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Thursday, November 26, 2015

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2015

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. November 26, 2015


Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 506


Reading 1DN 6:12-28

Some men rushed into the upper chamber of Daniel’s home
and found him praying and pleading before his God.
Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition:
“Did you not decree, O king,
that no one is to address a petition to god or man
for thirty days, except to you, O king;
otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions?”
The king answered them, “The decree is absolute,
irrevocable under the Mede and Persian law.”
To this they replied, “Daniel, the Jewish exile,
has paid no attention to you, O king,
or to the decree you issued;
three times a day he offers his prayer.”
The king was deeply grieved at this news
and he made up his mind to save Daniel;
he worked till sunset to rescue him.
But these men insisted.
They said, “Keep in mind, O king,
that under the Mede and Persian law
every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable.”
So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den.
To Daniel he said,
“May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you.”
To forestall any tampering,
the king sealed with his own ring and the rings of the lords
the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den.

Then the king returned to his palace for the night;
he refused to eat and he dismissed the entertainers.
Since sleep was impossible for him,
the king rose very early the next morning
and hastened to the lions’ den.
As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully,
“O Daniel, servant of the living God,
has the God whom you serve so constantly
been able to save you from the lions?”
Daniel answered the king: “O king, live forever!
My God has sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths
so that they have not hurt me.
For I have been found innocent before him;
neither to you have I done any harm, O king!”
This gave the king great joy.
At his order Daniel was removed from the den,
unhurt because he trusted in his God.
The king then ordered the men who had accused Daniel,
along with their children and their wives,
to be cast into the lions’ den.
Before they reached the bottom of the den,
the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

Then King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language,
wherever they dwell on the earth: “All peace to you!
I decree that throughout my royal domain
the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared:

“For he is the living God, enduring forever;
his Kingdom shall not be destroyed,
and his dominion shall be without end.
He is a deliverer and savior,
working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth,
and he delivered Daniel from the lions’ power.”

Responsorial PsalmDANIEL 3:68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74

R. (59b) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Frost and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Ice and snow, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Nights and days, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Light and darkness, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Let the earth bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

AlleluiaLK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”

#PopeFrancis to #Religious in #Kenya "Raise your hand. All of us are sinners," Text - FULL Video

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with clergy, religious men and women and seminarians at the sports field of St Mary's School, in Nairobi, Kenya, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 - AP
Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with clergy, religious men and women and seminarians at the sports field of St Mary's School, in Nairobi, Kenya, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 - AP
26/11/2015 15:13


Below is the prepared text of Pope Francis' speech during his meeting with clergy, men and women religious, and seminarians, at the athletic field of St. Mary's School. He did not deliver this text, choosing instead to speak off-the-cuff.
***
V./ Tumsifu Yesu Kristu! (Praised be Jesus Christ!)
R./ (Milele na Milele. Amina.) (Now and forever. Amen.)
My Brother Priests,
Brothers and Sisters of Consecrated Life,
Dear Seminarians,
I am very happy to be with you, to see the joy on your faces and to listen to your words and your songs of happiness and hope. I thank Bishop Mukobo, Father Phiri and Sister Michael Marie for their words of welcome on your behalf. I also thank the Felician Sisters for their hospitality today.
Before all else, I thank you for the active contribution made to the Church and to Kenyan society by so many consecrated persons, and priests. I ask you to bring my affectionate greeting to your brothers and sisters who could not be with us today, and especially to the elderly and infirm of your communities.
“May God who began a good work in you bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus!” (Phil 1:6). This afternoon I would like to make my own this heartfelt prayer of the Apostle Paul, with gratitude for your faithful service to the Lord in the midst of his people.
Every day, moving in hospitals and at homes among the sick, the suffering, the poor and the marginalized, you proclaim the loving mercy and compassion of God. In parishes, schools and educational institutions, you work to educate the young as Christians and as upright citizens. These efforts are well spent. You help to build the spiritual and moral life of society on the strong foundations of honesty, justice, solidarity and the responsible use of freedom. In a special way, you serve as living signs of the Church’s communion, which embraces all people and languages, excludes no one, and seeks the salvation of all.
I ask all of you to cherish your vocation as a gift from God and to keep ever alive the flame of your zeal. This encouragement goes in a special way to the men and women religious and the consecrated persons present. Your young hearts were set afire by the beauty of a life lived in the footsteps of Christ, dedicated to God and to your neighbour. By daily renewing your “yes” to the Lord’s call to follow him in the evangelical chastity, poverty and obedience, you give him all that you have, all that you are. Although we live and exercise our apostolate in the world, our hearts must be centred on heaven. Let prayer, personal, liturgical and communal, be the heart of your day. Here I would like to thank the cloistered religious for their hidden apostolate which contributes so much to the fruitfulness of the Church’s mission in this country.
Dear brother priests, your own vocation calls you, in imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd, to go out to seek the poor, the sick, those in need of God’s mercy. This is the source of our joy, to be heralds and ministers of his compassion and love to all, without distinction. Amid the many duties and distractions of the pastoral ministry, prayer, priestly fraternity, union of mind and heart with your bishops, and frequent recourse to the grace of the sacrament of Penance, must be your source of strength and a bulwark against the subtle temptation of a spiritual worldliness. The Lord calls us to be ministers of his grace despite our limitations and weaknesses. As our eternal high priest, who was made perfect through suffering (Heb 2:10), he will strengthen your witness to the transforming power of his cross and the joy of his eternal victory.
Dear young seminarians, you too are very close to my heart! These years of preparation and discernment are a grace-filled time when you become convinced of God’s will for your lives. On your part, this calls for honesty, self-knowledge and purity of intention; it must also be sustained by personal prayer, inner freedom from self-seeking or undue attachments. Above all, this should be a time of spiritual joy, the joy which wells up in a heart which is open to God’s voice and humbly prepared to sacrifice everything for the service of his holy people.
Dear friends, the Gospel we preach and strive to live is not an easy path; it is narrow, but it fills the heart with untold joy. Once again I echo the Apostle in assuring you that “I pray always with joy for all of you” (Phil 1:4). I ask you to pray for me, and I commend you all to the surpassing love which we have known in Christ Jesus. To all of you, with great affection, I impart my blessing.
Mungu awabariki! (God bless you!)
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation provided by Vatican]
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held a special meeting with clergy, religious men and women, and seminarians at St. Mary's School in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday. Putting aside his prepared text, the Holy Father spoke of the joy of a life of radical service to the Gospel and of the radical faithfulness to Christ that is the guarantee of happiness and success in ordained ministry and consecrated discipleship.
An official transcript of the Pope Francis' extemporaneous remarks is being prepared.
In the meantime, we offer you the integral audio recording of the Holy Father's address, with side-by-side English translation provided by the Holy Father's official translator, Msgr. Mark Miles. 
Click below to hear the Holy Father's remarks in Spanish, with side-by-side translation into English by Msgr. Mark Miles

#PopeFrancis to #UnitedNations "... a cry rising up from humanity and the earth itself,..." FULL TEXT - Video -


Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon address directors and staff of the United Nations Offices in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi..
On his way to the meeting, the Pope symbolically planted a tree, which he described as “an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like deforestation and desertification” in order to safeguard the future of humanity. . Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ address to the United Nations Office at Nairobi
***************************************************
I would like to thank Madame Sahle-Work Zewde, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, for her kind invitation and words of welcome, as well as Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, and Mr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat. I take this occasion to greet the personnel and all those associated with the institutions who are here present. On my way to this hall, I was asked to plant a tree in the park of the United Nations Centre. I was happy to carry out this simple symbolic act, which is so meaningful in many cultures.
Planting a tree is first and foremost an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like deforestation and desertification. It reminds us of the importance of safeguarding and responsibly administering those “richly biodiverse lungs of our planet”, which include, on this continent, “the Congo basins”, a place essential “for the entire earth and for the future of humanity”. It also points to the need to appreciate and encourage “the commitment of international agencies and civil society organizations which draw public attention to these issues and offer critical cooperation, employing legitimate means of pressure, to ensure that each government carries out its proper and inalienable responsibility to preserve its country’s environment and natural resources, without capitulating to spurious local or international interests” (Laudato Si’, 38).
Planting a tree is also an incentive to keep trusting, hoping, and above all working in practice to reverse all those situations of injustice and deterioration which we currently experience.
In a few days an important meeting on climate change will be held in Paris, where the international community as such will once again confront these issues. It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and projects.
In this international context, we are confronted with a choice which cannot be ignored: either to improve or to destroy the environment. Every step we take, whether large or small, individual or collective, in caring for creation opens a sure path for that “generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings” (ibid., 211). “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all”; “climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods; it represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day” (ibid., 23 and 25). Our response to this challenge “needs to incorporate a social perspective which takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and the underprivileged” (ibid., 93). For “the misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion” (Address to the United Nations, 25 September 2015).
COP21 represents an important stage in the process of developing a new energy system which depends on a minimal use of fossil fuels, aims at energy efficiency and makes use of energy sources with little or no carbon content. We are faced with a great political and economic obligation to rethink and correct the dysfunctions and distortions of the current model of development.
The Paris Agreement can give a clear signal in this direction, provided that, as I stated before the UN General Assembly, we avoid “every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences. We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective” (ibid.). For this reason, I express my hope that COP21 will achieve a global and “transformational” agreement based on the principles of solidarity, justice, equality and participation; an agreement which targets three complex and interdependent goals: lessening the impact of climate change, fighting poverty and ensuring respect for human dignity.
For all the difficulties involved, there is a growing “conviction that our planet is a homeland and that humanity is one people living in a common home” (Laudato Si’, 164). No country “can act independently of a common responsibility. If we truly desire positive change, we have to humbly accept our interdependence” (Address to Popular Movements, 9 July 2015). The problem arises whenever we think of interdependence as a synonym for domination, or the subjection of some to the interests of others, of the powerless to the powerful. What is needed is sincere and open dialogue, with responsible cooperation on the part of all: political authorities, the scientific community, the business world and civil society. Positive examples are not lacking; they demonstrate that a genuine cooperation between politics, science and business can achieve significant results.
At the same time we believe that “human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good and making a new start” (Laudato Si’, 205). This conviction leads us to hope that, whereas the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, “humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities” (ibid., 165). If this is to happen, the economy and politics need to be placed at the service of peoples, with the result that “human beings, in harmony with nature, structure the entire system of production and distribution in such a way that the abilities and needs of each individual find suitable expression in social life”. Far from an idealistic utopia, this is a realistic prospect which makes the human person and human dignity the point of departure and the goal of everything (cf. Address to Popular Movements, 9 July 2015).
This much-needed change of course cannot take place without a substantial commitment to education and training. Nothing will happen unless political and technical solutions are accompanied by a process of education which proposes new ways of living. A new culture. This calls for an educational process which fosters in boys and girls, women and men, young people and adults, the adoption of a culture of care – care for oneself, care for others, care for the environment – in place of a culture of waste, a “throw-away culture” where people use and discard themselves, others and the environment. By promoting an “awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of the future to be shared with everyone”, we will favour the development of new convictions, attitudes and lifestyles. “A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal” (Laudato Si’, 202). We still have time. Many are the faces, the stories and the evident effects on the lives of thousands of persons whom the culture of deterioration and waste has allowed to be sacrificed before the idols of profits and consumption. We need to be alert to one sad sign of the “globalization of indifference”: the fact that we are gradually growing accustomed to the suffering of others, as if it were something normal (cf. Message for World Food Day, 16 October 2013, 2), or even worse, becoming resigned to such extreme and scandalous kinds of “using and discarding” and social exclusion as new forms of slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, prostitution and trafficking in organs. “There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty aggravated by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever” (Laudato Si’, 25). Many lives, many stories, many dreams have been shipwrecked in our day. We cannot remain indifferent in the face of this. We have no right.
Together with neglect of the environment, we have witnessed for some time now a rapid process of urbanization, which in many cases has unfortunately led to a “disproportionate and unruly growth of many cities which have become unhealthy to live in [and] inefficient” (ibid., 44). There we increasingly see the troubling symptoms of a social breakdown which spawns “increased violence and a rise in new forms of social aggression, drug trafficking, growing drug use by young people, loss of identity” (ibid., 46), a lack of rootedness and social anonymity (cf. ibid., 149).
Here I would offer a word of encouragement to all those working on the local and international levels to ensure that the process of urbanization becomes an effective means for development and integration. This means working to guarantee for everyone, especially those living in outlying neighbourhoods, the basic rights to dignified living conditions and to land, lodging and labour. There is a need to promote projects of city planning and maintenance of public areas which move in this direction and take into consideration the views of local residents; this will help to eliminate the many instances of inequality and pockets of urban poverty which are not simply economic but also, and above all, social and environmental. The forthcoming Habitat-III Conference, planned for Quito in October 2016, could be a significant occasion for identifying ways of responding to these issues.
In a few days, Nairobi will host the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. In 1967, my predecessor Pope Paul VI, contemplating an increasingly interdependent world and foreseeing the current reality of globalization, reflected on how commercial relationships between States could prove a fundamental element for the development of peoples or, on the other hand, a cause of extreme poverty and exclusion (Populorum Progressio, 56-62). While recognizing that much has been done in this area, it seems that we have yet to attain an international system of commerce which is equitable and completely at the service of the battle against poverty and exclusion. Commercial relationships between States, as an indispensable part of relations between peoples, can do as much to harm the environment as to renew it and preserve it for future generations.
It is my hope that the deliberations of the forthcoming Nairobi Conference will not be a simple balancing of conflicting interests, but a genuine service to care of our common home and the integral development of persons, especially those in greatest need. I would especially like to echo the concern of all those groups engaged in projects of development and health care – including those religious congregations which serve the poor and those most excluded – with regard to agreements on intellectual property and access to medicines and essential health care. Regional free trade treaties dealing with the protection of intellectual property, particularly in the areas of pharmaceutics and biotechnology, should not only maintain intact the powers already granted to States by multilateral agreements, but should also be a means for ensuring a minimum of health care and access to basic treatment for all. Multilateral discussions, for their part, should allow poorer countries the time, the flexibility and the exceptions needed for them to comply with trade regulations in an orderly and relatively smooth manner. Interdependence and the integration of economies should not bear the least detriment to existing systems of health care and social security; instead, they should promote their creation and good functioning. Certain health issues, like the elimination of malaria and tuberculosis, treatment of so-called orphan diseases, and neglected sectors of tropical medicine, require urgent political attention, above and beyond all other commercial or political interests.
Africa offers the world a beauty and natural richness which inspire praise of the Creator. This patrimony of Africa and of all mankind is constantly exposed to the risk of destruction caused by human selfishness of every type and by the abuse of situations of poverty and exclusion. In the context of economic relationships between States and between peoples, we cannot be silent about forms of illegal trafficking which arise in situations of poverty and in turn lead to greater poverty and exclusion. Illegal trade in diamonds and precious stones, rare metals or those of great strategic value, wood, biological material and animal products, such as ivory trafficking and the relative killing of elephants, fuels political instability, organized crime and terrorism. This situation too is a cry rising up from humanity and the earth itself, one which needs to be heard by the international community.
In my recent visit to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, I expressed the desire and hope that the work of the United Nations and of all its multilateral activities may be “the pledge of a secure and happy future for future generations. And so it will, if the representatives of the States can set aside partisan and ideological interests, and sincerely strive to serve the common good” (Address to the UN, 25 September 2015). Once again I express the support of the Catholic community, and my own, to continue to pray and work that the fruits of regional cooperation, expressed today in the African Union and the many African agreements on commerce, cooperation and development, may be vigorously pursued and always take into account the common good of the sons and daughters of this land. May the blessing of the Most High be with each of you and your peoples. Thank you.

#PopeFrancis "... in Jesus, the way to that freedom and peace for which all hearts long." FULL TEXT Homily - Video Mass


Below is the Vatican-provided translation of the homily Pope Francis gave during Mass at the campus of the University of Nairobi:

***
God’s word speaks to us in the depths of our heart. Today God tells us that we belong to him. He made us, we are his family, and he will always be there for us. “Fear not”, he says to us, “I have chosen you and I promise to give you my blessing” (cf. Is44:2).
We hear this promise in today’s first reading. The Lord tells us that in the desert he will pour forth water on the thirsty land; he will cause the children of his people to flourish like grass and luxuriant willows. We know that this prophecy was fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But we also see it fulfilled wherever the Gospel is preached and new peoples become members of God’s family, the Church. Today we rejoice that it was fulfilled in this land. Through the preaching of the Gospel, we have all become part of the great Christian family.
Isaiah’s prophecy invites us to look to our own families, and to realize how important they are in God’s plan. Kenyan society has long been blessed with strong family life, a deep respect for the wisdom of the elderly and love for children. The health of any society always depends on the health of its families. For their sake, and for the good of society, our faith in God’s word calls us to support families in their mission in society, to accept children as a blessing for our world, and to defend the dignity of each man and woman, for all of us are brothers and sisters in the one human family.
In obedience to God’s word, we are also called to resist practices which foster arrogance in men, hurt or demean women, do not look after the elderly and threaten the life of the innocent unborn. We are called to respect and encourage one another, and to reach out to all those in need. Christian families have this special mission: to radiate God’s love, and to spread the life-giving waters of his Spirit. This is especially important today, for we are seeing the growth of new deserts created by a culture of materialism selfishness and indifference to others.
Here, in the heart of this University, where the minds and hearts of new generations are being shaped, I appeal in a special way to the young people of the nation. Let the great values of Africa’s traditions, the wisdom and truth of God’s word, and the generous idealism of your youth guide you in working to shape a society which is ever more just, inclusive and respectful of human dignity. May you always be concerned for the needs of the poor, and reject everything that leads to prejudice and discrimination, for these things, we know, are not of God.
All of us are familiar with Jesus’ parable about the man who built his house on sand, rather than rock. When the winds came, it fell with a mighty crash (cf. Mt 7:24-27). God is the rock on which we are called to build. He tells us this in the first reading, and he asks us: “Is there a God besides me?” (cf. Is 44:8).
When the Risen Jesus says, in today’s Gospel, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Mt 28:18), he is telling us that he, the Son of God, is himself the rock. There is none besides him. As the one Saviour of mankind, he wishes to draw men and women of every time and place to himself, so that he can bring them to the Father. He wants all of us to build our lives on the firm foundation of his word.
And that is the charge which the Lord gives to each of us. He asks us to be missionary disciples, men and women who radiate the truth, beauty and life-changing power of the Gospel. Men and women who are channels of God’s grace, who enable his mercy, kindness and truth to become the building blocks of a house that stands firm. A house which is a home, where brothers and sisters at last live in harmony and mutual respect, in obedience to the will of the true God, who has shown us, in Jesus, the way to that freedom and peace for which all hearts long.
May Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the rock on whom we build our lives, guide you and your families in the way of goodness and mercy all the days of your lives. May he bless all Kenyans with his peace.
“Stand strong in faith! Do not be afraid!” For you belong to the Lord.
Mungu awabariki! [God bless you!]
Mungu abariki Kenya! [God bless Kenya!]
[Original Text: Italian]
[Vatican-provided translation]

#PopeFrancis “Let us pray for peace!” to #Religious Leaders in #Kenya #Africa - Text - Video

Pope Francis arrives in Nairobi on Wednesday evening - AP
Pope Francis arrives in Nairobi on Wednesday evening - AP
Below is a Vatican-provided translation of Pope Francis' address delivered at an interreligious and ecumenical meeting this morning in the apostolic nunciature in Nairobi:

***
Dear Friends,
I am grateful for your presence this morning and for the opportunity to share these moments of reflection with you.  In a particular way, I wish to thank Archbishop Wabukala and Professor El-Busaidy for their words of welcome offered on your behalf, and on behalf of their communities.  It is always important to me that, when I come to visit the Catholic faithful of a local Church, I have an occasion to meet the leaders of other Christian communities and religious traditions.  It is my hope that our time together may be a sign of the Church’s esteem for the followers of all religions; may it strengthen the bonds of friendship which we already enjoy.         
To be honest, this relationship is challenging; it makes demands of us.  Yet ecumenical and interreligious dialogue is not a luxury.  It is not something extra or optional, but essential, something which our world, wounded by conflict and division, increasingly needs.  
Indeed, religious beliefs and practice condition who we are and how we understand the world around us.  They are for us a source of enlightenment, wisdom and solidarity, and thus enrich the societies in which we live.  By caring for the spiritual growth of our communities, by forming minds and hearts in the truths and values taught by our religious traditions, we become a blessing to the communities in which our people live.  In democratic and pluralistic societies like Kenya, cooperation between religious leaders and communities becomes an important service to the common good.
In this light, and in an increasingly interdependent world, we see ever more clearly the need for interreligious understanding, friendship and collaboration in defending the God-given dignity of individuals and peoples, and their right to live in freedom and happiness.  By upholding respect for that dignity and those rights, the religions play an essential role in forming consciences, instilling in the young the profound spiritual values of our respective traditions, and training good citizens, capable of infusing civil society with honesty, integrity and a world view which values the human person over power and material gain.
Here I think of the importance of our common conviction that the God whom we seek to serve is a God of peace.  His holy Name must never be used to justify hatred and violence.  I know that the barbarous attacks on Westgate Mall, Garissa University College and Mandera are fresh in your minds.  All too often, young people are being radicalized in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear at the very fabric of our societies.  How important it is that we be seen as prophets of peace, peacemakers who invite others to live in peace, harmony and mutual respect!  May the Almighty touch the hearts of those who engage in this violence, and grant his peace to our families and communities.
Dear friends, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, at which the Catholic Church committed herself to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in the service of understanding and friendship.  I wish to reaffirm this commitment, which is born of our conviction of the universality of God’s love and the salvation which he offers to all.  The world rightly expects believers to work together with people of good will in facing the many problems affecting our human family.  As we look to the future, let us pray that all men and women will see themselves as brothers and sisters, peacefully united in and through our differences.  Let us pray for peace
I thank you for your attention, and I ask Almighty God to grant to you and your communities his abundant blessings.
[Original Text: Italian]
[Vatican-provided translation]

Saint November 26 : St. John Berchmans : Patron of Altar Servers and Young People

  

Information:
Feast Day:
November 26/August 13
Born:
13 March 1599 at Driest, Brabant, Belgium
Died:
12 August 1621 at Rome, Italy
Canonized:
1888 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:
Sant'Ignazio
Patron of:
altar boys, Oblate novices, young people
This young saint of the Society of Jesus was born in Flanders, the oldest of five children. He grew up in an atmosphere of political turmoil caused by a religious war between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the Netherlands. He studied at the Gymnasium at Diest and worked as a servant in the household of Canon John Froymont at Malines in order to continue his studies.
In 1615, the Jesuits opened a college at Malines, and St. John Berchmans was one of the first to enter. He was an energetic student and was a leader among the students. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Malines and came under the influence of Father Antoine Sucquet. The young Berchmans developed a strong and deep spirituality based on the loving practice of fidelity. St. Aloysius of Gonzaga was his spiritual model, and he was influenced as well by the example of the Jesuit English martyrs.
It was his realistic appreciation for the value of ordinary things, a characteristic of the Flemish mystical tradition, that constituted his holiness. He was affable, kind, and endowed with an outgoing personality that endeared him to everyone. In 1618, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy and was an exceptional student. He requested after ordination to become a chaplain in the army, hoping to be martyred on the battlefield.
In the summer of 1619, the intense heat of Rome started to affect his health and he began progressively to get weaker. The doctors could not determine what was wrong, and for two years he was continually sick, requiring medical care, and as the summer of 1621 came, it was clear that he would not last long. He died peacefully on August 13, 1621, and numerous miracles were attributed to him at the time of his funeral.
He was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1865 and canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. His body lies in the church of St. Ignatius in Rome, where Aloysius of Gonzaga is also buried.



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