Here is a photo from Friday’s traditional mass for the Feast of the Epiphany at St. John the Baptist Church in Jersey City, courtesy of David Clark.
Solemn High Mass yesterday at the church of the Most Precious Blood – amid the noise and crowds of the San Gennaro Festival in New York’s Little Italy.
(Above) The first Solemn Traditional Mass in ages in this church – but the next is already scheduled for the 29th of September! It was a privilege for this Society to sponsor this mass in such a repository of Catholic tradition. The music included, among other works, Mozart’s Missa brevis in F (K. 192). Our thanks to Msgr Donald Sakano, Pastor of Old St Patrick’s and of Most Precious Blood, for the invitation to sponsor this mass during the San Gennaro festival!
(Above and Below) Occupying much of the rear of the nave is a huge Neapolitan Christmas creche. The church of the Most Precious Blood is a treasury of Catholic and Italian devotions. For more on this church see HERE
(Above) The Sermon – amid the forest of statues. For Fr. Cipolla’s sermon see HERE.
(Above) Good participation for such a small church – including some who ventured in from the nearby festa on Mulberry Street.
by Jill Chessman
There are few places to visit in the United States that are so closely associated with a canonized saint as the island of Molokai in Hawaii. Fr. Damien de Veuster, a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, came from Belgium to Hawaii as a missionary in the late 19th century. At the time, there was an outbreak of leprosy on the islands. People with leprosy were sent in quarantine to an isolated peninsula on the island of Molokai to live with neither medical nor spiritual assistance. In 1873, Fr. Damien volunteered to go to Molokai to be their priest with the understanding that he would have to spend the rest of his life there. He labored tirelessly for 16 years caring for the spiritual and physical needs of those in the leper colony before dying of leprosy himself. He was canonized in 2009.
Molokai is a beautiful island with stunning scenery—a well-kept secret. There are no resorts here, few tourists, traffic lights are unnecessary. The sign on the road leading from the tiny airport says it all. “Slow down, this is Molokai.” The only way to get from “topside” Molokai to the Kalaupapa peninsula, where Damien served his lepers (below), is by airplane or by a steep mule path down the cliff that separates Kalaupapa from the mainland.
The mule-ride down to the Kalaupapa peninsula takes about an hour and a half.
As former leprosy patients still live on the peninsula, there are strict rules and restrictions about touring the peninsula. But the trouble is worth it, as you can visit the church, St. Philomena, where St. Damien said mass everyday, and venerate his tomb. Fr. Damien’s body was exhumed and returned to Belgium in 1936. The remains of his right hand were returned to the tomb in 1995.
The former tomb of Mother Marianne Cope, also a canonized saint, who came to help in 1888 with four Franciscan Sisters. Her body had also been removed to her community’s headquarters in Syracuse, New York. When her order, like so many others, had to dispose of its property there, the diocese of Hawaii brought her body to the Cathedral in Honolulu 1n 2014.
A third figure important to Molokai is Brother Joseph Dutton, a lay helper to Fr. Damien, whose cause is up for sainthood. He is buried near the tomb of Fr. Damien.
The churches on Molokai that Damien built with his own hands are perhaps the most moving sites to visit. When he arrived, there was a small church in a dilapidated state. Damien restored the church—St. Philomena—and enlarged it several times as his flock grew. For Damien, a well-appointed church where mass could be celebrated with dignity was central to his mission. A beautifully celebrated mass lifted his poor forsaken patients from their misery. He organized altar boy groups and choirs, requesting from the Bishop of Honolulu surplices and robes. With remarkable energy, Damien built a second church on the leper colony and four churches “topside” on the main island of Molokai. He called carpentry his only hobby—for the rare moments he had to himself.
Fr. Damien enlarged St. Philomena several times, as can be seen from this side view. His final project was the stone front section and belfry. He embellished the interior as well. Below is the original altar. He later reoriented the church, creating a larger apse and nave, leaving the original altar as a side altar on the right. Notice in the foreground a “folding table” Vatican II altar, a make-shift addition that surely would have never suited Fr. Damien.
On the other side of the peninsula, Fr. Damien built a second church, which he called Our Lady Help of the Sick. The current church, St. Francis (below), was built next to it after his death and is the current parish church for the patients who remain on the peninsula.
The church that St. Damien built can be seen through the window of St. Francis (below)
Two churches remain that St. Damien built on the “topside” of Molokai. St. Joseph Church (below), built in 1876, is said to be in its original condition. A wooden steeple, removed when the tower was repaired, has not yet been replaced.
Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Church (below) was built in 1874 and rebuilt in 1966 using original components and furnishings. Sunday Mass is still celebrated there.
(Above) Our Lady of Lourdes with a lei.(Below) The Stations of the Cross – a series of prints which was donated to this church around Fr. Damien’s time by admirers of his work.
(Above and below). In 2010, St. Sophia, the Catholic church in Kaunakakai, the main town of Molokai, burned down. Its modernistic replacement, dedicated to St Damien, hardly reflects the simple yet beautiful traditions of the old Catholic churches of Molokai and Hawaii – and has left the parish saddled with a debt to the diocese of over a million dollars as well.
(Above and below) Before coming to Molokai, Fr. Damien was active on the island of Hawaii (the “Big Island”). We doubt he would recognize certain modern Catholic churches there. This chapel in Puaku resembles more a lecture hall than a church – if you look carefully you will notice behind the tabernacle, instead of a reredos, a banner with an image of Pope Francis….
The Fifth Annual Traditional Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on East 116th Street, New York on Saturday, July 23. Over the last five years the number of pilgrims has steadily grown – the ceremonies and music have also become much more elaborate. The pilgrimage takes place a week after this parish’s patronal feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel – a legendary festa which nowadays also prominently features the celebration of the Traditional mass. The pilgrimage involves individuals and Traditionalist organizations from all over the New York area. The celebrant was Canon Matthew Talarico ICRSS. The deacon was Fr Christopher Salvatore SAC and the subdeacon was Fr. Richard Cipolla, pastor of St. Mary Church, Norwalk.
(Above) The recently restored Image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, over the altar
Statue of Our Lady used in outdoor processions
(Above) Greetings from the pastor; (below) Bill Riccio at the organ!
(Above) The congregation gathers around sanctuary for presentation of flowers.
(Above and Below) The procession of pilgrims into the church on their knees.
(Above) The entrance procession.
(Above) Representatives of the Constantinian Order of St. George
(Above) Canon Matthew Talarico ICRSS was the celebrant.
The procession after the mass followed by benediction.
(Above and below) The celebrant and subdeacon with the members of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George before the image of S. Elena di Laurino.
(Above) S. Elena di Laurino. Our Lady of Mount Carmel church posseses an extraordinary variety of devotional images. (Below) In the baptistry note between two paintings of angels the framed image of the Madonna Incoronata, a devotion originating in Foggia in Apulia.
(Above and below). Sometimes the faithful grow too enthusiastic. A warning sign next to a statue of St. Ann – her book is the ideal place to write petitions to the Virgin in a place she can very easily read them.
For the first time since Vatican II, on Saturday, June 4, 2016, at Holy Face Monastery, Clifton, New Jersey, a Solemn High Mass with Gregorian chant was celebrated in honor of Our Lady of Sacro Monte of Novi Velia, Salerno, at her shrine.
(Above) Holy Face monastery is a treasury of Italian saints and devotions, both inside the monastery chapel and outside in a number of separate shrines. From the monastery grounds a visitor has a magnificent view of New York City – this day largely obscured by the summer-like haze.
(Above and below) The Madonna del Sacro Monte: a devotion of the Cilento region near Salerno, Italy. Love for the Madonna of Sacro Monte was carried to the United States by Cilentano immigrants who arrived in the United States around 1900. In Jersey City, where many of them settled, an annual devotion was started. In the late 1960s the devotees from Jersey City moved their celebration to Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey. At the Monastery they constructed an outdoor shrine to the Madonna and brought a small statue for veneration.
The annual celebration at Holy Face Monastery ended in 1980. It was revived in 2012 by Cilentani and their descendants in New Jersey.
(Above and below) Mass was celebrated in an open chapel consecrated to this devotion.
(Above) The Tony Neglia Italian Band featured prominently prior to the mass and at the procession. – here playing before a Marian shrine on the grounds of the monastery.
(Below) The start of the procession.
(Above) The procession circles the monastery three times – but does not go inside.
(Above and below) The conclusion of the procession – prior to the festive meal.