Monday, April 25, 2016

Catholic News World : Monday April 25, 2016 - SHARE

#PopeFrancis "You perform a miracle with your work of changing the desert..." #EarthDay Surprise Visit

#PopeFrancis "Always be certain that God loves you personally,” writes to Prisoners

Free Movie : Bella - Stars Eduardo Verastegui - Full Film

(Vatican Radio)  “We must not be afraid to go into the desert and to transform it into a forest:” that’s what Pope Francis told hundreds of people on a surprise visit to an Earth Day Italy and Focolari Movement event in a Rome park Sunday.
Listen to our report:
In the more than hour-long visit, the Pope listened to testimonials from members of the many volunteer social and environmental organizations participating in "Village for Earth" and “Mariapolis,” a four day event in Rome’s Villa Borghese park. 
The idea behind these gatherings, which take place in many countries throughout the world, is the invitation "to do to others what we would like to be done to us." Many of the 3,500 people participating in the Rome event are involved in networks of social solidarity, interreligious dialogue, and organizations which care for the environment.
Turn deserts of our cities, the lives of others, into forests
Pope Francis arrived just before 5:00 pm, but set aside his prepared remarks, preferring to speak off the cuff.  He told  those present “you transform deserts into forests!”  “There are many deserts in the cities,” the Pope continued, “deserts in people’s lives who don’t have a future, because there’s always – I’ll underline a word here – always there are prejudices, fears.  These people live and die in the desert of the cities.  You perform a miracle with your work of changing the desert into a forest: go forward that way.”
“The desert is ugly, both the desert in the heart of all of us, as well as the desert in the city, in the peripheries, which is also an ugly thing.  There’s also a desert that’s in the gated neighborhoods…it’s ugly, but the desert is there too.  We must not be afraid to go to the desert to transform it into a forest, where there’s exuberant life, and to go dry the many tears so that everyone can smile.”
Pope Francis urged them to not be discouraged by failures and challenges: “You must not be afraid of life or afraid of conflicts.”
Conflict is a risk but also an opportunity
Conflict, he said, “is a risk, but it’s also an opportunity.” Citing the parable of the Levite and the priest who walked past the man who had stumbled along the path, the Pope said, they took the “path of not seeing and not getting involved.”
“We can react to conflict as something from which we distance ourselves,” he observed.  But, “whoever doesn’t take risks, can never get close to reality.  To know reality, to know it in one’s heart, it’s necessary to get close.”  Taking  the example of prison ministry, the Pope added that getting close is “a risk, but it’s also an opportunity: for me, and for the person whom I approach.  For me, and for the community I approach.”
“Never, never, never, turn away in order not to see conflict,” stressed the Pope.  “Conflict has to be faced, evils have to be faced, in order to resolve them.”
Pope Francis then challenged those present to do some homework: “look at the faces of people when you go into the street – they are worried, everyone is closed in on themselves; they lack a smile.  In other words, they lack tenderness, social friendship… they lack social friendship.”
A lack of “social friendship” brings hatred and war
“Where there isn’t social friendship,” he said, “there’s always hatred and war. We are living a piecemeal Third World War, everywhere.  Look at the geographic map of the world, and you’ll see.”
“Social friendship has to do with forgiveness,” he added.  “Many times, that’s done by getting close:  I approach this problem, this conflict, this difficulty, as we heard is done by these great young people in the places where there’s gambling, and so many people there lose everything, everything, everything…”
He mentioned the work of those who minister to people affected by gamblingand remembered his own pastoral work in Buenos Aires where he “saw elderly people who went  to the bank to get their pensions and then headed immediately for the casino.”
Social friendship, he added, “has to do with gratuity [giving freely of oneself], and one has to learn the wisdom of gratuity, learn it with play…with sport, with art, with the joy of being together, with getting close.”
Counter the god of money with gratuity, forgiveness
Today, “it seems that if you don’t pay you can’t live,” the Pope noted. “The man and woman that God created to be the center of the world…at the center of the economy,” “are thrown out and instead, we have at the center at the center a god, the god of money”
Gratuity, giving freely of oneself, and forgiveness are the antidotes to such a negative world – as is a constructive, rather than destructive, mindset.   And, “with forgiveness,” he said, “regret and resentment fall away.”
But how to achieve such a forest in the desert?  “Simply [by possessing] the awareness that we all have something in common, we’re all human,” concluded Pope Francis.  “And in this humanity, we can get close to each other to work together” regardless of our background or religion the Pope affirmed.
“Let’s all go forward to work together, respecting each other, respecting!” he added.  “I see this miracle: the miracle of a desert that becomes a forest.  Thanks for everything you do!”

(Tracey McClure)

#PopeFrancis "Always be certain that God loves you personally,” writes to Prisoners

Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners on Holy Thursday (file photo). On Thursday, the Vatican released the text of a letter written by Pope Francis to detainees at a nearby prison.  - ANSA
Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners on Holy Thursday (file photo). On Thursday, the Vatican released the text of a letter written by Pope Francis to detainees at a nearby prison. - ANSA
25/04/2016 13:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter to prisoners detained in a prison in the Italian city of Velletri, a short distance from Rome.
Prisoners at the facility had written to the Holy Father earlier this year, entrusting their letter to Bishop Marcello Semeraro, the Bishop of Albano, during a pastoral visit to the facility. In his response, Pope Francis thanked the detainees for thinking of him, and assured them that they, and others in similar situations, were often in his thoughts as well. He noted that during his Apostolic Voyages, he always tries to make a visit to local prisons.
The Pope noted that during the Holy Year of Mercy, there will also be a jubilee for prisoners, and he assured them that on that day he would be “in communion” with all prisoners “spiritually and in reciprocal prayer.”
Pope Francis also expressed his sympathy, noting that prisoners “are living an experience in which time seems both to be stopped, and to never end.” But, he said, “the true measure of time is not that of the clock”; rather, “the true measure of time is called hope.” He expressed his desire that all those incarcerated might “always keep lit the light of the hope of faith to illuminate” their lives.
“Always be certain that God loves you personally,” the Pope wrote to the prisoners. He encouraged them to never allow themselves to be closed in by their past, but rather to transform the past “into a journey of growth, of faith and charity.” He called on them to “give God the possibility” of making them “to shine” through their experience, recalling that many saints throughout history “have achieved sanctity” in harsh and difficult situations. “With Christ,” he said, “all this is possible.”

#BreakingNews Large March in Poland to make Abortion Illegal - #ProLife groups Winning!

Hundreds of pro-life activists took to the streets of Warsaw on Sunday in support of the ban. Photo: PAP/Jakub KamińskiHundreds of pro-life activists took to the streets of Warsaw on Sunday in support of the ban. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński
Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz said: “We don't defend human life because that is what the gospel says. Not even because it's the fifth commandment [...] We defend life, because it is a fundamental value for everyone. It is the foundation of human dignity.”
Bishop Henryk Hoser expressed regret that the right to protect the lives of unborn children is still not absolute and unconditional within Polish law.
Poland’s current abortion laws, which have been in place since 1993, only allow the procedure if a woman's life or health is jeopardised by the continuation of a pregnancy, if the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act such as rape or incest, or if the foetus is seriously malformed.
However, the PRO Foundation (Fundacja Pro) group is gathering signatures for a total ban as part of a so-called citizen's bill.
If 100,000 signatures are gathered, the draft legislation can be submitted to parliament.
The Catholic Church has appealed to MPs to pass legislation that would bring about a total ban, and Prime Minister Beata Szydło has stated that she favoured the ban.
Nevertheless, it appears that opinions in Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party are divided.
Many in Poland have protested the potential ban, with several marches and rallies being organised in support of a separation between church and politics. (rg/pk)
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#BreakingNews Ted Cruz and John Kasich Join to Fight #DonaldTrump in GOP

Ted Cruz and John Kasich are joining to prevent Donald Trump from obtaining the Republican presidential nomination. Late Sunday the pair released statements announcing a strategy aimed at blocking Trump from gaining the 1,237 delegates to claim to GOP nomination. Trump replied on  Twitter. "Wow, just announced that Lyin' Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!"   Cruz has stayed in second place behind Trump. Kasich is also low in funds thus this makes sense .  Cruz has often called for Kasich to move aside.  "The primary has done the job it's supposed to do, it has narrowed the field. As we stand here today, there are two people with any plausible path whatsoever to the nomination, me and Donald Trump," Cruz said Sunday in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday April 25, 2016

Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist
Lectionary: 555

Reading 11 PT 5:5B-14

Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:

God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.

Be sober and vigilant.
Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, steadfast in faith,
knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world
undergo the same sufferings.
The God of all grace
who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
after you have suffered a little.
To him be dominion forever. Amen.

I write you this briefly through Silvanus,
whom I consider a faithful brother,
exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.
Remain firm in it.
The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son.
Greet one another with a loving kiss.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Responsorial PsalmPS 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17

R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The heavens proclaim your wonders, O LORD,
and your faithfulness, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can rank with the LORD?
Who is like the LORD among the sons of God?
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia1 COR 1:23A-24B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We proclaim Christ crucified;
he is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 16:15-20

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saint April 25 : St. Mark Evangelist : Patron of Lawyers and #Prisoners


Feast Day:
April 25
1st century AD, Palestine
April 25, 68 AD, Alexandria
Major Shrine:
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Cairo, Egypt)
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria, Egypt)
Basilica di San Marco (Venice, Italy)
Patron of:
against impenitence, against struma, attorneys, barristers, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people, prelature of insect bites, Ionian Islands, lawyers, lions, notaries, prisoners, scrofulous diseases, stained glass workers, struma patients, Venice
On April 25, we celebrate the feast of Saint Mark (died 57), writer of the Gospel, martyr, and follower of Jesus. Mark, and his family, were among the first Christians of the early Church. His mother, Mary, was one of the women who followed Jesus. Mark was present at the wedding in Cana, tasting the water turned into wine. He is likewise believed to be the young man who carried the pitcher signaling that his home would be used for the Last Supper. Later, that same room housed the disciples when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. On this, the dawning of the Easter season, we look to the courageous life of this saint and writer, as inspiration for our Easter journey. Born into the tribe of Levi, Mark was born in Northern Africa (Gyrene, in modern-day Libya), in the small village of Aberyatolos. As a young Levite, he received a thorough education and was able to read and write multiple languages—a skill he would utilize to its full potential as a preacher and writer. His family moved to Palestine following unrest in Northern Africa, and there he encountered Jesus and His disciples. Given his mother’s affiliation and following of Christ, the family was held in high esteem in early Christian circles. Often, many would meet to pray and preach in their home, and Biblical scholars posit family connections to both Saint Thomas and Saint Peter. In fact, when Saint Peter was freed from prison he went directly to the house of Mark.
It is believed that Peter himself converted Mark to the faith, and following the Ascension of Jesus, Mark accompanied Peter on his subsequent missionary trips. History tells us that Mark’s first convert was his father, who while allowing his wife to become Christian, had resisted the call himself. While traveling with his father to Jordan, the two men were set upon by a hungry lion and lioness. Mark appealed to Christ, praying, “Oh Christ, Save us!” The lions immediately departed, and his father accepted the faith. To this day, the winged lion is considered the symbol of Saint Mark. Mark accompanied Saint Peter to Rome, likely acting as a secretary and interpreter, and is said to have later preached the Gospel in Venice and Aquila. To this day, the citizens of Venice proclaim Saint Mark as their father of faith, and the most famous of Basilicas in that city is named in his honor. When Saint Peter wrote his First Epistle to the churches of Asia, he affectionately joined to his own salutation that of his faithful companion, whom he calls “my son Mark.” The Roman people entreated Saint Mark to put in writing for them the substance of Saint Peter’s frequent discourses on Our Lord’s life. This the Evangelist did under the eye and with the express sanction of the Apostle, and every page of his brief but graphic Gospel so bore the impress of Saint Peter’s character, that the Fathers used to name it “Peter’s Gospel.” Saint Mark traveled subsequently throughout Lebanon, reaching Mount Lebanon, and serving as the first Bishop of Gobayel.
 He then journeyed to Alexandria, and is considered the father of the Egyptian Church and the theological school of Alexandria. This school became the center of Christian learning and culture for several centuries. Holy legend tells us that Saint Mark was martyred in Alexandria around the year 57. He was dragged behind a team of oxen, with a rope around his neck, until his holy death. His relics were translated to Venice in 466, although the Italian government returned many of the relics to Egypt in the mid 1900s. Saint Mark was graced with the gift of writing. Through his Gospels, we are revealed many of the small details of the life of Jesus—His words and actions—that other Gospel writers did not record. As his Gospel, the second Gospel, is a vivid retelling of Saint Peter’s recollections, we can be certain that these writings are the intimate and personal reflections of the first pope. The life and service of Saint Mark—as well as the legacy of discipleship and learning he left in Egypt—remind us that we each are called to play our part in the fullness of the Resurrection. What is the Risen Lord calling you to do today?
Prayer: Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist hast given to thy Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank thee for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
 O Almighty God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrines of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace, that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Text from 365Rosaries Blog

#MIRACLE Conversion Story of Former Satanist now #ProLife Zachary King through Blessed Virgin and Divine Mercy SHARE

 Zachary King, a former satanist, travels around the world telling people the good news about God's mercy. He shares his conversion story. At one time he was a high wizard of a satanic coven and has now become a devout Catholic.Zachary King recently gave a talk at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He told how the Blessed Mother saved him from a 26-year darkness.  As a 12-year-old, King joined a satanic coven and got involved in child pornography. He said he was tricked into it because when he was 11, he was a victim of sexual assault. So, when he joined the coven, the adults who ran it convinced King to participate in child pornography using the logic of empowerment — reasoning that now it was his decision to participate in these acts and it was within his control. "I did this for four years, not realizing at the time that I was being re-victimized each time." King describes the atmosphere of this coven as a sort of youth center. Kids were encouraged to stop by after school if they needed a place to hang out. They could eat there. There was a pool there. The people who ran the coven also went to his church. In fact, he said, 11 of the 12 deacons at his church were members of the coven. He said he would get dropped off at the house on Friday nights by his parents, and the members of the coven would bring him home on Sunday or bring him to church. A member of the coven for 26 years, King said he ascended to the role of "high wizard." He said that during that time, he had not only been involved in pornography, he also assisted in 146 abortions and he helped split up 112 churches. Because he was so high up in the organization, there were a lot of people under him who were also committing serious atrocities, King said. He left the coven when he was 33, married his wife, Katie, moved to Vermont, and managed a jewelry store at a mall. In 2008, a woman by the name of Mary Ann, came into the store to purchase some earrings. She then gave him a small, golden disc, which he realized later was a Miraculous Medal — and she told him, "The Blessed Mother is calling you into her army." Then she told him that the object he was holding was very powerful, so he closed his fist around the object and, as he described, "suddenly, the world around me faded away." He remembers Mary Ann telling him about his past years of satanism and the occult, the magic, the abortions, and the sin. "Then the Blessed Mother appeared and took me by the hand and turned me around, and Jesus was standing behind me. This was what I was looking for," King said. When the Blessed Mother took him by the hand, the Jesus that I saw was Divine Mercy Jesus, he added, referring to the depiction of Jesus in the Divine Mercy Image, which the Lord instructed St. Faustina to have painted in 1931. "I didn't know what the rays meant, but the rays were all around me, going through me." King knew immediately that this was Jesus and that everything that he had done previously was wrong. He soon joined the Church that Mary Ann belonged to and became a Catholic. He became familiar with Divine Mercy, and when he saw the Divine Mercy Image for the first time, he realized that was the image that he had seen when Mary Ann gave him the Miraculous Medal and when the Blessed Mother took him by the hand. He believes that the Lord gave him this image because He wanted him to know that he could be forgiven. "Divine Mercy was my salvation," King said. There are so many people who don't believe that they are worthy of salvation because of their sins, King said. But, he explained, in the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father is merciful. And the story about the workers in the field who go out to labor at different hours of the day, they are all paid the same wage, he added. King said when he met the Blessed Mother in that jewelry store, she told him that his job now was to work to end abortion. He tours the country speaking out against abortion, and he and Katie counsel thousands of people who have been caught up in the occult and who have spiritual warfare issues through their All Saints Ministry. (Text edited from Divine Mercy Site of Stockbridge)

#PopeFrancis "...entrust all our aspirations and our hopes to the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy." FULL TEXT Regina Caeli

Pope Francis
Pope Francis
24/04/2016 13:26

(Vatican Radio) During his Regina Coeli address on Sunday, Pope Francis prayed for the release of those priests and religious held hostage in Syria saying, "may the merciful God touch the hearts of the kidnappers". He also remembered young martyrs killed during the Spanish Civil War who were beatified in Burgos, Spain on Saturday.
Below is an English translation of the Pope's words before and after the Regina Coeli
At the end of this Jubilee celebration, my thoughts turn in a particular to you, dear boys and girls. You have come from Italy and from all over the world to experience moments of faith and fraternal conviviality. Thank you for your joyful and boisterous testimony. Go forward with courage!

Yesterday, in Burgos (Spain), saw the beatification of priest Valentín Palencia Marquina and four of his fellow young martyrs, killed for their faith during the Spanish Civil War. We praise the Lord for these courageous witnesses and to beseech their intercession to free the world from all violence.

I am always concerned about the brother bishops, priests and religious, Catholic and Orthodox, seized a long time ago in Syria. May the merciful God touch the hearts of the kidnappers and grant that our brothers and sisters will be freed as soon as possible and allowed to return to their communities. This is why I call you all to pray, not to mention other people abducted in the world.

Let us entrust all our aspirations and our hopes to the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy.
Following the Regina Coeli
Dear young people, you celebrated the Jubilee: Now return home with the joy of your Christian identity. Standing, head held high, and with your ID card in your hands and in your heart! May the Lord accompany you. And, please pray for me. Thank you.

Free Movie : Bella - Stars Eduardo Verastegui - Full Film

Bella (2006) PG-13 | 1h 31min | Drama, Romance | 30 November 2007 (USA) One day in New York City changes three people forever. A Pro-Life Story: After Nina (Tammy Blanchard) is fired from her waitressing job for being late, she leans on the restaurant's chef, Jose (Eduardo Verastegui), for support. Though they don't know each other very well, Nina confides in Jose that she is pregnant and considering an abortion. Understanding that Nina is going through a tough time, Jose invites her to his home. They spend the day together and tell each other their most painful secrets, and what Nina learns about Jose changes her life forever. Director: Alejandro Monteverde Writers: Alejandro Monteverde, Patrick Million | 1 more credit » Stars: Eduardo Verástegui, Tammy
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