Q. How can you still promote devotion to Saint Philomena? My Pastor (etc.) says she never existed and that was why she was removed from the Calendar of the Church!
A. First of all: Saint Philomena most certainly exists, and is POWERFUL WITH GOD!. Our dear Catholic Church is going through difficult times indeed at present and the leadership is much is to be blamed, in particular for the unnecessary changes following, but really not mandated by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). However, Saint Philomena's case is different, since her name was removed from the universal liturgical Calendar before the Council, in 1960, along with Saint Christopher, Saint Barbara and others. In the years following, devotion to Saint Philomena declined, her shrines were dismantled (in particular the shrine at Ars, France,constructed by the Holy Curé, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney). Strangely, the most important shrine, that in Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy, was allowed to continue and promote devotion to Saint Philomena, as it does to this day. The local bishop (of Nola) appoints the Shrine Rector. The most important Shrine of Saint Philomena in the world operates with the full knowledge of Roman authorities.
Many other Saints were devoted to Saint Philomena. For example: St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Peter Chanel, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Madelaine Sophie Barat, St. Euphrasier Pelletier, St. John Neumann, St.Anna Maria Taigi, Saint Damien of Molokai, and others.
Pope Leo XII (1823-1829), granted permission for altars to be dedicated and chapels to be built in honour of Saint Philomena. He called her the Great Saint.
Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846), mainly as a result of a miracle of healing brought about by Saint Philomena on Blessed Pauline Jaricot, issued a decree authorising the public cultus of Saint Philomena.
Blessed Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), named Saint Philomena Patroness of the Children of Mary in 1849. He approved a special Mass in her honour in1854.
Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), raised the Saint Philomena Confraternity to the rank of an Arch-Confraternity, enriching it with many indulgences. He blessed and approved the Cord of Saint Philomena.
Pope Saint Pius X had great devotion to Saint Philomena.. He encouraged an increase of devotion to the Saint and commanded that decisions and declarations of his predecessors concerning her be in no way changed.
Saint Philomena has been successfully invoked by her suppliants in every sort of need. She has, like Saint Rita, become the patroness of previously impossible cases; in particular, the conversion of sinners, the return to the Sacraments of the lapsed, expectant or destitute mothers, problems with children, unhappiness in the home, sterility, priests and their work, the sick, the poor, the mentally ill. Amazingly, her devotees have discovered that no case of whatever nature is too trivial or great to concern her!
If Saint Philomena never existed how could it be that the Vicar General to His Holiness Pope John Paul II could send us a First Class Relic of her in 1991 and yet another relic in 1994? These relics came with signed and sealed authentication papers. One cannot believe that one of the highest Roman authorities would be an agent of promoting the veneration of false relics!
We must, I believe, see the action taken in 1960 as the work of the devil
in order to deprive the people of God of a most powerful Intercessor,
particularly in the areas of purity and faith at a time when these virtues
were so much being challenged as they continue to be up until now!
Anyone who has doubts about Saint Philomena should have recourse to the recent history of the Church, something which, with the existence of the Internet, is not at all difficult.