Sunday, November 22, 2015

Catholic News World : Sun. November 22, 2015 - SHARE


Wow Christ the King Statue in #Poland is the Largest in the World - made the #Guinness book of Records - SHARE

Christ the King (Polish: Pomnik Chrystusa Króla, lit. Monument of Christ the King) statue of Jesus Christ is located in Świebodzin, western Poland. It was completed on 6 November 2010. The figure is 33 metres (108 ft) tall, the crown is 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall, and with its mound, it reaches 52.5 metres (172 ft). Five years were spent in construction and the costs were approximately $1.5 million to build. This was collected from donations of the 21,000 residents of the town and led by Sylwester Zawadzki, a retired Polish priest. It is the tallest statue of Jesus in the world. The statue was built on a 16.5 metre embankment of stones and rubble. Christ the King has a height of 33 metres, representing Jesus' age at his death.The Crown of the temple is 3.5 metres in diameter and 2 m in height. It weighs 440 tons. Each hand is 6 m in length and the distance between the ends of the fingers is 24 metres. It is made of concrete and fibreglass. This statue is 3 meters taller than the better known Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro, standing at 30.1 metres (99 ft) tall. The design was primarily produced by Mirosław Kazimierz Patecki and the technical design by Assoc. Jakub Marcinowski and Assoc. Mikołaj Kłapeć. The clothing and the arms of the statue were designed by Tomasz Stafiniak and Krzysztof Nawojski. Marian Wybraniec, was responsible for the design of the foundations. The construction work was undertaken by staff employed by the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Świebodzin. Construction began on 29 September 2006 when the city council of Świebodzin passed a resolution on the establishment of Christ the King. This is the largest statue of Jesus according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Edited from Wikipedia - and ChristianPost

Novena to Christ the King - #Consecration - #Litany - #Prayers to SHARE #ChristtheKing

Novena to Christ the King 
Recite One Our Father, One Hail Mary and One Glory Be per day followed by the Novena Prayer:

O Lord our God, You alone are the Most Holy King and Ruler of all nations.
We pray to You, Lord, in the great expectation of receiving from You, O Divine King, mercy, peace, justice and all good things.
Protect, O Lord our King, our families and the land of our birth.
Guard us we pray Most Faithful One.
Protect us from our enemies and from Your Just Judgment
Forgive us, O Sovereign King, our sins against you.
Jesus, You are a King of Mercy.
We have deserved Your Just Judgment
Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.
We trust in Your Great Mercy.
O most awe-inspiring King, we bow before You and pray;
May Your Reign, Your Kingdom, be recognized on earth.


Consecration to Christ the King with Indulgence
 One may gain a plenary indulgence by the public recitation of the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and we exhort all faithful Catholics to offer, or renew, their consecration to the Sacred Heart of our Sovereign Lord.
“The kingship and empire of Christ have been recognized in the pious custom, practiced by many families, of dedicating themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; not only families have performed this act of dedication, but nations, too, and kingdoms. In fact, the whole of the human race was at the instance of Pope Leo XIII, in the Holy Year 1900, consecrated to the Divine Heart.
We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October–the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day.”
Quas Primas, 
Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, December 11, 1925 On the Feast of Christ the King, this Act of Consecration is to be read solemnly with the Litany of the Sacred Heart before the blessed Sacrament exposed. Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thy altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy Most Sacred Heart. 
Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart.
Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.
Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism; refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Saviour; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.
Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and Honour forever. Amen.

Litany to Christ the King

Lord, have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us, 
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

God, our Heavenly Father, Who has made firm for all ages your Son's Throne, 
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Jesus, our Victim-High Priest, True Prophet, and Sovereign King, 
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, poured out upon us with abundant newness, 
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, Three Persons yet One God in the Beauty of Your Eternal Unity, 
Have mercy on us.

O Jesus, our Eternal King,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Most Merciful King,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, extending to us the Golden Scepter of Your Mercy,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, in Whose Great Mercy we have been given the Sacrament of Confession,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Loving King Who offers us Your Healing Grace,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, our Eucharistic King,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, the King foretold by the prophets,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King of Heaven and earth,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King and Ruler of All Nations,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Delight of the Heavenly Court,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Most Compassionate toward Your subjects,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King from Whom proceeds all authority,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, in whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we are One,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Kingdom is not of this world,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Sacred Heart burns with Love for all mankind,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who has given us Mary, the Queen, to be our dear Mother,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who will come upon the clouds of Heaven with Power and Great Glory,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Throne we are to approach with confidence,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who made Mary the Mediatrix of All Graces,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who made Mary Co-Redemptrix, Your partner in the Plan of Salvation,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who desires to heal us of all division and disunity,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King wounded by mankind's indifference,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who gives the balm of Your Love with which to console Your Wounded Heart,
 Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who is the Great I AM within us, our Wellspring of Pure Delight,
 Reign in our hearts.

Jesus, King of All Nations, True Sovereign of all earthly powers,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, subjecting under Your feet forever the powers of hell
 , May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, the Light beyond all light, enlightening us in the darkness that surrounds us, 
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Mercy is so Great as to mitigate the punishments our sins deserve
,  May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, recognized by the Magi as the True King,
May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, the Only Remedy for a world so ill,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who blesses with Peace those souls and nations that acknowledge You as True King,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who Mercifully sends us your Holy Angels to protect us,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Chief Prince is Saint Michael the Archangel,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who teaches us that to reign is to serve,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Just Judge Who will separate the wicked from the good,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, before Whom every knee shall bend,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Dominion is an everlasting Dominion,
May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Lamb who will Shepherd us,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who after having destroyed every sovereignty,
 May we serve You.  authority and power, will hand over the Kingdom to Your God and Father,
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Reign is without end,
 May we serve You. 
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose kindness toward us is steadfast, and whose fidelity endures forever,
 May we serve You. 

Eternal Father, Who has given us Your Only Begotten Son, to be our Redeemer, One True Mediator, and Sovereign King, 
We praise and thank You.Loving Jesus, Sovereign King, Who humbled Yourself for Love of us and took the form of a servant, , We praise and thank You.

Holy Spirit, Third Person of the Trinity, Love of the Father and the Son, Who sanctifies us and gives us Life, We praise and thank You.

Mary, our Queen and Mother, who mediates to Jesus on our behalf,
Pray for us.

Mary, our Queen and Mother, through whom all Grace come to us, 
Pray for us.

Mary, our Queen and Mother, Singular Jewel of the Holy Trinity,
  We love You.

Holy Angels and Saints of our Divine King,  
Pray for us and Protect us.


#PopeFrancis "...imitating Jesus, our King, making present His Kingdom with acts of tenderness, compassion and mercy.” Text- Video

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for all the faithful everywhere to pray for persecuted Christians on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered beneath the window of the Papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace, which overlooks St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father recalled the beatification in Barcelona on Saturday of Bl. Federico da Berga and his 25 Companions, who were martyred during the course of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
“They were,” said Pope Francis, “priests, young professed friars awaiting ordination, and lay brothers belonging to the Capuchin Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans): let us entrust to their intercession the many of our brothers and sisters who, sadly still today, in many different parts of the world, are persectuted because of their faith in Christ.”
Pope Francis also asked the faithful to pray for the success of his upcoming visit to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, which begins this Wednseday, Nov. 25. "I ask you all to pray for this voyage," he said, "that it might be for all our brothers and sisters in those lands, and also for me, a sign of closeness and of love."
Ahead of the Angelus on Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King, with faithful pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the focus of the Holy Father’s remarks was the nature of Christ’s kingship: a kingship that opposes itself to the worldly logic that prizes ambition and rewards ruthlessness, expressing itself in humility and selflessness, and affirming itself silently but efficaciously with the force of truth.
“The kingdoms of this world sometimes build themselves on arrogance, rivalry, oppression; the kingdom of Christ is ‘a kingdom of justice, love and peace’,” he said. The Holy Father went on to say, “[T]o reign as He does means to serve God and the brethren – a service that flows from love: to serve for love’s sake is to reign: this is the regality of Jesus.”
Pope Francis concluded, saying, “Before so many lacerations in the world, and the too many wounds in the flesh of men, we ask the Virgin Mary to sustain us in our commitment to imitating Jesus, our King, making present His Kingdom with acts of tenderness, compassion and mercy.”

Latest #News of #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee - SHARE

  • Audience with the president of Ukraine: favour a political solution to resolve conflict
  • To German bishops: overcome the erosion of faith through pastoral outreach
  • Francis: the sanctification of the priest is closely linked to that of his people
  • Audiences
  • Francis receives the participants in the International Conference “The culture of salus and welcome in the service of man and the planet”

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Audience with the president of Ukraine: favour a political solution to resolve conflict

Vatican City, 20 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko was received in audience by the Holy Father Francis. He subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial discussions, in reaffirming the good relations between the Holy See and Ukraine, were dedicated principally to matters connected with the situation of conflict in the country. In this respect the hope was shared that, with the commitment of all the interested Parties, political solutions may be favoured, starting with the full implementation of the Minsk Accords. At the same time, concern was expressed regarding the difficulties of facing the humanitarian crisis, with particular reference to access for specialised organisations to areas affected by hostilities, to healthcare, to the exchange of prisoners, and the economic and social repercussions of the conflict, experienced throughout the territory.

The meeting provided an opportunity to highlight the important role of the Church in society, as well as the contribution of the Greek Catholic and Latin rite communities to the life of the country.

To German bishops: overcome the erosion of faith through pastoral outreach

Vatican City, 20 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience the prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Germany at the end of their “ad Limina” visit. At the end of the audience the Holy Father handed them a written discourse in which he thanks the German Church for the support given in the form of many works of charity which benefit thousands of people throughout the world. He also mentions that in this exceptional moment, in which large numbers of migrants are arriving in Europe, fleeing from war and persecution, the Christian Churches and many other citizens in Germany have welcomed them warmly offering them assistance and human closeness. Finally, he refers to the erosion of Catholic faith in Germany and the greatly reduced participation in the sacraments and in Sunday Mass in recent decades.

Francis writes that there are great differences not only between the Catholic communities in east and west Germany, but also between north and south, although everywhere the Church is committed with professionalism in social and charitable fields and is very active also in education. On the other hand, in traditionally Catholic regions there has been a major decline in participation in Sunday Mass, as well as in sacramental life. While during the 1960s almost all the faithful participated in Holy Mass every Sunday, now there is attendance of often less than ten per cent, and fewer partake in the sacraments, especially Reconciliation, which has all but disappeared.

In this situation, the Pope emphasises that first it is necessary to overcome this “paralysing resignation”. Although “certainly it is not possible to rebuild from the relics of the good times past … we can be inspired by the life of the first Christians”, such as Priscilla and Aquila, St. Paul's faithful collaborators, who bore witness “with convincing words, but above all with their life, that the truth based on Christ's love for His Church, is truly worthy of faith. They opened up their house for the proclamation of the Gospel”. The example of these “volunteers”, he writes, “can make us reflect, considering the tendency towards a growing institutionalisation. New structures are always being inaugurated, for which in the end there is a lack of faithful. It is a sort of new pelagianism, which leads us to place our trust in administrative structures, in perfect organisations. An excessive centralisation, instead of helping, can complicate the life of the Church and her missionary dynamic. The Church is not a closed system that always revolves around the same questions. The Church is living, and she presents herself to men in their own situations; she knows how to unsettle and to inspire”.

“The current imperative is pastoral conversion, that is, ' a renewal of structures … as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth'. … We must stay among the people with the ardour of those who were the first to welcome the Gospel. And 'whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up … words with new meaning for today's world”.

“In this context of new evangelisation, it is indispensable for the bishop to diligently perform his function as a teacher of the faith – of the faith transmitted and experienced in the living communion of the universal Church – in the many fields of his pastoral ministry”, he continues. “Fidelity to the Church and to the Magisterium does not contradict academic freedom, but requires a humble attitude of service to the gifts of God. The 'sentire cum Ecclesia' must characterise in particular those who educate and form the new generations”.

Parish communities are places where faith is experienced and lived most fully, he adds. “Sacramental life must be one of the bishop's fundamental concerns”. In this regard the Pope highlights two points: Confession and Eucharist. “Confession is the place where the gift of God's forgiveness and mercy is given. In Confession, there begins the transformation of each Christian and the reform of the Church. I trust that greater attention will be given to this Sacrament, which is so important for spiritual renewal, in diocesan and parochial pastoral planning during the Holy Year, and also afterwards. It is also necessary always to emphasise the close relationship between the Eucharist and the priesthood. Pastoral plans that do not accord sufficient importance to priests in their ministry of governing, teaching and sanctifying with regard to the structure and the sacramental life of the Church, experience teaches us, are destined to fail”.

Finally, “a task of the Bishops that is never sufficiently appreciated is commitment to life. The Church must never tire of being an advocate for life and must not take steps back in her announcement that human life is to be protected unconditionally from the moment of conception until natural death. Here we must never make compromises, as otherwise we too become accomplices to the unfortunately widespread throwaway culture”.

Francis: the sanctification of the priest is closely linked to that of his people

Vatican City, 20 November 2015 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Clergy, whose prefect is Cardinal Beniamino Stella, has organised a congress at the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Vatican Council II decrees “Optatum totius” and “Presbyterorum ordinis”, dedicated to the formation of priests. At the closing of the Congress Pope Francis received the participants in audience this morning in the Sala Regia. The following are extensive extracts of his address.

“Given that the vocation to the priesthood is a gift that God gives to some for the good of all, I would like to share with you some thoughts, starting form the relationship between priests and other people, following on from no.3 of 'Presbyterorum ordinis', in which there is a little compendium of the theology of priesthood, from the Letter to the Hebrews: 'Priests, who are taken from among men and ordained for men in the things that belong to God in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, nevertheless live on earth with other men as brothers' amid brothers. Let us consider these three moments: 'taken from among men', 'ordained for men', and present among other men”.

“The priest is a man who is born in a certain human context: there he learns the primary values, absorbs the spirituality of the people, grows accustomed to relations. Priests also have a history, they are not 'mushrooms' that suddenly appear in the Cathedral on the day of their ordination. It is important for formators and priests themselves to remember this and to know how to take into account this personal history along the path of formation. … A good priest, therefore, is first of all a man with his own humanity, who knows his own history, with its riches and its wounds, who has learned to make peace with this, achieving the fundamental serenity proper to one of the Lord's disciples. Human formation is therefore a necessity for priests, so that they learn not to be dominate by their limits, but rather to put their talents to use”.

“We priests are apostles of joy: we announce the Gospel, which is the quintessential 'good news'; we certainly do not give strength to the Gospel – some believe this – but we can favour or hinder the encounter between the Gospel and people. Our humanity is a the clay vase in which we conserve God's treasure, a vase we must take care of, so as to transmit well its valuable contents”.

“A priest cannot lose his roots: he always remains a man of the people and the culture that have produced him; our roots help us to remember who we are and to where Christ has called us. We priests do not fall from above but are instead called by God, who takes us 'from among men', to 'ordain us for men'. This is the second step”.

“Responding to God's call, we become priests to serve our brothers and sisters. The images of Christ we take as a point of reference for our ministry as priests are clear: He is the 'Supreme Priest', at the time close to God and close to man; He is the 'Servant', Who washes the feet and makes Himself close to the weakest; and He is the 'Good Shepherd', Who always cares for His flock”.

“They are the three images we must look to, thinking of the ministry of priests, sent to serve men, to bring God's mercy to them, to announce His Word of life. We are not priests for ourselves, and our own sanctification is closely linked to that of our people, our anointment with theirs. You have been anointed for your people. Knowing and remembering that we are ordained for the people, the holy people of God, helps priests not to think of themselves, to be authoritative and not authoritarian, firm but not hard, joyful but not superficial: in short, pastors, not functionaries. St. Ambrose, in the fourth century, said that where there is mercy, there is the spirit of the Lord; where there is rigidity there are only His ministers. The minister without the Lord becomes rigid, and this is a danger for the people of God”.

“Finally, what is born with the people must stay with the people. The priests is always among other men: he is not a professional of pastoral ministry or evangelisation, who arrives and does what he is supposed to do – perhaps well, but as if it were a profession like any other – before then going away and living a separate life. One becomes a priest in order to stay in the midst of the people. The good that priests can do arises above all from their closeness and their tender love for people. They are not philanthropists or functionaries, but fathers and brothers”.


Vatican City, 20 November 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience the following prelates of the Episcopal Conference of the Federal Republic of Germany, on their “ad Limina” visit:

- Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Köln, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Dominik Schwaderlapp, and Bishop Ansgar Puff;

- Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff of Aachen, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Karl Borsch and Bishop Johannes Bundgens;

- Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen, military ordinary, with his auxiliaries Bishop Ludger Schepers and Bishop Wilhelm Zimmermann;

- Bishop Thomas Löhr, auxiliary of Limburg;

- Bishop Felix Genn, Vescovo di Münster, with his auxiliaries Bishop Heinrich Timmerevers, Bishop Christoph Hegge, BIshop Wilfried Theising and Bishop Stefan Zekorn;

- Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, with his auxiliaries Bishop Robert Brahm, Bishop Jörg Michael Peters and Bishop Helmut Karl Dieser, and

- Bishop Piotr Kryk, apostolic exarch for Ukrainian faithful of Byzantine rite resident in Germany and Scandinavia.

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. November 22, 2015 - Solemnity of Christ the King - SHARE

The Solemnity Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Lectionary: 161

Reading 1DN 7:13-14

As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial PsalmPS 93:1, 1-2, 5

R. (1a) The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

Reading 2RV 1:5-8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, " says the Lord God,
"the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty."

AlleluiaMK 11:9, 10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 18:33B-37

Pilate said to Jesus,
"Are you the King of the Jews?"
Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?"
Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?"
Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here."
So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?"
Jesus answered, "You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

Saint November 22 : St. Cecelia : Patron of Church music,great musicians, poets

St. Cecilia
Feast: November 22
Feast Day:
November 22
Major Shrine:
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
Church music,great musicians, poets
Glorious saint, who chose to die
Instead of denying your King. We pray you please to help us As His fair praise we sing!
We lift our hearts in joyous song To honor Him this way, And while we sing, remembering, To sing is to doubly pray.
At once in our hearts and in our tongues 
We offer double prayer Sent heavenward on winged notes 
To praise God dwelling there.
While in our hearts and tongues we try
With song to praise God twice, We ask dear saint, to help us be United closed to Christ!
Today, November 22, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Cecilia (died 117), Virgin and Martyr of the Church. Saint Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, but the facts of her life have been mostly lost to history. Instead, the Holy Legend of Saint Cecilia has been celebrated since the late fourth century. Saint Cecilia further has the distinction of being the patron saint of music—especially the music used during the celebration of Mass—and the patron saint of musicians, composers, instrument makers, and poets. This association grew from her constant song of Christian love in her heart, present throughout her life. From her Acta: “While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse.”
Cecilia was born in the early part of the third century, in Rome. Born to wealthy, pagan parents, she was likely instructed in the Catholic faith by kind relatives or a nurse. As a noble family—known for their bravery and intelligence—her parents were likely to have accepted (although possibly not approved) of her Catholic faith. By all reports, even as a child, Cecilia loved music, and she would spend her days singing the praises of God, accompanying herself on various instruments.
Cecilia embraced the faith from childhood. Drawn to the Lord, she attended Mass daily, desiring nothing more than to embody the virtues of Christ: faith, hope, charity, humility, and purity. As a child, she consecrated herself a bride of Christ, pledging her perpetual virginity to the Lord. As there were no religious orders for women at that time in history (not for at least 200 more years!), Cecilia was limited in her options. She fasted, prayed, and work sackcloth each day. While she spent her days in charitable works, caring for the poor and needy, her parents were searching for a husband for her to marry. They found an upright and honest man, Valerian, who was pagan like themselves.
Cecilia was torn. Obediently, she wish to do as her parents bade her, but she had made a vow of virginity for the Lord. She spent her days and nights in prayer, offering herself to Jesus, fasting, and enacting harsh penances. As her wedding day approached she did little but pray… until the Lord sent comfort. The Lord promised to send an angel to Saint Cecilia, to guard her, and to assist her in keeping her vow. Cecilia was married in a lavish ceremony, internally, in her soul, becoming the bride of Christ.
After the ceremony, Cecilia said to her new earthly husband: “Dear friend, I have a secret to confide to you, but will you promise me to keep it?”
He promised her solemnly that nothing would ever make him reveal it, and she continued, “An Angel of God watches over me, for I belong to God. If he sees that you would approach me under the influence of a sensual love, his anger will be inflamed, and you will succumb to the blows of his vengeance. But if you love me with a perfect love and conserve my virginity inviolable, he will love you as he loves me, and will lavish on you, too, his favors.”
Upon hearing this, Valerian was at first surprised, and then slightly irritated (as one might expect!). "I am very surprised at what you are telling me and I wish to see this angel!"
"You shall see him," Cecilia gently answered, "when you are purified."
"How shall I become so?" asked Valerian.
"Go to Pope Urban," she instructed him. "When you tell the poor that you are Cecilia's friend, they will take you to see the Pope. He will explain to you the mysteries of the Catholic Faith. May God bless you and my angel protect you."
Valerian, for his part, was moved by the grace of the Lord, and traveled to see Pope Urban that very evening. He was converted to Catholicism and baptized into the faith. Wearing his baptismal gown, he returned to his new bride, finding her accompanied by the angel she had promised. The angel, as emissary from the Lord, bestowed upon them both the golden crowns of heaven. Together, they lived in celibacy, and grew in love for the Lord, eventually converting Valerian’s brother, Tiburtius, a man of some importance in Rome—who upon seeing their heavenly crowns was moved to accept Jesus Christ.
Together the brothers made it their mission to find and provide a decent burial to the Christian martyrs being executed throughout Rome. It was not long, however, until word spread of their endeavor. The Governor of Rome, learning of their Christianity through Tiburtius, summoned the brothers before him. When questioned, they refused to recant their faith, stating: "We are Christians and we believe in Jesus Christ, the One and only true God!"
Upon hearing this, the Governor ordered them martyred. Saint Cecilia, assisted by her angel, recovered and buried the bodies. But soon, she was called before the Governor as well. Courageously, she, too, declared her faith: "I too am a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ, the One and only true God!"
The Governor was not furious. He sentenced her to death, stating: "Cecilia! You are condemned to die for loving the poor and for adoring Christ crucified!"
But Cecilia was not to be harmed. The soldiers tried to scald and suffocated her in the steam bath in her own home, but rather than suffer, she could be heard singing to the Lord, seemingly accompanied by the choir of angels. After 36 hours, in which she should not have been able to survive, she was released. The Governor then ordered her head cut off, but the guard who attempted sliced her neck three times with a sword, but was unable to sever it. Scared, he ran away, leaving her wounded and in great pain.
Cecilia survived for three days, bleeding and injured, but cared for by her angel and the Christians in the small community that had developed. During that time, she preached, converting many, gave away all that she had to the poor, and prayed incessantly. Many came to visit her, soaking up her blood with cloths and sponges, reporting miracles at her intercession later. On the last day of her life, Pope Urban traveled to her home, bestowing upon her the Last Rites, and seeing her to Heaven. On her wishes, Pope Urban ordered Cecilia's house converted into a church, with the steam bath—the site of the start of her martyrdom—the chapel. To this day, one can still see the pipes where the hot steam poured in, and the stone floor where Cecilia was struck with the sword.
The mysteries of Saint Cecilia’s life did not end in death, but continued. After some years, a grand church was built in Rome to honor her. Pope Pascal I, who undertook to rebuild the church many years later, was troubled that the saints holy body had never been recovered. One Sunday, while praying in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Cecilia appeared to him, consoling him, and declaring that he would find her body. Inspired by her words, a search was begun, and Saint Cecilia’s body was discovered, buried in a cemetery now named after her. Gold cloth wrapped the incorrupt body, and the blood-soaked linens that had bound her neck wound were preserved within the tomb. Nearby, the body of her husband, Saint Valerian, was also discovered. The relics of these saints were moved to Saint Cecilia’s Church in 821.
Nearly 800 years later, in 1599, the tomb of Saint Cecilia was opened, and her body was found to be perfectly persevered and incorrupt. At that time, a sculptor was called in to examine and sculpt the body prior to resealing the tomb. A likeness was made with the following carved into the floor at the alter at the base of the statue:
“Behold the body of the most holy virgin Cecilia, whom I myself saw lying incorrupt in the tomb. I have in this marble expressed for you the same saint in the very same posture.”
The life of Saint Cecilia is one of great mystery, as we are left uncertain of the actual events of her marriage and martyrdom. What we do know, from Holy Legend, is that Cecilia was called by the Lord to devote herself to Him—in service to others, in practice of virtues, and in praise and music—all of which she did gladly and with abandon. Despite many obstacles, Saint Cecilia remained pure in the eyes of the Lord, a heavenly instrument of His love on earth!
Lord of mercy, be close to those who call upon you. With St. Cecilia to help us hear and answer our prayers. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (365RosariesBlog)

Saint November 21 : The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

November 21: The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Posted by Jacob
To understand what she was like then, you have to imagine yourself in a place in which columns affect you; where you can retrace stairs where arches full of danger bridge the chasm of a space that remained within you, because it had been made, towering, of such pieces that you can no longer remove them from yourself lest you demolished yourself. If you have reached that state, if everything within you is stone, wall, ramp, view, curve, then try to remove the big curtain in front of you with both hands: it sparkles of very noble things and surpasses your breath and touch. Up, down, palace built upon palace, Railings stream wider from within railings, and surface above surface on such edges that vertigo, as you can see, grasps you. Clouds of incense diffuse what is close, but still the most distant aims right inside of you with its straight rays - and now, when the glow from clear bowls of flame plays on slowly approaching robes: how can you bear it?
She, however, came and raised her eyes to view all this. (A child, a little girl among women) Then she ascended silently, filled with confidence, towards the spoiled luxury which made way for her: For that is how much everything that men built had already been exceeded by the praise within her heart; by the desire to give herself to the signs within her: The parents wanted to lift her up, the looming figure with the bejeweled chest seemed to receive her: But she passed through everyone, small as she ways, slipped from every hand into her destiny, which, higher than the hall, was ready, and heavier than the temple.
Composed by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Gerald Augustinus)
Today, November 21, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the moment in which her parents,Saints Anna and Joaquim, committed Our Blessed Mother to the Lord. From that day on, when she was approximately three years old, Mary lived in the temple, working, praying, and contemplating the awesome love of God, and every day growing closer to Him. As Mary emptied herself of her worldly ties, she was filled with the grace of God, and was prepared for her unique and perfect role in the salvation of mankind through the birth of her Son.
The feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin is the third feast in the Marian cycle of feast days that correspond to three events in the life of her Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. These three feasts are the Nativity of Our Lady(September 8), the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary (September 12), and today’s feast, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin at the Temple. These three feasts correspond to the first three feasts in the cycle of feasts of our Lord: the Nativity of Our Lord (December 25), the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (January 3), and His Presentation in the Temple (February 2). In this way, we see that the life of Our Blessed Mother, from the very beginning, was pre-destined to mirror that of Her Son. Her example both foretells and echoes the journey of Christ on earth, as only a mother could do. It further reminds us that the holiness conferred on Mary from the very beginning of her existence—the Immaculate Conception—continued throughout her early childhood into her life as a young woman.
 From The Church's Year of Grace by Pius Parsch:"Sacred Scripture contains no text concerning the event commemorated in today's liturgy. For something of a historical background one may consult the apocryphal works, particularly the Protoevangel of St. James (ch. 4:1ff). After an angel had revealed her pregnancy, Anna is said to have vowed her future child Mary to the Lord. Soon after birth the infant was brought to the sacred precincts at which only the best of Israel's daughters were admitted. At the age of three she was transferred to the temple proper (7:2). According to legend, here she was reared like a dove and received her nourishment from the hand of an angel (8:1).” From the Protoevangelium of James:
The Birth of Mary the Holy Mother of God, and Very Glorious Mother of Jesus Christ.
7. And her months were added to the child. And the child was two years old, and Joachim said: Let us take her up to the temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord send to us, and our offering be not received. And Anna said: Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother. And Joachim said: So let us wait. And the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified your name in all generations. In you, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her. 8. And her parents went down marveling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel. And so we see that Our Lady was chosen by the Lord, long before the Annunciationof the Archangel Gabriel to her. In the divine plan, Our Blessed Mother was conceived, untouched by sin, and then remained in that manner, having been given to the Lord by her parents. In the temple, where she remained until Gabriel appeared to her, she filled herself with love for the Lord, becoming both mother to, and disciple of, her blessed Son, Our Lord.
We don’t know exactly how these twelve years of preparation went for Mary. Saint Jerome, in his writings, however, provides us a glimpse of what her days may have been like. Our Blessed Mother, along with the other virgins committed to the temple, would arise at dawn and pray until nine o’clock. From 9:00 until 3:00, she would engage in manual work, most likely weaving. At 3:00, she would return to prayer. As Saint Jerome recorded, Our Blessed Mother was “always the first to undertake night watches, the One most applied to study, the most fervent in the chanting of Psalms, the most zealous in works of charity, the purest among the virgins, Her companions, the most perfect in the practice of every virtue. On this day She appears as the standard-bearer for Christian virginity: after Her will come countless legions of virgins consecrated to the Lord, both in the shadow of the altars or engaged in the charitable occupations of the Church in the world.” She took only one meal per day, giving her remaining food to the poor. Angels were recorded as visiting her regularly. She was described as beautiful and cheerful, never angry, and full of grace in her conversations. Mostly, Our Blessed Mother spent her time praying before the Holy of Holies.
Saint Germanus spoke of Our Blessed Mother, on the feast of her Presentation: "Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbor.”
In the end, we don’t have many specifics, with the exception of those written by James. However, what we do know makes a very clear point: Mary, even from her earliest childhood, belonged utterly and completely to the Lord. Even before she could consciously realize, her soul and body were devoted to His plan and longed to serve Him. Her role in the Nativity of Christ, the Incarnation at the Annunciation, her sorrow in His suffering and death were begun at her Immaculate Conception, but made clear on earth at her Presentation. Our Blessed Mother was redeemed in the temple through her faith and the working of the grace of the Lord, and today, we look to her as a model of Christian humanity, joined to her Son, longing for Him, as we should.

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