Archive for the ‘Saints’ Category
We can pay no greater honor to the Saints than by offering up to God in their name the Blood of Jesus. The efficacy of their past merits and present prayers is greatly increased when offered to God in close association with the merits and prayers of Our Lord. Therefore the Church commemorates on this day all the Saints in Heaven without exception, and thus honors also those who are unknown and who have no public recognition in the liturgy. The custom of keeping holy one day in the year as the festival of all God’s saints, whether commemorated in the Liturgy or not dates back to at least the beginning of the Fifth Century.
In ancient times it was usually called the feast of All Holy Martyrs. The day of its celebration varied; and in the East, even now, All Saints is in most places a movable feast. Pope St. Boniface IV, when dedicating the Roman Pantheon as the Church of Our Blessed Lady and All Holy Martyrs, appointed November I for the chief annual festival in the sacred building.
Pope Gregory III built an oratory at St. Peter’s in honor of all the saints, confessors as well as martyrs who had died in all parts of the world. Pope Gregory IV chose November 1st as the Feast of All Saints. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV.
Who are these like stars appearing,
These before God’s throne who stand?
Each a golden crown is wearing;
Who are all this glorious band?
Alleluia! Hark, they sing,
Praising loud their heav’nly King.
Who are these of dazzling brightness,
These in God’s own truth arrayed,
Clad in robes of purest whiteness,
Robes whose luster ne’er shall fade,
Ne’er be touched by time’s rude hand?
Whence come all this glorious band?
These are they who have contended
For their Savior’s honor long,
Wrestling on till life was ended,
Following not the sinful throng;
These who well the fight sustained,
Triumph through the Lamb have gained.
These are they whose hearts were riven,
Sore with woe and anguish tried,
Who in prayer full oft have striven
With the God they glorified;
Now, their painful conflict o’er,
God has bid them weep no more.
These, like priests, have watched and waited,
Offering up to Christ their will;
Soul and body consecrated,
Day and night to serve Him still:
Now in God’s most holy place
Blest they stand before His face.
Text: Theobald Heinrich Schenk, 1719 - Trans: Frances E. Cox, 1841
On Monday, October 15th, the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, the students and faculty of St. Mary Catholic School, Salem, were the honored guests of the Sisters of the Carmelite Monastery of Our Mother of Mercy and St. Joseph in Alexandria, SD. St. Teresa, a Doctor of the Church, reformed the Carmelite Order in the 16th Century. Along with St. John of the Cross, Teresa is considered a Founder of the Discalced Carmelites. The students were treated to a sung High Latin Mass with the Sisters followed by different activities, including touring the Fatima Family Shrine and meeting and visiting with a group of the Sisters in a meeting room, which is separated from the public by an iron grille. Students asked the Sisters questions about prayer, their daily routine, how often they may write letters to people outside their Monastery, and they even learned why there is a grille between the Sisters and visitors.
We thank Mother Marie Therese and the Carmelite Nuns of Alexandria and St. Mary of Mercy Parish for allowing us to make our pilgrimage to their wonderful and holy sites, Fr. Martin Lawrence (Priest of Salem) and Fr. DeWayne Kayser (Priest of Madison and native son of Alexandria) as well as to parents Staci Wolf, Laura Gessner, Joni Wagner, Cathy Ries, Val Krempges, Barb Stangeland, and Audrey Eich for their time in transporting students to Alexandria. (Photo by Mrs. Molly Lather)
Pictures of our statue of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Virgin and Doctor of the Church. For her Feast, Little Therese’s statue was crowned with white roses, and her holy relic exposed. Following Mass, the school children venerated her relic.
Please note: Every Saturday morning at Salem the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in the Extraordinary Form at 8:15am at the side Altar of the Holy Family.
ABOUT THE FEAST OF THE DEDICATION OF ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL:
September 29th is the ancient commemoration of the dedication of the celebrated Lombard sanctuary of St. Michael at Sant’ Angelo on Monte Gargano in southern Italy. September 29th is also the most ancient Feast celebrated in his honor. [In the 1969 Calendar, September 29th is the Feast of all three archangels combined: Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. In the traditional Liturgical Calendar, St. Gabriel’s Feast is celebrated on March 24th and St. Raphael’s on October 24th respectively.]
There is a tradition that St. Michael appeared on this mountain and requested that a church be erected to him and all the angels. The captain of the heavenly armies, the angel named in the Canon of the Mass, held from early times the first place in the Liturgy among the other angels; wherefore many churches dedicated to St. Michael in the Middle Ages were simply known as churches “of the holy angel.” St. Michael, whose name signifies “who is like unto God” cast the evil spirit out of Heaven, and overcame Satan in the struggle for possession of the body of Moses. God has entrusted our defense, in the combat with the devil, to the angels. The reason of this is easily understood. The devil is a spirit who has lost none of the powers inherent to his nature. In order, therefore, that the struggle should not be unequal, God has placed at our side defenders of the same nature as Lucifer, that is to say pure spirits, who are, however, greater and more powerful than he is.
In the Old and the New Testament St. Michael, in the struggle against the Evil One, is always depicted as the invincible champion of God. The mystery of iniquity which, according to St. Paul, shall be boldly revealed in the last ages of the world and which has already begun its work of perversion, meets at present with an obstacle which hinders its full development. This obstacle is usually said to be the protection of St. Michael. St. Michael is appointed by God Himself to be the protector and defender of the Church. After the protective duty conferred on St. Joseph, there is no work on earth of such great importance and sublimity as that entrusted to St. Michael.
The Epistle treats the charge to St. John by an Angel to write to the seven Churches in Asia. In the Gospel Christ teaches humility, to beware of scandal, and to flee the occasions of sin, for our Guardian Angels see the face of God.
POPE LEO XIII’s VISION OF ST. MICHAEL and the LONGER VERSION OF THE PRAYER TO ST. MICHAEL BY POPE LEO:
One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII (Born: March 2, 1810 – Died: July 20, 1903) was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: “Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!” He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint Michael, which is the original version:
O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels.
Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.
Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.
ON PROMOTING DEVOTION TO THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
To his Venerable Brother Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See
Venerable brethren: greetings and apostolic blessings.
From the very outset of our pontificate, in speaking of daily devotions we have repeatedly urged the faithful (often in eager tones that frankly hinted our future design) to cherish warmly that marvellous manifestation of divine mercy toward individuals and Holy Church and the whole world redeemed and saved by Jesus Christ: we mean devotion to his Most Precious Blood.
From infancy this devotion was instilled in us within our own household. Fondly we still recall how our parents used to recite the Litany of the Most Precious Blood every day during July.
The Apostle’s wholesome advice comes to mind: “Keep watch, then, over yourselves, and over God’s Church, in which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops; you are to be the shepherds of that flock which he won for himself at the price of his own blood.” Now among the cares of our pastoral office, venerable brethren, we are convinced that, second only to vigilance over sound doctrine, preference belongs to the proper surveillance and development of piety, in both its liturgical and private expressions. With that in mind, we judge it most timely to call our beloved children’s attention to the unbreakable bond which must exist between the devotions to the Most Holy Name and Most Sacred Heart of Jesus — already so widespread among Christians — and devotion to the incarnate Word’s Most Precious Blood, “shed for many, to the remission of sins.”
It is supremely important that the Church’s liturgy fully conform to Catholic belief (“the law for prayer is the law for faith”), and that only those devotional forms be sanctioned which well up from the unsullied springs of true faith. But the same logic calls for complete accord among different devotions. Those deemed more basic and more conducive to holiness must not be at odds with or cut off from one another. And the more individualistic and secondary ones must give way in popularity and practice to those devotions which more effectively actuate the fullness of salvation wrought by the “one mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ, who is a man, like them, and gave himself as a ransom for them all.”  Through living in an atmosphere thus charged with true faith and solid piety the faithful can be confident that they are “thinking with the Church” and holding fast in the loving fellowship of prayer to Christ Jesus, the high priest of that sublime religion which he founded and which owes to him its name, its strength, its dignity.
The Church’s wonderful advances in liturgical piety match the progress of faith itself in penetrating divine truth. Within this development it is most heart-warming to observe how often in recent centuries this Holy See has openly ap proved and furthered the three devotions just mentioned. From the Middle Ages, it is true, many pious persons prac ticed these devotions, which then spread to various dioceses and religious orders and congregations. Nevertheless it remained for the Chair of Peter to pronounce them orthodox and approve them for the Church as a whole.
Suffice it to recall the spiritual favours that our predecessors from the sixteenth century on have attached to prac ticing devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which in the previous century St. Bernardine of Siena untiringly spread throughout Italy. Approval was given first to the Office and Mass of the Most Holy Name and later to the Litany. No less striking are the benefits the popes have attached to practising devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose rise and spread owe so much to the revelations of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. So highly have all the popes regarded this devotion that again and again in their official acts they have expounded its nature, defended its validity, promoted its practice. Their crowning achievement on this devotion are three splendid encyclicals.
Likewise the devotion to the Most Precious Blood, which owes its marvellous diffusion to the 19th-century Ro man priest, St. Gaspar del Bufalo, has rightly merited the approval and backing of this Apostolic See. We may recall that by order of Benedict XIV the Mass and Office in honour of the divine Saviour’s adorable Blood were composed. And to fulfill a vow made at Gaeta Pius IX extended the feast to the whole Church. Finally, as a commemoration of the nineteenth centenary of our redemption, Pius XI of happy memory raised this feast to the rank of first-class double, so that the greater liturgical splendour would highlight the devotion and bring to men more abundant fruits of the re deeming Blood.
Following our predecessors’ example we have taken further steps to promote the devotion to the Precious Blood of the unblemished Lamb, Jesus Christ. We have approved the Litany of the Precious Blood drawn up by the Sacred Congregation of Rites and through special indulgences have encouraged its public and private recitation throughout the Catholic world. Amid today’s most serious and pressing spiritual needs, may this latest exercise of that “care for all the churches” proper to our sovereign office awaken in Christian hearts a firm conviction about the supreme abiding effectiveness of these three devotions.
As we now approach the feast and month devoted to honouring Christ’s Blood —- the price of our redemption, the pledge of salvation and life eternal — may Christians meditate on it more fervently, may they savour its fruits more frequently in sacramental communion. Let their meditations on the boundless power of the Blood be bathed in the light of sound biblical teaching and the doctrine of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. How truly precious is this Blood is voiced in the song which the Church sings with the Angelic Doctor (sentiments wisely seconded by our predecessor Clement VI  ) :
Blood that but one drop of has the world to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin. 
Unlimited is the effectiveness of the God-Man’s Blood — just as unlimited as the love that impelled him to pour it out for us, first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden, in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from out that great wide wound in his side which symbolizes the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church’s sacraments. Such sur passing love suggests, nay demands, that everyone reborn in the torrents of that Blood adore it with grateful love.
The Blood of the new and eternal covenant especially deserves this worship of latria when it is elevated during the sacrifice of the Mass. But such worship achieves its normal fulfilment in sacramental communion with the same Blood, indissolubly united with Christ’s eucharistic Body. In intimate association with the celebrant the faithful can then truly make his sentiments at communion their own: “I will take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. . . The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul for everlasting life. Amen.” Thus as often as they come worthily to this holy table they will receive more abundant fruits of the redemption and resurrection and eternal life won for all men by the Blood Christ shed “through the Holy Spirit.” Nourished by his Body and Blood, sharing the divine strength that has sustained count less martyrs, they will stand up to the slings and arrows of each day’s fortunes — even if need be to martyrdom itself for the sake of Christian virtue and the kingdom of God. Theirs will be the experience of that burning love which made St. John Chrysostom cry out:
Let us, then, come back from that table like lions breathing out fire, thus becoming terrifying to the Devil, and remaining mindful of our Head and of the love he has shown for us. . . This Blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us, and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels. . . This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. . . This is the price of the world; by it Christ purchased the Church… This thought will check in us unruly passions. How long, in truth, shall we be attached to present things? How long shall we remain asleep? How long shall we not take thought for our own salvation? Let us remember what privileges God has bestowed on us, let us give thanks, let us glorify him, not only by faith, but also by our very works. 
If only Christians would reflect more frequently on the fatherly warning of the first pope: “Look anxiously, then, to the ordering of your lives while your stay on earth lasts.
You know well enough that your ransom was not paid in earthly currency, silver or gold; it was paid in the precious blood of Christ; no lamb was ever so pure, so spotless a victim.” If only they would lend a more eager ear to the apostle of the Gentiles: “A great price was paid to ransom you; glorify God by making your bodies the shrines of his presence.” Their upright lives would then be the shining ex ample they ought to be; Christ’s Church would far more effectively fulfill its mission to men. God wants all men to be saved, for he has willed that they should all be ransomed by the Blood of his only-begotten Son; he calls them all to be members of the one Mystical Body whose head is Christ. If only men would be more responsive to these promptings of his grace, how much the bonds of brotherly love among individuals and peoples and nations would be strengthened. Life in society would be so much more peaceable, so much worthier of God and the human nature created in his image and likeness.
This is the sublime vocation that St. Paul urged Jewish converts to fix their minds on when tempted to nostalgia for what was only a weak figure and prelude of the new covenant: “The scene of your approach now is mount Sion, is the heavenly Jerusalem, city of the living God; here are gathered thousands upon thousands of angels, here is the assembly of those first-born sons whose names are written in heaven, here is God sitting in judgment on all men, here are the spirits of just men, now made perfect; here is Jesus, the spokesman of the new covenant, and the sprinkling of his blood, which has better things to say than Abel’s had.” 
We have full confidence, venerable brethren, that these fatherly exhortations of ours, once brought to the attention of your priests and people in whatever way you deem best, will be put into practice not just willingly but enthusiastically. As a sign of heavenly graces and our affection we im part our most heartfelt apostolic blessing to each of you and to all your flocks, and particularly to those who respond with devout generosity to the promptings of this letter.
Given at St. Peter’s in Rome, the eve of the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Most Precious Blood, June 30, 1960, the second year of our pontificate.
1. Acts 20:28.
2. Matthew 26 :2&
3. Encyclical “On the Sacred Liturgy,” America Press edition (New York: 1954), No. 46.
4. I Timothy 2:5-6.
5. Acta Sanctae Sedis 18 (1886) :509.
6. Cf. Office for the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 2nd nocturn, lesson 5.
7. “On the Consecration of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” The
Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: 1903), 454– 461; “The Reparation Due to the Sacred Heart,” The Catholic Mind
26 (1928): 221-235; “On Devotion to the Sacred Heart,” The Pope
Speaks 3 (1956): 115-149.
8. Decree “Redempti Sumus,” Aug. 10, 1849, Decreta Authentica S.RC. (Rome: 1898), II, No. 2978.
9. II Corinthians 11:28.
10. Bull “The Only Begotten Son of God,” Jan. 25, 1343, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: 1957), No. 550.
1. Hymn “Adoro te devote.” Translation from Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Oxford: 1930), No. 89.
12. Luke 22:43.
13. Hebrews 9:14.
14. “Homily 46,” Commentary on Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist (Fathers of the Church, New York: 1957), 469, 471-472.
15. 1 Peter 1:17-19.
16. I Corinthians 6:20.
17. Cf. I Timothy 2:4.
18. Cf. Genesis 1:26.
19. Hebrews 12:22-24.
The Feast of St. Alphonus Liguori (September 27, 1696 – August 1, 1787) according to the 1969 Calendar was celebrated on August 1. His statue and holy relic were honored in the sanctuary, and the faithful were invited to venerate his relic at the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
This statue of St. Alphonsus, from Quebec, is unique in that he is shown in his Redemptorist habit prior to being consecrated a bishop. In fact, while his hair is already white, he is without his usual beard.
We thank this great Doctor of the Church and Patron Saint of Moral Theologians and Priest Confessors for his love for the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar and Our Blessed Lady as well as his devotion to the Divine Infancy of Our Lord. While we pray the Stations of the Cross he wrote almost every Friday in Lent, we can also thank him for the prayers we pray every 25th of the Month in Honor of the Child Jesus (“Little Christmas”). St. Alphonsus was also the Spiritual Father of American Saint John N. Neumann, C.Ss.R., (Redemptorist Missionary and 4th Bishop of Philadelphia, PA) and American Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R. (d. 1867), whose Shrine is in New Orleans, LA (go to www.seelos.org for more information on Blessed Seelos).
St. Alphonus Maria de Liguori, pray for us!