Friday, July 30, 2010

St. Peter Chrysologus, bishop & doctor of the Church - A Visit to Salt and Light TV

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Peter Chrysologus an outstanding preacher of your Incarnate Word, grant, through his intercession, that we may constantly ponder in our hearts the mysteries of your salvation and faithfully express them in what we do. Through our Lord.

St. Peter Chrysologus ("the man of golden speech") earned the title of Doctor of the Church for his eloquent sermons, of which some two hundred remain. Made Archbishop of Ravenna by miraculous intervention of St. Peter in 433, he rooted out all remaining traces of paganism, as well as a number of abuses among the Christians. In his sermons he strongly urged frequent Communion. He is supposed to have given us the saying: "He who wants to laugh with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ." St. Peter died about the year 450 in his native city of Imola.

In the fifth century, Ravenna, not Rome, was the capital of the Roman Empire in the West, and Ravenna itself became a metropolitan see. St. Peter Chrysologus was one of the most distinguished archbishops of that see.

Peter was born in Imola about the year 400 and studied under Cornelius, bishop of that city, who ordained him deacon. In 433, the archbishop of Ravenna died, and when a successor had been chosen by the clergy and people of Ravenna, they asked Bishop Cornelius to obtain confirmation of their choice from Pope Sixtus III. On his trip to Rome, Cornelius took his deacon, Peter, as his companion; upon seeing Peter, the pope chose him for the see of Ravenna instead of the one selected by the clergy and people of Ravenna.

Peter was consecrated and was accepted somewhat grudgingly at first by both the clergy and the people. Peter, however, soon became the favorite of Emperor Valentinian III, who resided at Ravenna and was also highly regarded by Pope St. Leo the Great, the successor of Pope Sixtus.

There were still traces of paganism in Peter's diocese, and his first effort was to establish the Catholic faith everywhere, rooting out abuses and carrying on a campaign of preaching and special care of the poor. Many of his sermons still survive, and it is on the basis of these that he came to be known as "the golden word."

In his concern for the unity of the Church, Peter Chrysologus opposed the teaching of Eutyches, condemned in the East, who asked for his support. Peter also received St. Germanus of Auxerre to his diocese and officiated at his funeral. Ravenna, his episcopal city, still harbors treasures of ancient Christian liturgical art dating to his day.

Knowing that his own death was near, Peter returned to his own city of Imola and after urging great care in the choice of his successor he died at Imola about the year 450 and was buried in the church of St. Cassian. In 1729, Pope Benedict XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church. — The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens

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Yesterday, I had an opportunity to visit the offices and studios of Salt and Light Television in downtown Toronto.

This gave me an opportunity to celebrate Mass for the staff in their compact but reverent chapel, honouring the memorial of St. Martha, with the rich scriptural theme of the biblical notion of hospitality.

Earlier, I had been introduced to new staffers or summer interns, as well as spent some time getting reacquainted with part of the S+L team I had not seen on site in more than a year.

Father Tom Rosica, CSB, the CEO and inspiring sparkplug of this going concern, had invited me to lunch in a nearby eatery and there we got caught up on news ecclesial from the past several months.

As it had been some time since we could do this, he arranged for me to be interviewed for the daily evening Perspectives 5-minute newscast in both English and French.

The English themes were fostering unity in matters of liturgy in the Archdiocese of Ottawa and my participation in the forthcoming Apostolic Visitation to the Archdiocese of Tuam; in French, in addition to brief remarks on this visitation, the focus of discussion was the significance of St. Ignatius Loyola as an aspect of my Jesuit religious life and more recent experience as a bishop, in light of the approach of his feast day on Saturday, July 31.

The interviews are posted at (the English version) and at (en francais).

Alessia Domanico conducts her Perspectives interview in English

Rita Sawaya hosts the Perspectives newscast in French

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