MARCH 15 – ST. ZACHARY, POPE.
- St. Louise de Marillac, Co-foundress of the Daughters of Charity, Founder or Foundress, Widow. (Historical)
- St. Longinus, The centurion who pierced Our Lord’s side to verify His death on the Cross., (Historical)
ST. ZACHARY succeeded Gregory III, in 741, and was a man of singular meekness and goodness. He loved the clergy and people of Rome to that degree that he hazarded his life for them on occasion of the troubles which Italy fell into by the rebellion of the Dukes of Spoletto and Benevento against King Luitprand. Out of respect to his sanctity and dignity, that king restored to the Church of Rome all the places which belonged to it, and sent back the captives without ransom. The Lombards were moved to tears at the devotion with which they heard him perform the divine service. The zeal and prudence of this holy Pope appeared in many wholesome regulations, which he had made to reform or settle the discipline and peace of several churches. St. Boniface, the Apostle of Germany, wrote to him against a certain priest, named Virgilius; that he labored to sow the seeds of discord between him and Odilo, Duke of Bavaria, and taught, besides, many errors. Zachary ordered that Virgilius should be sent to Rome, that his doctrine might be examined. It seems that he cleared himself; for we find this same Virgilius soon after made Bishop of Salzburgh. Certain Venetian merchants having bought at Rome many slaves to sell to the Moors in Africa, St. Zachary forbade such an iniquitous traffic, and paying the merchants their price, gave the slaves their liberty. He adorned Rome with sacred buildings, and with great foundations in favor of the poor and pilgrims, and gave every year a considerable sum to furnish oil for the lamps in St. Peter’s Church. He died in 752, in the month of March.
WORD OF THE DAY
CUSTOM, ECCLESIASTICAL. A long-standing practice that takes on the force of law. No custom is ever valid that contradicts a divine law, whether natural or positive, nor does a custom abrogate ecclesiastical law unless it is reasonable and has been legitimately in practice over a period of forty full years. Where the ecclesiastical law explicitly forbids contrary customs, the latter can be valid only if they are reasonable and in legitimate existence for at least a century or from time immemorial.Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon SJ (Get the real one at Eternal Life — don’t accept an abridged or edited version of this masterpiece!)
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