By Mary Lou Rosien
July conjures up images of flags, fireworks and festivities, but there are other wonderful reasons for Catholics to celebrate our amazing nation.
Catholics were among other famous Americans dedicated to creating a free nation. In fact, Charles Carroll was the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence! Carroll was a lawyer, scholar and statesman. He was a very rich man and he risked everything in the quest for freedom for America. He served on the colonial war board until freedom was won at Yorktown. He was also served the country as a U.S. Senator from Maryland.
Interestingly enough, Maryland was a state that was originally founded by Catholics (hence the name, “Mary-land”). It eventually became mainly Protestant.
Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini was the first naturalized American Citizen to be named a saint. Her feast day is November 13th and she is known as the “Patroness of Immigrants.”
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first native-born saint. She lived a difficult life, but dedicated it to the service and education of others. Early in her life, she lost her husband and then two of her own children. Her feast day is January 4th and she is known as the “Patron Saint of Children Near Death.”
The first naturalized American man named a saint was Saint John Nepomucene Neumann. Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, he dedicated his life to the education of others. He had a strong desire for his students to have every opportunity to learn, encouraging each parish to have its own school. His feast day is January 5th.
In 1945 Our Lady, under the title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, was named “Empress of the Americas,” by Pope Pius the XII. Since that time, her image has been associated with pro-life issues. This image of Mary is thought to be one of the only ones in which she appeared to be pregnant with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we celebrate this country, we take a moment to remember all the great Catholic men and women who have been a part of our history. From Christopher Columbus discovering America, to John F. Kennedy becoming the first Catholic President, we can be inspired by those who came before us. Catholics are a major part of important events in U.S. History. For example, it was revealed in a recent article by Bill Carrell, that the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was the second man to walk on the moon, actually brought Communion with him into space and consumed it on the surface of the moon.
Perhaps one of our students could be the next Catholic to become a vital part of United States history. God bless you all and God bless America.
Mary Lou Rosien writes from her home in N. Chili, NY. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.freewebs.com/catholicwriter .
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