Traditional Mass

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23
(Mass of preceding Sunday)
[Requiem or Votive Mass allowed]

St. John Baptist de Rossi, Confessor, 'The Apostle of the Abandoned'


John was born in Voltaggio, diocese of Genoa, Italy, in 1698. He was one of four children of Carlo de Rossi and Francesca Anfosi, who were poor, but pious parents. At the age of ten, he was taken in by wealthy friends of the family who saw to it that he was well-educated.

At the suggestion of his uncle, Lorenzo de Rossi, a Church Canon, John travelled to Rome to study at the Collegium Romanum, under the Jesuits. He entered the Roman College at 13 and completed the classical course of studies but began practicing severe mortification. This practice, combined with a heavy course load and a bout of epilepsy, led to a breakdown, and he was forced to leave the college. He recuperated and completed his training at Minerva but never fully regained his former strength.

At the age of 23 he was ordained (with dispensation, due to his poor health),and celebrated his first Mass in the Roman College. He was assigned to Rome, where he worked with the poor and the sick. He concentrated especially on the hospice of Saint Galla, an overnight shelter for paupers that had been founded by Pope Celestine III. John also helped start a nearby hospice for homeless women, which he placed under the protection of St. Aloysius Gonzaga - one of his favorite saints.

For many years, John avoided hearing confessions for fear he would have a seizure in the confessional, but the bishop of Civitá Castellana convinced him it was part of his vocation; he relented, and soon became one of the most sought after confessors in Rome. He worked tirelessly, spending many hours a day hearing confessions, particularly those of prisoners, the poor and illiterate in the hospitals or in their homes. He preached to them five and six times a day in churches, chapels convents, hospitals, barracks, and prison cells, so that he became known as "the apostle of the abandoned", a second Philip Neri.

John's frail health compelled him in 1763 to move to the Trinita dei Pellegrini, where he suffered a stroke that same year and received the last sacraments. He recovered enough to resume celebrating Mass, but, in 1764, he had another stroke and died at the age of 66. He was buried at the altar of the Blessed Virgin in the Church of Trinita de Pelleghrini. He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII on December 8,1881. 
Virgin, Martyr
Patron of Corsica

(Fifth century)

Saint Julia was a noble virgin of Carthage, who, when the city was taken by Genseric in 439, was sold for a slave to a pagan merchant of Syria. In the most mortifying employments of her station, by cheerfulness and patience she found a happiness and comfort which the world could not give. Whenever she was not employed in household affairs, her time was devoted to prayer and reading books of piety.
Her master, who was charmed with her fidelity and other virtues, thought proper to take her with him on one of his voyages to Gaul. When he reached the northern part of Corsica, he cast anchor and went ashore to join the pagans of the place in an idolatrous festival. Julia was left at some distance, because she would not be defiled by the superstitious ceremonies, which she openly spurned. The governor of the island, Felix, a bigoted pagan, asked who this woman was who dared to insult the gods. The merchant informed him that she was a Christian, and that all his authority over her was too weak to prevail upon her to renounce her religion; nonetheless, he found her so diligent and faithful he could not part with her. The governor offered him four of his best slaves in exchange for her. But the merchant replied, “No; all you are worth will not purchase her; for I would lose the most valuable thing I have in the world rather than be deprived of her.”
Nonetheless Felix, while the inebriated merchant was asleep, attempted to compel her to sacrifice to his gods. He offered to procure her liberty if she would comply. The Saint made answer that she was as free as she desired to be, as long as she was allowed to serve Jesus Christ. The pagan, offended by her undaunted and resolute air, in a transport of rage caused her to be struck on the face, and the hair of her head to be torn off. Finally he ordered her to be hanged on a cross until she expired. Certain monks from the isle of Gorgon transported her relics there, but in 763 the king of Lombardy transferred them to Brescia, where her memory is celebrated with great devotion.