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Saturday, November 9, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : SAT. NOV. 9, 2013 - SHARE

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POPE INVITES ALL TO PRAY FOR CHURCH ON LATERAN FEAST

TODAY'S FEAST: NOV. 9 - LATERAN BASILICA

Vatican Radio REPORT: At the morning mass at Santa Marta, Pope Francis underlined the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which the Church celebrates on Saturday. The Pope recalled how the feast day is also the feast of the city of Rome, the Church of Rome and the Universal Church. The Lateran Basilica (or the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome) is the cathedral of Rome and “Mother of all the churches urbe et orbe”. 

The Pope addressed the “three icons” in the day’s readings, which speak of the Church. From the first reading of Ezekiel and in Psalm 45, the icon of the river that runs from the Temple and in which the city of God rejoices is the image of the grace that sustains and nurtures the life of the Church. In the second reading of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, the icon of the rock, which is Jesus Christ, is the foundation on which the Church is built.

The Gospel reading of the purification of the Temple is the icon of the reform of the Church—“Ecclesia semper reformanda”—because the members of the Church are always sinners and in need of conversion.

The Pope concluded inviting the faithful to pray so that the Church may always let the waters of grace flow, that it may be founded always on Christ and remain faithful, and that its members allow themselves to be always converted by Jesus.
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : SAT. NOV. 9, 2013

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Lectionary: 671


Reading 1            EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm                      PS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!

Reading 2                                    1 COR 3:9C-11, 16-17

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Gospel                           JN 2:13-22

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

POPE FRANCIS "THE POOR, EVEN THE POOR IN HEALTH, ARE A RICHNESS FOR THE CHURCH"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has called for the “real inclusion” in the Christian community of people with sickness and disability through inclusive ministry in parish communities and Catholic associations.

“To favour the real inclusion of the sick in the Christian community and to arouse in them a strong sense of belonging, it is necessary to have inclusive ministry in parishes and in associations,” he said on Saturday. “It consists of truly valuing the presence and witness of fragile and suffering persons, not only as the recipients of evangelical work, but as active subjects of this same apostolic activity.”

The Pope made these comments in the Paul VI Hall during an audience attended by people with sickness or disability and some members of UNITALSI, an Italian association that travels with the sick and disabled on pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, and to other international Marian sanctuaries. The association is marking 110 years since its foundation.  

“Dear sick brothers and sisters,” he said, “Do not simply consider yourselves to be objects of solidarity and charity but feel fully included in the life and the mission of the Church.

“You have your place, a specific role in the parish and in every ecclesial environment,” he continued.

“Your presence, silent but more eloquent than many words, your prayer, your daily offering of your suffering, in union with that of Jesus crucified for the salvation of the world, the patient and even joyful acceptance of your condition are a spiritual resource, assets for every Christian community. Do not be ashamed to be a precious treasure of the Church!” he said to applause.

“The poor, even the poor in health, are a richness for the Church,” he said. And the men and women who work or volunteer with them “have received the gift and the obligation to gather this richness, to help promote it, not only in the Church itself but in all of society.”

He commented on how the current “social and cultural context is more inclined to hide physical fragility, to consider it only as a problem that demands resignation and piety or sometimes the rejection of people,” he said.

But UNITALSI is called to be a prophetic sign and “to go counter to this worldly logic, helping the suffering to be protagonists in society, in the Church and in the association itself”.

The Pope underlined how UNITALSI’s 110-year commitment to the sick and to people with disabilities has been “typically evangelical”.

“In fact, your work is not welfarism or philanthropy, but the genuine proclamation of the Gospel of charity and a ministry of consolation… moved by love for Christ and by the example of the good Samaritan, you do not turn away in the face of suffering,” he told the members present. “On the contrary, you seek to be a welcoming glance, a hand that uplifts and accompanies, a word of comfort and a tender embrace.”

He urged them to continue despite difficulties and fatigue, and to imitate Mary’s maternal care. In following Mary, she will help each person to be a reflection of the merciful God, he said.

“Every sick and fragile person can see in your face the face of Jesus; and you, too, can recognize Christ in the person who suffers,” he said.
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

CHRISTIAN VILLAGE SUFFERS ATTACKS IN SYRIA

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT; 
 
Syria: another Christian town suffers brutal attack | Sadad, Syrian, Christians massacred, Homs, Patriarch Gregorios, Aid to the Church in Need

Young Syrians clamber on abandoned tank
 Horrific details are emerging of atrocities carried out in a Christian town in Syria, where 1,500 families were held hostage and 45 were killed, including two teenage boys, their mother and three of their grandparents who were thrown down a well.
Inhabitants of Sadad, near Homs, who fled the largely Syrian Orthodox town when rebels attacked last month, are now returning home to discover the scale of atrocities in what is being seen as the worst act of anti-Christian persecution since the war in Syria began.
The reports, sent by Church leaders to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, describe how, in this ancient Christian town mentioned in the Bible (Ezekiel), vulnerable people unable to escape – including the elderly, disabled, women and children – were subjected to torture, such as strangulation.
Church sources say 30 bodies were found in two separate mass graves.
Discovered dead in a well in Sadad were the remains of six members of one family including Matanios El Sheikh, 85, his wife, Habsah, 75, their daughter, Njala, 45, and grandsons Ranim, aged 18, a first-year university student, and his 16-year-old brother Fadi, in class XI at school.
Reports state they were thrown down a well on 26 October along with the boys’ paternal grandmother, 90-year-old Mariam.
Their funerals, which took place on Monday, 4 November, came as a community, whose town dates back to 2000BC, begins to grieve the loss of those being described as “martyrs” by Church leaders.
In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III of Damascus described the atrocities in Sadad as “bestial”. Highlighting the murder of the family thrown down the well, Patriarch Gregorios said: “How can somebody do such inhumane and bestial things to an elderly couple and their family? I do not understand why the world does not raise its voice against such acts of brutality.”
The atrocities took place during a week-long occupation of Sadad by the Al-Nusra Front and Daash, rebel forces who, according to Church leaders, held 1,500 families as “human shields” in a bid to stop Government troops retaking the village.
The tragedy in Sadad began on 21 October when rebel forces invaded the town and carried out what Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, told Fides was the “most serious and biggest massacre of Christians” since the conflict began in Syria in March 2011.
At least 2,500 families fled with no more than the clothes they were wearing to Homs, 37 miles (60 km) away, and further afield to Damascus, Al-Fhayle, Maskane, Fayrouza, Zzaydal and elsewhere.
Some who escaped travelled 8km by foot to find shelter. Those unable to flee Sadad were quickly rounded up by the rebels as part of a bid to fend off counter-attack by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad.
In the days that followed at least 30 were wounded and 10 are reported still missing. Accounts from Archbishop Alnemeh and other Church leaders described widespread looting and destruction of shops, homes and government buildings as well as the state hospital, clinic, post office and schools.
According to reports, youngsters described receiving taunts and insults against their Christian faith and obscene words were written on church artefacts.
Sadad, where Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ is spoken, has up to 14 churches, one of which, the Syriac Orthodox Church of St Theodore, which was used by the rebels, who desecrated it.
Reiterating his call for an end to the transfer of arms to Syria, especially extremist rebel groups, Patriarch Gregorios said that already the atrocity had instigated another wave of emigration of Christians from Syria. He said that, until now, the faithful had seen Sadad as a safe haven, compared to the likes of Homs where Christian communities had come under attack.
Describing the atrocity as “a sign of the rise of fundamentalism and extremism” in the country, he said: “What happened in Sadad is very significant in that it is frightening the Christians into leaving the country. I have heard from the parish priest [of Sadad] and the [local] bishop that a number of the people are leaving Syria.”
Last month Patriarch Gregorios visited the UK as the guest of Aid to the Church in Need, calling for peace in Syria and action for persecuted Christians in meetings with government ministers, parliamentarians, the media, Church leaders and Christian communities in London and Glasgow.
On Thursday 7 November, Patriarch Gregorios was in Augsburg, Germany to take part in a discussion panel, organised by Aid to the Church in Need, about the current situation in Syria.
Source: ACN
SHARED FROM IND. CATHOLIC NEWS

DEATH TOLL FROM TYPHOON HITS 120 IN PHILIPPINES - ASIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT: 
The most affected province is Leyte (central Philippines ), where the authorities have recovered at least 100 bodies . Dozens of villages and towns are still isolated due to landslides. Superior General of PIME speaks of the work of the Catholic Church to bring aid to the displaced


Manila (AsiaNews) - The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan now stands at 120 people.  The typhoon struck the central Philippines with winds exceeding 200 km / h and is now headed towards Vietnam. According to the Philippine government, dozens of villages are still isolated and the number of victims could increase in the coming hours . This morning rescuers registered more than 100 dead in the city of Tacloban , the capital of the province of Leyte , the most affected by the typhoon. Another 20 bodies were recovered in a village a few kilometers from the town and placed in a church.
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr . John King, regional superior of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME ) , points out that "most of the areas affected by the typhoon are without electricity, telephones and drinking water". The priest said that in the coming days PIME will work with Caritas and the local diocese to raise aid for the displaced, many of which have already been affected by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck the province of Cebu October 15. "At the moment - adds Fr . King - it is too early to determine any relief strategies. The authorities have yet to determine the full extent of the tragedy". Tomorrow in the parishes will begin a first campaign of solidarity for the victims.

The super-typhoon Haiyan yesterday reached the center of the Philippines, with winds exceeding 235 km / h and gusts that peaked at nearly 300 km / h , hitting more than 30 provinces . According to meteorologists Haiyan , renamed Yolanda by Filipinos, is the 25th typhoon of 2013 and is the most powerful to have crossed land. In the next hours it will reach the southern coast of Vietnam, where the authorities have already arranged the evacuation of more than 100 thousand people and closed schools and public offices.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

TODAY'S FEAST: NOV. 9 - LATERAN BASILICA

 

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Feast: November 9
Information:
Feast Day:
November 9

This is the oldest, and ranks first among the four great "patriarchal" basilicas of Rome. The site was, in ancient times, occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani. A member of this family, P. Sextius Lateranus, was the first plebian to attain the rank of consul. In the time of Nero, another member of the family, Plautius Lateranus, at the time consul designatus was accused of conspiracy against the emperor, and his goods were confiscated. Juvenal mentions the palace, and speaks of it as being of some magnificence, "regiæ ædes Lateranorum". Some few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large hall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the eighteenth century within the basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was then discovered of real value or importance. The palace came eventually into the hands of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, through his wife Fausta, and it is from her that it derived the name by which it was then sometimes called, "Domus Faustæ". Constantine must have given it to the Church in the time of Miltiades, not later than about 311, for we find a council against the Donatists meeting within its walls as early as 313. From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome. The latter distinction it still holds, though it has long lost the former. Hence the proud title which may be read upon its walls, that it is "Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput".
It seems probable, in spite of the tradition that Constantine helped in the work of building with his own hands, that there was not a new basilica erected at the Lateran, but that the work carried out at this period was limited to the adaptation, which perhaps involved the enlargement, of the already existing basilica or great hall of the palace. The words of St. Jerome "basilica quondam Laterani" (Ep. lxxiii, P.L., XXII, col. 692) seem to point in this direction, and it is also probable on other grounds. This original church was probably not of very large dimensions, but we have no reliable information on the subject. It was dedicated to the Saviour, "Basilica Salvatoris", the dedication to St. John being of later date, and due to a Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist which adjoined the basilica and where members were charged at one period with the duty of maintaining the services in the church. This later dedication to St. John has now in popular usage altogether superseded the original one. A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the basilica are recorded in the "Liber Pontificalis", and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or Golden Church. This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. St. Leo the Great restored it about 460, and it was again restored by Hadrian I, but in 896 it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake ("ab altari usque ad portas cecidit"). The damage was so extensive that it was difficult to trace in every case the lines of the old building, but these were in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This secondchurch lasted for four hundred years and was then burnt down. It was rebuilt by Clement V and John XXII, only to be burnt down once more in 1360, but again rebuilt by Urban V.
Through these various vicissitudes the basilica retained its ancient form, being divided by rows of columns into aisles, and having in front an atrium surrounded by colonnades with a fountain in the middle. The façade had three windows, and was embellished with a mosaic representing Christ as the Saviour of the world. The porticoes of the atrium were decorated with frescoes, probably not dating further back than the twelfth century, which commemorated the Roman fleet under Vespasian, the taking of Jerusalem, the Baptism of the Emperor Constantine and his "Donation" to the Church. Inside the basilica the columns no doubt ran, as in all other basilicas of the same date, the whole length of the church from east to west, but at one of the rebuildings, probably that which was carried out by Clement V, the feature of a transverse nave was introduced, imitated no doubt from the one which had been, long before this, added at S. Paolo fuori le Mura. It was probably at this time also that the church was enlarged. When the popes returned to Rome from their long absence at Avignon they found the city deserted and the churches almost in ruins. Great works were begun at the Lateran by Martin V and his successors. The palace, however, was never again used by them as a residence, the Vatican, which stands in a much drier and healthier position, being chosen in its place. It was not until the latter part of the seventeenth century that thechurch took its present appearance, in the tasteless restoration carried out by Innocent X, with Borromini for his architect. The ancient columns were now enclosed in huge pilasters, with gigantic statues in front. In consequence of this the church has entirely lost the appearance of an ancient basilica, and is completely altered in character.
Some portions of the older buildings still survive. Among these we may notice the pavement of medieval Cosmatesque work, and the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, now in the cloisters. The graceful baldacchino over the high altar, which looks so utterly out of place in its present surroundings, dates from 1369. The stercoraria, or throne of red marble on which the popes sat, is now in the Vatican Museum. It owes its unsavoury name to the anthem sung at the ceremony of the papal enthronization, "De stercore erigeus pauperem". From the fifth century there were seven oratories surrounding the basilica. These before long were thrown into the actual church. The devotion of visiting these oratories, which held its ground all through the medieval period, gave rise to the similar devotion of the seven altars, still common in many churches of Rome and elsewhere. Between the basilica and the city wall there was in former times the great monastery, in which dwelt the community of monks whose duty it was to provide the services in the basilica. The only part of it which still survives is the cloister, surrounded by graceful columns of inlaid marble. They are of a style intermediate between the Romanesque proper and the Gothic, and are the work of Vassellectus and the Cosmati. The date of these beautiful cloisters is the early part of the thirteenth century.
The ancient apse, with mosaics of the fourth century, survived all the many changes and dangers of the Middle Ages, and was still to be seen very much in its original condition as late as 1878, when it was destroyed in order to provide a larger space for the ordinations and other pontifical functions which take place in this cathedral church of Rome. The original mosaics were, however, preserved with the greatest possible care and very great success, and were re-erected at the end of the new and deeper apse which had been provided. In these mosaics, as they now appear, the centre of the upper portion is occupied by the figure of Christ surrounded by nine angels. This figure is extremely ancient, and dates from the fifth, or it may be even the fourth century. It is possible even that it is the identical one which, as is told in ancienttradition, was manifested to the eyes of the worshippers on the occasion of the dedication of the church: "Imago Salvatoris infixa parietibus primum visibilis omni populo Romano apparuit" (Joan. Diac., "Lib. de Ecclesia Lat.", P.L. CXCIV, 1543-1560). If it is so, however, it has certainly been retouched. Below is seen the crux gammata, surmounted by a dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and standing on a hill whence flow the four rivers of the Gospels, from whose waters stags and sheep come to drink. On either side are saints, looking towards the Cross. These last are thought to belong originally to the sixth century, though they were repaired and altered in the thirteenth by Nicholas IV, whose effigy may be seen prostrate at the feet of the Blessed Virgin. The river which runs below is more ancient still, and may be regarded as going back to Constantine and the first days of the basilica. The remaining mosaics of the apse are of the thirteenth century, and the signatures of the artists, Torriti and Camerino, may still be read upon them. Camerino was a Franciscan friar; perhaps Torriti was one also.
The pavement of the basilica dates from Martin V and the return of the popes to Rome from Avignon. Martin V was of the Colonna family, and the columns are their badge. The high altar, which formerly occupied the position customary in all ancient basilicas, in the centre of the chord of the apse, has now beyond it, owing to the successive enlargements of the church, the whole of the transverse nave and of the new choir. It has no saint buried beneath it, since it was not, as were almost all the other great churches of Rome, erected over the tomb of a martyr. It stands alone among all the altars of the Catholic world in being of wood and not of stone, and enclosing no relics of any kind. The reason for this peculiarity is that it is itself a relic of a most interesting kind, being the actual wooden altar upon which St. Peter is believed to have celebrated Mass during his residence in Rome. It was carefully preserved through all the years of persecution, and was brought by Constantine and Sylvester from St. Pudentiana's, where it had been kept till then, to become the principal altar of the cathedral church of Rome. It is now, of course, enclosed in a larger altar of stone and cased with marble, but the original wood can still be seen. A small portion was left at St. Pudentiana's in memory of its long connection with that church, and is still preserved there. Above the High Altar is the canopy or baldacchino already mentioned, a Gothic structure resting on four marble columns, and decorated with paintings by Barna of Siena. In the upper part of the baldacchino are preserved the heads of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the great treasure of the basilica, which until this shrine was prepared to receive them had always been kept in the "Sancta Sanctorum", the private chapel of the Lateran Palace adjoining. Behind the apse there formerly extended the "Leonine" portico; it is not known which pontiff gave it this name. At the entrance there was an inscription commemorating the dream of Innocent III, when he saw the church of the Lateran upheld by St. Francis of Assisi. On the opposite wall was hung the tabula magna, or catalogue of all the relics of the basilica, and also of the different chapels and the indulgences attached to them respectively. It is now in the archives of the basilica.

Friday, November 8, 2013

POPE FRANCIS EMBRACES DISFIGURED MAN - SHOWING LOVE OF GOD

POPE FRANCIS embraced a severely deformed man in St. Peter's Square on November 6, 2013. This image has gone viral over the Internet over the past few days. The disease is called neurofibromatosis and is not contagious but genetic. This causes neuronal tumors all over the body causing pain and learning disabilities. Pope Francis gave this man special time and kissed him and gave him a blessing. 

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