Pastoral Notes 4th May 2014

"Statue of Catherine of Sienna near St. Peter's Basilica. From website"God’s word can come to us in a variety of ways, using us as his messengers. At the beginning of the wide road leading up to the basilica of St Peter in Rome there is a statue of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380 AD) who is buried in a church in Rome belonging to the Dominican Order. She was a member of the lay branch affiliated to the Dominicans. Her feast-day is 29th April. Among the unusual charitable works she exercised was her care for condemned prisoners whom she prayed with and attended to their deaths on the scaffold. In her time the Popes had abandoned Rome and gone to live in less violent surroundings in France (for 74 years), causing great harm to the Church. Catherine, widely known for her holiness and wisdom, visited the Pope in France, urging him to do his duty, return to Rome and work for the unity of the Church. The Pope did return, only for a rivalry of three Popes to arise, a disorder only solved after Catherine’s death.  St Paul ranks the gift of prophecy next to that of an apostle in his letter to the Ephesians 4:11.  St. Catherine is now recognised as a ‘doctor of the church’, a sound teacher of the faith.