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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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2015


Pope Francis at General Audience - AFP
11/03/2015 11:37





(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged the Church to challenge the current throwaway culture by fostering a joyful embrace and a fruitful dialogue between the young and the old.
Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued in his catechesis on the family, focusing for the second week in a row, on grandparents.
I too – Francis said – belong to this age group, and I speak putting myself into their shoes. It is important to highlight – he said – that although society tends to discard us, the Lord certainly does not. 
In fact – he continued – He calls us to follow Him in every moment of our lives including old-age which contains a special grace and mission.
It is not a time - he said - "to give up" and be marginalized.
The Gospel, Pope Francis pointed out, offers us the image of Simeon and Anna, two older persons who hope in the Lord’s promises, and at the end of their lives see them fulfilled.
Simeon and Anna, the Pope said, are models of spirituality for the elderly, they point to the centrality of prayer.
And Pope Francis reiterated that the prayer of grandparents is a great grace and a great gift for families and for the Church.
“In prayer, they thank the Lord for his blessings, otherwise so often unacknowledged; they intercede for the hopes and needs of the young; they lift up to God the memory and sacrifices of past generations” he said.
The Pope also spoke of how prayer helps us to find the wisest way to teach the young that the true meaning of life is found in self-sacrificing love and concern for others.
“Young people listen to their grandparents” he said.
And delving into his own memories, Francis said “I still treasure the words my grandmother wrote to me on the day of my ordination. I carry them with me to this day inside my breviary”.
“How I would like” – he concluded – a Church that challenges today’s throwaway culture with a joyful new embrace between the young and the old”.
(Linda Bordoni) 

Novena to St. Joseph - Miracle Prayer - SHARE



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.
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


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09-03-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 048 

Summary
- Audience with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
- Centenary of the Argentine Catholic University
- The Pope meets the parishioners of Tor Bella Monaca; discrimination and injustice test the goodness of the people
- Angelus: let us build a temple to God with our lives
- Francis' greetings on International Women's Day: “women give us to the ability to see the world with different eyes”
- Behaviour contrary to justice, honesty and charity cannot be covered up with worship
- The Pope on the sixtieth anniversary of Communion and Liberation: “Keep alive the call of the first encounter with Christ, and be free”
- The Holy Father to preside at Confession in St. Peter's Basilica on 13 March
- Oath-taking Ceremony of the Cardinal Camerlengo
- Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, Pope's special envoy to Nagasaki
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
- Collecta pro Terra Sancta: an invaluable opportunity to help Christians uprooted from their homelands
- Other Pontifical Acts


Audience with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
Vatican City, 7 March 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Majesty Philippe King of the Belgians, and Queen Mathilde, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
 During the cordial discussions, the good bilateral relations between Belgium and the Holy See were confirmed. Attention was then paid to matters of mutual interest, such as social cohesion, the education of the young, the phenomenon of migration and the importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
Mention was then made of various problems of an international nature, with special reference to the future prospects of the European continent.
Centenary of the Argentine Catholic University
Vatican City, 9 March 2015 (VIS) – On occasion of the one hundredth university of Faculty of Theology of the Universidad Catolica Argentina (U.C.A.), Pope Francis has sent a letter to Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Grand Chancellor of the faculty. “Teaching and studying theology means living on a frontier”, writes the Pope. “We must We must guard against a theology that spends itself in academic dispute or watches humanity from a glass castle. You learn to live: theology and holiness are inseparable”. Francis adds that the theology that is developed is therefore rooted and based on Revelation, on tradition, but also accompanies the cultural and social processes” and “must also take on board conflicts: not only those that we experience within the Church, but those that concern the whole world”.
The Pope urges all the members of the Faculty not to satisfy themselves with a theoretical “desktop theology” and not to give in to the temptation to “gloss over it, to perfume it, to adjust it a little and domesticate it”. Instead, he writes, good theologians “must, like good pastors, have the odour of the people and the street, and through their reflection, pour oil and wine on the wounds of men”. Similarly, he encourages them to study how the various disciplines … may reflect the centrality of mercy”, since “without mercy our theology, our law, our pastoral ministry run the risk of collapsing in petty bureaucracy or ideology”. He concludes by remarking that the U.C.A. does not form “museum theologians who accumulate data” or “spectators of history”, but rather people capable of building up humanity around them, “of transmitting the divine Christian truth in a truly human dimension”.
The Pope meets the parishioners of Tor Bella Monaca; discrimination and injustice test the goodness of the people
Vatican City, 9 March 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis visited the Roman parish of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore in the peripheral suburb of Tor Bella Monaca, where he was welcomed by more than a thousand young people. Before entering the Church, the Holy Father visited the Caritas Centre to greet sick and disabled assisted by the Missionaries of Charity. “Jesus never abandons us”, he said, “because on the Cross he experienced pain, sadness, solitude and many other things. … Never lose your trust in Him”.
Later, in the church, he met with a group of children and young people, and answered their questions. The first was: if God forgives everything, why does Hell exist? The Pope replied that Hell is the desire to distance oneself from God and to reject God's love. But”, he added, “if you were a terrible sinner, who had committed all the sins in the world, all of them, condemned to death, and even when you are there, you were to blaspheme, insults... and at the moment of death, when you were about to die, you were to look to Heaven and say, 'Lord …!', where do you go, to Heaven or to Hell? To Heaven! Only those who say, I have no need of You, I can get along by myself, as the devil did, are in Hell – and he is the only one we are certain is there”.
The second question regarded how to live Christian morality. Francis answered, “Christian morality is a grace, a response to the love that He gives you first. … It is Jesus Who helps you to go ahead, and if you fall it is He Who lifts you up again and Who lets you carry on. But if you think and we think that moral life is just about 'doing this' and 'not doing that', this is not Christian. It is a moral philosophy, but no, it is not Christian. Christian is the love of Jesus, Who is the first to love us. … Christian morality is this: you fall? Get up again and keep going. And life is this. But always with Jesus”.
Finally, before celebrating Mass, Francis spoke with the parish pastoral council and their collaborators who described to him the situation in the area, in which many marginalised families live, and where there are many problems linked to drug abuse and crime. “The people of Tor Bella Monaca are good people”, emphasised Francis. “They had the same flaw that Jesus, Mary and Joseph had: they are poor. With the difference that Joseph had a job, Jesus had a job, and many people here do not, but they still need to feed their children. And how does one get by? You know how. Goodness is sorely tested by injustice; the injustice of unemployment and discrimination. And this is a sin, it is a grave sin. Many people are compelled to do things they do not want to do, because they cannot find another way. … And very often people, when they feel they are accompanied, wanted, do not fall into that web of the wicked, who exploit the poor. Mafiosi exploit the poor too, to make them do their dirty work, and then when the police discover them, they find those poor people and not the mafiosi who are safe, and also pay for their safety. Therefore, it is necessary to help the people. … The first pastoral commandment is closeness: to be close to them. … We cannot go to a house where there are sick or hungry children and say 'you must do this, you must do that'. No. It is necessary to go to them with closeness, with that caress that Jesus has taught us. … This is my main pastoral advice to you”.
In the homily he pronounced at the church of Santa Maria del Redentore, the Bishop of Rome commented on the passage from the Gospel according to St. John that narrates the expulsion of the money changers from the temple, remarking that two aspects of the text are particularly notable: an image, and a word. “The image is that of Jesus with the whip who chases away all those who use the temple to trade. The temple was sacred, and this, which was unclean, was sent out. … Jesus took the whip and cleansed the temple”.
“And the phrase, the word”, he continued, “is where it says that many people believed in Him, a terrible phrase: 'But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man'. We cannot deceive Jesus. He knows us in depth. Before Him we cannot pretend to be saints and close our eyes, and then lead a life that is not what He wants. … And we all know that name that Jesus gave to those with two faces: hypocrites”.
“It will do us good, today, to enter into our hearts and look at Jesus. To say to him, 'Lord, look, there are good things, but there are also things that are not good. Jesus, do You trust in me? I am a sinner'. … Jesus is not afraid of this. … However, he who drifts away, who has a dual face; who lets himself be seen to be good to cover the hidden sin... When we enter into our heart, we find many things that are not good, just as Jesus found in the temple the dirty affairs of trade. … We can continue our dialogue with Jesus: 'Jesus, do you trust in me? … So, I will open the door to You, and You can cleanse my soul”.
“And then”, continued Francis, “we can ask the Lord, just as He came to cleanse the temple, to come and cleanse our soul. And we imagine Him, as He comes with a whip of ropes... No, this is not what cleanses the soul! Do you know what the whip is that Jesus uses to cleanse our soul? Mercy. Open your hearts to the mercy of Jesus. … And if we open our hearts to Jesus' mercy, so that He may cleanse our heart, our soul, then Jesus will trust in us”.
Angelus: let us build a temple to God with our lives
Vatican City, 8 March 2015 (VIS) – At midday today, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Francis' meditation focused on the meaning of the episode of the expulsion of the money changers from the temple, and he remarked that this prophetic gesture made a powerful impression on the people and on the disciples. “We have here, according to John, the first announcement of the death and Resurrection of Christ”, said the Pope; “His body, destroyed by the violence of sin on the Cross, in the Resurrection, will become the meeting place between God and men. … His humanity is the true temple, where God is revealed, speaks, meets; and the true worshippers of God are not the guardians of the material temple, the holders of power and religious knowledge, but are those who worship God 'in spirit and truth'”.
“In this Lenten period”, he continued, “we are preparing to celebrate Easter, when we renew the promises of our Baptism. Let us walk the world like Jesus and make of our existence We walk into the world as Jesus did and we make of our entire existence a sign of His love for our brothers, especially the weakest and the poorest. We build a temple to God in our lives. And in this way, we make Him 'encounterable' to the many people we find along our path. If we are witnesses to this living Christ, many people will encounter Jesus in us, in our testimony”.
The Pontiff encouraged those present to “let the Lord enter with His mercy, to bring cleanliness to our hearts”. He added, “every Eucharist we celebrate with faith makes us grow as a living temple to the Lord, thanks to the communion with His crucified and risen Body. … May Mary Most Holy, the privileged dwelling of the Son of God, accompany and sustain us on this Lenten path, so that we may rediscover the beauty of the encounter with Christ, Who will free us and save us”.
Francis' greetings on International Women's Day: “women give us to the ability to see the world with different eyes”
Vatican City, 8 March 2015 (VIS) – After today's Angelus prayer, the Holy Father urged, “during Lent, let us try to be closer to those who are living through moments of difficulty; let us be closer to them with affection, prayer and solidarity”.
He went on to address some words to women on International Women's Day: “a greeting to all women! To all the women who work every day to build a more human and welcoming society. And a fraternal thank you to those who in a thousands ways bear witness to the Gospel and work in the Church. This is for us an opportunity to reaffirm the importance and the necessity of their presence in life. A world where women are marginalised is a barren world, because women not only bring life, but they also give us the ability to see beyond – they see beyond themselves – and they transmit to us the ability to understand the world through different eyes, to hear things with more creative, more patient, more tender hearts. A prayer and a special blessing for all women present here in the square and for all women! Greetings!”.
Behaviour contrary to justice, honesty and charity cannot be covered up with worship
Vatican City, 8 March 2015 (VIS) - “Liturgy is not something exterior or distant, so that while it is celebrated I can think of other things or pray the rosary. No, there is a link between the liturgical celebration and what I carry with me in my life”, said the Pope in his homily during his pastoral visit to the Roman parish of Ognissanti (All Saints) on the 50th anniversary of the first Mass in Italian celebrated in the same parish by Blessed Paul VI, following the liturgical reforms established by Vatican Council II.
Francis commented on the Gospel reading of St. John in which Jesus drives out the money changers from the Temple, with the exclamation, “Do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” This expression refers not only to the commerce in the temple courtyards, but rather “regards a type of religiosity”. He continued, “Jesus' gesture is one of cleansing, purification, and the attitude He condemns can be identified in the prophetic texts, according to which God is displeased by external worship made up of material sacrifices and based on personal interest. His gesture is a call to authentic worship, to correspondence between liturgy and life. … Therefore, the Church calls 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 existence”.
Jesus' disciple “does not go to Church solely to observe a precept, to make sure he is not at odds with a God he must not 'disturb' too much. … Jesus' disciple goes to Church to encounter the Lord and to find in His grace, working in the Sacraments, the strength to think and act according to the Gospel. Therefore, we cannot delude ourselves that we can enter into the Lord's house to cover up, with prayers and acts of devotion, behaviour contrary to the demands of justice, honesty or charity towards our neighbour. We cannot substitute with religious homage what is due to others, deferring true conversion. Worship and liturgical celebrations are the privileged space for hearing the voice of the Lord, Who guides us on the road to rectitude and Christian perfection”.
This involves “fulfilling an itinerary of conversion and penance, to remove the dregs of sin from our life, as Jesus did, cleansing the temple of petty interests. And Lent is an auspicious time for this, as it is the time of inner renewal, of forgiveness of sins, the time in which we are called upon to rediscover the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, that enables us to pass from the shadows of sin into the light of grace and friendship with Jesus”.
“Right here, fifty years ago, Blessed Paul VI inaugurated, in a certain sense, liturgical reform with the celebration of the vernacular Mass in the language of the people. I hope that this circumstance may revive love for God's house in all of you”.
Following Mass, as he left the church, the Pope greeted the many faithful who awaited him. “Thank you, thank you for your welcome”, he said. “That you for this prayer with me during Mass; and let us thank the Lord for what He has done in His Church in these fifty years of liturgical reform. It was a courageous gesture of the Church, to draw closer to the people of God so they could better understand what she does, and this is important for us, to follow Mass in this way. And it is not possible to step backwards, we must always move ahead, always ahead; those who go back, err. Let us go ahead on this road”.
The Pope on the sixtieth anniversary of Communion and Liberation: “Keep alive the call of the first encounter with Christ, and be free”
Vatican City, 7 March 2015 (VIS) – More than seventy thousand people, belonging to the movement Communion and Liberation (CL) participated in a mass meeting with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square this morning, to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the creation of CL and the tenth of the death of its founder, the priest Luigi Giussani. The movement was established in Italy in 1954, when Giussani (1922-2005), on the basis of his experience in the “Berchet” classical lyceum in Milan, developed the initiative of Christian presence that used the already existing name of “Gioventu Studentesca” (GS). The current name Communion and Liberation (CL), which appeared for the first time in 1969, summarises the conviction that the Christian event lived in communion, is the foundation of authentic human liberation.
After listening to greetings from the priest Julian Carron, president of the fraternity, the Holy Father thanked all those present for their warm displays of affection and gave the various reasons for his gratitude to Don Giussani. “The first, and most personal, is the good that this man has done for me and for my priestly life, through reading his books and his articles. The other reason is that his thought is profoundly human and reaches the deepest yearning of the person. You are aware of how important the experience of encounter was for Don Giussani – not with an idea, but with a person, with Jesus Christ. So, he educated in freedom, leading to the encounter with Christ, as Christ gives us true freedom”.
“Everything in our life begins with an encounter”, he continued. “Let us think of the Gospel of John, in which he narrates the disciples' first encounter with Jesus. Andrew, John and Simon felt as if they were seen in depth, known intimately, and this generated surprise in them, a stupor that immediately made them feel linked to Him. … This was the decisive discovery for St. Paul, for St. Augustine, and many others: Jesus Christ always precedes us; when we arrive, He is already waiting for us. He is like the flower of the almond tree, the first to bloom and to herald the spring”.
However, this dynamic of encounter that arouses stupor and adhesion without mercy, as “only he who has known the tender caress of mercy truly knows the Lord. The privileged locus of encounter is the caress of Jesus Christ's mercy towards my sin. It is for this reason that, at times, you have heard me say that the privileged locus of encounter with Jesus Christ is sin. It is thanks to that merciful embrace that the wish to respond and to change emerges, and from this there springs a different life. Christian morality is not a titanic and voluntary effort on the part of those who decide to be coherent and achieve it, a sort of solitary challenge before the world. No. Christian morality is the answer, it is the touched response when faced with the surprising mercy, unpredictable, even 'unjust' according to human criteria, of One who knows me, Who knows my betrayals and loves me all the same, … who calls me again, has hope in me. ... Christian morality is not about never falling, but about always getting up again, thanks to His hand that reaches out to us”.
“And the way of the Church is also this: letting God's great mercy be shown”, he exclaimed. “The road of the Church is that of never condemning anyone eternally; of effusing God's mercy to all those people who ask for it with a sincere heart; the road of the Church is precisely that of leaving behind one's own yard in order to go and seek those in the distant peripheries of existence; that of fully adopting God's logic. The Church too must feel the joyful impulse of becoming almond flowers, like Jesus, for all humanity”.
Returning to the celebration of sixty years of Communion and Liberation, the Pope emphasised that after this time the “original charism” has lost neither its freshness nor its vitality. “But, always remember that there is only one centre: Jesus Christ. When I put at the centre my spiritual method, my spiritual path, my way of putting it into practice, I stray from the road. All the spirituality, all the charisms in the Church must be decentred: at the centre there is only the Lord!”.
He continued, “Charism cannot be conserved in a bottle of distilled water! Loyalty to the charism does not mean 'petrifying' it – it is the devil who petrifies – does not mean writing it on parchment and framing it. Reference to the legacy that Don Giussani has left you cannot be reduced to a museum of memories, of decisions made, of norms of conduct. It certainly involves faithfulness to tradition, but as Mahler said, this means 'keeping the flame alive and not worshipping the ashes'. Don Giussani would never forgive you if you lost your freedom and transformed into museum guides or worshippers of ashes. Keep alive the memory of that first encounter and be free! In this way, centre in Christ and in the Gospel, you can be the arms, hands, feet, mind and heart of an outbound Church. The path of the Church takes us out in search of those who are far away, in the peripheries, to serve Jesus in every marginalised and abandoned person, without faith, disappointed in the Church, prisoner of his or her own self-centredness”.
“Reaching out also means rejecting self-referentiality, in all its forms; it means knowing how to listen to those who are not the same as us, learning from all, with sincere humility. When we are slaves to self-referentiality we end up cultivating a sort of branded spirituality: 'I am CL'. This becomes your label. And in this way we fall into the myriad traps set by self-referential complacency, that gazing at oneself in the mirror that leads to disorientation and our transformation into mere impresarios of NGOs”.
The Pope concluded his discourse with the words of Don Giussani, from one of his first writings, in which he affirmed that Christianity cannot be realised in history as fixed position to defend, that relate to the new in terms of pure antithesis, and from his letter to John Paul II in 2004 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Communion and Liberation: 'I never intended to “found” anything. I believe that the genius of the movement that I have seen come into being is that of having grasped the urgency of proclaiming the need to return to the elementary aspects of Christianity, meaning passion for Christianity as such, in its original elements, and nothing more'.”
The Holy Father to preside at Confession in St. Peter's Basilica on 13 March
Vatican City, 7 March 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that the Holy Father will preside at the rite of the reconciliation of penitents, with individual confession and absolution, on Friday 13 March at 5 p.m in St. Peter's Basilica.
Oath-taking Ceremony of the Cardinal Camerlengo
 Vatican City, 7 March 2015 (VIS) – At 9.30 this morning, in the Chapel of Urban VIII, in the presence of the Holy Father, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, took his oath as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, Pope's special envoy to Nagasaki
Vatican City, 7 March 2015 (VIS) – In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 15 February, the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines, as his special envoy to the celebration of the centenary of the discovery of the “hidden Christians of Japan”, to be held in Nagasaki, Japan from 14 to 17 March.
The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Rev. Peter Sakae Kojima, vicar general, member of the college of consultors and parish priest of the Cathedral of Nagasaki, and Fr. Joseph Pasala, S.V.D., missionary from India and parish vicar of Nishimachi.
Audiences
Vatican City, 9 March 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church;
- Fourteen prelates of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, on their “ad Limina” visit:
- Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Gwangju, with his auxiliary, Bishop Simon Ok Hyun-jin;
- Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju;
- Bishop Vincent Ri Pyung-ho of Jeonju;
- Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of P’youg-yang with his auxiliaires, Bishop Basil Cho Kyu-man, BishopTimothy Yu Gyoung-chon, and Bishop Peter Chung Soon-taek;
- Bishop Luke Kim Woon-hoe of Ch’unch,?n, apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of Hamh?ng;
- Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon, with his auxiliary, Bishop Augustinus Kim Jong-soo;
- Bishop Boniface Choi Ki-san, with his auxiliary, Bishop John Baptist Jung Shin-chul; and
- Dom Blasio Park Hyun-dong, O.S.B., apostolic administrator “ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the dell’Abbazia di T?kwon
On Saturday, 7 March, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Other Pontifical Acts
On Saturday, 7 March, the Holy Father:
- appointed Rev. Fr. David Macaire, O.P., as archbishop of Fort-de-France (area 1,080, population 390,371, Catholics 312,296, priests 54, permanent deacons 12, religious 151), Martinique, France. The bishop-elect was born in Nanterre, France in 1969, gave his perpetual vows in 1998 and was ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a licentiate in theology and canon law from Tolosa, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including chaplain of various schools, lecturer in theology at the major seminary of Bordeaux, spiritual adviser of the Equipe Notre Dame, master of Dominican students, prior of the Dominican convent in the archdiocese of Bordeaux, and member of the presbyteral council of the same local Church. He is currently prior of the Dominican convent of La Sainte-Baume, Tolone, and member of the provincial council.
- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Rome presented by Bishop Paolo Schiavon, upon reaching the age limit.
10-03-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 049 

Collecta pro Terra Sancta: an invaluable opportunity to help Christians uprooted from their homelands
Vatican City, 10 March 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, has written a letter addressed to all bishops worldwide in view of the “Collecta pro Terra Sancta”, the collection for the communities of faithful and places in the Holy Land, which traditionally takes place on Good Friday. The letter is also signed by Archbishop Cyril Vasil, S.J., secretary of the same dicastery.
The cardinal, noting that the region is passing through a time of crisis, writes: “Presently, there are millions of refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq, where the roar of arms does not cease and the way of dialogue and concord seems to be completely lost. Senseless hatred seems to prevail instead, along with the helpless desperation of those who have lost everything and have been expulsed from the land of their ancestors. If the Christians of the Holy Land are encouraged to resist, to the degree possible, the understandable temptation to flee, the faithful throughout the world are asked to take their plight to heart. Also involved are brothers in Christ who belonged to various confessions: an ecumenism of blood which points toward the triumph of unity: 'ut unum sint'! This year presents a still more precious opportunity to become pilgrims in faith after the example of the Holy Father, who in May of last year visited this patch of land, so dear to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. It is a chance to become promoters of dialogue through peace, prayer and sharing of burdens”.
The territories that will benefit from the Collection, in different ways and to differing extents, are: Jerusalem, Palestine and Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
A document prepared by the Custodian of the Holy Land lists the works carried out as a result of the 2014 Collecta. The emergency funds were distributed mostly in Syria and Iraq. Assistance was also provided for artisanal enterprises in Jordan; funding was given for parish communities, the reconstruction and restoration of places of interest and medical assistance in Bethlehem; and apartments were built in Jerusalem for poor families and young couples who wish to remain in the Holy Land. The remaining funds were used for projects involving schools, universities and cultural works, through the Custodian of the Holy Land, such as the Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology of the Studium Biblicum Francescanum of Jerusalem and the Franciscan Media Centre, and for the maintenance and restoration of the Holy Places.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 10 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- confirmed Archbishop Piero Marini as president of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Councils.
- appointed the following members of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Councils: Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy; and Rev. Fr. Juan Javier Flores Arcas, O.S.B., Spain, Magnificent Rector of the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome.

Today's Mass Readings : Wednesday March 11, 2015


Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 239


Reading 1DT 4:1, 5-9

Moses spoke to the people and said:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Verse Before The GospelSEE JN 6:63C, 68C

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

GospelMT 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

#PopeFrancis “This is what Jesus teaches us about forgiveness: first, asking forgiveness is ...." Lent Homily

(Vatican Radio) In order to ask forgiveness from God, we must follow the teaching of the “Our Father”: we must repent sincerely for our sins, knowing that God always forgives, and just as willingly forgive others. This was the centerpiece of Pope Francis’ remarks to the faithful following the readings of the day at Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. Focusing primarily on the reading from the Gospel according to St Matthew (18:21-35), in which the Lord counsels His disciples to forgive “seventy times seven” times, i.e. always and without stint, the Holy Father addressed the close connection between God’s forgiveness of our sins and our forgiveness of others. 
Drawing on the Old Testament reading from the prophet Daniel, which tells of Azariah’s appeal to God for clemency, which he makes on behalf of the people, acknowledged as sinful and in need of pardon for having abandoned the way of the Lord. Azariah does not ask God simply to excuse, or to overlook, the sinfulness of the people, but to forgive them:
“Asking forgiveness is another thing: it’s not the same as simply saying, ‘excuse me.’ Did I make a mistake? ‘Sorry, I made a mistake. But, ‘I have sinned!’ – that is different: the one has nothing to do with the other. Sin is not a simple mistake. Sin is idolatry: it is to worship the idol, the idol of pride, vanity, money, ‘my self’, my own ‘well-being’. So many idols do we have: and for this, Azariah does not apologize: he asks forgiveness.”
Forgiveness must be asked sincerely, whole-heartedly – and forgiveness must be given whole-heartedly to those, who have injured us. The Pope recalled the action of the servant in the Gospel reading, who, having been forgiven a great debt by his master, yet fails to show such generosity of spirit to a fellow. The Holy Father explained that the dynamics of forgiveness are those, which  Jesus teaches us in the Our Father:
“Jesus teaches us to pray to the Father in this way: ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.’ If I am not able to forgive, then I am not able to ask for forgiveness. ‘But, Father, I confess, I go to confession ....’. ‘And what do you do before you confess?’ ‘Well, I think of the things I did wrong.’ ‘Alright’ ‘Then I ask the Lord for forgiveness and promise not to do those things again.’ ‘Okay…and then go to the priest? Before you do, however, you’re missing something: have you forgiven those who have hurt you?’”
In sum, Pope Francis said that the forgiveness God will give you requires the forgiveness that you give to others:
“This is what Jesus teaches us about forgiveness: first, asking forgiveness is not a simple apology, it is to be aware of the sin, of the idolatry that I have committed, of the many idolatries; second, God always forgives, always – but He asks me to forgive [others]. If I do not forgive, in a sense, I close the door to God’s forgiveness. ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.’”

Saint March 11 : St. Eulogius : Priest and Martyr




Information:
Feast Day:March 11
Born:
prior to 819, Córdoba, Spain
Died:March 11, 859
Major Shrine:Cathedral of Oviedo
Spanish martyr and writer who flourished during the reigns of the Cordovan Caliphs, Abd-er-Rahman II and Mohammed I (822-886). It is not certain on what date or in what year of the ninth century he was born; it must have been previous to 819, because in 848 he was a priest highly esteemed among the Christians of Catalonia and Navarre, and priesthood was then conferred only on men thirty years of age. The family of the saint was of the nobility and held land in Cordova from Roman times. The Mussulman rulers of Spain, at the beginning of the eighth century, tolerated the creed of the Christians and left them, with some restrictions, their civil rule, ecclesiastical hierarchy, monasteries, and property, but made them feel the burden of subjection in the shape of pecuniary exactions and military service. In the large cities like Toledo and Cordova, the civil rule of the Christians did not differ from that of the Visigothic epoch. The government was exercised by the comes (count), president of the council of senators, among whom we meet a similarly named ancestor of Eulogius. The saint, like his five brothers, received an excellent education in accord with his good birth and under the guardianship of his mother Isabel. The youngest of the brothers, Joseph, held a high office in the palace of Abd-er-Rahman II; two other brothers, Alvarus and Isidore, were merchants and traded on a large scale as far as Central Europe. Of his sisters, Niola and Anulona, the first remained with her mother; the second was educated from infancy in a monastery where she later became a nun.
After completing his studies in the monastery of St. Zoilus, Eulogius continued to live with his family the better to care for his mother; also, perhaps, to study with famous masters, one of whom was Abbot Speraindeo, an illustrious writer of that time. In the meantime he found a friend in the celebrated Alvarus Paulus, a fellow-student, and they cultivated together all branches of science, sacred and profane, within their reach. Their correspondence in prose and verse filled volumes; later they agreed to destroy it as too exuberant and lacking in polish. Alvarus married, but Eulogius preferred the ecclesiastical career, and was finally ordained a priest by Bishop Recared of Cordova. Alvarus has left us a portrait of his friend: "Devoted", he says, "from his infancy to the Scriptures, and growing daily in the practice of virtue, he quickly reached perfection, surpassed in knowledge all his contemporaries, and became the teacher even of his masters. Mature in intelligence, though in body a child, he excelled them all in science even more than they surpassed him in years. Fair in feature [clarus vultu], honest and honourable, he shone by his eloquence, and yet more by his works. What books escaped his avidity for reading? What works of Catholic writers, of heretics and Gentiles, chiefly philosophers? Poets, historians, rare writings, all kinds of books, especially sacred hymns, in the composition of which he was a master, were read and digested by him; his humility was none the less remarkable and he readily yielded to the judgment of others less learned than himself." This humility shone particularly on two occasions. In his youth he had decided to make a foot pilgrimage to Rome; notwithstanding his great fervour and his devotion to the sepulchre of the Prince of the Apostles (a notable proof of the union of the Mozarabic Church with the Holy See), he gave up his project,  yielding to the advice of prudent friends. Again, during the Saracenic persecution, in 850, after reading a passage of the works of St. Epiphanius he decided to refrain for a time from saying Mass that he might better defend the cause of the martyrs; however, at the request of his bishop, Saul of Cordova, he put aside his scruples. His extant writings are proof that Alvarus did not exaggerate. They give an account of what is most important from 848 to 859 in Spanish Christianity, both without and within the Mussulman dominions, especially of the lives of the martyrs who suffered during the Saracenic persecution, quorum para ipse magna fuit. He was elected Archbishop of Toledo shortly before he was beheaded (11 March, 859). He left a perfect account of the orthodox doctrine which he defended, the intellectual culture which he propagated, the imprisonment and sufferings which he endured; in a word, his writings show that he followed to the letter the exhortation of St. Paul: Imitatores mei estote sicut et ego Christi. He is buried in the cathedral of Oviedo.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Today's Mass Readings : Tuesday March 10, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 238


Reading 1DN 3:25, 34-43

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 25:4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9

R. (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Verse Before The GospelJL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

GospelMT 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Saint March 10 : Forty Martyrs of Sebaste



Information:
Feast Day:March 10
Died:320 AD, Sebaste
MARTYRS
A party of soldiers who suffered a cruel death for their faith, near Sebaste, in Lesser Armenia, victims of the persecutions of Licinius, who, after the year 316, persecuted the Christians of the East. The earliest account of their martyrdom is given by St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (370-379), in a homily delivered on the feast of the Forty Martyrs (Hom. xix in P.G., XXXI, 507 sqq.). The feast is consequently more ancient than the episcopate of Basil, whose eulogy on them was pronounced only fifty or sixty years after martyrdom, which is thus historic beyond a doubt. According to St. Basil, forty soldiers who had openly confessed themselves Christians were condemned by the prefect to be exposed naked upon a frozen pond near Sebaste on a bitterly cold night, that they might freeze to death. Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake which had been prepared for any who might prove inconstant. One of the guards set to keep watch over the martyrs beheld at this moment a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and placed himself beside the thirty-nine soldiers of Christ. Thus the number of forty remained complete. At daybreak, the stiffened bodies of the confessors, which still showed signs of life, were burned and the ashes cast into a river. The Christians, however, collected the precious remains, and the relics were distributed throughout many cities; in this way the veneration paid to the Forty Martyrs became widespread, and numerous churches were erected in their honour.
One of them was built at Caesarea, in Cappadocia, and it was in this church that St. Basil publicly delivered his homily. St. Gregory of Nyssa was a special client of these holy martyrs. Two discourses in praise of them, preached by him in the church dedicated to them, are still preserved (P. G., XLVI, 749 sqq., 773 sqq.) and upon the death of his parents, he laid them to rest beside the relics of the confessors. St. Ephraem, the Syrian, has also eulogized the forty Martyrs (Hymni in SS. 40 martyres). Sozomen, who was an eye-witness, has left us (Hist. Eccl., IX, 2) an interesting account of the finding of the relics in Constantinople through the instrumentality of the Empress Pulcheria. Special devotion to the forty martyrs of Sebaste was introduced at an early date into the West. St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia in the beginning of the fifth century (d. about 410 or 427), received particles of the ashes of martyrs during a voyage in the East, and placed them with other relics in the altar of the basilica which he had erected, at the consecration of which he delivered a discourse, still extant (P. L., XX, 959 sqq.) Near the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, in the Roman Forum, built in the fifth century, a chapel was found, built, like the church itself, on an ancient site, and consecrated to the Forty Martyrs. A picture, still preserved there, dating from the sixth or seventh century, depicts the scene of the martyrdom. The names of the confessors, as we find them also in later sources, were formerly inscribed on this fresco. Acts of these martyrs, written subsequently, in Greek, Syriac and Latin, are yet extant, also a "Testament" of the Forty Martyrs. Their feast is celebrated in the Greek, as well as in the Latin Church, on 9 March.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

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