Saturday, February 21, 2015

Catholic News World : Saturday February 21, 2015 - SHARE


Amazing #PROLIFE Song by Singer Sam Martin composed after he saw his baby's heartbeat! SHARE

Sam Martin who has co-written many top 10 singles. He recently composed a beautiful song about his unborn son. Martin said that when he first found out that his wife was pregnant and saw his son’s heartbeat in an ultrasound, he felt the desire to compose a song. His baby is due on March 19th. Martin said, “The lyric came right then — ‘I’m going to love you anyway.’ I almost started crying just singing it over and over again. … It was a spiritual experience.”  Martin kept the song a secret from his wife, Joy, then he told her. ‘She left and came back; I played it, and then both of us were just sobbing. Uncontrollably crying.” He explained, “I wanted to do it very simple; this song is all about the lyrics. I didn’t want to distract too much. This song is a rare situation where the label actually liked something that was incredibly personal and meaningful.” Here is Martin’s Amazing Pro-Life song...Please SHARE for LIFE!

#German Chancellor Merkel meets #PopeFrancis in #Vatican discussing Ukraine and Poverty

Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel - REUTERS
21/02/2015 13:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday  received German Chancellor Angela Merkel in private audience in the  Vatican. An official  communiqué said the cordial exchange between the two leaders focused on the fight against poverty and international crises, including the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
It also revealed that the wide-ranging talks touched on topics such as the alleviation of poverty, the role of women in developing countries, equality, and Germany's agenda for the upcoming G7 Summit in the southern German state of Bavaria in June.
Following the audience Merkel told journalists that the conflict in eastern Ukraine was at the center of the discussion with the Pope.
She reportedly said he gave her “a lot of encouragement" to proceed "decidedly and determinedly" to find a peaceful solution. 
Pope Francis presented Merkel with a medallion depicting St. Martin giving his coat to the needy, saying it aimed to remind world leaders their job is "to protect their poor."
On her part. Merkel gave the Pope a CD with music by Johann Sebastian Bach and a donation to help children affected by conflicts in the Middle East.
Following her audience with Francis, the second since the beginning of his Papacy, Merkel met Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Richard Gallagher. 

Today's Mass Readings : Saturday February 21, 2015

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Lectionary: 222

Reading 1IS 58:9B-14
Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.”

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice—
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Responsorial PsalmPS 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (11ab) Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you. 
You are my God.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

Verse Before The GospelEZ 33:11

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion, that he may live.

GospelLK 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” 

#PopeFrancis "Oppose the culture of death and be witnesses to the Gospel of Life!"

Pope Francis - EPA
21/02/2015 12:

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis says that people involved in organized crime or who deliberately carry out acts of violence against others or the environment cannot call themselves Christian.
The Pope’s comments were contained in a speech delivered Saturday to pilgrims from the Diocese of Cassano all’Jonio, who had travelled to Rome on a ‘return visit’ to thank the Holy Father.
In June last year, Pope Francis made a one day visit to the diocese in the southern Italian region of Calabria which has been deeply scarred by the local organized crime group, the 'Ndrangheta. During that visit the Pope had issued a call to conversion to all of those still involved in organized crime.
A call he renewed on Saturday, when he stated: “those who love Jesus, who hear and receive the Word and live in a sincere response to the call of the Lord cannot in any way give themselves over to works of evil”.
The Pope went on to say people who “violate the dignity of person; who program or carry out gestures of violence against others and against the environment” cannot call themselves Christian.
He added that external forms of piety without “a real conversion are not enough to be considered in communion with Christ and his Church”.  Pope Francis appealed to “those who have chosen the path of evil and are affiliated to criminal organizations”  to open their heart to the Lord. “The Lord is waiting for you and the Church welcomes you” he said “if your willingness to serve good is as clear and public as was your choice to serve evil”.
Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of excerpts from the Holy Father’s address:
The memory of my visit to your diocesan community is still alive in my heart: the meetings with the prisoners, the sick, with priests, religious, seminarians…how many seminarians are there now? Eight? That’s not good enough…we must pray, pray for more vocations….Ok? The Lord told us to pray so he will send priests I entrust in your prayer…. I remember the meeting with the elderly; my visit to the Cathedral and the Seminary; and then the extraordinary presence of people in the plain of Sibari, but all of Calabria was there!
 I had a firsthand experience of your faith and your love. The Lord help you to always walk together, in parishes and associations, led by the Bishop and priests. May He help you to be welcoming communities, to accompany towards Christ those who are struggling to discern His presence that saves.
I would like to reaffirm a thought that I suggested during my visit: those who love Jesus, who hear and receive the Word and live in a sincere response to the call of the Lord cannot in any way give themselves over to works of evil. Or Jesus, or evil! Jesus never invited demons to lunch, no he chased them away, because they are evil, or Jesus or evil!  They cannot call themselves Christians and violate the dignity of person; those who belong to the Christian community cannot program or carry out gestures of violence against others and against the environment.  
External gestures of religiosity that are not accompanied by a real and public conversion are not enough to be considered in communion with Christ and His Church. External gestures of religiosity are not enough to credit as believers, those who with the malice and arrogance typical of criminals, make lawlessness their lifestyle. To those who have chosen the path of evil and are affiliated to criminal organizations I renew the pressing invitation to conversion. Open your heart to the Lord! The Lord is waiting for you and the Church welcomes you if your willingness to serve the good is as clear and public as was your choice to serve evil.
Dear brothers and sisters of Cassano, the beauty of your land is a gift from God and a heritage to preserve and pass in all its splendor onto future generations. Therefore, all must courageously commit to ensuring it is not scarred beyond repair by narrow interests, above all the competent institutions.  
The Emmanuel Community is among the "beauties" of your territory. It is an example of acceptance and sharing with the weakest. Young people devastated by drugs have found in you and in your structures the "good Samaritan" who knew how to bend over their wounds and was able to anoint them with the balm of closeness and affection. How many families have found in you the help they needed  to restore hope for the fate of their children! The Church is grateful to you for this service. By being present alongside young people and adults subjugated by dependencies, you have embraced the suffering Jesus and you sow hope.
Our era is in great need of hope! Young people should not be denied hope, young people need to hope; we must offer those experiencing pain and suffering concrete signs of hope. Social realities and associations, as well as individuals who work in hospitality and sharing, are generators of hope. Therefore I urge your Christian communities to be protagonists of solidarity, not to stop in front of those who, out of a narrow self-interest, sow selfishness, violence and injustice. Oppose the culture of death and be witnesses to the Gospel of Life! The light of the Word of God and the support of the Holy Spirit will help you to look with new and welcoming eyes towards the many new forms of poverty which cast many young people and families into despair.
Upon all of you present here and the entire Diocese of Cassano all'Jonio I invoke the protection of Mary, whom you venerate under the titles of Our Lady of the Chain and Our Lady of the Castle. You are accompanied by my Blessing, and, please, do not forget to pray for me.

(Emer McCarthy)

Saint February 21 : St. Peter Damian : Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Feast Day:February 14
988, Ravenna
Died:February 22, 1072, Faenza
Peter, surnamed of Damian, was born about the year 988 in Ravenna, of a good family, but reduced. He was the youngest of many children, and, losing his father and mother very young, was left in the hands of a brother who was married, in whose house he was treated more like a slave, or rather like a beast, than one so nearly related; and when grown up, he was sent to keep swine. He one day became master of a piece of money, which, instead of laying it out in something for his own use, he chose to bestow in alms on a priest, desiring him to offer up his prayers for his father's soul. He had another brother called Damian, who was arch-priest of Ravenna, and afterwards a monk; who, taking pity of him, had the charity to give him an education. Having found a father in this brother, he seems from him to have taken the surname of Damian, though he often styles himself the Sinner, out of humility. Those who call him De Honestis confound him with Peter of Ravenna, who was of the family of Honesti. Damian sent Peter to school, first at Faenza, afterwards at Parma, where he had Ivo for his master. By the means of good natural parts and close application, it was not long before he found himself in a capacity to teach others, which he did with great applause, and no less advantage by the profits which accrued to him from his professorship. To arm himself against the allurements of pleasure and the artifices of the devil, he began to wear a rough hair shirt under his clothes, and to inure himself to fasting, watching, and prayer. In the night, if any temptation of concupiscence arose, he got out of bed and plunged himself into the cold river. After this he visited churches,  reciting the psalter whilst he performed this devotion till the church office began. He not only gave much away in alms, but was seldom without some poor person at his table, and took a pleasure in serving such, or rather Jesus Christ in their persons, with his own hands. But thinking all this to be removing himself from the deadly poison of sin but by halves, he resolved entirely to leave the world and embrace a monastic life, and at a distance from his own country, for the sake of meeting with the fewer obstacles to his design. While his mind was full of these thoughts, two religious of the order of St. Benedict belonging to Font-Avellano, a desert at the foot of the Apennine in Umbria, happened to call at the place of his abode; and being much edified at their disinterestedness, he took a resolution to embrace their institute, as he did soon after. This hermitage had been founded by blessed Ludolf about twenty years before St. Peter came thither, and was then in the greatest repute. The hermits here remained two and two together in separate cells, occupied chiefly in prayer and reading. They lived on bread and water four days in the week: on Tuesdays and Thursdays they ate pulse and herbs, which every one dressed in his own cell: on their fast days all their bread was given them by weight. They never used any wine (the common drink of the country) except for mass, or in sickness: they went barefoot, used disciplines, made many genuflections, struck their breasts, stood with their arms stretched out in prayer, each according to his strength and devotion. After the night office they said the whole psalter before day. Peter watched long before the signal for matins, and after with the rest These excessive watchings brought on him an insomnia, or wakefulness, which was cured with very great difficulty. But he learned from this to use more discretion He gave a considerable time to sacred studies, and became as well versed in the scriptures and other sacred learning as he was before in profane literature.
His superior ordered him to make frequent exhortations to the religious, and as he had acquired a very great character for virtue and learning, Guy, Abbot of Pomposia, begged his superior to send him to instruct his monastery, which consisted of a hundred monks. Peter stayed there two years, preaching with great fruit, and was then called back by his abbot, and sent to perform the same function in the numerous abbey of St. Vincent, near the mountain called Pietra Pertusa, or the Hollow Rock. His love for poverty made him abhor and be ashamed to put on a new habit, or any clothes which were not threadbare and most mean. His obedience was so perfect that the least word of any superior, or signal given, according to the rule of the house, for the performance of any duty made him run that moment to discharge, with the utmost exactness, whatever was enjoined. Being recalled home some time after, and commanded by his abbot, with the unanimous consent of the hermitage, to take upon him the government of the desert after his death, Peter's extreme reluctance only obliged his superior to make greater use of his authority till he acquiesced. Wherefore, at his decease, in 1041, Peter took upon him the direction of that holy family, which he governed with the greatest reputation for wisdom and sanctity. He also founded five other numerous hermitages; in which he placed priors under his inspection. His principal care was to cherish in his disciples the spirit of solitude, charity, and humility. Among them many became great lights of the church. He was for twelve years much employed in the service of the church by many zealous bishops, and by four popes successively, namely, Gregory VI, Clement II, Leo IX, and Victor II. Their successor, Stephen IX, in 1057, prevailed with him to quit his desert, and made him Cardinal-bishop of Ostia. But such was his reluctance to the dignity that nothing less than the pope's threatening him with excommunication, and his commands, in virtue of obedience, could induce Peter to submit.
Stephen IX dying in 1058, Nicholas II was chosen pope, a man  of deep penetration, of great virtue and learning, and very liberal in alms, as our saint testifies, who assisted him in obliging John, Bishop of Veletri, an anti-pope, set up by the capitaneos or magistrates of Rome, to quit his usurped dignity. Upon complaints of simony in the church of Milan, Nicholas II sent Peter thither as his legate, who chastised the guilty. Nicholas II dying, after having sat two years and six months, Alexander was chosen pope, in 1602. Peter strenuously supported him against the emperor, who set up an anti-pope, Cadolaus, Bishop of Parma, on whom the saint prevailed soon after to renounce his pretensions in a council held at Rome; and engaged Henry IV, King of Germany, who was afterwards emperor, to acquiesce in what had been done, though that prince, who in his infancy had succeeded his pious father Henry III, had sucked in very early the corrupt maxims of tyranny and irreligion. But virtue is amiable in the eyes of its very enemies, and often disarms them of their fury. St. Peter had, with great importunity, solicited Nicholas II for leave to resign his bishopric, and return to his solitude; but could not obtain it. His successor, Alexander II, out of affection for the holy man, was prevailed upon to allow it, in 1062, but not without great difficulty, and the reserve of a power to employ him in church matters of importance as he might have occasion hereafter for his assistance. The saint from that time thought himself discharged, not only from the burden of his flock, but also from the quality of superior, with regard to the several monasteries the general inspection of which he had formerly charged himself with, reducing himself to the condition of a simple monk.
In this retirement he edified the church by his penance and compunction, and laboured by his writings to enforce the observance of discipline and morality. His style is copious and vehement, and the strictness of his maxims appears in all his. works, especially where he treats of the duties of clergymen and monks. He severely rebuked the Bishop of Florence for playing a game at chess. That prelate acknowledged his amusement to be a faulty sloth in a man of his character, and received the saint's remonstrance with great mildness, and submitted to his injunction by way of penance, namely, to recite three times the psalter, to wash the feet of twelve poor men, and to give to each a piece of money. He shows those to be guilty of manifold simony who serve princes or flatter them for the sake of obtaining ecclesiastical preferments. He wrote a treatise to the bishop of Besanzon, against the custom which the canons of that church had of saying the divine office sitting; though he allowed all to sit during the lessons. This saint recommended the use of disciplines whereby to subdue and punish the flesh, which was adopted as a compensation for long penitential fasts. Three thousand lashes, with the recital of thirty psalms, were a redemption of a canonical penance of one year's continuance. Sir Thomas More, St. Francis of Sales, and others testify that such means of mortification are great helps to tame the flesh and inure it to the lab ours of penance; also to remove a hardness of heart and spiritual dryness, and to soften the soul into compunction. But all danger of abuses, excess, and singularity is to be shunned, and other ordinary bodily mortifications, as watching and fasting, are frequently more advisable. This saint wrote most severely on the obligations of religious men,4 particularly against their strolling abroad; for one of the most essential qualities of their state is solitude, or at least the spirit of retirement. He complained loudly of certain evasions, by which many palliated real infractions of their vow of poverty. He justly observed: "We can never restore what is decayed of primitive discipline; and if we, by negligence, suffer any diminution in what remains established, future ages will never be able to repair such breaches. Let us not draw upon ourselves so base a reproach; but. let us faithfully transmit to posterity the examples of virtue which we have received from our forefathers." The holy man reconciled discords, settled the bounds of the jurisdiction of certain dioceses, and condemned and deposed in councils those who were convicted of simony. He notwithstanding tempered his severity with mildness and indulgence towards penitents where charity and prudence required such a condescension. Henry IV, King of Germany, at eighteen years of age, began to show the symptoms of a heart abandoned to impiety, infamous debauchery, treachery, and cruelty. He married, in 1066, Bertha, daughter to Otho, Marquess of Italy, but afterward, in 1069, sought a divorce by taking his oath that he had never been able to consummate his marriage. The Archbishop of Mentz had the weakness to be gained over by his artifices to favour his desires, in which view he assembled a council at Mentz. Pope Alexander II forbad him ever to consent to so enormous an injustice, and pitched upon Peter Damian for his legate to preside in that synod, being sensible that a person of the most inflexible virtue, prudence, and constancy was necessary for so important and difficult an affair, in which passion, power, and craft made use of every engine in opposition to the cause of God. The venerable legate met the king and bishops at Frankfort, laid before them the orders and instructions of his holiness, and in his name conjured the king to pay a due regard to the law of God, the canons of the church, and his own reputation, and seriously reflect on the public scandal of so pernicious an example. The noblemen likewise all rose up and entreated his majesty never to stain his honour by so foul an action. The king, unable to resist so cogent an authority, dropped his project of a divorce; but, remaining the same man in his heart, continued to hate the queen more than ever.
St. Peter hastened back to his desert of Font-Avellano. Whatever austerities he prescribed to others he was the first to practice himself, remitting nothing of them even in his old age. He lived shut up in his cell as in a prison, fasted every day, except festivals, and allowed himself no other subsistence than coarse bread, bran, herbs, and water, and this he never drank fresh, but what he had kept from the day before. He tortured his body with iron girdles and frequent disciplines, to render it more obedient to the spirit. He passed the three first days of every Lent and Advent without taking any kind of nourishment whatsoever; and often for forty days together lived only on raw herbs and fruits, or on pulse steeped in cold water, without touching so much as bread, or any thing which had passed the fire. A mat spread on the floor was his bed. He used to make wooden spoons, and such like useful mean things, to exercise himself at certain hours in manual labour. Henry, Archbishop of Ravenna, having been excommunicated for grievous enormities, St. Peter was sent by Pope Alexander II, in quality of legate, to adjust the affairs of the church. When he arrived at Ravenna, in 1072, he found the unfortunate prelate just dead, but brought the accomplices of his crimes to a sense of their guilt, and imposed on them a suitable penance. This was his last undertaking for the church, God being pleased soon after to call him to eternal rest, and to the crown of his labours. Old age and the fatigues of his journey did not make him lay aside his accustomed mortifications, by which he consummated his holocaust. In his return towards Rome, he was stopped by a fever in the monastery of our Lady without the gates of Faenza, and died there on the eighth day of his sickness, whilst the monks were reciting matins round about him. He passed from that employment which had been the delight of his heart on earth to sing the same praises of God in eternal glory, on the 22nd of February, 1072, being fourscore and three years old. He is honoured as patron at Faenza and Font-Avellano on the 23rd of the same month.


RIP Brother Paul O'Donnell - #PROLIFE Hero dies in his sleep - Age 55

 Br. Paul O'Donnell has died in his sleep on Feb. 20, 2015. Br. Paul, was a founder of Pro-Life Action Ministries and its current president, He was a board member of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, Brother Paul was the Guardian Overall for the Franciscan Brothers of Peace and a nationally recognized hero for the Pro-Life movement was found dead at his place of residence. He studied Theology at University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN. Originally, Br. Paul was from Omaha, Nebraska. His birthday was December 15, 1959 so he was 55 years old. Br. Paul O'Donnell was very close to the Schindler family during the trial of Terri he is quoted as saying: "Terri's life and death changed my life forever. I am now the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. I remain a close friend of the Schindler family."
Please pray for the soul of this guiding light in the Pro-Life Movement....

Here is some information of his life from the Brothers Website:
Profession of Vows: October 4th, 1987
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
What I Did Before I Entered: I attended St. John Vianney Seminary from ‘78-’82 and St. Paul Seminary from ‘82-’84 located in St. Paul, Minnesota Hobbies and Interests: Tending to a 75 and 30 gallon tropical fish aquariums and playing with Ruby, our yellow Labrador retriever.
Favorite Part of Daily Life: Prayer and promoting the Gospel of Life.
Most Challenging Part of Daily Life: Being an effective leader and at the same time allowing the brothers to use their own gifts and talents.
Some Favorite Saints: St. Damien of Molokai, St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta.
Advice to Men Interested In Our Way of Life: Pray about a vocation to the religious life and seek spiritual direction. Vocations mostly come from real people with real families, not everyone is a perfect saint. Disregard thoughts of unworthiness. We are all unworthy, the Holy Spirit is the guiding force. Do not be afraid to make a commitment and put your trust in the Lord.
Pictures shared from Facebook 

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