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Monday, January 20, 2014

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2014










POPE FRANCIS "OUR GOD IS THE GOD OF SURPRISES, THE GOD OF REVELATION"

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 20 : ST. FABIAN POPE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday said Christian freedom is to be found in being docile to God’s Word.

Speaking during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta, the Pope said we must always be ready to welcome the message of the Gospel and the surprises that God has in store for us.

 God’s word is alive and full of strength, it discerns the sentiments of the heart, but we must be open to receive it. Speaking to those present for morning Mass in the Vatican, the Pope highlighted the need to really welcome the message of the Gospel with an attitude of docility and openness.

The Gospel – the Pope said – doesn’t just tell us the things we want to hear. It is alive and strong and full of novelty; God’s Word – he continued - is “free” and full of surprises because “our God is the God of surprises, the God of the Revelation”.

And urging us to be malleable and docile, he said we must ask ourselves whether we adapt ourselves to the novelties of the Gospel? Or do we process the message until it becomes something different to what God wants it to be?

And Francis reflected on the first reading of the day in which the prophet Samuel reprimands King Saul for not obeying the voice of the Lord and for attempting to justify his disobedience by masking his greed with generosity. The Pope said it is important is to have a docile and obedient heart, listening to the voice of the Lord and doing what He commands us to do so that in obeying Him, we share in His life and love. And this he – continued – leads us to reflect on the true meaning of Christian “freedom” and of Christian “obedience”, both of which – he said - are to be found in the Word of God and in the courage to really be open to his message.


Text from Vatican Radio website 

YOUNG PRIEST WRITES TO POPE BEFORE DYING OF CANCER - RIP FR. FABRIZIO

Aletia report: Dying Priest writes to Pope Francis

Nearly 3,000 people gathered in Ponticelli to bid Rev. Fabrizio De Michino a final farewell at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Snows, where he served as a parochial vicar. Fr. Fabrizio, 31 years of age, was born on September 8, 1982. He was a victim of cancer, he suffered greatly in his last few months, which he lived with great faith and with strength of mind. He always had a smile and words of comfort for his family and friends, who were with him until the very end. During his final days he wrote a letter to Pope Francis. Here's What His Letter Said...

To His Holiness, Pope Francis

Holy Father,

In the daily prayers that I offer to God, I do not cease to pray for you and the ministry that the Lord himself has entrusted you with, so that you might always have the strength and joy to proclaim the beautiful news of the Gospel.

My name is Fabrizio De Michino, and I am a young priest of the Archdiocese of Naples. I am 31, and have been a priest for five years. I serve in the Archdiocesan Seminary as an educator in diaconal formation as well as in a parish in Ponticelli, located on the outskirts of Naples. The parish, which recalls the miracle that happened on Esquiline Hill, is named in honor of Our Lady of the Snows, and in 2014 it will celebrate the centenary of the coronation of its wooden statue, which dates back to 1500 – an image that is very dear to all the inhabitants of the parish.

Ponticelli is degraded by poverty and high crime, but every day I truly discover the beauty of the Lord’s goodness on those who trust in him and the Blessed Virgin.

I, too, have been able to grow in my love for our Heavenly Mother during my time at this parish, while also experiencing her closeness and protection in the face of my adversities. Unfortunately, over the past three years, I have been fighting a rare disease – a tumor located just inside my heart, which within the past month has metastasized to my liver and spleen. But throughout these difficult years, I have never lost the joy of being a preacher of the Gospel. Even in my fatigue, I perceive a strength that does not come from me, but from God – a strength that allows me to continue on in my ministry. There is a scriptural passage from Ezekiel that accompanies me and instills in me a confidence in the strength of the Lord: “I will give you a new heart; I will place in you a new spirit. I will tear out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ez. 36:26).

During this time, I have felt the close presence of my bishop, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, who supports me constantly, though sometimes he tells me to rest so that I might not become too fatigued.

I thank God also for my family and friends, and for my fellow priests, who sustain me while I undergo my various therapies, sharing with me these inevitable moments of suffering. My doctors also give me great support, and seem to do the impossible to find the right treatments for me.

Holy Father, I'm beginning to lengthen myself too much, but I just want to tell you that I offer all this to the Lord for the good of his Church – and for you, in a special way, so that the Lord will bless you and be with you always in this ministry of service and love.

I beseech you to include me in your prayers. I ask the Lord every day to help me to do his will, always and everywhere. I do not ask God for my healing, but rather the strength and joy to remain a true witness to his love and a priest in the model of his own heart.

Assured of your fatherly prayers, I greet you devotedly,

SHARED FROM ALETIA

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : MON. JAN. 20, 2014

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 311


Reading 1        1 SM 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!”
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel: “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
“Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

Responsorial Psalm                 PS 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Gospel             MK 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

PET BLESSING AT VATICAN FOR FEAST OF ST. ANTHONY - 100s OF ANIMALS BLESSED

Pet Blessing at the  Vatican | Pet Blessing, Vatican, St Anthony the GreatIND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:



Pet blessing also took place at several churches in Spain, including the Church of Saint Anthony in Madrid. In the village of San Bartolome de los Pinares, about 100 km northwest of the capital, horses were ridden to the church over bonfires, in a tradition known as Luminarias. 
St Anthony the Abbot  was a 2nd century monk who lived in Upper Egypt, and was  known for his gift of healing sick people and animals. He  has been a  popular saint in Europe since the Middle Ages. 
To see a BBC report on Friday's blessing visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25785955 
(Pet Blessings are also held in many countries on the Feast of St Francis - 4 October) 

POPE FRANCIS ENCOURAGES PUBLIC SECURITY FORCES TO TRANSMIT THE FAITH

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday thanked the Vatican Public Security forces, an Italian force established in 1945, for their “discreet but attentive” supervision of areas around the Vatican, especially St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope expressed his profound appreciation for their service, saying “we are all aware of the need to work continuously to ensure that this unique site is protected and that its character as a sacred and universal space is preserved.”

He noted that thanks to them, the pilgrims and tourists who flood the square “are serene, move tranquilly about, enjoying a sense of peace.”

Observing that their work calls for “technical and professional preparation together with attentive surveillance and kindness and dedication,” he pointed to the times when large numbers of pilgrims flock to St. Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tombs of Saint Peter “and those of his successors, especially John XXIII and John Paul II.”

“Pilgrims and tourists,” he said, “just as those who work in the various offices of the Holy See, know they can count on your cordial assistance.”

Pope Francis thanked them especially for their “effective activity carried out during the days that preceded the Conclave, following the resignation of Pope Benedict” and reiterated his appreciation for the contributions of all those who helped make that period of transition pass in a smooth and orderly fashion.

He expressed his hope that the period they work in the Vatican will be for each one of them “an opportunity to grow in the faith.” “The faith is the most precious gift that your families have given to you and you are called to transmit it to your children.”

“It is important,” the Pope concluded, “to rediscover the message of the Gospel” and to assimilate it in their daily lives, giving “courageous witness to God’s love” in every environment, even in the workplace.”


Text from Vatican Radio website 

14 KILLED AND MANY INJURED DURING SUICIDE BOMB IN PAKISTAN ASIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT: The attack this morning in a bazaar, located near the headquarters of the military. Taliban behind attack, after similar bombing in the north-west of the country. Among the victims were six soldiers and eight civilians . TTP spokesman : "We will continue the attacks. "


Rawalpindi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 14 people are dead and 16 injured in a suicide attack on the Rawalpindi general market located near the headquarters of the Pakistani army, and claimed by the Taliban. The explosion occurred at 7:45 am and , according to eyewitnesses , was the work of a suicide bomber who blew himself up. Six soldiers and eight civilians were killed in the blast.  The market was crowded at the time of the attack and the suicide bomber could have caused carnage.

The Tehreek - e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed the attack, which targeted the checkpoint managed by the army and police forces. Shahidullah Shahid spokesman for the Islamist fighters confirmed that "we will continue the attacks" on representatives "of the government and the army", because the Islamabad government so far "has not announced a ceasefire or peace talks with us ."

The attack this morning in Rawalpindi follows the targeted attack, yesterday , against a military convoy in the northwest of the country.  The explosion killed at least 20 soldiers and injured 24 others .

The injured in this morning's attack were transported to the military hospital located just off the market for medical care . Akhtar Hayat Lalika , police chief of Rawalpindi, said that the market should be " one of the safest places" in the city. Local witnesses say there are two high school students, wearing the school uniform, among the dead.

According to investigators the suicide bomber was between 18 and 20 and was on board a motorcycle . Locals also speak of a second suicide bomber, but at the moment there is no official confirmation. The security forces surrounding the area to are still collecting information. The last two attacks confirm the escalation of Islamist and Taliban violence and terrorism to hit the country . Pakistani analysts and policy experts point the finger at the government, unable so far to implement an effective strategy to counter extremist violence .

Pakistan has more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), making it the sixth most populous country in the world and the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia. About 80 per cent is Sunni Muslim. Shias are almost 20 per cent; Hindus are around 1.85 per cent; Christians are 1.6 per cent and Sikhs, 0.04 per cent. Violence, abuse or acts of discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities occur across the country, with Christians and Shia Muslims especially targeted by Islamic fundamentalists.

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

2014

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 20 : ST. SEBASTIAN

St. Sebastian
MARTYR
Feast: January 20


Information:
Feast Day:January 20
Died:288
Patron of:Soldiers, plagues, arrows,  athletes
St Sebastian was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, but his parents were of Milan, in Italy, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations gave him an aversion to a military life, yet to be better able, without suspicion, to assist the confessors and martyrs in their sufferings, he went to Rome and entered the army under the emperor Carinus about the year 283. It happened that the martyrs, Marcus and Marcellianus, under sentence of death, appeared in danger of being shaken in their faith by the tears of their friends: Sebastian—seeing this, steps in and made them a long exhortation to constancy, which he delivered with the holy fire that strongly affected all his hearers. Zoe, the wife of Nicostratus, having for six years lost the use of speech by a palsy in her tongue, fell at his feet, and spoke distinctly; by the saint making the sign of the cross on her mouth. She, with her husband Nicostratus, who was master of the rolls, the parents of Marcus and Marcellianus, the jailer Claudius, and sixteen other prisoners, were converted; and Nicostratus, who had charge of the prisoners, took them to his own house, where Polycarp, a holy priest, instructed and baptized them. Chromatius, governor of Rome, being informed of this, and that Tranquillinus, the father of SS. Marcus and Marcellianus, had been cured of the gout by receiving baptism, desired to be instructed in the faith, being himself grievously afflicted with the same distemper. Accordingly, having sent for Sebastian, he was cured by him, and baptized with his son Tiburtius. He then enlarged the converted prisoners, made his slaves free, and resigned his prefectship.
Chromatius, with the emperor's consent, retired into the country in Campania, taking many new converts along with him. It was a contest of zeal, out of a mutual desire of martyrdom, between St. Sebastian and the priest Polycarp, which of them should accompany this troop, to complete their instruction, and which should remain in the city to encourage and assist the martyrs, which latter was the more dangerous province. St. Austin wished to see such contests of charity amongst the ministers of the church. Pope Caius, who was appealed to, judged it most proper that Sebastian should stay in Rome as a defender of the church. In the year 286, the persecution growing hot, the pope and others concealed themselves in the imperial palace, as a place of the greatest safety, in the apartments of one Castulus, a Christian officer of the court. St. Zoe was first apprehended, praying at St. Peter's tomb on the feast of the apostles. She was stifled with smoke, being hung by the heels over a fire. Tranquillinus, ashamed to be less courageous than a woman, went to pray at the tomb of St. Paul, and was seized by the populace and stoned to death. Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorius, and Victorinus were taken, and, after having been thrice tortured, were thrown into the sea. Tiburtius, betrayed by a false  brother, was beheaded. Castulus, accused by the same wretch, was thrice put on the rack, and afterwards buried alive. Marcus and Marcellianus were nailed by the feet to a post, and having remained in that torment twenty-four hours, were shot to death by arrows.
St. Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to heaven before him, was himself impeached before the Emperor Diocletian, who, having grievously reproached him with ingratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. His body was covered with arrows, and he left for dead. Irene, the widow of St. Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive, and took him to her lodgings, where, by care, he recovered of his wounds, but refused to flee, and even placed himself one day by a staircase where the emperor was to pass, whom he first accosted, reproaching him for his unjust cruelties against the Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person, too, whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus. A church was afterwards built over his relics by Pope Damasus, which is one of the seven ancient stationary churches at Rome, but not one of the seven principal churches of that city, as some moderns mistake; it neither being one of the five patriarchal churches, nor one of the seventy-two old churches which give titles to cardinals. Vandelbert,
St. Ado, Eginard, Sigebert, and other contemporary authors relate that, in the reign of Louis Debonnair, Pope Eugenius II gave the body of St. Sebastian to Hilduin, Abbot of St. Denys, who brought it into France, and it was deposited at St. Medard's, at Soissons, on the 8th of December, in 826 With it is said to have been brought a considerable portion of the relics of St. Gregory the Great. The rich shrines of SS. Sebastian, Gregory, and Medard were plundered by the Calvinists in 1564, and the sacred bones thrown into a ditch, in which there was water. Upon the declaration of two eye-witnesses, they were afterwards found by the Catholics, and in 1578 enclosed in three new shrines, though the bones of the three saints could not be distinguished from each other. The head of this martyr, which was given to St. Willibrord by Pope Sergius, is kept at Esternach, in the duchy of Luxemburg. Portions of his relics are shown in the cathedral at St. Victor's; the Theatins and Minims at Paris; in four churches at Mantua; at Malacca, Seville, Toulouse; Munich in the ducal palace; Tournay in the cathedral; Antwerp in the Church of the Jesuits; and at Brussels in the chapel of the court, not at St. Gudule's, as some have mistaken. St. Sebastian has been always honoured by the church as one of her most illustrious martyrs. We read in Paul the deacon in what manner, in the year 680, Rome was freed from a raging pestilence by the patronage of this saint. Milan in 1575, Lisbon in 1599, and other places, have experienced in like calamities the effects of his intercession with God in their behalf.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/S/stsebastian.asp#ixzz1k0rAyfDJ

 2014

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 20 : BL. CYPRIAN MICHAEL TANSI

Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi
PRIEST
Feast: January 20


Information:
Feast Day:January 20
Born:September, 1903, Aguleri, Anambra, Nigeria
Died:January 20, 1964, Leicester, England
Beatified:March 22, 1998 by Pope John Paul II
Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 in Igboezunu, at the edge of: the forest near the ancient city of Aguleri in southern Nigeria. His parents, Tabansi and Ejikwevi, were Igbo farmers who practised the "traditional religion" and gave him the name Iwene at birth. In 1909 he was sent to the Christian village of Nduka, where he was baptized three years later by Irish missionaries and given the name Michael. His peers described him as studious and very demanding with himself, with a precocious personality and deep piety. At the age of 16 he received his first school leaving certificate, which qualified him for teaching. He taught at Holy Trinity Primary School in Onitsha for three years and served for a year as headmaster at St Joseph School in Aguleri. In 1925, against the wishes of his family, he entered St Paul's Seminary in Igbariam. After finishing his philosophical and theological studies, he was ordained a priest in the cathedral of Onitsha on 19 December 1937 by the missionary Bishop Charles Heerey. The second indigenous priest of Onitsha and the first in the Aguleri region, he began his pastoral ministry in the parish of Nnewi. In 1939 he was appointed parish priest of Dunukofia (Umudioka region), where he courageously tackled immoral customs and destroyed the harmful myth of the "cursed forest", which weighed heavily on the peace of consciences and families. To combat premarital cohabitation, he set up marriage preparation centres where girls and young women could be sheltered and receive Christian formation. For the moral education of young people he also established the League of Mary, with remarkable success. On foot or bicycle, Fr Tansi went from village to village preaching, catechizing and setting up prayer centres that eventually became parishes. He spent hours and hours hearing confessions, even until late at night. His zeal, shining example and life of prayer and penance transformed the people into a true Christian community resulting in so many vocations to the priesthood and religious life that his parish held the diocesan record. The same energy characterized his years as parish priest of Akpu, where he served from 1945 until his transfer to Aguleri in 1949. On an unspecified date between 1949 and 1950, during a priests' day of recollection, Bishop Heerey expressed the desire that one of his priests would embrace the monastic life so that he could later establish a contemplative monastery in his Diocese. Fr Tansi immediately said he was willing. Bishop Heerey contacted the Trappist Abbey of Mount St Bernard in Leicestershire, England, which was willing to receive him for a trial period as an oblate. In the summer of 1950 he led his parishioners on a pilgrimage to Rome for the Holy Year and left from there for Mount St Bernard. After two and a half years as an oblate, he was admitted to the novitiate on the vigil of the Immaculate Conception, taking the name Cyprian. One year later he took his simple vows and was solemnly professed on 8 December 1956. For the next seven years he lived a hidden life of prayer and work, humility and obedience, in faithful and generous observance of the Cistercian rule. In 1963, after 13 years of valuable experience as a Trappist, the time now seemed ripe for establishing a monastery in Nigeria. However, political tensions led his superiors to choose neighbouring Cameroon for the foundation instead. This was a hard blow for Fr Cyprian, who had been appointed novice master for the African monastery. It was the only time in 13 years of monastic life that he ever lost his temper, but he quickly regained control and accepted God's will with supernatural heroism. In January 1964 he began experiencing intense pain in one of his legs. Diagnosed as having thrombosis, the following morning he was found unconscious and was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Leicester, where examination revealed an aortic aneurysm. He died the following morning, 20 January 1964. He was buried at Mount St Bernard on 22 January. Present for the funeral liturgy were several Nigerian priests living in London, including his spiritual son, Fr Francis Arinze, the future Archbishop of Onitsha, Cardinal and President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. His body was exhumed in 1988 and reburied in the priests' cemetery near the cathedral of Onitsha, where he had been ordained a priest 51 years earlier. After the beatification ceremonies, his remains will be buried in the parish church of his  native village, Aguieri.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/blcyprianmichaeliwenetansi.asp#ixzz1k0qnMljp

St. Fabian
POPE, MARTYR
Feast: January 20


Information:
Feast Day:January 20
Died:January 20, 250 Rome, Italy
He succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate in the year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian, and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian. St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerome witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man, and says that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life.
The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions in their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. "God," says St. Austin,[3] "in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt   yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, 'Thou, O Lord, art my portion.'[4] Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures; for my part, Thou are my portion, Thee alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/F/stfabian.asp#ixzz1k0qyhie5
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