St Peter Martyr 29-April (& the Peter Martyr palms)

Also called Peter of Verona, an inquisitor and martyr. Peter was born at Verona, Italy, in 1205. Both of his parents were Catharists, a heresy that denied God created the material world. Even so, Peter was educated at a Catholic school and later at the University of Bologna. While in Bologna, Peter was accepted into the Dominican Order by St. Dominic.

He developed into a great preacher, and was well known for his inspiring sermons in the Lombardy region. In addition, around the year 1234, he was appointed by Pope Gregory IX as inquisitor of Northern Italy, where many Catharists lived. Peter’s preaching attracted large crowds, but as inquisitor he made many enemies.

In 1252, while returning from Como to Milan, he was murdered by a Catharist assassin at the age of forty-six. The following year, he was canonized by Pope Innocent IV.

Although his parents were members of a heretical sect, St. Peter of Verona was strong in his Catholic Faith. However, his faithfulness to the Gospel message in his preaching as a Dominican, brought about much opposition, and eventually Peter paid with his life for preaching the truth. One of the hazards of preaching and living the Gospel is that we must be considered undesirable according to worldly values. With faith in the Father, and as his children, we are called to stand firm and never waver from the truth in the face of death. Canonized the year after his death by Pope Innocent IV, he was also named the patron saint of inquisitors. Since 1969, his cult has been locally confined. His feast day is April 29th.

The Palm Blessing

editor note- I’ve personally seen these work.  Years ago I had palms blessed on his feast day.  We had a tornado warning pop up right at noon (minutes after I walked out of the church) & was able to pass out a number of palms to friends around town. The next day I heard others (who didn’t know about the palms) say “that storm seemed to go around us” as a tornado hit the opposites sides of the town which I passed out the palms.  Where I am currently located there is a high risk of hail damage.  All around me has been hit with damaging hail whereas my area has only received one hail ‘storms’ and it was very small hail & never any damage.

We leave you with a poem St. Thomas Aquinas composed about St. Peter Martyr.

Here silent is Christ’s Herald;
Here quenched, the People’s Light;
Here lies the martyred Champion
Who fought Faith’s holy fight.

The Voice the sheep heard gladly,
The light they loved to see
He fell beneath the weapons
Of graceless Cathari.

The Saviour crowns His Soldier;
His praise the people psalm.
The Faith he kept adorns him
With martyr’s fadeless palm.

His praise new marvels utter,
New light he spreads abroad
And now the whole wide city
Knows well the path to God.

From the Dominican Providence of St Joseph website: In 2007, Pope Benedict issued the Instruction Universae ecclesiae on the implementation of the Apostolic Letter Summorum pontificum, which was issued motu proprio.  Among other things, the Instruction clarified that religious orders, including the Order of Preachers, are permitted to use the liturgical books in force in 1962.  Among the liturgical books of the Roman Rite specifically mentioned by the Holy Father was the Rituale Romanum, or Roman Ritual.  Before the Second Vatican Council, it was common to reserve certain blessings of object to religious orders.  These were often associated with the invocation of a particular saint. In the Dominican Order, a number of popular blessings arose especially with St. Peter Martyr (or St. Peter of Verona), the first Dominican saint to be canonized, and whose feast the Order celebrates on June 4.  Below are two blessings, in Latin and English, from the tradition of the Order associated with this great saint. The first of these blessings is for so-called “Peter Martyr Water”.  Like the Vincent Ferrer Water, the first blessing invokes the saint’s prayers through the medium of water for the sake of those who are sick.  Many people are familiar with “Lourdes Water” from the miraculous stream associated with the apparition of Mary in the town of Lourdes in France.  That water, too, has been associated with asking God to heal the sick, through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The second blessing is associated with St. Peter’s status at the Order’s first martyr.  In Christian iconography, the palm branch is associated with martyrs, as in the image below.  This is in part a reverence to the Chapter 7 of the Book of Revelation:  “behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands”.  They people dressed in white robes carrying palm branches are described by the angel, saying that, “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” The blessings below may be given by any priest.

Blessing of Water with the Relics of St. Peter Martyr

“St. Peter Martyr Water”

V: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R: Who made heaven and earth.

V: The Lord be with you.
R: And with your spirit.

Let us pray. God, who for man’s salvation instituted the most wonderful mysteries in the element of water, hearken to our prayer, and pour forth your blessing + on this element, water, which we now make holy in the name of St. Peter the Martyr. By the intercession of this martyr of yours let it prove a salutary remedy for your faithful, driving out evil spirits and warding off illness and suffering of body and spirit. May all who drink of it or are sprinkled with it be delivered from every affliction of body and soul and regain health in their whole being; through Christ our Lord. R: Amen. Let us pray. Almighty everlasting God, we humbly appeal to your mercy and goodness to graciously bless + by your indescribable power these your faithful people, who come to venerate the relics of St. Peter Martyr and beg his intercession. Delivered by your martyr’s prayers from every affliction of mind and body, protected by your mercy here and everywhere, and saved by your grace, may they deserve, after this life has run its course, to attain the joys that are unending; through Christ our Lord. R: Amen.

Benedictio Aquae cum Reliquiis S. Petri Martyris

Sacredos stolam rubram deferens dicat:

V. Adjutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini.
R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.

V. Dóminus vobíscum.
R. Et cum spíritu tuo.

Orémus. Deus, qui ad salútem humáni géneris máxima quaeque sacraménta in aquárum substántia condidísti, adésto propítius invocatiónibus nostris, et eleménto huic aquae, quod beáti Petri Mártyris tui virtúte consignámus, virtútem tuae bene+dictiónis infúnde: ut, per intervéntum ejúsdem Mártyris tui, sit fidélibus tuis in remédium salutáre, daémones ab eis ejíciens, morbos ac infirmitátes córporis et ánimae repéllens, et praesta, ut, quicúmque eam súmpserint, vel ea aspérsi fúerint, ab omni adversitáte ánimae et córporis liberéntur et utriúque hóminis recípiant sanitátem. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. R. Amen. Orémus. Imménsam cleméntiam tuam, omnípotens aéterne Deus, humíliter implorámus: ut hos fidéles tuos, ad relíquias beáti Petri Mártyris devote accedéntes, et ejus suffrágia postulántes, tua ineffábili virtúte bene+dícere dignéris, ut, per intervéntum ejúsdem Mártyris tui, ab omni aegritúdine mentis et córporis liberáti, tuáque hic et ubíque misericórdia custodíti et grátia salváti, post hujus quoque viae ac vitae cursum, ad aetérna mereántur gáudia perveníre. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. R. Amen.


Blessing of Palms or Other Foliage on the Feast of St. Peter Martyr

V: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R: Who made heaven and earth.

V: The Lord be with you.
R: And with your spirit.

Let us pray. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we beg you to bless + these tree-branches, to pour out on them a heavenly blessing, by the power of the holy + cross and the prayers of St. Peter Martyr; for when you once went forth to triumph over the enemy of mankind, you willed that little children pay honor to you, waving palms and tree-branches before you. By the sign of the holy + cross, let these branches be so endowed with your blessing, that wherever they are kept the prince of darkness with all his followers may flee in fear and trembling from such homes and places; no damage may be done there from lightning and storm; no inclement weather consume or destroy the fruits of the earth; no happening disturb or molest those who serve you, the almighty God, who live and reign forever and ever. R: Amen.

They are sprinkled with holy water.

Benediction Olivarum in Festo S. Petri Martyris

Sacerdos stolam deferens dicat:

V. Adjutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini.
R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.

V. Dóminus vobíscum.
R. Et cum spíritu tuo.

Orémus. Dómine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, bene+díc hos árborum ramos supplicatiónibus nostris et infúnde eis, Dómine, per virtútem Sanctae Cru+cis et per intercessiónem beáti Petri Mártyris, benedictiónem caeléstem, qui triumphatúrus de hoste géneris humáni per manus puerórum palmas et árborum ramos in honórem tuum ahibére voluísti, talémque benedictiónem signáculo Sanctae Cru+cis accípiant: ut, in quibuscúmque locis áliquid ex eis pósitum fúerit, discédant príncipes tenebrárum et contremíscant et fúgiant pávidi cum ómnibus minístris suis de locis vel habitatiónibus illis. Non ibi nóceant fúlmina et tempestátes, non fructus terrae consúmat aut depérdat ulla intempéries eleménti, nihílque inquiétet aut moléstet serviéntes tibi omnipoténti Deo. Qui vivis et regnas in saécula saeculórum. R. Amen.

Aspergantur aqua benedicta.

[The original blessings in Latin are taken from the Breviarium Juxta Ritum S. Ordinis Praedicatorum issued under the authority of Fr. Emmanuel Suarez, Master of the Order of Preachers, in 1952.  The translations, slightly modified, are taken from The Roman Ritual, translated by Philip T. Weller, S.T.D., and published in 1964 by the Bruce Publishing Co.]


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