Once every four years, February 29 appears on our calendars, and we celebrate leap day. The Catholic Church’s official collection of saints, the Martyrologium Romanum, only lists four saints on this date.
Does every diocese in the world celebrate Catholic Schools Week during the last week of January or just mine? It’s certainly the perfect time to do so. After all, the calendar of saints practically demands that we celebrate the teaching profession in late January.
Saint of the Day
When King James I became the king of England, Catholics had reason to hope that they would be better treated than in previous reigns. However, the Gunpowder Plot (an assassination attempt on the king’s life by a group of Catholics which failed) changed all that. While James did tolerate the presence of some Catholics to remain Catholics, as long as they swore their allegiance to him and kept quiet about their faith, he was not so tolerant toward an essential aspect of the Church: priests.
Blessed Richard Newport and Blessed William Scott were Englishmen who had been ordained as priests outside England so that they could return and serve English Catholics secretly. Both men had been arrested and exiled from England more than once for the crime of being Catholic priests. But their luck ran out. On this date in 1612, they were hanged, drawn, and quartered in London, dying as martyrs for their faith.
Holy Martyrs, show me how to help my priests.
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.