THE SAINT PHILOMENA MESSENGER
On Sunday the 8th. of August, the Sunday nearest to Saint Philomena's principal feast-day we shall once more celebrate our Patronal Festival. Details of this day's celebrations and other related activities are set out below.
Many people continue to contact us about our Patron Saint. "Who
was Saint Philomena?" "How and why did she die?" "Did
she really exist?" And so on. Let us refresh our memories with some
answers to these questions.
Historically, that is all we know, and this was to cause great problems later on. However, almost immediately after the discovery of the relics miracles began to happen associated with them, so much so that Saint Philomena was to become known as "The Miracle-Worker of the Nineteenth Century". Devotion spread principally in Italy and in the Italian diaspora, in France and her colonies and in Ireland and wherever the Irish were to be found in the world. She was not to be so well known in the Spanishspeaking world, although I am aware of churches in Panama and Chile built in her honour.
Soon after the discovery of the relics, three independent persons in Italy, a workman, a priest and a nun had revelations concerning the life and death of the Saint which agreed in content with each other. According to these, Saint Philomena was a princess from a country which would now be Greece. She was taken by her parents to Rome at the beginning of the Fourth Century during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian, infamous for his bitter persecutions of Christians. It was he who personally had her put to death.
Why exactly was she killed? There were two important reasons. Firstly,
she had taken a vow of virginity. Diocletian wanted to marry her and was
enraged when she refused him because she had already given herself to
After a long series of trials and tortures, she was slain by having a lance driven through the back of her neck.
She died a Virgin-Martyr. For this reason the colours of Saint Philomena are red and white; red representing the blood she shed in keeping the Catholic Faith, white representing her purity.
We may say that Saint Philomena reached the height of her popularity in the 1950s, those heady days of optimism for the Church when Pius XII was still "gloriously reigning".
Then came the year 1961. Suddenly she was removed from the universal calendar of the Church on the basis of the lack of "historical evidence" mentioned above.
During the general iconoclasm resulting from the Second Vatican Council her shrines were destroyed and devotion to her more or less ceased. Most horrible was the desecration of her Shrine at Ars, France, built by the Holy Cure, to whom she granted numerous miracles. The only active shrine remaining to her before the one in Miami was established in 1988 was that in Mugnano del Cardinale (AV), Italy. This in itself is a strange thing, for, despite the "ban" this, her principal shrine in the world has continued with diocesan approval. The Bishop of Nola appoints the shrine Rector to this day!
Remarkably, mainly owing to lay iniciatives, the last 15 years have seen a restoration of devotion to Saint Philomena in a small, but significant way throughout the world. One has only to type in Saint Philomena's name on an Internet search to see evidence of this. It is as if she is saying to us: "I am still here to help you in your most important needs at this time of loss of faith and dreadful immorality."
So it is that Saint Philomena is the Patroness of the Catholic Faith at a time when so many millions have lost or are losing it, sinking into indifference or worse still, embracing false, man made religions, verily the product of satan himself. What a heart-rending trial it is here in Miami to observe the proliferation of Protestant sects: nearly every other store-front on S.W. 8th. Street (Calle Ocho) is a Protestant "church" packed every day with Ex-Catholic Hispanics! This is saying nothing of the poison of the Jehovah Witnesses and the demonic idiocy of the Mormons. Saint Philomena crush these heresies!
Saint Philomena is the Patroness of Purity. We live in a time when, without a doubt the level of impurity and vice of all description, natural and un-natural is at the highest since the beginning of the world. And the horrible abortions! Saint Philomena, help us to live pure and holy lives in the midst of such abominable sins! Help us to have the fortitude to turn off the television, the radio, the internet. Inspire us to dress modestly. Help our young people resist the million temptations of the demons against their purity. Make them realize that they are not animals, but persons created in the image and likeness of God, with free will to always refuse the evil and choose the good!
On Saint Philomena's Day this year we will take the handcarved image of our Patroness out in procession through the local streets. This is a beautiful act of witness and source of grace. On returning to the church we may be blessed with the First Class Relic of the Saint (Given to us by the Vatican in 1990) and be anointed with her Holy Oil.
On this great day, even if you cannot be with us physically, unite yourself with us in prayer. Bring Saint Philomena your needs. She is waiting for you! She is Powerful with God! Send us your petitions (See Page 4). They will be placed at her altar. Light candles in her honour!
Every Friday we celebrate a Mass in honour of Saint Philomena, venerate her First Class Relic and receive the unction with her Holy Oil. The Mass is at 7.00 p.m. and is a High Mass. Please spread the word if you live locally!
Sunday, 8th. August, 2004