Thought for the Day – 21 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Have you ever experienced the sheer delight of climbing the mountains on a summer’s day and coming across one of those little alpine lakes, a tiny mirror, reflecting the still blueness of the sky? Or have you ever watched an infant smiling in it’s angelic slumber and been held spellbound by this vision of innocence? Finally, on some calm, clear night, surely you have studied the star-spangled sky and have been so overwhelmed by the beauty of the scene, that you could have cried out with the Psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims His handiwork” (Ps 18:1). These, are only faint images of the beauty and virginal purity of Mary. Her soul was the purest and most beautiful of the entire human and angelic creation, because, nobody else was ever raised to the dignity of the Motherhood of God. She was conceived free from all taint of original sin and enriched with every grace. In her chaste womb, she conceived the Infant Jesus. Later, she held Him close to her heart; she lived for Him and eventually died for love of Him.
Purity is a virtue which is attractive to everybody, even to those who are evil themselves, or to those, who have lost their own chastity. We love and desire this virtue but, are we prepared to make any sacrifice in order to preserve it, in the manner demanded by our particular state in life? “The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault,” Jesus said “and the violent have been seizing it by force” (Mt 11:12). This is especially true in regard to the acquisition of the virtue of purity. It is not enough to desire it, we must be willing to make sacrifices in order to acquire it.”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 May – “Mary’s Month” – Readings: Acts 25:13-21, Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20, John 21:15-19
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul”
“No-one can have God as his father, if he does not have the Church as his mother… The Lord warned us of this when He said: “Whoever is not with me, is against me and whoever does not gather together with me, scatters.” The person who breaks the peace and concord of Christ, acts against Christ; the person who gathers together, outside of the Church, scatters the Church of Christ.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church On the unity of the Church
“There were many apostles but to one is said: “Feed my sheep”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“And so we pray, that, by the same grace, which made the Church Christ’s Body, all its members may remain firm in the unity of that Body, through the enduring bond of love.”
St Fulgentius of Ruspe (c 462 – 533) Bishop, Father of the Church
“For nothing more glorious, nothing nobler, nothing surely, more honourable can be imagined, than to belong to the One, Holy Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, in which we become members of one Body as venerable as it is unique; are guided by one supreme Head; are filled with one divine Spirit; are nourished during our earthly exile by one doctrine and one heavenly Bread, until at last, we enter into the one, unending blessedness of heaven. But lest we be deceived, by the angel of darkness, who transforms himself into an angel of light, let this be the supreme law of our love – to love the Spouse of Christ, as Christ willed her to be and as He purchased her with His blood.”
Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) “Mystici Corporis Christi” 1943
One Minute Reflection – 21 May – “Mary’s Month” – Readings: Acts 25:13-21, Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20, John 21:15-19
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” – John 21:17
REFLECTION – “The Lord appeared once again to His disciples after His resurrection and questioning Peter, who from fear had thrice denied Him, extracted from Him, a threefold declaration of love. Christ had been raised to life in the flesh and Peter to life in the spirit; for when Christ died, as a result of the torments He endured, Peter was also dead, as a result of denying his Master. Christ the Lord was raised from the dead; Christ the Lord raised up Peter through Peter’s love for Him. And having obtained from him the assurance of that love, He entrusted His sheep to Peter’s care.
We may wonder what advantage there could be for Christ, in Peter’s love for Him. If Christ loves you, you profit, not Christ; and if you love Him, again the advantage is yours, not His. But wishing to show us how we should demonstrate our love for Him, Christ the Lord made it plain, that it is by our concern for His sheep.
“Simon, son of John, Do you love me?” He asked. “I do love you.” “Then feed my sheep.” Once, twice, and a third time the same dialogue was repeated. To the Lord’s one and only question, Peter had no other answer than “I do love you.” And each time the Lord gave Peter the same command! Let us love one another then and by so doing, we shall be loving Christ.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Guelferbytanus Sermon 16,1
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help us to accept the tasks you have given us in life. Let us be faithful all our days and be able to attain Your eternal reward in heaven. May our Blessed Mother, alll the Angels, the Holuy Apostles and all Your Saints, pray for us that we may always praise Your glory and be faithful at all times and in all circumstances, amen.
Into the Arms of Your Mercy By St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
Into the Arms of Your Mercy, O Mary, my Queen, I cast myself, into the arms of your mercy. I place my soul and body, in your blessed care and under your special protection from this world. I entrust to you, all my hopes and consolations, all my anguish and misery, my life and the end of my life. Through your most holy intercession and through your merits, grant that all my works may be directed and carried out, in accordance with your will and the will of your Divine Son. Amen
Saint of the Day – 21 May – Blessed Pietro Parenzo (Died 1199) Layman Martyr, Husband, Mayor of Orvieto, Reformer. Born in the 12th century in Rome, Italy and died by being hit in the head with a hammer by Patarine heretic kidnappers on 21 May 1199 in a hut just outside Orvieto, Italy. After he was unconscious, others of the gang of kidnappers stabbed his body numerous times with knives and swords. Patronage – Orvieto, Italy.
Born to the Italian nobility – we know he had brothers and was married at one point but nothing else survives of his education or his life before his appointment to the administration of Orvieto. He served in the Court of Pope Innocent III.
During the late 12th century, the Orvietan bishopric underwent an economic crisis that resulted from the burden of defending the vast possessions it had amassed during the previous half century. Around that time, the Cathar heresy appeared in the City. It was also a City seriously divided by the conflict between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. This situation prompted the Papacy to support the Bishop of Orvieto more actively.
To help re-establish civil order, Pope Innocent III chose Pietro Parenzo, a member of a noble Roman family, to take charge of the City. He had been born in Rome, the son of Lord Giovanni Paranzo and his wife, Odolina, at an unknown date. His father had served as a Senator in 1157 and later as a Judge in the city in 1162. Little else is known of his earlier life, other than he was a man who had gained great respect in the City.
Pietro arrived in the City in February 1199, (it seems he left his wife in the safety of Rome), having the support of the Catholics in the City, despite their long tradition of independence. He immediately established a strict regime to take control of the civil situation.
At Easter of the same year, 1199, Pietro returned to Rome to brief His Holiness on his efforts. He also confided to him that his life was in danger. Pope Innocent lauded his good work and encouraged him to continue with caution but he also made a point of hearing the young man’s confession. Before saying good-bye to his wife and mother, Pietro made out his will.
His Holiness gave Pietro two goals: -strengthen the faith by fighting heresy and make peace between the different parties. Mayor Parenzo decided, that the best strategy, was to get tough with troublemakers, so the first thing he did on arriving in Orvieto, was to abolish the traditional carnival games, on the grounds that these sports were often used as a ruse to commit homicide.
Such law-and-order efforts cheered the Town’s Catholics but incensed the Cathari. To spite the Mayor and to flex their muscles, they came to the carnival festivities brandishing swords and other weapons and they started fights with people at random. Riots ensued.
Into this melee of flying sharp steel rode Pietro without receiving a scratch. Identifying the culprits, he authorised the destruction of their families’ towers—symbols of power in medieval Italy—and their palaces. Many people cheered, while the heretics seethed.
In all his efforts, Pietro worked closely with the repentant Bishop Ricardo, even living in His Excellency’s palace. At the time the good of the Church was the good of the state and vice versa, so this arrangement was not remarkable. Together they announced an amnesty program – Return to the Church by a certain date and all will be forgiven. Ignore the deadline, however, and face stiff fines.
Pietro also exacted a form of bail to ensure good behaviour on the part of some citizens. While the amounts were fair and did deter crime, he now had even more enemies and these began to plot his death.
A huge crowd greeted Pietro’s return on 1 May 1199. He told the people that if he were to die, it would be to defend the holy Catholic faith. On 21 May 1199, nearly three weeks later, a traitorous servant named Radulfo let the heretics into the Bishop’s Palace. They captured Pietro as he was undressing for bed, beat him and smuggled him out of the City to a house in the countryside. His captors offered him a deal – repeal the rules restricting their efforts, repay the fines and sureties he had exacted, resign his position and give their religious beliefs preferential treatment. Pietro agreed to return the fines out of his own funds but he had pledged to defend the faith and so refused to support them in their heresy. Enraged, one of his captors bashed his head with a hammer. The blood excited his captors, who fell on him in a demonic frenzy. Those who couldn’t land blows tore hair from his head. They dumped his corpse by a tree and fled.
Six Monks found Pietro’s body at dawn the next day. The whole City poured down the hill, weeping piteously at the gruesome sight. The Bishop and other clergy accompanied his remains back into the City with great pomp and buried him in the Cathedral. His death prompted a great reaction against the Cathari. Nonetheless, it was not until the late 1260s that the heresy was eradicated.
For the miracles that occurred on his Tomb, even just to invoke him, Pietro Parenzo was immediately venerated as a Martyr and a sant, not only in Orvieto but also in the Cities of Arezzo and Florence; various pilgrimages were organised to the Tomb and the pilgrims themselves, directed to Rome, stopped in Orvieto to pray at his Tomb. During the Middle Ages his Tomb attracted pilgrims by the millions. While his cause never went through the formal Canonisation process, Pope Leo XIII approved his cult on 16 March 1879 when he Beatified Pietro.
Pietro defied popular opinion, and the right thing and stood with the true faith and the Church against all opposition. The challenges that confronted Blessed Pietro are the same ones we encounter in our age. Help us to see, Lord, how you would have us imitate Saint Pietro’s constancy and fidelity to You and Your holy Church. Give us courage, strength, patience, stay with us and guide us through the mire in which we are sinkng!
Nostra Signora degli Angeli / Our Lady of the Angels, Arcola, Italy (1556) – 21 May:
Going up the streets of the Village of Arcola, in the direction of Baccano, you reach the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Angels, built in the place where the miraculous apparition of the Virgin took place, on 21 May 1556, in that year, it was the second day of Pentecost.
After Mass, whilst praying the Rosary on their farm, in Carbonara, the five Fiamberti sisters – Barbara, Camilla, Elisabetta, Catarinetta and Angela, in the company of their parents and brothers – saw a majestic Lady appear above a rosemary bush, shining brighter than the sun, dressed in white and flanked by two Angels.
The celestial image, raising her hand and with a sweet voice told them “go, beloved ones, tell the people to pray and do penance and tell the good villagers to build a temple in this place in my honour.” In the year 1558, the now underground Chapel was built in the sacred place; a large Church was completed above it at the end of the century, while the current Church is the work of the second half of the eighteenth century.
The Sanctuary immediately became a pilgrimage destination and the subject of bequests and donations. On the walls at the sides of the main altar there are two large frescoes by the Arculian painter Luigi Agretti, representing the Apparition of the Madonna degli Angeli and the Solemn Coronation which took place on 16 May 1910.
Under the altar floor there is the Chapel, a place of the Apparition of the Virgin of the Angels. The interior is somewhat rich in polychrome marbles that decorate the floor and walls, while stuccos and paintings adorn the ceiling. Above the Altar of precious marble, in a niche, there is the simulacrum of the Virgin of the Angels, work created in 1624 by the sculptor Battista Orsolini of Carrara. The minor aisles have two chapels dedicated one to the Madonna del Rosario, the other to the Sacred Heart of Jesus or of the Holy Cross. In the Chapel of the Rosary, there is a painting by the La Spezia painter Andrea Podenzana, year 1688.
Martyrs of the Mexican Revolution (Optional Memorial): The 1917 Mexican constitution was pointedly anti-clerical and anti-Church, and its adoption instituted years of violent religious persecution including expulsion of foreign priests, closing of parochial schools and the murders of several priests and lay leaders who work to minister to the faithful and support religious freedom. 25 of them who died at different times and places but all as a result of this persecution were celebrated together. They each have separate memorials but are also remembered as a group.
• Saint Agustin Caloca Cortes • Saint Atilano Cruz Alvarado • Saint Cristobal Magallanes Jara • Saint David Galván-Bermúdez • Saint David Roldán-Lara • Saint David Uribe-Velasco • Saint Jenaro Sánchez DelGadillo • Saint Jesús Méndez-Montoya • Saint Jose Isabel Flores Varela
• Saint José María Robles Hurtado • Saint Julio álvarez Mendoza • Saint Justino Orona Madrigal • Saint Luis Batiz Sainz • Saint Manuel Moralez • Saint Margarito Flores-García • Saint Mateo Correa-Magallanes • Saint Miguel de la Mora • Saint Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucero
The first video is from the author of a Biography of Blessed Franz. His life of “Conscientious Objection” is very appropriate for the times we find ourselves in right now! The second video contains an interview and details of the Film made about Blessed Franz “A Hidden Life.”
St Genesius of Bèze St Godric of Finchale Bl Hemming of Åbo St Hospitius of Cap-Saint-Hospice Bl Hyacinth-Marie Cormier St Isberga of Aire Bl Jean Mopinot Bl Lucio del Rio St Mancio of Évora Bl Manuel Gómez González St Nicostratus of Caesarea Philippi Blessed Pietro Parenzo (Died 1199) Layman Martyr St Polieuctus of Caesarea St Polius of Mauretania St Restituta of Corsica St Rodron of Bèze St Secundinus of Cordova St Secundus of Alexandria St Serapion the Sindonite St Sifrard of Bèze Bl Silao St Synesius St Theobald of Vienne St Theopompus St Timothy of Mauretania St Valens of Auxerre St Vales St Victorius of Caesarea — Martyrs of Egypt: Large number of bishops, priests, deacons and lay people banished when the Arian heretics seized the diocese of Alexandria, Egypt in 357 and drove out Saint Athanasius and other orthodox Christians. Many were old, many infirm and many, many died of abuse and privations while on the road and in the wilderness. Very few survived to return to their homes in 361 when Julian the Apostate recalled all Christians and then many of those later died in the persecutions of Julian.
Martyrs of Pentecost in Alexandria: An unspecified number of Christian clerics and lay people who, on Pentecost in 338, were rounded up by order of the Arian bishop and emperor Constantius and were either killed, or exiled, for refusing to accept Arian teachings. 339 in Alexandria, Egypt.