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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Catholic News World : Thursday February 19, 2015 - Share!

2015


#PopeFrancis Lent Mass "There are two questions we must ponder..."

(Vatican Radio) Choose God, choose good, not to be a total failure, maybe hailed by the masses, but ultimately nothing more than a worshiper of "trivial, pithy things that pass".
This was Pope Francis reflection Thursday morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope centered his homily on the Bible passage in which God says to Moses, “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. Obey the commandments of the Lord, Your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him and walking in his ways”.
Followers of meaningless gods 
Pope Francis said the choice of Moses is one Christians are faced with every day. And it is a difficult choice. The Pope noted that it is easier to let oneself be carried along by inertia, by situations, habits. It is often easier to become servants of “other gods”. "The choice is between God and other gods who do not have the power to give us anything other than trivial, pithy little things that pass. It is not easy to choose, we always have this habit of following the herd, like everyone else. Like everyone else. Everyone and no one. Today the Church tells us: 'But, stop! Stop and choose '. This is good advice. It would do us all good to stop and think a little during the day: What is my lifestyle like? Which path am I on? ".
A monument to the failed
Pope Francis added that together with this question, we should dig deeper and ponder our relationship with God, with Jesus, our relationship with our parents, siblings, wife or husband, our relationship with our children. He then went on to consider the Gospel of the day, when Jesus says to his disciples that a man "who gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself" reaps no "benefit".
"The search for personal success, for possessions, without a thought for the Lord, for one’s family is always the wrong path to choose. There are two questions we must ponder: How is my relationship with God how is my relationship with my family. A person can earn everything, but in the end become a failure. He failed. That life is a failure. 'But no, they built him a monument, they painted his portrait ... ". But you failed: you did not choose well between life and death".
We do not choose on our own
Pope Francis then posed a third question: “What pace do I live my life at? Do I reflect on the things I do”. He said we should ask God for the grace to have that "little bit of courage" we need to choose Him every time.
The Holy Father concluded that the ‘beautiful advice’ of the Psalm 1, can help us in this. "'Blessed are they who hope in the Lord'. When the Lord gives us this advice - 'Stop! Choose today, choose '- He doesn’t abandon us. He is with us and wants to help us. But we have to trust Him; we have to have faith in Him. 'Blessed are they who hope in the Lord'. Today, when we stop to think about these things and make decisions, choose something, we know that the Lord is with us, beside us, helping us. He never abandons us to ourselves, never. He is always with us. Even in the moment of choosing, He is with us". (Emer McCarthy)

Priest offers Drive-through Ashes on #AshWednesday in Michigan

In West Michigan a priest offered ashes to go for Ash Wednesday. Father Cramer of St. John’s Episcopal was in the cold in Grand Haven offering drive-through ashes for those who could not attend Mass. Many other churches have adopted “Ashes to Go” a movement which began in 2007 in Missouri. The practice of quick ash distribution services is now in more than 30 states and in several countries.

Breaking News 12 Doctors Killed in Iraq for Refusing to harvest Organs

ISIS is harvesting human organs and killing doctors who refuse. At least 12 doctors have been killed for refusing. UN Iraq's ambassador to the Mohammed Alhakim asked UN Security Council to investigate Bodies with surgical incisions and missing organs that were discovered in mass graves. "We have bodies. Come and examine them," he said. "It is clear they are missing certain parts," Alhakim explained. "It is clear they are missing certain parts," he said. "These terrorist groups have desecrated all human values. Shi'ite, Sunni, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak or Yazidis," said Alhakim. Another UN envoy, Nikolai Mladenov, supported Alhakim's claims, and said that there is testimony to support claims that Isis was harvesting organs to fund its cause.  Last December, Al Monitor related that a doctor in Mosul claimed that foreign and Arab surgeons were hired to remove organs from fallen fighters, injured, and kidnapped people. (from CBS and various news sources)
Please PRAY and FAST for an end to this Terrorism...

Today's Mass Readings : Thursday February 19, 2015

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Lectionary: 220


Reading 1DT 30:15-20

Moses said to the people:
“Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

GospelLK 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?” 

Latest News from #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis


18-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 035 

Summary
- General audience: Brother, sister: words beloved to Christianity
- Appeal for Libya
- Francis joins in prayer for peace in Ukraine
- 52nd Campaign for Fraternity in Brazil: dialogue and collaboration between the Church and society
- Francis thanks the Italian Coast Guard for their work with refugees and immigrants
- Audiences
- The Pope offers Mass in the Sanctae Marthae Chapel to the Copts killed in Libya
- Pope's Message for World Youth Day: “Have the courage to be happy”
- Other Pontifical Acts
General audience: Brother, sister: words beloved to Christianity
Vatican City, 18 February 2015 (VIS) – Continuing his cycle of catechesis dedicated to the family, after reflecting on the figure of the mother and father, the Pope today spoke about fraternity. “'Brother' and 'sister' are words that Christianity loves. And, thanks to the family, they are words that all cultures and all ages understand”.
Fraternal bonds are very important in the history of the people of God, and are highly praised in the Old Testament. However their rupture opened up a deep abyss in mankind, and God's question to Cain - “Where is your brother?” - never ceases to resonate throughout history. “And”, exclaimed the Pontiff, “unfortunately, in this generation too, Cain's dramatic answer is also repeated endlessly: “I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?”. The rupture of the bond between brothers disfigures humanity. And even within families, how many brothers argue over small things, an inheritance, and then no longer even speak to or greet each other? If we think that they inhabited the womb of the same mother …. We all know families in which there are divisions between brothers. Let us pray to the Lord for them, to help brothers be reunited and families rebuilt. And let us always keep these divided brothers in our prayers”.
The bond of fraternity that is formed in the family, among children, if it occurs a climate of education in openness to others, “is the great school of freedom and peace. Perhaps we are not always aware of this, but it is precisely the family that introduces fraternity into the world”, remarked the Pope, emphasising that from this first experience, fraternity “radiates like a promise to the whole of society and the relations between peoples. And the blessing that God – in Jesus Christ – lavishes upon this bond of fraternity, extends it unimaginably, making it capable of surpassing any difference of nation, culture or even religion”.
 He added, “Think about what becomes of the bond between men, even the most diverse, when they are able to say of another, 'he is just like a brother, she is just like a sister to me'. History has demonstrated sufficiently that even liberty and equality, without fraternity, can be filled with individualism, conformism and personal interest”.
Fraternity in the family shines in a special way “when we see the care, patience, and affection that surround those brothers and sisters who are weak, sick, or disabled. Having a brother or a sister who cares for you is a powerful experience, priceless and irreplaceable. The same applies to the Christian family. We must be moved to tenderness by the smallest, the weakest, the poorest: they have a 'right' to capture our heart and soul. Yes, they are our brothers and we must love them and treat them as such. When this happens, when it is as if the poor are part of the family, our Christian fraternity comes to life. Indeed, Christians go towards the poor and the weak not in obedience to an ideological programme, but because the word and example of the Lord tell us that they are our brothers. This is the principle of God's love and of all justice between men”.
“And now I suggest one thing”, he added, off the cuff: “in silence, each of us, let us think of our brothers and sisters, and pray for them”. St. Peter's Square remained in silence for a moment, after which Francis added, “With this prayer we brought all of them, our brothers and sisters, here in the square to be blessed”.
“Today, more than ever, it is necessary to bring fraternity back to the centre of our technocratic and bureaucratic society: then liberty and equality will also acquire the correct tone. Therefore, let us not light-heartedly deprive our families, through apprehension or fear, of the beauty of a full fraternal experience. And lot us not lose our trust in the broad horizon that faith is able to draw from this experience, enlightened by God's blessing”.
Appeal for Libya
Vatican City, 18 February 2015 (VIS) – Following this morning's catechesis, Pope Francis launched a fresh appeal for prayers for “our Egyptian brothers, killed in Libya three days ago for the mere fact of being Christians. May the Lord welcome them into his house and console their families and their communities”.
He also encouraged prayer for peace in the Middle East and in North Africa, remembering all the deceased, the wounded and refugees. “May the international Community find peaceful solutions to the difficult situation in Libya”.
Francis joins in prayer for peace in Ukraine
Vatican City, 18 February 2015 (VIS) – At the end of today's general audience, the Pope greeted the faithful gathered in the square in various languages. He dedicated some special words to the Ukrainian bishops, currently in Rome on their “ad Limina” visit, and all the faithful accompanying them. “????? ????? ??????! Praise be to Jesus Christ!”, said the Holy Father in Ukrainian. “I know that among the many intentions you bring to the Tombs of the Apostles there is the plea for peace in Ukraine. I carry the same wish in my heart and join in your prayer that lasting peace may come soon to your homeland”.
52nd Campaign for Fraternity in Brazil: dialogue and collaboration between the Church and society
Vatican City, 18 February 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to the faithful of Brazil on the occasion of the 52nd Campaign for Fraternity in Brazil, organised annually by the Episcopal Conference during Lent. The theme of this year's Campaign is “Fraternity: Church and Society”.
“We are nearing Lent, the time of preparation for Easter: a time of penance, prayer and charity, a time to renew our lives, to identify with Jesus through generous donation to our brothers, especially those most in need”, writes the Pope. “Indeed, the Church, the community in which 'God gathered together as one all those who in faith look upon Jesus as the author of salvation and the source of unity and peace', cannot be indifferent to the needs of those she encounters, as 'the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted … are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ'”.
Francis mentions in his message that during these forty days, the Campaign for Fraternity wishes to help deepen, in the light of the Gospel, dialogue and collaboration between Church and society, to serve the construction of the Kingdom of God in the heart and life of the Brazilian people. He underlines, however, that this is not the exclusive task of institutions: all people must contribute, starting in their own home, their own workplace, and in relations with others. “Let us recall that each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and come to their aid”.
The Holy Father encourages an “examination of conscience” on the “concrete and effective commitment of each one of us in the construction of a more just, fraternal and peaceful society”. He concludes, “I hope that this year's Lenten journey, in the light of the proposals of the Campaign for Fraternity, may predispose hearts to the new life offered to us by Christ, and that the transformative power that flows from the Resurrection reaches everyone in its pastoral, family, social and cultural dimension, and strengthens sentiments of fraternity and lively collaboration in every heart”.
Francis thanks the Italian Coast Guard for their work with refugees and immigrants
Vatican City, 18 February 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday evening in the Domus Sanctae Marthae the Pope received a delegation from the Italian Coast Guard, and heard their account of the difficult rescue operations they carry out at sea to save refugees and migrants. The delegation was composed of nine people, led by Admiral Commander Felicio Angrisano and Admiral Giovanni Pettorino, head of the operative unit, and accompanied by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Maurizio Lupi.
The members of the delegation recounted their moving and inspiring experiences, and the Pope expressed his participation and appreciation for the service they carry out with bravery and dedication to the poorest. He recalled his trip to Lampedusa and praised the solidarity of the islanders with the refugees that arrive there, even at the expense of tourism in the area. He also mentioned that he had sent his Almoner, Archbishop Krajewski, to participate in the operation to recover bodies following the tragic shipwreck last year, and concluded, “I truly admire you, and I feel small before the work that you do, risking your lives, and I offer my heartfelt thanks to you for this. But I support you in the best way I can: with prayer, praise and affection”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 18 February 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Ricardo Lewandowski, president of the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil.
17-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 034 

The Pope offers Mass in the Sanctae Marthae Chapel to the Copts killed in Libya
Vatican City, 17 February 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis offered this morning's Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the 21 Egyptian Copts murdered yesterday in Libya, whose funerals will be held today.
“Let us offer this Mass for our 21 brother Copts, beheaded for the simple fact of being Christians. Let us pray for them, so that the Lord may welcome them as martyrs, for their families, and for my brother Tawadros, who suffers deeply”.
He went on to pronounce the antiphon from Psalm 31: “For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me”.
Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father telephoned the Patriarch, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to express his participation in the profound sorrow of the Orthodox Coptic Church for the recent barbaric massacre of Egyptian Copts at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. He assured him of his prayers and today, the day of the victims' funerals, joined spiritually in the prayers and the suffering of the Coptic Church, in the morning Eucharistic celebration.
Pope's Message for World Youth Day: “Have the courage to be happy”
Vatican City, 17 February 2015 (VIS) - “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” is the title of the Holy Father's message for the thirtieth World Youth Day, celebrated every year on Palm Sunday. The Pope continues his reflection on the Beatitudes, and after referring to his previous messages on “revolutionary meaning” and the “powerful summons of Jesus to embark courageously upon the exciting quest for happiness”, he goes on to focus on “the desire for happiness”, starting from the first chapters of the Book of Genesis which “shows to us the splendid beatitude to which we are called” and “consists in perfect communion with God, with others, with nature, and with ourselves”.
Francis divides his message into four parts. After speaking about the desire for happiness, he analyses the sixth beatitude paragraph by paragraph, explaining purity of heart. If the heart is considered in the Bible to be the “centre of the emotions, thoughts and intentions of the human person”, its purity consists fundamentally in the absence of contaminants such as hate, cowardice, and envy. He then turns to the care for creation, so that it does not become contaminated, and invites a “human ecology” that “ will help us to breathe the pure air that comes from beauty, from true love, and from holiness”. Francis also urged the young not to allow their ability to love or be loved be instrumentalised or impaired, and not to trivialise love.
In the third part, “... for they shall see God”, he recalls that Jesus “awaits us always with open arms”, and calls to all “in whatever place or situation you find yourself”. “Encountering God in prayer, the reading of the Bible and in fraternal life will help you better to know the Lord and yourselves”, writes the Pope. “Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, the Lord’s voice will make your hearts burn within you. He will open your eyes to recognise his presence and to discover the loving plan he has for your life”.
“Have the courage to be happy”, Francis concludes, recalling that this year's World Youth Day begins the final stage in preparation for the next great global event to be held in Krakow, Poland in 2016, thirty years after St. John Paul II instituted the World Youth Days in the Church. This “pilgrimage of young people from every continent under the guidance of the Successor of Peter has truly been a providential and prophetic initiative”.
The full text of the message is given below:
Dear Young Friends,
We continue our spiritual pilgrimage toward Krakow, where in July 2016 the next international World Youth Day will be held. As our guide for the journey we have chosen the Beatitudes. Last year we reflected on the beatitude of the poor in spirit, within the greater context of the Sermon on the Mount. Together we discovered the revolutionary meaning of the Beatitudes and the powerful summons of Jesus to embark courageously upon the exciting quest for happiness. This year we will reflect on the sixth beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.
1. The desire for happiness
The word “blessed”, or “happy”, occurs nine times in this, Jesus’ first great sermon. It is like a refrain reminding us of the Lord’s call to advance together with him on a road which, for all its many challenges, leads to true happiness.
Dear young friends, this search for happiness is shared by people of all times and all ages. God has placed in the heart of every man and woman an irrepressible desire for happiness, for fulfilment. Have you not noticed that your hearts are restless, always searching for a treasure which can satisfy their thirst for the infinite?
The first chapters of the Book of Genesis show us the splendid “beatitude” to which we are called. It consists in perfect communion with God, with others, with nature, and with ourselves. To approach God freely, to see him and to be close to him, was part of his plan for us from the beginning; his divine light was meant to illumine every human relationship with truth and transparency. In the state of original purity, there was no need to put on masks, to engage in ploys or to attempt to conceal ourselves from one another. Everything was clear and pure.
When Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and broke off this relationship of trusting communion with God, sin entered into human history. The effects were immediately evident, within themselves, in their relationship with each other and with nature. And how dramatic the effects are! Our original purity as defiled. From that time on, we were no longer capable of closeness to God. Men and women began to conceal themselves, to cover their nakedness. Lacking the light which comes from seeing the Lord, they saw everything around them in a distorted fashion, myopically. The inner compass which had guided them in their quest for happiness lost its point of reference, and the attractions of power, wealth, possessions, and a desire for pleasure at all costs, led them to the abyss of sorrow and anguish.
In the Psalms we hear the heartfelt plea which mankind makes to God: “What can bring us happiness? Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord”. The Father, in his infinite goodness, responded to this plea by sending his Son. In Jesus, God has taken on a human face. Through his Incarnation, life, death and resurrection, Jesus frees us from sin and opens new and hitherto unimaginable horizons.
Dear young men and women, in Christ you find fulfilled your every desire for goodness and happiness. He alone can satisfy your deepest longings, which are so often clouded by deceptive worldly promises. As Saint John Paul II said: “He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives”.
2. Blessed are the pure in heart
Let us now try to understand more fully how this blessedness comes about through purity of heart. First of all, we need to appreciate the biblical meaning of the word heart. In Hebrew thought, the heart is the centre of the emotions, thoughts and intentions of the human person. Since the Bible teaches us that God does not look to appearances, but to the heart, we can also say that it is from the heart that we see God. This is because the heart is really the human being in his or her totality as a unity of body and soul, in his or her ability to love and to be loved.
As for the definition of the word pure, however, the Greek word used by the evangelist Matthew is katharos, which basically means clean, pure, undefiled. In the Gospel we see Jesus reject a certain conception of ritual purity bound to exterior practices, one which forbade all contact with things and people (including lepers and strangers) considered impure. To the Pharisees who, like so many Jews of their time, ate nothing without first performing ritual ablutions and observing the many traditions associated with cleansing vessels, Jesus responds categorically: “There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness”.
In what, then, does the happiness born of a pure heart consist? From Jesus’ list of the evils which make someone impure, we see that the question has to do above all with the area of our relationships. Each one of us must learn to discern what can “defile” his or her heart and to form his or her conscience rightly and sensibly, so as to be capable of “discerning the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. We need to show a healthy concern for creation, for the purity of our air, water and food, but how much more do we need to protect the purity of what is most precious of all: our heart and our relationships. This “human ecology” will help us to breathe the pure air that comes from beauty, from true love, and from holiness.
Once I asked you the question: “Where is your treasure? In what does your heart find its rest?”. Our hearts can be attached to true or false treasures, they can find genuine rest or they can simply slumber, becoming lazy and lethargic. The greatest good we can have in life is our relationship with God. Are you convinced of this? Do you realise how much you are worth in the eyes of God? Do you know that you are loved and welcomed by him unconditionally, as indeed you are? Once we lose our sense of this, we human beings become an incomprehensible enigma, for it is the knowledge that we are loved unconditionally by God which gives meaning to our lives. Do you remember the conversation that Jesus had with the rich young man? The evangelist Mark observes that the Lord looked upon him and loved him, and invited him to follow him and thus to find true riches. I hope, dear young friends, that this loving gaze of Christ will accompany each of you throughout life.
Youth is a time of life when your desire for a love which is genuine, beautiful and expansive begins to blossom in your hearts. How powerful is this ability to love and to be loved! Do not let this precious treasure be debased, destroyed or spoiled. That is what happens when we start to use our neighbours for our own selfish ends, even as objects of pleasure. Hearts are broken and sadness follows upon these negative experiences. I urge you: Do not be afraid of true love, the love that Jesus teaches us and which St. Paul describes as “patient and kind”. Paul says: “Love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.
In encouraging you to rediscover the beauty of the human vocation to love, I also urge you to rebel against the widespread tendency to reduce love to something banal, reducing it to its sexual aspect alone, deprived of its essential characteristics of beauty, communion, fidelity and responsibility. Dear young friends, “in a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of ‘enjoying’ the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, ‘for ever’, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage to ‘swim against the tide’. And also have the courage to be happy”.
You young people are brave adventurers! If you allow yourselves to discover the rich teachings of the Church on love, you will discover that Christianity does not consist of a series of prohibitions which stifle our desire for happiness, but rather a project for life capable of captivating our hearts.
3. … for they shall see God
In the heart of each man and woman, the Lord’s invitation constantly resounds: “Seek my face!”. At the same time, we must always realise that we are poor sinners. For example, we read in the Book of Psalms: “Who can climb the mountain of the Lord? Who shall stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart”. But we must never be afraid or discouraged: throughout the Bible and in the history of each one of us we see that it is always God who takes the first step. He purifies us so that we can come into his presence.
When the prophet Isaiah heard the Lord’s call to speak in his name, he was terrified and said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips”. And yet the Lord purified him, sending to him an angel who touched his lips, saying: “Your guilt is taken away, and your sin is forgiven”. In the New Testament, when on the shores of lake Genessaret Jesus called his first disciples and performed the sign of the miraculous catch of fish, Simon Peter fell at his feet, exclaiming: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord”. Jesus’ reply was immediate: “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be fishers of men”. And when one of the disciples of Jesus asked him: “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied”, the Master replied: “He who has seen me has seen the Father.
The Lord’s invitation to encounter him is made to each of you, in whatever place or situation you find yourself. It suffices to have the desire for “a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter you; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day”. We are all sinners, needing to be purified by the Lord. But it is enough to take a small step towards Jesus to realise that he awaits us always with open arms, particularly in the sacrament of Reconciliation, a privileged opportunity to encounter that divine mercy which purifies us and renews our hearts.
Dear young people, the Lord wants to meet us, to let himself “be seen” by us. “And how?”, you might ask me. St. Teresa of Avila, born in Spain five hundred years ago, even as a young girl, said to her parents, “I want to see God”. She subsequently discovered the way of prayer as “an intimate friendship with the One who makes us feel loved”. So my question to you is this: “Are you praying?” Do you know that you can speak with Jesus, with the Father, with the Holy Spirit, as you speak to a friend? And not just any friend, but the greatest and most trusted of your friends! You will discover what one of his parishioners told the CurĂ© of Ars: “When I pray before the tabernacle, ‘I look at him, and he looks at me’”.
Once again I invite you to encounter the Lord by frequently reading sacred Scripture. If you are not already in the habit of doing so, begin with the Gospels. Read a line or two each day. Let God’s word speak to your heart and enlighten your path. You will discover that God can be “seen” also in the face of your brothers and sisters, especially those who are most forgotten: the poor, the hungry, those who thirst, strangers, the sick, those imprisoned. Have you ever had this experience? Dear young people, in order to enter into the logic of the Kingdom of Heaven, we must recognise that we are poor with the poor. A pure heart is necessarily one which has been stripped bare, a heart that knows how to bend down and share its life with those most in need.
Encountering God in prayer, the reading of the Bible and in the fraternal life will help you better to know the Lord and yourselves. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, the Lord’s voice will make your hearts burn within you. He will open your eyes to recognise his presence and to discover the loving plan he has for your life.
Some of you feel, or will soon feel, the Lord’s call to married life, to forming a family. Many people today think that this vocation is “outdated”, but that is not true! For this very reason, the ecclesial community has been engaged in a special period of reflection on the vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world. I also ask you to consider whether you are being called to the consecrated life or the priesthood. How beautiful it is to see young people who embrace the call to dedicate themselves fully to Christ and to the service of his Church! Challenge yourselves, and with a pure heart do not be afraid of what God is asking of you! From your “yes” to the Lord’s call, you will become new seeds of hope in the Church and in society. Never forget: God’s will is our happiness!
4. On the way to Krakow
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. Dear young men and women, as you see, this beatitude speaks directly to your lives and is a guarantee of your happiness. So once more I urge you: Have the courage to be happy!
This year’s World Youth Day begins the final stage of preparations for the great gathering of young people from around the world in Krakow in 2016. Thirty years ago St. John Paul II instituted World Youth Days in the Church. This pilgrimage of young people from every continent under the guidance of the Successor of Peter has truly been a providential and prophetic initiative. Together let us thank the Lord for the precious fruits which these World Youth Days have produced in the lives of countless young people in every part of the globe! How many amazing discoveries have been made, especially the discovery that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life! How many people have realised that the Church is a big and welcoming family! How many conversions, how many vocations have these gatherings produced! May the saintly Pope, the Patron of World Youth Day, intercede on behalf of our pilgrimage toward his beloved Krakow. And may the maternal gaze of the Blessed Virgin Mary, full of grace, all-beautiful and all-pure, accompany us at every step along the way.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 17 February 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as apostolic nuncio in Australia.

Saint February 19 : St. Conrad of Piacenza : Patron of Cure for Hernias



Information:
Feast Day:February 19
Born:
1290, Piacenza, Province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Died:February 19, 1351, Noto, Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Patron of:cure of hernias
CONFESSOR
Hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis, date of birth uncertain; died at Noto in Sicily, 19 February, 1351. He belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life. On one occasion, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to fire some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author. He was imprisoned, tried, and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, made open confession of his guilt; and in order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, was obliged to sell all his possessions. Thus reduced to poverty, Conrad retired to a lonely hermitage some distance from Piacenza, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares. Later he went to Rome, and thence to Sicily, where for thirty years he lived a most austere and penitential life and worked numerous miracles. He is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. In 1515 Leo X permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast, which permission was later extended by Urban VIII to the whole Order of St. Francis. Though bearing the title of saint, Conrad was never formally canonized. His feast is kept in the Franciscan Order on 19 February.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Saint February 18 : Fra Angelico : Dominican : Patron of Artists

Feast Day: February 18 Beatified: October 3, 1982
Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro; c. 1395 – February 18, 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects as having "a rare and perfect talent". He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One); the common English name Fra Angelico means the "Angelic friar".  He is listed in the Roman Martyrology as Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus—
Growing up in a small town in Italy, Guido di Pietro was interested in two things. He wanted to follow Christ’s example in all things and he wanted to develop his talent for painting. God showed him how these two things were his vocation. Our vocation is God’s call to share in Jesus’ life and work. Guido was born in 1387, and when he was 18, he joined the Dominican order as a religious brother. Brothers are not priests. Religious brothers serve their community through prayer and work. It Italy, religious brothers are called “Fra.” Religious brothers are often given a new name. Guido’s religious name was “Fra Giovanni” or Brother John. His work in his community was painting beautiful religious art, initially for manuscripts, which at the time were each copied by hand. The moment the members of his religious community saw his beautiful paintings, they said that he “painted like an angel.” That is how he became known as “Fra Angelico.” Every day before he began to paint, Fra Angelico prayed that God would guide his hand and help him to create a painting that would inspire people to grow closer to God. Fra Angelico became very famous. He painted holy figures and angels and was even called to Rome to paint portraits of the saints on the walls of the chapel of Pope Eugenius IV and then Pope Nicholas V. His work can be found in museums and churches and holy buildings throughout the world. He died in Rome in 1455 and was beatified in 1982 by Pope John Paul II. The pope declared him the patron saint of Catholic artists in 1984. We call Fra Angelico “Blessed.” His life helps us to understand that we are called to use the gifts we have been given to serve others and to give glory and praise to God.
Fra Angelico (Italian, ca. 1390/95-1455)
The Virgin of Humility, ca. 1436-38
Tempera on panel
29 1/8 x 24 in.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands


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