Vatican City, 13 February 2012 (VIS) - The Pope's Message for the forth-ninth World Day of Prayer for Vocations was made public today. The Day is due to be celebrated on 29 April, fourth Sunday of Easter, and the theme of Benedict XVI's reflections this year is: "Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God". Ample extracts of the English-language version of the document are given below:
'The source of every perfect gift is God who is Love – Deus caritas est: 'Whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him'. Sacred Scripture tells the story of this original bond between God and man, which precedes creation itself. ... We are loved by God even 'before' we come into existence! Moved solely by His unconditional love, He created us 'not out of existing things', to bring us into full communion with Him".
"The profound truth of our existence is thus contained in this surprising mystery: every creature, and in particular every human person, is the fruit of God’s thought and an act of His love, a love that is boundless, faithful and everlasting. The discovery of this reality is what truly and profoundly changes our lives".
"It is a love that is limitless and that precedes us, sustains us and calls us along the path of life, a love rooted in an absolutely free gift of God. Speaking particularly of the ministerial priesthood, my predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, stated that 'every ministerial action ... provides an incentive to grow in ever greater love and service of Jesus Christ, ... a love which is always a response to the free and unsolicited love of God in Christ'. Every specific vocation is in fact born of the initiative of God; it is a gift of the Love of God! He is the One Who takes the 'first step', ... because of the presence of His own love 'poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit'.
"In every age, the source of the divine call is to be found in the initiative of the infinite love of God, Who reveals Himself fully in Jesus Christ. As I wrote in my first Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, 'God is indeed visible in a number of ways. In the love-story recounted by the Bible, He comes towards us, He seeks to win our hearts, all the way to the Last Supper, to the piercing of His heart on the Cross, to His appearances after the Resurrection and to the great deeds by which, through the activity of the Apostles, He guided the nascent Church along its path'".
"The love of God is everlasting; He is faithful to Himself. ... Yet the appealing beauty of this divine love, which precedes and accompanies us, needs to be proclaimed ever anew, especially to younger generations. This divine love is the hidden impulse, the motivation which never fails, even in the most difficult circumstances. ... We need to open our lives to this love. It is to the perfection of the Father’s love that Jesus Christ calls us every day! The high standard of the Christian life consists in loving 'as' God loves; with a love that is shown in the total, faithful and fruitful gift of self".
"It is in this soil of self-offering and openness to the love of God, and as the fruit of that love, that all vocations are born and grow. By drawing from this wellspring through prayer, constant recourse to God’s word and to the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, it becomes possible to live a life of love for our neighbours, in whom we come to perceive the face of Christ the Lord".
"These two expressions of the one divine love must be lived with a particular intensity and purity of heart by those who have decided to set out on the path of vocation discernment towards the ministerial priesthood and the consecrated life; they are its distinguishing mark. Love of God, which priests and consecrated persons are called to mirror, however imperfectly, is the motivation for answering the Lord’s call to special consecration through priestly ordination or the profession of the evangelical counsels. St. Peter’s vehement reply to the Divine Master: 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you' contains the secret of a life fully given and lived out, and thus one which is deeply joyful.
"The other practical expression of love, that towards our neighbour, and especially those who suffer and are in greatest need, is the decisive impulse that leads the priest and the consecrated person to be a builder of communion between people and a sower of hope. The relationship of consecrated persons, and especially of the priest, to the Christian community is vital and becomes a fundamental dimension of their affectivity".
"Dear brother bishops, dear priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, catechists, pastoral workers and all of you who are engaged in the field of educating young people: I fervently exhort you to pay close attention to those members of parish communities, associations and ecclesial movements who sense a call to the priesthood or to a special consecration. It is important for the Church to create the conditions that will permit many young people to say 'yes' in generous response to God’s loving call.
"The task of fostering vocations will be to provide helpful guidance and direction along the way. Central to this should be love of God’s word nourished by a growing familiarity with Sacred Scripture, and attentive and unceasing prayer, both personal and in community; this will make it possible to hear God’s call amid all the voices of daily life. But above all, the Eucharist should be the heart of every vocational journey: it is here that the love of God touches us in Christ’s sacrifice. ... Scripture, prayer and the Eucharist are the precious treasure enabling us to grasp the beauty of a life spent fully in service of the Kingdom.
"It is my hope that the local Churches ... will become places where vocations are carefully discerned and their authenticity tested, places where young men and women are offered wise and strong spiritual direction. ... As a response to the demands of the new commandment of Jesus, this can find eloquent and particular realisation in Christian families, whose love is an expression of the love of Christ Who gave himself for His Church. Within the family ... young people can have a wonderful experience of this self-giving love. Indeed, families are not only the privileged place for human and Christian formation; they can also be 'the primary and most excellent seed-bed of vocations to a life of consecration to the Kingdom of God', by helping their members to see, precisely within the family, the beauty and the importance of the priesthood and the consecrated life. May pastors and all the lay faithful always cooperate so that in the Church these'homes and schools of communion' may multiply, modelled on the Holy Family of Nazareth, the harmonious reflection on earth of the life of the Most Holy Trinity".
"I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to all of you, ... and especially those young men and women who strive to listen with a docile heart to God’s voice and are ready to respond generously and faithfully".
BAMAKO, CISA – Political parties in the African nation of Mali have called on the government to hold a forum for peace and reconciliation. A Tuareg rebellion in that nation which began several weeks ago has forced around 55,000 people out of their homes. Many refugees have fled to the north of the country, while others seek shelter from ethnic tension and violent demonstrations in southern cities.
The uprising by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad or MNLA has claimed dozens of casualties since last month, including members of the army and the rebels. Exact numbers have not been established by independent sources.
“In the past three weeks, at least 10,000 people are reported to have crossed to Niger, 9,000 have found refuge in Mauritania and 3,000 in Burkina Faso,” United Nations High Commission for Refugees spokesman Adrian Edwards said in Geneva.
Emergency teams have been sent to countries bordering Mali to help meet the needs of around 20,000 refugees in neighboring countries.
“Many of the new arrivals are sleeping in the open and have little access to shelter, clean water, health services and food,” Edwards said.
According to Catholic Online the Red Cross estimates that 30,000 others have been displaced within Mali since the first MNLA attack, against the town of Menaka on January 17. The rebels have gone on to attack several other army garrisons in the north of the country.
Anger over the attacks has grown in the south. Violent demonstrations took place in several southern cities including Kayes, Ségou, and the capital Bamako. The marches were organized in reaction to what protesters view as a “timid” reaction by the authorities against the rebellion.
Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré has called on Malians not to confuse the insurgents with Tuareg civilians more generally. “Those who attacked military barracks and other locations in the north must not be conflated with our other compatriots – Tuareg, Arab, Songhai, and Peul – who live with us,” said Touré in a televised address.
Touré highlighted military operations against the rebels. “The army has all that it needs to secure the safety of all our people. We will continue to send weapons and ammunition.”
Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Ambassador of Cuba in Mexico, Manuel Aguilera de la Paz, attended Sunday Mass celebrated by the Primate Cardinal of Mexico, Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico, in the Metropolitan Cathedral. In his homily, the Cardinal wanted to specifically mention the presence of the Ambassador, who has exercised his right to religious freedom. "We rejoice because with your presence, you exercise a right that in your country it is now clear, that of religious freedom", said the Cardinal. Before the celebration, the Cardinal and the Ambassador met for 45 minutes. Among the issues faced, as revealed by the local press, there was the Pope's visit to Cuba and Mexico next March. The Ambassador was accompanied by a group of collaborators, but declined to make statements to the press. Cardinal Rivera Carrera said that the Cuban people received "with great affection", Pope John Paul II and then added: "We know with certainty that the commander (Fidel Castro) and President Raul (Castro) are taking care of each detail of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 13/2/2012)
February 13, 2012
February 13, 2012
The Catholic Church in the Philippines expresses its support
for farmers who seek to force the government to immediately implement the
comprehensive agrarian reform program by distributing land to
for farmers who seek to force the government to immediately implement the
comprehensive agrarian reform program by distributing land to
|Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP and Fr John Hogan,
Rector of Holy Spirit Seminary, with Parramatta’s seminarians.|
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta now has 11 seminarians in formation at Holy Spirit Seminary.
Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP said the Catholic community was
ive new seminarians joined our seminary in February,” Bishop Anthony said.
Chris del Rosario, Jack Green, Joe Murphy, Paul Griffin and Anthony Lobo. They join Deacon Larry, Anthony Saliba, Bui Thien Hien, John Paul Escarlan, Pio Ho Jang and Vincent Phan.
|Bishop Anthony with Parramatta’s
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
All young men who feel God may be calling them to the priesthood are invited to a reflection afternoon and dinner on Sunday 26 February 2012 at Our Lady of the Angels Parish – Rouse Hill, 1 Wellgate Ave, Kellyville. The afternoon starts at 2pm and concludes with pizza at 6pm.
be input from the vocations team and guest speaker, as well as an opportunity for questions and some reflection and prayer time.
“Any interested young men are welcome to come along,” Fr Warren said.
“They do not have to be thinking of joining next year, maybe just wondering."
0409 172 700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Catherine de Ricci
MYSTIC AND COUNSELOR TO FUTURE POPES
Feast: February 13
The Ricci are an ancient family, which still subsists in a flourishing condition in Tuscany. Peter de Ricci, the father of our saint, was married to Catherine Bonza, a lady of suitable birth. The saint was born at Florence in 1522, and called at her baptism Alexandrina, but she took the name of Catherine at her religious profession. Having lost her mother in her infancy, she was formed to virtue by a very pious godmother, and whenever she was missing she was always to be found on her knees in some secret part of the house. When she was between six and seven years old, her father placed her in the Convent of Monticelli, near the gates of Florence, where her aunt, Louisa de Ricci, was a nun. This place was to her a paradise: at a distance from the noise and tumult of the world, she served God without impediment or distraction. After some years her father took her home. She continued her usual exercises in the world as much as she was able; but the interruptions and dissipation, inseparable from her station, gave her so much uneasiness that, with the in consent of her father, which she obtained, though with great difficulty, in the year 1535, the fourteenth of her age, she received the religious veil in the convent of Dominicanesses at Prat, in Tuscany, to which her uncle, F. Timothy de Ricci, was director. God, in the merciful design to make her the spouse of his crucified Son, and to imprint in her soul dispositions conformable to his, was pleased to exercise her patience by rigorous trials For two years she suffered inexpressible pains under a complication of violent distempers, which remedies themselves served only to increase. These sufferings she sanctified by the interior dispositions with which she bore them, and which she nourished principally by assiduous meditation on the passion of Christ, in which she found an incredible relish and a solid comfort and joy. After the recovery of her health, which seemed miraculous, she studied more perfectly to die to her senses, and to advance in a penitential life and spirit, in which God had begun to conduct her, by practicing the greatest austerities which were compatible with the obedience she had professed; she fasted two or three days a week on bread and water, and sometimes passed the whole day without taking any nourishment, and chastised her body with disciplines and a sharp iron chain which she wore next her skin. Her obedience, humility, and meekness were still more admirable than her spirit of penance. The least shadow of distinction or commendation gave her inexpressible uneasiness and confusion, and she would have rejoiced to be able to lie hid in the centre of the earth, in order to be entirely unknown to and blotted out of the hearts of all mankind, such were the sentiments of annihilation and contempt of herself in which she constantly lived. It was by profound humility and perfect interior self-denial that she learned to vanquish in her heart the sentiments or life of the first Adam—that is, of corruption, sin, and inordinate self-love. But this victory over herself, and purgation of her affections, was completed by a perfect spirit of prayer; for by the union of her soul with God, and the establishment of the absolute reign of his love in her heart, she was dead to and disengaged from all earthly things. And in one act of sublime prayer she advanced more than by a hundred exterior practices in the purity and ardour of her desire to do constantly what was most agreeable to God, to lose no occasion of practicing every heroic virtue, and of vigorously resisting all that was evil. Prayer, holy meditation, and contemplation were the means by which God imprinted in her soul sublime ideas of his heavenly truths, the strongest and most tender sentiments of all virtues, and the most burning desire to give all to God, with an incredible relish and affection for suffering contempt and poverty for Christ. What she chiefly laboured to obtain, by meditating on his life and sufferings, and what she most earnestly asked of him, was that he would be pleased, in his mercy, to purge her affections of all poison of the inordinate love of creatures, and engrave in her his most holy and divine image, both exterior and interior—that is to say, both in her conversation and her affections, that so she might be animated, and might think, speak, and act by his most Holy Spirit. The saint was chosen, very young, first, mistress of the novices, then sub-prioress, and, in the twenty-fifth year of her age, was appointed perpetual prioress. The reputation of her extraordinary sanctity and prudence drew her many visits from a great number of bishops, princes, and cardinals—among others, of Cervini, Alexander of Medicis, and Aldobrandini, who all three were afterwards raised to St. Peter's chair, under the names of Marcellus II, Clement VIII, and Leo XI.
Something like what St. Austin relates of St. John of Egypt happened to St. Philip Neri and St. Catherine of Ricci. For having some time entertained together a commerce of letters, to satisfy their mutual desire of seeing each other, whilst he was detained at Rome she appeared to him in a vision, and they conversed together a considerable time, each doubtless being in a rapture. This St. Philip Neri, though most circumspect in giving credit to or in publishing visions, declared, saying that Catherine de Ricci, whilst living, had appeared to him in vision, as his disciple Galloni assures us in his life. And the continuators of Bollandus inform us that this was confirmed by the oaths of five witnesses. Bacci, in his life of St. Philip, mentions the same thing, and Pope Gregory XV, in his bull for the canonization of St. Philip Neri, affirms that whilst this saint lived at Rome he conversed a considerable time with Catherine of Ricci, a nun, who was then at Prat, in Tuscany. Most wonderful were the raptures of St. Catherine in meditating on the passion of Christ, which was her daily exercise, but to which she totally devoted herself every week from Thursday noon to three o'clock in the afternoon on Friday. After a long illness she passed from this mortal life to everlasting bliss and the possession of the object of all her desires, on the feast of the Purification of our Lady, on the 2nd of February, in 1589, the sixty-seventh year of her age. The ceremony of her beatification was performed by Clement XII in 1732, and that of her canonization by Benedict XIV in 1746. Her festival is deferred to the 13th of February.In the most perfect state of heavenly contemplation which this life admits of, there must be a time allowed for action, as appears from the most eminent contemplatives among the saints, and those religious institutes which are most devoted to this holy exercise. The mind of man must be frequently unbent, or it will be overset. Many, by a too constant or forced attention, have lost their senses. in he body also stands in need of exercise, and in all stations men owe several exterior duties both to others and themselves, and to neglect any of these, upon presence of giving the preference to prayer, would be a false devotion and dangerous illusion. Though a Christian be a citizen of heaven, while he is a sojourner in this world, he is not to forget the obligations or the necessities to which this state subjects him, or to dream of flights which only angels and their fellow inhabitants of bliss take. As a life altogether taken up in action and business, without frequent prayer and pious meditation, alienates a soul from God and virtue, and weds her totally to the world, so a life spent wholly in contemplation, without any mixture of action, is chimerical, and the attempt dangerous. The art of true devotion consists very much in a familiar and easy habit of accompanying exterior actions and business with a pious attention to the Divine Presence, frequent secret aspirations, and a constant union of the soul with God. This St. Catherine of Ricci practiced at her work, in the exterior duties of her house and office, in her attendance on the sick (which was her favourite employment, and which she usually performed on her knees), and in the tender care of the poor over the whole country. But this hindered not the exercises of contemplation, which were her most assiduous employment. Hence retirement and silence were her delight, in order to entertain herself with t. Creator of all things, and by devout meditation, kindling in her soul the fire of heavenly love, she was never able to satiate the ardour of her desire in adoring and praising the immense greatness and goodness of God.
8: 14 - 21
|14||Now they had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.|
|15||And he cautioned them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."|
|16||And they discussed it with one another, saying, "We have no bread."|
|17||And being aware of it, Jesus said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?|
|18||Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?|
|19||When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve."|
|20||"And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven."|
|21||And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"|