29 April 2007

St. Peter Martyr, pray for us.

O God, who didst vouchsafe to blessed Peter thy Martyr to win the crown of martyrdom in the preaching of the Faith : grant, we pray thee ; that we may imitate him in all devout following of the same. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord ...

St. Peter of Verona
by Dominic DeCaria

St. Peter Martyr (also known as Peter of Verona) was an early Dominican friar whose vigorous preaching enraged the heretics of his day to the point of killing him, gaining for Peter the distinction of being the first martyr of the Dominican Order. He preached against the Cathari heresy, which was widespread over northern Italy and Southern France in Peter's time. This form of Manicheanism believed that God created the spiritual world and Satan created the material world.

Peter was born around 1205 in Verona, Italy. His parents were Catharists, but as there were no Catharist teachers in Verona, Peter attended a Catholic school. His uncle stopped him in the street one day and demanded to know what the school was teaching him. In response, Peter began to recite the Apostle's Creed, affirming his belief that God created all things spiritual and material. His uncle told him that he was wrong, and tried for some time to convince the young saint that the heretics had the answer, but he could not shake Peter's faith.

Peter later attended the University of Bologna. Although Bologna was infamous for its immoral environment, Peter continued in his life of sanctity. It was during his studies here that he learned of the Dominicans, who were holding their second General Chapter in Bologna in the year 1221. Peter presented himself to the new order and humbly asked for the habit, and was given it by Dominic himself. Peter was among those present at the holy founder's deathbed a few months later for his final blessing.

One thing that certainly characterizes Peter's life is mortification, which he began when he received the habit. In fact, his penances as a novice were so severe that they affected his health. He soon recovered, and thenceforth undertook only those mortifications approved by his spiritual director, which were still severe enough. As a student in the order, Peter constantly devoted himself to both study and prayer.

Thus well formed by his life of study, mortification, and prayer, Peter set out in his initial preaching with great success. He traveled throughout Lombardy and most of Italy, preaching with great success against the heresy he grew up with. Many sought him out for council as well as confession. He was sought after so much that his brothers began to wonder when they so often heard voices coming from near his cell. They charged Peter with admitting women to his cell. His prior asked him about the charge, but Peter simply said that the innocent have no need of defense. The prior took this as an admission of guilt, and he sent Peter into exile at a convent near the Esino River (southeast of Bologna, near the east coast of Italy).

Peter spent his time in exile living a life of prayer, mortification, and service to his brothers. When the order finally discovered that he was innocent, he was called forth from his exile and he resumed his preaching. Though Peter did not think so at the time, his period of exile had been a blessing, for his preaching abilities dramatically improved because of it. Pope Gregory IX was so impressed with Peter's preaching that, about the year 1232, he appointed Peter to the position of Inquisitor General of the Faith. Peter was reappointed to that position under Pope Innocent IV in 1251.

Peter's reputation spread all throughout the land. So many people flocked to hear him preach that they could not fit in the churches, and often Peter had to preach in the streets and fields. In Milan, the people built a portable pulpit to protect Peter from the press of the crowd. Several of the stronger men would carry the pulpit to whatever place in Milan the famous friar was preaching. Many flocked to him because of his reputation as a miracle worker, though his greatest deeds were the conversions he effected in the hearts of his listeners. His saintliness was due in no small part to the fact that he persevered in his life of prayer, study, and mortification everywhere he went. He served as prior of Dominican houses at Asti (1240), Piacenza (1241), and Como (1251), and in this post he constantly exhorted his brothers to the conventual observances and to study, especially of the Bible.

Naturally, the heretics opposed Peter, and were frustrated at his continued success. They avoided his preaching at all costs. Finally, four of them were driven to plot Peter's death. They decided to hire an assassin for 40 Milanese Lire. A man by the name of Carino (also known as Peter Balsamone) agreed to undertake the task, choosing as an assistant one Albertino Porro. Peter soon learned of their plotting, but he would not let it daunt him. On Palm Sunday, March 24, 1252, he was preaching in Milan and said, "I know for certain that the Manicheans have plotted my death, and have deposited money for that purpose. Let them do what they will. I will accomplish more against them than I have done during my lifetime" (O' Daniel, 32). He then traveled to Como, where he was prior at the time.

Almost exactly two weeks later, on Saturday, April 6, 1252, Peter was traveling back to Milan with a companion by the name of Brother Dominic. Carino set out after him, and was joined on the way by Porro. Halfway to Milan, they caught up to Peter in a thick forest near Barlasina. Carino struck the first blow against Peter, opening a wound in his head and driving him to the ground. He then turned on Dominic, wounding him several times (Dominic died a few days later from these wounds). Carino then turned back to Peter, who, being unable to speak, had dipped his finger in the blood flowing from his wounded head and written upon the ground the first words of the Apostle's Creed, which he had recited to his heretical uncle as a boy. Carino thrust his knife into Peter's chest, killing him. Peter was 47, and had worn the Dominican habit for 31 years.

Peter's remains were carried to Milan and turned over to the Dominicans, who interred him at St. Eustorgio's Church. He was well loved, and his death affected many, not the least of whom was his murderer. Carino had been arrested, but soon escaped and fled to Forli. There, he was overcome with horror at what he had done. He repented his heresy in the hands of a Dominican priest, and later became a Dominican lay brother, living a holy life from then on.

Peter was canonized on March 25, 1253, less than a year after his death. His feast was set on April 29, since April 6 often falls during Holy Week or the Octave of Easter. In 1670 it was made a feast on the Roman Calendar. It has since been moved to June 4. He is remembered primarily by the Dominicans and the Servites, who consider him a second founder since it was his recommendation that gained Papal approval for their order. His life of prayer, penance, and study, which enabled him to give such a tremendous witness to God, is a lesson for all.


  • Baring-Gould, M.A., Rev. S. The Lives of the Saints. v. 4. Edinburgh: John Grant. 1914
  • Hinnebusch, J. F. "Peter Martyr, St." The New Catholic Encyclopedia, v. 11. New York: McGraw-Hill. 1967.
  • O'Daniel, O.P., Very Rev. Victor F. The First Disciples of St. Dominic. Somerset, Ohio: The Rosary Press. 1928.

The Power of the Rosary

A Sarum bow to English Catholic for posting this.

"Let us crown ourselves in emulation of the roses of heaven and pray the entire Rosary every day, the fifteen decades or three Rosaries of five decades each. There are two reasons for praying all fifteen every day.

The first reason is to honor the three crowns of Jesus and Mary - Jesus' crown of grace in His Incarnation, His crown of thorns in His Passion, and His crown of glory in heaven, and the three-fold crown of Mary received in heaven from the Most Blessed Trinity.

The second reason is to receive three crowns from Jesus and Mary - a crown of merit in our lifetime, a crown of peace at our death, and a crown of glory on heaven.

If you are faithful in praying the Rosary devoutly until death, believe me that despite the gravity of your sins "you will receive an unfading crown of glory" (1 Peter 5:4)

Even if you are on the verge of being damned, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do, even if you are a heretic as hardened and obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and saved, if - mark well my words - if you pray the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and forgiveness of your sins."

St Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary

(Translated by Rev. John A. Otto, published 2004 by Catholic Book Publishing Corp.)

28 April 2007

27 April 2007

Blessed Margaret of Castello, please pray for me

Through the intercession of Blessed Margaret of Castello may the Holy Trinity hear me and heal me as a testimony to the truth of Jesus Christ.

And if there be no healing regarding the many problems afflicting my body -- the defects from birth as well as current diagnoses -- may the Holy Trinity, through the intercession of Blessed Margaret of Castello, grant me the courage to press on day by day by day as a witness to the truth of Jesus Christ, the healer of our souls, until this busy world is hushed and I fall asleep for the last time cradled in the arms of the Risen Lord and His Most Holy Family. Amen.

26 April 2007

21 April 2007

Today is a very great day for the Church Universal!

Today in Scranton, Pennsylvania The Rev. Mr. Eric L. Bergman II will be ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. One can learn more about his ordination today on this page on The St. Thomas More Society's website.

My parents and I are very honoured to know Deacon Bergman, and we are overjoyed to see him ordained to the priesthood in Holy Mother Church. He had been an Episcopalian priest. When he was reconciled to the Catholic Church, he brought a congregation of former Episcopalians with him which is something I pray more Episcopalian clergy will do as they convert and are reconciled to the Holy See.

I expect that very soon his congregation now known as the St. Thomas More Society of St. Clare's Catholic Church will be erected as the Catholic Church of St. Thomas More (Anglican Use, Roman Rite) or some variation on that depending upon the Bishop's good pleasure.

Of course, this is also a very great day for all Roman Catholics of Anglican Heritage but also for the whole Church as a new Priest is given by the Blessed Trinity to Holy Church to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to fulfil all priestly responsibilties of the upward call of God in Christ.

13 April 2007

Please Pardon the Absence

Holy Week was very eventful. I had a TIA or TIE ... in other words a small stroke. I also took a rather bad fall. I'll be back to the blog soon. Please pray for me, a sinner.

02 April 2007

Bishop Challenor on Palm Sunday

On our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem

Consider first, how the time now drawing near when our Saviour was to offer himself up a sacrifice for the sins of the world, he was pleased to come to the place where he was to complete this sacrifice; and as, in order to fulfil the ancient figures, he chose that very night for the institution of the Passover of the new Law, which was set aside for the immolation of the paschal lamb, in the old law, and that very day for the redemption of the world, in which God's people had formerly been redeemed from their Egyptian bondage; so also he was pleased to make his entry into Jerusalem in order to his sacrifice, on the very day on which by the appointment of the law, Exodus, xii, 3, the lamb was to be brought to town, which was to be sacrificed for the passover. Contemplate here, O Christian soul, the greatness of that love and charity for thee, which pushes thy Saviour forward on this occasion; see the joyful readiness with which he goes to offer up himself to death for the love of thee; admire and adore the dispositions of his providence, who was pleased that the glory of his birth should be hidden in the obscurity of a poor stable in little Bethlehem, whilst he chose for the ignominy of his Passion, the great theatre of Jerusalem, and the Paschal time, when the whole nation of the Jews was assembled thither.

Consider 2ndly, the manner in which our Lord was pleased to be received on this day by a solemn procession of the people, strewing their garments in the way, and bearing branches of palm-trees in their hands, to testify his victory over the prince of darkness, and accompanying him with loud acclamation and hosannas of joy, to honour him as their King and Messias. See, my soul if thou art in proper dispositions to join in this triumphal procession, and with a palm branch in thy hand, to celebrate the victory of the Lord over death, sin, and hell: alas! with what face canst thou attend him on this occasion if thou art still a slave to death, sin, and hell? Reflect also here on the inconstancy of the world, and how little account thou art to make of the esteem and applause of men, when thou seest how this same people, who on this day received our Lord with these loud hosannas, and acknowledged him for their King and their Saviour, five days after cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him, crucify him!"

Consider 3rdly, the dispositions of the soul of our Redeemer in the midst of these honours and acclamations, and how little he is affected with them. See how upon this occasion he weeps over the unhappy Jerusalem, and over every impenitent soul that, like Jerusalem, takes no notice, "in this her day, of the things that are for her peace; but lets slip the time of her visitation." -- Luke, xix, 42, 44. Learn from his very triumph his love of poverty and his meekness, in the manner of his riding into Jerusalem upon an ass's colt. Give ear to the prophet, Zach. ix, 9, "Rejoice, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King will come to thee; the Just and the Saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass," &c. O see thou imitate his humility whilst rejoicing in his victory.

Conclude to honour the triumph of thy Saviour, in the best manner thou art able, in the procession of this day. Acknowledge him for thy King and Lord of thy heart, and invite him in thither. But see that sin and hell have no place there.

Bishop Challenor
Holy Week Meditations
St. Albans Books : 12
Society of SS. Peter and Paul
32 George St., Hanover Square,
And 302 Regent Street, W.

01 April 2007

Palm Sunday Greetings ~ Welcome Home!

Daniel Herzog and his wife Carol have returned home to the Catholic Church. After leaving the Church for the Episcopalians while a young man, he became one of the last conservative bishops of that dwindling denomination. It is a mighty thing to realise one has spent one's life in the wrong place albeit striving to do the right things for God. I know this from my own decision to leave the Anglican Communion, set down what I had received there, and enter the Catholic Church as a layman. I imagine it is an even greater struggle when one has been a bishop in that Communion. Nevertheless, Daniel Herzog has renounced his Anglican orders and returned to the Catholic Church as a layman. I pray the decision taken by the former bishop and his wife will be a like a great beacon in a lighthouse calling in those weary and lost at sea in the life-draining Anglican Sargasso Sea.

Many friends of mine found a safe harbour in his Episcopalian diocese when liberals and heretics forced them from their home dioceses in the USA, and I pray many Episcopalians will follow the example he and his wife have now set. The irony in his part of the USA is that his Episcopalian diocese was the protector of 'conservative catholic ideas' about many things whereas the Catholic diocese in essentially the same location is one of the most liberal in the world and is certainly not seeing eye to eye with Pope Benedict.

I pray with all my heart that the Herzogs receive the warm Welcome Home that everyone hopes to receive. I know well how difficult it is to be a conservative former Anglican entering a liberal Catholic diocese. But whether we are entering the Church for the first time or are returning home, it is the wisest decision we can make for the sake of our souls. To remain is spiritual suicide. The movement of such grace from the Lord to rescue us truly does make us eternally grateful -- even if one does encounter things in the 'liberal Catholic Church' that make one weep for the outrages committed against the Most Holy Trinity.

Thanks be to God for the only true safe harbour which is found on the Barque of St. Peter between the Pillars of the Most Holy Eucharist and Our Blessed Lady! And for those of us who nearly perished for lack of authority in Anglicanism let us endlessly praise the Lord Jesus Christ for the Vicar of Christ and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church.