August 18, 2022

Feast of the Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort

Beati Martiri di Rochefort, ora pro nobis
August 18th is the feast of the Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort. In 1794, 827 priests and religious in Rochefort, France were arrested during the French Revolution for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs and swear the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Imprisoned on overcrowded prison hulks docked in the harbor, the revolutionary adherents of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality planned to sell off their religious captives as slaves in French Guyana. Delayed due to the British blockade, 542 of the prisoners died from disease and starvation from April 11, 1794 to February 7, 1795. Sixty-four of the victims have been positively identified and beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1995. 

In celebration, we’re posting a prayer to the Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort. Pictured is Blesseds Leonard Duverneuil, Michael-Aloysius Brulard, and Hubert of Saint Claude. Evviva Beati Martiri di Rochefort!


Prayer to the Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort


Lord God, to the martyrs Blesseds Leonard, Michael Aloysius, Hubert of Saint Claude, and their companions, you gave the grace to remain faithful and to pardon while suffering dismaying hardship. Through their intercession grant also to us, to be always willing to remain faithful to your Church and to be reconciled with one another. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Feast of Sant'Elena della Croce, Madre di Costantino

Sant'Elena della Croce, ora pro nobis
August 18th is the Feast of Sant'Elena della Croce, Equal to the Apostles, Discoverer of the True Cross, great benefactress of the Church, Empress dowager and mother of Saint Constantine the Great. 
She is the patroness of Casapesenna in the Province of Caserta.

According to tradition, in 326 A.D. she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem after a dream revealed the site of Our Savior's tomb at Golgotha. There she discovered the remains of the True Cross and the nails used to crucify Our Lord Jesus Christ.

As maintained by St. Gregory of Tours, on a treacherous voyage across the Adriatic, St. Helen cast one of the nails into the sea, thus calming its rage and making passage across its tempestuous depths less hazardous for seafarers.

The Feast should not be confused with that of Sant’Elena di Laurino, which is also celebrated on August 18th.

In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to St. Helen. Pictured is my makeshift shrine dedicated to la Madre di CostantinoEvviva Sant'Elena della Croce!
Prayer to St. Helen

Holy and blessed Saint Helen, With the anguish and devotion with which You sought the Cross of Christ, I plead that You give me God’s grace To suffer in patience and labors of this life, So that through them and through Your intercession and protection, I will be able to seek and carry the Cross, Which God has placed upon me, So that I can serve Him in this life and enjoy His Glory ever after. Amen.

Feast of Sant'Elena di Laurino

Sant'Elena di Laurino, ora pro nobis
August 18th is the Feast of Sant'Elena, patroness of Laurino (SA) and Pruno (SA). One of three major observances held in her honor (May 22nd and June 29th are the others), the Feast should not to be confused with that of Saint Helena of the Cross, which is also celebrated on August 18th.
First class relic of Sant'Elena di Laurino
Born in Laurino in the first half of the sixth century (some say late eighth- or early ninth-century), Sant'Elena was a beautiful and pious maiden. Abused at home, she fled to the nearby mountains of Pruno to live the ascetic life of a hermit in solitude and prayer. After 21 years she died. 
Her remains were discovered in the grotto and translated to the Cathedral of Capaccio-Paestum. Over the centuries, her relics were moved several times before finally being interred in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Laurino. 
According to tradition, neighboring Valle dell'Angelo contested the ownership of the relics. To appease the rival claimants it was decided her body would be put onto a cart driven by two heifers and they would decide. When the oxen reached a fork in the road leading to the two towns, they chose Laurino. 
In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Elena. The accompanying photos of the statue and relic of Sant'Elena di Laurino were taken at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in East Harlem, New York. Evviva Sant'Elena di Laurino!
Prayer to Saint Elena
God our Father, enable us who honor the memory of Saint Elena, holy virgin of Laurino, to share with her in the joy of eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

August 17, 2022

Feast of Sant’Elia di Enna

Sant'Elia di Enna, ora pro nobis
August 17th is the Feast of Sant’Elia di Enna (also known as St. Elias the Younger), monk, ascetic, itinerant preacher, mystic, and wonderworker. Captured by the Saracens during the Islamic conquest of Sicily, he was sold into slavery in Africa. After obtaining his freedom he first took refuge in Palestine, where he received the monastic habit. Traveling far and wide to help spread the Faith, Sant’Elia performed many healing miracles. A vision at Antioch showed him where to build a religious colony. Returning to Sicily to visit family and prepare, he then crossed the Strait of Messina and founded the Monastery of Seminara near Reggio Calabria. 

In celebration, we’re posting a prayer to Sant’Elia di Enna in Italian. Pictured is a detail from the official program for the 1200th Anniversary of the Birth of Sant'Elia di Enna (823-2023). Evviva Sant’Elia di Enna!


Preghiera a Sant’Elia di Enna


O glorioso Sant’Elia, nostro amabile protettore, volgi il tuo sguardo benevolo e misericordioso su di noi, che fiduciosi imploriamo la tua intercessione. Come un tempo soccorresti pietoso con sorprendenti prodigi, quanti ricorsero alle tue preghiere, o potente taumaturgo, ascolta ora anche noi, che desideriamo confidarti le nostre preoccupazioni e affidarti le nostre speranze in questo momento di necessità.  Ti chiediamo, supplici, di ottenerci da Dio la desiderata grazia (...) Il tuo amore fraterno ci accompagni sempre e ovunque ci protegga. Amen

Ponderable Quote from 'The Three Ages of the Interior Life: Prelude of Eternal Life' by the Rev. Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange

The Rev. R. Garrigou-Lagrange
True Devotion to Mary 

We are not speaking here of an entirely exterior, presumptuous, inconstant, hypocritical, and interested devotion, but of true devotion which St. Thomas defines as “promptness of the will in the service of God.”[1] This promptness of the will, which should subsist despite aridity of the sensible part of the soul, inclines us to render to our Lord and His holy Mother the worship that is due them.[2] As Jesus is our Mediator with His Father, in the same way we should go to our Savior through Mary. The mediation of the Son throws light on that of His holy Mother. 

They are deluded who claim to reach union with God without having continual recourse to our Lord. They will hardly attain to an abstract knowledge of God, and not to that sweet knowledge called wisdom; a lofty knowledge at once practical, living, and experiential, which makes us discover the ways of Providence in the most insignificant things. The quietists were mistaken in holding that Christ’s sacred humanity was a means useful only at the beginning of the spiritual life; they did not sufficiently recognize the universal mediation of our Savior. 

Another error consists in wishing to go to our Lord without passing through Mary. This was one of the errors of the Protestants. And even some Catholics do not see clearly enough how expedient it is to have recourse to the Blessed Virgin in order to enter the intimacy of Christ. As St. Grignion de Montfort says, they know Mary “only in a speculative, dry, fruitless, indifferent manner.…They fear that devotion toward her is abused and that injury is done to our Lord by paying excessive honor to His holy Mother.…If they speak of devotion to Mary, it is less to recommend it than to destroy the abuses of it.”[3] They seem to consider Mary “a hindrance in reaching divine union,”[4] whereas all her influence is exercised in order to lead us to it. It would be just as sensible to say that the holy Curé of Ars was a hindrance to his parishioners in their progress toward God. 

To neglect the Mediators whom God has given us because of our weakness, shows a lack of humility. Intimacy with our Lord in prayer will be greatly facilitated by frequent recourse to Mary. 

Notes:

[1] Summa, IIa IIae, q.82, a.I: “Devotion is apparently nothing else but the will to give oneself readily to things concerning the service of God.” 

[2] A distinction must be made, however, between the worship of latria due to God and the humanity of the Savior personally united to the Word, and the worship of hyperdulia, due to the Blessed Virgin. 

[3] Treatise on the True Devotion to Mary, chap. 2, a.i. 

[4] Ibid., chap. 4, a.6. 

* The Three Ages of the Interior Life: Prelude of Eternal Life by The Rev. R. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. translated by Sister M. Timothea Doyle, O.P., TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., P. 265-266

Getty Museum to Return 'The Oracle' by Camillo Miola and Other Objects to Italy

The Oracle, 1880, Camillo Miola (Neapolitan, 1840-1919),
Oil on canvas, 42 1/2 x 56 1/4 in. Getty Museum
On August 11 the Getty Museum announced it will return several objects to Italy, including The Oracle by Camillo Miola (Biacca).

• For more on The Oracle by Camillo Miola click here

• For more on Camillo Miola (Biacca) click here

• For the full press release click here

The Transverberation of the Heart of St. Teresa of Avila at the Monastery of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel in Morristown, New Jersey

August 16, 2022

Feast of San Rocco di Montpellier

San Rocco di Montpellier, ora pro nobis
August 16th is the Feast of San Rocco di Montpellier, ascetic, itinerant pilgrim, hermit and wonderworker. Widely venerated throughout Southern Italy, he is the patron saint of Potenza (PZ), Castelmezzano (PZ), Quaglietta (AV), Orsogna (CH), Locorotondo (BA), Monteleone di Puglia (FG), Pietraperzia (EN), Palmi (RC), Scilla (RC), and Gioiosa Ionica (RC), among others. One of the 52 co-patrons of Naples, he is also the patron saint of pilgrims, dogs, bachelors and plague victims.

In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Rocco. The accompanying photo was taken at the now-closed Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan. The beautiful papier-mâché statue has since been moved to Most Precious Blood Church (113 Baxter St.) in New York City's historic Little Italy. Evviva San Rocco!

Prayer to Saint Rocco

O Great St. Rocco, deliver us, we beseech thee, from the scourges of God; through thy intercession, preserve our bodies from contagious diseases, and our souls from the contagion of sin. Obtain for us salubrious air; but, above all, purity of heart. Assist us to make good use of health, to bear suffering with patience; and, after thy example, to live in the practice of penance and charity, that we may one day enjoy the happiness which thou has merited by thy virtues. St. Rocco, pray for us (say thrice)

Feast of San Gioacchino

San Gioacchino, ora pro nobis
August 16th is the Feast of San Gioacchino (St. Joachim), father of the Blessed Virgin Mary and husband of Sant’Anna. Patron saint of spouses, parents and grandparents, he is co-patron of Vernole, Lecce with his wife Sant'Anna. The great Patriarch is also one of the 52 co-patrons of Naples. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Joachim. The accompanying photo was taken at the now-closed Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in New York City. Evviva San Gioacchino!

Prayer to Saint Joachim

O great and glorious Patriarch, Saint Joachim, what joy is mine when I consider that thou wast chosen among all God's holy ones to assist in the fulfillment of the mysteries of God, and to enrich our earth with the great Mother of God, Mary most holy! By this singular privilege, thou hast become most powerful with both the Mother and her Son, so as to be able to obtain for us the graces that are needful to us; with great confidence I have recourse to thy mighty protection and I commend to thee all my needs and those of my family, both spiritual and temporal; and especially do I entrust to thy keeping the particular favor that I desire and look for from thy fatherly intercession.

And since thou wast a perfect pattern of the interior life, obtain for me the grace of interior recollection and a spirit of detachment from the transitory goods of this life, together with a lively and enduring love for Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me in like manner a sincere devotion and obedience to Holy Church and the sovereign pontiff who rules over her: to the end that I may live and die in faith and hope and perfect charity, ever invoking the holy names of Jesus and Mary, and may I thus be saved. Amen.

Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague for the Nine Days Preceding the 25th of Each Month (16th–24th)

1. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and for the salvation of the whole world, the mystery of the birth of our Divine Redeemer. Glory be to the Father, etc.

2. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and that of the whole world, the sufferings of the most holy Virgin and St. Joseph on that long and weary journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I offer Thee the sorrows of their hearts at not finding a place wherein to shelter themselves when the Saviour of the world was about to be born. Glory be to the Father, etc.

3. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and that of the whole world, the sufferings of Jesus in the manger where He was born, the cold He suffered, the swaddling clothes which bound Him, the tears He shed, and His tender infant cries. Glory be to the Father, etc.

4. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and that of the whole world, the pain which the Holy Child Jesus felt in His tender body when He submitted to the rite of circumcision. I offer Thee that Precious Blood which then for the first time He shed for the salvation of all mankind. Glory be to the Father, etc.

5. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and that of the whole world, the humility, mortification, patience, charity and all the virtues of the Child Jesus; and I thank Thee, and I love Thee, and I bless Thee without end for this ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. Glory be to the Father, etc.

V. The Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Let us Pray

O God, whose only-begotten Son was made manifest to us in the substance of our flesh, grant, we beseech Thee, that through Him, whom we acknowledge to have been outwardly like us, we may deserve to be renewed in our inward selves. Who lives and reigns with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

Source: Devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague, TAN Books, 1990

Novena to St. Louis IX, King of France

St. Louis IX, ora pro nobis

Pray novena for nine consecutive days, August 16th to August 24th, in preparation for the Feast celebrated on August 25th. Vive le roi! 

O holy King St. Louis, worthy son of our Holy Father St. Francis and patron of the Third Order, intercede for me with our Heavenly Father.


Obtain for me the grace to follow in thy footsteps, to be always a dutiful child of St. Francis, and to observe exactly, all the days of my life, that holy rule which thou loved so ardently and kept so faithfully.


Be my guide and protector, so that I may never stray from the path of virtue but increase daily in holiness and perfection, and finally merit to be numbered among the chosen ones of our Seraphic Father in Heaven. Amen


O God, Who didst exalt blessed Louis Thy Confessor from an earthly realm to the glory of Thy Heavenly kingdom: grant, we pray Thee, that by his merits and intercession we may be made heirs of the King of Kings, Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen


(Mention your request here…)


Say 1: Our Father…  Say 1: Hail Mary… Say 1: Glory Be…


* Statue of St. Louis IX, King of France, at the National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, Pennsylvania.

Novena to Santa Patrizia di Costantinopoli

Santa Patrizia di Constantinopoli, ora pro nobis

Pray Novena to Santa Patrizia di Costantinopoli for nine consecutive days, August 16th — August 24th, in preparation for the Feast on August 25th. Evviva Santa Patrizia!

O glorious Santa Patrizia, per quella tenerezza e compassione cosi grande che aveste del Prossimo, di cui tutte le tribolazioni e pene privaste a sentire come proprie nel vostro cuore, potendo ripetere con l’apostolo San Paolo: “chi è infermo ed io non mi ammalo con lui?” e quindi foste pronta ad aiutarlo e soccorrerlo degnatevi di ottenermi da Dio la grazia che tanto desidero.


Gloria al Padre

Santa Patrizia, prega per noi


O potente Vergine Santa Patrizia, mia Protettrice, che negli ultimi momenti della vostra vita chiedeste a Gesù, vostro Sposo, che ovunque fosse collocato il vostro corpo si degnasse infondere la divina grazia su tutti i fedeli, i quali vi si accostassero a pregare con fede, ottenetemi l’abbondante frutto di questa vostra preghiera e la grazia che ardentemente vi chiedo.


Gloria al Padre

Santa Patrizia, prega per noi


O prodigiosa Vergine Santa Patrizia, mia Avvocata e Protettrice, che negli ultimi momenti della vostra vita otteneste da Gesù consiglio e divina protezione a tutti coloro che a voi si rivolgessero per aiuto, ottenetemi da Dio la salute dell’anima e del corpo, la vittoria sul demonio e sulle passioni, allontanate le avversità che tanto mi circondano, consolatemi nelle presenti tribolazioni. Ottenetemi il perdono dei peccati e l’ingresso nel regno del cielo. Siate porto di salute ai naviganti e tutela all nostra città. Diffondete speciale patrocinio sopra di me e su tutti i vostri devoti, affinché il santo Nome di Dio sia benedetto, glorificato, esaltato e lodato da tutti nei secoli dei secoli. Cosi sia.


Gloria al Padre

Santa Patrizia, prega per noi

August 15, 2022

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
August 15th is The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorating Our Lady's death and corporeal ascent into Heaven. In celebration of this joyous occasion, I'm posting "Praise to the Queen of Heaven" (Salvi Regina), a prayer from Prayers and Devotional Songs of Sicily, edited and translated by Peppino Ruggeri.(*) The accompanying photo was taken during my 2010 pilgrimage to the Duomo in Ravello. Founded in 1086, the Duomo was originally dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. It has since been consecrated to San Pantaleone.
Feast of the Madonna di Pierno
August 15th is the Feast of the Madonna di Pierno, Patroness of San Fele in Provincia di Potenza in Basilicata. In celebration, I'm posting A Prayer to Our Lady of the Assumption of Pierno. The accompanying photo of the Madonna di Pierno was taken at Saint Joachim Roman Catholic Church in Trenton, New Jersey (Photo courtesy of Anthony Scillia).

Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso
August 15th is the Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help), protectress of Sciacca (AG), Castellammare del golfo (TP), Regalbuto (EN) San Potito Ultra (AV) and San Severo (FG), among others. In celebration, I'm posting a prayer to the Madonna del Soccorso in Italian. The accompanying photo of the Madonna del Soccorso was taken at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in Manhattan.
Feast of the Madonna della Scala
August 15th is the Feast of the Madonna della Scala, patroness of Belvedere di Spinello, a small town in the Province of Crotone in Calabria. 
In celebration, I'm posting A Prayer to Our Lady. The accompanying photo of the Madonna della Scala was taken at Saint Rocco’s Church in Glen Cove, New York.

Feast of the Madonna della Stella
August 15th is the Feast of the Madonna della Stella (Our Lady of the Star), patroness of Craco (MT), Adelfia (BA), Pazzano (RC), Pedagaggi (SR), Barrafranca (EN) and Militello in Val di Catania (CT), among others. She is also celebrated on September 8th, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In celebration, I'm posting "The Patron of Craco," a poem by Vincenzo Montemurro.* The accompanying photo of Maria SS. della Stella was taken at now-closed Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan.
Feast of the Madonna del Granato
August 15th is the Feast of the Madonna del Granato (Our Lady of the Pomegranate), patroness of Capaccio-Paestum, a town in the Province of Salerno. The local sanctuary, a Carmelite hermitage, is home to a beautiful wooden statue of the Blessed Mother holding the baby Jesus in her left arm and a pomegranate in her right hand. The sanctuary is an important destination for pilgrims, who make offerings of fruit, flowers and wax candles during the celebration. Interestingly, early Christians adopted the pomegranate as a sacred symbol of virtue and prosperity from the pre-Christian cult of Hera, Queen of Heaven. Several fine examples (see photos below) of the iconography can be seen at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Paestum. In celebration, I'm posting a prayer in honor of the Madonna del Granato. The accompanying photos were taken during my 2010 visit to Paestum.
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Feast of the Madonna del Cardoneto

August 15th is the Feast of the Madonna del Cardoneto, Patroness of Ottati in Cilento, Salerno. In celebration I’m posting a prayer to Our Lady of the Assumption by Pope St. Pius X. The accompanying photo of Our Lady of Cardoneto was taken at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn before the 2017 renovation. 

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Feast of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo


August 15th is the Feast of Santa Maria Assunta, patroness of Monte di Procida, Naples. In celebration, we’re posting a prayer to Our Lady of the Assumption by Pope St. Pius X. The accompanying photo of the replica statue of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo from Monte di Procida was taken at the National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, Pennsylvania. Evviva Maria!


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Feast of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo

Santa Maria Assunta, ora pro nobis
August 15th is the Feast of Santa Maria Assunta, patroness of Monte di Procida, Naples. In celebration, we’re posting a prayer to Our Lady of the Assumption by Pope St. Pius X. The accompanying photo of the replica statue of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo from Monte di Procida was taken at the National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, Pennsylvania. Evviva Maria!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Assumption


O immaculate virgin, mother of God and mother of humanity, we believe with all the fervour of our faith in your triumphal assumption both in body and in soul into heaven where you are acclaimed as queen by all the choirs of angels and all the legions of saints; we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord who has exalted you above all other pure creatures and to offer you the tribute of our devotion and our love.


We know that your gaze, which on earth watched over the humble and suffering humanity of Jesus, in heaven is filled with the vision of that humanity glorified and with the vision of uncreated wisdom, and that the joy of your soul in the direct contemplation of the adorable trinity causes your heart to throb with overwhelming tenderness; and we, poor sinners whose body weights down the flight of the soul, beg you to purify our hearts so that, while we remain below, we may learn to see God and God alone in the beauties of his creatures.


We trust that your merciful eyes may deign to gaze down upon our miseries and anguish, upon our struggles and our weaknesses; that your countenance may smile upon our joys and our victories; that you may hear the voice of Jesus saying to you of each one of us, as he once said to you of his beloved disciple:


"Behold you son," and we who call upon you as our mother, we, like John, take you as the guide, strength and consolation of our mortal life.


We are inspired by the certainty that your eyes, which wept over the earth crimsoned by the blood of Jesus, are yet turned toward this world racked by wars and persecutions, the oppression of the just and the weak. From the shadows of this vale of tears, we seek in your heavenly assistance, tender mercy, comfort for our aching hearts, and help in the trials of Church and country.


We believe finally that in the glory where you reign, clothed with the sun and crowned with stars, you are, after Jesus, the joy and gladness of all the angels and the saints, and from this earth, over which we tread as pilgrims, comforted by our faith in the future resurrection, we look to you our life, our sweetness, our hope; draw us onward with the sweetness of your voice, so that one day, after our exile, you may show us Jesus, the blessed fruit of your womb.


O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

Novena to St. Bartholomew

San Bartolomeo, ora pro nobis

Pray novena to St. Bartholomew for nine consecutive days, August 15th to August 23rd, in preparation for the feast on August 24th. Evviva San Bartolomeo!

O Eternal God and loving father, you have given us the glorious Apostle Bartholomew as our beloved Patron Saint and powerful advocate in heaven. We offer you our prayers, animated by a spirit of confidence that through the efficacious intercession of Saint Bartholomew, we shall merit your unfailing help and protection and shall ever remain loyal and devoted to Divine will all the days of our life.


Teach us to cherish, proclaim, and practice the Gospel message of Christ, which Saint Bartholomew so eloquently preached and finally sealed with his heroic martyrdom.


As we prepare devoutly for his solemn feast by this Novena of prayers, we trustingly raise our minds and hearts to you. Refuse not, O Lord God, our humble petition but unite it with that of Apostle Bartholomew and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, so that we may obtain the grace of true repentance for our sins, of divine assistance in our spiritual and temporal wants, and of constant fidelity to all our Christian duties. This we ask through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.


[Mention your intentions here...]


O glorious St. Bartholomew the Apostle, our perfect prototype of consuming charity, pray for us.


Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory Be…


* The accompanying photo was taken at Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary and Saint Stephen's Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Evviva San Bartolomeo! 

Buon Ferragosto!

Diana, from the Villa Arianna in Stabiae
National Archaeological Museum, Napoli

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 15th marks the Ferragosto, the modern manifestation of the ancient Roman Feriae Augusti. Instituted in 18 B.C. by Emperor Augustus, the month long celebration paid homage to the gods for a bountiful harvest as well as the changing seasons. The goddess Diana was especially revered during the festivities.

With the advent of Christianity, the festival was eclipsed by the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today the various towns of Southern Italy celebrate the holiday in their own fashion, usually with fireworks, large meals, or a leisurely trip to the beach.

Some of the more interesting celebrations include The Feast of the Madonna della Madia in Monopoli, Puglia, where townspeople reenact the discovery of the Marian icon that washed into the harbor on a raft in the eleventh century; and the so-called "Burning of the Svevo castle" in Termoli, Molise, which recalls a vicious attack by the Ottoman Turks in 1566.

In celebration, I'm reprinting "And It Won't Rain Anymore," a poem by Alessandro Dommarco.(*) The accompanying photo of Diana Saettatrice, or "Diana as an Archer," from the Villa Ariana in Stabiae was taken during my 2010 visit to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.

And It Won't Rain Anymore

Summer you were. As you came in the room
with you came in the sea, seaweeds and rocks:
and the sun came in and through the olive trees
came the cicadas, and the countryside
of an August night stars in the sky and quivering of crickets.
Scarlet August moon, a full moon you were
inside the room: and you ran within me
laughing in my veins, deep within my blood.
You were, my love, the light, the air,
the scent of earth, the colors, the flowers of the summer.
Summer you were. And like a mellowed fig
you melted in my mouth, sugar and love:
you let me nibble you grape after grape like a juicy bunch.
And I caught fire like a vine shoot, and burned before your eyes.

(*) Reprinted from Dialect Poetry of Southern Italy: Texts and Criticism, edited by Luigi Bonaffini, Legas, 1997, P. 44

Photo of the Week: Detail of the Marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxana by Mariano Rossi

Detail of The Marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxana (1787) by Mariano Rossi, Alexander's Room, The Reggia of Caserta (Photo by Andrew Giordano)

August 14, 2022

Feast of the Madonna di Materdomini

Madonna di Materdomini, ora pro nobis
August 14th is the Feast of the Madonna di Materdomini, Patroness of Nocera Superiore in Salerno and one of the so-called "Seven Sisters of Campania,” an appellation given to the region's major Marian devotions under different titles. According to tradition (there are several versions), a soldier wrongly imprisoned escaped from his captors and fled to the safety of his native village. While on the run, Salvo (as he would later be called) stumbled upon an oak tree with a slithering dragon coiled around it. Terrorizing the local peasantry, the fire-breathing serpent brought famine and pestilence to the valley. Spotting the fugitive, the ferocious creature with poison spewing from its eyes and nostrils pounced on the horrified man. Invoking the Virgin, Salvo’s blade miraculously struck home and slew the ghastly beast. News of the slaying quickly spread and the people ventured forth and began the reclamation of the land. Beneath the oak, an icon of the Blessed Mother was unearthed and later enshrined in the Santuario di Materdomini, which was built at the location. In celebration, I’m posting a Prayer to Our Lady of the Assumption. Evviva Madonna di Materdomini!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Assumption

Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, we believe in your triumphant assumption into heaven where the angels and saints acclaim you as Queen. We join them in praising you and bless the Lord who raised you above all creatures. With them we offer you our devotion and love. We are confident that you watch over our daily efforts and needs, and we take comfort from the faith in the coming resurrection. We look to you, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. After this earthly life, show us Jesus, the blest fruit of your womb, O kind, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.

Feast of Sant'Antonio Primaldo and the Eight Hundred Martyrs of Otranto

Martyrs of Otranto, orate pro nobis
August 14th is the Feast of Sant'Antonio Primaldo and the Eight Hundred Martyrs of Otranto. In 1480 the Ottoman Turks invaded the Kingdom of Naples, laying siege to the city of Otranto in Apulia. Taken by force, the townspeople were raped and slaughtered. Eight hundred survivors were marched up a nearby hill and offered a chance to live if they renounced their faith and convert to Islam. To a man, the captives refused. Stepping forward, a tailor named Antonio Primaldo proclaimed: 
"Now it is time for us to fight to save our souls for the Lord. And since he died on the cross for us, it is fitting that we should die for him." 
Beheaded on the spot, Primaldo's body did not fall until the last captive was slain. They were canonized in St. Peter's Square, Rome on May 12, 2013.

In celebration, I’m posting a prayer in Italian to the Martyrs of Otranto. The photo of the reliquary with bone fragments of the Eight Hundred Martyrs of Otranto was taken at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (259 Oliver St.) in Newark, New Jersey. Evviva Santi Antonio Primaldo e compagni!

Prayer to the Martyrs of Otranto

Preghiera O Dio, fortezza dei tuoi fedeli, che hai suscitato nel popolo idruntino i santi martiri Antonio Primaldo e compagni e li hai resi gloriosi testimoni del tuo nome, concedi a noi, sostenuti dal loro esempio e dalla loro intercessione, la forza di superare ogni avversità per amore di colui che ha dato la sua vita per noi. Il tuo Figlio e nostro Signore. Amen

Viva 'o Rre! Happy Birthday King Francesco I of the Two Sicilies

b. Napoli, 14 August 1777 – d. Napoli, 8 November 1830

In memory of King Francesco I of the Two Sicilies, we pray for the happy repose of his soul. Viva ‘o Rre!

Eternal rest grant unto His Majesty, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

August 13, 2022

Getting ready for the 133rd Annual Feast of San Rocco di Potenza in Little Italy, New York

San Rocco was place on the by-altar with new homemade
backdrop generously donated by one of the society members
While preparing for the Feast of San Rocco in Little Italy, NYC last night we discovered one of the papier-mâché putti was damaged. 
We were told the break was clean and could be easily mended
Thankfully our church handyman will have it fixed in time. 
Save the date and help keep the tradition alive!
Evviva San Rocco!

Feast of Sant'Ippolito Martire

Sant'Ippolito Martire, ora pro nobis
Our protector Sant'Ippolito
Wearing flowers on your head
Which you wear for our honor
And to give glory to God.

Our beautiful Sant'Ippolito
Wearing a golden hat
Your horse is strong and vigorous
O glorious Sant'Ippolito.
*

August 13th is the Feast of Sant'Ippolito (Hippolytus of Rome), Martyr. Widely venerated across Southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Sant'Ippolito (formally Napoli Piccola) in Cosenza, Gioia Tauro in Reggio Calabria, and Roccaraso in L'Aquila. He is also the patron saint of horses. In celebration, I'm posting a prayer in Italian to Sant'Ippolito. Evviva Sant'Ippolito Martire!

Orazione A Sant'Ippolito Martire

O glorioso Sant'Ippolito che sacrificaste il sangue e la vita per confessare la Fede; otteneteci dal Signore la grazia di essere come voi disposti a soffrire per amor suo qualunque affronto e qualunque tormento, anziché perdere una sola delle cristiane virtù; fate che in mancanza di carnefici, sappiamo noi stessi mortificare la nostra carne con gli esercizi di penitenza, affinchè morendo volontariamente al mondo ed a noi medesimi, meritiamo di vivere a Dio in questa vita, per vivere poi con Dio in tutti i secoli. Cosi sia. Pater, Ave, Gloria.

* The Processional Song to Sant'Ippolito was reprinted from the "Culture and Traditions" section of the Sant'Ippolito Society of Leslie, Michigan website.

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Washington, D.C.

August 12, 2022

Feast of Santa Chiara d’Assisi

The crypt and tomb of St. Clare inside the Basilica di Santa Chiara, Assisi
Photos by Andrew Giordano
Our labor here is brief, but the reward is eternal. Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world, which passes like a shadow. Do not let the false delights of a deceptive world deceive you. ~ St. Clare of Assisi
August 12th is the Feast of St. Clare of Assisi (1194-1253), Virgin, Abbess and Mystic. An early disciple of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare founded the contemplative Order of Poor Ladies now known as the Order of St. Clare, or the Poor Clares. She was the first woman to write a rule for monastic life. 
(L) Santa Chiara drives back the saracens with the Holy Eucharist.
(R) Vision of the Queen of Heaven while on her deathbed
A great miracle worker, in 1240, when a band of Saracen mercenaries attempted to plunder the convent, Santa Chiara held aloft the pyx containing the Holy Eucharist and begged Our Lord to protect His handmaidens from the infidels. "I will protect you always," said a voice from Heaven, striking fear in the hearts of the attackers, who turned and fled. 

Patron saint of embroiderers, goldsmiths and laundry workers, she is also invoked by those suffering from eye diseases. In 1958 Pope Pius XII declared her the patron saint of television because once, while sick in bed, she was able to hear and see morning Mass on the wall of her room. 
(L) Altarpiece with scenes from the life of Santa Chiara.
(R) High relief sculpture outside the monastery 
In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Clare of Assisi. The accompanying photos were taken in 2017 at the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Assisi.

Prayer to St. Clare of Assisi

O glorious Saint Clare! God has given you the power of working miracles continually, and the favor of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress; we beseech you, obtain for us from Jesus, through Mary, His Blessed Mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully, if it be for the greater honor and glory of God and for the good of our souls. O Blessed Saint Clare, your life shines like a beacon and cast its light down the ages of the Church to guide the way of Christ. Look with compassion on the poor and humble who call on you for help. As you bow before your Eucharistic Lord in Heaven, speak to Him of my afflicted body and my broken spirit. Ask Him to heal me and to wash away my sins in His precious Blood. Great Servant of Christ, remember the needs of my family and all those I pray for. Defend us from everything that would threaten our Holy Catholic faith. Hear the cry of the poor and make it a song of intercession, rising from your poor heart to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, our Healer, our Savior, and our Lord. Amen.

Monument to Santa Chiara