DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     October 9-11, 1998     vol. 9, no. 198


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Friday, October 9, 1998

    Friday October 9:
    Twenty-seventh Friday in Ordinary Time
    Feast of Saint Denis, Bishop and Martyr and Companions
    Feast of Saint John Leonardi, Priest and Religious Founder

    Green or Red or White vestments

      First Reading: Galatians 3: 7-14
      Psalms: Psalm 111: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 15-26

Feast of Saint Denis, Bishop and Martyr and his Companions

          Considered the Patron Saint of France, Saint Denis or Saint Dionysius was the first Bishop of Paris who was slaughtered by the Romans in Gaul around 258. Though historians differ on whether this St. Denis was the one converted by Saint Paul as referred to in Acts 17: 34 because he was called Dionysius, it is commonly thought this St. Denis was born in Italy and, with six other bishops, sent to Gaul as missionaries about the year 250. So on fire with conversions was Denis that he became a threat under the persecution of the Roman Emperor Decius. Thus, in early October 258, the Romans captured Denis along with a fellow priest Saint Rusticus and a deacon Saint Eleutherius. After a short time of incarceration they were all beheaded on October 9 on the boundaries of Paris as a show of force against Christianity by the Roman pagans in Gaul. Their decapitated bodies were tossed into the River Seine and that night fished out by faithful followers who gave them a proper burial on the side of the river. Later a chapel was built over their tombs which subsequently became the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Denis. His feast was introduced into the Roman Calendar in 1568 by Pope Saint Pius V, though it had been celebrated since 800.

Feast of Saint John Leonardi, Priest and Religious Founder

          Born in Lucca, Italy in the year 1541, Saint John Leonardi sought the career of a pharmacist but at 25 was swayed by Heavenly inspiration to enter the seminary where at the age of 20 John became a priest. His vocation was to dedicate all he did to teaching the catechism to youth - childrens and teens. It was St. John Leonardi who founded the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in 1571, known the world over today as CCD and three years later he founded the Congregation of Clerks of the Mother of God to help preach the catechism and live all the Church taught. The Congregation was approved in 1595 by Pope Clement VIII St. John was persecuted greatly by those who doubted his sincerity and thought he had a personal agenda in his efforts to form the Congregation. Thus, unable to execute his duties without slander in his own town, John went to Rome where he met St. John Calasanz and his spiritual director and confessor, the great St. Philip Neri. There, under his influence, St. John Leonardi sent many members of his Congregation to foreign missions and, with the help of Spanish prelate Bishop G.B. Vives, founded the seminary City College for the Propagation of the Faith (Collegium Urbanum de Propaganda Fide) for the specific purpose of forming priests to send to the missions. All his life St. John Leonardi lived the Gospel, dedicating his life to evangelizing as Jesus asked in Mark 16: 15 to "Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature." In 1607 Pope Paul V merged the Clerks Regular of the Pious Schools with the Congregation St. John founded to make it stronger and encouraged by this event and the universal evangelization efforts of his Order, their founder died in Rome on October 9, 1609.

Saturday, October 10, 1998

    Saturday October 10:
    Twenty-Seventh Saturday in Ordinary Time and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or White vestments

      First Reading: Galatians 3: 22-29
      Psalms: Psalm 105: 2-8
      Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 27-28

Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

          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, October 11, 1998

    SUNDAY October 11:

    Green vestments

      First Reading: 2 Kings 5: 14-17
      Psalms: Psalm 98: 1-4
      Second Reading: 2 Timothy 2: 8-13
      Gospel Reading: Luke 17: 11-19

Monday, October 12, 1998

      First Reading: Galatians 4: 22-24, 26-27, 31; 5: 1
      Psalms: Psalm 113: 1-7
      Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 29-32

October 9-11, 1998       volume 9, no. 198


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