High Altar In The Church Of St. Agatha, Schmerlenbach, Germany
Francisco de Zurbarán
1630 – 1635
Saint of the Day — Saint Agatha
Feast Day: February 5
Born: Catania or Palermo
Died: 251, Catania
Patron of: bellfounders; breast cancer; bakers; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wetnurses
Tuesday, February 5
Liturgical Color: Green
Today is the Memorial of St. Agatha,
virgin and martyr. Agatha was a beautiful,
young girl desired by a Roman senator for
marriage around 250 A.D. Wanting to
remain pure for Christ, she refused, and
was tortured until she died.
Ordinary Time: February 5th
Memorial of St. Agatha, virgin and martyr
February 05, 2019 (Readings on USCCB website)
May the Virgin Martyr Saint Agatha implore your compassion for us, O Lord, we pray, for she found favor with you by the courage of her martyrdom and the merit of her chastity. 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.
Cherries Jubilee I
Cherries Jubilee II
Flambe Cherry Pie
Martyrs’ Chiffon Dessert
Whole Wheat Batter Bread
Whole Wheat Bread I
Whole Wheat Bread II
Customs on the Feast of St. Agatha
Nameday Ideas for St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
Religion in the Home for Elementary School: February
Religion in the Home for Preschool: February
Litany of the Saints (older form)
Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes
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Old Calendar: St. Agatha
St. Agatha died in defense of her purity, in Catania, Sicily, where she was born. After Quintanus, the governor of Sicily, tried in vain to force her to consent to sin, she was imprisoned for a month with an evil woman. He then turned from sensuality to cruelty and had her breasts cut off; but that night Agatha was healed by St. Peter. She was then rolled over sharp stones and burning coals, and finally taken to prison where she died while praying. Her name appears in the Roman Canon.
It is impossible to write a historically reliable account of St. Agatha’s life. The “Acts” of her martyrdom are legendary, dating from the sixth century.
According to these sources Agatha was a Sicilian virgin of noble extraction. Quintianus, governor of Sicily, became deeply enamored of her; but she rejected his advances. As a result she was charged with being a Christian and brought before his tribunal. To the question concerning her origin she replied: “I am noble-born, of a distinguished family, as all my relatives will attest.” When asked why she lived the servile life of a Christian, she answered: “I am a handmaid of Christ, and that is why I bear the outward appearance of a slave; yet this is the highest nobility, to be a slave to Christ.” The governor threatened her with the most dreadful tortures if she did not renounce Christ. Agatha countered: “If you threaten me with wild beasts, know that at the Name of Christ they grow tame; if you use fire, from heaven angels will drop healing dew on me.”
After being tortured, “Agatha went to prison radiant with joy and with head held high as though invited to a festive banquet. And she commended her agony to the Lord in prayer.” The next day, as she again stood before the judge, she declared: “If you do not cause my body to be torn to pieces by the hangmen, my soul cannot enter the Lord’s paradise with the martyrs. She was then stretched on the rack, burned with red-hot irons, and despoiled of her breasts. During these tortures she prayed: “For love of chastity I am made to hang from a rack. Help me, O Lord my God, as they knife my breasts. Agatha rebuked the governor for his barbarity: “Godless, cruel, infamous tyrant, are you not ashamed to despoil a woman of that by which your own mother nursed you?”
Returning to prison, she prayed: “You have seen, O Lord, my struggle, how I fought in the place of combat; but because I would not obey the commands of rulers, my breasts were lacerated.” In the night there appeared to her a venerable old man, the apostle Peter, with healing remedies. Agatha, ever delicately modest, hesitated to show him her wounds. “I am the apostle of Christ; distrust me not, my daughter.” To which she replied: “I have never used earthly medicines on my body. I cling to the Lord Jesus Christ, who renews all things by His word.” She was miraculously healed by St. Peter: “Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, I give you praise because by Your apostle You have restored my breasts.” Throughout the night a light illumined the dungeon. When the guards fled in terror, her fellow prisoners urged her to escape but she refused: “Having received help from the Lord, I will persevere in confessing Him who healed me and comforted me.”
Four days later she was again led before the judge. He, of course, was amazed over her cure. Nevertheless, he insisted that she worship the gods; which prompted another confession of faith in Christ. Then by order of the governor, Agatha was rolled over pieces of sharp glass and burning coals. At that moment the whole city was rocked by a violent earthquake. Two walls collapsed, burying two of the governor’s friends in the debris. Fearing a popular uprising, he ordered Agatha, half dead, to be returned to prison. Here she offered her dying prayer: “Blessed Agatha stood in the midst of the prison and with outstretched arms prayed to the Lord: O Lord Jesus Christ, good Master, I give You thanks that You granted me victory over the executioners’ tortures. Grant now that I may happily dwell in Your never-ending glory.” Thereupon she died.
A year after her death the city of Catania was in great peril from an eruption on Mount Etna. Pagans, too, were numbered among those who fled in terror to the saint’s grave. Her veil was taken and held against the onrushing flames, and suddenly the danger ceased. Her grave is venerated at Catania in Sicily.
—The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Patron: Bell-founders; breast cancer; breast disease; Catania, Italy; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; fire prevention; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; Palermo, Italy; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wet-nurses; Zamarramala, Spain.
Symbols: Breasts on a dish; embers; knife; loaves of bread on a dish; pincers; shears; tongs; veil; virgin martyr wearing a veil and bearing her severed breasts on a silver platter.
Things to Do:
Bake an Agatha loaf! On St. Agatha’s feast day people would bake loaves attached to a picture of St. Agatha and prayers for protection from fires. The parish priests would bless the loaves, and people would keep them in their homes in case of a poor harvest and famine. The prayers would then be hung above the main door of each home to invoke St. Agatha’s guardianship.
Spanish tradition associates this feast day with ancient fertility customs. Young men would visit many farms throughout the countryside, singing songs of praise to St. Agatha and invoking God’s blessing upon people, animals, and fields. However, if they did not receive the customary gifts of money or food for their services, they would call down a ‘quick old age’ upon the ungrateful inhabitants of that farm. Although most of us do not live in such communities where this kind of custom would be practicable or even understood, we can pray to St. Agatha for a greater openness to the transmission of new life in our culture, and actively affirm and support young couples with children whenever possible.
St. Agatha is the patron saint against fire. Take this day to establish a fire escape plan for the family and to practice a family fire drill. Also check the smoke detectors, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors to see if they are all working. Change the batteries on all the alarms! (Idea taken from A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families by Monica McConkey. Used with permission. Write to [email protected] or see Arma Dei for more information about this great book. Treasure Chest is filled with unique ideas for activities, crafts and recipes to help families celebrate the various Seasons and Feast Days of the year.) She also has a couple of excellent websites worth a visit: Equipping Catholic Families and Arma Dei Shop.
Meditation: Hebrews 12:1-4
Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)
We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1)
Look into the sky on a summer day, and you will likely see a group of clouds sweeping across the sky. It’s so beautiful that it’s hard not to think of heaven. But how often do these clouds remind you of the people who live in heaven? How often do you think of the heroes of our faith as a great “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1)?
In the Old Testament, clouds are often associated with God’s presence among his people. Think of the Israelites as they fled Egypt and headed for the desert. They didn’t know where to go. Sure, God had brought them out of Egypt, but what now? Was he still with them? But then a great pillar of cloud appeared to lead them on their journey. It was a constant sign to them that God was still with them, looking over them and guiding them.
The holy men and women who have gone before us do something similar for us. They tell us that God has always been present and at work in the lives of real human beings. For instance, Abraham testifies that God is faithful. David tells us that God is merciful. Perpetua and Felicity show us how God gives us strength to persevere during persecution. John Bosco declares that God provides for all our needs. And of course, there’s the Virgin Mary, who tells us what it is like to bring Christ into the world.
This great cloud of witnesses isn’t made up only of celebrated heroes from the past. It includes your grandfather, who took you to Mass every Sunday, or your aunt Teresa, who was known for her generous hospitality. It includes your coworker, who serves at the homeless shelter, and your neighbor, who prays the Rosary on her morning walk.
We are not surrounded by theological propositions. We are surrounded by real human beings with real experiences of God in their lives. They form that great cloud that reminds us God is with us always. They tell us that holiness is possible. And they cheer us on in our race toward Jesus.
So what’s today’s forecast? Cloudy—with a 100 percent chance of grace!
“Jesus, help me remember the holy men and women who surround me and testify to your presence!”
Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32
Saint Jerome (347-420)>br? priest, translator of the Bible, Doctor of the Churchbr? Homilies on Saint Mark’s Gospel, no.3 (SC 494)
“He took the child by the hand and said to her: ‘Talitha koum’, which means, ‘Little girl…arise.’” “Since you have been born again, you are to be called ‘little girl’. Little girl, arise for my sake: your healing does not come from you.” “And immediately the little girl arose and walked around.” May Jesus touch us, too, and at once we shall walk. We may well be paralysed, our deeds may be evil and we may be unable to walk, we may be lying on the bed of our sins… but if Jesus touches us then we shall immediately be healed. Peter’s mother-in-law was suffering with fever: Jesus touched her hand and she arose and immediately served him (Mk 1:31)…
“They were utterly astounded, and he gave them strict orders that no one should know this.” Do you see now why he put the people out when he was going to work a miracle? He ordered, and not just ordered but strictly ordered, that no one should know of this. He ordered the three apostles and he ordered the parents, too, that no one should know. Our Lord ordered them all, but the little girl herself, she who had stood up, could not be silent.
“And he said she should be given something to eat”: so that her resurrection might not be thought to be a ghostly apparition. And he himself, after his resurrection, ate fish and a piece of honeycomb (Lk 24:42)… Lord, I beseech you, touch our hands as we, too, lie prostrate. Make us rise from our bed of sins and enable us to walk. And when we have walked, make them give us something to eat. We cannot eat when we are lying down; unless we are standing we shall not be able to receive the Body of Christ.
Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part
Daily Marriage Tip for February 5, 2019:/b>
Pornography can enter the home in a variety of ways, most often today through the Internet. Parents, be the guardians of your home and children. Know the risks, and take action. #cleanheart
February 5, 2019 – Touched by Faith
05 Feb 2019
Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
When Jesus had crossed again (in the boat) to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So, he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. (At that) they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, who should I turn to first but you? You have given me another day. This gift calls me to come to you first, to hear you first. My faith tells me there can be nothing better than to follow your plan; my hope is to bring you into my life and to other people; my love wants to be fuller and better — it wants to be like yours, Lord.
Petition: Grant me the grace of deeper trust and faith in all moments of hardship.
“…afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.” When problems are prolonged, or reach fever-pitch levels, we can get the mistaken impression that God has lost interest. Somehow he seems no longer moved by our misery. All the signs say he has forgotten us, abandoned us and left us hanging.
But God is only seemingly absent. He is creating a new set of circumstances wherein we can experience him at a wholly new level. The long, hard and persevering fight to walk in hope enables God to bring about greater fruits of holiness in us.
In the woman with the hemorrhage and in Jairus, father of a dying daughter, we must contemplate a mature and vibrant faith, observing how it conquers pessimism and transcends the cold calculations and superficial tones of their peers. Truly this is the first miracle we see that Jesus has worked for them, and the most important one.
“And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out.” The dismal voices of his “friends” come to the father. Though they have seen the miracle of the woman with the hemorrhage, they coldly say, “Your daughter is dead. Be realistic. It is no use to go on.” True, in the name of realism, we can dismiss hope and cooperation with Christ’s action in our life. We can ridicule Christ whenever he wants to work in mystery and outside our human limits. We can be tempted to abandon trust in God in the name of reaffirming control over our world. “Let’s be realistic,” we say. “It will never work.” These phrases veil a weak faith, a poor faith, a sterile or compartmentalized faith that works only when everything makes sense to us, when everything is easy. Where there is this lack of faith, Christ cannot work.
“If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Many say they are near Christ, yet few are acknowledged by Christ as close to him. Many were brushing against him that day, many were verbally praising him, many were serving him, but only one touched him and got his full attention. Why? Only one made an act of unconditional faith. What is the secret? How can we really get his attention, truly speak to his heart? None are closer than those who trust him, who humbly depend on him, and who wish to live from him. The woman’s unconditional faith was open to whatever would happen, whatever would be Christ’s response. Those who suffer and support themselves patiently with faith and prayer experience new levels of union with Christ.
Conversation with Christ: Lord let me use hardships to build newer levels of trust and intimacy with you. Open my heart to seek you on your terms.
I do not ask you for happiness or sorrow,
Health or sickness,
Riches or poverty,
Freedom or slavery,
Goods or evils;
For goods are misfortunes if you do not come with them,
And misfortunes are goods if they arrive with you.
For goods without you, what good would they be?
And misfortunes with you, are they not the best goods?
Resolution: I will acknowledge the presence of Christ in all the difficulties of today.
One Bread, One Body
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All Issues > Volume 35, Issue 2
<< Tuesday, February 5, 2019 >> St. Agatha
View Readings Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32 Mark 5:21-43
HANDLE WITH FAITH
“At this they began to ridicule Him. Then He put them all out. Jesus took the child’s father and mother and His own companions and entered the room where the child lay.” —Mark 5:40
The family and friends of Jairus who had gathered to mourn this young girl’s death thought nothing more could be done. Perhaps they had heard of other healings worked at the hands of this itinerant Preacher, but when Jesus told them she was not dead they ridiculed Him (Mk 5:39-40). They thought their situation was too much for Jesus to handle.
What situation are you facing that is “too much” for Jesus to handle? Can He not handle your boss or your co-workers? And what about your family? Perhaps you consider your finances or your love life beyond His scope? If you ridicule the possibility of Jesus working in any area of your life, you too may find yourself “put out” by Jesus (Mk 5:40). You will not enter the room to witness firsthand the amazing workings of the Master-Healer.
Indeed, even faith the size of a mustard seed will get you in the door (see Mt 17:20). We must act and “ask in faith, never doubting, for the doubter is like the surf tossed and driven by the wind” (Jas 1:6).
Place your impossible situations in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus. Then He will not say to you, “How little faith you have!…Why did you falter?” (Mt 14:31) Instead, He will exclaim, “You have great faith! Your wish will come to pass” (Mt 15:28).
Prayer: Jesus, help us to keep our eyes fixed on You (Heb 12:2).
Promise: “By Your gift will I utter praise in the vast assembly; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear Him.” —Ps 22:26
Praise: St. Agatha kept her faith though tortured and imprisoned. During her tortures, she was asked three times to deny Christ. She held fast to Jesus each time and received the crown of life (see Rv 2:10).
The chief cause of poverty in this country is single motherhood/absent fatherhood.
71% of poor families are not married.
Children of single parent homes are two times more likely to be arrested for juvenile crime,
two times more likely be treated for emotional and behavioral problems,
twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school,
33% more likely to drop out of school,
three times more likely to end up in jail by age 30,
50% more likely to live in poverty as adults,
and twice as likely to have a child outside of marriage themselves
[Getting the Marriage Conversation Right, by William B. May].