Universalis
Saturday 9 October 2021    (other days)
Saturday of week 27 in Ordinary Time 
 or Saints Denis, Bishop, and his Companions, Martyrs 
 or Saint John Leonardi, Priest 
 or Saint John Henry Newman, Priest 
 or Saturday memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness: come, let us adore him.

Year: B(I). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.

St Denis (- 258)

As might be expected for a saint of such an early period, practically no hard facts about Saint Denis survive. According to St Gregory of Tours, writing some 300 years later, Denis came to Gaul from Rome in the middle of the third century. He arrived at what is now the Ile de la Cité in Paris, where he built a church, arranged the regular celebration of Mass, and preached the Gospel. Together with two members of his clergy he was martyred near the city.
  Denis (in Latin, Dionysius) is not Dionysius the Areopagite, whom St Paul converted to Christianity, nor is he the author of the writings of the “Pseudo-Dionysius,” but both these confusions helped to popularise devotion to him from the seventh century onwards.
  Nevertheless, the real St Denis did exist, he brought the Gospel to Paris, and he was its first martyr. For these things alone devotion to him is proper and justified.
  See also the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Saint John Leonardi (1541 - 1609)

He was born at Lucca in Tuscany. Trained initially as an apothecary, he fought hard to become a priest and was ordained in 1572. A few laymen attached themselves to him in 1574 and something began to grow that looked as if it might become a religious order. A storm of persecution erupted. It seems possible that the Republic of Lucca felt that being the birthplace of a religious order might be dangerous for the independence of the state, given the complicated international politics of the time. Whatever the reason, Leonardi spent most of the rest of his life in exile from Lucca, only occasionally obtaining permission to visit it after extreme pressure from the Pope.
  The order that he founded, now known as the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, is in charge of eight churches in Italy and is also involved in missionary work. In addition, his work was taken up and extended by the Popes into the Work of the Propagation of the Faith (de propaganda fidei), of which he is therefore honoured as the founder.
  The web site of Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God is here.

Saint John Henry Newman (1801 - 1890)

Saint John Henry Newman was born on 21 February 1801 in London, England. As an Anglican clergyman for over twenty years he won renown as a preacher and theologian. A Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, he became one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement and a prominent figure in the Church of England. On 9 October 1845 he was received into full communion with the Catholic Church by Blessed Dominic Barberi of the Passionist Congregation. After a period of study in Rome he was ordained priest on 30 May 1847. Returning to England he established the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in Birmingham. He was an influential writer on many subjects, most notably the development of Christian doctrine, the true understanding of conscience, faith and reason, the role of the laity, and university education. In 1879 he was created Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII and given the title of San Giorgio in Velabro. He died in the Birmingham Oratory on 11 August 1890. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 and canonised by Pope Francis on 13 October 2019.

Saturday memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary

‘On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.
  ‘Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This memorial derives from Carolingian times (9th century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown. While many explanations of this choice have been advanced, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety.
  ‘Whatever its historical origins may be, today the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive. It is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that “great Saturday” on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection. It is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ. It is a sign that the Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.’
  Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001), §188

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: Pope St Gregory the Great (540 - 604)

Gregory was born in Rome and followed the career of public service that was usual for the son of an aristocratic family, finally becoming Prefect of the City of Rome, a post he held for some years.
  He founded a monastery in Rome and some others in Sicily, then became a monk himself. He was ordained deacon and sent as an envoy to Constantinople, on a mission that lasted five years.
  He was elected Pope on 3 September 590, the first monk to be elected to this office. He reformed the administration of the Church’s estates and devoted the resulting surplus to the assistance of the poor and the ransoming of prisoners. He negotiated treaties with the Lombard tribes who were ravaging northern Italy, and by cultivating good relations with these and other barbarians he was able to keep the Church’s position secure in areas where Roman rule had broken down. His works for the propagation of the faith include the sending of Augustine and his monks as missionaries to England in 596, providing them with continuing advice and support and (in 601) sending reinforcements. He wrote extensively on pastoral care, spirituality, and morals, and designated himself “servant of the servants of God.”

Liturgical colour: green

The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).

Mid-morning reading (Terce)1 Samuel 15:22 ©
Is the pleasure of the Lord in holocausts and sacrifices or in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness better than the fat of rams.

Noon reading (Sext)Galatians 5:26,6:2 ©
We must stop being conceited, provocative and envious. You should carry each other’s troubles and fulfil the law of Christ.

Afternoon reading (None)Micah 6:8 ©
What is good has been explained to you, man; this is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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