Category Archives: Holy List

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

On September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. This comes a day before the 19th anniversary of her death. The canonization mass which was led by Pope Francis was held at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

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The Early Years

Saint Teresa of Calcutta was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on 26 August 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, to Albanian heritage. Her family is devoutly Catholic. She clarified the common confusion about her nationality and faith as follows:

“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”

She left home in September 1928 to be admitted as a postulant at the Loreto Convent in Rathfarnam (Dublin), Ireland. She was given the name Teresa after her patroness, St, Therese of Lisieux.  She was sent to Calcutta, India on January 6, 1929 where she joined the  Loreto novitiate in Darjeeling. She became known as Mother Teresa when she made her final profession as a Loreto nun on May 24, 1937.

Mother Teresa’s Charity Works

Mother Teresa was said to have received a “call within a call”. Aside from answering the call to become a nun, she shared that she received another call from Jesus Christ. This second call resulted to the formation of the Missionaries of Charity family of Sisters, Brothers, Fathers, and Co-Workers. It eventually became a congregation known as the Missionaries of Charity. Its aim and mission in her own words sums up its reason for being which is  “to quench the infinite thirst of Jesus on the cross for love and souls by labouring at the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor.”

The works of the congregation were expanded throughout the globe.  Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 in recognition of her work. She continued traveling all over the world to bring her works of charity in spite of failing health.

Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta in July 1997 very weak. She died on September 5, 1997 at the Motherhouse. She was accorded a state funeral on September 13, which was attended by world leaders or their special envoys.

The Road to Sainthood

The first recognized miracle attributed to Mother Teresa involved an Indian woman named Monica Besra, who said she was cured of an abdominal tumor through Mother Teresa’s intercession on the one year anniversary of her death in 1998. This was in the year 2002. Her beatification ceremony as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was led by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.  The publication of her private correspondence which showed among others a letter displaying a sense of despair in relation to her faith made Mother Teresa a figure which ordinary people can relate to.

Pope Francis issued a decree in December 17, 2015 recognizing the second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa. It involved the healing of Marcilio Andrino, a Brazilian man who was diagnosed with a viral brain infection and lapsed into a coma. His wife  and family who prayed to Mother Teresa, said that he woke up after an emergency surgery without pain and cured of his symptoms.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta will always be remembered as one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century because of her unwavering commitment in aiding those who are most in need.

Source: http://www.catholic.org/clife/teresa/

 

Saint John Bosco

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Beginnings

Saint John Bosco , more popularly known as Don Bosco, was born on  16 August 1815 at
Castelnuovo d’Asti, Piedmont, Kingdom of Sardinia. He was the youngest son of Francesco Bosco and  Margherita Occhiena,  farmhands of the Moglian Family. He had two brothers named  Antonio and Giuseppe. His family lived during a time of great shortage and thus were no strangers to poverty.

Obstacle

Poverty was the main deterrent to his schooling plans especially since he had to work in a farm like all the members of his family. Priesthood was a long shot then as it was considered apt for the privileged class. He eventually got his chance when he met Joseph Cafasso, a young priest who sponsored his schooling. After several years, he entered the seminary and was ordained a priest after 6 years of study.

Dream

The direction he took was partly influenced by a series of dreams he had when he was young where he saw a multitude of poor boys playing and blaspheming and a nobly attired man saying to him “You will have to win these friends of yours not with blows, but with gentleness and kindness. So begin right now to show them that sin is ugly and virtue beautiful.” During his early priesthood, he visited prisons and was deeply disturbed when he saw young boys aged 12-18 there. He was determined to find a way to prevent this from happening.

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Congregation

Don Bosco eventually established the Oratorio where he tried to help young boys in need find shelter, employment, and spiritual guidance. This led to continuous work towards providing assistance to abandoned boys which led in turn to the formation of what would become the seed of the Salesian Congregation. He formed the Society of St. Frances de Sales as the nucleus group and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians together with Mary Mazzarello so religious sisters can do the same for young girls.

Education

Saint John Bosco has been credited for the Preventive System of Education which promotes the importance of reason, religion, and kindness in bringing up a child. He died on January 31, 1888, but not without leaving a legacy as the father and Teacher of Youth. His words: “Run, jump, shout, but do not sin” is a constant reminder that one can enjoy life and still avoid sinning.

The Holy Family

 

Holy Family

The Holy Family is made up of the Child Jesus, Mother Mary, and Saint Joseph. Not much is known about the family except for some choice accounts. These include the momentous acceptance respectively of Mary and Joseph as appointed parents of Jesus on earth, the search for a place to stay when Mary was about to give birth to Jesus, and the family’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem where the then 12 year-old Jesus was lost and eventually found at the temple.

The Catholic Church points to the Holy Family as the model family for Christian families not because they are perfect but because they espouse obedience to God, love and respect for each other, and determination to stay away from sin.

There is a liturgical celebration dedicated to honoring the family referred to as The Feast of the Holy Family. It is celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas Day (December 25th) and The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God (January 1st). Should these two important days happen to fall on a Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on December 30.

Saint Francois de Laval, the first bishop of New France started the Veneration of the Holy Family during the 17th century. Many practicing Catholics write “J.M.J.” in their personal notes for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. In the local parlance, “Susmaryosep” is a common expression when caught by surprise or when feeling great dismay, believed to be an invocation for the help of “Hesus, Maria at Hosep”.

The Papacy and Sainthood Connection

Pope Peter
Pope Peter

A closer look at the List of Popes in the Catholic Church will reveal that a lot of them have been declared saints in different times. A renewed interest in the connection between papacy and sainthood has surfaced with the recent announcement that Pope Francis has given  his approval for two past popes to be declared saints within the year. These two are Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.

The approval came with the acceptance of the second miracle to be attributed to Pope John Paul II and the waiver of the traditionally required second miracle for Pope John XXIII. It is to be noted that the declaration of sainthood requires two miracles to be attributed to the candidate. One is required for beatification and the second one to confirm sainthood.

Known as the “globe trotting pope” and the “good pope” respectively, these two personalities have won the admiration of the public and the Vatican as well for their accomplishments while holding the papal position. Pope John Paul II has reached out to all almost all countries regardless of religious ideologies. Pope John XXIII was credited for enacting sweeping reforms towards the modernization of the Catholic Church through the Second Vatican Council.

It is worth mentioning that the first acknowledged pope of the Catholic Church, Simon Peter the Apostle of Jesus is also a declared saint. The same is true with a good number of popes included in the list. This fact seems to support the observation that the papacy tend to prepare human beings for sainthood.

Seventy eight of a total of two hundred sixty five popes have been declared saints. A large chunk of this number belong to the early popes as the number sharply decreased during the reform movements. The work assigned to the pope is so far-reaching and life-changing for the Catholic constituents that when taken seriously will certainly lead to the road to sainthood. However, there is nothing automatic about the papacy and sainthood connection.

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Blessed Virgin Mary – the Mother of Christ

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The Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of Christ holds a very special role in the Catholic Church.  She is venerated not only because of Church-instituted dogmas but also because of writings, reports, and testimonies of her divine motherhood and intercessory powers through prayer.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is not only considered as the Mother of Jesus Christ who accepted her role as the woman selected to bring forth the Savior to the world but also as the Mother of the Church.

Mary’s parents are Anne from Bethlehem and Joachim from Nazareth. Both her parents eventually were proclaimed as saints.  Even before Mary was given her special mission to give birth to Jesus, she was already betrothed to Joseph.

The role of Mary in today’s world is that of an intermediary of man to God.  She is believed to be the most powerful intercessor in time of need for protection, refuge, compassion, and even miracles. Marian devotions continue to grow while the Catholic Church continues to develop the general direction of the Marian culture. The praying of the rosaryis considered a Marian devotion.

Mary is also known by many other names as a result of these devotions.  Aside from being called Mary, Mother of God, she is also referred to as Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Queen of Heaven, Mother of all Sorrows, Mediatrix, Mother of Mercy, and Mother of Perpetual Help.  Some titles related to a specific place which chose to honor her or a specific event credited to her include Our Lady of Guadalupe,  Our Lady of Czestochowa, and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, among others.

Feasts held in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary are numerous.  There are at least three Marian solemnities considered as Holy Days of Obligation by the Catholic Church.  These are the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, the Feast of Mary, Mother of God on January 1, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15.  Other commonly observed Marian feasts include the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8, the Queenship of Mary on August 22, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, the feat of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11, and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.

Image: www.stpeterslist.com

 

Jesus Christ

Name/s:  Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, Christ Jesus, Christ, Son of God

In the New Testament of the Holy Bible, it is said that Mary and Joseph were told by angels on different occasions to name their child Jesus.  The name Jesus means “Yahweh saves”.  Christ was originally a title that meant “the anointed one” or the Messiah.  By the human use of the name and the title, the name and the title eventually became one thus the name Jesus Christ.

Birth

Jesus Christ’s parents were Mary and Joseph.  He was born in the town of Nazareth in Galilee. There had been references to Jesus’ brothers and sisters although it is not quite clear since the Greek word that has been translated as brother can also mean kinsman. His birth is traditionally celebrated on December 25 which is called Christmas in today’s language.  The counting of the current year which people are familiar with is based on the Gregorian calendar that was founded on a decision of Dionysius Exiguus, a 6th century monk to use Christ’s birth as the starting point of reference which was either referred to as 1 BC (Before Christ) or 1 AD (Anno Domini).  The date resulted from an estimation made based on the nativity accounts from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew in relation to other historical accounts.

Ministry

Jesus Christ was estimated to have started His ministry at about 30 years old although the exact date and length cannot be determined.  Biblical scholars have placed the date somewhere in 27-29 AD.  It began with His baptism by John the Baptist and culminated in the Last Supper with the disciples.  His ministry was characterized by travelling, preaching, and making miracles.   His final ministry was preceded by a series of events which started in His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and ended in the Last Supper.

Death

Jesus Christ died through crucifixion as ordered by Pontius Pilate, the governor of Roman Judea at that time.  Modern astronomers have estimated His date of crucifixion at Friday, April 3, 33 AD/BC.  The observance of Holy Week more or less coincides with this given date.  This then places the age of Jesus at the time of His death at 33.

Resurrection and Ascension

The New Testament provides accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension which was believed to have occurred on the first day of the week after crucifixion.  This is further believed to have happened on a Sunday thus the Easter Sunday celebration of Christians.  The Resurrection represents the triumph of Jesus over death.

Jesus Christ and Catholicism

Christianity is a religion that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.  However, there are several denominations of the Christian faith that exists today and one of the largest is Catholicism.  There are differences in beliefs between and among Christian denominations although all agree that Jesus Christ is the Savior.