Curvelo – Minas Gerais (Thursday, 10.16.2014, Gaudium Press) St. Gerard Majella, (born April 6, 1726, died October 16, 1755) is celebrated in the city of Curvelo, Minas Gerais, on his feast day and in his Basilica. There is a great devotion in this part of the world for this Italian born saint who in spite of misunderstanding was able to become a member of the Redemptorists Order and became very well known for his humility, purity and for his assistance to expecting mothers.
One miracle in particular explains why Majella became known as the special patron of mothers. A few months before his death, Gerard visited the Pirofalo family and accidentally dropped his handkerchief. One of the Pirofalo girls spotted the handkerchief moments after he’d left the house, and she ran after Gerard to return it. “Keep it,” he said to her. “You may need it someday”. Years later when the girl-now a married woman-was on the verge of losing her life in childbirth, she remembered the words of the saintly lay brother. She asked for the handkerchief to be brought to her. Almost immediately the pain disappeared and she gave birth to a healthy child.
Curvelo, a mining town, has a Basilica recognized worldwide as the only one dedicated to the saint.
According to Father Paul, a Redemptorist, “this feast of the Triduum is another great opportunity to strengthen the devotion to St. Gerard, which makes us feel the presence of Jesus among us and is part of our evangelization.”
On the first day of the Triduum the topic to be addressed will be: “With St. Gerard we learn how to live in a prayerful home,” in order to highlight the importance of a Faith centered family.
“With St. Gerard, me and my family we will serve the Lord” will be the theme of the third and last day.
To serve God doesn’t go without trials. Maybe the greatest trial that Gerald went through was when his superior, St Alphonsus of Ligoury, called him for a private meeting. He read him a letter from Neria Caggiano, a young girl whom Gerard had assisted. She accused him of sins of impurity with the young daughter of a family at whose house Gerard often stayed on his missionary journeys. Gerard kept total silence. In the face of his silence, St Alphonsus could do nothing but impose a severe penance on the young religious. Gerard was denied the privilege of receiving Holy Communion, and forbidden all contact with outsiders. Sometime later Neria fell dangerously ill and wrote a letter to St Alphonsus confessing that her charges against Gerard had been sheer fabrication and calumny. St Alphonsus called him again and he greeted him with these words: “My son, why have you kept silence? Why have you not said a word to defend your innocence?” Gerard replied:”My Father, how could I do that if our rule does not allow us to defend ourselves from the corrections of our superiors?”
On the Sunday a Solemn Mass followed by a procession with the image of St. Gerard will conclude the festivities. (LMI)