February 23 - Our Lady of the Rocks (near Salamanca, Spain) - Saint Polycarp (d. ca. 155), bishop and martyr


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Jesus, Saint John and His Mother

"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, this is your son.' Then to the disciple he said, 'This is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the Scriptures should be completely fulfilled, he said: I am thirsty. A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the wine he said, 'It is fulfilled'; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit" (John 19: 25-30). Saint Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle and Evangelist. It is possible that he also knew the Blessed Virgin as she lived with Saint John. Polycarp became bishop of Smyrna (in present-day Turkey) ca. 107 and one of the most important Christian leaders in all of Roman Asia. He also had a great influence over Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (d. ca. 200), through whom the faith was transmitted to much of Western Europe.

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