Fish on Friday


It's the feast of St. Polycarp, from the Latin "many fish." (Not really, but that's always what I think when I hear his name.) Actually he was a disciple of John the Evangelist, later Bishop of Smyrna, and a martyr (his enemies tried to burn him but he wouldn't burn, so they had to stab him instead.) Strangely, he's the patron saint to invoke against earache & dysentery. I owe him a debt of gratitude because it was largely reading his letters --together with those of Ss. Iraeneus and Ignatius of Antioch-- that brought me into the Catholic Church. I was deeply convicted by these early Fathers' insistence on the unity of the Church and the deep wound to the body of Christ posed by schism.