Sunday, December 22, 2013




(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis launched an appeal for homeless families, after praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square this Sunday – the fourth Sunday of Advent. Prompted by a banner in St Peter’s Square that read, “The Poor Cannot Wait!” Pope Francis spoke of the great difficulties that families without fixed dwelling face – not unlike the Holy Family, to whom the Lord Jesus was born in a barn, and that experienced forced flight from their native land into Egypt. “Family and home go together,” said Pope Francis. He went on to say, “I call on everyone: individuals, organs of society, authorities, to do everything possible to assure that every family has a place to live.” 

Ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father shared a brief reflection on the day’s Gospel reading, which is taken from the first chapter of the Gospel according to St Matthew and tells of the events that preceded the birth of Jesus from the point of view of St. Joseph, the betrothed of the Virgin Mary.

Pope Francis said that the account gives us the essentials of a true interior drama, “This Gospel,” said Pope Francis, in which Joseph learns of Mary’s unexpected pregnancy and decides to divorce her quietly, before giving himself over entirely to God’s providential goodness, “shows us St. Joseph’s greatness of soul.” Pope Francis went on to say, “[St] Joseph was a man who always listened to the voice of God, was deeply sensitive to his secret will - a man attentive to the messages that came from the heart and from above.” 

The Holy Father concluded by encouraging all the faithful to celebrate the Christmas feast contemplating Mary and Joseph: Mary, full of grace, the woman who had the courage to rely totally on the Word of God; and Joseph, the faithful and righteous man who preferred to believe in the Lord instead of listening to voices of doubt and of human pride. “With them,” he said, “we walk together towards Bethlehem.”

SHARED from Vatican Radio 


by Chen Weijun
After Xian, Shenzhen will also open a "baby hatch", a small structure equipped to accommodate abandoned infants. Catholic sources tell AsiaNews : " A good step forward in favor of life, which is under constant threat in the country. But we will have to see how it will be managed". 

Shenzhen ( AsiaNews) - In an attempt to save unwanted babies from certain death, even the government of mainland China has decided to launch "baby hatches", small structures near the major hospitals where unwanted children can be placed saving them from a far cruel destiny. After Xian, capital of the northwestern province of Shaanxi , where the "hatch" opened last week ( see photo) , the southern metropolis of Shenzhen has decided yesterday to launch the service , which will be operational by 2014. Other cities are preparing to implement similar projects, already present in neighboring Japan and South Korea

The Shenzhen "hatch" will be opened in the vicinity of the Welfare Centre, which since 1992 has taken care of about 3,500 abandoned children. In 2013, 90 babies were abandoned in the city , which is home to a huge community of migrant workers who are often unable to maintain even a small child . The shelter will be equipped with an incubator , fans and equipment for first aid : no cameras to ensure the privacy of the parents, who will press a special alarm knowing that they have 10 minutes before the arrival of assistants.

The decision has sparked controversy in a country for decades subject to the infamous one-child law . Despite the announced reforms of the last plenum - that seem targeted to allow couples the chance to have a second child - until now the birth rate in China has continued to decline inexorably. And the abandonment or killing of unwanted babies or those born outside the law and therefore impossible to maintain, is the daily news. According to the 35% of respondents from the site, hatches "will increase the number of abandoned children".

David Xiao, a journalist just in Shenzhen who interviewed women forced to abandon (or even kill) their children, thinks the opposite: "The children will be abandoned whether there is a safe place for them ,or not. This program seems great because it gives these people and their children a second chance". His experience "in the field " has changed him : "I can not forget the abandoned children that I have seen , dead or alive. They are like tiny kittens, abandoned like trash. The mothers are often migrants with no education and no money. They give birth to their children in a public restroom and then leave them there , or strangle them . "

According to a survey by the Department for Family Planning of Guangdong, about half of the migrants who work in the southern province have sex before marriage. Of this percentage , at least half - then 25% of the total - becomes pregnant at least once. According to Chinese law, it is a criminal offense to have a child out of wedlock that can result in an administrative fine or even imprisonment . In Baoan district of Shenzhen, at least 10 single women (between 16 and 23 years old) were charged in 2009 with the murder of infants.

The practice of "baby hatches" is not new in East Asia. Despite arousing controversy, it is now well established in Japan and South Korea.  In the first case, the hatches are managed by the Jikei Catholic hospital in the city of Kumamoto in Kyushu , in the second , Jusarang Protestant church in Seoul .

 Catholic sources working in China with abandoned babies explain: " This initiative is good : in Europe , in the Middle Ages , the Church welcomed abandoned children. Nowadays there are several cases where Chinese Catholics in many areas - especially the nuns , but also the lay - collect abandoned children, disabled people in general . There is some assistance, care for these children who live under constant threat. Small groups already exist.  The cases of Xian and Shenzhen are welcome, because they could also help reduce abortions . But there is always the danger of local officials, what they will do with the funds allocated to these projects. Hopefully use them well".



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made a visit to the Bambin Gesù pediatric hospital on Saturday afternoon, touring the facility and visiting with the young patients of the care centre and with their families, as well as with medical professionals, other staff and administrators. He was welcomed in the courtyard of the facility by as many as four thousand well-wishers. During the course of the visit, Pope Francis received the Christmas wishes of the young patients, promising prayers for their healing and offering words of encouragement. "Dear children," said Pope Francis, "I thank you for [sharing] your dreams and your prayers [with me]," which the youngsters had written on paper and collected in a basket that they then gave him. "Thank you very much," he said, adding, "we present them together to Jesus: He knows them better than anyone - He knows what is in our heart of hearts. Especially with you children, Jesus has a special bond: He is always close to you."
Founded in 1869, the Bambin Gesù hospital has developed a high level of expertise in treating children coming not only from Rome or Italy, but also from neighbouring European countries. Pope Francis’ visit continues a tradition that began in 1958, when Bl. John XXIII visited the hospital for the first time: Paul VI visited the hospital in January 1968; Bl. John Paul II continued the tradition in January of 1979; Benedict XVI visited the hospital in September of 2005.

A highlight of the Holy Father's visit this 21 December, 2013, was the scheduled presentation of the hospital's "Francis House" initiative. Named after Pope Francis, the Francis House is to be a place of welcome, safety and integral care for mothers and children on the margins of society with dangerous family situations. The Francis House project aims at building a place and creating an environment in which both mothers and children will receive acceptance, psychological and social support and help with education, with a view to making guest-families able to stand on their own feet.

SHARED from  Vatican Radio 


CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: By  on Thursday, 19 December 2013
The Vatican said that the motive was unknown (CNS)
The Vatican said that the motive was unknown (CNS)
A man set himself on fire this morning in St Peter’s Square.
A Jesuit priest tried to smother the flames with a jacket after the 51 year-old man doused himself in gasoline and set himself alight.
Police officers managed to put out the flames with fire extinguishers and are now being treated for smoke inhalation and injuries to their hands in hospital.
The man is understood to be suffering from serious burns to the upper part of his body.
The Vatican said that the motive for his actions is unknown.


Fourth Sunday of Advent 
Lectionary: 10

Reading 1                              IS 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

Responsorial Psalm                       PS 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.

Reading 2                                 ROM 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel                      MT 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel, 

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.


Opening Prayer:

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father and to
the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be, world without

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Day 6 Prayers

The Adoration of the Kings
O most sweet infant Jesus, who was made known
to the three kings, who worshipped you as you lie on
Mary's breast, and offered you the mystical presents
of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, 0 Lord. Have mercy on us.
Hail Mary...



NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. -
i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and -
ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.


St. Chaeremon
Feast: December 22

Feast Day:December 22
Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the sever anti-Christian persecution was instituted by Emperor Trajanus Decius (r. 249-251), Chaeromon was quite elderly. he and several companions fled into the Arabian Desert and were never seen again. The bishop and his companions are listed as martyrs.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday met with the children members of Italy’s Catholic Action, probably the most widespread Catholic lay organization in the country.

The Holy Father met with the young people to exchange Christmas greetings. He called the youth branch of Catholic Action a “beautiful reality”, and encouraged them to always be the “living stones of the Church, united with Jesus.”

He told them Christmas is the celebration of God, who comes among us, and saves us.

“The birth of Jesus is not a fable,” said the Pope. “It is true history, which happened in Bethlehem two thousand years ago . Faith makes us recognize that Child , born of the Virgin Mary, as the true Son of God, who for our sake became man.”

Pope Francis said in the face of the baby Jesus, we contemplate the face of God, who is not revealed in power, but in the weakness and fragility of a newborn.

“Jesus loves you; he wants to be your friend. He wants to be friends with all young people,” said the Holy Father. “Are you convinced ? ... Good! If you are convinced , then surely you know how to transmit the joy of this friendship everywhere: at home, at church , at school, with friends ...and you will know the witness of kindness of true Christians: ready to lend a hand to those in need without judging others.”
SHARED FROM Vatican Radio  J

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