Friday, November 7, 2014

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Pope Francis “that the world may believe” Message

Pope Francis - AFP

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the 33rd Ecumenical Meeting of Bishops, Friends of the Focolare Movement this Friday. The meeting opened on November 3rd, and concluded with the audience at the Vatican. For four days, nearly forty Catholic and non-Catholic Church leaders from nearly thirty different countries met to explore the theme: “The Eucharist, mystery of communion”.
In remarks to the participants in the conference, Pope Francis praised the gathering as a “bright and attractive sign” of the common faith in Our Lord, Jesus Christ. “In fact,” said Pope Francis, “if we, as Christians, desire to respond in a meaningful way to the many problems and dramas of our time, then we need to speak and act as brothers, so that everyone can easily recognize [that we belong to Christ, the One Lord].”
The Holy Father also renewed his appeal on behalf of all those suffering religious persecution, and denouncing the lack of effective protections for authentic religious liberty around the world. “The fact that [people in] many countries lack the freedom to express religion publicly and to live openly according to the requirements of Christian ethics; the persecution of Christians and other minorities; the sad phenomenon of terrorism; the plight of refugees caused by war and other reasons; the challenges of fundamentalism and on the other extreme, exaggerated secularism; all these really challenge our conscience of Christians and pastors,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded saying that all these challenges are a call seek with renewed commitment, perseverance and patience, the ways that lead to unity – “that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21), and in order that we ourselves might be full of confidence and courage. 

Latest News from Vatican Information Service #Catholicnews

06-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 195 

Pope Francis to the World Evangelical Alliance: “We can learn so much from each other”
- To the bishops of Malawi: the apostolate of the family will bring inestimable benefits to the Church and society as a whole
- The Pope receives the president of the “Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo”
- The Holy See at the United Nations: a lack of food is not the root cause of hunger
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Pope Francis to the World Evangelical Alliance: “We can learn so much from each other”
Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience a delegation from the World Evangelical Alliance, a network of evangelical churches in 128 nations, based in New York, U.S.A., which has formed an alliance with over 100 international organisations, giving voice to more than 400 million evangelical Christians throughout the world.
The Holy Father began his address to the Alliance by emphasising that Baptism is a priceless gift from God, which we have in common. “Thanks to this gift, we no longer live a purely earthly existence; we now live in the power of the Spirit”. He went on to remark that from the beginning, there have been divisions among Christians and “sadly, even today, conflicts and rivalries exist between our communities. This weakens our ability to fulfil the Lord’s commandment to preach the Gospel to all peoples. Our divisions mar the beauty of the seamless robe of Christ, yet they do not completely destroy the profound unity brought about by grace in all the baptised. The effectiveness of the Christian message would no doubt be greater were Christians to overcome their divisions, and together celebrate the sacraments, spread the word of God, and bear witness to charity”.
The Bishop of Rome went on to express his joy to know that “in various countries Catholics and Evangelicals enjoy good relations and work together as brothers and sisters. The joint efforts of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance have also opened up new horizons by clarifying misunderstandings and by showing the way to overcoming prejudices”. He continued, “It is my hope that these talks may further inspire our common witness and our efforts to evangelise: if we really believe in the abundantly free working of the Holy Spirit, we can learn so much from one another! It is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them, which is also meant to be a gift for us. I am confident that the document 'Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct' can prove helpful for the preaching of the Gospel in multi-religious contexts”.
“I trust that the Holy Spirit, who inspires the Church to persevere in seeking new methods of evangelisation, will usher in a new era of relations between Catholics and Evangelicals, so that the Lord’s will that the Gospel be brought to the ends of the earth may be more fully realised. I assure my prayers for this cause, and I ask you to pray for me and for my ministry”, concluded Pope Francis.
To the bishops of Malawi: the apostolate of the family will bring inestimable benefits to the Church and society as a whole
Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – “I offer a joyful welcome to you who have come from the 'warm heart of Africa', as you make your pilgrimage to Rome, 'the warm heart of the Church'”; thus Pope Francis greets the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi in the written discourse he handed to them this morning as he received them in audience at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit. He also notes that the effectiveness of their pastoral and administrative efforts is the fruit of your faith as well as of the unity and fraternal spirit that characterise their episcopal conference.
The Holy Father also expresses his appreciation for “the admirable spirit of the Malawian people, who, though faced with many serious obstacles in terms of development, economic progress and standards of living, remain strong in their commitment to family life”, as it is in this institution, which teaches “love, sacrifice, commitment and fidelity”, that the Church and society in Malawi will find the resources necessary to renew and build up a culture of solidarity. “You yourselves know well the challenges and the value of family life, and, as fathers and shepherds, you are called to nurture, protect and strengthen it in the context of the “family of faith”, which is the Church. … There is scarcely a greater commitment that the Church can make to the future of Malawi – and indeed, to her own development – than that of a thorough and joyful apostolate to families. … Thus, by doing everything you can to support, educate and evangelise families, especially those in situations of material hardship, breakdown, violence or infidelity, you will bring inestimable benefit to the Church and all of Malawian society”.
Among the results of this apostolate, it is hoped that there will be “an increase in young men and women who are willing and able to dedicate themselves to the service of others in the priesthood and religious life”, based on “the strong foundations laid by generations of faithful missionaries” and fortified by the evangelising work of local men and women. The Bishop of Rome exhorted the local prelates to be close to their priests and seminarians, loving them “as a father should” and furthering their efforts to guarantee a complete spiritual as well as intellectual and pastoral formation.
The “tragedy” of the limited life expectancy and extreme poverty experienced by the majority of the people of Malawi is another of the Pope's concerns. “My thoughts go to those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and particularly to the orphaned children and parents left without love and support as a result of this illness”, he writes, encouraging the bishops to be close to those in distress, to the sick, and especially to the children. “I ask you, particularly, to offer my gratitude to the many men and women who present Christ’s tenderness and love in Catholic healthcare institutions. The service which the Church offers to the sick, through pastoral care, prayer, clinics and hospices, must always find its source and model in Christ, who loved us and gave himself up for us. Indeed, how else could we be followers of the Lord if we did not personally engage in ministry to the sick, the poor, the dying and the destitute? Our faith in Christ, born of having recognised our own need for Him, He Who has come to heal our wounds, to enrich us, to give us life, to nourish us, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members”.
The Pope receives the president of the “Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo”
Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father received in private audience Estela de Carlotto, president of the Association of the “Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo”, accompanied by her grandson with whom she was reunited, Ignacio Guido Montoya Carlotto. The meeting took place in one of the rooms adjacent to Paul VI Hall.
Subsequently, in another room, the Pope also met with eighteen other members of the Carlotto family, in a cordial atmosphere. They presented Francis with various gifts, including a poncho and a CD with works by Ignacio Guido, who is a musician, and a scarf of the Grandmothers of the Plazo de Mayo. The encounter lasted for around half an hour.
At 5 p.m. this afternoon, in the Argentine Embassy at the Quirinal, a press conference will be held in which Estela de Carlotto will participate.
The Holy See at the United Nations: a lack of food is not the root cause of hunger
Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, spoke at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 28 October, on the theme of “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition”.
The nuncio observed that according to the Secretary General's report, since 1990 there has been a 17% decrease in the number of people suffering from chronic hunger. However, he added, “it also means that we still have almost 850 million people suffering from acute hunger. The number is already shocking in itself, but what must shock us even more is the fact that behind those numbers are real people, with their fundamental dignity and rights. Thus, eradicating hunger is not only a high priority development goal; it is a moral imperative”.
However, he added, “it is not for lack of food in the world that they suffer acute hunger, because the current levels of world food production are sufficient to feed everyone. The problem lies elsewhere, such as in the lack of conservation technologies among smallholder producers, in weak or absent government support to incentivise the commercialisation of products, or in the lack of infrastructure for better food distribution and marketing”.
He remarked that the whole “United Nations family” must renew its efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the world, putting it at the forefront of its collective efforts. “It is for this reason that the Holy See welcomes the incorporation of food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture as components of the sustainable development goals. … The Holy See also welcomes the focus that the report of the Secretary General on Agricultural Development, Food Security and Nutrition puts on those regions of the world where hunger and malnutrition are still at unacceptable levels. The Holy See also appreciates the report's focus on groups most vulnerable to malnutrition, like pregnant women and children below five years old”.
He continued, “The theme of this year's World Food Day tells us that the family is key in the fight to end hunger. … This recognition of the role of the family must be accompanied by policies and initiatives that really respond to the needs of farming families and communities”. He concluded by reminding those present that an international conference on nutrition in will be held in Rome next month, aiming to bring together “government leaders, other top-level policy-makers and representatives of intergovernmental organisations and civil society, to take stock of progress made in improving nutrition and to seek new ways to boost national and global efforts to improve health”.
Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference;
- Archbishop Leon Kalenga Badikebele, apostolic nuncio in El Salvador and Belize;
- Seven prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, on their “ad Limina” visit:
- Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa, S.M.M., of Blantyre;
- Bishop Peter Martin Musikuwa of Chikwawa;
- Bishop Montfort Stima of Mangochi;
- Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye of Lilongwe;
- Bishop Emanuel Kanyama of Dedza;
- Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza of Mzuzu;
- Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of Karonga.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Asuncion, Paraguay, presented by Archbishop Eustaquio Pastor Cuquejo Verga, C.SS.R., upon reaching the age limit. Archbishop Cuquejo Verga is succeeded by Bishop Edmundo Ponciano Valenzuela Mellid, S.D.B., coadjutor of the same archdiocese.
- elevated the diocese of Dodoma, Tanzania, to the status of metropolitan archdiocese and assigning it the suffragan dioceses of Singida and Kondoa.
- appointed Bishop Beatus Kinyaiya, O.F.M. Cap., of Mbulu, Tanzania, as first bishop of Dodoma (area 38,743, population 1,578,173, Catholics 301,593, priests 80, religious 397), Tanzania;
- appointed Bishop Eduardo Horacio Garcia, auxiliary of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as bishop of San Justo (area 134, population 1,114,000, Catholics 1,003,000, priests 71, permanent deacons 24, religious 158), Argentina. He succeeds Bishop Baldomero Carlos Martini, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father;
- appointed Rev. Fr. Donatus Aihmiosion Ogun, O.S.A., as bishop of Uromi (area 2,938, population 946,901, Catholics 139,087, priests 83, religious 39), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Sapele, Nigeria in 1966, gave his solemn vows in 1992, and was ordained a priest in 1993. He studied canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including prior and bursar of the “Our Lady of Lourdes” community in Coker Village, Lagos; prior and bursar of the “Our Lady of Good Counsel” community in Iwako Oka and university chaplain; and bursar of “St. Cyprian” in Warri and episcopal vicar for religious persons of the diocese of Warri. He is currently lecturer in the St. Thomas Aquinas major seminary and director of the St. Augustine Institute in Makurdi;
- appointed Bishop Juan Jose Omella Omella of Calahorra y La Calzada – Logrono, Spain, as member of the Congregation for Bishops;
- appointed Msgr. Giacomo Incitti, ordinary professor of canon law at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, as advisor to the Apostolic Penitentiary;
- appointed Rev. Fr. Serge Thomas Bonino, O.P., general secretary of the International Theological Commission and member of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), as president of the same Pontifical University;
- appointed Rev. Fr. Philippe Curbelie, official of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as office head of the same dicastery;
- appointed Msgr. Maurice Monier as judge of the Court of Appeal of Vatican City State.

Pope Francis "A Christian name, but a pagan life." Homily

Pope Francis reflects on the readings of the day at Mass in Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
(Vatican Radio) Even today there are "pagan Christians" who "behave like enemies of the Cross of Christ", said Pope Francis at morning Mass Friday at Casa Santa Marta, warning that we must guard against the temptations of a worldly society that lead us to ruin. Pope Francis was inspired by the words of St. Paul to the Philippians to dwell on two groups of Christians, still present today as they were in the time of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Christians who go forward in faith and Christians who "live like enemies of the Cross of Christ”.
"Both groups – he said - were in the Church together, they went to Mass on Sunday, they praised the Lord, they called themselves Christians". So what was the difference? The second group "act like enemies of the Cross of Christ! Christians enemies of the Cross of Christ”.
The Pope said these were "worldly Christians, Christians in name, with two or three Christian things, but nothing more. Pagan Christian". "A Christian name, but a pagan life." Or to put it another way: "Pagans with two strokes of Christian paint, so as to appear like Christians, but pagans nonetheless".
"Even today there are many! We must be careful not to slip toward the path of being pagan Christians, Christians in appearance. The temptation to get used to mediocrity, the mediocrity of Christians, these Christians, it is their undoing because their hearts cool, they become lukewarm. And the Lord had strong words for these lukewarm [Christians]: 'because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth'. These are very strong words! They are enemies of the Cross of Christ. They take the name, but do not follow the requirements of Christian life".
Paul, he said, speaks of the "citizenship" of Christians. "Our citizenship," he noted, "is in heaven. Theirs is on earth. They are citizens of the world, not of heaven". "Citizens of the world. And their surname is worldly! Beware of these" warned Pope Francis adding that everyone, himself including, must ask: "Do I have something of these? Do I have some worldliness within me? Some paganism?".
"Do I like to brag? Do I like the money? Do I like pride, arrogance? Where are my roots, that is, where am I a citizen of? Heaven or earth? In the world or the worldly spirit? Our citizenship is in heaven, and we await heaven and Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And theirs? Their ultimate fate will be destruction! These painted Christians will end badly ... But look at the end: where will that citizenship that you have in your heart lead you? The worldly one to ruin, that of the Cross of Christ to an encounter with Him".
The Pope then outlined a few signs “of the heart” that show us whether we "are sliding towards worldliness”. "If you love and if you are attached to money, vanity and pride - he warned – you are heading towards the bad road". If, instead, "you try to love God, serve others, if you are gentle, if you are humble, if you are the servant of the other, you are on the right road. Your citizen’s card is good:  it belongs to heaven". The other, by contrast, "is a citizenship that will bring you only bad". The Pope pointed out that Jesus asked the Father to save his disciples "from the spirit of the world, this worldliness, which leads to destruction".
The Pope then turned his attention to the parable of the steward who cheated his master, told in the Gospel of the day:
"How did this steward in the Gospel arrive at this point of cheating, of stealing from his master? How did he get there, from one day to the next? No! Little by little. One day a tip here, the next day a bribe there, and this is how little by little you arrive at corruption. The path of worldliness of these enemies of the Cross of Christ is like this, it leads you to corruption! And then you end up like this man, right? Openly stealing ... "

Pope Francis returned to the words of Paul, who asks us to remain "firm in the Lord" without allowing our heart to weaken and end up in "nothing, in corruption". "This is a good grace to seek - he said – remaining firm in the Lord. It is all of salvation, there lies transfiguration in glory". "Firm in the Lord and following the example of the Cross of Christ: humility, poverty, meekness, service to others, worship, prayer." (Emer McCarthy)

Today's Mass Readings : Friday November 7, 2014

Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 489

Reading 1PHIL 3:17-4:1

Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters,
and observe those who thus conduct themselves
according to the model you have in us.
For many, as I have often told you
and now tell you even in tears,
conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction.
Their God is their stomach;
their glory is in their “shame.”
Their minds are occupied with earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified Body
by the power that enables him also
to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved. 

Responsorial Psalm PS 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5

R. (1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Gospel LK 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”


Saint November 7 : St. Willibrord : Bishop : Patron of Convulsions; Epilepsy; Netherlands

St. Willibrord

Feast: November 7
Feast Day:
November 7
658, Northumbria
November 7, 739
Major Shrine:
Patron of:
convulsions; epilepsy; epileptics; Luxembourg; Netherlands

St Willibrord was born in the kingdom of Northumberland towards the year 658, and placed by his virtuous parents, before he was seven years old, in the monastery of Ripon, which was at that time governed by St. Wilfrid, its founder. Wilgris, our saint's father, retired also into a monastery, afterwards became a hermit, and in his old age founded and governed a small monastery between the ocean and the Humber. He is honoured among the saints in the monastery of Epternac and in the English calendars. Alcuin has left us an account of his life. Willibrord, by carrying the yoke of our Lord with fervour from his infancy, found it always easy and sweet, and the better to preserve the first fruits which he had gathered, made his monastic profession when he was very young. He had made great progress in virtue and sacred learning when, out of a desire for further improvement, in the twentieth year of his age he went over into Ireland, with the consent of his abbot and brethren, where he joined St. Egbert or Ecgbright, and the blessed Wigbert, who were gone thither before upon the same errand. In their company our saint spent twelve years in the study of the sacred sciences and in the most fervent exercise of all virtues. Though his constitution was weak, in fervour and exactness he outdid the most advanced: he was humble, modest, and of an easy obliging temper; and his whole conduct was regular and uniform. St. Egbert had long entertained an ardent desire of going to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of those unhappy countries in which barbarism and idolatry still reigned without control, and he had chiefly Friesland or Lower Germany in his eye. But he was diverted from that apostolical design by persons of piety and authority, who engaged him to employ his zealous labours in the islands between Ireland and Scotland, in all which he settled the true manner of celebrating Easter, especially at Hij, where he died a little before Bede wrote his history. St. Egbert is honoured in the English Calendar on the 24th of April. Bede gives a most edifying account of his austere penance, devotion, zeal, and charity. His companion, the holy priest Wigbert, went in the meantime to Friesland; but after staying there two years came back without having met with any prospect of success. This disappointment did not discourage Egbert and other zealous promoters of this mission, but excited them the more earnestly to solicit the divine mercy with prayers and tears in favour of so many souls who were perishing eternally. Willibrord, who was then about thirty-one years of age and had been ordained priest a year before, expressed a great desire to be allowed by his superiors to undertake this laborious and dangerous charge. St. Egbert, by the known zeal and great talents of our saint and by his cheerfulness, doubted not but God had reserved to him the conversion of that nation, and encouraged him in this zealous design. St. Willibrord was joined by St. Swidbert and ten other English monks in this mission.
The authors of Batavia Sacra doubt not but our twelve missionaries landed at Catwic upon the sea, which was at the mouth of the Rhine before it was blocked up with sands, and thither the English were accustomed to export corn, even from the north, coasting part of their island. The British tower, as it was called, was built by the Romans at Catwic to defend this harbour. Pepin of Herstal, or the Big, who was at that time Duke of the French, received courteously St. Willibrord and his companions. But Willibrord set out for Rome and cast himself at the feet of Pope Sergius, begging his apostolic blessing and authority to preach the gospel to idolatrous nations. The pope, charmed with his zeal and sanctity, granted him the most ample licences for that purpose, and gave him a great quantity of relics for the consecration of churches. With this treasure the saint returned with all possible expedition to his province, considering the pressing necessities and dangers of so many souls which called for his compassion and relief. St. Swidbert was taken from him and ordained Bishop of the Borroctuarians, who seem to have inhabited the territory of Berg and the neighbouring country towards Cologne.
St. Willibrord, with his ten other companions, under the protection of Pepin, preached the gospel with wonderful success in that part of Friesland that had been conquered by the French; so that after six years Pepin, by the advice of his bishops, sent the saint to Rome with strong letters of recommendation that he might be ordained bishop. His humility made him endeavour that some other should be pitched upon for that dignity, but he was not heard. Pope Sergius, who still sat in St. Peter's chair, received him with great marks of honour, changed his name into that of Clement, with great solemnity ordained him Archbishop of the Frisons in St. Peter's church and gave him the pallium, with authority to fix his see in what part of the country he should think most convenient. The holy man stayed only fourteen days in Rome, being impatient to return to his flock, and regretting an hour's absence from them more than was necessary to procure them greater advantages. He came back to Utrecht the same year, 696, and chose that city for his residence, Pepin having bestowed on him the royal castle of Viltaburg which, as Bede assures us, was at Utrecht. St. Willibrord built at Utrecht the Church of our Saviour, in which he fixed his metropolitical see, says St. Boniface, and that of St. Martin, though this latter he only restored, for it had been a church, but destroyed by the pagans. The archbishop's indefatigable application to the conversion of souls seemed to prove that, with the new obligation he had received at his consecration of labouring to enlarge the kingdom of his Divine Master, he had acquired fresh strength and a considerable augmentation of his zeal. In the second year after his episcopal consecration, assisted by the liberality of Pepin and the abbess Irmina, who is said to have been daughter of Dagobert II, he founded, in 698, the abbey of Epternac in the diocese of Triers, and now in the duchy of Luxemburg, which he governed to his death. Alcuin relates that the nunnery of Horrea, of which Irmina was abbess, had been delivered from a pestilence by water blessed by St. Willibrord, and by his saying mass in the church. Pepin of Herstal before his death put away his concubine Alpais, by whom he had Charles Martel, and was reconciled to his wife Plectrudis, and in his last will, which is signed by Plectrudis, he recommended to St. Willibrord his nephews (without any mention of his natural son Charles), and bestowed on our saint the village of Swestram, now Susteren, in the duchy of Juliers, near the Meuse, with which the holy man endowed a nunnery which he built there.
Pepin of Herstal died in December 714. A little before his death, Charles Martel's son, Pepin the Short, afterwards King of France, was born, and baptized by St. Willibrord, who on that occasion is related by Alcuin to have prophesied that the child would surpass in glory all his ancestors. Charles Martel in a short time became mayor of the palace, and approved himself equally the first general and statesman of his age. In 723 he settled upon the monastery which St. Willibrord had erected at Utrecht to serve his cathedral all the royal revenues belonging to his castle there. Of this monastery St. Gregory was afterwards abbot; in succeeding times it was secularized. Several other donations of estates made by Charles Martel to several churches founded by our saint may be seen in Miraeus and others. By a charter that prince conferred on him the royalties of the city of Utrecht with its dependencies and appurtenances. By such establishments our saint sought to perpetuate the work of God. Not content to have planted the faith in the country which the French had conquered, he extended his labours into West-Friesland, which obeyed Radbod, Prince or King of the Frisons, who continued an obstinate idolater; yet hindered not the saint's preaching to his subjects, and himself sometimes listened to him. The new apostle penetrated also into Denmark; but Ongend (perhaps Biorn), who then reigned there, a monster of cruelty rather than a man, was hardened in his malice, and his example had a great influence over his subjects. The man of God, however, for the first fruits of this country, purchased thirty young Danish boys, whom he instructed, baptized, and brought back with him. In his return he was driven by stress of weather upon the famous pagan island called Fositeland, now Amelandt, on the coast of Friesland, six leagues from Leuwarden, to the north, a place then esteemed by the Danes and Frisons as most sacred in honour of the idol Fosite. It was looked upon as an unpardonable sacrilege for anyone to kill any living creature in that island, to eat of anything that grew in it, or to draw water out of a spring there without observing the strictest silence. St. Willibrord, to undeceive the inhabitants, killed some of the beasts for his companions to eat, and baptized three persons in the fountain, pronouncing the words aloud. The idolaters expected to see them run mad or drop down dead; and seeing no such judgment befall them, could not determine whether this was to be attributed to the patience of their god or to his want of power. They informed Radbod who, transported with rage, ordered lots to be cast three times a day for three days together, and the fate of the delinquents to be determined by them. God so directed it that the lot never fell upon Willibrord; but one of his company was sacrificed to the superstition of the people, and died a martyr for Jesus Christ.
The saint, upon leaving Amelandt, directed his course to Warckeren, one of the chief islands belonging to Zealand. His charity and patience made considerable conquests to the Christian religion there, and he established several churches. After the death of Radbod, which happened in 719, Willibrord was at full liberty to preach in every part of the country. He was joined in his apostolical labours, in 720, by St. Boniface, who spent three years in Friesland, then went into Germany. Bede says, when he wrote his history in 731: "Willibrord, surnamed Clement, is still living, venerable for his old age, having been bishop thirty-six years, and sighing after the rewards of the heavenly life, after many conflicts in the heavenly warfare." "He was," says Alcuin, "of a becoming stature, venerable in his aspect, comely in his person, graceful, and always cheerful in his speech and countenance, wise in his counsel, unwearied in preaching and all apostolic functions, amidst which he was careful to nourish the interior life of his soul by assiduous prayer, singing of psalms, watching, and fasting." Alcuin, who wrote about fifty years after his death, assures us that this apostle was endowed with the gift of miracles, and relates that whilst he preached in the isle of Warckeren, where the towns of Flessingue and Middleburg are since built, going from village to village, he found in one of them a famous idol to which the people were offering their vows and sacrifices, and, full of holy zeal, threw it down and broke it in pieces. In the meantime an idolater, who was the priest and guardian of the idol, gave him a blow on the head with his backsword, with which, nevertheless, the saint was not hurt; and he would not suffer the assassin to be touched or prosecuted. But the unhappy man was soon after possessed with a devil and lost his senses. By the tears, prayers, and zealous labours of this apostle and his colleagues, the faith was planted in most parts of Holland, Zealand, and all the remaining part of the Netherlands, whither St. Amand and St. Lebwin had never penetrated; and the Frisons, till then a rough and most barbarous people, were civilized, and became eminent for virtue and the culture of arts and sciences. St. Wulfran, Archbishop of Sens, and others, excited by the success of our saint's missions, were ambitious to share in so great a work under his direction. St. Willibrord was exceeding cautious in admitting persons to holy orders, fearing lest one unworthy or slothful minister should defeat by scandal all the good which the divine mercy had begun for the salvation of many souls. It is also mentioned of him that he was very strict and diligent in examining and preparing thoroughly those whom he admitted to baptism, dreading the condemnation which those incur who, by sloth or facility, open a door to the profanation of our most tremendous mysteries. The schools which St. Willibrord left at Utrecht were very famous. Being at length quite broken with old age, he resigned the administration of his diocese to a coadjutor whom he ordained bishop, and in retirement prepared himself for eternity. He died, according to Pagi, in 739; according to Mabillon, in 740 or 741, and according to Mr. Smith, in 745; some adhering to Alcuin, others to Bede, &c. St. Boniface says that St. Willibrord spent fifty years in preaching the gospel, which Mr. Smith dates from his episcopal consecration, Mabillon from his coming into Friesland, but others think these fifty years mean only thereabouts. Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus place his death on the 6th of November; but the Chronicle of Epternac, Usuard, Ado, and the Roman and Benedictin Martyrologies commemorate him on the 7th. He was buried, as he had desired, at his monastery of Epternac, and his relics are there enshrined at this day. The portative altar which he made use of for the celebration of the divine mysteries, in travelling through Friesland, Zealand, and Holland, is kept in the Benedictin abbey of our Lady ad Martyres, at Triers.

Shared from Sing and Walk: by Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher (head of CCCB) Saturday, October 18, 2014 Synod - Day 11 The final report has now been published, at least in Italian. The media have concentrated public attention on two issues: access to the sacraments for divorced and remarried Catholics, and pastoral care of homosexuals. I guess I'll have to share my thoughts on these two questions. Of the two, the first was raised well before the Synod by Cardinal Kasper in a noted intervention before the world's cardinals last February. Rejected by other cardinals at the end of the summer, it kept the attention of numerous speakers during the Synod and, in fact, required a lot of energy. A proposd paragraph in the final report which presented the two approaches that were discussed (maintaining the present discipline or opening to change) as well as a related paragraph did not receive the required two thirds approval of the members, even though a solid majority supported them. The fact remains that these two approaches WERE discussed, and with much passion. Pope Francis decided that the whole text of the final report should be published, including the texts that did not receive the two thirds' vote.
I imagine then that this discussion is far from finished, and that it will be taken up by the episcopal conferences of the world during the coming year as we prepare for the General Ordinary Synod in October 2015.
 On the question of the pastoral accompaniment of homosexuals, a paragraph simply proposed recalling the Church's teaching that there is no equivalence between marriage and a homosexual relationship, while maintaining the dignity and the non-discrimination of homosexuals. This paragraph was also supported by the majority, without attaining the two-thirds bar. Why did some Bishops choose not to approve a text which only repeated the Church's received teaching? I have the impression many would have preferred a more open, positive language. Not finding it in this paragraph, they might have chosen to indicate their disapproval of it. However, it has also been published, and the reflexion will have to continue. So let's set these two important questions aside for a moment. After all, the Synod's theme was not 'Communion for the divorced and remarried and the accompaniment of homosexuals', but rather 'The pastoral challenges of families in the context of new evangelization.' And on this theme, what do the other 58 paragraphs of the text have to say? What can we glean from the Synod's work? Has any ground been broken? My answer?
Absolutely! And particularly on one point. It has approved a very precise pastoral approach, one which is more attentive to the good in people than to their faults; one that speaks less of the sin to be avoided and more of the grace to be attained; one which is less centred on the faults of our society and more attuned to its possible openings to the Gospel message. It's not about being naive or polly-annish, but rather of counting on the Spirit of Jesus-Christ already present in the hears of human beings, even those who believe themselves to be far from God. This approach is not new: many pastoral workers already have adopted it. However, this is the first time -- as far as I know -- that such a text gives it a blessing. Even more, it explains the biblical and doctrinal foundation for this approach, and invites all pastoral worker to embrace it. This is indeed new. And it fills my heart with joy.
In a certain sense, we have done for family life what the Second Vatican Council did for liturgy and ecumenism: give the green light to a style of ministry that is already emerging in the Church, assure its theological grounding, and invite the whole Church to make it its own. (Of course, those who don't like what Vatican II did for the liturgy and for ecumenism might not like what the Synod has done for family life... That's another discussion for another time.) I don't know if the media will pay much attention to this issue. For me, however, and for many leaders in parishes and Christian communities, this is fundamental. And for this I give thanks to the Pope for having called us to this great work of the Church. Shared from Blog of Archbishop Durocher - Head of the Canadian Catholic Bishops' Conference

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