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St. Agnes

Name: St. Agnes
Date: 21 January

Saint Agnes was twelve years old when she was led to the altar of Minerva at Rome andcommanded to obey the persecuting laws of Diocletian by offering incense. In the midst of theidolatrous rites she raised her hands to Christ, her Spouse, and made the sign of the life-givingcross. She did not shrink when she was bound hand and foot, though the manacles slipped fromher young hands, and the heathens who stood around were moved to tears. Bonds were notneeded for her; she hastened gladly to the place of her torture.

When the judge saw that pain had no terrors for her, he inflicted a sentence comporting an insultworse than death: she was condemned to be taken to a house of infamy and her clothes strippedoff. “I have an Angel with me,” she said, “and he will guard me. Christ, whom you do not know,surrounds me like a wall which cannot be forced.” And so it occurred. The Spouse of Virginsrevealed, by a miracle, His custody of the pure in heart: her hair grew miraculously to such alength that she was entirely covered by it. The place to which she was taken was illuminated by abrilliant, inexplicable light; and there she knelt down to pray. At that site a Church has been builtin honor of this young maiden’s victory over impurity. Only an impudent suitor, the cause of herarraignment as a Christian, dared approach her, and her Angel struck him dead at her feet. Hisfather prayed Agnes to raise him up again by her magic arts; she answered that magic was notresponsible for his death, but only the young pagan’s lack of respect for God. She said she wouldpray to Him that her Lord’s glory might be manifested by the miracle his father requested, and itwas granted to her prayer.

At length the sentence of death by the sword was passed upon her by a subordinate judge. For amoment she stood erect in prayer, then bowed her neck to the sword, rejoicing that the time ofher liberation had arrived. The Angels bore her pure soul to Paradise. A week after her death,Saint Agnes appeared to her parents as they were praying at her tomb; she was amid a choir ofvirgins clothed in golden robes and crowned with garlands. She begged them not to weep for heras for one dead, telling them rather to rejoice with her in her happiness.

Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints

St. Vincent, martyr

Name: St. Vincent, martyr
Date: 22 January

Saint Vincent was archdeacon of the church at Saragossa, Spain. Valerian, the bishop, wasprevented from preaching by a speech impediment, and named Vincent to preach in his stead. Heanswered in the bishop’s name when, during the persecution of Diocletian, both were broughtbefore Dacian, the presiding officer. When the bishop was sent into banishment, Vincent wasretained, to suffer and to die.

First he was stretched on the rack; and when he was almost torn asunder, Dacian asked him inmockery “how he fared now.” Vincent answered, with joy on his countenance, that he had alwaysprayed to be as he was then. It was in vain that Dacian struck the executioners and goaded themon in their savage work. The martyr’s flesh was torn with hooks; he was bound to a chair ofred-hot iron; lard and salt were rubbed into his wounds; and amid all this he kept his eyes raised toheaven, and remained unmoved.

The holy martyr was cast into a solitary dungeon, his feet placed in the stocks; but the Angels ofChrist illuminated the darkness, and assured Vincent that he was near his triumph. His woundswere now ordered to be tended, to prepare him for fresh torments, and the faithful were permittedto gaze on his mangled body. They came in troops, kissed his wounds and carried away as relics,cloths colored with his blood. Before the tortures could resume, Saint Vincent’s hour came, andhe breathed forth his soul in peace.

Even the dead bodies of the Saints are precious in the sight of God, and the hand of iniquitycannot touch them. A raven guarded the body of Vincent where it lay flung upon the earth. Whenit was sunk out at sea, the waves cast it ashore; and his relics are preserved to this day in theAugustinian monastery at Lisbon, for the consolation of the Church of Christ.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints

St. Raymond of Pennafort

Name: St. Raymond of Pennafort
Date: 23 January

Born in 1175 of a noble Spanish family, Raymond, at the age of twenty, taught philosophy inBarcelona with marvelous success. Ten years later his rare abilities won for him the degree ofDoctor in the University of Bologna, accompanied by many high dignities. A tender devotion toour Blessed Lady, which had increased within him from childhood, determined him in his matureyears to renounce all his honors and to enter Her Order of Saint Dominic.

There a vision of the Mother of Mercy instructed him to cooperate with his penitent Saint PeterNolasco, and with James, King of Aragon, in founding the Order of Our Lady of Ransom for theredemption of captives. He began this great work by preaching a crusade against the Moors, andby rousing to penance the Christians enslaved in both soul and body by the infidels. The king ofAragon, a man of great qualities but governed by a ruling passion, often took Saint Raymond withhim on his voyages. On one such occasion, when they were visiting the island of Majorca, he wastold by the Saint he must put away at once the cause of his sin. When he delayed, Raymond askedfor leave to depart, since he could not live in company with sin. The king refused and under painof death, forbade his conveyance by any ship. The Saint replied to the sailors, “If a mortal kinghas given such a command, we will see that the Eternal King has disposed otherwise.” Full offaith, he went out on a rock extending into the sea, and spread his cloak upon the waters. Tyingone end of it to his staff as a sail, he made the sign of the cross and fearlessly stepped upon it. Insix hours he was borne to Barcelona where, gathering up his cloak, which was dry, he made hisway to his monastery.

The king, vanquished by this miracle, to which many were witness, became a sincere penitent andthe disciple of the Saint until his death. In 1230, Gregory IX summoned Raymond to Rome, madehim his confessor and grand penitentiary, and directed him to compile “The Decretals,” acollection of the scattered decisions of the Popes and Councils. Having refused the archbishopricof Tarragon, Raymond was in 1238 chosen to be the third General of his Order, which post heagain succeeded in resigning, pleading his advanced age. His first act when set free was to resumehis labors among the infidels, and in 1256 Raymond, then eighty-one, was able to report that tenthousand Saracens had received Baptism. He died at the age of one hundred years, in 1275.

Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints

St. Timothy

Name: St. Timothy
Date: 24 January

Saint Timothy was a convert of Saint Paul, born at Lystra in Asia Minor. His mother was adaughter of Israel, but his father was a pagan, and though Timothy had read the Scriptures fromhis childhood, he had never been circumcised. On the arrival of Saint Paul at Lystra the youthfulTimothy, with his mother and grandmother, eagerly embraced the faith. Seven years later, whenthe Apostle again visited the country, the boy had grown into manhood. His good heart, hisausterities and zeal had won the esteem of all around him, and holy men were prophesying greatthings of the fervent youth. Saint Paul at once saw his fitness for the work of an evangelist, andTimothy was ordained a priest. From that time on he was the constant and much-belovedfellow-worker of the Apostle.

In company with Saint Paul he visited the cities of Asia Minor and Greece, once hastening onahead as a trusted messenger, at another time lingering behind to confirm in the faith a recentlyfounded church. Eventually he was made the first Bishop of Ephesus; and there he received thetwo epistles of his master which bear his name, the first written from Macedonia and the secondfrom Rome, where Saint Paul from his prison expresses his longing desire to see his “dearlybeloved son,” once more, if possible, before his death. It is not certain whether Saint Timothyarrived in Rome in time, but devotion to Saint Timothy has always been strong in Rome, whichseems to argue for his presence at the martyrdom of his spiritual father.

Saint Timothy was of a tender and affectionate disposition, and certainly found his role in theidolatrous city of Ephesus difficult to sustain. Saint Paul, when he writes to Timothy, then a testedservant of God and a bishop advancing in years, addresses him as he would his own child, andseems most anxious about his forcefulness in his demanding role. His disciple’s health was fragile,and Saint Paul counsels him to “take a little wine for his digestion.” Saint Timothy is the “Angelof the Church of Ephesus” of the Apocalypse, its bishop whom Our Lord, too, exhorted toremember his original faith and piety.

Not many years after the death of Saint Paul, Timothy, who had surely profited from thesecounsels, won a martyr’s crown at Ephesus, when on a feast day of the goddess Diana, whosetemple stood in that city, he entered into the ungovernable crowd to calm it, exhorting thesesouls, deprived of the light of truth, to renounce vain worship and embrace Christianity. Wild withidolatrous passion, a pagan struck down the bishop of the Christians, thus freeing him to join hisbeloved spiritual father in the realm of the Blessed.

Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints

St. Paul, The Conversion of

Name: St. Paul, The Conversion of
Date: 25 January

The great Apostle Paul, named Saul at his circumcision, was born in Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia,and was by that privilege a Roman citizen, to which quality a great distinction and severalexemptions were granted by the laws of the Empire. He was early instructed in the strictobservance of the Mosaic law, and lived up to it in the most scrupulous manner. In his zeal for theJewish law, which he believed to be the divine Cause of God, he became a violent persecutor ofthe Christians. He was one of those who combined to murder Saint Stephen, and then he presidedin the violent persecution of the faithful which followed the holy deacon’s martyrdom. By virtueof the power he had received from the high priest, he dragged the Christians out of their houses,loaded them with chains, and thrust them into prison. In the fury of his zeal he applied for acommission to seize in Damascus all Jews who confessed Jesus Christ, and to bring them in bondsto Jerusalem, that they might serve as examples for the others.

But God was pleased to manifest in him His patience and mercy. While Saul was journeying toDamascus, he and his party were surrounded by a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, andsuddenly the chief was struck to the ground. And then a voice was heard saying, “Saul, Saul, whydo you persecute Me?” And Saul answered, “Who art Thou, Lord?” and the voice replied, “I amJesus, whom you persecute.” This mild admonition of Our Redeemer, accompanied with apowerful interior grace, cured Saul’s pride, assuaged his rage, and wrought at once a total changein him. Therefore, trembling and astonished, he cried out, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?”Our Lord ordered him to proceed on his way to the city of Damascus, where he would beinformed of what was expected of him. Saul, arising from the ground, found that although hiseyes were open, he saw nothing.

He was led into the city, where he was lodged in the house of a Christian named Judas. To thishouse came by divine appointment a holy man named Ananias, who, laying his hands on Saul,said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your journey, has sent me that youmay receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” Immediately something like scales fellfrom Saul’s eyes, and he recovered his sight; then he arose and was baptized. He stayed a fewdays with the disciples at Damascus, and began immediately to preach in the synagogues thatJesus was the Son of God. Thus a blasphemer and a persecutor was made an Apostle, and chosenas one of God’s principal instruments in the conversion of the world.

Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints

Other Highlights
»The Eternal Father
»The Circumcision of Our Lord
»St. William Berruyer
»St. Theodosius
»St. Alfred or Aelred
»St. Margaret Bourgeois
»St. Veronica of Milan
»The Baptism of Our Lord
»St. Hilary of Poitiers
»St. Paul the First Hermit
»St. Honoratus
»St. Marcellus, Pope
»Blessed Stephanie Quinzani
»St. Anthony Abbott
»St. Peters' Chair at Rome
»St. Canutus
»St. Fulgentius
»St. Macarius
»St. Fabien
»St. Sebastian
»St. Agnes
»St. Vincent, martyr
»St. Raymond of Pennafort
»St. Timothy
»St. Paul, The Conversion of
»St. Polycarp
»St. John Chrysostom
»St. Peter Nolasco
»St. Francis de Sales
»St. Genevieve
»St. Martina
»St. John Bosco
»St. Gregory, Bishop of Langres
»St. Angela of Foligno
»St. Simeon Stylites
»The Epiphany of Our Lord
»St. Lucian
»St. Claude Apollinaire
»St. Julian the Hospitalarian
»St. Basilissa
»St. Remi or Remigius
»St. Francis Borgia
»St. Tarachus
»The Divine Maternity of Mary
»St. Wilfrid
»Bl. Jane Leber
»St. Edward
»St. Callistus I
»St. Teresa of Avila
»St. Gall

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