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Making Sense of Church Feasts

The liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church is a complicated thing, with varying liturgical colors, two cycles of daily Mass readings, three cycles of Sunday Mass readings, and a four-week psalter for the Divine Office. Add in important dates related to the Son of God and commemorations of the saints, and it can start to […]

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Lessons from the Saints for September

There are many lessons that we can learn from the lives of the saints of the month of September. Here are seven of those lessons. Lesson #1: You don’t need so much “stuff” in your life The famous Mother Teresa (feast day Sep. 5), known to the Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, founded the […]

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Saint John Vianney and Philomena

When Saint John Vianney (whose feast day is August 4) attributed miracles to the intercession of the martyr Philomena, was it really her prayers that healed people, or was it due to Saint John’s prayers? Fr. George Rutler, in his charming book The Cure of Ars Today, delicately raises the question of whether Saint John […]

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Two great saints of July

Two of my favorite lesser-known saints are celebrated in July: Saint Christina the Astonishing and Blessed Titus Brandsma. Saint Christina’s life story is, well, astonishing, and would make a great movie, as described here. Many people know about great Carmelite saints such as Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross, and Therese of Lisieux. But […]

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Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day

June 30: Blessed Basil Velychkovskyi

Blessed Basil Velychkovskyi (1903-1973) was born in the Ukraine into a Greek Catholic family. He became a priest, teacher, and missionary in his native country.

In 1945, he was arrested by the Soviets for being a Catholic priest and sentenced to ten years in a forced labor camp. He served his fellow prisoners during his imprisonment and somehow survived its inhuman conditions.

When he was allowed to return to the Ukraine in 1955, he became bishop and then archbishop of the underground Greek Catholic Church there. In 1969, he was arrested again, this time for listening to Vatican Radio and for his Catholic faith, both of which were crimes under Communist rule. He was tortured during his imprisonment, but when his health began to fail, he was released. (Based on Soviet attitudes toward Catholics, this was probably less out of compassion than a desire not to make him a martyr to the many Ukrainian Catholics.) He was sent out of the country and traveled to Rome and then Canada, where he died in 1973.

Blessed Basil, give me your perseverance.

Want to read about a saint every day? The “Saint of the Day” blog posts for the entire month of June on this web site are designed to help you do that. Every day of the month of June, there’s a blog post about a holy man or woman you’ve probably never heard of, but who is formally acknowledged as a saint or blessed of the Church. Just like the book, Saints: Becoming an Image of Christ Every Day of the Year, these blog posts show you how to start (or interrupt or finish) your day with a brief, inspirational life story of a saint. Each biography concludes with a short prayer to help you identify some aspect of that saint’s life that might help you in your own spiritual life.

(Note that none of the saints in these blog posts are included in the book, Saints: Becoming an Image of Christ Every Day of the Year, but they are present in the Church’s latest official list of saints, the Martyrologium Romanum, dated 2004.)

As Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, there is nothing new under the sun, and the problems we face today are often startlingly similar to the problems that holy men and women of the past faced in their own lives. Other blog posts discuss saints celebrated in the current month or who have something to teach us about our current difficulties, such as dealing with an epidemic or how to handle suffering.

The saints and blesseds of the Church teach us that holiness is possible for anyone, in any state of life, and in any historical time period. We only have to be open to God’s grace so that He can form us into images of Jesus Christ.

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