New Roads Centre 43 and Louisiana Representative named

From across the ocean, the centuries and through eternity, the charm of a 13 year-old maiden martyr for Christ is experiencing a springtime of renewal and expansion in many places around the globe.

Saint Philomena, a Grecian princess who gave her life for Christ rather than marry one of Rome’s cruelest persecutors of the early Christians – Emperor Diocletian – in the 300s A.D., was accredited with countless miraculous intercessions since her remains were discovered in the Catacomb of St. Priscilla at Rome in 1802. Transferred to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Mugnano del Cardinale three years later and enshrined in a life-size, richly robed effigy, the moral remains of Saint Philomena have been visited by men, women and children of all walks of life, from royalty and high prelates of the Church to the most distressed of the afflicted and dispossessed.

The sheer number of physical, emotional and spiritual cures other miraculous interventions attributed to the little martyr’s intercession resulted in her canonization in 1837, as the first saint raised to the dignity of the altars simply for the number of miracles performed. At other times and places, three persons far removed from and unknown to each other received correlative information of the saint’s life through divine enlightenment.

Saint Philomena is patroness of innumerable movements and causes, including the Universal Living Rosary Association, founded by Ven. Pauline-Marie Jaricot of Lyons, France, a contemporary of Fr., later Fourth Bishop and First Archbishop of New Orleans Antoine Blanc, founder of St. Mary of False River Church in New Roads; the Children of Mary youth formation apostolate; the unemployed; the suffering in mind, body and spirit; pregnancies, safe childbirth and family tranquility; and successful mastery of studies.

New Roads, Louisiana, USA historian, author and humanitarian Brian J. Costello is a longtime devotee of Saint Philomena, following in the tradition and faith of his French and Italian forebears. He faithfully wears her Cord, prays her Chaplet and uses her Blessed Oil in is daily devotions, and feels the loving presence of the "Dear Little Saint" in the demands and trials of his daily duties and health concerns. Costello attributes the personal cure of a lifelong and medically diagnosed “incurable” gastric disease to her intervention after participating in the 40 Days' Devotions and Liturgies in her honor in 2014. He repeats what other leaders of Philomenian devotion state with regularity: “Saint Philomena keeps nothing for herself, but leads all petitions and praises to Jesus.”

Costello was named director of New Roads Centre 43 of Philomenian Devotion as well as Representative for the predominantly Catholic civil State of Louisiana, USA for the Universal Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena on November 24, 2014 by Mrs. Marie McGarvey Burns, Director for The Family of Saint Philomena, frm her office in Glasgow, Scotland. Mrs. Burns’ decision was made in union with that of Monsignor Giovanni Braschi, prelate of the Diocese of Nola, Italy, who is custodian of Saint Philomena’s sacred remains and rector of the Santuario di Santa Filomena in Mugnano.

Brian Costello and wife, nee Mary Julie Langlois, are, in addition to dedicated promoters of the Saint Philomena devotion, enrolled as "Coppia Numero 86, Socio Sostenitore" in the Associazione Beati Coniugi Maria e Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi, a lay apostolate based in Pescara, Italy under the patronage of Bl. Maria and Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi, the first beatified married couple of the Church. The Costellos are likewise members of the Association of Marian Helpers, Bl. Maria Theresia Ledochowska Union of Masses and the Byzantine Mass Union, while Brian Costello is a member of several prayer apostolates. In addition to wearing the Cord of Saint Philomena, he is invested in the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, Ransom of Christian Captives and the Cord of St. Joseph, and was recently nominated for Knighthood in the two oldest orders of Christian chivalry: the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, and the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta.

Of Brian and Mary Costello, Mrs. Burns stated in November 2014: “You are both obviously chosen by Saint Philomena to do her work and I am here for you every step of the way.”

Monsignor Braschi offered the Holy Mass before the sacred remains of Saint Philomena in Mugnano specifically for Brian and Mary Costello at what was then and there 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 – incidentally, the Feast of the Costellos’ other patrons, Bl. Maria and Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi. Simultaneously, Brian and Mary Costello participated in the Mass offered in their parish church of St. Mary of False River, of which Monsignor Robert Berggreen is pastor and Fr. Peter Dang, associate pastor. Prior to Mass in New Roads, Monsignor Berggreen blessed the Costellos’ "Emporio Brasil" image of Saint Philomena, before which daily morning and night prayers and petitions are offered in the family home on False River Rd., New Roads.

Brian Costello's official documentation as Louisiana and New Roads Centre 43 Representative for Philomenian devotion, signed with the official seal of the Santuario di Santa Filomena on February 8, 2015, rested upon the altar before Saint Philomena’s remains for 24 hours prior to being sent by special delivery to them in New Roads.

In addition to ongoing personal outreach and multi-media releases, Brian Costello has developed the “Saint Philomena Devotion – Louisiana USA” internet Facebook page devoted to prayers, reflections, artistic imagery and news from the Universal Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena. Approximately 50 new members were enrolled in the Archconfraternity, through New Roads Centre 43, in a week's time, and it is the Costellos' and St. Mary pastor Monsignor Berggreen’s intention that a gathering be held in St. Mary Church Parish in the near future to introduce Saint Philomena to other area residents and visitors. Details will be published as they develop.

“As Saint Philomena remained anonymously in the darkness of the catacombs until God called her forth to be a light in the terrible occurrences afflicting early 19th century Europe, so we believe He has called her again in these trying times two centuries later,” Brian Costello stated. “We offer our Dear Little Saint as an example of faith throughout sufferings physical, emotional and spiritual; as a model and intercessor for our precious youth, who are today assailed by dangers and temptations dire; and for all who want to grow closer to each other and in God.”

Support the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena

The Sanctuary of Saint Philomena is not a parish Church. We do not have parishioners who support this place of worship on a weekly basis. We are completely dependent on the love and generosity of you, the world-wide devotees, to keep the doors of the earthly home of Saint Philomena open.

We pray at the Sanctuary for the devotees of Saint Philomena to recognize and provide the means to pay our monthly utilities of gas and electricity. We also pray for the means to install a lift at the Sanctuary to enable physically challenged pilgrims to experience the entire home of their beloved Saint.

In order to ensure the Sanctuary is able to keep our doors open to you and to continue to offer God continual praise and to be the focal point through which our prayers are received by Saint Philomena and interceded for before God at the Sanctuary, you may donate in the following ways:

  1. Direct to the Sanctuary:
    1. By personal check payable to the "Sanctuary of Saint Philomena." For security reasons, please send your donation through registered or express mail to the Sanctuary's address at the bottom of this newsletter.
    2. Online - Go to our Support Page, Click Here
    3. By bank transfer to the Sanctuary's Bank account: SANTUARIO SANTA FILOMENA – fil n° 0007 BANK ACCOUNT: n° 1279013 SWIFT CODE: BPMOIT22 IBAN: IT19L0539275790000001279013
  2. U.S.A. Tax-Deductible Donations may be sent to the new non-profit set up in the United States:
    1. Online - Go to our Support Page, Click Here
    2. Postal mail donations can be made to: Saint Philomena Sanctuary Support Fund, Inc. P.O. Box 4114 Bergheim, Texas 78004, U.S.A.

Sanctuary of Saint Philomena
Piazza Umberto I
83027 Mugnano del Cardinale
Avellino, Italy
Tel: 0039 081 825 7204 Fax: 0039 081 511 2733
Rector, Msgr. Giovanni Braschi