Thursday, June 17, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS REPORT) - At 7.30 p.m. yesterday in the basilica of St. John Lateran the Pope inaugurated the diocesan congress of Rome, which has as its theme this year: "'Their eyes were opened, they recognised Him and announced Him'. The Sunday Eucharist and the witness of charity". The congress is being held from 15 to 17 June.
"The faith", said Benedict XVI, "can never be taken for granted, because each generation needs to receive this gift through announcement of the Gospel and knowledge of the truth that Christ revealed to us. Thus the Church constantly strives to present the heritage of the faith to everyone. This also includes the doctrine on the Eucharist". Unfortunately, though, this doctrine "is insufficiently understood in its profound significance and in the relevance it has for believers' lives. It is important, therefore, for people to have a more profound knowledge of the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord".
On the subject of the Mass, the Holy Father highlighted how, "when it is celebrated with respect for liturgical norms, and with adequate attention for the importance of signs and gestures, it favours and promotes the growth of Eucharistic faith". In this context, he invited everyone "to rediscover the fruitfulness of Eucharistic adoration, ... and to ensure that our apostolic activity is not reduced to sterile activism; rather, that it be a testament to the love of God".
"Drawing nourishment from Him, we free ourselves from the bonds of individualism. And through our communion with Him, we ourselves become, all together, a single unit, His mystical Body. Thus we overcome the differences due to profession, social class or nationality because we discover that we are all members of one large family, that of the children of God in which each individual is blessed with a specific grace for the common good".
"When we receive Christ", the Holy Father explained, "the love of God expands inside us, radically modifying our hearts and making us capable of gestures which, by the contagious power of goodness, can transform the lives of people around us".
"For the disciples of Jesus", he went on, "witness of charity is not some passing sentiment; quite the contrary, it shapes their lives in all circumstances". At this point the Pope encouraged people to show "commitment in the delicate and vital area of education in charity, as a permanent dimension of individual and community life.
"Our city of Rome", he added, "calls Christ's disciples to a renewed announcement of the Gospel and to a clearer witness of charity". He also expressed his gratitude "to the people who work in various charitable structures, for the dedication and generosity with which they serve the poor and marginalised".
The Eucharist "requires us to become, and at the same time makes us capable of becoming, the bread broken for our brothers and sisters, meeting their needs and giving of ourselves. For this reason, a Eucharist celebration that does not lead us towards men and women where they live, work and suffer, to bring them the love of God, fails to express the truth it contains".
"In the present economic and social crisis, let us show solidarity with those who live in poverty, offering everyone the hope of a better tomorrow worthy of mankind", the Holy Father concluded.
Finally, the Pope invited young people not to be afraid "to chose love as the supreme rule of life, .. to love Christ in the priesthood, ... to create Christian families that live a faithful and indissoluble love, open to life".
AC/ VIS 20100616 (610)

VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS) - In his catechesis during this morning's general audience, Benedict XVI continued his presentation of the figure of St. Thomas Aquinas, "a theologian of such importance that the study of his works was explicitly recommended by Vatican Council II", he said. He also recalled how in 1880 Leo XIII declared him as patron of Catholic schools and universities.
The Pope noted how Thomas Aquinas focused on the distinction between philosophy and theology. This was because in his time, in the light of Aristotelian and Platonic thought on the one hand, and the philosophy of the Church Fathers on the other, "the burning question was whether ... a philosophy elaborated without reference to Christ and the world of faith, and that elaborated bearing Christ and the world of faith in mind, were compatible or mutually exclusive".
"Thomas", the Holy Father explained, "was firmly convinced that they were compatible, and that the philosophy elaborated without Christ was awaiting only the light of Jesus in order to be made complete. The novelty of Thomas, what determined his path as a thinker, was this: to demonstrate the independence of philosophy and theology, and at the same time their inter-relation".
For the "Doctor Angelicus", the Pope went on, "faith consolidates, integrates and illuminates the heritage of truth acquired by human reason. The trust St. Thomas places in these two instruments of knowledge (faith and reason) can be explained by his conviction that both come from a single wellspring of truth, the divine Logos which works in the area of both creation and redemption".
Having established the principle of reason and faith, St. Thomas makes it clear that they follow different cognitive processes: "Reason accepts a truth by virtue of its intrinsic evidence, either mediated or direct; faith, on the other hand, accepts a truth on the basis of the authority of the revealed Word of God".
"This distinction ensures the autonomy of the human sciences, ... and the theological sciences. However this does not mean a separation; rather, it implies mutual and advantageous collaboration. Faith, in fact, protects reason from any temptation to mistrust in its own capacities and stimulates it to open itself to ever broader horizons".
"Reason too, with the means at its disposal, can do something important for faith, offering it a triple service which St. Thomas summarises thus: ... 'demonstrating the foundations of faith; using similitudes to explain the truth of faith; rebuffing the objections that arise against the faith'. The entire history of Christian theology is, in the final analysis, the exercise of this duty of the intellect, which shows the intelligibility of the faith, its inner structure and harmony, its reasonableness and its capacity to promote the good of man.
"The correctness of theological reasoning and its true cognitive significance is based on the value of theological language which, according to St. Thomas, is principally a language of analogy", the Pope added. "Analogy recognises shared perfections in the created world and in God". Thomas based his doctrine of analogy, "not only on purely philosophical arguments, but also on the fact that, with the revelation, God Himself spoke to us and, thus, authorised us to speak about Him". The Holy Father highlighted the importance of this doctrine which, he said, "helps us overcome certain objections raised by modern atheism which denies that religious language possesses objective meaning and holds that it only has a subjective or merely emotional value. In the light of the teachings of St. Thomas, theology affirms that, however limited, religious language does have meaning".
St. Thomas' moral theology retains great relevance in its affirmation that "the theological and moral virtues of man are rooted in human nature", said Pope Benedict. "Divine Grace accompanies, supports and encourages ethical commitment but, according to St. Thomas, all men and women, believers and non-believers, are of themselves called to recognise the requirements of human nature as expressed in natural law, and to draw inspiration therefrom when formulating positive law; that is, the laws produced by civil and political authorities to regulate human society.
"When natural law and the responsibility it implies are denied," he added, "the way is thrown dramatically open to ethical relativism at an individual level, and to totalitarianism at a political level. Defending the universal rights of man and affirming the absolute value of the dignity of the person presupposes a foundation: and is not this foundation natural law, with the non-negotiable values it contains?".
"Thomas", the Holy Father concluded, "presents us with a broad and trusting view of human reason. Broad, because it is not limited to the area of empirical-scientific reason but open to all of existence and therefore also to the fundamental and inescapable questions of human life; trusting, because human reason, especially if it welcomes the inspiration of Christian faith, promotes a civilisation which recognises the dignity of the person, the inviolability of his rights and the cogency of his duties". AG/ VIS 20100616 (830)

VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel held its plenary meeting in the Vatican yesterday "in an atmosphere of mutual understanding", according to a joint communique released in the late afternoon.
"The plenary welcomed the progress accomplished by the 'Working Level' Commission since the previous plenary, and agreed on the next steps towards conclusion of the Agreement", says the English-language communique.
The Holy See delegation was headed by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States; and the delegation of the State of Israel by Daniel Ayalon, deputy minister for foreign affairs.
The next plenary meeting will take place on 6 December at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the next "Working Level" meeting will be held from 27-28 July.OP/ VIS 20100616 (150)

VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Erected the new diocese of Salgueiro (area 17,931, population 439,418, Catholics 351,534, priests 14, religious 22) Brazil, with territory taken from the dioceses of Petrolina and Floresta, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Olinda e Recife. He appointed Fr. Magnus Henrique Lopes O.F.M. Cap., vicar and bursar of the convent of "Santo Antonio" in Natal, Brazil, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Acu, Brazil in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1996.
- Appointed Bishop Alessandro Carmelo Ruffinoni C.S., auxiliary of Porto Alegre, Brazil, as coadjutor of Caxias do Sol (area 11,892, population 806,000, Catholics 725,000, priests 196, religious 626), Brazil. 


CNS report: CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- The sound of vuvuzelas made for a sleepless night for Rustenburg's bishop as soccer fans watched, then celebrated the U.S.-England tie, and a Detroit-born priest now working in rural South Africa cheered the U.S. performance.

Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, who lives less than a mile from the 44,000-seat Royal Bafokeng Stadium, said there was "an incredible sense of celebration" among local residents and visiting fans, who included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Rustenburg, a mining town in North West province whose name means "Town of Rest" in Afrikaans, is one of the smallest of the nine cities hosting the World Cup.
"It is amazing that sport is able to unite the nation like this, and I hope we can build on this spirit of unity when the tournament is over," said Bishop Dowling in a June 13 telephone interview. He laughed as he told of the sound of thousands of people blowing one-meter-long plastic horns and depriving him of sleep.
Vuvuzelas are said to be based on kudu horns and rooted in African history.
Mariannhill Father Casimir Paulsen, a Detroit priest who has worked in southern Africa for more than 40 years, said he was "very happy" with the U.S. performance against England, though he said he "did feel sorry for England's goalie," Robert Green, whose fumble helped the United States tie the June 12 game, 1-1.
Father Paulsen's pride in the U.S. team was matched by his pride in South Africa's team, known as "Bafana Bafana" (Boys, Boys), "who did so well against a tough team" in the tournament's opening match in Johannesburg June 11. South Africa tied Mexico, 1-1.
Father Paulsen, who is responsible for two parishes, said that in homilies June 13, designated World Cup Sunday by the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, he drew comparisons with the Immaculate Heart of Mary beating in tune with her son's sacred heart and the "hearts of all South Africans beating as one" in their support of their soccer team.
In a June 13 telephone interview, Durban Cardinal Wilfrid Napier said the South Africans "will need to be at our best" June 16 to have a chance of beating Uruguay.
In a statement released as the World Cup opening ceremony began in Johannesburg June 11, the cardinal assured the South African players of his prayers and said the "collective breath of a nation is held" for them.
He urged South Africans to "welcome the world, encounter the world, learn from the world so that the world will know that we remain the Rainbow Nation, diverse and united."


USCCB report;Catholic Campaign for Human Development Approves $300,000 for Grants Assisting Those Affected by Gulf Oil Spill

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Catholic Campaign for Human Development approved grants up to $300,000 to assist people and dioceses affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Meeting June 12, the Subcommittee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development approved these funds outside of the regular funding cycle of the Campaign in order to help low-income people and vulnerable communities impacted by the oil spill to have an effective voice in shaping the response to this terrible challenge.
“This tragic oil spill has grave human, environmental and economic costs,” said Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi, Chairman of the subcommittee. “As a Church, we mourn the loss of life. We pray for those whose livelihoods are in jeopardy. Through these grants, the Church also offers concrete support to the work that must be done to help these communities help themselves. It’s a powerful sign of the essential mission of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.”
The groups who receive the grants will use the funds to provide a voice for the fishermen and communities affected by the spill, coordinate with communities and emergency responders to document the damage, as well as insist on work to restore the damaged wetlands.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans said, “The people of the Archdiocese of New Orleans are grateful for the generosity of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. By providing our fishing communities with funds to support their efforts to recover, the CCHD has enabled the Catholic Church to continue to be a sign of Christ's compassion and hope to the fishing communities. This gift is indeed generous and will be used to provide hope and stability for these hard-working families affected by the disastrous oil spill.”
These grants reflect the teaching of the Catholic Church, which calls for responsible stewardship of the environment and protection of the poor and vulnerable, who are often most affected by environmental harm.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the anti-poverty program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which seeks to assist low-income communities to break the cycle of poverty by addressing its root causes.
For contacts in the region call:

Tom Costanza of the Archdiocese of New Orleans: (504) 596-3097

Robert Gorman of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux: (985) 876-0490


Catholic Conference of Bishop´s of England report-Bishops launch “The Pope in the UK” booklet and official Papal Visit logo

Archbishop Vincent Nichols today launched “The Pope in the UK” booklet which will go out to parishes across England, Wales and Scotland.
The booklet aims to answer some simple questions about the visit itself, the call of faith and its unfolding in daily life and the role of the Catholic Church. It is made up of 10 questions, ranging from why the Pope is meeting the Queen to the contribution of the Catholic Church to British society and why the Pope will be beatifying cardinal Newman.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols said:
“We wanted to try to answer the questions of those curious about the visit in an accessible and intelligent way. It is an attempt to get beyond the immediacy of headlines and make available the immensely rich tradition of the Church in dealing with the dilemmas of human life that Pope Benedict so eloquently expresses.
“We are looking to spell out the richness of Catholic tradition and also the enormous contribution of the Catholic Church to this country and around the world. It is important to explain who the Pope is so people can better appreciate this historic visit.”
As the preface to “The Pope in the UK” sets out: “Today there are many gaps in public knowledge in these matters. This booklet seeks to address those gaps, not in a profound or systematic manner but just by way of some clear facts and indications.
“They will be helpful in preparation for this Papal Visit: helpful to those who are curious, helpful to those who need to understand a little more, helpful to those who are looking forward intently to these historic days.”
The cover of the booklet features the official logo of the Papal Visit. It was designed by leading architectural artist Brian Clarke and incorporates the Papal Visit motto “Heart speaks unto heart”, taken from Cardinal Newman’s writings.
For further information contact Alexander DesForges on 07983 704 097 or CCN on 020 7901 4800
Editor’s notes
The Papal Visit will take place from 16-19 September. Full details of the Pope’s itinerary will be published in July.
The image on the front cover is the official logo for the Papal Visit. It is designed by leading architectural artist Brian Clarke (regarded as the world’s leading artist in stained glass) and incorporates the motto “Heart Speaks unto heart”, taken from Cardinal Newman’s writings.
Cor ad Cor Loquitur - Heart Speaks unto Heart
The theme for Pope Benedict XVI's 2010 visit to the UK is Cor ad cor loquitur - Heart speaks unto heart. Cardinal John Henry Newman chose the words as the motto to go on his coat of arms. Heart speaks unto heart is a fitting choice for this papal visit as, on the final day of his Apostolic Journey, the Holy Father will beatify Cardinal Newman - the much-loved Victorian theologian.
Origins of the motto
When Newman became a Cardinal in 1879, he had to choose a motto to go on his coat of arms. He chose the Latin words Cor ad Cor loquitur – heart speaks unto heart. Where did these words come from? At the time, Newman thought they came from the Imitation of Christ (written in the 1400s), but in fact he was mistaken – they're from St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) a French Bishop and great spiritual writer whom Newman revered. In fact, Newman chose to put a painting of St Francis above the altar in his own Chapel at the Birmingham Oratory.
'Heart speaks to Heart' – who is speaking to who?
The phrase has different levels, which together tell us a lot about Newman, his understanding of what it is to be human, and his vision of a humanity redeemed by Christ. Newman thought that true communication between us speaks from our heart to the heart of others around us – much more than just clever talking. He wrote in an Anglican sermon: 'Eloquence and wit, shrewdness and dexterity, these plead a cause well and propagate it quickly, but it dies with them. It has no root in the hearts of men, and lives not out a generation.' Truth speaks from the centre of the person, from their heart: 'By a heart awake from the dead, and by affections set on heaven, we can... truly and without figure witness that Christ liveth.' In the age of the Internet, Newman tells us that however we communicate, what we say should come from the heart, the fruits of a moral life lived in communion with Christ.
In fact, Christ speaks to us from his own Heart. 'Thou art the living Flame, and ever burnest with love of man' – he is 'the Word, the Light, the Life, the Truth, Wisdom, the Divine Glory.' So, in the end, it's the Heart of God himself which speaks to us – in prayer, in the Mass, through the Scriptures. But also through other faithful Christians, and in the teachings of the Church. As Newman says, 'when the Church speaks Thou dost speak.' The Church has no other heart than the Heart of Christ himself.
Papal Visit logo The image used for the official Papal visit logo is designed by the artist Brian Clarke. It is a detail from a stained glass window by Mr Clarke for the Papal Nunciature in London, which will be blessed by the Pope during his visit in September. The final work is in transparent stained glass and celebrates the intellectual and spiritual achievements of Thomas More, John Fisher and John Henry Newman. The blues and reds in the composition recall the rubies and ultramarines of medieval stained glass.
Brian Clarke b.1953 is internationally renowned as a painter and globally pre-eminent in the medium of stained glass. Among his other projects he was the artist for The Pyramid of Peace in Kazakhstan, The King Faisal Foundation in Saudi Arabia, The Holocaust Memorial in Darmstadt, The Stamford Cone in Connecticut and the Victoria Quarter in Leeds. Further information .
You can download the The Pope in the UK Booklet here (PDF).
Listen to the Press Conference here: Papal Booklet Press Conference audio: 15 June 2010 (MP3).

UCAN report: The recent killing of two Filipino journalists is a threat to the country’s democracy, a Philippine bishop says.

“If we don’t stop this [killing] … we will lose the essence of our democracy,” said Bishop Sergio L. Utleg of Laoag after two broadcasters were murdered within less than 24 hours of each other.
The prelate called on journalists not to be afraid to speak the truth even in the face of such threats.
On Tuesday, gunmen shot and killed broadcaster Joselito Agustin, 37, in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. On Monday night, an assassin killed radio commentator Desidario “Jessie” Camangyan, 52, in Mabini town, Davao Oriental province.
Agustin was a “hero” for doing his job fearlessly, Bishop Utleg said, and appealed for justice to be meted out.
Camangyan’s murder has sent a “chilling effect” to people in Davao Oriental, said Benedictine Sister Stella Matutina.
Camangyan was a vocal critic of logging and mining operations in the area, an advocacy Sister Matutina initiated.
“We denounce this killing,” she said, adding that other members of her pro-environment group, Panalipdan (Defend), have also received death threats.
Meanwhile, the New York-based media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Philippine authorities to bring the killers to justice.
“The authorities must ensure that no witnesses are intimidated from coming forward or testifying, as has been the case in previous such murders in the Philippines,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.
The CPJ said it had written to President-elect Benigno Aquino to address the country’s high rate of journalist murders.
On Tuesday, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) “mourned” the killing of Camangyan.
“There is no excuse for local authorities to delay in bringing the perpetrator and whoever may have ordered the killing to justice,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.


Caritas Australia's Blueprint for a Better World global poverty exhibition in Canberra will be launched next month by Senator Kate Lundy, and Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn Mark Coleridge.

The exhibition "brings the eight Millennium Development Goals to life through visual art, photography and multimedia", said Caritas in a media statement.
The travelling exhibition, presented in partnership with AusAID, will be open to the public at the Museum of Australian Democracy - Old Parliament House from July 10 - August 18.
Through its interactive displays, the exhibitions call on visitors to join the pledge to overcome global poverty and be part of a community striving to build a better world, the statement added.
Member for Canberra, Annette Ellis and Caritas Australia's Community Engagement Manager, Helen Forde will also be present at the July 22 launch.


St. John Francis Regis

Feast: June 16
Information: Feast Day: June 16

Born: January 31, 1597, Fontcouverte, Aude, Languedoc, France

Died: December 30, 1640, La Louvesc, Dauphine, France

Canonized: April 5, 1737, Rome by Pope Clement XII
Major Shrine: La Lovesc
Patron of: lacemakers, social workers
Born 31 January, 1597, in the village of Fontcouverte (department of Aude); died at la Louvesc, 30 Dec., 1640. His father Jean, a rich merchant, had been recently ennobled in recognition of the prominent part he had taken in the Wars of the League; his mother, Marguerite de Cugunhan, belonged by birth to the landed nobility of that part of Languedoc. They watched with Christian solicitude over the early education of their son, whose sole fear was lest he should displease his parents or his tutors. The slightest harsh word rendered him inconsolable, and quite paralyzed his youthful faculties. When he reached the age of fourteen, he was sent to continue his studies in the Jesuit college at Béziers. His conduct was exemplary and he was much given to practices of devotion, while his good humour, frankness, and eagerness to oblige everybody soon won for him the good-will of his comrades. But Francis did not love the world, and even during the vacations lived in retirement, occupied in study and prayer. On one occasion only he allowed himself the diversions of the chase. At the end of his five years' study of the humanities, grace and his ascetic inclinations led him to embrace the religious life under the standard of St. Ignatius Loyola. He entered the Jesuit novitiate of Toulouse on 8 December, 1616, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Here he was distinguished for an extreme fervour, which never afterwards flagged, neither at Cahors, where he studied rhetoric for a year (Oct., 1618-Oct., 1619), nor during the six years in which he taught grammar at the colleges of Billom (1619-22), of Puy-en-Velay (1625-27), and of Auch (1627-28), nor during the three years in which he studied philosophy in the scholasticate at Tournon (Oct., 1622-Oct., 1625). During this time, although he was filling the laborious office of regent, he made his first attempts as a preacher. On feast-days he loved to visit the towns and villages of the neighbourhood, and there give an informal instruction, which never failed--as attested by those who heard him--to produce a profound impression on those present.
As he burned with the desire to devote himself entirely to the salvation of his neighbour, he aspired with all his heart to the priesthood. In this spirit he began in October, 1628, his theological studies. The four years he was supposed to devote to them seemed to him so very long that he finally begged his superiors to shorten the term. This request was granted, and in consequenceFrancis said his first Mass on Trinity Sunday, 15 June, 1631; but on the other hand, in conformity with the statutes of his order, which require the full course of study, he was not admitted to the solemn profession of the four vows. The plague was at that time raging in Toulouse. The new priest hastened to lavish on the unfortunate victims the first-fruits of his apostolate. In the beginning of 1632, after having reconciled family differences at Fontcouverte, his birthplace, and having resumed for some weeks a class in grammar at Pamiers, he was definitively set to work by his superiors at the hard labour of the missions. This became the work of the last ten years of his life. It is impossible to enumerate the cities and localities which were the scene of his zeal. On this subject the reader must consult his modern biographer, Father de Curley, who has succeeded best in reconstructing the itinerary of the holy man. We need only mention that from May, 1632, to Sept., 1634, his head-quarters were at the Jesuit college of Montpellier, and here he laboured for the conversion of the Huguenots, visiting the hospitals, assisting the needy, withdrawing from vice wayward girls and women, and preaching Catholic doctrine with tireless zeal to children and the poor. Later (1633-40) he evangelized more than fifty districts in le Vivarais, le Forez, and le Velay. He displayed everywhere the same spirit, the same intrepidity, which were rewarded by the most striking conversions. "Everybody", wrote the rector of Montpellier to the general of the Jesuits, "agrees that Father Regis has a marvellous talent for the Missions" (Daubenton, "La vie du B. Jean-François Régis", ed. 1716, p. 73). But not everyone appreciated the transports of his zeal. He was reproached in certain quarters with being impetuous and meddlesome, with troubling the peace of families by an indiscreet charity, with preaching not evangelical sermons, but satires and invectives which converted no one. Some priests, who felt their own manner of life rebuked, determined to ruin him, and therefore denounced him to the Bishop of Viviers. They had laid their plot with such perfidy and cunning that the bishop permitted himself to be prejudiced for a time. But it was only a passing cloud. The influence of the best people on the one hand, and on the other the patience and humility of the saint, soon succeeded in confounding the calumny and caused the discreet and enlightened ardour of Regis to shine forth with renewed splendour (Daubenton, loc. dit., 67- 73). Less moderate indeed was his love of mortification, which he practiced with extreme rigour on all occasions, without ruffling in the least his evenness of temper. As he returned to the house one evening after a hard day's toil, one of his confrères laughingly asked: "Well, Father Regis, speaking candidly, are you not very tired?" "No", he replied, "I am as fresh as a rose." He then took only a bowl of milk and a little fruit, which usually constituted both his dinner and supper, and finally, after long hours of prayer, lay down on the floor of his room, the only bed he knew. He desired ardently to go to Canada, which at that time was one of the missions of the Society of Jesus where one ran the greatest risks. Having been refused, he finally sought and obtained from the general permission to spend six months of the year, and those the terrible months of winter, on the missions of the society. The remainder of the time he devoted to the most thankless labour in the cities, especially to the rescue of public women, whom he helped to persevere after their conversion by opening refuges for them, where they found honest means of livelihood. This most delicate of tasks absorbed a great part of his time and caused him many annoyances, but his strength of soul was above the dangers which he ran. Dissolute men often presented a pistol at him or held a dagger to his throat. He did not even change colour, and the brightness of his countenance, his fearlessness, and the power of his words caused them to drop the weapons from their hands. He was more sensitive to that opposition which occasionally proceeded from those who should have seconded his courage. His work among penitents urged his zeal to enormous undertakings. His superiors, as his first biographers candidly state, did not always share his optimism, or rather his unshaken faith in Providence, and it sometimes happened that they were alarmed at his charitable projects and manifested to him their disapproval. This was the cross which caused the saint the greatest suffering, but it was sufficient for him that obedience spoke: he silenced all the murmurs of human nature, and abandoned his most cherished designs. Seventy-two years after his death a French ecclesiastic, who believed he had a grievance against the Jesuits, circulated the legend that towards the end of his life St. John Francis Regis had been expelled from the Society of Jesus. Many different accounts were given, but finally the enemies of the Jesuits settled on the version that the letter of the general announcing to John his dismissal was sent from Rome, but that it was late in reaching its destination, only arriving some days after the death of the saint. This calumny will not stand the slightest examination. (For its refutation see de Curley, "St. Jean-François Régis", 336-51; more briefly and completely in "Analecta Bollandiana", XIII, 78-9.) It was in the depth of winter, at la Louvesc, a poor hamlet of the mountains of Ardèche, after having spent with heroic courage the little strength that he had left, and while he was contemplating the conversion of the Cévennes, that the saint's death occurred, on 30 December, 1640. There was no delay in ordering canonical investigations. On 18 May, 1716, the decree of beatification was issued by Clement XI. On 5 April, 1737, Clement XII promulgated the decree of canonization. Benedict XIV established the feast-day for 16 June. But immediately after his death Regis was venerated as a saint. Pilgrims came in crowds to his tomb, and since then the concourse has only grown. Mention must be made of the fact that a visit made in 1804 to the blessed remains of the Apostle of Vivarais was the beginning of the vocation of the Blessed Curé of Ars, Jean-Baptiste Vianney, whom the Church has raised in his turn to her altars. "Everything good that I have done", he said when dying, "I owe to him" (de Curley, op. cit., 371). The place where Regis died has been transformed into a mortuary chapel. Near by is a spring of fresh water to which those who are devoted to St. John Francis Regis attribute miraculous cures through his intercession. The old church of la Louvesc has received (1888) the title and privileges of a basilica. On this sacred site was founded in the beginning of the nineteenth century the Institute of the Sisters of St. Regis, or Sisters of Retreat, better known under the name of the Religious of the Cenacle; and it was the memory of his merciful zeal in behalf of so many unfortunate fallen women that gave rise to the now flourishing work of St. Francis Regis, which is to provide for the poor and working people who wish to marry, and which is chiefly concerned with bringing illegitimate unions into conformity with Divine and human laws.


Matthew 6: 1 - 6, 16 - 18

1 "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2 "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5 "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16 "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,

18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
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