Tag Archives: Our Lady of Pompeii

Blessed Bartolo Longo

Bartolo LongoThere is a marvelous figure of holiness inscribed on the calendar today: Blessed Bartolo Longo, the great Apostle of the Rosary and the founder of the shrine of the Madonna of the Rosary at Pompei in Italy. Born in 1841, Blessed Longo died in 1926. He was a contemporary of Saint Faustina. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1980. Several times in his pontificate, Saint John Paul II called our attention to the example of this holy layman, calling him “l’uomo della Madonna,” Our Lady’s man.

Divine Mercy Displayed

Blessed Bartolo Longo’s story is a dramatic illustration of Divine Mercy. The mystery of Mercy announced by Saint Faustina played itself out in the life of Blessed Longo. As a young man, following studies in Law, Bartolo Longo abandoned his faith and allowed himself to be drawn into paths of great spiritual darkness. He practiced spiritism, found himself entrenched in the occult, and became a practicing Satanist. Longo went so far as to have himself ordained a priest of Satan. He very nearly lost his sanity, becoming a mere shadow of himself.

Spiritually Sick

In one particular séance Longo was distressed to see the face of the deceased king of Naples and the Two Sicilies: Ferdinand II. That same night he saw the soul of his mother circling his bed, begging him to return to the Catholic faith. His practice of the occult had so affected him that he was barely recognizable to those who once knew him as a handsome young man, full of vitality and promise. A Catholic friend, seeing him in such a pitiful spiritual, psychological, and physical state, begged him to at least meet with Father Radente, a wise Dominican priest. After some time, Longo made a thorough confession and, under the direction of this priest, began the reform of his life. He entered the Third Order of Saint Dominic, receiving the name, Brother Rosario.

Conversion and Healing

Bartolo’s Dominican spiritual father told him that the Mother of God promised that anyone who promoted her Rosary would assuredly be saved. The rest of Blessed Barolo’s life was dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary. The Rosary was his lifeline. The Rosary was the anchor of his salvation. The Rosary was the means by which the Holy Mother of God brought him back from hell. It was through the prayer of the Rosary that the Blessed Virgin healed his soul, restored him to health, and entrusted him with a mission. Later Blessed Bartolo wrote, “What is my vocation? To write about Mary, to have Mary praised, to have Mary loved.

Rosary Apostolate

Blessed Longo reached out to the desperately poor, ignorant, and needy people of the town of Pompei. He taught them to pray the Rosary. The Rosary did for that entire town what it had done for him in his personal life; it brought healing, refreshment, holiness, joy, and peace. With the help of the Countess Mariana de Fusco whom he later married on the advice of Pope Leo XIII, while preserving with her his vow of chastity, Bartolo Longo undertook the construction of the church of the Madonna of the Rosary of Pompei. The city that grew up around it became the City of the Rosary.

He founded a congregation of Dominican Sisters to care for the poor. He established a school for boys. He wrote tirelessly in the service of Madonna and of her Rosary. His beautiful supplication to the Madonna of the Rosary has been translated into countless languages. Pope John Paul II prayed it when, on October 7, 2003, he visited Pompei to conclude the Year of the Rosary. In Italy, every year on the first Sunday of October, everything comes to a halt at noon while people, young and old, poor and rich, healthy and sick, pause to pray Blessed Longo’s supplication to the Virgin of the Rosary.

Divine Mercy Available to All

Saint Faustina made known the mystery of Divine Mercy. Blessed Bartolo Longo experienced Divine Mercy in a dramatic and deeply personal way. The same Divine Mercy is available to us: the mercy that brings back from hell, the mercy that raises the soul from spiritual death, the mercy that heals, restores, forgives, and repairs the past.

The Divine Mercy comes to us through the intercession of the Mother of God and, most efficaciously, through the humble prayer of the Rosary. It comes to us in the Sacrament of Penance: the mystery of the blood and the water from the side of Christ washing over the soul. And the Divine Mercy comes to us in the mystery of the Eucharist. The Mass is the real presence of Crucified Love. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is Divine Mercy flowing from the Heart of the Lamb, making saints out of sinners.

Father Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB
Silverstream Priory

Blessed Bartolo Longo

Bartolo Longo in reposeFrom Satanist Priest to great Marian Blessed. What a headline! But it is a true one. We honor the memory of Bartolo Longo as a beatus of the Church today.

If anything we can say of Longo’s life is that we are never to give up hope!!! Keep Praying for him or her whomever it may be…

The tomb of Blessed Bartolo Longo in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Pompeii which he founded. He leads us back to Our Lady’s feast on the 6th and 7th.

Read more on Blessed Bartolo Longo here and here.

Missionary image of Our Lady of Pompeii visits East Haven, CT parish

Missionary image of Our Lady of Pompeii June 6 2011.jpgThe missionary image of Our Lady of Pompeii is making the rounds the various parishes in the USA strengthening the faith of the people and evoking the confidence in Christ. Tonight, the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Pompeii was brought to the parish church named for the same in East Haven, CT. Thanks to Father Matthew R. Mauriello, pastor of Saint Roch Church (Greenwich, CT) and the coordinator of the US Marian Mission of Our Lady of Pompeii.

Father John Lavorgna, pastor of the East Haven parish welcomed the bishop, clergy and the lay faithful. Mass began to strains of “Santa Maria del Camino.” Father John did a terrific job at bringing many people together for prayer and fraternity.
750 people prayed the Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Peter Anthony Rosazza and 17 priests. Three of the priests present tonight were representing the Archbishop-Prelate of Pompeii Carlo Liberati. The faithful heard a letter sent to them by Archbishop Liberati and from the Pope via the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, SDB. Bishop Peter did some parts of the Mass in Italian and others in English; he sang the propers of the Mass and the Eucharistic prayer.

Clergy OLOP June 6 2011.jpg

Following the Liturgy, several people prayed the Rosary, including members of the Third Order Dominicans. Because of a realization that the Rosary is gospel lived, it is known to cut off the head of evil. The Rosary connects us not only with God by way of meditating on His great of act of Love, but also the spiritual home of the Basilica of Our Lady of Pompeii with Pompeii, East Haven, CT.
The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii is traditionally observed on May 8. This feast of the Blessed Mother is recalled as result of the good work of Blessed Bartolo Longo (a man who gave his life to Christ –after a life of following spiritism and satanism. He became a Third Order Dominican and a member of the Order of Holy Sepulchre, an Apostle of the Rosary. Longo is also known for his famous Supplica, a prayer which sets one’s heart on truth and reality of the Incarnate Word of God. Blessed Bartolo might be seen as Italy’s equivalent of Saint Faustina. Longo’s mission, which ought to be ours, “is to write about Mary, to Mary praised, to have Mary loved.”

Our Lady of Pompeii Church East Haven June 6 2011.jpg

There’s at least 8 churches in the USA named in honor of Our Lady of Pompeii: East Haven, CT, Chicago, IL, Tickfaw, LA, Baltimore, MD, Paterson, NJ, Vineland, NJ. New York, NY and Dobbs Ferry, NY.

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.

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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