Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Espousal of Mary and Joseph and Novena Prayer - Feast January 23 - Prayers for #Engaged and Couples to SHARE


(DESPONSATIO BEATÆ MARIÆ VIRGINIS) A feast of the Latin Church. It is certain that a real matrimony was contracted by Joseph and Mary. Still Mary is called "espoused" to Joseph ("his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph", Matthew 1:18) because the matrimony was never consummated. The term spouse is applied to married people until their marriage is consummated (Colvenerius, Cal. Marian., 23 Jan.). Peter d'Ailly, chancellor of the University of Paris. (died 1420), and his famous disciple, Jean Charlier, called Gerson, were the first energetic propagators of the devotion in honour of St. Joseph. Gerson worked many years to effect the institution of a special votive feast (Thursday of ember week in Advent), the object of which should be the virginal espousal of Mary and Joseph. Gerson's friend, Henry Chicoti, canon of the cathedral chapter of Chartres, had bequeathed a certain sum for the celebration in the cathedral of this votive feast, for which Gerson had composed a proper Office. It seems that Gerson carried out the will of his friend, but tradition does not tell us on what day the feast was celebrated.  (Text from Catholic Encyclopedia) 

NOVENA PRAYER for Espousal of Mary and Joseph

Hail to our patrons, happy songs we tender,
As we observe the day of their chaste wedding,
Anew the faithful enjoy the holy splendor
Shining about them,
How beautiful thou art, O Virgin Mary,
The trinity has covered thee with graces
The lavish godhead splendidly adorns thee
As thou art married.
O blessed Joseph, to thee also we sing,
Thy virtue raises thee to highest summits
Thy sanctity is a mirror reflecting,
Thy saintly Mary.
Jesus was happy to be known as your Son
How much He loved you, parents of such virtue
From your belov’d arms to the world His mission
Already is started.
O Blessed couple, Light of earth and heaven,
Continue to inspire us with your blessing,
While the renown of your names we may leaven
By our devotion.
Eternal praise be to the mighty Godhead
Who, by the gift of Mary and Saint Joseph,
To our poor lives have, by their merits, added,
Gifts of Divine peace. Amen.
In preparation for the Feast of the holy espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Saint Joseph
Dear brothers, we shall attentively and devoutly meditate upon the wonderful virtues practiced by the Blessed Virgin Mary in company with Saint Joseph, her most chaste Spouse, and in their memory we shall humbly beg to imitate them, by saying:
1. Most holy Virgin, by those virginal Espousals you did celebrate with Saint Joseph, your most chaste Spouse, grant that my soul may be spiritually espoused to Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
2. O spotless Virgin, by that intact Virginity you did keep with Saint Joseph, your most pure Spouse, grant that my soul may with a pure heart serve Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
3. Most amiable, Virgin, by that tender affection you showed to Saint Joseph, your most dear Spouse, grant that my soul may incessantly love Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
4. Most glorious Virgin, by that perfect obedience you showed to Saint Joseph, your most prudent Spouse, grant that my soul may perfectly obey Jesus, Your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
5. Most merciful Virgin, by that strict poverty you practice with Saint Joseph, your most resigned Spouse, grant that my soul may renounce all things for the love of Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
6. Most humble Virgin, by that deepest humility you practiced with Saint Joseph, your most meek Spouse, grant that my soul may be subject to all for the love of Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
7. O most holy Virgin, by that fullness of virtues you acquired with Saint Joseph, your most praiseworthy Spouse, grant that my soul may be enamored with all the virtues, so that it may ever be more pleasing to Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
V. Pray for us holy Spouses Mary and Joseph:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Prayer: As in the Proper

The first definite knowledge of a feast in honour of the espousals of Mary dates from 29 Aug., 1517, when with nine other Masses in honour of Mary, it was granted by Leo X to the Nuns of the Annunciation, founded by Sainte Jeanne de Valois. This feast was celebrated on 22 October as a double of the second class. Its Mass, however, honoured the Blessed Virgin exclusively; it hardly mentioned St. Joseph and therefore did not correspond to the idea of Gerson. Also purely as a feast of Mary it appears in the Missal of the Franciscans, to whom it was granted 21 Aug., 1537, for 7 March (double major). About the same time the Servites obtained the feast for 8 March. The Office of the Nativity of Mary was recited, changing the word Nativilas to Desponsatio. After the religious orders, among the dioceses which adopted the feast of the Espousals of Mary, Arras takes the lead. It has been kept there since 23 Jan., 1556. The first proper Office was composed by Pierre Doré, O. P. (died 1569), confessor of Duke Claude of Lorraine. This Office followed the outlines given by Gerson and commemorated both Joseph and Mary. Pierre Doré in 1546 unsuccessfully petitioned Paul III to extend the feast of the Desponsatio B. M. V. to the Universal Church. But even without the recommendation of the Apostolic See, the feast was adopted by many Churches. In Moravia it was in the sixteenth century kept on 18. July. 
In subsequent times Rome did not favour any further extension of the feast, but after it had been refused (1655) to the King of Spain, it was granted to the German Emperor for Austria, 27 Jan., 1678 (23. Jan.); in 1680 it was conceded to Spain, but transferred (13 July, 1682) to 26 Nov., because in Spain the feast of St. Ildephonsus or St. Raymond is kept 23. Jan. In 1680 it was extended to the entire German Empire, 1689 to the Holy Land (double, second class), 1702 to the Cistercians (20 Feb.), 1720 to Tuscany, and 1725 to the Pontifical States. In our days it is kept in nearly the entire Latin Church on 23 Jan., in the Spanish-speaking countries on 26 Nov., but it has never been extended to the Universal Church. Since Pius V abolished the Office of Pierre Doré and introduced the modern Office, it is again a feast of Mary. The commemoration of St. Joseph in Mass, Vespers, Lauds (decree 5 May, 1736) can only be made by a special privilege.  (Text Catholic Encyclopedia - Images shared from Google Images)

#BreakingNews 34th Official World Youth Day begins in Panama, Central America - 5 Things to Know and Share!

World Youth Day begins in Panama, Central America. Panama is a country on the isthmus linking Central and South America. It has a population of approximately 4 million people and its official language is Spanish.
This the 34th World Youth Day, 2019, from January 22-27, has the theme; 
"I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38)
1. History of World Youth Day
In 1984 at the close of the Holy Year of Redemption, over 300,000 young people from around the world responded to the invitation of His Holiness John Paul II for an International Jubilee of youth on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s square. The following Palm Sunday, coinciding with the United Nation’s International Year of the Youth, Our Holy Father took the opportunity to welcome the youth of the world to Rome again. Later, announcing the institution of World Youth Day on December 20, 1985, and the first official WYD was held in 1986.

2. Patron Saints of World Youth Day in Panama
WYD Panamá 2019 has named eight great heroes of the Church to intercede for pilgrims and their needs.
Saint José Sánchez del Rio
Saint Juan Diego
Blessed Sor María Romero Meneses
Saint John Bosco
Saint John Paul II
Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero
Saint Martin de Porres
Saint Rose of Lima

3. Official Prayer for WYD Panamá 2019

Merciful Father,
You call us to live our lives as a way of salvation. Help us to recall the past with gratitude, to embrace the present with courage and to build the future with hope.
Lord Jesus, our friend and brother, thank you for looking upon us with love. Let us listen to your voice as it resonates in the hearts of each one with the strength and light of the Holy Spirit.
Grant us the grace of being a Church that goes forth with vibrant faith and a youthful face to communicate the joy of the Gospel. May we help to build up the kind of society we long for, one where there is fairness and fellowship.
We pray for the Pope and the bishops; for young people; for all those who will take part in World Youth Day in Panama and for those who are preparing to welcome them.
Our Lady of Antigua, Patroness of Panama, help us to pray and live with generosity like yours: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
Amen

4. Official Hymn of WYD 2019 in Panama
The official hymn of the 34th World Youth Day 2019 was inspired by the theme of WYD Panamá and by characteristic Panamanian rhythms. This worship song, which will be sung by pilgrims from every continent, was written and composed by Abdiel Jiménez, a catechist and psalmist from the Cristo Resucitado parish in San Miguelito, Panamá. Abdiel is the author of several liturgical pieces, a member of various choirs, and a graduate from the School of Religious Sciences of the Universidad Católica Santa Maria La Antigua.

5. Official Promotional Video of WYD Panama

Top 10 Pro-Life Quotes by Pope Francis to SHARE - #ProLife Inspiration!


1. “The right to life is the first human right. Abortion is killing someone that cannot defend him or herself.” – Cardinal Bergoglio with Rabbi Abraham Skorka in book
 2. “All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.” – Message to Catholics taking part in annual Day for Life in Britain and Ireland July 28, 2013
3. “Let’s say ‘Yes’ to life and ‘No’ to death.” – Message to Catholics taking part in March for Life in France Jan. 19, 2014.
 4. “Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world’s rejection. And every elderly person…even if he is ill or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the ‘culture of waste’ suggests!” – Speech to Catholic healthcare professionals and gynecologists Sept. 20, 2013
5.... it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.” – Speech to diplomats Jan. 13, 2014
 6. “The victims of this [throwaway] culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings — the unborn, the poorest, the sick and elderly, the seriously handicapped, etc. — who are in danger of being ‘thrown away,’ expelled from a system that must be efficient at all costs. …It is necessary to raise awareness and form the lay faithful, in whatever state, especially those engaged in the field of politics, so that they may think in accord with the Gospel and the social doctrine of the church and act consistently by dialoguing and collaborating with those who, in sincerity and intellectual honesty, share — if not the faith — at least a similar vision of mankind and society and its ethical consequences. – Speech to a delegation from the Dignitatis Humanae Institute Dec. 7, 2013
7. “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? ” – Laudato Si
8. "Every life counts: from the beginning to the end, from conception to natural death" Tweet Jan.19,2018
9. The fight against abortion is “part of the battle in favor of life from the moment of conception until a dignified, natural end. This includes the care of the mother during pregnancy, the existence of laws to protect the mother postpartum, and the need to ensure that children receive enough food, as well as providing healthcare throughout the whole length of life…” …On science being aware it is human life: “A pregnant woman isn’t carrying a toothbrush in her belly, or a tumor…We are in the presence of a human being.” – Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in book of interviews “Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words”
10. "Defend the Unborn Against Abortion even if they persecute you calumniate you set traps for you take you to court or kill you."'

#BreakingNews Priest Arrested for allegedly instigating Suicide of Female Teen

Madhya Pradesh priest arrested for instigation of a 17-year-old's suicide
by Nirmala Carvalho
The victim would have hanged himself because the priest urged her to marry him. Fr. Prakash Damor met the girl in the missionary school where she was studying. The local bishop: "We are close to the young girl's family, but Fr. Damor is a good person".
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A Catholic priest in Madhya Pradesh has been arrested for allegedly instigating a 17-year-old's suicide. The case took place on January 20 in the district of Jhabua. According to the national newspaper The Hindu, the arrested person is Fr. Prakash Damor, 33, while the victim's name was not disclosed.
The only information that is known of the girl is that she wrote a note before she died. In the text the girl states that she had decided to take her life because the priest wanted to force her to marry him.
The local bishop Msgr. Basil Bhuriya says: "The case is in court, we are doing our best to get release on bail. We respect the judges. Our sympathy and support go to the victim's family, but I must stress that Fr. Damor is a good person. I'm worried".
The Ranapur police of Jhabua district are investigating the case. The two would have met at the missionary school where the girl attended the 11th class. Inspector Kailash Chauhan informs that the young woman hanged herself in her home on January 4th, due to the presumed pressure received from the priest. Regarding Fr. Damor, the agent reports that he was arrested under section 36 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act.
Fr. Rockey Shah, spokesman of the diocese, confirms the Church's support for the girl's family. At the same time, he believes that the arrest took place without proper investigations. "We want an in-depth investigation - he concludes - and only in this way will the real culprit be arrested".
FULL TEXT and Image Release Shared from Asia News IT

Jan. 22 Official Pro-Life Day of "Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children" - with Special Prayers - #ProLife


USCCB RELEASE: January 22 Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.

Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 100* 
The over 56 million abortions since the 1973 decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Boltonreflect with heartbreaking magnitude what Pope Francis means by a “throwaway culture.” However, we have great trust in God’s providence. We are reminded time and again in Scripture to seek the Lord’s help, and as people of faith, we believe that our prayers are heard. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), no. 373, designates January 22 as a particular day of prayer and penance, called the "Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children”: “In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.”

As individuals, we are called to observe this day through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting and/or giving alms. Another way to take part is through participating in special events to observe the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Call your local diocese or parish to find out what events might be taking place in your area.

Blessing of a Child in the Womb

The "Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb" was crafted to support parents awaiting the birth of their child, to encourage parish prayers for -- and recognition of -- the precious gift of the child in the womb, and to foster respect for human life within society. It may be offered within the context of the Mass as well as outside of Mass.
God, author of all life,
bless, we pray, this unborn child;
give constant protection

and grant a healthy birth
that is the sign of our rebirth one day
into the eternal rejoicing of heaven...
~ excerpt from the Prayer of Blessing

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday January 22, 2019 - #Eucharist


Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Lectionary: 312

Reading 1HEB 6:10-20

Brothers and sisters:
God is not unjust so as to overlook your work
and the love you have demonstrated for his name
by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.
We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness
for the fulfillment of hope until the end,
so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who,
through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham,
since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,and said, I will indeed bless you and multiply you.
And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.
Now, men swear by someone greater than themselves;
for them an oath serves as a guarantee
and puts an end to all argument.
So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise
an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose,
he intervened with an oath,
so that by two immutable things,
in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged
to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.
This we have as an anchor of the soul,
sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,
where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner,
becoming high priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial PsalmPS 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 AND 10C

R. (5)  The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R.  The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.  Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
"Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
He said to them,
"Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?"
Then he said to them,
"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."

Saint January 22 : St. Vincent Pallotti : Priest - Founder of #Pallottines




St. Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850, Rome, Italy) founded the Societas Apostolatus Catholici (S.A.C.) in 1835. He was canonized in 1963 by Pope John XXIII.
St. Vincent Pallotti was born in Rome, April 21, 1795, the third child of ten. His parents were Peter-Paul Pallotti and his wife Maddalena. From his earliest years his devout parents took him to daily Mass and religious devotions in the many neighborhood churches of Rome. For a time Vincent had trouble with his studies until his mother sought the advice of a close friend, Father Fazzini. He advised her to make a novena to the Holy Spirit with Vincent. The Novena completed, something clicked in the boy's head. He became the brightest student in his class. Vincent had an innate desire to do what he could to help the poor. Before he would give them a coin he would wash it in the nearby fountain. "When I give to the poor," he would say, "I give the coin to Christ. I want it to look nice." He felt called to do penance. He ate little. When his parents informed Father Fazzini of the penances, he replied, "Let us leave Vincent undisturbed. It appears to be a higher call than we have been given. It seems to come from God."
Vincent's first registration in a religious youth group was at his grade school of San Pantaleone, staffed by the Piarist Fathers. The school had been hallowed by the presence of its holy founder, St. Joseph Calasanz who formed a youth apostolate in Counter-reformation Rome. Our Lady had appeared to Joseph Calasanz when he was a teacher in the classroom where Vincent now attended. Joseph had been instrumental in restoring both eye and eyesight to a pupil whose eye had been jabbed out by a pencil thrust into it by an angry classmate. Vincent's Marian development was thus well nurtured in this school with the solemn observances of our Lady's feasts and the devout use of a small rosary of twelve Hail Mary's called the "Crown of Twelve Stars," which St. Calasanz had much promoted among the students of his schools. Vincent was quite religious and of a serious nature. Yet, he loved to play ball with his friends in front of his father's grocery store. Early every morning he walked to Santa Maria in Vallicella. There he put on his cassock and surplice as an altar boy. Under the altar of this church there was reposed the remains of the great youth worker, St. Philip Neri.
In the days before St. John Bosco, the name of St. Philip Neri would first come to mind whenever any program was being instituted for youth. Pallotti was often referred to in later life as the "Second St. Philip Neri."
St. Vincent became a member of a more advanced youth group at the Church of Santa Maria del Pianto. It met every Sunday and Holy Day for catechetical instruction, Marian devotions and recreation. It was under the direction of diocesan priests and among them was St. Gaspar del Bufalo. Vincent as a major seminarian and young priest succeeded St. Gaspar in the directorship of the group. Once when he was on a summer vacation, Father Pallotti wrote to his youth group reminding them that St. Philip Neri had said: "The most insane thing in the whole world was not to want to be a saint. Sanity is to take every means to achieve sanctity and be pleasing to God. When we think of the infinite reward God will give us for that - it is sheer insanity to do the opposite!"
Vincent's high school studies were accomplished at the world-famed Collegio Romanowhich had been established by St. Ignatius Loyola. Among its graduates were the paragons of youthful holiness, St. Aloysius Gonzaga and St. John Berchmans. In Vincent's time the Jesuits had been suppressed for several years and replaced by other clergy. The profound tradition of the Jesuits who had taught there, and the magnificent altar tomb of St. Gonzaga, could not be ignored and was very much kept alive. Pallotti chose St. John Berchmans, a Jesuit seminarian, as his role model to imitate on the path to holiness, particularly in his love for Mary in her Immaculate Conception.
Collegio Romano, as all Jesuit schools once did, had a distinctive youth organization known as the "Sodality of the Blessed Virgin." Because the school's unit was the first Sodality, it bore the distinguished title: "Prima Priaria." Vincent cherished his membership in it and the group heightened his Marian devotion all the more as he practiced it in union with his peers who took their devotion to Mary very seriously. After his entrance into theSapienza University as a theology student, he decided upon a very bold and daring move. Despite the very negative reaction of many toward the clergy, now that he was a seminarian, he chose to wear his cassock and collar in public. He was clearly visible as a man of the Church when most diocesan and non-monastic orders wore a garb that resembled very much what comes to our minds when we think of Benjamin Franklin. For him it was a sign and defiance of the secularized world and its anti-clericalism.
One day Pallotti was leading his youth group at Santa Maria del Pianto to some function elsewhere in Rome. An irate diocesan priest, himself dressed in the "Benjamin Franklin" style garb, sharply upbraided the seminarian as a hypocrite and phony for his use of the cassock. Vincent let the priest rant and rave on. In a few minutes he slipped away from the group and was found in a corner of the sacristy of Santa Maria del Pianto on his knees reciting the Te Deum in thanksgiving for this mistreatment for what he believed was right.
As Vincent neared ordination he was introduced into apostolic work among the farmers who brought their products to Rome from the surrounding towns and villages to sell at the markets. Vincent was assigned to the hay sellers. He organized the young farmers and their children into classes in the evening and helped them to learn how to read and write. He also prepared many of them for the sacraments. From this experience of being a volunteer, he would later encourage others to volunteer to spread the kingdom of God.
Vincent Pallotti was ordained in May, 1818, at the Lateran Basilica. He said his first Mass on the following day in the Jesuit Church in Frascati. He was not assigned to a specific church or rectory. Instead, he lived at home with his family and continued as a teacher at the Sapienza University. In the world of college students he was very well liked. He offered tutoring to those who had found their studies difficult. He began a very successful apostolate of street preaching on the steps of local churches and was able to attract large numbers of people into church afterwards for confession.
In his travels Vincent became aware of a number of young workers whose work hours prevented them from attending daytime classes. He soon gathered these workers at a nearby parish hall and recruited volunteer teachers to give them a basic education. He and several others gave the religious instruction. In a matter of a few years the project mushroomed into many other "night schools" and was relocated to more spacious quarters. By now, 500 young workers were enrolled. At this point Pallotti turned over his project to the supervision of the Christian Brothers to ensure that it would be properly managed.
After ten years at the Sapienza University, the diocesan authorities turned to Father Pallotti for assistance with a very pressing youth problem in Trastevere. This section of Rome was a difficult one. While it had produced saints as lovely as St. Cecilia and St. Frances of Rome, it had also produced many rogues and toughened people. It has been ever the spot where urchins and ragamuffins run rampant.
There was now a great need for a kind, patient and sincere priest who could see beyond brokenness and be capable of drawing the best out of these disorderly youth. They needed to be given the most elemental religious instruction. They needed to be prepared for First Holy Communion. In those days First Communion was received when a child was about twelve years old.
This new assignment would mean relinquishing his teaching position at the University and saying goodbye to his favorite youth group at Santa Maria del Pianto. Father Vincent knew that the assignment would bring many souls to God and strengthen the faith of these Trastevere urchins and so he accepted it willingly.
He was given space in the Ponterotto retreat house which had formerly been the family home of St. Frances of Rome. The rough Trastevere teens, who could have matched any scugnizzi that Charles Dickens could describe with his pen, now got the attention they deserved in order to set them in the right direction. They responded with extraordinary cooperation. Pallotti did not neglect the nobility nor the upper class and he provided retreats for them at another retreat house nearby. His purpose was to inculcate into these men who would be the leaders of the future, a love of virtue, a sense of honor and integrity coupled with a sense of responsibility for those who had less than they.
His knack for getting volunteers involved in his many projects, expanded beyond his concern for youth when he began his broad vision of the Union Of The Catholic Apostolate which strove to accomplish a revival of the Catholic Faith among Catholics and a rekindling of charity toward achieving the salvation of one's neighbor. In his desired UNION, men and women of every social strata, church folks of every rank and religious order would work in harmonious collaboration for the missionary endeavors of the Church. Moreover, the poor, the aged and ailing, the sick and bedridden could offer their prayers and sufferings for the success of the venture. Pope Gregory XVI heartily approved the new movement and it soon had hundreds and hundreds of members.
Not long after its foundation and its first experience of the Epiphany festival as the visible exemplification of its spiritual ideals, philosophy and objectives, the UNION was confronted not by ceremony but by calamity. Deadly cholera struck in 1837 and decimated the population of the Eternal City. Not even Vincent's father was spared. His director, Father Fazzini and his friend, St. Gaspare del Buffalo died. In its wake hundreds were left homeless and hungry.
Orphaned girls roamed the streets. It was their pitiable plight that wounded the heart of Vincent Pallotti who was himself strenuously working day and night and round the clock to care for the destitute and abandoned. What grieved him most was that these orphan girls were being taken advantage of by the unscrupulous. He and a trusted friend, Mr. James Salvati, got the use of a small, former seminarians' residence and fixed it up to receive the orphan girls. A corps of carefully chosen volunteers looked after the girls and taught them the domestic skills they would later need in life. This home became known as the Pious House of St. Agatha. It is still in operation today behind what is now the St. Thomas Aquinas University in Rome. In its chapel Vincent placed the large painting of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Pious House of St. Agatha occupied much of the Saint's attention and his visits there were a delight for the young girls who loved him dearly. His lay volunteers later became the nucleus of the Pallottine Sisters who would devote much time to the education and Christian formation of young people. He began another orphanage near the Vatican. Later on it was taken over by another religious order, and a third, at Velletri, was already in the planning stage just before Vincent died.
Not the least of St. Vincent's contributions to the apostolate among the young was the magnificent care he gave to the students preparing for the priesthood at the Roman Seminary, Propaganda Fide (where the students from foreign lands came to study), the national colleges of England, Scotland and those of the various Eastern Churches whose students studied in Rome. His was a welcome presence and many looked back at the guidance St. Vincent had given them from as far away as Persia and Baltimore, Maryland, whose Archbishop Martin J. Spalding was able to write forty years later of his spiritual mentor that all Rome regarded him as a saint and a man of profound faith in the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ. "No cross or aggravation could ruffle him and the memory of his holiness clusters as a halo around my heart!"
John Henry Newman, much admired by the young students of Oxford, had resigned his Anglican ministry and entered the Catholic Church. He and several others were sent to Rome to complete studies for ordination to the Catholic priesthood. Newman believed Pallotti to be a very holy man and said the same to the then Archdeacon of the Anglican Diocese of Chichester. Manning had come on visit to Rome to examine its claims "on location."
Manning went to visit Pallotti and came away with the same conviction. Manning spoke of hearing a group of young men singing a Marian hymn as they passed through the street and was told that it was one of the groups from Pallotti's Night Schools on their way home. Both Newman and Manning later were made Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church.
Youth work was not the only part of Pallotti's apostolate though there is more than enough of it to merit a consideration of its own. He continued his duties as a diocesan priest and led his Union of the Catholic Apostolate in its generous outreach to provide for the local needs of the Church and for those of the foreign missions. He was a great retreat master and preacher. Long lines waited their turn outside his confessional. Yet Pallotti made time for daily visits to the city hospitals and to the jails and prisons where his smile and compassion brought a ray of sunshine to those incarcerated there. He badgered the prison officials incessantly until he had obtained the separation of the youthful offenders from the adults in prison. "If you want to rehabilitate youth and keep them out of jail in the future, then give them the chance to do without a thorough training in criminality they are sure to receive from their elders here!" And he was listened to with respect by the prison authorities, and with thankfulness from those who would now have a new lease on life.
Vincent is still remembered for his unstinting generosity to the prisoners condemned to death. He would spend the entire night with them. He was their last friendly presence at the scaffold. Amid the hubbub and hurry burly of such gruesome scenes, it was he who calmly held the crucifix before their eyes as the headsman's axe swiftly descended. Popes sought his advice and knelt for their own confession before him. Soldiers in their military barracks responded to their beloved priest with extraordinary respect. For those at death's door he was an angel of mercy as he brought the sacraments of the Church and encouragement to trust in God's goodness until the very end.
Only once is it recorded that his contact with youth was a failure. A group of loud, boisterous wise guys were standing before a picture of Our Lady and their language was not of the type one would expect to hear in a convent sacristy! Vincent went up to them and asked them to stop out of respect for the Blessed Mother's picture. The haughty braggarts who feared neither God, man nor beast, stood up to the young priest in the mistaken hope of besting him. The ringleader jeered: "Yeah, Father! What's she going to do about it, kill us?" Suddenly a look of horror came over Vincent's face as he saw into the near future. "Young man you are a fool to continue like this. You will be dead in less than a few minutes. Repent while there is time. At that the teenager let out a stream of profanity that would have twisted the tail of a stone lion. Suddenly he collapsed unconscious to the ground. His astonished following of juvenile delinquents rushed to revive him. They were shocked out of their wits. "He's dead, Father! My God, he's dead!" By use of a clever disguise Vincent was able to get near a young man who was a revolutionist and had promised to kill any priest who came near him. When the man fell asleep with rifle in hand and pistol beneath the pillow, Pallotti removed them and put the cross in his hand. Later the man awoke, astonished and made his confession to Father Vincent and died about a week later reconciled to the Lord.
St. Vincent Pallotti died in 1850 surrounded by a handful of followers which now numbers thousands of priests, brothers and sisters and an even more vast number of lay people committed to the apostolate. He was canonized in 1963 by Pope John XXIII as a model for all active priests and for encouraging the lay people to become more active in the mission of the Church. Also, he was hailed by Popes Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII as the precursor of Catholic Action and of the Second Vatican Council.
Shared from the Pallottines.org