One of the most common illnesses …

8 December, 2019

images (2)The lack of taste for solitude and silence is one of the most common illnesses of the modern person. Many are even scared of remaining in stillness, being alone or having free time: they feel more comfortable being constantly occupied; they need words, impressions; they always hasten in order to have the illusion of an abundant and saturated life. But life in God begins when words and thoughts fall silent, when worldly cares are forgotten, and when a place within the human soul is freed to be filled by Him. – Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk


Sts. John and Paul Rome – 9 December 1773

8 December, 2019

On 9th December 1773 the Passionists took possession of the Basilica and Monastery of Sts. John and Paul in Rome.

“The group of more than thirty religious who were to form the first community walked the short distance from the Hospice in Via San Giovanni in Laterano. Cardinal Boschi, the Titular of the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, sent his carriage for Paul of the Cross, now almost eighty years of age. On their arrival, they went first to the altar of the Blessed Sacrament in the Basilica, where they sang the Te Deum in thanksgiving. From there they went to the house to begin their community life in what would be the last Retreat founded by Paul, celebrating Vespers together that evening and rising at midnight, as usual, for Matins.”

“Among the members of the commuity were Fr. Giovanni Battista (Gorresio) of St. Vinent Ferrier, who would succeed Paul as General, Fr. Giammaria (Cioni) of St. Ignatius, his confessor, and Fr. Marcaurelio (Pastorelli) of the Blessed Sacrament, who was a year older than Paul and one of his earliest companions, and who would die in Santi Giovanni e Paolo the following March. There was also a class of nine theology students whose professor would be St. Vincent Mary Strambi.”

– taken from As A Seal Upon Your Heart, by Father Paul Francis Spencer, C.P., p. 188-189.



From the writings of Bernard Silvestrelli CP

8 December, 2019

Silvestrelli02Who are we? Aren’t we called “Passionists”, that is, religious of the Passion of Jesus Christ? We certainly are. Such is our name. That everything be consistent with our name, we wear a black tunic as a sign of mourning, and on our tunic, we wear a badge upon which is imprinted the title of the Passion of Jesus Christ, as if to show our uniform and banner. This clearly identifies that our Congregation is distinct from other institutes in that we profess a particular attachment and singular devotion to the mystery of the Passion of our Divine Redeemer. By our profession another vow is also asked of us. In addition to the customary three vows of religion, we also promise to promote diligently in the hearts of the faithful devotion to our suffering Jesus. This also demonstrates that this devotion is our characteristic feature, our distinctive mark, the particular end of our Institute. The idea to found this new Congregation in the Church came to our Holy Founder in order to give expression to the ardent desire burning in his heart to compensate for the love Jesus had in suffering for us.

From Spiritual Conferences for Passionist Novices by Blessed Bernard Mary of Jesus (Tratt. VI, p. 177, Rome 1886)


Lord our God, you taught Blessed Bernard Mary to love the Crucified Christ by perfect detachment from material goods. Following his example and prayers, grant that through constant meditation on the Passion of Our Lord, we may live and die for him who is our Redeemer. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

New Passionist Proper Offices, Passionist Generalate Rome, 1992 p. 30

9 December – Blessed Bernard Silvestrelli CP

8 December, 2019


(Passionist Sign worn by Blessed Bernard Mary Silvestrelli)

Passionist Bernard Mary Silvestrelli was proclaimed by the Church as Blessed on 16th October 1988. His feast is celebrated on 9th December each year.

Father Fabiano Giorgini, C.P., writes –

Before leaving his family, Bernard had left a crucifix to his brothers and sisters as a memento and sign of what he hoped to do among the Passionists. The usual gift he later gave to people, as superior, was a small crucifix, also to remind them that he lived for Christ Crucified and prompt them, in turn, to love their crucified Lord. The whole texture of Passionist life served to remind him of the love which Jesus showed in his Passion.

As he told the novices, “All our observances have meaning, and help us to keep the Passion of Jesus in mind. We are told to go barefoot, clothed poorly and in black, bearing upon our hearts a sign which reads: The Passion of Jesus Christ. So we have these reminders to keep in perpetual mourning for our divine Redeemer which died for us, and carry about signs of his mortification in our own bodies.”

“You should see the same meaning in our uncomfortable hours of sleep, our rising in the night for matins, taking the discipline, frequent fasting and frugal diet – all these things have their place, like little alarm clocks to recall to our mind the labours and sorrows of our most beloved Jesus. The same applies to our detachment from the world, our solitude and silence, our recollection and prayer, all of them commended precisely in order to preserve in us the spirit of compunction, so vital for one who meditates on the Passion of Jesus and wishes to keep it engraved on his heart. In a word, if you examine the holy Rule you will find that it … leads to evangelical perfection through a special devotion to the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Trattenimenti, pp. 277-278)

Bernard Mary Silvestrelli, Passionist by Fr. Fabiano Giorgini, C.P., p. 159

Second Sunday of Advent

8 December, 2019


Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company. We lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


During Advent, one strong voice that tries to rouse us to the demands of our discipleship is that of John the Baptist. He comes from the wildness, eager to share what he has learned there in the privileged place of covenant making and the dangerous environment of temptation to covenant breaking. The Spirit thrusts John the Baptist onto the banks of the Jordan River to be Israel’s awakener to what God will do in and through Jesus. Sharpened in wisdom and words by his desert experience, John cuts his way through hypocrisy and sinfulness, and offers to the Jordan crowd his baptism of repentance.

It was at the Jordan River that the Hebrews came out of their wilderness wandering and crossed through the waters to the Promised Land. Over twelve hundred years later, the Baptist calls their descendants into the waters of another transition, another entry into the promises of God.

– Building on Rock, Welcoming the Word in Year A, Verna A. Holyhead, SGS