Ordinary Time: August 13th
Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of Saints Pontian, Pope; Hippolytus, Priest, Martyrs
Other Commemorations: St. Cassian, martyr (RM); St. Radegunde, queen (RM); St. John Berchmans, religious (RM)
Gospel Verse Cf. Matt 11:25:
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to the little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
St. Pontian (Pontianus) was a victim of the persecution of Alexander Severus, who directed his attention particularly against the leaders of the Church. St. Pontian governed the Church from 230 to 235. He was exiled to the mines of Sardinia and died in exile. St. Hippoytus, a priest and a person of some importance in the Church in Rome at the beginning of the third century, provoked a schism which lasted for some years. He was exiled to Sardinia with St. Pontian, where he was reconciled with the Church and died for the faith in 235.The following saints are included in the Roman Martyrology today:
—St. Cassian of Immola (d. 304), a martyr of the neighborhood of Bologna. According to his biography, he was a schoolmaster and was delivered with his hands tied behind his back to his young pupils, who stabbed him to death. In the bishop's chapel at Ravenna there is a mosaic of St. Cassian that dates from the fifth century.—St. Radegunde (518-587) is also commemorated today. She was queen at Poitiers and her life was renowned for miracles and virtues.—St. John Berchmans (1599-1621) was born and grew up in a Flemish-speaking area of present-day Belgium. He joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He was very studies and his life was marked by extraordinary piety and love of God above all things. But while at college he was seized with a violent fever, from which he died on August 13th, at the age of twenty-two years and five months. He is the patron of altar servers.—Blessed Michael Joseph McGivney (1852-1890), American priest who founded the Knights of Columbus.
Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus
As kind as Severus might have been to the Christians, his successor Maximus Thrax persecuted them. Although Maximus was not a religious man himself, he despised Severus and intended to reverse any attitude to which Severus might have been disposed. He therefore decreed that leaders of the Church be singled out and banished to the labor mines of Sardinia, the famous "Island of Death."
- Adopt A Spire of St. Pontian on the Duomo de Milano.
- See info regarding St. Hippolytus' Statue and St. Pontian's Statue of St. Peter's Colonnade.
- For children, read Saints Pontian and Hypolytus at Loyola Press.
- From this site: Pope St. Pontian was the first pope to resign his office instead of vacating it with his death, making him the first of 11 popes to freely abdicate the Chair of Peter in the nearly 2,000-year history of the Church.
- For more information, see Catholic Ireland.
St. Cassian was a schoolmaster at Imola in northeast Italy. He died a martyr during the Roman persecutions under Diocletian, probably in the third century.
- Visit online the church in Upper Montclair, NJ dedicated to St. Cassian.
- Cassian's martyrdom is considered one of the six horrible deaths of early Christian martyrs.
- Cassian may be considered a patron saint of teachers by James V. Schall.
St. Radegunde, Queen
St. Radegunde's father was a king; when he was conquered by King Theodoric of Austrasia and King Clotaire I of Neustria, Radegunde was taken captive at the age of twelve by Clotaire, son of Clovis, the first Christian King of the Franks. She lived at Athies until she was 18, when Clotaire brought her to Vitry and married her. Clotaire was "a man of shocking character." As queen, Radegunde spent her time doing charitable work with the poor and the captives. She ministered to lepers and founded a hospital for them. Radegunde had been married to Clotaire for six years when he killed her brother. Unable to bear his cruelties any longer, she became a nun, with his permission. Radegunde had a double monastery built in Poitiers called Holy Cross. When Clotaire decided to bring her back to court, St. Germanus interceded on her behalf, and the repentant Clotaire sent Germanus back to Radegunde to ask her forgiveness and prayers. After her death, Radegunde's face shone "with a brightness surpassing the beauty of lilies and roses."
- Read Queen St. Radegundes, Ora Pro Nobis.
- Read the interesting history of St. Radegunde's Abbey.
- The original hymn Crux Fidelis was composed by Venantius Fortunatus on the occasion a relic of the True Cross was presented to St. Radegunde.
St. John Berchmans
This young saint of the Society of Jesus was born in Flanders, the oldest of five children. He grew up in an atmosphere of political turmoil caused by a religious war between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the Netherlands. He studied at the Gymnasium at Diest and worked as a servant in the household of Canon John Froymont at Malines in order to continue his studies.
In 1615, the Jesuits opened a college at Malines, and St. John Berchmans was one of the first to enter. He was an energetic student and was a leader among the students. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Malines and came under the influence of Father Antoine Sucquet. The young Berchmans developed a strong and deep spirituality based on the loving practice of fidelity. St. Aloysius of Gonzaga was his spiritual model, and he was influenced as well by the example of the Jesuit English martyrs.
- Like St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John Berchmans was not noted for anything extraordinary. He made kindness and courtesy as well as constant fidelity an important part of his holiness. The path to holiness lies in the ordinary rather than the extraordinary. That is a lesson that some learn only late in life. Read more about St. John Berchmans' life and spirituality.
- Read more about St. John Berchmans here, read about his miracles.
- Here are some prayers to St. John Berchmans.
Bl. Michael McGivney
The eldest son of an immigrant Irish family in Connecticut, young Michael left school at 13 to work in a brass factory making spoons. At 16 he began studies for the priesthood in Quebec, but was obliged to leave to help support the family when his father died. Michael completed his education in Baltimore, Maryland, and was ordained for the diocese of Hartford in 1877.