Thursday, February 20, 2020

In Homily, Pope Francis says “therefore the Christian Community must always seek the power of the Holy Spirit to confess Jesus, to say that He is God.."


Pope at Mass: being Christian means accepting Jesus, even to the cross
In his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis urges the faithful to do all that is necessary to truly know Jesus.
VaticanNews report: By Francesca Merlo

During his daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on two questions from the daily Gospel reading: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”

The Pope said that the Gospel teaches us the three steps that help us learn who Jesus truly is. These are to know, to confess and to accept the path that God has chosen for Him.

Pope Francis said that knowing Jesus is what we all do “when we read the Gospel, when we take children to catechesis… to Mass”. However, this, he said, “is only the first step”. The second is to publicly acknowledge Jesus, and

in order to do so, he continued, we need the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit. One cannot do so alone and “therefore the Christian Community must always seek the power of the Holy Spirit to confess Jesus, to say that He is God, that He is the Son of God”.

But what is the purpose of Jesus' life, why has He come, asked the Pope. Answering this question means making the third step on the way to knowing Him. And the Pope recalled that Jesus began to teach His apostles that He had to suffer, be killed and then rise again.

Confessing Jesus is confessing his death, his resurrection; it is not confessing: "You are God" and stopping there. No: "You came for us and you died for me. You are resurrected. You give us life, You promised us the Holy Spirit to guide us". Confessing Jesus means accepting the path that the Father has chosen for Him: humiliation. Paul, writing to the Philippians, says that God sent his Son, who “ emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…He humbled himself, even unto death, death on a cross". If we do not accept the path of Jesus, the path of humiliation that He has chosen for redemption, not only are we not Christians: we deserve what Jesus said to Peter: "Get behind me, Satan!”

Pope Francis noted that Satan knows that Jesus is the Son of God, but that He refuses his “confession” in the same that He pushes Peter away from Him when he rejects the path chosen by Jesus. Confessing Jesus means following the path of humility and humiliation. “When the Church does not follow this path, she is in error, and becomes worldly.”

The Pope concluded his homily with the invitation to ask for "the grace of Christian consistency", the grace to follow Jesus in His own way, even to humiliation.

Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, February 20, 2020 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 338

Reading 1JAS 2:1-9

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person with shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please,”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?
But you dishonored the poor.
Are not the rich oppressing you?
And do they themselves not haul you off to court?
Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you?
However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.
But if you show partiality, you commit sin,
and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

Responsorial Psalm34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.    (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

AlleluiaJOHN 6:63C, 68C

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Saint February 20 : Saints Jacinta and Francesco of Fatima a short History with Special Prayers


Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908 – April 4, 1919) and his sister Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910 – February 20, 1920),  together with their cousin, Lúcia dos Santos (1907–2005) were from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal. They saw three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. They reported visions of Our Lady of Fatima.  The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto were Francisco and Jacinta. They were illiterate and they worked with cousin Lucia, tending sheep. Francisco preferred to pray alone, as he said "to console Jesus for the sins of the world". They saw terrifying vision of Hell at the third apparition. All three children practiced prayer and penance for sin as the lady asked. Jacinta told her parents ‘Oh, Mother! I saw Our Lady today!’. On 13th August, The Administrator, Santos, ‘kidnapped’ the children to prevent them going to the next Apparition, and threatened them with a cauldron of boiling oil. On Sunday, 19th August, the children witnessed their fourth Apparition. 

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At the Apparitions in 1917 Francisco heard nothing and had to rely on Lucia and Jacinta to tell him what was said by the Lady. Jacinta and Francesco became very ill during the Spanish Influenza epidemic in October, 1918.  The priest heard Francisco’s confession on the evening of 2nd April and brought Communion to him the next morning.Opening his eyes, he asked: ‘When will you bring me the Hidden Jesus again?’ This was what he said when talking of the Host in the Tabernacle. 
Jacinta developed pneumonia and then tuberculosis. She died in hospital just before her 11th birthday. Visitors who saw Jacinta in her open coffin exclaimed that she seemed to be alive, with the loveliest colour. When Jacinta’s coffin was opened on 12th September, 1935 and her face was seen to be perfectly incorrupt. 

 Jacinta's relics and those of Francisco lie in the Basilica at Fatima, with the simple inscription: “Here lie the mortal remains of Francisco and Jacinta to whom Our Lady appeared.” Jacinta and her brother Francisco were beatified- declared ‘Blessed’, by Pope John Paul II on 13th May, 2000 at Fatima. 

SPECIAL PRAYERS GIVEN TO THE CHILDREN AT FATIMA:
Our Lady of Fatima:
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee. O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

ANGEL OF FATIMA:
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners. The Angel's Prayer is an Act of Reparation to The Holy Trinity.
Edited from “The Message of Fatima” by Fr. Martindale, S.J. and other sources. (All Images Google )

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Pope Francis explains "Meekness is capable of winning the heart...because people get angry but then calm down,...and so it can be rebuilt with mildness." Full Text/Video


GENERAL Audience

Paul VI Hall
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Catechesis on the Beatitudes: 4. Blessed are the meek

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today's catechesis we deal with the third of the eight beatitudes of Matthew's Gospel: "Blessed are the meek because they will inherit the earth" (Mt 5: 5).

The term "mild" used here literally means sweet, gentle, gentle, free of violence. Meekness manifests itself in moments of conflict, you can see how you react to a hostile situation. Anyone might seem mild when everything is calm, but how does he react "under pressure" if he is attacked, offended, attacked?

In one passage, Saint Paul recalls "the sweetness and meekness of Christ" (2 Cor 10: 1). And St. Peter in turn recalls Jesus' attitude in the Passion: he did not respond and did not threaten, because "he entrusted himself to the one who judges with justice" (1 Pt 2,23). And the meekness of Jesus is strongly seen in his Passion.

In Scripture the word "meek" also indicates one who has no landed property; and therefore we are struck by the fact that the third beatitude says precisely that the meek "will inherit the earth".

In fact, this bliss quotes Psalm 37, which we listened to at the beginning of the catechesis. There, too, mildness and possession of the land are related. These two things, when you think about it, seem incompatible. In fact, possession of land is the typical area of ​​conflict: one often fights for a territory, to obtain hegemony over a certain area. In wars the strongest prevails and conquers other lands.

But let's look carefully at the verb used to indicate the possession of myths: they do not conquer the earth; does not say "blessed are the myths because they will conquer the earth". They "inherit" it. Blessed are the myths because they will "inherit" the earth. In the scriptures, the verb "inherit" has an even greater sense. The People of God call the land of Israel, which is the Land of Promise, "inheritance".

That land is a promise and a gift for the people of God, and becomes a sign of something much bigger than a simple territory. There is a "land" - allow the play on words - that is Heaven, that is, the earth to which we walk: the new heavens and the new earth to which we go (cf. Is 65.17; 66.22; 2 Pt 3,13; Ap 21,1).

Then the meek is the one who "inherits" the most sublime of the territories. He is not a coward, a "weak" who finds a makeshift morality to stay out of trouble. Far from it! He is a person who has received an inheritance and does not want to disperse it. The meek is not an accommodating person but it is the disciple of Christ who has learned to defend quite another earth. He defends his peace, defends his relationship with God, defends his gifts, the gifts of God, preserving mercy, brotherhood, trust, hope. Because meek people are merciful, fraternal, confident people and people with hope.

Here we must mention the sin of anger, a violent movement whose impulse we all know. Who hasn't got angry sometimes? All. We must reverse bliss and ask ourselves a question: how many things have we destroyed with anger? How many things have we lost? A moment of anger can destroy many things; you lose control and do not evaluate what is really important, and you can ruin the relationship with a brother, sometimes without remedy. In anger, many brothers no longer talk to each other, they move away from each other. It is the opposite of mildness. Gentleness gathers, anger separates.

Gentleness is conquest of many things. Meekness is capable of winning the heart, saving friendships and much more, because people get angry but then calm down, rethink and retrace their steps, and so it can be rebuilt with mildness.

The "earth" to be conquered with mildness is the salvation of that brother of whom Matthew's Gospel speaks: "If he listens to you, you will have earned your brother" (Mt 18:15). There is no land more beautiful than the heart of others, there is no more beautiful territory to be gained than the peace found with a brother. And that is the land to be inherited with mildness!

Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins venus de France et d’autres pays francophones, en particulier les diocésains du Mans avec Mgr Yves Le Saux, les diocésains de Bourges avec Mgr Jérôme Beau, les représentants de la Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens, ainsi que les jeunes et les pèlerins de plusieurs paroisses. Chers frères et sœurs, je vous invite à demander à Dieu de nous faire le don de la douceur pour construire ensemble un monde plus fraternel. Que Dieu vous bénisse.
[I cordially greet the pilgrims from France and other French-speaking countries, in particular those from the Dioceses of Le Mans, with Msgr. Yves Le Saux, and from Bourges, with Msgr. Jérôme Beau, the representatives of the French Confederation of Christian Workers as well as young people and pilgrims from different parishes. Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to ask God to give you the gift of meekness to build a more fraternal world together. God bless you.]
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Norway, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and the United States of America. Upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache, besonders an die verschiedenen Schülergruppen. Willkommen! Der Heilige Geist leite uns an, die Welt mit den Augen Gottes zu sehen und den Mitmenschen mit der Sanftmut des Herzens Gottes zu begegnen. Euch allen einen guten Aufenthalt in Rom!
[I extend a cordial greeting to the German-speaking pilgrims, in particular to the various school groups. Welcome! May the Holy Spirit teach us to look to the world with the eyes of God and to treat our brothers and sisters with the gentleness of His heart. Enjoy your stay in Rome!]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, venidos de España y de Latinoamérica. Pidamos al Señor que nos ayude a ser mansos y humildes de corazón, y a reconocer los momentos en que perdemos la calma para que, con la gracia del Señor, podamos volver a encontrar y a construir la paz. Que Dios los bendiga.
De coração saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular vós vindos de Portugal e do Brasil, encorajando-vos a ser por todo o lado testemunhas de esperança e caridade. E, se alguma vez tiverdes de enfrentar situações que vos turvam a alma, ide procurar refúgio sob o manto da Santa Mãe de Deus; lá encontrareis paz e mansidão. Sobre vós e vossas famílias desça a Bênção do Senhor!
[I warmly greet the Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, especially you who have come from Portugal and Brazil, and I encourage you to be witnesses of hope and charity everywhere. And, if sometimes you have to face situations that upset your soul, go to seek refuge under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God; there you will find peace and mildness. May the Blessing of the Lord descend on you and your families.]
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً القادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. إنّ الانسان الوديع هو الانسان الهادئ والطيّب والبسيط والمطيع والمسالم، يُحسن معاملة الناس ولا يُخاصم أحدًا. هذه الصفات تجعله محبوبًا من جميع الناس، لأنه يعيش معهم في سلام وهدوء. وبالتالي، إضافة إلى ملكوت الله، إنه يرث الأرض أيضًا. ليبارككُم الرب!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! The meek man is the calm, kind, simple, obedient and peaceful man who treats people well and does not argue with anyone. Such traits make him lovable by all people, because he lives with them in peace and quiet. So in addition to the kingdom of God, he also inherits the earth. The Lord bless you!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, cichość, o której mówimy dzisiaj, może zapanować w sercu i przezwyciężyć gniew, ocalić przyjaźnie i odbudować relacje wystawione na próbę przez ambicje i ducha rywalizacji. Pamiętajcie zawsze o zaproszeniu Pana Jezusa: „uczcie się ode Mnie, bo jestem cichy i pokorny sercem, a znajdziecie ukojenie dla dusz waszych” (Mt 11, 29). Z serca wam błogosławię. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus!
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, meekness, of which we speak today, is capable of overcoming the heart and defeating anger, saving friendships and rebuilding relationships tested by ambitions and the spirit of rivalry. Always remember the invitation of the Lord Jesus: "Learn from me, who am meek and humble of heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls" (Mt 11, 29). I cordially bless you. Praised be Jesus Christ!]

* * *

I cordially welcome the Italian-speaking faithful. In particular, I greet the men and women religious; parish groups; and the delegation of the Benedictine Torch, with the Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia, Mons. Renato Boccardo and the Abbot of Montecassino, Dom Donato Ogliari.

I also greet the Command Brigade Aosta, of Messina; the Italian Society of Odontostomatology for the handicapped; and the pediatric ward of the National Cancer Institute of Milan.

Lastly, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. Trust the Lord and strive to enter into his designs, accepting that his salvation may come to us by ways other than those which we would expect.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation

Archbishop Nelson Perez Installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia replacing Chaput with over 1,000 in attendance - Full Video


Diocese of Cleveland Release:
Archbishop Perez says a fond farewell to Cleveland during his installation as Philadelphia’s archbishop
 News of the Diocese  February 18, 2020

“I can’t do this alone. It’s not about me,” Archbishop Nelson Perez said during the homily of his installation Mass as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He said many people helped him to get where he is today, including his family and those he worked with in the archdiocese, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, where he served five years as an auxiliary bishop, and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland where he was bishop for the past 2½ years.

“I want to give a special shout-out to the people of Cleveland who welcomed me so warmly. It was two years of utter joy. I was so incredibly blessed to me in Cleveland,” he said, recalling how surprised he was to learn he would be returning to Philadelphia, where he had been ordained to the priesthood and served more than 20 years as a priest, pastor and in other roles for the archdiocese.

“I will always have a special place in my heart for the people of Cleveland,” he said. “And, as I’ve often said, Cleveland rocks!”

The installation liturgy took place on Feb. 18 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul and the Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel. The new archbishop was ordained a priest in 1989 in the same cathedral where he was installed as archbishop. He was ordained as an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2012 and in July 2017, he was named as the 11th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

An overflow crowd of about 1,500 people filled the cathedral church and hundreds more watched the Mass on screens in the adjacent chapel.

About 50 bishops and archbishops were in attendance including Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio; Cardinal Justin Rigali, a Philadelphia archbishop emeritus; Bishop emeritus Martin Amos, retired bishop of Davenport, Iowa and a Cleveland native; Toledo Bishop Daniel Thomas, former apostolic administrator of the Cleveland Diocese and a native Philadelphian; and Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan, who served with Archbishop Perez as an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

A contingent of priests from Cleveland, including Father Don Oleksiak, vicar general; Father Gary Yanus, judicial vicar; Father Dan Schlegel, vicar for clergy and religious; Father Mark Latcovich, president-rector of Borromeo and Saint Mary seminaries; Father Bill Thaden, pastor of Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain; Father Steve Vellenga, director of the diocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith/mission office and pastor of St. Mary Parish in Painesville; and Benedictine Abbot Gary Hoover, were among hundreds of concelebrants at the Mass.

Several Cleveland diocesan senior staff members, including Sister Rita Mary Harwood, SND, secretary for parish life and development; Mary Ann Blakely, director of human resources; Kevin Burke, diocesan legal counsel; Jim Gulick, diocesan chief financial officer; Patrick Grace, executive director of the Catholic Community Foundation; and Larry Murtaugh, director of facilities services; as well as a few others from the diocese travelled to Philadelphia for the special occasion.

After processing into the cathedral, Archbishop Perez sat near the ambo while Archbishop Pierre offered thanks to retiring Archbishop Charles Chaput. “You deserve a little rest,” he told him.

Archbishop Chaput led the archdiocese for nearly nine years before submitting his resignation letter – as required by Church law -- to Pope Francis on Sept. 26, 2019, his 75th birthday. The pope accepted his resignation last month and announced the appointment of Archbishop Perez as his successor on Jan. 23.

“Archbishop Perez, you don’t get to rest,” the nuncio quipped. He told the new archdiocesan shepherd that he needs to meet his flock “with energy, zeal and warmth.” The archdiocese is not the same as it was in 2012 when Archbishop Perez left for Rockville Centre, the nuncio said. He urged Archbishop Perez to continue the mission of evangelization and asked him to be close to the clergy who have suffered and close to the people of the archdiocese.

“Your smile comes from within. We’ve learned from you what it is to smile,” Archbishop Pierre said. “Yours is not an easy task but the people of Philadelphia will support you with their prayers.”

The nuncio then read the English translation of the papal bull appointing Archbishop Perez as the 14th bishop and 10th archbishop of Philadelphia and invited the new archbishop to show the document to the archdiocesan College of Consultors, the other priests, bishops and the congregation. After that, Archbishop Chaput escorted him to the cathedra, officially making him the archdiocese’s new archbishop.

In his homily, Archbishop Perez credited his predecessor for leading the archdiocese through some difficult times, calling him steadfast. “I owe him much gratitude,” he said, as the congregation applauded.

Addressing the assembled priests and seminarians, the new archbishop offered some advice: “If the nuncio calls and asks if you’re alone, watch out,” he quipped, referring to the calls informing him of his episcopal appointments.

The archbishop also offered special thanks to city officials, including the safety forces and Philadelphia’s new police commissioner, Catholic TV from Boston and Catholic Faith Network from Rockville Centre, both of which carried a live feed of the installation Mass, and the rest of the media. “You provide an incredible service to society,” he said.

He also had kind words for the archdiocesan staff who scrambled to organize and implement the installation in 3½ weeks. “It’s amazing what they did.”

He chose “Jesus, Hope of the World” as the theme for the installation celebration. After reading a definition of hope, he described it as a gift from God, pointing out hope is all around us – it’s at the core of our Christian faith. Archbishop Perez shared the story of a man who asked him during an event at the Cleveland Clinic if – given all going on in the world – he has hope.

“I told him yes, I did. I gave my life to a faith that believes a dead man came back to life so yes, I have hope,” he said.

Archbishop Perez also offered his apology for people who were deeply hurt by the clergy abuse scandal, offering his hope for healing.

Hope is a steadfast faith that all things work for the good of God, he said, and the source of that hope is in Christ who is present in us through his word. “He is food for our journey. He’s waiting for us with open arms,” the archbishop said, appealing to those who have fallen away from the Church. “It’s time to come back to church,” he said.

The archbishop also talked about Pope Francis’ view of the Church as a community of missionary disciples, something he also embraces.

He asked the congregation to learn and repeat a phrase he often uses at confirmations: “Never underestimate the power of the spirit of God working in you, through you and despite you. Take the initiative and move forward, Go out and seek the fallen away outcasts,” he said.

After Mass, the new archbishop spent time greeting and taking photos with hundreds of people before heading to a private reception.

“I’ll be at work tomorrow morning,” he promised. Full Text Release by the Diocese of Cleveland

Caritas Philippines launches New Measures to prevent clergy sexual abuse


Caritas PH takes measures to prevent clergy sexual abuse

Fr Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, speaks during the launching of the “Alay Kapwa” for Luzon at the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd in Quezon City on Feb. 3.

By Minnie Agdeppa - February 14, 2020 - Manila, Philippines

The Catholic Church’s social action arm has joined efforts to curtail the sexual abuse of minors by priests in the country.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said that part of the measure is to conduct ‘background checks’ of all social action directors.

“(We will) proactively make background checks of all Caritas directors on national and diocesan levels,” he said.

The priest made the statement during the launching of the “Alay Kapwa” Lenten campaign for Luzon at the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd in Quezon City on Feb. 3.

Caritas Philippines is also known as the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa).

Gariguez clarified that the goal is to determine whether a priest has been involved in any abuse case, particularly of children.

Addressing the diocesan social action directors present, he said that “we hope you won’t be offended. We are doing this to show that we do not tolerate cases like these.”

“Thus, if the need for each diocese to have a training on this matter and the mechanism on how this will be done, we will create and provide it for the protection ministry,” he said.

Clerical abuse should not be happening within the confines of the Church, he said: “but admit it or not, and though we rarely admit it, it is happening.”

“Thus, we should have a mechanism on how cases like this should be reported and how to address this problem,” said Gariguez.

In July 2019, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) agreed to create a new office that will look into the cases of clerical abuse and augment the efforts in the diocesan level.

In May last year, Pope Francis’ moto propio “Vos estis lux mundi” decreed that all dioceses must have a “public, accessible and reliable” system for reporting cases of clergy sex abuses.
Full Text Release by CBCP - Bishops of the Philippines

#BreakingNews Coronavirus Death Toll surpasses 2,000 - U.S. Catholic Bishops issue Statement "We offer our prayers for healing and support those organizations..." Full Text



The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, death toll has reached 2,000.  Russia announced the closure of its borders to Chinese citizens. The Beijing National Health Commission announced that Covid-19 killed 2,007 people. About 95% of the deaths occurred in the epicenter of the epidemic, the province of Hubei. Beijing also reported 74,279 Covid-19 cases reported in China. 25 other nations report a total of 920 cases, in addition to three deaths. A note from the World Health Organization (WHO) today reports about 100 human-to-human transmission cases outside China.

US Bishops' Release: Catholic Response to Outbreak of Coronavirus


February 18, 2020

WASHINGTON - Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace; Sean Callahan, president of Catholic Relief Services; and Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, president of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, issued a statement addressing the Catholic response to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Their joint statement follows:

“As communities and public health officials respond to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in China and closely monitor its presence and progression in other parts of the world, we join in solidarity and prayer for those impacted or working to treat those infected by the disease. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services, and the Catholic Health Association of the United States hope that governments will work together in partnership to improve all nations’ capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to this virus.

“The Catholic Church in the United States stands in solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus and their families, health workers who are valiantly trying to diagnose and treat patients, and those under quarantine awaiting results of their screening for the virus. We offer our prayers for healing and support those organizations, both domestic and international, working to provide medical supplies and assistance to address this serious risk to public health.

“In early February, the Holy See sent 700,000 respiratory masks to China to help prevent the spread of the disease. Within the United States, Catholic healthcare providers are at the front line of providing treatment and care to those impacted by the virus.

“We also commend the U.S. government for transporting more than 17 tons of donated medical supplies to China. This response to the novel coronavirus demonstrates the critical importance of the need to work together and to invest in crucial health care systems here and in other countries, thus preventing and responding to community-wide emergencies. We urge the U.S. Congress to support these efforts by protecting access to domestic health care safety net programs and by providing additional emergency international assistance to areas impacted by the virus.

“We also urge individuals to stay informed as information becomes available by going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. .
Source: USCCB  

Vatican Judiciary launches Investigation into Financial Investments - Msgr Alberto Perlasca’s house and office items Seized



Vatican News : Documents and computer equipment belonging to Msgr Perlasca seized
Last October the Vatican judiciary launched an investigation into financial and real estate investments which led to the suspension of 5 Holy See employees.
By Vatican News

The investigation which began last October and focused on five Holy See employees who were suspended, has been enlarged. A communiqué issued by the Holy See Press Office made the following public: “within the context of a search ordered by the Promoter of Justice, Gian Piero Milano, and by the Adjunct Promoter of Justice, Alessandro Diddi, documents and computer equipment in Msgr Alberto Perlasca’s house and office were seized.” Msgr Perlasca is a former head of the Administrative Office of the First Section of the Secretariat of State. He is originally from Como, Italy, is 59 years old, and as of July 2019 has been exercising the office of substitute Promoter of Justice at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Thus, Msgr Perlasca becomes the sixth suspect in the investigation.

The communiqué states that, “the measure was undertaken pursuant to the investigation into financial and real estate investments by the Secretariat of State, and is linked, while respecting the presumption of innocence, to what emerged in the initial interrogations of the officials under investigation who had already been suspended”.

The Promoter of Justice’s Office and the Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State are proceeding with an investigation at the administrative and financial levels in collaboration with foreign investigative bodies. The investigation seeks to substantiate the allegation of specific crimes, such as embezzlement, abuse of authority and corruption. As has already been reported, the investigation was initiated by the Vatican judiciary in response to reports received from internal supervisory financial organisms, from the Vatican Bank (IOR), and the Auditor General.

As specified in the communiqué, the principle of the presumption of innocence applies to all parties involved, even if the documentation examined in these months seems to reinforce the underlying allegations. It is possible that the investigatory phase of the process will conclude toward the beginning of summer.

On opening the judicial year in the Vatican on Saturday, 15 February, Pope Francis mentioned the investigation regarding the management of funds and real estate (such as that of Sloan Avenue in London). He spoke of “suspicious financial situations, which aside from their possible unlawfulness, are not in keeping with the nature and purpose of the Church, and have generated disorientation and anxiety in the community of the faithful”. The Pope then added that, “a positive fact is that precisely in this case, the first reports were made by internal Vatican Authorities, active, albeit with different competences, in the economic and financial sectors. This demonstrates the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement actions, as required by international standards.”
Full Text VaticanNews.va Release - Image of Msgr Alberto Perlasca - Dagospia.com

Bishops of Costa Rica Launch Jubilee "..moving forward on the path of social justice, the common good, human rights...and the social peace of our people".


AMERICA/COSTA RICA - Jubilee Year: "time to relaunch the commitment and hope that comes from the social dimension of Christian life"
Limon (Agenzia Fides) - An appeal to the authorities and the protagonists of society to unite "to find solutions to the suffering of many Costa Ricans, in particular in the fields of work, health, violence, especially against children and women, citizens' safety, education, housing, pensions, situations of poverty, inequality, in addition to the humanitarian challenges of immigration". This is what the Bishops of Costa Rica launched in the message published at the end of the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference held in Limon, which bears the date of February 13, 2020, the opening day of the Jubilee.
The Jubilee Year has been announced for the centenary of the creation of the ecclesiastical province of Costa Rica, from 13 February 2020 to 16 February 2021 (see Fides, 22/1/2020), and the Bishops invite all Christians "to live intensely this time of grace", in the awareness that "the Church has contributed to giving life and developing our national identity, and its action is inseparable from the life of society and the history of the country".
This Jubilee and the celebration of the Bicentenary of Costa Rica's independence in 2021 "go together and it could not be otherwise - they write -, because we know the relevance and urgency of the dialogue between faith and the community and social dimension of culture. Therefore, as citizens and pastors, we echo the cry of a country that wants to continue moving forward on the path of social justice, the common good, human rights - whose essence is the dignity of the person - and the social peace of our people".
In the message, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishops mention some of the "many and complex issues of national reality that concern Costa Ricans". Firstly, the urgency of national dialogue, because "we cannot continue on the path of division, controversy and mutual distrust. As a society, we must promote the centrality of common issues, in an environment of respect that favors a prudent and measured process of discernment, to face what really happens in the country".
In order to guarantee unity and social peace, it is therefore necessary to heal and strengthen the tax system: the Bishops have constantly denounced "the national problems facing a public administration trapped by an institutional tangle dragged on for years and which today shows its social and economic effects".
Another worrying topic is unemployment, which has reached the highest levels of the decade, despite government initiatives. "We see with pain the desperation of young people, women, immigrants, informal workers - say the Bishops -. In this jubilee year we are called to combine mercy and justice, because one of the serious difficulties of today is that precarious work, without workers' rights and poorly paid, has become normal employment, a lifeline for thousands of compatriots".
The last point concerns support for the rural world, because for the Bishops the country needs "a real agricultural policy that addresses poverty reflected in the social inequality, unemployment, poverty and basic needs of this sector; without forgetting a solidarity economy that improves the situation of farmers and artisanal fishermen".
Invoking the intercession of Our Lady of the Angels, Patroness of Costa Rica, and Saint Vincent de Paoli, Patron of the Diocese of Limón, the Bishops conclude their message by recalling that "the Jubilee Year is a time to revive the commitment and the hope that comes from the social dimension of Christian life "and asking the Lord, as a special grace, that "our Jubilee rekindles the solidarity of our people".
Pope Francis spiritually joined the opening of the Jubilee Year in Costa Rica with a Letter, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, in which he participates "in thanking the Lord, for all the fruits obtained in these 100 years and invites lay and consecrated persons to continue "their tireless evangelising activity, bringing the joy of the Gospel to everyone, especially the most needy and the most distant, and to give a true witness of Christian life in the various circles of society". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 18/2/2020)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - #Eucharist



Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 337
Reading 1JAS 1:19-27
Know this, my dear brothers and sisters:
everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
for anger does not accomplish
the righteousness of God.
Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess
and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,
he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.
He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets
what he looked like.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres,
and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts;
such a one shall be blessed in what he does.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue
but deceives his heart, his religion is vain.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Responsorial Psalm15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5

R.    (1b)  Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R.    Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R.    Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R.    Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?

AlleluiaEPH 1:17-18

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia

GospelMK 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Saint February 19 : St. Conrad of Piacenza a Franciscan Confessor, Hermit and Patron of Cure for Hernias


Born:







































1290, Piacenza, Province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Died:
February 19, 1351, Noto, Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Patron of:
cure of hernias




CONFESSOR

Hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis, date of birth uncertain; died at Noto in Sicily, 19 February, 1351. He belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life. On one occasion, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to fire some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author. He was imprisoned, tried, and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, made open confession of his guilt; and in order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, was obliged to sell all his possessions. Thus reduced to poverty, Conrad retired to a lonely hermitage some distance from Piacenza, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares. Later he went to Rome, and thence to Sicily, where for thirty years he lived a most austere and penitential life and worked numerous miracles. He is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. In 1515 Leo X permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast, which permission was later extended by Urban VIII to the whole Order of St. Francis. Though bearing the title of saint, Conrad was never formally canonized. His feast is kept in the Franciscan Order on 19 February.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)
Prayer to St. Conrad: 
Almighty God,
You attracted Saint Conrad through his zeal for justice to serve You faithfully in the desert.
Through his prayers may we live justly and piously, and happily succeed in coming to You.
Amen.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as Thou wert pacified by the penance of Blessed Conrad, so we may imitate his example and blot out the stains of our sins by crucifying our flesh. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Catholic Church in India re-elects Cardinal Oswald Gracias as President of Bishops' Conference



Indian Catholic Church re-elects Card Gracias as president, Mgr Machado as secretary general
by Nirmala Carvalho
The Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India ends tomorrow in Bengaluru. “I am at the service of God and the Church,” said Archbishop of Vasai. Dialogue is the "way chosen by God to reveal himself to us".


New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) is currently  holding its plenary assembly (13-19 February) in Bengaluru (Bangalore).

Yesterday it re-elected Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, as its president, as well as elected Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai as its secretary general.

Archbishop Machado, who heads the Office for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), told AsiaNews that he is “at the service of God and the Church. Only doing God’s will gives meaning to my life.”

Between 1999 and 2008, he served as undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in the Vatican. He studied philosophy at the University of Lyon and spent seven years at the Taizé community in France. During that time, he also served for a year in Bangladesh as a volunteer in refugee camps, later earning a Theology degree from Maryknoll College in New York and a doctorate from Fordham.

Speaking about his election, he said that India’s bishops “unanimously pointed to me as ‘a man of dialogue’, and this is a great honour for me from fellow bishops.” Indeed, “God reveals himself through us and the method of dialogue. God never imposes anything upon us; he enters into the dialogue of salvation with us.

“The Church of India wants to trod the path of dialogue all the way and arrive at truth and charity,” noted the new CBCI secretary general. She “has always faced challenges and situations, but we must be faithful to Christ and keep on the path of dialogue. Dialogue means loving people.

“Truth has to be respected, always done in charity, fearlessly proclaimed, but always in charity. This is the dictum of the Church.”

Noting that the assembly’s theme is ‘Dialogue: the way to truth and charity, he explained that “The bishops want me to take up this challenge, together with the leadership, and assist Cardinal Gracias. “

To this end, “We must necessarily follow the path of dialogue. Confrontation, compromise or even political negotiations are not Christian. Dialogue is the sacred path, the path chosen by God to reveal himself to us, and God continues to dialogue with us.”
Full Text Release of AsiaNews.it - Cardinal Gracias speech starts at 13:00 below:

New Coordinator Appointed by Bishops in Italy for Overseas Filipino Workers is Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston -



CBCP News Release
Fr. Gaston now heads pastoral care ministry for OFWs in Italy

February 17, 2020

ROME— The Italian bishops appointed Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston as the new coordinator for the pastoral care of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Italy.

The appointment was announced Sunday by Italian priest in charge of migrants in Rome, don Pierpaolo Felicolo, during a Mass presided over by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Fr. Gaston succeeded Fr. Paulino Bumanglag, SVD, who served the post for around nine years.

The priest has been serving as Rector of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino, the official residence of Filipino priests studying in Rome, since 2010.

Fr. Gaston was ordained a priest for the Manila archdiocese at the Vatican by Pope John Paul II in 1993.

He also served as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family in the Vatican from 2002 to 2007.

In January 2015, Fr. Gaston was also among the Vatican Accredited Media Personnel (VAMP) during Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

In his homily at the Santa Pudenciana, Cardinal Tagle invited Filipinos to be faithful to God’s commandments.

He stressed that God’s commandments “are not meant to burden upon us, but to guide us in our relationship with him and with others.”



“Obeying God’s commandments shows that we are committed to him. But in the first place, his giving us the commandments shows his commitment towards us,” said Tagle, who is also the Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The Vicariate of Rome has designated Santa Pudenciana in 1991 as the Pastoral Center for Filipinos in Rome, also called the “Sentro Filippino”.

Prior to that year, the PCF has served as the de facto Filipino Chaplaincy, with an office at one corner of the PCF building, coordinating perhaps 20 or 30 Filipino communities.

Even earlier, in the 1970s, when more Filipinos started migrating into Italy, three religious congregations initiated Masses for the Filipinos: the Salesians of Don Bosco in Sacro Coure beside Termini, the SVD near Pyramide, and the Irish Pallotine Fathers in San Silvestro, right in Rome City center.

Every Sunday, about 50 to 60 Masses in Filipino, English, Ilocano, Cebuano, and Bicolano are coordinated by the Sentro Filippino in different parishes, convents, and chapels, with PCF priests assisting the Sentro in around 15 to 20 Masses.

The PCF priests also cater to OFW’s in many European countries, especially Switzerland, Greece, Malta, Germany, Spain, Norway, France.
Full Text Release Bishops of the Philippines - CBCP

Pope Francis offers Remedy for Hardness of Heart : "I was hungry, you gave me to eat; I was in prison, you came to visit me; I was suffering and you consoled me....this is compassion.."


Pope at Mass: God asks of us an open heart full of compassion
VaticanNews Report: "The medicine against hardheartedness is memory," says Pope Francis in his homily at Mass Tuesday morning at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. He invites Christians not to forget the grace of salvation that makes the heart sincere and capable of mercy.
By Robin Gomes

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel from St. Mark where the disciples are worried about the shortage of bread in the boat where there was also Jesus.  The Pope pointed out that the concern for a material good had got the better of them.  Jesus rebukes them that their hearts are hardened and they cannot understand.  “Have you eyes and cannot see, have you ears and cannot hear?” he asks them, reminding them of the multiplication of five loaves to feed five thousand, with many baskets full of fragments left over.

When compassion lacks, idolatry and ideology set in
In this episode, the Pope pointed to the difference between a “hardened heart”, like that of the disciples and a “compassionate heart”, like that of the Lord.

Compassion is what the Lord wants in us, the Pope said, adding: "Mercy I want, not sacrifice." The Holy Father said that a heart without compassion is an idolatrous heart. A self-sufficient heart goes ahead sustained by its own selfishness, becoming strong only with ideologies.

Speaking about the four ideological groups of Jesus’ time – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Zealots – the Pope said they had hardened their hearts to carry out a project that was not God's, as there was no place for compassion.

Jesus is a slap to hardheartedness
However, against this hardheartedness, the Pope said, there is a "medicine", and it is memory. This is why, the Pope said, in today’s Gospel and in many other Scripture passages, there echoes the need for the salvific power of memory, a "grace" to be asked for because it "keeps the heart open and faithful".

“When the heart hardens,” the Pope said, “one forgets” the grace of salvation and of gratuitousness. A hardened heart leads to quarrels, to wars, to selfishness and the destruction of the brother and sister because there is no compassion.  The Pope said that the greatest message of salvation is that God has had compassion on us.  And the Gospel often repeats that Jesus had compassion on seeing a person or a painful situation. “Jesus is the compassion of the Father,” the Pope said. “Jesus is the slap to every hardness of heart.”

An open heart
Pope Francis thus underscored the need for asking for the grace of having a heart that is not hardened and full of ideologies, but “open and compassionate” in the face of what is happening in the world.  It is on this, he said, that we will be judged at the Last Judgement, and not by our "ideas" or our "ideologies".

"I was hungry, you gave me to eat; I was in prison, you came to visit me; I was suffering and you consoled me", the Pope said is what is written in the Gospel and “this is compassion, this is not hardness of heart".  And humility, the memory of our roots and our salvation, the Pope said, will help us to keep it that way.

Every one of us, Pope Francis pointed out, has something that has hardened within our hearts.  “Let us remember and let it be the Lord who gives us a righteous and sincere heart where the Lord dwells.”  “The Lord cannot enter hardened and ideological hearts.  He enters hearts that are like His heart: open and compassionate,” the Pope said.
Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

#BreakingNews 22 Civilians Killed including 14 Children after Elections were Deserted - Please Pray


In one of the two English-speaking regions, that of the North West, a massacre of civilians was committed, mostly women and children. The crime was perpetrated on the night of February 14-15 in Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw in the Donga-Mantung department. According to the UN, there are 22 victims, among whom there are 14 children, including 11 girls under the age of 5, a pregnant woman and two women. The secessionist rebels accused the Cameroonian army of being responsible for the massacre, but rejected the accusations. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 17/2/2020)
AFRICA/CAMEROON - "Ballot boxes almost completely deserted by voters", report observers of "Justice and Peace"

Yaoundé (Agenzia Fides) - Peaceful elections but almost entirely deserted by voters. This is what His Exc. Mgr. Abraham Kome, Bishop of Bafang, Apostolic Administrator of Bafia and President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (CENC) reported in a press meeting in which he presented the evaluations of the electoral observers sent by the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in the polling stations for the municipal and legislative elections of 9 February.
The "propensity to abstain was almost general", said Mgr. Kome who brought some examples: "in the Bissono gendarmerie in Sangmelima, there were 85 voters out of 310 registered; in Ngwui par Dschang, 50 voters out of 200 registered; in Batouri the abstention rate was 80.57%; in Bertoua, 70%". "The low turnout undoubtedly means that the basic law of the electoral code that governs the elections in Cameroon must be revised in order to arouse people's enthusiasm in the fulfillment of their civil duty", underline the Bishops in the statement presented by Mgr. Kome.
CENC deployed 262 observers who were deployed in 46 departments across 58 Countries. Mgr. Kome added that due to the insecurity in the North West and South West regions, the 17 CENC observers in these two regions were unable to do their job. An insecurity that "has prevented many citizens from exercising their civil rights", underline the Bishops.
FULL TEXT Press Release: from Fides.org - Image of children killed - Viral photo from https://www.dailynewscameroon.com/ - Facebook

U.S. Bishops’ Statement on Nuclear Disarmament " A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions...everywhere."


Statement from U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace Committee on Nuclear Disarmament 
WASHINGTON — The Committee on International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following statement on nuclear disarmament.
During the recent visit of Pope Francis to Japan, the Holy Father took the opportunity to speak forcefully on the subject of nuclear weapons and the threat that they represent to the world. Speaking at Nagasaki, he emphasized the need for a wide and deep solidarity to bring about security in a world not reliant on atomic weaponry, stating, “A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions of men and women everywhere. To make this ideal a reality calls for involvement on the part of all: individuals, religious communities and civil society, countries that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not, the military and private sectors, and international organizations.” -
 Address of the Holy Father on Nuclear Weapons. . . , Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park (Nagasaki) Sunday, 24 November 2019.
Later that same day, Pope Francis spoke in Hiroshima, the other Japanese city to have known the horror of a nuclear explosion. Addressing the moral implications of nuclear weaponry he stated, “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral …” - Address of the Holy Father, Meeting for Peace, Peace Memorial (Hiroshima) Sunday, 24 November 2019.
The words of Pope Francis serve as a clarion call and a profound reminder to all that the status quo of international relations, resting on the threat of mutual destruction, must be changed. As Bishops of the United States, we have made similar appeals in the past when we stated, “the moral task is to proceed with deep cuts and ultimately to abolish these weapons entirely.” - The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace (1993).  
So too, has the international community recognized the need to move away from the threat of mutual destruction and toward genuine and universal disarmament, as reflected in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Article VI of that Treaty, which dates back to 1968, states each party of that accord will work in good faith for the end of the nuclear arms race by seeking nuclear disarmament based in “…a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
Pope Francis has used his visit to Japan to remind the faithful and all actors, states or non-states, of the moral obligation to re-commit to the work of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and the threat that they pose. That obligation weighs on the consciences of all to find a means for complete and mutual disarmament based in a shared commitment and trust that needs to be fostered and deepened.
The Committee on International Justice and Peace is grateful to the Holy Father for this renewed effort to bring about a world of peace and justice that is not based upon fear or the threat of nuclear annihilation but justice and human solidarity. As such, we also call upon our own government to be part of and indeed renew its primary responsibility in that effort. The nations which have nuclear weapons must take the lead in mutual reduction of their weapons. The non-nuclear nations too must refrain from pursuing them if Article VI of the NPT is to be the effective instrument to bring about the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
“Come, Lord, for it is late, and where destruction has abounded, may hope also abound today that we can write and achieve a different future.” (Pope Francis, Hiroshima, November 24, 2019.)
Members of the Committee for International Justice and Peace:

Most Reverend David J. Malloy, Chairman
Bishop of Rockford
Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton
Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services
Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane
Bishop of Venice
Most Reverend Michael Mulvey
Bishop of Corpus Christi
Most Reverend William F. Murphy
Bishop Emeritus of Rockville Centre
Most Reverend Alberto Rojas
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Most Reverend Abdallah Elias Zaidan
Bishop of Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
Bishop Consultants to the Committee for International Justice and Peace:

Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano
Bishop of Bridgeport
---
FULL TEXT Source: USCCB - Bishops USA