The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of JANUARY 2023
For educators: We pray that educators may be credible witnesses, teaching fraternity rather than competition and helping the youngest and most vulnerable above all. (See also https://www.popesprayer.net/)
ORDINARY TIME: January 27th
Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin
Propers for St. Angela, For Educators: Entrance Antiphon, Cf. Mk 10:14:
Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Alleluia Verse, Cf. Mt 11:25:
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
Communion Antiphon, Mt 18:3:
Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, says the Lord.
St. Angela Merici (1474-1540) was born in northern Italy. In 1516, she founded the Order of Ursulines, the first teaching order for women approved by the Church.
Meditation: To Act Through Love
Let us take care to act habitually only for the glory of God, to please Him and be pleasing to Him; so that, according to Christ’s own prayer, the name of our Father in Heaven may be hallowed, His Kingdom come in hearts and His will be done. A soul thus turned towards God is one taken possession of by love and that ever more and more, for, at each step, she advances more deeply in divine love by constantly renewing these acts of love. Love then becomes a weight that draws the soul, with ever increasing power, to generosity and fidelity in God’s service: Amor meus, pondus meum. Hence comes the promptitude of the soul to devote herself to the service of God, to seek the interests of HIs glory; that is true devotion.
What is the meaning of the word devotion? The Latin word devovere means “to be consecrated,” vowed to God’s service and to accomplish it with ease; devotion is not only to have been consecrated to Christ in baptism, but its is to vow all one’s energies and works with ease and promptitude to His service and the glory of His Father.
—Excerpted from Christ the Life of the Soul, by Blessed Abbot Columba Marmion
St. Angela Merici
The saint was born in 1474 in the diocese of Verona. Early in life she dedicated herself to Christ as His bride. After the death of her parents, she desired to live solely for God in quiet and solitude, but her uncle insisted that she manage his household. She renounced her patrimony in order to observe most perfectly the rule for Franciscan Tertiaries.
During a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1524, she lost her eyesight temporarily. Pope Clement VII, whom she visited in Rome, desired her to remain in the Holy City. Later she founded a society for girls, under the protection of St. Ursula; this was the beginning of the Ursuline Order. St. Angela was almost seventy when she died; her body remained incorrupt for thirty days. Remarkable phenomena occurred at her burial in the Church of St. Afra.
She died on January 27, 1540. Angela was canonized in 1807, and added to the Universal Calendar in 1861. She is buried in the Church of St. Afra, Brescia, Italy.
—Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
St. Angela Merici belongs to that group of Saints who, in Italy, in the sixteenth century, as if to answer the attacks and challenges of Luther and the Protestants, showed so clearly what reserves of sanctify remained in the Church. The Calendar permits us to make the acquaintance of some of the most illustrious of these, such as Charles Borromeo and Pius V.
As Patroness of her foundation, St. Angela chose St. Ursula, to whom she had a special devotion, and her daughters, the Ursulines, who have spread over the wholes world, have added new luster to that name.
St. Angela also had a great devotion to pilgrimages, and herself made on to the Holy Places, in the course of which her sight, which she had lost, was given back to her. But, with this single exception, her whole life was passed in Italy. Born near Verona, she is buried at Brescia.
—Excerpted from The Year’s Liturgy, Volume II, by Fernand Cabrol, OSB
Patronage: against sickness, illness, or bodily ills; against the death of parents; disabled, handicapped, or physically challenged people; sick people; Brescia, Italy
Symbols and Representation: Cloak; ladder; tall ladder with young women climbing it
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Read more about the life of St. Angela and her travels to the Holy Land.
- Read more about St. Angela:
- St. Angela’s body rests in Chiesa di Sant’Angela Merici (Church of Sant’Angela Merici) in Brescia, Italy. The original church (formerly called Sant’Afra) that housed her relics was destroyed during World War II on March 2, 1945. The present sanctuary was built over this destroyed church. Her remains are said to be incorrupt.
- St. Angela formed the Company of St. Ursula, a secular institute. Read more about secular institutes and their role in the Church.
- Read Jeff Mirus’ review Stages on the Road by Sigrid Undset. The book includes an essay on St. Angela Merici.
- See St. Angela’s founder’s status in St. Peter’s Basilica.
- Catholic Cuisine suggests Alphabet Soup for Educators.
January 27, 2023 (Readings on USCCB website)
Third Week in Ordinary Time: Almighty ever-living God, direct our actions according to your good pleasure, that in the name of your beloved Son we may abound in good works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Optional Memorial of St. Angela Merici: May the Virgin Saint Angela never fail to commend us to your compassion, O Lord, we pray, that, following the lessons of her charity and prudence, and express it in what we do. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Daily Meditation: Hebrews 10:32-39
Do not throw away your confidence. (Hebrews 10:35)
We all know what it’s like to be tempted to give up. Maybe a task seems too hard. Or obstacles seem too high. Or even though we’ve cleared other hurdles, we don’t think we can make it over this one. The author of Hebrews saw his people wavering too. Since they had embraced the good news of Jesus Christ, many had been scorned by family and friends. Some had even been expelled from their homes and lost their worldly goods. It looked like the hardship was not going away any time soon. So he warned them not to “throw away [their] confidence” (Hebrews 10:35).
How? Remember (Hebrews 10:32). They were to remember all the times that God had seen them through, all the ways in which their brothers and sisters in Christ had buoyed them up during hardships. They were to remember the joy of comforting someone else in their trials or seeing the “better and lasting possession” they had in Christ, even when they suffered losses (10:34).
Remembering is key for us too. Because when we look back on our difficulties, we realize that they weren’t the end of our story. God used them to strengthen us and build our confidence. And he still does today.
As we keep our eyes on all that God has brought us through already, we deepen our ability to endure. We grow in trusting that even now, God is faithful and will be with us. We come to understand that he will give us the stamina we need to do his will. And so we become like the Hebrews: “those who have faith and will possess life” (10:39).
One practical way you can remember God’s work in your life is by keeping a journal. Is there any better way to remember God’s goodness than by writing it down and revisiting it from time to time? As you do something as ordinary as recording and reviewing your experiences and lessons from the Lord, you might be surprised at how much this can fill you with confidence in him.
Remembering made the Hebrews bold and helped them persevere. And it can do the same for you.
“Jesus, thank you for being faithful to me in good times and bad. I trust you to deepen your life and strength in me.”
Psalm 37:3-6, 23-24, 39-40
In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a “shining child” who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:
“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee’ Then the voice said: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’ “
This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
Sister Catherine became Saint Catherine in 1947. The church instituted recognition of the apparition in which the Miraculous Medal first appeared for November 27, 1830. Millions of the Miraculous Medal have been distributed, and many graces and miracles have been received through this devotion to Our Lady.
BROWN SCAPULAR OF MT. CARMEL
shall never suffer eternal fire.”
Virgin Mary’s promise to Saint Simon Stock
July 16, 1251″Wear it devoutly and perserveringly,” she says to each soul, “it is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
THE SABBATINE PRIVELEGE
The blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular fromthe fires of Hell; She will also shorten their stay in Purgatory if they should passfrom this world still owing some temporal debt of punishment.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular said: “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
Pope Benedict XV proceeded to grant an indulgence of 500 days for each time the cloth Scapular is kissed”. On July 16th, the Scapular feast, while addressing the seminarians of Rome, Benedict XV said: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”
Pope Benedict XV, addressing seminarians in Rome:“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: The language, the sentences of the Gospel – the common armor, the Brown Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel which you ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege and protection after death.”The Brown Scapular | A Sacramental“One of the most remarkable effects of sacramentals is the virtue to drive away evil spirits whose mysterious and baleful operations affect sometimes the physical activity of man. To combat this occult power the Church has recourse to exorcism, and sacramentals” (The Catholic Encyclopedia., 1913, VXIII, p. 293).The Brown Scapular | A True StoryYou will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the brown scapular when you hear the true story of Venerable Francis Yepes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the Devil howled, “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Then and there Francis made the Devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus; theHoly Name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel.“Modern Heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.” – St. Alphonsus LigouriMary, Mother of God and Our Mother“When Mary became the Mother of Jesus, true God and true Man, She also became our Mother. In His great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” – St. John BoscoOver the years there have also been many miracles associated with wearing the brown scapular.
*If you would like a brown scapular click here:
New Catholic Radio Station serving Chittenden County
Donna McSoley stands in St. Francis Xavier Church in Winooski. She is the driving force behind a new Catholic radio station. Photo by Gail Callahan
WINOOSKI – In a state identified in a national study two years ago as one of the least religious in the country, a new Catholic radio station is being hailed by the market and people of faith.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio, which can be found at 105.5 FM, transmits 24-hour daily programming of the Eternal Word Television Network from the St. Francis Xavier Church property in Winooski. The station can be heard in the greater Burlington area and started broadcasting earlier this fall.
Donna McSoley, the driving force behind WRXJ 105.5 FM, said she is eager to begin producing some local programming after she learns more about audio editing software. McSoley said one of her ambitions is to air homilies from priests who serve the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
“I wanted to bring Catholic radio to Vermont because many people here have rejected Christianity without even knowing much about church history, the early church fathers, or never having read the Bible in its entirety,” said McSoley. “Our state is in crisis over heroin and other drugs, and many people are lost and are desperately searching for freedom from addictions and a greater meaning in life.”
In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted the Religious Landscape study, and Vermont tied as the 48th most religious state. The study found 34 percent of the Green Mountain State’s adults said they are “highly religious.”
A state’s spiritual devotion was measured by factors including “absolute belief in God and daily prayer.”
The Rev. Lance Harlow, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral in Burlington, records in WRXJ radio’s Winooski station. Courtesy photo
McSoley, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Church, began the quest to secure a broadcast license more than five years ago when the Federal Communications Commission opened a small window to own a channel on the FM spectrum for a low-power station. It took about 18 months to secure the FCC’s approval.
McSoley accesses the station’s computers remotely from her Essex Junction home.
She said a radio station can reach people in ways other media outlets can’t. “Radio can be a great way to reach people in the privacy of their own car and where people are apt to ponder life’s great questions,” she said. “I think for that reason, radio can be a great way to explain the Catholic faith, which is largely misunderstood by the general public. … My hope is that the programs on the station can clear this up and we can foster greater unity within the Christian community here in Vermont.”
Ted Quigley, a practicing Catholic, embraces the organization. “105.5 FM is a wonderful change in my life,” he said. “I turn it on when I’m driving or when I’m home cleaning.”
The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop of Vermont’s Catholics, recorded some station identifications that play through the hour.
Coyne, who was named by Pope Francis to shepherd Vermont’s Catholics nearly two years ago, said he welcomes the station, praising McSoley’s efforts. “The Catholic community in Vermont has been very supportive of the launch of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio,” said Coyne. “Right now, this is the only Catholic radio station in Vermont. I hope to see many more begin to broadcast soon.”
Coyne’s remarks regarding the dearth of religious broadcasting in Vermont underscore what many perceive as an absence of God from the public dialogue. The FCC said it doesn’t keep track of content when license applications come in.
The program director for a Christian radio network serving Vermont said religious-oriented radio outlets are filling a much-needed niche. Bob Pierce, of The Light Radio Network, said his Christian station reaches about 15,000 listeners in Chittenden County.
In a competitive market, McSoley said she is anxious for WRXJ’s message to spread. “Although Vermont is one of the least religious states in the country, I have great faith that people will always be able to recognize truth when they hear it, so my hope is that many people will turn on the radio and start the journey toward discovering God,” she said.