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THE SAINT PHILOMENA MESSENGER
Issue Number 37 September, 2004, A.D.

Dear Friends of Saint Philomena,

Greetings from Fr. Rueda and myself as we come to the end of another year, by the Grace of God!
I am writing this letter on the Feast of Our Lady's Birthday, a very significant day for our Latin Mass community, as I will explain later.

The Winners of the Raffle, drawn on our Patronal Festival (8th. August, 2004, A.D.), were:
1st. Prize (Porcelain Nativity set): Rita Marvez (Miami)
2nd. Prize (Hand-painted statue of St. Philomena): Richard Walczak (Ml)
3rd. Prize (Perpetual Mass): Mr. & Mrs. A. Stolpa (NC)

Wednesday, 8th. December, 2004, A.D.
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF OUR BLESSED LADY (HOLIDAY OF OBLIGATION)
MASSES: 7.30, 10.00 a.m; 9.00 p.m.
Followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Prayer to end Abortion Murder (The Night of Prayer for Life).
Concluding with Mass at 1.00 a.m.

Fr. Hopkins will celebrate his 20th. Anniversary of Ordination this day. Father was ordained by the Bishop of Marsi, Italy on 8th. December, 1984. He celebrated his First Holy Mass at the Tomb of Saint Peter in the Vatican Basilica the next day, Sunday, 9th. December, 1984, in the presence of his superiors, parents and many friends.

Father asks that rather than have a party, we might join with hundreds of other churches throughout the country participating in the Night of Prayer for Life, praying and sacrificing for the end of the "abominable crime" (Pope John Paul II) of abortion.

Yes, THE HOLY DOOR!
We think of the Holy Door as that in S. Peter's Basilica, Rome, opened & shut every Holy Year, the last occasion being in 2000, A.D., the 2000th. Anniversary of the Son of God coming into this world as our Redeemer.
Well, we have a Holy Door too, in truth, on a much lower scale, but still an holy door...

Let me explain:
Around August 1991, a delightful Cuban Lady by the name of Josefina Onate, came to church and asked that I might go with her to her home to "see something special".

On arriving at her house I was shown into room full of boxes and miscellaneous junk. "Do you see it?" Josefina asked. "See what?" was my reply. "On the door." Against one of the walls was an old door complete with hinges and handle. I strained my eyes to see anything unusual. In the upper right-hand corner was a feint image in black which stood out against the varnished wood. I could discern what looked like a boat with three figures in it. Above this was something that looked very much like a crowned image of Our Lady, holding a large Cross in the right hand and, yes, the Infant Jesus in the left: extraordinary! It closely resembled Our Lady of Charity, the Patroness of Cuba.

Now, I am not a vision hunter. I have very little time for "signs and wonders." Public revelation ended with the death of St. John the Evangelist. Private revelations may be declared edifying to the Faithful by Church authorities, but they cannot add anything to what we already have in Scripture and Tradition. This being said, I sought an explanation.

The story was going to be a long one and was told over several cups of Cuban coffee, very sweet and very strong.

When the first exiles from the Communist revolution in Cuba arrived, they thought they would be going back in a matter of months. Most, if they haven't died in the meantime, are still here after forty years or more. This first wave of emigrants were nearly all well-educated, good Catholics and sometimes wealthy, although some lost everything to Castro and his thugs. One thing they had in common was their devotion to Our Lady of Charity.

One of these early arrivals was a lady who rented an apartment in a now demolished building in what soon became to be .called "Little Havana", very close to the present shrine church of Saint Philomena. Her neighbour was an atheist and our friend prayed to Our Lady of Charity constantly for her conversion. One day around 1964 the image of Our Lady appeared on a door in the atheist's apartment. She was converted and ended her days as a missionary sister in the Dominican Republic. On the demolition of the apartment building, the door was taken to a house in the Coral Gables area, where it became an object of veneration by the Cuban exiles.

The image has been examined scientifically. It is not burnt into the wood, neither is it painted. Some days it is very clear, other days quite feint. As of yet, there has been no natural explanation of its origin or persistence.
The family where the door was kept sold their home in the early 1980s, and Josefina took it into her home to keep it safe. Then it was in 1991 that she asked me to take it into the church. It has been there ever since. Constantly over the years Josefina promised to write down everything she knew about the door. Sadly, her intention was never realized. She died in 2002, A.D.

In the same year, a generous soul donated a 40" high image of Our Lady of Charity to the church. We made an altar for it, behind which we placed the "holy door".

In 1998 the "Miami Herald" published an article in its "Tropic Magazine" by Augusta Maxwell, concerning "a mysterious image on a door" (March 22, 1998). It corroborated the testimony ofjosefina Onate. Augusta had been taken to see the door in its Coral Gables location by his father. I quote from the article:

"We went to a small house near the Coral Gables water tower, where an older couple I had never met greeted us. They led us into one of their bedrooms here they turned on the lights and revealed a completely bare room except for a dozen folding chairs facing an unhinged wooden door mounted in the middle of one of the walls...

Experts examined the door and concluded the images were not man made. Dad's belief was that the door was a sign from Our Lady of Charity, Cuba's patron Virgin, that she had not abandoned the country to communism."
Out of respect for my dear friend Josefina Onate, R.I.P., I feel obliged to share this story with you on the Feast of Our Lady's
Birth, the Feast of Our Lady of Charity. Please pray for Cuba, a country that has been scourged by Communism far too long. The door is on display daily in the church. Come and see it!

To Remind You
Every Friday we celebrate a Mass in honour of Saint Philomena, venerate her First Class Relic and receive the anointing 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!

Perpetual Masses
Anyone requesting a Perpetual Mass will have his intentions inscribed in the Book of Perpetual Masses. A beautiful certificate will be sent, inscribed with the name(s) of those to be remembered at Masses offered on the four annual feast days of Saint Philomena, namely: Her Birthday, 10th. January; The discovery of her precious body, 25th. May; The anniversary of her glorious death and the translation of her body from Rome to Mugnano del Cardinale, 10th. August;

Her principal feast day, 11th. August.
To request Perpetual Masses, please use the form provided
on Page 4 of this Newsletter.

May the Good Lord shower upon you His choicest blessings through the powerful intercession of Saint Philomena!

The Revd. Fr. Timothy A. Hopkins, B.A, M.Th, P.G.C.E, Administrator of the Shrine.