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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Catholic News World : Sunday May 25, 2014 - Share!

2014






















#PopeFrancis celebrates Mass in Bethlehem in the Holy Land - Video and Text

Pope Francis meets with Disabled Youth and Refugees at Jordan River - Video and Text



Pope Francis presides over the Holy Mass in the Manger Square in Bethlehem followed by the Regina Coeli Prayer. Groups of faithfull from Gaza and Galilee and migrants from Asia attend the celebration. Watch with English commentary.  BETHLEHEM – 25.05.2014 Manger Square Holy Mass Homily of Pope Francis Provisional Version “This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). What a great grace it is to celebrate the Eucharist in the place where Jesus was born! I thank God and I thank all of you who have welcomed me on my pilgrimage: President Mahmoud Abbas and the other civil authorities; Patriarch Fouad Twal and the other bishops and ordinaries of the Holy Land, the priests, the consecrated persons and all those who labor to keep faith, hope and love alive in these lands; the faithful who have come from Gaza and Galilee, and the immigrants from Asia and Africa. Thank you for your welcome! The Child Jesus, born in Bethlehem, is the sign given by God to those who awaited salvation, and he remains forever the sign of God’s tenderness and presence in our world: “This will be a sign for you: you will find a child…”. Today too, children are a sign. They are a sign of hope, a sign of life, but also a “diagnostic” sign, a marker indicating the health of families, society and the entire world. Wherever children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, the family is healthy, society is more healthy and the world is more human. Here we can think of the work carried out by the Ephpheta Paul VI institute for hearing and speech impaired Palestinian children: it is a very real sign of God’s goodness. To us, the men and women of the twenty-first century, God also says: “This will be a sign for you”, look to the child… The Child of Bethlehem is frail, like all newborn children. He cannot speak and yet he is the Word made flesh who came to transform the hearts and lives of all men and women. This Child, like every other child, is vulnerable; he needs to be accepted and protected. Today too, children need to be welcomed and defended, from the moment of their conception. Sadly, in this world of ours, with all its highly developed technology, great numbers of children continue to live in inhuman situations, on the fringes of society, in the peripheries of great cities and in the countryside. All too many children continue to be exploited, maltreated, enslaved, prey to violence and illicit trafficking. Still too many children live in exile, as refugees, at times lost at sea, particularly in the waters of the Mediterranean. Today, in acknowledging this, we feel shame before God, before God who became a child. And we have to ask ourselves: Who are we, as we stand before the Child Jesus? Who are we, standing as we stand before today’s children? Are we like Mary and Joseph, who welcomed Jesus and care for him with the love of a father and a mother? Or are we like Herod, who wanted to eliminate him? Are we like the shepherds, who went in haste to kneel before him in worship and offer him their humble gifts? Or are we indifferent? Are we perhaps people who use fine and pious words, yet exploit pictures of poor children in order to make money? Are we ready to be there for children, to “waste time” with them? Are we ready to listen to them, to care for them, to pray for them and with them? Or do we ignore them because we are too caught up in our own affairs? “ This will be a sign for you: you will find a child…”. Perhaps that little boy or girl is crying. He is crying because he is hungry, because she is cold, because he or she wants to be picked up and held in our arms… Today too, children are crying, they are crying a lot, and their crying challenges us. In a world which daily discards tons of food and medicine there are children, hungry and suffering from easily curable diseases, who cry out in vain. In an age which insists on the protection of minors, there is a flourishing trade in weapons which end up in the hands of child-soldiers, there is a ready market for goods produced by the slave labor of small children. Their cry is stifled: they must fight, they must work, they cannot cry! But their mothers cry for them, as modern-day Rachels: they weep for their children, and they refuse to be consoled (cf. Mt 2:18). “This will be a sign for you”. The Child Jesus, born in Bethlehem, every child who is born and grows up in every part of our world, is a diagnostic sign indicating the state of health of our families, our communities, our nation. Such a frank and honest diagnosis can lead us to a new kind of lifestyle where our relationships are no longer marked by conflict, oppression and consumerism, but fraternity, forgiveness and reconciliation, solidarity and love. Mary, Mother of Jesus, you who accepted, teach us how to accept; you who adored, teach us how to adore; you who followed, teach us how to follow. Amen.

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday May 25, 2014


Sixth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 55

Reading 1ACTS 8:5-8, 14-17
Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
they sent them Peter and John,
who went down and prayed for them,
that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them
and they received the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm PS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

R/ (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R/ Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R/ Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R/ Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R/ Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R/ Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 PT 3:15-18

Beloved:
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence,
keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned,
those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good,
if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered for sins once,
the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,
that he might lead you to God.
Put to death in the flesh,
he was brought to life in the Spirit.

Gospel JN 14:15-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

2014

Full Text of Common Declaration signed by Pope Francis and Patriarch

Bartholomew I prays at the Holy Sepulchre ahead of signing the Common Declaration with Pope Francis
25/05/2014

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(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, on Sunday held private talks in Jerusalem and signed a Common Declaration in which they pledged to continue on the path towards unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Their encounter marked the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964.   In their joint declaration, Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew  said it is their duty to work together to protect human dignity and the family and build a just and humane society in which nobody feels excluded.   They also stressed the need to safeguard God’s creation and the right of religious freedom.  The two leaders expressed concern over the situation facing Christians amidst the conflicts of the Middle East and spoke of the urgency of the hour that compels them to seek the reconciliation and unity of the human family whilst fully respecting legitimate differences.
Please find below the full text in English of the Common Declaration of Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I:
1. Like our venerable predecessors Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras who met here in Jerusalem fifty years ago, we too, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, were determined to meet in the Holy Land “where our common Redeemer, Christ our Lord, lived, taught, died, rose again, and ascended into Heaven, whence he sent the Holy Spirit on the infant Church” (Common communiqué of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, published after their meeting of 6 January 1964). Our meeting, another encounter of the Bishops of the Churches of Rome and Constantinople founded respectively by the two Brothers the Apostles Peter and Andrew, is a source of profound spiritual joy for us. It presents a providential occasion to reflect on the depth and the authenticity of our existing bonds, themselves the fruit of a grace-filled journey on which the Lord has guided us since that blessed day of fifty years ago.
2. Our fraternal encounter today is a new and necessary step on the journey towards the unity to which only the Holy Spirit can lead us, that of communion in legitimate diversity. We call to mind with profound gratitude the steps that the Lord has already enabled us to undertake. The embrace exchanged between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras here in Jerusalem, after many centuries of silence, paved the way for a momentous gesture, the removal from the memory and from the midst of the Church of the acts of mutual excommunication in 1054. This was followed by an exchange of visits between the respective Sees of Rome and Constantinople, by regular correspondence and, later, by the decision announced by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Dimitrios, of blessed memory both, to initiate a theological dialogue of truth between Catholics and Orthodox. Over these years, God, the source of all peace and love, has taught us to regard one another as members of the same Christian family, under one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to love one another, so that we may confess our faith in the same Gospel of Christ, as received by the Apostles and expressed and transmitted to us by the Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers. While fully aware of not having reached the goal of full communion, today we confirm our commitment to continue walking together towards the unity for which Christ our Lord prayed to the Father so “that all may be one” (Jn 17:21).
3. Well aware that unity is manifested in love of God and love of neighbour, we look forward in eager anticipation to the day in which we will finally partake together in the Eucharistic banquet. As Christians, we are called to prepare to receive this gift of Eucharistic communion, according to the teaching of Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (Against Heresies, IV,18,5, PG 7,1028), through the confession of the one faith, persevering prayer, inner conversion, renewal of life and fraternal dialogue. By achieving this hoped for goal, we will manifest to the world the love of God by which we are recognized as true disciples of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 13:35).
4. To this end, the theological dialogue undertaken by the Joint International Commission offers a fundamental contribution to the search for full communion among Catholics and Orthodox. Throughout the subsequent times of Popes John Paul II and Benedict the XVI, and Patriarch Dimitrios, the progress of our theological encounters has been substantial.  Today we express heartfelt appreciation for the achievements to date, as well as for the current endeavours. This is no mere theoretical exercise, but an exercise in truth and love that demands an ever deeper knowledge of each other’s traditions in order to understand them and to learn from them. Thus we affirm once again that the theological dialogue does not seek a theological lowest common denominator on which to reach a compromise, but is rather about deepening one’s grasp of the whole truth that Christ has given to his Church, a truth that we never cease to understand better as we follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Hence, we affirm together that our faithfulness to the Lord demands fraternal encounter and true dialogue. Such a common pursuit does not lead us away from the truth; rather, through an exchange of gifts, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will lead us into all truth (cf. Jn 16:13).
5. Yet even as we make this journey towards full communion we already have the duty to offer common witness to the love of God for all people by working together in the service of humanity, especially in defending the dignity of the human person at every stage of life and the sanctity of family based on marriage, in promoting peace and the common good, and in responding to the suffering that continues to afflict our world. We acknowledge that  hunger, poverty, illiteracy, the inequitable distribution of resources must constantly be addressed. It is our duty to seek to build together a just and humane society in which no-one feels excluded or emarginated.
6. It is our profound conviction that the future of the human family depends also on how we safeguard – both prudently and compassionately, with justice and fairness – the gift of creation that our Creator has entrusted to us. Therefore, we acknowledge in repentance the wrongful mistreatment of our planet, which is tantamount to sin before the eyes of God. We reaffirm our responsibility and obligation to foster a sense of humility and moderation so that all may feel the need to respect creation and to safeguard it with care. Together, we pledge our commitment to raising awareness about the stewardship of creation; we appeal to all people of goodwill to consider ways of living less wastefully and more frugally, manifesting less greed and more generosity for the protection of God’s world and the benefit of His people.
7. There is likewise an urgent need for effective and committed cooperation of Christians in order to safeguard everywhere the right to express publicly one’s faith and to be treated fairly when promoting that which Christianity continues to offer to contemporary society and culture. In this regard, we invite all Christians to promote an authentic dialogue with Judaism, Islam and other religious traditions. Indifference and mutual ignorance can only lead to mistrust and unfortunately even conflict.
8. From this holy city of Jerusalem, we express our shared profound concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their right to remain full citizens of their homelands. In trust we turn to the almighty and merciful God in a prayer for peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East in general. We especially pray for the Churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, which have suffered most grievously due to recent events. We encourage all parties regardless of their religious convictions to continue to work for reconciliation and for the just recognition of peoples’ rights. We are persuaded  that it is not arms, but dialogue, pardon and reconciliation that are the only possible means to achieve peace.
9. In an historical context marked by violence, indifference and egoism, many men and women today feel that they have lost their bearings. It is precisely through our common witness to the good news of the Gospel that we may be able to help the people of our time to rediscover the way that leads to truth, justice and peace. United in our intentions, and recalling the example, fifty years ago here in Jerusalem, of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, we call upon all Christians, together with believers of every religious tradition and all people of good will, to recognize the urgency of the hour that compels us to seek the reconciliation and unity of the human family, while fully respecting legitimate differences, for the good of all humanity and of future generations.
10. In undertaking this shared pilgrimage to the site where our one same Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and rose again, we humbly commend to the intercession of the Most Holy and Ever Virgin Mary our future steps on the path towards the fullness of unity, entrusting to God’s infinite love the entire human family.
“ May the Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Num 6:25-26).

Jerusalem, 25 May 2014

Pope Francis meets Patriarch - Historic Event - Video and Text


Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Holy Sepulchre



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis lamented the “tragic” divisions between Christians and said our disagreements must not frighten us and paralyse our progress towards unity.  His remarks came during an ecumenical prayer service held with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and other Christian leaders in Jerusalem’s Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.   Earlier Pope Francis and the Patriarch held private talks and signed a common declaration pledging to continue along the path towards full unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. 
 Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
Ecumenical Celebration in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre
Jerusalem, 25 May 2014
In this Basilica, which all Christians regard with the deepest veneration, my pilgrimage in the company of my beloved brother in Christ, His Holiness Bartholomaios, now reaches its culmination. We are making this pilgrimage in the footsteps of our venerable predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, who, with courage and docility to the Holy Spirit, made possible, fifty years ago, in this holy city of Jerusalem, an historic meeting between the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople. I cordially greet all of you who are present. In a special way I express my heartfelt gratitude to those who have made this moment possible: His Beatitude Theophilos, who has welcomed us so graciously, His Beatitude Nourhan Manoogian and Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
It is an extraordinary grace to be gathered here in prayer. The empty tomb, that new garden grave where Joseph of Arimathea had reverently placed Jesus’ body, is the place from which the proclamation of the resurrection begins: “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead’” (Mt 28:5-7). This proclamation, confirmed by the testimony of those to whom the risen Lord appeared, is the heart of the Christian message, faithfully passed down from generation to generation, as the Apostle Paul, from the very beginning, bears witness: “I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). This is the basis of the faith which unites us, whereby together we profess that Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father and our sole Lord, “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead” (Apostles’ Creed). Each of us, everyone baptized in Christ, has spiritually risen from this tomb, for in baptism all of us truly became members of the body of the One who is the Firstborn of all creation; we were buried together with him, so as to be raised up with him and to walk in newness of life (cf. Rom 6:4).
Let us receive the special grace of this moment. We pause in reverent silence before this empty tomb in order to rediscover the grandeur of our Christian vocation: we are men and women of resurrection, and not of death. From this place we learn how to live our lives, the trials of our Churches and of the whole world, in the light of Easter morning. Every injury, every one of our pains and sorrows, has been borne on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd who offered himself in sacrifice and thereby opened the way to eternal life. His open wounds are the cleft through which the torrent of his mercy is poured out upon the world. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the basis of our hope! Let us not deprive the world of the joyful message of the resurrection! And let us not be deaf to the powerful summons to unity which rings out from this very place, in the words of the One who, risen from the dead, calls all of us “my brothers” (cf. Mt 28:10; Jn 20:17).
Clearly we cannot deny the divisions which continue to exist among us, the disciples of Jesus: this sacred place makes us even more painfully aware of how tragic they are. And yet, fifty years after the embrace of those two venerable Fathers, we realize with gratitude and renewed amazement how it was possible, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to take truly significant steps towards unity. We know that much distance still needs to be travelled before we attain that fullness of communion which can also be expressed by sharing the same Eucharistic table, something we ardently desire; yet our disagreements must not frighten us and paralyze our progress. We need to believe that, just as the stone before the tomb was cast aside, so too every obstacle to our full communion will also be removed. This will be a grace of resurrection, of which we can have a foretaste even today. Every time we ask forgiveness of one another for our sins against other Christians and every time we find the courage to grant and receive such forgiveness, we experience the resurrection! Every time we put behind us our longstanding prejudices and find the courage to build new fraternal relationships, we confess that Christ is truly risen! Every time we reflect on the future of the Church in the light of her vocation to unity, the dawn of Easter breaks forth! Here I reiterate the hope already expressed by my predecessors for a continued dialogue with all our brothers and sisters in Christ, aimed at finding a means of exercising the specific ministry of the Bishop of Rome which, in fidelity to his mission, can be open to a new situation and can be, in the present context, a service of love and of communion acknowledged by all (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Ut Unum Sint, 95-96).
Standing as pilgrims in these holy places, we also remember in our prayers the entire Middle East, so frequently and lamentably marked by acts of violence and conflict. Nor do we forget in our prayers the many other men and women who in various parts of our world are suffering from war, poverty and hunger, as well as the many Christians who are persecuted for their faith in the risen Lord. When Christians of different confessions suffer together, side by side, and assist one another with fraternal charity, there is born an ecumenism of suffering, an ecumenism of blood, which proves particularly powerful not only for those situations in which it occurs, but also, by virtue of the communion of the saints, for the whole Church as well.
Your Holiness, beloved brother, dear brothers and sisters all, let us put aside the misgivings we have inherited from the past and open our hearts to the working of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love (cf. Rom 5:5) and of truth (cf. Jn 16:13), in order to hasten together towards that blessed day when our full communion will be restored. In making this journey, we feel ourselves sustained by the prayer which Jesus himself, in this city, on the eve of his passion, death and resurrection, offered to the Father for his disciples. It is a prayer which we ourselves in humility never tire to make our own: “that they may all be one… that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21)
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Pope Francis Welcomed in Israel by President - Video and Text

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Pope Francis at Tel Aviv airport with President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu

 (Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Sunday strongly condemned the shooting attack at a Jewish Museum in Brussels in his arrival address at Tel Aviv airport. Saturday’s attack left three people dead and a fourth critically injured.  The Pope said he was deeply saddened by this  "brutal" and "criminal attack of anti-Semitic hatred" and offered his prayers for the victims and wounded.  He also spoke in his arrival address about the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and reiterated that the “Two-state Solution” must become “reality and not remain merely a dream.”  At the end of his speech, the Pope renewed his invitation to Presidents Peres and Abbas to come to the Vatican to pray for peace.Please find below a translation in English of the full text of Pope Francis’ address at the arrival ceremony for him at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport:
Mr President,
Mr Prime Minister,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank you most heartily for your welcome to the State of Israel, which I have the joy of visiting on this pilgrimage. I am grateful to President Shimon Peres and to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for their kind words and I willingly recall my meetings with them in the Vatican. As you know, I have come on pilgrimage to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the historic visit of Pope Paul VI. Since then, much has changed in the relationship between the Holy See and the State of Israel: diplomatic relations, established some twenty years ago, have favored the development of good relations, as witnessed by the two Agreements already signed and ratified, and a third which is in the process of being finalized. In this spirit I greet all the people of Israel with prayerful good wishes that their aspirations of peace and prosperity will achieve fulfillment.
In the footsteps of my predecessors, I have come as a pilgrim to the Holy Land, rich in history and home to the principal events in the origin and growth of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As such, it is of immense spiritual significance for a great part of humanity. So I express my hope and prayer that this blessed land may be one which has no place for those who, by exploiting and absolutizing the value of their own religious tradition, prove intolerant and violent towards those of others.
During my pilgrimage to the Holy Land I will visit some of the most significant places in Jerusalem, a city of universal importance. Jerusalem, of course, means “city of peace”. This is what God wills it to be, and such is the desire of all people of good will. Yet sadly Jerusalem remains deeply troubled as a result of longstanding conflicts. We all know how urgent is the need for peace, not only for Israel but also for the entire region. May efforts and energies be increasingly directed to the pursuit of a just and lasting solution to the conflicts which have caused so much suffering. In union with all men and women of good will, I implore those in positions of responsibility to leave no stone unturned in the search for equitable solutions to complex problems, so that Israelis and Palestinians may live in peace. The path of dialogue, reconciliation and peace must constantly be taken up anew, courageously and tirelessly. There is simply no other way. And so I renew the appeal made in this place by Pope Benedict XVI: the right of the State of Israel to exist and to flourish in peace and security within internationally recognized borders must be universally recognized. At the same time, there must also be a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign homeland and their right to live with dignity and with freedom of movement. The “Two State Solution” must become reality and not remain merely a dream.
A particularly moving part of my stay will be my visit to the Yad Vashem Memorial to the six million Jews who were victims of the Shoah, a tragedy which is the enduring symbol of the depths to which human evil can sink when, spurred by false ideologies, it fails to recognize the fundamental dignity of each person, which merits unconditional respect regardless of ethnic origin or religious belief. I beg God that there will never be another such crime, which also counted among its victims many Christians and others. Ever mindful of the past, let us promote an education in which exclusion and confrontation give way to inclusion and encounter, where there will be no place for anti-Semitism in any of its forms or for expressions of hostility, discrimination or intolerance towards any individual or people.
My heart is deeply saddened when I think of those who lost their lives in the brutal attack that took place yesterday in Brussels.  Once again I express my strong condemnation for this criminal attack  of anti-Jewish hatred and I entrust the victims to our merciful God  and pray for the recovery of the wounded.
Although my brief visit makes it impossible to meet everyone, I would like even now to greet all Israel’s citizens and to express my closeness to them, particularly those living in Nazareth and in Galilee, where many Christian communities are found.
To the Bishops and the Christian faithful I offer a warm and fraternal greeting. I encourage them to persevere in their quiet witness of faith and hope in the service of reconciliation and forgiveness, following the teaching and example of the Lord Jesus, who gave his life to bring about peace between God and man, and between brothers. May you always be a leaven of reconciliation, bringing hope to others, bearing witness to charity! Know that you are constantly in my prayers.
Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you once again for your kind welcome.
May peace and prosperity descend in abundance upon Israel. And may God bless his people with peace! Shalom
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Palestinian President Abbas greets Pope Francis

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis is in Bethlehem this Sunday morning where he has met Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and local political, religious and civic leaders.  The Pope arrived in Bethlehem by helicopter from Jordan which he visited Saturday, the first stop on his three day pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  After celebrating mass in Manger Square outside Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity Sunday morning, the Holy Father will pray at the site of Jesus’ birth and visit  Palestinian refugees. 
Later, Pope Francis will travel to Israel where he will be greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres before making his way to Jerusalem for an ecumenical meeting with Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.  The two church leaders will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic 1964 meeting in Jerusalem of their predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athanagorus.
Shared From Radio Vatican
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Saint May 25 : St. Madeline Sophie Barat : Foundress of Society of the Sacred Heart

St. Madeline Sophie Barat
FOUNDRESS
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:12 December 1779, Joigny, France
Died:25 May 1865, Paris, France
Canonized:24 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI
Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, born at Joigny, Burgundy, 12 December, 1779; died in Paris, 24 May, 1865. She was the youngest child of Jacques Barat, a vine-dresser and cooper, and his wife, Madeleine Foufé, and received baptism the morning after her birth, her brother Louis, aged eleven, being chosen godfather. It was to this brother that she owed the exceptional education which fitted her for her life-work. Whilst her mother found her an apt pupil in practical matters, Louis saw her singular endowments of mind and heart; and when, at the age of twenty-two, he returned as professor to the seminary at Joigny, he taught his sister Latin, Greek, history, natural science, Spanish, and Italian. Soon she took delight in reading the classics in the original, and surpassed her brother's pupils at the seminary.

After the Reign of Terror, Louis called Sophie to Paris, to train her for the religious life, for which she longed. When he had joined the Fathers of the Faith, a band of fervent priests, united in the hope of becoming members of the Society of Jesus on its restoration, he one day spoke of his sister to Father Varin, to whom had been bequeathed by the saintly Léonor de Tournély the plan of founding a society of women wholly devoted to the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to prayer and sacrifice, and destined to do for girls what the restored Society of Jesus would do for boys. Father Varin had vainly sought a fitting instrument to begin this work; he now found one in this modest, retiring girl of twenty. He unfolded the project, which seemed to satisfy all her aspirations, and she bowed before his authoritative declaration that this was for her the will of God. With three companions she made her first consecration, 21 November, 1800, the date which marks the foundation of the Society of the Sacred Heart. In September, 1801, the first convent was opened at Amiens, and thither Sophie went to help in the work of teaching. It was impossible yet to assume the name "Society of the Sacred Heart", lest a political significance be attached to it; its members were known as Dames de la Foi or de l'Instruction Chrétienne. Father Varin allowed Sophie to make her vows, 7 June, 1802, with Genevieve Deshayes.

The community and school were increasing, and a poor school had just been added, when it became evident to Father Varin that Mademoiselle Loquet, who had hitherto acted as superior, lacked the qualities requisite for the office, and Sophie, although the youngest, was named superior (1802). Her first act was to kneel and kiss the feet of each of her sisters. Such was ever the spirit of her government, November, 1804, found her at Sainte-Marie-d'en-Haut, near Grenoble, receiving a community of Visitation nuns into her institute, One of them, Philippine Duchesne, was later to introduce the society into America. Grenoble was the first of some eighty foundations which Mother Barat was to make, not only in France but in North America (1818), Italy (1828), Switzerland (1830), Belgium (1834), Algiers (1841). England (1842), Ireland(1842), Spain (1846), Holland (1848), Germany (1851), South America (1853) Austria (1853), Poland (1857).

Mother Barat was elected superior-general in January, 1806, but a majority of one vote only, for the influence of an ambitious priest, chaplain at Amiens, wellnigh wrecked the nascent institute. Prolonged prayer, silent suffering, tact, respect, charity, were only means she used to oppose his designs. With Father Varin, now a Jesuit, she elaborated constitutions and rules grafted on the stock of the Institute of St. Ignatius. These rules were received with joy in all the houses, Amiens alone excepted; but Mother Barat's wisdom and humility soon won submission even here. In 1818 she sent Mother Duchesne, with four companions, to the New World; her strong and holy hand was ever ready to support and guide this first missioner of the Society. She called all the superiors together in council at Paris in 1820, to provide a uniform course of studies for their schools. these studies were to be solid and serious, to fit the pupils to become intelligent wives and devoted mother; to give that cultivation of mind. that formation of character, which go to make up a true women; all was to stamped and sealed with strong religious principles and devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Foundations multiplied, and Mother Barat, seeing the necessity of a stronger guarantee of unity, sought it in union with Rome. The solemn approbation was obtained much sooner than usual, owing to a memoir drawn up by the foundress and presented to Leo XII in May, 1826. The decree of approbation was promulgated in December. The society being now fully organized and sealed by Rome's approval, for forty years Mother Barat journeyed from convent to convent, wrote many thousand letters, and assembled general congregations, so as to preserve its original spirit. The Paris school gained European repute; Rome counted three establishments, asked for and blessed by three successive pontiffs. At Lyons Mother Barat founded the Congregation of the Children of Mary for former pupils and other ladies. in he same year (1832), she began at Turin the work of retreats for ladies of the world, an apostleship since widely and profitably imitated. Numerous foundations brought Mother Bart onto personal contact with all classes. We find her crossing and recrossing France, Switzerland, Italy, often on the eve of revolutions; now the centre of a society of émigrés whose intellectual gifts, high social position, and moral worth are seldom found united; now sought out by cardinals and Roman princesses during her vicits to her Roman houses; at another time, speaking on matters educational with Madame de Genlis; or again, exercising that supernatural ascendency which aroused the admiration of such men as Bishop Fraysinous, Doctor Récamier, and Duc de Rohan.
These exterior labours were far from absorbing all Mother Barat's time or energies; they coexisted with a life of ever-increasing holiness and continual prayer; for the real secret of her influence lay in her habitual seclusion from the outside world, in the strong religious formation of her daughters which this seclusion made possible, and in the enlightened, profound, ans supernatural views on education which she communicated to the religious engaged in her schools. She worked by and through them all, and thus reached out to the ends of the earth. In spite of herself she attracted and charmed all who approached her. New foundations she always entrusted to other hands; for, like all great rulers, she had the twofold gift of intuition in the choice of persons fitted for office, and trust of those in responsible posts. Allowing them much freedom of action in details, guiding them only by her counsels and usually form afar. Prelates who now and them ventured to attribute to her the successes of the society, saw that instead of pleasing, they distressed her exceedingly.

Beloved by her daughters, venerated by princes and pontiffs, yet ever lowly of heart, Mother Barat died at the mother-house in Paris, on Ascension Day, 1865, as she had foretold, after four days' illness. She was buried at Conflans, the house of novitiate, where her body was found intact in 1893. In 1879 she was declared Venerable, and the process of beatification introduced. [Note: Mother Barat was canonized in 1925.]

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmadelinesophiebarat.asp#ixzz1vtMnjQtX

Saint May 25 : St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi : Discalced Carmelite and Healer

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC AND HEALER
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:April 2, 1566, Florence, Italy
Died:May 25, 1607, Florence, Italy
Canonized:April 28, 1669, Rome by Pope Clement X
Patron of:Naples (co-patron)
Carmelite Virgin, born 2 April, 1566; died 25 May, 1607. Of outward events there were very few in the saint's life. She came of two noble families, her father being Camillo Geri de' Pazzi and her mother a Buondelmonti. She was baptized, and named Caterina, in the great baptistery. Her childhood much resembled that of some other women saints who have become great mystics, in an early love of prayer and penance, great charity to the poor, an apostolic spirit of teaching religious truths, and a charm and sweetness of nature that made her a general favourite. But above all other spiritual characteristics was Caterina's intense attraction towards the Blessed Sacrament, her longing to receive It, and her delight in touching and being near those who were speaking of It, or who had just been to Communion. She made her own First Communion at the age of ten, and shortly afterwards vowed her virginity to God. At fourteen she was sent to school at the convent of Cavalaresse, where she lived in so mortified and fervent a manner as to make the sisters prophesy that she would become a great saint; and, on leaving it, she told her parents of her resolve to enter the religious state. They were truly spiritual people; and, after a little difficulty in persuading them to relinquish their only daughter, she finally entered in December, 1582, the Carmelite convent of Santa Maria degl' Angeli, founded by four Florentine ladies in 1450 and renowned for its strict observance. Her chief reason for choosing this convent was the rule there followed of daily Communion.

Caterina was clothed in 1583, when she took the name of Maria Maddalena; and on 29 May, 1584, being then so ill that they feared she would not recover, she was professed. After her profession, she was subject to an extraordinary daily ecstasy for forty consecutive days, at the end of which time she appeared at the point of death. She recovered, however, miraculously; and henceforth, in spite of constant bad health, was able to fill with energy the various offices to which she was appointed. She became, in turn, mistress ofexterns--i.e. of girls coming to the convent on trial--teacher and mistress of the juniors, novice mistress (which post she held for six years), and finally, in 1604, superior. For five years (1585-90) God allowed her to be tried by terrible inward desolation and temptations, and by external diabolic attacks; but the courageous severity and deep humility of the means that she took for overcoming these only served to make her virtues shine more brilliantly in the eyes of her community.

From the time of her clothing with the religious habit till her death the saint's life was one series of raptures and ecstasies, of which only the most notable characteristics can be named in a short notice.

* First, these raptures sometimes seized upon her whole being with such force as to compel her to rapid motion (e.g. towards some sacred object).

* Secondly, she was frequently able, whilst in ecstasy, to carry on work belonging to her office--e.g., embroidery, painting, etc.--with perfect composure and efficiency.

* Thirdly--and this is the point of chief importance--it was whilst in her states of rapture that St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi gave utterance to those wonderful maxims of Divine Love, and those counsels of perfection for souls, especially in the religious state, which a modern editor of a selection of them declares to be "more frequently quoted by spiritual writers than those even of St. Teresa". These utterances have been preserved to us by the saint's companions, who (unknown to her) took them down from her lips as she poured them forth. She spoke sometimes as of herself, and sometimes as themouthpiece of one or other of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity. These maxims of the saint are sometimes described as her "Works", although she wrote down none of them herself.

This ecstatic life in no wise interfered with the saint's usefulness in her community. She was noted for her strong common-sense, as well as for the high standard and strictness of her government, and was most dearly loved to the end of her life by all for the spirit of intense charity that accompanied her somewhat severe code of discipline. As novice-mistress she was renowned for a miraculous gift of reading her subjects' hearts--which gift, indeed, was not entirely confined to her community. Many miracles, both of this and of other kinds, she performed for the benefit either of her own convent or of outsiders. She often saw things far off, and is said once to have supernaturally beheld St. Catherine de' Ricci in her convent at Prato, reading a letter that she had sent her and writing the answer; but the two saints never met in a natural manner. To St. Mary Magdalen's numerous penances, and to the ardent love of suffering that made her genuinely wish to live long in order to suffer with Christ, we can here merely refer; but it must not be forgotten that she was one of the strongest upholders of the value of suffering for the love of God and the salvation of our fellow-creatures, that ever lived. Her death was fully in accordance with her life in this respect, for she died after an illness of nearly threeyears' duration and of indescribable painfulness, borne with heroic joy to the end. Innumerable miracles followed the saint's death, and the process for her beatification was begun in 1610 under Paul V, and finished under Urban VIII in 1626. She was not, however, canonized till sixty-two years after her death, when Clement IX raised her to the altars in 28 April, 1669. Her feast is kept on 27 May.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmarymagdalendepazzi.asp#ixzz1vtMclWS2

Saint May 25: St. Bede : Patron of Lectors, Writers and Historians : Died 735

St. Bede
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, HISTORIAN
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:672 at Wearmouth, England
Died:25 May 735
Canonized:1899 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:Durham Cathedral
Patron of:lectors ;english writers and historians; Jarrow
Historian and Doctor of the Church, born 672 or 673; died 735. In the last chapter of his great work on the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" Bede has told us something of his own life, and it is, practically speaking, all that we know. His words, written in 731, when death was not far off, not only show a simplicity and piety characteristic of the man, but they throw a light on the composition of the work through which he is best remembered by the world at large. He writes:

Thus much concerning the ecclesiastical history of Britain, and especially of the race of the English, I, Baeda, a servant of Christ and a priest of the monastery of the blessed apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, which is at Wearmouth and at Jarrow (in Northumberland), have with the Lord's help composed so far as I could gather it either from ancient documents or from the traditions of the elders, or from my own knowledge. I was born in the territory of the said monastery, and at the age of seven I was, by the care of my relations, given to the most reverend Abbot Benedict [St. Benedict Biscop], and afterwards to Ceolfrid, to be educated. From that time I have spent the whole of my life within that monastery, devoting all my pains to the study of the Scriptures, and amid the observance of monastic discipline and the daily charge of singing in the Church, it has been ever my delight to learn or teach or write. In my nineteenth year I was admitted to the diaconate, in my thirtieth to the priesthood, both by the hands of the most reverend Bishop John [St. John of Beverley], and at the bidding of Abbot Ceolfrid. From the time of my admission to the priesthood to my present fifty-ninth year, I have endeavored for my own use and that of my brethren, to make brief notes upon the holy Scripture, either out of the works of the venerable Fathers or in conformity with their meaning and interpretation.

After this Bede inserts a list or Indiculus, of his previous writings and finally concludes his great work with the following words:

And I pray thee, loving Jesus, that as Thou hast graciously given me to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge, so Thou wouldst mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee, the fountain of all wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face.

It is plain from Bede's letter to Bishop Egbert that the historian occasionally visited his friends for a few days, away from his own monastery of Jarrow, but with such rare exceptions his life seems to have been one peaceful round of study and prayer passed in the midst of his own community. How much he was beloved by them is made manifest by the touching account of the saint's last sickness and death left us by Cuthbert, one of his disciples. Their studious pursuits were not given up on account of his illness and they read aloud by his bedside, but constantly the reading was interrupted by their tears. "I can with truth declare", writes Cuthbert of his beloved master, "that I never saw with my eyes or heard with my ears anyone return thanks so unceasingly to the living God." Even on the day of his death (the vigil of the Ascension, 735) the saint was still busy dictating a translation of the Gospel of St. John. In the evening the boy Wilbert, who was writing it, said to him: "There is still one sentence, dear master, which is not written down." And when this had been supplied, and the boy had told him it was finished, "Thou hast spoken truth", Bede answered, "it is finished. Take my head in thy hands for it much delights me to sit opposite any holy place where I used to pray, that so sitting I may call upon my Father." And thus upon the floor of his cell singing, "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost" and the rest, he peacefully breathed his last breath.

The title Venerabilis seems to have been associated with the name of Bede within two generations after his death. There is of course no early authority for the legend repeated by Fuller of the "dunce-monk" who in composing an epitaph on Bede was at a loss to complete the line: Hac sunt in fossa Bedae . . . . ossa and who next morning found that the angels had filled the gap with the word venerabilis. The title is used by Alcuin, Amalarius and seemingly Paul the Deacon, and the important Council of Aachen in 835 describes him as venerabilis et modernis temporibus doctor admirabilis Beda. This decree was specially referred to in the petition which Cardinal Wiseman and the English bishops addressed to the Holy See in 1859 praying that Bede might be declared a Doctor of the Church. The question had already been debated even before the time of Benedict XIV, but it was only on 13 November, 1899, that Leo XIII decreed that the feast of Venerable Bede with the title of Doctor Ecclesiae should be celebrated throughout the Church each year on 27 May. A local cultus of St. Bede had been maintained at York and in the North of England throughout the Middle Ages, but his feast was not so generally observed in the South, where the Sarum Rite was followed.

Bede's influence both upon English and foreign scholarship was very great, and it would probably have been greater still but for the devastation inflicted upon the Northern monasteries by the inroads of the Danes less than a century after his death. In numberless ways, but especially in his moderation, gentleness, and breadth of view, Bede stands out from his contemporaries. In point of scholarship he was undoubtedly the most learned man of his time. A very remarkable trait, noticed by Plummer (I, p. xxiii), is his sense of literary property, an extraordinary thing in that age. He himself scrupulously noted in his writings the passages he had borrowed from others and he even begs the copyists of his works to preserve the references, a recommendation to which they, alas, have paid but little attention. High, however, as was the general level of Bede's culture, he repeatedly makes it clear that all his studies were subordinated to the interpretation of Scripture. In his "De Schematibus" he says in so many words: "Holy Scripture is above all other books not only by its authority because it is Divine, or by its utility because it leads to eternal life, but also by its antiquity and its literary form" (positione dicendi). It is perhaps the highest tribute to Bede's genius that with so uncompromising and evidently sincere a conviction of the inferiority of human learning, he should have acquired so much real culture. Though Latin was to him a still living tongue, and though he does not seem to have consciously looked back to the Augustan Age of Roman Literature as preserving purer models of literary style than the time of Fortunatus or St. Augustine, still whether through native genius or through contact with the classics, he is remarkable for the relative purity of his language, as also for his lucidity and sobriety, more especially in matters of historical criticism. In all these respects he presents a marked  contrast to St. Aldhelm who approaches more nearly to the Celtic type.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbede.asp#ixzz1vtN2rpR5

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Pope Francis meets with Disabled Youth and Refugees at Jordan River - Video and Text

(Vatican Radio) Following in the footsteps of his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis on Saturday travelled to the site on the banks of the River Jordan believed by some experts to be the exact spot where Jesus came to be baptised by John the Baptist. Archaeological excavations, which began in 1999, are still going on to uncover the different ancient churches that were built over the spot in the first centuries but have long since been destroyed by earthquakes and wars. Looking out across the windswept desert landscape, it’s quite clear that little has changed since the days of the prophets and first Christian hermits who inhabited the caves in the surrounding hillsides.  Close to Al-Maghtas, as the Baptism site is known in Arabic, pilgrims can climb the hill where Elijah lived and from where he ascended into heaven in his chariot of fire. And it’s at this same spot that Joshua led the Israelites, following Moses death, across the River Jordan to continue their journey to the Promised Land.  
Located at 350 metres below sea level, close to where the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea, this popular tourist spot is located within sight of the ancient walled city of Jericho, believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. The actual Baptism site on the river bank is surrounded by reeds and low bushes offering a natural habitat for bees that continue to provide honey for local people, just as they did in John the Baptist’s day. Back then, as we know from ancient texts, the waters were deep enough for people to immerse themselves as they came to be baptised by the man who is still the patron saint of the Hashemite Kingdom. But today the River Jordan is polluted and reduced to a trickle in many places and there are several international organisations working to preserve this natural environment and safeguard its precious resources.
After arriving at the site in an oversized golf cart driven by his host, King Abdullah, Pope Francis walked down the stone steps to the waters’ edge and spent a few moments in silent prayer. He was then driven to the nearby Catholic Church which is still under construction following its inauguration during the 2009 visit of Pope Benedict XVI. Here he met with several hundred refugees and young disabled people, reminding them that Jesus came to be baptised by John so that he could fully take on our human condition and heal us through his love.  Here too he made his second appeal of the day for an end to the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Departing from his prepared text, he denounced in the strongest possible terms those who sells weapons to warring parties. The root of evil and conflict, he said is ”the hatred and greed for money” of those who produce and sell arms and he prayed that God would convert the hearts of “these criminals, these poor people.” The Pope thanked the Jordanian government and people for the way they have welcomed so many refugees and praised the work of organisations like Caritas Jordan who provide assistance and solidarity to all, regardless of religious  beliefs, ethnic origins or political persuasions. Asking God to change the hearts of the violent and those who seek war, the Pope also urged the international community to support Jordan in the task of tackling the humanitarian emergency caused by the arrival of so many refugees.
It may have been a very short visit to Jordan but the Pope’s words will certainly be ringing in the ears of leaders across this troubled region and beyond.

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