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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : TUES. JAN. 24, 2012

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN : POPE : SPACE FOR SILENCE AND PRAYER - OTHER NEWS 
AMERICA : OVER 500000 AT MARCH FOR LIFE IN WASHINGTON DC
 AUSTRALIA : AUSTRALIA DAY CELEBRATIONS AT CATHEDRAL
 ASIA : BANGLADESH : LARGEST CATHOLIC VILLAGE - NEW PARISH
EUROPE : ITALY : PRAYER CAMPAIGN FOR CHINA BY CLOISTERED  
AFRICA : KENYA : STAY UNITED - CHRISTIAN UNITY WEEK  
TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 24 : ST. FRANCIS DE SALES
TODAY'S GOSPEL AND MASS ONLINE : TUES. JAN. 24, 2012
 
VATICAN : POPE : SPACE FOR SILENCE AND PRAYER - OTHER NEWS
PRESENTATION OF MESSAGE FOR WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY

VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present Benedict XVI's Message for the forty-sixth World Day of Social Communications, entitled: "Silence and Word: Path of Evangelisation". Participating in today's conference were Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, Msgr. Paul Tighe, Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti and Angelo Scelzo, respectively president, secretary, adjunct secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Archbishop Celli recalled how, "each year in his Message for the World Day of Social Communications, the Pope has sought to analyse the culture of communication, offering guidance to modern man and directing the pastoral activity of the Church. Over recent years the Pope has been very attentive to the process and dynamics of communication, especially in the context of the cultural transformations that have arisen as a result of technological progress".

This year, however, "the Holy Father turns his attention to a 'classic' aspect of communication: 'silence'; or rather, the pairing of 'silence and word'. This aspect ... is becoming increasingly important in the context of digital culture", noted the president of the pontifical council, going on to explain how Benedict XVI focuses upon the importance of silence as part of authentic communication. Silence can be a vehicle of expression, it gives others the chance to speak and us the opportunity to listen, think and reflect, the archbishop said. "In essence, it is in silence that I am able to give communication its correct significance, and to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of communication itself.

"Silence has particular importance in the context of that incessant flow of questions which, in a certain sense, is the driving force of modern communication culture", he added. The Pope suggests "that at the heart of this flow of questions lies a fundamental question, which is the search for Truth. Here again the importance of silence emerges, as a place where human beings must face themselves and God". In silence mankind discovers "the possibility to speak with God and about God". For this reason Benedict XVI reminds people engaged in the task of evangelisation that "both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church's work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today's world".
CON-CS/ VIS 20120124 (390)

SILENCE AND WORD: PATH OF EVANGELISATION

VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Today's Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, marks the World Day of Social Communications, and the Holy Father's Message for the Day, entitled: "Silence and Word: Path of Evangelisation" was made public this morning. Ample excerpts from the English-language version of the text are given below.

On this "World Communications Day 2012, I would like to share with you some reflections concerning an aspect of the human process of communication which, despite its importance, is often overlooked and which, at the present time, it would seem especially necessary to recall. It concerns the relationship between silence and word: two aspects of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be achieved".

"Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth. ... By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible. ... When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us ... to make evaluations, to analyse messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge. For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of 'eco-system' that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds.

"The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers. ... Indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware. If we are to recognise and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive".

"Ultimately, this constant flow of questions demonstrates the restlessness of human beings, ceaselessly searching for truths, of greater or lesser import, that can offer meaning and hope to their lives. Men and women cannot rest content with a superficial and unquestioning exchange of sceptical opinions and experiences of life - all of us are in search of truth".

"Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives. It is hardly surprising that different religious traditions consider solitude and silence as privileged states which help people to rediscover themselves and that Truth which gives meaning to all things. The God of biblical revelation speaks also without words: 'As the Cross of Christ demonstrates, God also speaks by His silence".

"If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the possibility of speaking with God and about God. ... In speaking of God's grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation 'to communicate that which we have seen and heard' so that all may be in communion with God".

"In silent contemplation, then, the eternal Word, through Whom the world was created, becomes ever more powerfully present and we become aware of the plan of salvation that God is accomplishing throughout our history by word and deed. ... This plan of salvation culminates in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. He has made known to us the true face of God the Father and by His Cross and Resurrection has brought us from the slavery of sin and death to the freedom of the children of God. The fundamental question of the meaning of human existence finds in the mystery of Christ an answer capable of bringing peace to the restless human heart. The Church's mission springs from this mystery; and it is this mystery which impels Christians to become heralds of hope and salvation, witnesses of that love which promotes human dignity and builds justice and peace.

"Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and contemplate as well as speak. This is especially important for those engaged in the task of evangelisation: both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church's work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today's world".
MESS/ VIS 20120124 (890)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Herve Gaschignard, auxiliary of Toulouse, France, as bishop of Aire et Dax (area 9,364, population 362,827, Catholics 261,000, priests 153, permanent deacons 14, religious 211), France. He succeeds Bishop Philippe Breton, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

AMERICA : OVER 500000 AT MARCH FOR LIFE IN WASHINGTON DC

BY: Miriam Westen
Over 500,000 attended the MARCH FOR LIFE 2012 in Washington, DC on Sun. Jan. 22. This massive crowd gathered to honor life from conception to natural death. It is hoped that the legislation will soon be changed to end abortion in the US. They marked the 39th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. (IMAGE SOURCE: http://mcitl.blogspot.com/) This court decision made abortion legal in the USA in 1973. Since that time over 54 million abortions have occurred in the USA. According to the EWTN news service the attendence number of the crowd was confirmed by police. There was an overnight prayer vigil in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with thousands in attendance. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops provided the homily during the Mass. This annual March has become a large event spanning many days and involving talks, demonstrations, prayer, videos and other activities. Many politicians, clergy, religious, youth and leaders partke every year. Martin Luther King's niece Dr. Alveda King also attended and is part of a large movement in support of life. Last year over 400,000 attended. This year noted a particularly strong youth presence. One Catholic College, Christendom cancelled classes so that the entire school could attend.
The West Coast organized a similar event for the 8th time which gathered over 40, 000 this year.
Before the rally. On Jan. 21 the crowds came to San Francisco. This March began with a Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral with Archbishop George Niederauer presided. (video/image source http://walkforlifewc.blogspot.com/search/label/2012%20Walk%20Photos) VIDEO from 2011West Coast:

AUSTRALIA : AUSTRALIA DAY CELEBRATIONS AT CATHEDRAL

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
24 Jan 2012
Historic tours of the Cathedral and its treasures
will be part of the Australia Day Program
An exhibition of 50 sacred liturgical vestments will be part of this year's Australia Day celebrations at St Mary's Cathedral. Also on the program will be performances of favourite arias and duets by four of Australia's young opera stars as well as recitals by renowned organist, Oliver Brett.
Children will be entertained with interactive story readings and face painting and there will be historical tours, trips to the bell tower and performances by St Mary's famous bellringers.
There will also be a breathtaking display of flowers and at the noon Mass a blessing for all Australians.
As happened last year, St Mary's Cathedral has pulled out all the stops to become one of the focal points of the city's Australia Day celebrations. The program created for Australia's national day is designed to appeal to everyone from music lovers to history buffs. No matter what your age, walk of life or even whether you are Catholic or non Catholic, there will be something for you and your family to enjoy.

Pre Vatican II Vestments were
far more elaborate
Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell often says St Mary's Cathedral belongs to all Sydney adding that it has long been his ambition to open the Cathedral and its treasures to the public on Australia Day as well as on other important city celebrations throughout the year.
With the Cathedral's history closely paralleling that of the city and the colonisation of Australia, the 20 minute historic tours provide fascinating insights while the exhibition in the Crypt which will open on Australia Day morning and be on display over the next seven days, will provide an intriguing look at post Vatican II liturgical vestments.
"In our exhibition last year we put pre-Vatican II vestments on display but this year we decided to show vestments dating from 1962, which marked the opening of the second Vatican Council," says Cathedral Sacristan, Chris Backhouse who organised this year's as well as last year's exhibitions.
"As a result of Vatican II there was a transitional period in liturgical vestments and by the late 1960s they had very little ornamentation and were very austere. This was how 'noble simplicity' was first interpreted but thankfully this hessian and cheesecloth era finally began to change in the 1990s," he says, pointing out that while simplicity remained the fabrics used once again became important.
"The ornamentation of pre Vatican II was gone and the slippers and gloves from that time were also no longer worn by bishops and clergy. Vestments retained a simplicity of style but beautiful fabrics began to play a role once more," he says adding that with the election of Pope Benedict XVI vestments became more ornate with the use of wonderful silks and rich brocades," he says.

Mezzo soprano Lauren Fagan
will be part of the opera recitals
at the cathedral
The Sacristan's personal favourites at the exhibition include three pieces from an 18 piece Pontifical High Mass set of liturgical vestment of Russian silk which were made for Cardinal Pell in 2006.
Another favourite are the liturgical vestments used on Good Friday by His Eminence and created in black and red silk.
Many of those on display are made here in Australia. But there are also vestments donated to the Cathedral by Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI during their visits to Australia.
In addition there are examples of liturgical vestments from other countries such as New Guinea, South America, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
For visitors to the exhibition other Cathedral treasures will also be on display including the Nicola Cerrone-designed silver chalice, paten (communion plate) and ciborium which are enriched with gold motifs and precious stones and were blessed by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
The exhibition in the Crypt will open at 9.30 am on Australia Day - the same time the first tour of the bell tower will begin. Bell ringing will begin at 10.10 until 10.30 with the first organ recital by Oliver Brett, Assistant Music Director at the Cathedral and Director of the St Mary's Singers beginning at 10.30.

Fascinating exhibition of sacred liturgical
vestments from 1960-2000
Among the selections he will play in the morning and again at a recital from 2.30 to 3 pm will be Walton's Coronation March "Orb and Sceptre" and Vierne's Final from Symphony No. 1.
Each organ recital will be followed by a performance of opera favourites by mezzo soprano, Lauren Fagan, baritone Thomas Strong, soprano Phoebe Humphreys and tenor Claudio Sgaramella. The singers will be accompanied by Thomas Wilson, Director of Music at the Cathedral and will give another performance in the afternoon from 3 until 3.30 pm.
Face painting and story telling for children will continue throughout the day which will also offer Sydneysiders the chance to join one of three tours of the Cathedral's famous bell tower and an opportunity to join one of the three historic tours of St Mary's and its treasures. For belltower or historic tours, bookings are advised.
To find out more contact the Cathedral on 02 9220 0400 or log on to www.stmaryscathedral.org.au
http://www.sydneycatholic.org/news/latest_news/2012/2012124_986.shtml

EUROPE : ITALY : PRAYER CAMPAIGN FOR CHINA BY CLOISTERED

ASIA NEWS REPORTS: The Church in China "today is a beautiful hope for the universal Church, and especially for the mission in Asia," but it is also "in danger of division and schism." Father Lazzarotto: constructive dialogue between the Vatican and Beijing should be sought on a practical level, but we "require a real miracle" to reach a valid and enduring agreement, for this Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly called on Catholics worldwide to join in prayer their brothers and sisters of the Republic of China.

Milan (AsiaNews) - A "prayer campaign" for the Church in China, "which is at the most difficult and decisive crossroads in its recent history" is the request that the PIME father Piero Gheddo and Angelo Lazzarotto have made to 530 cloistered convents in Italy.

In formulating their request, Fr Gheddo writes that the Chinese Church "today is a beautiful hope for the universal Church and especially for the mission in Asia, the continent that is home to 80-82% of the world’s non-Christians!" but that it is "divided and is in danger of falling into a schism".

A danger that Fr Lazzarotto illustrates retracing the crisis "triggered November 20, 2010 when the communist authorities decided to impose an Episcopal ordination in the city of Chengde (Hebei province) without Papal consent." "In the summer of 2011, the government imposed two other Episcopal ordinations, June 29 in Leshan (province Sichuan) and July 14 in Shantou (Guangdong Prov), even though they had been informed of the reasons why the Pope could not and would not give his approval. So the Holy See had to declare that the two priests who agreed to be ordained bishops did so contrary to the laws of the Church and as a result, automatically incurred excommunication. China protested. "

"Unfortunately – observes Fr Lazzarotto - the communist government does not hesitate to use bribes and even physical violence to achieve its goals. Last year it even sent the police to force several bishops to attend the Assembly in December 2010, and to perform the Episcopal ordinations. The government has created the Catholic Patriotic Association for this reason, which ends up marginalizing the bishops. This absurd use of force to impose specific religious choices, dishonors the prestige of the New China before the world. Numerous observers and scholars say there are far-left factions that are trying to take over the government apparatus: Let us not forget that preparations are underway for a major Communist Party Congress and leadership change.

As for the prospects for the Church in China, "there is need, of course, for new bishops. But the Church in China is in an emergency situation because since the closure of the seminaries, for 30 years, there have been no new ordinations. Today, the possible candidates for the episcopacy are all young men of about 35-40, and often lack experience. Thus, together with many bishops and other delegates who have tried in every possible way to refuse participation in the above mentioned events, there are those who have not been able to resist. It is difficult to know if their participation was voluntary or not because often they are chiefly concerned with ensuring the operation of facilities essential to the life of the Church, since the control over diocesan finances is often in the hands of members of the Patriotic Association. It is also common knowledge that a lot of money is flowing through the Association to a growing number of dioceses, parishes and seminaries, so those who do not cooperate with the government pay a huge financial cost. And, as always, accepting money means a loss of independence. "

In this context, "the past several attempts to find an understanding with the Communist authorities in China have failed because of the sabotage of certain forces interested in maintaining the state of conflict. But Benedict XVI, as his predecessors, never misses an opportunity to express his confidence in the Church in China, as well as his high esteem for the Chinese people and his respect for the government that guides them". And "even the Beijing authorities can not ignore the considerable prestige the Pope enjoys at an international level. Therefore, they too are open to improving relations with the Vatican."

"A constructive dialogue should be sought, in my opinion, in the practical field. The Catholic communities want to work for social peace and the common good. But it must be ensured that the Church can operate according to her traditions. In choosing candidates for the episcopate is essential that priests are suitable in terms of personal and ecclesiastical requirements. It cannot be acceptable that some entities, desired by the State and extraneous to the structure of the Church, place themselves above the bishops themselves in the leadership of the church community. As Pope Benedict XVI clearly stated. "

Reaching a valid and lasting agreement, in the opinion of Fr Lazzaretto, "requires a real miracle. We need, therefore, a crusade of prayer, knowing that 'nothing is impossible for God'. For this Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly called on Catholics worldwide to join the prayer of their brothers and sisters of the Republic of China. They have great faith in the Virgin Mary, venerated in many sanctuaries, especially in Sheshan (near Shanghai) where she is invoked as Help of Christians. In particular, the Pope recommended us to seek Mary’s intercession to "enlighten those who are in doubt, to call back the straying, to console the afflicted, to strengthen those who are ensnared by the allure of opportunism."

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Fr.-Gheddo-to-cloistered:-a-prayer-campaign-for-the-Church-in-China-23782.html

ASIA : BANGLADESH : LARGEST CATHOLIC VILLAGE - NEW PARISH

UCAN REPORTS: Doripara villagers celebrate after official announcement on feast day
Sumon Corraya, Doripara
Bangladesh
January 24, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Largest Catholic village gets parish status
Holy Cross Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka prays inside Holy Family Church at Doripara
Holy Cross Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka has created a new parish which includes Doripara, the country’s largest Catholic village.
With its new status Holy Family Parish, with 2,842 Catholics, becomes the 19th parish in the only metropolitan archdiocese in the country.
It was created by taking territory from St John the Baptist Parish in Tumilia, about 2 kilometers away.
The announcement on January 20 came on the feast of the Holy Family, giving local Catholics an extra special reason to cheer.
Many villagers said they had been waiting for this announcement for a long time.
It was really important for local people because the church in Tumilia is a long way to go for administrative purposes,” said Atul Gomes.
The Holy Family Church buildings in Doripara were constructed and opened for Catholics in 2002.
“New parish brings new opportunities, new responsibilities. The faith in Christ you inherited from your ancestors will be revitalized, I hope,” Archbishop D’Rozario said during his homily.
http://www.ucanews.com/2012/01/24/largest-catholic-village-gets-parish-status/

AFRICA : KENYA : STAY UNITED - CHRISTIAN UNITY WEEK

CISA REPORTS: NAIROBI, January 24, 2012 (CISA) -Christians have been urged to strive for unity among themselves irrespective of their denominational.
Catholic priest, Rev Fr Wilfrid Okambawa, a Jesuit Priest from Benin and currently lecturing at Hekima Jesuit College, Nairobi said on January 21, when he addressed a group of Christians, gathered to mark the 2012 Week of Christianity Unity.
“This is what God has always wished to see among us as His children” he said.
The event was organized by the Nairobi Ecumenical Group, of which the Catholic Church is a member and was held at Nairobi’s Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA).
The ecumenical prayer service of the day, was conducted under the global theme of the 2012 Week of Christian Unity, We will all be challenged by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The ecumenical Week of Christian Unity is marked between January 18-25 every year, but local Christians and churches are permitted to make a highlight of the week on a day of their choice.
Fr Okambawa added that denominational differences among the Christians should not be a block in building unity and solidarity.
“As Christians, we should challenge any move to stop us from building unity and solidarity among as children of one God,” he stressed.
A PCEA church Elder, Solomon Gacece thanked the gathered Christians for coming together to express their willingness to work together irrespective of their denominational.
At the end of the ecumenical prayer service a collection was made whose proceeds will be given to a group of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country.
The gathered Christians then had a cup of tea and biscuits as a sign of unity.
http://www.cisanewsafrica.com/

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 24 : ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

St. Francis de Sales
BISHOP, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: January 24


Information:
Feast Day: January 24
Born:
21 August 1567, Château de Thorens, Savoy
Died: 28 December 1622, Lyon, France
Canonized: 19 April 1665, Rome by Pope Alexander VII
Major Shrine: Annecy, France
Patron of: Catholic press; confessors; deaf people; educators; writers; journalists
Bishop of Geneva, Doctor of the Universal Church; born at Thorens, in the Duchy of Savoy, 21 August, 1567; died at Lyons, 28 December, 1622. His father, Francois de Sales de Boisy, and his mother, Francoise de Sionnaz, belonged to old Savoyard aristocratic families. The future saint was the eldest of six brothers. His father intended him for the magistracy and sent him at an early age to the colleges of La Roche and Annecy. From 1583 till 1588 he studied rhetoric and humanities at the college of Clermont, Paris, under the care of the Jesuits. While there he began a course of theology. After a terrible and prolonged temptation to despair, caused by the discussions of the theologians of the day on the question of predestination, from which he was suddenly freed as he knelt before a miraculous image of Our Lady at St. Etienne-des-Gres, he made a vow of chastity and consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1588 he studied law at Padua, where the Jesuit Father Possevin was his spiritual director. He received his diploma of doctorate from the famous Pancirola in 1592. Having been admitted as a lawyer before the senate of Chambery, he was about to be appointed senator. His father had selected one of the noblest heiresses of Savoy to be the partner of his future life, but Francis declared his intention of embracing the ecclesiastical life. A sharp struggle ensued. His father would not consent to see his expectations thwarted. Then Claude de Granier, Bishop of Geneva, obtained for Francis, on his own initiative, the position of Provost of the Chapter of Geneva, a post in the patronage of the pope. It was the highest office in the diocese, M. de Boisy yielded and Francis received Holy Orders (1593).

From the time of the Reformation the seat of the Bishopric of Geneva had been fixed at Annecy. There with apostolic zeal, the new provost devoted himself to preaching, hearing confessions, and the other work of his ministry. In the following year (1594) he volunteered to evangelize Le Chablais, where the Genevans had imposed the Reformed Faith, and which had just been restored to the Duchy of Savoy. He made his headquarters in the fortress of Allinges. Risking his life, he journeyed through the entire district, preaching constantly; by dint of zeal, learning, kindness and holiness he at last obtained a hearing. He then settled in Thonon, the chief town. He confuted the preachers sent by Geneva to oppose him; he converted the syndic and several prominent Calvinists. At the request of the pope, Clement VIII, he went to Geneva to interview Theodore Beza, who was called the Patriarch of the Reformation. The latter received him kindly and seemed for a while shaken, but had not the courage to take the final steps. A large part of the inhabitants of Le Chablais returned to the true fold (1597 and 1598). Claude de Granier then chose Francis as his coadjutor, in spite of his refusal, and sent him to Rome (1599).
Pope Clement VIII ratified the choice; but he wished to examine the candidate personally, in presence of the Sacred College. The improvised examination was a triumph for Francis. "Drink, my son", said the Pope to him. "from your cistern, and from your living wellspring; may your waters issue forth, and may they become public fountains where the world may quench its thirst." The prophesy was to be realized. On his return from Rome the religious affairs of the territory of Gex, a dependency of France, necessitated his going to Paris. There the coadjutor formed an intimate friendship with Cardinal de Berulle, Antoine Deshayes, secretary of Henry IV, and Henry IV himself, who wished "to make a third in this fair friendship" (). The king made him preach the Lent at Court, and wished to keep him in France. He urged him to continue, by his sermons and writings, to teach those souls that had to live in the world how to have confidence in God, and how to be genuinely and truly pious—graces of which he saw the great necessity.
On the death of Claude de Granier, Francis was consecrated Bishop of Geneva (1602). His first step was to institute catechetical instructions for the faithful, both young and old. He made prudent regulations for the guidance of his clergy. He carefully visited the parishes scattered through the rugged mountains of his diocese. He reformed the religious communities. His goodness, patience and mildness became proverbial. He had an intense love for the poor, especially those who were of respectable family. His food was plain, his dress and his household simple. He completely dispensed with superfluities and lived with the greatest economy, in order to be able to provide more abundantly for the wants of the needy. He heard confessions, gave advice, and preached incessantly. He wrote innumerable letters (mainly letters of direction) and found time to publish the numerous works mentioned below. Together with St. Jane Frances de Chantal, he founded (1607) the Institute of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, for young girls and widows who, feeling themselves called to the religious life, have not sufficient strength, or lack inclination, for the corporal austerities of the great orders. His zeal extended beyond the limits of his own diocese. He delivered the Lent and Advent discourses which are still famous—those at Dijon (1604), where he first met the Baroness de Chantal; at Chambery (1606); at Grenoble (1616, 1617, 1618), where he converted the Marechal de Lesdiguieres. During his last stay in Paris (November, 1618, to September, 1619) he had to go into the pulpit each day to satisfy the pious wishes of those who thronged to hear him. "Never", said they, "have such holy, such apostolic sermons been preached." He came into contact here with all the distinguished ecclesiastics of the day, and in particular with St. Vincent de Paul. His friends tried energetically to induce him to remain in France, offering him first the wealthy Abbey of Ste. Genevieve and then the coadjutor-bishopric of Paris, but he refused all to return to Annecy.
In 1622 he had to accompany the Court of Savoy into France. At Lyons he insisted on occupying a small, poorly furnished room in a house belonging to the gardener of the Visitation Convent. There, on 27 December, he was seized with apoplexy. He received the last sacraments and made his profession of faith, repeating constantly the words: "God's will be done! Jesus, my God and my all!" He died next day, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. Immense crowds flocked to visit his remains, which the people of Lyons were anxious to keep in their city. With much difficulty his body was brought back to Annecy, but his heart was left at Lyons. A great number of wonderful favours have been obtained at his tomb in the Visitation Convent of Annecy. His heart, at the time of the French Revolution, was carried by the Visitation nuns from Lyons to Venice, where it is venerated to-day. St. Francis de Sales was beatified in 1661, and canonized by Alexander VII in 1665; he was proclaimed Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX, in 1877.
The following is a list of the principal works of the holy Doctor: (1) "Controversies", leaflets which the zealous missioner scattered among the inhabitants of Le Chablais in the beginning, when t hese people did not venture to come and hear him preach. They form a complete proof of the Catholic Faith. In the first part, the author defends the authority of the Church, and in the second and third parts, the rules of faith, which were not observed by the heretical ministers. The primacy of St. Peter is amply vindicated. (2) "Defense of the Standard of the Cross", a demonstration of the virtue of the True Cross; of the Crucifix; of the Sign of the Cross; an explanation of the Veneration of the Cross. (3) "An Introduction to the Devout Life", a work intended to lead "Philothea", the soul living in the world, into the paths of devotion, that is to say, of true and solid piety. Every one should strive to become pious, and "it is an error, it is even a heresy", to hold that piety is incompatible with any state of life. In the first part the author helps the soul to free itself from all inclination to, or affection for, sin; in the second, he teaches it how to be united to God by prayer and the sacraments; in the third, he exercises it in the practice of virtue; in the fourth, he strengthens it against temptation; in the fifth, he teaches it how to form its resolutions and to persevere. The "Introduction", which is a masterpiece of psychology, practical morality, and common sense, was translated into nearly every language even in the lifetime of the author, and it has since gone through innumerable editions. (4) "Treatise on the Love of God", an authoritative work which reflects perfectly the mind and heart of Francis de Sales as a great genius and a great saint. It contains twelve books. The first four give us a history, or rather explain the theory, of Divine love, its birth in the soul, its growth, its perfection, and its decay and annihilation; the fifth book shows that this love is twofold—the love of complacency and the love of benevolence; the sixth and seventh treat of love, which is practised in prayer; the eight and ninth deal with love, that is, conformity to the will of God, and submission to His good pleasure. The last three resume what has preceded and teach how to apply practically the lessons taught therein. (5) "Spiritual Conferences"; familiar conversations on religious virtues addressed to the sisters of the Visitation and collected by them. We find in them that practical common sense, keenness of perception and delicacy of feeling which were characteristic of the kind-hearted and energetic Saint. (6) "Sermons".—These are divided into two classes: those composed previously to his consecration as a bishop, and which he himself wrote out in full; and the discourses he delivered when a bishop, of which, as a rule, only outlines and synopses have been preserved. Some of the latter, however, were taken down < in extenso> by his hearers. Pius IX, in his Bull proclaiming him Doctor of the Church calls the Saint "The Master and Restorer of Sacred Eloquence". He is one of those who at the beginning of the seventeenth century formed the beautiful French language; he foreshadows and prepares the way for the great sacred orators about to appear. He speaks simply, naturally, and from his heart. To speak well we need only love well, was his maxim. His mind was imbued with the Holy Writings, which he comments, and explains, and applies practically with no less accuracy than grace. (7) "Letters", mostly letters of direction, in which the minister of God effaces himself and teaches the soul to listen to God, the only true director. The advice given is suited to all the circumstances and necessities of life and to all persons of good will. While trying to efface his own personality in these letters, the saint makes himself known to us and unconsciously discovers to us the treasures of his soul. (8) A large number of very precious treatises or opuscula.
Migne (5 vols., quarto) and Vives (12 vols., octavo, Paris) have edited the works of St. Francis de Sales. But the edition which we may call definitive was published at Annecy in 1892, by the English Benedictine, Dom Mackey: a work remarkable for its typographical execution, the brilliant criticism that settles the text, the large quantity of hitherto unedited matter, and the interesting study accompanying each volume. Dom Mackey published twelve volumes. Father Navatel, S.J., is continuing the work. We may give here a brief resume of the spiritual teaching contained in these works, of which the Church has said: "The writings of Francis de Sales, filled with celestial doctrine are a bright light in the Church, pointing out to souls an easy and safe way to arrive at the perfection of a Christian life." (Breviarium Romanum, 29 January, lect. VI.)
There are two elements in the spiritual life: first, a struggle against our lower nature; secondly, union of our wills with God, in other words, penance and love. St. Francis de Sales looks chiefly to love. Not that he neglects penance, which is absolutely necessary, but he wishes it to be practised from a motive of love. He requires mortification of the senses, but he relies first on mortification of the mind, the will, and the heart. This interior mortification he requires to be unceasing and always accompanied by love. The end to be realized is a life of loving, simple, generous, and constant fidelity to the will of God, which is nothing else than our present duty. The model proposed is Christ, whom we must ever keep before our eyes. "You will study His countenance, and perform your actions as He did" (Introd., 2nd part, ch. i). The practical means of arriving at this perfection are: remembrance of the presence of God, filial prayer, a right intention in all our actions, and frequent recourse to God by pious and confiding ejaculations and interior aspirations.
Besides the Institute of the Visitation, which he founded, the nineteenth century has seen associations of the secular clergy and pious laymen, and several religious congregations, formed under the patronage of the holy Doctor. Among them we may mention the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, of Annecy; the Salesians, founded at Turin by the Venerable Don Bosco, specially devoted to the Christian and technical education of the children of the poorer classes; the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, established at Troyes (France) by Father Brisson, who try to realize in the religious and priestly life the spirit of the holy Doctor, such as we have described it, and such as he bequeathed it to the nuns of the Visitation.

Transcribed by Frank O'Leary


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/F/stfrancisdesales.asp#ixzz1kU8XCZ9e

TODAY'S GOSPEL AND MASS ONLINE : TUES. JAN. 24, 2012


Mark 3: 31 - 35
31 And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him.
32 And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you."
33 And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"
34 And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!
35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."
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