Friday, April 20, 2018

#BreakingNews Catholic Priest Kidnapped - Fr. Edwin Omorogbe of St. Paul's Church - Please Pray

However, men of the Edo State police command have begun combing forest in Uhunmwode Local Council in search of Omorogbe. The state Commissioner of Police, Babatunde Kokumo, who confirmed the development, said all efforts were being made to secure the release of Fr. Omorogbe.
Kokumo assured that the kidnapped priest would be released as soon as possible. As at the time of this report, no contact had been made by the abductors.It would be recalled that in January, three Catholic reverend sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Convent and three other females, who were kidnapped by gunmen in Edo State, were released after spending 53 days in the kidnappers' den. Also, the Parish Priest of St. Benedict Church, Iddo 2, Okpella of Auchi Diocese, Fr. Lawrence Adorolo was abducted last September and released days later.
(FULL TEXT Release The Guardian- All Africa

#BreakingNews Catholic Missionary Sister Arrested and now Facing Deportation in Philippines

(Note: Philly Star now reports that Sister Fox was released but faces deportation)  The arrest of an elderly missionary nun, a shameful and anti-democratic act
ASIA NEWS Report: A 71-year-old Australian nun and well-known human rights activist, who has been in the country for 27 years, has been accused of joining anti-government demonstrations. The Catholic Church and activists are now concerned about a government campaign against dissent.

Manila (AsiaNews) – "It is a shameful act, a very undemocratic gesture by the government. They should be ashamed because speaking in favour of the poor cannot be a crime," said Fr Edwin A. Gariguez, head of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) and Caritas Philippines, the humanitarian agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The clergyman spoke to AsiaNews about Sister Patricia Anne Fox (picture), the 71-year-old Australian nun and human rights activist, who was briefly detained.
In his address to the Armed Forces of the Philippines change of command ceremony yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte took "full responsibility" for the arrest of Sister Patricia, who is the superior of the Our Lady of Sion congregation in the Philippines.
The president said he had ordered that the missionary be investigated for "disorderly conduct", on the grounds that she was “undesirable alien” who has no right “to criticise us”.
Sister Patricia has been in the country for 27 years and has worked with farmers and indigenous peoples.
She recently joined an international fact-finding and solidarity mission that investigated alleged rights abuses against farmers and lumad in Mindanao.
The authorities accuse Fox of joining anti-government demonstrations in the cities of Davao and Tagum, both in Mindanao.
Three days ago, six officials from the Bureau of Immigration removed Sister Patricia from the mission house in Quezon City and took her to the Bureau’s intelligence division in Intramuros, Manila.
The nun was released Tuesday afternoon after 22 hours after it was established that she holds a valid missionary visa making her a “properly documented alien”.
The Bureau of Immigration said that Fox is not covered by inquest proceedings as the latter will only apply to aliens arrested after being caught in flagrante violating immigration laws.
Nevertheless, the missionary will still be under investigation to determine if deportation charges should be filed against her.
Under the immigration law, foreigners are barred from joining mass actions or political activity as the act amounts to violating the conditions of their stay in the country.
Fox admitted joining demonstrations in solidarity with peasant groups but “not anti-government rallies”.
“I would call it religious because we are called to stand beside the poor,” she said. “I haven’t joined partisan political rallies but I have been active in human rights issues.”
The Catholic Church and human rights activists are concerned that a campaign against dissent lies behind Sister Patricia’s Patricia.
Mgr Broderick Pabilllo, auxiliary bishop of Manila, visited the nun at the Bureau of Immigration Monday evening.
Speaking about the incident, he said, “There’s no martial law yet but they are already going after people who oppose them.”
Fr Edwin A. Gariguez however is “convinced that what happened will not affect the missionary work of the Church in the Philippines.”
He explained that "By virtue of her prophetic ministry, the Church is called to be courageous, bold in expressing herself in the name of truth, as well as the rights of the last and the oppressed”.
Hence, “we cannot be intimidated by the government. We will carry on our mission and the government can do nothing to stop us ".
What is more, "Sister Patricia's arrest goes against the cultural values ​​of the Filipino people. We are a very charitable people towards others and seeing a 71-year-old nun in prison has struck a chord with people.
"Sister Patricia's detention is also unacceptable to Duterte's supporters because piety and respect for the elderly are an integral part of our tradition. On social media there have been very harsh reactions, I have read many comments from outraged people.

FULL TEXT Release from Asia News IT

Pope Francis "God favours, one by one, our fragile lives; the echo of His voice of love that speaks to us every day..." FULL Official TEXT + Video

Pastoral visit of the Holy Father to Alessano (Lecce) in the diocese of Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca, and to Molfetta (Bari) in the diocese of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi, on the 25th anniversary of the death of H.E. Msgr. Tonino Bello – (I), 20.04.2018
SOURCE: Official Translation of

At 7.35 this morning, the Holy Father Francis departed from Ciampino airport destined for Alessano (Lecce), in the diocese of Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca, and Molfetta (Bari) in the diocese of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi on the 25th anniversary of the death of H.E. Msgr. Tonino Bello.
At around 8.20 he arrived at the “Fortunato Cesari” Military Airport of Galatina, from where the Pope departed immediately by helicopter for Alessano.
Upon arrival, expected at 8.30, in the car park next to the cemetery of Alessano, the Pope was received by H.E. Msgr. Vito Angiuli, bishop of Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca, and by the mayor of Alessano, Francesca Torsello.
The Holy Father proceeded to the tomb of Msgr. Tonino Bello for a moment of prayer, and then greeted family members of the Servant of God.
The Pope subsequently transferred to the square next to the cemetery for the meeting with the faithful.
After greetings from H.E. Msgr. Angiuli, the Holy Father gave an address. At the end, he greeted a representation of faithful.
At 9.30, the helicopter carrying the Holy Father departed for Molfetta.

Address of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters,
I have come as a pilgrim to this land where the Servant of God Tonino Bello was born. I have just prayed at his tomb, which does not rise monumentally upwards, but is flat on the ground: Don Tonino, sowed in his land – he, like a seed sown – seems to want to tell us how much he loved this territory. On this I would like to reflect, evoking above all some of his words of gratitude: “Thank you, my land, small and poor, which allowed me to be born poor as you but which, precisely for this reason, gave me the incomparable wealth of understanding the poor and of being able today to place myself at their service” [1]
Understanding the poor was for him the true wealth, it was also understanding his mother, understanding the poor was his wealth. He was right, because the poor are truly the wealth of the Church. Remind us of this again, Don Tonino, when faced with the recurrent temptation to line up behind whoever is in power, to seek privileges, to get used to a comfortable life. The Gospel – you used to remind us of this at Christmas and at Easter – often calls us to an uncomfortable life, because those who follow Jesus love the poor and the humble. As the Master did, so His Mother proclaimed, praising God who “has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (Lk 1: 52). A Church that has the poor at heart is always in harmony with the channel of God, never loses the frequency of the Gospel and feels she has to return to the essential to profess consistently that the Lord is the only true good.
Don Tonino reminds us not to theorize closeness to the poor, but to stay close to them, as Jesus did, Who for us, rich as He was, made Himself poor (cf. 2 Cor 8, 9). Don Tonino felt the need to imitate Him, getting involved firsthand, to the point of dispossessing himself. Requests did not disturb him, but it was indifference that hurt him. He was not afraid of a lack of money, but worried about the uncertainty of work, a problem that is still very current today. He never missed an opportunity to say that in the first place there must be the worker with his dignity, not profit with his greed. He did not stay with his hands in his pockets: he acted locally to sow peace globally, in the belief that the best way to prevent violence and all kinds of wars is to take care of the needy and to promote justice. Indeed, if the war generates poverty, poverty too generates war [2]. Peace, therefore, is built by starting from houses, from streets, from workshops, where communion is shaped in an artisanal way. Don Tonino said, hopefully: “From the workshop, like the day from the workshop of Nazareth, the word of peace will come out that will set humanity, thirsty for justice, on the path of new destinies” [3].
Dear brothers and sisters, this vocation of peace belongs to your land, to this wonderful frontier land - finis-terrae - that Don Tonino called “terra-finestra”, “window land”, because from the South of Italy one opens up to the many Souths of the world, where “The poorest are ever more numerous while the rich are getting richer and ever fewer” [4]. You are an “open window, from which you can observe all the poverty that impends on history” [5], but above all you are a window of hope because the Mediterranean, the historical basin of civilization, is never a stretched longbow, but rather an ark of welcoming peace [6].
Don Tonino was a man of his land, because his priesthood matured in this land. Here there unfolded his vocation, which he loved to call his evocation: evocation of how madly God favours, one by one, our fragile lives; echo of His voice of love that speaks to us every day; the call always to go ahead, to dream boldly, to decentralize our own existence to place it in service; the invitation always to trust in God, the only One capable of transforming life into a feast. So, this is vocation according to Don Tonino: a call to become not only devoted faithful, but to be genuinely in love with the Lord, with the ardour of the dream, the seal of the gift, the boldness of never stopping at half measures. Because when the Lord inflames the heart, hope cannot be extinguished. When the Lord asks for a “yes”, one cannot answer “perhaps”. It will do good, not only to the young but to all of us, to all those who seek meaning in life, to listen and re-listen to the words of Don Tonino.
In this land, Antonio was born as Tonino and become Don Tonino. This name, simple and familiar, which we read on his tombstone, speaks to us still. It tells of his wish to make himself small to be close, to shorten distances, to offer an outstretched hand. It invites us to the simple and genuine openness of the Gospel. Don Tonino had greatly recommended this, leaving it as a legacy to his priests. He said: “Let us love the world. Let us love it well. Let us take it under our wing. Let us use mercy. Let is not always oppose it to the rigours of the law if we have not tempered them first with doses of tenderness. [7] They are words that reveal the desire for a Church for the world: not worldly, but for the world. May the Lord give us this grace: a Church that is not worldly, in the service of the world. A Church that is devoid of self-centredness and “extroverted, outreaching, not wrapped up in itself” [8]; not waiting to receive, but to provide urgent care; never drowsing in the nostalgia of the past, but illuminated with love for today, following the example of God, Who “so loved the world” (Jn 3: 16).
The name of “Don Tonino” also tells us of his healthy allergy towards titles and honours, his desire to deprive himself of something for Jesus who had divested Himself of everything, his courage to free himself of what could recall the signs of powerso as to give space to the power of signs [9]. Don Tonino certainly did not do it for convenience or to seek consensus, but because he was moved by the example of the Lord. In love for Him we find the strength to dispose of the garments that hinder the passage to put us in service, to be a “Church of the tunic, the only priestly vestment recorded in the Gospel” [10].
From this beloved land, what could Don Tonino still say to us? This believer with his feet on the ground and his eyes in Heaven, and above all with a heart that connected Heaven and earth, coined, among many others, an original word, which gives each of us a great mission. He liked to say that we Christians “must be contempl-active, with a “c”, that is, people who start from contemplation and then let their dynamism, their commitment to action, flow” [11], people who never separate prayer and action. Dear Don Tonino, you warned us against immersing ourselves in the whirlwind of affairs without planting ourselves in front of the tabernacle, so as not to deceive ourselves of working in vain for the Kingdom [12]. And we can ask ourselves if we start from the tabernacle or from ourselves. You could also ask us if, once we set out, we walk; if, like Mary, the Woman of the path, if we arise to reach and serve man, every man. If you asked, we would have to feel ashamed of our immobility and our constant justifications. Give us again, then, our high vocation; help us to be increasingly a contemplactive Church, in love with God and impassioned about humanity.
Dear brothers and sisters, in every age the Lord places on the path of the Church witnesses who incarnate the good news of Easter, prophets of hope for the future of all. From your land, God made one of them emerge, as a gift and prophecy for our times. And God wishes for His gift to be received, for his prophecy to come true. Let us not be content to note down good memories, let us not be harnessed by past nostalgia or even idle chatter of the present or fears for the future. Let us imitate Don Tonino, let us be carried away by his young Christian ardour, let us feel his urgent invitation to live the Gospel without half-measures. It is a powerful invitation to each of us, and to us as a Church. Truly it will help us spread the fragrant joy of the Gospel today.
Now, all together, let us pray to Our Lady and afterwards I will give you my blessing, all right?
[Hail Mary and blessing]

[1] «Grazie, Chiesa di Alessano», La terra dei miei sogni. Bagliori di luce dagli scritti ugentini, 2014, 477.
[2] Cfr Saint John Paul II, «If you want peace, reach out to the poor», Message for World Day of Peace, 1 January 1993.
[3] La terra dei miei sogni, 32.
[4] «Il pentalogo della speranza», Scritti vari, interviste aggiunte, 2007, 252.
[5] «La speranza a caro prezzo», Scritti di pace, 1997, 348.
[6] Cfr «La profezia oltre la mafia», ivi, 280.
[7] «Torchio e spirito. Omelia per la Messa crismale 1993», Lenten homilies and writings, 2015, 97.
[8] «Sacerdoti per il mondo», Cirenei della gioia, 2004, 26.
[9] «Dai poveri verso tutti», ivi, 122 ss.
[10] «Configurati a Cristo capo e sacerdote», ivi, 61.
[11] Ivi, 55.
[12] Cfr «Contempl-attivi nella ferialità quotidiana», Non c’è fedeltà senza rischio, 2000, 124; «Soffrire le cose di Dio e soffrire le cose dell’uomo», Cirenei della gioia, 81-82.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday April 20, 2018 - #Eucharist

Friday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 277

Reading 1ACTS 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 6:56

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Saint April 20 : St. Agnes of Montepulciano : #Nun and #Foundress

St. Agnes of Montepulciano
Feast: April 20

Feast Day:
April 20
1268 at Gracchiano-Vecchio, Tuscany, Italy
20 April 1317
1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
Born in the neighbourhood of Montepulciano in Tuscany about 1268; died there 1317. At the age of nine years she entered a monastery. Four years later she was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV to assist in the foundation of a monastery at Proceno, and became its prioress at the age of fifteen. At the entreaty of the citizens of her native town, she established (1298) the celebrated convent of Dominican nuns at Montepulciano which she governed until the time of her death. She was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Her feast is celebrated on 20 April.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis “Evangelization is the Spirit’s work” Homily at Mass in Vatican

Pope at Mass: “Evangelization is the Spirit’s work”
At Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning, Pope Francis uses the account of Philip’s evangelizing activity in Acts 8:26-40 to explain evangelization using three key words: “Get up”, “draw near”, and “start with an actual situation”.
During his homily at Thursday morning’s Mass, Pope Francis reminded us that every Christian has an obligation and a mission to accomplish: evangelization. “Get up”, draw near”, and “start with an actual situation” are three keys to unlock what evangelization is.
The wind of persecution sows God’s Word
Pope Francis began by explaining that the “wind of persecution” experienced by the early Church drove the disciples out of Jerusalem to other parts of Judea and to Samaria. Just like the wind does with seeds from plants, it transports and sows them elsewhere, so also it happens here: they went elsewhere, with the seed of the Word, and they sowed the Word of God… From the wind of persecution, the disciples brought evangelization…. This is how the Lord evangelizes…. This is how the Lord wants us to evangelize.
“Get up and go”
Evangelization is not proselytism, Pope Francis continued. True evangelization takes place under the action of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who indicates in mysterious ways where we are to go and to whom we are to “proclaim the name of Jesus”, Pope Francis said. Commenting on the Spirit’s interaction with Philip, the Pope said: And he begins saying: “Get up and go”. Get up and go to that place. An “armchair” evangelization does not exist. “Get up and go”. It is always on the move. “Go”. Movement. Go to the place where you must declare the Word.
Pope Francis recalled the many missionaries who left everything to bring the Word of God to far off lands. “Not having the antibodies to resist the illnesses of those lands”, many died or were martyred, he said.
Draw near in order to use actual situations
Instead of beginning with a theory, the Pope said that we need to draw near to what is actually occurring and start from that. Pope Francis illustrated this with the example of Philip evangelizing the Ethiopian eunuch.
Evangelization is not theoretical. Evangelization takes place person to person. The starting point is a situation, not a theory. [Philip] announces Jesus Christ, and the courage of the Spirit moves him to baptize [the eunuch]. Go beyond, go, go, until you feel that your work has been accomplished. This is how to evangelize.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican News 

Saint April 19 : St. Leo IX : #Pope

Feast Day:
April 19
21 June 1002 at Egisheim, Alsace
19 April 1054 in Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy
(1049-54), b. at Egisheim, near Colmar, on the borders of Alsace, 21 June, 1002; d. 19 April, 1054. He belonged to a noble family which had given or was to give saints to the Church and rulers to the Empire. He was named Bruno. His father Hugh was first cousin to Emperor Conrad, and both Hugh and his wife Heilewide were remarkable for their piety and learning. As a sign of the tender conscience which soon began to manifest itself in the saintly child, we are told that, though he had given abundant proofs of a bright mind, on one occasion he could not study out of an exceptionally beautiful book which his mother had bought and given to him. At length it transpired that the book had been stolen from the Abbey of St. Hubert in the Ardennes. When Heilewide had restored the volume to its rightful owners, the little Bruno's studies proceeded unchecked. When five years of age, he was committed to the care of the energetic Berthold, Bishop of Toul, who had a school for the sons of the nobility. Intelligent, graceful in body, and gracious in disposition, Bruno was a favourite with his schoolfellows. Whilst still a youth and at home for his holidays, he was attacked when asleep by some animal, and so much injured that for some time he lay between life and death. In that condition he saw, as he used afterwards to tell his friends, a vision of St. Benedict, who cured him by touching his wounds with a cross. This we are told by Leo's principal biographer, Wibert, who was his intimate friend when the saint was Bishop of Toul.
Bruno became a canon of St. Stephen's at Toul (1017), and though still quite young exerted a soothing influence on Herimann, the choleric successor of Bishop Berthold. When, in 1024, Conrad, Bruno's cousin, succeeded the Emperor Henry I, the saint's relatives sent him to the new king's court "to serve in his chapel". His virtue soon made itself felt, and his companions, to distinguish him from others who bore the same name, always spoke of him as "the good Bruno". In 1026 Conrad set out for Italy to make his authority respected in that portion of his dominions, and as Herimann, Bishop of Toul, was too old to lead his contingent into the peninsula, he entrusted the command of it to Bruno, then a deacon. There is reason to believe that this novel occupation was not altogether uncongenial to him, for soldiers seem always to have had an attraction for him. While he was thus in the midst of arms, Bishop Herimann died and Bruno was at once elected to succeed him. Conrad, who destined him for  higher things, was loath to allow him to accept that insignificant see. But Bruno, who was wholly disinclined for the higher things, and wished to live in as much obscurity as possible, induced his sovereign to permit him to take the see. Consecrated in 1027, Bruno administered the Diocese of Toul for over twenty years, in a season of stress and trouble of all kinds. He had to contend not merely with famine, but also with war, to which as a frontier town Toul was much exposed. Bruno, however, was equal to his position. He knew how to make peace, and, if necessary, to wield the sword in self-defence. Sent by Conrad to Robert the Pious, he established so firm a peace between France and the empire that it was not again broken even during the reigns of the sons of both Conrad and Robert. On the other hand, he held his episcopal city against Eudes, Count of Blois, a rebel against Conrad, and "by his wisdom and exertions" added Burgundy to the empire. It was whilst he was bishop that he was saddened by the death not merely of his father and mother, but also of two of his brothers. Amid his trials Bruno found some consolation in music, in which he proved himself very efficient.
The German Pope Damasus II died in 1048, and the Romans sent to ask Henry III, Conrad's successor, to let them have as the new pope either Halinard, Archbishop of Lyons, or Bruno. Both of them were favourably known to the Romans by what they had seen of them when they came to Rome on pilgrimage. Henry at once fixed upon Bruno, who did all he could to avoid the honour which his sovereign wished to impose upon him. When at length he was overcome by the combined importunities of the emperor, the Germans, and the Romans, he agreed to go to Rome, and to accept the papacy if freely elected thereto by the Roman people. He wished, at least, to rescue the See of Peter from its servitude to the German emperors. When, in company with Hildebrand he reached Rome, and presented himself to its people clad in pilgrim's guise and barefooted, but still tall, and fair to look upon, they cried out with one voice that him and no other would they have as pope. Assuming the name of Leo, he was solemnly enthroned 12 February, 1049. Before Leo could do anything in the matter of the reform of the Church on which his heart was set, he had first to put down another attempt on the part of the ex-Pope Benedict IX to seize the papal throne. He had then to attent to money matters, as the papal finances were in a deplorable condition. To better them he put them in the hands of Hildebrand, a man capable of improving anything.
He then began the work of reform which was to give the next  hundred years a character of their own, and which his great successor Gregory VII was to carry so far forward. In April, 1049, he held a synod at which he condemned the two notorious evils of the day, simony and clerical incontinence. Then he commenced those journeys throughout Europe in the cause of a reformation of manners which gave him a pre- eminent right to be styled Peregrinus Apostolicus. Leaving Rome in May, he held a council of reform at Pavia, and pushed on through Germany to Cologne, where he joined the Emperor Henry III. In union with him he brought about peace in Lorraine by excommunicating the rebel Godfrey the Bearded. Despite the jealous efforts of King Henry I to prevent him from coming to France, Leo next proceeded to Reims, where he held an important synod, at which both bishops and abbots from England assisted. There also assembled in the city to see the famous pope an enormous number of enthusiastic people, "Spaniards, Bretons, Franks, Irish, and English". Besides excommunicating the Archbishop of Compostela (because he had ventured to assume the title of Apostolicus, reserved to the pope alone), and forbidding marriage between William (afterwards called the Conqueror) and Matilda of Flanders, the assembly issued many decrees of reform. On his way back to Rome Leo held another synod at Mainz, everywhere rousing public opinion against the great evils of the time as he went along, and everywhere being received with unbounded enthusiasm. It is apparently in connexion with this return journey that we have the first mention of the Golden Rose. The Abbess of Woffenheim, in return for certain privileges bestowed by the pope, had to send to Rome "a golden rose" before Lætare Sunday, on which day, says Leo, the popes are wont to carry it. Also before he returned to Rome, he discussed with Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, the formation of all the Scandinavian countries, including Iceland and Greenland, into a patriarchate, of which the see was to be Bremen. The scheme was never accomplished, but meanwhile Leo authorized the consecration by Adalbert of the first native bishop for Iceland.
In January, 1050, Leo returned to Rome, only to leave it again almost immediately for Southern Italy, whither the sufferings of its people called him. They were being heavily oppressed by the Normans. To the expostulations of Leo the wily Normans replied with promises, and when the pope, after holding a council at Spoleto, returned to Rome, they continued their oppressions as before. At the usual paschal synod which Leo was in the habit of holding at Rome, the heresy of Berengarius of Tours was condemned&#mdash;a condemnation repeated by the pope a few months later at Vercelli. Before the year 1050 had come to a close, Leo had begun his second transalpine journey. He went first to Toul, in order solemnly to translate the relics of Gerard, bishop of that city, whom he had just canonized, and then to Germany to interview the Emperor Henry the Black. One of the results of this meeting was that Hunfrid, Archbishop of Ravenna, was compelled by the emperor to cease acting as though he were the independent ruler of Ravenna and its district, and to submit to the pope. Returning to Rome, Leo held another of his paschal synods in April, 1051, and in July went to take possession of Benevento. Harassed by their enemies, the Beneventans concluded that their only hope of peace was to submit themselves to the authority of the pope. This they did, and received Leo into their city with the greatest honour. While in this vicinity, Leo again made further efforts to lessen the excesses of the Normans, but they were crippled by the native Lombards, who with as much folly as wickedness massacred a number of the Normans in Apulia. Realizing that nothing could then be done with the irate Norman survivors, Leo retraced his steps to Rome (1051).
The Norman question was henceforth ever present to the pope's mind. Constantly oppressed by the Normans, the people of Southern Italy ceased not to implore the pope to come and help them. The Greeks, fearful of being expelled from the peninsula altogether, begged Leo to co-operate with them against the common foe. Thus urged, Leo sought assistance on all sides. Failing to obtain it, he again tried the effect of personal mediation (1052). But again failure attended his efforts. He began to be convinced that appeal would have to be made to the sword. At this juncture an embassy arrived from the Hungarians, entreating him to come and make peace between them and the emperor. Again Leo crossed the Alps, but, thinking he was sure of success, Henry would not accept the terms proposed by the pope, with the result that his expedition against the Hungarians proved a failure. And though he at first undertook to let Leo have a German force to act against the Normans, he afterwards withdrew his promise, and the pope had to return to Italy with only a few German troops raised by his relatives (1053). In March, 1053, Leo was back in Rome. Finding the state of affairs in Southern Italy worse than ever, he raised what forces he could among the Italian princes, and, declaring war on the Normans, tried to effect a junction with the Greek general. But the Normans defeated first the Greeks and then the pope at Civitella (June, 1053). After the battle Leo gave himself up to his conquerors, who treated him with the utmost respect and consideration, and professed themselves his soldiers.
Though he gained more by defeat than he could have gained by victory, Leo betook himself to Benevento, a broken-hearted man. The slain at Civitella were ever before him, and he was profoundly troubled by the attitude of Michael Cærularius, Patriarch of Constantinople. That ambitious prelate was determined, if possible, to have no superior in either Church or State. As early as 1042, he had struck the pope's name off the sacred diptychs, and soon proceeded, first in private and then in public, to attack the Latin Church because it used unfermented bread (azymes) in the Sacrifice of the Mass. At length, and that, too, in a most barbarous manner, he closed the Latin churches in Constantinople. In reply to this violence, Leo addressed a strong letter to Michael (Sept., 1053), and began to study Greek in order the better to understand the matters in dispute. However, if Michael had taken advantage of the pope's difficulties with the Normans to push his plans, the Greek Emperor, seeing that his hold on Southern Italy was endangered by the Norman success, put pressure on the patriarch to make him more respectful to the pope. To the conciliatory letters which Constantine and Cærularius now dispatched to Rome,  Leo sent suitable replies (Jan., 1054), blaming the arrogance of the patriarch. His letters were conveyed by two distinguished cardinals, Humbert and Frederick, but he had departed this life before the momentous issue of his embassy was known in Rome. On 16 July, 1054, the two cardinals excommunicated Cærularius, and the East was finally cut off from the body of the Church.
The annals of England show that Leo had many relations with that country, and its saintly King Edward. He dispensed the king from a vow which he had taken to make a pilgrimage to Rome, on condition that he give alms to the poor, and endow a monastery in honour of St. Peter. Leo also authorized the translation of the See of Crediton to Exeter, and forbade the consecration of the unworthy Abbot of Abingdon (Spearhafor) as Bishop of London. Throughout the troubles which Robert of Jumièges, Archbishop of Canterbury, had with the family of Earl Godwin, he received the support of the pope, who sent him the pallium and condemned Stigand, the usurper of his see (1053?). King Macbeth, the supposed murderer of Duncan, whom Shakespeare has immortalized, is believed to have visited Rome during Leo's pontificate, and may be thought to have exposed the needs of his soul to that tender father. After the battle of Civitella Leo never recovered his spirits. Seized at length with a mortal illness, he caused himself to be carried to Rome (March, 1054), where he died a most edifying death. He was buried in St. Peter's, was a worker of miracles both in life and in death, and found a place in the Roman Martyrology.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday April 19, 2018 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 276

Reading 1ACTS 8:26-40

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
“Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and join up with that chariot.”
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
He replied,
“How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
“I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?”
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?”
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Responsorial PsalmPS 66:8-9, 16-17, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Bless our God, you peoples,
loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,
and has not let our feet slip.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven,
says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds:
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world."

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pope Francis "The Sign of the Cross expresses the seal of Christ...Teach children to do the Sign of the Cross well." FULL TEXT + Video


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Catechesis on Baptism. 2. The sign of the Christian faith

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We continue the catechesis on Baptism during this Easter season. The meaning of baptism clearly stands out from its celebration, so we turn our attention to it. Considering the gestures and words of the liturgy we can grasp the grace and commitment of this sacrament, which is always to be rediscovered. We remember this in the sprinkling with the holy water that can be done on Sundays at the beginning of the Mass, as well as in the renewal of the baptismal promises during the Easter Vigil. In fact, what happens in the celebration of baptism arouses a spiritual dynamic that goes through the whole life of the baptized; it is the beginning of a process that allows one to live united to Christ in the Church. Therefore, returning to the source of Christian life leads us to better understand the gift received on the day of our Baptism and to renew the commitment to respond to it in the condition in which we find ourselves today. Renew the commitment, better understand this gift, which is baptism, and remember the day of our baptism. Last Wednesday I asked to do homework and each of us, remember the day of the baptism, which day I was baptized. I know that some of you know it, others, no; those who do not know it, ask the relatives, those people, godparents, godmothers ... ask: "What is the date of my baptism?" Because Baptism is a rebirth and it is like a second birthday. I got it? Do this homework, ask: "What is the date of my baptism?".

First of all, in the welcoming rite, the candidate's name is asked, because the name indicates the identity of a person. When we introduce ourselves, we immediately say our name: "I call myself so", so as to get out of anonymity, the anonymous is the one that has no name. To get out of anonymity, let's say our name right away. Without name you remain unknown, without rights and duties. God calls each one by name, loving us individually, in the concreteness of our history. Baptism ignites the personal vocation to live as Christians, which will develop throughout life. And it implies a personal and not borrowed answer, with a "copy and paste". In fact, Christian life is interwoven with a series of calls and answers: God continues to pronounce our name over the years, making his call to conform to his Son Jesus resound in a thousand ways. The name is therefore important! Is very important! Parents think of the name to give to their child before birth: this too is part of the expectation of a child who, in his own name, will have his original identity, even for the Christian life tied to God.

Of course, becoming a Christian is a gift that comes from above (cf. Jn 3: 3-8). Faith can not be bought, but to ask yes, and to receive as a gift yes. "Lord, give me the gift of faith", it is a beautiful prayer! "That I have faith" is a beautiful prayer. Ask for it as a gift, but you can not buy it, you ask. In fact, "Baptism is the sacrament of that faith, by which men, enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit, respond to the Gospel of Christ" (Rite of the Baptism of Children, Introductory Gen., No. 3). The formation of catechumens and the preparation of parents tend to arouse and awaken a sincere faith in response to the Gospel, such as listening to the Word of God in the celebration of baptism.

If adult catechumens show firsthand what they want to receive as a gift from the Church, children are presented by their parents, with their godparents. Dialogue with them, allows them to express the will that children receive Baptism and the Church intends to celebrate it. "Expression of all this is the sign of the cross, which the celebrant and his parents trace on the foreheads of children" (Rite of the Baptism of Children, Introd., No. 16). "The sign of the cross expresses the seal of Christ on the one who is about to belong to him and signifies the grace of redemption that Christ has acquired for us through his cross" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1235). In the ceremony we make the sign of the cross on children. But I would like to go back to a subject that I spoke to you about. Do our children know how to make the sign of the cross well? So many times I have seen children who can not make the sign of the cross. And you, father, mother, grandparents, grandmothers, godparents, godmothers, you must teach to do well the sign of the cross because it is to repeat what has been done in Baptism. You got it right? Teach children to do the sign of the cross well. If they learn it as children they will do well later, when they grow up.

The cross is the badge that shows who we are: our speaking, thinking, looking, working is under the sign of the cross, that is, under the sign of Jesus' love until the end. The children are marked in front. Adult catechumens are also marked on the senses, with these words: "Receive the sign of the cross on your ears to hear the voice of the Lord"; "On the eyes to see the splendor of the face of God"; "On the mouth, to answer the word of God"; "On the chest, because Christ dwells through faith in your hearts"; "On the shoulders, to support the gentle yoke of Christ" (Rite of the Christian initiation of adults, No. 85). Christians become the extent to which the cross is imprinted in us as an "Easter" mark (cf. Rev 14: 1, 22: 4), making visible, even outwardly, the Christian way of facing life. Making the sign of the cross when we wake up, before meals, before a danger, to defend against evil, the night before sleep means to tell ourselves and others who we belong to, who we want to be. This is why it is so important to teach children to do the sign of the cross. And, as we do when we enter the church, we can do it at home, keeping some blessed water in a small pot - some families do it: so, every time we come back or go out, making the sign of the cross with that water we remember that we are baptized. Do not forget, I repeat: to teach children to make the sign of the cross.
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les nombreux jeunes venus de France ainsi que la Délégation du Collège théologique de la Diaconie apostolique de l’Eglise de Grèce, conduite par l’Evêque Agatanghelos. Frères et sœurs, en faisant le signe de la croix quand nous nous réveillons, avant les repas, face à un danger, pour nous protéger du mal, le soir avant de dormir, nous exprimons à nous-même et aux autres à qui nous appartenons, à qui nous voulons être. Je vous invite à faire souvent dans la journée le signe de la croix. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
[I cordially greeted the French pilgrims, in particular the French youth, I did not delegate the Collegio Teologico della Apostoliki Diakonia della Chiesa di Grecia, guided by the Vescovo Agathanghelos. Brothers and sisters, doing the sign of the cross: when I get up, first of all, before the pericolo, to protect him from the male and the first before sleep, let's say, yes to others, what I belong to and what do I want be gay. I invite you to take the sign of the croce spesso during the day. I gave you blessed!]
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States of America. I offer a special welcome to the group of benefactors from Ireland, with gratitude for their support of the forthcoming World Meeting of Families in Dublin. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!
Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger deutscher und niederländischer Sprache und heiße insbesondere die Stiftung Pro Oriente, die Delegation der Stadt Homburg und die Gruppe des katholischen Senders Katholieke Radio Omroep aus den Niederlanden willkommen. Der Heilige Geist helfe uns, jeden Tag aus der Taufgnade zu leben und unseren Mitmenschen die Liebe Christi sichtbar zu machen, der für uns gestorben und auferstanden ist. Der Herr segne euch alle.
[With affection I greet the pilgrims of Germanic language and of Dutch language. A welcome welcome to the Fondazione Pro Oriente, the Delegation of the Town of Homburg and the group of the Kro dei Cattolici dei Paesi Bassi. The Holy Spirit helps us to live every day the grace of the Battesimo and make visible to our neighbors the love of the dead Christ and rescue us. The Lord blessed you all.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española provenientes de España y América Latina. En este tiempo de pascua, pidamos a la Virgen María que nos ayude a renovar la gracia del bautismo que hemos recibido, para vivir cada día más unidos a Cristo como miembros de la Iglesia. Que el Señor los bendiga. Muchas gracias.
I cordially greet Spanish pilgrims from Spain and Latin America. In this time of Easter, we ask the Virgin Mary to help us renew the grace of baptism we have received, to live more and more together with Christ as members of the Church. May the Lord bless you. Thank you very much.

Dirijo uma cordial saudação aos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, nomeadamente aos grupos vindos das dioceses de Cascavel, Natal, São José do Rio Preto e São José dos Campos, encorajando todos a ser testemunhas do amor que Jesus nos demonstrou com o seu sacrifício na Cruz. Que a cruz seja o sinal duma vida de jubilosa doação ao próximo. De bom grado vos abençoo a vós e aos vossos entes queridos!
I cordially greet the Portuguese-language pilgrims, especially the groups coming from the dioceses of Cascavel, Natal, São José do Rio Preto and São José dos Campos, encouraging everyone to be witnesses to the love Jesus showed us as his sacrifice on the Cross. That the cross bears the sign duma life of jubilant donation to the next. Good grades I bless you and your beloved beings!
أرحب بمودة بالأشخاص الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من سوريا، ‏ومن لبنان، ومن الشرق ‏الأوسط. تهبنا المعمودية نعمة قبول الروح القدس الذي ‏يزرع في قلوبنا نعمة الإيمان. وتبقى مسؤوليتنا أن ننمي ‏هذه البذرة من خلال كلمة ‏الله، والأسرار المقدسة، والصلاة وأعمال المحبة.‏ ليبارككم ‏الرب ‏‏جميعا ‏ويحرسكم ‏من ‏الشرير! ‏‏‏
[It was a warm welcome to all Arab language people, in particular to those from Syria, from Lebanon and from the Middle East. Il Battesimo gives us the grace to receive the Holy Spiritual that Our son is born in our hearts the child of faith. Keep our responsibility to grow it through the Word of God, the Sacrament, prayer and charity. The Lord bless you all and I protect you from the evil one!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. W tych dniach, obchodzony jest w Polsce X Tydzień Biblijny, którego motto brzmi: „Jesteśmy napełnieni Duchem Świętym”. Usiłujcie, zatem każdego dnia, indywidualnie lub z rodziną, znaleźć chwilę czasu na lekturę i medytację Pisma świętego, abyście mogli zaczerpnąć z niego nieodzowną moc dla waszego życia chrześcijańskiego. Niech to będzie waszym zadaniem. Z odwagą dzielcie się z innymi Słowem Bożym, żyjcie Nim, na co dzień, dając świadectwo wierności Chrystusowi i Jego Ewangelii. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.
I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. In these days, the Bible Week is taking place in Poland, whose motto is: "We are filled with the Holy Spirit". So look for each day, individually or in your family, to find some time to read and meditate on the Holy Scriptures, so that you can draw from it the strength necessary for the Christian life. Be this your commitment. Share the Word of God with others with courage, live by It every day, witnessing fidelity to Christ and His Gospel. Praised be Jesus Christ.]
Od srca pozdravljam sve hrvatske hodočasnike, a osobito vjernike iz Vrhbosanske nadbiskupije u Bosni i Hercegovini, predvođeni njihovim pastirom, kardinalom Vinkom Puljićem. Dragi prijatelji, svakodnevni susret i hod s Uskrslim Gospodinom neka vam ražari srca, kako biste oduševljeno svjedočili svoju vjeru i naviještali silna Božja djela! Hvaljen Isus i Marija!
[I cordially greet the Croatian pilgrims, among whom the faithful of the Archdiocese of Vrhbósna, Bósnia and Erzegóvina, accompanied by their Pastor, Cardinal Vínko Púljić. Dear friends, the daily meeting and the journey with the risen Lord make your hearts burn so that you can testify to the faith and proclaim the great works of God. May Jesus and Mary be praised!]
(Washington, April 21, 2018)

The World Bank Spring Meetings will take place next Saturday in Washington. I encourage the efforts that, through financial inclusion, seek to promote the lives of the poorest, fostering genuine, integral development that respects human dignity.


I draw attention again to Vincent Lambert and the little Alfie Evans, and I would like to reiterate and strongly confirm that the only master of life, from the beginning to the natural end, is God! And our duty, our duty is to do everything to preserve life. We think in silence and pray that the life of all people and especially of these two brothers will be respected. We pray in silence.

* * *

I extend a cordial welcome to the faithful of the Italian language.

I am pleased to welcome the participants in the Seminar promoted by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross of Rome and those at the Convention promoted by the Focolare Movement; the Members of the Italian Presbyteral Commission and the Deacons of the Archdiocese of Milan. I sincerely hope that your pilgrimage to the tomb of Peter will make you ever more generous in your testimony of faith.

I greet the pilgrims of the Order of the Mother of God, in the 80th anniversary of the canonization of the Founder: San Giovanni Leonardi; the Parishes; the educational institutions, in particular the Highlands Institute of Rome; the Sbandieratori and Musici di Asti; the Association "Musica bene comune" of Rome.

A special thought for the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. I invite everyone to see in the Risen Jesus, alive and present among us, the true teacher of life; his intercession will obtain serenity and peace and his teaching will encourage you in your daily journey towards holiness.
FULL TEXT and Image SHARE from (Unofficial Translation)