LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY FOR MAY, 2017

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060

Commemoration of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctoress of the Church
April 29, 2017

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member

Image of the Virgin Many highly esteemed by Fr. Bertoni

As the month of April ends and May begins, there are two Dominican Saints commemorated, who have been much honored by the Church: St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican Tertiary – and in early May, the Dominican Pope, St. Pope Pius Vth. St. Catherine served as a counselor Popes – and St. Pius Vth promulgated the Decrees of the Council of Trent – as well as promoted devotion to the Most Holy Rosary. This devotion came to the Church through the ministry of St. Dominic and many early Dominicans.

To commemorate this month of May, we will offer a “birds-eye view” of a Stigmatine Calendar with an insight into some Stigmatine history from 1777-1911 – events that took place in the month of May over the years.

For our spiritual reflection, I am also offering a translation of a study compiled by our late   Stigmatine Confrere, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS, on some of St. Thomas’ insights on Mary [1].   [St. Thomas emphasized the universality of Christ’s redemption of the human race – and the Franciscan, Duns Scotus, clarified the more the terms of the mystery, by teaching that Mary was more loved by God, hence more perfectly redeemed from the contagion of sin: we have all been healed, and the contagion of sin was prevented from ever reaching her by God’s special grace – and the technical word used is “preventively”].  Then, secondly, there will be a brief outline of several of the parish sermons delivered by St. Gaspar, considering the Mother of God. [2]    [It is remarkable that in his spoken word we have very little of his ideas regarding Mary as the Spouse of St. Joseph.  However, our Patronal Feast of the Holy Espousals was simply a devotion lived in the early Stigmatine community.

Fr. Bertoni entrusted his congregation to the patronage of the Holy Spouses, Mary and Joseph

Let us deepen our devotion to the Blessed Mother of God in this month of May – as we ask for the intercession of the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, on our own lives, those of our families and of the Church.

May God bless us all, each and every one! – let us ask for the grace of an increased devotion to Mary and Joseph, the Patrons of our Congregation and in a particular way, of our Province here in the USA!

Fraternally yours in our devotions to Mary and Joseph,

Fr. Joseph Henchey CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

[1]  An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Thomas Aquinas – by Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS.

[2]  An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Gaspar Bertoni in his Parish Sermons.

Stigmatine Calendar for May

An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Thomas Aquinas – by Rev. Cornelio Fabro, CSS

An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Gaspar Bertoni in his Parish Sermons – by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

For translations of this letter [including the calendar for May] into Italian and Portuguese, please see the page of FORMATION on this website.

LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY FOR MAY, 2017

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060

Commemoration of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctoress of the Church
April 29, 2017

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member

Image of the Virgin Many highly esteemed by Fr. Bertoni

As the month of April ends and May begins, there are two Dominican Saints commemorated, who have been much honored by the Church: St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican Tertiary – and in early May, the Dominican Pope, St. Pope Pius Vth. St. Catherine served as a counselor Popes – and St. Pius Vth promulgated the Decrees of the Council of Trent – as well as promoted devotion to the Most Holy Rosary. This devotion came to the Church through the ministry of St. Dominic and many early Dominicans.

To commemorate this month of May, we will offer a “birds-eye view” of a Stigmatine Calendar with an insight into some Stigmatine history from 1777-1911 – events that took place in the month of May over the years.

For our spiritual reflection, I am also offering a translation of a study compiled by our late   Stigmatine Confrere, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS, on some of St. Thomas’ insights on Mary [1].   [St. Thomas emphasized the universality of Christ’s redemption of the human race – and the Franciscan, Duns Scotus, clarified the more the terms of the mystery, by teaching that Mary was more loved by God, hence more perfectly redeemed from the contagion of sin: we have all been healed, and the contagion of sin was prevented from ever reaching her by God’s special grace – and the technical word used is “preventively”].  Then, secondly, there will be a brief outline of several of the parish sermons delivered by St. Gaspar, considering the Mother of God. [2]    [It is remarkable that in his spoken word we have very little of his ideas regarding Mary as the Spouse of St. Joseph.  However, our Patronal Feast of the Holy Espousals was simply a devotion lived in the early Stigmatine community.

Fr. Bertoni entrusted his congregation to the patronage of the Holy Spouses, Mary and Joseph

Let us deepen our devotion to the Blessed Mother of God in this month of May – as we ask for the intercession of the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, on our own lives, those of our families and of the Church.

May God bless us all, each and every one! – let us ask for the grace of an increased devotion to Mary and Joseph, the Patrons of our Congregation and in a particular way, of our Province here in the USA!

Fraternally yours in our devotions to Mary and Joseph,

Fr. Joseph Henchey CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

[1]  An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Thomas Aquinas – by Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS.

[2]  An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Gaspar Bertoni in his Parish Sermons.

Stigmatine Calendar for May

An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Thomas Aquinas – by Rev. Cornelio Fabro, CSS

An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Gaspar Bertoni in his Parish Sermons – by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

For translations of this letter [including the calendar for May] into Italian and Portuguese, please see the page of FORMATION on this website.

2017 STIGMATINE LAITY ANNUAL CONFERENCE – HOLY CROSS PROVINCE, BRAZIL

Province of the Holy Cross – Provincial Headquarters, Retreat & Conference Center and FABER Centers

On March 18 & 19, 2017, there took place, at the Stigmatine Seminary of Philosophy (Chácara do Vovô) in Campinas, SP, the annual province-wide conference of the Stigmatine Laity (FABER)  [1].  The conference was attended by members of the six FABER local centers, i.e.: Marilia, Praia Grande, Ribeirão Preto, Itararé, São Caetano do Sul and Campinas (all in the state of São Paulo).

It was a very important moment in the journey of the Stigmatine laity, in which we evaluated the work carried out by the FABER local centers in the last 12 months, and draw up new guidelines for the next period.

2017 FABER Annual Conference – group picture

About 35 people were gathered, among them all the Provincial Councilors, including Fr. Luciano Romero da Silva, CSS (Vocation Director and Director of the Stigmatine laity) and Brother Marcos Paulo.

In addition to the meetings, we had also out-of-home and leisure moments, such as a visit to the Cathedral of Campinas, a prayer service in front of the tomb of the deceased Stigmatines, a picnic at Lake Taquaral and, at the closing of the first conferences day, a beautiful Italian Night, prepared and offered with great affection by the FABER Campinas.

2017 FABER Annual Conference – group picture at The Italian Feast

The second conference day was begun with the Holy Mass, presided by Fr. Luciano Romero da Silva, CSS, who preached and assured us that hope never disappoints, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us (Rm 5:5).

With this certainty, we were able to make all the decisions, including the schedule for the next province-wide meetings, that follows:

– September 8-10, 2017:  annual retreat, at Santana Retreat House and Conference Center (Fazenda Santana), in Corumbataí, SP;

– November 18, 2017: pilgrimage to Aparecida, SP;

– March 17-18, 2018: annual conferences in Itararé, SP.

At the end of the conference, a Relic of St. Gaspar Bertoni was presented to all of us.  This relic will visit consecutively all the FABER centers, starting in Itararé.

We ask the Lord to strengthen up the spiritual journey of all the Stigmatine Laity, for we can continue walking in the footsteps of our Founding Father St. Gaspar Bertoni, under the light of his Charism.

By Kelci Ribeiro Ferreira dos Santos
Stigmatine Laity Councilor

[1] FABER stands for FAMÍLIA BERTONIANA, the Family of lay Stigmatines in the Province of the Holy Cross, in Brazil.

2017 STIGMATINE LAITY ANNUAL CONFERENCE – HOLY CROSS PROVINCE, BRAZIL

Province of the Holy Cross – Provincial Headquarters, Retreat & Conference Center and FABER Centers

On March 18 & 19, 2017, there took place, at the Stigmatine Seminary of Philosophy (Chácara do Vovô) in Campinas, SP, the annual province-wide conference of the Stigmatine Laity (FABER)  [1].  The conference was attended by members of the six FABER local centers, i.e.: Marilia, Praia Grande, Ribeirão Preto, Itararé, São Caetano do Sul and Campinas (all in the state of São Paulo).

It was a very important moment in the journey of the Stigmatine laity, in which we evaluated the work carried out by the FABER local centers in the last 12 months, and draw up new guidelines for the next period.

2017 FABER Annual Conference – group picture

About 35 people were gathered, among them all the Provincial Councilors, including Fr. Luciano Romero da Silva, CSS (Vocation Director and Director of the Stigmatine laity) and Brother Marcos Paulo.

In addition to the meetings, we had also out-of-home and leisure moments, such as a visit to the Cathedral of Campinas, a prayer service in front of the tomb of the deceased Stigmatines, a picnic at Lake Taquaral and, at the closing of the first conferences day, a beautiful Italian Night, prepared and offered with great affection by the FABER Campinas.

2017 FABER Annual Conference – group picture at The Italian Feast

The second conference day was begun with the Holy Mass, presided by Fr. Luciano Romero da Silva, CSS, who preached and assured us that hope never disappoints, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us (Rm 5:5).

With this certainty, we were able to make all the decisions, including the schedule for the next province-wide meetings, that follows:

– September 8-10, 2017:  annual retreat, at Santana Retreat House and Conference Center (Fazenda Santana), in Corumbataí, SP;

– November 18, 2017: pilgrimage to Aparecida, SP;

– March 17-18, 2018: annual conferences in Itararé, SP.

At the end of the conference, a Relic of St. Gaspar Bertoni was presented to all of us.  This relic will visit consecutively all the FABER centers, starting in Itararé.

We ask the Lord to strengthen up the spiritual journey of all the Stigmatine Laity, for we can continue walking in the footsteps of our Founding Father St. Gaspar Bertoni, under the light of his Charism.

By Kelci Ribeiro Ferreira dos Santos
Stigmatine Laity Councilor

[1] FABER stands for FAMÍLIA BERTONIANA, the Family of lay Stigmatines in the Province of the Holy Cross, in Brazil.

LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY – FOR APRIL, 2017

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
MUNDELEIN IL

MARCH 19,2017
Solemnity of St. Joseph
[Letter for APRIL]

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

Having reached more than the mid-way point in Lent – and with the coming of the new springtime, with its joy-filled celebration of Easter, the Ascension and the Pentecost, the reflection by Fr. Bertoni for this time may be his appeal for totality! This is already included from Old Testament times, in the  wording of the First Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your minds.”[Dt 6:4; Mt 22:37; Lk 20:27 = CCC # 2083].   One of the great enemies of holiness is mediocrity. We were reminded of this for more than a generation by the Papal Motto and personal example of the late Saint Pope John Paul II: TOTUS TUUS.

Most of us Stigmatines, glad for the existence of the Lay Stigmatines in our lives, find much inspiration in the lived example of the Laity. By their fidelity and reverence, they inspire us by the Faithful Witness.  While perhaps St. Gaspar did not ever expect that there would ever be such a structure as “Stigmatine Laity” I think today he would say that we truly need  such a group:

From his Dec. 2, 1808 entry Spiritual Diary:

[this whole month of December 1808 provides a rich source of spiritual inspiration]:

[80.]       It is most unfortunate and a shame to see so much holiness in the Laity and so much imperfection and vices in a priest.

This is a stimulating reflection for the work of personal progress in holiness.  It reflects at the same time a grace and a disgrace most evident in the times of Fr. Bertoni.  Bishop Innocent Liruti, at the end of his first year as bishop of Verona, had to write a very strong Decree of correction  However, he went on to say that The deplorable life of some who depart from the good example of others, cannot take away the honorable reputation that our Clergy justly possesses. [1]

St. Gaspar Bertoni

When Fr. Bertoni was just 33 years old, he was called by his Bishop to take on an official apostolate among the Clergy[2], in 1810, he will present the same stimulating thought during the Introductory Meditation of the Spiritual Exercises on The End of Man:

Many secular people fulfill this goal better than the Clergy. Their lives are full of good works while ours are full of hot air. Their lives are spiritual, while the lives of many clergy are unfortunately not so …  The Church, in these times, cries bitterly over this disorder which brings down scourges and gives scandal to the people more than ever… If you are already deacons or priests, then weep, weep! With penance wash away these stains. Begin with your own before which, perhaps, “we have sinned without knowing”…  Let us put our lives in order. Let us learn from many secular people how to live properly. “The unlearned come to the fore and snatch the Kingdom of God for themselves” [cf. Lk 16:16).  And we ourselves with all our learning, where shall we go?…[3]

He gave a similar teaching to the Seminarians in Jan. 1811:

… There, in the good example of secular people: in the faithful observance of religion and the perfect charity of many secular people, Divine Providence supplies His chosen ones with a powerful stronghold against the scandal of worldly priests... Therefore, whoever clings to this help, will strive to, make an effort as do the secular people in progressing towards perfection. Such a person has sure signs of a genuine ecclesiastical Vocation… [4]

It goes without saying that Fr. Bertoni preached these things to himself before preaching them to others.

… For Christ I am nailed to the cross… and it is the same cross of Jesus Christ.  In Greek it is more clear: [Christò synestàuromai]  i.e. together with Christ I am nailed to the cross. It is as if I am grafted and planted together with the tree of the Cross of Christ. I possess in communion with the same tree its sap and its life: namely Grace and Charity…  [5]

So, in inviting both to self-denial and to the cross, Fr. Bertoni was sure that as far as the Lord is concerned, He will never fail. On the other hand, he also saw the cooperation of God with so great an amount of Grace that human cooperation – as spontaneous as it can be – did not seem to him much more than a simple acceptance of an invitation. Furthermore, the cross was consequently so much lightened, to be able to say It is not us, but Jesus who, out of love for us,  carries it in the end.

Here is the concluding prayer, which referred to Gal 6,14 and Mt 16,24:

… Lord, we have experienced the tribulations of Your Church, in which we see the enhancement of both Your wonderful providence as her Spouse and the prudent and virtuous behavior of Your Bride. We highly respect Your most wise governance. We pray that You may make Your Spouse to imitate You in following and carrying out what You said: He who wants to follow me let him carry his cross.  Grant that we may carry the cross, not to drag it. That we may carry it so willingly that we boast of it. That we may carry it with so much love that we end up in boasting in nothing else but in it. This cannot happen unless first the world should be crucified to me and myself to the world.  This will never happen until the world becomes a cross to me, as I am to the world, because of the irreconcilable opposition of feelings… [6]

7th DECEMBER 1808:

[83.]       When God calls people to some projects of spiritual life, one has to seize the opportunity of the momentAnd at once they left the nets and followed Him.

We can trace the thought of Fr. Bertoni in a Meditation from DaPonte which is entitled: The Calling and Vocation of the Apostles. The text is from St. Matthew 4:20.  Fr. Bertoni summarized the 4th point as follows: The obedience of the Apostles to God’s vocation was most perfect with regard to:

  1. the intellect 2. the will    3. the execution.

Da Ponte wrote[7]:

… Consider the excellent obedience with which the Apostles answered their calling. In fact… while Peter and Andrew were casting their nets into the sea and Zebedee’s sons were mending their nets in the boats with their father, when Christ called them immediately and at once, they left their nets and their father and everything and followed Him.

…  With this kind of obedience, the apostles showed the three excellent properties of this virtue. The submission of intellect and judgment: making them obey Christ and subjecting them to His orders without making any excuse[8].  The submission of will[9]: subjecting it completely to that of Christ, dispossessing themselves of the love they had for their wives, children, fathers, relatives and their own properties.  The perfect execution: which was – as Saint Chrysostom says – prompt, punctual and cheerful, without delay not even for a moment and without contradiction. Oh, the miracles of God’s power! Oh, what changes can God do!

Fr.  Bertoni often spoke of our Divine Vocation. His teacher here, Fr. DaPonte, has stated that it comes “through the grace of the Holy Spirit, not depending on our merits, and that with it all other necessary goods are given for our salvation…; then it was really the case to exclaim: I fear Jesus passing by! This is seen in the traditional sense, i.e. “Woe to those who let Him pass without following after Him! Woe to those who do not seize the opportunity of the moment!

20th DECEMBER 1808

[87.]             In the spiritual enterprises it is of great advantage when two people find that they can share the same perception.

Fr. Gaetano Giacobbe, Benefactor of the Stigmatine Congregation [[1809- +1898]
Fr. Gaspar found this advantage from the outset with Fr. Matthew Farinati (ordained in 1802) and afterwards also with Fr. Cajetan Allegri (ordained in 1805).  Fr. Giacobbe[10] wrote that … these priests, animated by the zeal and spirit of Fr. Bertoni, formed, as they put it, a threefold cord of admirable harmony among themselves… This principle held not only collaborating in the youth apostolate (to which Fr. Giacobbe seems to refer) but also in common study for their mutual spiritual growth. In addition to many other indications, we have a witness of this in the various extracts of quotations which the three priests drew together from the Life of St. Cajetan of Thiene and above all from Rodriguez’ Exercise of Perfection.

Very revealing are the words which Fr. Farinati wrote on the inside page of the hardcover of that book: There are excellent ideals contained in this booklet!   These words are followed by a quotation from the prophet Ezekiel:  I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land so that I should not destroy it: but I found none. (Ezk 22:30).  It seems that Fr. Farinati recognized in that prophetic text a common vocation of the three friends to be just that man.  This was what stimulated them – as priests belonging to no Order –  applying to themselves the whole exercise of perfection which was reserved for the Religious. It was also on the strength of the principle which Fr. Bertoni will support strongly, i.e. that what in the Religious is a tension towards Perfection, in the Priest should be acquired perfection.[11]

[88.]             While we feel called to some high degree of Perfection, we should pay attention not to underestimate those who do not want to follow us. They might perhaps be of equal and greater merit in front of God.  We all have the same purpose. Not all use the same means.

This maxim is a development on that of 12 Oct: He who is drawn by the Spirit to a way of greater perfection… should not resent others who are of lower virtue and use lesser means as long as these are good.  We were saying, there, that such is the spirit that filtered through the meditation of The Kingdom of Christ, according to St. Ignatius and Da Ponte. Different people are freely called to militate under the banner of Christ. It is clear that each person must imitate Him in the condition to which each has been called,  for himself following those different invitations.

Fr. Bertoni intended to keep the commandment which regards our neighbor: Do not judge… and to preserve one’s own meekness and humility of heart.  We can see an encouragement in reminding ourselves that merit does not depend on the greater or lesser excellence of a vocation. This is God’s gift. It depends rather on the greater or lesser correspondence to such a gift.  It could, therefore, happen that somebody with a lesser gift of God would correspond to it with greater perfection than others with a greater gift.

As for the variety of ways and means to reach the same Ultimate End, this is but a logical consequence of the variety of the same vocations.

[89.]         – It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you (John 15:16). We have to pay much attention not to set ourselves against the Lord with our sins and lack of mortification.

The text from St. John’s Gospel could have been applied also to the preceding entry. But Fr.  Bertoni wrote it with a dash separating it from the previous note. He admonishes the each one – i.e. no one other than himself – not to put obstacles against the action of God with sins and the lack of mortification.  He saw also here the connection between two undertakings: that of his personal sanctification (cf. 12 Oct) and that of the promotion of the greater glory of God through a life dedicated to the Apostolate (cf. 15 Sept). We could have expected a hint at the Ignatian principle which is at the base of everything, as we have said in the note of 12 Oct: very few are those who… And also the encouraging sentences of 2 and 3 Dec.: Take care that we do not fail the Lord, because He will surely not fail us. The Lord just shows us the cross…

†††

St. Paul tells us that we are all Temples of the Most High, of the Holy Spirit – still under construction – being built up by one another. As the Pierced Side of Christ provided  an opening into the sanctuary of the Trinity –and invites us all into the celebration of the Eternal Celebration of thanksgiving by the Merciful High Priest forever in the Celestial sanctuary – let us all look into our own personal  efforts to live this Lent, and to witness to the living of the Charism, unique otherworldliness of St. Gaspar Bertoni.  By God’s infinite mercy, this is a gift for us all. Let us seek to inspire one another on how we strive to follow the lord, through the daily picking up our Cross through life.

Respectfully submitted:

Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

[p.s. In my letter for last month, I mistakenly quoted the date of the death of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, op – he died on February 15, 1964].

[1] Bishop’s Letter, Septuagesima 1809, in: Raccolta di Lettere Pastorali.   Verona 1817.

[2] With this apostolate, Fr. Bertoni indeed merits the title: Apostolic Missionary to the Clergy.

[3] Collectanea Stigmatina,   Vol. I, pp. 119, 120.

[4] Meditation 11 on Primum Regum January 1, 1811 – MssB ## 5182-5939.

[5] Panegyric I, Point 2: MssB ## 1795-1842.

[6] 5th  Meditation on Primum Regum. December 9, 1810.  MssB  ##  4963. [All students of St. Gaspar remember his beautiful insight in considering the Church as ‘a Model of Holy Abandonment’ [cf. Epistolario Letter 38,  October 26, 1813. p. 99.

[7] Meditation 6.

[8] St. Gaspar puts this among his Grades of Obedience in his Original Constitutions –  CF # 144.

[9] Noted in St. Gaspar’s Original Constitutions –  CF # 141. The qualities Fr. Bertoni notes here, based on St. Ignatius, are:  integra, prompta, fortis, humilis.

[10] Summarium Additionale,  Document 26, p. 342.

[11] cf. his Retreat to the Clergy, in 1810, in:  Collectanea Stigmatina,  Vol. 3,  p. 129, ‘The Purpose [End] of the Priest’.

LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY – FOR APRIL, 2017

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
MUNDELEIN IL

MARCH 19,2017
Solemnity of St. Joseph
[Letter for APRIL]

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

Having reached more than the mid-way point in Lent – and with the coming of the new springtime, with its joy-filled celebration of Easter, the Ascension and the Pentecost, the reflection by Fr. Bertoni for this time may be his appeal for totality! This is already included from Old Testament times, in the  wording of the First Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your minds.”[Dt 6:4; Mt 22:37; Lk 20:27 = CCC # 2083].   One of the great enemies of holiness is mediocrity. We were reminded of this for more than a generation by the Papal Motto and personal example of the late Saint Pope John Paul II: TOTUS TUUS.

Most of us Stigmatines, glad for the existence of the Lay Stigmatines in our lives, find much inspiration in the lived example of the Laity. By their fidelity and reverence, they inspire us by the Faithful Witness.  While perhaps St. Gaspar did not ever expect that there would ever be such a structure as “Stigmatine Laity” I think today he would say that we truly need  such a group:

From his Dec. 2, 1808 entry Spiritual Diary:

[this whole month of December 1808 provides a rich source of spiritual inspiration]:

[80.]       It is most unfortunate and a shame to see so much holiness in the Laity and so much imperfection and vices in a priest.

This is a stimulating reflection for the work of personal progress in holiness.  It reflects at the same time a grace and a disgrace most evident in the times of Fr. Bertoni.  Bishop Innocent Liruti, at the end of his first year as bishop of Verona, had to write a very strong Decree of correction  However, he went on to say that The deplorable life of some who depart from the good example of others, cannot take away the honorable reputation that our Clergy justly possesses. [1]

St. Gaspar Bertoni

When Fr. Bertoni was just 33 years old, he was called by his Bishop to take on an official apostolate among the Clergy[2], in 1810, he will present the same stimulating thought during the Introductory Meditation of the Spiritual Exercises on The End of Man:

Many secular people fulfill this goal better than the Clergy. Their lives are full of good works while ours are full of hot air. Their lives are spiritual, while the lives of many clergy are unfortunately not so …  The Church, in these times, cries bitterly over this disorder which brings down scourges and gives scandal to the people more than ever… If you are already deacons or priests, then weep, weep! With penance wash away these stains. Begin with your own before which, perhaps, “we have sinned without knowing”…  Let us put our lives in order. Let us learn from many secular people how to live properly. “The unlearned come to the fore and snatch the Kingdom of God for themselves” [cf. Lk 16:16).  And we ourselves with all our learning, where shall we go?…[3]

He gave a similar teaching to the Seminarians in Jan. 1811:

… There, in the good example of secular people: in the faithful observance of religion and the perfect charity of many secular people, Divine Providence supplies His chosen ones with a powerful stronghold against the scandal of worldly priests... Therefore, whoever clings to this help, will strive to, make an effort as do the secular people in progressing towards perfection. Such a person has sure signs of a genuine ecclesiastical Vocation… [4]

It goes without saying that Fr. Bertoni preached these things to himself before preaching them to others.

… For Christ I am nailed to the cross… and it is the same cross of Jesus Christ.  In Greek it is more clear: [Christò synestàuromai]  i.e. together with Christ I am nailed to the cross. It is as if I am grafted and planted together with the tree of the Cross of Christ. I possess in communion with the same tree its sap and its life: namely Grace and Charity…  [5]

So, in inviting both to self-denial and to the cross, Fr. Bertoni was sure that as far as the Lord is concerned, He will never fail. On the other hand, he also saw the cooperation of God with so great an amount of Grace that human cooperation – as spontaneous as it can be – did not seem to him much more than a simple acceptance of an invitation. Furthermore, the cross was consequently so much lightened, to be able to say It is not us, but Jesus who, out of love for us,  carries it in the end.

Here is the concluding prayer, which referred to Gal 6,14 and Mt 16,24:

… Lord, we have experienced the tribulations of Your Church, in which we see the enhancement of both Your wonderful providence as her Spouse and the prudent and virtuous behavior of Your Bride. We highly respect Your most wise governance. We pray that You may make Your Spouse to imitate You in following and carrying out what You said: He who wants to follow me let him carry his cross.  Grant that we may carry the cross, not to drag it. That we may carry it so willingly that we boast of it. That we may carry it with so much love that we end up in boasting in nothing else but in it. This cannot happen unless first the world should be crucified to me and myself to the world.  This will never happen until the world becomes a cross to me, as I am to the world, because of the irreconcilable opposition of feelings… [6]

7th DECEMBER 1808:

[83.]       When God calls people to some projects of spiritual life, one has to seize the opportunity of the momentAnd at once they left the nets and followed Him.

We can trace the thought of Fr. Bertoni in a Meditation from DaPonte which is entitled: The Calling and Vocation of the Apostles. The text is from St. Matthew 4:20.  Fr. Bertoni summarized the 4th point as follows: The obedience of the Apostles to God’s vocation was most perfect with regard to:

  1. the intellect 2. the will    3. the execution.

Da Ponte wrote[7]:

… Consider the excellent obedience with which the Apostles answered their calling. In fact… while Peter and Andrew were casting their nets into the sea and Zebedee’s sons were mending their nets in the boats with their father, when Christ called them immediately and at once, they left their nets and their father and everything and followed Him.

…  With this kind of obedience, the apostles showed the three excellent properties of this virtue. The submission of intellect and judgment: making them obey Christ and subjecting them to His orders without making any excuse[8].  The submission of will[9]: subjecting it completely to that of Christ, dispossessing themselves of the love they had for their wives, children, fathers, relatives and their own properties.  The perfect execution: which was – as Saint Chrysostom says – prompt, punctual and cheerful, without delay not even for a moment and without contradiction. Oh, the miracles of God’s power! Oh, what changes can God do!

Fr.  Bertoni often spoke of our Divine Vocation. His teacher here, Fr. DaPonte, has stated that it comes “through the grace of the Holy Spirit, not depending on our merits, and that with it all other necessary goods are given for our salvation…; then it was really the case to exclaim: I fear Jesus passing by! This is seen in the traditional sense, i.e. “Woe to those who let Him pass without following after Him! Woe to those who do not seize the opportunity of the moment!

20th DECEMBER 1808

[87.]             In the spiritual enterprises it is of great advantage when two people find that they can share the same perception.

Fr. Gaetano Giacobbe, Benefactor of the Stigmatine Congregation [[1809- +1898]
Fr. Gaspar found this advantage from the outset with Fr. Matthew Farinati (ordained in 1802) and afterwards also with Fr. Cajetan Allegri (ordained in 1805).  Fr. Giacobbe[10] wrote that … these priests, animated by the zeal and spirit of Fr. Bertoni, formed, as they put it, a threefold cord of admirable harmony among themselves… This principle held not only collaborating in the youth apostolate (to which Fr. Giacobbe seems to refer) but also in common study for their mutual spiritual growth. In addition to many other indications, we have a witness of this in the various extracts of quotations which the three priests drew together from the Life of St. Cajetan of Thiene and above all from Rodriguez’ Exercise of Perfection.

Very revealing are the words which Fr. Farinati wrote on the inside page of the hardcover of that book: There are excellent ideals contained in this booklet!   These words are followed by a quotation from the prophet Ezekiel:  I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land so that I should not destroy it: but I found none. (Ezk 22:30).  It seems that Fr. Farinati recognized in that prophetic text a common vocation of the three friends to be just that man.  This was what stimulated them – as priests belonging to no Order –  applying to themselves the whole exercise of perfection which was reserved for the Religious. It was also on the strength of the principle which Fr. Bertoni will support strongly, i.e. that what in the Religious is a tension towards Perfection, in the Priest should be acquired perfection.[11]

[88.]             While we feel called to some high degree of Perfection, we should pay attention not to underestimate those who do not want to follow us. They might perhaps be of equal and greater merit in front of God.  We all have the same purpose. Not all use the same means.

This maxim is a development on that of 12 Oct: He who is drawn by the Spirit to a way of greater perfection… should not resent others who are of lower virtue and use lesser means as long as these are good.  We were saying, there, that such is the spirit that filtered through the meditation of The Kingdom of Christ, according to St. Ignatius and Da Ponte. Different people are freely called to militate under the banner of Christ. It is clear that each person must imitate Him in the condition to which each has been called,  for himself following those different invitations.

Fr. Bertoni intended to keep the commandment which regards our neighbor: Do not judge… and to preserve one’s own meekness and humility of heart.  We can see an encouragement in reminding ourselves that merit does not depend on the greater or lesser excellence of a vocation. This is God’s gift. It depends rather on the greater or lesser correspondence to such a gift.  It could, therefore, happen that somebody with a lesser gift of God would correspond to it with greater perfection than others with a greater gift.

As for the variety of ways and means to reach the same Ultimate End, this is but a logical consequence of the variety of the same vocations.

[89.]         – It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you (John 15:16). We have to pay much attention not to set ourselves against the Lord with our sins and lack of mortification.

The text from St. John’s Gospel could have been applied also to the preceding entry. But Fr.  Bertoni wrote it with a dash separating it from the previous note. He admonishes the each one – i.e. no one other than himself – not to put obstacles against the action of God with sins and the lack of mortification.  He saw also here the connection between two undertakings: that of his personal sanctification (cf. 12 Oct) and that of the promotion of the greater glory of God through a life dedicated to the Apostolate (cf. 15 Sept). We could have expected a hint at the Ignatian principle which is at the base of everything, as we have said in the note of 12 Oct: very few are those who… And also the encouraging sentences of 2 and 3 Dec.: Take care that we do not fail the Lord, because He will surely not fail us. The Lord just shows us the cross…

†††

St. Paul tells us that we are all Temples of the Most High, of the Holy Spirit – still under construction – being built up by one another. As the Pierced Side of Christ provided  an opening into the sanctuary of the Trinity –and invites us all into the celebration of the Eternal Celebration of thanksgiving by the Merciful High Priest forever in the Celestial sanctuary – let us all look into our own personal  efforts to live this Lent, and to witness to the living of the Charism, unique otherworldliness of St. Gaspar Bertoni.  By God’s infinite mercy, this is a gift for us all. Let us seek to inspire one another on how we strive to follow the lord, through the daily picking up our Cross through life.

Respectfully submitted:

Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

[p.s. In my letter for last month, I mistakenly quoted the date of the death of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, op – he died on February 15, 1964].

[1] Bishop’s Letter, Septuagesima 1809, in: Raccolta di Lettere Pastorali.   Verona 1817.

[2] With this apostolate, Fr. Bertoni indeed merits the title: Apostolic Missionary to the Clergy.

[3] Collectanea Stigmatina,   Vol. I, pp. 119, 120.

[4] Meditation 11 on Primum Regum January 1, 1811 – MssB ## 5182-5939.

[5] Panegyric I, Point 2: MssB ## 1795-1842.

[6] 5th  Meditation on Primum Regum. December 9, 1810.  MssB  ##  4963. [All students of St. Gaspar remember his beautiful insight in considering the Church as ‘a Model of Holy Abandonment’ [cf. Epistolario Letter 38,  October 26, 1813. p. 99.

[7] Meditation 6.

[8] St. Gaspar puts this among his Grades of Obedience in his Original Constitutions –  CF # 144.

[9] Noted in St. Gaspar’s Original Constitutions –  CF # 141. The qualities Fr. Bertoni notes here, based on St. Ignatius, are:  integra, prompta, fortis, humilis.

[10] Summarium Additionale,  Document 26, p. 342.

[11] cf. his Retreat to the Clergy, in 1810, in:  Collectanea Stigmatina,  Vol. 3,  p. 129, ‘The Purpose [End] of the Priest’.

LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY – FOR MARCH, 2017

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
MUNDELEIN IL   60060

February 24.2017
For the Month of March- devoted to St. Joseph

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the USA [May 29, 1917- +Nov. 22, 1963]
On this date, in 1964 – just three months after the assassination of President John Kennedy, Fr. Reginald Garrigou–Lagrange, O.P. died at Santa Sabina Monastery in Rome [the general headquarters of the international Dominican Order]. For the first half of the 20th century, ‘Fr. Garrigou’ was a major contributor to Catholic Theology, one of international repute. To this day, he is perhaps best remembered for his work in Spiritual Theology – and his master- piece, “The Three Ages of the Spiritual Life”. In recent years, many of these voluminous contributions to theology are being re-printed.  He taught at the ANGELICUM in Rome for well over a half a century – and taught a number of our American Stigmatine Professed Students near the end of his long career, in the years 1952-1958. Among his major contributions of the Church is the fact that he also served as the doctoral thesis tutor of a young priest from Poland – Fr. Wojtyla – who later became St. Pope John Paul IInd.[1]

In our small Stigmatine world he also directed the thesis of our late

Fr. Nello Dalle Vedove, CSS, in his fine theological study on the spirituality of St. Gaspar Bertoni.  Fr. Nello’s fine work was entitled: “Gaspar Bertoni, A Servant of God”:  A Model of Holy Abandonment”.  This fine theological thesis proves that the now canonized Fr. Bertoni lived a life of a heroically  strengthened theological hope in the living of Thy Will be done  of the Lord’s Prayer` – throughout the long and very challenging  physical and spiritual sufferings he had to endure for most of his 76 years on this earth. This fascinating study is still highly readable for anyone interested in a much deeper appreciation and   reflection on St. Gaspar’s life and authentic spirit.

Fr. Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, French Catholic Theologian [Feb. 21, 1877- +Feb. 15, 1964]
It is interesting to note that still today, there is interest in the re-printing of Fr. Garrigou’s theological works – perhaps originally complied in the 1930’s. In his tract on Divine Providence, Fr. Garrigou refers to St. Joseph as a Model of Hope in the constellation of the Saints of the Church. In the theologian’s work on Christ [and His Incarnation and in His Redemption of the world], also recently re-printed – there is a final Compendium on Mariology with a few fine pages dedicated to St. Joseph.

Fr. Garrigou teaches [cf. Christ, Aeterna Press Nov. 2016, pp. 567, ff.]:  “…there intervened between St. Joseph and the most Blessed Virgin Mary a marital bond… there is no doubt that to the most distinguished dignity whereby the Mother of God very far surpasses all creatures, it came about that nobody is greater than St. Joseph… God gave Joseph as Spouse to the Virgin… Patron of the Dying, protector of the holy Church.  St. Joseph then, was predestined for an exceptional mission, as Spouse of the Mother of God, and foster-father of the Son of God. The Guardian of the Redeemer received a sanctity in proportion to his mission, and this sanctity increased until the very end of his life. St. Joseph was predestined to the protection of the Son of God incarnate and of His Mother… St.  Joseph was considered by Fr. Garrigou as a “Model of Holy Abandonment [Hope].

St. Pope John Paul II, born Karol Jozéf Vojtyla, in Poland [May 18, 1920- +April 2, 2005]
In the light of all the above, it is interesting to note that one of the finest “Apostolic Exhortations” on St. Joseph was presented during the long Pontificate of St. John Paul II: on August 15, 1989 the Apostolic Constitution Guardian of the Redeemer [Redemptoris Custos] was promulgated.  A recommendation I might personally offer is that all read this work Redemptoris Custos, in a very prayerful, meditative spirit during the month of March, in observance of the coming Lent. It is a wonderful contemplation on the Pope’s oblation of faith, and the commitment of life, as Totus Tuus – St. John Paul IInd’s papal motto. The document provides a powerful meditation on the Mystery of the Holy Espousals.

Our late and distinguished confrere, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS – offers some profound philosophical and theological insights into the term “Model” and its synonyms and parallels – as an ideal that offers us much for our own lives of faith.

In Thomistic circles – cf. in this regard: Roy J. Deferrari[2] and his voluminous Lexicon of St Thomas Aquinas[3], which treats of the exemplar/exemplary in several ways, as follows:

  • as a Noun: it means COPY; IMAGE; PATTERN; MODEL; EXAMPLE; PARADIGM; STANDARD, etc. Thus St. Thomas presents Jesus Christ As the Example for believers [III, q. 15; a. 1; 21, a. 3]. St. Thomas notes that when we try to explain in the mysteries of Faith, most helpful to be understood, we propose better known “examples” [I-II, q. 19, a. 10 c] – for our moral lives as well: Put on the mind of Christ Jesus.
  • the term used as a CAUSE and as an adjective: this presents a form to be imitated, but one that assists us (as a Cause) in the undertakin This is an ideal that needs to be imitated, lived, in that God is also the First Exemplary Cause of all [I, q. 44, a. 3]. We are all made in His image and likeness. Furthermore, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Exemplary Cause of our own [cf. III, q. 56, a. 1 ad 3um].

For a prayerful reflection on St. Gaspar for the month of March this year, with the help from the works of our late confrere, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS – I have presented some thoughts on this wonderful Christian ideal – in the hope that each one of us might make a further application of the Stigmatine Founder’s life on our own. For this, let us pray to our Holy Patrons, the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, to intercede for us all for a blessed Lent.

God love you all!

Sincerely yours in St. Gaspar!

Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

Appendix:

Jesus Christ, Icon of the Invisible God. St. Gaspar Bertoni, Model of Holy Abandonment.

 

 

[1]  Fr. Vojtyla [who is nowadays St. Pope John Paul IInd] was Fr. Garrigou’s doctoral directee for his very apropos thesis on the darkness: “The Question of Faith according to St. John of the Cross”.

[2]  By the way, our former neighbor on Quincy Street in NE Washington D.C..

[3]  Loretto Publications: NH 2004.

LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY – FOR MARCH, 2017

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
MUNDELEIN IL   60060

February 24.2017
For the Month of March- devoted to St. Joseph

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the USA [May 29, 1917- +Nov. 22, 1963]
On this date, in 1964 – just three months after the assassination of President John Kennedy, Fr. Reginald Garrigou–Lagrange, O.P. died at Santa Sabina Monastery in Rome [the general headquarters of the international Dominican Order]. For the first half of the 20th century, ‘Fr. Garrigou’ was a major contributor to Catholic Theology, one of international repute. To this day, he is perhaps best remembered for his work in Spiritual Theology – and his master- piece, “The Three Ages of the Spiritual Life”. In recent years, many of these voluminous contributions to theology are being re-printed.  He taught at the ANGELICUM in Rome for well over a half a century – and taught a number of our American Stigmatine Professed Students near the end of his long career, in the years 1952-1958. Among his major contributions of the Church is the fact that he also served as the doctoral thesis tutor of a young priest from Poland – Fr. Wojtyla – who later became St. Pope John Paul IInd.[1]

In our small Stigmatine world he also directed the thesis of our late

Fr. Nello Dalle Vedove, CSS, in his fine theological study on the spirituality of St. Gaspar Bertoni.  Fr. Nello’s fine work was entitled: “Gaspar Bertoni, A Servant of God”:  A Model of Holy Abandonment”.  This fine theological thesis proves that the now canonized Fr. Bertoni lived a life of a heroically  strengthened theological hope in the living of Thy Will be done  of the Lord’s Prayer` – throughout the long and very challenging  physical and spiritual sufferings he had to endure for most of his 76 years on this earth. This fascinating study is still highly readable for anyone interested in a much deeper appreciation and   reflection on St. Gaspar’s life and authentic spirit.

Fr. Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, French Catholic Theologian [Feb. 21, 1877- +Feb. 15, 1964]
It is interesting to note that still today, there is interest in the re-printing of Fr. Garrigou’s theological works – perhaps originally complied in the 1930’s. In his tract on Divine Providence, Fr. Garrigou refers to St. Joseph as a Model of Hope in the constellation of the Saints of the Church. In the theologian’s work on Christ [and His Incarnation and in His Redemption of the world], also recently re-printed – there is a final Compendium on Mariology with a few fine pages dedicated to St. Joseph.

Fr. Garrigou teaches [cf. Christ, Aeterna Press Nov. 2016, pp. 567, ff.]:  “…there intervened between St. Joseph and the most Blessed Virgin Mary a marital bond… there is no doubt that to the most distinguished dignity whereby the Mother of God very far surpasses all creatures, it came about that nobody is greater than St. Joseph… God gave Joseph as Spouse to the Virgin… Patron of the Dying, protector of the holy Church.  St. Joseph then, was predestined for an exceptional mission, as Spouse of the Mother of God, and foster-father of the Son of God. The Guardian of the Redeemer received a sanctity in proportion to his mission, and this sanctity increased until the very end of his life. St. Joseph was predestined to the protection of the Son of God incarnate and of His Mother… St.  Joseph was considered by Fr. Garrigou as a “Model of Holy Abandonment [Hope].

St. Pope John Paul II, born Karol Jozéf Vojtyla, in Poland [May 18, 1920- +April 2, 2005]
In the light of all the above, it is interesting to note that one of the finest “Apostolic Exhortations” on St. Joseph was presented during the long Pontificate of St. John Paul II: on August 15, 1989 the Apostolic Constitution Guardian of the Redeemer [Redemptoris Custos] was promulgated.  A recommendation I might personally offer is that all read this work Redemptoris Custos, in a very prayerful, meditative spirit during the month of March, in observance of the coming Lent. It is a wonderful contemplation on the Pope’s oblation of faith, and the commitment of life, as Totus Tuus – St. John Paul IInd’s papal motto. The document provides a powerful meditation on the Mystery of the Holy Espousals.

Our late and distinguished confrere, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS – offers some profound philosophical and theological insights into the term “Model” and its synonyms and parallels – as an ideal that offers us much for our own lives of faith.

In Thomistic circles – cf. in this regard: Roy J. Deferrari[2] and his voluminous Lexicon of St Thomas Aquinas[3], which treats of the exemplar/exemplary in several ways, as follows:

  • as a Noun: it means COPY; IMAGE; PATTERN; MODEL; EXAMPLE; PARADIGM; STANDARD, etc. Thus St. Thomas presents Jesus Christ As the Example for believers [III, q. 15; a. 1; 21, a. 3]. St. Thomas notes that when we try to explain in the mysteries of Faith, most helpful to be understood, we propose better known “examples” [I-II, q. 19, a. 10 c] – for our moral lives as well: Put on the mind of Christ Jesus.
  • the term used as a CAUSE and as an adjective: this presents a form to be imitated, but one that assists us (as a Cause) in the undertakin This is an ideal that needs to be imitated, lived, in that God is also the First Exemplary Cause of all [I, q. 44, a. 3]. We are all made in His image and likeness. Furthermore, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Exemplary Cause of our own [cf. III, q. 56, a. 1 ad 3um].

For a prayerful reflection on St. Gaspar for the month of March this year, with the help from the works of our late confrere, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS – I have presented some thoughts on this wonderful Christian ideal – in the hope that each one of us might make a further application of the Stigmatine Founder’s life on our own. For this, let us pray to our Holy Patrons, the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, to intercede for us all for a blessed Lent.

God love you all!

Sincerely yours in St. Gaspar!

Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

Appendix:

Jesus Christ, Icon of the Invisible God. St. Gaspar Bertoni, Model of Holy Abandonment.

 

 

[1]  Fr. Vojtyla [who is nowadays St. Pope John Paul IInd] was Fr. Garrigou’s doctoral directee for his very apropos thesis on the darkness: “The Question of Faith according to St. John of the Cross”.

[2]  By the way, our former neighbor on Quincy Street in NE Washington D.C..

[3]  Loretto Publications: NH 2004.

LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY – FOR FEBRUARY, 2017

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060

January 22, 2017
Eve of our Patronal Feastof the Holy Spouses

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

A Baseball Pitcher

In the month that will soon open, we find ourselves in the midst of winter – yearning for the spring.  Soon we will hear the clarion call for baseball teams: Pitchers and Catchers are called to Spring Training early in February! This is an early call to an anticipated spring.  We look ahead to Lent, followed by the new spring time and the resurrection.

A Baseball Catcher

For the month of February, I offer, on Appendix I, these reflections to the Stigmatine Laity: pondering on the month of February through our history from the “Stigmatine Calendar” and our call to detachment and to trust in the God of the blessings more than to the Blessings of God!

For this month of February, I submit, on Appendix II, an English translation of a recent serious theological study on Christ, as Spouse [of the soul; of the Church].

May the God of Mercy bless us all in our efforts to serve the Church, Spouse of Christ – to be more dedicated to the Nuptial Banquet of the Eucharist – to look forward to the eternal Easter Nuptial banquet of everlasting life!

Respectfully yours in St. Gaspar!

Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

Appendix I:

A Stigmatine Calendar [an excerpt] – Preface and the month of February

Appendix II:

The Lord Jesus Christ: Spouse of the Church and the Soul [Christology and Contemplation] – by Vincenzo Bataglia.  English translation by Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS

LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY – FOR FEBRUARY, 2017

Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060

January 22, 2017
Eve of our Patronal Feastof the Holy Spouses

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

A Baseball Pitcher

In the month that will soon open, we find ourselves in the midst of winter – yearning for the spring.  Soon we will hear the clarion call for baseball teams: Pitchers and Catchers are called to Spring Training early in February! This is an early call to an anticipated spring.  We look ahead to Lent, followed by the new spring time and the resurrection.

A Baseball Catcher

For the month of February, I offer, on Appendix I, these reflections to the Stigmatine Laity: pondering on the month of February through our history from the “Stigmatine Calendar” and our call to detachment and to trust in the God of the blessings more than to the Blessings of God!

For this month of February, I submit, on Appendix II, an English translation of a recent serious theological study on Christ, as Spouse [of the soul; of the Church].

May the God of Mercy bless us all in our efforts to serve the Church, Spouse of Christ – to be more dedicated to the Nuptial Banquet of the Eucharist – to look forward to the eternal Easter Nuptial banquet of everlasting life!

Respectfully yours in St. Gaspar!

Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

Appendix I:

A Stigmatine Calendar [an excerpt] – Preface and the month of February

Appendix II:

The Lord Jesus Christ: Spouse of the Church and the Soul [Christology and Contemplation] – by Vincenzo Bataglia.  English translation by Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS