Archive for December, 2018

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

31 December, 2018

Jan. 1 - Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God new

“Mary was present in the clarifying stages of St. Paul of the Cross’ vocation as founder, in the vestition with the black habit on the feast of her Presentation in the Temple. She assisted the founder when in St. Mary Major’s in Rome he vowed to promote the memory of the Passion of Jesus and to work for the foundation on the Institute. In places dedicated to our Blessed Lady (Annunication at Portercole, Our Lady of the Chain at Gaeta, Our Lady of the Civita in Itri) Paul sought to start the first community and finally dedicated to Mary the first retreat in memory of her Presentation in the Temple, which according to his first companions, was erected on a spot chosen by a particular inspiration from Our Lady. To Our Lady he dedicated five out of twelve retreats founded in this period. On the vigil of the feast of Mary’s Annunciation in 1769 Pope Clement XIV notified Paul of the confirmation of the rule and the solemn approbation of the Institute. Again on the vigil of the feast in 1773 he received the minutes of the brief granting him the house and basilica of Sts. John and Paul in Rome. And of the vigil of that same feast in 1775 Pope Pius VI informed Paul of the Cross that all was happily concluded concerning the new confirmation of the Passionist Rule. Sixty-two religious took as a devotional name some title referring to Our Lady. These external aspects give us a glimpse of the intense love the founder and his religious had to Mary and of their feeling that she was part of their existence.”  (History of the Passionists, Volume 1, Fabiano Giorgini, C.P. p. 319-320)

During the month of January

30 December, 2018


1st January
Birth of St. Vincent Strambi, C.P., (1745)

1st January
St. Paul of the Cross concludes his forty day retreat in Castellazzo (1721)

3rd January
Birth of St. Paul of the Cross in Ovada, Italy (1694)

5th January
Feast of Saint Charles of Mount Argus

6th January
Anniversary of the Baptism of St. Paul of the Cross, Ovada, Italy (1694)

6th January
Anniversary of the marriage of Luke Danei and Anna Maria Massari, parents of St. Paul of the Cross (1692)

7th January
Introduction of the Ordinary Process of Canonisation of St. Paul of the Cross (1777)

9th January
Opening of the Hospice of the Crucified, first Passionist residence in Rome (1767)

2019 Passionist Liturgical Calendar

29 December, 2018

2018 Pope

2019 Passionist Liturgical Calendar (.pdf)

From St. Paul of the Cross @ Christmas

20 December, 2018


Christmas 2018

20 December, 2018


(Original in the room of St. Paul of the Cross, Sts. John and Paul’s Retreat, Rome)

Saint Paul of the Cross, who founded the Passionists, often spoke about the link between Bethlehem and Calvary, the Crib and the Cross. When he would build the Crib each Christmas at the first Passionist church at Monte Argentario in Italy, he would place a cross behind the child Jesus in the Crib to remind those who would pray there of the true meaning of Christmas: “for us and for our salvation he came down from heaven”.

When we remember the Crib and the Cross together, there is no danger of a purely sentimental approach to Christmas, because we realise that even in the stable at Bethlehem, the love of God which is revealed is a sacrificial love, the kind of love that lays down its life.

Through the mysteries of the Crib and the Cross, God not only reveals himself to us as Love incarnate. He also invites us into the mystery of his love, into the very heart of God himself. Jesus says, in Saint John’s gospel, that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes might not be lost but might have eternal life”.

Saint Paul of the Cross would say that God is most easily found in and through the humanity of Jesus. Bethlehem and Calvary, then, are places where we can find God, where our journey to God can begin, and where our relationship with him, our love for him can grow.

Fr. Paul Francis Spencer, C.P.