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Thursday, April 25, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : THURS. APRIL 25, 2013 - SHARE - BREAKING NEWS


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POPE FRANCIS "THE CHRISTIAN ANNOUNCES THE GOSPEL" AND LATEST FROM VATICAN

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. APRIL 25, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT : APRIL 25 : ST. MARK EVANGELIST

(Vatican Radio IMAGE SHARE)
MASS AT SANCTAE MARTHAE: PREACHING GOSPEL TO WORLD WITHOUT SPIRIT OF CONQUEST
Vatican City, 25 April 2013 (VIS) – The Pope presided over Mass this morning, the feast of the Evangelist St. Mark, at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Among those present were members of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, accompanied by their secretary general, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic.
Francis, noting that today's Gospel narrates Jesus' Ascension, emphasized that, before he was taken up into heaven, the Lord sent his Apostles to proclaim the Gospel “to the ends of the earth, not just in Jerusalem or in Galilee. … The horizon is wide and, as you can see, this is the nature of the Church's missionary action. The Church goes forward with this proclaiming to all, to all the world. But she does not go forward alone: she goes with Jesus. … The Lord works with all those who preach the Gospel.”
The Bishop of Rome also referenced the First Letter of Peter, which defines the Christian style of preaching; “humility, service, charity, fraternal love. But—'Lord, we have to conquer the world!' That word, 'conquer', doesn't belong. We have to preach to the world. The Christian cannot be like the soldiers who, when they win the battle, make a clean sweep of everything. The Christian announces the Gospel by his witness more than by his words, and this goes two ways...: a great spirit is not frightened by great things, of going forward toward unending horizons, and the humility of being aware of the little things.”
POPE FRANCIS TELEPHONES PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC
Vatican City, 25 April 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, around 6:00pm, the Holy Father Francis, of his own initiative, called the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, to thank him for his telegram of greetings and well wishes on the Pope's saint's day. The Pope expressed his appreciation with these words: “Mr. President, I called to thank you for your example. You have been an example for me. With your conduct, you have brought to life the fundamental principle of coexistence: that unity is greater than conflict. I am touched by your decision.”
Last week, Giorgio Napolitano, who is 87 years old, accepted the petition to be a candidate for the presidency of the Italian Republic owning to inconclusive general elections in February caused by the severe institutional crisis the country is undergoing. On Monday, 20 April, he became the first president of the Republic to be re-elected to a second term, a majority of votes in the Italian Parliament supporting his candidacy.
COMMUNIQUE FROM PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY
Vatican City, 25 April 2013 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for the Family, in a note issued today, declares that “there is no basis to the news, circulated by some press agencies, that a document on distributing communion to remarried divorced persons is being prepared.”
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 25 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts,
six members of the presidency of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM):
- Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, president,
- Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, first vice president,
- Archbishop Dimas Lara Barbosa of Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, second vice president,
- Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales. auxiliary of Valparaiso, Chile, secretary general,
- Bishop Carlos Maria Collazzi Irazabal, S.D.B., of Mercedes, Uruguay, president of the economic council, and
- Fr. Leonidas Ortiz Losada, adjunct secretary general, and
- Rabbi Isaac Sacca, Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic Community of Buenos Aires, Argentina and president of Menora (international youth organization), with his entourage.
This afternoon, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive Cardinal Franc Rode, C.M., prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 25 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Besancon, France, presented by Archbishop Andre Lacrampe, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- appointed Fr. Rafael Valdivieso Miranda as bishop of Chitre (area 6,146, population 203,000, Catholics 199,000, priests 28, permanent deacons 3, religious 37), Panama. The bishop-elect, previously rector of the San Jose Major Seminary of Panama, was born in David, Panama in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He succeeds Bishop Fernando Torres Duran, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. APRIL 25, 2013

Mark 16: 15 - 20
15And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
16He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
19So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
20And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.

ARCHBISHOP ATTACKED BY FEMINISTS AT CONFERENCE IN BELGIUM

ARCHBISHOP ANDRE-JOSEPH LEONARD was attacked by 4 feminist women at a conference on freedom of expression. The conference was held at the Free University of Brussels and it was entitled  "Blasphemy - crime or freedom of expression". The women who attacked the Archbishop belonged to the group FEMEN. They threw water at the Archbishop from Lourdes bottles, shouted and made angry gestures towards him. Their naked torsos were painted with slogans: "My body, my rules", and "God loves lesbians". They carried a sign saying "Stop homophobia". The archbishop had made statements against homosexual acts previously. The Archbishop stayed in silent prayer during the attack. (Image share : Facebook)

244 KILLED AND 1000 INJURED IN BUILDING COLLAPSE IN BANGLADESH

An 8 story building collapsed in Bangladesh killing to date 244. (Image source: Google) One thousand people were injured and more dead are expected to be found. The building was the site of 5 garment factories and 300 shops. There were over 2000 people employed there. Cracks had appeared in the structure causing concerns. Many protested in the streets due to the lack of government insistence on safety standards. According to news reports many buildings are below standards and industries have poor reputation for the safety of workers. In November 2012 a fire killed 112 at a fashions factory.

ANZAC VIGIL REMEMBRANCE IN AUSTRALIA


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
24 Apr 2013
Monsignor Greg Flynn EV Principal Chaplain for the Army
Monsignor Greg Flynn EV, Principal Catholic Chaplain for the Army says tonight's ANZAC Eve Solemn Vigil Mass of Remembrance is not only a time to commemorate the fallen and to pay tribute to the sacrifice and courage of past and present members of the military, but also to their partners, wives, husbands and the families who support them.
"Those who are left behind while their loved ones are on deployment also suffer," he says.
Mons Flynn is one of Australia's current and former military chaplains who will concelebrate tonight's ANZAC Eve Vigil of Remembrance at St Mary's Cathedral. Commissioned as an Army Chaplain in June 1976, Mons Flynn has served as chaplain to the Army for more than 30 years as a member of Australia's Catholic Military Ordinariate.
Every day of the year and particularly at this time of the year, Mons Flynn says his thoughts are with those who serve in the Australian Army as well as the men and women in all branches of the military and their families. This is a time when he also thinks of the chaplains who serve those in the military bringing comfort and support to the men and women of Australia's services and to their partners and families.
But he admits he is concerned that chaplaincy numbers are falling with fewer priests taking on the role and becoming members of the Ordinariate and serving as chaplains to the military.
Mons Flynn, who recently also took on additional duties as parish priest at Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Waterloo, says it is the right of all Australians to be able to celebrate and participate in their religion, and this applies not only to all of us here at home in Australia but to those in all branches of the military wherever they are serving or wherever they have been deployed.
Cardinal Pell was principal celebrant at last year's Anzac Eve Solemn Vigil Mass of Remembrance
"Chaplains to those on active service are an important source of comfort and strength," he says adding that young people who have been placed in dangerous often life-threatening situations are deserving of pastoral and sacramental ministry.
Although military chaplains sometimes volunteer and are deployed overseas on six month furloughs, the majority of their time is spent here in Australia at military bases where they live alongside the men and women in the services, talk with them, lend a friendly and empathetic ear, offer advice, provide pastoral care and ministry and help out with practical advice and counsel.
Part of their work also includes speaking and talking with families.
Commissioned as an Army Chaplain five years after he was ordained a priest, Mons Flynn has served as chaplain at the Holsworthy Army barracks, been principal chaplain to the Army Reserves and in 2004, just under a decade ago, was appointed the Australian Catholic Military Ordinariate's Principal Chaplain for the Army.
One of the most moving and memorable periods of his years as a Military Chaplain occurred in 2005 when he says he was given the rare opportunity of honouring those lost in World War I.
Reveille is played at St Mary's Cathedral's 2012's Anzac Eve Vigil
"I was lucky enough to be the chaplain that reinterred four World War I Australian soldiers in a memorial gravesite in  northern France, not far from the Belgian-French border," he says.
At tonight's ANZAC Eve Solemn Vigil Mass of Remembrance, Mons Flynn has been chosen to read the Holy Gospel. Commander Ted Wynberg RANR  will read the Second Reading from the First Letter of St Paul to the Romans. The First Reading however will be given by Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW who will read from the Book of Wisdom.
Professor Bashir regularly attends the ANZAC Eve Vigil of Remembrance at St Mary's Cathedral but last year was unable to be present as she was in Gallipoli and taking part in the ANZAC dawn service there.
This year she will be accompanied by her husband, Sir Nicholas Shehadie, formerly Lord Mayor of Sydney.
Other dignitaries who will be at tonight's ANZAC Eve Vigil include NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione; the Consul General of Papua New Guinea, Ms Pidiwin Raho Tau-Vali, the Hon John Murphy, Federal member for Reid who is representing the Prime Minister.
The NSW Minister for Justice and Attorney General, the Hon Greg Smith will also attend as the representative of NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell while the Hon Luke Foley will be at the Vigl and representing the NSW Leader of the Opposition.
Other important attendees include Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, Commander of the Australian Fleet, Don Rowe, State President of the Returned Services League of Australia (NSW) and Brigadier Christopher Field, Chief of Staff Headquarters Command.
Lest we Forget
li and commemorating the men and women who have fought for Australia on the battlefields of World War I and World War II as well as those who fought in Vietnam, the Gulf War and more recently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, Mons Flynn points out that our military is also called on in times of natural disasters.
"Our recent history has seen the Australian Defence Force supporting poorer nations in times of natural disasters," he says and points out that in the past several years Australian troops have been sent to Samoa, New Guinea, Indonesia in the wake of earthquake-triggered tsunamis and helped these nations get back on their feet.
"I am filled with admiration and gratitude for the work carried out by past and present men and women in the services," he says.
"Australia's military are also very good at peace keeping and have played key roles as peace keepers in Cambodia, Somalia and other regions in the past few years."
The Principal Celebrant at tonight's ANZAC Eve Vigil of Remembrance will be Bishop Julian Porteous, Auxiliary Bishop and Administrator of the Archdiocese of Sydney during the absence of the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell who is currently in Rome.
The original ANZACS landing at Gallipoli in 1914
During the mass the Colours of the Three Services will be paraded into the Cathedral. A military band will also play and many past and present officers and members of the armed forces will attend.
The public is welcome at this Vigil of Remembrance to commemorate the fallen and to pray for all those who serve or have served the nation whether in defence of Australia, in the role as peace keepers or as part of the military deployments sent to help nations struck by natural disasters recover and rebuild.
The ANZAC Eve Solemn Vigil Mass of Remembrance at St Mary's Cathedral begins at 5.30 pm today, 24 April.


SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

CATHEDRAL FUNERAL SERVICE ATTACKED IN EGYPT

CISA NEWS REPORT


Father-Rafik-Greiche-of-the-Egyptian-Catholic-bishops'-conference.
CAIRO, April 23, 2013 (CISA) -A media representative for Egypt’s Catholic bishops echoed concerns that police sided with Islamic extremists who attacked a funeral service en masse at St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo.
“The police must have been aware of the situation. So why were the police not in front of the cathedral?” asked Father Rafik Greiche of the Egyptian Catholic bishops’ conference.
He told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that the police “only arrived two hours later, and then they protected the attackers.” Muslim extremists had previously threatened to disrupt the service, the priest said.
The April 7 funeral was for four Christians killed in a gunfight that followed a dispute in the town of Khusus near Cairo. A Muslim was also killed in that clash.
After the Christians’ funeral, mourners left the cathedral and joined sympathetic Muslims in chanting slogans against President Mohammed Morsi and calling for his removal.
At some point violence broke out for unclear reasons. At its worst, 200 people attacked the Christians, some throwing stones and petrol bombs from the roofs of buildings surrounding the cathedral.
Christians took up the defense of the cathedral and threw fire bombs and brick shards at the riot police, some of whom were injured.
The clash lasted until late in the evening. Two were killed and more than 90 hurt. The New York Times is among the media outlets reporting the apparent alliance between the attackers and the riot police.
Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William Samaan of Assiut has condemned the attack.
“Nobody could have imagined that anybody would attack such an important symbol for all Egyptians as St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo,” the bishop said. “It is shocking. But we will never learn the real motives for these attacks.”
Fr Greiche said that other local Muslims have voiced their support and sympathy for the Christian community.
“All of our Muslim friends told us that the events make them feel ashamed,” he said.
The priest recently visited Azhar University, a prominent Sunni institution, noting that the sheiks there “assured us that such attacks are not compatible with Islam.”
The attack also drew condemnation from Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who said he regarded any attack on churches as “a personal attack” against him.
Despite the president’s words, some Egyptian Christians told Reuters news service that the violence has prompted them to consider leaving their homeland.
Orthodox Coptic leader Pope Tawadros II said the president has not done everything he could to protect the cathedral.
“We want actions, not words,” he said.
Fr Greiche said the violence comes at a time of improving relations between Egyptian Catholics and other Christians. The Catholic leadership is in “permanent contact” with the Protestant and Orthodox Churches in Egypt.
He said relations with the Coptic Orthodox have “completely transformed” since the election of Pope Tawadros in November 2012.
“Tawadros is very open,” he added. The Orthodox Pope attended the enthronement of the new Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac.
“That had never happened before,” he said.
Another unprecedented event in Egyptian Christian relations is still in development. Pope Tawadros intends to visit Pope Francis in Rome.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS

HEAVY FIGHTING RESULTS IN DEATH OF 185 IN NIGERIA - AFRICA

Agenzia Fides REPORT - The heavy fighting in recent days in the village of Baga, a fishing village on the shores of Lake Chad, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, where at least 185 people have died, including many are civilians (see Fides 22/04/2013), are the result of an operation conducted by the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), a unit formed by soldiers from Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, in charge of ensuring the safety of lake Chad.
Faced with the controversy on the indiscriminate use of weapons in an inhabited place, the command of the MJTF denies the charges and says that its soldiers were attacked by members of Boko Haram who were hiding in the mosque that the military were about to inspect in the research of an arsenal.
The military authorities also tend to redimension the death toll. 
According to the command of the MJTF 30 members of Boko Haram died, a military and 6 civilians. The military deny that hundreds of homes have been burned by the military, but report that the homemade bombs launched by members of Boko Haram have destroyed thirty thatched huts.
Among the recovered weapons there are assault rifles, ammunition and several improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Other witnesses, however, say that the army has made a real retaliation against civilians accused of having protected the men who killed a military officer. President Goodluck Jonathan has promised an investigation to evaluate the behavior of the military. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 25/04/2013)

TODAY'S SAINT : APRIL 25 : ST. MARK EVANGELIST


St. Mark
EVANGELIST, PATRON SAINT OF VENICE
Feast: April 25


Information:
Feast Day:April 25
Born:1st century AD, Palestine
Died:April 25, 68 AD, Alexandria
Major Shrine:Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Cairo, Egypt)
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria, Egypt)
Basilica di San Marco (Venice, Italy)
Patron of:against impenitence, against struma, attorneys, barristers, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people, prelature of insect bites, Ionian Islands, lawyers, lions, notaries, prisoners, scrofulous diseases, stained glass workers, struma patients, Venice
St Mark was of Jewish extraction. The style of his gospel abounding with Hebrewisms shows that he was by birth a Jew, and that the Hebrew language was more natural to him than the Greek. His acts say he was of Cyrenaica, and Bede from them adds, of the race of Aaron. Papias, quoted by Eusebius, St. Austin, Theodoret, and Bede say he was converted by the apostles after Christ's resurrection. St. Irenaeus calls him the disciple and interpreter of St. Peter, and, according to Origen and St. Jerome, he is the same Mark whom St. Peter calls his son. By his office of interpreter to St. Peter, some understood that St. Mark was the author of the style of his epistles; others, that he was employed as a translator into Greek or Latin of what the apostle had written in his own tongue, as occasion might require it. St. Jerome and some others take him to be the same with that John, surnamed Mark, son to the sister of St. Barnabas; but it is generally believed they were different persons, and that the latter was with St. Paul in the East at the same time that the Evangelist was at Rome or at Alexandria. According to Papias, and St. Clement of Alexandria, he wrote his gospel at the request of the Romans; who, as they relate, desired to have that committed to writing which St. Peter had taught them by word of mouth. Mark, to whom this request was made, did accordingly set himself to recollect what he had by long conversation learned from St. Peter; for it is affirmed by some that he had never seen our Saviour in the flesh. St. Peter rejoiced at the affection of the faithful; and having revised the work, approved of it, and authorized it to be read in the religious assemblies of the faithful. Hence it might be that, as we learn from Tertullian,6 some attributed this gospel to St. Peter himself. Many judge, by comparing the two gospels, that St. Mark abridged that of St. Matthew; for he relates the same things, and often uses the same words; but he adds several particular circumstances and changes the order of the narration, in which he agrees with St. Luke and St. John. He relates two histories not mentioned by St. Matthew, namely, that of the widow giving two mites, and that of Christ's appearing to the two disciples going to Emmaus. St. Austin calls him the Abridger of St. Matthew. But Ceillier and some others think nothing clearly proves that he made use of St. Matthew's gospel. This evangelist is concise in his narrations, and writes with a most pleasing simplicity and elegance. St. Chrysostom9 admires the humility of St. Peter (we may add also of his disciple St. Mark) when he observes that his evangelist makes no mention of the high commendations which Christ gave that apostle on his making that explicit confession of his being the Son of God; neither does he mention his walking on the water; but gives at full length the history of St. Peter's denying his Master, with all its circumstances. He wrote his gospel in Italy, and in all appearance before the year of Christ 49.

St. Peter sent his disciples from Rome to found other churches. Some moderns say St. Mark founded that of Aquileia. It is certain, at least, that he was sent by St. Peter into Egypt, and was by him appointed Bishop of Alexandria (which, after Rome, was accounted the second city of the world), as Eusebius, St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and others assure us. Pope Gelasius, in his Roman Council, Palladius, and the Greeks universally add that he finished his course at Alexandria by a glorious martyrdom. St. Peter left Rome and returned into the East in the ninth year of Claudius and forty-ninth of Christ. About that time St. Mark went first into Egypt, according to the Greeks. The Oriental Chronicle, published by Abraham Eckellensis, places his arrival at Alexandria only in the seventh year of Nero and sixtieth of Christ. Both which accounts agree with the relation of his martyrdom, contained in the ancient acts published by the Bollandists, which were made use of by Bede and the Oriental Chronicle, and seem to have been extant in Egypt in the fourth and fifth centuries. By them we are told that St. Mark landed at Cyrene, in Pentapolis, a part of Lybia bordering on Egypt, and by innumerable miracles brought many over to the faith, and demolished several temples of the idols. He likewise carried the gospel into other provinces of Lybia, into Thebais, and other parts of Egypt. This country was heretofore of all others the most superstitious; but the benediction of God, promised to it by the prophets, was plentifully showered down upon it during the ministry of this apostle. He employed twelve years in preaching in these parts before he, by a particular call of God, entered Alexandria, where he soon assembled a very numerous church, of which it is thought, says Fleury, that the Jewish converts then made up the greatest part. And it is the opinion of St. Jerome and Eusebius that these were the Therapeutes described by Philo, and the first founders of the ascetic life in Egypt.

The prodigious progress of the faith in Alexandria stirred up the heathens against this Galilaean. The apostle therefore left the city, having ordained St. Anianus bishop, in the eighth year of Nero, of Christ the sixty-second, and returned to Pentapolis where he preached two years, and then visited his church of Alexandria, which he found increased in faith and grace as well as in numbers. He encouraged the faithful and again withdrew; the Oriental Chronicle says to Rome. On his return to Alexandria, the heathens called him a magician on account of his miracles, and resolved upon his death. God, however, concealed him long from them. At last, on the pagan feast of the idol Serapis, some that were employed to discover the holy man found him offering to God the prayer of the oblation, or the mass. Overjoyed to find him in their power, they seized him, tied his feet with cords and dragged him about the streets, crying out that the ox must be led to Bucoles, a place near the sea, full of rocks and precipices, where probably oxen were fed. This happened on Sunday, the 24th of April, in the year of Christ 68, of Nero the fourteenth, about three years after the death of SS. Peter and Paul. The saint was thus dragged the whole day, staining the stones with his blood and leaving the ground strewed with pieces of his flesh; all the while he ceased not to praise and thank God for his sufferings. At night he was thrown into prison, in which God comforted him by two visions, which Bede has also mentioned in his true Martyrology. The next day the infidels dragged him, as before, till he happily expired on the 25th of April, on which day the Oriental and Western churches keep his festival. The Christians gathered up the remains of his mangled body and buried them at Bucoles, where they afterwards usually assembled for prayer. His body was honourably kept there, in a church built on the spot, in 310; and towards the end of the fourth age the holy priest Philoromus made a pilgrimage thither from Galatia to visit this saint's tomb, as Palladius recounts. His body was still honoured at Alexandria, under the Mahometans, in the eighth age, in a marble tomb. It is said to have been conveyed by stealth to Venice in 815 Bernard, a French monk, who travelled over the East in 870, writes that the body of St. Mark was not then at Alexandria, because the Venetians had carried it to their isles. It is said to be deposited in the Doge's stately rich chapel of St. Mark in a secret place, that it may not be stolen, under one of the great pillars. This saint is honoured by that republic with extraordinary devotion as principal patron.

The great litany is sung on this day to beg that God would be pleased to avert from us the scourges which our sins deserve. The origin of this custom is usually ascribed to St. Gregory the Great, who, by a public supplication or litany, with a procession of the whole city of Rome, divided into seven bands or companies, obtained of God the extinction of a dreadful pestilence This St. Gregory of Tours learned from a deacon, who had assisted at this ceremony at Rome. The station was at St. Mary Major's, and this pro cession and litany were made in the year 590. St. Gregory the Great speaks of a like procession and litany which he made thirteen years after on the 29th of August, in the year 603, in which the station was at St. Sabina's. Whence it is inferred that St. Gregory performed this ceremony every year, though not on the 25th of April, on which day we find it settled, in the close of the seventh century, long before the same was appointed for the feast of St. Mark. The great litany was received in France, and commanded in the council of Aix-la-Chapelle in 836, and in the Capitulars of Charles the Bald. St. Gregory the Great observed the great litany with a strict fast. On account of the Paschal time, on the 25th of April, it is kept in several dioceses only with abstinence; in some with a fast of the Stations, or till None.

Nothing is more tender and more moving than the instructions which several councils, fathers, and holy pastors have given on the manner of performing public supplications and processions. The first council of Orleans orders masters to excuse their servants from work and attendance, that all the faithful may be assembled together to unite their prayers and sighs. A council of Mentz commanded that all should assist barefoot and covered with sackcloth; which was for some time observed in that church. St. Charles Borromaeo endeavoured, by pathetic instructions and pastoral letters, to revive the ancient piety of the faithful on the great litany and the rogation days. According to the regulations which he made, the supplications and processions began before break of day and continued till three or four o'clock in the afternoon. On them he fasted himself on bread and water and preached several times, exhorting the people to sincere penance. A neglect to assist at the public supplications of the church is a grievous disorder and perhaps one of the principal causes of the little piety and sanctity which are left, and of the scandals which reign amongst Christians. They cannot seek the kingdom of God as they ought, who deprive themselves of so powerful a means of drawing down his graces upon their souls. We must join this procession with hearts penetrated with humility, and spend some time in prayer, pious reading, and the exercises of compunction. What we are chiefly to ask of God on these days is the remission of our sins, which are the only true evil and the cause of all the chastisements which we suffer or have reason to fear. We must, secondly, beg that God avert from us all scourges and calamities which our crimes deserve, and that he bestow his blessing on the fruits of the earth.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmark.asp#ixzz1t3MPxavf
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