May the Saints & Feast Days for the month of 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. He spent 16 to 18 hours a day in the Confessional the last 10 years of his life, and by 1855 the number of pilgrims from around the world who came to see him reached 20,000. St. John is also known for his miracles of supernatural knowledge of the past and future, and the healing of the sick, particularly children. 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 who were discouraged by their Master’s prediction of His own Passion and Death. By His Transfiguration, Jesus was teaching the Apostles that His redeeming work is tightly united to two events: the passion of His Cross and His Resurrection. 

“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. Imprisoned in Auschwitz in 1941for 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, 10 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. 

“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 

There is no doubt that the Assumption was widely held to be true before its declaration as a dogma. When Pope Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, it drew attention to the possibility of a dogmatic definition of the Assumption. Many began to petition the Apostolic See for its immediate definition. Between 1849 and 1940 more than 2,500 such petitions were received from bishops and superiors of religious orders, which represented nearly 75% of the Catholic hierarchy. On May 1st, 1946, Pope Pius XII sent an Encyclical Letter (“Deiparae Virginis”) to all the bishops of the world asking them to make known to him the belief and devotion of themselves, their clergy, and their people regarding the Assumption. 1185 bishops answered that the dogma could safely be defined, and only 16 questioned the advisability of the proclamation at that time, a near-unanimous response. 

On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. The announcement was made at St. Peter’s and was attended by 40 Cardinals, 500 bishops, thousands of priests, and close to one million lay persons. In Munificentissimus Deuse Pope Pius 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 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.”

“While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually “within” all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a “mother” to whom we can turn at every moment.”

– Pope Benedict XVI 

August 19: St. John Eudes (1601-1680) 

St. John Eudes was born in France and ordained by the age of 24. He is best known for his promotion of devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, during his parish missions — of which he gave hundreds across France, some lasting up to several months. St. John was the first person to write an office and liturgy for the feast days of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

St. John practiced what he preached. He cared for the sick during the plagues that swept France in 1627 and 1631, living in a huge wine cask in the middle of a field so that he wouldn’t infect anyone else. He founded a religious community, Sisters of Charity of the Refuge, dedicated to helping women escape the slavery of protituion. He founded a religious order, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (aka the Eudists) that focuses on the training of priests and religious. 

“Let us, therefore, give ourselves to God with a great desire to begin to live thus, and beg Him to destroy in us the life of the world of sin, and to establish His life within us.”

– St John Eudes 

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
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