Monday, October 20, 2014

Saint October 21 : St. Ursula and Companions - Virgin Martyrs


The experiences of Ursula and her eleven thousand companions became the subject of a pious romance which acquired considerable celebrity.  This legendary account is well known: Ursula, the daughter of a Christian king of Great Britain, was asked in marriage by the son of a great pagan king. Desiring to remain a virgin, she obtained a delay of three years. At her request she was given as companions ten young women of noble birth, and she and each of the ten were accompanied by a thousand virgins, and the whole company, embarking in eleven ships sailed for three years. When the appointed time was come, and Ursula's betrothed was about to claim her, a gale of wind carried the eleven thousand virgins far from the shores of England, and they went first by water to Cologne and thence to Basle, then by land from Basle to Rome. They finally returned to Cologne, where they were slain by the Huns in hatred of the Faith. The literary origin of this romance is not easy to determine. Apart from the inscription of Clematius, transcribed in the Passion "Fuit tempore" and paraphrased in the "Regnante Domino" Passion and the "Sermo in natali", the writers seem to have been aware of a Gallic legend of which a late version is found in Geoffrey of Monmouth: the usurper Maximus (as Geoffrey calls the Emperor Maximian), having conquered British Armorica, sent there from Great Britain 100,000 colonists and 30,000 soldiers, and committed the government of Armorica to his former enemy, now his friend, the Breton prince, Conanus Meriadocus. The latter decided to bring women from Great Britain to marry them to his subjects, to which end he appealed to Dionotus, King of Cornwall, who sent him his daughter Ursula, accompanied by 11,000 noble virgins and 60,000 other young women. As the fleet which carried them sailed towards Armorica, a violent storm destroyed some of the ships and drove the rest of them to barbarian islands in Germany, where the virgins were slain by the Huns and the Picts. However, this account has been regarded by several writers since Baronius as containing a summary of the true history of the holy martyrs. Like the Passions of Cologne, it has been subjected to the anti-scientific method, which consists in setting aside as false the improbabilities, impossibilities, and manifest fables, and regarding the rest as authentic history. As a consequence two essential traits remain: the English origin of the saints and their massacre by the Huns; and then, according as adherence is given to the "Sermo in natali", Geoffrey of Monmouth, or the Passion "Regnante Domino", the martyrdom of St. Ursula is placed in the third, fourth, or fifth century. In order to account for all the details, two massacres of virgins at Cologne have been accepted, one in the third century, the other in the fifth. The different solutions with their variations suggested by scholars, sometimes with levity, sometimes with considerable learning, all share the important defect of being based on relatively late documents, unauthoritative and disfigured by manifest fables.As they are now unhesitatingly rejected by everyone, it suffices to treat them briefly. In the twelfth century there were discovered in the Ager Ursulanus at Cologne, some distance from the Church of St. Ursula, skeletons not only of women, but of little children, and even of men, and with them inscriptions which it is impossible not to recognize as gross forgeries.  Although the history of these saints of Cologne is obscure and very short, their cult was very widespread, and it would require a volume to relate in detail its many and remarkable manifestations. To mention only two characteristics, since the twelfth century a large number of relics have been sent from Cologne, not only to neighbouring countries but throughout Western Christendom, and even India and China. The legend of the Eleven Thousand Virgins has inspired a host of works of art, several of them of the highest merit, the most famous being the paintings of the old masters of Cologne, those of Memling at Bruges, and of Carpaccio at Venice. The Order of Ursulines, founded in 1535 by St. Angela de Merici, and especially devoted to the education of young girls, has also helped to spread throughout the world the name and the cult of St. Ursula.

SHARE - Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus Apostle : Patron of Impossible -

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O glorious apostle, SAINT JUDE THADDEUS, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the most Sacred Heart of Jesus! Through this Heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you. Humbly prostrate before you, I implore you through this Heart to look down upon me with compassion. Oh, despise not my poor prayer; let not my trust be confounded! To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases. Oh, come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God! All my life I will be grateful to you and will be your faithful client until I can thank you in heaven. Amen.
 "Blessed Apostle, with confidence we invoke you!"
"Blessed Apostle, with confidence we invoke you!"
 "St. Jude, help of the hopeless, aid me in my distress."
 "St. Jude, help of the hopeless, aid me in my distress."
PRAY FOR US that we before death may expiate all our sins by sincere repentance and the worthy reception of the holy Sacraments.
Pray for us that we may appease the Divine Justice and obtain a favorable judgment.
Pray for us that we may be admitted into the company of the blessed to rejoice in the presence of our God forever.
Prayer to be recited 
Saint Jude, glorious apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor has caused you to be forgotten by many. But the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of difficult and desperate cases. Pray for me who am so miserable. Make use, I implore you, of that particular privilege accorded to you to bring visible and speedy help where help was almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly — (here make your request) — and that I may bless God with you and all the elect throughout all eternity.
I promise you, O blessed JUDE, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor you as my special and powerful patron and do all in my power to encourage devotion to you. Amen.
Saint Jude, pray for us and for all who honor you and invoke your aid.
(Say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, 3 times.)

Today's Mass Readings : Monday October 20, 2014


Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 473


Reading 1EPH 2:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
You were dead in your transgressions and sins
in which you once lived following the age of this world,
following the ruler of the power of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.
All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh,
following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses,
and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 100:1B-2, 3, 4AB, 4C-5

R. (3b) The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Give thanks to him; bless his name, for he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.

Gospel LK 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”

Breaking News from Vatican - Consistory of Cardinals and #PopeFrancis


20-10-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 181 

Summary
- Francis in the Consistory: we cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians
- Consistory: peace, reconciliation and religious freedom in the Middle East
- Pope Francis closes the Synod and beatifies Paul VI
- Angelus: Paul VI, tireless supporter of the missio ad gentes
- The Final Report and votes conclude the work of the Synod of Bishops
- The Pope speaks to the Synod Fathers: we walk a path together
- Audience with the Prime Minister of Vietnam: important step in relations with the Holy See
- Christians and Hindus: together to foster a culture of inclusion
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Francis in the Consistory: we cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians
Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the New Synod Hall, there commenced the Ordinary Public Consistory, presided at by Pope Francis, for the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory of the Holy Cross of Miracles in Goa. and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, foundress of the Oblation Sisters of the Holy Sacrament.
The Holy Father wished to dedicate the opening of the Consistory to the Middle East, and in particular, the situation experienced by Christians. Francis thanked those brothers from the region for their presence, remarking that “We share a desire for peace and stability in the Middle East, and the will the promote the resolution of conflicts through dialogue, reconciliation and political commitment. At the same time, we would like to give all the help possible to Christian communities to support them in remaining in the region. … We cannot resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians, who have profess the name of Jesus there for over two thousand years”.
The Pope emphasised his concerns regarding recent events, especially in Iraq and Syria. “We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism on an unimaginable scale”, he commented. “Many of our brothers and sisters are brutally persecuted and driven from their homes. It seems that an awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it as is if people do not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And unfortunately all this encounters indifference on the part of many”.
“This unjust situation requires, aside from our constant prayer, an adequate response on the part of the international community. I am sure that, with the Lord's help, today's meeting will produce valid reflections and suggestions to enable us to help our brothers who suffer, and also to face the crisis of the reduction of the Christian presence in the land where Christianity was born and from where it spread”.
Consistory: peace, reconciliation and religious freedom in the Middle East
Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – The Ordinary Consistory began with greetings from the Holy Father and the report from the Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, on the meeting of apostolic nuncios and diplomatic representatives in the Middle East, which took place in the Vatican from 2 to 4 October.
Immediately after, the Cardinals and Patriarchs present in the Synod Hall intervened. The Patriarchs of the Middle Eastern Churches described the situations and principal problems faced by the Churches in the countries concerned (Iraq, Syria, Egypt, the Holy Land, Jordan, Lebanon). There were approximately thirty interventions, focusing mainly on the need for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, the defence of religious freedom, support for local communities, the great importance of education for creating new generations able to engage in dialogue, and the role of the international community.
With regard to the first point, it was underlined that the Middle East urgently needs to redefine its future; the importance of Jerusalem was highlighted, in its role as “capital of faith” for the three great monotheistic religions, and the need was emphasised for a solution to the Israeli-Palestine and Syrian conflicts. In relation to the violence perpetrated by Isis, it was reiterated that no-one may kill in the name of God.
In relation to religious freedom, it was remarked that, along with freedom of worship and conscience, it is a fundamental human right, innate and universal, and a value for all humanity. Alongside this right, the need was underlined for Christians to recognise the civil rights of other citizens, especially in countries where religion is not currently separate from the State.
Furthermore, with regard to the support for local communities in the region, it was repeated that a Middle East without Christians would be a grave loss for all, as they have a fundamental role in maintaining equilibrium in the region, and have important commitments in the education sector. It is therefore essential to encourage Christians to stay in the Middle East and to persevere in their mission, as they have always contributed to the wellbeing of the countries where they live. From this perspective, there was a reflection on the problem of the migration of Christians: they must be welcomed in the Churches and in the States to which they emigrate, where it is hoped there will be adequate pastoral structures for the various rites. Moreover, it was requested that humanitarian aid to the Middle East be continued, to encourage Christians to remain in the area, and that the various manifestations of solidarity possible on the part of the Churches of other countries be cultivated, also by means of journeys and pilgrimages.
In relation to education, it was noted that in many Middle Eastern countries, school text books do not refer positively to beliefs other than the State religion, and that this requires reflection on the part of local institutions. From this point of view, it was hoped that greater interreligious dialogue with Muslims, starting from the common foundation of reason, would be of use, along with lively ecumenical cooperation, so that all the Churches of the Middle East might make their voices heard as one.
A request was made for the International community to guarantee to Christian refugees the possibility of returning to their homes as soon as possible, creating “safety zones”, for instance on the Nineveh Plain. Finally, an appeal was made for all those who have been kidnapped in the Middle East, in order that the world not forget about them.
Pope Francis closes the Synod and beatifies Paul VI
Vatican City, 19 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Mass celebrated at 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square this morning, during which Pope Paul VI was proclaimed Blessed, closed the Synod of Bishops devoted to “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”. The ceremony was attended by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and 70,000 faithful from all over the world, and the Holy Father concelebrated with the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops and presbyters who took part in the Synod.
Following the rite of beatification and the Gospel reading, Francis pronounced a homily in which he emphasised that during the Synod, the participants felt “felt the power of the Holy Spirit who constantly guides and renews the Church ... called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost it”. He described the new Blessed as a “courageous Christian, a tireless apostle and the great helmsman of the Council”.
“We have just heard one of the most famous phrases in the entire Gospel: 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s'. Goaded by the Pharisees who want to put him to the test in matters of religion, Jesus gives this ironic and brilliant reply. It is a striking phrase which the Lord has bequeathed to all those who experience qualms of conscience, particularly when their comfort, their wealth, their prestige, their power and their reputation are in question. This happens all the time; it always has”.
He continued, “Jesus puts the stress on the second part of the phrase: 'and [render] to God the things that are God’s'. This means acknowledging and professing – in the face of any sort of power – that God alone is the Lord of mankind, that there is no other. This is the perennial newness to be discovered each day, and it requires mastering the fear which we often feel at God’s surprises. God is not afraid of the new! That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways. He renews us: he constantly makes us 'new'. A Christian who lives the Gospel is 'God’s newness' in the Church and in the world. How much God loves this 'newness'!”.
“'Rendering to God the things that are God’s' means being docile to his will, devoting our lives to him and working for his kingdom of mercy, love and peace. Here is where our true strength is found; here is the leaven which makes it grow and the salt which gives flavour to all our efforts to combat the prevalent pessimism which the world proposes to us. Here too is where our hope is found, for when we put our hope in God we are neither fleeing from reality nor seeking an alibi: instead, we are striving to render to God what is God’s. That is why we Christians look to the future, God’s future. It is so that we can live this life to the fullest – with our feet firmly planted on the ground – and respond courageously to whatever new challenges come our way”.
“In these days, during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops, we have seen how true this is. 'Synod' means 'journeying together'. And indeed pastors and lay people from every part of the world have come to Rome, bringing the voice of their particular Churches in order to help today’s families walk the path the Gospel with their gaze fixed on Jesus. It has been a great experience, in which we have lived synodality and collegiality, and felt the power of the Holy Spirit who constantly guides and renews the Church. For the Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost it. For the gift of this Synod and for the constructive spirit which everyone has shown, in union with the Apostle Paul 'we give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers'. May the Holy Spirit, who during these busy days has enabled us to work generously, in true freedom and humble creativity, continue to guide the journey which, in the Churches throughout the world, is bringing us to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2015. We have sown and we continued to sow, patiently and perseveringly, in the certainty that it is the Lord who gives growth to what we have sown”.
Pope Francis went on to focus on the figure of Pope Paul VI, recalling on the day of his beatification the words with which he established the Synod of Bishops: “by carefully surveying the signs of the times, we are making every effort to adapt ways and methods… to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society”.
“When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thank you. Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church. In his personal journal, the great helmsman of the Council wrote, at the conclusion of its final session: 'Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and saviour'”.
The Holy Father concluded, “In this humility the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularised and hostile society, he was able to hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord. Paul VI truly 'rendered to God what is God’s' by devoting his whole life to the 'sacred, solemn and serious task of continuing in history and extending on earth the mission of Christ', loving the Church and leading her so that she might be 'a loving mother of the whole human family and at the same time the minister of its salvation'”.
Angelus: Paul VI, tireless supporter of the missio ad gentes
Vatican City, 19 October 2014 (VIS) – Following the Holy Mass for the closure of the Synod of Bishops and before praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims from Italy, especially the dioceses of Brescia, Milan and Roma, closely linked to the life and ministry of Paul VI.
The new Blessed, said Pope Francis, was a tireless supporter of the missio ad gentes, as shown above all by the apostolic exhortation “Evangelii nuntiandi”, with which he sought to reawaken “zeal for and commitment to the mission of the Church. It is important to conside this aspect of Paul VI's papacy today, the very day we celebrate World Mission Sunday”.
“Before invoking Our Lady together with the Angelus prayer, I would like to underline Blessed Paul VI's profound marian devotion. The Christian people will always be grateful to this pontiff for the apostolic exhortation 'Marialis cultus' and for having proclaimed Mary as 'Mother of the Church', on the occasion of the closure of the third session of Vatican Council II. Mary, Queen of the Saints and Mother of the Church, help us to faithfully fulfil the Lord's will in our life, as the new Blessed did”.
The Final Report and votes conclude the work of the Synod of Bishops
Vatican City, 19 October 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the work of the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”, concluded with a final synodal report (Relatio Synodi), the different points of which were subject to a vote by the Synod Fathers. The Holy Father authorised the immediate publication of the full text of the Relatio Synodi, which will provide the focus for reflection by all the Episcopal Conferences throughout the world this year in preparation for the Synod Assembly in October 2015, and which was approved by a majority of Synod Fathers. He also authorised the publication of the number of votes for each point. The full text of the Relatio Synodi in Italian and the result of the votes may be consulted at:
http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/18/0770/03044.html
The Pope speaks to the Synod Fathers: we walk a path together
Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – At the end of the fifteenth and final general congregation, and after the votes had been cast, Pope Francis addressed the Synod Fathers, affirming that during these two weeks the participants in the Third Extraordinary General Assembly have truly experienced synodality, a path of solidarity, a “journey together”.
However, Pope Francis observed, as in every journey there were moments of travelling smoothly and swiftly, as if wishing to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible, and moments of fatigue, of wanting to say “enough”, and at other times, moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and pains of the faithful; moments of consolation, grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and joy of married life. It is a journey during which the stronger are compelled to help those who are less strong, and the more experienced lend themselves to serve others, also through debate.
He continued by remarking that since it is a journey taken by human beings, there have also been moments of disappointment, tension and temptation, of which he gave five examples. The first is the temptation to hostile inflexibility, closing oneself within the written word, the letter of the law, rather than the spirit, not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, and cleaving to the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. This, he said, is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and the so-called “traditionalists and intellectuals.
Then there is the temptation of “do-goodism”, that in the name of deceptive mercy binds wounds without first treating and healing them; that addresses symptoms rather than causes and roots. It is the temptation of do-gooders, of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals”.
The third temptation is to transform stones into bread to break the long, hard, and painful fast; and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick; to transform it into unbearable burdens. The fourth is the temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, rather than remaining there in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and turning it to the Spirit of God. Finally, there is the temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei”, thinking of ourselves not as guardians but as its owners or masters; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous and pompous language to say much yet at the same time to say nothing.
However, the Holy Father commented these temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, as no disciple is greater than his master, so if Jesus Himself was tempted, and even called Beelzebul, then His disciples should not expect better treatment. He added that he would be worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions, this movement of the spirits, as it was called by St. Ignatius; if all were in a state of agreement or silent in false, quietist peace.
Instead, he expressed his joy at having heard speeches and interventions full of faith, pastoral and doctrinal zeal, wisdom, frankness, courage, and parrhesia, since what was set before the eyes of the Synod Fathers was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law”, the “salus animarum”. This occurred without ever calling into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage, its indissolubility, unity, faithfulness, fruitfulness, and openness to life.
Pope Francis went on to emphasise that the Church is the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on wounds; who does not regard humanity from a glass house, ready to judge or categorise people. The Church is one, holy, Catholic, apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God's mercy. The Church is the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine; she is not afraid to dine and drink with prostitutes and publicans. Her doors are wide open to receive the needy, the repentant, and not only those who consider themselves perfect. The Church is not ashamed of the brother who has fallen, pretending not to see him, but on the contrary is involved and obliged to lift him up and set him on the path again, accompanying him to the definitive encounter with her spouse, in heavenly Jerusalem.
This, he continued, is the Church, our Mother. And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. This should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.
Many commentators have imagined that they see a quarrelsome Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners. The Pope emphasised the need to live through all this calmly and with inner peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro, with the presence of the Pope as a guarantee for all.
The duty of the Pope, he remarked, is to guarantee the unity of the Church, to remind the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow Christ's Gospel and to remind the pastors that their first duty is to nurture the flock that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek the lost sheep with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears. His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, when he stated that the Church is called and commits herself to exercising this kind of authority which is service … not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ ... through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter … to participate in his mission of taking care of God's People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community.
As the Council stated, the Church's role is to ensure that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free. It is through us, Pope Benedict continues, that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord; this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant, gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope.
Therefore, said the Pontiff, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – “Il servus servorum Dei”, the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, setting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful and despite enjoying supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church.
Finally, Francis reminded those present that there remains a year before the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in which to develop, with true spiritual discernment, the ideas that have been proposed, and to find concrete solutions to many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families. There is a year to work on the “Relatio Synodi”, the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. He concluded by asking the Lord to accompany and guide all the participants in the Synod in their journey.
Audience with the Prime Minister of Vietnam: important step in relations with the Holy See
Vatican City, 18 October 2014 (VIS) – Today His Holiness Pope Francis received in audience the prime minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
In the course of the cordial conversations, the Parties expressed their satisfaction at today’s meeting, which marks an important step in the process of strengthening bilateral relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, this being the second visit of Prime Minister Dung to the Vatican, following that of 2007. The Church’s commitment to contributing to the development of the country, thanks to its presence in various areas which benefit society as a whole, was highlighted. In this context, sincere appreciation was expressed for the support given by the Authorities to the Catholic community in keeping with the developments sanctioned by the Constitution of 2013 with regard to religious policy, as well as for the assistance given to the non-resident Papal Representative of the Holy See to Vietnam in the discharge of his mission, which is aimed at promoting relations between Church and State with a view also to the common objective of diplomatic relations. The Parties then discussed some issues which, it is hoped, will be further examined and resolved through the existing channels of dialogue.
Finally, there was an exchange of views on some current regional and international issues, with particular reference to initiatives aimed at promoting peace and stability in the Asian continent.
Christians and Hindus: together to foster a culture of inclusion
Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – “Christians and Hindus: together to foster a culture of inclusion” is the theme of the Message addressed to followers of Hinduism by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, on the occasion of Deepavali, the festival of lights, to be celebrated on 23 October this year. The document was co-authored by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., secretary of the same dicastery.
“It is true that globalisation has opened many new frontiers and provided fresh opportunities to develop, among other things, better educational and healthcare facilities”, according to the text. “It has ushered in a greater awareness of democracy and social justice in the world, and our planet has truly become a 'global village' due in large part to modern means of communication and transportation. It can also be said, however, that globalisation has not achieved its primary objective of integrating local peoples into the global community. Rather, globalisation has contributed significantly to many peoples losing their sociocultural, economic and political identities”.
“The negative effects of globalisation have also had an impact on religious communities throughout the world since they are intimately related to surrounding cultures. In fact, globalisation has contributed to the fragmentation of society and to an increase in relativism and syncretism in religious matters, as well as bringing about a privatisation of religion. Religious fundamentalism and ethnic, tribal and sectarian violence in different parts of the world today are largely manifestations of the discontent, uncertainty and insecurity among peoples, particularly the poor and marginalised who have been excluded from the benefits of globalisation”.
“The negative consequences of globalisation, such as widespread materialism and consumerism, moreover, have made people more self-absorbed, power-hungry and indifferent to the rights, needs and sufferings of others. This, in the words of Pope Francis, has led to a globalisation of indifference which makes us slowly inured to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves. Such indifference gives rise to a 'culture of exclusion' in which the poor, marginalised and vulnerable are denied their rights, as well as the opportunities and resources that are available to other members of society. They are treated as insignificant, dispensable, burdensome, unnecessary, to be used and even discarded like objects. In various ways, the exploitation of children and women, the neglect of the elderly, sick, differently-abled, migrants and refugees, and the persecution of minorities are sure indicators of this culture of exclusion”.
“Nurturing a culture of inclusion thus becomes a common call and a shared responsibility, which must be urgently undertaken. It is a project involving those who care for the health and survival of the human family here on earth and which needs to be carried out amidst, and in spite of, the forces that perpetuate the culture of exclusion”.
“As people grounded in our own respective religious traditions and with shared convictions, may we, Hindus and Christians, join together with followers of other religions and with people of good will to foster a culture of inclusion for a just and peaceful society”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – On the afternoon of Friday, 17 October, the Holy Father received in audience Park Geun-hye, president of the Republic of Korea, and entourage.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Rev. Can. Gyorgy Snell as auxiliary of the diocese of Esztergom-Budapest (area 1,543, population 2,088,000, Catholics 1,254,000, priests 443, permanent deacons 23, religious 734), Hungary. The bishop-elect was born in Kiskiralysag, Hungary in 1949 and was ordained a priest in 1972. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including deputy parish priest in Kiskunlachaz-Pereg and Budapest-Rakoskeresztur, parish priest in Budapest-Rakoskeresztur, and dean. He is currently priest of St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, director of the diocesan superintendency for Catholic schools, and canon of the metropolitan chapter.
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mati, Philippines, presented by Bishop Patricio H. Alo, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law
On Saturday, 18 October, the Holy Father:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the metropolitan archdiocese of Malta, presented by Archbishop Paul Cremona, O.P., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law;
- appointed Bishop Norbert Turini of Cahors, France, as bishop of Perpignan-Elne (area 4,116, population 454,737, Catholics 302,600, priests 85, permanent deacons 20, religious 79), France.
- appointed new members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and renewed the mandate of members of the previous five-year term. The aforementioned Commission for the 2014-2019 is composed of the following members:
Rev. Knut Backhaus, Germany;
Fr. Pietro Bovati, S.J., Italy;
Sister Nuria Calduch Benages, M.N., Spain;
Rev. Eduardo Cordova Gonzalez, Mexico;
Professor Bruna Costacurta, Italy;
Msgr. Pierre Deberge, France;
Rev. Juan Miguel Diaz Rodelas, Spain;
Rev. Luis Henrique Eloy e Silva, Brazil;
Pr. Francolino Goncalves, O.P., Portugal;
Rev. Adrian Graffy, Great Britain;
Professor Mary E. Healy, United States of America;
Rev. John ChijiokeIwe, Nigeria;
Rev. Thomas Manjaly, India;
Rev. Hugo Orlando Martinez Aldana, Colombia;
Rev. Levente Balazs Martos, Hungary;
Rev. Jean Bosco Matand Bulembat, Democratic Republic of Congo;
Rev. Fearghus O'Fearghail, Ireland;
Rev. Johan Yeong-Sik Pahk, Korea;
Rev. Eleuterio Ramon Ruiz, Argentina;
Rev. Henryk Jozef Witczyk, Poland.
- appointed Professor Yves Coppens, lecturer in paleoanthropology and prehistory at the College de France in Paris, France, and Professor Ada E. Yonath, lecturer in biochemistry and director of the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, as ordinary members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Saint October 20 : St. Paul of the Cross : Founder of the Passionists

St. Paul of the Cross
FOUNDER OF THE PASSIONIST FATHERS
Feast: October 19
Information:
Feast Day:
October 19
Born:
January 3, 1694, Ovada, Piedmont, Duchy of Savoy (now modern-day Italy)
Died:
October 18, 1775, Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Rome
Canonized:
29 June 1867, Rome by Pope Pius IX
Major Shrine:
Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Rome

Paul Francis Daneii, born at Ovada, Genoa, Italy, 3 January, 1694; died in Rome, 18 October, 1775.
His parents, Luke Danei and Anna Maria Massari, were exemplary Catholics. From his earliest years the crucifix was his book, and the Crucified his model. Paul received his early education from a priest who kept a school for boys, in Cremolino, Lombardy. He made great progress in study and virtue; spent much time m prayer, heard daily Mass, frequently received the Sacraments, faithfully attended to his school duties, and gave his spare time to reading good books and visiting the churches, where he s p e n t much time before the Blessed Sacrament, to which he had an ardent devotion. At the age of fifteen he left school and re turned to his home at Castellazzo, and from this time his life was full of trials. In early manhood he renounced the offer of an honorable marriage; also a good inheritance left him by an uncle who was a priest. He kept for himself only the priest's Breviary.
Inflamed with a desire for God's glory he formed the idea of instituting a religious order in of the Passion. Vested in a black tunic by the Bishop of Alessandria, his director, bearing the emblem of our Lord's Passion, barefooted, and bareheaded, he retired to a narrow cell where he drew up the Rules of the new congregation according to the plan made known to him in a vision, which he relates in the introduction to the original copy of the Rules. For the account of his ordination to the priesthood, of the foundation of the Congregation of the Passion, and the approbation of the Rules, see PASSIONISTS. After the approbation of the Rules and the institute the first general chapter was held at the Retreat of the Presentation on Mount Argentaro on 10 April, 1747. At this chapter, St. Paul, against his wishes, was unanimously elected first superior general, which office he held until the day of his death. In all virtues and in the observance of regular discipline, he became a model to his companions. "Although continually occupied with the cares of governing his religious society, and of founding everywhere new houses for it, yet he never left off preaching the word of God, burning as he did with a wondrous desire for the salvation of souls" (Brief of Pius IX for St. Paul's Beatification, 1 Oct., 1852). Sacred missions were instituted and numerous conversions were made. He was untiring in his Apostolic labours and never, even to his last hour, remitted anything of his austere manner of life, finally succumbing to a severe illness, worn out as much by his austerities as by old age.
Among the distinguished associates of St. Paul in the formation and extension of the congregation were: John Baptist, his younger brother and constant companion from childhood, who shared all his labours and sufferings and equaled him in the practice of virtue; Father Mark Aurelius (Pastorelli), Father Thomas Struzzieri (subsequently Bishop of Amelia and afterwards of Todi), and Father Fulgentius of Jesus, all remarkable for learning, piety, and missionary zeal; Venerable Strambi, Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, his biographer. Constant personal union with the Cross and Passion of our Lord was the prominent feature of St. Paul's sanctity. But devotion to the Passion did not stand alone, for he carried to a heroic degree all the other virtues of a Christian life. Numerous miracles, besides those special ones brought forward at his beatification and canonization, attested the favour he enjoyed with God. Miracles of grace abounded, as witnessed in the conversion of sinners seemingly hardened and hopeless. For fifty years he prayed for the conversion of England, and left the devotion as a legacy to his sons. The body of St. Paul lies in the Basilica of SS. John and Paul, Rome. He was beatified on 1 October, 1852, and canonized on 29 June, 1867. His feast occurs on 28 April. The fame of his sanctity, which had spread far and wide in Italy during his life, increased after his death and spread into all countries. Great devotion to him is practiced by the faithful wherever Passionists are established.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

In the Path of ISIS a Seminarian's Story from Iraq

In the Path of IS - a Seminarian's Story from Iraq

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Oct 2014

Martin Barni in the chapel of St Peter's seminary in Ankawa Erbil in Northern Iraq
Bombs fall and the sound of the explosion sends shock and fear into the hearts of the people. Amid the sound of crying and frenzied activity, people pack up what belongings they can carry and make off into the night. In the midst of it all stands Martin Baani, a 24-year-old seminarian.The realisation is dawning on him that this is Karamlesh's last stand.
For 1,800 years, Christianity has had a home in the hearts and minds of the people of this village, full of antiquity. Now that era is about to be brought to a calamitous end; Islamic State are advancing.
Martin's mobile phone rings: a friend stammers out the news that the nearby town of Telkaif has fallen to "Da'ash" - the Arabic name for Islamic State.  Karamlesh would surely be next.
Martin dashes out of his aunt's house, where he is staying, and heads for the nearby St Addai's Church. He takes the Blessed Sacrament, a bundle of official of papers and walks out of the church. Outside a car awaits - his parish priest, Fr Thabet, and three other priests are inside.
Martin gets in and the car speeds off. They leave Karamlesh and the last remnants of the village's Christian presence go with them.
Speaking to Martin in the calm of St Peter's Seminary, Ankawa, it is difficult to imagine he is describing anything except a bad dream.But there is nothing dreamy in Martin's expression. "Until the very last minute, the Pashmerga [the Kurdish armed forces protecting the villages] were telling us it was safe.
"But then we heard that they were setting up big guns on St Barbara's Hill [on the edge of the village] and we knew then the situation was very dangerous."
Taking stock of that terrible night of 6th/7th August, Martin's confidence is bolstered by the presence of 27 other seminarians at St Peter's, many with their own stories of escape from the clutches of the Islamic militants.
Martin and his fellow students for the priesthood know that the future is bleak as regards Christianity in Iraq.
A community of 1.5 million Christians before 2003 has dwindled to less than 300,000. And of those who remain, more than a third are displaced. Many, if not most, want a new life in a new country.
Martin, however, is not one of them. "I could easily go," he explains calmly. "My family now life in California. I already have been given a visa to go to America and visit them."
"But I want to stay. I don't want to run away from the problem."
Martin has already made the choice that marks out the priests who have decided to stay in Iraq; his vocation is to serve the people, come what may.

The teachers and 28 seminarians (Chaldean and Syriac Catholic) in the chapel of St Peter's Seminary in Erbil
"We must stand up for our rights; we must not be afraid." He explains. Describing in detail the emergency relief work that has occupied so much of his time, it is plain to see that he feels his place is to be with the people.
Martin is already a sub-deacon. Now in his final year of theology, ordination to the priesthood is - God willing - but a few months away.
"Thank you for your prayers," says Martin, as I take my leave of him. "We count on your support."
Aid to the Church in Need is committed to supporting Martin and all the seminarians at St Peter's Seminary, Ankawa as they make their journey to the Altar of God and prepare to serve God and their suffering people as priests. 

Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative's launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need's Child's Bible - God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
For more information or to make a donation to help the work of Aid to the Church in Need, please contact the Australian office of ACN on (02) 9679-1929. e-mail: info@aidtochurch.org or write to Aid to the Church in Need PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.
On Line donations can be made at www.aidtochurch.org
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

Catholic Quote to SHARE by Blessed Pope Paul VI "The Eucharistic mystery stands at the heart..."

"The Eucharistic mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy since it is the fount of life by which we are cleansed and strengthened to live not for ourselves but for God and to be united in love among ourselves."

Pope Francis "Mary, Queen of Saints and Mother of the Church, help us to..." Sunday Angelus

Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Mass for the Closing of the Synod and the Beatification of Paul VI
(Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of Sunday’s Mass for the Closing of the Synod and the Beatification of Paul VI, Pope Francis led the faithful in the noonday Angelus.
Here is the complete text of Pope Francis’s remarks:
At the end of this solemn celebration, I want to greet the pilgrims from Italy and various countries, with a respectful thought for the official Delegations. In particular I greet the faithful from the dioceses of Brescia, Milan and Rome, joined in a significant way to the life and ministry of Pope Montini. I thank you all for [your] presence and exhort [you] to follow faithfully the teaching and example of the new Blessed.
He was a staunch supporter of the mission ad gentes; it is the witness above all of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi with which he intended to reawaken the enthusiasm and the commitment of the Church for the mission. And this Exhortation is still relevant, it has great relevance. It is significant to consider this aspect of the Pontificate of Paul VI, especially today, which is celebrated as World Missionary Day.
Before invoking together the Madonna with the prayer of the Angelus, I am pleased to emphasize the profound Marian devotion of Blessed Paul VI. The Christian people will always be grateful to this Pontiff for the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, and for having proclaimed Mary “Mother of the Church,” on the occasion of the close of the third session of the Second Vatican Council.
Mary, Queen of Saints and Mother of the Church, help us to faithfully realize the will of the Lord in our life, just as the new Blessed did.
Angleus Domini…
I wish all of you a good Sunday. I ask you to pray for me. Buon pranzo, andarrivederci!