A Miracle of St John of God

Today is the feast of a Portuguese saint whose secular name was João Duarte Cidade, but is now known simply as St John of God. Born in 1495, and orphaned at the age of 8, in his youth he worked as a shepherd, a soldier and a bookseller. A sermon by the preacher St John […]

St Thomas Aquinas and Pope Leo XIII

Today is the anniversary of the death of St Thomas Aquinas in 1274, and the traditional date of his feast. In the post-Conciliar revision of the calendar, he was moved to January 28th, the anniversary of the translation of his relics to the Dominican Friary of Toulouse, France, but many of the Dominican Order’s houses […]

The Roman Houses on the Caelian Hill

The Lenten station church in Rome today is a basilica on the Caelian Hill dedicated to two martyrs named John and Paul, brothers killed for their Christian faith by the Emperor Julian the Apostate, who reigned from 361-63. They are said to have been military officers under Constantine, then to have served in the household […]

Vocabula Mira: “Statio” and “Collecta”

From time immemorial, it has been the custom of the church of Rome not to fast on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, even in Lent and Holy Week. The Roman Lent was originally six weeks long, and therefore comprised forty-two days, but only thirty-six days of fasting, which St Gregory the Great (590-604) describes […]

Sacred Alphabets

The whole world knows today as the feast of St Valentine, a fairly obscure 3rd-century Roman martyr of whose life and death nothing is known for certain. It is a matter of great uncertainty and much speculation how his feast day came to be associated with rituals of romance and courtship. On the liturgical calendar […]

Candlemas and the Lupercalia

Today is the feast traditionally known in the West as the Purification of the Virgin Mary, and in the East as the Meeting of the Lord with Simeon in the Temple. Because candles are blessed and given to the faithful before the Mass, it has long been known in English as Candlemas; Italian, French and […]