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Monday, December 7, 2015

Catholic News World : Mon. December 7, 2015 - SHARE

 2015


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



07-12-2015 - Year XXV - Num. 219 

Summary
- The Church, mother of vocations: theme of the Pope's message for the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations
- Angelus: break down the barriers and obstacles to our conversion
- There is no unity without forgiveness
- Francis lights up the Assisi Christmas tree
- Catholic schools, educating in the fullness of humanity
- Judges and lawyers in Vatican City State Tribunal: guaranteeing a fair trial
- New hearing in the trial for dissemination of reserved news and documents
- New external auditor for Consolidated Financial Statements
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
- Notice
The Church, mother of vocations: theme of the Pope's message for the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – “The Church, mother of vocations” is the theme of the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be held on 17 April 2016, the fourth Sunday of Easter. In the text, signed in Vatican City on 29 November, first Sunday of Advent, the Holy Father comments that every vocation in the Church originates with Jesus' compassionate gaze, and he emphasised that the call of God is heard through community mediation. The vocational path
“Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is my great hope that, during the course of this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, all the baptised may experience the joy of belonging to the Church and rediscover that the Christian vocation, just like every particular vocation, is born from within the People of God, and is a gift of divine mercy. The Church is the house of mercy, and it is the 'soil' where vocations take root, mature and bear fruit.
“For this reason, on the occasion of the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I invite all of you to reflect upon the apostolic community, and to give thanks for the role of the community in each person’s vocational journey. In the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I recalled the words of the venerable Bede, describing the call of Saint Matthew: 'Miserando atque eligendo'. The Lord’s merciful action forgives our sins and opens us to the new life which takes shape in the call to discipleship and mission. Each vocation in the Church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus. Conversion and vocation are two sides of the same coin, and continually remain interconnected throughout the whole of the missionary disciple’s life.
Blessed Paul VI, in his exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, described various steps in the process of evangelisation. One of these steps is belonging to the Christian community, that community from which we first received the witness of faith and the clear proclamation of the Lord’s mercy. This incorporation into the Christian community brings with it all the richness of ecclesial life, particularly the sacraments. Indeed, the Church is not only a place in which we believe, but it is also an object of our faith; it is for this reason that we profess in the Creed: 'I believe in the Church'.
The call of God comes to us by means of a mediation which is communal. God calls us to become a part of the Church and, after we have reached a certain maturity within it, He bestows on us a specific vocation. The vocational journey is undertaken together with the brothers and sisters whom the Lord has given to us: it is a con-vocation. The ecclesial dynamism of the call is an antidote to indifference and to individualism. It establishes the communion in which indifference is vanquished by love, because it demands that we go beyond ourselves and place our lives at the service of God’s plan, embracing the historical circumstances of His holy people.
On this day dedicated to prayer for vocations, I urge all the faithful to assume their responsibility for the care and discernment of vocations. When the Apostles sought someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, St. Peter brought together one hundred and twenty of the brethren; and in order to chose seven deacons, a group of disciples was gathered. St. Paul gave Titus specific criteria for the selection of presbyters. Still today, the Christian community is always present in the discernment of vocations, in their formation and in their perseverance.
Vocations are born within the Church. From the moment a vocation begins to become evident, it is necessary to have an adequate 'sense' of the Church. No one is called exclusively for a particular region, or for a group or for an ecclesial movement, but rather for the Church and for the world. 'A sure sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesial character, its ability to be integrated harmoniously into the life of God’s holy and faithful people for the good of all'. In responding to God’s call, young people see their own ecclesial horizon expand; they are able to consider various charisms and to undertake a more objective discernment. In this way, the community becomes the home and the family where vocations are born. Candidates gratefully contemplate this mediation of the community as an essential element for their future. They learn to know and to love their brothers and sisters who pursue paths different from their own; and these bonds strengthen in everyone the communion which they share.
Vocations grow within the Church. In the course of formation, candidates for various vocations need to grow in their knowledge of the ecclesial community, overcoming the limited perspectives that we all have at the beginning. To that end, it is helpful to undertake some apostolic experience together with other members of the community, for example: in the company of a good catechist, to communicate the Christian message; together with a religious community, to experience the evangelisation of the peripheries sharing in the life of the cloister, to discover the treasure of contemplation; in contact with missionaries, to know more closely the mission ad gentes; and in the company of diocesan priests, to deepen one’s experience of pastoral life in the parish and in the diocese. For those who are already in formation, the ecclesial community always remains the fundamental formational environment, towards which one should feel a sense of gratitude.
Vocations are sustained by the Church. After definitive commitment, our vocational journey within the Church does not come to an end, but it continues in our willingness to serve, our perseverance and our ongoing formation. The one who has consecrated his life to the Lord is willing to serve the Church wherever it has need. The mission of Paul and Barnabas is a good example of this readiness to serve the Church. Sent on mission by the Holy Spirit and by the community of Antioch, they returned to that same community and described what the Lord had worked through them. Missionaries are accompanied and sustained by the Christian community, which always remains a vital point of reference, just as a visible homeland offers security to all who are on pilgrimage towards eternal life.
Among those involved in pastoral activity, priests are especially important.In their ministry, they fulfil the words of Jesus, Who said: 'I am the gate of the sheepfold … I am the good shepherd'. The pastoral care of vocations is a fundamental part of their ministry. Priests accompany those who are discerning a vocation, as well as those who have already dedicated their lives to the service of God and of the community.
All the faithful are called to appreciate the ecclesial dynamism of vocations, so that communities of faith can become, after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, like a mother’s womb which welcomes the gift of the Holy Spirit. The motherhood of the Church finds expression in constant prayer for vocations and in the work of educating and accompanying all those who perceive God’s call. This motherhood is also expressed through a careful selection of candidates for the ordained ministry and for the consecrated life. Finally, the Church is the mother of vocations in her continual support of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of others.
We ask the Lord to grant to all those who are on a vocational journey a deep sense of belonging to the Church; and that the Holy Spirit may strengthen among Pastors, and all of the faithful, a deeper sense of communion, discernment and spiritual fatherhood and motherhood.
Father of mercy, Who gave Your Son for our salvation and Who strengthens us always with the gifts of Your Spirit, grant us Christian communities which are alive, fervent and joyous, which are fonts of fraternal life, and which nurture in the young the desire to consecrate themselves to You and to the work of evangelisation. Sustain these communities in their commitment to offer appropriate vocational catechesis and ways of proceeding towards each one’s particular consecration. Grant the wisdom needed for vocational discernment, so that in all things the greatness of Your merciful love may shine forth. May Mary, Mother and guide of Jesus, intercede for each Christian community, so that, made fruitful by the Holy Spirit, it may be a source of true vocations for the service of the holy People of God”.
Angelus: break down the barriers and obstacles to our conversion
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) - “'Why do we need to convert? Conversion is for an atheist who becomes a believer, or a sinner who becomes righteous. We do not need it, we are already Christian' we think,” said Pope Francis to the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, before today's Sunday Angelus prayer. “And this is not true”, he added. “If we think in this way, we do not realise that it is precisely because of this presumption – that we are Christians, good and doing the right thing – that we must convert from the supposition that all things considered, it is fine this way and we are not in need of any form of conversion”.
“The voice of the Baptist still cries in today's deserts of humanity … closed minds and hardened hearts. It causes us to ask ourselves if we actually are following the right path, living a life according to the Gospel. Today, as then, he admonishes us with the words of the prophet Isaiah: 'Prepare the way of the Lord!'. It is a pressing invitation to open our heart and receive the salvation that God incessantly, almost stubbornly offers, because he wants us all to be free of the slavery of sin. … And salvation is offered to every man, and every people, without excluding anyone, to each one of us. None of us can say, 'I am a saint; I am perfect; I am already saved'. No. We should always accept this offer of salvation, and that is the reason for the Year of Mercy: to advance further in this journey of salvation, this path that Jesus has taught us. God wants all mankind to be saved by the mediation of Jesus, the only mediator”.
The Pope recalled that “each one of us is called to make Jesus known to those who still do not know Him. But this does not mean proselytising: no. It means opening a door. 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!', St. Paul declared. … I leave you with this question: Am I truly in love with Jesus? Am I convinced that Jesus offers me and gives me salvation? And, if I am in love, I have to make Him known! But we should be courageous: level the the mountains of pride and rivalry; fill in the valleys of indifference and apathy; straighten the paths of our laziness and our comforts”.
There is no unity without forgiveness
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – Following today's Angelus prayer the Pope greeted the pilgrims present in the Square and affirmed that he is following closely the work of the Climate Conference in Paris. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”, he asked. For the good of our common home, for all of us and for the future generations, every effort should be directed toward mitigating the impact of climate change and, at the same time, curbing poverty and enabling human dignity to flourish”. He urged those present to pray that the Holy Spirit “enlighten all those who are called to make such important decisions and give them the courage always to let themselves be guided in their decisions by the criterion of the greater good of the human family”.
He recalled that 7 December marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Common Declaration of Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, in which the memory of the mutual sentences of excommunication exchanged between the Church of Rome and Constantinople in 1054 was eliminated. “There is no authentic path toward unity without a plea for forgiveness, to God and between us, for the sin of division” he said, asking for prayers for the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios and the other leaders of the Orthodox Churches so that “relations between Catholics and Orthodox always be inspired by fraternal love”.
He also mentioned that yesterday in Chimbote, Peru, the Conventual Franciscans Michael Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strzalkowski and the priest Alessandro Dordi were beatified. “May the fidelity of these martyrs in following Jesus give all of us, especially Christians persecuted in different parts of the world, the strength to bear witness to the Gospel with courage”.
Francis lights up the Assisi Christmas tree
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – On Sunday afternoon, from the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father remotely lit up the Christmas tree installed by the Franciscans in the square in front of the lower Basilica of St. Francis in the Italian city of Assisi. “Jesus is always with us, even in difficult moments”, he said, also recalling the many migrants who have died in the sea. “They are with the Lord now. But He came to give us hope, and we must take this hope. He came to tell us that He is stronger than death, that He is greater than any evil. He came to tell us that He is merciful … and this Christmas I invite you to open your heart to mercy, to forgiveness”, even though, the Pope added, “it is not easy to forgive these tragedies”.
 He thanked the Italian Coast Guard, praising the great example of solidarity given by the citizens of the south of Italy. To refugees, he said, “Raise your head, the Lord is near. And with Him there is strength, salvation, hope. The heart perhaps suffers; but keep your head high in the hope of the Lord”.
Catholic schools, educating in the fullness of humanity
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – An education in the fullness of humanity is should be the defining feature of Catholic schools, said Pope Francis this morning to the members of the Association of Catholic School Parents in Italy (AGESC), whom he received in audience in the Clementine Hall. “Speaking about a Catholic education is equivalent to speaking about the human, about humanism”, he emphasised. “An inclusive education finds a place for all and does not select in an elitist way the beneficiaries of its efforts”.
“Your association is at the service of the school and the family, contributing to the delicate task of building bridges between the school and the territory, between the school and the family, between the school and civil institutions. … As parents, you are the depositories of the primary and irrevocable duty and right to educate your children, in this way helping in a positive and constant way in the task of the school. You have the right to demand a suitable education for your children, an integral education open to the most authentic human and Christian values. However, it is also your responsibility to ensure that the school is up to the educational task entrusted to it, especially when the education it proposes is described as 'Catholic'. It pray to the Lord that the Catholic school never take for granted the meaning of this adjective”.
The Pope went on to list the prerequisites for a school to describe itself as truly Catholic. These included transmitting “an integral, not ideological culture” and “promoting harmony in diversity”. However, he said to the members of AGESC, “How can this be applied in practice? It is not an easy task”. To this end, he invited the parents of pupils in Catholic schools to build bridges between the school and society, and always to remember theneed to construct an educating community in which, along with the teachers, various workers and students, parents are able to be agents in the educational process”.
“Do not be extraneous to this world; live within it like leaven in the dough”, he said. “My invitation to you is simple but bold: know how to make the difference with a high quality formation. Find methods and ways of not passing unnoticed behind the scenes of society and culture, without arousing clamour, not with projects full of rhetoric. Know how to distinguish yourselves for your constant attention to the person, especially the least among us, those who are cast aside, denied and forgotten. Know how to be noticed not for your 'facade', but for educational coherence rooted in the Christian vision of humanity and society”. He also remarked that at a time when the economic crisis has led to the closure of many private schools, “the temptation of 'numbers' becomes increasingly insistent, and this leads to discouragement. But despite all this I repeat: it is the quality of your presence that makes the difference, not the quantity of resources you have at your disposal”.
“Never betray the human and Christian values you bear witness to in the family, in school and in society. Give generously your contribution so that the Catholic school never becomes a fall-back option or a meaningless alternative among the various educational institutions. Collaborate so that Catholic education has the face of new humanism. … Strive to make Catholic schools truly open to all”, concluded the Holy Father.
Judges and lawyers in Vatican City State Tribunal: guaranteeing a fair trial
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – The following is the full text of a note from the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., regarding the constitution of the Vatican City State Tribunal and the selection of lawyers and judges:
In recent weeks, since the opening of the trial for the dissemination of reserved documents commonly known as “Vatileaks 2”, many observations and evaluations have been written regarding the judicial system of Vatican City State and in particular on the Tribunal where this trial and its related procedures are taking place. Since many of these observations are inappropriate, or at times entirely unjustified, it would appear opportune to offer some considerations enabling a clearer view and a more just evaluation of this fundamental aspect of the situation.
Firstly, although this should be self-evident, it is necessary to recall that Vatican City State has its own legal order, entirely autonomous and separate from the Italian legal system, and has its own judicial bodies for the various levels of judgement and the necessary legislation in terms of criminal matters and procedure.
Within this latter there exist all the procedural guarantees characteristic of the most advanced contemporary legal systems. Indeed, all the fundamental principles are established and fully implemented: an independent and impartial tribunal constituted by law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a technical defence (by private or ex officio legal representation), and the freedom of the judicial college to form an opinion on the basis of evidence in public hearing and in debate between the prosecution and the defence, leading to the issuance of a sentence able to be substantiated and with the possibility of being contested by appeal and ultimately annulled.
All those engaged in judicial roles, both investigators and judges, are selected via co-optation; they may not be recruited by way of a public selection procedure open to the citizens of the State, as normally occurs in other States. They are selected from among professionals of the highest level, with consolidated experience and a recognised reputation (as may be seen in their curricula vitae, which can be consulted via internet). Indeed, they are all professors in Italian universities.
With regard to the lawyers, a violation of the right to a defence has been hypothesised. In this respect it is necessary to avoid a basic mistake: the current Vatican legislation, applied by the legal authorities, is perfectly in line with procedural law in the majority of jurisdictions throughout the world, where a specific qualification is required for admission to practice in the courts; this is issued subject to certain prerequisites and the possession of specified qualifications. It is therefore unsurprising that a lawyer able to practice in Italy may not be able to do so in Vatican City State, just as he or she would not be able to practice in Germany or France. Arguments to the contrary would imply that a foreign defendant would be able to claim to be represented in Italy by a foreign private lawyer, which is not permitted. Such conditions do not constitute a limit imposed by the Vatican legal order, but rather a further confirmation of its autonomy and completeness.
All lawyers are enrolled on an easily consulted professional register of lawyers with right of audience before the Vatican City State Tribunal. Ex officio or private lawyers may be selected from the professionals on this register.
These are lawyers qualified not only at the Tribunals of the Church and the Holy See, but also in the Italian courts, as they are all registered in the respective councils of the Order of Italian lawyers. In addition, they also possess a second degree in canon law and a further diploma conferred following a three-year specialist course at the Roman Rota. Therefore, they are professionals who, aside from being in authorised to practise in Italy, are also in possession of further knowledge rendering them eligible for practice in a jurisdiction in which a knowledge of canon law is necessary.
These are prerequisites necessary to guarantee the professionalism and competence of those who are entrusted with ensuring the proper conduct of a trial which, for various reasons, attracts broad attention.
New hearing in the trial for dissemination of reserved news and documents
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today issued the following communique:
“This morning at 9.30, in the Vatican City State Tribunal, a further hearing was held in the criminal trial for the dissemination of confidential news and documents.
The defendants were all present, accompanied by their respective lawyers (all five of whom are currently recognised as 'private' lawyers: E. Bellardini for Msgr. L.A. Vallejo Balda, L. Sgrò for F. I. Chaouqui, R.C. Baffioni for N. Maio, L. Musso for E. Fittipaldi and R. Palombi for G. Nuzzi).
The College of judges (President Prof. Giuseppe Dalla Torre, and the members Prof. Piero Antonio Bonnet, Prof. Paolo Papanti-Pellettier and Prof. Venerando Marano) heard the oral presentation from the defence, along with the objections and demands already submitted in writing prior to the established deadline (Saturday 5 December).
With regard to each objection and demand submitted, the opinion of the Promoter of Justice represented by Prof. Milano and Prof. Zannotti was heard.
The College therefore retired to the Counsel Chamber shortly before 10.30 for around one hour. Finally, it communicated its decisions, providing the proper detailed motivations. The hearing concluded before midday.
The objection presented by Chaouqui’s defence regarded the presumed lack of jurisdiction of the Tribunal given that the events took place in Italy and were carried out by a person declared a 'political refugee' in Italy. The objection was rejected, and the College clarified that the current law attributes without doubt the jurisdiction of the Vatican City State Tribunal, and observed that Chaouqui, by appearing before the investigators and the Tribunal, had in practice recognised such jurisdiction.
The demand presented by the Msgr. Vallejo Balda’s counsel for the defence for a psychological evaluation of the defendant was rejected. The Promoter of Justice explained that the Vatican legal system admits requests for a 'psychiatric evaluation' but not for a 'psychological evaluation', and that aspects of the personality and behaviour of the defendant can emerge adequately during the proceedings.
Practically all the other demands were admitted, in particular:
- A technical evaluation requested by Chaouqui’s counsel for the defence regarding the documentation available via PC and telephones, to be carried out by an expert designated by the Tribunal accompanied by an expert selected by the defence. The Promoter of Justice approved this request.
- The acquisition of various further elements of documentation and evidence required by various counsels for the defence (texts of email messages referenced in the investigation, text messages, articles published in various newspapers, and a 'psychiatric evaluation' of Msgr. Vallejo Balda previously carried out and conserved in his home). The Promoter of Justice was in favour of all the above.
- The College considered it suitable to admit the requests for further witnesses, presented by various counsels for the defence and for different reasons (including clergy such as Cardinals Santos Abril and Parolin, Archbishop Krajewski and Msgr. Abbondi, and figures from the worlds of journalism and communications, such as Mario Benotti, Paolo Mieli, Paolo Mondani, Paola Brazzale and Marco Bernardi), although the Promoter of Justice had expressed a contrary opinion in some cases”.
New external auditor for Consolidated Financial Statements
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – The Council for the Economy, continuing the implementation of new financial management policies and practices in line with international standards, took an important step this week by appointing a new international auditing firm.
The Council accepted a recommendation from its Audit Committee and appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers “PwC”, one of the major international firms, as the external auditor for the consolidated financial statements.
PwC will work closely with the staff of the Secretariat of the Economy, and the 2015 audit will commence immediately.
Audiences
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, presenting a gift on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios;
- Maria Elvira Velasquez Rivas-Plata, ambassador of Perù at the Holy See, presenting her credential letters;
- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples;
- Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India;
- Archbishop Jean-Marie Speich, apostolic nuncio in Ghana;
- Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen, ambassador of Hungary at the Holy See;
- Nadège Védie, president of the World Conference of Secular Institutes (CMIS), and entourage.
On Saturday 5 December the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Eduardo Felix Valdes, ambassador of Argentina, on his farewell visit;
- Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Archbishop Luciano Suriani, delegate for papal diplomatic representations, as apostolic nuncio in Serbia.
- Archbishop Romeo Pawlowski, apostolic nuncio in Congo and Gabon, as delegate for papal diplomatic representations.
On Saturday 5 December the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia as apostolic nuncio in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.


Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. December 7, 2015


Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 181

Video will be added Later

Reading 1IS 35:1-10

The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
Then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals lurk
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

Responsorial PsalmPS 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (Isaiah 35:4f) Our God will come to save us!
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD –for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Our God will come to save us!
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Our God will come to save us!
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. Our God will come to save us!

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold the king will come, the Lord of the earth,
and he himself will lift the yoke of our captivity.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”

Saint December 7 : St. Ambrose : Patron of Candle makers, Pets,Students : Bishop and Doctor of the Church

St. Ambrose
BISHOP, CONFESSOR, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: December 7


Information:
Feast Day:December 7
Born:
between 337 and 340 A.D., Trier, Germany
Died:397 A.D.
Major Shrine:Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, Milan, Italy where he is buried
Patron of:Bee keepers, bees, candle makers, domestic animals, French Commissariat, learning, Milan, Italy, students, wax refiners

St. Ambrose was a small man with pale yellow hair like a nimbus. In the violence and confusion of his time, he stood out courageously resisting evil, strengthening the Church, and administering it with extraordinary ability. His learning gained for him the title of Doctor of the Church.

When Ambrose had governed at Milan for two years, the bishop died, and the city was torn by strife over the election of a successor. When he stood up to protest a voice suddenly called out, "Ambrose, bishop! On December 7, 374, he was consecrated. The new bishop now gave his possessions to the poor and his lands to the Church, reserving only a small income for the use of his sister Marcellina.

Conscious of his ignorance of theology, Ambrose began to study the Scriptures and the works of religious writers, particularly Origen and Basil.

When Augustine of Hippo came to live at Milan, he called on the bishop, and in time the two became great friends. Augustine went often to hear Ambrose preach, and was at last baptized by him. One of Ambrose's topics was the blessing and virtue of virginity, when chosen for God's sake. At the request of Marcellina, he made a popular manual of his sermons on this subject.

When Ambrose fell sick, he foretold his own death, saying he would live only until Easter. He busied himself writing a treatise called 'The Goodness of Death', and with an interpretation of the Forty-third Psalm.

On Good Friday, 397, he partook of the Last Sacrament, and died soon after. He was then about fifty-seven and had been bishop for twenty-two years. His remains now rest under the high altar of his basilica, where they were placed in 835.

Ambrose's varied writings influenced the development of the Church. He was the first of the Fathers to use Latin effectively, and as the Roman Empire declined in the West he helped to keep this great language alive by starting it on its new course in the service of Christianity. He enriched Church music, and seven of the hymns he wrote are still a part of the liturgy. His personality combined firmness where God's law was concerned with warmth, moderation, and generosity in all else. Trusted by sovereigns, loved by the people, Ambrose was-to quote Augustine's words after their first meeting—"a man affectionate and kind."
SOURCE : EWTN

#Basketball SuperStar Kobe Bryant "I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic" turned to Faith when caught in sin...SHARE

Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978) is an American professional basketball player who has retired from the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He entered the NBA from high school, and has played for the Lakers his entire career. He is the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant. . At 34 years, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He has won the All-Star MVP Award four times (2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011). In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault in Colorado, but the charges were eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled out of court. Bryant admitted that he had an adulterous encounter, but denied the rape allegations. He did apologize publicly: Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the youngest of three children and the only son of Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. Bryant was raised Roman Catholic. When Bryant was six, his father left the NBA and moved his family to Rieti in Italy to play professional basketball. Bryant learned to speak fluent Italian. Bryant started playing basketball when he was 3 years old. When Joe Bryant retired from playing basketball in 1991, the Bryant family moved back to the United States. Kobe married Vanessa Laine in 2001. The Bryants' first child, a daughter named Natalia Diamante Bryant, was born in 2003.  Their second daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, was born in 2006.Kobe Bryant is Catholic, and turned to a priest when caught due to his sinful relationship. In a article from GQ Kobe states:
 “I started to consider the mortality of what I was doing,” he says. At the time, he was 24. “What’s important? What’s not important? What does it mean when everybody loves you, and then everybody hates your guts for something they think you did? So that’s when I decided that—if people were going to like me or not like me—it was going to be for who I actually was. To hell with all that plain vanilla shit, just to get endorsement deals. Those are superficial, anyway. I don’t enjoy doing them, anyway. I’ll just show people who I actually am…. The [loss of the] endorsements were really the least of my concerns. Was I afraid of going to jail? Yes. It was twenty-five to life, man. I was terrified. The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ And that was the turning point.” (All Images Shared from Google Images) (Information from GQ and Wikipedia)

#PopeFrancis ".. the Lord is near" Lights #VaticanCity #Nativity and Christmas Tree made from Refugee Boat - Video - Text


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday evening lit – remotely from the Vatican – the Christmas tree and nativity scene in the lower piazza of the Basilica San Francesco in Assisi. The nativity scene has been built into a seven-meter boat used by migrants to travel from Tunisia to the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2014. The ceremony was attended by 31 refugees from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Nigeria and Syria being hosted by Caritas Assisi. The Italian State Railway and Italian Navy also distributed toys to families in need. Below is a translation of the Pope's words in English
Watching that boat ... Jesus is always with us, even in difficult times. How many brothers and sisters have drowned at sea! They are with the Lord now. But He came to give us hope, and we must take this hope. He came to tell us that He is stronger than death, that He is greater than any evil. He came to tell us he is merciful, all mercy; and this Christmas I invite you to open your hearts to mercy and forgiveness. But it is not easy to forgive these massacres. It's not easy. I would like to thank the [members of the] Coast Guard: the good men and women. I thank you, for you were the instrument of hope that brings us Jesus. You, among us, you have been sowers of hope, the hope of Jesus. Thank you, Antonio, you and all your teammates and all that this land of Italy has so generously received: the South of Italy is an example of solidarity for the whole world! For everyone who looks at the crib, they can say to Jesus: "But, I also have lent a hand because you are a sign of hope." And to all refugees, I say a word, that of the prophet: Raise your head, the Lord is near. And with him is strength, salvation, hope. The heart, perhaps, [is] sorrowful, but the head [is] high in the hope of the Lord.

Free Christmas Movie : Miracle on 34th Street : Santa Claus is defended

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) 96 min - Comedy | Drama | Family - 2 May 1947 (USA) When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real  thing. Director: George Seaton Writers: George Seaton (written for the screen by), Valentine Davies (story) Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne | 

Novena to St. Nicholas - #Chaplet - #Caminata de los Tres Lunes - #Novena #Prayers - SHARE

Novena to St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas, Glorious Confessor of Christ, assist us in thy loving kindness. Glorious St. Nicholas, my special Patron from thy throne in glory, thou dost enjoy the presence of God, turn thine eyes in pity upon me and attain for me from our Lord the graces and help that I need in my spiritual and temporal necessities (and especially this favor ______________________________________ provided that it be profitable to my salvation). Be mindful likewise, O Glorious and Saintly Bishop, of our Sovereign Pontiff of our Holy Church and of all Christian people. Bring back to the right way of salvation all those who are living steeped in sin, blinded by darkness of ignorance, error and heresy. Comfort the afflicted, provide the needy. Strengthen the fearful, defend the oppressed, give health to the infirm. Cause all [people] to experience the effects of thy powerful intercession with the supreme giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen. 
 Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father. 
 Pray for us, Oh Blessed Nicholas, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Let us Pray, O God who has glorified Blessed St. Nicholas, thine illustrious Confessor and Bishop, by means of countless signs and wonder, and who does not cease daily so to glorify him , grant we beseech thee, that we, being assisted by his merits and prayers, be delivered from the fires of hell and from all dangers through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Chaplet of Saint Nicholas 

• Gracious God,On the cross, pray
hear my prayers for mercy,
and by the help of Saint Nicholas
keep me safe from all danger,
and guide me on the way of salvation.
Grant this through our Lord Jeus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
Amen.
• Offer petitions on the first bead of the first triad,
continuing on the three beads
  Holy Nicholas, hear me,
• Holy Nicholas, hear me,
• Holy Nicholas, hear me.
• Offer petitions on the first bead of the second triad, continuing on the three beads
  Holy Nicholas, guide me,
• Holy Nicholas, guide me,
• Holy Nicholas, guide me.
• Offer petitions on the first bead of the third triad, continuing on the three beads
Holy Nicholas, help me,
• Holy Nicholas, help me,
• Holy Nicholas, help me.

On the medal, pray
• Glorious Holy Nicholas,
humble and virtuous Archbishop of Myra,
it is true that you hear those who come to you
in their trials and tribulations.
I trust in you, I hope in you,
and I ask you to intercede with our holy God
so that I may receive grace
in the things for which I have sought.
Be my guide, be my defense, cleanse my soul.
Amen.
Caminata de los Tres Lunes (Spanish)
(Mondays one walks to a Saint Nicholas statue dedicated to Nicholas)

I know you will not betray my trust,Invocation

Full of sweet hope I come to you today, my Holy One,
for I am confident that in your goodness
I will be blessed.
my desperate cries will be heard
and my troubled spirit will be calmed.
Psalm and Scripture Reading
FIRST MONDAY Psalm 60, Romans 12.1–2
SECOND MONDAY Psalm 30, James 2.14–17
THIRD MONDAY Psalm 24, Matthew 22.36–40
Prayer
Holy Father Nicholas,
through the precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
that was spilled on the way of bitterness,
for the crown of thorns that they put on his holy head,
for the slap across his holy face,
for the spear thrust into his holy side,
O Divine Love! for the lashings he endured,
for the pain his Holy Mother felt
as she watched him walk the way of affliction,
when she saw him fall,
the cross heavy with the weight of our sins;
for all he suffered during his holy Passion
and for all the blood that was spilled,
I beg you, holy Father Nicholas,
that you would know my needs and my distress
and that you would provide answers to my fervent prayers.
First Monday
Offer petitions, closing with:
Holy Father Nicholas, hear me,
Holy Father Nicholas, hear me,
Holy Father Nicholas, hear me.
Second Monday
Offer petitions, closing with:
Holy Father Nicholas, guide me,
Holy Father Nicholas, guide me,
Holy Father Nicholas, guide me.
Third Monday
Offer petitions, closing with:
Holy Father Nicholas, receive my petition,
Holy Father Nicholas, receive my petition,
Holy Father Nicholas, receive my petition.
The Our Father
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
[For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.]
Prayer
Glorious Holy Nicholas,
humble and virtuous Archbishop Of Myra,
it is true that you hear those who come to you
in their trials and tribulations.
I trust in you,
I hope in you,
and I ask you to intercede with our holy God
so that I may receive grace
in the things for which I have sought.
Be my guide, be my defense, cleanse my soul.
Amen.
Hymn
From this perilous sea,
O Holy Father Nicholas,
Lead us to the safe port
Of our heavenly home.
From the struggles of this life
And fatal storms,
Save us by your favor
And singular virtue.
You always come to help
Everyone who cries to you—
The sick, sailors,
Rich or poor—all who call upon you.
By your holiness
And powerful intercession,
Keep us on the way
To our heavenly home.
To those who faithfully
Carried your tradition,
They've earned the glory
and love of us all. Amen.
Prayer
We beseech you, O Lord,
and plead for your mercy,
by the intercession of Holy Bishop Nicholas,
who protects us from all dangers,
show us the way of salvation.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Letters Movie about Mother Teresa - Official Trailer - #MotherTeresa might change your Life! SHARE


The Letters (II) (2014) PG | 114 min | Drama | 4 December 2015 (USA) A drama that explores the life of Mother Teresa through letters she wrote to her longtime friend and spiritual advisor, Father Celeste van Exem over a nearly 50-year period. Director: William Riead Writer: William Riead Stars: Juliet Stevenson, Rutger Hauer, Max von Sydow | See full cast and crew »MOTHER TERESA, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is considered one of the greatest humanitarians of modern times. Her selfless commitment changed hearts, lives and inspired millions throughout the world. THE LETTERS, as told through personal letters she wrote over the last 40 years of her life, reveal a troubled and vulnerable woman who grew to feel an isolation and an abandonment by God. The story is told from the point of view of a Vatican priest charged with the task of investigating acts and events following her death. He recounts her life’s work, her political oppression, her religious zeal and her unbreakable spirit.
Written and directed by William Riead, THE LETTERS stars the acclaimed four-time BAFTA nominated British Actress Juliet Stevenson as Mother Teresa in a transformational performance that spans over 50 years, Academy Award Nominee Max Van Sydow and Golden Globe winner Rutger Hauer. The film was executive produced by Corky Barton and Lourden Saks and produced by William Riead, Lisa Riead and Tony Cordeaux. A CinemaWest and Riead Production Corporation Production, THE LETTERS will be released by Freestyle Releasing Dec 4, 2015 nationwide. The film is rated PG. 
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