Father Stephanos, OSB, a most wise and holy man, writes about the background to the Feast of the Visitation, which we celebrate today:
Pope Urban VI began the work of setting up today’s feast for the the whole Church. The year was 1389, the last year in his life. He became pope in 1378.
Later that same year a faction of cardinals proceeded to elect a rival who took the title “Clement VII,” the first in a row of false popes who challenged the true popes for thirty-nine years.
In 1389 Pope Urban prepared to institute the feast of the Visitation as a way of praying for the unity of the Church. Pope Urban died while preparations were underway, but his legitimate successor, Pope Boniface IX, carried through the plan of Pope Urban.
Today’s feast is a good day to pray with the Blessed Virgin Mary for the unity of the Church.
Amen, amen! Considering many forms of factionalism in the Church today, one being the tension over the liturgy, another being the intractable rift within the Mystical Body of Christ in Eastern Europe, in particular the Ukraine, which was highlighted in a poignant and hopeful piece on EWTN this afternoon. Mary must weep over the divisions among her children, and the forces of history have exacerbated the residual defects of fallen souls. Start with your families, and draw them to yourselves with prayer and sacrifice.
[Lot more of essential projects here when you've finished praying for your dear ones.]