Friday, May 23, 2014



O Mary,
Mother of Jesus Christ and Mother of priests,
accept this title which we bestow on you
to celebrate your motherhood
and to contemplate with you the priesthood
of, your Son and of your sons,
O holy Mother of God.

O Mother of Christ,
to the Messiah-priest you gave a body of flesh
through the anointing of the Holy Spirit
for the salvation of the poor and the contrite of heart;
guard priests in your heart and in the Church,
O Mother of the Savior.

O Mother of Faith,
you accompanied to the Temple the Son of Man,
the fulfillment of the promises given to the fathers;
give to the Father for his glory
the priests of your Son,
O Ark of the Covenant.

O Mother of the Church,
in the midst of the disciples in the upper room
you prayed to the Spirit
for the new people and their shepherds;
obtain for the Order of Presbyters
a full measure of gifts,
O Queen of the Apostles.

O Mother of Jesus Christ,
you were with him at the beginning
of his life and mission,
you sought the Master among the crowd,
you stood beside him when he was lifted up from the earth
consumed as the one eternal sacrifice,
and you had John, your son, near at hand;
accept from the beginning those who have been called,
protect their growth,
in their life ministry accompany your sons,
O Mother of Priests.


[Source: John Paul II, conclusion of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation
"Pastores dabo vobis" on the formation of priests in the circumstances of
the present day, March 25, 1992.]


Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

ACTS 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
“The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’“

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 57:8-9, 10 AND 12

R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.

My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn.

R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.

I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD,
I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!

R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.

JN 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”


May 23

St. John Baptist Rossi (1698 - 1764)

This holy priest was born in 1698 at the village of Voltaggio in the diocese of Genoa and was one of the four children of an excellent and highly respected couple. When he was ten a nobleman and his wife who were spending the summer at Voltaggio obtained permission from his parents to take him back with them to Genoa to be trained in their house. He remained with them three years, winning golden opinions from all, notably from two Capuchin friars who came to his patrons home. They carried such a favourable report of the boy to his uncle who was then minister provincial of the Capuchins that a cousin Lorenzo Rossi a canon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin invited him to come to Rome. The offer was accepted and he entered the Roman College at the age of thirteen. Popular with his teachers and with his fellow pupils he had completed the classical course with distinction when the reading of an ascetical book led him to embark on excessive mortifications. The strain on his strength at a time when he was working hard led to a complete breakdown which obliged him to leave the roman College. 
He recovered sufficiently to complete his training at the Minerva, but he never was again robust. 
Indeed his subsequent labors were performed under the handicap of almost constant suffering.

On March 8, 1721 at the age of twenty three he was ordained and his first Mass was celebrated in the Roman College at the altar of St. Aloysius Gonzaga to whom he always had a special devotion.

His fame came from his work as a confessor and as his ministry to the sick.


O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts forever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.


Love’s redeeming work is done,
fought the fight, the battle won.
Lo, our Sun’s eclipse is o’er!
Lo, he sets in blood no more!
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal!
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
death in vain forbids him rise;
Christ has opened paradise.
Lives again our victorious King;
where, O death, is now thy sting?
Dying once, he all doth save;
where thy victory, O grave?
Soar we now where Christ has led,
following our exalted Head;
made like him, like him we rise,
ours the cross, the grave, the skies.
Hail the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to thee by both be given:
thee we greet triumphant now;
hail, the Resurrection thou!

Psalm 34 (35)
The Lord, a savior in time of persecution

O Lord, arise to help me.

Judge, Lord, those who are judging me:
attack those who are attacking me.
Take up your shield and come out to defend me.
Brandish your spear and hold back my pursuers.
Say to my soul, “I am your deliverance.”
Let them be thrown into confusion,
those who are after my life.
Let them be weakened and put to flight,
those who plan harm to me.
Let them be like chaff blowing in the wind,
when the angel of the Lord scatters them.
Let their paths be dark and slippery,
when the angel of the Lord harries them.
For it was without cause that they spread out their nets to ensnare me,
without cause that they dug a pit to take my life.
Let death come upon them suddenly,
may they be entangled in their own nets.
But my soul will exult in the Lord
and rejoice in his aid.
My bones themselves will say
“Lord, who is your equal?”
You snatch the poor man
from the hand of the strong,
the needy and weak
from those who would destroy them.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

O Lord, arise to help me.

Psalm 34 (35)

Lord, plead my cause;
defend me with your strength.

Lying witnesses rose up against me;
they asked me questions I could not answer.
They paid me back evil for the good I did,
my soul is desolation.
Yet I – when they were ill, I put on sackcloth,
I mortified my soul with fasting,
I prayed for them from the depths of my heart.
I walked in sadness as for a close friend, for a brother;
I was bowed down with grief as if mourning my own mother.
But they – when I was unsteady, they rejoiced and gathered together.
They gathered and beat me: I did not know why.
They were tearing me to pieces, there was no end to it:
they teased me, heaped derision on me, they ground their teeth at me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Lord, plead my cause;
defend me with your strength.

Psalm 34 (35)

My tongue shall speak of your justice,
all day long.

Lord, how long will you wait?
Rescue my life from their attacks,
my only life from the lions.
I will proclaim you in the great assembly,
in the throng of people I will praise you.
Let not my lying enemies triumph over me,
those who hate me for no reason,
who conspire against me by secret signs,
who do not speak of peace,
who plan crimes against the innocent,
who cry out slanders against me,
saying “Yes! Yes! We saw it ourselves!”
You see them, Lord, do not stay silent:
Lord, do not leave me.
Rise up and keep watch at my trial:
my God and my Lord, watch over my case.
Judge me according to your justice,
Lord: my God, let them not rejoice over me!
Let them not think to themselves,
“Yes! We have what we wanted!”
Let them not say,
“We have swallowed him up.”
But let those who support my cause rejoice,
let them say always “How great is the Lord,
who takes care of his servant’s welfare.”
And my tongue too will ponder your justice,
and praise you all day long.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

My tongue shall speak of your justice,
all day long.

Christ, at your resurrection, alleluia,
– let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

First Reading
Apocalypse 22:1-9

Then the angel showed me the river of life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing crystal-clear down the middle of the city street. On either side of the river were the trees of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, 
one in each month, and the leaves of which are the cure for the pagans.

The ban will be lifted. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in its place in the city; his servants will worship him, they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever.

The angel said to me, ‘All that you have written is sure and will come true: the Lord God who gives the spirit to the prophets has sent his angel to reveal to his servants what is soon to take place. Very soon now, I shall be with you again.’ 
Happy are those who treasure the prophetic message of this book.

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I had heard and seen them all, I knelt at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me, to worship him; but he said, ‘Do not do that: I am a servant just like you and like your brothers the prophets and like those who treasure what you have written in this book. It is God that you must worship.’


There shall be no more night,
because the Lord God will be the light of his servants,
and they will rule as kings for ever and ever, alleluia.

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city,
and his servants will worship him,
and they will rule as kings for ever and ever, alleluia.

Second Reading
From a sermon
by Blessed Isaac of Stella, abbot

Firstborn of many brothers

Just as the head and body of a man form one single man, so the Son of the Virgin and those he has chosen to be his members form a single man and the one Son of Man. Christ is whole and entire, head and body, say the Scriptures, since all the members form one body, which with its head is one Son of Man, and he with the Son of God is one Son of God, who himself with God is one God. Therefore the whole body with its head is Son of Man, Son of God, and God. This is the explanation of the Lord’s words: 
Father, I desire that as you and I are one, so they may be one with us.

And so, according to this well-known reading of Scripture, neither the body without the head, nor the head without the body, nor the head and body without God make the whole Christ. When all are united with God they become one God. The Son of God is one with God by nature; the Son of Man is one with him in his person; we, his body, are one with him sacramentally. Consequently those who by faith are spiritual members of Christ can truly say that they are what he is: the Son of God and God himself. But what Christ is by his nature we are as his partners; what he is of himself in all fullness, we are as participants. Finally, what the Son of God is by generation, his members are by adoption, according to the text: As sons you have received the Spirit of adoption, 
enabling you to cry, Abba, Father.

Through his Spirit, he gave men the power to become sons of God, so that all those he has chosen might be taught by the firstborn among many brothers to say: Our Father, who are in heaven. Again he says elsewhere: I ascend to my Father and to your Father.

By the Spirit, from the womb of the Virgin, was born our head, the Son of Man; and by the same Spirit, in the waters of baptism, we are reborn as his body and as sons of God. And just as he was born without any sin, so we are reborn in the forgiveness of all our sins. As on the cross he bore the sum total of the whole body’s sins in his own physical body, so he gave his members the grace of rebirth in order that no sin might be imputed to his mystical body. It is written: Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt for his sin. The ‘blessed man’ of this text is undoubtedly Christ. Insofar as God is his head, Christ forgives sins. Insofar as the head of the body is one man, there is no sin to forgive; and insofar as the body that belongs to this head consists of many members, there is sin indeed, but it is forgiven and no guilt is imputed.

In himself he is just: it is he who justifies himself. He alone is both Saviour and saved. In his own body on the cross he bore what he had washed from his body by the waters of baptism. Bringing salvation through wood and through water, he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world which he took upon himself. Himself a priest, he offers himself as sacrifice to God, and he himself is God. Thus, through his own self, the Son is reconciled to himself as God, as well as to the Father and to the Holy Spirit.


All of us,
in union with Christ,
form one body,
and as parts of it we belong to each other.
In him lives the fullness of divinity,
and in him you find your own fulfilment, alleluia.

He is the source of the body’s life,
the first to return from the dead,
to be in all things alone supreme.
In him lives the fullness of divinity,
and in him you find your own fulfilment, alleluia.

Let us pray.

Lord God,
grant that the Easter mystery may shape our lives,
so that what we celebrate with joy
may be our constant defence and salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.