Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Feast of All Saints of the Order of Preachers: “Fountain of all holiness, you stirred up in our holy brothers and sisters an extraordinary love of truth, conformity to Christ crucified, and a thirst for the salvation of souls: may we imitate them in offering you thanks on account of the way of life they gave us.” — From the Intercessions at Lauds for the feast of All Saints of the Order of Preachers.
Onze Liewe Vrou van Scherpenheuvel / Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel
Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, Belgium (17th Century) – Commemorated on the First Sunday after the Feast of All Saints
For many years the Marian cult on the Scherpenheuvel (“Sharp Hill”) centred at an oak tree on top of the hill. According to the foundation legend, a shepherd noticed that the image had fallen to the ground and decided to take it home. When he had lifted it, he discovered he was unable to move. As the herd did not return in the evening, his master became concerned and went to look for the shepherd. Only by restoring the Statue to its original place in the oak tree, could the master release the shepherd, thereby discovering the spiritual importance of the site.
The inhabitants of the nearby Town of Zichem would frequent the site in the second half of the sixteenth century whenever they were in need of the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
After an official enquiry in 1604 Mathias Hovius, Archbishop of Mechelen, approved the cult of Scherpenheuvel . The approval was accompanied by the publication of a collection of miracles ascribed to the intercession of the Virgin of Scherpenheuvel, issued in Dutch, French and Spanish. An English translation followed in 1606. Philip Numan, who had authored the collection, produced two more editions (1605 and 1606) as well as three more collections (1613-1614, 1617 and 1617-1618) in short succession. Latin versions were later published too. According to these publications, close to 700 miracles were credited to the intercession of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel, in the course of the seventeenth century. The Latin collections, in particular, caused a lot of controversy among theologians, with Calvinist authors ridiculing the whole idea of miraculous intercession by the Saints.
Meanwhile, it had been decided in 1602, to remove the Statue from the oak tree and house it in a small wooden Chapel nearby. Within the year, the Chapel proved too small and was replaced by a modest stone edifice. Its foundation stone was laid on 13 July 1603 by Count Frederik van den Bergh on behalf of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella. From that point on, the Archdukes showed great interest in the development of the Shrine. Attributing the recent relief of the besieged Town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch to the intercession of the Virgin, Albert and Isabella made their first pilgrimage to Scherpenheuvel on 20 November 1603. It would soon become a yearly pilgrimage that took place in May or June and lasted the nine days of a novena.
Under the patronage of the Archdukes, the emerging Shrine was raised to the status of a Town in 1605 and of an independent Parish in 1610. Their support helped to ensure the grant of a Papal Indulgence on 16 September 1606, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Shortly after reaching a cease-fire with the United Provinces, on 28 August 1607, Albert and Isabella announced that they would build a vast Church and surround it with a planned and fortified Town. The foundation stone of the third and present Church was laid by them in person, on 2 July 1609, the Feast of the Visitation.
The iconographical decoration of the Basilica is particularly rich. The recurrent use of the number seven (in the shape of the Church and the Town, the number of Altars outside and inside, the shape of the stars on the dome) recalls the cult of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin.
The image of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel was solemnly crowned by Cardinal Victor-Auguste-Isidor Deschamps on behalf of the Blessed Pope Pius IX on 25 August 1872.
Fifty years later, on 2 May 1922, Pope Pius XI raised the Shrine to the status of a Minor Basilica.
On 2 February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI dedicated that year’s Golden Rose to the Basilica. It was ceremoniously presented by the Papal Nuncio Monsigneur Giacinto Berloco on 15 May 2011 with grand Pontifical ceremony.
The pilgrimage season runs from 1 May to the first week of November. In 2010 almost 1200 groups of pilgrims visited the Shrine, with parties travelling from as far as Soest in the Netherlands and Fulda in Germany.
Blessed Anthony Baldinucci SJ (1665-1717) Priest of the Society of Jesus, Preacher, Writer and Missionary.
St Athenodorus of Neo-Caesarea
St Auctus of Amphipolis
St Baud of Tours
St Engelbert of Cologne (c 1185-1225) Archbishop Martyr
St Ernest of Mecca
St Florentius of Strasburg
St Gebetrude of Remiremont
St Herculanus of Perugia
St Hesychius of Mytilene
St Hieron of Mytilene
St Hyacinth Castañeda Puchasons
St Lazarus the Stylite
St Nicander of Mytilene
St Peter Ou
St Prosdocimus of Padua
St Prosdocimus of Rieti
St Raverranus of Séez
St Rufus of Metz
St Taurion of Amphipolis
St Thessalonica of Amphipolis
St Tremorus of Brittany
St Vincent Liem
St Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917) Priest and Founder of the Daughters of the Oratory, Spiritual Director, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist and of Charity, renowned Preacher
St Willibrord (c 658 – 739) “Apostle to the Frisians,” Bishop, Missionary.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Alfredo Fanjul Acebal
• Blessed Andrés Francisco Simón Gómez
• Blessed Isabelino Carmona Fernández
• Blessed José Delgado Pérez
• Blessed José Vega Riaño
• Blessed Juan Mendibelzúa Ocerín
• Blessed Manuel Marín Pérez
• Blessed Serviliano Riaño Herrero
• Blessed Vicente Rodríguez Fernández
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