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St. Evaristus and Blessed Contardo Ferrini, October 26, 2004 Roman Catholic Saints

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
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Today the Church remembers two different holy men of different times but who both served Christ. May they be an example for us to follow Christ in all we do.
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St. Evaristus, pope and martyr
"This is a Saint who strove for the truth, even unto death, and feared not the words of sinful men, forasmuch as he was founded upon a sure foundation." — Antiphon for Vespers
Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar today was the feast of St. Evaristus, one of the first popes and the successor of St. Clement. Pope Evaristus governed the Church from 97 to about 107. He was buried at the Vatican.


St. Evaristus
The episcopate of Evaristus began in the third year of Emperor Trajan's reign. Sources refer to him as a Greek from Antioch, the son of a Jew named Juda from Bethlehem. The exact length of his reign has been disputed by historians, as have been the authenticity of his letters and decretals; however, early scholars credit Evaristus with dividing Rome into specific parishes and with ordaining fifteen bishops, seven priests, and two deacons. Lack of historical evidence for these acts, though, would make them questionable.
In his first epistle addressed to the bishops of Africa, Evaristus decreed that seven deacons were to monitor a bishop's preaching, to ensure that he did not lapse from the true teachings. Evaristus did not wish to see undue accusations aimed at his bishops, yet reserved solely to the See of Rome the power to terminate any bishop as a result of this indiscretion. His second epistle drew a comparison between the lasting bond of husband and wife and that of a bishop and his diocese. Fragments of certain documents bearing his name have been proved to be forgeries, and therefore the validity of his epistles is doubtful. Evaristus did, however, live long enough to see the beginning of the Antonine dynasty.
According to Church tradition, he died a martyr and was buried near St. Peter on the Vatican Hill, but again, there is no reliable evidence to support this. — The Popes: A Papal History, J.V. Bartlett
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October 26, 2004
Blessed Contardo Ferrini
(1859-1902)

Contardo Ferrini was the son of a teacher who went on to become a learned man himself, one acquainted with some dozen languages. Today he is known as the patron of universities.
Born in Milan, he received a doctorate in law in Italy and then earned a scholarship that enabled him to study Roman-Byzantine law in Berlin. As a renowned legal expert, he taught in various schools of higher education until he joined the faculty of the University of Pavia, where he was considered an outstanding authority on Roman law.
Contardo was learned about the faith he lived and loved. "Our life," he said, "must reach out toward the Infinite, and from that source we must draw whatever we can expect of merit and dignity." As a scholar he studied the ancient biblical languages and read the Scriptures in them. His speeches and papers show his understanding of the relationship of faith and science. He attended daily Mass and became a lay Franciscan, faithfully observing the Third Order rule of life. He also served through membership in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
His death in 1902 at the age of 43 occasioned letters from his fellow professors that praised him as a saint; the people of Suna where he lived insisted that he be declared a saint. Pope Pius XII beatified Contardo in 1947.
Thanks to people like Contardo, our Church long ago laid to rest the idea that science and faith are incompatible. We thank God for the many ways science has made our lives better. All that remains to us is to help ensure that the rest of the world, especially impoverished nations, gets to enjoy the fruits of scientific advance.
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    10/26/2004 06:40:00 AM :: ::
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