The life of this thirteenth century “Apostle of the North,” known for his zeal for souls, makes him a great patron for our modern times, so much in need of young hearts fearlessly leaving all to proclaim the Gospel. Zeal such as that of St. Hyacinth is the driving force of the Order of Preachers.
If we consider the Greek etymology of the word “enthusiasm,” which means “to be full of God,” Hyacinth comes across as a figure unconditional in his enthusiasm for preaching the Good News.
Born of noble parents in Poland around 1185, he was educated in Cracow. On a trip to Rome in 1218, he met St. Dominic, from whom both Hyacinth and his cousin, Chester, received the habit of the Friars Preachers. Within a few months of his reception of the habit, Hyacinth embarked on his first mission, sent by St. Dominic to preach, and establish the Order in Poland.
For the next 35 years, this great disciple of Dominic devoted himself to preaching the Gospel, encouraging his followers to nurture the practice of study, and opening new Dominican monasteries. He was tireless in his efforts, soon establishing Dominican Friaries in all the major cities in Poland. These houses became known as centers of theological thought and missionary activity. He extended his missionary activity through Russia, Lithuania, Czech and Slovakia, Austria, Bohemia.
After unceasing labors and vast journeys, Hyacinth spent his last few months of life in a monastery he had founded in Cracow. Although worn out and weakened by illness and fever, he kept watch in the service of God until his death by celebrating Mass on the Feast of the Assumption. He was anointed at the foot of the altar on August 15, 1257, and died the same day. Canonized over 300 years later.
What St. Hyacinth can offer us after so many centuries? What followed, the intentions of our forefathers who 129 years ago entrusted St. Hyacinth taking care of this temple?
Looking at the picture of St. Hyacinth in the main altar, we see two attributes, so very important for Christians – Catholics – the most Blessed Sacrament and our Lady- Mother of God.
So, these are the two greatest treasures of the Catholic Church. Today, St. Hyacinth calls out to each of us for great respect to the Blessed Sacrament, with full awareness of the living presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. He is the King and Lord of this place. From our God we draw the grace and inspiration to make our bodies a living tabernacle, the place of God’s presence in our lives, our families, at school, in the workplace and in our homeland.
The same place has to be offered to the Mother of God and our Mother. Christ gave us Mary as our mother. She is everywhere, where is Her Son Jesus.
St. Hyacinth in his missionary trips did not come to America but he was brought to us by our ancestors 129 years ago, when they assumed a new parish and gave her the name of Saint Hyacinth.
St Hyacinth, our patron, evangelized so many countries and peoples. And today in the history of our parish becomes for us the inspiration to evangelize ourselves and those who live in our Avondale neighborhood and those who come to it.
I believe this is our new task – a new goal, as St. Hyacinth did, to spread the Good News to our brothers and sister in Christ.
St Hyacinth, pray for us. Amen.