April 30, 2012: St. Athanasius the Great

~ by Mary Galvano

It seems these days we are hearing more stories of fellow Catholics having conflicts within the Church, especially with all the politics going on with other Catholics. I, too, have experienced this.

In these times of trial I have just the saint for you. He is no stranger to defending the challenges we face today, protecting the Church and the Faith. His name is St. Athanasius.

St. Athanasius was a Bishop and Doctor of the Church, also known as St. Athanasius the Great. His feast day is May 2. He was born in Alexandria, which is in Egypt, in about 296 A.D. of Christian parents. Educated under Alexander, later Bishop of his native city, he made great progress in learning and virtue. In 313 A.D., Alexander succeeded Achillas in the Patriarchal See, and two years later St. Athanasius went to the desert to spend time in retreat with St. Anthony of Egypt. Not bad company, is it?

In 319, he became deacon and was called upon to take an active part against the rising heresy of Arius, an ambitious priest of the Alexandrian Church who denied the Divinity of Christ. This would be the life struggle of St. Athanasius.

In 325, he assisted his Bishop at the Council of Nicaea, where his influence began to be felt. Five months later Alexandria died and on his deathbed recommended Athanasius as his successor. In this consequence, Athanasius was unanimously elected Patriarch in 326.

His refusal to tolerate the Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions for St. Athanasius. He spent seventeen of the forty-six years of his episcopate in exile. After a life of virtue and suffering, this intrepid champion of the Catholic faith, the greatest man of his time, died in peace on May 2, 373.

In our needs of protecting the Catholic faith, let us ask St. Athanasius “the pillar of the Church” to intercede for us:

O Holy father Athanasius,
like a pillar of orthodoxy
you refuted the heretical nonsense of Arius
by insisting that the Father and the Son are equal in essence.
O venerable father, beg Christ our God to save our souls.

.

Mary Galvano-Bajohr is a singer/songwriter, LPGA golf instructor, speaker and author. On the golf course she is a dedicated professional, but go to a Yankee game, a Pro-life event or other venue and you just might see her step up to the microphone and sing the National Anthem or the Ave Maria.

Visit Mary’s website at www.marygalvano.com.

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