Our Morning Offering – 27 December – Oh Teach Me then, Dear Saint! An Invocation of St John, Evangelist

Our Morning Offering – 27 December – Feast of St John the Evangelist and the Third Day of the Christmas Octave

Oh Teach Me then, Dear Saint!

An Invocation of St John, Evangelist

Saint of the Sacred Heart,
Sweet teacher of the Word,
Partner of Mary’s woes
And favourite of thy Lord!

Oh teach me then, dear Saint!
The secrets Christ taught thee;
The beatings of His Heart,
And how it beat for me!

We know not all thy gifts
But this Christ bids us see,
That He who so loved all,
Found more to love in thee.

When the last evening came,
Thy head was on His breast,
Pillowed on earth, where now
In heaven the Saints find rest.

Dear Saint! I stand far off,
With vilest sins opprest,
Oh may I dare, like thee,
To lean upon His breast?

His touch could heal the sick,
His voice could raise the dead,
Oh that my soul might be
Where He allows thy head.

The gifts He gave to thee
He gave thee to impart
And I, too, claim with thee
His Mother and His Heart!
Refraino teach me then dear saint an invocation of st john evangelist hymn - 27 dec 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 26 December – Help us, Holy Stephen

Our Morning Offering – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave

Help us, Holy Stephen
Breviary Prayer/Hymn
for the Feast of St Stephen

Jesus the Christ-Child brought new life to all men
And in His Manhood, conquered death and evil,
Risen, resplendent, in the Father’s glory
He reigns forever.

Stephen the Deacon was the first to follow
Christ’s great example, done to death by sinners,
Though all his actions and his words were prompted
By the Lord’s Spirit.

Enemies’ anger destined him to perish,
Stoned by his hearers, victim of their fury,
Yet like his Saviour, in his dying moments
Pleading their pardon.

Witness to Jesus, help us, holy Stephen,
Mourning and contrite to attain the Kingdom,
Gain us the graces which we need to bring us
Safely to heaven.

Of the same nature as the blessed martyrs,
Let us sing praises to our God Almighty,
Who honoured Stephen with a martyr’s glory,
First among thousands.
Amenhelp us holy stephen - 26 dec 2019 st stephens feast breviary hymn.jpg


Thought for the Day – 13 December – “Bringer of Light”

Thought for the Day – 13 December – The Memorial of St Lucy (c 283-304) Martyr “Bringer of Light”

Every little girl named Lucy must bite her tongue in disappointment, when she first tries to find out, what there is to know about her patron saint.   The older books, will have a lengthy paragraph, detailing a small number of traditions.   Newer books, will have a lengthy paragraph, showing that there is little basis in history for these traditions.   The single fact survives, that a disappointed suitor accused Lucy of being a Christian and she was executed in Syracuse, Sicily, in the year 304.   But it is also true, that her name is mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer, geographical places are named after her, a popular song has her name as its title and down through the centuries, many thousands of little girls, have been proud of the name Lucy.

One can easily imagine what a young Christian woman had to contend with in pagan Sicily in the year 300.   If you have trouble imagining, just glance at today’s pleasure-at-all-costs world and the barriers it presents against leading a good Christian life.

Her friends must have wondered aloud about this hero of Lucy’s, an obscure itinerant preacher in a far-off captive nation that had been destroyed more than 200 years before. Once a carpenter, He had been crucified by the Romans after His own people turned Him over to their authority.   Lucy believed with her whole soul that this man had risen from the dead.   Heaven had put a stamp on all He said and did.   To give witness to her faith she had made a vow of virginity.

What a hubbub this caused among her pagan friends!   The kindlier ones just thought her a little strange.   To be pure before marriage was an ancient Roman ideal, rarely found but not to be condemned.   To exclude marriage altogether, however, was too much.   She must have something sinister to hide, the tongues wagged.

Lucy knew of the heroism of earlier virgin martyrs.   She remained faithful to their example and to the example of the carpenter, whom she knew to be the Son of God.   She is the patroness of eyesight.

If you are a little girl named Lucy, you need not bite your tongue in disappointment.  Your patron is a genuine authentic heroine, first class, an abiding inspiration for you and for all Christians.   The moral courage of the young Sicilian Martyr shines forth as a guiding light, just as bright for today’s youth as it was in 304.

Saint Lucy’s name (Lucia in Latin) shares the root luc with the Latin word for light, lux. Because of this connection, Saint Lucy is often depicted in art and religious custom as a bringer of light – which also ties in to her patronage of eyes and sight.   Her feast day today, is during Advent when we await the Light of Christ and is in winter, for the Northern Hemisphere, so there is significant iconography of Lucy as a bringer of light in the darkness.   For this reason, she is particularly venerated as part of Scandinavian Christian custom – young girls dress in a white gown and wear wreaths of lights during celebrations in the darkest days of winter.   Indeed, the fact that Saint Lucy’s feast day is celebrated as a festival of light, seems appropriate for a woman, who believed, she was bearing the light of Christianity in a world that punished her for it.   Let us pray to St Lucy, for the intercession for all those with eye illnesses and for the protection of the ‘eyes of our faith’ of all of us.

O St Lucy, you preferred to let your eyes be torn out
instead of denying the faith
and defiling your soul
and God, through an extraordinary miracle,
replaced them with another pair of sound and perfect eyes
to reward your virtue and faith,
appointing you as the protector against eye diseases.
I come to you for you to protect my eyesight
and to heal the illness in my eyes.

O St Lucy, preserve the light of my eyes
so that I may see the beauties of creation,
the glow of the sun,
the colour of the flowers
and the smile of children.

Preserve also the eyes of my soul,
the faith, through which I can know my God,
understand His teachings,
recognise His love for me
and never miss the road that leads me
to where you, St Lucy,
can be found in the company of the angels and saints.
St Lucy, protect my eyes and preserve my faith.
Amenprayer to st lucy for our eyes and the eyes of our faith - 13 dec 2019.jpg

St Lucy, “Bringer of Light” Pray for those with eye ailments,

Pray for us all!st lucy bringer of light pray for us 13 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 November – Saint Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917)

Saint of the Day – 7 November – Saint 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 – born on 9 March 1845 in Pizzighettone, Cremona, Italy and died on 7 November 1917 (aged 72) in Vicobellignano, Cremona, Kingdom of Italy. Patronage – The Daughters of the Oratory.Beato Vincenzo Grossi - Fondatore delle Figlie dell'Oratorio

Vincenzo Grossi was born in Pizzighettone, in the province of Cremona, on 9 March 1845 and was immediately baptised in the parish church of San Bassiano.   He was the penultimate of the ten children (three died at an early age) of Baldassarre Grossi and Maddalena Cappellini, owners of a mill.   From them he learned meekness and industriousness, combined with a sincere love for God.

He spent his childhood helping his parents and starting to cultivate, in prayer, the desire to resemble his brother Joseph, who attended the diocesan seminary.   On 23 March 1854 he received Confirmation and, two years later, First Communion.   It was then that he declared to his parish priest, Don Giuseppe Favenza and to his parents,. the conviction that he must become a priest.   On the part of the family, there was no opposition but they merely pointed out, that they could still need hi,; besides, having already the other son who studied as a priest, they could not afford the expenses for both.   Thus, while working with his father in delivering the sacks of flour, the boy took some time to privately study, under the guidance of the parish priest, the subjects of the seminary.

At the age of nineteen, on 4 November 1864, Vincenzo was admitted to the Cremona Seminary, after having taken the necessarily examination  s. His lecturers soon realised that Vincenzo was dedicated – not only within the seminary but also in the world – when he returned to Pizzighettone, he gathered around him the children to instruct them.

In February 1869 he received the minor orders and, on the following 22 May, he was ordained a priest by the bishop of Brescia, Monsignor Girolamo Verzieri.   His first assignments were in the parishes of San Rocco in Gera di Pizzighettone and in Sesto Cremonese, followed in 1871 by the one as spiritual director (a loophole by the bishop to appoint parish priests without annoying the civil authorities) to Ca ‘dei Soresini.

The first effective Parish Priest position was from 1873, in Regona, a small suburb of Pizzighettone.   The population of the place had long been far from religious practice but Don Vincenzo devoted himself with such care that after a few years he transformed the small village into a “model”, as it was defined by his priest colleagues.   The passion for the young had not abandoned him – he allowed them not only to visit his house but even to empty the pantry, in order to keep them from dangerous places and companions.   For the girls, in particular, he had a genuine concern.   In significant agreement with the work carried out in those same years by some lay people in the diocese of Milan and with what St John Bosco was doing in Turin, he gave the name of “oratory” to the small group he had managed to gather in his presbytery, because his young parishioners could enjoy themselves in peace.

He also took care of the restoration of the parish church but without neglecting the tasks most closely related to the ministry – to confess, to take care of the liturgy, to take care of the formation of the faithful.   His reputation as a preacher stretched far and wide and soon he was begged to preach in parish missions.   Sometimes he was alone, others in collaboration with fellow priests.

All this work, already enormous, did not completely satisfy Don Vincenzo.   Living in constant contact with the rural population, he realised that youth grew up in very compromised and complicated situations.   But there were some good girls who had asked him to be their spiritual director – one of them, Vittoria Squintani, besides being an apostle among the youth of her parish, had offered herself a victim for the sanctification of priests.   He himself, faced with the spiritual decadence of the clergy of the time, was aware of this necessity, he saw in her a precious instrument to understand his new mission more clearly.   He then began to gather some of his assistants and set them on the common life between them.   The death of Vittoria, only twenty-nine years old, seemed to nullify those first steps but the encounter with a soul similar to hers, Maria Caccialanza, led him to vincenzo grossi.jpeg

In 1883 Don Vincenzo was ready for a new obedience – the bishop, Monsignor Geremia Bonomelli, destined him as parish priest in Vicobellignano.   His presence had been recognised as the most providential, in that territory where Protestantism had taken hold, in its Methodist declination.   Immediately, he showed great charity and openness also to those brothers – “The Methodists must understand that I love them too”, he often said.   The effects were noticed, the same pastor came several times to listen to his Lenten sermons and the Protestant families sent their children to the parochial school.

The new destination, which took him far away from Regona, did not make Don Vincenzo desist from the project of the new female community.   The name chosen was that of “Daughters of the Oratory” not so much to indicate the privileged place of their work but to recall to them to a very specific spiritual model – spiritual joy or, as he preferred to call it, the “holy joviality” of St Philip Neri, founder of the Congregation of the Oratory.   He did not want them to wear a definite habit, to bring young women closer but he wanted them to be serious and convin  ced religious.   He personally took care of their training by holding regular conferences, annual spiritual exercises and sending them numerous letters.   The first bases for the nascent Institute were placed in 1885 in Pizzighettone. Sister Maria Caccialanza was chosen as the Prioress of that first group, in 1895 but sadly, she died on 5 September 1900. Her successor was Ledovina Scaglioni, the first Mother General.

The diocesan approval, meanwhile, was slow to arrive.   In fact, Monsignor Bonomelli, after some unhappy experiences in the diocese, was not very keen on opening new religious communities, for this reason, the analysis of the Constitutions was postponed for some time.   Finally he gave his assent on 20 June 1901.
Meanwhile, the Daughters of the Oratory had opened a house in Maleo with the approval of the bishop of Lodi, Giovanni Battista Rota and other communities in the city of Lodi, where it was decided to buy a house in via Paolo Gorini that became the Mother vincenzo-grossi-3eb86840-3eed-4184-954b-f701056ed07-resize-750

Don Vincenzo was divided between the parish and the nuns and continued even in the difficult years of the First World War.   In 1917, while he was in Lodi to settle some urgent matters for the Institute, he   fell ill. Despite stomach pains, he wanted to return to Vicobellignano.   In the early days of November his condition worsened, so much so that the Sisters of Lodi rushed to receive a final blessing from him.   He could speak only very few words: “The way is open, I must go.”  A few days earlier, to the Mistress of Novices, he said:  “Try not to complain ever, even try to rejoice when things go contrary to your desires.”   At 9.45 pm on 7 November, Don Vincenzo gave his soul to God.   He was 72 years old and was parish priest for 43 of those years.

The Daughters of the Oratory received pontifical approval on 29 April 1926 – currently they are active in Italy, in Argentina and Ecuador.

On 1 November 1975 Paul VI Beatified him as an example to all the priests and pastors throughout the world. He was Canonised on 18 October 2015 by Pope Francis, after approval of the second miracle.   His relics rest at the Mother House of Lodi.

At his Canonisation Pope Francis said:

” Saint Vincenzo Grossi was a zealous parish priest, ever attentive to the needs of his people, especially those of the young.   For all he was concerned to break the bread of God’s word and thus became a Good Samaritan to those in greatest need.”St._Vincenzo_Grossi Canonisation

Prayer for the Intercession of St Vincenzo Grossi
(With the approval of the Bishop of Lodi)

Most Holy Trinity,
who shaped the evangelical life of Saint Vincent Grossi
and made him a faithful servant of Christ
and of the Church in the priestly ministry,
loving educator of the young
and wise founder of the Daughters of the Oratory,
grant, by his intercession,
peace to the world,
harmony to families,
comfort to those who suffer,
for the future for the new generations,
grant fervour for priests,
a spirit of communion in parishes
and to all robust faith,
certain hope and active charity,
to proceed swiftly towards
the fullness of the Christian vocation.

Posted in ON the SAINTS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 5 November – Saint Guido Maria Conforti:  Driven by the Gospel

Our Morning Offering – 5 November – Saint Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931)

Prayer of the Church
The Church honours Saint Guido Maria Conforti

These prayers are composed based on certain characteristics of Saint Guido Maria Conforti and his life as Bishop and Founder.   From his writings and the witness of people who have come to know this great Bishop of the 20th century, we appreciate his gifts as follower of the Word, Good Shepherd, contemplative of the Cross, faithful disciple, founder of a missionary family, at the service of humanity, model of unity, discerner of the signs of the times, a person driven by the Gospel and a disciple of Jesus the missionary of the Father.

Saint Guido Maria Conforti:  Driven by the Gospel

O God, who through
the contemplation of the Cross,
imprinted on the heart
of Saint Guido Maria Conforti
a burning love for the proclamation
of the Gospel to all nations.
Grant that, through his intercession,
we too may be filled by the same love of Christ,
to constantly work for the salvation
of all our brothers and sisters.
Through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.

More beautiful prayers here: guido maria conforti driven by the gospel - 5 november 2019.jpg


Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles of Christ – 28 October

Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles of Christ – 28 October

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Sts Simon and Jude whose names occur together in the Canon of the Mass and are also celebrated on the same day.   These two Apostles have been linked in name since the early days of Christianity and some believe that this is because they were relatives of Jesus.

San Simón | Jusepe de Ribera / Image: Saint Jude Thaddeus | Georges de La Tour

St Simon in the Gospels is called “the Zealot” and this may indicate that he belonged to that military group of Jews called the Zealots, the last of whom committed suicide on Masada rather than surrender to the Roman legions.   Legend has Simon evangelising the area around Edessa in Syria, where later a great school of theology arose. It is   also said, that after preaching in Egypt, he joined St Jude in Mesopotamia and that they both went as missionaries to Persia and were martyred there.   Undoubtedly, their names are linked also because of this association.

st simon the zealot apostle.jpg
St Simon

Jude was most certainly a cousin of Jesus and is mentioned in the lists of the “brothers of the Lord.”   In Luke he is called Jude and in Matthew and Mark, ‘Thaddeus’ and is considered to be the brother of James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem and the leader of the early Christian community there – this is James the Lesser, not the brother of St John.   He is the author of the Epistle of Jude in the New Testament, one of those called the ‘Catholic Epistles.’   It is believed that the early translators of the New Testament from Greek into English, sought to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and subsequently abbreviated his forename.   In iconography, , St Jude is often shown with an image of his cousin, our Lord Jesus and a tongue of fire over his jude with image of jesus.jpg

At the Last Supper, it was Jude who asked the Lord Jesus, why He did not manifest Himself to the rest of the world and Jesus answered that he and the Father would visit all those who loved Him, saying – “We will come to him and make our abode with him.”sts jude and simon

Jude is the patron of ‘hopeless cases’ and devotion to him, as the advocate of impossible causes, is widespread throughout the Church.   So why is St Jude Thaddaeus the patron saint of desperate causes?   The traditional reason is rather simple – When one hears the name Judas (Latin and Greek) or even Jude (English), one immediately thinks of Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord.   Therefore, a person had to be desperate to invoke his name.   Being so seldom invoked and reverenced, St Jude is ready and waiting to hear the prayers of those who call upon him.   Ironically, he is probably the Apostle who is invoked the most in prayer and the most memorialised in churches, with statues and stained glass windows or other artworks.

It is a beautiful tradition, associated with prayer to St Jude, for his intercession, to leave a copy of the prayer in a Church, or before his Statue, Picture or Shrine, for someone else in great need, to find.   The prayer is usually prayed as a Novena.

Prayer to St Jude
Patron of Impossible Causes

Most holy Apostle, St Jude,
faithful servant and friend of Jesus,
the Church honours and invokes you universally,
as the patron of hopeless causes,
of things almost despaired of.
Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.
Help me, I implore you,
by that particular privilege given to you,
to bring visible and speedy help
where help is almost despaired of.
Come to my assistance in this great need,
that I may receive the consolation
and help of Heaven in all my necessities,
tribulation and sufferings,
particularly ………………… (state request)
and that I may praise God with you
and all the elect forever.
I promise, O blessed St Jude,
to be ever mindful of this great favour,
to always honour you as my special and powerful patron
and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.
Amenprayer to st jude - patron of impossible causes - 28 oct 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 18 October – Holy and Learned, Great Saint Luke

Our Morning Offering – 18 October – The Feast of St Luke,

Holy and Learned, Great Saint Luke
Prayer/Hymn in Honour of St Luke
Morning Prayer from the Breviary

Holy and learned, great Saint Luke, we praise you,
Closely you followed in the steps of Jesus,
As supreme witness to his life and teaching
Shedding your life-blood.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,
You left in writing, for all time to study
Stories unrivalled for their depth and beauty,
Christ’s love revealing.

Yours are the records which we read with pleasure
Of the beginning of the Church so fervent,
Under the impulse of the true and living
Spirit of Jesus.

Paul’s earnest helper, sharer in his travels,
Zealous as he was, with a heart as loving,
Make our souls also steadfast and devoted
To the Lord Jesus.

Tender physician, use your gift of healing,
Comfort our weakness with a faith unswerving,
So that rejoicing we may praise forever
God the Almighty.
Amenholy and learned great st luke - feast of st luke 18 oct 2019 hymnn prayer breviary.jpg