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Bl. Francis de Montmorency Laval

Name: Bl. Francis de Montmorency Laval
Date: 21 July

Blessed François de Laval was born at St. Martin de Montigny-sur-Avre, Normandy,France. He wanted to become a priest from his earliest childhood. When he was eight years old,his father placed him with the Jesuits, where he lived for fourteen years far from his family.

François lost his father in 1636. His uncle, a bishop, appointed him a canon of Evreux toassist his family. He was ordained a priest on May 1, 1647. King Louis XIV chose him as thefirst Bishop of New France. On December 8, 1658, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, thethirty-eight year old prelate was consecrated a bishop. He left for Quebec on June 16, 1659, andimmediately began making pastoral visits throughout his immense diocese.

Upon his arrival, he won everyone’s confidence with his charity, piety, discernment andimpartiality. His first concern consisted in advancing the organization of the Church in Canada. He contributed greatly towards both the civil and religious formation of the country. Even thoughhe had to face many difficulties, with his wise, firm action, he succeeded in implanting the Faith allover North America.

Bishop de Laval first founded the Seminary of Quebec which gathered together acommunity of priests; in 1663 he entrusted the formation of his clergy to this seminary. Fiveyears later, a Minor Seminary was opened for the recruitment of his clergy. In conformity withholy practice in the early centuries of the Church, all the clerics and churchmen lived out of acommon fund.

Blessed François de Laval had to fight with all his might against disorders that had beenintroduced into the country at the beginning of its colonization, chiefly the traffic of intoxicatingliquor. Saint Mary of the Incarnation wrote, “The bishop has had many conflicts in New Franceconcerning liquor given to the natives which almost led to the total ruin of this new Church.” Thanks to his apostolic zeal, this shameful commerce was absolutely forbidden.

The secular powers raised serious opposition to his evangelizing activities, but Bishop deLaval never capitulated in the face of his adversaries’ odious proceedings. With firmness andperseverance, the holy bishop resisted all encroachments of civil authorities in Churchgovernment. He rose up with authority against anyone who wanted to hinder the implantation ofChristianity in the blessed land of New France. With supreme patience, he endured all the wickedactions that earthly magnates wrought against him, as well as two major fires that demolished hisseminary, for which he had labored so hard.

This holy bishop, a pioneer of the Church in New France, lived in constant, heroicrenouncement. He wore a hair shirt and slept very little, so as to be able to pray all his offices androsaries. As for the brief rest he granted himself, he took it on a wretched mat laid on a bed ofboards, without even a sheet to cover himself. His great evangelical simplicity was also verypraiseworthy, for never did any man have a greater horror of showmanship and vanity, especiallywhen it presented itself under a cover of religion.

This worthy, virtuous prelate wore old, patched garments. For twenty years he owned only twowinter cassocks. At his death one of them was still good; the other, threadbare and patched,attested to his wonderful spirit of poverty. Hard on himself, this admirable man of God wasprodigal to excess towards Christ’s poor. Every year he never failed to give the needy 1,500 to2,000 pounds.

Blessed François de Laval endured the sufferings of his last years with great serenity andresignation to God’s will. During Holy Week in 1708 he contracted the illness that was to takehim to the grave. On May 6, 1708, he died in the company of his priests, reciting the Rosary andthe Litany of the Holy Family, which devotion he had propagated throughout Canada.

Taken from a picture printed in 1951 — and from an O.D.M. summary.

St. Victor of Marseille

Name: St. Victor of Marseille
Date: 21 July

The Emperor Maximian, reeking with the blood of the Theban legion and that of many othermartyrs, arrived in person in the year 290 at Marseilles, where the Church flourished. The tyrantwas breathing nothing but slaughter and fury, and his coming filled the Christians with fear andalarm. In the general consternation, Victor, a Christian officer in the emperor’s troops, wentabout in the nighttime from house to house, visiting the faithful and inspiring them with contemptfor temporal death and love of eternal life.

He was arrested during these charitable offices and brought before the tribunal of the prefects Asterius and Eutychius, who exhorted him not to lose the fruit of his imperial service and thefavor of his prince for the worship of a dead man. He answered that he renounced temporalrewards, if he could not enjoy them without being unfaithful to Jesus Christ, the eternal Son ofGod, who had vouchsafed to become man for our salvation, and who after dying raised Himselffrom the dead, to reign perpetually with the Father, being God equally with Him. The entire courtreceived this witness with shouts of rage; and Victor was bound hand and foot and draggedthrough the streets of the city, exposed to the blows and insults of the populace.

He was brought back bruised and bloody to the tribunal of the prefects, who, thinking hisresolution must have been weakened by his sufferings, pressed him again to adore their gods. However, the martyr, filled with the Holy Spirit, expressed his respect for the emperor but hiscontempt for the debauched gods. Saint Victor was hoisted on the rack and tortured a long time,until the tormentors grew weary and the prefect ordered him to be taken down and thrown into adark dungeon. At midnight God visited him by His Angels. The prison was filled with a lightbrighter than that of the sun, and the martyr sang with Angels the praises of God. Three soldierswho guarded the prison, seeing this light, cast themselves at the martyr’s feet, asked his pardon,and expressed their desire for baptism. Victor instructed them as well as time would permit, andsent for a priest the same night. The five of them went to the seashore, and the three convertswere baptized, then all returned to the prison.

The next morning, when Maximian was informed of the conversion of the guards, in a transportof rage he sent officers to bring all four confessors before him. The three soldiers persevered inthe confession of Jesus Christ, and by the emperor’s orders were beheaded. Victor, set beforealmost the entire city for a final questioning, after having been exposed to its insults, was againplaced on the rack, scourged, and carried back to prison, where he remained for three more days,recommending to God his martyrdom with many tears. After that term the emperor called himbefore his tribunal, and commanded the martyr to offer incense to a statue of Jupiter. Victor wentup to the profane altar, and with a kick of his foot overthrew it. The emperor ordered his foot tobe chopped off. The Saint suffered this mutilation with great joy, offering to God these first-fruitsof his body. His barbaric tormentor condemned him to be put under the grindstone of a hand-milland crushed to death. The executioners turned the wheel, and when part of his body was bruisedand crushed, the mill broke down. The Saint still breathed a little; an order was given to beheadhim at once. His body with those of the other three heroes of Christ, Alexander, Felician andLonginus, were thrown into the sea, but cast ashore on the opposite bank by a current. Theywere buried by the Christians in a grotto hewn out of the rock. Very great miracles were wroughtat Saint Victor’s tomb or by his intercession, including the resurrection of a girl in her coffin,which occurred beside her open grave.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 8; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of th

St. Mary Magdalen

Name: St. Mary Magdalen
Date: 22 July

Of the earlier life of Saint Mary Magdalen we know only that she was “a woman who was asinner.” From the depth of her degradation she raised her eyes to Jesus with sorrow, hope, andlove. Covered with shame, she came to where Jesus was at table, and knelt behind Him. She saidnot a word, but bathed His feet with her tears, wiped them with the hair of her head and kissedthem with humility. Then she poured on them costly ointment. The divine lips of her Saviourremoved her reproach, spoke her absolution, and bade her go in peace. From that time on, sheministered to Jesus, sat at His feet, and listened to His words. She was one of the family ofBethany “whom Jesus so loved” that He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead.

It happened that once again, on the eve of His Passion, she brought precious ointment, and this time, as His purified and beloved follower, poured it on His head; and we may say that the entireHouse of God is still filled with the fragrance of her anointing. Mary Magdalen stood with OurLady and Saint John at the foot of the cross, representative of the many who have loved muchbecause much has been forgiven them.

To her, the first after His blessed Mother, and through her to His Apostles, Our Lord gave the certainty of His resurrection. When the faithful were scattered by persecution, the family ofBethany found refuge in the south of France. The cave in which Saint Mary Magdalen lived forthirty years is still seen, with a chapel on the mountaintop, in which she was caught up daily, likeSaint Paul, to “visions and revelations of the Lord.” When her end drew near she was borne to aplace still marked by a monument, where the holy Bishop Maximin awaited her; and when she hadreceived her Lord, she peacefully fell asleep in death.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

St. Apollinaris

Name: St. Apollinaris
Date: 23 July

When Saint Peter, setting out for Rome, left Antioch after seven years as its spiritual Head, he took with him several of the faithful of that city, among them Apollinaris, a disciple of JesusChrist. He consecrated him bishop a few years later and sent him to Ravenna as its first bishop.

His first miracle was on behalf of the blind son of a soldier who gave him hospitality when he first arrived in the city of Ravenna. When the apostle told him of the God he had come to preach andinvited him to abandon the cult of idols, the soldier replied: “Stranger, if the God you preach is aspowerful as you say, beg Him to give sight to my son, and I will believe in Him.” The Saint hadthe child brought and made the sign of the cross on his eyes as he prayed. The miracle wasinstantaneous, to the great amazement of all, and news of it spread rapidly. A day or so later, amilitary tribune sent for him to cure his wife from a long illness, which again he did. The house ofthe tribune became a center of apostolic action, and several persons sent their children to the Saintto instruct them there. Little by little a flourishing Christian assembly was formed, and priests anddeacons were ordained. The Saint lived in community with the two priests and two deacons.

The idolatrous priests aroused the people against him, as we see the enemies of Saint Paul do in the Acts of the Apostles. He was left half-dead on the seashore, after being severely beaten, butwas cared for by the Christians and recovered rapidly. A young girl whom he cured after havingher father promise to allow her full liberty to follow Christ, consecrated her virginity to God. Itwas after this that, in the time of Vespasian, he was arrested and interrogated and again flogged,stretched on the rack and plunged into boiling oil. Alive still, he was exiled to Illyria, east of theAdriatic Sea.

He remained three years in that country, having survived a shipwreck with only a few personswhom he converted. Then he evangelized the various districts, with the aid of his converts. When an idol ceased to speak during his sojourn in one of these regions, the pagans again beathim and threw him and his companions on a ship which took them back to Italy. Soonimprisoned, he escaped but was seized again and for the last time subjected to a flogging. He diedon July 23rd of the year 79. His body lay first at Classis, four miles from Ravenna, and a churchwas built over his tomb; later the relics were returned to Ravenna. Pope Honorius had a churchbuilt to honor the name of Apollinaris in Rome, about the year 630. From the beginning theChurch has held his memory in high veneration.

Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 8.

St. Christina

Name: St. Christina
Date: 24 July

Saint Christina was the daughter of a rich and powerful magistrate named Urban. Her father, who was deep in the practices of paganism, had a number of golden idols. His young daughter brokethem, then distributed the pieces among the poor. Infuriated by this act, Urban became thepersecutor of his own daughter. He had her whipped with rods and thrown into a dungeon. Christina remained unshaken in her faith. Her tormentor brought her forth to have her body tornby iron hooks, then fastened to a rack beneath which a fire was kindled. But God watched overHis servant and turned the flames back toward the onlookers, several of whom perished.

The torments to which this young girl was subjected would seem as difficult to devise as toimagine; but God was beside her at all times. After a heavy stone was attached to her neck, SaintChristina was thrown into the lake of Bolsena, but was rescued by an Angel and seen wearing astole and walking on the water, accompanied by several Angels. Her father, hearing she was stillalive, died suddenly amid atrocious sufferings. A new judge succeeded him, a cruel paganexperienced in persecuting the Christians. He tried to win her by reminding her of her nobility,suggesting she was in serious error. Her reply infuriated him: “Christ, whom you despise, willtear me out of your hands!” Then Saint Christina suffered the most inhuman torments. Thesecond judge also was struck down by divine justice. A third one named Julian, succeeded him. “Magician!” he cried, “adore the gods, or I will put you to death!” She survived a raging furnace, after remaining in it for five days. Serpents and vipers thrown into her prison did nottouch her, but killed the magician who had brought them there. She sent them away in the nameof Christ, after restoring the unfortunate magician to life; he was converted and thanked the Godof Christina and the Saint. Then her tongue was cut out.

The Saint prayed to be allowed to finish her course. When she was pierced with arrows, shegained the martyr’s crown at Tyro, a city which formerly stood on an island in the lake of Bolsenain Italy, but has since been swallowed up by the waters. Her relics are now at Palermo in Sicily. Her tomb was discovered in the 19th century at Bolsena, marked with an inscription dating fromthe 10th century.

Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9.

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

Daily Mass

       Monday-Friday  6.45am & 6.00pm  
       Confession  30min before each Mass  
       Saturday  9.00am & 5.30pm  
       The 5.30pm Mass on Saturday is the Sunday Mass for the following day  
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       Kiswahili Mass  7.00 am  
       Sunday School  10.00am  
       Mid-morning Mass  10.00am  
       Afternoon Mass  12.00 noon  
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