Pope Saint John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla in the small Polish town of Wadowice. During World War II, when the Nazis invaded Poland, Karol secretly studied for the priesthood in an underground seminary established by the archbishop of Krakow. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1946. In 1964, Father Karol was appointed archbishop of Krakow; just three years later he was made a cardinal. In 1978, Cardinal Wojtyla was elected Pope, the 264th in the Church’s history. He took the name John Paul II. He began his papacy on Oct. 22 by telling the world, “Be not afraid”; his life showed everyone that to change the world, we must “cast into the deep for a great catch.”
On May 13 we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. The year 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal, where the Blessed Mother appeared once each month from May until Oct. 13 October. In today’s post you’ll meet the three children to whom Mary appeared in 1917: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta.
Jozef De Veuster was once a gregarious boy who loved life — even a skating champion near his Tremelo, Belgium, hometown. Brought up in a faithful family, he chose to follow in the footsteps of his older brother and entered religious life with the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1859. Better known by his religious name, Damien, this saint had the heart of a missionary and was known to pray each day to become one. In 1863, Damien volunteered for Hawaiian missions in place of his sickly priest-brother who was supposed to go. Soon, his zeal for souls earned St. Damien De Veuster the title “apostle to the lepers,” and ultimately led to his canonization by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.
Maybe you remember we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph on March 19. Today, May 1, we celebrate another feast dedicated to Jesus’ earthly father, that of St. Joseph the Worker. Find out why two feasts.
It sticks out like a sore, green thumb in the middle of a sober liturgical period. As a lifelong Catholic — and a lifelong Irishman — I struggle with squaring my prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial with a holiday (one of my favorites) whose excesses include dying an entire river green. When I’m supposed to be fasting and giving things up and attending penance services, along comes this holiday — this feast day — that contradicts the whole Lenten vibe with its parades and corned beef. Find more about Saint Patrick online.