Mass Schedule – Easter IV (April 24, 2016)
25, St. Mark, Evangelist
30, Catherine of Sienna
+ The book of Acts mentions a Mark, or John Mark, a kinsman of Barnabas. The house of his mother Mary was a meeting place for Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) and when Paul and Barnabas, who had been in Antioch, came to Jerusalem, they brought Mark back to Antioch with them and he accompanied them on their first missionary journey; but left them prematurely and returned to Jerusalem. When Paul and Barnabas were about to set out on a second missionary journey, Barnabas proposed to take Mark, but Paul thought him unreliable, so that eventually Barnabas made one journey taking Mark, and Paul another journey taking Silas. Mark is not mentioned again in Acts. However, it appears that he became more reliable, for Paul mentions him as a trusted assistant in Colossians 4:10 and again in 2 Timothy 4:11.The Apostle Peter had a co-worker whom he refers to as “my son Mark” (1 Peter 5:13) and Papias, an early second century writer, in describing the origins of the Gospels, tells us that Mark was the “interpreter” of Peter, and that he wrote down (“but not in order”) the stories that he had heard Peter tell in his preaching about the life and teachings of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark, in describing the arrest of Jesus (14:51f), speaks of a young man who followed the arresting party, wearing only a linen cloth wrapped around his body, whom the arresting party tried to seize, but who left the cloth in their hands and fled naked. It is speculated that this young man was the writer himself, since the detail is hardly worth mentioning if he were not. Tradition has it that after the death of Peter, Mark left Rome and went to preach in Alexandria, Egypt, where he was eventually martyred.
+ Catherine Benincasa, born in 1347, was the youngest of twenty-five children of a wealthy dyer of Sienna (or Siena). At the age of six, she had a vision of Christ in glory, surrounded by His saints. From that time on, she spent most of her time in prayer and meditation, over the opposition of her parents, who wanted her to be more like the average girl of her social class. Eventually they gave in, and at the age of sixteen she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic (First Order = friars, Second Order = nuns, Third Order = laypersons), where she became a nurse, caring for patients with leprosy and advanced cancer whom other nurses disliked to treat. She acquired a reputation as insightful and sound in judgement, and people from all walks of life sought her spiritual advice, both in person and by letter — four hundred letters from her to bishops, kings, scholars, merchants, and obscure peasants have been collected in a book. She persuaded many priests who were living in luxury to give away their goods and to live simply. In her day, the popes, officially Bishops of Rome, had been living for about seventy years, not at Rome but at Avignon in France, where they were under the political control of the King of France (the Avignon Papacy, sometimes called the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy, began when Philip the Fair, King of France, captured Rome and the Pope in 1303). Catherine visited Avignon in 1376 and told Pope Gregory XI that he had no business to live away from Rome. He heeded her advice, and moved to Rome. She then acted as his ambassador to Florence, and was able to reconcile a quarrel between the Pope and the leaders of that city. She then retired to Sienna, where she wrote a book called the Dialog, an account of her visions and other spiritual experiences, with advice on cultivating a life of prayer. After Gregory’s death in 1378, the Cardinals, mostly French, elected an Italian Pope, Urban VI, who on attaining office turned out to be arrogant and abrasive and tyrannical, and perhaps to have other faults as well. The Cardinals met again elsewhere, declared that the first election had been under duress from the Roman mob and therefore invalid, and elected a new Pope, Clement VII, who established his residence at Avignon. Catherine worked tirelessly, both to persuade Urban to mend his ways (her letters to him are respectful but severe and uncompromising — as one historian has said, she perfected the art of kissing the Pope’s feet while simultaneously twisting his arm), and to persuade others that the peace and unity of the Church required the recognition of Urban as lawful Pope. Despite her efforts, the Papal Schism continued until 1417. It greatly weakened the prestige of the Bishops of Rome, and thus helped to pave the way for the Protestant Reformation a century later. Catherine is known (1) as a mystic, a contemplative who devoted herself to prayer, (2) as a humanitarian, a nurse who undertook to alleviate the suffering of the poor and the sick; (3) as an activist, a renewer of Church and society, (4) as an adviser and counselor, with a wide range of interests, who always made time for troubled and uncertain persons who told her their problems — large and trivial, religious and secular.
+ All Saints Men’s Group will meets each Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. in undercroft of the parish church.
+ Our Monday Morning Bible Study will meet next on Monday, May 2. The Bible study meets each Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. For further information contact Priscilla King at email@example.com.
+ The Holy Communion is celebrated Monday through Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
+All Saints parishioner may obtain a Mass card from the Church office. A Mass card is a greeting card given to someone to inform him or her that a deceased loved one or friend was remembered and prayed for at a weekly Mass. It is a specifically Christian way to express one’s love. Call Julie McDermott at the Church office (434-979-2842) and she will help you fill out the form. The celebrant will sign the card and we will mail it from the Church to the family of the loved one.