Archive for September, 2009

St. Louis: Holy Sepulchre Meeting

Monday, September 28th, 2009

From September 16 through 24, I attended the annual meeting of the Northern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.  This year’s meeting was held in St. Louis, MO.  Here are some photographs from the closing Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis  in the “Rome of the West” :

September 14: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Monday, September 14th, 2009

As we rejoice on this second Anniversary of our Holy Father’s Motu Prorio, Summorum Pontificum, I thought I would post a photograph of our new outdoor shrine near the sacristy door in Salem. 

Thank you, Jim McCormick, for making the shrine!

Wayside Shrine

Wayside Shrine

September 10: Feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentine (1245-1305)

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Today we celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentine (1245-1305), Patron of the Souls in Purgatory, and venerated his holy relic (1st class) following Mass:

Nicholas Gurrutti was born in the village of Sant’Angelo in Pontano, Italy in 1245.  His parents, middle-aged and childless, made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Nicholas of Bari, their special patron, to ask his intercession on their behalf.  Shortly thereafter, a son was born to them whom they named Nicholas out of gratitude.

At an early age Nicholas was greatly moved by the preaching of the Augustinian, Father Reginaldo di Monterubbiano, prior of the monastery of Sant’Angelo, and requested admission to the community.

He was accepted by the friars and made his novitiate in 1261. Nicholas directed his efforts to being a good religious and priest, and soon became renowned for his charity toward his confreres and all God’s people.

His religious formation was greatly influenced by the spirituality of the hermits of Brettino, one of the congregations which came to form part of the “Grand Union” of Augustinians in 1256, whose communities were located in the region of the Marche where Nicholas was born and raised.

Characteristic of these early hermits of Brettino was a great emphasis on poverty, rigorous practices of fasting and abstinence and long periods of the day devoted to communal and private prayer.  As Nicholas entered the Order at its inception he learned to combine the ascetical practices of the Brettini with the apostolic thrust which the Church now invited the Augustinians to practice.  At times, Nicholas devoted himself to prayer and works of penance with such intensity that it was necessary for his superiors to impose limitations on him.  At one point he was so weakened though fasting that he was encouraged in a vision of Mary and the child Jesus to eat a piece of bread signed with the cross and soaked in water to regain his strength.  Thereafter he followed this practice in ministering to the sick himself.  In his honor the custom of blessing and distributing the “Bread of Saint Nicholas” in continued by the Augustinians in many places today.

Nicholas was ordained to the priesthood in 1271.  He lived in several difference monasteries of the Augustinian Order, engaged principally in the ministry of preaching.   In 1275 he was sent to Tolentino and remained there for the rest of his life.   Nicholas worked to counteract the decline of morality and religion which came with the development of city life in the late thirteenth century.  He ministered to the sick and the poor, and actively sought out those who had become estranged from the Church.   A fellow religious describes Nicholas’ ministry in these words: “He was a joy to those who were sad, a consolation to the suffering, peace to those at variance, refreshment to those who toiled, support for the poor, and a healing balm for prisoners.”  Nicholas’
reputation as a saintly man and a worker of miracles led many people to the monastery of Tolentino.

When in 1884 Nicholas was proclaimed “Patron Saint of the Souls in Purgatory” by Pope Leo XIII, confirmation was given to a long-standing aspect of devotion toward this friar which is traced to an event in his own life.  On a certain Saturday night as he lay in bed, Nicholas heard Fra Pellegrino of Osimo, a deceased friar who Nicholas had known.  Fra Pellegrino revealed that he was in purgatory and he begged Nicholas to offer Mass for him and for the other suffering souls so that they might be set free.  For the next seven days, Nicholas did so and was rewarded with a second vision in which the deceased confrere expressed his gratitude and assurance that a great number of people were now enjoying the presence of God through Nicholas’ prayers.  As this event became known, many people approached Nicholas, asking his intercession on behalf of their own deceased relatives and friends.

Nicholas died in Tolentino on September 10th, 1305.  He was declared a saint in 1446 – the first member of the Augustinian Order to be canonized.  Saint Nicholas’ body is venerated in the basilica in Tolentino which bears his name.  His feast is celebrated by the Augustinian family on this day each September.


Prayer to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine

O God,

source of strength and courage,
you gave your beloved preacher,
Saint Nicholas of Tolentino,
the conviction of faith to the very end.
Grace us with the ability
to translate your teaching into action,
remain patient amid hardship,
serve the poor and those who suffer,
and live as your true and faithful

Saint Nicholas of Tolentino,
pray for us.


Prayer for the Faithful Departed

Lord, God of holiness and light.

you do not allow any shadow of darkness or evil in your sight,

and so in your mercy you grant to those who have left this world

burdened with sin, a time of purification,

applying to them the spiritual treasures of your holy Church.

Hear my prayer and through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Blessed Virgin Mary, the saints, and all your faithful people

bring to an end this time of waiting for our beloved dead,

especially ___________________________.

In your providence you have chosen Saint Nicholas of Tolentine as a

special intercessor on behalf of the departed. Hear also his fervent

prayer for those whom I recommend to you through his intercession.


(above prayers from the Augustinian Press, Villanova, PA)

September 8: Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

“The Blessed Virgin is the spoiled child of the Blessed Trinity.

She knows no law. Everything yields to her in heaven and on earth.

The whole of heaven gazes on her with delight.

She plays before the ravished eyes of God himself.”

                                                                                                           Raissa Maritain

Maria Bambina

On Tuesday, September 8th the Church celebrates the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (nine months after we celebrate her Immaculate Conception in the womb of Saint Anne on December 8th).   This weekend, on the Holy Family side altar, I will place my personal statue of the Maria Bambina  (Baby Mary).

For more information on this devotion, go to:

A Prayer to the Maria Bambina:

Sweet Child Mary, destined to be the Mother of God and our sovereign and loving Mother, by the prodigies of grace you lavish upon us, mercifully listen to my humble supplications. In the needs which press upon me from every side and especially in my present tribulation, I place all my trust in you.  Amen.

Below is a meditation by the Carmelite and Servant of God, Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene (author of the Little Catechism on Prayer and Divine Intimacy) on the Feast of Our Lady’s Nativity:

The liturgy enthusiastically celebrates Mary’s Nativity and makes it one of the most appealing feasts of Marian devotion. Mary’s birth is a prelude to the birth of Jesus because it is the initial point of the realization of the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God for the salvation of mankind. How could the birthday of the Mother of the Redeemer pass unnoticed in the hearts of the redeemed? The Mother proclaims the Son, making it known that He is about to come, that the divine promises, made centuries before are to be fulfilled. The birth of Mary is the dawn of our redemption; her appearance projects a new light over all the human race; a light of innocence, of purity, of grace, a resplendent presage of the great light which will inundate the world when Christ, “lux mundi,” the Light of the World, appears. Mary, preserved from sin in anticipation of Christ’s merits, not only announces that the Redemption is at hand, but she bears the first fruits of it within herself; she is the first one redeemed by her divine Son. Through her, all-pure and full of grace, the Blessed Trinity at last fixes on earth a look of complacency, finding in her alone a creature in whom the infinite beauty of the Godhead can be reflected. The birth of Jesus excepted, no other was so important in God’s eyes or so fruitful for the good of humanity, as was the birth of Mary. Yet is has remained in complete obscurity. There is no mention of it in Sacred Scriptures and when we look for the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel, we find only what refers to Joseph; we find nothing explicit about Mary’s ancestry except the allusion to her descent from David. Our Lady’s origin is wrapped in silence, as was her whole life. Thus, her birth speaks to us of humility.  Let Mary’s humble, hidden life be the model of ours, and if, in emulating her, we have to struggle against our ever-recurrent tendencies to pride, let us confidently seek her maternal aid, and she will help us to triumph over all vainglory.

New edition of CATHOLIC newspaper has arrived!

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Catholic Sept 2009

In the back of the church this weekend you will find several copies of the very informative and inspirational newspaper, Catholic, published quarterly by the Transalpine Redemptorists in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.  This issue is dedicated to the Year of the Priesthood. 

With the Catholic is a copy of the latest work the Transalpine Redemptorists have printed: Gerardo.  It is the life of St Gerard Majella, C.SS.R., one of the Patron Saints of Expecting Mothers.

St Gerardo 01

I gave each Seventh Grader at our parochial school a copy of Catholic (which included a copy of Gerardo) and have asked them to write a short report on one of the articles.

Three of the brothers from this wonderful community study for the priesthood at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska.  I have invited them to come out to Salem next month and visit our parochial school, and speak at our weekend Masses, on the work this community is doing for the Church, and to introduce our parish to the Archconfraternity  of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.  For more information on the Transalpine Redemptorists, go to  For more information on the Archconfraternity of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, go to