Feast of St. Peter Canisius (December 20)   Leave a comment

1521-1597

Roman Catholic Priest

Leader of the Counter-Reformation in Germany

St. Peter Canisius was born in Nijmegan, The Netherlands.  His father wanted him to become an attorney, so the saint began to study law.  Yet St. Peter Canisius discerned a religious vocation, so he began to study theology, after which he joined the Society of Jesus.  This was indeed his calling, one he followed with complete devotion.  The saint gave his inheritance to the poor, visited the sick, and taught religion.

The Religious Wars raged in Europe at the time.  Protestants fought each other, as well as Roman Catholics, who fought Protestants.  Yet St. Peter Canisius understood that hostility and antipathy were counterproductive, not to mention, sinful, in defending Roman Catholicism against its critics.  The saint, a delegate to the Council of Trent, developed the catechism of 1555 and wrote books defending Catholic doctrine.  He favored friendly persuasion as the means of countering the Protestant Reformation.  And he was quite convincing within the German states, where he led many Protestants back to Holy Mother Church.

St. Peter Canisius died in 1597, six years after a major stroke.  The Roman Catholic Church canonized him in 1925 and declared him a Doctor of the Church.

Normally the feast day of St. Peter Canisius is December 21, but I have blocked off that day on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days for St. Thomas the Apostle.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 10, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER CRUMMELL

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A Prayer from Lives of the Saints:

God, you endowed your priest, St. Peter Canisius with holiness and learning for the defense of the Church.  Through his intercession, grant that those who seek the truth may joyfully find you and that the people of believers may persevere in bearing witness to you.  Amen.

Readings I Have Selected:

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 84

Romans 12:9-21

Matthew 16:13-20

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