Thursday, January 5, 2023

Thursday before Epiphany

The Month of January Dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus

Saint: Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, Bishop (1811-1860)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Prologue 33-38

Mass: 1 Jn 3:11-21; Resp Ps 100; Jn 1:43-51  

Come before Him with joyful song.



Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.
(1 Jn 3:18)

The Requiem Mass for Pope Benedict XVI was celebrated this morning in Rome in Saint Peter's Square. With Pope Francis and all the faithful who gathered there we pray, "Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be complete as you hear His voice now and forever!" (Pope Francis, homily). At the same time, the Abbot General of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance petitioned that all communities in the Order celebrate the Holy Eucharist today for the eternal rest of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. We ask Pope Benedict XVI to intercede for us along with Saint Rafael Arnaiz, Cistercian oblate, who Pope Benedict XVI canonized October 11, 2009. In his homily at the canonization, Pope Benedict XVI asked that Saint Rafael Arnaiz "give himself to revive the inner life of today's Christians. May he give himself so that his Brother Trappists and monastic centres continue to be beacons that reveal the intimate yearning for God which he himself instilled in every human heart."

And we are not finished yet. ☺Yesterday we were honored to commemorate the first native-born American to be canonized, our "wholly American" Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton. And today we have the honor of commemorating the first American male saint to be canonized, Bohemian born Saint John Nepomucene Neumann. John studied for the priesthood in Bohemia. However, his bishop would not allow him to be ordained because the diocese already had too many priests. Can you imagine? So, John set off for the United States, Manhattan to be exact, and arrived June 9, 1836. Since Bishop John Dubois had only 36 priests for the 200,000 Catholics living in the state of New York and part of New Jersey at that time, John was ordained a priest 16 days after his arrival and was sent to Buffalo. There he lived frugally in a log parish house, then joined the Redemptorists and continued his missionary work until he was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. As bishop, John built 50 churches, began the construction of a cathedral, and opened almost 100 schools so that the number of parochial students grew from 500 to 9,000. Surely not tired from his labors, Neumann died suddenly on January 5, 1860. He is buried in Saint Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia.* Not without a fun fact, I relate something I think I told you last year. The founder of the Benedictine Sisters in Lisle, Illinois (the Prairie State) was Mother Mary Nepomucene Jaeger. The founder of the monks across street from them at Saint Procopius Abbey were founded by her blood brother, Abbot Nepomucene Jaeger. Both communities share Bohemian roots with our saint of the day. We pray especially for both communities. May Saint John Nepomucene Neumann intercede for them. God is certainly praised with all that newsy news.

Jesus, Crucified and Risen, the Living One and the Lord, was the destination to which Pope Benedict led us, taking us by the hand. May he help us rediscover in Christ the joy of believing and the hope of living.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, January 4, 2023)


*I hope I have all of that correct. Please see Catholic News Agency, "St. John Nepomucene Neumann," Universalis "About Today," and the National Shrine of St. John Neumann (Philadelphia, PA) website 

Today's photo: Dear friends and faithful readers are in Chile. This is from the Metropolitan Cathedral Catedral Metropolitana in Santiago where they were for Mass on Christmas morning. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise.

© Gertrude Feick 2023

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