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Volume i, Number 14 C

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  • John N. Lupia
    Roman Catholic News Volume One, Issue Fourteen C Tuesday, 2 October, 2001 Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time Feast of the Holy Angels * * * Cause of Mama
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2001
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      Roman Catholic News

      Volume One, Issue Fourteen C

      Tuesday, 2 October, 2001

      Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

      "Feast of the Holy Angels"

      * * *
      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)
      By John N. Lupia

      In the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey lived a woman
      affectionately known as Mama Gili. She was an Italian
      immigrant who lived in the city of Orange, Essex County, New
      Jersey. Countless thousands travelled from all over the world to
      visit her including the last king of Italy, hundreds of priests and
      bishops. Mama Gili was renown for her heroic virtues, holiness,
      and simplicity. Most of all she is best known for her devotion to
      the Holy Shroud of Turin, its promotion, and the Shrine to the
      Holy Face she built next to her home in Orange, NJ.

      She lived at 424 Minton Place a two-story brick four family
      dwelling that had been built by her late husband Joseph Gili, a
      builder. She had five children, two boys and three girls. Their
      names by their rank in age are Claudia, Helen, Florida, Caesar,
      and Joseph. They were raised mainly by Dolores who was left a
      widow by the untimely death of her husband Joseph in 1931.
      When he died the children ranged from seventeen to six years of
      age. Dolores worked two jobs to support her children, yet she
      found time to give each one her personal care and attention as a
      devoted and tender loving mother. She was a very strong and
      energetic woman who enjoyed being a mother and would spend
      quality time with them doing things they liked doing, like playing
      basketball. Although she worked at various jobs she always
      kept her home clean, dishes washed, beds made, and a meal
      cooked. As all mothers she worried about them and would hurry
      home exhausted from work to check to see if they were all right.
      This lifestyle went on for many years until she saw her children
      grow into adults and marry.

      All of her children lived good clean lives and made their new
      homes. As I have said they all married, all, that is, except her
      son Caesar. He remained a bachelor nearly his entire life,
      marrying late shortly before his death. He had lived with his
      mother and helped maintain the house. He was sickly suffering
      from pericarditis and Lupus disease. He married a friend he
      and his mother knew for many years, Matilda Chiappanelli. His
      marriage was based on Christian charity and friendship, an
      ideal marriage in accordance to the finest Christian philosphy.
      This truth is particularly pellucid since he was physically
      debilitated at the time and could offer a woman nothing outside
      of companionship rooted in the love of God. God took him out
      from Dolores' care because she was very sick and bedridden,
      as he was, and I'm sure she was concerned about him. She
      knew that she could no longer care for him beyond her prayers
      and loving glances.

      When I first met Mama Gili she was about to celebrate her
      seventy-eighth birthday in three more days, it was May 4th of
      1970. I was just about to celebrate my eighteen birthday in two
      weeks. I had recently begun a deep and personal religious
      experience, and my parish priest at St. John's Church, Fr. Dante
      DiGirolamo, suggested that I go visit his mother. He gave me
      her address and on that day in May I stopped in out of curiosity. I
      had no idea it was the Feast of the Holy Shroud of Turin, I didn't
      even know what that was. Finding her house I approached it.

      It was a well kept dark-red brick home with a medium height
      hedge across the front. I walked up the sidewalk at the end of
      that hedge and up the front steps only to find a small handmade
      sign in the front door glass panel that said "Please come around
      the back". I walked down the concrete paved alley toward the
      yard. As I entered the rear yard I could see statues placed in a
      rose garden. The garden was enclosed with a low hedge and
      had shrubery and a nice green lawn. There stood a large white
      statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the right of its center or the
      viewer's left. Also to the right was a smaller white statue of St.
      Francis of Assisi. To the left of the Virgin was a medium sized
      white statue of St. Joseph.

      Attached to the rear of her house was a two-story gray painted
      wooden porch. I climbed the three steps to get to her door which
      was on the right side of the first floor at the rear. I knocked on the
      kitchen door and was greeted by a short robust woman with
      silvery white hair. She was about five feet tall with clear beaming
      blue eyes wearing a simple plain house dress. She greeted me
      with enthusiasm, warmth, and cordiality. I told her that her son
      Fr. Dante sent me to see her. She smiled. She welcomed me
      into her home. I entered her kitchen. It was a medium sized
      room with a white tiled wainscot with black trim. The upper walls
      had a cheerful pattern of baskets of various colored flowers.
      Behind the entry door was a china cabinet. The floor was
      linoleum. To the right of the room was a white stove with oven, to
      the left was the light gray marble patterned Formica topped
      metal-frame kitchen table with matching chairs. At the end of the
      room to the left was a doorway, on the right a counter top, sink
      and cabinets. There was a window to the right of this that
      splashed light into the room. There was another window on that
      wall on the other side of the stove next to the wall that had the
      back door.

      She led me through the doorway of the kitchen and showed me
      a room that had an upright life-sized rectangular picture frame
      containing a photographic reproduction of the negative of the
      Shroud of Turin. At the foot of the picture was a white statue
      about three feet long of the dead Christ laid out for burial. That
      picture and statue were catty-cornered to the right of the entry. To
      the left of this was the short span of wall of the entry with a small
      wooden cabinet with a lock next to the door jamb. In that room
      was an amber timbered pine bench which was placed along the
      wall as soon as you entered. Above that bench hung a long
      horizontal picture of Jesus carrying his cross followed by dozens
      of people carrying crosses. At the bottom of the picture a caption
      read "If you wish to be my disciple you must pick up your cross
      daily and follow me." At the end of the room was a large double
      bed with a beautiful bedcover. Across from the bench was a
      bureau with a glass reliquary cabinet containing a relic of a large
      spike-like thorn supposed to be one of the actual thorns from the
      mock-crown used in Jesus' crucifixion. Above the glass
      reliquary case hung a very large photographic reproduction of the
      negative of the Holy Face of Jesus from the Shroud. In front of
      that glass case cabinet was a light oak prie-dieu with a dark
      maroon padded knee cushion for those wishing to reverence the
      relics or Holy Face. I sat down on the bench marveling at the
      photographic reproduction of the negative of the Shroud when
      she suggested that I pray.

      After a few minutes we got up and walked back into the room
      parallel to it next door, the kitchen. We sat at the kitchen table
      and she talked to me about Jesus. Mama said Jesus was God
      in the flesh and he suffered and died for our salvation. The
      Shroud she said was his actual burial cloth and reveals to us the
      suffering he underwent. I smiled and shrugged, I was skeptical.
      She saw my hesitation. She said that some people believe and
      some don't. What is more important is what is in their heart,
      namely, the love they have for Jesus and others. The Shroud,
      she said, makes love for Jesus easier to instill into our heart. At
      the end of that brief visit she enthusiastically invited me back to
      visit her again. She said that every Friday was a prayer meeting
      at her house and I was invited.

      Those who knew Dolores never called her by her first name.
      She preferred to be called Mama. I soon realized that Fr. Dante
      was not her natural-born son but her spiritually adopted son.
      Those who formed her close circle of intimate friends knew the
      depth of the meaning of calling her Mama. She was blessed by
      God with a special grace to become just that, your spiritual
      mother. One of Mama's special charisms was to be like a
      mother to many priests and bishops.

      I was very fortunate to be one of those who was very close and
      special to her. She always called me (Gianni) Johnny. Nobody
      else ever called me Johnny. If they did they could never say it the
      way she did. When Mama called you by name it touched your
      heart so that you responded quickly, eagerly and
      enthusiastically. God gave her a warmth and charm that spoke
      of nothing else but "motherhood". Being with her calmed you
      down when you felt uneasy. She always knew what was on your
      mind and in your heart. She had a way of talking to you about
      your cares without your even knowing. She always ended
      conversations with a warm smile saying that Jesus loves you
      very much and is going to bless you.

      For additional information about Mama Gili, or to due to favors
      granted by the intercession of Mama Gili contact the
      priest in charge of gathering information for her investigation by
      the Archdiocese of Newark as a Servant of God, call or write to:

      Cause of Mama Gili
      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo
      (973) 412-1170

      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo
      P.O. Box 455
      Kearny, New Jersey 07032

      * * *


      About ten days ago Debbie in SE Wisconsin wrote asking about
      flags in Church. This past week the US Bishops wrote about
      that which is posted here below.

      WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- American flags
      displayed in Catholic churches should be outside the sanctuary,
      U.S. bishops' committee suggests. But the ultimate decision on
      placement of flags rests with the local bishop, or, if he chooses,
      the pastors.

      So says the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, which
      this statement about the display of flags.

      The Display of Flags
      in Roman Catholic Churches
      in the United States of America

      Surprisingly to many, there are no regulations of any kind
      the display of flags in Roman Catholic Churches. Neither the
      Code of
      Canon law, nor the liturgical books of the Roman rite comment
      on this
      practice. As a result, the question of whether and how to display
      the American flag in a Catholic Church is left up to the judgment
      the diocesan bishop, who in turn often delegates this to the
      discretion of the pastor.

      The origin of the display of the American flag in many parishes in
      the United States appears [to]have its origins in the offering of
      prayers for those who served during the Second World
      At that time, many bishops and pastors provided a book of
      near the American flag, requesting prayers for loved ones
      -- especially those serving their country in the armed forces -- as
      way of keeping before the attention of the faithful the needs of
      military families. This practice has since been confirmed in
      places during the Korean, Viet Nam and Iraqi conflicts.

      The Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy has in the past
      pastors not to place the flag within the sanctuary itself, in order
      to reserve that space for the altar, the ambo, the presidential
      and the tabernacle. Instead, the suggestion has been made that
      American flag be placed outside the sanctuary, or in the
      vestibule of
      the Church together with a book of prayer requests. It remains,
      however, for the diocesan bishop to determine regulations in

      * * *


      I would be interested to know if Thomas Merton has been
      for sainthood?
       A number of his followers are from different religions and seem
      veiw him as a rebel Catholic.  I would like to believe that he was
      faithful Catholic and a contemplative that just "cast a wide net".  
      This may not be the place to ask this question, but if Thomas
      had strayed from Catholic teaching I need to know.

      Pax, Greg

      In Bangkok on 10 December, 1968, in an accidental
      electrocution, Thomas Merton died. It was the twenty-seventh
      anniversary of his entrance into the Trappists' monastery
      Gethsemani. I have never heard of a Defender of God having
      approached the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for his
      cause of canonization. The first stage is called the Servant of
      God, where the candidate for sainthood is acknowledge for
      having exemplary Christian virtues.


      ---The Catholic Reference Desk

      * * *


      Question: Is there a "transcript" of the excommunication event of
      Martin Luther?

      It is my understanding that he (Martin Luther) had many
      to recant his positions, and that the excommunication procedure
      is a
      very prayerful event.  It seems that if the truth was known it might
      go a long way to dispel the idea of the "bully" Catholic Church
      picking on someone that just had a different opinion.
      Pax, Greg

      Dear Greg:

      There were two papal bulls of excommunication of Martin Luther.
      The first, "Exsurge Domine", was drawn up 15 July, 1520, and
      burned by Luther on 10 December, 1520. The second, "Decet
      Romanum Pontificem", 3 January 1521, as far as I know still
      exists, but I have never seen it, a facsimile, or transcription.

      The "95 Theses" nailed to the door of Wittenberg chapel of the
      Emperor Maximilian 31October, 1517 was the initial record of
      Martin Luther's academic disputes against the Roman Catholic
      Church. On 13 March, 1518 Luther wrote: "I am at a loss to know
      whether the pope be antichrist or his apostle". Knowing he
      would be excommunicated for not recanting, on 16 May, 1518
      Luther's "Sermon on the Power of Excommunication" purports
      that visible union with the Church is not broken by

      In the summer of 1520 Martin Luther wrote three controversial
      books: "An Appeal to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation"
      (An den christlichen Adel deutscher Nation); "A Prelude
      concerning the Babylonian Captivity of the Church" (De captivitate
      Babylonica ecclesiae praeludium); "Of the Liberty of a Christian
      Man" ( Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen), that attacked
      the papacy, the councils, tradition, the sacraments, and the
      denial of the authenticity and canonical nature of the Epistle to
      the Hebrews. The Bull of excommunication, "Exsurge Domine",
      was accordingly drawn up 15 July, 1520. It condemned forty-one
      propositions of his writings, ordered the destruction of the books
      containing the errors, and summoned Luther himself to recant
      within sixty days or receive the full penalty of ecclesiastical
      punishment. At this time Luther wrote: "As for me, the die is cast:
      I despise alike the favour and fury of Rome; I do not wish to be
      reconciled with her, or ever to hold any communion with her. Let
      her condemn and burn my books; I, in turn, unless I can find no
      fire, will condemn and publicly burn the whole pontifical law, that
      swamp of heresies". Late July, 1520, Leo X (Giovanni
      de'Medici), sent Luther the Bull of excommunication ordering him
      to appear at Rome within 60 days to recant. Luther ignored this
      and on 10 December, 1520, outside the gates of Wittenberg, he
      burnt the Papal Bull, the Decretals of Clement VI., the Summa
      Angelica, the Chrysposus of Dr. Eck, and other Catholic writings.

      Leo X published the final Bull of excommunication, Decet
      Romanum Pontificem, 3 January 1521. During the Diet of
      Worms held 16 April, 1521, following this Bull, Luther defended
      his writings before the Emperor Charles and his court. He was
      asked two questions. Did he admit to writing: "An Appeal to the
      Christian Nobility of the German Nation"; "A Prelude concerning
      the Babylonian Captivity of the Church"; "Of the Liberty of a
      Christian Man"? Would he recant? In reply Luther said: "I cannot
      submit my faith either to the Pope or to the Councils, because it
      is clear as day they have frequently erred and contradicted each
      other. Unless therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of
      Scripture . . . I can and will not retract . . . Here I stand . . . I can d=o
      no other. So help me God, Amen!!" At Worms, the Spanish
      soldiers of Emperor Charles were especially interested in
      finding and destroying all copies of Luther's book: A Prelude
      concerning the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. So, Martin
      Luther was given every chance to retract his heresy from
      November 1517 until his final excommunication 3 January 1521.
      He had 4 years and 2 months or 50 months to straighten out his
      relationship with Rome. The Edict of Worms was a
      condemnation of Luther, now an outlaw to be killed on sight. It
      was signed by the emperor and issued. It formally condemns
      Luther's teachings and placed him under the ban of the Empire.
      Luther was now condemned by both the pope and the Church
      but also by the emperor. At the Diet of Wolmar in 1522, protests
      were made against the Edict of Worms and the papal Bull of
      excommincation of Luther, sounding the toll of the birth of

      See H. G. Ganss, "Martin Luther" in The Catholic Encyclopedia,
      Volume IX (1910) at the URL:

      ---The Catholic Reference Desk

      * * *


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      * * *


      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of
      Mary, I offer you the crucified body of your son Jesus Christ, in
      reparation for all the sins committed against you and for the
      conversion and salvation of the world."

      When the Eucharistic chalice is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of
      Mary, I offer you the precious blood of your son Jesus Christ, in
      reparation for all the sins committed against you and for the
      conversion and salvation of the world."

      * * *


      Send donations to:

      Mother Angelica
      5817 OLD LEEDS ROAD
      IRONDALE, AL 35210

      * * *

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God
      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo
      (973) 412-1170

      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo
      P.O. Box 455
      Kearny, New Jersey 07032

      * * *


      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
      approaches . . . unity among all Christians of the various
      confessions will increase until they reach full communion." John
      Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 16

      © Copyright 2001 John N. Lupia for Roman Catholic News at the
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