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Sunday, December 27, 2009

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SUN. DEC. 27, 2009












CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SUN. DEC. 27, 2009: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE EATS WITH POOR/MESSAGE FOR FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY-
EUROPE: ITALY: WOMAN KNOCKED DOWN THE POPE, TRIED THE SAME LAST YEAR-
AMERICAS: CANADA: CHARITIES SEE DROP IN AID-
AFRICA: NIGERIA: 23 YEAR OLD TRIES TO BLOW UP PLANE-
ASIA: SRI LANKA: NUNS OF GOOD SHEPHERD HELP POOREST AT CHRISTMAS-
AUSTRALIA: FEWER DONATE TO ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CHARITY-




VATICAN
POPE EATS WITH POOR OF ROME

Pope Benedict XVI visited a soup kitchen in Rome’s Trastevere neighbourhood to have lunch with the poor on Sunday. The Pope said he came to eat with the poor to tell them he is close to them and loves them; he said their situation is never far from the thoughts of the Pope but are at the heart of the community of believers. (source: http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=345195




VATICAN
POPE'S MESSAGE FOR FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY



Pope Benedict reflected on the Family before reciting the Sunday Angelus on the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.He said the Christian family does not consider children possessions, but educates them to have the freedom which enables them to say yes to God, and to do his will.In the Gospel reading, Jesus, just 12, is in the temple, without his parents knowing. Pope Benedict says in this passage we see the true meaning of Christian education, which is the fruit of an ongoing collaboration between educators and God. He said in Bethlehem we see with the shepherds that God chose to born of in a human family and the human family thus stands as an icon of the Trinity because of interpersonel love as well as its mission to procreate life. (source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Not_7h_W774

IMAGE SOURCE: http://www.solomonscourt.com/images/holyfamily.jpg



EUROPE
ITALY: WOMAN WHO KNOCKED DOWN THE POPE TRIED THE SAME LAST YEAR

NYDailynews.com reports that the Vatican says the woman who jumped the barricade and toppled Pope Benedict XVI to the floor during Christmas Eve Mass is the same one who tried to reach him at Midnight Mass last year.
A Vatican spokesman has identified the woman as Susanna Maiolo, 25, a Swiss-Italian national with psychiatric problems. He said Maiolo was not armed and was taken to a clinic for treatment after the incident.
Vatican officials speaking on condition of anonymity said Maiolo was involved in a similar incident last year in which she jumped the barricade as the pope processed. In that case, however, Maiolo never managed to reach the pope and was quietly tackled to the ground by security.
In both cases she wore a red sweat shirt and pushed past security guards to reach the Pope, knocking him down.
The Pope was uninjured, but a prominent French cardinal who was near the Pope also fell, and was hospitalized with a broken hip.
Maiolo, has been hospitalized and apparently told doctors she did not mean to hurt the Pope, La Republica newspaper reported.
A Vatican spokesman said the girl was "apparently unbalanced," but they would be "very lenient" with her and she would be pardoned.
(source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2009/12/25/2009-12-25_pope_benedict_forgives_.html

AMERICAS
CANADA: CHARITIES SEE DROP IN AID

CBC reports that charities across the country are seeing a drop in cash contributions, and food banks are receiving fewer donations because of the recession.
As more people lose their jobs, fewer donations of money and second-hand items are coming in. The problem is compounded by increasing numbers of out-of-work people relying on charities.
"People who used to be donors are now using our services and coming to us for help," says Andrew Burditt, territorial director with the Salvation Army. "It seems donating to charities has become a second priority for most Canadians."
Salvation Army branches in British Columbia and Alberta are seeing an increase in the number of people using their food banks, but fewer personal belongings are being donated to thrift stores and shelters, he said.
One of the charity's main national fundraising drives — the Red Shield campaign, held every May — saw an 8.5 per cent drop in donations over 2008. Nearly $2.5 million was collected, but that was half a million dollars short of the $3 million goal. The steepest drop-off was in Alberta.
The United Way of Canada managed to break donation records in 2007 and 2008, but is worried about the future.
"Our organization anticipates a tough year ahead both in allocating resources and in meeting the increasing needs and challenges of funded agencies" says spokeswoman Emilie Potvin.
The recession has also shrunk the size of donations.
Since January, the average amount of an individual donation has dropped to $120 from $150, says Owen Charters, director of Canada Helps, an online portal for giving that directs money to 84,000 different charities.
"This is the time to give," he says. "Those who have should balance it out for those who are suffering."
Food banks feel the pinch
Food Banks Canada reported a 20 per cent increase in the number of users between January and March. Food banks were already helping 700,000 in an average month, according to the organization's figures.
"That's a significant jump and it is very concerning in a year period," says Katharine Schmidt, Food Banks Canada's executive director.
"Food donations have been falling significantly since January."
A 7.3 per cent hike in food prices, compared with last year, is one of the main factors, she says.
In the Prairie provinces, food banks are trying to feed more people with fewer resources. "We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people turning to our food services," says Marjorie Bencz, Edmonton Food Bank's executive director.
At a local food bank in Red Deer, Alta., midway between Edmonton and Calgary, director Fred Scaife worries each day about having enough food hampers to distribute.
"We are feeding 175 per cent more adults and 65 per cent more children compared with last year," he says. "We have lineups every day now. We even have to do some building renovations to accommodate this increase."
"People just don't have jobs, they are lost. We desperately need money, food and volunteers."(source: http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/07/13/charities-food-banks-donations-recession.html

AFRICA
NIGERIA: 23 YEAR OLD TRIES TO BLOW UP PLANE

All Africa reports that twenty-three year old Abdulfarouk Umar Abdulmutallab, son of former Chairman of First Bank Plc, Alhaji Umar Mutallab, was yesterday in Michigan, United States charged with trying to blow up North-west Delta Airlines flight on Christmas day.
He was charged in a make-shift court session at the University of Michigan hospital, where the suspect was being treated for burns. He had bandages in his hands, spoke in English, and told the district attorney that he could not afford to pay for an attorney, according to a pool reporter who attended the session.
He was accused of "willful attempt to destroy an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States and wilfully placing and causing to be placed a destructive device upon and or proximity to such aircraft."
In a five-page affidavit deposed by Theodore James, FBI special agent before District Judge Paul Borman, the justice department said Abdul Mutallab had a device containing a high explosive attached to his body on flight 253 from Amsterdam.
Also yesterday, Alhaji Mutallab, who was former Federal Commissioner for Economic Development in the Murtala/Obasanjo administration, was quizzed for hours by a combined team of the nation's security agencies in Abuja over the bombing incident involving his son.
The Justice Department said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who was born on December 22, 1986 had a device containing a high explosive attached to his body on Flight 253 from Amsterdam.
A preliminary analysis of the device shows that it contained PETN, also known as pentaerythritol, according to the affidavit filed in federal court in Detroit.
Abdulmutallab allegedly told passengers that his stomach was upset, then pulled a blanket over himself, the affidavit said. Passengers then heard popping noises that sounded like fireworks and smelled smoke before at least one passenger climbed over seats and tackled Abdulmutallab.
"Had this alleged plot to destroy an airplane been successful, scores of innocent people would have been killed or injured," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously, and we will use all measures available to our government to ensure that anyone responsible for this attempted attack is brought to justice."
Abdulmutallab claimed to have been instructed by al-Qaida to detonate the plane over U.S. soil, said a U.S. law enforcement official. But others cautioned that such claims could not be verified immediately.
London's Metropolitan Police also were working with U.S. officials, said a spokeswoman who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.
The father of the suspect Mutallab, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he didn't know exactly where his son was but planned to speak with Nigerian authorities.
"I believe he might have been to Yemen, but we are investigating to determine that," the father said.
Mutallab who left Funtua, his home town in Katsina State early yesterday morning for Abuja after hearing about the news of his son's attempted bombing and arrest reported to the security agencies at the Federal Capital Territory.
THISDAY gathered that as at the time of going to press Mutallab was still with the security agencies.
AFP yesterday evening reported that Mutallab, admitted that the man arrested over a botched attempt to blow up a US airliner on a flight from Amsterdan to Detroit is his son.
"I have been receiving telephone calls from all over the world about my child who has been arrested for an alleged attempt to bomb a plane," Mutallab said.
"I am really disturbed. I would not want to say anything at the moment until I put myself together. I will address a press conference on the issue on Monday. I have been summoned by the Nigerian security and I am on my way to Abuja to answer the call," he said.
Family sources said Mutallab has been uncomfortable with his son's extreme religious views and had six months ago reported his activities to United States' Embassy, Abuja and Nigerian security agencies.
The older Mutallab was said to be devastated on hearing the news of his son's attempted bombing incident. A source close to him said he was surprised that after his reports to the US authorities, the young man was allowed to travel to the United States.
The family home of the Mutallabs, a basement flat in a smart mansion block on Mansfield Street, near Harley Street, Central London was yesterday searched by men of the Metropolitan Police.
THISDAY checks reveal that the suspect, Abdulfarouk Umar Mutallab who studied engineering at the University College, London between September 2005 and 2008 had been noted for his extreme views on religion since his secondary school days at the British International School, Lome, Togo.
At the secondary school, he was known for preaching about Islam to his school mates and he was popularly called "Alfa", a local coinage for Islamic scholar. After his secondary school, the suspect went to University College London to study mechanical engineering and later relocated to Egypt, and then Dubai. While in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, he declared to his family members that he did not want to have anything to do with any of them again.
He attempted to return to Britain for a six months course in May this year but was refused by officials from the UK border agency because his reason for coming to the country was not genuine.
His father, Mutallab, is a regular visitor to the US where he visits for medical check-up and holidays.
Mutallab is married to an Arab of Yemeni-descent. However, THISDAY could not confirm at the time of filing this report if the woman is the mother of the suspect. Timesonline also reported that Mutallab claimed to have lost contact with the son after he left London in November last year.
A man who claims to be a brother of the suspect confirmed to THISDAY yesterday in Kaduna that the suspect, Mutallab, had had "extreme views about religion" and has alienated himself from his family members because they disagree with his views.
The source, who declined to be named, said yesterday that Umar Farouk has had various altercations with his immediate family members over his views on religion.
"We know Farouk's extreme views and were always apprehensive of where it may lead him to. In fact, during the last Boko Haram crisis, we were afraid he may be involved, but he didnt. He has maintained his distance from us and we never bothered him much. He wanted to be left alone so we respect his wishes.
"We were always worried about him because he is young. But I was shocked to hear he wanted to blow up a passenger airliner. I hope it is not true," the family member said.
He described the suspect as 'quiet, nice and gentle', adding that he always minds his business and is someone 'who is morally upright."
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoting a source at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington D.C reported that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has granted access to Nigerian diplomatic officials to meet with the bombing suspect, Abdulfarouk Umar Abdulmutallab.
We have made contact with the FBI and they have permitted some of our officers to visit the suspect in Detroit.
"Two officials, one from our embassy in Washington DC and the other from the Nigeria consulate in New York are already in Detroit to meet with Abdulmutallab," the source said.
The source added that the purpose of the visit was "to verify the identity of the suspect and if he is truly a Nigerian citizen."
Meanwhile, Prof. Dora Akunyili, minister of information and communications, has issued the following statement: "Federal Government of Nigeria received with dismay the news of an attempted terrorist attack on a US airline. We state very clearly that as a nation, we abhor all forms of terrorism.
"The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has directed Nigerian security agencies to commence full investigation of the incident. While steps are being taken to verify the identity of the alleged suspect and his motives, our security agencies will cooperate fully with the American authorities in the on-going investigations. Nigerian government will be providing updates as more information becomes available."
Akunyili also told the North American correspondent of NAN that Nigeria will make open its findings on the attempted bombing incident.
"Everybody is disturbed by the news of the incident but we are handling it. We have issued an interim statement and that will be followed with something more comprehensive," she added.
The Senate while reacting to the incident said the act was condemnable and asked well meaning Nigerians to "rise in condemnation of this naked attempt to smear the image of our dear country."
Chairman of the Committee on Information and Media, Senator Ayogu Eze, speaking on behalf of the Senate said: "We condemn this strange act of terrorism from a Nigerian in very strong terms."
Eze said, "We are at a loss where he got this strange habit from. Nigeria abhors terrorism in all its ramifications. The Senate therefore frowns at this isolated unfortunate incident.
"We ask the world to treat him on his own merit and not associate this horrible conduct with law-abiding Nigerians who are decent and respectable international citizens wherever they are.
Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, had caused panic when he tried to detonate some explosive device strapped to his leg on Christmas Day while the US airliner was about to land at Detroit Metro Airport with 278 people on board.
Abdulmutallab was overpowered by passengers after the failure of the device to ignite properly.
Agency reports quoted the US federal law enforcement and airline security agencies as saying Abdulmutallab was taken into custody and is being treated for second- and third-degree burns on his thighs. Reports say the remains of the device the suspect detonated have been sent to an FBI explosives laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.
Even with the initial official impression that the suspect was acting alone and did not have any formal connections to organised terrorist organisations, there are reports that he was indeed a hard-core, trained al-Qaeda operative. Abdulmutallab was quoted in a US federal security bulletin to have admitted having extremist ties and said the explosive device "was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used".
A statement from Representative Peter King of New York, the senior Republican on the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, branded the explosive device as "fairly sophisticated". "(The device) appears to be different from what we've encountered before," Mr King told Fox News. "My understanding also is that while (the suspect) is not on a watch list, he definitely has terror connections.
"There is a terrorist nexus leading towards al-Qaeda involving this assailant. When it did go off, he himself was seriously injured. My understanding is he has third-degree burns. This could have been catastrophic."
Abdulmutallab flew into Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on a KLM flight from Lagos and is not believed to be on any "no fly" list. This is despite his name appearing in a US database of people with suspect connections. An administration official also said he did not undergo secondary security screening in Amsterdam. It was from here he transferred to Northwest Airlines - which is undergoing a merger with Delta Airlines - for the nine-hour flight to Detroit in an Airbus A330-330.
US President Barack Obama, who was holidaying in Hawaii, acting on briefing on the incident, instructed in a subsequent discussion with security advisers "that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel".
A direct fallout of this incident is more rigorous security checks by airlines. A spokesperson for BAA said British passengers travelling to the US should expect their airline to carry out additional security checks prior to boarding.
A Department of Homeland Security statement on Friday told air passengers that they "may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the travelling [sic] public on domestic and international flights."
Also, University College London issued a statement saying a student named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab studied mechanical engineering there between September 2005 and June 2008. But the college said it wasn't certain the student was the same person who was on the plane.
The White House said it believed it was an attempted act of terrorism and stricter security measures were quickly imposed on airline travel. The incident was reminiscent of Richard Reid, who tried to destroy a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001 with explosives hidden in his shoes, but was subdued by other passengers.Intelligence and anti-terrorism officials in Yemen said they were investigating claims by the suspect that he picked up the explosive device and instructions on how to use it in that country. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media.
Officials in the Netherlands said an initial investigation showed that routine security procedures were followed at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam with no irregularities. Mutallab's name was on the passenger manifesto that was forwarded and approved by U.S. authorities before takeoff.
The list that Mutallab had been on in the U.S. is maintained by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center and includes about 550,000 names, an official said. People on that list are not necessarily on the no-fly list. Dutch anti-terrorism authorities said Mutallab was traveling on a U.S. visa valid through the first half of 2010.(source: http://allafrica.com/stories/200912270087.html


ASIA
SRI LANKA: NUNS OF GOOD SHEPHERD HELP POOREST AT CHRISTMAS

AsiaNews reports that in the villages of Wewala, Weligampitiya and Kalaeliya near Jael, the nuns gave birth to a free afternoon school for poor and sick children. On 22 December they celebrated Christmas with gift to all 52 of them school uniforms and books.
Jael - The Sisters of the Good Shepherd held a Christmas party for poor children of the community of three villages near Jael, 25 km from Colombo. On the afternoon of December 22 nuns invited 52 children from Wewala, Weligampitiya and Kalaeliya (photo) to the hall adjacent to their convent for a party of two hours with songs and dances, the representation of Jesus' birth and the delivery of gifts. The children are students of the afternoon school organized by the sisters. Sister Lusine, superior of the convent, tells AsiaNews that she has identified her young students on visits to two parishes in the villages. With her sisters and 12 teachers she allows poor and sick children to attend school despite the economic difficulties of their families or health problems.
"The classes are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 pm up to 5.30 - says Sr. Lusine - and we teach children Sinhala, English and mathematics. The educational work of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd offers classes for children in primary schools, from 3rd to 9th grade”.
The celebration was an opportunity to "share the joy of Christmas with children and their families" and small students received the gift of school supplies. On mother tells: "Our children received a present of a uniform and exercise books for the lessons which they will use next year."
The children described the festival as "a memorable day." Erandhi, one of them says: "We had never received gifts from our schools and we are full of gratitude for the gifts and for the help they give us by allowing us to attend a school for free."
(SOURCE: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=17209&size=A

AUSTRALIA
FEWER DONATE TO ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CHARITY

Cath News reports that St Vincent de Paul reported a 15 percent drop in donations to its Christmas appeal, while the Smith Family Christmas appeal response is at least a third short, leaving the charities stretching to help needy families.
Smith Family executive director Paul Henderson said the charity was at least $500,000 short of its national target of $4.5 million, according to the Herald Sun.
"It could be as much as $700,000, which is a lot of money for a charity," he said.
The Smith Family depends on donations to deliver thousands of food hampers and toy and book packs to disadvantaged families and fund ongoing programs for needy kids including homework clubs and reading lessons.
Donations to the St Vincent de Paul Society's Christmas appeal have also slumped by about 15 percent, the Herald Sun report said.
"People are still giving but they're giving less," said St Vincent de Paul state general manager of marketing and fundraising Carol Taylor.
Vinnie's aims to raise $1 million in Victoria to provide bedding, food and clothing to the homeless, refugee families, the elderly and women and children escaping domestic violence.
"Overall demand is up about 20 per cent," Ms Taylor said.
The Salvation Army, however, is confident it will meet its target to pass on 400,000 gifts this year compared with about 350,000 last year. (SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=18410



TODAY'S SAINT

St. John the Apostle
APOSTLE
Feast: December 27
Information:
Feast Day:
December 27
Born:
6 AD, Galilee, in the Holy Land
Died:
101, Ephesus, Asia Minor
Patron of:
authors, burns, poisoning, theologians, publishers, booksellers, editors, friendships, and painters

St John The Evangelist, who is styled in the gospel, The beloved disciple of Christ," and is called by the Greeks "The Divine," was a Galilean, the son of Zebedee and Salome, and younger brother of St. James the Great, with whom he was brought up to the trade of fishing. From his acquaintance with the high priest Caiphas, St. Jerome infers that he was a gentleman by birth; but the meanness of his father's trade, and the privacy of his fortune sufficiently prove that his birth could not much distinguish him in the world, neither could his education give him any tincture of secular learning. His acquaintance with the high priest may be placed to some other account. Nicephorus Calixtus, a modern Greek historian of the fourteenth century (in whom, amidst much rubbish, several curious anecdotes are found), says, we know not upon what authority, that St. John had sold a paternal estate to Annas, father-in-law to Caiphas, a little before the death of our Lord. Before his coming to Christ he seems to have been a disciple to John the Baptist, several thinking him to have been that other disciple that was with St. Andrew when they left the Baptist to follow our Saviour; so particularly does our Evangelist relate all the circumstances, through modestly concealing his own name, as in other parts of the gospel. He was properly called to be a disciple of our Lord, with his brother James, as they were mending their nets on the same day, and soon after Jesus had called Peter and Andrew. These two brothers continued still to follow their profession, but upon seeing the miraculous draught of fishes, they left all things to attach themselves more closely to him. Christ gave them the surname of Boanerges, or sons of thunder, to express the strength and activity of their faith in publishing the law of God without fearing the power of man. This epithet has been particularly applied to St. John, who was truly a voice of thunder in proclaiming aloud the most sublime mysteries of the divinity of Christ. He is said to have been the youngest of all the apostles, probably about twenty-five years of age, when he was called by Christ; for he lived seventy years after the suffering of his divine Master. Piety, wisdom, and prudence equalled him in his youth to those who with their grey hairs had been long exercised in the practice and experience of virtue; and, by a pure and blameless life he was honourable in the world. Our divine Redeemer had a particular affection for him above the rest of the apostles; insomuch that when St. John speaks of himself, he saith that he was "The disciple whom Jesus loved"; and frequently he mentions himself by this only characteristic; which he did not out of pride to distinguish himself, but out of gratitude and tender love for his blessed Master. If we inquire into the causes of this particular love of Christ towards him, which was not blind or unreasonable, the first was doubtless, as St. Austin observes, the love which this disciple bore him; secondly, his meekness and peaceable disposition by which he was extremely like Christ himself; thirdly, his virginal purity. For St. Austin tells us that, "The singular privilege of his chastity rendered him worthy of the more particular love of Christ, because being chosen by him a virgin, he always remained such." St. Jerome sticks pot to call all his other privileges and graces the recompense of his chastity, especially that which our Lord did him by recommending in his last moments his virgin mother to the care of this virgin disciple. St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Epiphanius, and other fathers frequently make the same reflection. Christ was pleased to choose a virgin for his mother, a virgin for his precursor, and a virgin for his favourite disciple; and his church suffers only those who live perfectly chaste to serve him in his priesthood, where they daily touch and offer his virginal flesh on his holy altar. In heaven virgins follow the spotless Lamb wherever he goes. Who then can doubt but purity is the darling virtue of Jesus? "who feeds among the lilies " of untarnished chastity. For "he who loves purity of heart will have the king his friend." Another motive of the preference which Jesus gave to this apostle in his intimacy and predilection, was his perfect innocence and simplicity without guile in his youth. Virtue in that age has peculiar charms to Christ, and is always a seed of extraordinary graces and blessings.
The love which Jesus bears is never barren. Of this his sufferings and death are the strongest proof. As St. John had the happiness to be distinguished by Christ in his holy love, so was he also in its glorious effects. Though these principally consisted in the treasure of interior graces and virtues, exterior tokens, helps, and comforts were not wanting. This appears from the familiarity and intimacy with which his divine Master favoured him above the rest of the apostles. Christ would have him with Peter and James privy to his Transfiguration, and to his agony in the garden; and he showed St. John particular instances of kindness and affection above all the rest. Witness this apostle's lying in our Saviour's bosom at the last supper; it being then the custom among the Jews often to lie along upon couches at meals, so that one might lean his head upon the bosom of him that lay before him: which honour Christ allowed St. John. No tongue certainly can express the sweetness and ardour of the holy love which our saint on that occasion drew from the divine breast of our Lord, which was the true furnace of pure and holy love. St. John repeats this circumstance several times in his gospel to show its importance and his grateful remembrance. We discover in the holy scriptures a close particular friendship between St. John and St. Peter, which was doubtless founded in the ardour of their love and zeal for their divine Master. When St. Peter durst not, as it seems, says St. Jerome, propound the question to our Lord, who it was that should betray him, he by signs desired St. John to do it, whose familiarity with Christ allowed him more easily such a liberty, and our Lord gave him to understand that Judas was the wretch, though, at least, except St. John, none that were present seemed to have understood his answer, which was only given by the signal of the traitor's dipping a morsel of bread with him in the dish. St. Chrysostom says, that when our Lord was apprehended and the other apostles fled, St. John never forsook him; and many imagine that he was the disciple who being known to the high priest, got Peter admitted by the servants into the court of Caiphas.
Our saint seems to have accompanied Christ through all his sufferings; at least he attended him during his crucifixion, standing under his cross, owning him in the midst of arms and guards, and in the thickest crowds of his implacable enemies. Here it was that our Lord declared the assurance he had of this disciple's affection and fidelity, by recommending with his dying words, his holy mother to his care; giving him the charge to love, honour, comfort, and provide for her with that dutifulness and attention which the character of the best and most indulgent mother challenges from an obedient and loving son. What more honourable testimony could Christ have given him of his confidence, regard, and affection, than this charge? Accordingly St. John took her to his home, and ever after made her a principal part of his care. Christ had at the same time given her to St. John for his mother, saying to her, "Woman, behold thy son." Our Lord disdained not to call us all brethren, as St. Paul observes. And he recommended us all as such to the maternal care of his own mother: but amongst these adoptive sons St. John is the first-born. To him alone was given this special privilege of being treated by her as if she had been his natural mother, and of reciprocally treating her as such by respectfully honouring, serving, and assisting her in person. This was the recompense of his constancy and fervour in his divine Master's service and love. This holy apostle, though full of inexpressible grief for the death of his divine Master, yet left not the cross and saw his side opened with a spear; was attentive to the whole mystery and saw the blood and water issue from the wound, of which he bore record. It is believed that he was present at the taking down of our Lord's body from the cross and helped to present it to his most blessed mother, and afterwards to lay it in the sepulchre, watering it with abundance of tears, and kissing it with extraordinary devotion and tenderness.
When Mary Magdalen and other devout women brought word that they had not found Christ's body in the sepulchre, Peter and John ran immediately thither, and John, who was younger and more nimble, running faster, arrived first at the place. Some few days after this, St. John went a-fishing in the lake of Tiberias with other disciples; and Jesus appeared on the shore in a disguised form. St. John, directed by the instinct of love, knew him and gave notice to Peter: they all dined with him on the shore; and when dinner was ended, Christ walked along the shore questioning Peter about the sincerity of his love, gave him the charge of his church, and foretold his martyrdom. St. Peter seeing St. John walk behind, and being solicitous for his friend, asked Jesus what would become of him; supposing that as Christ testified a particular love for him, he would show him some extraordinary favour. Christ checked his curiosity by telling him that it was not his business if he should prolong John's life till he should come; which most understand of his coming to destroy Jerusalem; an epoch which St. John survived. Some of the disciples, however, misapprehended this answer so far as to infer that John would remain in the body till Christ shall come to judge the world: though St. John has taken care in his gospel to tell us that no such thing was meant. After Christ's ascension, we find these two zealous apostles going up to the temple and miraculously healing a poor cripple. Our two apostles were imprisoned, but released again with an order no more to preach Christ, but no threats daunted their courage. They were sent by the college of the apostles to confirm the converts which Philip the Deacon had made in Samaria. St. John was again apprehended by the Jews, with the rest of the apostles, and scourged; but they went from the council rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. When St. Paul went up to Jerusalem, three years after his conversion, he saw there only St. Peter and St. James the Less, St. John being probably absent. But St. Paul, going thither in the fourteenth year after his conversion, addressed himself to those who seemed to be pillars of the church, chiefly Peter and John, who confirmed to him his mission among the infidels. About that time St. John assisted at the council which the apostles held at Jerusalem in the year 51. For St. Clement of Alexandria tells us, that all the apostles attended in it. That father says, that Christ at his ascension preferred St. Peter, St. James the Less, and St. John to the rest of the apostles, though there was no strife or pre-eminence amongst any in that sacred college, and this St. James was chosen Bishop of Jerusalem. St. Clement adds, that our Lord particularly instructed these three apostles in many sacred mysteries, and that the rest of the apostles received much holy science from them.
St. John seems to have remained chiefly at Jerusalem for a long time, though he sometimes preached abroad. Parthia is said to have been the chief scene of his apostolical labours. St. Austin sometimes quotes his first epistle under the title of his Epistle to the Parthians; and by a title then prefixed to it in some copies it seems to have been addressed to the Jews that were dispersed through the provinces of the Parthian empire. Certain late missionaries in the East Indies assure us, that the inhabitants of Bassora, a city upon the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates, on the Persian gulf, affirm, by a tradition received from their ancestors, that St. John planted the Christian faith in their country. He came to Jerusalem in the year 62 to meet the rest of the apostles who were then living, when they chose in council St. Simeon, bishop of that church after the martyrdom of St. James the Less. It seems to have been after the death of the Blessed Virgin that St. John visited Lesser Asia, making those parts his peculiar care, and residing at Ephesus, the capital of that country. It is certain that he was not come thither in 64, when St. Paul left St. Timothy bishop of that city. St. Irenaeus tells us, that he did not settle there till after the death of SS. Peter and Paul. St. Timothy continued still Bishop of Ephesus till his martyrdom in 97. But the apostolical authority of St. John was universal and superior, and the charity and humility of these two holy men prevented all differences upon account of their jurisdiction. St. John preached in other parts and took care of all the churches of Asia which, St. Jerome says, he founded and governed. Tertullian adds that he placed bishops in all that country; by which we are to understand that he confirmed and governed those which SS. Peter and Paul had established, and appointed others in many other churches which he founded. It is even probable that in the course of his long life, he put bishops into all the churches of Asia: for while the apostles lived, they supplied the churches with bishops of their own appointing by the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and by virtue of their commission to plant the church.
St. John, in his extreme old age, continued often to visit the churches of Asia, and sometimes undertook journeys to assume to the sacred ministry a single person whom the Holy Ghost had marked out to him. Appollonius, not the Roman senator, apologist, and martyr, but a Greek father who wrote against the Montanists, and confuted their pretended prophecies step by step, about the year 192, assures us that St. John raised a dead man to life at Ephesus. A certain priest of Asia having been convicted of writing a fabulous account of the voyages of St. Paul and St. Thecla, in defence and honour of that apostle, was deposed by St. John. St. Epiphanius affirms, that St. John was carried into Asia by the special direction of the Holy Ghost, to oppose the heresies of Ebion and Cerinthus. St. Irena us relates that St. John, who ordinarily never made use of a bath, went to bathe on some extraordinary occasion, but understanding that Cerinthus was within, started back, and said to some friends that were with him, "Let us, my brethren, make haste and be gone, lest the bath, wherein is Cerinthus the enemy of the Truth, should fall upon our heads." Dr. Conyers Middleton, in his posthumous works, pretends this anecdote must be false, because inconsistent with this apostle's extraordinary meekness. But St. Irenaeus tells us he received this account from the very mouth of St. Polycarp, St. John's disciple, whose behaviour to Marcion is an instance of the same spirit. This great apostle would teach his flock to beware of the conversation of those who wilfully corrupted the truth of religion, and by their ensnaring speeches endeavoured to seduce others. This maxim he inculcates in his second epistle, but this precaution was restrained to the authors of the pestilential seduction. Nevertheless, the very characteristic of St. John was universal meekness and charity towards all the world. But towards himself he was always most severe; and St. Epiphanius tells us, that he never wore any clothes but a tunic and a linen garment, and never ate flesh; and that his way of living was not unlike that of St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, who was remarkable for austerity and mortification.
In the second general persecution, in the year 95, St. John was apprehended by the proconsul of Asia and sent to Rome, where he was miraculously preserved from death when thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. On account of this trial, the title of martyr is given him by the fathers, who say that thus was fulfilled what Christ had foretold him, that he should drink of his cup. The idolaters, who pretended to account for such miracles by sorcery, blinded themselves to this evidence, and the tyrant Domitian banished St. John into the isle of Patmos, one of the Sporades in the Archipelago. In this retirement the apostle was favoured with those heavenly visions which he has recorded in the canonical book of the Revelations, or of the Apocalypse: they were manifested to him on a Sunday in the year 96. The first three chapters are evidently a prophetic instruction given to seven neighbouring churches of Asia Minor, and to the bishops who governed them. The three last chapters celebrate the triumph of Christ, the judgment and reward of his saints. The intermediate chapters are variously expounded. By these visions God gave St. John a prospect of the future state of the church. His exile was not of long continuance; for Domitian being slain in September in 96, all his edicts and public acts were declared void by a decree of the senate on account of his excessive cruelty; and his successor, Nerva, recalled all those whom he had banished. St. John, therefore, returned to Ephesus in 97, where he found that St. Timothy had been crowned with martyrdom on the preceding 22nd of January. The apostle was obliged, by the pressing entreaties of the whole flock, to take upon him the particular government of that church, which he held till the reign of Trajan. St. John, in imitation of the high priest of the Jews, wore a plate of gold upon his forehead, as an ensign of his Christian priesthood, as Polycrates informs us. St. Epiphanius relates the same of St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, and the author of the history of the martyrdom of St. Mark the Evangelist, attributes to him the same ornament. St. John celebrated the Christian Pasch on the 14th day of the moon, agreeing as to time with the Jewish passover; but was so far from holding the Jewish rites of obligation in the New Law, that he condemned that heresy in the Nazarites. and in Ebion and Cerinthus.(SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjohn.asp
TODAY'S MASS READINGS

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Sirach 3: 2 - 7, 12 - 14
2
For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons.
3
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
4
and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure.
5
Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard.
6
Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother;
7
he will serve his parents as his masters.
12
O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives;
13
even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him.
14
For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and against your sins it will be credited to you;


Psalms 128: 1 - 5
1
Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!
2
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
3
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4
Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
5
The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!

Colossians 3: 12 - 21
12
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience,
13
forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
14
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
15
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
18
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
20
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

GOSPEL

Luke 2: 22 - 40, 39 - 40
22
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23
(as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord")
24
and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
25
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27
And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,
28
he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;
30
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation
31
which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."
33
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;
34
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against
35
(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."
36
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,
37
and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
38
And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39
And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
40
And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
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