May the Saints & Feast Days for August inspire you to grow closer to Christ Jesus. The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
August 4: St. John Vianney (1786-1859)
St. John Vianney was ordained a priest in 1815 after many struggles. Three years later he was appointed as the parish priest of Ars. Here he spent the next forty-two years of his life devoting himself to prayer, mortification, and pastoral works. He was particularly known for his guidance in Confession, and as the crowds of penitents grew to see this holy priest, he would spend 12 to 16 hours a day in the confessional. He is the patron saint of parish priests.
“One need not say much to pray well, we know that Jesus is there in the Tabernacle. Let us open our hearts to Him, let us rejoice in His sacred presence. That is the best prayer”.– St. John Vianney
August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration
In the Transfiguration, while Jesus prayed, Christ briefly revealed the glorified state which would be permanent after His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. The splendor of His inward Divinity overflowed and permeated His garments, so that Christ stood before Peter, James, and John in a snow-white brightness. The purpose of the Transfiguration was to encourage and strengthen the Apostles through His upcoming passion and death.
In St. Luke’s gospel, it mentions that Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus about the exodus He was to accomplish in Jerusalem. This exodus will be for all of mankind. Through His death and resurrection, He will lead us from slavery to sin, to eternal life, for all who will embrace Him.
“Then a cloud came casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.”– Mark 9:7
August 14: St. Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)
St. Maximilian Kolbe was born in Poland and was ordained a priest in the Franciscan order in 1918. Filled with love for the Blessed Mother, he founded the Militia of the Immaculate Mary and, with his preaching and writing, undertook an intense apostolic mission in Europe and Asia. He was imprisoned in Auschwitz in 1941 for his opposition to the Nazis, during the Second World War. St. Maximilian continued his priestly ministry while imprisoned and brought the light of Christ to a dark world. When three prisoners escaped, ten others were selected to be starved to death in an underground bunker. He offered himself in exchange for the father of a large family who was to be executed. After two weeks, he was given a lethal injection when he failed to die fast enough from starvation.
St. Kolbe is a great example of how to use modern communication technology to proclaim the Gospel. Rather than berate the media, he used their techniques to publish pamphlets, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000, and a monthly
magazine distributed to one million people. He even started a short-wave radio station and planned to build a motion picture studio. He is the patron saint of journalists.
“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”– St. Maximilian Kolbe
August 15: Solemnity of the Assumption
On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. In this document, he stated “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven.” To avoid all that is uncertain, the Pope did not state either the manner or the circumstances of the time and place in which the Assumption took place — only the fact that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven. Pope St. John Paul II summed up the essence of the Assumption when he stated that “the Assumption truly was an event of love, in which Mary’s ardent longing to be with her son was finally fulfilled.”
“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant was seen within His temple … and a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”– Rev 11:19, 12:1
August 22: Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Queenship of Mary was established as a universal feast day for the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1954, four years after declaring the dogma of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. In his encyclical that established the feast of the Queenship of Mary, Ad Caeli Reginam (To the Queen of Heaven), Pope Pius XII stated: “that Mary is the Queen of heaven because her Son, Jesus Christ, is the king of Israel and the heavenly king of the universe.” The tradition of the Davidic kings recognized the mother of the king as the queen mother of Israel, who brought the petitions of the people to the king.
In 1969 Pope Paul VI moved the feast of the Queenship of Mary to the octave day of the feast of the Assumption, to emphasize the connection of Mary’s queenship and her glorification in body and soul, seated at the right hand of Christ. This is also why these two events are side by side in the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.
“Christ was raised in glory to the right hand of the Father, while Mary herself would be raised to that same glory in the Assumption, enjoying beforehand, by a unique privilege, the destiny reserved for all the just at the resurrection of the dead. Crowned in glory, Mary shines forth as Queen of the Angels and Saints.” – St. Pope John Paul II
August 24: Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle
In St. John’s Gospel, Bartholomew is known by the name Nathaniel. He came from Cana in Galilee, was one of the first disciples called by the Lord. In that initial meeting Jesus declared: “Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile!” Following the Ascension, he is said to have preached in Greater Armenia and to have been martyred there. While still alive, his skin was torn from his body. The Armenians honor him as the apostle of their nation. He is the patron saint of those who have neurological diseases.
“Nathaniel said to Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”” – John 1:49
August 28: St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (354-430)
St. Augustine received a good Christian education, as a youth, from his mother, St. Monica. As a law student in Carthage, however, he gave himself to all kinds of excesses and finally joined the Manichean sect. He then taught rhetoric at Milan where he was converted by the prayers of his mother and St. Ambrose in 387. In 391 he was ordained priest at Hippo, in 394 made coadjutor to bishop Valerius, and then from 396 to 430 bishop of Hippo. Augustine is one of the four great Doctors of the Western Church, the other three being St. Ambrose, Pope St. Gregory the Great, and St. Jerome. His most famous work is his autobiography, The Confessions. In this work he describes his painful search for God and truth, and ultimately his conversion to the Catholic Faith.
To Augustine, confession meant both an admission of guilt and praise for God. His autobiography is a great testimony on God’s grace, mercy, and patience in the work of redemption.
“I sighed and you heard me. I wavered and you steadied me. I traveled along the broad way of the world, but you did not desert me.” – St. Augustine, The Confessions
August 29: The Passion of St. John the Baptist
The story of the beheading of John the Baptist is well known. He was beheaded at the request of Herodius, who was in an adulterous relationship with King Herod, after the daughter of Herodias had mesmerized Herod with her porn star act. Herod, though reluctant, ordered John’s death to save face. This feast that Herod gave exhibited the depth of depravity that our fallen nature can descend.
Yet there is another aspect of this gospel story that we should reflect on. John the Baptist was martyred for the truth about marriage. He had rebuked Herod for adultery and marrying his brother’s wife, while his brother was still living. Marriage is the cornerstone of our society established by God in the Garden of Eden. Its importance cannot be overstated. That is why it has come under tremendous attack in our modern society with divorce, cohabitation, same-sex marriage, and hook-ups. This is our enemy tempting people and leading them far away from God’s loving design. The results in our current culture have been devastating, and particularly to our children. You could even argue that our distortion of all aspects of marriage has been a major contributor to abortion. You do not see women who are striving to live a sacramental marriage having abortions. Unfortunately, women in a different state of mind are having abortions, and many times encouraged to do so by men.
On this feast day, let us ask St. John the Baptist for his intercession for the sanctity of marriage in our culture. Whether it be for couples who are struggling in their marriage and considering separation or divorce, or couples who are not yet married that they preserve the sanctity of their relationship.
“For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because John said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her”. – Matthew 14: 3-4