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St. Adalabert, Bishop, St. George, Martyrs
Saint George is the Patron Saint of:
Image: Saint George and the Dragon | Gustave Moreau
Saint of the Day for April 23
(c. 280 – April 23, 303)
Saint George’s Story
Saint George is the object of a vast amount of imagination. There is every reason to believe that he was a real martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. The Church adheres to his memory, but not to the legends surrounding his life. That he was willing to pay the supreme price to follow Christ is what the Church believes. And it is enough.
The story of George’s slaying the dragon, rescuing the king’s daughter and converting Libya is a 12th-century Italian fable. George was a favorite patron saint of crusaders, as well as of Eastern soldiers in earlier times. He is a patron saint of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Catalonia, Genoa, and Venice.
Human nature seems to crave more than cold historical data. Americans have Washington and Lincoln, but we somehow need Paul Bunyan, too. The life of Saint Francis of Assisi is inspiring enough, but for centuries the Italians have found his spirit in the legends of the Fioretti, too. Santa Claus is the popular extension of the spirit of Saint Nicholas. The legends about Saint George are part of this yearning. Both fact and legend are human ways of illumining the mysterious truth about the One who alone is holy.
Saint George is the Patron Saint of:
the Catholic committee on Scouting has the St. George Award for active Scouters who are active in their parishes and help the boys earn their religious awards, help out at the annual retreat, etc…
FEAST OF THE DAY
St. George lived in the Middle East during the third century. Little factual information is known about his life, but some information has been passed on to us. St. George was a Christian living in Palestine before the reign of Constantine, the emperor who legalized Christianity. It is thought that he was arrested in connection with one of the persecutions of Christians by the Roman emperor. George suffered torture and prison for the Faith and was beheaded.
During the twelfth century crusades, an Italian legend about the life of St. George gained wide popularity. It is from this legend that we get the image of St. George fighting a dragon. This legend also says that George saved the life of a princess and was key in converting Libya to Christianity. St. George was a popular patron of the
Crusaders and is held to be the patron saint of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Genoa, and Venice.
St. Adalbert, also called Albert, was a noble Christian born in Bohemia around the year 956. Adalbert suffered through a sickly childhood and his parents greatly feared losing him. Adalbert’s parents decided to consecrate their child to God and dedicated his protection to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Once Adalbert recovered his parents sent him to the archbishop of Madgebourg to be educated in piety and in other things.
Adalbert excelled in all his studies and made special efforts to grow in holiness and piety. In 981 the archbishop died and Adalbert returned home to seek ordination.
He received his ordination to the priesthood in 983. Soon after his arrival, the bishop died Adalbert was chosen to succeed him. He was consecrated bishop the same year of his priestly ordination, 983 and took the ruling of his diocese very seriously and did all in his power to rule it justly and wisely.
Adalbert became well known for his generosity and his piety served as an excellent example to the people. St. Adalbert applied his whole being to the salvation of souls in his diocese until retiring in discouragement in the year 989.
He then traveled to Monte Cassino spending several years there in the Benedictine habit. Adalbert was sent back to Prague by the pope in the year 994.
He stayed for a while but again became discouraged with the hardened hearts of the people and traveled to Hungary to spread the Gospel. Adalbert was again asked by the pope to return to his diocese but the stiff-necked people there protested his return.
Adalbert returned to the area but did not enter the city. When the people heard he was nearby they set out after him to kill him. Adalbert was captured and run through with a lance, he died praying for the souls of his murders. St. Adalbert is the patron saint of the Czech Republic, Bohemia, Prussia, and Poland.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
He who walks along a precipice, although he may not fall over, yet he trembles and often falls through that very fear. Even so, he who flies not far from sin, but keeps near to it, lives in continual fear and often falls. -St. John Chrysostom
TODAY IN HISTORY
1789 What is believed to have been the first Catholic newspaper in America, “The Courier de Boston” published its first issue.
Christian tradition says that in the year 33 this was the day that Jesus rose from the dead. This date has been reached by scholars based on facts given in the bible regarding Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.
INTENTION FOR THE DAY
Please pray for all people who are persecuted for their faith.
Image: Statue of Saint Adalbert of Prague near Church of the Visitation of Our Lady in Hluboké Mašůvky, Znojmo District | photo by Jiří Sedláček
Saint Adalbert of Prague
Saint of the Day for April 22
(956 – April 23, 997)
Saint Adalbert of Prague’s Story
Opposition to the Good News of Jesus did not discourage Adalbert, who is now remembered with great honor in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Germany.
Born to a noble family in Bohemia, he received part of his education from Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg. At the age of 27, he was chosen as bishop of Prague. Those who resisted his program of clerical reform forced him into exile eight years later.
In time, the people of Prague requested his return as their bishop. Within a short time, however, he was exiled again after excommunicating those who violated the right of sanctuary by dragging a woman accused of adultery from a church and murdering her.
After a short ministry in Hungary, he went to preach the Good News to people living near the Baltic Sea. He and two companions were martyred by pagan priests in that region. Adalbert’s body was immediately ransomed and buried in the Gniezno, Poland, cathedral. In the mid-11th century, his relics were moved to Saint Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
Preaching the Good News can be dangerous work whether the audience is already baptized or not. Adalbert fearlessly preached Jesus’ gospel and received a martyr’s crown for his efforts. Similar zeal has created modern martyrs in many places, especially in Central and South America. Some of those martyrs grew up in areas once evangelized by Adalbert.
The Liturgical Feast of Saint Adalbert of Prague is April 23.