Saturday, March 21, 2015

Catholic News World : Saturday March 21, 2015 - Share!


Amazing New Movie #Cinderella has deep Christian elements - Watch Trailer

Saint March 21 : St. Nicholas of Flue : Patron of Difficult marriages, Large families, Swiss Guards, Switzerland

(Image Pope Francis in Naples kisses child in Audience shared from Radio Vaticana)
Kenneth Branagh's "Cinderella" has deeply Christian elements. Fr. Robert Barron, Lily James and Richard Madden star in a scene from the movie "Cinderella." Brothers Grimm wrote the original tale and Walt Disney adapted it. In Branagh's version, Ella is the daughter of good parents. However, her mother dies early but tells Ella always to be “kind and courageous.” Her father then remarries and brings his new wife and her two daughters to the home. Years later, Ella’s father leaves on a business trip. A few weeks later, there is news that the father became sick and died.  Ella is treated badly by her stepmother (played by  Cate Blanchett) and her stepsisters. They force her to sleep by the fire. Even the cat belonging to the stepfamily is called Lucifer.  Ella meets a handsome young prince, the son of the King. They fall in love. Because she returned home, the prince calls a ball and invites all of the young women of the realm. Cinderella, through her fairy godmother, goes to the ball, and the prince transforms Cinderella into a princess. She then offers forgiveness to her step-mother. 

Pope Francis Special Prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary "We entrust our miseries, the many streets of hate and blood..."

21/03/2015 09:05

Pope Francis departed from the Vatican this morning at 7:15 to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Pompeii. He arrived at the heliport near the basilica at 8:00 where he was greeted by Archbishop Tomaso Caputo of Pompeii, the pontifical delegate for the Sanctuary and several local authorities.
After spending several minutes in prayer in front of the image of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Holy Father will once again make his way by helicopter to the city of Naples where he will meet the faithful at John Paul II Square.
At 11, he will celebrate a Mass at Plebiscito Square and shortly after will head to the Giuseppe Salvia Detention Center, where he will have lunch with several of the detainees.
In the afternoon, the Pope will go to the Cathedral in Napes where he will venerate the relics of St. Januarius, the 3rd century bishop and martyr whose dried blood contained in glass vials liquefies miraculously every year. It is there where the Pope will meet with the clergy and religious men and women before heading to the Basilica of Gesu Nuovo, where he will meet with the sick and disabled.
Pope Francis will conclude his apostolic visit to Naples with a meeting of youth at 5:00pm in Lungomare Caracciolo. The Holy Father is expected to land in Vatican City at approximately 7:00pm. Below is the Vatican Radio translation of the Pope's prayer at the Shrine in Pompeii:
Virgin of the Holy Rosary, Mother of the Redeemer, our earthly Lady raised above the heavens, humble servant of the Lord, proclaimed Queen of the world, from the depth of our miseries we turn to you. With the faithfulness of children we look to your sweet gaze.
Crowned with twelve stars, you bring us to the mystery of the Father, you shine the splendor of the Holy Spirit, you give us our Divine Child, Jesus, our hope, our only salvation in the world. Comforted by your Rosary, you invite us to be fixed to his gaze. You open to us His heart, abyss of joy and sorry, of light and glory, mystery of the son of God, made man for us. At your feet in the footsteps of the saints, we feel as God’s family.
Mother and model of the Church, you are our guide and secure support. Make us one heart and one mind, a strong people on the way towards the heavenly homeland. We entrust our miseries, the many streets of hate and blood, the thousands of ancient and new poverties and above all, our sins. To you we entrust ourselves, Mother of Mercy: grant us the forgiveness of God, help us to build a world according to your heart.
O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain that ties us to God, chain of love that makes us brothers, we will not leave you again. You will be in our hands a weapon of peace and forgiveness, star that guides our path. And the kiss to you with our last breath, we plunge into a wave of light, in the vision of the beloved Mother and the Son of God, the desire and joy of our heart, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Today's Mass Readings : Saturday March 21, 2015

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Lectionary: 249

Reading 1JER 11:18-20

I knew their plot because the LORD informed me;
at that time you, O LORD, showed me their doings.

Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter,
had not realized that they were hatching plots against me:
“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will be spoken no more.”

But, you, O LORD of hosts, O just Judge,
searcher of mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause!

Responsorial PsalmPS 7:2-3, 9BC-10, 11-12

R. (2a) O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
O LORD, my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and rescue me,
Lest I become like the lion’s prey,
to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue me.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
Do me justice, O LORD, because I am just,
and because of the innocence that is mine.
Let the malice of the wicked come to an end,
but sustain the just,
O searcher of heart and soul, O just God.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
A shield before me is God,
who saves the upright of heart;
A just judge is God,
a God who punishes day by day.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.

Verse Before The GospelSEE LK 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

GospelJN 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.

#PopeFrancis "The Word of Jesus, the Holy Gospel, teaches that true blesseds are the poor in spirit, the non-violent..." Full Text/Video

Pope Francis gives his homily at Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples, 21 March 2015. - AFP
21/03/2015 11:56

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Eucharist in Naples on Saturday morning. Tens of thousands of people packed into Piazza del Plebiscito, a main square of the southern Italian city, for the open-air Mass. Large tapestries of local saints decorated the square.
During his homily, the Pope called on the city’s residents to embrace the Words of Jesus and to work together for “redemption for Naples.” He also called to conversion all those who lead criminal and corrupt lives.
“Dear Neapolitans, do not allow hope to be stolen from you,” he said. “Do not give in to the lure of easy money or dishonest income. React firmly to organizations that exploit and corrupt the young, the poor and the weak, with the cynical drug trade and other crimes. May corruption and delinquency do not disfigure the face of this beautiful city.”
“To criminals and all their accomplices, the Church repeats: convert to love and justice! Allow yourselves to find the mercy of God! With the grace of God, who forgives all, it is possible to return to an honest life,” he said.
Below is the Vatican Radio translation of the Pope’s complete homily:
The Gospel we have heard presents us with a scene set in the Temple of Jerusalem, at the height of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, after which Jesus proclaimed a great prophecy revealing himself as the source of “living water,” that is, the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 7:37-39). Then the people, very impressed by him, began to speak about Him – even today, people speak about him. Some were excited and said, "He is really the prophet" (v. 40). Someone even affirmed, "This man is the Christ!" (v. 41). But others were opposed because, they said, the Messiah does not come from Galilee, but from the seed of David, Bethlehem; and so, without knowing it, they confirmed the identity of Jesus.
The chief priests had sent officers to arrest him, as occurs in dictatorships, but they return empty-handed and say, "No man ever spoke like that!" (v. 45). Here is the voice of truth that resonates in those simple men.
The Word of the Lord, yesterday like today, always causes a division–the word of God always divides–between those who welcome it and those who reject it. Sometimes, it sparks an interior conflict in our hearts; this happens when we perceive the attractiveness, beauty and truth of Jesus' words, but at the same time we reject them because they are challenging, they put us in difficulty, and cost us too much to observe.
Today I came to Naples to proclaim together with you: Jesus is Lord! I do not want to say it alone. I want to hear you say it. (Jesus is Lord!) Once again. (Jesus is Lord!) Nobody speaks like him! He alone has the words of mercy that can heal the wounds of our heart. He alone has the words of eternal life (cf. Jn 6:68).
The Word of Christ is powerful: it does not have the power of the world, but that of God, which is strong in humility, even in weakness. Its power is that of love—that is the power of the Word of God—a love that knows no bounds, a love that makes us love others before ourselves. The Word of Jesus, the Holy Gospel, teaches that true blesseds are the poor in spirit, the non-violent, the meek, those who work for peace and justice. This is the force that changes the world! This is the Word that gives strength and that can change the world. There is no other way to change the world.
The Word of Christ wants to reach everyone, especially those who live in the peripheries of existence, that they may find in him the centre of their lives and the source of hope. And we, who have had the grace to receive this Word of Life—it is a grace to receive the Word of God—we are called to go, to step out of our fences and, with missionary zeal, to bring to everyone the mercy, tenderness and friendship of God. This work belongs to everyone but in a special way to you, priests: bring mercy, forgiveness, peace, joy, in the sacraments, in listening, so that the people of God can find in you merciful men, like Jesus.
At the same time, each parish and each ecclesial reality must become a sanctuary for those seeking God and a welcoming home for the poor, the elderly and those in need. To go and to welcome: this is how the heart of Mother Church, and the heart of all her children, beats. Go, welcome. Go, seek. Go, bring love, mercy and tenderness.
When hearts open to the Gospel, the world begins to change and humanity rises again! If we welcome, and live every day, the Word of Jesus, we rise with him.
This Lent, as we walk towards Easter, this message echoes in the Church: that in all the people of God is rekindled the hope of rising with Christ, our Saviour. May the grace of this Easter not come in vain for the people of God in this city! May the grace of the Resurrection be welcomed by each of you, so that Naples is full of the hope of Christ, the Lord! Hope, open to hope. I say to everyone, especially to you young people: open yourselves to the power of the Risen Jesus and you will bear the fruits of new life in this city—the fruits of sharing, reconciliation, service, brotherhood. Allow yourselves to be enveloped, embraced by his mercy, by the mercy of Jesus that only Jesus can bring.
Dear Neapolitans, be open to hope and do not allow hope to be stolen from you! Do not give in to the lure of easy money or dishonest income. This may be bread for today but hunger for tomorrow. It cannot bring you anything. React firmly to organizations that exploit and corrupt the young, the poor and the weak, with the cynical drug trade and other crimes. Do not allow hope to be stolen from you. Do not allow your youth to be exploited by these people.
May corruption and delinquency not disfigure the face of this beautiful city! Moreover, may it not disfigure the joy of your Neapolitan hearts. To criminals and all their accomplices, today as a brother, I repeat: convert to love and justice! Allow yourselves to find the mercy of God! Know that Jesus is looking for you to embrace you, to love you more. With the grace of God, who forgives all, it is possible to return to an honest life. Even the tears of the mothers of Naples, mixed with those of Mary, the heavenly Mother invoked in Piedigrotta and in many churches of Naples, ask this of you. These tears melt the hardness of hearts and lead all back on the path of goodness.
Today, spring begins, and spring brings hope. It is a time of hope. And it is time for redemption for Naples: this is my wish and my prayer for a city that has so much spiritual, cultural and human potential, and above all a great capacity to love. The authorities, institutions, various social realities and citizens, united and in accord, can build a better future. The future of Naples is not to be resigned and to fold in on itself—this is not your future—but the future of Naples is to open itself up with trust to the world. In the mercy of Christ, who makes all things new, this city can find the strength to go forward with hope, strength for so many lives, so many families and communities. To hope is already to resist evil. To hope is to see the world through the eyes and heart of God. To hope is to bet on the mercy of God, who is Father and always forgives and forgives everything.
God, the source of our joy and the reason for our hope, lives in our cities. God lives in Naples. God lives in Naples. May his grace and his blessing sustain you on your journey in faith, in charity and in hope, your good intentions and your plans for moral and social redemption. We have altogether proclaimed Jesus as Lord. I would like everyone to repeat it again, three times. (Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord!) And may Mary accompany you! 

Latest News from #Vatican Information and #PopeFrancis - Official Resignation of Cardinal O'Brien

20-03-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 056 

- The Pope on the importance of the “hidden Christians” of Japan
- Pope Francis: the death penalty is inadmissible
- Press release from the Dean of the College of Cardinals
- Pope's telegram for terrorist attack in Tunisia
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
The Pope on the importance of the “hidden Christians” of Japan
Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS) – “Though the Catholic community is small, your local Churches are esteemed by Japanese society for your many contributions, born of your Christian identity, which serve people regardless of religion. I commend your many efforts in the fields of education, healthcare, service to the elderly, infirm, and handicapped, and your charitable works which have been especially important in response to the tragic devastation wrought by the earthquake and tsunami four years ago. So too I express deep appreciation for your initiatives in favour of peace, especially your efforts to keep before the world the immense suffering experienced by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War seventy years ago. In all of these works, you not only meet the needs of the community, but you also create opportunities for dialogue between the Church and society”.
 The Holy Father thus addressed the prelates of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan at the end of their “ad Limina” visit, who this month celebrate the “discovery” fifty years ago of the “hidden Christians” of Japan, a central theme of the written discourse the Pope handed to them this morning.
He writes, “The Church in Japan has experienced abundant blessings but has equally known suffering. From those joys and sorrows, your ancestors in the faith have bequeathed to you a living heritage that adorns the Church today and encourages her journey toward the future. This heritage is rooted in the missionaries who first reached your shores and proclaimed the Word of God, Jesus Christ. We think especially of Saint Francis Xavier. ... For many of these missionaries, as well as for some of the first members of the Japanese Catholic community, their witness to Christ led to the shedding of their blood. … We recall especially Saint Paul Miki and companions whose steadfast faith in the midst of persecution became an encouragement for the small Christian community to persevere in every trial”.
Another aspect of this rich patrimony is the discovery of the “hidden Christians” - those who conserved the Christian faith after all the lay missionaries and priests had been expelled from the country. “The embers of faith which the Holy Spirit ignited through the preaching of these evangelisers and sustained by the witness of the martyrs were kept safe, through the care of the lay faithful who maintained the Catholic community’s life of prayer and catechesis in the midst of great danger and persecution”.
“These two pillars of Catholic history in Japan, missionary activity and the 'hidden Christians',continue to support the life of the Church today, and offer a guide to living the faith. In every age and land, the Church remains a missionary Church, seeking to evangelise and make disciples of all nations, while continually enriching the faith of the community of believers and instilling in them the responsibility to nurture this faith in the home and society”.
The work of evangelisation, however, “is not the sole responsibility of those who leave their homes and go to distant lands to preach the Gospel. In fact, by our baptism, we are all called to be evangelisers and to witness to the Good News of Jesus wherever we are. We are called to go forth, to be an evangelising community, even if that simply means opening the front door of our homes and stepping out into our own neighbourhoods. … If our missionary efforts are to bear fruit, the example of the 'hidden Christians' has much to teach us. Though small in number and daily facing persecution, these believers were able to preserve the faith by being attentive to their personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship built on a solid prayer life and a sincere commitment to the welfare of the community. … The 'hidden Christians' of Japan remind us that the work of fostering the life of the Church and of evangelising require the full and active participation of the lay faithful. Their mission is twofold: to engage in the life of the parish and local Church, and to permeate the social order with their Christian witness”.
Through the witness of faith of the Japanese faithful, “the Church expresses her genuine catholicity and shows the ‘beauty of her varied face’”, the Pope concludes, citing his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”. “So often, when we find this witness lacking, it is not because the faithful do not want to be missionary disciples, but rather because they think themselves incapable of the task. I encourage you as Pastors to instil in them a deep appreciation of their calling and to offer them concrete expressions of support and guidance so that they may answer this call with generosity and courage”.
Pope Francis: the death penalty is inadmissible
Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS)- This morning the Holy Father received in audience a delegation from the International Commission against the Death Penalty. Below we offer extensive extracts from the letter the Pope gave to Federico Mayor, president of the Commission, to greet and offer his personal thanks to all the members of the aforementioned International Commission, the group of countries that lend their support, and all those who collaborate in its work.
“I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some reflections on what the Church contributes to the humanistic efforts of the Commission. The Church's Magisterium, based on the Sacred Scripture and the thousand-year experience of the People of God, defends life from conception to natural end, and supports full human dignity inasmuch as it represents the image of God. Human life is sacred as, from its beginning, from the first instant of conception, it is the fruit of God's creating action”.
“States kill when they apply the death penalty, when they send their people to war or when they carry out extrajudicial or summary executions. They can also kill by omission, when they fail to guarantee to their people access to the bare essentials for life. … On some occasions it is necessary to repel an ongoing assault proportionately to avoid damage caused by the aggressor, and the need to neutralise him could lead to his elimination; this is a case of legitimate defence. However, the presuppositions of personal legitimate defence do not apply at the social level, without risk of misinterpretation. When the death penalty is applied, it is not for a current act of aggression, but rather for an act committed in the past. It is also applied to persons whose current ability to cause harm is not current, as it has been neutralised – they are already deprived of their liberty”.
“Nowadays the death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed. It is an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person, which contradicts God's plan for man and society, and his merciful justice, and impedes the penalty from fulfilling any just objective. It does not render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance”.
“For the rule of law, the death penalty represents a failure, as it obliges the state to kill in the name of justice. … Justice can never be wrought by killing a human being. … With the application of the death penalty, the convict is denied the possibility of to repent or make amends for the harm caused; the possibility of confession, by which a man expresses his inner conversion, and contrition, the gateway to atonement and expiation, to reach an encounter with God's merciful and healing justice. It is furthermore frequently used by totalitarian regimes and groups of fanatics for the extermination of political dissidents, minorities, and any subject labelled as 'dangerous' or who may be perceived as a threat to its power or to the achievement of its ends”.
“The death penalty is contrary to the sentiment of humanitas and to divine mercy, which must be the model for human justice. … There is discussion in some quarters about the method of killing, as if it were possible to find ways of 'getting it right'. … But there is no humane way of killing another person”.
“On the other hand, life imprisonment entails for the prisoner the impossibility of planning a future of freedom, and may therefore be considered as a sort of covert death penalty, as they deprive detainees not only of their freedom, but also of hope. However, although the penal system can stake a claim to the time of convicted persons, it can never claim their hope”.
“Dear friends, I encourage you to continue with your work, as the world needs witnesses of God's mercy and tenderness, and may the Lord Jesus grant the gift of wisdom, so that the action taken against this cruel punishment may be successful and fruitful”.
Press release from the Dean of the College of Cardinals
Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of the rights and privileges of a Cardinal, expressed in canons 349, 353 and 356 of the Code of Canon Law, presented by His Eminence Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, archbishop emeritus of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, after a long period of prayer. With this provision, His Holiness would like to manifest his pastoral solicitude to all the faithful of the Church in Scotland, and to encourage them to continue with hope the path of renewal and reconciliation. 
Pope's telegram for terrorist attack in Tunisia
Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram of condolences on behalf of the Holy Father to the Archbishop of Tunis, Ilario Antoniazzi, for the victims of the terrorist attack on 18 March.
“Having learned of the grave terrorist attack on the city of Tunis, which caused numerous deaths and injuries, Pope Francis reiterates his strong condemnation of any act against peace and the sacredness of human life, and joins in prayer with the suffering of the families who mourn their loved ones and all those affected by this tragedy, as well as with all the Tunisian people. He asks the Lord to welcome the departed in His peace and to comfort those who are seriously injured. As a pledge of consolation, the Pope asks that God might grant His abundant blessings to all.
Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation
- Sixteen prelates of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, on their “ad Limina” visit:
- Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki;
- Bishop Dominic Ryoji Miyahara of Fukuoka;
- Bishop Paul Kenjiro Koriyama of Kagoshima;
- Bishop Berard Toshio Oshikawa of Naha;
- Bishop Paul Sueo Hamaguchi of Oita;
- Archbishop Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda of Osaka, with his auxiliary, Bishop Michael Goro Matsuura;
- Bishop Paul Yoshinao Otsuka of Kyoto;
- Bishop Augustinus Jun-ichi Nomura of Nagoya;
- Bishop John Eijiro Suwa of Takamatsu;
- Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of Saitama, with his auxiliary, Bishop James Kazuo Koda;
- Bishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi of Niigata;
- Bishop Bernard Taiji Katsuya of Sapporo;
- Bishop Martin Tetsuo Hiraga of Sendai; and
- Bishop Rafael Masahiro Umemura of Yokohama.
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Rev. Fr. Mario Eduardo Dorsonville-Rodriguez as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Washington, (area 5,447, population 2,824,893, Catholics 621,476, priests 793, permanent deacons 246, religious 1,176), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in 1960 in Bogota, Colombia, and was ordained a priest in 1985. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Xaverian University of Bogota and a D.Min. from the Catholic University of America, Washington. In Bogota, he served as deputy priest and parish priest, associate chaplain and professor of ethics at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and professor of pastoral counsel and catechesis at the major seminary of Bogota. In Washington, he has served as deputy priest and is currently director of the “Spanish Catholic Centre”, vice president for the Mission of Catholic Charities, adjunct spiritual director at the St. John Paul II Seminary, and member of the college of consultors and the presbyteral council.
- reorganised the Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church, elevating it to the status of “sui iuris Metropolitan Church, by the following measures:
- elevation of the eparchy of Hajdudorog for Catholics of Byzantine rite (Cathlics 270,000, priests 190, permanent deacons 4, religious 13) to a metropolis, with its seat in Debrecen, appointing eparchal Bishop Fulop Kocsis as the first Metropolitan;
- elevation of the apostolic exarchate of Miskolc (Catholics 56,200, priests 70) for Catholics of Byzantine rite to the status of eparchy, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Hajdudorog, appointing Msgr. Atanaz Orosz, formerly apostolic exarch of Miskolc, as the first eparchal bishop;
- erection of the eparchy of Nyiregyhaza for Catholics of Byzantine rite, with territory taken from the eparchy of Hajdudorog, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Hajdudorog, appointing Bishop Atanaz Orosz as apostolic administrator “sede vacante”.
On Thursday, 19 March, the Holy Father:
- appointed Msgr. Vlastimil Krocil as bishop of Ceske Budejovice (area 12,500, population 760,600, Catholics 291,700, priests 136, permanent deacons 19, religious 164), Czech Republic. The bishop-elect was born in Brno, Czech Republic in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1994. Following studies at the Pontifical Lateran University and the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, he obtained a degree in theology and philosophy from the Catholic University of Ruzomberok, Slovakia. He has served as chaplain in Jindrichuv Hradec, and is currently professor of patrology and early Christian literature in the faculty of theology at Ceske Budejovice, parish administrator at Veseli nad Luznici, member of the presbyteral council and the college of consultors, and diocesan representative for pastoral ministry.
- erected the diocese of Nogales, Mexico, with territory from the archdiocese of Hermosillo, Mexico, making it a suffragan of the same archdiocese.
- appointed Bishop Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico, as bishop of the new diocese of Nogales (area 44,243, population 483,180, Catholics 381,398, priests 44, religious 62), Mexico.

Saint March 21 : St. Nicholas of Flue : Patron of Difficult marriages, Large families, Swiss Guards, Switzerland

St. Nicholas of Flue
Feast: March 21

Feast Day:March 21
Born:21 March 1417 at Sachseln, Canton Obwalden, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
Died:21 March 1487
Canonized:15 May 1947 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:Sachseln, Switzerland
Patron of:councilmen, difficult marriages, large families, magistrates, parents of large families, Pontifical Swiss Guards, separated spouses, Switzerland
Had Nicholas not been a saint, or had he eaten and drunk like other saints, Switzerland with all it has meant for peace and humanity would probably not exist today. For Nicholas's entire life was ordained in view of his vocation to save his country.
Nicholas von Flue was born on March 21st, 1417 in the Canton of Unterwalden on the lake of Lucerne, a citizen of a peasant democracy and a farmer's son. As he grew up he proved himself a capable farmer, and the ability he displayed in the local parliament, of which every male citizen was a member, led to his election at an early age as councillor and judge. He also proved himself a capable commander of troops. In the war against the duke of Tirol he persuaded his compatriots to respect a convent of nuns. Though willing to perform his military service, Nicholas condemned as immoral, wars of aggression and the slaughter of non-combatants inevitable in any major modern war. About the age of thirty he married a farmer's daughter, Dorothy Wiss, and built a farmhouse to receive her. The couple had ten children and descendants survive to this day.
Nicholas had thus approved himself to his countrymen as a thoroughly capable man, as farmer, military leader, member of the assembly, councillor, judge and father of a family—also a man of complete moral integrity. All the while, however, he led a life of contemplative prayer and rigorous fasting. He was the subject of symbolic visions and a diabolic assault.
After some twenty years of married life, in 1467 Nicholas received a compelling call to abandon his home and the world and become a hermit. Though she had just borne his tenth child his wife heroically consented. His neighbors, however, even his older children, regarded his action as indefensible, unbalanced, immoral and irresponsible. He set out for Alsace, where he intended to live. Had he carried out his intention his vocation would have been missed. A storm, however, symbolically interpreted, and friendly advice not to settle where the Swiss were detested made him turn back from the border. At the same time he became incapable of eating or drinking—a condition which continued for the rest of his life. As an act of obedience to a bishop he once ate with acute agony a piece of soaked bread. (The problem of prolonged fasting is more fully discussed in the account of St. Lidwina of Schiedam.)
He resumed to his native canton, passing the first night undiscovered in the cow-shed of his farm and settled in a hermitage at Ranft within a few miles of his home. It was no temptation to return home, as he never felt the least desire for his former life. Symbolic visions continued to be a feature of his contemplation, and when, after a month's strict surveillance, his countrymen were convinced that his fast was genuine, they recognised his sanctity and vocation, and he became a spiritual guide whose advice was widely sought and followed. Pilgrims came from distant parts to consult him. He  acquired influence with Duke Sigismund of the Tirol, whom he confirmed in his neutrality when the Swiss confederacy met and defeated Charles of Burgundy. Everything was ready for the climax of Nicholas's life: the accomplishment of his unique vocation.
The victorious cantons were at loggerheads. The rural cantons opposed inflexibly the demand of Zurich and Lucerne that Freiburg and Soleure be admitted to the confederacy. A conference held at Stans, December 1481, failed to reach agreement. Next day the delegates would disperse and a civil war ensue which would presumably have destroyed the confederacy. The parish priest, once Nicholas's confessor, hurried to Ranft and laid the matter before the hermit. During the night Nicholas dictated suggested terms of agreement. The priest resumed in time to persuade the delegates to give a hearing to the proposals of a man so widely respected for his well tried practical abilities and so widely venerated for his holiness. The terms suggested—the conditional admittance of Freiburg and Soleure—were unanimously accepted and embodied in the agreement of Stans. Switzerland had been saved.
Nicholas survived his achievement almost six years, universally revered, visited and consulted. On March 21st 1487, his seventieth birthday, he died, apparently of his first illness. One is glad to know that his wife and children attended his deathbed. After all, she had never lost her husband completely. Honored by Swiss Protestants, venerated by Swiss Catholics, Nicholas's cult, uninterrupted since his death, was officially sanctioned by Clement IX (1667-9). In 1947 he was canonized by Pope Pius XII. SOURCE:
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