LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY – FOR MAY, 2015

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

April 19, 2015
3rd Sunday of Easter

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

As we are still in the “after-glow” of our celebration of the Stigmatine Titular Feast, honoring the glorious Stigmata of the Lord – and since it is rather late in the month, there will be no May meeting. Our next possible gathering may be like the one this past Friday, with an afternoon Mass at 4:15 – followed then by super. This is not definite yet, so further information will be forthcoming during the month of May.

In our faith, the Sacred Stigmata – or the Five Wounds that our Lord suffered on Calvary – are celebrated in their ”sorrowful” dimension, culminating in the thrust of the Roman soldier’s spear into the side of the dead Christ. In this commemoration, the usual reflection is on our copious redemption.

With the Gospel of Mercy Sunday, the Stigmatines celebrate the festival of their title on the Friday following, emphasizing the Apostolic Mission of the Risen Christ, as recorded in John: As the Father sent Me, I now send you…!

In the light of this, the Stigmatines celebrate the ‘integral’ Stigmata – one and the same set of wounds as found on the dying and dead body of Christ – as well as then being retained in the Risen Body of Christ: Luke mentions Jesus showing His hands and His feet – while John alone presents the hands and the sacred side of Christ.

In the life of St Gaspar Bertoni, there are many historical sources” for this understanding of Jesus Christ in the Stigmatine charism. One would be the small Church in Verona dedicated to the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi where the Stigmatines were founded on November 4, 1816 – also the fact that St. Gaspar Himself preached on the “Grades of the Passion’, an old-time weekly devotion, emphasizing the wounds in Christ’s body. Furthermore, the Saintly Stigmatine Founder suffered all through his life with poor health – requiring, according to the medicine of the time, repeated lancing of infections in his legs. This inspiration behind all this was the lived hope: By His wounds, ours are healed…!

Please pray for our Stigmatine confrere, a Brazilian Bishop, + Antonio Alberto Guimarães Rezende, CSS, at the age of 89. May he rest in peace! Let us continue to pray for each other and for all the Church needs. [On Friday June 12th of this year, St. Gaspar Bertoni and the Stigmatines will be featured in the Boston PILOT section on Religious Life.

Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

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