Saint of the Day and Daily Meditation
The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of JUNE 2023
For the abolition of torture: We pray that the international community may commit in a concrete way to ensuring the abolition of torture and guarantee support to victims and their families. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)
ORDINARY TIME: JUNE 2nd
Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs; Ember Friday after Pentecost
Other Commemorations: St. Erasmus, Bishop and Martyr (RM); St. Blandina, Martyr (RM)
Today is the Optional Memorial of Saints Marcellinus and Peter (d. 304) who were two Roman martyrs who suffered under the Diocletian persecution. The first was an exorcist, the second a priest. Their cultus was so important that after peace was restored to the Church, Constantine built a basilica in their honor. Their names are mentioned in the Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).
The Roman Martyrology commemorates St. Erasmus (d. 303), a bishop in Asia Minor, who was martyred in Campania at about the same time as Marcellinus and Peter. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
St. Blandina (d. 177) is also commemorated today. She was a slave in the second century, who had been taken into custody along with her master, also a Christian and died a martyr.
Today is Ember Friday of the Summer or Pentecost Embertide.. The three principle focal points for these Summer Ember Days are: 1) to ask God to bless especially the wheat harvest, 2) to thank God for the season of summer, and 3) to ask for special graces for those being ordained as priests during this season.
The traditional liturgy presents two themes with corresponding moods that to us seem quite conflicting, viz., Ember week penance and Pentecost joy. Assuredly the mentality of the early Church different vastly from ours. While Christians of an earlier age had a most vivid realization of redemption, we have attached greater importance to consciousness of sin. This attitude is the result of the modern humanistic approach to piety. It would benefit us greatly to promote the spirit of the ancient Church, a spirit that exults and rejoices over our liberation from sin and evil. As a model we could take the paralytic in Gospel of the today’s traditional liturgy: “He went away to his house, glorifying God.”
Ember Friday’s Mass liturgy is always somewhat penitential in character. In spirit we are present in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, a church that the ancients associated with penance. Penance, too, is prominent in the Gospel story. For we will resemble the man with palsy if we regret the “sins, offense, and negligences” that we feel victim to during the past quarter year in spite of the innumerable graces and gifts received from God. And Christian confidence will prompt us to imitate the stretcher bearers who did the unusual to reach Jesus. Now, in the Mass, we receive absolution from the Lord Himself, “Your sins are forgiven.”
See Summer or Pentecost Ember Days and Contemporary Observation of Ember Days for more information.
St. Marcellinus and St. Peter
Peter, an exorcist, was cast into prison at Rome, under the emperor Diocletian, by the judge Serenus, for confessing the Christian faith. He there set free Paulina, the daughter of Artemius, the keeper of the prison, from an evil spirit which tormented her. Upon this, Artemius and his wife and all their house, with their neighbors who had run together to see the strange thing, were converted to Jesus Christ. Peter therefore brought them to Marcellinus the priest, who baptized them all. When Serenus heard of it, he called Peter and Marcellinus before him, and sharply rebuked them, adding to his bitter words threats and terrors, unless they would deny Christ. Marcellinus answered him with Christian boldness, whereupon he caused him to be buffeted, separated him from Peter, and shut him up naked, in a prison strewn with broken glass, without either food or light. Peter also he confined. But when both of them were found to increase in faith and courage in their bonds, they were beheaded, unshaken in their testimony, and confessing Jesus Christ gloriously by their blood.
—Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
Highlights and Things to Do:
- St. Marcellinus and Peter are included in the Roman Martyrology, originally a written catalogue of those saints who shed their blood for Christ during the early centuries of pagan persecution. Local churches celebrated each martyr’s “birthday” into heaven, assigning the day of their final victory over the world as their feastday in the liturgical calendar. When she triumphantly arose from the catacombs, the Church gradually introduced other great saints, who were not slain for their faith, into the Martyrology as she combined the recorded Acta of both east and west. An official book of the Roman liturgy, its pages contain the names of thousands of our most valiant Catholic heroes and heroines along with a very brief biographical sketch commemorating either their martyrdom or their most enduring accomplishments.
- Read more about Saints Marcellinus and Peter:
- See Christian Iconography for images of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter.
- Find out more about the relics of St. Marcellinus and Peter.
In Campania the bishop Erasmus was, under the empire of Diocletian and Maximian, beaten with clubs and whips loaded with lead, and afterwards plunged into resin, sulphur, melted lead, boiling pitch, wax, and oil. From all this he came forth whole and sound: which wonder converted many to believe in Christ. He was remanded to prison, and bound in iron fetters. But from these he was wondrously delivered by an angel. At last, being taken to Formi, Maximian caused him to be subjected to divers torments, being clad in a coat of red-hot brass, but the power of God made him more than a conqueror in all these things also. Afterwards, having converted many to the faith and confirmed them therein, he obtained the palm of a glorious martyrdom.
—Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
He is invoked for intestinal diseases, for his legend asserts that he was tortured by winding his entrails round a windlass. He is also called St. Elmo, and the static electricity on boats, Saint Elmo’s Fire, is named after him. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
Patronage: Abdominal pains; ammunition workers; appendicitis; birth pains; boatmen; childbirth; childhood intestinal disease; colic; danger at sea; explosives workers; intestinal disorders; mariners; navigators; ordinance workers; sailors; sea sickness; stomach diseases; storms; watermen; women in labor.
Symbols and Representation: Windlass or capstan wound with his intestines; ship; ravens bringing him bread; cauldron of molten lead; red-hot armour; three-pronged hook; cauldron of boiling pitch or resin.
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Read more about St. Erasmus:
St. Blandina lived as a slave at Lyons, Gaul, in the 2nd century after Christ. She was one of the illustrious company of those martyred under the emperor Marcus Aurelius. She was apprehended together with her master, who was also a Christian. She endured every torment imaginable, to the extent that the tormentors confessed that they could not think of anything else to do to her. And to every question put to her, she gave the same answer: “I am a Christian, and we commit no wrong.” Brought to the arena for fresh torments, Blandina was bound to a stake and wild beasts were released upon her but refused to harm her. She witnessed the podvigs (struggles) of all her fellows, and was the last to suffer martyrdom, by being placed on a red hot grate, enclosed in a net, and thrown before a wild steer, who tossed her into the air with his horns. In this manner the great martyr of Christ received her crown.
Patronage: falsely accused people; girls; Lyon, France; torture victims
Symbols and Representation: bull; depicted tied to a pillar with a lion and bear near her
Highlights and Things to Do:
- There are many accounts of the martyrdom of St. Blandina. Here are several sources:
- Read more about St. Blandina:
Ember Friday after Pentecost
Station with Santi Dodici Apostoli (the Twelve Holy Apostles, also Santi Apostoli):
Today’s station is at the minor basilica of the Twelve Apostles. We are resting upon the Blessed Apostles, the twelve pillars of the Church of God. May we never depart from them. The holy apostles with whom we celebrate this day are indeed our “teachers of justice.” If we adhere to them, if we absorb their purity and charity, the dew of the Holy Ghost will descend upon us, as it did in the beginning.
Traditionally, this is the place where the Romans choose their candidates for priesthood (Rite of Election). It was erected by Julius I (337-352) over the barracks of ancient Rome’s firemen and entrusted since 1463 to the Conventual Franciscans. Originally dedicated to the Apostles St. James and St. Philip, it was rededicated to all the Apostles in the 16th century.
For more on Santi Dodici Apostoli, see:
For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.
June 02, 2023 (Readings on USCCB website)
Eighth Week in Ordinary Time: Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that the course of our world may be directed by your peaceful rule and that your Church may rejoice, untroubled in her devotion. 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 Sts. Marcellinus and Peter: O God, who surround us with protection through the glorious confession of the Martyrs Saints Marcellinus and Peter, grant that we may profit by imitating them and be upheld by their prayer. 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: Mark 11:11-26
My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Mark 11:17)
Have you ever heard of the “Court of the Gentiles”? It was the outermost court in the Temple in Jerusalem during Jesus’ time. That’s the place where Gentiles who wanted to follow Israel’s God gathered to pray and to be taught by the priests.
But the Court of the Gentiles was also where the chief priests allowed money changers and merchants to set up shop so that people could buy the lambs and birds and goats they needed for their sacrifices. So you can imagine the noise and traffic that filled this court—and how hard it must have been for any prayer to take place there.
It’s no wonder that Jesus drove all the merchants away! This sacred space had turned into a bustling marketplace. Jesus made it clear that he wanted “all peoples,” including Gentiles, to be free to seek the Lord (Mark 11:17).
All peoples. That includes you. Jesus wants you to be able to come into his presence unhindered. It’s why he offered himself on the cross: to destroy the sin that separated you from himself. It’s why he offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation: so that you can be set free from any sin that might be blocking your experience of his love. And it’s why he promises that you can “have access in one Spirit to the Father” whenever you turn to him in prayer (Ephesians 2:18).
For all peoples. No matter what your situation is, Jesus welcomes you. Just as he cleared the way for the Gentiles to come to him, so he clears the way for you. His arms are open wide to embrace you. His pierced heart longs to heal you. And his Spirit is ready to pour love into you. Just as he wanted the Temple to be a house of prayer, so he wants the temple of your heart to be a place where you can meet him.
Jesus’ love is for everyone. Don’t think you’re too sinful or unworthy or not holy enough. The Lord treasures you just as much as he treasures the greatest saint. He loves to speak to you.
So come to him—right now. Let his love fill you to overflowing.
“Jesus, I am amazed that you welcome me, a sinner, into your presence. Here I am, Lord, ready to hear your word and know your love.”
Sirach 44:1, 9-13
Psalm 149:1-6, 9
2ND JUNE 2023
Sirach 44:1,9-13; Psalm 149:1b-2,3-4,5-6a,9b; Mark 11:11-26
LIVE GODLY BECAUSE OF TOMORROW
“Now will I praise those godly men, our ancestors, each in his own time. But of others there is no memory, for when they ceased, they ceased. And they are as though they had not lived, they and their children after them.” Sirach 44:1,8-9
▪Recently, a transition brought to an end one era of government and ushered in a new one. Many who left office never knew the day would come when another would take their position. The loyalty will also change because those who used to flock around these outgone leaders will change their allegiance to remain relevant in the present government. What lessons are we going to take from this?
~ Some were like the beautiful fig tree with no fruits that the Lord cursed in the gospel. Just as they leave office, their fame and popularity die overnight. Nothing will ever be heard of them, and so are their families. The actual test of who we are is not when we are in office but when we are no longer in power. We must have left something behind if we still have respect after holding our respective positions.
~ It is often easy to live ungodly when in power. When one occupies a position of authority, they will sing their praises instead of telling them the truth. And this truth which was not embraced when such were in power, would be heard when they are no longer there, but at this time, it would be unpleasant because the hand of the clock cannot be turned back. History has already been written and cannot be changed.
~ If you are in any position now, remember that as beautiful as the fig tree looked, it had no fruits, making it useless. Do not be like this fig tree that the Lord cursed because the fame we enjoy today can disappear in seconds. May we not live in such a way that when we look back, instead of smiling, one would be weeping. History never forgets! Do not be ungodly that everyone dreads your presence because a time will come when that presence means nothing.
▪Dear friend, every day allows us to write something new in the world. May we not live as if we never lived in the world. May we always remember, in the words of the apostle Paul, that we are just earthenware jars, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us (2 Corinthians 4:7). We pray for the humility to understand that there is always room for improvement.
May this New Month bring us joy and peace
God bless you
Fr Joseph Chukwugozie Ikegbunam
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.