Archive for September, 2013

The Cross gives us a treasure ….

26 September, 2013




Waterfront of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Friday, 26 July 2013

Dear Young Friends,

We have come here today to accompany Jesus on his journey of sorrow and love, the Way of the Cross, which is one of the most intense moments of World Youth Day. At the end of the Holy Year of Redemption, Blessed John Paul II chose to entrust the Cross to you, young people, asking you “to carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ’s love for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption” (Address to Young People, 22 April 1984). Since then, the World Youth Day Cross has travelled to every continent and through a variety of human situations. It is, as it were, almost “steeped” in the life experiences of the countless young people who have seen it and carried it. Dear brothers and sisters, no one can approach and touch the Cross of Jesus without leaving something of himself or herself there, and without bringing something of the Cross of Jesus into his or her own life. I have three questions that I hope will echo in your hearts this evening as you walk beside Jesus: What have you left on the Cross, dear young people of Brazil, during these two years that it has been crisscrossing your great country? What has the Cross of Jesus left for you, in each one of you? Finally, what does this Cross teach us?

1. According to an ancient Roman tradition, while fleeing the city during the persecutions of Nero, Saint Peter saw Jesus who was travelling in the opposite direction, that is, toward the city, and asked him in amazement: “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus’ response was: “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” At that moment, Peter understood that he had to follow the Lord with courage, to the very end. But he also realized that he would never be alone on the journey; Jesus, who had loved him even unto death, would always be with him. Jesus, with his Cross, walks with us and takes upon himself our fears, our problems, and our sufferings, even those which are deepest and most painful. With the Cross, Jesus unites himself to the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenceless; with the Cross, he is united to families in trouble, and those who mourn the tragic loss of their children, as in the case of the 242 young victims of the fire in the City of Santa Maria at the beginning of this year. We pray for them. On the Cross, Jesus is united with every person who suffers from hunger in a world which, on the other hand, permits itself the luxury of throwing away tons of food every day; on the Cross, Jesus is united to the many mothers and fathers who suffer as they see their children become victims of drug-induced euphoria; on the Cross, Jesus is united with those who are persecuted for their religion, for their beliefs or simply for the colour of their skin; on the Cross, Jesus is united with so many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption; he unites himself with those young people who have lost faith in the Church, or even in God because of the counter-witness of Christians and ministers of the Gospel. How our inconsistencies make Jesus suffer! The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on his shoulders our crosses and saying to us: “Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life” (cf. Jn 3:16).

2. Now we can answer the second question: What has the Cross given to those who have gazed upon it and to those who have touched it? What has the Cross left in each one of us? You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us. A love so great that it enters into our sin and forgives it, enters into our suffering and gives us the strength to bear it. It is a love which enters into death to conquer it and to save us. The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God; there we find his immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe. Dear young people, let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over to him (cf. Lumen Fidei, 16), because he never disappoints anyone! Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption. With him, evil, suffering, and death do not have the last word, because he gives us hope and life: he has transformed the Cross from being an instrument of hate, defeat and death to being a sign of love, victory, triumph and life.

The first name given to Brazil was “The Land of the Holy Cross”. The Cross of Christ was planted five centuries ago not only on the shores of this country, but also in the history, the hearts and the lives of the people of Brazil and elsewhere. The suffering Christ is keenly felt here, as one of us who shares our journey even to the end. There is no cross, big or small, in our life, which the Lord does not share with us.

3. But the Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action; the Cross invites us to step outside ourselves to meet them and to extend a hand to them. How many times have we seen them in the Way of the Cross, how many times have they accompanied Jesus on the way to Calvary: Pilate, Simon of Cyrene, Mary, the women… Today I ask you: which of them do you want to be? Do you want to be like Pilate, who did not have the courage to go against the tide to save Jesus’ life, and instead washed his hands? Tell me: are you one of those who wash their hands, who feign ignorance and look the other way? Or are you like Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus to carry that heavy wood, or like Mary and the other women, who were not afraid to accompany Jesus all the way to the end, with love and tenderness? And you, who do you want to be? Like Pilate? Like Simon? Like Mary? Jesus is looking at you now and is asking you: do you want to help me carry the Cross? Brothers and sisters, with all the strength of your youth, how will you respond to him?

Dear friends, let us bring to Christ’s Cross our joys, our sufferings and our failures. There we will find a Heart that is open to us and understands us, forgives us, loves us and calls us to bear this love in our lives, to love each person, each brother and sister, with the same love.

2014 Passionist Liturgical Calendar

26 September, 2013


The 2014 Passionist Liturgical Calendar has been prepared and circulated by the Passionist Generalate in Rome [pdf] –

2014 Passionist Ordo Small

2014 Passionist Ordo Large

St. Vincent Strambi, Passionist

24 September, 2013

1424463950_ae37e8e61dSaint Vincent Strambi was born at Civitavecchia in 1745. A short time after his ordination to the priesthood, he entered the recently founded Passionist Congregation. Travelling throughout most of Italy, he endeavoured to promote the Christian life among the people by preaching on the Passion. He wrote hagiographical and devotional books, the most significant of which was that on the Previous Blood. Being an outstanding spiritual director, he directed, among others, Saint Gaspar del Bufalo and Blessed Anna Maria Taigi. Appointed Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, he showed himself to be a true shepherd of the flock and promoted the reform of the clergy and the people with apostolic zeal. In political upheavals of the time, he was a fearless advocate of the freedom of the Church and chose exile in preference to an unlawful oath of loyalty to Napoleon. When he returned to his diocese after exile, he once again manifested his deep pastoral concern and extraordinary charity to the poor. Called by Pope Leo XII to become his personal advisor, he died in the Quirinal (Rome) on 1st January 1824, after having offered himself to God in place of the pope, who was seriously ill.   [Passionist Proper Offices, p. 150]

Read more about St. Vincent Strambi here

Read [pdf] article by Fr. Osmond Thorpe C.P.  Saint Vincent Strambi

24th September – St. Vincent Strambi, Passionist

24 September, 2013



All powerful and ever living God, you made your bishop Saint Vincent Mary a devoted shepherd of your flock and a faithful servant of the Church. Strengthen us by his example to love our neighbour and work for justice as members of your Church.


Lord, we offer you these gifts on this memorial of Saint Vincent Mary. Grant that we may follow his example by living in the spirit of Christ’s gospel and working to spread its message throughout the world.


Lord, you have renewed our strength with the bread of heaven. May this food of love strengthen our spirit and inspire us to serve you in our neighbour, for you are Lord for ever and ever.


As a Passionist, Vincent was a man of prayer and community observance. He was also a zealous and effective missionary preacher. He helped to develop the methodology for Passionist missionary preaching and also exercised roles of authority and leadership in the congregation. As biographer of the founder he did much to preserve St. Paul’s spirit for future generations.

Vincent Strambi was born in Civitavecchia, the port city of Rome. On January 1, 1745. Father Paul (St. Paul of the Cross) had already opened three monasteries and received the first papal approval. Vincent was an only child, the joy of his parents. As a lad he had been educated by the Franciscans. When he was fifteen he begged his parents to allow him to enter the clerical state. His father granted this permission. Vincent received clerical “tonsure” and entered the seminary at nearby Montefiascone (November 1762).

Two years later he decided to continue his studies, not in the seminary, but in Rome. There he attended lectures on sacred eloquence or preaching. The following year he went to the Dominican house of studies in Viterbo to study theology.

He was ordained a deacon in 1767, and in 1786 he decided to join Father Paul’s community. He went to the novitiate on Monte Argentaro and took his vows a year later.

Father Vincent had just six years to absorb the spirit of the congregation from St. Paul. He was sent to Vetralla for two further years of scripture study and sermon writing.

Strambi One

A Spirit of Holiness

In 1773 Father Paul put the former seminary prefect and rector in charge of the training of the young students for future missionary preaching at the newly acquired monastery of Sts. John and Paul in Rome. Eventually Father Vincent would write a manual on Sacred Eloquence.

In this way Father Vincent was able to be with St. Paul during the final years of his life. Paul saw in this young man the apostolic spirit of holiness he was bequeathing to his congregation. We are told that as he was dying St. Paul one day turned to Father Vincent Mary and told him he was entrusting the congregation to his care.

Vincent, like the others, missed the founder very much as he continued to prepare young Passionists for the missionary apostolate. He also went forth to preach missions as often as possible.

In 1780 he became rector of the Community of Sts. John and Paul. In 1781 he was elected provincial. He also served as provincial and general consultor. During this time that he published a biography of the founder. Father Vincent used the testimonies of eye-witnesses as given in the canonization processes. It is said that he wrote the life of St. Paul on his knees, out of reverence for the founder. His “Life” of Father Paul became a classic and was greeted with enthusiasm by many.

As the Vatican Council has reminded us, God calls Christians from both the lay and clerical states to the religious life. Father Vincent Strambi came to the Passionists as a priest who had been formed and educated in a small Tridentine seminary of that period, but who had also experienced university life in Rome and Viterbo. But even more he had shown the talent for teaching and training other young men for the priesthood. These talents and experiences he brought to the congregation at the critical period following the death of the founder and throughout the Napoleonic revolutionary suppressions and during the restoration.

Eventually appointed to bishop, Strambi was loyal to the pope and Holy See. He was a true pastor of souls, and not involved in political matters unless forced by circumstances of the times. He brought to the episcopacy a spirituality of prayer, prudence, and pastoral dedication.

[Text adapted from The Story of the Passionists by Roger Mercurio, C.P.]


Born 1st January 1745; Ordained Priest 19th December 1767; Clothed in Passionist Habit 24th September 1768; Professed 24th September 1769; Episcopal Ordination 20th July 1801; Resigned 11 November 1823; Died 1st January 1824; Beatified 26th April 1925; Canonised 11 June 1950

Vigil for Peace in St Peter’s Square

9 September, 2013