Tag Archives: Catholic martyr

St. Barnabas, Patron Saint of Cyprus

St. Barnabas

Today, June 11th, the universal Church honors St. Barnabas, a great evangelizer and martyr.

St. Barnabas was a Jew of the Tribe of Levi, born in Cyprus. He was not one of the chosen twelve apostles, but because of his important apostolic works, the Early Church Fathers and St. Luke himself referred to him as an apostle because of the special commission he received from the Holy Spirit. His original name was Joseph. However, the apostles changed it to Barnabas which is interpreted, “man of encouragement.”

We find St. Barnabas first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, wherein there is an explanation how the converts at Jerusalem lived in common and that as many were landowners or homeowners, those properties were sold and the proceeds of those sales were given to the apostles for distribution. Hence, St. Barnabas’ property is therein mentioned.

Subsequently, the apostles thought that one of them should be sent by the Church in Jerusalem to Antioch, to instruct the Faith. They chose St. Barnabas who enlisted the assistance of St. Paul, who spent a year with him teaching the Gospel in Antioch. St. Barnabas and Paul were very successful and many converts were made.

Sometime later, the flourishing Christian Church in Antioch raised money to help their brethren in Judaea as the people there were suffering from a famine. This money was given to St. Paul and St. Barnabas and they returned to Judaea giving the members of the Church there this generous gift.

St. Paul and St. Barnabas received a commission to go on a missionary journey to Iconium, the capital of Lycaonia. They escaped this jurisdiction, having almost been stoned to death. However, a miraculous cure of a crippled individual occurred at Lystra through St. Paul, which inspired the people there to believe that actual “gods” were among them. Therefore, they referred to St. Paul as the god “Hermes,” and St. Barnabas as the god “Zeus” or “Jupiter.” Of course, both St. Paul and St. Barnabas set forth the real Truth and preached the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They then went to Derbe, making many Christian converts, retracing their steps wherein they went to those cities to confirm the converts and to ordain presbyters. They then returned to Antioch, being very pleased with what happened.

paulSt. Paul’s journeys (click map to enlarge)

It is most likely that St. Barnabas was still living and working in 56 A.D. or 57 A.D. pursuant to I Corinthians ix, 5 and 6. However, St. Paul’s invitation to John Mark to join him whilst he was a prisoner in Rome, infers that by on or about 60 or 61 A.D. St. Barnabas must have died. It is said that St. Barnabas was stoned to death at Salamis.

We thank you for your holy example of faith, hope and love, as well as your immense courage, to preach the Gospel to everyone who would listen, to bring Christ to everyone and to die for Jesus and His Church. We ask you to help us in this world, inasmuch as there is tremendous “in your face evil.” St. Barnabas, please pray for us that we may be the Light of Christ to everyone.

With love and respect,

Joan

Sources: Franciscan Media; One Hundred Saints, Bulfinch Press; Vatican website

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St. Boniface (672 – 754): Martyr, Apostle of Germany

St BonifaceToday, June 5th, the universal Church celebrates St. Boniface, a brave priest and martyr, who is known as the Apostle to the Germans.

Boniface was devout in his Catholic Faith as a child and as a young youth, leading him to become a priest, an English Benedictine monk, who declined the position of Abbot to serve the Germanic tribes and bring Christ to them. He remained orthodox in his Catholic teaching, keeping the virtues of fidelity and loyalty.

In 719, Pope Gregory II requested that Father Boniface serve as a missionary to the various Pagan tribes. Even Christians lapsed into Paganism, and the teaching of Jesus Christ was mixed with Paganism and orthodoxy. The clergy, many uneducated and lax, taught this kind of error and Father Boniface was to reform those errors. In 722, Father Boniface reported what he found to the Pope, wherein the Pope instructed him to reform the German Church. The Pope sent letters of recommendation to religious and civil leaders.

Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, gave Father Boniface a letter of safe conduct so that his journeys would not be jeopardized.

Father Boniface was made a regional bishop and was authorized to organize the entire German Church, wherein he was successful in his brave efforts.

He met with opposition in the Frankish kingdom because of the lay people interfering in the election of bishops, the fact that the clergy needed to be reformed and the lack of papal fidelity.

Bishop Boniface’s goal was to restore obedience to the clergy to their various bishops and to the Pope in Rome, and to establish numerous houses of prayer in the form of Benedictine monasteries. Numerous Anglo-Saxon monks and nuns followed Bishop Boniface also with these goals in mind. Indeed and in fact, Bishop Boniface introduced the nuns to the apostolate of education of the people.

In his final mission to the Frisians, Bishop Boniface and 53 companions were massacred while he was teaching converts the Sacrament of Confirmation.

We honor you St. Boniface, and the fact that you took up your many crosses and followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching His Catholic Faith to the people of Germany, and dying for your Faith. Please help us dear Saint! We love you and honor you!

Respectfully,

Joan

Sources: Butler’s Lives of the Saints; Franciscan Media; Vatican website

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St. Simeon, Apostle and Martyr

St. Simeon

Today, February 18th, the universal Church celebrates and honors St. Simeon, one of the apostles of Jesus, who was a bishop and a martyr.

Pursuant to the Form of the Roman Rite, the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII, today is the Feast Day of St. Simeon, who was a relative [a cousin] of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  His father was Cleophas, who was the brother of St. Joseph.

After St. James the Lesser was viciously martyred, Simeon was elected as the apostle to replace him, serving as the bishop in the See of Jerusalem, being in this capacity for approximately 40 years.  Indeed and in fact, he was the first bishop of Jerusalem, serving the people of the Church there with steadfastness, wisdom and great love.

The horrible siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans took place during his episcopacy, wherein he accompanied his community to Pella to survive during this terrible time.

Ultimately, under the rule of the Roman emperor Trajan, Simeon was arraigned before the governor, Atticus, on charges of being a Christian and a relative of Jesus.  The latter-mentioned criminal charge arose from a practice that all descendants of David were apprehended because of their lineage.  Having been found guilty of both criminal charges, he was subject to all manner of torture.  It is extremely noteworthy that at this time, it is said that he was 120 years of age, an extremely old man.  Yet, he endured such horrible suffering.  Finally, he was crucified just as Our Lord was crucified.

Once again, we are reminded how an apostle, St. Simeon, helped us to know Jesus by his determined service to the Christian community in Jerusalem wherein he was a leader, their bishop, for 40 years.  And of course, we are again reminded how St. Simeon endured such horrible torture and ultimately, the excruciating death method of crucifixion.  He serves as a formidable example and model to us of loyalty, enthusiasm, leadership and love.  We cannot and we must not ignore the saints, the Church Triumphant, for to do so, would be an ultimate insult to Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom they served.  We thank you Dearest Lord Jesus Christ for St. Simeon, and we will remember what he did for you and for the Christian community.

St. Simeon, pray for us!

With respect and love,

Joan

Sources:  Vatican website; catholiconline

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