May the Saints & Feast Days for the month of June
inspire you to grow closer to Christ Jesus. The month
of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

June 2: Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Corpus Christi celebrates the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. This feast day was established as a result of a Eucharistic miracle. In 1263, a German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped at the town of Bolsena, north of Rome, while he was on a pilgrimage to Rome. Peter was afflicted with doubts about the holy Eucharist. He agonized over whether at the words of consecration the bread and wine became the Body and Blood of Our Savior and whether Christ actually was present in the consecrated host. As he was celebrating Mass, as soon as he said the words of consecration, the host began to bleed. Blood fell onto his hands and onto the corporal on the altar. He was awestruck and began to cry. At first, he was not sure what to do and tried to hide the blood, but then interrupted the Mass and announced what had happened. The congregation, too, was awestruck. He asked to be taken to see Pope Urban IV who was about 10 miles away. Peter told the Holy Father what had happened. Urban IV then ordered an investigation. After all of the facts had been ascertained, the Holy Father declared a miracle had occurred. One year later, in 1264, Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi. Today, at the Church of St. Christina in Bolsena, Italy, where the miracle took place, the blood-stained altar and corporal are preserved along with fragments of the miraculous host.

“Desirous that we be made partakers of His divinity, the only-begotten Son of God has taken to Himself our nature, so that having become man, He would be enabled to make men gods. He assumed our nature to bring us salvation. For on the altar of the Cross He immolated to the Father His own Body as victim for our reconciliation and shed His blood for our ransom and regeneration. So that we would always remember these great benefits, He left us His Body as food and His Blood as drink under appearances of bread and wine.”

– St. Thomas Aquinas

June 7: Sacred Heart of Jesus

While devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has a long and ancient history, this feast day is relatively recent. The Solemnity was first celebrated in France. The liturgy was approved by the local bishop at the request of St. John Eudes, who celebrated the Mass on August 31, 1670. The celebration was adopted in other places in France. In 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the universal Church.

On the 100th anniversary of the Feast of the Sacred Heart Pope Pius XII wrote a major
encyclical on the Sacred Heart, Haurietis Aquas ( You Will Draw Waters). He based his
encyclical on Isaiah 12:3, “with joy you will draw waters from the wells of salvation” which points to the abundance of the supernatural graces which flow from the heart of Christ. Haurietis Aquas called the whole Church to recognize the Sacred Heart as an important dimension of Christian spirituality. The Church gives the highest form of worship to the Heart of Jesus because it is united to the “Person of the Incarnate Son of God Himself” and is the sign and symbol of Jesus’ boundless love for mankind.

“By encouraging devotion to the Heart of Jesus, we encourage believers to open
themselves up to the mystery of God and of His love, and to allow themselves to be
transformed by it. It is a fitting task for Christians to continue to deepen their relationship with the Heart of Jesus, in such a way as to revive their faith in the saving love of God and to welcome Him into their lives.”

– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

June 8: Immaculate Heart of Mary 

Devotion to the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary dates back to early Christianity, inspired by Simeon’s prophecy “that a sword will pierce through your own soul” (Luke 2 35) and culminating with Mary’s presence at the foot of the Cross. St. Augustine says that at the foot of the cross “Mary cooperated through charity in the work of our redemption”. 

The actual feast day was first celebrated by St. Jean Eudes in Autun, France in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses. From there the feast spread to other dioceses under popes Pius VI and VII. After the revelations of the Miraculous Medal in 1830, and the establishment of the confraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Congregation of Rites approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary in 1855. This was one year after the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was declared by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854. Pius XII instituted today’s feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the whole Church on May 4, 1944, so as to obtain by her intercession “peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue”.

“Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”.

– Prayer from the Miraculous Medal

June 24: The Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist 

We celebrate on this day the birth of a key person in our salvation history. As Jesus proclaimed to the crowds “I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (MT 11:11). 

The announcement of the child’s birth came to Zechariah, his father, when he was chosen to enter the Temple sanctuary to burn incense to the Lord. While in the sanctuary, the Archangel Gabriel, appeared to him to announce John’s birth. Zechariah was told that his wife would conceive and bear a son who “will be great in the sight of the Lord and would be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, which happened during the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. The angel also foretold John the Baptist’s unique mission. That he would be a forerunner of Christ, and in the spirit and power of Elijah prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. 

After his birth, on the day of his circumcision, John’s role in God’s plan for our salvation was further emphasized. Zechariah, after his temporary muteness was removed, prophesied “and you child will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins through the tender mercy of our God” (Lk 1: 76-78). 

When John was called by God to begin his ministry his message was very simple and clear, “repent for the kingdom of God is near”. His remedy for repentance was twofold. First the rite of baptism, which for John was a symbolic act signifying a desire to be spiritually clean. He clarified for people that this was not the same baptism they would receive through the Messiah when he stated, “that I baptize you with water but there is One coming who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. Second, he admonished people that their actions should demonstrate their conversion. Share what you have with others, be honest in your business dealings, and don’t extort people for money. The culmination of John’s ministry was the baptism of Jesus. John clearly recognized that Jesus was the Messiah, that he should be baptized by Jesus and not the other way around, and that Christ was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Shortly afterwards, as more disciples starting following Jesus rather than John , he humbly recognized that his mission was coming to an end when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3/30). For good reason, we celebrate the birth of this great prophet and forerunner of Christ with a solemnity, who turned the hearts of many by speaking the truth in love.

“They said to him, ‘who are you?’ … He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord’ as the prophet Isaiah said”

– John 1:22,23 

June 28: St. Irenaeus (125-202 AD)

St. Irenaeus was a disciple of St. Polycarp (who in turn was a disciple of St. John the
Apostle) and was sent to Lyons, France to confront the heresies of the Gnostics. He is a Doctor of the Church and his most famous work is Adversus Haereses (Against the
Heresies) where he corrects the Gnostics misuse, and misinterpretation, of Biblical
passages. The Gnostics claimed that eternal life could be gained only by receiving
special knowledge about God, knowledge available to a chosen few. Irenaeus taught
that, according to Scripture, God wished all people to be saved and to know the truth.
St. Irenaeus was martyred in the persecution initiated by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus in 202 AD.

Our Lady Undoer of Knots has been a very popular novena since the 17th century.
Though the novena is based on a painting commissioned to celebrate the reconciliation of the marriage of a German noble couple, the source of Mary’s title is a quote from St.
Irenaeus: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what
the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.” Pope
Francis has promoted this devotion by proclaiming “Through Mary, all the knots of our
heart, every knot of our conscience can be undone.”

Use this web link if you are interested in praying this novena:

June 29: Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul 

Both of these Apostles are considered the foundation stones of our Catholic Faith. They were both martyred in 66 or 67 AD under Nero, in Rome. St. Peter was buried on the hill of the Vatican where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the Basilica of St. Peter’s. St. Paul was beheaded in the Via Ostia on the spot where now stands the basilica bearing his name. Under their leadership, Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, became the center of the Christian world to spread the faith. 

Today also marks the end of the Catholic Church’s Religious Freedom Week. This begins on June 22, the feast day of Sts. Thomas Moore and John Fisher. During this week, the Church prays that all religious communities can live out their faith in public, and serve the good of all. 

“Therefore brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I think it is right as long as I am in this body to arouse you by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me.”

– II Peter 1:10-11, 13-14 

“I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.”

– II Tim 4: 6-8.
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