Monday, March 3, 2014



POPE FRANCIS “Faith is not a mere cultural heritage, but a present, a gift that comes from a personal encounter with Jesus..."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday met with the Spanish bishops who were in Rome this week on the ad limina visit. He spoke to them about the current situation of the Church in Spain and the western world.

“At this time when you are suffering the difficult experience of the indifference of many of the baptized and you must cope with a worldly culture, which squeezes God into the private life, and excludes him from the public sphere, one must not forget your history,” Pope Francis said. “From it, we learn that the grace of God is never extinguished, and the Holy Spirit continues to work in the present reality with generosity.”

The Holy Father told the bishops to trust the Holy Spirit to plant seeds in the hearts of those whom he has entrusted to their pastoral care.

“Therefore, dear brothers, spare no efforts in opening new paths to the gospels, that reach the hearts of all people, so that they discover what is already nestled within: Christ as a friend and brother,” said the Pope.

He asked them to put their Churches in a state of “permanent mission” to help strengthen the faith, especially of children, and to bring back into the fold those who have left.

“Faith is not a mere cultural heritage, but a present, a gift that comes from a personal encounter with Jesus, and the free and joyful acceptance of the new life it offers,” said the Pope.

The Pope also called “an evangelized family…a valuable agent of evangelization”, and encouraged the Spanish bishops ongoing efforts to develop priestly vocations.

In conclusion, Pope Francis stressed that love and service to the poor are a sign of the Kingdom of God, and the Church is a mother who “can never forget her most deprived children.”

Text from Vatican Radio website 


Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 347

Reading 1         1 PT 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

Responsorial Psalm PS 111:1-2, 5-6, 9 AND 10C

R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel                      MK 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”


ASIA NEWS IT REPORT: A hundred people gathered spontaneously in the station where the massacre took place. The gang raided the station armed with curved swords and meat cleavers and stabbed people randomly. Beijing says the leaders are ethnic Uyghur "separatists", but there is no evidence to support this thesis.

Kunming ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - Last night a hundred people held a candlelight vigil at the train station in Kunming (Yunnan Province), where March 1 last a bloody attack targeted commuters and passengers. Men and women dressed in black and wearing masks assaulted bystanders with curved swords and meat cleavers, instantly killing 29 people and wounding more than 130. The critically injured includes a woman six months pregnant. According to the Chinese authorities ethnic Uyghur "separatists" are responsible for the attack. However, there is still no evidence against them.
The massacre took place at 21:30 on Saturday evening. The Kunming station, in the capital of Yunnan, is one of the largest and busiest in all of China. The police have described the massacre as "a well-organized terrorist attack": The attackers randomly stabbed those present, in the chest , neck and head. Four of them - three men and one woman - were killed on the spot by police. Another woman suspect is under arrest and is in hospital.
More than 100 people participated in a spontaneous vigil last night. A 53 year old man said he was find"very saddened" by what happened, but urged the government to provide answers to the problems in Xinjiang. "No one ever told us why there is so much tension there - said the man - what did our government do to attract so much anger?".
The Uyghur ethnic group lives in the northern autonomous region of Xinjiang, is of the Turkish language and the Muslim faith, and denounces a strong linguistic, cultural and religious repression by the Chinese central government. Over the years there have been numerous violent clashes between the two sides: Beijing argues the region is home to Islamic extremists and separatists, while local activists pointing the finger at ethnic tensions caused by the Chinese control and "racist" policies in implemented by the central government.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the government "will do everything" to clarify what happened and bring the perpetrators to justice. The governments of Russia, France, the United States and Japan have unanimously condemned the attack and expressed their condolences to the victims. Ban Ki- moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, said that " there is no justification for the murder of innocent civilians."

The attack took place a few days before two important appointments for Chinese politics: the opening of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), scheduled for today, and the National People's Congress (NPC, China's parliament), on March 5.

POPE FRANCIS "‘Lord, send us nuns and send us priests, defend them from idolatry, the idolatry of vanity..."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday asked the faithful to pray for vocations, so that God may send priests and nuns whose hearts are for Him only; free from the idolatry of vanity, of power and of wealth.

Speaking during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis took his cue from the Gospel reading of day which tells of a rich man who ran up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. This man – the Pope said – really wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. “He was a good man, a man who had observed the commandments from his youth, but this was not enough for him, he wanted more. The Holy Spirit was pushing him further”. Jesus looked at him, loved him and said to him: ‘Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor; then come, follow me’. At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions: 

“His heart was restless, because the Holy Spirit was pushing him to get closer to Jesus and to follow him. But his heart was full and he lacked the courage to empty it. He made his choice: money. His heart was full of money…. But he was not a thief, or a criminal: no, no, no! He was a good man: he had never stolen! He had never cheated anyone: his money had been earned honestly. But his heart was imprisoned, it was attached to money and he lacked the freedom to choose. Money chose for him”.

How many young people – Pope Francis continued – feel this call to get close to Jesus within their hearts, and they are enthusiastic about it. “They are not ashamed to kneel before Him” and to “publically show their faith in Jesus Christ” and “they want to follow Him, but when their hearts are full of something else and they lack the courage to empty their hearts, they turn back and their joy becomes sadness”. There are many young people today – Pope Francis said – who have a vocation, but sometimes there is something that stops them:

“We must pray so that the hearts of these young people may be emptied, emptied of other interests and other sentiments, so that they may become free. This is the prayer for vocations. ‘Lord, send us nuns and send us priests, defend them from idolatry, the idolatry of vanity, the idolatry of pride, the idolatry of power, the idolatry of money’. This prayer of ours is to prepare these hearts so that they are able to follow Jesus closely”.

The man described in the Gospel reading – the Pope said – is “such a good man and then he is so sad”. Today there are many young people like him. This is why we must pray intensely to God:

“Lord, help these young people so that they may be free, not slaves, so that their hearts be for You only; so that the call of the Lord can be heard and can bear fruit. This is the prayer for vocations. We must pray a lot. But we must be careful: there are vocations. We must help them to grow, so that the Lord can enter into those hearts and give this indescribable and glorious joy that belongs to every person who follows Jesus closely”. 

Text Vatican Radio website 



St. Katharine Drexel
Feast: March 3

Feast Day:March 3
November 26, 1858, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:March 3, 1955, Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
2000 by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
Patron of:philanthropists, racial justice
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. on 26 November 1858, Katharine was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and his wife, Hannah Jane. The latter died a month after Katharine's birth, and two years later her father married Emma Bouvier, who was a devoted mother, not only to her own daughter Louisa (born 1862), but also to her two step-daughters. Both parents instilled into the children by word and example that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.
Katharine was educated privately at home; she travelled widely in the United States and in Europe. Early in life she became aware of the plight of the Native Americans and the Blacks; when she inherited a vast fortune from her father and step-mother, she resolved to devote her wealth to helping these disadvantaged people. In 1885 she established a school for Native Americans at Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Later, during an audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to recommend a religious congregation to staff the institutions which she was financing. The Pope suggested that she herself become a missionary, so in 1889 she began her training in religious life with the Sisters of Mercy at Pittsburgh.
In 1891, with a few companions, Mother Katharine founded the  Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. The title of the community summed up the two great driving forces in her life—devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love for the most deprived people in her country.
Requests for help reached Mother Katharine from various parts of the United States. During her lifetime, approximately 60 schools were opened by her congregation. The most famous foundation was made in 1915; it was Xavier University, New Orleans, the first such institution for Black people in the United States.
In 1935 Mother Katharine suffered a heart attack, and in 1937 she relinquished the office of superior general. Though gradually becoming more infirm, she was able to devote her last years to Eucharistic adoration, and so fulfil her life’s desire. She died at the age of 96 at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, on 3 March 1955. Her cause for beatification was introduced in 1966; she was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on 26 January 1987, by whom she was also beatified on 20 November 1988.



Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 82

Reading 1       IS 49:14-15

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm           PS 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R/ (6a) Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God is my soul at rest;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.
R/ Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R/ Rest in God alone, my soul.
With God is my safety and my glory,
he is the rock of my strength; my refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him.
R/ Rest in God alone, my soul.

Readng 2                        1 COR 4:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Now it is of course required of stewards
that they be found trustworthy.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted;
the one who judges me is the Lord.
Therefore do not make any judgment before the appointed time,
until the Lord comes,
for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts,
and then everyone will receive praise from God.

Gospel             MT 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

POPE FRANCIS “To make sure that no one lacks bread, water, clothing, housing , work..." and prayer appeal for Ukraine and

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis asked for prayers for Ukraine on Sunday, which he said was living through a delicate situation.
The Holy Father expressed the hope that all parts of the country “will endeavour to overcome misunderstandings and build together the future of the nation.”  
The Pope also appealed to the international community “to support any initiative for dialogue and harmony.”
He made the call following the recitation of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square.
Before the Marian prayer and referring to Sunday’s liturgy, the Pope underlined the need to trust in the Divine Providence of God and also stressed as Christians, we should help our brothers and sisters who are in need.
Looking at society today where people live in precarious conditions such as poverty and the difficulties faced by many as a result of the economic crisis that offends their dignity, the Pope said that in times like these the words of Jesus may seem abstract.
But in reality he underlined, these words are more present than ever because they remind us that we cannot serve two masters : God and wealth. As long as everyone tries to accumulate for themselves Pope Francis added, there will never be justice.
The Holy Father went on to say that “A heart occupied by his own desire is an empty one “because Jesus has repeatedly warned the rich, a heart possessed by riches leaves little room for faith.
The Pope noted that “To make sure that no one lacks bread, water, clothing, housing , work, health, we must all recognize that we are children of the Father who is in heaven , and then brothers and sisters” and we should act accordingly as Christians.
Following the recitation of the Angelus prayer the Pope looked towards the beginning of Lent. He described it as a journey of conversion, to combat evil with the weapons of prayer , fasting and mercy .
Pope Francis stressed that humanity needs justice, reconciliation , and peace, and it will only have them by turning to God.
The Holy Father ended by expressing his fraternal solidarity with those who at this time are tested by poverty and violent conflict.

Text from Vatican Radio website 


St. Agnes of Prague
Feast: March 2

Feast Day:March 2
1211, Prague
Died:March 6, 1282, Prague
November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II
Born at Prague in the year 1200; died probably in 1281. She was the daughter of Ottocar, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, a relative of St. Elizabeth. At an early age she was sent to the monastery of Treinitz, where at the hands of the Cistercian religious she received the education that became her rank. She was betrothed to Frederick II, Emperor of Germany; but when the time arrived for the solemnization of the marriage, it was impossible to persuade her to abandon the resolution she had made of consecrating herself to the service of God in the sanctuary of the cloister. The Emperor Frederick was incensed at the unsuccessful issue of his matrimonial venture, but, on learning that St. Agnes had left him to become the spouse of Christ, he is said to have remarked: "If she had left me for a mortal man, I would have taken vengeance with the sword, but I cannot take offence because in preference to me she has chosen the King of Heaven." The servant of God entered the Order of St. Clare in the monastery of St. Saviour at Prague, which she herself had erected. She was elected abbess of the monastery, and became in this office a model of Christian virtue and religious observance for all. God favoured her with the gift of miracles, and she predicted the victory of her brother Wenceslaus over the Duke of Austria. The exact year of her death is not certain; 1281 is the most probable date.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

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