Tag Archives: breast cancer

Saint Peregrine Laziosi

St PeregrineOn this feast of Saint Peregrine, the Church prays:

Eternal Father, I wish to honor St. Peregrine, and I give Thee thanks for all the graces Thou hast bestowed upon him. I ask Thee to please increase grace in my soul through the merits of this saint, and I commit the end of my life to him by this special prayer, so that by virtue of Thy goodness and promise, St. Peregrine might be my advocate and provide whatever is needed at that hour. Amen

A biography of the Saint that asks God to cure cancer:

Today, May 16, we celebrate the feast of Saint Peregrine Laziosi (1260-1345), priest, and patron saint of those suffering with cancer, AIDS, and other serious diseases. Saint Peregrine was miraculously cured during his lifetime of cancer, through his devotion to the suffering Jesus on the Cross. Saint Peregrine is a reminder of the gracious love and healing of a personal relationship with Jesus. He is invoked today to intercede in the healing and comfort of those struggling against disease.

Peregrine Laziosi was born into a wealthy family at Forli, Italy. He spent a worldly youth active in politics, and was originally a member of the anti-papal party —a strongly anti-Catholic movement in Italy. During one uprising, Peregrine struck Saint Philip Benizi, who had been dispatched by the Pope to bring peace, in the face. When Philip offered the other cheek to his young attacker, Peregrine was so overcome that he repented and converted immediately to Catholicism.

Shortly thereafter, Peregrine received a miraculous vision from Our Blessed Mother, in which she instructed him to journey to Siena, Italy, and join the Servite Order there. He left his wealth and status and did as Mary instructed, joining the Servites. Once a Servite, Peregrine imposed strict penances on himself as reparation for his earlier actions, including the observation of strict silence and solitude, and refusal to sit down. It is believed that Peregrine stood for approximately 30 years, which eventually led to illness.

After his training and ordination, he was assigned to his hometown, Forli, and there founded a new house of the Servite Order. He was a gifted preacher, and brought many to the faith. He was similarly a patient, gentle, and respected confessor, and many traveled a great distance to meet with him in the confessional. When not interacting with others or preaching, he maintained his vow of silence.

Saint Peregrine eventually developed difficulty with his circulation, likely due to his constant standing, which led to cancer of the foot. This aggressive cancer began spreading up his leg, and with no cure possible, his doctors scheduled an amputation of the limb. Saint Peregrine spent the night before his surgery in fervent prayer before the crucified Christ. As he drifted off to sleep while praying, he experienced a vision of Jesus, coming off the Cross, and touching the afflicted area. The next morning, when he awoke, his cancer had been completed cured. Saint Peregrine went on to live another 20 years, serving the Lord and his community.

Peregrine died at the age of 85, and was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII. He reminds us of the miraculous grace of conversion and healing that is possible through Our Lord. An adamant opponent to the Church, Saint Peregrine became a powerful preacher, leading many to the faith. He turned to the Lord, and was richly rewarded. How might we experience conversion today?

Saint Peregrine, thou hast given us an example to follow; as a Christian thou wert steadfast in love; as a Servite thou wert faithful in service; as a penitent thou humbly acknowledgedst thy sin; afflicted thou borest suffering with patience. Intercede for us, then, with our Heavenly Father so that we steadfast, humble and patient may receive from Christ Jesus the grace we ask.

Saint Agatha: patron for breast cancer patients

Today we honor Saint Agatha, an early virgin and martyr. She is remembered for her chastity, her desire for living for Jesus alone, and for her compassion. Saint Agatha is the patron saint for those living with breast cancer.

The women and men who bear the cross of cancer of the breast.

Thoughts and prayers also turn to those who live in Sicily, for Cardinal Burke as the titular of the Roman church bearing the saint’s name. But we ought to pray for those who struggle with chastity. I am thinking of those priests, religious and those who have made promises to live according to the evangelical vows.

The prayer to Saint Agatha for us to offer.

Breast cancer and St Agatha: supporting those who live with the disease

St Agatha GB Tiepolo.jpgThe Church has a ministry, a role, a work, in helping to restore a person to health and wholeness because the Church is the continuation of Jesus’ ministry of healing in the world today.

Last Friday and Sunday I spear-headed two gatherings for those who live with breast cancer for the feast of Saint Agatha, the patron saint for those living with diseases of the breast. These gesture of prayer and solidarity were done in conjunction with the Order of Saint Agatha, Dominican Friars Healthcare ministry and two churches.

Anointing with blessed oil is a sacramental way in which the Church through her priests is concretely present to those in need spiritual comfort by complementing the medical and social practitioners in the ministry of healing. Any illness can have the effect of personal and communal isolation. What the Church is saying by this gesture of prayer and anointing is that the person is not alone, that we, the community of faith, empathize with the effects of illness and want to be in solidarity with the ill person. As was said, “breast cancer was the best thing to have happened to me because I’ve had to live life differently, more intently, and in a God-centered way.”
Why anoint someone? There are 5 identifiable reasons to administer the Sacrament of the Sick:
  1. curing and healing, a distinction here: we ask God for a cure, we ask also ask for a healing; the person is looking for God to bestow the grace of a comprehensive experience of restoration of body and spirit — “the whole person is helped and saved, sustained by trust in God, and strengthened against the temptations of the Evil One and against anxiety over death”; the relationship between God and the person is bridged in the sacrament;
  2. the gift of strengthening against debilitating effects of despair, depression, fear and anger; this Sacrament asks God for the grace to recognize and hopefully to unite any and all suffering to the experience Christ faced on the cross; the strength prayed for is not to allow illness to define their person because one’s humanity is more than a medical diagnosis;
  3. forgiveness of one’s sins: no human person –except Jesus (and He was also divine) and the Virgin Mary were sinless– and therefore sins are forgiven with this Sacrament; our human condition is frail and sickness can enhance the ugly side of ourselves and what we need and want is a healing of the soul; the effect of forgiveness is the reconciliation of the person to God, self and others; I think it is true that an illness has the potential to bring out of ourselves sinful attitudes, actions and patterns of speech that are not truly who we are as persons;
  4. a preparation for life with God, i.e., eternal life: no one is going to live for ever; perhaps the sickness is an opportunity to take stock in one’s life as it has been lived up to now and to patiently and lovingly make a life’s examination to see where there’s been love and to see where love has been absent; sickness is God’s way to call us to a deeper conversion that we’ve never experienced prior to this moment; here the Sacrament is asking us to look at our immortal soul with a degree of seriousness and the sickness as an education to greater freedom in Christ;
  5. conforming oneself to Christ crucified and risen: to be conformed to Christ means to adhere to Him, to listen to Him as we would listen to a loved one in friendship; there is a new reality in the life of a Christian –Jesus Christ is no longer dead, He’s risen; that Christ is risen and seated at the right hand of God the Father tells us of a new reality, a fact, in our human existence; the Sacrament brings us closer to cross Christ carried and died on and tells us that our salvation is there on the cross with Christ; we are not alone –we are with Jesus who is total love, total compassion; the healing offered in this sacrament is one of total trust and love in the One who made us, sustains us and carries us along with Him.
On Friday (2/4) evening in the context of the Friday Mass Father John Lavorgna, the pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii Church administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick for about 35 women and men.
At the Noon Mass on Sunday (2/6) at St Catherine of Siena Church, Father Jordan Kelly and three other priests administered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to more than 125 women and men.

The New Evangelization TV (Currents on Net TV) in the Diocese of Brooklyn graciously covered the event for the second year in a row. Their story this year was titled “Victims of Breast Cancer find Spiritual Comfort” highlights the beauty of prayer and solidarity.
It was in the Middle Ages that it became the pattern of sacramental economy that the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was given only when someone was on death’s door step and it was called the “last rites” or “extreme unction.” Human experience of civil strife –in the international and domestic scene– that propelled liturgical theologians to rethink pastoral practice and our liturgical imagination. The Sacrament of the Sick would sick be closely connected with those living with acute illness and those near death, but also the Sacrament would be administered more broadly to those living with chronic illness as well as those living with mental illness and the experience of old age. However, people –including priests educated since 1972– continue to refer this sacrament as last rites.
The question always remains: Who is to be anointed? In a terrific book on the subject, Understanding Sacramental Healing: Anointing and Viaticum, Monsignor John C. Kasza speaks of the Sacrament as given for the magna infirmitas which “…indicates a weakness, feebleness, infirmity, inconstancy, or sickness which debilitates a person’s functioning within society” (footnote, p. 215).
In 2010, the first time we observed the feast of St Agatha and praying for and with those living with breast cancer can reviewed here.

St Agatha’s Mass and Anointing of the Sick for those living with breast cancer, East Haven



We will be gathering to pray the Holy Mass for those living with breast cancer in honor of Saint Agatha, the patron saint of those living with breast cancer.

Saint Agatha’s feast day is February 5 but for pastoral reasons, the liturgical observance will be held on the day before and the after the feast.

No one is without a family member or a friend who has breast cancer.
This is an opportunity to join together in prayer and friendship with those living with ongoing trial –you could say cross– of breast

On Friday, February 4, 2011, at the 5:30 pm Mass at Our Lady of Pompeii Church (355 Foxon Road, Route 80, East Haven, CT), Father John Lavorgna will administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick invoking the intercession of Saint Agatha.

Let your friends know of this special Mass and anointing service. All are invited and most welcome.

Abortion caused Breast Cancer: 300K in last 38 years

woman crisis.jpgMore and more we are seeing research demonstrating that abortion has caused breast cancer. A few months ago I posted an article saying as much. LifeNews.com published an article on January 17th giving the statistic that in 38 years –since the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs Wade– that “a least 300,000 cases of breast cancer” have been identified. Baruch College Professor Joel Brind published a 1996 paper in which he made the claim that women who had induced abortion had a “30% greater chance of developing breast cancer.” Steven Ertelt’s article “Abortion Has Caused 300K Breast Cancer Deaths Since Roe” connects the dots. 

Sad to think that the choice to end the life of one’s unborn baby raises the risk of one’s death by 30%.
All this info is on my mind as I am planning two Masses with the Rite of Anointing of the Sick for women and men living with breast cancer in honor of Saint Agatha for her forthcoming feast day in early February. Saint Agatha is at the patron saint of those people living with diseases of the breast. One Mass Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii (East Haven, CT) on Friday evening February 4 and the second Mass at the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena (NYC).

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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