A Word from Father
Słowo od Pastora
AUGUST 2, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
Over the past few weeks, I have written about the First Friday, First Saturday, and Fifteen Tuesdays Devotions. The last devotion in this series is the First Wednesday Devotion in honor of St. Joseph. This devotion has a more varied history than the other devotions. There are two different First Wednesday Devotions, one from the Pious Union of St. Joseph and one from the apparitions of Our Lady of America.
Why is Wednesday dedicated to St. Joseph? The Catholic journalist Annabelle Moseley explains, “As the day in the middle of the week, Wednesday could be thought of as the linchpin of days. On either side of Wednesday is a grouping of days, clustered together like an outstretched arm on either end of Wednesday’s sturdy base. What a perfect day to honor a saint, each of whose arms was outstretched in life to comfort and protect Jesus and Mary.”
The first devotion is the nine First Wednesdays in honor of St. Joseph promoted by the Pious Union of St. Joseph, an archconfraternity founded by St. Luigi Guanella and promoted by Pope St. Pius X. The Pious Union’s mission is to promote and spread devotion to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death, and to pray daily for the suffering and dying. For this devotion, you simply offer your First Wednesday Mass and Communion in honor of St. Joseph in a special way for the salvation of the dying, most especially for an undying sinner who is to lose his soul without the grace of final repentance. Prayers to St. Joseph are recommended, especially the daily prayer of the Pious Union: O St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ and true spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us, and for the suffering and dying of this day/night.
The second devotion is based on the neither approved nor rejected apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Sister Mary Ephrem, C.PP.S under the title Our Lady of America. In 1958, St. Joseph is said to have appeared to Sr. Mary Ephrem and stated: “Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them. Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms.” Furthermore, St. Joseph is said to have appeared on the first Wednesday of March 1998 in Itapiranga, Brazil, and requested the same devotion.
Regardless of the authenticity of any private revelation, Wednesdays have been traditionally dedicated to St. Joseph and we should invoke his intercession often, especially on Wednesdays. During this diocesan Year of St. Joseph, we should often pray for St. Joseph’s intercession, receive Holy Communion in his honor, and pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. The First Wednesdays of the month are a good time to remember this.
Fr. Alan Guanella
JULY 26, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last week I wrote about the First Saturday Devotion. There is also “Tuesday Devotion” to St. Dominic. As many of you know, I am a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic (officially the Priestly Fraternity of St. Dominic). The reason Tuesday is devoted to St. Dominic is because the first time his relics were moved (or “translated”) was on Pentecost Tuesday, May 24, 1233. The 1362 General Chapter (official meeting) of the Order of Preachers introduced the practice of dedicating every Tuesday outside of Lent to St. Dominic.
The specific practice of the Fifteen Tuesdays Devotion was instituted in plague-ridden Florence in 1631. During the occurrence of the plague that year, Fr. Michael Bruni, of the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria Novella, exhorted the faithful to pray to St. Dominic, seek his protection, and promise to receive on Holy Communion on fifteen consecutive Tuesdays, presumably in honor of the fifteen decades of the Rosary. The success of this effort led to a rapid spread of the Fifteen Tuesdays Devotion. The Servant of God Pope Pius VII granted an indulgence for this pious practice, however, that indulgence is no longer attached to the devotion.
Also in 1631, St. Dominic is said to have appeared to a woman whose husband had been ill for years. Although the woman did not recognize St. Dominic, she obeyed his counsel: “Go to the church of the Friars Preachers. There, kneeling before the altar of St. Dominic, promise him that you will go to confession and approach the Sacred Table for fifteen consecutive Tuesdays in honor of the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary and of our holy patriarch, and I promise you that your husband will be cured. I assure you besides, that all those who will embrace this devotion will be heard.” The obedience of this woman was rewarded, for when she returned from the church, she found her husband cured.
While the fifteen Tuesdays can be made at any time during the year, the specific devotion of the fifteen Tuesdays prior to St. Dominic’s feast day (August 8) originated in the 17th century. In 2020 that devotion began on April 22. However, since that date is past, and considering the current pandemic we are going through, perhaps praying the fifteen Tuesdays after St. Dominic’s feast day would be appropriate. Through the centuries, cures and wonders have been attributed to this devotion.
There is no specific way to celebrate the Fifteen Tuesdays Devotion but it is suggested on Tuesday of each week to spend some time in devout meditation or prayers in honor of St. Dominic or perform some other act of piety, with the intention of repeating this act of homage for fifteen continuous Tuesdays. If your state-in-life allows it, receiving Holy Communion is recommended as well. Perhaps pray the famous prayer to St. Dominic, called the O Lumen Ecclesiae: Light of the Church, teacher of truth, rose of patience, ivory of chastity, you freely poured forth the waters of wisdom, preacher of grace, unite us with the blessed. Amen.