News from San Antonio Church – March 17, 2024

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Weekly Bulletin March 1714, 2024

by Terrie Evans

On this 5th Sunday of Lent as we get closer to Easter Sunday it was once referred to as Passiontide before the revision of the Liturgical Calendar at Vatican II, the focus is still centered on the events leading up and commemorates the Lord’s Passion and death.  Since the revision of the General Roman Calendar in 1969, the term Passiontide is no longer used for the last two weeks of Lent although it is observed in the Church of England and in provinces of the Anglican Communion.  Pope John XXIII’s Code of Rubrics in 1960 changed the name of the 5th Sunday of Lent to the First Sunday of the Passion with the next Sunday becoming the Second Sunday of the Passion or Palm Sunday.  The Station Church for this Sunday is San Pietra in Vaticano, St. Peters in the Vatican in Rome.  The original church built in 40 AD was erected by Emperor Caligalia on the site of the Roman Circus.  It is considered the heart of the Roman Church, and it is where St. Peter was crucified upside down because he felt he was not worthy to die the same way as Jesus and is buried there.  St. Peter’s is known for the relics that are in the possession of the Basilica.  There are reliquaries for the main relics and statues of St. Longinus with the Holy Spear, St. Andrew with his cross, St. Helena with the True Cross, and the most prestigious, St. Veronica with the relic of the Veil of Veronica. 

The story of Veronica comes from the history of the early church.   According to pious tradition, St. Veronica was a poor woman who Jesus had cured and as he walked the Via Dolorossa (The Sorrowful Path) on the way to His Crucifixion, she wiped the face of Jesus.  When she met Him again and Veronica wiped his face as he fell under the weight of the cross and miraculously, left his physical image on the face of the cloth.  During the Crusades, “a Veil of Veronica” was brought to Rome from Jerusalem in the 8th Century on the request of Pope Boniface VIII with the likeness highly venerated since the end of the 10th Century.  In 1207 the veil was publicly processed and displayed and during the 1st Holy Year in 1300, the Veil of Veronica was one of the Mirabilia Urbis (marvels of the city of Rome) displayed to pilgrims when they visited St. Peter’s Basilica.  The image was misplaced in the 17th Century with copies of the image turning up in France until the True Image was located hidden in a relic chamber and then shown every Passion Sunday to commemorate the final two weeks before Easter Sunday.  As bells toll, Vespers will be celebrated with the exposition to the faithful of the Veil of Veronica in the niche above her statue along with other relics shown on the 5th Sunday of Lent.  The veil is kept hidden in a special chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica and shown to the world only on Passion Sunday.   Some believe the image is not located at St. Peter’s Basilica but in the Church of the Holy Face in Manoppello, in northern Italy.  Pope Benedict XVI was the first Pontiff since 1606, 400 years ago, when he visited the image in 2006.  The gesture of Veronica’s compassion for Calvary is shown on the 6th Station of the Cross. 

Veronica comes from “Vera Icona” meaning the True Image of Jesus when in 1844, visions of Jesus appeared to Marie of St. Peter, a Carmelite nun living in tours, France who started a devotion to the Holy Gace of Jesus.  In her visions, it showed Veronica wiping away the mud and spit from the face of Jesus as he requested Sr. Marie establish a devotion to His Holy Face in reparation for the acts of sacrilege and blasphemy done to Him.  Those Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ will then be compared to the Veronicas kindness by wiping the face of Jesus.  Pope Leo XIII approved the Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus in 1885.  The Veronica Veil Holy Face Prayer: “Eternal Father, We offer You the Holy Face of Jesus, covered with blood, sweat, dust and spittle, in reparation for the crimes of communists, blasphemers, and for the profanes of the Holy Name and of the Holy Day of Sunday. Amen.”    

This Sunday is also the feast day of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland who was thought to have brought Christianity to Ireland.  He was born in Britain in 387 and was taken to Ireland at 16 by Irish Raiders He spent to work as sheep herder.   He spent 6 years working as a shepherd praying to God for help to return home.  The answer from God was to flee to the coast where a ship would be waiting to take him home for his mission to become a priest.  Patrick would use the next years of his life evangelizing in Northern Ireland that would convert thousands.  He became known as a 5th Century Romano-British Christian Missionary and Bishop of Ireland.  He would stay in Ireland preaching, Baptizing those faithful, and building churches throughout the country.  When asked by a pagan King to speak about his God, he said:  “There is but one God, and the Three Divine Persons; The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit”  He then picked up a shamrock saying:  “Even as there are three leaves on this one stem, so there are three persons in one God.”   St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 and has been celebrated since the 9th Century where in Ireland this day is celebrated as a public holiday.  

The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration was held in 1600 by St. Augusten who had traveled from Ireland to the Americas to visit an Irish priest Richard Arthur, and Irish soldiers in St. Augustine, Florida.  In the 1600’s St. Patrick’s Feast day was added to the calendar of the Catholic Church because of the influence of the Waterford born Franciscan scholar, Luke Wadding.  In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is considered the middle of spring with the weather improving for the planting of potatoes by farmers.   In 1737, Irish Soldiers in the English Military marched in celebration of St. Patrick in Boston, Massachusetts and in 1762 they would march in New York City.  In 1848, New York City held its first St. Patrick’s Day Parade complete with bag pipes and drums.  In Ireland, the first state sponsored St. Patrick’s Day took place in Dublin in 1931.  The week around St. Patrick’s Day is referred to as Seachtain na Gaeilge or Irish Language Week with Irish language events being held to promote the use of the language.  Since 1962 in Chicago, their river is dyed green and since 2010, famous landmarks in Ireland have been lit up to “Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day.  There are 300 landmarks in 50 countries that will go green for the day.  The Irish Prime Minister will meet with the President of the United States around St. Patrick’s Day to present a Waterford Crystal Bowl filled with Shamrocks, a tradition that began in 1952 when the Irish Ambassador to the U.S. sent a box of Shamrocks to President Harry S. Truman.  Shamrocks will be presented by the British Royals to the Irish Guards, a regiment in the British Army, a tradition started in 1901 with the first presentation by Queen Alexandra.  A Prayer in honor of St. Patrick: “O, God, You sent St. Patrick to preach Your glory to the Irish people.  Through his merits and intercession grant that we who have the honor of bearing the name of Christians may constantly proclaim Your wonderful designs to men.  Amen.”   

On Monday, March 18th, we honor the feast of Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church.  Born in 313, he was considered a theologian of the Early Church and was exiled on more than one occasion for the policies of various Emperors.  He was known as a preacher and liturgist who was ordained a Deacon in 335, a Priest 8 years later, then Bishop of Jerusalem.  His writings contain the loving and forgiving nature of God and wrote of the healing power of forgiveness of the Holy Spirit.  Cyril wrote: “The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance.  He is not felt as a burden for God is light very light.  Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as the Spirit approaches.  The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen to console.”  During his life, Cyril was disgraced and forced to leave his position and his people behind but never showed any bad will to those who wronged him.  He lived the words he wrote about forgiveness.  He is venerated as a Saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental and Anglican Communion Churches.  He died in 386 at the age of 73 and in 1883, was declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII.  A Prayer to St. Cyril: “O God of Our Father, and Lord of Mercy, who has made all things with your word, and ordained man through your wisdom, that he should have dominion over the creatures which you have made, give me wisdom that sits by your throne so that I might understand what your will is and be saved. For I am Your servant. AMEN.”

On Tuesday, March 19th, the Catholic Church honors and celebrates St. Joseph’s Day, a major holiday for Italian Americans especially those of Sicilian Descent.  In the Middle Ages, there was a severe and devasting drought which caused famine, suffering and starvation.  Everyone prayed to St. Joseph for help to end this suffering with the promise to thank him with a great feast.  Their prayers to him were answered and an enormous feast was prepared in his honor for all to enjoy, especially for the poor and needy who all had seats at their banquet table.  The Heavenly father chose Joseph, a young carpenter of Nazareth to be the father figure to Jesus and the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   St. Joseph was blessed with a vision of an angel of God saying, “Do not fear to take Mary as your wife.  That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son and you will call his name Jesus.”  He shared all the anxieties of a parent like the time when Jesus, who was presumed lost after their visit to the Temple in Jerusalem.  Because of much devotion to St. Joseph for his role in the Holy Family, in Italy, the holiday is also considered the Italian Father’s Day, known as Festa de San Giuseppe. 

Many Italians throughout Italy attend Mass to give thanks to St. Jospeh for answering their prayers and asking him to help them be better and more giving persons especially to those less fortunate.  On St. Joseph’s day many will do a service project, volunteer at a hospital, or give to the poor or charity with a donation in his name.  Parades will take place in many towns with the Holy Family:  Mary, Joseph, and Jesus portrayed by local people leading the procession.   When they arrive for the banquet that all are invited to attend everyone will say to the Holy Family: “Enter.  There is always room in our hearts and homes for the Holy Family.”  They will then be seated at a special table and be the first to be served at the banquet.  

In 1650, the Sisters of St. Joseph was founded and there are about 14,000 members.  In 1870, Pope Pius IX named St. Joseph the Patron Saint of the Universal Church.  According to Catholic Tradition as he died in the arms of Jesus and Mary, Joseph is considered the model of a pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death.   St. Joseph is invoked against hesitation and for the grace toward a holy death.  The Egyptians were also among the early devotes to St. Joseph along with the Servites, a religious order of Mendicant Friars who began celebrating St.  Josephs Day around the 14th Century.   They started celebrating his feast day in 1871, when the Josephite Fathers of the Catholic Church were founded to work with the poor.  Under the patronage of St. Joseph, the 1st Josephites in America devoted their ministry to working with the newly emancipated African American Community and in 1878, the Oblates of St. Joseph was established by Josep Marello.  St. Joseph is also the patron saint of fathers, families, carpenters, expectant mothers, and unborn children.  In 1955, Pope Pius XII added a second day, May 1st celebrated as the memorial of St. Joseph, the worker who toiled as a carpenter and is seen as a powerful intercessor for those in the workforce and for anyone seeking employment.  Pope John XXIII added Joseph’s name to the Canon of the Mass in 1962.  It was inserted immediately after that of the Blessed Virgin Mary and in 2013, Pope Francis inserted St. Joseph’s name to three other Eucharistic Prayers. St. Joseph is remembered in the Church of England and also in the Episcopal Church on this day.  

On December 8, 2020, Pope Francis released his Apostolic letter, “Patris Corde”, on the 150th Anniversary of the declaration by Pope Pius IX that made St. Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church.  Pope Francis then announced that the following year, December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021, would be set aside as the Year of St. Joseph.  There is a Catholic tradition of burying a statue of St. Joseph on the grounds of your homes as a faster way to sell a house.  A Prayer on the Feast Day of St. Joseph: “Let us make St. Joseph our Lenten Saint on the way to Easter.  May we have a semblance of His Humility, Great Faith, and Trust in God.  St. Joseph, Pray for us.”  

On Saturday, March 23rd, we celebrate the Saint of the day, Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, Archbishop of Lima.  He was born in Spain, educated in law, and went on to become a Professor of Law at the University of Salamanca.  With his knowledge, Turibius cited all the Canons of the Law within the Catholic Church.  After his Ordination and appointment, as Bishop, he was assigned an enormous Archdiocese, visiting and most of the times staying 2 or 3 days in each place.  In his years as Archbishop, Turibius Baptized and Confirmed 500,000 of the faithful serving the Lord in Peru, South America for 26 years.  Among those who he baptized and confirmed are Martin de Porres, Missionary Francisco Solano, and Isable Flores de Olivia (St. Rose of Lima) who would all become saints.  He was known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, saying the Rosary every day and fasting every Saturday in her honor.  He worked for the infant Church of Peru and for everyone in his diocese, that they would be able to receive instruction and the benefits of the sacraments while traveling thousands of miles through the wilderness to say Mass.  He aided the Archbishop of Lima and was consecrated a Bishop in 1581 at the age of 43.  His Diocese extended 130 leagues along the coast or 390 miles.  He upheld the rights of Peru’s Indigenous Peoples while making sure he reached all who wanted to hear the message of Christ and receive the Sacraments.  He built roads, schoolhouses, chapels, and in 1591 founded the first Seminary in the Western Hemisphere. 

He built many hospitals and would visit patients, comforting the sick while administering the Sacraments.  Turibius preached penance saying: “Because sins are the cause of chastisements and infinitely the worst of evils”.  In 1606, Turibius became ill while visiting his Diocese and from his bed, he often repeated the words of St. Paul: “I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ.”  Many miracles were attributed to him through his intercession after his death.  He was Beatified by Pope Innocent IX in 1679 and Canonized by Pope benedict XIII in 1726 and is the Patron Saint of Native Peoples rights and Latin American Bishops.   There is the St. Turibius Chapel located at the Pontifical College Josephinum and the St. Turibius Parish in Chicago serving the English, Spanish and Polish Communities.  Pope Francis has compared St. Turibius to the great Italian, St. Charles Borromeo praising him for his Missionary zeal.

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