News from San Antonio Church – June 16, 2024

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Weekly Bulletin June 15, 2024

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday, we honor all Fathers as we wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the men from San Antonio Church who continue to work and support the mission that was started by the founding fathers in 1922.  We also appreciate all the Priestly Fathers who have served our parishioners since the beginning of our parish started by our beloved Sister of Charity, Sr. Blandina Segale, Servant of God.   We can never forget their sincere dedication and that of all our Great Grandfather’s, Grandfathers, and Fathers, who raised their families in the Little Italy section of South Fairmount and established our church in honor of their patron St. Anthony of Padua.  We are blessed to be the next generations of those raised in the Catholic Church who are able to attend Mass, hold family Baptisms, celebrate Weddings, and when it is our time be buried from the same church of our grandparents.  The present-day roster of men from our church have stepped up to do their part so our traditions may continue.  They are present on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month for Lunch on the House, on Sundays for coffee and pastries after Mass and especially for the Spaghetti Dinner, Pizza Party, and fundraiser events held annually in the Hall.  The men from San Antonio Church are an all-volunteer group who deal with many problems on a weekly basis.  Every Sunday, they pick up the pastries, open the Hall, make the coffee, and bake the bread that is sold to our guests.  They also cook and serve for our Mother’s Day Breakfast and every July, prepare the Hall, cook, and serve a breakfast for the La Femminile Fuscaldese Organization in honor of their patron, San Francesco de Paola.    

On May 31st– June 2nd, our summer fundraiser, the Cincitalia Fest took place at Harvest Home was handled by our esteemed San Antonio Church Father, Buddy La Rosa and his Family who donated all the Bruschetta Bread, and everything need for our Bruschetta Booth.  Church volunteer, Harry Panaro took care of scheduling the workers, setting up the booth space and overseeing the quality of each bruschetta served.  They worked extremely hard to make the weekend a successful fan favorite, and a profitable fundraiser for St. Catherine of Siena School.  We appreciate Buddy, Mike and Mark LaRosa and thank the men from San Antonio Church and their families who assisted at the Cincitalia Fest for the 3-day event. 

On Friday, May 31st, the crew consisted of Ted & Lisa Arthur, Earl & Rose Einhaus, Donald & Kristy Macke, Charles & Carla Rice, Mike & Janet Rieff.  On Saturday June 1st, the workers were Ted & Lisa Arthur, Ron & Connie Dalessandro, Fred Jeannet & Maria Jeannet, Harry & Kristy Macke, and Melissa, Stephanie, and Tony Panaro.  On Sunday, June 2nd, the crew consisted of Dan Armstrong, Matt Farrell, Dave Guidugli, Scott Maier, Tom Matthews, Joe & Sally Olding and Harry Panaro who closed down the booth.  Our Church Community sends their gratitude to you all! 

On Wednesday, June 19th we honor the feast of St. Romuald (951-1027) born in Ravenna, Italy.  He came from the aristocratic Onesti Family who enjoyed all the trappings and pleasures of wealth and position.  When he was 20, Romuald witnessed his father, Sergius kill a man over a property dispute.  He was devastated, went to the Basilica Sant’ Apollinare in Classe to reflect, pray and do 40 days of penance where he stayed and went on to become a monk.  He then practiced a life of extreme severity, took the habit of St. Benedict, and erected a hermitage for the contemplation of God through silence, penance, and prayer.  For the next 30 years, Romuald founded Monasteries, became an advisor to the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III and named Abbot to Sant ’Appolinare in Classe, Ravenne, Italy.  He held the position for one year with the Monks resisting his reforms and with him going back to practice monasticism and withdrawing from society.  In 1012, after arriving at the Diocese of Arezzo, Romuald was given land and built “cells” for hermits, later becoming part of the mother house of the Camaldolese Hermits of Mount Corona.  St. Romuald’s Rule: “Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole behind you and forget it.  Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish.  The path you must follow is in the Psalms-never leave it.”  He developed new theological and practical understanding of the ideals of monasticism and provided spiritual direction to existing ones in need of reform.   He established other monasteries and hermitages throughout Italy including the Monastery of Val di Castro where he died on June 19, 1027.   St. Romuald was canonized by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and is invoked for reformation of the Church and monastic life.   A Prayer to St. Romuald: “God called you to a new and glorious vocation, which He wanted to gift to the Church through you. You responded in generosity and left a legacy of holy men who followed.  Please pray for me, that I will more fully commit myself to a life of silence, solitude, and prayer.  In that way, I will discover the beautiful life that you discovered so as to prepare my soul more fully for Heaven.  St. Romuald, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You. AMEN.” 

On Friday, the 21st of June we celebrate the feast of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga. Schools named after him are Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania and Gonzaga University located in Spokane, Washington.  Born in northern Italy, the eldest of eight children to a noble family his father was a Marqis, with his mother, a Lady in waiting to Isabel, the wife of Philip of Spain.  At the age of 8, he was sent along with his younger brother to serve in the court of the Grand Duke, Francesco I de Medici to continue his education.  While there, he suffered from kidney disease and while bedridden, spent time in prayer and reading about the lives of saints.  On his return home, Gonzaga met with Cardinal Charles Borromeo and on July 22,1580, made his 1st Communion.  While researching the lives of saints, Gonzaga felt the call to become a missionary.  He was considering joining the Capuchin Monks or the Jesuit Order even though his father denied his request.  His father hoped he would become a soldier in the service of his country’s military.   Being the oldest Gonzaga, he would inherit his father’s estate but if becoming a Jesuit, he would have to renounce any right to his inheritance.  His family tried to steer Gonzaga to join the priesthood, which would put the family’s wealth to good use for the establishment of churches.  Gonzaga still desired to become a Missionary and in 1585, he gave up all his rights of inheritance that had to be confirmed by the Emperor.  On November 25, 1585, he was accepted into the Society of Jesus as a Jesuit.  Two years later, on November 25, 1587, Gonzaga took three religious vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience and in March 1588 received minor orders to start theology in preparation for his ordination.  In 1591, there was a plague that took over Rome with the Jesuits opening a hospital for those stricken ill.  Gonzaga donated alms for the stricken, washing, feeding them, and making sure they received the sacraments.  Many of the younger Jesuits became infected with the disease but Gonzaga kept returning to the hospital until it became too much of a risk for him.  He was sent to another hospital where no contagious disease patients were admitted called Our Lady of Consolation.  He became seriously ill and was bedridden on March 3, 1591, right before his 23rd birthday.  His heath declined for many weeks, given Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) as he spoke with his confessor, Robert Bellarmine who gave him the last rights on June 21, 1591.  He was buried in the Church of the Most Holy Annunciation (now the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola) in Rome where his remains rest in an Urn in the Lancellotti Chapel.  He was Beatified 14 years after his death on October 19, 1605, by Pope Paul V.  Gonzaga was Canonized by Pope Benedict XIII along with Jesuit Novice, Stanislaus Koska on December 31, 1726, and in 1729, he was declared the patron saint of youth and students by Pope Benedict.  In 1926, Pope Pius XI declared St. Aloysius Gonzaga the patron of all Christian Youth and later named patron of incurable disease. 

Also on June 21st, the Catholic, Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches celebrate the life of Paulinus of Nola.  He was born Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus in the year 352 in Bordeaux, France into a noble family with estates in France, northern Iberia and in southern Italy.   When he was a young boy, Paulinus would visit the Shrine of St. Felix of Nola, near Naples, the minor saint whose tomb had been built just outside the town of Naples.   In 377, when Emperor Gratian succeeded his father Valentinian, Paulinus was appointed Governor of the southern Italian Province of Campania in the year 380 at the age of 28.  Paulinus noticed the Campanians deep devotion to St. Felix of Nola with many pilgrims visiting the shrine and while Governor, built a road for the faithful and a hospice to aid the poor.  He would marry Theresia, a Christian noblewoman from Barcelona, Spain and welcome a child who would only live for eight days.  After their loss, they moved from Iberia and withdrew from the world to live a secluded religious life in Nola. When Theresia died, Paulinus received ordination without receiving minor orders first and was then chosen Bishop of Nola, a position he held for twenty years. 

During the 4th and 5th Centuries, many aristocrats chose to enter the clergy rather taking on administrative careers in the imperial service.  While Bishop of Nola, Paulinus spent a great deal of his money on the church and city of Nola.  He and Theresia rebuilt a church in honor of St. Felix of Nola, which was great in size and richly decorated with Christian art, porticoes and fountains supplied with water from nearby Avella.  Paulius, the Senator, Bishop and Theologian died on June 22, 431 and is credited for introducing the use of bells in church services and writing an annual hymn to honor St. Felix on his feast day to welcome the procession of pilgrims to Nola.  In the 11th Century, the relics of St. Paulius rested at the Church of St. Bartholomew in Rome.  In 1908, Pope Pius X permitted them to be transferred to the new Cathedral at Nola in 1909.  There are many people in Nola and the surrounding regions of southern Italy devoted to St. Paulinus with his feast day celebrated annually at the La Festa dei Gigli (The Feast of the Lilies).  The lilies are tall thin wooden obelisks in the form of lilies adorned with red paper, gold, silver, and covered with flags in honor of the saint are placed on the shoulders of local men to be carried the procession.  In Brooklyn, the descendants from Nola and Brusciano continue this tradition as they do in East Harlem on Giglio Way, held by the Giglio Society.  On Long Island, in West Hempstead, New York, the Sons of San Paulino di Nola hold special events to honor the saint from the area where they emigrated from. 

On Saturday, June 22nd we also celebrate John Fisher, (1469-1535), Bishop of Rochester in the Kingdom of England who refused to accept Henry VIII’s claim to be head of the Church and Thomas More (1478-1535), English lawyer, judge, theologian who refused to acknowledge Henry VIII’s annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.  John Fisher was an academic and at the age of 13 entered Cambridge and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1487 and his Master of Arts Degree in 1491, the same year was ordained into the priesthood.  In 1494, he became proctor of the university and chaplain and confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort, his patroness and mother of King Henry VII.  Under his guidance, Lady Margaret founded St. John’s and Christs Colleges at Cambridge the lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity at Oxford and Cambridge.   In 1516, he opened St. John’s College and later consecrated their chapel.  John Fisher was considered the first theologian to diagnose the justification through faith alone as the founding dogma of the Protestant Reformation and in 1526, he preached a sermon against Martin Luther at the open-air pulpit outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  When Henry VIII tried to annul his marriage to Catherin of Aragon, John Fisher became the chief supporter of the Queen and appeared in court on her behalf.  In 1535, newly elected Pope Paul III made Fisher Cardinal Priest of San Vitale in hopes of easing the King’s treatment of Fisher, but he was treated as a commoner, tried by a jury, and sentenced to be beheaded on June 22, 1535.  He met his death because he refused to accept Henry VIII’s claim to be head of the Church.  John Fisher said, “I do not condemn any other men’s conscience.  Their conscience may save them, and mine must save me.”   He met death with dignity and courage and said he was “the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”   He spent 15 months imprisoned in the Tower of London before being put to death.  He was Beatified on December 29,1886 and canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 19, 1935.  John Fishers Motto:  Faciam Vos Fieri Piscatores Hominum: “I shall make you fishers of men.” 

We also celebrate the life of Thomas More on the feast day of John Fisher.  Born in 1478, he was the son of a successful lawyer and judge; educated at St, Anthony’s School and became a household page to the Archbishop of Canterbury.   In 1492, More began his studies at Oxford and became proficient in Latin and Greek leaving after two years to study law.  He became an accomplished lawyer although he wondered if becoming a monk would become his calling.  More admired their lifestyle of piety and sacrifice joining the monks in their spiritual exercises.  Even though he continued in his law career, elected to Parliament in 1504, More continued to live in the tradition of the Third Order of St. Francis.   He married in 1505 and had four children before the death of his wife Jane in 1511.  Thomas More served on many positions in the public servant sector before undertaking diplomatic missions to the Holy Roman Empire, Calais, and Bruges, Belgium.  In 1521, More was knighted and chosen as the treasurer of the Exchequer before becoming the personal advisor to King Henry VIII welcoming foreign diplomats and drafting official documents.   More was able to use his law skills to judge in the lower court while serving as the liaison between the King and his court.  He was in service to Henry VIII as Lord High Chancellor of England from 1529-1532.  As the Chief Government Minister More was responsible for equity and common law, contracts, royal household cases and appeals.  Thomas More was a staunch supporter of the Catholic Church and thought the Protestant Reformation was a threat to not only the church but to all society at that time.  It was at this time that the conflict between the Papacy and the King took place when More refused to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.  A royal decree required the clergy to acknowledge the King as Supreme Head of the Church of England.  In 1532, the Convocation of Canterbury agreed to sign the Oath only after these words were added: “As far as the law of Christ allows”.   Many of the clergy along with Cardinal John Fisher refused to sign and on May 16, 1532, Thomas More resigned from his position as Chancellor due to the intense royal threat to the English Church.   Thomas More recognized that as long as he held the office of Chancelor he would be obliged to conform to the law of the King, and More believed capital punishment was immoral, reprehensible, and unjustifiable.  In 1533, Thomas More declined an invitation to attend the Coronation of Anne Boleyn as the new Queen of England and this was seen by Henry VIII as a snub to Anne.  In the next year, More was accused of minor infractions against the monarch and in 1534, was asked to appear before the commission to swear allegiance to the parliamentary.  He refused to take the oath of supremacy of the Crown in its relationship between the kingdom and the Church in England, and he refused to uphold Henry’s annulment from Catherine.  The Bishop of Rochester, John Fisher had also refused to take the oath.  Thomas Moore was arrested and with the evidence from all his enemies, he was charged with treason all the while urging him to take the oath.   The Treasons Act of 1534 declares it is a treasonous offense to speak against the King’s Supremacy with the offending persons to suffer such pains or death and other penalties.  On July 1, 1535, the trial of Thomas Moore was held with a last offering by the King for a gracious pardon if he would reform his opinion.  He never spoke out against the King and assumed he would not be punished but when More refused to sign the oath of Succession confirming Anne’s role as Queen and the right of her children to succession; four days later, More was imprisoned in the Tower of London and at his trial, the jury found him guilty in fifteen minutes.  When he was on the scaffolding before his execution, he declared “That he died the king’s good servant, and God’s first.”  Thomas More was Beatified on December 29, 1886, along with John Fisher and 52 other English Martyrs by Pope Leo XIII and Canonized with John Fisher by Pope Pius XI on May 19, 1935, along with the 52 English Martyrs.  There is a plaque and small garden to commemorate those executed at the site on Tower Hill and to never forget those religious martyrs.   There is a plaque in the middle of the floor of London Westminster House in honor of Thomas More.  In 1980, More and Fisher were added to the Church of England’s calendar of “Saints and Heroes of the Christian Church to be commemorated as Thomas More, Scholar and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, Reformation Martyrs, 1535.   

Our San Antonio Church Community sends condolences and prayers to the family of Larry Panaro who passed away on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at the age of 95.  Larry was the son of the late Frank Panaro and the late Thecla (Gannon) Panaro and brother of the late Frank (Toby) Panaro.   Lawrence was the grandson of the late Lawrence and Josephine (Palmieri) Panaro and grew up with many cousins, aunts, uncles, and relatives from the Little Italy Section of South Fairmount.  Larry married Lois Keen in 1952 who survived, welcoming 7 daughters, Ann (Steve) Florian, Jan (Robert) Pfaffinger, Nancy (John) Kozak, Donna (Gordon) Brown, Paula (James) Cole, Patricia (Scott) Sturgill and Maria (Greg) Pearson.  He leaves 20 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and many family members and friends who will mourn his passing.  His Memorial Mass was held at St. Lawrence Church with Fr. Mark Watkins officiating.  The pallbearers were Larry’s Grandsons:  Bob Pfaffinger, Chris Pfaffinger, Stephen Florian, Rob Florian, John Kozak, Michael Squeri, Tony Squeri, Patrick Sturgill, Robert Pearson, Charlie Pearson. 

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