Saturday of the 2nd Week of Advent
Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto. According to tradition, the Holy House of Nazareth was transported by the Angels in the 13th century to the Italian town of Loreto, in the province of Ancora (now enshrined in the Basilica della Santa Casa). It is identified as the house in which the Blessed Virgin was born and where the Annunciation and Incarnation took place, as well as where the Holy Family lived after their return from Egypt
First Reading – Sir 48:1-4, 9-11
In those days, like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace. Their staff of bread he shattered, in his zeal he reduced them to straits; By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens and three times brought down fire. How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Whose glory is equal to yours? You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses. You were destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob. Blessed is he who shall have seen you and who falls asleep in your friendship.
Responsorial Psalm – Ps 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16, 18-19 (R. 4)
R. Lord, make us turn to You; let us see Your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
From Your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse Your power. R.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
Take care of this vine,
and protect what Your right hand has planted
the son of man whom You yourself made strong. R.
May Your help be with the man of Your right hand,
with the son of man whom You Yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from You;
give us new life, and we will call upon Your name. R
Gospel – Mt 17:9a, 10-13
As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal, religious, (†1641). As the Baroness de Chantal, she was widowed at a young age. She took a vow of celibacy, became the spiritual disciple of St. Francis de Sales, and with him founded the religious Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary.
St. Gregory III, Pope († 741). He was an advocate of the evangelization of the Germanic peoples, particularly by his support of St. Boniface. In opposition to the iconoclasts, he embellished the churches of Rome with sacred images.
St. Luke of Isola, bishop (†1114). Tirelessly dedicated himself to the poor of his Diocese of Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Italy, and to the formation of monks. He died in the Monastery of St. Nicholas de Viotorito, in Calabria.
St. Polydore Plasden, priest and martyr († 1591). Executed at Tyburn during the persecution of Elizabeth I, of England, declaring that said that he would rather give a thousand lives than deny his Catholic Faith.
St. Edmund Gennings, priest, and St Swithun Wells, layman, martyrs (†1591). St. Edmund, a London native, was ordained in France and returned to England as a missionary. He was arrested after celebrating a Mass at the country mansion of St. Swithun, and both were executed on the latter’s property.
St. John Roberts, martyr († 1610). Welsh-born to Protestant parents, he converted to Catholicism in his youth and joined the Benedictine Order in Valladolid, Spain, whence he left as a missionary to England, during the reign of James I. He became so well known for his heroism and charity that there was complete silence at his execution at Tyburn.
St. Amaro, martyr († circa the 4th century). Pope St. Damasus celebrates him as an innocent child whom no torture could separate from his Faith.
St. Eulalia of Merida , virgin and martyr († 304). As a maiden of twelve, during a persecution of Christians in her city, she did not hesitate to give her life for the love of God.
Blessed Marco Antonio Durando, priest (†1880). Religious from the Congregation of the Missions and founder of the Congregation of Sisters of Jesus the Nazarene in Turin, Italy.