Easter: May 9th
Ascension of Our Lord or Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Old Calendar: St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop, confessor and doctor; St. Pachomius (Hist)
The ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia have retained the celebration of the Ascension on the proper Thursday, while all other provinces have transferred this solemnity to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 20. If transferred today is observed as an Easter Weekday. The following readings are used: Acts 18:1-8/Jn 16:16-20 (294).According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Gregory Nazianzen. He was educated at Athens in all the sciences with St. Basil the Great. He became bishop of Nazianzen and his profound knowledge earned for him the title of Doctor and Theologian, titles confirmed by the Church. He died in 389. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated January 2.Historically today is the feast of St. Pachomius, founder of the cenobitical life, born near Esneh, Egypt; died at Phebôou c.346. After spending some time with the hermit Palemon, he withdrew to Tabennisi where he introduced community life among the hermits who gathered around him. Before he died he had established nine monasteries for men and two for women. His order continued until the 11th century. Represented in hermit's garb, or crossing the Nile on the back of a crocodile.
St. Gregory Nazianzen
Gregory, surnamed the "Theologian" by the Greeks, was born at Nazianz in Cappadocia in 329. He was one of the "Three Lights of the Church from Cappadocia." To his mother, St. Nonna, is due the foundation for his saintly life as an adult. He was educated at the most famous schools of his time — Caesarea, Alexandria, Athens. At Athens he formed that storied bond of friendship with St. Basil which was still flaming with all the fervor of youthful enthusiasm when he delivered the funeral oration at the grave of his friend in 381.
- We too must harmoniously combine the two phases of spiritual life, the contemplative which tends to solitude and the active or pastoral which responds to the need of the times and the good of souls.
St. Pachomius can justifiably be called the founder of cenobitic monasticism (monks who live in community). Even though St. Antony the Great was the first to go into the desert to live a life of seclusion pursuing evangelical perfection, he lived an eremitic life, that is, a primarily solitary life.
- Read this longer life of St. Pachomius on the EWTN website.