Sunday, June 26, 2005


On Wednesday, July 6, the Church honors a wonderful role model for youth of all ages, Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin & Martyr. Maria was a vivacious but pious child who lived in the small town of Nettuno, Italy. She was filled with a special love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and for Our Blessed Mother. She enjoyed a joyful youth, praying her daily rosary and frequenting the sacraments.

One day that joy came to an abrupt end. Alessandro, a young man who had spent his youth pursuing pornography and lust filled desires, tried to seduce Maria to commit a grave sin. Maria was horrified at the suggestion. Immediately she responded: "No! No! It is a sin!" The young man insisted but Maria held her ground. She would not cooperate in his lustful aspirations. Heroically, Maria insisted: "No! No! It is a sin! I will not commit a sin against God!” Despite this, he constantly harassed her.

Finally one day, while their parents were away, Maria found herself alone with Alessandro. She was trapped! Brandishing a knife, the depraved young man gave Maria the appalling ultimatum: "Give in or I will kill you!" Filled with fear and dread, our young heroine's answer remained the same. With the heart of a saint, she insisted: "No! No! It is a sin!"

In a senseless act of a rage filled violence, Alessandro stabbed Maria fourteen times. She fell to the floor, mortally wounded. When her mother found her several hours later, she was barely alive. Only after her mother insisted did she reveal her assailants name. “It was Alessandro, Mama. He wanted me to commit a terrible sin.”

The trip to the hospital was dreadful. Maria was placed in the back of a horse drawn wagon. They had to travel ten miles over a bumpy road. At the hospital, there was no anesthesia; the doctors had to operate on the child while she was fully conscious. Maria suffered horribly. But, it was hopeless. A priest was called. Maria was dying!

Before death, our young heroine gave us another example of the meaning of Christianity. “Mama,” she said, “I forgive Alessandro. I will pray that he will be with me in heaven.”

Maria was twelve years old when she refused to engage in an act which violated God’s law. To preserve her purity, Maria Goretti died a martyr's death.

Fifty years later, Pope Pius XII canonized Maria Goretti a saint of the Holy, Roman Catholic Church. He also named her, The Patroness of Youth.

In a society that is consumed with sins of the flesh, Saint Maria Goretti is a wonderful role model, not only for youth, but for all. God expects us to live morally good lives. The vice of lust and the shockingly immodest dress of our times offend God greatly.

Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr! Pray for us! Intercede for us as we struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. May Our Blessed Mother, the Virgin most pure, grant us the grace to follow the example of St. Maria Goretti, The Patroness of Youth!

Father Richard J. Rego


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