Last night I was privileged with the grace of venerating the sacred remains of St. Maria Goretti, the youngest canonized saint in the Church and the patron saint of young people. St. Maria Goretti's story of forgiveness is powerful - consider how she forgave her attacker who brutally stabbed her and how she prayed for his soul.
Her attack, Alessandro Serenelli, would later while in prison receive a vision of St. Maria Goretti. As eyewitnesses testify, his entire disposition afterwards was changed and he spent his remaining life in penance. After spending nearly 30 years in prison, he was released and became a Third Order Franciscan and begged the mother of St. Maria for forgiveness. Like her saintly daughter, the mother forgave the murderer of her own child, in imitation of the mercy of Jesus Christ.
Alessandro testified in favor of St. Maria Goretti's canonization. It was the first time in Church history that the murdered did so. It was also the first time that a saint's mother attended her daughter's canonization. And in another first, it was at the time - in 1950 - the largest attended canonization in history with over 250,000 people in attendance.
Last night, at 7:30 PM a Pontifical Solemn High Mass was said by Bishop Joseph Perry, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The church of St. John Cantius was filled beyond capacity with crowds gathering outside and around the building. More than 2,000 souls were present for the Mass and original estimates were for 20,000 to come to the parish to venerate her body during the 24 hours of public veneration. The Mass was so well attended that Bishop Perry had to even perform a second consecration.
St. Maria Goretti, pray for us. Pray for our world. Pray for us to learn forgiveness. Pray for us before the face of the Lord, who you now behold face to face. You, O Holy Saint, chose to sacrifice your body to save your soul. May we have the courage to do likewise in the face of adversity.
And may Alesssandro Serenelli, the repentant murderer, who lived the remainder of his life in penance and reparation, have received forgiveness he sought. May he too be raised to the glory of sainthood and serve as a model for all of us sinners.
Learn if the body of St. Maria will be in your area by clicking here.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Posted by Matthew
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