DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     September 25-27, 1998     vol. 9, no. 188


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE

Friday, September 25, 1998

      First Reading: Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11
      Psalms: Psalm 144: 1-4
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 18-22

Saturday, September 26, 1998

    Saturday September 26: 25th Saturday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyr and Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or red or white vestments

      First Reading: Ecclesiastes 11: 9-10; 12: 1-8
      Psalms: Psalm 90: 1, 2-6, 12-14, 17
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 43-45

Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs

          These Syrian-born twin brothers Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian were both physicians who treated the sick for free and became well-loved by all for their total dedication to God's children, especially at Egaea in Cilicia where they lived. Because of their fame and good works, they were singled out by the vile Emperor Diocletian and incarcerated by the Roman governor of Cilicia Lycias ungergoing numerous tortures before they were both beheaded around around the very end of the 3rd Century. In 528 Pope Felix IV dedicated a former Roman pagan temple to the two holy physicians, renaming it the Basilica of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. They, along with Saint Luke are considered the patrons of doctors, dentists and druggists. These two saints truly epitomize the words in the Book of Sirach, 38: 1-8 "Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was Who established his profession. From God the doctor has wisdom and the king provides for his sustenance. His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished and gives him access to those in authority. God makes the earth yield healing herbs which the prudent man should not neglect; was not the water sweetened by a twig that men might learn His power? He endows men with the knowledge to glory in His mighty works, through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines; thus God's creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth" and 12-14, "Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too. There are times that give him an advantage, and he too beseeches God that his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure." We pray that doctors everywhere today will take to heart their vocation as God-given and rely on Him in all things and treat their patients with love and mercy, calling upon the intercession of their patrons Cosmas and Damian.

Observance of 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, September 27, 1998

      First Reading: Amos 6: 1, 4-7
      Psalms: Psalm 146: 2, 5-10
      Second Reading: 1 Timothy 6: 11-16
      Gospel Reading: Luke 16: 19-31

Though it is superceded by the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 27 is the feast of Saint Vincent de Paul , Religious Founder:

Saint Vincent de Paul, Religious Founder

          Though Saint Vincent de Paul was not a doctor like Saints Cosmas and Damian whose feasts are celebrated the day before, Vincent performed in the same loving, charitable and merciful manner as did the twin saints thirteen centuries before him. Vincent was born in Gascony, France in 1581 into a poor, but holy Catholic family who fostered in him a vocation to the priesthood. Thus at only 19 Vincent became a priest. While enroute to a mission across the sea he was captured by high Moslem sea pirates and spent two years in prison and then sold as a slave in Tunisia. There, through prayer and his example, he was able to convert his master to Christianity and allowed to return to France. While in Paris, his spiritual director Pere Peter de Berulle suggested that he accept the appointment of pastor of a small parish at Clichy just outside of Paris. There he recruited numerous young men to assist him, instilling in them a love for the priesthood. Shortly after he was appointed to serve as the chaplain to a rich family of the French aristocrat where he remained for twelve years. During this time satan tempted him severely, but Vincent persevered and volunteered to minister to sailors and ship-builders in the port cities, remembering his earlier travails on the seas. This association led him to become chaplain to the galley-slaves who were endeared to Vincent because he cared much in the same way as Saint Peter Claver, his Spanish counterpart half way around the world in Columbia at the same period of time. Yet, his apostolate of teaching the catechism and ministering to the poor and peasants of the French countryside became paramount, especially after meeting Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane Francis Chantal. It was shortly after this in 1622 that he was appointed superior of her convent of the Visitation in Paris where he remained until his death in 1660. Seeing the needs of the people, Vincent gathered a group of young men to assist him in ministering to the people. This was the beginning of the Vincentians (Congregation of the Mission or Lazarists as they were known in France) which were approved by Pope Urban VIII in 1633. That same year Vincent founded the Daughters of Charity along with Saint Louise Marillac. This order of extern nuns was dedicated to a social agenda of ministering to the poor. To keep the line of priests continuing for the Vincentians, Vincent established numerous seminaries and thus formulating the clergy was added to the mission of the order. Both Louise and Vincent died in 1660, the latter passing away in Paris on September 27 which ultimately became his feast day as proclaimed by Pope Clement XII in 1737 when he officially canonized Vincent. Towards the end of the 19th Century, Pope Leo XIII, a pontiff of great social order conscience, decreed Vincent patron of all charitable works universally. Today, in practically every parish, there is a St. Vincent de Paul Society which dedicate themselves to collecting goods to distribute to the poor or selling them so that the money can be donated to those less fortunate.

Monday, September 28, 1998

    Monday September 28:
    Twenty-Sixth Monday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, Ruler and Marytr and
    Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz, Martyr and Husband, and Martyred Companions

    Green or red vestments

      First Reading: Job 1: 6-22
      Psalms: Psalm 17: 1-3, 6-7
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 46-50

September 28: Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, Ruler and Martyr

          Born in 907, Saint Wenceslaus of Prague was the first Slav to be canonized. His canonization was expedited because of his martyrdom at the hands of his brother who was jealous. Their father had died early in their life and they were educated and cared for by their grandmother Saint Ludmilla who also was martyred in a sinister family plot by their own mother who had grown bitter and jealous. At the tender age of 15 Wenceslaus ascended to the throne as king of his country where he ruled with wisdom and concern, stressing God's Will in all things, which angered the pagans of his land who mounted an underground opposition to overthrow him. Even though Wenceslaus knew his mother's heart was not pure, he prayed incessantly for her and would not exile her, hoping she would see the light of God's way. Even though he had all the proof in the world of her involvement in his grandmother's death, he rebuked those who urged him to take revenge with the words, "Why do you want to prevent me from applying the Divine Law of Jesus Christ and to obey His commandments? I reject your advice because I want to serve God with all my heart." A few years later, after Wenceslaus had married and bore a son, the opposition got to his brother Boleslaus who, realizing he was younger and would not be successor to the throne now that Wenceslaus had a heir, became embittered and was easy prey for their machinations. Thus, on September 26 Boleslaus invited Wenceslaus to attend Mass with him in celebrating the feast of Saint Cosmas and Damian. However it was a trap to lure Wenceslaus into a secluded area away from his entourage of guards where Boleslaus struck the holy king on the head from behind with his sword. The blow did not immediately kill Wenceslaus who struggled with his own flesh and blood for his very life as blood flowed profusely from his skull, but though the king was stronger, Boleslaus' accomplices lying in wait behind the pillars emerged and thrust their swords into Wenceslaus' back, felling the holy Slav ruler. Three years later his remains were transfered from the cemetary to the church of St. Vitus in Prague where he was greatly venerated and fifty years later the people were openly celebrating with great pomp and circumstance the feast of St. Wenceslaus for he had been so loved and so promoted the Catholic faith that many conversions had taken place.

September 28: Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs

          This feast commemorates the first Filipino martyrs Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, a layman and his fifteen companions met their death in Nagasaki in 1637 at the hands of heathen Japanese warriors. Born in China, Lorenzo migrated to the Philippines where he settled in the Chinese section in Manila called Binondo. A father of four children, he was forced to flee with Dominican missionaries, who were enroute to Japan to spread the faith, because he had unjustly been accused of a crime being blackmailed because of his honesty and virtuous life. The companions were composed of all those somehow associated with the Dominicans either as clergy or lay order. Two days after Christmas of 1637 word finally reached Manila that Lorenzo and his Dominican companions had all been slayed. Immediately the people gathered at the church of Santo Domingo to sing a solemn Te Deum in honor of their fallen compadres. These saints were canonized 350 years later by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Manila on October 18, 1987.

September 25-27, 1998       volume 9, no. 188


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