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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : WED. JAN. 15, 2014 - SHARE

 2014


POPE FRANCIS "...CALLED TO BE WITNESSES OF THE GOSPEL BEFORE THE WORLD"

WOW MAN WITHOUT ARMS PLAYS GUITAR FOR POPE JOHN PAUL II - VIDEO



POPE FRANCIS "...CALLED TO BE WITNESSES OF THE GOSPEL BEFORE THE WORLD"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday reminded the faithful that through baptism we are reborn to a new life of grace and we are called to be witnesses of the Gospel before the world.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued in his catechesis on the sacrament of baptism.

 He reflected on how, through baptism we become members of Christ’s mystical body, the Church. “In every generation” – he said – “through baptism, we are reborn to the new life of grace and called to be witnesses of the Gospel before the world. Baptism makes us “missionary disciples” within the communion of the Church”.

The Pope said there is a close bond, then, “between our rebirth in water and the Holy Spirit, our responsibility to live this new life within the Church, in our families and our parishes, and our mission to bring the Gospel to others as channels of God’s grace”.

And he invited us to look to the remarkable history of the Church in Japan “where small communities of the faithful survived clandestinely for over two centuries thanks to the grace of baptism”.

The Pope conclude his address pointing us to this example to “help us to appreciate more fully the profound mystical, communitarian and missionary dimensions of our baptism”.


Text from Vatican Radio website 


WOW MAN WITHOUT ARMS PLAYS GUITAR FOR POPE JOHN PAUL II - VIDEO

TONY MELENDEZ, nee, José Antonio Meléndez Rodríguez (born January 9, 1962, Rivas, Nicaragua) is a Nicaraguan American guitar player, composer, singer, and songwriter who was born without arms. His mother took Thalidomide while pregnant, which caused his disability. Meléndez has learned to play the guitar with his feet.
BIOGRAPHY SHARED FROM http://tonymelendez.com/
It was an unforgettable moment when, on September 15, 1987, he played his guitar for Pope John Paul II in Los Angeles. Born without arms, he performed a touching song entitled Never Be The Same. When the Pope approached him from the stage to kiss him in appreciation, it seemed to reflect the sentiments of the entire country. Never Be the Same was an appropriate song, for those few moments changed Tony Melendez' life and brought his unrestrained abilities as a guitarist into national attention. It seems to be a fitting place for a man who has spent his life putting personal confidence above his handicap.  A thalidomide baby, Tony was born without arms because his mother was prescribed thalidomide a drug used to help calm morning sickness during her pregnancy. He was brought to the Los Angeles area from Nicaragua to be fitted with artificial arms. He wore them until he was ten, when he disposed of them. "I didn't feel comfortable," he explains, "I could use my feet so much more." His proficiency with his feet extended to more areas than just day-to-day care. He remembers that "at first, I started playing push-button organ. Then in high school I began playing around with the guitar and harmonica." He also began writing his own songs. Whether it was "playing around" with music or merely adjusting to a normal high school routine, Tony never let his handicap get in his way. "I was pretty secure in what I could do," he says. It was also in high school that he became deeply involved in the Catholic Church. "I went when I was a kid because my parents took me. I drifted away as I got a little older. When I was in high school, my brother kept saying 'come on, you've gotta go. It's great!' So I went again and made a lot of friends, and wound up changing my life in the process. During this time, he considered becoming a priest but couldn't, because priests were required to have an index finger and thumb. The news disappointed him but he persevered in his church activities, using his talents as a guitarist and composer for masses and church related events. Demand for him increased to the point where he was directing and singing in music groups at up to five masses on a given Sunday. It caught people's attention, including someone with the group organizing activities for the monumental visit of Pope John Paul II in 1987. "Someone pulled my name out of somewhere and asked me to go to a meeting," Tony recalls. "I wasn't sure what it was." It turned out to be an audition and Tony was accepted. "I was really excited when I heard." Excitement became nervousness and then jubilation when the Pope responded to Tony's playing, with a kiss. He notes now that he wasn't sure how to react. "I was told not to move or the security might take me out, so I was very surprised when the Pope leaped off the four-foot stage to greet me." Since then Tony has traveled across the United States and forty foreign countries, making countless television appearances, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Geraldo, CBS This Morning, The Late Show with Arsenio Hall, 700 Club, Robert Schuller, and prime-time network specials for Variety Clubs and Very Special Arts. He also performed at The World Series, where he sang the National Anthem for the fifth game of the 1989 series. Tony has had the opportunity to give four additional performances for the Pope, twice in the Vatican and the another in the Pope's homeland of Poland, and in Denver Colorado for World Youth Day 1993. Along with television and major personal appearances, newspapers and magazine articles have appeared on him through out the world. Now an author his best-selling autobiography, A Gift of Hope, was published in 1989 by Harper & Row. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including special commendations from President Reagan, The State of California, Variety Clubs of America, Very Special Arts, The City of Los Angeles, and countless other civic and charitable organizations. He has also received the first annual Inspirational Hero Award from the NFL Alumni Association at Super Bowl XXIII in Miami. A highly talented composer and musician, Tony recorded his first album in 1989, a collection of contemporary Christian songs entitled, Never Be the Same, which resulted in nominations for Best New Artist of the Year from Cashbox Magazine and the Gospel Music Association. His debut Spanish LP, El Muro Se Cayo And The Walls Came Tumblin' Down, was released to critical acclaim by Latin radio stations across the country. Ways of the Wise, Tony's second Christian album, includes the musical talents of Gary Chapman and Phil Keaggy. The fall of 1990 CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) Magazine Top Pop List charted Ways of the Wise, Tony's first single released from the album, at #3. Tony's latest album Hands In Heaven (Toe Jam Music), which he co-produced, is a musical look into the heart and soul. Selections such as "Lowly Servant," is a prayer for help and guidance in the struggles of life. "Everybody Sing," is an uplifting Calypso praise and worship song. "Love Is the Answer," is a remake of the 1970's England Dan & John Ford Coley hit. "I Wish I Could Hold You; " Tony's touching dedication to his wife Lynn and kids. The title song, "Hands In Heaven," is a beautiful tribute to those friends and relatives who have passed on and are now praying for us before the throne of God in Heaven - all reflect the perceptive and deeply-rooted insights into the life and faith of Tony Melendez. Currently, Tony resides in Branson Missouri, which is most known for its small-town hospitality and world class entertainment. "Lynn and I love each other deeply and music brought us together. So, one day we’ll share all of these memories with our children. Music has opened the door to my dreams and I will keep singing, continue to share my life, and keep making' music for all who will listen."

 2014


HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONS. GEORG RATZINGER BROTHER OF POPE BENEDICT - AGE 90

Happy and blessed 90th Birthday to Mons. Georg Ratzinger!
He was born on January 15, 1924 in Pleiskirchen. He is a German Catholic priest and musician, known for his work as the conductor of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the cathedral choir of Regensburg, Germany. He is the elder brother of Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus. His great uncle was German politician Georg Ratzinger. 
CCCB RELEASE: Lacroix Gérald 2013As President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is a great joy for me, on behalf of all the Bishops of Canada, to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the Most Reverend Gérald Cyprien Lacroix,Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, for his having been designated by our Holy Father as a Cardinal of the Church of Rome. This appointment by Pope Francis is a great honour for all the Church in our country, as well as indicating the importance of the See of Québec and the important role it played in evangelizing the New World. What an honour this is for the people of Quebec and those of the entire country, as we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the erection of the first parish in North America outside Spanish-speaking territories.
Cardinal-designate Lacroix has already provided extraordinary leadership in the Church in Quebec for his joyful proclamation of the Good News. As Primate, he is recognized throughout the country as an extraordinary leader who is an enthusiastic preacher, with an unmistakable missionary zeal that is accented by his complete dedication to the new evangelization. He is known as a man of sincerity and humility who possesses a welcoming spirit. Most of all, he brings the person of our Lord Jesus Christ to everyone, regardless of their age, sex, culture, faith or personal circumstances. We share this joy with all the members of the "Institut Seculier Pie X", a Society of Apostolic Life to which he belonged prior to being appointed a Bishop. His joyful character knows no bounds, and is, at all times, completely contagious.
As an ex officio member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Lacroix has always contributed to its meetings much wisdom, deeply rooted in his love of the Gospel. These same qualities will help him greatly as he advises the Holy Father, which is one of the key responsibilities of every Cardinal.
+ Paul-André Durocher
Archbishop of Gatineau and
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
January 13, 2014
Following the Holy Father's announcement on January 12, 2014, that he has ignated the Most Reverend Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, to be a member of the College of Cardinals, a number of civil and religious authorities have conveyed their congratulations. Among these are His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto; the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; the Honourable Pauline Marois, Premier of Quebec; and His Worship Régis Labeaume, Mayor of Québec. Bishops across Canada have also sent their congratulations to Cardinal-designate Lacroix, including the Most Reverent Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Most Reverend Pierre-André Fournier, Archbishop of Rimouski and President of the Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops.
SHARED FROM CCCB

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WED. JAN. 15, 2014

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 307


Reading 1               1 SM 3:1-10, 19-20

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli,
a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.
One day Eli was asleep in his usual place.
His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.
The lamp of God was not yet extinguished,
and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you,” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am,” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am.
You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
Thus all Israel from Dan to Beersheba
came to know that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm                           PS 40:2 AND 5, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Gospel                  MK 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.

CHRISTIANS CHURCHES ATTACKED IN SRI LANKA BY BUDDHIST MONKS

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
Eight Buddhist monks were among the 24 people who carried out the attack. Police were unable to contain the mob, which destroyed buildings and burnt religious literature. According to the attackers, the two churches do not have the permit needed to remain open. Religious intolerance is growing against religious minorities.


Hikkaduwa (AsiaNews) - Sri Lankan police identified 24 people, including eight Buddhist monks, involved in attacks against two independent Christian churches in Hikkaduwa, a tourist resort in the south of the country.
The daytime attack took place on Sunday. Led by Buddhist monks, a mob gathered outside the two religious centres to demand that they be closed.
Quickly, the demonstration degenerated as protesters broke through the security ring set up by police and attacked the buildings.
Police admitted that they were unable to contain the mob that surrounded the two independent churches, the Calvary Free Church and the Assemblies of God, throwing stones and bricks.
After smashing doors and windows, the mob broke into the buildings, setting fire to religious symbols and books, including some Bibles.
According to the Buddhist monks who led the attackers, local authorities had ordered the two churches to shut down because they lacked the necessary permit.
However, the pastors in charge of the two centres said their churches were duly registered with the authorities and were therefore entitled to continue their activities.
Such attacks are fuelling a climate of religious intolerance towards minorities, boosted by growing Buddhist nationalism among Sri Lanka's majority Sinhala.
Two Buddhist radical groups have been especially responsible for a number of attacks against Muslims and Christians: Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force or BBS) and the Sinhala Ravaya (Sinhalese roar). Both claim that their mission is to protect Sinhalese Buddhists.
Sri Lanka has a population of 21.6 million people. Of these, 73.8 per cent are ethnic Sinhala.
The nation's official religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by 69.1 per cent of the population.

With just 7.9 per cent, Muslims are the country's second religious group, made up mostly of ethnic Tamils.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

2014


TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 15 : ST. ITA


St. Ita
RELIGIOUS
Feast: January 15


Information:
Feast Day:January 15
Born:
475, County of Waterford, Ireland
Died:15 January 570
Patron of:Diocese of Limerick, Ireland
St. Ita was born of Christian parents towards the end of the fifth century. She belonged to the noble tribe of the Decii in County Waterford. All her early biographers favor the pleasant metaphor describing her as the 'Brigid of Munster'. Actually the differences were more striking than the resemblances between those two foremost women saints of the Celtic church (see St. Brigid). Brigid's effective life as a nun was spent in continual movement. When she had made a success of one convent settlement, she moved off to found another. Organization was her bent. Ita did just the opposite. Instead of entering one of Brigid's convents, she founded another in a district where there was none, at Killeedy, County Limerick. There she remained all her life, courting retirement. Again, there is an emphasis on austerity in Ita's life not found in Brigid's. Ita's mortifications were on a par with those of the greatest contemporary missionaries.

A strongly individualistic character is glimpsed in the legends of Ita. When she decided to settle in Killeedy, a chieftain offered her a large grant of land to support the convent. But Ita would accept only four acres, which she cultivated intensively. The convent became known as a training school for little boys, many of whom later became famous churchmen. One of these was St. Brendan, whom Ita accepted in fosterage when he was a year old and kept until he was six. The great Navigator revisited her between his voyages and always deferred to her counsel. He once asked her what were the three clings which God most detested, and she replied: 'A scowling face, obstinacy in wrong-doing, and too great a confidence in the power of money'. St. Mochoemoc, whom because of his beauty she called 'Pulcherius', was another great personage of the Celtic church she fostered in infancy.
Ita died on January 15th, which is now kept as her feast, about the year 570. There is a strong local cult of her in Munster, particularly in Waterford and Limerick, and her name is a popular one for Irish girls. In the middle of the nineteenth century a new move was made in Ireland for the development of her cult, when Bishop Butler of Limerick obtained from Pope Pius IX a special office and mass for her feast


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/I/stita.asp#ixzz1jXimD5eC

POPE FRANCIS OFFERS 4 MODELS OF THE BELIEVER

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican on Tuesday morning. Commenting on the readings of the day, the Holy Father offered four models of the believer, with a view to developing his reflection on the nature of Christian witness.
 Pope Francis spoke of Jesus, the scribes, Eli the priest, and his two priestly sons, who were priests as well. He said that the Gospel offers an example of Jesus’ own catechetical attitude: the Lord taught as one who had authority – and not as the scribes, who, in their teaching and preaching, tended to bind people with many heavy burdens, and the poor people could not go on:

“It is Jesus himself who says that [the scribes] did not move these things even with a finger, right? And then He will say say to people: ‘Do what they say but not what they do!’ [They are] incoherent people. It always seems – doesn’t it? – that these scribes and Pharisees are always beating on the [regular folks]. ‘You must do this, this and this…’ to the poor people. Jesus told them – told the scribes and Pharisees – that in this way, they closed the door to the Kingdom of Heaven, [as if to say], ‘You don’t let others enter, and so neither will you yourselves gain entrance.’ This is how some people teach, preach and witness the faith…and how many people out there think that the faith really is as they present it.”

In the First Reading, from the Book of Samuel, Pope Francis explained that the figure of Eli, who disparages the humble lady who prays after the simple manner of the common people for the gift of a son, represents the “salesman” or “manager” of the faith – a tepid priest whose heart wasn’t really in it.

“How many times,” said Pope Francis, “do God's people feel themselves unloved by those who ought to give witness: by Christians – by lay faithful, by priests, by bishops ... ‘But [these] poor bumpkins [It. “povera gente”] do not understand anything ... one needs to do a degree in theology to understand.’ Why, then, do I have some sympathy for this man, [Eli]? Because in his heart he still had the anointing, because when the woman explains her situation, Eli says, ‘Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant you what you asked for.’ The priestly anointing comes out in the end: he had hidden it inside his laziness, poor man, a lukewarm man, and it ends badly for him, poor fellow.”

Eli’s sons, explained Pope Francis, represent a third model of the witnessing believer. “They were brigands,” he said, “they were priests, but [they were also] brigands,” who chased after power and money. They exploited the people took advantage of alms, gifts – and the Lord punishes them powerfully. The Holy Father explained that the sons are figures of the corrupt Christian – like Judas – who betrays Jesus.

Then, Pope Francis went on to explain, there is the fourth model: Jesus himself, who teaches with the power and authority of his own holiness, by being close to people – to sinners especially – pardoning the adulteress and talking theology with the Samaritan woman – seeking genuinely to heal people’s wounded hearts:

“Let us ask the Lord that these two readings help us in our lives as Christians: all of us, each of us in his own place – [let us learn] not to be pure legalists, hypocrites like the scribes and Pharisees. Let us not be corrupt like the sons of Eli, nor to be lukewarm as Eli himself, but to be like Jesus, with that zeal to seek the people, heal people, to love people, and with this to say: ‘But if I do this tiny little thing, little as I am, think about how God loves you, think about how your Father is!’ Let us ask for this grace.”


Text from Vatican Radio website 

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