A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
San Giovanni Leonardi (St John Leonardi, Giovanni of the Mother of God) (1541-1609). Feast Day commemorating the death of the Italian Roman Catholic priest who from childhood sought solitude and wished to dedicate himself to prayer and meditation. At seventeen, he began ten years of studies to become a certified pharmacist’s assistant in Lucca. He then studied for the priesthood and first dedicated himself to the Christian formation of adolescents in Lucca. He founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca in the seminary of the Propagation of the Faith, for the philosophical and theological training of missionary priests. He also formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Fr Leonardi and his priests became a great power for good in Sixteenth-Century Italy and he also gathered a group of laymen around him to work in hospitals and prisons, founding a group to deepen Christian faith and devotion as part of the Counter-Reformation movement. He worked with this group to spread devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Forty Hours as well as spreading the message of the importance of frequently receiving the Eucharist. Leonardi died in Rome on 9 October 1609, from the great plague that he contracted whilst ministering to his brothers suffering from the influenza epidemic that was raging in Rome at the time of his death. Two houses of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God were open when he died and three others were added during the Seventeenth Century. Venerated in the Roman Catholic Church for his miracles and religious fervour. His memory was held so high in the Holy City that Pope Leo XIII had his name placed in the Roman Martyrology, ordering the Roman clergy to celebrate his Mass and Office, an honour that is otherwise strictly limited to beatified popes. Major shrine Chiesa di Santa Maria in Portico, Piazza di Campitelli, Rome. Patron of pharmacists, Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca. Image: picturesongold.com.
His Eminence St John Henry Newman Cong Orat (1801-90). Roman Catholic Feast Day commemorating the date of the conversion to Catholicism of the English Anglican priest, theologian, popular preacher, writer and poet descended from a notable family of Huguenot refugees. A Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, in 1828 Newman was appointed the Anglican vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford. Although to the end of his life Newman looked back on his conversion to Evangelical Christianity as the saving of his soul, he gradually moved away from his early Calvinism and came to see Evangelicalism, with its emphasis on religious feeling and on the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone, as a Trojan horse for an undogmatic religious individualism that ignored the Church’s rôle in the transmission of revealed truth and led to subjectivism and scepticism. Newman was an important and controversial Nineteenth-Century religious figure in England, known nationally by the mid-1830s. He resigned the Oxford living in 1843 and, after an interval of two years, was received into the Catholic Church on 9 October 1845. He was quickly ordained as a Catholic priest and was instrumental in the founding of the Catholic University of Ireland (CUI) in 1854, before he left Dublin in 1859. CUI in time evolved into University College Dublin. Newman continued as an influential religious leader based in Birmingham as Provost of the Birmingham Oratory. In 1879, he was created a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in recognition of his services to the cause of the Catholic Church in England and he became Cardinal Deacon of San Giorgio al Velabro in Rome. After an illness, Newman returned to England and lived at the Birmingham Oratory, his health beginning to fail in 1886. He celebrated Mass for the last time on Christmas Day 1889 and on 11 August 1890 he died of pneumonia at the Oratory. Eight days later his body was buried at his express wish alongside his friend Ambrose St John in the cemetery at Rednal Hill, Birmingham, at the country house of the Oratory. He had been Protodeacon of the Holy Roman Church. The Cork Examiner said Newman went to his grave with a singular honour of being by all creeds and classes acknowledged as the just man made perfect. Venerated in Catholic Church, Church of England, Episcopal Church. Newman was the fifth saint of the City of London, behind Thomas Becket, Thomas More, Edmund Campion and Polydore Plasden. Feast Days 11 August in Church of England, 21 February Episcopal Church. Patron of personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Image: sjbcathedral.org.uk.
Prayer St John Henry Newman, by all acknowledged as the just man made perfect, taught us that to live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often. Growth is the only evidence of life, so fear not that thy life will come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning. Amen
Abraham, Patriarch (Abram). Lutheran Commemoration of Mesopotamian late-Sixth-Century BCE common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Judaism, the covenant of the pieces (ברית בין הבתרים) is an event in which G-d revealed himself to Abraham and made a covenant with him, in which God announced to Abraham that his descendants would eventually inherit the Land of Israel. This was one of the first in a series of covenants made between G-d and the biblical patriarchs, establishing the special relationship between the Hebrews and G-d. In Christianity, Abraham is the prototype of all believers, Jewish or Gentile. In Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in Muhammad (peace be upon him). Abraham is called by God to leave the house of his father and settle in the land originally given to Canaan but that God then promised to Abraham and his progeny. Abraham purchases a tomb (now the Cave of the Patriarchs) at Hebron to be the grave of his wife and half-sister Sarah, thus establishing his right to the land. In the second generation, his heir by Sarah, Isaac, receives all Abraham’s possessions. Image: branham.org.