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Friday, February 20, 2015

Catholic News World : Friday February 20, 2015 - SHARE!

2015

Latest News from #Vatican and #PopeFrancis - Meeting with Clergy - UN and more...


20-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 037 

Summary
- To the bishops of Ukraine: indicate the values that bind Ukrainian society
- Communique from the Managing Board and the College of Auditors of the Vatican Pensions Fund
- The Holy See at the United Nations: social development policies must address the spiritual and ethical dimension of the human person
- Audiences
- The Pope meets with the parish priests of Rome
- Lent: call for reconciliation with God, Who knows no hypocrisy
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
To the bishops of Ukraine: indicate the values that bind Ukrainian society
Vatican City, 20 February 2015 (VIS) - “I welcome you to this house, which is also yours. And you are well aware of this, as the Successor of Peter has always welcomed his brothers from Ukraine with fraternal friendship”, begins the Pope's written discourse to the bishops of the Ukrainian Episcopal Conference, at the end of their “ad Limina” visit. The encounter takes place in the context of a serious and prolonged conflict within the country, which “continues to claim many innocent victims and to cause great suffering to the entire population”.
The Pope met with the bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, the bishop of Mukachevo of Byzantine rite, and the bishops of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops in separate audiences in the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace. The signed discourse was handed to the representatives of each the three Ukrainian ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
“In this period”, continues Francis, “I am particularly close to you in my prayers for the deceased and for all those who have been afflicted by violence, with my plea that the Lord might grant peace soon, and with my appeal to all interested parties to implement joint agreements and to respect the principle of international law, and especially to observe the recently signed armistice and all other commitments that are conditions for avoiding a resumption of hostilities”.
“I know the historical events that have scarred your land and which are still present in your collective memory. These are issues that in part have a political basis, to which you are not required to respond directly; but there are also socio-cultural realities and human tragedies that await your direct and positive contribution. In such circumstances, it is important to listen attentively to the voices that come from the land, from the people entrusted to your pastoral care. Listening to your people, you are able to solicit those values that characterise them: encounter, collaboration, the capacity to resolve disagreements. In short: the search for a possible peace. You are able to nurture this ethical heritage with charity, the divine love that stems from the heart of Christ”.
The Holy Father acknowledges that, “at local level, there are specific and practical agreements between you, heirs to two legitimate spiritual traditions – Oriental and Latin – as well as the other Christians among you. This, as well as a duty, is also an honour that must be recognised”. He also reiterates that the bishops, at national level, are full citizens of their country and therefore have the right to express their thought, also jointly, regarding its destiny, “not in the sense of promoting concrete political action, but in the indication and reaffirmation of the values that constitute the binding element of Ukrainian society, persevering in the tireless search for harmony and the common good, even when faced with serious and complex difficulties”. He emphasises, “The Holy See is by your side, also in international forums, to ensure that your rights, concerns and the right Gospel values that inspire you are understood, and seeks also to help meet the pastoral needs of those ecclesiastical structures that also find themselves having to face new legal questions”.
The crisis unfolding in Ukraine has undoubtedly had “serious repercussions on family life. United with this is a misunderstood sense of economic freedom that has enabled a small group of people to become enormously rich at the expense of the great majority of citizens. The presence of this phenomenon has also contaminated public institutions, to varying degrees. It has generated an inequitable poverty in a generous and rich land”. Therefore, the Pope exhorts the bishops to tirelessly remind their fellow citizens of “the considerations that faith and pastoral responsibility suggest to you. The meaning of justice and truth is first moral rather than political, and this is incumbent upon you as pastors. How much freer you will be as ministers of Christ's Church, as, in spite of your poverty, you become defenders of families, of the poor, of the unemployed, of the weak, the sick, the elderly, invalids and displaced persons”.
After encouraging the Ukrainian bishops to renew their zeal for the constant announcement of the Gospel and to pray attention to vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life, the Ponfiff then goes on to consider the rapport between bishops, while aware of the “complex historical factors that weigh upon your mutual relations, as well as aspects of personal character”.
“The fact that both episcopates are Catholic and Ukrainian remains indisputable, in spite of differences of rites and traditions. I am personally saddened to hear that there are incomprehensions and that harm has been done. There is a need for a doctor, and this doctor is Jesus Christ, whom you both serve with generosity and with all your hearts. You are a single body and, as both St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have done in the past, I exhort you to find between you a way to accept each other and to support each other generously in your apostolic labours. The unity of the episcopate, aside from giving a good example to the People of God, represents an inestimable service to the nation at a cultural, social, and above all spiritual level”. You are united in fundamental values and have the most valuable treasure in common: faith and the People of God. Therefore, I regard joint meetings of the bishops of all the “sui iuris” Churches present in Ukraine to be of the highest importance”.
“Whether Greek-Catholics or Latins, you are sons of the Catholic Church, which has been subject to martyrdom in your land too”, remarks Francis. “May the blood of your witnesses, who intercede from Heaven on your behalf, be a further inspiration to a true communion of hearts. Unite your strength and support each other, transforming historical events into a reason for sharing and unity. Well-rooted in the Catholic community, you can also apply yourselves with faith and patience to ecumenism, so that all Christians may grow in unity and cooperation. I am sure that your decisions, in accordance with the Successor of Peter, will be able to take on board the expectations of all your People. I invite you all to govern the Communities entrusted to you ensuring as far as possible your presence and closeness to the priests and faithful. I hope that you may maintain respectful and fruitful relations with the public authorities”.
Finally, the Holy Father exhorts them to pay great attention to the poor. “They are your wealth”, he emphasises. “You are the pastors of a flock entrusted to you by Christ; always be clearly aware of this, even within your internal organs of self-governance, which must always be understood as instruments of communion and prophecy. In this sense, I hope that your intentions and your actions will always be oriented towards the overall good of the Churches entrusted to you. … I impart with affection a special apostolic blessing to you, your communities and the dear population of Ukraine”.
Communique from the Managing Board and the College of Auditors of the Vatican Pensions Fund
Vatican City, 20 February 2015 (VIS) – The following is the full text of the communique issued today by the Managing Board and the College of Auditors of the Vatican Pension Fund:
“Since for some months, and amplified by press reports, alarming data has been circulating regarding the situation of the Vatican Pensions Fund and on the sustainability of honouring the commitments undertaken towards present and future subscribers, the Managing Board of the Fund and the College of Auditors consider it opportune to officially communicate the actuarial situation, assets and income of the aforementioned Fund, as it appears in the actuarial Technical Financial Statements drawn up by the actuary and the Financial Statements regularly approved by the Secretary of State.
With regard to the actuarial aspect, there is a substantial balance between available resources and commitments to current and future employees, due also to interventions (approved by the Secretary of State following proposals by the Managing Board) both in terms of contributions (increase of rates throughout the years up to the current rate of 26% on the total of taxable income) and in relation to performance (increase of two years of working life, raising the age of retirement to 67 for laypersons and 72 for clergy and persons religious.
The working Statements also show, throughout the years, the solidity of the assets and financial structure of the Fund itself. The funding ratio of the Pensions Fund is 0.95%. From a strictly income-based perspective, the economic and financial situation of the institution records a gradual increase of financial and real estate resources both in terms of capital resources which, from 1993 to 2013 increased on average from € 22,256,196 per year, and in terms of the upward trend in net profit, which during the last 6 years has passed from € 23,583,882 to € 26,866,657, sums sufficient to cover the current costs of pensions.
To complete the picture, the Fund’s assets on 31 December 2014 were recorded at € 477,668,000. Adding the budget surplus for 2015, estimated to be around € 27,140,000, a net worth by 31 December 2015 of over 504 million euros may be hypothesised, confirming the real solidity of the Fund, which has progressed from an initial budget of 10 billion of the old Italian lire in 1993 to over 500 million euros in little more than twenty years”.
The Holy See at the United Nations: social development policies must address the spiritual and ethical dimension of the human person
Vatican City, 20 February 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York addressed the 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development on 10 February. He highlighted the Holy See's concerns regarding economic growth which has led to new challenges, but has not benefited everyone in society equally. Significant inequalities remain and many of the most vulnerable groups in society have been left behind. Without addressing these inequalities, especially as we transition into the post 2015 development agenda, we risk undermining the impact of economic growth on poverty and on the well-being of society as a whole.
“To be sustainable and beneficial for all, social development must be ethical, moral and person-centred”, he said. “We must be attentive to those indicators that give a complete picture of the well-being of every individual in society while promoting policies that encourage a truly integral approach to the development of the human person as a whole”.
He continued, “It is not enough to have gainful employment. Work must also be dignified and secure. Investments in education, access to basic health-care services, and the creation of social safety nets are primary, not secondary factors to improving a person’s quality of life, and ensuring the equitable distribution of wealth and resources in society. By placing the human person at the centre of development and encouraging investments and policies that meet real needs, the progress made towards eradicating poverty remains permanent and society more resilient in the face of potential crises”.
The archbishop reiterated that the market economy does not exist to serve itself, but rather to serve the common good of all of society, and therefore particular attention must be given to the welfare of the most vulnerable. He added that “the authentic integral development of the person and the eradication of poverty are achievable only by focusing on the tremendous value of the family to society”, and by adopting a strategic approach towards the eradication of poverty, “based on true social justice in order to help reduce the suffering of millions of our brothers and sisters. … Social development policies must address not only the economic and political needs, but also the spiritual and ethical dimension of each human person”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 20 February 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Prelates of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, on their “ad Limina” visit:
- His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, accompanied by his auxiliaries, Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh and Bishop Yosyf Milan;
- Bishop Stepan Meniok, archiepiscopal exarch of Donetsk;
- Bishop Mykhaylo Bubniy, archiepiscopal exarch of Odessa;
- Bishop Josaphat Oleh Hovera, archiepiscopal exarch of Lutsk;
- Archbishop Volodymyr Viytyshyn of Ivano-Frankivsk, accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Yosafat Moshchych;
- Bishop Vasyl Ivasiuk, of Kololyia-Chernivtsi;
- Bishop Ihor Voznyak, archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainians, accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Venedykt Aleksiychuk;
- Bishop Jaroslav Pryriz of Sambir-Drohobych, accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Hryhoriy Komar;
- Bishop Mykhaylo Koltun of Sokal-Zhovkva;
- Bishop Taras Senkiv of Stryi. accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Bohdan Manyshyn;
- Archbishop Vasyl Semeniuk of Ternopil-Zboriv;
- Bishop Dmytro Hryhorak, Vescovo di Buchach;
- Bishop Vasyl Tuchapets, archiepiscopal exarch of Kharkiv;
- Bishop Dionisio Lachovicz, apostolic visitator for the Ukrainian faithful of Byzantine Rite resident in Italy and Spain;
***
- Bishop Milan Sasik of Mukachevo of Byzantine Rite, accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Nil Yuriy Lushchak:
***
Prelates of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops in Ukraine on their “ad Limina” visit:
- Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, of Lviv of the Latins;
- Bishop Leonid Dubrawski of Kamyanets-Podilskyi, accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Radoslaw Zmitrowicz;
- Bishop Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Marian Buczek and his auxiliary, Bishop Jan Sobilo;
- Archbishop-Bishop Petro Herkulan Malchuk of Kyiv-Zhytomir;
- Bishop Vitaliy Skomarovskyi of Lutsk;
- Bishop Antal Majnek of Mukachevo of the Latins;
- Bishop Bronislaw Bernacki of Odessa-Simferopol, with his auxiliary Bishop Jacek Pyl.
19-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 036 
The Pope meets with the parish priests of Rome
Vatican City, 19 February 2015 (VIS) – The traditional Lenten meeting of the Bishop of Rome and “his” priests – between the Pope and the parish priests of the diocese – took place this morning in the Paul VI Hall. As announced by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome, the theme this year was the homily.
After Cardinal Vallini's greetings, the Pope introduced the meeting by referring to his 2005 address to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Saints on the theme of the Ars celebrandi, the test of which was distributed to the participants in advance. The meeting then proceeded in dialogue with the priests present.
Lent: call for reconciliation with God, Who knows no hypocrisy
Vatican City, 19 February 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, the Holy Father presided at the traditional penitential procession from the church of St. Anselm on the Aventine Hill to the Basilica of St. Sabina, located on the same Roman hill. A number of cardinals, archbishops and bishops also took part, along with the Benedictine monks of St. Anselm, the Dominican fathers of Santa Sabina, and the faithful.
After the procession, Pope Francis presided at the Eucharistic celebration with the rite of the blessing and imposition of the ashes. The Pope received them from the hands of Cardinal Josef Tomko, the titular of the Basilica, and subsequently imposed them upon the cardinals and several monks, consecrated persons and faithful.
In his homily, the Pope commented on the Gospel readings of the Mass, beginning with the passage from the Prophet Joel, sent by God to call the population to penance and conversion following the plague of locusts that devastated Judah. “Only the Lord can save from the scourge, and it is therefore necessary to plead through prayer and fasting, confessing one's own sin”. The prophet insists on inner conversion, begging the population to return to God with all their hearts, which means “undertaking a path of conversion that is not superficial or transitory, but rather a spiritual itinerary that involves the most intimate part of our person. The heart, indeed, is the seat of our sentiments, the centre where our decisions and attitudes mature”.
 Joel's call is not directed solely at individuals: it is extended to the entire community, and is a convocation to all, paying special attention to the prayer of priests, and reiterating that this must be accompanied by tears. “It does good to all, but especially to priests, at the beginning of this Lenten time, to ask for the gift of ears, so as to make our prayer and our path of conversion ever more authentic and free of hypocrisy”, continued the Pope. “It is good for us to ask: 'Do I weep? Does the Pope weep? Do the cardinals weep? Do the bishops weep? Do priests weep? Do we weep in our prayers?”.
This is the message, he emphasised, of today's Gospel reading, in which Jesus rereads the three works of mercy prescribed by the Mosaic Law – almsgiving, prayer and fasting – “which over time have been attacked by the rust of external formalism, or have even mutated into signs of social superiority”. He continued, “Jesus highlights a common temptation in these three works, that can be summarised in hypocrisy (mentioned three times): 'Beware of practising your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them … Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do … And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites … For they love to stand and pray ... that they may be seen by others'. Be aware, brothers, that hypocrites do not know how to weep, they have forgotten how, they do not ask for the gift of tears”.
“When we do something good, almost instinctively there arises in us the desire to be esteemed and admired for this good action, to receive satisfaction from it. Jesus invites us to carry out these works without any ostentation, and to trust solely in the Father's reward”.
“The Lord never ceases to have mercy on us, or to offer his forgiveness once again, whenever we are in need of it, inviting us to turn to him with a renewed heart, purified of evil, purified by tears, in order to participate in His joy. How can we accept this invitation? St. Paul suggests to us: 'We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God'. This effort of conversion is not simply a human task: it is allowing oneself to be reconciled. The reconciliation between us and God is possible thanks to the mercy of the Father Who, out of love for us, did not hesitate to sacrifice His only Son. … In Him, we can become righteous, in Him we can change, if we welcome God's grace and do not allow the 'favourable time' to pass by in vain. Please, let us stop for a moment and let ourselves be reconciled with God”, exclaimed the Holy Father.
As a sign of our will to be reconciled with God, “aside from the tears that are shed in secret, we make the public gesture of the imposition of the ashes on the forehead. The celebrant pronounces these words: 'For you are dust, and to dust you shall return', or repeats Jesus' exhortation: 'Repent and believe in the Gospel'. Both formulas constitute a reminder of the truth of human existence: we are limited creatures, sinners always in need of penance and conversion. How important it is to hear and heed this call in our time! The invitation to convert thus inspires us to return, like the son in the parable, into the arms of God, tender and merciful Father, to weep in that embrace, to trust in Him and entrust ourselves to Him”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 19 February 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Vito Rallo;
This afternoon he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Maury Buendia, apostolic nuncio in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 19 February 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Fr. Jose Crispiano Clavijo Mendez as bishop of Sincelejo (area 10,523, population 953,000, Catholics 767,000, priests 66, permanent deacons 4, religious 80), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Tocancipa, Colombia in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He holds a licentiate in catechesis and youth pastoral ministry from the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of the “Inmaculada Concepcion” in Chimichagua, chancellor of the diocesan curia, rector of the “Nuestra Senora del Rosario” Cathedral, vicar general, director of the Centre for Evangelisation, parish priest of the “El Espiritu Santo” parish in Valledupar, and episcopal delegate for the clergy and for catechesis. He is currently rector of the “Juan Pablo II” major seminary in Valledupar.

Wow 3 Priests part of Rock Group Voices in the Desert launch Album on St. Teresa of Avila - SHARE

La Voz del Desierto, "The Voice of the Desert", is a contemporary Spanish rock band that consists of seven members, three of whom are Priests. The band was formed in 2004 at a diocesan seminary in Alcala de Henares, Spain when the three "priests" were still theology students. They performed at World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. 
Their latest album 'Firm Friends of Jesus.' It was launched to honor 500 years since the birth of Teresa of Avila. Alberto Raposo of Voice of the Desert, explained, "For those of us who are part of the Voice of the Desert, so priests and also the laity, it's an honor to celebrate this anniversary, especially because she visited our diocese. For three months, she was the prioress of the Carmelite convent.” The lyrics of one of the songs is Determined Determination. Which is based on a text by Saint Teresa about making the right decisions. They have three albums. Alberto said, "We want to take part in a European youth gathering this August, which will take place in the city of Avila, which is the city St. Teresa was born in. We're also looking into organizing a concert in America.” Here is their Official Website: http://www.lavozdeldesierto.es/portada.html
  

Pope Francis meets Ukraine Bishops "with the prayer to the Lord that He might speedily grant peace" Full Text


Pope Francis meets with Ukrainian Bishops in Rome on their ad limina visit. - OSS_ROM
20/02/2015 13:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday met with the Bishops of Ukraine, who are in Rome for their ad limina visit. The Bishops were led by Major-Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church; and Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki  of Lviv of the Latins. (Edited but Full Text Below)
Belowed, please find the complete English translation of Pope Francis' prepared remarks: 
Your Beatitude,
Archbishop,
Dear Brother Bishops,
I welcome you into this house which is also your house. And you know this well, because the Successor of Peter has always welcomed with fraternal friendship the brothers from Ukraine, a land that is rightly considered the borderland between the heirs of Vladimir and Olga, and those of Adalbert and of the great Carolingian missions, as well as those that look back to the Apostles of the Slavs, Saints Cyril and Methodius. You are welcome, my very dear friends.
I have carefully learned of the many problems you face, as well as of your pastoral programs. I entrust them to God’s Mother, and ours, that she might watch over them with tender love.
1. You find yourselves, as a country, in a situation of grave conflict, which has been going on for several months and continues to claim numerous innocent victims and to cause great suffering to the entire population. In this period, as I have assured you personally and conveyed by Cardinal envoys, I am very close to you with my prayers for the dead and for all those struck by violence, with the prayer to the Lord that He might speedily grant peace, and with the appeal to all the interested parties that they might apply the agreements reached by mutual accord and might be respectful toward the principle of international legality; in particular, that the recently signed truce might be observed and all the other commitments, which are the conditions for avoiding a resumption of hostilities.
I recognize the historical events that have marked your land and are still present in the collective memory. They deal with questions that have a partially political base, and to which you are not called to give a direct response; but they are also socio-cultural realities and human tragedies that await your direct and positive contribution.
In such circumstances, what is important is that you listen attentively to the voices that come from the territories where the people entrusted to your pastoral care live. Listening to your people, you will be attentive to the values that characterize it: encounter, collaboration, the ability to resolve controversies. In a few words: the search for possible peace. It is with charity, the divine love that springs from the heart of Christ, that you have made this ethical patrimony fruitful. I am well aware that, at the local level, you have specific arrangements and practices among you, the heirs of two legitimate spiritual traditions — the Eastern and the Latin — as well as with the other Christians present among you. As well as a duty, this is an honour that must be recognised.
2. On the national level, you are full citizens of your country, and so you have the right to express, even in the common way, your thought on its destiny — not in the sense of promoting a concrete political action, but in the indication and re-affirmation of the values that constitute the coagulating element of Ukrainian society, persevering in the tireless pursuit of harmony and of the common good, even in the face of grave and complex difficulties.
The Holy See is at your side, even in international forums, to ensure that your rights, your concerns, and the just evangelical values that animate you are understood. It is seeking, too, how to meet the pastoral necessities of those ecclesiastical structures that have found themselves facing new juridical questions.
3. The ongoing crisis in your country has, understandably, had serious repercussions in the life of families. To this is united the consequences of that misguided sense of economic liberty that has allowed the formation of a small group of people that are enormously enriched at the expense of the great majority of citizens. The presence of such a phenomenon has, unfortunately, contaminated in various ways even the public institutions. This has generated an unjust poverty in a generous and rich land.
Never tire of proposing to your fellow citizens the considerations that faith and pastoral responsibility suggest to you. The sense of justice and of truth, is moral before it is political, and this task is entrusted to your responsibility as Pastors. The more you are free ministers of the Church of Christ, so much more, even in your poverty, will you make yourselves defenders of the family, of the poor, of the unemployed, of the weak, of the sick, of the elderly pensioners, of invalids, of displaced persons.
I encourage you to renew, with the grace of God, your pastoral zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel in Ukrainian society, and to support one another with effective collaboration. May you always have the gaze of Christ, who saw the abundance of the harvest and asked to pray the Lord that He might send labourers (cf Mt 9:37-38). This signifies praying and working for vocations to priesthood and consecrated life, and at the same time attentive care for the formation of clerics, and of men and women religious, in the service of a more profound and organic understanding of the faith within the people of God.
4. I would like, too, to leave you a further reflection on the relations between you brothers in the episcopate. I recognise the complex historical events that weigh on mutual relations, as well as some aspects of a personal nature.
The fact that both episcopates are Catholic and are Ukrainian is indisputable, even in the diversity of rites and traditions. It is painful for me personally to hear that there are misunderstandings and injuries. There is need of a doctor — and this is Jesus Christ, whom you both serve with generosity and with your whole hearts. You are a single body and, as was said to you in the past by Saint John Paul II, and by Benedict XVI, I in my turn urge you to find among yourselves a manner of welcoming one another and of sustaining one another generously in your apostolic labours.
The unity of the episcopate, as well as giving good witness to the People of God, renders an inestimable service to the Nation, both on the cultural and social plane and, above all, on the spiritual plane. You are united in fundamental values and you have in come the most precious treasures: the faith and the people of God. I see, therefore, of paramount importance the joint meetings of the Bishops of all the Churches sui iuris present in Ukraine. May you always be generous in speaking among yourselves as brothers!
Both as Greek-Catholics and as Latins you are sons of the Catholic Church, which in your land too was for a long time subject to martyrdom. The blood of your witnesses, who intercede for you from heaven, is a further motive that urges you to true communion of hearts. Unite your forces and support one another, making historical events a motive of sharing and unity. Rooted in the catholic communion, you will also be able to carry forward the ecumenical commitment with faith and patience, so that unity and cooperation between all Christians may grow.
5. I am certain that your decisions, in accord with the Successor of Peter, will be adequate to meet the expectations of your People. I invite you all to govern the communities entrusted to you ensuring as far as possible your presence and your closeness to the priests and to the people.
I am hopeful that you will be able to have respectful and fruitful relations with the public Authorities.
I urge you to be attentive and considerate to the poor: they are your wealth. You are Pastors of a flock entrusted to you by Christ: may you be ever more conscious [of this], even in your internal organs of self-governance. These should be understood as instruments of communion and of prophecy. In this sense, I am hopeful that your intentions and your actions might always be oriented to the general wellbeing of the Churches entrusted to you. In this let the love of your communities guide you, in the same spirit that sustained the Apostles, of whom you are the legitimate successors.
May the memory and the intercession of so many martyrs and saints, whom the Lord Jesus has raised up among you, support you in your work. May the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin reassure you on your journey of encounter with Christ Who comes, strengthening your purposes of communion and collaboration. And, while asking you to pray for me, I affectionately impart a special Apostolic Benediction upon you, upon your Communities, and upon the dear population of Ukraine. 

Today's Mass Readings : Friday February 20, 2015

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Lectionary: 221

Reading 1IS 58:1-9A
Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial PsalmPS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 18-19

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before The GospelSEE AMOS 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.

GospelMT 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.” 

Breaking News Offensive in Iraq by Troops - Please PRAY

AsiaNews report: Iraqi army (and US) to launch offensive on Mosul in April-May
The operation must be carried out before the summer heat. The US does not exclude its participation in the ground war. 20-25 thousand men needed among Iraqi troops, the peshmerga, tribal and anti-terrorism forces. Amazement at the publicity given to the news. Discussions in Saudi Arabia on how to strengthen the Iraqi army

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An official of the US Central Command said that the Iraqi army is preparing an offensive to take back Mosul from the hands of the Islamic State (IS) in April-May. An estimated 20-25 thousand Iraqi soldiers are in training, including police forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga troops, tribal forces and anti-terrorism groups.
Mosul, Iraq's second city was inhabited by over a million people before it was conquered by the IS last June. It is estimated that it is controlled by a 2 thousand strong Islamist militia.

The US official said the offensive must take place before the end of May and the onset of the summer heat. In any case, he added, if the troops were not ready and trained, the operations would be delayed.


Recapturing the city of Mosul implies a house to house guerrilla war. The official did not rule out the participation of the US in a ground war.

Several observers are amazed by the communication: it is quite strange to broadcast news and details of a military operation well in advance. One hypothesis is that the United States wants to show that they are engaged in the fight against the IS and that their training of Iraqi troops is bearing fruit. In recent weeks, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been stepping up pressure to recapture Mosul..

So far the Kurdish forces have been reluctant to fight for Mosul, preferring to defend the borders of the Kurdish region, for which they would like independence. Even the southern Shiite militias fear the battle against the Sunni IS militiamen and feel unwelcome in the Sunni majority region of Mosul.

The United States are training Iraqi soldiers in five areas. Many Iraqi soldiers, before the advance of the IS last June, have abandoned their weapons and uniforms, allowing the city to fall into the hands of militants.

Yesterday, the military leaders of 20 nations gathered in Saudi Arabia to discuss the ways to strengthen the Iraqi army against the IS.

Shared from AsiaNews

Pope Francis "You cannot make offerings to the Church on the shoulders of the injustice..." Lent Homily

Pope Francis at morning Mass - OSS_ROM
20/02/2015 13:19

(Vatican Radio) Saying we must never use God as a cover for injustice, Pope Francis warned on Friday (February 20th) against those who follow all the outward signs of piety but then exploit or mistreat their employees. The Pope’s words came during his homily at his morning Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta residence.
Pope Francis used his homily to reflect on how Christians, especially during Lent, should not confine themselves to outside signs of piety like fasting and charity and instead must reach out to those in need.
He said Jesus wants from us a fasting that breaks the evil chains, frees those who are oppressed, clothes those who are naked and carries out justice. This, he explained, is a true fasting, a fasting which is not a just an outward appearance  or observance but a fasting which comes from the heart.
Love of God and neighbour are one and the same
“And in the tablets of the law, there’s the law towards God and the law towards our neighbour and both of these go together.  I can’t say: ‘But no, I follow the three commandments first and the others more or less.’ No, if you don’t follow one, you can’t follow the other and if you follow one you must follow the other.  They are united: Love of God and love of our neighbour is one and the same thing and if you want to show genuine and not just formal penance, you must show it before God and also towards your brothers and towards your neighbour.”
Grave sin to use God as a cover for injustice
Pope Francis highlighted the example of somebody who goes to Mass every Sunday and receives communion but then asked: does that person pay his or her employees in cash under the table, maybe a salary below the going rate and without making the necessary social security contributions? 
“So many men and women of faith, have faith but then divide the tablets of the laws. ‘Yes, I do this’ – ‘But do you practice charity?’ – Yes of course, I always send a cheque to the Church’ – ‘Ok, that’s good. But at your home, within your own Church, are you generous and are you fair with those  who are your dependents  - be they your children, your grandparents, your employees?’  You cannot make offerings to the Church on the shoulders of the injustice that you practice towards your dependents.  This is a very serious sin: using God as a cover for injustice.”  
At Lent make room in our hearts for those who have erred
The pope went on to explain how during Lent Christians should be reaching out to those who are less fortunate, be they children, old people without private health insurance who may have to wait eight hours to be seen by a doctor  and those who have erred and who are now in prison.
“No, with those types of people I don’t (associate) ….’  He’s in prison: if you’re not in prison it’s because our Lord has helped you not to sin.  Do you have room in your heart for prisoners in jail? Do you pray for them so that the Lord can help them to change their life?’ May the Lord accompany us on our Lenten journey so that our external observance becomes a profound renewal of the Spirit.  That’s what we prayed for. That the Lord may give us this grace.”

Saint February 20 : Blessed Jacinta and Francesco of Fatima - SHARE

Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908 – April 4, 1919) and his sister Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910 – February 20, 1920),  together with their cousin, Lúcia dos Santos (1907–2005) were from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal. They saw three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. They reported visions of Our Lady of Fatima.  The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto were Francisco and Jacinta. They were illiterate and they worked with cousin Lucia, tending sheep. Francisco preferred to pray alone, as he said "to console Jesus for the sins of the world". They saw terrifying vision of Hell at the third apparition. All three children practiced prayer and penance for sin as the lady asked. Jacinta told her parents ‘Oh, Mother! I saw Our Lady today!’. On 13th August, The Administrator, Santos, ‘kidnapped’ the children to prevent them going to the next Apparition, and threatened them with a cauldron of boiling oil. On Sunday, 19th August, the children witnessed their fourth Apparition. 
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At the Apparitions in 1917 Francisco heard nothing and had to rely on Lucia and Jacinta to tell him what was said by the Lady. Jacinta and Francesco became very ill during the Spanish Influenza epidemic in October, 1918.  The priest heard Francisco’s confession on the evening of 2nd April and brought Communion to him the next morning.Opening his eyes, he asked: ‘When will you bring me the Hidden Jesus again?’ This was what he said when talking of the Host in the Tabernacle. 
Jacinta developed pneumonia and then tuberculosis. She died in hospital just before her 11th birthday. Visitors who saw Jacinta in her open coffin exclaimed that she seemed to be alive, with the loveliest colour. When Jacinta’s coffin was opened on 12th September, 1935 and her face was seen to be perfectly incorrupt. 

 Jacinta's relics and those of Francisco lie in the Basilica at Fatima, with the simple inscription: “Here lie the mortal remains of Francisco and Jacinta to whom Our Lady appeared.” Jacinta and her brother Francisco were beatified- declared ‘Blessed’, by Pope John Paul II on 13th May, 2000 at Fatima. 

SPECIAL PRAYERS GIVEN TO THE CHILDREN AT FATIMA:
Our Lady of Fatima:
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee. O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

ANGEL OF FATIMA:
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners. The Angel's Prayer is an Act of Reparation to The Holy Trinity.
Edited from “The Message of Fatima” by Fr. Martindale, S.J. and other sources. (All Images Google )

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Saint February 20 : St. Eucherius : Bishop of Orleans France


BENEDICTINE BISHOP OF ORLEANS
Feast: February 20


     Information:
Feast Day:February 20
Born:
687 AD, Orléans, France
Died:20 February 743
Benedictine Bishop of Orleans, France, exiled for opposing Charles Martel (r. 714-741), the famous and powerful mayor of the palace in the Frankish kingdom. Born in Orleans, Eucherius became a Benedictine at Jumieges about 714 and bishop in 721. He immediately set about protesting Charles Martel's seizure of Church properties. Charles exiled Eucherius to Cologne, Germany, where he became very popular as a result. Eucherius was then held captive in Liege, Belgium, but was allowed to retire to Saint-Trond Abbey near Maastricht, Netherlands, where he died in the monastery. Apparently, he was never reconciled with Charles.
(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints


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