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Saint of the Day—available on the iPhone!

Saint of the Day
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

October 20
Blessed James of Strepar
(d. 1409?)


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James was a member of a noble Polish family. He entered the Franciscan friars at an early age, serving as guardian at a friary in Lvov and alleviating tensions between the friars and the local diocesan clergy. He showed special interest in working with the Orthodox, ministering among them for a full decade. Sent to western Russia, he served as vicar general of the Franciscans there, preached the gospel and worked to sustain the faithful in their beliefs.

Around 1360, he played a role in the organization of a special group of Franciscan missionaries, Travelers for Christ, made up of Franciscan and Dominican friars. James's work as a missionary preacher and organizer was decidedly successful. In due time he was appointed Archbishop of Galich, and took it upon himself to build new churches in remote districts and to staff them with experienced priests from Poland; he also founded and built religious houses, schools and hospitals. He had such a flair for the practical needs of his people that he often took his suggestions directly to the Polish parliament; such actions earned him the title of "protector of the kingdom."

He was an archbishop unlike many in his day, preferring to wear a simple Franciscan habit rather than ostentatious attire and to travel on foot.

He was especially devoted to the Blessed Mother. Her image was engraved on his seal and was on his pastoral ring. Each evening devotions were held in her honor at the cathedral or wherever he was visiting.

After serving 19 years as bishop, James was called to his eternal reward. He is buried in the Franciscan Church at Lvov.



Comment:

The Church today could use a lot more people like James. He reached across the only division in Christianity of his time, the split between East and West, to tend Orthodox Christians. Franciscans, Dominicans and diocesan clergy competed with one another for the hearts of believers, but James eased the tensions among them. In today’s world he might smooth the relationships between conservatives and liberals. Or perhaps we need to follow in his footsteps and take on the task.


Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.



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Presentation of Mary: Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church. 
<p>As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the <i>Protoevangelium of James</i> tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless. </p><p>Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) and of the birth of Mary (September 8). It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.</p> American Catholic Blog Having a saint to pray to every day for special intentions draws us into a more intimate union with Jesus, who has blessed us with so many heavenly intercessors for all our needs. It is a great privilege to have someone in heaven who cares so much about our innermost desires and personal needs.

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