The Resurrection is the most important event of the Catholic calendar. At the Resurrection, Jesus defeated death, and rose from the darkness of the tomb. He visited his Apostles, and ate and drank with them. He showed them his wounds, and that he truly did rise from the dead.
The Ascension of the Lord is the last time the Apostles saw Jesus on earth. This event takes place 40 days after the Resurrection. After Jesus ascended into heaven, the Apostles did what they were called to do, and went out and spread the good news.
Ten Peak Moments of the Catholic Church
The Council of Jerusalem appears in Chapter fifteen of Acts of the Apostles. There was a disagreement over whether or not the Gentiles had to first follow the law of moses before they could become Christians. Peter told them that there was no distinction between Gentile and Jew; on the contrary, we believe that we are all saved in the same way through the grace of Jesus Christ.
The church faced internal and external threats. Internally they were faced with threats of disintegration and struggled to maintain the church’s unity. Externally, the Romans were at war with the Christians. This put Constantine against the Romans in a war in the year 312. In a dream, Christ told Constantine to decorate his soldier's shields with emblems of Christ. Constantine won the war and in the year 313, he met with the emperor of Milan. The agreed to tolerate all religions, and Christianity became the powerhouse religion.
People of Arius questioned the divinity of Jesus. The council comes together and defines belief in God. God the Father and Jesus the Son are declared equal to each other in power against the heresy of Arius. With this council came the Nicene Creed, a statement of faith for all Christians.
The followers of Arius are still strongly against Christians. The followers of Macedonius are convinced that the Holy Spirit is a divine messenger, but not fully God. The teachings of the Council of Nicaea were deemed true and began to spread. Out of Nicaea came ideas that the Holy Spirit is also fully divine, the Trinity has one divine nature, and in the Trinity, there are three distinct persons that all share in the divinity.
The Nestorians believed that Mary is not the Mother of God, but the Mother of Christ. By doing this they ignore Jesus’ Divinity, which is not what we believe. The council ruled that Mary should always be called the Mother of God, and nothing else. They also stated that Jesus was both divine and human in one person.
The Monophysites believed that Jesus was both human and divine, but when Jesus was on earth, his divinity was completely replaced by his humanity. The council ruled that when Jesus was on earth, he was both human and divine. Both his humanity and divinity were completely united when he was on earth, and they are still united in heaven.
The cause of the Schism were disputes over papal authority between the Patriarch of Constantinople and Pope Leo IX. They both excommunicated each other, and because of the excommunication the Eastern and Western Churches were finally separated.
The gospel of Mark was written to the Gentiles, and non-Jewish Christians. It was written a little over 30 years after the death of Jesus. Christians at this time are being killed by Emperor Nero - burned, eaten by lions, etc. Saint Peter and Paul are killed during this time. They are concerned that Christian leaders are dying out, so they needed to write down history. Jesus is portrayed as someone who suffers and experiences a long range of emotions.
Luke’s gospel was written for the growing Greek Gentile communities. Their communities were continuing to grow, but they were confused on what they should do as Christians. Luke wrote and said that all Christians should mirror the mission and image of Jesus. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus is seen as a compassionate and forgiving person. Luke also included many parables, and parables about human forgiveness. He also mentions the women and outcasts, and is the only gospel writer to do so!
The Gospel of Matthew is written for Jewish Christians, because they were not sure if Jesus was the Messiah, so Matthew wrote it to connect the communities. Matthew makes connections to Moses, Abraham, and King David. In this gospel Jesus is seen as a reflective teacher.
The Gospel of John was written for every believer in Christ. During this time the Christian communities were in conflict with each other. John wrote his Gospel to stop tension between the Gentiles and Jews. John also wrote heavily on the mystery of the Incarnation.
St. Paul’s name was originally Saul, he worked for Rome, and he hated Christians. In fact, he hated Christians so much that he killed so many of them. He was so strongly against Christians, that he sent a letter to the high priest asking for permission to go to Damascus, and on the way he saw a great light, and the Lord spoke to him and said “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me”. He changed his name to Paul, and dedicated his life to Christ.
When Paul came back to Rome from Malta after curing the sick and injured, he was not met with a peaceful crowd. People wanted him killed, but the Romans put him arrested in his house. Paul lived there for ten years, then died.
While Emperor Nero was killing many Christians, he sought out Peter and Paul. He thought that if he killed Peter and Paul, it would end the Christian religion. He never found Paul, but he found Peter and ordered him to be crucified. Before he died, Peter requested to be crucified upside down, because he thought he was not worthy to die the same way Jesus died.
Saint Thomas Aquinas was born in the year 1225 and died in the year 1274. His beatification date is unknown, but he was canonized by Pope Leo XXII on July 18, 1323. Saint Thomas Aquinas is the Patron Saint of Academies, Book Sellers, Catholic Schools, and Theologians. Some special symbols of Saint Thomas Aquinas include the Chalice, Monstrance, Ox, and the Sun. A famous story about Saint Thomas was when he was learning at the University. Thomas was very quiet, so some of the students called him a “dumb ox”. In response, Thomas’ friend, Magnus prophetically said, "You call him the dumb ox, but in his teaching, he will one day produce such a bellowing that it will be heard throughout the world."
Saint John Neumann was born in the year 1811 and died in the year 1860. He was beatified in the year 1963, and canonized in the year 1977. Some of his patronages include Catholic Schools and the Confessional Seal. Saint John Neumann is a good role model because he tried to become a priest in his hometown but the bishop wouldn’t let him because there were too many bishops and priests in the area, but John wouldn’t give up and finally found a spot in the United States.
Saint Damien De Veuster was born in the year 1840 and died in the year 1889. He was beatified June 4, 1995 and canonized on October 11, 2009. Saint Damien is the patron saint of people with leprosy. Some symbols of Saint Damien are a cross, a scroll, and chapels. Saint Damien was an extremely brave saint because he knew that he was going to die when he went to serve in the leper colony, but he went there anyway to put the lepers before himself which is what God wants us to do.