Monthly Archives: January 2013

Saint John Bosco, Priest

St. John Bosco was the youngest son to Piedmontese peasants. He studied theology at Turin. After ordination, he served the dislocated people who came from the countryside and found themselves adrift in a setting of heavy urbanization and industrialization. In 1854, in a very anti-clerical setting, he founded the Salesian Order, named after St. Francis deSales. It focused on creating solutions for displaced youth. He developed vocational training programs with evening classes and apprenticeships. Eventually, these grew to include schools. To help staff them, he collaborated in the founding of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and organized an active group of lay “co-operators.” St. John Bosco was canonized in 1934.

From a letter by Saint John Bosco, priest
I have always labored out of love

First of all, if we wish to appear concerned about the true happiness of our foster children and if we would move them to fulfill their duties, you must never forget that you are taking the place of the parents of these beloved young people. I have always labored lovingly for them, and carried out my priestly duties with zeal. And the whole Salesian society has done this with me.

My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.

I give you as a model the charity of Paul which he showed to his new converts. They often reduced him to tears and entreaties when he found them lacking docility and even opposing his loving efforts.

See that no one finds you motivated by impetuosity or willfulness. It is difficult to keep calm when administering punishment, but this must be done if we are to keep ourselves from showing off our authority or spilling out our anger.

Let us regard those boys over whom we have some authority as our own sons. Let us place ourselves in their service. Let us be ashamed to assume an attitude of superiority. Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.

This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized, and still others to hope for God’s mercy. And so he bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.

They are our sons, and so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely.

There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.

In serious matters it is better to beg God humbly than to send forth a flood of words that will only offend the listeners and have no effect on those who are guilty.


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Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

St. Thomas Aquinas was born in Aquino, Italy, in 1225, the youngest son of Count Landulf. St. Aquinas received his education at the Abbey of Montecassino and at the University of Naples. In 1244, St. Aquinas entered the Dominican Order. He traveled to Paris and Cologne, studying under St. Albert the Great. He became a Master of Theology at Paris and subsequently, taught there and in Italy. He wrote a series of commentaries on the newly translated works of Aristotle to guide Christians in their reading of them. He wrote the Summa theologiae and much of the liturgy for the feast of Corpus Christi. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1567 by Pius V who called him the Doctor Angelicus.

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Year C – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Jan. 27, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10, Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15 (R/. cf. John 6:63c), 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 or 12:12-14, 27, c.f. Luke 4:18, Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

A hush must have fallen in the synagogue when Jesus walked forward to do the reading.  This was his hometown; they all knew him.  What would he choose to read?  What would he say to them?  They had been hearing about what he was doing – preaching about the kingdom of God being close enough to touch, the crowds coming to listen to him, the healings, the casting out of evil spirits.  They were sitting on the edge of their seats.  He opened the scroll and went to the place in the book of the prophet Isaiah where an unknown speaker talks about being anointed by the Spirit of God and sent forth to do three things:  to preach Good News, to liberate people who were imprisoned in any way, and to give sight to the blind.  Then he looked at them and simply said:  All this is happening now!  The Isaiah reading continues to define the work of the Church:  preaching the gospel, working for justice that frees people from oppression, and reaching out in compassion to all.  The Holy Spirit is at work in and through us.

How do you participate in this work?


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Acting on faith

“The church’s teachings are timeless. They cannot be changed, even though adherence may be upsetting to some. That the church is built on a rock with fixed beliefs is a positive feature, both because it can withstand the shifting winds of public opinion and because of the cherished content of our faith itself, which fosters love among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

“Although these precepts may be misunderstood by many today, the fundamental vocation of the Catholic Church is to provide the witness of love and truth to the world, including offering the voice of an informed conscience.”

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