Jubilee of Our Lady
The Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Rome
JUBILEO OPENING ON THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MADONNA OF PERPETOUS SOCIETY IN THE CHURCH OF SANT’ALFONSO – 27 June 2015
On Saturday, June 27, 2015, the Superior General of the Redemptorists, Father Michael Brehl, officially proclaimed the beginning of the Jubilee Year in front of the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Aid: 27 June 2015 – 27 June 2016.
On June 24, began in the church of Sant’Alfonso, sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Relief in Rome, the triduum in preparation for the party and the beginning of the Jubilee. At 18.00 was the play of Novena Perpetua with the participation of a good number of Redemptorists and faithful; then the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Giovanni Congiu, Superior of the Province of Rome, and preacher of this triduum. He told us that this jubilee year is not just a date to remember the 150th anniversary of Pius IX’s delivery to the Redemptorists, but it is also a reason to thank God for everything he has done everywhere the Redemptors have sown this devotion. We celebrate this jubilee with the slogan “Mother of Perpetual Relief Icon of Love”.
On Saturday, June 27, the Superior General of the Redemptorists, Michael Brehl, officially proclaimed the Jubilee Year of Our Lady of Perpetual Relief during the solemn ceremony held in the Church of Sant’Alfonso, where the original icon of the Madonna of Perpetual Rescue. They were present together with the community of Sant’Alfonso, Rome, the Major Superiors from all over the world. Michael Brehl chaired the solemn Mass that began at 18:00. During the homily he also said that the Church, with the granting of Pope Francis’s plenary indifference, recognizes the great importance of this Jubilee Year.
On Sunday June 28, 2015, the joyful celebration of the Feast of Our Blessed Mother was held. His Eminence Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, presided over the Eucharistic Celebration. He said Mary’s perpetual help was experienced as immediate and perpetual. He told us how Alfonso loved Maria passionately and this is evident in his famous and popular book The Glories of Mary. The offeror saw a representation of families belonging to the four groups of different languages who worship at the Shrine of Rome – Italian, Polish, Filipino and Latin American communities. After the solemn Eucharistic celebration, priests and faithful participated in a procession with the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Assistance.
Celebration of December 11, 2015: Anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s Letter to the Redemptorists
December 11, 1865. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the Congregation of the Redemptorist Fathers was invited by Blessed Pius IX to establish their House of Commons in Rome. There, the Redemptorist Fathers built a convent and the Church of Sant’Alfonso. One of them, studying the area of the city in which they had settled, not long afterwards discovered that the Church of Sant’Alfonso had been built in the place where the Church of St. Matthew, in which it had been venerated for centuries miraculous icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Father General Nicola Mauron, made a request directly to the Pope with the aim of having the icon of Perpetual Relief in the new church of Sant’Alfonso at the Esquiline. The Pope wrote this note on December 11, 1865: “The Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda will call the Superior of the microscopic community of Santa Maria in Posterula and will say it will be our will that the image of the Most Holy Virgin, of which it is concerned supplicate, come back between the [basilicas] of San Giovanni [in Laterano] and Santa Maria Maggiore; with the obligation, however, of P. Superiore dei Liguorini to replace another decent painting “.
Subsequently, the Holy Father told the Redemptorists, in the person of their Superior General, the mission of spreading devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Assistance: “Make her known to the whole world!”
For this reason, on December 11, 2015, in our Sanctuary, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of this historic letter and this memorable event. We have had a Novena preparation from December 2 to 10, with the participation of the various ethnic communities of the Shrine and Redemptorists resident in the General House. On Friday, December 11 at 18:00, there was the solemn Eucharist presided by Cardinal Stanislao Rylko, prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
On the occasion of the December 11th, when we remembered the letter written by Pope Pius IX asking the Irish Agostinians to give us the Icon of Perpetual Relief in exchange for a fair remuneration, in our Sanctuary we had an Accordion Concert and Violin. With his eyes fixed on the miraculous Icon we enjoyed tan beautiful music performed by Cristiano Lui and others.
April 26, 2016 – 150th Anniversary of the Public Worship of the P.S Icon in our Sanctuary
On April 26, 1866, the Madonna of Perpetual Relief was processionally carried out by the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in the new Shrine and to his passage there was a healing of a sick child. This date marks the beginning of the public veneration of the Madonna in the church of Sant’Alfonso to the Esquiline. From this church the Missionary Lady has traveled all over the world along with the Redemptorists.
On April 26, 2016, it was truly a memorable day of joy and gratitude in memory of the date when the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Relief was placed in public veneration in the Church of St. Alfonso.
The recurrence was prepared with a daily novena in Italian, followed by the Eucharist celebrated in different languages and by liturgical rites. In addition to Italian, Mass in Roman Rite was also celebrated in Vietnamese, Polish, English and French, Portuguese and Spanish. Regarding Oriental rites, the liturgy was celebrated in the Greek Catholic rite in the Ukrainian language; Malayalam Malaysian Siro Malaysian Rite; and the Melchite Rite in Arabic. To add a touch of color to these days, there were musical concerts and performances both before and after liturgical celebrations. The enthusiastic response of the people has marked this event, not so much as “an ecclesiastical question” but as an explosion of joy that embraces all life.
Devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Assistance spreads through many countries, cultures and languages. This was evident in the 9 days of preparation that saw the Shrine welcome pilgrims ‘of every tribe and language, peoples and nations’ to use the expression of the biblical book of Revelation! And this has led to a wonderful climax.
On Tuesday, April 26, the celebration began at 5:00 pm at the papal altar in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore with a commemorative procession along Via Merulana towards the Church of St. Alfonso. Before commencing the procession, the Superior General explained the meaning of the procession by reminding the participants that this was a reenactment of the procession with the icon of April 26, 1866. The icon, beautifully surrounded by flowers, was carried with a canopy on shoulders of some young people accompanied by hymns and prayers. There was a slight drizzle but did not dampen the spirits of so many participants.
The whole celebration was presided over by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, London, and the head of our Church. The celebration and homily that he has spoken in Italian and English has touched the hearts of the present. There were two Redemptorist bishops – Archbishop Fernando José Monteiro Guimarães of the Brazilian Military Ordinariate; and Bishop Ralph Heskett of the Diocese of Hallam, England. They also joined Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, and Peter Andrew Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay, Australia. There were redemptorists from the five Conferences. There were also diocesan and religious priests, sisters, and a considerable number of lay people.
International representation has been characterized by a good number of devotees dressed in their traditional dress, the inclusion of different cultural symbols and intercession prayers offered in different languages. Pellegrini groups came from several countries along with redemptorists, particularly from India, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, Paraguay, Poland, there were also residents in Rome, as well as various migrants living in Rome.
Jubilee 150th Anniversary of Our Lady
12 Icons blessed by Pope Francis – 18/05/2016
On May 18, twelve Redemptors were present at the Papal Office in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The main purpose of this exceptional presence was to guarantee the blessing of Pope Francis on the 12 specially prepared icons of Our Lady of Perpetual Assistance.
Among the twelve Redemptors were Superior General Michael Brehl, some members of the Community of the General Council, the Jubilee of the Icon and the International Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Assistance.
Since only two were allowed to stay in the front row for this special request, the Superior General appointed Juventius Andrade (President of the Jubilee Icon Commission) and Fr. Arturo Martinez (Rector of the International Sanctuary). Pope Francis was briefly informed of the closure of our Jubilee of the Icon of Love.
Of these icons two were written by Brother Richard Maidwell CSsR of South Africa and by Sister Maria Slepchenko OSSR, a Ukrainian Redemptorist nun in the Bielsko-Biala community; the remaining ten were prepared by Fr. Eugeniusz Karpiel CSsR of Warsaw Province and his school.
The role of the icons in the third phase of the Jubilee Year
The Jubilee Icon Commission has proposed a three-stage Jubilee Celebration. The first phase (preparatory) was already celebrated in January – December 2015 with the theme “Strengthen and nourish our love for the Mother of God”. This was done through the formation of committees, contact of people, the dissemination of resources, the conduct of congresses, etc.
We are approaching the end of the second phase (celebrating) “Our Mother of Perpetual Relief – Icon of Love”. It will end with the Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Relief on June 27, 2016.
The Sanctuary of Rome has prepared a great party that will be preceded by a novena, 9 days. Liturgy takes place every day in different languages, and also in various liturgical rites. Some provinces are already sending delegates and groups of pilgrims to Rome. Many units also have a very elaborate program of celebrations in various shrines and churches around the world.
The main public celebration in Rome will be held on June 26, 2016, as it is Sunday closest to the festival. The liturgy will be celebrated in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore as it is expected to have a huge number of people. This will be followed by a procession on the streets of the whole neighborhood where our Sanctuary is located. Upon his arrival at our Sanctuary, Superior General Michael Brehl will deliver these icons to the five Conferences of the Congregation.
Closing of the Jubilee on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Relief of the Perpetual Aid Relief to Redemptorist Missionaries – June 27, 2016
Our Shrine, together with all Redemptorist Missionaries in the world and all the devotees of Our Lady of Perpetual Relief, celebrated in a truly special way festivals in honor of our Missionary Lady.
From the 16th to the 24th of June there was the preparation novena. Under the direction of Fr Gilberto Silvestri CSsR, Redemptorist of the Province of Rome, we have experienced a “contemplation experience with the Icon”. Every night, after the Novena, we had different guests to celebrate the Eucharist: faithful of Vietnam, the Byzantine Greek-Catholic-Romanian Rite Community, the Siro-Malabar Community, the Philippine Community, the Ukrainian Community, the German Polish, French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish Latin. After the Eucharist were invited artists, musicians, polyphonic and other choirs.
On Saturday, June 25, during the afternoon and evening it was a beautiful folk festival with international folklore.
Sunday, June 26, was the most solemn feast day. All the celebrations of the day were special with preaching and singing. At 3.00 pm the Madonna was brought to the square of Santa Maria Maggiore where she was received and honored for the band of music of the Local Police of Rome. Then, at 2.00 pm, we celebrate the solemn Eucharist presided by Cardinal Braz, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Religious Life and for the Institutes of Consecrated Vida. After the Eucharist, Our Lady went on a solemn procession to the Church of Sant’Alfonso where, together with our Father General Michael Brehl, we renewed our missionary commitment with the same words of Pope Pius IX 150 years ago: “let us know”. The General General handed over and sent me on pilgrimage all over the world. 12 Specially blessed icons for Pope Francis.
All Jubilee celebrations were closed on Monday, June 27th with an emotional eucharist presided by our Father General, Michael Brehl. We thank Mary together for the great gift of God the Father he has allowed us to participate in the Redemption of Christ through this miraculous Icon.