All started with our devotion to St. Gaspar Bertoni, since we moved close to a Stigmatine Parish in Campinas, SP, Brazil, in 1991. Then it happened that, in early 2001, my husband Vicente and I moved to Texas, USA, due to his job. Then, trying to make contact with the American Stigmatines, finally, in early 2003 we found out a website honoring St. Gaspar Bertoni, created by Fr. Henchey, who immediately gave us a warm welcome after we contacted him through the site. He had just published it, just after returning home from his many years serving in Rome.
Afterwards, we started a frequent communication with him, and later that same year we had the opportunity to visit him at the Stigmatine property in Waltham, MA. He was serving in a Seminary in the neighboring city of Weston, and it was when visiting his office there that we started our plans to work together. When showing us the huge collection of his works in hard copies in the bookcases, he said: “I would like they could be useful to the present and future generations of Stigmatines’. At that moment, having in mind the importance of those studies for the Stigmatine Congregation and the Church, we realized we could do something to help him to accomplish that.
Returning home, I started to edit his works, in order to make them more readable. He had typed them himself, and because his eye-sight problems, there were many typos and other issues that required a review. I started also some translations into Portuguese. Little by little, the works on his website were being replaced by edited ones. Not long after that, we assumed his website, and a little later also the one of the American Stigmatines [www.stigmatines.com].
Fr. Henchey used to fill all his vacations in the Seminary traveling widely to preach retreats and giving courses, lectures, and spiritual direction to priests, religious and the laity. He used to stay a week with us during his long summer trips, when we could make more plans together and Vicente could give him technical assistance in his computer and internet issues.
It was wonderful to be with him during the celebrations of his Priestly Golden Jubilee, in 2006 (see picture). Just after that, he moved to serve in the Mundelein Seminary, next to Chicago. In 2009 he was appointed to serve at the Dunwoodie Seminary, in Yonkers, NY, and in the nearby Stigmatine Parish in White Plains. We traveled and helped him to set up his office, computers, and network in all these new places, making sure he could count on all the technological resources he needed.
While we always did our best to give him the support he needed in his ministry, we were certainly the most benefited in this experience, as he gave us his spiritual direction, which is absolutely invaluable. As lay Stigmatines, we had the opportunity of being always close to him in his journey as a tireless Stigmatine Apostolic Missionary. Through him, we had the opportunity to know better the wonderful charism of hope of St. Gaspar Bertoni. All of this is a treasure to us.
Fr. Henchey is now in heaven, but he will be always alive through the great legacy he left to all of us, through his huge collection of magnificent works. He developed many studies on the charism of St. Gaspar Bertoni, the Stigmatine Original Constitutions, the history of the Stigmatine Congregation, our patrons the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, the Sacred Stigmata of O.L.J.C., the Stigmatine Seal, and so on. For many years he was the Spiritual Director of the Stigmatine Laity, through lectures and monthly letters. All his works are available on his website ‘A Tribute to St. Gaspar Bertoni’ (www.st-bertoni.com), and our apostolate is to continue taking care of his works and website for the rest of our lives.
May the example of Fr. Henchey continue inspiring all of us, Stigmatine religious and laity, to carry out our mission of making St. Gaspar Bertoni better known in this world!
April 1st-2nd, 2016
Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
A “Cornelio Fabro Symposium” was held in Aquinas Hall, Catholic University of America, in Washington DC, from April 1st-2nd, 2016. An American Stigmatine confrere was chosen by the organizers, to present a few thoughts from contacts in Rome with Father Fabro. This “Fabro Symposium’ was organized by the ’Cornelio Fabro Cultural Project’ for the sake of bringing more and more students in this young 21st century, to an appreciation of the treasure that the Stigmatine, Father Fabro, has been for the Church through much of the 20th Century and beyond.
The “Cornelio Fabro Cultural Project” was founded on April 11, 2002, by the Superior General of the Institute of the Incarnate Word [founded in Argentina], Father Carlos Miguel Buela. This group has as its immediate aim the diffusion of the thought and works of Fr. Cornelio Fabro. On March 7, 2004 the “Project” was officially presented together with the publication of the first volume of the Complete Works of Fr. Fabro. Presently 22 volumes of the 100 planned volumes have been published. In 2011 the “Cultural Project” actively collaborated in the organization of different initiatives for the celebration of the centenary of Fabro’s death [August 24, 1911-May 4, 1995].
Father Joseph Henchey, CSS participated in the Introductory Panel, and submitted an article for the Symposium. The title of this study is “Father Cornelio Fabro- A Stigmatine – Devoted to his Founder.” From initial studies of Fr. Fabro’s voluminous works, it seems that the following phases of development took place in Father Fabro’s brilliant mind:
 Early Studies in the theology of St. Thomas – the doctoral thesis of the young Father Fabro has since become a classic in the Thomistic world. This is his lasting work on ’Participation” – a major contribution to the understanding of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.’
 Mature Research: Through the war years and beyond, Father Fabro learned Danish in order to translate some of the extensive works of Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish Lutheran writer, often dubbed ‘the melancholic Dane!’ In more recent times, however, Kierkegaard has become an important ally to Catholic theologians. Some modern readers are suspicious, if not dismissive of Kierkegaard. However, the favorable mention of Kierkegaard by Pope St. John Paul II’s Letter on Fides et Ratio offers a further reason why Kierkegaard cannot simply be rejected out of hand. Father Fabro maintained that he had learned as much from Kierkegaard as he had from St Thomas Aquinas!
These scholarly studies led Father Fabro to study in great depth the phenomenon of modern atheism, now appearing in English Translation as “God in Exile” [Newman Press 1968, translated by the Canadian scholar Arthur Gibson – with an enthusiastic Foreword composed by the renowned scholar, John Macquarrie.
 Spiritual Fulfillment – these would Fabro’s Vatican II years and beyond, 1965-1995. He was appointed to be one of the Consulters in preparation for the Council. In this period, his fertile pen produced some truly extraordinary works: Prayer in Modern Thought; Gemma Galgani a Witness of the Supernatural [Published by the Passionist Congregation]; Times of the Spirit [2 volumes published by the Franciscans of Assisi.
Father Henchey translated three fine, substantial studies of Father Fabro regarding St. Gaspar Bertoni:
An Ecclesial Priest: Blessed Gaspar Bertoni ;
Gaspar Bertoni: Witness of the Supernatural [presented at Bertoni Symposium, Angelicum University Rome, October 28, 1989];
Gaspar Bertoni: A life illumined by the Supernatural [published posthumously in 2009].
In his paper presented to the Symposium, Father Henchey offered a brief outline of St. Gaspar Bertoni’s life and spirituality. Father Fabro – no stranger to physical suffering himself – was deeply moved by the fact that from perhaps the age of 45 until his death at 76, St. Gaspar suffered atrociously and almost daily from poor medical treatment and the deterioration of a leg fistula that eventually developed into cancer. The Founder’s long years of immobility also brought on very serious and painful bed sores, along with severe arthritis
There is an unusual parallel in Kierkegaard’s dates – 1813-1855 – with St. Gaspar being at the Stimmate, 1816-1853. While they were contemporary, there is no indication that they had ever known each other; there is nonetheless a striking consonance of some spiritual principles shared by Father Bertoni and Kierkegaard.
Several key texts from Father Bertoni’s Spiritual Diary for Father Fabro would be these three:
 [Spiritual Diary] MP – July 30, 1808: [St. Gaspar’s Spiritual Model: [Assimilation – Communion – ‘Con: Suffering (Col 1:24) Crucified; Buried; Risen’] – Copy – Example – Filiation – Following/ Imitation – Heir – Inheritance – ICON: Col 1] – One Life – Recapitulation – Martyr – Union (GS 22) – Witness, etc.] – on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola],
[17.] For the examination of conscience one should choose a Saint of the same vocation as a mirror. In this way one finds matter for confession every day. Whatever falls short of that Saint’s perfection is faulty…
 MP – September 15, 1808: [Apostolic Influence of St. Ignatius]
[41.] Introduction to the Spiritual Exercises. While visiting the altar of St Ignatius with my companions I felt much devotion and recollection with great inner cheerfulness and some tears – even though the visit was short. I had the feeling that the Saint was welcoming us and inviting us to work for the greater glory of God as he did. To work in the same ways: though not using all those means [‘modi’] that he was able to use. He seemed to tell us: “Onward, soldiers of Christ! Gird yourselves with fortitude! Pick up the shield of faith, the helmet of Salvation, the sword of the divine Word and fight against the “ancient serpent”. Make my spirit alive again in you and in others through you”.
 MP – October 9, 1808: [St. Gaspar’s 31st birthday] – A Eucharistic, Trinitarian Spirituality
[59.] Feast of St Denis and the Maternity of the Virgin Mary.
During the Eucharistic prayer of the Mass near the time of the memento, it seemed that my mind opened up to know with Whom was I speaking. I felt great affection and an enthusiasm of love in prayer. Then some outbursts of my heart for God and some impulses of my spirit towards God. I seemed to be like a person overwhelmed by the appearance of a great friend who had not been seen for a long time and on seeing him suddenly, he wants to throw himself at him and embrace him. Then I felt a desire that the vision could increase and an impulse to be able to reach the Supreme Good. Since I was in public I feared [the feeling of] some vanity and I [made an effort to] think of my most serious sins. As a consequence [I felt] an increase of knowledge of goodness and love which dissolved in most soothing tears which lasted until after Holy Communion. In the meantime, faith and confidence increased very much together with humility and loving reverence. Lastly, at Communion, a very intense devotion and sentiment similar to that of my First Holy Communion: an experience that I am not aware of having felt since. The recollection lasted for another hour and it remained for the rest of the evening.
A contribution from S. Kierkegaard for Father Fabro’s understanding of his saintly Founder:
Contemporaneity: A life-long influence for Father Bertoni was his daily sufferings from the age of 45 until he was 76, when he died.
There is, then this consonance of Kierkegaard with Fr. Bertoni which goes back to their common font, the New Testament. Furthermore there are traces of common readings of Catholic mystics, such as The Imitation of Christ, St. Therese, St. John of the Cross, Fenelon, St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori …
This was a life, that of Father Bertoni, about half of which was spent on the Cross, with his long and painful illnesses, “… under the irons and the knives of the doctors …” as he himself often preferred to write, in a joking manner, especially to Father Bragato. This seems to demonstrate a capacity of endurance that amazed and moved even to tears the surgeons themselves. The documents speak of some 300 inflictions of deep lancing and incisions on his flesh in order to diminish a kind of cancerous growth which had invaded his right leg.
The characteristic or the authentic originality of Fr. Bertoni’s grasp of this seems to be that of being more lived than theorized. It seems to spring from that unconditional self-emptying of his soul into the Mystery of the Incarnation. This derives from that interior thrust of his of transcending every adherence to creatures, which is at the same time, as a placing of himself at the total disposition of the will of God for the salvation of his brothers and sisters, in every occasion and at all times.
A Life totally for the Church
The actuality of the figure and the undertakings of Father Bertoni can be summarized in two simple phrases: … A Man totally Evangelical and totally ecclesial. His was a soul permeated with the spirit of the Gospel, and devoured by his zeal for without boundaries. We learn from Father Lenotti that his principal study was Sacred Scripture, some of which he knew by memory. As a result his ordinary manner of speaking was fully scriptural. In the nearly iconoclastic fury which has attacked the sacred text on the part of some modern criticism, u.
Father Bertoni’s times were quite different from ours. However, the sufferings of humanity, the crisis of faith, the situation of the Christian on this world… seem to intensify all the more as these realities impact every age, at every turn of human progress. The manners of thinking change, and also the prospects of civility: the trajectory of life towards the gulf of death, and being overwhelmed by the same enigmas, no matter what the number and the qualities of elements that work in its mutating arch.
Today hope is much magnified, and this is good: however, for us, it has to be a Christian hope; it needs to address believers upward toward those immutable goods and yearn for that Augustinian Sabbath that will never end. Therefore hope must be nourished by faith, and must flow forth within its certainties’, and not get diverted into the earthly swamps rivet itself in some kind of a “foolish flight.” This needs to be a hope which enkindles one toward the elevation toward God and in the service of one’s neighbor.
Father Bertoni was one who was malleable, but firm at the same time. He knew how to ponder the signs of his times, he read and had others read the daily newspapers as something most useful from which one might draw new avenues for the apostolate. However, he observed in his Diary: “… It is necessary to enter into the house of another in a manner so that what we might learn then to lead others to ours.” This is a rule of realism and of boldness, it seems to us and not just another form of aggiornamento of the Church in this world, or some other format of ‘dialogue with this world’, which have often amounted tactics of equivocal compromises. What needs to be concluded from all this is a service of fidelity to the salvific Truth with respect to the mystery of freedom.
Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS
April 4, 2016
1]Translator’s Note: in these last few paragraphs, Fr. Fabro offers a real theological presentation of Holy Abandonment, and provides excellent sources for further reflection.
Stigmatines – St. Joseph’s Hall
554 Lexington Street
Waltham MA 02452
Regular Stigmatine Lay Meeting
Saturday, September 12, 2015
The regular meeting of the group assembled this morning with the 9:00 o’clock Mass.Fr. Henchey celebrated the Mass, in the presence of the Very Reverend Provincial, Fr. Gregory Hoppough, CSS in attendance.
At 10:00 o’clock, following a few announcements, the meeting was conducted by Page Vandewater and John Marzilli, who represented the USA Province at the Stigmatine International Meeting that was held in Brazil last month. At our meeting today, was also a visiting confrere from Thailand, Fr. Philip Pornchai who will celebrate 25 years as a priest later this year.
Both Page Vandewater and John Marzilli publicly thanked our two Stigmatize Lay members from Brazil, Tereza and Vicente Lopes. They both contributed so much to the presentation that our representatives gave in Brazil on our activities here.
The announcements were that Fr. Henchey will not be present for the October meeting, to be held three weeks from today, October 3rd, at the 9:00 o’clock Mass. As a result Fr. Ferrecchia, CSS will be the celebrant and will present some of the Papal Exhortation of Pope St. John Paul II, the Guardian of the Redeemer – an excellent insight into the mystery of the Espousals and Joseph’s husbandly gift of self – much like Mary’s fiat to the angelic message. There will be no other aspect of the meeting other than this.
Enclosed in this packet will be the actual sermon of St Gaspar Bertoni, on this feast of the Holy Name of Mary in September of 1805, as a young priest – over 210 years ago!
Fr. Provincial drew the enthusiastic meeting to a close with a prayer of thanksgiving for the Stigmatine Laity held in Brazil.
There was distributed a CD Rom with all the Founder’s works available in English. This CD Rom was prepared by Tereza and Vicente lopes living in Plano Texas.
The meeting ended with the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
A Brief Account of the Celebration of
The Solemnity of St. Gaspar Bertoni
June 12, 2015
On this very warm day of late spring, here at St. Joseph’s Hall, on the grounds of the Espousals Center, the Very Reverend Provincial, Fr. Gregory Hoppough, CSS led the community in a concelebrated late afternoon Mass. We were honored this day by the presence of the Very Reverend Brian Kiely, who both con-celebrated presided at the Mass. He serves as the Episcopal Vicar for Cardinal O’Malley, of the Boston Archdiocese. Several other Stigmatine confreres and a few Marists confreres, sharing St. Joseph’s Hall with us – also concelebrated and the local Stigmatine Laity Group and other friends of the community participated in the Mass.
We were confronted on this day by a kind of a liturgical dilemma: the universal calendar was set for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart – and our particular Stigmatine calendar permitted the Solemnity of the Founder. With the Founder’s characteristic humility, the choice was made in favor of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart – to which St. Gaspar was much devoted in his lifetime. Furthermore, the very rich liturgical Preface of the Feast of the Sacred Heart and antiphons, greatly aided an abetted our community Stigmatine devotion to the Sacred Stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fr. Henchey, CSS, the acting spiritual director of the Stigmatine Laity preached on the theme:
“The Apostolic Mission of St. Gaspar Bertoni and the New Evangelization – in the Exhortation of Pope Francis: ‘Evangelii Gaudium.’”
This preaching is enclosed.
The very pleasant evening came to a happy close with all the participants at the Mass with a wonderful supper prepared by the very capable local staff.
Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Stigmatine Laity Chaplain
The actual celebration of this Patronal Feast of the Congregation was preceded by a meeting of the available Stigmatine confreres – in preparation for the visit of the Council of Superiors perhaps in September. A number of proposals were discussed to be presented to the next bi-annual meeting of the Confreres, set for the Feast of the Stigmata, the week after Easter.
The principal celebrant was the Provincial, the Very Rev. Gregory Hoppough, CSS. He was vested in a custom-made chasuble, the work of the nearby Trapppists. The actual portrait sewed into the back of the vestment was taken from an earlier vestment that was beyond repair – so this vestment also continued the tradition.
We were also blessed by the presence of a number of the Stigmatine confreres, and by some members of the Stigmatine Laity. So many of our thoughts and prayers were directed toward Fr. Henry Linse, CSS, who died on January 16th, just a week ago, and whose funeral was celebrated just two days ago. Furthermore, Fr. Joseph Connolly, CSS, – former Superior of St. Joseph’s Hall here – stayed in our prayers as well, since he is presently on a life-support system at the Lahey Clinic.
The sermon for the Feast was offered by the Stigmatine Laity Chaplain – and this can be found in this document:
This happy celebration then was continued in the dining hall of this building for all who attended. Snow is predicted, so some of the Confreres [from Springfield and Pittsfield] wanted to return to their homes before the snows came.
We look forward now to the spring-time celebration of the Feast of the Stigmata.
On this first Saturday of the month of December – the commemoration of St. Nicholas – in accord with the Liturgy of the Season, the Mass was that of the Ist Saturday in Advent. Along with some of our Marist brothers living here with us, our Father Provincial, Fr. Gregory J Hoppough, CSS, was also present.
Promptly at 9:00 Mass began and the homilist was the Laity group acting spiritual director, Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS. His theme was taken on “Charism” in general – much in the modern jargon of the Church in this Post Vatican II era.
Charism was described as a way of life, infused by God, enabling one to carry out God’s Word and to accept His will. This involves two aspects at least: that of cooperating in the Mission that Jesus received from His Father, and which He handed on to His Apostles – as the gospel of the day [Mt 9 & 10] presented Jesus’ heart being moved by pity, sending the His followers out to heal, cleanse, the Lost Sheep of Israel. This for St. Gaspar Bertoni, is the Apostolic Mission.
And then, secondly, as St. Gaspar was an invalid for a huge part of his priesthood, we need to learn his “abandonment to the Divine Will.”
These spiritual movements are epitomized in St. Gaspar’s heart as the Latin Vulgate translation of Rm 12:1,ff.: make of your bodies [lives] and oblation [‘obsequium’] to the Mercy of God. The Will of God is a command in the Creation stories: FIAT [an imperative] LUX! Let there be light the “Covenant Formula”: noted in the formula that derived from this: we will do God’s Word! This was later repeated by Joshua and his family – and we are reminded by Deuteronomy: Do not forget, this Word was not uttered for your ancestors, but for you here TODAY!
This was then lived by Jesus: I have not come for MY own Word…Will… Gory – Your will be done… Into your hands I commend My spirit! The Blessed Virgin Mary, Spouse of Joseph, picked up on this = and her FIAT, an optative prayer. Mary’s FIAT was lived on Calvary where she became the Mother of the Church – as at Cana she delivered her message for all the apostolic missionaries of the world” You do whatever He tells you! [Jn 2]
For believers of all times, Vatican II speaks of Faith as an oblation of intellect and will – to carry out the Will of God in the acceptance of revealed dogma and moral, and the requirements of the as well as in liturgy, spirituality.
As we have seen, St. Ignatius lived this in his Suscipe [Sp. Ex. 234] – Charles de Foucauld in his Prayer of ABANDONMENT. St. Gaspar presents this in his prayer, to Mary:
Buon Giorno Madre Mia….!
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.
Yet was agreed that the next formal meeting will be March 6th, 2015, Fr Henchey stated that a letter would go out inviting the Stigmatine Laity to our communal celebration of the Feast of the Espousals, January 23rd, at 4:15 p.m.
Father 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 [Suscipe – cf. 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 [http://stigmatines.com/blog/].
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 the main celebrant and spoke on the Lord’s Prayer – and its centerpiece, 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 Archuleta. 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.
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