One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, put to death for her steadfast profession of faith in Catania, Sicily.
Although it is uncertain in which persecution this took place, we may accept, as probably based on ancient tradition, the evidence of her legendary life, composed at a later date, to the effect that her martyrdom occurred during the persecution of Decius (250-253).
We have little reliable information about this martyr, who has been honoured since ancient times, and whose name is included in the canon of the Mass.
Young, beautiful and rich, Agatha lived a life consecrated to God. When Decius announced the edicts against Christians, the magistrate Quinctianus tried to profit by Agatha’s sanctity; he planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her. Handed over to a brothel, she refused to accept customers.
After rejecting Quinctianus’s advances, she was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, her breasts were crushed and cut off. She told the judge, “Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you, that you dare to mutilate me this way?”
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SCENES FROM ROMAN INTERLUDE (January 25-31)
The Holy Father speaks from his apartment high above St. Peter's Square to a large crowd gathered for the noon-time Sunday Angelus
The Holy Father has two weekly rendez-vous with the general public: at the Wednesday morning audience and at the Sunday noon recitation of the Angelus high above St. Peter's Square. Large numbers attend this second, which is a pleasant break after Sunday morning Mass and before pranzo the midday meal. Father Owen Keenan and I took in last Sunday's Angelus trying to keep dry under one umbrella.
It was a pretty soggy day on Sunday, January 31 as people gathered for the greetings from the Holy Father to the representatives of the many linguistic groups
Then it was over to via Crescenzio 75, where the Canadian College is located for conversations over an aperitifo and a lovely Sunday dinner.
Father Robert Wild of Madonna House, Combermere, is using the Canadian College as his base while taking a course on saint-making (he is postulator of the cause of Catherine de Hueck Doherty)
The Toronto contingent at Pontificio College Canadese (Pontifical Canadian College)
Some other scenes from the days in Rome:
Coffee after pranzo in the Jesuit Curia common room
Pranzo (midday meal) at the Pontifical North American College
The Ottawa contingent in Rome out for cena one evening during my stay: left to right Abbe Daniel Paquin, Msgr. Jose Bettencourt
Father Bernard O'Connor of the Antigonish Diocese, staff member of the Congregation for Oriental Churches
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The Apostleship of Prayer has a worldwide membership of those who commit to praying the Daily Morning Offering and praying to make one's own the intentions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There are no dues or meetings; sinners and saints have belonged (St. Therese of Lisieux was one of the early joiners). Members also pray for the Holy Father's monthly General and Missionary intentions. This month these are respectively:
Scholars. That scholars and intellectuals, by sincere search for the truth, may come to know the one true God.
The Church's Missionary Identity. That the Church, aware of its missionary identity, may strive to follow Christ faithfully and to proclaim his gospel to all peoples.
A Morning Offering Prayer
Eternal Father, I offer You everything I do this day: my work, my prayers, my apostolic efforts; my time with family and friends; my hours of relaxation; my difficulties, problems, distress, which I shall try to bear with patience.
Join these, my gifts, to the unique offering which Jesus Christ, Your Son, renews today in the Eucharist.
Grant, I pray, that, vivified by the Holy Spirit and united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my life this day may be of service
to you and your children and help consecrate the world to you. Amen.