Sunday, October 2nd: The Rector’s Study Group will be on hiatus until Sunday, October 9. On that day we will begin a several week discussion of the basics of Christian practice as outlined in the Bishop’s new guidelines for confirmation. Participation in this series is appropriate for all, and especially those who have not been confirmed. The first sessions will be devoted to a discussion of prayer
Thursday, October 6th: Our neighborhood Crime Watch will be meeting in the parish hall at 6:00 pm, with representatives from our Northwest Division DPD officers. Holy Crucians who live in the neighborhood, are encouraged to attend.
September 30: Jerome
Born about the year 347 AD, St. Jerome was a Christian intellectual, apologist, and scholar, best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin. This translation became known as the “Vulgate” and was the standard edition of the Bible for well over a thousand years. Jerome was born in a Christian family in what is now the Balkans. As a young man, Jerome went first to Rome, and then to live as a hermit on an island in the Adriatic Sea and studied rhetoric and philosophy. Visiting the catacombs in Rome to pray, Jerome’s thoughts turned toward death and judgment, and for the first time he took hold of the faith, and gave himself to the service of the Gospel. He studies the Bible for several years with St. Gregory Nazianzen at Constantinople and with Didymus the Blind at Alexandria. One of his disciples, a Patrician Roman named Paula, supported Jerome’s activities, enabling him to retire to Bethlehem, where he lived as a hermit and devoted himself to scholarly activities. There he died on September 30, 420 AD. He was buried at Bethlehem, but his relics were later moved to the Basilica of St. Mary Major at Rome, where they remain to this day.
October 1: Remigius of Rheims
Remigius was born near Laon, in what is now northern France, to a prominent Gallo-Roman family, about the year 437 AD. Early in life he became known for his learning and the sanctity of his life. He was elected bishop of Rheims at the age of 22. Remigius is most famous for having converted and baptized Clovis, the King of the Franks. Remigius baptized Clovis at Christmas in 496 AD. This is regarded as a climatic turning point for northern Europe, when the light of the Gospel gained sway and the darkness of paganism and superstition was put to flight. Remigius is one of the patron saints of France. His relics were kept at Rheims, but were moved to Epernay during the Viking invasions, and thence, in the year 1099, Pope Leo IX ordered them to be returned to Rheims, to the Abbey of Saint-Remy, where they remain today.
October 2: The Holy Guardian Angels
The belief that God “assigns” an angel to each person, to guard and protect him, and to aid him in prayer, has its roots in Scripture. Job 33.23 says that for men there is “an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand,to declare to man what is right for him” and to pray for him. Likewise, Psalm 91.11-12 says “He shall give his angels charge over you / to keep you in all your ways. / They shall bear you in their hands / les you dash your foot against a stone.” And in Matthew 18.10, the Lord warns the people not to despise the little ones because, as he says, “in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” The book of Hebrews (1.14) says explicitly that there are “ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation.” And the Acts of the Apostles records a number of instances of guardian angels giving assistance to the faithful. The Church has ever upheld this biblical teaching, and the Church has set aside October 2 as a day of remembering, honoring, and seeking the help of our holy guardian angels.
October 3: Therese of Lisieux
Popularly known as “the Little Flower of Jesus”, St. Therese was born in 1873 in Alençon, France. A pious child, Therese became a Carmelite nun, taking the name “Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face”. Therese’s approach to the spiritual life has come to be known as “The Little Way”, the essence of which, as she wrote, is love for the Lord: “Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” The Mother Superior of Therese’s Carmel ordered her to write her autobiography, which Therese dutifully did. The work, “The Story of a Soul”, has become one of the most popular books of spirituality of the 20th and 21st centuries. Therese contracted tuberculosis and after spending about a year in the infirmary, she died at the age of 24. Shortly before her death, Therese told her sisters “I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me.” In 1997, Pope John Paul II declared Therese to be one of the 39 “Doctors of the Church”. Thus this humble, unlearned peasant girl, with her Little Way of love, has taken her place amid the Church’s great fathers and doctors like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
October 4: Francis of Assisi
The founder of the Friars Minor, Francis was born about 1182 in Assisi, the son of a successful cloth merchant. In his youth, Francis became a troubadour and a poet, and helped with his father’s business. From an early age Francis showed concern for the poor. After spending time as a soldier, Francis was prompted by a vision to return home, where Francis showed an increasing devotion to the Lord, and love for the poor. While he was praying in front of a crucifix in the Church of San Damiano, Francis had a vision in which the Lord said “Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.” The vision was repeated three times. Francis took the Lord to be referring to the Church of San Damiano, but later realized that he meant the state of the whole Catholic Church in the West. Francis renounced his inheritance and all his possessions, over the protests of his father, even removing the clothes he was wearing. Francis embraced the life of a beggar, ministering among the poor and sick, and helping to rebuild ruined churches. Over the years, others began to follow St. Francis, embracing the way of poverty. Francis and his followers went out barefoot, preaching repentance and conversion. Pope Innocent III blessed St. Francis’s work, and so the order of Friars Minor (i.e. Franciscans) was born. On the feast of the Holy Cross, in the year 1224, while praying on the mountain of La Verna, Francis, in ecstasy, received the gift of the five wounds of Christ. In 1226, Francis was taken to the infirmary, suffering from various ailments, and on October 3, Francis died while singing Psalm 141. In the centuries after his death, thousands of friaries have been planted all over the world, and countless Franciscans have embraced Francis’s way of life in the service of the Gospel of Jesus. St. Francis’s body was identified in 1978 beneath the Basilica in Assisi, now named for him, and were placed in a glass urn and reinterred in the Basilica’s crypt.
October 6: Bruno of Cologne
Born about 1030 AD, St. Bruno was the founder of the Carthusian Order. He is remembered for his eloquence and the depth of his theological insight. After a brief career as the Chancellor of the diocese of Rheims, Bruno refused the archbishopric of Reggio di Calabria, and instead retired to a secluded place in the Alps of the Dauphine with several companions, at a place called Chartreuse. There they made a little retreat, and lived in solitude and poverty, giving themselves to prayer and study. One of Bruno’s companions later became Pope Urban II, who called Bruno to Rome to act as his advisor. Eventually Bruno prevailed upon the pope to allow him to return to his life of prayer, this time in a high, forested valley in Calabria. Bruno died on this day in 1101. The life of the Carthusians is the most austere of any religious order – the brothers live, pray, and eat in solitude, with no contact with the outside world, coming together for choir offices two or three times a day. The Carthusians suffered terribly during the Reformation. The monks of the London Charterhouse were hanged, drawn, and quartered in 1535 for refusing to accept the crown’s supremacy over the Church and resisting the destruction of their house and the confiscation of their property by the crown.