NOVENA – PRAYER TO PERPETUAL HELP
Every Wednesday after the 7:30 a.m. Mass
Story of the Image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
At the close of the 15th century a merchant stole the picture from its shrine on the island of Crete, miraculously weathered a tumultuous sea voyage and finally brought it to Rome there, before he died he gave it to a Roman friend, begging to have it placed on a worthy church. This friend neglected to do.
Our Lady then appeared, urging the Roman to 45.1 Our Ladycomply with the request, threatening him even with death. At his wife’s bidding, however, the man paid little heed to the apparition. Shortly after, he died.
Next Our Lady appeared to the little daughter of the family. “Go to your mother and grandfather.” She commanded,” and say to them: Holy Mary Of Perpetual Help warns you to take Her from your house; else all of you will soon die.” The girl relayed the message to her mother. Panic stricken, the woman promised to obey.
Our Lady then told the little girl just where the picture should be placed: in the church “between the basilica of St. Mary Major and that of St. John Lateran.” In solemn procession, on March 27 1499, it was carried to the church of St Matthew the Apostle. The same day a miracle occurred: a man’s arm, crippled beyond use, was completely restored.
For 300 years, the picture hung over the main altar in the church of St. Matthew the Apostle, loved by all, renowned far and wide for miracles. Then came June, 1798. Napoleon entered Rome. The church of St. Matthew was leveled to the ground. The picture disappeared. For sixty-four years it remained hidden, almost forgotten, until… one day at recreation, in the Redemptorist house in Rome, one of the Fathers mentioned having read, in an old tomb, that their present church, San Alfonso, was built on the ruins of St Matthew’s where once was enshrined a miraculous picture: Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The name startled Father Michael Marchi. He recalled as a boy having served Mass in the oratory of the Irish Augustinians at Santa Maria in Posterula. There he had seen the picture. An old Brother had pointed it out to him.
Some month later, in February, Father Francis Blosi, S.J., preaching in the Gesus on “the lost Madonna of Perpetual Help,” told how it was Our Lady’s wish that the picture be enshrined in the church” between the basilicas of St. Mary Major and St John Lateran.” Word got back to the Redemptorist. The Superior General was informed But he waited three more years. He want to be certain.
Finally, on December 11, 1865 the whole matter was presented to Pope Pius IX. On January 1866 the miraculous picture was brought once more to the site of its former glory the church between the two basilicas, now that of San Alfonso. Three months later, it was solemnly enshrined. And on June 23 1867, it was crowned with a golden crown, placed on picture by order of the Holy See in 1867 as a token and witness of the miracles wrought by Our Lady invoked under the title of “Perpetual Help.”
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