St. Marculf: Saint of the Day for Friday, May 01, 2020

Marculf is also known as Marcoul. He was born at Bayeux, Gaul, at noble parents. He was ordained when he was thirty, and did missionary work at Coutances. Desirous of living as a hermit, he was granted land by king Childebert at Nanteuil. He attracted numerous disciples, and built a monastery, of which he was abbot. It became a great pilgrimage center after his death on May 1. St. Marculf was regarded as a patron who cured skin diseases, and as late as 1680, sufferers made pilgrimages to his …

To Saint Peregrine: Prayer of the Day for Friday, May 01, 2020

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called “The Mighty,” “The Wonder-Worker,” because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our …

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 8:26-40

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
“Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and join up with that chariot.”
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
He replied,
“How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
“I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?”
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?”
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Responsorial Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20

R.    (1)  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R.    Alleluia.
Bless our God, you peoples,
loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,
and has not let our feet slip.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R.    Alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”



For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Pius V, please go here.

– – –
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

How Much is Enough?

I might as well start with an admission: I love English muffins. Give me a toasted English muffin, and I’m happy to put anything on it—honey, cheese, peanut butter, jam, avocado… I’m just happy. English muffins are generally both plentiful and inexpensive, and for years I’ve never given much thought to them as a preference. They just were.

And then the pandemic struck, and the bread aisle at my local supermarket was suddenly denuded; a swarm of locusts couldn’t have done a better job of wiping it out. A couple of packets of hot dog rolls and some suspicious-looking flatbreads were all that were left. I went home with other groceries, of course. I wasn’t close to starving. But I kept going to the refrigerator and reaching for those English muffins and feeling unsatisfied and even bereft when there were none.

Of course, it’s all just a matter of perspective, and if nothing else the pandemic has brought that understanding home to us, too. I might not have my food of choice; but I have enough food. In my community, in your community, throughout the world, there are people who don’t have enough. Children who will go to sleep tonight hungry. Beside that, my preference for English muffins seems a small, entitled thing.

But I think it’s significant that it’s bread I’m missing, the lack of bread that makes my life so incomplete. I was already thinking about that when I opened my missal to today’s Gospel reading, and there it was again. Bread.

Bread is such a basic part of life. Bread represents the most basic of human needs. It’s a fundamental part of the diets of nearly every world culture. It provides nourishment, sustenance, and vitality. “Give us this day our daily bread,” we are taught to pray. Why? Because we need it.

Perhaps because of its ubiquity, bread symbolizes our need of sustenance, and so it’s not surprising to find it featuring regularly in Scripture. There are at least seven words referencing bread in the Hebrew-language version of the Old Testament, and three Greek words referring to it in the New Testament. Mentioned at least 492 times in the original languages of the Bible, it is easy to see how important this food was to everyday life.

From the very beginning, God has longed to feed us, care for us, and lift us up to eternal life with him, and he has constantly been at work to fulfill his longing.

Food, and eating food, especially bread, is a theme the New Testament returns to again and again. When Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “I am the bread of life,” it isn’t just a figure of speech. Jesus meant the words literally. At the Last Supper the night before he died, he held bread in his hands and said to his friends, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). When Jesus called himself the bread of life, his listeners no doubt thought of Moses. Through Moses, God sent down manna, bread from heaven that fed the chosen people for 40 years before they reached the promised land. Jesus explained, “Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die” (John 6:49-51).

In feeding hungry people, Jesus recognized the emptiness inside them: not just the emptiness in their bodies, but in their hearts and souls and spirits. And today, more than two thousand years later, we’re still starving.

One of the many things about Christianity I value is its incarnational aspect. Not only did God become human, he blessed the world through his association with earthly things. He performed his first miracle with wine. He wrote words in the dirt. And he valued bread, the work of human hands. When one day Jesus was teaching in a remote and solitary place and it got late, he multiplied five small loaves of bread into enough to feed five thousand hungry people. Again and again we see him coming back to bread.

In an interview with a French Catholic publication, Mother Teresa once said, “The spiritual poverty of the western world is much greater than the physical poverty of our people. You, in the west, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted. These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don’t know what it is. What they are missing, really, is a living relationship with God.”

So our souls need him. He is the very food our souls crave. Anyone apart from Christ remains famished and dying. Anything else is just empty calories—junk food. He is the answer to end all our spiritual cravings. He is enough.

I keep coming back to that concept in my thoughts and reflections and prayers, the concept of enough. I used to think of it as not particularly positive. Enough doesn’t sound like what I want; I want more! I want perfection! I want exactly what I want, when I want it! Yet more and more in these days of scarcity and fear, of uncertainty and pain, I’ve come to value the concept of “enough.” Enough isn’t second-best. It isn’t oh-well-better-luck-next-time. It is enough.

We don’t have the world we want. We have lost things we thought we couldn’t live without—jobs, a sense of security, friends and loved ones. We are using food banks and soup kitchens and the kindness of strangers for the bread our bodies need. It’s not perfect. It’s not what we’re accustomed to. But it’s enough.

And one place where we really do have enough is in our invitation to the Banquet of the Lamb, in sharing the true bread of life. We are all invited to be taught, to be fed, and to be one with him, and because of this privilege, we have to be sensitized to the needs of others. At the meals Jesus hosted, there were no guest lists. None was necessary, because everyone was invited. In our sharing of the bread of life, we are called to follow his lead in welcoming everyone to his table—and to our own.

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Jeannette de Beauvoir is a writer and editor with the digital department of Pauline Books & Media, working on projects as disparate as newsletters, book clubs, ebooks, and retreats that support the apostolate of the Daughters of St. Paul at

St. Pius V, Pope: Saint of the Day for Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation. Born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco, Italy, to a poor family, he labored as a shepherd until the age of fourteen and then joined the Dominicans, being ordained in 1528. Called Brother Michele, he studied at Bologna and Genoa, and then taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years before holding the posts of master of novices and prior for several Dominican houses. Named inquisitor for Como and Bergamo, he was so …

Prayer to Saint Joseph for Success in Work: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, April 30, 2020

Glorious St. Joseph,
model of all those who are devoted to labour,
obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously,
putting the call of duty above my many sins;
to work with thankfulness and joy,
considering it an honour to employ and develop,
by means of labour,
the gifts received from God;
to work with order,
peace, prudence and patience,
never surrendering to weariness or difficulties;
to work, above all,
with purity of intention,
and with detachment …

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church

Reading 1 Acts 8:1b-8

There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem,
and all were scattered
throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria,
except the Apostles.
Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him.
Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church;
entering house after house and dragging out men and women,
he handed them over for imprisonment.

Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Responsorial Psalm 66:1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a

R.    (1)  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R.    Alleluia.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R.    Alleluia.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R.    Alleluia.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 6:40

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:35-40

Jesus said to the crowds,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen me,
you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”



For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, please go here.

– – –
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Let All the Earth Cry Out to God with Joy

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love
the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Ranier Maria Rilke

I don’t know about you, but I am kind of fond of feeling like I have some semblance of control. I carry my calendar everywhere, color code my appointments, events, and to-dos. I love the feeling I get when I can check something off my list. This time of not knowing, of change, of having questions with no answers is taking a toll. My biggest fear? What if feeling out of control is my new normal?

In today’s reading in Acts, we hear about a time of persecution when the dominant culture was trying to actively destroy the Church. But what happens? The exact opposite, “those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.” Whether it is an act of a government or a natural phenomenon like the Coronavirus, when the Church is scattered, it is a call to action for every Christian. But Jesus doesn’t expect us to act on our own. 

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Jesus knows what we need. Created in his image and likeness, He knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. He knows that we were created in the image and likeness of love, meaning that we are hardwired to give of ourselves in love. He knows that through the sludge and muck and mire we make of our lives, deep within us is a desire to love and be loved. Jesus is the tenderest of lovers in that he waits for us to be ready. Because we are more often tuned in to our physical hunger than our spiritual hunger, in today’s Gospel, Jesus appeals to our physical self. Our natural state is body and soul. In offering to feed our bodies, Jesus is telling us that when we turn to Him, He is ready, willing, and able to meet all our needs, both physical and spiritual. 

In my old normal, I strove to meet my needs by structuring and planning my days, by taking on more and more projects to inflate my sense of accomplishment. In this time of physical distancing from one another and spiritual distancing from the Sacraments, I can feel the tug on my heart to stop relying on myself for the answers and to lean more heavily on Him. This is a time to simply live each moment, trusting that God will provide in his time. Today’s readings reassure me of what will happen when I loosen my need for control and just live in his love. 

This new normal requires that I rely on God’s grace. The new normal gives me the space to set aside my questions so that I may patiently live into His answers. My new normal is to rely so fully on His grace, I leave behind my reliance on my own accomplishments and receive the bread of life with an open heart and mind. This new normal is to make a spiritual communion to increase the desire of my heart and soul to be united to Jesus so that when I can return to Eucharist, I am more fully open to all He has waiting for me. He is waiting for me, and I can wait for Him. 

While we wait for that time when we can return to the altar together, may you and I live in peace with all our questions and find within the questions themselves, not simply answers, but His joy which calls all the earth to sing out, “Alleluia!”

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Sheryl delights in being the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process whether it is studying for classes, deepening their prayer life or discovering new ways to serve together. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Brea, a Bernese Mountain dog and Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever.

St. Catherine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 29, 2020

St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine herself was a twin, but her sister did not survive infancy. Her mother was 40 when she was born. Her father was a cloth dyer.

At the age of 16, CatherineÂ?s sister, Bonaventura, died, leaving her husband as a widower. CatherineÂ?s parents proposed that he marry Catherine as a …