May 17, The feast of *Saint Paschal Baylon*
Today, May 17, we celebrate the feast of *Saint Paschal Baylon* (1540-1592), mystic, known for his profound devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
While Saint Paschal never became a priest, he is the saint most often thought of in relation to the Holy Eucharist, and Pope Leo XIII declared him the patron saint of Eucharistic congresses and associations.
Paschal Baylon (named after the day of his birth: Pentecost Sunday—Pascha Pentekostes) was born in Arragon, Spain. As a child, he would spend long hours in prayer and spent his days in the fields, tending the sheep, earning money for his family.
His solitary job in the fields, however, provided him with ample opportunity for quiet contemplation and prayer, which he embraced. However, Paschal realized the
importance of education, and slowly over his 17 years in the fields, taught himself to read with the help of kind strangers and passers-by.
He travelled from church to church, always on foot, visiting and praying before the Blessed Sacrament, referring to his encounters with “the real presence of Jesus” in these moments.
Many miracles are attributed to Saint Paschal, including creating fresh-flowing streams by striking the ground, healing, and miraculous charity. Saint Paschal also experienced mystical visions.
When he was 24, Saint Paschal applied to become a lay brother in the Franciscan Order. Saint Paschal was a holy presence for his brothers in the monastery.
Despite his limited education, he was sought out for counsel by wealthy leaders and the poor alike. He became known for his charity, giving away all that he had.
The “servant of the Eucharist,” as he was commonly called, died May 17, Pentecost Sunday, in 1592. His tomb at the Royal Chapel in Villareal, Valencia, Spain immediately became the object of innumerable pilgrimages, even by the king and the nobles of Spain.
Paschal was canonized in1690 and was named patron of eucharistic congresses and societies in 1897.
*St. Paschal, pray for us*.
St Paschal, you were filled by the Holy Spirit with a wondrous love for the sacred
mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood.
Intercede for us now that we may obtain
the grace of a profound faith and tender devotion for Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
May we draw from the Eucharist the same spiritual riches you
received with great joy, and may our lives reveal the enduring fruit of love,
generosity and goodness to the glory of God our Father.
St Paschal Baylon, lover of the Eucharist, pray for us. Amen._