Monday, October 25, 2004

(Belated) Notes on the Feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret.

This morning one of the Jesuits at Colombiere reminded me that yesterday was the Feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, though the celebration of the ordinary Sunday liturgy took precedence in this case over the feast. Claret is perhaps best known as founder of religious communities of men and women, both of which go by the name of the Claretian Missionaries. The male and female Claretians are both fairly thin on the ground in the United States but work extensively in the Third World. Claret also served as Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, in which context I came to know of his work and legacy. While I was in Cuba this March I encountered various parishes and other Catholic institutions bearing the name of "San Antonio Maria Claret," most of them concentrated in the Archdiocese he led a century and a half ago. The two religious congregations Claret founded maintain a small but important presence on the island where he did his most important work; indeed, in Santiago de Cuba I met a Claretian sister who was actively involved in parish ministry there. In recognition of St. Anthony Mary Claret and all who continue his work, I'm praying today for the Church in Cuba and especially for the courageous priests, religious and lay ministers I met while I was there. AMDG.


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