June 3, 2019

Feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Letter

Viva Maria!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
June 3rd is the Feast of the Madonna della Lettera (Our Lady of the Sacred Letter), patroness of Messina, Sicily. According to tradition, in 42 AD the city of Messina sent a delegation accompanied by St. Paul to Jerusalem to profess their faith in Christ and seek an audience with the Blessed Mother. Warmly welcomed on June 3rd, Our Lady gave the ambassadors her blessing along with a letter confirming her special patronage to their city. The envoy triumphantly returned to Messina on September 8th with the epistle tied with a lock of the Virgin's hair. In celebration, I'm posting the letter of Madonna in English and Italian. The accompanying photo of the Madonna della Lettera was taken at Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary and Saint Stephen's Church, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

The Letter

I, Virgin Mary, daughter of Joachim, humble servant of God, Mother of Jesus crucified, of the tribe of Judah, the offspring of David, Health to all in Messina and the blessing of God, the Father Almighty. We know by what public means your great faith have been quickly accepted, and through the Ambassadors you have confessed that our Son, begotten of God, is God and man, and that after the Resurrection He ascended into heaven: You have the way of Truth through the preaching of Paul the Apostle elect, and for this reason I Bless You and Your City and I want to be your perpetual protectoress.
La Lettera
Maria Vergine, figlia di Gioacchino, umilissima serva di Dio, Madre di Gesù Crocefisso, della tribù di Giuda, della stirpe di Davide, salute a tutti i Messinesi e benedizione di Dio Padre Onnipotente. Ci consta, per pubblico strumento, che voi tutti con fede grande avete a noi spedito Legati e Ambasciatori e confessate che il nostro Figlio, generato da Dio, sia Dio e uomo, e che dopo la sua risurrezione salì al cielo, conoscendo voi la via della verità per mezzo della predicazione di Paolo Apostolo eletto. Per la qual cosa, benediciamo voi e la stessa città, della quale Noi vogliamo essere perpetua protettrice.