Our new DRE at St. Mary of Hyde Park, Brian Maguire, has decided that his predecessor’s view of religious education, that it should be partisan indoctrination for left-wing causes in the name of “social justice,”  was lacking.  He’s been busy overhauling parish resources and issuing new ones.  Take a look at his information-packed November newsletter, which closes with an exhortation to return to the sacrament of confession as Advent approaches.  Tonight I learned about another resource, “Option C” on the parish school’s website, which often features a brief write-up on the Saint of the Day along with — gasp! — a Q&A quiz to test one’s knowledge (registration required).  See the example below for today’s “St. Nicholas Tavelic and Companions,” which was brought to my attention this evening by our twelve-year-old son.  “Check this out, Dad — it’s cool!”  Of course, none of this would have happened without the guidance of our pastor, Fr. Ken Schartz.  Ditto for school principal Marianne Rosemond, who hosted the Tuesday morning Rosary group in her office this week.  My friend Joanna Bogle told me a half-dozen years ago that “the world is getting worse, but the Church is getting better.”  It sure feels that way, and in light of recent worldly events, it comes as a comfort.

St. Nicholas Tavelic and Companions


Nicholas and his three companions are among the 158 Franciscans who have been martyred in the Holy Land since the friars became custodians of the shrines in 1335.

Nicholas was born in 1340 to a wealthy and noble family in Croatia. He joined the Franciscans and was sent with Deodat of Rodez to preach in Bosnia. In 1384 they volunteered for the Holy Land missions and were sent there. They looked after the holy places, cared for the Christian pilgrims and studied Arabic.

In 1391 Nicholas, Deodat, Peter of Narbonne and Stephen of Cuneo decided to take a direct approach to converting the Muslims. On November 11, 1391, they went to the huge Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem and asked to see the Qadi (Muslim official). Reading from a prepared statement, they said that all people must accept the gospel of Jesus. When they were ordered to retract their statement, they refused. After beatings and imprisonment, they were beheaded before a large crowd.

Nicholas and his companions were canonized in 1970. They are the only Franciscans martyred in the Holy Land to be canonized.


1 – Where were these saints martyred?

2 – When and where was St. Nicholas born?

3 – What did Nicholas and his companion do at the Mosque of Omar?

4 – How did the Muslims officials react?

5 – What then happened to Nicholas and friends?


1 – In the Holy Land.

2 – He was born in 1340 in Croatia.

3 – They asked to the Muslim official and told them that all people must accept the gospel of Jesus.

4 – They were ordered to retract their statement, they refused.

5 – They were beaten and imprisioned and beheaded.