Today in the year of Our Lord 2016, is the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians and the feast day of Saint Joanna
Pope Leo XIII granted a Canonical coronation towards the Marian image bearing the same title on 17 May 1903, now presently enshrined within the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. Pope Benedict XVI during his Regina Caeli papal address on 24 May 2009 invoked this Marian patronage, under the venerated title of Our Mother of Sheshan, calling for Chinese Catholics to renew their fidelity to the Pope as the sole successor of Saint Peter. The title of Mary Help of Christians is associated with the defense of Christian Europe (Latin and Greek), the north of Africa and the Middle East from non-Christian peoples during the Middle Age. In 1572, the Islamic Ottoman Empire intended to invade Christian Europe. Pope Pius V called Christian armies from all over Europe to defend the continent and asked the believers to pray to Mary in order. The defeat of the Muslim Turks was attributed to the intercession of Mary under this title.
Around 1576, Bernardino Cirillo, archpriest of Loreto, published at Macerata two litanies of the Blessed Virgin, which, he contended, were used at Loreto. One is in a form which is entirely different from our present text. Another form is identical to the litany of Loreto approved by Pope Clement VIII in 1601 and now used throughout the entire Church. This second form contains the invocation Auxilium Christianorum. Possibly warriors returning from the Battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571) visited the sanctuary of Loreto, and saluted the Holy Virgin there for the first time with this new title. It is more probable, however, that it is only a variation of the older invocation Advocata Christianorum, found in a litany of 1524.
The feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, was instituted by Pope Pius VII. By order of Napoleon I of France, Pius VII was arrested on June 5, 1808, and detained a prisoner first at Grenoble, and then at Fontainebleau. In January 1814, after the battle of Leipzig, he was brought back to Savona and set free on March 17, on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, the Patroness of Savona. The journey to Rome was a veritable triumphal march. The pontiff, attributing the victory of the Church after so much agony and distress to the Blessed Virgin, visited many of her sanctuaries on the way and crowned her images (e.g., the “Madonna del Monte” at Cesena, “della Misericordia” at Treja, “della Colonne” and “della Tempestà” at Tolentino). The people crowded the streets to catch a glimpse of the venerable pontiff who had so bravely withstood the threats of Napoleon. He entered Rome on May 24, 1814, and was enthusiastically welcomed. To commemorate his own sufferings and those of the Church during his exile Pope Pius VII extended the feast of the Seven Dolours of Mary to the universal Church on September 18, 1814.
When Napoleon left Elba and returned to Paris, Murat was about to march through the Papal States from Naples; Pius VII fled to Savona 22 March 1815. After the Congress of Vienna and the battle of Waterloo, the Pope returned to Rome on July 7, 1815. To give thanks to God and Our Lady, on 15 September 1815 he declared 24 May, the anniversary of his first return, to be henceforth the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians; the 1913 Catholic Encyclopaedia article commented that it has spread nearly over the entire Latin Church, but is not contained in the universal calendar.
The Marian feast was celebrated by the order of Servites since the 17th century. The veneration to Mary became popular under this title in Rome especially, where the feast was especially promulgated by Saint John Bosco and Saint Vincent Pallotti St. John Bosco was an ardent promoter of devotion to “Mary, Help of Christians”. He even built a huge Basilica in her honour in 1868 and founded a religious Congregation for women, under the title of, “The Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians”.
The Church has traditionally focused on two aspects of Our Lady’s help on this feast day. Firstly, the Church focuses in this feast upon the role of Our Lady’s intercession in the fight against sin in the life of a believer. Secondly, the Church has focused upon Our Lady as one who assists Christians as a community, through her intercession, in fighting against anti-Christian forces.
Although it is commonly associated with the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church has also known the devotion since 1030 in Ukraine, when the country was defended from a barbarian invasion.
Saint Joanna (???)
Joanna was the wife of Chuza, steward to Herod Antipas while being listed as one of the women who “had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities” who accompanied Jesus and the Apostles, and “provided for Him from their substance” in Luke 8:2–3. As the wife of an important court official, she would have had sufficient means needed to travel and contribute to the support of Jesus and the disciples.
She appears in Luke 24:10 with “Mary Magdalene and the mother of James and other female followers of Jesus”. They are the first to report to the eleven disciples that they had seen no body of Jesus in the sepulcher where He had been buried, but rather “two beings in shiny garments”.
In Orthodox tradition, she is honored as Saint Joanna the Myrrhbearer (Greek Αγία Ιωάννα η Μυροφόρος) and is commemorated among the eight women who carried myrrh on the “Sunday of the Myrrhbearers”, two Sundays after Pascha (Easter).
Although not mentioned by name, Joanna is most likely counted as one of the women who joined the disciples and Mary, the mother of the Lord, in the upper room in prayer. She was among the group of 120 who chose Matthias to fill the vacancy that was left by Judas, as well as being present on the Day of Pentecost.
In an effort to include all Catholics, those who go to the Latin Mass and those who attend the Vernacular, you may notice some Saints not mentioned in your Missal or Liturgical Calendar – this is because we are including all Saints from both Calendars. Because of this some Feast days will be repeated throughout the year.
Also today in Catholic History
Is there a noteworthy historical date that isn’t mentioned, leave a comment and let us know.
Mass Readings according to the Pope John XXIII edition of the Roman Missal in 1962 through the Douay-Rheims Bible
(Except the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia)
According to the USCCB -The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the ICBC The Irish Conference of Catholic Bishops and the CBCEW The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Reading 1 : 1 Peter 1 : 10 – 16
 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and diligently searched, who prophesied of the grace to come in you.
 Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ in them did signify: when it foretold those sufferings that are in Christ, and the glories that should follow:  To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you they ministered those things which are now declared to you by them that have preached the gospel to you, the Holy Ghost being sent down from heaven, on whom the angels desire to look.  Wherefore having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ,  As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance:  But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy:
 Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.
Responsorial Psalm : Psalm : 98 : 1, 2-3 AB, 3 CD – 4
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
Alleluia : Mathew 11 : 25
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel : Mark 10 : 28 – 31
 And Peter began to say unto him: Behold, we have left all things, and have followed thee.  Jesus answering, said: Amen I say to you, there is no man who hath left house or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,  Who shall not receive an hundred times as much, now in this time; houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions: and in the world to come life everlasting.
 But many that are first, shall be last: and the last, first.
Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel by Pope Leo XIII
O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel angels, who were powerless to stand against thee, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast forth, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast forth upon Earth, and his angels were sent with him.
But behold! the ancient enemy of mankind and a murderer from the beginning has been fiercely aroused. Changing himself into an angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay, and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity.
Be favorable to Thy Church, the Bride of the Lamb without spot, whose enemies have filled to overflowing with gall and inebriated with wormwood. They have laid profane hands upon Her most sacred treasures. Where the See of the most blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth has been constituted as a light to the nations, there they have placed a throne of their abomination and impiety; so that with the Pastor struck, they may prevail to disperse the flock
Therefore, most invincible Leader, be with the people of God against this spiritual wickedness and bring about victory. Thou art venerated by Holy Church as Her guard and patron; Thou art glorified as our defender against the impious powers of earth and of hell. Unto thee the Lord hath handed over the souls of the redeemed to be placed in happiness above. Entreat the God of peace, to obliterate satan beneath our feet, lest he prevail further to hold men captive, and to injure the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that the mercy of the Lord may swiftly overtake us, and apprehend the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan, and send him bound into the abyss, so that he may seduce the nations no more. Henceforth having been confided to thy escort and protection, we sacred ministers by our authority [if recited by a layman, or cleric who has not yet taken up the order of exorcist, say instead, “by the authority of Holy Mother Church ], do undertake to repel the infestations of diabolical deceit in the Name of Jesus Christ, Our God and Lord.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, depart from us, our adversaries.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, root of David, has conquered.
V. Let Thy mercy be upon us Lord.
R. As much as we hope in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
If recited by at least a deacon add the following
V. The Lord be with you all.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray
O God, and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we invoke Thy Holy Name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency so that, through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate ever-Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Michael the Archangel, of blessed Joseph, the Spouse of the same blessed Virgin, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, Thou may deign to offer us aid against satan, and all the other unclean spirits, who wander through the world to injure the human race and to destroy souls. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Alia Oratio ad Sanctum Michael
Princeps gloriosissime caelestis militiae, sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio et colluctatione, quae nobis adversus principes et potestates, adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitiae, in caelestibus. Veni in auxilium hominum, quos Deus creavit inexterminabiles, et ad imaginem similitudinis suae fecit, et a tyrannide diaboli emit pretio magno. Proeliare hodie cum beatorum Angelorum exercitu proelia Domini, sicut pugnasti contra ducem superbiae luciferum, et angelos eius apostaticos: et non valuerunt, neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in caelo. Sed proiectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui vocatur diabolus et satanas, qui seducit universum orbem; et proiectus est in terram, et angeli eius cum illo missi sunt.
En antiquus inimicus et homicida vehementer erectus est. Transfiguratus in angelum lucis, cum tota malignorum spirituum caterva late circuit et invadit terram, ut in ea deleat nomen Dei et Christi eius, animasque ad aeternae gloriae coronam destinatas furetur, mactet ac perdat in sempiternum interitum. Virus nequitiae suae, tamquam flumen immundissimum, draco maleficus transfundit in homines depravatos mente et corruptos corde; spiritum mendacii, impietatis et blasphemiae; halitumque mortiferum luxuriae, vitiorum omnium et iniquitatum.
Ecclesiam, Agni immaculati sponsam, vaferrimi hostes repleverunt amaritudinibus, inebriarunt absinthio; ad omnia desiderabilia eius impias miserunt manus. Ubi sedes beatissimi Petri et Cathedra veritatis ad lucem gentium constituta est, ibi thronum posuerunt abominationis et impietatis suae; ut percusso Pastore, et gregem disperdere valeant.
Adesto itaque, Dux invictissime, populo Dei contra irrumpentes spirituales nequitias, et fac victoriam. Te custodem et patronum sancta veneratur Ecclesia; te gloriatur defensore adversus terrestrium et infernorum nefarias potestates; tibi tradidit Dominus animas redemptorum in superna felicitate locandas. Deprecare Deum pacis, ut conterat satanam sub pedibus nostris, ne ultra valeat captivos tenere homines, et Ecclesiae nocere. Offer nostras preces in conspectu Altissimi, ut cito anticipent nos misericordiae Domini, et apprehendas draconem, serpentem antiquum, qui est diabolus et satanas, ac ligatum mittas in abyssum, ut non seducat amplius gentes. Hinc tuo confisi praesidio ac tutela, sacri ministerii nostri auctoritate [si fuerit laicus, vel clericus qui ordinem exorcistatus nondum suscepit, dicat: sacra sanctae Matris Ecclesiae auctoritate], ad infestationes diabolicae fraudis repellendas in nomine Iesu Christi Dei et Domini nostri fidentes et securi aggredimur.
V. Ecce Crucem Domini, fugite partes adversae.
R. Vicit Leo de tribu Iuda, radix David.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.
R. Quemadmodum speravimus in te
V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
Si fuerit saltem diaconus subiungat
V. Dominus vobiscum
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Deus, et Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, invocamus nomen sanctum tuum, et clementiam tuam supplices exposcimus ut, per intercessionem immaculatae semper Virginis Dei Genetricis Mariae, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Ioseph eiusdem beatae Virginis Sponsi, beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli et omnium Sanctorum, adversus satanam, omnesque alios immundos spiritus, qui ad nocendum humano generi animasque perdendas pervagantur in mundo, nobis auxilium praestare digneris. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.