Friday, January 10, 2014




(Vatican Radio) “Faith makes all things possible,” but we must place our trust completely in God. This was the central focus of Pope Francis’ remarks following the readings of the day at Mass on Friday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.

Pope Francis concentrated especially on the 1st Letter of St John, in which he speaks of the faithful Christian as the one who is truly victor over the world. Pope Francis explained that genuine faith must be total and complete, not partial, and must express itself as an abiding in the Lord, abiding in Love:

“Whoever abides in God, whoever is begotten by God, whoever abides in love, has victory over the world – and this victory is our faith – on our part, it is the faith. On God’s part, [it is] the Holy Spirit who makes this [abiding, this victory] possible through faith. For our part, faith: it is powerful! The strength of faith has overcome the world! Our faith can do everything! It is victory! It would be beautiful to repeat this, even to ourselves, because we are often [as] Christians defeated. The Church is full of defeated Christians who do not believe in this, that faith is the victory - who do not live this faith, because if you do not live this faith, there is defeat, the world wins, the prince of this world.”

Pope Francis went on to recall the great praise that Our Lord had for the faith of the haemmoragic woman, the Caananite woman, or the man who was blind from birth – saying that faith as large as a mustard seed could move mountains. “This faith,” he said, “affirms and requires of us two attitudes: confessing and trusting.

“Faith,” Said Pope Francis, “means confessing God – the God who revealed Himself to us, from the time of our fathers down to the present: the God of history. This we recite each day in the Creed – but it is one thing to recite the Creed heartily, and another [merely] to parrot it, no? I believe, I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe – but do I believe what I am saying? Is this a true confession of faith or is it something I says somehow by rote, because it is [the thing to say]? Do I believe only halfway? Confess the Faith! All of it, not part of it! Safeguard this faith, as it came to us, by way of tradition: the whole Faith! And how may I know that I confess the Faith well? There is a sign: he, who confesses the faith well – the whole Faith – has the capacity to worship God.”

The other attitude is that of trusting:

“The man or woman who has faith relies on God: entrusts himself or herself to Him! Paul, in a dark time in his life, said, ‘I know well to whom I have entrusted myself.’ To God! To the Lord Jesus! Trusting [in God] is what leads us to hope. Just as the confession of faith leads us to the worship and praise of God, so trust in God leads us to an attitude of hope. There are many Christians with a hope too watered down, not strong: a faint hope. Why? Because they do not have the strength and the courage to trust in the Lord. But if we Christians believe confessing the faith, and safeguarding it, taking custody of the faith, and, entrusting ourselves to God, to the Lord, we shall be Christian victors- and this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.”
Text from Vatican Radio 


Friday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 216

Reading 1                       1 JN 5:5-13

Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three who testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the Blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
Whoever possesses the Son has life;
whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you so that you may know
that you have eternal life,
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm                         PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel                  LK 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.


UCAN REPORT: Cardinal Tagle beats hasty retreat as devotees surge to touch statue

<p>As many as 12 million devotees jopined this year's procession through the streets of Manila (Photo: Vincent Go)</p>
As many as 12 million devotees jopined this year's procession through the streets of Manila (Photo: Vincent Go)
  • Joe Torres, Manila
  • Philippines
  • Manila archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle was forced to cut short a Mass during the annual procession of the Black Nazarene on Thursday.
The archbishop, along with other dignitaries, including Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, was bundled from the stage in the capital’s Luneta Park when dozens of eager devotees burst through barricades to try and touch the revered statue of Christ.
Security officials said the crowd ignored repeated warnings to stay back before overpowering them.
The life-sized, dark-skinned wooden sculpture of the Black Nazarene is held to be miraculous by Filipino Catholics.
The procession, held every January 9, is one of the most spectacular religious events in the country.
Authorities estimated some 12 million people attended this year’s procession which lasted about 18 hours. Health officials later said an estimated 1,600 people were injured. 
Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro expressed disappointment over the unruly behavior of some devotees. “That is not genuine religion. It can be improved,” he said.
“There’s a lot more that we need to teach our devotees,” said Monsignor Ignacio Clemente of Quaipo Church in Manila, home to the Black Nazarene shrine.
Before the procession began, Tagle urged devotees to "translate love and devotion" into helping the poor and in fighting corruption.
"We could not follow Christ if our minds are always filled with the greed for money, more so, if we could swindle and abuse our brothers and sisters," he told them.
He also urged the devotees, who later walked barefoot in procession through the streets of Manila, not to forget the victims of calamities.
"If we truly pray, if we are truly united with the Lord, we will not forget our brothers and sisters," he said, referring to all those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Bohol earthquake, and the fighting in Zamboanga which killed hundreds and displaced thousands more.

See our dramatic picture gallery of this year's Black Nazarene procession.



ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Sumon Corraya
The Islamic extremists wanted to punish the community of the Diocese of Mymensigh who, despite the threats, went to the polls for the general election. The brother of Bishop Paul Ponen Kubi among the victims. The local Caritas gives medical and legal assistance to the assaulted .

Dhaka (AsiaNews ) - A group of Islamist fanatics has attacked the Catholic community in Jamalpur district, " guilty" of having voted in the parliamentary elections on 5 January. Eight people were injured in the attack: three are hospitalized in serious condition at the Dhaka Medical Institute. Among these was the older brother of Msgr. Paul Ponen Kubi , bishop of the Diocese of Mymensigh .
Theophilus Nokrek , regional director of the diocesan Caritas , told AsiaNews : " The attack was launched against the Adivasi of Garo ethnicity , who decided to vote despite the extremists threats. Their houses were set on fire and the assailants promised to return, burn what is left and take the lands of the tribe. Sonendra Kubi , the bishop's brother, is in a serious condition.  His wife was injured in the attack . "

At the moment, Caritas and the diocese are assisting the wounded: "We want to be assured that justice is done- concludes Nokrek - and for that we are also seeking legal help at least in the initial stages of the investigation. Please pray for the victims".

The extremists also attacked the parish of Baromari , in the district of Sherpur . The faithful of the area live in fear: five of them were injured, one was hospitalized for tests. Polas Rema , a young Catholic in the area, said: " The government needs to stop this terrorism against adivasi minorities and against religious minorities ." Xavier Sku adds: "The minorities are still victims in a political game. But the situation will get worse day after day, if we do not obtain justice."

The outgoing governing party the Awami League won the January 5th elections by a landslide majority. The result was a foregone conclusion, given that the opposition and the Bangladesh National Party had announced that it would boycott the polls. About 20% of the population participated in the vote, compared to 70 % in 2008. At least 25 people have died the violence unleashed during the vote.



Radio Vaticana report: January 9, 2014: Christian love is always “concrete,” Pope Francis said in his homily at the morning Mass celebrated at the Casa Santa Marta. Love, then, consists “more in actions than in words, more in giving than in receiving.”

Love is not a kind of romanticism: either it is a selfless and solicitous love which rolls up its sleeves and looks to the poor, preferring to give rather than to receive; or it has nothing to do with Christian love.

Pope Francis took as the starting point for his reflection the words of the First Letter of John, in which the Apostle insists: “if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is brought to perfection in us.” The experience of faith, the Pope said, is found in this double “remaining”:

“We are in God and God is in us: this is the Christian life. Not remaining in the spirit of the world, not remaining in superficiality, not remaining in idolatry, not remaining in vanity. No, no, remaining in the Lord. And He reciprocates: He abides in us. But He remains in us first. Many times we push Him out and we cannot remain in Him. It is the Spirit that remains.”

Having clarified the dynamics of the spirit that prompts the love of Christians, Pope Francis goes on to examine the application. “Remaining in the love of God,” he says, is not so much an ecstasy of the heart, a nice thing to feel:

“You see that the love John speaks of is not the love of soap operas! No, it is something else. Christian love has a particular quality: concreteness. Christian love is concrete. Jesus Himself, when He speaks of love, speaks to us about concrete things: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and many concrete things. Love is concrete. . . . And when this concreteness is not there, you can live a Christianity of illusions, because you don’t understand where the centre of Jesus' message is. This love does not arrive at concrete being: it is a love of illusions, like the illusions the disciples had when, looking at Jesus, they thought He was a ghost.”

The “ghost,” in fact, (from the story in today's Gospel) is what the disciples, astonished and fearful, see coming toward them, walking on the sea. But their astonishment arises from a hardness of heart, because, as the Gospel says, “they had not understood” the multiplication of the loaves which had taken place shortly before. “If you have a hardened heart,” Pope Francis said, you cannot love, and you think that love is to imagine things. No, love is concrete.” And this concreteness, he adds, is based on two criteria:

“The first criterion: to love with deeds, not words. Words are taken away by the wind! They are here today, tomorrow they are not. The second criterion of concreteness is: in love it is more important to give than to receive. The one who loves, gives. . . . Gives things, gives life, gives oneself to God and to others. On the other hand, [is] the one who does not love, who is selfish, always seeks to receive, always seeks to have things, to have advantages. Stay with an open heart, not like that of the disciples, which was closed, which did not understand anything: remaining in God and God remaining in us; remaining in love.”
Shared Text from
of the Vatican Radio 


VATICAN RADIO REPORT: Pope Francis held his mid weekly general audience on Wednesday, during which he began a series of teachings on the Seven sacraments of the church. His reflection on Wednesday morning was on the first of the Seven sacraments, Baptism. Baptism, said Pope Francis, the first of the Church’s seven sacraments, gives us new birth in Christ, makes us sharers in the mystery of his death and resurrection, grants the forgiveness of sin and brings us new freedom as God’s children and members of his Church.
Below is the English version of the Holy Father's Catechesis during his first audience of 2014
 Vatican City, 8 January 2014 (VIS) – In his first general audience of 2014, Pope Francis began a new series of catechesis on the Sacraments, starting with Baptism and recalling that by a fortunate coincidence, next Sunday will be the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
Baptism is the Sacrament “on which our faith is based, and which grafts us to Christ and His Church, as living members. Together with the Eucharist and Confirmation it forms the so-called 'Christian initiation', which constitutes a single, great sacramental event that aligns us with the Lord and makes us into a living sign of His presence and His love”.
However, the Bishop of Rome observed, we might ask, “Is Baptism truly necessary for us to live as Christians and to follow Jesus? Is it not fundamentally a simple rite, a formal act of the Church, for naming a child?” To answer this, he repeated the words of the apostle Paul: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life'”.
“Therefore, it is not a mere formality! A baptised child is not the same as an child who is not baptised; a baptised person is not the same as one who has not received baptism. It is an act that touches the depth of our existence. We are immersed in that inexhaustible fount of life that is the death of Jesus, the greatest act of love of all history; and thanks to this love we are able to live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil, sin and death, but rather in communion with God and with our brothers”.
The Pope again commented that many of us do not know the date when we were baptised and, as before, asked, those present in St. Peter's Square to find out the date of their baptism, as “it is a happy date”. “Obviously we do not remember the ceremony, especially if we were baptised soon after birth, but it is a pity not to recognise the importance of this day, as we thereby “risk losing sight of what the Lord has done for us, of the gift we have received. We end up considering it merely as an event that took place in the past – and not even by our will, but rather by that of our parents – that has no effect on the present”.
Instead, “we are called to live out our Baptism day after day, as a current fact of our existence. If we succeed in following Jesus and remaining in the Church, even with our limits and our frailty, it is precisely because of the Sacrament in which we became new creatures and were re-clothed in Christ. It is by Baptism, indeed, that we are freed from sin and enter into Jesus' relationship with God the Father, that we become bearers of new hope, that nothing and nobody may extinguish; the hope of taking the road to salvation; that we are able to forgive and love even those who offend us or harm us; and that we are able to recognise in the marginalised and the poor the face of the Lord who visits and draws close to us”.
Another characteristic of Baptism, concluded the Pontiff, is that “no-one can baptise himself; we can ask for baptism, wish for it, but we always need someone to confer this Sacrament in the name of the Lord. This is because Baptism is a gift that is given in a context of care and fraternal sharing. Throughout history, one person baptises another, who baptises another, and another … it is a chain. A chain of grace. But I cannot baptise myself; I have to ask another person to baptise me. It is an act of brotherhood, an act of affiliation to the Church. In the celebration of Baptism we recognise the truest features of the Church, who is like a mother who continues to generate new children in Christ, in the fecundity of the Holy Spirit”.
Following his catechesis and speaking in Italian, the Pope greeted those present, including the members of a circus company which will travel to Latin America this year; he encouraged them on their travels from city to city to “be messengers of joy and brotherhood in a society that greatly needs these qualities”.
Shared Text from Vatican Radio 


St. William of Bourges
Feast: January 10

Feast Day:January 10
12th century in Nevers, France
Died:10 January 1209 at Bourges, France
Canonized:17 May 1217 by Pope Honorius III
Ciscertian bishop, also called William of Dongeon. He was born at Nevers, France, and studied under his uncle, Peter, the archdeacon of Soissons, before receiving ordination and appointment as a cannon of Soissons. He helpd the same post in Paris adn then entered the monastery of Grandmont, transferring to the Cistercian community at Pontigny. In succeeding years, he was abbot of Fontaine-Jean, in Sens; abbot of Chalis, near Senlis; and bishop of Bourges, receiving consecration in 1200. The last office he was compelled to take at the behest of Pope Innocent III (r. 1198-1216). As bishop, he distinguished himself by his austerities, concern for the poor, the defense of the rights of the Church against the French crown, and his success in converting many members of the Albigensian heresy. He was canonized by Pope Honorius III (r. 1216-1227).

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)

Thursday, January 9, 2014


St. Adrian of Canterbury
Feast: January 9

Feast Day:January 9
635 in North Africa
Died:9 January 710

Divine Providence conducted this holy man to Britain, in order to make him an instructor of innumerable saints. Adrian was an African by birth, and was abbot of Nerida. not far from Naples, when pope Vitalian, upon the death of St. Deusdedit the archbishop of Canterbury, judged him, for his skill in sacred learning, and experience in the paths of true interior virtue, to be of all others the most proper person to be the doctor of a nation, zealous in the pursuit of virtue, but as yet ignorant in the sciences, and in the canons of the church. The humble servant of God found means to decline that dignity, by recommending St. Theodorus as most capable, but refused not to share in the laborious part of the ministry. The pope therefore enjoined him to be the companion, assistant, and adviser of the apostolic archbishop, which charge Adrian willingly took upon himself. In traveling through France with St. Theodorus, he was stopped by Ebroin, the jealous mayor of the palace, who feared lest the emperor of the East had given these two persons, who were his born subjects, some commission in favor of his pretensions to the western kingdoms. Adrian stayed a long time in France, at Meaux, and in other places, before he was allowed to pursue his journey. St. Theodorus established him abbot of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, afterward called St. Austin, near Canterbury, where he taught the learned languages and the sciences, and principally the precepts and maxims of our divine religion. He had illustrated this island by his heavenly doctrine, and the bright example of his virtues, for the space of thirty-nine years, when he departed to our Lord on the 9th of January, in he year 710. His tomb was famed for miracles, as we are assured by Joscelin the Monk, quoted by William of Malmesbury and Capgrave, and his name is inserted in the English calendars.

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