The month of September holds the precious Feast of Saint Michael and all the Archangels: for the Sanctuary and for the City of Monte Sant’Angelo it takes on an even more significant value since the angelic Prince is celebrated as patron and defender.
The liturgical functions and cultural events that characterized the journey towards the Solemnity of September 29th were noteworthy.
September 16th already offered two important events: in the morning, the National Day of the Sacred Sword of the Archangel, an event which took place for the first time in Monte Sant’Angelo and which involved many municipalities belonging to “The Sacred Places of ‘Archangel Michael’; in the evening, the concert by Don Elio Benedetto, a Molise priest and Christian singer-songwriter with a pop-rock style, who uses music as an extraordinary way of evangelization.
The novena qualified itself as a worthy itinerary of faith, punctuated by prayer and the valuable meditations proposed by Fr. Ernesto della Corte: the biblical scholar suggested to those present in the Grotto and connected via streaming the way to “live in oneself” in Christ and with the help of the Archangel.
Various ecclesial, local and diocesan communities participated. Among these, the Parish of the Cathedral of Manfredonia from which, almost as if to recall the episodes of the first three apparitions, the relics of the holy Bishop Maiorano were brought.
On 23 September, His Exc. Most Rev. Gerardo Ernesto Salas Arjona, bishop of Acarigua – Araure for a few months, also joined the ranks of the many pilgrims: with prayerful insistence he asked the Defender of God for protection for his tormented Venezuela from a profound economic and moral crisis.
On 28 September the so-called wax offering was carried out, the traditional gesture through which the entire population, represented by its administrative bodies, entrusts itself to its Patron and ideally lights a votive light so that He continues in his work of patronage, of defense and conservation. The Eucharistic Concelebration was presided over by His Exc. Most Rev. Giacomo Cirulli, Bishop of Teano – Calvi and Alife – Caiazzo. During the function, the Michelite Fathers donated a statue of Saint Michael to the Mayor of the City which will be placed in the town hall: the seal of a strong, lasting and collaborative relationship in the shadow of the Celestial Protector.
From the first light of September 29th the joyful atmosphere of the Dies festus was felt. Companies, groups and simple believers crowded the Spelonca taking part in the sacred liturgies.
The heart of the celebrations was the Divine Eucharist at 10.30 am attended by His Excellency the Most Reverend Mons. Franco Moscone, Archbishop of Manfredonia – Vieste – San Giovanni Rotondo, and concelebrated by the religious custodians of the sanctuary and by the city and diocesan clergy. The municipal, provincial and regional civil and military authorities were abundantly present.
Preceded by the suggestive sword rite, the procession took place in the afternoon: through the symbols of the simulacrum, the sword and the stones of the Grotto, Saint Michael wandered through the streets of his city, offering his presence and blessing.
To welcome the return of his sacred procession, Most Rev. Monsignor Giuseppe Piemontese, Bishop Emeritus of Terni-Narni, who presided over the last Holy Mass of the day.
September 30th has now taken on the meaning of thanksgiving for the gift of the Archangel and for his patronage. The afternoon Eucharist was officiated by His Excellency Monsignor Domenico Cornacchia, Bishop of Molfetta – Ruvo – Giovinazzo – Terlizzi: in this celebration all the intentions of the devotees, pilgrims and employees and volunteers of the Sanctuary were contained .
On October 1st, the painting “The Victory of Good over Evil” was officially blessed, a work that the artist Bruno Giustiniani donated to the Basilica.
The last event of the Festival was Debora Vezzani’s concert on October 2nd: the singer testified through her songs and melodies of her conversion to the Catholic faith and narrated the wonders she experienced along this path.
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