St. Paul of the Cross
Founder of the Passionists
The eighty-one years of this Saint’s life were modeled on the Passion of Jesus Christ. In his childhood, when praying in church, a heavy bench fell on his foot, but the boy took no notice of the bleeding wound, and spoke of it as “a rose sent from God.” A few years later, the vision of a scourge with “love” written on its lashes assured him that his thirst for penance would be satisfied. In the hope of dying for the faith, he enlisted in a crusade against the Turks; but a voice from the Tabernacle warned him that he was to serve Christ alone, and that he should found a congregation in His honor. At the command of his bishop he began while a layman to preach the Passion, and a series of crosses tried the reality of his vocation. All his first companions, save his brother, deserted him; the Sovereign Pontiff refused him an audience; and it was only after a delay of seventeen years that the Papal approbation was obtained, and the first house of the Passionists was opened on Monte Argentario, the spot which Our Lady had pointed out. St. Paul chose as the badge of his Order a heart with three nails, in memory of the sufferings of Jesus, but for himself he invented a more secret and durable sign. Moved by the same holy impulse as Blessed Henry Suso, St. Jane Frances, and other Saints, he branded on his side the Holy Name, and its characters were found there after death. His heart beat with a supernatural palpitation, which was especially vehement on Fridays, and the heat at times was so intense as to scorch his shirt in the region of his heart. Through fifty years of incessant bodily pain, and amidst all his trials, Paul read the love of Jesus everywhere, and would cry out to the flowers and grass, “Oh! be quiet, be quiet,” as if they were reproaching him with ingratitude. He died whilst the Passion was being read to him, and so passed with Jesus from the cross to glory.
St. Paul of the Cross was beatified on 1 October 1852, and canonized on 29 June 1867 by Blessed Pius IX. Two years later, his feast day was inserted in the Roman calendar, for celebration on 28 April as a Double. In 1962 it was reclassified as a Third-Class feast, and in 1969 it became an optional Memorial and was placed on 19 October, the day after the day of his death, 18 October, which is the feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist. In 2006, this Optional Memorial was permanently transferred to 20 October.
There are few Martyrs of the West, whose names are more celebrated than those of Saints Gervasius and Protasius. The veneration in which they are held by the Roman Church, has led her to honor the memory of their father, who also won the palm under the persecution of Nero. She has chosen for his feast the glad Season of Easter. The account, given by the Liturgy, upon St. Vitalis, is short; but we can gather, from the few circumstances related, what fine characters these primitive Christians were, who received the crown of martyrdom under the first of all the Persecutions, the one that numbers, among its choicest victims, the two Apostles Saints Peter and Paul.
Vitalis was a soldier, and the father of Saints Gervasius and Protasius. Coming one day into Ravenna, in company with the judge Paulinus, there was being led to execution, for his having confessed the Christian faith, a certain Ursicinus, a physician. Vitalis observing that his courage was somewhat staggered by the tortures, cried out to him: Ursicinus thou that art a physician, and curest other men, take heed lest thou wound thyself with the dart of eternal death!”
Encouraged by these words, Ursicinus bravely suffered martyrdom. Whereupon, Paulinus was exceedingly angry, and ordered Vitalis to be seized, tortured on the rack, and then thrown into a deep pit, where he was to be buried alive by stones being thrown upon him. This done, one of the priests of Apollo, who had excited Paulinus against Vitalis, was possessed by a devil, and began shouting these words: O Vitalis, Martyr of Christ, thou burnest me beyond endurance! Mad with the inward burning, he threw himself into a river. Sin is the enemy of the soul; it throws her back again into that death, whence Jesus had drawn her by his Resurrection. To preserve one of thy brethren from this misery, thou, O Vitalis, bravely raisedst a cry of zealous warning to him in the midst of his torments, and thy words awakened him to self-possession and courage. Show this same fraternal charity to us. We are living with the Life of our Risen Jesus; but the enemy is bent on robbing us of this manner of snares wherewith to deceive us; he will give us battle, and this untiringly. Pray then for us, O holy Martyr, that we may be on our guard, and that the mystery of the Pasch may be fully accomplished within us, now and forever!
ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS, Confessor
Commemoration of St. Vitalis, Martyr
Double – White Vestments
Missa ‘Christo Confixus’
INTROITUS – Galatians 2: 19, 20
Christo confixus sum cruci: vivo autem, jam non ego: vivit vero in me Christus: in fide vivo Fílii Dei, qui diléxit me, et trádidit semetípsum pro me, allelúia, allelúia. Ps. 40: 2. Beátus qui intélligit super egénum et páuperem: in die mala liberábit eum Dóminus. Gloria Patri.
With Christ I am nailed to the cross: but I live, now not I but Christ liveth in me. I live in the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and delivered Himself for me. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and the poor: the Lord will deliver him in the evil day. Glory be to the Father.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst endow St. Paul with exceeding charity to preach the mystery of the Cross, and didst will that through him a new family should spring up in Thy Church, grant us, by his intercession, that, constantly venerating Thy passion on earth, we may be worthy to partake of its fruits in heaven. Who livest and reignest.
Commemoration of St. Vitalis, Martyr
Grant we beseech the almighty God, that we who celebrate the martyrdom of blessed Vitalis, through his intercession be strengthened in your love Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
EPISTLE – I Corinthians 1: 17-25
Brethren, Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of speech, lest the Cross of Christ should be made void. For the word of the Cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness: but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of our preaching to save them that believe. For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling-block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
PASCHAL ALLELUIA – II Corinthians 5: 15
Alleluia, alleluia. V. Christ died for all; that they also who live may not now live to themselves, but to Him who died for them, and rose again. Alleluia.
ALLELUIA – Romans 8:17
Alleluia. And if sons, heirs also: heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ; yet so if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him. Alleluia.
GOSPEL – Luke 10: 1-9
At that time, The Lord appointed also other seventy-two; and He sent them two and two before His face into every city and place whither He Himself was to come. And He said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He send laborers into His harvest. Go, behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and salute no man by the way. Into whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house: and if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall return to you. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. And into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you; and heal the sick that are therein; and say to them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
OFFERTORY – Ephesians 5: 2
Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God, for an odor of sweetness. Alleluia.
May these mysteries of Thy passion and death, O Lord, obtain for us that heavenly fervour by which St. Paul, when he offered the same, presented his own body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing unto Thee. Who livest and reignest.
Commemoration of St. Vitalis
As thou hast received our gifts and prayers, O Lord, cleanse us, we ask by thy heavenly mysteries, and graciously hear us.
PREFACE OF EASTER
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation that at all times, but more especially at this season, we should extol Thy glory, O Lord, when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb that hath taken away the sins of the world: Who by dying hath overcome our death, and by rising again hath restored our life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly hosts, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:
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 – I Peter 4:13
If you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, that when His glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. Alleluia.
We have received, O Lord, Thy divine sacrament, the perpetual memorial of Thine infinite love; grant, we beseech Thee, that, by the merits of St. Paul and by imitating him, we may draw from Thy fountains the water that gusheth out unto life eternal, and may by our life and actions bear Thy sacred passion deep graven upon our hearts. Who livest and reignest…
Commemoration of St. Vitalis
Grant, we pray, O Lord our God, that we who in time render joyful service in memory of thy saints, may be gladdened by their company in eternity. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee.