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Thursday, September 27, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : THURS. SEPTEMBER 27, 2012

VATICAN : POPE : SPORTS : REFLECT PERFECTLY THE IMAGE AND OTHER NEWS
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. SEPT. 27, 2012
ASIA : PAKISTAN : 16 YEAR OLD CHRISTIAN GIRL RAPED
AUSTRALIA : GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS AFFECT LEARNING NEEDS KIDS
AFRICA : KENYA : TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN BEGINS
EUROPE : GREECE : PROTESTS AGAINST GOVERNMENT ECONOMICS
NOVENA : FEAST OF THE ANGELS - ST. MICHAEL - GABRIEL - RAPHAEL - DAY 7
TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 27: ST. VINCENT DE PAUL: DIED 1660

(Vatican RADIO IMAGE) SPORTSMEN AND WOMEN ARE MORE THAN MERE COMPETITORS
Vatican City, 27 September 2012 (VIS) - The International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) is, for the first time in its history, holding its world congress in Rome. For the occasion participants were received in audience by the Pope this morning, at the Apostolic Palace in Castelgandolfo.
This, the thirty-second FIMS world congress, is being attended by people from 117 countries on the five continents, "a significant indication", the Holy Father said, "of the capacity for sports and athletic endeavours to unite persons and peoples in the common pursuit of peaceful competitive excellence".
"Just as sport is more than just competition, each sportsman and woman is more than a mere competitor: they are possessed of a moral and spiritual capacity which ought to be enriched and deepened by sports and sports medicine. Sometimes, however, success, fame, medals and the pursuit of money become the primary, or even sole, motive for those involved. It has even happened from time to time that winning at all costs has replaced the true spirit of sport and has led to the abuse and misuse of the means at the disposal of modern medicine".
This, the Holy Father noted continuing his English-language address, is one of the questions being discussed at the congress. "This", he said, "is surely because you too appreciate that those whom you care for are unique and gifted individuals, regardless of athletic capabilities, and that they are called to moral and spiritual perfection prior to the call to any physical achievement. Indeed, St. Paul notes in his First Letter to the Corinthians that spiritual and athletic excellence are closely related, and he exhorts believers to train themselves in the spiritual life".
"As the Lord Himself took human flesh and became man, so each human person is called to reflect perfectly the image and likeness of God. I therefore pray for you and for those whom your work benefits, that your efforts will lead to an ever more profound appreciation of the beauty, the mystery and the potential of each human person, athletic or otherwise, able-bodied or physically challenged".
THE PERENNIAL IMPORTANCE OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Vatican City, 27 September 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday evening at the Apostolic Palace in Castelgandolfo, the German diocese of Wurzburg offered a concert in honour of the Holy Father. The performance - entitled "Augustinus, a mosaic of sound" - was intended as part of an international symposium on St. Augustine which is currently taking place at the "Augustiniaum" in Rome. The piece was composed by Winfried Bohm and Wilfried Hiller, and performed by the choir of the cathedral of Wurzburg.
"The modernity of this Great Father of the Latin Church is unchanged, as is evident in the music we have just heard", said the Holy Father referring to St. Augustine in his remarks at the end of the concert. "Augustine is present and 'timeless'. Man's struggle, his search for the most intimate part of himself, for truth, for God, remains valid for all times. It does not concern only a master of rhetoric and grammar who lived in the disturbed times of late antiquity, but all human beings of all times".
"May your symposium on the relationship between cultures in Augustine's 'City of God' be a fruitful contribution to deepening your reflections on the bishop of Hippo, and to reconsigning his validity for the questions and challenges we are facing today".
THE HOLY SEE ADHERES TO PROTECTION OF DIPLOMATS CONVENTION
Vatican City, 27 September 2012 (VIS) - "On the afternoon of 26 September 2012, before the Secretary General of the United Nations, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, deposited the instrument of adherence to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents (the 'Protection of Diplomats Convention')", according to a communique released today by the Holy See.
"In taking this step the Holy See has declared, in both its own name and that of Vatican City State, that its intention is to make a further concrete contribution to the global commitment to combating crimes against diplomats.
"The instrument of adherence also recalls how promoting the values of fraternity, justice and peace between individuals and peoples is something particularly close to the heart of the Holy See, and that these objectives require observance of the rule of law and respect for human rights. In this perspective, adherence to the Convention confirms the Apostolic See's interest in international instruments of judicial cooperation in criminal law, the which, like this Convention, constitute an effective guarantee against criminal activities deleterious to the peace and dignity of man.
"Therefore this decision not only expresses the Holy See's desire to collaborate in further protecting diplomatic personnel (in primis, its own and those accredited to it), but also helps the international community to guard against the risks of terrorism.
"Finally, the initiative is itself part of the process which, as is well known, began some time ago and aims to adapt the Vatican judicial system to the highest international standards combating this serious problem".
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 27 September 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Six prelates of the Conference of Bishops of France on their "ad limina" visit:
- Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Laurent Dognin.
- Bishop Hubert Herbreteau of Agen.
- Bishop Herve Gaschignard of Aire et Dax.
- Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne.
- Bishop Michel Mouisse of Perigueux.
- Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 27 September 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Kestutis Kevalas of the clergy of the archdiocese of Kaunas, Lithuania, national director of Radio Maria, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 8,750, population 678,000, Catholics 543,000, priests 135, religious 232). The bishop-elect was born in Kaunas in 1972 and ordained a priest in 1997. He studied in Lithuania and the United States and has worked in education and the pastoral care of young people.


TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. SEPT. 27, 2012


Luke 9: 7 - 9
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead,
8 by some that Eli'jah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen.
9 Herod said, "John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And he sought to see him.


ASIA : PAKISTAN : 16 YEAR OLD CHRISTIAN GIRL RAPED

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
by Shafique Khokhar
The rape took place in the house of one of the three members of the group, all belonging to wealthy families. The incident occurred in broad daylight; the desperate cries for help of the girl in vain. The father tells AsiaNews: "despite our poverty, I will not accept compromise." Vicar General: "poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice. "


Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - A new case of gang rape against a Christian minor in Pakistan. The rape occurred in broad daylight, for hours, in a private home where three young Muslims - all under 30 - abused a defenseless girl. A story, Fr. Bonnie Mendes tells AsiaNews that demonstrates "the powerlessness of the poor in Pakistan," which is reflected "in all its evidence in events such as the sexual abuse of Shumaila" which took place on September 20 last, but has only now been revealed by the press. A story similar to that which occurred Sept. 4 - again in Faisalabad - when a 60 year old Muslim merchant has raped a Christian girl of 10. These episodes confirm the increase of attacks against children in Punjab, as evidenced by a survey carried out by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), covering the first five months of 2012, which documents 122 cases of violations in the province: among these, at least 40 sexual, 14 murders, 22 kidnappings, 14 corporal punishment, six forced marriages and 13 deaths due to lack of basic medical care.

Shumaila Masih, a native of Chak 226, Samundari, in the district of Faisalabad (Punjab), is the oldest of four children of a poor Christian family. On the morning of September 20 the girl was headed to the house of a wealthy Muslim, where her mother worked as a maid, to warn of sudden visit by some guests. On the way she met three young Muslims - Iftikhar Hussain 27, Shahid Munir and Muhammad Imran both 30 - who tried at first to persuade her to go with them. At her refusal, the three took her by force and locked her up in the house of Iftikhar Hussain, taking turns raping her for hours. The attack took place at 11 am, in broad daylight, but no one intervened to save Shumaila, despite the desperate cries and pleas for help. At about 5 pm the father Manzoor Masih, along with two cousins, began searching for the girl when she failed to return home. Arriving close to the house where she was being held they heard her cries. At the sight of the men, the three young Muslims fled, leaving Shumaila naked and in pain on the bed.

Her father reported the incident to police who opened an investigation and arrested two of the three members of the pack. The last, Shahid Munir, is still at large and the police have launched searches to arrest him. Meanwhile, a medical report has confirmed the gang rape suffered by the girl, who is now a guest of the family of her uncle for security reasons. Shumaila has extensive physical and psychological injuries, as well as pain and injuries that prevent her from even walking. Contacted by AsiaNews the girl's father Manzoor Masih, 45, swears that "despite our poverty, I will never reach a compromise settlement" with the rapists of his daughter. He hopes that these elements "are punished according to the law," so that everybody understands that "it is not permissible to assault any young girl" just because you are rich or powerful. "These people are monsters - concludes the parent - and must be punished without mercy" -

Fr. Bonnie Mendes, former Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Church of Pakistan, also insists on the poverty factor, while stressing that the violence occurred "in broad daylight" at the hands of "rich young Muslims." The young girl "continues to suffer" and does not get justice, "because of her poverty." As long as the lower segments of the population do not unite, the priest adds, "they can never aspire to social equality." He thoughts are echoed by Fr. Khalid Rasheed Asi, vicar general of the diocese of Faisalabad, according to who "religious minorities and marginalized groups are easy targets for wealthy landowners in rural areas." "I personally know the victim - he adds - because I was pastor in that area, they are a very poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice."

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

AUSTRALIA : GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS AFFECT LEARNING NEEDS KIDS

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
26 Sep 2012


Karen Henry with eldest daughter Georgie wants a holistic Catholic education for her six children
Parents at Catholic schools across NSW are concerned the state government's decision to slash funding by $116 million over four years will not only mean a rise in fees but a reduction in teacher aides and the support given to children with diverse learning needs.
"Next year I will have four children at St Mary's Primary in North Sydney with varying levels of needs and it would be a great pity if the school was forced to compromise the range of services and support it gives to students as a result of these cuts," says Karen Henry.
The mother of six says while academic achievement is important when she and her husband Michael decided on the type of education they wanted for their children they chose the holistic approach of Catholic schools where each child is encouraged to be the very best they can be.
"We wanted an education that created a fully founded person and embraced and encouraged the creativity, spiritual needs and individual talents of each child," she explains.
St Mary's Primary was also chosen by the Henry family for its close relationship with their local parish.
"It is a small caring school and like other Catholic school education promotes social justice issues and helps children develop a sense that they can make a difference," she says.
Karen's two eldest children, Georgie 13 and Hugh 12 were both educated at St Mary's Primary before going on to Catholic secondary schools.

"Although St Mary's Primary is only a small school, one of its great strengths is its ability to cater for all types of children, providing additional learning support wherever it is needed," Karen says.
With her three younger children Tom 8, Charlie 7 and Darcy 6 currently at St Mary's Primary and the baby of the family, Lucy 4 due to join her siblings when she starts school next year, Karen is concerned the shortfall in state government funding will mean cutbacks in teacher aides and support staff.
She is not the only parent with children enrolled at Catholic schools upset over the NSW Minister of Education, Adrian Piccoli's decision to slash 1.7 billion dollars in funding to Catholic, independent, private and public schools as well as TAFES.
Georgie 13, Hugh 12 stand behind Charlie 7, Lucy 4, Darcy 6 and Tom 8
Since the funding cuts were announced by Minister Piccoli just over a week ago, more than 2000 parents with children at Sydney's 147 Catholic primary and secondary schools have signed a petition in protest, demanding the O'Farrell Government urgently rethink its decision.
Many of those who have logged on to the Sydney Catholic Education Office's website to sign the petition, have also expressed their concerns at the sharp drop in funding and what it might mean for their children.
"The proposed cuts are an issue of equity. They are very unfair. Catholic parents already receive less funding overall and do a lot of fundraising," writes Veronica Love. "Schools like St Brendan's, Annandale, are very lucky to have supportive parents but resources will be stretched and students will be affected."
Another parent, Karen Morey takes issue with not only with the cuts but the fact they were made without warning or prior consultation. "They have been made at short notice and don't allow a school to properly budget for next year," she writes and is concerned that the cutbacks will impact her school's literacy support program.
"We pay our taxes - we pay fees on top of that. We are happy to do that but we also want part of our tax dollar to help our children with their education," writes Jennifer Arnold while Melissa Lionetti points out that most Catholic parents are not wealthy and make sacrifices to ensure their children get the best education possible.
"We pay as much as we can now. But if the fees were to increase it would make it much harder. I don't want my children to go to another school because the morals and values taught at the school are fantastic," she writes.
For Belinda Roland the funding cuts are an outrage. "I feel I am being discriminated against because I am Catholic," she says and predicts that "special needs will suffer, teachers' aides will go, valuable programs will be cut and class sizes will increase."
"I will do whatever it takes to be heard to stop the O'Farrell Government going ahead with this funding cut," she writes.
Sheree Hughes' response is equally direct. "I am angry, upset and feel betrayed," she posts on the petition website. "Resources will be cut and school fees may go up. Some parents have three or more children at our parish school. They will find any increase very hard."
To sign the petition against the NSW Government's planned cuts go to www.ceosyd.catholic.edu.au
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

AFRICA : KENYA : TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN BEGINS

CISA NEWS REPORT:
Tree-Planting-Campaign-Launched
NAIROBI, September 25, 2012 (CISA) –The Mother Earth Network tree planting campaign was started on Saturday September 22 at the sprawling Mukuru Kwa Reuben slums in east of Nairobi. Kwa Reuben is one of the 12 villages that form Mukuru slum.
It was done in collaboration with the Reuben Youth Foundation. “We deal with environment matters, HIV and AIDS, drugs among the youths and sports. We want to create a good environment in our slums and all the villages in Mukuru: we want it to be an example to others. Environment depends on us and we should take care of it for our benefit and that of future generations and strive to make where we live habitable,” says Timothy Kilaka an official at the foundation.
The campaign started at Word Wide Hope Centre then proceeded to all the schools in the village, in several worship centres and at the local police post. In the coming days the campaign will move to the remaining villages before going national.
The exercise involved the slum dwellers led by school going children from schools located in the slum. Over 400 trees were planted. Others present were Mr Aggrey Kere in charge of mobilization at Sustainable National Environmental Programme, Prosper Karagizi from Tangaza College, the Reuben Youth Foundation and Utalii college students.
The patron of Mother Earth Network Fr Hermann Borg thanked all those who participated in the exercise and urged then to take care of the trees that they planted by watering them and protecting them from animals especially goats that roam the streets freely.
“This is just the beginning, we hope to plant as many trees as possible and improve the environment tremendously. Everyone should be involved for all stand to benefit if we have a good environment,” said Fr Borg.
Mother Earth Network is a faith based organization concentrating on the environment.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS

EUROPE : GREECE : PROTESTS AGAINST GOVERNMENT ECONOMICS

Agenzia Fides report - Protests against the greek government's economic policy continue and the difficult moment that the country has been going through for a long time increases. "The problems in Greece are many and unfortunately it is not easy to find a solution. Over the last few months, many immigrants, have fled from the country in search of a better life, because unfortunately there is not much work here anymore. " This is what Mgr. Mario Rigos, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Greece told fides Agency. "After the last elections - continues Msgr. Rigos - a situation of hatred towards illegal immigrants and to all those who might be dangerous for the Greeks is being created. Fortunately many dissenting voices oppose to this mentality, but in times of great social and economic crisis like this, unfortunately, xenophobia and intolerance is to be expected", adds the National Director of the PMS. "The Catholic Church in Greece, recently penalized by the recent taxes, raises its voice against racism with the few resources they have available, and the struggle for human rights through the letters of the Catholic hierarchy and works of charity. Even the Orthodox Church - represents the majority of Christians in the country tries to officially do the same " concludes Mgr. Rigos. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 27/09/2012)

NOVENA : FEAST OF THE ANGELS - ST. MICHAEL - GABRIEL - RAPHAEL - DAY 7




September 29th is the Feast of the Archangels. Here are three novenas to the archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and ST. Raphael.
Novena to St. Michael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value on my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).

St. Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy Will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, St. Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.


Novena to St. Gabriel the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the "Angel of the Incarnation," because God has specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a tender and devoted Mother, more like your own.

I venerate you also as the "strength from God," because you are the giver of God's strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God's faithful and to teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions, renew my courage, comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in His agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.

St. Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (Mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God-Made-Man and for His blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, if it be God's holy Will.

Pray for us, St. Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray. Almighty and ever-living God, since You chose the Archangel Gabriel from among all the Angels to announce the mystery of Your Son's Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who honor him on earth may feel the benefit of his patronage in heaven. You live and reign for ever. Amen.



Novena to St. Raphael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

Holy Archangel Raphael, standing so close to the throne of God and offering Him our prayers, I venerate you as God's special Friend and Messenger. I choose you as my Patron and wish to love and obey you as young Tobiah did. I consecrate to you my body and soul,all my work, and my whole life. I want you to be my Guide and Counselor in all the dangerous and difficult problems and decisions of my life.

Remember, dearest, St. Raphael, that the grace of God preserved you with the good Angels in heaven when the proud ones were cast into hell. I entreat you, therefore, to help me in my struggle against the world, the spirit of impurity, and the devil. Defend me from all dangers and every occasion of sin. Direct me always in the way of peace, safety, and salvation. Offer my prayers to God as you offered those of Tobiah, so that through your intercession I may obtain the graces necessary for the salvation of my soul. I ask you to pray that God grant me this favor if it be His holy Will: (Mention your request).

St. Raphael, help me to love and serve my God faithfully, to die in His grace, and finally to merit to join you in seeing and praising God forever in heaven. Amen.

TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 27: ST. VINCENT DE PAUL: DIED 1660


St. Vincent de Paul
FOUNDER OF THE VINCENTIANS
Feast: September 27
Information:
Feast Day:
September 27
Born:
April 24, 1581, Pouy, Gascony, France
Died:
September 27, 1660, Paris, France
Canonized:
16 June 1737, Rome by Pope Clement XII
Major Shrine:
St Vincent de Paul chapel, Rue de Sèvres, Paris, France
Patron of:
charities; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; volunteers

Like his fellow saint, Francis de Sales, who was his friend and contemporary, Vincent de Paul performed an invaluable service to the Catholic Church in a period of confusion and laxness. But unlike the aristocratic bishop of Geneva, Vincent was born in poverty, of peasant stock. His birthplace was Pouy, near Dax in Gascony, in southwest France; the year was 1576. Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras, his parents, were sturdy farming people who reared a family of four sons and two daughters. Observing young Vincent's quick intelligence, his father sent him to be educated by the Cordelier Brothers at Dax. When the boy had been at school for four years, a lawyer of the town engaged him as tutor to his children, thus enabling Vincent to go on with his studies without further expense to his parents. Vincent continued his education at the Spanish University of Saragossa, and then returned to France to attend the University of Toulouse. At the age of twenty-four he was ordained priest by' the bishop of Perigueux, but remained at Toulouse for another four years to take the degree of Doctor of Theology.
Beyond an aptitude for study and a certain persistence in achieving his ends, there is nothing in Vincent's life up to this time to suggest his future fame and sanctity. He now went on a short journey which was to change his whole life. The scholarly young priest was to be captured at sea by pirates and sold as a slave in Africa! This extraordinary happening came about in the following way. Vincent, having returned home after receiving his degree, went back to Toulouse to recover by process of law a small legacy which had been left him by an old woman of that city. Homeward bound, he made the trip from Marseilles to Narbonne by water, on board a small coastwise vessel. The ship was set upon by three brigantines manned by Barbary pirates, who were at this time a menace to all Mediterranean shipping. When the Christians refused to strike their flag, the infidels attacked them with arrows. Three were killed and several, including Vincent, were wounded. Those who remained alive were put in chains, and the pirates straightway sailed to Africa with their human cargo. Landing at Tunis, the pirates led their prisoners through the streets of the city, after which they were brought back to the vessel and sold to the highest bidder, like cattle. Vincent, bought by a fisherman, was sold again to an aged Moslem, a humane man, who had spent fifty years in search of the "philosopher's stone." He grew fond of his slave, to whom he gave long lectures on alchemy and Mohammedanism; he even promised to make Vincent his heir and also to communicate to him all the secrets of his science if he adopted the religion of Islam. The young priest, terrified that his faith would be corrupted in this alien environment, prayed for divine protection, particularly for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.
Vincent continued firm in his faith and lived on with the old man until his death, when he became the property of his master's nephew, who soon sold him to a renegade Christian, a native of Nice. This man, a convert to Mohammedanism, had three wives, one of whom was a Turkish woman. She often wandered into the field where the new Christian slave was at work, and out of idle curiosity would ask him to sing songs in praise of his God. With tears running down his cheeks Vincent would obediently sing certain Psalms, among which was Psalm cxxxvii, "By the waters of Babylon," in which the Jews bewailed their captivity. The Turkish woman now began to reproach her husband for abandoning his religion, and kept on until, without herself accepting the faith, she made him return to it. He repented of his apostasy, and he and Vincent made their escape from Africa together. They crossed the Mediterranean safely in a small boat, landed near Marseilles, in June, 1607, then traveled up to Avignon. There the apostate confessed, and abjured Mohammedanism before the papal vice-legate. The following year, accompanied by Vincent, he went to Rome, where he entered the order of the Brothers of St. John of God, who serve in hospitals.
Vincent now returned to France and chanced to be brought to the attention of Queen Marguerite of Valois, who appointed him her almoner. This office gave him the income from a small abbey. For a time he lodged in the same house as a lawyer, who was one day robbed of a considerable sum. He openly charged Vincent with the theft and spoke against him to all his friends. Vincent did nothing save quietly deny the charge, adding, "God knows the truth." For six years he bore the slander, making no further denial, and at last the real thief confessed. Speaking as though the victim had been someone else, Vincent once told this story at a conference with his priests, in order to show that patience, silence, and resignation are generally the best defense of innocence.
Vincent soon came to know a famous priest of Paris, Monsieur de Berulle, afterwards a cardinal. Father Berulle, who at that time was founding a branch of the Congregation of the Oratory in France, recognized Vincent's worth. He found for him a curacy at Clichy, in the outskirts of Paris, and later through his influence Vincent became tutor to the children of Philip de Gondi, Count of Joigny and general of the galleys of France. The countess, a serious-minded woman, was so impressed by Vincent that she eventually chose him as her spiritual director.
In 1617, while the family was at its country seat at Folleville, in the diocese of Amiens, Vincent was sent for to hear the confession of a peasant who lay dangerously ill. In the course of his questioning, Vincent learned that every one of the peasant's previous confessions had been sacrilegious. On his recovery the man declared, in the presence of the countess, that he would have been eternally lost if he had not spoken with Vincent. Unlike the majority of noble women of this period, who felt no responsibility for their dependents, this good lady was concerned about the spiritual welfare of her tenantry. She persuaded Vincent to preach in the parish church of Folleville and instruct the people. Such crowds came to confess that he called the Jesuits of Amiens to his aid. The Congregation of the Mission had its inception at this time.
Vincent left the household of the count that same year to become pastor of the parish of Chatillon-les-Dombes, which had long been neglected, its church virtually abandoned to the elements. By restoring the church, by instituting the habit of regular worship, he created a new spirit which helped to regenerate the whole district. He converted the notorious count of Rougemont and many other aristocrats from their dissolute lives. Seeing how effective Vincent's labors were, the countess now offered him a large sum of money to found a perpetual mission in whatever place and manner he thought fit. Nothing at first came of the idea, for Vincent seemed reluctant to undertake so important an enterprise. Meanwhile the countess secured her husband's help in organizing a company of zealous missionaries to work among their own vassals and the peasants of the countryside. They also discussed the plan for a perpetual mission with the count's brother, Jean Francois de Gondi, archbishop of Paris, who gave them the College des Bons Enfants as a reception house for the proposed new community.
The countess had obtained from Vincent a promise to continue as her spiritual director while she lived and to assist her at the end. She was in failing health and died in the summer of 1625, whereupon Vincent went to Paris to establish himself at the College des Bons Enfants. Now, at the age of forty-nine, he was free to assume the position of director. He drew up rules and constitutions for the house, and these were approved by Pope Urban VIII in 1632. In that year they were given the priory of St. Lazare, henceforth the chief house of the congregation. The Fathers of the Mission thus came to be called Lazarists, although they are more generally known as Vincentians. The Congregation consisted then, as it still does, of priests and laymen who, after a period of probation, take four simple vows, poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability. They live from a common fund and devote themselves to sanctifying their own spirits and to converting sinners. They are employed in missions, especially to country people, teaching the Catechism, preaching, reconciling differences, and performing charitable deeds. Some of them conduct seminaries. Their institutions now flourish in all parts of the world. Vincent lived to see twenty-five more communities founded in France, northern Italy, Poland, and elsewhere.
Extensive and rewarding as this work was, it did not satisfy Vincent's passion for helping suffering people. He started con fraternities to seek out and care for the sick in every parish. From these groups, under the leadership of Louise de Marillac, sprang the Sisters of Charity, "whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister the streets of the city and wards of the hospitals." Vincent persuaded a number of noble and wealthy Parisian women, who had hitherto never given a thought to the misery of others, to band together as Ladies of Charity, to collect funds and assist in many practical ways. He made plans for the founding of several hospitals to serve the needy sick, foundlings, and the aged. At Marseilles a home was opened for exhausted galley-slaves. It was the custom at this time in France to punish criminals by condemning them to service in the war galleys of the state. Under the lash and chained to their benches, they performed the cruelly hard labor of rowing these cumbersome vessels with their many-tiered banks of oars. After a few years the prisoners were broken and useless; now for the first time they had a hospital and various other forms of aid.
For men about to take Holy Orders, Vincent devised a set of spiritual exercises, and special exercises also for those desiring to make general Confession, or to settle on a vocation. He conferred frequently with the clergy on the correction of the shocking slackness, ignorance, and abuses that were all around them. To the Biblical injunction, "Thou art thy brother's keeper," he gave new practical meaning, by laying down patterns of philanthropy that have been followed ever since. To the worldly society of seventeenth-century Paris he presented a much-needed example of selfless charity.
The great political and religious conflict known as the Thirty Years War was now raging. Vincent, on hearing of the wretchedness of the people of Lorraine, collected alms for them in Paris. He sent missionaries to other countries affected by the war. Recalling his own sorrows as a slave in Tunisia, he raised enough money to ransom some twelve hundred Christian slaves in Africa. He had influence with the powerful Cardinals Richelieu and De Retz, directors of French foreign policy; and was sent for by King Louis XIII, to minister to him as he lay dying. The king's widow, Anne of Austria, now Queen Regent, had him made a member of the Council of Conscience of the five-year-old prince, the future Louis XIV. Vincent continued to be in favor at court, and during the civil war of the Fronde, tried to persuade the Queen Regent to give up her unpopular minister, Cardinal Mazarin, to help pacify and unify the people.
Thus, although he had no advantages of birth, fortune, or handsome appearance, or any showy gifts at all, Vincent de Paul's later years became one long record of accomplishment. In the midst of great affairs, his soul never strayed from God; always when he heard the clock strike, he made the sign of the cross as an act of divine love. Under setbacks, calumnies, and frustrations, and there were many, he preserved his serenity of mind. He looked on all events as manifestations of the Divine will, to which he was perfectly resigned. Yet by nature, he once wrote of himself, he was "of a bilious temperament and very subject to anger." Without divine grace, he declared, he would have been "in temper hard and repellent, rough and crabbed." With grace, he became tenderhearted to the point of looking on the troubles of all mankind as his own. His tranquillity seemed to lift him above petty disturbances. Self-denial, humility, and an earnest spirit of prayer were the means by which he attained to this degree of perfection. Once when two men of exceptional learning and ability asked to be admitted to his congregation, Vincent courteously refused them, saying: "Your abilities raise you above our low state. Your talents may be of good service in some other place. As for us, our highest ambition is to instruct the ignorant, to bring sinners to a spirit of penitence, and to plant the Gospel spirit of charity, humility, and simplicity in the hearts of all Christians." One of his rules was that, so far as possible, a man ought not to speak of himself or his own concerns, since such discourse usually proceeds from and strengthens pride and self-love.
Vincent was deeply concerned at the rise and spread of the Jansenist heresy. He protested hotly against a view of God that seemed to limit His mercy, and no priest teaching that error could remain in his congregation. "I have made the doctrine of grace the subject of my prayer for three months," he said, "and every day God has confirmed my faith that our Lord died for us all and that He desires to save the whole world."
As the end of his long life drew near, Vincent endured much suffering. On September 27, 1660, he received the Last Sacraments, and died calmly in his chair, being then eighty-five years old. He was buried in the church of St. Lazare, Paris. In 1729 he was beatified by Benedict XIII, and canonized by Clement XII in 1737. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him patron of all charitable societies. His emblem is, most appropriately, children.
SOURCE http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/V/stvincentdepaul.asp

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