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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Catholic News World : Thurs. February 25, 2016 - SHARE

 2016


Catholic Quote to SHARE by #StTherese of Lisieux "Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound..."


"Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity." St. Therese of Lisieux


Saint February 25 : St. Walburga - Patron of Eichstadt

St. Walburga Feb 25 ( Hist. ) Born in Devonshire, about 710; died at Heidenheim, 25 Feb., 777. She is the patroness of Eichstadt, Oudenarde, Furnes, Antwerp, Gronigen, Weilburg, and Zutphen, and is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors. She was the daughter of St. Richard, one of the under-kings of the West Saxons, and of Winna, sister of St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany, and had two brothers, St. Willibald and St. Winibald. St. Richard, when starting with his two sons on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, entrusted Walburga, then eleven years old, to the abbess of Wimborne. In the claustral school and as a member of the community, she spent twenty-six years preparing for the great work she was to accomplish in Germany. The monastery was famous for holiness and austere discipline. There was a high standard at Wimborne, and the child was trained in solid learning, and in accomplishments suitable to her rank. Thanks to this she was later able to write St. Winibald's Life and an account in Latin of St. Willibald's travels in Palestine. She is thus looked upon by many as the first female author of England and Germany. Scarcely a year after her arrival, Walburga received tidings of her father's death at Lucca. During this period St. Boniface was laying the foundations of the Church in Germany. He saw that for the most part scattered efforts would be futile, or would exert but a passing influence. He, therefore, determined to bring the whole country under an organized system. As he advanced in his spiritual conquests he established monasteries which, like fortresses, should hold the conquered regions, and from whose watch-towers the light of faith and learning should radiate far and near.
Boniface was the first missionary to call women to his aid. In 748, in response to his appeal, Abbess Tetta sent over to Germany St. Lioba and St. Walburga, with many other nuns. They sailed with fair weather, but before long a terrible storm arose. Hereupon Walburga prayed, kneeling on the deck, and at once the sea became calm. On landing, the sailors proclaimed the miracle they had witnessed, so that Walburga was everywhere received with joy and veneration. There is a tradition in the Church of Antwerp that, on her way to Germany, Walburga made some stay there; and in that city's most ancient church, which now bears the title of St. Walburga, there is pointed out a grotto in which she was wont to pray. This same church, before adopting the Roman Office, was accustomed to celebrate the feast of St. Walburga four times a year. At Mainz she was welcomed by her uncle, St. Boniface, and by her brother, St. Willibald. After living some time under the rule of St. Lioba at Bischofsheim, she was appointed abbess of Heidenheim, and was thus placed near her favourite brother, St. Winibald, who governed an abbey there. After his death she ruled over the monks' monastery as well as her own. Her virtue, sweetness, and prudence, added to the gifts of grace and nature with which she was endowed, as well as the many miracles she wrought, endeared her to all. It was of these nuns that Ozanam wrote: "Silence and humility have veiled the labours of the nuns from the eyes of the world, but history has assigned them their place at the very beginning of German civilization: Providence has placed women at ever cradleside." On 23 Sept., 776, she assisted at the translation of her brother St. Winibald's body by St. Willibald, when it was found that time had left no trace upon the sacred remains. Shortly after this she fell ill, and, having been assisted in her last moments by St. Willibald, she expired.
St. Willibald laid her to rest beside St. Winibald, and many wonders were wrought at both tombs. St. Willibald survived till 786, and after his death devotion to St. Walburga gradually declined, and her tomb was neglected. About 870, Otkar, then Bishop of Eichstadt, determined to restore the church and monastery of Heidenheim, which were falling to ruin. The workmen having desecrated St. Walburga's grave, she one night appeared to the bishop, reproaching and threatening him. This led to the solemn translation of the remains to Eichstadt on 21 Sept. of the same year. They were placed in the Church of Holy Cross, now called St. Walburga's. In 893 Bishop Erchanbold, Otkar's successor, opened the shrine to take out a portion of the relics for Liubula, Abbess of Monheim, and it was then that the body was first discovered to be immersed in a precious oil or dew, which from that day to this (save during a period when Eichstadt was laid under interdict, and when blood was shed in the church by robbers who seriously wounded the bell-ringer) has continued to flow from the sacred remains, especially the breast. This fact has caused St. Walburga to be reckoned among the Elaephori, or oil-yielding saints (see OIL OF SAINTS). Portions of St. Walburga's relics have been taken to Cologne, Antwerp, Furnes, and elsewhere, whilst her oil has been carried to all quarters of the globe.
The various translations of St. Walburga's relics have led to a diversity of feasts in her honour. In the Roman Martyrology she is commemorated on 1 May, her name being linked with St. Asaph's, on which day her chief festival is celebrated in Belgium and Bavaria. In the Benedictine Breviary her feast is assigned to 25 (in leap year 26) Feb. She is represented in the Benedictine habit with a little phial or bottle; as an abbess with a crozier, a crown at her feet, denoting her royal birth; sometimes she is represented in a group with St. Philip and St. James the Less, and St. Sigismund, King of Burgundy, because she is said to have been canonized by Pope Adrian II on 1 May, the festival of these saints. If, however, as some maintain, she was canonized during the episcopate of Erchanbold, not in Otkar's, then it could not have been during the pontificate of Adrian II. The Benedictine community of Eichstadt is flourishing, and the nuns have care of the saint's shrine; that of Heidenheim was ruthlessly expelled in 1538, but the church is now in Catholic hands. Source: Catholic Encyclopedia

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24-02-2016 - Year XXII - Num. 38 

Summary
- General audience: mercy and power
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts

- "Love before the world": the Pope answers questions from children
- Francis to meet the Patriarch of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia
- Religious and migrations: perspectives, response and challenges
- Audiences
- Notice to VIS subscribers

- Heydar Aliyev Foundation funds restoration of catacombs of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
- Theological and pastoral perspectives, a decade after "Deus caritas est"
- In memoriam
General audience: mercy and power
Vatican City, 24 February 2016 (VIS) – Mercy and power were the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis in this week's Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square, attended by more than twenty thousand faithful and pilgrims.
 The Holy Father explained that various passages of the Bible speak about kings and men of power, and also of their arrogance and abuses, demonstrating that "wealth and power can be good and useful for the common good if placed at the service of the poor and of all, with justice and charity. However if, as often occurs, if lived as a privilege, with selfishness and arrogance, they become tools of corruption and death".
 An example of this unjust privilege is found in the account of the vineyard of Naboth. The king Ahab wishes to acquire it since it was situated adjacent to the royal palace, but Naboth refuses since for Israel the land is God's, and receives His blessing which is handed from generation to generation. Ahab is indignant at receiving this refusal, which he perceives as an offence to his power, undermining his authority. His wife, Jezebel, which also considered royal power to be absolute, decides to eliminate Naboth and makes false witnesses accuse him before the elders and the authorities of having blasphemed and spoken ill of the king, crimes which carried the death penalty. Naboth was executed and the king inherited his vineyard.
"Recalling these events, Jesus tells us: 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave'. If the dimension of service is lost, power transforms into arrogance and oppression". The story of Naboth, continued the Pope, "is not a story of other times; it is also the story of today, of the powerful who exploit the poor, exploit the people, to have more money. It is the story of human trafficking, of slave labour, of poor people who work illegally and with the minimum salary to enrich the powerful. It is the story of corrupt politicians who want more and more".
The episode of Naboth's vineyard teaches us "where the exercise of authority without respect for life or justice and without mercy leads us. And here we see where the thirst for power leads: it becomes avarice, the desire to possess everything". Francis gave the example of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "who was not a communist", when he observed the avidity of the rich landowners who sought to acquire more and more houses and land. "Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land".
However, "God is greater than evil, and the dirty games human beings play, and in His mercy He sends the prophet Elijah to help Ahab convert. The king, faced with his sin, is humbled and asks for forgiveness. How good it would be if today's powerful exploiters were to do likewise!", exclaimed Francis. "The Lord accepts his penance, but an innocent man was killed and this inevitably has consequences. Indeed, the evil committed leaves painful traces, and the history of mankind bears the scars".
In this case too, mercy shows the path to follow as it is able to cure wounds and change history. "Divine mercy is stronger than the sin of men. It is stronger, this is the example of Ahab! We know its power, when we remember the coming of the Innocent Son of God Who made Himself man to destroy evil with His forgiveness. Jesus Christ is the true king, but His power is completely different. His throne is the cross. He is not a king who kills, but on the contrary gives His life. His approach to all, especially the weakest, defeats solitude and the destiny of death that sin leads to. Jesus Christ, with His closeness and tenderness, leads sinners into the space of grace and forgiveness. And this is God's mercy".
Audiences
Vatican City, 24 February 2016 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munchen und Freising, Germany, coordinator of the Council for the Economy.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 24 February 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Zenildo Luiz Pereira da Silva, C.SS.R., as prelate coadjutor bishop of Borba (area 98,650, population 157,900, Catholics 127,600, priests 11, religious 15), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Linhares, Brazil in 1968, gave his religious vows in 1997 and was ordained a priest in 2001. He has served as parish priest and superior of the Redemptorist vice-province of Amazonia, and is currently parish priest of the cathedral of "Santana e Sao Sebastiao" in the diocese of Coari.

25-02-2016 - Year XXII - Num. 39 


"Love before the world": the Pope answers questions from children
Vatican City, 25 February 2016 (VIS) – "L'amore prima del mondo" ("Love before the world") is the title of a book published by Rizzoli, in the form of 31 letters and drawings sent to the Holy Father by children from various Jesuit institutions from all five continents, asking for advice and explanations, and Francis' replies.
The title is drawn from the Pope's answer to the question, "What did God do before the world was made?". The eighty pages of the volume consist of a dialogue between Francis and the Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, director of La Civilta Cattolica, who took the children's letters and drawings the Domus Sanctae Marthae last summer and to ask for a response. The Pope accepted the proposal and the resulting book has been released in Italian bookshops today. It will shortly be available in other languages.
Francis answers questions on a wide variety of issues, such as how Jesus managed to walk on water: "God doesn't sink", and why He created us if He knew we were going to sin against Him: Because God created us like Him. Free. And being free includes the possibility of sinning. … Freedom can be frightening because it cannot be planned. But it is beautiful and it is the greatest gift". In response to questions from the youngest children regarding the devil and guardian angels, the Pope recalls the importance of liturgy of prayer, or evokes the fantastic imagination of the young: "God defeated the devil on the cross. The devil is like the big scary dragons who are defeated and killed. They have a very long tail which, even if they are beaten and killed, continues to move".
There are also questions regarding war and atrocities; for instance, a child from Nigeria asks how these conflicts could be resolved. "It is necessary to encourage people of good will to speak against war. I cannot solve the conflicts in the world, but you and I can try to make this a better world. We need to convince everyone that the best way to win a war is not to enter into one. It is not easy, I know. But I try. You can try too".
A child from China wants to know why the Pope likes football. "I have never learned well the techniques of the game", admits Francis. "I don't have agile feet. But I like to see the team on the field because it is a game of solidarity". In response to a boy from the United Kingdom asks, "What was your hardest choice in your mission for faith?", the Holy Father replies, "There are many hard choices, but I have to say that the type of decision that is most difficult for me is to remove someone from a responsible job or a position of trust, or a path they are following, for reasons of unsuitability".
Francis to meet the Patriarch of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia
Vatican City, 25 February 2016 (VIS) – On Monday, 29 February, the Holy Father Francis will meet with His Holiness Abuna Mathias, Patriarch of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia, who will be present in Rome from Friday 26 to Monday 29. During his stay the Patriarch will visit the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the tomb of the apostle Peter, and will celebrate Holy Mass with the Ethiopian community of Rome onSunday 28 February in the chapel of the Urbanian College.
The Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia currently consists of 35 million faithful, and a large community exists in Rome. It enjoys cordial and increasingly close relations with the Catholic Church, especially following the first visit in 1993 of the then-Patriarch Abuna Paulos to Pope John Paul II.
Religious and migrations: perspectives, response and challenges
Vatican City, 25 February 2016 (VIS) – The international conference "The religious and migrations in the 21 st century: perspectives, response and challenges", organised by the representation before the United Nations of the Passionists International, the Congregation of St. Joseph, Augustinians International and the Vincentians, yesterday concluded two days of intense work.
The aim of the meeting, attended by around a hundred men and women religious, as well as laypersons and experts in the sector, was to understand more fully the phenomenon of migration and its repercussions in today's world, especially in the context of the current European situation. It also considered the identification of more effective and shared forms of solidarity. A strong appeal was launched for intensified network-building among congregations, associations and other organisations in countries of origin, transit and destination. The network represents one of the most efficient ways of using energy, skills and resources, to give greater impetus to the already extraordinary work that these entities carry out. In Italy alone, some 23 million people (almost a quarter of the refugees present in the country) are received by parishes, religious communities, monasteries and sanctuaries.
The participants expressed major concerns regarding the large number of often unaccompanied minors involved in migratory flows, as well as the many young women, especially from Nigeria (more than four thousand in 2015) who risk falling into the trap of exploitation and prostitution.
Fr. Emela Xris Obiezu, representative of Augustinians International before the United Nations, emphasised that "In this complex world, and faced with the challenge of migration, it is increasingly necessary to think globally and act locally, also in terms of lobbying and advocacy, to take the voice of the victims and those who work alongside them to every level of attention, from local administrations to the United Nations, so as to influence working decisions, always placing at the centre of attention the person and respect for his or her freedom and dignity".
Audiences
Vatican City, 25 February 2016 (VIS) – Yesterday the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Notice to VIS subscribers
Vatican City, 25 February 2016 (VIS) – From Tuesday 1 March 2016, the Vatican Information Service newsletter will not be transmitted, but subscribers will instead receive a link via which they may consult the web page including a synthesis in English of the official Holy See Press Office Bulletin, the summary hitherto provided by the Vatican Information Service.
The newsletter service is expected to resume within a few weeks.
23-02-2016 - Year XXVI - Num. 37 
Heydar Aliyev Foundation funds restoration of catacombs of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
Vatican City, 23 February 2016 (VIS) – This morning Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, along with Mehriban Aliyeva, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation (HAF), Azerbaijan, presented the results of the restoration of the Roman catacombs of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter "ad duas lauros", entirely funded by the HAF.
On the basis of an agreement signed in 2012, the Foundation presided over by Aliyev has funded the restoration of the paintings of the cubicle of Susanna and the fossor, the niche of Daniel, the arcosolium of Orpheus, the cubicle of Our Lady with two Magi, and the cubicle of the praying matron. The most advanced conservation techniques, especially laser-based cleaning, have enabled the removal of a tenacious black patina that had provided resistant to all traditional cleaning methods. The last procedure, recently completed, involved the cubicle of the "praying matron", in an advanced state of deterioration. The newly-revealed frescoes consist of a central medallion with the Good Shepherd surrounded by the Biblical episodes of Jonah, Daniel among the lions and Noah in the Ark. In the corners there are praying male figures and birds. On the walls there is a rich decorative pattern with floral, plant-based and fantasy elements. On the wall of the entrance there is the notable figure of a praying woman, which although only just recognisable before restoration, now makes a strong visual impact. The figure, framed by two slender trees, may represent the deceased entombed in the cubicle.
During the presentation, which took place at the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Ravasi and the president of the HAF announced that their collaboration will continue and its next objective will be the restoration of the monumental complex of St. Sebastian Outside-the-Walls on the Via Appia Antica, currently only partially open to the public. The agreement relates to an extraordinary collection of sarcophagi, some situation in the perimeter of the Basilica of St. Sebastian (Museum of Sculptures and Epigraphic Museum), others "in situ" in their mausoleums. The Pontifical Commission for Religious Art has proposed to the HAF a conservation programme for the restoration of around fifteen sarcophagi. Aliyeva expressed her appreciation of the proposal on behalf of the Foundation, and a new agreement will be signed for the financing of the restoration works to render the complex accessible to the public.
Theological and pastoral perspectives, a decade after "Deus caritas est"
Vatican City, 23 February 2016 (VIS) – An international conference entitled "Love will never end. Prospects ten years on from the Encyclical Deus caritas est" will be held on Thursday 25 February in the Vatican's New Synod Hall. Organised by the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", the conference forms part of the programme of events for the Jubilee of Mercy and has the aim of examining in depth the theological and pastoral implications of Pope Benedict XVI's first Encyclical for today's world, especially in relation to the activity of those who work in the Church's charitable service. The event will be attended by, among others, representatives of the episcopal conferences and Catholic charitable organisations from all over the world.
The conference will begin with greetings from Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, secretary of the "Cor Unum", followed by an intervention from Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, entitled "The Encyclical Deus caritas est: a theological reading". The subsequent speakers will be Michel Thio, president of the International Confederation of St. Vincent de Paul, Marina Almeida Costa, director of Caritas Cabo Verde, and Roy Moussali, executive director of the Syrian Society for Social Development. In the afternoon the theme of the meaning of love for the three monotheistic religions will be considered by Rabbi David Shlomo Rosen, director of the Department of Religious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee of Jerusalem, Professor Saeed Ahmed Khan, lecturer at the Wayne State University of Detroit, U.S.A., and the philosopher Fabrice Hadjadj, director of the Institut Philanthropos of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
The second day will begin with a presentation from Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines and president of Caritas Internationalis, entitled "The importance of Deus caritas est for the charitable service of the Church today", followed by interventions from Alejandro Marius, president of the Asociacion Civil Trabajo y Persona, Venezuela, and Eduardo M. Almeida, representative in Paraguay of the Inter-American Bank. At midday the participants will be received in audience by Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace. The afternoon session will open with contributions from Rev. Professor Paolo Asolan, lecturer at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, and Professor Rainer Gehrig, lecturer at the Catholic University of Murcia, Spain.
The morning sessions will be moderated by Martina Pastorelli, president of Catholic Voices Italia, and the afternoon sessions by Professor Luca Tuninetti, lecturer at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome.
Holy Mass will be celebrated on 25 and 26 February at 6 p.m. in the Church of Santa Maria della Piet√† in Camposanto dei Teutonici (Our Lady of Mercy in the German Cemetery). On the first day Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of "Cor Unum"; will preside, and on the second, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
The conference will be fully broadcast by web streaming on the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" website, at www.corunumjubilaeum.va .
In memoriam
Vatican City, 23 February 2016 (VIS) – The following prelates have died in recent weeks:
- Bishop Ian Murray, emeritus of Argyll and The Isles, Scotland, United Kingdom, on 22 January at the age of 83.
- Bishop Emile Jean Marie Henri Joseph Destombes, M.E.P., apostolic vicar emeritus of Phnom-Penh, Cambodia, on 28 January at the age of 80.
- Bishop John Baptist Kakubi, emeritus of Mbarara, Uganda, on 11 February at the age of 86.
- Bishop Barry Philip Jones of Christchurch, New Zealand, on 13 February at the age of 74.
- Archbishop Carlos Quintero Arce, emeritus of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, on 15 February at the age of 96.
- Bishop Gregorio Garavito Jimenez, S.M.M., emeritus of Villavicencio, Colombia, on 16 February at the age of 96

#PopeFrancis says ask yourself “Am I a Christian in name only.." #Homily for #Lent

Pope Francis preaches at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis preaches at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
25/02/2016 13:11



(Vatican Radio) To truly live our faith, we must recognize the poor who are near to us. In them, Jesus Himself knocks at the door of our heart: that was Pope Francis' message during the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 
 
Christians in a bubble of vanity
In the Gospel of the day, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man “who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day,” and who did not recognize that at his door there was a poor man named Lazarus, who was covered with sores. The Pope invited us to ask ourselves the question: “Am I a Christian in name only, on the path of lies; or am I a Christian on the path of life, that is, of works, of actions.” The rich man of the parable, he said, “knew the commandments, surely went every Saturday to the synagogue, and once a year to the Temple.” He had “a certain religiosity”:
“But he was a closed man, closed in his own little world – the world of banquets, of clothes, of vanity, of friends – a closed man, truly in a bubble of vanity. He didn’t have the ability to see others, only his own world. And this man did not recognize the things that happened beyond his closed world. For example, he didn’t think of the needs of so many people, or of the necessity of accompanying of the sick; he though only of himself, of his wealth, of his good life: he was given to the good life.”
The poor man is the Lord, who knocks at the door of our heart
The rich man, then, had the appearance of being religious, but did not know the “peripheries,” he was completely “closed in on himself.” It is precisely the “peripheries” on his very doorstep that he could not see. He took the “way of falsehood,” because he “trusted only in himself, in his things – he did not trust in God.” He was a man who wasn’t able to properly receive his inheritance, or live his life, because “he was closed in on himself.” And, the Pope said, “it is curious – the man had lost his name. It says only that he was a rich man, and when your name is only an adjective, it is because you have lost [something], you have lost substance, you have lost strength."
“This wealth, this is power, this can accomplish anything, this is a priest with a career, a bishop with a career… How many times [do] we [do this]?... It amounts to naming people with adjectives, not with names, because they have no substance. But I ask myself, ‘Did not God, who is a Father, have mercy on this man? Did He not knock on his heart to move him?” But yes, he was at the door, in the person of that man Lazarus, who had a name. And Lazarus, with his needs and his sorrows, his illnesses – it was the Lord Himself who was knocking at the door, so that this man would open his heart and mercy would be able to enter. But no, he did not see, he was simply closed: for him, outside the door there was nothing.”
The grace to see the poor
We are in Lent, the Pope noted, and it would do us good to ask ourselves what path we are travelling on:
“‘Am I on the road of life, or on the road of lies? How many ways is my heart still closed? Where is my joy: in doing, or in speaking? In going out of myself to meet others, to help them? The works of mercy, eh? Or is my joy in having everything organized, closed in on myself?’ Let us ask the Lord, while we’re thinking about it – no, throughout our life – for the grace of always seeing the Lazarus at our door, the Lazarus who knocks at our heart, and [the grace] to go out of ourselves with generosity, with the attitude of mercy, so that the mercy of God can enter into our hearts.

Silent Angel True Story of a #Homeless - Imagine all the Good 1 Person can Do! SHARE

This is the story of 101 year-old Dobri Dobrev, a Bulgarian beggar who wants to change the world. Born in the small village of Bailovo, Dobri is the largest benefactor of the most revered Cathedral in Eastern Europe, as well as other crumbling monasteries and churches. Dobri has received worldwide attention from those who have been inspired by his life.
During his childhood Dobri's mother worked at an orphanage. His father paid the orphanage’s power bill so that the children were not left in the cold, since there was no money to pay for it. Young Dobri watched as his parents displayed generous acts of kindness and love, and this example had a powerful and lasting effect on Dobri's young heart.
When he was two years-old, his father was badly injured in WWI and died. Because of this, his mother was left alone to take care of Dobri and his three sisters. This eventually led to Dobri’s defining moment when he served as a bodyguard to King Boris III of Bulgaria and his family. His life was miraculously spared during a failed bombing attempt on the King's life. This escape from death changed his life. He believed it was for a divine purpose. Retiring from the Kings service he made the decision to devote his life to God. He married and began a family as World War II spread across Europe. Dobri stood with all of Bulgaria and his King, pledging to help protect Jewish citizens. By the end of the war 50,000 Bulgarian Jewish lives were saved. Dobri's faith was challenged again as the Iron curtain descended, bringing over forty dark years of communism. Praying for his family’s survival, Dobri worked in a commune as a shepherd. He secretly defied the communist rule by hiking to a holy place deep in the mountains to pray. Dobri’s devotion to God only grew stronger. In 1996 he had the honor of welcoming back King Simeon II as he returned to Bulgaria after 50 years of exile. Dressed in his homespun clothes and ancient leather shoes, worn throughout the seasons, Dobri can often be seen standing outside the church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Sofia. Every day he clutches his tin box, asking for donations. Softened by his appearance, local’s rush to put coins in the hands of this elderly man. Dobri Dobrev says he seeks redemption and asks God for forgiveness of his sins.
 Visiting cathedrals on public holidays he continues to raise money for churches and monasteries. He enjoys speaking to the busy passers-by and kisses the hand of everyone who stops for a chat. To the people of Sofia he’s been known for many years simply as Grandpa Dobri – their beloved beggar. Miraculously, the most generous private donation that the church ever received is from the old benevolent beggar. It was an astounding EUR 40,000. Grandpa Dobri has never taken a single penny from the financial gifts placed in his hands. He lives off his 100 Euro a month retirement and the fruit and bread people kindly leave him. Every cent of the donations the beloved Bulgarian beggar collected over the years has been donated to the Church or to those in need.  He still reminds us to love God and to remember that our youth and beauty and money can go away, and that friendships are not always everlasting. Dobri continues to point us lovingly toward where to find the truth, and is never afraid to proclaim, "God is the way.”
Because most are moved to tears when he touches their lives with God's message. A story hidden and left untold.  He gives for God ... offering his life ... his heart ... his body and soul. There is no doubt that as long as God gives him life and breath he will continue on. One humble man ... seemingly unqualified by the world ... but qualified by God, a Silent Angel to all those in need. Edited from Silent Angel Website

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. February 25, 2016


Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 233


Reading 1JER 17:5-10

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,
according to the merit of his deeds.

Responsorial PsalmPS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so, the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before The GospelSEE LK 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

GospelLK 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Saint February 25 : St. Tarasius : #Pariarch of #Constantinople

Patriarch of Constantinople, date of birth unknown; died 25 February, 806.
He was the son of the Patrician and Prefect of Constantinople, George, and his wife Eukratia, and entered the service of the State. In 784 when Paul IV Patriarch of Constantinople died Tarasius was an imperial secretary, and a champion of the veneration of images. It may be that before his death the patriarch had recommended Tarasius as his successor in the patriarchate to the Empress Irene who was regent for her son Constantine VI (780-797). After the burial of Paul IV a great popular assembly was held before the Magnaura Palace to discuss the filling of the vacant see. The empress delivered an oration on the new appointment to the patriarchate and the people proclaimed Tarasius as the most worthy candidate. The empress agreed but said that Tarasius refused to accept the position. Tarasius now made a speech himself in which he declared he felt himself unworthy of the office, further that the elevation of a layman was very hazardous, and that the position of the Church of Constantinople had become a very difficult one, as it was separated from the Catholics of Western Europe and isolated from the other Oriental patriarchates; consequently he would only be willing to accept the position of patriarch on condition that Church unity be restored and that, in connection with the pope, an oecumenical council be called. The majority of the populace approved of these views and the imperial Court agreed to it. So on 25 December, 784, Tarasius was consecrated patriarch. In 785 he sent the priest George as his legate to Hadrian I with a letter in which he announced his appointment. In his reply the pope expressed his disapproval of the elevation of Tarasius directly from the laity to the dignity of a bishop contrary to canonical regulation, but allowed clemency to rule in view of the orthodoxy of the new patriarch's views, and recognized him as patriarch. After this by joint action with the pope and the imperial Court Tarasius called the Second Council of Nicaea, the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which rejected Iconoclasm. Union with the Roman Church was restored.
After the synod the patriarch had a number of struggles not only with the Iconoclastic party of the capital but also with a party of Orthodox monks. First, the latter upbraided him for restoring to office the bishops who had formerly maintained Iconoclasm, but who had submitted to the decrees of the Council of 787. As, however, this was in accordance with the decrees of the council the accusation was allowed to drop. Another accusation was much more serious, namely, that Tarasius tolerated and encouraged simony, because those bishops who had given money to obtain their positions were only commanded by him to do a year's penance and were permitted to retain their offices. The patriarch defended himself in writing against this accusation which he denied in toto; moreover, he issued a severe synodal letter against Simonists. The monks, however, were not satisfied; they maintained their accusations and also attacked the Council of 787. At a later date Theodore of Studium, who took part in these disputes, changed his opinion of Tarasius, and also of the Second Council of Nicaea, the oecumenical character of which he acknowledged. Many serious difficulties still existed in regard to Western Europe. There were also fresh disputes in Constantinople when the Emperor Constantine VI put aside his lawful wife and wished to marry Theodata, a relative of Abbot Theodore of Studium. Tarasius positively refused to perform the second marriage and expressed his displeasure at the conduct of the priest Joseph who had married the emperor. The zealous monks, whose leaders were the Abbots Plato of Saccudium and Theodore of Studium, accused the patriarch of weakness, because he took no further steps against the emperor. They refused to have Church fellowship any longer with Tarasius, and were, consequently, violently persecuted by the emperor who, however, also treated the patriarch harshly. After Irene had dethroned Constantine in 797, Tarasius deposed the priest Joseph and peace was once more restored between the patriarch and the monks. (See THEODORE OF STUDIUM). In 802 Tarasius crowned as emperor Nicephorus, who had overthrown Irene, an act that greatly dissatisfied the populace. The patriarch had nothing to do with the intrigues of the court. His life was ascetic and simple, he checked the luxury of the clergy, preached with great zeal, and was very benevolent to the poor. After his death he was venerated as a saint. His name is also placed in the Roman Martyrology under the date of 25 February. Catholic Enclopedia
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