Thursday, February 20, 2014



PRAY FOR THE UKRAINE - Here's why...

The Ukraine protests began the 21st of November 2013 in the capital Kiev. Violence centered around Euromaiden - the square in Kiev. Now protesters are calling for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government. The protests started when the government suspended preparations for signing an Association Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union and chose to have closer economic relations with Russia. Over 500,000 people were protesting in the square during December.

Over 100 were killed today alone (Thurs. Feb. 20, 2014) President Yanukovych was trying to avoid the EU demand to free former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Two years ago, she was found guilty in a Russian gas deal and sentenced to seven years in prison.
The head of the protesters is Vitali Klitschko a former world champion boxer. Klitschko heads the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms party. President flew to Moscow, where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Russia would buy $15 billion in Ukrainian debt and slash the price Kiev pays for its gas. He enforced a anti-protest law. Protesters took over City Hall for three months. The law was overturned. However, protests grew and became more violent. The President offered a bargain but the opposition refused. A truce was called Wednesday. Gunfire erupted Thursday at Maidan, or Independence Square, International officials are trying to end this violence. 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged President Yanukovich to end the crackdown.

"President Yanukovich has to decide whether he wants to protect his people, or further mayhem,"

POPE FRANCIS “A society is truly welcoming towards life when it recognizes that (life) is valuable..." to Pontifical Academy of Life

(Vatican Radio) “The loss of health and disability are never a good reason for excluding, or worse, for eliminating a person” - that’s what Pope Francis says in a message dated February 19th to the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Msgr. Carrasco de Paula. The Council, established by John Paul II with the publication of the Motu Proprio "Vitae Mysterium" on February 11, 1994, is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this month.

In his message to the president and participants of the Council’s General Assembly, Pope Francis recalls that the institution’s specific task is to study and provide information and training regarding biomedical ethics and law - particularly in the promotion and defense of life.

This service, the Pope writes, helps put science and technology “at the service of the human person” and contributes to “the integral good of the person.”

Describing the Assembly’s theme, “Ageing and disability” as “a very topical one…dear to the Church,” Pope Francis says “In fact, in our societies we find the tyrannical rule of an economic logic that excludes and sometimes kills.” He notes that many have fallen victim to this logic, especially “our elderly.”

Referring to our society today, the Pope uses the expression, “throwaway culture” which we’ve often heard him use before, adding that this attitude “is even promoted.”

But, the Pope warns, “It is no longer simply the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression, but of something new.” With exclusion, the idea of “belonging” to the society in which one lives is struck to its very core, says the Pope. It no longer matters if you are “powerless” or “live in the slums” or “the outskirts” of society – you are simply “out.” The excluded are not "exploited" but rather, they are considered “waste” (it: rifiuti) or “leftovers.”

In a rapidly ageing society, the Pope notes, elderly people, especially those who are “sick, disabled, or vulnerable for any reason” are targets for exclusion. People seem to forget, he says, that relations between people are always based on “mutual dependence,” which varies in degree according to “sickness, disability, suffering in general.” This is where “interpersonal and community relationships” are needed to assist those who require help.

Pope Francis reflects here on the value we place on people and on health, which can form “the basis of discrimination and exclusion.” “Health is certainly an important value, but it does not determine the value of the person,” the Pope writes.

Moreover, the lack of good health and disability “are never a good reason to exclude, or worse, to eliminate a person.” The worst deprivation that older people suffer, he stresses, “is not the weakening of the body and disability” but “abandonment, exclusion, deprivation of love.”

The family teaches us to welcome and provide solidarity to others. In the family we learn that “the loss of health is not a reason to discriminate” against certain individuals ; The family shows us the importance of “us” and keeps us from falling into the individualistic trap of “me.” It shows us how to care for others. Besides expressing solidarity, families must also advocate on behalf of the elderly who can continue to make important contributions to their communities.

“A society is truly welcoming towards life when it recognizes that (life) is valuable even in old age, in disability, in severe disease and even when it is dying,” and “when it teaches that…human fulfillment does not exclude suffering” but holds it up as “a gift” that calls the entire community to “solidarity and responsibility.”

Text from Vatican Radio website 


(Vatican Radio) The Extraordinary Consistory of all the Cardinals began on Thursday morning, ahead of the creation of 19 new Cardinals on Saturday. In his remarks to the Cardinals, Pope Francis spoke about the topic of their reflections: The Family.

"Our reflections must keep before us the beauty of the family and marriage, the greatness of this human reality which is so simple and yet so rich, consisting of joys and hopes, of struggles and sufferings, as is the whole of life," Pope Francis said. "We will seek to deepen the theology of the family and discern the pastoral practices which our present situation requires."

The full text of the Pope's remarks are below

Dear brothers,
I extend a warm greeting to you all and, with you, I thank the Lord who has given us these days of meeting and working together. We welcome especially our brothers who will be created Cardinals on Saturday and we accompany them with our prayers and fraternal affection.
During these days, we will reflect in particular on the family, which is the fundamental cell of society. From the beginning the Creator blessed man and woman so that they might be fruitful and multiply, and so the family then is an image of the Triune God in the world. 
Our reflections must keep before us the beauty of the family and marriage, the greatness of this human reality which is so simple and yet so rich, consisting of joys and hopes, of struggles and sufferings, as is the whole of life. We will seek to deepen the theology of the family and discern the pastoral practices which our present situation requires. May we do so thoughtfully and without falling into “casuistry”, because this would inevitably diminish the quality of our work. Today, the family is looked down upon and mistreated. We are called to acknowledge how beautiful, true and good it is to start a family, to be a family today; and how indispensable the family is for the life of the world and for the future of humanity. We are called to make known God’s magnificent plan for the family and to help spouses joyfully experience this plan in their lives, as we accompany them amidst so many difficulties.
We thank Cardinal Walter Kasper for his valuable contribution which he will offer us with his introduction.
Thank you all, and have a good day!
Text from Vatican Radio website 


Kim Yuna won Silver today at the Olympics. She was born on 5 September 1990. She is from South Korea. Kim is a Olympic and World champion who helped the Korean Church to promote awareness of the rosary. Yuna became a Roman Catholic in 2008 when she was healed from skating injuries by a Catholic doctor. She wears a Miraculous Medal on her skating outfit she received from a nun during the 2007 World Figure Skating Championships. Her Confirmation name is Stella from Latin, after the Blessed Virgin Mary. She makes the Sign of the Cross and wears a rosary ring during competitions. In 2012 Yuna donated ₩70 million (approximately $59,300) to a Catholic charity which promised to build 100 schools in South Sudan. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) highlighted South Korea’s first Olympic figure skating champion, Stella Kim Yu-na, and her rosary ring to the public. The Bishops’ Conference issued a press release on Sept. 30 promoting the rosary to Koreans. It was titled Yu-na’s ring is not a ring but the rosary. “Therefore we decided to use the well-known ‘Yu-na’s ring’ to explain the Catholic rosary prayer,” . Kim was baptized in May 2008. Since then, she has always worn a rosary ring and made the sign of the cross before competition. She was the Olympic figure skating gold medalist at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. At that time, many youths thought her rosary ring was an engagement ring. The rosary is the Catholic Church’s universal and traditional prayer. Kim took the name Stella in honor of Mary during her baptism. She has donated thousands to different charities. Kim Yu-na won Silver 2014 Olympics in Sochi in Feb. for the Women's Freestyle Skate. Share the story of this Catholic hero!

Korean Olympics star endorses the rosary


Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 338

Reading 1    JAS 2:1-9

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person with shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please,”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?
But you dishonored the poor.
Are not the rich oppressing you?
And do they themselves not haul you off to court?
Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you?
However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.
But if you show partiality, you commit sin,
and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

Responsorial                Psalm PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Gospel        MK 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

POPE FRANCIS Invites 19 Prisoners to his house - Amazing!

(Vatican Radio) Nineteen inmates of the Italian prisons of Pisa and Pianosa were received in a private meeteing by Pope Francis on Wednesday morning , 19th February, in the Casa Santa Marta , before the weekly General Audience . The Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano reported the news that the Pope prayed with them and blessed them before the image of " Our Lady who unties knots ," especially dear to him. Then he greeted each of them and listened to them one by one. He shared words of mercy and forgiveness in particular, for one inmate who gave him a personal letter.

The inmates were on a spiritual pilgrimage to Rome and were accompanied by two chaplains. They met with Pope Francis after attending an early morning Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri in the Vatican Grottoes. Informed of their presence , the Pope wanted to personally meet them and welcomed them into his home, at 9 am. Also on hand for the forty-five minute long encounter were the director of the penitentiary Pianosa , magistrates, and prison guards.

Archbishop Baldisseri described the meeting as " beautiful and moving ."

Text from Vatican Radio website 

POPE FRANCIS "Following Jesus with our strength, but also with our sins, but always following Jesus."

(Vatican Radio) Jesus is known more by following Him than by studying Him. That was the message of Pope Francis at his homily during the Mass celebrated Thursday morning at Casa Santa Marta. Every day, he explained, Christ asks “who” He is for us, but it is only possible to answer by living as disciples.

It is the life of a disciple, more than a life of study, that allows a Christian to really know who Jesus is for him. A journey in the footsteps of the Master, where clear witness and even betrayals, falls and new impulses, can intersect. But it is not only an intellectual approach. Pope Francis took the example of Peter, who in the Gospel of the day portrays at the same time both as a “courageous” witness — who responded to Jesus’ question to the Apostles, “Who do you say I am for you?” by saying, “You are the Christ” — and immediately afterwards as an adversary, when he feels he has to reproach Jesus, who had just announced that he had to suffer and die, and then to rise. “Many times,” the Pope said, “Jesus turns to us and asks us: “But who am I for you?” and getting “the same response that Peter gave, the one we learned in the catechism.” But that is not enough:

 “It seems that to respond to that question that we have heard in our hearts — ‘Who is Jesus for us?’ — what we have learned, what we have studied is not enough. It is important to study and to understand, but it is not enough. To know Jesus it is necessary to take the journey that Peter took: after that humiliation, Peter went forward with Jesus, he saw the miracles Jesus did, he saw his power. Then he paid the tax as Jesus had told him, he caught a fish, removed a coin, he saw many miracles like that. But, at a certain point, Peter denied Jesus, he betrayed Jesus, and he learned that most difficult knowledge — more than knowledge, wisdom — of tears, of weeping.”

Peter, Pope Francis continued, asks forgiveness from Jesus — and yet, after the Resurrection, he is questioned three times by Jesus on the beach of Tiberias: “Do you love me?” Probably, the Pope said, in his reaffirming his total love for his Master, he wept, and was ashamed at the memory of his triple denial:

“This first question for Peter — ‘Who am I for you?’ — can only be understood along a path, after a long path, a path of grace and of sin, a path of a disciple. Jesus did not say to Peter and to His Apostles “Know me”; He said, “Follow me!” And this following of Jesus makes us know Jesus. Following Jesus with our strength, but also with our sins, but always following Jesus. It is not a study of things that is necessary, but a life of a disciple.”

It takes “a daily encounter with the Lord, every day, with our triumphs and our weaknesses.” But, the Pope added, it is “a journey that we can’t make on our own.” The intervention of the Holy Spirit is necessary:

“To know Jesus is a gift of the Father; it is He who makes us know Jesus. It is a work of the Holy Spirit, who is a great worker. Not a trade unionist — He is a great worker and He works in us always. He does this work of explaining the mystery of Jesus, and of giving us this sense of Jesus. We look at Jesus, Peter, the Apostles, and we hear in our hearts the question: ‘Who am I for you?’ And as disciples let us ask the Father that He would grant to us to know Christ in the Holy Spirit, that He would explain this mystery.”

Text from  Vatican Radio website 


Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908 – April 4, 1919) and his sister Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910 – February 20, 1920),  together with their cousin, Lúcia dos Santos (1907–2005) were from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal. They saw three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. They reported visions of Our Lady of Fatima. The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto were Francisco and Jacinta. They were illiterate and they worked with cousin Lucia, tending sheep. Francisco preferred to pray alone, as he said "to console Jesus for the sins of the world". They saw terrifying vision of Hell at the third apparition. All three children practiced prayer and penance for sin as the lady asked. Jacinta told her parents ‘Oh, Mother! I saw Our Lady today!’. On 13th August, The Administrator, Santos, ‘kidnapped’ the children to prevent them going to the next Apparition, and threatened them with a cauldron of boiling oil. On Sunday, 19th August, the children witnessed their fourth Apparition. 
At the Apparitions in 1917 Francisco heard nothing and had to rely on Lucia and Jacinta to tell him what was said by the Lady. Jacinta and Francesco became very ill during the Spanish Influenza epidemic in October, 1918.  The priest heard Francisco’s confession on the evening of 2nd April and brought Communion to him the next morning.Opening his eyes, he asked: ‘When will you bring me the Hidden Jesus again?’ This was what he said when talking of the Host in the Tabernacle. 
Jacinta developed pneumonia and then tuberculosis. She died in hospital just before her 11th birthday. Visitors who saw Jacinta in her open coffin exclaimed that she seemed to be alive, with the loveliest colour. When Jacinta’s coffin was opened on 12th September, 1935 and her face was seen to be perfectly incorrupt. 

 Jacinta's relics and those of Francisco lie in the Basilica at Fatima, with the simple inscription: “Here lie the mortal remains of Francisco and Jacinta to whom Our Lady appeared.” Jacinta and her brother Francisco were beatified- declared ‘Blessed’, by Pope John Paul II on 13th May, 2000 at Fatima. 

Our Lady of Fatima:
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee. O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners. The Angel's Prayer is an Act of Reparation to The Holy Trinity.
Edited from “The Message of Fatima” by Fr. Martindale, S.J. and other sources. (All Images Google )


St. Eucherius
Feast: February 20

Feast Day:February 20
687 AD, Orléans, France
Died:20 February 743
Benedictine Bishop of Orleans, France, exiled for opposing Charles Martel (r. 714-741), the famous and powerful mayor of the palace in the Frankish kingdom. Born in Orleans, Eucherius became a Benedictine at Jumieges about 714 and bishop in 721. He immediately set about protesting Charles Martel's seizure of Church properties. Charles exiled Eucherius to Cologne, Germany, where he became very popular as a result. Eucherius was then held captive in Liege, Belgium, but was allowed to retire to Saint-Trond Abbey near Maastricht, Netherlands, where he died in the monastery. Apparently, he was never reconciled with Charles.
(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)


No comments: