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Daily Catholic Question

How many saints are there?

That is a difficult question to answer. In the first eight or nine centuries there was no formal process of canonization. People were recognized as saints because of a kind of popular acclamation. People were believed to be saints because they had been martyred for the faith or they had lived very holy lives. Often their graves became places of pilgrimage and prayer. We have no idea of how many people’s holiness was not recognized. That is one reason why we have the Feast of All Saints.

Sometimes the recognition of holiness was particular to an area or community. Sometimes the reputation for sanctity spread beyond national borders.

It was not until 993 that the first official canonization took place. It was then that Pope John XV declared Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg a saint.

The original edition of Butler’s Lives of the Saints, published between 1756 and 1759, had 1,486 entries. The 1956 revision contained 2,565. Given the many people that Pope John Paul II beatified or canonized during his papacy (a record number) the next revision may extend well past its current 12 volumes.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 5/10/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 5/12/2013


Eusebius of Vercelli: Someone has said that if there had been no Arian heresy denying Christ's divinity, it would be very difficult to write the lives of many early saints. Eusebius is another of the defenders of the Church during one of its most trying periods. 
<p>Born on the isle of Sardinia, he became a member of the Roman clergy and is the first recorded bishop of Vercelli in Piedmont in northwest Italy. He is also the first to link the monastic life with that of the clergy, establishing a community of his diocesan clergy on the principle that the best way to sanctify his people was to have them see a clergy formed in solid virtue and living in community. </p><p>He was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the emperor to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian troubles. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arian block would have its way, although the Catholics were more numerous. He refused to go along with the condemnation of St. Athanasius; instead, he laid the Nicene Creed on the table and insisted that all sign it before taking up any other matter. The emperor put pressure on him, but Eusebius insisted on Athanasius’ innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after his four-day hunger strike. They resumed their harassment shortly after. </p><p>His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to be welcomed back to his see in Vercelli. He attended the Council of Alexandria with Athanasius and approved the leniency shown to bishops who had wavered. He also worked with St. Hilary of Poitiers against the Arians. </p><p>He died peacefully in his own diocese at an advanced age.</p> American Catholic Blog In a world that encourages us to take all we can for ourselves, sacrifice is often seen as a distasteful and negative word. Yet, if we want to help the poor, we must embrace some personal sacrifice.

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