THE RAISING OF PRINCE PAOLO MASSIMO
Et resedit, qui erat mortuus, et coepit loqui.
And he who was dead sat up and began to speak.
In Rome on 16th March 1583, in the presence of a number of witnesses, Father Philip Neri performed an astonishing miracle. He raised to life a dead boy, the fourteen year old nobleman, Prince Paolo Massimo, who had died thirty minutes previously. When the family sent for Fr Philip to attend their dying son he was saying Mass and so was not present at the moment when Paolo expired. There is no doubt that the boy did truly die. Medical men were present. The mourning had begun. Philip arrived at the dead boy’s bedside while they were preparing the body for burial. He breathed on Paolo, called his name, and brought him back to life, heard his confession, absolved him, and then spoke with him for some thirty minutes, after which he sent him back into eternity better prepared for heaven.
Each year on 16th March the miracle is commemorated with due solemnity at the Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne, in the centre of Rome. Many Masses are offered there that day.
Here at the Oratory we commemorate the miracle with Missa Cantata, a special votive Mass of Saint Philip. The texts for the Mass are poignant and apt. The introit is from Psalm 129, De profundis clamavi ad Te Domine. Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee O Lord. The Gospel is Christ our Lord raising to life the dead son of the widow of Naim.
✠ Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam. In illo tempore: Ibat Iesus in civitatem, quæ vocatur Naim: et ibant cum eo discipuli eius et turba copiosa. Cum autem appropinquaret portæ civitatis, ecce, defunctus efferebatur filius unicus matris suæ: et hæc vidua erat, et turba civitatis multa cum illa. Quam cum vidisset Dominus, misericordia motus super eam, dixit illi: Noli flere. Et accessit et tetigit loculum. Hi autem, qui portabant, steterunt. Et ait: Adolescens, tibi dico, surge. Et resedit, qui erat mortuus, et coepit loqui. Et dedit illum matri suæ. Accepit autem omnes timor: et magnifcabant Deum, dicentes: Quia Propheta magnus surrexit in nobis: et quia Deus visitavit plebem suam. [Luke 7:11-16]
At that time: Jesus went into a town called Naim, and His disciples went with Him and a large crowd. As He drew near to the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, He was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep”. Then He went up and touched the bier. Those who were carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And he who was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and they glorified God saying: a great prophet has risen among us, and God has visited His people.