Posted in MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, YouTube VIDEOS

SALUS POPULI ROMANI SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE, ROME – 5 August

SALUS POPULI ROMANI
SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE, ROMEsnows2

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

THE PATRICIAN JOHN IN ROME BEFORE THE MIRACLE OF THE SNOW IN 352:
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 PRODIGY OF THE SNOW IS TRUE
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.

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The Madonna of the Snows 
GAETANO LAPIS 
1720

ANGELS SING THE RESPONSES
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.

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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 BASILICA TODAY
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.

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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.

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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:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/august-5-dedication-of-the-basilica-of-saint-mary-major-our-lady-of-the-snows/

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY CROSS, WYD - World Youth Day

Thought for the Day – 6 September

Thought for the Day – 6 September

In 1984, at the close of the 1983 Holy Year of the Redemption at the Vatican, St Pope John Paul II entrusted to the young people of the world a simple, 12-foot wooden Cross, asking them to carry it across the world.   This is now the heart of every World Youth Day this  very simple, powerful, ancient Christian symbol:  two large planks of wood, known as the World Youth Day Cross, that many have called the “Olympic Torch” of the huge Catholic festival of young people.Cross-Icon-Brazilian-Pilgrims

The World Youth Day cross has many names:  the Jubilee Cross, the Pilgrim Cross, the Youth Cross.   In 1984, at the close of the 1983 Holy Year of the Redemption at the Vatican, St Pope John Paul II entrusted to the young people of the world a simple, twelve-foot wooden Cross, asking them to carry it across the world as a sign of the love which the Lord Jesus has for humankind and “to proclaim to everyone that only in Christ who died and is risen is there salvation and redemption.”   Since that day, carried by generous hands and loving hearts, the Cross has made a long, uninterrupted pilgrimage across the continents, to demonstrate, as Pope John Paul II had said, “the Cross walks with young people and young people walk with the Cross.”

The cross does not journey alone.   Since 2003 it has been accompanied by an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. a copy of the Icon of our Lady known as the ‘Salus Populi Romani’. The original from which this Icon has been copied is considered by some to be from the eighth century and is housed in a chapel in the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome.   St Pope John Paul II entrusted to the youth an icon of the Blessed Mother that would accompany the cross.   “It will be a sign of Mary’s motherly presence close to young people who are called, like the Apostle John, to welcome her into their lives.”wyd symbols

The World Youth Day Cross and Icon speak to us of the two focal points of the message of Christianity:   of the Cradle and of the Cross;  of Christ who was born of Mary and of Christ who was crucified for us;   of Christmas and Good Friday;  of the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery.   The Icon and Cross, therefore, are potent symbols of the joy and suffering that we experience in our Christian pilgrimage.

Because we follow a crucified Christ, we enter into solidarity with the world’s suffering masses.   We experience the power and love of God through the vulnerable and suffering.   The Cross teaches us that what could have remained hideous and beyond remembrance is transformed into beauty, hope and a continuous call to heroic goodness.

To celebrate the Triumph of the Cross is to acknowledge the full, cruciform achievement of Jesus’ career.   Jesus asks us to courageously choose a life similar to his own.   Suffering cannot be avoided nor ignored by those who follow Christ.   Following Jesus implies suffering and a cross.   The mark of the Messiah is to become the mark of his disciples. (Fr Rosica)

only in christ - st john paul wyd 1984

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 5 August The Feast of the Dedication of Mary Major

Our Morning Offering – 5 August The Feast of the Dedication of Mary Major

O glorious Maid, exalted far
Beyond the light of burning star,
From Him who made thee thou hast won
Grace to be Mother of his Son.
That which was lost in hapless Eve
Thy holy Scion did retrieve;
The tear-worn sons of Adam’s race
Through thee have seen the heavenly place.
Thou wast the gate of heaven’s high Lord,
The door through which the light hath poured.
Christians rejoice, for through a Maid
To all mankind is life conveyed!
All honour, laud and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born to thee!
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen

Salus Populi Romani - prayer

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

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.

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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.

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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.