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Monday, July 25, 2011

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: MON. JULY 25, 2011











VATICAN: POPE: MORAL RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENTS AND OTHER NEWS

ASIA: INDIA: SISTER'S FORCED TO LEAVE AFTER 29 YEARS OF SERVICE TO LEPERS

EUROPE: IRELAND: APOSTOLIC NUNCIO RECALLED

AUSTRALIA: NEW LANGUAGE CENTRE AT CATHOLIC REGIONAL COLLEGE

TODAY'S SAINT: JULY 25: ST. CHRISTOPHER

MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE FOR VICTIMS OF NORWAY ATTACKS

VATICAN CITY, 23 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. has sent a message of condolence, in the name of Benedict XVI, to King Harald V of Norway for the recent terrorist attacks that took place in that country.

The Pope expresses his profound sadness at the great loss of life caused by the explosion of a car bomb in Oslo and the shootings at a youth camp on theisland ofUtoya. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

The English-language message continues by saying that Benedict XVI "offers fervent prayers for the victims and their families, invoking God's peace upon the dead and divine consolation upon those who suffer. At this time of national grief he prays that all Norwegians will be spiritually united in a determined resolve to reject the ways of hatred and conflict and to work together fearlessly in shaping a future of mutual respect, solidarity and freedom for coming generations".

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CELEBRATION OF 375TH ANNIVERSARY OF PATRON OF COSTA RICA

VATICAN CITY, 23 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 12 July, in which he appoints Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, archbishop of Monterrey, Mexico, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Jubilee Year for the 375th anniversary of the discovery of the image of Our Lady of the Angeles, patron of Costa Rica. The event is due to be held in the Costa Rican city of Cartago on 2 August.

The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Fr. Mario Quiros Quiros, formator and spiritual director of the national seminary of "Nuestra Senora de los Angeles", and by Fr. Jose Francisco Arias Salguero, chancellor of the diocesan Curia and judge of the national ecclesiastical tribunal of Costa Rica.

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OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 23 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the centenary of the dedication of the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception inMoscow, Russian Federation. The event is due to take place on 25 September.

- Gave his consent to the canonical election carried out by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek Catholic Ukrainian Church of Fr. Dmytro (Bobdan) Hryhorak O.S.B.M., apostolic administrator of the eparchy of Buchach of the Ukrainians, Ukraine, as bishop of the same eparchy (area 4,829, population 405,000, Catholics 216,000, priests 201, religious 22). The bishop-elect was born in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1992.

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ANGELUS: MORAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE IN GOVERNMENT

VATICAN CITY, 24 JUL 2011 (VIS) - In his remarks before praying the Angelus this morning, Benedict XVI commented on the first reading from today's liturgy, a passage from the Book of Kings in which Solomon, ascending the throne, asks God for an understanding heart to serve His people with justice and to distinguish between good and evil.

Addressing the faithful gathered in the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, the Pope explained the meaning of Solomon's prayer. "We know that 'heart' in the Bible indicates not just a part of the body but the core of the individual, the seat of his intentions and judgments; in other words, his conscience. An 'understanding heart' means, then, a conscience capable of listening, sensitive to the voice of truth and thus able to distinguish good from evil. In Solomon's case the request is motivated by his responsibility for guiding a nation, Israel, the people whom God chose to reveal His plan of salvation to the world. The king of Israelmust, then, seek constant harmony with God and listen to His Word, in order to guide the people along the ways of the Lord, the way of justice and peace.

"However", the Holy Father added, "the example of Solomon applies to us all. Each of us has a conscience which makes us, in a certain sense, 'king'; in other words, which enables us to exercise the supreme human dignity of acting according to right conscience, doing good and avoiding evil. Moral conscience presupposes a capacity to listen to the voice of truth, humbly to follow its guidance. People called to play a role in government naturally have a further responsibility and, as Solomon teaches, have even greater need of God's help.

"But everyone has their part to play in their own particular situation. An erroneous mentality suggests that we should ask God for favours or favourable conditions. Yet the truth is that the real quality of our lives, and of social life in general, depends on the sound conscience of each individual, on the capacity of each person to recognise what is good, distinguish it from evil and patiently seek to put it into effect".

Pope Benedict concluded: "May the Virgin Mary help us, with God's grace, to make out own consciences open to truth and sensitive to justice, in order to serve the Kingdom of God".

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ABANDON FOREVER THE WAYS OF VIOLENCE

VATICAN CITY, 24 JUL 2011 (VIS) - At midday today after praying the Angelus from his balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, the Pope again spoke of his "profound sadness at the serious acts of terrorism that took place in Norway last Friday. We pray for the victims, for the wounded and for their loved ones. Once again I would like to reiterate my heartfelt appeal to abandon forever the ways of violence and to shun the logic of evil".

The Holy Father then went on to greet faithful gathered in the Italian Alpine resort of Les Combes, where he has often spent time in the summer. They have, he observed, "participated in the Mass presided by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, my secretary of State, who was present despite being in mourning for a member of his own family [the cardinal's brother Paolo died on Friday]. I greet and thank the bishop of Aosta, the rector of the Salesians, the civil and military authorities of the region and the benefactors who have contributed to renewing the residence there. With particular affection I recall the time I spent in that beautiful spot, which was formed by the love of the Creator God and sanctified by the presence of Blessed John Paul II. To the young people and children of the parish of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati of Turin and to all holidaymakers I wish a happy summer".

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CARDINAL VIRGILIO NOE DIES AT THE AGE OF EIGHTY-NINE

VATICAN CITY, 25 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a telegram of condolence to Maria Noe, sister of Cardinal Virgilio Noe, archpriest emeritus of the Vatican Basilica, vicar general emeritus of the Pope for Vatican City State and president emeritus of the Fabric of St. Peter's. The cardinal died yesterday at the age of 89.

In the telegram the Pope speaks of his participation in the mourning for the cardinal, "who was for many years a diligent collaborator of the Holy See, particularly in the Office of Liturgical Celebrations and as archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Peter's. In everything he did he provided highly-valued testimony of fervent priestly zeal and faithfulness to the Gospel".

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APOSTOLIC NUNCIO IN IRELAND RECALLED FOR CONSULTATIONS

VATICAN CITY, 25 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office issued the following declaration at midday today:

"Following the release on 13 July of the report by the Irish government commission of enquiry into allegations of abuse of minors by clergy in the diocese of Cloyne (the Cloyne Report), and in particular in the wake of the subsequent reactions, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, apostolic nuncio in Ireland, has been recalled to Rome for consultations with the Secretariat of State".

ASIA: INDIA: SISTER'S FORCED TO LEAVE AFTER 29 YEARS OF SERVICE TO LEPERS

ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nirmala Carvalho
Sr. Jean: "A heavy heart, it is a loss for me but especially for the thousands of people affected by leprosy." Fr. George Kannanthanam, director of the association that the religious worked for: "Professionalism, legendary compassion and tenderness." The government denied renewal of her visa, without providing any explanation. She has a month before she must return to England.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Sister Jacqueline Jean McEwan, the "Mother Teresa" of Bangalore, will have to leave the lepers of India for whom she has cared for 29 years within a month. The central government has not renewed the English missionary’s visa, without giving any explanation. "I'm leaving with a heavy heart - the religious tells - it's not just my loss, but a loss for all the thousands of people affected by leprosy." Sr Jean, 63, is a missionary who has worked at the Montfort Missionaries Sumanahalli Society, run by Fr. George Kannanthanam. "I feel that the heart has been ripped out of Sumanahalli - the priest says - without her, I doubt that the organization will be the same again." At first, Sr. Jean was supposed to leave Bangalore today, but was granted a one-month extension.

"I'm really sad and I do not know what to do - Fr George Kannanthanam tells AsiaNews - Sister Jean was the real force for lepers in the slums of Seshadripuram, Indirapuram and elsewhere. " The priest speaks of the " legendary professionalism, tenderness, compassion and concern with which she assisted lepers in the slums." Moreover, Sr. Jean was involved in educational programs for patients and their children: "Through her, many of them, generally ostracized by their families and society, have received training and hope for the future." The sister had also learned Kannada (the local dialect), in order to better communicate with her patients.

"Globally, 70% of leprosy cases are in India - said Fr George - and even if, as in the rest of the world, the number of patients has decreased in this country there are still 2.5 million patients. There are 4 thousand cases in Karnataka and Bangalore alone last year 400 new patients were registered. " For these reasons, the failure to renew the Sr. Jean’s visa "is a loss for the most marginalized, those people who she loved so much and has always treated with dignity."

The Society Sumanahalli began its relief and rehabilitation with the lepers project in 1977. In 33 years, it has treated more than 5 thousand leprosy patients. With the decrease of cases, the organization has also started to deal with people affected by HIV (30), disabled (30), orphans (45), street children (50) and young offenders (40).

EUROPE: IRELAND: APOSTOLIC NUNCIO RECALLED

Vatican recalls Papal Nuncio to Ireland | Papal Nuncio in Ireland, Mgr Giuseppe Leanza, child abuse,Prime Minister Enda Kenny

M. Giuseppe Leanza
“Following the publication on 13 July, of the Irish government’s Commission of Inquiry Report into allegations of abuse of minors by clergy of the diocese of Cloyne, otherwise known as the ‘Cloyne Report’ and, in particular, the reactions that have followed, the Secretary of State has recalled the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, HE Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza for consultations”.

In response to journalists questions, Fr. Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican Press Office outlined the following points:

- The recalling of the Nuncio is intended primarily to allow the Secretary of State and other Dicasteries involved to consult with those working on the ground in order to prepare the official answer of the Holy See to the Irish Government following the Cloyne Report.

- The recalling of the Nuncio, a measure rarely used by the Holy See, denotes the seriousness of the situation, and the desire of the Holy See to deal with it objectivity and with determination, as well as a certain note of surprise and regret regarding some excessive reactions.

AFRICA: MALAWI: 18 SHOT DURING DEMONSTRATIONS

ALL AFRICA REPORT: Lilongwe — The Malawian authorities must immediately launch an independent investigation into the deaths of at least eighteen people shot by security forces during demonstrations that erupted into violence in the northern city of Mzuzu, Amnesty International has said.

At least 44 other people, including six children, are being treated for gunshot wounds at Mzuzu Central Hospital following Wednesday's unrest. Among the injured children are three 13 years-olds, two girls and a boy.

"The Malawian authorities must immediately launch an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into their use of firearms resulting in these killings", said Erwin var der Borght, Amnesty International's Director for Africa.

"When the police use firearms, they must minimize injury, and respect human life. If there's reasonable suspicion that they have shot people arbitrarily, the suspects must be brought to justice in a fair trial", he added.

Demonstrations over fuel shortages and repressive laws recently passed by parliament turned violent as hundreds of angry youths clashed with police in towns and cities across the country on Wednesday.

Meanwhile in a statement released on July 21, the Bishops of Malawi declared that they are "deeply concerned about the turn of events regarding the demonstrations on 20 July". On that day a national protest demonstration had been called which involved the major cities of the Country .The situation, however, degenerated in various cities, shops were ransacked and bloody clashes with security forces occurred.


The Episcopal Conference of Malawi asked the government to "open a clear line of dialogue with all stakeholders; to listen carefully and honestly to the suffering of the people; to safeguard lives and property of people and to do it in a professional manner".In their message, the Bishops ask "the demonstrators, Catholics and all people of good will, to immediately stop all forms of violence and ransacking, to remember that we are all created in God's image, to refrain from any form of violent language and to create space for genuine and reasonable dialogue".

"Let us pray that peace and calm that have marked Malawi as a nation, continue to prevail and that everyone can be instrument of this peace" concludes the Bishops' message.

The message was read by Rt Rev Joseph Mukasa Zuza, bishop of Mzuzu and the Chairman of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201107250809.html

AMERICA: BOLIVIA: CARDINAL CALLS FOR CONVERSION OF HEARTS

Fides Service REPORT- Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval has urged government authorities to set aside punishment and to ask God for wisdom to distinguish between good and evil. The Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in Bolivia, in his homily during the Mass celebrated in the Cathedral of Santa Cruz stressed the importance that people start to ask for the conversion of the heart, to obtain a new heart that is able to accept and practice the teachings of Jesus Christ.
This is what is said in a statement sent to Fides: "We hope that these words can give us a new heart: those who are in government need it, who should ask for the wisdom to distinguish between good and evil, and not spend their time asking only for punishment and persecution for some", said the Cardinal. In this sense, he said that it is necessary that everyone starts a process of conversion with the help of God, so that the heart can also show the reflection of consciousness.
" We all have to say to the Lord to give us the wisdom of the heart, to give us an intelligent heart, a heart that is in fact a reflection of our consciousness and our consciousness to be connected with the truth", said Cardinal Terrazas Sandoval. It is necessary that all people begin to distinguish good from evil and that everyone can draw from the depths of his being the strength to face the problems that life presents.

AUSTRALIA: NEW LANGUAGE CENTRE AT CATHOLIC REGIONAL COLLEGE

Archdiocese of Melbourne press release: Monday 25 July 2011

On Friday 22 July, the new Language Centre at Catholic Regional College St Albans was opened by Bill Shorten MP, Federal Member for Maribyrnong and blessed by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv.

CRC St Albans openingThe new facility, funded through the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution scheme, will further enhance the College's ability to provide language support in the form of individual and small group classes.

Catholic Regional College St Albans currently has students from over 40 countries, including a significant number with limited English skills.

CRC St Albans openingThe College currently offers two LOTE languages in the curriculum.

Photos by Angela Robinson

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TODAY'S SAINT: JULY 25: ST. JAMES THE GREATER, APOSTLE

St. James the Greater

APOSTLE AND PATRON SAINT OF SPAIN

Feast: July 25



Information:

Feast Day:July 25
Born:

1st century

Died:44, Judea
Major Shrine:Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Spain)
Patron of:Veterinarians, equestrians, furriers, tanners, pharmacists

The son of Zebedee (q.v.) and Salome (q.v. Cf. Matt., xvii, 56; Mark, xv, 40; xvi, 1). Zahn asserts that Salome was the daughter of a priest. James is styled "the Greater" to distinguish him from the Apostle James "the Less," who was probably shorter of stature. We know nothing of St. James's early life. He was the brother of John, the beloved disciple, and probably the elder of the two. His parents seem to have been people of means as appears from the following facts. Zebedee was a fisherman of the Lake of Galilee, who probably lived in or near Bethsaida (John, 1, 44), perhaps in Capharnaum; and had some boatmen or hired men as his usual attendants (Mark, 1, 20). Salome was one of the pious women who afterwards followed Christ and "ministered unto him of their substance" (cf. Matt., xxvii, 55, sq.; Mark, xv, 40; xvi, 1; Luke, viii, 2 sq.; xxiii, 55-xxiv, 1). St. John was personally known to the high-priest (John, xviii, 16); and must have had wherewithal to provide for the Mother of Jesus (John, xix, 27). It is probable, according to Acts, iv, 13, that John (and consequently his brother James) had not received the technical training of the rabbinical schools; in this sense they were unlearned and without any official position among the Jews. But, according to the social rank of their parents, they must have been men of ordinary education, in the common walks of Jewish life. They had frequent opportunity of coming in contact with Greek life and language, which were already widely spread along the shores of the Galilean Sea. Some authors, comparing John, xix, 25, with Matt., xxviii, 56, and Mark, xv, 40, identify, and probably rightly so, Mary the Mother of James the Less and of Joseph in Mark and Matthew with "Mary of Cleophas" in John. As the name of Mary Magdalen occurs in the three lists, they identify further Salome in Mark with "the mother of the sons of Zebedee" in Matthew; finally they identify Salome with "his mother's sister" in John. They suppose, for this last identification, that four women are designated by John, xix, 25; the Syriac "Peshito" gives the reading: "His mother and his mother's sister, and Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalen." If this last supposition is right, Salome was a sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and James the Greater and John were first cousins of the Lord; this may explain the discipleship of the two brothers, Salome's request and their own claim to the first position in His kingdom, and His commendation of the Blessed Virgin to her own nephew. But it is doubtful whether the Greek admits of this construction without the addition or the omission of kai (and). Thus the relationship of St. James to Jesus remains doubtful.

The Galilean origin of St. James in some degree explains the energy of temper and the vehemence of character which earned for him and St. John the name of Boanerges, "sons of thunder" (Mark. iii, 17); the Galilean race was religious, hardy, industrious, brave, and the strongest defender of the Jewish nation. When John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of the Messias, St. John became a disciple (John, i, 35); he was directed to "the Lamb of God" and afterwards brought his brother James to the Messias; the obvious meaning of John, i, 41, is that St. Andrew finds his brother (St. Peter) first and that afterwards St. John (who does not name himself, according to his habitual and characteristic reserve and silence about himself) finds his brother (St. James). The call of St. James to the discipleship of the Messias is reported in a parallel or identical narration by Matt., iv, 18-22; Mark, i, 19 sq.; and Luke, v, 1-11. The two sons of Zebedee, as well as Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew with whom they were in partnership (Luke, v, 10), were called by the Lord upon the Sea of Galilee, where all four with Zebedee and his hired servants were engaged in their ordinary occupation of fishing. The sons of Zebedee "forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him" (Matt., iv, 22), and became "fishers of men". St. James was afterwards with the other eleven called to the Apostleship (Matt., x, 1-4; Mark, iii, 13-19; Luke, vi, 12-16; Acts, i, 13). In all four lists the names of Peter and Andrew, James and John form the first group, a prominent and chosen group (cf. Mark, xiii, 3); especially Peter, James, and John. These three Apostles alone were admitted to be present at the miracle of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark, v, 37; Luke, viii, 51), at the Transfiguration (Mark, ix, 1; Matt., xvii, 1; Luke, ix, 28), and the Agony in Gethsemani (Matt., xxvi, 37; Mark, xiv, 33). The fact that the name of James occurs always (except in Luke, viii, 51; ix, 28; Acts, i, 13—Gr. Text) before that of his brother seems to imply that James was the elder of the two. It is worthy of notice that James is never mentioned in the Gospel of St. John; this author observes a humble reserve not only with regard to himself, but also about the members of his family.

Several incidents scattered through the Synoptics suggest that James and John had that particular character indicated by the name "Boanerges," sons of thunder, given to them by the Lord (Mark, iii, 17); they were burning and impetuous in their evangelical zeal and severe in temper. The two brothers showed their fiery temperament against "a certain man casting out devils" in the name of the Christ; John, answering, said: "We [James is probably meant] forbade him, because he followeth not with us" (Luke, ix, 49). When the Samaritans refused to receive Christ, James and John said: "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?" (Luke, ix, 54; cf. v. 49). On the last journey to Jerusalem, their mother Salome came to the Lord and said to Him: "Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom" (Matt., xx, 21). And the two brothers, still ignorant of the spiritual nature of the Messianic Kingdom, joined with their mother in this eager ambition (Mark, x, 37). And on their assertion that they are willing to drink the chalice that He drinks of, and to be baptized with the baptism of His sufferings, Jesus assured them that they will share His sufferings (ibid., v. 38-39). James won the crown of martyrdom fourteen years after this prophecy, A.D. 44. Herod Agrippa I, son of Aristobulus and grandson of Herod the Great, reigned at that time as "king" over a wider dominion than that of his grandfather. His great object was to please the Jews in every way, and he showed great regard for the Mosaic Law and Jewish customs. In pursuance of this policy, on the occasion of the Passover of A.D. 44, he perpetrated cruelties upon the Church, whose rapid growth incensed the Jews. The zealous temper of James and his leading part in the Jewish Christian communities probably led Agrippa to choose him as the first victim. "He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword." (Acts, xii, 1-2). According to a tradition, which, as we learn from Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., II, ix, 2, 3), was received from Clement of Alexandria (in the seventh book of his lost "Hypotyposes"), the accuser who led the Apostle to judgment, moved by his confession, became himself a Christian, and they were beheaded together. As Clement testifies expressly that the account was given him "by those who were before him," this tradition has a better foundation than many other traditions and legends respecting the Apostolic labours and death of St. James, which are related in the Latin "Passio Jacobi Majoris", the Ethiopic "Acts of James", and so on. The tradition asserting that James the Greater preached the Gospel in Spain, and that his body was translated to Compostela, claims more serious consideration.

According to this tradition St. James the Greater, having preached Christianity in Spain, returned to Judea and was put to death by order of Herod; his body was miraculously translated to Iria Flavia in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela, which town, especially during the Middle Ages, became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the world. The vow of making a pilgrimage to Compostela to honour the sepulchre of St. James is still reserved to the pope, who alone of his own or ordinary right can dispense from it (see VOW). In the twelfth century was founded the Order of Knights of St. James of Compostela.

With regard to the preaching of the Gospel in Spain by St. James the greater, several difficulties have been raised:

• St. James suffered martyrdom A.D. 44 (Acts, xii, 2), and, according to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time (cf. Clement of Alexandria, "Strom.", VI, Apollonius, quoted by Euseb., "Hist. Eccl." VI, xviii).

• St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58) expressed the intention to visit Spain (Rom., xv, 24) just after he had mentioned (xv, 20) that he did not "build upon another man's foundation."

• The argument ex silentio: although the tradition that James founded an Apostolic see in Spain was current in the year 700, no certain mention of such tradition is to be found in the genuine writings of early writers nor in the early councils; the first certain mention we find in the ninth century, in Notker, a monk of St. Gall (Martyrol., 25 July), Walafried Strabo (Poema de XII Apost.), and others.

• The tradition was not unanimously admitted afterwards, while numerous scholars reject it. The Bollandists however defended it (see Acta Sanctorum, July, VI and VII, where other sources are given).

The authenticity of the sacred relic of Compostela has been questioned and is still doubted. Even if St. James the Greater did not preach the Christian religion in Spain, his body may have been brought to Compostela, and this was already the opinion of Notker. According to another tradition, the relics of the Apostle are kept in the church of St-Saturnin at Toulouse (France), but it is not improbable that such sacred relics should have been divided between two churches. A strong argument in favour of the authenticity of the sacred relics of Compostela is the Bull of Leo XIII, "Omnipotens Deus," of 1 November, 1884.



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjamesthegreater.asp#ixzz1T7TOR2WE

TODAY'S SAINT: JULY 25: ST. CHRISTOPHER

St. Christopher

MARTYR

Feast: July 26



Information:

Feast Day:July 26
Born:Canaan
Died:251, Asia Minor
Patron of:bachelors, transportation (drivers, sailors, etc.), travelling (especially for long journeys), storms, epilepsy, gardeners, holy death, toothache

St. Christopher, a martyr, probably of the third century. Although St. Christopher is one of the most popular saints in the East and in the West, almost nothing certain is known about his life or death. The legend says: A heathen king (in Canaan or Arabia), through the prayers of his wife to the Blessed Virgin, had a son, whom he called Offerus (Offro, Adokimus, or Reprebus) and dedicated to the gods Machmet and Apollo. Acquiring in time extraordinary size and strength, Offerus resolved to serve only the strongest and the bravest. He bound himself successively to a mighty king and to Satan, but he found both lacking in courage, the former dreading even the name of the devil, and the latter frightened by the sight of a cross at the roadside. For a time his search for a new master was in vain, but at last he found a hermit (Babylas?) who told him to offer his allegiance to Christ, instructed him in the Faith, and baptized him.

Christopher, as he was now called, would not promise to do any fasting or praying, but willingly accepted the task of carrying people, for God's sake, across a raging stream. One day he was carrying a child who continually grew heavier, so that it seemed to him as if he had the whole world on his shoulders. The child, on inquiry, made himself known as the Creator and Redeemer of the world. To prove his statement the child ordered Christopher to fix his staff in the ground. The next morning it had grown into a palm-tree bearing fruit. The miracle converted many. This excited the rage of the king (prefect) of that region (Dagnus of Samos in Lycia?). Christopher was put into prison and, after many cruel torments, beheaded.

The Greek legend may belong to the sixth century; about the middle of the ninth, we find it spread through France. Originally, St. Christopher was only a martyr, and as such is recorded in the old martyrologies. The simple form of the Greek and Latin soon gave way to more elaborate legends. We have the Latin edition in prose and verse of 983 by the subdeacon Walter of Speyer, "Thesaurus anecdotorum novissimus" (Augsburg, 1721-23), II, 27-142, and Harster, "Walter von Speyer" (1878). An edition of the eleventh century is found in the Acta SS., and another in the "Golden Legend" of Jacob de Voragine. The idea conveyed in the name, at first understood in the spiritual sense of bearing Christ in the heart, was in the twelfth or thirteenth century taken in the realistic meaning and became the characteristic of the saint. The fact that he was frequently called a great martyr may have given rise to the story of his enormous size. The stream and the wait of the child may have been intended to denote the trials and struggles of a soul taking upon itself the yoke of Christ in this world.

The existence of a martyr St. Christopher cannot be denied, as was sufficiently shown by the Jesuit Nicholas Serarius, in his treatise on litanies, "Litaneutici" (Cologne, 1609), and by Molanus in his history of sacred pictures, "De picturis et imaginibus sacris" (Louvain, 1570). In a small church dedicated to the martyr St. Christopher, the body of St. Remigius of Reims was buried, 532 (Acta SS., 1 Oct., 161). St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) speaks of a monastery of St. Christopher (Epp., x., 33). The Mozarabic Breviary and Missal, ascribed to St. Isidore of Seville (d. 636), contains a special office in his honour. In 1386 a brotherhood was founded under the patronage of St. Christopher in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, to guide travellers over the Arlberg. In 1517, a St. Christopher temperance society existed in Carinthia, Styria, in Saxony, and at Munich. Great veneration was shown to the saint in Venice, along the shores of the Danube, the Rhine, and other rivers where floods or ice-jams caused frequent damage. The oldest picture of the saint, in the monastery on the Mount Sinai dates from the time of Justinian (527-65). Coins with his image were cast at Wurzburg, in Wurtermberg, and in Bohemia. His statues were placed at the entrances of churches and dwellings, and frequently at bridges; these statues and his pictures often bore the inscription: "Whoever shall behold the image of St. Christopher shall not faint or fall on that day." The saint, who is one of the fourteen holy helpers, has been chosen as patron by Baden, by Brunswick, and by Mecklenburg, and several other cities, as well as by bookbinders, gardeners, mariners, etc. He is invoked against lightning, storms, epilepsy, pestilence, etc. His feast is kept on 25 July; among the Greeks, on 9 March; and his emblems are the tree, the Christ Child, and a staff. St. Christopher's Island (commonly called St. Kitts), lies 46 miles west of Antigua in the Lesser Antilles.



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/stchristopher.asp#ixzz1T7T4lTnw
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