1st - St. Joseph the Worker. In 1955 Pius XII instituted this feast to dedicate it as a day to uphold the fignity of labour to counteract the Communist's celebration of this day.
- St. Augustine Schoeffler, 1851, Priest and Martyr. Went to Vietnam in 1847 as priest of the Paris Society for Foreign Missions. Four years later the Emperor ordered all Catholic priests to be executed as deceivers of the people. Fr. Schoeffler was captured and sentenced to death.
- SS. PHILLIP & JAMES, Apostles. Phillip from Bethsaida was one of the first apostles called by our Lord. At the Supper he enters into dialogue with His Master that leads to the Farewell Discourses. James is probably the son of Alphæus, and often known as James the Less to distinguish him from James, the brother of John. Until 1955 this was observed all through the West on this day. The Anglican Communion still observes it on this day and the Roman Church transferrd it to the 3rd.
- St. Amator, Bishop, 418. At his marriage to Martha, the bishop recited the wrong prayer. He took this as an omen that God wanted them to live celibate lives. Both consecrated their lives to God. Martha entered a convent and Amator eventually became bishop of Auxerre. As such he ordained St. Patrick.
- St. Sigismund of Burgundy, King, 524. Converted by St. Avitus of Vienne. Later in a fit of rage executed his son. Remorsed by this he tried to atone for the sin by rebuilding the monastery of St. Maurice in Agaunum (Valais) in Switzerland. He brought monks to practice laus perennis. After being defeated in battle, he led the life of a hermit until captured by his enemies and executed.
2nd St. Athanasius Bishop & Doctor, 373. As a deacon, was present at the Council of Nicaea, and mainly responsible for the expression of Faith in the Creed. Fought a long battle against Arianism, and suffered bouts of exile from his see of Alexandria - spent mainly with the monks in the desert. Hence his biography on St. Anthony.
- SS. Exsuperius (Hesperus) & Zoe, Martyrs, c.135. Although a Christian couple, they were not as devout as their sons, Cyriacus and Theodulus who inspired them by their example to be more faithful. All four were arrested by the Romans and all four courageously professed the faith. The parents had to witness the death of their sons before their own.
- St. Mafalda (Matilda), Religious, 1252. At the age of 11 was given in marriage to Henry I of Castile. Soon annulled and Mafalda entered a Benedictine convent in Arouca, Portugal. She reformed the convent by adopting the Cistercian Rule. She restored the cathedral of Oporto bestowed charity on the needy. Two of her sisters, Teresa and Sanchia also became saints.
3rd - The Invention of the Cross. Until 1960 this day commemorates the finding of the true cross by St. Helena.
- SS. Phillip & James (see above)
4th - The traditional day to commemorate St. Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387- Refer to 27th August.
- All English Martyrs during the Reformation Era. In England this day observes all Catholic and Protestant Martyrs who died for their faith. They include Edmund Campion, Thomas More, John Fisher as Catholics and Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer as Protestants. Pray God we have learnt from these martyrdoms.
5th - St. Jutta, Widow & Recluse,1260. Widowed noblewoman of Thuringia, Germany, noted for visions and miracles. After her husband's death whilst on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she moved to Prussia, becoming a recluse at Kulmsee. She is the patroness of Prussia, in eastern Germany.
- St. Mauruntius, 701, Abbot. Son of the holy couple SS. Adakbald and Rictrudis (see 12th May). When he announced he wanted to be a religious, his parents were not so sure, so they asked Bp. Amandus to celebrate a Mass for them to discover God's will. During the Mass a bee flew through the window along a path of a descending ray of sunlight and circled Mauruntius' head three times. It was obvious to all his calliong as a religious.
6th - St. John before the Latin Gate commemorates John's miraculous escape from being plunged into a cauldron of boiling oil under the direction of the emperor Domitian.
- St. Evodius, Bishop, 64. One of the Seventy sent out by Christ according to tradition and tradition alsao tells us that he became the first bishop of Antioch.
- St. Edbert, 698, Bishop. St. Bede described him as being exceptional in his fidelity to God's commandments and in his knowledge of Scripture. Even though he was bishop of Lindisfarne, at Lent and Advent he would withdraw in prayer, fasting and solitude in preparation for the respective feasts.
7th - St. John of Beverley, Monk & Bishop, 721. Monk at Whitby; bishop first of Hexham and then York. Founded the monastery of Beverley where he retired. Many miracles are attributed to him.
- SS. Serenicus c.669 & Serenus 680. Brothers of Spoletto who renounced their wealth after an angel appeared to them. Went on pilgrimage to the tombs of Peter and Paul in Rome. Here they entered the Benedictine Order, but before long the angel directed them to greater solitude as hermits in France. Their hermitage grew into a monastery with Serenicus as the first abbot.
- St. Domitian, c.560, Bishop. Bishop of Tongres, Belgium until the see transferred to see of Maestricht in Netherlands. An apologist of the faith, as seen in the synod of Orleans in 549. Preached in the Meuse Valley, converting many and bringing them to the Christian faith.
8th - Julian of Norwich, Mystic, 1417. An anchorite whose revelations of divine love through Christ's passion and death have been an inspiration to many Christians.
- St. Acasius (Agathus), Martyr, 303. A centurion in Roman army in Cappadocia. Denounced as a Christian, and was tortured before being sent to Byzantium to be beheaded.
- St. Desideratus, Bishop c.550. Grew up in a holy family. Became secretary of state for King Clotaire, but lived an ascetic life. Consecrated bishop of Bourges in 541. Performed healing miracles. From Rome brought back relics for Bourges cathedral.
9th - St. Pachomius, Hermit & monk, 346. After being baptized, he became a disciple of an anchorite, Palemon, and took the habit; the two lived austerely, combining manual work and prayer for the day. Later, Pachomius wirth Palemon's help built a monastery on the banks of the Nile at Tabennisi; Soon joined by one hundred monks, forcing Pachomius to organise rules for community living. Found a further 10 monasteries for women and men. Was the first monk to organize hermits into groups and write down a Rule for them. Both St. Basil and St. Benedict drew from his Rule in setting forth their own more famous ones. The Coptic Church observes this day, whilst the Western the 15th.
10th - St. John of Avila, Priest, Writer & Mystic, 1569. When ordained in 1525 gave away most of his inheritance to the poor & intended to go to Mexico, but his bishop persuaded him to evangelise Andalusia instead. In an area which had been dominated by the Moors John's work was outstanding, although at one stage he came under question by the Inquisition. His most famous work is Audi filia, a treatise on Christian perfection. Was Confessor to St. Teresa of Avila.
- St. Damien De Veuster of Molokai, Religious, 1888. As a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart in Tremeloo, Belgium, volunteered for missionary work in Hawaii. Here he worked with lepers for fifteen years before he also died from leprosy.
- St. Mirus, 11thC., Hermit. Born in Canzo, Italy.When telve his father entrusted him to a hermit for spiritual guidance. When the guide died he went on pilgrimage to Rome. Returning he came across a village suffering from severe drought. As he prayed for relief he experienced a vision of Christ. The next morning he summoned the villagers to go to confession and be reconciled to one another. By evening rain began to fall.
11th - Odo, Maieul, Odilo, Hugh the Great & Peter the Venerable, Abbots 927-1157. Abbots of Cluny. All able and holy abbots who led this community for over 2 centuries. By advising kings and popes helped to shape Europe.
- St. Agostino Roscelli, Priest, 1902. Attended the family's sheep, which gave him much time to reflect on God. Became a priest and soon became known as a Confessor. Founded an orphanage in Genoa to which he was chaplain. Over 22 years he baptised over 8,000 babies. Founded an apostolate to poor and troubled girls, the Institute of Sisters of the Immaculate. His strength came from the hours he spent in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
12th - SS. Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs, 1stC. Belonged to elite Prætorian Guard of Rome. Reputedly baptised by St. Peter, exiled from Rome with St. Flavia Domitilla and eventually beheaded.
- St. Reictudis, 688, Widow and Religious. Her saintliness led to her marriage with Frankish King St. Adallbald. Settling in Ostrevant they had three daughters and one son, all of whom became saints. The family all visited the poor. But the harmony was broken by the murder of Adallbald. Reictudis entered a convent once all her children were gorwn up.
13th - St. John the Silent, Hermit & Bishop, 558. Established a monastery in Armenia at 18. Appointed a bishop of Colonia at the age of twenty-eight. Kept this office for 9 years before embracing the eremitical life. Through a vision, he found his way to the monastery, or laura, of St. Sabas, asking to be walled up and living for seventy-five years as a silent recluse.
- Our Lady of Fatima. For 5 months from 13th May, 1917 Our Lady appeared six times to three children of Fatima. She sought that prayers and sufferings be offered in reparation for sin, and for world peace.
- St. Andrew Hubert Fournet, Priest, 1834. Underwent a conversion when lodging with his uncle, a parish priest. Resolved to become a priest who during the French Revolution lived as a fugitive. After it finished with St. Elizabeth Bichier des Ages, founded the teaching order of the Daughters of the Cross.
- St. Servais (Servatius), 384, Bishop. When bp. of Tongres gave shelter to Athansius when exiled.Servais combated Arianism at the Synod in Cologne in 346, denouncing too the Arian bp. of Cologne. Later his see faced invasion from the Huns. To protect his people he made a pilgrimage to the tombs of SS. Peter and Paul to pray for them.
14th - St. Matthias, Apostle. Chosen to replace Judas Iscariot by lot to indicate that he was chosen by God rather than mortals. We know nothing of him.
15th - St. Isadore the Farmer, Patron Saint of Madrid, 1130. Prayed for long periods whilst guiding the plough, after having risen early and visited the church. Miracles and cults followed his death.
- SS. Peter, Andrew, Paul and Denise, Martyrs, 251. Under the persecution of Decius in Turkey, Peter was brought before the authorities and tortured on a wheel and then beheaded. The other three were executed shortly afterwards for the Faith.
- SS. Dympna and Gerebernus, c.650, Martyrs. She was martyred for her chastity and he for defending her as her chaplain. Perhaps she is better known for her intercessions for the mentally ill.. At her gravside in Gheel, Belgium it has long been custom to pray to her, especially on her feast day, honoured by a procession.
16th - St. Brendan, Monk, 583. Founded a large monastery at Clonfert. The fictional "Navagation" describes him reaching America. It is possible that he actually made visits to Scotland and Wales.
- St. Ubald, Bishop, 1160. Raised by his uncle, the bishop of Gubbio, Italy. After becoming a priest and dean of Gubbio cathedral, he tried to reform the clergy. In 1128 ,much against his will he became bishop where he continued God's work despite hostility at times.
- Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877. The "emigration friend" especially for women in Sydney, Australia. She helped find work and shelter for them, and she dedicated her life for better conditions for poor women.
- St. Simon Stock, Religious, 1265. Elected superior of the Carmelite order in Kent from where he spread this order to university centres of Oxford, Cambridge, Paris and Bologna. On 16th July, 1251 Our Lady appeared to him holding up a habit - the habit that will save you and all Caremlites.
On this advice he obtained from Pope Innocent IV a letter of protection for the order in 1252. This is now known as the scapular of OurLady of Mount Carmel and is a symolic part of the habit.
17th - St. Paschal Baylon, Franciscan lay brother and mystic, 1592. Laboured as a shepherd for his father, performed miracles, and was distinguished for his austerity. After a vision became a Franciscan lay brother of the Alcantrine reform in 1564, and spent most of his life as a humble doorkeeper. He practiced rigorous asceticism and displayed a deep love for the Blessed Sacrament, so much so that while on a mission to France, he defended the doctrine of the Real Presence against a Calvinist preacher and in the face of threats from other irate Calvinists. Paschal died at a friary in Villareal, and was canonized in 1690.
- St. Framechildis (Frameuzi), Wife & Mother, 685. Although of noble ancestory and married into it, Framechildis dressed simply. After years of barren life, through prayer a daughter was granted, Austreberta, who became a nun and a saint.
- St. Peter Liu Wenyuan, Martyr, 1834. under Emperor Kia-Kin Christians were persecuted. Peter was arrested in 1814 and exiled to Tartary for almost 20 years. Shortly after his return he re-arrested and executed, not before encouraging his sons who were also in prison to be steadfast.
- St. Possidius, 5thC., Bishop. A monk in monastery founded by Augustine in Hippo. c.397 consecrated bp. of Calama Algeria. Here he founded a like-minded monastery. Like Augustine he combated Pelagianism and Donatism. Attended Augustine on his deathbed, of which he wrote an account.
18th - St. John I, Pope and Martyr, 526. A native of Tuscany in Italy, John was elected Pope while he was still an archdeacon upon the death of Pope Hormisdas in 523, despite his age. Caught in the web of defending the Orthodox faith against the Arian Emperor Theodoric who was trying to obtain toleration for Arians in the East. John travelled to Constaninople where he was treated kindly by the Greeks, but received very little concessions from the Emperor. On his return to Ravenna was imprisoned by Theodoric on suspicion of treason and imprisoned. He died shortly afterwards.
19th - St. Dunstan, Monk and Bishop, 988. Revived monastic life in England, beginning at Glastonbury. Promoted teaching and study. Under King Edgar as Archbishop of Canterbury was able to extend reforms to the whole English Church. Reputed as author of the coronation oath.
20th - Alcuin, Deacon. Theologian & Abbot, 804. Scholar & Master of Cathedral School in York before going to Aachen as adviser to Charlemagne on religious & educational matters, Later became Abbot of Tours. Wrote poetry, revised the lectionary, compiled a sacramentary and contributed to liturgical works.
- St. Bernardino of Siena, Franciscan friar, 1444. Before becoming a Franciscan had taken charge of the local hospital during an outbreak of plague in Siena. A popular preacher throughout Italy. Best remembered for his propagation of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. Became vicar-genral of the Observants and set up schools. Spent his last days doing his favourite work preaching.
- St. Basilla, Virgin & Martyr, 304. When she refused to marry Pompeius to whom she had been betrothed as a child, he denounced her to the Roman Emperor. She was offered clemency if she would break her vow to Christ.When she refused she was beheaded.
- St. Ethelbert, King & Martyr, 794. Young king of East Anglia who ruled his people wih humility and wisdom. Betrothed to St. Etheldritha, daughter of Mercian king, Offa and Queen Cynedritha. For reasons unknown the Queen had him assassinated. Etheldritha spent the rest of her life as an anchoress.
- St. Austregisilus (Outril), Bishop, 624. As a member of the Court of French King Guntramnus, Austregisilus spent his spare time in prayer and reading holy works. Through a dream he escaped marriage, and went on to be priest, abbot and bishop of Bourges.
21 - St. Helena, Protector of Holy Places, 330. Christian mother of Constantine who ended persecution of Christians in 313. In 4thC was believed she found the cross on which Christ was crucified. Churches on the Mount of Olives and at Bethlehem were built by her.
- St. Cristobal Magellanes & his companions, Priests, Laymen and Martyrs, early 20thC. Canonised by Pope John Paul II in 2000 for their witness to the faith when the Catholic Faith was perssecuted by the government.
- St. Theophilus of Corte, Religious, 1740. As a child he invited his friends home to talk about religion., Entered the Franciscans at 17. His main mission when priested was to preach for which he became well known, and converted many souls to Christ.
- St. Theobald of Vienne, 1001, Bishop. A courtier of King Conrad I of Burgundy,When nobles and clergy could not agree about the appointment for Vienne, Theolbald was chosen at c. 30 years old, and ruled for 40 years during which time he tried to correct the clergy of their evil ways.He also convened a regionl synod which obligated clergy to take the Sacrament to the dying..
22nd - St. Rita of Cascia, Widow, Religious, 1447. Patron saint of desperate cases. Became an Augustinian nun on the death of her unfaithful husband. Her constant meditation on the Passion of Christ resulted in a wound appearing in her forehead which lasted for 15 years. Devoted her life to the sick. Her holiness and miracles led to a cult after her death that has continued to to-day.
- St. Yvo, Priest, 1303. An ecclesiastical judge. recognised for his pleading to the poor. Near his rectory he built a hospital where he could tend to the sick. Before Mass each day he made a lenghty preparation for celebrating the Mass. Great devotion to Our Lady.
- St. Joaquina (Joachima) de Mas y di Vedruna, Widow & Religious, 1854. As a young girl was a lace-maker which she saw as a reminder of the sufferings of Christ. When she married her family were raised as devout Catholics. Her husband died young, and afterwards she divided her time between her children and caring for the sick. Later on she founded the Carmelites of Charity, a religious order for women.
- St.Humilitas, 1310, Widow and Religious. Married at 15, and both her sons died in infancy. She and her husband entered a double monastery. But Humilitas was moved to be an anchorite. Later she became the foundress of Vallombrosan nuns. She had special devotion to St. John.
23rd - William of Rochester, Fisherman, 1201. Setting out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, was murdered by his companion. His body was found by a madwoman, who as she garland it with honeysuckle was cured on her madness. Other miracles followed and he was buried in Rochester cathedral. Offerings to his shrine helped towards the rebuilding of the cathedral.
- St. Guibert, Monk, 962. As a young military man, he curbed vice and violent. He renounced his own property in Gembloux, Belgium for the founding of a Benedictine monastery. He became a monk at another monastery in Gorze, France.
24th - St. David of Scotland, King, 1153. Involved for awhile in the Civil War with England, but also devoted himself to reorganising the Church in Scotland. Founded bishoprics, monasteries including Melrose Abbey under the Cistercians. Followed his mother in living very piously and giving to the poor. Much loved by his people.
- John & Charles Wesley, Evangelists & Hymn writers. 1791 & 1788. Both were ordained priests but John's ministry would result in what is known as Methodisim. A popular preacher. Charles, always stayed within the English Church. His hymns covering the life of Christ have been a great inspiration to many Christians.
- St. Vincent of Lerins, Religious, 445. An army officer who grew disenchanted with the world. He withdrew to an abbey on island of Lerins. Here he wrote against the heresies in the Commonitories.
- SS. Donatian & Rogatian, 289, Martyrs. Rogatian inspired by his Christian brother Donatian sought baptism, which had to be postponed because of persecution. Both brothers were arrested by Roman prefect and placed under arrest and tried. Both refused to denounce the Christian faith and were tortured and lanced and beheaded.
25th - The Venerable Bede, Monk & Historian, 735. As a child entered the monastery of SS. Peter & Paul at Wearmouth. Moved to Jarrow where he lived the rest of his life as a monk From his great learning wrote A History of the English Church and People, a valuable account of Christianity to the beginning of the 8thC.
- Aldhelm, Abbot & Bishop, 709. A monk at Malmesbury. When the diocese of Wessex was divided became the first bishop of Sherbourne and founded the Abbey Church. Introduced the Benedictine Rule to monasteries. Renowned for his singing as well as his preaching and holiness.
- St. Mary Magdealne de Pazzi, Religious & Mystics, 1606. Closely associated with the Medicis. In spite of family opposition became a Caremelite nun. Her spiritual life included many visionaries and ecstasies. She herself suffered from poor health for most of her life, which she offered up and joined with the sufferings of Christ.
- St. Claritusm 1348, Layman. Cured of a throat ailment as he prayed prostrate before the tomb of the Florentine bishop St. Zenobius. He married according to parents' wishes, but they soon separated for her to enter a convent and he became the sacristan where he devoutly served. Veneration after his death was associated with a miraculous crucifix kept on the same altar as his body.
26th ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY, 605. First Archbishop of Canterbury after being sent by the great Gregory to re-evangelise English Church. Brought with the Benedictine style of monasticism. In the Roman Church celebrated the next day. In Roman Chuch celebrated the next day.
- Philip Neri. Founder of the Oratorians, 1595. A popular confessor and spiritual guide. So many came to his oratory that the Congregation of the Oratory was founded. A priest who devoted his life to others.
- St. Lambert, Bishop, 1154. As a youngster was entrusted to the Benedictine Abbey at Lerins for his education, where he subesequently became a monk. Although he loved solitude was chosen to be bishop of Vence, France. During his 40 yhears of episcopacy he lived humbly, and wrought miracle of healings. Until the end of his life he ecited the psalter daily.
- St. Quadratus, c.129, Bishop. Bishop of Athens who composed a treatise in defence of the Faith and sent it to Hadrian on his arrival to Athens for an athletic competition. However Hardrian was not moved and intensified the persecution.
- St. Priscus & Co., c.272, Martyrs. During the persecuition in Gaul under Aurelius, Priscus, Cottus and others fled from Besancon for Auxerre. Many were soldiers who were found at Toucy-sur-Yonne just outside of Auxerre and were beheaded.
27th - Julius the Veteran, Martyr, 304. Soldier of the 27 years. When interrogated by the prefect Maximius declared he had always served God faithfully every day of his life. Offered a generous 10 year bonus if he would sacrifice to the gods, Julius refused, and went to his death praising his Lord for dying for him.
- St. Restituta of Sora, Virgin & Martyr, 271. Prompted by an inspiration visited the village of Sora in Itly.Here she obtained the healing of a boy suffering from leprosy. Thereupon 39 became Christians. Roman officials held Restituta responsible for these conversions and she was executed with three of the Christians.
- St. Melangell (Monacella), Religious, 12thC. Daughter of an Irish king who fled to Wales to preserve her virginity. Here she lived the life of a hermitess for 15 years. This became a community of which she became abbess. Hares frequent the convent after she had protected one from a prince when out hunting.
28th - Lanfranc Abbot & Bishop, 1089. Prior of the famous abbey of Bec. Chosen by William to be archbishop of Cantaur. Carried out many ecclesiastical reforms and wrotes Constitutions for Christ Church, Canterbury based on that of Bec.
29th - St. Alexander with Sisinnius and Martyrius, Martyrs, 397. Were martyred in Milan, which has been recorded by Ambrose and Augustine.
- St. Cyril of Caesarea, Martyr, 250. Renounced by his family when he became a Christian. He was arrested by the local governor and subsequently put to death.
- St. Bona of Pisa, 1207, Virgin. As a child fasted on bread and water three times a week. One day the crucifix at Holy Sepulchre's church held out his hand to her. At a vision in another church she saw Christ, His mother and three saints including St. James who pursued her when frightened by the light. He led her back to Christ. Thereupon she had a very special devotion to James and visited his tomb at Compostela often. She conscrated her life as a virgin and anchoress.
30th - Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906. Campaigned for prostitutes and succeeded in the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act in 1883. A very devout Anglican.
- Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431. Led by the voices of her saints led her people to victory over the English, and for the Dauphin to be crowned. Soon after she was betrayed to the English and was tried for heresy by the bishop of Beauvais. Burned at the stake in Rouen clutching a cross handed to her by a soldier.
- St. Hubert, Bishop, 727. Bishop of Masstricht and then of Liege. The famous conversion whilst out hunting is borrowed from the acts of Eustace, and unknown until 14thC. Performed many miracles during his life.
- St. Luke Kirby, Priest & Martyr 1582. Became a Catholic in Louvain and soon was ordained and returned to England. Arrested shortly after arrival. Sentenced to death.
31ST THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY TO ELIZABETH. "How is it that the Mother of My Lord should visit me?" Mary responded with her great hymn in the Magnificat. This festival, first celebrated by the Franciscans in the 13thC, reveals too John's first recognition of Christ as the Messiah, illustrated by his leaping in Elizabeth's womb.
Holy Days during May
Rogation Sunday and Rogation Days when the Church especially prays for the success of the fruits of the earth. In many places there are processions where priests bless crops and the fleet.
ASCENSION DAY completes the whole process of salvation begun at Bethlehem when our Lord ascends to His Father to begin his priestly work of intercession
Days after Ascension Day we pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, our world and in our lives in preparation for Pentecost. "Come Spirit by whose aid/The world's foundations first were laid,/Come, pour thy joys on humankind;/From sin and sorrow set us free/And make thy temples for thee."
PENTECOST The Feast of the Holy Spirit. "O Spirit of the living Lord,/You blow across the waiting world:/ You cleanse and heal earth's wounded face/With balm poured from the cross in grace."
TRINITY - (Sometimes in June) Day when we honour the Three Persons of the Godhead and acknowledge that God is one and also three persons.
FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI. (Sometimes in June). Day when we commemorate in thanksgiving the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament on Maundy Thursday. "O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine,/All praise and all thanksgiving/Be every moment thine."