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THE SAIT PHILOMENA MESSENGER
Issue Number 30 October, 2002, A.D.


My dear Friends of Saint Philomena,

May the Good Lord bless you all through the powerful intercession of Saint Philomena!
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF SAINT PHILOMENA

It was in 1802 A.D. that the remains of the youthful Virgin Martyr Philomena were discovered in the catacombs of Saint Priscilla in Rome. So we celebrated this year the 200th. anniversary of this event.

"Saint Philomena". When I was at the Seminary, we students were under the impression that this great Saint was non-existent, a fairy-tale personage used by the Holy Curé of Ars, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney to "cover-up" his miracles from his humility.

I must admit, on coming to Miami in 1989, I had no devotion at all to Saint Philomena, simply a desire to help a community that had suffered much in its legitimate aspiration to celebrate the traditional Mass in Latin and (more important) be taught the true Catholic Faith.

My predecessor, an holy German priest, had named this mission after Saint Philomena, according to his personal devotion. I can bear witness that he went nowhere without a First Class relic of the Saint in his pocket

On a visit to Rome in 1989, I had the opportunity to visit the Shrine of Saint Philomena in Mugnano del Cardinale, near Naples. Here my relationship with the Saint changed entirely. I became convinced of her existence and power. (The full story is recorded in Messenger No. 22, April,1999 and may by sent on request).

The Shrine at Mugnano continues to this day, its Rector being appointed by the local Bishop of Nola, completely in union with the local diocese and the Holy See.

After many years of being ignored and derided, over the last fifteen or so years, devotion to Saint Philomena has revived, mostly through the exercise of lay apostolates.

Saint Philomena is the Patroness of two great virtues: Purity and Faith; the virtues for which she died. These virtues are much needed in our times. May she continue to pray for us all!

NEWS FROM MIAMI


Saint Philomena's Day was celebrated with the usual fervour on Sunday, 11th. August. The Solemn Traditional Latin Mass was offered in a packed, packed church. Hundreds of souls filled our building, vestibule and forecourt, where the Mass could be heard by loudspeaker. The air conditioners were completely over-worked, but neither clergy, altar boys or faithful fainted for the heat! The choir sang magnificently, leading the congregation in "full participation" in the holy liturgy: so far so that I thought the roof might take off at any moment! (How our people can sing!). How edifying to observe an overwhelmingly young gathering of all races and colours (truly "Catholic"), singing and praying in four languages: Latin, English, Spanish and French!

After Mass, we held our usual Procession of the Saint, exiting to the sound of firecrackers and aerial bombs which must have sounded to the Central American locals as the outbreak of yet another revolution! After almost interminable blessings with the relic of the Saint and anointings with her Holy Oil, at last we could break for refreshments at about 1.30 p.m. (My right arm ached for a week afterwards!)

We chose, as usual an "Holy Innocent", this year, Anais Rodriguez to draw the raffle. Congratulations to Teresa Svetz of Pennsylvania who won the Spanish Statue of Saint Philomena. To the others: "Try again, next year!"

NOVEMBER, THE MONTH OF HOLY SOULS

November, once more, will soon be with us. You will find in this mailing an envelope on which you may write your Holy Souls' remembrances. This will be placed on the altar for the Masses of All Souls' Day. You may include a donation. Please return the envelope before the 2nd. of November.

"It is, therefore, a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they should be loosed from their sins." (2 Maccabees 12:46)

How much we must pray for the Holy Souls, for they cannot help themselves!

Catholics, following the traditions of their Jewish forebears, have prayed for the dead since the very beginning of the Church.

Protestants do not pray for the dead. They say that such prayer is not in the Bible. It is not in their "Bible", because they threw out the books where it is evidenced. An examination of the "Jewish Daily Prayer Book" will tell us that devout Jews today pray for their dead, just as they did at the time of Christ. Prayer for the dead by Christians today is but a continuance of Jewish practice. There is no question that Jesus Himself would have prayed for the dead both in public and private.

In November, more than ever, let us go out of our way to pray for the Holy Souls!

A PLENARY INDULGENCE, APPLICABLE TO THE HOLY SOULS:

May be gained on: 1. All Souls' Day, November 2nd., by visiting a church or oratory and praying for the Holy Souls. Say one "I believe" and one "Our Father".
2. Once a day from November 1st to the 8th., by visiting a (any) cemetery and praying for those buried there (any prayer).
To gain these indulgences is a great act of charity. Make sure you do not miss these wonderful opportunities to release many souls from Purgatory. How they will pray for you, as grateful Saints in Heaven!

WHAT A CONSOLING THOUGHT!

NEVER DESPAIR OF A SOUL!
REMEMBER - THERE IS NO TIME WITH GOD!
PRAYERS AND MASSES OFFERED NOW FOR A LOVED ONE LONG SINCE DEPARTED MAY BE APPLIED AT THE MOMENT OF THE SOUL'S GREATEST NEED, THE MOMENT OF DEATH.
NEVER DESPAIR OF A SOUL!


WELCOME ABOARD!

The greatest news at this time is that the famous author, lecturer, spiritual director and holy priest, Fr. Enrique Rueda, M.A., has joined us full time.

Father has been associated with us for many years. Now he has retired, we may expect many years of great Catholic contribution to our mission.

Father is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, German and Haitian Creole. He is not only a sociologist, but also an engineer. His book: "The Homosexual Network", published in 1982 (Devin Adair), is especially relevant in our troubled times.

OUR HOLY RELICS

The picture below shows our complete collection of First Class relics:

In order, from left to right the relics are: Saint Rita; Saints Gregory VII, Thomas of Canterbury, Margaret the Virgin; The True Cross of Christ; St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus; Saint Anne; Saint Loius de Marillac; Blessed Maria Katharina; St. Martin de Porres; St. Pius X; St. John Neumann; St. Pius X (2); St. Catherine Labouré; St. Philomena; St. Dominic; St. Felicis of Canterbury.

Most of these precious relics were rescued from being thrown on the city rubbish dump by a modernist parish priest in Chicago some 13 years ago!

If you know of any unwanted relics, vestments, chalices, holy vessels, etc. Please send them to us. We promise that they will be used in the traditional Catholic liturgy here or sent to needy missions, etc.


PLEASE HELP, IF YOU CAN!

Presently, we have a small church and a rectory. The church is "land-locked" : that is to say that we cannot expand. We have very limited parking. We are very poor. Up until now God has not blessed us generous millionaires, rich intellectuals, lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc. Instead, we have many good, humble folk, labourers, mechanics, plumbers, cleaners, housekeepers, retirees, who love their Faith, the Holy Mass and Saint Philomena and who are unitedly and staunchly Pro-Life.

We have no debts except for around $ 7,000.00 for the rectory mortgage. We need a bigger facility. We need a lecture room (Fr. Rueda has dreams of giving classes in English, Creole and Spanish!) Could some generous soul help us purchase (or build- better) a much larger facility?

I would like to remind all that the Shrine of Saint Philomena in Miami is not financially supported by the local diocese and receives no funds from any religious society. We rely for our day to day existence on donations and profits made through the sale of statues, books, medals, pictures, etc. of our Patroness. Donations and sales have been miserably small since the horrendous events of September 11th., but are slowly picking up again. We are eternally grateful for your support in the past and very much need it for the present and future.

As ever, may God bless you, dear Friends, through the powerful intercession of Saint Philomena!

Revd. Fr. Timothy A. Hopkins, B.A., M.Th., P.G.C.E.
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(Copyright: Revd. Fr. Timothy A. Hopkins, 2002, A.D.)