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Ordinary Time: May 25th

Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time; Ember Saturday; Opt Mem of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest & Doctor; St. Gregory VII, Pope; St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, Virgin

Other Commemorations: St. Madeline Sophie Barat, Religious (RM)


May 25, 2024 (Readings on USCCB website)



Seventh Week in Ordinary Time: Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

Optional Memorial of St. Bede: O God, who bring light to your Church through the learning of the Priest Saint Bede, mercifully grant that your servants may always be enlightened by his wisdom and helped by his merits. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

Optional Memorial of St. Gregory VII: Give to your Church, we pray, O Lord, that spirit of fortitude and zeal for justice which you made to shine forth in Pope Saint Gregory the Seventh, so that, rejecting evil, she may be free to carry out in charity whatever is right. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

Optional Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi: O God, lover of virginity, who adorned with heavenly gifts the Virgin Saint Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi, setting her on fire with your love, grant, we pray, that we, who honor her today, may imitate her example of purity and love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


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There are three saints that are offered as Optional Memorials today.

  1. St. Bede, the Venerable (672-735), who was born in England. A Benedictine, he was "the most observant and the happiest of all monks." His writings were so full of sound doctrine that he was called "Venerable" while still alive. He wrote commentaries on Holy Scripture and treatises on theology and history. He died at Jarrow, England, in 735.
  2. St. Gregory VII (1020-1085) was a Benedictine monk of Cluny. Before ascending to the papacy as the 157th pope, he fought against the abuse of lay investiture, the source of the evils from which the Church was suffering. His energetic stance as Pope Gregory VII earned for him the enmity of the Emperor Henry IV. He was exiled to Salerno where he died on May 25, 1085.
  3. St. Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi (1566-1607), who was born in Florence and joined the Carmelites when she was nineteen. She practiced great mortification for the salvation of sinners; her constant exclamation was, "To suffer, not to die!" With apostolic zeal, she urged the renewal of the entire ecclesiastical community. She died on May 25, 1607.

The Roman Martyrology also commemorates St. Madeline Sophie Barat (1779-1865), foundress in France of the Society of the Sacred Heart. She died at Paris, France of natural causes in 1865.

Today is Ember Saturday of the Summer or Pentecost Embertide. This is the Ember Week's thanksgiving day. Ember Saturday was originally a nocturnal Vigil, a Vigil with a rich collection of Lessons and prayers, as preparation for Sunday's ordinations. The twelve Lessons in use before the time of St. Gregory the Great were reduced by him to six. Some are connected with Pentecost; the rest with the feasts of the Ember days. For the Offertory a tithe is brought from the past quarter year (in certain communities and parishes wheat for the altar bread is presented) and joyously voice our gratitude over the spiritual harvest marking the close of Easter time.

Today's Station Church >>>

The two principal reasons why the traditional liturgy of today stresses gratitude are: 1) it is harvest time; 2) the Lord has also led us out of Egypt (at Easter) into a land flowing with milk and honey (the kingdom of God). We offer the first fruits of the land and "feast in all the good things the Lord has given us" (the Eucharist: 3rd Lesson).

God's promises to Israel were destined to be fulfilled perfectly only in the Church. If we are God's obedient children, then prosperity, wine and bread will be ours in abundance (the Eucharist: we will enjoy peace and overcome our enemies. "I will set my tabernacle in the midst of you...I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people" (4th Lesson) (Adapted from Fernand Cabrol and Pius Parsch).

See Summer or Pentecost Ember Days and Contemporary Observation of Ember Days for more information.

Ember Saturday after Pentecost
Station with San Pietro in Vaticano (St. Peter's in the Vatican):
We celebrate this closing and thanksgiving day of Ember Week "in the house of Peter." It is the night between Saturday and Sunday as in the spirit of the ancient Church we gather at St. Peter's, the station for all Christendom. For the Offertory we bring our tithe from the past quarter year (in certain communities and parishes wheat for the altar bread is presented) and joyously voice our gratitude over the spiritual harvest marking the close of Ember Week.

For more on San Pietro in Vaticano, see:

For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.

St. Bede the Venerable
Bede occupies an important niche in Church history by bridging the gap between patristic and early medieval times, the era when the Germanic nations had just been Christianized. Through him Christian tradition and Roman culture came to the Middle Ages. He is also honored as the "father of English history." His writings were read publicly in churches while he was still alive; but since he could not be called "Saint," the title of Venerable was attached to his name, a usage which continued down through the centuries.

True Benedictine that he was, his life revolved around prayer and work. On the vigil of the Ascension he felt death approaching and asked to be fortified with the last sacraments. After reciting the Magnificat antiphon of the feast's second Vespers, he embraced his brethren, had himself placed upon a coarse penitential garment on the earth, and breathed forth his soul while saying softly: "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost."

How St. Bede loved the Bible! Anyone who intends to live with the Church must keep the Scriptures near—day in, day out. St. Bede explained the Bible to others. At times you too will have this privilege. Use it.
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Patronage: Lectors; historians; Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Uzhhorod, Ukraine

Symbols and Representation: Pitcher of water and light from Heaven; scroll; pen and inkhorn; volume of ecclesiastical history.
Often portrayed as: Monk writing at a desk; old monk dying amidst his community; old monk with a book and pen; old monk with a jug.

Highlights and Things to Do:

St. Gregory VII
Gregory VII—his name had been Hildebrand before becoming Pope—was born about the year 1020. For two years he was a Benedictine monk of Cluny (1047-1049), then he became a cardinal, and finally, in 1073, Pope. A strong character with a remarkable personality, he easily takes a place with the greatest popes in the Church's history.

His life was one long struggle to purify and unify the Church, and to make her free and independent of secular powers. He enacted strict prohibitions against simony (the purchasing of ecclesiastical preferments), clerical concubinage, and lay investiture (appointment to ecclesiastical offices by civil authorities). On this later score he soon became involved in a dispute with the Emperor Henry IV which caused him untold trouble and which finally resulted in banishment and death. But his stand cleansed the Church and restored its status. Gregory died in exile with these words on his lips: "I loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

Concerning him the Protestant historian Gregorovius wrote: "In the history of the papacy, there will always be two shining stars to reveal the spiritual greatness of the popes. The one is Leo, before whom the terrible destroyer Attila drew back; the other is Gregory, before whom Henry IV knelt in the garb of a penitent. Each of these world renowned men, however, engenders a different reaction. Where Leo inspires highest reverence for pure moral greatness, Gregory fills one with admiration because of an almost superhuman personality. The monk who won without weapons has more right to be admired than Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon.

"The battles fought by medieval popes were not waged with weapons of iron and lead, but with moral weapons. It was the application and operation of such lofty, spiritual means that occasionally raised the Middle Ages above our own. Alongside Gregory, Napoleon appears as a bloody barbarian. . . . Gregory's accomplishment is a distinctly medieval phenomenon, to study it will always be exciting. The history of the Christian world would lose one of its rarest pages if this stalwart character, this artisan's son in the tiara, were missing."
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Highlights and Things to do:

St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
St. Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi was born in 1566 at Florence, Italy, as Catherine. she was a highly gifted mystic, had made a vow of chastity at the age of ten. She entered the convent of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Florence, because the practice of receiving holy Communion almost daily was observed there. For five years her only food was bread and water. She practiced the most austere penances and for long periods endured complete spiritual aridity. Her favorite phrase was: "Suffer, not die!" Her body has remained incorrupt to the present day; it is preserved in a glass coffin in the church of the Carmelite nuns at Florence.

Purity of soul and love of Christ are the chief virtues which the Church admires in St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi. These virtues matured her spiritually and enabled her to take as a motto, "Suffer, not die!" Purity and love are also the virtues which the Church today exhorts us to practice in imitation of the saint. We may never attain her high degree of holiness, but we can at least strive to suffer patiently out of love for Christ.
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Patronage: Bodily ills; sexual temptation; sick people.

Highlights and Things to Do:

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
Under the guidance of her brother Madeleine Sophie Barat became at an early age proficient in Latin, Greek, Spanish and Italian. The brother, nine years her senior, was a stern disciplinarian. If her work was bad, she was punished—sometimes by a box on the ears—but if she did well, no word of praise was uttered. She was never allowed to relax from this discipline—even walks were forbidden unless they were strictly necessary for exercise; and when, in a moment of mistaken tenderness, she gave her brother a present, he threw it on the fire. She was ten when the French Revolution occurred in 1789. Afterwards, and still under the influence of her brother, she met Father Varin who desired to found a female counterpart of the Jesuits which should do for girls' education what they did for boys' education. On November 21, 1800, Madeleine with three companions dedicated herself to the Sacred Heart and so the New Congregation was begun. From the first house at Amiens it was to spread in the lifetime of its foundress all over Europe and to Africa and America, and its boarding schools have become famous.

Madeleine's energy in extending the work was seconded by her reliance on God which enabled her to succeed in times of great difficulty. 'Too much work is a danger to an imperfect soul,' she said, 'but for one who loves our Lord it is an abundant harvest.'
—Excerpted from The Saints edited by John Coulson

Highlights and Things to Do: