About Patron Saint of Joy and Humor – Saint Philip Neri

Philip Neri is the saint who showed the funny side of holiness. He was known as the Third Apostle of Rome after Saint Peter and Saint Paul. He was born July 21, 1515. His father was a lawyer and his mother was from a royal family. He attended school at a Dominican monastery. When he was 18, he was sent to help his uncle with his business. However soon after he arrived, he had a religious conversion and moved to Rome.
File:Frari (Venice) - Sacristy - Saint Philip Neri.jpgFor a few years, he was a private tutor, before beginning his own studies under the Augustinians. Night was his special time of prayer. Not only was it important to speak to God, but listen to God and reading about a saint might be one way God will speak to you. During one of these evenings, he felt a globe of light enter his mouth and go to his heart. This gave him energy and he started telling everyone about God.

For 17 years, he served as a layman in Rome, without becoming a priest. He worked with the poor and sick of Rome. In 1544, he met Ignatius of Loyola. Many people who followed Philip joined the early Jesuits.

In 1548, Philip helped the poor who came to Rome. He became a deacon and was finally ordained a priest in May 1551. He thought about becoming a missionary to India but decided to stay and continue helping those in Rome. In 1556, he began an institute called the Oratory, to help teach and continue his mission to the poor of Rome.

Philip understood it was not enough to tell someone what not to do. He felt it was important to have something to replace it with. During Carnival, he began a tradition of visiting the Seven Churches of Rome. They are Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, St. Sebastian’s, St. John Lateran, Holy-in-Jerusalem, St. Lawrence Outside-the-Walls and St. Mary Major. They would gather at dawn and walk to each church. At each church, they would pray sing a hymn and go to the next church. They would have a small picnic along the way.

Not everyone was happy about the teaching Philip was doing. For a time the Pope’s Vicar, an assistant to the Pope, ordered him to stop teaching. Philip did immediately. The decision was reversed and the Oratory was able to continue. Humility was the more important virtue he tried to teach and learn himself. Some of his lessons were like practical jokes, and he was known for his great sense of humor. Sometimes he wore silly clothes or walked around with his beard half shaved. The more silly he seemed, the bigger his reputation for holiness became.

Philip was very serious about prayer. He spent hours and hours in prayer. Sometimes he was praying so much he would refuse to preach in public or couldn’t celebrate Mass with others around. He said the way to prays is to be humble and obedient and the Holy Spirit will teach you.

He was 80 years old when he died in 1615, after being ill for a long time. He was made a saint by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. He is the patron saint of humor and joy.

Where did our time notation come from? Saint Bede the Venerable

Bede was sent to the monastery of St. Peter when he was seven years old.  He was one of two people who survived a plague, which killed everyone else. He spent nearly all of his life in the monastery becoming a priest at the age of 30. Bede studied his entire life. He is known as one of the smartest men of his time, and was a major influence on English literature. He hand copied many books. He also wrote 45 of his own on science, literature, history, theology and the Bible including 30 commentaries on books of the Bible.

He is the one who began the method of dating events in history from the time of the incarnation, or Christ’s birth, AD. AD means anno Domini in the year of our Lord.  This is the system we still use.

He died in 735 after finishing a Anglo-Saxon translation of the Gospel of John.  Pope Leo XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1899. Saint Bede the Venerable is the patron saint of scholars.

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  On May 13, 1917, during World War I,  three shepherd children, Lucia Santos, and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto said they saw a woman brighter than the sun.  The woman was dressed in white and held a rosary in her hand. She asked them to pray the Rosary every day. She said it would bring peace and an end to the war. The children didn’t say they saw an angel. Lucia had said they should keep it a secret. Jacinta told her family about seeing a brightly lit woman.  Her mother told the neighbors it was a joke. The next day everyone in the village knew of the children’s story.

The child said the woman told them to return next month. Lucia’s mother asked the parish priest what to do. The priest suggested she let them go. The woman appeared again on June 13 the feast of Saint Anthony, their local parish. This time when they saw the lady she said Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to heaven soon, but Lucia would live longer to tell of the Immaculate Heart. She also told the children to say the Rosary daily to end the Great War. She showed the children other visions. Lucia later remembered the lady told her to come back on the 13th and learn to read, so you can understand.

On August 13, 1917, a government official arrested and jailed the children because he believed they were going against the government. That month instead of the vision arriving on the 13th, she arrived nearby on Sunday, August 19. The children said they saw the Blessed Virgin Mary six times between May 13, and October 13, 1917.

By June 1917, people claimed the Virgin Mary had promised a miracle. A crowd of 70,000 people, including news reporters and photographers. It had been raining and was gloomy for days. Lucia saw a light rise from the lady’s hands.  It appeared to be a silver disk and called out “Look at the sun.” The sun seemed to change colors and rotate like a wheel.  It could be seen for 40 kilometers away.  However, it was not seen anywhere else in the world, and scientists who studied it said there was no scientific reason for it.

Francisco and Jacinta Marto died of the flu epidemic the next year. Francisco was 10 and Jacinta was 9. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000. At 14, in 1922,  Lucia went to school at the Sisters of St. Dorothy. She joined the convent soon after. She continued to have visions of the Virgin Mary. In 1947, she left the Dorothean order and joined the Discalced Carmelite Order. Lucia died February 13, 2005, at the age of 97.

Two million people visited the site of the site between 1917 and 1927. In May 1920 a statue of the Virgin Mary was installed in the chapel built at the site. Mass was first celebrated there in January 1924. Later a basilica was built.

Most festivals take place there on the 13th of each month, and most people visit on the 13th of May to October.

Pantheon to Church – Pope Saint Boniface IV

Pope Saint Boniface IV was born in 550 in Italy, He was the son of a physician named John. He studied from Saint Gregory the Great. He was a Benedictine monk at Sant Sebastian Abbey in Rome. He became the 67th Pope in 608.

He was known for converting the Pantheon, a Roman temple, into a Christian church dedicated to Mary and all the martyrs. It was the first time a pagan temple had been turned into a place of Christian worship. He also removed 28 cartloads of relics from the catacombs to the Church. The catacombs were underground passageways and burial places for martyrs of the early Church in Rome.

Pope Boniface IV supported the expansion of the faith into England and met with the first Bishop of England.  He helped reform the clergy to improve their living and working conditions.

Late in his life, he converted his own house into a monastery. He divided his time between papal work and life as a prayerful monk.