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Sunday, November 30, 2014

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I embraces Pope Francis at a celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Istanbul - REUTERS

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday November 30, 2014 - 1st Advent

Christmas Novena - Miracle Prayer

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(Vatican Radio)  In an address upon conclusion of the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Orthodox Church of St. George in Istanbul, Pope Francis said “the one thing that the Catholic Church desires and that I seek as Bishop of Rome…is communion with the Orthodox Churches.”

Below, please find the complete text of the Holy Father’s address:
            When I was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, I often took part in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox communities there.  Today, the Lord has given me the singular grace to be present in this Patriarchal Church of Saint George for the celebration of the Feast of the holy Apostle Andrew, the first-called, the brother of Saint Peter, and the Patron Saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
            Meeting each other, seeing each other face to face, exchanging the embrace of peace, and praying for each other, are all essential aspects of our journey towards the restoration of full communion.  All of this precedes and always accompanies that other essential aspect of this journey, namely, theological dialogue.  An authentic dialogue is, in every case, an encounter between persons with a name, a face, a past, and not merely a meeting of ideas.
            This is especially true for us Christians, because for us the truth is the person of Jesus Christ.  The example of Saint Andrew, who with another disciple accepted the invitation of the Divine Master, “Come and see”, and “stayed with him that day” (Jn 1:39), shows us plainly that the Christian life is a personal experience, a transforming encounter with the One who loves us and who wants to save us.  In addition, the Christian message is spread thanks to men and women who are in love with Christ, and cannot help but pass on the joy of being loved and saved.  Here again, the example of the apostle Andrew is instructive.  After following Jesus to his home and spending time with him, Andrew “first found his brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus” (Jn1:40-42).  It is clear, therefore, that not even dialogue among Christians can prescind from this logic of personal encounter.
            It is not by chance that the path of reconciliation and peace between Catholics and Orthodox was, in some way, ushered in by an encounter, by an embrace between our venerable predecessors, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, which took place fifty years ago in Jerusalem.  Your Holiness and I wished to commemorate that moment when we met recently in the same city where our Lord Jesus Christ died and rose. 
            By happy coincidence, my visit falls a few days after the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of Unitatis Redintegratio, the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Christian Unity.  This is a fundamental document which opened new avenues for encounter between Catholics and their brothers and sisters of other Churches and ecclesial communities.
            In particular, in that Decree the Catholic Church acknowledges that the Orthodox Churches “possess true sacraments, above all – by apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy” (15).  The Decree goes on to state that in order to guard faithfully the fullness of the Christian tradition and to bring to fulfilment the reconciliation of Eastern and Western Christians, it is of the greatest importance  to preserve and support the rich patrimony of the Eastern Churches.  This regards not only their liturgical and spiritual traditions, but also their canonical disciplines, sanctioned as they are by the Fathers and by Councils, which regulate the lives of these Churches (cf. 15-16).
            I believe that it is important to reaffirm respect for this principle as an essential condition, accepted by both, for the restoration of full communion, which does not signify the submission of one to the other, or assimilation.   Rather, it means welcoming all the gifts that God has given to each, thus demonstrating to the entire world the great mystery of salvation accomplished by Christ the Lord through the Holy Spirit.  I want to assure each one of you here that, to reach the desired goal of full unity, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith.  Further, I would add that we are ready to seek together, in light of Scriptural teaching and the experience of the first millennium, the ways in which we can guarantee the needed unity of the Church in the present circumstances.  The one thing that the Catholic Church desires, and that I seek as Bishop of Rome, “the Church which presides in charity”, is communion with the Orthodox Churches.  Such communion will always be the fruit of that love which “has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (cf. Rom 5:5), a fraternal love which expresses the spiritual and transcendent bond which unites us as disciples of the Lord.
            In today’s world, voices are being raised which we cannot ignore and which implore our Churches to live deeply our identity as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
            The first of these voices is that of the poor.  In the world, there are too many women and men who suffer from severe malnutrition, growing unemployment, the rising numbers of unemployed youth, and from increasing social exclusion.  These can give rise to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists.  We cannot remain indifferent before the cries of our brothers and sisters.  These ask of us not only material assistance – needed in so many circumstances – but above all, our help to defend their dignity as human persons, so that they can find the spiritual energy to become once again protagonists in their own lives.  They ask us to fight, in the light of the Gospel, the structural causes of poverty: inequality, the shortage of dignified work and housing, and the denial of their rights as members of society and as workers.  As Christians we are called together to eliminate that globalization of indifference which today seems to reign supreme, while building a new civilization of love and solidarity.
            A second plea comes from the victims of the conflicts in so many parts of our world.  We hear this resoundingly here, because some neighbouring countries are scarred by an inhumane and brutal war.  With profound pain, I think of the many victims of the many victims of the inhuman and senseless attack that recently  struck the Muslim faithful as they prayed in the mosque of Kano in Nigeria.  Taking away the peace of a people, committing every act of violence – or consenting to such acts – especially when directed against the weakest and defenceless, is a profoundly grave sin against God, since it means showing contempt for the image of God which is in man.  The cry of the victims of conflict urges us to move with haste along the path of reconciliation and communion between Catholics and Orthodox.  Indeed, how can we credibly proclaim the Gospel of peace which comes from Christ, if there continues to be rivalry and disagreement between us (cf. Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 77)?
            A third cry which challenges us is that of young people.  Today, tragically, there are many young men and women who live without hope, overcome by mistrust and resignation.  Many of the young, influenced by the prevailing culture, seek happiness solely in possessing material things and in satisfying their fleeting emotions.  New generations will never be able to acquire true wisdom and keep hope alive unless we are able to esteem and transmit the true humanism which comes from the Gospel and from the Church’s age-old experience.  It is precisely the young who today implore us to make progress towards full communion.  I think for example of the many Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant youth who come together at meetings organized by the Taizé community.  They do this not because they ignore the differences which still separate us, but because they are able to see beyond them; they are able to see beyond them, to embrace what is essential and what already unites us which is much holiness.
            Dear brother, dearest brother, we are already on the way, on the path towards full communion and already we can experience eloquent signs of an authentic, albeit incomplete union.  This offers us reassurance and encourages us to continue on this journey.  We are certain that along this journey we are helped by the intercession of the Apostle Andrew and his brother Peter, held by tradition to be the founders of the Churches of Constantinople and of Rome.  We ask God for the great gift of full unity, and the ability to accept it in our lives.  Let us never forget to pray for one another.
Pope Francis

Full Text Joint Declaration signed by Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch "...to walk together in order to overcome.."


Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, sign the Joint Declaration - AP
30/11/2014 11:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the Orthodox world, on Sunday signed a Joint Declaration reaffirming their desire to overcome the obstacles dividing their two Churches. The two leaders also deplored the terrible situation facing Christians and all who are suffering in the Middle East and called for an appropriate response from the international community.
 Please find below the full text of the Joint Declaration: 
JOINT  DECLARATION
We, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, express our profound gratitude to God for the gift of this new encounter enabling us, in the presence of the members of the Holy Synod, the clergy and the faithful of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to celebrate together the feast of Saint Andrew, the first–called and brother of the Apostle Peter. Our remembrance of the Apostles, who proclaimed the good news of the Gospel to the world through their preaching and their witness of martyrdom, strengthens in us the aspiration to continue to walk together in order to overcome, in love and in truth, the obstacles that divide us.
 On the occasion of our meeting in Jerusalem last May, in which we remembered the historical embrace of our venerable predecessors Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, we signed a joint declaration. Today on the happy occasion of this further fraternal encounter, we wish to re–affirm together our shared intentions and concerns.
 We express our sincere and firm resolution, in obedience to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, to intensify our efforts to promote the full unity of all Christians, and above all between Catholics and Orthodox. As well, we intend to support the theological dialogue promoted by the Joint International Commission, instituted exactly thirty–five years ago by the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios and Pope John Paul II here at the Phanar, and which is currently dealing with the most difficult questions that have marked the history of our division and that require careful and detailed study. To this end, we offer the assurance of our fervent prayer as Pastors of the Church, asking our faithful to join us in praying “that all may be one, that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21).
 We express our common concern for the current situation in Iraq, Syria and the whole Middle East. We are united in the desire for peace and stability and in the will to promote the resolution of conflicts through dialogue and reconciliation. While recognizing the efforts already being made to offer assistance to the region, at the same time, we call on all those who bear responsibility for the destiny of peoples to deepen their commitment to suffering communities, and to enable them, including the Christian ones, to remain in their native land. We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for two thousand years. Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and have been forced violently from their homes. It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests. And, tragically, all this is met by the indifference of many.  As Saint Paul reminds us, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26). This is the law of the Christian life, and in this sense we can say that there is also an ecumenism of suffering. Just as the blood of the martyrs was a seed of strength and fertility for the Church, so too the sharing of daily sufferings can become an effective instrument of unity. The terrible situation of Christians and all those who are suffering in the Middle East calls not only for our constant prayer, but also for an appropriate response on the part of the international community.
 The grave challenges facing the world in the present situation require the solidarity of all people of good will, and so we also recognize the importance of promoting a constructive dialogue with Islam based on mutual respect and friendship. Inspired by common values and strengthened by genuine fraternal sentiments, Muslims and Christians are called to work together for the sake of justice, peace and respect for the dignity and rights of every person, especially in those regions where they once lived for centuries in peaceful coexistence and now tragically suffer together the horrors of war. Moreover, as Christian leaders, we call on all religious leaders to pursue and to strengthen interreligious dialogue and to make every effort to build a culture of peace and solidarity between persons and between peoples. We also remember all the people who experience the sufferings of war. In particular, we pray for peace in Ukraine, a country of ancient Christian tradition, while we call upon all parties involved to pursue the path of dialogue and of respect for international law in order to bring an end to the conflict and allow all Ukrainians to live in harmony.
 Our thoughts turn to all the faithful of our Churches throughout the world, whom we greet, entrusting them to Christ our Saviour, that they may be untiring witnesses to the love of God. We raise our fervent prayer that the Lord may grant the gift of peace in love and unity to the entire human family.
“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thess 3:16).
From the Phanar, 30 November 2014

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday November 30, 2014 - 1st Advent

First Sunday of Advent

Lectionary: 2

Reading 1IS 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7
You, LORD, are our father,
our redeemer you are named forever.
Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you,
while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for,
such as they had not heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you
doing such deeds for those who wait for him.
Would that you might meet us doing right,
that we were mindful of you in our ways!
Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful;
all of us have become like unclean people,
all our good deeds are like polluted rags;
we have all withered like leaves,
and our guilt carries us away like the wind.
There is none who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to cling to you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have delivered us up to our guilt.
Yet, O LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter:
we are all the work of your hands.

Responsorial Psalm PS 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19

R/ (4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power,
and come to save us.
R/ Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R/ Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R/ Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Reading 21 COR 1:3-9

Brothers and sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

AlleluiaPS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

Christmas Novena - Miracle Prayer


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Starts November 30, the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, and concludes on Christmas Eve. It is piously believed to be very
efficacious. Recite 15 times a day until December 24- possibly 5 times before each meal.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Saint November 30 : St. Andrew Apostle : Patron of Fishermen, Singers, Scotland, Russia

St. Andrew the Apostle
APOSTLE
Feast: November 30


Information:
Feast Day:November 30
Born:
early 1st Century, Bethsaida
Died:mid-late 1st Century, Patras
Major Shrine:Church of St. Andreas at Patras
Patron of:Scotland, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Romania, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Army Rangers, mariners, fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, singers and performers

St Andrew was a native of Bethsaida, a town in Galilee, upon the banks of the lake of Genesareth. He was the son of Jonas, or John, a fisherman of that town, and brother to Simon Peter, but whether elder or younger the Holy Scriptures have not acquainted us. They had afterwards a house at Capharnaum, where Jesus lodged when he preached in that city. It is no small proof of the piety and good inclinations of St. Andrew, that when St. John Baptist began to preach penance in the desert, he was not content with going to hear him as others did, but became his disciple, passed much of his time in hearing his instructions, and studied punctually to practice all his lessons and copy his example; but he often returned home to his fishing trade. He was with his master when St. John Baptist, seeing Jesus pass by the day after he had been baptized by him, said, "Behold the Lamb of God." Andrew, by the ardour and purity of his desires and his fidelity in every religious practice, deserved to be so far enlightened as to comprehend this mysterious saying, and without delay he and another disciple of the Baptist went after Jesus, who drew them secretly by the invisible bands of his grace, and saw them with the eyes of his spirit before he beheld them with his corporal eyes. Turning back as he walked and seeing them follow him, he said, "What seek ye?" They said they desired to know where he dwelt; and he bade them come and see. There remained but two hours of that day, which they spent with him, and, according to several fathers, the whole night following. "O how happy a day, how happy a night did they pass I " cries out St. Austin. "Who will tell us what things they then learned from the mouth of their Saviour!"
Andrew, who loved affectionately his brother Simon, called afterwards Peter, could not rest till he had imparted to him the infinite treasure which he had discovered, and brought him to Christ that he might also know him. Simon was no sooner come to Jesus than the Saviour of the world admitted him as a disciple and gave him the name of Peter. The brothers tarried one day with him to hear his divine doctrine, and the next day returned home again. From this time they became Jesus’ disciples, not constantly attending upon him, as they afterwards did, but hearing him frequently, as their business would permit, and returning to their trade and family affairs again. Jesus, in order to prove the truth of his divine doctrine by his works, wrought his first miracle at the marriage at Cana in Galilee, and was pleased that these two brothers should be present at it with his holy mother. Jesus, going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, stayed some days in Judea, and baptized in the Jordan. Peter and Andrew also baptized by his authority and in his name. Our Saviour being come back into Lower Galilee in autumn, and meeting one day Peter and Andrew fishing in the lake, before the end of the same year, he called them to a constant attendance upon the ministry of the gospel, saying that he would make them fishers of men. Whereupon they immediately left their nets to follow him, and never went from him again. The year following, the Son of God formed the college of his apostles, in which our two brothers are named by the evangelists at the head of the rest. Not long after Jesus went down to Capharnaum and lodged at the house of Peter and Andrew and, at the request of them both, cured Peter's wife's mother of a fever, by taking her by the hand and rebuking the fever, by which it left her When Christ would not send away the multitude of five thousand persons who had followed him into the desert till they were refreshed with some food, St. Philip said two hundred pennyworth of bread would not suffice. But Andrew seemed to express a stronger faith, saying there was a boy who had five barley loaves and two small fishes—which, indeed, were nothing among so many—but Christ could, if he pleased to exert his power, seeing he was greater than Eliseus who, with twenty loaves, fed a hundred men. When Christ was at Bethania, at the house of Lazarus, a little before his Sacred Passion, certain Greeks who came to worship God at the festival, addressed themselves to Philip, begging him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip did not undertake to do it alone; but spoke to St. Andrew, and they both together spoke to their divine master and procured these strangers that happiness. This shows the great credit St. Andrew had with Christ; on which account St. Bede calls him the Introductor to Christ, and says he had this honour because he brought St. Peter to him. Christ having foretold the destruction of the temple, Peter, John, James, and Andrew asked him privately when that should come to pass, that they might forewarn their brethren to escape the danger.
After Christ's resurrection and the descent of the Holy Ghost, St. Andrew preached the gospel in Scythia, as Origen testifies. Sophronius, who wrote soon after St. Jerome and translated his catalogue of illustrious men and some other works into Greek, adds Sogdiana and Colchis. Theodoret tells us that he passed into Greece; St. Gregory Nazianzen mentions particularly Epirus and St. Jerom Achaia. St. Paulinus says this divine fisherman, preaching at Argos, put all the philosophers there to silence. St. Philastrius tells us, that he came out of Pontus into Greece, and that in his time people at Sinope were persuaded that they had his true picture, and the pulpit in which he had preached in that city. The Muscovites have long gloried that St. Andrew carried the gospel into their country as far as the mouth of the Borysthenes, and to the mountains where the city of Kiou now stands, and to the frontiers of Poland. If the ancients mean European Scythia, when they speak of the theatre of his labours, this authority is favourable to the pretensions of the Muscovites. The Greeks understand it of Scythia, beyond Sebastopolis in Colchis, and perhaps also of the European; for they say he planted the faith in Thrace, and particularly at Byzantium, afterwards called Constantinople. But of this we meet with no traces in antiquity. Several Calendars commemorate the feast of the chair of St. Andrew at Patrae, in Achaia It is agreed that he laid down his life there for Christ. St. Paulinus says, that having taken many people in the nets of Christ he confirmed the faith which he had preached by his blood at Patrae. St. Sophronius, St. Gaudentius, and St. Austin assure us that he was crucified; St. Peter Chrysologus says, on a tree; Pseudo-Hippolytus adds, on an olive-tree. In the hymn of Pope Damasus it is barely mentioned that he was crucified. When the apostle saw his cross at a distance, he is said to have cried out, "Hail, precious cross, that hast been consecrated by the body of my Lord, and adorned with his limbs as with rich jewels. I come to thee exulting and glad: receive me with joy into thy arms. O good cross, that hast received beauty from our Lord's limbs; I have ardently loved thee; long have I desired and sought thee: now thou art found by me, and art made ready for my longing soul; receive me into thy arms, taking me from among men, and present me to my master; that he who redeemed me on thee, may receive me by thee." The body of St. Andrew was translated from Patrae to Constantinople in 357, together with those of St. Luke and St. Timothy, and deposited in the Church of the Apostles, which Constantine the Great had built a little before. St. Paulinus and St. Jerome mention miracles wrought on that occasion. The churches of Milan, Nola, Brescia, and some other places, were at the same time enriched with small portions of these relics, as we are informed by St. Ambrose, St. Gaudentius, St. Paulinus, &c.
It is the common opinion that the cross of St. Andrew was in the form of the letter X, styled a cross decussate, composed of two pieces of timber crossing each other obliquely in the middle. That such crosses were sometimes used is certain; yet no clear proofs are produced as to the form of St. Andrew's cross. It is mentioned in the records of the duchy of Burgundy, that the cross of St. Andrew was brought out of Achaia and placed in the nunnery of Weaune, near Marseilles. It was thence removed into the abbey of St. Victor, in Marseilles, before the year 1250, and is still shown there. A part thereof, enclosed in a silver case gilt, was carried to Brussels by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and Brabant, who, in honour of it, instituted the Knights of the Golden Fleece, who for the badge of their Order, wear a figure of this cross, called St. Andrew's cross, or the cross of Burgundy. The Scots honour St. Andrew as principal patron of their country, and their historians tell us that a certain abbot, called Regulus, brought thither from Patrae in 369, or rather from Constantinople some years later, certain relics of this apostle, which he deposited in a church which he built in his honour with a monastery called Abernethy, where now the city of St. Andrews stands. Usher proves that many pilgrims resorted to this church from foreign countries, and that the Scottish monks of that place were the first who were called Culdees. Hungus, King of the Picts, soon after the year 800, in thanksgiving for a great victory which he had gained over the Northumbrians, gave to this church the tenth part of all the land of his dominions. Kenneth II, King of the Scots, having overcome the Picts, and entirely extinguished their kingdom in North Britain, in 845, repaired and richly endowed the Church of St. Regulus, or Rueil, in which the arm of St. Andrew was reverently kept. The Muscovites say he preached the faith among them, and honour him as the principal titular saint of their empire. Peter the Great instituted under his name the first and most noble order of knighthood, or of the blue ribbon; leaving the project of a second Order of St. Alexander Newski, or of the red ribbon, to be carried into execution by his widow. SOURCE


RIP Fr. T.J. Martinez - Beloved Priest - Founder of School for Poor - Dies of Cancer - Age 44

By CHRISTINA R. GARZA Staff Writer The Rev. T.J. Martinez died quietly Friday morning surrounded by his family at the Houston Hospice House in Houston. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in March. The 44-year-old Brownsville native was the eldest son of Mayor Tony Martinez and Carol Berryman. Tony Martinez described his son as an energetic man devoted to God, which might be an understatement when reviewing the accomplishments he reached in his short life. According to a news release from the Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston, which Father Martinez founded, he entered the Jesuit seminary after receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science with honors from Boston College.
During his training for the priesthood he earned five graduate degrees, including a law degree from the University of Texas and a school leadership degree from Harvard University. Martinez was ordained in 2007. He founded the school in 2009 to provide a free Catholic education to underprivileged youth. According to the news release, the institution has grown from a student population of 80 to nearly 500. Mayor Martinez said students attend school four days out of the week and work the fifth day, ensuring that all students have a job.
At this time the school has graduated two classes of seniors, all whom have been accepted to college. Although Martinez ‘s death is difficult for his family members, his father said their faith is unwavering. “It’s a tough day for all of us who knew him, but from a spiritual standpoint this is what we all believe in the Catholic faith so there is a certain feeling of joy that he is with his father God,” Martinez said. Childhood friends Maryella de la Garza de Gomez and Maria Hinojosa have organized a weekly rosary every Wednesday since they heard the news of Father Martinez’s illness. Hinojosa said they last saw him at the annual Red Mass at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville , where a Mass was held in his honor. Hinojosa explained that it was difficult to accept that his health was deteriorating. “After we spoke to him we realized that he knew it was God’s will and he was at peace with that,” Hinojosa said. De la Garza said they would recite another rosary in his honor next Wednesday.
“I feel we need to have one more for closure for all of us; we will meet at Lola’s at 6 p.m. on Wednesday,” she said. The rosary will be open to the public. Tony Martinez said services for his son are as follows: Visitation will be at Cristo Rey from 5-8 p.m. Monday, with a rosary scheduled at 8 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday in Houston and a memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Mary Mother of the Church Parish in Brownsville. Father Martinez will be buried in Gran Coteau , La. Friend Jude Benavides said he attended Martinez ‘s ordination ceremony Louisiana and took his final vows. Benavides said few words could do Martinez justice and he would leave a lasting impact. “The students at Cristo Rey were like his children they’re going to grow up to accomplish amazing things thanks partly to him,” Benavides said. “We have lost a great man but he would want all of us to continue to move forward with courage and a strong faith in God.”
Shared from The Valley Morning Star - Image Source Google 

Pope Francis "The Holy Spirit brings unity to the Church..." Full Text Homily and Mass Video in Turkey

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Saturday at Istanbul’s Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and in his homily reflected on the need for Christians to be guided by the Holy Spirit who is able to kindle diversity, multiplicity and, at the same time, bring about unity.  He warned that the temptation is always within us to resist the Holy Spirit because he takes us out of our comfort zone and unsettles us.  We must throw off our defensiveness, the Pope said, not remain entrenched within our ideas and unchanging ways and allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. Please see below an English translation of the full text of Pope Francis’ homily:
 Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis - Holy Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit - Istanbul, 29 November 2014
 In the Gospel, Jesus shows himself to be the font from which those who thirst for salvation draw upon, as the Rock from whom the Father brings forth living waters for all who believe in him (cf. Jn 7:38).  In openly proclaiming this prophecy in Jerusalem, Jesus heralds the gift of the Holy Spirit whom the disciples will receive after his glorification, that is, after his death and resurrection (cf. v. 39).

                 The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church.  He gives life, he brings forth different charisms which enrich the people of God and, above all, he creates unity among believers: from the many he makes one body, the Body of Christ.  The Church’s whole life and mission depend on the Holy Spirit; he fulfils all things.
                 The profession of faith itself, as Saint Paul reminds us in today’s first reading, is only possible because it is prompted by the Holy Spirit: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3b).  When we pray, it is because the Holy Spirit inspires prayer in our heart.  When we break the cycle of our self-centredness, and move beyond ourselves and go out to encounter others, to listen to them and help them, it is the Spirit of God who impels us to do so.  When we find within a hitherto unknown ability to forgive, to love someone who doesn’t love us in return, it is the Spirit who has taken hold of us.  When we move beyond mere self-serving words and turn to our brothers and sisters with that tenderness which warms the heart, we have indeed been touched by the Holy Spirit.
               It is true that the Holy Spirit brings forth different charisms in the Church, which at first glance, may seem to create disorder.  Under his guidance, however, they constitute an immense richness, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which is not the same thing as uniformity.  Only the Holy Spirit is able to kindle diversity, multiplicity and, at the same time, bring about unity.  When we try to create diversity, but are closed within our own particular and exclusive ways of seeing things, we create division.  When we try to create unity through our own human designs, we end up with uniformity and homogenization.  If we let ourselves be led by the Spirit, however, richness, variety and diversity will never create conflict, because the Spirit spurs us to experience variety in the communion of the Church.
 The diversity of members and charisms is harmonized in the Spirit of Christ, whom the Father sent and whom he continues to send, in order to achieve unity among believers.  The Holy Spirit brings unity to the Church: unity in faith, unity in love, unity in interior life.  The Church and other Churches and ecclesial communities are called to let themselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, and to remain always open, docile and obedient.
                 Ours is a hopeful perspective, but one which is also demanding.  The temptation is always within us to resist the Holy Spirit, because he takes us out of our comfort zone and unsettles us; he makes us get up and drives the Church forward.  It is always easier and more comfortable to settle in our sedentary and unchanging ways.  In truth, the Church shows her fidelity to the Holy Spirit in as much as she does not try to control or tame him.  We Christians become true missionary disciples, able to challenge consciences, when we throw off our defensiveness and allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit.  He is freshness, imagination and newness. 
                 Our defensiveness is evident when we are entrenched within our ideas and our own strengths – in which case we slip into Pelagianism – or when we are ambitious or vain.  These defensive mechanisms prevent us from truly understanding other people and from opening ourselves to a sincere dialogue with them.  But the Church, flowing from Pentecost, is given the fire of the Holy Spirit, which does not so much fill the mind with ideas, but enflames the heart; she is moved by the breath of the Spirit which does not transmit a power, but rather an ability to serve in love, a language which everyone is able to understand.
                 In our journey of faith and fraternal living, the more we allow ourselves to be humbly guided by the Spirit of the Lord, the more we will overcome misunderstandings, divisions, and disagreements and be a credible sign of unity and peace. 
                With this joyful conviction, I embrace all of you, dear brothers and sisters: the Syro-Catholic Patriarch, the President of the Bishops’ Conference, the Apostolic Vicar Monsignor Pelȃtre, the Bishops and Eparchs, the priests and deacons, religious, lay faithful, and believers from other communities and various rites of the Catholic Church.  I wish to greet with fraternal affection the Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Bartholomew I, the Syro-Orthodox Metropolitan and the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchal Vicar, as well as the representatives of the Protestant communities, who have joined us in prayer for this celebration.  I extend to them my gratitude for this fraternal gesture.  I wish also to express my affection to the Armenian Patriarch, His Beatitude Mesrob II, assuring him of my prayers.
                 Brothers and sisters, let us turn our thoughts to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.  With her, who prayed with the Apostles in the Upper Room as they awaited Pentecost, let us pray to the Lord asking him to send his Holy Spirit into our hearts and to make us witnesses of his Gospel in all the world.  Amen! Shared from Radio Vaticana

What is Advent - Prepare for the Coming of Jesus - Free Resources - SHARE


Latin ad-venio, to come to.
Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (30 November) and embracing four Sundays. The first Sunday may be as early as 27 November, and then Advent has twenty-eight days, or as late as 3 December, giving the season only twenty-one days.With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches. During this time the faithful are admonished
  • to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
  • thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
  • thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.
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Duration and ritual

In the Massthe Gloria in excelsis is not said. The Alleluia, however, is retained. During this time the solemnization of matrimony Benediction) cannot take place; which prohibition binds to the feast of Epiphany inclusively. The celebrant and sacred ministers use violet vestments.   An exception is made for the third Sunday (Gaudete Sunday), on which the vestments may be rose-coloured.   Flowers and relics of Saints are not to be placed on the altars during the Office and Masses of this time, except on the third Sunday. 

Historical origin
The preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord was not held before the feast itself existed, and of this we find no evidence before the end of the fourth century, when, according to Duchesne [Christian Worship (London, 1904), 260], it was celebrated throughout the whole Church,    Several synods had made laws about fasting to be observed during this time,. 

Advent

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Beginning the Church's liturgical year, Advent (from, "ad-venire" in Latin or "to come to") is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas.
The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas).
Advent devotions including the Advent wreath, remind us of the meaning of the season. Our Advent calendar above can help you fully enter in to the season with daily activity and prayer suggestions to prepare you spiritually for the birth of Jesus Christ.  More Advent resources are listed below.
Advent Resources
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