Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter


Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Holy Eucharist: The Physical Presence of Jesus in Our World


“This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.” 

~ Words of Jesus at the Last Supper

Today - July 26th, 2011 - is the Feast of Corpus Christi... the day set aside by the Roman Catholic Church to honor and celebrate the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. We, as Catholics, are bound to believe that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Our Savior, Jesus Christ; not just a mere symbol of his body, but his actual flesh and blood hidden under the humble appearance of bread and wine. This teaching is admittedly very hard to comprehend… and even during Jesus’ time, scriptures tell us that some of his followers had difficulty accepting it as well when he spoke about it; some even left him over it…

"Then many of his disciples who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who
can accept it?’  ... As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former
way of life and no longer accompanied him."

~ John 6:60, 66

… but despite the difficulties that people had in accepting his words, Jesus never wavered in his claim that he would feed his followers with his very own flesh and blood; his words were clear:

"For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats
my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."

~ John 6:55-56

Today, the Catholic Church continues to uphold Christ’s words in the face of growing disbelief; sadly, even among its own members… but God, in his infinite wisdom and power, has seen fit to aid the Church in her efforts to uphold the truth of Jesus’ divine presence in the Eucharist by performing countless miracles through the agency of the Blessed Sacrament. Below are just five cases from Italy, Portugal, Venezuela, and India, that were officially recognized by the Church as genuine ‘Eucharistic Miracles’:


+ The Miracle of Lanciano, Italy

 

The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano - the Heart of Jesus in flesh and blood.

In the year 700, a priest who was plagued with doubts concerning the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, received a stupendous sign from God. He was offering Mass one day, and upon pronouncing the words of consecration, the wafer in his hand was transformed into actual flesh, while the wine became blood in the chalice. Needless to say, the priest’s faith was restored by the miraculous event and Lanciano became a popular destination for devout pilgrims wanting to venerate the Host turned to flesh. Furthermore, modern science has confirmed the flesh and blood to be human in origin, with the Host being actual cardiac tissue - the Sacred Heart of Jesus! - sliced from a cross-section of a heart in such a way that would be impossible to do without modern precision surgical tools.


+ The Miracle of Santarem, Portugal

  
Two views of the miraculous Host of Santarem.

In 1225 a woman in an unhappy marriage pretended to receive communion in the parish church, in order to obtain a consecrated Host as payment to a sorceress for a love potion. The foolish woman wrapped the Eucharist in her veil, and upon leaving the church, it inexplicably began to bleed profusely. Frightened, she returned home rather than going to the sorceress, and hid the Host in a trunk.  It was later discovered by her husband after a brilliant light began shining from within the wooden chest, which awoke him and drew his attention to it. The wife tearfully confessed her sacrilege, after which the couple spent the rest of the evening praying for God's forgiveness. The parish priest was summoned in the morning to return the miraculous Host to the church, where it has been the object of deep reverence ever since.


+ The Miracle of Siena, Italy

The miraculously preserved Hosts of Siena.

On August 14, 1730, unscrupulous thieves conducted a grave sacrilege by breaking into the Church of St. Francis and stealing the golden ciborium, which enclosed 300+ consecrated Hosts. The crime was discovered on the following morning prompting a search for the missing Hosts. The Hosts were found on August 17, stuffed in an offertory box of a neighboring church and soiled from dust and debris that had accumulated in the wooden box. The citizens of Siena responded to the discovery by immediately offering prayers of reparation for the offenses committed against the body of Christ, and the Hosts were placed in the Tabernacle with the intent of allowing them to naturally disintegrate; inexplicably, they never did! For over 275 years the Hosts remained perfectly incorrupt, with the fact being confirmed throughout the centuries by numerous scientific inquiries into the matter. The last official investigation in 1921 reaffirmed the preservation of the Hosts, which continue to defy the laws of nature. Church officials who have consumed a few of the Hosts have also sworn to the fact that they have not gone stale, but rather, they have maintained the texture, taste, and smell of fresh Eucharistic wafers.


+ The Miracle of Betania / Los Teques, Venezuela

A still photo from a video showing the miraculous bleeding Host
from the church-approved Marian apparition site of Betania.

This Eucharistic Miracle actually involves a single Host through which two separate supernatural occurrences were manifested. The Host first gained attention on December 8, 1991, after it bled during its consecration in the chapel of the approved Marian apparition shrine of Betania, Venezuela. The local Bishop later had the Host enshrined in a convent in neighboring Los Teques where it again became the object of wondrous phenomena after an American pilgrim filmed it on November 13, 1998, beating like a heart and surrounded by flames (again, the Sacred Heart of Jesus!).  Click on this link to view the actual film footage of the 2nd (1998) miraculous event: Eucharistic Miracle of Los Teques


+ The Miracle of Chirattakonam, India

The miraculous Host of Chirattakonam with its
bloodstain-image of the Holy Face of Jesus.

On April 28, 2001, parishioners of St. Mary’s Indian church were astounded to witness the materialization of three red stains on a Host that was publicly exposed for adoration. The priest - Fr. Karoor - also noticed the unusual marks and placed the Host back into the tabernacle for safekeeping. After a few days, he retrieved the Eucharist to examine it and was stunned to discover that the bloody stains had arranged themselves into an image of the Holy Face of Jesus on the surface of the Host! The priest wasted no time in informing his local bishop who carefully investigated the event and approved it as a miracle… the Host has remained preserved and the Holy Face image is still clearly discernible to pilgrims who venerate this remarkable, visual reminder of Christ's true presence in the Eucharist.

"... Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and behold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world."

~ Words of Jesus, Matthew 28:20

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13th: The Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

My home-parish of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua (HI), observed the Feast Day of our Patron Saint by dedicating the morning mass to his special honor and holding a potluck breakfast afterwards.  Our new priest, Fr. Clarence, celebrated the Mass, which included a wonderful homily centered on St. Anthony’s charitable concern for those in need, especially the poor.

  
Parishioners venerating the relic of St. Anthony, enshrined within our parish church...
and below the shrine, St. Anthony's 'Prayer Basket' filled with prayer intentions.

Immediately after the Mass, Fr. Clarence took ‘St. Anthony’s Prayer Basket’ that was filled with written prayer petitions and placed them under the shrine-reliquary to our Saint.  Parishioners followed to venerate the Holy Relic, before heading off to our gathering hall for the breakfast celebration. It was a wonderful, cozy event that paid appropriate honor to a truly great man who I am happy to recognize as my personal patron, as well as our parish's Patron Saint.

  
Photos from the Potluck Breakfast Celebration

Recommended Reading: "He and I"


 
A photo of Gabrielle Bossis and the book compiling
her communications with Jesus

I was at a church meeting the other night, when the conversation briefly turned to a certain book that one of the women had been reading little by little, on a daily basis; it was a book filled with alleged messages from Jesus to two women. After describing the book to me, I was immediately reminded of a similar book that I often read over and over, for the past 18 years, especially when I'm in need of spiritual encouragement; that special book is called, "He and I". After the meeting, I went home and took up my copy and slowly browsed over some of its passages... as always, my heart was filled with God's peace.

For those not familiar with this gem of a book, He and I is actually the published journal of a pious, aristocratic French woman named Gabrielle Bossis. Gabrielle was famous in her time and in her home country for having been a successful playwrite and stage actress with a comedic flair. In her latter years she reportedly heard the voice of Christ speaking to her regularly, especially during her prayer time and devotions; it was an intimate relationship, which lasted until shortly before her death in 1950.

While still living, Gabrielle had maintained a strict discretion about her experiences, and although her spiritual director had begun to publish the words she heard from Jesus, her identity was kept a secret. He and I became a huge spiritual success and continues to touch hearts up to the present day. Below are just a few quotes from the messages spoken by Christ to Gabrielle - 'pearls' from the book that I'd like to share with you...

'I am no longer on earth, so take my place.'
(March 10, 1937)

'Don't get the idea that a Saint is a Saint at every moment.  But there is
always my grace...  You must aim at perfection. But the perfection of your nature.
This is the way you will please me.'
(April 9, 1937)

'Enjoy me.  Give yourself a rest from saying your prayers so you may enjoy my Love.' 
(After Gabrielle received Holy Communion - April 28, 1939)

'When you ask, believe that I am good enough to answer you,
otherwise you will deprive me of the joy of giving.' 
(June 3, 1939)

'Thank me spontaneously as you would thank someone very dear to you.
I'm not just a messenger of suffering as so many imagine.  I am also the giver of
joys and I love your thanks, my little children; don't deprive me of this.'
(After Gabrielle experienced a great joy - November 25,  1940)

'... I am the friend who does good in the home and who sometimes
slips away before being recognized and thanked.'
(September 14, 1944)

'If you suffer, I am there to suffer with you.  And this is my cross again -
this suffering in your suffering.  Share it with me, for everything depends on oneness.
And if you believe in my Love, suffering will be sweet to you.  It will seem like
a little return for what I have given you...'
(September 28, 1944)

'... The weakness of your nature causes you to fall, and it's the humble effort
you make to get up and go on, the effort to please me that charms your Beloved.
And this is a joy, a joy for God.  Isn't that strange?  Later on you will see.
Later on you will understand.  Believe in that "later on".'
(While Gabrielle was making a Holy Hour - September 6, 1945)

'Pray.  Show an example of heartwarming love.  You remember
how good my mother and St. Joseph were to all those who received them
during their travels.  Long afterward people remembered their visit.
They left a wake of blessings all along their way.'
(September 12, 1945)

'Remember...  I traveled all your roads.'
(While Gabrielle was experiencing a moment of sadness - February 13, 1947)

'But each day is a first creation.  Not one is like another.
I never stop creating.  And it is all for all of you.  If I didn't hold you up, you
would cease to exist.  Will you love me enough to thank me for it?'
(While Gabrielle was enjoying the changing shapes of clouds - September 30, 1948)

'My child, ponder more often on the value of the present moment,
the danger of going back over the past and the uselessness of gazing into the future.
Just live the little moment you hold in your hands.  Simply and lovingly.'
(March 30, 1949)

If you enjoyed reading the above quotes, then I highly recommend you get the book - He and I will enrich your soul for the rest of your life, if you read it with the eyes of faith.  God bless!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

St. Anthony's presence in Kailua, Hawaii



The great St. Anthony of Padua has always been one of my most favorite Saints... as a matter of fact, along with St. Gemma Galgani, he's one of my chosen Patrons. I can personally testify that almost every time I turned to him for help with an important prayer request, he has never failed me. Therefore, I've made it a point to encourage all my family and friends... and now you, viewers of this blog, to develop a devotion to St. Anthony and to take advantage of his powerful intercession for any urgent prayer intentions weighing on your mind. You may just be pleasantly surprised at what a truly effective advocate he is before the throne of God.

... and if you happen to live on the island of Oahu (Hawaii), or just visiting our state, feel free to stop by St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua, where our parish guards a 1st Class Relic of St. Anthony, enshrined in our beautiful main church (see photos below). All are welcomed to seek our patron's intercession before this special reminder of his earthly life, and to join our parish community in our regular schedule of prayer and worship.


The beautiful interior of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua and the reliquary of St. Anthony
behind the bapstimal font under the large crucifix.

 
148 Makawao Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony's Church, 6/4/2011




My home-parish of St. Anthony's Church, in Kailua, once again celebrated the first Saturday of the month with another Rosary. As with previous months, my Rosa Mystica Pilgrim Virgin statue was displayed in our Day Chapel during the prayer, along with the Sacred Relics from the Blessed Mother's clothing: a small piece of her veil (ex velo) and a piece of her dress (ex camisia).

As a form of spiritual reflection, a past message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje was read out loud to the people who attended... and then we prayed the Joyful Mysteries for this month's Rosary. Afterwards, I got to meet a really nice older couple, who I think were new to our parish, after they approached the display altar to view the statue and the Holy Relics. They seemed genuinely interested about all that was on the altar and appreciative of the answers I provided to their questions.

After the Mass, the same couple returned to the Day Chapel to once again pay their respects to Our Lady before leaving the church. I think it's reasonable to surmise that the Blessed Mother touched two more souls this evening.

A small group of people pay their respects to Our Blessed Mother's statue
and relics after the end of the rosary prayer

For our Kailua neighbors out there... the next First Saturday Rosary will be on 7/2/2011 at 4:30pm. The regularly scheduled Saturday evening Vigil Mass will follow at 5:00pm in the main church.  We'd love to have you join us!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saint of the Month - June 2011: Saint Juliana Falconieri


St. Juliana Falconieri
Handmaid of the Holy Eucharist - Feast: June 19th

This month’s featured Saint is truly a Saint of the Eucharist… and will forever be identified as such because of a singular event that occurred at the end of her virtuous life. Juliana Falconieri was the daughter of noble parents from the Italian city of Florence. She was born in 1270 and was fortunate to have as a close relative – St. Alexis Falconieri – a paternal uncle, who was one of a group of seven exceptionally pious men, personally commissioned by the Blessed Virgin to found the Servants of Mary (a.k.a. the ‘Servite Order’).

Reports of Juliana’s early years indicate that she was drawn to spiritual matters and practiced self-mortification in imitation, and through the influence, of her saintly uncle. At 14, her parents unsuccessfully tried to arrange a political marriage for her but she firmly resisted since she had already made up her mind to enter into religious life. Undaunted, her father continued to pressure her about marrying but she remained resolute until she was relieved of any marital obligation by his untimely death in 1285.

Juliana then sought spiritual guidance from the Servites, and through the intervention of St. Phillip Benizi, she was given their Rule of Life and clothed as the founding member of the female branch of their Order. She resided with her mother, but practiced a strict regimen of prayer, penance, and charitable work that attracted other devout women to her holy manner of living. When her mother died in 1305, she and her followers established their own convent where she served as the superior for life.

Not surprisingly, Juliana’s spiritual life was filled with many extraordinary graces – Ecstasies, Visions, etc. - but the one miracle, which she is most remembered for occurred shortly before she died on June 12, 1341. During her final illness, the foundress was plagued with episodes of severe vomiting so she was denied Holy Communion despite her deep yearning to receive the body of Christ before her death. As a way of consoling her, the priest in attendance spread a corporal on Juliana’s chest and laid the Blessed Sacrament upon it for her to adore. The Saint went into a joyous rapture and peacefully expired shortly after.

As the attendants composed themselves, it was noticed that the Host which was lying over Juliana’s chest had gone missing, causing much concern over its whereabouts. A futile search turned up nothing and the small group was forced to give up, leaving them deeply disturbed and perplexed over the loss of the Blessed Sacrament. It was only when the nuns were preparing Juliana’s body for burial that the mystery of the missing Host was solved. For there, mysteriously branded on her skin directly over the heart, was an image of a crucifix enclosed in a circle; identical to the crucifix that was impressed on the missing Host. It was then understood that the Lord had satisfied the Saint’s dying wish and had miraculously united himself to her, while also leaving His crucified image on her flesh as confirmation.

Although the Florentines and the Servites revered her as a Saint during her lifetime, St. Juliana Falconieri’s Canonization did not take place until 1737. Her body, exhumed incorrupt, now rests in a shrine dedicated to her honor in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Florence, Italy; a fitting resting place for a holy woman who throughout her life, and with her blessed death, proclaimed the miraculous love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

The incorrupt body of St. Juliana Falconieri, enshrined in Florence, Italy
(a wax mask covers the Saint's face)  

A Reflection
“Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”  ~ Words of Our Lord, John 6:53-54

A Short Prayer
Lord Jesus, through the intercession of St. Juliana Falconieri, grant us a firm faith and a deep love for the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  Amen.

Hawaii's Devotion to St. Damien de Veuster & Bl. Marianne Cope of Molokai


The statue of St. Damien that stands before
the Hawaii State Capital Building.

It not a surprise that Hawaii's Catholics have a lot of affection for St. Damien & Bl. Marianne of Molokai... and although their remains were returned to their respective Congregations after their deaths, they were never forgotten.  In recent years, at the initiative of our current bishop - Bishop Larry Silva - our diocese was very happy to welcome both of these holy persons back to Hawaii through the physical presence of their Holy Relics.

The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu is privileged to guard the simple wooden shrines of both St. Damien de Veuster and Bl. Marianne Cope of Molokai, both enclosing 1st Class Relics from each holy individual. The relic of St. Damien - a talus (foot) bone - was brought to Hawaii in October 2009, after the Saint's Canonization... and Bl. Marianne's relic, also a fragment of bone, was recently received in May 2011.

  
The Shrines of Bl. Marianne Cope (left) & St. Damien de Veuster (right),
located in the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Honolulu.

Both shrines are situated to the left of the main altar and are constructed from koa wood; a costly wood, which is highly valued in Hawaii for its rich, beautiful grain pattern and its strength. On each side of the shrines are kahilis, ancient symbols of royalty and honor in the Hawaiian culture, which are akin to our western use of banners and flags. Familiar portraits of the Saint and the Blessed top both shrines.

St. Damien's wooden reliquary-case with his bone relic.

The relics are lovingly surrounded by colorful leis (Hawaiian floral garlands) within their respective display shrines and may easily be viewed up close. If you're ever in Honolulu, please stop by our Cathedral to say 'hello' to our saintly heroes and to venerate their blessed remains.

Bl. Marianne's wooden reliquary-case with her bone relic.

The Holy Face Devotion


"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray,
and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven
and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

St. Veronica, the very first devotee of the Holy Face

Devotion to the Holy Face of Our Lord is not a new devotion in the Church… the familiar representation of the bearded face of Christ has its origins from the earliest Christian tradition as evidenced by ancient paintings discovered in the Roman catacombs, but the devotion has taken on a whole new significance in modern times through the efforts of three saintly figures:


 Sr. Marie of St. Peter (d. 1848)

A Discalced Carmelite from Tours, France, Our Lord entrusted a mission of atonement to this humble nun using the image of His Holy Face as a symbolic representation of how He is greatly offended by sin. A special prayer of reparation was revealed to Sr. Marie, which the Lord requested that she propagate. The prayer came to be called the Golden Arrow (see below) after Jesus referred to it as such in a communication to Sr. Marie: "This Golden Arrow will wound My Heart delightfully, and heal the wounds inflicted by blasphemy."

The Golden Arrow Prayer
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable
Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in Heaven,
on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of
Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.  Amen.

Venerable Leo Dupont (d. 1876)

A devout layman, Leo Dupont, was a lawyer by profession who lived in Tours, France. After learning of the revelations received by Sr. Marie of St. Peter, he set up an oratory in his home where he kept a votive lamp constantly burning before a picture of the Holy Face. He used his personal resources to actively promote devotion to the image as well as towards other works of charity. The countless healings that were effected through the oil from Leo's lamp, and his zeal in spreading the Holy Face devotion, earned him the titles of the Holy Man of Tours and Apostle of the Holy Face.

Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli (d. 1945)

This Beata received many private revelations from Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin, requesting that she promote devotion to the Holy Face as a way of making reparation for the sins of mankind. Through Madre Maria Pierina, the Lord commissioned a medal - the Holy Face Medal - to be struck to which He attached special promises of grace and protection. This holy nun endured many episodes of physical attacks from the devil who strove to obstruct her divine mission, but despite his efforts, the Holy Face Medal spread rapidly because of the innumerable favors that were attributed to its devout use. Madre Maria Pierina was beatified by the Church on May 30, 2010, which further confirmed her holiness and the credibility of her private revelations.

Below are promises manifested by Our Lady through Madre Maria Pierina in favor of those who will practice the Holy Face devotion, especially through the wearing of the Holy Face Medal:

     +  They will be strengthened in faith
     +  They will be ready to defend it
     +  They will overcome all difficulties, internal and external
     +  They will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son

Other Saints who were known to have had a profound devotion to the Holy Face are St. Gertrude the Great, St. Therese the Little Flower, and the recently canonized, St. Gaetano Catanoso.  For additional information concerning this devotion, or to request a free Holy Face Medal, please see the website for the Holy Face Association:  www.holyface.com

A luminous manifestation of the Holy Face?


This unusual light formation appeared on a wall of my former home on July 29, 1995,
while the rosary was being prayed in Our Lady's garden.  Remarkably, it resembled a rustic
representation of the bearded face of Christ, crowned with sharp thorns.

Mary, the Mystical Rose



My Mystical Rose statue...

I often use a 3-foot tall Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose) statue as a "Pilgrim Virgin" for my ministry whenever I lead Rosary Prayer Meetings in my parish or conduct speaking presentations on our Blessed Mother. People have commented on its beauty and inquired about its origin.  Given all the interest, I felt inspired to share the remarkable story of the Rosa Mystica revelations here...

A Brief History of the Rosa Mystica Devotion and the Marian Apparitions of Montichiari-Fontanelle

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin as the "Rosa Mystica" is an ancient tradition in the Church, whereby Our Lady's exceeding virtue was poetically compared to the beauty and fragrance of the rose, which is widely considered to be the most beautiful of all flowers.  The devotion was invigorated in these modern times after Mary allegedly appeared in Montichiari, Italy, in a series of apparitions to a mystic - a local nurse named Pierina Gilli - beginning in 1947 and lasting until shortly before the seer's death in 1991.


The Holy Virgin identified herself as "Mary, the Rosa Mystica, Mother of the Church" (depicted above) and delivered urgent messages mainly directed towards priests and other consecrated souls.  She urged them to live their vocations worthily, while calling on others to pray for them.  It was a revelation, that in due time, proved to be highly prophetic in light of the ongoing clergy abuse scandal and the decline of religious vocations in the Church today.

"I am the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of you. Our Lords sends me to
bring you a new Marian devotion for all male and female institutes, religious orders,
and secular priests. I promise those religious institutes, orders, and secular priests who
venerate me in this special way my special protection, an increase of spiritual vocations,
fewer betrayed vocations, and greater sanctity among the servants of God."

~ Words of the Rosa Mystica (June 13, 1947)

Photos of the Fontanelle Shrine that I took during a 1989 pilgrimage: the shrine statue,
the bathing pool of blessed water, and the 'Cross of Grace' that Our Lady requested.
[click on photos to view larger images]

In the course of the apparitions, the Virgin Mary revealed herself to Pierina dressed all in white; in a long gown with a hooded mantle. What was unusual about these appearances was the trio of roses seen blooming directly out of the Madonna's chest, which according to the seer, represented the essence of Our Lady's revelations to her:  PRAYER (White Rose); SACRIFIC (Red Rose); PENANCE (Gold Rose)

"My Divine Son is all Love.  The world is walking the road to perdition. Once again
I have been able to obtain mercy, and Jesus has sent me, therefore, again to Montichiari
to bring you the grace of His Love.  It requires Prayer, Sacrifice, and Penance in
order to save mankind..."

~ Words of the Rosa Mystica (May, 1966)

On April 17th, 1966, Pierina felt an interior call to go to a stream at the outskirts of Montichiari, in a place called Fontanelle, where the Virgin appeared to her and blessed the water with healing properties. She also requested a chapel at the site, along with prayer services and processions, with July 13th being especially dedicated to her title as Mary, the Rosa Mystica. Signs and wonders occurred during the apparitions - cures, heavenly fragrances, and the dancing sun - and continue to be reported up to the present day.

Pierina Gilli died on January 12, 1991, after living an exemplary life of humble devotion and obedience to local church authorities.  After her public mission was fulfilled, she stayed away from the Fontanelle shrine and the general limelight, per her bishop's directive; she still welcomed pilgrims who came to the private chapel in her modest home.  Pierina was also apparently a victim-soul and reportedly suffered the invisible stigmata.  Our Lady continued to appear to her privately, but sporadically, and any later messages she received were transmitted to her confessor for discernment.

Currently, local church authorities have not condemned these apparitions, neither do they promote them; the diocese has repeatedly taken the stance that the supernatural character of these events has not been established. However, successive Bishops have approved the development of a shrine in Fontanelle, allowing Mass, Reconciliation. and other public expressions of faith at the site (e.g. processions), which is a significant accommodation, if not tacit approval or support.

Pierina Gilli, the humble mystic & visionary of
the Rosa Mystica revelations

The Hour of Grace

In keeping with her theme of Prayer, Sacrifice, and Penance, Our Lady made a specific request to Pierina concerning the "Hour of Grace" to be observed annually on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  She referred to it at least twice during two separate apparitions to the visionary:

"… On the 8th December, at noon, I shall appear again here in the Basilica (of
Montichiari).  It will be the Hour of Grace. This Hour of Grace will produce great and
numerous conversions. Hardened and cold hearts resembling this marble (the church floor)
will be touched by Divine Grace, and they will become faithful to our Lord in loyal love."

~ From the Message of November 22, 1947

+ + + + +

"I am the Immaculate Conception... It is my wish that every year, on 8th December,
at Noon, the Hour of Grace for the world be celebrated.  Many divine and bodily graces
will be received through this devotion. Our Lord, my Divine Son Jesus, will send His
overflowing mercy if good people will pray continuously for their sinful brother.

One should very soon notify the Holy Father of the Church, Pope Pius XII, 
that it is
my wish that the Hour of Grace for the world be made known and spread throughout
the world. If anyone is unable to visit a church, yet will pray at noon at home,
they will also receive graces through me."

~ From the Message of December 8, 1947

Please consider observing the Hour of Grace at noon each year on December 8th. The recommended prayers to be offered during the hour are the Rosary and the Miserere (Psalm 51), as well as prayers for the conversion of sinners.

About the "Pilgrim Madonna" Statues

Another unique aspect of the Rosa Mystica apparitions was Our Lady's direct request to Pierina to have "Pilgrim Madonnas" sent throughout the world to be ambassadors of her messages, as well as special channels of grace. The Blessed Mother reportedly said in May and November 1975:

"I invoke a blessing on these statues, which represent me.  Wherever I go,
I shall bring with me Joy, Peace, and Grace for very many souls... I am always
near you with my motherly protection and the Lord's very special blessing."

+ + + + +

"... wherever I stay (through the pilgrim statues) I bring with me
the Lord's graces and the love of this motherly heart."

It's important to point out that over one hundred such images throughout the world have reportedly wept human and bloody tears, which lends further credence to the messages Mary gave at Montichiari-Fontanelle.

  

A sampling of the many Rosa Mystica statues
miraculously weeping in different parts of the world.

            

A Prayer to Mary, the Mystical Rose

  Maria Rosa Mystica - Mystical Rose, Immaculate Conception - Mother of Our Lord, Jesus Christ - Mother of Grace - Mother of the Mystical Body, of the Church; You came down on earth to call upon us children of this earth to love each other, to unite, and live in peace. You request from us Charity, Prayer, and Penance.  We thank God from the bottom of our hearts that He has given you to us as our Mother and Mediatrix in all our needs.  Mary, full of grace, please help me I beseech you, and grant me my special intention . . . You promised us your motherly protection, full of graces; “I am always very close to you with My motherly love.” Rosa Mystica, Immaculata, Mater Dolorosa, please show me that you are my Mother, Bride of the Holy Spirit, and Queen of Heaven and Earth.  Amen.

My Personal Testimony

I visited the Fontanelle shrine in 1989 during a trip to Italy and came away completely impressed by the aura of holiness I experienced at the site.  I was also granted a very important personal grace by Our Lady, under this particular title of hers, which is the reason why I initially became devoted to this apparition; attracted to this particular representation of Mary.

My own Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue has never wept, but it has exhibited other unusual phenomena: it has emanated the fragrance of fresh roses; noticeably changed its facial expression on several occasions in front of me and other witnesses; exhibited physical movements (blinking and mouth movements); materialized shiny flakes of Escarchas (see the short video below of a manifestation of Escarchas during one of my speaking presentations)... and, if these weren't graces enough - my statue was also blessed by Mary during an apparition...

Escarchas that manifested during a Rosary Prayer Meeting on 7/13/15,
shortly after I spoke about the Rosa Mystica Devotion.

On February 14, 2011, my treasured pilgrim statue was blessed in an extraordinary manner by Our Lady, herself, during a Hawaii speaking tour by Ivan Dragicevic, one of the 6 alleged visionaries from the world-famous apparition site of Medjugorje.

I was invited to a friend's home, where Ivan was a special guest, and he experienced one of his daily (evening) apparitions while kneeling before the statue, which my hosts asked me to bring. The visionary later informed us Our Lady appeared with three little angels (a rare occurrence!) and had prayed a benediction over the people present... as well as, imparted her blessing on my statue and the other sacramentals brought to the event.  It was a deeply moving experience - a signal grace - that affirmed and fused my belief in both the Rosa Mystica devotion and Medjugorje into one very special statue!


Me sitting next to Medjugorje visionary - Ivan Dragicevic (middle) - as he shared a message he received that night from Our Lady at the Kupau resident in Waipahu, Hawaii (my Rosa Mystica statue is in the background).

In lieu of the signs I've witnessed in connection with this devotion, my personal faith has definitely grown and become enriched.  It's my humble and personal opinion that Our Lady's apparitions and messages at Montichiari-Fontanelle were genuine... and that the lovely Rosa Mystica statues now popularly circulating throughout the world are indeed vessels of blessing wherever they are especially venerated and honored by the Faithful.  As such, I pray these events will one day soon be officially approved by the Church for the edification and good of all souls.  Mother Mary, the Mystical Rose,  Mother of the Church, pray for us!

"I have an abundance of graces ready for all those children
who hear my voice and take my wishes to heart."

~ Words of the Rosa Mystica (December 8, 1947)


*** This lay-ministry currently has a limited supply of Relic Prayer Cards, which are being offered to the readers of this blog at no charge (Hawaii or US-mainland residents only).  Each hand-assembled card bears a beautiful image of the original Rosa Mystica statue that is venerated at Montichiari, on one side, and a novena prayer on the other; laminated with a piece of cloth that was prayed over and touched to a rare, certified relic of Our Lady's veil ("Ex Velo") in the custody of this lay-ministry.  If you would like to receive one of these prayer cards (one card per person, per request), please email me - Peter - with your full name and mailing address at guadalupe_house@yahoo.com (indicate "Rosa Mystica Card Request" in the subject line).