louvain until being ordained in 1570 with his first assignment being professor at Louvain until 1577. Because of poor health, which became his cross througout his life, he transfered to the Pontifical Gregorian University where he taught theology for another eleven years. During this time he not only wrote four volumes of his work Controversies which came under heavy attack from Protestant sympathizers who had infiltrated the Vatican. Because of this assault on his writings they were almost placed on the Index of Forbidden Books but Pope Sixtus V intervened because of his loyalty to Robert and Robert's close association and invaluable assistance to the Vatican. In 1588 Robert was chosen spiritual director for the University which was then called the Roman College. One of his charges who he guided was a young seminarian named Saint Aloysius Gonzaga who died during his deaconate in 1591 shortly before being ordained. Three years later Robert became head of the University and subsequently provincial for the Jesuits' in Naples. In 1599 Pope Clement VIII elevated him to Cardinal, much to his objections for Robert did not feel worthy, but Clement knew he would make a great cardinal and enlisted him to help solve the dispute between the Jesuits and Dominicans regarding predestination. Three years later Clement appointed Cardinal Bellarmine Archbishop of Capua. Three years later Pope Paul V recalled him to Rome where was appointed the official theologian for the Holy See and became a constant companion to the pontiff, being positioned as a member of almost every Congregation of the Holy Office. Ironically it was Robert who called on to silence Galileo in 1616. In 1621 at age 79 Robert retired to St. Andrew's Novitiate, the Jesuit house near the Quirinale where he was visited and blessed by Pope Gregory XV just before Robert breathed his last breath reciting the Creed on September 17, 1621. In 1930 he was canonized by Pope Pius XI and declared a Doctor of the Church a year later. Throughout his life he was a staunch defender of the truths in refuting Protestant heresy and reconverting thousands who had fallen prey to the Protestant Reformation.

Saturday, September 18, 1999

    Saturday September 18:
    Twenty-fourth Saturday in Ordinary Time
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: 1 Timothy 6: 13-16
      Psalms: Psalm 100: 2-5
      Gospel Reading: Luke 8: 4-15


       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). 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, September 19, 1998

      First Reading: Isaiah 55: 6-9
      Psalms: Psalm 145: 2-3, 8-9, 17-18
      Second Reading: Philippians 1: 20-24,27
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 20: 1-16

   Though it is superceded by the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 19 is the feast of Saint Januarius, Bishop and Martyr:


        Though very little is really known about Saint Januarius, he is more regularly known as San Gennaro and no one can pinpoint the date of his birth. We do know, from the biography of Saint Paulinus of Nola that Januarius, along with Saint Martin of Tours appeared to Paulinus in a vision as the author describes what Paulinus saw, "Paulinus began to ask in a clear voice where his brethren were. One of the priests, thinking that he was referring to his brother bishops who had just celebrated the Eucharist with him in his bedroom, responded: 'Your brethren are all here with you.' But he answered: 'I am speaking of Januarius and Martin [of Tours], my brothers in the episcopate, who a little while ago were speaking to me and promising me that soon I would join them'." Januarius was martyred in 305 by the Emperor Diocletian along with six companion martyrs at Pozzuoli which is near Naples, Italy. Since the 6th Century Januarius has been a special patron saint of the Napolitan city south of Rome. Miraculous events have contributed to his popularity for his blood has been preserved in a reliquary in Naples. Ever since the 13th Century there is scientific and historical proof that the dried blood is liquified four times a year, first on his feast day of September 19, on the octave of his feast, December 16 and the first Saturday in May. This phenomenon has been so great that several Holy Fathers over the centuries have put an indulgence on veneration of Januarius' relic.

Monday, September 20, 1999

    Monday September 20:
    Feast of Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and companion Martyrs

    Red vestments

      First Reading: Ezra 1: 1-6
      Psalms: Psalm 126: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: Luke 8: 16-18


        One of the newest feasts in the Church, our current Holy Father Pope John Paul II officially canonized Saint Andrew Kim Taegon and Saint Paul Chong Hasang along with 111 companions as martyrs while on official visit to Korea in 1984. Like the feast, the conversion of Korea is also relatively new, with evangelization there not being undertaken until the beginning of the 1600's. It was first begun by a group of lay Catholics who were on fire for their faith. Petitioning various countries to send priests to minister to the people, France answered the call, secretly stealing into the country for Christianity was not tolerated on this far eastern island north of Japan. Between 1839 and 1867 113 were killed for their faith, including 103 members of the Christian community which included three bishops and seven priests, all French who were members of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris. St. Andrew was one of the first Koreans ordained a priest in 1845. He had been a dedicated student both in Korea and at Macao where he learned the Latin language. Secretly slipping back into Korea, he ministered to the people tirelessly, bringing them the Sacraments for nearly two years until the Korean tribesmen attacked him and beheaded him at the edge of a river as the sun was setting on September 16, 1846. The Christians snuck down later that evening and retrieved his body, carrying him up into the mountains for a proper and safe burial. Though little is known of Andrew, he did write two epistles or letters, one to the Vicar Apostolic bishop who had ordained him and the other to the faithful pleading for them to keep the faith. One of those who heeded his wise words was St. Paul Chong Hasang, a Catholic layman who was martyred for his faith less than a week later on September 22, 1846. Like the early Christians, the deaths of these Korean and French martyrs sowed the seeds of a flourishing Church in Korea for decades to come.

September 17-19, 1999       volume 10, no. 177


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