Monday, December 14, 2015

Catholic News World Mon. December 14, 2015 - SHARE


Wow over 1000 create #Nativity for #Performance of 'Angels we have heard on High' with #PianoGuys - SHARE

"This Is The Best Christmas Song I Have Ever Heard. It Will Give You Chills." This according to the many listeners of The Piano Guys, YouTube VIRAL music video. It features Peter Hollens, and former American Idol star David Archuleta who joined more than 1,000 people to create the most beautiful performance of ‘Angels We Have Heard On High.’ This is spectacular - Please SHARE this Amazing production! 

#PopeFrancis "God forgives all, He is just waiting for you to get close to Him." #Homily

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
14/12/2015 13:

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis says that it is hope in God’s mercy  that opens up horizons and gives us freedom.
The Pope was speaking on Monday during the homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta.
Reflecting on the first reading of the day from the Book of Numbers which tells of Balaam, a prophet hired by a king to curse Israel, Pope Francis said “Balaam had his faults, and he had sins as well, because we all have sins. We are all sinners”.
But reassuring the faithful and telling them not to panic, the Pope said: “God is greater than our sins”.
At a certain point – he continued - Balaam meets the angel of the Lord and has a change of heart. He sees what error is and what truth is and “he says what he sees: the People of God dwell in tents in the desert and beyond the desert are fruitfulness, beauty and victory." 
Balaam opens his heart, he "repents" and "sees the truth", because "with good will one always sees the truth. Truth that gives hope" the Pope said:

“Hope is a Christian virtue that is a great gift from God and that allows us see beyond problems, pain, difficulties, beyond our sins. It allows us to see the beauty of God".
Pope Francis said that those who possess this virtue of hope also have the freedom and the strength to see beyond the bad times whether they are to do with bad health or family problems.
And reflecting on the fact that in the Gospel the chief priests question Jesus and ask with which authority does he act, the Pope said: "they have no horizons, they are men who are locked in their calculations, they are slaves to their rigidity”
“Human calculations “– the Pope said – “close hearts and shut out freedom", whilst “hope gives us levity".
Pope Francis remarked on the beauty of freedom, of the hope of men and women of the Church.
On the other hand, he denounced the rigidity of men and women of the Church: “that clerical stiffness that contains no hope”.
“In this Year of Mercy – the Pope said - there are these two paths: one of those who hope in God’s mercy and know that God is the Father; and then there are those who take refuge in the slavery of rigidity and know nothing of God's mercy”. 
Pope Francis concluded his homily by recalling an event which took place in Buenos Aires in 1992 during a Mass for the sick. 
He said he had been confessing for many hours when he received a very old woman "with eyes that were full of hope":
"I said: 'Grandma, are you coming to confession?' Because I was about to leave. ‘Yes’ she answered and I said: ‘you have not sinned’.  She said: 'Father: we have all sinned – But God forgives all’. ‘How do you know?' I asked, and she said: 'Because if God did not forgive all, the world would not exist'.”
So – Pope Francis said: “before these two persons - the free one, the one with hope who brings God's mercy,  and the closed, legalistic slave of his own rigidity, let us remember the words of the old lady and the lesson she gave me: God  forgives all, He is  just waiting for you to get close to Him."

Director of Caritas Joins Sisters of Charity after witnessing the Tsunami and Hearing the Voice of Jesus....SHARE

Tsunami "made me hear the voice of Christ. And I chose consecrated life "
Sawako Inae was a director of Caritas Japan when the 2011disaster changed the country and her life. At 50 years of age, witnessing the devastation, she heard the Lord's call and joined the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. She spoke about her life and her choice to AsiaNews and says: "In a country like Japan, where many feel lonely and helpless, we Catholics must bring all the love and closeness of Jesus."

Sendai (AsiaNews) - The tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 "completely matched with the Bible stories.  I really felt that Jesus spoke to me directly.  In such, the voice of Jesus was the engine of my choice”,  says Sister Sawako Inae.   The 50 year old spoke to AsiaNews about her decision profess vows after a life spent in the world of international assistance, a successful career at the United Nations Development Programme, and finally a top job at Caritas Japan.
As director of Caritas Japan, Sister Inae (then still a lay woman) was among the first to take action to bring aid to survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit on 11 March 2011. She moved to the diocese of Sendai, the epicenter of the disaster, and asked to be allowed to stay at the local convent of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. These offered to host her for as long as necessary.

In the days following the disaster, which caused about 18 thousand dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, Inae thre herself heart and soul into helping survivors: "I worked mostly with the groups of victims of the tsunami, caused by an earthquake. To put it in a nutshell, people from the same region and who may not have known each other before the drama came together in self-support groups, especially psychological ones. In this way they were pushed to find a way to start over. It was amazing: to see people who were living an empty life without stimuli, become completely different humans. The desire to help others changed many people, for the better. "
The beginning was not easy: "When they got together aftermath, they had seemed to think that they had nothing to offer to the group members.  As they mourned over and accepted the loss one another, they seemingly got ready to move on.  And after some time, each and every individual has become a resourceful person with so much to offer.  I witnessed the miracle whereby Jesus increased the number of breads and fishes.  In such, great earthquake represents miracles done by Jesus. The mentioned story was just one example of many. Even a disaster like that of 2011 can become a miracle of Christ. "

Understanding this reality helped mature a vocation in her heart. "Not even five months later - her bishop, Msgr. Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi  tells AsiaNews - I get a call from my colleague. To be honest I wanted to scold her for being late [he laughs] but I had not even started talking when she told me she wanted to become a nun. I was amazed, I really did not expect it. It was the biggest surprise of my life. " Today Sister Inae is completing the second year of consecrated life, the last before the profession of final vows.

She says her own life has become a testimony of God's love: "When I was a child, I had to move one country to another due to my father’s job.  I had enjoyed meeting with new friends and getting to know new places and cultures.  So it was natural for me to get a job to work with people while enjoying new experiences.  But after some time, I came to realize that it was not easy to leave people and places once I familiarized with.  To feel less pain, I have learned not to be involved too emotionally with people”.

But this state of affairs changes thanks to her discovery of the faith at a young age: "My encounter with Jesus set me free from being afraid of parting.  I can now freely be connected to people, knowing that the ties would be eternally kept through Jesus.  Also, I used to feel that I was drifting with no roots.  Now, I know that I am tied with Jesus that I could be anywhere with no worries".

In Japan the Catholic population is very small, approximately 650 thousand out of 120 million people. Caritas activities in the aftermath of the tsunami has helped many to discover the true face of the Church and drawn many young people to Catholicism.

But this work of evangelization is still a very long process, and needs the commitment of all: "We consecrated - says Sr. Inae - live without the anxieties of daily life, and above all we know to never be alone. We have a purpose in life and a perennial family. And this is the sense of being Catholic! In a country like Japan, where many feel lonely and helpless, we need to better convey this message. Every human being is created by God, and has a noble and beautiful goal in life. This is a truth that we have to shout from the rooftops. "

But the truth is that words are not enough: "We need the experience. That's why especially in my country it is important that the Church comes close to the population and live as citizens live, always trusting in the fact that Jesus is working through us. In this, the witness of Pope Francis is priceless. "

The election of the Argentine pontiff wowed Sister Inae, who did not know him as archbishop of Buenos Aires, but had heard of him: "I love this Pope. I find his message simple to understand, encouraging and very powerful. His ministry is exceptional: I find it always on the side of the people, for the people. He is a man tied to the land, in the noblest sense of the term. He says things that Christ would say if he were here today with us. We are very, very happy to have a man like him at the helm of the Church. " Shared from Asia NewsIT

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

14-12-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 223 

- Audience with the president of Sri Lanka: may the process of peace and reconciliation promote stable social harmony
- The Policoro Project: in search of dignified and liberating work
- Francis opens the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran
- Angelus: joy, gift of the Lord Who receives with conversion
- Joint commitment to caring for the climate
- The Pope to visit Guadalupe on 13 February
- Programme of the Pope's apostolic trip to Mexico
- Rescriptum ex audientia for the institution of the Pontifical Commission for activities of public legal persons of the Church in the healthcare sector
- Identity and mission of the religious brother in the Church
- The Holy Father attends the twelfth meeting of the Council of Cardinals
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Audience with the president of Sri Lanka: may the process of peace and reconciliation promote stable social harmony
Vatican City, 14 December 2015 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
 The cordial discussions, which began with a recollection of the Holy Father’s visit to Sri Lanka last January, focused on certain aspects of the country’s recent history and the process of peace and reconciliation that is underway, with the hope that it may contribute to promoting stable social harmony. Furthermore, the contribution of the Catholic Church in various sectors of society and the importance of interreligious dialogue were shown to be important.
There was also an exchange of opinions on the theme of the environment and an evaluation of the results of the Conference on climate change, recently concluded in Paris.
The Policoro Project: in search of dignified and liberating work
Vatican City, 14 December 2015 (VIS) – Finding answers to the existential question of many young people who risk passing from a lack of employment to detachment from life in general is the aim of the Policoro Project undertaken twenty years ago in the ecclesial Convention of Palermo. This morning, in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, its members were received by the Holy Father who remarked that, in seeking to combine the Gospel with the reality of life, the Project represented an important initiative for the promotion of youth and a true opportunity for local development at national level. “Its key ideas have guided its success: the formation of the young, the establishment of cooperatives, the creation of mediation figures such as 'community animators' and a long series of concrete gestures, a visible sign of commitment throughout these twenty years of active presence”.
“With its concrete attention to the territory and the search for shared solutions, the Policoro Project has shown how the quality of 'free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives'. Let us not lose sight of the urgency of reaffirming this dignity! It belongs to each and every one of us. .. When there is no work, dignity is at risk, as unemployment not only prevents you from putting food on the table; it also makes you feel unworthy of earning a living. Today young people are victims of this. How many of them have given up looking for work, resigned to continual rejection or the indifference of a society that rewards only the usual privileged few – even if they are corrupt – and obstructs those who deserve affirmation. The reward seems to go to those who are sure of themselves, even if this security is gained through corruption. Work is not a gift to be kindly granted to the select few: it is a right for all!”
He added, “You represent without doubt a sign of real hope for many people who have not resigned themselves but have instead decided to commit themselves courageously to creating or improving their opportunities for work”, and he invited them to “continue to promote initiatives for participation for young people in a community and participatory form. … Here you can play your role. To the question, 'what has the Church to do with my situation?', that you have said and heard many times, the answer is 'witness'. And here you are able to provide your witness, face to face with those who are in need of courage and support”.
Francis concluded by emphasising that his task is not simply that of helping the young to find a job but rather “a responsibility of evangelisation through the sanctifying value of work. But not any form of work: not work that exploits, crushes, humiliates and abuses, but work that makes man truly free, in accordance with his noble dignity”.
Francis opens the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran
Vatican City, 13 December 2015 (VIS) – On the third Sunday of Advent the Pope opened the third Holy Door of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Following the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Bangui in the Central African Republic on 29 November and that of St. Peter's Basilica on 8 December, today he opened the Holy Door of the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the Basilica of St. John Lateran. On “Gaudete Sunday”, the Sunday of Joy, Francis reaffirmed that the reason for this joy is expressed in the readings with words infused with hope and which allow us to look to the future with serenity, as “the Lord has annulled every condemnation and chose to live among us”.
 This third Sunday of Advent draws our gaze towards Christmas, which is now close, said the Pope in his homily. “We cannot let ourselves be taken in by weariness; sadness in any form is not allowed, even though there may be good reason, with our many concerns and the many forms of violence that harm our humanity. The coming of the Lord, however, must fill our hearts with joy”.
The Pope cites the first reading of the prophet Zephaniah, who taught that “in a historical context of great abuse and violence, especially by men of power, God knows that He will reign over his people, who would never leave them at the mercy of the arrogance of their leaders, and will free them from all anxiety. Today, we are asked not to let our 'hands grow weak' because of doubt, impatience or suffering. St. Paul returns to the teaching of Zephaniah and reiterates: 'The Lord is near'. Because of this we should rejoice always, and with our affability give all witness of closeness and care that God has for each person”.
“We have opened the Holy Door, here and in all the cathedrals of the world. Even this simple sign is an invitation to joy. It begins a time of great forgiveness. It is the Jubilee of Mercy. It is time to rediscover the presence of God and his fatherly tenderness. God does not love rigidity. He is Father; He is tender; everything done with the tenderness of the Father. We too are like the crowds who asked John, 'What do we do?'. The Baptist's response was immediate. He invites us to act justly and to attend to the needs of those in need. What John demands of his representatives is already in the law. We, however, are prompted toward a more radical commitment. Before the Holy Door we are called to pass through, we are asked to be instruments of mercy, knowing that we will be judged on this. He who is baptised knows he has a greater commitment. Faith in Christ leads to a journey that lasts a lifetime: to be merciful, like the Father. The joy of crossing through the Door of Mercy is accompanied by a commitment to welcome and bear witness to a love that goes beyond justice, a love that knows no boundaries. For this infinite love, in spite of our contradictions, we are responsible”.
“Let us pray for us and for all those who pass through the Door of Mercy, that we may understand and welcome the infinite love of our Heavenly Father, that recreates, transforms and reforms life”, said the Pope at the end of his homily.
Cardinal James M. Harvey, archpriest of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, also opened the Holy Door of the Basilica today, while throughout the rest of the world, as the Pope had requested, all the Holy Doors of churches and cathedrals were opened for the Year of Mercy.
Angelus: joy, gift of the Lord Who receives with conversion
Vatican City, 13 December 2015 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pontiff addressed some words to those present.
“In today's Gospel, there is a question repeated three times: 'What should we do?'. Three categories of people pose this question to John the Baptist: first, the crowd in general; second, the publicans, or tax collectors; and, third, some soldiers, to know what must be done to convert in the way he preaches. John's reply to the crowd is to share basic necessities: 'Whoever has two cloaks, should share with the person who has none, and whoever has food should do likewise'. He tells the second group, the tax collectors, to stop collecting more than is due. What does this mean? No 'kickbacks': John the Baptist is clear. And to the third group, the soldiers, he says do not exhort anyone for anything, and be content with your pay”.
These three answers refer to an identical path of conversion, which is manifested in concrete commitments to justice and solidarity. “It is the road that Jesus indicates in all His preaching: the active path of love for one's neighbour. From these admonitions of John the Baptist, we understand what were the general trends of those who at that time held power, in various forms. Little has changed. However, no group of people is excluded from the path of conversion for salvation, not even tax collectors who were considered sinners by definition. … God does not preclude for anyone the possibility of salvation. He is eager to show mercy to all, and welcome everyone in the tender embrace of reconciliation and forgiveness”.
Francis went on to explain that “today's liturgy tells us, with John's words, that is necessary to repent, to change direction and take the path of justice, solidarity and sobriety: these are the essential values of a fully human and genuinely Christian life. Repent! This sums up John the Baptist's message. The liturgy of this Third Sunday of Advent helps us rediscover a special dimension of conversion: joy. Whoever converts and approaches the Lord experiences joy”.
He also emphasised that nowadays “it takes courage to speak of joy, which, above all, requires faith. The world is beset by many problems, the future weighed down by uncertainties and fears. And yet, the Christian is a joyful person, and his joy is not something superficial and ephemeral, but deep and stable, because it is a gift from God that fills life. Our joy comes from knowing that 'the Lord is near', that He is close by with His tenderness, His mercy, His forgiveness and His love”.
He concluded, “May the Virgin Mary help us to strengthen our faith, so that we may welcome the God of joy, the God of mercy, who always wants to live in the midst of her children. May our Mother teach us to share tears with those who weep, but also to be able to share a smile”.
Joint commitment to caring for the climate
Vatican City, 13 December 2015 (VIS) – After today's Angelus prayer, Pope Francis spoke about the agreement adopted during the Climate Conference which recently ended in Paris. “Its implementation will require concerted commitment and generous dedication by all. In the hope that it will ensure special attention to the most vulnerable populations, we urge the international community to continue with care on the path it has taken, in an spirit of increasingly active solidarity”.
He remarked that next Tuesday, December 15, the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation will commence in Nairobi. Addressing the participating countries, he urged them to I take into account the needs of the poor and the most vulnerable in their decisions, as well as the “legitimate aspirations of the least developed countries and the common good of the entire human family”.
The Holy Father also commented that in all the cathedrals of the world, the Holy Doors are being opened so that the Jubilee of mercy may be fully experienced in the particular churches. “I hope that this moment encourages many to become instruments of God's tenderness. As an expression of the works of mercy, 'Doors of Mercy' are being opened in places of discomfort and alienation. I thus greet the inmates of prisons around the world”. Finally, he greeted all the pilgrims and faithful present.
The Pope to visit Guadalupe on 13 February
Vatican City, 13 December 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday, on the liturgical solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, patroness of Latin America, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. The celebration was preceded by the Holy Rosary and hundreds of people, mostly from the American continent, where the devotion to Our Lady extends from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. In the homily he pronounced, the Pope emphasised Mary's mercy, asking that we might understand how much God loves us through her.
Francis began by citing the phrases of the prophet Zephaniah in the first reading: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing. “These words, addressed to Israel, can also be referred to the Virgin Mary, the Church, and every person, all of whom are loved by God’s merciful love. Yes, God loves us so much that he even rejoices and takes pleasure in us. He loves us with gratuitous love, love without limits, and without expecting anything in return. This merciful love is the most striking attribute of God, the synthesis of which is condensed the Gospel message, the faith of the Church”.
He went on to explain that the word “mercy” – “misericordia” - is composed of two words: misery and heart. The heart indicates the capacity to love; mercy is that love, which embraces the misery of the person. It is a love that “feels” our poverty as if it were its own, so as to free us of it. … . “The Word became flesh,” with the intention of sharing all our frailties – with the intention of experiencing our human condition, even unto taking upon himself the Cross, with all the pain of human existence. Such is the abyss of compassion and mercy. … No sin can cancel his merciful closeness or prevent him from unleashing the grace of conversion, provided we invoke it. Indeed, sin itself makes more radiant the love of God who, to ransom a slave, sacrificed his Son. That mercy of God comes to us with the gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism. ... For, however great and grave the sins of the world, the Spirit, who renews the face of the earth, makes possible the miracle of a life that is more human, more full of joy and hope”.
“'The Lord is near', says the apostle Paul, and nothing should make us anguished. He and His Mother are near. The greatest mercy lies in his being in our midst, in our being in his presence and company. He walks with us, he shows us the path of love, lifts us up when we fall, sustains us in our labours, accompanies us in all circumstances of our existence. He opens our eyes to our own misery and that of the world, but also fills us with hope. … This is the source of a peaceful and happy life; nothing can rob us of this peace and joy, despite the sufferings and trials of life. The Lord with His tenderness opens up His heart to us, He opens up His love. The Lord is allergic to rigidities. … Announcing the Good News to the poor, like John the Baptist, performing works of mercy, is a good way to look for the coming of Jesus at Christmas”.
“In one of the prayers most cherished by Christians, the Salve Regina, we call Mary 'mother of mercy'”, continued the Holy Father. “She who always lived intimately united with her Son, knows better than anyone what He wants: that all men be saved, and that God’s tenderness and consolation exclude no-one. … To Blessed Mary we entrust the sufferings and joys of people throughout the Americas, who love her as a mother and recognise her as Patroness under the beloved title of Our Lady of Guadalupe”.
“May the sweetness of her gaze be with us in this Holy Year, so that we might rediscover the joy of God's tenderness”, concluded the Pope. “We ask that this jubilee year sow merciful love in the hearts of individuals, families and nations. Let us convert and become merciful people, and let all Christian communities be oases and sources of mercy, witnesses to a charity without exclusion. To ask this in a special way, I will travel to venerate her in her Shrine on 13 February. I will ask for this for all America, for whom she is a special Mother. Let us implore her to guide the footsteps of the American people, a pilgrim people looking for the Mother of mercy, and let us ask her just one thing: to show them her Son Jesus”.
After his homily and during the prayer of the faithful, the Pope prayed for his parents Mario and Regina, “who gave me life and transmitted faith to me”, he said, and who were married eighty years ago.
Like last year, all those present concluded by singing “La Guadalupana”, the hymn to Our Lady of Guadalupe, known throughout the world.
Programme of the Pope's apostolic trip to Mexico
Vatican City, 12 December 2015 (VIS) – The programme of the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Mexico, to take place from 12 to 18 February, was published today.
On Friday 12 February at 12.30 p.m. the Holy Father will depart by air from Rome's Fiumicino airport, to arrive at the “Benito Juarez” International airport in Mexico City at 19.30 p.m. local time, where he will be welcome by the authorities. At 9.30 a.m. on the morning ofSaturday 13 February the welcome ceremony will take place in the National Palace, and the Pope will pay a courtesy visit to the president of the Republic of Mexico, followed by a meeting with the authorities, civil leaders and the diplomatic corps. At 11.30 a.m. he will meet with the bishops in the Cathedral. In the afternoon, at 5. p.m., he will celebrate Holy Mass in the Basilica of Guadalupe.
The following day, Sunday 14 February, he will transfer by helicopter to Ecatepec where, at10.30 a.m. he will celebrate Holy Mass in the area of the Ecatepec Study Center. He will return by helicopter to Mexico City where he is expected to arrive at 1.10 p.m. In the afternoon he will visit the “Federico Gomez” paediatric hospital and will meet with cultural figures in the National Auditorium.
On Monday 15 February at 7.30 a.m., the Pope will depart by air for Tuxtla Gutierrez, and will then transfer by helicopter to San Cristobal de Las Casas where he is expected to arrive at9.15 a.m. He will celebrate Mass with the indigenous Chiapas communities in the municipal sports centre at 10.15 a.m., followed by lunch with indigenous peoples and the papal entourage. At 3 p.m. he will visit the Cathedral of San Cristobal de las Casas and will then return by helicopter to Tuxtla Gutierrez, where he will meet with families in the “Victor Manuel Reyna” stadium. At 6.10 p.m. he will depart by air for Mexico City where he is expected to arrive at 8 p.m.
On Tuesday 16 February at 7.50 a.m. he will travel by air to Morelia where, at 10 a.m., he will celebrate Mass with priests, consecrated persons and seminarians. Following a visit to the Cathedral at 3.15 p.m., he met with young people in the “Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon” stadium. At 6.55 p.m. he will return by air to Mexico City, arriving at 8 p.m.
On the sixth and final day of the trip, Wednesday 17 February, at 8.35 a.m. the Holy Father will depart by air for Ciudad Juarez, where he is scheduled to arrive at the city's “Abraham Gonzalez” international airport at 10 a.m. He will first visit the CeReSo No. 3 detention centre, and will then meet with representatives of the world of work at the Colegio de Bachilleres of the State of Chihuahua at midday. At 4 p.m. he will celebrate Mass at the Ciudad Juarez trade centre. Following a farewell ceremony at 7 p.m. at the international airport, he will leave Mexico at 7.15 p.m., destined for Rome's Ciampino airport, where he is expected to arrive at 2.45 p.m. on Thursday 18 February.
Rescriptum ex audientia for the institution of the Pontifical Commission for activities of public legal persons of the Church in the healthcare sector
Vatican City, 12 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father, after receiving in audience Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on 7 December, provided for the institution of the Pontifical Commission for the activities in the healthcare sector of public legal persons of the Church. The following is the full text of the document:
“The Holy Father Francis, in the audience granted to the undersigned Secretary of State on 7 December 2015, having obtained the necessary information relating to the particular difficulties of public legal persons of the Church working in the healthcare sector, for the purpose of contributing to the more efficient management of these activities and the conservation of assets maintaining and promoting the charism of the Founders, and until other provisions are made, has mandated the Secretary of State to appoint a Special Commission for the purpose, entitled 'Pontifical Commission for the Activities of Public Juridical Persons of the Church in the Healthcare Sector'.
Therefore, the Cardinal Secretary of State shall provide for the erection of the 'Pontifical Commission for the Activities of Public Juridical Persons of the Church in the Healthcare Sector', which will be governed by the following rules.
1. The principles and rules established in the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor bonus' and in the General Regulations of the Roman Curia shall be applied to the Commission, insofar as they are applicable and not incompatible. The Commission shall adopt its own regulations.
2. The Commission shall be composed of a President and six experts in the fields of healthcare, real estate, management, economic and administrative issues, and finance. The Commission shall be able to delegate part of its functions to one or more Members and shall be assisted by a Secretariat.
3. With regard to the appointment and term of office of the members and experts of the Commission, the regulations governing the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia shall be applied.
4. The Commission, which shall report directly to the Secretary of State, may employ any legal action and financial means necessary for the valid and correct fulfillment of the task entrusted to it.
5. For this purpose the Commission shall grant to the Congregations of the Roman Curia to which the public legal persons concerned belong, the necessary permission, binding for the concession of canonical authorisations for the renouncement or reorganisation of assets and/or real estate related to the healthcare sector. The Commission shall have powers of access to documents and resources to permit it to carry out its activities. The Commission may assign tasks to companies, professionals and consultants.
6. The Commission is entrusted with:
a. the general study of the sustainability of the healthcare system by public legal persons of the Church (prerequisites, characteristics, constraints, working/management methods, current objectives of the healthcare system of individual legal persons in keeping with their nature, mission and charism) so as to define a possible long-term operative strategy also in relation to the principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church;
b. the proposal for the resolution of crisis situations in accordance with the results of the more general study, activating all the resources possible in collaboration with the Heads of the public legal entities concerned;
c. the study and proposal of new operative models for public legal persons working in the healthcare sector, capable of implementing the founding charism in the current context.
The provisions herein are to be considered stable and valid from the moment of their publication in 'L'Osservatore Romano'. Vatican City, 12 December 2015”.
Identity and mission of the religious brother in the Church
Vatican City, 14 December 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life presented the document “Identity and mission of the religious brother in the Church” and the concluding activities of the Year of Consecrated Life. The speakers were Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the dicastery, and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the same congregation.
“The document emphasises the great wealth and relevance of the vocation of brothers and its content is very valid and innovative in the light of Vatican Council II”, explained Cardinal Braz de Aviz. “The vocation of the religious brother is, first of all, a Christian vocation … and the feature of the person of Christ that the religious brother specially underlines in his way of life is that of fraternity. The religious brother reflects the face of Christ the Brother: simple, good, near to the people, welcoming, generous, and serving”.
The identity and mission of the religious brother, as the text indicates, is summarised in the concept of fraternity understood as the gift that the religious brother receives from the Triune God, a communion of persons; a gift that he shares with his brethren in fraternal life in the community and a gift he offers the world for the construction of a world of children of God and brothers.
The cardinal went on to illustrate the theme of fraternity as a gift that the religious brother receives from the Triune God. “The religious brother becomes thus because the Spirit lets him know God, Who in Jesus shows Himself to be a Father full of love, tenderness and mercy. Together with Jesus, he feels like a beloved son and with Him he offers himself so as to be in his life entirely for the Father and entirely for all His sons and daughters in this world. A characteristic of the identity of the religious brother is the need for fraternity as a confession of the Trinity: a fraternity open to all, especially the least, the humble, the oppressed, the unloved” - those who “are less likely to experience the good news of God's love in their lives”.
This fraternity is the gift that the religious brother shares with his brethren in community life. “Fraternal life in the community means harmonious relations between brethren, mutual knowledge, acceptance and love, dialogue, mutual respect, mutual support, the sharing of talents, the abnegation of the self, ecclesial mission, and openness to the needs of the Church and the world, especially those most in need. All this is beautiful, but it is not obtained spontaneously.. … The community is sustained by the gift of fraternity that religious brothers receive. The brother needs to support for these fraternal relations by developing the spiritual, mystical and theological dimension”.
Fraternity is, finally, a gift that the religious brother offers to the world and which is transformed into mission. Therefore, “brothers carry out their mission of contributing to the construction of the Kingdom of fraternity through ceaseless prayer, the witness of fraternal life and community dedication to the service of the Church and the world. … The fraternity of religious brothers is not self-referential or closed up in itself; it is … a fraternity in perfect harmony … with an outbound Church, that reaches out to the peripheries of this world; with a Church called upon to build bridges, open to contemporary man of every race, culture or creed”.
Fraternal love is made manifest in the Church and in the life of religious brothers in numerous services: “educating, healing the sick, helping the imprisoned, welcoming refugees, catechesis, manual work, and so on. Many of these services represent true ministries. In this way”, the prefect concluded, “the religious brother seeks and points to God in the secular realities of culture, science, human health, the workplace, and the care of the weak and disadvantaged. Similarly, he seeks and points to the human being, man and woman, whole and entire, body, mind and spirit, inasmuch as whatever affects the human person is part of God's saving plan”.
Archbishop Rodriguez Carballo expressed his gratitude to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who in 2008 was the first to encourage the preparation of the document presented today, and to Pope Francis who read the draft while he was the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires and who as Pope has supported its revision, completion and publication.
The conference concluded with an announcement of the activities marking the closure of the Year of Consecrated Life. From 28 January to 2 February 2016 an international meeting of all types of consecrated life will take place in Rome, entitled “Consecrated life and communion”, which is expected to be attended by 6,000 consecrated men and women from all over the world, and will conclude with Holy Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in St. Peter's Basilica.
The Holy Father attends the twelfth meeting of the Council of Cardinals
Vatican City, 12 December 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., gave a briefing this morning on the twelfth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, held from 10 to 12 December.
“The Council of Cardinals held its twelfth meeting during the days 10-12 December. It began its work on the morning of Thursday 10, after the Mass concelebrated with the Holy Father at Santa Marta, and finished during the morning of Saturday 12 December. All the members of the Council and the Holy Father attended all the meetings.
During the first meeting, the Council heard Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and furthered its reflection on this important Congregation, its activities, its competences and its role also in the field of ecumenical relations.
In its reflections, the Council emphasised the importance of the Holy Father’s discourse of 17 October, on the occasion of the Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops. In this discourse the Pope extensively developed the theme of 'synodality' but also recalled the importance of proceeding with a healthy decentralisation. The Council remarked on the need to further explore the meaning of this discourse and its importance in the work of reforming the Curia, and agreed to dedicate a specific session to this during the next Meeting in February 2016”.
“The Council then resumed its work on the two new dicasteries, mentioned several times previously”, continued Fr. Lombardi. “The dicastery dedicated to the 'Laity, Family and Life', whose institution was announced by the Pope during the Synod (22 October), was the subject of a proposal formulated by the Council and presented to the Pope, which will now provide the apposite path for reaching the final decisions of the Holy Father. Even the dicastery concerned with “Justice, peace and migrations” was the subject of further consideration, with a view to arriving at conclusive proposals to be presented to the Holy Father”.
On Friday, the Council heard two reports regarding reform of the Economy from Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the Council for the Economy, and from Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, who referred to the activity of and results achieved by the two institutions. “Cardinal Marx also reported on the choice of the external auditor for the consolidated financial statements – the company PricewaterhouseCooper “PwC”, recently made public. Cardinal Pell spoke about the constitution of a working group to consider the future of the economy of the Holy City and Vatican City State, on the progress and overall control of income and spending. The group, composed of representative from the Secretariat for the Economy, the Secretariat of State, the Governorate, APSA, Propaganda Fide, the Secretariat for Communication and the IOR, has already commenced work with a first meeting”.
The Council of Cardinals acknowledged the positive nature and importance of the work carried out by the Council for the Economy and the Secretariat, and encouraged its further progress. “Cardinal Sean O’Malley reported on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and its specific working groups, for instance on the development of education and formation programmes, assistance to Episcopal Conferences for the drafting of guidelines at local level, and so on”, concluded Fr. Lombardi.
On Saturday morning the Council established the calendar for forthcoming meetings and a provisional agenda for the meeting to take place in February next year. The meetings in 2016 will take place on the following dates: 8-9 February, 11-12-13 April, 6-7-8 June, 12-13-14 September and 12-13-14 December.
Vatican City, 14 December 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio in Mexico;
- Managing Board of the “Asociacion de Magistrados y Funcionarios del Ministerio publico de la Defensa de la Republica Argentina”.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 14 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Vito Rallo as apostolic nuncio in Morocco.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. December 14, 2015

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 187

Reading 1NM 24:2-7, 15-17A

When Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe,
the spirit of God came upon him,
and he gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of a man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled:
How goodly are your tents, O Jacob;
your encampments, O Israel!
They are like gardens beside a stream,
like the cedars planted by the LORD.
His wells shall yield free-flowing waters,
he shall have the sea within reach;
His king shall rise higher,
and his royalty shall be exalted.

Then Balaam gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of the man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled.
I see him, though not now;
I behold him, though not near:
A star shall advance from Jacob,
and a staff shall rise from Israel.

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

R. (4) Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

AlleluiaPS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us, LORD, your love,
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 21:23-27

When Jesus had come into the temple area,
the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him
as he was teaching and said,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me,
then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.
Where was John’s baptism from?
Was it of heavenly or of human origin?”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd,
for they all regard John as a prophet.”
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
He himself said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Saint December 14 : St. John of the Cross : Patron of #Contemplatives; #Mystics; Spanish poets

St. John of the Cross
Feast: December 14

Feast Day:December 14
24 June 1542, Fontiveros, Spain
Died:December 14, 1591, Ubeda, Andalusia, Spain
Canonized:27 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
Major Shrine:Tomb of Saint John of the Cross, Segovia, Spain
Patron of:contemplative life; contemplatives; mystical theology; mystics; Spanish poets
Founder (with St. Teresa) of the Discalced Carmelites, doctor of mystic theology, b. at Hontoveros, Old Castile, 24 June, 1542; d. at Ubeda, Andalusia, 14 Dec., 1591. John de Yepes, youngest child of Gonzalo de Yepes and Catherine Alvarez, poor silk weavers of Toledo, knew from his earliest years the hardships of life. The father, originally of a good family but disinherited on account of his marriage below his rank, died in the prime of his youth; the widow, assisted by her eldest son, was scarcely able to provide the bare necessities. John was sent to the poor school at Medina del Campo, whither the family had gone to live, and proved an attentive and diligent pupil; but when apprenticed to an artisan, he seemed incapable of learning anything. Thereupon the governor of the hospital of Medina took him into his service, and for seven years John divided his time between waiting on the poorest of the poor, and frequenting a school established by the Jesuits. Already at that early age he treated his body with the utmost rigour; twice he was saved from certain death by the intervention of the Blessed Virgin.
Anxious about his future life, he was told in prayer that he was to serve God in an order the ancient perfection of which he was to help bring back again. The Carmelites having founded a house at Medina, he there received the habit on 24 February, 1563, and took the name of John of St. Matthias. After profession he obtained leave from his superiors to follow to the letter the original Carmelite rule without the mitigations granted by various popes. He was sent to Salamanca for the higher studies, and was ordained priest in 1567; at his first Mass he received the assurance that he should preserve his baptismal innocence. But, shrinking from the responsibilities of the priesthood, he determined to join the Carthusians. However, before taking any further step he made the acquaintance of St. Teresa, who had come to Medina to found a convent of nuns, and who persuaded him to remain in the Carmelite Order and to assist her in the establishment of a monastery of friars carrying out the primitive rule. He accompanied her to Valladolid in order to gain practi cal experience of the manner of life led by the reformed nuns. A small house having been offered, St. John resolved to try at once the new form of life, although St. Teresa did not think anyone, however great his spirituality, could bear the discomforts of that hovel. He was joined by two companions, an ex-prior and a lay brother, with whom he inaugurated the reform among friars, 28 Nov., 1568. St. Teresa has left a classical description of the sort of life led by these first Discalced Carmelites, in chaps. xiii and xiv of her "Book of Foundations". John of the Cross, as he now called himself, became the first master of novices, and laid the foundation of the spiritual edifice which soon was to assume majestic proportions. He filled various posts in different places until St. Teresa called him to Avila as director and confessor to the convent of the Incarnation, of which she had been appointed prioress. He remained there, with a few interruptions, for over five years. Meanwhile, the reform spread rapidly, and, partly through the confusion caused by contradictory orders issued by the general and the general chapter on one hand, and the Apostolic nuncio on the other, and partly through human passion which sometimes ran high, its existence became seriously endangered.
St. John was ordered by his provincial to return to the house of his profession (Medina), and, on his refusing to do so, owing to the fact that he held his office not from the order but from the Apostolic delegate, he was taken prisoner in the night of 3 December, 1577, and carried off to Toledo, where he suffered for more than nine months close imprisonment in a narrow, stifling cell, together with such additional punishment as might have been called for in the case of one guilty of the most serious crimes. In the midst of his sufferings he was visited with heavenly consolations, and some of his exquisite poetry dates from that period. He made good his escape in a miraculous manner, August, 1578.
During the next years he was chiefly occupied with the foundation and government of monasteries at Baeza, Granada, Cordova, Segovia, and elsewhere, but took no prominent part in the negotiations which led to the establishment of a separate government for the Discalced Carmelites. After the death of St. Teresa (4 Oct., 1582), when the two parties of the Moderates under Jerome Gratian, and the Zelanti under Nicholas Doria struggled for the upper hand, St. John supported the former and shared his fate. For some time he filled the post of vicar provincial of Andalusia, but when Doria changed the government of the order, concentrating all power in the hands of a permanent committee, St. John resisted and, supporting the nuns in their endeavour to secure the papal approbation of their constitutions, drew upon himself the displeasure of the superior, who deprived him of his offices and relegated him to one of the poorest monasteries, where he fell seriously ill. One of his opponents went so far as to go from monastery to monastery gathering materials in order to bring grave charges against him, hoping for his expulsion from the order which he had helped to found.
As his illness increased he was removed to the monastery of Ubeda, where he at first was treated very unkindly, his constant prayer, "to suffer and to be despised", being thus literally fulfilled almost to the end of his life. But at last even his adversaries came to acknowledge his sanctity, and his funeral was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm. The body, still incorrupt, as has been ascertained within the last few years, was removed to Segovia, only a small portion remaining at Ubeda; there was some litigation about its possession. A strange phenomenon, for which no satisfactory explanation has been given, has frequently been observed in connexion with the relics of St. John of the Cross: Francis de Yepes, the brother of the saint, and after him many other persons have noticed the appearance in his relics of images of Christ on the Cross, the Blessed Virgin, St. Elias, St. Francis Xavier, or other saints, according to the devotion of the beholder. The beatification took place on 25 Jan., 1675, the translation of his body on 21 May of the same year, and the canonization on 27 Dec., 1726.
Text shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia

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