Browsing Pastor's Notes

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Liturgical Calendar of the Catholic Church is generally full of different feast days for different saints. Last week and this have some very well-known and important ones. At some point, they are all important – for every soul, every person, every life is important, whether canonized or not. Sanctity and saintliness are part of the universal (i.e. “catholic”) call to holiness. God has created each of us for nothing less than Himself eternally in heaven.

While many of the saints are known for amazing outward ministry to the poor, others for deep interior prayer lives, yet all Saints loved Jesus Christ. All of them placed Christ in the Mass at the center of their lives. Eucharistic love of each and every saint.

St John Vianney, the first pictured above whose feast day was Aug 4, often lived for days on little more than the Eucharist. He spent hours in the Confessional helping people experience the healing grace of God’s mercy and so be in the state of Grace to receive the Eucharist worthily and well. He preached firmly about worldly living but did so that all might know the goodness of the promise of heaven. He was not the most educated priest, nor the best preacher, nor any grand administrator. But he loved Jesus deeply in the Eucharist, in prayer, in penitential practice – and that conformed him to Christ.

St Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order of Preachers, was a very learned man. Wise, educated, and exceptional preacher of the Gospel. The Rosary as we have it is often attributed to him, as a particular gift and devotion given him by Mother Mary herself. His feast day is Aug 8. He realized like so many, that Mary was the New Ark of the Covenant – containing not manna, but the Bread of Heaven come down to remain in her immaculate womb. Dominic knew Mary as a living Tabernacle, pondering the deep mysteries of Christ in her heart. Dominic did the same and helped many to know our Jesus.

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross has her feast day on Aug 9. She was born Edith Stein to Jewish parents and was a noted Philosopher. Baptized after reading the writings of St Teresa of Avila, Edith join the Discalced Carmelites in Cologne, Germany. With the outbreak of World War II, she was transferred to a convent in Holland in an effort to shield her from Nazi persecution. St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was later martyred in Auschwitz in union with her people. She knew fully the value of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ that enabled her to likewise lay down her life.

St Lawrence was a deacon in Rome in the 3rd century. His feast day is Aug 10. He was burned alive on a gridiron after presenting the poor to the Roman governor as the “true riches of the Church”. He is also shown holding a loaf of bread, which like the Eucharist, he helped distribute to the poor in body and spirit.

St Clare of Assisi drove off invaders of the town by confronting them with the Eucharist in a Monstrance. That is faith – to face down enraged armed soldiers with nothing more than the True Presence of Christ. St Clare was utterly poor in worldly things, but rich in what mattered most! We celebrate her feast on Aug 11.

As we move into the fall with new school life, faith formation, spiritual opportunities resuming in earnest, I invite you to think more on the Saints. Each of them is unique, and each uniquely pointed others to Christ. That is equally our call in this life. And it all becomes more possible to the extent that we encounter Christ, especially in the Eucharist through Mass and Adoration. The Lord longs to speak to you through the Scriptures; He longs all the more to encounter you in the Eucharist.


+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +

Holy Family, Saintly Father, Blessed Mother, Divine Son, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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