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Saturday, March 5, 2016

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 2016

#Ukranian Catholic Church to #PopeFrancis “We came to reaffirm our communion with the Holy Father..." FULL TEXT

Pope Francis meets members of the Greek Catholic Ukrainian Church, 5 March. - REUTERS
Pope Francis meets members of the Greek Catholic Ukrainian Church, 5 March. - REUTERS
05/03/2016 18:01


(Vatican Radio) On Saturday Pope Francis met with leaders of the Permanent Synod of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church. His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevhchuk affirmed communion with the Catholic Church despite a century of persecution inflicted by totalitarian regimes. Suffering in Ukraine included wars, genocides, a state-planned famine, and ethnic cleansing, all claiming some 15 million lives. Suffering continues in Ukraine for which the Permanent Synod seeks the Holy Father's support. The statement of the Permanent Synod is reproduced below in full:

As Pastors We Speak Out on Behalf of Our People
Before the Holy Father and Before the World:
“Pope Francis heard us.”
“We came to reaffirm our communion with the Holy Father and to ask for his help for the suffering people of Ukraine during the Jubilee Year of Mercy,” stated His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevhchuk. “And the Holy Father heard us.”
In Rome on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Lviv pseudo-synod the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), His Beatitude Major Archbishop Sviatoslav, and the members of the Permanent Synod came to Rome to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. “We reaffirm what no totalitarian regime could break: our communion with Rome and the Universal Church,” His Beatitude said.
The Head of the UGCC and the Permanent Synod conducted meetings, discussions with representatives of the Holy See, and prepared a public statement denouncing the invasion and hybrid war in Ukraine and decrying the suffering of millions of innocent men, women and children. The Church condemns the atrocities, the kidnappings, imprisonment and torture of citizens of Ukraine in the Donbas and Crimea—especially abuses directed at religious communities and ethnic groups, especially Muslim Tatars, as well as broad violations of civic rights and the human dignity of millions. 
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church ceaselessly prays for and promotes peace, and today its leadership appealed to the Holy Father and to the world to help stop the war and stem the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  The ongoing undeclared hybrid war—today marginalized in the world’s attention—has directly affected 5 million people. It has caused 10,000 deaths, tens of thousands of crippling injuries, and rendered homeless over two million people. Insidious means of hybrid warfare have brought post-traumatic shock upon hundreds of thousands and caused immense socio-economic damage. Much of the country’s industrial infrastructure has been obliterated and its currency has lost two-thirds of its value impoverishing the entire population of 45 million. Ukrainians’ identity is relentlessly denigrated by a sophisticated and well-funded international propaganda campaign. “The people are suffering, Holy Father, and they await your embrace,” His Beatitude said. “Pope Francis made it clear that he would act.”
The twentieth century was a time of untold suffering for Ukraine. Two World Wars, genocides, a state-planned famine, and ethnic cleansing caused some 15 million deaths. The UGCC, a Church which historically stood in solidarity with its people and their suffering was brutally suppressed by Stalin. The Soviets sought to separate it from the Catholic communion, especially from the Bishop of Rome. Stalin’s regime outlawed the UGCC, making it the world’s largest banned Church, through a violent and manipulative non-canonical action called by historians the “Pseudo-synod of Lviv” held 8-10 March 1946. The Soviet authorities imprisoned all of the bishops, hundreds of clergy and tens of thousands of faithful and transferred all Ukrainian Greek Catholic property to the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate or confiscated it for secular purposes.
But the Church has revived miraculously and is a thriving, dynamic body active throughout Ukraine and on four continents, with young clergy and a dedicated laity inspired by the example of their twentieth century martyrs.
“For Ukrainians who belong to different Churches and religious organizations and even secular citizens, the Holy Father is a global moral authority who speaks the truth. This voice of truth is particularly important for the suffering people of Ukraine. If the people do not hear or understand this voice they become confused, anxious, and feel forgotten,” His Beatitude said to Pope Francis. “The Holy Father emphasized that one cannot solve ecumenical problems at the expense of an entire Eastern Catholic Church.”
“The UGCC stands ready to provide responsible, transparent, ecumenically sound administration of international aid, serving the Ukrainian population without regard to ethnicity, political or linguistic preferences or religious affiliation. We are ready to cooperate in a well-coordinated plan that includes governmental and non-governmental bodies. Enough of this suffering. It can be prevented. It can be healed.  Let us make the 'Year of Mercy' a reality for the people of Ukraine,” said His Beatitude.

Wow Tony Melendez delights crowds playing #Guitar with his Feet!

Tony Melendez Delights Audience
at Bancroft Village Playhouse
 Tony Melendez is a Nicaraguan native who now lives in the U.S., and is a musician who brings his unique style and message to audiences of all ages, all around the world.  A sold-out Bancroft audience was enthralled by this talented performer as he gave his life story, along with a his awesome singing voice and guitar playing, to present his great message of hope and perseverance.  But what is especially unique about Tony is that he has no arms!
Tony was a victim of the drug Thalidomide which was given to his mom to relieve morning sickness.  Yet, he learned to conquer his personal trials with faith and determination and at age 16 learned to play guitar with his feet.  After much practice and patience he became quite accomplished as a guitarish and songwriter.  The highlight of his career was very early, and actually was his inspiration to deliver his message to all the world, when he sang for Pope John Paul II in 1987 in Los Angeles, upon the request of the youth.  The Pope was so moved that he got up out of his seat, walked over, and kissed Tony, and when the crowd finally quieted, he spoke directly to Tony:  "Tony... you are, you are truly a courageous young man, courageous young man. You are giving hope to all of us.  My wish to you is to continue of giving this hope to all, all the people."
Tony took his words to heart and now, 28 years later, continues to work his very busy schedule performing for schools and various organizations all over the world.  Tony's brother, Jose is his "both-hands-man," a compassionate brother who travels with him, as a sound tech and a participant on stage, always there for Tony when hands are really essential.  Both men are truly an inspiration in their life story and in the warmth of their hearts which flows from their faith.
Tony was invited and sponsored by Mary's Mission, a non-profit organization dedicated to raise awareness to social injustice and to reach out to the poor.  The heart of Mary's Mission is that every human life is a life worthwhile and deserving of love.  Tony's presentation spoke it perfectly, as Tony's life does, every day. Special to Catholic News World by Mary Lou Robb, Founder of Mary's Mission

For more info on Tony Melendez or Mary's Mission please visit:  www.TonyMelendez.com and www.MarysMission.ca

#PopeFrancis FULL TEXT message on Murder of Mother Teresa Sisters in Yemen “prays that this pointless slaughter will..."


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis was “shocked and profoundly saddened” by the murder of four Missionaries of Charity and twelve other people at a home for the elderly in Aden, Yemen. Gunmen entered the building on Friday and went room-to-room, handcuffing victims before shooting them in the head. A message signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Holy Father “sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence.” The message said Pope Francis “prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms and take up the path of dialogue.” It concludes with a strong appeal for an end to the ongoing violence in Yemen. “In the name of God, he calls upon all parties in the present conflict to renounce violence, and to renew their commitment to the people of Yemen, particularly those most in need, whom the Sisters and their helpers sought to serve” – the message reads – “Upon everyone suffering from this violence, the Holy Father invokes God’s blessing, and in a special ways he extends to the Missionaries of Charity his prayerful sympathy and solidarity.”
 The full text of the message is below:
     His Holiness Pope Francis was shocked and profoundly saddened to learn of the killing of four Missionaries of Charity and twelve others at a home for the elderly in Aden. He sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence. He prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms and take up the path of dialogue. In the name of God, he calls upon all parties in the present conflict to renounce violence, and to renew their commitment to the people of Yemen, particularly those most in need, whom the Sisters and their helpers sought to serve. Upon everyone suffering from this violence, the Holy Father invokes God’s blessing, and in a special ways he extends to the Missionaries of Charity his prayerful sympathy and solidarity. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State

Catholic Quote to SHARE by Fulton Sheen “I am worried about America! I am not so much worried about its politics... I am worried about its soul."


“I am worried about America! I am not so much worried about its politics and economics, important though they be: I am worried about its soul. After all, politics and economics are determined by the sense of values which underlies them.” Bl. Fulton J. Sheen

#PopeFrancis "When we draw near to Jesus, we too see once more the light.." FULL TEXT at Penitential Celebration

Pope Francis presides at Penitential Celebration 2016.03.04 - RV
Pope Francis presides at Penitential Celebration 2016.03.04 - RV
04/03/2016 15:21



(Vatican Radio) As part of ongoing celebrations for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis on Friday evening delivered the homily at a special "Penitential Celebration" in St Peter's Basilica. 
Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis' prepared homily for the Celebration
************************************************************* 
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Penitential Celebration
Saint Peter’s Basilica
Friday, 4 March 2016
“I want to see again” (Mk 10:51). This is what we ask of the Lord today. To see again, because our sins have made us lose sight of all that is good, and have robbed us of the beauty of our calling, leading us instead far away from our journey's end.
This Gospel passage has great symbolic value for our lives, because we all find ourselves in the same situation as Bartimaeus. His blindness led him to poverty and to living on the outskirts of the city, dependent on others for everything he needed. Sin also has this effect: it impoverishes and isolates us. It is a blindness of the spirit, which prevents us from seeing what is most important, from fixing our gaze on the love that gives us life. This blindness leads us little by little to dwell on what is superficial, until we are indifferent to others and to what is good. How many temptations have the power to cloud the heart’s vision and to make it myopic! How easy and misguided it is to believe that life depends on what we have, on our successes and on the approval we receive; to believe that the economy is only for profit and consumption; that personal desires are more important than social responsibility! When we only look to ourselves, we become blind, lifeless and self-centred, devoid of joy and true freedom.
But Jesus is passing by; he is passing by, and he halts: the Gospel tells us that “he stopped” (v. 49). Our hearts race, because we realize that the Light is gazing upon us, that kindly Light which invites us to come out of our dark blindness.  Jesus’ closeness to us makes us see that when we are far from him there is something important missing from our lives. His presence makes us feel in need of salvation, and this begins the healing of our heart. Then, when our desire to be healed becomes more courageous, it leads to prayer, to crying out fervently and persistently for help, as did Bartimaeus: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 47).
Unfortunately, like the “many” in the Gospel, there is always someone who does not want to stop, who does not want to be bothered by someone else crying out in pain, preferring instead to silence and rebuke the person in need who is only a nuisance (cf. v. 48). There is the temptation to move on as if it were nothing, but then we would remain far from the Lord and we would also keep others away from Jesus. May we realize that we are all begging for God’s love, and not allow ourselves to miss the Lord as he passes by. “Timeo transeuntem Dominum” (Saint Augustine). Let us voice our truest desire: “[Jesus], let me receive my sight!” (v. 51). This Jubilee of Mercy is the favourable time to welcome God’s presence, to experience his love and to return to him with all our heart. Like Bartimaeus, let us cast off our cloak and rise to our feet (cf. v. 50): that is, let us cast aside all that prevents us from racing towards him, unafraid of leaving behind those things which make us feel safe and to which we are attached. Let us not remain sedentary, but let us get up and find our spiritual worth again, our dignity as loved sons and daughters who stand before the Lord so that we can be seen by him, forgiven and recreated.
Today more than ever, we Pastors are especially called to hear the cry, perhaps hidden, of all those who wish to encounter the Lord. We need to re-examine those behaviours of ours which at times do not help others to draw close to Jesus; the schedules and programmes which do not meet the real needs of those who may approach the confessional; human regulations, if they are more important than the desire for forgiveness; our own inflexibility which may keep others away from God’s tenderness. We must certainly not water down the demands of the Gospel, but we cannot risk frustrating the desire of the sinner to be reconciled with the Father. For what the Father awaits more than anything is for his sons and daughters to return home (cf. Lk 15:20-32).
May our words be those of the disciples who, echoing Jesus, said to Bartimaeus: “Take heart; rise, he is calling you” (Mk 10:49). We have been sent to inspire courage, to support and to lead others to Jesus. Our ministry is one of accompaniment, so that the encounter with the Lord may be personal and intimate, and the heart may open itself to the Saviour in honesty and without fear. May we not forget: it is God alone who is at work in every person. In the Gospel it is he who stops and speaks to the blind man; it is he who orders the man to be brought to him, and who listens to him and heals him. We have been chosen to awaken the desire for conversion, to be instruments that facilitate this encounter, to stretch out our hand and to absolve, thus making his mercy visible and effective.  
The conclusion of the Gospel story is significant: Bartimaeus “immediately received his sight and followed him on the way” (v. 52). When we draw near to Jesus, we too see once more the light which enables us to look to the future with confidence. We find anew the strength and the courage to set out on the way. “Those who believe, see” (Lumen Fidei, 1) and they go forth in hope, because they know that the Lord is present, that he is sustaining and guiding them. Let us follow him, as faithful disciples, so that we can lead all those we encounter to experience the joy of his merciful love.

Today's Mass Readings and Video #1stSaturday of #OurLady March 5, 2016


Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 242


Reading 1HOS 6:1-6

“Come, let us return to the LORD,
it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.
He will revive us after two days;
on the third day he will raise us up,
to live in his presence.
Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD;
as certain as the dawn is his coming,
and his judgment shines forth like the light of day!
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.”

What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your piety is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that early passes away.
For this reason I smote them through the prophets,
I slew them by the words of my mouth;
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Responsorial PsalmPS 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21AB

R. (see Hosea 6:6) It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
Be bountiful, O LORD, to Zion in your kindness
by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem;
Then shall you be pleased with due sacrifices,
burnt offerings and holocausts.
R. It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.

Verse Before The GospelPS 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

GospelLK 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Saint March 5 : St. John Joseph of the Cross : #Confessor


St. John Joseph of the Cross
CONFESSOR
Feast: March 5


     Information:
Feast Day:March 5
Born:
August 15, 1654, Ischia
Died:March 5, 1739
Canonized:
1839, Rome by Pope Gregory XVI
Patron of:Ischiaa
Born on the Island of Ischia, Southern Italy, 1654; d. 5 March, 1739. From his earliest years he was given to prayer and virtue. So great was his love of poverty that he would always wear the dress of the poor, though he was of noble birth. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Order of St. Francis at naples, amongst the Friars of the Alcantarine Reform, being the first Italian to join this reform which had been instituted in Spain by St. Peter of Alcantara. Throughout his life he was given to the greatest austerity: he fasted constantly, never drank wine, and slept but three hours each night. In 1674 he was sent to found a friary at Afila, in Piedmont; and he assisted with his own hands in the building. Much against his will, he was raised to the priesthood. As superior, he always insisted upon performing the lowliest offices in the community. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. He was favoured in a high degree with the gift of miracles, people of every condition being brought to him in sickness. His zeal for souls was such that even in sickness he would not spare any labour for them. His great devotion was to our Blessed Lady, and he was urgent with his penitents that they also should cultivate this. He was beatified in 1789, and canonized in 1839.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

What is Confession - 6 Amazing Reasons to Go and SHARE #Reconciliation

























Confession or the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation was instituted by Christ 
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (John 20:21-23).
It is not a priest, simply as an individual man, who has power to forgive sins. 
This power belongs to God alone; but He can and does exercise it through the ministration of men. 

Three things are needed in order to receive the sacrament properly:

  1. The person must be contrite—or sorry for his sins.
  1. The person must confess those sins fully, in kind and in number.
  2. He must be willing to do penance and make amends for his sins.
  3. How Often Should You Go to Confession?

    Catholics are required to go to Confession 1 time per year and required to go to Confession when they know that they have committed a mortal sin, the Church urges the faithful to take advantage of the sacrament often. Often people go once per week, every 2 weeks or once per month. 
  While this sacrament as a dispensation of Divine mercy facilitates the pardoning of sin, it by no means renders sin less hateful or its consequences less dreadful to the Christian mind; much less does it imply permission to commit sin in the future. In paying ordinary debts, as e.g., by monthly settlements, theintention of contracting new debts with the same creditor is perfectly legitimate; a similar intention on the part of him who confesses his sins would not only be wrong in itself but would nullify the sacrament and prevent the forgiveness of sins then and there confessed.

An ordained priest with requisite jurisdiction and with the "power of the keys", i.e., the power to forgive sins which Christ granted to His Church. Edited from the Catholic Encyclopedia


In the administration of the Sacrament of Pardon and of Reconciliation, the priest — as the Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls — acts as "the sign and the instrument of God's merciful love for the sinner" (n. 1465). What takes place in this Sacrament, therefore, is especially a mystery of love, a work of the merciful love of the Lord. Pope Benedict XVI
CBCP by: Fr. Francis Ongkingco 
#1: A Direct line to God. We often hear the casual saying, ‘Surely, couldn’t I confess directly to God who truly knows my sinful heart?’
Reply: Every prayer to God in some way is a form of confession, but don’t we often want our prayers to be heard and above all answered? In the Old Testament, God already showed the need for intermediaries like the prophet Nathan who revealed to David his sin and this led him to repent before God.
#2: The sinner priest. As in #1, many would make the additional defensive remark, “Why should I confess to someone who is also a sinner?
Reply: As explained in #1, God chooses who His ‘grace-heralds’ are. Some are worthy and others—sadly—are not. But this only goes to show two important lessons: (1) God is still the source of forgiveness, and channels it through whomever He sees fit; (2) the quality of the instrument further demonstrates that God is really behind the person, and this fact even invites the penitent to greater faith in God and sorrow for his sins.
#3: Self medicating. A more stubborn stance can occur when one chooses
not to seek any help at all but one’s personal resources.
Reply: Spiritual self-medication has some advantages. For a spiritually healthy individual, choosing to outdo himself and seeking new ways to grow in his spiritual life is edifying. But in the case of the spiritually less-healthy, the maxim ‘if symptoms persist, consult your Doctor (God)’ applies. Any attempt for such individuals to ‘self-medicate’ would be tantamount to their lack of sincerity to find a real and effective cure to their defects and resulting vices.
#4: Till I’m ready! Others delay confession, stating they are not yet ready, that is, they still lack the adequate sorrow for sins they want to confess. A similar stance is expressed in saying, “I’ll go when I’m truly sorry.”
Reply: In reality, no one is really ready in the sense that readiness of a person’s conscience is not weighed by how he feels (the danger of falling into sentimentality) about his faults. Nothing else can give one spiritual readiness, since only God can forgive sins, other than Confession when the required sorrow is demonstrated by promptly turning to the sacrament, with due preparation, and the resolution to amend for one’s sins.
#5. When I don’t sin anymore or I may fall again. These sound like sincere expressions of one’s remorse and may indeed present good grounds to delay going to the sacrament.
Reply: They, however, reveal an unrealistic knowledge of our human condition: man’s nature is one wounded by sin. Thus, as long as we live we will be sinners. God is not one who wants us sinless, but sorrowful children and walking heaven-bound with their eyes set upon occasions of grace and an ever-growing trust in their Father’s mercy.
#6. Anyway, there’s confession… I’m going anyway… so I can sin now and more.
Reply: These reveal a distorted idea of confession and reduce it to a spiritual washing machine. Moreover, such a mentality belittles God’s mercy and maliciously contrives not to really cut oneself from his sinfulness.
One way to overcome this vicious obstacle to God’s forgiving grace is to sincerely pray to God for one’s sins, cut off the occasions of sin, carry out some penance, go to confession and sincerely express these devious ideas to the confessor. Such a sincere approach will gradually soften a callous conscience and make it more receptive to grace.

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