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Sunday, May 1, 2011

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: SUN. MAY 1, 2011











VATICAN: POPE: HOMILY AND EVENTS FROM BEATIFICATION OF POPE JPII

VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - Over 200,000 people attended the vigil in preparation for the beatification of John Paul II. It began at 8:00pm in Rome's Circo Massimo with a video recalling the Jubilee Year of 2000 and the song "Jesus Christ, You Are My Life", which was performed by the Choir of the Diocese of Rome and the Orchestra of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, led by Msgr. Marco Frisina.

Following that, 30 youth from Rome's parishes and diocesan chaplaincies placed lighted candles before a copy of the icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani, the patroness of the city. Then a brief video was shown recalling the final months of John Paul II's pontificate, a time marked by his suffering.

After the performance of the Polish song, O Mother of Mercy, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the former director of the Holy See Press Office during the soon-to-be Blessed's pontificate, gave an address.

"When, during the funeral of John Paul II, I saw the banners with the slogan 'Saint Now', I thought: 'they arrive late, as one is a saint in life, or never will be'. And such was John Paul II", said the director of the Holy See Press Office from 1984 to 2006. "For a Christian, to pray is a duty yet also the fruit of conviction: for John Paul II it was a necessity, he was unable to live without prayer. To see him pray was to see a person engaged in conversation with God... he filled his prayer with the needs of others... He received thousands of messages from all over the world. I saw him on his knees for hours in his chapel with these messages in his hands. ...Take one, leave another... they were the theme of his conversations with God. I don't think any space remained in his prayer for himself, that he ever prayed for 'his own needs'. .. I learned much from him regarding the human person, in which he saw the image of God, and this was central to his pontificate: respect for the transcendent character of the person, who is at risk of being treated as a thing, as an object. And this respect is something that, once experienced alongside someone like him, one can never forget... Thank you, John Paul II, for the masterpiece that, with the help of God, you made of your life!"

"My John Paul", a video made by the University Pastoral Care Office of the Vicariate of Rome preceded the testimonial of Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre, the French nun whose miraculous cure paved the way for the process of beatification.

"I had suffered from Parkinson's disease from 2001", she said, "and the clinical signs of the illness worsened in the weeks after John Paul II's death. On the afternoon of 2 June 2005 I asked the Mother Superior Sr. Marie Thomas to meet with another nun who could take over the responsibilities of the Catholic Maternity services because I didn't have the strength, I was exhausted ... The Mother Superior listened attentively ... reminding me that all of the order's communities were praying for my healing, invoking the intercession of John Paul II ... They were hoping for a miracle that could help contribute to the cause for the beatification of this pope who had been so important to our institute. I was cured during the night between the second and third of June of that year (2005). During the night I awoke with a start and went to our community's chapel to pray before the Most Holy Sacrament. A great peace came over me, a sense of well-being ... Later, I joined the community to pray lauds and receive the Eucharist ... I had to walk for about 50 meters. It was then that I realized that my left arm, which had been paralyzed because of the illness, was beginning to move. It has been six years since I've received any treatment. Since my cure, my life is normal ... What the Lord has caused me to live through the intercession of John Paul II is a great mystery, which is difficult to explain with words ... From the moment I accepted that the entire congregation was praying for John Paul II's intercession for my recovery, I always said that I would go to the very end so that our prayers might be heard. Yes, to the end so that John Paul II might be recognized as blessed and a saint of his time, to the end for the Church, to the end so that the world might believe, to the end so that life might be respected and that all who work in service of life might be fortified".

Following this, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz addressed the pilgrims:

"The Pope, who we had committed to the ground just six years ago, is today restored to us, 'blessed' in Heaven" said the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow. "And so we can also officially, communally, invoke him, invoke his intercession, praise God through him... If today he is proclaimed a Blessed, it is because he was already holy during his life, and also for us who knew him. ... Most of the time spent in his company was passed in silence, as this was the attitude he preferred. To be with John Paul II meant to love his silence. To collaborate with him, to be his secretary, meant above all guaranteeing his living space, his autonomy, protecting his freedom, which primarily meant space and time for God... John Paul II loved God. He sought Him, he never tired of being with Him. He knew how to immerse himself in God, everywhere, in all conditions: even when he studied, or was surrounded by people, he did so with the greatest ease".

The cardinal's testimony led into the singing of the hymn "Totus Tuus", which was composed for the 50th anniversary of the priestly ordination of John Paul II. This brought the first part of the evening to an end.

The second part began with the singing of the hymn for John Paul II, "Open the Doors to Christ", followed by an address by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar of the Diocese of Rome.

"Even though it has been six years," said the bishop, "since the death of the great Pope-Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the universal Church for 27 years-his memory is particularly vibrant. We feel veneration, affection, admiration, and deep gratitude for the beloved pontiff. We, above all, remember his witness of faith: a convinced and strong faith, free from fear or compromises, true until his last breath, forged by trails, fatigue, and illness, whose beneficent influence has spread throughout the Church, indeed, throughout the world. His witness, through his apostolic travels, inspired millions of men and women of all races and cultures. ... He was witness to the tragic age of big ideologies, totalitarian regimes, and from their passing John Paul II embraced the harsh suffering, marked by tension and contradictions, of the transition of the modern age toward a new phase of history, showing constant concern that the human person be its protagonist. With his gaze fixed on Christ, the Redeemer of humanity, he believed in humanity and showed his openness, trust, and closeness. He loved the human person, pushing us to develop in ourselves the potential of faith to live as free persons, cooperating in the realization of a more just and caring humanity, as workers for peace and builders of hope. ... In his extraordinary energy of love for humanity he loved, with a kind and tender love, all those 'wounded by life', as he called the poor, the sick, the nameless, and those excluded a priori-but he had a particular love for the youth. His calls for the World Youth Days had the purpose of making youth into the protagonists of their own future, becoming builders of history. The remembrance of our beloved pontiff, prophet of hope, should not mean a return to the past for us, but let us make the most of his human and spiritual heritage; let it be an impetus to look forward."

After this, the Rosary was prayed, following the Mysteries of Light, through a live link with five Marian sanctuaries. Each sanctuary prayed for a particular intention and videos of the messages and homilies of John Paul II related to each intention were shown before the prayer. The sanctuary of Lagiewniki in Krakow, Poland prayed for the youth; the sanctuary of Kawekamo in Bugando, Tanzania, for the family; the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, Lebanon, for evangelization; the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico, for hope and peace among nations; and the Sanctuary of Fatima in Portugal, for the Church.

At the end of the ceremony, Benedict XVI, in a live link from the Vatican, recited a prayer to the Virgin: "Help us always to account for the hope that is in us, with trust in the goodness of humanity created by God in His image and in the Father's love. Teach us to renew the world from within: in the depths of silence and prayer, in the joy of fraternal love, in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross". At the end of the prayer, the Holy Father imparted the apostolic blessing on those participating in the vigil.

VIGIL/ VIS 20110501 (1140)

RITE OF BEATIFICATION

VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Following the penitential act of the Mass of Beatification, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of the Pontiff for the Diocese of Rome, joined Benedict XVI, along with the postulator for the cause of beatification, Msgr. Slawomir Oder, and asked that the beatification of the Servant of God, John Paul II, might proceed:

Beatissime Pater,

Vicarius Generalis Sanctitatis Vestrae

pro Romana Dioecesi,

humillime a Sanctitate Vestra petit

ut Venerabilem Servum Dei

Ioannem Paulum II, papam,

numero Beatorum adscribere

benignissime digneris.

(Most blessed Father, Your Holiness' Vicar General for the Diocese for Rome humbly asks your Holiness to beneficently deign to inscribe the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II in the number of the Blessed.)

He then read a brief biography of the Polish Pontiff:

Karol Józef Wojtyla was born in the Polish town of Wadowice on 18 May 1920 to Karol and Emilia Kaczorowska. He was baptized on 20 June of that year in Wadowice's parish church.

The second of two children, the joy and serenity of his childhood was shaken by the premature death of his mother when Karol was nine (1929). Three years later, in 1932, his older brother Edmund also died and then in 1941, when he was 21, he also lost his father.

Brought up in a solid patriotic and religious tradition, he learned from his father, a deeply Christian man, piety and love for one's neighbor, which he nourished with constant prayer and participation in the sacraments.

The characteristics of his spirituality, to which he remained faithful until his death, were a sincere devotion to the Holy Spirit and love for the Madonna. His relationship with the Mother of God was particularly deep and vibrant, lived with the tenderness of a child who abandons himself to his mother's embrace and with the vigor of a gallant, always ready for his lady's command: "Do what my Son asks!" His complete trust in Mary, which as a bishop he expressed with the motto Totus tuus, also reveals his secret of looking at the world with the eyes of the Mother of God.

Young Karol's rich personality matured with the interweaving of his intellectual, moral, and spiritual gifts with the events of his day, which marked the history of his country and of Europe.

During the years of his secondary education, a passion for theatre and poetry grew in him, which he cultivated in the theatrical group of the Faculty of Philology at Krakow's Jagiellonian University where he was enrolled during the 1938 academic year.

During the period of Nazi occupation of Poland, together with his studies that he carried on in secret, he spent four years (October 1940 to August 1944) working in the Solvay chemical factory, directly encountering the social problems of the working world and gathering the precious wealth of experience that he was able to draw upon in his future social teachings, first as Archbishop of Krakow and subsequently as Supreme Pontiff.

Throughout these years his inclination towards the priesthood developed, a path he furthered by attending clandestine courses in theology at the Seminary of Krakow from October of 1942. He was assisted greatly in recognizing his priestly vocation by a lay man, Jan Tyranowski, a true apostle of youth. From then on the young Karol had a clear understanding of the universal call to holiness of all Christians, and the fundamental role of the laity in the mission of the Church.

He received priestly ordination on 1 November 1946 and the day after, in the evocative atmosphere of the crypt of St. Leonard in the cathedral of Wawel, he celebrated his first Mass.

He was sent to Rome to complete his theological formation at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), where he was immersed in the source of sound doctrine, having his first encounter with the vibrancy and richness of the Universal Church from the privileged position of life on the other side of the 'Iron Curtain'. At around this time he met with Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

After graduating with highest honors in June of 1948, he returned to Krakow to begin his pastoral duties as a parish vicar. He undertook his ministry with enthusiasm and generosity. After obtaining his university teaching qualification, he began teaching in the Faculty of Theology at the Jagiellonian University then, when that faculty was closed, in the diocesan Seminary of Krakow and the Catholic University of Lublin.

The years he spent in the company of young students enabled him to gain a profound understanding of the restlessness of their hearts and the young priest was a not only a teacher for them, but also a spiritual guide and friend.

At the age of 38 he was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Krakow. On 28 September 1958, he was ordained a bishop by Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak, whom he succeeded as archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was created a cardinal by Pope Paul VI on 26 June 1967.

As bishop of the Diocese of Krakow, he was immediately appreciated as a man of robust and courageous faith, close to the people and aware of the real problems they faced.

He was an interlocutor capable of listening and of dialogue without ever conceding to compromise. He affirmed to all the primacy of God and of Christ as the foundation for a true humanism and the source of inalienable human rights. Beloved by his priests and esteemed by his brother bishops, he was also feared by those who regarded him as an adversary.

On 16 October 1978 he was elected Bishop and Pontiff of Rome and took the name of John Paul II. His shepherd's heart, entirely given over to the cause of the Kingdom of God, was opened to the entire world. "Christ's love" led him to visit the parishes of Rome and to announce the Gospel in all places. It was the driving force for his innumerable apostolic visits to various continents, undertaken to confirm his Christian brothers and sisters in the faith, to comfort the afflicted and the discouraged, to bring the message of reconciliation between Christian faiths, and to build bridges of friendship between believers in the one God and all of good will.

His illustrious teachings focused on nothing other than proclaiming Christ, the sole Savior of humanity, always and everywhere.

In his extraordinary missionary zeal, he had a particular love for the young. He envisioned the World Youth Day gatherings with the objective of announcing Jesus Christ and his Gospel to the new generations in order to enable them to actively shape their future and to co-operate in building a better world.

His solicitude as universal Shepherd was demonstrated in the convocation of numerous assemblies of the Synods of Bishops, the erection of dioceses and ecclesiastical circumscriptions, in the promulgation of the Codes of Canon Law for the Latin and Eastern Churches and the catechism of the Catholic Church, and in the publication of encyclical letters and apostolic exhortations. In order to promote occasions for a more intense spiritual life for the People of God, he proclaimed the extraordinary Jubilee of Redemption, the Marian Year, the Year of the Eucharist, and the Great Jubilee of 2000.

John Paul II had lived through the tragic experience of two dictatorships, survived an assassination attempt on 13 May 1981 and, in his later years, suffered grave physical hardship due to the progression of his illness. However, his overwhelming optimism, based on his trust in divine Providence, drove him to constantly look to horizons of hope, inviting people to break down the walls between them, to brush aside passivity in order to attain the goals of spiritual, moral and material renewal.

He concluded his long and fruitful earthly existence in the Vatican Apostolic Palace on Saturday, 2 April 2005, the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter (Dominica in Albis), which he entitled the Sunday of Divine Mercy. The funeral was held in St. Peter's Square on 8 April 2005.

A touching testimony of the good he brought about during his life was seen by the participation of delegations from all over the world and of millions of men and women, believers and non-believers alike, who recognized in him a clear sign of God's love for humanity.

Cardinal Vallini concluded by thanking the Pope with the following words:

Beatissime Pater,

Vicarius Sanctitatis Vestrae

pro Romana Dioecesi,

gratias ex animo Sanctitati Vestrae agit

quod titulum Beati

hodie

Venerabili Servo Dei

Ioanni Paulo II, papae

Conferre dignatus es.

(Most Blessed Father, the Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome gives heartfelt thanks to Your Holiness for conferring the title of Blessed to the venerable Servant of God, Pope John Paul II.)

.../ VIS 20110501 (1470)

BENEDICT PROCLAIMS JOHN PAUL II A BLESSED

VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2011 (VIS) - At 10:00am this morning, the Second Sunday of Easter of Divine Mercy Sunday, Benedict XVI presided over the Eucharistic celebration during which Servant of God John Paul II, Pope (1920-2005) was proclaimed a Blessed, and whose feastday will be celebrated 22 October every year from now on.

Eighty-seven delegations from various countries, among which were 5 royal houses, 16 heads of state - including the presidents of Poland and Italy - and 7 prime ministers, attended the ceremony.

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world filled St. Peter's Square and the streets adjacent. The ceremony could also be followed on the various giant screens installed in Circo Massimo and various squares around the city.

The text of the Pope's homily follows:

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Six years ago we gathered in this Square to celebrate the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Our grief at his loss was deep, but even greater was our sense of an immense grace which embraced Rome and the whole world: a grace which was in some way the fruit of my beloved predecessor's entire life, and especially of his witness in suffering. Even then we perceived the fragrance of his sanctity, and in any number of ways God's People showed their veneration for him. For this reason, with all due respect for the Church's canonical norms, I wanted his cause of beatification to move forward with reasonable haste. And now the longed-for day has come; it came quickly because this is what was pleasing to the Lord: John Paul II is blessed!

I would like to offer a cordial greeting to all of you who on this happy occasion have come in such great numbers to Rome from all over the world - cardinals, patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, brother bishops and priests, official delegations, ambassadors and civil authorities, consecrated men and women and lay faithful, and I extend that greeting to all those who join us by radio and television.

Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday. The date was chosen for today's celebration because, in God's providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. Today is also the first day of May, Mary's month, and the liturgical memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker. All these elements serve to enrich our prayer, they help us in our pilgrimage through time and space; but in heaven a very different celebration is taking place among the angels and saints! Even so, God is but one, and one too is Christ the Lord, who like a bridge joins earth to heaven. At this moment we feel closer than ever, sharing as it were in the liturgy of heaven.

'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe' (Jn 20:29). In today's Gospel Jesus proclaims this beatitude: the beatitude of faith. For us, it is particularly striking because we are gathered to celebrate a beatification, but even more so because today the one proclaimed blessed is a Pope, a Successor of Peter, one who was called to confirm his brethren in the faith. John Paul II is blessed because of his faith, a strong, generous and apostolic faith. We think at once of another beatitude: 'Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven' (Mt 16:17). What did our heavenly Father reveal to Simon? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of this faith, Simon becomes Peter, the rock on which Jesus can build his Church. The eternal beatitude of John Paul II, which today the Church rejoices to proclaim, is wholly contained in these sayings of Jesus: 'Blessed are you, Simon' and 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!' It is the beatitude of faith, which John Paul II also received as a gift from God the Father for the building up of Christ's Church.

Our thoughts turn to yet another beatitude, one which appears in the Gospel before all others. It is the beatitude of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer. Mary, who had just conceived Jesus, was told by Saint Elizabeth: 'Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord' (Lk 1:45). The beatitude of faith has its model in Mary, and all of us rejoice that the beatification of John Paul II takes place on this first day of the month of Mary, beneath the maternal gaze of the one who by her faith sustained the faith of the Apostles and constantly sustains the faith of their successors, especially those called to occupy the Chair of Peter. Mary does not appear in the accounts of Christ's resurrection, yet hers is, as it were, a continual, hidden presence: she is the Mother to whom Jesus entrusted each of his disciples and the entire community. In particular we can see how Saint John and Saint Luke record the powerful, maternal presence of Mary in the passages preceding those read in today's Gospel and first reading. In the account of Jesus' death, Mary appears at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:25), and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles she is seen in the midst of the disciples gathered in prayer in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14).

Today's second reading also speaks to us of faith. St. Peter himself, filled with spiritual enthusiasm, points out to the newly-baptized the reason for their hope and their joy. I like to think how in this passage, at the beginning of his First Letter, Peter does not use language of exhortation; instead, he states a fact. He writes: 'you rejoice', and he adds: 'you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls' (1 Pt 1:6, 8-9). All these verbs are in the indicative, because a new reality has come about in Christ's resurrection, a reality to which faith opens the door. 'This is the Lord's doing', says the Psalm (Ps 118:23), and 'it is marvelous in our eyes', the eyes of faith.

Dear brothers and sisters, today our eyes behold, in the full spiritual light of the risen Christ, the beloved and revered figure of John Paul II. Today his name is added to the host of those whom he proclaimed saints and blesseds during the almost twenty-seven years of his pontificate, thereby forcefully emphasizing the universal vocation to the heights of the Christian life, to holiness, taught by the conciliar Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. All of us, as members of the people of God - bishops, priests, deacons, laity, men and women religious - are making our pilgrim way to the heavenly homeland where the Virgin Mary has preceded us, associated as she was in a unique and perfect way to the mystery of Christ and the Church. Karol Wojtyla took part in the Second Vatican Council, first as an auxiliary Bishop and then as Archbishop of Krakow. He was fully aware that the Council's decision to devote the last chapter of its Constitution on the Church to Mary meant that the Mother of the Redeemer is held up as an image and model of holiness for every Christian and for the entire Church. This was the theological vision which Blessed John Paul II discovered as a young man and subsequently maintained and deepened throughout his life. A vision which is expressed in the scriptural image of the crucified Christ with Mary, his Mother, at his side. This icon from the Gospel of John (19:25-27) was taken up in the episcopal and later the papal coat-of-arms of Karol Wojtyla: a golden cross with the letter 'M' on the lower right and the motto 'Totus tuus', drawn from the well-known words of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in which Karol Wojtyla found a guiding light for his life: 'Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria - I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart' (Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 266).

In his Testament, the new Blessed wrote: 'When, on 16 October 1978, the Conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, said to me: "The task of the new Pope will be to lead the Church into the Third Millennium"'. And the Pope added: 'I would like once again to express my gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of the Second Vatican Council, to which, together with the whole Church - and especially with the whole episcopate - I feel indebted. I am convinced that it will long be granted to the new generations to draw from the treasures that this Council of the twentieth century has lavished upon us. As a Bishop who took part in the Council from the first to the last day, I desire to entrust this great patrimony to all who are and will be called in the future to put it into practice. For my part, I thank the Eternal Shepherd, who has enabled me to serve this very great cause in the course of all the years of my Pontificate'. And what is this 'cause'? It is the same one that John Paul II presented during his first solemn Mass in Saint Peter's Square in the unforgettable words: 'Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!' What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do: society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan - a strength which came to him from God - a tide which appeared irreversible. By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word: he helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty. To put it even more succinctly: he gave us the strength to believe in Christ, because Christ is Redemptor hominis, the Redeemer of man. This was the theme of his first encyclical, and the thread which runs though all the others.

When Karol Wojtyla ascended to the throne of Peter, he brought with him a deep understanding of the difference between Marxism and Christianity, based on their respective visions of man. This was his message: man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man. With this message, which is the great legacy of the Second Vatican Council and of its 'helmsman', the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, John Paul II led the People of God across the threshold of the Third Millennium, which thanks to Christ he was able to call 'the threshold of hope'. Throughout the long journey of preparation for the great Jubilee he directed Christianity once again to the future, the future of God, which transcends history while nonetheless directly affecting it. He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress. He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an 'Advent' spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace.

Finally, on a more personal note, I would like to thank God for the gift of having worked for many years with Blessed Pope John Paul II. I had known him earlier and had esteemed him, but for twenty-three years, beginning in 1982 after he called me to Rome to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I was at his side and came to revere him all the more. My own service was sustained by his spiritual depth and by the richness of his insights. His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me: he remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry. Then too, there was his witness in suffering: the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained ever a 'rock', as Christ desired. His profound humility, grounded in close union with Christ, enabled him to continue to lead the Church and to give to the world a message which became all the more eloquent as his physical strength declined. In this way he lived out in an extraordinary way the vocation of every priest and bishop to become completely one with Jesus, whom he daily receives and offers in the Eucharist.

Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God's people. How many time you blessed us from this very square. Holy Father, bless us again from that window. Amen".

HML/ VIS 20110501 (2200)

GREETINGS TO PARTICIPANTS AT BEATIFICATION

VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2011 (VIS) - At the end of the beatification Mass and before the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims and the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and the surrounding area.

Speaking in French the Pope asked that "the life and work of Blessed John Paul II be the source of a renewed dedication to the service of all persons and all humankind. I ask him to bless the efforts of all in building a civilization of love, respecting the dignity of each person, created in the image of God, with special attention to those who are weakest".

Then, addressing the pilgrims in English, Benedict XVI expressed the wish that the new Blessed's "example of firm faith in Christ, the Redeemer of Man, inspire us to live fully the new life which we celebrate at Easter, to be icons of divine mercy, and, and to work for a world in which the dignity and rights of every man, woman, and child are respected and promoted".

"I invite you", he continued in Spanish, "to follow the example of faithfulness and love for Christ and Church that he left us as a precious inheritance. May his intercession always accompany us from heaven, so that the faith of Your peoples remain solid at its roots and that peace and harmony sustain the necessary progress of Your peoples".

On greeting the Polish dignitaries the Pope asked that their fellow countryman "obtain for you and your earthy nation the gift of peace, unity, and every prosperity".

Benedict XVI finished by thanking the Italian authorities for their collaboration in organizing the day. "I extend my most heartfelt greetings to all the pilgrims - those gathered here in St. Peter's Square, the adjoining streets, and other places around Rome - and all those who have joined in via radio and television; ... to the ill and the elderly, with whom the new Blessed felt particularly close".

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father, accompanied by the concelebrating cardinals, walked inside the Vatican basilica to venerate the new Blessed. Then the various dignitaries present, along with the bishops, entered, following which the other faithful present also had the opportunity to venerate the new Blessed.

AMERICA: USA: POPE JPII NAMED- "POPE OF LIFE" BY PRO-LIFE LEADERS

ROME, Italy, April 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) BY PATRICK CRAINE- As the Catholic Church prepares to beatify the late Pope John

Paul II (1920-2005) this Sunday, pro-life leaders are hailing him as “the Pope of Life” and say his beatification is the ultimate affirmation of his work as the leader of the international pro-life movement.

“John Paul II will be remembered as the Pope of Life,” Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told LifeSiteNews. “I saw, close-up, his devotion and enthusiasm for the cause of life. It shaped all that he did.”

Joe Scheidler, founder and national director of the Pro-Life Action League, recalled that John Paul had told Rev. Paul Marx, the late founder of Human Life International, that the pro-life cause is “the most important work on earth.” The beatification of a man so dedicated to the pro-life cause, Scheidler said, “sort of puts the stamp of ecclesiastical approval … on what we’re trying to do.”

The late Pope will be beatified, the last step before being declared a saint, by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday, which is celebrated by Catholics as Divine Mercy Sunday.

Pope John Paul II died April 2, 2005 after the third longest pontificate in Church history. He was revered for his role in the collapse of the Soviet Union, his defense of theological orthodoxy, his painstaking efforts to implement an authentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, and his many theological contributions, particularly through pioneering what is known as the theology of the body.

Yet he is perhaps most known for his ardent promotion of the “culture of life,” a term he popularized through his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”).

According to Rev. Pavone, the pope’s great contribution to the pro-life movement was to provide, through his addresses, encyclicals, and other writings, “a doctrinal, spiritual, and personal expression of the Church’s unchanging pro-life message in a ‘package’ that can be readily received by our modern culture.”

“He took the traditional, objective principle of the sanctity of life and spoke to a society that thinks in subjective, individualistic categories,” Rev. Pavone continued. “He did this effectively by focusing on each human person as an individual, unique expression of the one God.”

Judie Brown, president of American Life League and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the late pope was “an inspiration and unwavering beacon to all to return to a culture a life,” whose zeal for life “pierced the darkness in all four corners of the world.”

“From Evangelium Vitae to his Theology of the Body, John Paul reminded us of the incomparable worth of each human person,” she continued. “His beatification validates his efforts as de-facto leader of the worldwide pro-life movement.”

Brad Mattes, executive director of the Life Issues Institute and host of the pro-life TV show Facing Life Head-On, said John Paul’s importance to the movement was “impossible to assess” and reached far beyond the Catholic Church.

“When you have leadership taking a strong stand on behalf of unborn babies and having priests underneath them follow that leadership, people in the pews are hearing about the issue of abortion,” he said. “It’s become more of a part of everyday life, certainly part of Church life.”

“I think that whether we’re Catholic or not, we had a great deal of love and respect for the man,” said Mattes, a non-Catholic himself. “He really put his efforts where his heart was and that was reflected certainly in the work he did on behalf of unborn children.”

Joe Scheidler highlighted especially the impact the late Pope had in his many travels throughout the world. “We would watch carefully, and in almost every talk he gave, wherever he was, he would bring up the issue of life, the importance of life, and the value of life,” he said.

“Here was an older man right up to the very end staying busy travelling around and showing his dedication,” he continued. “I think it made some people feel that they should do something and not simply feel bad about abortion, but actually do something positive.”

“We have so many activists who will quote Pope John Paul II to support their activism in the pro-life movement,” he added.

Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, interim president of Human Life International, said, “Like all who were blessed to have met him, I was moved by the warmth with which he greeted all in attendance and how he encouraged us in a very paternal way to strengthen our commitment in the defense of life and family.”

“Following the example of John Paul II, let us seek the loving intercession of our Blessed Mother, so that all the members of the Church would commit themselves to a vigorous and integral defense of life and family,” he added.

The soon-to-be Blessed John Paul II was named Venerable by Pope Benedict on December 19, 2009, after he was determined to have exercised heroic virtue. His upcoming beatification was announced in January.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pro-life-leaders-praise-pope-john-paul-ii-as-the-pope-of-life-in-lead-up-to

AUSTRALIA: BISHOP FISHER PRAISES BLESSED POPE JPII

Letters of Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, published in Catholic Outlook 2011
May 2011

BLESSED JOHN PAUL II: WORKER POPE ‘RAISED TO THE ALTARS’

Pope John Paul II, Brisbane 1986.
The Holy Father holds a koala in Brisbane during his visit to Australia in 1986. Photo: The Catholic Weekly
From Bishop Anthony Fisher OP
Catholic Outlook, May 2011

Actor-athlete turned scholar-pope. Destroyer of communism. Champion of human freedom. Advocate of peace and reconciliation. Jubilee Pope. Builder of the civilisation of life and love. Enemy of the culture of death. Teacher of faith and reason. Friend of youth and Father of World Youth Day. Defender of the poor. Voice for the voiceless. Living testimony to dignity in old age and sickness. True apostle. Faithful servant of God. Millennial pope. John Paul the Great.

It sounds like a Catholic litany, but these titles came from the world’s secular leaders and journalists in the days that followed the death of Pope John Paul II.

It was undoubtedly the biggest funeral in history. About four million people were there and billions more watched by television or the internet. The outpouring of grief and gratitude for this man and for the way he brought people closer to God crossed all boundaries and was genuine. Many at the time said ‘Santo subito’: sainthood now; already a saint!

Catholics like litanies, long lists of names to describe God or the saints and to ask for their help. It is a natural response to the fact that no one tag adequately captures the greatness of God and His best friends. Now we’ve added a new title to our late Pope’s litany: he is Blessed John Paul.

The New Testament offers a number of very moving vignettes of Jesus’ encounters with John Paul’s predecessor, Peter. ‘Come follow me and I’ll make you a fisher of men’; ‘Put out into the deep’; ‘Be not afraid’; ‘You are Peter, the bedrock on which I’ll build my Church’; ‘I give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven’; ‘What you bind and loose is done so in heaven’; ‘Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven’; ‘I have prayed that your faith will not fail’; ‘Confirm the brethren’; ‘Do this in memory of me’; ‘Feed my lambs’; ‘Go out to all the world and proclaim the Gospel’.

Peter and his successors respond on our behalf: ‘Lord, everyone is searching for you’; ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’; ‘Let us build tabernacles for you’; ‘Lord, to whom else could we go? You have the words of eternal life’; ‘Then wash me all over’; ‘You know I love you’; ‘I would lay down my life for you’.

In this conversation between the papacy and Our Lord we hear so many premonitions of John Paul’s life. He made his own the call to ‘Be not afraid’ and ‘Put out into the deep’. He followed, he fished, he taught, he absolved, he celebrated the Holy Eucharist. He left his own homeland to go out to all the world proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. He gave his all.

'TO SHARE IN THE CREATIVE ACTIVITY OF GOD'

Pope John Paul II, Seven Hills 1986
Pope John Paul II speaking with workers at the Seven Hills Transfield factory in 1986. Photo: The Catholic Weekly
The longest pilgrimage of this Pilgrim Pope was the 30,000 miles through Bangladesh, Singapore, Fiji and New Zealand to Australia in 1986. In Sydney he held hands and danced in a conga-line with youngsters in jeans. In Melbourne he did impromptu Q&A with primary children. He visited Aborigines in central Australia and encouraged them in their struggle for recognition and reconciliation. He cradled a koala in Brisbane. And, best of all, he wore a hard hat in a factory in Seven Hills in the then-newest diocese he had created: the Diocese of Parramatta!

There he told the workers that he was one of them and that he admired their dedication to ordinary work. Jesus Christ Himself, he pointed out, “although the Son of God, chose to be an ordinary worker for most of his earthly life, toiling away as a carpenter in Nazareth.” Working people had made Australia great. They should never be thought of as mere resources. They should be given opportunities to contribute to the common good and receive their fair share. They should be assisted by technology not mastered or replaced by it.

“People need to work, not just to earn money for the necessities of life, but also to fulfil their calling to share in the creative activity of God. The human satisfaction that comes from work well done shows how profoundly the Creator has inscribed the law of work in the heart of man. The goods of the world belong to the whole human family ... We all need to feel that we are truly productive and useful members of our community. It is our right.”

Economics, the Pope told the people of Western Sydney, “cannot be separated from the ethical and social aspects of life in society ... the worker is always more important than both profits and machines”. As a sharing in God’s creativity and Christ’s service, human work should offer an “uplifting and exhilarating” experience of “working with the Creator in perfecting his design and plan for the world”

Now the Worker Pope, the Pope from Parramatta, is ‘raised to the altars’. Blessed John Paul II pray for us.

On the Vatican’s website you can read the speech Blessed John Paul II made in our Diocese in its entirety.

http://www.parra.catholic.org.au/bishop-of-parramatta/most-rev-anthony-fisher-op/catholic-outlook-letters.aspx/letters-of-most-rev-anthony-fisher-op--published-in-catholic-outlook-2011/may-2011.aspx

ASIA: PAKISTAN: MUSLIMS CELEBRATE BEATIFICATION OF JPII

UCAN REPORT: Clerics will also pray as late pontiff takes another step towards sainthood
ucanews.com reporters, Faisalabad and Karachi
Pakistan
May 1, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Muslims join in John Paul II celebration
Catholic students hold photos of Pople John Paul during a Church seminar

A group of Muslims in Lahore will join Catholics in celebrating the beatification of Pope John Paul II today.

At least 12 clerics have been invited to a special Mass for one of the most beloved pontiffs at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Faisalabad diocese. Souvenirs and brochures are being prepared for distribution on the day the Vatican is due to beatify John Paul.

“Muslim clerics were amazed after hearing he is to become awali [saint]. The pope has been an inspiration for all, including Muslims who revere his spirituality”, said Vicar General Father Khalid Asi who is helping coordinate meetings to prepare for the upcoming event.

John Paul was more popular among Muslims than his successor, added the priest.

Multan diocese has also invited 40 clerics for an interfaith harmony seminar to honor the late pontiff at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Redeemer. Bishop Andrew Francis will host the seminar tomorrow following a series of events for students of Catholic schools.

On May 1 the beatification ceremony in Rome will be screened live at the national seminary, at a Catholic hostel in Karachi archdiocese and in Islamabad-Rawalpindi diocese. The Church commissions in the southern archdiocese are also preparing dramas and documentaries on the life and teachings of the pope.

Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi will attend the beatification ceremony in Rome.

Pope John Paul II visited Karachi on February 16, 1981 where he narrowly escaped death at the hands of a bomber.

“It was a big event in the life of the young Catholic Church in Pakistan. His visit encouraged our priests and bishops and showed his concern for us” said Father Augustine Soares, who was in charge of papal security for that visit.

http://www.ucanews.com/2011/05/01/muslims-join-in-john-paul-ii-celebration/

EUROPE: RUSSIA: FOUNDATIONS FOR 200 NEW ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN MOSCOW

ASIA NEWS REPORT: For the Patriarch Kirill the city will be an example to the whole country to change the entire image of religion in Russia. Mayor Sobianin calls for churches open to young people, not just a place of prayer.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - "There will be no delay or hindrance" to the project for another 200 Orthodox churches in Moscow, the mayor of the capital, Sergei Sobianin, assured the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, yesterday, April 29, after the many controversies that followed the go-ahead for the construction of new places of worship . "Now we have to move on to the practical phase, of designing and building new churches," said the Mayor, laying the foundations of the first churches to be built, near the infamous Dubrovka theater. Here in 2002 a siege by Chechen rebels ended in bloodshed with the involvement of Russian security forces.

So far the municipality has given the Church 15 plots of land and will soon deliver another five. Work is already underway in 80 other sites, added the mayor. "By year's end - said Sobianin - work will be initiated for eight or nine churches. For its part, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said that "200 churches are not sufficient to completely solve the problem, but the situation will radically change, because we will have the opportunity to work among people with churches within walking distance away from homes. "

For the State of the Church's support is very helpful in the context of combating social ills such as alcoholism, ethnic violence and abortion. For this Sobianin has urged church leaders to make the churches not only a place of prayer but also a place of encounter and support for the young and needy. According to Kirill, Moscow will serve as an example to other regions and "if we succeed in implementing this program the entire religious image of Russia will change." According to data from the Patriarchate, the proportion between the number of churches and Orthodox believers in Moscow is one church for every 35 thousand inhabitants and in some districts even every 150 thousand or 200 thousand inhabitants.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Foundations-laid-for-first-of-200-new-Orthodox-churches-in-Moscow-21434.html

AFRICA: LIBYA: ARCHBISHOP CALLS ON JPII INTERCESSION FOR PEACE

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "This morning several people came to see me to report the fact that many places were bombed, causing civilian victims”, said Archbishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli to Fides "They hit Sirte, Zentani and Misurata. In this last place the fighting continues. I do not know who hit the civilians, but I know that the situation in Misurata is dramatic” said Bishop Martinelli. "I hope in the coming days, to be able to get to the hospital to visit the wounded”, added the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.
"The bombs, as precise as the aim can be , lead to civilian victims. Bombs are immoral. I wonder also whether it is moral to kill a head of state. What right do we have to do so?” Says Bishop Martinelli, referring to attacks against the residence of Libyan leader Gheddafi. "Even the statement on behalf of the coalition countries that bomb Libya, who want to protect civilians from being attacked, does not correspond to the truth, because these bombings cause victims among civilians who they claim to want to protect. It is necessary first of all to cease-fire”, says the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.
"We ask the intercession of John Paul II that can work miracles. I remember that it was this pope who opened diplomatic relations with Libya in 1997, when this country was under international embargo. I wanted to be in Rome for the beatification of this great Pope. But I am praying ceaselessly, because, through his intercession, may a peaceful solution to the crisis be found - said Bishop Martinelli -. Pope John Paul II taught us that tensions and conflicts must be resolved not with embargoes (and I would add, not with bombs ...), but through dialogue. This was his strong teaching. War cannot bring peace".

TODAY'S SAINT: MAY 1: ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER

St. Joseph

SPOUSE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY AND FOSTER FATHER OF JESUS

Feast: March 19



Information:

Feast Day:March 19
Died:1st century
Patron of:against doubt, against hesitation, Americas, bursars, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, Catholic Church , confectioners, craftsmen, Croatian people , dying people, emigrants, engineers, expectant mothers, families, fathers, holy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, Oblates of Saint Joseph, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, protection of the Church, social justice, travellers, unborn children, Universal Church , Vatican II, wheelwrights, workers, many more...

The glorious St. Joseph was lineally descended from the greatest kings of the tribe of Judah, and from the most illustrious of the ancient patriarchs; but his true glory consisted in his humility and virtue. The history of his life hath not been written by men; but his principal actions are recorded by the Holy Ghost himself God entrusted him with the education of his divine Son, manifested in the flesh. In this view he was espoused to the Virgin Mary. It is an evident mistake of some writers, that by a former wife he was the father of St. James the Less, and of the rest who are styled in the gospels the brothers of our Lord; for these were only cousin-germans to Christ, the sons of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin, wife of Alphaeus, who was living at the time of our Redeemer's crucifixion. St. Jerome assures us1 that St. Joseph always preserved his virgin chastity; and it is of faith that nothing contrary thereto ever took place with regard to his chaste spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was given her by heaven to be the protector of her chastity, to secure her from calumnies in the birth of the Son of God, and to assist her in his education, and in her journeys, fatigues, and persecutions. How great was the purity and sanctity of him who was chosen the guardian of the most spotless Virgin! This holy man seems, for a considerable time, to have been unacquainted that the great mystery of the Incarnation had been wrought in her by the Holy Ghost. Conscious, therefore, of his own chaste behaviour towards her, it could, not but raise a great concern in his breast to find that, notwithstanding the sanctity of her deportment, yet he might be well assured that she was with child. But being , as the scripture calls him, and consequently possessed of all virtues, especially of charity and mildness towards his neighbour, he was determined to leave her privately, without either condemning or accusing her, committing the whole cause to God. These, his perfect dispositions, were so acceptable to God, the lover of justice, charity, and peace, that before he put his design into execution he sent an angel from heaven, not to reprehend anything in his holy conduct, but to dissipate all his doubts and fears, by revealing to him this adorable mystery. How happy should we be if we were as tender in all that regards the reputation of our neighbor; as free from entertaining any injurious thought or suspicion, whatever certainty our conjectures or our senses may seem to rely on; and as guarded in our tongue! We commit these faults only because in our hearts we are devoid of that true charity and simplicity, whereof St. Joseph sets us so eminent an example on this occasion.

In the next place we may admire in secret contemplation with what devotion, respect, and tenderness he beheld and adored the first of all men, the new-born Saviour of the world, and with what fidelity he acquitted himself of his double charge, the education of Jesus and the guardianship of his blessed mother. "He was truly the faithful and prudent servant," says St. Bernard,2 "whom our Lord appointed the master of his household, the comfort and support of his mother, his foster-father, and most faithful co-operator in the execution of his deepest counsels on earth." "What a happiness," says the same Father, "not only to see Jesus Christ, but also to hear him: to carry him in his arms, to lead him from place to place, to embrace and caress him, to feed him, and to be privy to all the great secrets which were concealed from the princes of this world!"

"O astonishing elevation! O unparalleled dignity!" cries out the pious Gerson,3 in a devout address to St. Joseph, "that the mother of God, queen of heaven, should call you her lord; that God himself, made man, should call you father, and obey your commands. O glorious Triad on earth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, how dear a family to the glorious Trinity in heaven, Father, Son,, and Holy Ghost! Nothing is on earth so great, so good, so excellent." Amidst these extraordinary graces, what more wonderful than his humility! He conceals his privileges, lives as the most obscure of men, publishes nothing of God's great mysteries, makes no further inquiries into them, leaving it to God to manifest them at his own time, seeks to fulfil the order of providence in his regard without interfering with anything but what concerns himself. Though descended from the royal family which had long been in the possession of the throne of Judea, he is content with his condition, that of a mechanic or handicraftsman, and makes it his business, by labouring in it, to maintain himself, his spouse, and the divine Child.

We should be ungrateful to this great saint if we did not remember that it is to him, as the instrument under God, that we are indebted for the preservation of the infant Jesus from Herod's jealousy and malice, manifested in the slaughter of the Innocents. An angel appearing to him in his sleep bade him arise, take the child Jesus, and fly with him into Egypt, and remain there till he should again have notice from him to return. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey, with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all his servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation.4 "Joseph," says he, "is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear; he rejoices at the child's birth, but a great fear succeeds; the furious king seeks to destroy the child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away his life. This is followed by another joy- the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises; he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled, and in many places fell to the ground, according to that of Isaiah xix.: The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in saints.

After the death of King Herod, which was notified to St. Joseph by a vision, God ordered him to return with the child and his mother into the land of Israel, which our saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus succeeded Herod in that part of the country, apprehensive he might be infected with his father's vices- cruelty and ambition-he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done, for the more commodious education of the child. And therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of his brother Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth, where the wonderful occurrences of our Lord's birth were less known. St. Joseph being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover. Archelaus being banished by Augustus and Judea made a Roman province, he had now nothing more to fear at Jerusalem. Our Saviour being advanced to the twelfth year of his age, accompanied his parents thither; who, having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast, were now returning with many of their neighbours and acquaintances towards Galilee, and, never doubting but that Jesus had joined himself with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey without further inquiry after him before they discovered that he was not with them. But when night came on, and they could hear no tidings of him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem; where, after an anxious search of three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the learned doctors of the law, hearing them discourse, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of his understanding: nor were his parents less surprised on this occasion. And when his mother told him with what grief and earnestness they had sought him, and to express her sorrow for that, though short, privation of his presence, said to him, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I sought thee in great affliction of mind": she received for answer that, being the Messias and Son of God, sent by his Father into the world in order to redeem it, he must be about his Father's business, the same for which he had been sent into the world; and therefore that it was most likely for them to find him in his Father's house: intimating that his appearing in public on this occasion was to advance his Father's honour, and to prepare the princes of the Jews to receive him for the Messias; pointing out to them from the prophets the time of his coming. But though in thus staying in the temple, unknown to his parents, he did something without their leave, in obedience to his heavenly Father, yet in all other things he was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them.

Aelred, our countryman, Abbot of Rieval, in his sermon on losing the child Jesus in the temple, observes that this his conduct to his parents is a true representation of that which he shows us, whilst he often withdraws himself for a short time from us to make us seek him the more earnestly. He thus describes the sentiments of his holy parents on this occasion."5 Let us consider what was the happiness of that blessed company, in the way to Jerusalem, to whom it was granted to behold his face, to hear his sweet words, to see in him the signs of divine lie wisdom and virtue; and in their mutual discourse to receive the influence of his saving truths and example. The old and young admire him. I believe boys of his age were struck with astonishment at the gravity of his manners and words. I believe such rays of grace darted from his blessed countenance as drew on him the eyes, ears, and hearts of every one. And what tears do they shed when he is not with them." He goes on considering what must be tie grief of his parents when they had lost him; what their sentiments, and how earnest their search: but what their joy when they found him again. "Discover to me," says he, "O my Lady, Mother of my God, what were your sentiments, what your astonishment and your joy when you saw him again, and sitting, not among boys, but amidst the doctors of the law: when you saw every one's eyes fixed on him, every one's ears listening to him, great and small, learned and unlearned, intent only on his words and motions. You now say: I have found him whom I love. I will hold him, and will no more let him part from me. Hold him, sweet Lady, hold him fast; rush on his neck dwell on his embraces, and compensate the three days' absence by multiplied delights in your present enjoyment of him. You tell him that you and his father sought him in grief. For what did you grieve? not for fear of hunger or want in him whom you knew to be God: but I believe you grieved to see yourself deprived of the delights of his presence even for a short time; for the Lord Jesus is so sweet to those who taste him, that his shortest absence is a subject of the greatest grief to them." This mystery is an emblem of the devout soul, and Jesus sometimes withdrawing himself, and leaving her in dryness, that she may be more earnest in seeking him. But, above all, how eagerly ought the soul which has lost God by sin to seek him again, and how bitterly ought she to deplore her extreme misfortune!

As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt but he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments: whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death, and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that tremendous hour. The church reads the history of the Patriarch Joseph on his festival, who was styled the saviour of Egypt, which he delivered from perishing by famine; and was appointed the faithful master of the household of Potiphar, and of that of Pharaoh and his kingdom. But our great saint was chosen by God the saviour of the life of him who was the true Saviour of the souls of men, rescuing him from the tyranny of Herod. He is now glorified in heaven, as the guardian and keeper of his Lord on earth. As Pharaoh said to the Egyptians in their distress, "Go to Joseph"; so may we confidently address ourselves to the mediation of him, to whom God, made man, was subject and obedient on earth.

The devout Gerson expressed the warmest devotion to St. Joseph, which he endeavoured by letters and sermons to promote. He composed an office in his honour, and wrote his life in twelve poems, called Josephina. He enlarges on all the circumstances of his life by pious affections and meditations. St. Teresa chose him the chief patron of her order. In the sixth chapter of her life she writes thus: "I chose the glorious St. Joseph for my patron, and I commend myself in all things singularly to his intercession. I do not remember ever to have asked of God anything by him which I did not obtain. I never knew anyone who, by invoking him, did not advance exceedingly in virtue; for he assists in a wonderful manner all who address themselves to him." St. Francis of Sales, throughout his whole nineteenth entertainment, extremely recommends devotion to him, and extols his merits, principally his virginity, humility, constancy, and courage. The Syrians and other eastern churches celebrate his festival on the 20th of July; the western church on the 19th of March. Pope Gregory XV in 1621, and Urban VIII in 1642, commanded it to be kept a holiday of obligation.

The holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph presents to us the most perfect model of heavenly conversation on earth. How did those two seraphim, Mary and Joseph, live in their poor cottage! They always enjoyed the presence of Jesus, always burning with the most ardent love for him, inviolably attached to his sacred person, always employed and living only for him. What were their transports in beholding him, their devotion in listening to him, and their joy in possessing him! O heavenly life! O anticipation of the heavenly bliss! O divine conversation! We may imitate them, and share some degree of this advantage, by conversing often with Jesus, and by the contemplation of his most amiable goodness, kindling the fire of his holy love in our breasts. The effects of this love, if it be sincere, will necessarily appear in our putting on his spirit, and imitating his example and virtues; and in our studying to walk continually in the divine presence, finding God everywhere, and esteeming all the time lost which we do not spend with God, or for his honor.



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjoseph.asp#ixzz1L775tsCI

TODAY'S MASS READINGS: 2nd SUN. OF EASTER/DIVINE MERCY/ YEAR A

Acts 2: 42 - 47
42And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44And all who believed were together and had all things in common;
45and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.
46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts,
47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Psalms 118: 2 - 4, 13 - 15, 22 - 24
2Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures for ever."
3Let the house of Aaron say, "His steadfast love endures for ever."
4Let those who fear the LORD say, "His steadfast love endures for ever."
13I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me.
14The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
15Hark, glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: "The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
22The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.
23This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Peter 1: 3 - 9
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
5who by God's power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials,
7so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.
9As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.
John 20: 19 - 31
19On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."
22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
24Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
28Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
31but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
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