Sunday, February 9, 2014





3 sisters from Quebec, Canada competed at the Olympics. Justine Dufour-Lapointe (born March 25, 1994) a Canadian freestyle skier from Montréal,Quebec won gold at the Sochi, Olympics moguls event. Her sister Chloé Dufour-Lapointe won silver in the same event. Chloé Dufour-Lapointe (born 2 December 1991) is another Canadian freestyle skier. She is the reigning FIS World Champion in dual moguls  at the 2013 World Championships. She again won silver at the 2014 Olympics. Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (born February 9, 1989) is a Canadian freestyle skier. She competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics for Canada in moguls and came in 12th. (Images shared from Google )


bride-groom-getty-images-homeUSCCB RELEASE: "Among the many blessings that God has showered upon us in Christ is the blessing of marriage, a gift bestowed by the Creator from the creation of the human race…
It is a source of blessing to the couple, to their families, and to society and includes the wondrous gift of co-creating human life.
Indeed, as Pope John Paul II never tired of reminding us, the future of humanity depends on marriage and the family."– U.S. Catholic Bishops, Pastoral Letter:Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan

National Marriage Week 2014

FEBRUARY 7-14, 2014

National Marriage Week USA

This goal of this annual event is to promote the benefits of marriage for men, women, children and society, and to connect people with marriage resources around the country. For more information: . .
Bishop Richard J. Malone (Buffalo, chairman of USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth) sent a letter to all U.S. bishops, saying that National Marriage Week, World Marriage Sunday, and Valentine's Day "provide an opportunity to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples." In his letter, Bishop Malone recommends resources for dioceses and parishes to "continue to build a culture that honors and promotes marriage and the family." Read Bishop Malone's letter here.

FEBRUARY 9, 2014

World Marriage Sunday

Sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter. For more information: . .
For priests and deacons: Resources for Preaching for World Marriage Day(provided by the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth). 

FEBRUARY 14, 2014 - ROME

Engaged couples' audience with Pope Francis

Theme: "The Joy of Yes Forever"
For more information: Pontifical Council for the Family website. . .  

Upcoming Events

JULY 16 - 19TH, 2014 - DAYTON, OH

National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM) Conference

Theme: "Home is a Holy Place"
More details forthcoming

OCTOBER 5 - 19TH, 2014 - ROME

Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

The theme of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod is "the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization." In preparation for this event, the Vatican has issued apreparatory document. . . , typically called the "Lineamenta."
There was a press conference. . . in the Vatican about the Extraordinary Synod on November 5, 2013 (click on "Traduzione in lingua inglese" to read in English). A summary of the press conference can be found on the Vatican News. . . website.
You can find more information on the Synod process on the Vatican website. . . .
"Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan."
- Pope Francis (12.26.13 address)


World Meeting of Families

Sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family
MORE. . . 

Major USCCB Marriage Projects & Activities

Young people and an elderly man read together. The Bishops launched the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage in 2005 to call attention to the meaning and value of married life for the Church and for society.
The Initiative's activities have included: a research study on Catholics and marriage; focus groups with married couples, priests, and canon lawyers; an analysis of diocesan marriage preparation policies; and dialogues with social scientists and theologians.
Marriage and the Family in the United States: Resources for Society - A review of the social science research on the benefits generated from families rooted in marriage, divided into three sections: psychological well-being, physical health, and economic benefit.
Young bride and groom. The "For Your Marriage" website offers practical help and advice whether you're seriously dating, engaged, or at any stage of married life. If you're planning a Catholic wedding, you'll find information on everything from choosing the music and readings to marrying someone who is not Catholic. On the homepage check out the Daily Marriage Tips, book reviews, and blogs.
A young family pose together for a photo. The "Marriage: Unique for a Reason" website is part of the Bishops' ongoing efforts to promote and defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It offers many educational resources for Catholics and others who want to better understand and articulate the Church's teaching on marriage. The website currently features two DVD resources, "Made for Each Other" and "Made for Life," as well as FAQs about marriage, a library of Church teaching, and a regularly updated blog.
 Young father surfs the net with his two toddlers. The Por tu Matrimonio Web site is a space to inspire, assist and encourage Spanish-speaking couples to live their relationship more fully.  Por Tu Matrimonio es un espacio para inspirar, ayudar y exhortar a las parejas de habla hispana a vivir más plenamente su relación de pareja.

Pastoral LetterMarriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan

Seven Day Virtual Marriage Retreat

Looking for a way to enrich your marriage? Take our seven day virtual retreat! Each day for seven days, set aside some time for prayer. Read about the theme for the day, reflect on a real-life marriage scenario, and think about ways to strengthen your own marriage. Even better, do the retreat together with your spouse!
The retreat is loosely based on the U.S. bishops’ 2009 pastoral letter Marriage: Love and Life and the Divine Plan.
Seven Day Virtual Marriage Retreat


(Vatican Radio) On Friday, Pope Francis received Cardinal Amato, prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, in a private audience. During the audience the Holy Father authorized the Congregation to promulgate the decrees regarding the following persons:
    The martyrdom of Servant of God Francesco Zirano, priest of the Order of Conventual Friars Minor (Franciscans). Born 1564 in Sassari, Italy, he was killed, in hatred of the faith, in Algiers, Algeria on 25 January 1603;

    The martyrdom of Servant of God Paul Yun Ji-chung, layman, along with 123 companions. They were killed, in hatred of the faith, in Korea between 1791 and 1888;

    The heroic virtue of Servant of God Faustino Ghilardi (given name: Guglielmo Giacomo), priest of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans). Born in Pieve a Nievole, Italy on 6 May 1858, he died in San Vivaldo di Monaione, Italy on 25 October 1937.

    The heroic virtue of Servant of God Maria Rocío of Jesus Crucified (given name: Maria Giuseppa Rodríguez Xuárez de la Guardia), a religious sister for the Congregation of Sisters of the Divine Love. Born in Colmenar, Spain on 16 May 1923, she died in Rome on 30 March 1956.

Text from the Vatican Radio website 


(Vatican Radio) In his Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the words of Jesus from the Gospel of the day: “You are the salt of the earth... you are the light of the world.”

These words “amaze us,” the Pope said, when we consider who they were addressed to. “They were fishers, simple people... But Jesus saw them with the eyes of God.” The Holy Father said these words are a consequence of the Beatitudes, which they immediately follow. If we are poor in spirit, meek, pure of heart, merciful... then we will be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

 Christians, he said, “receive a mission in regard to all humanity: with faith and with love they can direct, consecrate, and make fruitful all humanity.” We are all “missionary disciples, and we are called to become in the world a living Gospel.” If Christians lose their savour, if their light goes out, their presence in the world loses its efficacy. “Do you want to be burning lamps,” he asked the crowd, “or extinguished lamps?”

After the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis noted that on Tuesday the Church will celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, and will commemorate the World Day of the Sick. This, he said, is the right time to put the sick “at the centre of the community, to pray for them and with them, to be close to them.” He called on each one of us to imitate the example of the Lord, who cared for all, shared their sufferings, and opened hearts to hope.

The Holy Father also spoke about health care workers and their “precious work.” Every day, he said, they encounter sickness, not only of the fragile body, but of persons. The Pope spoke strongly about the dignity of the person which can “never be reduced to their faculties or capabilities,” and is not lessened when people become “weak, invalid, and in need of help.” He spoke about families, “where it is normal to care for the sick themselves,” recognizing the difficulties they face. “So many write to me,” Pope Francis said, promising that he prays for all of them. “I say to them: don’t be afraid of fragility! Help one another with love, and feel the consoling presence of God.”

Returning to the day’s Gospel, Pope Francis said it is precisely “the generous and Christian attitude toward the sick” that is the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Pope Francis also greeted the organizers and athletes taking part in the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. He offered his best wishes that the Games might be “a true festival of sport and of friendship.”

After greeting pilgrim groups from around the world — including a group of teachers and students from England — the Holy Father prayed for all those suffering on account of natural disasters. Nature, he said, “challenges us to be sympathetic and attentive to the protection of creation, in order to prevent, as far as possible, the most serious consequences.”

Before concluding the Angelus address, Pope Francis once again called on the faithful to answer the question he had posed earlier: “Do you want to be burning lamps,” bearing the light of Christ to the world, “or spent lamps?” To which the crowd responded: “Burning lamps! Burning lamps!” “The Christian bearing the light is a burning lamp... Let us always go forward with the light of Jesus!”

Text from  Vatican Radio website 


The 22nd edition of the Winter Olympics opened today in Russia. Several Western leaders boycotted the event to protest Russia's laws against "homosexual propaganda." Instead, the spotlight is on Chinese President Xi Jinxing, and on the two countries' closer economic, energy, defence, and trade ties.

Sochi (AsiaNews) - The opening ceremony of the 22ndOlympic Winter Games got underway today in Sochi (Russia). The Games, set to run from 7 to 23 February, highlight renewed economic, trade, energy and military ties between China and Russia.
Whilst most Western leaders chose to stay away from the Games - including US President Barack Obama, German President Joachim Gauch, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President François Hollande, China's President Xi Jinping took centre stage.
The Chinese leader is attending the opening ceremony as part of his three-day official visit to Russia, taking advantage of the Olympic venue to show to the world the new Moscow-Beijing axis.
Sino-Russian cooperation extends from the Silk Road to a shared political and diplomatic vision for the Syrian crisis, during which Beijing to Moscow acted together to stop a US intervention, with trade between the two neighbours expected to reach US$100 billion by the end of next year.
Like in the past, a sporting event is serving as a venue to boost bilateral ties and show off the (political and military) balance of power on a world stage. Indeed, in his first foreign trip in 2014, Xi Jinping did not choose Russia by chance.
Putin described Xi's trip as a "visit to good friends," expressing his best wishes to China for the Lunar New year and the start of the Year of the Horse.
The opening ceremony, which began today shortly after 8 pm local time, marks the official start of Games already marked by security concerns and the controversy over the Kremlin's recent laws against homosexual propaganda.
There are also strong concerns about possible disturbances in the country, allegations about corruption in the Games' organisation as well as complaints about poor facilities for athletes, visitors, and foreign journalists covering the event.
However, last summer's decision by the Russian government to ban "homosexual propaganda" among minors is the major cause of confrontation. The new law imposes fines and prison terms on anyone involved in "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations".
Public blasphemy and defamation have also been criminalised.
More than 200 prominent international authors, including Gunter Grass, Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Russia's foremost writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya have signed an open letter condemning Putin's laws.
For her part, Ulitskaya said she was "deeply concerned about the increasing restrictions on freedom of speech" in her country.
Political considerations, boycott campaigns and diplomatic squabbles aside, the Games will now take centre stage. They will be the first event of their kind since the Moscow Olympics in 1980, which were boycotted by the United States at the height of the Cold War.
Some 2,600 athletes representing 88 countries (more than 320 from Asia) will compete in 98 events, over a two-week period.
The United States (230) and Russia (225) have the largest teams at these Games. India, which will be represented by one athlete, will fly the Olympic flag after the International Olympic Committee suspended the Indian Olympic Committee over corruption allegations.
At Sochi, East Timor (Timor Leste) will be Asia's newest first-time participant.North Korea, which was present in 2010, is not sending any athletes this time.Thailand and the Philippines, where were at the Vancouver Games in Canada in 2010, are back however.
Yohan Goutt Goncalves stands out among Asia's Olympic athletes. He will be the first representative from East Timor in a Winter Olympic Games. The young skier will take part in the slalom. His goal is to compete but also to be the "ambassador" of a nation that wants "to show that there is more to East Timor than war".
Pakistan is sending one athlete (compared to the three who qualified).
Dachhiri Sherpa will represent Nepal, the only athlete it has ever had since 2002, in cross country skiing. For the 43-yeaer-old, this will be his third Olympiad. His goal is "to finish the race."
Michael Christian Martinez, 17, is the first figure skater from the Philippines.

Singapore-born, British violinist Vanessa-Mae Nicholson Vanakorn, 35, will represent her father's homeland, Thailand, after qualifying at the last moment.


Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 73

Reading 1        IS 58:7-10

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Responsorial Psalm                 PS 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R/ (4a) The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
R/ Alleluia.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R/ The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
R/ Alleluia.
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
R/ The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
R/ Alleluia.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
His justice shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R/ The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
R/ Alleluia.

Reading 2                  1 COR 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of Spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Gospel            MT 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”



(Image share - Facebook)
St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548). Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaeological and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua" (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions.Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.Much deeper than the "exterior grace" of having been "chosen" as Our Lady's "messenger", Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbour. He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on 6 May 1990 byPope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City.The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be "born" again among the peoples of the New World, and is a message as relevant to the "New World" today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego.


No comments: