Bishop John Barres celebrated the 5 p.m. Mass Saturday, April 27th, for the feast of Saint Gianna Molla at the Cathedral of St Agnes, Rockville Centre.

St. Gianna is the patron of mothers, physicians and unborn children. The liturgy included a blessing in thanksgiving for those celebrating, hoping for and expecting the gift of a child.

After Mass there was an opportunity to venerate the relics of St. Gianna, given to the Rockville Centre Diocese by St. Gianna’s daughter, also named Gianna Molla. A reception followed in the pastoral center with resources on fertility, pregnancy support, post-abortion ministry and other related areas.

Read Bishop Barres’ homily below the gallery of photos from the Mass.

Photos by Ed Casey


Homily of Bishop John O. Barres
St. Agnes Cathedral
April 27, 2019

Today we celebrate the St. Gianna Mass for Women and Families on Divine Mercy Sunday.

With the tragic and horrific recent passage of the New York State “Reproductive Health Act,” we affirm the Gospel of Life as we give thanks for the dedication of the Knights of Columbus, Respect Life Leaders in the parishes of Long Island, Catholic Health Services and the Gianna Center, Catholic Charities, the Diocese of Rockville Centre Office of Faith Formation, all the Gospel of Life representatives who will be available at the reception in Kelly Hall, and young people in both Catholic and Public High Schools who courageously witness to the Sanctity of Human Life and who are so articulate and persuasive in the oral and written expressions of their convictions.

In the Gospel of John Chapter 20, the Risen Christ walks through the locked doors of fear and states: “Peace be with you.”

He shows the disciples the glorified wounds in his hands and in his side and says “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Thomas is not present at the time and stubbornly refuses to believe and accept what the witnesses saw.

The Risen Christ appears and offers Thomas his wounds the way he offers each one of us his wounds to touch and heal our wounds and the wounds of the Church and the wounds of the World.

As his hardened disbelief melts away, Thomas embraces Adoration as he says reverently: “My Lord and my God,” a phrase that leads us all to Eucharistic amazement and awe.

In The Faith and Modern Man, the great theologian Romano Guardini, who has had such a powerful influence on both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, describes the power of adoring God.

He writes: “Whenever we adore God, something happens within and about us. Things fall into true perspective. Vision sharpens. Much that troubles us rights itself. We distinguish better between the essential and the nonessential, the end and the means, the destination and the way. We discriminate more clearly between good and evil. The deceptions which affect daily life, the falsifications of standards are…rectified.”

Thomas moved from doubt to faith, from self-absorption to adoration, from closed and locked doors to the unlimited horizons of the Risen Christ.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

St. Faustina (1905-1938), like St. Terese of Lisieux (1873-1897), was the humble instrument of a great spiritual awakening in Church History.

The Holy Spirit lit the 20th Century with Terese’s Little Way and St. Faustina’s Divine Mercy Mysticism.

One attitude all the saints of every century and moment share is the punch line of the Divine Mercy: “Jesus, I trust in you…Jesus I trust in you.”

It was the punch line of a young and brilliant Polish actor Karol Wotyla who lost his mother and his brother at a young age and lived his young life and priesthood surrounded but not defeated by Nazism and Communism.
“Jesus I trust in you.”

Pope St. John Paul II’s experiences as a young man and priest of warped ideologies enforced by concentration camps and gulags made him sensitive and vigilant about the relationship between reverencing God, reverencing the Splendor of Truth and reverencing life.

“Jesus I trust in you.”

St. John Paul II entered the world in 1920 followed only two years later by St. Gianna Beretta Mola (1922-1962) in 1922.

Wife, mother, pediatrician, missionary, friend – St. Gianna had the great gift in her friendship with the families, the mothers and children she served of reaching with the Divine Mercy the physical health, spiritual health and emotional health of her patients.

In his Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit addressed to the young people of the world, Pope Francis describes the youthful spirit of the holy.

He writes: “Through the holiness of the young, the Church can renew here spiritual ardour and her apostolic vigour. The balm of holiness generated by the good lives of so many young people can heal the wounds of the Church and of the world…” (50)

The courageous and sacrificial spirit of a youthful and energetic 40 year old mother and physician inspires us to this day to be courageous and sacrificial in our witness to the Gospel of Life in the public square.

St. Gianna’s radical and courageous fidelity to God, to her husband Alberto and her children, and to her patients made her radiant in prayer and radiant in joy, radiant with the Divine Mercy spirit of “Jesus, I trust in you.”