The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Comm. SS. Processus and Martinian; Missa “Salve Sancta“
Blessed Mary’s first action after God had come to dwell in her was one of self-denying charity. She undertook a troublesome journey in order to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Thus she proclaimed charity to be the virtue which above all Christ brought with Him from Heaven. God made Mary’s visit the occasion of a wonderful miracle. On her entrance into St. Elizabeth’s dwelling, St. John Baptist was cleansed from sin in his mother’s womb. Mary was the channel of this exceptional privilege~ of the cleansing away of sin in the case of the unborn child. As then, so now: Mary is the channel of all graces, and above all, of the restoration of the sinner to friendship with God. Mary’s’ charity is not less present now than at the time of the Visitation. Nay, she is far more eager now than then to promote the happiness and console the sorrows of those who fly to her for succour. Ember Friday in Advent was the original date for this feast. The celebration by the Greeks on July 2nd of the placing of the robe of the Blessed Virgin in the Basilica of Blachernae (A.D. 469) became in the Latin church the commemoration of the visit of Mary to the home of Zachary and Elizabeth. It was kept by the Franciscans as early as 1263; the Council of Basel (1431) made it a holy day of obligation. In honour of this mystery, St. Francis de Sales instituted the order of the nuns of the Visitation. The original design of this kindly saint was that the nuns should imitate the Blessed Virgin in her charitable assistance in the house of her cousin, who, though well advanced in years, was miraculously about to become a mother. Providence, however, thought fit to alter the plan while still in the hands of the designer, so that the latter was accustomed jestingly to say that he had made something which he had never intended to make, whereas he could not make that which he would in reality have wished to have made.
According to tradition, Martinian and Processus were imperial soldiers assigned as the warders of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the Mamertine Prison. The apostles converted their jailers after a spring flowed miraculously in the prison. Peter then baptized them in the miraculous waters. By order of the emperor Nero, the guards were then arrested, tortured, and beheaded. After their martyrdom with Paul, a sympathizer called Lucina buried them in her own cemetery.
In the fourth century, a church was built over their tomb. At this church, Saint Gregory the Great preached a homily on their feast day “in which he referred to the presence of their bodies, to the cures of the sick, to the harassment of perjurers, and the cure of demoniacs there.” This church no longer exists. Bede mentions Martinian and Processus, and their feast is thus known to have been celebrated in early medieval England.
Pope Paschal I (817–824) translated the bones of the two martyrs to a chapel in the old Basilica of St. Peter. They still rest under the altar dedicated to them in the right (south) transept of the present St. Peter’s Basilica.
Hail, holy Mother, who in childbirth didst bring forth the King Who ruleth Heaven and earth, world without end. (Ps. 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works unto the King. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat Hail, holy Mother…
Impart unto Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of Heavenly grace, that to us, to whom the childbirth of the Blessed Virgin hath been the beginning of salvation, the votive solemnity of her visitation may bring an increase of peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
SS. Processus and Martinian
O God, Who surround and protect us with the glorious profession of faith of Your Martyrs Processus and Martinian, grant us to profit by imitating them and to rejoice in their intercession. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen
EPISTLE Canticle 2: 8-14
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Behold He cometh, leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart. Behold He standeth behind our wall; looking through the windows, looking through the lattices. Behold, my beloved speaketh to me, Arise, make haste, My love, my dove, my beautiful one; and come. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone, The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning Is come, the voice of the turtle is heard in our land: the fig-tree hath put forth her green figs, the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise my love, my beautiful one; and come. My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall, show Me thy face, let thy voice sound in My ear; for thy voice is sweet, and thy face comely.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Ps. 44: 17, 18
Blessed and venerable art thou, O Virgin Mary, who without spot wast found the Mother of the Savior. V. O Virgin Mother of God, He, Whom the whole world can not contain, hath shut Himself within thy womb, becoming man. Alleluia, alleluia. V. Happy art thou, O sacred Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise, for out of thee hath risen the sun of justice, Christ, our God. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 1: 39-47
At that time, Mary rising up, went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she cried out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, who didst bear the Creator of all things; thou didst bring forth Him Who made thee, and remainest a virgin forever.
Let the humanity of Thine only-begotten Son succour us, O Lord, that He, Who, born of a virgin, did not diminish, but consecrated, the virginity of His mother, may, on this solemn festival of her visitation, deliver us from our sins and make our offering acceptable, even Jesus Christ our Lord, Who with Thee livest and reignest, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
SS. Processus and Martinian
Accept our prayers and gifts, O Lord, and, that they may be made worthy in Your sight, may Your saints help us by their prayers. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen
PREFACE of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God and that we should praise and bless, and proclaim Thee, on the Visitation of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin: Who also conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost, and the glory of her virginity still abiding, gave forth to the world the everlasting light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say with lowly praise:
O Mary, ever Virgin, who because of thy great worth, God set up as Queen of the whole world, pray for our peace and salvation, for Thou hast brought forth Christ the Lord, the Savior of us all.
We have received, O Lord, the votive sacrament of this annual solemnity; grant, beseech Thee, that it may afford us a remedy both for temporal and for eternal life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, For ever and ever. R. Amen.
SS. Processus and Martinian
Filled with the offering of Your sacred Body and Your precious Blood, we beseech You, O Lord, our God, that what we have done in holy devotion may become an assurance of our redemption. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, For ever and ever. R. Amen