Ordinary Time: October 9th
Optional Memorial of St. Denis, bishop and martyr and companions, martyrs; St. John Leonardi, priest; Bl. John Henry Newman (Eng/Wales)
Old Calendar: St. John Leonardi, confessor; Saints Denis, Rusticus and Eleutherius, martys ; Other Titles: Denys; Dionysius; John Leonard
St. John Leonardi (1543-1609), a zealous Italian apostle, founded the congregation of the Mother of God, whose priest-members traveled throughout Tuscany urging the people to a stronger interest in their religion. Fr. John Leonardi longed to convert pagans, but his spiritual director, St. Philip Neri, told him to remain in Italy. So instead he founded a seminary in Rome to train young men for the priesthood from all the mission lands.St. Denis, a third-century apostle of Gaul, and now one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers" became first bishop of Paris. He suffered martyrdom there, together with his priest Rusticus and his deacon Eleutherius.These feasts are celebrated today both in the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.Pope Benedict XVI beatified Bl. John Henry Newman on September 19, 2010, at Crofton Park (near Birmingham). The pope noted Newman's emphasis on the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society but also praised his pastoral zeal for the sick, the poor, the bereaved and those in prison. This feast is celebrated today in England and Wales.
Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman
John Henry Newman, one of the great Christian intellectuals of the nineteenth century, was born in London in 1801. His spiritual quest having begun in adolescence, he later went on to study theology at Oxford University. Subsequently he became an Anglican pastor, a fellow of Oriel College, and leader of the Oxford Movement which studied the Catholic roots of the faith in England. In 1842, while writing his "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine", he began to mature his conversion to Catholicism. He was admitted into the Catholic Church in 1845 and ordained a Catholic priest in Rome on 1 June 1847. Following his ordination, and with the encouragement of Pope Pius IX, he founded the first Oratory of St. Philip Neri in England. In 1852 he was appointed rector of the Catholic University of Dublin, Ireland, a post he held until 1854. Pope Leo XIII made him a cardinal in 1879 and he died in 1890 at the Oratory of Edgbaston. The process for his beatification began in 1958. Newman's miraculous intercession in the cure of dean Jack Sullivan, who suffered a serious complaint of the spinal column, was officially recognised and approved by Benedict XVI in July 2009.
- Read more about Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman here.
St. John Leonardi
St. John Leonardi was born in Tuscany, Italy in 1541, during the time of upheaval in the Church due to Martin Luther. He studied to be a pharmacist, then became a priest. As a young priest he devoted himself to teaching catechism to youths. In 1574, he founded the Order of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca, a congregation of diocesan priests. He suffered many tribulations for this work, including exile. His contemporary, St. Philip Neri, was a great friend and spiritual guide, and helped him particularly in his time of exile.
- St. John promoted the teaching of the Catholic faith. We should study our faith, perhaps by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church a little each day.
- Try to understand more deeply the historical context during St. John's life — he was fighting the effects of the Lutheran Reformation of the Church. Could we refute the teachings of Luther?
St. Denis was born in Italy. In 250 he was sent to France with six other missionary bishops by Pope Fabian. Denis became the first bishop of Paris. He was beheaded in 258 with the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius at Catulliacum, now Saint-Denis. One of the many legends about his torture and death was that his body carried his severed head some distance from his execution site. St. Denis is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers who were invoked particularly in the Middle Ages against the Black Plague. See August 8 for more information.
- Learn more about the Fourteen Holy Helpers and their historical context.
- Bake a French (or Parisian) pastry. Cooking with the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf has 3 recipes for St. Denis — St. Denis Turnovers, Saint Denis Tartlets and Brioche Saint-Denis (Praline Cake).
- Read in The Golden Legend for some of the legends or stories about St. Denis.
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