Friday after the Second Sunday: Lent 2018

ITS FIRST FRIDAY: First Friday Devotions

Station Church: San Vitale in Fovea.

These pictures are from the Mass organized by Tridentini (a group of students of Pontifical Universities who gather each month to celebrate a Mass for Vocations).

We have had Masses this academic year at San Vitale, the Pantheon, and will have Mass at Sant’Andrea della Valle on Friday, 9-March.

The basilica was built in 400 with funds provided by Vestina, a wealthy dowager, and was consecrated by Pope Innocent I in 401/402. The dedication to St. Vitalis and his family (Saint Valeria, his wife, and Sts. Gervasius and Protasius, their sons) is dated to 412. This church is recorded as Titulus Vestinae in the acts of the 499 synod of Pope Symmachus, and three presbyters are listed.

San Vitale was restored several times, the most important being the rebuilding by Pope Sixtus IVbefore the Jubilee of 1475, and then in 1598, 1938 and 1960. The floor level of the church is currently located several metres below the level of the street on which it is located, via Nazionale.

You can see the laurels strewn on the floor as a sign of victory, the victory of martyrdom, which is the seed of the Church. [Pictures from my friend, the Roman pilgrim, Agnese, from years past].

One note on yesterday’s station Church, Santa Maria in Trastevere. [Sorry, I didn’t have time to write a post…]

It was at this Church where Saint Paul of the Cross preached his last mission. He for years had not preached a mission on account of his health. He was commissioned by the congregation which organized the parish missions throughout the city of Rome. It was organized in a different fashion than we think of it now. Parishes didn’t request mission priests to come and preach, rather mission priests such as Passionists and Redemptorists were assigned to preach missions.

In this case with Saint Paul of the Cross, he preached the mission in the piazza in front of the Church. People of all states of life gathered in the piazza: Cardinals, Bishops, priests, the faithful, one can even imagine, the people passing by stopping to listen. He brought all present to tears with his words, full of love for the Passion of Christ, love for Jesus Crucified.

One of my favorite chapels in Rome. It is the crucifix chapel in S. Maria in Trastevere. The Crucifix has been pulled away from the wall since my arrival in Rome (for some reason). I imagine when the Crucifix is properly in its place, this image of Our Lady sits at the foot of the Cross on the gradine of the Altar between the candles.

Prayer over the People:

Let us pray.

Bow your heads to God.

Grant unto Your people, we beseech You, O Lord, health of mind and body, that, by persevering in good works, we may be worthy to be protected by Your mighty power.Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

R. Amen.

Last year’s meditation from Saint Thomas Aquinas: Friday after the Second Sunday in Lent.

Stage 1: Complete!!!

This is so exciting!! My newest book will be provided to 90!!!!!!! seminarians!

This wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of some benefactors (and even some first-time benefactors!!)!

I want to thank these benefactors and ask for prayers for their intentions in gratitude for their generosity:

Two anonymous benefactors,

Miss Meredith Smith,

My siblings,


Mrs. Paula Wachholtz and her husband

I am so overjoyed by the generosity of these benefactors. The graces that will come from their generosity are innumerable, in being able to provide this new work of Meditations on the Passion for 90 Seminarians!!! So many souls will be affected in the ministry of these future priests!

Can you prayerfully consider donating to this cause? My goal is to provide this book to 500 seminarians. Go HERE to support this cause!!!!!

Eucharistic Heart of Jesus

Wednesday after the Second Sunday: Lent 2018

Station Church: Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

Saint Cecilia monument by Stefano Maderno (how she was found in the Catacombs). Saint Cecilia, patroness of Omaha, pray for us!

In 822, the relics of Saint Cecilia were moved from where she lay in the Catacombs to this Church.

A chapel on the Epistle side of the Church is the location (or built over the location) where one of the attempts at the martyrdom of Cecilia took place, the attempt to suffocate her in the bathhouse. The husband of Saint Cecilia, a Roman soldier, converted and was martyred, as well, (Saint Valerian).

It was in 1599 that her tomb was re-opened. The artist, Stefano Maderno, attested to having found the Saint in this same position depicted, incorrupt and with coagulated blood.

Saint Cecilia is the patroness of my home diocese, Omaha, Nebraska. Please pray for the inhabitants of this diocese today! Saint Cecilia, pray for us!

Prayer over the People:

Let us pray.

Bow your heads to God.

O God, restorer and lover of innocence, direct the hearts of Your servants towards You, so that, filled with the fervor of Your spirit, they may be found steadfast in faith and rich in good works. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

R. Amen.

Last year’s meditation by Saint Thomas Aquinas: Wednesday after the Second Sunday in Lent

Tuesday after the Second Sunday: Lent 2018

Happy Feast of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows! (Novena: DAY 9)

Saint Gabriel – St. John Cantius Church, Chicago

From yesterday’s station Church (photos by Mr. Madison Hayes): San Clemente


13th Century Apse mosaic

Today’s station Church: Santa Balbina

It was Saint Balbina who found the chains of Saint Peter at the request of Pope St. Alexander I, for he said she would be healed of her infirmity if she would find the chains that bound the first Pope and kiss them (rather than kiss the chains of Alexander who was bound in prison under the reign of Trajan). She did so and it was with on account of these chains that Saint Peter in Chains was built.

The father of Balbina converted and was sentenced to death. Saint Balbina is believed to have been sentenced to death under Hadrian in 130 A.D. She is one of the Saints that adorns the colonnade of Saint Peter’s Square.

Prayer over the People:

Let us pray.
Bow your heads to God.
Mercifully heed our humble prayers, O Lord, and heal the weakness of our souls, that having obtained forgiveness, we may ever rejoice in Your blessing. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R. Amen.

Last year’s meditation by Saint Thomas Aquinas: Tuesday after the Second Sunday in Lent

Find more spiritual reading here:

SNOW: Monday after Second Sunday: Lent 2018

Novena to Saint Gabriel: Day 8

Station Church: San Clemente

Suspending normal post. Well because it snowed!! First, a throwback to the 1950s:

SNOW BALL FIGHT (captured by an English seminarian, Mr. Piotr Wygnański): Help me provide these young seminarians with my new book of Meditations on the Passion: Books4Sems! Enjoy them living a fun and balanced life on this beautiful day in Rome! I’ve raised $800 so far (thanks to a pledged check donation made by a friend from Nebraska) and the first round of books is on its way to Conception Seminary in Missouri! Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in this exciting endeavor, from which so many graces will descend for the conversion and spiritual growth of the faithful in years to come!!

Photo: Fr. David Fons

Prayer over the people:

Let us pray.

Bow your heads to God.

Give heed to our humble prayers, almighty God, and kindly grant Your oft-given mercy to those upon whom You bestow great hope in Your goodness.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

R. Amen.

Photo before entering Saint Peter’s to celebrate the Holy Mass. Thanks to my friend Fr. David Fons for the photo. And the next 9 photos.



I am twisted in my affliction, whilst the thorn is fastened upon me. Ps. 31:4


Sant’ Agnese in Agone.



Photo (and the next) by NAC seminarian: Mr. Lucas LaRoche


Second Sunday: Lent 2018

Novena to Saint Gabriel: Day 7.

Station Church: S. Maria in Domnica

The Basilica was founded as a small oratory in the seventh century. It lies at what was a major crossroad of ancient Rome, and was close to several military posts. Most likely, it was built on the ruins of a Roman fire-fighting station, where Christians used to gather.

From the beginning the Church was dedicated to the Mother of God. It was also a site dedicated to the ministry of the assistance to the poor.

The nickname ‘Navicella’ derives from the adjacent fountain that appears as a small boat.

The 8th Century apse mosaic:

Saturday of the First Week: Lent 2018

Novena to Saint Gabriel: Day 6

Station Church: Saint Peter’s

It was here that Saint Paul of the Cross and his brother, in the poverty of the black tunics, knelt and prayed, as faithful sons of the Church.


This was in the beginning days of their time in Rome. Their devotion as they knelt in prayer at the tomb of Saint Peter made an impression on a monsignor who saw them praying. He later became a great supporter of the work of Saint Paul of the Cross.


We can only surmise the prayers in the hearts of this Holy Founder and his brother, who was the greatest support for Saint Paul. They must have been seeking the assistance of Saint Peter, the rock on which the Church was founded, and having immense gratitude for the example of Saint Peter, especially in the penance after he had thrice denied Our Lord, leading unto his own martyrdom.


Prayer over the people:

Let us pray.

Bow your heads to God.

Graciously hear us, merciful God, and reveal to our minds the light of Your grace.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

R. Amen.

The obelisk of the square, at the top of which is a relic of the True Cross.

For the meditation of Saint Thomas for this day of Lent, go HERE.

For an update on the project BOOKS4SEMS, go HERE.