July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus!
The Liturgical Season we are now in is Ordinary Time, so the Church’s color in July is GREEN.
This month, the Holy Father’s intentions are for Social Friendship. We pray that in social, economic, and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship.
July 4: Feast Day of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
Today we celebrate Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, also known as the “Man of the Beatitudes”! Pier Giorgio was born into a wealthy Italian family in 1901. He offered all of his allowance to those in need, even giving up his money for the bus so that he had to run home in time for meals and curfews. Pier Giorgio served within many Catholic organizations and enjoyed time outdoors climbing mountains with friends. A lively spirit and a bit of a jokester, he founded “The Shady Characters” Association with friends at the age of 23. One year later, he became sick and his health quickly deteriorated. On his deathbed he continued to care for and assist others. The day of his funeral, all those he served gathered outside his family home to pay their respects. His parents were shocked at the sight of thousands, who they had no idea were being cared for by their son. In 1981, it was discovered that his body remains incorruptible and in 1990, he was beatified by Saint Pope John Paul II.
- Read To the Heights: A Novel Based on the Life of Pier Giorgio Frassati with your children.
- Make tiramisu, a coffee flavored Italian dessert! If you’re not up for the kitchen adventure, you can always purchase some. 🙂
- Go on a family walk or hike, just like Pier Giorgio enjoyed doing with friends.
July 6: Feast Day of Saint Maria Goretti
Maria had a deep love of God and incredible courage! She is the youngest officially recognized saint in the Catholic Church. At the age of 9, her family began working farmland and lived in a farmhouse with another family. A few years later, her father passed away and Maria stepped up to take care of her brothers and sisters while her mother worked in the fields. One day, Maria was approached by an 18 year old neighbor named Allessandro, who attempted to rape her. She fought against him and proclaimed she would rather die. Before Maria passed away, she expressed forgiveness for Allesandro who was convicted and sent to prison. In prison, he received a vision of Maria offering him lilies. Allesandro converted to the faith and his first act as a free man was to beg Maria’s mother for forgiveness. Pope Pius XIII said that Maria was the “Saint Agnes of the 20th century”.
- Share the story of Saint Maria Goretti with your children! We are called to be saints today, no matter how young we might be.
- Buy lilies from the store to celebrate and remember Saint Maria Goretti.
- Ask your children to draw pictures with you of what Allesandro’s vision might have looked like, of Maria offering him lilies.
- Ask Saint Maria to pray over your children, for them to live lives of holiness and purity. Entrust your children to her care.
- Is there anyone you are struggling to forgive? Call upon Saint Maria and ask her to pray for you in seeking forgiveness.
July 9: Feast Day of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions
This day commemorates 120 Chinese martyrs who gave their lives to Christ over the course of almost 300 years. The Catholic Church honors these martyrs and the incredible witness of faith that they offer for every one of us. Saint Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese soldier and was assigned to accompany a French bishop (Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse) to his martyrdom in Beijing. After observing Bishop Dufresse and his incredible faith, Augustine converted to the faith, was baptized, and became a priest himself! Fr. Augustine was then jailed and left to die under the reign of an emperor extremely hostile to the Christian faith. Many unknown Chinese martyrs have given their lives for their faith, and we remember them along with the 120 canonized saints on this day.
- Pray for men and women who live in areas of the world where it is dangerous to be a person of faith. Pray for the Catholic Church in China, for the priests who serve there and for those longing for the sacraments.
- Who can you share the message of the Gospel with this week? It might make you uncomfortable, but remember the bravery and sacrifice made by the Chinese martyrs. Step out of your comfort zone and share your faith with someone new this week.
- Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries with your spouse or entire family, with the intention of the Catholic Church in China. Our Lady of China, pray for us!
July 14: Feast Day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Saint Kateri is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks”. Kateri was a Native American girl who lost her family to smallpox at a young age. At 19 she converted to the Catholic faith and was baptized. She chose the name Kateri in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena! The scars that she received from contracting smallpox disappeared from her face in the moments before she passed away at the age of 24. Saint Kateri is the patron saint of the environment and Native Americans.
- Join us on Facebook Live today in Beyond the Pew as Andrea leads us in an activity to celebrate Saint Kateri!
- Take a virtual tour of the Shrine of North American Martyrs located at Saint Kateri’s birthplace in New York here – scroll down in the webpage to see the “Explore 3D Space” option.
- Read Native Spirit: The Story of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha as a family
- Make “Lily of the Mohawks” cake and cornbread with this recipe from Catholic Cuisine
July 23: Feast Day of Saint Bridget of Sweden
Today we celebrate Saint Bridget, who began experiencing visions of Mother Mary when she was only seven years old! Saint Bridget married Prince Ulf Gudmarsson and they had eight children. After her husband passed away, she founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior. Saint Bridget had a devotion to the sufferings Christ bore in His passion, and Jesus revealed the number of blows to His body (5,475!) for her to honor each one in prayer.
- Read about Saint Bridget’s visions and revelations with the book that shares the dialogue between Saint Bridget, Mother Mary, and Jesus.
- Make Swedish Chocolate Cookies!
- If you would like to learn more about the prayers offered to Jesus to honor His passion and pray with them go here.
July 26: Feast Day of Saints Joachim and Anne
Saints Joachim and Anne are Mary’s parents, and so they are Jesus’ grandparents! The names Joachim and Anne are not documented in Scripture, but we know that they were holy people of faith and trust. Their example and witness gave us the incredible woman we know today who gave her “fiat” to being the Mother of God.
- As a family, say a prayer for the grandparents in your family! How can we pray for them? If possible, call and ask how they are and how they might need our help, physically or spiritually. Ask for their prayer intentions and thank them for their example and witness of love in your family.
- Saint Anne is the patron saint of mothers and women in labor. Ask for her to pray over the mothers in your life.
- Learn more about Saint Anne and make apple hazelnut tarts!
- Download a free coloring page of Joachim, Anne, and Mary here.