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Winter 2014

THe PeACeMAkeR Winter, 2014 Publication of the national Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia



Shrine Director: Fr. Joseph Genito, O.S.A.

St. Augustine, in his great work

Development Director and Editor: Deborah binder, M.ed.

on the Trinity, states that “true love

Photographer: Fr. Daniel Mclaughlin, O.S.A.

because they are just or so that they

Design: accent communications, inc. Printer: Gerald O’neill Contact us for a free subscription national Shrine of St. Rita 1166 So. broad St., Phila. PA 19146 215-546-8333

consists in loving the others either might become just.” Our theme of “God’s healing justice” speaks to the ways our ministry seeks to promote justice by the practice of loving others through service. ­– Fr.­Joseph­A.­Genito,­O.S.A. Shrine Hours of Operation: Weekdays: 7:30 AM - 5:25 PM Wednesday: 7:30 AM - 7:30 PM Saturday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM Sunday: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM Masses:­ Weekday: 8 AM, 12 PM Wednesday: 8 AM, 12 PM, 7:00 PM novena after all Masses on Wed. Saturday: 8 AM, 12 noon, 5 PM Sunday: 9 AM, 11 AM Masses Confessions: Monday-Saturday Eucharistic Adoration: Daily

TAble OF COnTenTS letter, Fr. Joseph Genito, O.S.A.


Our 2014 Peace Award Recipient


“View”, Fr. M. Di Gregorio, O.S.A.


Article, Fr. J. Deegan, O.S.A.


Article, William J. Farnon


“Your Word to Us”


blessed Mariano de la Mata O.S.A. 18


Article, Fr. P. Morrisey, O.S.A.


Fr. Joseph Genito, O.S.A. Executive Director Jay Agnes edward Caruso louis Cinquanto Anthony DeCarlo Fr. John Deegan, O.S.A. Dina DellaDucata bishop Michael Fitzgerald Fr. Mickey Genovese, O.S.A. Dominic liberi Judge Timothy Rice

Pictorial of School


Development, Deborah binder



Cover Photo: Wooden St. Rita Statue, located St. Rita Church in Racine, Wisconsin. Back Cover: Christ’s Head, Sketch by Fr. Gene DelConte O.S.A., Artist, Friar of our Shrine

wOrdS from FATher JOe deAr FriendS, In the course of our salvation history, the notion of God’s healing justice is often accompanied by great trials, and by situations that challenge the faith of those enduring those trials. The traditional “happy ending” occurs after individuals or groups have dealt with circumstances that are often bleak, causing them to wonder if God indeed hears their prayers for justice. The season of Advent is one of waiting, culminating with the arrival of the Savior, but his presence was not immediately felt, even after his public ministry and a scandalous death that almost crushed the spirit of his followers. But by his resurrection he prevailed, and the wisdom of sticking with him and his teachings breathed life into his followers so that they could carry on his work. They were eventually justified in their faith by his resurrection. Our liturgical year therefore reflects the journey of each individual and the community of believers, the promise of salvation concluding with the triumph of the resurrection. We begin a new era of the Shrine with this first step, an era of enhancing the knowledge of God’s healing justice through the offering of programs, services and spiritual development to all people of every denomination or no denomination. Our partnership with such groups as P.O.W.E.R., whose executive

director, Rev. Dwayne Royster, has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Peace Award, is but one of what we hope will be many mutually helpful alliances with like-minded people dedicated to restoring right relationships between human beings. When justice prevails, hearts are healed and spirits uplifted because all is right with the world, a condition for which we all long. Continue to pray with us that the good work we hope to accomplish in the Cascia Center will be able to begin as soon as possible and continue to grow and flourish as it becomes a beacon of hope and justice for all.

Fr.­Joseph­A.­Genito,­O.S.A. Shrine Director


2014 Saint Rita Peace Award AwARded to

Reverend Dwayne Royster

Reverend dwayne Royster

is the bishop of Living Water Church of the United Church of Christ (UCC) located in North Philadelphia. Bishop Royster has been an active proponent of peace and justice from the very beginning of his ordained ministry and has in recent years assumed the Executive Directorship of P.O.W.E.R. (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild), a community organizing group aimed at engaging people on the level of their passions and interests to rally their neighborhoods in support of worthy causes. Among those causes which Bishop Royster is directing are living wages 4

for city employees, justice for the school system, and a compassionate and just means of addressing immigration issues.

It is estimated that 28% of Philadelphians live at or below the poverty level, making it the poorest of the nation’s ten largest cities. Bishop Royster has stated, “Without a strong, fair living wage standard, our city is subsidizing large corporations and having to pay more in the end to provide safety net services to workers who are paid too little to be self-sufficient.” Another important issue facing Philadelphia is the cut-back in school funding, resulting in the loss of many auxiliary services

Christ with the Multitudes Preaching, Anthony Visco, St. Rita Shrine Artist

necessary to keep the schools safe and running efficiently. Bishop Royster has joined with other community leaders to demand justice for the city’s children in public schools.

quest to help those who are most vulnerable, the poor and powerless immigrants looking to avoid the fragmentation of families through deportation. Bishop Dwayne Royster has proven himself an effective advocate for justice for the poor and a profoundly

P.O.W.E.R. to stand up against voter suppression and the Pennsylvania

...AN ACTIvE p r o p o n e n t

Of p e a c e AND j u s t i c e

voter ID law, launching the “Let My People vote” Campaign to stand up for the rights of almost 800,000 Pennsylvanians who have been disenfranchised by this law. A more significant issue for South Philadelphians, however, is that of immigration reform and the fair treatment of the many immigrant groups who have settled in this part of the city. Bishop Royster is in the forefront, leading P.O.W.E.R. in its

authentic proponent of fostering the principles of love and care for the poor, the hallmark of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by his selfless and tireless dedication. Saint Rita’s is proud to recognize his accomplishments and equally dedicated to continuing our partnership with him and P.O.W.E.R., of which we are one of the founding and contributing members, by awarding him the Peace Award for 2014.

nATiOnAL Shrine OF ST. riTA

7Th AnnUAL PeACe BAnQUeT COme And meeT reverend dwAyne rOSTer and hear more about his ministry during an evening of great food and fellowship with others concerned about peace and justice in our city! Friday, may 2, 2014 Call the Shrine for Tickets at 215-546-8333

Rev. Dwayne

Dwayne is “Committed to the four biblical principles of redemption, restoration, renewal and refreshment!”



The heALinG t h a t COmeS FrOm TrUTh mAny PeOPLe are familiar with the great tragedy that touched the life of young Saint Rita, when her husband was slain and her sons swore revenge for their father’s death. Many have been inspired by her generous response to this double heartbreak, and so have found guidance, hope, and courage in facing hardships of their own. forgiveness, and the recommendation of forgiveness, were her firm resolve in this time of difficulty. for Rita, it seems, it could not have been otherwise! This does not mean to say that she was not free to decide differently, and it surely does not suggest that forgiveness was an easy choice for her. But it was the right choice, the obvious choice, not because it was the popular one — quite the contrary — as the very different decision of her sons suggest. It was, however, the proposal of the Gospel, — “forgive, and you shall be forgiven (Lk 6, 37) …offer no resistance to injury …turn the other cheek (Mt 5, 38-39) …not seven times but seventy times seven times (Mt 18, 22).” 6

Rita had been raised by parents who believed this teaching, and who practiced their belief in very concrete terms, not only in the privacy of their home, but in the very public arena of social life, as they served as agents of reconciliation among their neighbors. As a result, Rita did not grow up hearing the Gospel as a command to be observed; she witnessed it as a way of life to be embraced. If violence and vengeance were then, as now, recurring, unhappy, features of civil society, 15th Century Roccaporena was fortunate to have, at least, some clear examples offered by devout Christians showing how to deal with such realities in a positive way. This part of the story should not be forgotten. There are teachings in the Gospel which can surprise or even trouble us because they seem to contradict what we judge to be common sense, or appear to be far beyond human capabilities. To follow the teachings of Jesus conveyed in the Gospels that we reflect upon Sunday after

Sunday, indeed day after day, is never an exercise in simple obedience to what we profess. It is, rather, the expression of a conviction that Jesus holds the words of life, that in following his truth, his wisdom, we become truly free. Justice is sometimes defined simply as the quality of being right or correct. God’s justice instructs us precisely in how to live correctly, how to walk the path that is truthful, accurate, consistent with our identity, purpose and life goals. Rita firmly believed this, and acted accordingly in a moment of great crisis, when the complexity of life’s events required a decision that would be shaped not by passion or impulse, but by fidelity to her deepest convictions. We, who are able to look back upon the long term consequences of Rita’s choice, know the rightness of it. Though the path may not have been easy, it was lifegiving, bringing peace to Rita, an end to the hostility that had kept families divided, and an example to men and women ever after. If only we can be similarly guided, in the complex circumstances of our lives and our world, to act upon the wisdom of Christ’s message with a conviction like that of Rita, that is born of faith and trust, and confirmed by the experience of men

and women who have done so before us and reaped the rewards that followed. In dark, difficult, moments we especially need light. Unfortunately, in the darkness we may too easily or quickly be distracted by a passing spark or flashing glimmer, rather than the full bright beam that Jesus reveals. To follow a dimmer light might lead us to greater difficulty, while following the Light who is Christ will bring us healing.


Fr. Michael DiGregorio O.S.A. was Director of our shrine from 1992 to 2007. He created the “Peacemaker” magazine as a nationwide communication between the Shrine & devotees of St. Rita. Fr. Michael completed his 6-year term as Vicar General to the Augustinian Order in Rome, Italy this Fall, and returned to the U.S.

“...GOD'S j u s t i c e INSTRUCTS US PRECISELy

IN hOW TO LIvE c o r r e c t l y . . . " 7


Artist Unknown


he ali ng JUSTiCe

By Fr. JACk deeGAn, O.S.A.

“The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were aliens in egypt.” (Leviticus 19:34) The plight of the immigrant has always been a difficult one as we see from the above quote from Leviticus. The crisis of immigration is a reality in our own country. Deep divisions among people of good faith have been brought to light as we try to change a policy that has caused much sorrow and, in some instances, destroyed the family unit. how can we bring God’s healing justice to bear on this issue? Pope francis, in one of his daily homilies, said this: “…Today amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.” In my work for justice and peace, I and many volunteers for ADROP (Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor) have tried to address the needs of the marginalized. One need identified was primary health care for those who could not afford health insurance. Many of our


WhERE ALL hAvE A p l a c e AT ThE t a b l e Of PLENTy.” clients are undocumented persons who have lived in Philadelphia for several years and have been contributing members of their community and good and loving parents. But they live in fear of deportation. One such client who volunteered as an interpreter for our health clinic, was notified one morning that her husband had been picked up at a day labor site, shipped to Texas and would be deported within several days. She also told me that she 9

GOD’S HeAlInG JUSTICe, (COn’T) had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Consider her plight: the bread winner for the family is to be deported, the mother has cancer and the children were in danger of being left without parents. Where is the healing justice in this family’s journey? This is just one of the many stories that could be told of the crisis in our immigration system. I wonder what St. Rita, and, indeed what Jesus would do in this situation. more to the point, i wonder what we as the Body of Christ, should be doing to bring healing and reconciliation to the many who have been victims of laws that are no longer just and right in the sight of God. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a Comprehensive Immigration law that would be fair, just, protects the unity of the family and provides a path to citizenship. Most of us are descendants of those who came to the United States looking for a better life for themselves and for their children. Today, we seem to have forgotten our origins. We see immigrants as a threat to our way of life and our financial security. Some would send the 11 million undocumented back to their country of origin even though they are our neighbor and a productive member of our community. Should not the Christian seek to promote a compassionate society where all have a place at the table of plenty? Are there not unjust structures that keep our friends 10

and neighbors in the darkness of fear as they try to do what is required of them to become citizens? how do we respect the integrity of creation, especially human creation, if we do not honor the dignity of all of God’s creation? St. Rita always sought to bring out the best in people. She wanted to enter into dialogue with those who would solve their disagreements through violence. She longed for reconciliation between warring factions and families and prayed constantly that her sons would not resort to violence to avenge the murder of their father. what lessons can we learn from rita as we strive to welcome the alien amongst us into our community? One lesson which we all can learn is to not rush to judgment and put all undocumented persons in one basket. each journey is different and personal. The undocumented want what you and I want: to be respected and given the dignity due to all of God’s creation. They seek the unity of their family as St. Rita did as she struggled to reconcile the warring factions among her family and relatives. And through prayer and patience she counseled her sons and others not to seek revenge but to seek peace through dialogue and respectful listening. Another lesson from Rita is to forgive those who have injured us in any way. Rita imitated the compassionate and forgiving Christ as she worked endlessly to bring the healing touch of God to the people who

In our day, too many have become wanderers through life, their worlds upset by war, violence, hatred, prejudice of all types, and laws that no longer reflect the healing justice of God. we need to pray for the healing justice of God that it might spring up in our day and wash away our sins of injustice towards those who are voiceless and marginalized.

As Pope francis said in a daily sermon:” Please let us be protectors… to protect creation, to protect every man and woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love is to open the horizon of hope. It is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds… Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, and protect creation.”

Fr. Jack Deegan O.S.A. was ordained in 1961. He was President of Merrimack College, after several positions at the high school and college level. He founded the Augustinians Defenders of the Rights of the Poor in 2003.

… true love, consists in loving the other either

because they are

would stand in her way of following her call to enter religious life. Gently and with persistence, she made her case to become a sister and by her actions and example won over those who, at first, thought her unworthy of admittance to religious life. Rita was, in a certain sense, an alien in the foreign land of religious life. But, through her calming presence, she brought love to the convent and the sisters learned to love her as they loved themselves.


or so that they might

become just.

– Saint auguStine


God’s healing Justice FoR the FAmily oFGreg

FRom St. RitA ShRine


By dr. wiLLiAm J. FArnOn

in 1980,

the first contingent of Gregory and Martha Nguyen's family arrived in Phila. It consisted of a brother of Gregory, the brother's wife and two children, and four nephews. These eight were part of the “boat people” who fled their country in 1979 in small boats. They were thankful to have been rescued on the high seas by an American warship. Some other vietnamese refugees were not so fortunate. Either their small boats capsized, or pirates from nearby Cambodia attacked them, or they were simply lost at sea.

The sponsorship of Gregory’s family by my wife Christa and me could not have been accomplished without the help of a generous ecumenical endeavor on the part of Catholic Social Services, which arranged their travel from a refugee camp in Malaysia, and Lutheran Child and family Services, which accommodated them for several months before my wife and I were able to find a house for them. Then, a group of fellow parishioners assembled to clean, paint, and completely furnish it. After the 1975 defeat by the National Liberation front or viet Cong, which for years had received supplies from the Soviet Union, hundreds of prisoners were sentenced to hard labor in NLf prisons. Gregory, having been a lieutenant colonel in the Army of South vietnam, was one such prisoner. his sentence was ten years. Since the NLf had seized all his property, their kindly pastor took pity on Gregory's wife and 11 children (the youngest was five months old at the time of his father's arrest), and invited them to live in the basement of the church. In 1990 Gregory, his wife, and one daughter were permitted to come to the United States as political refugees, under vietnam’s Orderly Departure Program. By 2001, almost all the family had arrived in Phila., and have done 12

quite well. Some of them have earned higher degrees. for instance, one of his sons is a graduate of MIT; another has earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Penn, and another is an engineer who works in the U.S. Patent Office. What the family accomplished was not done without hard work, however. The outstanding scholastic records of those in middle school and high school were earned by many hours of studying to become proficient in reading and speaking English. family members who were old enough to be gainfully employed would arise early in the morning to meet trucks that would take them to farms in N.J. where they spent the day doing things like harvesting crops by hand. As time went on, a few of the young men were able to find entry-level jobs at the Smithkline and french Pharmaceutical Company in Phila. This work consisted of mopping floors, emptying office waste baskets into larger containers, and taking these to the general pick-up area. however, other employees who were doing the same kind of work resented the vietnamese as intruders. Nevertheless, they quietly persevered, and eventually found better jobs within the Company. Prejudice of another kind manifested itself in the immediate neighborhood of the Catholic parish where the vietnamese first lived. These parishioners belonged almost exclusively to the same ethnic group, and many of them looked down on anyone who was so different from themselves as these Asians were. None of them welcomed the vietnamese to their neighborhood, nor did they give them a friendly greeting or a smile as they passed on the street. When my wife and I learned that our vietnamese friends were being regarded with suspicion, we were struck by a salutary thought, and thought it worth pursuing. As a result, two of the nuns from the parish accompanied us on a visit to some of the neighbors. These folks received us graciously and listened with amazement to the story of what this vietnamese family had experienced. As word began traveling throughout the neighborhood, smiles and friendly greetings began to multiply. from the initial arrival of eight relatives in february 1980, Gregory and Martha’s family now extends to more than sixty members. We thank God for their presence among us. If the average American family would have the discipline, the love of learning, and the religious fervor of this immigrant family, our cities would all deserve the subtitle “The City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love�. 13

yOUr wOrd TO US my FAmiLy wAS ABLe TO viSiT The Shrine. It was so beautiful and a real hidden treasure to be sure! Our family found such peace while there. my two sons know how to behave, however i was just in awe of their reverence at the Shrine, they too could feel it’s power and grace! At 6 and 4 there are times when being quiet is all they can stand, and they were not only quiet but inquisitive and excited about all we learned, in a respectful and loving way. We even were able to spend some time in Eucharistic Adoration! Oh, how lovely that was to have it there as part of our devotions! i have been blessed to already have shared about St. rita and your beautiful shrine to two of my friends, who neither knew of St. rita or of her Shrine. i hope they too will be able to visit someday! My sons both wrote small requests on little cards and placed them in the basket there by the pillow and her relic. They did it with such love and devotion, unprompted and unaided. I know she will look down on them as she did on her own two boys! My oldest made me cry when he told me he asked “only for a job for daddy and nothing for me even.” St. Rita and the Shrine will be on my lips to anyone who will listen. When we are able I also will hopefully be able to send off some money for the Shrine. I hope it will be there for my sons and their family! Thank you again, and God bless you! words cannot express what finding the shrine and its loving staff have done for me and for my family. Finding St. rita was a wonderful moment, finding the shrine was heaven sent! –Nicole Harada email, PA

i’m PrAyinG dAiLy for St. Rita’s intercession in what seems at times like an impossible situation. Two people who love and respect one another very much, who share in each other’s brilliance and dedication to create a beautiful art center for the mediter ranean between Alexandria, egypt and rome, italy that will serve to promote and support young artists in this region who so desperately need it and build lasting collaborations for understanding, dialogue, and peace through artistic wor kshops, exhibits and events. It is a great challenge though, to find the right institutional investors and to receive the support we will need to do this. Many obstacles stand in the way, but we are completely and deeply devoted to this endeavor. I hope we are both also as devoted to each other as well. Love in work and life between cultures, religions, different careers and with such distance require great understanding and faith. i ask that you will keep us, Ammar and Angela, in your prayers as we also both pray, each in our own way, for wisdom to know the way and 14

how we can grow in love and support of one another in such a huge undertaking, in life and work. At times it seems and feels impossible, but i know no challenges are too great for God. But we need not only generosity of intellect to succeed in this mess, but a generosity of love and support for one another, which due to injury and sadness one of us does not possess. If we are to keep one another going in this endeavor and the endeavor of life, with our encouragement and love, despite the very great challenges, we need to both open our hearts to Divine love and to receiving love from one another. –Angela

email, Cairo, Egypt

in The FALL “PeACemAker” in “yOUr wOrd TO US,” Janice Russoniello, mother of nine from Lancaster, PA, wrote about a prayer book she had created for her “Little Society of St. Rita.’ The beautiful book is now in print and the royalties and copyright have been assigned to the St. Rita Shrine through the assistance of fr. Michael Di Gregorio O.S.A., our past Rector. you can contact us through our website at for information to obtain a copy. Maybe you, too, will have a calling to begin a “Little Society of St. Rita” in your own town. If you start one, please contact us! - Deborah M. Binder St. Rita Shrine Development Director

deAr ST. riTA, PATrOneSS OF The imPOSSiBLe. Source CREATOR said you would help me. Please help me see the Sacred holy Christ light consciousness within this vessel....this Spirit "hungering" for absolute Oneness, merging with the CREATOR who Birthed it so that I can remember the True holy Sacred Purpose of this Earth Adventure. In some ways I have caused unintentional pain, suffering, hurt & disappointment to those I should have protected, cared for, nourished and supported. I am just a Child; Children make mistakes. I fell and I may not be worthy to be One with the Sacred Divine. Please St. rita help to intercede on my behalf, that i may fully accept the rose and even its thorns since ALL iS One. i am nothing without the CreATOr. i am just a drop in the ocean of existence. Please St. appeared on this path i am on for a purpose. I may not know that purpose but it is the TRUTh…the TRUTh of your 15

YOUR WORD TO US, (COn’T) Sacred holy Divine Infinite Nature….that even as you “Sleep”…you still share your Merciful Gracious healing Gifts to All who call upon you; and so it is that I humbly call upon your Divine Sacred Intervention to help me and my family to heal, to become United again, to Prosper and be a living embodiment of the Compassion, Unconditional Love, kindness that you do still share with us all....Always and forever..... Thank you Infinitely St. Rita, May we Always be Purified, Sanctified—by your holy Sacred Memory... –Muhumuza K.

email, Uganda

i PrAyed a nine day novena to St. Rita, beginning on her feast day in 2013, for an “impossible situation” regarding an abusive relationship involving my daughter and grandson. A very familiar story for St. rita and my “impossible dream” was for the intercession of rita to help this abuser become a holy person and do what is in the best interest of my grandson, (his child) or that he be removed from this family for their safety. I prayed a St. Rita chaplet and her prayer, lit a candle, and built a small shrine in my home with her statue. The morning following the ninth day (just a few hours in--about 3am) this man was arrested and jailed for domestic assault in the first degree as he had beaten, poured gasoline and attempted to light a fire on his current girlfriend (not my daughter). Since then, he has been removed from this family completely. i continue to pray to St. rita that perhaps jail may be part of her plan to make him a good and holy person that will do what is in the best interest of his child. Until then, I feel the removal was necessary for the safety of all concerned and I am ever grateful for this favor granted--which I have made known to many. I also pray for the patience to deal with this man (as St. Rita had with her husband) upon his potential re-entry into my family. –D. Barnes email, Jefferson City, Missouri 16

memorializing A loved one iS healing we offer several ways at the shrine to memorialize a loved one, living or deceased. There are many thoughtful reasons devotees of St. Rita have memorializing a loved one, as in time of illness, loss, marriage, anniversary, birthday and favor received. All memorials are in lower crypt area.

AnnuAl CAndle memoRiAl Name is placed around a candle to remain lit for a year. $150

BRASS PlAte enGRAvinG Name is added to a brass plate. $250

enGRAvinG in GRAnite Name is engraved in granite. $1000 Name is engraved in pink marble. $5000 (above photo)

St. Rita statue in Brazil

hiGheST CAThOLiC reLiGiOUS STATUe in The wOrd! SAinT riTA OF CASCiA dominates the hill of Santa Cruz of Rio Grande do Norte, in the easternmost part of Brazil. Blocks of cement 56 meters high were used that were just one meter less than the height of the Statue of Liberty. It took almost 10 years to plan and mount it, piece by piece, on high ground that was leveled specifically for this purpose. The project cost was approximately $3.6 million. The statue has been called a ‘beacon,’ and even better, ‘a pole of attraction that will make the light of faith shrine.’ Excerpts from “The Bees to the Roses,” Sergio Casagrand, Oct./Nov. 2010


he ali ng JUSTiCe in BrAziL

ThrOUGh BLeSSed mAriAnO de LA mATA, O.S.A., An AUGUSTiniAn BLeSSed mAriAnO de LA mATA O.S.A. was born into a simple Christian family and was ordained in 1930. After two years ministering in Spain, he left for Brazil where he would spend 52 years exercising his Apostolate in the field of education and especially in the daily care of the poor, the elderly, and children, and a frequent visitor of the sick. As a “saint of the ordinary,” father Mariano reminds us that the path to holiness is essentially simple: it consists in living the Gospel message in a spirit of faith, freedom and generosity, loving God and neighbor as Jesus instructed us. Mariano is a

virgin, thoroughly committed to his priestly vocation, and fervent in his love for the Eucharist. Mariano was diagnosed with cancer in early 1983. he underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor, but the cancer continued to spread. he was conscientious with his students, the faithful of the association of “Workshops of Saint Rita of Charity”. he founded over 200 such workshops in Brazil which employ people to make affordable clothing for the poor. he was merciful toward his penitents, pure of heart, and a lover of peace in his Augustinian Community and in his family, overcoming difficulties


p r a y e r AND s a c r i f i c e ”

modern saint, a saint who lived surrounded by the challenges of our contemporary world, but with the timeless truth and wisdom of the two great commandments. father was distinguished as “a messenger of charity.” he possessed a strong character, but was at the same time a generous and sensitive individual, friendly and approachable by all. Blessed Mariano was a man of deep prayer, greatly devoted to the Blessed

through prayer and sacrifice, constantly having recourse to the virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Consolation up until the moment he departed this life. he died on April 5, 1983, and was beatified on November 5, 2006 in the Cathedral of Sao Paolo. his body rests beside the altar of his beloved virgin of Consolation in the Church of Saint Augustine in Sao Paolo.


at th e bu s stop on rs he ot br le litt o tw my th wi s I wa 17t h an d Gi rard. of five fro m a di scipliAcross th e street ca m e a ga ng ms. na ry school… try in g to sta rt pro ble th eir mi nd s, th ey A fire bu rni ng out of co nt rol in d my litt le brot he rs cro ssed th e street, an d approache an d m e with a gu n. ys to ld th e gu y with W he n th ey ca m e, on e of th e gu my brot he rs. th e gu n to sh oot m e in fro nt of ot he rs’ ey es, lik e th e br le litt o tw my in r fea s wa Th ere to th e hig hway at fea r of a de er wh o stu m bled on nig ht. gu n, I heard, As he wa s about to pu ll out th e brot he rs. ” An ot he r “ Do n’ t do it in fro nt of his litt le e.” sa id, “ We will get you next tim s hit ha rd, lik e a As th ey left, it se em ed lik e I wa nch. boxe r suffe rin g fro m a pote nt pu ief we nt pa st my mi nd. rel of h sig a , ed en pp ha it r te Af tia l. I felt en rag ed but als o pro vid en rvive th e in cid ent, God let my brot he rs an d m e su rea lly is in th e City but God als o sh owed us how it of Phila de lphia. ia -a ut ho r, youn g boy, Phila de lph 20


he ali ng JUSTiCe

By Fr. PAUL mOrriSSey O.S.A.

heLLO FriendS OF ST. riTA. Those words across the page, recently came to us from a boy in Philadelphia. he was just walking home from school with his brothers when he was threatened. The graffiti of the baby with a gun is from a schoolyard wall. These situations remind us that Rita’s desire for peace is even more necessary today, especially in our cities. young people are being drawn into these wars in our streets. Children often grow up without a father and without a stable family, perhaps with no regular meals, even threatened when they simply walk down the street. Imagine the mothers of these young kids. They kiss them goodbye in the morning as they head out to school. Then they must pray constantly for God and his angels to watch over them until they return home--if they do. We at the Cascia Center in South Philadelphia join you as you hold up these children and families to St. Rita, the Patron of the Impossible. Are these young people with the guns simply bad? Did they all just decide to commit a crime for kicks? Some may have, but most are products of their upbringing. They are born into families that are poor. Poor in what ways? first, many don’t have the “Daily Bread” that

we all pray to the father to give us each day. Second, many kids are born into homes that are emotionally and spiritually poor. They don’t receive the love that is actually needed to raise a child and teach them moral guidelines. They may also be poor in terms of being “traumatized” at a young age by violence—their brothers may have been killed, their fathers or mothers may be in jail. Imagine yourself in such a family. They grow up with what psychologists call PTSD 21

FR. PAUl MORRISSeY O.S.A., (COn’T) (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It is the condition similar to many of our soldiers when they come home from fighting in Afghanistan. The soldiers and the young city kids from these “poor” homes are very likely to “act out” when they get angry or stressed instead of being able to restrain themselves. They have “short fuses.” We must treat them and their families for this trauma, not just lock them up. These broken families—like St. rita’s family once was—are hurt and must be healed. Otherwise, we will just have to keep building more and more jails. Remember the words from above: We will get you next time. These broken families—including the families of the shooting victims as well—are the ones for whom we must pray. Otherwise we will just keep burying the young bodies. finally, all of us are affected by this violence. Ripple effects swirl out from each violent act and tend to magnify the pain, the disruption, the anger, the lack of safety, the very fabric of our neighborhoods. Remember when you used to have your whole neighborhood watching out for you? Lots of eyes on the streets kept a system of care and respect enforced in a human way, a neighborhood way.

A vOICE OR hAND ThAT fOSTERS f o r g i v e n e s s

IS  o d ’ s  p i r i t AT WORk.

Even if it sometimes meant a neighbor called your mother and reported that you were acting wild, at least a check on “wild” behavior was ingrained in us then. Now, people are afraid to “snitch” on each other. Now, gangs enforce the behavior rules. We can’t give in to this. We must get to know each other, and realize like St. Rita did, that revenge solves nothing. fear only produces more fear, but love also magnifies itself. Trust enkindles others’ trust.


St. Thomas of Villanova by Anthony Visco, Shrine Artist

A voice or hand that fosters forgiveness is God’s Spirit at work. May this Spirit increase in us. This is our way in South Philly at St. Rita’s Shrine. “The Lord hears the cry of the poor,” we sing in the liturgy. yes, but he needs our hands to show his care. Imagine, God needs your love joined together with his band of disciples. Nothing can conquer us when we do. you and all poor people who are stuck in a cycle of violence are in our hearts as we sing, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor. Blessed be the Lord.” May God bless you and all of

your loved ones this season, and through St. Rita may he heal these wounds in our beloved city. Fr. Paul Morrissey O.S.A. Adeodatus Ministry is to foster an awareness of Christ in the lives of those on both sides of the prison walls. If you would like to get involved to bring restorative justice to our cities, call Fr. Paul at 215-925-3566 or visit 23

Construction new ThinGS Are COminG….

OF The CASCiA CenTer

Following in this tradition of the Church, the Cascia Center is about to be erected after many years of delay and trial. But our faith in the good that will come from this Center will pay off as we begin to minister to the people of God in diverse ways through spirituality and ministry, inspired by the beliefs of Rita of Cascia, a woman who herself endured great trials and obstacles before her faith was rewarded. Why should we expect our journey to be any different? We have endured many twists and turns in this odyssey known as the campaign for the Cascia Center, challenging our faith, and now we stand on the threshold of its completion. heralding to the neighborhood and to the greater community that new things are coming. –­Fr.­Joseph­A.­Genito,­O.S.A.

deveLOPmenT of


deAr FriendS OF ST. riTA, Greetings and prayers for a peace and grace filled new year to you and your loved ones! in reflecting upon our issue’s theme of “God’s healing Justice” i was struck by the ending lines of Fr. michael’s “view from my heart,” when he wrote, “…in the darkness we may too easily or quickly be distracted by a passing spark or flashing glimmer, rather than the full bright beam that Jesus reveals.” Much of my development work involves communicating with devotees of St. Rita about her intercession during their days of darkness that have already occurred, or what is being sought presently in a current time of distress. It is always humbling to hear of what God asks his faithful followers to carry, to contemplate, to endure, and to fully place in his holy hands. “Jesus , I do Trust in you!” God’s healing justice can be everpresent to those who persevere, wait, pray, sacrifice, fast and offer charity in dark times. Trusting fully in him is what he asks, and in response we must try to listen, to be open and to wait for ‘the full bright beam that Jesus reveals.’ As fr. Joe stated in his letter, “by his resurrection he prevailed, and the wisdom of sticking with him and his teachings breathed life into his followers so that they could carry on 26

his work. They were eventually justified in their faith by his resurrection.” We here at the Shrine have been working to our best to bring the Cascia Center to fruition, and from the fruits of our prayers and labor to date, we are beginning to see more of the beam that Jesus is revealing which presents added hope for us with the expansion of our ministry dream through the Center. Pray with us and consider a gift to assist us in becoming a ‘full bright beam’ where Jesus can reveal himself even more to others through the ministry of the national Shrine of St. rita and it’s Cascia Center.

Deborah­Binder Development Director 215-546-8333 ext. 12

Will YOU help us reach our goal of $500,000 to take us to construction? The

CASCIA CENTER Healing Broken Lives

$500,000 Still Needed

$280,000 Pledges Promised

$300,000 Donated Services & Materials

$1,400,000 Monies Collected

community outreach spirituality & social center education & ministries for peacemaking To Donate: for PayPal 215-546-8333 for MC/Visa/Discover or to mail use envelope enclosed

Thank YOU for your continued support! The Augustinians, Employees & Volunteers of the Shrine

mAy dOnATe By




The Friars, employees & volunteers of the Shrine.

for your sacrifice and may you have a blessed Lenten Season!


thank you


emAiL US AT riTAShrine @ AOL . COm , Or CALL US

AT www.S AinT r iTA S hrine . OrG FOr

enCLOSed , viSiT US

USinG The enveLOPe


Artist, Fr. Gene DelConte O.S.A.

Return service requested

1166 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19146

National Shrine Saint Rita of Cascia NON-PROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID LANSDALE, PA PERMIT NO. 491

Saint Rita Peacemaker Winter 2014  

A quarterly publication for donors and friends of the National Shrine Saint Rita of Cascia

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