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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Catholic News World : Tuesday December 16, 2014 - Share!

2014

What are the O Antiphons of Advent - Beautiful Video and Secret Meaning - SHARE

THE "O ANTIPHONS" are known from the Roman Breviary as the Antiphonæ majores, "greater antiphons". They come from Old Testament bible passages of Isaiah.
The seven  verses are sung or recited before the Magnificat prayer in the ferial Office of the seven days preceeding the vigil of Christmas; so called because all begin with the interjection "O". Boethius (c. 480-524) made  reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time.
The opening words are:
Dec. 17 - O Sapientia (Wisdom)
Dec. 18 - O Adonai (Lord)
Dec. 19 - O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
Dec. 20 - O Clavis David (Key of David)
Dec. 21 - O Oriens (Dayspring)
Dec. 22 - O Rex Gentium (King of the nations)
Dec. 23 - O Emmanuel (God is with us)
A paraphrase of some of these is found in the hymn. "Veni, veni, Emmanuel" .
If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix,Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” These antiphons are prayers that can help us prepare for the coming of Jesus in Advent.
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O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,

fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: 

veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.


O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

18


O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:


O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm
19
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, stand as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us,
and delay no longer

20
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
21

O Oriens splendor lucis aeternae,
veni, et illumina sedentes
in tenebris, et umbra mortis
 
 
O Dayspring, Splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
22

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
 
 
O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay
 
23
 
 
O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster
O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
the Desire of all nations, and their Salvation:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Compiled from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Breaking News Taliban Kills 141 mainly Children at school in Pakistan Please Pray

Asia News IT share: Card Gracias describes Peshawar school attack as a horrible tragedy that unites us all
by Jibran Khan
A TTP commando attacked a military-run school this morning, killing at least 120 people, including 84 students. The attack is a "revenge" for the army's operations in the north of the country. The cardinal Indian pledges "prayers" for peace. Pakistani Christian and Muslim religious leaders condemn the attack as "barbaric".


Peshawar (AsiaNews) - "My soul is overwhelmed by deep sorrow and great distress for the horrible massacre of innocent children in the school in Peshawar. The loss of young and precious lives in neighbouring Pakistan is a source of grief and mourning also for my country, India," said Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai.
The prelate, who is also president of the Federation of Asian Bishops (FABC), spoke to AsiaNews after an armed Taliban commando affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) this morning stormed a military-run school in Peshawar, catering to students aged 7 to 14.
Preliminary reports put the death toll at least 120 people, including 84 students. Scores of people are injured, and the final tally is constantly being updated since the attack is still underway. Islamic terrorists still hold some students out of the 500 who attend the school.
This is a "tragedy that unites us all," the Indian prelate told AsiaNews, because "their loss is our loss." In view of this spiral "of senseless violence, the Church of India extends its condolences to those who suffer and pledges its prayers for the relatives and families of the victims."
"Tomorrow, being the Christmas Novena, we the Catholic Church in India, especially our school children, will dedicate ourselves more fervently to prayer and to acts of peace as we pray to the Prince of Peace who alone can bring true peace to the world."
The school under attack is on Warsak Road, not far from an Army Housing Colony and a medical school, in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in northern Pakistan, not far from the Afghan border.
Wearing uniforms used by the school' security staff, a six-men commando had orders to shoot to kill as many people as possible. Taliban sources say the attack was "revenge" for operations launched by Pakistan's military against their forces in North Waziristan and Khyber agency.
"We were in the class," said a student, Shiraz Khan. "We heard firing and explosions, our teacher told us to get on the floor, stay under the chair and the tables. As someone moved, they were shot. There was blood all around."
According to police sources, one of the bombers blew himself up once inside the building. Security forces also jammed signal frequencies to stop the attackers from communicating with the outside. Pakistani Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif ordered the evacuation of students and school staff.
Meanwhile, voices of condemnation against the brutal attack come from various directions.
For Maulana Tariq Jameel, from the Ehl and Sunat Islamic movement, the attack against "innocent people" was "barbaric" and "must be condemned in no uncertain terms."
Fr Arshad John, from the Diocese of Peshawar, agrees. "We stand with the Pakistani army and the students," he said. "Our prayers are also for the success of evacuation operations, that they may end in success."
In the recent past, Peshawar saw a number of bloody attacks against mosques and churches.
Many still remember the massacre on 22 September 2013 in the city's All Saints Anglican Church, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up near the building, killing more than 140 people with 161 wounded.
Likewise, last January a bomb hit a mosque during a prayer service for peace and religious coexistence, with dozens of dead and wounded.
With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia.
About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent).
Since Taliban violence began in 2007, about 6,800 people have died in various attacks, including bombings and targeted killings.

(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article) Asia News IT Share ( Image source Google)

Pope Francis 'there is still one thing you have not given me’ Homily


Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
16/12/2014 01:

(Vatican Radio) God saves "a repentant heart," while he who does not trust in Him draws "condemnation" upon himself. This message was at the heart of Pope Francis’s homily during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
Humility saves man in God’s eyes, while pride is a loser. The key lies in the heart. The heart of a humble person is open, it knows repentance, it accepts correction and trusts in God. The heart of the proud person is the exact opposite: it is arrogant, closed, knows no shame, it is impervious to God's voice. The reading from the Book of the prophet Zephaniah and from the Gospel of the day guide Pope Francis in a parallel reflection. Both texts, he notes, speak of a "judgment" upon which salvation and condemnation depend.
HUMILITY, THE ONLY PATH
The situation described by the prophet Zephaniah is that of a rebellious city in which, however, there is a group of people who repent of their sins: this group, the Pope said, is the "people of God" possesses the "three characteristics" of "humility, poverty, and trust in the Lord." But in the city there are also those, Francis says, who "do not accept correction, they do not trust in the Lord." They will be condemned:
"These people cannot receive Salvation. They are closed to Salvation. ‘I will leave within you
the meek and humble; they will trust in the name of the Lord’ throughout their lives. And that is still valid today, isn’t it? When we look at the holy people of God that is humble, that has its riches in its faith in the Lord, in its trust in the Lord - the humble, poor people that trust in the Lord: these are the ones who are saved and this is the way of the Church, isn’t it? This is the path I must follow, not the path in which I do not listen to His voice, do not accept correction and do not trust in the Lord. "
SINCERELY REPENNTANT, NOT HYPOCRITES
The scene of the Gospel tells of the contrast between two sons invited by their father to work in the vineyard. The first refuses, but then repents and goes to work in the vineyard; the second says yes to the father but actually deceives him. Jesus tells this story to the chief priests and the elders of the people stating clearly that it is they who have not wanted to listen to the voice of God through John and that is why the Kingdom of Heaven will be entered, not by them but by tax collectors and prostitutes who did believe John. And the scandal provoked by this statement, Pope Francis said, is identical to that of many Christians who feel "pure" just because they go to Mass and receive communion. But God, he says, needs much more:
"If your heart is not a repentant heart, if you do not listen to the Lord, if you don’t accept correction and you do not trust in Him, your heart is unrepentant. These hypocrites who were scandalized by what Jesus said about the tax collectors and the prostitutes, but then secretly approached them to vent their passion or to do business - but all in secrecy - were pure! The Lord does not want them. "
OFFER YOUR SINS
This judgment "gives us hope" - Pope Francis assured the faithful - provided, he concludes, that we have the courage to open our hearts to God without reserve, giving Him even the "list" of our sins. And in explanation of these words the Pope recalled the story of the Saint who thought he had given everything to the Lord, with extreme generosity:
"He listened to the Lord, he always followed His will, he gave to the Lord, and the Lord said to him: 'there is still one thing you have not given me’. And the poor man who was good said: 'But, Lord, what is it that I have not given you? I have given you my life, I work for the poor, I work for catechesis, I work here, I work there ... ‘ 'But there is something you have not  given me yet' .- 'What is it Lord? 'Your sins'. When we will be able to say to the Lord: 'Lord, these are my sins – they are not his or hers, they are mine… They are mine. Take them and I will be saved'- when we will be able to do this we will be that people, ‘that meek and humble people', that trusts in the Lord's name. May the Lord grant us this grace. " (Linda Bordoni)

Hostage takeover of Lindt Cafe in Australia Ends with 2 Hostages Killed - RIP

Asia News (Picture added) Siege of Lindt Café in Sydney ends in bloodshed
Two hostages and the gunman - an Iranian converted from Sunnism to Shiism - killed. According to the Prime Minister, he was "infatuated by extremism" and unstable from a mental point of view. Condemnation by the Council of Imams. Fears of attacks by young Australian sympathizers of al Qaeda or Isis that return home after fighting in the Middle East. 

(JCE added Photo above:
 Lawyer Katrina Dawson (left) and Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson died after being held by a gunman for more than 16 hours. (Supplied)


Sydney (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Martin Place Lindt Cafe in the heart of the city, has become a place of pilgrimage: people are bringing flower offerings in tribute to the two hostages who were killed during the storming of the Café by special Police Commandos that put an end to the siege during the night, after more than 16 hours. The gunman was also killed during the blitz.
Police have opened an investigation into the death of Tori Johnson, 34, manager of the café, and Katrina Dawson, 38, probably a customer who happened to be in the café at the time of the siege. It is also investigating the reasons that led to the attack.
The gunman was Man Haron Monis (see photo), an Iranian refugee with a past of extremist activism, was on bail facing a number of criminal charges. Monis, 50, called himself a mullah, a Shiite Muslim who had converted to Sunnism. He had been convicted of sending letters of insults to the families of Australian soldiers who had fought in Afghanistan.
He was known to the police for being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, and he had been convicted of 40 charges of violence, including sexual violence.
According to Prime Minister Tony Abbot, Monis had "an infatuation with extremism" and was unstable from a mental point of view. He had "sought to cloak his actions with the symbol of the Isis death cult." In fact it had been a specific request by Monis to exhibit an Islamic state flag on the windows of the café.
The National Council of Imams in Australia has "unequivocally condemned Monis's criminal gesture".

Australia, an ally of the US in the fight against the Islamic state in Syria and Iraq, is on alert for possible attacks by young Australian militants who, after fighting for al Qaeda or for Isis in Syria and Iraq, return to the country. Shared from Asia News

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pope Francis " ‘But Lord, throw a banana peel in front of them, so that they will take a good fall and feel shame that they are sinners..."


Pope Francis preaches during daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
15/12/2014 12:10



(Vatican Radio) The day’s Gospel reading, which relates how the chief priests asked Jesus by what authority He did His works, was the focus of the Pope’s homily on Monday. It is a demand, the Pope explained, that demonstrates the “hypocritical heart” of those people – people who were not interested in the truth, who sought only their own interests, and went where the wind blew: you should go this way, you should go that way…” They were weathervanes, all of them! All of them! Without consistency. A heart without consistency. And so they negotiated everything: they negotiated interior freedom, they negotiated the faith, they negotiated their county, everything except appearances.” To such people, getting the best out of every situation was the important thing. They were opportunists: “They profited from the situations.”
“And yet,” the Pope continued, “some of you might ask me: ‘But Father, these people were observers of the law: on Saturday they didn’t travel more than a hundred metres – or however many they were able to go – they never, never sat down to eat without washing their hands and making their ablutions; they were a very observant people, very secure in their habits.’ Yes, it’s true – but only in appearance. They were strong, but on the outside. They were in a cast. The heart was very week, they didn’t know what they believed. And because of this their life, the outer part of their life, was completely regulated, but the heart was otherwise: a weak heart, and a skin that was plastered over, strong, harsh. Jesus, on the other hand, teaches us that the Christian should have a strong heart, a firm heart, a heart built on the rock, that is Christ; and then, in the way it goes out, it goes out with prudence: ‘In this case, I do this, but…’ It is the way of going out, but the heart is not negotiable, the rock is not negotiable. The rock is Christ, it is not negotiable”:
“This is the drama of the hypocrisy of this people. And Jesus never negotiates His heart of the Son of the Father, but He was so open to the people, seeking paths to help them. ‘But this can’t be done; our discipline, our doctrine say this can’t be done!’ they say. ‘Why do your disciples eat grain in the fields, when they travel, on the day of the Sabbath? It can’t be done!’ They were so rigid in their discipline: ‘No, the discipline can’t be touched, it’s sacred.’”
Pope Francis recalled how “Pius XII freed us from the very heavy cross that was the Eucharistic fast”:
“But some of you might remember. You couldn’t even drink a drop of water. Not even that! And to brush your teeth, it had to be done in such a way that you didn’t swallow the water. But I myself as a young boy went to confession for having made the Communion, because I thought a drop of water had gone in. Is it true or no? It’s true. When Pius XII changed the discipline: ‘Ah, heresy! No! He touched the discipline of the Church.’ So many Pharisees were scandalized. So many. Because Pius XII had acted like Jesus: he saw the need of the people. ‘But the poor people, with such warmth.’ These priests who said three Masses, the last at one o’clock, after noon, fasting. The discipline of the Church. And these Pharisees [spoke about] ‘our discipline’ – rigid on the outside, but, as Jesus said of them, ‘rotting in the heart,’ weak, weak to the point of rottenness. Gloomy in the heart.”
“This is the drama of these people,” and Jesus denounces hypocrisy and opportunism:
“Even our life can become like that, even our life. And sometimes, I confess something to you, when I have seen a Christian, a Christian of that kind, with a weak heart, not firm, not fixed on the rock—Jesus – and with such rigidness on the outside, I ask the Lord: ‘But Lord, throw a banana peel in front of them, so that they will take a good fall, and feel shame that they are sinners, and so encounter You, [and realize] that You are the Saviour. Many times a sin will make us feel shame, and make us encounter the Lord, Who pardons us, as the sick who were there and went to the Lord for healing.”
“But the simple people,” the Pope said, “do not err,” despite the words of these doctors of the law, “because the people know, they have a certain ‘flair’ for the faith.”
The Pope concluded his homily with this prayer: “I ask the Lord for the grace that our hearts might be simple, luminous with the truth that He gives us, and thus we might be able to be lovable, forgiving, understanding of others, [to have] a large heart with the people, to be merciful. Never to condemn, never to condemn. If you have wanted to condemn, you condemn yourself, who has some reason, eh?” He continued, “Let us ask the Lord for the grace that He might give us this interior light, that convinces us that the rock is Him alone, and not so many stories we make as if they were important things; and that He might tell us – that He might tell us! – the path, that He might accompany us on the path, that He might enlarge our hearts, so that they can enter into the problems of so many people, and that He might give us the grace that these people did not have: the grace to feel that we are sinners.”

Latest News from Vatican Information Service and Pope Francis - Official Release

15-12-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 222 

Summary
- Audience with Dragan Covic: the importance of the Catholic contribution to the reconstruction of Bosnia Herzegovina
- To Catholic television workers: avoid the sins of the media
- Pope Francis visits the Roman parish of San Giuseppe all'Aurelio
- Angelus: rediscover the true joy of Jesus Christ
- The Pope gives a prayerbook to the faithful
- Audience with Matteo Renzi: common concern about persistent social and economic problems
- St. Lucy, patroness of the blind and visually-impaired, teaches us the secret of true happiness
- Francis gives thanks to the foundation of Notre Dame des Sans-Abri for its work with the homeless
- The Pope prays to the Virgin of Guadalupe that the future of Latin America be forged for the poor
- “I received my first ecumenical sermon from my grandmother, in front of you”, says the Pope to the Salvation Army
- Cardinal Turkson to travel to Sierra Leone and Liberia to bring the solidarity of the Church to two of the countries hardest hit by the Ebola virus
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Audience with Dragan Covic: the importance of the Catholic contribution to the reconstruction of Bosnia Herzegovina
Vatican City, 15 December 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received in audience Dragan Covic, Croatian member of the Collegial Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on the situation in the country, with particular reference to the contribution of Catholics to the edification of society and especially their commitment in the field of reconstruction following the devastation caused by floods last spring. Satisfaction was expressed regarding the good bilateral relations, and several issues were discussed in relation to the application of the 2006 Basic Agreement, which governs the relationships and collaboration between the Church and the State for the common good.
Finally, various themes relating to regional and international politics were considered.
To Catholic television workers: avoid the sins of the media
Vatican City, 15 December 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis met with the managers and workers of TV2000, an Italian Church television broadcasting company, with whom he wished to share “three thoughts on the role of the communicator”, recalling that “the Catholic media have a very difficult mission in relation to social communication: seeking to preserve it from all that distorts and twists it for other purposes. Often communication is subject to propaganda, ideologies, political ends, or for the control of the economy or technology. The first thing that is beneficial to communication is parrhesia, or rather the courage to speak directly, to speak frankly and freely. … If, instead, we are worried about tactical aspects, our words become artificial, and we communicate nothing. Freedom also means freedom from fashions, clichés, pre-packaged formulas. … We must reawaken words. But every word has a spark of fire and life within. Reawaken that spark, so that it comes out. So this is the first task of the communicator: to reawaken the word”.
Secondly, he emphasised the need to avoid “filling” and “closing”; the first takes the form of “saturating our perceptions with an excess of slogans that annul our thoughts instead of setting them into motion”, whereas the second is that of seeking short cuts instead of favouring longer and more complex routes of understanding, “choosing to present an individual as if he or she could solve all our problems, or on the contrary, as a scapegoat onto whom we can discharge all our responsibilities. [It is] jumping to conclusions immediately, instead of making the effort to represent the complexity of real life”.
Finally, Francis mentioned the third mission, “speaking to the whole person … avoiding the sins of the media: disinformation, slander and defamation”. Authentic communication, he stressed, “is not concerned with attention-grabbing. … It is necessary to speak to people as a whole: to their mind and their heart, so that they know how to see beyond the immediate, beyond a present that risks being forgetful and fearful of the future”. Of these three sins, “the most insidious is disinformation, as it leads to mistakes and to believing only a part of the truth”.
These three tasks bring to life “the culture of encounter, so necessary in an increasingly pluralistic context. Confrontation does not lead anywhere”, he concluded. “Creating a culture of encounter: it is an important job for you”.
Pope Francis visits the Roman parish of San Giuseppe all'Aurelio
Vatican City, 14 December 2014 (VIS) – This afternoon Pope Francis visited the Roman parish of San Giuseppe all'Aurelio, in the Primavalle suburb of the capital. Before celebrating the Eucharist, Francis met with various groups of people and spoke informally with them.
First, he met with some children who were preparing for their First Communion, and spoke about his own, which took place on 8 October 1944. “I remember it as if it were today. I prepared for a year with a very kind nun and two catechists. … In those times, its was not possible to drink a little water before Mass, nothing – not even a drop of water. It was Pope Pius XII who saved us from this dictatorship! … And we all arrived in the Church with our hands together, singing. … And later, in the afternoon, we returned to the Church for our Confirmation: the same day. And you, who will take your first Communion, will remember that day for ever, all your life: the first day Jesus came to you. He comes, He makes Himself one with us, he nourishes us to give us strength. … Do not forget the date, and every year, on that day, confess and take communion, will you?”
He then spoke to the Rom families in the parish, wishing them peace within their families and adding, “May there be work, and may there be joy. The joy of Jesus, the peace of Jesus, and so on. Do not lose hope in difficult moments, as hope never disappoints: the Lord gives it to us. And the Lord, sooner or later, He always awaits us, always”.
The Holy Father then met with the sick, and began by thanking them for their witness of patience, of love for God and of hope in the Lord. “This does great good to the Church”, he affirmed. “You continually nurture the Church with your life, with your suffering, with your patience. Thank you, truly. The Church, without the sick, would not carry on. You are the strength of the Church, her true strength”.
Finally, he encountered newly baptised children with their parents. “A child always offers a word of hope simply by being. … A child is a seed of the future. …. And you, parents, will say to God, protect my child in the future. Our hopes reside in our children. We hand them the torch of faith and life, and they will pass it on to their children, our grandchildren. This is life. And in Baptism, you have given them faith, and thus faith from Jesus' time up to the present day is like a chain, transmitted by parents. And this is a real responsibility! Never forget the day of your Baptism”.
Finally, after revealing that he was baptised on 25 December, just eight days after his birth, as was the custom at the time, Francis asked all those present to pray for him, and added, “babies and children cry, they make noise, they run about … and it bothers me greatly when a child cries in church and people expect him or her to leave. No! It is the best sermon. The cry of a child is the voice of God. Never, ever send them out of the church!”
Following his meetings with the parishioners, Pope Francis confessed several people and then celebrated Mass. In his homily, he mentioned that “the Church this Sunday anticipates the joy of the Nativity, and it is therefore called 'Gaudete Sunday', joyful Sunday”. The joy of the Nativity, he said, is a special joy the the Christian experiences not only on that day, but throughout all his or her life. “It is a serene, calm joy, a joy that always accompanies a Christian. Even in difficult moments, this joy is transformed into peace. The true Christian never loses this peace, even during suffering. This peace is a gift from the Lord”.
Francis emphasised that we encounter Christian joy in prayer and in giving thanks to God, and he spoke about all those people who do not know how to thank God and who are always looking for something to complain about. “A Christian cannot live like this, always complaining. … No saint has ever had a sad face. The saints always had joyful faces. Or at least, in moments of suffering, their faces showed peace”. In this way, the Pontiff explained that in order to obtain this Christian joy, which is not the joy of consumerism on 24 December, first one must pray and give thanks – but then there exists a further dimension, which is bringing the glad tidings to others. “Go to others, those who are in need, both materially and spiritually. They are many people who suffer and are distraught as a result of family problems. Bring them peace, the anointing of Jesus, the oil of Jesus which does so much good and consoles the soul”.
Angelus: rediscover the true joy of Jesus Christ
Vatican City, 14 December 2014 (VIS) – Today, the third Sunday of Advent, known as the “Sunday of Joy” (Gaudete), Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, including many children who had brought their figurines of the baby Jesus from their Nativity displays, to be blessed by the Holy Father.
Francis remarked that the time of Advent, which began two weeks ago, invites us to spiritual vigilance to prepare the way for the Lord who is on his way. “On this third Sunday the liturgy proposes to us another inner attitude with which to await the Lord: joy. Man's heart desires joy. We all wish for joy, every family, every population aspires to happiness. But what is the joy that the Christian is required to live and to bear witness to? It is that which comes from closeness to God, from His presence in our life. Ever since Jesus entered into history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity has received the germ of the Kingdom of God, like the terrain that receives the seed, the promise of a future harvest. There is no need to search elsewhere! Jesus has come to bring joy to all for ever. It is not merely a hoped-for joy, or a joy postponed to paradise: here on earth we are sad but in paradise we will be joyful. No! It is not this, but rather it is a joy that is already real and that can be experienced now, because Jesus Himself is our joy, and with Jesus our home is joyful”.
“We baptised sons and daughters of the Church, all of us, are called upon to always welcome newly the presence of God among us and to help others to discover this presence, or to rediscover it if they have forgotten. It is a beautiful mission, similar to that of John the Baptist: guiding people towards Jesus – not to ourselves! – because it is towards Him that the human heart tends when it seeks joy and happiness”.
“St. Paul, in today's liturgy, indicates the conditions for being missionaries of joy: pray diligently, always give thanks to God, follow His Spirit, seek that which is good and avoid evil”, continued the Pope. “If this is our way of life, then the Good News will be able to enter into many homes and to help people and families rediscover that in Jesus, there is salvation. In Him it is possible to find inner peace and the strength to face each day the different situations of life, even the most onerous and difficult. We never hear about a sad saint or a saint with a gloomy appearance. It would be contradictory. A Christian is a person whose heart is filled with peace because he or she knows to place joy in the Lord even when experiencing difficult moments in life. To have faith does not mean not having difficult moments, but rather having the strength to face them knowing that we are not alone. And this is the peace God gives to His sons and daughters”.
The Pope gives a prayerbook to the faithful
Vatican City, 14 December 2014 (VIS) – After today's Angelus prayer, Pope Francis greeted all those present in St. Peter's Square – families, parish groups, associations and, in particular, faithful from Poland where today the Christmas candle is lit, and commitment to solidarity is reaffirmed, especially in the current Polish “Year of Caritas”.
He then addressed the children who had brought him the figures from their Nativity displays to be blessed, thanking them for their presence and for the joy they brought to the square, where a sign was held that read “With Jesus, there is joy in our home”. The Pope wished them a happy Christmas and asked them to pray for him in front of their Nativity display at home, as he does for them.
“Prayer is the breath of the soul: it is important to find moments during the day to open our heart to God, even with the simple and short prayers of the Christian people. Therefore, I thought of giving a gift to all of you here in the square – a surprise, a gift: I will give you a little pocket-sized book that gathers together a few prayers, for various moments in the day and different situations in life. Some volunteers will distribute to them to you. Take one each and keep it with you always, as a help to live the whole day with God, and so we do not forget that beautiful message you have brought here on your banner: 'With Jesus, there is joy in our home'. Once again: 'With Jesus, there is joy in our home'”.
The book offered by the Pope contains Psalms, the Magnificat, invocations of Mary, the Gloria, the prayer to the Angel of the Guard, prayers to recite during the day and blessings for the table, in confession and for specific intentions. It is published in Italian by the Vatican Publishing House.
Audience with Matteo Renzi: common concern about persistent social and economic problems
Vatican City, 13 December 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received Matteo Renzi, prime minister of the Italian Republic, on an official visit. Following the papal audience, Renzi met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.
The discussions took place in a serene and cordial atmosphere. Attention focused on, among other issues, the current context of persistent difficulties of an economic and social nature, with negative consequences especially in relation to youth employment. In addition, the importance of education to promote the future of new generations was emphasised.
Various themes relating to international politics were then considered, and the Parties shared their serious concerns for the gradual worsening of conflicts in the Middle East.
With regard to the term of the Italian Presidency of the European Union, the Parties affirmed the importance of the themes mentioned by the Holy Father during his recent address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. These were held to be fundamental to the harmonious development of European peoples.
Finally, the Parties renewed their commitment to continuing their joint cooperation to resolve various issues of a bilateral nature.
St. Lucy, patroness of the blind and visually-impaired, teaches us the secret of true happiness
Vatican City, 15 December 2014 (VIS) – “Your association is non-confessional; however you have proposed to meet on this specific day, confirming that the tradition retains a certain significance for you”, said the Pope as he received in audience the members of the National Council of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually-Impaired, on the feast day of St. Lucy. Francis spoke about the human values the saint suggests, the first of which was courage. “We all need courage in order to face the challenges of life. … In particular, the blind and visually-impaired need courage in order not to close themselves up, not to assume a victim mentality, but rather to open themselves to reality, to others, to society; to learn how to recognise and make good use of the capabilities the Lord has given to each person, without exception”.
Another value suggested by St. Lucy, he continued, is “the fact that she was not alone, but rather was part of a community, a member of a body of which Christ was the head, a stone in the edifice of which Christ was the foundation. … An association is not the sum of the individuals that constitute it – it is much more. … To form a group, to be united, to meet up with one another, to share experiences and pool resources … all this is part of the civil patrimony of a group. And often people who live with disadvantages or disabilities can show everyone, with their experience, that we are not 'monads', we are not made to be isolated, but rather to relate to one another, to complete each other, to help, accompany and support each other”.
“Finally, St. Lucy tells us the life is made to be given away. She lived this in the extreme form of martyrdom, but the value of giving oneself is universal: it is the secret to true happiness. Humanity cannot be fully realised in having or even in doing; it is realised in loving, that is, the giving of oneself. And this may be understood as the secret of the name 'Lucy': a person is luminous to the extent that he or she is a gift for others. And every person, in reality, is a precious gift”. The Pope concluded by remarking that even today living according to these values can mean encountering incomprehension and the struggle of at times going against the grain, and that it is necessary to fight, with the example and intercession of St. Lucy. He encouraged those present to confront this challenge with courage and with the joy of doing so together.
Francis gives thanks to the foundation of Notre Dame des Sans-Abri for its work with the homeless
Vatican City, 13 December 2014 (VIS) – “Notre Dame des Sans-Abri (Our Lady of the Homeless)! What a beautiful name! The mother of Jesus, who gives shelter to her sons”, said Pope Francis this morning as he received in audience the Foyer de Notre Dame des Sans-Abri, the association founded in Lyon in 1952 by Gabriel Rosset to assist the thousands of homeless men, women and children who lived under bridges, or in unsanitary and overcrowded huts.
“I would like you to know how much I appreciate your commitment to the poorest, to those who society turns away, those who have no roof over their heads or food to eat, those who are without work and therefore without dignity. Your founder listened to the cry of the poor; he was moved by the suffering of others, and responded generously. This call is none other than the call of the suffering Christ Himself; in the people you serve, you touch their wounds and cure them; and at the same time, they offer you profound teaching, since through them you encounter Jesus. The poor always evangelise us, they communicate God's wisdom to us, mysteriously. Today's world urgently needs this witness of divine mercy. At a time in which the human being is frequently rejected as useless when no longer productive, God, on the other hand, always acknowledges the dignity and nobility of his beloved son and daughter, who has a privileged position in His heart. The poor are the Lord's most favoured, and are at the centre of the Gospel”.
“I thank you for this witness of mercy that you offer with many concrete actions, simple and warm gestures through which you alleviate the misery people suffer, giving them new hope and restoring their dignity to them. There is no better way to announce to today's world the joy of the Gospel. The option for the last among us, for those society rejects and casts aside, is a sign that we can always give, a sign that effectively bears witness to Christ, Who died and rose again”.
Finally, Pope Francs invited the members of the foundation to remain faithful to their name, recalling the Marian dimension of their work. “Mary's heart is full of compassion for all people, especially for the poorest and most disadvantaged, those who are most in need; and it is her maternal tenderness – along with that of the Church – that is made manifest through you”.
The Pope prays to the Virgin of Guadalupe that the future of Latin America be forged for the poor
Vatican City, 13 December 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, on the liturgical solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, patroness of Latin America, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica. The celebration was accompanied by hymns from the “Misa Criolla”, by the Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez. Extensive extracts from the homily pronounced by the Pontiff are published below:
“Today, with gratitude and joy, the peoples and nations of our great Latin American homeland commemorate the feast of their 'patroness', Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose devotion extends from Alaska to Patagonia. … On this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe … we sing with her the 'Magnificat', we entrust to her the lives of our people and the continental mission of the Church. When she appeared to St. Juan Diego in Tepeyac … this led to a new visitation. She tenderly hastened to embrace the new people of the Americas at the dramatic moment they came into being: 'A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet' that assumed within herself the cultural and religious symbolism of the native people, announcing her Son and giving Him to the new and suffering people of mixed race. … The most perfect disciple of the Lord became the 'great missionary who brings the Gospel to our America'. The Son of Mary most Holy, his Immaculate Mother, reveals himself from the origins of this new peoples’ history, as the 'true God who gives us Life'”.
“The Holy Mother of God not only visited these people, but she chose to remain with them. … By her intercession, the Christian faithful started to become the richest treasure of the soul of the American people, whose precious pearl is Jesus Christ. It is a patrimony which is transmitted and manifest today in the many baptism of multitudes of people, in the faith, hope and charity of many; in precious popular piety; and in that popular ethos that reveals itself in an awareness of human dignity, in the passion for justice, in solidarity with the poorest and suffering, in hope that is sometimes against every hope”.
“That is why, here today, we can continue to praise God for the wonders he has brought to the lives of the Latin American people. … In the wonders which the Lord has achieved in Mary, she recognises her Son's style and way of acting in the story of Salvation. Sweeping away worldly judgements, destroying idols of power, riches, success at any cost, denouncing self-sufficiency, pride and a secularised which distances from God, the Mary’s Magnificat professes that God delights in subverting ideologies and worldly hierarchies. He lifts up the lowly, comes to the aid of the poor and the smallest among us, he fills with goodness, blessings and hope those who trust in his mercy from generation to generation, while he casts down the rich, the powerful, and rulers from their thrones. The 'Magnificat' introduces us to the Beatitudes, the earliest synthesis of the Gospel. In the light of the Beatitudes we feel compelled to ask that the future of Latin America be forged for the poor and those who suffer, for the humble, those who hunger and thirst for justice, for the compassionate, the pure of heart, those who work for peace, and for those who are persecuted because of Christ's name, 'for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven'. May theirs be the grace of being forged by those who today the idolatrous system of the throwaway culture relegates to the category of slaves, objects to be used or simply denied”.
“And we make this request because Latin America is the 'continent of hope'! Because she hopes in new ways of development which combine traditional Christianity and civil progress, justice and equity with reconciliation, scientific development and technology with human wisdom. Fruitful suffering with joyful hope. We can protect this hope only with great amounts of truth and mercy, the basis for all realities and revolutionary engines of an authentically new life”.
“We place these realities and these desires on the altar as a gift pleasing to God. … He is the only Lord, the 'liberator' of all of our slavery and misery derived from sin. He calls us to live the true life, a more human life, to live together as children and brothers, now that the doors to 'the new heaven and the new earth' are open. We implore the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the name 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' – the Mother of God, our Queen, our Lady, the young woman, our Little One (as called St. Juan Diego called her), and with all the loving names which popular piety has given her – that she may continue to accompany, help and protect our people. May she lead by the hand all pilgrim children in these lands to the encounter with her Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, present in the Church, in its holiness, especially in the Eucharist, present in the treasure of his Word and teachings, present in the faithful and holy people of God, in those who suffer and in the humble of heart. So be it. Amen!”.
“I received my first ecumenical sermon from my grandmother, in front of you”, says the Pope to the Salvation Army
Vatican City, 13 December 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday, Friday 12 December, Pope Francis received in audience a delegation from the Salvation Army, well-known for their mission of evangelisation and voluntary work.
“Your visit is one of the good fruit of the more frequent and beneficial contacts that have developed during recent years between the Salvation Army and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; contacts among which we must recall a series of theological conversations intended to promote better mutual understanding, mutual respect and regular collaboration. … I hope with all my heart that Catholics and Salvationists may continue to bear witness to Christ and the Gospel together in a world that greatly needs to experience God's mercy. Catholics and Salvationists, along with other Christians, recognise that the needy have a special place in God's heart, to the extent that the Lord Jesus Christ made Himself poor for us. As a consequence, they frequently encounter one another in the same human peripheries, and it is my fervent hope that common faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ, the sole mediator between God and Man, may become an increasingly solid foundation for friendship and collaboration between us”.
“I pray that in today's world, all Christ's disciples may offer their contribution with the same conviction and the same dynamism that the Salvation Army demonstrates in its devoted and valued service. The differences between Catholics and Salvationists on theological and ecclesiological matters must not obstruct the witness of our shared love for God and for our neighbour, a love that is able to inspire energetic efforts to restore the dignity of those who live at the margins of society”.
The Pope concluded by recounting an anecdote. When he was four years old – the year was 1940 – he was walking along the street with his grandmother. “At that time, there was the idea that all Protestants would go to hell. On the other side of the road there were two women from the Salvation Army, wearing their hats. And, I remember as if it were yesterday, I asked my grandmother, 'Who are those people? Nuns?', and she answered, 'No, they are Protestants, but they are good'. And so my grandmother, thanks to your good witness, opened the door to ecumenism for me. I received my first ecumenical sermon in front of you. Thank you very much”.
Cardinal Turkson to travel to Sierra Leone and Liberia to bring the solidarity of the Church to two of the countries hardest hit by the Ebola virus
Vatican City, 15 December 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, will travel to Sierra Leone on 16 December, followed by a visit to Liberia, two of the countries most affected by the Ebola virus. The World Health Organisation confirms around 18,000 probable or suspected cases and more than 6,500 deaths as a result of this disease. The cardinal wishes to offer “a message of solidarity and hope for the Church, for healthcare workers and for the population”.
Cardinal Turkson will be accompanied by Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, special health consultor for Caritas Internationalis. “The Church, including Caritas, religious congregations and other Catholic-inspired organisms, has been on the front line in response to Ebola”, affirmed Vitillo. “As well as providing healthcare for other illnesses, establishing stringent procedures for infection control and creating screening areas, the Church, to prevent the transmission of the virus in the healthcare setting, has trained communities with the aim of involving the clergy and local parish groups in renewed efforts to stop the spread of this lethal virus”.
“On a number of occasions the Holy Father has expressed his profound concern for those affected by Ebola and for their loved ones. I hope to express the solidarity of the Pope and of all the Church”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 15 December 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Dragan Covic, Croatian member of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and entourage;
- Archbishop Aldo Cavalli, apostolic nuncio in Malta and Libya;
- Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, apostolic nuncio in Pakistan;
- Dennis Anthony Savoie, ambassador of Canada to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence;
- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches;
- Don Pier Giorgio Perini, founder of the Parish Cells of Evangelisation.
On Saturday, 13 December the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Matteo Renzi, prime minister of Italy, with his wife and entourage;
- Archbishop George Kocherry, apostolic nuncio in Bangladesh;
- Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, U.S.A.;
- George Weigel.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 13 December 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Marek Szkudlo and Fr. Adam Wodarczyk as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Katowice (area 2,400, population 1,520,900, Catholics 1,477,900, priests 1,105, religious 1,013), Poland.
The bishop-elect Marek Szkudlo was born in Tychy, Poland in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1978. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including deputy priest in the parishes of “St. Margaret Lyski” and “St. Michael Archangel” in Katowice, chaplain of the scouts and member of the diocesan liturgical commission; parish priest of Our Lady Mother of the Church in Jastrzebie Zdroj and dean of Jastrzebie Gorne, chaplain for workers and miners, moderators for young priests and member of the Council of Consultors. He is currently episcopal vicar for permanent formation of priests, member of the college of consultors, of the presbyteral council and president of the diocesan commission for the clergy.
The bishop-elect Adam Wodarczyk was born in Tarnowskie Gory, Poland in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a licentiate from the Catholic University of Liblino and a doctorate in pastoral theology from the Silesia State University and has served as deputy curate of the “St. Hedwig of Silesia” parish in Chorzow, and regional moderator of the “Light-Life” Movement. He is currently moderator general of the Light-Life Movement, appointed by the Polish Episcopal Council and, at national level, consultor of the Council for youth pastoral, of the Committee for new evangelisation and the missionary radio.

Wow this short Video makes you see the person inside the girl on the street corner....

Prostitutes are often lured into sex trade at an early age and often have no way out. Before you judge them watch this video and see the person inside....then say a prayer. St.John 19:25 "We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." "Charity, furthermore, cannot be used as a means of engaging in what is nowadays considered proselytism. Love is free; it is not practiced as a way of achieving other ends…those who practice charity in the Church’s name will never seek to impose the Church’s faith upon others. They realize that a pure and generous love is the best witness to the God in whom we believe and by whom we are driven to love. A Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak. He knows that God is love" - Pope Benedict XVI  Cast: Beatrice Sallis Lydia Tesfagiorgis Campbell
 Prod/Dir: Clayton Richard Long
Editor: Al Toms
Sound: Allen Yang H/MU: Katelyn Spencer

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