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Birgitt Hacker
Birgitt Hacker
Pastoral Associate of Adult Faith Formation & Ministries

Daily Readings

October 16, 2021 - 4:30am
Reading I Rom 4:13, 16-18

Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith, 
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.

Responsorial Psalm 105:6-7, 8-9, 42-43

R.    (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
    sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
    throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
    which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
    and by his oath to Isaac.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
For he remembered his holy word
    to his servant Abraham.
And he led forth his people with joy;
    with shouts of joy, his chosen ones.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Alleluia Jn 15:26b, 27a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“I tell you,
everyone who acknowledges me before others
the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others
will be denied before the angels of God.

“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will not be forgiven.
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities,
do not worry about how or what your defense will be
or about what you are to say. 
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

October 15, 2021 - 4:30am
Reading I Rom 4:1-8

Brothers and sisters:
What can we say that Abraham found,
our ancestor according to the flesh?
Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works,
he has reason to boast;
but this was not so in the sight of God.
For what does the Scripture say?
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
A worker’s wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due.
But when one does not work,
yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly,
his faith is credited as righteousness. 
So also David declares the blessedness of the person
to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven
and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not record.

Responsorial Psalm 32:1b-2, 5, 11

R. (see 7) I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just;
exult, all you upright of heart.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Alleluia Ps 33:22

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us;
who have put our hope in you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 12:1-7

At that time:
So many people were crowding together 
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

October 14, 2021 - 4:30am
Reading I Rom 3:21-30

Brothers and sisters:
Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
though testified to by the law and the prophets,
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
for all who believe.
For there is no distinction;
all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.
They are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as an expiation,
through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness
because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,
through the forbearance of God–
to prove his righteousness in the present time,
that he might be righteous
and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

What occasion is there then for boasting?  It is ruled out.
On what principle, that of works?
No, rather on the principle of faith.
For we consider that a person is justified by faith
apart from works of the law.
Does God belong to Jews alone?
Does he not belong to Gentiles, too?
Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one
and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith
and the uncircumcised through faith.

Responsorial Psalm 130:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6ab

R.    (7) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
    LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to my voice in supplication.
R.    With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
    Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
    that you may be revered.
R.    With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
    my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
    more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
R.    With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Alleluia Jn 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 11:47-54

The Lord said:
“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets 
whom your fathers killed.
Consequently, you bear witness and give consent
to the deeds of your ancestors,
for they killed them and you do the building.
Therefore, the wisdom of God said,
‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles;
some of them they will kill and persecute’
in order that this generation might be charged
with the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!
Woe to you, scholars of the law!
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

October 13, 2021 - 4:30am
Reading I Rom 2:1-11

You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.
For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.
We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true.
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things
and yet do them yourself,
that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience
in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God
would lead you to repentance?
By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,
you are storing up wrath for yourself
for the day of wrath and revelation
of the just judgment of God,
who will repay everyone according to his works,
eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality
through perseverance in good works,
but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth
and obey wickedness.
Yes, affliction and distress will come upon everyone
who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone
who does good, Jew first and then Greek.
There is no partiality with God.

Responsorial Psalm 62:2-3, 6-7, 9

R.    (13b) Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.
Only in God is my soul at rest;
    from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.
R.    Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
    for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed. 
R.    Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
    Pour out your hearts before him;
    God is our refuge!
R.    Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.

Alleluia Jn 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 11:42-46

The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.  
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

October 12, 2021 - 4:30am
Reading I Rom 1:16-25

Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen. 

Responsorial Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5

R.    (2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
    and night to night imparts knowledge.
R.    The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Not a word nor a discourse
    whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
    and to the ends of the world, their message.
R.    The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Alleluia Heb 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 11:37-41

After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Saint of the Day

October 16, 2021 - 5:23am
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Feast date: Oct 16

On Oct. 16, Roman Catholics celebrate the life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the French nun whose visions of Christ helped to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart throughout the Western Church.

Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in July of 1647. Her parents Claude and Philiberte lived modest but virtuous lives, while Margaret proved to be a serious child with a great focus on God. Claude died when Margaret was eight, and from age 9-13 she suffered a paralyzing illness. In addition to her father's death as well as her illenss, a struggle over her family's property made life difficult for Margaret and her mother for several years.

During her illness, Margaret made a vow to enter religious life. During adolescence, however, she changed her mind. For a period of time she lived a relatively ordinary life, enjoying the ordinary social functions of her day and considering the possibility of marriage.

However, her life changed in response to a vision she saw one night while returning from a dance, in which she saw Christ being scourged. Margaret believed she had betrayed Jesus, by pursuing the pleasures of the world rather than her religious vocation, and a the at the age of 22, she decided to enter a convent.

Two days after Christmas of 1673, Margaret experienced Christ's presence in an extraordinary way while in prayer. She heard Christ explain that he desired to show his love for the human race in a special way, by encouraging devotion to “the heart that so loved mankind.”

She experienced a subsequent series of private revelations regarding the gratitude due to Jesus on the part of humanity, and the means of responding through public and private devotion, but the superior of the convent dismissed this as a delusion.

This dismissal was a crushing disappointment, affecting the nun's health so seriously that she nearly died. In 1674, however, the Jesuit priest Father Claude de la Colombiere became Margaret's spiritual director. He believed her testimony, and chronicled it in writing.

Fr. de la Colombiere – later canonized as a saint – left the monastery to serve as a missionary in England. By the time he returned and died in 1681, Margaret had made peace with the apparent rejection of her experiences. Through St. Claude's direction, she had reached a point of inner peace, no longer concerned with the hostility of others in her community.

In time, however, many who doubted her would become convinced as they pondered what St. Claude had written about the Sacred Heart. Eventually, her own writings and the accounts of her would face a rigorous examination by Church officials.

By the time that occurred, however, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had already gained what she desired: “To lose myself in the heart of Jesus.” She faced her last illness with courage, frequently praying the words of Psalm 73: “What have I in heaven, and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God?”

She died on October 17, 1690, and was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.

October 16, 2021 - 5:23am
St. Gerard Majella

Feast date: Oct 16

On October 16, we celebrate the feast of St. Gerard Majella. St. Gerard was born the son of a tailor on April 6, 1726. He grew up about fifty miles south of Naples in Muro Lucano, Italy in a large, poor family. When St. Gerard was only 12, his father Dominic Majella entered eternal rest. Upon the death of his father, his mother, beholden to poverty, sent St. Gerard away to live with his uncle. St. Gerard thereafter became an apprentice to a tailor. This tailor treated him well; however, the foreman treated him poorly. After serving as a sewing apprentice for a couple years, he instead became a servant in the household of the bishop of Lacedonia, who was a cantankerous master. Upon the death of the bishop in 1745, he returned home. At the age of 21, he became a journeyman. He split his earnings for his mother and the poor, and made offerings for the holy souls in purgatory. Afterwards, he opened his own tailor shop.

At a young age, St. Gerard tried to join the local Capuchins, but he was turned down twice due to his youth and poor health. He also tried to become a hermit, but that too was not God's will for him. He then entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749 and professed of perpetual vows under the Redemptorist's founder, Saint Alphonsus Liguori, in 1751.

He served as tailor and infirmarian and became known for his extraordinary supernatural gifts of bilocation, prophecy, ecstasies, visions, and infused knowledge. Though not ordained to the holy order of priest, his spiritual direction and advice were sought by many among the clergy and communities of nuns, to which he also gave conferences. He was most successful in converting sinners, and was widely known for his sanctity and charity.

In 1754, he was calumniated and accused of lechery by a woman named Neria Caggiano. Caggiano later admitted her charge was a lie. Even before she admitted to her falsehood, St. Gerard did not deny her charges. As these charges were still up in the air, his superiors became suspicious, so they put him under surveillance and excluded him from communion for months until the girl admitted that she had lied. When asked by Saint Alphonsus why he had kept silent in such circumstances, St. Gerard replied that he thought such patience was required in the face of unjust accusations. As St. Gerard bore this calumny with such humility and patience, Saint Alphonsus said, "Brother Gerard is a saint."

St. Gerard was sent to Naples soon after, but when the house was inundated by visitors wanting to see him, he was sent to Caposele a few months later. He served as the porter there and ministered to the poor of the town. St. Gerard spent the last few months of his life raising funds for new buildings at Caposele.

Just prior to his death, St. Gerard visited his friends, the Pirofalo family. One of the daughters ran and called after him as he left the home, as he dropped his handkerchief. Speaking through the gift of prophecy, he replied, "Keep it. It will be useful to you someday." Years down the road, when this young women was in danger of childbirth, she recalled these words of St. Gerard, and requested the handkerchief. The handkerchief was applied to her, thus a miracle: her pain immediately ceased and she gave birth to a healthy child.

St. Gerard died of tuberculosis on October 16, 1755 at the age of 29 in Caposele. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on January 29, 1893, and was canonized on December 11, 1904 by Pope Saint Pius X. He is the patron saint of mothers, motherhood, expectant mothers, childbirth, children, pregnant women, unborn children, the pro-life movement, the falsely accused, good confessions, and lay brothers.

October 15, 2021 - 2:23am
St. Teresa of Avila

Feast date: Oct 15

On Oct. 15, Roman Catholics celebrate the Spanish Carmelite reformer and mystic St. Teresa of Avila, whose life of prayer enriched the Church during the 16th century counter-reformation.

Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada was born in the Castilian city of Avila during the year 1515,  the third child in a family descended from Jewish merchants who had converted to Christianity during the reign of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Her father Alphonsus had become an ardent Catholic, with a collection of spiritual books of the type his daughter would later compose herself.

As a child, Teresa felt captivated by the thought of eternity and the vision of God granted to the saints in heaven. She and her younger brother Rodrigo once attempted to run away from home for the sake of dying as martyrs in a Muslim country, though they soon ran into a relative who sent them back to their mother Beatrice.

When Teresa was 14, her mother died, causing the girl a profound grief that prompted her to embrace a deeper devotion to the Virgin Mary as her spiritual mother. Along with this good resolution, however, she also developed immoderate interests in reading popular fiction (consisting, at that time, mostly of medieval tales of knighthood) and caring for her own appearance.

Though Teresa's spiritual directors in later life would judge these faults to be relatively minor, they still represented a noticeable loss of her childhood zeal for God. Alphonsus decided his teenage daughter needed a change of environment, and sent her to be educated in a convent of Augustinian nuns. Teresa found their life dull at first, but soon came to some understanding of its spiritual advantages.

Illness forced her to leave the convent during her second year. But the influence of her devout uncle Peter, along with her reading of the letters of the monk and Church Father St. Jerome, convinced Teresa that the surest road to salvation lay in forsaking marriage, property, and worldly pleasures completely. Against the will of her father, who wanted her to postpone the decision, she joined the Carmelite Order.

Teresa became a professed member of the order at age 20, but soon developed a serious illness that forced her to return home. She experienced severe pain and physical paralysis for two years, and was expected to die when she went into a coma for four days. But she insisted on returning to the Carmelite monastery as soon as she was able, even though she remained in a painful and debilitated state.

For the next three years the young nun made remarkable progress in her spiritual life, developing the practice of recalling herself into the presence of God through quiet contemplation. As her health returned, however, Teresa lapsed into a more routine prayer life. While she remained an obedient Carmelite, she would not re-establish this close personal connection to God for almost twenty years.

When she was nearly 40, however, Teresa found herself dramatically called back to the practice of contemplative mental prayer. She experienced profound changes within her own soul, and remarkable visions that seemed to come from God. Under the direction of her confessors, Teresa wrote about some of these experiences in an autobiography that she completed in 1565.

Teresa had always been accustomed to contemplate Christ's presence within her after receiving him in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Now, however, she understood that the presence she received did not simply fade: God was, in fact, with her always, and had been all along. It was simply a matter of putting herself in his presence, with love and attention – as one could do at any moment.

This revolution in her spiritual life enabled Teresa to play a significant role in the renewal of the Church that followed the Council of Trent. She proposed a return of the Carmelites to their original rule of life, a simple and austere form of monasticism – founded on silence and solitude – that had received papal approval in the 12th century and was believed to date back to the Old Testament prophet Elijah.

Together with her close collaborator, the priest and writer later canonized as Saint John of the Cross, she founded what is known today as the Order of Discalced Carmelites – “discalced,” meaning barefoot, symbolizing the simplicity to which they chose to return the order after a period of corruption. The reform met with fierce opposition, but resulted in the founding of 30 monasteries during her life.

Teresa's health failed her for the last time while she was traveling through Salamanca in 1582. She accepted her dramatic final illness as God's chosen means of calling her into his presence forever.

“O my Lord, and my spouse, the desired hour is now come,” she stated. “The hour is at last come, wherein I shall pass out of this exile, and my soul shall enjoy in thy company what it hath so earnestly longed for.”

St. Teresa of Avila died on Oct. 15, 1582. She was canonized on March 22, 1622, along with three of her greatest contemporaries: St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Philip Neri.

In 1970, Pope St. Paul VI proclaimed St. Teresa as one of the first two woman Doctors of the Church, along with 14th century Dominican St. Catherine of Siena.

October 14, 2021 - 12:22pm
St. Callistus I

Feast date: Oct 14

Pope Callistus I is celebrated in churches throughout the world as a saint and martyr on October 14. The saint caused a major controversy, including a schism that lasted almost two decades, by choosing to emphasize God's mercy in his ministry. However, the early Pope's model of leadership has endured, and his martyrdom in the year 222 confirmed his example of holiness.

Because no completely trustworthy biography of Pope Callistus I exists, historians have been forced to rely on an account by his contemporary Hippolytus of Rome. Although Hippolytus himself was eventually reconciled to the Church and canonized as a martyr, he vocally opposed the pontificate of Callistus and three of his successors, to the point of usurping papal prerogatives for himself (as the first “antipope”). Nevertheless, his account of Callistus' life and papacy provides important details.

According to Hippolytus' account, Callistus – whose year of birth is not known - began his career as a highly-placed domestic servant, eventually taking responsibility for his master's banking business. When the bank failed, Callistus received the blame, and attempted to flee from his master. Being discovered, he was demoted to serve as a manual laborer in Rome. Thus, under inauspicious circumstances, Callistus came as a slave to the city where he would later serve as Pope.

Matters went from bad to worse when he was sent to work in the mines, possibly for causing a public disturbance, if Hippolytus' account is to be trusted. However, Callistus may also simply have been sentenced due to a persecution of Christians, as he was among the many believers eventually freed on the initiative of Pope St. Victor I.

During the subsequent reign of Pope Zephyrinus, Callistus became a deacon and the caretaker of a major Roman Christian cemetery (which still bears his name as the “Cemetery of St. Callistus”), in addition to advising the Pope on theological controversies of the day. He was a natural candidate to follow Zephyrinus, when the latter died in 219.

Hippolytus, an erudite Roman theologian, accused Pope Callistus of sympathizing with heretics, and resented the new Pope's clarification that even the most serious sins could be absolved after sincere confession. The Pope's assertion of divine mercy also scandalized the North African Christian polemicist Tertullian, already in schism from the Church in Carthage, who also erroneously held that certain sins were too serious to be forgiven through confession.

Considered in light of this error, Hippolytus' catalogue of sins allegedly “permitted” by Callistus – including extramarital sex and early forms of contraception - may in fact represent offenses which the Pope never allowed, but which he was willing to absolve in the case of penitents seeking reconciliation with the Church.

Even so, Callistus could not persuade Hippolytus' followers of his rightful authority as Pope during his own lifetime. The Catholic Church, however, has always acknowledged the orthodoxy and holiness of Pope St. Callistus I, particularly since the time of his martyrdom – traditionally ascribed to an anti-Christian mob - in 222. 

St. Callistus' own intercession after death may also have made possible the historic reconciliation between his opponent Hippolytus, and the later Pope Pontian. The Pope and former antipope were martyred together in 236, and both subsequently canonized.
October 13, 2021 - 8:23am
St. Edward the Confessor

Feast date: Oct 13

St. Edward was born in 1003 as the son of the Duke of Normandy and nephew of King Edmund Ironside of England. He grew up in exile in Normandy from the age of 10 when the Danes gained control of England, and the early experience of loss, coupled with his earnest religious piety, caused him to renounce worldly ambition and devote himself to the love of God.

On the death of the Danish king, Canute, in 1042, he was called to the throne of England, which he accepted dutifully and held until 1066. His saintly bearing made him a popular sovereign, and his actions even more so. He abolished an unjust tax and was known to cure people with his touch.

Having made a vow of chastity, he accepted marriage for the sake of his kingdom, but lived with his queen in celibacy, as brother and sister.

Unable to fulfill a vow to embark on a pilgrimage to Saint Peter’s tomb without leaving his subjects vulnerable to attack, his vow was commuted by the pope to the rebuilding of Saint Peter’s Abbey in Westminister, where he was buried upon his death a week after it’s dedication.

Edward died on January 5, 1066, and was canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1161.

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