St. Athanasius – Basilica of St. Nicholas, Rome (Italy)
St. Athanasius, bishop and doctor of the Church (†373). Bishop of Alexandria, doctor of the Church. He defended Catholic orthodoxy for forty years against the Arian heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. He was exiled five times, enduring unrelenting injuries and accusations. In addition to the Life of St. Anthony, he wrote many doctrinal works.
St. Antoninus of Florence, bishop (†1459). Founded the dominican convent of St. Mark where, during his priorship, Blessed Angelico produced his famous artworks. Appointed Archbishop of Florence, he was a renowned moralist, director of souls and preacher.
St. Joseph Maria Rubio y Peralta, priest (†1929). Spanish Jesuit, apostle of the confessional and preacher of the spiritual exercises in Madrid. His motto was: Do what God wants and want what God does.
St. Joseph Nguyen Van Luu, martyr (†1854). Vietnamese farmer and catechist; he offered himself in the place of priest Peter Luu, and died in prison, during the reign of Emperor Tự Đức.
St. Wiborada, virgin and martyr (†926). She lived a recollected life in a cell beside the Church of St. Magnus in St. Gallen, Switzerland. She was killed by Hungarian invaders because of her Faith and religious vow.
Blessed Nicholas Hermansson, bishop (†1391). Demanding with self but compassionate with the poor; he dedicated himself entirely to his Diocese of Linköping, Sweden, where he reverently received the relics of St. Bridget.
Blessed William Tirry, priest and martyr (†1654). Augustinian priest executed in Clonmel, Ireland, for his fidelity to the Pope, during the regime of Oliver Cromwell.
Blessed Boleslas Strzelecki, priest and martyr (†1941). Parish priest with a reputation for holiness among his parishioners. During the anti-Catholic persecution waged during the Nazi occupation of Poland, he was arrested and detained in Auschwitz concentration camp, where he died four months later as a result of the severe mistreatment inflicted on him there.
First Reading – Acts 9:26-31
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem, and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord. He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists, but they tried to kill him. And when the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus. The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.
Responsorial Psalm – Ps 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32 (R.26a))
R. (26a) I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
“May your hearts live forever!” R.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
all the families of the nations
shall bow down before Him. R.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
before Him shall bend
all who go down into the dust. R.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve Him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice He has shown. R.
Second Reading – 1 Jn 3:18-24
Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases Him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as He commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in Him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit He gave us.
Gospel – Jn 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in Me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without Me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in Me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in Me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”