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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.

May 12
St. Pancras
(d. 304?)


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St. Pancras Railway Station in London got its name from an early Christian martyr about whom we have very little information. He is said to have been martyred at 14 during the persecution of Diocletian. He was buried in a cemetery which later was named after him. Pope Gregory the Great built a monastery for Benedictines and, when Augustine of Canterbury (a Benedictine) came to England, he named the first church he erected after Pancras. Hence the name of the railway station.

Pancras (Pancratius) appears in fictionalized form in Cardinal Wiseman’s novel Fabiola. German farmers had a saying that three saints whose names are similar—Pancras, Servatz and Bonifatz—were the “ice men” because it was often unseasonably chilly on their feast days, May 12, 13, 14.



Comment:

Again we have a saint about whom almost nothing is known, but whose life and death are cherished in the Church’s memory. Details fall away or are mixed with legend. But a single, powerful fact remains: He died for Christ and his heroism sent a wave of inspiration through the Church of his day. It is good for us to share that feeling.

Quote:

“[T]hey will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute” (Luke 21:12–15).


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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