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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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All Saints: The earliest certain observance of a feast in honor of all the saints is an early fourth-century commemoration of "all the martyrs." In the early seventh century, after successive waves of invaders plundered the catacombs, Pope Boniface IV gathered up some 28 wagonloads of bones and reinterred them beneath the Pantheon, a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods. The pope rededicated the shrine as a Christian church. According to Venerable Bede, the pope intended "that the memory of all the saints might in the future be honored in the place which had formerly been dedicated to the worship not of gods but of demons" (<i>On the Calculation of Time</i>). 
<p>But the rededication of the Pantheon, like the earlier commemoration of all the martyrs, occurred in May. Many Eastern Churches still honor all the saints in the spring, either during the Easter season or immediately after Pentecost. </p><p>How the Western Church came to celebrate this feast, now recognized as a solemnity, in November is a puzzle to historians. The Anglo-Saxon theologian Alcuin observed the feast on November 1 in 800, as did his friend Arno, Bishop of Salzburg. Rome finally adopted that date in the ninth century.</p> American Catholic Blog Touch can be an act of kindness when someone is dying. If you visit a sick person and find that you are at a loss for words, reach out and touch her hand.

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