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First-Ever Patristics Pilgrimage!

Join me in Italy November 10-19! We at the St. Paul Center are offering our first-ever pilgrimage that focuses on the Church Fathers. Over the course of nine days, we’ll visit holy sites in Milan, Pavia, Ravenna, Assisi, and Rome. Joining me will be Dr. Matthew Bunson, history professor and author of Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, art historian and TV host Elizabeth Lev, and author Steve Ray. Our chaplain is Fr. Leo McKernan, a renowned spiritual director and preacher — and student of St. Augustine. We’ll visit:

— the font where St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose, and the places they walked together in Milan

— the tomb of St. Ambrose

— the most lavish and stunning early Christian art, in Ravenna, home to St. Peter Chrysologus and Boethius

— the tomb of St. Augustine in Pavia and the tomb of his mother, St. Monica, in Rome

— the relics of St. Agnes, the Roman Catacombs, the resting place of Apostolic Fathers Ignatius and Clement

— sites associated with Sts. Peter and Paul and the early martyrs

— peaceful Assisi, with its Franciscan sites, as well as early-Christian remains

And so much more. See the details here and still greater detail in the brochure, here.

We’ll have Mass together every day, sometimes at the holy sites. We’ll pray the Rosary together. We’ll eat great meals — Italy’s other specialty.

Sign up soon. I think it will fill. Seating is limited.

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St. Agatha, Patroness of Breast Ailments

February 5 is the memorial of St. Agatha, patroness of Sicily, the land of my grandparents, and one of the patrons of my parish.

Because of the tortures she endured in martyrdom, St. Agatha is also patroness of women who live with diseases of the breast. Paul Zalonski has a deep devotion to the third-century martyr. He sent me a prayer card with the saint’s image on front and the following novena on back. Pass it around. Think of it as a deeply traditional version of the pink ribbon.

O glorious Saint Agatha, through whose intercession in Christ I hope for the restored health of body and soul, hasten to lead me to the true Good, God alone. By your intercession, O blessed Agatha, may I ever enjoy your protection by faithfully witnessing to Christ. You invite all who come to you to enjoy the treasure of of communion with the Holy Trinity. Moreover, if it be for God’s greater glory and the good of my person, please intercede for me with the request of [mention request here].

Saint Agatha, you found favor with God by your chastity and by your courage in suffering death for the gospel. Teach me how to suffer with cheerfulness, uniting myself to Christ crucified with a simplicity and purity of heart. Amen.

Saint Agatha, eloquent confessor of Jesus Christ as Savior, pray for me.

Saint Agatha, the martyr who says to Jesus, “possess all that I am,” pray for me.

Saint Agatha, concerned with the welfare of all God’s children, pray for me.

Saint Agatha, pray for me.

(I’ve found other prayers for breast ailments, to Christ and to Our Lady, in the book Celtic Spiritual Verse: Poems of the Western Highlanders from the Gaelic.)

Agatha’s story is in Butler, of course, and critically dissected and patristically pedigreed in the old Catholic Encyclopedia. Her images abound at Artcyclopedia.

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Mass Media!

My new book, co-authored with Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., is The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition. I’m really pleased with the book. But you shouldn’t take my word for it. Publisher’s Weekly said it’s “practical and poetic, intended to feed both intellect and soul.” Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Scott Hahn, several archbishops and bishops, and the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus have all posted enthusiastic reviews, and you can read them all here.

And there’s press coverage, too:

Catholic News Agency interviewed His Eminence about the book and related issues.

Catholic News Service covered the Cardinal’s first book-signing.

CUFBlog talked up the book, and so did Sarah Hayes.

Kris McGregor and I also had a conversation, which she’s podcasted here.

You’ll notice that many people appreciate our constant invocation of the Fathers as authorities.

I love this shot of my co-author moving units — and hearts.

(Foto EP/Rafael Cris—ostomo)