Monday, July 12, 2004

Closure of Nuestra Senora del Carmen

See more information added to blog below.

Anyone with any news on church closures anywhere in the world, let me know on

Our Lady of Perpetual Help


This site is dedicated to her protection. All should ask for her prayers for parishes under threat.

Story of the Icon of Perpetual Help

"HOLY MARY OF PERPETUAL HELP" is the title which, according to an ancient document, the Blessed Virgin herself used in bringing her picture into the devotional life of Rome in the closing days of the fifteenth century. This, the Perpetual Help story is the story of a picture of Mary and her Divine Son, our Redeemer, and of the devotion to them which developed around it. Jesus is seen as preoccupied even from his tenderest years with the price he would one day pay in his Passion for our salvation, and Mary is seen as his compassionate Mother.

Historically, the story of Perpetual Help is a story of people: an unknown artist who painted the picture on the island of Crete, a merchant who for some reason brought the picture to Rome in 1499, a friend of the merchant to whom he gave the picture and whose wife had visions of Mary, telling her she wanted the picture enshrined for public veneration in a little Roman church (of St. Matthew) between the two great basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. The next people in the story were the men of the religious community of St. Augustine at St. Matthew's who received the picture with joy and soon found that it aroused great devotion among the faithful. There were many liturgical services, impressive conversions, even miracles, so much so that the picture came to be called the miraculous image of Perpetual Help.

Then, in 1799, all came to a grinding halt. The people this time were Napoleon and his general in Rome, François Massena. Besides carrying off the Pope into exile, they ordered the destruction of some thirty churches. Among these was St. Matthew's. The Augustinians moved to other monasteries and the miraculous picture went with them into obscurity. In time, the memory of the glorious days was all but forgotten. But not quite.

Two new people enter the story. An old Augustinian Brother named Augustino Orsetti had a favorite altar boy, named Michael Marchi, who came to serve Mass at the monastery of Our Lady in Posterula. There, the brother, who had once been at St. Matthew's, often pointed to a picture in the sacristy and told Michael that it was the famous Madonna, made homeless by the army of Napoleon. "Remember, Michael," he would say. Michael remembered. He grew up, became a priest in the community of the Redemptorists (the next people of the story), who had just bought property in Rome (1855) and built a church in honor of their recently canonized founder, St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In tracing the history of their property, the Redemptorists soon came upon the startling discovery that they had taken the place of old St. Matthew's and their church was now the "little church between the two great basilicas"-the very spot chosen by "Mary of Perpetual Help." Now, if only they could find the missing Madonna. And, wonder of wonders, there was among them Father Michael Marchi, erstwhile altar-boy, who had the answer.

After a year of prayers, Father Nicholas Mauron, Redemptorist Superior General, petitioned Pope Pius IX for permission to have the miraculous picture enshrined in their church of Sant' Alfonso. The Holy Father was so pleased that he wrote the directive there and then to the Augustinians to arrange for the transfer of the picture from St. Mary's in Posterula to Sant' Alfonso. Later, when the picture had been duly enshrined, the Pope went to pray before it. It is said that it brought tears to his eyes. "How beautiful she is. Make her known," he said.

Taking the pope's wish as a pious command, the Redemptorists began at once, and continue to this day to make her known. And this is where the story of Perpetual Help really becomes the story of the people; the thousands of Redemptorists and their disciples who have promoted devotion to Mary of Perpetual Help and the missions who have come to know and love her as their perpetual help. Among these thousands of preachers and millions of devotees, we are pleased and grateful to number ourselves --Rev. John V. McGuire, C.SS.R. - Wellesley Townsman - Closure of St James the Great

Reactions - Wellesley Townsman - Local News

Another technique for closing churches; tell the Faithful either that its God's will or a trial sent by him. Just another way of avoiding blame.

St James is the Patron of Spain and of all pilgrims. At the rate some dioceses are going, we will soon be literally the pilgrim church.

Lowell Sun Online - Closure of Nuestra Senora del Carmen

"An absolute architectural gem that almost is equal to the basilicas in Rome." and more

"Perhaps the finest local example of "Romanesque Revival" religious architecture"

"Nuestra Senora, the only church in Lowell with Masses in Spanish."

A historical gem and a Church serving the needs of a particular community, so first in the firing line for the officials from the Diocese.

Dr. Maria Cuesta from Nuestra Senora del Carmen even fled Cuba and now she finds its not Castro but the diocese that specialises in destroying churches.

Sandi Gallagher from Saint Joan of Arc (also closing) puts it so well:

"I just hate the message this sends to children," Gallagher said. "You build and support something and it can be pulled out from under you. ... It's not about religion, it's about money."

Nuestra Senora del Carmen - Our Lady of Carmel Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

O Most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein You are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech You from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity. There are none that can withstand Your power.

O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.

WBZ-AM: Reconfiguration of the Archdiocese Boston Parishes

WBZ-AM: Reconfiguration of the Archdiocese Boston Parishes

Weasel word number number 3.


Ironic that a Franciscan Archbishop should be closing churches.

From the Life of St Francis
One day, while in the ruined Church of San Damiano, he asked: "Lord, what do you want of me?" He heard a voice that seemed to be coming from a painted crucifix on the wall. That voice said: "Francis, rebuild my church."

Francis immediately sold all his property and gave the money to the Church.

Our Lord did not say "Francis, reconfigure my church"!

My house shall be called a house of prayer

but you have turned it into a concert hall

Soon to be homeless Padre Pio statue

Reactions / News / Local / Mass. / Soon to be homeless Padre Pio statue

Not even a centre of devotion to Padre Pio is safe.

Please pray this prayer for the parish.

Chaplet of Padre Pio
Oh Jesus, full of grace and charity, victim for sinners,
so impelled by Your love of us that You willed to
die on the cross, I humbly entreat Thee to glorify in
heaven and on earth, the servant of God, Padre Pio
of Pietrelcina, who generously participated in Your
sufferings, who loved Thee so much and laboured so
faithfully for the glory of Your heavently Father and
for the good of souls. With confidence, I beseech Thee
to grant me, through his intercession, [your intention]which I ardently desire.

Say three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys
and Glorias.

Imprimatur: Manfredonia, 12-3-1971
+ Valentina Vallati Archbishop