Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Missed St. Catherine's Feast and Prayers for the Sinai Monks

A FEW YEARS AFTER the end of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) there was a major overhaul of the Church's Liturgical Calendar. It caused  a great global dust up when Saint Christoper and others had their liturgical feasts dropped. Even now I'm confounded that the patron saint of travelers would no longer be observed with Mass as people started to travel more, faster and farther than ever before - even into outer space. What were we thinking?

Saint Catherine of Alexandria's Feast was dropped as well. This decision may have been terribly short-sighted as Catherine is the patroness of young girls and girl students. Girls need a patron today! Malala Yousafzai, this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, was shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls. 

Girls are kidnapped for the sex trade, and girls are aborted because boys are preferred. And with all this extra testosterone in the world, Mara Hvistendahl relates in her book Unnatural Selection  ~ Choosing Boys Over Girls, And The Consequences of a World Full of Men, quite seriously that we have only more war and violence to look forward to in the future. So I'm happy to report that in 2002, the Feast of Saint Catherine of Alexandria was restored.

Here's the little biography of Saint Catherine found in the Collegeville Lectionary for November 25:

Catherine at age eighteen angered Emperor Maximinus for questioning his cruelty and worship of false gods. When all his attempts to persuade her to deny Christ failed and various tortures were to no end he ordered her to be beheaded. The Acts of Saint Catherine report her body was carried by angels to Mount Sinai where a church and monastery were built in her honor. She is patroness of young girls and female students. 

The monastery mentioned above is Saint Catherine's found in the Sinai desert, indeed, at the foot of Mount Sinai. It is sometimes called the Monastery of the Burning Bush or The Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai. 

It is commonly noted that Americans display a great dis-interest in global news. I'm trusting that the folks who read this blog would be interested to know that the Greek monks who inhabit Saint Catherine's Monastery are presently living under great stress along with their Bedouin friends who form the community of support around the monastery. Saint Catherine's was closed by the government in September as threatening tensions in the Sinai Desert became inflamed. There are two links here to very informative articles about the monastery and the current difficulties the monks and the Bedouins bear.

Prayer For Our Own Time
Sharing the joy
of your November feast restored,
O great martyr Catherine
we hurry to ask for heaven's help.
Prompt the restoration
of the world's young girls:
birth to girls conceived,
freedom to girls enslaved,
choice to girls marriageable,
a classroom to girls illiterate,
treasuring to girls battered,
healing to girl's untreated,
a voice to girls silenced.

Father Stephen P. Morris 


  1. Girls have just as much to offer as boys. The modern world recognizes this. It is sad to think that girls are thought of as the inferior, weaker sex when in fact they have just as much to offer as their male counterparts. I am proud of my daughter who doesn't give her gender a second thought when it comes to achieving success or showing strength.

    1. Well, thanks God we've made some progress in at least parts of the world since ancient times. But not everywhere. Didn't the taliban shoot young Malala for being an advocate of education for girls in Pakistan? We have far to go. But that Jesus received the bread and fish from a child is itself remarkable and new.