St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

December 19

Anastasius I, Pope (RM)
Born in Rome; died there in 401. Anastasius, the son of Maximus, was elected pope on November 27, 399, and ruled the Church for two years. His pontificate was marked by his condemnation of Origen in order to stop the errors of those who followed and expanded upon Origen's teachings, his urging the African bishops to continue their opposition to Donatism, and his personal holiness and piety. Saint Jerome helped him in his own way, and Saints Augustine and Paulinus of Nola praised his model of sanctity. It is from Pope Anastasius that priests have the instruction to read the Gospels standing and bowing their heads. The laus in the Roman Martyrology reads: "At Rome, the death of Pope Saint Anastasius I, a man of extreme poverty and apostolic solicitude. Saint Jerome in his writings saith that Rome did not deserve to possess him for long. . . ." (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

Avitus (Adjutus) of Micy, Abbot (RM)
Date unknown. This is a confusing entry in the Roman Martyrology. There is another Avitus or Avy, who was also abbot of Micy monastery near Orleans about the same time and whose feast day is June 17. It's impossible to know whether these are or are not two separate individuals. Roeder, in describing the saint of June 17, calls him by all three names. She says that he is portrayed as a bishop using an axe to drive off the devil who is attacking Avitus with a pick-axe (Benedictines, Roeder).

Bernard (Berard) Paleara, OSB B (AC)
Died 1122. Bernard was chosen bishop of Teramo in 1115, after being educated in Monte Cassino. He is the principal patron of Teramo (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Blessed Caecilia of Ferrara, OP V (PC)
Died 1511. Caecilia married a very virtuous husband. By mutual consent they separated to become religious; she entered the Dominican convent at Ferrara (Benedictines).

Cyriacus and Companions MM (RM)
Died 303. All that is known of Cyriacus, Paulillus, Secundus, Anastasius, Syndimius and their companions is that they were martyred at Nicomedia under Diocletian (Benedictines).

Darius, Zosimus, Paul, and Secundus MM (RM)
Date unknown. A group of martyrs who suffered at Nicaea (Benedictines).

Fausta of Sirmium, Widow (RM)
3rd century. The legend of Saint Anastasia of Sirmium says that Fausta was her mother (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Gregory of Auxerre B (RM)
Died c. 540. Gregory governed the see of Auxerre for 13 years as its 12th bishop. He died at the age of 85 (Benedictines).

Blessed Macarius of Würzburg, OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Macarius the Scot)

Died 1153. Macarius was either a Scottish or Irish monk who travelled to Würzburg, Germany, which attracted Irish pilgrims from the time of Saint Kilian in the 7th century. Apparently the Irish Abbey at Ratisbon (Regensburg) had requested that Macarius open an Irish abbey in Würzburg. He was elected the first abbot of Saint James monastery, which was founded by Bishop Embricho (1125-1146). Macarius is highly venerated in his adopted town and, in 1818, his relics were enshrined in the Marienkapelle there (Benedictines, Montague).

Manirus of Scotland B (AC)
Date unknown. Manirus is venerated as one of the apostles of northern Scotland. His work seems to have concentrated on encouraging the newly converted Highlanders in their faith (Benedictines).

Meuris and Thea VV MM (RM)
Died c. 307. These two maidens, martyred at Gaza, Palestine, are probably identical to Saint Valentina and her anonymous companion (Benedictines).

Nemesius of Alexandria M (RM)
Born in Egypt; died 250. Nemesius was burnt at the stake between two thieves in Alexandria under Decius. In art, he martyrdom is portrayed (Roeder).

Ribert (Ribarius) of Saint-Oyend, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died c. 790. In Franche-Comté, Ribert is much venerated as the 17th abbot of Saint-Oyend (Benedictines).

Samthana of Meath V (AC)
6th century. Samthana is the Irish abbess-founder of Cluain- Bronach in Meath (Benedictines).

Blessed Thomas De and Companions, OP Tert. MM (AC)
Died 1839; beatified in 1900. There is little known of the many Vietnamese natives who died during the several persecutions of Christians. During the first 20 years of the 19th century, Christianity made steady progress that was dramatically halted by renewed persecutions under the Annamite king Minh-Mang (1820-41). From 1832 Minh excluded all foreign missionaries and ordered Vietnamese Christians to renounce Christianity by trampling on the crucifix. Meanwhile churches were destroyed and teaching Christianity was forbidden. Some of the victims seem to have been induced by drugs to make temporary retractions; others endured fearsome tortures, including cutting off the limbs, joint by joint.

Thomas De, a Dominican tertiary and a tailor by profession, suffered the fate of many: execution by strangulation for giving shelter to the missionaries. Martyred with him were the Dominican tertiaries and catechists Dominic Uy, a 26-year-old; Francis Xavier Mau; the peasant Stephen Vinh; and one other (Benedictines, Farmer).

Timothy of Africa M (RM)
Died c. 250. The deacon Timothy was burnt alive in Africa under Decius (Benedictines).

Blessed Urban V OSB, Pope (RM)
Born in Grisac, Languedoc, France, 1310; died in Avignon, France, December 19, 1370; cultus confirmed by Pope Pius IX on March 10, 1870. William (Guillaume) de Grimoard, later Pope Urban V, was born in a chateau and given his name by his godfather Elzear de Sabran. His mother, Amphelise de Montferrand, remarked: "My son, I don't understand you! . . . But God does."

William had a most distinguished academic career, both studying philosophy, letters and law at Montpellier and Toulouse, and teaching canon law at four universities: Montpellier, Toulouse, Avignon, and Paris. The Benedictines pleased him. He entered the Chirac abbey and followed his vocation, which included ordination as a priest. His serious smile won all hearts; his diplomas opened doors. He was vicar general at Clermont and Uzés. Pope Clement VI appointed him abbot of St. Germain, Auxerre, in 1352, and nine years later Pope Innocent VI appointed him abbot of St. Victor, Marseilles, and legate to Queen Joanna of Naples. He retained such fond memories of St. Victor's that he asked to be buried there.

Popes Clement VI and Innocent VI used his services as a diplomat. The latter sent him all over as papal legate to obtain the submission of the Italian cities and the little republics that had so clamorously broken loose and, in the disorder of temporal authority, more and more contested the authority of the Holy See.

William succeeded, not by the ruses of diplomats or severity, but by negotiations and candor. He had no enemies. On September 28, 1362, he was on a papal mission to Naples when he learned that Innocent VI had died and that he himself had been elected pope, though he was not a cardinal. Together with his new name Urban, he took on his new mission without any pomp for he had a horror of all display. He prayed the way everyone prayed. He ate and died as the common folk.

He immediately began to reform the Church. Because his studies had served him well, he came to the aid of students with all his might, creating thousands of scholarships, reforming or creating new universities. He said, "The first sin of Christians is their ignorance." He restored churches and monasteries that had fallen into disorder. He made peace with Barnabo Visconti in 1364, though he was unsuccessful in his attempts to suppress the marauding condottieri in France and Italy. Through Peter de Lusignan, Urban temporarily occupied Alexandria in 1365, but his crusade against the Turks did not succeed.

For 50 years the papacy had been based at Avignon but in 1366 Urban decided to bring back the papacy to Rome. Unfortunately, the French court and cardinals opposed this move. Once in Rome, he set about restoring the dilapidated city, tightening clerical discipline, and reviving religion. The Emperor Charles IV was won over to a new treaty with the papacy. After Urban crowned Charles' consort German Empress, Charles agreed to respect the rights of the Church in Germany.

Because the split church seemed to him a permanent injury to Jesus Christ, he made advances to the Christians of the East. Even the Greek emperor, John V Palaeologus, was reconciled to Rome, in an attempt to heal the deep rift between the Eastern and Western Church. It is sad that the emperor was unable to win over the hearts of his people to reconcile with Rome.

But many princes remained hostile. Because he knew how to live modestly, Urban demanded the same of his entourage. Because he did not value money, he made no economies and condemned the clergy who made profit and business from their positions. If the goodness of Pope Urban has any defect, it is that he didn't hide it under his hat. He did everything in all innocence. Though he was pope, he remained a monk and continued to follow the Benedictine Rule.

The condottieri, led by Barnabo Visconti, were once again his implacable enemies. The Perugians rose against him. The leaders of France threatened the stability of the Church. Sadly, Urban left Rome on September 5, 1370, and returned to Avignon, despite the prediction of Saint Bridget that he would die an early death if he left Rome. He died less than four months later.

On Tuesday Urban had a premonition that he would not finish his mission and that he was not the man to reconcile the French and the British. He made them remove him from the Papal Palace at Avignon to his brother's house at the foot of the hill. He did not want to die in fine sheets. He had all the door to the street opened, for many of the people whom he used to help wanted to say goodbye to him (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

Blessed William of Fenoli, O. Cart. (AC)
Died c. 1205; cultus confirmed in 1860. William was a Carthusian lay-brother at the charterhouse Casularum in Lombardy (Benedictines).

About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.