8/5 Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

File photo of Pope Francis praying in front of Marian icon in Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

Pope Francis prays at ancient Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

 

M_Basilica St Mary Major

Basilica St. Mary Major

Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome

 THERE are in Rome three patriarchal churches, in which the Pope officiates on different festivals. These are the Basilics of St. John Lateran, St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill, and St. Mary Major. This last is so called because it is, both in antiquity and dignity, the first church in Rome among those that are dedicated to God in honor of the Virgin Mary. The name of the Liberian Basilic was given it because it was founded in the time of Pope Liberius, in the fourth century; it was consecrated, under the title of the Virgin Mary, by Sixtus III., about the year 435. It is also called St. Mary ad Nives, or at the snow, from a popular tradition that the Mother of God chose this place for a church under her invocation by a miraculous snow that fell upon this spot in summer, and by a vision in which she appeared to a patrician named John, who munificently founded and endowed this church in the pontificate of Liberius. The same Basilic has sometimes been known by the name of St. Mary ad Præsepe, from the holy crib or manger of Bethlehem, in which Christ was laid at His birth. It resembles an ordinary manger, is kept in a case of massive silver, and in it lies an image of a little child, also of silver. On Christmas Day the holy Manger is taken out of the case, and exposed. It is kept in a sumptuous subterraneous chapel in this church.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)

 

 

8/4 Eve of the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

M_StMaryMajor The Confessio believed to contain relics of the Crib of Bethlehem
The Confessio believed to contain relics of the Crib of Bethlehem
St. Mary Major Basilica 

1/10/03 – Vol. 4

The most pleasing and consoling words for the sweet Mama: ‘Dominus Tecum’.

This morning, after I struggled very much, the Queen Mother came with the Baby in Her arms, and She gave Him to me, telling me to keep Him courted with continuous acts of love. I did as much as I could, and while I was doing this, Jesus told me: “My beloved, the most pleasing and most consoling words for my Mother are: ‘Dominus Tecum’ [‘The Lord is with Thee’]. In fact, as soon as they were pronounced by the Archangel, She felt the whole of the Divine Being being communicated to Her, and therefore She felt invested with Divine Power, in such a way that, in the face of the Divine Power, Her own dissolved; and so my Mother remained with the Divine Power in Her hands.”

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Vatican Website:

The Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major reigns as an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman churches. Its beautiful treasures are of inestimable value, and represent the Church’s role as the cradle of Christian artistic civilization in Rome. For nearly sixteen centuries, St. Mary Major has held its position as a Marian shrine par excellence and has been a magnet for pilgrims from all over the world who have come to the Eternal City to experience the beauty, grandeur and holiness of the basilica.

Among the Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome, St. Mary Major is the only one to have kept its original structure, though it has been enhanced over the course of years. Special details within the church render it unique including the fifth century mosaics of the central nave, the triumphal arch dating back to the pontificate of Pope Sixtus III (432-440) and the apsidal mosaic executed by the Franciscan friar Jacopo Torriti at the order of Pope Nicholas IV (1288-1292). Other gems of the church include the Cosmatesque pavement donated by the Roman nobleman Scoto Paparone and his son in 1288, Arnolfo di Cambio’s Nativity scene from the thirteenth century and the coffered ceiling in gilt wood designed by Giuliano Sangallo in 1450. The numerous chapels, from the most ornate to the most humble, constructed by popes, cardinals and pious confraternities, the high altar begun by Ferdinando Fuga and later enriched by the genius of Valadier, the Baptistery and finally the relic of the Holy Crib complete the array of splendors contained within these walls. Every column, painting, sculpture and ornament of this basilica resonates with history and pious sentiment.

From the devout pilgrim absorbed in prayer to the studious art-lover, every visitor to St. Mary Major finds both spiritual and visual fulfillment in this holy place. A visit to the Liberian basilica, as it is also called in honor of Pope Liberius, enriches both the mind and soul. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see visitors rapt in admiration before the spellbinding beauty of the artwork nor, at the same time, to observe the devotion of all those engrossed in prayer in search of comfort and assistance before the image of Mary, who is venerated here under the beloved title of Salus Populi Romani.

Every August 5th, a solemn celebration recalls the Miracle of the Snows. Before the amazed eyes of the congregation, a cascade of white petals descends from the coffered ceiling, blanketing the hypogeum. From the very beginning of his pontificate, Pope (Now Saint) John Paul II requested that an oil lamp burn day and night under the icon of the Salus Populi Romani, as witness to his great devotion to the Madonna.

This same Pope, on the eighth of December 2001, inaugurated another precious jewel of the basilica – the museum, where a modern structure would house ancient masterpieces offering visitors a unique perspective of the history of the Basilica.

The numerous treasures contained in the museum render St. Mary Major a place where art and spirituality combine in a perfect union, offering visitors a unique experience in contemplating the great works of man inspired by God.

8/2 Feast Day of Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula

FEAST DAY OF OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS OF PORTIUNCULA, ASSISI, ITALY
(13 CENTURY)

[Note: The norms and grants of indulgences were completely reformed by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council in his Apostolic Constitution “Indulgentiarum Doctrina” (1967), and the Portiuncula Indulgence was again confirmed at that time. According to the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, the Catholic faithful may gain a plenary indulgence on 2 August (the Portiuncula) or on such other day as designated by the local ordinary for the advantage of the faithful, under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), by devoutly visiting the parish church, and there reciting at least the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed. The Indulgence applies to the cathedral church of the diocese, and to the co-cathedral church (if there is one), even if they are not parochial, and also to quasi-parochial churches. To gain this, as any plenary indulgence, the faithful must be free from any attachment to sin, even venial sin. Where this entire detachment is wanting, the indulgence is partial.]


8/1 PORTIUNCULA INDULGENCE – FROM VESPERS AUGUST 1ST TO MIDNIGHT ON AUGUST 2ND!!

From Vespers August 1st to Midnight August 2nd is the Feast of Portiuncula!


A plenary indulgence is available to anyone who will:

1. Receive sacramental confession (8 days before of after)

2. Receive the Holy Eucharist at Holy Mass on August 2nd

3. Enter a parish church and, with a contrite heart, pray the Our Father, Apostles Creed, and a pray of his/her own choosing for the intentions of the Pope.

THE BASILICA OF
OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS

Shrine of the Portiuncula

The Portiuncula is situated now inside the
Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels
in the town of the same name around 5 km from Assisi

Pope Emeritis Benedict XVI praying at the Shrine of the Portiuncula

The chapel was of antique construction and venerated for the apparition of Angels within it.  In the chapel in 1216, in a vision, St Francis obtained from Jesus himself the Indulgence of the Pardon of Assisi that was approved by Pope Honorius III.