our lady of fatima if men knew what eternity was

Nine Day Novena to Our Lady of Fatima 

                  (May 4 – May 12)

                    Novena Prayer

Most Holy Virgin, who has deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary, inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion, so that by meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in it, we may gather the fruits and obtain the conversion of sinners, the conversion of Russia, and this favour that I so earnestly seek…

                 (Mention request)

Which I ask of you in this novena, for the greater glory of God, for your own honour, and for the good of all people. Amen.

                       Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

                       Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.

                         Glory Be

Glory be, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

                        Let us Pray

O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in Thy dear Mother, whom we invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary and our Lady of Fatima, and grant us by her powerful intercession all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


 The Holy Cross by Luigi Gregori

                            May 3


It was most just that our Divine King should show himself to us with the sceptre of his power, to the end, that nothing might be wanting to the majesty of his empire. This sceptre is the Cross; and Paschal Time was to be the Season for its being offered to him in glad homage. A few weeks back, and the Cross was shown to us as the instrument of our Emmanuel’s humiliation, and as the bed of suffering whereon he died ; but, has he not, since then, conquered Death? And what is his Cross now, but a trophy of his victory? Let it then be brought forth to our gaze; and let every knee bend before this sacred Wood, whereby our Jesus won the honor and praise we now give him!

On the day of his Birth at Bethlehem, we sang these words of the Prophet Isaias: A Child is born unto us, and a Son is given unto us, and his government is upon his shoulder. We have seen him carrying this Cross upon his shoulder, as Isaac carried the wood for his own immolation; but now, it is no longer a heavy burden. It is shining with a brightness that ravishes the eyes of the Angels; and, after having received the veneration of man, as long as the world lasts, it will suddenly appear in the clouds of heaven, near the judge of the living and the dead, a consolation to them that have loved it, but a reproach to such as have treated it with contempt or forgetfulness.

Our Saviour did not think the time between his Resurrection and Ascension a fitting one for glorifying the Instrument of his victory. The Cross was not to be brought into notice, until it had subjected the world to Him whose glory it so eloquently pro claimed. Jesus was three days in the tomb; his Cross is to lie buried unknown to men, for three centuries: but it is to have its Resurrection, and the Church celebrates this Resurrection to-day. Jesus would, in his own good time, add to the joy of Easter by miraculously revealing to us this sacred monument of his love for mankind. He entrusts it to our keeping, — it is to be our consolation, — as long as this world last: is it not just, that we should love and venerate it?

Exaltation of the Holy Cross september 14

Never had Satan’s pride met with a humiliation like that of his seeing the instrument of our perdition made the instrument of our salvation. As the Church expresses it in her Preface for Passiontide: ”he that overcame mankind by a Tree, was overcome by a Tree.” Thus foiled, he vented his fury upon this saving Wood, which so bitterly reminded him, both of the irresistible power of his Conqueror, and of the dignity of man who had been redeemed at so great a price. He would fain have annihilated the Cross; but knowing that this was beyond his power, he endeavored to profane it, and hide it from view. He therefore instigated the Jews to bury it. At the foot of Calvary, not far from the Sepulchre, was a deep hole. Into this was the Cross thrown, together with those of the two Thieves, the Nails, the Crown of Thorns, and the Inscription, or Title, written by Pilate. The hole was then filled up with rubbish and earth, and the Sanhedrim exulted in the thought of its having effaced the memory of the Nazarene, -who could not save himself from the ignominious death of the Cross.

Forty years after this, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, — the instruments of God’s vengeance. The Holy Places were desecrated by the idolaters. A small temple to Venus was erected on Calvary, and another to Jupiter over the Holy Sepulchre. By this, the pagans intended derision; whereas, they were perpetuating the knowledge of two spots of most sacred interest. When peace was restored under Constantine, the Christians had but to remove these pagan monuments, and their eyes beheld the holy ground that had been bedewed with the Blood of Jesus, — and the glorious Sepulchre. As to the Cross, it was not so easily found. The sceptre of our Divine King was to be raised up from its tomb by a royal hand. The saintly Empress Helen, Constantine’s Mother, was chosen by heaven to pay to Jesus, — and that, too, on the very spot where he had received his greatest humiliations, — the honors which are due to him as the King of the world. Before laying the foundations of the Basilica of the Resurrection, this worthy follower of Magdalene and the other holy women of the Sepulchre was anxious to discover the Instrument of our Salvation. The Jews had kept up the tradition of the site where it had been buried: the Empress had the excavations made accordingly. With what holy impatience must she not have watched the works! And with what ecstasy of joy did she not behold the Redeeming Wood, which, though not, at first, distinguishable, was certainly one of the three Crosses that were found! She addressed a fervent prayer to the Saviour, who alone could reveal to her which was the trophy of his victory; the Bishop, Macarius, united his prayers with hers; and their faith was rewarded by a miracle, that left them no doubt as to which was the true Cross.

The glorious work was accomplished, and the Church was put in possession of the instrument of the world’s Redemption. Both East and West were filled with joy at the news of this precious discovery, which heaven had set on foot, and which gave the last finish to the triumph of Christianity. Christ completed his victory over the Pagan world, by raising thus his Standard, — not a figurative one, but his own real standard, — his Cross, which, up to that time, had been a stumbling-block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Gentiles; but before which every Christian is, henceforth, to bend his knee.

The finding of the True Cross, Agnolo Gaddi, Florence, 1380

Helen placed the Holy Cross in the Basilica that had been built by her orders, and which covered both the glorious Sepulchre and the hill of the Crucifixion. Another Church was erected on the site, where the Cross had lain concealed for three hundred years, and the Faithful are enabled, by long flights of steps, to go down into the deep grotto, which had been its tomb. Pilgrims came, from every part of the world, to visit the hallowed places, where our Redemption had been wrought, and to venerate the sacred Wood of the Cross. But God’s merciful providence willed not that the precious pledge of Jesus’ love for mankind should be confined to one only Sanctuary, however venerable it might be. Immediately after its discovery, Helen had a very large piece cut from the Cross; and this fragment she destined for Rome, the New Jerusalem. The precious gift was enshrined in the Basilica built by her son Constantine in the Sessorian garden, and which was afterwards called the Basilica of Holy -Cross-in- Jerusalem.

By degrees, other places were honored by the presence of the Wood of the Holy Cross. So far back as the 4th Century, we have St. Cyril of Jerusalem attesting that many of the Pilgrims used to obtain small pieces of it, and thus carried the precious Treasure into their respective countries; and St. Paulinus of Nola, who lived in the same Century, assures us that these many gifts lessened not the size of the original Relic. In the 6th Century, the holy Queen, St. Radegonde, obtained from the Emperor Justin 2nd a large piece from the fragment that was in the imperial treasury of Constantinople. It was for the reception of this piece of the True Cross into France, that Venantius Fortunatus composed the Vexilla Regis, — that beautiful Hymn which the Church uses in her Liturgy, as often as she celebrates the praises of the Holy Cross. After several times losing and regaining it, Jerusalem was, at length, for ever deprived of the precious Relic. Constantinople was a gainer by Jerusalem’s loss. From Constantinople, especially during the Crusades, many Churches of the West procured large pieces. These again supplied other places; until, at length the Wood of the Cross was to be found in almost every town of any importance. There is scarcely to be found a Catholic, who, sometime or other in his life, has not had the happiness of seeing and venerating a portion of this sacred object. How many acts of love and gratitude have not been occasioned by this? And who could fail to recognize, in this successive profusion of our Jesus’s Cross, a plan of divine providence for exciting us to an appreciation of our Redemption, on which rest all our hopes of eternal happiness ?

How dear, then, to us should not this day be, which blends together the recollection of the Holy Cross and the joys of the Resurrection of that Jesus, who, by the Cross, has won the throne to which we shall soon see him ascend! Let us thank our Heavenly Father for his having restored to mankind a treasure so immensely precious as is the Cross. Until the day comes for its appearing, with himself, in the clouds of heaven, Jesus has entrusted it to his Spouse, as a pledge of his second Coming. On that day, he, by his divine power, will collect together all the fragments; and the Tree of Life will, then, gladden the Elect with its dazzling beauty, and invite them to eternal rest beneath its refreshing shade.

St. Athanasius – Rogation Monday – Mass Propers

Catholics faithful to tradition

    St. Athanasius, Bishop, Confessor, and

               Doctor of the Church   

  The Liturgical Year – Dom Guéranger

The Court of our divine King, during this grandest of Seasons, is brilliant beyond measure: and, to-day, it is gladdened by the arrival of one of the most glorious champions that ever fought for his holy cause. Among the guardians of the Word of Truth, confided by Jesus to the earth, — is there one more faithful than Athanasius? Does not his very name remind us of dauntless courage in the defense of the sacred deposit, of heroic firmness and patience in suffering, of learning, of talent, of eloquence, — in a word, of everything that goes to form a Saint, a Bishop, and a Doctor of the Church? Athanasius lived for the Son of God; the cause of the Son of God was that of Athanasius: he who blessed Athanasius, blessed the eternal Word; and he insulted the eternal Word, who insulted Athanasius. Never did our holy Faith go through a greater ordeal, than in the sad times immediately following the peace of the Church, when the Bark of Peter had to pass through the most furious storm that hell has, so far, let loose against her. Satan had vainly sought to drown the Christian race in a sea of blood; the sword of persecution had grown blunt in the hands of Diocletian and Galerius; and the Cross appeared in the heavens, proclaiming the triumph of Christianity. Scarcely had the Church become aware of her victory, when she felt herself shaken to her very foundation. Hell sent upon the earth a heresy which threatened to blight the fruit of three hundred years of Martyrdom. Arius began his impious doctrine, — that he, who had hitherto been adored as the Son of God, was only a creature, though the most perfect of all creatures. Immense was the number, even of the clergy, that fell into this new error; the Emperors became its abettors; and had not God himself interposed, men would soon have set up the cry throughout the world, that the only result of the victory gained by the Christian Religion, was to change the object of idolatry, and put a new idol, called Jesus, in place of the old ones. But He who had promised, that the gates of hell should never prevail against his Church, faithfully fulfilled his promise. The primitive faith triumphed; the Council of Nicaea proclaimed the Son to be consubstantial to the Father; but the Church stood in need of a man in whom the cause of the Consubstantial Word should be, so to speak, incarnated, — a man, with learning enough to foil the artifices of heresy, and with courage enough to bear every persecution without flinching. This man was Athanasius: and every one that adores and loves the Son of God, should love and honor Athanasius. Five times banished from his See of Alexandria by the Arians, who even sought to put him to death, he fled for protection to the West, which justly appreciated the glorious Confessor of Jesus’ Divinity. In return for the hospitality accorded him by Rome, Athanasius gave her of his treasures. Being the admirer and friend of the great St. Antony, he was a fervent admirer of the Monastic Life, which, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, had flourished so wonderfully in the deserts of his vast Patriarchate. He brought the precious seed to Rome, and the first Monks seen there were the ones introduced by Athanasius. The heavenly plant became naturalized in its new soil; and though its growth was slow at first, it afterwards produced fruit more abundantly than it had ever done in the East. Athanasius, who has written so admirably upon that fundamental dogma of our Faith, — the Divinity of Christ, — has also left us most eloquent treatises on the mystery of the Pasch: they are to be found in the Festal Letters, which he addressed, each year, to the Churches of his Patriarchate of Alexandria. The collection of these Letters, which were once thought to have been irretrievably lost, was found, a few years back, in the Monastery of St. Mary of Scete, in Egypt. The first, for the year 329, begins with these words, which beautifully express the sentiments we should feel at the approach of Easter: Come, my beloved Brethren, celebrate the Feast; the season of the year invites you to do so. The Sun of Justice, by pouring out his divine rays upon you, tells you that the time of the Solemnity is come. At such tidings, let us keep a glad feast; let not the joy slip from us, with the fleeting days, without our “having tasted of its sweetness.”

During almost every year of his banishment, Athanasius continued to address a Paschal Letter to his people. The one in which he announces the Easter of 338, and which he wrote at Treves, begins thus: Though separated from you, my Brethren, I cannot break through the custom which I have always observed, and which I received from the tradition of the Fathers. I will not be silent; I will not omit announcing to you the time of the holy annual Feast, and the day on which you must keep the Solemnity. I am, as you have doubtless been told, a prey to many tribulations; I am weighed down by heavy trials; I am watched by the enemies of truth, who scrutinize everything I write, in order to rake up accusations against me and, thereby, add to my sufferings; yet notwithstanding, I feel that the Lord strengthens and consoles me in my afflictions. Therefore do I venture to address to you the annual celebration; and from the midst of my troubles, and despite the snares that beset me, I send you, from the further- most part of the earth, the tidings of the Pasch, which is our salvation. Commending my fate into God’s hands, I will celebrate this Feast with you; distance of place separates us, but I am not absent from you. The Lord who gives us these Feasts, who is himself our Feast, who bestows upon us the gift of his Spirit, — he unites us spiritually to one another, by the bond of concord and peace. How grand is this Pasch, celebrated by Athanasius an exile on the Rhine, in union with his people who keep their Easter on the banks of the Nile! It shows us the power of the Liturgy, to unite men together, and make them, at one and the same time, and despite the distance of countries, enjoy the same holy emotions, and feel the same aspirations to virtue. Greeks or Barbarians, we have all the same mother- country, — the Church; but what, after Faith, unites us all into one family, is the Church’s Liturgy. Now there is nothing, in the whole Liturgy, so expressive of unity, as the celebration of Easter. The unhappy Churches of Russia and the East, by keeping Easter on a different day from that on which it is celebrated by the rest of the Christian World, show that they are not a portion of the One Fold of which our Risen Jesus is the One Shepherd.


It seems strange that there should be anything like mourning during Paschal Time: and yet these three days are days of penance. A moment’s reflection, however, will show us that the institution of the Rogation Days is a most appropriate one. True, our Saviour told us, before his Passion, that the children of the Bridegroom should not fast whilst the Bride groom is with them: but is not sadness in keeping with these the last hours of Jesus’ presence on earth? Were not his Mother and Disciples oppressed with grief at the thought of their having so soon to lose Him, whose company had been to them a foretaste of heaven.

Let us see how the Liturgical Year came to have inserted in its Calendar these three days, during which Holy Church, though radiant with the joy of Easter, seems to go back to her Lenten observances. The Holy Ghost, who guides her in all things, willed that this completion of her Paschal Liturgy should owe its origin to a devotion peculiar to one of the most illustrious and venerable Churches of southern Gaul: it was the Church of Vienne.

The second half of the 5th century had but just commenced, when the country round Vienne, which had been recently conquered by the Burgundians, was visited with calamities of every kind. The people were struck with fear at these indications of God’s anger. St. Mamertus, who, at the time, was Bishop of Vienne, prescribed three days’ public expiation, during which the Faithful were to devote themselves to penance, and walk in procession chanting appropriate Psalms. The three days preceding the Ascension were the ones chosen. Unknown to himself, the holy Bishop was thus instituting a practice, which was afterwards to form part of the Liturgy of the universal Church.

The Churches of Gaul, as might naturally be expected, were the first to adopt the devotion. St. Aleimus Avitus, who was one of the earliest successors of St. Mamertus in the See of Vienne, informs us that the custom of keeping the Rogation Days was, at that time, firmly established in his Diocese. St. Caesarius of Arles, who lived in the early part of the 6th century, speaks of their being observed in countries afar off; by which he meant, at the very least, to designate all that portion of Gaul which was under the Visigoths. That the whole of Gaul soon adopted the custom, is evident from the Canons drawn up at the first Council of Orleans, held in 511, and which represented all the Provinces that were in allegiance to Clovis. The regulations, made by the Council regarding the Rogations, give us a great idea of the importance attached to their observance. Not only abstinence from flesh-meat, but even fasting, is made of obligation. Masters are also required to dispense their servants from work, in order that they may assist at the long functions which fill up almost the whole of these three days.3 In 567, the Council of Tours, likewise, imposed the precept of fasting during the Rogation Days; and as to the obligation of resting from servile work, we find it recognized in the Capitularia of Charlemagne and Charles the Bald.

The main part of the Rogation rite originally consisted, (at least in Gaul,) in singing canticles of supplication whilst passing from place to place, — and hence the word Procession. We learn from St. Caesarius of Arles, that each day’s Procession lasted six hours; and that when the Clergy became tired, the women took up the chanting. The Faithful of those days had not made the discovery, which was reserved for modern times, that one requisite for religious Processions is that they be as short as possible.

The Procession for the Rogation Days was preceded by the Faithful receiving the Ashes upon their heads, as now at the beginning of Lent; they were then sprinkled with Holy Water, and the Procession began. It was made up of the Clergy and people of several of the smaller parishes, who were headed by the Cross of the principal Church, which conducted the whole ceremony. All walked bare-foot, singing the Litany, Psalms and Antiphons. They entered the Churches that lay on their route, and sang an Antiphon or Responsory appropriate to each.

Such was the original ceremony of the Rogation Days, and it was thus observed for a very long period. The Monk of St. Gall’s, who has left us so many interesting details regarding the life of Champagne, tells us that this holy Emperor used to join the Processions of these three Days, and walk bare footed from his palace to the Stational Church. We find St. Elizabeth of Hungary, in the 14th century, setting the like example: during the Rogation Days, she used to mingle with the poorest women of the place, and walked bare-footed, wearing a dress of coarse stuff.  St. Charles Borromeo, who restored in his Diocese of Milan so many ancient practices of piety, was sure not to be indifferent about the Rogation Days. He spared neither word nor example to reanimate this salutary devotion among his people. He ordered fasting to be observed during these three Days; he fasted himself on bread and water. The Procession, in which all the Clergy of the City were obliged to join, and which began after the sprinkling of Ashes, started from the Cathedral at an early hour in the morning, and was not over till three or four o’clock in the afternoon. Thirteen Churches were visited on the Monday; nine, on the Tuesday; and eleven, on the Wednesday. The saintly Archbishop celebrated Mass and preached in one of these Churches. If we compare the indifference shown by the Catholics of the present age, for the Rogation Days, with the devotion wherewith our ancestors kept them, we cannot but acknowledge that there is a great falling off in faith and piety. Knowing, as we do, the importance attached to these Processions by the Church, we cannot help wondering how it is that there are so few among the Faithful who assist at them. Our surprise increases when we find persons preferring their own private devotions to these public Prayers of the Church, which to say nothing of the result of good example, merit far greater graces than any exercises of our own fancying.

The whole Western Church soon adopted the Rogation Days. They were introduced into England at an early period; so, likewise, into Spain, and Germany. Rome herself sanctioned them by her own observing them; this she did in the 8th century, during the Pontificate of St. Leo the Third. She gave them the name of the Lesser Litanies, in contradistinction to the Procession of the 25th of April, which she calls the Greater Litanies. With regard to the Fast which the Churches of Gaul observed during the Rogation Days, Rome did not adopt that part of the institution. Fasting seemed to her to throw a gloom over the joyous forty days, which our Risen Jesus grants to his Disciples; she therefore enjoined only abstinence from flesh-meat during the Rogation Days. The Church of Milan, which, as we have just seen, so strictly observes the Rogations, keeps them on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, that is to say, after the forty days devoted to the celebration of the Resurrection.

If, then, we would have a correct idea of the Rogation Days, we must consider them as Rome does, — that is, as a holy institution which, without interrupting our Paschal joy, tempers it. The purple vestments used during the Procession and Mass do not signify that our Jesus has fled from us, but that the time for his departure is approaching. By prescribing Abstinence for these three days, the Church would express how much she will feel the loss of her Spouse, who is so soon to be taken from her.

In England, as in many other countries, abstinence is no longer of obligation for the Rogation Days. This should be an additional motive to induce the Faithful to assist at the Processions and Litanies, and, by their fervently uniting in the prayers of the Church, to make some compensation for the abolition of the law of Abstinence. We need so much penance, and we take so little! If we are truly in earnest, we shall be most fervent in doing the little that is left us to do.

The object of the Rogation Days is to appease the anger of God, and avert the chastisements which the sins of the world so justly deserve; moreover, to draw down the divine blessing on the fruits of the earth. The Litany of the Saints is sung during the Procession, which is followed by a special Mass said in the Stational Church, or, if there be no Station appointed, in the Church whence the Procession first started. The Litany of the Saints is one of the most efficacious of prayers. The Church makes use of it on all solemn occasions, as a means for rendering God propitious through the intercession of the whole court of heaven. They who are prevented from assisting at the Procession, should recite the Litany in union with holy Church: they will thus share in the graces attached to the Rogation Days; they will be joining in the supplications now being made throughout the entire world; they will be proving themselves to be Catholics.

The Litany of the Saints is one of the most efficacious of prayers. The Church makes use of it on all solemn occasions, as a means for rendering God propitious through the intercession of the whole court of heaven. They who are prevented from assisting at the Procession, should recite the Litany in union with holy Church: they will thus share in the graces attached to the Rogation Days; they will be joining in the supplications now being made throughout the entire world; they will be proving themselves to be Catholics. We give the Mass of the Rogations, which is the same for all three days. It speaks to us, throughout, of the power and necessity of prayer. The Church uses the Lenten color, to express the expiatory character of the function she is celebrating: but she is evidently full of confidence; she trusts to the love of her Risen Jesus, and that gives her hope of her prayers being granted. For the convenience of the Faithful we also insert the Litany.

Rogation Monday

The Minor Litanies

Litany of the Saints

Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us

Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

Holy Virgin of Virgins, pray for us.

St. Michael, pray for us.

All holy Angels and Archangels, pray for us.

All holy orders of blessed spirits, pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

All holy Patriarchs and Prophets, pray for us.

St. Peter, pray for us.

St. Paul, pray for us.

St. Andrew, pray for us.

St. James, pray for us.

St. John, pray for us.

St. Thomas, pray for us.

St. James, pray for us.

St. Philip, pray for us.

St. Bartholomew, pray for us.

St. Matthew, pray for us.

St. Simon, pray for us.

St. Thaddeus, pray for us.

St. Matthias, pray for us.

St. Barnabas, pray for us.

St. Luke, pray for us.

St. Mark, pray for us.

All holy Apostles and Evangelists, pray for us.

All holy Disciples of the Lord, pray for us.

All Holy Innocents, pray for us.

St. Stephen, pray for us.

St. Lawrence, pray for us.

St. Vincent, pray for us.

St. Fabian and Sebastian, pray for us.

St. John and Paul, pray for us.

St. Cosmas and Damian, pray for us.

St.Gervase and Protase, pray for us.

All holy Martyrs, pray for us.

St. Sylvester, pray for us.

St. Gregory, pray for us.

St. Ambrose, pray for us.

St. Augustine, pray for us.

St. Jerome, pray for us.

St. Martin, pray for us.

St. Nicholas, pray for us.

All holy Bishops and Confessors, pray for us.

All holy Doctors, pray for us.

St. Anthony, pray for us.

St. Benedict, pray for us.

St. Bernard, pray for us.

St. Dominic, pray for us.

St. Francis, pray for us.

All holy Priests and Levites, pray for us.

All holy Monks and Hermits, pray for us.

St. Mary Magdalen, pray for us.

St. Agatha, pray for us.

St. Lucy, pray for us.

St. Agnes, pray for us.

St. Cecilia, pray for us.

St. Catherine, pray for us.

St. Anastasia, pray for us.

All holy Virgins and Widows, pray for us.

All holy Saints of God, intercede for us.

Be merciful, Spare us, O Lord.

Be merciful, Hear us, O Lord.

From all evil, Spare us, O Lord.

From all sin, Spare us, O Lord.

From thy anger, Spare us, O Lord

From a sudden and unprovided death, Spare us, O Lord.

From the snares of the devil, Spare us, O Lord.

From anger, and hatred, and every evil will, Spare us, O Lord.

From the spirit of fornication, Spare us, O Lord.

From lightning and storms, Spare us, O Lord.

From the scourge of earthquake, Spare us, O Lord.

From plague, famine, and war, Spare us, O Lord.

From everlasting death, Spare us, O Lord.

Through the mystery of thy holy Incarnation, Spare us, O Lord.

Through thy Coming, Spare us, O Lord.

Through thy Birth, Spare us, O Lord.

Through thy Baptism and holy Fasting, Spare us, O Lord.

Through thy Cross and Passion, Spare us, O Lord.

Through thy Death and Burial, Spare us, O Lord.

Through thy holy Resurrection, Spare us, O Lord.

Through thy admirable Ascension, Spare us, O Lord.

Through the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, Spare us, O Lord.

In the day of Judgment, Spare us, O Lord.

We sinners, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst spare us, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst pardon us, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly bring us to true penance, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly govern and preserve thy holy Church, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly preserve in holy religion the Pope and all clerics in holy orders, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly humble the enemies of holy Church, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly grant peace and unity to the whole Christian world, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst restore to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth and lead all infidels to the light of the Gospel, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly confirm and preserve us in thy holy service, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly lift up our minds to heavenly desires, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly give eternal blessings to all our benefactors, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relations, and benefactors from eternal damnation, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly give and preserve the fruits of the earth, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst kindly grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, We beg of thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst be so kind as to answer our prayers Son of God, We beg of thee, hear us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us,

Christ, graciously hear us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.Lord, have mercy on us.

                      Psalm 69

O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.

Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek my soul:

Let them be turned backward, and blush for shame that desire evils to me: Let them be presently turned away blushing for shame that say to me: Tis well, tis well.

Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee; and let such as love thy salvation say always: The Lord be magnified.

But I am needy and poor; O God, help me. Thou art my helper and my deliverer: O Lord, make no delay.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

                    MASS PROPERS


            Feast of St.  Athanasius

      Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

          Double – White vestments  

        Missa ‘In medio ecclesiae’

   Rogation Days – Minor Litanies

             Commemoration for

                 Rogation Monday

INTROITUS – Ecclesiasticus 15: 5

In medio ecclesiæ aperuit os ejus: et implevit eum Dominus Spiritu sapientiæ, et intellectus: stolam gloriæ induit eum. Ps. 91: 2 Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime. Gloria Patri.


In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. Ps. It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High. Glory be to the Father.


Graciously hear our Prayers, we beseech Thee, O Lord, which we bring before Thee on the solemnity of blessed Athanasius, Thy confessor and pontiff, and, by the merits and intercession of him who had the grace to serve Thee worthily, absolve us of all our sins. Through our Lord.

Commemoration for Rogation Monday

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who in our affliction put our trust in Thy mercy, may ever be defended by Thy protection against all adversity. Through our Lord.

St. Athanasius ora pro nobis!


Lesson from St. Paul to the Corinthians

II Corinthians – 4: 5-14

Brethren, We preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord; and ourselves your servants through Jesus. For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God and not of us. In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed; we are straitened, but are not destitute; we suffer persecution, but are not forsaken; we are cast down, but we perish not; always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake; that the life also of Jesus, may be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, as it is written, I believed, for which cause I have spoken, we also believe, for which cause we speak also: knowing that He who raised up Jesus will raise up us also with Jesus, and place us with you.


Alleluia, alleluia. Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedech. Alleluia.

ALLELUIA – James 1: 12

Alleluia. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life. Alleluia.


Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew – 10: 23-28

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: When they shall persecute you in this city, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel till the Son of man come. The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? Therefore fear them not; for nothing is covered that shall not be revealed; nor hid that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light; and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him that can destroy both soul and body into hell.

OFFERTORY – Psalm 88: 24, 22

I have found David my servant: with my holy oil I have anointed him; for my arm shall help him, and my hand shall strengthen him, alleluia.


May the annual solemnity of Saint Athanasius, Thy confessor, commend us to Thy loving kindness, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, by this office of pious atonement, a blessed reward may follow him, and he may obtain for us the gifts of Thy grace. Through our Lord.

Commemoration for Rogation Monday

May these oblations, O Lord, we beseech Thee, loosen the bonds of our wickedness, and obtain for us the gifts of Thy mercy. Through our Lord.


It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:



Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.

COMMUNION – Matthew 10: 27

That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light, saith the Lord; and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops, alleluia.


O God, the rewarder of faithful souls grant that, by the prayers of blessed Athanasius, Thy confessor and bishop, whose august festival we celebrate, we may obtain pardon. Through our Lord.

Commemoration for Rogation Monday

Favourably receive our prayers, O Lord, we beseech Thee: may we in our distress be consoled by Thy gifts and grow in love accordingly. Through our Lord.



May 1 - Saint James and Saint Philip with episodes of their lives, c. 1399. Fresco, Chiesa di San Domenico, Arezzo


           SS. PHILIP AND JAMES                     

                  St. Philip, Apostle

Philip was one of the first chosen Disciples of Christ. On the way from Judea to Galilee Our Lord found Philip, and said, “Follow Me.” Philip straightway obeyed; and then in his zeal and charity sought to win Nathaniel also, saying, “We have found Him of Whom Moses and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth” and when Nathaniel in wonder asked, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” Philip simply answered, “Come and see,” and brought him to Jesus. Another characteristic saying of this apostle is preserved for us by St. John. Christ in His last discourse had spoken of His Father; and Philip exclaimed, in the fervor of his thirst for God, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough.”

           St. James the Less, Apostle

St. James the Less, the author of an inspired epistle, was also one of the Twelve. St. Paul tells us that he was favored by a special apparition of Christ after the Resurrection. On the dispersion of the apostles among the nations, St. James was left as Bishop of Jerusalem; and even the Jews held in such high veneration his purity, mortification, and prayer, that they named him the Just. The earliest of Church historians has handed down many traditions of St. James’s sanctity. He was always a virgin, says Hegesippus, and consecrated to God. He drank no wine, wore no sandals on his feet, and but a single garment on his body. He prostrated himself so much in prayer that the skin of his knees was hardened like a camel’s hoof. The Jews, it is said, used out of respect to touch the hem of his garment. He was indeed a living proof of his own words, “The wisdom that is from above first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, full of mercy and good fruits.” He sat beside St. Peter and St. Paul at the Council of Jerusalem; and when St. Paul at a later time escaped the fury of the Jews by appealing to Caesar, the people took vengeance on James, and crying, “The just one hath erred,” stoned him to death.


       The Liturgical Year – Ven. Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

Two of the favoured witnesses of our beloved Jesus’ Resurrection come before us on this first day of May. Philip and James are here, bearing testimony to us, that their Master is truly risen from the dead, that they have seen him, that they have touched him, that they have conversed with him, during these forty days. And, that we may have no doubt as to the truth of their testimony, they hold in their hands the instruments of the martyrdom they underwent for asserting that Jesus, after having suffered death, came to life again and rose from the grave. Philip is leaning upon the cross to which he was fastened, as Jesus had been; James is holding the club where with he was struck dead.

Philip preached the Gospel in the two Phrygias, and his martyrdom took place at Hierapolis. He was married when he was called by our Savior; and we learn from writers of the second century, that he had three daughters, remarkable for their great piety, one of whom lived at Ephesus, where she was justly revered as one of the glories of that early Church.

James is better known than Philip. He is called, in the sacred Scripture, Brother of the Lord, on account of the close relationship that existed between his own mother and the Blessed Mother of Jesus. He claims our veneration, during Paschal Time, in as much as he was favoured with a special visit from our Risen Lord, as we learn from St. Paul. There can be no doubt, but what he had done something to deserve this mark of Jesus’ predilection. St. Jerome and St. Epiphanius tell us, that our Savior, when ascending into heaven, recommended to St. James’ care the Church of Jerusalem, and that he was accordingly appointed the first Bishop of that City. The Christians of Jerusalem, in the 4th Century, had possession of the Chair on which St. James used to sit, when he assisted at the assemblies of the Faithful. St. Epiphanius also tells us, that the holy Apostle used to wear a lamina of gold upon his fore head, as the badge of his dignity. His garment was a tunic made of linen.

He was held in such high repute for virtue, that the people of Jerusalem called him” The Just” and when the time of the Siege came, instead of attributing the frightful punishment, they then endured, to the deicide they or their fathers had committed, they would have it to be a consequence of the murder of James, who, when dying, prayed for his people. The admirable Epistle he has left us bears testimony to the gentleness and uprightness of his character. He there teaches us, with an eloquence of an inspired writer, that works must go along with our Faith, if we would be Just with that Justice, which makes us like our Risen Lord.

The bodies of Saints Philip and James repose in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles, at Rome. These Relics are counted as one of the richest treasures of the Holy City, and there is reason to believe that this first of May is the real anniversary of their Translation. For a long period, the Church of Rome kept special Feasts in honour of four only of the Apostles: Ss. Peter and Paul, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Andrew (Peter’s Brother): the rest were united in the solemnity of the 29th of June, and a vestige of this is still to be found in the Office of that Day, as we shall see later on. The reception of the Bodies of SS. Philip and James, which were brought from the East, somewhere about the 6th Century, gave rise to the institution of today’s Feast; and this led gradually to the insertion into the Calendar of the special Feasts for the other Apostles and Evangelists.

FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER - After his Resurrection, what must not these privileged men have felt...


Yet four days, and our Risen Jesus, whose company has been so dear and precious to us, will have disappeared from the earth. This fifth Sunday after Easter seems to prepare us for the separation. In a week’s time, we shall begin the long series of Sundays which are to pass before he returns to judge the world. This is a grief to the Christian; for he knows that he will not see his Savior until after this life, and he feels something of the sorrow the Apostles had at the Last Supper, when Jesus said to them: Yet a little while, and ye shall not see me.

But, after his Resurrection, what must not these privileged men have felt, when they perceived, as we do, that this beloved Master was soon to leave them? They had, so to speak, been living with Jesus glorified; they had experienced the effects of his divine condescension and intimacy; they had received from his lips every instruction they needed for the fulfilling his will, that is, for the founding, on earth, the Church he had chosen as his Spouse. These happy forty days are fast drawing to a close. The Apostles will then be deprived of Jesus’ visible presence, even to the end of their lives.

We, too, shall feel something of their sadness, if we have kept ourselves united to our holy mother the Church. From the very first day, when she recommenced, for our sakes, the Ecclesiastical Year, during which all the Mysteries of our Redemption, from the Birth of our Emmanuel even to his triumphant Ascension into heaven, were to be celebrated, — have not we, also, been living in company with her Jesus, our Redeemer ? And now that he is about to close the sweet intercourse which these Seasons and Feasts have kept up between himself and us, are not our feelings very much like those of the Apostles?

But there is one creature on earth, whom Jesus is leaving, and whose feelings, at the approaching separation, we cannot attempt to describe. Never had there been a heart so submissive to the will of her Creator; but, at the same time, there never was any Creature so severely tried as she had been. Jesus would have his Mother’s love still increase; he therefore subjects her to the separation from himself. Moreover, he wishes her to co-operate in the formation of the Church, for he has decreed that the great work shall not be achieved without her. In all this, Jesus shows how tenderly he loves his Blessed Mother: he wishes her merit to be so great, that he may justly give her the brightest possible crown, when the day of her own Ascension into heaven comes.

The heart of this incomparable Queen is not, indeed, to be again transfixed with a sword of sorrow it is to be consumed by a love so intense that no language could describe it. Under the sweet, yet wearing, fire of this love, Mary is at length to give way, just as fruit falls from the tree, when its ripeness is complete, and the tree has nothing more to give it. But, during these last hours of Jesus’ presence, what must not such a Mother have felt, who has had but forty days to enjoy the sight and the caresses of her glorified and divine Son? It is Mary’s last trial and when her Jesus tells her of his wish that she should remain in exile, she is ready with her favorite answer: Behold the Handmaid of the Lord! Be it done to me according to thy Word! Her whole life has been spent in doing God’s will; it was this that made her so great in his eyes, and so dear to his heart. A holy servant of God, who lived in the 17th century, and was favored with the most sublime revelations, tells us, that it was left to Mary’s choice, either to accompany her divine Son to heaven, or to remain some years longer upon the earth to assist the infant Church; and that she chose to defer her entrance into eternal bliss, in order to labor, as long as it was God’s good pleasure, in the great work which was so closely connected with the glory of her Son, and so essential to the salvation of us her adopted children.

If this generous devotedness raised the co-operatrix of our salvation to the highest degree of sanctity, by giving completeness to her mission on earth,—we may be sure that Jesus’ love for his Mother was increased by the new proof she thus gave him of her uniformity with every wish of his sacred Heart. He repaid her, as he well knew how to do, for this heroic self-sacrifice, this prompt submission to his having designed her to be, here on earth, as the Church calls her, Queen of the Apostles, and a sharer in their labours of planting the Church.

During these, his last few hours on earth, our Lord’s affection for his Apostles and Disciples seemed to be redoubled. For several of them, the separation was to be a long one. The Beloved Disciple, John, was not to enjoy the company of his divine Master till more than fifty years had elapsed. It was to be thirty before the Cross would carry Peter to Him who had entrusted to his keeping the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Magdalene, the fervent Magdalene, would have to wait the same length of time. But no one murmured at the divine appointment; they all felt how just it was, that Jesus, now that he had so fully established the faith of his Resurrection, should enter into his glory.

On the very day of his Resurrection, our Saviour bade the Disciples go into Galilee, for that there he would meet them. As we have already seen, they obeyed the order, and seven among them were favored by Jesus’ appearing to them on the banks of the Lake Genesareth: it is the eighth of the manifestations mentioned in the Gospel. The ninth, also, took place in Galilee. Our Lord loved Galilee: it gave him the greater number of his Disciples, it was Mary and Joseph’s country, and it was there that he himself passed so many years of his hidden life. Its people were simpler and better than those of Judea,—and this was another attraction. St. Matthew tells us, that the most public of all Jesus’ manifestations, after his Resurrection, — the tenth in reality, and the ninth mentioned by the Evangelists,—took place on a hill in this same district.

According to St. Bonaventure, and the learned and pious Denis the Carthusian, this hill was Mount Tabor,—the same that was honored by the mystery of the Transfiguration. Upwards of five hundred of Jesus’ Disciples were assembled there, as we learn from St. Paul: they were mostly inhabitants of Galilee, had believed in our Lord during his three years’ public life, and merited to be witnesses of this new triumph of the Nazarene. Jesus showed himself to them, and gave them such certitude with regard to his resurrection, that the Apostle appeals to their testimony in support of this fundamental mystery of our Faith.

Further than this, we know of no other manifestations made by our Saviour after his Resurrection. We know that he gave order to his Disciples to repair to Jerusalem, where they were to see him once more before his Ascension. Let us, during these few days, follow the Disciples to Jerusalem. Faithless city! how often has not Jesus sought to gather together her children, as the hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,—and she would not! He is about to re-enter her walls; but she is not to know it. He will not show himself to her, but only to those that love him; and after this he will depart in silence, never to return until he comes to judge them that have not known the time of their visitation.

May 1 - Ss philip and james



           Commemoration for

         Fifth Sunday after Easter

              Double of the II Class

                   Red vestments

    Missa ‘Missa ‘Clamaverunt Ad Te’


         INTROIT – II Esdras 9: 27

Clamaverunt ad te, Dómine, in témpore afflictiónis suæ, et tu de cœlo exaudísti eos. Allelúia, allelúia. Ps. 32: 1 Exsultá te, justi, in Dómino: rectos decet collaudátio. Gloria Patri.

In the time of their tribulation they cried to Thee O Lord, and Thou heardest them from heaven. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, ye just: praise becometh the upright. Glory be to the Father.


O God, Who dost gladden us with the annual solemnity of Thine apostles, Philip and James, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may learn from the examples of those in whose merits we rejoice. Through the same Lord.

      Fifth Sunday after Easter

O God, from whom all good things do proceed, grant unto Thy humble servants, that by Thy holy inspiration, we may think those things that are right, and under Thy guidance may perform the same. Through our Lord.

St. James the Less

St. James the Less


Lesson from the Book of Wisdom

               Wisdom 5: 1-5

Then shall the just stand with great constancy against those that have afflicted them and taken away their labors. These seeing it, shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the suddenness of their unexpected salvation, saying within themselves, repenting, and groaning for anguish of spirit: These are they whom we had some time in derision and for a parable of reproach. We fools esteemed their life madness and their end without honor; behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the Saints.

PASCHAL ALLELUIA – Psalm 88:6                 

Alleluia, alleluia. The heavens shall confess Thy wonders, O Lord; and Thy truth in the Church of the saints.

             ALLELUIA – John 14: 9

Alleluia. So long a time have I been with you, and have you not known Me? Philip, he that seeth me, seeth My Father also. Alleluia.

Crucifixion of St Philip - Strozzi Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Crucifixion of St Philip – Strozzi Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence


Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John

                 John 14:1-13

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you, that I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you also may be. And whither I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas saith to Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me. If you had known Me, you would without doubt have known My Father also: and from henceforth you shall know Him; and you have seen Him. Philip saith to Him: Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: So long a time have I been with you, and have you not known Me? Philip, he that seeth Me, seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of Myself. But the Father Who abideth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? Otherwise, believe for the very works’ sake. Amen, amen, I say to you, he that believeth in Me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do. Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, that will I do.

  OFFERTORY – Psalm 88: 6

The Heavens shall confess Thy wonders, O Lord, and Thy truth in the church of the saints. Alleluia, alleluia.


Graciously receive O Lord, the offerings which we bring for the feast of Thine Apostles Philip and James, and turn aside all the evils which we deserve. Through our Lord.

Secret prayer for Fifth Sunday after Easter

Receive, O Lord, the prayers and sacrifices of the faithful, that by these offices of loving devotion we may attain to heavenly glory. Through our Lord.

St Simon the Zealot, St Philip, St James the Less and Jude Thaddeus by Martino di Bartolommeo


It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, to entreat Thee humbly, O Lord, that Thou wouldst not desert Thy flock, O everlasting Shepherd; but through Thy blessed Apostles, wouldst keep it under Thy constant protection; that it may be governed by those same rulers, whom as vicars of Thy work, Thou didst set over it to be its pastors. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying.

                  THE SANCTUS

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.

The Holy Trinity by Hendrick van Balen

The Holy Trinity by Hendrick van Balen

      COMMUNION – John 14: 9-10

So long a time have I been with you, and have you not known Me? Philip, he that seeth Me; seeth My Father also, alleluia. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? Alleluia, alleluia.


Filled with the mysteries of salvation, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be assisted by the prayers of those whose feast we celebrate. Through the Lord.

           Fifth Sunday after Easter

Grant us, O Lord, who have been nourished and strengthened at the heavenly table, both to desire that which is right, and to gain that which we desire. Through our Lord.


"Be it done to me according to thy word. "And the angel departed from her.

“Be it done to me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her.   

                   MONTH OF MARY

             By St. Alphonsus Liguori

        Doctor of the Catholic Church

                         FIRST DAY

                         Mary’s Faith   

As the Blessed Virgin is the Mother of holy love and hope, so also is she the Mother of faith: ‘I am the Mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope,’ And with reason is she so, says St. Ireneus, for ‘the evil done by Eve’s incredulity was remedied by Mary’s faith.’ This is confirmed by Tertullian, who says, that because Eve, contrary to the assurance she had received from God, believed the serpent, she brought death into the world; but our Queen, because she believed the angel when he said that she, remaining a Virgin, would become the Mother of God, brought salvation into the world. For St. Augustine says, that when Mary consented to the incarnation of the Eternal Word, by means of her faith she opened heaven to men. Father Suarez says, that the most holy Virgin had more faith than all men and angels. She saw her Son in the crib of Bethlehem, and believed Him the Creator of the world. She saw Him fly from Herod, and yet believed Him the King of kings. She saw Him born, and believed Him eternal. She saw Him poor and in need of food, and believed Him to be Lord of the universe. She saw Him lying on straw, and believed Him omnipotent. She observed that He did not speak, and she believed Him in finite wisdom. She heard Him weep, and believed Him the joy of paradise. In fine, she saw Him in death, despised and crucified, and although faith wavered in others, Mary remained firm in the belief that He was God. On these words of the Gospel, ‘There stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother,’ St. Antoninus says: Mary stood supported by her faith, which she retained firm, in the Divinity of Christ. Hence blessed Albert the Great assures us, that ‘Mary then exercised perfect faith; for even when the disciples were doubting, she did not doubt.’ Therefore Mary merited, by her great faith, to become ‘the light of all the faithful,’ as St. Methodius calls her, the ‘Queen of the true faith,’ as she is called by St. Cyril of Alexandria. The holy Church herself attributes to the merits of Mary’s faith the destruction of all heresies: ‘Rejoice, Virgin Mary; for thou alone hast destroyed all heresies throughout the world!’ St. Thomas of Villanova, explaining the words of the Holy Ghost, ‘Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse . . . with one of thy eyes’ says that ‘these eyes denoted Mary’s faith, by which she greatly pleased the Son of God.’

St. Ildephonsus exhorts us to imitate Mary’s faith. But how can we do so? Faith, at the same time that it is a gift, is also a virtue. It is a gift of God, inasmuch as it is a light infused by Him into our souls; and a virtue, inasmuch as the soul has to exercise itself in the practice of it. Hence faith is not only to be the rule of our belief, but also that of our actions; therefore St. Gregory says, ‘He truly believes who puts what he believes in practice.’ And St. Augustine: ‘Thou sayest, I believe; do what thou sayest, and it is faith.’ This is to have a lively faith, to live according to our belief: ‘My just man liveth by faith.’ Thus did the Blessed Virgin live very differently from those who do not live in accordance with what they believe, and whose faith is dead, as St. James declares: ‘Faith without works is dead.’ Diogenes sought for a man on earth; but God, amongst the many faithful, seems to seek for a Christian; for few there are who have good works; the greater part have only the name of Christian. To such as these should be applied the words once addressed by Alexander to a cowardly soldier who was also named Alexander: ‘Either change thy name or change thy conduct.’ But, as Father Avila used to say, ‘It would be better to shut up these poor creatures as madmen, believing, as they do, that an eternity of happiness is prepared for those who lead good lives, and an eternity of misery for those who lead bad ones, and who yet live as if they believed nothing.’ St. Augustine therefore exhorts us to see things with the eyes of Christians — that is to say, with eyes which look at all in the light of faith; for, as St. Teresa often said, all sins come from a want of faith.

St. Stanislaus Kostka


St. Stanislaus Kostka, who was wholly dedicated to the love of Mary, happened, on the 1st of August 1568, to hear a sermon from the blessed Peter Canisius, in which he exhorted the novices of the society with great earnestness to live each month as if it were to be the last of their lives, and the one during which they were to be presented before the tribunal of God. After the sermon, St. Stanislaus told his companions that that advice had been for him, in an especial manner, the voice of God; for that he was to die in the course of that very month. It is evident, from what followed, that he said this either because God had expressly revealed it to him, or at least because He gave him a certain internal presentiment of it. Four days afterwards the blessed youth went with Father Emanuel to St. Mary Major’s. The conversation fell on the approaching Feast of the Assumption, and the Saint said: ‘ Father, I believe that on that day a new paradise is seen in paradise, as the glory of the Mother of God, crowned Queen of heaven, and seated so near to our Lord, above all the choirs of angels, is seen. And if — as I firmly believe it to be — -this festival is renewed every year, I hope to see the next.’ The glorious martyr St. Lawrence had fallen by lot to St. Stanislaus as his patron for that month, it being customary in the society thus to draw them. It is said that he wrote a letter to his Mother Mary, in which he begged her to obtain him the favour to be present at her next festival in heaven. On the Feast of St. Lawrence he received the Holy Communion, and afterwards entreated the Saint to present his letter to the Divine Mother, and to support his petition with his intercession, that the most Blessed Virgin might graciously accept and grant it. Towards the close of that very day he was seized with fever; and though the attack was slight, he considered that certainly he had obtained the favour asked for. This indeed he joyfully expressed, and with a smiling countenance, on going to bed, said: ‘From this bed I shall never rise again.’ And speaking to Father Claudius Aquaviva, he added: ‘Father, I believe that St. Lawrence has already obtained me the favour from Mary, to be in heaven on the feast of her Assumption. ‘No one, however, took much notice of his words. On the vigil of the feast his illness still seemed of little consequence; but the Saint assured a brother that he should die that night. ‘O, brother,’ the other answered, ‘ it would be a greater miracle to die of so slight an illness than to be cured.’ Nevertheless, in the afternoon he fell into a deathlike swoon; a cold sweat came over him, and he lost all his strength. The superior hastened to him j and Stanislaus entreated him to have him laid on the bare floor, that he might die as a penitent. To satisfy him, this was granted. He was laid on a thin mattress on the ground. He then made his confession; and in the midst of the tears of all present received the Viaticum. I say of the tears of all present; for when the Divine Sacrament was brought into the room, his eyes brightened up with celestial joy, and his whole countenance was inflamed with holy love, so that he seemed like a seraph. He also received Extreme Unction, and in the meanwhile did nothing but constantly raise his eyes to heaven, and lovingly press to his heart an image of Mary. A Father asked him to what purpose he kept a rosary in his hand, since he could not use it. He replied: ‘It is a consolation to me; for it is something belonging to my Mother.’ ‘O, how much greater will your consolation be, added the Father, ‘when you shortly see her, and kiss her hands in heaven!’ On hearing this, the Saint, with his countenance all on fire, raised his hands, to express his desire soon to be in her presence. His dear Mother then appeared to him, as he himself told those who surrounded him; and shortly afterwards, at the dawn of day, on the 15th of August, with his eyes fixed on heaven, he expired like a saint, without the slightest struggle; so much so, that it was only on presenting him the image of the Blessed Virgin, and seeing that he made no movement towards it, that it was perceived that he was already gone to kiss the feet of his beloved Queen in paradise.



O, most sweet Lady and our Mother, thou hast already left the earth and reached thy kingdom, where, as Queen, thou art enthroned above all the choirs of angels, as the Church sings: ‘She is exalted above the choirs of angels in the celestial kingdom.’ But we know that thou in thy greatness hast never forgotten us miserable creatures; and that by being exalted to such great glory, thou hast never lost compassion for us poor children of Adam; nay, even that it is increased in thee. From the high throne, then, to which thou art exalted, turn, O Mary, thy compassionate eyes upon us, and pity us. Remember also, that in leaving this world thou didst promise not to forget us. Look at us and succour us. See in the midst of what tempests and dangers we constantly are, and shall be until the end of our lives. Obtain us holy perseverance in the Divine friendship, that we may finally quit this life in God’s grace; and thus we also shall one day come to kiss thy feet in paradise, and unite with the blessed Spirits in praising thee, and singing thy glories as thou deservest. Amen.




                       APRIL 30

As the devout servants of Mary usually have three times in each day to venerate her, morning, mid-day, and evening; and in every week a day, viz. Saturday; so in every year it seems reasonable for them to consecrate to her one whole month.

And since, in making offerings it is the best which should be presented, therefore of all the months, they have chosen that to give to her which is the most beautiful of the whole year, that is May, which, with its flowery pleasantness, invites us to crown the Queen of Heaven with fair acts of virtue. The practice of such devotion may be rendered not less devout than pleasing and varied, in the following method.

The Homemade Altar (Sacred Space)

In one’s own house, and in that room in which the family is used to assemble to say their prayers, or else in some church or oratory, a devout image of Mary may be exposed, which should be adorned in the best possible manner that the family’s means allow i.e, with candles, or with some vessel of the fresh flowers which the season supplies. It will be anything but ill if it be the very same place where we study, or play, or take recreation, or labour, in order to sanctify that place, and to regulate our actions as if done under the purest of eyes, those of the most Blessed Virgin.

The evening before the first day of May, let the family be assembled before the aforesaid little altar, with lights on it, and let there be recited the Rosary or Chaplet, or at least the Litany of the Virgin most holy. Other prayers also may be added, according to the custom or various needs of the family. Care, however, should be taken, that in wishing to increase the number of the prayers, the devotion is not diminished by making those which are said to be gone negligently over, or those who say them to be over-tired, especially if children or people of business.

st alphonsus liguori -

                   Month of Mary

        By St. Alphonsus Liguori

   Doctor of the Catholic Church

       April 30th  – Introduction 

It is an article of faith, not only that it is lawful, but also that it is useful, to invoke and pray to the Saints, and especially to the Queen of Saints, the most holy and ever Blessed Virgin Mary, in order that they may obtain us the Divine grace. This truth has been defined by General Councils, against heretics who condemned it as being injurious to Jesus Christ, who is our only Mediator. But if a Jeremias, after his death, prayed for Jerusalem; if the ancients of the Apocalypse presented the prayers of the Saints to God; if St. Peter promises his disciples that after his death he will be mindful of them; if holy Stephen prays for his persecutors; if St. Paul prays for his companions; if, in fine, the Saints can pray for us, why cannot we beseech the Saints to intercede for us? St. Paul recommends himself to the prayers of his disciples: ‘Brethren, pray for us.’ St. James exhorts us to pray one for another: ‘Pray one for another, that you may be saved.’ Then we can do the same.

No one denies that Jesus Christ is our only mediator of justice, and that He by His merits has obtained our reconciliation with God. But, on the other hand, it is impious to assert that God is not pleased to grant graces at the intercession of His Saints, and more especially of Mary, His Mother, whom Jesus desires so much to see loved and honoured by all. Hence the learned Suarez justly remarks, that if we implore our Blessed Lady to obtain us a favour, it is not because we distrust the Divine mercy, but rather that we fear our own unworthiness and the absence of proper dispositions; and we recommend ourselves to Mary, that her dignity may supply for our lowliness. That it is most useful and holy to have recourse to the intercession of Mary can only be doubted by those who have not faith. But that which we intend to prove here is, that the intercession of Mary is even necessary to salvation; we say necessary, not absolutely, but morally. This necessity proceeds from the will itself of God, that all graces that He dispenses should pass by the hands of Mary, according to the opinion of St. Bernard, and which we may now with safety call the general opinion of theologians and learned men.

But let us examine what the Saints say on the subject. St. Bernard says, ‘That God has filled Mary with all graces, so that men may receive by her means, as by a channel, every good thing that comes to them.’ He says, ‘ that she is a full aqueduct, that others may receive of her plenitude.’ On this the Saint makes the following significant remark: ‘Before the birth of the Blessed Virgin, a constant flow of graces was wanting, because this aqueduct did not exist.’ But now that Mary has been given to the world, heavenly graces constantly flow through her on all. And on this account she is called the Moon, according to the following remark of St. Bonaventure: ‘As the moon, which stands between the sun and the earth, transmits to this latter whatever she receives from the former, so does Mary pour out upon us who are in this world the heavenly graces that she receives from the Divine Sun of justice.’ Again, the holy Church calls her ‘ the happy gate of heaven;’ for as the same St. Bernard remarks, ‘ As every mandate of grace that is sent by a king passes by the palace gates, so does every grace that comes from heaven to the world pass through the hands of Mary.’ St. Bonaventure says that Mary is called ‘the gate of heaven because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing by her.’

And thus Father Suarez concludes that it is the sentiment of the universal Church ‘that the intercession and prayers of Mary are, above those of all others, not only useful, but necessary.’ Necessary, in accordance with what we’ have already said, not with an absolute necessity; for the mediation of Jesus Christ alone is absolutely necessary; but with a moral necessity; for the Church believes with St. Bernard, that God has determined that no grace shall be granted otherwise than by the hands of Mary. ‘God wills,’ says the Saint, ‘that we should have nothing that has not passed by the hands of Mary;’ and before St. Bernard, St. Ildephonsus asserted the same thing, addressing the Blessed Virgin in the following terms: ‘O Mary, God has decided on committing all good gifts, that He has provided for men, to thy hands; and, therefore, He has intrusted all treasures and riches of grace to thee.’ And hence St. Peter Damian remarks, ‘That God would not become man without the consent of Mary; in the first place, that we might feel ourselves under great obligations to her; and in the second, that we might understand that the salvation of all is left to the care of this Blessed Virgin.’

St. Bonaventure, on the words of the Prophet Isaias, ‘And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,’ makes a beautiful remark, saying: ‘Whoever desires the sevenfold grace of the Holy Spirit, let him seek for the flower of the Holy Ghost in the rod,’ — that is, for Jesus in Mary; ‘For by the rod we find the flower, and by the flower, God.’ And he adds: ‘if you desire to possess this flower, bend down the rod, which bears the flower, by prayer; and so you will obtain it. Otherwise,’ says the seraphic Father, ‘in vain shall we seek Jesus unless we endeavour to find Him with Mary. ‘St. Ildephonsus also says: ‘I desire to be the servant of the Son; but because no one will ever be so without serving the Mother, I desire to be the servant of Mary.’

Domina nostra, Refugium peccatorum ora pro nobis!

Domina nostra, Refugium peccatorum ora pro nobis!


In Germany a man fell into a grievous sin; through shame he was unwilling to confess it, but, on the other hand, unable to endure the remorse of his conscience, he went to throw himself into a river. On the point of doing so he hesitated, and, weeping, he begged that God would forgive him his sin without his confessing it. One night in his sleep he felt some one shake his arm, and heard a voice which said, Go to confession. He went to the church, but yet did not confess. On another night he again heard the same voice. He re turned to the church; but when he got there, he declared that he would rather die than confess that sin. But before returning home, he went to recommend himself to the most Blessed Virgin, whose image was in that church. He had no sooner knelt down than he found himself quite changed. He immediately got up, called a confessor, and, weeping bitterly through the grace which he had received from Mary, made an entire confession of his sins; and he afterwards declared that he experienced greater satisfaction than had he obtained all the treasures of the world.

Mother of God our life, sweetness and hope


O my soul, see what a sure hope of salvation and eternal life our Lord has given thee, by having in His mercy inspired thee with confidence in the patronage of His Mother; and this, notwithstanding that so many times, by thy sins, thou hast merited His displeasure and hell. Thank thy God, and thank thy protectress, Mary, who has condescended to take thee under her mantle; for of this thou mayest be well convinced, after the many graces that thou hast received by her means. O yes, I do thank thee, my most loving Mother, for all thou hast done for me, who am deserving of hell. And from how many dangers hast thou not delivered me, O Queen! How many inspirations and mercies hast thou not obtained for me from God? What service, what honour, have I ever rendered thee, that thou shouldst do so much for me? I know that it is thy sole goodness that has impelled thee. Ah, too little would it be, in comparison with all that I owe thee, did I shed my blood and give my life for thee! for thou hast delivered me from eternal death; thou hast enabled me, as I hope, to recover Divine grace; to thee, in fine, I owe all I have. My most amiable Lady, I, poor wretch that I am, can make thee no return, but that of always loving and praising thee. Ah, disdain not to accept the tender affection of a poor sinner, who is inflamed with love for thy goodness. If my heart is unworthy to love thee, because it is impure and filled with earthly affections, it is thou who must change it. Ah, change it, then! Bind me to my God, and bind me so that I may never more have it in my power to separate myself from His love. Thou askest of me that I should love thy God, and I ask of thee that thou shouldst obtain this love for me, to love Him always; this is all that I desire. Amen.


God the Father with Ss. Catherine of Siena and Mary Magdalen - Fra bartolomeo

God the Father with Ss. Catherine of Siena and Mary Magdalen by Fra Bartolomeo

                          April 30


Catherine, the daughter of a humble tradesman, was raised up to be the guide and guardian of the Church in one of the darkest periods of its history, the fourteenth century. As a child, prayer was her delight. She would say the “Hail Mary” on each step as she mounted the stairs, and was granted in reward a vision of Christ in glory. When but seven years old, she made a vow of virginity, and afterwards endured bitter persecution for re fusing to marry. Our Lord gave her His Heart in exchange for her own, communicated her with His own hands, and stamped on her body the print of His wounds. At the age of fifteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic, but continued to reside in her father’s shop, where she united a life of active charity with the prayer of a contemplative Saint. From this obscure home the seraphic virgin was summoned to defend the Church’s cause. Armed with Papal authority, and accompanied by three confessors, she travelled through Italy, reducing rebellious cities to the obedience of the Holy See, and winning hardened souls to God. In the face well-nigh of the whole world she sought out Gregory XI., at Avignon, brought him back to Rome, and by her letters to the kings and queens of Europe made good the Papal cause. She was the counsellor of Urban VI., and sternly rebuked the disloyal cardinals who had part in electing an anti-pope. Long had the holy virgin foretold the terrible schism which began before she died. Day and night she wept and prayed for unity and peace. But the devil excited the Roman people against the Pope, so that some sought the life of Christ’s Vicar. With intense earnestness did St. Catherine beg Our Lord to prevent this enormous crime. In spirit she saw the whole city full of demons tempting the people to resist and even slay the Pope. The seditious temper was subdued by Catherine’s prayers; but the devils vented their malice by scourging the Saint herself, who gladly endured all for God and His Church. She died at Rome at the age of thirty-three, A.D. 1380.

The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine of Siena by Clemente de Torres - WGA



   Double – White vestments

            Missa ‘Dilexisti’

INTROITUS – Psalm 44: 8

Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: propterea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo lætitiæ præ consortibus tuis. Ps. 44: 2. Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi. Gloria Patri.


Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Ps. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. Glory be to the Father.


Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who venerate the natal feast of blessed Catherine, Thy virgin, may be both gladdened by her annual solemnity and helped by the example of so great virtue. Through the same Lord.

EPISTLE – II Corinthians 10: 17-18

Brethren, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commandeth himself is approved: but he whom God commandeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly, but do bear with me: for I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

ALLELUIA – Psalm 44: 15

Alleluia, alleluia. V. After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbours shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.

ALLELUIA – Psalm 44: 16

Alleluia. With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Alleluia.

foolish - wise virgins

GOSPEL – Matthew 25: 1-13

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of Heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise: but the five foolish having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering, said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

OFFERTORY – Psalm 44: 10

The daughters of kings are in thine honour, the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety. Alleluia.


Let the prayers we offer on the feast-day of blessed Catherine rise up unto Thee, O Lord, and the sacrifice of salvation fragrant with the odour of virgin purity. Through our Lord.


It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

St. Catherine of Siena Receiving the Stigmata by Domenico Beccafumi

St. Catherine of Siena Receiving the Stigmata by Domenico Beccafumi

COMMUNION – Matthew 25: 4, 6

The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh: go ye forth to meet Christ the Lord.


May the Heavenly table, from which we have been fed, give us eternal life, O Lord, as it sustained even the temporal life of Catherine, the blessed virgin. Through our Lord.