Our secular society may speak too much about renewal in mundane, temporary terms (“renewing” a driver’s license) or as an impersonal, policy-driven turnaround (“urban renewal”). But on August 21, the feast day of Pope St. Pius X, it’s helpful to ponder how the Catholic Church thinks about renewal, especially in light of the motto associated with this first Pope elected in the 20th century: “to renew all things in Christ.”
Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Stephen, King of Hungary. History remembers him for his unification and establishment of Hungary around the year 1000, but the Church venerates him because of his dedication to God and the welfare of his people.
Today marks the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest executed at Auschwitz on August 14, 1941, offering his life in the place of a fellow prisoner who had been condemned to death.
The Church designates July 26 as a relatively quiet “memorial” of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For me, however, there are few days in the liturgical calendar that evoke more energetic memories of a geographical community and parish family than this one. This is a feast of visceral evangelization that immerses all five senses and brings people together—close together.
What could “tough love” possibly have to do with the dual sense of consolation I experienced last month in a special prayer service? My wife and I gathered with our parish family to express solidarity with fellow Christians and to see more clearly our need for trust in Our Lord and the Blessed Mother.