Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tomb of Saint Josaphat
Today is the feast of Saint Josaphat. I've had a devotion to him for awhile, and have tried to visit him every time I go to Rome. He's another Saint who is difficult to get to in Saint Peter's. His remains, as seen above, are in an altar which is in the area reserved for Confessions, and they usually won't let you in unless you are going to confession. I can usually muster up enough Italian to ask to go pray at his tomb, and they usually let me in, I think mainly because I have a beard and they think I am Eastern rite (that defintely was the case once).
On my last trip a month ago I had the great priviledge of learning how to serve the Tridentine Mass. The awesome part was that the second Tridentine Mass I helped serve was a low Tridentine Mass ... in Saint Peter's ... at the altar of Saint Josaphat. It worked out rather Providentially. Father had made arrangements to say Mass, but when we got there, they had not assigned him any altar. They just said to take any altar that was open. So after walking all around and finding every altar taken, we finally ended up at Saint Josaphat, and the priest there was just finishing up his Mass. So, I gently prodded Father in that direction, and that's where we had Mass.
I thought it was pretty appropriate that with Saint Josaphat being a Ruthenian Rite Catholic Bishop that we would say the Tridentine which is much closer to the Eastern Rites (and Tradition) than the Novus Ordo. It was also appropriate that Father Benedict being a monk would say the Mass at the relics of a Martyr who was a monk. Saint Josaphat was also a Martyr for unity between East and West in the Church, and here we had a very beautiful union of East and West and Heaven and earth. You can see the reason they put Saint Josaphat's relics in one of the altars closest to Saint Peter. Definitely a memory I will treasure.
You can read more about Saint Josaphat at Catholic Encyclopedia:
St. Josaphat Kuncevyc at Catholic Encyclopedia