Friday, September 20, 2019

Pope Francis tells Doctors "...we can and must reject the temptation – to use medicine to support ...assistance to suicide or directly causing death by euthanasia." Full Text

Clementine Hall
Friday, 20 September 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,
It is with pleasure that I welcome you all, members of the National Federation of the Orders of Doctors and Dental Surgeons, and I thank your vice president for his kind words. I know you have devoted the last three years to the “general states” of the medical profession, or rather, to the exchange on how best to exercise your activity in a changed social context, to identify better the changes useful to interpret people’s needs and to offer them, along with professional competences, also a good human relationship.
Medicine is by definition service to human life, and as such in involves an essential and indispensable reference to the person in his spiritual and material integrity, in his individual and social dimension: medicine is service to man, to the whole man, every man. And you doctors are convinced of this truth on the basis of a very long tradition, which dates back to the Hippocratic intuitions; and it is precisely from this conviction that there arise your just concerns for the pitfalls to which today’s medicine is exposed.
We must always remember that illness, the object of your concerns, is more than a clinical fact, medically circumscribable; it is always the condition of a person, the sick person, and it is with this entirely human vision that doctors are called to relate to the patient: considering therefore his singularity as a person who has an illness, and not only a case of whatever illness that patient has. For doctors it is a matter of possessing, together with the due technical-professional competence, a code of values and meanings with which to give meaning to the disease and to their work, and to make each individual clinical case a human encounter.
Faced, therefore, with any change in medicine and in the society you have identified, it is important that the doctor does not lose sight of the uniqueness of each patient, with his dignity and his fragility. A man or a woman to be accompanied with conscience, intelligence and heart, especially in the most serious situations. With this attitude we can and must reject the temptation – also induced by legislative changes – to use medicine to support a possible willingness to die of the patient, providing assistance to suicide or directly causing death by euthanasia.
These are hasty ways of dealing with choices that are not, as they might seem, an expression of the person’s freedom, when they include the discarding of the patient discard as a possibility, or false compassion in the face of the request to be helped to anticipate death. As the New Charter for Health Care Workers states: “There is no right to dispose arbitrarily of one's life, so no doctor can become an executive guardian of a non-existent right” (169).
Saint John Paul II observes that the responsibility of health care workers “today is greatly increased. Its deepest inspiration and strongest support lie in the intrinsic and undeniable ethical dimension of the health-care profession, something already recognized by the ancient and still relevant Hippocratic Oath, which requires every doctor to commit himself to absolute respect for human life and its sacredness” (Evangelium vitae, 89).
Dear friends, I invoke God's blessing on your commitment and I entrust you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary Salus infirmorum. Please do not forget to pray for me.

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 20 September 2019
FULL TEXT Source: - Official Translation - Image Source: Google Images 

#BreakingNews New Research shows Abortions Declining in the USA to its lowest rate since legalization in 1973

 The Guttmacher Institute releases latest findings, showing that abortion has decreased:

Between 2011 and 2014, the U.S. abortion rate declined from 16.9 to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44, the lowest rate ever recorded and the continuation of a decades-long trend.1  


  • This study used new data from the Guttmacher Institute to examine trends in abortion incidence and rates between 2014 and 2017. In addition, we examined changes in the number of health care facilities that provide abortions.
  • In 2017, an estimated 862,320 abortions were provided in clinical settings in the United States, representing a 7% decline since 2014 and the continuation of a long-term trend.
  • The U.S. abortion rate dropped to 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2017, the lowest rate recorded since abortion was legalized in 1973. Abortion rates fell in most states and in all four regions of the country.
  •  A total of 339,640 medication abortions occurred in 2017—about 39% of all abortions.
  • As in previous years, clinics provided the overwhelming majority of U.S. abortions (95%), while private physicians’ offices and hospitals accounted for 5%.
  • In 2017, 808 clinic facilities provided abortions, a 2% increase from 2014. However, regional and state disparities in clinic availability grew more pronounced; the number of clinics increased in the Northeast and the West, by 16% and 4% respectively, and decreased in the Midwest and the South, by 6% and 9%, respectively.
  • Although the number of state abortion restrictions continued to increase in the Midwest and South between 2014 and 2017, these restrictive policies do not appear to have been the primary driver of declining abortion rates. There was also no consistent relationship between increases or decreases in clinic numbers and changes in state abortion rates. 
  • Fertility rates declined in almost all states between 2014 and 2017, and it is unlikely that the decline in abortion was due to an increase in unintended births.
  • Factors that may have contributed to the decline in abortion were improvements in contraceptive use and increases in the number of individuals relying on self-managed abortions outside of a clinical setting.
  • Excerpt from Source :

Pope Francis says “as a bishop and as a priest, you must always be close to the people of God” in Homily at Mass

Pope at Mass: bishops and priests must be close to each other and to God's people
Pope Francis asks for prayers for priests and bishops during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, and urges all those who have received the gift of the priesthood to be close to each other and to the people of God.
By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis on Friday focused on the ministry of bishops and asked the faithful to pray for them so they may never neglect the gift of their ministry.

He recalled Thursday’s Liturgical reading in which the Apostle Paul gives his advice to the young bishop Timothy, and said more advice to bishops is to be found in today’s reading.

Yesterday, he said, at the heart of the message was the call to never neglect the gift of ordained ministry.

Today, he continued, the reflection focusses on things that weaken the life of the ordained minister like money, gossip and silly arguments.

“When a minister – a priest, a deacon, a bishop – gives too much value to money”, he attaches himself to the root of all evils, the Pope said, recalling that Paul describes the love of money as the root of all evils.

Closeness to God
Continuing to give advice to bishops, but also to priests and deacons, Pope Francis then focused on the need for “closeness”.

He pinpointed four different ways that ordained ministers must be “close”.

First of all, a bishop "is a man who is close to God,” he said, recalling the fact that the apostles “invented” deacons in order to better serve widows and orphans,

Peter, he explained, tells us that our duty – that is the duty of the apostles – is “to pray and proclaim the Word”.

Thus, the Pope continued, “the bishop’s first task” is to pray: it gives us strength and awakens within us the awareness of this gift of the ordained ministry that must never be neglected.

Closeness to priests
Then he called on bishops to be close to their priests, to their deacons and to their collaborators: the ones who are closest to them.

“It is sad when a bishop forgets about his priests,” Pope Francis noted, it is sad to hear a priest complain he is unable to get in touch with his bishop or make an appointment to see him in a brief space of time.

“A priest has the right to know that he has a father,” he said.

Closeness between priests
The Pope then went on to speak of the need for closeness between priests.

Divisions within the presbytery, he warned, are the work of the devil. And when that happens, he continued, it leads to small groups who are divided by ideologies or by sympathies.

So, the third “closeness” of which I am speaking, Pope Francis said, is the need for closeness among priests themselves.

Closeness to the people of God
Finally, he continued, the fourth is that of bishops and priests with the people of God.

In the second Letter, he explained, Paul tells Timothy not to forget his mother and his grandmother, meaning that he must not forget his roots.

“Do not forget about your people, do not forget about your roots!” he said;  “as a bishop and as a priest, you must always be close to the people of God”.

When a bishop breaks away from the people of God, the Pope explained, he ends up following ideologies that have nothing to do with the ministry: “he is not a minister, he is not a servant. He has forgotten the free gift that he received.”

The Pope concluded urging all ordained ministers not to forget the four ways in which they must nurture “closeness”: closeness to God, prayer, closeness of the bishop to his priests; closeness of priests to each other; closeness to the people of God.

And he asked those present to pray for their priests and bishops”, he said, “So we may safeguard the gift that has been given to us - with this closeness”.
Full Text Source: - Image source : Google Images

Philippine Bishops' Conference say No to Divorce bill - "Divorce is, first of all, unconstitutional, it is anti-family, anti-marriage and anti-children"

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Bishops: No to bills on divorce, anti-constitutional and anti-family
Friday, 20 September 2019
Manila - (Agenzia Fides) - "Divorce is, first of all, unconstitutional, it is anti-family, anti-marriage and anti-children". This is what was stated in a message sent to Agenzia Fides by Father Jerome Secillano, executive Secretary of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and in charge of public relations. The position taken by the Philippine Bishops, confirms their "No" to introduce divorce in the national legislation, and disprove the statements of Senator Riza Hontiveros who is conducting a public divorce campaign, defining a law in that sense "pro family and pro children". In a recent hearing in the Senate, Hontiveros said that a divorce law "will offer people the opportunity to find true and meaningful relationships", as well as "protect children from abuse and rebuild broken families".
The Bishops express their radical dissent, noting that "Senator Hontiveros’ statement contradicts the provisions of the 1987 Constitution", says Fr. Secillano. "In this way do we perhaps mean that the Family Code and our Constitution are against marriage and against children, given that they do not allow divorce?", he asks. According to the spokesman, "divorce can never be pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-children. Do not twist facts about divorce just to suit a particular agenda". The Church's position is clear: "Legalizing divorce in the Philippines would only lead to the destruction of many families. Filipinos deserve better", the Bishops' spokesman said, asking instead legislators to "work to modify existing laws on marital separations" in a path that "respects the Constitution". Currently there are three divorce bills pending: Senate Bill No. 67 - Recognizing the Foreign Decree of Termination of Marriage"; Senate Bill Nos. 288 and 356 - Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines"; Senate Bill No. 504 - Recognizing the Civil Effects of Church Annulment Decree". The second bill, which promotes the full legalization of divorce, presented by senators Riza Hontiveros and Pia Cayateno, seeks to go beyond psychological incapacity, lack of consent, incapability to bear children, among others, as the acceptable reason for annulment.
Christian communities of various denominations oppose the legalization of divorce in the Philippines. "Marriage is a sacrament and must be protected from any possible human intervention. Divorce is not the solution to human problems", lay Catholic Mary Christine Ortega, a mother of four, tells Fides. The Philippine Constitution (Article XV, section 2) states that "marriage, an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State". The State, observes a document written by 77 Catholic organizations and sent to Fides, "has the task of protecting rather than weakening marriage as a social institution". (SD-PA) (Full Text Release from Agenzia Fides, 20/9/2019) Image Source: Google Images

Pope Francis says "Today, healthcare is recognized as a universal human right and as an essential dimension..." Full Text

Paul VI Audience Hall
Friday, 20 September 2019

Dear brothers and sisters:I welcome all of you who are participating in the Symposium on the theme: “The Immigrant Family and its healthcare needs” organized by Somos Community Care. It is a theme that is dear to my heart and which challenges our conscience.
For several years now, in New York City, you have dedicated yourselves to the assistance and healthcare of those who live on the margins of society, in situations of poverty and hunger. In this way you spread the culture of encounter, “where no one is discarded or pigeonholed, but all are sought out, because all are needed to reveal the Lord’s face” (Homily, Bucarest, 31 May 2019). Your organization is distinguished by the relationship of empathy and trust that it succeeds in establishing with the sick and their families, sharing their lives and becoming closer to their culture and language, in order to foster human relations.
The personal engagement you have with those you care for is praiseworthy. It is an attitude that must be encouraged in a society that tends to develop within itself an “extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality [produces] a ‘globalization of indifference’. In this scenario … anyone who does not fall within the accepted norms of physical, mental and social well-being is at risk of marginalization and exclusion” (Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2019). Your daily commitment is aimed at contrasting that throwaway culture that dominates many social settings. In doing so, you are the protagonists of an overall care of the person, making available with generosity and altruism a holistic service of doctors and social-sanitary agents, who offer the benefits of preventive medicine, therapies and rehabilitation. This solidarity with the sick is a real treasure, and is a distinctive sign of a care and authentic health assistance that place the person and their needs at the centre.
Today, healthcare is recognized as a universal human right and as an essential dimension of integral human development. However, at global level, it still remains a right guaranteed to the few and unavailable to many. And it should also be noted that often, where assistance to the sick is guaranteed, it is dominated by technicality which ends up prevailing over the person, distorting the ultimate meaning of care itself. But this – we must not forget – is “the expression of a profoundly human commitment, assumed and carried out not only as a technical activity, but out of devotion and love for neighbour” (New Charter for Health Care Workers, 2016, 4).
Even though not all medical interventions lead to physical healing, healthcare offered with a human heart will always have the capacity to do good to life, in body and spirit. Therefore, the commitment of every healthcare worker to the sick finds its fullest expression, and is also most effective, when it is animated by love. And, through daily gestures, this style makes the culture of care flourish as an essential element of the common good.
Dear brothers and sisters, I exhort you to continue with your important mission at the service of human frailty, and I entrust you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted. I assure you of my prayer and blessing, and please do not forget to pray also for me.

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 20 September 2019
FULL TEXT Source: - Official Translation - Image Source: Google Images 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, September 20, 2019 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 447

Reading 11 TM 6:2C-12

Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God, avoid all this.
Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life,
to which you were called when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses.

Responsorial PsalmPS 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20

R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
“They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

AlleluiaSEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Saint September 20 : St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions Martyrs and Patron Korean Clergy

St. Andrew Kim Taegon
August 21, 1821
September 16, 1846
6 May 1984 by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:
Chŏltusan (Martyr's Mound), Seoul, South Korea
Patron of:
Korean Clergy
 Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon is known as Korea's first Roman Catholic priest. Born into a family of Christian converts at a time of unprecedented governmental opposition to Christianity (Christian teachings threatened the hierarchical system of Confucianism and ancestor worship), Kim and his family led lives of deprivation and hardship. Although there were repeated efforts made by the Korean monarchy (who feared European colonization of Korea through Christianity), to uproot the religion of the barbarian foreigners from 1794 to 1866, converts to Christianity continued to increase.
Even though Kim's family members and eventually Kim himself would suffer persecution, torture and eventual martyrdom under the repressive Korean monarchy, as it desperately tried to preserve itself and Korea's Confucian culture by eradicating Christianity; the sacrifice of these early Korean Christians became the foundation for the Christian Church in Korea to flourish today. Andrew Kim Taegon is revered today for his sacrifice and dedication in bringing Christianity to Korea.
Early Catholic Church In Korea
During the 1592 invasion of Korea by Japan, Japanese soldiers introduced Christianity into Korea by baptizing Koreans. A Japanese commander, Konishi Yukinaga, took a Korean girl, Julia Ota-a to Japan and she became one of the first Korean Christians. Father Gregorious de Cespedes, a Jesuit priest, visited Konishi in Korea in 1593. Korean diplomat, Yi Gwang-jeong returned to Korea from Beijing bearing several theological books written by Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit priest living in China. Some two centuries later, members of the Silhak (practical learning) school were drawn to Christian thought because it advocated a social structure based upon merit rather than birth rank. Most early Christians had family ties to the Silhak school.
During the late Joseon Dynasty and under its Confucian influence, Christianity was heavily suppressed and many Christians were persecuted and executed. Kim Taegon was born into this environment, and just one of several thousands of Catholic, Presbyterian, or Methodist Christians who were tortured and executed because of their faith during this time. In 1866, Regent Heungseon Daewongun (father of King Gojong) signed a decree to execute all Catholics. Over 2,000 Catholics were beheaded at Jeoldusan, "Beheading Hill." Their bodies were thrown into the Han River. Some were as young as 13. Fewer than 40 were identified.[1]
At this time, Korea was isolated from the world; the only outside contact being with Peking, where taxes were paid. Jesuits in China managed to smuggle Christian literature into Korea. When Korea saw its first missionaries arrive from France and America in the mid 1800s, several thousand Koreans were already practicing Christianity.
Kim Family
Andrew Kim Taegon was born in Nol-Mae (Solmoe), Chu’ung-Chong Province (in South Central Korea. At the age of seven, the Kim family moved to Golbaemasil Mankok-ri, Youngin-gun County (Mirinae) Kyungki Province. Kim’s great-grandfather, Kim Jin-Hu was martyred in 1814. Kim’s grand-uncle, Kim Han-hyun was also martyred in 1816. Kim’s father, Kim Je-jun (Ignatius Kim), was subsequently martyred in 1839 for practicing Christianity.[2] With so many male relatives martyred, Kim grew up very poor; his mother reduced to begging.
Ordination and Mission Work
After being baptized at the age of 15, Kim traveled over 1200 miles in 1836 to study at a seminary in the Portuguese Colony of Macau, China. He returned to Korea through Manchuria. That same year, he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai, where he was ordained a priest in 1845 by the French Bishop, Jean Ferréol. He then returned to Korea to preach and evangelize. These grueling trips between China and Korea, on foot and by small unworthy fishing vessels, allowed Kim to explore the terrain and increase the accuracy of the maps he had been using to plan better routes for the French missionaries to infiltrate Korea.
Handwritten map by Father Andre Kim (Kim Tae Gon, the first Korean Catholic priest, who managed to make this map in the short time he had to travel and work in Korea, before he was executed, 1846.)
In June of 1846, while trying to arrange for passage for additional missionaries to enter Korea by boat along the southeast coast, Kim was arrested by the border patrol. While imprisoned and awaiting his fate, Andrew Kim Taegon wrote to his parish:
"My dear brothers and sisters know this: Our Lord Jesus Christ upon descending into the world took innumerable pains upon and constituted the holy Church through his own passion and increases it through the passion of its faithful....Now, however, some fifty or sixty years since holy Church entered into our Korea, the faithful suffer persecutions again. Even today persecution rages, so that many of our friends of the same faith, among who am I myself, have been thrown into prison. Just as you also remain in the midst of persecution. Since we have formed one body, how can we not be saddened in our innermost hearts? How can we not experience the pain of separation in our human faculties? However, as Scripture says, God cares for the least hair of our heads, and indeed he cares with his omniscience; therefore, how can persecution be considered as anything other than the command of God, or his prize, or precisely his punishment?...We are twenty here, and thanks be to God all are still well. If anyone is killed, I beg you not to forget his family. I have many more things to say, but how can I express them with pen and paper? I make an end to this letter. Since we are now close to the struggle, I pray you to walk in faith, so that when you have finally entered into Heaven, we may greet one another. I leave you my kiss of love.
On September 26, at the age of 25, Kim was tortured and beheaded near Seoul on the Han River. His ears were pierced with arrows; his face covered with lime.[3] A group of Christians led, by Yi Min-Sik, later moved his body to Mt. Mi-ri-nai, about 35 miles from Seoul.
Before Father Jean Joseph Ferréol, the first Bishop of Korea, died from exhaustion on the third of February in 1853, he wanted to be buried beside Andrew Kim, stating: “You will never know how sad I was to lose this young native priest. I have loved him as a father loved his son; it is a consolation for me to think of his eternal happiness.”Shared from NewWorldEncyclopeidia
Image source: Google Images

Our Lady of La Salette who Prophesied future sufferings if People don't Pray to God in 1846

La Salette, France: Apparitions of Our Lady of La Salette

The story of La Salette:
The village of La Salette is in the French Alps not far from Grenoble. On Saturday afternoon, September 19, 1846, Maximim Giraud, a boy age 11 and Melanie Mathieu-Calvat, a girl age 14, were attracted to a brilliant light in a ravine.

The figure of a crowned woman with a radiant dress and rose-edged slippers gradually became visible. She was crying and wore a golden crucifix…the youths thought that she was a ‘saint’.

She spoke first to both of them, then gave each a ‘secret’ individually. After a final admonition to both to ‘make this known’ she rose in the air looking heavenward in joy, glanced momentarily toward Rome, and then gradually disappeared. Melanie and Maximim told their fellow townspeople of the vision, but met with initial unbelief (with the exception of Fr. Perrin, the parish priest, who announced the event during Mass).

As time progressed, conversions (including Maximim’s father and a locally known rebellious priest) and over 23 healings associated with a stream of water which flowed again from a dried-up spring at the apparition site, made the townsfolk reformed and firm believers.

A three-year investigation led to the Bishop’s approval of the apparition. Construction began a year later on a basilica which draws thousands of pilgrims to honor the ‘Virgin of Converts’, the ‘Reconciler of Sinners’.

Here is a sampling of Our Lady’s messages:
“If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let fall the arm of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it.”

“A forerunner of the antichrist with his troops from several nations will fight against the true Christ, the only Savior of the world; he will spill much blood, and will want to annihilate the worship of God in order to make himself be looked upon as a God.”

Pope Francis at Mass explains Ministry is a gift to be contemplated “It is not a job contract: ‘I have to do it’ - Video

Vatican News reports that Pope Francis at Mass explains Ministry is a gift to be contemplated
In his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis says ordained ministry is a gift which should be appreciated and shared.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis reflected on ordained ministry at Mass on Thursday, saying Jesus offers this gift to deacons, priests, and bishops so they might serve others.

The occasion for his remarks was the presence of a group of priests and bishops celebrating their silver jubilee, or 25 years of ordination.

The Pope invited everyone to reflect on the day’s first reading (1 Tim 4:12-16), in which St Paul invites Timothy not to neglect the gift of ordained ministry.

“It is not a job contract: ‘I have to do it’. The act of doing is in the second place. I must receive the gift and care for it, and from there flows all the rest: in contemplation of the gift. When we forget this, appropriate the gift, and turn it into a function, then we lose the heart of ministry and lose Jesus’ gaze who looked upon us and said: ‘Follow me.’ Gratuitousness is lost.”

Risk of self-centered ministry
Pope Francis then warned everyone against the risk of making ministry into a self-centered exercise.

If we do not contemplate the gift we have received, he said, “all the deviations we can imagine are unleashed, from the most horrible – which are terrible – to the most mundane, which make us turn our ministry into being about us, rather than about the gratuitousness of the gift and about our love for He who gave us the gift of ministry.”

First contemplate, then act
The Pope invited deacons, priests, and bishops to contemplate their ministry and service as a gift. We do what we can, he said, with good intentions, intelligence, and “even with a little cunning”, but always taking care of the gift.

It is human to forget this aspect, said Pope Francis, as the Pharisee does in the day’s Gospel (Lk 7:36-50) when he forgets several rules of hospitality as he welcomes Jesus to his table.

“There was this man, a good man, a good Pharisee but he had forgotten the gift of courtesy, the gift of hospitality – which is also a gift. Gifts are always forgotten when there is some sort of self-interest involved, when I want to do this or that thing – always doing, doing… Yes, we priests must all do things, and our first task is to proclaim the Gospel, but we must take care of our center, our source from which our mission flows, which is the gift we have freely received from the Lord.”

God guides the gift
Pope Francis concluded his homily with a prayer for all the Church’s ordained ministers.

May the Lord “help us to care for this gift, to consider our ministry above all as a gift, then as service”, he prayed.

In this way, said the Pope, ministers can avoid becoming “businessmen or do-gooders”.

Full Text Source: - Image Source - Screen shot of Pope Francis OSR

Mother rejects abortion after Rape and gives birth to a Son who later became a Catholic Priest and Missionary

Colombian father Alfar Antonio Vélez was conceived in rape. He is pastor of two Catholic churches in Argentina. His mother decided not to have an abortion because of her faith. The Clarín newspaper told this in a story.

The mother of a Colombian priest, named Alfar Antonio Vélez, became pregnant during a rape.

The woman faced the crude circumstance of her son's conception and the moral condemnation of her family. She was able to  see her son Antioqueño Vélez become a priest in Colombia and then a missionary in Argentina.

The Catholic leader decided to tell his testimony of life based on faith, with the intention of offering a sobering message.

 Vélez's mother was born in Algeria de María (Antioquia). From a young age, the woman moved to Medellín to study medicine.

One night she went out with some coworkers and they, drunk, drugged her and raped her. The consequence was a pregnancy which she decided to carry to full term, clinging to deep spiritual values ​​that gave her strength to move forward.

Her son learned the story when he was 10 years old.

"My mother was a woman of great faith, very practicing and very holy. She said that, despite the terrible circumstances, she carried in her womb the miracle of a new life, a life that God had given her and that, because of it she couldn't have an abortion, and if God had given him to her she should find the meaning in it. The hardest thing for her was to not be able to show me a father to love me, to teach me how to walk, but I bore the feeling that I filled her completely. "says Father Vélez in the article.

He tells us that over time he went to a church to claim from God the way he had come to the world. A priest who met on that occasion answered his question: "It is not why but for what." Later those words motivated him to fully incorporate himself into religious life.

"God created us in his image and likeness. My breath is the breath of God. We are the most beautiful thing in the world. So, we have no right to take the life of any innocent because it is not to blame for how it came into the world. "says the priest.

"I would say that God is the owner of life and that he made it an instrument of life. That the rapist is to blame, not the child in the womb. I think the decision to abort will end when we think that all life is a gift from God, beyond how it was conceived, of pain, or of joy, "he says.

"God uses me to do works; I am only his instrument. And if he wants my testimony to help make a person reconsider and save a life, then this interview will have been worth it," concludes the priest.

Edited from 

Pope Francis to Eastern Churches “the commitment to build a synodal Church — a mission to which we are all called..." Full Text

Clementine Hall
Thursday, 19 September 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning.
I offer my cordial greeting to all of you, professors of canon law, experts and members of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches, and to your President, whom I thank for her words. I congratulate you on the fiftieth anniversary of the Society, founded here in Rome in 1969, soon after the Second Vatican Council. The Society’s founder was Father Ivan Žužek, who made significant contributions to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. I am grateful for this visit on the occasion of your jubilee celebration, which afforded me the joyful opportunity to embrace my dear brother, Patriarch Bartholomew, the Society’s first Vice-President.
The work of the Society, bringing together experts from different Churches – Eastern Catholics, Orthodox and Oriental Churches – is of fundamental assistance to ecumenical dialogue. How much we can learn from one another in all areas of ecclesial life: theology, the experience of spirituality and liturgy, pastoral activity and, certainly, canon law.
Canon law is essential for ecumenical dialogue. Many of the theological dialogues pursued by the Catholic Church, especially with the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Churches, are of an ecclesiological nature. They have a canonical dimension too, since ecclesiology finds expression in the institutions and the law of the Churches. It is clear, therefore, that canon law is not only an aid to ecumenical dialogue, but also an essential dimension. Then too it is clear that ecumenical dialogue also enriches canon law.
I would like to offer the example of synodality. When translated into established institutions and procedures of the Church, synodality expresses the ecumenical dimension of canon law. On the one hand, we have the opportunity to learn from the synodal experience of other traditions, especially those of the Eastern Churches (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 246). On the other hand, it is clear that the way in which the Catholic Church experiences synodality is important for its relations with other Christians. This is a challenge for ecumenism. Indeed, “the commitment to build a synodal Church — a mission to which we are all called, each with the role entrusted him by the Lord — has significant ecumenical implications” (Address during the Ceremony Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops, 17 October 2015).
Based on the common canonical heritage of the first millennium, the current theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church seeks precisely a common understanding of primacy and synodality and their relationship in the service of the unity of the Church.
Dear friends, your research also has a synodal dimension: you walk together and, in mutual listening, evaluate your traditions and experiences to find ways to full unity. I am grateful for your work which, I am certain, will be of great help not only for the development of canon law but for our moving ever closer to the fulfilment of the Lord’s prayer: “that they may all be one; [...] so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21).
Invoking God’s blessing upon your Society, I entrust all of you to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she may watch over you with her maternal affection. I assure you of my prayers, and I ask you also to pray for me. Thank you!
Full Text Source: - Image Share from

New Polls reveal widespread Discrimination against Healthcare workers of Faith and public support for Conscience Rights laws

USCCB Poll: Americans Support Conscience Protection for Healthcare Professionals

September 18, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two new polls have revealed widespread discrimination against healthcare workers of faith, as well as broad public support for conscience rights laws and protections. The findings were released today by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committees on Pro-Life Activities; Religious Liberty; Domestic and Social Development; and the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, as well as the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), the largest faith-based association for healthcare professionals.

The findings come in the wake of enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) against the University of Vermont Medical Center, which is alleged to have coerced a nurse into participating in an abortion against her beliefs.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of Kansas City in Kansas and Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Robert J. McManus, of Worcester and Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, and Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop James D. Conley, of Lincoln and Chairman of the Subcommittee for Promotion and Defense of Marriage offered the following statement on the findings:
“An overwhelming majority of Americans agree: no healthcare professional should be forced to violate deeply-held beliefs in order to keep a job. The practice of medicine depends on those courageous and generous enough to serve all people—especially the poor and marginalized—with the highest ethical standards. If we exclude people of faith from the medical profession, Americans will suffer, especially those most in need.”
---FULL Text Release from USCCB

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. September 19, 2019 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 446

Reading 11 TM 4:12-16

Let no one have contempt for your youth,
but set an example for those who believe,
in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.
Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching.
Do not neglect the gift you have,
which was conferred on you through the prophetic word
with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate.
Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them,
so that your progress may be evident to everyone.
Attend to yourself and to your teaching;
persevere in both tasks,
for by doing so you will save
both yourself and those who listen to you.

Responsorial PsalmPS 111:7-8, 9, 10

R.(2) How great are the works of the Lord!
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
wrought in truth and equity.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
prudent are all who live by it.
His praise endures forever.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!

AlleluiaMT 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
"If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner."
Jesus said to him in reply,
"Simon, I have something to say to you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
"Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days' wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?"
Simon said in reply,
"The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven."
He said to him, "You have judged rightly."
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
"Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little."
He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
The others at table said to themselves,
"Who is this who even forgives sins?"
But he said to the woman,
"Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Saint September 19 : St. Januarius the Patron of Blood banks and Volcanic eruptions

Martyr, Bishop of Beneventum. St. Januarius is believed to have suffered in the persecution of Diocletian, c. 305. With regard to the history of his life and martyrdom, we know next to nothing. The various collections of "Acts", though numerous (cf. Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina, n. 4115-4140), are all extremely late and untrustworthy. Bede (c. 733) in his "Martyrologium" has epitomized the so-called "Acta Bononiensia" (see Quentin, Les Martyrologes historiques", 76). To this source we may trace the following entry in the present Roman Martyrology, though the reference to the miracle of the liquefaction is an addition of much later date. "At Pozzuoli in Campania [the memory] of the holy martyrs Januarius, Bishop of Beneventum, Festus his deacon, and Desiderius lector, together with Socius deacon of the church of Misenas, Proculus deacon of Pozzuoli, Eutyches and Acutius, who after chains and imprisonment were beheaded under the Emperor Diocletian. The body of St. Januarius was brought to Naples, and there honourably interred in the church, where his holy blood is kept unto this day in a phial of glass, which being set near his head becomes liquid and bubbles up as though it were fresh."
In the Breviary a longer account is given. There we are told that "Timotheus, President of Campania," was the official who condemned the martyrs, that Januarius was thrown into a fiery furnace, but that the flames would not touch him, and that the saint and his companions were afterwards exposed in the amphitheatre to wild beasts without any effect. Timotheus declaring that this was due to magic, and ordering the martyrs to be beheaded, the persecutor was smitten with blindness, but Januarius cured him, and five thousand persons were converted to Christ before the martyrs were decapitated. Then, as the Breviary lesson continues, "the cities of these coasts strove to obtain their bodies for honourable burial, so as to make sure of having them advocates with God. By God's will, the relics of Januarius were taken to Naples at last, after having been carried from Pozzuoli to Beneventum and from Beneventum to Monte Vergine. When they were brought thence to Naples they were laid in the chief church there and have been there famous on account of many miracles. Among these is remarkable the stopping of eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, whereby both that neighbourhood and places afar off have been like to be destroyed. It is also well known and is the plain fact, seen even unto this day, that when the blood of St. Januarius, kept dried up in a small glass phial, is put in sight of the head of the same martyr, it is wont to melt and bubble in a very strange way, as though it had but freshly been shed."
.Text shortened from the Catholic Encyclopedia - Image Source: Google Images


O God, who grant us to venerate the memory of the Martyr Saint Januarius, give us, we pray, the joy of his company in blessed happiness for all eternity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Pope Francis recalls Coptic Christian Martyrs in Libya whose last words were "Jesus, Jesus" and says the Holy Spirit was with them


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles: 8. "Do not happen to find yourself even fighting against God" (Acts 5:39). The criteria of discernment proposed by the essay Gamaliel.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We continue the catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles. Faced with the prohibition of the Jews to teach in the name of Christ, Peter and the Apostles respond with courage that they cannot obey those who want to stop the journey of the Gospel in the world.

The Twelve thus show that they possess that "obedience of faith" which they will then want to arouse in all men (see Rom 1.5). Starting from Pentecost, in fact, they are no longer "alone" men. They experience that special synergy that makes them decentralize themselves and has them say: "we and the Holy Spirit" (Acts 5:32) or "the Holy Spirit and us" (Acts 15:28). They feel that they cannot say "I" alone, they are men decentralized by themselves. Strengthened by this covenant, the Apostles do not let themselves be intimidated by anyone. They had an impressive courage! We think these were cowards: they all ran away, they ran away when Jesus was arrested. But, from cowards they have become so brave. Why? Because it was the Holy Spirit with them. The same happens to us: if we have the Holy Spirit inside, we will have the courage to move forward, the courage to win many struggles, not for ourselves but for the Spirit that is with us. They do not retreat into their march as intrepid witnesses of the Risen Jesus, like the martyrs of all times, including ours. Martyrs give their lives, they do not hide that they are Christians. We think, a few years ago - even today there are many - but we think four years ago, those Coptic Orthodox Christians, real workers, on the beach of Libya: all have been slaughtered. But the last word they said was "Jesus, Jesus". They had not sold off the faith, because there was the Holy Spirit with them. These are the martyrs of today! The Apostles are the "megaphones" of the Holy Spirit, sent by the Risen One to promptly and without hesitation spread the Word that gives salvation.

And indeed, this determination makes the Jewish "religious system" tremble, which feels threatened and responds with violence and death sentences. The persecution of Christians is always the same: people who do not want Christianity feel threatened and thus bring death to Christians. But, in the midst of the Sanhedrin, the different voice of a Pharisee rises who chooses to stem the reaction of his own: his name was Gamaliel, a prudent man, "doctor of the Law, esteemed by all the people". At his school St. Paul learned to observe "the law of the fathers" (see Acts 22: 3). Gamaliele takes the floor and shows his brothers how to exercise the art of discernment in the face of situations that go beyond the usual patterns.

He shows, citing some characters who had passed off as Messiah, that every human project can first receive acclaim and then be shipwrecked, while everything that comes from above and carries the "signature" of God is destined to last. Human projects always fail; they have a time, like us. Think of so many political projects, and how they change from one side to the other, in all countries. Think of the great empires, think of the dictatorships of the last century: they felt very powerful, they thought they dominated the world. And then they all collapsed. Even today, think of today's empires: they will collapse, if God is not with them, because the strength that men have in themselves is not lasting. Only the strength of God endures. Let us think of the history of Christians, including the history of the Church, with so many sins, with so many scandals, with so many bad things in these two millennia. And why didn't it collapse? Because God is there. We are sinners, and even so often we give scandal. But God is with us. And God saves us first, and then them; but always save, the Lord. Strength is "God with us". Gamaliel demonstrates, quoting some characters who had passed off as Messiah, that every human project can first receive acclaim and then be shipwrecked. Therefore, Gamaliele concludes that, if the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth believed an impostor, they are destined to disappear into thin air; if instead they follow one who comes from God, it is better to give up fighting them; and warns: "Do not happen to find yourself even fighting against God" (Acts 5:39). It teaches us to make this discernment.

They are calm and far-sighted words, which allow us to see the Christian event with a new light and offer criteria that "know of the Gospel", because they invite us to recognize the tree from its fruits (see Mt 7:16). They touch hearts and achieve the desired effect: the other members of the Sanhedrin follow his opinion and renounce the intentions of death, that is to kill the Apostles.
We ask the Holy Spirit to act in us so that, both personally and as a community, we can acquire the habit of discernment. Let us ask him to always be able to see the unity of the history of salvation through the signs of the passage of God in our time and on the faces of those around us, because we learn that time and human faces are messengers of the living God.

Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les personnes de langue française, en particulier les pèlerins du diocèse de Blois. Frères et sœurs, demandons à Dieu la grâce du discernement sur les évènements, parfois obscurs, de nos vies et du monde. La volonté de Dieu s’exprime dans la durée. Sachons, avant de juger ou de nous décourager, attendre avec patience que l’Esprit Saint fasse porter du fruit à nos projets, dans la mesure où ils viennent de lui. Que Dieu vous bénisse!
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Canada and the United States of America. In particular, I greet the members of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons present in Rome for their annual meeting. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord. May God bless you!
Ein herzliches Willkommen den Pilgern deutscher Sprache. Ich grüße die verschiedenen Schülergruppen, insbesondere die Cäcilienschule Wilhelmshafen und die Gerhardinger Realschule Cham sowie die Gemeinschaft des interdiözesanen Priesterseminars Leopoldinum Heiligenkreuz. Bitten wir den Heiligen Geist um die Gabe der Unterscheidung, die uns die Zeichen der Gegenwart Gottes in der Welt von heute erkennen lässt.
[A cordial welcome to German-speaking pilgrims. I greet the various groups of students, in particular those from the Cäcilienschule Wilhelmshafen and the Gerhardinger Realschule Cham, as well as the community of the Interdiocesan Seminary Leopoldinum Heiligenkreuz. We ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment that allows us to recognize the signs of God's presence in today's world.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española. En particular saludo al Pontificio Colegio Mexicano en Roma, y a los sacerdotes de la Arquidiócesis de Guadalajara, que celebran su 25 aniversario de sacerdocio. Pidamos al Espíritu Santo que nos ayude a saber descubrir a Dios en los acontecimientos y en las personas que nos rodean. Que Dios los bendiga.
Com cordial afeto, saúdo todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em especial os grupos de Fernandópolis, da diocese de Friburgo e da paróquia de São Pedro da Cova. O Senhor vos abençoe, para serdes em toda a parte farol de luz do Evangelho para todos. Possa esta peregrinação fortalecer nos vossos corações o sentir e o viver com a Igreja. Nossa Senhora acompanhe e proteja a vós todos e aos vossos entes queridos.
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ منالشرق الأوسط. أيها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزاء، إن التمييز الحقيقي يتطلّب منا أن نربّيَ أنفسنا على صبر الله وأوقاته التي ليست أوقاتنا، لنعزّز البحث عن معايير التمييز الشخصيّة والجماعية الضرورية لكي نبلغ معرفة مشيئة الله التي نجد فيها ملء الحياة. ليبارككم الرب!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, authentic discernment requires educating oneself to the patience of God and to his times, which are not ours, we try to favor the search for personal and community discernment criteria, necessary to reach the knowledge of God's will, in which every fullness of life resides. The Lord bless you!]
Witam serdecznie obecnych tu Polaków. Dzisiaj w liturgii Kościoła w Polsce przypada święto patrona dzieci i młodzieży, świętego Stanisława Kostki. Ten młody chłopiec pokonał pieszo drogę z Wiednia do Rzymu, by zostać jezuitą. Pokazał, że koniecznie trzeba poświęcić wiele, by pójść za głosem własnego powołania. Jest wzorem także dla tych młodych, którzy z obawy przed reakcją rodziny, przyjaciół lub innych ludzi, boją się wybrać drogę powołania kapłańskiego lub zakonnego. Drodzy młodzi, nie lękajcie się iść za głosem Chrystusa! Niech Bóg błogosławi wam i wszystkim tu obecnym.
[I cordially greet the Poles here present. Today in the liturgy of the Church in Poland falls the feast of the patron saint of children and young people, St. Stanislaus Kostka. That boy from Vienna, walked to Rome to become a Jesuit. He thus demonstrated that it is necessary to sacrifice so much to follow the voice of one's vocation. It is also an example for those young people who, fearing the reaction of their family members, friends or others, are afraid to choose the vocational path to the priesthood or religious life. Dear young people, do not be afraid to follow the voice of Christ! God bless you and everyone present here.]


Next September 21st is World Alzheimer's Day, a disease that affects many men and women who, because of this disease, are often victims of violence, abuse and abuse that trample their dignity. We pray for the conversion of hearts and for those affected by Alzheimer's disease, for their families and for those who lovingly care for them. I also associate with prayer, the memory of those suffering from cancer, so that they are also increasingly supported, both in the prevention and treatment of this disease.

* * *

I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

I am pleased to welcome the Religious, Religious and participants in the refresher course on Canon Law of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

I greet the National Sacerdoti Italia Calcio team; the parishes, in particular those of the Saints Prosdocimo and Donato in Cittadella and of Santa Lucia in Palermo; the Comboni Association of migrant and refugee services; the Italian Federation of Dog Crafts; and the members of the Road Safety Education Campaign.

I am particularly interested in young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.

Next Saturday is the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Imitate his willingness to readily follow Jesus. He was attached to money and sold his homeland for money! The Lord called him and he left all the money to follow Jesus. His conversion is an example for everyone, so that like him we can live as true disciples of the Lord, able to abandon the calculations of the world.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Shared from - Unofficial Translation from Italian