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Friday, May 9, 2014

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2014


Pope Francis "...our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death." to UN

Pope Francis “There is so much need of priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who, gripped by the love of Christ..." to Pontifical Missions

Pope Francis "...witness to the unity of the People of God born of faith in Jesus Christ." to Bishops of Ethiopia

2014

Pope Francis "...our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death." to UN

(Vatican Radio ) Pope Francis met with executives from the United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Friday, led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Speaking to the men and women who manage the UN’s vast network of humanitarian offices, he urged them to challenge “all forms of injustice” and resist the “economy of exclusion”, the “throwaway culture” and the “culture of death” which nowadays – he said – “sadly risk becoming passively accepted”.
Reflecting on the UN’s target for Future Sustainable Development Goals, he questioned whether in today’s world, a spirit of solidarity and sharing guide all our thoughts and actions:

“Future Sustainable Development Goals must therefore be formulated and carried out with generosity and courage, so that they can have a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family, which is an essential element in sustainable human and social development”. 

The Pope also pointed the executives to the Gospel story of Zacchaeus the Tax collector, as an example of how it’s never too late to correct injustice

“Today, in concrete terms, an awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death must lead us to share with complete freedom the goods which God’s providence has placed in our hands, material goods but also intellectual and spiritual ones, and to give back generously and lavishly whatever we may have earlier unjustly refused to others”.

Below please find the full text of Pope Francis’ address to the UN delegation
Mr Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you, Mr Secretary-General and the leading executive officers of the Agencies, Funds and Programmes of the United Nations and specialized Organizations, as you gather in Rome for the biannual meeting for strategic coordination of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board.
It is significant that today’s meeting takes place shortly after the solemn canonization of my predecessors, Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. The new saints inspire us by their passionate concern for integral human development and for understanding between peoples. This concern was concretely expressed by the numeous visits of John Paul II to the Organizations headquartered in Rome and by his travels to New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi and The Hague.
I thank you, Mr Secretary-General, for your cordial words of introduction. I thank all of you, who are primarily responsible for the international system, for the great efforts being made to ensure world peace, respect for human dignity, the protection of persons, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and harmonious economic and social development.
The results of the Millennium Development Goals, especially in terms of education and the decrease in extreme poverty, confirm the value of the work of coordination carried out by this Chief Executives Board. At the same time, it must be kept in mind that the world’s peoples deserve and expect even greater results.
An essential principle of management is the refusal to be satisfied with current results and to press forward, in the conviction that those gains are only consolidated by working to achieve even more. In the case of global political and economic organization, much more needs to be achieved, since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens. Future Sustainable Development Goals must therefore be formulated and carried out with generosity and courage, so that they can have a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family, which is an essential element in sustainable human and social development. Specifically, this involves challenging all forms of injustice and resisting the “economy of exclusion”, the “throwaway culture” and the “culture of death” which nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted.
With this in mind, I would like to remind you, as representatives of the chief agencies of global cooperation, of an incident which took place two thousand years ago and is recounted in the Gospel of Saint Luke (19:1-10). It is the encounter between Jesus Christ and the rich tax collector Zacchaeus, as a result of which Zacchaeus made a radical decision of sharing and justice, because his conscience had been awakened by the gaze of Jesus. This same spirit should be at the beginning and end of all political and economic activity. The gaze, often silent, of that part of the human family which is cast off, left behind, ought to awaken the conscience of political and economic agents and lead them to generous and courageous decisions with immediate results, like the decision of Zacchaeus. Does this spirit of solidarity and sharing guide all our thoughts and actions?
Today, in concrete terms, an awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death must lead us to share with complete freedom the goods which God’s providence has placed in our hands, material goods but also intellectual and spiritual ones, and to give back generously and lavishly whatever we may have earlier unjustly refused to others.
The account of Jesus and Zacchaeus teaches us that above and beyond economic and social systems and theories, there will always be a need to promote generous, effective and practical openness to the needs of others. Jesus does not ask Zacchaeus to change jobs nor does he condemn his financial activity; he simply inspires him to put everything, freely yet immediately and indisputably, at the service of others. Consequently, I do not hesitate to state, as did my predecessors (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42-43; Centesimus Annus, 43; BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 6; 24-40), that equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level. A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.
Consequently, while encouraging you in your continuing efforts to coordinate the activity of the international agencies, which represents a service to all humanity, I urge you to work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded.
Invoking divine guidance on the work of your Board, I also implore God’s special blessing for you, Mr Secretary-General, for the Presidents, Directors and Secretaries General present among us, and for all the personnel of the United Nations and the other international Agencies and Bodies, and their respective families.
Text from page  Vatican Radio website 

Today's Mass Online : Friday May 9, 2014

Friday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 277


Reading 1ACTS 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm PS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel JN 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Pope Francis “There is so much need of priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who, gripped by the love of Christ..." to Pontifical Missions

(Vatican Radio) “There is so much need of priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who, gripped by the love of Christ, are set ablaze with passion for the Kingdom of God and willing to put themselves on the path of evangelization”, said Pope Francis Friday morning as he received members of the Pontifical Missions Society in audience at the end of their annual assembly.
He noted: “In this time of great social change, evangelization requires a thoroughly outgoing missionary Church, capable of discernment in order to engage with different cultures and visions of man . For a changing world we need a Church renewed and transformed by contemplation and personal contact with Christ, by the power of the Spirit”.

The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, the Holy Childhood Association and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. The Pope specifically asks the Pontifical Mission Societies to help bring the messages of Christ to the world, especially in countries where Christianity is new, young or poor. The societies care for and support the younger churches until they are able to be self-sufficient.

Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s speech to the Pontifical Mission Societies:
Your Eminence,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters ,
I welcome the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies and collaborators of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. I thank Cardinal Fernando Filoni , and all of you who work at the service of the Church's mission to bring the Gospel to people in every part of the Earth.

With the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium I wanted to invite all the faithful to a new season of evangelization; and in our time the missio ad gentes is the driving force of this fundamental dynamism of the Church. The anxiety to evangelize at the "peripheries", witnessed by holy and generous missionaries, helps all communities to realize an effective pastoral outreach , a renewal of structures and activities. Missionary activity is paradigmatic for all the Church’s activity. ( cf. Evangelii gaudium , 15) .


In this time of great social change, evangelization requires a thoroughly outgoing missionary Church, capable of discernment in order to engage with different cultures and visions of man . For a changing world we need a Church renewed and transformed by contemplation and personal contact with Christ, by the power of the Spirit. The Spirit of Christ, is the source of renewal, which helps us to us find new ways, new creative methods, various forms of expression for the evangelization of the world today. It is He who gives us the strength to undertake the journey and the joy of the missionary journey, so that the light of Christ enlighten those who still do not know or refused . For this we require the courage to "to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel" (Evangelii gaudium , 21) . We cannot be held back by our weaknesses, or our sins, nor the many obstacles to the witness and proclamation of the Gospel. It is the experience of the encounter with the Lord Jesus that motivates us and gives us the joy of proclaiming Him to all nations.

The Church is missionary by its very nature, its fundamental prerogative is the service of charity to all. Universal brotherhood and solidarity are connatural to its life and mission in the world and for the world. Evangelization, which must reach everyone, however, is called to begin with the least, the poor, those whose backs are bent under the weight and strain of life. In so doing, the Church prolongs the mission of Christ himself, who "came so that they may have life and have it abundantly " (Jn 10:10). The Church is the people of the Beatitudes , the home of the poor, the afflicted , the excluded and persecuted those who hunger and thirst for justice. You are asked to work so that the ecclesial communities know how to welcome the poor with preferential love, keeping the doors of the church open so all may enter and find shelter.

The Pontifical Mission Societies are the privileged instrument which generously reminds us of anfd cares for the missio ad gentes. For this I turn to you as leaders and formators of missionary awareness in the local churches: with patient perseverance, promote our shared missionary responsibility. There is so much need of priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who, gripped by the love of Christ, are set ablaze with passion for the Kingdom of God and willing to put themselves on the path of evangelization.


I thank you for your valuable service, dedicated to spreading the Kingdom of God, to seeing that the love and light of Christ reach all corners of the Earth. May Mary, the Mother of the living Gospel, always accompany you on your journey to support evangelization. You will be accompanied by my blessing for you and your collaborators.


Text from Vatican Radio website 

Pope Francis "...witness to the unity of the People of God born of faith in Jesus Christ." to Bishops of Ethiopia

(Vatican Radio) The Church in Ethiopia Eritrea, is a unique example of “witness to the unity of the People of God”, which though from different countries and different rites, “each with its own particular richness”, share the same mission of service of Christ and his Church.

This was the focus of Pope Francis address to the bishops from Ethiopia and Eritrea, on their Ad Limina pilgrimage to the Threshold of the Apostles. 


Below please find the full text of Pope Francis’ address to the bishops
Dear Brother Bishops,
I offer you a warm welcome on the occasion of your Visit ad Limina Apostolorum, as you come on pilgrimage to pray at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul. This is a joyful occasion, for your presence strengthens your bonds of love and communion with the Successor of Peter. I trust that these days of reflection and prayer may be a source of refreshment for you, and that they may deepen the ties of your friendship in Jesus Christ and your fraternal cooperation in the service of the Gospel. I wish to offer a particular word of appreciation to Archbishop Souraphiel for his greeting offered in your name and that of the faithful of your local Churches. I ask that you convey my greeting to all of them and offer the assurance of my deep affection and spiritual closeness.

Your visit also provides an opportunity for us to reflect together on the life of the Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea and to discuss the joys and challenges which you face daily. Though you are from different countries and belong to different rites, each with its own particular richness, your mission in service of Christ and his Church is the same: to proclaim the Gospel and to build up the faithful in holiness, unity and charity. When that mission is exercised in collaboration and mutual support, the Church, united in the Spirit, breathes with the two lungs of East and West and burns with love for Christ (cf. Apostolic Constitution Sacri Canones). I am grateful for all that you do to demonstrate this collegial communion which is itself a witness to the unity of the People of God born of faith in Jesus Christ. 

That faith, present in your lands from the earliest days of the Church (cf. Acts 8:26-40), has been nourished and renewed throughout the years by devoted missionaries who, compelled by their love of Christ, proclaimed the Gospel so that “all who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor 5:15). In our own day, we require again this missionary spirit to announce the saving message of new life in Christ to all of society, not only to those who do not know him, but also to the faithful, so they may hear once more the freshness of the Gospel and be encouraged to find ever new and creative ways to live and celebrate their faith (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 11). 

This great task of evangelization, entrusted to you as successors of the Apostles, is one which you carry out above all in communion with your priests. I join you in gratitude for the priests serving your local Churches, both those raised up from among your communities and those who have come as missionaries. Through their sacramental ministry and preaching, as well as their charitable works, these priests make visible the presence of Christ and manifest his love for humanity. If they are to be holy and effective heralds of the Gospel, however, it is essential that they themselves be constantly evangelized anew. This should first take place in the seminary through integral human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. Such formation will help to instil in the priests a lifelong love of prayer, learning and self-sacrifice. But they also need your active interest in their lives and ministry. I urge you to be good and generous fathers to your priests, present to them and attentive to their human and spiritual needs, and their ongoing formation in the priesthood. In addition, it is important that a true fraternity among the priests be fostered so that they may accompany one another in their ministry and bear one another’s burdens. In such a way, they will be able to respond more generously to the grace of God in their lives and give witness to the joy of Christian discipleship. 

The mission of the Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea has been advanced by the support of so many men and women religious who, for many generations, have generously cooperated in building up your local communities. Many have left their own homelands and families to come to the horn of Africa to join local religious in teaching the young, caring for the sick, and responding to the pastoral circumstances of your communities. In so doing, they have reflected the merciful face of Christ and assisted your Churches in living out the Gospel. I join you in thanking Almighty God for these men and women religious, past and present, for their sacrifices and indispensable service. As part of your episcopal ministry, I ask you to encourage and support their continued efforts to serve the spiritual and material needs of the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea today. 

As the Second Vatican Council made clear, the work of evangelization is not reserved to the clergy or religious, but is the competence of all the Christian faithful, who are called to proclaim the saving love they have experienced in the Lord Jesus (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 6). I appreciate the efforts you have made to create new opportunities for the catechetical formation of the faithful and to reach out to the young, who are at that pivotal time of their lives when they are challenged to deepen their relationship with Christ and his Church, and looking to start families of their own. Confronted by so many challenges in contemporary society, including an increasingly secularized culture and fewer opportunities for dignified work, it is essential that wise and committed lay men and women guide young people in discerning the direction of their lives and in securing their future. For a more effective catechetical outreach, it is also important to continue to identify and prepare qualified lay leaders to assist in forming the faithful and thus make present “the fragrance of Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze” (Evangelii Gaudium, 169). 

Dear brother Bishops, together with the priests, men and women religious, and lay faithful of your local Churches, you are called to diffuse this fragrance of Christ in the midst of Ethiopia and Eritrea (cf. 2 Cor 2:14). Many years of conflict and continuing tensions, in addition to widespread poverty and drought conditions, have brought great suffering to the people. I thank you for the generous social programmes which, inspired by the Gospel, you provide in collaboration with various religious, charitable and governmental agencies, aimed at alleviating this suffering. I think especially of the many children you serve who experience hunger and who have been orphaned because of violence and poverty. I am mindful too of the young people who like so many of their friends and family would otherwise flee their homeland in search of greater opportunities, and risk losing their lives during dangerous journeys. And of course, we must always remember the many elderly who could so easily be forgotten in the midst of such hardships. Your efforts on their behalf, which give such a powerful witness to the love of God in your midst, are an extraordinary grace for the people. In your loving concern for the poor and downtrodden, may you continue to seek new opportunities to cooperate with civil authorities in advancing the common good. 

Conscious of the difficulties you face and the blessings you have received, I join all of you in praying for a renewed outpouring of grace upon the beloved Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Entrusting you to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all the priests, consecrated men and women, and lay people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. 
From the Vatican, 9 May 2014 


Text from Vatican Radio website 


Pope Francis “The difference between heroes and saints,is the witness, the imitation of Jesus Christ..."

(Vatican Radio) Saints are not heroes, but are sinners who follow Jesus along the path of humility and of the Cross and thus allow themselves to be sanctified by Him – because no one is able to sanctify himself. This was the message of Pope Francis in his homily at daily Mass on Friday at the Casa Santa Marta. 

Beginning with the first Reading, which tells the story of the conversion of Paul from an enemy of the Church to a saint, Pope Francis explained what is meant when we say “the Church is holy”:

“But how can she be holy if we are all within [her]? We are all sinners here. Yet the Church is holy! We are sinners, but she is holy. She is the spouse of Jesus Christ, and He loves her, He sanctifies her, He sanctifies her every day with His Eucharistic sacrifice, because He loves her so much. And we are sinners, but in a holy Church. And we too are sanctified with this belonging to the Church: we are children of Church, and Mother Church sanctifies us, with her love, with the Sacraments of her Spouse.”

In his letters, the Pope said, “Saint Paul speaks to the saints, to us: sinners, but children of the holy Church, sanctified by the Body and the Blood of Jesus”:

“In this holy Church the Lord chooses certain people so that holiness can be better seen, to show that it is He who sanctifies, that no one sanctifies himself, that there’s no course to become a saint, that it’s not being a religious fraud or something of that sort… No! It’s not that! Holiness is a gift of Jesus to His Church and to show this He chooses people in whom His work of sanctifying is clearly seen.”

In the Gospel, the Pope said, there are many examples of saints: there is Mary Magdalene, from whom Jesus cast out seven demons; there’s Matthew “who was a traitor to his people and took money to give it to the Romans;” there’s Zacchaeus and so many others who show everyone “the first rule of sanctity: it is necessary that Christ increases and that we decrease. It is the rule of sanctity: we become humble, so that the Lord might increase.”

And so, Christ chooses Saul, who is a persecutor of the Church: “but the Lord awaits him. The Lord awaits him, and makes him feel His power.” Saul “becomes blind and obeys,” and from the old man that he was, “he becomes like a child: he obeys!” His heart is changed: “it is another life!” But Paul does not become a hero, the Pope explained, because he who had preached the Gospel throughout the world “ended his life with a little group of friends, here in Rome, a victim of his disciples.” “One morning, 3, 4, 5 soldiers came to him.. they took him away and cut off his head. Simply. The great man, who had gone out into the whole world, ended his life in this way.” He diminished, the Pope said. “The difference between heroes and saints,” Pope Francis affirmed, “is the witness, the imitation of Jesus Christ, going along the way of Jesus Christ,” [the way] of the Cross. And many saints “end their lives so humbly. The great saints! I think of the last days of Saint John Paul II,” the Pope recalled. “We all saw it:” 

“He could not speak, the great athlete of God. This is how the great warrior of God ended his life, destroyed by disease, humiliated like Jesus. This is the path of sanctity of the great. And it is path of our sanctity. If we do not allow our hearts to be converted to this street of Jesus – bearing the cross every day, the ordinary cross, the simple cross – and allowing Jesus to increase; if we do not take this path, we will not be saints. But if we take this path, all of us will bear witness to Jesus Christ, who loves us so much. And we bear witness that, although we are sinners, the Church is holy. She is the spouse of Jesus.”


Text from  Vatican Radio website 


Saint May 9 : St. Pachomius - Bishop - Died 348

St. Pachomius
ABBOTT AND BISHOP
Feast: May 9


Information:
Feast Day:May 9
Born:292, Thebes, Egypt
Died:9 May 348, Egypt
Though St. Antony be justly esteemed the institutor of the cenobitic life, or that of religious persons living in community under a certain rule, St. Pachomius was the first who drew up a monastic rule in writing. He was born in Upper Thebais about the year 292, of idolatrous parents, and was educated in their blind superstition, and in the study of the Egyptian sciences. From his infancy, he was meek and modest, and had an aversion to the profane ceremonies used by the infidels in the worship of their idols. Being about twenty years of age, he was pressed into the emperor's troops, probably the tyrant Maximinus, who was master of Egypt from the year 310; and in 312 made great levies to carry on a war against Licinius and Constantine. He was, with several other recruits, put on board a vessel that was falling down the river. They arrived in the evening at Thebes, or Diospolis, the capital of Thebais, a city in which dwelt many Christians. Those true disciples of Christ sought every  opportunity of relieving and comforting all that were in distress, and were moved with compassion towards the recruits, who were kept close confined, and very ill-treated. The Christians of this city showed them the same tenderness as if they had been their own children; took all possible care of them, and supplied them liberally with money and necessaries.
Such an uncommon example of disinterested virtue made a great impression on the mind of Pachomius. He inquired who their pious benefactors were, and when he heard that they believed in Jesus Christ the only Son of God, and that in the hope of a reward in the world to come, they labored continually to do good to all mankind, he found kindled in his heart a great love of so holy a law, and an ardent desire of serving the God whom these good men adored. The next day, when he was continuing his journey down the river, the remembrance of this purpose strengthened him to resist a carnal temptation. From his infancy he had been always a lover of chastity and temperance but the example of the Christians had made those virtues appear to him far more amiable, and in a new light.
After the overthrow of Maximinus, his forces were disbanded. Pachomius was no sooner returned home, but he repaired to a town in Thebais, in which there was a Christian church, and there he entered his name among the catechumens, or such as were preparing for baptism; and having gone through the usual course of preliminary instructions and practices with great attention and fervor, he received that sacrament at Chenoboscium, with great sentiments of piety and devotion. From his first acquaintance with our holy faith at Thebes, he had always made this his prayer: "O God, Creator of heaven and earth, cast on me an eye of pity: deliver me from my miseries: teach me the true way of pleasing you, and it shall be the whole employment, and most earnest study of my life to serve you, and to do your will." The perfect sacrifice of his heart to God, was the beginning of his eminent virtue. The grace by which God reigns in a soul, is a treasure infinitely above all price. We must give all to purchase it. To desire it faintly is to undervalue it. He is absolutely disqualified and unfit for so great a blessing, and unworthy ever to receive it, who seeks it by halves, or who does not esteem all other things as dung that he may gain Christ.
When Pachomius was baptized, he began seriously to consider with himself how he should most faithfully fulfil the obligations which he had contracted, and attain to the great end to which he aspired. There is danger even in fervor itself. It is often an artifice of the devil to make a novice undertake too much at first, and run indiscreetly beyond his strength. If the sails gather too much wind, the vessel is driven ahead, falls on some rock and splits. Eagerness is a symptom of secret passion, not of true virtue, where it is wilful and impatient at advice. Pachomius was far from so dangerous a disposition, because his desire was pure, therefore his first care was to find a skilful conductor.
Hearing that a venerable old man named Palemon, served God in the desert in great perfection, he sought him out, and with great earnestness begged to live under his direction. The hermit having set before him the difficulties and austerities of his way of life, which several had already attempted in vain to follow, advised him to make a trial of his strength and fervor in some monastery; and, to give him a sketch of the difficulties he had to encounter in the life he aspired to, he added: "Consider, my son, that my diet is only bread and salt: I drink no wine, use no oil, watch one half of the night, spending that time in singing psalms or in meditating on the holy scriptures, and sometimes pass the whole night without sleeping." Pachomius was amazed at this account, but not discouraged. He thought himself able to undertake every thing that might be a means to render his soul pleasing to God, and readily promised to observe whatever Palemon should think fit to enjoin him; who thereupon admitted him into his cell, and gave him the monastic habit. Pachomius was by his example enabled to bear solitude, and an acquaintance with himself. They sometimes repeated together the psalter, at other times they exercised themselves in manual labors (which they accompanied with interior prayer,) with a view to their own subsistence and the relief of the poor. Pachomius prayed above all things, for perfect purity of heart, that being disengaged from all secret attachment to creatures, he might love God with all his affections. And to destroy the very roots of all inordinate passions, it was his first study to obtain the most profound humility, and perfect patience and meekness. He prayed often with his arms stretched out in the form of a cross; which posture was then much used in the church. He was in the beginning often drowsy at the night office. Palemon used to rouse him, and say: "Labor and watch, my dear Pachomius, lest the enemy overthrow you and ruin all your endeavors." Against this weakness and temptation he enjoined him, on such occasions, to carry sand from one place to another, till his drowsiness was overcome. By this means the novice strengthened himself in the habit of watching. Whatever instructions he read or heard, he immediately endeavored fervently to reduce to practice.
One Easter-day Palemon bade the disciple prepare a dinner for that great festival. Pachomius took a little oil, and mixed it with the salt, which he pounded small, and added a few wild herbs, which they were to eat with their bread. The holy old man having made his prayer, came to table; but at the sight of the oil he struck himself on the forehead, and said, with tears: "My Saviour was crucified, and shall I indulge myself so far as to eat oil?" Nor could he be prevailed upon to taste it.
Pachomius used sometimes to go into a vast uninhabited desert, on the banks of the Nile, called Tabenna, in the diocese of Tentyra, a city between the Great and Little Diospolis. While he was there one day in prayer, he heard a voice which commanded him to build a monastery in that place, in which he should receive those who should be sent by God to serve him faithfully. He received, about the same time, from an angel who appeared to him, certain instructions relating to a monastic life.. Pachomius going back to Palemon, imparted to him this vision; and both of them coming to Tabenna, built there a little cell towards the year 325, about twenty years after St. Antony had founded his first monastery. After a short time, Palemon returned to his former dwelling, having promised his disciple a yearly visit, but he died soon after, and is honored in the Roman Martyrology on the 11th of January.
Pachomius received first his own eldest brother John, and after his death many others, so that he enlarged his house; and the number of his monks in a short time amounted to a hundred. Their clothing was of rough linen; that of St. Pachomius himself often haircloth. He passed fifteen years without ever lying down, taking his short rest sitting on a stone. He even grudged himself the least time which he allowed to necessary sleep, because he wished he could have been able to employ all his moments in the actual exercises of divine love. From the time of his conversion he never ate a full meal. By his rule, the fasts and tasks of work were proportioned to every one's strength; though all are together in one common refectory, in silence, with their cowl or hood drawn over their heads, that they might not see one another at their meals. Their habit was a tunic of white linen without sleeves, with a cowl of the same stuff; they wore on their shoulders a white goatskin, called a Melotes. They received the holy communion on the first and last days of every week. Novices were tried with great severity before they were admitted to the habit, the taking of which was then deemed the monastic profession, and attended with the vows. St. Pachomius preferred none of his monks to holy orders, and his monasteries were often served by priests from abroad, though he admitted priests, when any presented themselves, to the habit, and he employed them in  the functions of their ministry. All his monks were occupied in various kinds of manual labor: no moment was allowed for idleness. The saint, with the greatest care, comforted and served the sick himself. Silence was so strictly observed at Tabenna, that a monk, who wanted any thing necessary, was only to ask for it by signs. In going from one place to another, the monks were ordered always to meditate on some passage of the holy scripture, and sing psalms at their work. The sacrifice of the mass was offered for every monk that died, as we read in the life of St. Pachomius. His rule was translated into Latin by St. Jerome, and is still extant. He received the sickly and weak, rejecting none for the want of corporal strength, being desirous to conduct to heaven all souls which had fervor to walk in the paths of perfection. He built six other monasteries in Thebias, not far asunder, and from the year 336, chose often to reside in that of Pabau, or Pau, near Thebes, in its territory, though not far from Tabenna, situated in the neighboring province of Diospolis, also in Thebais. Pabau became a more numerous and more famous monastery than Tabenna itself. By the advice of Serapion, bishop of Tentyra, he built a church in a village for the benefit of the poor shepherds, in which for some time he performed the office of Lector, reading to the people the word of God with admirable fervor; in which function he appeared rather like an angel than a man. He converted many infidels, and zealously opposed the Arians, but could never be induced by his bishop to receive the holy order of priesthood. In 333, he was favored with a visit of St. Athanasius at Tabenna. His sister, at a certain time, came to his monastery desiring to see him; but he sent her word at the gate, that no woman could be allowed to enter his enclosure, and that she ought to be satisfied with hearing that he was alive. However, it being her desire to embrace a religious state, he built her a nunnery on the other side of the Nile, which was soon filled with holy virgins. St. Pachomius going one day to Pane, one of his monasteries, met the funeral procession of a tepid monk deceased. Knowing the wretched state in which he died and to strike a terror into the slothful, he forbade his monks to proceed in singing psalms, and ordered the clothes which covered the corpse to be burnt, saying: "Honors could only increase his torments; but the ignominy with which his body was treated, might move God to show more mercy to his soul; for God forgives some sins not only in this world, but also in the next." When the procurator of the house had sold the mats at market at a higher price than the saint had bid him, he ordered him to carry back the money to the buyers, and chastised him for his avarice.
Among many miracles wrought by him, the author of his life assures us, that though he had never learned the Greek or Latin tongues, he sometimes miraculously spoke them; he cured the sick and persons possessed by devils with blessed oil. But he often told sick or distressed persons, that their sickness or affliction was an effect of the divine goodness in their behalf; and he only prayed for their temporal comfort, with this clause or condition, if it should not prove hurtful to their souls. His dearest disciple, St. Theodorus, who after his death succeeded him in the government of his monasteries, was afflicted with a perpetual headache. St. Pachomius, when desired by some of the brethren to pray for his health, answered: "Though abstinence and prayer be of great merit, yet sickness, suffered with patience, is of much greater." He chiefly begged of God the spiritual health of the souls of his disciples and others, and took every opportunity to curb and heal their passions, especially that of pride. One day a certain monk having doubled his diligence at work, and made two mats instead of one, set them where St. Pachomius might see them. The saint perceiving the snare, said, "This brother hath taken a great deal of pains from morning till night, to give his work to the devil." And, to cure his vanity by humiliations, he enjoined him, by way of penance, to keep his cell fire months, with no other allowance than a little bread, salt, and water. A young man named Sylvanus; who had been an actor on the stage, entered the monastery of St. Pachomius with the view of doing penance, but led for some time an undisciplined life, often transgressing the rules of the house, and still fond of entertaining himself and others with buffooneries. The man of God endeavored to make him sensible of his danger by charitable remonstrances, and also employed his more potent arms of prayer, sighs, and tears, for his poor soul. Though for some time he found his endeavors fruitless, he did not desist on that account; and having one day represented to this impenitent sinner, in a very pathetic manner, the dreadful judgments which threaten those that mock God, the divine grace touching the heart of Sylvanus, he from that moment began, to lead a life of great edification to the rest of the brethren; and being moved with the most feeling sentiments of compunction, he never failed, wheresoever he was, and howsoever employed, to bewail with bitterness his past misdemeanors. When others entreated him to moderate the floods of his tears, "Ah," said he, "how can I help weeping, when I consider the wretchedness of my past life, and that by my sloth I have profaned what was most sacred? I have reason to fear lest the earth should open under my feet, and swallow me up, as it did Dathan and Abiron. Oh! suffer me to labor with ever-flowing fountains of tears, to expiate my innumerable sins. I ought, if I could, even to pour forth this wretched soul of mine in mourning; it would be all too little for my offences." In these sentiments of contrition he made so "real progress in virtue, that the holy abbot proposed him as a model of humility to the rest; and when, after eight years spent in this penitential course, God had called him to himself by a holy death, St. Pachomius was assured by a revelation, that his soul was presented by angels a most agreeable sacrifice to Christ. The saint was favored with a spirit of prophecy, and with great grief foretold the decay of monastic fervor in his order in succeeding ages. In 348 he was cited before a council of bishops at Latopolis, to answer certain matters laid to his charge. He justified himself against the calumniators, but in such a manner that the whole council admired his extraordinary humility. The same year, God afflicted his monasteries with a pestilence, which swept off a hundred monks. The saint himself fell sick, and during forty days suffered a painful distemper with incredible patience and cheerfulness, discovering a great interior joy at the approach of the end of his earthly pilgrimage. In his last moments he exhorted his monks to fervor, and having armed himself with the sign of the cross, resigned his happy soul into the hands of his Creator in the fifty-seventh year of his age. He lived to see in his different monasteries seven thousand monks. His order subsisted in the cast till the eleventh century: for Anselm, bishop of Havelburgh, writes, that he saw five hundred monks of this institute in a monastery at Constantinople. St. Pachomius formed his disciples to so eminent a degree of perfection chiefly by his own fervent spirit and example; for he always appeared the first, the most exact, and the most fervent, in all the exercises of the community. To the fervor and watchfulness of the superior it was owing that in so numerous a community discipline was observed with astonishing regularity, as Palladius and Cassian observe. The former says that they ate with their cowl drawn so as to hide the greatest part of their faces, and with their eyes cast down, never looking at one another. Many contented themselves with taking a very few mouthfuls of bread and oil, or of such like dish; others of pottage only. So great was the silence that reigned among them while every one followed his employment, that in the midst of so great a multitude; a person seemed to be in a solitude. Cassian tells us, that the more numerous the monastery was, the more perfect and rigorous was regular observance of discipline, and all constantly obeyed their superior more readily than a single person is found to do in other places. Nothing so much weakens the fervor of inferiors as the example of a superior who easily allows himself exemptions or dispensations in the rule. The relaxation of monastic discipline is often owing to no other cause. How enormous is the crime of such a scandal!

source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpachomius.asp#ixzz1uQSTm4uV

Pope Francis sends Message to Canada for Pro-Life March in Ottawa

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has written a message to the Church in Canada on behalf of Pope Francis, to mark the annual March for Life which took place Thursday in Ottawa. The event was part of the national churches Week for Life and the Family.

In his message, the Pope thanked those present for their “witness to the God-given dignity, beauty and value of human life”. He prayed that this event “foster greater respect for the inviolable right to life of each person” from conception to natural death, as well as support for “the efforts of all who labour to ensure that this fundamental human right receives adequate legal protection”. 

The Holy Father’s message concluded with a special blessing for all those involved “in particular to those who aid women in crisis pregnancies and their children”

The Holy Father also sent similar messages earlier this year to the March for Life in Washington and the recent March for Life in Rome. Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, read the message to the thousands of people who rallied in front of Parliament Hill on Thursday. 

Below please find the full text of the Holy Father’s message to the Church in Canada
His Holiness Pope Francis is pleased to greet everyone taking part in the seventeenth National March for Life in Ottawa, and he assures them of his spiritual closeness as they give witness to the God-given dignity, beauty and value of human life. He prays that this event foster greater respect for the inviolable right to life of each person from conception to natural death and support the efforts of all who labour to ensure that this fundamental human right receives adequate legal protection. To the organizers and participants, and in particular to those who aid women in crisis pregnancies and their children, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the risen Lord.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State


Text from Vatican Radio website 


Saint May 8 : St. Peter of Tarantaise - Archbishop - Died 1174


St. Peter of Tarantaise
ARCHBISHOP
Feast: May 8


     Information:
Feast Day:May 8
Born:1102, Saint-Maurice-l'Exil near Vienne, a town ot the Rhône-Alpes
Died:1174, Bellevaux Abbey
Major Shrine:1191 by Pope Celestine III
He was a native of Dauphine. A strong inclination to learning, assisted by a good genius and a happy memory, carried him very successfully through his studies. At twenty years of age he took the Cistercian habit at Bonnevaux, a monastery that had been lately filled by a colony sent by St. Bernard from Clairvaux. They employed a great part of the day in hewing wood, and tilling the ground in the forest, in perpetual silence and interior prayer. They ate but once a day, and their fare was herbs or roots, mostly turnips of a coarse sort. Four hours in the twenty-four was the usual allowance for sleep; so that, rising at midnight, they continued in the church till it was morning, and returned no more to rest: which was the primitive custom of that order. Peter practiced the greatest austerities with fervor and alacrity: he was most exactly obedient, obliging to all, humble, and modest. His pious parents, after the birth of four children, lived in perpetual continency, and the practice of rigorous abstinence, prayed much, and gave large alms: their house they seemed to turn into a hospital, so great was the number of poor and strangers they constantly entertained, whom they furnished with good beds, while they themselves often lay on straw. The father and his two other sons at length followed Peter to Bonnevaux and the mother and daughter embraced the same order in a neighboring nunnery. The year after Peter had taken the monastic habit, his example was followed by Amedeus, nearly related to the emperor Conrad III., and sixteen other persons of worth and distinction. Amedeus, indeed, having there made his solemn profession with the rest, by the advice of persons of great virtue and discretion, spent some time at Cluni, the better to superintend his son's education, in the school established there for the education of youth: but he returned after some time to Bonnevaux; and made it his request, at his  readmission, that he might be enjoined the lowest offices in the house. To this the abbot, for his greater advancement in humility and penance, consented. The earl of Albion, his uncle, coming one day to see him, found him in a sweat, cleaning the monks' dirty shoes, and, at the same time, so attentive to his prayers, as not to perceive him. The earl remembering in what state he had seen him in the world, was so struck and so much edified at this spectacle, that he ever after retained the deep impression which it made on his mind, and published it at court. Amedeus built four monasteries of his order: among which was that of Tamies, or Stomedium, in the desert mountains of the diocese of Tarentaise, of which he procured his intimate friend St. Peter, not then quite thirty years of age, to be appointed the first abbot, in 1128. Amedeus worked himself with his spade and mattock in building some of these monasteries, and died at Bonnevaux, in the odor of sanctity, in 1140. His son Amedeus, for whose education in piety he had always the greatest concern, after having spent part of his youth in the court of his kinsman the emperor, became a Cistercian monk under St. Bernard, at Clairvaux, and died bishop of Lausanne.
The monastery of Tamies seemed a house of terrestrial angels; so constantly were its inhabitants occupied in the employment of angels, paying to God an uninterrupted homage of praise, adoration, and love. St. Peter, by the help of Amedeus III., count of Savoy, founded in it a hospital to receive all the poor sick persons of the country, and all strangers; and would be himself its servant to attend them. In 1142, the count of Savoy procured his election to the archbishopric of Tarentaise, and he was compelled by St. Bernard and the general chapter of his order, though much against his own inclinations, to accept of that charge. Indeed, that diocese stood extremely in need of such an apostolic pastor, having been usurped by a powerful ambitious wolf, named Idrael, whose deposition left it in the most desolate condition. The parish-churches and tithes were sacrilegiously held by laymen; and the clergy, who ought to have stemmed the torrent of iniquity, contributed but too often to promote irregularity by their own wicked example. The sight of these evils drew tears from the eyes of the saint, with which he night and day implored the divine mercy upon the souls intrusted to his care. He directed all his fasts, his prayers, and labors, for the good of his flock: being persuaded that the sanctification of the people committed to his charge was an essential condition for securing his own salvation. He altered nothing in the simplicity of a monastic life, and looked on the episcopal character as a laborious employment rather than a dignity. His clothes were plain, and his food coarse; for he ate nothing but brown bread, herbs, and pulse, of which the poor had always their share. He made the constant visitation of his diocese his employ; he everywhere exhorted and instructed his whole charge with unwearied zeal and invincible patience, and besides, he provided the several parishes of his diocese with able and virtuous pastors. When he came to his bishopric, he found the chapter of his cathedral full of irregularities, and the service of God performed in a very careless manner; but he soon made that church a pattern of good order and devotion. He recovered the tithes and other revenues of the church that had been usurped by certain powerful laymen; made many excellent foundations for the education of youth, and the relief of the poor; repaired several churches, and restored everywhere devotion and the decent service of God. The author of his life, who was the constant companion of his labors, and the witness of the greatest part of his actions after he was made bishop, assures us he wrought many miracles in several places, chiefly in curing the sick, and multiplying provisions for the poor in times of great distress; so that he was regarded as a new Thaumaturgus. The confusion his humility suffered from the honors he received, joined to his love of solitude, made him resolve to retire from the world; and accordingly, in 1155, after he had borne the weight of the episcopal character thirteen years, having settled his diocese in good order, he disappeared on a sudden; and made his way to a retired monastery of Cistercians in Germany, where he was not known. In the mean time, his family and diocese mourned for the loss of their tender father. Strict inquiry was made in all the neighboring provinces, especially in the monasteries, but in vain; till, after some time, divine providence discovered him by the following accident. A young man, who had been brought up under his care, came to the monastery in which he lay concealed, and upon observing the monks as they were going out of the church to their work, he knew his bishop, and made him known to the whole community. The religious no sooner understood who he was, but they all fell at his feet, begged his blessing, and expressed much concern for not having known him before. The saint was inconsolable at being discovered, and was meditating a new escape, but he was so carefully watched, that it was not in his power; so that he was forced to go back to his diocese, where he was received with the greatest demonstrations of joy. He applied himself to his functions with greater vigor than ever. The poor were always the object of his peculiar care. He was twice discovered to have given away, with the hazard of his own life, in extreme cold weather in winter, the waistcoat which he had on his back. For three months before the harvest he distributed general alms among all the inhabitants of the mountains, provisions being always very scarce there at that season. He founded hospitals on the Alps, for the entertainment of poor travellers; because, before that time, many perished for the want of such a succor. To preserve in his heart the spirit of devotion and penance, he continued to practise, as much as possible, all the austerities and other rules of his order, only commuting manual labor for the spiritual functions of his charge. By his conversation with the God of peace, he imbibed an eminent spirit of that virtue, and learned, by humility and charity, to be truly the man of peace; having also a singular talent for extinguishing the most implacable and inveterate enemies. He often reconciled sovereign princes when they were at variance, and prevented several bloody wars. The emperor Frederic I. set up Octavian, a schismatical pope, under the name of Victor, against Alexander III. St. Peter was almost the only subject of the empire who had the courage openly to oppose his unjust attempt, and he boldly defended the cause of justice in presence of the tyrant, and in many councils. The emperor, who banished others that spoke in favor of that cause, stood in awe of his sanctity: and Peter, by his mild counsels, frequently softened his fierceness, and checked the boisterous sallies of his fury, while, like a roaring lion, he spread terror on every side. The saint preached in Alsace, Burgundy, Lorraine, and in many parts of Italy; and confounded the obstinate by numberless miraculous cures of the sick, performed by the imposition of his hands and prayer. He was ordered by the pope to go into France and Normandy, to endeavor a reconciliation between the kings of England and France, who had made peace in 1169, but quarrelled again the next year. Though then very old, he preached wherever he went. Louis VII. sent certain gentlemen of his court to meet him at a great distance, and received him with the greatest marks of honor and respect; but honors and crowds were of all things the most troublesome to the saint. The man of God restored the use of sight to one blind in the presence of the count of Flanders, and many other noblemen, who were at that time with the king of France: who, being also himself an eye-witness, examined carefully all the circumstances, and declared the miracle to be evident and incontestable. The saint went from Paris to Chaumont, on the confines of Normandy, where Henry II., king of England, met him: and when he arrived in sight of the holy man, alighted from his horse, and coming Up, fell at his feet. The people stole the cloak or hood of St. Peter, and were going to cut it in pieces to divide the scraps, being persuaded that they would perform miracles. But the king took the whole cloak for himself, saying: I have myself seen miraculous cures performed by his girdle, which I already possess." In his presence, the saint restored the use of speech to a girl that was dumb. On Ash-Wednesday, in 1171, St. Peter being at the Cistercian abbey of Mortemer, in the diocese of Rouen, the king of England came thither with his whole court, and received ashes from his hands. The archbishop prevailed on the two kings to put an end to their differences by a treaty of peace, and to procure councils to be assembled in their dominions, in which Alexander's title should be solemnly recognised. The holy man hereupon returned to his church, but was some time after sent again by the pope to the king of England, to endeavor to compose the difference between him and his son: but his journey had not the desired effect. He fell sick on his return, and died the death of the just, at Bellevaux, a monastery of his order, in the diocese of Besancon, in 1174, being seventy-three years old. He was canonized by pope Celestine III., in 1191. See his life written nine years after his death by Geoffrey, some time his companion, and afterwards abbot of Hautecombe, by the order of pope Lucius III. See also Le Nain, t. 2, p. 83.



source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpeteroftarantaise.asp#ixzz1uGVgBnhP

2014


Supermodel Kathy Ireland explains PRO-LIFE Message in Viral Video - SHARE

The beautiful Kathleen Marie "Kathy" Ireland an American model, and actress. She and her husband Dr. Greg Olsen have 3 children Chloe, Erik and Lily. She is a Christian and Pro-Life Advocate. In this Viral Video she explains the Pro-Life issue using science. From Youtube:
After all you can't have a position that is either pro-life or pro-choice unless you can answer the question - What is the unborn? If it were not a life then you would not have to abort it. If the unborn is not a human being then no justification is necessary. If it is a human being then no justification is adequate. There is after all no difference on your DNA when you are an adult, child or just a few cells not yet fully developed but still fully human in nature. Body size does not determine value. The former Presidential candidate Huckabee learned something and maybe you will as well. 
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