Saturday, May 3, 2014

Catholic News World : Sat. May 3, 2014 - Share!


Pope Francis Meets Bishops of Sri Lanka "Indeed, a new dawn of hope has arisen as people now look to rebuild.."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met today with the bishops of Sri Lanka as part of their visit ad Limina Apostolorum. In his address, the Pope encouraged the bishops in their efforts of reconciliation and healing of the nation, after more than 25 years of civil war on the island. Observing that the Church counts among its faithful both sides of the civil war, the Pope remarked that “as the country seeks to come together and heal, the Church is uniquely positioned to provide a living image of unity in the faith.” (Image Source Radio Vaticana)

The pope praised the Church’s charitable work, especially the work of Caritas Sri Lanka which provided much aid following the 2004 tsunami. He then reminded the bishops to continue the work for the poor, recalling his recent letter Evangelii Gaudium where he says “until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence.”

The pope noted the rich diversity of religious traditions and commended the bishops in their fruit-bearing efforts in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. In the face of on-going violence by certain groups of religious extremists, he encouraged the church “to remain steadfast in seeking partners in peace and interlocutors in dialogue.” The pope went on to praise the Church’s initiatives of developing small communities centered on the Word of God as a way to encourage piety and “assuring the faithful of the closeness of Christ and his Church to them.”

Lastly, the Pope turned his attention to the family, the domestic church. He observed how the “war has left many families displaced and grieving the death of those closest to them” and also the “great challenge and increasing reality of mixed marriages, which require greater attention to preparation and assistance to couples in providing for the faith formation of their children.” He then exhorted the bishops to support and work to ensure that the dignity and the primacy of the family will upheld in the country.

Read below the full text of Pope Francis' discourse:
Dear Brother Bishops,

It is a great joy for me to welcome you here on your visit ad Limina Apostolorum, which serves to renew your communion with the Successor of Peter and provides an opportunity to reflect on the life of the Church in Sri Lanka. I thank Cardinal Ranjith for his warm words of greeting from you and from all the faithful of your local Churches. I ask you to convey my greeting and love to them, and to express my solidarity and care. I recall with affection my recent meeting in Saint Peter’s Basilica with members of the Sri Lankan community during the pilgrimage to Rome to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the consecration of your country to the Blessed Mother. It is my hope for you, dear Brothers, that these days of reflection and prayer may confirm you in the faith and in knowledge of the many gifts that you, the priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful have received in Christ.

I wish now to share some reflections with you on this treasure, which is at the heart of our life in the Church and our mission to society, the beauty and richness of which we saw so clearly in the Year of Faith. Our faith and the gifts we have received cannot be stored away, but are meant to be freely shared and to find expression in our daily lives. For our vocation is to be a “leaven in the midst of humanity … proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope, and strengthened on the way” (Evangelii Gaudium, 114). Sri Lanka particularly needs this leaven. After many years of fighting and bloodshed, the war in your country has finally ended. Indeed, a new dawn of hope has arisen as people now look to rebuild their lives and their communities. In response to this, through your recent Pastoral Letter Towards Reconciliation and Rebuilding of our Nation, you sought to reach out to all Sri Lankans with a prophetic message inspired by the Gospel that seeks to accompany them in their trials. Though the war has ended, you rightly note that much work needs to be done to promote reconciliation, to respect the human rights of all the people and to overcome the ethnic tensions that remain. I would like to join you in offering a particular word of consolation to all those who lost loved ones during the war and remain uncertain as to their fate. Mindful of Saint Paul’s appeal to bear one another’s burdens (cf. Gal 6:2), may your communities, steadfast in the faith, remain close to those who still mourn and suffer the lasting effects of war.

As you have expressed, the Catholics of Sri Lanka wish to contribute, together with the various elements of society, to the work of reconciliation and rebuilding. One such contribution is the promotion of unity. Indeed, as the country seeks to come together and heal, the Church is uniquely positioned to provide a living image of unity in the faith as she is blessed to count both Sinhalese and Tamil among her number. In parishes and schools, in social programmes and other institutions of the Church, Sinhalese and Tamil find opportunities to live, study, work and worship together. Through these same entities, especially through parishes and missions, you also know intimately the concerns and fears of the people, particularly how they can be marginalized and distrust one another. The faithful, knowledgeable of the issues that cause tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil, can provide an atmosphere of dialogue that seeks to construct a more just and equitable society.

Another important contribution of the Church to redevelopment is her charitable work, which shows forth the merciful face of Christ. Caritas Sri Lanka is to be commended for its outreach following the 2004 tsunami and for its efforts on behalf of post-war reconciliation and rebuilding, especially in the most affected regions. The Church in Sri Lanka also gives generous service in the areas of education, healthcare and outreach to the poor. While the country has enjoyed increased economic development, this prophetic witness of service and compassion becomes even more important: it shows that the poor must not be forgotten nor inequality permitted to grow. Rather, your ministry and outreach must work for the inclusion of all in society, because “until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence” (Evangelii Gaudium, 59).

Sri Lanka is a country not only of rich ethnic diversity, but also of various religious traditions; this highlights the importance of interreligious and ecumenical dialogue for fostering mutual knowledge and enrichment. Your efforts in this regard are commendable and bearing fruit. They allow the Church to collaborate more easily with others in securing a lasting peace, and ensure the Church’s freedom in pursuing her proper ends, especially in educating young people in the faith and in witnessing freely to Christian life. Sri Lanka has also seen, however, the rise of religious extremists who, in promoting a false sense of national unity based on a single religious identity, have created tensions through various acts of intimidation and violence. Though these tensions may threaten interreligious and ecumenical relations, the Church in Sri Lanka must remain steadfast in seeking partners in peace and interlocutors in dialogue. Acts of intimidation also affect the Catholic community, and so it is ever more necessary to confirm the people in their faith. The Church’s initiatives in developing small communities centred on the Word of God and in fostering popular piety are exemplary ways of assuring the faithful of the closeness of Christ and his Church to them.

In the important task of transmitting the faith and of promoting reconciliation and dialogue, you are aided in the first place by your priests. I join you in thanking God for the many priestly vocations he has raised up among the faithful of Sri Lanka. Indeed, the many local priests who serve the People of God are a great blessing and a direct fruit of the missionary seeds planted long ago. So that your priests may give worthy service and be true shepherds, I urge you to be attentive to their human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation, not only in their years of seminary training, but also throughout their lives of generous service. Be true fathers to them, attentive to their needs and present in their lives, recognizing that they often minister in difficult situations and with limited resources. With you, I thank them for their fidelity and witness, as I call them to ever greater holiness through prayer and daily conversion.

I also join you in giving thanks to Almighty God for the ministry and witness of the consecrated men and women and all the laity who support and serve the apostolates of the Church and who faithfully live out their Christian lives. Together with the clergy, and in communion with you as the Pastors of the local Churches, they show forth the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, who transforms the Church and makes us all a leaven to the world. Their vocation is crucial to the spread of the Gospel and is increasingly important, especially in the vast rural communities and in the field of education, where trained catechists are often lacking. Since the ministry of the Bishop is never carried out in isolation, but always in concert with all the baptized, I encourage you continue to assist the faithful in recognizing their gifts and in placing them at the service of the Church.

Lastly, I appreciate your efforts to minister to the family, that “fundamental cell of society where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another, …where parents pass on the faith to their children” (Evangelii Gaudium, 66). The forthcoming Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will discuss the family and seek ever new and creative ways in which the Church can support these domestic churches. In Sri Lanka, the war has left many families displaced and grieving the death of those closest to them. Many have lost their employment and so families have been separated as spouses leave their homes to find work. There is also the great challenge and increasing reality of mixed marriages, which require greater attention to preparation and assistance to couples in providing for the faith formation of their children. When we are attentive to our families and their needs, when we understand their difficulties and hopes, we strengthen the Church’s witness and proclamation of the Gospel. Particularly by supporting marital love and fidelity, we help the faithful to live their vocation freely and joyfully, and we open new generations to the life of Christ and his Church. Your efforts in support of the family assist not only the Church, but aid Sri Lankan society as a whole, especially in its efforts for reconciliation and unity. I urge you, therefore, to be ever vigilant and to work with governmental authorities and other religious leaders to ensure that the dignity and primacy of the family is upheld.

With these sentiments, my dear Brothers, I entrust you to the intercession of Our Lady of Lanka, as I willingly extend my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all the beloved priests, consecrated men and women, and lay people of Sri Lanka.

Text from the Vatican Radio website 

Over 2 Thousand Buried in Massive Landslide in Afghanistan - Please Pray

Asia News IT Report: The province of Badakhshan hit by torrential rains and massive landslides. The worst situation in the village of Hargu, where 215 family homes have been covered with dirt, mud and rocks. Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands: lack of heavy machinery.
Kabul ( AsiaNews) - The massive landslide that yesterday struck the northeastern province of Badakhshan is believed to have buried at least 2 thousand people in the rubble of their homes. This is confirmed by the Afghan government and the United Nations: the rescuers are desperately trying to work with rudimentary tools to help the local population. More than 350 bodies have been pulled from the mud, but the body count is set to climb. Police are carrying bread and water to the thousands of people who spent the night outdoors, under the torrential rains that swamped the area for about 3 days.

The province of Badakhshan is a mountainous region characterized by rural districts: landslides and avalanches strike on an annual basis during the rainy season. However, the avalanche of mud that buried 500 houses in the area of Hargu was unexpected. Rescuers are trying to do as mush as possible to dig out the buried and collapsed houses, but without heavy machinery and appropriate tools seems to be a losing battle. Any available bulldozers are hundreds of miles away, and the situation of the roads rules out any rapid transport.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan has issued a statement which reads: "The number of deceased has increased to 350 and significant displacement is expected". There are a total of 1000 homes involved, and the fact that the landslide occurred on Friday - the day of rest in the country - means that entire families were inside the buildings. The village of Hargu, 215 families, is completely covered by rocks and soil. Some sources believe that it is "almost impossible" for someone to be pulled alive from there.

Shared From Asia News IT 

Pope Francis Meets President of Angola - Africa Jose Eduardo

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with the President of the Republic of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos to discuss relations between his country and the Holy See. (Image Source Radio Vaticana)
A statement from the Vatican press office said the two leaders discussed a planned bilateral agreement regarding the legal state of the Catholic Church in the country and noted the important contribution the Church makes to education and healthcare in the southern African nation.
During the audience the Pope and the President also spoke of broader national and regional challenges such as the fight against poverty and social inequality, as well as the promotion of justice, peace and reconciliation on the African continent.

Please find below the full English language translation of the statement from the Holy See press office: 
Today, Friday 2 May 2014, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis
received in Audience the President of the Republicof Angola, His Excellency Mr. José Eduardo
dos Santos, who subsequently met with CardinalSecretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied
by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, the good relations between the Holy See and the Republic
of Angola were evoked. In particular, mention was made of the planned bilateral Agreement
regarding the legal state of the Catholic Church in the country. In this context, reference was also
made to the important contribution offered by the Catholic Church to the country through its
educational and healthcare institutions.

Finally, attention focused on various challenges relating to the Country and the Region, such
as the fight against poverty and social inequality, the full development of the person,
reconciliation, justice and peace, with particular attention to the different situations of conflict
that affect the Continent.

Text from Vatican Radio website 

Today's Mass Online : Sat. May 3, 2014 - Feast of St. James and St. Philip Apostles

Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles
Lectionary: 561

Reading 11 COR 15:1-8

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the Gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more
than five hundred brothers and sisters at once,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.

Responsorial Psalm PS 19:2-3, 4-5

R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.
R. Alleluia.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day;
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel JN 14:6-14

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

Saint May 3 : St. Philip Apostle - Patron of Pastry Chefs

St. Philip
Feast: May 3

Feast Day:May 3
Born:Bethsaida, Palestine
Died:80 at Hierapolis, Phrygia
Patron of:hatters; pastry chefs
St. Philip was of Bethsaida, in Galilee, and called by our Saviour to follow him the day after St. Peter and St. Andrew. He was at that time a married man, and had several daughters; but his being engaged in the married state hindered him not, as St. Chrysostom observes, from meditating continually on the law and the prophets, which disposed him for the important discovery of the Messias in the person of Jesus Christ, in obedience to whose command he forsook all to follow him, and became thenceforth the inseparable companion of his ministry and labors. Philip had no sooner discovered the Messias, than he was desirous to make his friend Nathanael a sharer in his happiness, saying to him: , that is, the Messias; Nathanael was not so ready to give his assent to this assertion of his friend, by reason that the supposed Messias was reported to be of Nazareth. Philip therefore desired him himself to Jesus ; not doubting but, upon his personal acquaintance with the Son of God, he would be as much convinced of the truth as he was himself. Nathanael complied, and Jesus, seeing him approach, said, within his hearing: Nathanael asked him, how he came to know him: Jesus repined: Nathanael, as two holy fathers explain the matter, calling to mind that the closeness of his retirement on that occasion was such, that no human creature could see him, owned him hereupon for the , and the , or, in other words, the Messiah, foretold by Moses and the prophets. The marriage at Cana of Galilee happening three days after, to which Jesus and his disciples were invited, St. Philip was present at it with the rest. The year following, when our Lord formed the college of apostles, Philip was appointed one of that number, and. from the several passages of the gospel, he appears to have been particularly dear to his divine Master. Thus, when Jesus was about to feed five thousand persons, who had followed him into the wilderness, for the greater evidence of the miracle, and for the trial of this apostle's faith, Jesus proposed to him the difficulty of feeding the multitudes in that desolate place. And a little before our Saviour's passion, certain Gentiles, desirous to see Christ, made their first address to Philip, and by him and St. Andrew obtained that favor. Our Saviour, in the discourse he made to his disciples immediately after his last supper, having promised them a more clear and perfect knowledge of his heavenly Father than they had had hitherto, St. Philip cried out, with a holy eagerness and impatience: From which words our Saviour took occasion to inculcate afresh a steady belief of his divinity, and perfect equality with the Father, saying: , (teaching you who I am both by my words and actions,) < and have you not known me?> (If you beheld me with the eyes of faith such as I really am, in seeing me you would see the Father also, because)
After our Lord's ascension the gospel was to be preached to the whole world by a few persons, who had been eye-witnesses of his miracles, and were enabled, by the power of the Holy Ghost, to confirm their testimony concerning him by doing the like wonderful works themselves. That this might be accomplished, it was necessary that the disciples should quickly disperse themselves into all parts of the world. St. Philip accordingly preached the gospel in the two Phrygias, as Theodoret and Eusebius assure us from undoubted monuments. St. Polycarp, who was only converted in the year 80, enjoyed his conversation for some time, consequently St. Philip must have lived to a very advanced age. It appears, from a passage of Polyerates, quoted by Eusebius, that he was buried at Hierapolis, in Phrygia, which city was indebted to his relies for its preservation by continual miracles, as is averred by the author of the sermon on the twelve apostles, attributed to St. Chrysostom. An arm of St. Philip was brought from Constantinople to Florence, in 1204, whereof we have an authentic history in the Bollandists. The Orientals keep his festival on the 14th of November; the Latins on the 1st of May, with St. James. His body is said to be in the church of SS. Philip and James, in Rome, which was dedicated to God under their name, in 560. The emperor Theodosius, in a vision, received from St. John the Evangelist, and St. Philip, the assurance of victory over the tyrant Eugenius, the morning before the battle, in 394, as Theodoret relates.
From St. Philip we must particularly learn an ardent love of God, and desire to see the Father. He asked only this favor, because this was his only desire. Is it ours? Do we feel it so perfect as to extinguish all inordinate earthly affections and desires in our breasts? Do we employ the proper means to attain to this happy disposition? To obtain it, let us employ the succor of this apostle's prayers, and by disengaging our hearts from corruption and vanity, become, in desires and affections, citizens of heaven. The pilgrim soul sees herself a stranger here on earth, and discovers nothing in this desert place of her banishment hut an abyss of vanity, and subjects of compunction, grief, and fears. On the other side, looking up to God, she contemplates the magnificence and splendor of his kingdom, which will have no end; its peace, security, sanctity without stain, delights without sorrow, unchangeable and incomprehensible joys; and she cries out in a holy transport: "O joy surpassing all joys, and without which there is no true joy, when shall I possess you? O, sovereign good, discover to me some ray of thy beauty and of thy glory; may my heart be set on flame by thy love, and my soul languish and wade with desire to be united to thee, to behold thee face to face, to sing thy praises night and day, to drink of the plenty of thy house, and of the torrent of thy delights, to be forever confirmed in thy love, and in some measure transformed into thee!" Such a soul seeks to hide herself from the eyes of men, to live unknown to the world; and, in retirement and repose, to apply herself to prayer, all her thoughts being taken up in contemplating the glorious things which are said of the blessed city of her God. All worldly enjoyments and distractions are insupportable to her, and she finds no comfort in this place of banishment but in singing the praises of her God, in adoring and in doing always his will, and in the sweet sighs and tears with which she seeks him, and begs him to reign perfectly in her affections by his grace and love, and to draw her speedily to himself out of this Babylon, in which every object increases her affliction, and inflames her desire, seeming to say to her:


Saint May 3 : St. James the Lesser Apostle - Patron of Pharmacists

St. James the Lesser
Feast: May 3

Feast Day:May 3
Patron of:apothecaries; druggists; dying people; fullers; hatmakers; hatters; milliners; pharmacists
St. James, to distinguish him from the other apostle of the same name, the son of Zebedee, was called the Less; which appellation is supposed to have taken its rise, either from his having been called later to the apostleship than the former, or from the lowness of his stature, or from his youth. He is also known by the title of James the Just, a denomination all agree, with Hegesippus and St. Clement of Alexandria, to have been given on account of his eminent sanctity. He was the son of Alpheus and Mary, the sister of the Blessed Virgin and seems to have been born some years before our Lord. Jesus came with his brethren, and probably St. James among the rest, to settle in Capharnaum, at the beginning of his ministry. James and his brother Jude were called to the apostleship in the second year of Christ's preaching, soon after the Pasch, in the year 31. He was favored with an extraordinary apparition of his Master after his resurrection. Clement of Alexandria says, that Christ being risen from the dead, communicated the gift of science to SS. James the Just, John, and Peter, and that they imparted it to the other apostles. We are told by SS. Jerome and Epiphanius, that our Lord, at his ascension, recommended his church of Jerusalem to St. James; in consequence whereof the apostles, before their dispersion, constituted him bishop of that city. It was probably for a mark of his episcopal authority, and as an ensign of his dignity, that he wore on his head a lamina, or plate of gold, as is recounted by St. Epiphanius. Polycrates, quoted by Eusebius, testifies, that St. John did the same: others relate the like of St. Mark. It was probably done in imitation of the Jewish high-priest.
St. James governed that church in perpetual dangers, from the fury of the people and their violent persecutions; but his singular virtue procured him the veneration of the Jews themselves. As to his sanctity, Eusebius and St. Jerome give from Hegesippus the following account concerning him: "He was always a virgin, and was a Nazarite, or one consecrated to God. In consequence of which he was never shaved, never cut his hair, never drank any wine or other strong liquor; moreover, he never used any bath, or oil to anoint his limbs, and never ate of any living creature except when of precept, as the paschal lamb: he never wore sandals, never used any other clothes than one single linen garment. He prostrated so much in prayer, that the skin of his knees and forehead was hardened like to camels' hoofs." St. Epiphanius says, that, in a great drought, on stretching out his arms to heaven, he, by his  prayers, instantly obtained rain. His eminent sanctity made even the Jews style him the just man: and Origen observes, that Josephus himself gives him that epithet, though it is not to be found now in Josephus' works. The same reverence for his person procured him the privilege of entering at pleasure into the Sanctum or Holy place, namely, that part of the temple where none but the priests were allowed by the law to enter. St. Jerome adds, that the Jews strove, out of respect, who should touch the hem of his garment. In the year 51, he assisted at the council of the apostles, held at Jerusalem, about the observance of circumcision, and the other legal ceremonies of the law of Moses. Here, after having confirmed what St. Peter said, he devised the sentence which the apostles drew up on that occasion. This apostle being bishop of a church, which then chiefly consisted of Jewish converts, tolerated the use of the legal ceremonies, and, together with others, advised St. Paul to purify himself and offer sacrifice. He is the author of a canonical epistle which he wrote in Greek. It is at the head of those called , or universal, because addressed not to any one particular church, but to the whole body of the converted Jews dispersed throughout the then known world. It was penned some time after those of St. Paul to the Galatians, in 55, and to the Romans in 58. It could not, therefore, be written before the year 59, fourteen years after the death of St. James the greater. The author's view in this epistle is to refute the false teachers, who, abusing certain expressions in St. Paul's writings, pretended that faith alone was sufficient to justification without good works: whereas, without these, he declares our faith is dead. He adds excellent precepts of a holy life, and exhorts the faithful not to neglect the sacrament of extreme unction in sickness.
The oriental liturgy or mass, which bears the name of this apostle, is mentioned by Proclus, patriarch of Constantinople, and by the council in Trullo, and is of venerable antiquity. St. Basil, indeed, testifies, that the words of the sacred invocation in the consecration of the bread and of the cup, were not committed to writing, but learned and preserved by tradition down to the fourth century, which was done on a motive of respect and veneration: but other parts of the liturgy were written. Perhaps St. James gave only general directions about this liturgy, upon whose plan it was afterwards drawn up or enlarged. His singular learning in sacred matters is extolled by St. Clement of Alexandria, and St. Jerome.
The Jews, being exasperated at the disappointment of their malicious designs against St. Paul, by his appeal to Caesar, to whom he was sent by Festus, in the year 60, were resolved to revenge it on St. James. That governor, dying before the arrival of his successor, Albinus, this vacancy gave them an opportunity of acting more arbitrarily than otherwise they durst have done. Wherefore, during this interval, Ananus, the high-priest, son of the famous Annas mentioned in the gospels, having assembled the Sanhedrim, or great council of the Jews, summoned St. James and others before it. Josephus, the Jewish historian, says, that St. James was accused of violating the laws, and delivered to the people to be stoned to death. And Hegesippus adds, that they carried him up to the battlements of the temple, and would have compelled him from thence to make a public renunciation of his faith in Christ, with this further view, thereby to undeceive, as they termed it, those among the people who had embraced Christianity. But St. James took that opportunity to declare his belief in Jesus Christ, after the most solemn and public manner. For he cried out aloud from the battlements, in the hearing of a great multitude, which was then at Jerusalem on account of the Passover, that Jesus, the Son of man, was seated at the right hand of the Sovereign Majesty, and would come in the clouds of heaven to judge the world. The Scribes and Pharisees, enraged at this testimony in behalf of Jesus, cried out: "The just man also hath erred." And going up to the battlements, they threw him headlong down to the ground, saying, "He must be stoned." St. James, though very much bruised by his fall, had strength enough to get upon his knees, and in this posture, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he begged of God to pardon his murderers, seeing that they knew not what they did. The rabble below received him with showers of stones, and at last a fuller gave him a blow on the head with his club, such as is used in dressing of cloths, after which he presently expired. This happened on the festival of the Pasch, the 10th of April, in the year of Christ 62, the seventh of Nero. He was buried near the temple, in the place in which he was martyred, where a small column was erected. Such was the reputation of his sanctity, that the Jews attributed to his death the destruction of Jerusalem, as we read in St. Jerome, Origen, and Eusebius, who assure us that Josephus himself declared it in the genuine editions of his history. Ananus put others to death for the same cause, but was threatened for this very fact by Albinus, and deposed from the high-priesthood by Agrippa. The episcopal throne of St. James was shown with respect at Jerusalem, in the fourth century. His relics are said to have been brought to Constantinople about the year 572.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Pope Francis "Always be true sportsmen!” to Football Association

Pope Francis gave an address on Friday, May 2, 2014 to players of two Serie A Italian football teams, Fiorentina and Napoli, as well as to directors of Italy’s National Football Federation and the Serie A League. The Pope told the football players and directors that he has many wonderful memories of going to the local football stadium as a boy with members of his family.
“Football is a social entity, and requires social responsibility on the part of players, both on and off the pitch, and by national and local managers”, said Pope Francis this morning at the beginning of his address to the Fiorentina and Napoli football clubs, and a delegation from the Football Federation and the Serie A League. The Pope shared some “joyful moments” from his youth, when he used to visit the stadium with his family on Sundays, and commented that he would like football and every other popular sport to rediscover a celebratory dimension. “Today, even football is caught up in the world of business, advertising, television and so on”, he continued. “But the economic aspect must not prevail in sport, as it risks contaminating it all, at international, national and also local levels. It is therefore necessary to react positively from above, restoring sporting dignity to events”. The Pontiff reminded the footballers of the great responsibility inherent in being the focus of attention and role models to many young people: “bear this in mind, and consider that your behaviour is resonant, both positively and negatively. Always be true sportsmen!”. In conclusion, the Pope emphasised that sport has great educative value, for the growth of the person: personal growth, in the harmony of body and spirit, and social growth, in terms of solidarity, loyalty and respect. May football always enable the development of this potential!”. (VIS Release)

Pope Francis “I cried when I saw reports on the news of Christians crucified..."

(Vatican Radio) In his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Martha Friday, Pope Francis lamented that in today’s world there are still "masters of conscience" [thought police – ed] and in some countries you can still go to jail for possessing a Gospel or wearing a Crucifix. He also confessed to those present that he has wept at the news that some Christians were crucified, because still today there are people who kill others in God’s name. 
The Pope's homily drew from the Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, in which Christ’s disciples are flogged by the Sanhedrin. Pope Francis proposed three icons: the first is Jesus’ love for people, his attention to peoples’ problems. He said the Lord is not concerned with how many people follow him, he would “never even thinks of taking a census" to see if "the Church has grown ... no! He speaks, preaches, loves, accompanies, travels on the path with people, meek ​​and humble". He speaks with authority, that is, with "the power of love".

 The second icon is the "jealousy" of the religious authorities of the time: "They couldn’t stand the fact that people followed Jesus! They couldn’t stand it! They were jealous. This is a really bad attitude to have. Jealousy and envy, and we know that the father of envy" is "the devil". It was through his envy that evil came into the world". Pope Francis continued: "These people knew who Jesus was: they knew! These people were the same who had paid the guard to say that the disciples had stolen Christ’s body!".

"They had paid to silence the truth. People can be really evil sometimes! Because when we pay to hide the truth, we are [committing] a very great evil. And that's why people knew who they were. They would not follow them, but they had to tolerate them because they had authority: the authority of the cult, the authority of the ecclesiastical discipline at that time, the authority of the people ... and the people followed. Jesus said that they weighed people down with oppressive weights and made them carry them on their shoulders. These people cannot tolerate the meekness of Jesus, they cannot tolerate the meekness of the Gospel, they cannot tolerate love. And they pay out of envy, out of hate".
During the gathering of the Sanhedrin there is a "wise man", Gamaliel, who asks the religious leaders to free the apostles. Thus, the Pope insists, there are these first two icons: Jesus who is moved to see people "without a shepherd" and the religious authorities ...

"These, with their political maneuvering, with their ecclesiastical maneuvers to continue to dominate the people ... And so, they bring forth the apostles, after this wise man had spoken, the called the apostles and had them flogged and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus. Then they freed them. ‘We have to do something, we will give them a sound hiding and send them on their way! . Unjust! but they did it. They were the masters of conscience [thought police], and felt they had the power to do so. Masters of conscience ... Even in today's world , there are so many".
Then Pope Francis confessed: “I cried when I saw reports on the news of Christians crucified in a certain country, that is not Christian. Still today - he pointed out – there are these people who kill and persecute, in the name of God. Still today, "we see many who" like the apostles “rejoice that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor in Christ’s name". This - he said - "is the third icon today. The Joy of witness".

"First icon: Jesus with people, his love, the path that He has taught us, which we should follow. The second icon: the hypocrisy of these religious leaders of the people, who had people imprisoned with these many commandments, with this cold, hard legality, and who also paid to hide the truth. Third icon: the joy of the Christian martyrs, the joy of so many of our brothers and sisters who have felt this joy in history, this joy that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for Christ’s name. And today there are still so many! Just think that in some countries, you can go to jail for just carrying a Gospel. You may not wear a crucifix or you will be fined. But the heart rejoices. The three icons: let us look at them today. This is part of our history of salvation".
Text from Vatican Radio website 


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