Notes on the calendar for July

3/4 July - Sunday of Sixth week after Pentecost

I Vespers - Magnificat antiphon refers to the Matins first nocturn readings, II Samuel 12:1-16, where Nathan brings David to repentance for his sins.

Sunday Lauds and Vespers: Canticle antiphons refer to the Matins (and Mass) Gospel, Mk 8:1-9, story of the loaves and fishes.

Sunday 11 July: [Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Class II] ** (Translation of the Relics of) St Benedict, Patron of Europe, Class I

St Benedict has two feast days in the Benedictine calendar: March 21, which is always a first class feast, and this feast celebrating the translation of his relics to the monastery of St Benoit-sur Loire (Fleury).  Before 1962, his feastday was celebrated on 11 July in the Roman calendar because of Lent; in 1962 it moved to March; in 1970 it was moved back to July!

In 1964 Pope Paul VI declared St Benedict patron of Europe, hence the current solemnity in Europe, many monasteries and many other places, but where it is second class, it is superseded by the (seventh) Sunday.

The Seventh Sunday Scriptural readings are I King 1: 1-15 (dealing with intrigues over the succession to David), see the Magnificat antiphon for I Vespers (subject of a famous coronation anthem by Handel); and Mt 7: 15-21 (sermon on the Mount, see Lauds and Vespers canticle antiphons).

Monday 12 July: St John Gualbert OSB, Abbot, Memorial

St John Gualbert (985 or 995 - 12 July 1073) was the founder of the Vallumbrosan Congregation of the Order. A florentine noble, one Good Friday he came upon a man who had killed his brother. Instead of killing him for revenge (as he was intent on doing), he heeded the man's pleas for mercy and forgave him. He left the monastery he had entered in protest against his abbot's (and bishop's) simony, and founded a new order, which united with the Slyvestrines by 1680.

Wednesday 14 July: St Bonaventure, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor, Class III

Franciscan saint, whose life can be read about here.

Saturday 17 July: Our Lady on Saturday, St Leo IV, OSB Pope and Confessor, Memorial

Pope Saint Leo IV was pope from 10 April 847 to 17 July 855.  A Roman by birth, he had been a Benedictine monk and served in the papal curia before being appointed a cardinal.  He did much to repair the damage done by the Saracens during the reign of his predecessor to various churches of the city. When the Muslim fleet again threatened, he rallied the leaders of the maritime cities of Italy. The subsequent Battle of Ostia, in which the attacking Saracen force was destroyed, was one of the most famous in the history of the papacy during the Middle Ages.  Leo held three synods, including one in 850, that was distinguished by his crowning of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis II. He also reportedly anointed the young King Alfred the Great of England.  Leo's papacy is also noted for his attempts to bring rebellious bishops and political leaders into line with Rome.

Sunday 18 July: Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

I Vespers: Canticle antiphon refers to I Kings 9:1-14 (Solomon completes the building of the Temple); Lauds and II Vespers refer to the Gospel, Luke 16:1-9 (crafty steward parable).

Monday 19 July: St Vincent de Paul, Memorial

One of the most famous saints by virtue of the society bearing his name, Vincent de Paul (24 April 1581 – 27 September 1660) was a Catholic priest dedicated to serving the poor.  Captured by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery, he managed to convert his owner to Christianity and then escape.  He studied in Rome for several years before being sent back to France on a mission to Henry IV of France.  He served as chaplain to Marguerite de Valois, as a parish priest, and then as chaplain to the Gondi family, at which time he began giving peasant missions.  He subsequently served as chaplain to galley slaves.  In 1625 founded the Vincentians, and in 1633 assisted in the foundation of the Daughters of Charity.

Tuesday 20 July: SS Jerome Aemiliain, Joseph Calanctius and John Baptist de la Salle, Confessors, Memorial

Todays saints are all founders of religious orders - St Jerome Aemilian (1481 - 1537), founder of the Somaschi Priests, and patron saint of orphans; St Joseph Calasanctius (1557-1648) founded the Order of Piarists;   St John Baptiste de la Salle (1651-1719) was the founder of the Christian brothers.

Thursday 22: St Mary Magdalen, Class III


Today is the feast of the most famous penitent saint, St Mary Magdalene, often titled 'apostle to the apostles' by the early Fathers.  Few saints have attracted so many attempts at revisionist history.  Longstanding protestant horror at the idea of a sinner turned saint has gained new followers amongst those attempting to make her a feminist heroine, while conspiracy theorists have seized on assorted apocryphal works on her life.  The traditional Latin liturgy, however, insists on her identity as both the penitent woman and the sister of Lazarus and Martha.

Friday 23 July: St Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr, Memorial

St Apollinaris was an illustrious bishop of Ravenna during the second century.

Sunday 25 - Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

I Vespers: The Old Testament scriptural reading at Matins is 2 Kings 1: 1-10, and the Magnificat antiphon reminds of us triumphant death and succession as prophet by Elisha, detailed in chapter 2.

Lauds and Vespers: Canticle antiphons refer to the Gospel for this Sunday, Luke 19: 41-47 and Jesus' lament for Jerusalem, followed by the cleansing of the Temple.

Monday 26 July: SS Joachim and Anne, Parents of the BVM, Class III


Tradition, drawing on the (non-canonical) Gospel of James, gives us Saints Joachim and Anne as the names of the father and mother of the Mother of God. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that "the apocryphal character of these writings, that is to say, their rejection from the canon, and their ungenuineness do not imply that no heed whatever should be taken of some of their assertions; side by side, indeed, with unwarranted and legendary facts, they contain some historical data borrowed from reliable traditions or documents; and difficult though it is to distinguish in them the wheat from the tares, it would be unwise and uncritical indiscriminately to reject the whole."

Thurs 29 – SS Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice, Martyrs, Memorial

Today's saints are all early martyrs - Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice were siblings martyred under Diocletian.  Nothing is known of St Felix beyond his name, not least because of a longstanding confusion between him and an antipope of the same name.

Fri 30 – SS Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs, Memorial

Traditionally thought to be Persian martyrs under the persecutions of Decius, these saints have been pruned from the modern calendar due to doubts about the authenticity of the traditions surrounding them.

Sat 31 – St Ignatius, Confessor, Class III


Today is the feast of the famous soldier turned priest, the founder of the Jesuits.

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