St. Crispin and St. Crispinian


St. Crispin and St. Crispinian

Feast date: Oct 25

Sts. Crispin and Crispinian were brothers. Together, they evangelized Gaul in the middle of the third century. Working from Soissons, they preached the streets by day and made shoes by night. Their charity, piety, and contempt of material things impressed the locals and many were converted to Christianity.

The brothers refused to yield to the persecutors of the Faith who wanted Crispin and Crispinian to apostatize. They were both beheaded in Rome ca. 286 A.D. They are the patrons of  cobblers, glove makers, lace makers, lace workers, leather workers, saddle makers, saddlers, shoemakers, tanners, and weavers.

A great church was built at Soissons in the 6th century in their honor.

Forty Martyrs of England and Wales


Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

Feast date: Oct 25

This feast, the feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, honors the hundreds of British men and women who died for their faith in wake of the dispute between the Pope and King Henry VIII during the 16th century. Many loyal Catholics were tortured and killed by the British state from 1535 to 1679.

In 1970, the Vatican selected 40 martyrs, men and women, lay and religious, to represent the full group of about 300. Each martyr has their own day of memorial, but they are all remembered as a group on October 25.

St. Anthony Claret


St. Anthony Claret

Feast date: Oct 24

Anthony Claret was born in Spain in 1807 and like his father, he was a weaver by trade. In his spare time, he studied Latin, and at the age of 22, he entered the seminary, and was ordained in 1835. He preached and worked in the missions for 10 years and then, in 1849, he founded the Claretians. Shortly thereafter, he was named Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. While he was archbishop, he successfully reformed the clergy and the laity. He returned to Spain to be Queen Isabella II’s confessor, to oversee his congregation, and to publish a few books.

In 1868, due to the Spanish Revolution, both Archbishop Claret and the queen were exiled. After Vatican I, the archbishop sought refuge at a Cistercian monastery in France, where he died in 1870. He was canonized in 1950.

St. John of Capistrano


St. John of Capistrano

Feast date: Oct 23

On Oct. 23, the Catholic Church celebrates the life of Saint John of Capistrano, a Franciscan priest whose life included a political career, extensive missionary journeys, efforts to reunite separated Eastern Christians with Rome and a historically important turn at military leadership.

Invoked as a patron of military chaplains, St. John of Capistrano was praised by St. John Paul II in a 2002 general audience for his “glorious evangelical witness,” as a priest who “gave himself with great generosity for the salvation of souls.”

Born in Italy during 1385, John lost his father – a French or possibly German knight who had settled in Capistrano – at a young age. John’s mother took care to have him educated, and after learning Latin he went to study both civil law and Church law in Perugia. An outstanding student, he soon became a prominent public figure and was appointed governor of the city at age 26.

John showed high standards of integrity in his civic career, and in 1416 he labored to end a war that had erupted between Perugia and the prominent House of Malatesta. But when the nobles had John imprisoned, he began to question his life’s direction. Encountering Saint Francis of Assisi in a dream, he resolved to embrace poverty, chastity, and obedience with the Franciscans.

Abandoning his possessions and social status, John joined the religious order in October 1416. He found a mentor in Saint Bernardine of Siena, known for his bold preaching and his method of prayer focused on the invocation of the name of Jesus. Taking after his teacher in these respects, John began preaching as a deacon in 1420, and was ordained a priest in 1425.

John successfully defended his mentor from a charge of heresy made against his way of devotion, though he found less success in his efforts to resolve internal controversy among the followers of St. Francis. A succession of popes entrusted important matters to John, including the effort to reunite Eastern and Western Christendom at the Ecumenical Council of Florence.

Drawing immense crowds in his missionary travels throughout Italy, John also found success as a preacher in Central Europe, where he opposed the Hussites’ error regarding the nature and administration of the Eucharist. After Constantinople fell to Turkish invaders in 1453, Pope Nicholas V sent John on a mission to rally other European leaders in defense of their lands.

Nicholas’ successor Pope Callixtus III was even more eager to see the Christian world defend itself against the invading forces. When the Sultan Mehmet II sought to extend his territorial gains into Serbia and Hungary, John joined the celebrated general Janos Hunyadi in his defense of Belgrade. The priest personally led a section of the army in its historic victory on Aug. 6, 1456.

Neither John nor the general, however, would survive long past the battle.

Weakened by the campaign against the Turks, Hunyadi became sick and died soon after the victory at Belgrade. John survived to preach Janos Hunyadi’s funeral sermon; but his own extraordinary life came to an end after a painful illness, on Oct. 23, 1456. St. John of Capistrano was canonized in 1724.

Pope Saint John Paul II


Pope Saint John Paul II

Feast date: Oct 22

Saint John Paul II is perhaps one of the most well-known pontiffs in recent history, and is most remembered for his charismatic nature, his love of youth and his world travels, along with his role in the fall of communism in Europe during his 27-year papacy.

Karol Józef Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in the Polish town of Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometers from Krakow, on May 18, 1920. He was the youngest of three children born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941. A sister, Olga, had died before he was born.

He was baptized on June 20, 1920 in the parish church of Wadowice by Fr. Franciszek Zak, made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18. Upon graduation from Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Krakow’s Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.

The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Krakow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Krakow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyla was one of the pioneers of the “Rhapsodic Theatre,” also clandestine.

After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Krakow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Sapieha in Krakow on November 1, 1946.

Shortly afterwards, Cardinal Sapieha sent him to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange. He finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the subject of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross (Doctrina de fide apud Sanctum Ioannem a Cruce). At that time, during his vacations, he exercised his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland.

In 1948 he returned to Poland and was vicar of various parishes in Krakow as well as chaplain to university students. This period lasted until 1951 when he again took up his studies in philosophy and theology. In 1953 he defended a thesis on “evaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of Max Scheler” at Lublin Catholic University. Later he became professor of moral theology and social ethics in the major seminary of Krakow and in the Faculty of Theology of Lublin.

On July 4, 1958, he was appointed titular bishop of Ombi and auxiliary of Krakow by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated September 28, 1958, in Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, by Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak.

On January 13, 1964, he was appointed archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal June 26, 1967 with the title of S. Cesareo in Palatio of the order of deacons, later elevated pro illa vice to the order of priests.

Besides taking part in Vatican Council II (1962-1965) where he made an important contribution to drafting the Constitution Gaudium et spes, Cardinal Wojtyla participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

The Cardinals elected him Pope at the Conclave of 16 October 1978, and he took the name of John Paul II. On 22 October, the Lord’s Day, he solemnly inaugurated his Petrine ministry as the 263rd successor to the Apostle. His pontificate, one of the longest in the history of the Church, lasted nearly 27 years.

Driven by his pastoral solicitude for all Churches and by a sense of openness and charity to the entire human race, John Paul II exercised the Petrine ministry with a tireless missionary spirit, dedicating it all his energy. He made 104 pastoral visits outside Italy and 146 within Italy. As bishop of Rome he visited 317 of the city’s 333 parishes.

He had more meetings than any of his predecessors with the People of God and the leaders of Nations. More than 17,600,000 pilgrims participated in the General Audiences held on Wednesdays (more than 1160), not counting other special audiences and religious ceremonies [more than 8 million pilgrims during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone], and the millions of faithful he met during pastoral visits in Italy and throughout the world. We must also remember the numerous government personalities he encountered during 38 official visits, 738 audiences and meetings held with Heads of State, and 246 audiences and meetings with Prime Ministers.

His love for young people brought him to establish the World Youth Days. The 19 WYDs celebrated during his pontificate brought together millions of young people from all over the world. At the same time his care for the family was expressed in the World Meetings of Families, which he initiated in 1994.

John Paul II successfully encouraged dialogue with the Jews and with the representatives of other religions, whom he several times invited to prayer meetings for peace, especially in Assisi.

Under his guidance the Church prepared herself for the third millennium and celebrated the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 in accordance with the instructions given in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio adveniente. The Church then faced the new epoch, receiving his instructions in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, in which he indicated to the faithful their future path.

With the Year of the Redemption, the Marian Year and the Year of the Eucharist, he promoted the spiritual renewal of the Church.

He gave an extraordinary impetus to Canonizations and Beatifications, focusing on countless examples of holiness as an incentive for the people of our time. He celebrated 147 beatification ceremonies during which he proclaimed 1,338 Blesseds; and 51 canonizations for a total of 482 saints. He made Thérèse of the Child Jesus a Doctor of the Church.

He considerably expanded the College of Cardinals, creating 231 Cardinals (plus one in pectore) in 9 consistories. He also called six full meetings of the College of Cardinals.

He organized 15 Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops – six Ordinary General Assemblies (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994 and 2001), one Extraordinary General Assembly (1985) and eight Special Assemblies (1980,1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 (2) and 1999).

His most important Documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, 45 Apostolic Letters.

He promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the light of Tradition as authoritatively interpreted by the Second Vatican Council. He also reformed the Eastern and Western Codes of Canon Law, created new Institutions and reorganized the Roman Curia.

As a private Doctor he also published five books of his own: “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” (October 1994), “Gift and Mystery, on the fiftieth anniversary of my ordination as priest” (November 1996), “Roman Triptych” poetic meditations (March 2003), “Arise, Let us Be Going” (May 2004) and “Memory and Identity” (February 2005).

In the light of Christ risen from the dead, on 2 April a.D. 2005, at 9.37 p.m., while Saturday was drawing to a close and the Lord’s Day was already beginning, the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church’s beloved Pastor, John Paul II, departed this world for the Father.

From that evening until April 8, date of the funeral of the late Pontiff, more than three million pilgrims came to Rome to pay homage to the mortal remains of the Pope. Some of them queued up to 24 hours to enter St. Peter’s Basilica.

On April 28, the Holy Father Benedict XVI announced that the normal five-year waiting period before beginning the cause of beatification and canonization would be waived for John Paul II. The cause was officially opened by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, on June 28 2005, and he was beatified May 1, 2011.

On April 27 , 2014 he was canonized by Pope Francis during a ceremony in St. Peter’s Square.

In an April 24 message sent to the Church in Poland, Pope Francis gave thanks for the great “gift” of the new Saint, saying of John Paul II that he is grateful, “as all the members of the people of God, for his untiring service, his spiritual guidance, and for his extraordinary testimony of holiness.”

St. Ursula and the Virgins of Cologne


St. Ursula and the Virgins of Cologne

Feast date: Oct 21

In the fourth century the pagan Saxons began to invade England, intent on destroying the Catholic Faith and violating the purity of all young English virgins. It was in the midst of this that a group of remarkable English girls fled from England to the Continent. This group included Saint Ursula and ten of her friends, each having a thousand companions, making their number 11,011 in all. However, in the year 383 Saint Ursula and her 11,010 companions were all found slaughtered for their purity and their Faith.

This great martyrdom occurred in Cologne, at Germany, and a shrine has been erected to them there, containing as may of their bones as could be rescued.  A Religious Order of nuns in the Catholic Church was established by Saint Angela Merici in honor of Saint Ursula in the year 1535. They are known as the Ursulines.

The Order of Ursulines, founded in 1535 by St. Angela de Merici, which is especially devoted to the education of young girls, has also helped to spread throughout the world the name and the cult of St. Ursula.

Saint Ursula is the patroness of Catholic education (especially of girls), Cologne, Germany, educators, holy death, schoolchildren, students, and teachers. She is often represented in art and icons as a maiden shot with arrows, with a clock, and is often accompanied by a number of other companions who are being martyred in assorted, often creative ways.

Blessed Charles of Austria


Blessed Charles of Austria

Feast date: Oct 21

Charles was born in 1887 in Lower Austria to Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josephine of Saxony. He grew up in a Catholic family, received a solid Catholic education, and developed a strong devotion to both the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As a young man he took for his personal motto: “I strive always in all things to understand as clearly as possible and follow the will of God, and this in the most perfect way.” In 1911, at age 24, he married Princess Zita of Bourbon and Parma, and together they had eight children.

The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 triggered World War I. At this point, Charles became the presumptive heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Two years later, upon the death of his great-uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph, Charles became emperor and king of Hungary. He saw his office as a mandate from God and as a way to implement Christian charity and social reform.

He worked to end the war and was the only leader to support Pope Benedict XV’s efforts for peace. In March 1919, he was exiled to Switzerland. From there, he tried to prevent the rise of Communism in Central Europe. He also tried to return to power twice in 1921, but gave up at the risk of a civil war. He never gave up his crown, even when exiled to the island of Madeira, Portugal, where he lived in prayerful poverty until his death from pneumonia one year later.

Charles was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004.

St. Irene


St. Irene

Feast date: Oct 20

St. Irene was a Portuguese nun who was martyred in defense of her chastity in the year 653. Saint Irene’s body was miraculously recovered after being thrown into the river.

She was canonized as a Catholic saint because of the great amount of miracles that occured at her tomb.

Her shrine, the “Santarem,” has played a key role for the great quality and beauty of the Catholic Faith that the Portuguese people have lived, even until today.

Join our mailing list!





Stay up-to-date with everything happening in the parish by joining our Flocknote mailing list.