DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     July 6, 1999     vol. 10, no. 129


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Tuesday, July 6, 1999

    Tuesday, July 6:
    Fourteenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

    Green or red vestments

      First Reading: Genesis 32: 23-33
      Psalms: Psalm 17: 1-3, 6-8, 15
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 9: 32-38


          Considered the first saint of the 20th Century, Saint Maria Teresa Goretti was born into a poor family in Nettuno, Italy in 1890. At a very early age she showed tremendous maternal instincts, caring for her four younger brothers as well as the neighbors young children while the parents worked in the fields during the day. Her mother had been forced to work the fields since her husband and Maria's father died in 1900. Too poor to afford education, Maria dedicated herself to doing God's Will and went about her work joyously. One of the older boys who worked on the farm, a nineteen year old, lusted after Maria who was only twelve years old in 1902. Regardless he attempted to rape her when no one else was around, but Maria resisted, crying out: "No! No! Do not touch me, Alessandro! It is a sin. You will go to hell!" Her refusal so enraged Alessandro that in a fit of passion he pulled out his field knife and plunged it into her fourteen times and then fled. Bleeding to death, Maria was rushed to the hospital where she lay dying for two more painful days. On receiving the Final Sacrament, the priest asked her if she would forgive her murderer and she lovingly proclaimed, "Yes, I forgive him for the love of Jesus, and I want him to be with me in Heaven. May God forgive him!" Shortly after that she breathed her last death with her lips to the crucifix, clutching the Miraculous Medal. Her assailant Alessandro was quickly arrested and served 26 years in prison. It was during his 8th year in prison that he experienced a conversion experience from a dream of Maria Goretti presenting him with flowers. When he was released from prison in 1928 he went immediately to Maria's mother and begged forgiveness and then accompanied her to Christmas Mass where they received Holy Communion together. He became a Franciscan tertiary and spent his remaining life with the Capuchins. The most fascinating aspect of all this was that both Alessandro and Maria's mother were present for the canonization ceremonies in Rome when Pope Pius XII officially proclaimed Maria Teresa Goretti a saint in 1970. She is one of the greatest role models for young people today in a society that exalts the world, the flesh and the devil.

Wednesday, July 7, 1999

      First Reading: Genesis 41: 55-57; 42: 5-7, 17-24
      Psalms: Psalm 33: 2-3, 10-11, 18-19, 22
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 1-7

July 6, 1999       volume 10, no. 129


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