May 31, 2021

The Queenship of Mary

Madonna Incoronata, ora pro nobis
May 31st is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, a solemn celebration of Our Lady’s eminence as Queen and Mother of the universe and Mediatrix of all graces. On behalf of all of us here at Il Regno, I wish our readers a very Happy and Blessed Feast. In celebration I’m posting the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) in English and Latin. The accompanying photo of the Madonna Incoronata, patroness of Foggia, Puglia, was taken at the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in East Harlem, New York. Evviva Maria!

Salve Regina

Hail holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae: vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle. Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende. O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.

Feast of Santa Maria Mater Domini

Santa Maria Mater Domini, ora pro nobis
May 31st is the Feast of Santa Maria Mater Domini, patroness of Fraine, a commune in the Province of Chieti, Abruzzo. According to tradition, around the year 1000 the Virgin Mary appeared before a young deaf mute tending her flock near the Vicenne Forest. Curing the girl, Our Lady told her to call out to her parents. At first, not recognizing the voice and busy at work they ignored her calls. However, when they finally learned what had happened the overjoyed couple rushed to the woods with their daughter to give thanks and praise. The Blessed Mother called upon them to build a house of worship at the location of the miracle. The grateful family, with the support of the local clergy, did as they were instructed and built a Benedictine chapel. Completed in 1056, the Sanctuary was renovated several times over the centuries and continues to be a popular destination for pilgrims and devotees. In celebration, I’m posting a Prayer to the Mother of God. The accompanying photo of Santa Maria Mater Domini was taken at Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey. Evviva Santa Maria Mater Domini!
Prayer to the Mother of God
O most glorious Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ our God, accept our prayers and present them to thy son and our God, that He may, for thy sake, enlighten and save our souls. Amen

Corpus Christi at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Jersey City, New Jersey

May 30, 2021

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

The Most Holy Trinity
The first Sunday after Pentecost is the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, or Trinity Sunday. The celebration honors the Triune nature of the Godhead, who is one eternal and incomprehensible God in the form of three divine persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 
In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to the Most Holy Trinity. The photo of the statue of the Most Holy Trinity was taken in the choir loft of the Shrine Church of Saint Anthony of Padua (154 Sullivan Street, New York, NY 10012) in SoHo, New York.
Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity 
God our Father, who by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification made known to the human race your wondrous mystery, grant us, we pray, that in profession the true faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty. 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

Feast of Santa Giovanna d’Arco (St. Joan of Arc)

St. Jeanne d'Arc, ora pro nobis
May 30th is the Feast of St. Joan of Arc, la Pucelle d'Orléans, or "the Maid of Orléans." A childhood hero of mine, her faith, heroism and loyalty to her homeland still captures my imagination today as much as it did back then. Buon Onomastico to my Mother, who taught me about St. Joan and so much more.

In celebration, I’m posting a Prayer to St. Joan of Arc. The accompanying photo of Emmanuel Fremiet's equestrian statue of Jeanne d'Arc outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art was taken during a day trip to the "City of Brotherly Love" in 2016. Vive Sainte Jeanne d’Arc!

Prayer to St. Joan of Arc

Maid of Lorraine, mount your horse; draw your sword and call your army. Maid of Orleans, unfurl your banner, sound the charge, and ride to rescue me! Lift the siege on my heart, lift the siege on my mind, lift the siege on my soul! Maid of my heart, strengthen me. Maid of my mind, set me free. Maid of my soul, make my enemies flee! Fierce, fearless and faithful, St. Joan of Arc, lift the siege, and rescue me!

Sfilata dei Turchi e Festa di San Gerardo La Porta — Parade of the Turks and the Feast of Saint Gerard

Potenza, Basilicata

May 30th is the Sfilata dei Turchi e Festa di San Gerardo La Porta. The Feast recalls Potenza's desperate defense against Saracen raiders and the miraculous intercession of their beloved patron, San Gerardo La Porta. Mooring their galleys on the Basento riverbank, a band of corsairs made their way towards the unsuspecting townspeople of Potenza. Tradition has it that if not for the timely appearance of San Gerardo, flanked by angels, the town would have suffered the usual horrific fate met by so many other unfortunate victims of Moslem piracy across the Southern Italian seaboard—death or slavery. The sight of the celestial host before them caused panic among the marauding infidels, allowing the city's defense to organize and drive them off.

The Saint's intercession is celebrated with a magnificent parade called Sfilata dei Turchi or The Procession of the Turks. Dressed in picturesque costumes, Christian knights on horseback and Turkish pirates, including the Grand Vizier on a horse drawn carriage, complete with replica slave ships, march along the parade route with great fanfare. Children dressed in white (representing angels) and the effigy of San Gerardo La Porta follow them, to the crowd’s delight. After the parade the celebrants are treated to jousting competitions and horse races. San Gerardo’s Liturgical feast day is celebrated on October 30th.

In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer. San Gerardo La Porta, ora pro nobis.

Prayer to San Gerardo La Porta

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the examples of San Gerardo La Porta 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 Gerardo protect us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Upcoming Tridentine Masses at The Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents in NYC (May 31st — June 6th)

The Shrine & Parish Church of the Holy Innocents
128 West 37th Street, NYC 100018

• Monday, May 31st - The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2nd Class - High Mass, 6:00 p.m.


Holy Mother Church concludes the Month of May which is dedicated to Our Lady with the Feast of Her Queenship. She reigns as Queen of Heaven and Earth and Queen of our hearts and homes.

Prayer to Our Lady of this House 

O sweet and gentle Lady, Immaculate Mother of God, we choose Thee this day to be the Mistress and Lady of this house. Guard it, dear Mother from pestilence, fire, lightning, and tempests; from schisms and heresies, from depravations of burglars and the malice of enemies. Protect its inmates, sweet Mary; watch over their going out and their coming in, and preserve them from sudden death. Keep us from all sin and harm, and pray for us to God, that we may live in His service and depart this life in His grace. Amen. 

• Tuesday, June 1st - St. Angela Merici, Virgin, 3rd Class - Low Mass, 6:00 p.m.

St. Angela Merici, Virgin - June 1 

As a young woman, Angela Merici became a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis, and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like Saint Francis, to own nothing. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood.

She was invited to live with a family in Brescia where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community. Her work continued and became well known.

She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost.

At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the first teaching congregation of women calling them the Company of Saint Ursula for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty, and obedience. The community existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death. 

• Wednesday, June 2nd - Ss. Marcellinus, Peter & Erasmus, Martyrs, 4th Class - Low Mass, 6:00 p.m.


Here is the biography of another one of the 14 Holy Helpers, whose Feast occurs this week:

St. Erasmus (also known as Elmo), Bishop & Martyr - June 2 

He was the bishop of Campania during the reign of the wicked emperors Diocletian and Maximian. He was arrested and beaten with clubs and whips loaded with lead. Then he was sprinkled with resin, sulphur, melted lead, boiling pitch, wax and oil, but from all this torment he came forth whole and sound. This marvel caused many to be converted to the Faith.

Erasmus was again cast into prison and bound with heavy iron chains, from which he was delivered by an angel. Next, Maximian caused him to be clad in a coat of red-hot brass, but he once again escaped unscathed. Finally, having converted many to the Faith and having strengthened the faithful, he at last obtained the crown of martyrdom.

Legend has it that one of the tortures of St. Erasmus was that his entrails were pulled out by hot rods. Accordingly, he is pictured with his entrails wound around a windlass and is invoked particularly against diseases of the stomach and intestines, for protection for domestic animals and as patron of sailors and of women in labor. The static electricity on ships at sea is named St. Elmo's Fire, in his honor.

Prayer in Honor of St. Erasmus 

O God, grant us through the intercession of Your dauntless bishop and martyr, Erasmus, who so valiantly confessed the Faith, that we may learn the doctrine of the Faith, practice its precepts, and by this be made worthy to attain its promises. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Invocation to St. Erasmus

Holy martyr Erasmus, who willingly and bravely bore the trials and sufferings of life, and by your charity consoled many fellow sufferers, I implore you to remember me in my needs and to intercede for me with God. Fearless confessor of the Faith, victorious conqueror of all tortures, pray to Jesus for me and ask Him to grant me the grace to live and die in the Faith through which you obtained the crown of glory. Amen. 

Thursday, June 3rd - Corpus Christi, 1st Class - High Mass, 6:00 p.m.


In preparation for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on Thursday, June 3, consider offering a Triduum of Holy Communions (either Sacramental or Spiritual if you are not able to attend Daily Mass) in reparation for sins committed against the Most Blessed Sacrament beginning on Monday, May 31, if you have not already begun the Novena last week, together with the following prayer: 

An Act of Reparation in Honor of the Blessed Sacrament 

Jesus, my God, my Savior, true God and true man, in that lowly homage with which the Faith itself inspires me, with my whole heart I adore and love Thee in the most august Sacrament of the Altar, in reparation for all the acts of irreverence, profanation, and sacrilege, which I myself may ever have been so unhappy as to have committed, as well as for all such like acts that ever have been done by others, or that may be done in ages yet to come. I adore Thee, my God, not in- deed as Thou deservest, nor as much as I am bound to adore, but as far as I am able; and I would that I could adore Thee with all the perfection of which a reasonable creature is capable. Meantime I purpose now and ever to adore Thee, not only for those Catholics who adore and love Thee not, but also for the conversion of all bad Christians, and of all heretics, schismatics, Mohammedans, Jews and idolaters. Jesus, my God, mayest Thou be ever known, adored, loved, and praised every moment, in the most holy and divine sacrament. Amen.

I adore Thee every moment, O living bread of heaven, great sacrament! Jesus, treasure of Mary's heart, I pray Thee send Thy blessing on my soul. Holiest Jesu! loving Savior! I give Thee my heart. 

An Act of Spiritual Communion by St. Alphonsus de Liguori
(for those unable to sacramentally receive Holy Communion) 

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen. 

Corpus Christi 

Thursday, June 3:
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

8:00 AM until 12 Noon & 2:00 PM until 5:45 p.m. Benediction
6:00 PM High Mass followed by Traditional outdoor Eucharistic Procession with Triple Benediction 

• Friday, June 4th - Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament in coram sanctissimo with procession, 2nd Class - High Mass, 6:00 p.m.

Corpus Christi Friday, June 4:
First Friday All Night Vigil
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

8:00 AM until 12 Noon & from 2:00 PM
6:00 PM High Votive Mass of the Holy Eucharist in Coram Sanctissimo followed by outdoor Eucharistic Procession and Benediction 

Litany and Act of Reparation & Consecration to the Sacred Heart commences the All-Night Vigil 

St. Francis Caracciolo, Confessor - June 4 

At the age of 22, Ascanio (Francis Caracciolo) contracted leprosy, and begged God to cure him. When he regained his health, he followed his calling to the priesthood, studying in Naples and joining the confraternity of The White Robes of Justice after his ordination. When he had been in Naples for five years, Ascanio received a letter addressed to a distant relative, another Ascanio Caracciolo. The letter was an appeal from Fr. Giovanni Agostino Adorno, from Genoa, asking Ascanio to join him in founding a religious order. Although the letter was not meant for him, Ascanio was in total agreement with Adorno’s vision, and interpreted this as a sign from God. He responded, and he and Adorno worked together to draw up the institutions and rule.

The congregation they founded lives active and contemplative life, with perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as one of its pillars. The brothers work with the sick, poor, and prisoners, and go out as missionaries. They take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in addition to a fourth vow that they will not seek or accept ecclesiastical honors.

When he made his profession, Ascanio took the name Francis, in honor of Francis of Assisi. He was known for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and was often found in ecstasy, repeating the words of the Psalm, “Zeal for thy house has consumed me.”

St. Francis died of a severe fever on June 4, 1608, the feast of Corpus Christi in Agnone, with his favorite phrase on his lips. The same words were found burned into the flesh of his heart when his body was opened after his death. 

• Saturday, June 5th - Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament in coram sanctissimo with procession, 2nd Class - High Mass, 1:00 p.m.

Corpus Christi Saturday, June 5: 

Conclusion of All-Night Vigil with Benediction and 6:00 AM Low Tridentine Mass 

First Saturday Devotions: 

12:30 PM Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Holy Rosary with 15-minute meditation followed by 1:00 PM (approx.) High Votive Mass of the Holy Eucharist in Coram Sanctissimo followed by outdoor Eucharistic Procession and Benediction 

• Sunday, June 6th - External Solemnity of Corpus Christi, 1st Class - Low Mass in coram sanctissimo, 9:00 a.m. and Chant Mass in coram sanctissimo followed by procession, 10:30 a.m.

Corpus Christi Sunday, June 6:
All day adoration

8:00 AM Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
9:00 AM Low Mass in Coram Sanctissimo
10:30 AM High Mass in Coram Sanctissimo followed by Eucharistic Procession in the church and Benediction. Following the 12:30 PM Mass there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
2:30 PM Vespers will be sung in the presence of the exposed Blessed Sacrament followed by Benediction 

Source: May 30, 2021

May 29, 2021

Festa della Madonna delle Milizie di Scicli

Madonna delle Milizie di Scicli, ora pro nobis
Every year on the last Saturday in May, the Baroque jewel of Scicli in the province of Ragusa, Sicily celebrates the Feast of the Madonna delle Milizie and the miraculous triumph of Count Roger of Hauteville over the Saracens in 1091. 
The feast commemorates the divine intercession of the Blessed Mother on behalf of the Norman forces at a critical point in the battle. Nearly overwhelmed by the paynim's superior numbers and fearing defeat, Count Roger invoked the aid of the Virgin. Mounted on a white charger and dressed in full military regalia, the apparition of Our Lady appeared on the field-of-battle in the district of Milizie and lead the Normans to victory. The triumph was of great importance for the eventual Christian reconquest of the island.
As part of the jubilant festivities the Sciclitani dress in period costumes (Christian and Moslem) and parade an equestrian statue of the Madonna through the bustling streets with much fanfare. Among the local delicacies served for the occasion is a delectable cream puff shaped like a turban called testa di turco, or Turkish heads. 
In celebration, I'm posting the Invocation to Our Lady by St. John Bosco:
O Mary, powerful Virgin, you are the mighty and glorious Protector of the Church. You are the Marvelous Help of Christians. You are Terrible as an Army set in Battle Array. You alone have destroyed every heresy in the entire Church. In the midst of my anguish, my struggles and my distress, defend me from the power of the enemy, and at the hour of my death, receive my soul into Paradise. Amen.

Feast of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi

Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi, ora pro nobis
May 29th is the Feast of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi (Firenze 1566–1607), Mystic and Carmelite nun. One of the co-patrons of Naples, she is invoked against bodily ills and sexual temptation. Known as the “ecstatic saint,” due to the frequency she fell into ecstasy, many healing miracles followed her death. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi. The accompanying photo of the Madonna with Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint Andrew Corsini was taken during my 2010 pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Carmine in Sorrento, Campania. Evviva Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi!
Prayer to Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, pray that we will make a commitment to seek the presence of God in prayer the way you did. Guide us to see the graces God gives us as gifts not rewards and to respond with gratitude and humility, not pride and selfishness. Amen

Feast of Saints Cuono and Conello

San Cuono e Conello, orate pro nobis
May 29th is the Feast of Saints Cuono and Conello, the Iconium Martyrs. Father and son are the protectors of Acerra, a town in Campania, just northeast of the city of Naples. They are invoked for bountiful crops and protection from natural disasters, such as drought, earthquakes and Mount Vesuvius. In celebration, I’m posting a Prayer in Italian. The accompanying photo of the Martyrdom of Saint Cuono and Son (Martirio di San Cuono e figlioby E. Fiore (1867) is located in the Cattedrale di Acerra (photo courtesy of San Cuono e Conello on Facebook). Evviva Santi Cuono e Conello!
O gloriosissimi Martiri Cuono e Figlio, Nostri potenti Avvocati e Protettori, mercé la vostra potente intercessione fate che il clementissimo Iddio sia sempre propizio a noi Acerrani da Lui a Voi affidati: liberandoci da tutti i flagelli, che meritano i nostri peccati. E soprattutto Vi preghiamo impartirci le grazie necessarie per salvare le nostre anime e con Voi godere Iddio eternamente in Cielo

Trinity Sunday at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Jersey City, New Jersey

May 27, 2021

A Look at the Thirteenth Annual Battle of Bitonto Commemoration in New York City

A commemorative photo with the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Members and friends of the Fratelli della Santa Fede (Brothers of the Holy Faith), or Sanfedisti for short, gathered at Amunì Ristorante (7217 3rd Avenue) in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Tuesday evening for our Thirteenth Annual Battle of Bitonto Commemoration in memory of King Carlo di Borbone’s decisive victory over the Austrians in Apulia on May 25, 1734 and the founding of the Bourbon dynasty of Naples and Sicily (later the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies). As we are wont to do, we honored the fallen on both sides with prayers and toasts. We also celebrated the Feasts of San Gregorio VII, San Giuliano di Sora, and the Infant of Prague, as well as Padre Pio’s birthday.
La bandiere delle Due Sicilie and portrait of King Carlo di Borbone

(L) Carlo di Borbone. (R) Battle of Bitonto (c.1750) by Giovanni Luigi Rocco

Various portraits of His Majesty

A few stamps related to the evening's festivities were exhibited:
(L-R) Several stamps from Spain Depicting King Carlos III; Infant of Prague
and San Gregorio VII from the Vatican; and Padre Pio from Italy
Some information about the battle and the Neapolitan Bourbons was on hand 

A festive celebration of Duosiciliano faith, culture and history, revelers were treated to another delicious Sicilian meal by Chef Vincent Dardanello.

Carciofi fritti
Gamberetti fritti
Rigatoni con pesce spada e melanzane
Watermelon and blood oranges

Corpus Christi at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Pontifical Shrine in East Harlem, New York

May 26, 2021

Feast of the Madonna dei Miracoli

Madonna dei Miracoli, ora pro nobis
May 26th is the Feast of the Madonna dei Miracoli (Our Lady of Miracles), patroness of Collesano in Provincia di Palermo, Sicily. Beginning in April, the month long celebration culminates on May 26th in memory of a miracle that saved the town from famine in 1643. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to the Madonna dei Miracoli in Italian. The photo of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin was taken at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Saint Stephen's Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Evviva Madonna dei Miracoli!
Vergine SS. Madre dei Miracoli, tu che in tante occasioni to sei mostrata nella portentosa immagine dell’Annunziata, Regina ed Avvocata del popolo di Collesano, deh I tu lo ricoveri sempre sotto il tuo manto stellato affinchè raccolto alle tu ginocchia, non paventi le insidie di Satana, nè sia desolato dai mali e dai flagelli. Che anzi qualora questo popolo a te si rivolga con fiducia e ti preghi nella tua cappella oh i allora esaudisci dall’eccelso soglio della tua gloria affinchè, dopo aver sperato ed ottenuto il tuo soccorso quì in terra, ottenga goderti eternamente nel Cielo.

Feast of San Filippo Neri

San Filippo Neri, ora pro nobis
May 26th is the Feast of San Filippo Neri (Saint Philip Neri), the Apostle of Rome. Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, a society of secular clergy, he is the patron saint of joy and protector of Roseto Valfortore, a small town in the Province of Foggia in Apulia. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Philip Neri. The photo was taken at The Oratory Church of Saint Boniface in downtown Brooklyn. Evviva San Filippo Neri!
A Prayer to St. Philip Neri
O holy St. Philip Neri, patron saint of joy, you who trusted Scripture’s promise that the Lord is always at hand and that we need not have anxiety about anything, in your compassion heal our worries and sorrows and lift the burdens from our hearts. We come to you as one whose heart swells with abundant love for God and all creation. Hear us, we pray, especially in this need (make your request here). Keep us safe through your loving intercession, and may the joy of the Holy Spirit which filled your heart, St. Philip, transform our lives and bring us peace. Amen.

Observing Whit Embertide

Photo by Andrew Giordano
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 a painted ceramic depicting a grape harvest was taken in Vietri sul Mare, Salerno.

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.

May 25, 2021

Feast of San Gregorio VII

San Gregorio VII, ora pro nobis

Deus, in te sperántium fortitúdo, qui beátum Gregórium, Confessórem tuum atque Pontificem, pro tuénda Ecclésiæ libertáte, virtúte constántiæ roborásti: da nobis, ejus exémplo et intercessióne, ómnia adversántia fórtiter superáre. Per Dóminum.

May 25th is the Feast of San Gregorio VII (born Ildebrando di Sovana), Pope and Confessor. Ascending the papal throne on April 22, 1073, Pope Gregorio initiated many important Church reforms known as the Gregorian Reform, including clerical celibacy and the rooting out and destruction of the abuse of simony, the buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges. 

Repeatedly clashing with King Henry IV (later Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) over the right to install bishops and abbots, or the investiture controversy, Pope Gregorio excommunicated the German monarch on three separate occasions. 

Wax effigy and relics of Pope San Gregorio VII

In 1077 Gregorio famously made the penitent king prostate himself for three days in the cold outside the gates of Cannosa before giving him an audience. A short-lived reconciliation, after obtaining the Holy Father's forgiveness Henry continued to appoint bishops and was excommunicated again. 

Entering Rome with his troops in 1084, Henry forced Gregorio to lock himself inside Castel Sant’Angelo and installed the antipope Clement III (Archbishop Guilbert of Ravenna). 

Soon liberated by Roberto Guiscardo, Duke of Apulia, the wanton excesses of the Duke’s soldiery incensed the people of Rome and forced Gregorio and his Norman allies to withdraw south to Salerno. 

(L-R) Statues of Duchess Sigelgaita, Duke Roberto d'Altavilla,
St. Alfano I of Salerno, and Prince Gisulf of Salerno flank the wax effigy

San Gregorio died in the Principality of Salerno on May 25, 1085. Interred in the Basilica Cattedrale SS. Matteo e Gregorio, which he consecrated a year earlier, his dying words, “Dilexi iustitiam, odivi iniquitatem, propterea morior in esilio" (I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile) are imprinted on the reliquary.

In celebration, I’m posting a prayer in Latin and English. The accompanying photos of the statues and wax effigy at the cathedral in Salerno comes courtesy of Andrew Giordano. Evviva San Gregorio VII!


O God, the strength of them that trust in Thee, Who didst fortify blessed Gregory. Thy Confessor and Pontiff, with the virtue of constancy, for the defense of the liberty of the Church, grant us by his example and intercession courageously to overcome all adversities. Through our Lord.

Infant Jesus of Prague Chaplet

On the 25th of every month, devotees of the Divine Infancy should pray the Chaplet of the Infant Jesus of Prague, which includes three Our Fathers and twelve Hail Marys in celebration of the Holy Family and the first twelve years of Our Lord’s childhood. The Chaplet was composed by Venerable Sister Marguerite Parigot of the Blessed Sacrament (March 6, 1590—May 24, 1660), a Discalced Carmelite nun with a strong devotion to the Christ Child. Pleased with the devotion, Our Lord revealed Himself to Sister Marguerite and promised special graces to all who piously recite the Chaplet. In 1855 Pope Pius IX granted an Indulgence of 300 days, applicable to the Poor Souls in Purgatory, for its devout recitation.* In celebration, I’m posting the Infant Jesus of Prague Chaplet. The accompanying photo is my late paternal Grandmother's statue the Infant Jesus of Prague. It came into my possession after my father's passing and is now a treasured part of my private oratory.

Infant Jesus of Prague Chaplet

Divine Infant Jesus, I adore Thy Cross and I accept all the crosses Thou wilt be pleased to send me. Adorable Trinity, I offer Thee for the glory of Thy Holy Name of God, all the adorations of the Sacred Heart of the Holy Infant Jesus.

(3x) “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” and pray The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father)

(12x) “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” and pray The Angelical Salutation (Hail Mary)

Holy Infant Jesus, bless and protect us. Amen.

Further reading:

Il Maggio di San Giuliano: The Marriage of Trees and the Feast of Saint Giuliano the Martyr

San Giuliano di Sora
Saint Paul's Church, Philadelphia

Photo courtesy of Anthony Scillia
Remote Accettura lies in the rugged Southern Italian hinterland of Matera, a province in the region of Basilicata, also called Lucania. The small hilltop town boasts one of the oldest festivals in Italy, il Maggio di Accettura.
Some say the Maggio, or May Festival, predates the classical era. Others, because of its similarities with the Germanic Maypole, claim the Lombards introduced it. Whatever its origins, the pre-Christian fertility rite has been repurposed for the Christian observance. In a medley of traditions, "The Marriage of Trees," as the ancient ritual is known, is now happily associated with Accettura's patron saint, San Giuliano di Sora and the celebration of Pentecost.
Beginning on Ascension Day (Holy Thursday), a group of woodsmen search for and cut down the tallest and straightest tree they can find from nearby Montepiano. Called the "Maggio," the hewed tree is carried back to town on a train of oxen. On Pentecost Sunday, another group of men cut down a smaller tree from nearby Gallipoli Cognato, the forest on the opposite side of Accettura. This tree, called the "Cima," is carried back on the shoulders of the townsmen. Continue reading

May 24, 2021

Feast of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice

Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, ora pro nobis
May 24th is the Feast of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice (Our Lady, Help of Christians). Instituted in 1815 by Pope Pius VII in fulfillment of a vow he made to God during his captivity (1809-1814) in Savona and Fontainebleau by Napoleon, the invocation Auxilium Christianorum (Help of Christians) actually dates back to 1571 when Pope St. Pius V included it in the Litany of Loreto in gratitude of the Holy League’s great victory against the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7th. Our Lady, Help of Christians famously came to the aid of Christendom again in the 17th century when Emperor Leopold I of Austria invoked the Blessed Virgin's help against the Turks during the Battle of Vienna. The siege was broken on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary when Poland's heroic King Jan Sobieski and his winged hussars rescued the Imperial City from the Ottoman invaders. In celebration I’m posting a prayer to Our Lady, Help of Christians by San Giovanni Bosco. The accompanying photo of a painted ceramic wall shrine dedicated to Our Lady, Help of Christians was taken in 2010 in Vietri Sul Mare, Salerno. Evviva Santa Maria Ausiliatrice!

Prayer to Our Lady, Help of Christians

Most holy and Immaculate Virgin, Help of Christians, we place ourselves under your motherly protection. Throughout the Church’s history you have helped Christians in times of trial, temptation and danger. Time and time again, you have proven to be the Refuge of sinners, the Hope of the hopeless, the Consoler of the afflicted, and the Comforter of the dying. We promise to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, your Son, to proclaim His Good News of God’s love for all people, and to work for peace and justice in our world. With faith in your intercession, we pray for the Church, for our family and friends, for the poor and abandoned, and all the dying. Grant, O Mary, Help of Christians, the graces of which we stand in need. (Mention your intentions.) May we serve Jesus with fidelity and love until death. Help us and our loved ones to attain the boundless joy of being forever with our Father in heaven. Amen.