Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Catholic News World : Tues. December 1, 2015 - SHARE


Free App for #Advent an Advent Calendar to help you Celebrate the Season! SHARE

Journey Through Time This Advent With

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
26 Nov 2015
Xt3's Advent Calendar for 2015
The Archdiocese of Sydney social network is excited to release its 2015 Advent Calendar. The calendar, also available as a free App, features daily reflections and multimedia resources to help you make the most of the season of Advent which begins this Sunday.
First launched six years ago as an online resources, this year's Advent Calendar has even more exciting content than ever before including podcasts, Advent reflections, video animations created by, a message from the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Anthony Bishop OP, videos from both Australian and international presenters, and Advent messages from Pope Francis.
The Calendar is also available as a free App for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
The first door of the Calendar will open on 29 November 2015, the first Sunday of Advent. App users will be able to open a new door of the Calendar every day until Christmas Day and then onto the Feast of the Epiphany.
The Xt3 Advent Calendar is also available as a Smartphone App
This year's Advent Calendar and App has a theme from Hebrews 3:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever," and features a timeline of depictions of the Nativity of Christ in art through time. Starting with stone carvings from 300AD, progressing with great artworks from different eras of history, and ending with the very modern take on Nativity in art with Sydney's famous Lights of Christmas display at St Mary's Cathedral, the 2015 Advent Calendar makes it clear that the message of the Christmas story remains a constant throughout history.
Advent comes from the Latin word meaning "coming." Jesus is coming, and Advent is intended to be a season of preparation for His arrival. While we typically regard Advent as a joyous season, it is also intended to be a period of preparation, much like Lent. Prayer, penance and fasting are appropriate during this season.
Advent is not as strict as Lent, and there are no rules for fasting, but it is meant to be a period of self-preparation. The purple colour associated with Advent is also the colour of penance. The faithful should fast during the first two weeks in particular and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The colour of the Third Sunday of Advent is rose. This colour symbolizes joy and represents the happiness we will experience when Jesus comes again. The Third Sunday is a day of anticipatory celebration. It is formerly called "Gaudete" Sunday; gaudete means "rejoice" in Latin.
Finally, Sundays during Advent, just as during Lent, should not be given to fasting, but instead to celebration because we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord every Sunday.
Every day the Xt3 Advent App will share images of the Nativity from different eras in history
Some of the artworks from the Advent Calendar can been previewed in Xt3's Advent 2015 promo video:
View Xt3's 2015 Advent Calendar online at: or search the App Store for "xt3 Advent".

Dr. Ian Gentles talk on Euthanasia: "It's Not That Simple"

IMFC hosts Dr. Ian Gentles talk on euthanasia: "It's Not That Simple"
Ottawa, Canada, November 27, 2015 — In light of the Supreme Court of Canada's approaching deadline for a new law on assisted suicide, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada held a reception and talk last night at the Rideau Club in downtown Ottawa.
Dr. Ian Gentles presented about his latest book It’s Not That Simple: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Today. Dr. Gentles was joined by Faye Sonier, Executive Director of Canadian Physicians for Life and a lawyer who has spent years practicing constitutional and human rights law.
About 125 doctors, nurses, social workers, academics, Members of Parliament and their staff, Senate staff and interested citizens gathered to listen to Dr. Gentles present. He gave a sobering presentation about the realities that will face all Canadians when euthanasia and assisted suicide are the new reality.
The Supreme Court of Canada gave our government 12 months to enact a new law on assisted suicide, ending in February 2016.
Dr. Ian Gentles has a PhD from the University of London, teaches at York University and Tyndale University College and is also vice-president of the deVeber Institute for Bioethics.
Dr. Gentles explained how the Supreme Court engaged in tortured logic in order to conclude that the right to life, liberty and security of the person includes the right to assisted suicide.
One of the more troubling aspects of the Supreme Court’s decision, he explained, was their reliance on popular opinion.
Most Canadians are favourably predisposed to the idea of assisted suicide. Yet, when they get more information, popular approval drops substantially. “I saw this happen at an event filled with educated people at the University of Toronto in summer 2015,” he recounted. “Initially, 51 percent of the audience said Canada was ready for physician-assisted suicide. After the event was over that 51 percent had fallen to a mere 28 percent.”
Support drops partly because other jurisdictions where physician-assisted suicide has been legal have seen abysmal outcomes. In the Netherlands, the categories of people eligible for assisted suicide have grown as support for palliative care has waned.
Family relationships are bound to be strained under legal physician-assisted suicide, said Dr. Gentles. He cited the example of a devastated son, whose mother was depressed and shopped around for a doctor to grant her suicide request in Belgium. He was not made aware until she was already deceased. In other Canadian examples, children have withheld treatment as part of their power of attorney, desiring speedier access to their inheritance.
Dr. Gentles concluded with the idea that great palliative care at the end of life circumvents the desire for physician-assisted suicide.
Under-reported by the press has been the opposition of Quebec’s palliative care community to providing physician-assisted suicide.
Since physicians are the front line in this debate, Faye Sonier spoke about the need to defend physician conscience rights. She highlighted a false dichotomy: Either a patient suffers horrific final days, or the patient “dies with dignity” through physician assisted suicide. Palliative care and palliative sedation are glossed over, if they are even addressed at all.
Another false dichotomy, Sonier explained, is the idea that patients either enjoy autonomy in their medical decision-making or physicians exercise their Charter right to conscientious objection. Sonier eloquently explained how, through creative solutions, both autonomy and conscience rights of the parties involved can be maintained and respected.
The Carter decision did not grant a constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide. Says Sonier: “In Carter, nothing in the court’s decision would compel doctors to administer assisted suicide.”
“No country or jurisdiction in the world that has legislated PAS, except for Quebec, has ever forced physicians to refer,” Sonier went on.
“Physician-assisted suicide marks the advent of a tough time for vulnerable Canadians,” said Andrea Mrozek, Executive Director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. “Ultimately, we all become more vulnerable as we age.”
Solutions include the need for physician conscience rights to be respected, the need for disability-rights activists to be heard, the need for palliative care access to increase, and the need for more thoughtful debate to be had. Press Release of 
To Order this Book Click Link: 

#PopeFrancis back in #VaticanCity Thanks Our Lady for a Successful trip to Africa

Pope Francis arriving by car at Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major. - AFP
Pope Francis arriving by car at Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major. - AFP
01/12/2015 12:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday visited Rome’s Basilica of St Mary Major to pray at the ancient icon of Our Lady known as Salus Populi Romani and offer thanks for the happy outcome of his first pastoral visit to Africa. In what is now an established tradition, the Pope stopped off at the Basilica after landing at Rome’s Ciampino airport and prayed in silence for several minutes before the Salus Populi Romani icon in the chapel where the image is displayed. It marked the 28th time that Pope Francis has visited St. Mary Major since his election.  

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. December 1, 2015

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 176

Reading 1IS 11:1-10

On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial PsalmPS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 10:21-24

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

#Latest News of #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis in #Africa - SHARE

30-11-2015 - Year XXV - Num. 214 

- To Evangelical Communities: God makes no distinction between those who suffer
- The Pope opens the Holy Door of Mercy in Bangui, spiritual capital of the world
- Meeting with young Central Africans: the path of resistance is via forgiveness
- To the Muslim community: say 'no' to hatred and violence
- Holy Mass in Bangui: Christians of Central Africa, be artisans of human and spiritual renewal
- Pope's message to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I
- Pope Francis' prayer intentions for December
- Cardinals to take possession of their titular churches
- Other Pontifical Acts
To Evangelical Communities: God makes no distinction between those who suffer
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Pope met with the Evangelical Communities of the Central African Republic in the Evangelical Theological Faculty of Bangui (FATEB), instituted by the “Association des Evangeliques en Afrique” (AEA) in 1974 to respond to the needs of this Church in the African continent and where over 650 leaders have completed their preparation, going on to serve in the churches and evangelical institutions of 21 African countries.
Francis was received by the dean of the Faculty and by three members of the “interreligious Platform” which has supported the process of national peacemaking: the Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonne Nzapalainga, C.S.Sp.the president of the “Alliance des Eglises Evangeliques Centrafricaines” (AEC) and the Imam of Bangui.
“We are all here in the service of the risen Lord Who assembles us today; and, by virtue of the common baptism we have received, we are sent to proclaim the joy of the Gospel to men and women of this beloved country of Central Africa”, began the Pope, following greetings from the dean of the FATEB and the president of the AEC.
“For all too long, your people have experienced troubles and violence, resulting in great suffering. This makes the proclamation of the Gospel all the more necessary and urgent. For it is Christ’s own flesh which suffers in his dearest sons and daughters: the poorest of his people, the infirm, the elderly, the abandoned, children without parents or left to themselves without guidance and education. There are also those who have been scarred in soul or body by hatred and violence, those whom war has deprived of everything: work, home and loved ones”.
 “God makes no distinctions between those who suffer. I have often called this the ecumenism of blood. All our communities suffer indiscriminately as a result of injustice and the blind hatred unleashed by the devil. Here I wish to express my closeness and solidarity to Pastor Nicholas, whose home was recently ransacked and set on fire, as was the meeting-place of his community. In these difficult circumstances, the Lord keeps asking us to demonstrate to everyone His tenderness, compassion and mercy. This shared suffering and shared mission are a providential opportunity for us to advance together on the path of unity; they are also an indispensable spiritual aid. How could the Father refuse the grace of unity, albeit still imperfect, to His children who suffer together and, in different situations, join in serving their brothers and sisters?”
Francis reiterated that the lack of unity among Christians is a scandal, above all because it is “contrary to God’s will. It is also a scandal when we consider the hatred and violence which are tearing humanity apart, and the many forms of opposition which the Gospel of Christ encounters. I appreciate the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation existing between the Christians of your country, and I encourage you to continue on this path of common service in charity. It is a witness to Christ which builds up unity”.
He concluded by expressing his wish that, with a view to achieving the hoped-for full communion, that those present, “with increasing intensity and courage, … perseverance and charity, a commitment to prayer and common reflection”, seek to achieve greater “mutual understanding, trust and friendship. I assure you of my prayerful support along the path of fraternal charity, reconciliation and mercy, a path which is long, yet full of joy and hope”.
“I ask the Lord Jesus to bless all of you, to bless your communities, and also to bless our Church. And I ask you to pray for me. Thank you”.
The Pope opens the Holy Door of Mercy in Bangui, spiritual capital of the world
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) “Today Bangui becomes the spiritual capital of the world. The Holy Year of Mercy comes in advance to this land. A land that has suffered for many years as a result of war, hatred, misunderstanding, and the lack of peace. But in this suffering land there are also all the countries that are experiencing the Cross of war”, said Pope Francis yesterday afternoon in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Bangui, before opening the Holy Door and thus beginning the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
 Bangui thus becomes, he continued, the spiritual capital of prayer for the Father's mercy. We all ask for peace, mercy, reconciliation, forgiveness, and love. For Bangui, and for all the Central African Republic, for all the world, for countries that suffer war, we ask for peace. Let us all ask together for love and peace!”, he exclaimed, adding in the Sango language of the Central African Republic, “Doye Siriri! Love and peace!”.
With this prayer he began the Holy Year following the rite for the opening of the Holy Door. “Opne the doors of justice; this is the door of the Lord; I enter Your House, Lord”, said Francis before entering first, alone, into the cathedral where he was awaited by the priests, men and women religious, and seminarians of the Central African Republic to participate in the Holy Mass. In his homily, the Pope reiterated that all, without exception, share in the “God’s grace, the alms of peace”, and he made an fresh appeal to those who “make unjust use” of weapons: “Lay down these instruments of death. Arm yourselves instead with righteousness, with love and mercy, the authentic guarantors of peace”.
The following is the full text of the homily pronounced by the Holy Father:
“On this first Sunday of Advent, the liturgical season of joyful expectation of the Saviour and a symbol of Christian hope, God has brought me here among you, in this land, while the universal Church is preparing for the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which we inaugurated here today. I am especially pleased that my pastoral visit coincides with the opening of this Jubilee Year in your country. From this cathedral I reach out, in mind and heart, and with great affection, to all the priests, consecrated men and women, and pastoral workers of the nation, who are spiritually united with us at this moment. Through you, I would greet all the people of the Central African Republic: the sick, the elderly, those who have experienced life’s pains. Some of them are perhaps despairing and listless, asking only for alms, the alms of bread, the alms of justice, the alms of attention and goodness. All of us are looking for God’s grace, for the alms of peace.
“But like the Apostles Peter and John on their way to the Temple, who had neither gold nor silver to give to the paralytic in need, I have come to offer God’s strength and power; for these bring us healing, set us on our feet and enable us to embark on a new life, to 'go across to the other side'.
“Jesus does not make us cross to the other side alone; instead, He asks us to make the crossing with Him, as each of us responds to his or her own specific vocation. We need to realise that making this crossing can only be done with Him, by freeing ourselves of divisive notions of family and blood in order to build a Church which is God’s family, open to everyone, concerned for those most in need. This presupposes closeness to our brothers and sisters; it implies a spirit of communion. It is not primarily a question of financial means; it is enough just to share in the life of God’s people, in accounting for the hope which is in us, in testifying to the infinite mercy of God who, as the Responsorial Psalm of this Sunday’s liturgy makes clear, is 'good [and] instructs sinners in the way'. Jesus teaches us that our heavenly Father 'makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good'. Having experienced forgiveness ourselves, we must forgive others in turn. This is our fundamental vocation: 'You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect'.
“One of the essential characteristics of this vocation to perfection is the love of our enemies, which protects us from the temptation to seek revenge and from the spiral of endless retaliation. Jesus placed special emphasis on this aspect of the Christian testimony. Those who evangelise must therefore be first and foremost practitioners of forgiveness, specialists in reconciliation, experts in mercy. This is how we can help our brothers and sisters to 'cross to the other side' – by showing them the secret of our strength, our hope, and our joy, all of which have their source in God, for they are grounded in the certainty that He is in the boat with us. As He did with the apostles at the multiplication of the loaves, so too the Lord entrusts His gifts to us, so that we can go out and distribute them everywhere, proclaiming His reassuring words: 'Behold, the days are coming when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah'.
“In the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy, we can see different aspects of this salvation proclaimed by God; they appear as signposts to guide us on our mission. First of all, the happiness promised by God is presented as justice. Advent is a time when we strive to open our hearts to receive the Saviour, Who alone is just and the sole Judge able to give to each his or her due. Here as elsewhere, countless men and women thirst for respect, for justice, for equality, yet see no positive signs on the horizon. These are the ones to whom he comes to bring the gift of his justice. He comes to enrich our personal and collective histories, our dashed hopes and our sterile yearnings. And He sends us to proclaim, especially to those oppressed by the powerful of this world or weighed down by the burden of their sins, that 'Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness’. Yes, God is righteousness; God is justice. This, then, is why we Christians are called in the world to work for a peace founded on justice.
“The salvation of God which we await is also flavoured with love. In preparing for the mystery of Christmas, we relive the pilgrimage which prepared God’s people to receive the Son, who came to reveal that God is not only righteousness, but also and above all love. In every place, even and especially in those places where violence, hatred, injustice and persecution hold sway, Christians are called to give witness to this God Who is love. In encouraging the priests, consecrated men and women, and committed laity who, in this country live, at times heroically, the Christian virtues, I realise that the distance between this demanding ideal and our Christian witness is at times great. For this reason I echo the prayer of St. Paul: 'Brothers and sisters, may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all men and women'. Thus what the pagans said of the early Christians will always remain before us like a beacon: 'See how they love one another, how they truly love one another'.
“Finally, the salvation proclaimed by God has an invincible power which will make it ultimately prevail. After announcing to His disciples the terrible signs that will precede His coming, Jesus concludes: 'When these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near'. If St. Paul can speak of a love which 'grows and overflows', it is because Christian witness reflects that irresistible power spoken of in the Gospel. It is amid unprecedented devastation that Jesus wishes to show His great power, His incomparable glory and the power of that love which stops at nothing, even before the falling of the heavens, the conflagration of the world or the tumult of the seas. God is stronger, more powerful, than all else. This conviction gives to the believer serenity, courage and the strength to persevere in good amid the greatest hardships. Even when the powers of Hell are unleashed, Christians must rise to the summons, their heads held high, and be ready to brave blows in this battle over which God will have the last word. And that word will be one of love and peace!
“To all those who make unjust use of the weapons of this world, I make this appeal: lay down these instruments of death! Arm yourselves instead with righteousness, with love and mercy, the authentic guarantors of peace. As followers of Christ, dear priests, religious and lay pastoral workers, here in this country, with its suggestive name, situated in the heart of Africa and called to discover the Lord as the true centre of all that is good, your vocation is to incarnate the very heart of God in the midst of your fellow citizens. May the Lord deign to 'strengthen your hearts in holiness, that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints'. Reconciliation, forgiveness, love and peace! Amen”.
Meeting with young Central Africans: the path of resistance is via forgiveness
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) – After celebrating Holy Mass, the Pope left the Cathedral of Bangui to greet the young people who awaited him outside the Cathedral for a night-long prayer vigil. Francis addressed some extemporaneous remarks to them, setting aside the discourse he had prepared, which is reproduced at the end of this article.
Beforehand one of the young people had commented that their symbol was the banana tree on account of its resistance, referring also the many difficulties they encounter in this period of war and division.
 “The banana tree is a symbol of life”, said Francis. “It always grows, it always reproduces, it always bears nourishing fruit. The banana tree is also resistant. I think that this clearly shows the way for you in this difficult moment of war, hatred and division: the path of resistance”.
“Your friend said that some of you want to go away from here. Fleeing from the challenges of life is never a solution! It is necessary to resist, to have the courage to resist, to struggle for good! Those who flee do not have the courage to give life. The banana tree gives life and continues to reproduce and give more life as it resists, it remains, it stays there. Some of you will ask me, 'But Father, what can we do? How can we resist?'. I will tell you two or three things that may perhaps be useful for you, to resist”.
“First of all, prayer. Prayer is powerful. Prayer conquers evil. Prayer draws us closer to God, who is Almighty. … Secondly, work for peace. And peace is not a document that is signed and stays there. Peace is made every day! Peace is a craft, it is made by hand, with one's own life. But some may say, 'Tell me, Father, how can I be an artisan of peace?'. First: never hate. If someone harms you, try to forgive. No hatred! Forgiveness! Let us say this together: No hatred! Forgiveness! If you do not have hatred in your heart, if you forgive, you will be victorious, because you will be victorious in the most difficult battled of life: victorious in love. And through love comes peace”.
“Do you want to be defeated, or do you want to win in life?” asked the Pope. “You can win only by taking the path of love. The path of love. And can you love your enemy? Yes. Can you forgive those who have wronged you? Yes. In this way, with love and forgiveness, you will be victorious. With love, you will be victorious in life and will always give life. Love will never let you be defeated”.
The following is the discourse prepared by Pope Francis:
“Dear Young Friends, good evening! It is a great joy for me to be here with you this evening, as we enter upon a new liturgical year with the beginning of Advent. Is this not, for each one of us, an occasion to begin anew, a chance to 'go across to the other side?'.
“During this, our meeting, I will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation with some of you. I encourage each of you to reflect on the grandeur of this sacrament, in which God comes to meet us personally. Whenever we ask, He comes to us and helps us to 'go across to the other side', to that side of our life where God forgives us and bathes us in His love which heals, soothes and raises up! The Jubilee of Mercy, which I just opened particularly for you, dear Central African and African friends, rightly reminds us that God is waiting for us, with arms wide open, as we see in the beautiful image of the Father who welcomes the prodigal son.
“The forgiveness which we receive comforts us and enables us to make a new start, with trusting and serene hearts, better able to live in harmony with ourselves, with God and with others. The forgiveness which we receive enables us in turn to forgive others. There is always a need for this, especially in times of conflict and violence, as you know all too well. I renew my closeness to all those among you who are have experienced sorrow, separation and the wounds inflicted by hatred and war. In such situations, forgiving those who have done us harm is, humanly speaking, extremely difficult. But God offers us the strength and the courage to become those artisans of reconciliation and peace which your country greatly needs. The Christian, as a disciple of Christ, walks in the footsteps of his Master, who on the Cross asked His Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him. How far is this sentiment from those which too often reign in our hearts! Meditating on the attitude and the words of Jesus, 'Father, forgive them', can help to turn our gaze and convert our heart.
“For many people, it is a scandal that God came to be one of us. It is a scandal that He died on a cross. Yes, it is scandalous: the scandal of the cross. The cross continues to scandalise. Yet it remains the one sure way: the way of the cross, the way of Jesus Who came to share our life and to save us from sin. Dear friends, this cross speaks to us of the closeness of God: He is with us, He is with each one of you, in your joys and in your trials.
“Dear young people, the most precious good which we can have in this life is our relationship with God. Are you convinced of this? Are you aware of the inestimable value that you have in God’s eyes? Do you know that you are loved and accepted by Him, unconditionally, as you are?. Devoting time to prayer and the reading of Scripture, especially the Gospels, you will come to know Him, and yourselves, ever better. Today too, Jesus’ counsels can illumine your feelings and your decisions. You are enthusiastic and generous, pursuing high ideals, searching for truth and beauty. I encourage you to maintain an alert and critical spirit in the face of every compromise which runs contrary to the Gospel message.
“Thank you for your creative dynamism, which the Church greatly needs. Cultivate this! Be witnesses to the joy of meeting Jesus. May He transform you, strengthen your faith and help you to overcome every fear, so that you may embrace ever more fully God’s loving plan for you! God wills the happiness of every one of His children. Those who open themselves to His gaze are freed from sin, from sorrow, from inner emptiness and from isolation. Instead, they can see others as brothers or sisters, accepting their differences and recognizing that they are a gift for all of us.
“It is in this way that peace is built, day by day. It calls for setting out on the path of service and humility, and being attentive to the needs of others. To embrace this mindset, we need to have a heart capable of bending low and sharing life with those most in need. That is where true charity is found. In this way solidarity grows, beginning with small gestures, and the seeds of division disappear. In this way dialogue among believers bears fruit, fraternity is lived day by day and it enlarges the heart by opening up a future. In this way, you will be able to do so much good for your country. I encourage you do so.
“Dear young friends, the Lord is alive and He is walking at your side. When difficulties seem to abound, when pain and sadness seem to prevail all around you, He does not abandon you. He has left us the memorial of his love: the Eucharist and the sacraments, to aid our progress along the way and furnish the strength we need to daily move forward. This must be the source of your hope and your courage as you 'go across to the other side' with Jesus, opening new paths for yourselves and your generation, for your families, for your country. I pray that you will be filled with this hope. May you be ever anchored in it, so that you can give it to others, to this world of ours so wounded by war and conflicts, by evil and sin. Never forget: the Lord is with you. He trusts you. He wants you to be missionary disciples, sustained in times of difficulty and trial by the prayers of the Virgin Mary and those of the entire Church. Dear young people of Central Africa, go forth! I am sending you out!”.
To the Muslim community: say 'no' to hatred and violence
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) - “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such. We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace”. The Holy Father addressed these words to the Muslim community of the Central African Republic this morning in the mosque of Koudoukou, a few kilometres from Bangui. Francis was received by five imams who accompanied him to the podium situated in the mosque, a short distance away from the area reserved for prayer. The event was attended by around two hundred people.
“Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years”, he continued. “They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means, to the detriment of the common good. Together, we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace, salam”.
Francis emphasised the important role played by Christian and Muslim leaders in re-establishing harmony and fraternity among all, and expressed his gratitude and appreciation. “We can also call to mind the many acts of solidarity which Christians and Muslims have shown with regard to their fellow citizens of other religious confessions, by welcoming them and defending them during this latest crisis in your country, as well as in other parts of the world”.
He added, “We cannot fail to express hope that the forthcoming national consultations will provide the country with leaders capable of bringing Central Africans together, thus becoming symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one faction or another. I strongly urge you to make your country a welcoming home for all its children, regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religious confession. The Central African Republic, situated in the heart of Africa, with the cooperation of all her sons and daughters, will then prove a stimulus in this regard to the entire continent. It will prove a positive influence and help extinguish the smouldering tensions which prevent Africans from benefiting from that development which they deserve and to which they have a right”.
He concluded by inviting those present to “pray and work for reconciliation, fraternity and solidarity among all people, without forgetting those who have suffered the most as a result of recent events”.
Holy Mass in Bangui: Christians of Central Africa, be artisans of human and spiritual renewal
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) – Tens of thousands of people participated in the final act of the Holy Father's apostolic trip in Africa: the Holy Mass celebrated in the Barthelemy Boganda sports complex in Bangui. Those unable to enter followed the event on the maxi screens installed outside the stadium. In his homily, the Pope invited Central Africans to be artisans of the human and spiritual renewal of the country, at a time of difficulties and suffering, passing over to the “other side” which is Christ Who transforms the reality of our present life.
“We might be astonished, listening to this morning’s first reading, by the enthusiasm and missionary drive of St. Paul. 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'. These words inspire us to give thanks for the gift of the faith which we have received. They also inspire us to reflect with amazement on the great missionary effort which – not long ago – first brought the joy of the Gospel to this beloved land of Central Africa. It is good, especially in times of difficulty, trials and suffering, when the future is uncertain and we feel weary and apprehensive, to come together before the Lord. To come together, as we do today, to rejoice in His presence and in the new life and the salvation which He offers us. For He invites us to cross over to another shore.
“This other shore is, of course, eternal life, heaven, which awaits us. Looking towards the world to come has always been a source of strength for Christians, of the poor, of the least, on their earthly pilgrimage. Eternal life is not an illusion; it is not a flight from the world. It is a powerful reality which calls out to us and challenges us to persevere in faith and love. But the more immediate other shore, which we are trying to reach, this salvation secured by the faith of which St. Paul speaks, is a reality which even now is transforming our lives and the world around us. 'Faith in the heart leads to justification'. Those who believe receive the very life of Christ, which enables them to love God and their brothers and sisters in a new way and to bring to birth a world renewed by love”.
The Pope urged those present to thank the Lord “for His presence and for the strength which He gives us in our daily lives, at those times when we experience physical and spiritual suffering, pain, and grief. Let us thank Him for the acts of solidarity and generosity which He inspires in us, for the joy and love with which He fills our families and our communities, despite the suffering and violence we sometimes experience, and our fears for the future. Let us thank Him for His gift of courage, which inspires us to forge bonds of friendship, to dialogue with those who are different than ourselves, to forgive those who have wronged us, and to work to build a more just and fraternal society in which no one is abandoned. In all these things, the Risen Christ takes us by the hand and guides us. I join you in thanking the Lord in His mercy for all the beautiful, generous and courageous things He has enabled you to accomplish in your families and communities during these eventful years in the life of your country.
“Yet the fact is that we have not yet reached our destination”, he continued. “In a certain sense we are in midstream, needing the courage to decide, with renewed missionary zeal, to pass to the other shore. All the baptised need to continually break with the remnants of the old Adam, the man of sin, ever ready to rise up again at the prompting of the devil. How often this happens in our world and in these times of conflict, hate and war! How easy it is to be led into selfishness, distrust, violence, destructiveness, vengeance, indifference to and exploitation of those who are most vulnerable.
“We know that our Christian communities, called to holiness, still have a long way to go. Certainly we need to beg the Lord’s forgiveness for our all too frequent reluctance and hesitation in bearing witness to the Gospel. May the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which has just begun in your country, be an occasion to do so. Dear Central Africans, may you look to the future and, strengthened by the distance you have already come, resolutely determine to begin a new chapter in the Christian history of your country, to set out towards new horizons, to put out into the deep. The Apostle Andrew, with his brother Peter, did not hesitate to leave everything at Christ’s call: 'Immediately they left their nets and followed him'. Once again, we are amazed at the great enthusiasm of the Apostles. Christ drew them so closely to Himself, that they felt able to do everything and to risk everything with Him.
“Each of us, in his or her heart, can ask the crucial question of where we stand with Jesus, asking what we have already accepted – or refused to accept – in responding to his call to follow him more closely. The cry of 'those who bring good news' resounds all the more in our ears, precisely when times are difficult; that cry which 'goes out through all the earth ... to the ends of the earth'. And it resounds here, today, in this land of Central Africa. It resounds in our hearts, our families, our parishes, wherever we live. It invites us to persevere in enthusiasm for mission, for that mission which needs new 'bearers of good news', ever more numerous, generous, joyful and holy. We are all called to be, each of us, these messengers whom our brothers and sisters of every ethnic group, religion and culture, await, often without knowing it. For how can our brothers and sisters believe in Christ – Saint Paul asks – if the Word is neither proclaimed nor heard?
“We too, like the Apostles, need to be full of hope and enthusiasm for the future. The other shore is at hand, and Jesus is crossing the river with us. He is risen from the dead; henceforth the trials and sufferings which we experience are always opportunities opening up to a new future, provided we are willing to follow Him. Christians of Central Africa, each of you is called to be, through perseverance in faith and missionary commitment, artisans of the human and spiritual renewal of your country”.
Pope Francis ended his homily by asking the Virgin Mary, “who by sharing in the Passion of her Son, now shares in his perfect joy”, for her protection and encouragement on this path of hope”.
Following Mass and before giving his blessing, the Pope mentioned that today is the feast day of St. Andrew and, from the heart of Africa, he greeted his “dear brother”, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomaios I, expressing his wishes for joy and fraternity, and asking the Lord to bless these two sister Churches.
From the Barthelemy Boganda stadium, the Holy Father transferred by popemobile to the M'Poko airport where he boarded the aircraft for his return flight to Rome, expected to land around 6.45 p.m.
Pope's message to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) – As is customary on the feast day of St. Andrew, patron of the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, a Holy See delegation led by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, travelled to Istanbul to participate in the celebration. The Holy See and the Patriarchate exchange regular annual visits for the feast days of their respective patrons: the Patriarchate sends a delegation to Rome on 29 June, the feast day of the apostles Sts. Peter and Paul, every year.
The delegation participated in the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Patriarch Bartholomaois I in the patriarchal church of St. George of Phanar, then met with the synodal commission which oversees relations with the Catholic Church, and delivered a message from the Holy Father, read at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
In the text, Francis recalls in particular the fiftieth anniversary of the of the Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration of Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I which expressed the decision to eliminate the mutual excommunications of 1054. “The memory of the mutual sentences of excommunication, together with the offensive words, groundless reproaches, and reprehensible gestures on both sides, which accompanied the sad events of this period, represented for many centuries an obstacle to rapprochement in charity between Catholics and Orthodox. Attentive to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who prayed to the Father on the eve of his Passion that his disciples 'may be one', Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I consigned these painful memories to oblivion. Since then, the logic of antagonism, mistrust and hostility that had been symbolised by the mutual excommunications has been replaced by the logic of love and brotherhood, represented by our fraternal embrace.
“While not all differences between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches were brought to an end, there now existed the conditions necessary to journey towards re-establishing the 'full communion of faith, fraternal accord and sacramental life which existed among them during the first thousand years of the life of the Church'. Having restored a relationship of love and fraternity, in a spirit of mutual trust, respect and charity, there is no longer any impediment to Eucharistic communion which cannot be overcome through prayer, the purification of hearts, dialogue and the affirmation of truth. Indeed, where there is love in the life of the Church, its source and fulfilment is always to be found in Eucharistic love. So too the symbol of the fraternal embrace finds its most profound truth in the embrace of peace exchanged in the Eucharistic celebration.
“In order to progress on our journey towards the full communion for which we long, we need continually to draw inspiration from the gesture of reconciliation and peace by our venerable predecessors Paul VI and Athenagoras I. At all levels and in every context of Church life, relations between Catholics and Orthodox must increasingly reflect the logic of love that leaves no room for the spirit of rivalry. Theological dialogue itself, sustained by mutual charity, must continue to examine carefully the questions which divide us, aiming always at deepening our shared understanding of revealed truth. Motivated by God’s love, we must together offer the world a credible and effective witness to Christ’s message of reconciliation and salvation.
“The world today has great need of reconciliation, particularly in light of so much blood which has been shed in recent terrorist attacks. May we accompany the victims with our prayers, and renew our commitment to lasting peace by promoting dialogue between religious traditions, for 'indifference and mutual ignorance can only lead to mistrust and unfortunately even conflict'.
“I wish to express my deep appreciation for Your Holiness’ fervent commitment to the critical issue of care for creation, for which your sensitivity and awareness is an exemplary witness for Catholics. I believe that it is a hopeful sign for Catholics and Orthodox that we now celebrate together an annual Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September, following the long-standing practice of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In this regard, I assure you of my prayers for the important international meeting on the environment to be held in Paris at which you will participate.
“Your Holiness, it is incumbent upon humanity to rediscover the mystery of mercy, 'the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness'. For this reason I have called for an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a favourable time to contemplate the Father’s mercy revealed fully in his Son, Jesus Christ, and to become ourselves an effective sign of God’s love through our mutual pardon and works of mercy. It is providential that the anniversary of that historic Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration concerning the removal of the excommunications of 1054 occurs on the eve of the Year of Mercy. Following Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I, Catholics and Orthodox today must ask pardon of God and one another for divisions that Christians have brought about in the Body of Christ. I ask you and all the faithful of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to pray that this Extraordinary Jubilee may bear the spiritual fruits for which we yearn. I willingly assure you of my prayers for the events that your Church will celebrate in the year to come, especially the Pan-Orthodox Great Synod. May this important occasion for all the Orthodox Churches be a source of abundant blessings for the life of the Church”, concluded the Holy Father.
Pope Francis' prayer intentions for December
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for December is: “That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving”.
His intention for evangelisation is: “That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope”.
Cardinals to take possession of their titular churches
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today issued the following announcement:
On Saturday 5 December at 6.30 p.m., Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, bishop of Tonga, will take possession of the title of Santa Paola Romana (Via Duccio Galimberti, 9).
On Sunday 6 December at 11.0 a.m. Cardinal Pierre Nguyen Van Thon, archbishop of Na Noi, Mexico, will take possession of the title of San Tommaso Apostolo (Via Lino Liviabella, 70).
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 30 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Msgr. Jure Bogdan as military ordinary for Croatia. The bishop-elect was born in Donji Dolac, Croatia in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1980. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Lateran University and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Split-Makarska, Croatia, including parish vicar and spiritual father of the archdiocesan minor seminary. He is currently rector of the Pontifical Croatian College of St. Jerome in Rome. He succeeds Bishop Juraj Jezerinac, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same military ordinariate upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Fr. Vincent Kirabo as bishop of Hoima (area 17,200, population 2,084214, Catholics 1,075,812, priests 131, religious 130), Uganda. The bishop-elect was born in Kyanaisoke, Uganda in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1979. He holds a master's degree in education from the University of Portland, United States of America, and a licentiate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome. He has served in a number of roles in the diocese of Hoima, including teacher and rector of the minor seminary, director of the diocesan commission for vocations, parish vicar, diocesan administrator for finance, parish priest, and teacher and bursar at the Uganda Martyrs National Minor Seminary Alokolum, Gulu. He is currently a teacher at the St. Mary's National Major Seminary Ggaba, Kampala.
- appointed Bishop Luis Albeiro Cortes Rendon of Velez, Colombia, as auxiliary of the diocese of Pereira (area 6,126, population 1,380,000, Catholics 1,041,000, priests 210, permanent deacons 36, religious 266), Colombia.

Saint December 1 : St. Edmund Campion & Companions

Feast: December 1

Feast Day:December 1
Born:January 24, 1540, London
Died:December 1, 1581, Tyburn, England
Canonized:October 25, 1970 by Pope Paul VI

English Jesuit and martyr; he was the son and namesake of a Catholic bookseller, and was born in London, 25 Jan., 1540; executed at Tyburn, 1 Dec., 1581. A city company sent the promising child to a grammar school and to Christ Church Hospital. When Mary Tudor entered London in state as queen, he was the schoolboy chosen to give the Latin salutatory to her majesty. Sir Thomas White, lord mayor, who built and endowed St. John's College at Oxford, accepted Campion as one of his first scholars, appointed him junior fellow at seventeen, and, dying, gave him his last messages for his academic family. Campion shone at Oxford in 1560, when he delivered one oration at the reburial of Amy Robsart, and another at the funeral of the founder of his own college; and for twelve years he was to be followed and imitated as no man ever was in an English university except himself and Newman. He took both his degrees, and became a celebrated tutor, and, by 1568, junior proctor. Queen Elizabeth had visited Oxford two years before; she and Dudley, then chancellor, won by Campion's bearing, beauty, and wit, bade him ask for what he would. Successes, local responsibilities, and allurements, his natural ease of disposition, the representations, above all, of his friend Bishop Cheyney of Gloucester, blinded Campion in regard to his course as a Catholic: he took the Oath of Supremacy, and deacon's orders according to the new rite. Afterthoughts developing into scruples, scruples into anguish, he broke off his happy Oxford life when his proctorship ended, and betook himself to Ireland, to await the reopening of Dublin University, an ancient papal foundation temporarily extinct. Sir Henry Sidney, the lord deputy, was interested in Campion's future as well as in the revival which, however, fell through. With Philip Sidney, then a boy, Campion was to have a touching interview in 1577.
As too Catholic minded an Anglican, Campion was suspected, and exposed to danger. Hidden in friendly houses, he composed his treatise called "A History of Ireland" Written from an English standpoint it gave much offence to the native Irish, and was severely criticized, in the next century, by Geoffrey Keating In his Irish history of Ireland. Urged to further effort by the zeal of Gregory Martin, he crossed to England in disguise and under an assumed name, reaching London in time to witness the trial of one of the earliest Oxonian martyrs, Dr. John Storey. Campion now recognized his vocation and hastened to the seminary at Douai. Cecil lamented to Richard Stanihurst the expatriation of "one of the diamonds of England" At Douai Campion remained for his theological course and its lesser degree, but then set out as a barefoot pilgrim to Rome, arriving there just before the death of St. Francis Borgia; " for I meant", as he said at his examination, "to enter into the Society of Jesus, thereof to vow and to be professed". This he accomplished promptly in April (1573), being the first novice received by Mercurianus, the fourth general. As the English province was as yet non-existent, he was allotted to that of Bohemia, entering on his noviceship at Prague and passing his probation year at Brunn in Moravia. Returning to Prague, he taught in the college and wrote a couple of sacred dramas; and there he was ordained in 1578. Meanwhile, Dr. Allen was organizing the apostolic work of the English Mission, and rejoiced to secure Fathers Robert Parsons and Edmund Campion as his first Jesuit helpers. In the garden at Brunn, Campion had had a vision, in which Our Lady foretold to him his martyrdom. Comrades at Prague were moved to make a scroll for P. Edmundus Campianus Martyr, and to paint a prophetic garland of roses within his cell. Parsons and Campion set out from Rome, had many adventures, and called upon St. Charles Borromeo in Milan, and upon Beza in Geneva. Campion was met in London, and fitly clothed, armed, and mounted by a devoted young convert friend. His office was chiefly to reclaim Catholics who were wavering or temporizing under the pressure of governmental tyranny; but his zeal to win Protestants, his preaching, his whole saintly and soldierly personality, made a general and profound impression. An alarm was raised and he fled to the North, where he fell again to writing and produced his famous tract, the "Decem Rationes". He returned to London, only to withdraw again, this time towards Norfolk. A spy, a former steward of the Roper family, one George Eliot, was hot upon his track, and ran him and others down at Lyford Grange near Wantage in Berkshire on 17 July, 1581.
Amid scenes of violent excitement, Campion was derisively paraded through the streets of his native city, bound hand and foot, riding backwards, with a paper stuck in his hat to denote the " seditious Jesuit". First thrown into Little Ease at the Tower, he was carried privately to the house of his old patron, the Earl of Leicester; there he encountered the queen herself, and received earnest proffers of liberty and preferments would he but forsake his papistry. Hopton having tried in vain the same blandishments, on Campion's return to the Tower, the priest was then examined under torture, and was reported to have betrayed those who had harboured him. Several arrests were made on the strength of the lie. He had asked for a public disputation. But when it came off in the Norman chapel of the Tower, before the Dean of St. Paul's and other divines, Campion had been denied opportunity to prepare his debate, and had been severely racked. Thus weakened, he stood through the four long conferences, without chair, table, or notes, and stood undefeated. Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, who was looking on in the flush of worldly pride, became thereby inspired to return to God's service. The privy council, at its wits' end over so purely spiritual a "traitor", hatched a plot to impeach Campion's loyalty, and called in the hirelings Eliot and Munday as accusers. A ridiculous trial ensued in Westminster Hall, 20 Nov., 1581. Campion, pleading not guilty, was quite unable to hold up his often-wrenched right arm, seeing which, a fellow prisoner, first kissing it, raised it for him. He made a magnificent defence. But the sentence was death, by hanging, drawing, and quartering: a sentence received by the martyrs with a joyful shout of Haec dies and Te Deum. Campion, with Sherwin and Briant, who were on a separate hurdle, was dragged to Tyburn on 1 December. Passing Newgate arch, he lifted himself as best he could to salute the statue of Our Lady still in situ. On the scaffold, when interrupted and taunted to express his mind concerning the Bull of Plus V excommunicating Elizabeth, he answered only by a prayer for her, "your Queen and my Queen". He was a Catholic Englishman with political opinions which were not Allen's, though he died, as much as ever Felton did, for the primacy of the Holy See. The people loudly lamented his fate; and another great harvest of conversions began. A wild, generous-hearted youth, Henry Walpole, standing by, got his white doublet stained with Campion's blood; the incident made him, too, in time, a Jesuit and a martyr.
Historians of all schools are agreed that the charges against Campion were wholesale sham. They praise his high intelligence, his beautiful gaiety, his fiery energy, his most chivalrous gentleness. He had renounced all opportunity for a dazzling career in a world of master men. Every tradition of Edmund Campion, every remnant of his written words, and not least his unstudied golden letters, show us that he was nothing less than a man of genius; truly one of the great Elizabethans, but holy as none other of them all. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 9 December, 1886, and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Relics of him are preserved in Rome and Prague, in London, Oxford, Stonyhurst, and Roehampton. A not very convincing portrait was made soon after his death for the Gesù in Rome under the supervision of many who had known him. Of this there is a copy in oils at Stonyhurst, and a brilliantly engraved print in Hazart's "Kerckelycke Historie" (Antwerp, 1669), Vol. III (Enghelandt, etc.), though not in every copy of that now scarce work.

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