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Easter: May 6th

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter; Minor Rogation Day

Other Commemorations: St. Peter Nolasco, Priest (RM); St. John before the Latin Gate (Hist)


May 06, 2024 (Readings on USCCB website)



Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter: Grant, O merciful God, that we may experience at all times the fruit produced by the paschal observances. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


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Today marks the older observance of St. John before the Latin Gate in Rome, Italy. A tradition mentioned by St. Jerome, which goes back to the second century, says St. John the Apostle was taken to Rome under the Emperor Domitian and plunged into a cauldron of boiling oil; by a striking miracle he came out safe and sound from this torture. A church dedicated in honor of St. John was built near the Latin Gate, the spot referred to by the tradition.

The Roman Martyrology commemorates St. Peter Nolasco (1182-1258), born in France, but later settled in Barcelona, Spain. After taking part in the Crusades against the Albigensians, he used his inheritance to free Christian prisoners held by the Moors. He later founded the Order of Our Lady of Mercy (Mercedarians) beginning in 1218 devoted to ransoming Christians.

Today marks the beginning of the Minor or Lesser Rogation Days, which fall Monday through Wednesday preceding Ascension Thursday.

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Minor Rogation Days
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week we commemorate the traditional dates for the Minor Rogation Days. These are days of prayer and formerly fasting, which take place every year on April 25th and the three days preceding the feast of the Ascension, the former being known as the Major Rogation and the latter as the Minor Rogations. The word “rogation” has its origins in the Latin word rogare, which means to supplicate or ask, and the purpose of Rogation Days is to beg God for His mercy, to turn away His anger, and to ask Him to bless the fruits of the earth while protecting us from natural disasters. The Rogation Days no longer appear on the General Roman Calendar, but celebrated according to the local conference of bishops.

The celebration of Rogation Days consists in a procession followed by the Rogation Mass. In this procession we may sense the last remnant of the obsolete station processions observed by ancient Christians almost daily during Lent and during the first week after Easter. They would gather in a church known as the ecclesia collecta (hence the word "Collect") and from there walk in procession with the bishop and clergy to another church singing the Litany of the Saints and the Kyrie. The place of destination was known as the station or station church, and holy Mass was celebrated there.

Our present Rogation liturgy has preserved something of these venerable practices. Our prayer should not only be sincere and personal, we should also pray as units of a community, for to this type of prayer a special efficacy is attached. In the Rogation procession the Litany of the Saints is recited; it gives us an opportunity to call upon the entire Church triumphant to intercede in our behalf. The prayers concluding the Litany are usually beautiful and edifying.

What petitions will surely be answered? Those which, according to christ's words, are made in "the right spirit," and which are offered in the Name of Jesus, I.e., tend to further the kingdom of God. In the "Our Father" Christ has given us a summary of such petitions. Therefore, if our wishes are similar to those in the Lord's Prayer, we can assume that they will be heard. These petitions fall under three hoarding: God's kingdom, daily food, sin. God will certainly grant petitions of this kind.

a) God's kingdom. For this purpose Christ came to earth. Prayers to further God's sovereignty within us or about us are petitions of Christ Himself. Their object is that we may give greater glory to God with heart and tongue, in deed and action; that we may become and remain God's children; that the mystical Body may grown in numbers and in virtue; that worthy priests may be found; in short, that God's kingdom on earth may prosper in every way. To know the will of God and do it, to see God's Providence in the course of human affairs, are petitions which will certainly be fulfilled and which will open the floodgates of grace. In these matters let us resemble the importunate friend and the confident child in the Gospel parable.

b) Daily Bread. Do not that that all your petitions must be for spiritual and supernatural benefits. God wishes to relieve earthly needs, provided these are to our spiritual advantage. Yes, we may, we should pray for earthly goods; and our prayers will undoubtedly be heard even though the answer may not always be identical with our desire. Among such petitions are the following: that God spare us from unemployment; that we may be able to supply our needs in the matter of clothing, nourishment, housing; that we enjoy good health, be granted a bountiful harvest, be preserved from pestilence, famine, and war. Our prayer will certainly be heard, even though God's answer at times may be on a higher level. And when God does not answer the petition, He certainly gives the strength and grace to accept His holy Will.

c) Sin. Now we come to a petition, forgiveness of sin, the always is heard, and here there are no restrictions. We must, of course, make it a genuine prayer, "forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us"; otherwise our "prayer may be hindered" (1 Pet. 3:7). "Lead us not into temptation." God will never permit anyone to be tempted beyond his strength. If we ask, He will give the grace to overcome the tempter. It is ten for granted that will not place ourselves int eh occasion of sin. "Deliver us from evil." This petition God will surely grant as life ebbs to an end. And once the victory is won, we will experience no tears, no lamenting, no suffering, no evil—in heaven.
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Highlights and Things to Do:

Meditation for Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Minor Rogation Day:
Catholic Prayer

1. Today we observe the first of the three rogation days which immediately precede the feast of the Ascension. In the mind of the liturgy our petitions are to accompany the Lord when He ascends into heaven. Christ in His ascension is our emissary, our messenger, our advocate. With this thought in mind the Church holds her rogation processions. "Arise, O Lord, help us and redeem us for Thy name's sake" (Processional antiphon). "Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us." May all the saints pray for us that we may obtain forgiveness and protection from our enemies and from the enemies of the Church; that there may be concord and harmony among all peoples; that there may be but one fold and one shepherd; that all men may be saved. The Church places these petitions on the paten, in the hands of the Lord, who is about to offer Himself up to the Father with her and for her.

2. "For where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). The prayer of the Christian is necessarily a catholic (universal) prayer, made with and for the rest of the community. He who has once learned to pray in the spirit of Christ, knows that his prayer belongs to the whole Church. He knows that nothing is so foreign to the spirit of Christ and to a child of God as a narrow isolationism. "Woe to him that is alone" (Eccles. 4:10). The Christian knows that when he prays he is supported and abetted by his brethren. If he loves God with all his heart, he means not with his own heart alone, but with those of all his brethren. He feels that Jesus, Mary, the saints in heaven, and all earnest Christians on earth have but one heart, the heart of Jesus. By virtue of the power of the Holy Ghost, they have but one soul. When he prays, he knows that all the blessed in heaven and the baptized on earth pray with him, joining in one "Our Father," in one "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost"; all join in the same "Hail Mary." When he prays, he has a deep consciousness of these others praying with him, and he joins his prayers to those of the community. Even when he is physically alone at prayer, he is ever conscious of the fact that no one can approach the Father as an isolated individual; he can come only if he is of one heart and one soul with his brethren. Otherwise the Father can have no pleasure in him. Men must approach the Father together, and present themselves as one body before Him.

He who prays alone is narrow, egotistical, and isolated. Separated from the community, he cannot ask "our Father" to give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses." He has failed to understand that this promise has been made only to the community of men, praying with one another and for one another. "Where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them," supporting their petition, supplementing it, and presenting it to the Father.

"No man cometh to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). Only in communion with Him and through Him can we gain admission to God with our prayers. He leads us, since we are joined to Him, into the sacred presence of God. Through Him we have become the children of God and may now gain admission to the Father. Through Him and in Him we live, we feel, we work as children of God and fulfill the duties which are ours by reason of our being members of the family of God. We perceive also our obligation of approaching God as children when we pray.

In truth we can be said to be really praying only when we do so with Christ and through Christ. He must be in our midst. Wherever two or three are assembled in His name, there He is to be found among them if they are of one soul and one mind, united by mutual love. They are one in the measure in which they are one in their prayer, in heart, and in spirit. He stands in the midst of those who pray as their leader and guide. Now the Father hears the voice of His Son mingled with the prayers of the community. For this reason our prayers are answered. Through this union of prayer we established contact with Christ and with His prayers. He assimilates and unites the entire Church with Himself. God does not look with pleasure nor bestow His grace on those separated from the community, but only on the Church and on those in communion with the Church. The individual can hope to receive from Him only in the measure in which he unites himself to the community and to the Church. The more intimately we associate ourselves with the community, with the Church, with our parish, with our family, with the various religious families, the more pleased God will be with us, and the more fruitful becomes our prayer. "For where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).

3. But what if we should be living at odds with our brethren? What if we are given to hatred and are guilty of a lack of charity both in word and in action? Can our prayer then be truly a prayer of the community, made in the name of Christ? It could hardly be so.

During the rogation processions the Church prays the Litany of the Saints. The Church militant unites with the Church triumphant, with Mary, the Queen of all saints, with the holy angels, with the apostles and martyrs, with the confessors and virgins. This union provides a vast multitude of holy souls praying as one. Joining her prayer to those of the saints, the Church cries out to the Lord, "be merciful," "deliver us from all evil," "we beseech Thee, hear us." Then she adds many prayers addressed to the Father. All these she offers to God through her intermediary, Jesus Christ. "For where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." How fruitful these rogation processions must be, for the Church is sure to be heard! "He heard my voice from His holy temple, alleluia" (Introit).
—Benedict Bauer, O.S.B, from The Light of the World, Vol II

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Monday of the Lesser Rogation Days
Station with Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major):

Following the disasters that afflicted the diocese of Vienne in Daughphiny in the fifth century, St. Mamertus instituted a solemn penitential procession on three days preceding Ascension Day. In 511 the Council of Orleans ordered it for the rest of France. It soon spread to the whole Church. The Rogation Days, though they remain an occasion for imploring God's blessing on the whole life of the Church, have in our days become a time of prayer for Him to bless the year's harvest. The singing of the Litany of the Saints has given its name to these three days of public intercession, but as at Rome there was already a similar procession on April 25, the Rogation Days came to be called the Lesser Litanies. The bishop may appoint another date for the Rogation Days, if it better meets local needs or customs.

For more on Santa Maria Maggiore, see:

For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.

St. John before the Latin Gate
One day Salome presented her two sons, James and John, to Jesus, and with a mother’s ambition asked Him to grant them the highest places in his Kingdom. In reply, the Savior spoke of the chalice which He Himself would have to drink, and foretold that these two disciples would also drink of it. The elder, James the Great, was the first to give his Master this proof of his love. John, the younger brother, offered his life in testimony of Jesus’ divinity.

But the martyrdom of the latter Apostle called for a scene worthy of the event. Asia Minor, which his zeal had evangelized, was not a sufficiently glorious land for such a combat. Rome, whither Peter had transferred his Chair and where he died on his cross, and where Paul had bowed down his venerable head beneath the sword, alone deserved the honor of seeing the beloved disciple march on to martyrdom, with that dignity and sweetness which are the characteristics of this veteran of the Apostolic College.

In the year 95 John appeared before the tribunal of pagan Rome. He was convicted of having propagated, in a vast province of the Empire, the worship of a Jew who had been crucified under Pontius Pilate. He was considered a superstitious and rebellious old man, and it was time to rid Asia of his presence. He was, therefore, sentenced to an ignominious and cruel death.

A huge cauldron of boiling oil was prepared in front of the Latin Gate. The sentence ordered that the preacher of Christ be plunged into this bath. The hour had come for the second son of Salome to partake of his Master’s chalice. John’s heart leapt with joy. After cruelly scourging him, the executioners seized the old man, and threw him into the cauldron. But, lo! the boiling liquid lost all its heat; the Apostle felt no scalding. On the contrary, when they took him out again he felt all the vigor of his youthful years restored to him.

The praetor’s cruelty was foiled, and John, a martyr in desire, was to be left to the Church for some few years longer. An imperial decree banished him to the rugged Isle of Patmos, where God revealed to him the future of the Church even to the end of time.
—Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.

Highlights and Things to Do:

St. Peter Nolasco
One night while Peter Nolasco was praying, the Blessed Virgin appeared (1228) and told him how greatly pleased she and her divine Son would be if a religious order were established in her honor for the express purpose of delivering Christians held in bondage by the infidels. In compliance with her wish, Peter, together with St. Raymond of Penafort and James I, King of Aragon, founded the Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the ransom of captives. Besides the usual vows, all members were required to take a fourth, one by which they bound themselves to become captives of the pagans, if necessary, to effect the emancipation of Christians.

On one occasion Peter Nolasco ransomed 400 at Valencia and Granada; twice he traveled to Africa as "the Ransomer," not without peril to his own life; and records show that through his personal efforts a total of 890 Christians regained their liberty. He died with these words from Psalm 110 on his lips: The Lord has sent redemption to His people.
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Highlights and Things to Do: