Saint of the Day (week)


Saint John Paul II October 22

Karol Jozef Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in Poland in 1920. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1946 and appointed titular bishop of Ombi and auxiliary of Krakow in 1958 by Pope Pius XII. In 1964, he was appointed Archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal in 1967. Besides taking part in Vatican Council II (1962-1965) where he made an important contribution to drafting the Constitution Gaudium et spes, Cardinal Wojtyla participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops. After the death of Pope John Paul I in 1978, the Cardinals elected him Pope at the Conclave of October 16, 1978, and he took the name of John Paul II. His love for young people brought him to establish the World Youth Days. The 19 WYDs celebrated during his pontificate brought together millions of young people from all over the world. The attendance of Pope John Paul II for World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto was the third official visit of the Holy Father to Canada. More than 800,000 people crowded Downsview Park for the closing papal Mass on July 28, 2002. The Pope spent six days in and around Toronto, meeting with young people from the four corners of the globe. In 1984, John Paul II became the first Pope to step foot on Canadian soil when he launched a 12-day pastoral visit. When he arrived on September 9 in the Quebec City suburb of Ste. Foy, the Holy Father began a 15,000-km marathon that took him from the Atlantic to the Pacific. When the visit ended on September 20, he had visited Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres, Montreal, St. John's, Moncton, Halifax, Toronto, Midland, Winnipeg/ St. Boniface, Edmonton, Yellowknife, Vancouver and Ottawa-Hull. Millions of Canadians turned out to greet him, to pray with him and to celebrate. Speaking to crowds in English and in French, the Holy Father made more than 30 major addresses as well as many other statements. In June 1987, John Paul II returned to Canada to meet with the people of Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. During his first visit in 1984, severe weather conditions had prevented him from meeting with Aboriginal Peoples from the North. However, he had promised to return, which he did in 1987. John Paul II's pontificate, one of the longest in the history of the Church, lasted nearly 27 years. He died on April 2, 2005, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday. John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2014. Saint John Paul II is the patron saint of World Youth Day. In Canada, April 2 is known nationally as John Paul II Day.

Saint John of Capistrano October 23

Imprisonment prompted John to change his life. Born at Capistrano in the Kingdom of Naples in 1386, he trained as a lawyer at the University of Perugia and became governor of that city in 1412. When Perugia became involved in a conflict, John was imprisoned, leading him to a period of reflection. At age 30 he joined the Friars Minor and was ordained. For the next 30 years he preached missions in Italy, drawing large, enthusiastic crowds. Meanwhile, he assisted Bernardine of Siena in re-uniting the divided Franciscans. John was frequently sent on papal diplomatic missions. While his preaching revived the faith of many, some of his methods in dealing with heretics were extremely harsh. In 1453 he was called to Hungary to preach a crusade against the Turks threatening to take Vienna and Rome. At the age of 70, carrying a cross rather than a sword, John led a wing of the Christian army in the Battle of Belgrade. The victory of 1456 prevented the Turks from overrunning Europe. A few months later John died of the plague. He is a patron of military chaplains.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret October 24

Born in Spain in 18O7, Anthony Claret, a weaver like his father, studied Latin and printing in his spare time. He entered the seminary at 22 and was ordained in 1835. For 10 years he preached missions and gave retreats throughout Catalonia and in 1849 founded a congregation known as the Claretians. Shortly afterward he was appointed archbishop of Santiago in Cuba, where he brought reform both to the clergy and the laity. He stayed until 1857, when he returned to Spain and became confessor to Queen Isabella II. He combined this assignment with overseeing the activities of his congregation, preaching, and publishing books and pamphlets. In the revolution of 1868 both Anthony and the queen were exiled. After attending Vatican I, Anthony sought refuge at a Cistercian monastery in France, where he died in 1870. He was canonized in 1950.

Saint Simon and Saint Jude October 28

The names of Simon and Jude appear in New Testament lists of the apostles but little else is known about either. Since there are two apostles named Simon and two named Judas (Luke 6.14-16 and Acts 1.13), these are distinguished as Simon the Zealot and Judas the son (or the brother) of James, the others being Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot. Simon is surnamed the Cananaean or the Zealot, names which refer to his zeal for the Law. Jude (Judas) is also called Thaddeus (Matthew 10.4 and Mark 3.18); the one mention of him outside of the lists is in John (14.22-23) where he is referred to as "Judas (not Iscariot)." Traditionally, both these apostles suffered martyrdom. In a later tradition, Jude became a patron saint of so-called hopeless causes.

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