Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local diocese, 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, Ministry Administrator


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 Catholic Church to honor and celebrate the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

We, as Catholics, are bound to believe 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 hard to comprehend… and even during Jesus’ time, Holy Scriptures tell us that some of his followers had difficulty accepting it, as well; 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 believing 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 occasionally performing signs and wonders through the agency of the Blessed Sacrament.  Below are 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 instantly restored by the miraculous event and Lanciano became a popular destination for devout pilgrims wanting to venerate the Host turned to flesh.

As it turned out, modern science has confirmed the flesh and blood to be human, 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 images of the Miracle 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.  Horrified, she returned home rather than going to the sorceress, and hid the Host in a trunk.  Later in the evening it was discovered by her husband after a brilliant light shone from within the wooden chest, which awoke him and drew his attention to it.  No longer able to hide her participation in the event, the wife tearfully confessed her sacrilege, after which the couple spent the rest of the night praying for God's forgiveness.  

When the sun rose they hurriedly informed the parish priest of all that transpired so the bloody Host could be solemnly returned to the church.  It has been the object of deep reverence ever since.


+ The Miracle of Siena, Italy

The inexplicably preserved Hosts of Siena.

On August 14, 1730, unscrupulous thieves conducted a grave sacrilege by breaking into the Church of St. Francis and stealing its 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 nearly 300 years now the Hosts have remained perfectly preserved, with the fact being confirmed throughout the centuries by numerous scientific inquiries into the matter.  The last official investigation in 1921 reaffirmed the undecayed state of the Hosts, which continue to defy the laws of nature.  Church officials who were privileged to consume a few of the Hosts have also sworn to the fact that they have not gone stale, but rather, they 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
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 manifested unusual phenomena that was filmed by an American pilgrim on November 13, 1998.  This time around the Eucharist was witnessed beating like a heart and surrounded by flames (again, the Sacred Heart of Jesus!) - click on the video link below to view the actual film footage of the 2nd (1998) miraculous event:



+ The Miracle of Chirattakonam, India

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

On April 28, 2001, parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in Chirattakonam, India, 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, the priest re-examined the Eucharist and was stunned to discover the bloody stains had arranged themselves into an image of the Holy Face of Jesus on the surface of the Host!  Fr. Karoor 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 our parish's 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 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 shrine
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 at
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.

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 [heel] 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, one the very first
devotees of the Holy Face

Devotion to the Holy Face of our Lord is not new in the Church. In fact, 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 individuals:


 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.

Ven. 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 print of the Holy Face, patterned after the relic of the Veil of Veronica preserved in the Vatican.

Leo 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; he is currently being investigated for possible sainthood.

Bl. 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 mystic-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.

For those interested, watch the 45-minute video below for an excellent presentation on the life of Bl. Maria Pierina - it's well worth it!

A video on the life of Bl. Maria Pierina

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 (the Catholic Faith)
  • They will overcome all difficulties, internal and external
  • They will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son

Other holy persons who were known to have had a profound devotion to the Holy Face are St. Gertrude the Great, Ven. Padre Hildebrand  Gregori, Maria Concetta Pantusa, Bl. Maria Pia MastenaSt. Therese the Little Flower, and the recently canonized, St. Gaetano Catanoso.

To download a printable, introductory brochure about this devotion, click here... or visit the website for the Holy Face Association @ www.holyface.com for more detailed info and/or to request a Holy Face Medal.

A luminous manifestation
of the Holy Face?

This unusual light formation appeared on
a wall of my former home on July 29, 1995,
during the rosary in Our Lady's garden. It
captures a rustic image of the Holy Face
of Christ, crowned with thorns.

Mary, the "Rosa Mystica"



The Mystical Rose statue belonging
to Guadalupe House Ministry.

This author often uses a 3 foot tall Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose) statue as a "Pilgrim Virgin" 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 was inspired to share the remarkable story of the Rosa Mystica revelations...


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 unique and exceeding virtue was poetically represented by the beauty and fragrance of the rose, which is widely considered to be the most splendid of all flowers.  The devotion was invigorated in these modern times after Mary allegedly appeared in Montichiari and Fontanelle, 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 Lord 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 taken
by this author during a 1989 pilgrimage:
the shrine statue, the bathing pool of
healing spring water, and the 'Cross of
Grace' that Our Lady requested.

In the course of these 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 blooming directly out of the Madonna's chest, which according to the seer, represented the "heart" 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.  Prayer, Sacrifice,
and Penance are required in order
to save mankind..."

~ Words of the Rosa Mystica,
May 1966

On April 17th, 1966, Pierina went to a stream at the outskirts of Montichiari, in a place called Fontanelle, where the Virgin directed her to go.  There, the Blessed Mother appeared 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, but 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 visit her privately, although sporadically, and the latter messages she received were relayed to her confessor for discernment.

Pierina Gilli, the humble 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 through 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 brothers.

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

So 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 general prayers for the conversion of sinners.


About the Pilgrim 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 statues (and pictures, too), in various sizes, throughout the world, have reportedly wept water, oil, and even bloody tears, which further spotlights Mary's words given at Montichiari-Fontanelle.  Clearly, there's a sense of urgency to these messages.

  

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

            


The Church's View

The local diocese has repeatedly taken the stance that the supernatural character of the apparitions has not been established. However, successive Bishops have approved the development of the existing shrine in Fontanelle, allowing Mass, Reconciliation. and other public expressions of faith at the site (e.g. processions), which is a remarkable and uncharacteristic accommodation on the Diocese's part.

On December 7, 2019 the Bishop of Brescia - Monsignor Pierantonio Tremolada - under whose jurisdiction Fontanelle falls, designated the Rosa Mystica Shrine an official "Diocesan Marian Sanctuary" under the beautiful title of Rosa Mystica-Mother of the Church; indeed, a highly significant development, if not tacit approval of the events that occurred there.


A Personal Testimony

I, Peter - this ministry's administrator - 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 developed a devotion to this apparition; became attracted to this particular representation of Mary.


Two occasions when Rosa Mystica
statues were personally observed to
move and were captured on video...
ABOVE: The 26" statue belonging to
friend's prayer group in Mililani.
BELOW: This author's 36" statue at
First Saturday Rosary in Kailua.


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/lip movements); materialized shiny flakes of Escarchas (see the short videos below of escarcha manifestations)... and, if these weren't graces enough, my statue was also personally blessed by Mary...


Escarchas that manifested during a
Rosary Prayer Meeting on 7/13/15, shortly
after I spoke of the Rosa Mystica Devotion...
and still more during and after a First
Saturday Rosary at my parish...


On February 14, 2011, my 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 Marian 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 our 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 that affirmed and fused my belief in both the Rosa Mystica devotion and Medjugorje into one special statue!


Me, sitting next to Medjugorje visionary -
Ivan Dragicevic (middle) - at the Kupau
residence 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 has been enriched.  It's my personal opinion that Our Lady's apparitions, messages, and miracles at Montichiari and Fontanelle were/are genuine... and that the lovely Rosa Mystica statues now found all over the world in churches and private homes are indeed vessels of blessing when they are sincerely 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


Prayer to Mary, the Mystical Rose

... and lastly, here's a prayer to the Rosa Mystica that's widely circulated by devotees.  It may be prayed for nine days as a novena: 

  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 (state your prayer intention here). 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.  


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