Monday, April 7, 2014

Catholic News World : Mon. April 7, 2014 - Share

Pope Francis "...the work of evangelization begins in the home."

Pope Francis “The Lord has the power to restore life to the dead,”

Pray for Religious Sister Jane Dominic Laurel who gave a Controversial 

Talk - Official Statement


Vatican Radio Pope Francis drew inspiration for his homily on Monday morning, from the Gospel reading that tells of the mercy of Jesus when he does not allow the execution of a woman who was caught in adultery.

Speaking to those present for morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope explained the meaning of the words “he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. 

The reading is well known. It narrates the episode in which the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery. They point out that in the law, Moses commands us to stone such women because adultery is considered a very grave sin.

Marriage – Pope Francis said – is a human reality but it is also a symbol of a faithful relationship between God and his people. When the marriage is spoilt by adultery, he continued, it spoils the relationship with God.

But when the scribes and the Pharisees ask Jesus “what do you say?” they do so to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against Him.

“If Jesus had said: ‘Yes, go ahead and have her stoned’, they would have told the people ‘this is your good and merciful master… just look at what he has done to this poor woman!’ And if Jesus had said: ‘Poor woman! Forgive her!’ they would have said: ‘He does not observe the Law!’…” 

The Pope pointed out that they cared nothing about the woman; “they did not care about adultery, perhaps amongst them there were some adulterers. All they cared about was catching Jesus in a trap”.

And to this – Pope Francis said - Jesus answered: ‘Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her’. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. 

So one can imagine – the Pope observed – that their own records were not that straight.

“So Jesus was left alone with the woman before him and said to her: ‘woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ It is just you and I, alone before God, without accusations, without gossip. You and God! No one has condemned you. She replied: ‘No one, sir’”. But Pope Francis said: “she does not say it was a false accusation! She does not say‘I have not committed adultery’. She recognizes her sin. “Then Jesus said: ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore,’ do not offend God again; do not spoil the beautiful relationship between God and his people”.

“Jesus forgives” – the Pope said – “but here there is something that goes beyond forgiveness.” 

“Jesus goes beyond the law. He does not say: ‘adultery is not a sin!’ But he does not condemn it according to law”. This – the Pope said – “is the mystery of mercy. It is the mystery of the mercy of Jesus”.

And the Pope said that when he is asked whether mercy removes sins, he answers that it is God’s forgiveness that removes sins: “mercy is the way in which God forgives our sins”.

This biblical episode – Pope Francis said – shows us Jesus’s merciful attitude when he advises the woman not to sin again and to go in peace. “He defends the sinner from her enemies; he defends her against a just condemnation”. 

“How many of us” – the Pope said – “should perhaps go to hell? And the condemnation would be just… but He forgives and goes beyond. How? With this mercy!”

“Mercy” – Pope Francis said – “goes beyond in such a way that sin is put to the side. It is like heaven”:

“We look at the sky, there are many, many stars; but when the sun rises in the morning, the light is such that we can’t see the stars. God’s mercy is like that: a great light of love and tenderness. God forgives us, not with a decree, but with his love, healing the wounds of sin. Because He is involved in forgiveness, He is involved in our salvation. So when Jesus acts as confessor to the woman he does not humiliate her, he does not say: ‘What have you done? When did you do it? How did you do it? With whom did you do it?’ No! He says: ‘Go and do not sin again!’. God’s mercy is great, Jesus’s mercy is great. Forgive us and heal us!”

Text from  Vatican Radio website 

Pope Francis "...the work of evangelization begins in the home."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has reaffirmed the importance of the Church’s work of evangelization in Africa, saying that lay and religious must “foster this missionary imperative” that has roots in the past but continues “every day in the Church’s pastoral work.”In a discourse to Bishops of Tanzania whom he received Monday in audience in the Vatican, the Pope spoke of the evangelical nature of the Church’s work in parishes, the liturgy, the sacraments, education, health care, catechesis and “in the lives of ordinary Christians.” The bishops from this east African country are here on an ad limina visit to the tomb of St. Peter. In greeting them, Pope Francis said “the great challenge” facing the faithful in Tanzania today is in giving “compelling witness” to the loving redemption offered by Jesus Christ. In particular, the Holy Father pointed to the witness given by Catholic healthcare workers, in caring for the sick, “not least” those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and “by all who strive diligently to educate people in the area of sexual responsibility and chastity.” He also drew attention to those who work for the “integral development of the poor,” especially “destitute women and children.”

He challenged the bishops to ensure that priests “receive an adequate human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation” from the seminary onwards.

The Pope called the role of the lay faithful in evangelization ”indispensable” and noted the “particularly outstanding” work of lay men and women catechists. He urged the bishops to make sure they have a comprehensive understanding of the Church’s doctrine not only to be able to share their faith with others, but also to equip them to counter “challenges of superstition, aggressive sects and secularism.”

The Pope recalled that evangelization “begins in the home” and the need for an “energetic apostolate to the family.” “By promoting prayer, marital fidelity, monogamy, purity and humble service of one another within families,” the Pope said, the Church continues to make an invaluable contribution to the social welfare of Tanzania.” This, together with its other apostolates, he said, “will surely foster greater stability and progress” in the country.

On the subject of religious tolerance, Pope Francis said he is “particularly encouraged” by Tanzania’s commitment to ensuring religious freedom for followers of various religions and called for protection and promotion of this “fundamental human right.”

He thanked the bishops for their “ongoing efforts to promote forgiveness, peace and dialogue” even in times of intolerance, violence and persecution, and urged them to work with the government and civic institutions “to ensure that the rule of law prevails.”

Below please find the full text of the Pope’s discourse to Tanzanian bishops:
Dear Brother Bishops, 
I offer you a warm fraternal welcome on the occasion of your visit ad Limina Apostolorum, which is an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of communion between the Church in Tanzania and the See of Peter. I thank Archbishop Ngalalekumtwa for his thoughtful words offered on your behalf and in the name of the priests, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful of your country. I would ask you kindly to assure them of my prayers and spiritual closeness. 

The Church in Tanzania is blessed with many gifts for which we must all give thanks to God. I think, in the first place, of the impressive history of missionary work throughout the region. Arriving with a desire to make “the name above every other name” (Phil 2:9) known and loved, these Spirit-filled evangelizers laid a firm foundation for the Church which has inspired subsequent generations in their efforts to proclaim the Gospel and build up the Body of Christ. In our own day too, missionary outreach must be “paradigmatic for all the Church’s activity” (Evangelii Gaudium, 15). Building upon the zeal and sacrifices of the first evangelizers, you must always maintain and foster this missionary imperative, so that the Gospel may increasingly permeate every work of the apostolate and shed its light on all areas of Tanzanian society. In this way, a new and dynamic chapter in the great missionary and evangelical history of your country will be written. 

The work of evangelization in Tanzania, then, is not merely a remarkable event of the past; no, it happens every day in the Church’s pastoral work in parishes, in the liturgy, in the reception of the sacraments, the educational apostolate, health care initiatives, catechesis, and in the lives of ordinary Christians. It is carried out whenever faithful believers stir up the minds and hearts of those who, for whatever reason, are weak in living out the grace of the Gospel. It happens above all – through words and through integrity of life – by proclaiming Jesus Christ crucified and risen to those who do not know the joy that comes from loving him and surrendering their lives to him. This is the great challenge facing God’s people in Tanzania in our day: to give a compelling witness to the loving redemption of humanity by Jesus Christ experienced and celebrated by the community of believers in the Church. 

Here I think in a special way of the witness of missionary discipleship (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 119-120) given by workers in the Church’s healthcare apostolate, not least in caring for those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and by all who strive diligently to educate people in the area of sexual responsibility and chastity. I also think of all those who devote themselves to the integral development of the poor, and in particular, of destitute women and children. May the Holy Spirit who gave strength, wisdom and holiness to the first missionaries in Tanzania continue to inspire the entire local Church in this vital witness. 

Because of the critical importance of their ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing Christ’s flock, the need for holy, well-educated and zealous priests is always great. I join you in expressing gratitude and encouragement for the ministry of your priests. The sacrifices they make, known often only to God, are a source of much grace and holiness. It is your urgent responsibility, as their fathers and brothers in Christ, to ensure that priests receive an adequate human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation – not only in the seminary, but throughout their lives (cf. Pastores Dabo Vobis, 43-59). This will enable them to give themselves more fully to the priestly ministry in fidelity to the promises made at their ordination. This formation must be ongoing; only through daily conversion and growth in pastoral charity will they mature as effective agents of spiritual renewal and Christian unity in their parishes and, like Jesus, gather people together “from every tribe and tongue” (Rev 7:9) for the praise and glory of God the Father. As men of deep wisdom and genuine spiritual leaders, priests will be a source of inspiration for their flock, and draw many young men to respond generously to the Lord’s call to serve his people in the priesthood. 

The indispensable role of the lay faithful in the ongoing evangelization of your country was clearly brought out by two recent ecclesial events: the National Eucharistic Congress of 2012 and the Seminar held to close the Year of Faith. I appreciate your efforts to promote events such as these, which contribute greatly to strengthening the faith among the People of God in Tanzania. A particularly outstanding exercise of the lay apostolate is that of the men and women catechists in your country who labour to pass on the Gospel and the fullness of the Christian life. In your service to the local Church, make every effort to provide catechists with a comprehensive understanding of the Church’s doctrine. This will equip them not only to counter the challenges of superstition, aggressive sects and secularism, but even more importantly, to share the beauty and richness of the Catholic faith with others, particularly the young. In fidelity to the mission received at baptism, each member of the Church will then be able to renew the Church and society as a leaven from within. As well-formed lay disciples, they will know how to “imbue culture and human works with a moral value” (Lumen Gentium, 36), something greatly needed in our own time. 

Dear brothers, the work of evangelization begins in the home. The gift that healthy families represent is felt with particular vitality in Africa. Moreover, the Church’s love for, and pastoral solicitude towards the family is at the heart of the new evangelization. As you know, I have called a Synod devoted to the family later this year, the pastoral care of which was a central concern of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops in 2009. May our encounter today be an incentive to review your common response to that Synod’s call for a more energetic apostolate to the family, through uncompromising and selfless spiritual and material assistance (cf. Africae Munus, 43). By promoting prayer, marital fidelity, monogamy, purity and humble service of one another within families, the Church continues to make an invaluable contribution to the social welfare of Tanzania, one which, coupled with her educational and healthcare apostolates, will surely foster greater stability and progress in your country. There is scarcely a finer service which the Church can offer than to give witness to our conviction of the sanctity of God’s gift of life and to the essential role played by spiritual and stable families in preparing the younger generations to live virtuous lives and to face the challenges of the future with wisdom, courage and generosity. 

I am particularly encouraged to know that Tanzania is committed to ensuring the freedom that followers of various religions enjoy to practice their faith. The ongoing protection and promotion of this fundamental human right strengthens society by enabling believers, in fidelity to the dictates of their conscience and in respect for the dignity and rights of all, to advance social unity, peace and the common good. I am grateful for your ongoing efforts to promote forgiveness, peace and dialogue as you shepherd your people in difficult situations of intolerance and, at times, of violence and persecution. Your prayerful and united leadership – which is already bearing fruit as you confront these challenges together – will continue to show the path to those entrusted to your pastoral care and to the wider society. I urge you also to work with government and civic institutions in this area so as to ensure that the rule of law prevails as an indispensable means for guaranteeing just and pacific social relations. I pray that your example, and that of the entire Church in your country, will continue to inspire all people of good will who long for peace. 

With these thoughts, dear brother Bishops, I commend all of you to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and with great affection I impart my Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to all the beloved priests, religious and lay faithful of your country. 
From the Vatican, 7 April 2014 

Text from Vatican Radio website 

Pope Francis “The Lord has the power to restore life to the dead,”

(Vatican Radio) Thousands of people in Rome’s working class Magliana neighbourhood welcomed Pope Francis on Sunday evening to the parish of San Gregorio Magno. The streets were filled with people, many holding signs greeting the Pope in Roman dialect, still spoken daily in the neighbourhood. The Pope spent three hours at the parish, and began is visit by meeting young people in a soccer field, where he emphasized hope.Pope Francis told them they could not live without hope, which drives people to be creative, to have children, to work. He said it’s not always easy to have hope today: “you see so many terrible things, sickness, unemployment”. The Holy Father said hope is a gift from God, and if you take away hope, then young people lose their faith and lose their way. 

Pope Francis also met with the old and infirm, and told them to offer their suffering with Jesus on the Cross.

In a meeting with ex-convicts and former drug addicts, the Holy Father reminded them the Lord is not just at Church, but also in their own frailty. He said the best place to find Jesus in in “places of human weakness”. He also lamented the culture of waste, pointing out as an example the killing of unborn children in their mother’s womb.

The Holy Father heard confessions before celebrating Mass, where the Gospel was the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead.

“All of us have some parts …of our heart that are not alive, that are a bit dead,” Pope Francis said. “Only the power of Jesus can help us come out of these tombs of sin is in each and every one of us. But sometimes we are too attached to these tombs and are reluctant to leave them. This is when our soul starts to stink; this is the stench of sin.” 

He said the promise of the Gospel of the Day was that Jesus would open these tombs and let us out.

“The Lord has the power to restore life to the dead,” said Pope Francis. “Do we have the strength to hear what Jesus said to Lazarus: Come out?”

The Holy Father said we must contemplate our attachment to sin, and avoid becoming corrupt by seeking the forgiveness of the Lord.

The Pope had pocketsize books of the Gospels handed out at the Mass, just as he did at the Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square earlier in the day. He repeated his request that the Gospels be carried at all times, and be read during any available moment, such as waiting in line or on the bus, but only “when you are not busy watching your pockets.”

Text from Vatican Radio website 

Funeral Homily for Pro-Life Catholic Killed Nathan Trapuzzano

Nathan Trapuzzano, a 24-year-old man newly married, and expecting his first child, was killed a few days ago in Indianapolis.Nathan was a loving husband and a pro-lifer and sidewalk counselor. A fund was set up up to support his wife and unborn child.
FULL TEXT HOMILY by Fr. Christopher Roberts
We begin with a very practical note. We celebrate a Solemn Requiem Mass at the request of Nathan’s wife, Jennifer, who indicated this would have been what Nathan wanted. This form of the Mass, even for practicing Catholics, can be a bit confusing. Like any Mass, we focus in this Solemn Requiem on the re-presentation of the One Sacrifice of the Incarnate Son of God on Calvary and His presence, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under the appearance of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist. This form of the Mass invites us to participate in this great mystery of Our Lord’s presence and sacrifice principally through contemplation and adoration. Holy Communion will be offered only under one species, kneeling and on the tongue, not the hand, at the communion rail. It is not customary to make any response when one receives Holy Communion. If you are not accustomed to receive the Eucharist in this manner, observing others doing so can be a great help.
 We welcome all those who are not practicing Catholics or who are ill-disposed to receive the Eucharist and invite them to remain in their pews and lift their minds and hearts by a spiritual communion with Almighty God when others are receiving the Holy Eucharist. When Nathan asked me about a year ago which parish I thought would be a good one for him and Jennifer to attend after they settled in Indianapolis, I would have never imagined that when I put Holy Rosary on the top of the list I would be preaching at his funeral here before he had the chance to celebrate his first anniversary. Today is a heart-rending day for all of us.
 There is so much that we could say and so much that has already been said about Nathan in the past week. We could reflect at length about his involvement in the pro-life movement and how he would pray rosaries in front of the abortion clinic near his home in the hope that his prayers would save the lives of little unborn babies. We could share stories about his great love for his wife Jennifer and his soon-to-be born daughter Cecilia. We could reminisce about Nathan’s intelligence, goodness and deceivingly keen sense of humor. We could marvel about the tremendous outpouring of goodwill that Nathan’s murder has created. But rather than focus on these very worthy themes, we will focus today on forgiveness. We do so because Nathan Trapuzzano was a man who knew from his head to his toes that he was a sinner who was loved and forgiven by God. He wanted everyone he met to know the same love and forgiveness. I believe that he still does. His friends report that during his college years he went to confession very frequently, even weekly, so that he could become more and more the man that God had created him to be. Less than a year ago when I celebrated his wedding Mass, he asked me to hear the confessions of all of the Catholics in the wedding party after the rehearsal.
 While I cannot remember his exact words, they were something like, “Father, don’t be surprised if some of them have not been to confession in a very long time.” His wife Jennifer wanted everyone to know that celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation was one of the last things that Nathan did, going to confession a day before he died earlier this week. We know Nathan to have been an exceptionally good person. Why then, we might ask, did he confess his sins to a priest so frequently? This special young man went to confession so often because he had a deep desire to love others with the love of the heart of Jesus and would stop at nothing until he did. He didn’t just want to be good as the world reckons it; he wanted to be like Jesus. He wanted to love others with a pure and humble heart. One of the most important aspects of having such a heart is being able to forgive unconditionally. Nathan knew that the best way to learn how to do that was to ask for such forgiveness for himself. He prayed the Our Father frequently and asked, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is not looking at an evil and being too cowardly to call it evil. Nor is forgiveness acting as if something that is a big deal really is not. Rather forgiveness looks at something done that is evil and recognizes it as evil, comes to a sober conclusion about the extent to which the guilty party is responsible and then extends love to the offender and hopes for repentance and change of heart. Our Blessed Lord teaches us what forgiveness is from the Cross when He says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He looked squarely at the crime being committed, namely the execution of an innocent man who also happened to be God in the flesh, and recognized that what was happening was an unspeakable injustice. He knew that those killing Him did not have full knowledge of what they were doing, which diminished their guilt. Most importantly, Our Lord did not withhold His love from His executioners, but desired their repentance and return to communion with His Father. Nathan would have wanted everyone here to know something in our bones. Each one of us here is loved with an infinite, personal and unconditional love by a merciful God. There is nothing that we can do that God will not forgive. We can refuse to accept that mercy, but God will never stop extending it. God loves each one of us more than we can ever know. He wants nothing more than for us to return to Him and let Him fix His merciful eyes on us and say, “You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter, in whom I am well-pleased.”
 He wants to run out to meet us just as we decide to come back to Him, to embrace us and to shower us with kisses. This is true no matter how grievous our sins are. We cannot be certain exactly what was going through Nathan’s mind in the last moments of his life. But as one who knew Nathan’s soul well as a priest, I believe that he would have desired to do God’s will with all his heart, just as he sought to do throughout the entire time that I knew him. For myself, I have little doubt that as his soul drew near to his particular judgment on Tuesday morning, perhaps even after he had passed out of consciousness, Nathan forgave his murderers. That was the kind of man that I knew him to be. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they have done.” Like some of us here, I met Nathan when he was a parishioner at Saint Francis in Muncie. The last lines of the Prayer of Saint Francis capture the Christian mystery that gives us hope today: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;/ and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
 Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
Released by Fr. C. Roberts

Archbishop puts $2.2 million Mansion up for sale - Official Releaase

ATLANTA - Archbishop Gregory announced today that he will vacate the residence in early May and move into another available Archdiocesan property, excluding the former residence.
“After consultation with the members who were available to attend from the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Archdiocesan Finance Council, and the Council of Priests, and hundreds of well-meaning parishioners of differing points of view some who sent written observations, as well as my own personal reflection and prayer, I have decided to sell the Habersham property and invest the proceeds from that sale into the needs of the Catholic community”, stated Archbishop Gregory.
He continued, “In early May, I will vacate the house. At this time we are considering a number of locations including another Archdiocesan property excluding the former residence”.
“I want to thank those parishioners whose prayers, counsel and concern brought this issue to light and ensured that their Archbishop was properly attuned to the important symbolism of simple actions and the challenges faced by many of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Atlanta”, stated Archbishop Gregory.
He continued, “We are now at the close of the Lenten season preparing for Easter.  I pray for the peace of our Lord to be in our hearts, in our families, and in our world.”
The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council is a multicultural group of young, middle-aged and older adults who are lay people (not clerics), representing small, mid-size and large parishes. They work with the archbishop to address religious, social and economic issues related to pastoral concerns within the archdiocese.
The Archdiocesan Finance Council is composed of some 15 laypeople experienced in finance, civil law and general business matters, as well as six priests.
The Council of Priests is composed of over 30 priests of the archdiocese. By canon law they represent all of the priests and assist the archbishop in fulfilling his role as chief pastor.
In his column, What I’ve Seen and Heard, on Monday, Archbishop Gregory expressed his desire “to move deliberately forward and to do a better job of listening than I did before”.
Shared from Archdiocese of Atlanta

Pray for Religious Sister Jane Dominic Laurel who gave a Controversial Talk - Official Statement

A religious sister from the Nashville Dominicans gave a lecture on same-sex attraction and divorce at a Catholic high school in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Sister Jane Dominic Laurel talked about the causes of homosexuality, saying it was not inborn but likely the cause of psychological factors using data from Linacre Quarterly, a Catholic Medical Association Journal.  It is reported Sister Laurel Sister Laurel holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of the Angelicum in Rome, where St. Thomas Aquinas attended. Sister Laurel has given similar talks over the country. Much of what Sister Laurel spoke about comes directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. A school assembly to address the nun’s remarks drew more than 1,000 parents.The head of Aquinas College where Sister Laurel teaches apologized to parents for her remarks. Sister Laurel has withdrawn from her scheduled appearance at the Diocese of Charlotte annual youth conference scheduled for May in Asheville and will take a sabbatical from teaching.
Here is the Official Statement of the College:


April 04, 2014
From Sister Mary Sarah, O.P., President of Aquinas College:
The events around the recent talk by Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, O.P. in Charlotte, NC have produced a great deal of speculation from many sides. Among the commentators, there are few who were actually present to hear the talk, which was not recorded.
It is the firm belief of Aquinas College that all men and women are created in God’s image and likeness and are made with a capacity to love and be loved. The College supports the Catholic Church’s teachings which are open to the diverse needs and desires of all, which must be considered in light of eternal truths.
We support and affirm that every man and woman, regardless of his or her state in life, deserves respect, and that the health of any culture is gauged according to the capacity of its members to uphold their own beliefs while respecting the beliefs of others. The College’s patron, St. Thomas Aquinas, was known for his ability to thoughtfully consider all things and retain what is true, regardless of the source of that truth.
We believe it is our privilege to bring the best aspects of our faith tradition to bear on the moral and cultural questions of the present age. In her presentation, Sister Jane Dominic spoke clearly on matters of faith and morals. Her deviation into realms of sociology and anthropology was beyond the scope of her expertise. Sister is a trained theologian from a Pontifical University and has the credentials to contribute to scholarly bodies of work. This she has done in the past with distinction. The unfortunate events at Charlotte Catholic High School are not representative of the quality of Sister’s academic contributions or the positive influence that she has had on her students. The students at Charlotte Catholic were unprepared, as were their parents, for the topic that Sister was asked to deliver. The consequence was a complete misrepresentation of the school’s intention to bring a message that would enlighten and bring freedom and peace.
There are no words that are able to reverse the harm that has been caused by these comments. The community of Aquinas College is saddened by this extreme outcome and wishes to reiterate that this is not something the College condones or desires to create. There is division where there should be unity. The events and discussions that have transpired over the last two weeks reflect that there is something in this that surpasses an ordinary high school assembly.
Sister Jane Dominic has cancelled her speaking engagements and, at her request, is preparing to begin a sabbatical from teaching at Aquinas College. It is our sincere hope that the community of Charlotte Catholic High School will soon begin a process of healing and renewal, and that all who have been affected by this event will be drawn into profound reconciliation as we approach this great season that commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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St. John Baptist de la Salle
Feast: April 7

Feast Day:April 7
Born:1651 at Rheims, France
Died:1719 at Rouen, France
Canonized:24 May 1900 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:Sanctuary of John Baptist de La Salle, Casa Generalizia, Rome, Italy.
Patron of:educators, school principals, teachers
This saint is the patron of teachers, his great achievement having been to provide a system of education for the common people at a time when the poor were grossly neglected; not mercy by founding charity schools, a cling which had been attempted countless times before only to end in repeated failure, but by creating a body of trained teachers, and thus setting them on the only possible basis which guaranteed success.
It was not by inclination, but solely by chance chat he was led to take up this work. Indeed his family background and early training seemed hardly to have prepared him for it. Born in Rheims on April 30th, 1651, the eldest son of an aristocratic family, he inherited the rank and fortune of his parents, which set a gulf between him and the teeming masses of the poor. At sixteen, while he was pursuing a course of classical studies at the College des Bons Enfants, he became a canon of Rheims, and seemed to be marked out for a successful career in the church. He subsequently studied at Saint Sulpice and the Sorbonne for the priesthood, and was ordained at the age of twenty-seven. Up to this point nothing denoted what his mission was to be, and he himself had no inkling of it. But it was shortly after this that he was asked to co-operate in establishing some charity schools in his native town, and this led him to take charge of the teachers, to bring them into his own home and to train them. Little by little he became further involved in the work until he began to realize that everything pointed to his being the chosen instrument of Providence for the creation of a system of Christian education for the poor, whose ignorance and depravity were the disgrace of this 'splendid century', so remarkable for its achievements in every other sphere.
As he had made the will of God the guiding principle of his life, he decided to give himself up completely to this task, resigning his canonry and giving away his fortune in order to be on the same footing as the teachers with whom he lived. In so doing he aroused the anger of his relatives and incurred the derision of his class-minded compatriots, but this in no way made him alter his resolution. In 1684 he transformed his group of schoolmasters into a religious community, under the name of Brothers of the Christian Schools, and this was the origin of the order which continues to this day and is spread all over the world. So chat his order might confine itself solely to the work of teaching, he laid down that no brother might become a priest and that no priest might join the order. This rule is still observed. The first years were marked by poverty and hardship, but these were cheerfully endured, thanks to the  example of self-abnegation and extraordinary power of leadership shown by de la Salle, who vowed chat he would live on bread alone, if necessary, rather than abandon the work he had begun.
The religious and professional training of his brothers became his chief care, but he saw that he would never be able to satisfy all the requests he received for teachers unless he undertook the formation of secular schoolmasters as well, so he organized a training college for some forty youths in Rheims in 1687; the first instance of such an institution in the history of education.
After opening schools in a number of neighboring towns, in addition to chose in Rheims itself, he went to Paris in 1683 to take over a school in the parish of St. Sulpice, and there he established his headquarters. In the capital his work spread rapidly, and before long the brothers were teaching over 1,100 pupils. In Paris, too, he founded another training college, with a charity school attached, and organized a Sunday academy, or continuation school for youths already employed. When the exiled monarch, James II, entrusted fifty Irish youths to his care, he arranged for special courses to be given them to suit their needs.
The scope of his work was now such that it aroused the bitter antagonism of the writing masters and the teachers of the Little Schools, who saw their fee-paying pupils drifting into his free schools, and they brought law-suits against him. His schools were pillaged, and he found himself condemned and forbidden to open training colleges or charity schools anywhere in the Paris area. As a result he was excluded for a time from the capital, but by now his brothers were established in other localities, notably in Rouen, Avignon and Chartres, so that the decrees against him failed to ruin his work. Indeed from this time on, his communities multiplied all over France: in Marseilles, Calais, Boulogne, Mende, Grenoble, Troyes and other places. In Rouen he founded two important institutions: a fee-paying boarding school for the sons of bourgeois, who desired an education superior to that of the primary school but more practical than that of the 'classical' colleges; and a reformatory school for youthful delinquents and young men detained under Both proved very successful, and were significant forerunners of modern institutions of a similar kind.
In 1709 he established a third training college, at St. Den, but this lasted only a couple of years, after which it had to be closed as a result of an unfortunate law-suit.
De la Salle spent the last years of his life in Rouen, completing the organization of his institute, writing the Rule of the brothers in its definitive form, and composing and a On Good Friday, April 9th, 1718, he died.
His brothers, already established in twenty-two towns of France and in Rome, now expanded their work rapidly. In 1725 they received a bull of approbation of their institute from the pope and letters patent from the king granting them legal recognition. The Revolution ruined their work in France, but they were by now established in Switzerland and Italy, so that they were able to survive this catastrophe and returned to France when more favorable conditions prevailed under Napoleon. Today they number over 15,000 and conduct educational institutions of every kind all over the world. In the United States alone there are some 2,000 brothers in five different Provinces.
De la Salle's pedagogical system is outlined in , which he composed in 1695, and which is now considered an educational classic. It shows clearly his practical turn of mind and his essentially religious approach to the education of children. He wrote also several school manuals, notably and , which proved very popular and went through over a hundred editions.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

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