By Christina Hermoso
The Catholic Church will honor on Sunday (September 17) the life and works of Saint Robert Bellarmine (San Roberto Belarmino), the patron of canonists and a Doctor of the Universal Church.
Commemorative masses will be held in several Catholic churches in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, in memory of the venerated Italian Jesuit priest. At the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome, Italy, where his sacred relics are kept, pilgrims and devotees traditionally gather on his feast day every year in veneration and thanksgiving.
Known as a great theologian, teacher, scholar, charity worker, and writer, his masterpiece, the Disputations on the Controversies, is considered as the most complete defense of the Catholic faith ever published as it showed his deep understanding of the Holy Bible and the Fathers of the Church.
One of his hymns on St. Mary Magdalene has been included in the Roman Catholic breviary. He also wrote inspiring catechisms and was the spiritual mentor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron of the youth.
Born on Oct. 4, 1542 in Montepulciano, Italy, St. Robert was appointed cardinal in 1598 and bishop in 1602. He also served as the head of the Vatican library. He died in 1621 and was canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29, 1930. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1931.
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