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Oct. 21 Saturday of the Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time, Weekday

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Hilarion, who was born of pagan parents near Gaza in Palestine toward the close of the third century. He studied at Alexandria and became a Christian at the age of 15. Following the example of St. Anthony in Egypt, Hilarion resolved to become a hermit in the desert, and Anthony himself trained the youth. He gave all his possessions to the poor, and became the father of monasticism in Palestine and Syria, famous for his miracles and sanctity. He lived to be over 80, dying on the island of Cyprus in 372.

Oct. 20 Optional Memorial of St. Paul of the Cross, priest, Opt. Mem.

St. Paul of the Cross devoted himself to the service of the poor and the sick. He is best known for his apostolic zeal and his great penances. He founded the congregation of the Passionists.

Oct. 19 Memorial of Sts. Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf, priests and martyrs and companions, martyrs, Memorial

Today in the dioceses of the United States the Church celebrates the optional memorial of Sts. Issac Jogues and John de Brébeuf (priests and martyrs) and their companions (martyrs). They were Jesuit missionaries who died as martyrs in North America where they preached the Gospel.

Oct. 18 Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist, Feast

St. Luke, the inspired author of the third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles, was a native of Antioch in Syria and a physician, and one of the early converts from paganism. He accompanied St. Paul on a considerable part of his missionary journey. He was also his companion while in prison at Rome on two different occasions. His account of these events, contained in the Acts, is firsthand history.

Oct. 17 Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr, Memorial

St. Ignatius is one of the great bishops of the early Church. He was the successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death by wild beasts during the Emperor Trajan's persecution. On his way to Rome, he wrote seven magnificent letters, which we still have today, concerning the Person of Christ, his love for Christ, his desire for martyrdom and on the constitution of the Church and Christian life. His sentiments before his approaching martyrdom are summed in his word in the Communion antiphon, "I am the wheat of Christ, ground by the teeth of beasts to become pure bread."

Oct. 16 Optional Memorial of St. Hedwig, religious; St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, virgin; St. Marguerite d'Youville (Canada), Opt. Mem.

Hedwig (1174-1243), the aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, was married at an early age to Henry, Duke of Silesia. After their six children had been born, they both strove to advance in sanctity and to enrich Silesia and Poland with monasteries, hospitals, and leper asylums. When Henry died in 1238, Hedwig took the habit of the Cistercian nuns at Trebnitz (where one of her daughters was the abbess), but retained the administration of her property so that she could give personal relief to the suffering.

Oct. 15 Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Sunday

The king said to him, "My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?" But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, "Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth." Many are invited, but few are chosen (Mt 22:12-14).

Oct. 14 Optional Memorial of St. Callistus I, pope and martyr, Opt. Mem.

A Christian slave of Rome, Callistus was ordained deacon by Pope St. Zephyrinus, whom he succeeded as pope in the year 217. As deacon he was guardian of the Christian cemetery on the Appian Way which is still known by his name. While he vigorously opposed heresy, his charitable attitude toward repentant sinners incurred the wrath of contemporary rigorists.

Oct. 13 Friday of the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time, Weekday

St. Edward (1003-1066), called the Confessor, was the grandson of St. Edward, king and martyr, and became king of England at the age of forty-seven. As king he was noted for his gentleness, humility, detachment and angelic purity. He preserved perfect chastity in his wedded life. So little was his heart set on riches that he freely dispensed his goods at the palace gate to the sick and poor. His reign was one of almost continuous peace. The people were prosperous and ruined churches were rebuilt. All spoke affectionately of the wise measures of the "good King Edward." According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is his feast.

Oct. 12 Thursday of the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time, Weekday

St. Wilfrid, mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, was born in Northumbria and studied at Lindisfarne and Canterbury. Accompanying St. Benedict Biscop to Rome, he tarried for a whole year at Lyons with St. Delphinus, who tried to make him marry his niece. Named Bishop of York, he went to France to receive episcopal consecration and remained for two years. Wilfrid was to suffer from the lack of obedience shown by his fellow citizens toward the Apostolic See. The end of his life was almost exclusively devoted to the care of the monasteries he had founded.