St. Catherine of Alexandria
The Holy great-martyr St. Catherine lived at the end of the third century, a time when Christianity was nearly contemporary with those who received the Faith from the first evangelizers. Catherine is a vibrant example of the essential role which Christian laypersons play in the process of evangelization. Especially in recent times, the Catholic Church has taken great pains to emphasize this role of the laity. Saint Catherine was the daughter of an illustrious and privileged family. A convert to Christianity, she was born and raised in the great cosmopolitan city of Alexandria, which in those days was the capital of the Roman province of Egypt and the intellectual and cultural centre of the Roman Empire.
Endowed with physical and spiritual beauty, Catherine was a highly educated woman--unusual in those times--who used her considerable erudition and influence to spread and defend the Christian faith.
The 9th century Menology (that is, a Lives of the Saints) compiled for the Byzantine Emperor Basil 1 relates the circumstances of Saint Catherine's martyrdom as follows. Emperor Maximinus and his wife were making a state visit to Alexandria and, for the occasion, as festival of Roman games was held in the city in honour of the pagan idols. Catherine, "on seeing the slaughter of animals, was so greatly moved that she went to the Emperor Maximinus. She reasoned with him vigorously and said, "Why have you abandoned the Living God to worship lifeless idols?" But the emperor had her thrown into prison and she was punished severely. Then he commanded that fifty orators be brought, and ordered them to debate with Catherine, threatening to burn them all if they did not prove victorious against her. But it was the orators who found themselves defeated. They accepted baptism and were summarily executed by fire.
Inspired by her heroic example, and by her public and courageous teaching in an time of persecution in Alexandria, many of her contemporaries, including the emperor's wife, came to accept the Gospel. Catherine was put to death by order of the Roman Emperor Maximinus II in 307, on November 24th, which is the day of her yearly memorial. Tradition states that she was placed on a specially constructed spiked wheel to die. The wheel broke and subsequently Catherine was beheaded. In the 8th century her earthly remains, rediscovered by the Christians of Egypt who, since 641, had come under the rule of Islam--were tranferred for safekeeping to the famous monastery on Mount Sinai which bears her name.
St. Catherine of Alexandria is the patron of teachers, students, philosophers, evangelizers, speech-makers, mechanics/wheel-wrights and people on trial. Holy great-martyr Catherine, pray to God for us!
St. Jude the Apostle
The Holy Apostle Jude Thaddeus, Brother of the Lord, Patron of Those in Hopeless Circumstances.
St. Catherine's Parish celebrates a Prayer Service to St. Jude every Thursday Evening at 7 pm. The holy Apostle Jude--surnamed Thaddeus, which means "large-hearted" or "amiable"-- was a brother, that is, a close cousin of the Lord Jesus, and one of his Twelve Apostles. St. Jude Thaddeus is involked as an intercessor for the sick, the lonely, the lost, the desperate, the hopeless. Countless faithful have run to him for help, and by his holy prayers have regained confidence in themselves and hope in the love and compassion of God
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