THE “PARDON OF ASSISI” – :FUROR OVER REQUEST TO REMOVE ST. DAMIEN STATUE FROM CAPITOL ROTUNDA

I have read the same reports that many of you have that Pope emeritus Benedict is suffering from some kind of a rash, possibly shingles, on his face that has in past days been very painful. The papal biographer Peter Seewald, about to release his latest book on the Pope emeritus, told a German paper that he saw Benedict last Saturday and, “at the meeting the emeritus Pope, despite his illness, was optimistic and declared that if his strength increased again he would possibly take up his pen again.” Seewald also used the word “frail” to describe the Pope emeritus.

I hesitated to write about something without having confirmed facts but about 5:30 this afternoon, the Holy See Press Office, after persistent requests by journalists: had this to say: “According to reports from the personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the health conditions of the Pope Emeritus are not of particular concern, if not those for a 93-year old who is going through the most acute phase of a painful, but not serious, disease.”

THE “PARDON OF ASSISI”

Sunday at the Angelus, day, Francis invited everyone to receive the “Pardon of Assisi” which can be obtained from vespers of August 1 to midnight of August 2. He explained this “is a plenary indulgence that may be received by going to Confession, attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist (August 2), visiting a parish or Franciscan church, reciting the Creed, the Lord’s prayer and praying for the Pope and his intentions.”

The story of the “Pardon of Assisi” and the Indulgence of Porziuncula is a wonderful story, all the more so if you have a great love for the saint of Assisi or bear his name – Francis (my middle name is Frances).

That Porziuncula website tells us that a small abandoned chapel, situated in an area known in Latin as “Portiuncula” – which means “small piece of land” – was given by Benedictine monks to St. Francis who, having promised the abbot to make it the mother house of his new order, promptly restored it with his own hands. It was here that he came to understand his vocation clearly and here he founded the Order of the Friars Minor in 1209, entrusting it to the protection of the Virgin Mother of Christ, to whom the little church is dedicated.

One night in 1216, while Francis was immersed in prayer, a radiant light spread through the little church and he saw above the altar Christ and his Mother Mary, surrounded by a multitude of Angels. They asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis’ reply was immediate; “I ask that all those persons who have repented and confessed their sins who will come to this church, may obtain a full and generous pardon, and a complete remission of all their faults.”

I have read that this was the first plenary indulgence in the history of the Church, other indulgences up to that year being partial indulgences.

See more on my Joan’s Rome video: A VISIT TO THE PORZIUNCULA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbPFdmSTOcY

FUROR OVER REQUEST TO REMOVE ST. DAMIEN STATUE FROM CAPITOL ROTUNDA

Anyone who knows me and who has followed me on my Youtube page, my blog Joan’s Rome or on Facebook knows of my great love for Hawaii and her two Saints, Father Damien and Mother Marianne Cope, You probably also know that I am on a guild in the diocese of Honolulu that is looking into the cause for canonization of a third saint, Brother Joseph Dutton who worked brief with St. Damien and many years with Mother Marianne, spending 44 years on Kalaupapa.

I focus on St. Damien today because he is at the center of an avalanche of news stories due to an Instagram post by New York congresswoman Alessandra Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, who has asked that his statue in the Capitol Rotunda be removed as he was part of colonialism. She said, “This is what patriarchy and white supremacist culture looks like! It’s not radical or crazy to understand the influence white supremacist culture has historically had in our overall culture & how it impacts the present day.”

St. Damien, born in Belgium in the 19th century, is known worldwide as the priest who for the last 16 years of his life, in the worst imaginable circumstances, served and cared for victims of leprosy who were exiled to the peninsula of Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i. He died there after contracting the disease.

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The Washington Times reported that, “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez experienced instant blowback on Friday after calling a statue of a Catholic saint who died caring for lepers an example of the ‘patriarchy’ and ‘white supremacist culture’ at work. The New York Democrat’s comments about Hawaii’s tribute to St. Damien of Molokai in the U.S. Capitol came just days after National Catholic Reporter touted her in a story titled, ‘AOC is the future of the Catholic Church’.”

I saw a brief video by Bishop Robert Barron on Facebook and re-posted it, saying, “This is FAR too important to ignore! Thank you Bishop Barron! Congresswoman AOC has definitely gone over the edge, wanting to take down the statue of Saint Damien in the Rotunda!” https://www.facebook.com/BishopRobertBarron/videos/231380727981938

I went to my Youtube page and saw ever so many videos I’ve done from Hawaii – from stories about saints to professional hula dancing to tours of the island to the Arizona monument in Pearl Harbor to a story about the Japanese who worked in a consular office in Honolulu and fed information back to Japan that allowed the Japanese to attach Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Here are two Damien-related videos:
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST DAMIEN ON KALAUPAPA, MOLOKA’I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIzeFhvgmfM

KALAUPAPA, MOLOKA’I, HOME TO STS DAMIEN AND MARIANNE…IN SEARCH OF A NEW SAINT, JOSEPH DUTTON
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOB-UqbGF1M

THE INDULGENCE OF PORZIUNCULA, “THE MOST SACRED PLACE OF FRANCISCAN SPIRITUALITY”

The Franciscans and Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi announced today, July 4 that Pope Francis will visit the Umbrian village on Thursday August 4. During the afternoon visit to the Porziuncola inside the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels, the Pope will officially mark the 8th centenary of the event known as the Pardon of Assisi.”According to Vatican Radio, the papal trip to Assisi is being described as a private pilgrimage to the tiny chapel which St Francis built and where he founded the Franciscan order at the beginning of the 13th century.

The following is a story I did about the Porziuncula and the Pardon after a visit to Assisi.

THE INDULGENCE OF PORZIUNCULA, “THE MOST SACRED PLACE OF FRANCISCAN SPIRITUALITY”

The story of the “Pardon of Assisi” and the Indulgence of Porziuncula is a wonderful story, all the more so if you have a great love for the saint of Assisi or bear his name – Francis (my middle name is Frances).

That Porziuncula website tells us that a small abandoned chapel, situated in an area known in Latin as “Portiuncula” – which means “small piece of land” – was given by Benedictine monks to St. Francis who, having promised the abbot to make it the mother house of his new order, promptly restored it with his own hands.

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It was here that he came to understand his vocation clearly and here he founded the Order of the Friars Minor in 1209, entrusting it to the protection of the Virgin Mother of Christ, to whom the little church is dedicated.

One night in 1216, while Francis was immersed in prayer, a radiant light spread through the little church and he saw above the altar Christ and his Holy Mother, surrounded by a multitude of Angels. They asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis’ reply was immediate; “I ask that all those persons who have repented and confessed their sins who will come to this church, may obtain a full and generous pardon, and a complete remission of all their faults.”

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“What you ask is very for is a very great favor,” the Lord said to him, “but of greater things you are worthy and greater things you shall have. I accept your prayer therefore on condition that you ask my vicar on earth, on my behalf, for this indulgence.” Francis immediately presented himself before Pope Honorius III who listened attentively to him and gave his approval. To the question “Francis, for how many years do you wish this indulgence?” the saint replied, “Holy Father, I am not asking for years but for souls.” On August 2, 1216, together with the bishops of Umbria, he happily announced to the people gathered at the Porziuncola, “My brothers and sisters, I want to send all of you to Paradise.”

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The great basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Holy Mary of the Angels), was constructed between 1569 and 1679 in accordance with the wishes of Pope St. Pius V, (1566-72), in order to contain the chapels of the Porziuncola, the original cell where Francis lived and died, the Rose Garden, and the Passing, as well as other places sacred to the memory of St. Francis, and to welcome the visitors from all around the world who came to visit them.

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The powerful earthquakes that struck Umbria in 1832 caused serious damage to the basilica. At the end of a long and complex restoration, directed by the architect, Luigi Poletti, it was reopened for religious celebrations on September 8, 1840. The façade was radically restructured by Cesare Bazzani, with the intention of conferring a majesty worthy of the importance of the Shrine. It was officially inaugurated on June 8, 1930 and an imposing gilded bronze statue of the Virgin Mary was placed on top of it.

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Upon entering the Porziuncola, one is immediately struck by the light and the colors of the Altar Screen of Prete Ilario da Viterbo (1393). The story of the Indulgence of Assisi is recounted in a series of five paintings: Francis throws himself amongst the thorns in order to overcome temptation; he is accompanied by two angels while going towards the Porziuncula;  he contemplates the apparition of Jesus and the Virgin and asks for the plenary indulgence; he asks for confirmation of this from the Pope and finally declares to all the great gift received from Christ and the Church.

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Millions of souls have crossed the threshold of the Porziuncula chapel’s “door to eternal life” and have knelt here in order to rediscover the peace and forgiveness of the great Indulgence. On the threshold of this little church are written the words “hic locus sanctus est,” this is a holy place, because God descended here to meet Francis and whoever enters here in faith.

The Chapel of the Passing is a simple stone building that served as the infirmary for the first friary. St. Francis passed the last days of his life here, and being placed naked on the bare earth, died here on the evening of October 3, 1226, after having composed the final verses of his Canticle of the Creatures:

“Praised be you my Lord, for our Sister Bodily Death from whom no living man can escape: woe to those who die in mortal sin; blessed are those whom she finds doing Your Most Holy Will, because the Second Death will do them no harm.”

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The Rose garden area of the Sanctuary is what remains of the old forest where the friars lived. Here the rose garden is situated amongst whose thorns Francis rolled himself one night in order to overcome doubt and temptation. According to a tradition, already attested to in the thirteenth century, the briars on contact with the Poor Man’s body turned into roses without thorns, and this is the origin of the “Rosa Canina Assisiensis,” which continues to flower only at the Porziuncola.

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TO OBTAIN THE INDULGENCE:

1) Visit the Sanctuary and say an Our Father and the Creed; 2) Make a sacramental Confession and receive Communion at Mass; 3) Say a prayer for the intentions of the Pope.