St. Joseph the WorkerThe foster father of Jesus was a carpenter by trade. Today we honor Joseph as the patron saint of workers.
St. AthanasiusSaint Athanasius was born at Alexandria in 295. He accompanied Bishop Alexander to the Council of Nicaea, and succeeded him as bishop of Alexandria. He fought courageously against the Arian heresy. For this he suffered many hardships and was exiled several times. His writings are outstanding in their explanation and defense of the true teachings of the faith. He died in 373.
Sts. Philip and JamesPhilip was born at Bethsaida. At first a disciple of John the Baptist, he became a follower of Christ. James, a cousin of the Lord and the son of Alphaeus, ruled over the Church at Jerusalem, wrote an epistle and converted many of the Jewish people to the faith. He led an austere life and suffered martyrdom in the year 62.
Third Sunday of Easter
St. Damien of Moloka’iJoseph de Veuster, born in Belgium in 1840, was forced to quit school at age 13 to work on the family farm. He entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary six years later, taking the name Damien. He volunteered to go on mission to the Hawaiian Islands and, in May 1864, was ordained a priest and assigned to the island of Hawaii. In 1873, he went to the Hawaiian government’s leper colony on the island of Molokai and soon volunteered to remain permanently, caring for the people’s physical, medical, and spiritual needs. A few years later he succeeded in getting the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse, led by Mother Marianne Cope (beatified in 2005), to help staff the leper colony in Kalaupapa. Damien contracted Hansen’s disease and died of its complications. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009.
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Our Lady of FatimaThe Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated under this title following apparitions to three shepherd children in Portugal in 1917. The message of Fatima includes a call to conversion of heart, repentance from sin and a dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially through praying the Rosary.
St. MatthiasBecause he had been a witness to the Lord’s resurrection, Saint Matthias was chosen by the other apostles to take the place of Judas. The Acts of the Apostles (1:15-26) tells of how he was numbered among the Twelve.
St. IsidoreWhen he was barely old enough to wield a hoe, Isidore entered the service of a wealthy landowner from Madrid, Spain, and worked faithfully on his estate for the rest of his life. He married a young woman as simple and upright as himself who also became a saint, Maria de la Cabeza. Isidore had deep religious instincts. He rose early in the morning to go to church, and as he walked behind the plow, he communed with God. He was known for his love of the poor, and there are accounts of Isidore’s supplying them miraculously with food. He had a great concern for the proper treatment of animals. He died May 15, 1130, and in 1622 was declared a saint, the patron of farmers and of rural communities
St. John ISaint John was born in Tuscany and elected bishop of the Church of Rome in 523. He went to Emperor Justin in Constantinople as an ambassador of King Theodoric. On his return he was captured by the king, who was displeased at the outcome of the embassy, and cast into prison at Ravenna where he died in 526.
Fifth Sunday of Easter
St. Bernardine of SienaSaint Bernardine was born at Massa Marittima in Tuscany in 1380. He entered the Friars Minor and, after being ordained to the priesthood, traveled throughout Italy preaching with great success. He increased devotion to the holy name of Jesus and fostered learning and discipline in his Order. He also wrote theological treatises. Saint Bernardine died at Aquila in 1444.
St. Christopher Magallanes and CompanionsSaint Christopher Magallanes was joined in martyrdom by twenty-one diocesan priests and three devout laymen, all members of the Cristeros movement, who rose up in rebellion against the anti-Catholic Mexican government during the 1920s. Having erected a seminary at Totatiche, he secretly spread the Gospel and ministered to the people. Captured by government authorities, he was heard to shout from his jail cell: “I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided Mexico.”
St. Rita of CasciaBorn in 1381 in the little town of Roccaporena, in the Province of Umbria, Italy, Saint Rita was married and raised two sons. After the violent murder of her husband, Saint Rita urged forgiveness in contrast to the customary vendetta of the day. She was, however, repeatedly denied entrance to the Augustinian nuns due to the constant threat of violent revenge by her husband’s relatives. Through her personal intercession a promise of forgiveness and peace was secured and she began forty years in prayer, contemplation and service to the sick and the poor. Toward the end of her life she received a wound from a thorn from the crown of thorns.
St. BedeSaint Bede was born in the neighborhood of the Wearmouth monastery in 673. He was trained by Saint Benedict Biscop and later entered the monastery. Ordained to the priesthood, he spent his ministry in teaching and writing. Saint Bede wrote theological and historical works in the patristic tradition and explained sacred Scripture. He died in 735.
St. Gregory VIIHildebrand was born in Tuscany about the year 1028. He was educated at Rome and entered the monastic life. He helped the popes of his time through many missions on behalf of Church reform, and in 1073 ascended to the chair of Saint Peter under the name of Gregory VII. Besieged by King Henry IV, he died a refugee at Salerno in 1085.
St. Mary Magdalene de PazziSaint Mary Magdalene was born at Florence in 1566 and after a religious upbringing she entered the Carmelites. She led a solitary life of prayer and self-denial, prayed fervently for Church reform and directed her fellow sisters on the road to perfection She was blessed by many gifts from God and died in 1607.
Sixth Sunday of Easter
St. Augustine of CanterburySaint Augustine was sent in 597 from Saint Andrew’s monastery in Rome by Saint Gregory the Great to preach the Gospel in England. He was aided there by King Ethelbert and chosen bishop of Canterbury. He converted many to the faith and established many dioceses, especially in the kingdom of Kent. He died on May 26, about the year 605.
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin MaryAfter Mary has learned from an angel that she will give birth to the Son of God and discovering that her older kinswoman Elizabeth is also with child, Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s voice the child, who is to become John the Baptist, the Lord’s forerunner, leaps for joy in his mother’s womb. It is on this occasion that Mary proclaims the “Magnificat,” in which she predicts, “From this day all generations will call me blessed; the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.”