156. Pope Alexander II 1061-1073

Pope Alex II

Pope Alexander II continued to push the powerful reforms to the Church started by his predecessors. The first Pope elected under the new rules made by Pope Nicholas(only Cardinals elect the Pope),Alexander didn’t waste any time going to work on cleaning up his Church. He cleaned out corrupt clergy and supported moves to push out Muslims in Sicily and Spain. Alexander moved his Catholic chess pieces into far-ranging positions,the results of which are still felt today. He appointed a priest named Stanislaus to be the new Bishop of Krakow,Poland. This new Bishop made his name standing up to the King of Poland,being martyred in the process,cementing his Sainthood. Saint Stanislaus is one of the beloved patron saints of Poland,with much of that Deeply Catholic country devoted to him and grateful for his intercession of their prayers. Next,Pope Alexander granted his blessing to French William the Conqueror in his quest to invade England. Alexander favored William over the current King due to William’s vow to help clean up the English Church. William’s invasion,and victory,changed the course of English history(language,art,architecture and we’re probably all related to him in some way or another)
On a smaller scale that is felt at every Mass during Lent is Alexander’s decision to not sing the “Alleluia” before the Gospel reading. The “Alleluia” is pretty joyful song and for Lent we are supposed to be preparing ourselves for the coming death,and resurrection,of our Lord.

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8. St. Telesphorus 125-137

Telephorus

St. Teleshorus was a anchorite before journeying into Rome. I know,I had to look up the word “anchorite” too; it means recluse or hermit. The discipline he learned as a religious recluse no doubt contributed to his issuing a keeping of a seven week lent before Easter. He was one of the first priests to celebrate Easter on a Sunday and the tradition of Midnight Mass was also believed to be started under his Pontificate. He was martyred instead of paying tribute under law to the pagan gods of Rome and he was buried on Vatican Hill close to St. Peter. He is the patron saint of The Order of Carmelites because he was believed to have lived as a hermit on Mt. Carmel in Israel. Giving up chocolate for Lent? Just remember the name Telesphorus,because you’re most likely using your smart (tele)phone to gaze longingly at pictures of cake.