Saint John of Avila. Apostle of Andulucia Feast Day. May 10th. Saint John of Avila was born in to a devout wealthy Castilian family in Almodovar del Campo near Toledo in 1449. At the age of 14 he was sent to university to study law in Salamanca but his heart lay elsewhere so he withdrew himself and for three years he lived as a hermit in devout prayer and austerity. A Franciscan friar travelling through his own town realised his love for God and encouraged John to study theology and philosophy at the university of Alcala. in 1562 he underwent ordination to the priesthood, greatly desiring to undertake missions in the West Indies and Mexico he travelled to Seville to set sail but God had other plans devised for him. Saint John had many natural abilities, he was an eloquent preacher ,theological writer with excellent skills in catechesis.The Archbishop of Seville recognising these qualities sent him as a powerful instrument to stir up faith in Andulucia. John established religious schools and colleges in Granada , Baeza. Montilla and Zafra with an aim not only to educate the clergy but also the laity through catechesis. He worked closely alongside the Society of Jesus reforming the clergy under a strict regime stressing the importance of the holiness of priests and of their conformity to Christ as both as Good Shepherd and High Priest. In 1538 John received the title of Master of Sacred theology. He went on to spend many years in Cordoba and Granada making many converts including St John of God and Francis Borgia to whom he became spiritual adviser as well as Teresa of Avila. John died from natural causes in Cordoba in 1569, he was declared as a doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XV1 in 2012, he most famous written work is Audi Filia , “Listen daughter”, addressed to a young nun ,Dona Sancha Carillo..He is the patron Saint of Diocesan priests.
Our Lady of Fatima. Feast Day. May 13th Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the Virgin Mary who appeared to 3 shepherd children in a series of visions in 1917 in the vicinity of Fatima in Portugal. The 3 children were called Lucia Santos and Jacinto and Francisco Marto. The Virgin identified herself to them as ” The Lady of the Rosary” and appeared in a dazzling white gown brighter than the sun with a golden Rosary. During the first apparition she told them to return to the same spot at a holm oak at the Cova da Iria on the 13th of each month for 6 months. Our Lady told them to pray for the conversion and liberation of sinners ,revealing to them the plight of the poor sinners in hell and instructed them to pray the Rosary daily to obtain peace in the world and to bring an end to the first world war in Europe. They were also to pray for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart as Russia would soon fall victim to communism. Mother Mary revealed a 3 part secret to the children which St Lucia later divulged in her writings. The Virgin told Jacinta and Francisco that they would soon be taken up to heaven and that they had to offer up their suffering for the souls of sinners. Lucia however would remain on the earth to carry on Gods work that she had been assigned and to spread devotion to the Virgins Immaculate Heart. Lucia was told to build a chapel on the site of the apparitions dedicated to Mother Mary .The Fatima visions were without doubt the most prophetic of all the modern visions alluding to the second world war and possibly future wars to come.
Saint Matthias. Feast Day March 14th. According to the Acts of the Apostles the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot was Matthias. The name Matthias in Hebrew means” Gods gift.”There is no mention of him in the Canonical Gospels but the book of Acts clearly states that he was definitely one of the 70 disciples of Jesus who had been with Him from the time of His baptism by John the Baptist until His ascension in to heaven. Matthias was definitely present at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. After the departure and betrayal of Judas saint Peter proposed that a group of Christ’s disciples which numbered 120 men gathered to nominate two devout followers to replace Iscariot. The two men up for nomination were Barsabas and Matthias.St Peter requested that they all prayed to our Lord for His guidance before they cast lots. The vote fell firmly in favour of Matthias a Judean . One tradition tells us that Matthias spread the Good News of the Gospel in Judea and Ethiopia and was crucified, another tradition states that he preached throughout Cappadocia and the areas surrounding the Caspian sea and was stoned to death and beheaded in Jerusalem for his faith in AD 80. It is believed that Saint Helena brought some of Matthias relics to Rome the other portion were thought to be buried at Trier. Matthias is invoked to intercede for all those suffering form alcoholic related problems and to encourage hope and perseverance. Clement of Alexandria records a sentence that the Nicolatians ascribe to the apostle Matthias,” We must combat our flesh, set no value upon it and concede it to nothing that can flatter it , but rather increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge.”