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Youth Apostles Online
Newsletter for Catholic Teens : July 2002

Contents:
St. Maria Goretti, Martyr of Purity
A Role Model for Youth, by Pope John Paul II
Homily from St. Maria Goretti's Canonization Mass, by Pope Pius XII


St. Maria Goretti, Martyr of Purity

Dear Friends,

Just a few days ago, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, talked to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square in Rome about a little girl named Maria Goretti. On July 6th, 1902, Maria died for her belief in purity. If you haven't heard this amazing story yet, listen up! If there was ever a patron saint of chastity, next to the Blessed Mother herself and her most chaste spouse, St. Joseph, St. Maria Goretti is it!

When Maria was born, she was named after and consecrated to the Blessed Mother. She and her family prayed the Rosary together every day. She lived in poverty and she was illiterate, but she loved Jesus. She knew the teachings of the Church and faithfully obeyed them.

Because her father was sick and dying and too weak to work himself, she and her family were forced to live with a rather corrupt man named Giovanni Serenelli and his son, Allesandro, to help them harvest their crops. Allesandro, eighteen at the time, was an evil young man. Like his father, he surrounded himself with pornography, and his mind was full of vile and polluted thoughts.

Maria, a beautiful eleven year-old girl, became the repeated target of his lustful advances. Every time he tried to seduce her she resisted, insisting that it would be sinful. Finally, one day, he cornered her and insisted that she submit to him, but she pleaded "No! No, Allesandro! It is a sin. God forbids it. You will go to hell, Allesandro. You will go to hell if you do it!"

Can you imagine? She was more concerned about her assailant's soul than her own well-being. That is amazing!

Allesandro was so enraged, that he stabbed her nearly to death. She survived for another twenty hours and when asked if she forgave her murderer, she replied, "Yes, for the love of Jesus I forgive him... and I want him to be with me in Paradise." She died on July 6, 1902.

As it turns out, after many years in prison, Maria's wish for his soul was granted, and Allesandro converted. While in his prison cell, he had a vision of her, where she appeared to him bearing white lilies, which he accepted one by one. Then she disappeared.

Can you imagine a girl so young, with such a harsh life, being so committed to preserving her own purity and guarding the purity of those around her, that she was willing to die for it??!! Next time you struggle with a temptation to be impure, even in the smallest way, stop and pray and ask this beautiful and virginal saint to intercede for you from heaven!

If you would like to read more about St. Maria Goretti, be sure to go to:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/goretti.htm

Until next month, I remain...

Your Eucharist loving, Blessed Mother petitioning, rockin' Catholic Church obeying, Pope John Paul II devotee and fellow sinner in need of God's grace and mercy,

Michele TePas
Youth Apostles Online

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A Role Model for Youth

St. Maria Goretti is an example for the younger generations, threatened by a mentality of lack of commitment, which finds it hard to understand the importance of values on which it is never licit to descend to compromises.

Although she was poor and lacking in school education, Maria, who was not yet twelve years old, had a strong and mature personality, formed by the religious education she received in the family. This enabled her not only to defend her own person with heroic chastity, but even to forgive her murderer.

Her martyrdom reminds us that the human being is not fulfilled by following pleasurable impulses, but by living his life in love and responsibility.

I know well how much you, dear young people, are sensitive to these ideals.

In the hope of meeting you in two weeks in Toronto, today I wish to repeat to you: Do not let the culture of possessions and pleasure lull your consciences! Be vigilant and alert sentinels, in order to be genuine protagonists of a new humanity.

- Pope John Paul II on the 100th anniversary of St. Maria Goretti's death


Homily From St. Maria Goretti's Canonization Mass

...Why does this story move you even to tears? Why has Maria Goretti so quickly conquered your hearts, and taken first place in your affections?

The reason is because there is still in this world, apparently sunk and immersed in the worship of pleasure, not only a meager little band of chosen souls who thirst for heaven and its pure air - but a crowd, nay, an immense multitude on whom the supernatural fragrance of Christian purity exercise an irresistible and reassuring fascination.

During the past fifty years, coupled with what was often a weak reaction on the part of decent people, there has been a conspiracy of evil practices, propagating themselves in books and illustrations, in theaters and radio programs, in styles and clubs and on the beaches, trying to work their way into the hearts of the family and society, and doing their worst damage among the youth, even among those of the tenderest years in whom the possession of virtue is a natural inheritance.

Dearly beloved youth, young men and women, who are the special object of the love of Jesus and of us, tell me, are you resolved to resist firmly, with the help of divine grace, against every attempt made to violate your chastity? ...

...Finally, all of you who are intently listening to our words, know that above the unhealthy marshes and filth of the world, stretches an immense heaven of beauty. It is the heaven which fascinated little Maria; the heaven to which she longed to ascend by the only road that leads there, which is, religion, the love of Christ, and the heroic observance of his Commandments.

We greet you, O beautiful and lovable saint! Martyr on earth and angel in heaven, look down from your glory on this people, which loves you, which venerates, glorifies and exalts you. On your forehead you bear the full brilliant and victorious name of Christ. In your virginal countenance may be read the strength of your love and the constancy of your fidelity to your Divine Spouse. As his bride espoused in blood, you have traced in yourself His own image. To you, therefore, powerful intercessor with the Lamb of God, we entrust these our sons and daughters who are present here, and those countless others who are united with us in spirit. For while they admire your heroism, they are even more desirous of imitating your strength of faith and your inviolate purity of conduct. Fathers and mothers have recourse to you, asking you to help them in their task of education. In you, through our hand, the children and the young people will find a safe refuge, trusting that they shall be protected from every contamination, and be able to walk the highways of life with that serenity of spirit and deep joy which is the heritage of those who are pure of heart. Amen.

- Homily of Pope Pius XII, June 24, 1950