Sunday, August 1, 2010

St. Philomena (Jan 10, 291 to Aug. 10, 304)

"Let's dance in style, let's dance for a while
Heaven can wait, we're only watching the skies...
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever? Forever and ever."

When the song "Forever Young" by Alphaville was released, I was just 20-years-old, so the lyrics meant nothing to me. Now, two decades later, as I was leaning against the railing outside Hanson's Pub the other night, watching the 55 plus crowd drinking, grooving to the music, and checking each other out, I had my own thoughts.
I don't want to sound judgmental, but how can I not? Maybe the woman with the noticeably dyed red hair and sundried skin or the balding guy with the comb over and Wrangler jeans were once lookers.
Are we mere mortals often trying to regain our youth, which is impossible?
In my family,  people either die tragically at a young age or live to be 100. There's no in between.
This makes no sense to me. Yet, my dad always tells me that I will find out what it all means when I die.
There are many patron saints of youth. However, right now, I am most interested in St. Philomena, for two reasons. First, because all that is known about her is through information received by private revelation, and, secondly, she was born on the Greek island of Corfu, a place that I visited on my first trip to Europe.
St. Philomena was born on Jan. 10, 291. She was a princess who died a virgin martyr in Rome, Italy on Aug. 10, 304 at age 13. It wasn't until the 19th century that her bones were discovered in the St. Priscilla catacombs. They are now at the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano de Cardinale, Italy.
Technically, St. Philomena was never canonized. She was venerated in the Roman Catholic Church from Jan. 13, 1837 to Feb. 14, 1961. Her feast day was Aug. 11, but she has since been removed from the liturgical calendar.
And, this reminds me of St. Christopher (everyone's favorite patron saint of travel), who since 1969 is no longer listed on the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.

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