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St Alphonsus Liguori

( 1696-1787)

Patron Saint of people with arthritis, confessors, moral theologians and lawyers

A reading of the holy Gospel according to MT 14:13-21

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

The Gospel of the Lord


"His heart was moved with pity for them."

St Alphonsus Liguori left a lucrative law degree for the priesthood. Imagine the reaction of his family who were Neapolitan nobility. Yes, they were not at all happy.

His first years as a priest he lived with the homeless and the marginalized of Naples. Working mostly with the young people, he established "Evening Chapels" run by the young. These chapels were the center of prayer, receiving the Word of God and mostly the hub of their socialization and education.

"He later moved on to minister to the poorer and abandoned street children of Naples. Reaching for higher ways to serve and follow the ways of Jesus Christ, St Alphonsus Liguori on November 9, 1732, founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, known as the Redemptorists. He picked this date because it is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, whose title is the Most Holy Savior. (1)

From that time he spread the Good News to the poor and the most abandoned. With many talents and artistic flair, he used the gifts God gave him in service for His people. He wrote 111 works on spirituality and theology and is one of the most widely read authors.

Some of his well known and read books include, Darts of Fire, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, Prayer: The Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection, Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament, Moral Theology and How to Converse with God.

The "portion" of Psalm 130 expresses the Heart of St Alphonsus' preaching and is the motto of the Redemptorists: "With Him there is Plentiful Redemption." (1)

He asserted the way to holiness is union with Christ in love. The very first practice of loving Jesus is to learn to be patient for "Love is patient" (1 Cor. 13:4). In order for us to gain paradise or union with God, we must practice loving patience, that is, to suffer for the love of Christ. (2)

Through his pastoral experience he had a unique ability to answer questions posed by the faithful. The faithful were served with dignity and mercy.

Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, St Alphonsus found it harder to work. He went to live in one of his Redemptorist community in Pagani, Italy where he died on August 1, 1787.

The Most Zealous Doctor of the Catholic Church and Patron of Confessors, PAPA chose him to be our patron saint.

(1) Scala News, news from the Redemptorist World.

(2) The Practicing of Patience as the Virtue of "Love Enduring Evil" Delivering us from Temptation and bringing us into salvation, Dissertation by Father Michael Joseph Nguyen Truong Luan, C.Ss.R.

God Bless You.


PAPA Foundation
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