Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Peter Celestine, founder of the Celestine Order who was elected pope when he was 72 years old and reigned for five months. And today is also the feast of St. Prudentiana, daughter of a Roman senator, who consecrated herself wholly to Christ and died in the year 160 when she was sixteen. The Roman Martyrology also mentions “St. Yves, priest and confessor, who for the love of Christ, defended the cause of the orphan, the widow and the poor.”
The feast of the Queen of Apostles was established on the first Saturday after the Ascension by the Sacred Congregation of Rites at the request of the Pallottine Fathers. Mary initiated her mission as Queen of Apostles in the Cenacle. She gathered the apostles together, comforted them, and assisted them in prayer. Together with them she hoped, desired and prayed; with them her petitions were heeded and she received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
Mary, Queen of Apostles
Mary is Queen of Apostles because she was chosen to be the Mother of Jesus Christ and to give him to the world; she was made the apostles’ Mother and our own by our Savior on the cross. She was with the apostles while awaiting the descent of the Holy Spirit, obtaining for them the abundance of supernatural graces they received on Pentecost. The most holy Virgin was and always will be the wellspring for every apostolate.
She exercised a universal apostolate, one so vast that it embraced all others. The apostolate of prayer, the apostolate of good example, the apostolate of suffering—Mary fulfilled them all. Other people have practiced certain teachings of the Gospel; Mary lived them all. Mary is full of grace, and we draw from her abundance.
Mary attracts the zealous to the various apostolates, then protects and defends all these works. She sheds on each the warmth of her love and the light of her countenance. She presented Jesus in a manner unparalleled throughout the ages. Her apostolate is of the highest degree–never to be equaled, much less surpassed.
Mary gave Jesus to the world and with Jesus came every other blessing. Thus, because of Mary we have the Church: “Mary is the Mother of the Church not only because she is the Mother of Christ and his most intimate associate in ‘the new economy when the Son of God took a human nature from her, that he might in the mysteries of his flesh free man from sin,’ but also because ‘she shines forth to the whole community of the elect as a model of the virtues’ (Lumen Gentium. 55, 65). She now continues to fulfill from heaven her maternal function as the cooperator in the birth and development of the divine life in the individual souls of the redeemed” (The Great Sign, by Paul VI). What do we have of value that we have not received through Mary? It is God’s will that every blessing should come to us through her.
Because the Blessed Mother occupies a most important position in God’s plan of salvation, all humanity should pay homage to her. Whoever spreads devotion to the Queen of Apostles is an apostolic benefactor of the human race, because devotion to Mary is a treasure. Blessed is the person who possesses this treasure! Mary’s devotees will never be without grace; in any danger, in every circumstance they will always have the means to obtain every grace from God.
Several religious congregations practice devotion to Mary under the title of Queen of Apostles, including the Pallotines, the Marianists, and the congregations founded by Bl. James Alberione (the Society of St. Paul, the Daughters of St. Paul, and several others). In the twentieth century, Bl. Alberione promoted this devotion in a particular way.
— Excerpted from Favorite Prayers and Novenas, copyright 1997 Pauline Books & Media
St. Peter Celestine
The pious hermit and founder of the Celestine Order, Pietro di Morone, was born about the year 1215, the eleventh of twelve children. After the death of Nicholas IV, a conclave which lasted more than two years elected him pope on July 5, 1294. He became known as Celestine V. Only the chaotic condition of the age plus the intrigue of King Charles II of Naples can explain the selection of this holy man, who obviously was not conversant with the ways of men or of the world.
It soon became evident that the choice had not been a happy one. Feeling himself incapable of bearing the heavy burden, Celestine resigned on December 13, 1294, five months after receiving the tiara, and resumed the cherished, simple life of a monk. He was succeeded by Boniface VII who had reason to fear that his opponents might use the former Pope to create a schism. To prevent such a calamity Celestine was detained under careful guard in the castle of Fumone near Anagni, where a replica of his former monastic cell had been erected. Here he passed the remainder of his life in acts of holy penance.
— Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.
Patron: Aquila, Italy; bookbinders.
Things to Do:
- St. Peter Celestine proved one could place a life of humility above the highest ecclesiastical honors. Think of a specific way in which you can imitate him.
According to an ancient tradition, St. Peter was the guest of the senator Pudens during his stay in Rome. Pudens had two daughters, Pudentiana and Praxedes, virgins who dedicated themselves wholly to acts of charity. After the death of their parents, Pudentiana and her sister Praxedes distributed their patrimony to the poor. The fact that Puden’s entire household of some 96 persons were baptized by Pope Pius I (d. 154) is ascribed to their zealous activities. When Christian services were forbidden by the Emperor Antoninus Pius, Pius I celebrated Mass in their home. The saints were buried next to their father in the catacomb of St. Priscilla. One of Rome’s most ancient stational churches is dedicated to St. Pudentiana.
— Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.
St. Ives (or Yves or Ivo) Kermartin of Bretagne
St. Ives, born at Kermartin, near Tréguier, Brittany, 17 October, 1253; died at Louannee, 19 May, 1303, was the son of Helori, lord of Kermartin, and Azo du Kenquis. In 1267 Ives was sent to the University of Paris, where he graduated in civil law. He went to Orléans in 1277 to study canon law. On his return to Brittany having received minor orders he was appointed “official”, or ecclesiastical judge, of the archdeanery of Rennes (1280); meanwhile he studied Scripture, and there are strong reasons for holding that he joined the Franciscan Tertiaries sometime later at Guingamp. He was soon invited by the Bishop of Tréguier to become his “official”, and accepted the offer (1284). He displayed great zeal and rectitude in the discharge of his duty and did not hesitate to resist the unjust taxation of the king, which he considered an encroachment on the rights of the Church; by his charity he gained the title of advocate and patron of the poor. Having been ordained he was appointed to the parish of Tredrez in 1285 and eight years later to Louannee, where he died. He was buried in Tréguier, and was canonized in 1347 by Clement VI, his feast being kept on 19 May. He is the patron of lawyers, though not, it is said, their model, for — “Sanctus Ivo erat Brito, Advocatus et non latro, Res miranda populo.” He is noted as being a great preacher and arbitor. He built a hospital with his own money, providing for the sick poor. He is known as a miracle worker, with an instance of feeding hundreds from a single loaf of bread.
— Excerpted from Catholic Encyclopedia.
Patron: abandoned people; advocates; attorneys; bailiffs; barristers; Brittany; canon lawyers; canonists; judges; jurists; lawyers; notaries; orphans.
Symbols: Scroll with legal seals; law books.
Often represented as: lawyer enthroned between rich and poor litigants; lawyer holding a book, with an angel near his head and a lion at his feet; lawyer surrounded by suppliants, holding a parchment and pointing upwards; lawyer surrounded by symbols of the Holy Spirit such as doves.
Meditation: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
7th Week of Easter
Without hindrance Paul proclaimed the Kingdom of God. (Acts 28:31)
You’ve got to admire St. Paul. Persecutor turned evangelist, he founded churches across the Mediterranean world and labored hard to welcome Gentile believers into the fold. Now, under house arrest, with a soldier standing guard, Paul still continued to proclaim the gospel. Nothing hindered him from sharing about Jesus.
Didn’t this man ever grow weary? Didn’t he ever feel tempted to give up or to think he had done enough? He must have, at times—he was only human.
So what was his secret? “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Philippians 4:13).
You might not feel that you exude the confidence or possess the skill that Paul possessed. You may never speak to crowds or perform miracles or lead churches. But you can still proclaim the Lord in small ways. You can speak about him in your home, your parish, and your business by learning to rely on the same power that Paul relied on: the strength that comes from Jesus.
Don’t ever sell God short! He has the strength you need to overcome any fear of reaching out to people. He can help you rise above the busyness of life so that you feel free to perform an act of kindness when the need arises. He can support you in your challenges and give you energy when you feel weary—even if all you can muster is a smile for your neighbor.
What opportunities might present themselves to you today? Maybe you have been meaning to call a friend, but can’t seem to find the time. Perhaps you feel that you should gather your family for a few minutes of prayer, but you’re not sure how to proceed. Or maybe you’ve noticed someone at work who could use a friendly word, but you feel sheepish in starting a conversation. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you just a bit more courage or insight or patience. Then take a deep breath, and take whatever you think the next step should be. Start small, and lean on his strength. As you do, you’ll discover that, like Paul, God will give you what you need to proclaim his goodness to the people around you.
“Lord, give me your strength so that I can proclaim your love today.”
Psalm 11:4-5, 7