November is a month to remember the departed, especially on All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2).
In November, we conclude a period of Ordinary time and the liturgical year with the Feast of Christ the King on Sunday, November 22. We open the new liturgical year with the first Sunday of the Advent season, November 29. Advent is a period of preparation for the Christmas season, and the liturgical color is violet. The Solemnity of All Saints, November 1, is a holy day of obligation. Thanksgiving Day falls on November 26.
MAJOR SAINTS AND FEAST DAYS OF AUGUST
|November 1||All Saints||Solemnity|
|November 4||Charles Borromeo||Memorial|
|November 9||Dedication of Saint John Lateran||Feast|
|November 10||Leo the Great, Pope||Memorial|
|November 13||Frances Xavier Cabrini||Memorial|
|November 21||Presentation of Mary||Memorial|
|November 23||Columban, Abbot||Memorial|
|November 30||Andrew the Apostle||Feast|
NEW STATUE OF MOTHER CABRINI
Our calendar this month features the feast day of an American saint, Mother Frances Cabrini (1850-1917). A new statue of this Italian immigrant, who dedicated her life to serving the immigrants of New York City, now graces Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park. This is due to the efforts of Brooklyn’s bishop, Nicholas DiMarzio, after he learned that a city commission charged with erecting new statues dedicated to women and minorities had rejected the most popular suggestion, Mother Cabrini. Bishop DiMarzio led a private funding effort.
IRISH SAINTS OF OCTOBER
November 3 Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh (1095-1148)
Malachy was born and raised in Armagh, the son of a learned man. After his parents’ death, he became the disciple of Eimar, a hermit, and was ordained at age 25. He studied under St. Malchus at Lismore and was appointed abbot of Bangor Abbey, which was in a sad state at the time. In fact, much of the Church in Ireland was in bad shape due to the ravages of the Vikings, and much of Malachy’s effort throughout his life was dedicated to restoration. A few years after his appointment as abbot, he was chosen bishop of Connor, based at Bangor. His leadership of a local revival of the faith ended abruptly when he and his monks were forced to flee to Lismore to escape Viking raiders. Appointed metropolitan of Armagh in 1129, he was unable to occupy the see peacefully for many years, due to a rival claimant–the see had become hereditary in a family of clerics. Malachy eventually prevailed, in the process recovering from his rival a book (probably the Book of Armagh) and a crozier reputedly belonging to St. Patrick. Later, Malachy resigned the see and returned to Connor (1137). He divided the diocese into two, Connor and Down, became bishop of the latter, and refounded the ruined abbey at Bangor. On a trip through Europe to Rome, he met St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and the two became life-long friends. So impressed was Malachy by Bernard and the Cistercians, that he attempted to resign his see and join the order. The Pope refused his request and instead named him papal legate in Ireland. Malachy left four companions behind him at Clairvaux; in 1142, they returned to Ireland and founded the Cistercian abbey of Mellifont. In 1148, while journeying to Rome on official business, Malachy stopped at Clairvaux to visit his friend, and died there rather suddenly. Bernard proclaimed him a saint, and his action was confirmed by Pope Clement III, in 1190, making him the first Irish saint officially canonized by a pope.
Malachy was a truly great saint of Ireland. He helped instill in the Irish church the spirit of reform that was sweeping the church on the Continent, and was a man of great virtue himself. He is familiar to many today because of the so-called Prophecies of Malachy, which are almost certainly not written by him and are most likely forgeries of the 16th century.
November 9 Benen, Bishop (d. 467)
Also known as Benignus, he was the son of a Meath chieftain who had been converted by St. Patrick. Benen was close to Patrick from childhood, serving him during life as disciple, friend, and right-hand man, and succeeding him as chief bishop of Ireland. He is credited with evangelizing Clare, Connaught, and Kerry. Many extravagant miracles are reported of him. There is also a fanciful story of Benen travelling to Glastonbury in Britain toward the end of his life, and finding St. Patrick there.
November 10 Aedh Mac Bricc, BIshop (d. 589)
The accounts of this saint are filled with miraculous tales. A son of Brecc of the Hy Neill, he was not originally destined for the clerical state. Supposedly, Sts. Brendan and Canice once helped him find some pigs which had strayed. Aedh kidnapped a girl from the housegold of one of his brothers, in an ill-advised attempt to force his brothers to give him his rightful share of their patrimony. Bishop Illathan of Rathlihen, County Offaly, persuaded him to renounce his share and return the girl. Aedh then became a disciple of Illathan and eventually was sent to found a monastery in Cill-air, Westmeath, at length becoming its bishop. Stemming from his reputed curing of St. Brigid (or someone else) of a headache, he is often called upon for relief from this malady.
November 12 Machar, Bishop (6th century)
Also known as Mochumma, he accompanied St. Columba to Scotland and evangelized the island of Mull, where he became bishop, and the Picts of Aberdeenshire.
November 12 Cumian, Abbot (c. 590-c. 665)
The son of a king of West Munster, Cumian became a monk and ran the school at Clonfert.
Founder and abbot of the Abbey of Kilcummin, he was noted for his learning and for his defense of Roman liturgical uses, which he undertook in the still-extant Paschal Epistle. He was surnamed Fota or Fada, “the Tall.”
November 13 Kilian (7th century)
One of a number of Kilians, this Kilian was a relative of St. Fiacre and carried out mission work in Artois in Gaul.
November 14 Lawrence O’Toole, Archbishop of Dublin (1128-80)
Son of Murtagh, chief of the Murrays, he was born in Kildare, and as a youth was carried off and held as a hostage for two years by King Dermot McMurrogh of Leinster. Lawrence’s father finally compelled Dermot to surrender the boy to the bishop of Glendalough. He became a monk of Glendalough, and later was abbot (1153), known for his strict reign. His prudence and virtue were demonstrated when famine struck the area, and Lawrence was able to supply the local people with grain from monastic stores. Although resisting earlier efforts to elevate him to the episopate, Lawrence accepted election to the archbishopric of Dublin in 1161. The new archbishop embarked on a reform of his clergy, forming a community of strict canons regular at the cathedral. Lawrence became embroiled in the dynastic struggle which resulted in the intervention of England’s Henry II and which is too complicated to outline here. In 1172, a synod convened by Lawrence at Cashel confirmed a bull of Pope Adrian IV imposing English liturgical forms upon Ireland, and Lawrence supported Pope Alexander III’s confirmation of these measures. In 1175, while in England trying to arrange a peace between Henry II and Rory O’Conor, a probably-deranged man tried to murder him at Becket’s shrine. He attended the Lateran Council of 1179 and after explaining the state of the Irish Church to the pope found himself appointed papal legate in Ireland. His efforts there began to worry Henry II, who may have suspected another Becket in the making, and when Lawrence travelled to England in 1180 in the course of negotiations on behalf of Rory O’Conor, Henry prevented him from returning to Ireland. Lawrence did eventually receive permission to return, but died in Normandy before he could.
November 15 Fintan of Rheinau (d.879)
One of a number of Irish saints with this name, this Fintan was born in Leinster, was taken to the Orkneys by Viking raiders, escaped, stayed with a bishop in Scotland for two years, and then went on a pilgrimage to Rome. Returning through the Black Forest of Germany, he encountered some hermits there, at Rheinau, and elected to remain.
November 18 Mawes, Abbot (6th century)
Also known as Maudez, he is believed to have been an Irish monk who lived as a hermit in Cornwall, and then settled on the island of Modez off the coast of France. He preached throughout Armorica (Brittany) and probably founded several churches and monasteries there and in Cornwall.
November 23 Columban, Abbot (c.540-615)
Columban was born in West Leinster and well educated as a youth. In the advice of a holy hermitess to flee the local environs to avoid sin, Columban saw a call to the religious life. Despite his mother’s opposition, he departed for an island in Lough Erne, where he was under the tutelage of a monk named Sinell. He later became a monk of Bangor. In 585, with the blessing of St. Comgall, he went as a missionary to Gaul with 12 other monks. He himself built several monasteries–Annegray, Luxeuil, and Fontaine–and his followers built others throughout France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Columban’s institutions followed his very strict monastic rule. He aroused opposition among the Frankish bishops due to his advocacy of Celtic usages and his refusal to acknowledge their authority. In 610, King Theodoric II of Burgundy, angered by Columban’s denunciations of his marital irregularities, banished all Irish monks from his kingdom. After being shipwrecked attempting to return to Ireland, Columban was offered refuge by King Theodebert II of Neustria and embarked on a mission journey which ultimately led him to the Alemanni around Lake Constance. However, when the hostile Burgundians overran Neustria, Columban fled to Italy and was welcomed by King Agilulf of the Lombards, although the king was an Arian heretic. Columban strove against the Arian heresy. He also became embroiled in the controversy over the Three Chapters then roiling the Church, an issue on which he was ill-informed; his words during this controversy led him to later write apologetically to the pope. Columban founded the monastery at Bobbio on land given to him by Agilulf; it was to have a distinguished history. It is at Bobbio that the saint died. Besides sermons and poems, Columban wrote his monastic rule and treatises against Arianism.
November 24 Colman of Cloyne, Bishop (530-606)
Colman was born in Munster and spent most of his life as a pagan poet and royal bard at Cashel before being baptized by St. Brendan around age 50. He was later ordained and supposedly was a teacher of St. Columba. Colman was the first bishop of Cloyne and its patron. He is one of a number of sainted Colmans.
November 27 Secundinus, Bishop (c.375-447)
Though not a native Irishman, Secundinus, also known as Sechnall or Seachnall, ought to qualify as an Irish saint on grounds similar to those of St. Patrick himself. A native of Gaul, he was sent to Ireland in 439 to assist Patrick. He was the first bishop of Dunslaughlin in Meath and then auxiliary bishop of Armagh. Secundinus wrote several hymns, one of which is thought to be the first Latin hymn written in Ireland.
November 27 Fergus, Bishop (8th century)
An Irish bishop, possibly of Downpatrick, he was known as “the Pict.” He served the missions among the Picts and Scots and founded several churches there.
NEWS AND ISSUES
–U.S. Navy Region Southwest has announced the rescinding (Sept. 8) of its late-August decision to end contracts with local priests to serve the Catholic personnel at several California naval facilities. Contract clergy are commonly employed, due to the shortage of clergy in the Chaplain Corps. The measure was supposedly a cost-cutting move, but Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services criticized the adverse impact this would have on many Catholic sailors’ religious freedom and how miniscule were the cost savings in exchange. The measure also earned a hostile tweet from the Commander-in-Chief.
–On September 8, the Justice Department filed an amicus curiae brief with the Indiana Supreme Court, in support of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, which is being sued by a former teacher, who was fired after contracting a same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court has just this July reaffirmed that religious institutions have the right to determine the identity of their programs, and that teachers qualify as religious ministers uner the law.
–On October 8, a federal district court issued an injunction against the State of New York, which has been attempting to shut down a faith-based adoption program because it will only place children with married male and female couples. The court observed that the state showed evidence of hostility to religious belief. The court had orginally upheld the state’s actions, but the circuit court had returned it to the district court for reconsideration.
–Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski, who chairs the bishops’ committee on religious freedom, has weighed in on the criticism of Suprme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett for her affiliation with the ecumenical charismatic group People of Praise. The media, by emphasizing the group’s use of the expression “handmaid,” have sought to associate her beliefs with Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, A Handmaid’s Tale, later made into a TV movie. Archbishop Wenski noted the Biblical roots of the term, e.g., Mary as the handmaid, ancilla, of the Lord. Barrett is a Catholic and Notre Dame faculty member. When Barrett was first appointed to the federal appellate courts, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) famously questioned the appropriateness of her Catholic belief. Article VI of the Constitution forbids a religious test for office.
–On October 9, the Diocese of Brooklyn initiated a suit against the State of New York for the tightening of restrictions on Mass attendance. Governor Cuomo’s response to an elevation in cases includes the restriction of indoor activities, in some cases to as little as 10 or 25 people. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio called the measure “arbitrary,” noting that many churches in his diocese have a very large capacity and can easily accomodate larger numbers, even with distancing. Cuomo has threatened to close down any institutions defying his order.
–On October 12, a statue of St. Junipero Serra at Mission San Rafael Arcangel, in San Rafael, CA, was torn down and sprayed with red paint. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone later conducted an exorcism at the site.
–The November election is approaching. The statement of the U.S. Catholic bishops on the duties of Catholic voters, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, may be accessed at www.usccb.org. The bishops this past November reaffirmed decisively that abortion must be the preeminent issue for Catholic voters.
[Sources consulted for this report include: Butler’s Lives of the Saints, complete edition, ed. and rev. by Herbert Thurston and Donald Attwater; 4 vols. (New York, 1956); The Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite (New York, 1975); The National Catholic Register; ewtn.com; catholic.org; priestsforlife.org; catholicnewsagency.com.]
Patrick J. Lally