Tuesday, September 30, 2014

St. Jerome: Father and Doctor of the Church



Today, September 30, is the feast of St. Jerome, a Father and Doctor of the Church. Translator of the Bible into its official Latin version (the Vulgate), brilliant scholar, monk, traveller, teacher, letter writer, and consultant to Popes and Bishops, St.Jerome is one of the most important figures in the history of the Church.

St. Jerome was born in Dalmatia (near Aquileia, north of Rome) around 340 to a wealthy Christian family. At the age of 20, Jerome was sent to study in Rome, where he became fluent in Latin and Greek and developed a love for the classical writers. Here he acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to control his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. He travelled throughout western Europe with a friend but that ceased when he had a conversion experience in Trier and decided to become a monk. He joined a community in Aquileia in 370, where he met some who would become his close friends and others his enemies. When the community disbanded, he decided to go east and he lived for years in the the Syrian desert as a hermit. He studied Hebrew, which he hated, but used it as a distraction against sexual temptations. He was ordained a priest in Antioch and at the age of 40 went to Constantinople, where he met and befriended St. Gregory of Nazianzus (one of the four great Greek Doctors of the Church.)

St. Jerome became the secretary of Pope Damasus, who commissioned the Vulgate from him, which took him 30 years to write. His harsh temperament and his biting criticisms of his intellectual opponents made him many enemies in the Church and in Rome and he was forced to leave the city. Jerome went to Bethlehem, established a monastery, and lived the rest of his years in study, prayer, and asceticism. Jerome died at Bethlehem, September 30th, 420. Saint Jerome's remains are interred in the church of Saint Mary Major at Rome and his relics are in the Sistine chapel of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

Saint Jerome is the patron saint of archaeologists, archivists, Bible scholars, librarians, libraries, schoolchildren, students, and translators.

Quotes from St. Jerome:

"The measure of our advancement in the spiritual life should be taken from the progress we make in the virtue of mortification; for it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do ourselves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfection."

"I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: 'Search the Scriptures,' and 'Seek and you shall find.' For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."

"In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert, burnt up with the heat of the scorching sun so that it frightens even the monks that inhabit it, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome. In exile and prison to which for the fear of hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, I many times imagined myself witnessing the dancing of the Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them: in my cold body and in my parched-up flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion able to live. Alone with this enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and I tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, but I grieve that I am not now what I then was."

-- Saint Jerome's letter to Saint Eustochium

Prayer of St. Jerome for Christ's Mercy

O Lord, show Your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there.

The Letters of St. Jerome



Monday, September 29, 2014

Pope St. John Paul II on Spiritual Combat



"‘Spiritual combat’ is [an] element of life which needs to be taught anew and proposed once more to all Christians today. It is a secret and interior art, an invisible struggle in which (we) engage every day…” ~ Pope St. John Paul II (Vatican Archives: Address of the Holy Father, May 25, 2002)

Related Posts:

A Prayer for Consecrating Your Home to St. Michael the Archangel

Feast of the Archangels: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael

A Prayer for Consecrating Your Home to St. Michael the Archangel



Traditional Consecration Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel 

Oh most noble Prince of the Angelic Hierarchies, valorous warrior of Almighty God and zealous lover of His glory, terror of the rebellious angels, and love and delight of all the just angels, my beloved Archangel Saint Michael, desiring to be numbered among your devoted servants, I, today offer and consecrate myself to you, and place myself, my family, and all I possess under your most powerful protection.

I entreat you not to look at how little, I, as your servant have to offer, being only a wretched sinner, but to gaze, rather, with favorable eye at the heartfelt affection with which this offering is made, and remember that if from this day onward I am under your patronage, you must during all my life assist me, and procure for me the pardon of my many grievous offenses, and sins, the grace to love with all my heart my God, my dear Savior Jesus, and my Sweet Mother Mary, and to obtain for me all the help necessary to arrive to my crown of glory.

Defend me always from my spiritual enemies, particularly in the last moments of my life.

Come then, oh Glorious Prince, and succor me in my last struggle, and with your powerful weapon cast far from me into the infernal abysses that prevaricator and proud angel that one day you prostrated in the celestial battle. Amen.

Source

Feast of the Archangels: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael


Today is the feast of the Archangels: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. These three Archangels are the only angels named in Sacred Scripture and all three have important roles in the history of salvation.


Michael's name means "Who is like God?"  St. Michael’s name is mentioned four times in the Bible: twice in Daniel and once in both the Book of Revelation and the Epistle of St. Jude. In the book of Revelation 12:7-9, we read of a great war that took place in heaven, in which Michael and his angels battled with Satan and the other fallen angels (devils). Michael became the great champion of faithfulness to God and the victor over evil. Today, he is our protector. He guards the people of God, defends the souls of the just, and brings the souls to their final judgment.  To combat the forces of evil in our world today, we pray the St. Michael the Archangel prayer.  Pope Leo XIII composed the prayer after experiencing a horrific vision of attacks against the Church. The prayer was said at the end of Mass prior to 1968.  Today, in some areas, parishioners continue to recite this powerful prayer after daily Mass.

Patron: Against temptations; against powers of evil; artists; bakers; bankers; battle; boatmen; cemeteries; coopers; endangered children; dying; Emergency Medical Technicians; fencing; grocers; hatmakers; holy death; knights; mariners; mountaineers; paramedics; paratroopers; police officers; radiologists; sailors; the sick; security forces; soldiers; against storms at sea; swordsmiths; those in need of protection; Brussels, Belgium; Caltanissett, Sicily; Cornwall, England; Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida; England; Germany; Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama; Papua, New Guinea; Puebla, Mexico; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Sibenik, Croatia; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.


Gabriel's name means "the power of God." He, too, is mentioned in the book of Daniel. He has become familiar to us because Gabriel is an important person in Luke's Gospel. This archangel announced to Mary that she was to be the mother of our savior. Gabriel announced to Zechariah that he and St. Elizabeth would have a son and call him John. Gabriel is the announcer, the communicator of the Good News. We can ask him to help us be good communicators as he was.

Patron: Ambassadors; broadcasting; childbirth; clergy; communications; diplomats; messengers; philatelists; postal workers; public relations; radio workers; secular clergy; stamp collectors; telecommunications; Portugal; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.


Raphael's name means "God has healed." We read the touching story of Raphael's role in the Bible's book of Tobit. He brought protection and healing to the blind Tobit. At the very end of the journey, when all was completed, Raphael revealed his true identity. He called himself one of the seven who stands before God's throne. We can ask St. Raphael to protect us in our travels. We can also ask him to help when illness strikes us or someone we love.

Patron: Blind; bodily ills; counselors; druggists; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; healers; health inspectors; health technicians; love; lovers; mental illness; nurses; pharmacists; physicians; shepherds; against sickness; therapists; travelers  young people; young people leaving home for the first time; Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.

Prayer to all the Archangels

St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, be with me today. Protect me from whatever could cause spiritual or physical harm. Help me be faithful to Jesus and a good communicator of his divine love. Amen.

Prayer to St. Michael

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Prayer to St. Raphael

Blessed Saint Raphael, Archangel,We beseech thee to help us in all our needs and trials of this life, as thou, through the power of God, didst restore sight and give guidance to young Tobit. We humbly seek thine aid and intercession, that our souls may be healed,our bodies protected from all ills,and that through divine grace we may be made fit to dwell in the eternal Glory of God in heaven. Amen.

Prayer to St. Gabriel

O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

St. Vincent de Paul, Apostle of the Poor



September 26 is the memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th century French priest known for his apostolic work among the poor and marginalized.

Born to a poor family in Pouy in the southwest of France in 1581, Vincent was an intellectually gifted youth who began his theological studies at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 20.

On a voyage to the Holy Land, Vincent's ship was boarded by pirates and he was captured and sold into slavery in Africa, where he was held for two years before he converted his master to Christianity and was freed.

He returned to France and was appointed to a parish near Paris, from where he began to initiate and organize missions for the poor, destitute, forgotten, sick, uneducated, and unemployed.

He founded the Congregation of Priests of the Mission and the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity and sent priests to Africa to minister to and ransom slaves.

He vigorously opposed Jansenism and helped reform orders of priests and religious, famously preaching retreats around France.

The humble St. Vincent often spoke on humility saying once, "The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it."

Vincent died in 1660 in Paris and his body still lays there in an incorrupt state. He was canonized June 16, 1737, by Pope Clement XII.

St. Vincent de Paul is the patron of: charitable societies; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; volunteers; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; Madagascar; diocese of Richmond, Virginia.

The History of Religious Life: St. Vincent de Paul: Apostle of Charity

Spiritual Insights from St. Vincent de Paul

“No matter what others say or do, even if the wicked succeed, do not be troubled: commit everything to God and put your trust in him.”

“Extend mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His mercy from us?”

"You have been chosen to be at the disposition of Divine Providence and, if you do not fully submit to it, you will lose much."

"But do you know what it is to labor in charity? It is to labor in God, for God is charity, and it is to labor for God purely and entirely; it is to do so in the grace of God."

"Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances."

"We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love."

"Free your mind from all that troubles you; God will take care of things. You will be unable to make haste in this (choice) without, so to speak, grieving the heart of God, because he sees that you do not honor him sufficiently with holy trust. Trust in him, I beg you, and you will have the fulfillment of what your heart desires."

"It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer.... Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity."

"Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord's words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills."

"He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature, deserves to be called a beast rather than a man."

"Whoever wishes to make progress in perfection should use particular diligence in not allowing himself to be led away by his passions, which destroy with one hand the spiritual edifice which is rising by the labors of the other. But to succeed well in this, resistance should be begun while the passions are yet weak; for after they are thoroughly rooted and grown up, there is scarcely any remedy."

"We ought to deal kindly with all, and to manifest those qualities which spring naturally from a heart tender and full of Christian charity; such as affability, love and humility. These virtues serve wonderfully to gain the hearts of men, and to encourage them to embrace things that are more repugnant to nature."

"It ought to be considered a great misfortune, not only for individuals, but also for Houses and Congregations, to have everything in conformity with their wishes; to go on quietly, and to suffer nothing for the love of God. Yes, consider it certain that a person or a Congregation that does not suffer and is applauded by all the world is near a fall."

"Humility and charity are the two master-chords: one, the lowest; the other, the highest; all the others are dependent on them. Therefore it is necessary, above all, to maintain ourselves in these two virtues; for observe well that the preservation of the whole edifice depends on the foundation and the roof. "

Prayers to St. Vincent de Paul

Dear Saint, the mere mention of your name suggests a litany of your virtues:
humility, zeal, mercy, self-sacrifice. It also recalls your many foundations:
Works of Mercy, Congregations, Societies.
And the Church gratefully remembers your promotion of the priesthood.
Inspire all charitable workers, especially those who minister to the poor
---both the spiritually and the materially poor. Amen.

Via Catholic Doors.

Noble Saint Vincent de Paul,
beloved servant of the poor,
may we follow your example and do good works
among those whom society has abandoned,
enslaved, or forgotten.
Inspire us to feed the hungry,
to love a child,
to provide comfort and medicine to the sick,
to clothe those whose garments are threadbare,
and to offer hope and our Lord's words
to all who need respite.
Pray for us to our beloved God
that we may commit ourselves selflessly
to doing the same charitable acts
that you did all your life,
and intercede with him
that we may have the favor of his guidance
and strength and love upon this important and meaningful work.
Amen.

Via Two Hearts Network.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sts. Cosmas and Damian, patron saints of pharmacists, physicians, and surgeons


Gerard Seghers, Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian (17th century)


Today, Friday, September 26, is the optional memorial of Sts. Cosmas and Damian.

Cosmas and Damian were twin bothers born in Syria in the third century. They were also doctors, and they became known as “the holy moneyless ones” because they cared for the sick free of charge. The strange practice of accepting no money for medical care was their way of embodying God’s providential love and care for his people. And folks took notice.
         
The twin brothers were arrested on September 27, during the persecution of Christians by Diocletian in 303. Soon after, the faithful brothers defied death by water, fire and crucifixion before they were finally beheaded in Cilicia, along with their three brothers. They were buried in Cyrrhus, Syria.        

Veneration to Cosmas and Damian began immediately. The faithful asked for their intercession, especially in matters of physical illness. St. Gregory of Tours spoke about the twin brothers in this way: “These two physicians cured as many people by their prayers as they did by their medical knowledge, and now in heaven they still care for the sick miraculously.”          

St. Cosmas and St. Damian are patron saints of pharmacists, physicians, and surgeons. In fine art, they are usually depicted in lined robes, hoods or cylindrical physicians’ hats, carrying surgeons’ bags and instruments. They are represented by a box of ointment and medical emblems.

Prayer to Saints Cosmas and Damian,  Physicians and Martyrs

O Physicians of souls, Saints Cosmas and Damian, stand before the Lord of All and ask Him to heal me and all those dear to me of any spiritual ills we may endure.

Drive away from us all sin and sadness of mind, all darkness and despair.  Make us then willing and loving servants of Christ, following your holy example of detachment from the things of this world and care for the needs of our neighbors.

On the glorious day of the Universal Resurrection may we shine with you in the full health of our nature restored by the mercies of Jesus who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fr. James Kubicki: The Diamond


A beautiful reflection from Fr. James Kubicki:

St. Vincent Strambi: Fearless Advocate for Religious Freedom



The saint of the day for September 25 is St. Vincent Strambi, Passionist priest and bishop.

Vincent Strambi was born in Civitavecchia, the port city of Rome on January 1, 1745, the only child of the pharmacist Giuseppe Strambi and his wife Eleonora who survived infancy.  He was a happy and athletic child who manifested a strong interest in spirituality. When he was fifteen, he received the clerical "tonsure" and entered the diocesan seminary at nearby Montefiascone. Two years later, he decided to continue his studies in Rome. The following year, he attended the Dominican house of studies in Viterbo to study theology.

Prior to his ordination he was named rector and professor within his seminary, Montefiascone. While on his ordination retreat, he met St. Paul of the Cross and immediately decided to become a Passionist. Paul of the Cross named him professor of theology, patristics and preaching.

Traveling throughout most of Italy, he endeavored to promote the Christian life among the people by preaching on the Passion. He wrote hagiographical books, including a Life of St. Paul of the Cross, and devotional books, the most significant of which was that on the Precious Blood. Being an outstanding 'spiritual director,' he directed, among others, Saint Gaspar del Bufalo and Blessed Anna Maria Taigi.

Appointed Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, he showed himself to be a true shepherd of his flock and promoted the reform of the clergy and the people with apostolic zeal. In the political upheavals of the time, he was a fearless advocate of the freedom of the Church and chose exile in preference to an unlawful oath of loyalty to Napoleon. When he returned to his Diocese after exile, he once again manifested his deep pastoral concern and extraordinary charity for the poor.

Called by Pope Leo XII to become his personal advisor, he died in Rome on January 1, 1824. Pope Pius XII canonized him in 1950.


Prayer

Jesus, only You are the best Shepherd of Your Church.
Support with grace those we are responsible
for the fate of Your fold,
so that following the example of St. Vincent Maria Strambi,
they devote all their powers and talents to service to the Church.
You live and reign for ages and ages.
Amen.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Horrific Black Masses Continue in Secret -- Why We Must Know and Keep Praying



Why is Satan's vehement hatred directed at the Eucharist and the Catholic Mass? 


By Janet Moore

The Last Thing I Want to Talk About

On this beautiful day the last thing I want to think about, let alone talk about, is the black mass that was offered in the public Civic Center in OKC at 7pm September 21, 2014.  Maybe you’re the same way.

However, there is a burning fire inside me that leads me to speak against this and do all I can to expose it, in order to stop the outpouring of evil that is being called forth to flow from this horrific event.  I cannot be silent. There is too much at stake – there is too much evil involved. Whether Catholic or not, whether Christian or not, all people of good will should feel outraged at this event which calls upon Satan and his evil forces to come upon our homes and families, our cities, our nation and the world!

Why are We Still Talking About This?

You may ask, Why do you say that?

Isn't it too late?  Didn't it already take place?

I don’t like it, but what I we do? And why does it matter?  Isn't it just a desecration of the Catholic host and the satanist said he returned it, so what’s the big deal?

All these questions may be running through your head… or maybe you just don’t care that much or just don't want to dwell on this… but, I beg you to take the time to read the answers to these questions.

Because black masses are taking place secretly around the world --(possibly in your own home town)… And if we knew what takes place at them, then we would understand what the big deal is. Continue reading

Feast of Our Lady of Ransom (Our Lady of Mercy)



Today, September 24, in many parts of the world, the Catholic Church commemorates the feast of Our Lady of Ransom, also known as Our Lady of Mercy or Nuestra Señora de la Merced.

The Blessed Virgin appeared in 1218 in three separate visions to St. Peter Nolasco, St. Raymund of Penafort, and King James I of Aragon, asking them to found a religious order dedicated to freeing Christian captives from the barbarous Saracens or Moors, who at that time held a great part of Spain.

On August 10, 1218, King James established the royal, military and religious Order of our Lady of Ransom (first known as the Order of St. Eulalia, now known as the Mercedarian Order), with the members granted the privilege of wearing his own arms on their breast. Most of the members were knights, and while the clerics recited the divine office in the commanderies, they guarded the coasts and delivered prisoners. This pious work spread everywhere and produced heroes of charity who collected alms for the ransom of Christians, and often gave themselves up in exchange for Christian prisoners.

Patronage: Barcelona, Spain; people named Clemency, Mercedes, Mercedez, Merced or Mercy.

Prayer for the Feast of Our Lady of Ransom

Merciful Father and God of all consolation,
you have shown yourself
to be wonderful in the glorious Virgin Mary,
Mother of Christ, and have given her to us
as the Mother of Mercy.

May all of us who venerate her with devotion,
always experience her powerful intercession,
and enjoy Your immense mercy.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Novena to St. Therese of Lisieux begins today



The novena to St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, begins today, February 23 and is recited for nine days. St. Therese is a powerful intercessor. The novena prayer I recite most often is the novena Rose Prayer below. I like it because it is both short and effective.


Novena Rose Prayer

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus
Please pick for me a rose
from the heavenly garden
and send it to me
as a message of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus,
ask God to grant the favors
I now place with confidence
in you hands
( mention your special prayer request here )

St. Therese, help me to always believe
as you did, in God's great love for me,
so that I may imitate your "Little Way" each day. 

Here are two other novena prayers to recite:

St. Therese Feast Day Novena Prayer

St. Therese, Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for us. Fill our hearts with your pure love of God. As we approach and celebrate your feast day, make us more aware of the goodness of God and how well He tends His garden.

Instill in us your little way of doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love. Give us the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach us your delight in God’s ways so that divine charity may blossom in our hearts.

Little Flower of Jesus, bring our petitions (mention your petitions here) before God, our Father. With your confidence, we come before Jesus as Gods children, because you are our heavenly friend. As we celebrate the Feast Day of your homecoming in heaven, continue to shower roses and grace upon us.

Miraculous Invocation to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus

O Glorious St. Thérèse, whom Almighty God has raised up to aid and inspire the human family, I implore your Miraculous Intercession. You are so powerful in obtaining every need of body and spirit from the Heart of God. Holy Mother Church proclaims you "Prodigy of Miracles... the Greatest Saint of Modern Times." Now I fervently beseech you to answer my petition (mention here) and to carry out your promises of spending Heaven doing good upon earth... of letting fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses. Little Flower, give me your childlike faith, to see the Face of God in the people and experiences of my life, and to love God with full confidence. St. Thérèse, my Carmelite Sister, I will fulfill your plea "to be made known everywhere" and I will continue to lead others to Jesus through you.

For more novena prayers in honor of St. Therese, go HERE and HERE.

Top Ten Quotes from Padre Pio (St. Pius of Pietrelcina)



"Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer."

"Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God's heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart."

"Do you not see the Madonna always beside the tabernacle?"

"The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat. "

"Keep close to the Catholic Church at all times, for the Church alone can give you true peace, since she alone possesses Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, in the Blessed Sacrament."

"Fear not because God is with you."

"Prayer is the oxygen of the soul."

"Who can assure us that we will be alive tomorrow? Let us listen to the voice of our conscience, to the voice of the royal prophet: "Today, if you hear God's voice, harden not your heart." Let us not put off from one moment to another (what we should do) because the (next moment) is not yet ours. "

"Oh, how precious time is! Blessed are those who know how to make good use of it. Oh, if only all could understand how precious time is, undoubtedly everyone would do his best to spend it in a praiseworthy manner!"

"The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain."

The Miraculous Bond between Pope St. John Paul II and St. Padre Pio



Pope John Paul II was eager to see that Padre Pio was canonized. The canonization to took place in record time on June 16, 2002. However, the two future saints shared a close bond long before the canonization process.

Karol Wojtyla (the future Pope St. John Paul II) met Padre Pio (St. Pius of Pietrelcina) only once in 1947. At that time, he had been a young priest (for less than a year) studying in Rome.  He went to San Giovani Rotundo to meet the mystic with the stigmata and managed to have his confession heard by Padre Pio.  He also attended the famed Capuchin’s Mass. Apparently, the two visited and spoke at length, although no one knows the content of their conversation.

In 1962, when Karol Wojtyla’s long-time friend, Dr. Wanda Poltawska, became seriously ill from cancer, the future Pope, wrote to Padre Pio, requesting prayer for her.  He had the letter hand delivered. The monk’s response to the messenger was: "To this one I cannot say no.”

In late November, 1962, Bishop Wojtyla telephoned to inquire about the state of Wanda’s condition and whether or not the surgery had been performed with success. Her husband Andre explained that the operation did not take place. The doctors had found that there was nothing to be done. Assuming the worst, Wojtyla began to console Wanda’s husband, but was interrupted by Andre. “Oh no,” he said, “you do not understand. The doctors are confronted with a mystery. They could not find anything.” The tumor had completely disappeared. For Wojtyla, there was only one possible explanation – the intercession of the Capuchin mystic, Padre Pio.

What makes this even more interesting is the fact that the Holy Office had dispensed strict disciplinary restrictions against Padre Pio at this time, forbidding priests and the religious to have contact with him.  Wojtyla was surely aware of this, but did not take it into account.

 Pope St. John Paul II’s letters reveal that he had asked Padre Pio to pray for at least two other people who were miraculously healed. He also asked Padre Pio to pray for a paralyzed woman in his diocese, as well as for a lawyer who has been ill since birth. In addition, he requested prayers for himself, writing: "At the same time I would like to entrust to you the enormous difficulties that my poor pastoral work is encountering in this situation".

What was he referring to when he mentioned this prayer request?  In June 1962, the archbishop of Krakow, Baziak had died, and for months there was an open search for a candidate to take his place who would please both the Polish primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, and the State authorities. The authorities basically looked on Wojtyla as a “harmless intellectual” and it was he who was chosen as archbishop of the Polish dioceses.  It was also Wojtyla who effectively put an end to Communism in Poland.

Wojtyla and Padre Pio met only once, in 1947, yet there was a miraculous bond between the saints.

Sources: