Ordinary Time: October 20th
Optional Memorial of St. Paul of the Cross, priest
St. Paul of the Cross devoted himself to the service of the poor and the sick. He is best known for his apostolic zeal and his great penances. He founded the congregation of the Passionists.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. John Cantius (or Kanty), one of the patrons of Poland. In the Ordinary Form, St. John's feast has been moved to December 23, and is an optional memorial.
Historically today is the feast of St. Irene, a Portuguese nun who was martyred in defense of her chastity in the year 653. Her shrine, the “Santarem,” has played a key role for the great quality and beauty of the Catholic Faith that the Portuguese people have lived, even until today.
St. Paul of the Cross
St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of Genoa on January 3, 1694. His infancy and youth were spent in great innocence and piety. He was inspired to found a congregation, having while in ecstasy beheld the habit which he and his companions were to wear. After consulting his director, Bishop Gastinara of Alexandria in Piedmont, he reached the conclusion that God wished him to establish a congregation in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
On November 22, 1720, the Bishop vested him with the habit that had been shown to him in a vision, the same that the Passionists wear at the present time. From that moment the saint applied himself to prepare the Rules of his institute, and in 1721 he went to Rome to obtain the approbation of the Holy See. At first he failed, but finally succeeded when Benedict XIV approved the Rules in 1741 and 1746. Meanwhile St. Paul built his first monastery near Obitello. Some time later he established a larger community at the Church of Sts. John and Paul in Rome.
For 50 years St. Paul remained the indefatigable missionary of Italy. God lavished upon him the greatest gifts in the supernatural order, but he treated himself with the greatest rigor, and believed that he was a useless servant and a great sinner. His saintly death occurred at Rome in the year 1775, at the age of 81. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867.
Patronage: Passionist order; Ovada, Italy; diocese of Pitigliano-Sovana-Orbetello, Italy,
Symbols and Representation: Man in Passionist habit, black tunic and mantle, leather belt and rosary with emblem over the heart; cross; book with cross; heart emblem of Passionist order.
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Learn more about St. Paul of the Cross:
- St. Paul of the Cross is buried under the altar in the large side chapel on the right side of the nave. Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Saints John and Paul) in Rome.
- Read more about the Congregation of the Passionists.
- Make a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament and spend some time meditating on Christ's passion.
- Make some Passionist cupcakes for the feast day.
- Study and discuss the symbolism of the emblem of the Passionists.
- Read Flowers of the Passion by St. Paul of the Cross.
- One of the apostolates of the Passionist order is preaching at missions, retreats or parish renewals. Try to attend if your parish offers a retreat/mission/renewal.
- Catholic Cuisine has a clever idea of cupcakes for St. Paul of the Cross.
- See his Founder Statue at St. Peter's Basilica.