Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Saint Clare

Clare’s father was a count, her mother the countess Blessed Orsolana. Her father died when the girl was very young. After hearing Saint Francis of Assisi preach in the streets, Clare confided to him her desire to live for God, and the two became close friends. On Palm Sunday in 1212, her bishop presented Clare with a palm, which she apparently took as a sign. With her cousin Pacifica, Clare ran away from her mother’s palace during the night to enter religious life. She eventually took the veil from Saint Francis at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi, Italy.
Clare founded the Order of Poor Ladies (Poor Clares) at San Damiano, and led it for 40 years. Everywhere the Franciscans established themselves throughout Europe, there also went the Poor Clares, depending solely on alms, forced to have complete faith on God to provide through people; this lack of land-based revenues was a new idea at the time. Clare’s mother and sisters later joined the order, and there are still thousands of members living lives of silence and prayer.
Clare loved music and well-composed sermons. She was humble, merciful, charming, optimistic, chivalrous, and every day she meditated on the Passion of Jesus. She would get up late at night to tuck in her sisters who’d kicked off their blankets. When she learned of the Franciscan martyrs in Morrocco in 1221, she tried to go there to give her own life for God, but was restrained.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tau – Franciscan Cross

The Tau

A Franciscan Cross

By Ken Norian, TSSF
The first recorded reference to the TAU is from Ezekiel 9:4, “Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a TAU on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” The TAU is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and looks very much like the letter “T”.
At the Fourth Lateran Council, on November 11, 1215, Pope Innocent made reference to the TAU and quoted the above verse in reference to the profaning of the Holy Places by the Saracens. It is widely accepted that St. Francis was present at the Fourth Lateran Council and that he heard the words of Pope Innocent III when he said, “The TAU has exactly the same form as the Cross on which our Lord was crucified on Calvary, and only those will be marked with this sign and will obtain mercy who have mortified their flesh and conformed their life to that of the Crucified Savior. From then on, the TAU became Francis’ own coat of arms.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Peace Prayer

Who Wrote the
 Peace Prayer of St. Francis?
by Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M.

A bronze Francis sits peacefully at prayer near Assisi. Photo by Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
Few prayers are more popular around the world and better loved than the “Peace Prayer of St. Francis.” Nearly everyone recognizes a happy harmony between the words of this prayer and the generous, joy-filled and peace-loving spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. As we prepare for the October 4 Feast of St. Francis (this Sunday), let us look at this prayer more closely. What will surprise many readers is that no serious scholar today, Franciscan or otherwise, would place the Peace Prayer among the authentic writings of St. Francis. In recent decades it has become evident that the prayer originated during the early years of the 1900’s, but until recently no one has pointed out the exact year. Finally, researchers are getting to the bottom of the mystery.
About eight years ago, a Franciscan confrere gave me the e-mail address of French scholar Dr. Christian Renoux of the University of Orleans in France, who had come to know a lot about this issue. In 2001, Renoux authored a book in French, entitled La priere pour la paix attribuee a Saint Francois. Une enigme a resoudre (The Peace Prayer Attributed to St. Francis: A Riddle to Be Solved). While working on a writing project about 7 years ago, I asked Dr. Renoux if he could summarize his findings for me. Dr. Renoux  kindly agreed to do so.

The Roman Missal

The Roman Missal  (Missale Romanum) is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

Situation before the Council of Trent

Before the high Middle Ages, several books were used at Mass: a Sacramentary with the prayers, one or more books for the Scriptural readings, and one or more books for the anthiphons and other chants. Gradually, manuscripts came into being that incorporated parts of more than one of these books, leading finally to versions that were complete in themselves. Such a book was referred to as a Missale Plenum ("Full Missal"). In 1223 Saint Francis of Assisi instructed his friars to adopt the form that was in use at the Papal Court (Rule, chapter 3). They adapted this missal further to the needs of their largely itinerant apostolate. Pope Gregory IX considered, but did not put into effect, the idea of extending this missal, as revised by the Franciscans, to the whole Western Church; and in 1277 Pope Nicholas III ordered it to be accepted in all churches in the city of Rome. Its use spread throughout Europe, especially after the invention of the printing press; but the editors introduced variations of their own choosing, some of them substantial. Printing also favoured the spread of other liturgical texts of less certain orthodoxy. The Council of Trent recognized that an end must be put to the resulting confusion. READ MORE

The Roman Missal, Third Edition, the ritual text containing prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Mass, has been approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  The complete text of the Roman Missal is still undergoing final editing by Vatican officials. It is expected to be forwarded to Conferences of Bishops later this spring, at which time it will be prepared for publication.
Pope John Paul II announced a revised version of the Missale Romanum during the Jubilee Year 2000. Among other things, the revised edition of the Missale Romanum contains prayers for the observances of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces for the Eucharistic Prayers, additional Votive Masses and Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions, and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass. The English translation of the Roman Missal will also include updated translations of existing prayers, including some of the well–known responses and acclamations of the people.
This website has been prepared to help you prepare for the transition. Here you will find helpful resources for the faithful, for the clergy, and for parish and diocesan leaders, so that all of us will be ready to implement the new text late next year (2011). The receipt of the recognitio marks the beginning of the proximate preparation for the implementation of the Roman Missal. During the time leading up to actual first Sunday of use of the new text, pastors are encouraged to make use of the wide variety of resources available to prepare parishioners for the reception of the new text. 
May this process of the implementation of the revised Roman Missal be a time of deepening, nurturing, and celebrating our faith through our worship and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.  [General Instruction of the Roman Missal]

Prayers and The Rosary

Prayer of St. Francis for Peace:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

How to Pray the Rosary:
1. Looking at the cross, we hold it while we make the sign of the cross and pray the Apostles's Creed which is a summary of all the things we believe as Catholics.
2. On this separate bead, we pray an Our Father, the prayer that Jesus taught us.
3. On each of the next three beads, we pray the Hail Mary.
4. On this separate bead, we announce the first mystery. (e.g.. Joyful) We reflect on what happened to Jesus at this time and we think about what it means in our lives today. We pray the Our Father.
5. We pray one Hail Mary on each of the next 10 beads. Then we pray the Glory Be.
6. On this separate bead, we announce the second mystery, reflect, and pray the Our Father.
7. We pray one Hail Mary on each of the next ten
beads. Then we pray the Glory Be.
8. On this separate bead, we announce the third
mystery, reflect, and pray the Our Father.

Churches of Umbria

From Bill Thayer Web Site

[image ALT: Bevagna] [image ALT: A map of the Italian region of Umbria, clickmapped to every one of the 92 comuni in the region.] [image ALT: Costacciaro]
[image ALT: Todi] [image ALT: Fossato di Vico]
[image ALT: Orvieto] [image ALT: Spello]
[image ALT: Sangemini] [image ALT: Trevi]
[image ALT: Stroncone] [image ALT: Norcia]

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The San Damiano Cross

The Cross that spoke to St. Francis of Assisi
The San Damiano Cross can be found in every friary, in Franciscan Universities, and in the home of, probably, every Secular Franciscan home in the world.
This cross is a reproduction of the crucifix through which God spoke to Saint Francis of Assisi in the year 1205, saying “Go, Francis, and repair my Church which, as you see, is falling into ruin.” At first Francis misunderstood and proceeded to repair only the San Damiano Chapel, where this crucifix was located. Eventually his acts of poverty, humility and charity brought about repairs to the entire Catholic Church.
The San Damiano Cross is a painting containing images of Christ’s passion, death, resurrection and ascension into glory. Its thematic colors are red and black. Red, the color of Christ’s blood which he shed for us, symbolizes God’s love. Black is the color of death. The artist left us very little written explanation of his work, just names under the figures standing around the cross. The following interpretation of what his pictures represent is drawn mainly from several descriptions.


GIOTTO (Ambrogio Bondone, detto) 1267 - 1337
In the field of Christian art, during the later Middle Ages, the Franciscan movement exercised considerable influence, especially in Italy. Several great painters of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, especially Cimabue and Giotto, who, though they were not friars, were spiritual sons of Francis in the wider sense, and the plastic masterpieces of the latter, as well as the architectural conceptions of both himself and his school, show the influence of Franciscan ideals. The Italian Gothic style, whose earliest important monument is the great convent church at Assise (built 1228–53), was cultivated as a rule principally by members of the order or men under their influence. Giotto has become the symbol of a profound renewal in the history of Western figurative arts, and of the first radical renewal since ancient Greece. "He converted the art of painting from Greek to Latin and brought in the modern era" - this is Cennino Cennini's synthesis fifty years after Giotto's death, underscoring the revolutionary character of Giotto's painting.
Born in 1267, he must have been active before the last decade of thirteenth century.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Who Was St. Francis?

Who Was St. Francis?
by Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance.
Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."
From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.
He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up every material thing he had, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious "nut," begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, bringing sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.
But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (see Luke 9:1-3).
Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.
He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.
During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44) he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.
On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.

From Saint of the Day - Franciscan Father Leonard Foley (1913-1994) 
St. Pio of Pietrelcina (25 May 1887 – 23 September 1968), also known as Saint Padre Pio, or simply Padre Pio, was a Capuchin priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church. He was born Francesco Forgione, and given the name Pio when he joined the Capuchins; he was popularly known as Padre Pio after his ordination to the priesthood. He became famous for his stigmata. On 16 June 2002, he was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Francesco Forgione was born to Orazio Mario Forgione (1860–1946) and Maria Giuseppa de Nunzio Forgione (1859–1929) on 25 May 1887, in Pietrelcina, a farming town in the southern Italian region of Campania.[1] His parents made a living as peasant farmers.[2] He was baptized in the nearby Santa Anna Chapel, which stands upon the walls of a castle.[3] He later served as an altar boy in this same chapel. Restoration work on this chapel was later undertaken by the Padre Pio Foundation of America based in Cromwell, Connecticut.[4] His siblings were an older brother, Michele, and three younger sisters, Felicita, Pellegrina, and Grazia (who was later to become a Bridgettine nun).[2] His parents had two other children who died in infancy.[1] When he was baptised, he was given the name Francesco, which was the name of one of these two.[3] He claimed that by the time he was five years old he had already taken the decision to dedicate his entire life to God.[1][3] He is also said to have begun inflicting penances on himself and to have been chided on one occasion by his mother for using a stone as a pillow and sleeping on the stone floor.[5] He worked on the land up to the age of 10, looking after the small flock of sheep the family owned.[6] This delayed his education to some extent.Pietrelcina was a highly religious town (feast days of saints were celebrated throughout the year), and religion had a profound influence on the Forgione family. The members of the family attended daily Mass, prayed the Rosary nightly, and abstained from meat three days a week in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.[3] Although Francesco's parents and grandparents were illiterate, they memorised the Scriptures and narrated Bible stories to their children. It is claimed by his mother that Francesco was able to see and speak with Jesus, the Virgin Mary and his guardian angel, and that as a child, he assumed that all people could do so. As a youth Pio claimed to have experienced heavenly visions and ecstasies.[1] In 1897, after he had completed three years at the public school, Francesco was drawn to the life of a friar after listening to a young Capuchin friar who was, at that time, seeking donations in the countryside. When he expressed his desire to his parents, they made a trip to Morcone, a community 13 miles (21 km) north of Pietrelcina, to find out if their son was eligible to enter the Capuchin Order. The monks there informed them that they were interested in accepting Francesco into their community, but he needed more education qualifications.[3]

Francesco's father went to the United States in search of work to pay for private tutoring for his son Francesco, so that he might meet the academic requirements to enter the Capuchin Order.[1][6] It was in this period that Francesco received the sacrament of Confirmation on 27 September 1899.[3] He underwent private tutoring and passed the stipulated academic requirements. On 6 January 1903, at the age of 15, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone where, on 22 January, he took the Franciscan habit and the name of Fra (Brother) Pio in honor of Pope Saint Pius V, the patron saint of Pietrelcina.[3] He took the simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.[1]

To commence his six-year study for priesthood and to grow in community life, he travelled to the friary of St. Francis of Assisi by oxcart.[3] Three years later on 27 January 1907, he made his solemn profession. In 1910, Brother Pio was ordained a priest by Archbishop Paolo Schinosi at the Cathedral of Benevento. Four days later, he offered his first Mass at the parish church of Our Lady of the Angels. His health being precarious, he was permitted to remain with his family until early 1916 while still retaining the Capuchin habit.[5]

On 4 September 1916, Padre Pio was ordered to return to his community life. Thus he was moved to an agricultural community, Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, located in the Gargano Mountains in San Giovanni Rotondo. Along with Padre Pio, the community had seven friars. He stayed at San Giovanni Rotondo until his death, except for his military service.

When World War I started, four friars from this community were selected for military service.[9] At that time, Padre Pio was a teacher at the seminary and a spiritual director.[9] When one more friar was called into service, Padre Pio was put in charge of the community.[9] Then, in the month of August 1917 Padre Pio was also called to military service.[9] Although not in good health, he was assigned to the 4th Platoon of the 100th Company of the Italian Medical Corps.[9] Although hospitalized by mid-October, he was not discharged until March 1918, whereupon he returned to San Giovanni Rotondo and was assigned to work at Santa Maria degli Angeli (Our Lady of the Angels) in Pietrelcina.[9] Later, in response to his growing reputation as a worker of miracles, his superiors assigned him to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo.[9] In all, his military service lasted 182 days.[9]

Padre Pio then became a spiritual director, guiding many spiritually, considering them his spiritual daughters and sons. He had five rules for spiritual growth, namely, weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience.[9]

He compared weekly confession to dusting a room weekly, and recommended the performance of meditation and self-examination twice daily: once in the morning, as preparation to face the day, and once again in the evening, as retrospection. His advice on the practical application of theology he often summed up in his now famous quote, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry". He directed Christians to recognize God in all things and to desire above all things to do the will of God.[9]


The summons of the entrance antiphon captures well the joy of so many of the faithful who have long awaited the beatification of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. By his life given wholly to prayer and to listening to his brothers and sisters, this humble Capuchin friar astonished the world. Countless people came to meet him in the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo and, since his death, the flow of pilgrims has not ceased. When I was a student here in Rome, I myself had the chance to meet him personally, and I thank God for allowing me today to enter Padre Pio's name in the book of the blessed. Guided by the texts of this Fifth Sunday of Easter, which provides the context for the beatification, let us this morning trace the main features of his spiritual experience.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and believe also in me” (Jn 14:1). In the Gospel just proclaimed, we heard these words of Jesus to his disciples who were in need of encouragement. In fact, his allusion to his imminent departure had thrown them into turmoil. They were afraid of being abandoned, of being alone, and the Lord consoled them with a very specific promise: “I am going to prepare a place for you”, and then, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jn 14:2-3). Through Thomas, the Apostles reply to this reassurance: “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5). The remark is apt, and Jesus does not avoid the question which it implies. The answer he gives will remain for ever a light shining for generations still to come: “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (Jn 14:6). The “place” that Jesus goes to prepare is in “the house of the Father”; there the disciple will be able to be with the Master for all eternity and share in his joy. Yet there is only one path that leads there: Christ, to whom the disciple must be conformed more and more. Holiness consists precisely in this: that it is no longer the Christian who lives, but Christ himself who lives in him (cf. Gal 2:20). An exhilarating goal, accompanied by a promise which is no less consoling: “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than I will they do, because I am going to the Father” (Jn 14:12). We hear these words of Christ and think of the humble friar of Gargano. How clearly were they fulfilled in Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina! “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe ...”. What was the life of this humble son of St Francis if not a constant act of faith, strengthened by the hope of heaven, where he could be with Christ?

“I am going to prepare a place for you ... that where I am you may be also”. What other purpose was there for the demanding ascetical practices which Padre Pio undertook from his early youth, if not gradually to identify himself with the Divine Master, so that he could be “where he was”?
Those who went to San Giovanni Rotondo to attend his Mass, to seek his counsel or to confess to him, saw in him a living image of Christ suffering and risen. The face of Padre Pio reflected the light of the Resurrection. His body, marked by the “stigmata”, showed forth the intimate bond between death and resurrection which characterizes the paschal mystery. Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina shared in the Passion with a special intensity: the unique gifts which were given to him, and the interior and mystical sufferings which accompanied them, allowed him constantly to participate in the Lord's agonies, never wavering in his sense that “Calvary is the hill of the saints”. No less painful, and perhaps even more distressing from a human point of view, were the trials which he had to endure as a result, it might be said, of his incomparable charisms. It happens at times in the history of holiness that, by God's special permission, the one chosen is misunderstood. In that case, obedience becomes for him a crucible of purification, a path of gradual assimilation to Christ, a strengthening of true holiness. In this regard, Bl. Pio wrote to one of his superiors: “I strive only to obey you, the good God having made known to me the one thing most acceptable to him and the one way for me to hope for salvation and to sing of victory” (Letter I, p. 807). When the “storm” broke upon him, he took as his rule of life the exhortation of the First Letter of Peter, that we have just heard: Come to Christ, a living stone (cf. 1 Pt 2:4). He himself thus became a “living stone” for the building of that spiritual house which is the Church. For this we today give thanks to the Lord.

“You too are living stones, built into a spiritual house” (1 Pt 2:5). How fitting are these words if we apply them to the extraordinary ecclesial experience which grew up around the new blessed! So many people, meeting him directly or indirectly, rediscovered their faith; inspired by his example, “prayer groups” sprang up in every corner of the world. To all who flocked to him he held up the ideal of holiness, repeating to them: “It seems that Jesus has no interest outside of sanctifying your soul” (Letter II, p. 155). If God's Providence willed that he should be active without ever leaving his convent, as though he were “planted” at the foot of the Cross, this is not without significance. One day the Divine Master had to console him, at a moment of particular trial, by telling him that “it is under the Cross that one learns to love” (Letter I, p. 339). The Cross of Christ is truly the outstanding school of love; indeed, the very “well-spring” of love. Purified by suffering, the love of this faithful disciple drew hearts to Christ and to his demanding Gospel of salvation. At the same time, his charity was poured out like balm on the weaknesses and the sufferings of his brothers and sisters. Padre Pio thus united zeal for souls with a concern for human suffering, working to build at San Giovanni Rotondo a hospital complex which he called the “House for the Relief of Suffering”. He wanted it to be a first-class hospital, but above all he was concerned that the medicine practised there would be truly “human”, treating patients with warm concern and sincere attention. He was quite aware that people who are ill and suffering need not only competent therapeutic care but also, and more importantly, a human and spiritual climate to help them rediscover themselves in an encounter with the love of God and with the kindness of their brothers and sisters. With the “House for the Relief of Suffering”, he wished to show that God's “ordinary miracles” take place in and through our charity. We need to be open to compassion and to the generous service of our brothers and sisters, using every resource of medical science and technology at our disposal. The echo stirred by this beatification in Italy and throughout the world shows that the fame of Padre Pio, a son of Italy and of Francis of Assisi, has gone forth to embrace all the continents. And I gladly greet those who have gathered here — in the first place the Italian authorities who have chosen to be present: the President of the Republic, the President of the Senate, the Prime Minister, who leads the official delegation, and the many other ministers and distinguished guests. Italy is represented most worthily! But also the many faithful from other nations have gathered here to pay homage to Padre Pio.
My affectionate greeting goes to all who have come from near and far, with a special thought for the Capuchin Fathers. To everyone I offer heartfelt thanks. Let me conclude with the words of the Gospel of this Mass: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God”. There is a reference to this exhortation of Christ in the advice which the new blessed never tired of giving to the faithful: “Abandon yourselves fully to the divine heart of Jesus, like a child in the arms of his mother”. May these words of encouragement fill our hearts too and become a source of peace, serenity and joy. Why should we fear, if Christ for us is the Way, and the Truth and the Life? Why should we not trust in God who is the Father, our Father? May “Our Lady of Graces”, whom the humble Capuchin of Pietrelcina invoked with constant and tender devotion, help us to keep our gaze fixed on God. May she take us by the hand and lead us to seek wholeheartedly that supernatural charity flowing forth from the wounded side of the Crucified One. And you, Bl. Padre Pio, look down from heaven upon us assembled in this square and upon all gathered in prayer before the Basilica of St John Lateran and in San Giovanni Rotondo. Intercede for all those who, in every part of the world, are spiritually united with this event and raise their prayers to you. Come to the help of everyone; give peace and consolation to every heart. Amen! ___________________________________________________________________






The crypt is located just under Santa Maria della Concezione, a church commissioned by Pope Urban VIII in 1626. The pope's brother, Cardinal Antonio Barberini, who was of the Capuchin order, in 1631 ordered the remains of thousands of Capuchin friars exhumed and transferred from the friary Via dei Lucchesi to the crypt. The bones were arranged along the walls, and the friars began to bury their own dead here, as well as the bodies of poor Romans, whose tomb was under the floor of the present Mass chapel. Here the Capuchins would come to pray and reflect each evening before retiring for the night. The crypt, or ossuary, now contains the remains of 4,000 friars buried between 1500-1870, during which time the Roman Catholic Church permitted burial in and under churches. The underground crypt is divided into five chapels, lit only by dim natural light seeping in through cracks, and small fluorescent lamps. The crypt walls are decorated with the remains in elaborate fashion, making this crypt a macabre work of art. Some of the skeletons are intact and draped with Franciscan habits, but for the most part, individual bones are used to create elaborate ornamental designs.


LINKS TO WEBSITES: -- Shrine of Padre Pio -- Padre Pio Devotions --


The Council of Trent

The Council of Trent (Latin: Concilium Tridentinum) was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important[1] councils. It convened in Trent (then capital of the Prince-Bishopric of Trent, inside the Holy Roman Empire, now in modern Italy) between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods. Council fathers met for the first through eighth sessions in Trent (1545-1547), and for the ninth through eleventh sessions in Bologna (1547) during the pontificate of Pope Paul III.[2] Under Pope Julius III, the council met in Trent (1551-1552) for the twelfth through sixteenth sessions. Under Pope Pius IV the seventeenth through twenty-fifth sessions took place in Trent (1559-1563).
The council issued condemnations on what it defined as Protestant heresies and defined Church teachings in the areas of Scripture and Tradition, Original Sin, Justification, Sacraments, the Eucharist in Holy Mass and the veneration of saints. It issued numerous reform decrees.[3] By specifying Catholic doctrine on salvation, the sacraments, and the Biblical canon, the Council was answering Protestant disputes.[1] The Council entrusted to the Pope the implementation of its work; as a result, Pope Pius V issued in 1566 the Roman Catechism, in 1568 a revised Roman Breviary, and in 1570 a revised Roman Missal, thus initiating what since the twentieth century has been called the Tridentine Mass (from the city's Latin name Tridentum), and Pope Clement VIII issued in 1592 a revised edition of the Vulgate.[4]
The Council of Trent, delayed and interrupted several times because of political or religious disagreements, was a major reform council and the most impressive embodiment of the ideals of the Counter-Reformation.[4] It would be over 300 years until the next Ecumenical Council. When announcing Vatican II, Pope John XXIII stated that the precepts of the Council of Trent continue to the modern day, a position that was reaffirmed by Pope Paul VI.[5]