Archive for November, 2010

DAY 2: Novena in Preparation for December 8th

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

From the homily of our late Holy Father,  the Venerable John Paul II during the Mass of Beatification of  Blesseds Pius IX, John XXIII, William Chaminade, Tommasso Reggio & Columba Marmion – September 3, 2000 – St. Peter’s Square:

“Listening to the words of the Gospel acclamation: ‘Lord, lead me on a straight road’, our thoughts naturally turn to the human and religious life of Pope Pius IX, Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti. Amid the turbulent events of his time, he was an example of unconditional fidelity to the immutable deposit of revealed truths. Faithful to the duties of his ministry in every circumstance, he always knew how to give absolute primacy to God and to spiritual values. His lengthy pontificate was not at all easy and he had much to suffer in fulfilling his mission of service to the Gospel. He was much loved, but also hated and slandered.

However, it was precisely in these conflicts that the light of his virtues shone most brightly: these prolonged sufferings tempered his trust in divine Providence, whose sovereign lordship over human events he never doubted. This was the source of Pius IX’s deep serenity, even amid the misunderstandings and attacks of so many hostile people. He liked to say to those close to him: “In human affairs we must be content to do the best we can and then abandon ourselves to Providence, which will heal our human faults and shortcomings”.

Sustained by this deep conviction, he called the First Vatican Ecumenical Council, which clarified with magisterial authority certain questions disputed at the time, and confirmed the harmony of faith and reason. During his moments of trial Pius IX found support in Mary, to whom he was very devoted. In proclaiming the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, he reminded everyone that in the storms of human life the light of Christ shines brightly in the Blessed Virgin and is more powerful than sin and death.”

Novena in Preparation for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Today, November 29, we began the Novena in Preparation for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The Novena will end on the Vigil of the Feast, December 7.  For a copy of the prayers we recite at the end of Holy Mass at St. Mary Church in Salem, please click on the link below:

Novena in Preparation for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception from SALEM

Vigil for Nascent Human Life

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Tonight, Saturday, November 27th at 7:00pm, about 80 people came to St. Mary Church in Salem for the Vigil for Nascent Human Life.  To see the program we used for our Vigil, based on what our Holy Father presided over in St. Peter’s Basilica, click here:   SALEM Vigil for Nascent Human Life

EXCELLENT HOMILY ON CHRIST THE KING

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Our Dean (Brookings-Madison Deanery), the Very Rev. Shane D. Stevens, V.F., sent me his excellent homily from this past Sunday, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King (in the Calendar of 1969, Ordinary Form).  I publish it here with his permission and for your edification.  Father Stevens is Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in DeSmet, SD, St. Paul in Iraquois and St. John in Arlington.  He is a graduate of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA and St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, CO.  Father was ordained a priest by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Paul Joseph Swain, Eighth Bishop of Sioux Falls, in May, 2007, at St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls, SD.  Father’s wbesite is:  http://kingsburycatholic.org

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November 21, 2010

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King

The Last Sunday in Ordinary Time

HOLY GOSPEL: St. Luke 23:35-43

 “Jesus Christ is the King of Hearts”

 My Dear People in Christ!

Today the Church celebrates the solemn feast of Christ the King.  The Church concludes Her liturgical year, with a clear reminder that in the whole history of the world, there is no king like that of Jesus.

For some reason we Americans are fascinated by royalty.  I am not sure why? Maybe it is because we choose a different form of government other than a monarchy.  Just this past week, Prince William, the son of the late, Princess Diana, proposed marriage to a Miss Kate Middleton.  I woke, and after my morning prayers, was amazed at the amount of time dedicated to the subject. It would seem that we are still intrigued by the notion of royalty.

Even the Israelites in the Old-Testament had the desire for a king.  They looked about the neighboring countries and saw them led by a king.  A king would lead them into battle, and take care of their needs.  God warned them that if they persisted in wanting a king, that He would grant their desire, but at a great cost.  God wanted to be their king, to lead them into battle, to take care of their needs, to protect them.  Sadly they got what they wanted. Their first king was Saul. He turned out to be greedy, vindictive, and paranoid.  Then they had King David, and he was flawed.  He was an adulterer and murderer. King David did penance and was forgiven by God, but not without much suffering. Next was King Solomon.  He was the wisest of all men, and people came from far and wide to seek his advice and wisdom. 

How different it is with Jesus!  Jesus, the son of David, a son of a royal household.  His throne was not of marble, set high in a palace, but rough wood, the wood of the cross.  His crown was not of gold, but made of thorns.  His court consisted of not a retinue of thousands, but two thieves. One who mocked, and one who asked to be remembered in His Kingdom. 

My dear people, we most likely will not ever enjoy a noble title.  The Queen of England will not probably call us one day and give us the title of Duke, or Duchess, Sir this, or Lady that.  (In fact the only Queen in my family was an old German shepherd my dad had when I was a boy, her name was Queeny.)  No, we have a more precious title and that is Christian.  At our baptism we were created sons and daughters of God, and anointed: priest, prophet and king! Yes, you are a member of a Royal Family! 

No king, no queen in history no matter how great, or grand can say these most holy, hopeful words, “This day you will be with me in Paradise”!

May Christ the King, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Life, know us, as He knew that Good Thief!   Amen!

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. Dismas, the Good Thief

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Domine memento mei cum veneris in regnum tuum. 

Amen dico tibi hodie mecum eris in paradiso.

In today’s Gospel (Ordinary Form, Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King), we hear the encounter between Our Lord and the good thief, who asks the dying Jesus: “Remember me, O Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom.”   The Merciful Savior responds: “Amen, I tell you, today you shall be with me in paradise.”

All that we know with any authority about St. Dismas (the name given by tradition to the good thief)  is what we have from Sacred Scripture and ancient tradition.  Tradition tells us that his name was Dismas and that he was the good thief who was crucified next to Our Lord on Good Friday:

The soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him, and offering Him vinegar, and saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.”  And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.  And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy kingdom.  And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.  (St. Luke 23: 36-43).

However, there is a story, which is not substantiated and considered myth, which comes from the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. The story is that the two thieves who ended up on each side of Christ at His crucifixion actually had a run-in with the Holy Family when Jesus was just an infant. In this story, the thieves held up Mary and Joseph as they were fleeing to Egypt with the infant Jesus to escape Herod’s soldiers. Apparently Dismas bribed the other thief, named Gestas, with forty drachmas to not harm the Holy Family. At this point in the tale, the Infant Jesus predicted that the thieves would be crucified with Him in Jerusalem and that Dismas would accompany Him to Paradise. Again, this story is not substantiated and is considered myth.

Again, the only valid information we have on Dismas is the account in Saint Like’s Gospel.

Questions frequently arise from this Scripture verse concerning Dismas. One usually posed from non-Catholics is that the good thief (Dismas) was taken to heaven and was apparently not baptized, surmising that this must mean baptism is not necessary for salvation. Another question concerns good works. If this man apparently lived a life of sin and was being crucified for his sins, thereby not able to do anything good before his death, how is it he could go straight to heaven?

In response to these questions, the Catholic Church teaches that in cases where there is no baptism of water, there may be a baptism of desire. This can occur in situations where there is no opportunity for baptism. Vatican II documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church state: “Those who through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, but nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience — those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

Dismas certainly proved by his words to Jesus and to the other thief on the cross that he fit the criteria and received baptism of desire. Secondly, according to Scripture, (1 Peter 3:19-20 and Ephesians 4:8-10) and the Nicene Creed, Jesus descended into Hades, which is also known as Sheol (or the place of the dead, where both the righteous and unrighteous went) between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. So if He descended into the abode of the dead and preached to the prisoners (1 Peter 3:19) then He didn’t go straight to heaven. The Paradise he spoke of to Dismas was Hades or Sheol, which we might call Purgatory. It wasn’t heaven, but a place or state of being where the dead would be before they could go to heaven. Furthermore, Scripture states that Jesus didn’t actually ascend into heaven until forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3, 9-11; John 20:17).

Remember Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene when she saw Him outside the tomb on Easter Sunday: “Do not hold Me for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (Luke 20:17). So when Jesus said to Dismas, “This day you will be with Me in Paradise,” He must have meant that Dismas would first go with Him to Paradise (Sheol) to preach to those there, before taking the righteous to heaven.

Lessons:  Some feel that it is not “fair” that Dismas was a criminal who not only was apparently not baptized but also had lived a life of sin and then in his last minutes of life on earth was saved. They feel that it doesn’t seem right that someone could lead their whole life in sin and then be saved at the “last minute” whereby they have striven all their lives to be good and righteous. Recall the parable of our Lord in Matthew’s Gospel about the householder who went out to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. In this parable the master (who symbolizes God) hired some workers early in the morning to work in his vineyard. Around noon he hired more laborers and then at the last hour of daylight, he hired more laborers. At the end of the day, he called them all together to pay them their wages. When all received the same wage, those who had been hired in the morning and worked all day protested that they should be paid more than those who had been hired at the end of the day and only worked for an hour. The master replied, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? So the last will be first, and the first last.”

PRAYERS:  O St. Dismas, we come to you for God’s Guidance, now that we are your Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus. Pray for us from your heavenly post, that we may believe and receive God’s Grace, thus becoming true to your “call from The Cross:” to have a Holy Fear of God.   Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …

Pray for me, that I too, will have the heartfelt courage to rebuke my fellow Brothers/Sisters for not fearing God, while acknowledging my own guilt and helpless state.  Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …

Pray that I willingly concede my need for repentance and restorative justice. Just as you confessed faith in the innocence of Christ Jesus, help me to confess my need for faith, hope, charity/love, and truth in Jesus and in the Catholic Church.  Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …

Pray that I learn to give Catholic witness of Jesus as my Lord, and to proclaim my faith in the triumph of God’s Kingdom over my past, present, and future actions.
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …

Pray that I undergo forgiveness and mercy from Our Lord Jesus and that I will clearly experience heartfelt sorrow for my sins and my hurt-filled actions, never to do them again.
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …

We ask you now, Inspired St. Dismas, to pray that we will always be proud to proclaim ourselves as true Brothers and Sisters in and for your holy bravery; and that we too, at the last hour, may hear the words Our Lord spoke: “Amen I say to you, this day you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be …

ANOTHER PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, help us to be merciful as You are merciful. Let us see that all are Your children and remember that we are not to judge. When we look on one such as Dismas, let us see an opportunity to offer hope and salvation. Let us witness the good news of salvation to the sinner and never judge anyone as unworthy or hopeless. Just as Dismas repented at the last moments of his life on earth, let us see that this is great hope for all and grant that we never grow weary in our efforts to bring the light of salvation to all.   Amen.

Pope Benedict XVI: The Church is enjoying a “Eucharistic Springtime”

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI: The Church is enjoying a “Eucharistic Springtime”!

General Audience of November 17, 2010: On a Saint of the Feast of Corpus Christi

Dear Brothers and Sisters,This morning, too, I would like to present to you a little-known woman to whom, however, the Church owes great recognition, not only because of the holiness of her life, but also because, with her great fervor, she contributed to the institution of one of the most important liturgical solemnities of the year, that of Corpus Christi. She is St. Juliana of Cornillon, known also as St. Juliana of Liege (editor: Premonstratensian nun).   We have certain details of her life above all from a biography probably written by an ecclesiastic contemporary of hers, in which are gathered several testimonies from people who knew the saint directly.

Juliana was born between 1191 and 1192 in the neighborhood of Liege, in Belgium. It is important to stress this place, because at that time the Diocese of Liege was, so to speak, a true “Eucharistic cenacle.” Before Juliana, eminent theologians had illustrated the supreme value of the sacrament of the Eucharist and, always at Liege, there were women’s groups generously dedicated to Eucharistic worship and to fervent communion. Led by exemplary priests, they lived together, dedicating themselves to prayer and to charitable works.

Orphaned at 5 years of age, Juliana and her sister Agnes were entrusted to the care of the Augustinian nuns of the convent-leper hospital of Mont Cornillon. She was educated above all by a sister named Sapienza, who followed her spiritual maturation, until Juliana herself received the religious habit and became as well an Augustinian nun. She acquired notable learning, to the point that she read the works of the Fathers of the Church in Latin, in particular St. Augustine and St. Bernard. In addition to keen intelligence, Juliana showed from the beginning a particular propensity for contemplation; she had a profound sense of the presence of Christ, which she experienced by living in a particularly intense way the sacrament of the Eucharist and pausing often to meditate on the words of Jesus: “And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

At 16 she had her first vision, which was then repeated many times in her Eucharistic adorations. The vision showed the moon in its full splendor, with a dark strip that crossed it diametrically. The Lord made her understand the meaning of what had appeared to her. The moon symbolized the life of the Church on earth; but the opaque line represented the absence of a liturgical feast. Juliana was asked to do her utmost in an effective way to bring about its institution: a feast, namely, in which believers would be able to adore the Eucharist to increase their faith, advance in the practice of virtue and make reparation for offenses to the Most Holy Sacrament.

For about 20 years Juliana, who in the meantime had become prioress of the convent, kept secret this revelation, which had filled her heart with joy. Then she confided in two other fervent adorers of the Eucharist, Blessed Eva, who led an eremitical life, and Isabella, who had joined her in the monastery of Mont Cornillon. The three women established a sort of “spiritual alliance” for the purpose of glorifying the Most Holy Sacrament. They wished to involve also a much esteemed priest, John of Lausanne, canon of the church of St. Martin in Liege, asking him to question theologians and ecclesiastics about what they had in their hearts. The answers were positive and encouraging.

What happened to Juliana of Cornillon is frequently repeated in the life of saints: to have the confirmation that an inspiration comes from God, it is always necessary to be immersed in prayer, to be able to wait with patience, to seek friendship and encounters with other good souls, and to subject everything to the judgment of the pastors of the Church. It was, in fact, the bishop of Liege, Robert of Thourotte, who, after initial hesitations, took up this proposal from Juliana and her companions, and instituted, for the first time, the solemnity of Corpus Domini in his diocese. Later, other bishops imitated him, establishing the same feast in territories entrusted to their pastoral care.

To saints, however, the Lord often asks that they overcome trials, so that their faith is enhanced. This happened also to Juliana, who had to suffer the harsh opposition of some members of the clergy and even of the superior on whom her monastery depended. Then, of her own volition, Juliana left the convent of Mont Cornillon with some companions, and for 10 years, from 1248 to 1258, was a guest of several monasteries of Cistercian Sisters. She edified everyone with her humility; she never had words of criticism or rebuke for her adversaries, but continued to spread with zeal Eucharistic worship. She died in 1258 in Fosses-La-Ville, in Belgium. In the cell where she lay the Most Blessed Sacrament was exposed and, according to the words of her biographer, Juliana died contemplating with a last outburst of love the Eucharistic Jesus, whom she had always loved, honored and adored.

Won over also to the good cause of the feast of Corpus Domini was Giacomo Pantaleon of Troyes, who had known the saint during his ministry as archdeacon in Liege. He, in fact, having become Pope in 1264 and taking the name Urban IV, instituted the solemnity of Corpus Domini as a feast of obligation for the universal Church, the Thursday after Pentecost. In the Bull of institution, titled “Transiturus de hoc mundo” (Aug. 11, 1264), Pope Urban also re-evoked with discretion the mystical experiences of Juliana, giving value to their authenticity. He wrote: “Although the Eucharist is celebrated solemnly every day, we hold it right that, at least once a year, there be a more honored and solemn memoria of it. The other things, in fact, of which we make memoria, we do so with the spirit and with the mind, but we do not obtain, because of this, their real presence. On the other hand, in this sacramental commemoration of Christ, Jesus Christ is present with us in his substance, even if under another form. In fact, while he was about to ascend to heaven he said: “And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

The Pontiff himself wished to give an example, celebrating the solemnity of Corpus Domini in Orvieto, the city where he then dwelled. By his order, in fact, the famous corporal with the traces of the Eucharistic miracle that happened the previous year, in 1263, in Bolsena, is the kept in the cathedral of the city — and it is still kept there. [The miracle was this:] While a priest consecrated the bread and the wine, he was prey to strong doubts about the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Miraculously some drops of blood began to spurt from the consecrated Host, confirming in that way what our faith professes. Urban IV asked one of the greatest theologians of history, St. Thomas Aquinas — who at that time was accompanying the Pope and was in Orvieto — to compose texts of the liturgical office for this great feast. These are masterpieces in which theology and poetry fuse, still in use today in the Church. They are texts that make the cords of the heart vibrate to express praise and gratitude to the Most Holy Sacrament, while the intelligence, penetrating the mystery with wonder, recognizes in the Eucharist the living and true presence of Jesus, of his sacrifice of love that reconciles us with the Father, and gives us salvation.

Even if after the death of Urban IV the celebration of the feast of Corpus Domini was limited to some regions of France, Germany, Hungary and northern Italy, it was again a Pontiff, John XXII, who in 1317 revived it for the whole Church. Henceforth the feast experienced a wonderful development, and is still much appreciated by the Christian people.

I would like to affirm with joy that today in the Church there is a “Eucharistic springtime”: How many persons pause silently before the Tabernacle to spend time in a conversation of love with Jesus! It is consoling to know that not a few groups of young people have rediscovered the beauty of praying in adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament. I am thinking, for example, of our Eucharistic adoration in Hyde Park, in London.

I pray so that this Eucharistic “springtime” will spread increasingly in every parish, in particular in Belgium, the homeland of St. Juliana. The Venerable John Paul II, in the encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” said: “In many places, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also an important daily practice and becomes an inexhaustible source of holiness. The devout participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic procession on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is a grace from the Lord which yearly brings joy to those who take part in it. Other positive signs of Eucharistic faith and love might also be mentioned” (No. 10).

Remembering St. Juliana of Cornillon we also renew our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As we are taught by the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and his Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man” (No. 282).

Dear friends, fidelity to the encounter with the Eucharistic Christ in Sunday’s Holy Mass is essential for the journey of faith, but let us try as well to frequently go to visit the Lord present in the Tabernacle! Gazing in adoration at the consecrated Host, we discover the gift of the love of God, we discover the passion and the cross of Jesus, and also his Resurrection. Precisely through our gazing in adoration, the Lord draws us to himself, into his mystery, to transform us as he transforms the bread and wine. The saints always found strength, consolation and joy in the Eucharistic encounter. With the words of the Eucharistic hymn “Adoro te devote,” let us repeat before the Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament: “Make me believe ever more in You, that in You I may have hope, that I may love You!”   Thank you.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[The Holy Father then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our catechesis today deals with Saint Juliana of Cornillon, better known as Saint Juliana of Liege. Born at the end of the twelfth century, Juliana was orphaned young and became an Augustinian nun. Intelligent and cultured, she was drawn to contemplative prayer and devotion to the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the result of a recurring vision, Juliana worked to promote a liturgical feast in honor of the Eucharist. The feast of Corpus Christi was first celebrated in the diocese of Liege, and began to spread from there. Pope Urban IV, who had known Juliana in Liege, instituted the solemnity of Corpus Christi for the universal Church and charged Saint Thomas Aquinas with composing the texts of the liturgical office. The Pope himself celebrated the solemnity in Orvieto, then the seat of the papal court, where the relic of a celebrated Eucharistic miracle, which had occurred the previous year, was kept. As we recall Saint Juliana of Cornillon, let us renew our faith in Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist and pray that the “springtime of the Eucharist” which we are witnessing in the Church today may bear fruit in an ever greater devotion to the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood.

I extend a warm welcome to the delegation from the International Catholic Migration Commission. I offer prayerful good wishes to the Sisters of Notre Dame of Coesfeld meeting in General Chapter. I also greet the priests from England and Wales celebrating their anniversaries of ordination. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, especially the pilgrim groups from Israel, Nigeria, England and the United States of America, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.

© Copyright 2010 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana

November 11: St. Martin of Tours, Bishop and Confessor

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

On the discovery of the sacred relics of St. Martin of Tours on December 14, 2869, and how the Venerable Mr. Leo Papin Dupont (1797-1876), the Apostle of the Holy Face and the “Holy Man of Tours” was the primary force behind this discovery and the restoration of the cultus of St. Martin in the City of Tours and all of France:

In the midst of works of zeal and charity of which Leo Dupont filled his life, finding the location of the tomb of St. Martin of Tours became a priority. St. Martin was, for Leo Dupont, the model of charity, and he desired to restore devotion to the great Bishop of Tours, and begin the process for the eventual rebuilding of his basilica that had been destroyed by the Revolutionaries.

When the pious Creole from Martinique came to live in Tours in 1834, the cult of Saint Martin had almost completely fallen into disuse.  A secret attraction drew him every day to the corner of Rue Descartes and Rue Saint Martin, where he stopped to pray. But very few people in Tours then shared his devotion to the glorious Patron of the city, much less had it in mind any thought of rebuilding the old church, once so famous worldwide.  This was especially true because two roads now covered the location of St. Martin’s tomb, purposely constructed to obliterate the memory of St. Martin from the devotion of the faithful.  Around 1848, following the suggestions of Mr. Dupont, the Cathedral of Tours began to restore the festivities surrounding the Feast of St. Martin on November 11th.  On Wednesday of Holy Week in 1851, Leo Dupont organized the first nocturnal adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  One of Mr. Dupont’s primary prayer intentions before the Blessed Sacrament was to discover the sacred tomb of St. Martin.

Later on, in 1856, Mr. Dupont, along with others who joined him in nocturnal adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, approached the Cardinal-Archbishop with their desire to begin raising the funds to purchase the buildings and land now occupying the former site of the basilica and to make the necessary excavations to locate the tomb of St. Martin.  Soon, the “project of restoration of the basilica” received the blessing of the Holy Father (now Blessed) Pius IX.  This blessing was the subject of great joy and great hope for all of them.

Mr. Dupont was able to personally present the Cardinal-Archbishop, Msgr. Guibert, with the necessary funds to purchase the houses and buildings standing in the way of the excavations.  Soon, Leo and his fellow adorers of the Blessed Sacrament busied themselves with searching for the holy tomb, and assisted with the excavations.  At one point, after several hours of work, the workers found themselves in the presence of two parallel sides of the small cave or tomb in which, after the ravages of the Huguenots’, the ashes and what left of St. Martin’s sacred relics had been previously kept.  Leo Dupont and his colleagues began to pray, and within minutes the location of the tomb of St. Martin was found.  Leo and his fellow workers continued to search for the sacred relics, hidden and lost for seventy years under vulgar and profane buildings.  Then, at last, they were discovered.  The news was greeted with a transport of joy and indescribable emotion.  The Magnificat was solemnly intoned, and prayers of thanksgiving were said.  It was December 14, 1860.

November 3: St. Martin de Porres

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

All Souls’ Day

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Some photos of the High Altar following the Third Mass of the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls) in the Extraordinary Form:

ALL SAINTS’ DAY – “Lord, I want to be in that number; when the Saints go marching in!”

Monday, November 1st, 2010

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SAINTS FOR THEIR ALL HALLOWS’ EVE VICTORY OVER THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS!!  Now, to the greater subject at hand….  After the photos, read the Holy Father’s talk from All Saints 2009….

SOME PHOTOS FROM THE HOLY RELICS EXPOSED FOR THE VENERATION OF THE FAITHFUL ON ALL SAINTS’ DAY: 

center closeup

close up right side

close up left side

another view of side altar

center view of holy relics

St. Michael & Book of Remembrance

Pope Benedict XVI ON “All Saints Day”   (from November 1, 2009)Dear brothers and sisters!

With great joy, we celebrate today the feast of All Saints. Visiting a nursery garden, one remains taken aback at the variety of plants and flowers, and spontaneously begins to think of the Creator’s fantasy that made the earth a marvelous garden. These same sentiments come to us when we consider the spectacle of holiness: the world appears to us as a “garden,” where the Spirit of God has sustained with remarkable wonder a multitude of saints, male and female, from every age and social condition, of every tongue, people and culture.

Each is different from the others, with the uniqueness of their own personality and their own spiritual charism. All, however, were marked by the “seal” of Jesus, the imprint of his love, witnessed upon the Cross. All now are at joy, in a feast without end as, like Jesus, they reached this goal across toil and trial, each one encountering their share of sacrifice to participate in the glory of the resurrection.

The solemnity of All Saints became recognized in the course of the first Christian millenium as a collective celebration of the martyrs. Already, in 609, Pope Boniface IV had consecrated the Pantheon in honor of the Virgin Mary and All the Martyrs. But this martyrdom could be interpreted in a wider sense, that of loving Christ without reserve, a love expressed in the total gift of oneself to God and one’s brothers and sisters.

This spiritual measure, to which all the baptized are called, is accomplished in following the way of the evangelical beatitudes, that the liturgy offers to us on today’s solemnity. It’s the same path traced by Jesus and that the saints pushed themselves to follow, always aware of their human limits. In their earthly existence, in fact, they were poor in spirit, pained by their sins, myths, starved of and thirsting for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness’ sake. And God himself gave them a share in his own happiness: previewed in this world and, in the hereafter, enjoyed in its fullness. They are now consoled, have inherited the earth, are sated, pardoned, see the God whose children they are. In a word: “theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3,10).

On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part. As a celebrated “spiritual” song says: “When the saints go marching in, oh how I’d want, Lord, to be in their number!”

May this beautiful aspiration burn in all Christians and help them to surpass every difficulty, every fear, every tribulation! Let us place, dear friends, our hand in the maternal one of Mary, Queen of All Saints, and let ourselves be led by her toward our heavenly homeland, in the company of the blessed spirits “of every nation, people and language.” And let us unite ourselves in prayer already recalling our dear departed ones who we’ll commemorate tomorrow.