Monday, May 19, 2014

Catholic News World : Monday, May 19, 2014 - Share!


  • SAMUEL JARAMILLO, age 3, is an orphan from Columbia, South America. His aunt filmed him "celebrating Mass". Although he cannot read or write, Samuel knows the Mass by heart.
  • The video was posted on YOUTUBE and received over 300000 views in a week. At Christmas the young child asked for Priest clothes. 
The local Priest, Fr. Monsalve said, “Amid a changing world that is at times indifferent to religious matters, this child appears as a testimony of love for God and fascination for sacred celebrations, most certainly fostered by those who care for him and by the priest of his parish.” Fr. Monsalve explained,  Jaramillo “should not only awaken religious fervor but also serve as an example for the promotion of priestly and religious vocations, supported always by the encouragement of parishes, seminaries and houses of formation.” "However, it will be God who continues speaking to humanity through the nobility and humility of his littlest children, the favorites of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Jaramillo goes to Mass every Sunday with his grandmother, Rosa Eva Arango.
In an interview Jaramillo said he wants to be a priest when he grows up.

Pope Francis tells Mexican Bishops to look at Our Lady of Guadelupe

(Vatican Radio) In written remarks prepared and delivered to the Bishops of Mexico on Monday, Pope Francis praised their efforts to help the needy and urged them to promote a culture of encounter, dialogue and peace. Lydia O’Kane reports.

In his speech to the Mexican Bishops who are here on their ad Limina visits, Pope Francis began by highlighting the Christian values that underpin many Latin American countries including Mexico, adding that this country’s heritage cannot be understood without looking at the faith of its people.

The Pope underlined that if ones looks to Our Lady of Guadalupe, it can been seen that on more than one occasion the example of her tenderness has contributed to the reconciliation and the full liberation of the Mexican people.

Focusing on the current multiple violence afflicting Mexican society, particularly among young people, the Holy Father highlighted the need to promote Our Lady’s spirit of harmony through a culture of encounter, dialogue and peace .

During his speech to the Bishops, Pope Francis acknowledged all their efforts to help the needy, the unemployed, those working in subhuman conditions, those without access to social services , migrants in search of better living conditions, and farmers. He also urged the Bishops to make the victims of drug trafficking and the vulnerable their continuing concern.

On the issue of evangelization the Holy Father stressed to those gathered the importance of catechists and the laity, who he called “irreplaceable” in spreading the word of God in the family, in schools and even in government and he invited the Bishops to help lay people in this regard.

He also urged the Bishops to promote the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.

Finally, the Pope made particular mention of young people, especially those who feel the call of Christ. He continued by saying that attention should be given to the promotion, selection and training of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, because, he said, they express the fruitfulness of the Church and its ability to attract disciples and missionaries to plant in the world the good seed of the Kingdom of God.

Text from  Vatican Radio website 

Latest News from the Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received the bishops of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, in Rome in these days for their five-yearly “ad limina” visit. At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father handed them the text of his planned address, extensive extracts of which are published below, in which he emphasised that fidelity to Jesus Christ must be lived as committed solidarity with the people and their needs.
Before delivering the text, the bishop of Rome emphasised that, despite the serious problems it faces, the Church in Mexico is “consolidated on strong pillars”, and he urged the bishops always to be faithful to the “dual transcendence”: the first in prayer with the Lord, and the second with closeness to the people.
“In recent years, the celebration of the bicentennial of Mexican independence and the centenary of the Mexican Revolution have offered a useful occasion for joining forces in favour of social peace and just, free and democratic co-existence. My predecessor Benedict XVI urged you 'not to let yourselves be intimidated by the powers of evil, but to be valiant and to work to ensure that the sap of your Christian roots may nourish your present and your future'. At the present moment, the many forms of violence that afflict Mexican society, especially the young, call for a renewed appeal to promote this spirit of harmony through the culture of encounter, dialogue and peace. … It is certainly not for pastors to offer technical solutions or to adopt policy measures that are outside the scope of their pastoral ministry; however, they must be tireless in their proclamation, to all, of the Good News: that God, in his mercy, made Himself a man and made Himself poor, that he wanted to suffer with those who suffer in order to save them. Fidelity to Jesus Christ must be lived as committed solidarity and closeness to the people and their needs, offering Gospel values from within”.
“I am aware of your work for those most in need … for those who work in subhuman conditions, … migrants in search of better living conditions, farmers. … I know of your concern for the victims of drug trafficking and for the most vulnerable social groups, and your commitment to the defence of human rights and the full development of the individual. All this, which is an expression of the 'intimate connection' between the Gospel and the search for the good of others contributes, without doubt, to the credibility of the Church and gives relevance to the voice of her pastors”.
He went on to emphasise that “the mission of the Church can not do without with the laity. ... I encourage you to promote their secular responsibility and provide them with adequate training to make visible the public dimension of faith. In order to achieve this, the social doctrine of the Church is a valuable tool that can help Christians in their daily struggle to build a more just and united world. ... In this way, the difficulties that may arise in the transmission of Christian faith between generations can also be overcome. The young see with their own eyes the living witnesses of faith, that truly embody in their life what they profess with their lips. Furthermore, they then spontaneously generate new processes of the evangelisation of culture. ... In this regard, the potential of popular piety constitutes an 'indispensable starting point in deepening the faith of the people and in bringing it to maturity'.”
The family is the “basic cell of society and the first centre for evangelisation. ... I urge you to intensify your pastoral care of the family – certainly, the value that is dearest to your people – so that, faced with the dehumanising culture of death, it may become a promoter of the culture of respect for life in all its phases, from conception to natural death”.
After reminding the prelates of the importance of their proximity to priests and consecrated persons, and the care that must be offered to their formation and to future vocations, the bishop of Rome fondly recalled that in their pastoral plans they had taken on board the Aparecida guidelines, the seventh anniversary of which falls in these days, emphasising the importance of the permanent continental mission, “placing all the pastoral mission of the Church in a missionary mode, and calling upon all of us to grow in parrhesia. ... In this way”, he concluded, “we can bear witness to Christ in life even among the most distant, and reach out of ourselves to work with enthusiasm in the task that has been entrusted to us, keeping our arms lifted in prayer”.
Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience the King of Bahrain, His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
The cordial discussions focused on various themes of common interest, with particular reference to the commitment towards peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as the promotion of dialogue and peaceful co-existence among all members of society.
Mention was then made of the Christian community’s positive contribution to the country, and appreciation was expressed for His Majesty’s personal interest in the needs of the local Catholic community.

Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – The Autorit√† di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) - Financial Intelligence Authority - of the Holy See and the Vatican City State has presented its Annual Report for 2013. The report reviews the activities and statistics of AIF for the year 2013.
The year 2013 has seen a significant strengthening of the legal and institutional framework of the Holy See and Vatican City State to effectively combat financial crime, an institutionalisation of international collaboration of the competent authority of the Holy See with its foreign counterparts, and a massively improved performance in monitoring potential financial wrongdoing.
“In 2013 we have taken further decisive steps to foster the legal framework, and, at the same time, to make it work in practice,” said Rene Brulhart, Director of the AIF. He continued: “The Evaluation conducted by Moneyval, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism of the Council of Europe, in December 2013, and our statistics allow us to say that today we have a proper and equivalent system in place to prevent and fight financial crime. A system that is well in line with international standards”.
The AIF has recorded a notable uptake in suspicious transaction reports (STR), from 6 in 2012 to 202 in 2013. This increase reflects both the development of the legal framework and a substantial improvement in the operational performance of the supervised entities with regard to the prevention of financial crime. Five reports have been passed on to the Vatican Promoter of Justice for further investigation by judicial authorities.
The number of requests from AIF submitted to foreign authorities has increased from 1 in 2012 to 28; the number of requests received by the AIF from foreign authorities has risen from 3 in 2012 to 53 in 2013. “This increase is also due to international cooperation fostered by a series of bilateral agreements we have concluded,” said Brulhart. In 2013, AIF became a member of the Egmont Group, the global network of Financial Intelligence Units, and signed various bilateral agreements to institutionalize mutual collaboration in the area of anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism. Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United States.
As already observed in 2012, the number of declarations of cash above the amount of EUR 10,000 has decreased again in 2013 to 1,557 declarations for outgoing cash (2012: 1,782) and 550 declarations for incoming cash (2012: 598). This is due to an increased monitoring by the competent authorities and the introduction of reinforced procedures at the supervised entities.
By way of two Motu Proprio in July and August 2013, the Holy Father extended the competencies of the Holy See authorities, particularly AIF, and aligned the legal framework with international standards. By way of a third Motu Proprio in November 2013, the Holy Father responded to the requirements set forth by the extension of responsibilities of the AIF by issuing a new Statute for the AIF. In essence, the new Statute has built the AIF on two pillars, supervision and financial intelligence, and has clarified some aspects with regard to the governance, e.g. required professional and financial skills for key personnel of the AIF’s bodies.
In the initial trimester of 2014, AIF conducted the first ordinary on-site inspection of the IOR to verify the implementation of the measures taken to prevent and counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism pursuant to the Law XVIII of 8 October 2013.
T‎he inspection has shown substantial progress made by the IOR over the past 12 months. As a result of the inspection, AIF has developed an action plan for the full adaption of procedures to the requirements of Law XVIII and the implementation of further organizational and procedural improvements.
About the Financial Intelligence Authority - AIF
The Financial Intelligence Authority is the competent authority of the Holy See/Vatican City State for supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money-laundering and financing of terrorism.
Established by Pope Benedict XVI with the Apostolic Letter in form of Motu Proprio of 30 December 2010, AIF carries out its institutional activity according to the Statute attached to the above mentioned Motu Proprio and the Law n. CXXVII of 30 December 2010, as subsequently amended and integrated.
In July 2013, AIF became a member of the Egmont Group. Currently, AIF has signed Memoranda of Understanding for the international exchange of information with financial intelligence units of other states, such as Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Monaco, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United States of America.
Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday, 25 May, at 11.30 a.m., Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will take possession of the diaconate of Sts. Cosmas and Damian (Via dei Fori Imperiali, 1).
Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – On Friday, 30 May, at 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francesco will confer episcopal ordination to Msgr. Fabio Febene, under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
Vatican City, 17 May 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, has been appointed by the Holy Father as his special envoy to the celebrations commemorating the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese of Funchal in Madeira, Portugal, which will take place from 13 to 16 June 2014.
Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Thirteen prelates of the Mexican Episcopal Conference on their “ad limina” visit:
Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Acapulco;
Bishop Maximino Martinez Miranda of Ciudad Altamirano;
Bishop Dagoberto Sosa Arriaga of Tlapa;
Bishop Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado of Tuxtepec;
Bishop Jose de Jesus Martinez Zepeda of Irapuato;
Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Carlos Suarez Cazares and Bishop Juan Espinoza Jimenez;
Bishop Miguel Patino Velasquez of Apatzingan;
Bishop Armando Antonio Ortiz Aguirre of Ciudad Lazaro Cardenas;
Bishop Jose Luis Castro Medellin, M. S. F., of Tacambaro;
Bishop Javier Navarro Rodriguez of Zamora, with his auxiliary, Bishop Jaime Calderon Calderon.
On Saturday, 17 May, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Twenty-two prelates of the Mexican Episcopal Conference on their “ad limina” visit:
Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Francisco Ramirez Navarro and Bishop Efrain Mendoza Cruz;
Bishop Guillermo Rodrigo Teodoro Ortiz Mondragon of Cuautitlan;
Bishop Oscar Roberto Dominguez Couttolenc, M.G., of Ecatepec;
Bishop Hector Luis Morales Sanchez of Netzahualcoyotl;
Bishop Guillermo Francisco Escobar Galicia of Teotihuacan;
Bishop Juan Manuel Mancilla Sanchez of Texcoco;
Bishop Victor Rene Rodriguez Gomez of Valle de Chalco;
Bishop Oscar Armando Campos Contreras of Tehuantepec;
Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello of Antequera with his auxiliary, Bishop Gonzalo Alonso Calzada Guerrero of Cissa;
Bishop Eduardo Porfirio Patino Leal of Cordoba;
Bishop Juan Navarro Castellanos of Tuxpan;
Bishop Luis Felipe Gallardo Martin del Campo of Veracruz;
Bishop Juan Pedro Juarez Melendez of Tula;
Archbishop Fabio Martinez Castilla of Tuxtla Gutierrez with his auxiliary, Bishop Jose Luis Mendoza Corso.
Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de Las Casas with coadjutor Bishop Enrique Diaz Diaz.
Bishop Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez of Tapachula;
Bishop Jose Trinidad Zapata Ortiz of Papantla.
Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Metropolitan Archbishop Jose Luis Mollaghan of Rosaria, Argentina as member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with responsibility for the Commission for the examination of appeals by clergy accused of “delicta graviora”, to be established.
On Saturday, 17 May, the Holy Father:
- appointed Bishop Wojciech Polak, auxiliary of Gniezno and secretary general of the Polish Episcopal Conference, as metropolitan archbishop of Gniezno (area 8,122, population 664,608, Catholics 656,716, priests 527, religious 306), Poland, and primate of Poland. He succeeds Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy, as member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Today's Mass Readings : Monday May 19, 2014

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 285

Reading 1ACTS 14:5-18

There was an attempt in Iconium
by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders,
to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
They realized it,
and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe
and to the surrounding countryside,
where they continued to proclaim the Good News.

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth,
who had never walked.
He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him,
saw that he had the faith to be healed,
and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.”
He jumped up and began to walk about.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done,
they cried out in Lycaonian,
“The gods have come down to us in human form.”
They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes,”
because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city,
brought oxen and garlands to the gates,
for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments
when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
“Men, why are you doing this?
We are of the same nature as you, human beings.
We proclaim to you good news
that you should turn from these idols to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;
yet, in bestowing his goodness,
he did not leave himself without witness,
for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts.”
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds
from offering sacrifice to them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16

R. (1ab) Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your mercy, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
“Where is their God?”
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Heaven is the heaven of the LORD,
but the earth he has given to the children of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel JN 14:21-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
“Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name—
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.”

Pope Francis "We should do this exercise today, ask how our heart is: Firm or not?"

(Vatican Radio) A Christian should have their heart fixed on the Holy Spirit, not a fickle heart that dances from one place to another. This was Pope Francis’ message Monday morning at Mass in Casa Santa Marta. The Pope focused his homily on St. Paul, who was able to continuously evangelize because his heart was made firm by the Holy Spirit. Emer McCarthy reports:

What kind of heart do we have? That was the question at the certain of Pope Francis homily based on the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which speaks of St Paul’s commitment to evangelization “his firm heart in continuous motion”. The Apostle to the Gentiles is in Iconium, where they tried to kill him, but still he does not complain. He pushes ahead on to evangelize in the area of Lycaonia, and in the name of the Lord, heals a paralytic. On seeing this miracle, the pagans, think that Paul and Barnabas, who accompanies him are gods Zeus and Hermes descended upon the earth. The Pope noted, Paul "struggled to convince them that they were men". These , he said, " are the human trials that Paul experienced":

"We all have many of these, all of us; we are surrounded by many events that move us from one place to another. But we asked for the grace to have a fixed heart, like Paul: so as not to complain about the persecution he went in search to another city; he began to preach there; to heal the sick; realizing that that man had enough faith to be healed; then, calm this excited people who wanted to make a sacrifice to him; then, to proclaim that there is only one God, with their own cultural language. One thing after another ... And this can only come from a steady heart".

The Pope asked: "Where was Paul 's heart that he was able to make so many changes in such a short time and meet these situations in an appropriate way?". In the Gospel , the Pope said , Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father , "will teach us all things" and "remind us everything " that He had said. St. Paul’s heart "is fixed in the Holy Spirit" , this "gift that Jesus has sent us". The Pope warned that “if we find stability in our lives” we must "go to Him. He is in our hearts, we received Him in Baptism". The Holy Spirit, "gives us strength, gives us this steadiness to be able to move forward in life in the midst of many events". Jesus says, "two things" of the Holy Spirit : "He will teach you all things and will remind you of everything". That is exactly what happens with St. Paul: "he teaches and reminds him" of the "message of salvation". It is the Holy Spirit who gives him firmness of heart:

"With this example, we can ask ourselves today: What kind of heart do we have? Is it a fickle heart which like a dancer, like a butterfly flits from one to another…always in motion; Is it a heart that is scared by the vicissitudes of life, and is hiding and afraid to give witness to Jesus Christ; is it a brave heart or a heart that has so much fear and is always trying to hide? What does our heart care for? What treasure does our heart custody? Is my heart fixed upon creatures, the problems that we all have ? Is my heart fixed upon everyday gods or is it a heart fixed on the Holy Spirit ? ".

Pope Francis said that it would do us good to ask , "Where is the firmness of our hearts?" And also "remember the many every day events that we have: at home, at work, with our children, with people who live with us, with work colleagues, with everyone":

"Do I let myself get carried away by these things or face these events with a fixed heart, that knows where it is? The only one that gives firmness to our hearts is the Holy Spirit. It would do us good to think that we have this great gift that Jesus left us, the Spirit of fortitude, of counsel, who helps us to move forward in the midst, surrounded by every day trials. We should do this exercise today, ask how our heart is: Firm or not? And if it is firm, where does it dwell? In things or in the Holy Spirit ? It would do us good! "

Text from Vatican Radio website 

King of Bahrain meets with Pope Francis at Vatican

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received in audience the King of Bahrain, His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, on Monday. A communique from the Press Office of the Holy See says the Pope and His Majesty held cordial discussions on a range of issues including regional peace and stability and the importance of engagement in dialogue. The full text of the VIS translation of the statement from the Press Office is found, below.


[Monday, May 19, 2014] Pope Francis received in audience the King of Bahrain, His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial discussions focused on various themes of common interest, with particular reference to the commitment towards peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as the promotion of dialogue and peaceful co-existence among all members of society.

Mention was then made of the Christian community’s positive contribution to the country, and appreciation was expressed for His Majesty’s personal interest in the needs of the local Catholic community.

Text from Vatican Radio website 

Prime Minister of Poland meets with Pope Francis

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland on Monday morning in the Apostilic Palace at the Vatican. Below, please find the full text of the statmeent released by the Press Office of the Holy See following the meeting.


On the morning of Monday, 19 May, the Holy Father Francesco received in audience, in the
Vatican Apostolic Palace, the prime minister of the Republic of Poland, His Excellency Mr.
Donald Tusk, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro
Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for
Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, mention was made of the recent canonisation of John Paul
II, and the relevance of this event for the Polish nation. The prime minister expressed his
pleasure at His Holiness’ planned visit to Poland in 2016, on the occasion of World Youth Day.
Attention then turned to the social and economic situation of the Country.

Finally, there was an exchange of views on the current international situation. In particular,
concern was expressed regarding the persistent tensions in eastern Europe.

Text from Vatican Radio website 


Saint May 19 St. Celestine V - Pope - Died 1296

St. Celestine V
Feast: May 19

Feast Day:May 19
Born:1210 at Isneria, Abruzzi, Italy
Died:19 May 1296 in Ferentino, Italy
Humility raised this saint above the world, and preserved his soul free from its poison, both amidst its flatteries and under its frowns. He was born in Apulia about the year 1221. His parents were very virtuous, and charitable to the poor to the uttermost of their abilities. After his father's death, his mother, though she had eleven other sons, seeing his extraordinary inclination to piety, provided him with a literary education. His progress gave his friends great expectations; but he always considered that he had only one affair in this world, and that an affair of infinite importance, the salvation of his soul: that no security can be too great where an eternity is at stake: moreover, that the way to life is strait, the account which we are to give of all our actions and thoughts most rigorous, the judge infinitely just, and the issue either sovereign happiness or sovereign misery. He therefore made the means, by which he might best secure to himself that bliss for which alone he was created, his constant study. An eremitical state is only the vocation of souls, which are already perfect in the exercises of penance and contemplation. Peter had made the practice of both familiar to him from his tender years; and by a long noviceship was qualified for such a state, to which he found himself strongly inclined. Therefore at twenty years of age he left the schools, and retired to a solitary mountain, where he made himself a little cell under ground, but so small that he could scarce stand or lie down in it. Here he lived three years in great austerities, during which he was often assailed by violent temptations; but these he overcame by the help of such practices and austerities as the grace of God suggested to him. Notwithstanding the care he took to sequester himself from the world, he was discovered, and some time after compelled to enter into holy orders. He was ordained priest at Rome; but in 1246 returned into Abruzzo, and lived five years in a cave on mount Morroni, near Sulmona. He received great favors from heaven, the usual recompense of contemplative souls who have crucified their affections to this world: but then they are purchased through severe interior trials; and with such Peter was frequently visited. He was also molested with nocturnal illusions during his sleep, by which he was almost driven to despair, insomuch that he durst not say mass, and once determined to abandon his solitude; but was encouraged by the advice of a religious man, his confessor, who assured him that it was no more than a stratagem of the enemy, by which he could not be hurt if he despised it. For further satisfaction, he determined to go to Rome to consult the pope on that subject, and received great comfort by a vision he was favored with on the road; a certain holy abbot lately deceased appearing to him, who gave him the same counsel, and ordered him to return to his cell and offer every day the holy sacrifice, which he accordingly did. The wood on his mountain being cut down in 1251, he with two companions removed to mount Magella. There, with the boughs of trees and thorns, these three servants of God made themselves a little enclosure and cells, in which they enjoyed more solid pleasure than the great ones of the world can find in their stately palaces and gardens. The devil sometimes endeavored to disturb them; but they triumphed over his assaults. Many others were desirous to put themselves under his direction; but the saint alleged his incapacity to direct others. However, his humility was at length overcome, and he admitted those who seemed the most fervent.

Peter spent always the greatest part of the night in prayer and tears which he did not interrupt, while he was employed in the day in corporal labor or in copying books. His body he always treated as a most dangerous domestic enemy. He never ate flesh; he fasted every day except Sunday. He kept four lents in the year, during three of which, and on all Fridays, he took nothing but bread and water, unless it were a few cabbage leaves in lieu of bread. The bread which he used was so hard, that it could only be chopped in pieces. His austerities were excessive, till he was admonished in a vision not to destroy that body which his duty to God required him to support. If the Holy Ghost sometimes conducted the saints by extraordinary paths, we must learn from their fervor the condemnation of our sloth, who dare undertake nothing for the sake of virtue, and who shrink often under indispensable duties. St. Peter wore a shirt of horse-hair full of knots, and a chain of iron about his waist. He lay on the ground, or on a board, with a stone or log of wood for a pillow. It was his chiefest care always to nourish his soul with heavenly contemplation and prayer; yet he did not refuse to others the comfort of his spiritual succors. He gave advice, except on Wednesdays and Fridays, and during his rents, which he passed in inviolable silence. Finding his solitude too much disturbed, he went with some of his disciples to a cavern which was almost inaccessible on the top of mount Magella. This did but increase the ardor of others to pursue him. Wherefore he returned to mount Morroni, where many lived in scattered cells under his direction, till he assembled them in a monastery; and in 1271 obtained of pope Gregory X. the approbation of his religious order, under the rule of St. Bennet, which he restored to its primitive severity. The saint lived to see thirty-six monasteries, and six hundred monks and nuns; and this institute has been since propagated over all Europe, but is at present much mitigated.
Upon the death of Nicholas IV. the see of Rome continued vacant two years and three months, when the cardinals assembled at Perugia unanimously chose our saint for his successor, out of pure regard for his eminent sanctity. This election, on account of its disinterestedness, met with a general applause, and the saint seemed the only person afflicted on the occasion. He was indeed alarmed beyond measure at the news; and finding all the reasons he could allege for his declining the charge ineffectual, betook himself to flight in company with Robert, one of his monks, but was intercepted. He would gladly have engaged Robert still to attend him, but the good monk excused himself by an answer worthy of a disciple of the saint: "Compel me not," says he, "to throw myself upon your thorns. I am the companion of your flight, not of your exaltation." Peter thereupon dropped his request, and sighing before God, returned to Morroni, where the kings of Hungary and Naples, besides many cardinals and princes, waited for him. Thence he proceeded to the neighboring cathedral of Aquila, to be ordained bishop of Rome, being accompanied by the two kings, and an incredible number of princes and others; yet could not be prevailed upon to travel any other way than riding on an ass: he even thought it a great deal that he did not go on foot, as he desired to do. He was consecrated and crowned at Aquila on the 29th of August, taking the name of Celestine V., from an allusion to the Latin name of heaven, where he always dwelt in his heart: his monks have been distinguished by the name of Celestines ever since. Charles, king of Naples, persuaded him to go with him to his capital, to regulate certain ecclesiastical affairs of that kingdom, and to fill the vacant benefices. The new pope disgusted many of the cardinals by employing strangers in the conducting matters, the care of which had been usually intrusted to them. He was sometimes led by others into mistakes, which gave occasion to complaints, and increased his own scruples for having taken upon him so great a charge, to which he found himself unequal; especially on account of his want of experience in the world, and his not having studied the canon law. He continued his former austerities, and built himself a cell of boards in the midst of his palace, where he lived in solitude amidst the crowds which surrounded him, humble on the pinnacle of honor, and poor in the midst of riches. He shut himself up to spend the Advent in retirement, that he might prepare himself for Christmas, having committed the care of the church to three cardinals. This again was an occasion of fresh scruples, when he reflected that a pastor is bound himself to a personal attendance on the duties of his charge. These fears of conscience, the weight of his dignity, which he felt every day more and more insupportable, and the desire of enjoying himself in solitude, moved him at length to deliberate whether he might not resign his dignity. He consulted cardinal Benedict Cajetan, a person the best skilled in the canon law, and others, who agreed in their advice, that it was in the power of a pope to abdicate. When this became public, many vigorously opposed the motion; but no solicitations or motives could make the holy man alter his resolution. Wherefore, some days after, he held at Naples a consistory of the cardinals, at which the king of Naples and many others were present: before them he read the solemn act of his abdication, then laid aside his pontifical robes and ornaments, put on his religious habit, came down from his throne, and cast himself at the feet of the assembly, begging pardon for his faults, and exhorting the cardinals to repair them in the best manner they were able, by choosing a worthy successor to St. Peter. Thus, having sat in the chair four months, he abdicated the supreme dignity in the church, on the 13th of December, 1294, with greater joy than the most ambitious man could mount the throne of the richest empire in the world. This the cheerfulness of his countenance evidenced, no less than his words. Cardinal Benedict Cajetan, the ablest civilian and canonist of his age, was chosen in his place, and crowned at Rome on the 16th of January following.

Men, as it usually happens on such occasions, were divided in their sentiments with regard to this extraordinary action, of which we see a specimen in the writings of those great men who in that age began to restore at Florence the true taste of polite literature. Dante, who has stained his reputation with many blots in his moral and civil conduct, and his works with many falsities and unjust prepossessions, ascribes this cession of Celestine to pusillanimity. But this base censure is justly chastised by his country man Petrarch, who passed his unjust and glorious banishment at Vaucluse near Avignon, respected by the whole world, till he was courted by his fellow-citizens to honor his native country again with his presence, though he preferred to it a retirement to Papua. This great man, speaking of the abdication of our holy pope, says: "This action I call a sublime and heavenly fortitude, which he only possesses who knows the emptiness of all worldly dignities. The contempt of honors arises from a heroic courage, not from a want of that virtue; as the desire of them shows that a soul raiseth not herself above herself."

St. Celestine immediately stole away privately to his monastery of the Holy Ghost, at Morroni. But several who were offended at some acts of justice and necessary severity in the new pope, raised various reports, as if he had by ambition and fraud supplanted Celestine: others advanced that a pope could not resign his dignity. Boniface, moreover, was alarmed at the multitudes which resorted to Morroni to see Celestine, on account of the great reputation of his sanctity; and fearing he might be made a handle of by designing men, the consequence whereof might be some disturbance in the church, he entreated the king of Naples to send him to Rome. The saint, seeing that he could not be permitted to return to his cell, betook himself to flight, and put to sea, with a view to cross the Adriatic gulf; but was driven back by contrary winds into the harbor of Vieste, where he was secured by the governor, pursuant to an order of the king of Naples, and conducted to pope Boniface at Anagni. Boniface kept him some time in his own palace, often discoursing with him, that he might discover if he had ever consented to those that called his abdication null and invalid. The saint's unfeigned simplicity bearing evidence to the contrary, many advised the pope to set him at liberty, and send him to his monastery. But Boniface, alleging the danger of tumults and of a schism, confined him in the citadel of Fumone, nine miles from Anagni, under a guard of soldiers. The authors of the life of the saint say, that he there suffered many insults and hardships, which yet never drew from his mouth the least word of complaint. On the contrary, he sent word to Boniface, by two cardinals who came to see him, that he was content with his condition, and desired no other. He used to say, with wonderful tranquillity: "I desired nothing in the world but a cell; and a cell they have given me." He sang the divine praises almost without interruption, with two of his monks who were assigned him for his companions. On Whit-Sunday, in 1296, after he had heard mass with extraordinary fervor, he told his guards that he should die before the end of the week. He immediately sickened of a fever, and received extreme unction. Even in that dying condition he would never suffer a little straw to be strewed on the hard boards upon which he always lay, and prayed without interruption. On Saturday, the 19th of May, finishing the last psalm of lauds at those words, Let every spirit praise the Lord, he calmly closed his eyes to this world, and his soul passed to the company of the angels, he being seventy-five years old. During his ten months' imprisonment he never abated any thing of his ordinary austerities. Pope Boniface, with all the cardinals, performed his funeral obsequies at St. Peter's. His body was sumptuously buried at Ferentino; but was afterwards translated to Aquila, and is kept in the church of the Celestines near that city. Many miracles are authentically recorded of him, and he was canonized by Clement V., in 1313. Boniface fell into great calamities. Philip the Fair, Icing of France, who was his declared enemy, sent a body of troops, under the command of William Noggret, to support the conspiracy of Stephen and Chiarra Colonna against him, by whom he was made prisoner at Anagni. After much ill-treatment, he was rescued out of their hands by the Ursini from Rome; but died soon after of grief, in 1303.

A spirit of retirement, or a love of holy solitude and its exercises, and an habitual interior recollection, are essential to piety and a true Christian life. Some, by a particular call of God, dedicate themselves to his service in a state of perfect solitude, in which the first motive may be self-defence of preservation. In the world, snares are laid everywhere for us, and its lusts often endeavor to court and betray us, and the torrent of its example, or the violence of its persecutions, to drive and force us into death. Whoever, therefore, prudently fears that he is not a match for so potent an enemy, may, nay sometimes ought, to retire from the world. This is not to decline the service of God or man, but sin and danger: it is not to prefer ease and security before industry and labor, but before a rash presumption and a fatal overthrow. But entire solitude is a safer state only to those who are animated with such a love and esteem for all its exercises as give an assurance of their constant fervor in them; also who seriously cultivate interior solitude of mind, and will never suffer it to gad abroad after the objects of worldly affairs, vanities, or pleasures: lastly, whose souls are free from envy, emulation, ambition, desire of esteem, and all other busy and turbulent passions, which cannot fail by desires and hankerings to discompose the mind, and muddy the pure stream, and adulterate the relish of a retired life. The soul must be reduced to its native purity and simplicity, before it will be able to taste the blessings of true liberty, of regular devotion, and elevated meditation.

Secondly: An indication that God designs certain persons for retirement, is the discovery of talents fitted for this state rather than for any public station. For there are active and contemplative gifts. Those who are destined by heaven to a retired life, in it become most eminently serviceable to the world,  by proving excellent examples of innocence, and the perfect spirit of every Christian virtue, and by their prayers and continual pure homages of praise and thanksgivings to God, from which others may reap far more valuable benefits than from the labors of the learned or the bountiful alms of the rich. Thus the world never loses a member, but enjoys Its service in its proper place, and the most effectual manner, says an ingenious Protestant writer; who adds, that such a one retires not from the world to avoid its service, but its fooleries.

Thirdly: The same author observes, that the main end of retirement ought always to be to dedicate ourselves entirely to God by the exercises of compunction and holy contemplation. This may be easily demonstrated both from reason and religion, and from the examples of so many illustrious saints. Retirement is recommended by particular motives to persons who, after going through the station of a public life, are at liberty to embrace it in order to fit themselves for eternity.


Saint May 19 St. Crispin of Viterbo - Franciscan Lay Brother - Died 1750

St. Crispin of Viterbo
Feast: May 19

Feast Day:May 19
Born:13 November 1668, Viterbo
Died:19 May 1750, Rome
Canonized:20 June 1982 by Pope John Paul II
Friar Minor Capuchin; b. at Viterbo in 1668; d. at Rome, 19 May, 1750. When he was five years old, his pious mother took him to a sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin, a short distance from Viterbo, where she consecrated him to the Mother of God and placed him under her special protection. The child grew beyond his years in virtue and science of the saints; so that the townsfold of Viterbo were wont to call him il Santarello, the little saint. As Crispin one day saw the Capuchin novices walking in procession, God inspired him with the desire to embrace the religious life. He was shortly afterwards received into the Franciscan Order as a simple lay brother. Having been employed for some time as cook in the convent at Viterbo, he was sent to Tolfa, a town not far distant from Civita Becchia, to fulfil the same office. Thence he was sent to Rome and finally to Albano. Here Crispin was visited by the men of the world, by bishops and cardinals, and even by the pope himself, who always took delight in conversing with the humble lay brother. It was Crispin's constant endeavour to imitate the virtues of his patron, St. Felix of Cantalice, whom he had chosen as his model of perfection at the beginning of his religious life. Like St. Felix, he used to call himself the ass or beat of burden of the Capuchins, and, having on one occasion been asked by a stranger why he went bare-headed, Crispin answered jocosely, that "an ass does not wear a hat." Enfeebled by old age and by his numerous austerities, he was sent to Rome by his superiors, there to end his holy life. His body, which even at the present time is still in a remarkable state of preservation, rests under one of the side altars in the church of the Capuchin Fathers in Rome. Blessed Crispin was solemnly beatified by Pope Pius VII in 1806. His feast is celebrated only by the Capuchins.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


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