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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Catholic News World : Tuesday September 23, 2014 - Share!

2014



Novena to Archangels - SHARE this Prayer - St. Michael - St. Gabriel - St. Raphael




September 29th is the Feast of the Archangels. Here are three novenas to the archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael.
Novena to St. Michael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value on my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).

St. Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy Will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, St. Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.


Novena to St. Gabriel the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the "Angel of the Incarnation," because God has specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a tender and devoted Mother, more like your own.

I venerate you also as the "strength from God," because you are the giver of God's strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God's faithful and to teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions, renew my courage, comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in His agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.

St. Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (Mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God-Made-Man and for His blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, if it be God's holy Will.

Pray for us, St. Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray. Almighty and ever-living God, since You chose the Archangel Gabriel from among all the Angels to announce the mystery of Your Son's Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who honor him on earth may feel the benefit of his patronage in heaven. You live and reign for ever. Amen.



Novena to St. Raphael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

Holy Archangel Raphael, standing so close to the throne of God and offering Him our prayers, I venerate you as God's special Friend and Messenger. I choose you as my Patron and wish to love and obey you as young Tobiah did. I consecrate to you my body and soul,all my work, and my whole life. I want you to be my Guide and Counselor in all the dangerous and difficult problems and decisions of my life.

Remember, dearest, St. Raphael, that the grace of God preserved you with the good Angels in heaven when the proud ones were cast into hell. I entreat you, therefore, to help me in my struggle against the world, the spirit of impurity, and the devil. Defend me from all dangers and every occasion of sin. Direct me always in the way of peace, safety, and salvation. Offer my prayers to God as you offered those of Tobiah, so that through your intercession I may obtain the graces necessary for the salvation of my soul. I ask you to pray that God grant me this favor if it be His holy Will: (Mention your request).

St. Raphael, help me to love and serve my God faithfully, to die in His grace, and finally to merit to join you in seeing and praising God forever in heaven. Amen.

Pope Francis "Open your heart to the Word of God" Homily


Pope Francis at Mass on Tuesday, Sept 23, 2014
23/09/2014



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence on Tuesday morning. In remarks following the readings of the day, the Holy Father focused on the simplicity of the Christian life and the Gospel’s call to radical simplicity in life and action.
Christ’s words had a “new” sound to them, as did the authority with which he spoke them – and this was why people followed him in such large numbers. Christ’s words had “the power of salvation” in them. Even so, there were those, who followed him “for the sake of convenience” only, without too much purity of heart, or perhaps with the desire to be “a little better” only. Pope Francis said that little has changed in two thousand years. Even today, many listen to Jesus as did the nine lepers of the Gospel who, “happy” with their newfound health, “forgot” the Lord, who had restored it to them:
“Jesus continued to talk to people and loved the people and He loved the crowd, to the point that He says, ‘these who follow me, that immense crowd, are my mother and my brothers – that’s who they are’. He explains: ‘those who listen to the Word of God, put it into practice’. These are the two conditions in order to follow Jesus: to listen to the word of God,  and to put it into practice. This is the Christian life – nothing more. Simple, simple. Maybe we’ve made it a little difficult, with many explanations that no one understands, but the Christian life is thus: listening to the Word of God and practicing it.”
That is why – as described in the passage from the Gospel of Luke (8:19-21) that was read at Mass – Jesus replies to those who reported that her relatives were looking for him by saying, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” The point is not to hear casually, but to bend our ears – really to listen to the word of God, which we find in the Gospel – the pages of which need to be heard, and heeded, rather than merely read by rote “Listening to the Word of God,” said the Holy Father, “means reading it and then asking, ‘What does this say to me? How does this speak to my heart? What is God saying to me, with this word?” This, said Pope Francis, is a life-changing line of questioning:
“Every time we do this – each time we  open the Gospel and read a passage and ask ourselves: ‘Is God speaking to me with this? Is He saying something to me?’ – and if He is saying something, what is it that He is saying? This is [what it means] to listen to the Word of God: to listen with your ears and hear with your heart. Open your heart to the Word of God. The enemies of Jesus heard the word of Jesus, but were there in order to try to find a mistake, to make Him slip, so that He would lose His authority. They never asked themselves, though: ‘What is God saying to me in this Word?’ God not only speaks to all: yes, he does speak to all of us – but He also speaks to to every one of us – to each of us. The Gospel was written for each of us.”
The Holy Father went on to say that putting into practice what we have heard is “is not easy” and that “it is easier to live a mellow life without worrying about the exigencies of the Word of God.” He went on to remind the gathered faithful that the Commandments and the Beatitudes are sure guides for anyone who would really attempt to understand the requirements the Gopsel places on us and act accordingly – always counting on Jesus’ help. “[The Lord],” Pope Francis concluded, “ “is merciful and forgives all,” and waits for everyone, “because He is patient.”:
“Jesus receives everyone, even those who go to hear the Word of God and then betray Him. Think of Judas. ‘Friend,’ He says, in that moment where Judas betrays him. The Lord is always sowing His word, and asks [us] only [to have] an open heart [with which] to listen and willingness to put it into practice. For this reason, then prayer today, which is that of the Psalm [119:35]: ‘Lead me Lord in the path of thy commandments,’ that is, the path of your Word, that I may learn with your guidance to put it into practice.”

2014

Novena to St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina - Special Prayers and Litany - SHARE



Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Virgin 

Litany of St. Pio of Pietrelcina



Immaculate, pray for us.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us.
Beloved of God, pray for us.
Imitator of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
Good shepherd of the people, pray for us.
Model for priests, pray for us.
Light of the Church, pray for us.
Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.
Faithful son of St. Francis, pray for us.
Marked with the stigmata of Jesus, pray for us.
Patient in suffering, pray for us.
Helper of the dying, pray for us.
Director of souls, pray for us.
Heart of gold, pray for us.
Apostle of mercy, pray for us.
Worker of miracles, pray for us.
Consoler of the afflicted, pray for us.
Lover of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
Helper of souls in doubt and darkness, pray for us.
Comforter of the sick, pray for us.
Example of humility, pray for us.
Source of wisdom, pray for us.
Mirror of the divine life, pray for us.
Lover of Jesus Crucified,
Resigned to the will of God, pray for us.
Doing good upon earth, pray for us.
Filled with the spirit of self-sacrifice, pray for us.
Our help and hope in all our needs, pray for us.
Vessel of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.
Leading us to Christ, pray for us.
Our spiritual father and advocate, pray for us.
Crowned with glory in Heaven, pray for us.
God our Father,  You helped St. Pio of Pietrelcina to reflect
the image of Christ through a life of charity and self-sacrifice.
May we follow your Son by walking in the footsteps of
St. Pio and by imitating his selfless love.

Amen

Stay with me, Lord

Prayer of St. Pio of Pietrelcina after Holy Communion
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have
You present so that I do not forget You.
You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak
and I need Your strength,
that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life,
and without You, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light,
and without You, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice
and follow You.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You
very much, and always be in Your company.
Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is,
I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.
Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes;
death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength,
so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You.
It is getting late and death approaches,
I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows.
O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need You.
Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread,
so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness,
the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You,
if not by communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it,
but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart,
Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.
With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth
and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina


Dear God, You generously blessed Your servant,
St. Pio of Pietrelcina,
with the gifts of the Spirit.
You marked his body with the five wounds
of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness
to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son.
Endowed with the gift of discernment,
St. Pio labored endlessly in the confessional
for the salvation of souls.
With reverence and intense devotion
in the celebration of Mass,
he invited countless men and women
to a greater union with Jesus Christ
in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Through the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina,
I confidently beseech You to grant me
the grace of (here state your petition).
Glory be to the Father… (three times). Amen.
Prayer of Pope John Paul II to St. Pio of Pietrelcina

St Padre Pio Novena -A Novena to Saint Padre Pio seeking his intercession for a special grace.

Day 1
Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh holy Saint Padre Pio, throughout your entire life you sought always to love Jesus and Mary with your whole heart. Help us that we too may always seek to know, love and serve God with all of our hearts, and help us to seek His holy will in all things. And for the love of God we ask the following grace (mention your request). Beloved St Padre Pio, we give this request to you, seeking your heavenly intercession, and we ask you to make this request in our name before the throne of God.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!
___________________________________
DAY 2


Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh beloved Saint of God, Padre Pio, you were especially chosen by God to bear the holy stigmata in union with Jesus for 50 years, sacrificing and suffering all for the conversion of souls. What intense suffering these holy wounds caused you! But your bore this constant pain for the love of God and for the love of souls. We ask you to place this request (mention request) into your stigmatised hands, and present it to Jesus in our name.

-Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!
__________________________________

DAY 3

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh most loving Saint Padre Pio, you offered your life to become a holy priest of God, giving yourself completely to Jesus through the intercession of His Mother, the most Blessed Virgin Mary. We ask you to join with our holy Mother in heaven, and to present this request to Her holy Son, (here mention request), and we ask our beloved Mother in heaven to join you and obtain this grace for us.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!

DAY 4

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh blessed Saint Padre Pio, you were a priest after the Heart of Jesus, seeking always to love and please Him in all things. We ask you to place this request before the Sacred Heart of Jesus (mention request). And through the love that you bore the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may God hear and answer our poor prayers.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!
___________________________________
DAY 5

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

O God, Who fashioned thy servant Saint Padre Pio into a likeness of Thy Crucified Son, grant us through his intercession the favor that we humbly request (mention request), and through the Passion Death and Resurrection of Thy Son, may we be united with You for all eternity. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!

DAY 6

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Most devout priest of God, Padre Pio, you spent countless hours in the confessional seeking always to reconcile sinners to God. We present ourselves to you, sinful and in sorrow for our sins. Help us to recognise and repent of our sins, and to be always faithful to the teachings of Jesus. Pray for us that God may not look upon our sins, but upon the desire in our hearts to please Him. Plead for mercy for us before God, and especially pray for the intention that we are presenting to you (mention request).

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!

DAY 7

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Beloved St Padre Pio, you had a most tender devotion to the Mother of God and were known to recite many rosaries and prayers in Her honor each day. Plead for us then before the Holy Mother of God, that She may join us in prayer before Her most Holy Son Jesus, that we might obtain the request we are asking (mention request).

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!
___________________________________
DAY 8

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh most pure and chaste Saint Padre Pio, during your life on earth you gave a most beautiful example of purity and love of God, and was found worthy to bear in thy flesh the marks of our Lord's Passion. Have pity on us who are so much in need of God's Mercy, and obtain for us through thy merits and intercession, the special favor which we now fervently implore (mention request).

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!


DAY 9

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh most loving Saint Padre Pio, you were very devout in the service of God, always encouraging others to obey God's laws and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Obtain for us, we beg you, not only the grace that we are asking, if it would be God’s will (mention request) but most importantly obtain for us the conversion and salvation of our souls, so that someday we may be united with Jesus, Mary and you for all eternity. Finally, help us to accept God's will in all things, even if it runs contrary to our own likes or desires.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!
- See more at: http://www.stgemmagalgani.com/2011/09/novena-to-st-padre-pio-padre-pio-novena.html#sthash.eU5D0N7x.dpuf
Pope John Paul II recited this prayer
on the occasion of the canonization of Padre Pio, June 16, 2002.
Teach us, we pray, humility of heart,
so that we may be counted among the little ones of the Gospel
to whom the Father promised to reveal
the mysteries of His Kingdom.
Help us to pray without ceasing,
certain that God knows what we need
even before we ask Him. Obtain for us the eyes of faith that will help us recognize
in the poor and suffering, the very face of Jesus. Sustain us in the hour of trouble and trial and, if we fall,
let us experience the joy of the sacrament of forgiveness.
Grant us your tender devotion to Mary,
mother of Jesus and our Mother.
Accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage
toward the blessed Homeland,
where we too, hope to arrive to contemplate forever
the Glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Today's Mass Readings : Tuesday September 23, 2014

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest
Lectionary: 450


Reading 1PRV 21:1-6, 10-13

Like a stream is the king’s heart in the hand of the LORD;
wherever it pleases him, he directs it.

All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes,
but it is the LORD who proves hearts.

To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Haughty eyes and a proud heart–
the tillage of the wicked is sin.

The plans of the diligent are sure of profit,
but all rash haste leads certainly to poverty.

Whoever makes a fortune by a lying tongue
is chasing a bubble over deadly snares.

The soul of the wicked man desires evil;
his neighbor finds no pity in his eyes.

When the arrogant man is punished, the simple are the wiser;
when the wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.

The just man appraises the house of the wicked:
there is one who brings down the wicked to ruin.

He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself also call and not be heard.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44

R. (35) Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Lead me in the path of your commands,
for in it I delight.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
And I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.

Gospel LK 8:19-21

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

Pope Francis Prays for Ebola Victims and Health Workers - Full Text






Pope Francis greets bishops from Ghana
23/09/




(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday met with a group of bishops from Ghana, who are in Rome on their ad limina visit.  Ghana is a west African country with 27 million people, with Catholics making up around 15% of the population.
In his speech, which was handed to the bishops, he spoke about the ongoing Ebola epidemic affecting the region.
“I think in a particular way about the importance of the Church’s health care apostolate, not only in Ghana, but throughout western Africa, which is suffering at this time from the outbreak of Ebola,” he said. 
“I pray for the repose of the souls of all who have died in this epidemic, among whom are priests, men and women religious and healthcare workers who contracted this terrible disease while caring for those suffering,” Pope Francis continued.  “May God strengthen all healthcare workers there and bring an end to this tragedy!”
Below find the full speech given to the Bishops of Ghana 
Dear Brother Bishops,
                I offer you a fraternal welcome on the occasion of your visit ad Limina Apostolorum.  May your pilgrimage to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul confirm you in the faith and in your commitment to your ministry, and build up the bonds of communion between the Church in Ghana and the See of Peter.  I thank Bishop Osei-Bonsu for expressing the love and devotion of your priests, religious and laity, and indeed of the entire Ghanaian people.  I would ask you kindly to assure them of a continual remembrance in my prayers.
Ghana is blessed with a population that naturally and easily expresses its belief in God and which seeks to honour him in the variety of religious traditions present in your country. As pastors of the Church established by the Lord to be the light to the nations, you offer to your country Jesus Christ, “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (cf. Jn 14:6).  You do so by bearing witness to the transforming power of his grace by preaching the Good News, by celebrating the sacraments, and by shepherding God’s people with humility and dedication.  In this way, the Catholic community in Ghana, faithful to the Lord’s command and under your guidance, enriches society by proclaiming the dignity of each human person and by promoting their full human development.  For it is only in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, that the fullness of our dignity and destiny can be seen and thus appropriated. 
The 2009 Synod on Africa noted as a principal concern the need for the Church’s pastors to “inspire in Christ’s disciples in Africa the will to become effectively committed to living out the Gospel in their daily lives… (and to obey Christ who) calls constantly for metanoia, conversion” (Africae Munus, 32).  This requires in the first place, brothers, our own daily conversion, so that all of our thoughts, words and actions may be inspired and directed by the word of God.  We must be men who are thoroughly transformed by the grace of being ever more truly sons of the Father, brothers of the Son, and fathers of the community guided by the Holy Spirit.  Only then can we offer credible witness to “the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe” (cf. Eph 1:19), living in holiness, unity and peace.  From the grace of Christ experienced in our own converted hearts comes the spiritual strength which helps us promote virtue and holiness in our priests, men and women religious, and laity.
The work of conversion and evangelization is not easy, but it bears precious fruit for the Church and the world.  Out of the spiritual vitality of all the faithful come the Church’s numerous charitable, medical and educational endeavours, and her works of justice and equality. The varied services, carried out in God’s name, especially for the poor and weak, are the responsibility of the entire local Church, under the prayerful oversight of the bishop.  I think in a particular way about the importance of the Church’s health care apostolate, not only in Ghana, but throughout western Africa, which is suffering at this time from the outbreak of Ebola.  I pray for the repose of the souls of all who have died in this epidemic, among whom are priests, men and women religious and healthcare workers who contracted this terrible disease while caring for those suffering.  May God strengthen all healthcare workers there and bring an end to this tragedy! 
I would ask you in a special way to be close to your priests, supporting them as fathers, easing their burdens and leading them with tenderness.  Please convey my heartfelt gratitude to them and to all religious men and women in Ghana, upon whom so much of the necessary work of evangelization depends, for their daily sacrifices.  I ask the Lord to bless them continually with dedication, zeal and fidelity. 
Dear brothers, the Church in Ghana is justly respected for the contribution she makes to the integral development of individuals and the entire nation.  At the same time, she often finds herself lacking in the material resources necessary to fulfil her mission in the world.  In this regard, I would offer you two thoughts.  First, it is imperative that whatever temporal means the Church has at her disposal continue to be administered with honesty and responsibility, in order to provide good witness, especially where corruption has hindered the just advancement of society.  The Lord will surely not fail to bless and multiply the works of those who are faithful to him.  Second, material poverty can be an occasion to draw greater attention to the spiritual needs of the human person (cf. Mt 5:3), thus leading to a deeper reliance on the Lord, from whom all good things come.  While your communities rightly make many efforts to alleviate extremes of poverty, so too the Church is called, in imitation of Christ, to work with humility and honesty, using the goods at her disposal to open minds and hearts to the riches of mercy and grace flowing from the heart of Christ.
I pray as well for your lay catechists, without whom the works of evangelization would be much diminished in Ghana.  I encourage you to improve and expand the education and preparation provided for them, so that their labours may lead to concrete and long-lasting results.  Almost three years have passed since Pope Benedict XVI urged the bishops and priests of the entire African continent “to be concerned for the human, intellectual, doctrinal, moral, spiritual and pastoral formation of catechists” (cf. Africae Munus, 126).  It is timely, then, to ask whether and to what degree we have responded to this summons to encourage and form the next generation of men and women who will pass on the faith and build upon the legacy of our forebears.  Concern for catechists also requires, as a matter of natural justice, attention to the material assistance and recompense required in order for them to carry out their tasks.
Finally, dear brothers, like Saint Paul, I wish you to go to the cities and the countryside, to the markets and the streets, witnessing to Christ and showing his love and mercy to all.  Be close to other Christian leaders and the heads of other religious communities.  Ecumenical and interreligious cooperation, when carried out with respect and an open heart, contributes to the social harmony of your country, and enables growth in an understanding of the dignity of each person and a greater experience of our common humanity.  Thankfully, Ghana has been spared much of the tribal, ethnic and religious divisions that have afflicted too many other parts of Africa, a continent whose promise, in part due to these divisions, has yet to be fulfilled.  I pray that you will be ever greater promoters of unity and leaders in the service of dialogue!  May you be firm in upholding the Church’s teaching and discipline, and unyielding in your charity.  And may your generosity in offering Christ be matched only by your humble and patient openness to others. 
With these thoughts, dear brother Bishops, I commend all of you to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Word of God and Our Lady of Africa, and with great affection I impart my Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to all the beloved priests, religious and lay faithful of your country. 
From the Vatican, 23 September 2014

 2014


Saint September 23 : St. Pio of Pietrelcina

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

CAPUCHIN FRANCISCAN MYSTIC AND STIGMATIC
Feast: September 23Information:Feast Day:September 23Born:May 25, 1887, Pietrelcina, ItalyDied:September 23, 1968, San Giovanni Rotondo
Canonized:June 16, 2002, Rome, Italy by Pope John Paul IIMajor Shrine:San Giovanni RotondoLike the Apostle Paul, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina placed at the centre of his life and apostolic work the Cross of his Lord as his strength, his wisdom and his glory. Inflamed by love of Jesus Christ, he became like him in the sacrifice of himself for the salvation of the world. In his following and imitation of the crucified Christ he was so generous and perfect that he could have said: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20). And the treasures of grace which God had granted him so lavishly he unceasingly passed on through his ministry, serving the men and women who came to him in ever greater numbers, and bringing to birth an immense host of spiritual sons and daughters.This worthy follower of St Francis of Assisi was born on 25 May 1887 at Pietrelcina in the Archdiocese of Benevento, the son of Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa De Nunzio. He was baptized the next day and given the name Francesco. At the age 12 he received the sacrament of Confirmation and made his First Holy Communion.On 6 January 1903, at the age of 16, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone, where on 22 January he took the Franciscan habit and the name Brother Pio. At the end of his novitiate year he took simple vows, and on 27 January 1907 made his solemn profession.After he was ordained a priest on 10 August 1910 at Benevento, he stayed at home with his family until 1916 for health reasons. In September of that year he was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo and remained there until his death.Filled with love of God and love of neighbour, Padre Pio lived to the full the vocation to work for the redemption of man, in accordance with the special mission which marked his entire life and which he exercised through the spiritual direction of the faithful, the sacramental reconciliation of penitents and the celebration of the Eucharist. The pinnacle of his apostolic activity was the celebration of Holy Mass. The faithful who took part witnessed the summit and fullness of his spirituality.On the level of social charity, he committed himself to relieving the pain and suffering of many families, chiefly through the foundation of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (House for the Relief of Suffering), opened on 5 May 1956.For the servant of God, faith was life: he willed everything and did everything in the light of faith. He was assiduously devoted to prayer. He passed the day and a large part of the night in conversation with God. He would say: "in books we seek God, in prayer we find him. Prayer is the key which opens God's heart". Faith led him always to accept God's mysterious will.He was always immersed in supernatural realities. Not only was he himself a man of hope and total trust in God, but by word and example he communicated these virtues to all who approached him.The love of God filled him, and satisfied his every desire; charity was the chief inspiration of his day: to love God and to help others to love him. His special concern was to grow in charity and to lead others to do so.He demonstrated to the full his love of neighbour by welcoming, for more than 50 years, countless people who had recourse to his ministry and his confessional, his counsel and his consolation. He was almost besieged: they sought him in church, in the sacristy, in the friary. And he gave himself to everyone, rekindling faith, dispensing grace, bringing light. But especially in the poor, the suffering and the sick he saw the image of Christ, and he gave himself particularly to them.He exercised to an exemplary degree the virtue of prudence, acting and counseling in the light of God.His concern was the glory of God and the good of souls. He treated everyone with justice, frankness and great respect.The virtue of fortitude shone in him. He understood very early in life that his would be the way of the Cross, and he accepted it at once with courage and out of love. For many years, he experienced spiritual sufferings. For years he endured the pains of his wounds with admirable serenity. He accepted in silence the many interventions of his superiors, and in the face of calumnies he always remained silent.He habitually practised mortification in order to gain the virtue of temperance, in keeping with the Franciscan style. He was temperate in his attitude and in his way of life.Conscious of the commitments which he had undertaken when he entered the consecrated life, he observed with generosity the vows he had professed. He was obedient in all things to the commands of his superiors, even when they were burdensome. His obedience was supernatural in intention, universal in its scope and complete in its execution. He lived the spirit of poverty with total detachment from self, from earthly goods, from his own comfort and from honours. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity. His behaviour was modest in all situations and with all people.He sincerely thought of himself as useless, unworthy of God's gifts, full of weakness and infirmity, and at the same time blessed with divine favours. Amid so much admiration around him, he would say: "I only want to be a poor friar who prays".From his youth, his health was not very robust, and especially in the last years of his life it declined rapidly. Sister Death took him well prepared and serene on 23 September 1968 at the age of 81. An extraordinary gathering of people attended his funeral.On 20 February 1971, barely three years after the death of the servant of God, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the superiors of the Capuchin Order, said of him: "Look what fame he had, what a worldwide following gathered around him! But why? Perhaps because he was a philosopher? Because he was wise? Because he had resources at his disposal? Because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk and was—it is not easy to say it—one who bore the wounds of our Lord. He was a man of prayer and suffering".Even during his lifetime, he enjoyed a vast reputation for sanctity because of his virtues, his spirit of prayer, sacrifice and total dedication to the good of souls.In the years following his death, his reputation for sanctity and miracles grew steadily and became established in the Church, all over the world and among all kinds of people.God thus showed the Church his desire to glorify on earth his faithful servant. In a short time the Capuchin Order took the steps prescribed by canon law to begin the cause of beatification and canonization. After examining the case, the Holy See, in accordance with the norm of the Motu Proprio Sanctitas clarior, granted the nihil obstat on 29 November 1982. The Archbishop of Manfredonia was thus abled to introduce the cause and set up the informative process (1983-90). On 7 December 1990 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized its juridical validity. When the Positio had been completed, there was the usual discussion on whether the servant of God had exercised the virtues to a heroic degree. On 13 June 1997 the special meeting of the theological consultors was held and gave a positive judgement. In the ordinary session on 21 October 1997, with Bishop Andrea Maria Erba of Velletri-Segni as the proposer of the cause, the Cardinals and Bishops recognized that Padre Pio of Pietrelcina had lived to a heroic degree the theological, cardinal and associated virtues.On 18 December 1997, in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the decree on heroic virtues was promulgated.For the beatification of Padre Pio, the Postulation presented to the competent Congregation the healing of Mrs. Consiglia De Martino of Salerno. The regular canonical process concerning this case was held at the ecclesiastical tribunal of the Archdiocese of Salerno-Campagna-Acerno from July 1996 to June 1997, and the case was recognized as valid by a decree dated 26 September 1997. On 30 April 1998 at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Medical Board examined the miracle, and on 22 June 1998 the special meeting of theological consultors gave its judgement. On 20 October 1998 the ordinary congregation of the Cardinals and Bishops belonging to the Congregation, together with the proposer, Bishop Andrea M. Erba, was held in the Vatican.On 21 December 1998, in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the decree on the miracle was promulgated.
SOURCE http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpioofpietrelcina.asp

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