Archive for the ‘Louisiana’ Category

September 4th: Feast of St. Rosalia of Palermo, Hermitess

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Saint Rosalia (1130–1166), also called La Santuzza or “The Little Saint”, is the patron saint of Palermo, Sicily, El Hatillo, Venezuela, and Zuata, Anzoátegui, Venezuela.

According to legend, Rosalia was born of a Norman noble family that claimed descent from Charlemagne. Devoutly religious, she retired to life as a hermit in a cave on Mount Pellegrino, where she died alone in 1166. Tradition says that she was led to the cave by two angels. On the cave wall she wrote “I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses, and Quisquina, have taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.”

In 1624, a horrible plague haunted Palermo, and during this hardship St Rosalia appeared first to a sick woman, then to a hunter to whom she indicated where her remains were to be found. She ordered him to bring her bones to Palermo and have them carried in procession through the city.

The hunter climbed the mountain and found her bones in the cave as described. He did what she had asked in the apparition, and after the procession the plague ceased. After this St Rosalia would be venerated as the patron saint of Palermo, and a sanctuary was built in the cave where her remains were discovered.

The celebration, called the festino, is still held each year on July 15. It is still a major social and religious event in Palermo. In 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2001 the celebration has been produced by Studio Festi.

Also on September 4 there is an event related to the festino and St. Rosalia; a tradition of walking barefoot from Palermo up to Mount Pellegrino. In Italian American communities in the United States, the July feast is generally dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel while the September feast, beginning in August, brings large numbers of visitors annually to the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn in New York City.


Devotion to St. Rosalia in Kenner, Louisiana:

The annual St. Rosalie (Rosalia) Procession celebrates one of Kenner’s oldest and most meaningful traditions. In 1855, Sicilian immigrants settled into the Kenner area on the tract of land spanning from what is now the intersection of Williams Boulevard and Kenner Avenue to the St. Charles Parish line.

Although this community began to thrive quickly, it was vulnerable in its infancy stages. Completely dependent on the growth of produce and health of livestock, tragedy struck in 1898 when an epidemic of “Charbon,” (commonly known today as Anthrax) infiltrated the area. Without the sale of vegetables and livestock, the immigrants would have no means to feed and care for their families.

Desperate for help, the farmers prayed for the intercession of St. Rosalie, the patron saint of their native Palermo, Sicily, and asked her to stop this devastating epidemic that was quickly killing their crops and livestock. The prayers of these farmers were so powerful, that the skies opened and a long rain fell, in turn, stopping the spread of the disease.

The grateful farmers were in awe of St. Rosalie’s grace and promised an annual procession through the streets of their community in her honor. That year, in 1898, the first St. Rosalie procession took place and the residents of Kenner have continued to honor her for saving this community until this day. Throughout this three mile procession of faith and prayer, participants carry a statue of St. Rosalie and her holy relic, while praying the Rosary and other Litanies.

October 5: Memorial of Blessed Francis X. Seelos, C.Ss.R.

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

From the Priest of Salem:  Since today, October 5th, is a feria (4th class liturgical day) in the Province of St. Paul-Minneapolis, I kept my usual custom of celebrating the Memorial of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R.  Many of my parishioners are aware of Blessed Seelos, especially those I encourage to ask Fr. Seelos heavenly intercession for illness.  Likewise, many of them are of German lineage, so Fr. Seelos and his life as a missionary are very attractive to them.  While the Memorial of Blessed Seelos is an Obligatory Memorial in the Archdiocese of New Orleans (and houses of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, or the Redemptorists), and an Optional Memorial in the Ecclesiastical Provice of New Orleans, it certainly can be celebrated anywhere October 5th is a Feria or a Feria with an Optional Memorial.

Having been born and raised in New Orleans (and in later youth, Baton Rouge), as long as I can remember anything about life and the Faith, my family has fostered a loving, heavenly friendship with Father Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R. (1819-1867), who was beatified by the late Pope John Paul II in the Jubilee Year 2000.   Also, my great-grandmother was baptized in St. Alphonsus Church in New Orleans, and my mother and aunt went to school at St. Mary’s in New Orleans.  I attribute my ordination to the priesthood to Fr. Seelos’ intercession, and the example of a number of Redemptorist Fathers from my youth (in New Orleans and in Baton Rouge), who have now gone on to their eternal reward.

The Seelos Center’s wonderful website is:  There you can find the liturgical texts and so much more information.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Father Seelos:

Written to a friend, 1867:
“Continue to work at your sanctification, because only this is God’s will for us; only this is important and momentous and absolutely the one thing necessary.”

To a friend, 1866:
“This is the greatest grace – to persevere to the end in a humble and contrite frame of mind.”

“Therefore, just do not lose courage; and very often ask for the grace of perseverence from the Mother of Jesus, the Refuge of Sinners, because this grace is dispensed in a special way by her.”

“Make it your basic principle of life to accept daily whatever hardships your state in life, your duty, or circumstances bring with them.”

 To a friend, 1866:  “I have made the rounds of all the houses in the province. Only New Orleans yet remains. I have come here to pass the rest of my days and find a lasting resting place at Saint Mary’s. I feel I have traveled enough. I shall never leave New Orleans.”


Trust in God’s Mercy!:

      It is not your justice but God’s mercy which is the motive of your trust. He is the God of all consolations and the Father of mercies. He does not wish the death of sinners but that they be converted and live. He came to heal the sick and to seek those who were lost. He spared the woman taken in adultery. He showed mercy to the thief crucified with him. He took upon himself our punishment. He prayed for his murderers. He now intercedes for us at the right hand of God. None of the damned was ever lost because his sin was too great, but because his trust was too small!

     Oh, if only all the sinners of the whole wide world were present here! Yes, even the greatest, the most hardened, even those close to despair, I would call out to them:  The Lord is kind and merciful, patient and full of love. I would show them why the Apostles call God the Father of Mercy, the God of all consolation. I would tell them that the prophet in the Old Testament even said that the earth is full of the mercy of God and that mercy is above all His works.

     Oh, Mother of Mercy! You understood the Mercy of God when you cried out in the Magnificat–‘His mercy is from generation to generation.’  Obtain for all sinners a childlike confidence in the Mercy of God! 

Fools for Christ!:

     This life is full of obstacles, difficulties for one whose purpose is the close following of Christ. O how few start on this road of the following of Christ!  And for this reason it may sometimes appear that the true Christian life is something excessive.  Our poor human nature may even call it at times a stupidity to despise a pleasure for God.  It is as if somebody said to us: ‘How stupid you are to deny yourselves all innocent pleasures which others enjoy without scruple of conscience.  Do you only want to go to Heaven?   O what a dry, uninteresting form of existence!’  To such whisperings of the devil, you must never pay attention.

The Kindness of the Priest:

     Want of urbanity effects no good and affability does no evil. The priest who is rough with people does injury to himself and to others; he sins, at least in ignorance, against charity, patience, poverty, humility and self-denial. He scandalizes all who see him and hear him. Hundreds of souls turn away him, from God and from religion. Thousands reject the Church and the sacraments and perish in eternity solely because they have been badly treated by a priest.

     A long experience has taught me the great lesson that God leads men in a human manner by other men whom he appointed to be in His place and who should be of the same kindness as he himself was while on earth. Many a soul might be gained for the true faith and eternal life if sometimes a little more charity, a little more self-denial would be evinced, and if persons would be treated as their personal dispositions and human nature would require. It is true that it requires great virtue and experience to find always the right measure in these things, but we cannot fail much if our intention remains pure.

The Servant of God Jean Martin Eyraud (Nov. 11, 1880 – Feb. 5, 1968)

Friday, February 5th, 2010

TODAY, February 5th marks the 42nd anniversary of the death of the Servant of God, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Jean Martin Eyraud.  In this Year of the Priest, please join me in praying for his Beatifcation, so that Msgr. Eyraud’s exemplary priestly life may be made known in the Church, especially for the edification and encouragement of parish priests.

The Servant of God, Rt. Reverend Monsignor Jean Martin Zozine EYRAUD was born in Le Glaizal, France on the Feast of St. Martin de Tours, November 11, 1880; son of Zozine Eyraud and Frances Gonsonil-Chevillon.  Educated at the Rondeau in Grenoble, France and at the Major Seminary in Gap, France.  Ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Gap on June 29, 1904. Military service: Twenty-second Infantry Regiment as a private, for one year.  Arrived in America in June, 1910. First pastorate: St. Thomas, Pointe-à-la-Hache, La. Arrived at St. Peter, Reserve in June, 1916.  Erected St. Joan of Arc Chapel in Laplace, 1922-1923.  Established St. Peter Parochial School in 1931 and St. Catherine Parochial School for blacks in 1932.  Named domestic prelate by Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel on December 25, 1937.  Presented the Palmes Académique by Pierre Mathivet de La Ville de Mirmont, Counsul General of France, for his work in preserving the French culture in Louisiana. Died at Reserve, Louisiana on February 5, 1968; interred at St. Peter’s Cemetery. Msgr. Eyraud, known affectionately as “The Little Frenchman” served as Pastor at St. Peter Parish in Reserve for 47 years.  A well-respected Churchman, Msgr. Eyraud served his parishioners with self-less energy and fatherly love.  Considered a “Priest’s Priest” among his brethren in the New Orleans Archdiocese, his loving care for and fatherly patience with the many Assistant Priests assigned to him through the years was well-known.  Because of this, generations of younger priests loved him in return, and sought his counsel as a trusted mentor and faithful friend.  The cause for Msgr. Eyraud’s Beatification and Canonization was approved by the Holy See in 2002.