“These words,” said Pope Benedict, “make us think of the great responsibility of those who in every age, are called to work in the vineyard of the Lord, especially in a role of authority.” He said these words urgently call the pastors of the Church to renew their full fidelity to Christ, who, recalled Pope Benedict, is the stone which the builders rejected (cf. Mt 21:42), because they considered Christ an enemy of the law and a danger to public order. “Rejected and crucified,” said Pope Benedict, “Christ rose again, becoming the ‘cornerstone’ on which the foundation of all human existence and the whole world may rest with absolute certainty.”
“Firmly anchored in faith in the cornerstone who is Christ, abiding in Him like the branch that can not bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine. Only in Him, through Him and with Him is the Church, the people of the New Covenant, built.”
After the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, Pope Benedict looked forward to the Sunday afternoon beatification in the north-western Italian city of Ivrea, of Sr. Antonia Maria Verna, foundress in 1838 of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea – a congregation that now has a worldwide mission of providing education, children’s catechesis and health care to the home-bound.
The Holy Father also had greetings for pilgrims in many languages, including English, during which he prayed especially that God give stout hearts to those who face persecution as they preach the Gospel:
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus. In particular, I extend cordial greetings to the participants in the Second International Congress on Divine Mercy in Krakow, and to the students from Iona College, Australia. The Gospel of today’s liturgy spurs us to pray for all who work in the Lord’s vineyard, especially where they face violence and threats because of their faith. May God grant them, and all of us, strength in our service to him and to one another. God bless all of you!
- John Wayne, for many, was a Hollywood legend who symbolized true masculinity and American values. To Fr. Matthew Muñoz, though, he was simply “granddaddy.”
“When we were little we’d go to his house and we’d simply hang out with granddaddy and we’d play and we’d have fun: a very different image from what most people have of him,” Fr. Muñoz told CNA on a recent visit to Rome.
Fr. Muñoz was 14 years old when his grandfather died of cancer in 1979. In his lifetime, “The Duke” won three Oscars, the Congressional Gold Medal and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of all those achievements, though, Fr. Muñoz is most proud of just one – his grandfather’s conversion to the Catholic faith.
“My grandmother, Josephine Wayne Saenz, had a wonderful influence on his life and introduced him to the Catholic world,” said 46-year-old Fr. Muñoz, a priest of the Diocese of Orange in California.
“He was constantly at Church events and fundraisers that she was always dragging him to and I think that, after a while, he kind of got a sense that the common secular vision of what Catholics are and what his own experience actually was, were becoming two greatly different things.”
Fr. Muñoz’s grandparents married in 1933 and had four children, the youngest of whom – Melinda – is his mother. The couple civilly divorced in 1945 although, as a Catholic, Josephine did not re-marry until after John Wayne’s death. She also never stopped praying for her husband’s conversion – a prayer which was answered in 1978.
“He was a great friend of the Archbishop of Panama, Archbishop Tomas Clavel, and he kept encouraging him and finally my granddaddy said, 'Okay, I’m ready.'”
As a result of a change in Panamanian leadership, Archbishop Clavel was exiled from his native land in 1968. Three years later, Cardinal Timothy Manning, then the Archbishop of Los Angeles, invited Archbishop Clavel to Orange County, where he served as pastoral leader to half of Orange County's 600,000 Latinos.
By the time of Wayne's request, however, Archbishop Clavel was too ill to make the journey to the film star's residence.
“So Archbishop Clavel called Archbishop McGrath,” Fr. Muñoz said, explaining that Archbishop McGrath was the successor to Archbishop Clavel in the Archdiocese of Panama.
“My mom and my uncle were there when he came. So there’s no question about whether or not he was baptized. He wanted to become baptized and become Catholic,” Fr. Muñoz said. “It was wonderful to see him come to the faith and to leave that witness for our whole family.”
Fr. Muñoz also said that his grandfather’s expressed a degree of regret about not becoming a Catholic earlier in life, explaining “that was one of the sentiment he expressed before he passed on,” blaming “a busy life.”
Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, though, John Wayne’s life was far from irreligious.
“From an early age he had a good sense of what was right and what is wrong. He was raised with a lot of Christian principles and kind of a 'Bible faith' that, I think, had a strong impact upon him,” said Fr. Muñoz recalling that his grandfather often wrote handwritten notes to the Almighty.
“He wrote beautiful love letters to God, and they were prayers. And they were very childlike and they were very simple but also very profound at the same time,” he said.
“And sometimes that simplicity was looked at as naivety but I think there was a profound wisdom in his simplicity.”
Fr. Muñoz summed up the hierarchy of his grandfather’s values as “God coming first, then family, then country.” It’s a triumvirate he sees repeatedly reflected in his grandfather’s films. He believes those values are much needed in Hollywood today and, if “the Duke” were still here he’d be leading the charge.
“My grandfather was a fighter. I think there would be a lot of things he’d be disappointed and saddened over. But I don’t think he would lose hope. I think he would look at the current time as a moment of faith. People are in crisis and they’re looking for something more meaningful, more real,” Fr. Muñoz said.
“So I think he would look at the situation and say – don’t get discouraged! I think he would say get involved. Don’t go hiding in a shell and getting on the defensive from Hollywood. Get involved and be an agent for the good. I think he would do that. That’s what he did in his time.”
Benedictine Father Francis Xavier Tran Van An yesterday presided over a groundbreaking ceremony for a new drug rehabilitation center near the national Marian Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in Quang Tri province.
About 100 people attended the event for the center, which the Benedictines hope will help local drug abusers kick their habits and return to normal lives.
“The center aims to provide free rehabilitation, spiritual healing, health care and vocational skills for a rising number of drug addicts in the area,” said Fr An, 40, who heads the project.
Fr An, who has provided rehabilitation services at his monastery for years, said many parents have sought assistance from the Benedictines after their children have failed to overcome their addictions in state-run facilities, for which they must pay as much as 3 million dong (US$300) per month.
A former drug addict himself prior to becoming a Benedictine, Fr An said the order since 2008 has been providing rehabilitation services, accommodation and vocational training to about 8 drug addicts each year. He added that about 25 people have given up drug use through the program and now have employment, while five have joined the Catholic Church.
Fr An said the new center will accommodate 80 to 100 patients and will include a chapel, library, living rooms, bedrooms, a playground and gardens, all situated on a 3,000-square-meter plot of land.
He estimated the cost of the center to be about 4 billion dong but that benefactors have so far only donated one billion dong.
DIOCESE OF CANBERRA REPORT: Schools in the Archdiocese have maximised use of the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution funding, students at Sacred Heart Primary School, Pearce, were told. The school this week was the latest to hold a blessing and opening ceremony for its new facilities.
Head of religious education and curriculum services in the Catholic Education Office Mrs Mary Dorrian said the funding had been "an amazing gift to our schools". She said the new buildings reflected what education in the 21st century was like.
Bishop Pat Power blessed a new multi-purpose hall and relocated and refurbished library, costing nearly $3 million. Member for Canberra Ms Gai Brodtmann officially opened the facilities.
The Feast of the Guardian Angels
Feast: October 2
Not only do believers have faith on their side, but they have "witnesses" of God's Word. Holy Scripture contains numerous examples that witness to the existence of angels and their manifestations in relation to the fulfillment of particular missions.
The well-known example of Mary's Annunciation involved an angel sent by God to announce that the moment had arrived for the fulfillment of the coming of God's Son: He would be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary as man.
Angels were also the witnesses and heralds of Jesus' Resurrection.
Sacred Scripture and angels
With Sacred Scripture as its foundation, the Church affirms the existence of angels and puts into light their mission in relation to collective salvation in history as well as individual salvation.
In a Catechesis during the early years of his Pontificate, keeping in mind what is held by tradition, John Paul II affirmed that "the angels, as pure spirits, not only participate in the holiness of God himself, in the manner proper to them, but in the key moments they surround Christ and accompany him in the fulfillment of his salvific mission in regard to mankind" (General Audience, 30 July 1986; L'Osservatore Romano English Edition, 4 August, p. 1).
Holiness, therefore, as the fruit of grace and love, is shared by the angels. It is not shared by all, however, for in the beginning there was a rebellion, and those unfaithful to God and his project of salvation were excluded.
Without manipulating Scripture, we can say that participation in God's holiness can be understood in relation to the redemptive holiness which springs forth from Christ, by means of and in sight of which the angels were created. Such participation was held in a specific way by the angels.
In the Catechesis mentioned above, John Paul also affirms that "in the key moments [the angels] surround Christ and accompany him in the fulfilment of his salvific mission in regard to mankind". This is a logical consequence of the aforementioned text.
Angels, created by God according to the importance and necessity of each situation, therefore "accompany" and "surround" the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. In this way the mission is complete, embracing the whole Christ, Head and Body.
This dynamic refers not only to the Ecclesial Community as such, but also individual Church members. But as part of the historical and ecclesiological profile it must also be mentioned that angels journey together with the Church in her mission of salvation and at the same time travel side-by-side with her members; all human beings have their own guardian angel to guard, protect and enlighten them.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaims that "from infancy to death human life is surrounded by their [angels'] watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God" (CCC, n. 336).
Such protection will benefit those who respond to the Holy Spirit's direction and for those who willingly collaborate. In her liturgy, the Church prays to the angels for herself and others, calling upon their protection and intercession: it is sufficient to follow the liturgy of the Mass to be convinced.
The same Church makes the special prayer to the guardian angel available to the faithful and to all who wish to recite it. As a result, praying it at least twice a day, morning and evening, should not be "an option".
|Isaiah 5: 1 - 7|
|1||Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.|
|2||He digged it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.|
|3||And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard.|
|4||What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?|
|5||And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.|
|6||I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.|
|7||For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!|
|Psalms 80: 9, 12 - 16, 19 - 20|
|9||Thou didst clear the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.|
|12||Why then hast thou broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?|
|13||The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.|
|14||Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,|
|15||the stock which thy right hand planted.|
|16||They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance!|
|19||Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! let thy face shine, that we may be saved!|
6Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
33"Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country.34When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit;35and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.36Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them.37Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.'38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.'39And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.40When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"41They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."42Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."