Posted March 9, 2018 By Phillip Chavez

1.St.FrancesFounded by St. FRANCES of ROME (1384-1440) a convent lies tucked inauspiciously amongst apartment flats and businesses in central Rome, close to the city hall area known as the “Campidoglio.” Attempting to find it walking down the street, you are most sure to miss it the first pass.

In the monastery there are series of striking frescos depicting the scenes and 3.Monastery.2miracles of the Saint. Some of these are terrifying, as they depict her interludes with demons. The cloister is only open to visitors on March 9 – that is, unless you can talk your way into a private visit.

FRANCES was married for 40 years, and during much of this time Rome was at war and the city was in chaos from political disarray and widespread disease. St. Frances responded by converting her home into a hospital. Known to be escorted by her guardian angel, she drove with a wagon into the streets and collected the sick and stranded in order to 2.St.Francescare for them. She miraculously cured many people, and also began the city’s first orphanage.

Her husband, Lorenzo Ponziani, commander of the papal armies, was wounded in war and returned to Rome to die in arms of his wife. After, Frances founded a congregation of nuns, later known as the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome.

The larger church built in her honor is adjacent to the Roman Forum, not far from the Colosseum. Her 6.churchremains, wrapped in linen, lie in a niche of the crypt under the main altar. Despite the awkward access to the church, it is often full of visitors.

St. Frances of Rome is the patron saint of many causes, including motorists, pilots, women, widows, and against plague and the death of children.


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Feb 22: Feast, Chair of St. Peter

Posted February 22, 2018 By Phillip Chavez

1.DSC_2368 (2)“CHAIR OF ST. PETER” – Today’s dedication offers both a spiritual and literal significance. While many are well-acquainted with the large stain glass dove depicting the Holy Spirit on the far back wall of St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican), below it, lies an elaborate bronze throne, flanked by 4 statues of important “doctors” of the Church: 2 from the West: St. Augustine & St. Ambrose, and two from the East: St. John 2.DSC_3878 (3)Chrysostom & St. Athanasius. Bernini claims its craftsmanship in the 17th century.

Encased in this bronzed throne is an ancient wooden chair, though ornamented—a seat actually used by the Apostle Peter and successive pontiffs. Originally, it constituted a plain oak armchair with 4 legs connected by cross-bars. The chair is a bit worm-eaten and refurbishments have been made to it over the centuries. The seat 5.Chair.StPeter.1structure stands almost 2 feet high and about 3 feet wide.

The “chair” is a symbol of spiritual authority of the Fisherman, popularly announced by Christ: “I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Mt 1:18). There exists an old tradition that Februrary 22 is the precise date Peter professed his faith in Jesus: “You are the Son of the living God”—thus prompting Christ’s response.

In an Angelus address by Pope Benedict, he stated that the chair is “a 3.DSC_6176 (3)symbol of the special mission of Peter and his Successors to tend Christ’s flock, keeping it united in faith and charity” (Feb. 19, 2012).


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Posted February 13, 2018 By Phillip Chavez

1.Shrove.Tuesday Today, most refer to as MARDI GRAS (Fat Tuesday), yet some in the U.K. refer as SHROVE TUESDAY—a day of celebration (often with a meal of pancakes) before being “Shriven” (absolved) in a 40-day journey of penance. But today ALSO commemorates the veneration of the Holy Face of Jesus: one of the oldest devotions in Christian tradition.

St. Veronica, as a sign of her love and compassion, offered Our Lord a veil 3.Sh.Tuesto wipe the blood and sweat from his face as He carried his cross on the way to crucifixion. In reward for her compassion, Jesus left an impression of his Holy Face upon the cloth. This event is memorialized in the Stations of the Cross.

5.Sh.TuesAccording to tradition, St. Veronica later entrusted the veil to St. Clement, a disciple of St. Peter, who became the third Bishop of Rome. For the next three centuries the Holy Veil was kept in the Roman catacombs during the early persecutions of the Church.

Veronica’s Veil was later moved to the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome where6.Sh.Tues it remains today. Veronica’s Veil is displayed annually from the relic niche above her statue in St. Peter’s Basilica on the fifth Sunday of Lent.


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Posted January 31, 2018 By Phillip Chavez

Don_Bosco_@_Torino,_1880_(original)FEAST Jan 31: OUTSIDE the central ROME TERMINI station stands a striking church called Sacred Heart of Jesus (at Castro Pretorio). The church was built by St. John Bosco and finished in 1887. The school he started still operates to this day.

While offering Mass a powerful vision occurred on the altar at the left transcept onDSC_1270 (2) May 16, 1887. John Bosco was shown with perfect clarity that he fulfilled the calling of his youth. Through the Spirit he received a simultaneous panoramic glance of the events of his life.

DSC_2233 (2)Since this past year, my pilgrims customarily receive permission to enter the private rooms of the saint. The main chamber where the saint slept and offered Mass sits in an unmarked door on the 2nd floor of the cloister. First time, had to open a number of doors til I found it…!

The young John spread the faith even to his childhood peers through his juggling, DSC_8222 (2)acrobatics, and magic tricks. His educational quest would continue building several (trade) schools and inspiring countless others — earning him the title as patron of apprentices and school children.



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