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June 2019

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Jun 27
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Cyril of Alexandria’s Story (378 – June 27, 444) Saints are not born with halos around their heads. Cyril, recognized as a great teacher of the Church, began his career as archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, with impulsive, often violent, actions. He pillaged and closed the churches of the Novatian heretics–who required those who denied the faith to be re-baptized–participated in the deposing of Saint John Chrysostom, and confiscated Jewish property, expelling the Jews from Alexandria in retaliation for their attacks…

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Saint Irenaeus

Jun 28
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Irenaeus’ Story (c. 130 – c. 202) The Church is fortunate that Irenaeus was involved in many of its controversies in the second century. He was a student, well trained no doubt, with great patience in investigating, tremendously protective of apostolic teaching, but prompted more by a desire to win over his opponents than to prove them in error. As bishop of Lyons he was especially concerned with the Gnostics, who took their name from the Greek word for…

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Saints Peter and Paul

Jun 29
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom
Saint Peter and Paul

Saints Peter and Paul’s Story Peter (d. 64?). Saint Mark ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax. He has recorded doubt, misunderstanding, and the opposition of many to Jesus. Now Peter makes his great confession of faith: “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29b). It was one of the many glorious moments in Peter’s life, beginning with the day he was called from his nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a fisher of men for Jesus.…

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First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Jun 30
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome’s Story There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D. There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews…

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July 2019

Saint Junipero Serra

Jul 1
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Junipero Serra’s Story (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the…

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Saint Oliver Plunkett

Jul 2
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Oliver Plunkett’s Story (November 1, 1629 – July 1, 1681) The name of today’s saint is especially familiar to the Irish and the English—and with good reason. The English martyred Oliver Plunkett for defending the faith in his native Ireland during a period of severe persecution. Born in County Meath in 1629, he studied for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained there in 1654. After some years of teaching and service to the poor of Rome he was…

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Saint Thomas the Apostle

Jul 3
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Thomas the Apostle’s Story (1st Century – December 21, 72) Poor Thomas! He made one remark and has been branded as “Doubting Thomas” ever since. But if he doubted, he also believed. He made what is certainly the most explicit statement of faith in the New Testament: “My Lord and My God!” and, in so expressing his faith, gave Christians a prayer that will be said till the end of time. He also occasioned a compliment from Jesus to…

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Saint Elizabeth of Portugal

Jul 4
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal’s Story (1271 – July 4, 1336) Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus, fortunately prepared, she was able…

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Saint Anthony Zaccaria

Jul 5
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Anthony Zaccaria’s Story (1502  – July 5, 1539) At the same time that Martin Luther was attacking abuses in the Church, a reformation within the Church was already being attempted. Among the early movers of the Counter-Reformation was Anthony Zaccaria. His mother became a widow at 18 and devoted herself to the spiritual education of her son. He received a medical doctorate at 22 and, while working among the poor of his native Cremona in Italy, was attracted to…

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Saint Maria Goretti

Jul 6
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Maria Goretti’s Story (October 16, 1890 – July 6, 1902) One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members…

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