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St. Eligius or Eloy

Name: St. Eligius or Eloy
Date: 1 December

Eligius, born near Limoges in the late sixth century, was in his childhood so skilled in manual arts,that his father decided to place him as an apprentice under a silversmith of Limoges. In a fewyears he had no rival in the art of metalworking. His piety and virtues recommended him stillmore highly than his talents; his frankness, prudence, gentleness and charity were admired by all.

The king of France, Clotaire II, heard of him, sent for him, and commanded him to make a goldenthrone adorned with jewels. For that purpose the king provided a large quantity of gold andprecious stones, and with the materials given him Eligius made not one, but two magnificentthrones. Struck by the craftsman’s rare honesty and ability, as well as by the overpowering beautyof his work, the king appointed him royal goldsmith for his kingdom, and kept him in his palace. Until then, the Saint had liked luxurious surroundings, but now, touched by a particular grace, hebegan to live in the midst of riches as a poor disciple of Jesus Christ. His greatest pleasure was tomake beautiful reliquaries for the Saints. But best of all he loved the poor, and the treasureswhich passed from his hands into those of the indigent could scarcely be counted. When strangersasked to see him, they were told to go to a certain street and stop at the house in front of which acrowd of beggars was waiting; that would be his house. He would wash their feet, serve themwith his own hands, take the last place at table, and eat only their leftovers. When Saint Eligiushad no more money, he would give away his furnishings and his very cincture, his cloak andshoes.

The friendship of the Saint with King Dagobert, successor to Clotaire II, has become legendary. One day Eligius came to the king and said to him, “My prince, I have come to ask a favor of you: give me the terrain of Solignac, that I may make a ladder by which you and I can both ascend toheaven.” The king willingly consented, and the Saint built a monastery. Neither one became amonk, but Saint Eligius loved to visit the religious and spend a few days with them from time totime, to be edified by their regularity.

Saint Eligius was finally obliged to accept a nomination to the episcopal see of Noyon. His life asa bishop was the continuation of his good works. He possessed the gift of miracles; he cast outdemons and cured the sick by a simple word or the touch of his hand. By a special gift of God, hefound the bodies of Saints long honored, but whose burial places were unknown. It is he whofound the sacred remains of Saint Quentin, the illustrious martyr, those of Saint Piat at Seclin, andof Saint Lucian at Beauvais; for all of these he himself made beautiful reliquaries. He died in 665,regretted by all.

Sources: Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950); Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Sain

St. Eulalia

Name: St. Eulalia
Date: 10 December

Saint Eulalia was a native of Merida, in Spain. The daughter of Christian parents, she was taughtin her childhood by a very holy priest of that city. She was but twelve years old when the bloodyedicts of Diocletian were issued. Her parents, knowing of her vow of virginity and fearing thather zeal would cause her to be a victim of the persecutions, sent her to their house in the country. Eulalia indeed escaped, as they feared, and returned to the city to present herself, with her youngcompanion and Christian friend, Julie, before the cruel Calpurnianus, representing the viceroy ofDiocletian. She reproached him for attempting to destroy souls, by compelling them to renouncethe only true God.

The officer commanded that she be seized, and at first tried to win her over by flattery. Failing inthis, he had her flogged and resorted to threats, causing the most dreadful instruments of tortureto be placed before her eyes, and saying to her: “All this you shall escape, if you will but touch alittle salt and frankincense with the tip of your finger.” Provoked by these seducing flatteries, ourSaint threw down the idol before her, and trampled upon the cake placed there for the sacrifice. At the judge’s order, two executioners tore her tender sides with iron hooks, so as to leave thevery bones bare, then tortured her with burning torches, and dragged her by her hair to the site ofexecution. She said to the cruel persecutor, “Calpurnianus, look well at me so that you mayrecognize me on the day of the Final Judgment, when both of us will appear before Jesus Christ,our common Lord, I to receive the reward of my torments, and you, the chastisement of yourinhumanity toward the Christians.” She was covered with hot coals; the fire caught in her hairand surrounded her head and face, and she suffocated amid the smoke and flames. Thepersecutor commanded that her body be left untended for three days, but Providence covered itwith a blanket of snow, which seemed to whiten it and give it a marvelous beauty.

The Christians buried Saint Eulalia in Merida. Later her body was transported to Oviedo, Spain,where it was placed in a chapel dedicated to her memory, within the large church. She is thepatroness of that city, and many graces have been received when her relics are transported inprocessions in times of public necessity.

Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints

Translation of the Holy House of Loreto

Name: Translation of the Holy House of Loreto
Date: 10 December

Towards the end of the thirteenth century, the terrible news reached Europe that the Holy Landwas lost to the Christians, who during two centuries had been able to maintain the Latin kingdomthere by virtue of their repeated Crusades. But at the time the Church was deploring this painfulloss, a new joy was given them: the holy house of Nazareth — site of the birth of the Mother ofGod, of Her early education and of the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel of the wondrous newsof the Incarnation of the Son of God — had been found, transported miraculously, near Tersatz inDalmatia (Yugoslavia) on May 10th of the year 1291. Between Tersatz and nearby Fiume, theresidents of the region beheld one morning an edifice, in a location where never had any been seenbefore. After the residents of the region talked among themselves of the remarkable little housesurmounted by a bell tower, and which stood without foundations on the bare ground, describingits altar, an ancient statue of Our Lady, and other religious objects which their wondering eyeshad seen within it, another surprise came to astound them once more.

Their bishop suddenly appeared in their midst, cured from a lingering illness which had kept himbedridden for several months. He had prayed to be able to go see the prodigy for himself, and theMother of God had appeared to him, saying, in substance: “My son, you called Me; I am here togive you powerful assistance and reveal to you the secret you desire to know. The holy dwellingis the very house where I was born... It is there that when the announcement was brought by theArchangel Gabriel, I conceived the divine Child by the operation of the Holy Spirit. It is therethat the Word was made flesh! After My decease, the Apostles consecrated this dwelling,illustrated by such elevated mysteries, and sought the honor of celebrating the August Sacrificethere. The altar is the very one which the Apostle Saint Peter placed there. The crucifix wasintroduced by the Apostles, and the cedar statue is My faithful image, made by the hand of theEvangelist Saint Luke... Your sudden return to health from so long an illness will bear witness tothis prodigy.” Nicolas Frangipane, governor of the territory of Ancona, was absent, but when thenews was carried to him, he returned from a war in order to verify its authenticity. He sent toNazareth, at the eastern limits of the Mediterranean Sea, the bishop and three other persons, toexamine the original site of the house. Indeed the house was no longer there, but its foundationsremained and were found conformable in every detail of dimension and substance, to the stones atthe base of the house now in Dalmatia. The testimony of the delegates was drafted according tolegal formalities, and confirmed by a solemn oath.

Then, after three years spent in Dalmatia, the house disappeared. Paul Della Selva, a holy hermitof that period and of the region of Ancona, wrote: “During the night of December 10th, a lightfrom heaven became visible to several inhabitants of the shores of the Adriatic Sea, and a divineharmony woke them that they might contemplate a marvel exceeding all the forces of nature. They saw and contemplated a house, surrounded by heavenly splendor, transported through theair.” The angelic burden was brought to rest in a forest, where again the local residents were ableto contemplate the signal relics which it contained. The antique Greek crucifix mentioned by OurLady was made of wood, and attached to it was a canvas on which the words Jesus of Nazareth,King of the Jews, were painted. The cedar statue of the Virgin had been painted also; she wore ared robe and a blue cloak and held the Infant Jesus in Her arms. His right hand was raised inblessing; His left hand held a globe, symbol of His sovereign power.

The story was far from ended. The house moved again, after robbers began to intercept pilgrimscoming through the forest to visit the marvel. Twice more it rose from its place, the first timecoming to rest on a private terrain, which became then a source of dispute between two brothers;and finally on a hilltop where a dusty and uneven public road became its permanent site. Forcenturies the people of Dalmatia came across the sea on pilgrimage, often crying out to Our Ladyand Her House to come back to them! Finally in 1559, after one such visit by 300 pilgrims, theSovereign Pontiff had a hospice built at Loreto for families who preferred to remain near thehouse, rather than return to a land deprived of its sacred presence.

The reddish-black stones of the house are a sort entirely foreign to Italy; the mortar cementingthem is again entirely different from the volcanic-ash-based substance used in that country. Theresidents of the region put up a heavy brick wall to support the house, which was exposed to thetorrential rains and winds of the hilltop and was completely without foundation. But no soonerwas that wall completed, than they came back one morning to find it had moved away from thehouse, as if to express its reverence, to a distance which permitted a small child to walk around itwith a torch in hand. The Author of the miracle wanted it to be well understood that He who hadbrought it without human assistance, was capable also of maintaining it there where He hadplaced it, without human concourse.

The episodes concerning the Translation of the Holy House, all duly verified, were consigned indocuments borne to Rome to the Sovereign Pontiffs at various epochs. Pope Sixtus IV declaredthat the house was the property of the Holy See, and assigned duties to a specified personnelnamed to be its custodians. By Pope Leo X the indulgence applicable to the visit of severalchurches of Rome was accorded also to a pilgrimage to Loreto. Eventually a magnificent basilicawas built around the house, which within the basilica was itself enhanced by a white marbleedicule. Pope Clement IX in 1667, placed the story of the House in the Roman Martyrology forthe 10th of December under the title: At Loreto, in the territory of Ancona, translation of theHoly House of Mary, Mother of God, in which the Word was made flesh. Pope Benedict XIV, aprodigious scholar before he became Pope, established the identity of the house with that ofNazareth, against its detractors, and later worked for the embellishment of the August sanctuary. The feast of Our Lady of Loreto is observed in many provinces of the Church, inscribed in theProper of their dioceses by their bishops.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris,

St. Damasus

Name: St. Damasus
Date: 11 December

Saint Damasus was born in Rome at the beginning of the fourth century. His father, a widower,had received Holy Orders there and served as parish priest in the church of St. Laurence. Damasus was archdeacon of the Roman Church in 355, when the Pope, Saint Liberius, wasbanished to Berda; he followed him into exile, but afterwards returned to Rome. On the death ofSaint Liberius in 366, our Saint was chosen to succeed him, at the age of sixty-two. A certainUrsinus, jealous of his election and desiring for himself that high office, had himself proclaimedpope by his followers, inciting a revolt against Damasus in Rome, in which 137 persons died. Theholy Pope did not choose to resort to armed defense, but the Emperor Valentinian, to defend him,drove the usurper from Rome for a time. Later he returned, and finding accomplices for his evilintentions, accused the holy Pontiff of adultery. Saint Damasus took only such action as wasbecoming to the common father of the faithful; he assembled a synod of forty-four bishops, inwhich he justified himself so well that the calumniators were excommunicated and banished.

Having freed the Church of this new schism, Saint Damasus turned his attention to the extirpationof Arianism in the West and of Apollinarianism in the East, and for this purpose convened severalcouncils. He sent Saint Zenobius, later bishop of Florence, to Constantinople in 381 to consolethe faithful, cruelly persecuted by the Emperor Valens. He commanded Saint Jerome to prepare acorrect Latin version of the Bible, since known as the Vulgate; he ordered the Psalms to be sungaccordingly. He rebuilt and adorned the Church of Saint Laurence, still called Saint Laurence inDamaso. He caused to be drained all the springs of the Vatican, which were inundating the tombsof the holy persons buried there, and he decorated the sepulchres of a great number of martyrs inthe cemeteries, adorning them with epitaphs in verse. Before his death, he consecrated sixty-twobishops.

Saint Damasus is praised by Theodoret as head of the famous doctors of divine grace of the Latinchurch; the General Council of Chalcedon calls him the honor and glory of Rome. Havingreigned for eighteen years and two months, he died on the 10th of December in 384, when he wasnearly eighty years old. In the eighth century, his relics were definitively placed in the church ofSaint Laurence in Damaso, except for his head, conserved in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris,

St. Finan or Finian

Name: St. Finan or Finian
Date: 12 December

Among the primitive teachers of the Irish church the name of Saint Finian is one of the mostfamous, after that of Saint Patrick. He was a native of Leinster and was instructed in the elementsof Christian virtue by the disciples of Saint Patrick. Having an ardent desire to make greaterprogress, he went over into Wales, where he met and conversed with Saint David, Saint Gildasand Saint Cathmael, three eminent British Saints. After remaining thirty years in Britain, hereturned to Ireland in about the year 520, excellently qualified by his sanctity and sacred learningto restore the spirit of religion among his countrymen. Like a loud trumpet sounding fromheaven, he roused the insensibility and inactivity of the lukewarm, and softened the most hardenedhearts, long immersed in worldly business and pleasures.

To propagate the work of God, Saint Finian established several monasteries and schools, chiefamong which was the monastery of Clonard, which he built and which was his ordinary residence. From this school came several of the principal Saints and Doctors of Ireland: Kiaran theYounger, Columkille, Columba son of Crimthain, the two Brendans, Laserian, Canicus or Kenny,Ruadan, and others. The great monastery of Clonard was a famous seminary of sacred learning.

Saint Finian was chosen and consecrated Bishop of Clonard. Out of love for his flock and by hiszeal for their salvation, he became infirm with the infirm and wept with those that wept. Hehealed souls as well as the physical infirmities of those who came to him for assistance. His foodwas bread and herbs, his drink, water, and his bed, the ground, with a stone for his pillow. Hedeparted to Our Lord on the 12th of December in 552.

Source: The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Principal Saints, by Rev. Alban Butler

Other Highlights
»The Eternal Father
»The Circumcision of Our Lord
»St. William Berruyer
»St. Theodosius
»St. Alfred or Aelred
»St. Margaret Bourgeois
»St. Veronica of Milan
»The Baptism of Our Lord
»St. Hilary of Poitiers
»St. Paul the First Hermit
»St. Honoratus
»St. Marcellus, Pope
»Blessed Stephanie Quinzani
»St. Anthony Abbott
»St. Peters' Chair at Rome
»St. Canutus
»St. Fulgentius
»St. Macarius
»St. Fabien
»St. Sebastian
»St. Agnes
»St. Vincent, martyr
»St. Raymond of Pennafort
»St. Timothy
»St. Paul, The Conversion of
»St. Polycarp
»St. John Chrysostom
»St. Peter Nolasco
»St. Francis de Sales
»St. Genevieve
»St. Martina
»St. John Bosco
»St. Gregory, Bishop of Langres
»St. Angela of Foligno
»St. Simeon Stylites
»The Epiphany of Our Lord
»St. Lucian
»St. Claude Apollinaire
»St. Julian the Hospitalarian
»St. Basilissa
»St. Remi or Remigius
»St. Francis Borgia
»St. Tarachus
»The Divine Maternity of Mary
»St. Wilfrid
»Bl. Jane Leber
»St. Edward
»St. Callistus I
»St. Teresa of Avila
»St. Gall

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