Easter: May 11th
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Other Commemorations: St. Francis di Girolamo, Priest (RM)
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Today the Roman Martyrology commemorates St. Francis di Girolamo (1642-1716) (also known as Francis de Geronimo), a Jesuit priest from Italy who spent most of his life working as a rural missionary in the countryside near Naples. He died in 1716. His sermons were short but vigorous, and he touched many hearts.
Shallow minds are easily scandalized at the thought that, despite Christ Jesus' divine mission and His heroic earnestness in fulfilling it, despite the limitless possibilities of the Sacrifice of Calvary glorified in the power of the Resurrection, even now so many human souls are still sick and diseased, even dead in sin and seemingly lost in impenitence.
But think for a moment of some definite astounding force in nature, as for instance lightning, or even better, of so simple a force as the stroke of a hammer or the approach of a lighted match; notice the vast difference in the effects produced on a block of granite, on a cake of ice, and on a keg of powder. Even so, the definite effect of the same graces upon different individual souls depends on the receptivity of each. Yet never doubt, the doors of the treasury of the merits and fruits of Calvary are wide open; the fountains of the Savior are pouring out heavenly waters to purify and cure and refresh souls; the invitation goes out to all:
"Come, eat My bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you. All you that thirst come to the waters, and you that have no money, make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money! Come! to experience the virtue of the waters, and of the food, and of the medicine, and of the fire. Come and drink lest you die of thirst! Come and eat lest your soul hunger and starve! Come, approach the fire of My charity, to be stirred out of your spiritual coldness and numbness!"
—Our Way to the Father by Rev. Leo M. Krenz, S.J.
St. Francis di Girolamo (also Francis de Geronimo)
St. Francis di Girolamo was the famous Jesuit pulpit orator of Naples: a volume would hardly suffice to record the wonderful effect of his eloquence. "His voice" says Butler "was loud and sonorous, . . . and the style of his preaching simple and impressive. . . . His descriptions forcible and graphic and his pathetic appeals were sure to draw tears while his energy astounded and terrified," yet there must have been much of the magnetism of the popular orator in his manner for whenever he spoke whether in the streets of Naples — a constant habit of his — or in the church great crowds followed him and not a few of the sudden conversion made by him of hardened sinners sound like the records of some modern "Revivalist" preachers.
He was an earnest untiring faithful worker to the very last. Born in 1642, at a very early age he became a prefect in the "College of Nobles of the Society of Jesus" and soon after his novitiate was completed took high rank in the society. It was as a preacher and evangelist that he excelled. He died May 11th, 1716 and was beatified by Pius VII, on the feast of St. Joseph in 1806, and canonized by Gregory XVI, on Trinity Sunday 1839.
—Excerpted from Saints and Festivals of the Christian Church, by H. Pomeroy Brewster
Patronage: Grottaglie, Italy; Naples
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