Celebrating St. Philomena

Across USA

Saint Philomena Sanctuary Support Fund, 2011

Retreat and Conference at
Our Lady of the Snows National Shrine
September 23 -25, 2011

Click here for Photo Slideshow

I am happy to report that our September retreat as a huge success and amazing experience. It was spiritually uplifting - filled with prayer, joy, laughter and so many incredible stories of how our beloved saint has touched our worldwide family. I am so thankful for the time spent with devotees new and old, devoted priests, Archconfraternity members and Patti Melvin of the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena (ULRA). The presence of God‚s love and our saint could be felt throughout the weekend.

We were treated so well by the wonderful staff at Our Lady of the Snows National Shrine and were impressed by the warm service we received at their well-organized retreat center. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to their staff for their hospitality and would highly recommend this Shrine to anyone considering a retreat, meeting or conference.

We began the retreat on Thursday evening and had a great time meeting and greeting before sitting down to dinner at the Shrine. It was a memorable reunion with many representatives of our St. Philomena family.

Father Chad Partain, of Mansura Louisiana, and I met for the first time and I was overcome by his sincerity of heart and realized quickly why God has gifted him with this special youth ministry. He is well-suited to direct the St. Philomena Youth Crusade and it was God who sent him to help us with this critical work of St. Philomena for the Kingdom. His qualities far exceed what I ever imagined we would have in the priest who would be selected to guide this important movement. He spoke of the Youth Campaign and the structure he has formed for this with great passion. Please let me know if you are interested in supporting this initiative and I will pass your information to Father Partain before the official kick off in November to be held in Philadelphia. He also spoke of the unity of the family of St. Philomena which is ever growing. We welcome Father Partain as the Director of the Youth Crusade and know it will be blessed by the intercessory help of St. Philomena, the “Patroness of the Children of Mary”. May God continue to bless you abundantly, Father Partain, and your call to this holy work.

On Friday, I enjoyed meeting with Patti Melvin for the first time in more than 20 years. I was also happy to welcome every member of our core non-profit committee. The day was full of good cheer and it was evident from the first moment we gathered that God’s holy will was taking place and that the Holy Spirit was navigating our course.

In the afternoon we began our public retreat with attendees from all coasts of the United States. We started with introductions -- each person sharing how they had been called to the retreat in a special way by our saint and how she has made an indelible mark on their life. I would also like to take this time to introduce you to another priest who participated in our gathering. Father John Rocus from Michigan is a very devout priest whose story about St. Philomena touched us all. He shared that the school attached to his parish was set to be closed if he did not have 75 students enrolled before the start of the school year. He prayed to St. Philomena and promised her that if she helped him with the last student needed he would attend the retreat in her honor. The final student enrolled just in time and her name was Philomena! Father John Rocus concelebrated our Mass on Saturday before returning home. It was a pleasure meeting him, and we look forward to welcoming him at the Sanctuary when he visits on pilgrimage next year.

I also met Father Tim Henderson from St Louis -- a great priest full of energy and who St. Philomena has taken into her care. We were also blessed by a performance by singer and songwriter Michael John Poirier. He and his family donated their talent and time to join our retreat out of their love and devotion to St. Philomena. In doing so, he had to cancel a performance previously scheduled in St. Louis. We thought it was ironic that it was Father Tim‚s parish where Michael was originally scheduled to perform! Both of them were quite surprised by this „holy coincidence. We know that it was well-planned by our saint! Michael and his beautiful family are inspiring and are truly dedicated to doing God‚s will. His songs are his prayers of thanksgiving to Our Lord and his compassion was very strong and felt by all who were present. I am delighted that Michael and his family will be joining me on my next trip to Phoenix for Mass on October 15 at the Cathedral. I encourage you to attend one of Michael‚s performances which will enrich your faith.

There were so many stories shared by devotees that I would like to invite each one who attended to share their story by joining our forum, our extended prayer room on the Sanctuary’s Web site. I also encourage you to continue to include your prayer requests at this site which are printed and placed at the Sacred Altar of St Philomena.

On Saturday, I met with Patti Melvin and her assistant Patricia Francis, both dedicated workers of Our Lady and St. Philomena. I offered my vision of how we can share in our work together as one united family of St. Philomena. I am so delighted to have Patti Melvin reunited with our worldwide family. After many years, Patti Melvin and I had the opportunity to sit down and speak clearly with each other and I am excited that she is committed to working as part of the Archconfraternity of St. Philomena. Once again, God’s holy will was in motion and brought about His enduring peace and unity.

Our public retreat continued after lunch with a solemn Mass led by Father Partain, followed by the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Rosary. We continued our evening with book signings and dinner. Patti spoke about her missionary work and the cause for Ven. Pauline Jaricot, and we joined her in remembering one of her key workers and one of God‚s dedicated servants, David Eaves, who died earlier this year. May he rest in peace. Her presentation was followed by a video of the Sanctuary and everyone had the opportunity to see the chair in which Ven. Pauline Jaricot was miraculously cured. It was important for those who have never visited the Sanctuary to realize all that is there. It also showed the areas for which we are asking assistance to raise funds for needed repairs and maintenance. Herb Escobar followed by explaining what the non-profit is and how people within the U.S. can make a tax deductible donation. To learn more, go to the Web site that I have authorized him to create at www.philomena-usa.com. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

We closed the day with prayer and joy in our hearts. The following day concluded the retreat with Mass, followed by veneration of the Relics of St. Philomena. Everyone was sad that our time together had come to an end. However, each one went home filled with the Holy Spirit and new enthusiasm to carry out the mission of God.

The most important part of this endeavor for me was the love, union and dedication of the Archconfraternity centers and workers. This filled my heart with tremendous joy and great hope for the future. I will carry their smiles and love with me throughout my days at the Sanctuary.

Thanks be to God I had a safe return to the Sanctuary the earthly home of St. Philomena which I am honored to share with her in the presence of God.

I will be praying for each of you who attended each time I kneel at the Sacred Altar of St. Philomena.

God bless you and your loved ones,

Msgr. Giovanni Braschi

Rector of the Shrine of Saint Philomena

Monsignor from Italy Special Guest in

Arizona’s Rosary Celebration

St. Philomena Celebration Set for all weekend of October 14th


(October 8, 2011 Phoenix, AZ)  Msgr. Giovanni Braschi, Rector of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena, Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy, is coming to Phoenix, Arizona to participate in the Arizona Rosary Celebration 2011.  Msgr. Braschi just celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination.

The first event to begin the weekend festivities is set for Friday, October 14, 2011, 6:00 p.m.  Msgr. Braschi will concelebrate mass with Fr. Dave Robinson at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Phoenix.  Veneration of the Holy Relics of Saint Philomena and blessings with the Oil of Saint Philomena will be offered.  Msgr. Braschi will be presenting a Saint Philomena statue and a first class relic to the church and to the local chapter of the Archconfraternity at Saint Francis Xavier.  The statue and relic are to be used for monthly masses in honor of Saint Philomena. 

A reception will be held before and after the mass with a book signing event, where Msgr. Braschi will be offering his newest book about St. Philomena.  Fr. Braschi spent 28 years researching and compiling information regarding the 1802 discovery of the young martyr‚s remains in a tomb in Italy.  He additionally commissioned a scientific and archeological study of the tiles sealing the tomb and the glass vial within (which was proven to contain human blood).  According to these scientific results, the tomb did contain the remains of the young saint and confirm the accurate meaning of symbols on the tiles.

A re-release of a two CD set will also be offered.  This CD set includes a narration of the book written by Dr. Mark Miravalle, professor at the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, „It is Time to Meet St. Philomena‰, and includes songs by Michael John Poirier and L‚Angelus and prayers of St. Philomena performed by local Catholic artists, Kurt and Julie Carrick.  Michael John Poirier, a noted Catholic musician, will perform at many of the upcoming events all weekend and will perform his very special St. Philomena song, which appears on the 2CD set.


Activity details include:

Special celebration - Friday, October 14, 2011, 6:00 p.m.

Msgr. Braschi will concelebrate mass with Fr. Dave Robinson at St. Francis Xavier

4715 North Central Avenue
 Phoenix, AZ 85012
 (602) 279-9547

Book Signing Event - Saturday, October 15, 2011, 10:30 - Noon

Msgr. Braschi will be singing copies of his new book sold during this event.

Autom Gift Shop
 5226 South 31st Place

Phoenix, Arizona 85040



Mass - Saturday, October 15, 2011, 4:30 p.m.

Msgr. Braschi will concelebrate mass with Fr. Lankeit at the Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix.  Msgr. Braschi will also participate in the Holy Hour after mass and the ARC11 Committee has invited Msgr. Braschi as their guest to the Arizona Rosary Celebration 2011 dinner Saturday night.

Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral Phoenix Arizona
 6351 North 27th Avenue
 Phoenix, Arizona 85017
 (602) 242-1300

Mass - Sunday, October 16, 2011

Msgr. Braschi will concelebrate the 11:00 a.m. mass with Fr. Vince Mesi at Saint Mary‚s Basilica.  Veneration of the Holy Relics of Saint Philomena and blessing with the Oil of Saint Philomena will be offered.

Saint Mary's Basilica
 231 North 3rd Street
 Phoenix, AZ 85004-2219
 (602) 354-2100

After mass - Arizona Rosary Celebration 2011

The Universal Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena, led by the Deputy Director, Richard Donley Fox and Fr. Dave Robinson, will have a table to display and offer Saint Philomena devotional items, including Mass Intention cards from the Sanctuary, oil, cords the new Book by Msgr. Braschi just released and the 2 CD set just re-released by the Archconfraternity.  The Archconfraternity will participate in the Procession to be blessed by Bishop Olmsted.

Phoenix Convention Center, Halls F & G

100 N. 3rd Street, Downtown Phoenix

Italian Mass - Monday, October 17, 2011, 8:00 a.m.

Msgr. Braschi will celebrate an Italian mass.

Ville de Marie Academy

6535 E. Osborn Road, # 404

Scottsdale, AZ 85251-6028


Newman Center ASU - Monday, October 17, 2011, 5:30 p.m.

Msgr. Braschi will concelebrate mass with Fr. Rob Clements.

Old St. Mary's Church

230 East University Drive

Tempe, Arizona 85281-3730

(480) 967-7823