Old Calendar: St. Francis Caracciolo, Confessor
In the midst of the second world war Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the special protection of our Savior's Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart, and in 1944 he decreed that in the future the whole Church should celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is not a new devotion. In the seventeenth century, St. John Eudes preached it together with that of the Sacred Heart; in the nineteenth century, Pius VII and Pius IX allowed several churches to celebrate a feast of the Pure Heart of Mary. Pius XII instituted today's feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the whole Church, so as to obtain by her intercession "peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue" (Decree of May 4, 1944).Three things made Francis of Caracciolo stand out from his wealthy Neapolitan friends: he was powerfully drawn to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, he fasted every Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and he had a generous love for the poor. When he was seriously ill at the age of twenty-two, he vowed that if he were cured he would devote himself to the service of God and his fellow men. He became a priest and in 1588 joined the order of Minor Clerks Regular. Francis instituted perpetual adoration as one of the works of his Order. According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is his feast. It is also the feast of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The Gospel itself invited this attention with exquisite discretion and delicacy. What was first excited was compassion for the Virgin Mother. It was, so to speak, at the foot of the Cross that the Christian heart first made the acquaintance of the Heart of Mary. Simeon's prophecy paved the way and furnished the devotion with one of its favourite formulae and most popular representations: the heart pierced with a sword. But Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the Cross; "she cooperated through charity", as St. Augustine says, "in the work of our redemption".
St. Ambrose perceived in her the model of a virginal soul. St. Bernardine of Siena (d.1444) was more absorbed in the contemplation of the virginal heart, and it is from him that the Church has borrowed the lessons of the Second Nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated to it his Theotimus. In the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, ascetic authors dwelt upon this devotion at greater length. It was, however, reserved to St. Jean Eudes (d. 1681) to propagate the devotion, to make it public, and to have a feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autun in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses. In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity at Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion. The two factors of this movement were first of all the revelation of the "miraculous medal" in 1830 and all the prodigies that followed, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly throughout the world and was the source of numberless graces. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Universal Church. Excerpted from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition. Things to Do:
- Read the entire article from the Catholic Encyclopedia about the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Read this article about Saturdays and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
St. Francis Caracciolo
Francis founded the Order of Minor Clerks Regular with St. John Augustine Adorno. The congregation's apostolate was preaching missions and performing diverse works of charity. In the course of time he became known as "Venerable Father, the Preacher of the Love of God," a title merited for promoting devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and introducing nocturnal adoration in his community. He had a childlike love for the Blessed Virgin; his greatest joy was to be of service to his neighbor. God endowed him with the gift of prophecy and the discernment of spirits.
- St. Francis Caracciolo was much sought after as a confessor while his exhortations brought to repentance numerous public sinners, and he fortified the wavering and the despondent by personal encouragement and the recommendation of the two great Catholic devotions, those to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady. Read this longer biography to find out more details about his holiness.
- Cook up some Neapolitan (from Naples) type of Italian cooking, such as the Insalata di Rinforzo, as St. Francis is the patron of Italian cooks. He came from a wealthy and powerful family, born in the family castle at Villa Santa Maria in the Abruzzi province of Italy. As a youth he enjoyed hunting and other sports, often entertaining large hunting parties. These parties would have wonderful dinners prepared by the palace chefs. These chefs were so good that they accompanied the family to Naples during the winter season to learn the Naples (Neapolitan) cuisine as well as the Abruzzese.