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JULY 1
BLESSED JUNIPERO SERRA

Blessed Junipero Serra was born in Petra, Spain, on November 24, 1713. The boy became a student at the Franciscan school in Palma, twenty-five miles away. He joined the Franciscan order on September 14, 1730, a few months before his seventeenth birthday. During the novitiate, Junipero read a biography of Franciscan saints. The saint whose life captivated him most was St. Francis Solano, who had lived from 1549 until 1610. This missionary priest to South America had just been declared a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. The young novice decided that, if it was God's will, he too would be a missionary.

Junipero was ordained a priest in 1736. He became a professor of philosophy. After he had been in the order twenty years, he was given a wonderful opportunity. Franciscan friars were asked to volunteer for the mission territories called "New Spain" (Mexico and California). Junipero and his close friend, Friar Francisco Palou, joined the missionary band at Cadiz, Spain, a seaport city. From there they sailed the Atlantic Ocean to Vera Cruz, Mexico. They landed on December 6, 1749. Junipero and another friar walked the next part of the journey from Vera Cruz to Mexico City, a distance of 240 miles. They began on December 15, 1749, and arrived on January 1, 1750. From Mexico City, Junipero and Friar Francisco Palou were sent to work among the Pame Indians at the Franciscan Mission of the Sierra Gorda.

Several of the friars were then assigned to missions in Lower California. Junipero, Francisco and a handful of other Franciscans were asked to bring the Gospel to the native peoples in Upper California. Junipero started Mission San Diego on July 16, 1769, when he was fifty-six years old. The mission was an open invitation to his beloved people to come and meet Jesus. Gradually, they trusted the friars. Some people were baptized and began to live the Christian faith. Father Serra and the friars loved and protected their people. The golden chain of new missions grew: Mission San Carlos in Monterey on June 1, 1770; Mission San Antonio de Padua on July 14, 1771; Mission San Gabriel Archangel, September 8, 1771; Mission San Luis Obispo, September 1, 1772; Mission San Francisco de Asis, October 9, 1776; Mission San Juan Capistrano, November 1, 1776; Mission Santa Clara de Asis, January 12, 1777; Mission San Buenaventura, March 31, 1782. Eventually, six thousand native peoples were baptized. Blessed Junipero made his final tour of the missions in Upper California from the last part of 1783 until July of 1784. He died peacefully at Mission San Carlos on August 28, 1784, and is buried there. In 1988, Pope John Paul II declared Father Junipero Serra "blessed."

JULY 2
ST. OTTO

St. Otto lived in the twelfth century. He was born in Swabia, present-day Bavaria. He became a priest and was assigned to the service of Emperor Henry IV. Eventually, Father Otto acquired a high state office. He became Henry's chancellor. Otto tried to influence the emperor to act justly and to be moderate in his decisions. But Henry committed crimes and tried to cause division in the Church. He even appointed his own pope. Otto felt very bad and worked to help Henry reform. Henry IV took it upon himself to appoint Otto a bishop. Otto refused to be consecrated until he could go to Rome and receive the approval of the true pope, Paschal II. The pope did consecrate him. Bishop Otto became a great help to the people of Swabia, especially under Emperor Henry V. This emperor followed the ways of his father, Henry IV. But although he was harsh and severe, he respected Otto and often listened to his advice.

When King Boleslaus III of Poland conquered part of Pomerania, he asked Otto to go there. Pomerania was a province of Prussia in the Baltic area. The people were pagans. Bishop Otto welcomed the opportunity to bring them the Good News. In 1124, the bishop led a group of priests and catechists into Pomerania. Many people were instructed and baptized. Some say the number of conversions was over twenty thousand. Bishop Otto assigned priests to minister to the new Christians. He returned to his own country. After a while, some of the people of Pomerania began to return to their old pagan ways. Bishop Otto went back to Pomerania in 1128. He helped the people become fervent Christians again. He died on June 30, 1139, and was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement III in 1189.

JULY 3
ST. THOMAS

St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. His name in the Syriac language means "twin." St. Thomas loved Jesus greatly, even though at first his belief was not very strong. Once when Jesus was going to face the danger of being killed, the other apostles tried to keep the Master back. St. Thomas said to them, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

When Jesus was captured by his enemies, Thomas lost his courage. He ran away with the other apostles. His heart was broken with sorrow at the death of his beloved Lord. Then on Easter Sunday, Jesus appeared to his apostles after he had risen from the dead. Thomas was not with them at the time. As soon as he arrived, the other apostles told him joyfully, "We have seen the Lord." They thought Thomas would be happy. Instead, he did not believe their message.

"Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails," he said, "and put my finger in the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." Eight days later, Jesus appeared to his apostles again. This time, Thomas was there, too. Christ called him and told him to touch his hands and the wound in his side. Poor St. Thomas! He fell down at the Master's feet and cried out, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus said, "Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." After Pentecost, Thomas was strong and firm in his belief and trust in Jesus. It is said that he went to India to preach the Gospel. He died a martyr there, after making many converts.

JULY 4
ST. ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL

St. Elizabeth, a Spanish princess, was born in 1271. She married King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve. Elizabeth was beautiful and very lovable. She was also devout and went to Mass every day. Elizabeth was a charming wife. Her husband was fond of her at first, but soon he began to cause her great suffering. Though a good ruler, he did not have his wife's love of prayer and virtue. In fact, his sins of impurity were well-known scandals throughout his kingdom.

St. Elizabeth tried to be a loving mother to her children, Alphonso and Constance. She was also generous and loving with the people of Portugal. Even though her husband was unfaithful, she prayed that he would have a change of heart. Elizabeth refused to become bitter and resentful. She strengthened her own prayer life and followed the Franciscan spirituality. Gradually, the king was moved by her patience and good example. He began to live better. He apologized to his wife and showed her greater respect. In his last sickness the queen never left his side, except for Mass. King Denis died on January 6, 1325. He had shown deep sorrow for his sins and his death was peaceful.

Eiizabeth lived eleven more years. She performed loving acts of charity and penance. She was a wonderful model of kindness toward the poor. This gentle woman was also a peacemaker between members of her own family and between nations.
St. Elizabeth of Portugal died on July 4, 1336. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Urban VIII in 1626.

JULY
5
ST. ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in Italy in 1502. While he was still young, his father died. His mother encouraged Anthony in the special love he felt for the sufferings of poor people. Mrs. Zaccaria sent her son to the University of Padua so that he could become a doctor. He was only twenty-two when he graduated.
The young doctor was very successful. Yet he did not feel satisfied. He realized that he wanted to become a priest. Anthony began to study theology. He also continued to care for the sick, to comfort and inspire the dying. He started to use all his spare moments to read and meditate on the letters of St. Paul in the Bible. He had read the life of the great apostle Paul many times, and had given much thought to his virtues. Now Anthony was burning with a strong desire to become a saint and to bring everyone to Jesus.

After he was ordained a priest, St. Anthony Mary moved to the great city of Milan. There he would be able to help many more people. He also started an order of priests. They are the Clerks Regular of St. Paul. People call them "Barnabites" after their headquarters at the Church of St. Barnabas in Milan. In imitation of the apostle Paul, St. Anthony and his priests preached everywhere. They repeated the words and sentences of Paul. They explained Paul's message with words that were easy to understand. The people loved and appreciated this. St. Anthony also had a great love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In fact, he started the practice of the Forty Hours Devotion.

St. Anthony Mary was only thirty-seven when he died on July 5, 1539. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him a saint in 1897.

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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

AUGUST 1
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
St. Alphonsus was born near Naples, Italy, in 1732. 

AUGUST 2
ST. EUSEBIUS
St. Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia, Italy, around 283. 

AUGUST 3
ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD
St. Peter Julian Eymard was born in a small town in the diocese of Grenoble, France in 1786.

AUGUST 4
BLESSED FREDERIC JANSSOONE
Blessed Frederic Janssoone was born in Flanders in 1838.

AUGUST 5
DEDICATION OF ST. MARY MAJOR

St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons:

AUGUST 6
THE TRANSFIGURATION

St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons:

AUGUST 7
ST. CAJETAN

St. Cajetan was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1480, the son of a count.

AUGUST 8
ST. DOMINIC

St. Dominic was born in Castile, Spain, in 1170.

AUGUST 9
BLESSED JOHN OF RIETI

Blessed John lived in the first half of the fourteenth century.

AUGUST 10
ST. LAWRENCE

St. Lawrence, the famous martyr of Rome, lived in the third century.

AUGUST 11
ST. CLARE

St. Clare was born around 1193 in Assisi, Italy. She lived at the time of St. Francis of Assisi.

AUGUST 14
ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE

Raymond Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894.

AUGUST 15
THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

This feast of Mary celebrates a special privilege of Mary, our Mother.

AUGUST 16
ST. STEPHEN OF HUNGARY

St. Stephen was born around 969 in Hungary. This saint's name had been Vaik.

AUGUST 17
BLESSED JOAN DELANOUE

St. Joan Delanoue was born in 1666. Her family had a small but successful business.

AUGUST 18
ST. JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL

St. Jane was born in Dijon, France, in 1572.

AUGUST 19
ST. JOHN EUDES

St. John Eudes was born in Normandy, France, in 1601.

AUGUST 20
ST. BERNARD

St. Bernard was born in 1090 in Dijon, France.

AUGUST 21
ST. PIUS X

St. Pius X, the great pope, was named Joseph Sarto. He was born in 1835, the son of a mailman in Riese, Italy.

AUGUST 23
ST. ROSE OF LIMA

St. Rose, the South American saint, was born in Lima, Peru, in 1586.

AUGUST 24
ST. BARTHOLOMEW

"Bartholomew" was one of the first followers of Jesus.

AUGUST 25
ST. LOUIS OF FRANCE

St. Louis was born on April 25, 1214. His father was King Louis VIII of France and his mother was Queen Blanche.

AUGUST 25
ST. JOSEPH CALASANZ

St. Joseph was born in 1556, in his father's castle in Spain. He went to college and became a lawyer.

AUGUST 26
ST. ELIZABETH BICHIER

St. Elizabeth was born in 1773. As a little girl, her favorite game was building castles in the sand.

AUGUST 27
ST. MONICA

St. Monica, the famous mother of St. Augustine, was born in 332 in Tagaste, northern Africa.

AUGUST 28
ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in modern Algeria on November 13, 354. This famous son of St. Monica spent many years in wicked living and in false beliefs.

AUGUST 29
BEHEADING OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. His mother was St. Elizabeth and his father was Zechariah.

AUGUST 30
ST. PAMMACHIUS

"St. Pammachius was a distinguished Christian layman who lived in the fourth century.

AUGUST 31
ST. AIDAN

St. Aidan was a seventh-century Irish monk. He lived at the great monastery of Iona, which St. Columban had founded.

 
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SAINT GABRIEL

St. Gabriel Prayer

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St. Raphael Prayer
 
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Tour of the Relics of the Passion
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REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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