Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Holy Mass is the Work of God

Painting: Saint Jean-Marie Viannney and Saint Peter Julian Eymard
The Preacher Belongs to the Word
The Word does not belong to the preacher; the preacher belongs to the Word. This was true of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, it was true of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, and it is true of today’s saint, the holy parish priest Jean-Marie Vianney. The Curé of Ars stands in a long line of preachers possessed by the Word, and compelled to speak it without compromise.
Incendiary Preaching
The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them” (Jer 6:14). Holy preaching is, necessarily, incendiary. Jean-Marie Vianney was not particularly eloquent; he preached in a cracked and broken voice, but his words communicated the fire of the Holy Spirit. Even the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century, the Dominican Père Lacordaire, fell silent before the charism of holy preaching in Jean Marie Vianney.
John Paul and Jean-Marie
When the Curé of Ars spoke of the Sacrament of the Altar, he glowed. He communicated to his hearers the Eucharistic fire that burned in his own heart. Twenty-one years in ago in 1986, Pope John Paul II devoted his Holy Thursday Letter to Priests to Saint Jean–Marie Vianney. I think that today we can read that letter as one saint talking about another. This is what Pope John Paul II said:
The Eucharist was at the very center of Saint Jean Vianney’s spiritual life and pastoral work. He said: “All good works put together are not equivalent to the Sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men and the Holy Mass is the work of God.” It is in the Mass that the sacrifice of Calvary is made present for the Redemption of the world. Clearly, the priest must unite the daily gift of himself to the offering of the Mass: “How well a priest does, therefore, to offer himself to God in sacrifice every morning!”(15) “Holy Communion and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the two most efficacious actions for obtaining the conversion of hearts.”(16)
Thus the Mass was for John Mary Vianney the great joy and comfort of his priestly life. He took great care, despite the crowds of penitents, to spend more than a quarter of an hour in silent preparation. He celebrated with recollection, clearly expressing his adoration at the consecration and communion. He accurately remarked: “The cause of priestly laxity is not paying attention to the Mass!”

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Che Settimana!

napoli.gifThis is the constitutional flag of the Kingdom of Naples and of the Two Sicilies. King Ferdinando II delle Due Sicilie was a visitor to the Onoratelli ancestral palace in Sepicciano, Campania. The bed he slept in is still used! I’ve slept in it!

The Saints

The first week of August is one of my favourite weeks in the sanctoral cycle: Saint Alphonus Maria Liguori on the 1st, Saint Peter Julian Eymard on the 2nd, and Saint Jean-Marie Vianney on the 4th. Unfortunately, I found myself over my head in all sorts of obligations that kept me from posting this week.

Italian Sunshine

The most pleasant of these was the visit from Italy of my young (20 something) cousins Ettore and Sissi de Lellis, together with their friends Francesca and Gianmarco. They were overnight guests in my parents’ home. The four of them were going on to New York City from here, and from there to Florida and Mexico!

Ettore, an engineer specializing in spacecraft (the proverbial rocket scientist) works in Capua. Sissi, a very pretty young attorney practising criminal law, works in Rome. Home, for both of them is the Onoratelli ancestral palace in Sepicciano, beautifully restored by their parents Carlo and Nora. This is the house where my great-grandmother (Donna Emma Onoratelli Barbato) grew up and where my grandfather (Angelo Barbato) stayed as a very little boy. Gianmarco, from Piedimonte Matese, is an attorney specializing in labour law. Francesca, a communications specialist, is from Napoli and Sorrento. Meridional sunshine!


On Wednesday afternoon my mother prepared a stupendous pranzo for them: antipasto followed by ravioli, then delicious cotolette (Mom’s specialty), followed by fruit, and later on in the evening by coffee and dolci. The guests had worked up an appetite by touring New Haven’s Yale University (two art galleries!) and other local attractions.

The life of the party was 94 year old Zia Edvige (my mother’s Aunt Eva) who regaled the young people with her stories in a mixture of Italian, English, and Neapolitan dialect. Great fun!

A Family Evening

At about 7:00 p.m. others began to join us: my sister Donna with husband Wayne and children Sean and Lauren; cousin Ernest Delgiudice; cousins Felicia and Jackie Campagnuolo. The conversation was a very animated mixture of Italian and English all evening.


The next morning I drove our travelers to Union Station in New Haven whence they departed for New York. Now that things have calmed down somewhat, I hope to resume my customary posts. Having Ettore, Sissi, Gianmarco, and Francesca here was wonderful!

Support the monks of Silverstream Priory:

Situated amidst pasture land and forest in the eastern reaches of County Meath, Silverstream Priory was founded in 2012 at the invitation of the Most Reverend Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, and canonically erected as an autonomous monastery of diocesan right on 25 February 2017. The property belonged, from the early 15th century, to the Preston family, premier Viscounts of Ireland and Lords of Gormanston. In 1843 Thomas Preston (1817-1903), son of Jenico Preston, the 12th Viscount (1775-1860), built what today is Silverstream Priory.

Silverstream Priory is a providential realisation of the cherished project of Abbot Celestino Maria Colombo, O.S.B. (1874–1935), who, following the impetus given by Catherine–Mectilde de Bar in the 17th century, sought to establish a house of Benedictine monks committed to ceaseless prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation. The community of Silverstream Priory holding to the use of Latin and Gregorian Chant, celebrate the Divine Office in its traditional Benedictine form and Holy Mass in the “Usus Antiquior” of the Roman Rite. Praying and working in the enclosure of the monastery, the monks of Silverstream keep at heart the sanctification of priests labouring in the vineyard of the Lord. They undertake various works compatible with their monastic vocation, notably the development of the land and gardens, hospitality to the clergy in need of a spiritual respite, scholarly work, and publishing.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

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