Saturday, July 11, 2020

What is the St. Benedict Medal? Short History of this Medal of Powerful Protection + How to get One!

St. Benedict of Nursia, Italy (A.D. 480-543), the twin brother of St. Scholastica, is Father of Western monasticism. His “Rule of St. Benedict” is the rule for many religious orders. The Benedictine Order is located at Monte Cassino, Italy, about 80 miles South of Rome). He had been living as a hermit in a cave for three years, when a religious community came to him after the death of their abbot and asked Benedict to become their leader. Some of the “monks” didn’t like this and tried to kill him with poisoned food. St. Benedict made the sign of the Cross over the food, and became aware they were poisoned, then toppled the cup and told a raven to carry off the bread.
About the Medal The Jubilee Medal of St. Benedict according to the Catholic Encyclopedia : FRONT One side of the medal bears an image of St. Benedict, holding a cross in the right hand and the Holy Rule in the left. On the one side of the image is a cup, on the other a raven, and above the cup and the raven are inscribed the words: “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti” (Cross of the Holy Father Benedict). Round the margin of the medal stands the legend “Ejus in obitu nostro praesentia muniamus” (May we at our death be fortified by his presence). BACK The reverse of the medal bears a cross with the initial letters of the words: “Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux” (The Holy Cross be my light), written downward on the perpendicular bar; the initial letters of the words, “Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux” (Let not the dragon be my guide), on the horizontal bar; and the initial letters of “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti” in the angles of the cross. Round the margin stand the initial letters of the distich: “Vade Retro Satana, Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana — Sunt Mala Quae Libas, Ipse Venena Bibas” (Begone, Satan, do not suggest to me thy vanities — evil are the things thou profferest, drink thou thy own poison). At the top of the cross usually stands the word Pax (peace) or the monogram I H S (Jesus). 
The History of the Jubilee Medal The medal was made  in 1880, to commemorate the fourteenth centenary of St. Benedict’s birth. The Archabbey of Monte Cassino has the exclusive right to strike this medal. The ordinary medal of St. Benedict usually differs from the preceding in the omission of the words “Ejus in obitu etc.”, and in a few minor details. (For the indulgences connected with it see Beringer, “Die Ablässe”, Paderborn, 1906, p. 404-6.) The habitual wearer of the jubilee medal can gain all the indulgences connected with the ordinary medal and, in addition: (1) All the indulgences that could be gained by visiting the basilica, crypt, and tower of St. Benedict at Monte Cassino (Pius IX, 31 December, 1877) (2) A plenary indulgence on the feast of All Souls (from about two o’clock in the afternoon of 1 November to sunset of 2 November), as often as (toties quoties), after confession and Holy Communion, he visits any church or public oratory, praying there according to the intention of the pope, provided that he is hindered from visiting a church or public oratory of the Benedictines by sickness, monastic enclosure or a distance of at least 1000 steps. (Decr. 27 February, 1907, in Acta S. Sedis, LX, 246.) Any priest may receive the faculties to bless these medals. 
Origins It is doubtful when the Medal of St. Benedict originated. During a trial for witchcraft at Natternberg near the Abbey of Metten in Bavaria in the year 1647, the accused women testified that they had no power over Metten, which was under the protection of the cross. Upon investigation, a number of painted crosses, surrounded by the letters which are now found on Benedictine medals, were found on the walls of the abbey, but their meaning had been forgotten. Finally, in an old manuscript, written in 1415, was found a picture representing St. Benedict holding in one hand a staff which ends in a cross, and a scroll in the other. On the staff and scroll were written in full the words of which the mysterious letters were the initials. Medals bearing the image of St. Benedict, a cross, and these letters began now to be struck in Germany, and soon spread over Europe. They were first approved by Benedict XIV in his briefs of 23 December, 1741, and 12 March, 1742.
Specific Promises associated with the St. Benedict Medal  
1. To destroy witchcraft and all other diabolical and haunting influences; 
2. To impart protection to persons tempted, deluded, or tormented by evil spirits; 
3. To obtain the conversion of sinners into the Catholic Church, especially when they are in danger of death; 
4. To serve as an armor against temptation;
 5. To destroy the effects of poison; 
6. To secure a timely and healthy birth for children; 
7. To afford protection against storms and lightning; 
8. To serve as an efficacious remedy for bodily afflictions and a means of protection against contagious diseases. 
 How to wear the medal 1. On a chain around the neck; 2. Attached to one’s rosary; 3. Kept in one’s pocket or purse; 4. Placed in one’s car or home; 5. Placed in the foundation of a building; 6. Placed in the center of a cross. 

Approved Blessing of the Medal of St. Benedict

Medals of Saint Benedict are sacramentals that may be blessed by any priest or deacon -- 

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

In the name of God the Father + almighty, who made heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body. In the name of the Father +almighty, of the Son + Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy + Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.
Amen.

Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless source of all good things, we humbly ask that, through the intercession of Saint Benedict, you pour out your blessings + upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform good works be blessed by you with health of soul and body, the grace of a holy life, and remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.
May they also with the help of your merciful love, resist the temptation of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and holy in your sight. This we ask though Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The medals are then sprinkled with holy water.

Permissu superiorum -Nihil obstat and ImprimaturSaint Cloud24 April 1980



Buy a Real St. Benedict Jubilee Medal from the Benedictine Mission House in the USA  http://www.benedictinemissionhouse.com/index.php/d-medals-stbenedict/product/9-medal-1-p-10

US Bishops Welcome Supreme Court Decision on Sisters of the Poor saying "..we must continue to be vigilant for religious freedom.”


USCCB Chairmen Welcome Supreme Court Decision Preserving the Religious Liberty of Little Sisters
 July 8, 2020 
WASHINGTON – The Little Sisters of the Poor recently went to the Supreme Court of the United States again to defend their community against attempts to force Catholic religious to cooperate with immoral activities, and again, the Supreme Court has recognized their right to religious freedom. By a vote of 7-2, the Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters.
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, have issued a statement addressing the case:
“This is a saga that did not need to occur. Contraception is not health care, and the government should never have mandated that employers provide it in the first place. Yet even after it had, there were multiple opportunities for government officials to do the right thing and exempt conscientious objectors. Time after time, administrators and attorneys refused to respect the rights of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and the Catholic faith they exemplify, to operate in accordance with the truth about sex and the human person. Even after the federal government expanded religious exemptions to the HHS contraceptive mandate, Pennsylvania and other states chose to continue this attack on conscience.
“The Little Sisters of the Poor is an international congregation that is committed to building a culture of life. They care for the elderly poor. They uphold human dignity. They follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church. The government has no right to force a religious order to cooperate with evil. We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision. We hope it brings a close to this episode of government discrimination against people of faith. Yet, considering the efforts we have seen to force compliance with this mandate, we must continue to be vigilant for religious freedom.”
The USCCB filed amicus curiae briefs supporting these religious institutions. The briefs can be found here:
http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/19-431-and-19-454_Amici-Brief.pdf  

Powerful Novena to Saint Benedict - Prayers for Protection against Evil with Litany to Share!

St. Benedict,  Patriarch of Western Monasticism, and founder of the Benedictine Order , was born in Nursia, Italy, in 480 and died in 547
NOVENA PRAYER - Say for 9 days
Glorious St. Benedict, sublime model of virtue, pure vessel of God's grace! Behold me humbly kneeling at your feet. I implore you in your loving kindness to pray for me before the throne Of God. To you I have recourse in the dangers that daily surround me. Shield me against my selfishness and my indifference to God and to my neighbor. Inspire me to imitate you in all things. May your blessing be with me always, so that I may see and serve Christ in others and work for His kingdom. 
 Graciously obtain for me from God those favors and graces which I need so much in the trials, miseries and afflictions of life. Your heart was always full of love, compassion and mercy toward those who were afflicted or troubled in any way. You never dismissed without consolation and assistance anyone who had recourse to you. I therefore invoke your powerful intercession, confident in the hope that you will hear my prayer and obtain for me the special grace and favor I earnestly implore (name it). Help me, great St. Benedict. to live and die as a faithful child of God, to run in the sweetness of His loving will and to attain the eternal happiness of heaven. Amen.
(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be St. Benedict, pray for us.
THE LITANY OF ST. BENEDICT
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, Pray for us.
Holy Father, Saint Benedict, Pray for us.
Father most reverend, Pray for us.
Father most renowned, Pray for us.
Father most compassionate, Pray for us.
Man of great fortitude, Pray for us.
Man of venerable life, Pray for us.
Man of the most holy conversation, Pray for us.
True servant of God, Pray for us.
Light of devotion, Pray for us.
Light of prayer, Pray for us.
Light of contemplation, Pray for us.
Star of the world, Pray for us.
Best master of an austere life, Pray for us.
Leader of the holy warfare, Pray for us.
Leader and chief of monks, Pray for us.
Master of those who die to the world, Pray for us.
Protector of those who cry to thee, Pray for us.
Wonderful worker of miracles, Pray for us.
Revealer of the secrets of the human heart, Pray for us.
Master of spiritual discipline, Pray for us.
Companion of the patriarchs, Pray for us.
Equal of the prophets, Pray for us.
Follower of the Apostles, Pray for us.
Teacher of Martyrs, Pray for us.
Father of many pontiffs, Pray for us.
Gem of abbots, Pray for us.
Glory of Confessors, Pray for us.
Imitator of anchorites, Pray for us.
Associate of virgins, Pray for us.
Colleague of all the Saints, Pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

V. Intercede for us, O holy father Saint Benedict, R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray: O God, Who hast called us from the vanity of the world, and Who dost incite us to the reward of a heavenly vocation under the guidance of our holy patriarch and founder, Saint Benedict, inspire and purify our hearts and pour forth on us Thy grace, whereby we may persevere in Thee. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Saturday, July 11, 2020 - Virtual Church


Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot


Lectionary: 388
Reading 1IS 6:1-8
In the year King Uzziah died,
I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,
with the train of his garment filling the temple.
Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings:
with two they veiled their faces,
with two they veiled their feet,
and with two they hovered aloft.

They cried one to the other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”
At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook (<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2JAAdxZVJCw" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
living among a people of unclean lips;
yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me,
holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it and said,
“See, now that this has touched your lips,
your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

Responsorial Psalm93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5
R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

Alleluia1 PT 4:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 10:24-33
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!

“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Prayer to make Spiritual Communion:
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint July 11 : St. Benedict the Founder of Western Monasticism and Patron of Fever, Monks, Temptations


St. Benedict of Nursia
FOUNDER OF WESTERN MONASTICISM
 Born: 480, Norcia (Umbria, Italy)
Died: 21 March 547 at Monte Caassino, Italy
Canonized: 1220
Major Shrine: Monte Cassino Abbey, with his burial Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, near Orléans, France Sacro Speco, at Subiaco, Italy
Patron of: Against poison, Against witchcraft, Cavers, Civil engineers, Coppersmiths, Dying people, Erysipelas, Europe, Farmers, Fever, Gall stones, Inflammatory diseases, Italian architects, Kidney disease, Monks, Nettle rash, Schoolchildren, Servants who have broken their master's belongings, Speliologists, Spelunkers, Temptations
 Founder of western monasticism, born at Nursia, c. 480; died at Monte Cassino, 543. The only authentic life of Benedict of Nursia is that contained in the second book of St. Gregory's "Dialogues". It is rather a character sketch than a biography and consists, for the most part, of a number of miraculous incidents, which, although they illustrate the life of the saint, give little help towards a chronological account of his career. St. Gregory's authorities for all that he relates were the saint's own disciples, viz. Constantinus, who succeeded him as Abbot of Monte Cassino; and Honoratus, who was Abbot of Subiaco when St. Gregory wrote his "Dialogues". Benedict was the son of a Roman noble of Nursia, a small town near Spoleto, and a tradition, which St. Bede accepts, makes him a twin with his sister Scholastica. His boyhood was spent in Rome, where he lived with his parents and attended the schools until he had reached his higher studies. Then "giving over his books, and forsaking his father's house and wealth, with a mind only to serve God, he sought for some place where he might attain to the desire of his holy purpose; and in this sort he departed [from Rome], instructed with learned ignorance and furnished with unlearned wisdom" (Dial. St. Greg., II, Introd. in Migne, P.L. LXVI). There is much difference of opinion as to Benedict's age at the time. It has been very generally stated as fourteen, but a careful examination of St. Gregory's narrative makes it impossible to suppose him younger than nineteen or twenty. He was old enough to be in the midst of his literary studies, to understand the real meaning and worth of the dissolute and licentious lives of his companions, and to have been deeply affected himself by the love of a woman (Ibid. II, 2). He was capable of weighing all these things in comparison with the life taught in the Gospels, and chose the latter, He was at the beginning of life, and he had at his disposal the means to a career as a Roman noble; clearly he was not a child, As St. Gregory expresses it, "he was in the world and was free to enjoy the advantages which the world offers, but drew back his foot which he had, as it were, already set forth in the world" (ibid., Introd.). If we accept the date 480 for his birth, we may fix the date of his abandoning the schools and quitting home at about A.D. 500. Benedict does not seem to have left Rome for the purpose of becoming a hermit, but only to find some place away from the life of the great city; moreover, he took his old nurse with him as a servant and they settled down to live in Enfide, near a church dedicated to St. Peter, in some kind of association with "a company of virtuous men" who were in sympathy with his feelings and his views of life. Enfide, which the tradition of Subiaco identifies with the modern Affile, is in the Simbrucini mountains, about forty miles from Rome and two from Subiaco. It stands on the crest of a ridge which rises rapidly from the valley to the higher range of mountains, and seen from the lower ground the village has the appearance of a fortress. As St. Gregory's account indicates, and as is confirmed by the remains of the old town and by the inscriptions found in the neighbourhood, Enfide was a place of greater importance than is the present town. At Enfide Benedict worked his first miracle by restoring to perfect condition an earthenware wheat-sifter (capisterium) which his old servant had accidentally broken. The notoriety which this miracle brought upon Benedict drove him to escape still farther from social life, and "he fled secretly from his nurse and sought the more retired district of Subiaco". His purpose of life had also been modified. He had fled Rome to escape the evils of a great city; he now determined to be poor and to live by his own work. "For God's sake he deliberately chose the hardships of life and the weariness of labour" (ibid., 1). A short distance from Enfide is the entrance to a narrow, gloomy valley, penetrating the mountains and leading directly to Subiaco. Crossing the Anio and turning to the right, the path rises along the left face oft the ravine and soon reaches the site of Nero's villa and of the huge mole which formed the lower end of the middle lake; across the valley were ruins of the Roman baths, of which a few great arches and detached masses of wall still stand. Rising from the mole upon twenty five low arches, the foundations of which can even yet be traced, was the bridge from the villa to the baths, under which the waters of the middle lake poured in a wide fall into the lake below. The ruins of these vast buildings and the wide sheet of falling water closed up the entrance of the valley to St. Benedict as he came from Enfide; today the narrow valley lies open before us, closed only by the far off mountains. The path continues to ascend, and the side of the ravine, on which it runs, becomes steeper, until we reach a cave above which the mountain now rises almost perpendicularly; while on the right hand it strikes in a rapid descent down to where, in St. Benedict's day, five hundred feet below, lay the blue waters of the lake. The cave has a large triangular-shaped opening and is about ten feet deep. On his way from Enfide, Benedict met a monk, Romanus, whose monastery was on the mountain above the cliff overhanging the cave. Romanus had discussed with Benedict the purpose which had brought him to Subiaco, and had given him the monk's habit. By his advice Benedict became a hermit and for three years, unknown to men, lived in this cave above the lake. St. Gregory tells us little of these years, He now speaks of Benedict no longer as a youth (puer), but as a man (vir) of God. Romanus, he twice tells us, served the saint in every way he could. The monk apparently visited him frequently, and on fixed days brought him food. During these three years of solitude, broken only by occasional communications with the outer world and by the visits of Romanus, he matured both in mind and character, in knowledge of himself and of his fellow-man, and at the same time he became not merely known to, but secured the respect of, those about him; so much so that on the death of the abbot of a monastery in the neighbourhood (identified by some with Vicovaro), the community came to him and begged him to become its abbot. Benedict was acquainted with the life and discipline of the monastery, and knew that "their manners were diverse from his and therefore that they would never agree together: yet, at length, overcome with their entreaty, he gave his consent" (ibid., 3). The experiment failed; the monks tried to poison him, and he returned to his cave. From this time his miracles seem to have become frequent, and many people, attracted by his sanctity and character, came to Subiaco to be under his guidance. For them he built in the valley twelve monasteries, in each of which he placed a superior with twelve monks. In a thirteenth he lived with "a few, such as he thought would more profit and be better instructed by his own presence" (ibid., 3). He remained, however, the father or abbot of all. With the establishment of these monasteries began the schools for children; and amongst the first to be brought were Maurus and Placid. The remainder of St. Benedict's life was spent in realizing the ideal of monasticism which he has left us drawn out in his Rule, and before we follow the slight chronological story given by St. Gregory, it will be better to examine the ideal, which, as St. Gregory says, is St. Benedict's real biography (ibid., 36). We will deal here with the Rule only so far as it is an element in St. Benedict's life. For the relations which it bore to the monasticism of previous centuries, and for its influence throughout the West on civil and religious government, and upon the spiritual life of Christians, the reader is referred to the articles MONASTICISM and RULE OF SAINT BENEDICT.

Free Catholic Movie on St. Dominic - "Dominic : Light of the Church -



Dominic: Light of the Church (2011) Biography | 26 July 2011 (Philippines) Director: Marcelino Sari Stars: Jemi Paretas, Jaques Allaire, Florie Amorin | Takes a minute to load...

Pope Francis Appoints 3 New Members to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences established by Pope JP II


Vatican News reports that Pope appointed new Members of Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
Pope Francis names three new members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who hail from Chile, Italy, and Nigeria.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis on Friday appointed Pedro Morandé Court, from Chile; Mario Draghi, from Italy; and Kokunre Adetokunbo Agbontaen Eghafona, from Nigeria, as Ordinary Members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was established by Pope John Paul II on 1 January 1994, with the aim of promoting the study and progress of the social sciences, primarily economics, sociology, law and political science. The Academy helps offer the Church those elements which she can use in the development of her social doctrine, and reflects on the application of that doctrine in contemporary society.

Pedro Morandé Court
Professor Pedro Morandé Court was born in Santiago del Cile, Chile, on 3 August 1948. He has a degree in Sociology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (UC), and a doctorate in Sociology from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany).

He served as full Professor and then Head of the Department of Sociology (1987-1990) at UC; and later Pro-Rector (1990-1995) and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (1995-2014). He is currently Professor emeritus. Professor Morandé Court specialized in Sociology of Culture and Religion and Sociology of the Family, with particular regard to the Latin American people and their social history. He has published numerous articles on the family and cultural identity of Latin America.

Mario Draghi
Professor Mario Draghi was born in Rome on 13 September 1947. He graduated with a degree in Economic Policy from the Sapienza University of Rome, and obtained his doctorate in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1981 he became full Professor of Economics and Monetary Policy at the “Cesare Alfieri” Faculty of the University of Florence.

He was Executive Director of the World Bank, and later Director General of the Ministry of the Treasury of the Italian government. He was governor of the Bank of Italy from 2005-2011, and chairman of the Financial Stability Board of from 2006-2011.

In 2011 he became President of the European Central Bank, a post he held until 2019. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and the Group of Thirty (G30). Professor Draghi is the author of numerous publications, with contributions on topics ranging from macroeconomics to the international economy and monetary policy.

Kokunre Adetokundo Agbontaen Eghafona
Professor Kokunre Adetokunbo Agbontaen Eghafona was born in London on 1 October 1959. She studied at the University of Benin, in Benin City, Nigeria, graduating with an undergraduate degree and later a Master of Arts in History. She also obtained a Master of Science in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Ibadan (Nigeria).

At the University of Benin, she has been a Lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology since 1992; Senior Lecturer in 1996, Associate Professor in 2003, and full Professor in 2008. She has also held a number of administrative positions including Head of the Department of Sociology (2009-2013) and Director of part-time programs (2016).

She has been responsible for sustainable development within the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (2012-2017). Professor Agbontaen Eghafona is the author of numerous academic publications. Her current scientific activities include measures to combat human trafficking in Nigeria.
Full Text Release: VaticanNews.va

President Macron of France Now wants Notre Dame Cathedral Tower to be Restored as it was before the Fire


President Macron now wants an identical replica of the Notre-Dame crossing tower.    In the debate surrounding the restoration of the world-famous Church of Notre-Dame, there was a surprising turnaround on Thursday, according the Mirror. French President Macron, who originally called for a contemporary architectural restoration, has now changed his mind and, has now spoken out in favor of an identical reconstruction of the historic crossing tower of Notre-Dame cathedral. The reasoning for Macron's change of opinion is that the majority of the French have this wish. The commission responsible for the renovation subsequently announced yesterday that everyone had voted unanimously for an identical reconstruction of the tower. According to Macron, the reconstruction should be completed in five years. 

#BreakingNews Terrorists Attack Town with Church, School, Hospital and Houses Destroyed by Fire in Mozambique


AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - The alarm of the missionaries: New jihadist attack in the North destroys church, hospital, houses
Friday, 10 July 2020

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - New attack by jihadist formations in Mocímboa da Praia, in northern Mozambique. The militiamen set the local church, the Januario Pedro secondary school, the district hospital, dozens of houses, cars and shops on fire. As local sources of Fides confirm, the attack on the town, which is one of the largest centers in the province of Cabo Delgado, took place on June 27 and 28. According to the testimonies collected by Fides from missionaries and religious on the spot, who ask for anonymity for security reasons, the "rebels" attacked in force. They then burned down some buildings, freed the detainees from the local prison and even raised the black flags of the Islamic State. Mocímboa da Praia was transformed into a terrible scenario. "The armed forces reacted heavily - explain the religious -. Heavy weapons were also shot in the streets. The clash lasted several hours. At the end, the streets were full of bodies, including civilians".
The village had already been attacked in force on March 23 when, for the first time, jihadists had used modern weapons and advanced guerrilla techniques. Dom Luiz Lisboa, bishop of Pemba, said that the terrorists had promised that they would return soon. And that’s what happened.
Nobody knows for sure who these "militiamen" are. Although they define themselves as "affiliated to the Islamic State", their membership to the Caliphate is not sure. According to some analysts, behind the black flags of jihadist Islam, the interests of local crime are hidden, interested in creating a sort of "free zone" for the trade in narcotic substances from Central Asia.
Populations throughout the Cabo Delgado province are frightened. They fear these sudden and violent attacks. The missionaries on the spot tell of men, women and children who flee, without taking anything with them, seeking refuge in the woods. According to the missionaries, although the presence of law enforcement agencies has increased, armed groups in the area could organize new incursions into the region. "The fear - the religious conclude - is that they return and commit new massacres. People have already devastated physically and psychologically and may not be able to cope a new attack".
Last May the alarm was raised also by the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Nampula, in Northern Mozambique: "We are deeply concerned - they wrote - about the worsening of the situation in Cabo Delgado which has become the stage of a mysterious and incomprehensible war". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 10/7/2020)

Turkey's Council of State Rules Ancient Christian Basilica Hagia Sophia to be Restored as a Mosque


Turkey’s Council of State rules that Hagia Sophia is a mosque

Ankara (AsiaNews) – At 4 pm today (1 pm GMT), Turkish television announced that the country’s top administrative court cleared the way for the Basilica of Saint Sophia to be restored as a mosque.

The Council of State overturned a decree issued in 1934 under then President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk that led to the transformation of the basilica - used for almost 500 years as a mosque after the fall of Constantinople (1453) – into a museum.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had championed the legal route to invalidate the 1934 decree, thus allowing one of the most magnificent Byzantine monuments, which served as a church for more than a thousand years, to be used as a mosque.

In recent weeks, many people in Greece, Russia, the United States, as well as the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, had expressed opposition to turning the ancient Christian place of worship into a mosque.

It is not clear whether foreigners and Christians will be able to visit the basilica. A TV report suggested that Hagia Sophia would also remain as a museum. The basilica is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Last night, İbrahim Kalın, Turkey’s presidential spokesperson, said that opening Hagia Sophia to prayer will not hinder people visiting it, and that Turkey would preserve its Christian icons. (M.D.)
Source: AsiaNews IT Release 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Friday, July 10, 2020 - Virtual Church


Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 387
Reading 1 HOS 14:2-10
Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”
I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”—
because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm51:3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 AND 17
R. (17b) My mouth will declare your praise.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me of sin with hyssop, that I may be purified;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.

AlleluiaJN 16:13A; 14:26D
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When the Spirit of truth comes,
he will guide you to all truth
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 10:16-23
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.”
Prayer to make Spiritual Communion:
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint July 10 : St. Rufina and Saint Secunda who were Virgin Martyrs and Refused to Deny Christ

Sts. Rufina and Secunda 
MARTYRS 
Feast: July 10 
 Roman martyrs known in the apocryphal Acts, which recount their martyrdoms. According to the Acta, they were Roman sisters, the daughters of a Roman senator. Their fiances gave up the Christian faith, however Rufina and Secunda would not deny Christ. Thus, both were arrested and beheaded during the persecutions of Emperor Valerian (r. 253-260). They were buried on the Via Aurelia, at the Santa Rufina.

Saint July 9 : St. Veronica Giuliani a Capuchin Mystic who received a Crown of thorns

July 9
Born:
1660, Mercatello in the Duchy of Urbino
Died:
9 July 1727, Città di Castello
Canonized:
1839 by Pope Gregory XVI
Major Shrine:
Monastery of St. Veronica Giuliani, Città di Castello
Born at Mercatello in the Duchy of Urbino, Italy, 1660; died at Citt' di Castello, 9 July, 1727. 
Born at Mercatello in the Duchy of Urbino, Italy, 1660; died at Citt' di Castello, 9 July, 1727. Her parents, Francesco Giuliana and Benedetta Mancini, were both of gentle birth. In baptism she was named Ursula, and showed marvelous signs of sanctity. When but eighteen months old she uttered her first words to upbraid a shopman who was serving a false measure of oil, saying distinctly: "Do justice, God sees you." At the age of three years she began to be favoured with Divine communications, and to show great compassion for the poor. She would set apart a portion of her food for them, and even part with her clothes when she met a poor child scantily clad. These traits and a great love for the Cross developed as she grew older. When others did not readily join in her religious practices she was inclined to be dictatorial. In her sixteenth year this imperfection of character was brought home to her in a vision in which she saw her own heart as a heart of steel. In her writings she confesses that she took a certain pleasure in the more stately circumstances which her family adopted when her father was appointed superintendent of finance at Piacenza. But this did not in any way affect her early-formed resolution to dedicate herself to religion, although her father urged her to marry and procured for her several suitors as soon as she became of marriageable age. Owing to her father's opposition to her desire to enter a convent, Veronica fell ill and only recovered when he gave his consent.
In 1677 she was received into the convent of the Capuchin Poor Clares in Citt' di Castello, taking the name of Veronica in memory of the Passion. At the conclusion of the ceremony of her reception the bishop said to the abbess: "I commend this new daughter to your special care, for she will one day be a great saint." She became absolutely submissive to the will of her directors, though her novitiate was marked by extraordinary interior trials and temptations to return to the world. At her profession in 1678 she conceived a great desire to suffer in union with our Saviour crucified for the conversion of sinners. About this time she had a vision of Christ bearing His cross and henceforth suffered an acute physical pain in her heart. After her death the figure of the cross was found impressed upon her heart. In 1693 she entered upon a new phase in her spiritual life, when she had a vision of the chalice symbolizing the Divine Passion which was to be re-enacted in her own soul. At first she shrank from accepting it and only by great effort eventually submitted. She then began to endure intense spiritual suffering. In 1694 she received the impression of the Crown of Thorns, the wounds being visible and the pain permanent. By order of the bishop she submitted to medical treatment, but obtained no relief. Yet, although she lived in this supernaturally mystical life, she was a practical woman of affairs. For thirty-four years she was novice-mistress, and guided the novices with great prudence. It is noticeable that she would not allow them to read mystical books. In 1716 she was elected abbess and whilst holding that office enlarged the convent and had a good system of water-pipes laid down, the convent hitherto having been without a proper water supply. She was canonized by Gregory XVI in 1839. She is usually represented crowned with thorns and embracing the Cross.

#BreakingNews African Twin Girls Joined at the Skull Successfully Separated at Vatican Hospital by 30 Doctors


Twin girls, who were conjoined, from the Central African Republic were successfully separated at a hospital in the Vatican City.

Ervina and Prefina, aged 2, were joined at the skull before an operation that lasted 18 hours and involved 30 doctors and nurses, according to a press release from the Bambino Gesù (Child Jesus) Pediatric Hospital published Tuesday.

The separation took place on June 5 and the girls, who are from the Central African Republic, are expected to make a full recovery.

This is the first time that doctors in Italy have successfully separated conjoined twins in total posterior craniopagus, which means they shared a skull and a majority of blood vessels.

Twin girls, joined at the skull, successfully separated in 18-hour operation in Vatican hospital
Doctors carried out two procedures before a third one separated the twins.

There are no other cases of a successful intervention described in medical literature anywhere else in the world.

The team said this is "one of the rarest and most complex forms of fusion," and they prepared for the intervention for more than a year.

Hospital president Mariella Enoc met the twins on a trip to Central African Republic in July 2018 and offered to treat them in Rome.

The twins arrived in Italy in September 2018 with their mother, Ermine, and the first stage of their treatment was carried out in May 2019.

Twin girls, joined at the skull, successfully separated in 18-hour operation in Vatican hospital
The girls shared a skull and a majority of blood vessels.

A second stage took place in June 2019, and they were finally separated last month.

"It was an exciting moment, a fantastic, unrepeatable experience," said Carlo Marras, head of neurosurgery at the hospital.

The twins celebrated their second birthday on June 29 and medical checks show that they are doing well.
Edited from Nwitimes.com and CNN

New Report from the UN shows over 1,100 People were Killed in Uganda by Rebels in One Year


AFRICA/DR CONGO - UN report: more than 1,100 people killed by Ugandan rebels in just over a year in the east of the Country
Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - There are 397 cases of human rights violations attributable to ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) between 1 January 2019 and 31 January 2020, with the killing of at least 1,154 people, including 235 women and 166 children. This was stated in a report by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO), prepared together with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for human Rights (OHCHR).
The report documents human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by fighters of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and members of the defense and security forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo against civilians in the territory of Beni, province of North Kivu and in the territories of Irumu and Mambasa, Ituri province, from 1 January 2019 to 31 January 2020.
The human rights violations committed by the ADF documented in this report include violations of the rights to life, physical integrity, freedom and security of the person and property rights. Violations of international humanitarian law include the recruitment of children, forced labor, attacks on hospitals and a school.
Soldiers of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and agents of the Congolese national police (PNC) also committed human rights violations, especially in the context of military operations launched since October 2019, in particular violations of the right to life, physical integrity, freedom and security of the person and property.
"Despite the health and safety risks associated with the Ebola epidemic in the territory of Beni and the large-scale military operations initiated by FARDC since October 2019, UNJHRO has been able to document numerous human rights violations committed by the ADF against the civilian population, through fact-finding missions in the field and collaboration with local partner networks", says the document sent to Agenzia Fides. This sharp increase in the number of human rights violations - almost 69% - over the previous year stems from the combination of three factors, in particular the expansion of the area affected by the lethal attacks by the ADF beyond the national road number 4 ( RN4) due, among other things, to the destruction of their bases and their living environment during military operations, the reprisals against the civilian population and the emptiness left by the closure of some MONUSCO bases for budgetary reasons and finally by the absence of FARDC soldiers from some areas.
UNJHRO has documented 109 victims of human rights abuses committed by FARDC soldiers and 137 victims of human rights violations perpetrated by PNC agents, including elements of the Legion of National Intervention (LNI).
Since 1986, the ADF, an armed rebel group of Ugandan origin, has raged in the east of the DRC, in particular in the areas of Watalinga and Beni-Mbau, in the Virunga National Park, in a triangle located between the towns of Mbau, Kamango and Eringeti. This area was designated as the "death triangle" in 2014 due to the continuous massacres of civilian populations by the ADF.
The Congolese human rights organization CEPADHO (Center for the Promotion of Democracy, Peace and Human Rights) welcomed the publication of the report but criticized "the UN that describes the crimes committed by the ADF as "war crimes and crimes against humanity". According to the statement of CEPADHO, sent to Fides, it would be better for the UN to qualify these actions as "terrorism", so that all the States of the world mobilize to end the actions of the ADF through military and judicial actions". (LM) (FULL TEXT Release: Agenzia Fides, 8/7/2020)

US Bishops Praise Supreme Court Decision in Favor of Religious Freedom - Allowing Church to Choose its Leaders - Full Text


USCCB Chairmen Praise Supreme Court Decision Recognizing the Right of the Church to Choose Its Own Leaders
July 8, 2020
WASHINGTON –The Supreme Court of the United States has issued its decision in the consolidated cases of Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel. These cases involved the right of Catholic schools, free of government interference, to choose teachers who will teach and model the Catholic faith. By a vote of 7-2, the Court ruled in favor of the schools.
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J. of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, have issued a statement addressing the decision:
““Education is a central aspect of the Church’s mission. Indeed, teaching is one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy. Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. James schools continue the Catholic tradition of offering Christian education. As institutions carrying out a ministry of the Church, Catholic schools have a right, recognized by the Constitution, to select people who will perform ministry. The government has no authority to second-guess those ministerial decisions. We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision, which rightly acknowledged this limit on state authority. This decision means that the Church can continue to serve her neighbors with integrity.”
The USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief supporting these religious institutions, which may be found here: Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey-Berru
--- FULL TEXT Release USCCB

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, July 9, 2020 - Virtual Church


Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 386
Reading 1HOS 11:1-4, 8E-9
Thus says the LORD:
When Israel was a child I loved him,
out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the farther they went from me,
Sacrificing to the Baals
and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.
My heart is overwhelmed,
my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not man,
the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.

Responsorial Psalm80:2AC AND 3B, 15-16
R. (4b) Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken.
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see:
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted,
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.

AlleluiaMK 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand:
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 10:7-15
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words--
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”
Prayer to make Spiritual Communion:
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint July 9 : St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions who were Martyred in #China




















(17th-20th centuries)

Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China's relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly.

The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Most of them (87) were born in China and were children, parents, catechists or laborers, ranging from nine years of age to 72. This group includes four Chinese diocesan priests.
The 33 foreign-born martyrs were mostly priests or women religious, especially from the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Jesuits, Salesians and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese solider who accompanied Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse (Paris Foreign Mission Society) to his martyrdom in Beijing. Augustine was baptized and not long after was ordained as a diocesan priest. He was martyred in 1815.
Beatified in groups at various times, these 120 martyrs were canonized in Rome on October 1, 2000.

Comment:

The People's Republic of China and the Roman Catholic Church each have well over a billion members, but there are over 12 million Catholics in China. The reasons for that are better explained by historical conflicts than by a wholesale rejection of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Chinese-born martyrs honored by today's feast were regarded by their persecutors as dangerous because they were considered allies of enemy, Catholic countries. The martyrs born outside China often tried to distance themselves from European political struggles relating to China, but their persecutors saw them as Westerners and therefore, by definition, anti-Chinese.The Good News of Jesus Christ is intended to benefit all peoples; today's martyrs knew that. May 21st-century Christians live in such a way that Chinese women and men will be attracted to hear that Good News and embrace it.
 Quote:

A year after these martyrs were canonized, Saint John Paul II addressed a group of Chinese and Western scholars, gathered in Rome for a symposium honoring the 400th anniversary of the arrival in Beijing of Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit scholar and Chinese intellectual.

After noting the positive contributions that Christianity had made to China, especially in health care and education, Pope John Paul II continued: "History, however, reminds us of the unfortunate fact that the work of members of the church in China was not always without error, the bitter fruit of their personal limitations and of the limits of their action. Moreover, their action was often conditioned by difficult situations connected with complex historical events and conflicting political interests. Nor were theological disputes lacking, which caused bad feelings and created serious difficulties in preaching the Gospel….

"I feel deep sadness for these errors and limits of the past, and I regret that in many people these failings may have given the impression of a lack of respect and esteem for the Chinese people on the part of the Catholic Church, making them feel that the church was motivated by feelings of hostility toward China. For all of this I ask the forgiveness and understanding of those who may have felt hurt in some way by such actions on the part of Christians."

Text shared from American Catholic - Image Google Images

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes Letter for Funeral of his Brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger and Watches LiveStream - FULL TEXT


Retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI followed the funeral of his brother, Georg Ratzinger, via livestreaming, according to CNS. The main celebrant at the funeral was Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg who said Pope Benedict, 93, was connected to the Mass taking place for his older brother July 8 in the Regensburg Cathedral. Msgr. Georg Ratzinger died on July 1, 2020 at the age of 96. From June 18-22 Pope Benedict made a surprise to the sickbed of his dying brother. The Bishop explained, "This sign of humanity touched many people. So all the more do we share in your mourning," he said in words addressed to the retired pope. Pope Benedict's private secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, and the pope's ambassador to Germany, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic were participants; also attending was the former Regensburg bishop, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, and Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Providing musical accompaniment for the funeral Mass were 16 former members of the "Domspatzen," the name of the Regensburg Cathedral's world-famous boys' choir that Msgr. Ratzinger directed from 1964 to 1994. The retired pope had written to his deceased brother a letter, which was read out loud at the ceremony by Archbishop Ganswein. (Above report edited from CNS)

FULL TEXT Letter by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI read at the Funeral of his brother Msgr. Georg.

His Excellency
the Most Reverend
Dr. Rudolf VODERHOLZER

Dear Bishop Rudolf!

I am with you at this hour in which you are celebrating my brother's last brotherly service, giving him escort on the last earthly path. I feel compelled to say a word of thanks for everything you have done and are doing in these weeks of farewell. My thanks also go to all those who have been with him in these weeks and who have shown him their gratitude for what he has done and suffered for them in his life.

 The echo of his life and work that I received in the form of letters, telegrams and e-mails these days goes far beyond what I could have imagined. People from many countries, from all classes and professions wrote to me in a way that touched my heart. Every individual should have a personal answer. Unfortunately, I lack the time and strength to do this, and I can only thank everyone for taking part in these hours and days. Cardinal Newman's sentence has come true for me right now: “Cor ad cor loquitur.” Throughout the paper and beyond all paper, heart speaks to heart.


There were three main characteristics of my brother that came back in many variations and also reflect my personal feeling at this hour of parting. First and foremost, it is said time and time again that my brother received and understood the priesthood call as a musical call. Already in Tittmoning in the first years of his school life, he not only carefully informed himself about church music, but also took the first steps to learn it himself. He asked in Tittmoning or in Aschau about the name of the profession that a priest at the cathedral has for church music. In doing so he got the name Domkapellmeister (Cathedral Choir Master), in which he somehow saw the direction of his life indicated. When he was actually appointed cathedral band master in Regensburg, it was both joy and pain for him, because our mother had been called out from this world almost at the same time as the cathedral chapel master Schrems. If Mother had lived on, he would not have accepted the call of being the head of the Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows. This service has become more and more a joy for him, which of course had to be bought through all sorts of suffering. Hostility and rejection were not lacking, especially in the beginning. But at the same time he has become a father for young people who gratefully stood and stand by him as his cathedral sparrows. I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you at this hour in which I was able to experience and experience anew how he, as a priest and a musician, was a priestly person and has always become new. This service has become more and more a joy for him, which of course had to be bought through all sorts of suffering. Hostility and rejection were not lacking, especially in the beginning.


I would like to mention another characteristic of my brother. On the one hand there is his cheerful sociability, his humor, his joy in the good gifts of creation. At the same time, however, he was a man of direct expression in that he expressed his conviction openly. He lived in the greatest possible blindness for over twenty years and was therefore excluded from a good part of reality. This great sacrifice was always difficult for him. But he has always accepted and passed it from within.


But in the last he was a man of God. Even if he did not show his piety, it was the real center of his life over all sobriety and honesty.


Finally, I would like to thank you for being with him again in the last days of his life. He didn't ask for a visit from me. But I felt that it was the hour to go back to him. I am deeply grateful for this inner sign that the Lord has given me. When I said goodbye to him in the morning on Monday, June 22nd, we knew it would be a farewell to this world forever. But we also knew that the benevolent God who gave us this togetherness in this world will also rule in the other world and will give us a new togetherness there. Thank God, dear Georg, for everything you have done, suffered and given to me!


And God bless you again, dear Bishop Rudolf, for the very extraordinary effort you made in these weeks, which were not easy for both of us.

Cordially yours

Signed Benedict XVI