Announcing a Novena from Ascension to Pentecost
Beginning Friday 26 May – the Day after Ascension Thursday
The novena in honour of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas, since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His Apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.
Then (and in many places) NOW, it is a crime merely to bear the name of Christian – it is a CRIME punishable by death!
In spite of this, many became and become Christians and so many went cheerfully to their deaths.
“O miracle of faith!” wrote St Pope Damasus. “Suddenly they cease from their fury, they become converted, they flee from the camp of their wicked leader. Professing the faith of Christ, they are happy to witness to its triumph.”
Learn from the words of Damasus what great things the glory of Christ can accomplish. As the thought-provoking saying goes: “If you were arrested for being Christian, would there be sufficient evidence to convict you?”
As in the case of many early martyrs, the Church clings to its memories though the events are clouded in the mists of history. It is a heartening thing for all Christians to know that they have a noble heritage. Our brothers and sisters in Christ have stood in the same world in which we live—militaristic, materialistic, cruel and cynical—yet transfigured from within by the presence of the Living One. Our own courage is enlivened by the heroes and heroines who have gone before us marked by the sign of faith and the wounds of Christ.
Sts Nereus, Achilleus and Pancras – please pray for us all!
“Whoever consistently looks at God and themselves
through this attractive mirror (Mary), will sooner or later
turn into another Mary.”
Servant of God, Fr Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968) – Founder of Schoenstatt
“If the Church shows respect and veneration for everything
that came in contact with the Saviour’s Body: the Cross,
the Nails, the Thorns, the Winding Sheet of His Sepuchre,
the Swathing-bands of His infancy and similar things – what
honour must be due to this venerable body of the
Blessed Virgin from which the Body of the Redeemer was formed!”
St John Eudes
“The flesh of Christ is the flesh of Mary
and although it was raised to great glory
in His Resurrection, yet it still remained
the same that was taken from Mary.”
St Augustine (354-430) – Fathe & Doctor gratiae (Doctor of Grace)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading,
kept in heaven for you………1 Peter 1:3-4
REFLECTION – “You have within you everything that
you need to purchase the kingdom of heaven.
Joy will be purchased by your sorrow,
rest by your labour,
glory by your humiliation
and eternal life by your passing death.”……St Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church (354-430) Doctor gratiae (Doctor of Grace)
PRAYER – Loving Father, teach me how to make very event on earth lay up treasures for me in heaven. Help me to endure my sorrows, labours, humiliations and death willingly so as to attain heaven. Holy Martyrs Sts Nereus, Achilleus and Pancras, Pray for us, amen!
Mary our Mother! By St Anselm (1033-1109) Doctor magnificus (Magnificent Doctor); Doctor Marianus (Marian Doctor)
Mother of Salvation
you are the Mother of Justification
and of those who are justified;
the Mother of Reconciliation
and of those who are reconciled;
the Mother of Salvation
and of those who are saved.
What a blessed trust,
and what a secure refuge!
The Mother of God is our Mother.
The Mother of the One in whom alone
we hope and whom alone we fear, is our Mother!
The One who partook of our nature,
and by restoring us to life
made us children of His Mother,
invites us by this to proclaim
that we are His brothers and sisters.
Therefore, our Judge is also our Brother.
The Saviour of the world is our Brother.
Our God has become, through Mary, our Brother!
Saint of the Day – St Pancras (c290-304) Martyr – Patron against cramps, against false witness or perjury, against headaches, of children, oaths, treaties, diocese of Albano, Italy, 27 cities in Germany and Italy. Attributes – Roman legion armor, martyr’s palm branch, book, quill, sword.
St Pancras was a Roman citizen who converted to Christianity and was beheaded for his faith at the age of fourteen, around the year 304. His name is Greek and literally means “the one that holds everything”.
From an early stage, Saint Pancras was venerated together with Saints Nereus and Achilleus in a shared feast day and Mass formula on 12 May. Since 1969, Saint Pancras has been venerated separately, still on 12 May. He is, traditionally, the second of the Ice Saints. (The Ice Saints is a name given to St. Mamertus (or, in some countries, St. Boniface of Tarsus St. Pancras, and St. Servatius in Austrian, Belgian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, North-Italian, Polish, Slovene and Swiss folklore. They are so named because their feast days fall on the days of May 11, May 12, and May 13 respectively, known as “the black-thorn winter”)
Because he was said to have been martyred at the age of fourteen during the persecution under Diocletian, Pancras would have been born around 290, at a place designated as near Synnada, a city of Phrygia Salutaris, to parents of Roman citizenship. His mother Cyriada died during childbirth, while his father Cleonius died when Pancras was eight years old. Pancras was entrusted to his uncle Dionysius’ care. They both moved to Rome to live in a villa on the Caelian Hill. They converted to Christianity and Pancras became a zealous adherent of the religion.
During the persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian, around 303 AD, he was brought before the authorities and asked to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods. Diocletian, impressed with the boy’s determination to resist, promised him wealth and power but Pancras refused and finally the emperor ordered him to be beheaded on the Via Aurelia, on 12 May 303 AD.
A Roman matron named Ottavilla recovered Pancras’ body, covered it with balsam, wrapped it in precious linens and buried it in a newly built sepulchre dug in the Catacombs of Rome. Pancras’ head was placed in the reliquary that still exists today in the Basilica of Saint Pancras.
Devotion to Pancras definitely existed from the fifth century onwards, for the basilica of Saint Pancras was built by Pope Symmachus (498-514), on the place where the body of the young martyr had been buried; his earliest passio seems to have been written during this time.
Pope Gregory the Great gave impetus to the cult of Pancras, sending Augustine of Canterbury to England carrying relics of that saint and including his legend in Liber in gloria martyrum (for this reason, many English churches are dedicated to Pancras; St Pancras Old Church in London is one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in England). In medieval iconography, Pancras was depicted as a young soldier, due to his association with the paired soldier saints Nereus and Achilleus. By the mid-nineteenth century, pious embroidery set Pancras’s martyrdom in the arena among wild beasts, where the panther refrains from attacking and killing him until the martyr gives the beast permission.
His image in statue form can be found in many bars, restaurants and other businesses and of course, St. Pancras Railway Station in London is named after him.
St Acheilleus of Terracina (Optional Memorial)
St Nereus of Terracina (Optional Memorial)
St Pancras of Rome (Optional Memorial)
St Candida Maria de Jesus
St Cyril of Galatz
St Dedë Malaj
St Diomma of Kildimo
St Dionysius of Asia
St Dominic de la Calzada
St Ejëll Deda
St Ephrem of Jerusalem
St Epiphanius of Salamis
St Erc Nasca of Tullylish
St Ethelhard of Canterbury
St Euphrosyna of Terracina
Bl Francis Patrizzi of Siena
Bl Gemma of Goriano
St Germanus of Constantinople
Bl Imelda Lambertini
Bl Jane of Portugal
Bl Juan de Segalars
St Lucien Galan
St Modoald of Trier
St Palladius of Rome
St Philip of Agira
St Richrudis of Marchiennes
St Theodora of Terracina
St Thomas Khampheuane Inthirath