Friday, June 24, 2016

Novena to St. John the Baptist - SHARE this Prayer - #StJohntheBaptist

NOVENA to ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST - Say for 9 days
V. O glorious St. John the Baptist,
R. Greatest prophet among those born of woman, * although thou wast sanctified in thy
mother’s womb * and didst live a most innocent life, * nevertheless it was thy will to
retire into the wilderness, * there to devote thyself to the practice of austerity and
penance; * obtain for us of thy Lord the grace to be wholly detached, * at least in our
hearts, * from earthly goods, * and to practice Christian mortification with interior
recollection * and with the spirit of holy prayer.
V. St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ,! R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, shining lamp of the world,! R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, angel of purity before thy birth,! R. Pray for us.
V. O most zealous Apostle,
R. Who, without working any miracle on others, * but solely by the example of thy life
of penance * and the power of thy word, * didst draw after thee the multitudes, * in
order to dispose them to receive the Messias worthily * and to listen to His heavenly
doctrine; * grant that it may be given unto us, * by means of the example of a holy
life * and the exercise of every good work, * to bring many souls to God, * but
above all * those souls that are enveloped in the darkness of error and ignorance *
and that are led astray by vice.
V. St. John the Baptist, intrepid preacher of truth,! R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, voice crying in the wilderness,! R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, miiracle of mortification and penance,! R. Pray for us.
V. O Martyr invincible,
R. Who, for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, * didst with firmness and
constancy * withstand the impiety of Herod * even at the cost of thine own life, * and didst rebuke him
openly * for his wicked and dissolute life; * by thy prayers obtain for us a heart, * brave and generous, *
in order that we may overcome all human respect * and openly profess our faith * in loyal obedience to
the teachings of Jesus (☨) Christ, * our divine Master.
V. St. John the Baptist, example of profound humility,! R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, great defender of holy matrimony,! R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, glorious martyr of zeal for God’s holy law,! R. Pray for us.
V. O God, we rejoice at the apostolate of Saint John the Baptist, though whom we came to know our
Redeemer and King. Through his intercession we implore...
(Name Your Request)
V. We offer this prayer to Thee (☨) God the Father, through Christ Our Lord,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God forever and ever.
R. Amen.
Conclude with an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Note: The faithful who devoutly offer some prayers in honor of St. John the Baptist, with the intention of so doing for nine continuous days,
may gain: (1) an indulgence of five years once each of the days; and (2) a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions,iracle of mortification and penance,! R. Pray for us.
V. O Martyr invincible,
R. Who, for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, * didst with firmness and
constancy * withstand the impiety of Herod * even at the cost of thine own life, * and didst rebuke him
openly * for his wicked and dissolute life; * by thy prayers obtain for us a heart, * brave and generous, *
in order that we may overcome all human respect * and openly profess our faith * in loyal obedience to
the teachings of Jesus (☨) Christ, * our divine Master.
V. St. John the Baptist, example of profound humility,! R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, great defender of holy matrimony,! R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, glorious martyr of zeal for God’s holy law,! R. Pray for us.
V. O God, we rejoice at the apostolate of Saint John the Baptist, though whom we came to know our
Redeemer and King. Through his intercession we implore...
(Name Your Request)
V. We offer this prayer to Thee (☨) God the Father, through Christ Our Lord,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God forever and ever.
R. Amen.
Conclude with an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Note: The faithful who devoutly offer some prayers in honor of St. John the Baptist, with the intention of so doing for nine continuous days,
may gain: (1) an indulgence of five years once each of the days; and (2) a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions,

#PopeFrancis "We offer a credible witness that God is love and mercy." FULL TEXT - Video at Prayer with Karekin II in Armenia


Pope Francis prayed in the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of the Holy Etchmiadzin on Friday. He prayed with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch-Catholicos of All Armenia and a group of about 100 dignitaries.
Below, please find the official translation of Pope Francis' speech:
Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
Visit to the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral
Etchmiadzin, 24 June 2016
Venerable Brother,
Supreme Patriarch-Catholicos of All Armenians,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is very moving for me to have crossed the threshold of this holy place, a witness to the history of your people and the centre from which its spirituality radiates.  I consider it a precious gift of God to be able to approach the holy altar from which the light of Christ shone forth in Armenia.  I greet the Catholicos of All the Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II, with heartfelt thanks for his gracious invitation to visit Holy Etchmiadzin, and all the Archbishops and Bishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church.  I thank you for your cordial and joyful welcome.  Thank you, Your Holiness, for having welcomed me into your home.  This sign of love eloquently bespeaks, better than any words can do, the meaning of friendship and fraternal charity.
On this solemn occasion, I give thanks to the Lord for the light of faith kindled in your land, the faith that has given Armenia its particular identity and made it a herald of Christ among the nations.  Christ is your glory and your light.  He is the sun who has illuminated and enlivened you, accompanied and sustained you, especially in times of trial.  I bow before the mercy of the Lord, who willed that Armenia should become, in the year 301, the first nation to accept Christianity as its religion, at a time when persecutions still raged throughout the Roman Empire.
For Armenia, faith in Christ has not been like a garment to be donned or doffed as circumstances or convenience dictate, but an essential part of its identity, a gift of immense significance, to be accepted with joy, preserved with great effort and strength, even at the cost of life itself.  As Saint John Paul II wrote: “With the ‘baptism’ of the Armenian community… the people acquired a new identity that was to become a constitutive and inseparable part of Armenian life.  It would no longer be possible to think that faith did not figure as an essential element among the components of this identity” (Apostolic Letter for the 1700th Anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian People [2 February 2001], 2).  May the Lord bless you for this luminous testimony of faith.  It is a shining example of the great efficacy and fruitfulness of the baptism received over seventeen hundred years ago, together with the eloquent and holy sign of martyrdom, which has constantly accompanied the history of your people.
I also thank the Lord for the journey that the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church have undertaken through sincere and fraternal dialogue for the sake of coming to share fully in the Eucharistic banquet.  May the Holy Spirit help us to attain the unity for which our Lord prayed, so that his disciples may be one and the world may believe.  I gladly recall the decisive impulse given to developing closer relations and strengthening dialogue between our two Churches in recent years by Their Holinesses Vasken I and Karekin I, and by Saint John Paul II and by Benedict XVI.  As significant stages of this ecumenical engagement, I would mention: the commemoration of the Witnesses to the Faith in the twentieth century during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000; the consignment to Your Holiness of the relic of the Father of Christian Armenia, Saint Gregory the Illuminator, for the new Cathedral of Yerevan; the Joint Declaration of His Holiness John Paul II and Your Holiness, signed here in Holy Etchmiadzin; and the visits which Your Holiness has made to the Vatican for important events and commemorations.
Tragically, our world is marked by divisions and conflicts, as well as by grave forms of material and spiritual poverty, including the exploitation of persons, not least children and the elderly.  It expects from Christians a witness of mutual esteem and fraternal cooperation capable of revealing to every conscience the power and truth of Christ’s resurrection.  The patient and enduring commitment to full unity, the growth of joint initiatives and cooperation between all the Lord’s disciples in service to the common good: all these are like a radiant light in a dark night and a summons to experience even our differences in an attitude of charity and mutual understanding.  The spirit of ecumenism takes on an exemplary value also outside of the visible confines of the ecclesial community; it represents for everyone a forceful appeal to settle divergences with dialogue and appreciation for all that unites us.  It also prevents the exploitation and manipulation of faith, for it requires us to rediscover faith’s authentic roots, and to communicate, defend and spread truth with respect for the dignity of every human being and in ways that reveal the presence of the love and salvation we wish to spread.  In this way, we offer to the world – which so urgently needs it – a convincing witness that Christ is alive and at work, capable of opening new paths of reconciliation among the nations, civilizations and religions.  We offer a credible witness that God is love and mercy.
Dear brothers and sisters, when our actions are prompted by the power of Christ’s love, understanding and reciprocal esteem grow, a fruitful ecumenical journey becomes possible, and all people of goodwill, and society as a whole, are shown a concrete way to harmonize the conflicts that rend civil life and create divisions that prove hard to heal.  May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Saint Gregory the Illuminator, “pillar of light for the Holy Church of the Armenians”, and Saint Gregory of Narek, Doctor of the Church, bless all of you and the entire Armenian nation.  May he preserve you always in the faith you received from your ancestors, and to which you have borne glorious witness throughout the ages.

#PopeFrancis to Diplomats in Armenia "The Catholic Church wishes to cooperate actively..." FULL TEXT

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis spoke to Armenian civil authorities, including President Serž Sargsyan and the diplomatic corps, on Friday in the capital Yerevan on his 14th Apostolic Journey abroad.
In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered in Italian, the Holy Father recalled the Armenian president's visit to the Vatican last year for the centenary of the Metz Yeghern (or 'Great Evil'). He said, "Sadly, that tragedy, that genocide, was the first of the deplorable series of catastrophes of the past century, made possible by twisted racial, ideological or religious aims that darkened the minds of the tormentors even to the point of planning the annihilation of entire peoples."
He also paid homage to the Armenian people "who, illuminated by the light of the Gospel, even at the most tragic moments of their history, have always found in the cross and resurrection of Christ the strength to rise again and take up their journey anew with dignity".
Below, please find the official English translation of the Pope's address:
Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Civil Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps
Yerevan, 24 June 2016
Mr President,
Honourable Authorities,
Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It gives me great joy to be here, to set foot on the soil of this beloved land of Armenia, to visit a people of ancient and rich traditions, a people that has given courageous testimony to its faith and suffered greatly, yet has shown itself capable of constantly being reborn.
“Our turquoise sky, our clear waters, the flood of light, the summer sun and the proud winter borealis… our age-old stones … our ancient etched books which have become a prayer” (ELISE CIARENZ, Ode to Armenia).  These are among the powerful images that one of your illustrious poets offers us to illustrate the rich history and natural beauty of Armenia.  They sum up the rich legacy and the glorious yet dramatic experience of a people and their deep-seated love of their country.
I am most grateful to you, Mr President, for your kind words of welcome in the name of the government and people of Armenia, and for your gracious invitation that has made it possible to reciprocate the visit you made to the Vatican last year.  There you attended the solemn celebration in Saint Peter’s Basilica, together with Their Holinesses Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch-Catholicos of All Armenians, and Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, recently deceased.  The occasion was the commemoration of the centenary of the Metz Yeghérn, the “Great Evil” that struck your people and caused the death of a vast multitude of persons.  Sadly, that tragedy, that genocide, was the first of the deplorable series of catastrophes of the past century, made possible by twisted racial, ideological or religious aims that darkened the minds of the tormentors even to the point of planning the annihilation of entire peoples.
I pay homage to the Armenian people who, illuminated by the light of the Gospel, even at the most tragic moments of their history, have always found in the cross and resurrection of Christ the strength to rise again and take up their journey anew with dignity.  This shows the depth of their Christian faith and its boundless treasures of consolation and hope.  Having seen the pernicious effects to which hatred, prejudice and the untrammelled desire for dominion led in the last century, I express my lively hope that humanity will learn from those tragic experiences the need to act with responsibility and wisdom to avoid the danger of a return to such horrors.  May all join in striving to ensure that whenever conflicts emerge between nations, dialogue, the enduring and authentic quest of peace, cooperation between states and the constant commitment of international organizations will always prevail, with the aim of creating a climate of trust favourable for the achievement of lasting agreements.
The Catholic Church wishes to cooperate actively with all those who have at heart the future of civilization and respect for the rights of the human person, so that spiritual values will prevail in our world and those who befoul their meaning and beauty will be exposed as such.  In this regard, it is vitally important that all those who declare their faith in God join forces to isolate those who use religion to promote war, oppression and violent persecution, exploiting and manipulating the holy name of God.
Today Christians in particular, perhaps even more than at the time of the first martyrs, in some places experience discrimination and persecution for the mere fact of professing their faith.  At the same time, all too many conflicts in various parts of the world remain unresolved, causing grief, destruction and forced migrations of entire peoples.  It is essential that those responsible for the future of the nations undertake courageously and without delay initiatives aimed at ending these sufferings, making their primary goal the quest for peace, the defence and acceptance of victims of aggression and persecution, the promotion of justice and sustainable development.  The Armenian people have experienced these situations firsthand; they have known suffering and pain; they have known persecution; they preserved not only the memory of past hurts, but also the spirit that has enabled them always to start over again.  I encourage you not to fail to make your own precious contribution to the international community.
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Armenia’s independence.  It is a joyful occasion, but also an opportunity, in cherishing the goals already achieved, to propose new ones for the future.  The celebration of this happy anniversary will be all the more significant if it becomes for all Armenians, both at home and in the diaspora, a special moment for gathering and coordinating energies for the sake of promoting the country’s civil and social development of the country, one that is equitable and inclusive.  This will involve constant concern for ensuring respect for the moral imperatives of equal justice for all and solidarity with the less fortunate (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Farewell Address from Armenia, 27 September 2001: Insegnamenti XXIX/2 [2001], 489).  The history of your country runs parallel to its Christian identity preserved over the centuries.  That identity, far from impeding a healthy secularity of the state, instead requires and nourishes it, favouring the full participation of all in the life of society, freedom of religion and respect for minorities.  A spirit of unity between all Armenians and a growing commitment to find helpful means of overcoming tension with neighbouring countries, will facilitate the realization of these important goals, and inaugurate for Armenia an age of true rebirth.
The Catholic Church is present in this country with limited human resources, yet readily offers her contribution to the development of society, particularly through her work with the poor and vulnerable in the areas of healthcare and education, but also in the specific area of charitable assistance.  This is seen in the work carried out in the past twenty-five years by the Redemptoris Mater Hospital in Ashotzk, the educational institute in Yerevan, the initiatives of Caritas Armenia and the works managed by the various religious congregations.
May God bless and protect Armenia, a land illumined by the faith, the courage of the martyrs and that hope which proves stronger than any suffering.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday June 24, 2016 - St. John the Baptist

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist - Mass during the Day
Lectionary: 587


Reading 1IS 49:1-6

Hear me, O coastlands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial PsalmPS 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15

R. (14) I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. I praise you for I am wonderfully made.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Reading 2ACTS 13:22-26

In those days, Paul said:
“God raised up David as king; 
of him God testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’

“My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.”

AlleluiaSEE LK 1:76

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 1:57-66, 80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit, 
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.

#BreakingNews Pope Francis talks about #Brexit Decision to leave the EU by Great Britain on Plane Interview with Journalists

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis commented on Britain's decision to leave the European Union saying it must be followed by "guarantees" for the good of both Britain and countries on the continent.
Speaking to journalists aboard the Papal plane during his journey to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, the Pope said the referendum result must be respected because it was wanted by the people.
"It was the will expressed by the people and this requires a great responsibility on the part of all of us to guarantee the good of the people of the United Kingdom, as well as the good and co-existence of the European continent" he said.
Pope Francis also expressed his satisfaction for the signing of a ceasefire in Columbia between the government and the FARC rebels.
"I am happy for this news that I received yesterday. Over fifty years of war, of guerrilla warfare, so much spilt blood”. It was good news” he said.
And he expressed his hope that the nations that have worked to mediate the accord manage to set it in stone so that it can never be reversed.
“My best wishes go to Colombia that is now taking this step” Pope Francis concluded.

#PopeFrancis Arrives in Armenia and is Welcomed by the President - FULL Video

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis arrived in Armenia’s capital Yerevan at 12.55 pm Rome time on Friday 24th June to begin his 14th apostolic journey abroad. Armenia is a landlocked mountainous nation which borders with to the west Turkey, to the East Azerbaijan, to the north Georgia and to the South Iran.
He was warmly welcomed by the President of the nation’s Republic Serzh Sargsyn and the Catholicos of All Armenia Karekin II. Also present were the Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Armenia Grégoire Pierre XX and other religious and civil authorities.
This visit, to the first country ever to adopt Christianity as a state religion sported a logo which highlighted this historic factor along with the dates of the journey which are the 24th to the 26th of June.
It’s a circular logo divided in half by two colours: yellow for the Vatican and purple for the Armenian city of Etchmiadzin, seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church where Pope Francis is staying as a guest of the Catholicos Karekin II.
Within the design one can spy the outlines of two significant places in Armenia: snow capped Mount Ararat with its biblical connotations and the Monastery of  Kor Virap located on its flanks, which Pope Francis will also visit on Sunday . A significant monastery where Gregory the Illuminator credited for the conversion of this nation to Christianity in 301, so at the beginning of the fourth century, was once held prisoner at the bottom of a well.
Pope Francis follows in the footsteps of John Paul II who visited Armenia in 2001. But this papal visit will take place in a very different context. Pope Francis has made sure that this meeting between churches has a popular element to it. As always during his journeys he has come to be with the people of the nation unusually for Armenia in the public Square.
The first such moment is marked by Holy Mass on Saturday in the north east of the country in the second largest city of the nation Gyumri, hard hit by an earthquake back in 1988. A mass which an estimated 400 000 people are expected to attend.
The second is an ecumenical encounter later in the day to pray for peace in  Yerevan’s main Square. A square which has hosted many artistic events and even concerts by well- known singer of  Armenian origin Charles Aznavour. 
Pope Francis is popular in Armenia, a nation where Christian identity blends into Armenian identity. Many of the people especially women wear huge pectoral crosses and taxi drivers make the sign of the cross several times whenever they pass in front of churches.
In fact Armenians know of his proclamation on the 12th of April 2015 of a 10th century Armenian monk St Gregory of Narek as Doctor of the Church. And above all of his words in this same message to mark  the 100th anniversary of  the 1915 'Metz Yeghern' or the great evil as Armenians call the massacres in this nation  at the hand of the Ottoman Empire. A dark chapter in the history of Armenia Pope Francis is set to mark first thing  Saturday  morning when he pays tribute to the memory of the fallen at the ‘Tzitzernakaberd’ Memorial complex where he’ll be meeting with ten descendants of the Armenian refugees housed in the summer residence of Castelgandolfo by his twentieth century predecessor Pius XI.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Saint June 24 : Birth of St. John the Baptist : Patron of #Baptism , Epilepsy and Motorways



Birth of St. John the Baptist
Feast: June 24
THE birth of St. John was foretold by an angel of the Lord to his father, Zachary, who was offering incense in the Temple. It was the office of St. John to prepare the way for Christ, and before he was born into the world he began to live for the Incarnate God. Even in the womb he knew the presence of Jesus and of Mary, and he leaped with joy at the glad coming of the son of man. In his youth he remained hidden, because He for Whom he waited was hidden also. But before Christ's public life began, a divine impulse led St. John into the desert; there, with locusts for his food and haircloth on his skin, in silence and in prayer, he chastened his own soul. Then, as crowds broke in upon his solitude, he warned them to flee from the wrath to come, and gave them the baptism of penance, while they confessed their sins. At last there stood in the crowd One Whom St. John did not know, till a voice within told him that it was his Lord.
With the baptism of St. John, Christ began His penance for the sins of His people, and St. John saw the Holy Ghost descend in bodily form upon Him. Then the Saint's work was done. He had but to point his own disciples to the Lamb, he had but to decrease as Christ increased. He saw all men leave him and go after Christ. "I told you," he said, "that I am not the Christ. The friend of the Bridegroom rejoiceth because of the Bridegroom's voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled." St. John had been cast into the fortress of Machærus by a worthless tyrant whose crimes be had rebuked, and he was to remain there till he was beheaded, at the will of a girl who danced before this wretched king. In this time of despair, if St. John could have known despair, some of his old disciples visited him. St. John did not speak to them of himself, but he sent them to Christ, that they might see the proofs of His mission. Then the Eternal Truth pronounced the panegyric of the Saint who had lived and breathed for Him alone: "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist" (Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)

#PopeFrancis "As servant of the Gospel and a messenger of peace I desire to come..." FULL TEXT Special message

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a video message to the people ofArmenia, ahead of his visit to the country this weekend. In the message – delivered in Italian – the Holy Father says, “[It is] as a servant of the Gospel and a messenger of peace [that] I desire to come among you, to support [your] every effort towards peace – and I would share our steps on the pathway of reconciliation, which generates hope.”
The Pope's video message, in Italian, can be seen here
Vatican Radio’s English translation of the full text of the video message is here below
****************************************
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In a few days I will have the joy to be with you, in Armenia. Even now, I invite you to pray for this Apostolic journey.
With the help of God, I come among you to fulfil, as the motto of the trip says, a “visit to the first Christian country”. I come as a pilgrim, in this Jubilee Year, to draw on the ancient wisdom of your people and to steep myself the sources of your faith, which is steadfast as your famous crosses carved in stone.
I come to the mystical heights of Armenia as your brother, animated by the desire to see your faces, to pray with you and to share the gift of friendship. Your history and the events of your beloved people stir in me admiration and sorrow: admiration, for you have found in Jesus’ Cross and in your own wits, the wherewithal ever to pick yourselves up and start anew – even after sufferings that are among the most terrible in human memory; pain, for the tragedies that your fathers have lived in their flesh.
Let us not allow the painful memories to take possession of our hearts; even in the face of the repeated assaults of evil, let us not give ourselves up. Let us rather do as Noah, who, after the flood, never tired of looking to heaven and releasing the dove again and again, until one day it came back to him, bringing a tender olive leaf (Gen. 8:11): it was the sign that life could resume and [that] hope must rise.
As servant of the Gospel and a messenger of peace I desire to come among you, to support [your] every effort towards peace – and I would share our steps on the pathway of reconciliation, which generates hope.
May the great saints of your people, especially the Doctor of the Church, Gregory of Narek, bless our meetings, to which I look forward with tender longing. In particular, I look forward to embracing my Brother, Karekin, and, along with him, to give fresh impetus to our path towards full unity.
Last year, from several countries, you came to Rome, and at the tomb of St. Peter, we prayed together. Now I come to your blessed land to strengthen our communion, to advance along the path of reconciliation, and to allow ourselves together to be animated by hope.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. June 23, 2016


Thursday of the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 374


Reading 12 KGS 24:8-17

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign,
and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.
His mother’s name was Nehushta,
daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
He did evil in the sight of the LORD,
just as his forebears had done.

At that time the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
himself arrived at the city
while his servants were besieging it.
Then Jehoiachin, king of Judah, together with his mother,
his ministers, officers, and functionaries,
surrendered to the king of Babylon, who,
in the eighth year of his reign, took him captive.
And he carried off all the treasures
of the temple of the LORD and those of the palace,
and broke up all the gold utensils that Solomon, king of Israel,
had provided in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had foretold.
He deported all Jerusalem:
all the officers and men of the army, ten thousand in number,
and all the craftsmen and smiths.
None were left among the people of the land except the poor.
He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon,
and also led captive from Jerusalem to Babylon
the king’s mother and wives,
his functionaries, and the chief men of the land.
The king of Babylon also led captive to Babylon
all seven thousand men of the army,
and a thousand craftsmen and smiths,
all of them trained soldiers.
In place of Jehoiachin,
the king of Babylon appointed his uncle Mattaniah king,
and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Responsorial PsalmPS 79:1B-2, 3-5, 8, 9

R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

AlleluiaJN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.