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Friday, February 7, 2014

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : FRI. FEB. 7, 2014 - SHARE

 2014


CHOCOLATE POPE FRANCIS STATUE MADE FROM 1.5 TONS OF CHOCOLATE

Pope Francis received a life-sized CHOCOLATE statue of himself made from 1.5tons of Cocoa from Atitlan, in Guatemala, central America. A group of 20 students from the Academia of Maestri Cioccolatieri, near Venice, Italy, spent four weeks moulding the chocolate statue in the Pope's image. On Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 Pope Francis accepted this gift. (Photo Share: Google/Facebook)

POPE FRANCIS SELLS HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTORBIKE FOR CHARITY

(Vatican Radio) A Harley-Davidson owned by Pope Francis has been sold for 210,000 euros.
The motorbike was auctioned in Paris to raise money for a charity for the homeless in Rome.

It was sold to an anonymous phone bidder.

The Dyna Super Glide was signed, but never ridden, by the Pope. It was given to him in June, to mark Harley-Davidson's 110th anniversary.

The auction house said there were so many bidders there were not enough phone lines to cope and some potential buyers were turned away.

A leather jacket which accompanied the motorbike also sold for 50,000 euros.


Text  Vatican Radio website 


POPE FRANCIS PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL WITH HUMILITY

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during his Homily at Mass on Friday at the Casa Santa Martha said that as Christians we are called to proclaim the Gospel with humility.

Taking his cue from Friday’s Gospel which recounts the tragic death of John the Baptist, the Pope said John was the man God had sent to prepare the way for his son. He, Pope Francis continued, was a man in the court of Herod, filled with corruption and vices who urged everyone to convert.

The Holy Father recalled how this great Saint firstly, proclaimed Jesus Christ. John had the chance to say he was the Messiah, added the Pope, but he did not. Secondly, said Pope Francis John the Baptist was “a man of Truth”. The third thing John did, underlined the Holy Father was to imitate Jesus in his humility, in his suffering and humiliation.

The Pope also stressed that like other religious figures such as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, John the Baptist had dark moments, moments of anguish and doubt sending his disciples to ask Jesus : ' But tell me, is it you, or am I wrong and there is another?

Pope Francis explained that John the “icon of a disciple” because he is "the man who proclaims Jesus Christ… and follows the way of Jesus Christ "

Concluding his homily the Holy Father said we should not take advantage of our condition as Christians, as if it were a privilege. Instead we are called proclaim the Gospel message with humility without seizing on the prophecy.


Text from  Vatican Radio website 


TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. FEB. 7, 2014

Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 327


Reading 1                SIR 47:2-11

Like the choice fat of the sacred offerings,
so was David in Israel.
He made sport of lions as though they were kids,
and of bears, like lambs of the flock.
As a youth he slew the giant
and wiped out the people’s disgrace,
When his hand let fly the slingstone
that crushed the pride of Goliath.
Since he called upon the Most High God,
who gave strength to his right arm
To defeat the skilled warrior
and raise up the might of his people,
Therefore the women sang his praises,
and ascribed to him tens of thousands
and praised him when they blessed the Lord.
When he assumed the royal crown, he battled
and subdued the enemy on every side.
He destroyed the hostile Philistines
and shattered their power till our own day.
With his every deed he offered thanks
to God Most High, in words of praise.
With his whole being he loved his Maker
and daily had his praises sung;
He set singers before the altar and by their voices
he made sweet melodies,
He added beauty to the feasts
and solemnized the seasons of each year
So that when the Holy Name was praised,
before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.
The LORD forgave him his sins
and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty
and established his throne in Israel.

Responsorial Psalm                PS 18:31, 47 AND 50, 51

R. (see 47b) Blessed be God my salvation!
God’s way is unerring,
the promise of the LORD is fire-tried;
he is a shield to all who take refuge in him.
R. Blessed be God my salvation!
The LORD live! And blessed be my Rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
Therefore will I proclaim you, O LORD, among the nations,
and I will sing praise to your name.
R. Blessed be God my salvation!
You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed,
to David and his posterity forever.
R. Blessed be God my salvation!

Gospel                  MK 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”

Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

16 YEAR OLD GIRL FORCED TO MARRY AND CONVERT IN PAKISTAN ASIA

by Jibran Khan 
The family of Samariya Nadeem staged a protest this morning in front of the city's press club. For the past three weeks, their 16-year-old daughter has been in the hands of a wealthy landowner. As police and the authorities fail to free her, the Catholic Church calls for justice on the family's behalf. But for Muslim cleric, it is "not illegal to abduct and convert non-Muslims".


Lahore (AsiaNews) - After a Pakistani Christian girl from Punjab was abducted by a Muslim landowner, she was forced to marry him after conversion to Islam. Her family reacted in a public protest, demanding justice from civil authorities.
Police and the courts have failed so far to act and return the girl to her parents. The local Catholic Church has instead backed the family, condemning the "widespread practice" of kidnapping young Christian and Hindu women to marry them forcibly to Muslims and reduce them to a "state of slavery".
The latest episode involves a 16-year-old girl, Samariya Nadeem (Masih), who was abducted and forcibly married to a rich landowner.
The abduction took place 22 days ago in 270-TDA Layyah District when the young woman was on her way to school.
The family filed a complaint (First Information Report 14/14, under Section 365 B of the Penal Code) with the police for the abduction reporting that Samariya was taken against her will and forced to marry the man.
So far, police have failed to pursue any legal action against the local wealthy Muslim landowner who abducted the girl because of the influence he wields. Police investigators were also unable to talk to the bruised and terrified victim.
Anonymous police sources confirmed that the girl was "abducted" and forced to marry. However, an Islamic cleric involved in the affair said that it was "not illegal to abduct and convert non-Muslims".
This morning, the family organised a protest rally in front of the Lahore Press Club. Under Pakistani law, no one underage can be married without parental consent.
Civil society groups and human rights activists have appealed to Punjab's chief minister to take action and return Samariya to her parents and bring her abductor to justice.
Kidnapping and forced marriage have become a major issue in Pakistan, especially in southern Punjab and in the interior of Sindh province.
This is "very common in the region," said Fr Haroon James, a priest and activist in Lahore. Young women and girls "are forcefully converted and married to influential landlords who keep them as slaves."
Unfortunately, people seem to be increasingly "hopeless". For this reason, the Church has spoken out in the case, "demanding justice for her and the family." Yet, "Despite the fact that a FIR has been registered, the authorities have failed to act and protect the vulnerable," the priest added.
With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia.
About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent).
Violence against ethnic and religious minorities is commonplace across the country, with Shia Muslims and Christians as the main target, with things getting worse.

Dozens incidents of violence have occurred in recent years, against individuals or entire communities, like in Gojra in 2009 or Joseph Colony in Lahore in March 2013, often perpetrated under the pretext of the country's blasphemy laws.
Shared from AsiaNews IT

2014


TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 7: ST. COLETTE OF CORBIE

St. Colette of Corbie
FOUNDRESS OF THE COLETTINE POOR CLARES
Feast: February 7


Information:
Feast Day:February 7 or March 6
Born:
13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France
Died:6 March 1447, Ghent
Canonized:24 May 1807
Founder of Colettine Poor Clares (Clarisses), born 13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France; died at Ghent, 6 March, 1447. Her father, Robert Boellet, was the carpenter of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Corbie; her mother's name was Marguerite Moyon. Colette joined successively the Bequines, the Benedictines, and the Urbanist Poor Clares. Later she lived for a while as a recluse. Having resolved to reform the Poor Clares, she turned to the antipope, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna), then recognized by France as the rightful pope. Benedict allowed her to enter to the order of Poor Clares and empowered her by several Bulls, dated 1406, 1407, 1408, and 1412 to found new convents and complete the reform of the order. With the approval of the Countess of Geneva and the Franciscan Henri de la Beaume, her confessor and spiritual guide, Colette began her work at Beaume, in the Diocese of Geneva. She remained there but a short time and soon opened at Besancon her first convent in an almost abandoned house of Urbanist Poor Clares. Thence her reform spread to Auxonne (1410), to Poligny, to Ghent (1412), to Heidelberg (1444), to Amiens, etc. To the seventeen convents founded during her lifetime must be added another begun by her at Pont-a-Mousson in Lorraine. She also inaugurated a reform among the Franciscan friars (the Coletani), not to be confounded with the Observants. These Coletani remained obedient to the authority of the provincial of the Franciscan convents, and never attained much importance even in France. In 1448 they had only thirteen convents, and together with other small branches of the Franciscan Order were suppressed in 1417 by Leo X. In addition to the strict rules of the Poor Clares, the Colettines follow their special constitutions sanctioned in 1434 by the General of the Franciscans, William of Casale, approved in 1448 by Nicholas V, in 1458 by Pius II, and in 1482 by Sixtus IV.

St. Colette was beatified 23 January, 1740, and canonized 24 May, 1807. She was not only a woman of sincere piety, but also intelligent and energetic, and exercised a remarkable moral power over all her associates. She was very austere and mortified in her life, for which God rewarded her by supernatural favours and the gift of miracles. For the convents reformed by her she prescribed extreme poverty, to go barefooted, and the observance of perpetual fast and abstinence. The Colettine Sisters are found today, outside of France, in Belgium, Germany, Spain, England, and the United States


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/stcoletteofcorbie.asp#ixzz1lkBI6YNp

POPE FRANCIS "...THE CHURCH IS LIKE A MOTHER..."

(Vatican Radio) Speaking at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis reflected on the mystery of death, inviting us to ask God for the grace to die in hope, in the heart of the Church and in the knowledge that we have left a legacy of Christian witness behind us.

Pope Francis based his homily on the first reading of the day which tells the story of the death of King David. Though he is a sinner, the Pope noted, he is not a traitor and he remains to the end in the heart of his people, the people of God. We too, Pope Francis continued, should ask God for the grace to die in our spiritual “home”, within the heart of the Church. We are all sinners, he said, but the Church is like a mother who takes us just as we are, even with our stains, and makes us clean.

The second observation the Pope made is that David dies in peace, certain that after death he will be with his ancestors. This is another grace we can ask for, to die in hope that in the afterlife our home and our family will be there waiting for us. Pope Francis recalled St Therese of Lisieux who, when she was approaching death, experienced the struggle between good and evil and heard the devil telling her there was nothing but darkness waiting for her. The devil did not want her to trust in God. but we too know that life is a struggle and must ask God for the grace to die in hope. To do this, the Pope said, we must start by trusting God in the big and small daily difficulties we encounter, so that our hope grows and we become accustomed to trusting in the Lord.

Thirdly, the Pope reflected on the legacy that King David left after 40 years of governing and strengthening his people. He left this legacy to his son, telling him to keep the law of the Lord, following his ways and observing his commands. Pope Francis recalled a popular proverb which says the best legacy for every person is to leave a child, plant a tree and write a book. What legacy will we leave behind, the Pope asked? Have we brought life, wisdom, and planted a tree? Have we done so much good that people want us as a father or a mother? Our legacy, he said, is the Christian witness we give to others, just as the Saints boldly lived out the Gospel and have left us a path to follow in our own lives.



TextVatican Radio website 


OFFICIAL WORLD YOUTH DAY MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has released a message for the 29th World Youth Day (WYD) on Palm Sunday 2014 (April 13th) that will be celebrated locally in each diocese around the world. The theme chosen for this celebration is taken from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In his message the Pope reflects on the meaning of this theme and urges young people to use the revolutionary power of the Beatitudes as a central point of reference in their lives.

Please find below a translation in English of Pope Francis’ message:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3)

Dear Young Friends,

How vividly I recall the remarkable meeting we had in Rio de Janeiro for the Twenty-eighth World Youth Day. It was a great celebration of faith and fellowship! The wonderful people of Brazil welcomed us with open arms, like the statue of Christ the Redeemer which looks down from the hill of Corcovado over the magnificent expanse of Copacabana beach. There, on the seashore, Jesus renewed his call to each one of us to become his missionary disciples. May we perceive this call as the most important thing in our lives and share this gift with others, those near and far, even to the distant geographical and existential peripheries of our world.

The next stop on our intercontinental youth pilgrimage will be in Krakow in 2016. As a way of accompanying our journey together, for the next three years I would like to reflect with you on the Beatitudes found in the Gospel of Saint Matthew (5:1-12). This year we will begin by reflecting on the first Beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). For 2015 I suggest: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). Then, in 2016, our theme will be: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7).
    The revolutionary power of the Beatitudes


It is always a joyful experience for us to read and reflect on the Beatitudes! Jesus proclaimed them in his first great sermon, preached on the shore of the sea of Galilee. There was a very large crowd, so Jesus went up on the mountain to teach his disciples. That is why it is known as “the Sermon on the Mount”. In the Bible, the mountain is regarded as a place where God reveals himself. Jesus, by preaching on the mount, reveals himself to be a divine teacher, a new Moses. What does he tell us? He shows us the way to life, the way that he himself has taken. Jesus himself is the way, and he proposes this way as the path to true happiness. Throughout his life, from his birth in the stable in Bethlehem until his death on the cross and his resurrection, Jesus embodied the Beatitudes. All the promises of God’s Kingdom were fulfilled in him.

In proclaiming the Beatitudes, Jesus asks us to follow him and to travel with him along the path of love, the path that alone leads to eternal life. It is not an easy journey, yet the Lord promises us his grace and he never abandons us. We face so many challenges in life: poverty, distress, humiliation, the struggle for justice, persecutions, the difficulty of daily conversion, the effort to remain faithful to our call to holiness, and many others. But if we open the door to Jesus and allow him to be part of our lives, if we share our joys and sorrows with him, then we will experience the peace and joy that only God, who is infinite love, can give.

The Beatitudes of Jesus are new and revolutionary. They present a model of happiness contrary to what is usually communicated by the media and by the prevailing wisdom. A worldly way of thinking finds it scandalous that God became one of us and died on a cross! According to the logic of this world, those whom Jesus proclaimed blessed are regarded as useless, “losers”. What is glorified is success at any cost, affluence, the arrogance of power and self-affirmation at the expense of others.

Jesus challenges us, young friends, to take seriously his approach to life and to decide which path is right for us and leads to true joy. This is the great challenge of faith. Jesus was not afraid to ask his disciples if they truly wanted to follow him or if they preferred to take another path (cf. Jn 6:67). Simon Peter had the courage to reply: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). If you too are able to say “yes” to Jesus, your lives will become both meaningful and fruitful.

2. The courage to be happy

What does it mean to be “blessed” (makarioi in Greek)? To be blessed means to be happy. Tell me: Do you really want to be happy? In an age when we are constantly being enticed by vain and empty illusions of happiness, we risk settling for less and “thinking small” when it come to the meaning of life. Think big instead! Open your hearts! As Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati once said, “To live without faith, to have no heritage to uphold, to fail to struggle constantly to defend the truth: this is not living. It is scraping by. We should never just scrape by, but really live” (Letter to I. Bonini, 27 February 1925). In his homily on the day of Piergiorgio Frassati’s beatification (20 May 1990), John Paul II called him “a man of the Beatitudes” (AAS 82 [1990], 1518).

If you are really open to the deepest aspirations of your hearts, you will realize that you possess an unquenchable thirst for happiness, and this will allow you to expose and reject the “low cost” offers and approaches all around you. When we look only for success, pleasure and possessions, and we turn these into idols, we may well have moments of exhilaration, an illusory sense of satisfaction, but ultimately we become enslaved, never satisfied, always looking for more. It is a tragic thing to see a young person who “has everything”, but is weary and weak.

Saint John, writing to young people, told them: “You are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 Jn 2:14). Young people who choose Christ are strong: they are fed by his word and they do not need to ‘stuff themselves’ with other things! Have the courage to swim against the tide. Have the courage to be truly happy! Say no to an ephemeral, superficial and throwaway culture, a culture that assumes that you are incapable of taking on responsibility and facing the great challenges of life!

3. Blessed are the poor in spirit...

The first Beatitude, our theme for the next World Youth Day, says that the poor in spirit are blessed for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. At a time when so many people are suffering as a result of the financial crisis, it might seem strange to link poverty and happiness. How can we consider poverty a blessing?

First of all, let us try to understand what it means to be “poor in spirit”. When the Son of God became man, he chose the path of poverty and self-emptying. As Saint Paul said in his letter to the Philippians: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness” (2:5-7). Jesus is God who strips himself of his glory. Here we see God’s choice to be poor: he was rich and yet he became poor in order to enrich us through his poverty (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). This is the mystery we contemplate in the crib when we see the Son of God lying in a manger, and later on the cross, where his self-emptying reaches its culmination.

The Greek adjective ptochós (poor) does not have a purely material meaning. It means “a beggar”, and it should be seen as linked to the Jewish notion of the anawim, “God’s poor”. It suggests lowliness, a sense of one’s limitations and existential poverty. The anawim trust in the Lord, and they know that they can count on him.

As Saint Therese of the Child Jesus clearly saw, by his incarnation Jesus came among us as a poor beggar, asking for our love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “man is a beggar before God” (No. 2559) and that prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst and our own thirst (No. 2560).

Saint Francis of Assisi understood perfectly the secret of the Beatitude of the poor in spirit. Indeed, when Jesus spoke to him through the leper and from the crucifix, Francis recognized both God’s grandeur and his own lowliness. In his prayer, the Poor Man of Assisi would spend hours asking the Lord: “Who are you?” “Who am I?” He renounced an affluent and carefree life in order to marry “Lady Poverty”, to imitate Jesus and to follow the Gospel to the letter. Francis lived in imitation of Christ in his poverty and in love for the poor – for him the two were inextricably linked – like two sides of one coin.

You might ask me, then: What can we do, specifically, to make poverty in spirit a way of life, a real part of our own lives? I will reply by saying three things.

First of all, try to be free with regard to material things. The Lord calls us to a Gospel lifestyle marked by sobriety, by a refusal to yield to the culture of consumerism. This means being concerned with the essentials and learning to do without all those unneeded extras which hem us in. Let us learn to be detached from possessiveness and from the idolatry of money and lavish spending. Let us put Jesus first. He can free us from the kinds of idol-worship which enslave us. Put your trust in God, dear young friends! He knows and loves us, and he never forgets us. Just as he provides for the lilies of the field (cf. Mt 6:28), so he will make sure that we lack nothing. If we are to come through the financial crisis, we must be also ready to change our lifestyle and avoid so much wastefulness. Just as we need the courage to be happy, we also need the courage to live simply.
Second, if we are to live by this Beatitude, all of us need to experience a conversion in the way we see the poor. We have to care for them and be sensitive to their spiritual and material needs. To you young people I especially entrust the task of restoring solidarity to the heart of human culture. Faced with old and new forms of poverty – unemployment, migration and addictions of various kinds – we have the duty to be alert and thoughtful, avoiding the temptation to remain indifferent. We have to remember all those who feel unloved, who have no hope for the future and who have given up on life out of discouragement, disappointment or fear. We have to learn to be on the side of the poor, and not just indulge in rhetoric about the poor! Let us go out to meet them, look into their eyes and listen to them. The poor provide us with a concrete opportunity to encounter Christ himself, and to touch his suffering flesh.

However – and this is my third point – the poor are not just people to whom we can give something. They have much to offer us and to teach us. How much we have to learn from the wisdom of the poor! Think about it: several hundred years ago a saint, Benedict Joseph Labré, who lived on the streets of Rome from the alms he received, became a spiritual guide to all sorts of people, including nobles and prelates. In a very real way, the poor are our teachers. They show us that people’s value is not measured by their possessions or how much money they have in the bank. A poor person, a person lacking material possessions, always maintains his or her dignity. The poor can teach us much about humility and trust in God. In the parable of the pharisee and the tax-collector (cf. Lk 18:9-14), Jesus holds the tax-collector up as a model because of his humility and his acknowledgment that he is a sinner. The widow who gave her last two coins to the temple treasury is an example of the generosity of all those who have next to nothing and yet give away everything they have (Lk 21:1-4).

4. … for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
The central theme of the Gospel is the kingdom of God. Jesus is the kingdom of God in person; he is Immanuel, God-with-us. And it is in the human heart that the kingdom, God’s sovereignty, takes root and grows. The kingdom is at once both gift and promise. It has already been given to us in Jesus, but it has yet to be realized in its fullness. That is why we pray to the Father each day: “Thy kingdom come”.

There is a close connection between poverty and evangelization, between the theme of the last World Youth Day – “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations!” (Mt 28:19) – and the theme for this year: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). The Lord wants a poor Church which evangelizes the poor. When Jesus sent the Twelve out on mission, he said to them: “Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the labourers deserve their food” (Mt 10:9-10). Evangelical poverty is a basic condition for spreading the kingdom of God. The most beautiful and spontaneous expressions of joy which I have seen during my life were by poor people who had little to hold onto. Evangelization in our time will only take place as the result of contagious joy.

We have seen, then, that the Beatitude of the poor in spirit shapes our relationship with God, with material goods and with the poor. With the example and words of Jesus before us, we realize how much we need to be converted, so that the logic of being more will prevail over that of having more! The saints can best help us to understand the profound meaning of the Beatitudes. So the canonization of John Paul II, to be celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter, will be an event marked by immense joy. He will be the great patron of the World Youth Days which he inaugurated and always supported. In the communion of saints he will continue to be a father and friend to all of you.

This month of April marks the thirtieth anniversary of the entrustment of the Jubilee Cross of the Redemption to the young. That symbolic act by John Paul II was the beginning of the great youth pilgrimage which has since crossed the five continents. The Pope’s words on that Easter Sunday in 1984 remain memorable: “My dear young people, at the conclusion of the Holy Year, I entrust to you the sign of this Jubilee Year: the cross of Christ! Carry it throughout the world as a symbol of the love of the Lord Jesus for humanity, and proclaim to everyone that it is only in Christ, who died and rose from the dead, that salvation and redemption are to be found”.

Dear friends, the Magnificat, the Canticle of Mary, poor in spirit, is also the song of everyone who lives by the Beatitudes. The joy of the Gospel arises from a heart which, in its poverty, rejoices and marvels at the works of God, like the heart of Our Lady, whom all generations call “blessed” (cf. Lk 1:48). May Mary, Mother of the poor and Star of the new evangelization help us to live the Gospel, to embody the Beatitudes in our lives, and to have the courage always to be happy.



Text from Vatican Radio website 

2014


POPE FRANCIS "THAT IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO GO TO MASS ON SUNDAYS..."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis was greeted by a sea of people taking cover under umbrellas as he made his way into St Peter’s Square on Wednesday for his weekly General Audience. Making reference to the rainy weather the Pope said “it’s not a nice day is it”.
In his continuing Catechesis on the Sacraments, the Holy Father focused his attention on the Eucharist saying that it accompanies us every step of the way on our pilgrimage of faith.
Reflecting on the Mass, Pope Francis said it was a banquet that nourishes us not only with the bread of life but also with the proclamation of God’s word in the Scriptures.
The Pope went on to say that at the Last Supper, Christ gave us this sacrament when he broke bread and offered the cup as the foreshadowing of his sacrifice on the Cross. In this Eucharistic sacrifice, he added, Jesus gave us the supreme prayer of thanksgiving to God our merciful Father.
The Holy Father underlined that the celebration of the Eucharist is more than simply a banquet; it is he said a memorial of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection, and makes present the paschal mystery in all its saving power.
Departing from his prepared remarks Pope Francis stressed that we can never thank the Lord enough for the gift of the Eucharist adding, "that is why it is so important to go to Mass on Sundays, to go to Mass, not only to pray, but to receive Communion, the bread which is the Body of Jesus Christ, that saves us, forgives us, and unites us with the Father."


Text from Vatican Radio website 


LATEST NEWS FROM VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE - SUMMARY

05-02-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 24 

Summary
- THE EUCHARIST: CHRISTIAN INITIATION, PEAK OF SALVATION
- SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE AFFECTED BY FLOODS IN ITALY
- PRESS RELEASE ON OBSERVATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
- POPE FRANCIS TO RECEIVE QUEEN ELIZABETH II OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
- FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI IS AWARDED THE ¡BRAVO! PRIZE BY THE SPANISH EPISCOPAL COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS
- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
THE EUCHARIST: CHRISTIAN INITIATION, PEAK OF SALVATION
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father's catechesis in today's general audience focused on “the Eucharist, heart of Christian initiation and source of the life of the Church”. “The Word and the Bread, during Mass, become one, like in the Last Supper, when all Jesus' words, all the signs he had made, were condensed into the gesture of breaking bread and offering the chalice in anticipation of the sacrifice of the Cross”.
Pope Francis remarked that Jesus' gesture during the Last Supper is “the extreme giving of thanks to the Father for His love and for His mercy”, and recalled that “thanksgiving”, in Greek, is “eucaristia”. This is why the term Eucharist encompasses all of this gesture, which is the gesture of God and man, a gesture of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man”.
The Pope repeated that each time we celebrate this Sacrament, it does not simply mean remembering, but rather sharing in “the mystery of Christ's passion, death and resurrection”. “The Eucharist”, he said, “is the peak of the action of God's salvation: the Lord Jesus, making himself into bread, broken for us, indeed pours over us all His mercy and His love, thereby renewing our hearts, our existence and our way of relating with Him and with our brothers”.
Pope Francis concluded by inviting those present to pray to the Lord so that “this Sacrament may continue to keep its presence alive, within the Church, and to model our communities in charity and communion, in accordance with the heart of the Father. And this continues all through our lives, although it begins on the day our our first Communion. It is important that children prepare well for their first Communion and that every child does so, as it is the first step to this strong bond of belonging to Jesus Christ, following Baptism and Confirmation”.
SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE AFFECTED BY FLOODS IN ITALY
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – In his greetings following the catechesis at this Wednesday's general audience, Pope Francis recalled in a special way those affected by the heavy downpours which have affected the regions of Tuscany and Latium for some days now, causing flooding and inundations and leaving many families homeless. “We are all praying for you and are close to you with our efforts, with our solidarity and with our love”.
He also greeted a group of bishops taking part in a congress promoted by the Sant'Egidio Community, and participants in a study week on human formation for candidates to the priesthood organised by the Pontifical University of the Sacred Heart, expressing his hope that their visit to the tomb of St. Peter be a “propitious occasion for the renewal of missionary commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel, especially to the marginalised and the poor”.
Finally, he mentioned the sick, who were gathered today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall rather than in St. Peter's Square on account of the bad weather, commenting that he had greeted them prior to arriving in the square, and that they were able to follow the audience on screen.
PRESS RELEASE ON OBSERVATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy See Press Office issued a communique on the observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the full text of which is published below:
“At the end of its 65th session, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has published its Concluding Observations on the reviewed Reports of the Holy See and five States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Congo, Germany, Portugal, Russian Federation and Yemen).
According to the proper procedures foreseen for the parties to the Convention, the Holy See takes note of the Concluding Observations on its Reports, which will be submitted to a thorough study and examination, in full respect of the Convention in the different areas presented by the Committee according to international law and practice, as well as taking into consideration the public interactive debate with the Committee, held on 16 January 2014.
The Holy See does, however, regret to see in some points of the Concluding Observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of the human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.
The Holy See reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child, in line with the principles promoted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine”.
POPE FRANCIS TO RECEIVE QUEEN ELIZABETH II OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – On 3 April Pope Francis will receive in audience Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This was made public by Buckingham Palace and confirmed yesterday afternoon by the Holy See Press Office.
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Philip of Edinburgh, will be in Rome upon invitation by the president of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano. The Queen and Prince Philip will lunch in private with President Napolitano, and will then be received in audience by the Pope. It will be the first encounter between Pope Francis and the Queen, as at the Holy Mass at the beginning of his pontificate the United Kingdom was represented by Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. President Napolitano's invitation was first presented last year, but neither the Queen nor Prince Philip were able to accept for reasons of ill health. Since then, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI resigned from the papacy and Pope Francis was elected.
The Italian Head of State renewed his invitation earlier this year and Queen Elizabeth decided to take the opportunity to meet with the new Pontiff. The same occurred on her last visit to Rome, in 2000, when she was received by Blessed John Paul II. The Queen met with Benedict XVI during his apostolic visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010.
FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI IS AWARDED THE ¡BRAVO! PRIZE BY THE SPANISH EPISCOPAL COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., will today receive in Madrid, Spain, the ¡Bravo! Prize awarded every year by the Commission for Social Communication Media of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE).
Every year the CEE awards the ¡Bravo! Prize in recognition of the valuable work of all professionals in the field of communication in the various media, distinguished by their service to the dignity of man, human rights and the values of the Gospel. Fr. Lombardi will receive the ¡Bravo! Special Prize for his “intense service to Church communication” and for having promoted “closeness between the Church institution and the social communication media”.
The director of the Holy See Press Office will also attend an assembly of diocesan delegates in the field of social communications, where he will give a conference on the theme “Spokesmanship in the Vatican”.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Santo Gangemi, apostolic nuncio in Guinea, as apostolic nuncio in Mali.

UN CRITICIZES VATICAN ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD AND VATICAN RESPONSE

(Vatican Radio) Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s representative to the UN in Geneva, has denounced “a really negative approach” by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child to all that the Vatican “has been doing and has already achieved” in the area of child protection. Stressing that every single case of child abuse is “a case too much,” the Archbishop said it’s hard to find “other institutions or even other states” that have done as much for child protection as the “package of measures” taken by the Vatican and local bishops conferences.
Archbishop Tomasi was responding to a report, published on Wednesday, criticizing the Vatican for policies which it says allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children worldwide. It follows on from a meeting between the UN Committee and Holy See representatives in Geneva on January 16th.
A statement issued by the Vatican press office also says the Holy See takes note of comments contained in the new report, but expresses regret over what it terms “an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.” It stressed the Holy See remains committed to defending and promoting the rights of children, according to the principles set out in the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Archbishop Tomasi said the Committee appears to have difficulty understanding the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the protection of life in the womb and the freedom for believers to express their deeply held convictions. He noted the UN report asks the Church to accept the practice of abortion, something he described as “a contradiction with the principle of life” that the UN Convention itself should be upholding, that is the protection of children before and after birth.
The Archbishop added that, as a state party to the UN Convention, the Holy See intends to continue “carrying out all the elements” for the protection of children and explaining its position to the UN Committee.
In December American Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston announced that Pope Francis was establishing a new commission on child protection and care for victims of abuse. He said it would work closely with church leaders worldwide to develop best practices, building on the norms that Bishops Conferences and other religious organizations have already been asked to draw up to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in dioceses across the globe.
Text from Vatican Radio website 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY FACEBOOK - 10TH YEAR WITH OVER 1.2 BILLION GLOBALLY

Today is the 10th birthday of the social media network FACEBOOK started by Mark Zuckerberg and his friends at Harvard University. Currently, there are over 1.2 billion users globally in several languages.FACEBOOK has become the largest social networking platform in history. MARK ZUCKERBERG, founder of Facebook, has said, "Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life." This means that 1 in 7 people on the planet have a Facebook account. 
It has 
 This network is being used by extensively by Catholics: Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Brothers, Nuns, Dioceses, and Laity. Famous Catholics including, Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, US Confernce of Catholic Bishops, EWTN, Bishop Anthony Fisher, Bishop Julian Porteus, Johnette Benkovic, and many others all use Facebook on a daily basis to connect with their flock and audience. It has become a multi-purpose tool for evangelization. Facebook is a free multi-use network sharing platform. Here one can connect across countries, religions, and races. Most people use FB to connect with relatives, school colleges, work colleges, religious members and business audiences. Facebook is translated in many different languages. One can freely share video, audio, pictures and written material. Many security measures have been employed by Facebook to ensure privacy. The audience of FB is rapidly gaining strides in varied age groups. Older members of the population are using FB at an increasing rate. Pope Benedict's latest Internet exposition also utilized the Facebook market. Religious pages on Facebook have gained millions of fans. 
Birthday Present: FACEBOOK has a amazing present for its users if you are logged in to your account go tohttp://www.facebook.com/lookback It will create a video using your photos and posts from when you first joined. To post your video download it with http://www.torchbrowser.com/ and upload it to your facebook page. 
FOR BREAKING NEWS AND MORE LIKE US ON FACEBOOK NOW http://www.facebook.com/catholicnewsworld 
In his latest message on social communications Pope Francis stated, 
"In a world like this, media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all. Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity. The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another. We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect. A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive. Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God."


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