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Monsignor Yennock on St. Maria Goretti - Homily from July 7, 2019

Jul 8, 2019

SAINT MARIA GORETTI

FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JULY 7, 2019

DO YOU THINK THAT IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A RAPIST AND A MURDERER TO BECOME A SAINT? DO YOU THINK THAT IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A RAPIST AND A MURDERER TO TURN HIS LIFE AROUND SO COMPLETELY THAT HE COULD BE FORGIVEN BY THE VICTIM, HER MOTHER, HER FAMILY AND GOD?

JULY 6 IS THE FEAST OF ST. MARIA GORETTI. THIS WEEKEND AS WE COMMEMORATE THE LIFE OF ST. MARIA GORETTI I WANT TO TELL YOU AN AMAZING STORY OF A YOUNG CHILD’S FAITH AND GOD’S MERCY.

MARIA WAS JUST SHY OF 12 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE WAS STABBED TO DEATH. SHE WAS WELL BELOW THE “AGE OF ADULTHOOD”. PILGRIMS TO HER SHRINE IN NETTUNO, ITALY OFTEN REMARK HOW SMALL SHE WAS. THE CRIME AGAINST HER WASN’T ONE OF FORNICATION BUT OF THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF A CHILD.

SIMPLY PUT, ALESSANDRO, WHO WAS 20 YEARS OLD, PHYSICALLY MATURE, MORE POWERFUL THAN MARIA, ATTEMPTED TO RAPE HER. WHEN SHE RESISTED HE KILLED HER IN COLD BLOOD.

ALESSANDRO, THE YOUNG MAN WITH WHOM HER FAMILY SHARED AN ADJOINING RESIDENCE, WAS A ROUGH YOUTH WITH A POOR RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING. HIS MOTHER DIED IN A PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL WHEN HE WAS A BABY, AND HIS FATHER WAS AN ALCOHOLIC. ALESSANDRO HIMSELF WAS GIVEN TO DRINKING AND PORNOGRAPHY. HE HAD SINFUL DESIGNS TOWARD MARIA.

WHEN HE WOULD FIND HER ALONE IN THE KITCHEN, WHICH THE TWO FAMILIES SHARED, HE WOULD SPEAK TO HER CRUDELY AND MAKE SEXUAL ADVANCES.  MARIA, ABHORRED HIS BEHAVIOR, REBUKED HIS EVIL SUGGESTIONS, AND TOLD HIM, "NO, NEVER, THAT IS A SIN! GOD FORBIDS THAT AND WE WOULD GO TO HELL!"

ON JULY 5TH, 1902, ALESSANDRO'S EVIL INTENTIONS LED TO ACTION. MARIA WAS INSIDE THE HOUSE WORKING AND CARING FOR THE YOUNGER CHILDREN WHILE EVERYONE ELSE WAS OUT THRESHING IN THE FIELDS. HE APPROACHED MARIA WITH A FILE USED TO SHARPEN FARM TOOLS, THE END OF WHICH HE HAD SHARPENED TO A POINT. HE TOLD MARIA THAT IF SHE DID NOT FINALLY ALLOW HIM TO HAVE SEX WITH HER, HE WOULD KILL HER.

 

MARIA, A CHILD OF STRONG CHARACTER AND FAITH, REFUSED.  "NO!” SHE SAID. “IT IS A SIN! GOD DOES NOT WANT IT!" AS HE MOVED TOWARD HER, MARIA FOUGHT HIM OFF WITH ALL HER STRENGTH. SHE TOLD HIM SHE WOULD RATHER DIE THAN ALLOW HIM TO DO WHAT HE WANTED TO DO TO HER. IN A RAGE, ALESSANDRO STABBED MARIA NINE TIMES.

 

WHEN MARIA REGAINED CONSCIOUSNESS, SHE CRAWLED HER WAY TO THE DOOR TO CRY FOR HELP. HEARING THE DOOR OPEN, ALESSANDRO CAME OUT OF HIS ROOM AND STABBED MARIA FIVE MORE TIMES.

NEXT DAY ON JULY 6TH AT THE AGE OF 11 YEARS AND 8 MONTHS MARIA DIED IN THE HOSPITAL. IN HER LAST MOMENTS THE PRIEST WHO ANOINTED HER ASKED MARIA TO FORGIVE HER ATTACKER. HER LAST WORDS WERE “I FORGIVE ALESSANDRO SERENELLI … AND I WANT HIM IN HEAVEN FOREVER.”

 

ALESSANDRO SERENELLI WAS SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON. HIS BAD BEHAVIOR CONTINUED IN PRISON. BECAUSE HE WAS AN ANGRY YOUNG MAN IN CONSTANT FIGHTS, HE WAS PLACED IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. HE WAS COMPLETELY UNREPENTANT FOR HIS CRIME AND HIS HEART WAS HARDENED.

 

HOWEVER, SIX YEARS LATER, MARIA APPEARED TO ALESSANDRO IN A DREAM WHILE HE WAS IN PRISON. SHE HANDED HIM 14 WHITE LILIES, ONE SYMBOL OF PURITY FOR EACH TIME HE STABBED HER. ALESSANDRO UNDERSTOOD THIS TO MEAN THAT MARIA HAD FORGIVEN HIM FOR HIS CRIME AND THAT SHE WAS NOW WITH GOD IN HEAVEN.

AS A RESULT OF THIS DREAM, THE GRACE OF GOD ENTERED HIS SOUL. HE CALLED FOR THE BISHOP, CONFESSED HIS CRIME, AND LIVED OUT THE REST OF HIS SENTENCE AS A REFORMED MAN AND MODEL PRISONER.

WHEN HE WAS RELEASED FROM PRISON ALESSANDRO SERINELLI ASKED MARIA’S MOTHER FOR HER FORGIVENESS. ASSUNTA SAID TO HIM: "IF MARIA FORGIVES YOU, AND GOD FORGIVES YOU, HOW CAN I NOT ALSO FORGIVE YOU?"

THE TWO WENT TOGETHER TO MIDNIGHT MASS AND RECEIVED HOLY COMMUNION KNEELING SIDE BY SIDE.  ALESSANDRO ALSO PUBLICLY CONFESSED HIS SIN BEFORE THE CONGREGATION AND ASKED FOR THEIR PARDON AS WELL.

AFTER OBTAINING ASSUNTA'S FORGIVENESS, ALESSANDRO WENT TO LIVE AT A FRANCISCAN MONASTERY AS A LAY BROTHER. HE DID ODD JOBS AND HELPED THE MONASTERY AS A PORTER AND GARDENER. 

 

ALESSANDRO'S PRACTICED A PIOUS DEVOTION TO MARIA GORETTI UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1970. IT IS BELIEVED BY SOME THAT ALESSANDRO MIGHT ALSO BE DECLARED A SAINT ONE DAY. WITH DIVINE MERCY EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

 

THE CAUSE FOR MARIA'S CANONIZATION OPENED IN 1935. ALESSANDRO HIMSELF—HER MURDERER—TESTIFIED TO HER SANCTITY AND HEAVENLY INTERCESSION ON HIS BEHALF. MARIA WAS BEATIFIED IN 1947.

 

THREE YEARS AFTER HER BEATIFICATION, MARIA GORETTI WAS CANONIZED BY POPE PIUS XII ON JUNE 24, 1950.

 

THE CROWD THAT ATTENDED MARIA'S CANONIZATION WAS ESTIMATED AT 500,000. THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE PRESENT THAT IT WAS THE FIRST CANONIZATION MASS TO BE HELD OUTDOORS IN ST. PETER'S SQUARE.

MARIA’S MOTHER ASSUNTA WITH THE REST OF HER CHILDREN AND ALLESANDRO SENTINELLI WALKED IN THE PAPAL PROCESSION TO THE ALTAR. THE CROWD SHOUTED VIVA IL PAPA. THEN IN A THUNDEROUS VOICE THEY SHOUTED VIVA LA MAMMA.

THAT IS THE TRUE STORY OF MARIA GORETTI. IT IS THE STORY OF A YOUNG GIRL WHO HAD A CHRISTLIKE CONCERN FOR THE SINNER AND A CHRISTLIKE FORGIVENESS OF HER MURDERER.

IT IS THE STORY OF A YOUNG GIRL WHO WAS A MARTYR TO CHASTITY.

CHASTITY HAS BEEN DEFINED AS REVERENCE FOR A MYSTERY. PEOPLE OF YOUR GENERATION AND MY GENERATION CAN STILL REMEMBER A TIME IN OUR COUNTRY WHEN MODESTY AND CHASTITY WERE RESPECTED AS SAFEGUARDS OF SEX AND MARRIAGE.  

SADLY, WOMEN, LIKE YOUR MOTHER AND MINE ARE BEING REPLACED BY SHALLOW MINDS WHO SEEK ONLY TO TURN LIFE INTO A HUGE CARNIVAL OF FUN AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

REVERENT, DECENT AND HONORABLE MEN AND WOMEN ARE FAST DWINDLING AS THEY ARE REPLACED BY SHALLOW PEOPLE DEVOID OF HONOR, CHARACTER AND A SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE.

ALEX DE TOQUEVILLE THE FRENCH PHILOSOPHER SAID: “AMERICA IS GREAT BECAUSE SHE IS GOOD. IF AMERICA CEASES TO BE GOOD SHE WILL NO LONGER BE GREAT.”

THERE IS A SHADOW HOVERING OVER OUR COUNTRY.WE ARE WITNESSING A CULTURAL AND MORAL DECADENCE THAT HAS FESTERED ACROSS OUR LAND. GREAT INSTITUTIONS ONCE ADMIRED FOR THEIR ROLE IN OUR COUNTRY’S DEVELOPMENT ARE NOW TAINTED WITH SCANDAL.

SO CALLED “ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLES” SUCH AS COHABITATION, HOMOSEXUALITY, AND TRANSGENDERISM ARE INCREASINGLY ACCEPTED AS PART OF THE NEW “NORMAL,” AND THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH THEM ARE RUTHLESSLY PERSECUTED.

THE PERVERSE ANTICS OF SOME HOLLYWOOD STARS HAVE VIRTUALLY ELIMINATED THE VERY NOTION OF DECENCY. AND THIS MORAL DEGENERACY IS NOT ONLY TOLERATED BY EVERYDAY AMERICANS BUT EAGERLY AND RAPIDLY CONSUMED ON SOCIAL MEDIA, PARTICULARLY BY OUR YOUTH.

REVERENCE FOR THE MYSTERY OF SEX AND PROCREATION WAS MOCKED RECENTLY BY MILEY CYRUS IN HER ATTACK ON VIRGINITY, CHASTITY, AND BABIES IN THE WOMB. REVERENCE FOR THE MYSTERY OF SEX AND PROCREATION WAS BELITTLED BY THE SHOUT OUT YOUR ABORTION CAMPAIGN WHERE WOMEN ARE ENCOURAGED TO BE PROUD OF THEIR ABORTIONS.

NOW THAT THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION HAS HAD TIME TO CHANGE ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF THIS REVOLUTION?

THERE IS A WORLDWIDE PORN EPIDEMIC, EFFACING THE BEAUTY OF LOVE AND MARRIAGE.

THERE IS A WORLDWIDE EPIDEMIC OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES

THERE IS A WORLDWIDE EPIDEMIC OF CHILD ABUSE

WE HAVE JUST DEVOTED A WHOLE MONTH TO CELEBRATING SODOMY THAT IS DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE AS ONE OF THE SINS THAT CRIES TO HEAVEN FOR VENGEANCE.

WE HAVE ONE OF THE HIGHEST DIVORCE RATES IN THE WORLD.

WE HAVE ONE OF THE HIGHEST TEENAGE PREGNANCY RATES IN THE WORLD.

ADDICTION AND SUICIDE RATES ARE INCREASING.

IF AMERICA IS STILL GREAT IT IS BECAUSE THERE STILL EXIST DEDICATED FATHERS AND LOVING MOTHERS WHO SACRIFICE TOGETHER TO GIVE THEIR CHILDREN STRONG CHARACTER, AND REVERENCE FOR GOD AND THE MYSTERY OF LIFE.

WE PRAY THAT AMERICA WILL WAKE UP. WE PRAY THAT AMERICA WILL BE GOOD SO THAT IT MAY BE GREAT AND ITS INHABITANTS WILL SAVE THEIR SOULS AS WELL AS THEIR HERITAGE.

  1. MARIA GORETTI PRAY FOR US.