St. Urban

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St. Urban, Pope and Martyr

HE succeeded St. Calixtus in the year 223, the third of the emperor Alexander, and sat seven years. Though the church enjoyed peace under that mild reign, this was frequently disturbed by local persecutions raised by the people or governors. In the acts of St. Cecily this zealous pope is said to have encouraged the martyrs, and converted many idolaters. He is styled a martyr in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, in the Martyrology of St. Jerom published by Florentinius, and in the Greek liturgy. It appears from Fortunatus and several ancient missals, that the festival of St. Urban was celebrated in France with particular devotion in the sixth age. A very old church stood on the Appian road dedicated to God in honour of this saint, near the place where he was first interred, in the cemetery of Prætextatus. His body was there found together with those of SS. Cecily, Tiburtius, and Valerian in 821, and translated by Pope Paschal into the church of St. Cecily. Papebroke shows that it is the body of another martyr of the same name, famous in ancient records, which Nicholas I. sent in 862 to the monks of St. Germanus of Auxerre, and which now adorns the monastery of Saint Urban in the diocess of Challons on the Marne, near Joinville. It is exposed in a silver shrine. See Tillemont, t. 3. p. 258. 1

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. May 25.

Saint Gregory VII

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Saint Gregory VII

Pope
(1029-1085)

Gregory VII, one of the greatest of the Roman Pontiffs and one of the most remarkable men of all times, was known as Hildebrand before he became Pope. Born in Tuscany in 1020, he was sent to Rome to be educated under his uncle, who was Abbot of Saint Mary’s monastery on the Aventine Hill. It was a time of great danger for the Church, when the Emperors of Germany were claiming it was their role to elect the successors of Saint Peter, the Vicars of Jesus Christ. They sold ecclesiastic dignities at auction or gave them to unworthy favorites, and many sees were occupied by persons who had obtained them with gold. It was this humble monk who had embraced the Benedictine Rule at the famous monastery of Cluny in France, who was chosen to bring a remedy to the current evils. The three great abuses, simony, concubinage, and the custom of receiving investiture from lay hands, seemed to threaten the very foundations of the Church. This great servant of God would never cease to oppose those corruptions of the reign of Christ.
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St. John Baptist de Rossi

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St. John Baptist de Rossi

(De Rubeis).

Born at Voltaggio in the Diocese of Genoa, 22 February, 1698; died at Rome, 23 May, 1764; feast on 23 May. His parents, Charles de Rossi and Frances Anfossi, were not rich in earthly goods, but had solid piety and the esteem of their fellow-citizens. Of their four children, John excelled in gentleness and piety. At the age of ten he was taken to Genoa by friends for his education. There he received news of the death of his father. After three years he was called to Rome by a relative, Lorenzo de Rossi, who was canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin. He pursued his studies at the Collegium Romanum under the direction of the Jesuits, and soon became a model by his talents, application to study, and virtue. As a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and of the Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles established at the college, he led the members in the meetings and pious exercises, in visits to the sick in the hospitals and in other works of mercy, and merited even then the name of apostle. At the age of sixteen he entered the clerical state. Owing to indiscreet practices of mortification he contracted spells of epilepsy, notwithstanding which he made his course of scholastic philosophy and theology, in the college of the Dominicans, and, with dispensation, was ordained priest on 8 March, 1721. Having reached the desired goal, he bound himself by vow to accept no ecclesiastical benefice unless commanded by obedience. He fulfilled the duties of the sacred ministry by devoting himself to the labourers, herds, and teamsters of the Campagna, preaching to them early in the morning, or late in the evening, at the old Forum Romanum (Campo Vaccino), and by visiting, instructing, and assisting the poor at the hospital of St. Galla. In 1731 he established near St. Galla another hospital as a home of refuge for the unfortunates who wander the city by night (“Rom. Brev.”, tr. Bute, Summer, 573). In 1735 he became titular canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin, and, on the death of Lorenzo two years later, obedience forced him to accept the canonry. The house belonging to it, however, he would not use, but employed the rent for good purposes. Continue reading

Queen Of Apostles

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Queen Of Apostles

by Rev. Cornelius Joseph O’ Connell, 1914

The patriarchs slept with their fathers, the prophets passed into the home of their eternity: both in their day and generation fulfilled well the mission given them by the Almighty. They were His special servants among men, preserving and handing down to succeeding generations the comforting promise of a Messiah.

The great day dawned, and the Redeemer was born into the world. The promise was accomplished. The humble Virgin Mary of Nazareth was the chosen one among women, by reason of her immaculateness, to become the Mother ot the “Word made flesh.” He is the way, the truth and life of the world; its promised Redeemer.
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Mary Help of Christians

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Mary Help of Christians

I. Pope Pius VII. established the feast which, under this glorious title, is celebrated in honour of our Blessed Lady. It is usually kept upon the twenty-fourth of May. Upon that day the much-enduring and saintly Pontiff, after an exile of several weary years, returned to his capital, whence the violence and tyrannical injustice of the first Napoleon had banished him. Almighty God, in a most unexpected and almost miraculous way, restored him to the arms of his exulting flock, and the holy Pope ever afterwards attributed that restoration to the intercession of Mary, the Help of Christians. In order to show his gratitude to her he ordained that this feast should be kept throughout the Church. Continue reading