Monday 14 January 2019

Saints of the Roman Calendar - Nicholas Schofield - CTS Living the Liturgy Series

Saints of the Roman Calendar
CTS Living the Liturgy Series
Nicholas Schofield
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860827907
eISBN 9781784694081

This book is a companion volume to 'Saints of the Roman Canon' by Julien Chilcott-Monk and like that book this book was not exactly what I was expecting. I picked up both books last summer after discovering the Catholic Truth Society Booklets. It was a great read. The description of this volume is:

“The Church sets aside special days throughout the year to remember particular saints with feasts, memorials and solemnities. From the best-known reformers, founders and Doctors of the Church, to lesser-known saints and martyrs, each has been carefully chosen by the Church to be celebrated for his or her life and works. These texts help us to discover more about these holy men and women and why they are so important. It is an invaluable tool for daily prayer and a helpful introduction to those who loved Christ in a special way. This eBook includes brief biographies of all the saints of the new General Roman Calendar celebrated by the universal Church and those of the national calendars of Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.”

And that is exactly what you get. I really wish they had included the Saints specific to the Canadian church also. But even with that being said; this is a good book to read. Over the last few years I have been reading more and more about saints. A wide range of books from young adult titles, children’s series, historical fiction about the lives of specific saints, biographies, and autobiographies. The book is broken into chapters for each month, and then Saints based on the day of the year. And a total of 340 saints are profiled in this book. The introduction begins with these words:

“Scattered across the liturgical year, interwoven through the seasons, are the feasts of the saints. As can be seen by flicking through the pages of the Roman Martyrology, the official book listing these anniversaries, every day of the year is dedicated to the memory of saints who lived in diverse times, places and conditions. The dates chosen are typically that of the saint’s death (dies natalis), burial (dies depositionis) or translation of the relics. In the case of Our Lady and St John the Baptist the date of their earthly birthday is also marked year by year. In some instances another significant day is chosen: thus, Blessed John Henry Newman is commemorated on the anniversary of his reception into the Church. The resulting ‘sanctoral cycle’ presents us with a rich cloud of witnesses who continue to inspire us and intercede on our behalf.”

And later states:

“This booklet is not meant to be a comprehensive dictionary of saints; these are readily available elsewhere. Rather these brief biographies are intended to be a companion to the liturgical year and an aid to prayer. They originally appeared in the Daily Missal published by the Catholic Truth Society and are here presented in a more convenient format. If thought appropriate, the texts could be used by the celebrant at the beginning of Mass or even in the homily. In summarising the lives of the saints, an effort has been made to provide only the essential details and to avoid anything that is historically dubious.”

If the feast is optional or specific to a regional church that is stated for example:

11 February
Our Lady of Lourdes
Optional Memorial
The feast marks the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 to fourteen-year-old St Bernadette Soubirous. There were eighteen apparitions in all, the last of which was on 16 July 1858. The message of Lourdes is a call to personal conversion, prayer and charity. In a special way, the shrine has become closely associated with the sick.

In Ireland
Saint Gobnait, Virgin
Optional Memorial
St Gobnait or Gobnet (sixth century) was probably born in County Clare and, according to legend, studied with St Enda on the Aran Islands. Medieval sources claim she founded churches at Dunquin, County Kerry and Dungarvan, County Waterford and a monastery at Ballyvourney, County Cork. She is remembered for her love of bee-keeping and her care of the sick.”

As a quick brief introduction to a lot of saints this is a great little volume. I enjoyed working my way through it. And could see myself reading it again with my children when they are a little older. Another excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Nicholas Schofield:
The English Cardinals
Saints of the Roman Calendar
A Brief History of English Catholicism
The English Vicars Apostolic (1688-1850)
Roman Miscellany
History of the Papacy
William Lockhart

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