The Feast of St. Philomena was celebrated again this year, preceded by a Triduum of Prayer in her honor on August 8th, 9th and 10th.
Archive for the ‘St. Philomena’ Category
The Shrine to St. Philomena in the Baptistery was completed today with the addition of the background and tester. The beautiful work, done primarily in Venetian red/gold fleur de lis silk, was the work of Robin Westhoff of Salem, South Dakota. It truly turned out beautifully, and very befitting the Little Saint. The Shrine was placed in the baptistery since St. Philomena is such a powerful intercessor for children and for the parish priests who normally are the ministers of the sacrament of rebirth. Thank you, Robin, for a job well done!
Pastoral Visit of Bishop Swain to Parochial School; Bishop blesses new statue of St. Philomena for churchFriday, February 4th, 2011
Today, First Friday, February 4, 2011, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Paul J. Swain, the 8th Bishop of Sioux Falls visited St. Mary School to visit the students, the staff, and many of the parents for the close of Catholic Schools Week. It was a great morning: after parfaits, doughnuts and treats, the school children signed the Our Father for Bishop Swain before presenting him with a Spiritual Bouquet and a framed copy of Mater Gratiae, or Our Lady of the Bowed Head.
After he left the Parochial School, His Excellency visited the church and blessed the new statue of St. Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, just recently placed near the baptistery and given to the Glory of Almighty God and in loving memory of the late John B. and Alvina S. Bies. The Shrine to St. Philomena will be completed with a dossal curtain of red silk and gold fleur de lis (being made and to be installed behind her statue). A photograph of the completed dossal and statue will be posted as soon as it is completed.
The Feast of St. Philomena, Virgin and Martyr (August 11th) was celebrated with a Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form, followed by individual blessings with the blessed oil which burns in the lamp before her relics at her Sanctuary in Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy and the veneration of her first-class relic. Rev. Msgr. Charles Mangan, Director of our Diocesan Marian Apostolate, preached the homily, and Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Knutson beautifully lead the chanting of the Common Mass of a Virgin Martyr. The Mass, which was attended by over 200 people, including families from as far away as Aberdeen, SD, concluded a Triduum of Prayer in St. Philomena’s Honor, which began on Monday evening, August 9th, at 7:00pm.
For a copy of the Devotions in Honor of St. Philomena, click here: Devotions booklet contents and here for the cover: Booklet Cover
For a copy of the Mass Propers (Common of a Virgin Martyr, Loquebar), click here: Proper of the Mass – St. Philomena
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Father Damien De Veuster and Saint Philomena
On October 11, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Father Damien de Veuster.
Father Damien dedicated his life to serving the banished lepers on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai and named his church there after his favorite Saint, St. Philomena. On June 4, 1995, Fr. Damien was beatified. His official feast day is May 10. Fr. Damien is the patron of lepers, outcasts, HIV/AIDS and the State of Hawaii!
Joseph de Veuster was born on January 3, 1840, to a farming couple in Tremeloo, Belgium. The fame of St. Philomena had traveled far and wide and he developed a deep love for the Saint. He became a Brother in 1860 taking the name of Damien.
On March 19, 1864, Damien arrived in Honolulu in the kingdom of Hawaii. Damien was ordained a priest on May 24, 1864 – the Feasts of the Finding of the Relics of St. Philomena and Our Lady, Help of Christians.
As Hawaiians became afflicted by diseases foreigners brought to the islands, King Kamehameha IV decided to segregate lepers and moved them to a settlement on the Island of Molokai. These poor souls, all facing a horrible death, had no one to tend to their spiritual needs. Every priest, at the time of ordination, offers himself as a victim soul for souls, and missionary work requires first and foremost, being prepared for martyrdom. Knowing the risks, Fr. Damien asked to be sent to Molokai. His bishop presented Fr. Damien to the colonists as “one who will father you and who loves you so much that he does not hesitate to become one of you, to live and die with you.”
Father Damien’s first action was to build and establish the Parish of St. Philomena. In the beginning, he tried to protect himself from their disease by avoiding contact with his parishioners, but it was not long before Fr. Damien knew that he had to be one with the afflicted in order to truly comfort, counsel and guide them. He was not only their priest, but their doctor, dressing wounds. He helped to build homes. He built coffins and dug graves. The colony of death became a colony of life as grass shacks became painted houses, organized farming took place and personal pride and dignity were restored to these outcasts.
Fr. Damien served the lepers with startling humility. One of the symptoms of leprosy is that the sufferer salivates excessively. In the chapel of St. Philomena, Father had holes burrowed in the floor so that the lepers could spit their foul and contagious secretions on the floor, which would drain into the church’s crawl space. After Holy Mass, it was Fr. Damien who would enter these crawl spaces and perform the humbling task of cleaning up this spittle.
King Kalakaua awarded Damien the honor of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Kalakaua. When Princess Lydia visited the settlement to present his medal, she was speechless and saddened to see the conditions there. She shared what she had seen with the world and helped raise huge amounts of money, food, clothing and medicine for the Island.
When Fr. Damien contracted leprosy in 1884 he worked more vigorously than ever to build homes, organize programs and make sure that his parishioners could tend for themselves. He died in 1889 at the age of 49.
Fr. Damien brought hope to the hopeless through his humble life as a victim soul. He gave the lepers of Molokai the gift of a glorious patron, St. Philomena, so that dignity could be found amidst rotting flesh. Fr. Damien often preached of Heaven to those who soon would be facing death.
From the official website of the Sanctuary of St. Philomena, http://www.philomena.us:
“Why is Saint Philomena making such a powerful spiritual return in our own times? I believe one reason is that the youth of today need an example of heroic Christian purity, even when they do not find support for purity from their society, their friends, even at times from their own parents. Many of today’s youth are being exposed to numerous occasions of blasphemy and impurity through pornography, immodest clothing, obscene movies, and oftentimes, most tragically, with the consent of their parents.
Today’s youth need a young heroic witness for the upholding of Christian purity even if their peers and their own parents are not encouraging them. They face situations very similar to those which Philomena had to contend with. Both the Emperor and her parents encouraged her to become the Empress of Rome-the highest position of power and fame the world could offer any woman. Similarly, our young people are continually tempted by the allure of power and pride and illicit pleasures. Because Philomena said yes to Christ and to His Kingdom, it is little wonder that Jesus is making her well known again as the Patroness of Purity, for the young people of the twenty-first century.”
Dr. Mark Miravalle, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio
From the Pastor: Tonight, August 11, at 7:00 pm, I celebrated the Votive Mass of a Virgin Martyr (Loquébar) for the historical feast of St. Philomena (1962 Missal). Following Mass, the faithful came back to the Communion Rail to be anointed with the blessed oil of St. Philomena, which I obtained from her Sanctuary in Mugnano del Cardinale on July 2. During this Year of the Priesthood, I am promoting devotion to St. Philomena (St. John Vianney would, I believe, be pleased) as a powerful intercessor, especially among the children of the parish. I will be posting various articles on devotion to the Saint.
From the official website of the Sanctuary of St. Philomena, http://www.philomena.us:
Devotion to Saint Philomena continues to explode all around the globe. The Universal Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena has gained new memberships this past year in unprecedented numbers. We received a total of 12,155,876 hits to our website in 2006 and pilgrimages to the Sanctuary continue to grow at a remarkable pace.
Saint Philomena is a saint who has received extraordinary honor in the Church from popes, bishops, saints, and mystics. Pope Gregory XVI referred to her as the “wonder-worker” of the nineteenth century. Bl. Pope Pius IX declared her the “Patroness of the Children of Mary.” St. John Vianney attributed all of his miracles to her, stating, “I have never asked for anything through the intercession of my Little Saint without having been answered.” Bl. Anna Maria Taigi, the Roman “mother-mystic,” received through this saint the miraculous cure of her granddaughter and entrusted all her children to her powerful intercession. Father Damien of Molokai showed his devotion by naming his church in her honor. The popes of the nineteenth century showered this young saint with numerous plenary indulgences, and gifts such as papal rings and pectoral crosses.
In 1802, excavators working in the ancient Catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome discovered a tomb with three terra-cotta slabs reading PAXTE; CUMFI; LUMENA which means “Peace Be With You, Filumena.” The slabs were marked with a lily, arrows, an anchor and a palm, indicating virginity and martyrdom. Inside were the remains of a girl of about thirteen years of age, along with a vial of her dried blood which signified that this was indeed a Martyr who died for the love of Christ and Christianity.
The Relics were transferred to the Treasury of the Rare Collections of Christian Antiquity in the Vatican where they remained for three years. In 1805, a priest from Mugnano del Cardinale, Don Francesco De Lucia, traveling to Rome with his newly appointed Bishop, requested and eventually received the relics of this Martyr “Filumena” to enshrine in his village church in Mugnano del Cardinale, Av, Italy.
During that remarkable period of the 1830s, when miracles abounded through Saint Philomena’s intercession and the Church granted her public liturgical veneration, three separate individuals in different parts of Italy (completely unbeknownst to each other) began receiving details of the historical background of Saint Philomena through various modes of private revelation. The most significant were locutions received by Sr. Luisa di Gesu in August of 1833, revelations which received approval by the Holy Office (presently the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) on December 21, 1833.
Nineteen acts of the Holy See during the pontificates of five popes were issued in positive promotion of popular devotion to Saint Philomena, in the forms of public liturgical veneration, archconfraternities, and plenary and partial indulgences. This succession of papal veneration and indulgences is arguably unprecedented in the pontifical granting of devotional privileges for any modern saint.
May 25th is the anniversary of the finding of the Relics of Saint Philomena in the catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome 1802. This is a solemn day of prayer at the Sanctuary and a popular time for pilgrimages. The grandest festivities and processions take place in August and last for five days. This includes the liturgical feast within the diocese of Nola of the Translation of the Holy Relics from Rome to Mugnano del Cardinale on August 10th. Thousands of devotees attend annually and the Miraculous Statue, covered in gold donated jewelry is carried through every street in the town.
During this time, the most incredible peace ensues and a definite presence of Saint Philomena is felt within the Sanctuary. She has a strong and powerful intercession. Her presence is especially palpable at the Sacred Altar where her Relics are contained within the Paper Mache Statue and beside it, the vial of dried blood. Facing the statue are the original slabs found at the tomb. The museum contains the chair that Pauline Jaricot sat on when she miraculously recovered from a fatal illness; this is know as the “Great Miracle of Mugnano” which Pope Gregory XVI was witness to.
On February 14, 1961, the Sacred Congregation of the Rites, decreeing that the feast of Saint Philomena might be removed from the Liturgical Calendar, created an air of apprehension amongst believers. With that decree, the Church never intended to negate the cult of the Saint, but removed the ‘Proper’ Mass from the cults and conceded to it, the Mass from the Common of Martyrs. Included is an extract from an article by Luigi Esposito titled “The Cult in the Last Ten Years“:
‘But what in truth is the real position, the real significance of the 1961 decree? It reads like this: “The feast of Saint Philomena is to be taken off…” It would be a lot different if it has said: “Saint Philomena has been taken off every calendar.” – With the systematization it would seem, and we have good reasons to think in this way, the Church intended to remove from the Saint, not the cult but only those formalities of the cult that she was accorded in an extraordinary manner by the preceding Roman pontiffs.
It has returned, for Saint Philomena, to the ancient depositions of the Rite of 1691 by which it was established that Saints, whose bodies were found in the Catacombs after the year 1000, were able to have a cult, with the Mass from the “Common” only there where the Body was preserved…’
That this is an objective interpretation and not subjective emerges from the following evidence. In April, 1961, the Bishop of Nola, Monsignor Binni, wished that a commission, formed by the undersigned of the Vicar General and local parish priests should go to Rome to ask what line of conduct should be followed. The case was expounded. The Pontifical Concessions and, above all, the reasons for which they were caused were presented. ‘Carry on as before’ was the reply.
In 1964, with the visit of the diocesan bishop, a request was presented for the authentic interpretation of the statement, ‘Festum outem S. Filumenae…’ and if, precisely with that statement, only the liturgical cult was removed or all kinds of devotion. The following reply was received. “The liturgical cult is removed. The popular cult remains unaltered. The Saint may be venerated and may be honored even with external celebrations and with the Mass of the Common Martyrs’.
–Luigi Esposito, Mugnano, August 11, 1971.
She may be ‘venerated and honored with external celebrations and with the Mass from the Common of the Martyrs’ not only in Mugnano, but also in other places where for local reasons devotion to the Saint exists.
A major confirmation of the above, an affirmation to all devotees wherever they are, is the exhortation of the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI to the Bishop of Misore, Monsignor M. Fernandes, titular of the Cathedral of Saint Philomena in India. The Bishop asked the Holy Father what was required concerning the decree of February 14, 1961. His Holiness advised him: “Continue as before and do not upset your people”.
Saint Philomena is, therefore, able to bless her devotees. She leads them to understand the necessity of the salvation of the soul. She is a spring of spirituality which, the more it is smothered, the more it bursts forth with great strength.