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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Catholic News World : Sun. February 14, 2016 - SHARE

, 2016

#PopeFrancis "Blessed Virgin, help us to bear radiant witness to communion..." #Angelus FULL TEXT - Video in Mexico



Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis' prepared remarks for his Angelus address: 
Angelus
Centro de Estudios de Ecatepec
Sunday 14 February 2016
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the first reading of this Sunday, Moses offers a directive to the people. At harvest time, a the time of abundance and first fruits, do not forget your beginnings. Thanksgiving is something which is born and grows among a people capable of remembering. It is rooted in the past, and through good and bad times, it shapes the present. In those moments when we can offer thanks to God for the earth giving us its fruits and thereby helping us make bread, Moses invites his people to remember by enumerating the difficult situations through which it has passed (cf. Deut 26:5-11).
On this festive day we can celebrate how good the Lord has been to us. Let us give thanks for this opportunity to be together, to present to our Good Father the first fruits of our children, our grandchildren, of our dreams and our plans; the first fruits of our cultures, our languages and traditions, the first fruits of our concerns… How much each one of you has suffered to reach this moment, how much you have “walked” to make this day a day of feasting, a time of thanksgiving. How much others have walked, who have not arrived here and yet because of them we have been able to keep going.  Today, at the invitation of Moses, as a people we want to remember, we want to be the people that keeps alive the memory of God who passes among his People, in their midst. We look upon our children knowing that they will inherit not only a land, a culture and a tradition, but also the living fruits of faith which recalls the certainty of God’s passing through this land. It is a certainty of closeness and solidarity, a certainty which helps us lift up our heads and ardently hope for the dawn.
I too join you in this remembrance, in this living memory of God’s passing through your lives. As I look upon your children I cannot but make my own the words which Blessed Pope Paul VI addressed to the Mexican people:
“A Christian cannot but show solidarity… to solve the situation of those who have not yet received the bread of culture or the opportunity of an honourable job… he cannot remain insensitive while the new generations have not found the way to bring into reality their legitimate aspirations”. He continued offering this invitation to “always be on the front line of all efforts… to improve the situation of those who suffer need”, to see in every man a brother and, in every brother Christ” (Radio Message on the 75 Anniversary of the Crowning of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 12 October 1970).
I invite you once again today to be on the front line, to be first in all the initiatives which help make this blessed land of Mexico a land of opportunities, where there will be no need to emigrate in order to dream, no need to be exploited in order to work, no need to make the despair and poverty of many the opportunism of a few, a land that will not have to mourn men and women, young people and children who are destroyed at the hands of the dealers of death.
This land is filled with the perfume of la Guadalupana who has always gone before us in love. Let us say to her:
Blessed Virgin, “help us to bear radiant witness to communion, service, ardent and generous faith, justice and love of the poor, that the joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth, illuminating even the fringes of our world. (EG 288).

#Novena to St. Valentine - Patron of #Love, #Marriage and #Fiancees - #Prayers to SHARE

St. Valentine is Patron Saint of fianced couples, against fainting, bee keepers, happy marriages, love, plague, epilepsy. Say for 9 days along with 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory be each day: 
"O glorious advocate and protector, St Valentine,
look with pity upon our wants,
hear our requests,
attend to our prayers,
relieve by your intercession the miseries
under which we labour,
and obtain for us the divine blessing,
that we may be found worthy to join you
in praising the Almighty for all
eternity: through the merits of
Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

Prayer to St. Valentine
Almighty God, grant we beseech You,
that we who celebrate the glorious martyrdom of St. Valentine, Your
servant, may by his intercession be filled with the love of God and
neighbor and be delivered from all the evils that threaten us.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

LIVE #PopeFrancis celebrates Holy Mass in #Mexico in Poor Town - FULL Video - TEXT

Pope Francis in Mexico: Holy Mass at the Study Center of Ecatepec. FULL TEXT Homily 
Below, please find the official translation of the prepared text of Pope Francis’ homily for Mass for the First Sunday of Lent:
Homily of Pope Francis at Holy Mass at the Ecatepec Study Centre on Sunday 14 February 2016
Last Wednesday we began the liturgical season of Lent, during which the Church invites us to prepare ourselves to celebrate the great feast of Easter. This is a special time for recalling the gift of our baptism, when we became children of God. The Church invites us to renew the gift she has given us, to not let this gift lie dormant as if it were something from the past or locked away in some “memory chest”. Lent is a good time to recover the joy and hope that make us feel beloved sons and daughters of the Father. The Father who waits for us in order to cast off our garments of exhaustion, of apathy, of mistrust, and so clothe us with the dignity which only a true father or mother knows how to give their children, with the garments born of tenderness and love.
Our Father, he is the Father of a great family; he is our Father. He knows that he has a unique love, but he does not know how to bear or raise an “only child”. He is the God of the home, of brotherhood, of bread broken and shared. He is the God who is “Our Father”, not “my father” or “your stepfather”.
God’s dream makes its home and lives in each one of us so that at every Easter, in every Eucharist we celebrate, we may be the children of God. It is a dream which so many of our brothers and sisters have had through history. A dream witnessed to by the blood of so many martyrs, both from long ago and from now.
Lent is a time of conversion, of daily experiencing in our lives of how this dream is continually threatened by the father of lies, by the one who tries to separate us, making a divided and fractious society. A society of the few, and for the few. How often we experience in our own lives, or in our own families, among our friends or neighbours, the pain which arises when the dignity we carry within is not recognized. How many times have we had to cry and regret on realizing that we have not acknowledged this dignity in others. How often – and it pains me to say it – have we been blind and impervious in failing to recognize our own and others’ dignity.
Lent is a time for reconsidering our feelings, for letting our eyes be opened to the frequent injustices which stand in direct opposition to the dream and the plan of God. It is a time to unmask three great temptations that wear down and fracture the image which God wanted to form in us:
There are three temptations of Christ… three temptations for the Christian, which seek to destroy what we have been called to be; three temptations which try to corrode us and tear us down.
Wealth: seizing hold of goods destined for all, and using them only for “my own people”. That is, taking the “bread” based on the toil of others, or even at the expense of their very lives. That wealth which tastes of pain, bitterness and suffering. This is the bread that a corrupt family or society gives its own children.
Vanity: the pursuit of prestige based on continuous, relentless exclusion of those who “are not like me”. The futile chasing of those five minutes of fame which do not forgive the “reputation” of others. “Making firewood from a felled tree” gives way to the third temptation:
Pride: or rather, putting oneself on a higher level than one truly is on, feeling that one does not share the life of “mere mortals”, and yet being one who prays every day: “I thank you Lord that you have not made me like those others…”.
Three temptations of Christ… Three temptations which the Christian is faced with daily. Three temptations which seek to corrode, destroy and extinguish the joy and freshness of the Gospel. Three temptations which lock us into a cycle of destruction and sin.
And so it is worth asking ourselves:
To what degree are we aware of these temptations in our lives, in our very selves?
How much have we become accustomed to a lifestyle where we think that our source and life force lies only in wealth?
To what point do we feel that caring about others, our concern and work for bread, for the good name and dignity of others, are wellsprings of happiness and hope?
We have chosen Jesus, not the evil one; we want to follow in his footsteps, even though we know that this is not easy. We know what it means to be seduced by money, fame and power. For this reason, the Church gives us the gift of this Lenten season, invites us to conversion, offering but one certainty: he is waiting for us and wants to heal our hearts of all that tears us down. He is the God who has a name: Mercy. His name is our wealth, his name is what makes us famous, his name is our power and in his name we say once more with the Psalm: “You are my God and in you I trust”. Let us repeat these words together: “You are my God and in you I trust”.
In this Eucharist, may the Holy Spirit renew in us the certainty that his name is Mercy, and may he let us experience each day that “the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus...”, knowing that “with Christ and in Christ joy is constantly born anew” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 1)

Top 30 Catholic Love Quotes to SHARE - Amazing #Quotes from Saints on #Love


1. "Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."
--Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

2. Pure love ... knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love - love, and always love. (140)
--Divine Mercy in My Soul, St. Faustina
3. "The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."
--Pope St. Gregory the Great

4. "What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."
--St. Augustine of Hippo

5. "You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them."
--St. Therese of Lisieux

6. "Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love."
--Saint Francis of Assisi

7. "As for what concerns our relations with our fellow men, the anguish in our neighbor's soul must break all precept. All that we do is a means to an end, but love is an end in itself, because God is love."
--St. Edith Stein

8. "Our Lord loves you and loves you tenderly; and if He does not let you feel the sweetness of His love, it is to make you more humble and abject in your own eyes."
--St. Pio of Pietrelcino

9."We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love."
--Saint Vincent de Paul

10."What a weakness it is to love Jesus Christ only when He caresses us, and to be cold immediately once He afflicts us. This is not true love. Those who love thus, love themselves too much to love God with all their heart."
--St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

11."The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life."
--Saint Thomas Aquinas

12. Charity is the sweet and holy bond which links the soul with its Creator: it binds God with man and man with God.
--Saint Catherine of Siena

13. 'The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is indescribable and knows no bounds. A soul filled with thoughts of sensual desire and hatred is unpurified. If we detect any trace of hatred in our hearts against any man whatsoever for committing any fault, we are utterly estranged from love for God, since love for God absolutely precludes us from hating any man.'
--St. Maximos the Confessor

14. What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.
--St. Basil the Great

15. "You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working, and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves."
--St. Francis de Sales

16. "Everything comes from love,
all is ordained for the salvation of man,
God does nothing without this goal in mind."
--St. Catherine of Siena


17. "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love"
--Blessed Mother Teresa


18. "There is no place for selfishness—and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice"
--Pope John Paul II

19. "We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others. "
--St. Clare of Assisi

20. "Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider; nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller, and nothing better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is above all created things."
--St. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ

21. "Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders."
--St. Anthony Mary Claret (from his autobiography).

22. "Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not tell you so. Love demands a personal commitment to the will of God."
--Pope John Paul II


23. “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
--St Augustine


24. Always remember to love your neighbor; always prefer the one who tries your patience, who test your virtue, because with her you can always merit: suffering is Love; the Law is Love.
--Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified "The Little Arab"


25. A soul enkindled with love is a gentle, meek, humble, and patient soul.
--St John of the Cross, OCD

26. You know that our Lord does not look at the greatness or difficulty of our action, but at the love with which you do it. What, then, have you to fear?
--St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, OCD


27. What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.  
--St John of the Cross, OCD


28. Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.
--Saint Thomas Aquinas

29. 'My Jesus, fill my heart with so much love that one day it will break just to be with you. My Jesus, you know I have placed you as a seal on my heart. Remain there always.'
--St. Bernadette Soubirous

30."He alone loves the Creator perfectly
who manifests a pure love for his neighbor."
--St. Bede the Venerable

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. February 14, 2016 - 1 Sunday of #Lent - C


First Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 24


Reading 1DT 26:4-10

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“The priest shall receive the basket from you
and shall set it in front of the altar of the LORD, your God.
Then you shall declare before the Lord, your God,
‘My father was a wandering Aramean
who went down to Egypt with a small household
and lived there as an alien.
But there he became a nation
great, strong, and numerous.
When the Egyptians maltreated and oppressed us,
imposing hard labor upon us,
we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers,
and he heard our cry
and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.
He brought us out of Egypt
with his strong hand and outstretched arm,
with terrifying power, with signs and wonders;
and bringing us into this country,
he gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.
Therefore, I have now brought you the firstfruits
of the products of the soil
which you, O LORD, have given me.’
And having set them before the Lord, your God,
you shall bow down in his presence.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. (cf. 15b) Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
say to the LORD, “My refuge and fortress,
my God in whom I trust.”
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
No evil shall befall you,
nor shall affliction come near your tent,
For to his angels he has given command about you,
that they guard you in all your ways.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
Upon their hands they shall bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the asp and the viper;
you shall trample down the lion and the dragon.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
Because he clings to me, I will deliver him;
I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress;
I will deliver him and glorify him.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

Reading 2ROM 10:8-13

Brothers and sisters:
What does Scripture say?
The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart

—that is, the word of faith that we preach—,
for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
For the Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:4B

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

GospelLK 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered him,
“It is written, One does not live on bread alone.
Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
The devil said to him,
“I shall give to you all this power and glory;
for it has been handed over to me,
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“It is written:
You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve.

Then he led him to Jerusalem,
made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
throw yourself down from here, for it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
and:
With their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Jesus said to him in reply,
“It also says,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.
When the devil had finished every temptation,
he departed from him for a time.

#PopeFrancis Crowns Our Lady of Guadelupe #PapaenMexico - Prayer and Video

Pope Francis at prayer before Our Lady of Guadalupe at the end of the Mass, with the crown that was blessed placed beside the Icon.
Pope Francis at prayer before Our Lady of Guadalupe at the end of the Mass, with the crown that was blessed placed beside the Icon.
13/02/2016 18:00


(Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of Holy Mass Saturday at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico CityPope Francis led the faithful in the Rite of Coronation of the image of the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe.  Veronica Scarisbrick is our correspondent traveling with Pope Francis in Mexico. She takes a look at the importance of this Marian image and the history behind it:
Listen to Veronica Scarisbrick's report, "The Crowning of the Morenita":
 
 “You are not an orphaned people, as you are proud to have a ‘Mother” Pope Francis once said speaking to Mexicans about Our Lady of Guadalupe.
 I asked a number of people here Mexico City what the 'Morenita' meant to them and they all replied: 'She  is our ‘Mother’. Except for one person, a security guard who replied: 'She is our 'jefa', our boss. 
 I don’t know what Pope Francis would have said to that but what’s certain is that his devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe runs deep.
 Earlier in the day in his address to the Mexican bishops, he had said:  “Could the Successor of Peter, called from the far south of Latin America, deprive himself of seeing la Virgen Morenita”
 No surprise then that on the first full day of his visit he celebrated Holy Mass with the 'Guadalupe' faithful at the Shrine on the ‘Tepeyac’ hill above Mexico City where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego all those centuries ago. 
 With a stretch of imagination the story began in 1519. It was Good Friday and Spaniard Hernan Cortés disembarked on the shores of the American continent to the dismay of the native Indians.Two days later the Franciscans who had sailed with him planted a wooden cross in the sand.Soon Cortés and his army had subjugated the mighty Aztec empire with its terrifying sacrificial practices.
But despite this military success the Franciscans had a hard time converting this people. They tried hard enough. They even learnt the Aztec languages going so far as to file down their incisors so as to better pronounce the unfamiliar sibilants.
But to no avail, few Aztecs converted.Then in 1531 something extraordinary happened to one of the few they had baptized. His name was Juan Diego, the place the Tepeyac hill by the azure lake that surrounded the city of Tenochtitlàn, now Mexico City.
Something the Aztec people who believed in signs from the skies understood: an ‘Apparition’. That of Our Lady, soon to be named by the Spaniards of 'Guadalupe'.
It was to be a Marian apparition which brought together the culture of the Spaniards and the Aztecs. Perhaps too because 'Our Lady' appeared as a 'mestizo', of mixed race. As we can see in the image that she left during her fourth apparition to Juan Diego on his simple sack-cloth garment tied at the shoulder, known as 'tilma'.
This artefact together with a text dating back to the 16th century are all that tangibly remains to explain this apparition after which eight million Amerindians converted to the Catholic faith.
In the twentieth century Pope Pius XI declared our Lady of Guadalupe Queen of Mexico and Patroness and Protectress of Latin America and the Philippines. His successor to the See of Peter Pius XII stepped this up to both Americas.
And now in the 21st century the first Latin America Pope has celebrated Holy Mass with the Guadalupe faithful. Adding his very own touch to the devotion by crowning her with a gold and silver tiara.
Veronica Scarisbrick, Mexico City
 More about Our Lady of Guadalupe:
The miraculous image dates back to 1531, when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. Since that time, the Virgin, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, has been proclaimed Patroness of Mexico, Patroness and Empress of the Americas, and Heavenly Patroness of the Philippines. She is also known as the Protectress of Unborn Children.The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most visited pilgrimmage places in the world, with millions of pilgrims coming each year to venerate the sacred image. 
Below, please find the prayer for the Coronation of the Image of the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe:
Blessed are you, O Lord,
God of heaven and earth,
who, in your mercy and justice,
cast down the proud,
and exalt the humble.
In the wondrous designs of your providence,
you have offered a perfect model
in the Incarnate Word and in the Virgin Mother:
Your Son, who voluntarily humbled Himself,
even to death on the Cross,
shines in eternal glory
and sits at your right hand
as King of kings and Lord of lords.
And the Virgin, who desired to call herself your handmaid,
who was chosen as Mother of the Redeemer
and true Mother of the living,
and now, lifted up above the choirs of angels,
gloriously reigns beside her Son,
interceding for all men,
the advocate of grace
and queen of mercy.
Look with kindness, O Lord, on these your servants
who, in placing a royal diadem
upon the image of the Mother of your Son,
recognize in your Son the King of the universe,
and invoke, as Queen, the Virgin.
Grant that,
in following their example,
we too might consecrate ourselves to your service,
and make ourselves available to others,
fulfilling the law of charity,
thus triumphing over selfishness,
and in generously giving
we might lead our brothers and sisters to you.
Grant that,
seeking humility on earth,
we might one day be lifted to the heights of heaven,
where you yourself will place
on the heads of your faithful
the crown of life.
Through Christ our Lord. 

#BreakingNews #Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia dies - RIP

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died in Texas on Saturday, Catholic Father Mike Alcuin administered last rites. Antonin Gregory Scalia was born on March 11, 1936 – and died on February  13, 2016. An only child, Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on March 11, 1936. His father, Salvatore Eugene Scalia, was an Italian immigrant from Sicily,and his mother Catherine Louise (Panaro) Scalia, was born in Trenton, to Italian immigrants.
Scalia  was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. He was appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Scalia was a native of Trenton, and a devout Italian Catholic.. Scalia grew up with a devout mother, He had a portrait of St. Thomas More, the martyr and patron saint of lawyers, in his Supreme Court office. One of his nine children, Paul Scalia, is a Catholic priest in the Arlington diocese of northern Virginia.On September 10, 1960, Scalia married Maureen McCarthy.They had nine children, five boys and four girls.
The family resided in McLean, Virginia. Catholics are now the bench’s majority. Five others are also Catholic: Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas.    In 2002, Scalia analyzed the morality of the death penalty in an article written for First Things, a journal for religion and public life.  “a matter of great consequence to me,” he wrote. “The death penalty is undoubtedly wrong unless one accords to the state a scope of moral action that goes beyond what is permitted to the individual,” he explained.
Scalia died in his sleep on February 13, 2016 of natural causes, after a day spent hunting quail at Cibolo Creek Ranch, Texas. He is famously quoted as saying: 
"God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools...and He has not been disappointed....If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."

Saint February 14 : St. Valentine : SHARE #history of #Saints with this name



Information:

Patron: Marriage, Love
Feast Day:February 14
In the early martyrologies, three different St. Valentines are mentioned, all sharing Feb. 14 for a feast day. The 1st -
A Roman Priest during the reign  of Emperor Claudias II who persecuted the church at that particular time," an edict prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died."
Valentine was caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius II. 
"One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter, Julia, was blind.  Valentine gave Julia lessons because she needed someone to read material for her to learn it. Valentine then became friends with Julia through his work with her when she came to visit him in jail.
Emperor Claudius came to like Valentine, too, so he offered to pardon Valentine and set him free if Valentine would renounce his Christian faith and agree to worship the Roman gods. Not only did Valentine refuse to leave his faith, he also encouraged Emperor Claudius to place his trust in Christ. Valentine’s faithful choices cost him his life. Emperor Claudius was so enraged at Valentine’s response that he sentenced Valentine to die. Valentine prayed with and healed Julia, and Asterius himself became Christian as a result.
Valentine used his time in jail to continue to reach out to people with the love that he said Jesus Christ gave him for others.
Before he was killed, Valentine wrote a last note to encourage Julia to stay close to Jesus and to thank her for being his friend. He signed the note: “From your Valentine.” That note inspired people to begin writing their own loving messages to people on Valentine’s Feast Day.
In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius' daughter. He inspired today's romantic missives by signing it, "from your Valentine." Eventually, St. Valentine was also arrested, condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on Feb. 14, AD 270. He was buried on the Flaminian Way. Later, Pope Julius I (333-356) built a basilica at the site which preserved St. Valentine's tomb. Archeological digs in the 1500s and 1800s have found evidence of the tomb of St. Valentine. However, in the thirteenth century, his relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where they remain today. Also, a small church was built near the Flaminian Gate of Rome which is now known as the Porta del Popolo but was called in the 12th century "the Gate of St. Valentine," as noted by the early British historian William Somerset (also known as William of Malmesbury, d. 1143), who ranks after St. Bede in authority.

The second St. Valentine was the Bishop of Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). Under the orders of Prefect Placidus, he too was arrested, scourged, and decapitated, again suffering persecution during the time of Emperor Claudius II.
The third St. Valentine suffered martyrdom in Africa with several companions. However, nothing further is known about this saint. In all, these men, each named St. Valentine, showed heroic love for the Lord and His Church.
The popular customs of showing love and affection on St. Valentine's Day is almost a coincidence with the feast day of the saint: During the Medieval Age, a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on Feb.14, "half-way through the second month of the year." Chaucer wrote in his "Parliament of Foules" (in Old English): "For this was on Seynt Valentyne's day, When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." For this reason, the day was dedicated to "lovers" and prompted the sending of letters, gifts, or other signs of affection.
Another literary example of St. Valentine's Day remembrances is found in Dame Elizabeth Brews "Paston Letters" (1477), where she writes to the suitor, John Paston, of her daughter, Margery: "And, cousin mine, upon Monday is St. Valentine's day and every bird chooseth himself a mate, and if it like you to come on Thursday night, and make provision that you may abide till then, I trust to God that ye shall speak to my husband and I shall pray that we may bring the matter to a conclusion." In turn, Margery wrote to John: "Unto my right well beloved Valentine John Paston, Squyer, be this bill delivered. Right reverend and worshipful and my right well beloved Valentine, I recommend me unto you, full heartily desiring to hear of your welfare, which I beseech Almighty God long for to preserve until His pleasure and your heart's desire." While speaking of the amorous flavour of Valentine's Day, no mention is made of the saint. The love of our Lord, depicted beautifully in the image of His most Sacred Heart, is a sacrificial, self-less, and unconditional love. Such is the love that each Christian is called to express in his own life, for God and neighbour. Clearly, St. Valentine-no matter which one-showed such a love, bearing witness to the faith in his dedication as a priest and in the offering of his own life in martyrdom. On this Valentine's day, looking to the example of this great saint, each person should offer again his love to the Lord, for only by doing so can he properly love those who are entrusted to his care and any other neighbour. Each person should again pledge his love to those loved ones, praying for their intentions, promising fidelity to them, and thanking them for their love in return. Never forget Jesus said, "This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15:12-13). St. Valentine fulfilled this command, and may we do the same. 



SOURCE: Edited with info from Catholic Enclopedia - Updated Feb 14

 2016

Saint February 14 : St. Cyril and St. Methodius : Patrons of #Ecumenism, #Unity of #Eastern and Western Churches



Information:
Feast Day:
February 14
Born:
827 and 826, Thessaloniki, Byzantine Empire (present-day Greece)
Died:
February 14, 869 and 6 April 885
Patron of:
Bulgaria, Czech Republic (including Bohemia, and Moravia), Ecumenism, unity of the Eastern and Western Churches, Europe, Slovakia
BISHOPS AND CONFESSORS, APOSTLES TO THE SLAVS

These brothers, the Apostles of the Slavs, were born in Thessalonica, in 827 and 826 respectively. Though belonging to a senatorial family they renounced secular honours and became priests. They were living in a monastery on the Bosphorous, when the Khazars sent to Constantinople for a Christian teacher. Cyril was selected and was accompanied by his brother. They learned the Khazar language and converted many of the people. Soon after the Khazar mission there was a request from the Moravians for a preacher of the Gospel. German missionaries had already laboured among them, but without success. The Moravians wished a teacher who could instruct them and conduct Divine service in the Slavonic tongue. On account of their acquaintance with the language, Cyril and Methodius were chosen for their work. In preparation for it Cyril invented an alphabet and, with the help of Methodius, translated the Gospels and the necessary liturgical books into Slavonic. They went to Moravia in 863, and laboured for four and a half years. Despite their success, they were regarded by the Germans with distrust, first because they had come from Constantinople where schism was rife, and again because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language. On this account the brothers were summoned to Rome by Nicholas I, who died, however, before their arrival. His successor, Adrian II, received them kindly. Convinced of their orthodoxy, he commended their missionary activity, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and ordained Cyril and Methodius bishops. Cyril, however, was not to return to Moravia. He died in Rome, 4 Feb., 869.
At the request of the Moravian princes, Rastislav and Svatopluk, and the Slav Prince Kocel of Pannonia, Adrian II formed an Archdiocese of Moravia and Pannonia, made it independent of the German Church, and appointed Methodius archbishop. In 870 King Louis and the German bishops summoned Methodius to a synod at Ratisbon. Here he was deposed and condemned to prison. After three years he was liberated at the command of Pope John VIII and reinstated as Archbishop of Moravia. He zealously endeavoured to spread the Faith among the Bohemians, and also among the Poles in Northern Moravia. Soon, however, he was summoned to Rome again in consequence of the allegations of the German priest Wiching, who impugned his orthodoxy, and objected to the use of Slavonic in the liturgy. But John VIII, after an inquiry, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, decreeing, however, that in the Mass the Gospel should be read first in Latin and then in Slavonic. Wiching, in the meantime, had been nominated one of the suffragan bishops of Methodius. He continued to oppose his  metropolitan, going so far as to produce spurious papal letters. The pope, however, assured Methodius that they were false. Methodius went to Constantinople about this time, and with the assistance of several priests, he completed the translation of the Holy Scriptures, with the exception of the Books of Machabees. He translated also the "Nomocanon", i.e. the Greek ecclesiastico-civil law. The enemies of Methodius did not cease to antagonize him. His health was worn out from the long struggle, and he died 6 April, 885, recommending as his successor Gorazd, a Moravian Slav who had been his disciple.
Formerly the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated in Bohemia and Moravia on 9 March; but Pius IX changed the date to 5 July. Leo XIII, by his Encyclical "Grande Munus" of 30 September, 1880, extended the feast to the universal Church.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

#PopeFrancis "Look at the Blessed Mother from within our own sufferings..." at Mass in Mexico FULL TEXT - Video

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016.  - AFP
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016. - AFP
14/02/2016 00:

On his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis, celebrated Mass at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.
Below please find the full text of the official English translation of the Holy Father's Homily. 
APOSTOLIC VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO MEXICO
Homily of Pope Francis at Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saturday 13 February 2016 
            We have just heard how Mary went to meet her cousin Elizabeth.  She sets out without delay, without doubts, without lessening her pace, to be with her relative who was in the last months of her pregnancy.
            Mary’s encounter with the angel did not hold her back since she did not consider herself privileged, or make her hesitate in leaving those around her.  On the contrary, it renewed and inspired an attitude for which Mary is, and always, will be known: she is the woman who says “yes”, a “yes” of surrender to God and, at the same time, a “yes” of surrender to her brothers and sisters.  This is the “yes” which prompted her to give the best of herself, going forth to meet the others.
            Listening to this Gospel passage in this place has a special significance.  Mary, the woman who gave her “yes”, wished also to come to the inhabitants of these American lands in the person of the Indian Saint Juan Diego.  Just as she went along the paths of Judea and Galilee, in the same way she walked through Tepeyac, wearing the indigenous garb and using their language so as to serve this great nation.  Just as she accompanied Elizabeth in her pregnancy, so too she has and continues to accompany the development of this blessed Mexican land.  Just as she made herself present to little Juan, so too she continues to reveal herself to all of us, especially to those who feel, like him, “worthless” (cf. Nican Mopohua, 55).  This specific choice, we might call it preferential, was not against anyone but rather in favour of everyone.  The little Indian Juan who called himself a “leather strap, a back frame, a tail, a wing, oppressed by another’s burden” (Ibid.), became “the ambassador, most worthy of trust”.
            On that morning in December 1531, the first miracle occurred which would then be the living memory of all this Shrine protects.  On that morning, at that meeting, God awakened the hope of his son Juan, and the hope of his People.  On that morning, God roused the hope of the little ones, of the suffering, of those displaced or rejected, of all who feel they have no worthy place in these lands.  On that morning, God came close and still comes close to the suffering but resilient hearts of so many mothers, fathers, grandparents who have seen their children leaving, becoming lost or even being taken by criminals.
            On that morning, Juan experienced in his own life what hope is, what the mercy of God is.  He was chosen to oversee, care for, protect and promote the building of this Shrine.  On many occasions he said to Our Lady that he was not the right person; on the contrary, if she wished the work to progress, she should choose others, since he was not learned or literate and did not belong to the group who could make it a reality.  Mary, who was persistent – with that persistence born from the Father’s merciful heart – said to him: he would be her ambassador.
            In this way, she managed to awaken something he did not know how to express, a veritable banner of love and justice: no one could be left out in the building of that other shrine, the shrine of life, the shrine of our communities, our societies and our cultures.  We are all necessary, especially those who normally do not count because they are not “up to the task” or “they do not have the necessary funds” to build all these things.  God’s Shrine is the life of his children, of everyone in whatever condition, especially of young people without a future who are exposed to endless painful and risky situations, and the elderly who are unacknowledged, forgotten and out of sight.  The Shrine of God is our families in need only of the essentials to develop and progress.  The Shrine of God is the faces of the many people we encounter each day…
            Visiting this Shrine, the same things that happened to Juan Diego can also happen to us.  Look at the Blessed Mother from within our own sufferings, our own fear, hopelessness, sadness, and say to her, “What can I offer since I am not learned?”.  We look to our Mother with eyes that express out thoughts: there are so many situations which leave us powerless, which make us feel that there is no room for hope, for change, for transformation.
            And so, some silence does us good as we pause to look upon her and repeat to her the words of that other loving son:
Simply looking at you, O Mother, to have eyes only for you, looking upon you without saying anything, telling you everything, wordlessly and reverently. Do not perturb the air before you; only cradle my stolen solitude with your loving Motherly eyes, in the nest of your pure ground. Hours tumble by, and with much commotion, the wastage of life and death sinks its teeth into foolish men. Having eyes for you, O Mother, simply contemplating you with a heart quietened by your tenderness that silence of yours, chaste as the lilies.
And in looking at her, we will hear anew what she says to us once more, “What, my most precious little one, saddens your heart?” (Nican Mopohua, 107). “Yet am I not here with you, who have the honour of being your mother?” (Ibid., 119).
            Mary tells us that she has “the honour” of being our mother, assuring us that those who suffer do not weep in vain.  These ones are a silent prayer rising to heaven, always finding a place in Mary’s mantle.  In her and with her, God has made himself our brother and companion along the journey; he carries our crosses with us so as not to leave us overwhelmed by our sufferings.
            Am I not your mother?  Am I not here?  Do not let trials and pains overwhelm you, she tells us.  Today, she sends us out anew; today, she comes to tell us again: be my ambassador, the one I send to build many new shrines, accompany many lives, wipe away many tears.  Simply be my ambassador by walking along the paths of your neighbourhood, of your community, of your parish; we can build shrines by sharing the joy of knowing that we are not alone, that Mary accompanies us.  Be my ambassador, she says to us, giving food to the hungry, drink to those who thirst, a refuge to those in need, clothe the naked and visit the sick.  Come to the aid of your neighbour, forgive whoever has offended you, console the grieving, be patient with others, and above all beseech and pray to God.
            Am I not your mother?  Am I not here with you?  Mary says this to us again.  Go and build my shrine, help me to lift up the lives of my sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters
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