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Ordinary Time: October 26th

Saturday of the Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Daily Readings for: October 26, 2013
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. 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. Evaristus, pope and martyr

"This is a Saint who strove for the truth, even unto death, and feared not the words of sinful men, forasmuch as he was founded upon a sure foundation." — Antiphon for Vespers

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Evaristus, one of the first popes and the successor of St. Clement. Pope Evaristus governed the Church from 97 to about 107. He was buried at the Vatican.

St. Evaristus
The episcopate of Evaristus began in the third year of Emperor Trajan's reign. Sources refer to him as a Greek from Antioch, the son of a Jew named Juda from Bethlehem. The exact length of his reign has been disputed by historians, as have been the authenticity of his letters and decretals; however, early scholars credit Evaristus with dividing Rome into specific parishes and with ordaining fifteen bishops, seven priests, and two deacons. Lack of historical evidence for these acts, though, would make them questionable.

In his first epistle addressed to the bishops of Africa, Evaristus decreed that seven deacons were to monitor a bishop's preaching, to ensure that he did not lapse from the true teachings. Evaristus did not wish to see undue accusations aimed at his bishops, yet reserved solely to the See of Rome the power to terminate any bishop as a result of this indiscretion. His second epistle drew a comparison between the lasting bond of husband and wife and that of a bishop and his diocese. Fragments of certain documents bearing his name have been proved to be forgeries, and therefore the validity of his epistles is doubtful. Evaristus did, however, live long enough to see the beginning of the Antonine dynasty.

According to Church tradition, he died a martyr and was buried near St. Peter on the Vatican Hill, but again, there is no reliable evidence to support this.

—Excerpted from The Popes: A Papal History, J.V. Bartlett

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