Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 26 May – The Memorial of St Philip Neri Cong. Orat.(1515-1595)

Thought for the Day – 26 May – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy:  the whole post-Renaissance malaise.

At an early age, Philip abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God.   After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination.   The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate.

As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends, from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals.   He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality.   Initially, they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome.

At the urging of his confessor, Philip was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor himself, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke.   He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents, in a room above the church.   He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.

Some of Philip’s followers became priests and lived together in community.   This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded.   A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers and composed music for the services. The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns!

Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day.   He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself.   His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.

After spending a day hearing confessions and receiving visitors, Philip Neri suffered a hemorrhage and died on the feast of Corpus Christi in 1595.   He was  Beatified in 1615 and Canonised in 1622.   Three centuries later, Cardinal John Henry Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory in London.

Many people wrongly feel that such an attractive and jocular personality as Philip’s cannot be combined with an intense spirituality.   Philip’s life melts our rigid, narrow views of piety.   His approach to sanctity was truly catholic, all-embracing and accompanied by a good laugh.   Philip always wanted his followers to become not less but more human through their striving for holiness.

St Philip Neri, Please Pray for us!st philip neri - pray for us - 26 may 2018



Quote/s of the Day – 26 May – “Mary’s Month! – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Quote/s of the Day – 26 May “Mary’s Month! – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

“To petition Our Blessed Lady in our most urgent need,
repeat, after the fashion of the Rosary,
“Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me.”to petition our lady in our most urgent need - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

Cast yourself into the arms of God
and be very sure that if He wants anything of you,
He will fit you for the work and give you strength.cast yourself into the arms - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

First let a little love,
find entrance into their hearts
and the rest will follow.

The cross is the gift God gives to His friends.

The greatness of our love of God,
must be tested by the desire we have,
of suffering for His love.first let a little love, the corss is the gift, the greatness of our love of god - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

The true servant of God,
acknowledges no other country
but heaven.the true servant of god - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

At communion we ought to ask 
for the remedy of the vice to which 
we feel ourselves most may 2017

The best way to prepare for death is to spend every day of life as though it were the last.

the-best-way-to-prepare-for-death-st-philip-neri-26 may 2017

Obtain humility through sincere and frequent confession.obtain humility through sincere and frequent confession - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

WELL! And when shall we begin to do good?”

St Philip Neri (1515-1595)well and when shall we = st philip neri - 26 may 2018





Our Morning Offering – 26 May “Mary’s Month!” – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Our Morning Offering – 26 May “Mary’s Month!” – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Mary, I Love You
By St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Mary, I love you.
Mary, make me live in God,
with God and for God.
Draw me after you, holy mother.
O Mary, may your children persevere in loving you.
Mary, Mother of God and mother of mercy,
pray for me and for the departed.
Mary, holy Mother of God, be our helper.
In every difficulty and distress,
come to our aid, O Mary.
O Queen of Heaven,
lead us to eternal life with God.
Mother of God, remember me,
and help me always to remember you.
O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to you.
Pray for us,
O holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray to Jesus for me.
Amenmary I love you by st philip neri - 26 may 2918

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 May – St Philip Neri (1515-1595) “The Third Apostle of Rome”

Saint of the Day – 26 May – St Philip Neri Cong. Orat. (1515-1595) Priest and Founder, Mystic, Missionary of Charity known as  “The Third Apostle of Rome”, after Saints Peter and Paul, was an Italian priest noted for founding a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory.   Patronages – Rome, Gravina, Italy, archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy Mandaluyong, US Special Forces, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Piczon Vill, Catbalogan, laughter, humour, joy.   St Philip Neri was extraordinarily touched by the divine presence and radiated such joy that he was moved to share it with all he met.St. Philip Neri by Giandomenico Tiepolo

St Philip made a life for himself in Rome, becoming a priest at the age of 35 and becoming known as one who had a particular apostolate for giving young men spiritual direction using unconventional ways to challenge the vain young men of the Eternal City. Once a man came to St Philip Neri and asked him if he thought wearing a hair shirt was a good penance.   St Philip replied that it would be a good penance if he wore the hair shirt outside his nice clothes.

St Philip had a long history of playing jokes on a distinguished friend of his, Cesare Baronius, who would become a cardinal.   St Philip would send Baronius shopping for wine, with the strict instruction that he was to taste every wine in the shop until he found the right one.   After taking such great trouble sampling many types of wine, St Philip would tell Baronius casually that he only required half a bottle of wine.

He was greatly unsettled when many Italians started leaving the Church because of a bogus and damaging history of the Church was doing the rounds.   He commissioned Baronius to write a factual history of the Catholic Church and when Baronius would give him drafts to read, St Philip would flippantly throw them over his shoulder.   St Philip didn’t allow anyone in his circle to take themselves too seriously.   It took Baronius 30 years to write a true history of the Church, which was entitled, Ecclesiastical Annals.neri 2

The saint’s best-known achievement is that he founded the Roman Congregation of the Oratory.   Key to his success was that he used humour as his medicine.   He may have made others laugh, from going around Rome with half his beard shaved off, doing humorous dances or setting penances for young men that involved them making fools of themselves in public.   But he needed jokes more badly than those around him.   He was said to have had an all consuming love of God and in order to concentrate before offering Mass, St Philip would need to hear jokes or read humorous anecdotes which distracted him just a little from total absorption in the glory of God, so that he was able to concentrate on the task at hand, which was to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.Joan_Llimona_-_San_Felipe_Neri_en_la_consagración_de_la_Santa_Misa

He had a phenomenal capacity for love – his heart would hammer so strongly against his chest that it shook furniture.   His facility to love so greatly was received on the eve of Pentecost, 1544, when St Philip saw a vision of a ball of fire enter through his mouth and go to his heart.   Straightaway he was filled with an intense divine love and fell to the floor, crying out, “Enough, enough, Lord, I can bear no more!”Guercino_San_Filippo_Neri._San_Marino.JPG

St Philip Neri is the patron saint of joy and with this in mind, he could become a powerful intercessor for people who have periods of feeling down.   We pray a lot to St Valentine and St Raphael – so that these saints may find us romantic partners who will love us.   But we might do well to pray to St Philip Neri that he inspires us with the ability to cherish others and to be filled with the joy of love…   Perhaps most acutely for our selfie age, he could become an intercessor for people who agonise over how they look, who spend all their free time finding flattering selfies to post on Facebook and fear that that narcissism is beginning to rule their lives.

More on St Philip’s life: Philip Neri by Alessandro Algardi

The work of the Oratory continues in Rome and across the world today.   The Oratorians take no formal vows but promise to live in charity with one another.   Some 500 priests serve more than 70 oratories around the world today.   Cardinal Blessed John Henry Newman and St Francis de Sales were both members of this order.

Philip was always in touch with the supernatural—people said that they noticed his face radiating light and he often fell into deep, ecstatic trances while celebrating Mass.   In fact, his normal congregations got used to beginning Mass with him, then leaving after the “Lamb of God” to let him experience his rapture and return two hours later to finish the liturgy and receive Communion.

Philip died of a massive heart attack on this date in 1595, which was the feast of Corpus Christi.   His relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica and the Shrine contains the sketch below, which depicts him conversing with someone on the streets in Rome.philip_neri__snite_

St Philip Neri, your body and soul were touched with divine love and you shared it with with all others, pray for us!neri 4

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints and Feast of Our Lady of Caravaggio (1432) – 26 May

St Philip Neri Cong. Orat. (1515-1595) (Memorial)

Our Lady of Caravaggio/Nostra Signora di Caravaggio: Title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared in an apparition on 26 May 1432 in the countryside outside Caravaggio, Lombardy, Italy. Giannetta de’ Vacchi: Varoli was cutting hay in a field when the Virgin appeared. Mary requested penance from and a chapel built by the locals. A new spring of healing water appeared in the hay field. The apparition anniversary became a day of pilgrimage to the shrine of Santa Maria del Fonte built at the site and devotion to the Madonna of Caravaggio spread through the region and eventually around the world. In 1879, Italians from Lombardy built a chapel for their settlement in southern Brazil. As it was the only sacred art that any of them possessed, they dedicated the chapel to the Madonna di Caravaggio. Today the shrine hosts over a million pilgrims annually. Patronage – diocese of Cremona, Italy.


St Alphaeus
St Anderea Kaggwa
Bl Andrea Franchi
St Becan of Cork
Bl Berengar of Saint-Papoul
St Damian the Missionary
St Desiderius of Vienne
St Pope Eleuterus
St Felicissimus of Todi
St Fugatius the Missionary
St Gioan Ðoàn Trinh Hoan
St Guinizo of Monte Cassino
St Heraclius of Todi
Bl Lambert Péloguin of Vence
St Mariana de Paredes y Flores of Quito
St Odulvald of Melrose
St Paulinus of Todi
St Peter Sanz
St Ponsiano Ngondwe
St Priscus of Auxerre and Companions
St Quadratus of Africa
St Quadratus the Apologist
St Regintrudis of Nonnberg
St Simitrius of Rome and Companions
St Zachary of Vienne

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 25 May – St Pope Gregory VII (c 1015-1085)

Saint of the Day – 25 May – St Pope Gregory VII (1015-1085) Monk, Priest, Reformer, Administrator, Adviser, born Hildebrand of Sovana (Italian:  Ildebrando da Soana), was Pope from 22 April 1073 to his death in 1085.     Patronage – Diocese of Sovana.   St Pope Gregory was born in c 1015 in Soana (modern Sovana), Italy and died on 25 May 1085 at Salerno, Italy of natural causes.   Pope Gregory “was probably the most energetic and determined man ever to occupy the See of Peter and was driven by an almost mystically exalted vision of the awesome responsibility and dignity of the papal office” (Eamonn Duffy, Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes.  Header - pope-gregory-vii-1

A disciple of Pope Gregory VI
Born at Sovana, a small town in southern Tuscany, the son of a blacksmith and christened Hildebrand, he was educated in Rome by the archpriest John Gratian, who in 1045 became Pope Gregory VI.   However, because of a financial deal involved in getting rid of his corrupt predecessor, Gregory was deposed in 1046 by the reforming German king and Holy Roman Emperor Henry III and went into retirement in the Benedictine monastery of Cluny, France.   Hildebrand went with his master into exile at Cluny and spent three years there as a monk.

Ambassador of four popes
However, he returned to Rome in 1049 to serve the newly elected Pope St Leo IX as papal treasurer.   Hildebrand became a deacon and then prior of the monastery of St Paul’s Outside the Walls and was an assistant to a major influence on the next four popes, all of whom were reformers.   He was also successful in various ambassadorial roles.   On the death of Pope Alexander II (1061-73, he was elected pope by popular acclaim by the clergy and people of Rome.   He still had to be ordained priest and bishop before he could act as pope.gregorio_vii

Conflict with King Henry IV of Germany
Taking his name from his mentor Gregory VI, Gregory VII immediately set about cleaning up the abuses of simony, clerical concubinage and lay investiture.   He demanded that bishops take an oath of obedience to him and threatened those who wouldn’t carry out papal decrees.   Over lay investiture he faced opposition from King Philip I of France, William the Conqueror of England and the young King Henry IV of Germany.   Henry, whose father had appointed bishops and popes at will, resented the brusqueness of this new pontiff and gathered “his” bishops at Worms and insisted Gregory be deposed.   But Gregory then excommunicated Henry and all the bishops collaborating with him and absolved his subjects from allegiance.   Ecclesiastical support for Henry cracked and in 1077 he had to travel to the house of Matilda of Canossa in Italy where Gregory was staying and there he begged the Pope’s pardon and absolution. Gregory left Henry standing in humiliation for three days in the snow before eventually granting him pardon.

Pyrrhic victory and death
But Gregory’s victory was short lived.   Henry rallied his forces and in 1080 invaded Italy, captured Rome, declared Gregory deposed.   He installed an antipope Guibert of Ravenna as Clement III.   Gregory took refuge in Castel Sant’Angelo, invited in the Normans under Robert Guiscard to rescue him.   However, the Normans behaved so badly in Rome that the Romans turned on Gregory and forced him to retire first to Monte Cassino and then to Salerno south of Naples where he died.   His last words were famously an adaptation of Psalm 44 (45) verse 7:  “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile”.pope-saint-gregory-vii-01

Papal claims
Gregory’s pontificate represents a strong staking out of the papal claim of power over the secular world and though he achieved little, the spirit of papal reform continued and the papacy never receded from its claims to freedom from secular and political control in spiritual matters.   From this time on also the pope began to be presented not just as the vicar of St Peter, but as “the vicar of Christ himself” (Innocent III 1198-1216).

His influence
Gregory’s beatification (1585) and canonisation (1605) took place at a time when the papacy was in conflict with secular powers – Queen Elizabeth I and James I in England. His feast was extended to the universal Church in 1728, causing some fury among proponents of Gallicanism in France.

He was later seen as a precursor of Vatican I with its definition of the doctrine of papal infallibility  . One could perhaps be forgiven for detecting a hint of spin or ideology in his promotion but the tyrannies of the 20th century bear out the value of his insistence on the freedom of the Church in speaking out on spiritual matters.

 Gregory VII under glass, Salerno cathedral
Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 25 May

St Bede the Venerable (Optional Memorial) (673-735) Priest, Monk, O.S.B. DOCTOR of the Church (Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1899)

St Pope Gregory VII (1015-1085) (Optional Memorial)

St Mary Magdalen of Pazzi (1566-1607) (Optional Memorial)

St Agustin Caloca
St Aldhelm of Sherborne
Bl Antonio Caixal
Bl Bartolomeo Magi di Amghiari
St Canio
St Cristobal Magallanes Jara
St Denis Ssebuggwawo
St Dionysius of Milan
St Dunchadh of Iona
St Egilhard of Cornelimünster
Bl Gerardo Mecatti
St Gerbald
St Injuriosus of Auvergne
St Iosephus Chang Song-Jib
Bl James Bertoni
Bl Juan of Granada
St Leo of Troyes
St Madeline Sophie Barat
St Matthêô Nguyen Van Ðac Phuong
St Maximus of Evreux
Bl Nicholas Tsehelsky
St Pasicrates of Dorostorum
Bl Pedro Malasanch
St Pherô Ðoàn Van Vân
St Scholastica of Auvergne
St Senzio of Bieda
St Urban I, Pope
St Valentio of Dorostorum
St Victorinus of Acquiney
St Winebald of Saint Bertin
St Worad of Saint Bertin
St Zenobius of Florence


Marian Thought for the Day – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

Marian Thought for the Day – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

Mary is the “Consolatrix Afflictorum,” the Consoler of the Afflicted
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

St PAUL says that his Lord comforted him in all his tribulations, that he also might be able to comfort them who are in distress, by the encouragement which he received from God.   This is the secret of true consolation:  those are able to comfort others who, in their own case, have been much tried and have felt the need of consolation and have received it.   So of our Lord Himself it is said:  “In that He Himself hath suffered and been tempted, He is able to succour those also that are tempted.”

And this, too, is why the Blessed Virgin is the comforter of the afflicted.   We all know how special a mother’s consolation is and we are allowed to call Mary our Mother from the time that our Lord from the Cross established the relation of mother and son between her and St John.   And she especially can console us because she suffered more than mothers in general.   Women, at least delicate women, are commonly shielded from rude experience of the highways of the world but she, after our Lord’s Ascension, was sent out into foreign lands almost as the Apostles were, a sheep among wolves.   In spite of all St John’s care of her, which was as great as was St Joseph’s in her younger days, she, more than all the saints of God, was a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth, in proportion to her greater love of Him who had been on earth, and had gone away.   As, when our Lord was an Infant, she had to flee across the desert to the heathen Egypt, so, when He had ascended on high, she had to go on shipboard to the heathen Ephesus, where she lived and died.

O ye who are in the midst of rude neighbours or scoffing companions, or of wicked acquaintance, or of spiteful enemies and are helpless, invoke the aid of Mary by the memory of her own sufferings among the heathen Greeks and the heathen Egyptians.

Mary “Consolatrix Afflictorum,”Consoler of the Afflicted – Help of Christians

Help us!, Pray for Us!our-lady-help-of-christians-pray-for-us-24 may 2018jpgour lady consoler of the afflicted - pray for us - 24 may 2018





Quote of the Day – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

Quote of the Day – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

“This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace,
continues uninterruptedly, from the consent,
which she loyally gave, at the Annunciation
and which she sustained, without wavering beneath the Cross,
until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect.

Taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside this saving office
but by her manifold intercession, continues to bring us
the gifts of eternal salvation.   By her maternal charity,
she cares for the brethren of her Son,
who still journey on earth, surrounded by dangers and difficulties,
until they are led into their blessed home.

Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church
under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix.
This, however, is so understood,
that it neither takes away anything from,
nor adds anything to,
the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator.”

Lumen Gentium, 62
Blessed Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)lumen gentium 62 - bl pope paul VI - 24 may 2018


One Minute Marian Reflection – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

One Minute Marian Reflection – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

He said to the disciple, “there is your mother.”...John 19:27

REFLECTION – “MARY:  HELP OF CHRISTIANS – “Yes, we are still pilgrims but our Mother has gone on ahead, where she points to the reward for our efforts.   She tells us that we can make it.   If we are faithful, we will reach home.   Not only is the Blessed Virgin our model but she is also the Help of Christians.   And as we besiege her with our petitions — ‘Show that you are our Mother’ – she cannot help but watch over her children with motherly care.” … St Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975) “Cause of our Joy,” Christ is Passing By, 177.
Let us offer to our Mother today:
In addition to the mysteries of the day, one more part (five decades) of the Holy Rosary.john 19 27 - yes, we are still pilgrims - st josemaria - 24 may 2018

PRAYER – Have pity on us Mother and heal the wounds of our souls, remove the sorrow and worries of our souls.    Console us in our day of suffering and enlighten us by your wisdom.   Show us your mercy, Mother and pray for us, turn our sadness into true joy. Fill our hearts with your sweetness and make us forget the miseries of this life.   Be gracious to your children and do not allow them to be overcome in their temptations.  For Hail Mary, full of grace, our Mother and Mother of our Lord, He is with thee!   Amenour lady help of christians pray for us - 24 may 2018