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Ordinary Time: July 4th

Optional Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal: Independence Day (USA)

MASS READINGS

July 04, 2009 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

Father of peace and love, you gave St. Elizabeth the gift of reconciling enemies. By the help of her prayers give us the courage to work for peace among men, that we may be called the sons of God. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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St. Elizabeth of Portugal was the daughter of Peter III of Aragon and was named after her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, whose virtues she also inherited. In her married life with King Denis of Portugal she had to undergo a series of heavy trials which she endured with heroism. On more than one occasion she went to considerable pains to bring about peace between her children and their father. After her husband's death she became a Franciscan Tertiary and showed unfailing charity towards the poor. She died in 1336; her body has remained incorrupt.

Today is the national celebration of our Nation's independence. As we celebrate let us remember to pray that God will strengthen and bless America and make our nation a haven of liberty and justice for all — born and unborn.

Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar St. Elizabeth's feast was celebrated on July 8.


Independence Day
On April 19, 1775, American minutemen faced English soldiers on the village green in Lexington, Massachusetts. Someone — no one to this day knows who — fired a shot, and a battle followed which marked the beginning of the American Revolution.

After the Battle of Lexington, the desire of Americans for complete independence from England grew stronger. Less than a month after that battle, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. On July 4, 1776, the Congress issued a Declaration of Independence, announcing "that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states."

For a time it seemed to some that the fight for independence was a hopeless struggle, but an important American victory at Saratoga marked a turning point in the war. After that victory the Americans gained a strong ally, France. With the help of France, the Americans went on to win a final victory over the English at Yorktown. The English Parliament then decided to make peace and accept American independence.

With independence won, the thirteen states set out to form a new nation. There were strong differences among the states, but Americans came to understand the need for unity, and devised a new plan for government—the Constitution.

The new government, under the Constitution, was faced with many problems, both at home and abroad. However it found ways to solve these problems, and the United States began to grow rapidly.

Excerpted from American History, published by Laidlaw Brothers.

Things to Do:

  • Read the Declaration of Independence and see what grievances our Founding Fathers had with England. This same site offers links to learn more about the founding of our nation.

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