Today we remember a great Dominican Saint, St. Raymond de Peñafort! St. Raymond was one of the earliest Dominicans, joining the Order in 1222.
He was of great renown as a canon lawyer. He was enlisted by the pope to codify canon law, and as Master of the Order, he revised the Dominican rule and constitutions. Not surprisingly, he is a Patron Saint of canon lawyers.
One of his greatest passions, however, was preaching to Jews and Muslims in his native Spain. He set up schools to teach Christians how to speak Hebrew and Arabic so that they could better communicate with the Jews and Muslims.
Incidentally, earlier today, I was trying to decide which classes I want to take this semester in our diocese’s adult faith formation program. There are four classes, and they all sound really good: Sacraments, Ecclesiology, Apocalyptic Literature, and Canon Law. But I must limit myself to taking two classes at a time. I knew I wanted to take Sacraments, but was very torn when trying to choose among the other three. Well… when I glanced up at my calendar and saw that today was St. Raymond’s day… I sort of took it as a sign. So, I’m taking Canon Law! :D