Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua- June 13th


Saint Anthony may well be one of the most familiar of all the saints to the Catholic faithful. It seems that everyone has invoked this holy saint at one time or another for help with finding something that had been lost or misplaced….but there is much more to this Holy Saint as we shall soon discover…

Born to a wealthy but pious family in Lisbon Portugal, and baptized with the name Ferdinand, his family wished that he become a wealthy nobleman, but God had other plans for the young lad. At the age of 15 he gave up on his family’s desire that he seek wealth and power, that would have been his, and instead joined the Augustinian Order.

After just two years of study, he requested to be moved to a convent that was further from his home, as he was frequently distracted by visits from his family and friends. He was granted his request and moved to the Convent of Santa Croce in Cóimbra in the year 1212. He remained there for eight years, immersing himself in his studies and developing his prayer life. Having been gifted with an excellent memory and the gift of understanding, he was able to gather a treasure trove of information from the writings of the Holy Fathers and became quite versed in theological knowledge.

In 1220, his heart was stirred by the blood of martyrs. He watched as the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs, who had suffered death in Morocco, were returned to the Church of Santa Croce, and carried through the monastery were he was serving. His heart became inflamed with the desire of martyrdom, and he resolved to become a Friar Minor, so that he might be able to travel to unruly lands and preach the Faith to the Moors, suffering for Christ’s sake, perhaps even giving his life. In 1221, he joined the Franciscan Order and took the name Anthony.

Soon after joining the Order, as he was preparing to sail for Morocco, he was stricken with a severe illness…God’s plan for Anthony was starting to reveal itself… He was unable to travel to Morocco and set sail for Portugal. However, the ship was overtaken by violent storms and he landed upon the coast of Italy, where he remained for some time until he was able to regain his health. While he recuperated, he read, prayed and continued his studies of the Sacred Scriptures…unbeknownst to AnthonyGod was continuing to prepare him for his future task.

During this time, as Anthony was living his quiet life, an Ordination was planned for the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Through some oversight of the planner, no one was appointed to preach. Though the superior approached the Dominicans, each of them declined, as they were not sufficiently prepared. in a last ditch effort to have someone preach, the Superior turned to Anthony and forced him to speak. Out of obedience, Anthony complied. Though it started out roughly…the more Anthony spoke, the more impassioned he became…the Holy Spirit was moving through him. Soon he was explaining the most hidden sense of Holy Scripture with eloquence and expertise that all assembled were struck with amazement. From that day onward, St. Anthony became one of God’s greatest teachers, speaking in front of vast numbers of Faithful spreading the Word of God throughout the lands….sealing his fate as one of the great Doctor’s of the Church.

With great zeal, Anthony preached to the masses, often confronting heresies and converting many with his sincerity and holiness. He was often called ‘Malleus hereticorum’ or Hammer of the Heretics. He spoke to all with the same air of Truth…rich and poor alike, often bringing the people to feel a true sorrow for their sins without harshness. With his gift of oration, he was able to convey the Good News of the Lord and bring many into the Faith. At one point he was called to preach Catholic doctrine to the Albigensian, who were a heretical group in the southern part of France during the 12th and 13th centuries who believed everything in the material world was evil. With his sincerity and holiness, he converted many back to the True teachings of the Church.

Many miracles surrounded St. Anthony. One such miracle was when a group of heretics had poisoned his food, which became in-noxious as St. Anthony blessed it with the sign of the Cross. One of the most noted miracles was the apparition of the Infant Jesus to St. Anthony.  French writers say it took place in the province of Limousin at the Castle of chateauneuf – las- Forêt, between Limoges and Eymoutiers. However, Italian writers say it happened near Padua. Either way, one evening when St. Anthony was reading and studying Bible Scripture, the Baby Jesus appeared on top of the Bible pages, which was cradled in St. Anthony’s hands. The Infant Jesus, reached up and caressed St. Anthony’s face in a loving manner.

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Eventually, St. Anthony found his way to Padua where he settled. He continued to preach and write. When he was 36, he was stricken again with a severe illness, only this time he did not recover. On June 13th, 1231, he died in Padua. Only one short year later, he was declared a saint.


Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony

Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints

St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and charity for his creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were ready to speak for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I ask you to obtain for me the favors that I seek (mention your request here).

The answer to my prayer may require a miracle, even so, you are the Saint of Miracles.

O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was full of sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the Infant Jesus, who loved to be held in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.




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Feast of the Most Holy Trinity- Sunday after Pentecost

Blessed Trinity


Today in the Holy Catholic Church we celebrate the very essence of the Christian Faith…the Trinity…As Christians we believe that God is One Person in Three Natures…God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit...All equally God…A God that cannot be divided! As humans, we cannot wrap our heads around this…Yet, it is a tenant of our Faith that we Must believe… “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… Amen.

The feast of the Holy Trinity reminds the Faithful that the Three Persons of God are Equal and cannot be separated from one another. In fact, each Sunday we are reminded of this very thing…in the Nicene Creed, and other prayers we recite on a regular basis, we are constantly declaring this to be True. And it is... But the feast of the Holy Trinity also reminds us that we have a dynamic God who loves us…and even though we are not able to comprehend His ultimate nature, we know that He is a loving God Who chooses to interact with us on a daily basis. The truth of the Holy Trinity shows us, that God is a loving God, Who is willing to become as we are…so that we may become like Him. God offered us Himself  in the person of Jesus, so that we could be fully redeemed. As St. Athanasius said,  “that which has not been assumed has not been redeemed.” If God had not come to us as Jesus, mankind could not have been redeemed…because only God Himself was capable of truly redeeming humanity. No other creature could have done this. Only one God…God, the Father…God, the Son…and God, the Holy Spirit...So today, as we contemplate the Holy Trinity, let us remember that the Trinity is at the very heart of our salvation.




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Saint Anthony Mary Gianelli – June 7th

As we continue to encounter new saints…we discover that there are many saints who even prior to their birth were being prepared for the great task that God had planned for them… they loved God from their very beginnings…Some of these saints just shine…Their light is so bright, that even as children they were already being recognized for their holiness. Saint Anthony Mary Gianelli was one such saint.



Anthony Mary Gianelli was born in 1789 to a poor but pious farming family near Genoa in the northern part of Italy. His mother taught catechism and his father was known throughout the town as a generous peace-maker. As a child, people recognized his extraordinary intelligence and were impressed by his gentle nature. Anthony was proving himself to be such a promising student that the woman who owned the farm that the family was working on, became his benefactress and financed his schooling. She then paid for his tuition into the ecclesiastical seminary in Genoa.

As he continued his education, his virtue and eloquence as a speaker continued to grow and separated him from the rank of students, thus he was allowed the special privilege of being able to preach while still a sub-deacon. Then when he was just twenty three years old, he was granted a special dispensation to be ordained a priest, two years before reaching the required age of twenty five.

Father Anthony devoted himself fully to his mission as a priest, serving his flock with upmost care, yet, still finding time to continue with his educational work, as well as developing his preaching skills. He worked tirelessly hosting missions and evangelizing… harvesting many souls for the Faith… for Christ. In addition to his missions, he labored at the required duties of a parish priest. Often times spending hours on end in the confessional, wishing to make himself available to the long lines of penitents who flocked to him for spiritual guidance.

Another of his endeavors, was that he started several religious communities, two of which lasted for twenty years; The Missionaries of St. Alphonsus which he founded in 1827, and lasted until 1848.  In 1828, he founded The Oblates of St. Alphonsus, which also ended in 1848.

In 1829 he founded The Sisters of Our Lady of the Garden, which is presently called Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden, which continues to operate in the United States, Europe and Asia, serving the poor and infirm. They also devote their time to teaching children.


In 1838, he was ordained a bishop and appointed to the diocese Bibbio in Italy. He led his diocese by his example of extraordinary virtue, and prudence. He actively worked to restore devotions and lead the faithful with a firm, yet gentle hand. He was widely liked and became known as the “People’s Bishop.”  He was very active, organizing two Synods, while at the same time devoting his time traveling between the parishes in in his diocese. After nine years of serving as bishop, he became very ill  with a high fever.  In 1846, he passed away at the age of 57.

In 1925, he was Beatified by Pope Pius XI, by decree of heroic virtue, and was later Canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1951.







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Remembering the Lesser Known Saints of Heaven


Six months into this, and it still surprises me, how little I know of the lives of saints. I mean sure, there are those saints that everyone has heard of, whether they are Catholic or not….St. Patrick…St. Valentine…St. Francis of Assisi...St. Nicholas. And then there are the saints that most Catholics know; Saint Theresa the Little Flower, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint Maria Goretti, Saint Anthony of Padua… you get the idea. Saints.jpgWell in addition to those, there are the numerous saints that very little is known about, and to even try to learn about them, is very difficult. Some days, as I do research for this blog, I imagine myself sitting in the back room of an old, ancient library, flipping through the pages of  ancient books in some foreign text…with dust flying everywherejust trying to scrape together enough information to create a balanced picture of the day’s saint…without losing the important aspects of their life… Since there are so many saints that deserve to be remembered… sometimes I forgo the more widely known saint of the day and try to research these other lesser known saints, those men and women who lived their lives in holiness and served God in their quite corner of the world…and the sometimes, not so quiet corner

These are the saints that are tucked away in the history pages of the  Catholic Church…Those often forgotten souls who displayed heroic virtue in the face of so much vice…So if you’ve ever wondered, “Well, who the heck is that???” Keep checking back…It is my hope that with the continuation of this blog, that I can do my small part to shine a little light back onto the virtuous lives of these lesser known, yet still very, Holy souls. They are in fact a vital part of the Church body. They have volumes to teach us about the Faith and about remaining steadfast in the face of adverse measures. We, the Church Militant can learn a lot from them…they are a shining beacon for us…a Light of Christ…in this sometimes dim and dismal world. So instead of losing hope, let us learn from this vast history of the saints, and let us open our hearts…and a bit of our mind…to these members of the Holy Church Triumphant.

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Pentecost Sunday – The Descent of the Holy Spirit – June 4th – 50th day after Easter pentecost.jpg

And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2: 2-4)

Christ had promised His Apostles that they would not be alone…Even though He would be ascending into Heaven, without them, He promised them that when He left, His Paraclete would follow (the word Paraclete means: one called to help...) As the Apostles and Mary where gathered in the upper room praying…nine days after Jesus’ Ascension and fifty days after Easter, the Feast of the Pentecost… the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and Mary, baptizing them and filling them with the Holy Spirit. They became emboldened with the Holy Spirit and  regained the zeal they had lost when Christ had left them. Immediately, the Apostles began to preach the Gospel in all of the languages of the Jews who were gathered. When all was said and done…with the aid of the Holy Spirit …the Apostles were able to convert and baptize about 3,000 people that day.

In a way, the Pentecost..or rather…the descent if the Holy Spirit, is God’s final movement towards man…it completes what was begun in the garden of Eden, which continued with the overshadowing of the Blessed Virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit…in which the Word was made Flesh….to be offered up as a Sacrifice for mankind…with His death on the Cross. The Holy Spirit came to fill the apostles and Mary so that they would more clearly understand all that had happened…all that He had told them…(although, Mary most likely already had a much better understanding of this all along…) they would in fact become Disciples of the Divine Truth…

The Feast of Pentecost is also considered the ‘birthday of the Church,’ because on Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the inhabitants of the upper room, Christ’s mission was complete, and the New Covenant was inaugurated. God had equipped His Church…The Apostles…with His Holy Spirit so that they could begin their new ministry…which was to go out  into all the nations and make disciples of all men.



Pentecost Sunday…the Holy Spirit came upon them as tongues of fire…

As a historic event…this is huge! It meant that with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Church would spread far throughout the lands…it meant that Christianity would become universal…God had sent His Spirit  into His followers so that they go and share this Good News…It really is beyond our comprehension…Think of this: God, who is eternally great… and all good, sent His breath…His Spirit into man…And He continues to send It into each one of us! Through no merit of our own! Remember, when we are speaking of the Holy Spirit…we are talking about the Third person of the Blessed is not just a force of God…but God Himself …It really is quite amazing! At the moment of our baptism we are united with Christians throughout the world…universally united…brothers and sisters in the Spirit of Christ!

With this Feast of the Pentecost, we are celebrating the fact,the knowledge, that God did not create us merely as creatures that need simply to obey Him…No, He created us so that we might become close to Him…love Him…in a kind of love that will consume even the most hardened of hearts…He wants each of us to be with Him…and so He sent the Holy Spirit so that we may live our ordinary lives here on earth, in extra – ordinary ways…empowered with the gifts of the Spirit.

By enabling us to partake in this Feast of Pentecost, He is inviting us to join together…in communion with other faithful Christians to seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that we may help overcome the sin that is in the world…the sin that threatens to destroy our chances of being with God in Heaven…So, let us pray: Come Holy Spirit,Come!

O God, who on this day
didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people
by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit:
Grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgment in all things,
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Savior,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the same Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen.

From the Book of Common Prayer

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Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne – June 2nd- Also the 1st Friday of the Month

In the history of the world we have found that wherever there are men who despise the One True Faith and the Truth that came from Jesus,  we will also find men and women with hearts and mind’s filled with a determination to defend this same Truth. And because of their willingness to lay down their lives…God will pour His mercy and His Grace upon them, so that they can stand firm in the face of such atrocious measures… One such ruler who despised Christianity was Marcus Aurelius of Rome. As we read yesterday, he was responsible for the scourging and death of St. Justin. Today we will discover just how cruel and barbaric he actually was to the men and women of God.

Considering the turmoil that is going on throughout the world, it would be wise for us, as practicing Catholics…as Christians… to learn about these Holy Saints…to unite ourselves to them spiritually…for we do not know what our own future holds....As we experience an influx of Muslims in our own country and watch in horror at all the terrorism that is being perpetrated over seas in Europe, we would be wise to prepare ourselves for the similar fate of Christians, who stood firm and refused to deny the Lord. We should be praying every day that God will give us His Mercy and Grace so that we too may stand firm as did these saints, we are about to read about. There is no better glory for the Lord than to lay down your life for Him…for the Truth…so let’s begin...

The year was 177, and Christians were suffering throughout the various parts of the empire which was being ruled by Marcus Aurelius. But none suffered more than the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, which was in the south of France, known then as Gaul. There was a company of Christian missionaries from Asia Minor, who had settled there with a bishop named Pothinus. At first it was just angry mobs of heathens insulting the Christians when they faced each other on the streets. Then when that wasn’t enough, the heathens began throwing stones and rocks and hurtling objects at the Christians…finally the anger of the heathens escalated and they began breaking into the Christian’s homes and destroying their property. It got so bad that the government became involved….and of course…they sided with the heathens.

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The Christians were rounded up and thrown into horrid dungeons and imprisoned. Many of them died due to lack of care…many starved or became sick from the unhealthy conditions. By this time their bishop, Ponthinus who was ninety years old and very ill, was taken before the governor, and asked, “Who is the God of Christians?”  from the way the governor spoke, Ponthinus knew the feeling of the governor was already set against him, so he answered, “If thou be worthy, thou shall know.” This outraged the governor, and even though the bishop was ninety years old and very feeble, he was tied and dragged about the streets by the soldiers. The angry mob followed behind and kicked and hit the old man with whatever they could find. When this torture was finished, the soldiers threw the bishop into the dungeon where he died two days later.

The other prisoners were tortured together for six days, in a variety of horrific ways, to inflict unusual amounts of pain and suffering upon the Christians. One such means of torture was pressing hot iron plates against their skin. The heathens went so far as to build a chair out of iron and heat it until it was glowing red, then they would force the Christians to sit upon the blazing iron. But the Good grace of God was upon these Christians, because whatever the heathens could think up, the Christians would endure with a firmness that gave courage to other Christians.

One of the most heroic martyrs of the day was a fifteen year old boy, who was taken every day to witness the tortures that were being committed upon his fellow Christians in hope that he might be frightened into denying his Savior…but it did not work… and on the final day, he was cruelly put to death.

Another of the greatest cruelties of this time was the assault that was perpetrated against a young woman named Blandina, who was a slave to a Christian woman. Now, usually, the heathens would treat the slaves with more kindness than they would the actual Christians, but because Blandina herself was a Christian, clothed with God’s holy was an all out assault against her. First, they threw her to the wild beasts. But the wild animals refused to touch her, instead they lay meekly around her feet. Outraged, the heathens threw her back into the prison until they could devise another plan. The only thing Blandina would say during the whole ordeal was: “I am a Christian and nothing wrong is done among us.”

saint blandina

Finally, after several attempts to get her to denounce her Christian Faith, with whips and the burning iron chair, they threw her into an arena with a wild bull who tossed her body around like she was a rag doll. And even though her physical body was killed, she never cried a complaint or showed any fear…which of course angered the crowds…again… and they burnt her body and crushed her bones, mocking the Words of the Bible which speak of the ‘resurrection of the body’. They hoped that by destroying her physical body, they could destroy her hopes of eternal life….


We all know that when one is doing battle with the devil… he will devise all sorts of means to destroy what God has wrought…so the tortures and the punishments from the heathens grew more and more severe…they became demonic in nature. Evil was rearing it’s ugly head and taking with it, not only the practicing Christians…but those poor souls who got caught up in the fury and participated in the devilish torture…many souls were lost…not those who were killed…but those who participated in the gruelish torture…those who witnessed holy men being killed and did nothing…It was a horrible time to be on the fence…It was horrible time to not have allowed God His rightful place in their hearts, because without Him they were lost…and look at what happened….men willingly followed the snares of the devil….killing innocent men… “He that is lawless, let him be lawless still, and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still” (Revelation 22:11)… Of course, in the end,  God used it for His good…He always does…Remember, the blood of martyrs, acts as seeds of the Faith…wherever it falls, new growth always follows.

So as we contemplate these holy saints…these holy martyrs, let us turn to them for guidance, for their inspiration, because the time is quickly approaching that will reveal what is inside of each of us…Are we filled with the light of Christ? Will He find in us, a son or daughter? Is the light of Christ recognizable in you? It is time to be serious about your faith…to embrace it…and more importantly…allow it to embrace you…allow it to transform your very soul…

We are facing this same sort of persecution…just watch the evening news for the latest account of a terrorist attack committed by these same godless heathens…and prepare yourself by developing a deeper prayer life and finding strength and encouragement from these accounts of how abundantly God poured His mercy and His grace upon his faithful servants during their greatest time of need… and take heed

It would a good time to read the book of Hebrews ( 12: 2,3,15) and make it a part of our daily prayer meditation:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart…. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.


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Saint Justin Martyr – June 1st

As men who are born, and come into the world, generally in the same way…one can never fully know the twists and turns our paths in  life will take. We may think we know which way we are going. We may be on the road to earning a college degree or gearing towards some other sort of milestone…just merrily skipping along…when out of nowhere our focus or field of interest gets turned around…a chance conversation...or being a witness to the unjust treatment of a Christian…perhaps, even witnessing their death… Sometimes, God uses whatever means necessary to correct our inclinations …and to set us on the path to sainthood. This is precisely the story of yet another saint, who found his path altered by the True Faith…in a place he wasn’t even looking. saint justin martyr


Saint Justin was born in Samaria around the year 100 A.D. His parents were Roman colonists, who were pagan. He was an intellectual young man and was greatly interested in philosophy. Longing to find the answers to his quest for the truth he studied all varieties of pagan wisdom. Stoicism, Pythagoreanism, and Platonism were among his favorites. He spent much of his time reading and contemplating the works of Plato…and yet his heart was still yearning for the Truth about life.

Then one day in 130, while casually strolling along the beach and enjoying it’s honest beauty, he met an old man and a conversation was begun…The old man revealed to him the riches of the True Faith. The old man told Justin about the ancient Hebrew Prophets. He told Justin about Jesus Christ and the history of the Christian Faith. This old sage told Justin many tenants of the Christian Faith, including the fact that the soul was a gift from God. This new information peeked his curiosity about a faith he had not bothered with before. Justin was intrigued… and as he wrote in his famous book ‘Dialogue to the Jew Trypho,’ this was a fundamental turning point in his life. The old man had encouraged him to pray so that he would one day be able to understand the Truth about God. And with his first prayer …his conversion had begun...

Since Justin was an intellectual, he approached his newfound faith in the same manner as he had approached pagan philosophies…He used his brain and his intelligence. He became the first Christian philosopher. According to St. Justin, the true philosophy was that of Jesus Christ. He wrote that there are bits and pieces of truth everywhere in the world….but the only place where they are all found…without mixture of error…is in the Person of Jesus Christ… the Logos of God Himself…

Since he wanted to teach others about the Truth that could only be found in the Christian Faith, he opened the first school of Christian philosophy, teaching “the eminent science of Jesus Christ.” He wrote Christian Apologetics for both the Romans and the Jews. He combined the best elements of Greek philosophy with Christian theology, using his writings to defend Christianity against the false accusations that were springing up amongst the pagans.


He became widely celebrated for the two Apologies, or defenses of the Christian Faith, which he courageously addressed to the persecuting Roman emperors; Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius. One of these Apologies contained a description of the rites of baptism and the ceremonies of Mass, thus constituting the most valuable evidence that we possess on the Roman liturgy of his day.  The two emperors responded with different reactions. By presenting these two Apologies and his vigorous defense of the faith, he was able to obtain a public edict from the government of Antoninus. But Justin wasn’t spared, as Marcus Aurelius sentenced St. Justin to be scourged and condemned to death.  And when questioned about the Christian doctrine, he made this good confession in the presence of many witnesses:

“The right doctrine which we Christian men do keep with godliness is this: that we believe that there is one God, the maker and creator of all things, both those which are seen and those which bodily eyes do not see; and that we confess the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was of old foretold by the Prophets, and who is to come to judge all mankind.”

And then, for refusing to offer sacrifice to Roman gods, he died a martyr’s death on April 13th sometime between the years 162 – 165. Let us pray:

O God our redeemer,
who through the folly of the cross
didst teach thy martyr Justin
the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ:
free us, we beseech thee, from every kind of error,
that we, like him, may be firmly grounded in the faith,
and make thy name known to all peoples;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

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