Tuesday, 20 February 2018

 

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Những tài liệu này thuộc quyền sở hữu của Trường Thánh Tôma Thiện. Khi sử dụng, quý vị đồng ý chỉ sử dụng trong việc giáo dục, không sử dụng cho việc kinh doanh dưới bất cứ hình thức nào. Quý vị cũng đồng ý sẽ không sao chép, thay đổi nội dung hoặc phân phối nếu chưa có sự chấp thuận của trường.

Nếu quý vị thấy tài liệu này hữu ích trong công việc giáo dục các em, xin giúp chúng tôi trang trải chi phí cho việc biên soạn để chúng tôi có thể tiếp tục cung cấp các tài liệu miễn phí trong tương lai. Xin chân thành cảm ơn quý vị.

JANUARY 5 - ST. JOHN NEUMANN

John Neumann was born in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. He was a quiet small boy, only five feet, two inches tall but his eyes were very kind and he smiled a lot. His parents were Philip who was a German and Agnes Neumann who was Chez. He had four sisters and a brother.

He was an excellent student, who was drawn to the religious life when he was quite young. After college, John entered the seminary. When time came for ordination, the bishop was sick. The date was never set because Bohemia had enough priests at the time.

Since he had been reading about missionary activities in the United States, John decided to go to America to ask for ordination. He walked most of the way to France and then boarded the ship Europa for America.

John arrived in Manhattan on June 9, 1836 without informing anyone that he was coming. Bishop John Dubois was very happy to see him as there were only thirty-six priests for the two hundred thousand Catholics living in the state of New York and part of New Jersey.

Just sixteen days after his arrival, John was ordained a priest and sent to Buffalo. There he helped Father Pax care for his parish, which was nine hundred square miles in size. Father Pax asked him to choose between working in the city of Buffalo or the country area. Now John’s strong character began to show when he chose the most difficult - the country area.

He decided to stay in a little town with an unfinished church. Once it was completed, he moved to another town that had a log-church. There he built himself a small log cabin. He hardly ever lit a fire and often lived on bread and water. He only slept a few hours each night.

The farms in his area were far apart. John had to walk long distances to reach his people. They were German, French, Irish and Scotch. But John who knew twelve languages, worked with them all.

John joined the Redemptorist order and continued his missionary work. He became bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. Bishop Neumann built fifty churches and began building a cathedral. He opened almost one hundred schools, and the number of parochial school students grew from five hundred to nine thousand.

Bishop Neumann’s health never improved much, but people were still very surprised when he died suddenly on January 5, 1860 when he was just forty-eight years old.

He was the first American man and first American bishop to be declared a saint by Pope Paul VI on June 19, 1977.

We might not be as smart, strong, or active as we would like to be. But that doesn’t stop God from loving us and from using us to do wonderful things. When we have to do something difficult, we can ask St. John Neumann’s help.

JANUARY 7 - ST. RAYMOND

Raymond was born in a little town called Penafort near Barcelona, Spain and his family belonged to Aragonian nobility. He studied at the cathedral school in Barcelona and became a famous teacher of Philosophy when he was twenty. After Raymond became a priest he studied law in Bologna, Italy and became a lawyer. Then he joined the Dominican order in 1218.

In 1230, Pope Gregory IX asked this dedicated priest to come to Rome. When Raymond arrived, the pope gave him several duties. One duty was to collect all the official letters of the popes since 1150. Raymond gathered and published five volumes and also helped to write the Church law.

In 1238, Raymond was elected master general of the Dominicans. With his knowledge of law, he went over the Order’s Rule and made sure everything was legally correct. After he had finished, he resigned his position in 1240 so that he could truly dedicate the rest of his life to parish work. That is what he really wanted.

The pope wanted to make Raymond an archbishop, but Raymond refused. He asked if he could return to Spain and was given permission. He was overjoyed to be in parish work. His compassion helped many people return to God through the sacrament of Reconciliation.

During his years in Rome, Raymond often heard stories of the difficulties that missionaries faced trying to reach non-Christians of Northern Africa and Spain. To help the missionaries, Raymond started a school that taught the language and culture of the people to be evangelized.

Also, Father Raymond asked the famous Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas, to write a booklet explaining the truths of faith in a way that nonbelievers could understand.

St. Raymond lived nearly one hundred years and died in Barcelona on January 6, 1275. He was declared the patron of Church lawyers because of his great influence on Church law.

JANUARY 6 - BLESSED ANDRE BESSETTE

Alfred Bessette was born not far from Montreal in Canada and he was the eighth of twelve children. When Alfred was nine, his father, a wood cutter, died in an accident at work. Three years later, Alfred’s mother died of tuberculosis, leaving the children orphans. Each one of them was then placed in a different home.

Alfred went to live with his aunt and uncle. Now because his family had been so poor and he was often sick, Alfred had very little education. His uncle made sure that Alfred worked for a living. So for the next thirteen years he tried learning different trades like farming, shoemaking and baking. He even worked in a factory in Connecticut. But his health always failed him.

When Alfred was twenty-five, he joined the order of Holy Cross and chose the name Brother Andre. At first they refused him because his health was not good but then the Bishop favored Andre and he was accepted.

He spent the next forty years as a general maintenance man, Sacristan, laundry worker and messenger. The remaining years of his life were spent as the doorkeeper for the order’s college called Notre Dame in Montreal.

Here, Brother Andre’s healing power became known. When people came to ask him for a cure, he would tell them to first thank God for their suffering because it was so valuable. Then he would pray with them. Most of them were cured. Brother Andre always refused credit for the healing. He insisted it had been the person’s faith and the power of St. Joseph and soon the trickle of sick people at his door became a flood.

Brother Andre had a great love for the Eucharist and for St. Joseph. On his windowsill, facing Mount Royal, was a small statue of Saint Joseph that Andre honored. When he was young, he dreamt he saw a big church, but he couldn’t tell where it was. Gradually, he came to realize that God wanted a church in honor of St. Joseph. That church was to be built on top of Mount Royale in Montreal, Canada.

For many years the Church tried to buy land on Mount Royal then Brother Andre and his helpers climbed the steep hill and planted medals of Saint Joseph on it. Soon the owners agreed to sell the land to the Church.

Prayer and the sacrifices of Brother Andre and many other people made the dream come true. The magnificent church honoring St. Joseph was built and is a proof of Brother Andre’s great faith. Pilgrims come to Mount Royale all year and from distant places. They want to honor St. Joseph and show their trust in his loving care, as Brother Andre did.

Brother Andre died peacefully on January 6, 1937. By that time he was receiving 80,000 letters each year from the sick who sought his prayers and healing. Nearly a million people climbed Mount Royale to St. Joseph’s Oratory for his funeral.

They came in spite of sleet and snow to say good-bye to their dear friend. He was proclaimed “blessed” on May 23, 1982, by Pope John Paul II.

Blessed Andre Bessette believed not in himself but in the power of God’s love for him. In him we can see that God reveals his power shining through our human weakness.

JANUARY 8 - ST. THORFINN

The Church found out about St. Thorfinn’s life long after he had died. Fifty years later, his tomb was opened by accident during some construction work to renovate the church. Everyone was surprised by the strong, pleasant smell that came out of his coffin.

The abbot started making enquiries about Thorfinn. He found one elderly monk, Walter de Muda, who knew Thorfinn. In fact, Father Walter had been so impressed with Thorfinn’s gentle goodness, patience, generosity and firmness against the evil and ungodly, that he had written a poem about him.

Walter had placed the poem with Thorfinn in the tomb. The monks went to look for the poem and found the parchment just as new and fresh as the day it had been put there.

The monks felt this was a sign that God wanted Thorfinn to be remembered and honored. People started praying to him and miracles began to happen around his tomb. Father Walter was asked to write whatever he could remember about Thorfinn.

Thorfinn had come from Norway and was a Cistercian monk at the abbey of Tautra. Later he had probably served at the cathedral as a priest. It seems that Thorfinn had signed an important document while at the cathedral.

He had been a witness to the Agreement of Tonsberg in 1277. This agreement between King Magnus VI and the archbishop set the Church free from state control. But a few years later, King Eric rejected the agreement and turned against the archbishop and those who had supported him.

The archbishop was sent away and so was Thorfinn, who was now bishop of Hamar, Norway. Thorfinn started a hard journey to Flanders. He was even shipwrecked on the trip. Finally, he arrived and went to live at the abbey of TerDoest in Flanders, Belgium.

He made a pilgrimage to Rome, but he returned to the abbey very ill. Before he died on January 8, 1285, Thorfinn divided the few possessions he had among his family members and some charitable groups.

Then in a monastery in Belgium. Reports of St. Thorfinn’s holiness and the miracles at his tomb soon spread devotion to him among the Cistercians and Catholics in Hamar, Norway. Today Norwegians still honor St. Thorfinn and celebrate his feast day.

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