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Friday, January 31, 2014

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POPE FRANCIS "WHEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD DIMINISHES, ONE OF THE SIGNS IS THAT YOU LOSE THE SENSE OF SIN"

(Vatican Radio) When the presence God is not felt among men, "you lose the sense of sin," and so others end up paying the price for our "Christian mediocrity ." That was the message behind Pope Francis’ homily at this morning’s Mass at the Santa Marta guesthouse here in the Vatican. 

 All too often today, the Pope observes, grave sin such as adultery is declassified as simply a "problem to be solved ." That’s what happens in today’s reading in which King David falls in love with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his generals. Taking up this story, Pope Francis says David took her for his own and sent her husband to the front lines of battle where the man was killed. In actual fact, the Pope stressed, David also committed murder. And yet, having committed both grave sins, the King is not moved. Despite committing a grave sin, the Pope observes, David does not feel pity and fails to ask forgiveness. He only considers how he can resolve a problem.


This can happen to any of us, the Pope says, and observes “When the Kingdom of God diminishes, one of the signs is that you lose the sense of sin."


Conversely, you also lose the "sense of the Kingdom of God" and in its place, reflects the Pope, there emerges an “all-powerful anthropological vision," that leads us to believe we “can do anything.”


The Pope confesses that even he himself can fall into the trap of losing a sense of sin. But a commitment to daily prayer, he stresses, can counter the injustices perpetrated out of human pride and stop so many from falling victim to “Christian mediocrity” and our “unrecognized sins.” 


Text from Vatican Radio website 

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. JAN. 31, 2014

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
Lectionary: 321


Reading 1           2 SM 11:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel,
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told,
“She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam,
and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite.”
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived,
and sent the information to David, “I am with child.”

David therefore sent a message to Joab,
“Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers,
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.”
Uriah left the palace,
and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him,
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed
among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
“Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.”
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab,
some officers of David’s army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.

Responsorial                  Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6A, 6BCD-7, 10-11

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Gospel             MK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

FREE CATHOLIC MOVIES : DON BOSCO - STORY OF ST. JOHN BOSCO

Free Catholic Movies: DON BOSCO
This is the story of Don (Father) Bosco, also known in the Catholic church as St. John Bosco. This 19th century Italian priest worked in the city of Torino (Turin). He founded the Salesian order dedicated to teaching and youth work. That work continues worldwide today.
Don Bosco (1988) 108 min - Drama | History - 30 September 1988 (Italy)
Director: Leandro Castellani
Writers: Corrado Biggi (dialogue adaptation for dubbing), Silvano Buzzo (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Patsy Kensit, Karl Zinny
 For English Captions - Click CC at bottom of screen, then click "ON", then click "translate captions", then select "English", then select "OK"

 

POPE FRANCIS "ESSENTIAL IN THIS REGARD IS THE UNCOMPROMISING WITNESS OF CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES..." TO NOTRE DAME

RADIO VATICANA: January 30, 2014: Pope Francis on Thursday met with a delegation from the University of Notre Dame (USA) on the occasion of the inauguration of the University’s “Rome Center.” In his address to the delegation, the Holy Father said he was “confident that the new Center will contribute to the University’s mission by exposing students to the unique historical, cultural and spiritual riches of the Eternal City, and by opening their minds and hearts to the impressive continuity between the faith of Saints Peter and Paul, and the confessors and martyrs of every age, and the Catholic faith passed down to them in their families, schools and parishes.”


Pope Francis spoke about the “outstanding contribution” Notre Dame has made to the Church in the United States “through its commitment to the religious education of the young and to serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue,” and thanked the University for its commitment “to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary school education throughout the United States.”

The Pope also spoke about the vision of Notre Dame’s founder, Father Edward Sorin, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, calling it “central to the University’s distinctive identity and its service to the Church and American society.” Referring to the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, he spoke about “the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship,” which “ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities.” “Essential in this regard,” he continued, “is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.” Pope Francis said, “It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.”

Pope Francis asked the members of the delegation to pray for him in his ministry and assured them of his prayers. He concluded his address with his Apostolic Blessing.
Text from page  Vatican Radio website 
(Vatican Radio) Below, please find the complete English text of Pope Francis’ address to the delegation from the University of Notre Dame (delivered in Italian): 

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to greet the Trustees of Notre Dame University on the occasion of your meeting in Rome, which coincides with the inauguration of the University’s Rome Center. I am confident that the new Center will contribute to the University’s mission by exposing students to the unique historical, cultural and spiritual riches of the Eternal City, and by opening their minds and hearts to the impressive continuity between the faith of Saints Peter and Paul, and the confessors and martyrs of every age, and the Catholic faith passed down to them in their families, schools and parishes. From its founding, Notre Dame University has made an outstanding contribution to the Church in your country through its commitment to the religious education of the young and to serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue. Conscious of the critical importance of this apostolate for the new evangelization, I express my gratitude for the commitment which Notre Dame University has shown over the years to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary school education throughout the United States.

The vision which guided Father Edward Sorin and the first religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross in establishing the University of Notre Dame du Lac remains, in the changed circumstances of the twenty-first century, central to the University’s distinctive identity and its service to the Church and American society. In my Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions. This commitment to “missionary discipleship” ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life. Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!

Dear friends, I ask you to pray for me as I strive to carry out the ministry which I have received in service to the Gospel, and I assure you of my prayers for you and for all associated with the educational mission of Notre Dame University. Upon you and your families, and in a particular way, upon the students, faculty and staff of this beloved University, I invoke the Lord’s gifts of wisdom, joy and peace, and cordially impart my Blessing.


Text from  Vatican Radio website 


HUMILITY, FAITHFULNESS AND PRAYER ARE THE 3 SIGNS OF A CHRISTIAN...

(Vatican Radio) Humility, faithfulness and prayer are the three signs of a Christian who belongs to the Church. That was the theme that Pope Francis chose for his homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, urging his listeners to really “feel with the Church”.

The Pope said the first fruit of our Baptism is to make us a part of the Church, a member of the people of God. Recalling the words of Pope Paul VI, he said it’s absurd to claim that we love Christ without the Church, that we listen to Christ but not the Church, that we are with Christ but on the margins of the Church. The Gospel message, Pope Francis said, comes to us through the Church and our path to holiness must be found within the Church.

Speaking of the three pillars which underpin our sense of belonging to the Church, the Pope said the first is humility and the realization that the story of salvation does not start or end with us. A person who is not humble, he said, cannot feel with the Church but only feels what he or she desires. Instead, humility helps us understand that we are just a small part of the great people of God, that is following the way of the Lord.

The second pillar, Pope Francis said, is faithfulness to the teachings and doctrine of the Church. Quoting again from his predecessor Paul VI, he said we receive the Gospel as a gift and we must pass that gift on to others in faithfulness, rather than seeing it as something that belongs to us.

Thirdly, the Pope said, we must remember to pray with and for the Church in all parts of the world. Do we really pray for the Church, he asked, not just at daily Mass but also when we are at home? May the Lord help us, he concluded, to follow this path, to deepen our sense of belonging and feeling with the Church.


Text from Vatican Radio website 


POPE FRANCIS CONFIRMATION CONFIRMS OUR BOND WITH CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

(Vatican Radio) Confirmation is a sacrament that completes our bond with Christ and His Church: that’s what Pope Francis told tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered Wednesday for the weekly General Audience.

The Pope, bundled up in a white winter coat on this frigid and overcast day, continued his catechesis on the seven Sacraments, telling the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square that Confirmation is “linked inseparably to Baptism.” These two sacraments, together with the Eucharist, the Holy Father said, “form a unique salvific event: Christian initiation” in which we become living members of the Church. 

Through our anointing with the sacred chrism, Confirmation strengthens and “confirms” us in the grace of our Baptism, uniting “us more firmly to Christ.” Confirmation “completes our bond with the Church,” he noted, and “grants us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith, to confess the name of Christ and to never be ashamed of his cross.”

The working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, he noted, is reflected in the seven spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

Departing from his prepared remarks, Pope Francis several times urged families to ensure their children receive the sacrament of Confirmation, without which, he stressed, they’ve only come “half-way.”

When we welcome the Holy Spirit in our hearts, Christ Himself becomes present in us and takes form in our lives, the Pope said. Through us and our actions, it will be He "who prays and forgives, gives hope and consolation, serves our brothers, helps those in need," and helps spread communion and peace.

In remarks following his catechesis, Pope Francis challenged authorities to make employment, “a source of dignity, everyone’s central concern.” He also condemned all forms of usury, saying that when families cannot eat because they have to pay off loan sharks, “it is not Christian; it is not human.”


Text from Vatican Radio website 

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 31: ST. JOHN BOSCO


St. John Bosco
FOUNDER OF THE SALESIAN SOCIETY
Feast: January 31


Information:
Feast Day:January 31
Born:
August 16, 1815, Castelnuovo, Piedmont, Italy
Died:January 31, 1888, Turin, Italy
Canonized:April 1, 1934, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:The Tomb of St John Bosco - Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, Turin, Italy
Patron of:Christian apprentices, editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people
"In his life the supernatural became the natural and the extraordinary the ordinary." So spoke Pope Pius XI of the beloved Don Bosco, renowned for his educational pioneering and his affectionate care for the fatherless. Born Giovanni Melchior Bosco in 1815, the future saint was the youngest son of a peasant farmer in the hamlet of Becchi, in the Piedmont district of north Italy. He lost his father at the age of two and was brought up by a devoted and industrious mother, Margaret Bosco, who had a hard struggle maintaining the home and the three children, all of them boys. A dream that little Giovanni had at the age of nine revealed to him his vocation. He seemed to be surrounded by a mob of fighting and swearing children whom he tried in vain to pacify, at first by arguments and then by hitting them. Suddenly there appeared a mysterious woman who said: "Softly, softly . . . if you wish to win them! Take your shepherd's staff and lead them to pasture." Even as she spoke, the children were transformed first into wild beasts and then into gentle lambs. From that time on, the boy thought, it was his clear duty to lead and help other boys.

He began with those of his own village, teaching them the Catechism and bringing them to church. As an inducement, he would amuse them first with acrobatic and conjuring tricks, at which he became very clever. One Sunday morning when an itinerant juggler and gymnast was holding the children spellbound by his performance, young John challenged him to a competition and beat him at his own tricks. Then he marched off to church, followed by his admiring audience. It was more or less by chance that this talented boy learned to read. He was staying with an aunt who was servant to the priest, and when the  priest was told of John's ambition, he taught him gladly. But John didn't want to stop with reading and writing; he wished to study for the priesthood. Many difficulties had to be overcome before he could even begin his preliminary studies. When, at sixteen, he entered the seminary at Chieri, he was so poor that money for his maintenance and his clothes had to be supplied by charity. The village mayor contributed a hat, one friendly person gave him a cloak, and another a pair of shoes. People were eager to help a boy who was himself so eager and ambitious. After his ordination as deacon, he attended the theological school at nearby Turin, finding time to continue his volunteer work with homeless or neglected boys. Having won the approbation of his superiors for what he was doing, he began to gather around him regularly on Sunday afternoons a band of these waifs and young apprentices.
After taking Holy Orders, his first appointment was assistant chaplain of a home for girls, founded by the Marchesa Barolo, a  wealthy and philanthropic woman. This post left Don Bosco free on Sundays to devote himself to his group of boys. He set up for them a sort of combined Sunday School and recreation center on grounds belonging to the Marchesa, which he called "the festive Oratory." But the Marchesa quickly withdrew her permission, because the boys were, naturally, noisy and unruly, and sometimes even made so bold as to pick the flowers in the garden. For more than a year the group was regarded as a nuisance and sent from pillar to post. No property owner was able to put up with them for long. When at last Don Bosco was able to hire an old shed as a meeting place, and the future seemed promising, the Marchesa delivered herself of an ultimatum. He must choose between giving up the boys—who now numbered several hundred—or resigning his post at the girl's orphanage. Don Bosco promptly resigned, to devote himself wholly to the boys.
In the midst of these anxieties, he was prostrated by a severe attack of pneumonia that came near ending his life. As soon as he had recovered, he went to live in some poor rooms adjoining a new Oratory, or gathering place, with his mother as housekeeper. For ten years this good woman served as his adjutant and loyal helper, extending her motherly care over all the waifs and strays her son brought to her. Don Bosco now applied himself to consolidating his work and planning for the years to come. A night school which had been opened the previous year took shape, and as the Oratory was soon overcrowded, he opened two more youth centers in other parts of Turin. About the same time he began housing a few destitute boys. His next step was to build for his flock a small church which he placed under the patronage of his favorite saint, Francis de Sales. With that completed, he started to build a home for his steadily growing family. No one knew just how he managed to raise the money for these various projects, but his natural persuasiveness had much to do with it.
Those enrolled as boarders in the school were of two sorts: young apprentices and craftsmen, and other youths of more than average intelligence in whom Don Bosco discerned future helpers, with, possibly, vocations to the priesthood. At first they attended classes outside, but, as more teachers were enlisted, academic and technical courses were given at the house. By 1856 a hundred and fifty boys were in residence; there were four workshops, including a printing shop, and four Latin classes, with ten young priests as instructors; all this in addition to the oratories with their five hundred children. He cultivated in all of them a taste for music, and he was a believer in the therapeutic value of play. Don Bosco's understanding of young people, their needs, and their dreams, gave him great influence. He could manage them without punishment. "I do not remember to have used formal punishment," he wrote, "and with God's grace I have always obtained-and from apparently hopeless children-not alone what duty exacted but what my wish simply expressed." With an approach that seems quite modern, he planned programs that combined play, song, study, prayer, and manual work. He knew that straight academic learning was not enough. "Knowledge gives more power in the exercise of good or evil," he said, "but alone it is an indifferent weapon, lacking guidance."
Don Bosco's outgoing personality made him popular as a preacher, and there were many demands on his time to speak to various congregations. As a third form of activity, in the few hours that remained to him, he wrote useful and popular books for boys. In that day there was almost no attractive reading matter written especially for young people, and Don Bosco set himself to fill this need. He wrote stories based on history, and sometimes popular treatises on the faith. Often he toiled far into the night, until, in later life, his failing eyesight compelled him to give up writing.
A plan for some sort of religious order, to carry on the work when he had passed away, had long been in Don Bosco's mind, and at last he felt he had the strong nucleus of helpers that was required. "On the night of January 26, 1854, we were assembled in Don Bosco's room," writes one of the men present. "Besides Don Bosco, there were Cagliero, Rocchetti, Artiglia, and Rua. It was suggested that with God's help we should enter upon a period of practical works of charity to help our neighbors. At the close of the period, we might bind ourselves by a promise which could subsequently be transformed into a vow. From that evening, the name of Salesian was given to all who embarked on that form of apostolate." The name of course honored the great bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales. It was not a propitious time for launching a new order, for in all its history Piedmont had never been so anti-clerical. The Jesuits and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart had been expelled, many convents suppressed, and laws were being passed curtailing the rights of religious orders. The statesman Urbano Rattazzi, one of those most responsible for the anti-clerical legislation, was deeply interested in popular education. As a resident of Turin, Rattazzi was familiar with Father John's activities, and, on meeting him by chance one day, urged him to found a society to further his valuable work, promising the support of the government.
The project grew, and in 1858 John went to Rome, taking with him the rules of the institution. From Pope Pius IX he received preliminary approbation. Sixteen years later he obtained full sanction, together with permission to present candidates for Holy Orders. The new society grew rapidly. Within five years there were thirty-nine Salesians; at the time of the founder's death there were eight hundred, and by 1929 the number had increased to about eight thousand. One of Father John's dreams was realized when he sent his first missionaries to the bleak and faraway land of Patagonia; other areas of South America were soon the scene of missionary endeavor. He lived to see twenty-six houses started in the New World and thirty-eight in the Old.
His next great work was the foundation in 1862 of an order of women to do for poor girls what the Salesians were doing for boys. The original group consisted of twenty-seven young women to whom he gave the name of Daughters of St. Mary Auxiliatrix, the Helper. The organization now numbers many thousands, with elementary schools in Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. To supplement the work of these two congregations, Father John organized his outside lay helpers into a new kind of Third Order, which he called Salesian Cooperators. They were men and women of all classes who pledged themselves to assist in practical ways the educational labors of the Salesians.
Any account of the life of this saint would be incomplete without some mention of his achievements as a builder of churches. His first little church of St. Francis de Sales soon proved inadequate, and he undertook the construction of a much larger building. This he finished in 1868, dedicating it to St. Mary the Helper. Later he found means to put up another spacious and much-needed church in a poor quarter of Turin, and this he placed under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist. But the immense effort of money-raising had left Don Bosco weary and depleted. He was not allowed time to recover his strength before another task was put before him. During the last years of Pope Pius IX, a project had been formed of building at Rome a church in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Pius himself had donated money to buy the site. His successor, Leo XIII, was eager for the work to be carried forward, but there was difficulty in raising funds. It was suggested to the Pope that this was something that Don Bosco did better than anyone else, and when he was asked to undertake it, he accepted the challenge.
After obtaining a considerable sum in Italy, Don Bosco went to France, where devotion to the cult of the Sacred Heart was particularly intense at this time. He was successful in his appeals, money came flowing in, and the early completion of the church was assured. As the day appointed for its consecration drew near, he was sometimes heard to murmur that if there were any delay, he would not live to witness it. Two years before the doctors had said that this generous-hearted man had worn himself out and that complete retirement offered the only chance of prolonging his life. Don Bosco had the joy of living a few months beyond the consecration of the church, which took place on May 14, 1887. He said one Mass before the new high altar.
Later in the year it became plain that his days were numbered; he gradually weakened, and on the morning of January 31, 1888, he died in his home city of Turin. Forty thousand persons came to the church to do honor to Don Bosco, and the entire city turned out as his remains were borne to their resting place. His memory was cherished and his work carried on by his followers. Not many years had elapsed before a movement was begun for his beatification. He was declared Venerable by Pope Pius X in 1907, beatified by Pius XI in 1929, and canonized by him in 1934. Don Bosco exemplified a new trend in the treatment of children, anticipating in some respects the practices of modern psychologists. Intuitively he knew that the loving care and attention of a wise, interested adult was essential to the healthy growth of every child, and he gave his very best to those children who had the least.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjohnbosco.asp#ixzz1lAMbyhGw
Pope Francis has made the cover of Rolling Stone. He is the first pope to ever be on the cover. Mark Binelli's has written a 7,700-word story which discusses the pope's unusual fame. He writes "Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changing" and "Inside the Pope's Gentle Revolution" . Pope Francis has also been featured on Time Magazine and Vanity Fair Italia after the magazines named him "Person of the Year" and "Man of the Year," respectively. The New Yorker also put him on their cover.
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/pope-francis-the-times-they-are-a-changin-20140128


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