Pastoral Notes 20th May, 2018

ST PHILIP NERI

On Saturday morning this week the Church celebrates the feast of an Italian saint, Philip Neri, from Florence, who came to study in Rome as a young man, staying with relatives, but famously ‘dropped out’, exploring the much-neglected catacombs, burial grounds outside Rome. He there experienced in an almost physical way the fire of the Holy Spirit entering his heart, and – as a layman – embarked on a life of sharing his faith, particularly with young people in the streets of Rome. He was eventually ordained priest and in his old age gave blessings to the young priests returning to England in secret, many of whom were martyred. He was the most cheerful of saints and people from all parts of society came to seek his guidance. He was named the second patron of Rome, after St Peter, dying in 1595 aged 80, founding a society of priests which Blessed John Henry Newman joined in the 19th century in England.