BLESSED CÉSAR de BUS (1544-1607), priest and founder – Patron saint of catechists
Today, the Church honors Blessed César de Bus, who, after experiencing disillusionment with choices he had made in the secular world, embraced a life serving the Body of Christ, committing himself to catechizing the faith to those who were in most need of learning about and developing a relationship with their Savior.
César was born in Cavillon, France on February 3, 1544. He was the seventh of thirteen children and devoted his youth to wild and frivolous living. Like so many of us when young, César struggled with the decision about what to do with his life. After completing his Jesuit education, he had difficulty making a decision between a military and a literary career. He wrote some plays but ultimately settled for life in the army and at the king’s court.
For a period of time, life was going rather smoothly for the engaging, well-to-do young Frenchman. He was confident he had made the right choice – that was until he saw firsthand the realities of battle, including the injustices and atrocities of war.
He fell seriously ill and found himself reviewing his priorities, including his spiritual life. By the time he had recovered his health and leaving the military way of life, César had resolved to become a priest. Following his ordination in 1582, he undertook special pastoral work: teaching the catechism to ordinary people living in neglected, rural, out-of-the-way places. His efforts were badly needed and well received.
Working together with his cousin, Father de Bus developed a program of family catechesis. The goal was to ward off heresy among the people, an effort which met the approval of local bishops. Out of these efforts grew a new religious Order – Fathers of Christian Doctrine, a congregation of priests who would devote themselves to the preaching of Christian doctrine to the many people who badly needed catechesis. This congregation was approved by Pope Clement VIII in 1597.
On Easter Sunday, April 15, 1607, at the age of sixty-three, Father César de Bus died in Avignon, France. He was beatified in 1975 by Pope St. Paul VI, and his remains are interred in the church of Saint Mary in Monticelli in Rome, Italy.
We commemorate his feastday on April 15.
(From saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Pastors ~ pastor)
“God our Father, in Blessed César de Bus, You gave a light to Your faithful people. You made him a pastor of the Church to feed Your sheep with his word and to teach them by his example. Help us by his prayers to keep the faith he taught and follow the way of life he showed us.
“Grant 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.”