THE SAINT PHILOMENA MESSENGER
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!
The Winners of the Raffle, drawn on our Patronal Festival (8th. August,
2004, A.D.), were:
Wednesday, 8th. December, 2004, A.D.
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!
Let me explain:
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.
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
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."
To Remind You
Her principal feast day, 11th. August.
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.