Eremo di Santa Maria – St. Mary’s Hermitage Canterbury
For 19 years the lord has given the church and the faithful a loving priest and in the service of God and neighbour. Thank you for the enormous contribution you, with your presence, give to all of us faithful!
«Listen, my brothers, if the Blessed Virgin Mary is so honoured, as is right, because she took him to her most holy bosom; if the blessed John the Baptist trembled with joy and did not dare touch the Lord’s holy head (Cf. Matthew 3:10-16); if the sepulchre is venerated, in which he lay for some time; how holy, just and worthy he must be, he whom he has not already died, but eternally living and glorious, he on whom the angels wish to look (1 Peter 1:12), receives into his hands, receives in his heart and with the mouth, does it offer to others why they receive it? Take care of your dignity, friar priests, and be holy because he is holy (Leviticus 11:44). And as the Lord God honoured you above all men, for this mystery, so you more than any other man love, revered, honour Him. “(St. Francis of Assisi, Letter to the Franciscan Order, FF 220)
Today, Wednesday 24 April 2019 fr. Ugo-Maria Ginex, founder of St Mary’s Hermitage and the Hermits of Saint Bruno, celebrates the 19th anniversary of presbyteral ordination and the 24th anniversary of Solemn Religious Profession. Fr. Ugo-Maria wishes to thank Archbishop Alistair, Monsignor Bruno, His Brother priests and deacons, his brothers and sisters religious and all the supporters of St. Mary’s Hermitage for their continued prayers and support.
We extend our best heartfelt and fraternal wishes to fr. Ugo-Maria and assure him of our continued prayers so that the Lord may continue to guard this pastor according to His Heart.
Dom Ugo-Maria stated “It is the faith professed by Peter to constitute the foundation of the Church: ‘Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.’ – we read in the Gospel of Matthew 16:16. The priestly vocation and divine predilection, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona:’ said Jesus ‘because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.’ Matthew 16:17. This is what happens to those who decide to respond to God’s call with the entirety of their lives.”
I remember it with pleasure this day, in which the nineteenth year of priestly ordination takes place for me. I am truly grateful to our Lord for his call and for the ministry He entrusted to me, and I thank those who have always expressed their closeness, friendship, counsel and support for my labours and contemplative prayer, which from every ecclesial community incessantly rises to God ‘… prayer was made without ceasing by the church unto God for him.’ Acts 12:5, translating itself into adoration of Christ in the Eucharist to increase the strength and freedom to proclaim the Gospel.
At this time, I am pleased to cordially greet all our readers and to share with me the hope for global peace, an end to famine and poverty and of the unity of all Christians which is surely also desired by our Lord. I therefore ask you to confidently invoke the blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, so that every baptised person may increasingly become a ‘living rock’ which helps to ceaselessly build upon the Kingdom of God.
I often recall and especially at this time, Don Tonino Bello OFS (1935 – † 1993), Bishop Of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi and president of Pax Christi International in his famous text in which he describes in an outstanding manner the essential characteristics and truest nature of the Church and the service of its shepherds. I would like to gladly share this with you.
Today it is sometimes difficult to find a Church “which gives service and the announcement of a Jesus stripped of all the unique reason for its existence”. As Don Tonino wrote, “… unfortunately our Churches celebrate splendid liturgies, even real ones, but – when it comes to rolling up our sleeves – there is always a towel for drying missing, a jug that is empty of water, a basin that cannot found ”(Mosaico di Pace, May 2013). According to him, it would have been nice to be offered “a jug, a basin and a towel”, instead of being given a ring, pastoral cross and Bible, so as “to wash the feet of the world without asking to believe in God as a counterpart”.
Perhaps to some it may seem an irreverent expression, and the juxtaposition of the stole and apron may suggest the suspicion of a small sacrilege.
Yes, because usually the stole recalls the wardrobe of the sacristy, where with all the other sacred vestments, perfumed with incense, makes a fine show of itself, with its silk and its colours, with its symbols and its embroideries. There is no new priest who does not have a precious stole as a gift from the good sisters of his country for the first solemn mass.
The apron, on the other hand, well, if not exactly the accessories of a wash-house, recalls the kitchen sideboard, where, steeped in salsa and spotted with stains, it is always close at hand of the good housekeeper. Ordinarily it is not a gift item, much less so by the sisters, to a young priest. And yet it is the only priestly vestment recorded within the gospel. Which gospel, for the solemn mass celebrated by Jesus on the night of Holy Thursday, it neither speaks of chasubles, nor of amices, nor of stoles, nor of copes.
Speaking only of this coarse cloth which the Master wrapped around his waist with an exquisitely priestly gesture.
Who knows that is not appropriate to complete the wardrobe of our sacristies with the addition of an apron between the satin dalmatics and chasubles of gold samice, among the humeral veils of brocade and stoles entwined with silver-leaf strands!
The most important thing, however, is not to introduce the “apron” in the wardrobe of sacred vestments, but to understand that the stole and the apron are practically a right and the opposite of a uniquely priestly symbol. Indeed, even better, they are like the loftiness and broadness of a single cloth of service: a service which is rendered to God and one offered for others. The stole without the apron would simply remain a visual art form. An apron without a stole would be fatally sterile.
In our canonical language, at the time of attending seminary, there was an expression which today, are fortunately disappearing: “Diritti di Stola – Rights of the Stole”. And there were also coloured subspecies: “white stole” and “black stole”. We would hope that the lexical void left by this sentence was compensated by the entry of another terminology into our priestly vocabulary: “duties of the apron”! It seems to me that these duties can be summarised in three key words: sharing, prophecy, political formation.
We hope that the Seminaries will train future priests in the “duties of the aprons” not only with the same meticulousness with which they instructed us about “stole rights”, but with the same tenacity, with the same celebratory impulse and with the same scientific rigour with which they are prepared for their liturgical tasks.
The only door that leads us into the house after our lost credibility is the door to service. Only if we have served will we be able to speak and be believed.
May the Lord bless you and keep you all. You are and always remain in my prayers.
𒀱 Dom Ugo-Maria ESB (CSR)
Loving God, Your Son, Jesus, sent his apostles to the ends of the earth in order to proclaim the good news of salvation, break the bread of life, serve the needy and the distressed, and gather your flock as one family. We thank you for our hermit priest, Dom. Ugo-Maria. As you have given him to us, through the ministry of the Church, May he always remain a faithful guide, who will faithfully speak your word, Who continues to contemplate in Your presence, and minister your sacraments; Help him to enable us to fulfil our calling. Give to those who will work with him, wisdom, discernment and patience, and to us and his hermitage community, warm and generous hearts. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Fr. Ugo-Maria has served as Prison Chaplain, Parish Priest, Chaplain to South Eastern Railways and HM Forces. He also served as Episcopal Vicar, Judicial Vicar and Vicar General of the Archdiocese. He was for many years involved with charities such as Out-Side-In (working with prisoners and their dependants), Streewise Youth Project in London (a City-based service providing various services, support, information and advice to young people) and has worked with his friend Baron Francis Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, in championing social outcasts and unpopular causes. He also worked with London Lighthouse Hospice in the early 90’s (counselling people with HIV and AIDS).