Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Saint PatrickToday is the feast of St. Patrick. For those who are parishioners in a parish named after St. Patrick, today is a solemnity!

The readings for the feast of St. Patrick are: 1 Pt 4:7b-11; Ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8b, 10; Lk 5:1-11

Make sure to make prudent decisions when celebrating St. Patrick’s feast! It is still a Lenten Friday, and in many places the people must still abstain from meat.

St. Methodius

June 14

Methodius I was a Patriarch of Constantinople. Before he became the patriarch, he spent years fighting the second outbreak of the iconoclast persecution in the Eastern Church. Niκephoros, the patriarch of Constantinople, was banished and replaced with an iconoclastic patriarch. Methodius, a monk, was sent by the deposed patriarch to Rome to report the matter. After several years in Rome, and a change in the eastern emperor (Leo V was murdered and replaced by Michael II), Methodius returned with a letter from the pope that attempted to persuade the eastern emperor to change his ways and restore Niκephoros. That didn’t work out so well. Methodius was scourged and imprisoned. After 7 years, Methodius was let out of prison, and he defended the icons even more strongly than before.

When the emperor Michael died, his son Theophilus re-invigorated the persecution. Methodius, after going toe-to-toe with the emperor was again scourged and imprisoned. He managed to escape after a day this time, and continued to work on the emperor.

After Theophilus, the Iconoclast persecution was brought to an end. Theodora, Theophilus’s wife and the regent for Michael III, restored images and freed the prisoners. The current patriarch of Constantinople was an unrepentant iconoclast setup by the government. He was deposed and Methodius was made patriarch. He restored the icons to the Hagia Sophia (yeah, that Hagia Sophia, the one that was a Catholic or Orthodox church from 562 to 1453) in a solemn procession and deposed many iconoclast bishops throughout his patriarchate. The restoration, or “Feast of Orthodoxy” is still celebrated in Byzantine Churches today.

Methodius is a Catholic and an Orthodox saint. He is named in the Roman Martyrology on June 14.

St. Anthony of Padua

Memorial; June 13

The patron saint of lost things devoted his entire life to losing himself in God’s will.

After switching from the Canons Regular of St. Augustine to the Orders of Friars Minor, St. Anthony wanted to go to Africa and spread the faith, but he soon found that God’s plan was different. On the way to Morocco, Anthony became ill and due to poor weather was forced to stay in Sicily to regain his health. After moving around a bit, he stayed in the town of Forli. While he was attending an ordination, those present discovered that no speaker had been appointed. St. Anthony was called to speak. Those in attendance were not expecting much, but the Holy Spirit inspired St. Anthony to give an excellent speech.

After this, St. Francis himself instructed him to teach theology to his brother friars. Later in life, he was a forceful speaker against heretics. He performed many miracles and converted many of them. He was so successful that he was called the “Hammer of the Heretics” (Malleus hereticorum). Some of the miracles he performed while alive include bi-location, rendering poisoned food safe to eat and preserving people from the rain on numerous occasions.

There are many other interesting stories and facts about St. Anthony at the Catholic Encyclopedia.

St. Barnabas

Memorial; June 11

St. Barnabas was a very early member of the Church. Born a Levite on Cyprus, he spent much time in Jerusalem. According to most accounts, he converted during the Pentecost and is mentioned in Acts for selling his property and giving the proceeds to the church (Acts 4:34-37).

Barnabas introduced Paul to the Apostles, who were wary and slow to believe his conversion. Much of Barnabas’s ministry after this involves Paul. He convinced Paul to start his journeys in Antioch, and accompanied on many of his voyages. His desire to bring St. Mark (the Gospel writer) along with them on one of the journeys caused a temporary rift with Paul. Barnabas was present at the Council of Jerusalem, and sided with Paul on the circumcision debate.

After his journeys, not much is written about Barnabas. He was one of the most highly esteemed men of the Church outside of the 12 Apostles. Many writings are attributed to him: Tertullian attributes the Letter to the Hebrews, Photius claims Barnabas, not Luke, wrote Acts of the Apostles and many attribute the Epistle of Barnabas to him, but these claims are doubted.

Further reading:
The Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02300a.htm
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnabas

St. Norbert

Note: I promise that I’ll eventually get back to my series about Love, but there is much work for me to do before I continue. For now, I am trying to simply update the site more frequently. I’m hoping to improve my writing skills and simply get in the habit of writing things that are meant to be read. I spend so much time at work writing computer code and technical documentation that I fell this is necessary.

Also, you should go see For Greater Glory. It’s about the Mexican Revolution, and I’m told that it is very powerful. I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but hope to soon.

Optional Memorial; June 6

St. Norbert was a bishop to Germany a few hundred years after St. Boniface. St. Norbert was especially devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. I could regurgitate his life story here, but the Catholic Encyclopedia and Wikipedia have already done a pretty good job of that.

What strikes me about St. Norbert is his complete devotion to God, as shown through what he said at his ordination:

O Priest! You are not yourself because you are God’s. You are not of yourself because you are the servant and minister of Christ. You are not your own because you are the spouse of the Church. You are not yourself because you are the mediator between God and man. You are not from yourself because you are nothing. What then are you? Nothing and everything. O Priest! Take care lest what was said to Christ on the cross be said to you: “He save others, himself he cannot save!”

St. Boniface

Memorial; June 5

The German Church was in desperate need of reform in the early to mid 700s, and Pope Gregory II thought that St. Boniface was just the man for the job. Boniface, an English Benedictine Monk, gave up his election as abbot and went on a missionary journey to German lands in 719. What he found were pagans and poorly formed Christians. (Remember that at this time, the Catholic Church was the only Christian church.)

Soon after this first journey, Boniface started the hard work of reform. His primary aims were to increase the clergy’s loyalty to their bishop and to the pope and to open many houses of prayer. He was very successful in both of these tasks, and was responsible for getting the Benedictine nuns into the education business.

St. Boniface is also known for chopping down a tree—but not just any tree. He chopped down Donar’s sacred oak tree on Mount Gudenburg. As the people waited for their gods to strike him dead, he kept chopping until the trash crashed down and split into four parts. Legend has it that Boniface used the wood from the tree to build a chapel.

For his efforts and work at reform, Boniface was massacred with 53 companions as he was preparing them for confirmation.