St Pius of Pietrelcina
On the 25th May 1887 Grazio Mario Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio gave birth to a baby boy whom they named Francesco. One of their daughters, Grazia, would become a Bridgettine nun but little did those devout parents know that their boy would become famous all over the world….but by a different name….Santo Pio da Pietrelcina…..still better known and loved simply as Padre Pio. Since then, there have probably been hundreds of good priests called Padre Pio, Father Pius, just as there have been loads of priests who, like St Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney bore the title of Curé d’Ars…..but let’s face it, when you say Padre Pio or Curé d’Ars only one man in each case, comes to mind. Well, today is the feast of Padre Pio who, of course, became famous for exhibiting stigmata for most of his life. Whether or not he told Cardinal Wojtyla that he would become Pope, I do not know but it was Pope St. John Paul II who both beatified and canonized the beloved saint. Pio was both a Confessor and a Confessor. You know the difference, don’t you? A Confessor is a saint who has suffered persecution and torture for the faith but not to the point of death. If it is to the point of death then they would be titled, martyrs. A Confessor is a priest who hears our confessions and serves our spiritual needs. So, not all Confessors can be Confessors but all Confessors can, with God’s grace, become Confessors! So, maybe in your prayers, you can pray that the priests who visit the school will be good holy dedicated Confessors who will one day become, Confessors!
Let us Pray:
Almighty and eternal God, who, by a singular grace, allowed Saint Pio to participate in the cross of your Son, and by means of his ministry renewed the wonders of your mercy, grant, through his intercession, that, constantly united to the passion of Christ, we may happily arrive at the glory of the resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
25th Sunday of A20
Jesus does not see things as we do. Time and time again in his parables, he turns our expectations upside down and helps us to see things in a different light.
Today, he tells the story of the landowner who pays the same wages to all his workers – those who are hired at the crack of dawn and those who only joined late in the day. Naturally, the ‘early birds’ are put out by this – they feel it is unjust, even though they received the wages they were promised.
Maybe we sympathise with the complainers. In our individualistic society, we can fall into the trap of thinking that only certain people deserve good things. Those who work hard, who are law-abiding, who make the most of opportunities – they deserve a decent standard of living. Think of how often we hear people complaining about those who are struggling, saying they do not deserve assistance or ‘handouts’? Such criticism fails to consider that not everyone has the same opportunities or privileges in life.
But in this parable of Jesus, the landowner treats everyone the same, regardless of their productivity. He recognises that not all of them has the same opportunity – some were just luckier than others, in the right pace, at the right time. God is just and generous, and he expects us to have the same respect for everyone, regardless of their position in life.
Sadly, we do not live in an equal world where everyone’s dignity is respected and everyone has equal opportunities. We are mindful in particular of the world’s poor who suffer most as a result of environmental destruction – damage that is often caused by the comfortable lifestyles of others
The Feast of St Ninian
St Ninian was an Englishman but since he came from Cumbria he was not far from being a Scotsman! In the year of Our Lord 394, he was ordained a priest in Rome, probably by Pope Siricius. Today, as we celebrate the Feast Day of our school patron, we can be confident that St Ninian’s High School has deservedly earned a reputation for academic achievement and for promoting a seriously profound religious education. To continue to do so is of paramount importance. The Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum Educationis) issued at the Second Vatican Council on 28th October 1965 teaches that it is a grave obligation to see to the moral and religious education of all our children. What a joy and privilege it is for teachers to take this rôle earnestly. As someone who has been involved for many years in the spiritual life of the school, I have witnessed how good catechesis makes young Catholics who are manifestly good, happy, pleasant and, towards their senior years, not afraid to talk about Christ. We hope that pupils who are not members of our Faith, will benefit from their experience of studying in a Catholic school. A Catechism is a doctrinal manual giving a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers and often, especially in past times, committed to memory. Catechesis is the religious instruction given to pupils. As educators, we have the opportunity and, hopefully, the courage to invite our students to pray. As a priest, I like to encourage teachers and pupils to visit the Oratory for Eucharistic Adoration during free moments in the school day. This practice gives us time to pause in silence. At a Mass during World Youth Day in Australia in 2008, there was close to half a million young people present and yet, after Communion, the silence was so deep and intense that the only noise heard was that of the birds chirping and singing! This from a generation used to machines, iphones, tweeting, emailing, lap-tops and all the modern means of communication. Silence, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, trumped the media. Is there, do you think, a great hunger among students for Truth and for God?
Let us pray:
Lord, our God, in your goodness and love you surround us with the mysteries of the universe. Send your Spirit upon our pupils and fill them with your wisdom and blessings. Grant that they may devote themselves to their studies and draw ever closer to you, the source of all knowledge We ask this in Jesus’ name.