Feast of Madonna del Pilerio and Memorials of the Saints – 12 February

Madonna del Pilerio:   The term Pilerio probably derives from piliero (pillar), or it could be older and derive from the greek puleròs (guardian, guardian of the city gate).   The cult of the Madonna del Pilerio as the patron saint of Cosenza, dates back to the end of the 16th century.   It is said that in the year 1576, while the plague desolated different regions of Italy, a devotee, praying before the icon of the Madonna del Pilerio, noticed a stain similar to the pestiferous bubo (the marks of the plague), present on the face of the Image.   The phenomenon was noted by the people and by the ecclesiastical authorities. The stain was considered a prodigy and a revealing sign of the protection of the Madonna for the City of Cosenza, saved by her from the plague.   Since then the Virgin of Pilerio became the Protectress of the City.
The news of the prodigious sign did not take long to spread and from the neighbouring countries a growing rush of devotees began.   The pilgrimages continued over time and grew in number, so much so that in 1603, the Archbishop Monsignor Giovan Battista Costanzo (1591-1617), to better serve the influx of pilgrims, removed the painting from the place where it was and placed it before on one of the pillars of the central nave of the Duomo, then on the main altar and finally in 1607 in the specially built chapel dedicated to the Virgin and where even today is venerated.   On April 17, 1607, at the unanimous request of the inhabitants of Cosenza, the Archbishop Mgr. Costanzo crowned the Virgin of Pilerio Regina and Patrona della Città.  In 1783 a violent earthquake struck down on Cosenza. On that occasion another sign was found on the face of the image of the Pilerio.

St Alexius of Kiev
St Ammonius of Alexandria
Bl Anthony of Saxony
St Anthony Kauleas
St Benedict of Aniane (747-821)

Bl Benedict Revelli
St Damian of Africa
St Damian of Rome
St Ethelwald of Lindisfarne
St Eulalia of Barcelona
St Gaudentius of Verona
St Goscelinus of Turin
Bl Gregory of Tragurio
Bl Humbeline of Jully
St Jak Bushati
St Julian of Alexandria
St Julian the Hospitaller
Bl Ladislaus of Hungary
Bl Ludan
St Meletius of Antioch
St Modestus of Alexandria
St Modestus of Carthage
St Modestus the Deacon
Bl Nicholas of Hungary
St Sedulius
Bl Thomas of Foligno

Martyrs of Albitina – 46 saints:
During the persecutions of Diocletian, troops were sent to the churches of Abitina, North Africa on a Sunday morning; they rounded up everyone who had arrived for Mass and took them all to Carthage for interrogation by pro-consul Anulinus. The 46 who proclaimed their Christianity were executed. We know some of their names and stories.
• Ampelius
• Cassiano
• Ceciliano
• Cecilia
• Danzio
• Deciano
• Emeritus
• Ercolina
• Eva
• Fausto
• Felice (2 by this name)
• Felix
• Gennara (2 by this name)
• Gennaro
• Giriale
• Hilarion
• Maggiore
• Margherita
• Martino
• Mary
• Massimiano
• Matrona (2 by this name)
• Onorata
• Pelusio
• Pomponia
• Prima
• Quinto
• Regiola
• Restituta
• Rogatian (3 by this name)
• Rogato (2 by this name)
• Saturninus the Elder
• Saturninus the Younger
• Seconda (2 by this name)
• Thelica
• Victoria
• Vincenzo
• Vittoriano
• Vittorino
They were tortured to death in 304 in prison at Albitina, North Africa.

Martyred in England:
Bl George Haydock
Bl James Fenn
Bl John Nutter
Bl John Munden
Bl Thomas Hemeford

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Josep Gassol Montseny


Thought for the Day – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

Thought for the Day – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

On this holy feast-day we each have an opportunity to consecrate our lives anew to the Lord.    How do we do this?    We can simply make a prayer of re-dedication to God which can take many forms.    It can be a simple heartfelt prayer reaffirming our baptismal promises or a re-visiting of our religious or marriage vows.    Or it can be a prayer which asks the Holy Spirit to renew our sense of vocation as a priest or religious or as a lay person in our chosen job, trade or profession.
We gave our life to the Lord when we were baptised but the call to conversion continues to resound throughout our lives and ‘this second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole church’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1428).    A re-dedication or renewal of vows or promises is a movement of conversion within our heart and is always a work of the Holy Spirit.
Today, step out in faith, whatever your vocation, whatever your calling and give your life to the Lord, in the assurance of God’s grace, blessing and renewal in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Loving God, You call all who believe in You
to grow perfect in love
by following in the footsteps
of Christ Your Son.
Call from among us more men and women
who will serve You as religious.
Open the hearts of many, raise up
faithful servants of the Gospel, dedicated,
holy priests, sisters, brothers and deacons,
who will spend themselves for Your people
and their needs.
Bless those who are serving now
with courage and perseverance.
Grant that many will be inspired by their
example and faith.
By their way of life, may they provide a convincing sign
of Your Kingdom for the Church and the whole world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.prayer for the consecrated and vocations - 2018


Quote of the Day – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

Quote of the Day – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

“The glorious St Simeon also was very happy…
to carry Him as did Our Lady…
we do this when we endure with love
the labours and pains He sends us,
that is to say, when the love which we bear
to the Law of God makes us find His yoke easy
and pleasing, so that we love these pains and labours,
and gather sweetness in the midst of bitterness.
This is nothing else but to carry Our Lord in our arms.
Now if we carry Him in this way,
He will, without doubt, Himself carry us.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Churchthe glorious st simeon - st francis de sales - 2 feb 2018


One Minute Reflection – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

One Minute Reflection – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered...Hebrews 5: 7-9although he was a son - hebrews 5 - 7-9

REFLECTION – “When Mary let Simeon take the Son of the Promise into his arms, the old man began to sing of his dreams.    Whenever she puts Jesus in the midst of His people, they encounter joy.    For this alone will bring back our joy and hope, this alone will save us from living in a survival mentality.    Only this will make our lives fruitful and keep our hearts alive:  putting Jesus where He belongs, in the midst of His people…Hence, it is all the more important for consecrated men and women to be one with Jesus, in their lives and in the midst of these great changes (in the world)…Putting Jesus in the midst of His people means having a contemplative heart, one capable of discerning how God is walking through the streets of our cities, our towns and our neighbourhoods.  Putting Jesus in the midst of His people means taking up and carrying the crosses of our brothers and sisters.  It means wanting to touch the wounds of Jesus in the wounds of a world in pain, which longs and cries out for healing.”…Pope Francis on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life – 2 February 2017world day consecrated life 2018

PRAYER – May the Lord renew in you and in all consecrated people each day the joyful response to His freely given and faithful love.   Dear brothers and sisters, like lighted candles, always and everywhere shine with the love of Christ, Light of the world.   May Mary Most Holy, the consecrated Woman, help you to live to the full, your special vocation and mission in the Church for the world’s salvation.   And may we all follow our Lord in obedience. Amen!


Our Morning Offering – 2 February – The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Our Morning Offering – 2 February – The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Hail to the Lord who Comes
Prayers/Hymns “Liturgy of the Hours”

Hail to the Lord who comes,
comes to His temple gate,
not with His angel host,
not in His kingly state.

But borne upon the throne
of Mary’s gentle breast,
thus to His Father’s house
He comes, the heavenly guest.

The world’s true light draws near
all darkness to dispel,
the flame of faith is lit
and dies the power of hell.

Our bodies and our souls
are temples now for Him.
for we are born of grace –
God lights our souls within.

O Light of all the earth!
We light our lives with Thee.
The chains of darkness gone,
all sons of God are free.hail to the lord who comes - presentation of the lord - from the breviary - 2 feb 2018


Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – 2 February

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, a day that is also known as Candlemas.

The Presentation of the Lord is a second ‘epiphany’—revealing Jesus as the Messiah through the canticle of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess.   Christ, the Light of the World, is revealed in obedience to the Old Lawsand in creation of the new. Traditionally, in recognition of the saving light of Christ, this feast was referred to as “Candlemas,” and marked by candlelight processionals and Masses.

The Presentation of the Lord commemorates the Lord Jesus’ participation in a ritual encoded in the Mosaic Law, in which a newborn child had to be “redeemed” through the performance of a prescribed sacrifice. Christ “embeds” Himself through his Incarnation in the people He has chosen to be His own.   He makes himself an Israelite and accepts that people and culture as His own.   His willingness to participate in this ritual indicates the election of Israel by God in terms of its mission to bear into the world the divine presence and to become the means through which communion with the one, true God would be extended to the whole world.presentation of the lord

The event of the Lord’s Presentation also foreshadows His Paschal Mystery.   Christ will make of His suffering and death a sacrifice, a redemptive offering in which humanity’s reconciliation with God will be accomplished.   The Lord will be revealed, in the event of Christ’s passion, to be a God who is willing to forgive, even to the point of placing himself in the position of the sinner! Such is God’s solidarity with humanity in Christ!

The readings for today all orientate us toward Christ’s revelation as priest.

The prophet Malachi envisions the divine presence entering the temple and once this happens, the God of Israel reigns as the ruler of Israel, effecting the restoration of His people and setting them all in right relationship with Himself.   Christ in His Incarnation is this divine presence and His entry into the temple is happening at the moment of his Presentation.

The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that Christ’s sacrifice was to enter into the fullness of our humanity by accepting for Himself a human nature and uniting it to His divine nature.   Christ does this for our benefit and through this Incarnation makes of Himself a gift that is for us.

In this respect, Christ is a priest, the sacrifice that He offers is Himself and the beneficiary of this sacrifice is all of us.

The Gospel of Luke highlights the event of Christ’s presentation in the temple as the revelation of the divine presence, which the prophet Ezekiel had seen abandoning the temple centuries earlier, returning to the great sanctuary.   Christ is the divine high priest who comes to His temple to offer sacrifice but more than this, Christ is the divine presence.   With the arrival of the divine presence, a new age for Israel and for the world begins- the age of the Messiah.

Simeon and Anna can see this revelation and appreciate it.   For them the moment is as profound as it is bittersweet, for they know that with the beginning of this new age for Israel, the previous era has ended.   Their mission is now complete.   The Israel of the covenant, the prophets, the law, the temple and the kingdom has been brought to its fulfilment.   All these divine gifts were foreshadowings of the greatest of all divine Gifts- Christ the Lord- God with us.

The gifts of Israel will be returned to the world but they will all be transformed in Christ, becoming what we know and experience as the Church.

Candles that are used in the Church’s rituals are often blessed on this day and a procession is recommended with candles to commemorate the entrance of Christ into the temple.

The symbolism of the candle is meant to recall the divine presence, manifested to Israel at the time of the Exodus as a “pillar of fire.”   This “pillar of fire” led the Israelites from bondage in Egypt to the land of God’s promise.   Christ is this “pillar of fire” who leads humanity from the bondage of sin and death to the promises of resurrection and eternal life. (Fr Steve Grunow)

It is Christ, the divine fire, that leads us still…presentation and simeonsimeonSOD-0202-PresentationoftheLord-790x480



Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and Feasts of Our Lady & Memorials of the Saints – 2 February

Presentation of the Lord (Feast):   The feast commemorates the purifying of the Blessed Virgin according to the Mosaic Law, 40 days after the birth of Christ, and the presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple.   The feast was introduced into the Eastern Empire by Emperor Justinian I and is mentioned in the Western Church in the Gelasian Sacramentary of the 7th century.   Candles are blessed on that day in commemoration of the words of Holy Simeon concerning Christ “a light to the revelation of the Gentiles” (Luke 2) and a procession with lighted candles is held in the church to represent the entry of Christ, the Light of the World, into the Temple of Jerusalem. “Candlemas” is still the name in Scotland for a legal term-day on which interest and rents are payable (2 February).
• Jaro, Philippines
• Western Visayas, Philippines

Our Lady of Candelaria
Our Lady of Good Success
Santa María de Santa Anita

World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life:  Begun in 1997 by St Pope John Paul II, the World Day for Consecrated Life was intended to serve three purposes:
• to praise the Lord and thank him for the great gift of consecrated life;
• to promote a knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God;
• to allow those in consecrated life to celebrate together the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them, to discover by a more illumined faith the rays of divine beauty, spread by the Spirit in their way of life and to acquire a more vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission, in the Church and in the world;
It serves an opportunity to highlight the extraordinary contributions of men and women religious, as well as a time to pray for vocations to the consecrated life.

St Adalbald of Ostrevant
St Adeloga of Kitzingen
St Agathodoros of Tyana
St Andrea Carlo Ferrari
St Apronian the Executioner
St Bruno of Ebsdorf
St Burchard of Wurzburg
St St Candidus the Martyr
Catherine del Ricci
St Columbanus of Ghent
St Cornelius the Centurion
St Felician the Martyr
St Feock
St Firmus of Rome
St Flosculus of Orléans
St Fortunatus the Martyr
St Giovanni Battista Clemente Saggio
St Hilarus the Martyr
St Jean Theophane Venard
St Jeanne de Lestonnac
St Lawrence of Canterbury
Bl Louis Alexander Alphonse Brisson
Bl Maria Domenica Mantovani
St Marquard of Hildesheim
St Mun
Bl Peter Cambiano
St Rogatus the Martyr
St Saturninus the Martyr
St Sicharia of Orleans
St Simon of Cassia Fidati
Bl Stephen Bellesini
St Theodoric of Ninden
St Victoria the Martyr

Martyrs of Ebsdorf: Members of the army of King Louis III of France under the leadership of Duke Saint Bruno of Ebsdorf. The martyrs died fighting invading pagan Norsemen, and defending the local Christian population. Four bishops, including Saint Marquard of Hildesheim and Saint Theodoric of Ninden, eleven nobles, and countless unnamed foot soldiers died repelling the invaders. They were martyred in the winter of 880 in battle at Luneberg Heath and Ebsdorf, Saxony (modern Germany).


One Minute Reflection – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle

One Minute Reflection – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle

I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness of what you have seen and what you will be shown.   I shall deliver you from this people and from the Gentiles to whom I send you,to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been consecrated by faith in me…Acts 26:16-18acts 26-16

REFLECTION – “Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us what man really is and in what our nobility consists and of what virtue this particular animal is capable.   Each day he aimed ever higher; each day he rose up with greater ardour and faced with new eagerness the dangers that threatened him.   He summed up his attitude in the words:  “I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead”…The most important thing of all to him, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.   Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else”…….St John Chrysostomchrysostum-on-paul-2018

PRAYER – Today Lord, we celebrate the conversion of St Paul, Your chosen vessel for carrying Your name to the whole world.   Help us to make our way towards You by following in his footsteps and by being Your disciples before the men and women of our day.   Grant that by the prayers of St Paul, we too may say, “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, paul apostle, pray for us - 25 jan 2018


Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – 25 January

Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – 25 January

St Paul the Apostle is the greatest of the early Christian missionaries.   He first appears in the Acts of the Apostles under the name of Saul.   Saul was raised in the Jewish faith as a Pharisee trained in the strict observance of God’s Law.   He believed the Law should be obeyed by himself and all Jews.   Saul was upset by the early Christian Church, believing that the early Christians had broken away from their Jewish traditions.   He actively persecuted the Church in Jerusalem.   As the first Christian martyr Stephen was being stoned to death, Saul watched the cloaks of the persecutors (Acts 7:58).

Paul then traveled to Damascus to further persecute early Christians.   On the road to Damascus Saul had an encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ (Acts of the Apostles 9:1–19, Galatians 1: 13–14).   Jesus asked, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”   Paul replied, “Who are you, sir?”   Jesus responded, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9: 4 – 5).   Jesus then sent Saul into Damascus to wait for further instructions.   Saul was shaken and blinded by the experience.   When a Christian named Ananias came and baptised Saul, his blindness went away.   As a result of this encounter Saul became a follower of Christ.   He was now convinced that fellowship with the risen Jesus Christ, not the observance of the Law, was all that was needed to receive God’s promise of salvation. (Galatians 1:11–12; 3:1–5)header 1 conversionHEADER 2 - conversion of st paulheader - conversionStPaulEscalante

Saul, whose name now became Paul, went to Jerusalem to consult with Peter (Galatians 1: 18).   After his first missionary journeys, Paul was called by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles.   He spent the rest of his life journeying on his missions, establishing local churches and writing to them when he heard of their accomplishments and failures.   Paul’s letters are the earliest records of the life and history of the early Church.   As inspired by the Holy Spirit Paul’s letters are part of the Canon of the New Testament.   As a record of the happenings in the early Church they are in invaluable record of the expansion of the Christianity.LARGE - conversion - caravaggio

St Paul’s Writings

All together, there are 13 epistles that bear Paul’s name as the author.   However, scholars do not believe that he wrote them all.   Paul himself was the author of first and second Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians, first and second Corinthians, Romans and Philemon.  The epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, Titus and first and second Timothy bear Paul’s name but it is believed that they were written after his death.   The writers of these letters were disciples of Paul who wanted to continue his teaching.   Whoever the authors of these epistles were, these writings have been accepted into the New Testament as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Centrality of Jesus Christ

The most profound and moving day in Paul’s life was when he met the risen Jesus Christ. Paul was well respected by the Jewish community and his peers.   But he gave it all up for Christ.  “More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8) Jesus Christ, Paul realised, was sent by the Father to bring salvation for all.   Paul taught that we are united with Christ in faith and Baptism – “We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

On the personal level, individual Christians recognise that when they are united with Christ, they receive the grace needed to overcome sin and to live moral lives.  (Galatians 5:16–26)conversion of st paul 2conversion of st paul - LARGE VERSION detail


Paul teaches that the justice of God was saving justice at its best.   God is faithful, fulfilling the promises made in the Old Testament covenant.   Through the sin of Adam and Eve the human family was alienated from God.   Through Christ the human family is called back into relationship with God.   This process of reuniting the human family with God is called justification. (Romans 3:21–31)   It is impossible for us to justify ourselves; we are only justified by being united in faith with Jesus Christ and by accepting the gift of grace won by Christ. (Romans 5:1–2)   We can only be made right with God and set free from a life of immoral living by accepting the gift of God’s reconciling grace.

Life in the Spirit

Paul teaches that the love of God is being poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5)   The Holy Spirit is the source of all love.   The Holy Spirit creates a bond between us and God like children bound to a father.  (Romans 8:14–16)   The Holy Spirit not only establishes our relationship with the Father.   Even though we are weak, the Holy Spirit helps us to live faithfully within that relationship. (Romans 8:26–27) It is through the Holy Spirit that we can live in love with all people. (1 Corinthians 13:3–7)

The Moral Life

What does it mean to live a Christian moral life?   Paul thought deeply about this question.   He was raised as a faithful Jew.   As we have seen Paul, was raised to believe that following the strict moral code of the Jewish faith was the way to salvation.   Paul believed “… the law is holy and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” (Romans 7:12.)   What Paul realised, however, that because we are weakened by the sin of Adam and Eve, it was impossible to us to reconnect in our relationship with God through our efforts alone (Romans 7:14).

After his experience with Jesus Christ, Paul knew that he was not alone on the road to salvation.   Jesus Christ has already accomplished salvation for us.   In faith and Baptism, Christians receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is our constant guide.   The Holy Spirit helps us to live in relationship with God and others.

So Paul’s great message to the world was:  You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do.   Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.

St Paul Pray for us!conversion-of-st-paul-2018


Feast of the Conversion of St Paul and Memorials of the Saints – 25 January

Conversion of Paul the Apostle (Feast)

St Agape the Martyr
St Agileus of Carthage
St Amarinus of Clermont
St Ananias of Damascus
Bl Antoni Swiadek
Bl Antonio Migliorati
St Apollo of Heliopolis
Bl Archangela Girlani
St Artemas of Pozzuoli
St Auxentius of Epirus
St Bretannion of Tomi
St Donatus the Martyr
St Dwynwen
St Emilia Fernández Rodríguez de Cortés
St Eochod of Galloway
Bl Francesco Zirano
Bl Henry Suso
St Joel of Pulsano
St Juventinus of Antioch
Bl Manuel Domingo y Sol
St Maximinus of Antioch
St Palaemon
St Poppo
St Praejectus of Clermont
St Publius of Zeugma
St Racho of Autun
St Sabinus the Martyr
Bl Teresa Grillo Michel