April 28. A Marist priest and the first martyr of the South Pacific, Saint Peter Chanel worked on the island of Futuna. Struggling and having little success in his evangelization efforts with the local people, Saint Peter eventually was awakened on April 28th and clubbed to death in his home. Within two years of his death, the whole island had become Catholic.
April 29. Saint Catherine of Siena was a Third Order Dominican known for her contemplation and prayer—as well as her involvement in Church and civil affairs. During the time when there were two and three popes each claiming the papacy, Saint Catherine sided with Pope Urban VI. She was named a Doctor of the Church in 1970.
April 30. Pope Saint Pius V, a Dominican, was the one responsible for the implementation of the results of the Council of Trent—no easy task. Refusing to remove his Dominican habit, he is also responsible for the tradition that popes wear white. His Dominican training and spirituality were great helps in his efforts to reform the Church.
May 1. Pope Pius XII emphasized both Catholic devotion to Saint Joseph and the dignity of human labor when he created the celebration of Saint Joseph the Worker. Work, as our Church teaches, should always be for the good and benefit of humanity. Saint Joseph is our model and patron in our work endeavors.
May 2. Saint Athanasius felt that spending his time and energy fighting for the truth of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity was worth it. He even endured five exiles to prove it. Through his writings and hard work, we today enjoy the truth of the Gospel in its fullness: Christ is both fully human and fully divine.
May 3. Saints Philip and James share a feast day because their relics were brought to Rome together in early May. We know nothing more about either saint than what is found in the Scriptures. There we are told that they were apostles, and tradition has it that they were both martyred.
May 4. Little biographical data is available for Blessed Michael Giedroyc, but we do know that he was physically handicapped and that this caused him great suffering during his lifetime. But, despite his difficulties, Blessed Michael coped well, due in part to his rich spiritual life.
May 5. Saint Paul counsels against taking advantage of the youth of a person in authority. That advice applies well for Saint Hilary of Arles who was ordained a bishop at age 29. He suffered because of his young age, but managed to be an effective prelate before his death at age 49. He also set a good example for his diocese by living simply and working hard.
May 6. Two almost unknown martyrs courageously witnessed to the world many years ago about their faith. Saints Marian and James were martyred in the 3rd century, yet their deaths still speak to the Church today.
May 7. The death of a fiancé can be traumatic, and Saint Rose Venerini responded by joining a convent. That is not where God was calling her, however. She returned home to care for her widowed mother and eventually became a teacher, at which she thrived. Rose also gathered others to expand her ministry.