The sacred and the beautiful were front and center this past weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina as a Traditional Latin Mass was offered in the presence of the relics of Saint Maria Goretti. As reported by the diocesan newspaper, the Catholic News Herald:
St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte hosted the relics on Saturday, Oct. 24, until after the 7:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Oct. 25. Standing-room-only crowds at the Charlotte church were reported for the Saturday morning Latin Mass…
This is first time her body travels to the U.S. and only the second time the relics have traveled outside Italy.
The national tour, which began in September and takes place through Nov. 12, comes just weeks before the Church begins an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy on Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The visit is an effort on the part of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, her Pontifical Basilica and the Treasures of the Church, to prepare and catechize the U.S. for the great celebration of the Year of Mercy
The Catholic News Herald continues:
St. Maria Goretti, who died on July 6, 1902, was fatally stabbed 14 times after an attempted rape. Her last words on her deathbed were of mercy towards her 20-year-old attacker: “I forgive Alessandro Serenelli… and I want him with me in heaven forever.” Serenelli reported that St. Maria appeared to him in his prison cell six years after he was incarcerated on a 30-year sentence for her death. That occasion began his dramatic transformation from a violent and ruthless man to that of a renewed soul intent on spreading devotion to God and his saintly victim.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered by Father Santiago Mariani, with Father Jason Barone serving as deacon, and Fr. Jason Christian as subdeacon. Fr. Matthew Kauth was master of ceremonies. All four men are priests of the Diocese of Charlotte.
(Photos Courtesy of John Cosmas)