APRIL is dedicated to The Holy Spirit. The first three days of the month fall during the season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. The remainder of April falls during the Easter season which is represented by the liturgical color white — the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored).

The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of APRIL  2021

Fundamental Rights
We pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis. (See also Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network)

APRIL 22

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Sts. Soter and Caius. Soter succeeded Anicetus as Pope in 166, and died a martyr in 175, under Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Caius, whose relics are preserved at the sanctuary of St. Silvester in Rome, governed the Church a century later and died on April 22, 296. The popes of the first centuries suffered the heavy anxiety of the persecutions which continually threatened their flocks; the pontificate of Caius, however, was marked by a long period of peace, some ten years before the terrible persecution under Diocletian.

According to the Roman Martyrology, today is the feast of Sts. Epipodius and Alexander, two Christian young men of Lyons—both unmarried and of good position. During the fierce persecution of Marcus Aurelius in that city (178), they were arrested, imprisoned, and finally brought before the governor. Their ready acknowledgment of being Christians elicited astonishment of the governor who was well aware of the fierce tortures and executions that had already been meted out to Christians.


St. Soter
St. Soter, the successor to Pope Anicetus, died a martyr’s death in 175. He was noted for his kindness to certain Greeks who had been condemned to the mines because of their faith in Christ. When he ascended the chair of Peter he forbade consecrated virgins to touch the sacred vessels and palls, or to carry censers in church. He also obliged the faithful, except those in mortal sin, to receive holy Communion on Maundy Thursday. Soter is the author of a letter to the Corinthians.

Things to Do:


St. Caius
St. Caius (pope from 283 to 296) was closely related to the Emperor Diocletian. So that he might live to serve the faithful, he remained in concealment a long time and would not leave Rome. Ordinarily it was in the catacombs that he hid, and there he celebrated the holy mysteries and instructed many pagans. It was Pope Caius who decreed (according to the false Decretals) that the following steps must precede consecration to the episcopate: porter, lector, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon, and priest. He died a natural death and was buried in the catacomb of Callistus on April 22. St. Susanna was his niece. Pope Urban VIII revived his memory in Rome by restoring his church, naming him as its patron saint, raising it to the rank of a station, and enriching it with the saint’s relics.

Things to Do:


Saints Epipodius and Alexander
Born during the 2nd century, Epipodius and Alexander became best friends while growing up and attending school together. They were both raised Christian and shared a similar passion for their faith. It was not long until these two young men were put to the test during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.

At the time there was a great persecution underway, especially in their own city of Lyons. Epipodius and Alexander kept secret about their faith and sought to hide from the local authorities. A servant betrayed Epipodius and Alexander and reported them to the governor. They were to be arrested for their Christian faith but they heard about the order and immediately fled the city. They escaped to a nearby town and found refuge in the house of a Christian widow. The two friends were concealed for a time and remained in hiding.

However, they were eventually discovered and immediately brought before the governor. The Roman official sought to torture Epipodius and Alexander in hopes of getting them to renounce their Christian faith. He separated the two and first questioned Epipodius, who replied, “I shall not suffer myself to be prevailed upon by this pretended and cruel compassion. Are you so ignorant as not to know that man is composed of two substances, a soul and a body? With us the soul commands and the body obeys. The abominations you are guilty of in honor of your pretended deities, afford pleasure to the body but kill the soul. We are engaged in a war against the body for the advantage of the soul. You, after having defiled yourselves with pleasures like brute beasts, find nothing at last but a sorrowful death; whereas we, when you destroy us, enter into eternal life.”

Outraged by his response, the governor had him stretched on a rack and severely tortured before cutting off his head.

The governor then brought in Alexander and put him to the test, explaining how his dear friend was tortured. Alexander replied, “I thank my God that the mention of the deaths of my brethren only confirms my desire of imitating their example. Do you imagine that their souls have died with their bodies? No; they have gone to the enjoyment of heaven. You are deceived, thinking that you can extinguish the Christian faith, which has been so established by God, that it is propagated by the death of the faithful. Those whom you believe to have killed are now in the enjoyment of heaven, which they shall continue to enjoy for all eternity; while, on the contrary, you and the objects of your adoration shall be cast into the fire of hell, to suffer for all eternity. I am a Christian, like my brother Epipodius, who is now reigning in heaven. Do therefore, to my body as it pleases you; for my soul shall be received by that God who created it.”

Alexander was crucified after being tortured and died immediately on the cross.

Epipodius and Alexander are known as the patron saints of bachelors, victims of betrayal, and victims of torture. Their steadfast example should give us courage to follow Christ to whatever end, even if that means betrayal and suffering. In the end, we must safeguard our soul above all else and not betray the God who gave up his own life so that we may live eternally.

MASS READINGS

April 22, 2021 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

Almighty ever-living God, let us feel your compassion more readily during these days when, by your gift, we have known it more fully, so that those you have freed from the darkness of error may cling more firmly to the teachings of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2021-04-22&

Daily Meditation: Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20

Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. (Psalm Response)

When was the last time you cried out to God with joy? A wedding or a birth? Recovery from an illness? A long-awaited reunion with a loved one? These are all perfect occasions for some joyful crying out. But the psalmist doesn’t restrict himself to a specific moment. Instead, he exhorts us to cry out with joy at all times because God “has given life to our souls” and he does not refuse our “prayer or his kindness” (Psalm 66:9, 20).

Today’s first reading exemplifies such continuous joy. God sent Philip out on a desert route. Philip didn’t know why or where he was to go, and the terrain was rocky and barren. But the joy of the Lord sustained him on the trek and quite possibly made him an enthusiastic, joyful evangelist.

And what was the reaction of the Ethiopian court official after he received the Holy Spirit in Baptism? He “continued on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). We can imagine that joy staying with him when he returned to his own country.

Joy is not simply a passing feeling but a fruit of the indwelling Spirit and the product of God’s life in us (Galatians 5:22). Rather than distinct instances of feeling joyful, it’s possible to live in a state of underlying joy. This is a joy infused with hope—the expectation of good—even when our immediate circumstances aren’t themselves joyful. God’s life in us grows and matures, and as it does, our joy increases.

That means you can grow in joy as well. And you can begin by expressing it! Start with “Bless our God” (Psalm 66:8). Then open your heart to the Lord. Turn your thoughts to him frequently. Adore him in prayer, find him in the Scriptures, and celebrate him in the Eucharist. Tell him all the reasons for your gratitude: for giving you this day; for healing you, forgiving you, and comforting you. “Sound his praise” (66:8) by telling someone else about what God has done for you, even—and especially—those little blessings the Lord gives you each day.

Yes, cry out to God with joy, and watch joy flourish inside you.

“Bless you, Father, for your life in me. Help me to cry out with joy today and in all circumstances.”

Acts 8:26-40
John 6:44-51

 

EASTER PRAYER

May the glory
and the promise
of this joyous time of year
bring peace
and happiness to you
and those you hold most dear.

And may Jesus Christ,
Our Risen Savior,
always be 

by your side
to bless you
most abundantly
and be your loving guide.
Rejoice, alleluia!

MARY’S MEALS

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MIRACULOUS MEDAL

 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:

“These are the symbols of grace I shed upon those who ask for them.”
“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.’ “
At the same instant, the oval frame seemed to turn around. Then I saw on the back of it the letter ‘M’, surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it, and under the monogram of the name of Mary, the Holy Hearts of Jesus and of His Mother; the first surrounded by a crown of thorns and the second transpierced by a sword. I was anxious to know what words must be placed on the reverse side of the medal and after many prayers, one day in meditation I seemed to hear a voice which said to me: ‘ The ‘M’ with the Cross and the two Hearts tell enough.’ ”
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.    
*Click on this link for a free Miraculous Medal

BROWN SCAPULAR OF MT. CARMEL

“Whosoever dies clothed in this

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 SacramentalOne 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:

Free Brown Scapular | Order Page

New Catholic Radio Station serving Chittenden County

Donna McSoley

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.”

Lance Harlow

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.

https://vtdigger.org/2017/11/05/new-catholic-radio-station-serving-chittenden-county/#.WgItH9QrK6Y