February 22, 2024

Feast of Santa Margherita da Cortona

Santa Margherita da Cortona, ora pro nobis
February 22nd is the Feast of Santa Margherita da Cortona (1247-1297), Penitent, Franciscan Tertiary, Mystic, and Foundress of a hospital and charitable lay apostolate known as the poor ones. Invoked against temptations, she is the patroness of the falsely accused, homeless, penitents, insane, orphaned, mentally ill, midwives, single mothers, reformed prostitutes, stepchildren, and the town of Cortona in Provincia di Arezzo.

In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to St. Margaret of Cortona by Pope John Paul II (1999). The photo of St. Margaret of Cortona (c. 1758) by Gaspare Traversi was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. The masterpiece depicts the great Saint in the habit of a Franciscan Tertiary gazing at an angel holding a crown of thorns. Her illegitimate son, playing with a dog at her feet, represents her former sins. The dog, which is her attribute, is said to have led her to the body of her murdered lover in a forest. In the background, the Devil returns to the pit dejected, failing to tempt the penitent to return to her sinful life. Evviva Santa Margherita!

Prayer to St. Margaret of Cortona

O St. Margaret of Cortona, I pray with you at the feet of Christ Crucified and Risen...Lord Jesus, crucified for us, in offering yourself on Calvary for all humanity, you have revealed to us the wellsprings of everlasting life. May the mystery of your Passion enlighten our life making us ready to follow you on the way of holiness and love. Rekindle our faith; teach us to recognize and welcome in our everyday life the plans of your mysterious Providence. Give us the courage to confess our sins and open our hearts to sorrow, in order to receive the gift of your mercy. Empower us to forgive our brethren following the example of your love that knows no bonds... glorious St. Margaret of Cortona, present this request to our Crucified Lord...Guide us with the strength of your example, support us with your constant protection, be our companion we beg you, till we reach our Father's house. Amen. 

Feast of the Chair of San Pietro Apostolo at Antioch

San Pietro Apostolo, ora pro nobis
February 22nd is the Feast of the Chair of San Pietro Apostolo (St. Peter the Apostle) at Antioch, a celebration of the first Pope’s foundation of the See of Antioch before going to Rome. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Peter the Apostle. The accompanying photo of Saint Peter Enthroned was taken at St. Ann’s Church in Hoboken, New Jersey. Evviva San Pietro!

Prayer to St. Peter the Apostle

O Holy Apostle, because you are the Rock upon which Almighty God has built His church; obtain for me I pray you, lively faith, firm hope and burning love; complete detachment from myself, contempt of the world, patience in adversity, humility in prosperity, recollection in prayer, purity of heart, a right intention in all my works, diligence in fulfilling the duties of my state of life, constancy in my resolutions, resignation to the will of God and perseverance in the grace of God even unto death; that so, by means of your intercession and your glorious merits, I may be worthy to appear before the chief and eternal Shepherd of souls, Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns for ever. Amen.

Avvenne a Bari nel 1859

February 21, 2024

Around the Web — Multilingual Education: The Case Of Neapolitan In Italy

Reprinted from International Decade of Indigenous Languages

On the occasion of the International Mother Language Day 2024 as Accademia Napoletana a scientific group to promote and teach Neapolitan language Neapolitan, we introduce to the actual situation of a vulnerable language in Italy: Neapolitan, a mother tongue that is not taught in schools, and abandoned to social and cultural degradation. A language that has more than seven centuries of literature but which is not concretely promoted or taught. A very famous language of song, respect of diversity, poetry, Opera and theater which suffers continuous degradation in Italy by the cultural and mass-media system. A language which the new generations of Neapolitans are losing.

In collaboration with Maestro Lello Traisci, we denounce this situation. In Italy Neapolitan is considered just a dialect and we have to note the interference of institutions that should have to preserve the national language, Italian, about Neapolitan, that we consider as a hazardous situation too. In this video we talk about our work to defend the dignity of neapolitan mother language children and women as the the right to learn their own language correctly. We have realized for example ESF projects based on the a multilingual education, also we have realized the first course of Neapolitan Language according CEFR recognized by the Municipality of Naples and abroad, conferences, publications, and so on, in Neapolitan language too.

Maestro Lello Traisci will also talk to us about the masks of the ancient Neapolitan theatre, through the Atellan fabulae (in oscan language today still present in the actual Neapolitan), also about the most important literary work of fairy tales in the world, the Pentamerone or Lo Cunto de li Cunti by Giambattista Basile, and about the importance of Neapolitan as a language of music and theater all that against the degradations that exist today in Italy about Neapolitan speakers. He gives a demonstration of his art with singing and beating the tammorra, a typical instrument of the Neapolitan popular tradition (of Greek and pre-Greek origin.) This video is dedicated to our Maestros, Carlo Iandolo, Raffaele Bracale and Renato De Falco.

Watch video

Observing Lenten Embertide

Blood of Christ, shed profusely
in the Scourging, save us
Even though Ember Days are no longer required by the post-Conciliar Church, the faithful should still observe these penitential days of devotion for spiritual enrichment, inner renewal, and as a means of reparation for our sins. A corruption of the Latin 
Quatuor Tempora, which means “four times,” Ember Days are three days of prayer, fasting and charity set aside four times a year to give thanks to God for the fruits of the earth, to practice abstemiousness, and almsgiving.

The quarterly observances, which correspond to the changing seasons, are kept on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following the Feast of St. Lucy in Winter (Advent Embertide); the week after Ash Wednesday in Spring (Lenten Embertide); after Pentecost Sunday in Summer (Whit Embertide); and after the third Sunday in September in Autumn (Michaelmas Embertide).

An ancient tradition, Ember days are believed to have arisen from the early Church’s sanctifying of the old Roman agricultural festivals of sowing and harvesting (i.e. the feriae sementivaeferiae messis, and feriae vindimiales). Though probably older, the Liber Pontificalis (Book of Popes) ascribes a law ordering the fast to Pope Callixtus, who died in 222. In addition to focussing on God’s gifts of nature, they are traditionally popular days for the Rite of Ordination of priests and prayers for the poor and forgotten Souls in Purgatory. Due to the fertility aspects, Ember Days are also ideal for married couples to pray for lots of children and their safe delivery.

In celebration, I’m posting the anthem and prayer for Embertide from Blessed Be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book by Very Rev. Charles J. Callan, OP., S.T.M. and Very Rev. John A. McHugh, OP., S.T.M (Preserving Christian Publications, 2010). The accompanying photo of the Scourging at the Pillar was taken at the Shrine Church & Parish of the Holy Innocents (128 West 37th St.) in New York City.

A Prayer for Embertide

Ant. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all He hath done for thee.
V. Lord, Thou hast been our refuge.
R. From generation to generation. 

Let us Pray
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that as year by year we devoutly keep these holy observances, we may be pleasing to Thee both in body and soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Photo of the Week: Monument to the Sailors with Our Lady by Antonio Berti, Piazza della Concordia, Salerno

Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Lenten Ember Saturday Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine in Eat Harlem, New York

February 20, 2024

Celebrating the First Sunday of Lent and Monthly Lecture by Dr. John C. Rao

Dr. John C. Rao
After Latin Mass on the First Sunday of Lent, we went to Manhattan to listen to Dr. John Rao’s monthly talk at the Church of the Holy Redeemer. With a few hours to kill, we decided to run a couple of errands and retrace a few steps from our past.

First things first, we stopped by Caffè Reggio in Greenwich Village for our morning espresso and croissant. Once a frequent haunt of ours, we rarely get to visit the historic caffè these days because it’s always packed with tourists and locals. Lucky enough to find a table, we had our breakfast and took in the many works of art and curios. The place is worth visiting just to see the old 1902 espresso machine and unique decor.

Fueled up with caffeine and carbs, we sauntered around the village and did some people-watching at Washington Square Park. Quickly turned off by the sights and sounds, we decided to do a little window shopping at the Chess Forum, Generation Records, 
Forbidden Planet, Mercer St. Books, and Carmine St. Guitars.

Life's Handicap by Rudyard Kipling
We did some actual shopping for art supplies at the Blick and I found an inexpensive hardback copy of Life’s Handicap: Stories of Mine Own People (1903) by Rudyard Kipling at the Strand.

On our way to the Burp Castle, a monastery-themed bar for beer and pretzels, we passed by world-famous McSorley’s Old Ale House, New York City’s oldest continuously operated saloon. My father brought me to McSorley’s many, many years ago for liverwurst and onion sandwiches and my first legal beer. Back then, we parked the car outside and walked right in. Today, like so many other popular New York institutions, parking is impossible and tourists line the street waiting to get in. Sadly, the Burp Castle was closed. I was looking forward to seeing the murals of sotted monks brewing beer and listening to Gregorian Chant.

Perhaps we were lucky. Before we knew it, it was time to head to Holy Redeemer for Dr. Rao’s talk.

Joining our friends at the church, we packed into the meeting room, mingled with other guests, and enjoyed assorted wine and cheese.

Always interesting and informative, this month’s talk was titled “When Values Descended to the Earth (900s-1200s).” Dr. Rao spoke at length about the rise of old European nobility, the formation of chivalric orders, and several medieval figures of great import, such as Hugh of Cluny and Pope Innocent III. Most of Dr. Rao’s writings can be found at For the Whole Christ and his lectures can be heard on Soundcloud.

After a brief Q&A period and catching up with our illustrious speaker, we said our goodbyes.

Rehashing the events of the day, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Numero 28 pizzeria and bar in the West Village. Our hungry party enjoyed some spaghetti mollica e alici (anchovies and breadcrumbs) and a family-style pizza, half marinara (anchovies and capers) and half Reginella (fior di latte, buffalo mozzarella and basil). The salty fish delicacies are not for the faint of heart.

I know this may be hard to believe, but we had such an amazing day our subway commute home didn’t seem so bad.
Family-style pizza, half marinara and half Reginella
Spaghetti mollica e alici

Feast of San Leone di Catania

San Leone di Catania, ora pro nobis
February 20th is the Feast of San Leone di Catania, Bishop and Wonderworker (thaumaturge). Patron saint of Rometta (ME), Longi (ME), Sinagra (ME) and Saracena (CS), he was revered for his compassion, charity and many healing miracles.
Though kind and generous, the beloved Bishop was not one to be trifled with. According to popular legend, a wicked and troublesome magician named Heliodorus (Eliodoro) would regularly harass San Leone and cause disturbances during Mass. Sowing confusion and doubt among the laity with black magic, the fiend repeatedly refused San Leone’s requests to cease and repent.

Fed up with sorcerer’s impudence, and fearful for the wellbeing of his parishioners, San Leone ordered a bonfire built in the piazza. Dragging Heliodorus by his collar, together they leaped onto the burning pyre. Consumed by the flames the charlatan was immolated, leaving behind a pile of smoldering ash. Dusting off his omophorion (shoulder vestment), San Leone returned to the church unscathed and triumphant.
In celebration, I’m posting a Prayer to San Leone di Catania. The accompanying image of San Leone defeating Heliodorus is in the Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso Santa Maria di Licodia in Catania. Evviva San Leone di Catania!
Prayer to San Leone di Catania
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the examples of San Leone di Catania may effectually move us to reform our lives; that while we celebrate his festival, we may also imitate his actions. Look upon our weakness, almighty God, and since the burden of our own deeds weighs heavily upon us, may the glorious intercession of San Leone protect us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

February 19, 2024

Imperial Highlights & Old Favorites at the Met (Part 2)

Madame X (Countess Anna-Elizabeth de Noailles),
ca. 1907, marble, Auguste Rodin
At long last, we finally got to see the newly designed Layered Narratives: The Northern Renaissance Gallery and British Vision, 1700–1900: Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Friday afternoon. Highlighting the museum’s extraordinary array of vivid and inspiring masterpieces from the Holy Roman and British empires, it turned out to be one of the more memorable visits we’ve had in a long time.

As an added bonus, we also got to see the Museum’s renowned collection of François Auguste René Rodin sculptures and a new rotation of works in the Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Barbizon school galleries, which boasts the largest group of paintings (25 as of this writing) by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot after the French national collections in Paris.

See part 1

Highlights from the Rodin, Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Barbizon School Galleries
(L) Orpheus and Eurydice, modeled ca. 1887, carved 1893, marble, Auguste Rodin. (R) The Thinker, modeled ca. 1880, cast ca. 1910, bronze, Auguste Rodin
Eternal Spring, modeled ca. 1881, carved 1907, marble, Auguste Rodin
(L) Adam, modeled 1880 or 1881, cast 1910, bronze, Auguste Rodin. (R) Eve, modeled 1881, cast 1910, bronze, Auguste Rodin
(L) Pygmalion and Galatea, ca. 1890, oil on canvas, Jean-Léon Gérôme.
(R) Graziella, 1879, oil on canvas, Jules-Joseph Lefebvre
The Forest in Winter at Sunset, ca. 1846-67, oil on canvas, Théodore Rousseau
Highlights from the Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Gallery
The Burning of Sodom (formerly "The Destruction of Sodom"),
1843 and 1857, oil on canvas, Camille Corot
Bacchante by the Sea, 1865, oil on wood, Camille Corot
Bacchante in a Landscape, 1865-70, oil on canvas, Camille Corot
(L) The Letter, ca. 1865, oil on wood, Camille Corot. (R) A Woman
, 1869 and 1879, oil on canvas, Camille Corot
Boatman among the Reeds, ca. 1865, oil on canvas, Camille Corot
First Friday of Lent
Portable Stations of the Cross and The Way of the
as composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Afterward, being the first Friday of Lent and the Feast of the Crown of Thorns, we prayed the Stations of the Cross. Famished, we returned to Brooklyn and broke our Lenten fast at Amunì, sans meat, dairy and eggs.
Pasta al tonno
Marinated and grilled swordfish (pesce spada) with tomato salad

Feast of Beata Elisabetta di Mantova

Beata Elisabetta di Mantova, ora pro nobis

February 19th is the feast of Blessed Elizabeth of Mantua (Bartolomea Picenardi, 1428-1468), Virgin, Mystic, and Third Order Servite. Pressured by her father to marry, she became a professed member of the Order of Servants of Mary. Consecrated to God, she lived a holy life of virtue, penance and prayer. Bl. Elizabeth Picenardi is the patron saint of Servite tertiaries.

In celebration, we’re posting a prayer to Bl. Elizabeth Picenardi of Mantua. The accompanying photo comes courtesy of Father Eugene Carrella. The holy card is part of Father Carrella’s impressive collection of religious artifacts. Evviva Beata Elisabetta di Mantova!

Prayer to Bl. Elizabeth of Mantua

Lord God, while on earth Elizabeth was highly favored by Mary, Mother of your Son, Jesus. Now, in heaven, may she help us to be faithful in your service and secure in your love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

February 18, 2024

Imperial Highlights & Old Favorites at the Met (Part 1)

Diana and the Stag, partly gilded silver, enamel, gemstones,
iron and wood, German, Augsburg, ca. 1620, Joachim Friess
At long last, we finally got to see the newly designed Layered Narratives: The Northern Renaissance Gallery and British Vision, 1700–1900: Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Friday afternoon. Highlighting the museum’s extraordinary array of vivid and inspiring masterpieces from the Holy Roman and British empires, it turned out to be one of the more memorable visits we’ve had in a long time.

As an added bonus, we also got to see the Museum’s renowned collection of François Auguste René Rodin sculptures and a new rotation of works in the Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Barbizon school galleries, which boasts the largest group of paintings (25 as of this writing) by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot after the French national collections in Paris.

See part 2

Highlights from Layered Narratives: The Northern Renaissance Gallery
Still Life with Skull and Writing Quill, Dutch, 1628, oil on wood, Pieter Claesz
Death, German, mid-17th century, lindenwood with traces of pigment, spruce base. The plumed turban may be a reference to the Ottoman Empire
Sphinx aeolipile (steam blower), bronze with dark patina,
silver, South German, Augsburg, or Bohemian, ca. 1590-1600
(L-R) Astronomical table clock, gilded brass, copper and silver, 17th century, German, Augsburg; Clock-watch with sundial, ca. 1605-10, gilded brass, silver and copper, Dutch, Haarlem; Mirror clock, ca. 1565-70, gilded brass, copper, plated iron and iron wheels, German, Nuremberg; and Astronomical table
clock, 1568, gilded brass, iron, German, Augsburg
Details of female virtues from oak cupboard
(beeldenkast), 1622, Dutch, Amsterdam
Aglauro's Vision of the Bridal Chamber of Herse, from the Story of Mercury and Herse. Design attributed to Giovanni Battista Lodi da Cremona (active 1540–52) After a print by Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio (Parma or Verona ca. 1500/1505–1565 Krakow (?)): Marriage of Alexander & Roxana, after Raphael Border design attributed to Giovanni Francesco Penni Florence ca. 1496–after 1528 Naples (from the set of the "Acts of the Apostles") Weaving workshop directed by Willem de Pannemaker (Flemish, active Brussels, 1535–78, died 1581)
Maximillian II, Holy Roman Emperor, 1575, Silver, Antonio Abondio
Small drinking cup (krause) German, Nuremberg, ca. 1530, salt-glazed earthenware, silver and gilded silver mounts
Highlights from British Vision, 1700–1900: Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints
Entrance to the Grotto of Posillipo, Naples, 1778-79,
watercolor over graphite, John "Warwick" Smith
Near Santa Maria de' Monti, Naples, 1781,
graphite, brush and gray wash and ink, Thomas Jones
A Road in a Gorge near Naples, 1782, watercolor
and gum arabic glazes of graphite, Thomas Jones
A Country Girl at Surrentum, 1776, red chalk,
heightened with white, Allan Ramsay
Bay of Naples—A Land of Smouldering Fire, 1871, watercolor with gum arabic and touches of gouache over graphite, Alfred William Hunt
A Clump of Trees, ca. 1757, graphite, brush
and gray wash, Thomas Gainsborough

Feast of St. Bernadette Soubirous

St. Bernadette Soubirous, ora pro nobis

Humílium Deus protéctor et amátor, qui fámulam tuam Maríam Bernárdam Immaculáte Vírginis Maríæ apparitióne et allóquio recreásti: præsta, quæsumus, ut, per simplices fídei sémitas, ad tuam in cælis visiónem perveníre mereámur. Per Dóminum.

February 18 is the Feast of St. Bernadette Soubirous, Virgin, Mystic, and Seer at Lourdes. She is the patron saint of Lourdes, shepherds, the sick, the poor, and those ridiculed for their faith. 

Bernadette was born on 7 January 1844 at Lourdes, France. At the age of 14, the young shepherdess witnessed eighteen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary between 11 February and 16 July 1858 at the Massabielle grotto on the bank of the Gave de Pau River. 

Identifying herself as “the Immaculate Conception,” Our Lady revealed a spring with miraculous healing properties to Bernadette and instructed her to build a shrine at the location. Completing the task, a sanctuary was built and many miracles have since been attributed to the waters and holy place. 

In 1866, Bernadette enters the Sisters of Charity at Neves, where she remained until her death on 16 April 1879. She was canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI. 

In celebration, we’re posting a prayer to St. Bernadette in Latin and English. The accompanying photo was taken at the Shrine Church of St. Bernadette in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

Prayer to St. Bernadette Soubirous

O God who dost love and protect the humble and who transformed thy handmaid Marie Bernadette by the apparition and spoken word of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant, we beseech Thee, that following the simple pathways of Faith, we may be deemed worthy to come to thy heavenly vision. Through our Lord.

Remembering Francisco Elías de Tejada

Madrid, Spain, 6 April 1917 – Madrid, Spain, 18 February 1978

In memory of the “Forgotten Master,” Francisco Elías de Tejada y Spínola Gómez, Carlist philosopher and historian, we pray for the happy repose of his soul.

Eternal rest grant unto Him, 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

February 17, 2024

Feast of the Santi Sette Fondatori dell'Ordine dei Servi di Maria

Santi Sette Fondatori dell'Ordine
dei Servi di Maria, orate pro nobis
February 17th is the Feast of the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites, Mystics and Hermits. Amid the civil strife, political upheaval and Cathari heresy plaguing thirteenth-century Florence, seven wealthy patricians, following two visions of the Blessed Mother, mutually donated their worldly possessions to the poor and founded the Order of Servites on Monte Senario. Adopting the Rule of St. Augustine of Hippo, the mendicant friars lived a life of poverty, penance and contemplation with a profound devotion to the Queen of Heaven.

The Seven Founders are Bonfiglio Monaldi, Manetto dell’Antella, Bonagiunta Manetti, Amadio degli Amidei, Uguccione degli Uguccioni, Sostegno dei Sostegni and Alessio Falconieri.

In celebration, we’re posting a prayer to the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites. The accompanying photo comes courtesy of Father Eugene Carrella. The holy card is part of Father Carrella’s impressive collection of religious artifacts. Evviva Santi Sette Fondatori!

Prayer to the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, in order to renew the memory of the sorrows of Thy most holy Mother, hast through the seven blessed fathers enriched Thy Church with the new Order of Servites; mercifully grant that we may be so united in their sorrows as to share in their joys. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

Congratulations to the New Knights and Dames of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George and Royal Order of Francis I

Photos courtesy of the Sacred Military Constantinian
Order of St. George — American Delegation
We congratulate the following Knights and Dames invested in the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George and Royal Order of Francis I on February 11, 2024, in Naples, Florida, at St. Agnes Church and The Ritz-Carlton:

Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George

Dama Denise Cobb
Cav. Peter Caparso
Cav. David Gibbons
Cav. Ralph Stayer
Royal Order of Francis I

Cav. William Albanese
Cav. Francesco Castelluccio
Cav. Joseph Conte
Dama Heidi Huizenga
Cav. Rick Inatome
Cav. George Keys
Cav. Nicholas Mastroianni II
Cav. Ronald Sachs
Cav. Brian Wroblewski


18 febbraio 2024, I Domenica di Quaresima: S. Messa cantata nel Santuario di San Gaetano, ore 11.30


February 16, 2024

Feast of the Crown of Thorns

Lord Jesus, have mercy on us

The Holy Crown is for the faithful soul a source of merit.. [it] will merit for you a crown of glory... A single soul performing her actions in union with the merits of My Holy Crown may gain more than many others. ~ Jesus to Sr. Marie Martha Chambon

The first Friday of Lent is the Feast of the Crown of Thorns, Festum susceptionis coronae Domini. Originally instituted in 1239, after the solemn translation of the holy relic from Constantinople to Paris by St. Louis IX of France, the feast spread throughout Europe and was kept on various dates. Eventually adopted at Rome as a double major in 1831, it is observed on the Friday following Ash Wednesday. In celebration, I’m posting The Crown of Thorns Prayer. The accompanying photo of the Crown of Thorns and Holy Nails was taken at the Church of St. Boniface (109 Willoughby St.) in Brooklyn, New York. Viva Cristo Re!

The Crown of Thorns Prayer

Dear Lord, I am grieved when I consider Thy sad condition when Thou wore the Crown of Thorns upon Thy holy Head. I desire to withdraw the thorns by offering to the Eternal Father the merits of Thy Wounds for the salvation of sinners. I wish to unite my actions to the merits of Thy Most Holy Crown, so that they may gain many merits, as Thou hast promised. Amen.