- There will be no mass Tuesday, August 4. Father has an SSC chapter meeting that day.
- The next vestry meeting will be Sunday, August 9, after mass.
- Join the summer reading group Monday evenings at 7:30 in the parish hall. We will be reading Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” All are welcome.
- Thank you for the support of our Food Pantry. We are currently in need of disposable razors and canned meat and vegetable products. Any donations you can make will be greatly appreciated!
Born in 1491 in the Basque region of Spain, St. Ignatius. He excelled as a soldier, but was injured by a cannonball in 1521. During his convalescence, Ignatius read the book “The Life of Christ” by the monk Ludolph the Carthusian. In this work, Ludolph proposes that the reader mentally visualize himself as a witness to the events of the Gospels. This method of contemplation would later become the basis for St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, which in turn would later draw millions of people closer to Jesus Christ, as the core of Jesuit spirituality. During Ignatius’s convalescence, inspired by the lives of saints such as Francis of Assisi, Ignatius resolved to lead a life of self-denial and service to the Gospel. When he had recovered, Ignatius visited the mountain monastery of Montserrat, outside of Barcelona, and there before the ancient image of our Lady, Ignatius removed his military clothes, never to put them on again. Ignatius then retired to a cave near Manresa for several months before going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. While studying theology at Paris, in 1534, Ignatius and six of his friends (including St. Francis Xavier) vowed themselves to poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Pope, and organized themselves as “Friends in the Lord”. This group would become in 1540 the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, dedicated to teaching and missionary work in service to the Gospel of Christ. St. Ignatius died on July 31, 1556 after a long struggle with stomach ailments.
This Joseph, from a town of Judea called Arimathea, was, according to St. Mark (15.43), a rich and honorable man who was looking for the Kingdom of God. St. John tells us that he “was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews” (John 19.38). He was most likely a member of the Sanhedrin, the main governing body of the Jews which had condemned Jesus to death (though not unanimously). Likewise, according to the Gospels, after the crucifixion, Joseph went boldly to Pilate asking for the body of Jesus. Joseph’s request being granted, he purchased fine linen in which to wrap the body (Mark 15.46), and proceeded to Golgotha to collect Jesus’ body, which, after preparing it for burial, he laid in a tomb which he had purchased for himself. The theological significance of this act is in Christ accepting the fate of death and the grave that, apart from him, belonged to us. Similarly, Joseph’s act fulfilled the prophecy concerning the Messiah from the prophet Isaiah: “And they made his grave with the wicked / and with a rich man in his death / although he had done no violence, / and there was no deceit in his mouth.” Rabanus Maurus, a Benedictine monk writing in the early 800’s, says that after the Ascension, St. Joseph made his way to Britain at the behest of St. Philip, landing at Glastonbury and spreading the Gospel among the Britons. While this is unlikely, it is not impossible. Already Tertullian, writing in the late 100’s AD, says that Britain, “though inaccessible to the Romans” is yet “subjugated to Christ” – that is, had already been evangelized. In the 1100’s, drawing on a apocryphal work called the Acts of Pilate, a French poet named Robert de Boron associated St. Joseph of Arimathea with the legend of the Holy Grail, which de Born claimed had been taken by St. Joseph to Britain in the 1st century.
Nicodemus appears three times in the Gospel of St. John. He was a Pharisee, a “teacher of Israel”, and a member of the Sanhedrin, the religious governing body which would eventually condemn Jesus to death (though not unanimously). Nicodemus comes to Jesus “by night” in John 3, and his questions prompt Jesus to say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God…. I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn. 3.3ff). Nicodemus defends Jesus at his trial before the Sanhedrin (John 7.50f), and with St. Joseph of Arimathea, reverently prepares Jesus’s corpse for burial (John 19.39ff). Tradition says that Nicodemus was martyred for faith in Christ during the first century. His relics, along with those of St. Stephen and Gamaliel, were discovered on August 3, 415, by a priest named Lucian in the town of Caphargamala near Jerusalem.
St. Jean Vianney was born on May 8, 1786 and died on this day, August 4, 1859. He was the parish priest of the town of Ars, and as such is often called the “Curé d’Ars” even in English. Jean’s education and formation in the faith was sporadic and carried out in secret due to the persecution of Catholics in the wake of the French Revolution. When once again Christianity was tolerated, Jean was ordained a priest, and took charge of the church at Ars. He is renowned for having transformed the spiritual life of Ars, which had fallen into spiritual dissipation before his arrival. The transformation of Ars was wrought by the tireless pastoral labor of St. Jean, his personal sanctity, self-denial, and deep commitment to the sacrament of Confession. St. Jean became famous for his holiness and wisdom even during his own lifetime. During the last decade of his life, St. Jean spent between sixteen and eighteen hours a day in the confessional, in order to meet the demand of those who came to him for confession and direction. He fasted continually from food and from sleep. The Lord gave the gift of clairvoyance and healing to St. Jean, and these were manifested many times in his care of souls. He reposed on Aug. 4, 1859. His incorrupt body is venerated at the basilica at Ars. St. Jean said: “My secret is easy … give everything away and keep nothing for yourself,” and “Our Lord is our model, let us take up our cross and follow Him.” He is the patron saint of parish priests.
St. Oswald was born about the year 604 AD. He was king of Northumbria. During his lifetime he did much to spread faith in Jesus among his people. He sent to the Irish and asked for a missionary bishop. The Irish sent him the great St. Aidan from the monastery at Iona in Scotland. St. Oswald gave the island of Lindisfarne to St. Aidan for his Episcopal see, and there Aidan planted the great monastery which survived the ravages of heathen Vikings and many other challenges, until it was finally destroyed during the English Reformation in 1536. St. Bede (writing less than a century after Oswald’s death) records that Oswald served as translator when Aidan preached (Aidan apparently did not speak English, but Oswald spoke Aidan’s native Irish). Oswald was known for his generosity to the poor. St. Bede records that at Easter, Oswald was sitting at dinner with Aidan, and had “a silver dish full of dainties before him”, when a servant, whom Oswald “had appointed to relieve the poor”, came in and told Oswald that a crowd of the poor were in the streets begging alms from the king. Oswald, according to Bede, then immediately had his food given to the poor and even had the dish broken up and distributed. Aidan was greatly impressed and seized Oswald’s right hand, stating: “May this hand never perish.” Accordingly, Bede reports that the hand and arm remained uncorrupted after Oswald’s death. St. Oswald died in battle on August 5, 642 at the hands of the pagan Mercians who dismembered the saint, and hung his body parts on stakes. His relics were recovered, and his head was taken to Durham Cathedral where it remains. His incorrupt arm was taken to Peterborough Abbey, where it and all the other relics of the abbey were destroyed during the Reformation. The place of his death became a place of healing during the middle ages.
On this day we commemorate our Lord’s transfiguration on Mt. Tabor before Ss. Peter, James, and John (cf. Matthew 17.1-9; Mark 9.2-8; Luke 9.28-36). St. Matthew’s account says that after taking these three disciples up to a high mountain apart, Jesus “was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli’jah, talking with him.” Peter suggests that they make three booths for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, and the gospels record that a cloud overtook them, and a voice came from the cloud bearing witness to Jesus as the Son of God. The presence of Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration symbolize the testimony of the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament as bearing witness to Jesus as the coming Messiah. His transfiguration was a manifestation of his uncreated glory, a glimpse of his true identity granted to his three closest disciples. In his second epistle, St. Peter attests that “we were with him on the holy mountain” and were eyewitnesses “of his majesty” and of the voice of the Father (2 Peter 1.16-18) bearing witness to him.