Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco
Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions.
"For the saints are sent to us by God
as so many sermons.
We do not use them, it is they who move us
and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.”
Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975)
This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings.
Thought for the Day – 16 April– “Month of the Blessed Sacrament” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“St Therese of the Child Jesus truly claimed, that one Holy Communion, made with perfect dispositions, was enough to produce a saint! When we receive Holy Communion properly, we are transformed into Jesus and, therefore, we become holy. We live, no longer as ourselves but, we live in Jesus. Not alone are we purified of all our imperfections but, we are emptied of ourselves in order to receive Jesus into ourselves. Jesus becomes the dominant thought in our minds and the central desire of our hearts.
Holy Commuion, therefore, should be a supernatural miracle which causes us to live the life of Jesus.
This is the reason why the early Christians gathered daily at the Eucharistic table. They felt the need of achieving, everyday, the transformation of their souls into Jesus. They hungered for Jesus, they burned with love for Him, they were one in heart and in soul.
Let us examine ourselves and see if our communions have anything like this effect on us. “Let a man prove himself,” says St Paul “and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the cup, for he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgement to himself ” (1 Cor 2:28-29).
We should examine ourselves before Holy Communion and make an act of sorrow for our sins and imperfections. Then we shall be able to approach Jesus with love and confidence. We need not be afraid, for it is He Who invites us. It is He Who desires to be united with us in order to make us like Himself.
Let us go to Him, with repentance, with humility and with love. Then He will make us holy.”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 April – Friday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 5: 34-42, Psalm: Psalms 27: 1, 4, 13-14, Gospel: John 6: 1-15 and the Month of the Blessed Sacrament
“And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them”
“O precious and wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness!”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
“Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert, for fear that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us, that it is dangerous to try to get to Heaven, without the Bread of Heaven.”
St Jerome (343-420) Father and Doctor of the Church
“O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? … Behold – daily He humbles Himself as when from heaven’s royal throne He came down into the womb of the Virgin. Daily, He Himself, comes to us with like humility; daily He descends from the bosom of the Father, upon the altar, in the hands of the priest.”
One Minute Reflection – 16 April – Friday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 5: 34-42, Psalm: Psalms 27: 1, 4, 13-14, Gospel: John 6: 1-15
“They gathered up and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves” – John 6:13
REFLECTION – “In the twinkling of an eye the Lord multiplied a little bread. What human beings do in ten months of work, His ten fingers do in an instant … Nevertheless, He didn’t measure this miracle by its power but, according to the hunger of those who were there. If the miracle had been measured by its power, it would be impossible to evaluate it; measured according to the hunger of those thousands of people, the miracle went beyond the twelve baskets. Among artisans, their power is inferior to the customers’ desire; they cannot do everything that is asked of them. Contrary to them, what God accomplishes goes beyond all desire …
When they had been satiated, like the Israelites in past times through the prayer of Moses, they cried out: “This is undoubtedly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” They were referring to the words of Moses: “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you.” Not just any prophet, but “a prophet like me” (Dt 18:15), Who will satiate you with bread in the desert. Like me, He walked on the sea, He appeared in the luminous cloud (Mt 17:5), He freed His people. He handed Mary over to John just like Moses handed over his flock to Joshua … But the bread of Moses was not perfect, it was only given to the Israelites. Because He wanted to show, that His gift is superior to that of Moses and the call to the nations still more perfect, our Lord said: “If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever,” for the bread from God “has come down from heaven” and is given to the whole world (Jn 6:51).” – St Ephrem (306-373) Deacon in Syria, Father & Doctor of the Church – Diatessaron, 12, 4-5, 11
PRAYER – Stay with us Lord Jesus, be our companion on our way. In Your mercy enflame our hearts and raise our hope, so that, in union with our brethren, we may share with each other Your food of life. Listen to the prayers of your Angels and Saints and as we entrust ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, may she open our hearts to compassion. Through Your grace with God our Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever amen.
Acts 5: 34-42 34 But one in the council rising up, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, respected by all the people, commanded the men to be put forth a little while. 35 And he said to them: Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do, as touching these men. 36 For before these days rose up Theodas, affirming himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves; who was slain and all that believed him were scattered and brought to nothing. 37 After this man, rose up Judas of Galilee, in the days of the enrolling and drew away the people after him – he also perished and all, even as many as consented to him, were dispersed. 38 And now, therefore, I say to you, refrain from these men and let them alone; for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought; 39 but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God. And they consented to him. 40 And calling in the apostles, after they had scourged them, they charged them that they should not speak at all in the name of Jesus and they dismissed them. 41 And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus. 42 And every day they ceased not in the temple and from house to house, to teach and preach Christ Jesus.
Gospel: John 6: 1-15 1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him because they saw the miracles which he did on them, that were diseased. 3 Jesus, therefore, went up into a mountain and there he sat with his disciples. 4 Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. 5 When Jesus, therefore, had lifted up his eyes and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to try him. for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: 9 there is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes; but what are these among so many? 10 Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. 12 And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. 13 They gathered up, therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. 14 Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world. 15 Jesus, therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.
Our Morning Offering – 16 April – Friday of the Second Week of Easter
I Will Put Myself In Your Hands By St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
O my God, I will put myself without reserve ,into Your hands. Wealth or woe, joy or sorrow, friends or bereavement, honour or humiliation, good report or ill report, comfort or discomfort. Your presence or the hiding of Your Countenance, all is good, if it comes from You. You are Wisdom and You are Love – what can I desire more. Amen
Saint of the Day – 16 April – Blessed Joachim Piccolomini of Siena OSM (1258–1305) Lay brother Friar of the Tertiaries of the Order of the Servants of Mary (the Servites), Apostle of charity of the sick, devotee of the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. Born in 1258 at Siena, Italy and died on Good Friday, 16 April 1306 at Siena, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – against epilepsy. Additional Memorial – 4 February (Servites). Also known as – Gioacchino Piccolomini, Joachim of Siena.
Joachim Piccolomini was born into a ancient and noble family of Siena, Italy. A pious youth, he was especially noted for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His greatest childhood pleasure was to pray the Ave Maria before an image of the Blessed Lady of Sorrows. He was also known from an early age to exhibit extreme sensitivity to the plight of the poor. He gave them his own clothes and spent his pocket money on almsgiving. One day when Joachim urged his father to increase his aid to the distressed, his father argued that prudence ought to moderate his liberality. Otherwise, he would reduce his whole family to poverty. Joachim is said to have replied, “You have taught me that an alms is given to Jesus Christ, in the persons of the poor. Can we refuse Him anything? And what is the advantage of riches but that they be employed in purchasing treasures in heaven?” Hearing these sentiments, his father wept for joy.
Joachim joined the Servites as a lay-brother at the age of fourteen, becoming a spiritual student of Saint Philip Benizi, one of the seven Holy Founders. By all reports, he was a perfect model of virtue; it was not unusual to find him at midnight, praying, while the rest of the house slept and on Saturdays, Joachim abstained from all food in honour of the Seven Dolours of the Virgin. His fervour grew, yet instilled in him an extraordinary humility. Joachim was urged by his brothers to study and be ordained a Priest but he felt he was unworthy, and wanted nothing grander than to be an Altar Server. It would appear that his whole life was an attempt to hide himself from the eyes of others and live in obscurity. In fact, he had become so well-respected and widely known for his sanctity that he requested that he be transferred to Arezzo. The move aroused such a stir of complaints in Siena that he was ordered to return.
According to the legend Joachim reportedly died when he was unable to console an epileptic with words, so he begged God that he might take the illness upon himself. He died of epilepsy in 1305.
One account of Joachim’s hagiography has the Blessed Virgin appearing to him at important times in his life, such as in his adolescence, when she urged him to join the Servites. The second time, she appeared with two crowns in her hands; one of rubies to reward him for his compassion in her sorrows and the other of pearls, in recompense for his virginity, which he had vowed in her honour.
Shortly before his death, the account continues, she once more appeared. Joachim begged her that he would die on the same day on which Jesus Christ had died. The Virgin immediately gratified him, saying, “It is well, prepare thyself; for tomorrow, Good Friday, thou shalt die suddenly as thou desirest—tomorrow thou shalt be with me in heaven.” So, during the singing of the Passion according to Saint John, at the words “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother” (John 19:25), Joachim fell into his last struggles of death and at the words “He bowed down his head and expired” (John 19:30), Joachim died. The whole Church was filled with an extraordinary light and a sweet-smelling perfume.
Blessed Joachim Piccolomini was Beatified by Pope Paul V on 21 March 1609. He is commonly depicted as a Servite holding a book and a flower and is venerated especially in Arezzo and Siena.
A little note of interest concerning the family of our saint – the Church has elected 2 Piccolomini Popes Pius II and Pius III and another relative of Siena, is also a Blessed – Ascanio Piccolomini (1628-1671).
Nostra Signora delle Vittorie / Our Lady of Victories in the Church of St Mark, Vienna (1683) – 16 April:
In the year 1683 a formidable army of well over 100,000 Turks invaded Austria and laid siege to Vienna for the second time. The City was strategically located in Europe and the Ottoman Turks had been pressing further and further into Christendom over the preceding centuries. If they could take Vienna, it would open up all of Europe to them. Unfortunately, all of Europe was not united against the invader. The differing Protestant sects hated their Catholic neighbours more than they feared the Turk, and stood by, doing nothing as the Catholics fought alone to save Europe. In fact, the Ottoman Empire had been supporting the Protestants, and encouraged them to revolt and rebel against their lawful government, which weakened Christendom and obviously played into the hands of the Turks. It went so far that they actually promised their Protestant dupes that they would be given the “Kingdom of Vienna” if they should help defeat them. Suffering under an intense siege, Vienna was on the point of surrendering to the enemy. The people were filled with fear and anxiety, for had this happened, the Turks would easily have invaded the rest of Europe,and filled it with blood and strife. From all parts of the Catholic world prayers were offered to the Queen of Heaven, that she intercede and avert this disaster. Our Lady, Consoler of the Afflicted, did not fail her people. The pious and valiant Catholic King of Poland, John Sobieski, with an army seemingly inadequate to the need, bravely marched against the enemy anyway. Even though his army was tiny in comparison to the multitudes that awaited him, there was no-one else who could come to the aid of Vienna. When John Sobieski came in sight of the Turkish camp, before beginning battle, he ordered Holy Mass to be celebrated, at which he himself served, then he begged the celebrant to bless the whole army.
Full of confidence in the help of Mary Most Holy, Our Lady of Victories, King John Sobieski manfully threw his forces into the conflict. Initiating what would be the largest cavalry charge in history, King John led his now legendary Winged Hussars into the face of the enemy like a host of avenging angels, disrupting the enemy formations and breaking their lines. The enemy, though far more numerous, turned and fled, while the King’s army were masters of the field. The rejoicing of Christians was great at this news and from all Christendom ,fervent prayers were offered to the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Victories, in thanksgiving for her protection.
Pope Innocent XI, reigning at the time, placed all his trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary. He had vowed to institute a feast in her honour, if she would liberate the Church from this terrible danger. In fulfilment of this vow, he extended to the whole Catholic world, the Solemnity of the Holy Name of Mary, which had up to that time, only been observed in particular countries. The famous image of Our Lady of Victories is the one which Emperor John Zimiarnes and John Commenus, carried in a triumphal procession after having besieged the enemy. The image is now borne in procession at Vienna to beg Our Lady’s intercession for various needs.
St Herveus of Tours Blessed Joachim Piccolomini of Siena OSM (1258–1305)Tertiary Servite Lay Friar St Lambert of Saragossa St Lambert of Saragossa St Magnus of Orkney St Turibius of Astorga St Vaise St William Gnoffi — Martyrs of Avrillé – 26 beati: – A group of lay people who were executed together for their faith during the anti-Christian persecutions of the French Revolution. They were martyred on 16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France. • Blessed Anne Maugrain • Blessed François Micheneau veuve Gillot • Blessed François Suhard veuve Ménard • Blessed Jean Ménard • Blessed Jeanne Gourdon veuve Moreau • Blessed Jeanne Leduc épouse Paquier • Blessed Jeanne Onillon veuve Onillon • Blessed Jeanne Thomas veuve Delaunay • Blessed Madeleine Cady épouse Desvignes • Blessed Madeleine Sallé épouse Havard • Blessed Marguerite Robin • Blessed Marie Forestier • Blessed Marie Gingueneau veuve Coiffard • Blessed Marie Lardeux • Blessed Marie Piou épouse Supiot • Blessed Marie Rechard • Blessed Marie Roger veuve Chartier • Blessed Marie-Genevieve Poulain de la Forestrie • Blessed Marthe Poulain de la Forestrie • Blessed Perrine Bourigault • Blessed Perrine Laurent • Blessed Perrine Pottier épouse Turpault • Blessed Pierre Delépine • Blessed Renée Bourgeais veuve Juret • Blessed Renée Rigault épouse Papin • Blessed Renée Sechet veuve Davy 16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France – Beatified: 19 February 1984 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy
Martyrs of Corinth – 9 saints: A group of nine Christians who were tortured and martyred together in the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than three of their names – Callistus, Charisius and Leonide. They were thrown into the sea at Corinth, Greece c250.
Martyrs of Saragossa: Group of eighteen martyrs murdered in 304 in Saragossa, Spain in the persecutions of Diocletian and the prefect Dacean. We know little more than the names – Apodemus, Caecilian, Caius, Crementius, Engratia, Eventius, Felix, Fronto, Gaius, Julia, Lambert, Lupercus, Martial, Optatus, Primitivus, Publius, Quintilian, Saturnius (4 men of this name), Succesus and Urban. Their graves re-discovered in 1389 in the crypt under the church of San Encrazia in Saragossa.
Thought for the Day – 15 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
What the Holy Spirit Requires of Us
“The Holy Spirit, coming into our souls, asks us to do four things, in particular.
(1) To keep far from us everything which could be displeasing to God. This means that we must avoid sin, which is hateful to God and brings about the death of the soul. When the sin is grave, it destroys charity in us; when it is venial sin, it diminishes our fervour and capacity for good action. We have become the temples of the Holy Spirit. Let us do our best, therefore, to keep ourselves pure and free from every stain of sin. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30).
(2) To avoid contamination by the spirit of the world, which is repugnant to the Spirit of God. The world is selfish and we should be on fire with love for God and for our neighbour. The world is vain and proud and we should love obscurity, recollection and humility. The world looks for happiness in honour, wealth and pleasure in the passing goods of this life. We, on the other hand, should seek our happiness in eternal and heavenly values because God alone can satisfy our hearts and make us happy.
(3) Too avoid affections which are too human and sensual. Only the clean of heart can see and enjoy God. All the objects and all the people of this world, should form for us, a ladder which leads to God.
(4) To seek the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in recollection and in prayer.
We should listen for His voice within us, inspiring and advising us. We should do, obediently, whatever He desires, no matter what sacrifices this may entail.”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 April – Thursday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20, John 3:31-36
“And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you and will be in you.”
“Remember, then, that you received a spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear. Keep safe what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you and sent the Spirit into your hearts as the pledge of what is to come.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church
“I believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit. The story of the Church is a long story, filled with the wonders of the Holy Spirit. Why should we think that God’s imagination and love might be exhausted?”
One Minute Reflection – 215April – Thursday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20, John 3:31-36
“ For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God doth not give the Spirit by measure. … but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.” … John 3:34,36
REFLECTION – “How can someone with little or no faith be made to realise that an ant grows wings, a caterpillar turns into a butterfly and many other strange and unexpected things happen in nature, so that in this way he shakes off the sickness of unbelief and despair, himself acquires wings and buds in spiritual knowledge like a tree? “I am He,” God says, “who makes the dry tree flourish; I give life to dry bones” (cf. Ezek 17:24; 37:1-14). (…) Sometimes our soul grows despondent at the huge swarm of its sins and temptations, and says: “Our hope is gone and we are lost” (Ezek 37:11 LXX). Yet God, who does not despair of our salvation, says to us: “You shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek 37:6). To the soul that doubts how it can ever give birth to Christ through great acts of holiness, these words are said: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you” (Lk 1:35). Where the Holy Spirit is present do not expect anymore the sequence and laws of nature and habit. The Holy Spirit, Whom we worship, is all-powerful and, in an astonishing way, He brings into existence what does not as yet exist within us. The intellect, which was previously defeated, He now makes victorious. For the Paraclete, Who in compassion, comes upon us from above, “is higher than all” (Jn 3:31) and He raises us above all natural impulses.” … St John of Karpathos (7th century) Bishop, Monk
PRAYER – Lord God, whose name is holy and whose mercy is proclaimed in every generation, send forth Your Spirit into our hearts and grant that, faithfully pondering on all that is holy, we may ever live in the splendour of Your presence. Listen we beseech You, to the prayers we request from the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Your Angels and Saints, that we may ever entreat the Holy Spirit to grant us His light. We make our prayer through Christ, Your Son our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever amen.
Acts 5: 27-33 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying: Commanding we commanded you, that you should not teach in this name and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God, rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him. 33 When they had heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they thought to put them to death.
Gospel: John 3: 31-36 31 He that cometh from above, is above all. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that cometh from heaven, is above all. 32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth and no man receiveth his testimony. 33 He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true. 34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God doth not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loveth the Son: and he hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Saint of the Day – 15 April – Saint Abbondio of Como (Died c 564) the Fourth Bishop of Como, Italy, Confessor, Theologian, Papal Legate. Patronage – The City ad the Diocese of Como. He is also known as – Abundius, Acoitius, Agontius, Habundius. Additional memorial – the Diocese of Como celebrates it on 31 August. Abbondio is one of those to whom the authorship of the Te Deum is attributed.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Como, Saint Abbondio, Bishop, who was sent to Constantinople by Pope Saint Leo the Great and zealously defended the right faith.”
Abbondio, Bishop of Como, a City that still preserves his remains in the Basilica dedicated to him and honours him as their Patron.
A tradition says that Abbondio was Greek, from Thessalonica (now Thessaloniki) but his name is so frankly Latin, which makes it doubtful. Instead, it appears that Abbondio knew the Greek language well, a rare case in the Western Church at the time. The time and place of his birth are, therefore, uncertain and the first certain date of his biography is 17 November 440 – on that day, Abbondio, former assistant of Bishop St Amanzio in Como, received Episcopal Consecration, as his successor.
But he could not immediately dedicate himself to the Diocese, for St Pope Leo I the Great (the one of the meeting with Attila) needed him for a task that was anything but peaceful. St Leo wanted him to go to Constantinople, as Papal Legate, to the Emperor Theodosius II.
There Abbondio’s mission was to re-establish unity in the faith in a lasting way, after the long doctrinal conflict aroused by the Bishop Nestorius and the Superior General Eutiche. These were two eminent figures of Eastern Christianity, both however, in opposition to the Doctrines of the Church of Rome and of the Councils, on the theme of the two natures – human and divine – in the person of Christ.
Emperor Theodosius II also died in 440 and Abbondio found his successor, Marcian in Constantinople. To him, as to the Bishops, clergy, Monks and faithful, Abbondio, forcefully reaffirms the Catholic Doctrine on the two natures in Christ, as it was explained by Pope Leo in a letter which Abbondio carried and which was addressed to the Emperor.
He completed the mission by having the Papal document accepted by all the Bishops of the East. Abbondio was happifully welcomed home in Rome by Pope Leo in 451, after the peaceful and complete success of his mission.
After a similar mission at the Council of Milan in 452, he was finally able to occupy his See and be the full-time Bishop of Como. For Appondio, this meant becoming a missionary, proclaiming the Gospel in the mountain regions, in the Lugano area and in other country areas not yet fully Christianised. The Diplomat and theologian became an itinerant preacher in his great pastoral zeal to reach all the people of his Diocese.
Appondio died on an Easter Sunday, says a text of the time, immediately after having offered Holy Mass and preached. But the year of death is not known with certainty, indicated by some in 469, by others in 488 or 499.
The Romanesque Basilica of Sant’Abbondio at Como, consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II, is dedicated to him and his relics are conserved beneath its principal Altar, see below.
The Sant’Abbondio Basilica is found outside Como’s ancient City walls near via Regina, the ancient road along the hillside that traces Lake Como’s western shore. Built between 1050 and 1085, on the site where a paleo-Christian dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul had stood. The Basilica was consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II, travelling through Como on his way to the Council of Clermond Ferrand, where he announced the beginning of the First Crusade.
The Sant’Abbondio Basilica unwinds across five naves, which are spaced out by grand pilasters and granite columns. In the central aisle there are gravestones of the Bishops of Como. Next to the main Altar we find a Statue of Sant’Abbondio, attributed to Tommaso Rodari at the end of the 15th century – see the first image above. The pictorial cycle in the basilica’s choir loft is noteworthy and the frescoes of the Birth and the Passion of Jesus were realised in the 14th century by an unknown Lombardy painter. To the sides of the entrance portal, we can admire two splendid 17th century canvases one which is Giovan Battista Recchi’s St. Abbondio with a Child, see below.
Kieff on the banks of the Dneiper River was the first resting place of this famous image of Mary. Here, according to legend, the Apostle Saint Andrew had once stopped on his way from Constantinople to Rome. Waking in the morning to the sights of the heights of Kieff, he was moved to prophecy:
“See those hills? On those hills shall shine hereafter, the grace of God.”
However, it was nearly 1,000 years, 1010, to be exact, before the Russian Prince Vladimir was baptised at Kieff with all his people and the teachings of the Gospel began to go out from the heights, which had so impressed the Apostle. The Prince sent to Kherson for a picture of Our Lady which was, according to legend, painted by Constantine and according to another, commissioned by him, which seems more likely. The Prince endowed the Monastery in Petchersk to house the famous painting and here it remained until the fifteenth century. In 1467 Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow, built the Church of the Assumption in the Kremlin as a memorial of his marriage. As a crowning jewel of his new Church, he asked for the famous image of Kieff. This aged City was both grieved and frightened at the demand. The people rose in protest; they did not want to lose their dearest treasure. Then the Blessed Virgin appeared in sleep to the Prince and told him to give up the painting because, she would personally ensure, that it was replaced. He gave it to the agents of the Duke of Moscow on the following morning and returned to his Church to find that another painting, exactly like it, had mysteriously appeared in the place of the one he had returned. Kieff and Moscow were still disputing vigorously up to fifty years ago, the 400-year old customary disagreement over which City had the original picture of Our Lady of Kieff and which City had the one placed there by the Blessed Mother. There are thousands of copies now spread all over the world.
Mercedarian Martyrs of Africa: A group of Mercedarian monks sailing to Africa as on a mission to redeem capture Christians. Captured by Moors, they were tortured and executed for their faith. Martyrs. 1393
Thought for the Day – 14 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Tabernacle Lamp
“Look up at the lamp quietly glowin before the Taberncle in honour of the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus, the Light of the world. We also, should be like living lamps of love.
The lamp burns night and day in the Presence of Jesus and burns itself out for Him. For what do we wear out our lives? In useless and unnecessary projects, perhaps for worldly reasons, for the satisfaction of our ego or of our passions? We shall certainly never find peace this way but only disillusionment and remorse.
The lamp is the light in the darkness. Our lives should be a light of good example to others.
The lamp has a flame which gives heat. We should burn with love for God, our one and only good and, for all men, whom we should regard as our brothers in Jesus Christ.
The lamp is raised above the ground and is suspended from tbe ceiling by three chains. We should be above earthly things and should be attached to Heaven by the three chains of faith, hope ad charity. As the lamp opens out, only on top, so should we be open to Heavenly inspirations and closed to worldly preoccupations. God should be tbe centre of our thoughts and our lives should be dedicated to Him. In this way, we shall find peace on earth and happiness hereafter.”
Quote/s of the Day – 14 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 5: 17-26, Psalm: Psalms 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: John 3: 16-21 *Readings below
“Light came into the world”
“In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light”
“The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrises.”
St Clement of Alexandria (150-215) Father of the Church
“In the face of my darkness, You are light. In the face of my mortality, You are life.”
St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) Father & Doctor of the Church
“He is the origin of all wisdom. The Word of God in the heights, is the source of wisdom. Christ is the source of all true knowledge, for He is “the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6). … As way, Christ is the teacher and origin of knowledge … Without this Ligh, which is Christ, no-one can penetrate the secrets of faith.”
One Minute Reflection – 14 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 5: 17-26, Psalm: Psalms 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: John 3: 16-21 *Readings below
“Light came into the world” – John 3:19
REFLECTION – “The commandment of the Lord shines clearly, enlightening the eyes” (Ps 18 .9). Receive Christ, receive power to see, receive your light, that you may plainly recognise both God and man… Let us open ourselves to the light, then and so to God. Let us open ourselves to the light and become disciples of the Lord… Let us, then, shake off forgetfulness of truth, shake off the mist of ignorance and darkness that dims our eyes and contemplate the true God… For upon us, buried in darkness, imprisoned in the shadow of death, a heavenly light has shone, a light of a clarity, surpassing the sun’s and of a sweetness, exceeding any this earthly life can offer. That light is eternal life and those who receive it live. Night, on the other hand, is afraid of the light, and melting away in terror gives place to the day of the Lord. Unfailing light has penetrated everywhere and sunset has turned into dawn.
This is the meaning of the new creation (Gal 6,15; Rv 21,1) for the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 3,20), pursuing His course through the universe, visits all alike, in imitation of His Father, “who makes his sun rise upon all” (Mt 5,45) and bedews everyone with His truth… He, it is, who has changed sunset into dawn and death into life by His Crucifixion, He, it is, who has snatched the human race from perdition and exalted it to the skies. Transplanting what was corruptible, to make it incorruptible, He has transformed earth into heaven…
He deifies us by His heavenly teaching, by “instilling his laws into our minds, and writing them on our hearts. That all, be they of high estate or low, shall know God. And I will be merciful to them, God says and I will remember their sin no more” (Jr 31,33f.). Let us accept the laws of life, then; let us obey God’s promptings, let us learn to know Him.” – St Clement of Alexandria (150- 215) Theologian, Father of the Church – Exhortation to the Greeks, 11, 113
PRAYER – Shed your clear light on our hearts, Lord, so that walking continually in the way of Your commandments, we may never be deceived or misled. Your ways are not our ways, teach us to willingly agree to them, for You know which way we should go. Help us to say “yes” always to Your plan and to render ourselves as a sacrament of Your divine love to all we meet. Fill us with the grace to be your tools to bring glory to Your kingdom. May the prayers of your Angels and Saints and Your Blessed Mother and ours, bring us strength. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ with You, in the union of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Acts 5: 17-26 17 Then the high priest rising up and all they that were with him, (which is the heresy of the Sadducees,) were filled with envy. 18 And they laid hands on the apostles,and put them in the common prison. 19 But an angel of the Lord by night opening the doors of the prison and leading them out, said: 20 Go and standing, speak in the temple to the people, all the words of this life. 21 Who having heard this, early in the morning, entered into the temple and taught. And the high priest coming and they that were with him, called together the council and all the ancients of the children of Israel and they sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the ministers came and opening the prison, found them not there, they returned and told, 23 Saying: The prison indeed we found shut with all diligence and the keepers standing before the doors but opening it, we found no man within. 24 Now, when the officer of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were in doubt concerning them, what would come to pass. 25 But one came and told them: Behold, the men whom you put in prison are in the temple standing and teaching the people. 26 Then went the officer with the ministers and brought them without violence; for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.
John 3: 16-21 16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish but may have life everlasting. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world but that the world may be saved by him. 18 He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged – because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the judgement: because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil. 20 For everyone that doth evil hateth the light and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. 21 But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest because they are done in God.
Our Morning Offering – 14 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
May I Be United with You, Good Jesus St Peter Canisius (1521-1597) Doctor of the Church
Let my eyes take their sleep but may my heart always keep watch for You. May Your right hand bless Your servants who love You. May I be united with the praise that flows from You, Lord Jesus, to all Your saints; united with the gratitude drawn from Your heart, good Jesus, that causes Your saints to thank You; united with Your passion, good Jesus, by which You took away our guilt; united with the divine longing that You had on earth, for our salvation; united with every prayer that welled from Your divine heart, good Jesus and flowed into the hearts of Your saints. Amen
Saint of the Day – 14 April – Saint John of Montemarano OSB (Died 1095) First Bishop of Montenarano, Italy in 1074, Benedictine Monk, thaumaturge. Died on 14 April 1095 of natural causes. Patronage – Montemarano, Italy. Additional Memorial – 21 August in Motemarano.
Montemarano, Italy may be a sleepy little vineyard Town now but from 1059 to 1818, it was the seat of a Diocese. The Town’s first Bishop is appropriately its Patron Saint.
I can find no information online about his early life and path to the Priesthood. His career begins with Pope Gregory VII, who had been exiled by Emperor Henry IV; during that exile, he agreed with the good folks of Montemarano that they should have their own Bishop. John was appointed and duly consecrated.
When John took over his seat, the building was in a state of decay. John then led the congregation in prayer for the means to restore the building. As they prayed, it was revealed to John, that the local Priest had been living a sinful life and actually using the Church as a rendezvous for evil friends. Once this Priest had repented and performed suitable penance, the Church was miraculously restored to its former glory.
Another miracle involved, wine. Some workers were clearing land so that more vineyards could be planted. One source suggests that John was the inspiration for this land-clearing project and he was involved in the labour as well. The work was hard and they demanded more wine before they continued. But there wasn’t enough wine, so they needed more vineyards. They couldn’t expand the vineyards until they gave the workers more wine. Bishop John, drew a quantity of water from the nearby river and blessed it. The Lord, recalling the second chapter of the Gospel of John, changed the water into wine!
Santa Maria de Camarino / Our Lady of Guam, Mariana Islands (1825), Patron of Guam – 14 April:
Our Lady of Guam, the miraculous Statue to which the natives have such deep devotion, is three feet high, all ivory from the delicate classical face of Our Lady to the hem of her exquisite gown. She has a head of long brown hair, adorned with a beautiful crown and golden rings hang from her tiny ears. According to the Jesuit history of the island, Our Lady’s coming was miraculous. A Spanish soldier, in the year 1825, was fishing a distance from the shore between the villages of Mirizo and Umatac, when he saw a strange object floating upon the waves. He moved closer and saw that it was a Statue, supported by giant golden crabs, holding lighted candles in their claws. The soldiers claiming the Statue as their own, installed it as Patroness in their barracks. They made a Shrine for her, a wall recess with doors like a cupboard or camarino, from which Our Lady of the Cupboard takes her name. She is called Santa Maria de Camarino.
She made her home for many years in the barracks but the atmosphere did not always please her. She would be found missing, only to return with the edge of her mantle full of burs. When the soldiers were drunk with coconut brew, she would slam the doors of her cupboard shut against them. No-one remembers how she came to leave the barracks for the Cathedral of Agana but on 14 April, a great earthquake occurred, terrorising the natives and destroying their homes. It is believed that on that day, she deserted the uncouth soldiers and showed herself to be the Patroness of the people and of Guam in particular. Many miracles of protection are attributed to Our Lady of Guam on this day.
On the eve of this day, the people place a lighted candle outside their tight-closed shutters, they do this in memory of their Fathers who made the promise to Santa Maria de Camarino. In 1825 and again in 1834, they vowed to celebrate yearly a special feast for her protection from Linao, the earthquake and Pagyo, the typhoon.
On its part the miraculous Statue has seen to it ,that no devout life has since that time been lost. Earthquakes and typhoons have come and left destruction, yet they have never taken one life or harmed the children of Santa Maria de Camarino, Our Lady of Guam. Such is the story of Our Lady of the Cupboard, the miraculous Virgin of Guam; to the eyes of fact simply a beautiful Statue, some three feet height, executed with all the refinement of eighteenth century art, yet to the eye of faith, she is power incarnate. She is all ivory, but where that ivory came from, or what artist fashioned those exquisite hands, she alone can tell, just as she is the only one who knows the truth of her coming to Guam. The Statue has real human hair and two crowns are used to dress the Statue. One of the crowns is made from gold pieces given to the Church by the late Ana Martinez Underwood, who donated the gold pieces (given to her by her husband as a wedding gift) in thanksgiving for the safe return of her husband from prison camp following World War II.
One of the more famous miraclesis that of a great earthquake in 1902, when the Dulce Nombre de Maria Church was severely damaged. Many of the Statues were broken but not that of Our Lady of Camarin, which the Priest, Father José Palomo, found standing intact on the ground.
The Statue also survived fire, when on 8 December 1945, it was rescued from a burning float by Jose D Leon Guerrero.
Because the Statue has suffered discolourations, nicks and other minor defects in the course of time, minor repairs have been made. According to one story, during one occasion when repairs were being made, the scraping of her face was too rough and the face began to bleed.
Other miracles attributed to her include, belief in her powers of intercession, cures of dreadful diseases and safe removal from great danger. She has long been considered, the protectress of the island and its people. Flags of various nations have flown over the royal coconut trees of Agana, admirals and governors have come and gone and each, in his proper time, has departed. Spanish architecture has had its day and the Seabee buildings mushroomed all over the island. Yet, Santa Maria de Camarino abides through all changes to cherish her strangely chosen people. She reigns affectionately in the hearts of the people, the natives, as their Queen and Patroness.
When American Marines and Soldiers during the latter part of July, 1944, captured the island of Guam, the native population was, for the most part, Catholic. The Faith was brought there, no doubt, by Spanish Priests who accompanied Magellan when he sailed around the world. And Mary, Our Lady of Guam, Our Lady of the Cupboard, loves them and protects them.
Thought for the Day – 13 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
My Life is Christ
“St Paul reached such a degree of union with Christ that he could exclaim” “To me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21). Elsewhere he says” “It is now no longer I that live but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). This is a characteristic of the Saints. They live their own lives no longer, for they live the life of Christ. That is to say, their minds and hearts are always fixed on Jesus. They love the Lord, more than all things and, more than themselves. God is the object of all their desires, affections and actions. As a result, the soul is transfigured and is infused with divine life, so that it does nothing which is not activated by grace. In the Saints, then, there is reflected something heavenly which attracts and stimulates one to virtue.
The Saints preached effectively in simple, unadorned language, as in the case of the Cure of Ars. But, their most effective sermon was the example of their lives. They could say with St Paul: “To me to live is Christ.” They could repeat the thought of St Jerome: “Christ is the breath of my lips.” Like St John Chrysostom, they could say: “My heart is the heart of Christ.” They could say with St Augustine: “I am only an instrument in the service of Christ” and, with St Anselm: “My eyes are the eyes of Christ.”
When we meditate on these words, which signify the height of sanctity, we feel very small, shabby and far from the Christian perfection to which we should aspire. Perhaps we are still immersed in sin, or perhaps, we are wavering between the things of this world and the things of God, or perhaps, as yet, we have not given up our egoism and complacent mediocrity in order to offer ourselves entirely to God. Real Christianity demands that we renounce ourselves, live the life of Christ and, make every effort to acquire perfection.”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 April – Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 4: 32-37, Psalm: Psalms 93: 1ab, 1cd-2, 5, Gospel: John 3: 7b-15
“And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul”
Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste.”
“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
“No Christian should think of himself as his own master but each should rather so think and act, as though given by God, to be slave to his fellow brothers and sisters.”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor
“By nature, each one of us is enclosed, in his own personality but supernaturally, we are all one. We are made one body in Christ because we are nourished by one flesh. As Christ is indivisible, we are all one in Him. Therefore, He asked His Father “that they may all be One, as We also are one.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Incarnation
“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
One Minute Reflection – 13 April – Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 4: 32-37, Psalm: Psalms 93: 1ab, 1cd-2, 5, Gospel: John 3: 7b-15 *Readings below
“Whosoever believeth in him, may not perish but may have life everlasting.” – John 3:15
REFLECTION – “Typology points out what is to be expected, indicating through imitation, what is to happen before it happens. Adam was a type of Him who was to come (Rom 5:14); “the Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:4) typologically and, the water from the rock, was a type of the living power of the Word, for He says, “If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink.” (Jn 7:37) The manna was a type of the living bread which came down from heaven (Jn 6:41) and the serpent suspended on the pole, was a type of the saving Passion accomplished on the Cross (Nb 21:8f.), since the life of everyone who looked at the serpent was preserved.
Similarly, the history of Israel’s exodus, was recorded to typify those who would be saved through Baptism. The firstborn of the Israelites were saved …) through grace given, to those who were marked with blood. The blood of the lamb is a type of the blood of Christ …
At the time of the exodus, the sea and the cloud led the people from amazement to faith but ,they also typified the grace which was yet to come. “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things” – how the baptism in the sea, which brought about Pharaoh’s demise, typifies the washing, which makes the devil’s tyranny depart. The sea killed the enemy in its waves and Baptism kills the enmity between us and God. The people emerged from the sea unharmed and we come up from the water, as alive from the dead, saved by the grace of Him Who has called us. The cloud is a shadow of the Spirit’s gifts, for He cools the flames of our passions through the mortification of our bodies.” – St Basil the Great (329-379) Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Father, Doctor of the Church – Treatise on the Holy Spirit, 14
PRAYER – True Light of the World, Lord Jesus Christ, as You enlighten all men for their salvation, fill us the grace of the Holy Spirit, that our eyes may be opened and our path visible. May our hearts be filled with the certainty of Your love and grant us the grace to share Your light with all. May Your love in us overcome all things, let there be no limit to our faith, our hope and our endurance. Lead us in Your ways of peace to eternal life by Your Mother’s protecting help. Who live and reign with the Father and Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Acts 4: 32-37 32 And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul, neither did anyone say that aught of the things which he possessed, was his own but all things were common unto them. 33 And with great power did the apostles give testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and great grace was in them all. 34 For neither was there anyone needy among them. For as many as were owners of lands or houses, sold them and brought the price of the things they sold 35 and laid it down before the feet of the apostles. And distribution was made to everyone, according as he had need. 36 And Joseph, who, by the apostles, was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, by interpretation, The son of consolation), a Levite, a Cyprian born, 37 having land, sold it and brought the price and laid it at the feet of the apostles.
John 3: 7b-15 7 Wonder not, that I said to thee, you must be born again. 8 The Spirit breatheth where he will and thou hearest his voice but thou knowest not whence he cometh and whither he goeth, so is everyone that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said to him: How can these things be done? 10 Jesus answered and said to him: Art thou a master in Israel and knowest not these things? 11 Amen, amen I say to thee, that we speak what we know and we testify what we have seen and you receive not our testimony. 12 If I have spoken to you earthly things,and you believe not; how will you ,believe, if I shall speak to you heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish but may have life everlasting.
Our Morning Offering – 13 April – Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
He is Risen, Tell the Story By Father Willard F Janusch (1930-2018)
He is risen, tell the story to the nations of the night; from their sin and from their blindness, let them walk in Easter light. Now begins a new creation, now has come our true salvation. Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
Mary goes to tell the others of the wonders she has seen; John and Peter come a’running what can all this truly mean? O Rabboni, Master holy, to appear to one so lowly! Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
He has cut down death and evil, He has conquered all despair; He has lifted from our shoulders, all the weight of anxious care. Risen Brother, now before you, we will worship and adore You. Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
Now get busy, bring the message, so that all may come to know there is hope for saint and sinner, for our God has loved us so. Ev’ry church bell is a’ringing, ev’ry Christian now is singing. Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
A Parish Priest, Seminary Professor and prolific Musician and Hymnist, Fr Willard wa Ordained in 1956 and died at the age of 88 in 2018.
Saint of the Day – 13 April – Saint Caradoc of Wales (Died 1124) Priest, Monk, Hermit , miracle-worker, Harpist. Born in the 11th century in Brycheiniog, Wales and died on 13 April 1124, which was Low Sunday that year, at Saint Isells, Wales of natural causes. His body is incorrupt. Also known as Caradog, Caractacus, Caradocus, Caradoco.
Caradoc was a Welsh nobleman, native of Brecknockshire, who after he had received a liberal education, enjoyed the confidence of Rees, or Resus, Prince of South-Wales and held an honourable place in his Court, as a harp player.
The Prince one day, on account of two greyhounds ,which were lost, fell into such a fury against Caradoc as to threaten his life. Caradoc, from this disgrace learned the inconstancy and uncertainty, of worldly honours and the best founded hopes and resolved to dedicate himself altogether to the service of the King of kings, whose promises can never fail and whose rewards are eternal.
Upon the spot he broke the tip of his spear to turn it into a walking stick and he made the sacrifice of himself to God, by a vow of perpetual chastity and of embracing a religious life. Repairing to Landaff to become a Monk, he received from the Bishop the clerical tonsure and for some time served God in the Church of St Theliau.
Being desirous of finding a closer union with God in solitude, he spent some years in a little hut, which he built himself, near the abandoned Church of St Kined.
The reputation of his sanctity filled the whole country and the Archbishop of Menevia, or St David’s, calling him to that town, promoted him to the Priestly orders. The saint hence retired, with certain devout companions, to the isle of Ary.
Certain pirates from Norway, who often infested these coasts, carried them off as prisoners,but, fearing the judgements of God, safely set them on shore again the next day. However, the Archbishop of Menevia assigned the saint another habitation in the Monastery of St Hismael, commonly called Ysam, in the country of Ross, or Pembroke-shire.
Henry I., King of England, having subdued the southern Welsh, sent a colony of Flemings into the country of Ross, who drove the old Britons out of their possessions. The saint and his Monastery suffered much from the oppressions of these new inhabitants, especially of Richard Tankard, a powerful Englishman among them. This nobleman was, after some time, struck by God with a dangerous illness and having recourse to St Caradoc, was, by his prayers, restored to his health. From this time the saint and his Monastery found a benefactor and protector.
St Caradoc died on Low-Sunday, the 13th of April, in the year 1124 and was buried with great honour in the Church of St David. We are assured that his tomb was illustrated by miracles and his body was found whole and incorrupt several years after, when it was translated with great solemnity. The historian, William of Malmesbury, tried to cut off a finger to take as a relic but St Caradoc’s hand jerked away!
A letter from Pope Innocent III ordering an enquiry into his life and miracles still survives. The Church at Lawrenny in Wales, is dedicated to him.
Santa Maria dei Voti / Our Lady of Mantua, Italy (1640) – 13 April:
This present Shrine to Our Lady of Mantua was built by the Gonzaga family in the year 1460. There is seen a miraculous painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus, that is known to have been venerated since about the year 1000. Originally known as Saint Mary of the Vows, the painting is crowned today.
According to tradition, the history of the site dates back to Saint Anselm. At that time, the Blessed Virgin had promised her protection to the City. Starting in 1477, word spread that before the image numerous miracles had occurred, so that by then substantial offerings began to pour into the Church (hence the name of Santa Maria dei Voti). After the plague of 1630, which had overwhelmed the City and its territory, the Princess Maria Gonzaga, regent of the duchy, wanted to entrust herself, her dynasty and the region, to the protection of the Blessed Virgin. The Princess was determined to place herself, her son Charles II and the City of Mantua and of Monferrato, under the special protection of Mary. She ordered that the image of Mary should be carried in procession through the streets and desired that the image be solemnly crowned in the Basilica of Saint Andrea, as the Queen of Mantua. The solemn crowning of Our Lady commonly called Santa Maria dei Voti, was strongly urged by the pious Princess Maria Gonzaga in the year 1640, when the dam of the Po River in Italy broke. The coronation took place with great solemnity on 28 November 1640. Since then, the Church and the picture painted of Santa Maria dei Voti were named dell’Incoronata, or ‘Saint Mary the Crowned,’ and the annual festival was fixed on the first Sunday after the Feast of Saint Martin, 11 November. On this occasion but also during the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to Marian devotion, the dell’Incoronata is exposed in the Cathedral, covered in sumptuous dresses dating from the seventeenth century. The three following centenary years, in particular, saw an unanimous and grateful expression of love on the part of the Mantuans, who still venerate the Madonna “Incoronata,” the Madonna who said, “Mantua is mine and as mine I will always defend it.”
St Ursus of Ravenna — Martyrs of Dorostorum – 3 saints: A lector and two students martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian – Dadas, Maximus and Quinctillianus. Beheaded c303 in Dorostorum, Lower Mysia (modern Sillistria, Bulgaria.
Thought for the Day – 12 April– Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacrament of Baptism
“Like the other Sacraments, Baptism is composed of a material and a spiritual element. The sensible outward sign produces the grace, or spiritual element, which it signifies. Since we are composed of body and soul, it is fitting that the Sacrament should also consist of this double element. Baptism, for example, being a spiritual cleansing of the soul, is conferred by the pouring of natural water, accompanied by the sacramental words by Jesus Christ.
The Church adds its own ceremonial to the essential part of the Sacrament. By means of the exorcisms, the devil is expelled and the tongue is consecrated with the salt of wisdom, to indicate, that it should be the instrument of goodness. The body is sanctified by the oil and chrism, so that it may always be the living temple of the Holy Spirit. The white garment, symbolises the innocence which we ought to preserve for the rest of our lives and the lighted candle, stands for the faith and charity, which ought always to inspire the soul.
All this is done for us before we are in a position to understand anything about it. Nevertheless, we should reflect today on the meaning of these sacred ceremonies and on how they should affect our lives. Can we claim to have kept our promises? Or are we forced to admit that we have not always lived up to our obligations? Let us renew our promises today and let us ask Jesus, for the grace, to be faithful to them all, until the end of our lives. Amen!
Quote/s of the Day – – 12 April – Monday of the Second week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 4: 23-31, Psalm: Psalms 2: 1-3, 4-7a, 7b-9, Gospel: John 3: 1-8
“Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old, be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
“We are a compound of both body and soul. The one part is visible, the other invisible. In the same way, our cleansing also is twofold, that is, by water and the Spirit. The one is received visibly in the body, the other concurs with it invisibly and apart from the body. The one that comes to the aid of our first birth makes us new, instead of old and like God, instead of what we now are. It recasts us, without fire and creates us anew, without breaking us up. For the virtue of Baptism, is to be understood, as a covenant with God for a second life and a purer conversation.”
St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Ah Jesus, Sun of Justice, make me clothe myself with You, so that I may be able to live according to Your will. Make me, under Your guidance, preserve my robe of baptismal innocence, white, holy and spotless and present it undefiled, before Your tribunal, so that I may wear it, for eternal life.”
One Minute Reflection – 12 April – Monday of the Second week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 4: 23-31, Psalm: Psalms 2: 1-3, 4-7a, 7b-9, Gospel: John 3: 1-8 * readings below and the Memorial of St Alferius of La Cava (930–1050) Priest, Abbot, Founder
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3
REFLECTION – “We read in Saint John – No-one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. To be reborn in the Holy Spirit during this life, is to become most like God in purity, without any mixture of imperfection. Accordingly, pure transformation can be effected – although not essentially – through the participation of union.
Here is an example that will provide a better understanding of this explanation. A ray of sunlight shining on a smudgy window, is unable to illumine that window completely and transform it into its own light. It could do this, if the window were cleaned and polished… The extent of illumination is not dependent on the ray of sunlight but, on the window. If the window is totally clean and pure, the sunlight will so transform and illumine it, that to all appearances, the window will be identical with the ray of sunlight and shine just as the sun’s ray. Although, obviously, the nature of the window is distinct from that of the sun’s ray, even if the two seem identical, we can assert, that the window is the ray or light of the sun by participation.
The soul on which the divine light of God’s being is ever shining, or better, in which it is ever dwelling by nature, is like this window. A soul makes room for God by wiping away all the smudges and smears of creatures, by uniting its will perfectly to God’s, for to love is to labour, to divest and deprive oneself for God, of all that is not God . When this is done, the soul will be illumined by and transformed in God.” – St John of the Cross (1542-1591) – Mystical Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, grant that Your faithful people who were buried with Your Son in baptism, may by His Resurrection and intercession, at Your right hand, obtain for us eternal life. Send Your Spirit upon Your adopted children and lead us in Your way. Grant that by the intercession of Your Angels and Saints and holding on always, to our Blessed Virgin Mother, our path may be straightened and glow with Your light. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Acts 4: 23-31 23 And being let go, they came to their own company and related all that the chief priests and ancients had said to them. 24 Who having heard it, with one accord lifted up their voice to God and said: Lord, thou art he that didst make heaven and earth, the sea,and all things that are in them. 25 Who, by the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, hast said: Why did the Gentiles rage and the people meditate vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up and the princes assembled together against the Lord and his Christ. 27 For of a truth, there assembled together in this city against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, 28 To do what thy hand and thy counsel decreed to be done. 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings and grant unto thy servants, that with all confidence they may speak thy word, 30 by stretching forth thy hand to cures,and signs and wonders to be done, by the name of thy holy Son Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was moved wherein they were assembled and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spoke the word of God with confidence.
Gospel: John 3: 1-8 1 And there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night,and said to him: Rabbi, we know that thou art come, a teacher from God, for no man can do these signs which thou dost, unless God be with him. 3 Jesus answered, and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born again? 5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit. 7 Wonder not, that I said to thee, you must be born again. 8 The Spirit breatheth where he will and thou hearest his voice but thou knowest not ,whence he cometh and whither he goeth, so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.
Our Morning Offering – 12 April – Monday of the Second week of Easter
Jesu, be You my Life! Msgr Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914) Supernumerary Private Chamberlain to St PopePius X
I cannot live alone another hour, Jesu, be You my Life! I have not power to strive, be You my Power in every strife! I can do nothing – hope, nor love, nor fear. But only fail and fall. Be You my soul and self, O Jesu dear. My God and all! Amen
Saint of the Day – 12 April – Saint Alferius of La Cava (930–1050) Cluniac Priest, Founder and Abbot of Arsicia (La Trinità della Cava) which follows the Benedictine Rule, nobleman, Diplomat to Prince Waimar III of Salerno, Cluniac reformer, cave Hermit, Founder, Mystic and Ecstatic, miracle-worker. Born in 930 in Salerno, Italy and died on Holy Thursday 1050, of natural causes. Also known as – Alferius Abbate, Alferius the Abbot, Adalfere, Adalfericus, Adalferius, Alfere, Alferio, Allerius, Alpherius.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In the Monastery of Cava de ‘Tirreni in Campania, Saint Alferius, Founder and first Abbot, who, after having been adviser to Guaimario, Duke of Salerno, who became a disciple of Saint Odilone in Cluny, learned in an excellent way, the discipline of monastic life.”
Alferius was born into a noble Lombard family in the second half of the 10th century. It is uncertain whether he actually did belong to the noble Lombard Pappacarbone family, related to the Princes of Salerno. From his youth, he had placed himself at the service of the Princes of his City. who had dominated the region since the seventh century.
In the year 1002 , Alferius, was sent as Ambassador of his Prince to the Emperor Henry II, to solicit military aid against the Byzantines who threatened the borders of the Principality of Salerno . On reaching the Alps he fell seriously ill and asked for hospitality in the Monastery of Chiusa di San Michele. There, he vowed ,that if he recovered, he would give up his Diplomatic career and become a Benedictine Monk. He did recover and fulfilled his vow by wearing the habit of St Benedict of Nursia , in the great Abbey of Cluny in France .
Alferius, having obtained the cure, had asked the Abbot of Cluny Sant’Odilone , who was passing through San Michele, to welcome him among his Monks. There he studied and grew in piety and was eventually Ordained to the Priesthood.
After a few years, however, Prince Guaimario III of Salerno, called him back to Salerno to reform the many Monasteries of that City. Alferius began the work but after a while, feeling attracted by a life of solitude, he secretly abandoned Salerno and took refuge in the Arsicia cave, at the foot of Monte Finestra, today in the Municipality of Cava de ‘Tirreni . Here, with two companions, he devoted himself totally to prayer, penance and manual work.
Soon the fame of his holiness spread to the surrounding countries and disciples eager to follow his example wished to join his community. People from all walks of life, sought hisspiritual assistance and began to flock to hs Cave.
It was then necessary to build a Monastery sufficient for a dozen religious. Following the famous vision of the three rays, handed down by oral tradition, the construction of the Monastery and the Church began in the narrow space between the Selano river and the Arsicia cave. Thus was born the Abbey of Cava, which Alferius dedicated to the Holy Trinity, La Trinità della Cava. It was aound the year 1011.
However, in the Cavense Archive, the Princes of Salerno, Guaimario III and Guaimario IV, granted full ownership to the Monastery, all the land sorrounding it, including the Arsicia Cave and the large area above, on which the current Church of Cava was built.
Among his disciples we remember, in particular, St Leo, who would succeed him in the government of the Monastery and Desiderio di Benevento who later became Abbot of the Monastery of Montecassino and then the 158th Pope with the name of Victor III. His successor, Pope Urban II, endowed this Monastery with many privileges, making it immediately subject to the Holy See, with jurisdiction over the surrounding territory.
Alferius died on Holy Thursday, 12 April 1050 at the age of 120 after having celebrated Holy Mass, comforted by a vision of the Redeemer , Who summoned his home.
He was buried in the same cave, see below, which since then, has become the heart of the Abbey.
The first four Abbots were Canonised on 21 December 1893, by Pope Leo XIII. Pope Pius XI, in 1927, Beatified the next 8 Abbots, being the Blesseds: Simeone, Falcone, Marino, Benincasa, Pietro II, Balsamo, Leonardo and Leo II.
Nuestra Senora de la Caridad / Our Lady of Charity, Cobre, CubaOR Our Lady of Cobre – 12 Apri;:
In the mountains outside Santiago in Cuba, is an old pilgrimage Church, “Nuestra Senora de la Caridad,” which means, “Our Lady of Charity,” also known as “Our Lady of Cobre.” It is the National Shrine of Cuba. Early in the 17th century, three sailors left the Bay of Nipe to collect salt. Their vessel was small, so that when a storm arose, they were drifting and rocked violently on the roaring ocean. One of the men wore a medal stamped with an image of the Blessed Virgin, and the three began to pray for her protection. The storm suddenly cleared and the men saw something they could not immediately identify, coming toward them across the water. We still have the testimony of one of the men, Juan Moreno, regarding this incident. It was taken in 1687: “Having camped in the French Key, which is in the middle of the Bay of Nipe, waiting for a good time to leave for the salt mines, being a morning of calm seas, they left the French Keys, before daybreak. The aforementioned Juan y Rodrigo de Hoyos and myself, embarked in a canoe, headed for the salt mines and far from the French Key, we saw something white above the foam of the water, which we couldn’t distinguish. As we got closer, birds and dry branches appeared. The aforementioned Indians said, “It looks like a girl.” While they were discussing this among themselves, they saw an image of Our Lady, the Holy Virgin, on top of a small wooden plank, holding the baby Jesus in her arms. On this small tablet, was written in large letters, which read, “I am the Virgin of Charity.” Looking at her clothes, they realised that they were not wet.”
Upon returning home, the men revealed what they had seen and told the story of what had happened to them. A government official, Don Francisco Sanchez de Moya, had a small Chapel built in her honor. The Village of Cobre, where the Shrine is, is surrounded by high hills that roll back to the Sierra Maestra Mountains. The village is named Cobre because of the rich deposit of copper. A lamp of copper is kept burning before the Statue of Our Lady. Twice the Statue mysteriously disappeared from the locked Church and then returned, just as unaccountably. In each case ,Our Lady indicated where richer deposits f copper could be found. In 1936 after the completion of a beautiful Church, now a minor Basilica, in honour of Our Lady of Charity, the Statue was solemnly crowned amid great rejoicing and religious festivity.
The Shrine has much of old-time charm and literally hundreds of lights burn before the Shrine’s Statue. Our Lady is dressed richly in silken garments; she is dark like a Cuban girl with a sun-tanned Infant on her arm, smiling down on her Cuban children, who come to her in great numbers and with great confidence. The prayers of centuries seem to hang down from the walls in heavy folds. It is a place where prayer comes easily and its answer, seems to be a matter of course.