Category Archives: Saints

Saint Maria Goretti

“What does this fraSt Maria Goretti.jpggile but christianly mature girl say to today’s young people, through her life and above all through her heroic death?” Pope John Paul II asked on her feast day in 2003.

The Pope went on to say: “Marietta, as she was lovingly called, reminds the youth of the third millennium that true happiness demands courage and a spirit of sacrifice, refusing every compromise with evil and having the disposition to pay personally, even with death, faithful to God and his commandments. How timely this message is.

Today, pleasure, selfishness and directly immoral actions are often exalted in the name of the false ideals of liberty and happiness. It is essential to reaffirm clearly that purity of heart and of body go together, because chastity ‘is the custodian’ of authentic love.”

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: pointing us to an authentic spiritual renewal of the world

Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati4.jpg

Prayer to Follow Pier Giorgio
O Father, You gave to the young Pier Giorgio Frassati the joy of meeting Christ and of living his faith in the service of the poor and the sick; through his intercession may we, too, walk the path of the beatitudes and follow the example of his generosity, spreading the spirit of the Gospel in society. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
When he beatified Pier Giorgio twenty years ago John Paul remarked in his homily that, 
“Today’s celebration invites all of us to receive the message which Pier Giorgio Frassati is sending to the men and women of our day, but especially to you young people, who want to make a concrete contribution to the spiritual renewal of our world, which sometimes seems to be falling apart and wasting away because of a lack of ideals. By his example he proclaims that a life lived in Christ’s Spirit, the Spirit of the Beatitudes, is “blessed,” and that only the person who becomes a “man or woman of the Beatitudes” can succeed in communicating love and peace to others. He repeats that it is really worth giving up everything to serve the Lord. He testifies that holiness is possible for everyone, and that only the revolution of charity can enkindle the hope of a better future in the hearts of people.”

Read Pope John Paul II’s homily at the beatification of Pier Giorgio.

More information on Blessed Pier Giorgio at Frassati USA

Saint Thomas, the apostle

Sts Andrew & Thomas GLBerini.jpgTaking the extraordinary example of faith Thomas has, let live as though the real Presence meant something: My Lord and my God.

With the Church we pray:

Almighty Father, as we honor Thomas the apostle, let us always experience the help of his prayers. May we have eternal life by believing in Jesus, whom Thomas acknowledge as Lord, for He lives and reigns with Your and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Joseph Cafasso: patron for prisoners and spiritual directors


St Joseph Cafasso.jpg

The Pope’s weekly general audience address today was
dedicated to Saint Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860), a member of the “St Francis of
Assisi Institute,” a priest (ordained in 1833) who died 150 years ago. He is
most known as Saint John Bosco’s spiritual father (director) from 1835 to 1860.
Cafasso died in 1860; Pius XII canonized in him 1947. In 1948, Pope Pius XII named him the patron of Italian
prisons and, in 1950, proposed him “as a model for priests involved in
Confession and spiritual direction.” His uncle is Blessed Joseph Allamano. Saint Joseph Cafasso’s feast day is June 23.

I never heard of Saint Joseph Cafasso
until today, partly because I am not well attuned to the life of Saint John
Bosco of which he seems to be most connected. According to the Benedict, Joseph
Cafasso’s ministry helped to form “the true pastor with a rich interior life
and a profound zeal for pastoral care: faithful in prayer, committed to
preaching and catechesis, dedicated to the Sacraments of the Eucharist and
Confession, in keeping with the model incarnated by St. Charles Borromeo and
St. Francis of Sales, and promoted by the Council of Trent. St. Joseph Cafasso
sought to establish this model in the formation of young priests so that, in
their turn, they too could become formators to other priests, religious and lay
people, thus creating a unique and effective chain.” AND how could anyone NOT take Saint Joseph Cafasso as a paradigm for Christian life?

A theme that I am picking
up these days from some of the Pope’s addresses is the constant need to stay in
the “state of grace.” You might say, “no Kidding, Paul! Really?” Mock if you want, but there is an increasing distancing from God, especially staying close to God by means of staying in
a state of grace through the sacrament of confession. We know that the pure of heart are the ones who inherit the kingdom of God. One of the things we know
of Saint John Vianney is that he devoted himself to confessional. Cafasso, the
Pope said, “loved the Lord totally, he was animated by a well-rooted faith and
supported by profound and prolonged prayer, he showed sincere charity to
everyone. He knew moral theology but was equally well aware of the condition of
people’s hearts for which, like the good shepherd, he took responsibility.”

Benedict
XVI explained that that Saint John Bosco never copied his master. Not an
insignificant point: we need to take under consideration those who guide us but
we also need to assert our independence from a “master teacher” in order for
grace to flourish.  Otherwise we
merely parrot the other in an unthinking manner. The Pope said, “He
imitated him in the human and priestly virtues – defining him as a ‘model of
priestly life’ – but maintained his own attitudes and his own specific
vocation. … This is a precious lesson for those involved in the formation and
education of the young generations.”

What may be interesting for us to
know is that Saint Joseph Cafasso was renown for his “concern for the lowest, especially for prisoners
… who lived in inhuman and dehumanizing conditions.” Characteristic of Cafasso’s
work with prisoners is remembered today as he “often delivered great sermons
that came to involve almost the entire prison population, with the passage of
time he came to favor individual catechesis, made up of conversations and
personal meetings. While respecting the individual situation of each
individual, he tackled the great themes of Christian life, speaking of trust in
God, adherence to His will, the utility of prayer and the Sacraments, the
culmination of which is Confession, the meeting with God Who, for us, becomes
infinite mercy.”

Saints Peter and Paul

Let us now with crowns of praises

Honor Peter, honor Paul;
Separated in the body,
Joined as one in faithful call.
Peter, foremost Gospel witness,
Paul, with labors without cease,
Both now stand in robes of glory
At the throne of Christ our Priest.

Sts Peter & Paul.jpg

Let us now with hymns of gladness

Honor their apostolate,
Sing their glorious Epistles,
Laud their common martyr’s fate:
Peter, who for love of Jesus
Bore his death upon the cross,
And the headsman’s cruel sword-stroke
Brought for Paul his gain, not loss.
Let us now with endless glory
Praise the Father and the Son
And the everlasting Spirit,
Ever Three and ever One.
From the mouth of Paul and Peter,
From the choir of saints, ascend
Hymns of glory, praise, and blessing,
Sounding now and without end.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
87 87 D; HYMN TO JOY, NETTLETON

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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