Thursday, February 8, 2018

Saint February 9 : St. Apollina : #Martyr : Patron of #Dentists

A holy virgin who suffered martyrdom in Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians previous to the persecution of Decius (end of 248, or beginning of 249). During the festivities commemorative of the first millenary of the Roman Empire, the agitation of the heathen populace rose to a great height, and when one of their poets prophesied a calamity, they committed bloody outrages on the Christians whom the authorities made no effort to protect. The great Dionysius, then Bishop of Alexandria (247-265), relates the sufferings of his people in a letter addressed to Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, long extracts from which Eusebius has preserved for us (Church History I.6.41). After describing how a Christian man and woman, named respectively Metras and Quinta, were seized by the seditious mob and put to death with the most cruel tortures, and how the houses of several other Christians were completely pillaged, Dionysius continues: "At that time Apollonia the parthénos presbûtis (virgo presbytera, by which he very probably means not a virgin advanced in years, but a deaconess) was held in high esteem. These men seized her also and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words (either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of the heathen gods). Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death." Apollonia belongs, therefore, to that class of early Christian martyrs who did not await the death they were threatened with, but either to preserve their chastity, or because confronted with the alternative of renouncing their faith or suffering death, voluntarily embraced the latter in the form prepared for them. In the honour paid to her martyrs the Church made no distinction between these women and others. St. Augustine touches on this question in the first book of the "City of God", apropos of suicide (City of God I.26); "But, they say, during the time of persecution certain holy women plunged into the water with the intention of being swept away by the waves and drowned, and thus preserve their threatened chastity. Although they quitted life in this wise, nevertheless they receive high honour as martyrs in the Catholic Church and their feasts are observed with great ceremony. This is a matter on which I dare not pass judgment lightly. For I know not but that the Church was divinely authorized through trustworthy revelations to honour thus the memory of these Christians. It may be that such is the case. May it not be, too, that these acted in such a manner, not through human caprice but on the command of God, not erroneously but through obedience, as we must believe in the case of Samson? When, however, God gives a command and makes it clearly known, who would account obedience thereto a crime or condemn such pious devotion and ready service?" The narrative of Dionysius does not suggest the slightest reproach as to this act of St. Apollonia; in his eyes she was as much a martyr as the others, and as such she was revered in the Alexandrian Church. In time, her feast was also popular in the West. A later legend assigned a similar martyrdom to Apollonia, a Christian virgin of Rome in the reign of Julian the Apostate. There was, however, but one martyr of this name, i.e. the Saint of Alexandria. The Roman Church celebrates her memory on 9 February, and she is popularly invoked against the toothache because of the torments she had to endure. She is represented in art with pincers in which a tooth is held. There was a church dedicated to her at Rome but it no longer exists. The little square, however, in which it stood is still called "Piazza Sant' Apollonia".
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Prayer for Toothache to Saint Apollonia
O Glorious Apollonia, patron saint of dentistry and refuge to all those suffering from diseases of the teeth, I consecrate myself to thee, beseeching thee to number me among thy clients. Assist me by your intercession with God in my daily work and intercede with Him to obtain for me a happy death. Pray that my heart like thine may be inflamed with the love of Jesus and Mary, through Christ our Lord. Amen. O My God, bring me safe through temptation and strengthen me as thou didst our own patron Apollonia, through Christ our Lord. Amen
St. Apollonia, please Pray for those suffering from dental diseases or toothaches. Amen

RIP Monsignor Gregory Ketcham - Beloved Priest Dies at age 50 from Brain Tumor

Release: FORMER DIOCESAN RURAL LIFE DIRECTOR Born in Hamilton on Feb. 14, 1967, to Keith and Norma Jean Ketcham, he was raised as a member of St. Mary Church in Hamilton. Msgr. Ketcham was graduated from Hamilton High School in 1985 and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minnesota, in 1989. He completed studies for the priesthood at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, from which he earned a master of divinity degree and a degree in sacred theology. Msgr. Ketcham was ordained by Bishop John J. Myers at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on May 28, 1994. His first assignment was as parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception, Monmouth; St. Patrick, Raritan; and St. Andrew, Oquawka. He would serve those faith communities for three years. In 1995, he was named diocesan director of rural life, a post he would hold for eight years. From 1997 to 2003 he was pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, Nauvoo, and Sacred Heart in Dallas City. He then became pastor of St. Philomena, Peoria, where he would serve until his appointment to guide the Newman Center at the University of Illinois — the largest of its kind in the nation, serving a Catholic student population of more than 10,000 — in 2006. Among the highlights of his eight years of ministry at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center was the dedication and blessing in 2008 of a $38 million major expansion and renovation project, including a six-story addition that doubled the student resident capacity of Newman Hall. He was named a Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of monsignor in 2009.
 PEACE, FAITH THROUGH ILLNESS In 2014, Msgr. Ketcham was named pastor of St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington and St. Mary, Downs. After suffering a seizure during a Sunday Mass on June 12, 2016, Msgr. Ketcham was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. The announcement led to an outpouring of support and prayers — including weekly vigils at St. Patrick Church of Merna — with Msgr. Ketcham keeping present and past parishioners updated on his condition via the parish website. “The Lord has given me great peace which is even more powerful than hope,” he wrote in his first entry on July 16, 2016, while undergoing treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “I totally have submitted my life and priesthood into the hands of Jesus through the intercession of Venerable Archbishop Sheen, St. Patrick, St. John Bosco, and St. Dominic Savio.” He frequently closed his updates with a phrase of trust in Christ, which parishioners put on t-shirts: “Jesus reigns.” Msgr. Ketcham returned to the Bloomington and Downs parishes that September. He was named pastor emeritus last April. EDITOR’S NOTE: Survivor and memorial information will be added to this obituary as it is made known.
BLOOMINGTON — A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 12, at St. Patrick Church of Merna here for Msgr. Gregory K. Ketcham, 50, pastor emeritus of St. Patrick Church of Merna and St. Mary, Downs. Msgr. Ketcham, a native of Hamilton whose assignments included eight years as chaplain and director at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center at the University of Illinois, died early Thursday morning, Feb. 8, 2018, in the rectory of St. Patrick Church of Merna Parish. His death came nearly 20 months after he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, will be principal celebrant of the funeral Mass, with Father James J. Seitz, a priest of the Diocese of Winona, as homilist. There will be a viewing of the body from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11, at St. Patrick of Church of Merna, 1001 N. Towanda Barnes Road. A visitation will take place at the church from 4 to 7 p.m., concluding with recitation of the rosary. An additional visitation is scheduled from 9 to 10:45 a.m. on Monday prior to the funeral Mass. A second visitation is planned from 9 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Nauvoo. A funeral procession will then travel from Nauvoo to Hamilton along the Great River Road for a graveside service at Oakwood Cemetery in Hamilton, followed by a memorial Mass at noon in St. Mary Church, Hamilton.
Release from Catholic Post of the Diocese of Peoria

Pope Francis "Be watchful. Guard your heart. Be watchful. Every day, be careful about what is happening in your heart." Homily

Pope Francis: sinners can become saints, but the corrupt cannot
Be watchful, every day, so that you don’t end up far from the Lord. That was the invitation of Pope Francis during his homily at the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The Pope spoke of the risk, to which we are all exposed, of weakness of the heart.
David is a saint, even if he was a sinner; the great and wise Solomon, on the other hand, was rejected by the Lord because he was corrupt. Pope Francis focused on this apparent paradox in his homily at the daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The first Reading in the day’s liturgy, taken from the First Book of Kings, speaks about Solomon and his disobedience. “We have heard about something a bit strange,” the Pope said. “The heart of Solomon was not entirely with the Lord, his God, as the heart of David, his father, had been.”

The problem of weakness of the heart

He explained that it was strange because we do not know that Solomon had committed great sins, he was always very balanced; while we know that David had had a difficult life, that he was a sinner. And yet David is a saint, while it is said of Solomon, who had been praised by the Lord for seeking wisdom rather than riches, that his heart was “turned away from the Lord.” How can we explain this? the Pope asked. It is because David, knowing that he had sinned, always asked for forgiveness, while Solomon, who was praised throughout the world, distanced himself from the Lord to follow other gods, but did not recognize his fault.
And here is the problem of “weakness of the heart.” When the heart begins to weaken, it is not like a situation of sin: you commit a sin, and you realize it immediately. “I have committed this sin”; it’s clear. Weakness of the heart is a slow journey, that slides along step by step, step by step, step by step… And Solomon, adorned in his glory, in his fame, began to take this road.

Solomon became tranquil in his corruption

Paradoxically, “the clarity of a sin is better than weakness of the heart,” the Pope said. “The great king Solomon wound up corrupted: tranquilly corrupt, because his heart was weakened”:
And a man and a woman with weak hearts, or weakened hearts, is a defeated woman, a defeated man. This is the process of many Christians, of many of us. ‘No, I haven’t committed grave sins.’ But how is your heart? Is it strong? Does it stay faithful to the Lord, or does is it slowly sliding away?

Guard your heart at all times

The drama of the weakness of the heart can happen to all of us in life. What do we do then? The answer, Pope Francis said, is vigilance: “Be watchful. Guard your heart. Be watchful. Every day, be careful about what is happening in your heart. He concluded:
David was a saint. He was a sinner. A sinner, and he became a saint. Solomon was rejected because he was corrupt. Someone who is corrupt cannot become a saint. And one becomes corrupt by following the path of weakness of the heart. Vigilance! Guard your heart at all times. How is my heart doing? How is my relationship with the Lord? And enjoy the beauty and the joy of fidelity.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. February 8, 2018 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 332

Reading 11 KGS 11:4-13

When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods,
and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God,
as the heart of his father David had been.
By adoring Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians,
and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites,
Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD;
he did not follow him unreservedly as his father David had done.
Solomon then built a high place to Chemosh, the idol of Moab,
and to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites,
on the hill opposite Jerusalem.
He did the same for all his foreign wives
who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon,
because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel,
who had appeared to him twice
(for though the LORD had forbidden him
this very act of following strange gods,
Solomon had not obeyed him).

So the LORD said to Solomon: "Since this is what you want,
and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes
which I enjoined on you,
I will deprive you of the kingdom and give it to your servant.
I will not do this during your lifetime, however,
for the sake of your father David;
it is your son whom I will deprive.
Nor will I take away the whole kingdom.
I will leave your son one tribe for the sake of my servant David
and of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."

Responsorial PsalmPS 106:3-4, 35-36, 37 AND 40

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people;
visit us with your saving help.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But they mingled with the nations
and learned their works.
They served their idols,
which became a snare for them.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia JAS 1:21BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 7:24-30

Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, “Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him,
“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.