These stories are a testament to the fact that sacramentals (statues, crucifixes, icons, and other material objects representing our Catholic faith) are truly “sacred signs instituted by the Church to prepare us to receive the fruit of the sacraments and to sanctify different circumstances of our lives” (CCC 1677). They are spiritually powerful, especially when blessed by a Catholic priest.
An archaeological dig in Rome recently uncovered the earliest-known icons of the Apostles Peter, Paul, Andrew, and John. Yes, the early Church venerated the saints! Read the story.
One may wonder why Our Lady requested that the faithful meditate on the rosary mysteries for fifteen minutes, when praying the rosary itself involves meditating on the rosary mysteries and takes about fifteen minutes to pray. Wouldn’t praying the rosary fulfill the request for fifteen minutes of meditation?
In 1597, Paul Miki and his twenty-six companions were crucified for their Christian faith in Nagasaki, Japan. A Japanese layman, Saint Paul Miki was born into a Japanese noble family and heir to a great inheritance and position in Japanese society. He was was converted to Christianity by Saint Francis Xavier.
There’s a simple prayer method attributed to Pope Francis while he was Archbishop of Argentina. It’s a simple yet helpful prayer method not only great for teaching kids how to pray, but it’s good for adults too as a reminder to “cover all our bases” with intercessory prayer for those around us.
Connected to Simeon’s prophecy, on this day the Church has a special ritual involving a procession and the blessing of candles, the candles being a symbol of Christ whose birth illumined the world’s darkness. Since ancient times the Doctors of the Church have given special meaning to the candles used in Candlemas as a symbol of the Incarnate Christ: the beeswax is a symbol of His pure body, the wick His soul, and the flame His divinity.
In memory of this grace of conversion through St. Brigid’s intercession and the sign of the cross, it is a popular Irish custom on her feast day (February 1st) to make St. Brigid’s cross out of tall grasses, rushes, or reeds, sprinkle it with holy water, and recite the following prayer.
“The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.”
St. John Bosco (Don Bosco) was an influential 19th century Italian priest who ministered to the poor and neglected boys of Turin, Italy, who were driven to a life of desperation and crime in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Don Bosco became their mentor and spiritual director, inspiring them to a life of virtue and saving many from a future of poverty and incarceration.
January 28 is the feast day of perhaps the greatest intellect of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, known as the Angelic Doctor due to his purity of mind and body. He gave up a life of nobility and wealth to be a poor Dominican friar, at the time a new religious order, much to the consternation of his family.
One biographer notes that prior to St. Thomas Aquinas’ birth a holy hermit prophesied to his mother about her unborn child,
“He will enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and so great will be his learning and sanctity that in his day no one will be found to equal him.”