Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Taxes taxes taxes!!!

Hello, all!

I apologize for the lack of postings as of late.  As the subject of this post suggests, I've been focusing on taxes lately.  I should be done soon, and I'll be able to post here more often (hopefully daily, as I originally planned) at that point. 

Thanks for being patient!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 28: St. Venturino of Bergamo

St. Venturino was born April 9, 1304, in Bergamo, Italy.  He joined the Order of Friars Preachers at the convent of St. Stephen in January 22, 1319, a Dominican Order.  Here are some factoids that you might be interested in learning:

1.  From 1328 to 1335 he won fame preaching in all the cities of upper Italy, soon distinguishing himself as a brilliant preacher, attracting huge crowds.

2.  Pleased with his ability to reach large numbers of believers, he announced in 1335 his intention to go on a penitential pilgrimage to Rome with about thirty thousand of his converts.

3.  His purpose was misunderstood, and Pope Benedict XII, then residing at Avignon, thought that Venturino wished to make himself pope. He wrote letters to Giovanni Pagnotti, Bishop of Anagni, his spiritual vicar, to the Canons of St. Peter's and St. John Lateran's, and to the Roman senators empowering them to stop the pilgrimage.

4.  This decree was joined by one issued by the Dominicans themselves at the Chapter in London, condemning such pilgrimages.

5.  The pope's letters and commands did not reach Venturino in time, and he arrived in Rome, 21 March 1335. He was well received, and preached in various churches. Twelve days later he left Rome, without explanation, and the pilgrimage ended in disorder.

6.  He travelled to Avignon, and requested an audience with Benedict XII at Avignon; he was seized and cast into prison until 1343.

7.  By 1343, Pope Clement IV had now presided over the Church, and restored Venturino to favour.  He then appointed him to preach a crusade against the Turks on January 4, 1344, who were then menacing Europe.  His success was remarkable.

8.  He urged the pope to appoint Humbert II of Dauphiné, whose friend and spiritual adviser he had been, leader of the crusade, but Humbert proved incapable and the crusade came to nothing.

9.  Venturino's writings consist of sermons (now lost) and letters.

10.  He died at Smyrna on March 28, 1346, at 41 years of age.


Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25: Annunciations and Thieves, Part 2

I also found out that today is the day for a somewhat obscure reference in the Bible.  When Jesus was crucified, there were 2 thieves that were also crucified along each side of Him.  One supposedly got all snippy with Christ, causing the other thief to scold the first one and defend Jesus' honor.  He then asked Jesus to "remember me when you come into your kingdom."  Jesus, even in all the pain he was in nailed up to that cross, was still impressed by this man's repentant attitude, so He promised that thief that he'd be in heaven.  That thief was known as Saint Dismas.

March 25: Annunciations and Thieves

Most sources will describe a Saint per day based on a pre-determined calendar.  This calendar assigns days called "Feast Days", which are days the Catholic faith decided to celebrate the life of a certain Saint, or in some occasions, an important event.  March 25 is one of the days that focuses on an event.  Today is called the Feast of the Annunciation of The Lord.  In plainspeak, this is the day that the archangel Gabriel made a surprise visit to a young teenager, and told her that she won the grand prize.  He said, in not-so-many-words, Hey!  You're awesome! You're so awesome, God is with you!

This confused her, and actually kind of concerned her.  I mean, an angel just walked into her house and told her that God had been keeping an eye on her.  That would probably startle anyone.   But, being an angel, he was no fool.  He could tell that she looked like she was wondering where the phone was, so she could call 911.   

Relax!  God likes you.  He likes you so much, you were chosen to give birth to a boy.  FYI, you'll name him Jesus, He told her.

Now, understand, he isn't gonna be just any ol' kid.  He's gonna go places!    People are going to give call him names like Son Of God, he's going to be traced to David's family tree... yeah, THAT David!  Hey, he's gonna be Top Dog over all the Israelites, and I mean ALL 12 TRIBES, sweetie!  Man, there won't be any stopping how high he can go!

Mary just stood there, taking this all in.  After staring at him for a few seconds, she said, Ummm... that's going to be pretty tricky.  I... haven't been with a man before.  I'm not even married. 

Gabriel had that look on his face, and said, Did you not hear what I just said?  DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH???  This is GOD we're talking about, girl!!  You see, He's going to send the Holy Spirit down on ya, and you won't know WHAT'S happening!  THAT'S how it's gonna happen.  So, you see, He really, honest and truly, often imitated but never duplicated, will be the Son of God!

Oh!  I almost forgot to mention.  Your cousin, Elisabeth?  I know she's pretty old, and past that special time in her life.  But, believe it or not, she's also pregnant.  6 months now, in fact!

All of this was alot for Mary to take all at once.  Woah!  Well, check it.  If God likes me, who am I to say no?  Bring it on!"  

Gabriel said, Cool.  Deuces!  and took off. 

Now, there might be some of you that will take what I just put up there and call it sacrilege. Let me add the little disclosure that these were MY interpretation of the Bible's words, not quotes from the Bible directly. 

And, think about it.  Gabriel didn't just simply tell her how it was going to be and then leave.  He stuck around until she ACCEPTED what was he told her would happen.  So, she actually had a choice in the matter.  I hope she really knew what she was getting herself into when she agreed to all that.  I'd hate to think she'd think later on, Dang!  What'd I get myself into here!

In my next post, I'll talk about an actual Saint for today, too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 24: Saint Catherine of Genoa

Going to confession one day was the turning point of Catherine’s life.

Catherine was born at a time when nobles were supporting Renaissance artists, often panning the needs of the poor and sick.

Catherine’s parents were members of the nobility in Genoa.

At 13 she attempted to become a nun but failed because of her age.

At 16 she married "Julian" (
Giuliano Adorno), a nobleman who turned out to be selfish and unfaithful. For a while she tried to numb her disappointment by a life of selfish pleasure.
     - Their marriage was probably a ploy to end the feud between their two families.
     - "...ten years after her marriage, she prayed "that for three months He (God) may keep me (Catherine) sick in bed" so that she might escape her marriage, but her prayer went unanswered."

One day in confession she had a new sense of her own sins and how much God loved her. She reformed her life and gave good example to Julian, who soon turned from his self-centered life of distraction.

Julian’s spending, however, had ruined them financially. He and Catherine decided to live in the Pammatone, a large hospital in Genoa, and to dedicate themselves to works of charity there.

After Julian’s death in 1497, Catherine took over management of the hospital.
She wrote about purgatory which, she said, begins on earth for souls open to God. Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth.

Exhausted by her life of self-sacrifice, she died September 15, 1510, and was canonized in 1737.'s entry on St. Catherine

The ever-accurate Wikipedia

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 20: St. Joseph

St. Joseph, as many of you might know, was the husband of the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Jesus Christ.  He was a carpenter, lived poor his whole life, and was happy with his lot.  The Bible does not record a single word spoken by him, yet he was arguably the most influential father-figure, save for the Father Himself.

Whatever the Lord asked him to do, he did without question nor hesitation.  As the head of the Holy Family that raised Jesus, he is known at the example of the just spouse and father.  Although he was given multiple chances to give his wife Mary up through divorce or leaving her, he instead chose to stay by her side.  He knew that God had a divine plan for him and his family, and chose to follow the path led before him by God.

In portrayals of statues or pictures, he is often shown with a lily due to a legend that he was so chosen from among other men by the blossoming of his staff like a lily.

He is the patron saint of... oh, waaaay to many things to list.  But here's a few:

Dying people
Expectant mothers
House Hunters
Working people
and much, much more!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17: St. Patrick

Having attended a Roman Catholic college, I once joked with a fellow student that it seemed like Catholics had "A saint for every season".  Upon further research, I wasn't too far off.  In fact, there's just about one for every day! 

March 17:  St. Patrick

Everyone knows what today is.  It's a no-brainer whom I'm going to refer to.  But let's go over some things that you might not have necessarily known about the famous man that made drinking green beer so popular:

1.  He wasn't Irish. He was born in 387 AD at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland.

2.  His parents were said to be Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

3.  At around the age of 14, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him, whom were Druids and pagans.

4.  He had a dream from God when he was 20 years old, telling him to escape capture by going to the coast and leaving Ireland.  He did so, where he found some sailors that returned him to his family in Britain.

5.  He returned to Ireland thanks to another dream.  In this dream, he heard the people of the land calling, "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

6.  He studied for the priesthood, later became Bishop, and took the Gospel to Ireland at last, in March of 433.

7.  After years of living in poverty, converting all of Ireland to Christianity, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.  He died at Saul, where he had built the first church. 

8.  Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time. That is how the shamrock is now associated with him.

9.  Pious legend credits St. Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, chasing them into the sea after they assailed him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill.

10.  Another legend states that,  during his evangelizing journey back to Ireland from his parent's home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelizing and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the dogma took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on.

Yes, you can probably find many of these details on other websites, but that's where I got them from.  A little something to tell your pals as you're imbibing tonight at the local pub.