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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Catholic News World : Saturday March 7, 2015 - Share!

2015

SHARE Reminder Clocks Forward at 2am - Go to Church 1 hour Early! and Novena to St. Joseph Begins!



Sunday, March 8, at 2am the clocks will move forward 1 hour in the USA and Canada. This is called "Daylight Savings Time" or "Spring Forward". This usually means you must go to Church 1 hour earlier on Sunday morning!


NOVENA TO ST. JOSEPH
On March 19 it will be the feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.
The Novena Prayer to St. Joseph begins today.
Say for nine consecutive mornings for anything you may desire. It has seldom been known to fail.



*Oh St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so  
strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I
place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful
intercession and obtain for me from your
Divine Son all spiritual blessings through
Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged
here below your Heavenly power I may offer my
Thanksgiving and Homage to the Loving of
Fathers.
Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you
and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not
approach while He reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head
for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I
draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen

Pope Francis says Mass on Anniversary of 1st Vernacular Mass “in the language of the people.” Video


Pope Francis on Saturday evening celebrated Mass at the church of Ognissanti (All Saints') on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated in Italian. - AP
07/03/2015 19:


(Vatican Radio) On Saturday evening, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Roman church of “Ognissanti” – All Saints’ – in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first Mass offered in Italian.
It was in the church of Ognissanti, fifty years ago, on the First Sunday of Lent, 1965, that Pope Paul VI offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass predominantly using the vernacular – the language of the people. Describing the event, Pope Paul said, “Across the world this date marks the first time a new way of praying, of celebrating Holy Mass has been inaugurated.”
In his homily on Saturday, Pope Francis recalled the Gospel account of the cleansing of the temple, and Jesus’ famous remark, “Do not make My Father’s house a marketplace!” This expression, the Pope said, did not just refer to those doing business in the temple; it refers to a certain type of religiosity. Jesus’ gesture is one of “cleansing, of purification.” God is not pleased with material offerings based on personal interests. Rather, Jesus is calling us to “authentic worship, to the correspondence between liturgy and life – a call that is true for every age, and also for us today.”
Recalling the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Pope Francis said, “the Church is calling us to have and to promote an authentic liturgical life, so that there may be harmony between what the liturgy celebrates, and what we live in our daily existence.” The liturgy, he said, “is the privileged place to hear the voice of the Lord, who guides us on the path of righteousness and Christian perfection.”
The liturgy, he continued, invites us to a journey of conversion and penance, especially during Lent, “the time of interior renewal, of the remission of sins, the time in which we are called to rediscover the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, that makes us go from the darkness of sin to the light of grace and friendship with Jesus.” The Pope said we must never forget “the great strength that this Sacrament has for the Christian life: it makes us grow in union with God, makes us regain lost joy and experience the consolation of knowing we are personally welcomed by the merciful embrace of the Father.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily noting that the church of Ognissanti was built “thanks to the apostolic zeal of Saint Luigi Orione.” And he recalled that it was here, “in a certain sense,” that Blessed Paul VI “inaugurated the liturgical reform” with the celebration of the Mass “in the language of the people.” Pope Francis expressed his hope that this occasion would revive in everyone a great “love for the house of God.” 

Catholic Quote to SHARE by Mother Teresa "At the hour of death when we come..."


“At the hour of death when we come face-to-face with God, we are going to be judged on love; not how much we have done, but how much love we put into the doing.” ― Mother Teresa

What is Communion and Liberation and Founder Luigi Giussani - Interesting Facts to SHARE

The Movement of Communion and Liberation

Communion and Liberation is a movement in the Church which has the purpose of forming its members in Christianity in order to make them coworkers in the Church’s mission in all areas of society.

CL began in 1954 in Italy, at the Berchet classical high school in Milan, when Father Luigi Giussani (1922-2005) started an initiative of Christian presence which uses the pre-existent name Gioventù Studentesca (GS; English: Student Youth).

Its current name, Communion and Liberation (CL), appeared for the first time in 1969. This name brings together the conviction that the Christian event, lived in communion, is the foundation of man’s authentic liberation. As Benedict XVI declared, Communion and Liberation “today … offers a profound way of life and actualizes the Christian faith, both in a total fidelity and communion with the Successor of Peter and with the Pastors who assure the governing of the Church, and through spontaneity and freedom that permit new and prophetic, apostolic and missionary achievements” (Address to CL, March 24, 2007).

Giussani summed up the content and purpose of his effort in these words: “From my very first day as a teacher, I’ve always offered these words of warning to my class: ‘I’m not here so that you can take my ideas as your own; I’m here to teach you a true method that you can use to judge the things I will tell you. And what I have to tell you is the result of a long experience, of a past that is two thousand years old.’ From the beginning, our educational efforts have always stood by this method, clearly pointing out that it was intended to show how faith could be relevant to life’s needs.
As a result of the education I received at home, my seminary training, and my reflections later in life, I came to believe deeply that only a faith arising from life experience and confirmed by it (and, therefore, relevant to life’s needs) could be sufficiently strong to survive in a world where everything pointed in the opposite direction, so much so that even theology for a long time had given in to a faith separated from life. Showing the relevance of faith to life’s needs, and therefore – and this ‘therefore’ is important –showing that faith is rational, implies a specific concept of rationality. When we say that faith exalts rationality, we mean that faith corresponds to some fundamental, original need that all men and women feel in their hearts.” (Luigi Giussani, The Risk of Education, New York 2001, pp. 11-12).

Communion and Liberation is present today in roughly eighty countries on all the inhabited continents, and is guided by Father Julián Carrón, who succeeded Father Giussani after his death in 2005.
No form of membership enrollment is involved, but only the free participation of individual persons. The basic instrument for the formation of those who belong to the Movement is a weekly catechesis which is called the School of Community.
The Movement’s official publication is the international monthly magazine Tracce-Litterae Communionis, published in English asTraces.

The Founder: Luigi Giussani


His birth, family, education, his vocation to education, the birth and development of the Movement, his relationship with John Paul II and the Catholic hierarchy, his funeral celebrated by the then Cardinal Ratzinger, the multiplication of fruits generate

Luigi Giovanni Giussani was born on October 15, 1922 in Desio (a small town in Brianza, north of Milan, which was also the birthplace of future Pope Pius XI) from Beniamino Giussani, accomplished artist and engraver, and Angelina Gelosa, textile worker. His mother was a fervent Catholic; his father was sympathetic to the reasons of socialism. They also had Livia (1925),Brunilde (1929), who died the following year, Brunilde (1932), and Gaetano (1939).
Father Giussani would speak about his parents his whole life: the facts of their lives and even aspects of their characters have always been mentioned as an example of humanity and faith.

From 1928 to 1933 he attended elementary school in Desio.
On October 2, 1933 he entered the diocesan seminary of St. Peter Martyr in Seveso, where he attended the first four years of grammar school (1933-1937).
In 1937 he was transferred to the seminary of Venegono, where he spent eight years: he completed the final year of grammar school and attended three years of high school (1938-1941) and four years of Theology (1941-1945).
During high school, Giovanni Colombo’s teachings – the future archbishop of Milan – instilled in him a passion for literature and especially the poems of Giacomo Leopardi, which produced in him a wound, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said during his homily at the funeral: “Father Giussani ... from the start was touched, or better, wounded, by the desire for beauty. He was not satisfied with any beauty whatever, a banal beauty, he was looking rather for Beauty itself, infinite Beauty, and thus he found Christ, in Christ true beauty, the path of life, the true joy” (February 24, 2005).
During the years of theology under the guidance of masters such as Gaetano Corti, Carlo Colombo, Carlo Figini, his excitement and discoveries of the adolescence age found an adequate support and shape in a teaching that focused on the event of the Incarnation as fulfillment of the expectations of the human heart and the method of the encounter as the source of a reasonable faith. Father Giussani recalled that “everything is due to my loyalty of a teaching, the one received during the years of high school and diocesan seminary in Venegono, by real masters who knew how to make me absorb a strong Christian tradition.”

The seminary years are also marked by his relationship with some fellow students, in particular Enrico Manfredini – the future archbishop of Bologna – and Carlo De Ponti (who died shortly before his ordination to the priesthood), with whom he created a group called Studium Christi and a publication called “Christus,” dedicated to discovering the centrality of Christ’s person in the understanding of every subject they studied.
During the seminary years he distinguished himself for his brilliant results in his studies, documented by the excellent grades obtained at the end of each year.
On November 4, 1943, he received his baccalaureate.
On May 26, 1945, a month after the end of World War II, he was ordained priest by Cardinal Ildefonso Schuster, in the Milan Cathedral.
In the previous month of March, the rector of the seminary in Venegono had decided that Giussani should remain in the seminary to continue his studies and begin teaching. He specialized in the study of Eastern theology (especially on Slavophiles), the American Protestant theology, and a deeper understanding of the rational reasons for adherence to faith and the Church.

He obtained a diploma in theology and began teaching in the lower seminary of Seveso.
In autumn 1945, he began his service in the parish of a working class neighborhood on the outskirts of Milan, on Saturdays and Sundays. The experience in the parish lasted few months: in fact, soon he became ill from the cold winter, travelling by train, and his room at the Seminary, which was extremely cold on his return on Sunday evenings.
He started long periods of convalescence, especially in Varigotti in the Ligurian coast, at a residence operated by religious men, until 1949.
Since 1950, on Saturdays and Sundays, he started serving in a parish in downtown Milan. In Venegono he founded a group called “The fools for Christ,” in imitation of St. Paul.
From 1953, he was invited to participate in the Council of Gioventù Studentesca (Student Youth), which gathered high school students of Catholic Action in Milan, at first getting involved with the girls’ branch and then, because of his good results, also with the boys’ one.
In June 1954, he obtained a doctorate with a 70/70 grade, magna cum laude, with a thesis on “Reinhold Niebuhr’s understanding of the Christian meaning of man.”

Since the 1954 school year, he taught religion at the Berchet Classical high school in Milan, where he remained until 1967. He was driven by his desire to bring the Christian experience in the school environment in response to the questions and needs of young people living increasingly in a context of progressive hostility to faith and the Catholic Church.
Content of his lectures were the same issues that would accompany him – going deeper and deeper to their core – all along his path as an educator and human being: the religious sense and the reasonableness of faith; the hypothesis and reality of Revelation; Christ’s pedagogy in revealing himself; the nature of the Church as the continued presence of Christ in history to date. Most of all it was his person that exerted an attraction and made the Christian announcement contemporary to the young people he encountered. In 1955 he was appointed Diocesan Assistant to Gioventù Studentesca.
He published Christian responses to the problems of young people. Forced by his superiors to choose between the scientific work at the theological faculty and his commitment among young people in Milan, he opted for the latter, while still teaching at Venegono until 1957.

In 1956 he left his room at the seminary and moved to Milan, initially in Via Statuto, GS’ venue. In 1957 his father died of renal tuberculosis.
In the same year he engaged all GS in the City Mission, sponsored by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini – the future Pope Paul VI – with a letter for Lent called On the religious sense.
A few months later, Giussani published The religious sense, the first version of a text whose subsequent editions would deepen the contents and concerns of that first small book, published by the GIAC (Gioventù Italiana di Azione Cattolica - Italian Youth of Catholic Action). While at the head of GS, he renewed its education proposal, conceiving it as a Christian community in the school. The novelty of his method particularly struck Father Maurice Cocagnac, director of the French magazine “Vie spirituelle.”
Between the late fifties and early sixties he published three small volumes which summarize the core of his proposal: G.S. Reflections on an Experience (1959), Traces of Christian Experience (1960), Notes on the Christian Method (1964). All of them were published with the imprimatur of the Church.

These were the years of the spread of GS in the diocese of Milan, and throughout Italy, and of the first missionary attempts, starting with Brazil – the first example of young lay people leaving for the mission.
In 1960 and 1961 he made two trips to Brazil, harbingers of the departure of the first giessini, at the invitation of Bishop Aristide Pirovano, Bishop of Macapà, and of Marcello Candia, an enterpreneur.
Since the academic year 1964–1965 he taught Introduction to Theology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, a chair he held until 1990, when he left the teaching on grounds of age. In 1964, the first nucleus of what was to become the reality ofMemores Domini (people who make a choice of dedication to God in virginity, following the evangelical counsels) began to gather around Father Giussani.
The spread of GS caused misunderstandings and difficulties in the diocese of Milan, especially by those responsible for FUCI (Italian Federation of Catholic University students).

In 1965, to coincide with this situation, and after a few months spent in the United States, he stopped leading GS. In GS the first signs of a crisis started to show, a crisis that culminated in 1968, when many left GS to join the Student Movement, the Marxist reality that was at the head of the protest in Italian universities and schools.
In 1968, during a series of meetings with Memores, with the priests, and with adults still linked with him through the Charles Peguy Cultural Center of Milan, he laid the groundwork for a resumption of the experience of what became the original Movement of CL.
In 1969, for the first time the name “Communion and Liberation” appeared in a manifesto written by some students of the University of Milan, who understood and resumed the initial idea from which GS was born. Since the early seventies he was directly involved with a group of students at the Catholic University. He published American Protestant TheologyHistorical Profile, by the publisher of the Seminary of Venegono. He published Reinhold Niebuhr, by Jaca Book.

On Palm Sunday of 1975, he took part with the whole Movement to a meeting promoted by Pope Paul VI, who told him, in a private meeting at the end of the liturgical celebration in St. Peter’s Square: “This is the right way. Go ahead.” In a series of meetings that took place throughout 1976, he signaled a difficult situation arisen in the life of CL: “An event to be created, not an organization to be invented.”
Father Giussani’s concerns found their culmination in the Equipe of the responsibles of the CL university students in September1976, which marked a turning point in the history of the Movement. Since that time, for at least twenty years, the CLU Equipes will be the reference point for the entire life of the Movement.
In 1977, he published The Risk of Education, where he put to good use his reflections on twenty years of experience as an educator, first in high school and then in the university. It would become one of the most widely read books by Father Giussani, republished several times.

The election of John Paul II marks the deepening of a relationship with Wojtila that had begun in 1971 in Poland.
For some years Giussani visited the Pope with groups of young people on the occasion of the Pope’s “complemese” [the monthly anniversary of his birthday] at the Vatican and Castel Gandolfo.
In 1981, together with the Polish Father Blachnicki, founder of the Light and Life Movement, he organized in Rome the first international meeting of the movements. On February 11, 1982, the Pontifical Council for the Laity officially recognized the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, which Giussani presided.
He was present at the Meeting for Friendship amongst Peoples (the cultural event of international significance that takes place every year in Rimini at the end of August), during the visit of Pope John Paul II.
In 1983 Father Giussani was named Monsignor by Pope John Paul II, with the title of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness. He spoke at the Meeting in Rimini.
In 1984 his mother died. In the same year he led the pilgrimage to Rome of Communion and Liberation, on the occasion of the audience with John Paul II for the thirtieth anniversary of the Movement.

In 1985 he spoke at the Meeting in Rimini. In 1986 The Religious Sense, the first volume of the PerCorso was published by Jaca Book. In 1987 he was appointed Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He attended the Synod of Bishops on the laity as a member appointed by the Pope and spoke with a contribution entitled From Baptism, a new creature, now published inL’avvenimento cristiano. Uomo Chiesa Mondo [The Christian event. Man Church World].
He spoke at the Assembly of the Christian Democratic Party in Lombardy in Assago (Milan).
The Mayor of Nagoya, Japan, invited him to lecture. On that occasion he met one of the leaders of the Japanese Buddhism, Professor Shodo Habukawa, with whom he formed a deep friendship.

In 1988, the Memores Domini were approved by the Holy See, which recognized their juridical status as Private Universal Ecclesial Association.
At the Origin of the Christian Claim, the second volume of the PerCorso was published by Jaca Book.
In 1990, the first volume of Why the Church, third volume of the PerCorso was published by Jaca Book. The second volume was published in 1992.
In October 1992, he led the pilgrimage to Lourdes for the tenth anniversary of the Fraternity of CL.
In 1993, for the first time Rizzoli published one of his books, The Christian event. Man Church World. Also at Rizzoli he directed the “Books of the Christian Spirit” series. From this time his books were published or republished, in Italy, especially by Rizzoli, but also by San Paolo, Marietti, Sei, and Piemme; translated into several languages, they were disseminated throughout the world.

In 1994, he was named Consultor of the Congregation for the Clergy. Is it Possible to Live this Way? An Unusual Approach to Christian Existence was published by Rizzoli.
In 1995, he participated in a meeting with Jean Guitton at the Complutense University of Madrid.
He was awarded the International Catholic Culture Prize of Bassano del Grappa.
He began to publish articles on Italian newspapers, from “Il Giornale” to “La Repubblica” to the “Corriere della Sera.”
In 1996 he published a long article on “L’Osservatore Romano,” entitled The value of some words that mark the Christian journey. From 1997 he directed the musical series “Spirto Gentil,” issued in collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon and other record companies.

On December 11, the English edition of The Religious Sense was presented at the UN in New York. At the invitation of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Renato Martino, a Buddhist monk (Shinghen Takagi), a Jewish musician (David Horowitz), and a Catholic theologian (David Schindler) spoke at the presentation. In front of such an event, Giussani spoke of an unforeseeable event and a “new beginning” in the life of the whole Movement. In the following years and even after his death, hundreds of meetings for the presentation of his books took place in Italy and around the world.
On May 30, 1998, he gave a personal testimony during the meeting in St. Peter’s Square of Pope John Paul II with the ecclesial movements and new communities.
In the same year, with Stefano Alberto and Javier Prades, he published Generating Traces in the History of the World. New Traces of Christian Experience, by Rizzoli.

In 1999, the English edition of At the Origin of the Christian Claim was presented at the UN in New York.
In 2001, on the occasion of the tenth edition of the “Corona Turrita,” presented by the city of Desio in recognition of its illustrious citizens, Father Luigi Giussani received the award.
On February 11, 2002, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Pontifical Recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, John Paul II wrote a long autograph letter to Father Giussani, in which he wrote, among other things: “The Movement, therefore, has chosen and chooses to indicate not a road, but the road toward a solution to this existential drama. ... Christianity, even before being a sum of doctrines or a rule for salvation, is thus the ‘event’ of an encounter.”
On October 15, in celebration of Father Giussani’s eightieth birthday, the Pope sent him an autograph letter.
In the same year, the President of the Province of Milan, Ombretta Colli, conferred on Father Giussani the Isimbardi Gold Medal Award for Gratitude.
In 2003, at Georgetown University in Washington (USA), an international conference on Giussani’s The Risk of Education took place; it started with the reading of his message to the participants.
He received the Macchi Award, given by the Association of Catholic School Parents to distinguished figures in the field of education.
In January 2004, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Communion and Liberation, he sent a letter to John Paul II, who replied on February 22. During the fifth Celebration of the Statute of the Lombardy Region, Luigi Giussani was awarded theLongobard Seal, assigned to citizens distinguished for particular social merits.
On October 16, on the occasion of the pilgrimage to Loreto for the fiftieth anniversary of CL, he wrote his last letter to the whole Movement.

On February 22, 2005, he died in his dwelling in Milan.


On February 22, 2012, at the end of the Mass celebrated in Milan Cathedral on the 30th anniversary of the Pontifical recognition of the Fraternity of CL, and the 7th anniversary of Fr. Giussani’s death, Fr. Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of CL, announced that he had presented the request for opening the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Fr. Giussani. The request was accepted by the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola.
Shared from http://english.clonline.org/ CL official Site - Images shared from Google Images

Pope Francis meets Communion and Liberation movement – 80 thousand gathered....


Pope Francis with C&L members, March 7, 2015 - AP
07/03/2015 09:


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received members of the Communion and Liberation movement – at least 80 thousand of them, from nearly 50 nations – on Saturday, in St. Peter’s Square, to remember the group’s founder, Msgr. Luigi Giussani, and to mark the 60th anniversary of the movement’s founding.
CL began in 1954 in Italy, at a secondary school in Milan that followed the classical curriculum, when Father Luigi Giussani started an initiative of Christian presence, to teach the basics of the faith to those who did not know them, primarily by lives of radical and radically authentic witness to the transformative power of Christ and the Good News of His resurrection in all areas of human endeavor, and down to the most intimate depths of each and every human soul. 
The name, Communion and Liberation, appeared for the first time in 1969: it brings together the conviction that the Christian event, lived in communion, is the foundation of the authentic liberation of the human person.
In his remarks to the members of the movement in St Peter’s Square on Saturday, Pope Francis recalled that bringing those who most need it to an encounter with Christ is the central ethos of Communion and Liberation. “Centered on Christ and in the Gospel,” he said, “you can be the arms, the hands, the feet, the mind and the heart of a Church that is ‘out and about’.”

The Holy Father went on to say, “The way of the Church is that of going abroad in order to seek out those who are far off, in the peripheries, to serve Jesus in every person who is marginalized, abandoned, without faith, disappointed with the Church, a prisoner of his or her own selfishness.” 

Today's Mass Readings : Saturday March 7, 2015

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

Lectionary: 235

Reading 1MI 7:14-15, 18-20
Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Verse Before The GospelLK 15:18

I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him,
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

GospelLK 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”

2015

Saint March 7 : St. Perpetua and St. Felicity : Patron of Mothers, Expectant Mothers

MARTYRS
Information:
Feast Day:March 7
Died:7 March 202 or 203, Carthage, Roman Province of Africa
Patron of:Mothers, Expectant Mothers
From their most valuable genuine acts, quoted by Tertullian, l. de anima, c. 55, and by St. Austin, serm. 280, 283, 294. The first part of these acts, which reaches to the eve of her martyrdom, was written by St. Perpetua. The vision of St. Saturus was added by him. The rest was subjoined by an eye-witness of their death. See Tillemont, t. 3, p. 139. Ceillier, t. 2, p. 213. These acts have been often republished; but are extant, most ample and correct, in Ruinart. They were publicly read in the churches of Africa, as appears from St. Austin, Serm. 180. See them vindicated from the suspicion of Montanism, by Orsi, Vindicae Act. SS. Perpetuae et Felicitatis.
A violent persecution being set on foot by the emperor Severus, in 202, it reached Africa the following year; when, by order of Minutius Timinianus, (or Firminianus,) five catechumens were apprehended at Carthage for the faith: namely, Revocatus, and his fellow-slave Felicitas, Saturninus, and Secundulus, and Vibia Perpetua. Felicitas was seven months gone with child; and Perpetua had an infant at her breast, was of a good family, twenty-two years of age, and married to a person of quality in the city. She had a father, a mother, and two brothers; the third, Dinocrates, died about seven years old. These five martyrs were joined by Saturus, probably brother to Saturninus, and who seems to have been their instructor: he underwent a voluntary imprisonment, because he would not abandon them. The father of St. Perpetua, who was a pagan, and advanced in years, loved her more than all his other children. Her mother was probably a Christian, as was one of her brothers, the other a catechumen. The martyrs were for some days before their commitment kept under a strong guard in a private house: and the account Perpetua gives of their sufferings to the eve of their death, is as follows: "We were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him: 'Can that vessel, which you see, change its name?' He said: 'No.' I replied: 'Nor can I call myself any other than I am, that is to say, a Christian.' At that word my father in a rage fell upon me, as if he would have pulled my eyes out, and beat me: but went away in confusion, seeing me invincible: after this we enjoyed a little repose, and in that interval received baptism. The Holy Ghost, on our coming out of the water, inspired me to pray for nothing but patience under corporal pains. A few days after this we were put into prison: I was shocked at the horror and darkness of the place, for till then I knew not what such sort of places were. We suffered much that day, chiefly on account of the great heat caused by the crowd, and the ill-treatment we met with from the soldiers. I was moreover tortured with concern, for that I had not my infant. But the deacons, Tertius and Pomponius, who assisted us, obtained, by money, that we might pass some hours in a more commodious part of the prison to refresh ourselves. My infant being brought to me almost famished, I gave it the breast. I recommended him afterwards carefully to my mother, and encouraged my brother, but was much afflicted to see their concern for me. After a few days my sorrow was changed into comfort, and my prison itself seemed agreeable. One day my brother said to me: 'Sister, I am persuaded that you are a peculiar favorite of Heaven: pray to God to reveal to you whether this imprisonment will end in martyrdom or not, and acquaint me of it.' I, knowing God gave me daily tokens of his goodness, answered, full of confidence, 'I will inform you tomorrow.' I therefore asked that favor of God, and had this vision. I saw a golden ladder which reached from earth to the heavens; but so narrow, that only one could mount it at a time. To the two sides were fastened all sorts of iron instruments, as swords, lances, hooks, and knives; so that if any one went up carelessly he was in great danger of having his flesh torn by those weapons. At the foot of the ladder lay a dragon of an enormous size, who kept guard to turn back and terrify those that endeavored to mount it. The first that went up was Saturus, who was not apprehended with us, but voluntarily surrendered himself afterwards on our account: when he was got to the top of the ladder, he turned towards me and said: 'Perpetua, I wait for you; but take care lest the dragon bite you.' I answered: 'In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, he shall not hurt me.' Then the dragon, as if afraid of me, gently lifted his head from under the ladder, and I, having got upon the first step, set my foot upon his head. Thus I mounted to the top, and there I saw a garden of an immense space, and in the middle of it a tall man sitting down dressed like a shepherd, having white hair. He was milking his sheep, surrounded with many thousands of persons clad in white. He called me by my name, bid me welcome, and gave me some curds made of the milk which he had drawn: I put my hands together and took and ate them; and all that were present said aloud, Amen. The noise awaked me, chewing something very sweet. As soon as I had related to my brother this vision, we both concluded that we should suffer death.
"After some days, a rumor being spread that we were to be examined, my father came from the city to the prison overwhelmed with grief: 'Daughter,' said he, 'have pity on my gray hairs, have compassion on your father, if I yet deserve to be called your father; if I myself have brought you up to this age: if you consider that my extreme love of you, made me always prefer you to all your brothers, make me not a reproach to mankind. Have respect for your mother and your aunt; have compassion on your child that cannot survive you; lay aside this resolution, this obstinacy, lest you ruin us all: for not one of us will dare open his lips any more if any misfortune be fall you.' He  took me by the hands at the same time and kissed them; he threw himself at my feet in tears, and called me no longer daughter, but, my lady. I confess, I was pierced with sharp sorrow when I considered that my father was the only person of our family that would not rejoice at my martyrdom. I endeavored to comfort him, saying: 'Father, grieve not; nothing will happen but what pleases God; for we are not at our own disposal.' He then departed very much concerned. The next day, while we were at dinner, a person came all on a sudden to summon us to examination. The report of this was soon spread, and brought together a vast crowd of people into the audience-chamber. We were placed on a sort of scaffold before the judge, who was Hilarian, procurator of the province, the proconsul being lately dead. All who were interrogated before me confessed boldly Jesus Christ. When it came to my turn, my father instantly appeared with my infant. He drew me a little aside, conjuring me in the most tender manner not to be insensible to the misery I should bring on that innocent creature to which I had given life. The president Hilarian joined with my father, and said: 'What! will neither the gray hairs of a father you are going to make miserable, nor the tender innocence of a child, which your death will leave an orphan, move you? Sacrifice for the prosperity of the emperor.' I replied, 'I will not do it.' 'Are you then a Christian?' said Hilarian. I answered: 'Yes, I am.' As my father attempted to draw me from the scaffold, Hilarian commanded him to be beaten off, and he had a blow given him with a stick, which I felt as much as if I had been struck myself; so much was I grieved to see my father thus treated in his old age. Then the judge pronounced our sentence, by which we were all condemned to be exposed to wild beasts. We then joyfully returned to our prison; and as my infant had been used to the breast, I immediately sent Pomponius, the deacon, to demand him of my father, who refused to send him. And God so ordered it that the child no longer required to suck, nor did my milk incommode me." Secundulus, being no more mentioned, seems to have died in prison before this interrogatory. Before Hilarian pronounced sentence, he had caused Saturus, Saturninus, and Revocatus, to be scourged; and Perpetua and Felicitas to be beaten on the face. They were reserved for the shows which were to be exhibited for the soldiers in the camp, on the festival of Geta, who had been made Caesar four years before by his father Severus, when his brother Caracalla was created Augustus. St. Perpetua relates another vision with which she was favored, as follows: "A few days after receiving sentence, when we were all together in prayer, I happened to name Dinocrates, at which I was astonished, because I had not before had him in my thoughts; and I that moment knew that I ought to pray for him. This I began to do with great fervor and sighing before God; and the same night I had the following vision: I saw Dinocrates coming out of a dark place, where there were many others, exceeding hot and thirsty; his face was dirty, his complexion pale, with the ulcer in his face of which he died at seven years of age, and it was for him that I had prayed. There seemed a great distance between him and me, so that it was impossible for us to come to each other. Near him stood a vessel full of water, whose brim was higher than the statue of an infant: he attempted to drink, but though he had water he could not reach it. This mightily grieved me, and I awoke. By this I knew my brother was in pain, but I trusted I could by prayer relieve him: so I began to pray for him, beseeching God with tears, day and night, that he would grant me my request; as I continued to do till we were removed to the damp prison: being destined for a public show on the festival of Caesar Geta. The day we were in the stocks I had this vision: I saw the place, which I had beheld dark before, now luminous; and Dinocrates, with his body very clean and well clad, refreshing himself, and instead of his wound a scar only. I awoke, and I knew he was relieved from his pain.
"Some days after, Pudens, the officer who commanded the guards of the prison, seeing that God favored us with many gifts, had a great esteem of us, and admitted many people to visit us for our mutual comfort. On the day of the public shows my father came to find me out, overwhelmed with sorrow. He tore his beard, he threw himself prostrate on the ground, cursed his years, and said enough to move any creature; and I was ready to die with sorrow to see my father in so deplorable a condition. On the eve of the shows I was favored with the following vision. The deacon Pomponius, methought, knocked very hard at the prison-door, which I opened to him. He was clothed with a white robe, embroidered with innumerable pomegranates of gold. He said to me: 'Perpetua, we wait for you, come along.' He then took me by the hand and led me through very rough places into the middle of the amphitheatre, and said: 'Fear not.' And, leaving me, said again: 'I will be with you in a moment, and bear a part with you in your pains.' I was wondering the beasts were not let out against us, when there appeared a very ill-favored Egyptian, who came to encounter me with others. But another beautiful troop of young men declared for me, and anointed me with oil for the combat. Then appeared a man of prodigious stature, in rich apparel, having a wand in his hand like the masters of the gladiators, and a green bough on which hung golden apples. Having ordered silence, he said that the bough should be my prize, if I vanquished the Egyptian: but that if he conquered me, he should kill me with a sword. After a long and obstinate engagement, I threw him on his face, and trod upon his head. The people applauded my victory with loud acclamations. I then approached the master of the amphitheatre, who gave me the bough with a kiss, and said: 'Peace be with you, my daughter.' After this I awoke, and found that I was not so much to combat with wild beasts as with the devils." Here ends the relation of St. Perpetua.
St. Saturus had also a vision which he wrote himself. He and his companions were conducted by a bright angel into a most delightful garden, in which they met some holy martyrs lately dead, namely, Jocundus, Saturninus, and Artaxius, who had been burned alive for the faith, and Quintus, who died in prison. They inquired after other martyrs of their acquaintance, say the acts, and were conducted into a most stately place, shining like the sun: and in it saw the king of this most glorious place surrounded by his happy subjects, and heard a voice composed of many, which continually cried: "Holy, holy, holy." Saturus, turning to Perpetua, said: "You have here what you desired." She replied: "God be praised, I have more joy here than ever I had in the flesh." He adds, Going out of the garden they found before the gate, on the right hand, their bishop of Carthage, Optatus, and on the left, Aspasius, priest of the same church, both of them alone and sorrowful. They fell at the martyr's feet, and begged they would reconcile them together, for a dissension had happened between them. The martyrs embraced them, saving: "Are not you our bishop, and you a priest of our Lord? It is our duly to prostrate ourselves before you." Perpetua was discoursing with them; but certain angels came and drove hence Optatus and Aspasius; and bade them not to disturb the martyrs, but be reconciled to each other. The bishop Optatus was also charged to heal the divisions that reigned among several of his church. The angels, after these reprimands, seemed ready to shut the gates of the garden. "Here," says he, "we saw many of our brethren and martyrs likewise. We were fed with an ineffable odor, which delighted and satisfied us." Such was the vision of Saturus. The rest of the acts were added by an eye-witness. God had called to himself Secondulus in prison. Felicitas was eight months gone with child, and as the day of the shows approached, she was inconsolable lest she should not be brought to bed before it came; fearing that her martyrdom would be deferred on that account, because women with child were not allowed to be executed before they were delivered: the rest also were sensibly afflicted on their part to leave her alone in the road to their common hope. Wherefore they unanimously joined in prayer to obtain of God that she might be delivered against the shows. Scarce had they finished their prayer, when Felicitas found herself in labor. She cried out under the violence of her pain: one of the guards asked her, if she could not bear the throes of childbirth without crying out, what she would do when exposed to the wild beasts. She answered: "It is I that suffer what I now suffer; but then there will be another in me that will suffer for me, because I shall suffer for him." She was then delivered of a daughter, which a certain Christian woman took care of, and brought up as her own child. The tribune, who had the holy martyrs in custody, being informed by some persons of little credit, that the Christians would free themselves out of prison by some magic enchantments, used them the more cruelly on that account, and forbade any to see them. Thereupon Perpetua said to him: "Why do you not afford us some relief, since we are condemned by Caesar, and destined to combat at his festival? Will it not be to your honor that we appear well fed?" At this the tribune trembled and blushed, and ordered them to be used with more humanity, and their friends to be admitted to see them. Pudens, the keeper of the prison, being already converted, secretly did them all the good offices in his power. The day before they suffered they gave them, according to custom, their last meal, which was called a free supper' and they ate in public. But the martyrs did their utmost to change it into an Agape, or Love-feast. Their chamber was full of people, whom they talked to with their usual resolution, threatening them with the judgments of God, and extolling the happiness of their own sufferings. Saturus smiling at the curiosity of those that came to see them, said to them, "Will not tomorrow suffice to satisfy your inhuman curiosity in our regard? However you may seem now to pity us, tomorrow you will clap your hands at our death, and applaud our murderers. But observe well our faces, that you may know them again at that terrible day when all men shall be judged." They spoke with such courage and intrepidity, as astonished the infidels, and occasioned the conversion of several among them.
The day of their triumph being come, they went out of the prison to go to the amphitheatre. Joy sparkled in their eyes, and appeared in all their gestures and words. Perpetua walked with a composed countenance and easy pace, as a woman cherished by Jesus Christ, with her eyes modestly cast down: Felicitas went with her, following the men, not able to contain her joy. When they came to the gate of the amphitheatre the guards would have given them, according to custom, the superstitious habits with which they adorned such as appeared at these sights. For the men, a red mantle, which was the habit of the priests of Saturn: for the women, a little fillet round the head, by which the priestesses of Ceres were known. The martyrs rejected those idolatrous ceremonies; and, by the mouth of Perpetua, said, they came thither of their own accord on the promise made them that they should not be forced to any thing contrary to their religion. The tribune then consented that they might appear in the amphitheatre habited as they were. Perpetua sung, as being already victorious; Revocatus, Saturninus, and Saturus threatened the people that beheld them with the judgments of God: and as they passed over against the balcony of Hilarian, they said to him; "You judge us in this world, but God will judge you In the next." The people, enraged at their boldness, begged they might be scourged, which was granted. They accordingly passed before the Venatores, or hunters, each of whom gave them a lash. They rejoiced exceedingly in being thought worthy to resemble our Saviour in his sufferings. God granted to each of  them the death they desired; for when they were discoursing together about what kind of martyrdom would be agreeable to each, Saturninus declared that he would choose to be exposed to beasts of several sorts in order to the aggravation of his sufferings. Accordingly he and Revocatus, after having been attacked by a leopard, were also assaulted by a bear. Saturus dreaded nothing so much as a bear, and therefore hoped a leopard would dispatch him at once with his teeth. He was then exposed to a wild boar, hut the beast turned upon his keeper, who received such a wound from him that he died in a few days after, and Saturus was only dragged along by him. Then they tied the martyr to the bridge near a bear, but that beast came not out of his lodge, so that Saturus, being sound and not hurt, was called upon for a second encounter. This gave him an opportunity of speaking to Pudens, the jailer that had been converted. The martyr encouraged him to constancy in the faith, and said to him: "You see I have not yet been hurt by any beast, as I desired and foretold; believe then steadfastly in Christ; I am going where you will see a leopard with one bite take away my life." It happened so, for a leopard being let out upon him, covered him all over with blood, whereupon the people jeering, cried out, "He is well baptized." The martyr said to Pudens, "Go, remember my faith, and let our sufferings rather strengthen than trouble you. Give me the ring you have on your finger." Saturus, having dipped it in his wound, gave it him back to keep as a pledge to animate him to a constancy in his faith, and fell down dead soon after. Thus he went first to glory to wait for Perpetua, according to her vision. Some with Mabillon,1 think this Prudens is the martyr honored in Africa, on the 29th of April.
In the meantime, Perpetua and Felicitas had been exposed to a wild cow; Perpetua was first attacked, and the cow having tossed her up, she fell on her back. Then putting herself in a sitting posture, and perceiving her clothes were torn, she gathered them about her in the best manner she could, to cover herself, thinking more of decency than her sufferings. Getting up, not to seem disconsolate, she tied up her hair, which was fallen loose, and perceiving Felicitas on the ground much hurt by a toss of the cow, she helped her to rise. They stood together, expecting another assault from the beasts, but the people crying out that it was enough, they were led to the gate Sanevivaria, where those that were not killed by the beasts were dispatched at the end of the shows by the confectores. Perpetua was here received by Rusticus, a catechumen, who attended her. This admirable woman seemed just returning to herself out of a long ecstasy, and asked when she was to fight the wild cow. Being told what had passed, she could not believe it till she saw on her body and clothes the marks of what she had suffered, and knew the catechumen. With regard to this circumstance of her acts, St. Austin cries out, "Where was she when assaulted and torn by so furious a wild beast, without feeling her wounds, and when, after that furious combat, she asked when it would begin? What did she, not to see what all the world saw? What did she enjoy who did not feel such pain. By what love, by what vision, by what potion was she so transported out of herself, and as it were divinely inebriated, to seem without feeling in a mortal body?" She called for her brother, and said to him and Rusticus, "Continue firm in the faith, love one another, and be not scandalized at our sufferings." All the martyrs were now brought to the place of their butchery. But the people, not yet satisfied with beholding blood, cried out to have them brought into the middle of the amphitheatre, that they might have the pleasure of seeing them receive the last blow. Upon this, some of the martyrs rose up, and having given one another the kiss of peace, went of their own accord into the middle of the arena; others were dispatched without speaking, or stirring out of the place they were in. St. Perpetua fell into the hands of a very timorous and unskillful apprentice of the gladiators, who, with a trembling hand, gave her many slight wounds, which made her languish a long time. Thus, says St. Austin, did two women, amidst fierce beasts and the swords of gladiators, vanquish the devil and all his fury. 'the day of their martyrdom was the 7th of March, as it is marked in the most ancient martyrologies, and in the Roman calendar as old as the year 354, published by Bucherius St. Prosper says they suffered at Carthage, which agrees with all the circumstances. Their bodies were in the great church of Carthage, in the fifth age, as St. Victor2 informs us. Saint Austin says, their festival drew yearly more to honor their memory in their church, than curiosity had done to their martyrdom, They are mentioned in the canon of the Mass. source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stperpetua_felicity.asp#ixzz1oUcsqZ3N

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