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Monday, May 25, 2015

Catholic News World : Monday May 25, 2015 - Share!

 2015

What is Memorial Day? Special #Prayers for Soldiers and Families #MemorialDay



TODAY IS MEMORIAL DAY IN the USA, a day which occurs every year on the last Monday in May. It is a federal holiday in the USA. Memorial Day remembers the deceased members of the US Armed Forces. It was known as Decoration Day when it originated after the Civil War. A tradition has been to place an American flag at the tomb stone of fallen veterans. 
Here are several prayers released by the Bishops' of the USA for Soldiers and their families:

Prayers in a Time of War

  1. For Troops
    All-powerful and ever-living God,
    when Abraham left his native land
    and departed from his people
    you kept him safe through all his journeys.
    Protect these soldiers.
    Be their constant companion and their strength in battle,
    their refuge in every adversity.
    Guide them, O Lord, that they may return home in safety.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  2. Prayer of a Spouse for a Soldier
    God of power and might,
    at every moment and in every place
    you are near to those who call upon your name in faith.
    In marriage you have blessed us with a share in your divine love.
    Look upon my husband/wife and keep him/her in your safekeeping,
    no matter where the road may lead.
    And when the battle is ended,
    bring him/her safely home to those who love him.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  3. Prayer of a Son or Daughter for a Parent
    Loving God
    you watch over each and every one of your children
    Hear my prayer for my father/mother
    Be his/her constant companion.
    Protect him/her no matter where he/she goes,
    and bring him/her safely and quickly home to those who love him/her.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  4. Prayer of a Parent for a Soldier
    Father all-powerful and ever-loving God,
    from before we were born,
    your love has nurtured and sustained us.
    Hear my prayer for N., my son/daughter.
    Keep him/her safe in time of battle
    and faithful to you, day in and day out.
    Bring him/her safely home to those who love him/her.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  5. Prayer for Those who Await a Soldier's Return
    God of all goodness,
    Look with love on those who wait
    for the safe return of their loved ones
    who serve in the armed forces of their country.
    In faith and hope, we turn to you for comfort.
    Grant that we may trust in your mercy
    and send an angel to sustain us as we await their safe return.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  6. For Government Leaders
    God of power and might, wisdom and justice,
    through you authority is rightly administered,
    laws are enacted, and judgment is decreed.
    Assist with your spirit of counsel and fortitude
    the President and other government leaders of these United States.
    May they always seek
    the ways of righteousness, justice and mercy.
    Grant that they may be enabled by your powerful protection
    to lead our country with honesty and integrity.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  7. For the Safety of Soldiers
    Almighty and eternal God,
    those who take refuge in you will be glad
    and forever will shout for joy.
    Protect these soldiers as they discharge their duties.
    Protect them with the shield of your strength
    and keep them safe from all evil and harm.
    May the power of your love enable them to return home
    in safety, that with all who love them,
    they may ever praise you for your loving care.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  8. For our Enemies
    Jesus, Prince of Peace,
    you have asked us to love our enemies
    and pray for those who persecute us.
    We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
    With the help of the Holy Spirit,
    may all people learn to work together
    for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.
    To you be glory and honor for ever and ever.
  9. For Courage in the time of Battle
    O Prince of peace, we humbly ask your protection
    for all our men and women in military service.
    Give them unflinching courage to defend
    with honor, dignity and devotion,
    the rights of all who are imperiled
    by injustice and evil.
    Be their rock, their shield, and their stronghold
    and let them draw their strength from you.
    For you are God, for ever and ever.
  10. In a Time of Waiting
    All powerful and ever-living God,
    Guard our churches, our homes, our schools,
    our hospitals, our factories, and all the places where we gather.
    Deliver us from harm and peril.
    Protect our land and its peoples from enemies within and without.
    Grant an early peace with victory founded upon justice.
    Instill in the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere
    a firm purpose to live forever in peace and good will toward all.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
  11. For Deceased Veterans
    O God,
    by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
    look kindly on your departed veterans who gave their
    lives in the service of their country.
    Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son
    they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom
    and rejoice in you with your saints forever.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.

A Soldier's Prayers

  1. For Families and friends Left At Home
    O God, Protector of all people and nations,
    protect my family and friends at home
    from the violence and evil of others.
    Keep them safe from the weapons of hate and destruction
    and guard them against the deeds of evildoers.
    Grant them your protection and care
    in tranquility and peace.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  2. On the Eve of Battle
    God of power and mercy,
    maker and love of peace,
    to know you is to live,
    and to serve you is to reign.
    Through the intercession of St. Michael, the archangel,
    be our protection in battle against all evil.
    Help me [us] to overcome war and violence
    and to establish your law of love and justice.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  3. For Hope in the Midst of Destruction
    God of mercy,
    you know the secrets of all human hearts,
    for you know who is just and you forgive the repentant sinner.
    Hear my prayer in the midst of destruction;
    give me patience and hope,
    so that under your protection and with you as my guide,
    I may one day be reunited with my family and friends
    in peace, tranquility, and love.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  4. Prayer For Officers In Command
    God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Hear my prayer for these soldiers under my command.
    Grant that I may bring the spirit of Christ
    to all my efforts and orders
    as I exercise my authority over those entrusted to my care.
    Inform my judgment with your Holy Spirit
    so that I may make decisions
    in conformity with your law and for the common good.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  5. For Fellow Combatants
    Lord God,
    Remember Christ your Son who is peace itself
    and who has washed away our hatred with His blood.
    Because you love all men and women,
    look with mercy on all who are engaged in battle.
    Banish the violence and evil within all combatants
    so that one day, we may all deserve to be
    called your sons and your daughters.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  6. For the innocent victims of war
    Lord God,
    your own Son was delivered into the hands of the wicked,
    yet he prayed for his persecutors
    and overcame hatred with the blood of the Cross.
    Relive the sufferings of the innocent victims of war;
    grant them peace of mind, healing of body,
    and a renewed faith in your protection and care.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.
  7. Prayer for refugees and victims of war
    Lord God,
    no one is a stranger to you
    and no one is ever far from your loving care.
    In your kindness, watch over refugees and victims of war,
    those separated from their loved ones,
    young people who are lost,
    and those who have left home or who have run away from home.
    Bring them back safely to the place where they long to be
    and help us always to show your kindness
    to strangers and to all in need
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Latest #News from #Vatican and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee


25-05-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 096 

Summary
- Meeting of the Council of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops
- Pentecost: the Holy Spirit makes us capable of dedicating ourselves to works of justice and peace
- Regina Coeli: the Church is not born isolated
- The Pope urges the international community to help refugees in the Bay of Bengal
- Message for World Missions Day: “There is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor”
- Francis prays with the Pentecostal evangelical pastors of Phoenix for the unity of the Church
- The Pope to Christian workers' association: fight for free, creative, participatory and fraternal work
- Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero: a martyr who knew how to guide, defend and protect his flock
- Pope's message for the Second International Conference on Women
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Meeting of the Council of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops
Vatican City, 25 May 2015 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father chaired the meeting of the Council of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
Pentecost: the Holy Spirit makes us capable of dedicating ourselves to works of justice and peace
Vatican City, 24 May 2015 (VIS) – “Strengthened by the Spirit – who guides, who guides us into the truth, who renews us and the whole earth, and who gives us his fruits – strengthened in the Spirit and by these many gifts, may we be able to battle uncompromisingly against sin, to battle uncompromisingly against corruption, which continues to spread in the world day after day, by devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace”, said the Holy Father during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on the solemnity of Pentecost.
Pope Francis repeated several times during his homily that the Holy Spirit, today as yesterday, guides, renews and bears fruit, acting through people and communities, and making them capable of receiving God, “capax Dei” the Holy Fathers have affirmed.
 “On the evening of Easter, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and breathed on them his Spirit; on the morning of Pentecost the outpouring occurred in a resounding way, like a wind which shook the place the Apostles were in, filling their minds and hearts. They received a new strength so great that they were able to proclaim Christ’s Resurrection in different languages. ... Together with them was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the first disciple, there too as Mother of the nascent Church. With her peace, with her smile,with her maternity, she accompanied the joyful young Bride, the Church of Jesus”.
In the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he has returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come to “guide them into all the truth”, and explains to them that its action will bring them to understand ever more clearly what he, the Messiah, has said and done, especially with regard to his death and resurrection. “To the Apostles, who could not bear the scandal of their Master’s sufferings, the Spirit would give a new understanding of the truth and beauty of that saving event. At first they were paralysed with fear, shut in the Upper Room to avoid the aftermath of Good Friday. Now they would no longer be ashamed to be Christ’s disciples; they would no longer tremble before the courts of men. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they would now understand 'all the truth': that the death of Jesus was not his defeat, but rather the ultimate expression of God’s love, a love that, in the Resurrection, conquers death and exalts Jesus as the Living One, the Lord, the Redeemer of mankind, the Lord of history and of the world. This truth, to which the Apostles were witnesses, became Good News, to be proclaimed to all”.
The Holy Spirit also renews the earth. “Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the 'garden' in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect. Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself in turn to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam. In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation. In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator”.
“The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit”, exclaimed the Pope at the end of his homily. “Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin. There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism – seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as 'hypocrites'; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways. However, the world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers. The world needs the fruits, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as Saint Paul lists them: 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control'. The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace”.
Regina Coeli: the Church is not born isolated
Vatican City, 24 May 2015 (VIS) – As is usual on a Sunday, the Pope appeared at the window of his study at midday today to pray the Regina Coeli with the thousands of pilgrims and faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Before the Marian prayer he again referred to the solemnity of Pentecost, which represents “the baptism of the Church, which thus begins her path through history, guided by the strength of the Holy Spirit”. He continued, “That event, which changes the heart and the life of the apostles and the other disciples, is immediately reflected outside the Cenacle. Indeed, the door that had been kept closed for fifty days is finally opened and the first Christian Community, no longer closed in on itself, begins to speak to the crowds of different origins of the great things that God has done. … And every person present hears the disciples speak in his own language. The gift of the Spirit re-establishes the harmony of language lost in Babel, and prefigures the universal dimension of the apostles' mission”.
 The Church “is not born isolated: she is born universal, one, Catholic, with a precise identity but open to all, not closed, an identity that embraces the whole world, without exception. The Mother Church does not close her door to anyone! Not even the greatest sinner! And this is due to the strength and the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Mother Church throws her doors wide open to all, because she is a mother”.
Pentecost is also “the beginning of a new season: the season of witness and fraternity. It is a season that comes from above, that comes from God, like the flames of fire that came to rest of the head of each disciple. It was the flame of love that burned away all bitterness; it was the language of the Gospel that crosses the boundaries set by man and touches the hearts of the multitude, without distinction of language, race or nationality. As on that day of Pentecost, today too the Holy Spirit is continually poured onto the Church and on each one of us, so that we leave behind our mediocrity and narrow-mindedness, and communicate the merciful love of the Lord to all the world … so that as we announce Jesus, resurrected, living and present in our midst, we warm our own heart and the heart of peoples, drawing them close to Him, the path, the truth, and life”.
The Pope urges the international community to help refugees in the Bay of Bengal
Vatican City, 24 May 2015 (VIS) – Following today's Regina Coeli the Pope voiced his concern and suffering for the fate of the many refugees stranded at sea in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, expressing his appreciation for the efforts made by those countries which “have shown their willingness to welcome these people who face great suffering and danger”, and urged the international community to offer humanitarian aid.
He went on to recall that today marks the centenary of Italy's entry into the First World War, “that senseless slaughter”. “Let us pray for the victims”, he said, “asking the Holy Spirit for the gift of peace”.
He also mentioned the beatification yesterday of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador and the Italian religious sister Irene Stefanini in Kenya. “The first was killed in hatred of the faith as he celebrated the Eucharist”, he remarked. “This zealous pastor, following Jesus' example, chose to stay among his people, especially the poor and oppressed, even at the cost of his own life. Sister Irene Stefanini, Missionary of Consolation, served the Kenyan population with joy, mercy and tender compassion. May the example of these blesseds inspire in every one of us the wish to bear witness to the Gospel with courage and self-sacrifice”.
 Finally, on the feast day of Mary Help of Christians, he greeted the Salesian community, asking that the Lord might give them the strength to continue in their work in the spirit of St. John Bosco.
Message for World Missions Day: “There is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor”
Vatican City, 24 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's message for the 89th World Mission Day was published today. To be held on Sunday 18 October 2015, this year the Day will take place in the context of the Year of Consecrated Life and will therefore highlight the bond between faith and mission.
The following is the full text of the message:
“The 2015 World Mission Sunday 2015 takes place in the context of the Year of Consecrated Life, which provides a further stimulus for prayer and reflection. For if every baptised person is called to bear witness to the Lord Jesus by proclaiming the faith received as a gift, this is especially so for each consecrated man and woman. There is a clear connection between consecrated life and mission. The desire to follow Jesus closely, which led to the emergence of consecrated life in the Church, responds to his call to take up the cross and follow him, to imitate his dedication to the Father and his service and love, to lose our life so as to gain it. Since Christ’s entire existence had a missionary character, so too, all those who follow him closely must possess this missionary quality.
The missionary dimension, which belongs to the very nature of the Church, is also intrinsic to all forms of consecrated life, and cannot be neglected without detracting from and disfiguring its charism. Being a missionary is not about proselytising or mere strategy; mission is part of the 'grammar' of faith, something essential for those who listen to the voice of the Spirit who whispers 'Come' and 'Go forth'. Those who follow Christ cannot fail to be missionaries, for they know that Jesus 'walks with them, speaks to them, breathes with them. They sense Jesus alive with them in the midst of the missionary enterprise'.
Mission is a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love which gives us dignity and sustains us. At the same time, we realise that the love flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity. We realise once more that he wants to make use of us to draw closer to his beloved people and all those who seek him with a sincere heart. In Jesus’ command to 'go forth', we see the scenarios and ever-present new challenges of the Church’s evangelising mission. 'l her members are called to proclaim the Gospel by their witness of life. In a particular way, consecrated men and women are asked to listen to the voice of the Spirit who calls them to go to the peripheries, to those to whom the Gospel has not yet been proclaimed.
The fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree Ad Gentes is an invitation to all of us to reread this document and to reflect on its contents. The Decree called for a powerful missionary impulse in Institutes of Consecrated Life. For contemplative communities, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, Patroness of the Missions, appears in a new light; she speaks with renewed eloquence and inspires reflection upon the deep connection between contemplative life and mission. For many active religious communities, the missionary impulse which emerged from the Council was met with an extraordinary openness to the mission ad gentes, often accompanied by an openness to brothers and sisters from the lands and cultures encountered in evangelisation, to the point that today one can speak of a widespread 'interculturalism' in the consecrated life. Hence there is an urgent need to reaffirm that the central ideal of mission is Jesus Christ, and that this ideal demands the total gift of oneself to the proclamation of the Gospel. On this point there can be no compromise: those who by God’s grace accept the mission, are called to live the mission. For them, the proclamation of Christ in the many peripheries of the world becomes their way of following him, one which more than repays them for the many difficulties and sacrifices they make. Any tendency to deviate from this vocation, even if motivated by noble reasons due to countless pastoral, ecclesial or humanitarian needs, is not consistent with the Lord’s call to be personally at the service of the Gospel. In Missionary Institutes, formators are called to indicate clearly and frankly this plan of life and action, and to discern authentic missionary vocations. I appeal in particular to young people, who are capable of courageous witness and generous deeds, even when these are countercultural: Do not allow others to rob you of the ideal of a true mission, of fol lowing Jesus through the total gift of yourself. In the depths of your conscience, ask yourself why you chose the religious missionary life and take stock of your readiness to accept it for what it is: a gift of love at the service of the proclamation of the Gospel. Remember that, even before being necessary for those who have not yet heard it, the proclamation of the Gospel is a necessity for those who love the Master.
Today, the Church’s mission is faced by the challenge of meeting the needs of all people to return to their roots and to protect the values of their respective cultures. This means knowing and respecting other traditions and philosophical systems, and realising that all peoples and cultures have the right to be helped from within their own traditions to enter into the mystery of God’s wisdom and to accept the Gospel of Jesus, who is light and transforming strength for all cultures.
Within this complex dynamic, we ask ourselves: 'Who are the first to whom the Gospel message must be proclaimed?'. The answer, found so often throughout the Gospel, is clear: it is the poor, the little ones and the sick, those who are often looked down upon or forgotten, those who cannot repay us. Evangelisation directed preferentially to the least among us is a sign of the Kingdom that Jesus came to bring: 'There is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them'. This must be clear above all to those who embrace the consecrated missionary life: by the vow of poverty, they choose to follow Christ in his preference for the poor, not ideologically, but in the same way that he identified himself with the poor: by living like them amid the uncertainties of everyday life and renouncing all claims to power, and in this way to become brothers and sisters of the poor, bringing them the witness of the joy of the Gospel and a sign of God’s love.
Living as Christian witnesses and as signs of the Father’s love among the poor and underprivileged, consecrated persons are called to promote the presence of the lay faithful in the service of Church’s mission. As the Second Vatican Council stated: 'The laity should cooperate in the Church's work of evangelisation; as witnesses and at the same time as living instruments, they share in her saving mission'. Consecrated missionaries need to generously welcome those who are willing to work with them, even for a limited period of time, for an experience in the field. They are brothers and sisters who want to share the missionary vocation inherent in Baptism. The houses and structures of the missions are natural places to welcome them and to provide for their human, spiritual and apostolic support.
The Church’s Institutes and Missionary Congregations are completely at the service of those who do not know the Gospel of Jesus. This means that they need to count on the charisms and missionary commitment of their consecrated members. But consecrated men and women also need a structure of service, an expression of the concern of the Bishop of Rome, in order to ensure koinonia, for cooperation and synergy are an integral part of the missionary witness. Jesus made the unity of his disciples a condition so that the world may believe. This convergence is not the same as legalism or institutionalism, much less a stifling of the creativity of the Spirit, who inspires diversity. It is about giving a greater fruitfulness to the Gospel message and promoting that unity of purpose which is also the fruit of the Spirit.
The Missionary Societies of the Successor of Peter have a universal apostolic horizon. This is why they also need the many charisms of consecrated life, to address the vast horizons of evangelisation and to be able to ensure adequate presence in whatever lands they are sent.
Dear brothers and sisters, a true missionary is passionate for the Gospel. St. Paul said: 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!'. The Gospel is the source of joy, liberation and salvation for all men and women. The Church is aware of this gift, and therefore she ceaselessly proclaims to everyone 'what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes'. The mission of the servants of the Word – bishops, priests, religious and laity – is to allow everyone, without exception, to enter into a personal relationship with Christ. In the full range of the Church’s missionary activity, all the faithful are called to live their baptismal commitment to the fullest, in accordance with the personal situation of each. A generous response to this universal vocation can be offered by consecrated men and women through an intense life of prayer and union with the Lord and his redeeming sacrifice.
To Mary, Mother of the Church and model of missionary outreach, I entrust all men and women who, in every state of life work to proclaim the Gospel, ad gentes or in their own lands. To all missionaries of the Gospel I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing”.
Francis prays with the Pentecostal evangelical pastors of Phoenix for the unity of the Church
Vatican City, 24 May 2015 (VIS) – The diocese of Phoenix, U.S.A., has organised a day of dialogue and prayer, on the eve of Pentecost, with a group of evangelical pastors of Pentecostal orientation, including the Italian Giovanni Traettino, whom Pope Francis visited during his trip to Caserta. The Holy Father participated with a video message, screened yesterday afternoon at the opening of the meeting (during the night in Europe), ample extracts of which are given below:
“'Father, may we be one so that the world may believe you sent me'. This is the slogan, the theme of the meeting: Christ’s prayer to the Father for the grace of unity. Today, Saturday … I will be with you spiritually and with all my heart. We will search together, we will pray together, for the grace of unity. The unity that is budding among us is that unity which begins under the seal of the one Baptism we have all received. It is the unity we are seeking along a common path. It is the spiritual unity of prayer for one another. It is the unity of our common labour on behalf of our brothers and sisters, and all those who believe in the sovereignty of Christ. Dear brothers and sisters, division is a wound in the body of the Church of Christ. And we do not want this wound to remain open. Division is the work of the father of Lies, the father of Discord, who does everything possible to keep us divided.
“Together today, I here in Rome and you over there, we will ask our Father to send the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and to give us the grace to be one, 'so that the world may believe'. I wish to say something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps. But there is someone who 'knows' that, despite our differences, we are one. It is he who is persecuting us. It is he who is persecuting Christians today, he who is anointing us with (the blood of) martyrdom. He knows that Christians are disciples of Christ: that they are one, that they are brothers! He doesn’t care if they are Evangelicals, or Orthodox, Lutherans, Catholics or Apostolic … he doesn’t care! They are Christians. And that blood (of martyrdom) unites. Today, dear brothers and sisters, we are living an 'ecumenism of blood'. This must encourage us to do what we are doing today: to pray, to dialogue together, to shorten the distance between us, to strengthen our bonds of brotherhood.
“I am convinced it will not be theologians who bring about unity among us. Theologians help us, the science of the theologians will assist us, but if we hope that theologians will agree with one another, we will reach unity the day after Judgement Day. The Holy Spirit brings about unity. Theologians are helpful, but most helpful is the goodwill of us all who are on this journey with our hearts open to the Holy Spirit! In all humility, I join you as just another participant on this day of prayer, friendship, closeness and reflection. In the certainty that we have one Lord: Jesus is the Lord. In the certainty that this Lord is alive: Jesus is alive, the Lord lives in each one of us. In the certainty that He has sent the Spirit He promised us so that this 'harmony' among all His disciples might be realised”.
The Pope to Christian workers' association: fight for free, creative, participatory and fraternal work
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) - “We must ensure that through work – free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive – human beings may express and increase the dignity of their lives”, said Pope Francis this morning as he received in audience the members of the Christian Associations of Italian Workers (ACLI), who celebrate the 70th anniversary of their foundation this year.
The Holy Father took the opportunity to reflect on the scale and urgency of the employment problem in today's world and the need to propose equitable, fraternal and genuinely practicable solutions. “The spread of precariousness, illegal work and organised crime, especially among the younger generations, ensure that the lack of work robs dignity and obstructs the fullness of human life. This demands an immediate and vigorous response”, he said, then indicating the four features that should be present in all work.
Firstly, work must be free: the true freedom of work means that man, continuing the work of the Creator, ensures that the world reaches its objective. Too often, however, work is a vehicle for oppression at several levels: man against another man; new forms of organised slavery that oppress the poorest. “In particular, many children and women suffer as the result of an economy that obliges them to carry out undignified work that contradicts creation in its beauty and harmony. We must ensure that work is not a tool of alienation, but rather of hope and new life”.
Creative work allows one to use his or her unique and original abilities. This is achieved “when man is permitted to express with freedom and creativity in certain forms of activity, in collaborative work conducted in the community that enable full economic and social development to him and to others. We cannot clip the wings of those, especially the young, who have much to give with their intelligence and capacities; they must be freed of the burdens that oppress them and prevent them from fully entering the world of work as soon as possible”.
Participatory work corresponds to the relational dimension of the person, and involves the establishment of responsible bonds of collaboration. However, “when, due to an 'economistic' vision … others are regarded as a means and not an end, work loses its primary meaning as the continuation of God's work, a work destined for all humanity, so that all may benefit”.
Finally, mutually supportive work means responding to the many men and women who have lost their jobs or are seeking employment, above all with closeness and solidarity. Associations such as the ACLI, as places of welcome and encounter, must also identify opportunities for formation and professional training.
Francis went on to refer to some key aspects of the ACLI. The first is its presence outside Italy, which began with the phase of Italian emigration and continues to be valuable since many young people leave Italy to seek work pertinent to their studies or to enrich their professional experience. “Support them on their path”, he said. “In their eyes you may see the reflection of your parents or grandparents who travelled far to work”.
The Association is also engaged in the battle against poverty and that of the impoverishment of the middle classes. “Offering support, not only of an economic nature, to those below the poverty line, who have increased in number in Italy in recent years, can bring benefits to all of society. At the same time, those who yesterday lived a dignified life must be prevented from slipping into poverty. It takes very little these days to become poor: the loss of a job, an elderly relative who is no longer self-sufficient, sickness in the family, or even – think of this terrible paradox – the birth of a child. It is an important cultural battle, that of ensuring that welfare is considered to be the infrastructure of development rather than a cost. You can act as a coordinator and motor for the 'alliance against poverty', which proposes the development of a national plan for decent and dignified work”.
“Christian inspiration and the popular dimension determine that way of understanding and implementing the ACLI's historic triple fidelity to workers, democracy and the Church. In the current context, it may be said that these three attitudes may be summarised in one, new and simple: fidelity to the poor”.
Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero: a martyr who knew how to guide, defend and protect his flock
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a letter to Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador, president of the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador, for the beatification of Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez, former archbishop of the same archdiocese and martyr, killed in hatred of the faith on 24 March 1980. The the beatification Mass, celebrated in Plaza del Divino Salvador del Mundo in the Salvadoran capital, was attended by the Pope's special envoy Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The following is the full text of the letter:
“The beatification of Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamex, who was the pastor of this beloved archdiocese, is a cause for great joy for Salvadorans and for those who rejoice in the example of the best sons of the Church. Msgr. Romero, who built peace with the strength of love, bore witness to faith, giving his life to the extreme.
The Lord never abandons His people in difficulties, and always shows solicitude to its needs. He sees oppression, He hears the cries of pain of His children, and he comes to their aid to free them from oppression and to lead them to a new land, of 'milk and honey', fertile and spacious. Just as He chose Moses to guide His people in His name, He continues to raise pastors after His own heart, who graze His flock with wisdom and prudence.
In this beautiful central American country, bathed by the Pacific Ocean, the Lord granted His Church a zealous bishop who, loving God and serving his brothers, converted himself in the image of Christ the Good Shepherd. In times of difficult co-existence, Msgr. Romero knew how to guide, defend and protect his flock, remaining faithful to the Gospel and in communion with all the Church. His ministry was distinguished by his particular care for the poorest and most marginalised. And at the moment of his death, as he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of love and reconciliation, he received the grace of fully identifying himself with He Who gave His life for his flock.
On this day of celebration for the Salvadoran nation, and also for our brother countries in Latin America, let us give thanks to God for granting to the bishop martyr the capacity to see and hear the suffering of his people, and for forming his heart so that, in His name, he was guided and enlightened, and his work was filled with Christian charity.
The voice of the newly Blessed continues to resonate today, reminding us that the Church, a convocation of brothers around the Lord, is the family of God, in which there should be no division. Faith in Jesus Christ, when it is well understood and its full consequences are realised, generates communities that are builders of peace and solidarity. This is what the Church is called to do today in El Salvador, America and the world at large: to be rich in mercy, to convert into leaven for reconciliation for society.
Msgr. Romero invites us to good sense and reflection, respect for life and harmony. It is necessary to reject 'the violence of the sword, of hatred' and to live 'the violence of love, which caused Christ to be nailed to a cross, which enables us all to overcome our selfishness and ensures there may no longer be such cruel inequalities between us'. He was able to see and to experience in his own flesh 'the selfishness that lurks in those who do not wish to give what is theirs for the benefit of others'. And, with a father's heart, he cared for the 'poor majority', urging the powerful to transform their weapons into ploughshares.
May those who regard Msgr. Romero as a friend in faith, those who invoke him as a protector and intercessor, those who admire him, find in him the strength and encouragement to build the Kingdom of God, and to commit themselves to creating a more equitable and dignified social order.
It is the right time for true national reconciliation when faced with today's challenges. The Pope participates in your hopes, and unites himself to your prayers so that the seed of martyrdom may flourish and become entrenched in the true paths of the sons and daughters of that nation, which proudly bears the name of the divine Saviour of the World.
Dear brother, I ask you to pray and to ask for prayers for me, and I impart my apostolic blessing to all those who join in any way in the celebration of the new Blessed”.
Pope's message for the Second International Conference on Women
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) – The Pope has sent a message of greetings and encouragement to the participants in the Second International Conference on Women held in Rome, and which today comes to an end. The event was organised by the Pontifical Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, in cooperation with the World Union of Women’s Catholic Organisations and the World Women’s Alliance for Life and Family, on the theme “Women and the post-2015 development agenda: the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
 “Women face a variety of challenges and difficulties in various parts of the world”, he writes. “In the West, at times they still experience discrimination in the workplace; they are often forced to choose between work and family; they not infrequently suffer violence in their lives as fiancees, wives, mothers, sisters and grandmothers. In poor and developing countries, women bear the heaviest burdens: it is they who travel many miles in search of water, who too often die in childbirth, who are kidnapped for sexual exploitation or forced into marriages at a young age or against their will. At times they are even denied the right to life simply for being female. All of these problems are reflected in the proposals for the post-2015 Development Agenda currently being discussed in the United Nations.
“Issues relating to life are intrinsically connected to social questions. When we defend the right to life, we do so in order that each life – from conception to its natural end – may be a dignified life, one free from the scourge of hunger and poverty, of violence and persecution. Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, highlighted how the Church 'forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalised'.
“I encourage you, who are engaged in defending the dignity of women and promoting their rights, to allow yourselves to be constantly guided by the spirit of humanity and compassion in the service of your neighbour. May your work be marked first and foremost by professional competence, without self-interest or superficial activism, but with generous dedication. In this way you will manifest the countless God-given gifts which women have to offer, encouraging others to promote sensitivity, understanding and dialogue in settling conflicts big and small, in healing wounds, in nurturing all life at every level of society, and in embodying the mercy and tenderness which bring reconciliation and unity to our world. All this is part of that 'feminine genius' of which our society stands in such great need”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Boyko Borissov, prime minister of Bulgaria, and entourage;
- Nikola Gruevski, president of the government of the ex-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with his wife and entourage.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Archbishop Ghaleb Moussa Abdalla Bader of Algiers, Algeria, as apostolic nuncio to Pakistan.
- Sergio Melillo as bishop of Ariano Irpino-Lacedonia (area 781, population 74,970, Catholics 74,270, priests 44, permanent deacons 8, religious 80), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in 1955 in Avellino, Italy and was ordained a priest in 1989. A licentiate in dogmatic theology, he has exercised his pastoral ministry in the diocese of Avellino in the roles of parish priest, vice director of diocesan Caritas and parish vicar of the Cathedral. He has also served as lecturer in dogmatic theology at the “San Giuseppe Moscati” Higher Institute of Religious Sciences, lecturer in religious culture the Avellino “Università della Terza Età”. He is currently vicar general and a member of the presbyteral council and college of consultors.

#PopeFrancis #Homily "The first Beatitude: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit...


Pope Francis celebrates the Eucharist at Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
25/05/2015 12:


(Vatican Radio)  If you are wealthy, you should make sure your riches serve the "common good." An abundance of things lived selfishly is "sad", steals "hope," and is the origin "of all kinds of corruption," large or small. That was Pope Francis’ reflection in his Homily at this morning’s Mass celebrated in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta.In his Homily, Pope Francis reflects on one of the most famous passages of the Gospel: Jesus meets the rich young man who enthusiastically asks to follow Him and assures Him he will always live by the commandments.  But when Jesus tells him one last thing is needed - to sell his things, give everything to the poor and then follow Him - the young man’s attitude and willingness swiftly change. Suddenly, "the joy and hope" in the rich young man vanish, because he does not want to give up his riches.
"The attachment to riches is the beginning of all kinds of corruption, everywhere: personal corruption, corruption in business, even small commercial bribery, the kind that shortchanges you at the counter, political corruption, corruption in education ... Why? Because those who live attached to their own power, their own wealth, they believe they’re in heaven. They are closed; they have no horizon, no hope. Eventually they will have to leave everything."
Rich and sterile
"There is a mystery in the possession of wealth," says Francis. "Riches have the ability to seduce, to take us to a seduction and make us believe that we are in a paradise on earth." Instead, says the Pope, that earthly paradise is a place without "horizon", similar to that neighborhood the pontiff  remembers seeing in the seventies, inhabited by wealthy people who had built walls and fences to defend their property from thieves:
"And living without horizons is a sterile life; living without hope is a sad life. The attachment to wealth makes us sad and makes us sterile. I say 'attachment,' I am not saying 'good administration of one’s riches', because riches are for the common good, for everyone. And if the Lord gives them to one person it is so that they are used for the good of all, not for oneself, not so they are closed in one’s heart, which then becomes corrupt and sad."
Open your hand and your horizons
Wealth without generosity, insists Pope Francis, "makes us believe that we are powerful like God. And in the end it takes away the best: hope." But Jesus, he concludes, indicates in the Gospel the right way to live.
"The first Beatitude: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit,' or the stripping off of this attachment and making sure that the riches that the Lord has given one are for the common good. It’s the only way. Open your hand, open your heart, open up the horizon. But if you have a closed hand, your heart is closed as the man’s who threw banquets and wore expensive clothes;  you have no horizons, you do not see others who are in need and you'll end up like that man: far from God. "

#PopeFrancis personal #Interview with #Argentine Paper “Jesus came to preach to the poor, it is impossible...


La Voz Del Pueblo - RV
25/05/2015 15:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says that being with people does him good.
In a long and very personal interview with Juan Beretta, a reporter from the Argentinean newspaper “La Voz Del Pueblo”, the Pope speaks of his feelings of when he was elected Pope, of how he misses walking the streets, using public transport and sitting down for a pizza, of how he feels moved and sad when he meets sick children, prison inmates and people who’ve had no opportunities in life, of how he would like to be remembered “as someone who did some good”.
The interview, conducted in the privacy of his residence at Casa Santa Marta, offers some insights into the everyday life of Francis who says that never would he have expected to be elected as the Successor of Peter, but of how the life of a religious, “a Jesuit, undergoes change according to necessity”.
Did not expect to be elected Pope
To the question whether he had ever “dreamt” of becoming Pope, Francis says: “Never! Nor, for that matter, of becoming a President or an Army General – as some children do! I never did. ”
He speaks of the years in which his life, as a Jesuit, changed according to the situations. And he says that when he travelled to Rome to vote in the last Conclave, he had a return ticket in his pocket and an unfinished homily on his desk at home. “For British bookmakers the odds of me becoming Pontiff were given at 46 to 1!” he laughs.
Asked how he felt when he was elected Pope on March 13, 2013, Francis said he felt “great peace”. During the casting of the last ballots he was left alone to pray the rosary and was given words of encouragement by his friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes who told him not to worry because “the Holy Spirit was taking care of everything”.
Afterwards, he says, he was led into the Sacristy where he changed his cassock, and stepping out on the balcony, the words he pronounced just came to him: “I felt so much peace and the words came from my heart”. 
Being with people makes me feel good
Regarding his exceptional relationship with people, Pope Francis says that “being with people does me good”. He says that people understand him and comprehend what he wants to say. “Psychologically I can’t be far from people”.
And speaking of everyday life in the Casa Santa Marta he explains it is an ordinary guest house for some 40 people who work for the Holy See and for visiting bishops, priests and lay people. He says they all share their meals in the dining room and attend Mass together four mornings a week.   
I miss going out for a “pizza,” but I do not like “protocol”
Talking about what he misses most today, the Pope says: “walking”. Going out into the streets and sitting down for pizza: “Ordering one in the Vatican is not the same thing.” He reveals that he has always been a big walker and back in Argentina he used to catch the subway and really “live the city”. He tells of the time when he forgot to roll up the window in the vehicle he was being driven in “and chaos erupted” when the people in the street realized it was the Pope in the car and they crowded around in excitement “and the car couldn’t get passed”. He says he known for “lacking in discipline” and confesses that although he finds protocol cold, today he says that in official occasions he “keeps to it totally”.
Wakeup at 4am after a good night’s sleep
Notwithstanding the grave responsibilities tied to his role, Pope Francis says he sleeps deeply for six hours in a row. He awakes (no need for an alarm clock!) at 4am and recharges thanks to a 40” siesta during the day.
Before falling asleep in the evening Francis reads a little; he reveals he is currently reading a book about the great spiritual teacher Saint Silouan the Athonite.
Does the Pope cry?
In his homilies Pope Francis often refers to the importance of “being able to cry” and feel “tenderness”. He speaks in the interview of the times he himself has been moved to tears when confronted with “human dramas” – in particular, he speaks of the drama of the “Rohinga people” and more generally of his sadness when he meets sick children: When I see them – he says – I ask the Lord ‘why them and not me?’
The Pope also speaks of being deeply moved when visiting people who are in prison because “no one can be sure he will never commit a crime and end up in prison”. And speaking of inmates Francis says he asks himself why is it that they have never had the same opportunities in life that he has?.
The Pope says he does not cry publically, but it has happened that he has just managed to keep back his tears, such as when recently he was talking about “the persecutions of Christians in Iraq and the fate of the children there”.
Keeping on working at a fast pace
Francis describes himself as having quite a bold and daring character, therefore generally – he says - he is not afraid. As regards the possibility of being the target of an attack he says he is serene “and in the hands of God”, but he confesses to fear physical pain and suffering.
Regarding the pressure he feels as he carries out his Ministry, the Pope says the work is intense and sometimes he suffers from a sort of an “end-of-year” syndrome when one is faced with an intense workload and the fatigue of having to tackle exams.
In his work, he mentions specifically the peril of being taken out of context by the media,  and  he says he does not follow the political evolution of his homeland, Argentina, which he says is land of much potential and many wasted opportunities.
Does not watch TV, surf the internet or follow football
Helping him keep up to date with world affairs, Pope Francis leafs through the Italian daily newspaper “La Repubblica” in the morning for not more than ten minutes.  
He says he has not watched television since 1990 when he made a promise to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  
And regarding his being a football fan who roots for Buenos Aires’ San Lorenzo team, Pope Francis says he does not watch games any more but there is a Swiss Guard in the Vatican who keeps him up to date with results.
The Pope of the poor
When asked whether he is happy to be called the Pope of the poor, Francis says that poverty is at the heart of the Gospel: “Jesus came to preach to the poor, it is impossible to take poverty away from the Gospel”.
The Pope says the worst evils in the world today are “poverty, corruption, human trafficking”.
Although many believe that the eradication of poverty is a utopia, the Pope says ideals are what move us forward. He says that it would be very sad if young people were not utopian and idealistic. He lists three things we should all keep in mind as we face the problems that arise: “memory, the capacity to see the present, a utopian vision for the future”.
In conclusion, when asked how he would like to be remembered, Francis’s answer is simple: “As a person who has done his best to do good. I have no other claim”.          
(Linda Bordoni)

2015

Saint May 25: St. Bede : Patron of #Lectors , #Writers and #Historians : Died 735

St. Bede
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, HISTORIAN
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:672 at Wearmouth, England
Died:25 May 735
Canonized:1899 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:Durham Cathedral
Patron of:lectors ;english writers and historians; Jarrow
Historian and Doctor of the Church, born 672 or 673; died 735. In the last chapter of his great work on the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" Bede has told us something of his own life, and it is, practically speaking, all that we know. His words, written in 731, when death was not far off, not only show a simplicity and piety characteristic of the man, but they throw a light on the composition of the work through which he is best remembered by the world at large. He writes:

Thus much concerning the ecclesiastical history of Britain, and especially of the race of the English, I, Baeda, a servant of Christ and a priest of the monastery of the blessed apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, which is at Wearmouth and at Jarrow (in Northumberland), have with the Lord's help composed so far as I could gather it either from ancient documents or from the traditions of the elders, or from my own knowledge. I was born in the territory of the said monastery, and at the age of seven I was, by the care of my relations, given to the most reverend Abbot Benedict [St. Benedict Biscop], and afterwards to Ceolfrid, to be educated. From that time I have spent the whole of my life within that monastery, devoting all my pains to the study of the Scriptures, and amid the observance of monastic discipline and the daily charge of singing in the Church, it has been ever my delight to learn or teach or write. In my nineteenth year I was admitted to the diaconate, in my thirtieth to the priesthood, both by the hands of the most reverend Bishop John [St. John of Beverley], and at the bidding of Abbot Ceolfrid. From the time of my admission to the priesthood to my present fifty-ninth year, I have endeavored for my own use and that of my brethren, to make brief notes upon the holy Scripture, either out of the works of the venerable Fathers or in conformity with their meaning and interpretation.

After this Bede inserts a list or Indiculus, of his previous writings and finally concludes his great work with the following words:

And I pray thee, loving Jesus, that as Thou hast graciously given me to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge, so Thou wouldst mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee, the fountain of all wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face.

It is plain from Bede's letter to Bishop Egbert that the historian occasionally visited his friends for a few days, away from his own monastery of Jarrow, but with such rare exceptions his life seems to have been one peaceful round of study and prayer passed in the midst of his own community. How much he was beloved by them is made manifest by the touching account of the saint's last sickness and death left us by Cuthbert, one of his disciples. Their studious pursuits were not given up on account of his illness and they read aloud by his bedside, but constantly the reading was interrupted by their tears. "I can with truth declare", writes Cuthbert of his beloved master, "that I never saw with my eyes or heard with my ears anyone return thanks so unceasingly to the living God." Even on the day of his death (the vigil of the Ascension, 735) the saint was still busy dictating a translation of the Gospel of St. John. In the evening the boy Wilbert, who was writing it, said to him: "There is still one sentence, dear master, which is not written down." And when this had been supplied, and the boy had told him it was finished, "Thou hast spoken truth", Bede answered, "it is finished. Take my head in thy hands for it much delights me to sit opposite any holy place where I used to pray, that so sitting I may call upon my Father." And thus upon the floor of his cell singing, "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost" and the rest, he peacefully breathed his last breath.

The title Venerabilis seems to have been associated with the name of Bede within two generations after his death. There is of course no early authority for the legend repeated by Fuller of the "dunce-monk" who in composing an epitaph on Bede was at a loss to complete the line: Hac sunt in fossa Bedae . . . . ossa and who next morning found that the angels had filled the gap with the word venerabilis. The title is used by Alcuin, Amalarius and seemingly Paul the Deacon, and the important Council of Aachen in 835 describes him as venerabilis et modernis temporibus doctor admirabilis Beda. This decree was specially referred to in the petition which Cardinal Wiseman and the English bishops addressed to the Holy See in 1859 praying that Bede might be declared a Doctor of the Church. The question had already been debated even before the time of Benedict XIV, but it was only on 13 November, 1899, that Leo XIII decreed that the feast of Venerable Bede with the title of Doctor Ecclesiae should be celebrated throughout the Church each year on 27 May. A local cultus of St. Bede had been maintained at York and in the North of England throughout the Middle Ages, but his feast was not so generally observed in the South, where the Sarum Rite was followed.

Bede's influence both upon English and foreign scholarship was very great, and it would probably have been greater still but for the devastation inflicted upon the Northern monasteries by the inroads of the Danes less than a century after his death. In numberless ways, but especially in his moderation, gentleness, and breadth of view, Bede stands out from his contemporaries. In point of scholarship he was undoubtedly the most learned man of his time. A very remarkable trait, noticed by Plummer (I, p. xxiii), is his sense of literary property, an extraordinary thing in that age. He himself scrupulously noted in his writings the passages he had borrowed from others and he even begs the copyists of his works to preserve the references, a recommendation to which they, alas, have paid but little attention. High, however, as was the general level of Bede's culture, he repeatedly makes it clear that all his studies were subordinated to the interpretation of Scripture. In his "De Schematibus" he says in so many words: "Holy Scripture is above all other books not only by its authority because it is Divine, or by its utility because it leads to eternal life, but also by its antiquity and its literary form" (positione dicendi). It is perhaps the highest tribute to Bede's genius that with so uncompromising and evidently sincere a conviction of the inferiority of human learning, he should have acquired so much real culture. Though Latin was to him a still living tongue, and though he does not seem to have consciously looked back to the Augustan Age of Roman Literature as preserving purer models of literary style than the time of Fortunatus or St. Augustine, still whether through native genius or through contact with the classics, he is remarkable for the relative purity of his language, as also for his lucidity and sobriety, more especially in matters of historical criticism. In all these respects he presents a marked  contrast to St. Aldhelm who approaches more nearly to the Celtic type.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Saint May 25 : St. Madeline Sophie Barat : #Foundress of Society of the Sacred Heart

St. Madeline Sophie Barat
FOUNDRESS
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:12 December 1779, Joigny, France
Died:25 May 1865, Paris, France
Canonized:24 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI
Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, born at Joigny, Burgundy, 12 December, 1779; died in Paris, 24 May, 1865. She was the youngest child of Jacques Barat, a vine-dresser and cooper, and his wife, Madeleine Foufé, and received baptism the morning after her birth, her brother Louis, aged eleven, being chosen godfather. It was to this brother that she owed the exceptional education which fitted her for her life-work. Whilst her mother found her an apt pupil in practical matters, Louis saw her singular endowments of mind and heart; and when, at the age of twenty-two, he returned as professor to the seminary at Joigny, he taught his sister Latin, Greek, history, natural science, Spanish, and Italian. Soon she took delight in reading the classics in the original, and surpassed her brother's pupils at the seminary.

After the Reign of Terror, Louis called Sophie to Paris, to train her for the religious life, for which she longed. When he had joined the Fathers of the Faith, a band of fervent priests, united in the hope of becoming members of the Society of Jesus on its restoration, he one day spoke of his sister to Father Varin, to whom had been bequeathed by the saintly Léonor de Tournély the plan of founding a society of women wholly devoted to the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to prayer and sacrifice, and destined to do for girls what the restored Society of Jesus would do for boys. Father Varin had vainly sought a fitting instrument to begin this work; he now found one in this modest, retiring girl of twenty. He unfolded the project, which seemed to satisfy all her aspirations, and she bowed before his authoritative declaration that this was for her the will of God. With three companions she made her first consecration, 21 November, 1800, the date which marks the foundation of the Society of the Sacred Heart. In September, 1801, the first convent was opened at Amiens, and thither Sophie went to help in the work of teaching. It was impossible yet to assume the name "Society of the Sacred Heart", lest a political significance be attached to it; its members were known as Dames de la Foi or de l'Instruction Chrétienne. Father Varin allowed Sophie to make her vows, 7 June, 1802, with Genevieve Deshayes.

The community and school were increasing, and a poor school had just been added, when it became evident to Father Varin that Mademoiselle Loquet, who had hitherto acted as superior, lacked the qualities requisite for the office, and Sophie, although the youngest, was named superior (1802). Her first act was to kneel and kiss the feet of each of her sisters. Such was ever the spirit of her government, November, 1804, found her at Sainte-Marie-d'en-Haut, near Grenoble, receiving a community of Visitation nuns into her institute, One of them, Philippine Duchesne, was later to introduce the society into America. Grenoble was the first of some eighty foundations which Mother Barat was to make, not only in France but in North America (1818), Italy (1828), Switzerland (1830), Belgium (1834), Algiers (1841). England (1842), Ireland(1842), Spain (1846), Holland (1848), Germany (1851), South America (1853) Austria (1853), Poland (1857).

Mother Barat was elected superior-general in January, 1806, but a majority of one vote only, for the influence of an ambitious priest, chaplain at Amiens, wellnigh wrecked the nascent institute. Prolonged prayer, silent suffering, tact, respect, charity, were only means she used to oppose his designs. With Father Varin, now a Jesuit, she elaborated constitutions and rules grafted on the stock of the Institute of St. Ignatius. These rules were received with joy in all the houses, Amiens alone excepted; but Mother Barat's wisdom and humility soon won submission even here. In 1818 she sent Mother Duchesne, with four companions, to the New World; her strong and holy hand was ever ready to support and guide this first missioner of the Society. She called all the superiors together in council at Paris in 1820, to provide a uniform course of studies for their schools. these studies were to be solid and serious, to fit the pupils to become intelligent wives and devoted mother; to give that cultivation of mind. that formation of character, which go to make up a true women; all was to stamped and sealed with strong religious principles and devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Foundations multiplied, and Mother Barat, seeing the necessity of a stronger guarantee of unity, sought it in union with Rome. The solemn approbation was obtained much sooner than usual, owing to a memoir drawn up by the foundress and presented to Leo XII in May, 1826. The decree of approbation was promulgated in December. The society being now fully organized and sealed by Rome's approval, for forty years Mother Barat journeyed from convent to convent, wrote many thousand letters, and assembled general congregations, so as to preserve its original spirit. The Paris school gained European repute; Rome counted three establishments, asked for and blessed by three successive pontiffs. At Lyons Mother Barat founded the Congregation of the Children of Mary for former pupils and other ladies. in he same year (1832), she began at Turin the work of retreats for ladies of the world, an apostleship since widely and profitably imitated. Numerous foundations brought Mother Bart onto personal contact with all classes. We find her crossing and recrossing France, Switzerland, Italy, often on the eve of revolutions; now the centre of a society of émigrés whose intellectual gifts, high social position, and moral worth are seldom found united; now sought out by cardinals and Roman princesses during her vicits to her Roman houses; at another time, speaking on matters educational with Madame de Genlis; or again, exercising that supernatural ascendency which aroused the admiration of such men as Bishop Fraysinous, Doctor Récamier, and Duc de Rohan.
These exterior labours were far from absorbing all Mother Barat's time or energies; they coexisted with a life of ever-increasing holiness and continual prayer; for the real secret of her influence lay in her habitual seclusion from the outside world, in the strong religious formation of her daughters which this seclusion made possible, and in the enlightened, profound, ans supernatural views on education which she communicated to the religious engaged in her schools. She worked by and through them all, and thus reached out to the ends of the earth. In spite of herself she attracted and charmed all who approached her. New foundations she always entrusted to other hands; for, like all great rulers, she had the twofold gift of intuition in the choice of persons fitted for office, and trust of those in responsible posts. Allowing them much freedom of action in details, guiding them only by her counsels and usually form afar. Prelates who now and them ventured to attribute to her the successes of the society, saw that instead of pleasing, they distressed her exceedingly.

Beloved by her daughters, venerated by princes and pontiffs, yet ever lowly of heart, Mother Barat died at the mother-house in Paris, on Ascension Day, 1865, as she had foretold, after four days' illness. She was buried at Conflans, the house of novitiate, where her body was found intact in 1893. In 1879 she was declared Venerable, and the process of beatification introduced. [Note: Mother Barat was canonized in 1925.]

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Saint May 25 : St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi : Discalced #Carmelite and #Healer

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC AND HEALER
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:April 2, 1566, Florence, Italy
Died:May 25, 1607, Florence, Italy
Canonized:April 28, 1669, Rome by Pope Clement X
Patron of:Naples (co-patron)
Carmelite Virgin, born 2 April, 1566; died 25 May, 1607. Of outward events there were very few in the saint's life. She came of two noble families, her father being Camillo Geri de' Pazzi and her mother a Buondelmonti. She was baptized, and named Caterina, in the great baptistery. Her childhood much resembled that of some other women saints who have become great mystics, in an early love of prayer and penance, great charity to the poor, an apostolic spirit of teaching religious truths, and a charm and sweetness of nature that made her a general favourite. But above all other spiritual characteristics was Caterina's intense attraction towards the Blessed Sacrament, her longing to receive It, and her delight in touching and being near those who were speaking of It, or who had just been to Communion. She made her own First Communion at the age of ten, and shortly afterwards vowed her virginity to God. At fourteen she was sent to school at the convent of Cavalaresse, where she lived in so mortified and fervent a manner as to make the sisters prophesy that she would become a great saint; and, on leaving it, she told her parents of her resolve to enter the religious state. They were truly spiritual people; and, after a little difficulty in persuading them to relinquish their only daughter, she finally entered in December, 1582, the Carmelite convent of Santa Maria degl' Angeli, founded by four Florentine ladies in 1450 and renowned for its strict observance. Her chief reason for choosing this convent was the rule there followed of daily Communion.

Caterina was clothed in 1583, when she took the name of Maria Maddalena; and on 29 May, 1584, being then so ill that they feared she would not recover, she was professed. After her profession, she was subject to an extraordinary daily ecstasy for forty consecutive days, at the end of which time she appeared at the point of death. She recovered, however, miraculously; and henceforth, in spite of constant bad health, was able to fill with energy the various offices to which she was appointed. She became, in turn, mistress ofexterns--i.e. of girls coming to the convent on trial--teacher and mistress of the juniors, novice mistress (which post she held for six years), and finally, in 1604, superior. For five years (1585-90) God allowed her to be tried by terrible inward desolation and temptations, and by external diabolic attacks; but the courageous severity and deep humility of the means that she took for overcoming these only served to make her virtues shine more brilliantly in the eyes of her community.

From the time of her clothing with the religious habit till her death the saint's life was one series of raptures and ecstasies, of which only the most notable characteristics can be named in a short notice.

* First, these raptures sometimes seized upon her whole being with such force as to compel her to rapid motion (e.g. towards some sacred object).

* Secondly, she was frequently able, whilst in ecstasy, to carry on work belonging to her office--e.g., embroidery, painting, etc.--with perfect composure and efficiency.

* Thirdly--and this is the point of chief importance--it was whilst in her states of rapture that St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi gave utterance to those wonderful maxims of Divine Love, and those counsels of perfection for souls, especially in the religious state, which a modern editor of a selection of them declares to be "more frequently quoted by spiritual writers than those even of St. Teresa". These utterances have been preserved to us by the saint's companions, who (unknown to her) took them down from her lips as she poured them forth. She spoke sometimes as of herself, and sometimes as themouthpiece of one or other of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity. These maxims of the saint are sometimes described as her "Works", although she wrote down none of them herself.

This ecstatic life in no wise interfered with the saint's usefulness in her community. She was noted for her strong common-sense, as well as for the high standard and strictness of her government, and was most dearly loved to the end of her life by all for the spirit of intense charity that accompanied her somewhat severe code of discipline. As novice-mistress she was renowned for a miraculous gift of reading her subjects' hearts--which gift, indeed, was not entirely confined to her community. Many miracles, both of this and of other kinds, she performed for the benefit either of her own convent or of outsiders. She often saw things far off, and is said once to have supernaturally beheld St. Catherine de' Ricci in her convent at Prato, reading a letter that she had sent her and writing the answer; but the two saints never met in a natural manner. To St. Mary Magdalen's numerous penances, and to the ardent love of suffering that made her genuinely wish to live long in order to suffer with Christ, we can here merely refer; but it must not be forgotten that she was one of the strongest upholders of the value of suffering for the love of God and the salvation of our fellow-creatures, that ever lived. Her death was fully in accordance with her life in this respect, for she died after an illness of nearly threeyears' duration and of indescribable painfulness, borne with heroic joy to the end. Innumerable miracles followed the saint's death, and the process for her beatification was begun in 1610 under Paul V, and finished under Urban VIII in 1626. She was not, however, canonized till sixty-two years after her death, when Clement IX raised her to the altars in 28 April, 1669. Her feast is kept on 27 May.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday May 25, 2015


Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 347


Reading 1SIR 17:20-24

To the penitent God provides a way back,
he encourages those who are losing hope
and has chosen for them the lot of truth.
Return to him and give up sin,
pray to the LORD and make your offenses few.
Turn again to the Most High and away from your sin,
hate intensely what he loathes,
and know the justice and judgments of God,
Stand firm in the way set before you,
in prayer to the Most High God.

Who in the nether world can glorify the Most High
in place of the living who offer their praise?
Dwell no longer in the error of the ungodly,
but offer your praise before death.
No more can the dead give praise
than those who have never lived;
You who are alive and well
shall praise and glorify God in his mercies.
How great the mercy of the LORD,
his forgiveness of those who return to him!

Responsorial PsalmPS 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R. (11a) Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.

Alleluia2 COR 8:9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”

He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
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