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Christmas: January 5th

Memorial of St. John Neumann, bishop (USA)

Daily Readings for: January 05, 2013
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, who called the Bishop Saint John Neumann, renowned for his charity and pastoral service, to shepherd your people in America, grant by his intercession that, as we foster the Christian education of youth and are strengthened by the witness of brotherly love, we may constantly increase the family of your Church. 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.

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Old Calendar: St. Telesphorus, pope and martyr

John Nepomucene Neumann was born in Bohemia. While in the seminary he felt a desire to help in the American missions. After coming to the United States he was ordained in New York in 1836. Entering the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he worked in establishing parishes and parish schools. In 1852 he was consecrated Bishop of Philadelphia and prescribed the Forty Hours devotion.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Telesphorus, pope and martyr. According to St. Irenaeus, St. Telesphorus, who governed the Church from 126 to 136 during a period of violent persecution, suffered martyrdom for the faith.

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

St. John Neumann
John Nepomucene Neumann was born on March 28, 1811, the third of six children of a stocking knitter and his wife in the village of Prachatitz in Bohemia. From his mother he acquired the spirit of piety and through her encouragement entered the Seminary at Budweis.

During his seminary years, he yearned to be a foreign missionary in America. He left his native land and was ordained in June, 1836 by Bishop John Dubois in New York. He spent four years in Buffalo and the surrounding area building churches and establishing schools.

In 1840, he joined the Redemptorists. Eight years later he became a United States citizen. By order of Pope Pius IX in 1852 he was consecrated fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. His mastery of eight languages proved extremely helpful in his quest for souls. He was a pioneer promoter of the Parochial School System in America.

One of the highlights of Saint John Neumann's life was his participation, in Rome, in the Proclamation of the Dogma of our Blessed Mother's Immaculate Conception. Through his efforts, the Forty Hours Devotion was introduced in the Philadelphia Diocese. He founded the first church in America for Italian-speaking people. He also founded the Glen Riddle group of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

At 48 years of age, completely exhausted from all his apostolic endeavors, he collapsed in the street on January 5, 1860. He is buried beneath the altar of the lower Church in St. Peter's Church in Philadelphia.

Things to Do:

St. Telesphorus
St. Telesphorus was Greek, probably from Calabria. He was the seventh Roman bishop in succession from the Apostles. He celebrated Easter on Sunday but maintained fellowship with communities that did not. He started the tradition of Christmas Midnight Mass, and decided that the Gloria should be sung. Some legends say he was a hermit before his election, and that he instituted the tradition of Lent, but these are doubtful. According to St. Irenaeus, he was "an illustrious martyr". His remains are interred in the Vatican.

Symbols: Pope with a chalice over which three Hosts hover (may refer to the celebration of Christmas with 3 Masses said to represent the temporal, spiritual, and eternal birth of Christ); pope with a chalice with a nearby club (possibly an indication of his martyrdom).

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