Capuchin Holiness: Brother Michael Mascarenhas
We are all called to holiness and to be saints. God made all of us in his image and likeness. On the eve of all saints, Bro. Charles Polifka, provincial minister of the Province of Saint Conrad, led a day of recollection about Capuchin saints, our charism as Capuchin Franciscans aspiring to holiness, and the Capuchin brothers we know who are not canonized saints but who are examples of Capuchin holiness.
Our Capuchin charism consists of great qualities that enable us to achieve a greater amount of holiness. Prayer is fundamental to our way of life. It enables us to have an intimate relationship with God and with each other. We can go deeper into our self-awareness and with God through prayer. Prayer transforms us and it enables us to “strive for the greater gift”, as Saint Paul said. Other qualities of ours are joy, our fraternity (our community life) and our poverty, in how we live simply and our love for the poor. As Capuchins, we imitate Christ. It is in the Eucharist that we find ourselves immersed in God’s love. Through the celebration of the Eucharist, we share God’s love with others in community and in our ministry through self-giving. Confession keeps us close to God and His will for us, we remain close to God with His mercy and forgiveness.
We have many great Capuchin saints who have given us a wonderful example of holiness. Saint Pio of Petrelcina is a great example to me of Capuchin holiness. He is one of my favorite saints. Saint Pio had a profound love for God and for people. The Gospel, the rule of Saint Francis, and the three vows we take; poverty, chastity, and obedience were at the heart of St. Pio’s holiness. This is lived out in our brotherhood. Blessed John Paul II, whom I love and miss dearly, travelled to San Giovanni Rotundo as a Priest and met Padre Pio. The two holy men of the church prayed together. St. Pio prophesized that Fr. Karol Wojtyla would become pope. Later, as Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla said of Padre Pio when he canonized him: “Padre Pio is an authentic model of spirituality and humanity, two characteristic features of the Franciscan and Capuchin tradition.” Saint Pio had the gifts of healing, prophesying, bilocating (being in two places at once), he could tell if someone was sincere or not in the confessional and he bore the wounds of Christ for fifty years. Saint Pio shared in the sufferings of Jesus and of all humanity. The cross was the focus of Padre Pio’s spirituality and it is also our focus as Capuchins. St. Pio celebrated Mass with such love and fervor. He also founded a hospital in San Giovanni Rotundo, called the “House for the relief of suffering.
I am thankful for the saints, their prayers for us, and for the inspiration of their lives. We can be assured that our Blessed Mother Mary is watching over us with her tender love and care.