Wednesday, July 3, 2013






Vatcan Radio Report - Pope Francis on Monday urged Christians to pray to the Lord with courage and tenacity like Abraham, as Jesus Himself taught us. Delivering a homily at the morning Mass he celebrated in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, the Pope reflected on the way Abraham vigorously negotiated with God, against the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as if bargaining with a Phoenician merchant. “And he does it with insistence,” the Pope said, adding prayer must be courageous. The Pope went on to say that Jesus Himself teaches us to pray with courage and insistence when speaks about the parable of the unjust judge and the importunate widow or the man who knocks at the door of his friend at night. In fact, Jesus, expresses admiration for the Syro-Phoenician woman who went on arguing with Him to heal her daughter. Praying with persistence, the Pope admitted, is tiring, but it is the attitude of prayer. He recalled St. Teresa saying prayer is a sort of negotiation with the Lord, which is possible in an atmosphere of familiarity with Him. “It is tiring, it’s true,” the Pope repeated, but “this is prayer, this is receiving a grace from God.” 
Vatican City, 1 July 2013 (VIS) - Pope Francis' first encyclical, entitled “Lumen Fidei”, will be published on Friday 5 July. The document, described as “not very extensive” by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., will be presented at a Press Conference by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.
Vatican City, 1 July 2013 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today communicated that the Holy Father will visit the island of Lampedusa, Sicily, on Monday 8 July. The communique states that the Pope, “profoundly moved by the recent wreck involving a boat transporting migrants from Africa, the latest in a series of similar tragedies, intends to pray for those who have lost their lives at sea, to visit the survivors and refugees, to give encouragement to the island's inhabitants and to appeal to the responsibility of all to care for these brothers and sisters in extreme need. Due to the specific nature of the circumstances, the visit will be carried out as discreetly as possible, also with regard to the presence of bishops from the region and the civil authorities.
Vatican City, 1 July 2013 (VIS) – According to a communique issued today by the Prefecture of the Papal Household, the general audiences will be suspended during the month of August and will recommence on Wednesday 4 September.
Throughout the entire month of August, the Angelus Marian prayer will continue in the Vatican, with the exception of Thursday 15 August, solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On that day, the Holy Father will celebrate the Holy Mass in the parish of Castel Gandolfo and will subsequently pray the Angelus from the apostolic palace of his summer residence.
Vatican City, 01 July 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a presentation was given for the “Great Event of the Year of Faith, a Day for seminarians, novices, and all those who have taken the path of vocation”. The participants were Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, and Msgr Graham Bell, under-secretary of the same Pontifical Council. The initiative is entitled “I trust in you”, to indicate the act by which the young may still find the strength and courage to consecrate themselves to the Lord and to the priestly or consecrated life as a sign of generosity to the Lord Who calls upon them to follow Him.
The event will begin on 4 July with a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter. It will depart from the gardens of Castel Sant'Angelo and continue along the entire length of Via della Conciliazione, concluding at St. Peter's Basilica where Cardinal Angelo Comastri will address those present.
The following day, 5 July, will be dedicated to catechesis in various languages, and will take place in designated churches throughout the historic centre of the capital. The day will conclude at Piazza del Campidoglio where there will be a celebration with various singers; two seminarians and a young Italian nun will relate their own experiences.
The morning of Saturday 6 July will be dedicated to the celebration of reconciliation and Eucharistic adoration. For the superiors accompanying the young seminarians and religious there will be the opportunity to reflect on matters of formation at the Lateran University. In the afternoon, in the Paul VI Hall, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will offer some thoughts prior to an encounter with Pope Francis, who will offer privileged testimony of his own vocation. Musical accompaniment will be provided by the Irish group “The Priests” and by the nun Glenda. Finally, there will be a Marian procession in the Vatican Gardens, concluding at St. Peter's Basilica with a final address from Cardinal J. Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life.
On the morning of Sunday 7 July, the Pope will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Basilica followed by the Angelus.
It is hoped that some six thousand young people from 66 different countries will participate in the initiative; representatives, according to Archbishop Fisichella, of the “thousands and thousands of other young people who will be spiritually united with them in bearing witness to their vocation”.
Vatican City, 30 June 2013 (VIS) – Jesus' steadfast decision to set out on the path to Jerusalem, his final destination and the place where He fulfilled His mission of salvation, and His freedom of conscience were the themes of the Pope's final Angelus in the month of June, prayed with tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
“From that time forth after His steadfast decision, Jesus aims straight for the finish line, and even to the people he meets and who ask to follow Him, He clearly states the conditions: not having a permanent abode; knowing how to detach oneself from familiar affections; not succumbing to nostalgia for the past. But Jesus also said to his disciples, charged with preceding Him on the way to Jerusalem to announce His coming, not to impose anything: if they do not find willing welcome, they are simply to continue, to move on. Jesus never imposes” Pope Francis emphasized. “Jesus is humble. Jesus extends invitations: 'If you want, come'. The humility of Jesus is like this: He always invites us. He does not impose”.
“All this makes us think … of the importance, even for Jesus, of conscience: listening in his heart to the Father's voice, and following it. Jesus, in his earthly life, was not, so to speak, 'remote-controlled': He was the Word made flesh, the Son of God made man, and at one point he made a firm decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time - a decision taken in His conscience, but not on His own: ??with the Father, in full union with Him! ... For this reason, then, the decision was steadfast: because it was taken together with the Father. In the Father, then, Jesus found the strength and the light for His journey. Jesus was free. His decision was a free one. Jesus wants us Christians to be free as he is: with that liberty, which comes from this dialogue with the Father ... Jesus wants neither selfish Christians, who follow their egos and do not speak with God, nor weak Christians, without will: 'remote-controlled' Christians, incapable of creativity, who seek always to connect with the will of another ... Jesus wants us free, and this freedom – where is it found? It is to be found in the inner dialogue with God in conscience. If a Christian … does not know how to listen to God, in his own conscience, then he is not free – he is not free”.
“So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful”.
Pope Francis highlighted a wonderful example of how this relationship with God in one's own conscience may be: Pope Benedict XVI, “when the Lord showed him in prayer the step he had to take, followed his conscience with a great sense of discernment and courage; that is, he followed the will of God that spoke to his heart”. This example “is of benefit to all of us, as an example to follow”.
“May Mary help us to become more and more men and women of conscience, free in our conscience … able to hear the voice of God and follow it with decision” concluded the Pope.
After the Angelus, the Holy Father remarked that today in Italy we celebrate the Day of charity of the Pope, and he thanked the bishops and all the parishes, especially the poorest, for the prayers and offerings that support the many pastoral initiatives and charitable activities of the Successor of Peter in every part of the world.
Vatican City, 30 June 2013 (VIS) – The Pope has written a message to the participants in the Sixth Youth Day, to be held in Kaunas, Lithuania from 28 to 30 June.
The Pope writes, “Jesus wants to be your friend, … a master of truth and life who will show you the path to happiness, to your self-realization according to God's plan for each of you. And this, Jesus' friendship, which brings us mercy and the love of God, is 'free', a pure gift. He asks nothing of you in return, He asks only that you welcome Him. Jesus wishes to love you for what you are, even in your fragility and weakness as, touched by His love, you may be renewed”.
“The encounter with God's love in the friendship of Christ is possible first and foremost through the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the Reconciliation. … Jesus always forgives us. Another privileged way to grow in Christ's friendship is to listen to His word. The Lord speaks to us … through the Sacred Scriptures, He speaks to us through prayer. … And here I would like to emphasize the beauty of simple contemplative prayer, accessible to all, old and young, the cultured and the simple; it is the prayer of the Sacred Rosary. … Indeed, in the Rosary, repeating Hail Mary, we meditate upon the Mysteries, the events in the life of Christ, in order to know him and love him more”.
“Christ's love is not an illusion … neither is it reserved to the few. … Do not be afraid to live in faith! Be witnesses to Christ in your daily lives, with simplicity and courage. To those you meet, to your peers, show above all the face of the mercy and love of God, Who always forgives, encourages and gives hope. Always show care for others, especially to the poorest and weakest, thereby living in fraternal love, against all forms of egotism and narrow-mindedness”.
Vatican City, 29 June 2013 (VIS) - This morning, on the solemnity of the apostles Peter and Paul, Pope Francis celebrated the Holy Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, during which the Pallium, a symbol of the bond of unity with the See of Peter, was imposed upon thirty-four new metropolitan archbishops.
The Holy Father concelebrated the Eucharist with the new archbishops. As is traditional on the feast of the patrons of Rome, the Pope received in audience a delegation from the ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent on behalf of ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I and led by the metropolitan of Pergamo Ioannis (Zizioulas), co-president of the Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
In his homily, Pope Francis spoke of the meaning of the verb “to confirm” in the context of the Petrine ministry, in response to the question, “What has the Bishop of Rome been called to confirm?”.
“First, to confirm in faith”, he said. “The Gospel speaks of the confession of Peter: 'You are Christ, the Son of the living God', a confession which does not come from him but from our Father in heaven. Because of this confession, Jesus replies: 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church'. The role, the ecclesial service of Peter, is founded upon his confession of faith in Jesus, the Son of the living God, made possible by a grace granted from on high. In the second part of today’s Gospel we see the peril of thinking in worldly terms. When Jesus speaks of his death and resurrection, of the path of God which does not correspond to the human path of power, flesh and blood re-emerge in Peter: 'He took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him ... This must never happen to you'. Jesus’ response is harsh: 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me'. Whenever we let our thoughts, our feelings or the logic of human power prevail, and we do not let ourselves be taught and guided by faith, by God, we become stumbling blocks. Faith in Christ is the light of our life as Christians and as ministers in the Church!”
“To confirm in love” is the second answer. “In the second reading we heard the moving words of Saint Paul: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith'”, continued the Holy Father. “But what is this fight? It is not one of those fights fought with human weapons which sadly continue to cause bloodshed throughout the world; rather, it is the fight of martyrdom. Saint Paul has but one weapon: the message of Christ and the gift of his entire life for Christ and for others. It is precisely this readiness to lay himself open, personally, to be consumed for the sake of the Gospel, to make himself all things to all people, unstintingly, that gives him credibility and builds up the Church. The Bishop of Rome is called himself to live and to confirm his brothers and sisters in this love for Christ and for all others, without distinction, limits or barriers. And not only the Bishop of Rome: each of you, new archbishops and bishops, have the same task: to let yourselves be consumed by the Gospel, to become all things to everyone. It is your task to hold nothing back, to go outside of yourselves in the service of the faithful and holy people of God”.
Finally, the Pope continued, “To confirm in unity. Here I would like to reflect for a moment on the rite which we have carried out. The pallium is a symbol of communion with the Successor of Peter, 'the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion'. And your presence today, dear brothers, is the sign that the Church’s communion does not mean uniformity. The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the hierarchical structure of the Church, states that the Lord 'established the apostles as college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from their number'. To confirm in unity: the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the primate. Let us go forward on the path of synodality, and grow in harmony with the service of the primacy. And the Council continues, 'this college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the people of God'. In the Church, variety, which is itself a great treasure, is always grounded in the harmony of unity, like a great mosaic in which every small piece joins with others as part of God’s one great plan. This should inspire us to work always to overcome every conflict which wounds the body of the Church. United in our differences: there is no other Catholic way to be united. This is the Catholic spirit, the Christian spirit: to be united in our differences. This is the way of Jesus! The pallium, while being a sign of communion with the Bishop of Rome and with the universal church, with the Synod of Bishops, also commits each of you to being a servant of communion”.
“To confess the Lord by letting oneself be taught by God; to be consumed by love for Christ and his Gospel; to be servants of unity. These, dear brother bishops, are the tasks which the holy apostles Peter and Paul entrust to each of us, so that they can be lived by every Christian”, the Holy Father concluded.
Vatican City, 29 June 2013 (VIS) – Following the Holy Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus on Sunday with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, and recalled that the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul was a special feast for the Church of Rome, founded on the martyrdom of both apostles, and also for the Universal Church, “since all the People of God owe to them the gift of faith”.
While Peter “was the first to confess that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God, Paul spread this news throughout the Greek-Roman world. And Providence wished that both of them might reach Rome and there shed blood for the faith. The Church of Rome therefore became, spontaneously, the point of reference for all Churches around the world. Not for the power of the Empire, but for the strength of martyrdom and witness to Christ! In the end, it is always and only the love of Christ that generates faith and sustains the Church along her way”.
The Holy Father remarked that when Peter confessed his faith in Jesus, “he did not do so because of His human capacities, but rather because he had been moved by the grace Jesus emanated, by the love he felt in His words and saw in His gestures”. And the same happened to Paul when, as a young man and enemy of Christians, he was called upon by the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus and transformed by his vision: “He understood that Jesus was not dead, but alive, and loved even he who was His enemy. It was this experience of mercy, of God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ: this is the Good News, the Gospel the Peter and Paul experienced themselves and for which they gave their lives. Mercy, forgiveness! The Lord always forgives, the Lord has mercy, is merciful, has a merciful heart and awaits us always … what joy it is to believe in a God Who is all love, all grace! This is the faith that Peter and Paul received from Christ and which they have transmitted to the Church”.
Pope Francis also spoke of the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, who shared with him his experience of faith in Jesus, and who had indeed encountered Him first. “I like to remember him also because today, in accordance with a beautiful tradition, Rome receives the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, whose patron is indeed the apostle Andrew”. The Pope went on to invite those present to pray together a Hail Mary for Patriarch Bartholomaios I, and to pray also for the metropolitan archbishops of the various Churches who received the Pallium this morning.
After the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted the pilgrims who had gathered to celebrate with the metropolitan archbishops: “I pray for their communities, and in particular I encourage the central African people, sorely tested at this time, to continue on their path with faith and hope”.
Monday, July 1, 2013


Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 377

Reading 1           GN 18:16-33

Abraham and the men who had visited him by the Terebinth of Mamre
set out from there and looked down toward Sodom;
Abraham was walking with them, to see them on their way.
The LORD reflected: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
now that he is to become a great and populous nation,
and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him?
Indeed, I have singled him out
that he may direct his children and his household after him
to keep the way of the LORD
by doing what is right and just,
so that the LORD may carry into effect for Abraham
the promises he made about him.”
Then the LORD said:
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”

While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom,
the LORD remained standing before Abraham.
Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty,
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The LORD replied,
“If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Abraham spoke up again:
“See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes!
What if there are five less than fifty innocent people?
Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it for the sake of forty.”
Then Abraham said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on.
What if only thirty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there.”
Still Abraham went on,
“Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord,
what if there are no more than twenty?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
But he still persisted:
“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

The LORD departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham,
and Abraham returned home.

Responsorial Psalm        PS 103:1B-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Gospel    MT 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”


Bl. Junípero Serra
Feast: July 1

Feast Day:July 1
Born:24 November 1713 at Petra, Spanish Majorca
Died:28 August 1784
Beatified:25 September 1988 by Pope John Paul II
Born at Petra, Island of Majorca, 24 November, 1713; died at Monterey, California, 28 August, 1784.
On 14 September, 1730, he entered the Franciscan Order. For his proficiency in studies he was appointed lector of philosophy before his ordination to the priesthood. Later he received the degree of Doctor of Theology from the Lullian University at Palma, where he also occupied the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy until he joined the missionary college of San Fernando, Mexico (1749). While traveling on foot from Vera Cruz to the capital, he injured his leg in such a way that he suffered from it throughout his life, though he continued to make his journeys on foot whenever possible. At his own request he was assigned to theSierra Gorda Indian Missions some thirty leagues north of Querétaro. He served there for nine years, part of the time as superior, learned the language of the Pame Indians, and translated the catechism into their language. Recalled to Mexico, he became famous as a most fervent and effective preacher of missions. His zeal frequently led him to employ extraordinary means in order to move the people to penance. He would pound his breast with a stone while in the pulpit, scourge himself, or apply a lighted torch to his bare chest. In 1767 he was appointed superior of a band of fifteen Franciscans for the Indian Missions of Lower California. Early in 1769 he accompanied Portolá's land expedition to Upper California. On the way (14 May) he established the Mission San Fernando de Velicatá, Lower California. He arrived at San Diego on 1 July, and on 16 July founded the first of the twenty-one California missions which accomplished the conversions of all the natives on the coast as far as Sonoma in the north. Those established by Father Serra or during his administration were San Carlos (3 June, 1770); San Antonio (14 July, 1771); San Gabriel (8 September, 1771); San Luis Obispo (1 September, 1772); San Francisco de Asis (8 October, 1776); San Juan Capistrano (1 Nov. 1776); Santa Clara (12 January, 1777); San Buenaventura (31 March, 1782). He was also present at the founding of the presidio of Santa Barbara (21 April, 1782), and was prevented from locating the mission there at the time only through the animosity of Governor Philipe de Neve. Difficulties with Pedro Fages, the military commander, compelled Father Serra in 1773 to lay the case before Viceroy Bucareli. At the capital of Mexico, by order of the viceroy, he drew up his "Representación" in thirty-two articles. Everything save two minor points was decided in his favour; he then returned to California, late in 1774. In 1778 he received the faculty to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. After he had exercised his privilege for a year, Governor Neve directed him to suspend administering the sacrament until he could present the papal Brief. For nearly two years Father Serra refrained, and then Viceroy Majorga gave instructions to the effect that Father Serra was within his rights. During the remaining three years of his life he once more visited the missions from San Diego to San Francisco, six hundred miles, in order to confirm all who had been baptized. He suffered intensely from his crippled leg and from his chest, yet he would use no remedies. He confirmed 5309 persons, who, with but few exceptions, were Indians converted during the fourteen years from 1770. Besides extraordinary fortitude, his most conspicuous virtues were insatiable zeal, love of mortification, self-denial, and absolute confidence in God. His executive abilities has been especially noted by non-Catholic writers. The esteem in which his memory is held by all classes in California may be gathered from the fact that Mrs. Stanford, not a Catholic, had a granite monument erected to him at Monterey. A bronze statute of heroic size represents him as the apostolic preacher in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. In 1884 the Legislature of California passed a concurrent resolution making 29 August of that year, the centennial of Father Serra's burial, a legal holiday. Of his writings many letters and other documentation are extant. The principal ones are his "Diario" of the journey from Loreto to San Diego, which was published in "Out West" (March to June, 1902), and the "Representación" before mentioned.

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