Saint of the Day ~ April 14

SAINT PETER GONZALEZ (1190-1246), priest – Patron saint of sailors and mariners

Today, the Church honors Saint Peter Gonzalez, a misled and prideful servant of the Church who faced public humiliation, which led him to a true conversion experience and set him on the road to sainthood.

Born in the year 1190 in Astorga, Spain, Peter became a priest as a political “stepping stone” to a position of importance amongst the people. One Christmas Day, during a grand entrance into the city of Astorga before all the townspeople, the young priest was thrown off of his horse and into a dung-heap!

Embarrassed and knowing that his parishioners thought he was a fraud, Peter withdrew from the world for a period of prayer and meditation. During this time, he experienced a personal conversion and spent the rest of his life making up for his lost youth. After joining the Dominican Order, family and friends tried to draw him back to his old life and their planned pursuit of importance, but he responded, “If you love me, follow me! If you cannot follow me, forget me!”

He served as the confessor and court chaplain to King Ferdinand III of Castile, and reformed court life around the king. He also worked for the crusade against the Moors (Muslims), went into the battlefields and worked for humane treatment of Moorish prisoners.

After retiring from the court of King Ferdinand, Peter devoted the remainder of his life to preaching in northwest Spain. He developed a special mission of evangelizing to shepherds in the hills along the waterfronts and to Spanish and Portuguese seamen.

Peter died at Santiago de Compostela in Tuy on April 15, 1246. He was beatified by Pope Innocent IV in 1254; and, although he was never formally canonized, the cult of ascribing to his holiness in life was formally approved by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741.

We commemorate his feastday on April 14.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, newadvent.org and stfrancisenid.com/saints)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the General Calendar of the Dominican Order of Preachers for Saint Peter Gonzalez)

“Almighty God, You bestowed the singular help of Blessed Peter on those in peril from the sea. By the help of his prayers, may the light of Your grace shine forth in all the storms of this life and enable us to find the harbor of everlasting salvation.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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