Monday, August 12, 2013








Vatican Radio REPORT: Parents are called to teach children to defend life, recognizing that life is a gift from God. This according to Pope Francis in his message sent on the occasion of the National Week of the Family in Brazil. The theme for this year’s celebration is “The Transmission and education of the Christian Faith within the family.” The Week of the Family opened on Sunday, and is being promoted by the Brazilian bishop’s conference. 
 In his message, Pope Francis encouraged parents in their “noble and demanding mission” of being the “first collaborators” with God, offering their children important guidance, and ensuring for them a good future. For this reason, the Holy Father said, quoting his encyclical Lumen Fidei, it is important that parents, within their own families, “encourage shared expressions of faith which can help children gradually to mature in their own faith.” (Lumen Fidei, 53) Parents, moreover, are called to transmit to their children, in both word and dead, the “fundamental truth about life and human love which receives new light from the Revelation of God.”

In a culture which devalues human life, Pope Francis said that parents are called to teach their children to defend life, beginning with life in the womb, recognizing that life is a gift from God and an assurance for the future of humanity. He also spoke about the importance of caring for the elderly, especially grandparents: they are the “living memory” of a community, and convey wisdom. Pope Francis imparted his apostolic blessing, entrusting Brazilian families to Our Lady of Aparecida.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "I do not care if the people missing in Potrero Nuevo, Paso del Macho and Cordoba are one or more persons, whether they are victims or are associated with crime, what is important is to clarify where they are, families cannot live in uncertainty. Already the fact that they are missing is worrying", said the Bishop of the Diocese of Córdoba, Veracruz in Mexico, His Exc. Mgr. Eduardo Patiño Leal.
Mgr. Patiño Leal, in a statement sent to Fides by the local press, spoke yesterday Sunday, August 11 and insisted that everyone should do their own work: authorities, parents, teachers, priests should promote the value of life and not fall into a sort of indifference and pretend that everything is normal. "We are all involved", he said.
The bishop took the opportunity to send a message to all young people to be "extremely vigilant", to avoid getting involved with criminal groups, not to be influenced by the fantasy that money is easy to obtain and then nothing will happen. Also in the statement sent to Fides, it is stated that a week has already passed since the death of 19 people in Potrero Nuevo, other people in Paso del Macho and others in Cordoba, but so far no one knows where they are and many families are desperate. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 12/08/2013)


WINDHOEK, August 08, 2013 (CISA) -About 400,000 people are at risk of starvation in northern Namibia due to a drought that has struck the country. The country’s government has warned that they are preparing for one of the worst crises since 1980.
The authorities, however, have received much criticism for the slowness with which they have responded to the problem and organized assistance.
In May last year, when 300,000 people were already at risk severe food insecurity, the head of state Hifikepunye Pohamba declared a state of emergency and requested the support of the international community.
The authorities had begun distributing bags of corn flour in rural area however; the lack of rain goes on to threaten the flora and fauna, a true jewel of the country and flying the tourism sector.
Namibia is home to the world’s oldest desert, the Namibia dunes of red sand that reach the coast deep into the Atlantic Ocean.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
9 Aug 2013

Cardinal Pell celebrated the Indigenous Mass for school students
The first Inaugural  Mass for Indigenous school students at St Mary's Cathedral today was attended by hundreds of students, families, teachers and leading Aboriginal elders. The special guest was the Governor of NSW, Prof Marie Bashir and the mass was celebrated by Cardinal George Pell.
All those who attended agreed  it was a beautiful way to celebrate International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.
For the 800 students it was a way to celebrate their culture, heritage and faith.
The liturgy included parts that were translated into Gadigal, the language of Sydney's first peoples.
Nearly 1000 Indigenous secondary and primary school students currently attend one of the Sydney Archdiocese's 149 Catholic schools with more enrolments expected for 2014.
The St Mary's Choir today was supported by professional Aboriginal artists with the opening hymn, Holy Spirit of this Land which pays tribute to the spirituality of Aboriginal people
and their close affinity with the land.


A group of law enforcement officers stopped Fr. Song Wanjun of the clergy of Xiwanzi, while driving his car at 4 in the morning. Place of detention unknown. The Northern Province, stronghold of Catholic China, still targeted by the authorities.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - A group of police officers from Qiaodong District, in the northern province of Hebei, have arrested and taken to an unknown location an underground priest of the diocese of Xiwanzi, Fr. Song Wanjun. The priest had already risked arrest some time ago, but had managed to escape. He was stopped and detained by 10 law enforcement officers at 4 in the morning of August 7 last while he was driving his car.
Fr. Song Wanjun, 39, was ordained a priest 11 years ago. He carried out his pastoral mission for years in Zhangbei county before being assigned to Chongli county. The news of his arrest was confirmed by the Joseph Cardinal Kung Foundation, based in the United States.

The Diocese of Xiwanzi is located in the northern part of the province. In recent years, the Chinese government has clamped down harshly on the local underground Church: many priests and bishops were imprisoned, placed under house arrest or forced to undergo "study sessions" to convince them to join the Patriotic Association, a government organization that Benedict XVI described in his letter to the Chinese Church as "incompatible" with Catholic doctrine.
In recent years other arrests of clergy include Msgr. Yao Ling, who has since died, Fr. Li Huisheng, sentenced to 7 years, Fr. Wang Zhong, sentenced to 3 years. Two underground bishops from Heibei province were also arrested several years ago, whose fate remains a mystery. The first is Msgr. James Su Zhimin, almost 82 year, bishop of Baoding (Hebei), arrested by the police on October 8, 1997. The charges against him, whether he was given a trail or where he is being held remain unknown.
In November 2003, he was located by chance while receiving hospital care in Baoding, but he was surrounded by police. After a brief and hurried visit from relatives, he once again disappeared in police custody. The second is Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang, 92 years old, bishop of Yixian (Hebei), arrested on 13 April 2001. All traces of his wellbeing or whereabouts have been lost, despite the constant pleas of his relatives and faithful to the authorities for the smallest amount of information. Some time ago AsiaNews launched a campaign for their release.
Hebei is one of the strongholds of the Catholic China: the diocese of Baoding alone, one of the largest and with a strong presence of underground Catholics, has at least 50 thousand Catholics. There are 120 priests, official and underground. For several years the government has launched a campaign to force Hebei priests and bishops of the underground community to officially register, along with their inscription as members of the Patriotic Association.

According to AsiaNews sources, over the past 20 years at least 20 Catholic priests of the underground area of ​​Zhangjiakou (Hebei), in the diocese of Xuanhua and Xiwanzi, have been tortured and suffered tremendous pressure join the Patriotic Association (PA) , controlled by the Communist Party of China.


Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 413

Reading 1             DT 10:12-22

Moses said to the people:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you
but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly,
to love and serve the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD
which I enjoin on you today for your own good?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the LORD, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods,
the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.
So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,
who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the LORD, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.”

Responsorial Psalm            PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Gospel                 MT 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”
When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him,
“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”




Feast Day:
August 12
January 28, 1572, Dijon, Burgundy, France
December 13, 1641, Moulins, France
July 16, 1767, Rome by Pope Clement XIII
Major Shrine:
Annecy, Savoy
Patron of:
forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; widows
Born at Dijon, France, 28 January, 1572; died at the Visitation Convent Moulins, 13 December, 1641.
Her father was president of the Parliament of Burgundy, and leader of the royalist party during the League that brought about the triumph of the cause of Henry IV. In 1592 she married Baron de Chantal, and lived in the feudal castle of Bourbilly. She restored order in the household, which was on the brink of ruin, and brought back prosperity. During her husband's absence at the court, or with the army, when reproached for her extremely sober manner of dressing, her reply was: "The eyes which I must please are a hundred miles from here". She found more than once that God blessed with miracles the care she gave the suffering members of Christ. St. Francis de Sales' eulogy of her characterizes her life at Bourbilly and everywhere else: "In Madame de Chantal I have found the perfect woman, whom Solomon had difficulty in finding in Jerusalem". Baron de Chantal was accidently killed by a harquebus while out shooting in 1601. Left a widow at twenty-eight, with four children, the broken-hearted baroness took a vow of chastity. In all her prayers she besought God to send her a guide and God, in a vision, showed her the spiritual director He held in reserve for her. In order to safeguard her children's property, she was obliged to go and live at Monthelon in the home of her father-in-law, who was ruled over by an arrogant and wicked servant. This was real servitude, which she bore patiently and gently for seven years. At last her virtue triumphed over the ill will of the old man and house keeper.
During Lent, 1604, she visited her father at Dijon, where St. Francis de Sales was preaching at the Sainte Chapelle. She recognized in him the mysterious director who had been shown her, and placed herself under his guidance. Then began an admirable correspondence between the two saints. Unfortunately, the greater number of letters are no longer in existence, as she destroyed them after the death of the holy bishop. When she had assured the future security of children, and when she had provided the education of Celse-Benigne, her fourteen year old son, whom she left to her father and her brother, the Archbishop of Bourges, she started for Annecy, where God was calling her to found the Congregation of the Visitation. She took her two remaining daughters with her, the elder having recently married the Baron of Thorens, a brother of St. Francis de Sales. Celse-Benigne, impetous like those of her race, barred his mother's way by lying across the threshold. Mme de Chantal stopped, overcome: " Can the tears of a child shake her resolution? " said a holy and learned priest, the tutor of   Celse-Benigne. "Oh! no", replied the saint, "but after all I am a mother!" And she stepped over child's body.
The Congregation of the Visitation was canonically established at Annecy on Trinity Sunday, 6 June, 1610. Its aim was to receive, with a view to their spiritual advancement, young girls and even widows who had not the desire or strength to subject themselves to the austere ascetical practices in force in all the religious orders at that time. St. Francis de Sales was especially desirous of seeing the realization of his cherished method of attaining perfection, which consisted in always keeping one's will united to the Divine will, in taking so to speak one's soul, heart, and longings into one's hands and giving them into God's keeping, and in seeking always to do what is pleasing to Him. "I do always the things that please him" (John, viii, 29). The two holy founders saw their undertaking prosper. At the time of the death of St. Francis de Sales in 1622, the order already counted thirteen houses; there were eighty-six when St. Jane Frances died; and 164 when she was canonized.
The remainder of the saint's life was spent under the protection of the cloister in the practice of the most admirable virtues. If a gentle kindness, vivified and strengthened by a complete spirit of renunciation, predominates in St. Francis de Sales, it is firmness and great vigour which prevails in St. Jane Frances; she did not like to see her daughters giving way to human weakness. Her trials were continuous and borne bravely, and yet she was exceedingly sensitive. Celse-Benigne was an incorrigible duellist. She prayed so fervently that he was given the grace to die a Christian death on the battle-field, during the campaign against the Isle of Re (1627). He left a daughter who became the famous Marquise de Sevigne. To family troubles God added interior crosses which, particularly during the last nine years of her life, kept her in agony of soul from which she was not freed until three months before her death.
Her reputation for sanctity was widespread. Queens, princes, and princesses flocked to the reception-room of the Visitation. Wherever she went to establish foundations, the people gave her   ovations. "These people", she would say confused, "do not know   me; they are mistaken". Her body is venerated with that of St. Francis de Sales in the church of the Visitation at Annecy. She was beatified in 1751, canonized in 1767, and 21 August was appointed as her feast day.
The life of the saint was written in the seventeenth century, with inimitable charm, by her secretary, Mother de Chaugy. Monsignor Bougaud, who died Bishop of Laval, published in 1863 a "Histoire de Sainte Chantal" which had a great and well-deserved success.






RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Francis on Sunday urged Christians and Muslims to promote mutual respect , especially through the education of new generations. His remarks came at the end of his Angelus address when he sent greetings to Muslims throughout the world who have just celebrated the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Text of report below:

Pope Francis spoke to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square about how God’s love is our greatest treasure. He said today’s gospel reading from St Luke talks to us about our desire for a meeting with Christ, calling it a key aspect of human life. All of us, the Pope said, "have this desire in our hearts, be it explicit or hidden." In St. Luke’s account of Jesus walking with his disciples towards Jerusalem, Christ reveals to them what is really important for him at that time. The Pope says Jesus’s thoughts include a distancing from earthly goods, faith in the providence of the Father and his interior vigilance while awaiting the Kingdom of God. This gospel account, he continues, teaches us that a Christian is someone who carries within him a deep desire to meet the Lord together with his brethren and his companions along the way. All this can be summed up in Jesus’ words: “for wherever your treasure is, that is where your heart will be too.”

Addressing the pilgrims directly, Pope Francis asked them two questions, “do you have a heart with a wish or do you have a closed heart, a sleeping heart, a heart that is anesthetized." His second question for the pilgrims was: “Where is your treasure”, what for you is the most important and precious reality that attracts your heart like a magnet?" "Is it" he asked, "God’s love which is the desire to do good to others and live for the Lord?" Pope Francis went on to describe how God’s love keeps a family united and gives meaning to our daily tasks and also helps us to face up to the big challenges. This, he declared, is the true treasure for mankind. God’s love isn’t something vague and generic, "it has a name and a face, Jesus Christ." The Pope said "God’s love gives value and beauty to every human activity" and it gives meaning to negative experiences. That’s because God’s love allows us to move beyond those experiences and not remain prisoners of evil but also be open to hope and the final destination of our pilgrimage.

Before reciting the Angelus prayer the Pope recalled today’s feast of St. Clare of Assisi who left everything to consecrate herself to Christ in poverty, following in the footsteps of St. Francis.
He said this saint gives us a beautiful witness of today’s gospel and she helps us, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, to live it out, each one according to their own vocation.

After the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis departed from his prepared remarks to recall that this coming Thursday is the solemnity of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven and said on that day we will honour Her. He then said he wished to send greetings to Muslims, our brothers, throughout the world who have just finished celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan . Referring to his earlier message released to mark this event, the Pope said he hoped that Christians and Muslims will strive to "promote mutual respect, especially through the education of the new generations."

He concluded his remarks by greetings all the pilgrims and groups present and reminding them of the words which were the motto of the recent World Youth Day gathering in Rio: “Go and make disciples among all nations.”



Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 117

Reading 1              WIS 18:6-9

The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers,
that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
they might have courage.
Your people awaited the salvation of the just
and the destruction of their foes.
For when you punished our adversaries,
in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice
and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.

Responsorial Psalm                PS 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22

R. (12b) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Reading 2HEB 11:1-2, 8-19

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith.
They did not receive what had been promised
but saw it and greeted it from afar
and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,
for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come,
they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.
Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son,
of whom it was said,
“Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.”
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Or               HEB 11:1-2, 8-12

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

Gospel                   LK 12:32-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.
Sell your belongings and give alms.
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Or                  LK 12:35-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have the servants recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”


On 25 May, 1802, during the quest for the graves of Roman martyrs in the Catacomb of Priscilla, a tomb was discovered and opened; as it contained a glass vessel it was assumed to be the grave of a martyr. The view, then erroneously entertained in Rome, that the presence of such vessels (supposed to have contained the martyr's blood) in a grave was a symbol of martyrdom, has been rejected in practice since the investigations of De Rossi (cf. Leclercq in "Dict. d.archéol. chrét. et de liturg.", s.v. Ampoules de sang). The remains found in the above-mentioned tomb were shown to be those of a young maiden, and, as the name Filumena was discovered on the earthenware slabs closing the grave, it was assumed that they were those of a virgin martyr named Philumena. On 8 June, 1805, the relics were translated to the church of Mungano, Diocese of Nola (near Naples), and enshrined under one of its altars. In 1827 Leo XII presented the church with the three earthenware tiles, with the inscription, which may be seen in the church even today. On the basis of alleged revelations to a nun in Naples, and of an entirely fanciful and indefensible explanation of the allegorical paintings, which were found on the slabs beside the inscription, a canon of the church in Mugnano, named Di Lucia, composed a purely fictitious and romantic account of the supposed martyrdom of St. Philomena, who is not mentioned in any of the ancient sources. In consequence of the wonderful favours received in answer to prayer before the relics of the saint at Mugnano, devotion to them spread rapidly, and, after instituting investigations into the question, Gregory XVI appointed a special feast to be held on 9 September, "in honorem s. Philumenae virginis et martyris" (cf. the lessons of this feast in the Roman Breviary). The earthenware plates were fixed in front of the grave as follows: LUMENA PAX TECUM FI. The plates were evidently inserted in the wrong order, and the inscription should doubtless read PAX TECUM FILUMENA. The letters are painted on the plates with red paint, and the inscription belongs to the primitive class of epigraphical memorials in the Catacomb of Priscilla, thus, dating from about the middle or second half of the second century. The disarrangement of the inscription proves that it must have been completed before the plates were put into position, although in the numerous other examples of this kind in the same catacomb the inscription was added only after the grave had been closed. Consequently, since the disarrangement of the plates can scarcely be explained as arising from an error, Marucchi seems justified in concluding that the inscription and plates originally belonged to an earlier grave, and were later employed (now in the wrong order) to close another. Apart from the letters, the plates contain three arrows, either as a decoration or a punctuation, a leaf as decoration, two anchors, and a palm as the well-known Christian symbols. Neither these signs nor the glass vessel discovered in the grave can be regarded as a proof of martyrdom.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant us the pardon of our sins by the intercession of Saint Philomena, virgin and martyr, who was always pleasing in Thy sight by her eminent chastity and by the profession of every virtue. Amen. Illustrious virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena, behold me prostrate before the throne whereupon it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I entreat thee to intercede for me with God, from the heights of Heaven deign to cast a glance upon thy humble client! Spouse of Christ, sustain me in suffering, fortify me in temptation, protect me in the dangers surrounding me, obtain for me the graces necessary to me, and in particular (Here specify your request). Above all, assist me at the hour of my death. Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us. Amen. O God, Most Holy Trinity, we thank Thee for the graces Thou didst bestow upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, and upon Thy handmaid Philomena, through whose intercession we implore Thy Mercy. Amen.


Cofoundress of the Order of Poor Ladies, or Clares, and first Abbess of San Damiano; born at Assisi, 16 July, 1194; died there 11 August, 1253.She was the eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso, the  wealthy representative of an ancient Roman family, who owned a large palace in Assisi and a castle on the slope of Mount Subasio. Such at least is the traditional account. Her mother, Bl. Ortolana, belonged to the noble family of Fiumi and was conspicuous for her zeal and piety.From her earliest years Clare seems to have been endowed with the rarest virtues. As a child she was most devoted to prayer and to practices of mortification, and as she passed into girlhood her distaste for the world and her yearning for a more spiritual life increased. She was eighteen years of age when St. Francis came to preach the Lenten course in the church of San Giorgio at Assisi. The inspired words of the Poverello kindled a flame in the heart of Clare; she sought him out secretly and begged him to help her that she too might live "after the manner of the holy Gospel". St. Francis, who at once recognized in Clare one of those chosen souls destined by God for great things, and who also, doubtless, foresaw that many would follow her example, promised to assist her. On Palm Sunday Clare, arrayed in all her finery, attended high Mass at the cathedral, but when the others pressed forward to the altar-rail to receive a branch of palm, she remained in her place as if rapt in a dream. All eyes were upon the young girl as the bishop descended from the sanctuary and placed the palm in her hand. That was the last time the world beheld Clare. On the night of the same day she secretly left her father's house, by St. Francis's advice and, accompanied by her aunt Bianca and another companion, proceeded to the humble chapel of the Porziuncula, where St. Francis and his disciples met her with lights in their hands. Clare then laid aside her rich dress, and St. Francis, having cut off her hair, clothed her in a rough tunic and a thick veil, and in this way the young heroine vowed herself to the service of Jesus Christ. This was 20 March, 1212.