Ordinary Time: October 23rd
Optional Memorial of St. John of Capistrano, priest
Old Calendar: St. Anthony Mary Claret
John was a native of Capistrano, in Italy. He became a Franciscan and was one of the great organizers of the struggle against the Mohammedans in the 15th century, when they threatened to overrun the whole of Europe. Mohammed II had taken Constantinope and was already marching against Belgrade, when Pope Callixtus III called St. John to preach the crusade; assisted by the Hungarian John Hunyadi, he gathered a strong Christian army, which defeated the Turks in the great battle of Belgrade (1453). He died in 1456.Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar St. John of Capistrano's feast was celebrated on March 28 and today was the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret which is now observed on October 24.
St. John of Capistrano
St. John was born in 1386 at Capistrano in the Italian Province of the Abruzzi. His father was a German knight and died when he was still young. St. John became a lawyer and attained the position of governor of Perugia. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, St. John tried to broker a peace. Unfortunately, his opponents ignored the truce and St. John became a prisoner of war. On the death of his wife he entered the order of Friars Minor, was ordained and began to lead a very penitential life.
- St. John struggled with finding his vocation. Younger people can pray to St. John for help in discerning God's will for their lives.
- Learn more about the times that St. John Capistrano lived, such as the Crusades, the Black Plague, anti-popes.
- St. John is the patron of jurists. We can turn to him to help discern major decisions. We can also follow his example of strict self-discipline in order to think more clearly.
- In 1776 in Southern California, Father Junipera Serra founded the Mission of San Juan Capistrano, named for St. John, for mission work to the Indians. The mission is a historical site, and has both a Catholic Basilica and the original smaller chapel that are still used for Catholic liturgy. See the Wikipedia page. There is also a tradition of the swallows returning to San Juan every March 19. Find out more about this annual event.