The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary- Feast Day November 21st. Also known as the” Dedication of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, the feast originated in the East where it was referred to as the feast of “The entry of the “Most Holy Theotokos” , in to the temple”. The feast first rose to prominence in Jerusalem where it was associated with the dedication of the Basilica of St Mary the new . It made its way to the West through monasteries in Southern Italy during the ninth century and became popular in the 11th Century but it was not inserted in to the universal calendar of the Church until 1472 by Pope Sixtus 1V.The account of Marys presentation is mostly derived from accounts in apocryphal literature especially the Protoevangelium of James . In gratitude for being granted a child after years of infertility Joachim and Anne vowed to dedicate Mary to the service of God at the temple. When they presented her at the age of 3 she stayed willingly showing her love and dedication to God even at that young age. Mary who was free of all sin from the very time of her Immaculate Conception had already been chosen especially by God ,preserved by a singular grace as the pure elected vessel through which the Incarnate Word would be given for the salvation of the whole world. The offering by her parents is a response to the invitation to join our free choice to Gods invitation.
Saint Cecilia- Feast Day November 22nd. Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians, church music and poets and is one of the eight women commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Born sometime in the second century Cecilia was a young noble woman of Rome who from a young age had pledged herself to God. Her parents however setting aside her protestations arranged for her to marry the noble Valerian . During her wedding day celebrations, while the singers and muscians performed music of a secular nature her thoughts were only of God and her devotion to him. According to tradition,on her wedding night she told her husband that an angel of the Lord protected her from loosing her virginity and that she could not consummate the marriage, if Valerian wanted to meet this angel he had to convert to Christainity. So Valerian due to curiosity and his wifes persuasion along with his brother Tiburtias converted to Christianity. When Valerian retuned he saw the angel at Cecilias side and in turn made a vow of celibacy thus their marriage became a spiritual liason to serve God. Valerian and his brother suffered martydom as a result of their public charity as Christians. Cecilia soon joined them in her own glorious and gruesome death. Due to proclaiming her faith with joy Cecilia was sentanced to death by suffocation in her bathing chamber but a divine grace protected her life, finally a futile attempt was made to decapitate her and she eventually bled to death 3 days later. The Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere exists in Rome and is traditionally believed to have been built on the original site of her martydom.
Saint John Berchmans-Feast Day 26th November. Saint John was a Jesuit brother and the patron saint of altar servers, and Jesuit scholars. One of 5 children John was born in Diest in Belgium 1599 and was the son of a shoe maker. From a young age he desired to enter the priesthood and when he was 13 became a servant in the household of one of the cathedral canons of Malines. After his mother died his father and 2 of his brothers also decided to enter the religious life ,unfortunately his father passed away 6 months after his ordination. In 1615 John entered the Jesuit college in Malines becoming a novice a year later. John made his first vows in1618 and went to Antwerp to study philosophy,he was an excellent student and was soon sent to Rome to continue his philosophy degree.A man of poverty and humility he travelled all the way to Rome on foot. He was known for his diligence and piety and his stress on perfection of small things. He died at the young age of 22 in 1621 in Rome whilst suffering from a bad bout of dysentery, many miracles were attributed to him after his death. He is well remembered for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Virgin Mary to whom he composed a chaplet of the Rosary in honour of her Immaculate Conception. Buried at the church of St Ignatius of Rome his heart was transferred to the Jesuit church at Louvain.