The saints are different every day. Remember those who were characterized by their good deeds. (Infobae/Jovani Pérez)
Good deeds, mortal sacrifices and even inexplicable events arising from an apparent divinity, are the reasons why different individuals were beatified and canonized by the Vatican to carry the name of saint.
Every day, marked on the calendar, commemorates the life and death of these beings, men and women, who dedicated their existence to the very Catholic Church that earned them the appointment.
This is the santoral of Sunday, February 5.
Celebration of the day: Santa Águeda
Santa Águeda possessed everything a young woman usually desires: a distinguished family and extraordinary beauty. But she treasured far more than all her faith in Jesus Christ. This is how she demonstrated it when Senator Quintianus took advantage of the persecution of the emperor Decius (250-253) against the Christians to try to possess her. The senator’s proposals were resolutely rejected by the young virgin, who had already become engaged to another husband – Jesus Christ.
Quintianus did not give up and delivered her into the hands of Aphrodisia, an evil woman, with the idea that she would seduce her with the temptations of the world. But her bad arts were whipped by the virtue and fidelity to Christ that Santa Águeda demonstrated.
Quintianus then, possessed by anger, cruelly tortured the young virgin, even ordering her breasts to be cut off. Santa Águeda’s famous response is: “Cruel tyrant, aren’t you ashamed to torture a woman with the same breast you fed yourself with as a child?” The saint was consoled with a vision of Saint Peter who miraculously healed her. But the torture continued and she was finally awarded the palm of martyrdom, being thrown on burning coals in Catania, Sicily (Italy).
According to tradition, in an eruption of the Etna volcano, which occurred one year after the martyrdom of Santa Águeda (c.250), the lava miraculously stopped when the inhabitants of the area asked for the intercession of the holy martyr. That is why the city of Catania has her as its patron saint and the regions surrounding Etna invoke her as patron saint and protector against fire, lightning and volcanoes. In addition to these elements, the iconography of Santa Águeda usually presents the palm (victory of martyrdom) and some symbol or gesture that recalls the torture she suffered (see image, above).
Both Catania and Palermo claim the honor of being the birthplace of Saint Agatha. In some places, “Santa Águeda’s bread” and water are blessed during the mass of her feast.
The Church of Saint Agatha in Rome has an impressive painting of her martyrdom above the main altar.
Along with this character there are other saints and martyrs who are also celebrated this Sunday, February 5, such as the following:
Saint Philip of Jesus
Santa Francisca Méziere
Saint Jesus Mendez
San Lucas, abad
Holy Martyrs of Ponto
Saint Sabas the Younger
Canonization of the priest José Gabriel Brochero. (AFP)
The Catholic and Orthodox Church uses canonization to declare a deceased person as a saint who during his life made sacrifices or was related to a divine event in favor of the church.
This implies including the name of the person in the canon (list of recognized saints) and the permission of the Catholic Church is granted to venerate it, acknowledging its power before God.
During Christianity, people were recognized as saints without the need for a formal process; however, this changed in the Middle Ages. In the case of Catholicism, the Church must make an exhaustive investigation of the life of the person to be sanctified.
For the Catholic Church there are four ways to achieve the appointment: the path of heroic virtues; the path of martyrdom; that of exceptional causes, confirmed by an ancient cult and written sources; and the offer of life.
Image of the embalmed body of Pope John XXIII inside Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on April 25, 2014; he was canonized on April 27, 2014. (EFE / Claudio Peri)
Catholicism is one of the most widely practiced religions in the world. The most recent data from the Vatican -particularly from its Ecclesial Statistical Yearbook- indicates that there are more than 1,360 million Catholics in the world.
The American continent is where more Catholics prevail, with almost half of those registered by the Vatican, being more than a quarter located in South America.
In recent years, the Vatican has realized that the presence of Catholics has increased significantly on two continents: Asia -particularly the Middle East- and Africa.
In contrast, religious rates in Europe have been declining, while in Oceania they have remained stable.