Feast of St. Paschal Baylon (May 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Paschal Candle, Baptismal Font, and Banners at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, Easter Vigil 2012 (Saturday, April 7)

Image Source = Karen Hale Hankins, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church

SAINT PASCHAL BAYLON (1540-1592)

Franciscan

St. Paschal Baylon lived from Pentecost 1540 to Pentecost 1592.  His name, Paschal, comes from his date of birth, for Pentecost is the fiftieth day of Easter, the season during which the Paschal Candle stands in church on a consistent basis.  Names are important and should indicate parental wisdom in their choice.  If the child must live with the name, the label ought to be one which he or she can wear fruitfully in life.  This choice of name fulfilled those criteria plus another one:  It described the saint.  At the lighting of the Paschal Candle at the Easter Vigil, the priest says or chants,

The light of Christ.

St. Paschal’s life shone the light of Christ wherever he went.

Above:  St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, Atlanta, Georgia, April 7, 2012

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

(https://picasaweb.google.com/114749828757741527421/EasterVigilStMartins03#5729164939555794770)

The saint was born in Torre Hormood, Aragon, close to then border with Castille, in modern-day Spain.  He worked as a shepherd until age twenty-four, at which point he had been trying to become a Franciscan for six years.  Finally successful, the saint devoted himself to the poor, the sick, the Holy Eucharist, and our Lord’s holy mother.  He served mostly as a doorkeeper at various Iberian friaries and spent hours at a time praying in front of high altars.

The 1500s were times of religious intolerance of the violent kind in Europe.  Histories refer to the Religious Wars during the Reformation Era:  Protestants killed Roman Catholics, Roman Catholics killed Protestants, and almost nobody liked the Anabaptists.  In Switzerland, for example, Calvinists killed Anabaptists (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/feast-of-felix-manz-january-4/).  Beyond killing there was non-fatal violence.  In that context St. Paschal, wearing his habit, traveled through Reformation-divided France to deliver a message to Father Christopher de Chaffontaines, Minister General of the Observants, especially ascetic Franciscans.  People attacked the saint more than once on the journey.  Along the way he defended the doctrine of Transubstantiation to Huguenots, suffered beatings, and almost died.  He did suffer lasting injuries during one mob attack.

The saint died in 1592, at Villareal friary.  The Roman Catholic Church canonized him in 1690.  He is the patron of shepherds (he had been a shepherd), altar guilds (for his Eucharistic adoration), and, oddly enough, Italian women (his name in Italian rhymes with “donna”).

May the light of Christ also shine in our lives.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 16, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERNADETTE OF LOURDES, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF ISABELLA GILMORE, ANGLICAN DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM FIRMATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, whose grace your servant Saint Paschal Baylon, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: