September 21. Saint Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Romans as a tax collector. His fellow Jews considered him a traitor, and resented him. The Pharisees viewed him, and all tax collectors, as a sinner. So it was a real shock to hear that Jesus called such a man to be one of his followers. But that’s the kind of thing that Jesus did.
September 20. The Korean martyrs, including Saints Andrew Kim and Paul Chong Hasang, spread the gospel in their native land under extremely difficult circumstances. The holy companion martyrs include bishops, priests, and laity, some of whom where French missionaries.
September 19. Little is known about the life of Januarius. Legend has it that he and his companions were thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, but the animals failed to attack them. They were then beheaded, and Januarius' blood ultimately brought to Naples.
September 18. Joseph is most famous for levitating at prayer. Already as a child, Joseph showed a fondness for prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventual Franciscans. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. His tendency to levitate during prayer was often times a cross.
September 17. Saint Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570 during a period when the study of theology was in a weakened state. He dedicated his time and energy to the study of Church history, the Fathers of the Church, and to Scripture, to organize Church teaching and to face the attacks of the Protestant Reformers.
September 16. Cornelius was elected pope “by the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of most of the clergy, by the vote of the people, with the consent of aged priests and of good men” after a 14 month vacancy in the papacy. Cornelius served as Pope for only two years, but they were years packed with important happenings in the life of the Church.
September 15. The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul, and Jesus’ words from the cross to Mary and to the beloved disciple. The two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.
September 14. Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, is credited with having found the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The cross quickly became an object of veneration.
September 13. Saint John Chrysostom, the great preacher of Antioch, was the victim of his own success. Called to be a bishop, this simple monk found himself embroiled in the workings of the empire. He, however, managed to stay focused on the needs of the Church.
September 12. This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; both have the possibility of uniting people easily divided on other matters. Mary encourages us to cooperate with Jesus in building a peace based on justice.