Ordinary Time: November 23rd
Optional Memorials of St. Clement I, pope & martyr; St. Columban, abbot; Bl. Miguel Pro, priest and martyr
Old Calendar: St. Clement I; St. Felicitas, martyr
St. Clement is the third successor of St. Peter who ruled the Church from c. 92 to 102 and is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. Pope St. Clement wrote a letter to the Corinthians, which is one of the most ancient and precious documents surviving from early Christian times; it shows his profoundly religious spirit, wholly imbued with the mystery of the things of God and love of Christian unity.The most famous of Irish monks, St. Columban was born around 525-530. Well educated and desiring to be a "pilgrim of God," Columban traveled to France and founded several well-disciplined monasteries as centers of religion and culture. Because of difficulties he decided to return to Ireland. A shipwreck directed him towards Rome and to the founding of his final monastery, at Bobbio in Italy. The aged Abbot died on this date in 615. His feast was moved from November 21. It is celebrated on November 23 by Benedictines and Ireland.Fr. Miguel Pro was born in Guadalupe, Mexico, in 1891. The Mexican government began a major persecution of the Church in 1911. Fr. Pro completed his studies in Belgium and was ordained a Jesuit in 1926. He returned to Mexico and performed his ministry heroically until November 23, 1927. He was caught and condemned for being a Catholic priest. Fr. Miguel Pro ended his life facing the firing squad with his arms outstretched until he became a living cross. He called out the words, Viva Cristo Rey! as his body was wracked with a hale of bullets. He was proclaimed "blessed" by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988.According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the commemoration of St. Felicitas, a Roman martyr of uncertain date. She was buried in the cemetery of Maximus. Her name occurs in the calendar of the Roman Church in the fifth century.
St. Clement I of Rome (92-101) was one of the first popes; according to St. Ireneus, he was the third after Peter. Clement most probably died as a martyr. Otherwise little is known of his life. It is not certain whether he is the one Paul mentions as his companion in Phil. 4:3. St. Clement's letter to the Corinthians is authentic; in it he authoritatively intervenes in that strife-torn community, a memorable act in the early history of the papacy.
St. Columban, Abbot
St. Columban was born in West Leinster, Ireland, sometime between 540 and 550, and decided when he was a youth, to dedicate himself to God despite his mother's opposition. He lived for a time on Cluain Iris, an island in Lough Erne, with a monk named Sinell, and then became a monk at Bangor. With twelve other monks he was sent as a missionary to Gaul about 585. He built his first monastery at Annegray about 590, and it was so successful that he followed with two more, at Luxeuil and Fontes (Fontaines). Soon his followers spread all over Europe, building monasteries in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. He aroused much opposition, especially from the Frankish bishops, by the Celtic usages he installed in his monasteries and for refusing to acknowledge bishops' jurisdiction over them. He defended his practices in letters to the Holy See and refused to attend a Gallican synod at Chalons in 603 when summoned to explain his Celtic usages. In 610 King Theodoric II of Burgundy, angered by Columban's denunciation of his refusal to marriage and his practice of keeping concubines, ordered all Irish monks banished from his realm. Columban was shipwrecked on the way to Ireland but was offered refuge by King Theodebert II of Neustria at Metz and began to evangelize the Alemanni in the area around Bregenz on Lake Constance. Though successful, he was again banished in 612, when Burgundy warred against and conquered Neustria; Theodoric now ruled over the area in which Columban was working. Columban decided to flee his old adversary and crossed the Alps to Italy, where he was welcomed to Milan by Arian King Agilulf of the Lombards. Columban founded a monastery at Bobbio, between Milan and Genoa, which became one of the great monasteries of its time—a center of culture, learning, and spirituality. He died there on November 23. Columban wrote his Monastic Rule, sermons, poetry, and treatises against Arianism.
- Read more about St. Columban.
Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro
Miguel Pro was born January 13, 1891, at Guadalupe Zacatecas, Mexico. From his childhood, high spirits and happiness were the most outstanding characteristics of his personality. The loving and devoted son of a mining engineer and a pious and charitable mother, Miguel had a special affinity for the working classes which he retained all his life.
At 20, he became a Jesuit novice and shortly thereafter was exiled because of the Mexican revolution. He traveled to the United States, Spain, Nicaragua and Belgium, where he was ordained in 1925. Father Pro suffered greatly from a severe stomach problem and when, after several operations his health did not improve, in 1926 his superiors allowed him to return to Mexico in spite of the religious persecution in the country.
St. Felicitas (or Felicity of Rome)
On July 10 we had the feast of the Seven Martyred Brothers; today their saintly mother receives special honor. Her body, together with that of her youngest son Silvanus, rests in the cemetery of Maximus; later her remains were transferred to the church of St. Susanna, where they still are honored. She was beheaded in 165 A.D.
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