Patron, Saint Pascal Baylon
St. Pascal was born in Torre Hermosa, Aragon (in what is now Spain) in 1540. His parents were Martin Baylon and Elizabeth Jubera. His father was a shepherd. At the age of eighteen or nineteen, he sought to become a Franciscan friar. At first, he was denied admission, but a few years later, he was accepted and he soon became a valuable asset. He spent all of his religious life as a Franciscan lay brother and served mainly as a porter, a keeper of the door.
Though he had no formal education (it is said that he taught himself to read while tending the sheep), St. Pascal possessed the special ability to engage in theological debates, especially when the debates concerned the Eucharist. While on a trip to France, he was known to have engaged in a heated debate with a Calvinist preacher. St. Pascal courageously defended the Catholic belief in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist when the crowd became violent and began to stone him. He managed to escape with his life, but he suffered a serious injury to his shoulder.
St. Pascal's claim to fame was his intense devotion to the Holy Eucharist. His name even suggests this, having been named after Jesus who is the Paschal Lamb. It is Jesus Himself, the Lord
Whom St. Pascal loved, Who is present in the Eucharistic elements of bread and wine.
St. Pascal was known to have spent many hours at a time kneeling before the tabernacle. It was his intense love for Christ's presence in the Eucharist that helped him to recognize Christ's presence in the sick and poor for whom he cared.
St. Pascal grew up in Spain which was heavily influenced by the Moors, followers of Islam who occupied Spain for approximately 700 years. Noticing the architecture of the church dedicated in his honor, one can see the reference to this in the architectural style. Most notable is the faux minaret which serves as a chimney. The many archways are also characteristic of Spanish architecture.
St. Pascal died in 1592 at the age of fifty-two. He was beatified by the Church in 1618 and canonized in 1690. Because of his deep love for and devotion to the Eucharist, St. Pascal is the patron of Eucharistic Congresses.
As the patron of our parish, St. Pascal reminds all of us who look to him of the importance of recognizing the presence of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine received at Mass.
St. Pascal's feast day is May 17.