Sunday, January 19, 2020

Pope Francis says "Yes, we are still poor sinners, but not slaves...Children, children of God!" at Angelus - Full Text


St. Peter's Square
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This second Sunday of Ordinary Time is in continuity with the Epiphany and with the feast of the Baptism of Jesus. The Gospel passage (cf. Jn 1: 29-34) still speaks to us of the manifestation of Jesus. In fact, after being baptized in the Jordan River, He was consecrated by the Holy Spirit who rested on Him and was proclaimed Son of God by the voice of the heavenly Father (cf Mt 3: 16-17 and par.). The Evangelist John, unlike the other three, does not describe the event, but offers us the testimony of John the Baptist. He was the first witness of Christ. God had called him and prepared him for it.

The Baptist cannot hold back the urgent desire to testify to Jesus and declares: "I have seen and testified" (v. 34). John saw something shocking, that is, the beloved Son of God in solidarity with sinners; and the Holy Spirit made him understand the unheard of novelty, a true reversal. In fact, while in all religions it is the man who offers and sacrifices something to God, in the event Jesus is God who offers his Son for the salvation of humanity. John manifests his amazement and his consent to this novelty brought by Jesus, through a pregnant expression that we repeat every time in the Mass: "Here is the lamb of God, the one who takes away the sin of the world!" (V. 29 ).

John the Baptist's testimony invites us to start afresh on our journey of faith: to start afresh from Jesus Christ, the Lamb full of mercy that the Father has given for us. Let us be surprised again by God's choice to be on our side, to be in solidarity with us sinners, and to save the world from evil by taking charge of it totally.

Let us learn from John the Baptist not to presume that we already know Jesus, that we already know everything about him (cf. v. 31). It is not so. Let's stop on the Gospel, perhaps even contemplating an icon of Christ, a "holy face". We contemplate with the eyes and even more with the heart; and let ourselves be instructed by the Holy Spirit, who tells us inside: It is He! He is the Son of God made lamb, immolated for love. He, He alone brought, He alone suffered, atoned for the sin of each of us, the sin of the world, and also my sins. All. He carried them all on himself and took them away from us, so that we could finally be free, no longer slaves to evil. Yes, we are still poor sinners, but not slaves, no, not slaves: children, children of God!

May the Virgin Mary obtain the strength to testify to her Son Jesus; to announce it with joy with a life freed from evil and a word full of amazed and grateful faith.

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today a conference is held in Berlin to discuss the crisis in Libya. I sincerely hope that this summit, so important, will be the start of a path towards the cessation of violence and a negotiated solution that will lead to peace and the much desired stability of the country.

I greet all of you, dear pilgrims and Roman faithful. In particular, the members of some Confraternities of Sevilla, Spain; the faithful of Bielsko-Biała and Poznań, Poland; the students of the "Loras College" of Dubuque, United States, and those of Vila Pouca de Aguiar, in Portugal.

I greet the parish groups of Scandicci and Quarto d’Altino, those of San Giuseppe al Trionfale and San Melchiade in Rome, as well as the ministers of Corva, diocese of Concordia-Pordenone, with their family members.

I am pleased to remember that 2020 has been designated internationally as the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife". Nurses are the most numerous health workers and closest to the sick, and midwives are perhaps the noblest of the professions. Let us pray for all of them, so that they can do their precious work at best.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

#BreakingNews Fire Destroys Historic Santa Isabel Cathedral in Equatorial Guinea

Century-old Historic Cathedral in Equatorial Guinea
Cathedral Santa Isabel in Equatorial Guinea catches fire on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

Built in a neo-gothic style between 1897 and 1916, the cathedral is one of the country's main tourist attractions.
 Dozens of people gathered in silence near the cathedral in the early evening as the fire service sprayed water jets onto the century-old structure.

"We have just extinguished the fire, it's finished. The roof is gone, it is a catastrophe," firefighter Alfredo Abeso told AFP. Another firefighter at the scene said: "The whole roof is gone, the interior is burned." The cause of the fire is not known but the cathedral has been closed to the public since January 7 for restoration work.

The French Embassy in Malabo said the fire was a "cruel reminder" of the fire at Notre Dame. "We share the emotion of our friends in Malabo and Equatorial Guinea and hope that the fire can be brought under control quickly," it said on Twitter.

Paris engineers are still working to stabilise the 13th century cathedral in the French capital after fire tore through its roof and dramatically toppled its spire last year.
Source: AFP - - Image Source: Google Images reports the remodeling work was due to end next July, according to the forecast of the archbishop of Malabo, Juan Nsue Edang. The president of the African country, Teodoro Obiang, gave last year to the Archdiocese of Malabo about three million euros for the rehabilitation of the Cathedral.

RIP Sister Theresia Maria, CSJ, - Death of Beloved Religious Sister and Vocations Director at Age 49

Sister Theresia Maria, CSJ,  entered into eternal life this past Wednesday at Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne, NY.  She was 49.  Sr. Theresia served the Archdiocese of Newark in many roles including in the Vocations Office as Associate Director and as both Director of Religious Vocations and Delegate for Religious.

Born Olga Hendrika Berendina Holtschlag on December 29, 1970 in Enschede, Netherlands to Mr. and Mrs. Wim Holtschlag. She entered Postulancy with the Congregation of the Apostolic Sisters of St. John on April 21, 1998 in Semur-en-Brionnais, France.

On August 30, 1999 she was received into the community as a novice. During her time in the novitiate, on January 3, 1999, she received the habit along with her religious name: Sister Theresia Maria of the Merciful Love.

After professing her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, on September 3, 2000 she was sent on mission for two years to Villecroze, France. Then, from 2002-2003 she was in formation at the priory of Rimont, France.

Following this, she served in Autun, France from 2003-2004. Sister professed final vows on September 12, 2004, and was assigned to the priory in Brignoles, France for the years of 2004-2007.

In the fall of 2007 she was sent as one of the founding sisters of the priory in East Orange, NJ where she served from 2007-2018. While in East Orange she served St. Joseph's Parish as DRE and catechist of the RCIA program.
She also served the Archdiocese of Newark working in the Office of Vocations and then as Delegate for Religious. In 2018 she was appointed Superior of the House of Formation in Princeville, IL where she served for one year.

In August 2019 she returned to East Orange, NJ.  

In thanksgiving for her "Yes" to Jesus and her service to His Church, join us as we pray for her, her family, and the Community of St. John.

Arrangements are as follows:
Viewing on Sunday, January 19, 2020, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial: Monday, January 20, 2020 – 10:00 a.m.

Both services will be held at St. Joseph Church, 110 Telford St., East Orange, NJ

Burial will take place at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Edwards, Illinois.
20 Funeral Mass Monday, January 20 2020 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM St. Joseph Church East Orange, NJ 07018 

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday, January 19, 2020 - #Eucharist - Readings + Video - 2nd in Ord. Time - A

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 64 
 Reading 1IS 49:3, 5-6
The LORD said to me: You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial PsalmPS 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10

R/ (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R/ Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R/ Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R/ Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R/ Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 21 COR 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

AlleluiaJN 1:14A, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him,
he gave power to become children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saint January 19 : St. Canute IV the Famous King of Denmark who was Martyred with 17 others

1043, Denmark
July 10, 1086, Odense
Major Shrine:
Saint Canute's Cathedral, Odense
Patron of:
Martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; d. 10 July 1086, the third of the thirteen natural sons of Sweyn II surnamed Estridsen. Elected king on the death of his brother Harold about 1080, he waged war on his barbarous enemies and brought Courland and Livonia to the faith. Having married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Count of Flanders, he had a son Charles, surnamed the good. He was a strong ruler, as is proved by his stern dealing with the pirate Eigill of Bornholm. The happiness of his people and the interests of the Church were the objects he had most at heart. To the cathedral of Roskilde, still the royal burying-place, he gave his own diadem. His austerity was equalled by his assiduity in prayer. An expedition to England, in favour of the Saxons against William the Conqueror, planned by him in 1085, failed through the treachery of his brother Olaf. His people having revolted on account of the cruelties of certain tax-collectors, Canute retired to the island of Funen. There, in the church of St. Alban, after due preparation for death, the king, his brother Benedict, and seventeen others were surrounded and slain, 10 July, 1086. His feast is 19 January, translation, 10 July; his emblems, a lance or arrows, in memory of the manner of his death.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Free Christian Movie : The Book of Acts Movie

The Visual Bible: Acts (1994) 3h 13min | History | Video 1 October 1994 The Visual Bible: Acts Poster A visual interpretation of the Book of Acts of the Apostle from the Bible. Director: Regardt van den Bergh Writers: Saint Luke (story), Joyce Marcarelli (screenplay) Stars: Dean Jones, Henry O. Arnold, Jennifer O'Neill | See full cast & crew »

Saint January 18 : Saint Jaime Hilario Barbal who entered Seminary at age 12 and said “To die for Christ, my young friends, is to live.”

Manuel Barbal Cosan was born on 2 January 1898 in Enviny, a small town at the foot of the Pyrenees in northern Spain. Known for his serious nature, he was only 12 years old when, with the blessing of his devout and hardworking parents, he entered the minor seminary of the diocese of Urgel. He soon developed hearing problems and was advised to return home. Convinced that God was calling him, he was overjoyed in 1917 to learn that the Institute of the Brothers would accept him in the novitiate at Irun, Spain. After sixteen years in various teaching assignments, his hearing problems forced him to abandon the classroom to work in the garden at the house of formation at San José, in Tarragona.
In July of 1936 he was at Mollerosa on his way to visit his family at Enviny when the civil war broke out. Recognized as a Brother, he was arrested and jailed. In December he was transferred to Tarragona and confined in a prison ship with several other brothers. On 15 January 1937 he was given a summary trial.
Though he could have been freed by claiming to be only a gardener, he insisted on his identity as a religious and thereby sealed his doom. He was brought to the cemetery known as the Mount of Olives on 18 January to face execution. His last words to his assailants were
“To die for Christ, my young friends, is to live.”
When two volleys failed to meet their mark, the soldiers dropped their rifles and fled in panic. The commander, shouting a gross insult, fired five shots at close range and the victim fell at his feet.

Born January 2, 1898
Entered the novitiate February 24, 1917
Martyred January 18, 1937
Beatified April 29, 1990
Canonized November 21, 1999

Full Text + Image Source:

Pope Francis says "Your faith animates precious values: popular religiosity which is expressed in trust in God, in the sense of prayer ..." Full Text to Fishers Organization


Clementine room
Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am happy to meet you and greet you all cordially. I thank your Bishop for his words, as well as the priests present here, who spiritually accompany your work and your families. Along the coast of the Marche, you go out with good and bad weather to take from the sea the necessary to live, with so much passion, many sacrifices and even some danger. And your loved ones share the difficulties and precariousness this kind of life entails.

You are a significant category in the social life of your area. In the progress that characterizes modern society, the fisherman may sometimes feel tempted by the desire for safe work on dry land. Yet whoever was born on the sea cannot eradicate the sea from his heart. I urge you not to lose hope in the face of the inconveniences and uncertainties that you unfortunately have to face: you don't lack courage! At the same time, your often risky and hard work needs to be valued by supporting your rights and legitimate aspirations.

For my part, I want to express a particular appreciation for the seabed remediation activity, which you have undertaken with the participation of other associations and the collaboration of the competent Authorities. This initiative is very important, both for the large amount of waste, especially plastic, that you have recovered, and - and I would say above all - because it can become and is already becoming a repeatable model in other areas of Italy and abroad. The "Plastic Fishing" operation, which you carried out voluntarily, is an example of how local civil society can and must contribute to tackling global issues, without taking anything away, indeed, stimulating the responsibility of the institutions. And I see that it goes on, because I was telling your Bishop that the other time the group came they talked to me about 6 tons, now 24 tons: go on!

Dear friends, yours is an ancient job. Even my predecessor Peter was a fisherman. In the Gospel we read a series of events related to the life and world of fishermen. The first disciples of Jesus were "your colleagues", and He called them to follow him just as they were setting up the nets on the shore of Lake Galilee. I like to think that even today, how many of you are Christians feel the spiritual presence of the Lord beside you. Your faith animates precious values: popular religiosity which is expressed in trust in God, in the sense of prayer and in the Christian education of children; esteem for the family; the sense of solidarity, so you feel the need to help each other and to help you in your needs. Please don't lose these values!

With these wishes, I entrust you to the protection of the Virgin Mary, whom you venerate as "Our Lady of the Sea", and of your patron Saint Francis of Paola. I invoke the blessing of the Lord upon you, your families and your work. And I ask you, please, to pray for me. Thank you!
Full Text + Image Source:

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18-25 - Promoted by Bishops and Vatican - Free Resources - #ChristianUnity

International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity  

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019: Justice, Only Justice, You Shall Pursue

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18-25

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has a history of over 100 years . . . , in which Christians around the world have taken part in an octave of prayer for visible Christian unity.  By annually observing the WPCU, Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper "that they all may be one."  (cf. John 17:21)
In preparation for the WPCU, ecumenical partners in a particular region were asked to prepare a basic text on a biblical theme. Then an international group organized through the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity edited this text, which was jointly published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. . . and WCC, through their Commission on Faith and Order. . . .  The WCC accompanied the entire production process of the text. The final material was sent to member churches and Roman Catholic dioceses, and they were invited to translate the text and contextualize it for their own use.
Further promotional and preparatory materials for the 2018 WPCU can be found through the World Council of Churches. . . and the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute. . . websites, including:
  • Suggestions for observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
  • Thematic poster art, music, and prayer cards (English/Spanish)
  • Scripture readings, commentaries and questions for reflection
  • Ecumenical prayer service model
  • Historical and contextual information
  • Above Full Text Release from USCCB
FULL English Prayer guide for the Week available from the Vatican here:
Prayer Forgiving God, set us free from the painful memories of the past, that wound our shared Christian life. Lead us to reconciliation so that, through the Holy Spirit we may overcome hatred with love, anger with gentleness, and suspicion with trust. We ask this in the name of your beloved Son, our brother Jesus. Amen.

Wow Weekly Ministry in Maximum Security Prison leads to Baptisms and Confirmations by Bishop

The Catholic Miscellany Greenville Deanery, South Carolina reports that the Diocese of Charelston Prison ministry led to baptism of inmates by bishop. In a report by Terry Cregar on January 14, 2020 it was noted that Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated the sacrament of baptism for inmates at Perry Correctional Institution near Pelzer on Dec. 10, 2019.
Five men received sacraments during a Mass led by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone.

Father Rhett Williams said three of the inmates were baptized and all five received confirmation.

 “Overall, it was a great Mass that involved many inmates, staff, and even guards who were present,” he said.

 “So many loving, caring people attended to watch me being welcomed into the Church. I truly felt the spirit of God throughout the Mass,” said Timmy, one of the men receiving confirmation.

James, another inmate, described his confirmation as “the most important day of my adult life. The understanding of the role Christ plays in my life has taken new shape. I have come to love the Catholic faith, and the more I learn, the better my life becomes.”

A reception was held after the Mass, and the men were treated to Subway sandwiches and soft drinks provided by the prison ministry.

Mass is held at Perry every Thursday, with weekly Catechism classes led by Deacon Leininger or a lay volunteer.

The ministry has lay volunteers that rotate in and out from the local parishes, he said.

 “Each week for Mass we have anywhere from eight to 12 guys, and about the same for classes,” Father Williams said.

During Advent, parishioners from the four Upstate parishes prepared and served a home-cooked Christmas meal to around 125 of the inmates, Father Williams said. It included Christmas carols by parishioners from St. Anthony of Padua.

Located 10 miles west of Fountain Inn, Perry is a maximum-security prison with around 1,000 inmates.
Edited from The Catholic Miscellany

#BreakingNews 17 Human Rights Defenders Killed in 2020 in Colombia - Bishops express "immense pain and concern..."

Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of Colombia feel "immense pain and concern in receiving, every day during this 2020, news of assassinations of leaders and threats to communities", express "solidarity with the survivors, family members and friends of those who lost their lives in this wave of violence and senseless death", says the statement of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia after the murder of another social leader. 17 days have passed since the beginning of 2020 and there are also 17 human rights defenders killed because leaders or representatives of some rural community.
"We insist on the need to implement a national public policy to deal with this threat, which includes protection initiatives, timely responses to alarms and effective presence of state institutions in the most vulnerable communities", write the Bishops, addressing the new municipal and regional administrators recently elected, urging them to put the protection of communities and social leaders into their administrative programs.
The Bishops' request starts from respect for the life of each person, "which is sacred", and the murders and violent actions "against our brothers and sisters" end up "threatening democracy" and the institutions of the Country.
According to the Bishops’ Conference, 17 deaths have been recorded in less than 17 days since the beginning of 2020, while the NGO Instituto de Estudios sobre Paz y Desarrollo (INDEPAZ) reports 21. But this type of violence comes from afar (see Fides, 23/7/2018) and the political movement of the Patriotic March claim that the actual numbers of the murdered leaders exceed 700 units, in addition to the 140 former FARC fighters who were killed after the signing of the peace agreement (see Fides, 4/7/2019). The final count in 2019 was 250 murdered only for social leaders, including 23 in December 2019. The solution to this type of violence, again according to INDEPAZ, is the promotion of the economic and social development of these territories. The Catholic Church, which has been following and denouncing this dramatic situation for some time, has made proposals for the development and respect for human rights in the region (see Fides 13/1/2020). (CE) (Full Text Release by Agenzia Fides, 17/1/2020)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday January 18, 2020 - #Eucharist

Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 310
Reading 1HEB 4:12-16
The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (see John 6:63c)  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

AlleluiaLK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
"Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus heard this and said to them,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Saint January 18 : St. Volusian a Bishop of Tours who Died in 496


Volusian was bishop of Tours, in France, the see made famous by St. Martin two centuries earlier. He lived at a time before clerical celibacy had been enforced in the West and was married to a woman famous for her violent temper, which was a great trial to the bishop. He also lived in a time when the barbarian invasions had begun and the fear of the Goths was everywhere.
In writing to a friend of his, a certain Bishop Ruricius, of nearby Limoges, St. Volusian expressed his fear of the Goths who were beginning to terrorize his diocese. Ruricius humorously replied that someone who lived with terror inside his house, meaning his wife, should have no fear of terrors from the outside.
Volusian was of senatorial rank, very wealthy, a relative of the bishop who preceded him, St. Perpetuus, and he lived in the days when Clovis was king of the Franks, the avowed enemy of the Goths.
As the Goths began to overrun Volusian's diocese, they suspected him of sympathies with Clovis and of wanting to subject them to the Franks, so Volusian was driven from his see and sent into exile.
He held the office of bishop in a very difficult time, when the whole of Western Europe was in turmoil, in the wake of the barbarian invasions from the East. Cities were sacked, government disrupted, and bishops were the only agents of stability as civil government collapsed. Gregory of  Tours, who succeeded Volusian as bishop of Tours a century later, describes the turmoil of the times, and it is from his writings that we get our knowledge of Volusian.
We have no further information about Volusian's wife or his family, and we are not sure whether he died in southern France or in Spain. It is simply known that he was driven from his see, went into exile, and died after ruling as bishop for seven years.
Thought for the Day: Most of us live in very stable times, and it is difficult to imagine what it would be like if our country were invaded and national and state government ceased to exist. Our dependence on Divine Providence would be more obvious then, and our faith would have to give us strength in very different ways. The saints kept faith in the most difficult of times and leaned on God in every crisis.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Saint January 18 : Saint Margaret of Hungary - a Princess who became a Nun and Mystic who came from a Family of Saints

  January 18 is the memorial of Saint Margaret of Hungary, a thirteenth century woman who is remembered as a nun, virgin, princess, and mystic.

Saint Margaret was born in A.D. 1242, the last daughter (ninth of 10 children) of the King of Hungary, Bela IV, and Maria Lascaris, the daughter of the emperor of Constantinople. Saint Margaret is the niece of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and the younger sister of Saint Kinga and Blessed Yolanda.

Before Margaret's birth, her parents had promised Our Lord to dedicate their child to Him if Hungary was victorious over the invading Tartars. After their prayers were answered, now nearly four, they placed Margaret with the Dominican monastery of Veszprim. At the age of 12 Saint Margaret moved to a new monastery built by her father at Buda, and made profession of her final vows before Humbert of Romans.

Saint Margaret lived a life totally dedicated to Christ crucified and by her example of living inspired her sisters to follow her in her asceticism, works of mercy, pursuit of peace, and striving to be of humble service. Saint Margaret opposed all attempts by her father to arrange a political marriage between herself and King Ottokar II of Bohemia. Saint Margaret had a special love for the Eucharist and the Passion of Christ and showed a special devotion to the Holy Spirit and Our Lady.

Saint Margaret died on 18 January 1270. However, she was venerated as a saint during her lifetime. After her death the canonization investigation was begun immediately, including the testimony of 77 persons who said they had received miracles as a result of Saint Margaret's intercession. However, it was not until 19 November 1943 that Saint Margaret was canonized by Venerable Pope Pius XII, on the feast day of her cousin, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
(Edited from


O God of truth,
through the Holy Spirit
you blessed our sister Margaret with true humility.
Teach us that same integrity
so that we may constantly turn from our selfishness
to your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


At Mass, Pope Francis Reminds Us to Look after Spiritual Health too - ".. the Lord teaches us that the health of the heart, spiritual health, must also be cherished.” Homily

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Casa Santa Marta, in the Vatican and spoke on the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel recalled when Jesus healed the paralyzed man brought to him. Pope Francis explained, “Physical health is a gift we have to cherish, but the Lord teaches us that the health of the heart, spiritual health, must also be cherished.” report:
 Pope Francis' homily was based on Jesus’ miraculous healing of the paralytic in St. Mark’s Gospel. Unable to approach Jesus in the packed house in Capernaum, the four men lowered the paralytic on a mat down from the roof. The pope drew attention to the first words of Jesus: “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus later orders him to get up, take up his mat and go home. Jesus, a man of God, the pope said, heals, but He is not a medicine man. He teaches, but is more than a teacher, and in this episode, He focuses on what is essential. The pope said physical health is a gift we must preserve, but the Lord teaches us that we must also preserve the health of the heart, spiritual health.

The Holy Father picked out other instances where Jesus focuses on the essential. In the episode of the sinful and weeping woman, Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven.” However, those present are scandalized, the pope said, because there is prophecy, there is strength. In the same way, to the sick man who never got to the pool on time to be healed, Jesus says, “Do not sin anymore.” To the Samaritan woman who asks so many questions, Jesus goes to what is essential in life.

The pope said “relationship with God is essential.” “We often forget this as if afraid of an encounter with the Lord, with God.” He said we do a lot for our physical health, we advise ourselves regarding doctors and medicines, which is good, the pope said, “but do we think about the health of the heart?” The words of Jesus to the paralytic, he said, can help us in this. Jesus tells him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” The pope noted that we get so used to this medicine of forgiveness of our sins, mistakes and anything, that it gets watered down and loses its strength and the power of prophecy that Jesus has when He focuses on the essential.

Today Jesus tells each one of us, “I want to forgive your sins.” The pope pointed out that perhaps someone may not find sins to confess because “there is a lack of awareness of sins.” The medicine needed to be healed from “concrete sins,” “diseases of the soul,” the pope said, is forgiveness. It is simple when Jesus goes to the essentials, the pope said. The health of both body and soul is essential. Watching over our body and the soul, he said, we go to that Doctor who can heal us, who can forgive our sins. He is Jesus who came for this and gave His life for this.

Quote to SHARE by St Padre Pio “Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” 

“Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” 
Saint Padre Pio

RIP Fr. Diego - Young Priest Ordained with Terminal Cancer Dies and Funeral celebrated in packed Church

On December 4, the Diocese of Garzon posted this message about the death of Fr. Diego:
I inform you all that our brother Father Diego Omar Peña Navia rested this morning in the peace of God. Let us give thanks to God and trust him to his father's mercy. May the Lord all strengthen us with our eyes on the resurrection. The natural human pain is overcome by the hope that springs from faith. Peace and good. (Mons. Fray Fabio Duque Jaramillo, OFM. - Bishop of Garzón). Source:

Before being ordained he was in the final phase of his disease, a nasopharyngeal cancer but given special permission by Pope Francis to be ordained despite this.

* «It was the most beautiful thing that happened to me, not because they called me to be a priest, which in itself is a lot of joy, but because the disease helped me discover the love of Jesus Christ. He has manifested his work in me and also wants it for the lives of others. I am in God's hands and if things become very serious for me, I have begged you to fill me with strength to take on the pain with much love, although my pains have been small in front of people who have really suffered. I want to die with the chasuble on, because dying as a priest is worth everything, just like Polish father Michel Los died. I feel happy that the will of Jesus Christ is done, no matter if it is after the ordination or later, if God gives me a little more time »

 Diego Omar explained “I never asked for ordination… it was God who wanted it for me. It is He in his infinite goodness who has manifested in this way. ”

When he was 16 years old and was a young man who went out to dance, had friends, played football, almost never went to mass and traveled the streets of his town, Saladoblanco (department of Huila, in southern Colombia). . At that time he decided to return to the church where on Sunday he felt that during the Eucharist he "had been healed." From that moment - Peña Navia tells the journalist Humberto Sosa in the “Focus” program of the San.TV Channel - “my priestly vocation was born and I decided to surrender to the Lord”. Diego Omar entered the Conciliar María Inmaculada de Garzón Seminar on February 1, 2015 and is currently in the third year of Philosophy.

Shortly after, on February 1, 2015 he entered the Diocesan Seminary of Mary Immaculate, in Garzón, where he already recovered began his studies to become a priest and follow in the footsteps of José Ervin, his older brother. Diego Omar is currently in the third year of Philosophy. For four years, the seminarian fully complied with the demanding academic program of one of the most prestigious seminars in Colombia, but again, cancer attacked him this year 2019 with such fierceness that he had to divide his time between studies, trips to Bogotá, consultations with dozens of specialists, strenuous examinations and a terrible diagnosis: the disease had advanced and had to prepare for the worst.

Even so, it remains attached to God, to prayers and to the divine will. Diego Omar says it calmly and without drama: “It has been the most beautiful thing that has happened to me, not because they called me to be a priest, which in itself is a lot of joy, but because the disease helped me discover the love of Jesus Christ . He has manifested his work in me and also wants it for the lives of others. ”

The future priest affirms that he is not afraid of death, but of the pain and physical suffering he may feel as a result of the final attack of the disease and the ineffectiveness of medications. “If death came at this time and I was in the presence of Jesus Christ, that would make me very happy, although I know that I am a great sinner and that I am not yet modeled as God would like, for example, as a great saint, type the priest de Ars ”, emphasized the Colombian seminarian.

Edited from Source:

Pope Francis says "As baptized Christians..Christ wishes to meet us precisely in those who are...shipwrecked in life." Full Text to Lutherans

Friday, 17 January 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I offer you a cordial welcome in the words of Saint Paul: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:7). I thank Bishop Teemu for his words, a beautiful invitation to mutual understanding in the midst of today’s many misunderstandings. Your ecumenical pilgrimage for the feast of Saint Henrik has once more brought you to Rome. Together you are journeying – as all of us are – in communion of faith, so as to encourage one another and to strengthen one another in Christian discipleship.
This past Sunday, we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus and we recalled our own baptism. A Christian is someone who can give thanks for his or her baptism; and this gratitude unites us within the community of all the baptized. The “baptism for the forgiveness of sins” that we profess in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is also a clear summons to holiness.
The Report of the Catholic-Lutheran dialogue group for Sweden and Finland, entitled Justification in the Life of the Church, rightly observes that “those who are already baptized can, together with their brothers and sisters, develop their opportunities for holiness, which come from their common justification in Christ. As members of one and the same mystical body of Christ, Christians are bound to one another and must bear one another’s burdens. Since Christ came to redeem the whole world, it is also a mission for the church and for individual Christians, both lay and ordained, to witness to the good news in the midst of their daily life” (No. 203).
Hospitality is likewise part of our shared witness of faith in daily life. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins tomorrow, shows us this ecumenical virtue, and indeed recommends it to us. “They showed us unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2) as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, with reference to the inhabitants of the island of Malta, who received with hospitality the Apostle Paul, together with hundreds of shipwrecked people.
As baptized Christians, we believe that Christ wishes to meet us precisely in those who are – both literally and figuratively – shipwrecked in life. Those who show hospitality grow richer, not poorer. Whoever gives, receives in return. For the humanity we show to others makes us in a mysterious way partakers in the goodness of the God who became man.
Dear Finnish friends, as heralds of humanity, as recipients of the goodness of God incarnate, we are journeying together in the community of all the baptized. Christians are those who can give thanks for their baptism. This gratitude links and expands our hearts, and opens them to our neighbour, who is not an adversary but our beloved brother, our beloved sister. The community of all the baptized is not a mere “standing beside one another”, and certainly not a “standing against one other”, but wants to become an ever fuller “standing together”.

Spiritual ecumenism and ecumenical dialogue serve to deepen this “standing together”. May this “standing together” continue to grow, prosper and bear fruit in Finland. To that end, I pray that God may grant you his abundant grace and his blessing. I would ask you also to please pray for me. Thank you.
Full Text + Image Source: - Official Translation

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, January 17, 2020 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Anthony, abbot
Lectionary: 309

Reading 11 SM 8:4-7, 10-22A
All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, “Now that you are old,
and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”
Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them.
He prayed to the LORD, however, who said in answer:
“Grant the people’s every request.
It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.”
Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full
to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them:
“The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:
He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses,
and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups
of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers.
He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting,
and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you.”
The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said,
“Not so!  There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles.”
When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say,
he repeated it to the LORD, who then said to him,
“Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them.”

Responsorial Psalm89:16-17, 18-19

R.    (2)    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
For you are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

AlleluiaLK 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”