Feast Apr 16: Benedict Labre

Posted April 16, 2018 By Phillip Chavez

DSC_9165 (1)At Via dei Serpenti, 2, leading to the Colosseum, lies an inconspicuous entrance to the room where “the Beggar of Rome” entered his eternal reward on April 16, 1783.

St. BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE was born in Amettes, France, on March 25, 1748, the eldest of eighteen children. Having pursued studies under a priest-uncle at Erin, France, Benedict DSC_1193 (1)made attempts to join the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians. None would take him.

In 1770, he set out to visit major shrines of Europe, finally to land permanently in Rome in 1774. He lived a poor life, even dwelling at times in the ruins of the Colosseum. His devotion and sanctity was recognized widely.

DSC_9163 (1)Labre’s confessor and biographer attributed 136 cures to his intercession within 3 months of his death. Living in Rome, the Rev. John Thayer was inspired unto conversion. Thayer is known as the first American Protestant clergyman to convert to Catholicism.

Canonized in 1883, Benedict is the patron saint of the homeless.

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St. Paul in Rome

Posted April 14, 2018 By Phillip Chavez

DSC_3117 (3)The last day of our pilgrimage, Fr. Darrin Merlino offered Mass at the exact site where St. Paul was under house arrest in Rome for two years: waiting his judgment by the Emperor.

Situated in perhaps the busiest street in Rome, the church of Santa Maria in Via Lata sits over this residence where Paul lived. Here Paul met with St. Peter, St. John, St. Luke, and other notable Christians. Paul wrote the book to the Hebrews here, and he DSC_9100 (3)was present with Luke for his writing of the Acts of the Apostles.

The various chambers underneath the church have been reconfigured during the Middle Ages, but the strength and peace and power of Paul’s presence can definitely be felt.

St. Paul, pray for us…

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Pope Francis Yesterday

Posted April 12, 2018 By Phillip Chavez



Roma: Pillar of Christ

Posted April 11, 2018 By Phillip Chavez

0.Praxedes.2SANTA PRAXEDES is an amazing church to visit—though very unassuming from the outside. St. Peter was hosted for a time at the site of this church, belonging to the family of St. Prassede, where the early Roman Christians also gathered.

When remains of the martyrs were removed from the catacombs into the churches of Rome (for safety), over 2,300 found their final resting place here.

However, perhaps most inspiring stands the PILLAR on which CHRIST was DSC_8699 (3)SCOURGED, mounted in a side chapel. This relic was brought from Constantinople by the papal legate Card. Giovanni Colonna in 1223.

Close contact with this relic is a moving experience in Rome. Every group I take has this opportunity…. and yes, always tears…


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