Spiritual Life: March 2010 Archives

LSquarcia2.jpgLast November I posted a story about a priest, Father Luigi Squarcia, 66, a priest of the Diocese of Viterbo, who was living with Lou Gehrig's Disease relating that Father Luigi was determined not to be defined by the ravages of a disease, nor to give into the nihilism of sickness and forthcoming death. What he did was remarkable: Father Luigi lived as a true Christian. He gathered up his sufferings for the life of the Mystical Body of the Church and gave them to the Lord in the person of Pope Benedict.

I received word today from friends of his letting me know that Father Luigi died on Wednesday and his funeral is today. My correspondent said that his funeral was concelebrated by four bishops. "He was loved by everyone and a real priest, since he offered and prayed until the last the minute." I hope that can be said of me when I meet the Lord face to face. In his funeral homily Bishop Chiarinelli likened Father Luigi to Job: tested and found faithful. The bishop also noted that Father's life was courageous, full of hope and complete in the Cross of Christ.

Providential that I receive this note from Italy about Father Luigi's death because in my Christian Anthropology class these last days we've been speaking of suffering, uniting our suffering with that of Christ's for the salvation of the world. We're reading John Paul's Salvifici Doloris and CS Lewis' The Problem of Pain trying to understanding the mystery of suffering and pain and how it is redemptive and has radical meaning in a world that rejects suffering and meaning.

Offer a prayer for Father Luigi Squarcia who, indeed, did not squander the gift of suffering.

O God, Who did raise Thy servant Luigi Squarcia to the dignity of priest in the apostolic priesthood, grant, we beseech Thee, that he may be joined in fellowship with Thine Apostles forevermore.

I ask you to pray for a friend, also a priest, Father David Borino, who living with the same disease as Father Luigi.

In the above picture, courtesy of the sisters of the Immaculate Heart Monastery in Acquapendente, has Father Luigi walking with Archbishop Boccardo praying the rosary. In 2005, while processing with the Blessed Sacrament to conclude a Marian year, Father felt a change in feeling in his arms.

Novena to Saint Joseph

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March 19 is the solemnity of the Saint Joseph, husband of Blessed Virgin Mary. Time has gotten away from me and I am only now able to post a set of novena prayers to Saint Joseph. This solemn feast is a special feast and one that should not get away from us because of Saint Joseph's special care for the Church and personally for each one of us. While the days prior to the feast won't constitute nine days of prayer, perhaps this year we could begin the novena on the feast itself and next year start on March 10. These prayers were sent to me a kind Canadian reader of the Communio blog.

St Joseph young.jpg

The daily novena prayer Saint Joseph

Remember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen

Day 1

O Saint Joseph, Pillar of Families! Foster Father of Jesus, protect our families from the sufferings of separation and divorce. Be a lighthouse for fathers and father-figures alike, so that they may lead virtuous lives and be good role models to our children. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be [these three prayers are to be said each day after the novena prayer]

Day 2

O Saint Joseph, Guardian of Virgins! Loving, chaste spouse of our Blessed Mother, protect the chastity of marriages so that our children may grow up in strong united families. We also ask you to protect the virginity of the youth so that they may be spared from unnecessary sufferings, and to help those living the consecrated life to be ever more faithful to their vocations. Amen.

Day 3

O Saint Joseph, Patron of the Unborn! Your faith was necessary to bring about the glory of the incarnation. Teach us all to have unbending confidence in the promises of Christ. May we submit ourselves wholeheartedly to His will and trust that His providence will see us through in difficult moments. Amen.

Day 4

O Saint Joseph, Terror of Demons! Help us defeat our untamed passions, imaginations and memories. Teach us to listen to the voice of our Father in the silence of our hearts, and give us the strength to have dominion over our senses. In times of weakness, may we closely depend on our intellect and will, and most importantly the graces generously given to us through prayer by our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Day 5

O Saint Joseph, Hope of the sick and the dying. Heal us from our bodily ills, emotional troubles and worldly fears.  Be with us in times of frailty, and comfort us with hope in eternal life. May our hearts be anchored in Jesus every day of our lives and may we never be separated from him. Amen.

Day 6

O Saint Joseph, Patron of the Church! Protect the intentions of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, our Cardinals, Bishops, priests and all religious who work faithfully to shepherd the people. Keep them away from temptation, and deliver them from all unholy and corrupting influences. May our Church remain free from all contagion of error and be constantly reinvigorated by the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 7

O Saint Joseph, Patron of Workers! Comfort us during the desolation of unemployment, and bring compassion into our hearts during times of prosperity. Teach us the right paths and the right words, so that we may be able to meet our temporal needs. We also ask that you keep our hearts aflame with the Word of God, that we may always be conscious that our need for daily bread is not restricted to bread alone, but Jesus in the Eucharist. Amen.

Day 8

O Saint Joseph, Lover of Poverty! Solace of the wretched! Be our friend in time of suffering, and help us appreciate the virtues we can harvest through struggle and sacrifice. Keep us away from the snares of pride and self-importance. Let us remember the poverty of our Lord so that we can dutifully imitate his life in humility and obedience. Amen.

Day 9

O Saint Joseph, humble, poor, and obedient servant of the God the Father! We praise you participation in the glory of the Incarnation, as faster father of Jesus Christ and most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Keep us all close to your heart, and may the faithful works of Blessed Brother André continue to bring glory to God for years to come. May all those who seek your intercession and his be met with expedient relief or consolation. Amen.

The tragic death of Michael Blosil, 18, son of Marie Osmond, the other day brings light to the sad reality of teen suicide. Noted by friends and family of the Osmonds, Michael had been battling the demons of depression.

The seriousness of the problem is seen in the statistics by the National Conference of State Legislatures:

19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.
14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide.
900,000 youth planed their suicides during a major depression episode.

The Center for Disease Control said that suicide is the third leading cause of teen deaths between the ages of 15 and 24 behind accidents and homicide. And it is the fourth leading cause of children age 10-14.

For those interested in the subject, the Catholic Information Service published a booklet on suicide, Coping with a Suicide: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice. You can also listen to the booklet as a download.

This booklet provides a helpful look into defining suicide and it helps the reader to identify the signs while giving some helpful resources.
May the saints lead Michael into paradise.

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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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Spiritual Life category from March 2010.

Spiritual Life: February 2010 is the previous archive.

Spiritual Life: April 2010 is the next archive.

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