Patron of Jurists and Military Chaplains
St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy, in 1385, the son of a former German knight of that city. He studied Law at the University of Perugia and practiced as a lawyer in the courts of Naples. King Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia.
During a war with a neighboring town he was betrayed and imprisoned. Upon his release he entered the Franciscan community at Perugia in 1416. He and St. James of the March were fellow students under St. Bernardine of Siena, who inspired him to institute the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and His Mother. John began his brilliant preaching apostolate while a deacon in 1420. After his ordination he traveled throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia preaching penance and establishing numerous communities of Franciscan renewal.
When Mohamed II was threatening Vienna and Rome, St. John, at the age seventy, was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to preach and lead a crusade against the invading Turks. Marching at the head of 70,000 Christians, he gained victory in the great battle of Belgrade against the Turks in 1456. Three months later he died at Illok, Hungary, and was canonized in 1724.
PRAYER: Lord, You raised up St. John to console Your people in their distress. Keep us always safe under Your protection and preserve Your Church in unending peace. Amen.