Feast of Alphonsus Liguori
Fr Paul reads today’s Gospel from (Matthew 14: 1-12), about the death of John the Baptist and tells us about St Alphonsus Liguori, who was born in Marianella near Naples in 1696.
Alphonsus was the eldest of a large noble family and he received an extensive education. He finished his studies with a doctorate in both civil and canonical law (the law of the church) and began his practice in the legal profession. In 1723, after a long discernment, Alphonsus abandoned his legal career and despite the strong opposition of his father, he started his studies for the priesthood.
At the age of 30 Alphonsus was ordained and he lived his first years as a priest with homeless and marginalised young people. He established ‘chapels’, which were centres of prayer, community, the word of God, social activities and education for those marginalised people.
In 1732, Alphonsus founded the congregation of the most Holy Redeemer, which we know today as The Redemptorists, and from this time on he gave himself wholly to this new endeavour.
Alphonsus was a musician, a painter, a poet, an author of many books; he was a man of prayer; a man of love; he had a deep relationship with Christ. He also had first-hand pastoral experience, which makes Alphonsus one of the greatest masters of the interior life. He was made a bishop in 1762 but he tried to refuse the appointment because at the age of 66 he thought he was too old and too sick to care for a diocese. He retired in 1775, died in 1787, was canonised in 1839 and made a Doctor of the Church in 1871.
Fr Paul says today we remember and celebrate the life of Alphonsus Ligouri.