The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Green.
Saturday memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary
‘On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.
‘Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This memorial derives from Carolingian times (9th century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown. While many explanations of this choice have been advanced, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety.
‘Whatever its historical origins may be, today the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive. It is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that “great Saturday” on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection. It is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ. It is a sign that the Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.’
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001), §188
Other saints: Saint Fursa or Fursey (- c.650)
East Anglia, Ireland
Born in Ireland, Saint Fursey established a monastery at Rathmat, on the shores of Loch Corrib, and then journeyed to England where he founded another at Burgh Castle, near Yarmouth. He finally crossed over to France and became the abbot-founder of Lagny, near Paris. He was buried in Picardy and his shrine survived until the French Revolution. His life is also famous for his remarkable ecstasies, of which St Bede and others wrote.
Other saints: Saint Joseph Vaz (1651 - 1711)
Joseph Vaz was a missionary born on 21 April 1651 in Goa, India. He died on 16 January 1711 in Kandy, present day Sri Lanka. He was an Oratorian missionary priest. He arrived in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) during the Dutch occupation.
The Dutch had expelled the Portuguese who had introduced Catholicism to Sri Lankan. The Dutch then went on to impose Calvinism as the official religion in Sri Lanka. Father Vaz travelled throughout Sri Lanka, bringing the Eucharist and Sacraments to clandestine groups of Catholics. He would sometimes disguise himself as a beggar in order to facilitate his mission. Later, he founded a shelter in the Kingdom of Kandy where he intensified his missionary work of ministering to both the minority Tamil and Sinhalese ethnic groups. By the time of his death, he had managed to rebuild the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka. He was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on 21 January 1995, in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, and canonized there by Pope Francis on 14 January 2015.
Other saints: Our Lady of Arabia
16 Jan (where celebrated)
The recent title ‘Our Lady of Arabia’ accorded to our Lady represents the patronage of the Blessed Virgin over the Arabian peninsula. The devotion to our Lady under this title began in the 20th century with the dedication of a chapel by the Carmelite fathers in honour of Our Lady of Arabia. In the space of a year, the chapel was soon enriched with the same indulgences as the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major, and the image – modelled after that of our Lady of Mount Carmel and solemnly blessed by Pius XII – was installed in it. In 1957, the Blessed Virgin under this title was declared the principal patroness of the Apostolic Vicariate of Kuwait, and the statue solemnly crowned on 25 March 1960. The 21st century saw a renewed effort in favour of the devotion to the Blessed Virgin in the newly constituted Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia, as emblematic of the missionary character of the Church in the Gulf. The Blessed Virgin Mary, under this title, was declared the principal patroness of the region in 2013 by the Congregation of Divine Worship, and the proper Masses to the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia in 2014.
Though the title is relatively recent, the Blessed Virgin is not a stranger to the region. On the contrary, her praises are mentioned even among Muslims in the Quran, which regards her as “chosen above all women” (Sura Al-Imran, 42). History bears witness to a flourishing devotion in honour of the Virgin Mary in the southern part of the Arabian peninsula before the arrival of Islam, as evinced by the churches dedicated in her honour.
The veneration historically shown toward the Blessed Virgin by the native inhabitants of the region has revived and increased in the modern day with the arrival of migrants from all corners of the globe, fulfilling the divine promise uttered in the Spirit by the holy Virgin herself: “All generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48). With trust in her powerful intercession, they praise the Lord who “casts down the mighty from their thrones and exalts the lowly”. The Mother of God shines as a beacon of hope for the Christian faithful, illuminating the providence and fidelity of God to those who trust in him amidst the anxieties of life. Whether through her journey to the hill country of Judah with the child in her womb, or her flight with the infant Christ from persecution by Herod, the Blessed Virgin serves as an exemplar for migrant faithful who are sustained by their faith in Christ the Lord. To the missionary Church in Arabia, the Mother of God reveals a life closely associated with her Son, and perpetually pointing to him. Thus, as it strives to be the leaven of the Gospel in the society in which it exists, the missionary Church in the Gulf makes the words of its Mother and Queen its own: “Do whatever he tells you”.
To their Mother and Queen therefore, on this day, the Christians of Gulf turn with filial confidence, that she “whose radiant glance banishes storms and tempests and brings back cloudless skies (may) look upon these her innocent and tormented children with eyes of mercy; that the Virgin, who is able to subdue violence beneath her foot, may grant to them that they may soon enjoy the rightful freedom to practice their religion openly, so that, while serving the cause of the Gospel, they may also contribute to the strength and progress of nations by their harmonious cooperation, by the practice of extraordinary virtues which are a glowing example in the midst of bitter trials” (Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginam, 50).
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pope St Clement I
Clement was Bishop of Rome after Peter, Linus and Cletus. He lived towards the end of the first century, but nothing is known for certain about his life. Clement’s letter to the Corinthian church has survived. It is the first known Patristic document, and exhorts them to peace and brotherly harmony.
Liturgical colour: green
The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Kings 8:60-61 ©|
May all the peoples of the earth come to know that the Lord is God indeed, and that there is no other. May your hearts be wholly with the Lord our God, following his laws and keeping his commandments as at this present day.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Jeremiah 17:9-10 ©|
The heart is more devious than any other thing, perverse too: who can pierce its secrets? I, the Lord, search to the heart, I probe the loins, to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Wisdom 7:27,8:1 ©|
Although she is alone, Wisdom can accomplish everything. She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things for good.