July 4, 2017

Optional Memorial of Saint Anthony Zaccaria

Saint Anthony Zaccaria

July 5th, is the optional memorial of Saint Anthony Zaccaria. He was born and came of age during a particularly turbulent period in the Church’s history — the time of the Protestant Reformation. By 1500, while it was apparent to many that reforms were indeed needed, saints like Anthony together with others worked within the Church to revitalize, re-energize and rejuvenate the practice of faith.

Anthony was born in 1502, While still quite young, his father died, leaving his mother a widow at the age of 18. Devoted to her only child, she saw to his spiritual education, raising him to practice charity toward the poor and the sick.

He received a medical doctorate at 22, but a short time later, he felt himself drawn to a religious vocation. Returning home, he realized God was calling him to the healing of souls rather than of bodies, and he immediately gave himself to sacred studies. The future saint was ordained to the priesthood at age 26.

Known chiefly for his preaching and his public acts of penance, Anthony also founded the congregation known as the Barnabites, named for the companion of Saint Paul. In addition, he began such practices as Forty Hours devotion, encouraging the laity to become involved in the apostolate of the Church.

On July 5, 1538, exhausted by his labors, Saint Anthony died in his mother’s home, at the age of 36.  Grant, O Lord, that in the spirit of the Apostle Paul we may pursue the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, for, having learned it, Saint Anthony Zaccaria constantly preached your saving word in the Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever. Amen. Saint Anthony Zaccaria please pray for us.

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