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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Possible find of ancient Christian lead cast books...

A group of 70 or so tiny "books", each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, was apparently discovered in a remote arid valley in northern Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007.

They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave.

The director of the Jordan's Department of Antiquities, says the books might have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.

The books, or "codices", were apparently cast in lead, before being bound by lead rings.

Their leaves - which are mostly about the size of a credit card - contain text in Ancient Hebrew, most of which is in code.

Margaret Barker, an authority on New Testament history, points to the location of the reported discovery as evidence of Christian, rather than purely Jewish, origin.

We do know that on two occasions groups of refugees from the troubles in Jerusalem fled east, they crossed the Jordan near Jericho and then they fled east to very approximately where these books were said to have been found," she says.

"[Another] one of the things that is most likely pointing towards a Christian provenance, is that these are not scrolls but books. The Christians were particularly associated with writing in a book form rather than scroll form, and sealed books in particular as part of the secret tradition of early Christianity."

Happy Anniversary Bishop Guimarães, and Thank you!

The Anniversary
of the Episcopal Consecration
Bishop Guimarães, C.SS.R.
in the church of
St. Alphonsus, Rome.

Bishop Fernando José Monteiro Guimarães, C.SS.R.
Bishop of Garanhuns, Brazil.
Consecrated 31 March, 2008.

It was through Bishop Guimarães
that we made our first contact with the Holy See,
31 March 2008.

The Mid-Lent Station.

Thursday after the Third Sunday in Lent.
The Middle of Lent.
Station at SS. Cosmas and Damian.
(SS. Cosma e Damiano)

The mosaic in the apse of the basilica.
The Greeks were in the habit of celebrating a day of festival

in honour of the holy cross in the middle of Lent,
making a break, as it were in the long period of fasting.
In Rome this solemnity was deferred to the Sunday following,
but Gregory II instituted this station at the Church of SS Cosmas and Damian,
in order not altogether to deprive the faithful
of that innocent satisfaction in the middle of Lent.

SS. Cosmas and Damian
The two martyrs known as "Anargyri" (moneyless)
-that is, they belonged to that class of pious Byzantine doctors
who despised money and gave their healing services free.
Moreover, considering the rigour of the Lenten fast in those days
it is easy to understand that many persons
must have needed to have recourse to these heavenly physicians.

The Mass has been adapted to the occasion;
it refers chiefly to the anniversary of their martyrdom,
and the frequent mention of health, sickness and healing
recalls the great popularity of the veneration
paid to the holy Moneyless martyrs in those early days.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Today Pope Benedict XVI spoke of St. Alphonsus.

The Holy Father spoke of St. Alphonsus
during today's General Audience.

VATICAN CITY, 30 MAR 2011 (VIS) - In this Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in St Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about St. Alphonsus Maria of Liguori, bishop, Doctor of the Church and "outstanding moral theologian and master of spiritual life".

"St. Alphonsus was born in 1696 to a rich and noble Neapolitan family", and undertook a brilliant career as a lawyer, which he abandoned in order to become a priest in 1726.

The Holy Father explained that the saint "began his work of evangelisation and catechesis at the most humble levels of Neapolitan society, to whom he enjoyed preaching and whom he instructed in the basic truths of the faith".

In 1732 he founded the religious congregation of the Holy Redeemer. Its members, "under the guidance of Alphonsus, were genuine itinerant missionaries, who travelled to the remotest villages exhorting conversion to the faith and perseverance in Christian life, above all by means of prayer".

Benedict XVI recalled that St. Alphonsus died in 1787, was canonised in 1839 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871. This title was granted for a number of reasons. Firstly, for his valuable teachings in the field of moral theology, which accurately expressed Catholic doctrine and on account of which Pius XII proclaimed him as "patron of all confessors and moralists".

"St. Alphonsus", continued the Pope, "never tired of repeating that priests were a visible sign of the infinite mercy of God, Who pardons and illuminates the minds and hearts of sinners that they might convert and change their lives. In our age, in which there are clear signs of a loss of moral conscience and - it is necessary to note with some concern - a certain lack of respect for the Sacrament of Confession, the teaching of St. Alphonsus remains valid".

The Holy Father explained that, "along with his theological works, St. Alphonsus composed many other writings which contributed to the religious formation of the people, such as 'Eternal Maxims', the 'Glories of Mary' and the 'Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ'. This last work represented a synthesis of his thought and is his masterpiece".

The Pope emphasised that the Neapolitan saint "insisted on the need for prayer", and remarked that "among the forms of prayer recommended by St. Alphonsus, most important was the visit to the Blessed Sacrament or, as we would say nowadays, adoration - brief or sustained, personal or communal - of the Eucharist".

"Alphonsus' spirituality was eminently Christological, centred upon Christ and His Gospel. Meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation and of the Passion of the Lord were frequently subjects of his teachings. ... His piety was also markedly Marian. Personally devoted to Mary, he emphasised her role in the history of salvation".

Benedict XVI concluded his catechesis by commenting that "St. Alphonsus of Liguori was an example of a zealous priest who won souls by teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments, and by his own gentle and mild manner which originated from his intense rapport with God's infinite goodness. He had a realistically optimistic view of the resources the Lord grants to every man, and gave importance to affections and sentiments of the heart, as well as to the mind, in loving God and others".

Wednesday after the Third Sunday in Lent.

Hide all
Wednesday after the Third Sunday in Lent.
Station at St. Sixtus the Old on the Via Appia.
(S. Sisto Vecchio a via Appia.)

Pope St. Sixtus ordains St. Lawrence a Deacon.

Before the body of the martyr Pope Sixtus II (A.D. 257 - 258)

was carried to this church from the cemetery of St. Callixtus,
it was known as the titulus of Tyridis after the name of its foundress.
A convent of virgins was attached to it
which was afterwards given by Pope Honorius III (1216-1227) to St. Dominic.

The church is ancient and venerable,
so rich in holy memories and history.
It has a forlorn look,
being now bare of ornament and little frequented.

According to ancient tradition it was at this point on the Appian Way
that St. Lawrence overtook St. Sixtus II, and the four deacons,
SS. Januarius, Magnus, Vicentius and Stephanus,
as they were being dragged to martyrdom.

St. Lawrence, shedding tears of grief at not being allowed
to share in their martyrdom,
fell at the Pope's feet exclaiming:

"Father, where are you going without your son?
Whither are you going, O holy priest, without your deacon?
You were never wont to offer sacrifice without me your minister.
Wherein have I displeased you?
Have uyou found me wanting in my duty?
Try me now,
and see whether you have made choice of an unfit minister
for dispensing the Blood of the Lord."

The holy Sixtus replied:
"I do not leave you, my son,
but a greater trial and more glorious victory
are reserved for you, who are in the full vigour of youth.
We are spared on account of our weakness and old age.
You will follow me in four day's time."

In ancient times the scrutiny of the catechumens

who wished to be admitted to baptism on Holy Saturday night began today;
that is why the Mass of the day has a distinctly catechetical character.
The solemn announcement of the Decalogue (from Exodus Chapter 20)
is intended especially for the catechumens.

Pope Sixtus II entrusts St. Lawrence with money for the poor.

Take special note of today's ancient Secret:

Suscipe... Receive we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers of Thy people, with offerings of sacrifices,
and defend from all dangers them that celebrate Thy mysteries.
Through our Lord.

The words:
and defend from all dangers them that celebrate Thy mysteries
may be noted in connection with
the history of St. Sixtus II and his four deacons
who, on August 6 A.D. 258, in order to escape the vigilance of persecutors
assembled his flock in the lesser known cemetery of
They were surprised whilst celebrating Mass;
St. Sixtus was seated.
Four days later St. Lawrence was martyred.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Lent.

Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Lent.
Station at St Pudentiana.
(S. Pudenziano.)

The Basilica of Pudens,
the domus Pudentiana or the titulus sancti Pudentis

was one of the oldest of the urban titular churches,

and so far, nothing has appeared to disprove the truth
of the ancient ecclesiastical tradition
which asserts that
it was sanctified by the sojourn of Peter in the house of the senator Pudens.
Pudens was the father of Sts. Pudentiana and Praxedes.

Mosaic image of Our Lord in the apse
the Basilica of St. Pudentiana.

We see the Saviour stretching our His Hand
to protect the apostolic church and ancient residence
of the Popes of the second century.
He holds an open book in which we may read the words:
Dominus conservator Ecclesiae Pudentianæ,
-The Lord is the protector of the Church of Pudentiana-
to express a special tutelage over the basilica,
which in olden times was a visible monument
of the apostolate and primacy of St. Peter.

The Good Shepherd of Hermas.

The memories of Pope St. Pius I (A.D. 158 - 167),
of his brother Hermas, the mystic author of the The Shepherd of Hermas,
those of Priscilla, Pudentiana, Praxedes,
Justin the Philosopher, Hippolytus the Doctor
-all these are connected with the Viminal,
(the smallest of the famous seven hills of Rome),
and with the history of the house of Pudenti
in such a way as to make it appear that
in the second century
this was really the papal residence.

The Church of S. Pudentiana,
the Papal Residence of the Second Century,
was sanctified by the sojourn of St. Peter the Apostle.

The sacred Liturgy re-echoed this local tradition,
and the Gospel for today,

containing the passage in which Peter interrogates Our Lord
concerning the forgiveness of sins,

has been chosen on purpose,

in order to recall the memory of the Apostle

in the very place
where he was the guest of Pudenti.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday of the Third Week of Lent.

Monday of the Third Week of Lent.
Station at St. Mark.


Today's Station is held at the church of St. Mark,
built by Pope St. Mark in honour of his patron saint, the Evangelist,
which dates from the fourth century
and is mentioned in the Acts of the council
held by Pope St. Symmachus in 499.

St. Mark, Evangelist
This is the only church in Rome sacred to the memory
of this devored disciple of St.Paul
and faithful interpreter of St. Peter,
who, besides sharing with these Apostles
the first evangelisation of the Eternal City,
wrote his Gospel after their death,
at the request of the faithful at Rome.

The Holy Martyrs Abdon and Sennen
as depicted in today's Station Church.

Under the high-altar of the Titular of St. Mark
rests the body of the founder
with the relics of the martyrs Abdon and Sennen.
We find ourselves here, as it were,
in an Eastern sanctuary in the very heart of the city,
with Mark the founder of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in the one hand
- for the Egyptian element was strong in Rome -
and the Persians Abdon and Sennen on the other.
Naaman the Syrian washes seven times
in the humble river Jordan
and is cleaned of his leprosy,
figure of Holy Baptism.

The scriptural passage read today has in mind
the Eastern origin of the titular patrons of the basilica,
and tells us therefore, of the Syrian Naaman, who,
rejecting the grander rivers of Damascus,
was cleansed from his leprosy in the lesser waters of the Jordan.
This extract is well adapted to the catechumens
who yesterday began theor course of instruction preparatory to baptism.
Peter, observes Tertullian, baptized in the Tiber,
and if the aspirants desire to be healed from the leprosy
of infidelity and original sin,
they must humble themselves, and,
abandoning the rivers of Damascus -that is,
the attractions of their former worldly life,
must wash themselves clean in the pure waters of holy baptism.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Third Sunday in Lent.

Third Sunday in Lent.
Station at St. Lawrence Without the Walls.
(S. Lorenzo fuori le mura.)

Interior of San Lorenzo
The Laurentian basilica owes its foundation to Constantine,
but being considered too small,
a large upper aula
was added to it by Pope Pelagius II (A.D. 578 - 590)
and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

For this reason Pope Leo IV (A.D. 847 - 855)
decreed that the Station for the Octave of the Assumption
should be held there.

The Gospel of today alludes to this dedication
by praising the great Mother of God,
who not only gave Her own substance to form the sacred humanity
of the Lord's Anointed, but was, on Her part,
nourished spiritually by the divine Word and lived thereby.

Let us pray.

(In Dominica III. Quadragesimae)

Quarti nunc et decimi diei de nostrorum dierum...

Having now passed the fourteenth day of this season,
which forms the tithe of our year,
we lift up our eyes to Thee, O Lord,
who dwellest in heaven.

Show mercy to the miserable,
and heal them that are wounded.

Grant that the journey we have begun
may be prosperous.
Direct our hearts in the way of Thy commandments.

Through Thee may we find theway of light;
through Thee may we be inflamed
with the bright burning of Thy love.

Grant rest to our labours;
that having gained Thy good-pleasure
by our observance of t hese days,
we may deserve to be partakers of Thy glory. Amen.

(Mozarabic breviary)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday of the Second Week in Lent.

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at SS. Marcellinus and Peter.

(SS. Marcellino e Pietro.)

Today's Station was built during the lifetime of Pope Siricius (A.D. 385 - 398)
and according to Roman the custom,
it probably marks the dwelling-place on that spot
of one at least of the two martyrs whose name it bears:
St. Marcellinus, priest and St. Peter, exorcist.

Pope Saint Damasus

We know from Pope Damasus (A.D. 366 - 384)
that as a boy
he learnt the circumstances of their martyrdom
from the lips of the executioner himself.
"Percussor retulit mihi Damaso cum puer essem."

As the Liturgy of this day lays great stress
on the contrast between the two brothers, Esau and Jacob,
and between the faithful son and the prodigal,
it is possible that underneath there lies an allusion
to that executioner,
who expiated his crime by baptism and penance.

Let us pray.

I would mourn over the sins of my wretched life;
but where shall I begin?
O Jesus! how shall I commence the lamentation
I fain would make this day?
Do thou, my merciful God, forgive me my sins.

Come, my poor soul and thou, too, my body,
come, and confess to the great Creator;
and, henceforth, restrain your senseless passions,
and offer to God the tears of repentance.

Now is the time for repentance.
I come to Thee, O my Creator!
Take from me the heavy yoke of my sins,
and for Thy mercy's sake
Pardon me my crimes.

Do Thou, my Saviour and my merciful God,
pardon me my sins,
deliberate or indeliberate,
public or private,
known or unknown.
Have mercy on me and save me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday of the Second Week in Lent.

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at St. Mary Beyond the Tiber.
(S. Maria in Trastevere.)

One of the most venerable churches in Rome.
A.D. 233

Today's Station takes place in a basilica
that is considered to be
one of the most venerable
of all the Christian buildings in Rome. I
ts history reaches much further back than the time of Constantine.

The historian Lampridius relates that during the pontificate of Callixtus I the Christians were in possession of a place of assembly in Trastevere, the right to which was, however, disputed by the corporation
popinarii, or tavern-keepers.

The question was brought before the Emperor Alexander Severus, who decided in favour of the Christians, saying that it was better that God should be worshipped there, in whatever fashion it might be, than that the place should be given over to revelry. The original oratory was erected by St. Callixtus I about the year 233, not long before his martyrdom.

The Nativity of Our Lord.
(S. Maria in Trastevere.)

Let us pray.

Hail Mary, full of grace!
dear Mother of Jesus, and hope of the world!
O gate of heaven! O temple of God!
O haven of the sea,
where sinners confidently seek shelter and repose.

Thou art the worthy bride of the great King,
and, by Thy powerful prayers,
Thou art kind and loving to all.

Thou art the light to the blind,
and a sure path to such as are lame.
Thou art by Thy loving affection,
both Martha and Mary to the needy.

Thou was the flower among the thorns;
the flower that, by its rich graces,
bloomed to the divine Flower, thy Jesus.

Thou didst speak Thy word,
and then conceivedst the Word;
Thou didst give birth to the King of kings,
Thou wast a pure Virgin.

Thou was ever faithful to this King, Thy child;
and using a mother's privilege,
Thou didst feed Him at Thy breast.

Now, thou art united with Him,
and in reward for Thy merits,
Thou art made the Queen of heaven and earth.

Then pray for us, O Queen,
to Him that is our King,
beseeching Him to pardon us poor fallen sinners.

Show us Thy wonted clemency, and,
having obtained for us the new life
of remission of our sins,
bring us to the kingdom,
there to reign for ever. Amen.
(Sequence from the Cluny Missal)

Thou didst feed Him at Thy breast.
This is probably the first representation of
Our Lady nursing the Infant Jesus.
(S. Maria in Trastevere.)
(12th century mosaic.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday of the Second Week in lent.

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at St. Cecilia's.

(S. Cecilia.)

Interior of St. Cecilia's Basilica

The Station is at the sanctuary
where lies the body of
the illustrious Roman virgin St. Cecilia.
Originally the family mansion of St. Cecilia,
it was converted into a church
by Pope St. Urban in A.D. 230,
in accordance with her dying request.
Pope Paschal I restored it in 821.
In the fifth century this church was mentioned
as one of the most celebrated parochial or titular churches of Rome.
It is situated in the Transtevere.

St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr.
Suffered under Marcus Aurelius, A.D. 177
Her body was found to be perfectly incorrupt
when her coffin was opened in A.D. 821 and again in 1599

St. Cecilia was a maiden of noble blood, born of parents of senatorial rank, and was brought up a Christian from her infancy, having a Christian mother. Her father must have been a pagan, for he gave her in marriage to a young patrician of very amiable and excellent dispositions, but a pagan, named Valerian.

St. Cecilia disclosed to her young husband Valerian, still a heathen, the secret of her virginity being specially consecrated to God, and being under the direct protection of an angel. Valerian expressed a wish to see the angel. Cecilia told him that he must first by Faith and the waters of Baptism be made a child of God, and that then his eyes would be unsealed and he would be permitted to behold her heavenly guardian. "There is an aged man," she said, "hiding in a certain place, who has power to cleanse men in the lustral water, and so make them worthy to see the angels."
Mosaic of St. Valerian and St. Cecilia

Valerian inquired: "where shall I find this old man?"
Cecilia replied: "Go as far as the third milestone on the Appian Way; there you will find some poor people who beg alms of the passers-by. I have always helped them, and they possess the secret. When you see them, salute them in my name, saying: "Cecilia has sent me to you, that you may lead me to the holy old man Urban, for she has charged me with a secret mission to him." Relate to him what I have told you (about the angel), and when he has baptized you he will clothe you with a new, bright garment, arrayed in which, when you enter this room, you will see the holy angel."
Valerian followed the Appian Way as directed, and at the third milestone, turning aside from the high-road to an old sand pit, he found some aged beggars and cripples lingering about; they were Christian watchers, set there to guard the secret entrance to the Catacombs, and to give notice of any soldiers, spies, or suspicious persons coming that way. Valerian was richly dressed, and his haughty bearing betrayed the heathen, but on his giving the required salutation and password, they led him into the subterranean depths, where he was instructed and baptized by Pope St. Urban.
Valerian kneels before Pope St. Urban in the Catacombs.

Valerian, returning in the white robe of his baptism, and entering Cecilia's apartments to communicate to her the joy of his new-found faith, drew back astonished, awed by the bright light that streamed from her oratory as the curtain was drawn aside. There was Cecilia kneeling in prayer, and by her side an angel, whose face shone with ineffable beauty. Valerian, overcome with emotion, came and knelt on one side, Cecilia kneeling on the other, while the angel held forth two crowns of lilies twined with roses over the head of each.

The angel held forth two crowns
of lilies twined with roses over the head of each.

Valerian's brother Tiburtius was instructed and baptized soon after him. These two were presently martyred for refusing to offer sacrifice to the gods.

Cecilia alone remained, and as Almachius, the judge, thought it best that her punishment should be as secret as possible, he ordered that she should be shut up in the Caldarium, or room of the warm bath in her own palace, and that the pipes with which the walls on all sides were perforated, should be heated to such a degree as to cause suffocation. Cecilia entered the room the furnace being heated, and although she remained there for a day and a night she was found to be unhurt by the hot steam that scalded those who opened the door.
St. Cecilia condemned by Almachius
Almachius then sent for her to be beheaded. Three times did the axe fall upon her tender neck, inflicting deep and mortal wounds, but without severing the head. As the law did not allow more than three strokes to be given, the excutioner went away, leaving her still breathing and bathed in her own blood. For two days she continued hovering between life and death; and on the third morning the venerable bishop Urban came to take leave of his beloved daughter. Her dying request to him was, that the poor she had always loved should be cared for, and that her house should be made a church for ever.

The crypt of St. Cecilia's

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent.

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at St. Balbina's.
(S. Balbina.)

St. Balbina, a Roman virgin who lived in the second century
and whose remains rest under the altar
with those of her father, St. Quirinus.
They suffered martyrdom
in the persecution of Hadrian, A.D. 132.

The church is ancient,
and was probably built in the 4th century
above the house of the consul Lucius Fabius Cilone.
The first reference to it is found in a Roman Synod of 594,
where it's referred to as Sanctae Balbinae.
It was consecrated, or re-consecrated by St. Gregory the Great.

This church, which stands on a slope of the Aventine,
was in the fifth century
one of the twenty-five parish churches of Rome.

Let us pray.

O Nazarene, lux Bethlem, verbum Patris...
O Jesus of Nazareth,
O Light of Bethlehem,
O Word of the Father,
born to us from a Virgin's womb,
be Thou with us in our chaste abstinence.

Do thou, our King,
look with a propitious eye upon our feast,
whereon we offer Thee the tribute of our fast.
Truly, nothing can be more holy than this fast,
which purifies the inmost recesses of man's heart.
By it is tamed the unruly carnal appetite;
that thus the ardent soul may not be choked
by the surfeiting of a pampered body.

By fasting are subdued luxury and vile gluttony.
The drowsiness that comes from wine and sleep;
lust with its defilements; the impudence of buffoonery;
yea, all the pests that come from our sluggish flesh,
are hereby disciplined into restraint.

For, if thou freely indulgest in meat and drink,
and bridlest not thy appetite by fasting,
it needs must be that the noble fire of the spirit,
smothered by the frequent indulgence of the body,
should grow dull,
and the soul, like the drowsy flesh it inhabits,
fall into heavy sleep.

Therefore, let us bridle our bodily desires,
and follow the clear interior light of prudence.
Thus, the soul having her sight made keener,
will breathe more freely,
and will pray to the Creator with stronger hope.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday of the Second Week of Lent.

Monday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at St. Clement's.
(S. Clemente.)

Interior of St. Clement's Basilica.

This Station church,
one of the most ancient and interesting in Rome,
is thought to be the paternal home of St. Clement,
disciple of St. Peter,
his third successor in the Papacy,
and a fellow-labourer of St. Paul.

His house, converted by him into an oratory,
was enlarged to the dimensions of a church,
probably in the reign of Constantine.
It is mentioned by
St. Jerome, 420;
Pope St. Zozimus, 417;
St. Leo the Great, 499.

There is nothing unlikely in the story that Clement,
in the days following the Neronian persecution,
gathered together the scattered flock of Christians
under the very roof of the house which we visit today,
and encouraged them to persevere in the faith.
It appears that later, during the final persecution,
there was a deliberate attempt to profane
the spot sanctified by Christian worship,
by erecting here an altar to Mithras, which, however,
under Constantine,
gave place once more to the Cross of Christ.

Mosaic in the apse of St. Clement's Basilica.

Let us pray.

O crucis tuae potentiam! ...
O wonderful power of Thy Cross!

It was Thy Cross that made the plant of abstinence
to bloom in the Church,
after having uprooted the old intemperance of Adam in Eden.

From the intemperance came death upon mankind;
but from Thy Cross,
the ever pure stream of immortality flowed upon the world,
for from Thy side, as from a fount of paradise,
streamed Thy life-giving Blood, mingled with water,
and from these have all creatures received life.

Therefore, do we beseech Thee, O God of Israel,
to grant us, in Thy mercy,
that we may experience the sweet delights of fasting. Amen.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Second Sunday in Lent.

The Second Sunday in Lent.
Station at St. Mary in Domnica.
(S. Maria in Domnica.)

Mosaic in the apse of St. Maria in Domnica.
This is the work of Pope Paschal I, A.D. 817.
The Pope is represented kissing the foot of Our Lady,
who is enthroned with the Holy Child and surrounded by saints.

The name given to the Basilica
of St. Mary on the Coelian Hill, in Domnica,
is of very ancient origin
-of the fourth century, at least.
The word 'Dominicum'
was current in the earliest Christian Latin
as a name for the place where Christians assemble to assist at Mass,
but it also meant the Mass itself.

This church was the house of Saint Cyriaca.
In front of it, St. Lawrence, the martyr,
used to distribute alms to the poor.

Let us pray.

O Jesus, our God,
eternal first beginning of light,
Who willest that Thy servants
should devote the seventh day to sanctification,
rather than to work:
Lo! we come, seeking how we may find Thee,
but we are prevented by the habitual darkness of our conscience;
we make efforts to arise, but we fall back again,
and are dejected.

Therefore, we beseech Thee,
cast not away from Thy face them that seek Thee,
for Thou didst deign to show Thyself
to them that did not seek Thee.

Now is the season of the year,
when we are offering to Thy holy Name
a tithe of our days;
and of these days, seven have passed:

grant us Thine assistance
in the path of this fatigtuing journey,
so that our proffered homage may be without blemish.

Sweeten our toil by filling us with an ardent love
of Thy Majesty,
and awaken us from the sluggishness of the body,
by the fervent abundance of Thy charity.

May our life, being thus in Thee,
know no faltering,
and our faith find its reward.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ad te beate Ioseph.

Feast of St. Joseph
TO thee, O blessed Joseph,
do we come in our tribulation,
and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse,
we confidently invoke thy patronage also.
Through that charity which bound thee
to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God
and through the paternal love
with which thou embraced the Child Jesus,
we humbly beg thee
to graciously regard the inheritance
which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood,
and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family,
defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ;
O most loving father,
ward off from us every contagion of error and corruption;
O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us
and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the powers of darkness;
and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,
so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy
and from all adversity;
shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection,
so that, supported by thy example and thy aid,
we may be able to live piously,
to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

AD te beate Ioseph,
in tribulatione nostra confugimus,
atque, implorato Sponsae tuae sanctissimae auxilio,
patrocinium quoque tuum fidenter exposcimus.
Per eam, quaesumus quae te
cum immaculata Virgine Dei Genetrice coniunxit,
caritatem, perque paternum,
quo Puerum Iesum amplexus es, amorem,
supplices deprecamur, ut ad hereditatem,
quam Iesus Christus acquisivit Sanguine suo,
benignus respicias,
ac necessitatibus nostris tua virtute et ope succurras.

Tuere, o Custos providentissime divinae Familiae,
Iesu Christi subolem electam;
prohibe a nobis, amantissime Pater,
omnem errorum ac corruptelarum luem;
propitius nobis, sospitator noster fortissime,
in hoc cum potestate tenebrarum certamine
e caelo adesto;
et sicut olim Puerum Iesum
e summo eripuisti vitae discrimine,
ita nunc Ecclesiam sanctam Dei
ab hostilibus insidiis
atque ab omni adversitate defende:
nosque singulos perpetuo tege patrocinio,
ut ad tui exemplar et ope tua suffulti,
sancte vivere, pie emori,
sempiternamque in caelis beatitudinem assequi possimus.

(Pope Leo XIII)

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