Tag Archives: Franciscan

Jesuits suppressed: the 236th anniv

Clement XIV stamp.jpgToday is the 236th anniversary of the promulgation of Dominus ac Redemptor, the papal bull of Pope Clement XIV (a Conventual Franciscan) suppressing the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). In this bull the pope dissolved the Society without condemning it because it is said that he did revere many of its members. Hence, the suppression had nothing to do with enmity (Franciscans vs. Jesuits) as much as it had to do with the significant criticism the Society faced and the likely realization of the threat of Church schism if the pope didn’t do something with the Jesuits. Faced with the pressure of a fragmented Church, Clement did what he had to do. By the time of this unusual papal intervention, the Jesuits were expelled from Brasil, Portugal, France, Spain and Parma.

The Jesuit order was restored in 1814.

An annual event at graduation time of the non-Jesuit students at Rome’s Gregorian University is a wreathe laying ceremony at Pope Clement XIV’s grave at the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles. There newly graduated students offer a prayer asking the pope to intercede before God to have the Jesuits suppressed once again. One wonders about the efficacy of Clement’s ability to ask the Lord for a favor.

Our Lady of the Atonement

Father Paul Wattson, the founder with Mother Lurana White, of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement, gave hundreds of sermons, conducted numerous retreats, delivered many radio addresses and wrote extensively in four magazines: The Pulpit of the Cross, The Lamp, The Candle and The Antidote.

The following piece is Father Wattson’s commentary on the feast of Our Lady of the Atonement. This Marian feast was approved by the Holy See in 1946 but it was first observed in July 1901.

The theological datum on atonement and therefore mercy, is near-and-dear to the heart of the Church and indeed to all Christians, so today’s feast is apt. Let us pray for each other!

OL of the Atonement.jpg

I am writing this letter on the day which we are accustomed to observe at Graymoor in special honor of Our Lady of the Atonement. This particular name of Our Blessed Mother is very dear to us and we believe it is dear to Our Lady herself. We hold it as among the most treasured and sacred traditions of our Institute that it was the Blessed Virgin who first taught us to call her by that name and there are cogent reasons why she should give this title a favorite place among the many by which she is invoked.

First among these reasons must be her own devotion to the mystery of the Atonement, for it was by the death of her son on the Cross, which cost him the last drop of his blood and made her preeminently the mother of sorrows, that the wall of division between God and man was broken down and both were made one (Ephesians 2:14), through Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

As the Blessed Virgin is inseparably associated with our divine redeemer in the mystery of his incarnation, so is she closely associated with him in the great act of the atonement. Thus, is she always represented in the Gospel and in the liturgy and thought of the Catholic Church as standing by the cross, when Christ was crucified there.

There is a second reason, hardly less weighty than the first, why the title, Our Lady of the Atonement, should powerfully appeal to the mother of God. It was through the Incarnation she become the mother of Christ, but through the atonement she became the new Eve and the mother of all the regenerate, who being redeemed by the precious blood are predestined to eternal life as the adopted sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. The third time Our Lord spoke upon the cross it was to emphasize this phase of the Atonement, when he said to his mother: “Woman, behold your son,” and to St. John, “Son, behold your mother.” [John 19:26-27] Thus by virtue of the atonement Mary is the mother of all who live through Christ. Can anyone therefore possibly conceive the depth of significance this title “Our Lady of the Atonement” must possess for Our Blessed Mother herself?

But someone will ask, if so highly esteemed, why should it be kept hidden for nineteen hundred years, to be made known to the faithful in the twentieth century? Is it not the custom even of earthly mothers to preserve the choicest
fruits in the summer time and hide them away under lock and key, to bring them forth to their children’s delight in the depth of winter and did not the master of the wedding feast say to the bridegroom at Cana,

Every man at first brings forth good wine and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But you have kept the good wine until now. [John 2:10]

“My ways are not your ways,” [Isaiah 55:8] says the Lord of Hosts.

(The Lamp, August 1919, pp.503-4)

Seized by Christ, Saint Padre Pio leads the way for renewal, Pope said

Pope in prayer before St Pio.jpg

As part of the inaugural observances for the Year of the
Priest, Pope Benedict made a pilgrimage to and celebrated the Sacrifice of the Mass Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Graces at San Giovanni Rotondo, resting place of  Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. In the days following the feast of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus and with devotion to Our Lady in mind, the Pope recalled that the fruit of Padre Pio’s close bond with the Sacred Heart of Christ and His mother, Mary, inspired him to found the House for the Relief of Suffering:  “All his life and his apostolate took place under the maternal gaze of the Blessed Virgin and by the power of her intercession. Even the House for the Relief of Suffering he considered to be the work of Mary, ‘Health of the sick.'”

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Born Francisco Forgione, at the age 23 the obscure Capuchin Franciscan friar was said to have received the gift of the sacred stigmata. On Saint Pio‘s hands and side the wounds were similar to the stigmata, or the wounds of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, according to Christian belief. The Pope proposed to us another model for priests by giving the example of this friar from Pietrelcina: “A simple man of humble origins, ‘seized by Christ‘ (Phil 3:12) … to make of him an elected instrument of the perennial power of his Cross: the power of love for souls, forgiveness and reconciliation, spiritual fatherhood, effective solidarity with the suffering. The stigmata, that marked his body, closely united him to the Crucified and Risen Christ.”

Relating today’s gospel with the life of Saint Pio, His
Holiness also said to the gathered faithful:

The solemn gesture of calming the stormy sea is clearly a
sign of the lordship of Christ over the negative powers and it induces us to think of His divinity: “Who is He – ask the disciples in wonder -that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mk 4:41). Their faith is not yet steadfast, it is taking shape, is a mixture of fear and trust; rather Jesus trusting abandonment to the Father is full and pure. This is why He sleeps during the storm, completely safe in the arms of God – but there will come a time when Jesus will feel anxiety and fear: When His time comes, He shall feel upon himself the whole weight of the sins of humanity, as a massive swell that is about to fall upon Him. Oh yes, that shall be a terrible storm, not a cosmic one, but a spiritual one. It will be Evil’s last, extreme assault against the Son of God…. In that hour, Jesus was on the one hand entirely One with the Father, fully given over to him – on the other, as in solidarity with sinners, He was
separated and He felt abandoned.

Remaining united to Jesus, [Padre Pio] always had his sights on the depths of the human drama, and this was why he offered his many sufferings, why he was able to spend himself in the care for and relief of the
sick – a privileged sign of God’s mercy, of his kingdom which is coming, indeed, which is already in the world, a sign of the victory of love and life over sin and death. Guide souls and relieving suffering: thus we can sum up the mission of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina: as the servant of God, Pope Paul VI said of him.”

Pio pic gift to Pope.jpg

At one point in his address the Benedict spoke to the
Franciscan friars and those connected with the spiritual groups linked to Saint Pio and anyone else, the Pope affirmed: “The risks of activism and secularization are always present, so my visit was also meant to confirm fidelity to the mission inherited from your beloved Father. Many of you, religious and laity, are so taken by the full duties required by the service to pilgrims, or the sick in the hospital, you run the risk of neglecting the real need: to listen to Christ to do the will of GodWhen you see that you are close to running this risk, look to Padre Pio: In his example, his sufferings, and invoke his intercession, because it obtains from the Lord the light and strength that you need to continue his mission soaked by love for God and fraternal charity.”

Following Mass, the Holy Father led the faithful in the Angelus prayer (the great prayer recalling the Incarnation) calling to mind Padre Pio’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Benedict remarked, “To the intercession of Our Lady and St Pio of Pietrelcina I would like to entrust the Special Year for Priests, which I opened last Friday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May it be a privileged opportunity to highlight the value of the mission and holiness of priests to serve the Church and humanity in the third millennium!”

Watch the video clip

Another video explaining more of Padre Pio’s life

Read the papal homily

Read the papal address to priests and youth

Franciscans re-elect Friar Jose Rodriguez Carballo as 119th successor to Saint Francis


ASSISI, Italy (CNS) — Spanish Father Jose Rodriguez
Carballo was re-elected to head the Franciscan order during a general chapter
May 24-June 20 in Assisi, Italy, the birthplace of St. Francis. Father
Carballo, 55, was elected to a second six-year term as minister general of the
Order of Friars Minor June 4. Some 152 representatives of the order reconfirmed
the Spanish friar during the Assisi meeting as the leader of the 15,000
Franciscans who live in 113 countries. Father Carballo is the 119th successor of
St. Francis and will lead the Order of the Friars Minor until 2015. The
delegates will celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of their order
June 9. Father Carballo told reporters at the end of May that during the
general chapter the delegates were looking at how well the order has met the
priorities set in 2003 for deepening spirituality, improving fraternal life and
living as poor among the poor and in solidarity with all those in need. Second,
he said, they would try to find new ways to meet the challenge of being
missionaries in the modern world.

The Franciscan Life…a lived reality of the heart & Will of God

capgen09logo.jpgThe General Chapter of the Franciscan Order is meeting right now in Assisi. This is a privileged time of fraternity because it gives the brotherhood to review the past 800 years and sets in motion a vision for living that follows more closely in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Christ crucified and risen. The friars produced a terrific video that’s hopeful and powerful. You can view “I dream of a Franciscan Life” here.

Keep the Franciscans (OFM) in prayer as they review their manner of life and prepare to elected a new minister general. You can follow the important moments of the Chapter at the link above.

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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