The ‘Holy Infants’ are the male children recorded slain by King Herod in Matthew’s Gospel. This unique episode in Jesus’ life is not found in any other document, secular or religious, yet this incident, along with the account of the flight into Egypt, presents the ancient tradition of the early Church: Jesus as the ‘new Isreal’, persecuted and forced to flee, and the ‘new Moses’, marvelously rescued from the slaughter of the Hebrew children. This feast also points to Jesus as the Messiah and foreshadows the secular opposition Jesus will later meet, culminating in his Passion.
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 eventually became reconciled to his choice and he was ordained in 1593.
Appointed bishop of Geneva in 1602, Francis ...
Appointed bishop of Geneva in 1602, Francis reorganized the diocese, reformed religious education, established a seminary and founded schools. He lived a life of austerity and simplicity, sharing with the poor. Wise and intelligent, he emphasized both the loving kindness of God and the human capacity for love.
Francis was beatified the year he died, 1622 – the first formal beatification to take place in St. Peter’s – and canonized in 1665. He is the patron saint of writers and journalists, and of the deaf.
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 light from heaven. According to the account in Acts of the Apostles (9.1-22; 22.3...More
Paul’s zeal for the risen Jesus led him to become a passionate follower and later a teacher of the nations. The letters, or epistles, of Paul offer us a window into the early Church.
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 cleansed by prayers. Today’s feast commemorates Mary’...More
The observance of this feast began in 4th-century Jerusalem, and was celebrated in Rome by the 5th-century. It is a feast of both Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin. In the Eastern Church, it was called The Meeting of Jesus and Mary with Simeon and Anna, representatives of the Old Covenant.
In the Middle Ages, a tradition began of blessing candles and holding a procession of light on this day. As a result, this feast is also known as Candlemas: Christ our light has come to us.