ON OCTOBER 13, 1884, Leo XIII had a terrible vision of the assault of the powers of Hell against Holy Mother Church, and ordered the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel to be said at the end of Mass. He also composed an Act of Exorcism and ordered it to be inserted into the Roman Ritual, and explicitly mentioned what he had seen: “The Church, the Spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, has been filled with bitterness and inebriated with poison by her crafty enemies, who have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the place where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.”
In these modern times of terrible tribulation, when the pandemic has deprived Catholics of Holy Mass and the Sacraments, the Evil One has gone into a frenzy and multiplied his attacks to tempt souls into sin. These blessed days of Holy Week, which used to be the ideal time to go to Confession to prepare ourselves for our Easter Communion, now see us locked inside our houses, but they cannot stop us praying to Our Lord.
Since it is a day of silence, while we await His glorious Resurrection, this Holy Saturday ought to be an ideal opportunity for Sacred Ministers. There is no need to go out, or to breach any of the laws currently in force.
I should like to ask you all to pray together, using the form given by Leo XIII, the Exorcism against Satan and the Apostate Angels (Exorcismus in Satanam et angelos apostaticos, Rituale Romanum, Tit. XII, Caput III), at three o’clock in the afternoon, Roman time (15:00 hours, Central European Summer Time) on Saturday April 11, 2020, so we can all fight together the common enemy of the whole human race.
Holy Saturday is the day when we remember Our Lord Jesus Christ as He descended into Hell to free the souls of the Fathers from Satan’s chains. In the great silence after Our Lord’s Passion and Death, Our Lady kept watch and believed, waiting in hope for the Resurrection of Her dearly beloved Son. It was a time when the world seemed to have won, but when everything was being prepared for the glory of Easter.
I should like to ask all my brother Bishops and Priests to join me as I recite this Exorcism, knowing the power of this Sacramental – especially when it is recited together with all other Priests – to help the Church in Her fight against Satan. I should also like to recommend that all of you wear a stole, the sign of your Priestly power, and Holy Water.
The great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, terrible as an army set in array, and Saint Michael the Archangel, Patron of the Holy Church and Prince of the Heavenly Host, will help all of us.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò,
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana
Maundy Thursday 2020
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