News from San Antonio Church – January 7, 2024

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin January 7, 2024

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday, January 7th, we honor the Epiphany of the Lord to commemorate the manifestation of Christ to the whole world as represented by the Magi from the East (Mt. 2:1-12). It is also referred to as Three Kings Day and is sometimes celebrated as Little Christmas.  In some Western Churches, the eve of Epiphany is known as Twelfth Night with the Monday after the Epiphany known as Plough Monday.  The Feast of the Epiphany is part of Christmastime that extends from the First Vespers of Christmas on the evening of December 24th and up to the Sunday after Epiphany.  In some parts of Europe, the priest will bless Epiphany water, frankincense, gold, and chalk that will be used to bless churches and homes.  The water is blessed and then taken home to be used with prayers as a blessing as they bless their homes and themselves.  The blessed chalk will be used for marking homes with the initials of the three Magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar written over doors saying the Latin Phrase, Christus Mansionem Benedicat (May God Bless this House).  We will bless chalk on this Sunday to take bless our own homes and that of our family members for 2024.  

In ancient times, the priest would announce the date of Easter Sunday on the feast of the Epiphany.  At a time when calendars were not available, the church would then need to announce the date of Easter since important dates on the liturgical calendar needed to be publicized.  The date would be sung or proclaimed by a reader after the reading of the Gospel or after the post communion prayer.  In Italy, Epiphany is a national holiday and celebrated with the figure of La Befana, the broomstick riding elderly woman who had missed the opportunity to bring a gift to the child Jesus when the Magi invited her on their journey.  She was too busy doing her chores and now uses her broom to visit all the good children on the night before the Epiphany.  On the Feast of the Epiphany, greenery and nativity scenes are taken down with king cakes and gifts given as the celebratory close to the Christmas season.  The famous carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written about the days between December 25th and the Epiphany. 

On the Monday, January 8th, following the Epiphany, we commemorate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord celebrated in the Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran Churches.  In Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated as an integral part of the Epiphany.  In many Methodist Churches, it is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in January. The Baptism of the Lord was originally one of three Gospel events marked by the feast of the Epiphany until Pope Pius XII instituted a separate liturgical commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord in 1955.  Later, Pope John XXIII revised the calendar keeping the Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ as a rank of a second-class feast with Pope Paul VI later setting the date as the first Sunday after January 6th or, if in a particular country the Epiphany is celebrated on Sunday January 7th.  There is the custom initiated by Pope John Paul II where on this feast, the Pope will Baptize babies in the Sistine Chapel. 

On Tuesday, January 9th the Catholic Church begins Ordinary Time which will continue until February 13th, Shrove Tuesday, and the beginning of the Liturgical Season of Lent on Ash Wednesday on February 14th.   On January 13th, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates Hilary of Poitiers (310-367) also venerated in the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican Communion, Lutheran and Oriental Orthodoxy Churches.  He became Bishop of Poitiers and a Doctor of the Church who was referred to as the “Hammer of the Arians” when Arianism was a threat to the Western Church.  The Arians did not believe in the divinity of Christ and at that time, had a lot of power and the support of Emperor Constantius.  Hilary summed up the problem with the Arian heretics when he said, “they didn’t know who they were.”  Hilary felt he knew very little about the whole Arain controversy when he was banished. Many persecutions resulted when there was condemnation of St. Athanasius and there was no exception for Hilary who was exiled from Poitiers.   Saint Jerome said of the spread of the heresy: “The world groaned and marveled to find that it was Arian.”  Arianism was the heresy propagated by the monk Athanasius claiming that Jesus Christ was created and not divine. 

When Emperor Constantius ordered all the bishops of the West to sign a condemnation of Athanasius, the great defender of the faith in the East, Hilary refused and was banished from France to far off Phrygia.  Eventually he was called the “Athanasius of the West.”  While banished, Hilary researched everything about what the Arians said and he wrote: “Although in exile we shall speak through these books and the word of God, which cannot be bound, shall move about in freedom.” He spent time in exile writing on the Trinity, “For one to attempt to speak of God in terms more precise than he himself has used-to undertake such a thing is to embark upon the boundless, to dare the incomprehensible.  He fixed the names of His nature:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Whatever is sought over and above this is beyond the meaning of words, beyond the limits of perception, beyond the embrace of understanding.” After three years in exile, the emperor allowed Hilary to return to Poitiers as the emperor was tired of having to deal with the troublemaker, “a Sower of discord and a disturber of the Orient”.  Hilary did not hurry back but took his time traveling through Greece and Italy and preaching against the Arians.  On his return to Poitiers, Hilary risked death continuing his role as Bishop in the 4th Century.  Hilary is considered the 1st Latin Christian hymn writer and according to St. Jerome, three hymns are attributed to him.  He died in 367 and canonized pre-congregation and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1851.  St. Hilary’s symbol are three books and a quill pen.  A Prayer: “Saint Hilary of Poitiers, instead of being discouraged by your exile, you used your time to study and write.  Help us to bring good out of suffering and isolation in our own lives and see adversity as an opportunity to learn about or share our faith. Amen.”   The city of Poitiers, home of St. Hilary is an important geographic crossroads between France and Western Europe.  The Battle of Tours in 732 took place in the area around Poitiers and in 1356, the city was one of the key battles fought in the Hundred Years War.  It is a city of art and history and is known as Ville Aux Cent Clochers, City of 100 Bell towers with the 4th Century Baptistere Saint-Jean, the oldest church in France. In the United Sates, there are schools and churches dedicated to St. Hilary of Poitiers in Fairlawn and Akron Ohio, in Tiburon and Pico Rivera California, in Chicago, Illinois, Rydal, Pennsylvania and in Raceland, Louisiana.

News from San Antonio Church – December 31, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 31, 2023

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday, New Years Eve, we celebrate the religious holiday the Feast of the Holy Family.  It honors the sanctity of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, The Holy Family and celebrates the family unit.  The devotion to the Holy Family grew around the 15th century when venerated them in many works of art that depicted them   as the ideal Christian Family.  Since 1921, the Feast of the Holy family has been a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church when it was added to the liturgical calendar by Pope Benedict XV.  In 1969, the Feast of the Holy Family has been celebrated during the season of Christmastide.  A Prayer: “O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.  Amen” 

On January 1st, New Years Day there will be no MASS AT SAN ANTONIO CHURCH.  This is the Feast Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary as we honor her on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  We celebrated Mary being the mother of Jesus on the 8th day after his birth.  Under Levitical Law, Mary would have had him circumcised on this day and according to Luke 2:21 was then given the name of Jesus.  In Rome around the 14th Century, it was celebrated as the Feast of The Circumcision and the Octave of the Nativity.  In 1960, Pope John XXIII removed the mention of the Circumcision of Jesus from the General Roman Calendar.  In 1969 with the revision of the liturgical year and the calendar of the Roman Rite stating:  January 1st, the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord, is the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and also the commemoration of the conferral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. 

Pope Paul VI would explain: “This celebration.  Laced on January 1st is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation.  It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the holy Mother through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life.  It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels and for imploring from God, through the Queen of peace, the supreme gift of peace.”  A Prayer for this January 1st: “O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary bestowed on the human race the grace of eternal salvation, grant we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.  Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.  AMEN.” 

On Tuesday, January 2nd we celebrate the feast day of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church who met while studying in Constantinople and at the University of Athens.  Both were well educated, smart and holy who during their lives became the model for monasticism in the East.  Monasticism is followed by those who withdraw from society in order to devote themselves totally to God through prayer, penance, and solitude.  They lived at a time of Arianism (heresy claiming that Jesus Christ was created and therefore not divine) and with their teachings, helped the Church to heal, eradicate the heresy, and restore the unity of faith to the church in the East.  They would spend years in solitude praying to prepare them for their common mission.  Basil and Gregory were ordained Priests and were consecrated as Bishops.  Basil opened a school of Oratory for religious communities and was known as a brilliant speaker.  Basil and Gregory wrote books and always worked to defend the Church.  Basil drew up riles for men who wished to live together as Monks.  These rules are still the basis of every Monastic Community in Eastern Churches.    A Prayer to Sts. Gregory and Basil: “You were called by God to be a light in the midst of darkness during a time of great turmoil within the Church.  Please pray for me, that I will never live, enveloped in the darkness of this world but will always carry the light of Christ to scatter falsehood and sin, so that God may be glorified, and souls may be saved, Saints Basil and Gregory, pray for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.  AMEN.” 

On Wednesday, January 3rd we honor The Holy Name of Jesus first celebrated in Germany, Belgium, England, and Scotland that came to be observed universally during the reign of Pope Innocent XIII (1721-1724). Since Vatican II and under Pope Paul VI this day is no longer celebrated as a feast although the idea behind it is still valid.  Since we love and respect the name of Jesus, it is proper that we pay homage to it.  The spirit of this is captured by St. Paul: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father “(Phil2:10-11). The Franciscan Bernadine of Siena promoted the devotion to the Holy Name who asked the faithful to “Adore the Redeemer of mankind,” while displaying the trigram HIS on a tablet in gold letters.  In Italy, the devotion to the Holy Name became very popular with the HIS trigram inscribed over the doorways of houses.  The tablet used by Bernadine is now venerated at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli In Rome.  A very old and popular prayer, The Litany of the Holy Name began in the 15th Century was formally approved by Pope Pius IX in 1862 while the Novena in Honor of the Name of Jesus and the Chaplet of Our Lord are some of the many devotions to the Holy Name of Jesus that are promoted by the Society of the Holy Name.  The Little Sachet, associated with the Holy Name is a religious article used by Catholics and bears the statement “When Jesus was named, Satan was disarmed.” 

On January 4th we honor and celebrate St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton a wife, grieving mother and widow who would find her calling after becoming a Catholic after her husband William Magee Seton passed away on December 27, 1803.  She was received into the catholic Church on March 14, 1805, by Fr. Matthew O’Brien. Pastor of the St. Peter’s Church, the only Catholic Church in the city of New York.  In 1806, she received the Sacrament of Conformation from the only Bishop in the nation, the Bishop of Baltimore, John Carroll.  When she converted to Catholicism, Elizabeth tried to establish an academy for young ladies with little success until she met a Sulpician Father, Louis William Valentine Dubourg wanted to start a religious school located in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Fr. Louis had taken refuge in the United States from religious persecution during the Reign of Terror in France.  Elizabeth accepted his offer and in 1809, moved to Maryland where she established the St. Jospeh’s Academy and Free School dedicated to the education of Catholic Girls.  She would then establish a religious community dedicated to care for children of the poor by the 1st Congregation of Religious Sisters founded in the United States and their school was the 1st free Catholic School in America.  The congregation was then called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph and Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was lovingly known as “Mother Seton”.  The Sisters adopted the rules of the Daughters of Charity in 1811, which were co-founded in France by Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac. In 1812, there were 19 Sisters in the small community when it was accepted as an official Order with Mother Seton becoming the 1st Superior.   She died on January 4, 1821, at the age of 46, nine years after losings Anna Maria (1795-1812) and five years after the death Rebecca Mary (1802-1816).    Elizabeth Ann Bayley and William Magee Seton’s other children were William II (1796-1868), Richard (1798-1823), Catherine (1800-1891) who was the 1st American to join the Siters of Mercy.   

By 1830, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph were responsible for running orphanages and schools in Cincinnati and New Orleans and had established the 1st hospital west of the Mississippi in St. Louis.  In addition to the original community of Sisters at Emmitsburg, they are also based in Newy York city, Cincinnati, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Convent Station, New Jersey and Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  Seton High School in Cincinnati was founded as Mount St. Vincent Academy (Cedar Grove) in 1854 and in 1927, was renamed in honor of Elizabeth Ann Seton.  In 1931, our beloved Sister of Charity, Sr. Blandina Segale, Servant of God journeyed to Rome and met with the Pope to petition for the canonization of ‘Mother Seton”.  In 1936, her spiritual writings were approved by theologians and in 1940, her cause was formally opened granting her the title, Servant of God.  With the miracle in 1952 of a 4year old girl healed due to the intercession of Elizabeth Ann Seton, Pope John XXIII declared her beatified on March 17, 1963, with him stating: “In a house that was very small, but with ample space for charity, she sowed a seed in America which by Divine Grace grew into a large tree”.  The miracle attributed to her canonization took place in 1963 with the healing of Carl Kalin who was given hours to live after contracting meningitis and encephalitis in his brain.  Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was finally canonized on September 14, 1975, by Pope Paul VI in a ceremony at St. Peters Square:  Pope Paul VI stated: “Eliabeth Ann Bayley Seton is a saint.  St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is an American.  All of us say this with special joy and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of saints.  Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was wholly American!  Rejoice for your glorious daughter.  Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage.” 

In 1980, the Daughters of Charity Health Network established Bayley Seton Hospital in Stapleton, Staten Island, new York and is now the Bayley Seton campus of Richmond University Medical Center.  Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg, Maryland, located less than a mile from the original school, Saint Joseph’s Academy enrolls 306 students from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade and has a ratio of 15 students to every teacher.  A Prayer to St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton: “O God, You raised up St. Elizabeth in Your Church so that she might instruct others in the way of salvation. Gant us to follow Christ after her example that we may reach You in the company of our brothers.  AMEN.”

On January 5th we celebrate the Feast day of John Neuman born on March 28, 1811, in the Kingdom of Bohemia, Austrian Empire, the only male United States citizen to be named a saint.  His alma mater was the University of Prague and his choices at that time were to become a physician, a lawyer, or a priest.  His father was prepared to pay the tuition for medical school.  John chose the Seminary which he entered in 1831 and while studying theology, he read reports of a need for priests in the United States to serve German speaking communities.  In 1828 Monsignor Frederick Rese, Vicar-General of Cincinnati visited Europe in search of priests.  He was able to secure 3 priests, 13 lay brothers and by 1832, the Redemptorists were a prominent element in North America taking care of German Congregations.  At the same time, John Neumann passed his canonical examinations for the priesthood and told he would not be ordained because the Diocese had more priests than needed.  He would have to journey to America to be ordained, something his family would not be able to see.  He was sorry he would not be able to give the 1st traditional priestly blessing to his parents and he would not have his family in attendance at his 1st Mass.  He departed on the morning of February 8, 1836, with 200 francs ($40) only telling his sister Veronica of his plans to leave Bohemia.  He arrived in Munich on February 18th, and on to Strasburg on the 26th of February, he was told he would not be needed in Philadelphia, where after his ordination would be his first post.  When he arrived in Paris, the money he was promised for the journey was given to other missionaries and was told a rich merchant would give him funds.  The money never materialized, and he decided to continue on leaving on Easter Sunday morning on the largest sailing vessel out of Le Havre, the Europa a 210-foot three mast ship with a 60-foot beam.  The voyage lasted 40 days with the passengers coming within sight of land on Trinity Sunday, May 28, 1836.  On the feast of Corpus Christi, he finally stepped ashore with tattered clothes and $1 in his pocket and looking for a Catholic Church.  Seventeen days after his arrival, John Neumann was finally ordained a priest by Bishop Dubois at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral to the subdiaconate on June 19th, the diaconate on June 24th and the priesthood on June 25th, celebrating his 1st Mass on the morning of June 26th at St. Nicholas Church.  John Neumann became the 1st Redemptorists to profess vows in the United States.  The diocese he would serve was home to 200,000 Catholics with 36 priests, 33churches, several oratories, and 50 homes serving as temporary places of worship.  St. John Neuman would visit his Diocese by foot, canal boat, stagecoach, railway, and on horseback although because of his height (5ft 2 in.) his feet did not fit into the stirrups. In 1840, he asked to be admitted to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and took his vows in Baltimore in 1842.  He became a Naturalized citizen in 1848 and became a pioneer in organizing the parochial school system.  He was committed to providing educational opportunities to immigrant school children.  He would also do missionary work in Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio.   Neumann would become the Provincial Superior of the United States and in 1852, was appointed Bishop of Philadelphia where he established the 1st National Italian Parish in the country.  While he was Bishop, more than 80 churches were built, and he drew many Orders of Sisters and Christian Brothers into the city.   He spoke German, French and was fluent in Italian which endeared him to many communities throughout Philadelphia. While performing his duties St. John Neumann collapsed and died on a street in Philadelphia when he was 48 years old.  His funeral and burial were at St. Peters Church where he was laid to rest beneath the undercroft floor under the high altar.  The cause for his canonization was opened formally in 1896 granting him the title of Servant of God and was declared venerable by Pope Benedict XV in 1921.  St. John Neumann was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1963 and canonized by Pope Paul in 1977.  In 1980, Our Lady of the Angels College was renamed Neumann College and in 2017, the state of New Hampshire established the St. John Neumann Education Trust for the advancement of Catholic Education in the state.  There are 15 schools named for him throughout the United States and in 2011, on the 200th anniversary of St. John Neumann’s birth, the Redemptorist Fathers celebrated the Closing Mass for the Neumann Year on June 23, 2012, in Philadelphia.

On Saturday, January 6th, the Catholic Church honors Andre Bessette (1845-1937) a Canadian lay brother of the Holy Cross Order who was a highly regarded figure of the Catholic Church among French-Canadians.  As a young boy, he developed devotions to St. Joseph and the Pasion of Christ while taking catechism lesson from his parish priest, Andre Provencal.  Years later, the pastor decided to present Andre Bessette to the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal with a note to the Superior, “I am sending you a saint.”  He was finally accepted on behalf of the Archbishop of Montreal, Ignace Bourget and in 1872, entered the novitiate of the Congregation.  He entered as Brother Andre and made his final vows at the age of 28 on February 2, 1874.  Brother Andre was assigned the task of porter, laundry worker, messenger, and sacristan at the College Notre-Dame in Quebec.  For 40 years he stayed visiting the sick in their homes and he recommended prayers to Saint Joseph with many claiming cures through the intercession of Brother Andre and Saint Joseph.  He would not take credit for the cures and launched a campaign to have a chapel built to honor Saint Joseph.  In 1924, the construction of a Basilica named St. Jospeh Oratory broke ground on the side of the mountain close to Brother Andre’s Chapel.  He died at the age of 91 in 1937 with one million mourners filling past his coffin to pay their respects with his remains entombed in the church he helped build. The cause for his beatification was opened on July 20, 1950, with the miracle attributed to him was the healing of Giuseppe Carlo Audino’s cure from cancer.  He was then beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982.  In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI there was a decree to recognize a second miracle at Brother Andre’s intercession and in 2010 he was formally declared a saint.  Brother Andre Bessette was the 1st saint of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the same religious order that founded the University of Notre Dame.  Many schools and churches are named for him throughout Canada and in the United States.  St. Edward University, a Holy Cross School located in Austin, Texas is home to the School of Humanities and in Niles, Illinois a program to support student learning at Notre dame College Prep is named the St. Andre Scholars.    Throughout Canada, there is the St. Andre Bessette Secondary School, Brother Andre Catholic School, and St. Andre Bessette Elementary School.  The churches named in his honor are St. Andre Bessette Parish in Laconia, New Hampshire, a city with many residents of French-Canadian Heritage, in Ecorse, Michigan, St. Andre Bessette Catholic Church and in Portland, Oregon the St. Andre Catholic Church located downtown.  In support of Brother Andre’s work, Andre House was established in Phoenix, Arizona to aid those homeless and poor and in Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania, the Epiphany Roman Catholic Church, established a coffee shop, Brother Andre’s Café that employs workers with disabilities.  There is a statue of Saint Andre unveiled on the 50th Anniversary of Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana and Andre Place, the retirement facility sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross is adjacent to the college.  At the University of Notre Dame across the street from Holy Cross College, there are many statues and stained-glass windows depicting St. Andre.

As we honor St. Andre Bessette, we also celebrate San Antonio Church’s own Holy Cross Father, Fr. Fred Serraino, C.S.C. He grew up in the Little Italy section of South Fairmount and was ordained to the priesthood on December 21, 1968, at the Holy Cross Seminary Chapel.  Fr. Fred Serraino came back to San Antonio Church to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving on June 1, 1969, to a church filled with honored parishioners.  On May 25, 2018, he celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his ordination at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of Notre Dame and is now a resident of Andre House.  Fr. Fred’s parents were the late Anthony and Philomena Serraino, long-time parishioners of our church.  His brother Frank Serraino and his sister Carmella “Cumi” (Serraino) Berger and their families are still active members of our church.

News from San Antonio Church – December 24, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 24, 2023

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday, San Antonio Church welcomes the last day of Advent with the anticipation of Christmas as we light the last purple candle, Love on our wreath.  On the 4th Sunday of Advent, we wait with joyous expectation for the imminent coming of the Redemer.  The candles on our Advent Wreath tell a Christmas story with the first week symbolizing the Prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, the second week we light the Bethlehem Candle to honor Jesus’s Birthplace, the third week we light the Shepherds’ Candle for those who came to see Jesus and the fourth candle for the Angels who proclaimed Jesus’ Birth to the Shepherds.  The Christ Candle in the middle of the wreath will be lit on Christmas Day to symbolize His Purity and the light Jesus brought to the world through His arrival on earth as a baby.  A Prayer on this Sunday: “We pray to the Holy Apostles of Christ to be with us and to pray for us that we may go forth to meet Him, and say Great is His Dominion, and His kingdom will have no end.  He is God, the Mighty, the Ruler, the Prince of Peace.  Amen.”

On the evening of Sunday, December 24th the entire Liturgy of Christmas Eve will be consecrated to the anticipation of the arrival of the Savior.  On Christmas Eve in Rome, the Vigil Mass of Christmas, the Midnight Mass, and the Christmas Mass during the day will be held at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, considered the Bethlehem to all Romans.  Christmas Eve (La Vigilia) we be held with family gatherings as many an Italians follow the penitential rule of Mangiare Di Magro by abstaining from meat and eating fish on Holiday Eves to purify the body. Their menu will include salted cod, shrimp, squid, octopus, smelts or whatever is available from region to region.  After their meal families will attend midnight Mass, and on their return home, the youngest child in the family will place the baby Jesus (the Bambino) in the Manger as they anticipate Christmas Day.  While children are asleep, Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) will bring gifts for all good little girls and boys. 

On December 25th, all cooks will be preparing many dishes for a meal that will include turkey, ham, side dishes of pasta, vegetables, and lentils.  When all family members are seated around the dinner table, papas may find notes under their dinner plates from the children of the family asking for forgiveness from all the wrongs they have done during the past year and promising to do better in the new year.  After the Christmas Feast, desserts will be served, especially honey balls that originated in the towns and villages around Naples and zapples, the fried pastry sprinkled with powdered sugar or filled with anchovies.  After dinner the Christmas traditions continue by roasting Morini chestnuts and seasoning them with white wine and spices or dipping them in honey and sprinkling them with sugar and cinnamon for all to enjoy.

On December 26th we honor St. Stephen (Santo Stefano) known as a social worker in the Church who devoted his life to feeding the poor.  Stephen, the 1st Christian Martyr, a Jew who spoke Greek who was chosen by the Apostles.  The Apostles would choose seven men who would be named deacons while living a holy life to help in care of the poor with Stephen being named the 1st of the deacons.  Stephen was ordained by the Apostles to go on to a life of courage working for the good of those who needed help.  Stephen was seen as “Full of grace and Power’ as the Acts of Apostles described him.  He would be one of the seven men who would look after the needs of widows and dependents of Greek converts who were neglected in the daily distribution of charity.  He was martyred about 33AD being stoned to death by his enemies who resisted the Holy Spirit.  As they were stoning Stephen, he prayed “Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit” and before he died “Lord do not hold this sin against them.”  The Church of Jerusalem retrieved his body and deeply mourned him with his Canonization taking place in the 1st Century.   He was venerated as the Patron saint of horses, the most useful servants of man.  Horses are still blessed in front of churches on St. Stephens Day and to celebrate his feast day, bread in the shape of a horseshoe are served.  He is also the patron of stone masons.  A prayer to saint Stephen: “O God, grant that we may imitate the saint we honor and learn to love our enemies.  For today we celebrate the feast of St. Stephen who knew how to pray even for his persecutors.”  Amen. 

On Wednesday, December 27th we honor the Feast of Saint John, the youngest at the age of 20 of the 12 Apostles and the only Apostle not martyred.  He is referred to in the Gospel as “the beloved Disciple” was a Galilean and fisherman along with his brother James were called by Jesus to be disciples while mending their nets by the Sea of Galilee.  Out of the 12 Apostles, Jesus chose three-Peter, brothers James and John to be his most faithful companions who were witnesses of the Transfiguration.    John was the only Apostle who did not forsake the Savior and stayed with Jesus during His Passion and Death and was there to console Mary at the foot of the Cross.  St. John founded many churches in Asia Minor wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Book of Revelation.  In the Book of Revelation, we find the invitation of Jesus to the world.   When John was too old to preach while visiting the churches of Asia, he would tell people, “Love one another.  If you keep this command of the Lord, it is enough.”  He was about 94 years old when he died around 100AD.  St. John’s symbol is the eagle for it soars above earthly things and speaks of the divine nature of Christ. He is the patron of friendship, publishers and Asia Minor and canonized by popular acclaim. 

On December 28th, Thursday we remember the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great on the Feast of The Holy Innocents.  Those slain children were regarded in the early Church as the first Martyrs.  King Herod ordered the massacre of all boys who were two years old and under in an attempt to kill the infant Jesus.  Even though the Holy Innocents did not know Jesus although they died in his place, they are recognized as the first Martyrs and Pro-Life Saints.  Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia said: “Herod did the unthinkable and murdered Holy Innocent Babies.  In our age, infants are killed daily through the horror of abortion.  In honor of the Holy Innocents, whose feast we celebrate on December 28th, we pray for an end to abortion and for the protection and safety of all children.”  On December 29th we celebrate the feast day of Thomas Becket of Canterbury, King Herny II’s Chancellor from 1155-1162 and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162-1178.  Thomas was born on December 21, 1120, on the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle and ordained a Priest on June 2, 1162, and the next day June 3rd he was consecrated as an Archbishop.  Thomas was challenged by King Henry II who was hoping Thomas would continue to put the royal government ahead of the policies and rights of the Church.  There were soon threats against Thomas Becket with edicts against him, his friends, and supporters.  Becket would flee to France with King Louis VII offered him protection.  When Becket returned to Canterbury, Henry II said of Thomas “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest.”  As four Knights were sent out by the King to confront him.  As they drew their swords, Thomas said “For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.”  When the Monks were preparing his body, they found a hairshirt, a rough undergarment, under his Archbishops garments, worn as a sign of penance based on disciplinary practices as an aid to realize Christian perfection.  St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury was declared a Saint by Pope Alexander III in 1173 and is venerated as a saint and martyr by the Catholic and Anglican Communion Church.

There is recent news of Sr. Blandina Segale, Servant of God from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  The Board of Directors of the St. Josephs Children’s Home that Sr. Blandina founded, journeyed to Rome to petition Pope Francis for the Cause of Canonization of Sr. Blandina.  This is what Sr. Blandina did herself at the age of 81 to petition for the Canonization of Elizabeth Ann Seton, the founder of her Order, the Sisters of Charity.  As more news is released, we will inform our San Antonio Parishioners.

News from San Antonio Church – December 17, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 17, 2023

by Terrie Evans

   On this 3rd Sunday of Advent, we anticipate Christmas on Joy or Gaudete Sunday that is celebrated in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic, the Anglican Communion, Lutheran and other mainline Protestant Churches.  It is also called Rejoice Sunday as the rose candle is lit, rose altar cloth and vestments used while we await the joyous event of the Lord’s coming.  Pope Francis said in his homily on the Sunday of Joy, Gaudete Sunday in 2014, that we should “Think of all the good things life has given you” and focus on the real meaning of this time of year and forget all the little things that distract us from the true meaning of Advent and Christmas.  On this Sunday, we Bless the Baby Jesus’ figurines from our home mangers a tradition that was originated by Pope Paul VI in 1969.  The Blessing by Pope Francis will take place in at St. Peters Square in Rome during the Angelus.  

In Italy, many cultural festivals will take place leading up to Christmas Day.    The winter solstice ritual, Saturnalia will take place from December 17-25, held when the sun is at its lowest. Dating back to Ancient times when people were fearful that the sun would never return, they held ceremonies hoping that the light from the sun would then grow stronger and brighter. The 7-day feast of festivals is also a time spent with loved ones as prayers are said for the protection of winter crops.  The Ancient Roman celebration of Saturnalia and the winter solstice traditions continue with some holiday decorations we use within our own homes, the Yule Log, Evergreens and Mistletoe.   

On December 21st we honor the feast of St Peter Canisius born in Holland in 1521 who went on to attend the University of Cologne, obtaining his master’s degree at the age of 19.  He became entranced by the study of theology and inspired by Blessed Peter Faber (1506-1546) a Jesuit Priest, the 1st Disciple of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Theologian and Co-Founder of the Society of Jesus.  St. Peter Canisius joined the Society of Jesuits in 1543 and developed a reputation as a strong supporter of the Catholic Faith at a time of Protestant Reformation in Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, Switzerland, and the British Isles. He practiced a routine he started at an early age of study, reflection, prayer and writing throughout his life.  He worked for the restoration of the Catholic Church in Germany while he led the Society of Jesus and became known as the Second Apostle of Germany.  His finest work was a Catechism of 211 Questions and Answers that was published in 1555 which went on to 130 editions.  St. Peter Canisus wrote Catechism for Middle School age students with a different virtue for each day of the week.  For younger children, he wrote a shorter Catechism version with prayers for Morning and Evening and prayers before meals to develop the habit of praying.  He died in Switzerland in 1597, was Beatified in Rome by Pope Pius IX in 1864, Canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI with his Major Shrine College of St. Michael in Fribourg, Switzerland.  In Jakarta, Indonesia, there is the St. Peter Canisius International Parish for the International Catholic Community residing in Jakarta.  Their Parish Community includes the Church of St. Theresia and the Canisius College Chapel with a congregation of 2,500 for Sunday Mass and on feast days the congregation welcomes 3,500 churchgoers for the English Liturgy.  A Prayer: “St. Peter Canisius, you saw the good in even the most troublesome of people.  You found their talents and used them.  Help me to see beyond the behavior of others that may bother me to see the gifts that God has given them. AMEN.” 

On December 23rd, we have the feast day of John of Kanty (1390-1473) born in Poland who went on the University at Cracow where after graduation, was given the post of a lecturer in the study of the Bible. He earned his Doctorate in Philosophy and studied Theology for 3 years.  When John was ordained a Priest, he was stationed at the Most Holy Sepulcher about 25 miles north of Krakow.  He loved the academic life but being a dedicated Priest, he worked for 8 years as a curator of souls at the humble post.  He was then recalled as a teacher at the University where he became a Professor of Sacred Scripture.  He left an impact on the parishioners he had mentored to for all those years, and they would never forget the man who was a kind, humble, generous Priest who led an austere penitential life.  He taught this Philosophy to his students: “Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love.  Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.”  St. John of Kanty was Beatified in Rome by Pope Clement X in 1676 and Canonized in 1767 by Pope Clement XII.  He is the Patron of Poland, considered the Benefactor of the Poor and worker of Miracles.  The St. John Parish Community located in Buffalo, New York was founded by Polish Immigrants in 1892 and the Christian Community is still dedicated to those early settlers.  A Prayer: “Saint John Kanty, though you were a great intellectual, your humility and deep faith, coupled with your genuine love for those whom you ministered to, had a lasting effect upon the people of your community, and upon all of Poland.  Please pray for me, that I will learn from your life and imitate your virtues so that I, too, will one day be counted among the Saints.  Saint John of Kanty, pray for me.  Jesus, I trust in You. AMEN.” 

Our San Antonio Church Community send condolences to the Franciscan Community on the passing of Fr. Reynolds Garland who passed away on November 30, 2023, at the age of 89.  He entered the Franciscan Order in 1952, Professed Simple Vows in 1953, and made his Solemn Profession in 1956.  He was Ordained to the Priesthood in 1961 at St. Leonard Church in Centerville, Ohio.  His ministry included Fr. Reynolds serving at Roger Bacon High School as an Instructor, Chaplain, and Counselor.  He was Treasurer at St. Francis Seraph, Associate Pastor at St. Clement Parish in Cincinnati while ministering as a Child Psychologist with Catholic Charities.  In Carville, Louisiana he was a Chaplain at the Hansen’s Disease Center and as Associate Pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary and Holy Rosary/St. Lucy in Houma, Louisiana.  He was stationed in Jackson, Kentucky, an Eastern Kentucky town of 2,000 named after former President Andrew Jackson where he served as a Parish Priest at Holy Cross Friary.  When returned to Cincinnati, Fr. Reynolds served as a Chaplain at Mercy Community at Winton Woods.  In 2023, he celebrated his 70th Anniversary while expressing his deep gratitude to God for his Franciscan Vocation.

News from San Antonio Church – December 10, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 10, 2023

by Terrie Evans

On this 2nd Sunday of Advent (Latin – for Arrival), the Bethlehem Candle will be lit as we prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus and ready ourselves for His 2nd coming.  These flames symbolize the celebration of light in the middle of darkness with the purple candles representing the penitential spirit of humility, solemnity and suffering with the pink or rose candle signifying the joy of Christ’s birth.   Advent is thought to be in existence since 480 and was introduced by the Council of Tours in 567 as a way to order monks to practice a fast every day during the month of December until Christmas Day.  It was associated with the penitence fasting known as St. Martins Lent or the Nativity Fast.  In the 5th Century, Bishop Perpetuus started Advent with St. Martins Day on November 11th fasting three times a week until Christmas.  Advent was then called the Lent of St. Martin in the diocese of Tours, a practice that was in existence until the 6th Century.  Eastern Orthodox Churches will mark the time before the start of Advent with a Nativity Fast from November 15th until Christmas Eve on December 24th.  The traditional color used for Advent is violet although some Christian denominations now use blue as an alternative color.  The custom for using the blue color for Advent has been traced back to the 8th Century in the Church of Sweden.  The Second Sunday of Advent Prayer: “Father in Heaven, who sent your Son to redeem the world, and will send him again to be our judge.  Give us the grace to imitate Him in the humility and purity of His first coming that, when He comes again, we may be ready to greet Him with joyful love and firm faith. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.” 

On Monday, December 11th we celebrate the life of Pope Damasus I, the Bishop of Rome from 366 until his death in 384.  He presided over the Council of Rome in 382 establishing the official list of Sacred Scripture.  He worked to reconcile relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Antioch while feeling a deep responsibility to work for the veneration of Martyrs.  Damasus I became active in defending the Catholic Church against (schisms) the deliberate break from ecclesiastical unity.  In the two Roman synods of 368 and 369, Pope Damasus I sent legates (ambassadors of the Pope) to the First Council of Constantinople to addresses the heresies against the teachings of the Church.  During his 18 years as a Pope, Damasus worked to restore and create access to Christian Martyrs tombs in the Catacombs of Rome by setting up tablets and composing verses and inscriptions in honor of those martyrs.  He rebuilt the church of his father, San Lorenzo fuori le Mura (St. Lawrence Outside the Walls) which became a station on the itineraries of the graves of the Roman Martyrs.  Pope Damasus I’s life mission coincided with the rise of Emperor Constantine I with the reunion of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires and the legitimization of Christianity.  In 380, Christianity was later adopted as the official religion of the Roman State.  On December 12, we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared in 1531, before St. Juan Diego, an Aztec who converted to Christianity. When the Virgin appeared in a vision, she requested a church be built on the site.  The Virgin of Guadalupe was named the Patroness of Mexico in 1737, of the Continental Americas and venerated by Native Americans.  There are religious images of Our Lady of Guadalupe in many Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist Churches due to her popularity.  She has been described as a representative of the Immaculate Conception “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of 12 stars.” In 1754, Pope Benedict XIV approved her patronage over the New Spain and granted her a proper feast for December 12th.   In 1910, Pope Pius X named Our Lady of Guadalupe the Patroness of Latin America and in 1935, Pope Pius XI approved her as Patroness of the Philippines. During Mexico’s Independence, her image became associated with the movement after Father Miguel Hidalgo united insurgents under the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe and many women throughout the world have developed a strong devotion to her. The National Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe has received visits from many dignitaries from all Christian Denominations with Pope John Paul II visiting in 1979,1990, 1993,1999 and in 2002 for the Canonization St. Juan Diego.  In 2016, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the main altar of the Basilica of Guadalupe.  Her significance as a religious national symbol is practiced by the hundreds of thousands who visit her Shrine every year.  In the suburb of Maderia in Cincinnati, women meet every month for the Las Guadalupanas Spanish Rosary Group at St. Gertrude Church to represent our Lady’s patronage of the Americas.   On December 13th we celebrate the feast of St. Lucy (Lucia) (283-304), who is seen as a bearer of light in the darkness of winter.  She is one of 8 women along with the Virgin Mary who is commemorated by Catholics in the Canon of the Mass.  St. Lucy is one of the more known Virgin Martyrs among Agatha of Sicily, Agnes of Rome, Cecilia of Rome, and Catherine of Alexandria.   Since her feast coincides with the Winter Solstice, her feast day has become a festival of light as a Catholic -celebrated holiday with its roots traced to Sicily.   There is a legend in Sicily that a famine ended on her feast day when ships loaded with grain entered the harbor.  It is a tradition to eat whole grains on her feast day to honor her and in   areas throughout Italy, large traditional feasts will take place with homemade pasta and a special dessert called Cuccia made of wheatberries, butter, sugar, chocolate, and milk will be served.  The large grains of soft wheat represent Lucy’s eyes and are only served once a year on her feast day.  An old Hungarian custom is to plant wheat in a small pot on her feast day and by Christmas, green sprouts, a sign of new life will appear.   The wheat will be added to the manger scene as the symbol of Christ in the Eucharist.  There are 83 churches throughout the world named in her honor with 16 schools, and 30, towns, villages, mountains, islands, and malls bearing St. Lucy’s name.  There is also a country, St. Lucia and a railway station Venezia Santa Lucia in Venice, Italy named for her.   A prayer to St. Lucy to invoke the protection of our eyes:  “Relying on Your goodness, O God, we humbly ask You, through the intercession of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, to give perfect vision to our eyes, that they may serve for Your greater honor and glory.  Saint Lucy, hear our prayer and obtain our petitions.  AMEN.”  

On Thursday, December 14th, we celebrate the feast of John of the Cross (1542-1591), a 16th Century Spanish priest, Mystic, and a Carmelite Friar.  He joined the Carmelites at Medina and in 1567, worked with St. Teresa of Avila to reform the Carmelite Monasteries of Spain and went on to establish the 1st reformed house for men. He became known for his writings, the Spiritual Canticle and The Dark Night of the Soul considered masterpieces of Spanish poetry, rich in symbolism and imagery.  He also wrote The Ascent of Mount Carmel about a soul seeking a perfect union with God and all the mystic events he encounters along the way, the journey of the soul from its bodily home to his union with God.  Between 1574-1577 John of the Cross had visions of the Crucified Christ which led him to create a drawing of Christ from above.  The drawing was kept in a small monstrance in Avila that would later inspire Salvador Dali to create the work Christ of Saint John of the Cross in 1951.  John of the Cross born Juan de Yepes y Alvarez died on December 15, 1591, was beatified by Pope Clement X in 1675 and was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.  He wrote: “Seek in reading and thou shall find meditation”.  And “Where there is no love, put love and you will find love.”  His major shrine is the Tomb of Saint John of the Cross in Segovia, Spain.  He is the Patron of Spanish Poets, one of the 37 Doctors of the Church who is known as the “Mystical Doctor. 

Friday, December 15th is the Last day of Hanukkah (Zos Hanukah) a special day that encapsulates all of Hanukah as all candles are lit to symbolize Jewish Piety.   St. Francis Seraph Church at the corner of Liberty and Vine Street in Over the Rhine is celebrating a Franciscan Christmas displaying Nativities from Around the World, a Live Nativity, and other Christmas Displays.  The live Nativity is open from 1-7PM Daily and Nativities from other countries with Christmas Displays that will be open Monday -Thursday 9:00AM-5:00PM, Fridays 4:00-7:00PM, Saturdays Noon-7:00PM, and Sunday Noon-5:00PM.  This event is open until January 6th with free admission as donations will be accepted in support of St. Francis Parish and School.  There will be free parking in the lot behind the school at 14 East Liberty Street.  This is a wonderful Holiday event provided by the Franciscan Order who have supported San Antonio Church since its founding in 1922.  

Next Sunday, December 17th, the Catholic Church celebrates Gaudete Sunday, the halfway point of Advent when we light the rose hued candle.  On December 24th, the last Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve, San Antonio Church will bless the baby Jesus’s from our home mangers on Bambinelli Sunday.  Please bring in your baby Jesus’s for this special blessing. This is an annual Papal tradition that will take place in St. Peters Square on this last Sunday of Advent.

News from San Antonio Church – December 3, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 3, 2023

by Terrie Evans

  Our San Antonio Church community welcomes everyone on this 1st Sunday of Advent.  In Western Christianity, Advent is the beginning of the Liturgical year as we anticipate the “Coming of Christ.”  In the Catholic and Lutheran Churches, Advent signifies the preparation for the threefold coming of Christ:  First if the Incarnation at Bethlehem, Second, in the perpetual sacramental presence in the Eucharist and Third, at His Second Coming and the Final Judgement.  The readings for Advent relate to Jesus Christ as a Savior and to his Second Coming judge during the weeks in Advent.  The candles on our Advent wreath symbolize the stages of salvation, Creation, the Incarnation, our Redemption from sins, and the Last Judgement as we await the messiah.  As the Candles are lit, we anticipate the Christmas light approaching that will bring us hope and peace while we make the journey through darkness.  The first candle we will light today on our Advent Wreath is the Prophets Candle that symbolizes Hope. The Advent Wreath comes from ancient symbols with the round form symbolizing victory, the greenery a sign of hope and life and the four candles highlight the four Sundays in the season of Advent.  

Also, on this 1st Sunday in Advent, Mt. St. Joseph University will host the Westside Community Band for a Christmas Concert.  Many talented west side musicians will perform all the popular   holiday favorites at this free event.  They will be collecting new unwrapped toys to bring Christmas Joy to children on the west side.  The performance starts at 2:00 PM with the Nutcracker Suite and ends at 4:00 PM with everyone’s favorite, Sleigh Ride.  This is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit, so bring your family for this enjoyable afternoon. 

On Monday, December 4th, we celebrate the feast of St. John of Damascus (675-749) venerated in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran Churches born to a Christian Arab family in Syria.  He is considered as one of the Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church who was known for his strong defense of icons.  In the Catholic Church, he was given the title Doctor of the Assumption due to his writings on the Assumption of Mary.  He is the patron of theology students and is known as the “Last of the Greek Fathers in Catholic Theology.  John of Damascus was also known to compose hymns for the Byzantine Rite Liturgies.  He was canonized Pre-Congregation and was added to the General Roman Calendar in 1890 when Pope Leo XIII declared John of Damascus a Doctor of the Church. 

On Wednesday, December 6th, we honor St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (270-343) an early Christian Bishop of Greek descent during the Roman Empire.  St. Nicholas Church was built on the orders of Theodosius II 200 years after his death on the site where he had served as Bishop.  He is the Patron saint of all of Greece and its Hellenic Navy and is also a favorite of all Italians especially sailors, fisherman, sailors, and cities who maintain harbors.  Saint Nicholas is sometimes shown in a boat rescuing drowning sailors.  On his feast day, St. Nicks Day, secret gift giving will take place, and, in some places, coins will be left in the shoes that are left out for him.  He is venerated in many churches:  The Eastern Orthodox Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Finland, with his Major Shrine, the Basilica di San Nicola, Bari, Italy where his relics are enshrined.  In 2000, a bronze statue of St. Nicholas was placed in front of the medieval church dedicated to him by the Russian Government.  A Prayer to St. Nicholas:  We call upon Your mercy, O Lord. Through the intercession of St. Nicholas, keep us safe amid all dangers so that we may go forward without hindrance on the road to salvation. 

On Thursday, December 7th we honor the 82nd National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day to recall the surprise military attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941.  There were 2,403 Americans killed along with 1,178 wounded on “a date which will live infamy.”  The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese Aircraft with all U.S. Navy battleships damaged along with cruisers, destroyers, anti-aircraft training ships and a minelayer.  More than 180 of our aircraft were lost along with the USS Arizona.  We will never forget the attack at 7:48 Hawaiian Time that led the United States to formally enter World War II on the side of the Allies on the following day.   Many 1sts generation Italian American men from South Fairmount answered the call to duty with those sons, brothers, and husbands fighting overseas for many months or years.  We can never forget the sacrifices they made to defend our great country.     

On December 7th we also honor St. Ambrose (339-397) known as a theologian and statesman who was the Bishop of Milan from the years 374-397 at the age of 34.  He converted St. Augustine to Christianity by his sermons, Baptizing him in 386.  St. Ambrose wrote important doctrines and is considered one of the greatest Doctors and Defenders of the Church.  The Ambrosian Rite, the rite of the Mass and Divine Office in practice for centuries in the territory of the Archdiocese of Milan is attributed to him.  The Ambrosian Chant, melodies ascribed to St. Ambrose were used by his followers used in the Ambrosian Rite.  St. Ambrose is often depicted holding a Church in his hands. 

December 7th is also the first day of Hanukah that begins at sundown and continues to Friday December 15th.  Hanukah is the Jewish feast recalling the rededication of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. and the miracle of the oil when one day’s supply lasted for eight days.  It is custom to eat foods cooked in oil, so many fried foods are prepared for Hanukah, which is also called the “Feast of Lights”.  Families will come together to recite blessings and at sunset, light the first candle in the Menorah, the eight branched candelabrum.  The next night of Hanukah, two candles will be lit until all are aglow for the 8 days of Hanukah.  Many will exchange gifts such as books or games as they prepare dishes for the festival of lights.  Popular recipes are cheese latkes, warm pasta salad, and mint stuffed zucchini with ricotta.   Families will pick an organization to donate to or volunteer their time for a good cause.  They will perform a good deed, a Mitzvah as an individual act of human kindness as “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  A good deed is one of the Torah’s 613 Divine Commandments. 

On Friday December 8th we honor the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary affirming that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved at her conception by a singular grace and privilege of God free from all stain of Original Sin as stated by Pope Pius IX in his declaration of his Dogma on December 8, 1854.  She who was to bear the Savior of the world should herself be preserved by Him from sin and its consequences and so be the first to benefit from what He would obtain for the whole human race.  In 1847, the Catholic Bishops of the United States petitioned Pope Pius IX to declare the Blessed Mother the Patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception.  With the approval of the Holy See, plans were made to erect a monumental church to be named the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The cornerstone was laid in 1920 and formally dedicated on November 20, 1959.  It is the largest Catholic Church in the United States covering 77,500 square feet raised to the rank of a Basilica in 1979 by Pope John Paul II. 

On Saturday, December 9th we honor Juan Diego, the first Catholic saint who is indigenous to the Americas.  He was born in 1474 in modern day Mexico who developed a strong dedication to the Virgin Mary while caring for a sick uncle.  When Franciscan Missionaries arrived in Mexico in 1524, and after his baptism was granted apparitions of the Virgin Mary and became regarded as a Marion Visionary.  Mary is said to have appeared in Juan Diego on December 9th & again on the 15th in 1531.  When she appeared, Mary requested a Shrine be built on the spot where she appeared to him but, no one would believe him not even the Pope who requested a sign.  On the second visit from Mary on the 15th of December, he was told to collect roses.  When the Pope had an audience with Juan Diego, when he opened his cloak, the roses fell from his cloak with the image of Mary imprinted on the inside of the cloak.  This image is now venerated in the Basilica of Guadalupe where the shrine to the Virgin has existed on the site since 1556.   It is thought she chose Juan Diego as a way to draw the peoples of the New World to faith in Jesus Christ.  The movement for the canonization of Juan Diego became stronger 500 years after his birth in 1974. 

Pope John Paul II opened the Cause for Canonization of Juan Diego in 1987 when he was declared Venerable and was Beatified on May 6, 1990, during Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico city.  He was then declared “Protector and Advocate of the Indigenous Peoples” with December 9th established as His feast day. Pope John Paul II praised his virtues when he said “His simple faith nourished by catechesis and open to the mysteries; his hope and trust in God and in the Virgin; his love, his moral coherence, his unselfishness, and evangelical poverty.“   In the 1942 movie, Ramon Navarro portrayed Juan Diego in The Saint Who Forged a Country and in 2013, a documentary, The Blood and The Rose portrayed the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a way to bring the story of the apparition to North American audiences. Juan Diego is known as The Messenger of Guadalupe.

San Antonio parishioners have been asked to donate hats, gloves, and socks for children and adults.  We will be collecting these items during the month of December.  Please bring your donations to the hall after Mass.  If you have any questions, please see Janet Reiff or Connie Dalessandro.

News from San Antonio Church – November 26, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin November 26, 2023

by Terrie Evans

On this last Sunday in Ordinary Time, we honor the Feast of Christ the King, which emphasizes the true Kingship of Christ.  At the 1st Ecumenical Council in 325, when heresy was becoming prevalent, the Council introduced the dogma to counteract the heresy with: “Christ is God, light from light, true God from true God.” It is celebrated at the end of the liturgical year that was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.  At that time, there was growing secularism within the church when Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in his encyclical, Quas Primas.  The Pope proclaimed that the best way to defeat injustice was by acknowledging the Kingship of Christ.   In 1926, Pope Pius Xi gave his permission for the first church to be dedicated to Christ the King to the priest of a young parish in the Mount Lookout area of Cincinnati, Ohio.  The first church was built and consecrated in 1927 with a new church constructed for the growing faithful in 1956. 

The Feast of Christ the King was first celebrated on October 31, 1926, with Christ the King of the entire universe “In Him were created all things in heaven on earth.  All things were created through Him and for Him.”  Christ is regarded as the true measure of all creation whether it be governments, states, or societies.  St.  Paul said: “Christ is the head of the body of the Church in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  The feast shows the divine plan of the Christian doctrine that points to the end of time when the kingdom of Jesus will be established in all its fullness to the end of the earth.   The feast highlights that Christ the King is the destination of our earthly pilgrimage.   Pope Paul VI moved the date of Christ the King in 1969 with the highest rank of solemnity with white vestments used for the day.   The feast leads into the liturgical season of Advent when the Church celebrates Christ’s second coming. 

On November 30th, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Andrew the Apostle who is venerated in all the Christian denominations who honor saints.  Andrew (Andreas) the Apostle was born between 5 and 10 AD in Galilee, with brother, Peter also a fisherman when Jesus called them to be his disciples.  When they became disciples of Christ, they followed Christ as his companions at important events while becoming closely attached to Jesus.  Andrew and Peter are often paired together in several accounts of the Gospels (Mt. 4:18-20and Jn 1:35-42).    Andrew preached along the Black Sea and near the Dnieper river close to Kiev.   Andrew was present at the Last Supper and was one of the four Apostles who came to Jesus on the Mount of Olives.  Andrew is mentioned as being in the Upper Room in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit came on Jesus’s Disciples after the Resurrection and Ascension.   Andrew is thought to have been Martyred by Crucifixion on an X shaped cross in the City of Patras in 60 AD with his relics kept at the Basilica of Saint Andrew in Patras, Greece: in the Amalfi cathedral in Amalfi, in the Cathedral in Sarzana, Italy at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland and also in the Church of St. Andrew and St. Albert in Warsaw, Poland. 

On November 30th, there will be a special ceremony on his feast day in the Church of St. Andrew at Patras in Greece and in the Church of England, St. Andrew the Apostle is remembered with a Festival.  He has been venerated as the Patron Saint of Scotland, Russia, and Fisherman.  A prayer in memory of St. Andrew: “O Lord, You raised up St. Andrew, Your Apostle to preach and rule in Your Church.  Grant that we may always experience the benefit of his intercession with You.  AMEN.”   

There will be a statue of Sr. Blandina Segale, (1850-1941) Servant of God, dedicated at a date yet to be announced at Seton High School to honor the Sister of Charity.  The school was established in 1854 as Mt. St. Vincent Academy later changed to honor Elizabeth Ann Seton, the foundress of their Order.  Elizabeth Ann Seton was helped on the path to sainthood by Sr. Blandina when she journeyed to Rome in 1931 at the age of 81 to petition Pope Pius XI to Canonize the Foundress of the Sisters of Charity.  This testament of her good works will be the third statue of Sr. Blandina Segale to be erected in her honor.   The 1st image of the 5ft. 4 in. Sr. Blandina was placed on the grounds of St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a grotto in the middle of the statues of Mary and Joseph for the dedication in 2020 after a 15-year project started by the late Deacon Rene Greivel.  

The 2nd statue dedicated to Sr. Blandina was in 2021 in Trinidad, Colorado located on the Santa Fe Trail between St. Joseph, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico.   Trinadad is where Sr. Blandina arrived after a difficult journey traveling over 1,200 miles by rail, construction train, and stagecoach to her post where she did her early missionary work assisting Native Americans, Hispanics, and Immigrants from Europe.  She is also lovingly remembered in her place of birth, Cicagna, Italy where in 1998, the town square near the tower of St. John the Baptist Church, was dedicated to Sr. Blandina Segale.  There were 38 of her relatives from America in attendance with members of the Segale, Becker, and Stagge families to see her honored.    Mayors of nearby towns along with Donatella Aurili Ruggiero who spent over 20 years doing research on the life of Sr. Blandina Segale and Carla Casagrande Maschio of the Civic Library in Cicagna were instrumental in having the town square dedicated to her.  The plaque in the Piazza reads:  Maria Rosa Segale, “Suor Blandina” 1850-1941.  We continue to pray for the Canonization of our beloved Sr. Blandina who cared for orphans and outlaws, lived and practiced the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity throughout her life.  Since the founding of San Antonio Italian Parish in 1922, all our parishioners have owed her a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid as we continue to pray for her Canonization.                                  

On Sunday, December 3rd, our San Antonio Church Community will host the 1st Annual Childrens Christmas Party in our Hall after our 9:00 AM Mass.  All children 10 years old and younger are invited to attend the fun morning.  Please let JoAnne Lyons 513-574-3495 or Linda Panaro 513-922-0779 know of your plans by November 29th.  December 3rd is also the beginning of Advent and the 4 weeks leading up to the birth of Jesus.

News from San Antonio Church – November 19, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin November 19, 2023

by Terrie Evans

 On this 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, our Church community thanks all those dedicated volunteer workers who prepared a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner on Tuesday, November 14th, to serve all those very appreciative guests in our Hall.  This annual event is a prelude to our own holiday dinners that we cook and serve for our own families.  The “Lunch on the House”, kitchen crew looks forward to the opportunity to cook a meal every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month.  Also, thank you to all the servers and extra kitchen help who were there for the many hours needed to get this special meal ready. 

On Tuesday, November 21st, we celebrate the Liturgical Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary.  This feast is centered around the event when Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne brought Mary to the Temple in Jerusalem to give thanks for the gift of their daughter and to consecrate her to God.  The feast originated after the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary the New that was built in 543 near the site of the ruins of the Temple in Jerusalem.  In the Eastern Orthodox Church, this feast is celebrated as The Entry of The Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple and on this day, women named Mary (In Greek, Mapia) celebrate their name day.  On this day in the Roman Catholic Church, “We celebrate that dedication of herself which Mary made to God from her very childhood under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who filled her with grace.” Pope Paul VI wrote in 1974 in his encyclical: “Despite its apocryphal content, it presents lofty and exemplary values and carries on the venerable traditions having their origins in the Eastern Churches.”  St Peters Basilica is home to the Presentation Chapel (Cappella della Presentazione) and in Marshfield, Missouri the Presentation of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Monastery was established before the nuns moved to the Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete in Weatherby, Missouri.  In 1775 the Presentation Sisters founded a religious institute for Roman Catholic women in Cork, Ireland and in France, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary founded the order to the education of youth in 1796.  The Sisters of Mary of the Presentation was founded in Brons, France in 1828.  It founded schools and hospitals in North America, Europe, and Africa.                                       

On Wednesday, November 22nd, we celebrate the feast of St. Cecilia also known as Cecilia of Rome who is venerated in the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and in some Lutheran Churches.  She is a Roman Virgin Martyr who was a noble lady of Rome.  In the 3rd Century, the Santa Cecilia Church in Trastevere, Italy was founded by Pope Urban I on the site of the home where she lived and died.  Her feast day has been celebrated since the 4th Century with musical concerts and festivals held with St. Cecilia symbolizing the central role of music in the liturgy and is sometimes depicted playing the viola or other musical instruments as the patron saint of musicians and poets.   The name Cecilia is from Cecyliada the name of the festival of the sacred, choral, and contemporary music festival held in Poland since 1994.  A convent of Cistercian nuns in Trastevere dedicated to St. Cecilia shear lambs for the wool to be woven into palliums for the new metropolitan Archbishops.  The Trappists of the Abbey Tre Fontaine raise the lambs which are blessed every January 21st on the Feast of St. Agnes.  On the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the Palia will be then given to the new metropolitan Archbishops by the Pope.  St. Cecilia’s Major Shrine is located in Trastevere in Rome and there are churches in Nebraska, Texas, New York, Germany, Malta, Italy and in Canada dedicated to her.  On Thursday, our San Antonio Church families celebrate Thanksgiving and the feast days of St. Clement I, St. Columban and Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro.  

On November 23rd, we honor the life of St. Clement of Rome, born in c.35 AD and died in 99AD at the age of 64, a Pope(88AD-99AD) of the Catholic Church after in the late part of the 1st Century.    He is commemorated as a pope and Martyr in the Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran, Orthodox, Syrian and the Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches and one of the few Roman Popes who have a Russian Orthodox Church in his honor.   In the year 95, St. Clement wrote Old Testament Stories on the evils of jealousy when he said, “Peace must be the aim of all of us who follow Jesus.  We should be obedient unto God, rather than those who in arrogance and unruliness have set themselves up as leaders in abominable jealousy, for Christ is with them that are lowly of mind, not with them that exalt themselves over the flock.” He is the patron saint of Mariners with the St. Clement’s Cross which refers to the way he was martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea.  

Also, on November 23rd we honor St. Columban Abbot (543-615) born in Ireland, 100 hundred years after St. Patrick brought the Catholic Faith to the southeast coast of his country.  He studied Scripture in what is today, Northern Ireland and went on to the monastery in Bangor where he became a Monk.  St. Columban embraced a life of prayer and study and after his ordination, spent the next 30 years at the Monastery.  He was granted permission by Abbot Comgall to set sail for France with 12 other monks to change the course of pagan practices that were becoming common in Europe.  St. Columban was able to convert King Gontrand who then would gift him an ancient Roman fortress that helped them establish a monastery in Switzerland and in Germany where they founded a school.  He was seen as a holy man with miracles attributed to him during his life and many after his death. Monasteries he founded would expand to over 200 new foundations with St. Columban remembered for his zeal, his monastic life, and his pastoral guide on the celebration of the Sacrament of Confession.  Prayer to St. Columban: “God called you at a young age to enter monastic life so as to form you into a holy man of God. He later called you forth to preach, administer the Sacraments, found new communities, teach, and influence the Church throughout Europe.  Please pray for me, that I will first cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the conversion of my own soul so that God can use me for His greater glory and the salvation of souls.  Saint Columban, pray for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.  Amen.”

On November 23rd we honor the legend of Miguel Pro (1891-1927) a Mexican Jesuit Priest who was arrested and executed without a trial under the direction of President Plutarco Elias Calles on November 23, 1927, at the age of 36.  Jose Ramon Miguel Agustin was born into a mining family the 3rd of 11 children who entered the Jesuit community on August 15, 1911.  He became noted for his speaking on spiritual subjects and his charitable works while devoting many hours to prayer.  After his ordination, on August 31, 1925, his 1st assignment was to work with the miners in Belgium preaching the Gospel to them.  In 1926 after studying in Rome he traveled to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes where he celebrated Mass before returning to Mexico.  At that time, a law (Calles Law) was put into effect punishing priests who criticized the government or wore clerical garb outside of their churches. The law went into effect on July 31, 1926, with churches being closed and the execution of many priests.  When he returned to his home country of Mexico, Miguel Pro was forced to go underground to celebrate the Eucharist and to minister the other Sacraments to very small groups of Catholics.  In October 1926, he was arrested, released, and put on surveillance until his execution in 1927. The cause for his canonization began on January 11, 1952, as a Servant of God with his Beatification held at St. Peter’s Square by John Paul II on September 25, 1988.  Pope John Paul stated: “Neither suffering nor serious illness, nor the exhausting ministerial activity, frequently carried out in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could stifle the radiating and contagious joy which he brought to his life for Christ and which nothing could take away.  Indeed, the deepest root of self-sacrifice surrender for the lowly was his passionate love for Jesus Christ and his ardent desire to be conformed to him, even unto death.” 

On Friday, November 24th the Catholic Church honors the memory of Andrew Dung-Lac (1795-1839) a Vietnamese Roman Catholic Priest martyred during the reign of Minh Mang.  He was a convert to Catholicism and took the name Andrew at his Baptism and went on to become a priest on March 15, 1823, at the age of 28.  He became a missionary and through his efforts, many Vietnamese families would hear the message of the Gospel.  He was one of the 117 people martyred in Vietnam during the years 1820-1839.  St. Andrew Dung-Lac was Beatified on November 1, 1900, and Canonized on June 19, 1988, by Pope John Paul.  In Lansing, Michigan the Parish of St. Andrew Dung-Lac is dedicated to him. 

On Saturday, November 25th we celebrate the life of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr and one of the 14 Holy Helpers who are called upon when special intentions and is invoked against a sudden death.  She was seen as one of the most important saints in the religious culture of the late Middle Ages and one of the most popular early Christian Martyrs of the 4th Century.  A vision of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus persuades her to become a Christian.  Devotion to St. Catherine has many pilgrims travelling to her Monastery established in the 6th Century near the burning bush seen by Moses hoping to receive healing from St. Catherine.  She was Martyred around 305 for not giving up her beliefs and in some areas of France, her feast day is a Holy Day of Obligation.  St. Catherine’s College in Cambridge was founded on St. Catherine’s Day on November 25, 1473.  In 1905, St. Catherine University in St. Paul Minnesota was founded by the Sisters of St. Jospeh of Carondelet and in Oak Lawn, Illinois, St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, and School is named in her honor.  She is the Patron of unmarried girls and in France, unwed women at the age of 25 were called Catherinittes.  A movie was released in 2014 about St. Catherine of Alexandria called Decline of an Empire.

News from San Antonio Church – November 12, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin November 12, 2023

by Terrie Evans

 

We welcome everyone to San Antonio Church on this 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  This week we celebrate Francis Xavier Cabrini on Monday, November 13th.  Her life and work were much like that of our beloved Sr. Blandina Segale, Servant of God.  Maria Francesca Cabrini was born in Italy and journeyed to the United States to aid the Italian Immigrant Population along with six other Sacred Heart Sisters.  She first went to see the Pope for his approval to establish missions in China.  Pope Leo XIII told her “go to the U.S.  my child, there is much work awaiting you there”.   For 28 years she traveled throughout the U.S. establishing 4 hospitals along with 50 orphanages, convents, and schools.  Just as Sr. Blandina did, Francis Xavier Cabrini organized catechism and education classes for those newly arrived Italian Immigrants while caring for the needs of the many orphans under her care.  She founded the Sacred Heart Orphan Asylum in West Park, New York later named Saint Cabrini Home and established Columbus Hospital in Chicago in the heart of the city’s Italian neighborhood.  She went on to found 67 missionary institutions that served the sick and poor before government agencies were developed.  They were in New York, Illinois, Seattle, New Orleans, Denver and Golden Colorado, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, countries in Latin America and Europe.  There are also 30 churches dedicated to her with 2 in Ohio (Conneaut and Lorain).  She died on December 22, 1917, from complications of malaria in Chicago and after her death, her convent room at Columbus Hospital in the Lincoln Park neighborhood became a popular destination for those seeking personal healing and spiritual comfort.  Nine years after her passing in 1926, the Missionary Sisters achieved her goal of becoming missionaries in China.  She was beatified on November 13, 1938, by Pope Pius XI and was Canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946.  Pope Pius XII named Frances Xavier Cabrini the Patron Saint of immigrant in 1950 for her work. The Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Samuel Stritch commissioned a large National Shrine in her honor within the hospital complex after her canonization with the dedication taking place in 1955.  Mother Cabrini was the 1st American citizen to become a Saint. 

On Tuesday, November 14th we will have our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for our “Lunch on the House” meal.  A complete turkey dinner with all the sides and deserts will be served starting at 11:30 AM everyone is welcome. 

On Wednesday, November 15th we honor St. Albert the Great (1206-1200) who joined the Dominican Order when he was a student at the University of Padua.  While at the University he received instruction on the writings of Aristotle while developing a scientist’s natural curiosity and respect for methodical thinking.  He studied the heavens and the earth making observations for astronomers, biologists, botanists, and geologists. He was a student who learned Greek and Arabic and taught Theology to Thomas Aquinas.  Albert molded the curriculum for all Dominican students while introducing Aristotle to the classroom.  Albert died on November 15, 1280, at the Dominican Convent in Cologne Germany and was beatified in 1622.  In 1931 Pope Pius XI canonized him making St. Albert the Great a Doctor of the Church and the Patron saint of Natural Scientists in 1941.  In Santa Paula, California Albertus Magnus Science Hall at Thomas Aquinas College is named after him, and the Academy for Science and Design located in New Hampshire named one of its four houses Magnus House.  There are numerous Catholic elementary and secondary schools named after him located in Toronto, Calgary, Cologne and in Dayton, Ohio.  His Major Shrine is in St. Andrew’s Church in Cologne. 

On Thursday, November 16th we celebrate two saints, St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude the great.  St. Margaret of Scotland was an English Princess and Scottish Queen who was married to Malcolm III of Scotland in 1070.  She was known for her charitable works serving the orphans and the poor in the early morning hours before she took a meal.  She invited the Benedictine Order to find a Monastery in Dunfermline, Fife in 1072.  To assist those pilgrims journeying from south of the Firth of Forth to St. Andrews in Fife, she established ferries at Queensferry and North Berwick.  Margaret lost her husband and son in the Battle of Alnwick in 1093 and suffering from severe grief, died 3 days later.  She was remembered for interceded for the release of fellow English exiles who had been forced into serfdom by the Norman conquest of England.  St, Margaret was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1250 for her personal holiness, fidelity to the Roman Catholic Church, her work for ecclesiastical reform and her charity.  One of the oldest churches dedicated to St. Margaret in St. Margarets Chapel in Edinburg Castle in Scotland that was founded by her son King David I.  We also celebrate St. Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) who was an early devotee to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  As a young child Gertrude studied not only Scripture but also the Church Fathers.  She was seen as a Mystic and Visionary who wrote prolifically while spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart.  Her feast day was declared in 1677 although she has not been formally canonized.  There is the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Idaho and at present is the home to a community of 50 professed Benedictine Nuns.  She was declared Patroness of the West Indies due to a petition from King Philip IV of Spain and in New Mexico, the town Santa Gertrudis de lo de Mora was built in her honor.  The parishes dedicated to St. Gertrude are located in Washington, Missouri, Cincinnati, Ohio, Kingsville, Texas, Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada, Franklin Park, Illinois; Vandergriff, Pennsylvania and in Chicago, Illinois. 

On November 17th we honor the feast day of Elizabeth of Hungary, a princess in the Kingdom of Hungary known as Elisabeth of Thuringia.  Her feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, Lutheran and Episcopal Churches.  She married Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia in 1221 and became the symbol for Christian charity until her death at the age of 24.  Elizabeth became dedicated to the Franciscan Friars after they arrived in 1223 and followed the life and times of Francis of Assisi.  Because of the support she gave the Friars, St. Francis of Assisi would send her a personal message for all her kindness.  With the death of her husband, Louis from the plague after joining Emperor Frederick II’s Crusade, she felt her life was over.  Elizabeth said, “The world and all that was joyful in the world is now dead to me”.  Following her husbands, she made solemn vows similar to those of a nun and became a member of the Third Order of the Franciscans adopting their religious habit to start her new way of life.  She built a hospital in Marburg to care for the poor and sick where she and her companions cared for them.  Elizabeth died in 1232 the age of 24 with her las words “O, Mary come to help me.”  Elizabeth of Hungary was Canonized on May 27, 1235, by Pope Gregory IX in Perugia, Italy with Major Shrines located in Slovakia and Marburg, Germany.   She is remembered in the Church of England with a Festival on November 18th and in the Episcopal Church on November 19th.  On the 700th Anniversary of her death in 1932, Hungary issued a set of four stamps in her honor.  In 1938, Czechoslovakia issued a stamp with the Cathedral of St. Elizabeth in Kosice where in 2019 she would be declared the patron Saint.  In 2007, the City of Marburg declared the year Elizabeth Year to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of her birth on July 7th.  The events and festival commemorated her life and works with pilgrims journeying from all over the world with many attending the special service held at the St. Elizabeth Church.  Many of the Third Order of St. Francis, friars, and sisters from the Third Order Regular along with the Secular Franciscan Order joined in the celebration.  There were two programs that studied her life conducted throughout the Order that was held across the globe as many held religious ceremonies to mark this milestone event.  She is considered the Patron Saint of young brides. 

On Saturday, November 18th we have the liturgical feast day of the Dedication of the Basilicas of the Apostles Peter and Paul which were bult during the 4th Century by Emperor Constantine the Great.  St. Peter’s Basilica and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls were on the sites that had been visited by pilgrims for many centuries where the apostles were believed to be buried.  When the Basilicas were built, they were joined by a colonnade even though there was a several mile distance between them.  In the Catholic Church, it was an obligation on Catholic Bishops to make a Quinquennial visit ad limina a requirement that they are required to go “To the tombs of the Apostles” in Rome every 5 years to report on status of their Diocese or Prelatures.  This requirement was established in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V in his Papal Bull with the rules for these visits.  In 1909, Pope Pius X set out another decree stating that a Bishop would need to report to the Pope on the state of his diocese once every five years, with this taking effect in 1911.  On Saturday, November 18th we also have the feast of Rose Philippine Duchesne, a French religious sister and educator, the only fully canonized female Roman Catholic saint to share a feast day with the Dedication of Saints Peter and Paul.  In 1788, she entered the Visitation of Holy Mary religious Order until revolutionaries closed the Monastery in 1792 during the French Revolutions Reign of Terror.  It was not until 1801 when the Catholic Church was allowed to operate openly in France under Napoleon tried to re-establish the Visitation Monastery.  Despite all her work trying to restore the monastery, the living conditions were served and only three companions were left.  In northern France, Madeline Sophie Barat founded the new Society of the Sacred Heart and invited Rose to merge the Visitation Community as both had a similar religious mission to educate young women.  In 1815, Rose Philippine Duchesne would go on to establish a Convent of the Sacred Heart in Paris where she became the Mistress of Novices and also opened a school.  In 1817, the Bishop of Louisiana traveled to Paris seeking a congregation of educators to evangelize the Indian and French children in his diocese.  In 1818, she journeyed to the United States on a voyage that took 10 weeks to arrive in New Orleans.  On her arrival, the Archbishop had no plans for the 5 sisters so, they made plans to travel on to St. Louis, Missouri.  She was an early member of the Society of the Sacred Heart establishing the congregations first communities in the United States along with Madeline Sophie Barat.  She taught and served people in the Midwestern region and also educated Indigenous American survivors during the time of the United States Indian removal programs.  She died on November 18, 1852, at the age of 83 in St. Charles, Missouri where she did most of her work.  Beatified on May 12, 1940, in Vatican City by Pope Pius XII and Canonized on July 3, 1988, in Vatican City by Pope John Paul.

News from San Antonio Church – November 5, 2023

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin November 5, 2023

by Terrie Evans

 

On this Sunday in Ordinary Time, we celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week from November 5-11.  This annual celebration of the Church in the United States promotes vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life through prayer, invitation, and education.  This week for National Vocations Week was established in 1976 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who then designated the 28th Sunday of the year to highlight the need for vocations.  In 2014 the U.S.C.C.B. moved this important call for all those considering entering religious life to the 1st week in November.  On this Sunday and during the next week, we are asked to offer our prayers and support for all those who are Considering one of these particular vocations for the priesthood, religious life, and diaconate.  Prayer for Vocations: “God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as Priests, Deacons, and Consecrated Persons.  Send your Holy Spirit to help others to respond generously and courageously to your call.  May our San Antonio Church community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth and young adults.  Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  AMEN.” 

Election Day is Tuesday, November 7th so as we continue to pray for a good turnout and the right outcome for those crucial issues, do not forget to vote.  A Prayer from Pope John Paul II: “Please God, you may continue, closely united with one another, to be a force of renewal and hope in our society.  May the Lord help you to work ceaselessly to enable all, believers, and non-believers alike, to understand that protection of human life from conception is an essential condition for building a future worthy of the human being.  AMEN.”     

On November 9th, the Church celebrates the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the oldest and highest ranking of the 4 main Basilicas in Rome.  In 313, Emperor Constantine granted full liberty to Christians, constructing many churches and in ancient Rome, this was the church where all Baptisms took place.    The magnificent Basilica is built over the ancient Lateran Palace, the ancient palace of the prominent Plautii Laterani “Roman Family” and was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324.  It is located on St. John’s Square in Lateran on the Caelian Hill in Rome, Italy and is adjacent to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran and from the 4th Century was the principal residence of the Popes during the next 1,000 years until the Apostolic residence was moved to the nearby Vatican.   It was considered as the “Mother and Head” of all the churches in the world and is dedicated under the title of the Most Holy Savior, Sanctissimi Redemptoris, and the ecclesiastical seat of the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome.  It was destroyed several times and always rebuilt with the final re-construction taking place under Pope Benedict XIII.  In 1724, the church was rededicated and at that time, the feast of the Dedication was extended to the Universal Church.  It was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and is known as St. John Lateran.  In World War II the Lateran and surrounding buildings provided a safe shelter for many Jews and other refugees fleeing from the Nazis and Italian Fascists with the grounds being used to house Italian soldiers.  In July 1993, a bomb exploded in front of the Rome Vicariate at the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran destroying the façade and was seen as a warning to Pope John Paul II for his statements on the Mafia.  The repairs were completed in 1996.  The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica:  To dedicate or consecrate a place to God is a ritual that is found in every religion.  To reserve a place to God is an act of recognizing His Glory and Home.   

On Friday, November 10th we honor all Veterans as we remember all those Military Veterans who served in all branches all the United States Armed Forces.  It was established on November 11, 1919, by President Woodrow Wilson when he spoke to our nation on the 1st Armistice Day and the heroism of those who fought during World War I.  In 1926, the United States Congress sent President Calvin Coolidge a request to issue an annual proclamation for appropriate ceremonies to be observed every year on November 11th.  It was finally approved by a Congressional Act in 1938 making it a legal holiday known as Armistice Day.  By 1945, a Veteran from World War II asked to expand the day not to just honor those who died in World War I.  Veteran Raymond Weeks would lead a delegation to General Dwight Eisenhower who would go on to support the idea for a National Veterans Day. The 1st National Veterans Day was led by Weeks in his home state of Alabama in 1947.   Raymond Weeks became known as the “Father of Veterans Day” and received the Presidential Citizenship Medal from then President Reagan in 1982.  Parades and other events and celebrations are held throughout our country and on each Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery, an official wreath-laying ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Every, two minutes of silence will be observed at 2:11 PM Eastern Standard Time in many cities and at the Hamilton County Public Library in Cincinnati, the project “Honoring Our Veterans” will be on display from 2:00-3:00 PM on November 11, 2023.  The Veterans History Project is an ongoing effort to capture and share the stories of Veterans of Hamilton County.  Also, on November 10th we honor St. Leo the Great Pope and Doctor of the Church, a Tuscan who succeeded Pope Sixtus in 440.  He was the first Pope to have been called “The Great” who was known for persuading Attila the Hun (Scourge of God) to withdraw from his invasion of Italy in 452.  St. Leo was devoted to St. Peter and when he called the Council of Chalcedon to condemn the heresies who were attacking the Church and condemned, the Council stated, “Peter has spoken by the mouth of Leo”.  He left many writings of historical value about the person of Jesus Christ (Christology) and his role as, mediator and savior (Soteriology).  Pope Benedict XVI referred to the Papacy of Leo as one of the most important in the history of the Church.  He was the 1st Pope to be buried within the portico of Old St. Peters Basilica.  Prayer to St. Leo the Great: “O God, You established Your Church on the solid rock of St. Peter and You will never allow the powers of hell to dominate her.  Grant that she may preserve in Your truth and enjoy continual peace through the intercession of Pope St. Leo.”   

On November 11th we celebrate the feast day of St. Martin of Tours (316-397) born in Hungary, the son of a Roman Officer and was raised in Italy who was serving in the army at age 15.  He was Baptized at age 18 and by 23 just being discharged from service, became a Disciple of St. Hilary of Poiters, France, He was ordained a Priest and while in France, preached throughout the countryside with his disciples.  In 371, he became the Bishop of Tours who went on to order the destruction of pagan temples, altars, and sculptures.  Martin of Tours was seen as a brave fighter, devoted to the poor, who served his military duty and respected all secular authority.  He is depicted as a man on horseback sharing his cloak with a beggar and invoked as the patron saint of France.   In 1870 after the Franco-Prussian war, he became popular with many pilgrims and clergy journeying to the tomb of St. Martin at Tours where his shrine has become a famous stop over for those traveling on the road from Santiago de Compostela in Spain. St Martin of Tours is the patron saint of soldiers and of the United States Army Quartermaster Corps with a medal named in his honor.  A Prayer to St. Martin: “O God, Your Bishop St. Martin glorified You by both his life and his death.  Renew in us Your grace, so that neither death nor life can separate us from Your love.  AMEN.”