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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : WED. DEC. 11, 2013 - SHARE

 2013



















POPE FRANCIS PERSON OF THE YEAR BY TIME MAGAZINE

TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 11: ST. DAMASUS I


 Vatican Radio  REPORT: Pope Francis has been named Time Magazine's ‘Person of the Year’ for 2013. He is the third Roman Pontiff to receive this honour after John XXIII in 1962 and John Paul II in 1994. 

The Head of the Holy See’s Press Office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, issued the following statement: 
“The decision didn’t come as a surprise given the great resonance and attention surrounding the election of Pope Francis right from the start of the new pontificate. The fact that one of the most prestigious awards to be attributed by the international press should go to someone who promotes spiritual, religious and moral values as well as call for peace and greater justice in an incisive manner is a positive sign. As for the Pope himself, he’s not someone who seeks fame and success, because he has put his life at the service of announcing the Gospel of the love of God for mankind. It is pleasing to the Pope that this service should appeal and give hope to women and men. And if this choice of ‘Person of the Year’ should mean that many people have understood this message - at least implicitly - the Pope is really happy about this." 


SHARED FROM the Vatican Radio website 


GENERAL AUDIENCE OF POPE FRANCIS "ONE HUMAN FAMILY, FOOD FOR ALL"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday spoke out against the scourge of hunger saying that “the scandal that millions of people suffer from hunger must not paralyze us, but push each and every one of us to act: singles, families, communities, institutions, governments, to eliminate this injustice”. 



Speaking at the end of his General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope mentioned the global Caritas Internationalis campaign, “One Human Family, Food for All”, to end hunger and food waste. He had immediately put his full support behind the campaign when it was launched this week with a video message in which he noted that nearly one billion people still suffer from hunger worldwide today, and said: "We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist". 

And to those present in the Square on Wednesday Pope Francis said the Gospel shows us the way: trust in the Lord’s providence - he said - and share our daily bread without wasting it. 

Pope Francis concluded his appeal encouraging “Caritas” to carry this initiative forward, and inviting every one to join in this “wave” of solidarity.

The Pope was addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Audience. His appeal followed his weekly catechesis which was based on the Creed. He reminded those present that we will be held accountable before God for the good we have done or failed to do in this life. And he said, the Church invites us to regard this final judgment with joyful hope as Jesus will be at our side. But he noted, “God’s judgement takes place in our lives each day, by the way in which we respond to Christ’s teaching and imitate him in serving our brothers and sisters”.


SHARED FROM Vatican Radio website 


"HE GIVES US HOPE; THE LORD DRAWS US WITH HOPE" POPE FRANCIS

(Vatican Radio) When Jesus approaches us, He always opens the doors and gives us hope. That was the message of Pope Francis this morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope said we must never fear the consolation of the Lord, but rather must ask for and seek that consolation that makes us feel the tenderness of God. 

“Comfort, give comfort to my people.” Pope Francis began his homily by reflecting on the reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah, the book of the consolation of Israel. The Lord, he noted, approaches His people to comfort them, “to give them peace.” And this “work of consolation” is so strong that it “draws all things.” The Lord accomplishes a true re-creation: 

“He re-creates things. And the Church never tires of saying that this re-creation is more wonderful than the creation. The Lord re-creates more wonderfully. And so He visits His people: re-creating, with that power. And the people of God always had this idea, this thought, that the Lord will come to visit them. We remember the last word of Joseph to his brothers: “When the Lord will visit you, you must take my bones with you.” The Lord will visit His people. It is the hope of Israel. But He will visit them with this consolation.”

“And the consolation,” he continued, “is this drawing all things, not once, but many times, with the universe and also with us.” This “drawing of the Lord,” the Pope said, has two dimensions that it is important to emphasize. “When the Lord approaches,” he said, “He gives us hope; the Lord draws us with hope. He always opens a door. Always.” When the Lord approaches, the Pope repeated, “he doesn’t close doors, He opens [them].” The Lord “in His nearness gives us hope, this hope that is a true strength in the Christian life. It is a grace, it is a gift”:

“When a Christian forgets hope — or worse, loses hope — his life is senseless. It’s as if his life hit a wall: there’s nothing. But the Lord comforts us and draws us forward with hope. And He does it with a special closeness to each one, because the Lord comforts His people and comforts each one of us. It’s beautiful how today’s reading ends: ‘Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care.’ That image of carrying the lambs in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care: that is tenderness. The Lord comforts us with tenderness.”
He continued, “God who is powerful “is not afraid of tenderness.” “He becomes tender, becomes a child, becomes small.” In the Gospel, he noted, Jesus says the same: “In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” In the eyes of the Lord, he added, “each one of us is very, very important. And He gives with tenderness.” And so He makes us “go forward, giving us hope.” This, he said again, “was the principle work of Jesus” in the forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension: to comfort the disciples, to be close to them and give them consolation”:

“He was close to them and gave hope, He approached with tenderness. But we think of the tenderness He had with the Apostles, with Mary Magdalene, with those of Emmaus. He approached with tenderness: “Give me something to eat.” With Thomas: “Put your finger here.” The Lord is always this way. This is the consolation of the Lord. May the Lord give to all of us the grace to not be afraid of the consolation of the Lord, to be open: ask for it, seek it, because it is a consolation that will give us hope, and make us feel the tenderness of God the Father.”


Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/12/10/pope_francis:_the_door_of_the_lord_is_always_open/en1-754432
of the Vatican Radio website 


FEARS ABOUT FATE OF 12 KIDNAPPED NUNS IN SYRIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT;
According to video released by Al-Jazeera the women religious held in Yabrud were to be released on December 9. The Greek -Orthodox Patriarchate "concerned" about their condition. Ongoing intense fighting in the area between the army and Islamist insurgents. Two Spanish journalists in Syria to a report on the anti- Assad revolution held captive by Islamic extremists.


Damascus (AsiaNews) - 13 greek -orthodox nuns kidnapped Dec. 2 in Maaloula along with some young orphans are still in the hands of the Islamist group al- Ahrar Qalamoun . After the  video released December 6 by Al- Jazeera there has been no more news of the women religious, despite the speculation about their possible release as early as last December 9.

Contacted by AsiaNews, the Greek - orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch says it "does not have any news on the condition of the nuns and three young orphans from Ma'aloula ." The last direct contact was brief phone call to the Patriarch of Antioch Youhanna X a few days after the kidnapping .

"Since then - said a source in the Patriarchate - no one has been in touch with us and most of the news we read on the internet like the rest of the world. We have seen the video released by al- Jazeera , but we have no confirmation on the real condition of the sisters, nor the reasons for their seizure and we think that the video is unreliable and further investigation is required . "In the video the Ma'aloula sisters appeared in good health and denied having been abducted , but only brought to safety. The women were filmed wearing their religious clothing, but without the traditional crucifix.
Fierce fighting is being reported from the region of Qalamoun between the army and Islamist insurgents . The area which incorporates the small village of Yabrud is located about 50 km kilometers northwest of Damascus and is one of the most important strongholds of the rebels. In the mountainous area on the border with Lebanon, there are several predominantly Christian villages such as Sadad and Hofar fallen in recent months into the hands of Islamic extremists. Yesterday the army regained control of Nabak , Deir Attiya and Qara .
AsiaNews sources point out that the rebels fighting against Assad belong to different factions, each taking advantage of abductions for various purposes . Some groups, such as the authors of the seizure of the Sisters of Maaloula, trying to distance themselves from extremist and violent kidnappings say the abductions are " humanitarian actions aimed at the protection of civilians ." The most intransigent and violent use the hostages as human shields and as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Assad 's army . The last case concerns two Spanish journalists , Javier Espinosa ( El Mundo ) and Ricardo Garcia ( freelance photographer ) , who disappeared September 16 in the province of Raqqa ( Turkish border ) , who are reportedly in the hands of the militia of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant . The two were in Syria just to document the positive aspects of the rebellion against Assad.


According to El Mundo - which in recent months has silenced the news to deal with the kidnappers - the two journalists were kidnapped along with four fighters of the Free Syrian Army. The militiamen were released after 12 days, but not the two Spaniards . Today Monica Prieto , wife of Javier Espinosa , has appealed to the kidnappers : " Javier and Ricardo are not your enemies. Please honor the revolution that they have protected and free them ." There are also several Syrian anti- Assad activists in the hands of groups of kidnappers, not yet been identified . Today, theSyrian Observatory for Human Rights announced the disappearance of Razan Zaytouna , winner of the Anna Politkovskaya Award 2011. The woman was kidnapped in the suburb of Douma east of Damascus along with other activists by armed men. They raided the headquarters of the Centre for the documentation of human rights violations linked to the rebellion. Zaytouna had admitted receiving death threats from Islamic extremist groups . (SC)
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

FULL TEXT POPE FRANCIS APPEAL AGAINST HUNGER

(Vatican Radio) In a video message released Monday evening, Pope Francis put his full support behind a global campaign, launched by Caritas Internationalis, which seeks to end world hunger by 2025. The Pope said the work of Caritas, present in 200 countries, "is at the heart of the mission of the Church." Its attention, he said, is towards all those "who suffer because of the scandal of hunger, those with whom the Lord identified when he said, ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat’."

The Pope underlined that nearly one billion people still suffer from hunger worldwide today."We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist," he said. 

Read the full text of Pope Francis’ appeal: Message from Pope Francis for the launch of 
One Human Family, Food for All
Dear brothers and dear sisters,

Today, I am happy to announce to you the launch of a campaign against global hunger by our very own Caritas Internationalis and to tell you that I intend to give my full support. This confederation, together with its 164 member organisations works in 200 countries and territories around the world and its work is at the heart of the mission of the Church and of Her attention towards all those who suffer because of the scandal of hunger, those with whom the Lord identified when he said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat”. 

When the Apostles said to Jesus that the people who had come to listen to his words were hungry, He invited them to go and look for food. Being poor themselves, all they found were five loaves and two fish. But with the grace of God, they managed to feed a multitude of people, even managing to collect what was left over and avoiding that it went to waste.

We are in front of a global scandal of around one billion – one billion people who still suffer from hunger today. We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist. The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone. The parable of the multiplication of the loaves and fish teaches us exactly this: that if there is the will, what we have never ends. On the contrary, it abounds and does not get wasted.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to make space in your heart for this emergency of respecting the God-given rights of everyone to have access to adequate food. We share what we have in Christian charity with those who face numerous obstacles to satisfy such a basic need. At the same time we promote an authentic cooperation with the poor so that through the fruits of their and our work they can live a dignified life.

I invite all of the institutions of the world, the Church, each of us, as one single human family, to give a voice to all of those who suffer silently from hunger, so that this voice becomes a roar which can shake the world.

This campaign is also an invitation to all of us to become more conscious in our food choices, which often lead to waste and a poor use of the resources available to us. It is also a reminder to stop thinking that our daily actions do not have an impact on the lives of those who suffer from hunger first-hand.

I ask you from the bottom of my heart to support our Caritas organisations in this noble campaign where they will act as one human family to ensure food for all. 
Let us pray that the Lord gives us the grace to envisage a world in which no one must ever again die of hunger. And asking for this grace, I give you my blessing. 


Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/12/09/pope_supports_appeal_to_end_scandal_of_hunger_/en1-754292
of the Vatican Radio website 


TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WED. DEC. 11, 2013

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 183


Reading 1     IS 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Responsorial Psalm                      PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 AND 10

R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul!
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. O bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

Gospel                      MT 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 11: ST. DAMASUS I

St. Damasus I
POPE
Feast: December 11


Information:
Feast Day:December 11
Born:304 in Rome, Italy
Died:11 December, 384 in Rome, Italy
Major Shrine:archeologists

Born about 304; died 11 December, 384. His father, Antonius, was probably a Spaniards; the name of his mother, Laurentia, was not known until quite recently. Damasus seems to have been born at Rome; it is certain that he grew up there in the service of the church of the martyr St. Laurence. He was elected pope in October, 366, by a large majority, but a number of over-zealous adherents of the deceased Liberius rejected him, chose the deacon Ursinus (or Ursicinus), had the latter irregularly consecrated, and resorted to much violence and bloodshed in order to seat him in the Chair of Peter. Many details of this scandalous conflict are related in the highly prejudiced "Libellus Precum" (P.L., XIII, 83-107), a petition to the civil authority on the part of Faustinus and Marcellinus, two anti-Damasan presbyters (cf. also Ammianus Marcellinus, Rer. Gest., XXVII, c. iii). Valentinian recognized Damasus and banished (367) Ursinus to Cologne, whence he was later allowed to return to Milan, but was forbidden to come to Rome or its vicinity. The party of the antipope (later at Milan an adherent of the Arians and to the end a contentious pretender) did not cease to persecute Damasus. An accusation of adultery was laid against him (378) in the imperial court, but he was exonerated by Emperor Gratian himself (Mansi, Coll. Conc., III, 628) and soon after by a Roman synod of forty-four bishops (Liber Pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, s.v.; Mansi, op. cit., III, 419) which also excommunicated his accusers.
Damasus defended with vigour the Catholic Faith in a time of dire and varied perils. In two Roman synods (368 and 369) he condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism; he also sent his legates to the Council of Constantinople (381), convoked against the aforesaid heresies. In the Roman synod of 369 (or 370) Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, was excommunicated; he held the see, however, until his death, in 374, made way for St. Ambrose. The heretic Priscillian, condemned by the Council of Saragossa (380) appealed to Damasus, but in vain. It was Damasus who induced Saint Jerome to undertake his famous revision of the earlier Latin versions of the Bible. St. Jerome was also his confidential secretary for some time (Ep. cxxiii, n. 10). An important canon of the New Testament was proclaimed by him in the Roman synod of 374. The Eastern Church, in the person of St. Basil of Cæsarea, besought earnestly the aid and encouragement of Damasus against triumphant Arianism; the pope, however, cherished some degree of suspicion against the great Cappadocian Doctor. In the matter of the Meletian Schism at Antioch, Damasus, with Athanasius and Peter of Alexandria, sympathized with the party of Paulinus as more sincerely representative of Nicene orthodoxy; on the death of Meletius he sought to secure the succession for Paulinus and to exclude Flavian (Socrates, Church History V.15). He sustained the appeal of the Christian senators to Emperor Gratian for the removal of the altar of Victory from the Senate House (Ambrose, Ep. xvii, n. 10), and lived to welcome the famous edict of Theodosius I, "De fide Catholica" (27 Feb., 380), which proclaimed as the religion of the Roman State that doctrine which St. Peter had preached to the Romans and of which Damasus was supreme head (Cod. Theod., XVI, 1, 2).
When, in 379, Illyricum was detached from the Western Empire, Damasus hastened to safeguard the authority of the Roman Church by the appointment of a vicar Apostolic in the person of Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica; this was the origin of the important papal vicariate long attached to that see. The primacy of the Apostolic See, variously favoured in the time of Damasus by imperial acts and edicts, was strenuously maintained by this pope; among his notable utterances on this subject is the assertion (Mansi, Coll. Conc., VIII, 158) that the ecclesiastical supremacy of the Roman Church was based, not on the decrees of councils, but on the very words of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18). The increased prestige of the early papal decretals, habitually attributed to the reign of Siricius (384-99), not improbably belongs to the reign of Damasus ("Canones Romanorum ad Gallos"; Babut, "La plus ancienne décrétale", Paris, 1904). This development of the papal office, especially in the West, brought with it a great increase of external grandeur. This secular splendour, however, affected disadvantageously many members of the Roman clergy, whose worldly aims and life, bitterly reproved by St. Jerome, provoked (29 July, 370) and edict of Emperor Valentinian addressed to the pope, forbidding ecclesiastics and monks (later also bishops and nuns) to pursue widows and orphans in the hope of obtaining from them gifts and legacies. The pope caused the law to be observed strictly.
Damasus restored his own church (now San Lorenzo in Damaso) and provided for the proper housing of the archives of the Roman Church. He built in the basilica of St. Sebastian on the Appian Way the (yet visible) marble monument known as the "Platonia" (Platona, marble pavement) in honour of the temporary transfer to that place (258) of the bodies of Sts. Peter and Paul, and decorated it with an important historical inscription (see Northcote and Brownlow, Roma Sotterranea). He also built on the Via Ardeatina, between the cemeteries of Callistus and Domitilla, a basilicula, or small church, the ruins of which were discovered in 1902 and 1903, and in which, according to the "Liber Pontificalis", the pope was buried with his mother and sister. On this occasion the discoverer, Monsignor Wilpert, found also the epitaph of the pope's mother, from which it was learned not only that her name was Laurentia, but also that she had lived the sixty years of her widowhood in the special service of God, and died in her eighty-ninth year, having seen the fourth generation of her descendants. Damasus built at the Vatican a baptistery in honour of St. Peter and set up therein one of his artistic inscriptions (Carmen xxxvi), still preserved in the Vatican crypts. This subterranean region he drained in order that the bodies buried there (juxta sepulcrum beati Petri) might not be affected by stagnant or overflowing water. His extraordinary devotion to the Roman martyrs is now well known, owing particularly to the labours of Giovanni Battista De Rossi. For a good account of his architectural restoration of the catacombs and the unique artistic characters (Damasan Letters) in which his friend Furius Dionysius Filocalus executed the epitaphs composed by Damasus, see Northcote and Brownlow, "Roma Sotterranea" (2nd ed., London, 1878-79). The dogmatic content of the Damasan epitaphs (tituli) is important (Northcote, Epitaphs of the Catacombs, London, 1878). He composed also a number of brief epigrammata on various martyrs and saints and some hymns, or Carmina, likewise brief. St. Jerome says (Ep. xxii, 22) that Damasus wrote on virginity, both in prose and in verse, but no such work has been preserved. For the few letters of Damasus (some of them spurious) that have survived, see P.L., XIII, 347-76, and Jaffé, "Reg. Rom. Pontif." (Leipzig, 1885), nn. 232-254.


source
http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/D/stdamasusi.asp

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