THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

The Heart of Our Lord is the natural object of our devotion for two reasons: First, since it was a part of His Sacred Body, the Body of the God-Man, it is the object of our adoration, that special worship we give to God alone. Secondly, because the Heart is usually the symbol of love, the Heart of Our Lord reminds us of the burning love which He has in his Heart for each and every one of us, a love which was consummated in His death on the Cross for our sins. The devotion to the Heart of Our Lord was encouraged by Jesus Himself in 1673-74, when he appeared eighteen times to a French Nun, who came to be known as St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. He showed her His Heart, in the form so familiar to us now, through statues and holy pictures, entwined with thorns, symbolizing the sufferings His Heart endured for our sins, and with flames coming from the Heart, the sign of His tremendous love for us. Our Lord asked St. Margaret Mary to reveal these things, through her spiritual director. During the final apparition, in 1675 Our Lord said, pointing to His Heart: "Behold the Heart which has so much loved men that it has spared nothing, even exhausting and consuming itself in testimony of its love. Instead of gratitude I receive from most only indifference, by irreverence and sacrilege and the coldness and scorn that people have for me in the sacrament of love." (The Holy Eucharist)

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

Our Blessed Lady, under this title, is pictured wearing the Habit of the Order of Mount Carmel, a very ancient Order in the Church. She appeared, in 1252, to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite monk, wearing the Habit and having in her hand what we know as the Scapular, which is actually a miniature habit, worn about the neck. She promised that all who would wear it in her honor would be greatly blessed, especially at the moment of death. This apparition and devotion are beautiful signs of Our Blessed Mother's love and care for us "....now and at the hour of our death." Devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is especially widespread among the Italian people. Those who came to this country took this devotion and image with them, as evidenced by the fact that many Italian parishes throughout the United States are dedicated to Our Lady under this title.

SAINT LIBERATA

This great Saint is the Patroness of so many of our Parishioners and she has been in the Parish of Our Lady of Consolation from the time of the founding of the Parish, as evidenced from the many photographs in existence of the beautiful statue of Saint Liberata, still enshrined in our Church, being carried in procession. St. Liberata was one of seven children born to a pagan King of Portugal, all of whom became Christians and martyrs. Her father wanted her to marry the King of Sicily, but Liberata had taken a vow of virginity for the love of Christ and she prayed for Heavenly help to preserve her virginity. The King of Sicily withdrew his offer of marriage and Liberata's father, in anger, had her crucified. This is the reason for her being pictured with a large cross. The palm she carries is the palm of martyrdom, which she won because she was put to death because of her vow.

ST. DONATO

This holy patron of many of our parishioners lived in the fourth century. He was born in Rome of pious Christian parents and at a young age was entrusted to the care of the Priest Epimenio. His parents were martyred during the persecution of Diocletian and Donato left Rome for Arezzo. He at first lived as a monk and his sanctity became known far and wide. He performed miracles during his lifetime also. In the year 346 he was consecrated Bishop and did much good in his Diocese. His people loved him and went to him for every kind of assistance. On August 7, in the year 362, a Roman soldier came, and filed with hatred for the Christian faith, beheaded the great Bishop, whose soul was seen to be taken immediately to Heaven. There are over 70 Churches in Italy dedicated to St. Donato. He is pictured wearing the beautiful garments of a Bishop, which signify the splendor of the souls for which a Bishop must give his life.

ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA

We may almost say that the great St. Anthony needs no introduction or explanation, because he is universally acclaimed as the most "popular" of all the saints. He is called the "WONDER-WORKER OF PADUA." He performed miracles even during his lifetime and he has, with justice, acquired the reputation on never refusing those who call upon him.  Although St. Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal (yes, we have to admit the truth!) his name was so closely associated with the great Italian city of Padua, where he spent the last years of his life and where his relics are still venerated, that he has always been called "of Padua." St. Anthony was born in 1195 and he first entered the Augustinian Order as a young man, but seeing the remains of Franciscans martyred for the Faith in Morocco, burning with a desire for martyrdom, he joined the Franciscan Order, then in its infancy. God did not will that he be a missionary, but instead a great preacher and teacher. He is called the "Ark of the Testament" because of his knowledge of Sacred Scripture and the manner in which he used it to confound heretics. As a preacher he possessed learning, eloquence, great power of persuasion, a burning zeal for souls and a sonorous voice which carried far. In fact, long after his death, when his body was exhumed as part of the canonization process, it was found that although his body had decayed his tongue and his vocal chords had been miraculously preserved completely incorrupt as God's sign of pleasure at his preaching and teaching. To this day, at Padua, the completely whole tongue and vocal chords of St. Anthony can be seen, 750 years after his death! His images show him with the Child Jesus, who appeared to him, and was held in his arms, and the lily, the sign of his spotless purity. The "WONDER-WORKER OF PADUA" continues to work his wonders to this day.

SAINT LUCY

Saint Lucy was born of wealthy parents in Syracusa, Sicily. At an early age she took a vow of virginity. The young man who later wished to marry her was enraged by her vow and condemned her as a Christian (a crime punishable by death at that time) before the Emperor Diocletian. As part of her tortures, to try to force her to give up her faith, her eyes were said to have been plucked out, and then restored miraculously by an act of God. This is why St. Lucy is always portrayed with a dish with eyes in it. This also reminds us that St. Lucy is the Patron of diseases of the eyes and has been invoked from the earliest centuries against diseases of the eyes.

SAINT JOHN OF GOD

St. John was born in Portugal in the sixteenth century and after some years of loose living, repented and spent his life caring for the sick and poor, by establishing hostels for them and going about begging alms for their support. His Bishop gave him a type of Habit which we see him wearing in the beautiful statue of him in our Church. St. John, given the name "of God" by his Bishop because of his holiness, would go around, crucifix in hand, and beg sinners to repent, often with tears. He would also wear a crown of thorns to remind sinners of what Our Lord suffered for them and to encourage their repentance. Hence he is pictured holding a crucifix and wearing a crown of thorns.

SAINT PIO


Saint Pio was born of simple, hardworking farming people on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Southern Italy. He was tutored privately until his entry into the Capuchin Friars at the age of 15. Of feeble health but strong will, with the help of grace he completed the required studies and was ordained a priest in 1910.  On September 20, 1918, the five wounds of Our Lord's Passion appeared on his body, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. Countless numbered were attracted to his confessional and many more received his saintly and spiritual guidance through correspondence. His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer and continual austerity. His letters to his spiritual directors reveal the ineffable sufferings, physical and spiritual, which accompanied him all through his life. They also reveal his very deep union with God, his burning love for the Blessed Eucharist and our Blessed Lady. Worn out by over half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity in San Giovanni Rotondo, he was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968.

The steps taken in the Process of Padre Pio's Canonization are the following: March 20, 1983, the diocesan Process was begun; January 21, 1990, the aforesaid Process was closed; Sunday May 2, 1990, John Paul II declared Padre Pio Blessed; June 16, 2002, the same Pope declared Padre Pio Saint.