Friday, September 3, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: FRI. SEPT. 3, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: FRI. SEPT. 3, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: MESSAGE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY 2011-
AMERICA: USA: APPOINTMENT OF FR. TOBIN AS ARCHBISHOP-
EUROPE: ENGLAND: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH ARCHBISHOP AND LORD PATTEN-
AUSTRALIA: CATHOLIC PRESS ASSOCIATION AWARD WINNERS-
AFRICA: MOZAMBIQUE- ARCHBISHOP ENCOURAGES PRAYER FOR NATION-
ASIA: INDIA: CHRISTIANS SUFFER PERSECUTION AND FORCED CONVERSIONS-
VATICAN: POPE: MESSAGE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY 2011-
VATICAN CITY, 3 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" is the title of the Message of Benedict XVI for the twenty-sixth World Youth Day, which is due to be celebrated in the Spanish capital Madrid during the month of August 2011.
The Message - dated from the Vatican on 6 August, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord - has been published today. Paragraphs taken from the English-language version are given below. The Pope writes:
I often think back on the World Youth Day held in Sydney, Australia, in 2008. There we had an experience of a great festival of faith in which the Spirit of God was actively at work, building deep communion among the participants who had come from all over the world. That gathering, like those on previous occasions, bore rich fruit in the lives of many young people and in the life of the whole Church. ... Now, at a time when Europe greatly needs to rediscover its Christian roots, our meeting will take place in Madrid with the theme: "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith".
1. At the source of your deepest aspirationsIn every period of history, including our own, many young people experience a deep desire for personal relationships marked by truth and solidarity. ... In thinking of my own youth, I realise that stability and security are not the questions that most occupy the minds of young people. True enough, it is important to have a job and thus to have firm ground beneath our feet, yet the years of our youth are also a time when we are seeking to get the most out of life. ... We wanted something great, something new. We wanted to discover life itself, in all its grandeur and beauty. Naturally, part of that was due to the times we lived in. During the Nazi dictatorship and the war, we were, so to speak, "hemmed in" by the dominant power structure. So we wanted to break out into the open, to experience the whole range of human possibilities. I think that, to some extent, this urge to break out of the ordinary is present in every generation.
... Is this simply an empty dream that fades away as we become older? No! Men and women were created for something great, for infinity. ... The desire for a more meaningful life is a sign that God created us and that we bear His "imprint". God is life, and that is why every creature reaches out towards life. Because human beings are made in the image of God, we do this in a unique and special way. We reach out for love, joy and peace. So we can see how absurd it is to think that we can truly live by removing God from the picture! God is the source of life. To set God aside is to separate ourselves from that source and, inevitably, to deprive ourselves of fulfilment and joy. In some parts of the world, particularly in the West, today's culture tends to exclude God, and to consider faith a purely private issue with no relevance for the life of society. Even though the set of values underpinning society comes from the Gospel - values like the sense of the dignity of the person, of solidarity, of work and of the family - we see a certain "eclipse of God" taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity.
For this reason, dear friends, I encourage you to strengthen your faith in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are the future of society and of the Church! As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians of Colossae, it is vital to have roots, a solid foundation! This is particularly true today. Many people have no stable points of reference on which to build their lives, and so they end up deeply insecure. There is a growing mentality of relativism, which holds that everything is equally valid, that truth and absolute points of reference do not exist. But this way of thinking does not lead to true freedom, but rather to instability, confusion and blind conformity to the fads of the moment. As young people, you are entitled to receive from previous generations solid points of reference to help you to make choices and on which to build your lives: like a young plant which needs solid support until it can sink deep roots and become a sturdy tree capable of bearing fruit.
2. Planted and built up in Jesus Christ
In order to highlight the importance of faith in the lives of believers, I would like to reflect with you on each of the three terms used by St. Paul in the expression: "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith". We can distinguish three images: "planted" calls to mind a tree and the roots that feed it; "built up" refers to the construction of a house; "firm" indicates growth in physical or moral strength. These images are very eloquent.
... The first image is that of a tree which is firmly planted thanks to its roots, which keep it upright and give it nourishment. ... What are our roots? Naturally our parents, our families and the culture of our country are very important elements of our personal identity. But the Bible reveals a further element. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: "Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream". ... For the prophet, to send out roots means to put one's trust in God. From Him we draw our life. ... Jesus Himself tells us that He is our life. Consequently, Christian faith is not only a matter of believing that certain things are true, but above all a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an encounter with the Son of God that gives new energy to the whole of our existence.
... There is a moment, when we are young, when each of us wonders: what meaning does my life have? What purpose and direction should I give to it? This is a very important moment, and it can worry us, perhaps for some time. ... Here, once more, I think of my own youth. I was somehow aware quite early on that the Lord wanted me to be a priest. Then later, after the war, when I was in the seminary and at university on the way towards that goal, I had to recapture that certainty. I had to ask myself: is this really the path I was meant to take? Is this really God's will for me? ... A decision like this demands a certain struggle. It cannot be otherwise. But then came the certainty: this is the right thing! Yes, the Lord wants me, and He will give me strength. If I listen to Him and walk with Him, I become truly myself. What counts is not the fulfilment of my desires, but of His will. In this way life becomes authentic.
Just as the roots of a tree keep it firmly planted in the soil, so the foundations of a house give it long-lasting stability. Through faith, we have been built up in Jesus Christ, even as a house is built on its foundations. Sacred history provides many examples of saints who built their lives on the Word of God. ... Being built up in Jesus Christ means responding positively to God's call, trusting in Him and putting His Word into practice.
Dear friends, build your own house on rock. ... Try each day to follow Christ's Word. ... With Him at your side, you will find courage and hope to face difficulties and problems, and even to overcome disappointments and set-backs. You are constantly being offered easier choices, but you yourselves know that these are ultimately deceptive and cannot bring you serenity and joy. Only the Word of God can show us the authentic way, and only the faith we have received is the light which shines on our path. ... Do not believe those who tell you that you don't need others to build up your life! Find support in the faith of those who are dear to you, in the faith of the Church, and thank the Lord that you have received it and have made it your own!
3. Firm in the faith
You are "planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith". The Letter from which these words are taken was written by St. Paul in order to respond to a specific need of the Christians in the city of Colossae. ... Our own cultural context, dear young people, is not unlike that of the ancient Colossians. Indeed, there is a strong current of secularist thought that aims to make God marginal in the lives of people and society by proposing and attempting to create a "paradise" without Him. Yet experience tells us that a world without God becomes a "hell": filled with selfishness, broken families, hatred between individuals and nations, and a great deficit of love, joy and hope. On the other hand, wherever individuals and nations accept God's presence, worship Him in truth and listen to His voice, then the civilisation of love is being built, a civilisation in which the dignity of all is respected, and communion increases, with all its benefits. Yet some Christians allow themselves to be seduced by secularism or attracted by religious currents that draw them away from faith in Jesus Christ. There are others who, while not yielding to these enticements, have simply allowed their faith to grow cold, with inevitable negative effects on their moral lives.
Dear friends, the Cross often frightens us because it seems to be a denial of life. In fact, the opposite is true! It is God's "yes" to mankind, the supreme expression of His love and the source from which eternal life flows. ... I can only urge you, then, to embrace the Cross of Jesus, the sign of God's love, as the source of new life.
4. Believing in Jesus Christ without having seen Him
For many people today, it has become difficult to approach Jesus. There are so many images of Jesus in circulation which, while claiming to be scientific, detract from His greatness and the uniqueness of His person. That is why, after many years of study and reflection, I thought of sharing something of my own personal encounter with Jesus by writing a book. It was a way to help others see, hear and touch the Lord in whom God came to us in order to make Himself known.
Dear young people, learn to "see" and to "meet" Jesus in the Eucharist, where He is present and close to us, and even becomes food for our journey. In the Sacrament of Penance the Lord reveals His mercy and always grants us His forgiveness. Recognise and serve Jesus in the poor, the sick, and in our brothers and sisters who are in difficulty and in need of help. Enter into a personal dialogue with Jesus Christ and cultivate it in faith. Get to know Him better by reading the Gospels and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Converse with Him in prayer, and place your trust in Him. He will never betray that trust! ... Thus you will acquire a mature and solid faith, one which will not be based simply on religious sentiment or on a vague memory of the catechism you studied as a child. You will come to know God and to live authentically in union with him, like the Apostle Thomas who showed his firm faith in Jesus in the words: "My Lord and my God!"
5. Sustained by the faith of the Church, in order to be witnesses
In the history of the Church, the saints and the martyrs have always drawn from the glorious Cross of Christ the strength to be faithful to God even to the point of offering their own lives. In faith they found the strength to overcome their weaknesses and to prevail over every adversity. ... The victory born of faith is that of love. There have been, and still are, many Christians who are living witnesses of the power of faith that is expressed in charity.
Christ is not a treasure meant for us alone; He is the most precious treasure we have, one that is meant to be shared with others. In our age of globalisation, be witnesses of Christian hope all over the world. How many people long to receive this hope!
In the same way, if you believe, and if you are able to live out your faith and bear witness to it every day, you will become a means of helping other young people like yourselves to find the meaning and joy of life, which is born of an encounter with Christ!
6. On the way to World Youth Day in Madrid
Dear friends, once again I invite you to attend World Youth Day in Madrid. I await each of you with great joy. Jesus Christ wishes to make you firm in faith through the Church. The decision to believe in Jesus Christ and to follow Him is not an easy one. It is hindered by our personal failures and by the many voices that point us towards easier paths. Do not be discouraged. Rather, look for the support of the Christian community, the support of the Church!
Throughout this year, carefully prepare for the meeting in Madrid with the bishops, priests and youth leaders in your dioceses, parish communities, associations and movements. The quality of our meeting will depend above all on our spiritual preparation, our prayer, our common hearing of the word of God and our mutual support.
Dear young people, the Church depends on you! She needs your lively faith, your creative charity and the energy of your hope. Your presence renews, rejuvenates and gives new energy to the Church. That is why World Youth Days are a grace, not only for you, but for the entire People of God. The Church in Spain is actively preparing to welcome you and to share this joyful experience of faith with you.
VATICAN CITY, 3 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Jose Edson Santana de Oliveira of Eunapolis.
- Bishop Mauro Montagnoli C.S.S. of Ilheus.
- Bishop Czeslaw Stanula C.SS.R. of Itabuna.
- Bishop Carlos Alberto dos Santos of Teixeira de Freitas-Caravelas.
- Archbishop Jose Palmeira Lessa of Aracaju, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Henrique Soares da Costa.
AMERICA: USA: APPOINTMENT OF FR. TOBIN AS ARCHBISHOP
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On August 2, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI announced his selection of Fr. Joseph Tobin, a Detroit native and former Superior General of the Redemptorists, as Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, commonly known as the "Congregation for Religious."
This office oversees over 1,000,000 people in religious and consecrated life. The Holy Father made his choice known at noon, Rome time, on the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists.
He will serve under Cardinal Frank Rodé, CM, of Slovenia, the current prefect of the Congregation.
Anna Arco, of the UK Catholic Herald noted that when the Redemptorist received the phone call from the Pope's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Berntone, he was reluctant to take the appointment.
The Cardinal reminded him "of words spoken in Pope Benedict's inaugural homily. The Holy Father said that in becoming Pope he must assume 'an enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity.' If Benedict could assume the papacy, then Fr Tobin could become the secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life," Arco reported.
The reporter's description of the new Secretary provides a consensus opinion shared by those who know him. She writes, "The tall and broad-shouldered Michigan native fills the little sitting room with his surprisingly gentle presence.
"He jokes that he's not quite sure why he has been appointed except that someone opened a book and put a finger on his name. He comes across as a person who will listen and deliberate before he acts. Over a cup of tea, with the rain pouring outside, he talks about living in Britain's secular culture, the Roman Curia he is about to join and the challenges of his new job."
Catholic Online's Founder and Publisher, Michael Galloway, has known the new secretary for many years. "We have eaten together, traveled together and shared many deep and rich conversations about our Church. His support and friendship over the years has really been a gift to me. I can't think of anyone who is better qualified to help navigate this congregation during these trying times than Father Tobin."
By virtue of this selection, Tobin becomes an archbishop. The date of his Episcopal ordination has not yet been announced, but Cardinal Bertone requested that he begin his work immediately as the post has been vacant for eight months and the congregation has been overseen the by a Salesian nun who serves as undersecretary.
Tobin's appointment comes at a time when the Congregation has moved into the spotlight through the visitation of the Legionaries of Christ, whose founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, and other members were accused of sexual misbehavior and abuse.
Veteran Vatican reporter John Allen, of the National Catholic Reporter, asked the new leader, just days after the announcement, what role he expects to play in the investigation.
"The visitor has a pretty complete set of faculties to deal with the situation," he told Allen. "But I imagine that at some point he'll make recommendations to the congregation. I'm sure the dicastery will want to stay informed.
"As you know, a house of cards has been constructed in the media and elsewhere to portray Benedict XVI as somehow uncaring or soft on clerical sexual misconduct, but it has to answer the point that one of the first things he did as pope was to deal with Maciel. That action spoke volumes, because I had been in Rome and I saw the incredible clout Maciel had.
"The fact that Benedict did it, and did it quickly, was a clear signal that the pope is serious about correcting this thing. Theologically and spiritually, I think the Legionaries face enormous challenges, given how much religious life tends to stress the person and the inspiration of the founder."
Another area under investigation involves women religious in the United States. Allen asked the Archbishop-elect whether he thought there was any connection between this and his appointment.
"I think so. Maybe it suggests some awareness of just how badly this thing has gone down. This week [Ed. - August 7] I'll be attending the meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in Long Beach, California, and some of the officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will be there.
"It's my intention to meet with them, to talk about how we can bring life from this. I want to have a frank discussion to help me shape my thinking and whatever proposals I might bring to the congregation."
A few weeks after the announcement, Fr. Tobin spoke with Robert Delaney of The Michigan Catholic (Archdiocese of Detroit). He said the announcement had taken him by surprise.
"It was not something that was on my radar screen," he told Delaney in a telephone interview from ...
his mother's home in Stoney Point, Ontario, about 35 miles east of Windsor. It was there, in fact, where Fr. Tobin received the call as he had taken time during his sabbatical to paint her house.
He went on to express his enthusiasm for the appointment saying, "I believe in the consecrated life, and anything I can do in the Church to see that it will continue and prosper, I'm willing to do that."
Fr. Tobin, 58, had served the order in a number of leadership capacities and finally as the Superior General for two terms, from 1997 to 2009. His early years of ministry were spent in the Midwest, as a pastor in Detroit, where he was born and raised, as well as Chicago. In one assignment, he served as pastor of his home parish, Holy Redeemer Church in southwest Detroit. The oldest of 13 children and growing up one block from the parish, he said that some of the older parishioners were quite surprised to see this young "ruffian" now celebrating the Mass at the altar.
"We had a clear sense of mission at Holy Redeemer, and the opportunity to share that sense of mission, working with my fellow Redemptorists and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary," he said.
Although he was to leave Holy Redeemer to take an assignment in Chicago, and then go on to national and international positions, the archbishop-designate said he has always kept up with news of his home parish and of Detroit, "of both its struggles and its victories."
The congregation - officially known in Rome as the Congregatio pro Institutis Vitae Consecratae et Societatibus Vitae Apostolicae - is responsible for everything that concerns institutes of consecrated life, including men's and women's orders and religious congregations and secular institutes as well as societies of apòstolic life. As a part of the Roman Curia, they oversee everything regarding government, discipline, studies, goods, rights and privileges.
Established by Pope Sixtus V, May 27, 1586, it was originally called the Sacred Congregation for Consultations about Regulars. The congregation subsequently went through a number of name changes, being called the Congregation of the Affairs of Religious in 1908, then the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes in 1967, an alteration made by Pope Paul VI. In 1988 Pope John Paul II adopted its current name.
EUROPE: ENGLAND: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH ARCHBISHOP AND LORD PATTEN ON PAPAL VISIT
Catholic Herald report: The papal visit will be a “great Commonwealth event”, watched closely by Catholics in Canada and Australia, Lord Patten has said.
Lord Patten, a former Cabinet minister and the last Governor of Hong Kong, also set out to explain why the British Government had invited the Pope.
He said: “First of all, we are welcoming the head of a Church which represents about 10 per cent of citizens of this country, and represents over a billion people around the world. Second, we’re welcoming somebody with whose Church we work closely around the world in pursuit of the Government’s aims of promoting social equity and sustainable development.
“We don’t share every policy position but we work extremely closely with the Church in Africa, in Asia, in the United Nations, for example, in about three weeks time in promoting the same goals in New York when the Millennium Development Goals are discussed, and I hope when the issue of climate change is debated once again later this year.”
He also praised the “important contribution” the Church made to the social development of Britain.
“For all those reasons the Pope’s visit is hugely welcome. But it’s also welcome I think because of its assertion of the important role that religion, that Christianity, has played in the shaping of our own society. I think people will be listening to what His Holiness has to say about the relationship between religion and some of the other presently dominant influences in our society and in Europe as a whole,” he said.
At the press conference, organised for foreign media, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster praised the Government for its “extraordinary” work in planning the events.
He said the visit had profound “historic and cultural implications”, and the image of Queen Elizabeth meeting Pope Benedict “would resonate through the story of this land”.
The Archbishop said: “When the Pope enters Westminster Hall on the Friday evening to address politicians, diplomats, leaders of this society, that will be another very historic and resonant moment. The Pope will pause at the spot at which St Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor of England, was condemned to death in 1535 for his Catholic faith. He will be on that spot.
“He will also, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, go to pray at the tomb of St Edward the confessor, the canonised King of England, the founder of Westminster Abbey.”
AUSTRALIA: CATHOLIC PRESS ASSOCIATION AWARD WINNERS
Cath News report: The 2010 Australasian Catholic Press Association Annual Awards for Excellence were presented in Hobart last night, honouring the best in Catholic media across Australia and The Pacific over the past year.
Wel-Com, a publication of the Dioceses of Wellington and Palmerston North NZ, took the prize for Best News for its Dec 2009 story, "Marae reintegration programme at risk", by Cecily McNeill, according to a media statement.
Judges said it reported a current news event "highlighting a successful community program that, because of the way it is funded, fights for its continued existence each year. The emphasis of personal stories in the piece balances well with the necessary facts and figures to create a far greater emotional connection with the reader".
The Best Feature Story prize went to the Archdiocese of Melbourne's Kairos Catholic Journal, for a priece by Tony Gee titled "Breaking silence on suicide", as "a splendid piece of writing about an extremely sensitive subject".
This year's Bishop Philip Kennedy Memorial Prize for a Newspaper went to The Sandpiper, the official publication for the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst, while the same award for a magazine went to the Tui Motu InterIslands independent New Zealand publication.
"If the Sandpiper were a boxer you could say it fighting very much above it weight; and it is doing so with the obvious contribution of the wider community - one editor could not do this all by themselves," the judges commented. "The Sandpiper is a worthy winner."
AFRICA: MOZAMBIQUE- ARCHBISHOP ENCOURAGES PRAYER FOR NATION
Agenzia Fides REPORT - "The situation is slowly returning to calm, although there is less traffic on the streets of the capital because of the transport strike," Fides has been told by a local Church source in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, where clashes on September 1 left 7 people (2 of whom were children) dead and 288 injured (see Fides 09/02/2010).
"The worst clashes occurred on September 1, while those of yesterday, September 2, were a little less intense," says the source of Fides, which for security reasons wishes to remain anonymous. "Today, the situation seems to have been stabilized. The army and police,who have been patrolling the streets of Maputo for the past 2 days, have reduced in number and some shops have reopened.”
“His Excellency Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, Archbishop of Maputo, has appealed for calm and asked the faithful to pray for the country,” says our source.
The protest was sparked by the announcement of the rise in the cost of bread by 30%, which was followed by similar increases in electricity and water costs. The government announced that the increase in the price of bread was "irrevocable." "The government statement provoked a strong disappointment among the population and it is, therefore, likely that the protests will continue, perhaps in another form," says the source of Fides.
According to the government's assessment of the clashes that followed the popular protest in which thousands took to the streets of Maputo, there were 7 killed, 288 injured, 23 shops besieged and looted, and 2 train cars and 12 buses damaged.
“The clashes were limited to the capital; there have been no reports of other incidents from the rest of the country. Only in Beira, Mozambique's second most important city and home of its most important port, there were demonstrations. Beira is administered by the FRELIMO (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique), the former guerrilla group that in 1992 (year of the signing of the peace) became the main opposition party," says the source of Fides. "It is therefore possible that the protests in Beira were somehow channeled by the opposition, unlike those of Maputo, which instead appear to have been organized from below, with the use of SMS messages. Also, Maputo has a better coverage area for mobile phones, unlike many other areas of the country. This might explain, at least in part, why the protest was concentrated in Maputo, apart from the fact that it is the capital of the country," concludes the source of Fides.
ASIA: INDIA: CHRISTIANS SUFFER PERSECUTION AND FORCED CONVERSIONS IN ORISSA
“People are living in misery,” said Mgr Raphael Cheenath, SVD, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, at a press conference in Bhubaneswar last Monday. “They need to live a dignified life. The Orissa State government has an obligation to do something about it and protect Christians from this inhuman treatment,” he added.
The prelate urged local authorities to compensate those who suffered losses during the pogroms and now find themselves homeless. He slammed the puny sums given out so far, US$ 1,000 for destroyed homes and US$ 400 for damaged homes.
“The Orissa State Government must raise compensation, from Rs. 5 lakhs (US$ 1,000) to Rs. 20 lakhs (US$ 4,000) to rebuild damaged Churches, religious and public institutions, NGOs, including the furniture and other fixtures that were destroyed with the buildings in the violence,” Archbishop Cheenath said.
At the start, the government made an “arbitrary” assessment to determine victims’ compensation, and did so without consulting them to find out their needs. Thus, “About 12,500 people have been resettled in their houses;” however, “About 17,500 people are still displaced and have a right to be resettled by the state government,” the archbishop added.
Between December 2007 and August 2008, Hindu extremists killed 93 people, sacked and torched more than 6,500 homes, destroyed 350 churches and 45 schools. The pogroms displaced more than 50,000 people.
So far, most of the perpetrators of these crimes are free. Many witnesses scheduled to appear at trials taking place at the Kandhamal courthouse have been silenced through threats and acts of discrimination.
Between 22 and 24 August, victims, human rights activists and religious leaders organised a people’s court in New Delhi to shed light on what happened and push India’s central government to intervene.
TODAY'S SAINT: POPE ST. GREGORY THE GREAT, DIED 604
St. Gregory the Great
POPE, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
540 at Rome, Italy
12 March 604 at Rome, Italy
against plague, choir boys, educators, England, gout, masons, musicians, papacy, Popes, schoolchildren, singers, stone masons, stonecutters, students, teachers, West Indies
Doctor of the Church; b. at Rome about 540; d. 12 March 604.
Gregory's father was Gordianus, a wealthy patrician, probably of the famous gens Amicia, who owned large estates in Sicily and a mansion on the Caelian Hill in Rome, the ruins of which, apparently in a wonderful state of preservation, still await excavation beneath the Church of St. Andrew and St. Gregory. His mother Silvia appears also to have been of good family, but very little is known of her life. She is honoured as a saint, her feast being kept on 3 November (see SILVIA, SAINT). Besides his mother, two of Gregory's aunts have been canonised, Gordianus's two sisters, Tarsilla and Æmilians, so that John the Deacon speaks of his education as being that of a saint among saints. In 573, when little more than thirty years old, Gregory decided to abandon everything and become a monk. This event took place most probably in 574. His decision once taken, he devoted himself to the work and austerities of his new life with all the natural energy of his character. His Sicilian estates were given up to found six monasteries there, and his home on the Caelian Hill was converted into another under the patronage of St. Andrew. However, he was soon drawn out of his seclusion, when, in 578, the pope ordained him, much against his will, as one of the seven deacons (regionarii) of Rome. Popo Pelagius II accordingly dispatched a special embassy to Tiberius, and sent Gregory along with it as his apocrisiarius, or permanent ambassador to the Court of Byzantium. The date of this new appointment seems to have been the spring of 579, and it lasted apparently for about six years. In the year 586, or possibly 585, he was recalled to Rome, and with the greatest joy returned to St. Andrew's, of which he became abbot soon afterwards. The monastery grew famous under his energetic rule, producing many monks who won renown later. Then, in February, 590, as if to fill the cup of misery to the brim, Pelagius II died. The choice of a successor lay with the clergy and people of Rome, and without any hesitation they elected Gregory, Abbot of St. Andrew's. As the plague still continued unabated, Gregory called upon the people to join in a vast sevenfold procession which was to start from each of the seven regions of the city and meet at the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin, all praying the while for pardon and the withdrawal of the pestilence. This was accordingly done, and the memory of the event is still preserved by the name "Sant' Angelo" given to the mausoleum of Hadrian from the legend that the Archangel St. Michael was seen upon its summit in the act of sheathing his sword as a sign that the plague was over. At length, after six months of waiting, came the emperor's confirmation of Gregory's election. The saint was terrified at the news and even meditated flight. He was seized, however, carried to the Basilica of St. Peter, and there consecrated pope on 3 September, 590. The story that Gregory actually fled the city and remained hidden in a forest for three days, when his whereabouts was revealed by a supernatural light, seems to be pure invention.
As pope Gregory still lived with monastic simplicity. (Edited from http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/G/stgregorythegreat.asp
TODAY'S GOSPEL: SEPT. 3: Luke 5: 33 - 39
Luke 5: 33 - 39
33 And they said to him, "The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink."
34 And Jesus said to them, "Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
35 The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days."
36 He told them a parable also: "No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it upon an old garment; if he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.
37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.
38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new; for he says, `The old is good.'"