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Friday, May 20, 2011

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: FRI. MAY 20, 2011











AMERICA: USA: CATHOLIC CELEBRITIES ARE NOT ANGELS AND NEED PRAYER

ASIA: CHINA: NEW BISHOP ORDAINED- APPROVED BY VATICAN

TODAY'S SAINT: ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAY 20: JOHN 14: 1-6



POPE TO ADDRESS ENDEAVOUR ASTRONAUTS TOMORROW

VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2011 (VIS report) - Tomorrow, Saturday 21 May, Benedict XVI will connect via satellite with the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) on the occasion of the space shuttle Endeavour's last mission.

The connection will take place at 1:11pm (Rome time). The Pope will particularly address the two European astronauts of Italian nationality, Paolo Nespoli and Roberto Vittori.

The event may be followed live on television as will as being streamed on the internet at the Vatican Radio-CTV site.

OP/ VIS 20110520 (80) (image source: Radio Vaticana)

HUMAN AND RELIGIOUS VALUES SHARED BY CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS

VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2011 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies of Amman, Jordan held their second Colloquium in Rome from 18 to 19 May. The meeting was presided over by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the pontifical council, and by Prof. Kamel Abu Jaber, director of the institute.

The theme of the Colloquium was "Human and Religious Values Shared by Christians and Muslims for a Common Education".

According to a communique made public today, the participants highlighted the following points:

"1) Christians and Muslims share basic human values like the sacred character of human life, human dignity, and the fundamental inalienable rights deriving from it.

2) As for the religious values, some of them are common to Christians and Muslims, meanwhile others are specific of each community. It is therefore important to point out commonalities and to identify differences. Respect for differences is in fact an important condition for an authentic dialogue.

3) Education, religious in particular, should not form identities in antagonism or in conflict, but on the contrary, while helping the youth to be well rooted in their own religious identity, it should favor the formation of identities open to other identities.

4) A privileged space of common education is that of the schools, institutions and universities, private and public, where Christian and Muslim children and youth study together. Such an experience is to be conserved and cherished, also because it gives the occasion to create strong and permanent friendships".

The communique concluded with the information that the two parties agreed to meet again within two years and that a preparatory meeting will precede the colloquium.

CON-DIR/ VIS 20110520 (270)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS

VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2011 (VIS) - A General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis will take place from 22 to 27 May on the premises of the Domus Mariae Palazzo Carpegna Hotel in Rome. About 300 delegates will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the confederation. Participants will be received in an audience by the Pope and, on the assembly's opening day, the Cardinal Secretary of State will preside over a Eucharistic celebration.

Caritas Internationalis gathers together 165 national Caritas groups and aims primarily at coordinating their intervention in emergencies and crises. It is currently chaired by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In 2004, Pope John Paul II granted the organization public canonical legal status both by reason of the nature of the national and diocesan Caritas organizations, which are the official organs of the bishops' charitable efforts, as well as in recognition of the great service that the confederation has expressed for decades for the good of the entire Church as well as for humanity.

Granting the organization public canonical legal status entailed the need to adapt its statutes so that they would reflect the nature and purpose of Caritas Internationalis and its mission. The assembly will be an important moment for presenting its work carried out in that field and, under the new statues now in force, to proceed to renew the confederation's governing offices. Caritas Internationalis's plan of action for the next four years will also be reflected on during the meeting.

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AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today, in separate audiences, the Holy Father received eight prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India on their ad limina visit:

- Noel Fahey, the ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See, on his farewell visit.

- Eight prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India on their ad limina visit:

- Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar with Emeritus Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, S.V.D.

- Bishop Stephen M. Tiru of Khunti.

- Bishop Aleixo das Neves Dias of Port Blair.

- Bishop Vincent Barwa of Simdega.

- Bishop Victor Henry Thakur of Bettiah.

- Bishop Kurien Valiakandathil of Bhagalpur.

- Bishop Sebastian Kallupura of Buxar.

The Holy Father is scheduled to receive this afternoon Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

AP:AL/ VIS 20110520 (120)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed Fr. Vincent Long Van Nguyen, O.F.M.Conv., as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne (area 27,194, population 3,844,000, Catholics 1,085,000, priests 561, permanent deacons 1, religious 1,737), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in 1961 in Dong Nai, Saigon, Vietnam and was ordained to the priesthood in 1989. He was previously assistant general of the Federation of Asian/Australian Minor Conventuals.

AMERICA: USA: CATHOLIC CELEBRITIES ARE NOT ANGELS AND NEED PRAYER

JESUSCARITASEST.ORG report: As many Catholic celebrities are making headlines for their extra-marital affairs, it becomes evident that prayers for these individuals are necessary. Power, wealth, prestige, fame are not indicators of sanctity. In fact, many Saints have fled the dangers of such lifestyles to live in seclusion and penance. It is important for these individuals to repent publicly and perform acts of penance. However, it is also important for their fellow Christians to pray for their conversion. We are all sinners and therefore, should pray for these celebrities and their families. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. St. Francis once said, "There but for the grace of God go I".Martin Sheen (pictured above) has publicly asked for prayers for his son Charlie. “We lift him up and we ask everyone who cares about him to lift him up and lift up all of those who are in the grip of drug and alcohol abuse,” Martin continued. “Because they too are looking for transcendence.” (AccessHollywood)

The recent split of Schwartzenegger and his wife Maria Schriver (pictured above) is evidence of the need for greater prayer in families. It has become clear that a lifestyle of fame, fortune and prestige does not ensure a sound marriage or spiritual life. Movie stars are not Angels and are subject to many temptations. Mel Gibson's (pictured below) troubles with his second wife are constantly commanding media attention. It is important for Christians to pray for Mr. Gibson and his family. Here again we find individuals entrenched in an environment of greed, indecency, and jealously.
Mel Gibson dumps bodyguards for gun
How can man avoid such evils? Through greater prayer and penance. It is important to remember the example of St. Mary Magdelene who publicly repented of her many sins. She became a great Saint in the Church. These men have performed good deeds for society and therefore are in need of our prayers more than gossip. It is hoped that these incidents do not overshadow the good they have done. Kyrie Eleison+
Image sources: comradeumukoro blogspot (schwartzenegger)
Topnews.in (Gibson)
zainad.blogspot (Sheen Family)

ASIA: CHINA: NEW BISHOP ORDAINED- APPROVED BY VATICAN

ASIA NEWS REPORT; Bishop John Lu Peisen is the second legitimate pastor ordained since the beginning of the year. Two days ago the Pope's call to pray for the bishops who "suffer and are under pressure in exercising their episcopal ministry." Bishop Lu was a long time teacher at the seminary in Jinan.

Yanzhou (AsiaNews) – Msgr. John Lu Peisen was ordained today as bishop of Yanzhou (Shandong). Bishop Lu, who was a long time seminary professor is approved by the Holy See and the Chinese government. He is the second legitimate bishop ordained in China since the beginning of the year after Msgr. Liang Jiansen of Jiangmen. But just days ago, the honorary chairman of the Patriotic Association, Anthony Liu Bainian had promised ten episcopal ordinations without papal consent.

Bishop Lu’s ordination came two days after Benedict XVI’s call to observe the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China on May 24. In the appeal the Pope mentioned his “brother bishops” in China some of whom “suffer and find themselves under pressure in the exercise of their episcopal ministry.”

Bishop Fang Xinyao of Linyi, chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, was the main celebrant. Bishops Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng, Li Mingshu of Qingdao, Yang Yongqiang of Zhoucun and Zhang Xianwang of Jinan concelebrated. All bishops present were legitimate.

Also concelebrating were 37 priests from Yanzhou and neighboring dioceses in Shandong. Only 200 laypeople attended due to government control. The ordination took place at the Heyanmen Church in Jining city, 30 kilometers off Yanzhou.

A priest of Yanzhou told AsiaNews that Msgr. Lu, originally from Jinan diocese, was transferred to Yanzhou last October and local priests elected him the bishop of Yanzhou. The diocese has seven priests and 10,000 Catholics.

Msgr. Lu was a seminary teacher at Holy Spirit Seminary in Jinan city, provincial capital, for 17 years, some local priests were his classmates and students at the seminary. “They were familiar with one another”, the priest added.

Msgr. Lu is a vice director the Working Committee of Clergy, which is under the control of the Patriotic Association and Chinese Bishops council. Led by Msgr. Fang Jianping of Tangshan (Hebei), the committee of clergy is one of the nine committees formed in the National Assembly of Catholic Representatives in December 2010.

Msgr. Lu was born on Aug. 7, 1966 to a Catholic family in Shandong province. From 1984 to 1989, he studied at Holy Spirit Seminary in Jinan. He was ordained a priest on Dec. 17, 1989 and served in Tai’an parish from 1990-1994. Since 1994, he worked at the seminary until now.

Yanzhou was originally part of the the South Shandong Apostolic vicariate formed in 1882 and run by Divine Word missionaries. It became Yenchowfu Apostolic vicariate in 1925 and was elevated to a diocese in 1946. The last ordinary was Bishop Zhao Fengwu who died in 2005 on his way to celebrate the Feast of Assumption on Aug. 15 at the age of 85.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/New-bishop-of-Yanzhou-ordained-with-Holy-See-approval-21621.html

EUROPE: LITHUANIA: PRIEST SET ON FIRE DURING MASS

NEWS.COM.AU REPORT: AN assailant has sprayed a Roman Catholic priest with flammable liquid and set him alight during mass in a church in Lithuania, police in the Baltic state say.

Father Remigijus Kuprys, 46, managed to extinguish the flames with the help of worshippers, but suffered facial burns.

The attack occurred during the service on Thursday in the central Lithuanian town of Jonava, when a 42-year-old local resident sprayed Kuprys with the flammable liquid and set it ablaze with a cigarette lighter.

The motives of the assailant, identified by police only by his initials JD, were unknown.

''We have reports that he had repeatedly disrupted masses and shouted weird statements. Investigators are deciding on psychiatric tests,'' officer Mindaugas Juknys said today.

The suspect did not resist arrest when police arrived at the church. If considered mentally fit to stand trial, he risks up to 10 years in jail for the assault.


Police said that the priest had been released from hospital after receiving treatment for his burns.

Lithuanian daily Lietuvos Rytas today published a photograph of Kuprys with his face fully bandaged, with only the eyes and mouth visible.

Around 80 per cent of Lithuania's three million residents are Roman Catholic.

SOURCE: http://www.news.com.au/world/priest-set-alight-by-man-during-mass-in-church/story-e6frfkyi-1226059948470#ixzz1MwZIxgRB

AFRICA: IVORY COAST: 30, 000 DISPLACED PEOPLE RECEIVED BY CATHOLIC MISSION

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "There are still 30,000 displaced people received into the catholic mission run by the Salesians in Duékoué" Bishop Gaspard Beby Gnéba, Bishop of Man in western Ivory Coast reports to Fides. These people have taken refuge in the mission because of violent clashes between the forces of former President Laurent Gbagbo and those of the current president Alassane Ouattara. Despite the victory of the latter (who officially takes office tomorrow ), there are major conditions of insecurity in several areas of the country, especially in the west, forcing the population to stay away from their places of residence.
One of the most dramatic situations is that of the mission of Duékoué, where many refugees have been displaced since last December. "These people cannot return home either because their homes were destroyed or because there remains significant insecurity. During the clashes homes and productive activities were looted and destroyed. Until an official security service is deployed, the attacks by criminal gangs will continue, "said the Bishop of Man to Fides
"Economic activities have completely stopped due to insecurity and the escape of the population both within Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia. The fathers of the mission are normally three, but currently there are only two because the pastor is ill - said Bishop Gnéba -. On Monday, May 16, I was there and I saw how difficult the situation is. Space is very limited for 30,000 people camped around the mission. The human density is extremely high with their health problems. There are cases of cholera. "
“Both the UN and national Caritas is committed to helping the displaced, but due to insecurity in their staff, they forced to go back and forth between Duékoué and Man, where security conditions are better" said Mons . Gnéba. "I thank all those who are helping us, but ask you to increase efforts because there is great need. I launch an appeal so as to assure the safety of the area and ask everyone to help us reconcile the minds of the population so that they can find peace in their hearts, " concluded the Bishop of Man

AUSTRALIA: SILVER JUBILEE MASS FOR DIOCESE


DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA REPORT:

Silver Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving News Story
Photo: Kerry Myers.


Silver Jubilee Mass News Story
Representatiives of Our Lady of the Angels Rouse Hill share their Parish's story during the Silver Jubilee Mass celebrations.
Photo: Kerry Myers.

The faithful gathered in their hundreds in St Patrick's Cathedral on Thursday 19 May for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta's Silver Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving, where St Mary of the Cross MacKillop was announced as the patron of the Diocese.

The announcement of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop's patronage was made by His Excellency Guiseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.

Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, presided at the Thanksgiving Mass, which was concelebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, His Excellency Guiseppe Lazzarotto, Bishops of the Greater Sydney Region, the Presbyterate of the Diocese of Parramatta, visiting Presbyters from Religious Institutes and Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Rev Wim Hoekstra.

The General Intercessions for the Mass were read in a variety of languages, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic and Samoan, celebrating the diversity of the Diocese.

Prior to the Mass, the congregation reflected on some aspects of the past 25 years, as told by Parishioners representing Parishes established since the Diocese came into being.

THANKFUL TO GOD FOR GROWTH AND CONSOLIDATION

Silver Jubilee Mass News Story
Second Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Kevin Manning DD, third Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, and first Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Bede Heather DD.
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu

It was on 8 April 1986 that the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta was created by Pope John Paul II.

The area bounded by the new Diocese was previously part of the Archdiocese of Sydney. Since its creation, the Parishes of Kenthurst, Cranebrook, Glenmore Park, Stanhope Gardens/Glenwood and Rouse Hill have been established within the Parramatta Diocese.

The first Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Bede Heather DD, was installed on 19 May 1986. He was succeeded by Most Rev Kevin Manning DD (1996-2010). Bishop Anthony was installed as the third bishop on 4 March 2010.

Today, the Diocese is home to around 330,000 Catholics in one of the fastest-growing areas of New South Wales. The Diocese is made up of 49 Parishes. More than 45,000 students attend one of the 83 Catholic schools in the Diocese.

Parramatta was chosen as the seat of the Diocese due to its role in the early European settlement of Australia, its size as a commercial and administrative centre, and its pivotal position in the communications that link the west with other parts of Sydney.

It is contemporary urban Australia in miniature. It has Parishes as old as Parramatta, founded in 1827, Windsor in 1832 and Penrith in 1839. The newest Parish - Rouse Hill - was founded in 2007.

The story of the Diocese's first 25 years has been one of growth and consolidation. For that we are thankful to God, but also ready to embrace the challenges that await us in the future.

With God’s grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit we will continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

TODAY'S SAINT: ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

St. Bernardine of Siena

FRANCISCAN PREACHER AND MISSIONARY

Feast: May 20



Information:

Feast Day:May 20
Born:1380, Massa Marittima, Italy
Died:1444, Aquila, Italy
Canonized:24 May 1450 by Pope Nicholas V
Patron of:advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations work;

St. Bernardine, a true disciple of St. Francis, and an admirable preacher of the word of God, inflamed with the most ardent love of our divine Redeemer, was made by God an instrument to kindle the same holy fire in innumerable souls, and to inspire them with his spirit of humility and meekness. He was born at Massa in 1380, of the noble family of Albizeschi, in the republic of Sienna. He lost his mother when he was but three years old, and his father, who was chief magistrate of Massa, before he was seven. The care of his education devolved on a virtuous aunt called Diana who infused into his tender soul ardent sentiments of piety towards God, and a tender devotion to his blessed Mother. This aunt always loved him as if he had been her own son; and indeed his towardly dispositions won him exceedingly the affections of all who ever had the care of him. He was modest, humble, and devout; and took great delight in prayer, visiting churches, serving at mass, and hearing sermons, which he would repeat again to his companions with an admirable memory and gracefulness of action. In that tender age he had a great compassion for the poor. One day it happened that his aunt sent away a poor person from the door without an alms, because there was but one loaf in the house for the dinner of the family. Bernardine was much troubled to see the beggar go away unrelieved, and said to his aunt, "For God's sake, let us give something to this poor man; otherwise I will neither dine nor sup this day. I had rather the poor should have a dinner than myself." This wonderfully comforted his good aunt, who never ceased to incite him to all virtues, and, according to his strength, to accustom himself by degrees to fasting. Young as he was, he fasted every Saturday in honor of the blessed Virgin; which pious custom he always continued. At eleven years of age he was called to Sienna by his uncles, and put to school under the ablest masters, who all admired the quickness of his parts, and the solidity of his judgment; but much more, his docility, modesty, and virtue. If he chanced to hear any word the least unbecoming, he, by blushing, testified what confusion it gave him, and how much it wounded his very heart; and though he was otherwise most condescending, civil, and respectful to all, he could never bear with patience any indecent discourse. For a single word of that kind he so severely reprimanded a man of quality, that it was to him a warning during the remainder of his life to govern his tongue; and many years alter, hearing Bernardine preach, he was so moved that he seemed to be drowned in tears. The modesty of the virtuous youth was a check to the most impudent, and kept them in awe in his presence: in whatever company, if the conversation was too free, it was dropped when he appeared, and the very loosest rakes would say, "Hush! here comes Bernardine:" as the presence of Cato among the Romans restrained the lewd libertinism of a festival.1 Nor did the saint behave on these occasions in such a manner as might render virtue the subject of ridicule, but with a surprising dignity. Nevertheless, an impure monster had once the insolence to make an attempt upon his virginal purity, and to solicit him to sin. But the saint, not content to testify his scorn and indignation, excited the whole troop of his little innocent playfellows against the lewd villain, who pelted him with clods and stones, and made him ashamed any more to show his face. Bernardine was exceeding comely and beautiful; but his known virtue secured him from any further assaults; and he never ceased to beg of God the grace of purity, particularly through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary. When he had completed the course of his philosophy, he applied himself to the study of civil and canon law, and afterwards of that of the holy scriptures, with such ardor that he could never from that time relish any other study.

At seventeen years of age he enrolled himself in the confraternity of Our Lady in the hospital of Scala, to serve the sick. Here he began with new vigor to tame his flesh by severe fasts, watchings, hair-shirts, disciplines, and other austerities; but he applied himself more to the interior mortification of his will, which rendered him always most mild, sweet, patient, and affable to every one. He had served this hospital four years, when, in 1400, a dreadful pestilence which had already made great havoc in several other parts of Italy, and was increased by the concourse of pilgrims to the jubilee, reached Sienna; insomuch that twelve, eighteen, or twenty persons died every day in this hospital; and among others were carried off almost all the priests, apothecaries, and servants, that belonged to the place. Bernardine therefore persuaded twelve young men to bear him company in the service of the hospital, expecting heaven for their speedy recompense; and they all strove which should come up the nearest to Bernardine in cheerfulness, humility, and assiduity in performing the most sacred offices, and in exerting themselves in the service of the sick. The saint was intrusted in a manner with the whole care of the hospital, which, in the space of four months, he put into excellent order. It is hardly credible how many lives he saved, or with what charity and pains he night and day attended the patients, and furnished them with every comfort and succor which it was in his power to afford them. God preserved him from the contagion during these four months, at the end of which the pestilence ceased. He then returned home, but sick of a fever which he had contracted by his fatigues, which obliged him to keep his bed four months; during which time he edified the city, no less by his resignation and patience, than he had done by his charity. He was scarce well recovered when he returned to the like works of charity, and with incredible patience attended a dying aunt for fourteen months, named Bartholomaea, a woman of great piety, who was blind and bedridden. When God had called her to himself, Bernardine retired to a house at some distance from the city, making the walls of his garden the bounds of his enclosure. Here, in solitude, fasting, and prayer, he endeavored to learn the will of God in the choice of a state of life. After some time he took the habit of the order of St. Francis, among the fathers of the Strict Observance at Colombiere, a solitary convent a few miles from Sienna; and after the year of his novitiate, made his profession on the 8th of September, 1404. Having been born on the feast of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin, out of devotion to her, he chose the same day for the principal actions of his life: on it he took the religious habit, made his vows, said his first mass, and preached his first sermon. His fervor increased daily; and while some sought interpretations to mollify the severity of the rule, he was always studying to add to it greater austerities and heroic practices of virtue, the more perfectly to crucify in himself the old man. He was pleased with insults and humiliations, and whatever could be agreeable to the most ardent spirit of humility and self-denial. When he went through the streets in a threadbare short habit, the boys sometimes cast stones at him, with injurious language; in which contempt the saint found a singular joy and satisfaction. He showed the same sentiments when a near kinsman with bitter invectives reproached him, as disgracing his friends by the mean and contemptible manner of life he bad embraced. These and all other virtues he learned in the living book of Christ crucified, which he studied night and day, often prostrate before a crucifix, from which he seemed one day to hear our Lord speak thus to him: "My son, behold me hanging upon a cross: if thou lovest me, or art desirous to imitate me, be thou also fastened naked to thy cross, and follow me; thus thou wilt assuredly find me." In the same school he learned an insatiable zeal for the salvation of souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Having in retirement prepared himself for the office of preaching, his superiors ordered him to employ his talent that way for the benefit of others. He labored under a natural impediment from weakness and hoarseness of voice; the removal of which obstacle he obtained by addressing himself to his glorious patroness, the mother of God. For fourteen years his labors were confined to his own country; but when the reputation of his virtue was spread abroad, he shone as a bright light to the whole church.

In vain cloth the minister of God confide in the weak resources of mere human eloquence and pomp of words, by which he rather debases the dignity and majesty of the sacred oracles: while he pleases the ear and gains the applause of his audience, he leaves their hearts dry. The great apostle of Andalusia, the venerable holy John D'Avila, being desired to lay down some rules for the art of preaching, answered, he knew no other art than the most ardent love of God and zeal for his honor. He used to say to young clergymen, that one word spoken by a man of prayer would do more good, and have a more powerful influence, than all the most eloquent discourses; for it is only the language of the heart that speaks to the heart; and a life of mortification and prayer not only draws down the dew of the divine benediction upon the labors of the preacher, but it replenishes his soul with a sincere spirit of humility, compunction, and all virtues, and with an experimental knowledge and feeling sense of the great truths which he delivers. Zealous ministers who are filled with the Spirit of God, are a great blessing to the people among whom they labor; and this reflection unfolds the secret how saints possess so extraordinary a grace of converting souls to God. This was the excellent talent of Bernardine. They who heard him preach felt their souls to melt in sentiments of compunction, divine love, humility, and the contempt of the world, and returned home new men, striking their breasts, and bathed in tears. The word, of God was in his mouth as a fire, and as a hammer breaking the hardest rocks. Another eminent preacher of his order being asked the reason why his sermons did not produce equal fruit with those of Bernardine, answered, "Brother Bernardine is a fiery glowing coal. What is only warm hath not the power of kindling a fire in others like the burning coal." The saint himself being consulted what was the way to preach with profit, gave this rule: "In all your actions seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory; direct all you do purely to his honor; persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first all that you desire to teach others. By this means the Holy Ghost will be your master, and will give you such wisdom and such a tongue that no adversary will be able to stand against you." This he faithfully practiced, and from his assiduous communication with God he imbibed that eminent spirit of virtue which gave him the most powerful ascendant over the hearts of men. Among the great truths of religion, he principally labored to inculcate a sincere contempt of the vanity of the world, and an ardent love of our blessed Redeemer. He wished he could cry out with a trumpet which could be heard over the whole earth, that he might sound aloud in the ears of all men that great oracle of the Holy Ghost: O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying? O children, how long will you love childishness?3 And he never ceased with the thunder of his voice to raise men from grovelling always on this earth, to the important consideration of the things which belong to their eternal welfare, and to the love of Jesus Christ. So much was he affected with the mysteries of the incarnation and sufferings of the Son of God, that he could never pronounce his sacred name without appearing in transports of love and adoration. Often at the end of his sermon he showed to the people the sacred name of Jesus curiously cut on a board with gold letters, inviting them to adore Christ with him on their knees, reciting a pious doxology. This was misconstrued by some, who also cavilled at certain expressions which he had used. Upon their complaints, pope Martin V. summoned him to appear, and commanded him silence for a while. The humble saint meekly acquiesced without making any reply. But his holiness, after a full examination of his doctrine and conduct, dismissed him with his benediction, high commendations, and ample leave to preach everywhere. The same pope pressed him to accept the bishopric of Sienna in 1427; but he declined that dignity, alleging for his excuse, that if he were confined to one church, he could no longer employ himself in the service of so many souls. In 1431 he no less resolutely refused that of Ferrara, which Eugenius III. earnestly desired to confer upon him, and again that of Urbino, in 1435. When the saint preached first at Milan, the haughty duke Philip Mary Visconti took offence at certain things which he had said in his sermons, and threatened him with death if he should presume to speak any more on such subjects; but the saint declared, that no greater happiness could befall him than to die for the truth. The duke, to try him, sent him a present of one hundred ducats of gold in a golden bowl. The saint excused himself from receiving the money to two different messengers; but being compelled by a third to accept it, he took the messenger with him to the prisons, and laid it all out in his presence in releasing debtors. This disinterestedness turned the duke's aversion into the greatest veneration for the saint ever after.

St. Bernardine preached several times through the greatest part of Italy; some say also in Spain; but this seems uncertain. Nothing was more spoken of over all Italy than the wonderful fruit of his sermons, miraculous conversions, restitution of ill-gotten goods, reparations of injuries, and heroic examples of virtue. The factions of the Guelfs and Ghibellins then horribly divided many cities of Italy, and gave frequent employment to the saint. Hearing once of a great dissension at Perugia, he hastened thither from the marquisate of Ancona, and entering the city, thus addressed the inhabitants, "God, who is highly offended at this division among you, hath sent me, as his angel, to proclaim peace to men of good will upon earth." After preaching four sermons to persuade them to a mutual forgiveness of all injuries, and a general amnesty, at the end of the last he bade all those who forgave each other and desired to live in peace, to pass to the right hand. All present did so except one young nobleman, who stayed on the left, muttering some thing between his teeth. The saint, after a severe reproach, foretold him his sudden death, which happened soon after, and without the benefit of the sacraments. In 1433 he accompanied the emperor Sigismund to his coronation at Rome; after which he retired for a short time to Sienna, where he put the finishing hand to his works.

Amidst the greatest applause and honors, the most sincere humility always appeared in his words and actions; and he ever studied to conceal the talents with which God had enriched him. How great his esteem of humility was, he testified when a brother of his order asked him the means by which he might speedily arrive at perfection. The saint, instead of giving him any answer by words, threw himself at his feet; showing at the same time his own great affection to humility, and also that this virtue raises the soul to divine love and every grace. God, however, was pleased to honor his servant before men. Besides several predictions and miraculous cures of many lepers and other sick persons, the saint is recorded to have raised four dead to life. He was appointed vicar-general of his order of the Strict Observance in Italy, in 1438, in which he settled a rigorous reformation; but, after five years, obtained a discharge from his office; and in his old age continued the function of preaching through Romania, Ferrara, and Lombardy. He returned to Sienna in 1444, preached a most pathetic farewell sermon at Massa on concord and unity, and being taken ill of a malignant fever on the road, still preached as usual till he arrived at Aquila in Abruzzo. There, being confined to his bed, he prepared himself for his passage out of this life by the rites of the church. When he was speechless, he made a sign to be taken off his bed and laid upon the floor; where, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he surrendered his pure soul into the hands of his Creator on the 20th of May, 1444, after a life of sixty-three years, eight months, and thirteen days. His tomb was rendered illustrious by many miracles, and he was canonized by Nicholas V. in 1450. His body is kept in a crystal shrine, enclosed in one of silver, in the church of his order at Aquila.



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbernadineofsiena.asp#ixzz1MwYJ00bI

TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAY 20: JOHN 14: 1-6

John 14: 1 - 6
1"Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?3And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.4And you know the way where I am going."5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"6Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

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