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Introduction

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The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within Rome, Italy.

Catholic theology is based on the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter to whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, reserving infallibility, passed down by sacred tradition. The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders and enclosed monastic orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.

Of its seven sacraments the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions. Its teaching includes sanctification through faith and evangelisation of the Gospel as well as Catholic social teaching, which emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Nahuatl: Nicān Mopōhua), also called the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Virgen de Guadalupe) is a 16th century Roman Catholic icon depicting an apparition of the Virgin Mary. It is Mexico's most beloved religious and cultural image. Our Lady of Guadalupe is known in Mexico as "La Virgen Morena", which means "The brown-skinned Virgin". Our Lady of Guadalupe's feast day is celebrated on December 12, commemorating the account of her appearances to Saint Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City from December 9 through December 12, 1531.The Virgin of Guadalupe is a cultural symbol of significant importance to the Mexican identity.The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the second most visited Roman catholic shrine on the world after the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican.The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is often read as a coded image. Miguel Sanchez, the author of the 1648 tract Imagen de la Virgen María, described the Virgin's image as the Woman of the Apocalypse from the New Testament's Revelation 12:1: "arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."
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Credit: LivioAndronico

The Trevi Fountain is the largest — standing 25.9 meters (85 feet) high and 19.8 meters (65 feet) wide — and most ambitious of the Baroque fountains of Rome. Competitions had become the rage during the Baroque era to design buildings, fountains, and even the Spanish Steps. In 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a contest in which Nicola Salvi initially lost to Alessandro Galilei — but due to the outcry in Rome over the fact that a Florentine won, Salvi was awarded the commission anyway. Work began in 1732, and the fountain was completed in 1762, long after Clement's death, when Pietro Bracci's 'Neptune' was set in the central niche.

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Bishop Albin's seal.

Albin (or Albinus) (d. 1269) was a 13th-century prelate of the Kingdom of Scotland. A university graduate, Albin is known for his ecclesiastical career in the diocese of Brechin, centred on Angus in east-central Scotland.Almost certainly a native of Angus, he appears to be a descendant of David of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon, brother of King William I of Scotland, through an illegitimate son whom Earl David settled in the area around Brechin.Albin, himself an illegitimate child, made his career as a churchman in the local diocese, and served for some time as precentor of Brechin Cathedral before, in 1246, being elected Bishop of Brechin. He remained Bishop of Brechin until his death in 1269.Albin became Bishop of Brechin following an election and then a successful appeal for confirmation to the papacy. Pope Innocent IV's mandate for confirmation gave the details of the election.
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Statues of Saint Severinus and Saint Severus (right), carried during a procession at San Severo.

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Feast Day of January 23

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Saint Ildefonsus or Ildephonsus (rarely Ildephoses; died 23 January 667) was the metropolitan Archbishop of Toledo from 657 until his death. He was a Visigoth and his Gothic name was Hildefuns, which evolved into the Castilian name Alfonso. Ildefonsus, however, is known as San Ildefonso in Castilian and there are several places named after him. He was canonised and his feast day is 23 January, the date of his death. His writings were less influential outside of Hispania, but he remained a potent force in the peninsula for centuries. Like several of his seventh-century predecessors, Ildefonsus was a monk from Agali, and specifically abbot, before being raised to the metropolitan see of Carthaginiensis.

Theologically, Ildefonsus regarded the Nicene Creed as sufficientem scientiam salutarem (sufficient knowledge for salvation) and as a foedus (compact) between believer and God. Like Isidore of Seville before him, he regarded the creed as foming "two pacts" between God and believer: that renouncing the devil and the statement of belief itself. Ildefonsus encouraged frequent Communion, implying that normal practice was infrequent, and insisted upon preparation, which may have discouraged many.

Ildefonsus' De viris illustribus emphasises the monasticism of the earlier bishops of Toledo. Nonetheless, the "pastoral concern" and emphasis on praedicatio (preaching) is noted by modern editors.

Ildefonsus' most important work, however, is his De perpetua virginitate Mariae contra tres infideles, which imitated an earlier work of Jerome's. In it he utilises the "synonymous method" of Isidore for theological purposes, introducing the so-called Synonyma Ciceronis, wherein he repeats every phrase several times in different, purportedly identical, ways. The identifications reveal the arguments in a rhetorically strong way. The synonyms Ildefonsus uses are of interest to lexicographers.

Ildefonsus himself was included in a continuation made to the De viris illustribus by his later successor, Julian. His immediate successor was Quiricus, the dedicatee of Ildefonsus' De perpetua virginitate.
Attributes: a bishop or a monk with Virgin Mary giving him a white cloth
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Eusebius of Caesarea


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Divine Mercy

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