Easter: May 10th
Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter; Optional Memorial of St. Damien de Veuster, priest; Optional Memorial of St. John of Avila
Other Commemorations: Sts. Gordian and Epimachus, martyrs (RM); Minor Rogation Day
Father Damien, formally Joseph de Veuster, ss.cc. and St. Damien of Molokai (January 3, 1840 - April 15, 1889), was a missionary of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who is revered primarily by Hawaii residents and Christians for having dedicated his life in service to the lepers of Molokai in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Father Damien is the spiritual patron of lepers, outcasts, and those with HIV/AIDS, and of the State of Hawaii.St. John of Avila, recently declared a Doctor of the Church. He was the Apostle of Andalusia and the spiritual advisor of St. Teresa, St. Francis Borgia, St. John of the Cross, St. Peter of Alcantara, and others. He was born on January 6, 1499, at Almodovar del Campo, Spain. After studying law at the University of Salamanca, he left the university to be a hermit. He then went to Alcala, where he was ordained. John drew great crowds with his fiery denunciations of evil and his many sermons. A brief imprisonment by the Inquisition in Seville made him even more popular. His missionary efforts were centered on Andalusia, and his letters and other writings have become Spanish classics. John was canonized in 1970.According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is also the feast of St. Antoninus, Bishop of Florence, and a member of the Dominican Order. In the exercise of his pastoral charge he showed great charity. He died in 1459. It is also the commemoration of Sts. Gordian and Epimachus. Gordian, a Roman judge, was converted by a holy priest whom Julian, the Apostate, would have liked him to condemn. He was martyred around 360 and was buried in the crypt where already laid the remains of the martyr St. Epimachus (250), brought from Alexandria.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we commemorate the traditional dates for the Rogation Days. These are days of prayer and formerly fasting, which take place every year on April 25th and the three days preceding the feast of the Ascension, the former being known as the Major Rogation and the latter as the Minor Rogations. The word “rogation” has its origins in the Latin word rogare, which means to supplicate or ask, and the purpose of Rogation Days is to beg God for His mercy, to turn away His anger, and to ask Him to bless the fruits of the earth while protecting us from natural disasters. The Rogation Days no longer appear on the General Roman Calendar, but celebrated according to the local conference of bishops.
St. Damien of Molokai
Joseph De Veuster, the future Father Damien, was born at Tremelo in Belgium, January 3rd, 1840. His was a large family and his father was a farmer-merchant. When his oldest brother entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts (called 'Picpus' after the street in Paris where its Generalate was located), his father planned that Joseph should take charge of the family business. Joseph, however, decided to become a religious. At the beginning of 1859 he entered the novitiate at Louvain, in the same house as his brother. There he took the name of Damien.
- Be adventurous and prepare a Hawaiian luau in honor of St. Damien.
St. John of Avila
Saint John of Ávila was born in Almodóvar del Campo of a wealthy and pious family of Jewish converso descent. At the age of fourteen he was sent to the University of Salamanca to study law but returned after a year to his father's home, where he spent the next three years in the practice of austere piety. His sanctity impressed a Franciscan journeying through Almodóvar, on whose advice he took up the study of philosophy and theology at Alcalá de Henares, where he was fortunate to have as his teacher the famous Dominican Domingo de Soto. While he was a student his parents died and after his ordination he celebrated his first Mass in the church where they were buried, sold the family property and gave the proceeds to the poor.
- To learn more about St. John of Avila read New Doctors of the Church: St. Hildegard, St. John of Avila, St John of Avila: Learning the Language of God, St. John of Avila's Life of Prayer and Who was John of Avila? .
- You may read the Letters of Blessed John of Avila at the open library.
Sts. Gordian and Epimachus
During the reign of Julian the Apostate, Januarius, a priest, was brought before the judge, Gordian, that he might be condemned; but Gordian, after being instructed in the Christian faith by this same priest, was baptized by him at Rome, together with his wife and fifty three other members of his house. Whereupon the Prefect, having sent Januarius into exile, ordered his deputy Clementianus to imprison Gordian. The deputy, after some time, had Gordian led in chains before his tribunal, and sought to induce him to deny the faith. Failing in the attempt, the deputy ordered him to be first scourged with whips laden with plummets of lead, and then beheaded. His body was exposed before the temple of Apollo, that it might be devoured by dogs; but during the night the Christians took it, and buried it on the Latin Way, in the same crypt wherein had previously been laid the relics of the holy martyr Epimachus, brought from Alexandria, in which city he had endured a long imprisonment for the Christian faith, and was finally crowned with martyrdom by being burned to death.