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Letter to the Stigmatine Laity – in preparation for our meeting on Saturday, Dec. 6th, 2014

Stigmatines – St. Joseph’s Hall
554 Lexington Street
Waltham MA 02452-3097

November 24, 2014
Vietnamese Martyrs

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

                            On the first Saturday morning of December –i.e., December 6th – we have scheduled our regular monthly meeting.  The plan for the morning will be as follows:

9:00                 Celebration of Mass

9:40                 Coffee Break

10:00              Conference [Please try to be punctual –
this time has to end at 10:40]

10:40              Discussion and end of formal meeting

11:00             The Sacrament of Reconciliation is
available for those who request it.

As last month, we did not cover much ground – so, again, this we will try to show the Old Testament Exodus Covenant Formula in response to God’s: Thy Will be done!  Jesus coined this expression, and a variation of it appears in Mary’s response to the Angel: Let it be done to me according to Your word!

In the long history of the Catholic Church, among the saints and charisms of religious communities, this formula was adapted to changing circumstances. St. Ignatius of Loyola [Spiritual Exercises, n. 234] prayed: receive, o Lord, all my liberty… (Suscipe).  St. Charles de Foucauld was inspired to offer a Prayer of Abandonment, with his invocation beginning and ending with his addressing God, the Merciful Father.

As we have seen, the Stigmatine Founder had his own interpretation and expressions of Holy Abandonment:  in what is perhaps a deMontfort inspiration of his prayer to Mary: Buon giorno, Madre mia!!!! – St. Gaspar Bertoni used  a very familiar form of address to Mary in the light of the Immaculate Conception, that would be defined on December 8, 1854, 18 months after his death [+ June12, 1853] upon which our reflections this year are based.  In the course of this year, we are pondering in prayer different expressions of St. Gaspar’s life of abandonment – suffering all his life for poor health, and initiatives that did not always succeed. In his darkest hour, when many men left him – in the 1840’s – always bed-ridden, he wrote his Constitutions for the Stigmatine way of life.

As we prepare for a New Advent, and for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we pray to her as the Spouse of Joseph, in the mystery of their Holy Espousals. With St. Gaspar, we thrust our cares on the Merciful Lord:

…  Please offer to God all I have to do and suffer today, in union with your merits, as well as those of your Blessed Son. I offer you and consecrate to your service all my being and whatever belongs to me, placing everything under your protection.

And may God bless you all! I hope to see you on Saturday, December 6th here at St. Joseph’s Hall.

Sincerely in the Healing Wounds of the Merciful Lord,

 Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director


            In the small St. Joseph’s Chapel of our Retirement House, in Watham, MA,  at 4:15 pm on this November 4th [“mid-term” election day in the USA], Fr. Gregory Hoppough, Provincial, was the main celebrant of a con-celebrated Mass for the community and the Lay Stigmatines, our  assistants here on the property and friends.

            Fr. Richard Scioli,. Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Milford, MA – gave an excellent Homily on the Stigmatine charism –  for the Church at large and for each Stigmatine. With the Scriptures, he compared this vocation to the small mustard seed – or the little bit of leaven which raises the batter.

            This small ‘Gift” has proven to be a rich source of service to the Church – and right now it is beckoning to each and every Stigmatine to let this charism grow continually  in our hearts.

            Members came from as  far away as Pittsfield MA – Springfield MA – and the Stigmatines from this community and two young priests from Thailand,  Fr. Peter and Fr. Dominic.

            Following the celebration of the Eucharist, all were served a delicious supper meal lovingly prepared by the staff of the house, and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

            This was a fitting celebration of the Stigmatine’s 198th anniversary as a Community, remembering in our hearts,  with much Thanksgiving for Nov. 4, 1816!


           The meeting this month occurred on the Solemnity of All saints – and, this year, was the 25th anniversary of the Canonization of St. Gaspar Bertoni.

            As usual, the meeting opened with a concelebrated Mass – with our Marist confreres who live with us here, and our Reverend Provincial, Fr. Gregory Hoppough. Fr. Hoppough had to leave after Mass to attend a Memorial service for a much loved faculty member of near-by St. Pope John 23rd Seminary, the late Fr. Thomas Schmidt.

             In the homily, the emphasis was on St. Gaspar Bertoni’s service of Holy Abandonment to the Church – honoring the Father, Son and Holy   Spirit, with the intercession of the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph – as his living of the ˆFiatˆ in the Lord’s Prayer. The Our  Father was presented as the prayer of Hope of the Baptized committing each one to self-giving in their abandonment to the Trinity and in service to the Church.

             The Prayer of St. Ignatius [Suscipecf. Sp. Ex. # 234] which expresses the Ignatian Mode of serving the Church, in the Company of Jesus – expressing loving obedience to His Father, as the Jesuit does to the Pope. A comparison was also made with the Prayer of Holy Abandonment of Charles de Foucauld. These are inspired  interpretations of each one’s personal charism.

           For St. Gaspar Bertoni, his mode of self-giving, was modeled on that of St. Ignatius of Loyola and his loving obedience to the Pope, St. Gaspar wanted a similar spirit to serve the Church as expressed through the apostolic needs of the Bishops of the world.

             During the meeting, a letter was read from our “long-distance” members of the group,  Tereza and Vicente Lopes, natives of Brazil, but presently living and working  in Plano Texas. Their suggestion was to make  note of the Stigmatine blog which they are managing, for  news concerning the Stigmatines [].

            Due to the small number of members  attending, the discussion ensued whether our format for meetings is acceptable – or, if there is any other way membership could be increased. The ultimate decision on the continuance of the group is s Province matter.

            The Baptismal nature of all charisms seems also to flow from the very mysterious life within the Trinity as we read in both Paul and John that God so loved the world that He gave up His only Son – and the Son shows His love  for us, by handing over His life on the Cross. St. Ignatius wanted all Jesuits to be in the company of Jesus and His loving obedience, by a special commitment to the  Pope. St. Gaspar Bertoni hoped that all interested n the Stigmatine charism might offer the holy abandonment to the most Blessed Trinity, but a true commitment to their vocation in life.

             The next meeting was set tentatively for December 6th, at the usual time, 9:00 a.m. for Mass.


              The regular monthly  morning of recollection took place on October 4, 2014 – the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

            The group assembled in St. Joseph’s Hall Chapel, for  the 9:00 o’clock Community  Mass, celebrated by the Marist and Stigmatine Fathers, under the leadership of the Provincial, Fr. Gregory Hoppough, one of the con-celebrants.. Fr. Henchey was main celebrant and he spoke on the Lord’s Prayer – and its center-piece, Thy will be done!  He noted that as the Heavenly Father gave up His only-begotten, most beloved Son [cf. Rm 8:32; Jn 3:16] – the saint of Assisi gave up his earthly father, excessively  attached to his possessions, for his espousals to Lady Poverty.

            It was pointed out that this was present in the 7 day creation story [beginning liturgically in the evening, then the morning, moving through the 7 day celebration  – for this Liturgy of Life], as well as in the Redemption narrative as lived by Jesus Himself,  lived through His life, perfected by His  ex-spiration on Calvary. Mary echoed this in her FIAT to the angel, making her the Mother of God– and confirmed this by standing next to the Cross  of Christ, becoming the Mother of the Church.

            The Our Father was lived in the Church’s faith as noted in DV 5 – as Mary and Joseph lived it toward each other, as noted in Pope John’s Paul’s Redemptoris Custos, emphasizing  St. Joseph and his husband’s self-giving to Mary  and to the Christ child. For St. Ignatius it was the FIAT of a soldier’s obedience – for St. Francis de Sales, it was the fiat of charity.

            For St. Gaspar Bertoni his fiat was apostolic as well as the acceptance of life long-poor health – a fiat of hope in his life-long oblation [obsequium  –  cf. Rm 12:1] to God’s Mercy

             In the meeting itself at 10:00, it was noted that John Marzilli was attending a funeral for a family member. The pertinent parts of a letter from Tereza and Vicente Lopes, our long distance members from Brazil, living in Plano TX.  And Fr. Henchey noted a new member from Sacramento CA, John Archueta. Those attending offered prayers for the recently concluded Council of Superiors and its decisions. Next year this annual meeting has been scheduled for  this USA Stigmatine Province.

             The death this week  of Fr. Carlo Cappai, CSS in Italy was noted – and prayers offered for the repose of his soul.

             The conference pondered on the Holy Abandonment of St. Gaspar Bertoni, flowing also from St. Ignatius’ Personal prayer, Suscipe [cf. Sp Ex #  234] and the Prayer of Abandonment of  Charles  de  Foucauld.

            The meeting ended with the Sacrament of Reconciliation  being celebrated for those who requested it. The next meeting is set for Saturday November 1, 2014.


Dom Moacyr Vitti CSS
Most Rev. Moacyr José Vitti, C.S.S., Archbishop of Curitiba, PR (Brazil)

National Conference of the Catholic Bishops in Brazil

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Most Rev. Moacyr J. Vitti, CSS, Archbishop of Curitiba, dies in Brazil

There passed away today, victim of a heart attack, the Archbishop of Curitiba, PR (state of Paraná), Most Rev. Moacyr José Vitti, who belonged to the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata, and was Archbishop of Curitiba since 2004.

He was born in Piracicaba, SP (state of São Paulo), on November 30, 1940. He studied Philosophy and Theology at the St. Gaspar Bertoni Institute, in Campinas, SP.  He was ordained a Stigmatine Priest on December, 1967.  He was specialized in Catechism and Doctor in Dogmatic Theology by the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, in Rome.[1]

Abp. Vitti was elected bishop on November, 1987, and received the Episcopal ordination on January, 1988, in Americana, SP.  From 1988 to 2002, as Auxiliary Bishop of Curitiba, he was in charge of the border parishes of the city, the pastorals, social assistance, religious teaching and the Academic Pastoral of the South Region of the National Conference of the Catholic Bishops in Brazil. He was Bishop of Piracicaba, SP from 2002 to 2004, when he was transferred back to Curitiba, PR as Archbishop. In 2007 he was elected President of the South Region of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops in Brazil, position that he hold until 2011.  His Episcopal motto was: “One Single Heart”.

May he rest in peace.

[1] For his Doctorate, he had as his tutor Father Joseph Henchey, CSS



Father James E. Flanagan, C.S.S., 90, of the Stigmatine Fathers, Waltham, MA, died at The Maristhill Nursing Facility, Waltham, MA on Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Father Flanagan was born on January 14, 1924 in Norwood, MA.  He was the son of Edward J. Flanagan (born in Govern, Scotland) and Grace (Collins), born in Sharon, MA.

He entered the Stigmatine Fathers at Waltham on September 21, 1938. He professed his first vows at Waltham on March 9, 1945. He professed his final vows as a Stigmatine Religious on March 9, 1948 at Wellesley, MA and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Milford, MA on June 3, 1950 by then Bishop (later Cardinal) John Wright.

Father Flanagan served in many apostolates of the Stigmatines: Father Duenas School, Guam; Sacred Heart Church, Feeding Hills, MA; Holy Family Church, Lynn, MA; Sacred Heart Church, Waltham, MA (Pastor); Mount Carmel Church, Pittsfield, MA; St. Anthony Church, Agawam, MA; and All Saints Church, Manassas, VA (Pastor).

He also served the Stigmatine Community as Vicar Provincial and on the Finance Committee.

May He Rest In Peace

Day of Recollection and Work Plan for the Stigmatine Laity

On this first day of summer – the longest of the year [?] – we had a very pleasant day of recollection [Mass and a Conference] here on the liturgical commemoration of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, on the Influence of St. Gregory the Great, Pope, and St. Gaspar Bertoni.

The few of us present made plans for the coming year: to meet each First Saturday – and we will contact the members that used to attend, to see if they might be interested again, with our new format. We will ask for their prayers, and promise our own Mass is at 9:00 a.m. – coffee break after Mass until 10:00 – a 45 minute reflection on the Stigmatine spirituality and 15 minutes or so, of questions and discussion. The idea will be to cover one of the 12 parts of the original Stigmatine Constitutions each month. The typewritten text will be given to each one who can attend. The entire monthly endeavor is due to end around 11:00 a.m., starting in September.

Father Joseph Henchey, CSS,
Moderator of Stigmatine Laity

Provincial Welcome

Dear Friends of the Stigmatines,

Welcome to our newly established BLOG site. Thanks to our dear friends and Lay Associates, Tereza & Vicente Lopes, we are able to communicate with you on this new level.

The Stigmatines endeavor to serve the Church through service to the Bishops of the world. Here in the United States, the Province of the Holy Spouses, Mary and Joseph, we have many ministries: parish ministry, retreat ministry, seminary formation, counseling and foreign missions. We ask you to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send us candidates for the Stigmatine Priesthood and Religious Life.

Thank you for joining us as together we give honor and praise to our God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Father Gregory J. Hoppough, C.S.S.,
Provincial Superior

Feast of Saint Gaspar 2014

On June 12, 2014 the Feast of Saint Gaspar was celebrated by the Stigmatine Community at the Espousal Center in Waltham, MA. Massin honor of Saint Gaspar  was celebrated by our Provincial, Fr. Greg Hoppough,  in the Chapel of the Holy Stigmata in St. Joseph’s Hall. Our homilist was Fr. Bob Masciocci.

In addition to our Stigmatine Fathers, the Marist Fathers and Lay Stigmatines attended the Mass. After Mass we were all invited to a dinner in the Dining Room at St. Joseph’s Hall.