Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Am 6:1a, 4-7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
 Woe to the complacent in Zion!
 Lying upon beds of ivory,
 stretched comfortably on their couches,
 they eat lambs taken from the flock,
 and calves from the stall!
 Improvising to the music of the harp,
 like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
 They drink wine from bowls
 and anoint themselves with the best oils;
 yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
 Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
 and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed is he who keeps faith forever,
 secures justice for the oppressed,
 gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
 the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
 the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
 but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
 your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Tm 6:11-16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see.
To him be honor and eternal power.  Amen.

Alleluia Cf. 2 Cor 8:9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied,
‘My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Storing Treasure in Heaven / Ahorrando el Tesoro en el Cielo

“Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”

Particularly in this generation’s society, we tend to center ourselves around instant gratification. Tempted by the allure of the newest modern trends that money can buy us on Amazon with a  click of the mouse. Yet most are afraid or ignorant of what to expect after death. Today’s reading advises us of the Heavenly treasures that we can expect only if we are not first distracted by false riches we may be exposed to here on Earth. Food, material possessions and earthly comforts are temporary, whereas reliance on Christ provides for eternal salvation. Those who by worldly standards are considered first today will be last tomorrow in Christ’s second coming. 

As Christians, we must ask ourselves if we take the time to tend to those most in need. We must live in service to each other. This entails not only almsgiving to the poor, but counseling spiritually to those dearest in our lives: our family and loved ones. We are to care for others just as God cares for us. 

1 Timothy states that there are specific virtues as a man of God one must strive for: righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. “Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life.” We must recall the big picture, that as Christians we have the blessing to spend eternity in the presence of God’s great love, if we so choose to emulate that love in the short time we have here on Earth. This is best demonstrated by the love Christ displays for us, poor sinners, by dying on the cross. Instead of seeking comfort and security we are called to depend on God always, following His example of love.

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“Jesucristo, siendo rico, se hizo pobre, para enriquecernos con su pobreza.”

Particularmente en la sociedad de esta generación, tendemos a centrarnos en la gratificación instantánea. Tentado por el encanto de las últimas tendencias modernas que el dinero puede comprarnos en Amazon con un clic del mouse. Sin embargo, la mayoría tiene miedo o ignora qué esperan después de la muerte. La lectura de hoy nos informa sobre los tesoros celestiales que podemos esperar solo si no nos distraen primero las falsas riquezas a las que podemos estar expuestos aquí en la tierra. La comida, las posesiones materiales y las comodidades terrenales son temporales, mientras que la confianza en Cristo proporciona la salvación eterna. Aquellos que según los estándares mundanos son considerados los primeros hoy, serán los últimos mañana en la segunda venida de Cristo.

Como cristianos, debemos preguntarnos si nos tomamos el tiempo para atender a los más necesitados. Debemos vivir al servicio de los demás. Esto implica no solo dar limosna a los pobres, sino aconsejar espiritualmente a los más queridos en nuestras vidas: nuestra familia y seres queridos. Debemos cuidar a los demás tal como Dios se preocupa por nosotros.

1 Timoteo declara que hay virtudes específicas por las que uno debe esforzarse como hombre de Dios: justicia, devoción, fe, amor, paciencia y mansedumbre. “Lucha en el noble combate de la fe, conquista la vida eterna”. Debemos recordar el panorama general, que como cristianos tenemos la bendición de pasar la eternidad en la presencia del gran amor de Dios, si así elegimos emular ese amor en el poco tiempo que tenemos aquí en la tierra. Esto se demuestra mejor por el amor que Cristo muestra por nosotros, pobres pecadores, al morir en la cruz. En lugar de buscar consuelo y seguridad, estamos llamados a depender siempre de Dios, siguiendo su ejemplo de amor.

Comunicarse con la autora

Dr. Alexis Dallara-Marsh is a board-certified neurologist who practices in Bergen County, NJ. She is a wife to her best friend, Akeem, and a mother of two little ones on Earth and two others in heaven above.

Feature Image Credit: Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells, unsplash.com/photos/kSY5T6js2KE

St. Hermann Contractus


St. Hermann Contractus

Feast date: Sep 25

Born February 18, 1013, at Altshausen (Swabia), St. Hermann Contractus was born crippled and unable to move without assistance.  It was an immense difficulty for him to learn to read and write, however he persisted and his iron will and remarkable intelligence were soon manifested.

 

Upon discovering the brilliance of his son’s mind, his father, Count Wolverad II, sent him at the age of seven to live with the Benedictine monks on the island of Reichenau in Southern Germany.

 

He lived his entire life on the island, taking his monastic vows in 1043.

 

Students from all over Europe flocked to the monastery on the island to learn from him, yet he was equally as famous for his monastic virtues and sanctity.

 

Hermann chronicled the first thousand years of Christianity, was a mathematician, an astronomer, and a poet and was also the composer of the Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater – both hymns to the Virgin Mary.

 

He died on the island on September 21, 1054.

Saturday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 ECCL 11:9—12:8

Rejoice, O young man, while you are young 
and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart,
the vision of your eyes;
Yet understand that as regards all this
God will bring you to judgment.
Ward off grief from your heart
and put away trouble from your presence,
though the dawn of youth is fleeting.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the evil days come
And the years approach of which you will say,
I have no pleasure in them;
Before the sun is darkened,
and the light, and the moon, and the stars,
while the clouds return after the rain;
When the guardians of the house tremble,
and the strong men are bent,
And the grinders are idle because they are few,
and they who look through the windows grow blind;
When the doors to the street are shut,
and the sound of the mill is low;
When one waits for the chirp of a bird,
but all the daughters of song are suppressed;
And one fears heights,
and perils in the street;
When the almond tree blooms,
and the locust grows sluggish
and the caper berry is without effect,
Because man goes to his lasting home,
and mourners go about the streets;
Before the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken,
And the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the broken pulley falls into the well,
And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the life breath returns to God who gave it.

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
all things are vanity!

Responsorial Psalm PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight 
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

 

 

Alleluia 2 TIMOTHY 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Christ Jesus destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 9:43B-45

While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” 
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

In Every Age, O Lord / Por Todas las Edades, Señor

We have officially started fall, one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cooler weather, the need for a sweater in the mornings and the evenings. I am a teacher so it is a time of getting back into routine and nurturing our school community. 

But today’s reading from Ecclesiastes doesn’t pull any punches. The things of earth are temporary. Whether we are young and full of vigor or getting on in years and wondering where our energy has gone, (Did I really argue with my Mom about going to bed at 9 pm?) we are only passing through a season of life. We need only look at the changing leaves to remember that seasons change. 

When we build our lives on the things of this world, we become dependent on consistency, on a desire to control the sameness in our life. It gives us a sense of power and control. A sense of control that is an illusion.

Today’s readings offer us the opportunity to pause and reflect. We are reminded that what is happening around us is just a season and it will change. Our emotions and reactions to the world are fickle but God is not. When we can accept the seasons with grace and the confidence that “God’s got this”, we can say with the Psalmist, “In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.” 

Regardless of what personal season you are experiencing today, take a moment to take refuge in God. The peace and love found there doesn’t change with the seasons. 

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Hemos comenzado oficialmente el otoño, una de mis temporadas favoritas. Me encanta el clima más fresco, la necesidad de ponerme un suéter por la mañana y por la noche. Soy maestra, y es un momento para volver a la rutina y nutrir a nuestra comunidad escolar.

Pero la lectura de hoy de Eclesiastés no llama mucho la atención. Las cosas de la tierra son temporales. Ya sea que seamos jóvenes y llenos de vigor o que estemos ya avanzados de edad y nos preguntemos dónde se ha ido nuestra energía (¿De verdad discutía con mi mamá acerca de irme a la cama a las 9:00pm?), solo estamos pasando por una temporada de la vida. Solo tenemos que mirar las hojas secas para recordar que las temporadas cambian.

Cuando construimos nuestras vidas sobre las cosas de este mundo, nos volvemos dependientes de la coherencia, del deseo de controlar la igualdad en nuestra vida. Nos da una sensación de poder y control, una sensación de control que es una ilusión.

Las lecturas de hoy nos ofrecen la oportunidad de pausar y reflexionar. Se nos recuerda que lo que sucede a nuestro alrededor es solo una temporada y cambiará. Nuestras emociones y reacciones al mundo son volubles, pero Dios no lo es. Cuando podemos aceptar las estaciones con gracia y la confianza de que “Dios tiene esto”, podemos decir con el salmista: “Tu eres, Señor, nuestro refugio” por todas las edades.

Independientemente de la temporada personal que estés experimentando hoy, tómate un momento para refugiarte en Dios. La paz y el amor que se encuentran allí no cambian con las temporadas.

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Sheryl is happy to be the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever and Lucy, our not-so-little rescue puppy. 

Feature Image Credit: Chris Lawton, unsplash.com/photos/5IHz5WhosQE

Blessed Anton Martin Slomshek


Blessed Anton Martin Slomshek

Feast date: Sep 24

Anton Martin Slomshek who was born November 26, 1800 at Ponikva, Slovenia is the first Slovenian to be beatified.

 

Slomshek is known as a great educator, largely responsible for the nearly 100% literacy rate among Slovenians, a remarkable turn around from the very poor state of the nation’s educational levels at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

 

In the late 18th and early 19th century, the Slovenian education system had been crippled by the Austrian empire’s suppression of their native language and culture. This left them without their own schools, texts and magazines and newspapers.

 

As bishop, Anton Martin Slomshek reformed the schools in Slovenia, and rebuilt the education system, giving it Catholicism and Slovene history as a foundation.  He wrote many textbooks, began a weekly review, and wrote many books and essays concerning whatever questions he considered relevant to the intellectual needs of his people.

 

He founded a society for the spread of Catholic literature, an organization responsible in large part for making possible the rejuvenation of the Catholic cultural base of the Slovenian nation.

 

He was known as a simple and humble man, possessed with a childlike purity, and was loved by his priests and his flock.

 

Blessed Anton once remarked, “When I was born, my mother laid me on a bed of straw, and I desire no better pallet when I die, asking only to be in the state of grace and worthy of salvation.”

 

Blessed Anton died September 24, 1862 in Maribor, Slovenia and was beatified September 19, 1999 by Pope John Paul II.

Encanto Family Movie Night!

Thank you to everyone that registered for the Encanto Family Movie Night! We are going to have a PACKED house! See you there from 5:30-8pm in the Parish Hall! Attached below are the calendars for the 3 High School programs!  …

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest

Reading 1 ECCL 3:1-11

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task that God has appointed
for the sons of men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time,
and has put the timeless into their hearts,
without man’s ever discovering,
from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

Responsorial Psalm PS 144:1B AND 2ABC, 3-4

R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
my mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
LORD, what is man, that you notice him;
the son of man, that you take thought of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days, like a passing shadow.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

 

 

Alleluia MK 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
 

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

But Who Do You Say That I Am? / Y Ustedes, ¿Quién Dicen Que Soy Yo?

Jesus was “praying in solitude” but the “disciples were with him.” This draws an interesting picture and an insight into Jesus’ Heart. He is alone but not alone. He needs to pray to the Father in solitude. It is this connection with the Father that keeps him focused on his mission. It is this lifting up of his human heart to the Father that allows him to know and do the Father’s will, which is his very “bread,” as he says elsewhere (Jn 4:34).

But he cannot always get away from everyone in order to be physically alone, so sometimes the disciples were able to observe him praying (which is why we know it happened). What must this have looked like? And what must the Apostles have thought when he looks at them immediately after this prayer and asks them two questions that he asks us as well: Who do others say that I am? But who do YOU say that I am?

Much has been said about Jesus in the 2000 years since he was crucified and rose from the dead. Some of it has drawn us to appreciate the magnificence of his preaching, the generosity of his life, the humility of his demeanor, or the prodigal love of his Heart. Some of it has focused on chipping away at the veracity of the Gospels, suggesting they are mythologized tales intended simply to encapsulate a universal truth. Some of it has been written to draw us into greater devotion to aspects of Jesus’ life and mission and to surrender our own lives to him.

These are things that others say about who Jesus is.

The pivotal question is: What is TRUE about Jesus? The next immediate question is whether we profess that truth about Jesus fully in our hearts and minds and lives.

We can take the answer of Peter – “the Christ of God” – but we must make sure we also accept all that the answer implies. If Jesus IS the Anointed One of God, then we must also profess Him to be the Master, the Light of the world, the Good Shepherd and the Gate, the True Vine, the Way and the Truth and the Life, the Lord of the Universe, the Source of all Holiness, the Redeemer of all Mankind, Incarnate Love, God the Son, the Living Bread come down from Heaven, Fulfillment of every prophesy, the One by Whose stripes we are healed, the Crucified One, the Pierced One, the Risen One, the Bridegroom of the Church, the Eternal High Priest, the Just Judge, the One Who Makes All Things New, and more.  

And if Jesus is all these things and more (and he is, and you surely believe it to be true because you are reading this), then what is our right and just response?

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Jesús estaba “orando en soledad” pero los “discípulos estaban con él”. Esto dibuja una imagen interesante y una visión del Corazón de Jesús. Está solo pero no solo. Necesita orar al Padre en soledad. Esta conexión con el Padre es lo que lo mantiene enfocado en su misión. Esta elevación de su corazón humano al Padre es lo que le permite conocer y hacer la voluntad del Padre, que es su mismo “pan”, como dice en otro lugar (Jn 4,34).

Pero no siempre puede alejarse de todos para estar físicamente solo, por lo que a veces los discípulos pudieron observarlo orar (por eso sabemos que sucedió). ¿Cómo debe haber sido esto? Y qué habrán pensado los Apóstoles cuando les mira inmediatamente después de esta oración y les hace dos preguntas que también nos hace a nosotros: ¿Quién dice la gente que soy yo? Y USTEDES, ¿quién dicen que soy yo?

Mucho se ha dicho acerca de Jesús durante los 2000 años desde que fue crucificado y resucitó de entre los muertos. Algo de ello nos ha llevado a apreciar la magnificencia de su predicación, la generosidad de su vida, la humildad de su conducta o el amor pródigo de su Corazón. Parte de él se ha centrado en socavar la veracidad de los Evangelios, lo que sugiere que son cuentos mitificados destinados simplemente a encapsular una verdad universal. Parte de él ha sido escrito para llevarnos a una mayor devoción a aspectos de la vida y misión de Jesús y para entregarle nuestras propias vidas.

Estas son cosas que otros dicen acerca de quién es Jesús.

La pregunta fundamental es: ¿Qué es VERDADERO acerca de Jesús? La siguiente pregunta inmediata es si profesamos esa verdad acerca de Jesús plenamente en nuestros corazones, mentes y vidas.

Podemos tomar la respuesta de Pedro – “el Cristo de Dios” – pero debemos asegurarnos de que también aceptamos todo lo que implica la respuesta. Si Jesús ES el Ungido de Dios, entonces también debemos profesarlo como el Maestro, la Luz del mundo, el Buen Pastor y la Puerta, la Vid Verdadera, el Camino y la Verdad y la Vida, el Señor del Universo, Fuente de toda Santidad, Redentor de toda la Humanidad, Amor Encarnado, Dios Hijo, Pan Vivo bajado del Cielo, Cumplimiento de todas las profecías, Aquel por cuyas llagas somos curados, el Crucificado, el Traspasado, el Resucitado, el Esposo de la Iglesia, el Eterno Sumo Sacerdote, el Juez Justo, el que hace nueva todas las cosas, y más.

Y si Jesús es todas estas cosas y más (y lo es, y seguramente crees que es verdad porque estás leyendo esto), entonces, ¿cuál es nuestra respuesta correcta y justa?

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com

Feature Image Credit: Cande Sosa, cathopic.com/photo/15304-invocacion-de-los-santos

St. Pio of Pietrelcina


St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Feast date: Sep 23

On Sept. 23, the Catholic Church remembers the Italian Franciscan priest St. Pio of Petrelcina, better known as “Padre Pio” and known for his suffering, humility and miracles.

The man later known by these names was originally named Francesco Forgione, born to his parents Grazio and Maria in 1887. His parents had seven children, two of whom died in infancy. They taught the five surviving children to live their faith through daily Mass, family prayer of the rosary, and regular acts of penance.

Francesco had already decided at a young age to dedicate his entire life to God. At age 10, he felt inspired by the example of a young Capuchin Franciscan, and told his parents: “I want to be a friar – with a beard.” Francesco’s father spent time in America, working to finance his son’s education so he could enter the religious life.

On Jan. 22, 1903, Francesco donned the Franciscan habit for the first time. He took the new name Pio, a modernized Italian form of “Pius,” in honor of Pope St. Pius V. He made his solemn vows four years later, and received priestly ordination in the summer of 1910. Shortly after, he first received the Stigmata – Christ’s wounds, present in his own flesh.

Along with these mystical but real wounds, Padre Pio also suffered health problems that forced him to live apart from his Franciscan community for the first six years of his priesthood. By 1916 he managed to re-enter community life at the Friary of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he lived until his death. He handled many duties as a spiritual director and teacher, covering for brothers drafted into World War I.

During 1917 and 1918, Padre Pio himself briefly served in a medical unit of the Italian army. He later offered himself as a spiritual “victim” for an end to the war, accepting suffering as a form of prayer for peace. Once again, he received the wounds of Christ on his body. They would remain with him for 50 years, through a succession of global conflicts.

Against his own wishes, the friar’s reputation for holiness, and attending miracles, began to attract huge crowds. Some Church officials, however, denounced the priest and had him banned from public ministry in 1931. Pope Pius XI ended the ban two years later, and his successor Pius XII encouraged pilgrimages to Padre Pio’s friary.

Known for patient suffering, fervent prayer, and compassionate spiritual guidance, Padre Pio also lent his efforts to the establishment of a major hospital, the “Home to Relieve Suffering.”

Padre Pio died in 1968, and was declared a saint in 2002. Three years after his death, Pope Paul VI marveled at his simple and holy life in an address to the Capuchin Order.

“A worldwide following gathered around him … because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk and was – it is not easy to say it – one who bore the wounds of our Lord,” Pope Paul explained. “He was a man of prayer and suffering.”