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Latest news from Saint Francis de Sales parish and Archdiocese of Toronto

All Saints Day

This feast honours all the saints of the Church, known and unknown. The occasion provides an opportunity to reflect on the nature of sainthood and to celebrate the exemplary faithfulness of holy men and women of every place and time whose lives and deeds continue to...

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St. Simon and St. Jude

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...

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St. Luke

Historical sources are unanimous in stating that the author of the third gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles is a physician named Luke. He was undoubtedly a Gentile (that is, non-Jewish) Christian and wrote for other Gentiles who did not have a background of the...

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Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are three of the seven archangels who stand before God and are venerated in both Jewish and Christian traditions. While once dedicated solely to Michael (Michaelmas), this date now commemorates all three. Michael (‘Who is like the Lord?’),...

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St. John de Brebeuf, St. Isaac Jogues and Companions

This day honours the eight martyrs of North America – six Jesuit priests and two lay assistants – who died between 1642 and 1649. All came from Europe in response to a call for “missionaries to the Indians”, and all showed great courage. The first group, who died in...

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St. Matthew

The apostle Matthew has two names in the Gospels: Matthew and Levi. Since only the name Matthew is entered in any scriptural mention of the 12 apostles, it is commonly held that his name was Levi until Jesus called him to be a disciple, then he was called Matthew...

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Exaltation of the Holy Cross

This liturgical feast has been celebrated since early times. In the 4th century, two churches in Jerusalem were dedicated to the cross on this day and the occasion was commemorated annually. Adopted by the Church in Rome during the 7th century, the feast commemorates...

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Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This feast originated in the Eastern Church and was commemorated in the West as early as the 5th century. No one is certain where Mary was born, but two traditions have survived from ancient times, one naming Nazareth and the other, Jerusalem. An occasion for praise...

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St. Bartholomew

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and the Acts of the Apostles count Bartholomew as one of the 12 apostles, associating his name Philip. John’s Gospel links the name Nathaniel with Philip and never mentions Bartholomew. Apart from that, we know little about him....

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St. Lawrence

Saint Lawrence suffered his martyrdom in the year 258, three days after Sixtus II and six other deacons. A defender of the Church in Rome, he was one of the most venerated Roman martyrs of the early Church and is a patron of Rome. He is mentioned in the canon of the...

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Transfiguration of the Lord

The Feast of the Transfiguration has been observed on this day by the universal Church since the 15th century. The experience on Mount Tabor is one where Jesus reveals his divinity, and invites us all into a similar mystical encounter. The path up that mountain...

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St. Anne and St. Joachim

The gospels are bereft of details regarding Mary’s parents – Jesus’ grandparents – not even offering their names. What we do know comes from writings excluded the canon of Scripture, in particular the Protogospel of James. Nevertheless, the cult of Saint Anne existed...

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St. Thomas

Since the early Church there has been a tradition that Thomas is the Apostle of India. In Syriac his name means ‘twin’: he is also called by the Greek equivalent, ‘Didymus’. Although the phrase “doubting Thomas” refers to him, it overlooks both his loyalty in troubled...

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St. Peter and St. Paul

Tradition says these two apostles, honoured since the earliest days, were martyred in Rome. Peter, a fisherman, was chosen by Jesus to be his disciple. After Simon confessed that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter and told him that it was on...

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Nativity of St. John

The birth of John the Baptist was one of the earliest feasts to be named to a particular day on the Church calendar. June 24 was chosen as it is six months before the birth of Christ. With its proximity to the summer solstice, it signifies the waning of the light,...

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St. Philip and St. James

Philip and James were apostles of Jesus. The choice of Philip as a disciple is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John’s Gospel records several conversations between Jesus and Philip, which demonstrates he was present throughout the Lord’s public ministry. James,...

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The Annunciation of the Lord

This is the ancient title for the feast celebrating the Incarnation of the Word. This feast is a joint celebration of Christ and the Blessed Virgin: of the Word who becomes the Son of Mary and of the virgin who becomes the Mother of God. In the universal Church, this...

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St. Joseph

Joseph, according to gospel accounts, was a carpenter and a descendant of King David. Art and popular imagination have portrayed him as an old man, but this is likely false. Embarrassed by Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph was told in a dream to take Mary as his wife. Thoughts...

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Chair of St. Peter

Early Roman Christians celebrated on this day a feast in honour of their departed loved ones, including their predecessors in the faith, Peter and Paul. In the 4th-century, when the feast of these two saints was moved to June 29th, the emphasis...

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Presentation of the Lord

According to Mosaic Law, a new mother was considered unclean for 40 days after she had given birth. At the end of that period, she would enter the temple with her child, bringing an offering of either a lamb and a dove or pigeon, or two doves or pigeons, to be...

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Conversion of St. Paul

The conversion of Paul was a turning point in the history of the early Church. Saul, as Paul was first known, was a tentmaker from Tarsus who zealously persecuted the followers of Christ. While traveling on the road to Damascus, he was struck down amidst a blinding...

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St. Francis de Sales

A leader of the Catholic Reformation, Francis was born in France in 1567. His family insisted he study law rather than enter the seminary. After obtaining doctorates in both canon and civil law by the age of 24, Francis chose religious life instead. His family...

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Epiphany of the Lord

It is very clear that the Jewish people are the chosen people of God. Yet in the Old and New testaments there are indications that the message of the God of all creation is to be offered to all nations. The early Christians, after Jesus’ death, held that The Way of...

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Mary the Holy Mother of God

Of all the Marian feasts of the Church, this day dedicated to Mary, Mother of God, is the greatest. Drawing on scriptural and patristic sources, it celebrates Mary’s role in the Incarnation and in redemption. In this way, her special relationship with her son is...

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