May the Saints & Feast Days for the month of April inspire you to grow closer to Christ Jesus. The month of April is dedicated to the Holy Spirit.
First Friday Devotion: April 1, 2022
“On Friday during Holy Communion, He said these words to His unworthy slave, if I mistake not: ‘I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that Its all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on nine first Fridays of consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they will not die under My displeasure or without receiving their sacraments, My divine Heart making Itself their assured refuge at the last moment.”
First Friday Requirements: To meet the requirements for the First Friday Devotion a person must, on each First Friday for nine consecutive months:
1. Attend Holy Mass
2. Receive Communion
3. Go to Confession*
*Some Catholic resources on this devotion say that Confession is not strictly required unless you need the sacrament in order to receive a worthy Communion.
The communicant should have the intention, at least implicitly, of making reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for all the sinfulness and ingratitude of men.
Our Lord made these promises to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque regarding those who practice the Nine First Fridays and have a deep devotion to His Sacred Heart.
April 4: St. Isadore of Seville (560 to 636 AD)
St. Isidore, bishop of Seville, Spain from 599 to 636 AD is a Doctor of the Church and considered the last of the Latin early Church fathers. He is regarded as the great restorer of the Spanish Church after two centuries of the barbaric, and Arian, Visigoth’s rule over Spain. St. Isadore eliminated the Arian heresy and established seminaries in every diocese in Spain to ensure that priests taught the people the truth of our Catholic faith.
St. Isadore was also the first to compile an encyclopedia of all knowledge known at that time including theology, medicine, geography, astronomy, history, and art. His encyclopedia was used well into the Middle Ages by educational institutions. Yet he was also a man of prayer and active service for the poor. During the last six months of his life, he had increased his almsgiving to the point that his house was crowded from morning till night with the poor of the countryside.
“The Savior Jesus offers us the example of active life when during the day He devoted Himself to working signs and miracles in the town, but He showed the contemplative life when He withdrew to the mountain and spent the night in prayer. Just as we must love God in contemplation, so we must love our neighbor with action.”– St. Isadore
April 14: Holy Thursday
Two Masses are allowed on Holy Thursday—the Chrism Mass and the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. In each diocese there is a Chrism Mass or Mass of the Holy Oils, said in the morning at the cathedral of the diocese. The holy oils blessed by the bishop are used throughout the diocese for the following year in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. This Mass also celebrates the institution of the priesthood.
During the evening of Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. It is celebrated in the evening because the Passover began at sundown. There is only one Mass, at which the whole community and priests of the parish participate. This Mass
recalls the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood. During this Mass, the Gloria is sung and the bells are rung. After the Gloria, there is no more music or bells until the Easter Vigil. After the Communion Prayer, there is no final blessing. The Holy Eucharist is carried in procession through Church and then transferred into a place of reposition. After the Mass, we reflect on the Agony in the Garden, and the arrest and imprisonment of Jesus. The altar is stripped bare, crosses are removed or covered.
“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with Me … watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”– Mat 26:38-41
April 15: Good Friday
Today the whole Church mourns the death of our Savior. This is a day set aside for fasting and prayer. According to the Church’s long-standing tradition, the sacraments are not celebrated on Good Friday or Holy Saturday. Instead of Mass, we hold a service that is the “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion,” around three o’clock in the afternoon, when Christ expired. The service is divided into three parts: Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion. Then there is a “Prayer After Communion,” and a “Prayer Over the People,” and everyone departs in silence.
“Yet it was our pain that He bore, our sufferings He endured. We thought of Him as stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted, but He was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by His wounds we were healed”.– Isa 53: 4-5.
April 17: Easter Sunday The Resurrection of the Lord
“He is risen.”
The resurrection of Christ is a pledge of our own resurrection. It is the foundation upon which our faith rests. It is the guarantee of our redemption and God’s assurance that our sins are forgiven and that we are called to eternal life. Christ, the innocent One, has reconciled sinners to the Father. The Israelites marked the doors of their houses with the blood of the paschal lamb. We are the new Israel, and “Christ our Pasch is sacrificed.” We mark ourselves with His blood, whenever we receive the Holy Eucharist”. – The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B
“But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for HE HAS RISEN, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that HE HAS RISEN from the dead.”– Matthew 28:5-7
April 24: Divine Mercy Sunday
In the visions to St.Faustina Kowalska, our Lord called for a special feast day to be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. Today, that feast day is known as Divine Mercy Sunday, so named by Pope St. John Paul II at the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000.
From St. Faustina’s Diary: Divine Mercy in my Soul, “My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.”
April 25: Feast of St. Mark
St. Mark was a Jew by birth and the son of Mary who owned the home which was a meeting place for the first Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). A close friendship existed between St. Mark and St. Peter. He was Peter’s companion, disciple, and interpreter, and Mark was present at Peter’s preaching in Rome. According to some of the early church fathers, Mark wrote his gospel at the request of the Romans who wanted to have St. Peter’s preaching committed to writing. St. Peter reviewed the work and approved it to be read during liturgical assemblies.
There are several indications that this gospel was written for gentile believers in Rome, not the least of which is that this is the only gospel that records the Roman Centurion’s declaration at the death of Christ that “truly this Man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).
St. Mark was appointed the bishop of Alexandria and died a martyr’s death by being dragged through the streets around 68 AD.
“Now after John (the Baptist) was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel”’.– Mark 1: 14-15
April 29: St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
St. Catherine of Siena was canonized on June 29, 1461, and declared a Doctor of the Church by St. Pope Paul VI in October 1970. She is best known for her efforts to convince Pope Gregory XI to move the papacy from Avignon, France back to Rome. Pope Gregory returned his administration to Rome in January 1377. She is also known for her book on mystical theology, The Dialogue of Divine Providence, which is a dialogue between a soul who “rises up” to God and God himself.
“We are of such value to God that He came to live among us … and to guide us home. He will go to any length to seek us, even to be lifted high upon the cross to draw us back to Himself. We can only respond by loving God for His love.”– St. Catherine of Siena
April 30: St. Pope Pius V (1504-1572)
Pope from 1566 to 1572, his main objective was the implementation of the decrees of the Council of Trent, which called for significant reforms to the Church. He published the Roman Catechism, revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal; he also declared St. Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church. In dealing with the threat of the Ottoman Turks, Pope Pius organized an alliance between Venice and Spain, which culminated in the Battle of Lepanto. This battle was a complete victory over the Turks. The day of the victory was declared the Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory, in recognition of Our Lady’s intervention in response to the rosaries that had been recited across Catholic Europe.
“In union with the perfect confidence and hope that the Holy and Blessed Virgin placed in Thee, do I hope O Lord.”–St. Pope Pius V