Our Morning Offering – 5 August – Maiden yet a Mother

Our Morning Offering – 5 August – Monday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Memorial of the Dedication of Mary Major

Maiden yet a Mother
By Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
Tr Msgr Ronald A Knox (1888-1957)

Maiden yet a mother,
daughter of thy Son,
high beyond all other,
lowlier is none;
thou the consummation
planned by God’s decree,
when our lost creation
nobler rose in thee!

Thus His place prepared,
he who all things made
‘mid his creatures tarried,
in thy bosom laid;
there His love He nourished,
warmth that gave increase
to the root whence flourished
our eternal peace.

Nor alone thou hearest
When thy name we hail;
Often thou art nearest
When our voices fail;
Mirrored in thy fashion
All creation’s gird,
Mercy, might compassion
Grace thy womanhood.

Lady, let our vision
Striving heavenward, fail,
Still let thy petition
With thy Son prevail,
Unto whom all merit,
prayer and majesty,
With the Holy Spirit
And the Father be.

Maiden Yet A Mother is a translation of a poem by Durante (Dante) degli Alighieri (c 1265–1321).   It is based upon the opening verses of Canto 33 of the Paradiso from his Divine Comedy in which St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) praises and prays to the Virgin Mother on behalf of Dante.   It was translated from the original Italian into English by the Catholic convert, Monsignior Ronald A Knox (1888-1957).   It is one of the Marian Hymns in the Breviary.maiden-yet-a-mother-dante-10-dec-2017 and 5 aug 2019 - dedication of st mary major.jpg


Dedication of St Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snow and Memorials of the Saints – 5 August

Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snow (Optional Memorial)

Our Lady of Copacabana:  A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary standing four feet tall, made of plaster and maguey fibre and created by Francisco Tito Yupanqui.   Except for the face and hands, it is covered in gold leaf, dressed like an Inca princess, and has jewels on neck, hands and ears.   There is no record of what the image looks like under the robes, the carved hair has been covered by a wig, and the image never leaves the basilica.   On 21 February 1583 it was enthroned in an adobe church on the peninsula of Copacabana, which juts into Lake Titicaca nearly 3 miles above sea level. In 1669 the viceroy of Peru added a straw basket and baton to the statue, which she still holds today.   The present shrine dates from 1805.   The image was crowned during the reign of Pope Pius XI, and its sanctuary was promoted to a basilica in 1949.   It has been the recipient of many expensive gifts over the years, most of which were looted by civil authorities in need of quick cash.
Patronage – Bolivia, Bolivian navy.

St Abel of Rheims
St Addai
St Aggai of Edessa
Bl Arnaldo Pons
St Cantidianus
St Cantidius
St Cassian of Autun
St Casto of Teano
Bl Corrado of Laodicea
St Emidius of Ascoli Piceno
St Eusignius
St Gormeal of Ardoilen
Bl James Gerius
St Margaret the Barefooted
St Mari
St Memmius of Châlons-sur-Marne
St Nonna
St Oswald of Northumbria (604-642) Martyr
St Paris of Teano
Bl Pierre-Michel Noël
St Sobel
St Theodoric of Cambrai-Arras
St Venantius of Viviers
St Viator

Martyrs of Fuente la Higuera: A group of Augustinian priests and clerics who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War. 5 August 1936 in Fuente la Higuera, Valencia, Spain. They were Beatified on 28 October 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.
10 Beati:
• Anastasio Díez García
• Ángel Pérez Santos
• Cipriano Polo García
• Emilio Camino Noval
• Felipe Barba Chamorro
• Gabino Olaso Zabala
• Luciano Ramos Villafruela
• Luis Blanco Álvarez
• Ubaldo Revilla Rodríguez
• Victor Gaitero González

Martyrs of the Salarian Way: Twenty-three Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian.
303 on the Salarian Way in Rome, Italy.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Eduardo González Santo Domingo
Bl Jaume Codina Casellas
Bl José Trallero Lou
Bl Lluís Domingo Mariné
Bl Manuel Moreno Martínez
Bl Maximino Fernández Marinas
Bl Victor García Ceballos


Thought for the Day – 5 August – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snow

Thought for the Day – 5 August – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snow

St Mary Major is one of the four Roman basilicas known as patriarchal cathedrals in memory of the first centres of the Church.   St John Lateran represents Rome, the See of Peter;   St Paul Outside the Walls, the See of Alexandria, the see presided over by Mark;   St Peter’s, the See of Constantinople and St Mary’s, the See of Antioch, where Mary is believed to have spent most of her later life.

Theological debate over Christ’s nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century.   The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, “Mother of God,” insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus.   Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named “Mother of Christ” in his see.   The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop’s refutation of a cherished belief.   When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, “Theotokos!   Theotokos!”

So often I wish we would take to the streets shouting the same, “Mother of God! Mother of God!”

“Jesus honoured her before all ages
and will honour her for all ages.
No one comes to Him,
nor even near Him,
no one is saved or sanctified,
if he too will not honour her.
This is the lot of angels and of men.”

St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)jesus-honoured-her-before-all-ages-st-maximillian-kolbe - 5 aug 2017

Our Lady of the Snows, Pray for us!

our lady of the snows - pray for us - 5 aug 2018




“Let us ask the Blessed Virgin to nominate an heir.”

A WEALTHY aristocrat and devout Christian known by tradition as John, lived in Rome in the fourth century.   He and his wife had no children and were fearful that their lack of an heir would put an end to the family’s long prominence in the government of the city.   They had often prayed for a child but without success.   One day John’s wife said, “Let us ask the Blessed Virgin to nominate an heir.”   They did so and their prayer was answered dramatically.

SNOW IN AUGUST – the height of summer!
In August 352 a rectangle of snow was discovered on Mount Esquiline, one of the famous Seven Hills.   Snowfall of any sort was unheard of in Rome at that time of year but that it had fallen only in one place and in such a specific pattern was regarded as a phenomenon.   People crowded to see the patch of snow, which persisted despite the heat.   John was convinced that its shape and size indicated that a church should be built on the spot.   In fact both John and the Pontiff had dreamt that Our Lady desired a church to be built on Mount Esquiline.   The Holy Father was so moved by his dream that he visited the mysterious snowfall.   When he arrived with his retinue, John and his wife were already there kneeling in prayer to the Virgin.
As soon as the plot for the building had been staked out the snow melted.   John met the cost of the building, which was completed in 354 and was dedicated the Basilica Liberiana.   Seventy years later the church was rebuilt on a grander scale by Pope Sixtus III, who added decorations and ornaments of silver.   From then the church was known as Basilica Sixti and the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore [St Mary Major].

The new basilica housed a celebrated painting provided by the Pope.   It had belonged to St Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine—–the same Helen who, according to tradition, had made a pilgrimage to Palestine and discovered the original Cross of Christ. The picture, painted on a slab of cedar wood, is of a Madonna and Child.   The infant Jesus is holding a book and both figures are haloed and crowned—–the crowns presented by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 as a thank-offering for deliverance from cholera.363px-Virgin_salus_populi_romani
The so-called ‘new’ Lady Chapel was built by Pope Paul V in 1613 to house the miraculous painting.   He declared, “This image should have a magnificent place of its own, befitting its eminence.   For it has always been regarded by all faithful people and through it many miracles and wonders have been wrought.”
Salus Populi Romana [Salvation of the Roman People] is the title of this famous painting and it is rightly named because for centuries the people of Rome have prayed before it in times of famine, war and national crisis.
Many popes have held the basilica on Mount Esquiline in particular regard.   When Gregory I was Pope [590-604] Rome was ravaged by a plague.   Gregory carried the image of the Holy Mother in procession from the chapel as far as Hadrian’s Mausoleum  . When the procession arrived they heard an invisible heavenly choir singing Regina Caeli. When the Pope asked the Virgin to pray for the city he saw an apparition of S. Michael replacing the sword of vengeance in its scabbard.   The plague abated.
Pope Benedict XIV had a special affection for the legend.   In 1427 he declared, “It must be acknowledged that nothing is wanting to enable us to affirm with moral certainty that the prodigy of the Snow is true” and Pope Benedict XVI attended the holy picture every Saturday and prayed the Litany.   The night before he died, Paul V asked to be taken to the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin in order to pray before her image.   St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, said his first Mass here at Christmas 1538.

The Madonna of the Snows 

The Chapel of the Virgin Salus Populi Romani [Protectress of the Roman People] is very close to the historic heart of the Catholic Church, so it is not surprising that many stories have enriched its tradition over the centuries.   It is said that once when Pope Gregory the Great was celebrating Mass in the chapel and intoning the words “Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum,” he heard a choir of Angels sing the response “Et cum spiritu tuo.” From that day the custom in the chapel was to omit that section of the Mass in the belief that it was being offered and sung by the Angels.

The figure on your left is Saint Lucy and the one on your right is Saint Mary of Magdala.   The Angel is distributing the snow by letting it fall from his hands as it collects on the ground below. The hand of the Christ Child is raised in the salute position of Christ the King.

The present-day church is one of the largest basilicas in the world and its Patronal Festival is held today in remembrance of the miracle of the snow.   During this celebration hundreds of white blossoms are showered from the dome of the chapel.   Not to be missed are the thirteenth-century mosaics on biblical themes and the frescoes by Reni and Della Porta.   There is an imposing Romanesque bell tower erected in 1377.
Santa Maria Maggiore has a further claim to fame.   In the seventh century a relic was brought from Bethlehem and traditionally venerated as the manger in which the Christ Child was laid at the first Christmas.   And so another name for the great basilica is St Mary of the Crib.

Oratory of the Nativity

One of the most spectacular sights which meets today’s pilgrim is the triumphal arch which extends to almost 66 feet.   It is decorated in four horizontal sections. In the middle at the top God’s throne is set in a circle, with St Peter and St Paul on either side. Above this mosaic are the symbols of the four Gospel writers.

Triumphal Arch with the Mosaic above

On 12 November 1964, Blessed Pope Paul VI made a pilgrimage to the basilica and solemnly proclaimed Our Lady “Mother of the Church.”
On 5 August the anniversary of the miraculous snow fall, the Feast of Our Lady of Snows is celebrated at the basilica of her name.   White petals are scattered throughout the Basilica.

More here:

Posted in CCC, DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Thought for the Day – 5 August

Thought for the Day – 5 August

Theological debate over Christ’s nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century. The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, “Mother of God,” insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus. Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named “Mother of Christ” in his see. The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop’s refutation of a cherished belief. When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, “Theotokos! Theotokos!”….. ( Fr Don Miller, OFM)

“Mary is the Divine Page on which the Father wrote the Word of God, His Son.” … St Albert the Great (1206-1280)
German; scientist, philosopher, theologian and Doctor of the Church

” What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ and what it teaches about Mary, illumines in turn, its faith in Christ” (CCC#487).

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

mary is the divine page - st albert the great - doctor

Prayer to Our Lady of the Snows

Mary, Mother of God,
it is our Christian belief that all who fashion their lives in imitation of your Son, Jesus Christ
and have placed their hope in Him,
are gathered together in a communion of saints.
Those who have gone before us live in intimate communion with Christ.
You are the most eminent of them, for you were drawn into His life and being as no other.
You who gave Him human life followed Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Mary, look at us.
Look at all who are centred on your Son.
At the present time some of His disciples are pilgrims on earth.
Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory,
contemplating ‘in full light, God Himself Triune and One, exactly as He is.
All of God’s people hunger to be intimately one with Him.
Mary, we are the wayfarers
and we hunger for this exchange of spiritual goods with you
who were so intimately close to Jesus Christ.
Your image, as protectress of the Roman people,
reminds us that you invite us to live in Christ.
Your arms embrace Jesus fully, effortlessly.
Jesus, whose burden is light and yoke is easy,
wishes to be as close to every individual as He is to you.
You are both wayfarer and guide to us wayfarers on our pilgrimage of faith.
Teach us, Mary, to embrace Christ fully, to make Him our Way, our Truth, our Life.
Teach us, Mary, to carry Christ to the world,
and, each in our own way, to give Him birth in the hearts of many.
Protect your people, Mary – protect your Church.
We ask this, as we ask all things, through Jesus Christ Our Lord,
in union with God our Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen

Church of Our Lady of the Snows – Lviv



5 August – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major: Our Lady of the Snows

5 August – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major: Our Lady of the Snows – Patronage – Italy, Reno, Nevada, diocese of, Conco, Italy, Rovereto, Italy, San Marco in Lamis, Italy, Susa, Italy, Torre Annunziata, Italy, Utah.


Today, 5 August, we celebrate the feast (optional memorial) of the Dedication of the Papal Basilica of Mary Major (Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore) in Rome.   This grand basilica is also known as the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Snow (Santa Maria ad Nives ) due to a miraculous snowfall occurring there during the hot summer months and the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Crib (Santa Maria ad Præsepe), from the relics of the holy crib or manger of Bethlehem, in which Christ was laid at His birth, housed within.

dedication - HEADER

Saint Mary Major takes it’s name from two references to greatness (“major”):  first, it is the largest church in the world dedicated to Our Blessed Mother;  second, that it is one of four Papal (or major) basilicas.  Together with Saint Lawrence outside the Walls, these four basilicas were formerly referred to as the five “patriarchal basilicas” of Rome, associated with the five ancient patriarchal sees of Christendom.

Saint John Lateran:  represents Rome, the See of Peter
Saint Paul outside the Walls:  represents the See of Alexandria
Saint Peter:  represents the See of Constantinople
Saint Lawrence outside the Walls:  represents the See of Jerusalem
Saint Mary Major:  represents the See of Antioch, where Mary spent the majority of her life.

Also known as the Liberian Basilica, as it was presided over by Pope Liberius, this Basilica housed one of the earliest Christian congregations of Rome.   It is also the only Roman basilica that retained the core of its original structure(432-440), left intact despite several construction projects and damage from the great earthquake of 1348.

The beginnings of Saint Mary Major date to the Constantinian period (300s AD), under the direction of Pope Liberius.   According to Holy Legend, as recounted in the Breviary:
“Liberius was on the chair of Peter (352-366) when the Roman patrician John and his wife, who was of like nobility, vowed to bequeath their estate to the most Holy Virgin and Mother of God, for they had no children to whom their property could go.   The couple gave themselves to assiduous prayer, beseeching Mary to make known to them in some way what pious work they should subsidizse in her honour.
Mary answered their petition and confirmed her reply by means of the following miracle.   On the fifth of August — a time when it is unbearably hot in the city of Rome — a portion of the Esquiline would be covered with snow during the night. During that same night the Mother of God directed John and his wife in separate dreams to build a church to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the site where they would see snow lying. For it was in this manner that she wanted her inheritance to be used.   John immediately reported the whole matter to Pope Liberius and he declared that a similar dream had come to him.   Accompanied by clergy and people, Liberius proceeded on the following morning in solemn procession to the snow-covered hill and there marked off the area on which the church in Mary’s honour was to be constructed.”


Each year on August fifth, a solemn Mass is offered to celebrate the Miracle of the Snows. During the Mass, white rose petals are dropped from the coffered ceiling, covering the floor, celebrating and re-creating the miraculous snowfall of the fourth century.   At sunset on the same day, an artificial “snowfall” is staged as a tourist attraction in the square outside the basilica.

Giovanni-Paolo-Pannini-Piazza-Santa-Maria-MaggioreSOD-0805-SaintMaryMajorBasilica-790x480The Borghese Chapel, Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Our Lady of The Snows),85marymajor9

Following construction of the grand basilica, Pope Liberius presided over Masses for the congregation. Under Pope Sixtus III (432-440) the basilica was rebuilt.   Following the Council of Ephesus, led by St Cyril of Alexandria, Mary was definitively declared the Theotokos —the Divine Mother of God—and the basilica was consecrated in her honour.   The basilica was decorated with mosaics from the lives of Christ and Our Blessed Mother, which have survived until today.   Also present is the oldest surviving image of the Blessed Virgin.   Known as the Salus Populi Romani, (The Health of the Roman People), this icon is credited with saving Rome from the plague. Thought to have been painted by John the Evangelist, radiocarbon dating has placed the age of this icon at approximately two thousand years old.  85marymajor6

As early as the end of the fourth century a replica of the Bethlehem nativity grotto had been added, including relics of the manger of Christ.   On this account the edifice became known as “St. Mary of the Crib.”   The crib resembles an ordinary manger but is kept in a case of silver and in it lies an image of a little child, also of silver.   On Christmas day the holy manger is taken out of the case and exposed.   It is kept in a subterraneous chapel in this church and throughout history, saints, including Saint Jerome, have written about this holy relic—both when it resided in Bethlehem and after its relocation to Rome.


The Basilica of Saint Mary Major – (no Catholic church can be honoured with the title of “basilica” unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom.   St Mary Major is one of the only four that hold the title of “major basilica) is important to Christendom for three important reasons:
1) The basilica stands as a venerable monument to the Council of Ephesus (431), during which the dogma of Mary’s divine Motherhood was solemnly defined.   The definition of the Council occasioned a most notable increase in the veneration paid to Mary.

2) The basilica is Rome’s “church of the crib,” a Bethlehem within the Eternal City.   It also is a celebrated station church, serving, for instance, as the center for Rome’s liturgy for the first Mass on Christmas.   In some measure every picture of Mary with the divine Child is traceable to this church due to the surviving Salus Populi Romani.

3) Saint Mary Major is Christendom’s first Marian shrine for pilgrims.   It set the precedent for the countless shrines where pilgrims gather to honour Our Blessed Mother throughout the world.   Here was introduced an authentic expression of popular piety that has been the source of untold blessings and graces for Christianity in the past as in the present.