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October 18 is the Feast of St. Luke, the Evangelist
Posted by Ian on 18 October 2016 05:48 AM

“St. Luke was a native of Syrian Antioch, a Disciple from amongst the Seventy, a companion of the holy Apostle Paul (Phil 1:24, 2 Tim 4:10-11), and a physician enlightened in the Greek medical arts. Hearing about Christ, St. Luke arrived in Palestine and here he fervently accepted the preaching of salvation from the Lord Himself. Included among the Seventy Disciples, St. Luke was sent by the Lord with the others for the first preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven while yet during the earthly life of the Savior (Lk 10:1-3).

Dear and Glorious Physician - A Novel About Saint Luke

After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saints Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus. The Disciple Luke took part in the second missionary journey of the Apostle Paul, and from that time they were inseparable. At a point when all his co-workers had left the Apostle Paul, the Disciple Luke stayed on with him to tackle all the toiling of pious deeds (2 Tim 4:10-11). After the martyr’s death of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul, St. Luke left Rome to preach in Achaeia, Libya, Egypt and the Thebaid. In the city of Thebes he finished his life in holy martyrdom.

St. Luke the Apostle Physician Large Sterling Silver Medal

Church tradition ascribes to him the writing of the first icons of the Mother of God. “Let the grace of He born of Me and My mercy be with these icons” — said the Blessed Virgin in beholding the icons. St. Luke wrote likewise icons of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul. His Gospel was written by St. Luke in the years 62-63 at Rome, under the guidance of the Apostle Paul. St. Luke in the preliminary verses (1:3) spells out exactly the aim of his work: he recorded in greater detail the chronological course of events in the framework of everything known by Christians about Jesus Christ and His teachings, and by doing so he provided a firmer historical basis of Christian hope (1:4). He carefully investigated the facts, and made generous use of the oral tradition of the Church and of what the Blessed Virgin Mary Herself had told him (2:19, 51).


In the theological content of the Gospel of Luke there stands out first of all the teaching about the universal salvation effected by the Lord Jesus Christ, and about the universal significance of the preaching of the Gospel. The holy disciple likewise wrote in the years 62-63 at Rome, the Book of the Acts of the Holy Apostles. The Acts, which is a continuation of the Four Gospels, speaks about the works and effects of the holy Apostles after the Ascension of the Savior.

St. Luke - Navarre Bible, Text and Commentaries

At the center of the narrative is the Council of the holy Apostles at Jerusalem (year 51 AD), a Church event of great critical significance, with a dogmatic basis for the distancing of Christianity from Judaism and its independent dispersion into the world (Acts 15:6-29). The theological objective of the Book of Acts is that of the Dispensation-Economy of the Holy Spirit, actualized in the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ, from the time of the Ascension and Pentecost to the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– from the Patron Saint Index and the Catholic Encyclopedia

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Our Lady of Ransom and the White Scapular
Posted by Ian on 24 September 2016 11:46 AM

What does it mean to ransom? To ransom is to obtain the release of a prisoner by payment of exchange. Applied to our faith, we read in 1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time”.. Overall, the understanding of this passage is that that the language of ‘payment’ and ‘ransom’ is metaphorical way of saying that Christ has done all things necessary to save and redeem mankind enslaved.

Keeping that in mind, the Feast of Our Lady of Ransom begins principally in the 13th century. At that time, vigorous slave trading existed in the Ottoman Empire, including Islamic Spain. Spanish Catholics would be captured and imprisoned, often subject to torture as a means to renounce their faith. One man named Peter Nolasco began to work to “ransom” these men through rescue or payment in 1203. He also appealed to the heavens for help as he labored for fifteen years with the daunting tasks of his endeavor.

The Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Ransom, appeared separately to Saint Peter Nolasco, his confessor Saint Raymond of Penafort, and King James I of Aragon all on the night of August 1, 1218. She urged for the creation of a religious order to carry out this task of perfect charity – helping the captives. The Order of Mercy (Mercedarians) was subsequently established by the King on August 10th. Their chief tasks included gathering alms for ransom, guarding the coasts against captors, and even giving themselves up in exchange for the release of others or dying for a Catholic in danger of losing his faith. Indeed, their Fourth vow in their Constitution – after poverty, chastity, and obedience – stated that Mercedarians were


“to visit and to free Christians who are in captivity and in power of the Saracens or of other enemies of our Law… By this work of mercy… all the brothers of this Order, as sons of true obedience, must always be gladly disposed to give up their lives, if it is necessary, as Jesus Christ gave up His for us”


The Mercedarian Order kept up their holy and pious work for years, celebrating its Feast Day on the first Sunday after August 1. It was later changed to September 24. The Order was formalized by Pope Gregory IX. Soon, the Feast Day spread to celebrations in Spain and France. Pope Innocent XII included the Feast for the entire Church in the liturgical calendar in the 17th century. It is estimated that during this time, nearly 500,000 were saved by ransom.

Scapular of Our Lady of Ransom / Mercy
Scapular of Our Lady of Ransom / Mercy

The fruits of sanctity from these acts of charity can be seen in the numerous documented martyrs from the Order of Mercy. Additionally, the Order can claim six Saints and one Blessed among its canon.

We can beseech Our Lady of Ransom today to aid the suffering of those still in captivity in other lands, as well as interceding for the end of slavery in the world in all forms – including the slavery of sin.


O God, who by means of the most glorious Mother of Thy Son

was pleased to give new children to Thy Church

for the deliverance of Christ’s faithful

from the power of the heathen; grant, we beseech Thee,

that we who love and honor her as the foundress of so great a work may,

by her merits and intercession,

be ourselves delivered from all sin

and from the bondage of the evil one.
Through the same Christ, our Lord.


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The Feast of the Golden-Mouthed Father of the Church
Posted by Ian on 13 September 2016 11:00 AM

“The greatest of the Greek Fathers, St. John Chrysostom, is remembered on September 13, a man celebrated for his preaching and his orthodoxy”

September 13 – St. John Chrysostom

September 13th is the feast day of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, Father of the Greek Church, and considered to be the greatest preacher ever heard. St. John was dubbed with the name “Chrysostom” some decades after his death, during the papacy of Pope Vigilius in year 553.

The term means “Golden Mouthed” and was applied to St. John because of his eloquence in giving homilies and writing letters. The Great Liturgy which he codified, and which is named after him, is still the primary Eucharistic Liturgy in both the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

The saint was born in Antioch; his father died when he was young and the boy was raised by a pious mother. He was well educated and studied under Libanius, considered one of the greatest orators of the time. Around the age of 20, after meeting the bishop Meletius, he began to move away from classical studies to study scripture. In a few years he was ordained a lector (in the Greek and other Eastern churches, a minor order preparatory to the diaconate) and after some time lived withdrawn in a cave near Antioch for 4 years. He then returned to Antioch because of his health, where he was in time, ordained a deacon, and later priest.

As a priest in Antioch, John’s chief task was preaching and his education had prepared him well for speaking. His homilies were always on point and explained scriptures with great clarity. He encouraged justice, prayer, fidelity in marriage, and charity, among other moral things. His preaching was so highly regarded that he was well-known not only in Antioch but in areas throughout the Byzantine empire. Upon the death of Nectarius, John was appointed bishop at Constantinople. He reformed Greek liturgy and preached, as he had as a priest, against extravagance. His homilies were upsetting to many nobles and bishops who succeeded in banishing him to Pythius; John died on his way there. He died in the year 407 and many of his homilies have been well preserved, their eloquence and truth as relevant today as ever. – Adapted from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia entry on St. John Chrysostom



Interested in Eastern Catholicism, or want to know more about this branch of the Catholic Church? Our Eastern Catholicism specialty page has links to resource sites about it, as well as all our Eastern Catholic related items such as icons, three bar crosses, and books on the subject. Visit the specialty page here.


Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own “to the end,” he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again:

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”

Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.” The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

-from the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1822-1825

Other Related Gifts

 St. Andrew/St. Olga Cross

Antique Bronze St. Andrew CrossAntique Bronze St. Andrew Cross
Church FathersChurch Fathers Saint John Chrysostom Silver Baby Badge   Saint John Chrysostom Baby Badge

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Let Us Pray

Dear Saint John, your oratorical gifts inspired thousands and earned you the name “golden-mouthed.” Continue to inspire Christians through your writings and grant us a rebirth of Christian preaching for the spiritual renewal of the Church. Obtain from God preachers like yourself who, animated by the Holy Spirit, deserve to be called other Christs and forcefully preach the Good News. Amen.

Saint John Chrysostom Quote

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St. Cloud – More Than Just the Name of a City in Minnesota.
Posted by Ian on 07 September 2016 06:00 AM

I noticed on Monday, looking at my Catholic wall calendar, that today (September 7) is the feast of St. Cloud. “St. Cloud” I wondered. Hmm. Was there ever such a person? He’s known as St. Clodoald in France.

Yes, he was a real man, and a real saint. Nope, not just the name of the city in Minnesota. Here’s a photo of the parish church in France which holds his relics:

Parish Church at St. Clodoald, France
Parish Church at St. Clodoald, France

Saint Clodoald (Cloud) is the most well-known saint among the princes of the royal family of the earliest French dynasty, the Merovingians (499-752). Born in 522, he was the son of Chlodomir, King of Orleans and eldest son of Clovis and Saint Clotilda. He was not yet three years old when his father was killed during a war. His grandmother, Saint Clotilda, brought him and his two brothers to Paris to be educated, and doted over them with loving care.

Their ambitious and sinister uncles, however, covetous of the kingdom of Orleans, murdered the youngest boys with their own hands. Clodoald alone was saved from the massacre. Later, renouncing the world, he privately consecrated himself to the service of God. After distributing to the poor what he could salvage of his heritage, he retired to a hermitage to be a disciple pf the holy recluse St. Severinus, who dwelt near the gates of Paris and who clothed him with the monastic habit. His uncles left him alone, seeing his final decision to live as a religious, and conceded certain heritages to him. When he became famous through an act of charity rewarded by a miracle, he withdrew secretly to Provence. There again, his hermitage was sought out by petitioners. He decided to return to Paris, where he was welcomed back with the great joy.

Saint Cloud

The people petitioned the bishop and Clodoald was ordained a priest in 551 by Eusebius, Bishop of Paris, and served the Church of that city for some time in the sacred ministry. Again he found himself held in great honor, so he retired to Nogent, a place now known as Saint Clodoald, several miles south of Paris, where he built a monastery. There he was joined by many pious men, who fled from the world for fear of losing their souls through it. Saint Clodoald was chosen by them to be their Superior, and he animated them to virtue both by word and example. He was tireless in instructing and exhorting the faithful of the surrounding area. He died at Nogent in 560, and the major part of his relics remain still in the parish church of the village (see pictures).

Commemoration of the holy confessor, St. Cloud – Collect for September 7:

O God, Who didst exalt Blessed Clodoald thy confessor, humbled for Thy sake in this world, both by raising him to the dignity of the priesthood and by enduring him with the splendor of many virtues: grant unto us, following his example, to do thee worthy service and, helped by his prayers, ever to grow in virtue and merit. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

St. Clodoald, pray for us and especially for all those who call upon you for aid.

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St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Church Doctor
Posted by kenneymg on 20 August 2016 05:02 AM

“You wish me to tell you why and how God should be loved. My answer is that God himself is the reason he is to be loved.”

(1090-1153) Born in France, Bernard was a Cistercian abbot and legendary speaker who fought for the peace and unity of the Church against schism. He wrote many treatises on the Blessed Virgin and Jesus Christ, as well as many works of theology and ascetism. His life manifested a profound recognition of the importance of obedience in one’s spiritual life.

Bernard’s spiritual writing as well as his extraordinary personal magnetism began to attract many to Clairvaux and the other Cistercian monasteries, leading to many new foundations. He was drawn into the controversy developing between the new monastic movement which he preeminently represented and the established Cluniac order, a branch of the Benedictines. This led to one of his most controversial and most popular works, his Apologia. Bernard’s dynamism soon reached far beyond monastic circles. He was sought as an advisor and mediator by the ruling powers of his age.

St. Bernard Of Clairvaux Ceramic Plaque

More than any other Bernard helped to bring about the healing of the papal schism which arose in 1130 with the election of the antipope Anacletus II. It cost Bernard eight years of laborious travel and skillful mediation. At the same time he labored for peace and reconciliation between England and France and among many lesser nobles. His influence mounted when his spiritual son was elected pope in 1145. At Eugene III’s command he preached the Second Crusade and sent vast armies on the road toward Jerusalem. In his last years he rose from his sickbed and went into the Rhineland to defend the Jews against a savage persecution.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux Large Sterling Silver Medal

Bernard died at Clairvaux on 20 August 1153. He was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. Pope Pius VII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1830.                                                                                                                        (

 You can learn more about the life of this extraordinary Saint, or purchase some of his writings here.

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