Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Apollonia

Feast Day: February 9th
Patron saint of Dentists and those suffering tooth pain or dental disease.

Saint Apollonia was an Christian virgin of, advanced age, living in Alexandria, Egypt.  She was killed by pagans during a local persecution around the year 249.  The details of her demise were documented in Eusebius's Historia Ecclesiae (Church History).  He records a letter that was sent from Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria to Fabius, Bishop of Antioch.  Dionysius laments the treatment of several of his people.  Of Apollonia he says:

"At that time Apollonia, parthénos presbytis (mostly likely meaning a deaconess) was held in high esteem. These men seized her also and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words (either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of the heathen gods). Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death."

As far as historical documents go, this is all that is really known about Apollonia, however, after she was proclaimed a saint, her story evolved.  She went from a woman of advanced years to a young maiden.  Instead of having her teath knocked out, they were pulled out one at a time. Here is the legend that grew from her martyrdom:

There lived in Alexandria during the first half of the third century a very opulent magistrate, of unknown name. He had married a wife whom he loved devotedly, and who loved him fondly in return. The only blot on the happiness of this pair was the fact that they had no children. They addressed earnest and unceasing prayers to Juno, Ceres, Jupiter, all the gods, to grant unto them a son or daughter to inherit their vast wealth, but all without avail. Three pious pilgrims arrived in Alexandria, and went from house to house asking alms in the name of the Redeemer and the Blessed Virgin, his mother, for they were tired and hungry. The magistrate’s wife, seated at her window one day saw them, and heard their petition at a house across the way. Her interest was aroused by their strange words, and she called to them saying: “What sort of begging is that of yours, and who are the gods in whose name you ask?” Wherefore the pilgrims told her of Christ, His life and teaching. And she asked them if the Virgin Mar}’ would hear her if she prayed that a child might be given her, and the pilgrims replied that the Virgin would be gracious to her without any doubt. Then the wife of the magistrate fell on her knees and prayed long and fervently to the Holy Virgin, and her request was granted and a daughter was born to her, to whom she gave the name of Apollonia.

The child grew into a maiden as lovely and graceful as a flower, and as good and pure as she was beautiful. The family of a Roman magistrate quite naturally conformed to the established religion of the state, but the mother never ceased to talk to her daughter about the wonderful circumstances of her birth, and about Christ and the Holy Virgin to whom she had addressed her prayers. Apollonia drank in all the details, and as she got older there sprang up in her heart a strong desire to be baptized and become a Christian. And Heaven did not leave her helpless. An angel came to her one day and led her out of Alexandria into the desert to the cell of Leonine, a disciple of Saint Anthony. Apollonia told him her story and her wish to be a Christian, and Leonine baptized her forthwith. Hardly had he done so than another angel swooped down from Heaven, and throwing a garment of shining white about Apollonia cried: “This is Apollonia, the servant of Jesus; Go, now, to Alexandria and preach the faith of Christ.

Apollonia returned home filled with ecstasy and zeal. She went among the people and preached to them with wonderful eloquence, making many converts. Before long complaints concerning her and her doings began to pour in on her father. Why did he, a Roman magistrate, allow his daughter to break so flagrantly the laws of the Empire?

He, much disturbed, called Apollonia to him to explain her conduct. She defended herself with dignity and fervor, and still kept on with her preaching and conversions, until her father, beside himself with anger, gave her up to the Roman governor to be dealt with as a criminal. The governor ordered her to be taken into the temple of one of the pagan gods, Serapis, most likely, and bade her fall on her knees before the statue of the deity and adore it. Apollonia flatly refused to comply. She advanced haughtily to the statue, made the sign of the cross, and commanded the demon inside to depart. There was an awful rumble, a crash, a shriek, and from the broken image the demon fled, crying: “The holy virgin, Apollonia, drives me forth.”

This proceeding served to send the governor into a fit of violent wrath. At his bidding the girl was bound to a column, and one by one her beautiful teeth were all pulled out with a pair of pincers. Then a big fire was kindled, and, as Apollonia persisted in her faith, she was flung headlong into the blaze, and there gave up her soul to God, being borne to Heaven by His angels."


In paintings and statues, Saint Apollonia is pictured as a young woman.  In her hand, there is usually a pair of pincers holding a tooth.  She may also be holding a palm frond as a symbol of her martyrdom.

"Illustrious virgin martyr, Apollonia,
Pray to the Lord for us
Lest for our offenses and sins we be punished By diseases of the teeth."


“Eternally omnipotent God, for whose honor blessed Apollonia, virgin and martyr, steadfastly suffered the horrible crushing-out of her teeth, grant Thou as we desire, that we may be made happy in commemoration of her, thru whose most pious intercession we were freed from toothache and all imminent evils. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prayers that need to be revived

In my opinion Catholics everywhere need to start saying these prayers again. Often!

O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bonfire of the Vanities: My Experimental 'Spirit of Vatican II' Liturgy

I wish this experiment would be tried here in New Ulm. I really think that we need to be able to experience this type of Mass more. We need it. Our souls need it.

Bonfire of the Vanities: My Experimental 'Spirit of Vatican II' Liturgy

Saturday, July 30, 2011

St Joseph's cathedral

St. Joseph's Cathedral in Sioux Falls, SD has been reopened after a long renovation. From the picture below it looks wonderful. My family and I usually attend Mass there when we stay in Sioux Falls. I can't wait to see it in person.

St Peter Chrysologus

Saturday of week 17 of the year

or Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor

St Peter Chrysologus (380 - 450)

He was born and died in Imola in northern Italy. He was made bishop of Ravenna, the new capital of the Roman Empire, and was responsible for many of the building works there. The name ?Chrysologus? means ?golden speech?, and was given to Peter because he was such a gifted preacher; unfortunately, most of his writings have perished, and only a collection of short sermons remains.

--From RC Calendar iPad app

Friday, July 29, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 29 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for August is: "That World Youth Day in Madrid may encourage young people throughout the world to have their lives rooted and built up in Christ".

His mission intention is: "That Western Christians may be open to the action of the Holy Spirit and rediscover the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith".

US Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi dies

Prayers for the Archbishop and his family.

US Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi dies

2011-07-28 Vatican Radio

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., died Wednesday evening in Baltimore. 73 years old, he had suffered complications following lung surgery two weeks ago.

His family had travelled to the US to be with him and have asked bishops priests and lay faithful for their prayers.

Archbishop Sambi was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2005 as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He began his duties in Washington, D.C. in February of 2006. Previously he was Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia and Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.

His funeral will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC on Saturday August 6th –feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This is the Night: The Exultet

It's finally here. The Easter Vigil, the high point of our liturgical year is upon us. Jesus Christ is Risen!

Tonight we will hear one of the most beautiful prayers that our Church offers. The Exulet. This prayer should be chanted by a deacon (if you are lucky enough to have one) or a priest. Here are a couple of recordings of the Exultet that I enjoy. The files are large, however, well worth the wait:

Fr. Tim Hepburn chants the Exultet in English.

Father John Zuhlsdorf's podcast has a wonderful version of the Exultet sung in Latin along with some very interesting information about this glorious prayer.

The Exultet

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night,
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slav'ry,
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night,
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.

This is night,
when Christians ev'rywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night,
when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth
and we are reconciled to God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

In searching through my blog list this caught my eye. The Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. I want to spotlight this because I feel that praying for the souls in purgatory is becoming a lost practice. I encourage everyone who might stop by my blog to enroll your deceased loved ones and to pray for the souls in this society.

Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

Please pray for the enrolled souls and the holy priests of the Society:
"For all the souls enrolled in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the Faithful departed rest in peace. Amen."

Then ...

Eternal God,
please bless our priests,
who are selflessly saying Masses for this Society.
Make them more greatly aware of the grace
that You pour out through them
when they minister the sacraments,
and help them to fall more deeply in love with You
after each and every Mass that they celebrate.
Please strengthen our priests,
who shepherd Your flock,
when they are in doubt of their faith,
that they may be examples of Your Truth
and guide us always on the path to You.
We ask these things of You, our Eternal Priest.