Monday, December 27, 2010

Fr. Stefano Manelli: Helping Priests in Their Lofty Mission

And in particular, every time we see a priest at the altar, let us also pray to Our Lady, in the words of the Venerable Charles Giacinto, "O my dear Lady, lend your heart to that priest so that he can worthily celebrate the Mass." Let us also pray, as St. Thérèse did, so that priests at the altar may touch the most Holy Body of Jesus with the same purity and delicacy as Our Lady. Better yet, rather let us pray that every priest is able to imitate St. Cajetan, who used to prepare to celebrate Mass by uniting himself so closely to Mary Most Holy, that it was said of him, "He celebrates Mass as if he were her." And, indeed, as Our Lady welcomed Jesus into her arms at Bethlehem, similarly the priest receives Jesus in his hands at Holy Mass. As the Immaculate Offered Jesus the Victim on Calvary, similarly the priest offers the Divine Lamb that is sacrificed on the altar. As the Virgin Mother gave Jesus to mankind, similarly the priest gives us Jesus in Holy Communion. Thus St. Bonaventure rightly declares that every priest at the altar ought to be intimately identified with Our Lady; for, since "it was by her that this most Holy Body has been given to us, so by the priest's hands It must be offered." And St. Francis of Assisi said that for all priests Our Lady is the mirror reflecting the sanctity which should be theirs, precisely because of the close proximity between the Incarnation of the Word in Mary's womb and the consecration of the Eucharist in the priest's hands.

Let us also learn in the school of the saints to respect and to venerate priests, to pray for their sanctification and to help them in their very lofty mission.

~ Excerpt from Jesus Our Eucharistic Love by Fr. Stefano Manelli ~

franciscanfriars | December 25, 2010
Christmas Mass offered by Father Stefano in the ordinary form of the Mass, an example of hermeneutics of continuity.

Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli was born in Fiume/Rijeka (Hrvatska), Italy on May 1, 1933. His parents were Servent of God Settimio Manelli and Servent of God Licia Gualandris, spiritual children of St. Pio of Prietrelcina. He was the sixth of the twenty-one children.

He received his first communion from Padre Pio himself in 1938.

He entered the minor seminary of the Order of the Friars Minor Conventual in Cupertino (Lecce) on 18th of December of 1945 at the age of 12 years old.

He made his simple profession on October 4, 1949; his solemn profession on May 27 1954 and was ordained a priest on October 30 1955, the Solemnity of Christ, the King.

He became the Prefect of Studies of the Conventual Province of Naples.

In the beginning of 1965, Father Stefano Maria began a long rediscovery and meditation of the Franciscan sources and of the writings of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe.

At the summon of the Second Vatican Council to religious to return back to their sources and to adapt to the changing conditions of the time as principles of renewal of religious life, Fr. Stefano was inspired to live integrally the Franciscan life according to the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi according to the recent examples of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan model of our time.

On August 2, 1970, Feast of Our Lady of the Portiuncula, Fr. Stefano together with Fr. Gabriel Maria Pelletieri and with the permission and blessing of the major superiors, began to live an experience of a Franciscan life renewed according to the "Traccia" (A Marian Plan of Franciscan Life) in the first Casa Mariana (Marian House/Friary) in the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Frigento (AV), Italy.

Fr. Stefano Maria is the superior of the Marian Friary in Frigento from 1970 until 1973 and from 1979 until 1982. He became the Master of novices in the same Casa Marian of Frigento for 10 years, from 1972 until 1982. He was elected Minister Provincial in Naples for three consecutive terms (1982-1988)

In November 1, 1982, together with Fr. Gabriel, he founded the first community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate in Novaliches (Manila, Philippines) which developed under the care of Fr. Gabriel Maria Pelletieri, following the "Marian Traccia of Franciscan Life."

In 1988, he was elected rector of the theological College "San Francesco" in Benevento until 1990.

In June 23 1990, in the foundation of the Institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, he became its Minister General until the present time.

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests.  Amen.

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