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MEMORIAL OF SAINT JOSAPHAT, BISHOP AND MARTYR, NOVEMBER 12, 2020



A Gospel according to LK 17:20-25


Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.

There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other,

so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”


REFLECTION: "so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.’"


St. Josaphat lived in a time of great upheaval. There was a battle between Catholic and Orthodox, Latin and Byzantine, and every side of the Church opposed and criticized him. The Orthodox opposed him for being Catholic, and the Latins for being Byzantine. Because he represented something new, an Eastern Rite Catholic, St. Josaphat was misunderstood by most.


He was born around 1580 in Lithuania into a Catholic family. He entered the Byzantine monastery around 1604, and was elected Catholic archbishop of Polotsk (Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth) in 1614.


While firmly clinging into unity with Rome, he defended the rights of the Byzantine rite and traditions from those who only wanted Latin terms.


Orthodox and Catholics acted like rivals in Lithuania. When a new Orthodox archbishop of Polotsk was appointed, Josaphat was accused of taking office invalidly. Many Byzantine Catholics were won over towards Orthodoxy. The Polish Bishops accused him of betraying his faith by not Latinizing his diocese, and even the king of Poland withdrew his support of St. Josaphat.


A most troublesome diocese was that of Vitebsk (Belarus). St. Josaphat headed that way to bring peace to his flock, and tried to reconcile differences.


While he was preaching there, a priest named Elias kept shouting insults at him. A deacon had the priest locked up. The mob rioted and demanded the release of Father Elias.


He was released; however, the still angry mob broke into the house where St. Josaphat was staying. When he confronted them, they beat him, struck in the head with a halberd, and shot him. Once dead, his body was tossed into the river Dvina. It was later recovered and is now buried in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, placed under the altar of Saint Basil the Great.


He was the first saint of the Eastern Church to be canonized in Rome.


How many good priests are misunderstood and become the subject of derision, specially by those whom they are trying to help?


Let us pray the PAPA prayer for all the priests, especially those who are being marginalized because they are doing something good for the salvation of souls. Contact us if you have a priest that is in dire need of prayer, or if you are a priest that would like us to pray for you.


This is our duty. This is our vocation.


God bless y'all!


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