Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pope Francis at Chrism Mass - Full Text and Full Video



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at the Chrism Mass of the Rome diocese on Holy Thursday morning, in St. Peter's Basilica. The Chrism Mass is the traditional liturgy, during the course of which the oils to be used in the sacraments of initiation, Holy Orders and healing throughout the coming year are blessed. It is also a particularly profound moment of unity among the clergy of the diocese together with the bishop. The theme of the Holy Father's homily was the joy of priestly service. Below, please find the official English translation of the Holy Father's prepared remarks.

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“Anointed with the oil of gladness”

Dear Brother Priests,

In the eternal “today” of Holy Thursday, when Christ showed his love for us to the end (cf. Jn 13:1), we recall the happy day of the institution of the priesthood, as well as the day of our own priestly ordination. The Lord anointed us in Christ with the oil of gladness, and this anointing invites us to accept and appreciate this great gift: the gladness, the joy of being a priest. Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God: that faithful people from which he is called to be anointed and which he, in turn, is sent to anoint.

Anointed with the oil of gladness so as to anoint others with the oil of gladness. Priestly joy has its source in the Father’s love, and the Lord wishes the joy of this Love to be “ours” and to be “complete” (Jn 15:11). I like to reflect on joy by contemplating Our Lady, for Mary, the “Mother of the living Gospel, is a wellspring of joy for God’s little ones” (Evangelii Gaudium, 288). I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that priest is very little indeed: the incomparable grandeur of the gift granted us for the ministry sets us among the least of men. The priest is the poorest of men unless Jesus enriches him by his poverty, the most useless of servants unless Jesus calls him his friend, the most ignorant of men unless Jesus patiently teaches him as he did Peter, the frailest of Christians unless the Good Shepherd strengthens him in the midst of the flock. No one is more “little” than a priest left to his own devices; and so our prayer of protection against every snare of the Evil One is the prayer of our Mother: I am a priest because he has regarded my littleness (cf. Lk 1:48). And in that littleness we find our joy.

For me, there are three significant features of our priestly joy. It is a joy which anoints us (not one which “greases” us, making us unctuous, sumptuous and presumptuous), it is a joy which is imperishable and it is a missionary joy which spreads and attracts, starting backwards – with those farthest away from us.

A joy which anoints us. In a word: it has penetrated deep within our hearts, it has shaped them and strengthened them sacramentally. The signs of the ordination liturgy speak to us of the Church’s maternal desire to pass on and share with others all that the Lord has given us: the laying on of hands, the anointing with sacred chrism, the clothing with sacred vestments, the first consecration which immediately follows… Grace fills us to the brim and overflows, fully, abundantly and entirely in each priest. We are anointed down to our very bones… and our joy, which wells up from deep within, is the echo of this anointing.

An imperishable joy. The fullness of the Gift, which no one can take away or increase, is an unfailing source of joy: an imperishable joy which the Lord has promised no one can take from us (Jn 16:22). It can lie dormant, or be clogged by sin or by life’s troubles, yet deep down it remains intact, like the embers of a burnt log beneath the ashes, and it can always be renewed. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy remains ever timely: I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands (cf. 2 Tim 1:6).

A missionary joy. I would like especially to share with you and to stress this third feature: priestly joy is deeply bound up with God’s holy and faithful people, for it is an eminently missionary joy. Our anointing is meant for anointing God’s holy and faithful people: for baptizing and confirming them, healing and sanctifying them, blessing, comforting and evangelizing them.

And since this joy is one which only springs up when the shepherd is in the midst of his flock (for even in the silence of his prayer, the shepherd who worships the Father is with his sheep), it is a “guarded joy”, watched over by the flock itself. Even in those gloomy moments when everything looks dark and a feeling of isolation takes hold of us, in those moments of listlessness and boredom which at times overcome us in our priestly life (and which I too have experienced), even in those moments God’s people are able to “guard” that joy; they are able to protect you, to embrace you and to help you open your heart to find renewed joy.

A “guarded joy”: one guarded by the flock but also guarded by three sisters who surround it, tend it and defend it: sister poverty, sister fidelity and sister obedience.

Priestly joy is a joy which is sister to poverty. The priest is poor in terms of purely human joy. He has given up so much! And because he is poor, he, who gives so much to others, has to seek his joy from the Lord and from God’s faithful people. He doesn’t need to try to create it for himself. We know that our people are very generous in thanking priests for their slightest blessing and especially for the sacraments. Many people, in speaking of the crisis of priestly identity, fail to realize that identity presupposes belonging. There is no identity – and consequently joy of life – without an active and unwavering sense of belonging to God’s faithful people (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 268). The priest who tries to find his priestly identity by soul-searching and introspection may well encounter nothing more than “exit” signs, signs that say: exit from yourself, exit to seek God in adoration, go out and give your people what was entrusted to you, for your people will make you feel and taste who you are, what your name is, what your identity is, and they will make you rejoice in that hundredfold which the Lord has promised to those who serve him. Unless you “exit” from yourself, the oil grows rancid and the anointing cannot be fruitful. Going out from ourselves presupposes self-denial; it means poverty.

Priestly joy is a joy which is sister to fidelity. Not primarily in the sense that we are all “immaculate” (would that by God’s grace we were!), for we are sinners, but in the sense of an ever renewed fidelity to the one Bride, to the Church. Here fruitfulness is key. The spiritual children which the Lord gives each priest, the children he has baptized, the families he has blessed and helped on their way, the sick he has comforted, the young people he catechizes and helps to grow, the poor he assists… all these are the “Bride” whom he rejoices to treat as his supreme and only love and to whom he is constantly faithful. It is the living Church, with a first name and a last name, which the priest shepherds in his parish or in the mission entrusted to him. That mission brings him joy whenever he is faithful to it, whenever he does all that he has to do and lets go of everything that he has to let go of, as long as he stands firm amid the flock which the Lord has entrusted to him: Feed my sheep (cf. Jn 21:16,17).

Priestly joy is a joy which is sister to obedience. An obedience to the Church in the hierarchy which gives us, as it were, not simply the external framework for our obedience: the parish to which I am sent, my ministerial assignments, my particular work … but also union with God the Father, the source of all fatherhood. It is likewise an obedience to the Church in service: in availability and readiness to serve everyone, always and as best I can, following the example of “Our Lady of Promptness” (cf. Lk 1:39, meta spoudes), who hastens to serve Elizabeth her kinswoman and is concerned for the kitchen of Cana when the wine runs out. The availability of her priests makes the Church a house with open doors, a refuge for sinners, a home for people living on the streets, a place of loving care for the sick, a camp for the young, a classroom for catechizing children about to make their First Communion… Wherever God’s people have desires or needs, there is the priest, who knows how to listen (ob-audire) and feels a loving mandate from Christ who sends him to relieve that need with mercy or to encourage those good desires with resourceful charity.

All who are called should know that genuine and complete joy does exist in this world: it is the joy of being taken from the people we love and then being sent back to them as dispensers of the gifts and counsels of Jesus, the one Good Shepherd who, with deep compassion for all the little ones and the outcasts of this earth, wearied and oppressed like sheep without a shepherd, wants to associate many others to his ministry, so as himself to remain with us and to work, in the person of his priests, for the good of his people.

On this priestly Thursday I ask the Lord Jesus to enable many young people to discover that burning zeal which joy kindles in our hearts as soon as we have the stroke of boldness needed to respond willingly to his call.

On this priestly Thursday I ask the Lord Jesus to preserve the joy sparkling in the eyes of the recently ordained who go forth to devour the world, to spend themselves fully in the midst of God's faithful people, rejoicing as they prepare their first homily, their first Mass, their first Baptism, their first confession… It is the joy of being able to share with wonder, and for the first time as God’s anointed, the treasure of the Gospel and to feel the faithful people anointing you again and in yet another way: by their requests, by bowing their heads for your blessing, by taking your hands, by bringing you their children, by pleading for their sick… Preserve, Lord, in your young priests the joy of going forth, of doing everything as if for the first time, the joy of spending their lives fully for you.

On this priestly Thursday I ask the Lord Jesus to confirm the priestly joy of those who have already ministered for some years. The joy which, without leaving their eyes, is also found on the shoulders of those who bear the burden of the ministry, those priests who, having experienced the labours of the apostolate, gather their strength and rearm themselves: “get a second wind”, as the athletes say. Lord, preserve the depth, wisdom and maturity of the joy felt by these older priests. May they be able to pray with Nehemiah: “the joy of the Lord is my strength” (cf. Neh 8:10).

Finally, on this priestly Thursday I ask the Lord Jesus to make better known the joy of elderly priests, whether healthy or infirm. It is the joy of the Cross, which springs from the knowledge that we possess an imperishable treasure in perishable earthen vessels. May these priests find happiness wherever they are; may they experience already, in the passage of the years, a taste of eternity (Guardini). May they know the joy of handing on the torch, the joy of seeing new generations of their spiritual children, and of hailing the promises from afar, smiling and at peace, in that hope which does not disappoint.



Text from of the Vatican Radio website 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What is the Triduum and Holy Week - Great Video and Free Resources - Share!

Holy Thursday, marks the start of Holy Week, and the Easter Triduum. From the Latin word meaning "three days", the Easter Triduum is the holiest time of the year in the Catholic Church. The solemn liturgies of the Triduum are the most important liturgies of the Church year teaching the meaning of Christ's life, death and resurrection. People gather to commemorate the three pillars of the Catholic faith: the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the Priesthood and the Mass.
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During the Chrism Mass, the Holy Oils to be used throughout the coming year for Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick are consecrated. The Mass of the Lord's Supper is traditionally held after sundown. 
This commemorates the Institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion and recalls the Last Supper of Our Lord. It was at this last supper that Christ after he was betrayed, offered His Body and Blood to God the Father, under the species of bread and wine which he gave to the Apostles as spiritual nourishment, commanding them and their successors in the priesthood to perpetuate this offering. At the Mass of the Lord's Supper it is traditional in Catholic dioceses for the archbishop or bishop to wash the feet of 12 priests to symbolise Christ's washing of the feet of His Apostles and a symbol of service everyone is called to live. 
This Mass ends in silence, the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to the Altar of Repose where it will remain until Mass the following day. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar. It is a day of quiet fasting and mourning, remembering again how Jesus suffered and died for our sins.Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ will come again.  During the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord's Passion the ceremony and prayers are solemn and reflective. The pulpit and altar will be bare; no candles lit. This creates the awareness of grief over the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son. Communion will be distributed - the hosts having been blessed in the Thursday Mass. On Holy Saturday the service begins in a darkened Church. There is the blessing of new fire, lighting of the paschal candle and the Easter Proclamation. These are the most important days of remembrance and celebration in the Catholic Church. The Easter Triduum is the holiest time of the year in the Catholic Church. The Easter fast, begun on Good Friday ends on Sunday, when the world celebrates the Resurrection of Our Lord. Statues and artworks covered for Lent are uncovered, the altar is no longer bare and the entire church is filled with flowers. The Palm Sunday celebration commemorated Christ's arrival in ancient Jerusalem riding on a small donkey to be greeted by exuberant crowds hailing him as the Messiah and waving palm leaves. As we know before the week was out, Christ had been betrayed and arrested. What followed was the Lord's terrible suffering and his crucifixion outside the walls of the city. But three days later came His glorious resurrection which Catholics and Christians of all denominations celebrate on Easter Sunday. Edited from Archdiocese of Sydney

USCCB Release 18 Questions Answered About the Triduum:

The following eighteen questions address the most commonly received questions concerning the Sacred Paschal Triduum, and may be freely reproduced by diocesan Offices for Worship, parish Liturgy Committees, and others seeking to promote the effective celebration of these most sacred days. 
1. When does the Triduum begin and end? The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday. 
2. May another Mass besides the Mass of the Lord’s Supper be celebrated on Holy Thursday? Ordinarily, no other Mass may be celebrated on Holy Thursday. However, by way of exception, the local Ordinary may permit another Mass in churches and oratories to be celebrated in the evening, and, in the case of genuine necessity, even in the morning. Such Masses are provided for those who in no way are able to participate in the evening Mass. 
3. How are the Holy Oils, consecrated and blessed at the Chrism Mass, to be received in the parish? A reception of the oils may take place before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The oils, in suitable vessels, can be carried in procession by members of the assembly. 
4. A text for this can be found here. Is the Mandatum, the washing of feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, required? No. The Roman Missal only indicates, “After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it [ubi ratio pastoralis id suadeat], the Washing of Feet follows.” 
5. When should the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion take place? Normally it should take place in the afternoon, at about 3:00 PM, to enable people to assemble more easily. However, pastoral discretion may indicate a time shortly after midday, or in the late evening, though never later than 9:00 PM. Depending on the size or nature of a parish or other community, the local Ordinary may permit the service to be repeated. 
6. May a deacon officiate at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion? Although the Celebration of the Lord's Passion appears to be a service of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion, the Roman Missal does not permit a deacon to officiate at the celebration. Historically, even though the Eucharist is not celebrated on this day, the liturgy of Good Friday bears resemblance to a Mass. At one time it was called the “Mass of the Presanctified” (referring to the pre-consecrated hosts used at Communion, even when only the priest received Communion). This is also reflected in the prescribed vesture for the priest: stole and chasuble. The liturgy of Good Friday, as an integral part of the Triduum, is linked to the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. While there may be cases where a parish with multiple churches or chapels (e.g., mission churches or a cluster of parishes under one pastor) might rotate the liturgies among the various locations, it would not be appropriate for a community to celebrate only part of the Triduum. 
7. May any of the readings at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion be omitted? The Lectionary for Mass does not indicate that any readings may be omitted at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. All three readings (Isaiah, Hebrews, and the Passion according to John) are required. It should be noted, however, for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, the Lectionary indicates that while all three readings provided should be used, there may be circumstances in which one or more of the readings at Mass could be omitted: “Given, however, the importance of the account of the Lord’s Passion, the priest, having in mind the character of each individual congregation, is authorized to choose only one of the two readings prescribed before the Gospel, or if necessary, he may read only the account of the Passion, even in the shorter form. This permission applies, however, only to Masses celebrated with a congregation.” Thus, the account of the Passion is never omitted. 
8. Does the Church encourage any other liturgical celebrations on Good Friday? On this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer could appropriately be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches. Note that Evening Prayer is only prayed by those who do not participate in the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. 
9. Do devotions have a particular importance on Good Friday? The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002) provides the proper perspective in paragraphs 142-145. Clearly the central celebration of this day is the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. In no way should manifestations of popular piety, either by the time or manner in which they are convoked, substitute for this solemn liturgical action. Nor should aspects of the various acts of piety be mixed with the Good Friday celebration, creating a hybrid. In recent times, Passion processions, celebrations of the Stations of the Cross, and Passion Plays have become more common. In such representations, actors and spectators can be involved in a moment of faith and genuine piety. Care should be taken, however, to point out to the faithful that a Passion Play is a representation which is commemorative and they are very different from “liturgical actions” which are anamnesis, or the mysterious presence of the redemptive event of the Passion. 
10. How does the Adoration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday begin? The Adoration of the Holy Cross begins with one of two forms of the Showing of the Holy Cross. The First Form begins as the deacon or another suitable minister goes to the sacristy and obtains the veiled Cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, the veiled Cross is brought to the center of the sanctuary in procession. The priest accepts the Cross and then, standing in front of the altar and facing the people, uncovers the upper part of the Cross, the right arm, and then the entire Cross. Each time he unveils a part of the Cross, he sings the acclamation, Behold the wood of the Cross. In the Second Form of the Showing of the Holy Cross, the priest or deacon goes to the church door, where he takes up the uncovered Cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, he processes to the sanctuary, stopping at the door of the church, in the middle of the church, and before entering the sanctuary, to sing the acclamation, Behold the wood of the Cross. 
11. How is the cross venerated by members of the congregation on Good Friday? After the showing of the Cross, the priest or deacon may carry the Cross to the entrance of the sanctuary or another suitable place. The first person to adore the Cross is the priest celebrant. If circumstances suggest, he takes off his chasuble and his shoes. The clergy, lay ministers and the faithful then approach the Cross. The personal adoration of the Cross is an important feature in this celebration and every effort should be made to achieve it. The rubrics remind us that “only one Cross” should be used for adoration. If the numbers are so great that all cannot come forward, the priest, after some of the clergy and faithful have adored the Cross, can take it and stand in the center before the altar. In a few words he invites the people to adore the Cross. He then elevates the Cross higher for a brief period of time while the faithful adore it in silence. It should also be kept in mind that when a sufficiently large Cross is used even a large community can reverence it in due time. The foot of the Cross as well as the right and left arm can be approached and venerated. Coordination with ushers and planning the flow of people beforehand can allow for this part of the liturgy to be celebrated with decorum and devotion. 
12. When should the Easter Vigil take place? The Vigil, by its very nature, must take place at night. It is not begun before nightfall and should end before daybreak on Easter Sunday. The celebration of the Easter Vigil takes the place of the Office of Readings of Easter Sunday. The Easter Vigil begins and ends in darkness. It is a nocturnal vigil, retaining its ancient character of vigilance and expectation, as the Christian people await the Resurrection of the Lord during the night. Fire is blessed and the paschal candle is lighted to illumine the night so that all may hear the Easter proclamation and listen to the word of God proclaimed in the Scriptures. For this reason the Solemn Beginning of the Vigil (Lucernarium) takes place before the Liturgy of the Word. Since sunset varies at different locations throughout the country, local weather stations can be consulted as to the time of sunset in the area, keeping in mind that twilight concludes (i.e., nightfall occurs) somewhat later. 
13. What considerations should be given for the paschal candle used at the Easter Vigil? This candle should be made of wax, never be artificial, be replaced each year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size that it may convey the truth that Christ is the light of the world. The paschal candle is the symbol of the light of Christ, rising in glory, scattering the darkness of our hearts and minds. Above all, the paschal candle should be a genuine candle, the pre-eminent symbol of the light of Christ. Choice of size, design, and color should be made in relationship to the sanctuary in which it will be placed. 
14. In the case of mission churches and cluster parishes, can multiple paschal candles be used for the Service of Light? The Roman Missal, not envisioning the pastoral situation of mission churches or cluster parishes, specifies that only one paschal candle is used. To accommodate the particular circumstances, the Secretariat of Divine Worship might suggest that the candles from the mission churches or other parish churches could be present at the Easter Vigil, having been prepared in advance, and blessed alongside the main candle (perhaps having deacons or other representatives holding them). In keeping with the rubrics, for the lighting and procession only one candle should be lit (the principal one, or the one which will remain in that particular church). As the other candles in the congregation are lit, the other paschal candles could be lit and held(but not high, in order to maintain the prominence of the one principal candle) by someone at their place in the assembly. Once all the candles are extinguished after the singing of the Exsultet, the other paschal candles are put aside. On Easter Sunday morning, those candles could be taken to each of the missions and carried, lit, in the entrance procession at the first Mass at each church and put in place in the sanctuary. 
15. How many readings should be proclaimed at the Easter Vigil? One of the unique aspects of the Easter Vigil is the recounting of the outstanding deeds of the history of salvation. These deeds are related in seven readings from the Old Testament chosen from the law and the prophets and two readings from the New Testament, namely from the Apostle Paul and from the Gospel. Thus, the Lord meets us once again on our journey and, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets” (Lk 24:27) opens up our minds and hearts, preparing us to share in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup. The faithful are encouraged to meditate on these readings by the singing of a responsorial psalm, followed by a silent pause, and then by the celebrant’s prayer. Meditation on these readings is so significant for this night that we are strongly urged to use all the readings whenever it can be done. Only in the case of grave pastoral circumstances can the number of readings be reduced. In such cases, at least three readings from the Old Testament should be read, always including Exodus 14.
16. How is the First Communion of the neophytes to be emphasized during the Easter Vigil? The celebrant, before he says, Behold the Lamb of God, may make a brief remark to the neophytes about their first Communion and about the importance of so great a mystery, which is the climax of initiation and the center of the Christian life. This is a night when all should be able to receive Holy Communion under both forms. 
17. What directions are given for the celebration of Masses on Easter Sunday? Mass is to be celebrated on Easter Day with great solemnity. A full complement of ministers and the use of liturgical music should be evident in all celebrations. On Easter Sunday in the dioceses of the United States, the rite of the renewal of baptismal promises may take place after the homily, followed by the sprinkling with water blessed at the Vigil, during which the antiphon Vidi aquam, or some other song of baptismal character should be sung. (If the renewal of baptismal promises does not occur, then the Creed is said. The Roman Missal notes that the Apostles' Creed, "the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church," might be appropriately used during Easter Time.) The holy water fonts at the entrance to the church should also be filled with the same water. On the subsequent Sundays of Easter, it is appropriate that the Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water take the place of the Penitential Act. 
18. Where is the paschal candle placed during Easter Time? The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After Easter Time the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistery, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from it. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate Christ’s undying presence, his victory over sin and death, and the promise of sharing in Christ’s victory by virtue of being part of the Body of Christ (see Order of Christian Funerals, no. 35). The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside Easter Time.

Saint April 17 : St. Stephen Harding

St. Stephen Harding
CONFESSOR
Feast: April 17


Information:
Feast Day:April 17
Born:Dorset, England
Died:28 March 1134
Major Shrine:Church of St. Stephen Harding in Apátistvánfalva, Hungary, district of Szentgotthárd.
Confessor, the third Abbot of Citeaux, was born at Sherborne in Dorsetshire, England, about the middle of the eleventh century; died 28 March, 1134. He received his early education in the monastery of Sherborne and afterwards studied in Paris and Rome. On returning from the latter city he stopped at the monastery of Molesme and, being much impressed by the holiness of St. Robert, the abbot, joined that community. Here he practised great austerities, became one of St. Robert's chief supporters and was one of the band of twenty-one monks who, by authority of Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons, retired to Citeaux to institute a reform in the new foundation there. When St. Robert was recalled to Molesme (1099), Stephen became prior of Citeaux under Alberic, the new abbot. On Alberic's death (1110) Stephen, who was absent from the monastery at the time, was elected abbot. The number of monks was now very reduced, as no new members had come to fill the places of those who had died. Stephen, however, insisted on retaining the strict observance originally instituted and, having offended the Duke of Burgundy, Citeau's great patron, by forbidding him or his family to enter the cloister, was even forced to beg alms from door to door. It seemed as if the foundation were doomed to die out when (1112) St. Bernard with thirty companions joined the community. This proved the beginning of extraordinary prosperity. The next year Stephen founded his first colony at La Ferte, and before is death he had established thirteen monasteries in all. His powers as an organizer were exceptional, he instituted the system of general chapters and regular visitations and, to ensure uniformity in all his foundations, drew up the famous "Charter of Charity" or collection of statues for the government of all monasteries united to Citeaux, which was approved by Pope Callistus II in 1119 (see CISTERCIANS). In 1133 Stephen, being now old, infirm, and almost blind, resigned the post of abbot, designating as his successor Robert de Monte, who was accordingly elected by the monks. The saint's choice, however, proved unfortunate and the new abbot only held office for two years. Stephen was buried in the tomb of Alberic, his predecessor, in the cloister of Citeaux. In the Roman calendar his feast is 17 April, but the Cistercians themselves keep it on 15 July, with an octave, regarding him as the true founder of the order. Besides the "Carta Caritatis" he is commonly credited with the authorship of the "Exordium Cisterciencis cenobii", which however may not be his. Two of his sermons are preserved and also two letters (Nos. 45 and 49) in the "Epp. S. Bernardi".


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/S/ststephenharding.asp#ixzz1sJOGxPhx

Pope Francis picks up hitchhikers in his Popemobile - Watch

RomeReports Release: Two Italian school boys can boast what few others can, riding on board the Popemobile with Pope Francis. Before the start of Wednesday's General Audience at St. Peter's Square, the Pope rode around the crowd, but stopped when he came across a group of Italian schoolchildren. He stepped off, and greeted the enthusiastic children. The Pope then asked who among them would like to go join him on board. In the end, he chose two boys. Security helped them jump the barriers, and escorted them on board the Popemobile. They rode with the Pope for about five minutes, as he continued greeting the crowd. Shared From RomeReports
Image source Radio Vaticana
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Official Prayer to Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII for Canonization

 The “Prayer to St. John XXIII is: “Your simple and meek persona carried the scent of God and the desire of goodness was inflamed in the heart.Pray for us so that we do not limit ourselves to mourn the darkness but rather to enkindle the light, bringing Christ everywhere and always praying to Mary. Amen.” The “Prayer to St. John Paul II” is: "Oh Saint John Paul, from the window of Heaven grant us your blessing! Bless the Church that you have loved, served and guided, pushing Her with courage towards the paths of the world to bring Christ to all, and all to Christ.” “Oh Saint John Paul, from the window of Heaven, where we see you next to Mary, send down upon us all the blessing of God. Amen.”
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE BENEDICT XVI EMERITUS - 87TH YEAR

Happy Birthday Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI age 87th. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger turned 78 when he was elected Pope. 
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl, Germany He is now Pope Emeritus of the Catholic Church. He was Pope from 2005 to 2013. Benedict XVI was elected on 19 April 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. He was ordained as a priest in 1951 in Bavaria, Germany. Benedict XVI currently lives in the Residence Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican His parents were Joseph Ratzinger, Sr. and Maria Ratzinger (born: Peintner)
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BENEDICT XVI with Pope Francis

New Cases for Sainthood opened by Pope Francis

(Vatican Radio) On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, Pope Francis received the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Card. Angelo D’Amato, SDB, and authorized the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:

- A miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Ludovico of Casoria (nee Archangelo Palmentieri), professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor and founder of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of St Elizabeth – the “Gray Sisters”; Born in Casoria (Italy) on March 11, 1814 and died in Naples (Italy) March 30, 1885.

- A miracle attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Amato Ronconi, of the Third Order of St. Francis, the founder of the Poor Pilgrims Hospice of the city of Saludecio now called the Blessed Amato Ronconi Rest Home/Charitable Work; born in Saludecio (Italy) in or around the year 1226 and died in Rimini (Italy) in or around 1292;

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Alano de Guynot Boismenu, of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Titular Archbishop of Claudiopolis, former Apostolic Vicar of Papua; born in Saint -Malo (France) December 27, 1870 and died in Kubuna (Republic of the Fiji Islands, Oceania) November 5, 1953;

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God William Janauschek, professed priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer; born in Vienna (Austria) October 19, 1859 and died there June 30, 1926.


Text from Vatican Radio website 

Pope Francis "Out of love for us, Jesus freely walked the path of humiliation and self-abandonment for our salvation."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday – the Wednesday of Holy Week or “Spy Wednesday” as it is called in many parts of the English-speaking world. The Gospel reading of the day recounts Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, which sets in motion the events of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. In his catechetical remarks to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square under a brilliant blue April sky, with a crisp spring breeze blowing through the city, Pope Francis spoke of Christ’s free embrace of suffering and death, which he took on for our sake. It was a theme to which he returned in the English-language remarks that were read out following the main catechesis in Italian. 

“Out of love for us,” wrote Pope Francis, “Jesus freely walked the path of humiliation and self-abandonment for our salvation.” 
As Saint Paul says, “he emptied himself… and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8). As we contemplate Jesus in his passion, we see reflected the sufferings of all humanity and we discover God’s answer to the mystery of evil, suffering and death. He gives us his Son, who dies humiliated, betrayed, abandoned and reviled. Yet God’s victory shines forth in what appears, in human terms, to be failure and defeat. 

The Holy Father’s English remarks went on to say that Jesus’ passion is the culmination of his revelation of the Father’s infinite love and his summons to faith in his word. 

Christ takes upon himself the power of evil in order to set us free: “by his wounds we have been healed” (cf. 1 Pet 2:24). This week, as we follow Jesus along the way of the cross, may we imitate his loving obedience to the will of the Father, especially in times of difficulty and humiliation, and open our hearts to his gifts of reconciliation, redemption and new life.

There were several groups of English-speaking pilgrims in the crowd, from countries including England, Australia, Canada and the United States, for whom the Holy Father had greetings. Pope Francis offered a particular welcome to the delegation from the NATO Defense College, which is located in Rome and which hosts major international events as the premier academic institution of the Treaty Organization.

Pope Francis will lead the Holy Week liturgies and devotions in Rome, including the traditional Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday morning, the Missa in coena Domini at the Centro Santa Maria della Provvidenza – “Our Lady of Providence” – home for the elderly and disabled on Thursday evening, the Passion service with the veneration of the Cross on Good Friday afternoon, and the Way of the Cross on Good Friday evening at the Colosseum in Rome, and the culminating celebration of the Sacred Triduum – the Easter Vigil Mass – in St Peter’s Basilica, on the night between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday morning, when he will also give the traditional urbi et orbi blessing following Mass.


Text from Vatican Radio website