Friday, December 4, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : 1st Saturday, December 5, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church


Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 180
Reading 1
IS 30:19-21, 23-26
Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.
He will give rain for the seed
that you sow in the ground,
And the wheat that the soil produces
will be rich and abundant.
On that day your flock will be given pasture
and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows;
The oxen and the asses that till the ground
will eat silage tossed to them
with shovel and pitchfork.
Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall,
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. (see Isaiah 30:18d)  Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Praise the LORD, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers. 
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Great is our LORD and mighty in power:
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The LORD sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
  
Alleluia
IS 33:22
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The LORD is our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King;
he it is who will save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
MT 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness. 
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.” 
Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness. 
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
Prayer to Make a 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 December 5 : St. Sabbas who Entered a Monastery at Age 8 and became a Hermit - a Founder of Eastern Monasticism

St. Sabbas HERMIT Feast: December 5 

Born:
439 at Motalala, Cappadocia
Died:
532
Hermit, born at Mutalaska near Caesarea in Cappadocia, 439; died in his laura 5 December, 532. He entered a Basilian monastery at the age of eight, came to Jerusalem in 456, lived five years in a cavern as a disciple of St. Euthymius, and, after spending some time in various monasteries, founded (483) the Laura Mar Sabe (restored in 1840) in the gorges of the Cedron, southeast of Jerusalem. 
He is one of the most highly regarded patriarchs among the monks of Palestine, and is considered one of the founders of Eastern monasticism.

After an unhappy childhood in which he was abused and ran away several times, Sabas finally sought refuge in a monastery. While family members tried to persuade him to return home, the young boy felt drawn to monastic life. Although the youngest monk in the house, he excelled in virtue.

At age 18 he traveled to Jerusalem, seeking to learn more about living in solitude. Soon he asked to be accepted as a disciple of a well-known local solitary, though initially he was regarded as too young to live completely as a hermit. Initially, Sabas lived in a monastery, where he worked during the day and spent much of the night in prayer. At the age of 30 he was given permission to spend five days each week in a nearby remote cave, engaging in prayer and manual labor in the form of weaving baskets. Following the death of his mentor, Saint Euthymius, Sabas moved farther into the desert near Jericho. There he lived for several years in a cave near the brook Cedron. A rope was his means of access. Wild herbs among the rocks were his food. Occasionally men brought him other food and items, while he had to go a distance for his water.

Some of these men came to him desiring to join him in his solitude. At first he refused. But not long after relenting, his followers swelled to more than 150, all of them living in individual huts grouped around a church, called a laura.

The bishop persuaded a reluctant Sabas, then in his early 50s, to prepare for the priesthood so that he could better serve his monastic community in leadership. While functioning as abbot among a large community of monks, he felt ever called to live the life of a hermit. Throughout each year—consistently in Lent—he left his monks for long periods of time, often to their distress. A group of 60 men left the monastery, settling at a nearby ruined facility. When Sabas learned of the difficulties they were facing, he generously gave them supplies and assisted in the repair of their church.

Over the years Sabas traveled throughout Palestine, preaching the true faith and successfully bringing back many to the Church. At the age of 91, in response to a plea from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sabas undertook a journey to Constantinople in conjunction with the Samaritan revolt and its violent repression. He fell ill and soon after his return, died at the monastery at Mar Saba. Today the monastery is still inhabited by monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Saint Sabas is regarded as one of the most noteworthy figures of early monasticism.

source The Catholic Encyclopedia and Franciscan Media

Free Catholic Movie : "Grace, Guts and Glory" : Drama of #StFrancisXavier : Stars Karan Kodade

Here is the drama of GRACE, GUTS AND GLORY - The Life of St. Francis Xavier, in English 
A film on the life of Saint Francis Xavier of Goa (1506-1552), the apostle to India, Indonesia and Japan. A great miracle worker (resurrected people from the dead, communicated after death etc.) He died in China. One of the greatest Catholic saints of all times, whose body remains incorrupt (does not disintegrate) since the 16th century and is kept in the Catholic Cathedral in Goa, India. Saint Francis Xavier was Spanish Jesuit, follower of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Modern Pope Francis is also Jesuit.

Special Prayers to St. Barbara and Novena to this Patron of Architects, Builders, Mathematicians, Miners, and Sudden Death


St. Barbara is the patroness of architects, builders, miners and artillery men, and she is invoked against lightning, fire and sudden death.

Prayer of the Church
O GOD, Who among the wonders of Thy might didst grant the victory of Martyrdom also to the weaker sex, graciously grant us that we, by recalling the memory of Thy blessed Virgin and Martyr Barbara, through her example may be led to Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Novena in Honor of St. Barbara
 (a Novena is a prayer recited for 9 days)
Preparatory Prayer
For Each Novena to a Holy Helper
 (say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be each day of the Novena) 
ALMIGHTY and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy Heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy Divine Son.
Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.
Other Prayers in Honor of St. Barbara
O GOD, Who didst adorn Thy holy Virgin and Martyr Barbara with extraordinary fortitude in the confession of the Faith, and didst console her in the most atrocious torments; grant us through her intercession perseverance in the fulfillment of Thy law and the grace of being fortified before our end with the holy Sacraments, and of a happy death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Invocation of St. Barbara 
INTREPID Virgin and Martyr, St. Barbara, through thy intercession come to my aid in all needs of my soul. Obtain for me the grace to be preserved from a sudden and unprovided death; assist me in my agony, when my senses are benumbed and I am in the throes of death. Then, O powerful patroness of the dying, come to my aid! Repel from me all the assaults and temptations of the evil one, and obtain for me the grace to receive before death the holy Sacraments, that I breathe forth my soul confirmed in faith, hope, and charity, and be worthy to enter eternal glory. Amen.
St. Barbara, at my last end
Obtain for me the Sacrament;
Assist one in that direst need
When I my God and Judge must meet:
That robed in sanctifying grace
My soul may stand before His face.
Prayer
My Lord and God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.
Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.
SOURCE:
THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS, Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, O.F.M.
TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, 1995; with Imprimatur, Imprimi Potest and Nihil Obstat.

Saint December 4 : St. John Damascene a Doctor of the Church

Born:
676, Damascus
Died:
December 4, 749, Mar Saba, Jerusalem
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
This Doctor of the Church was born in Damascus, Syria, and his father was a government official under both the Byzantine emperor and the Muslim rulers of Damascus. Receiving an excellent classical education, and fluent in Arabic as well as Greek, St. John Damascene worked in the Muslim court until the hostility of the caliph toward Christianity caused him to resign his position, about the year 700.

He migrated to Jerusalem and became a monk at Mar Sabas monastery near Jerusalem. He taught in the monastery, preached many of his luminous sermons in Jerusalem, and began to compose his theological treatises.
It was about this time that the iconoclast controversy shook the Churches of the East, when the Byzantine emperor ordered the destruction of images in Christian churches. John fought the heresy, bringing down upon himself the wrath of the emperor and the hatred of the iconoclast party.
He has left a rich legacy of writings, including his principal dogmatic work, , which was a , a refutation of heresy, an exposition of the Orthodox faith, and a study of contemporary religious issues. His writings on Mary constitute a true theology of the Mother of God, and his sermons of the saints, the liturgical feasts, and the Gospels show not only vast learning but also give us information about local customs and contemporary happenings.
Since he lived in the midst of political and theological turmoil, John wrote much to clarify true doctrine and to do his part in spreading the Gospel. The fact that he lived and worked in Jerusalem itself gives his sermons, delivered at many of the holy places, a special appeal.
He died at a very old age, some say one hundred four, in the midst of his labors, beloved by his fellow monks and revered by the people. He was buried at the monastery of Mar Sabas and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1890.
source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis explains "Each of us is invited...to work daily for the building of an ever more just, fraternal and united world." to Ambassadors - FULL TEXT




ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIAL LETTERS BY THE AMBASSADORS OF JORDAN, KAZAKHSTAN, ZAMBIA, MAURITANIA, UZBEKISTAN, MADAGASCAR, ESTONIA, RWANDA, DENMARK AND INDIA ACCREDITED TO THE HOLY SEE
Friday, 4 December 2020
 
Your Excellencies,
It is a pleasure for me to receive you for the presentation of the Letters accrediting you as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of your countries to the Holy See: Jordan, Kazakhstan, Zambia, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Madagascar, Estonia, Rwanda, Denmark and India. I would ask you to convey my sentiments of esteem to your respective Heads of State, together with the assurance of my prayers for them and for your fellow citizens.
You are beginning your mission at a time of great challenge facing the entire human family. Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, it was clear that 2020 was going to be a year marked by urgent humanitarian needs, due to conflicts, violence and terrorism in different parts of our world. Economic crises are causing hunger and mass migration, while climate change is increasing the risk of natural disasters, famine and drought. Indeed,the pandemic is aggravating the inequalities already present in our societies; as the poor and the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters risk being neglected, excluded and forgotten. The crisis has made us realize “that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other” (Extraordinary Moment of Prayer, 27 March 2020).
Today, perhaps more than ever, our increasingly globalized world urgently demands sincere and respectful dialogue and cooperation capable of uniting us in confronting the grave threats facing our planet and mortgaging the future of younger generations. In my recent Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, I expressed my desire that “in this our time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity” (No. 8). The presence of the Holy See in the international community stands at the service of the global common good, by drawing attention to the anthropological, ethical and religious aspects of the various questions that affect the lives of individuals, peoples and entire nations.
It is my hope that your diplomatic activity as representatives of your nations to the Holy See will foster the “culture of encounter” (Fratelli Tutti, 215) needed to transcend the differences and divisions that so often stand in the way of realizing the high ideals and goals proposed by the international community. Each of us is invited, in fact, to work daily for the building of an ever more just, fraternal and united world.
Dear Ambassadors, as you now undertake your mission to the Holy See, I offer you my prayerful good wishes and I assure of you of the constant readiness of the various offices of the Holy See to assist you in the fulfilment of your responsibilities. Upon you and your families, your collaborators and all your fellow citizens, I cordially invoke abundant divine blessings. Thank you!

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Archbishop Prendergast at Age 76 and Archbishop Damphousse Succeeds him as Head of Ottawa-Cornwall



The Vatican released the resignation and succession of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Ottawa-Cornwall (Canada) The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall (Canada), presented by His Excellency Monsignor Terrence Thomas Prendergast, SI. He is succeeded by His Excellency Most Reverend Monsignor Marcel Damphousse, currently Coadjutor Archbishop of the same Archdiocese.

Archdiocese Ottawa-Cornwall reported the Change in Church Leadership in Ottawa-Cornwall in December.
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., is celebrated his Silver Jubilee as a bishop at a Mass of
Thanksgiving on December 3 at Notre Dame Cathedral and will transition to the role of ArchbishopEmeritus. (Full Video below:)
 

 Archbishop Marcel Damphousse is his successor, as was established when he was named
  CoAdjutor Archbishop on May 6 when the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall was established.
Archbishop Prendergast, who has headed the Archdiocese of Ottawa since 2007, is 76, a year older than
when he turned in his retirement notice to the pope as required by canon law. Pope Francis accepted
the document “Nunc pro tunc,”—“Now for then”—allowing His Grace to celebrate 25 years of episcopal
service. Archbishop Damphousse, 57, had been Bishop of Sault-Sainte-Marie since 2015 and Bishop of
Alexandria-Cornwall from 2012 to 2015.
“I am honoured to have served as leader of the Archdioceses of Ottawa and Ottawa-Cornwall for 13
years,” Archbishop Prendergast said.
“This large and generous community of faithful Catholics will continue to encourage me in my faith
journey,” he said. His Silver Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving will take place on December 3, the feast day of
Saint Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Jesuit Order to which the outgoing Archbishop belongs.
Archbishop Prendergast leaves a considerable legacy of accomplishments in the Archdiocese. He is a
staunch supporter of the Pro-life movement, publicly opposing euthanasia and defending the life of the
unborn. He has made the Church present to people at public events, greeting parishioners after every
Mass and appearing at conferences locally and across the country. He encouraged Communion and
Liberation to institute the Way of the Cross on Good Friday in the streets of Ottawa, as they had in
Halifax. He was a columnist in the Catholic Register, the Ottawa Citizen, and the Ottawa Sun. He
pioneered social media—blogging, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and has appeared on YouTube—to
reach a new generation. He published the Catholic Ottawa newsletter for several years. His Grace
boosted several Catholic ministries with the annual Charity Dinner that he instituted in 2008. His ardent
desire to spread the Gospel led him to collaborate closely with NET Canada and Catholic Christian
Outreach, two bodies that are engaged in sharing the gospel with youth, on college and university
campuses and beyond. He supported the development of the New Evangelization Summit, a yearly
festival to explore how to reach out to those who have left practice of the faith or who have never heard
it. He has nurtured new religious communities based in the Archdiocese: the Queenship of Mary and the 
Servants of the Cross. His heart for First Nations Peoples inspired his unwavering encouragement of
Kateri Native Ministry and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process. He has dedicated
considerable resources to catechise youth in the French Catholic school boards of the Archdiocese.
Archbishop Prendergast has come alongside promising initiatives in the francophone community, like le
Festival de la Parole and Foi et télévision chrétienne, as well as ministries with a history of faithful
service, like les Sœurs de la charité d’Ottawa and les Filles de la sagesse.
A defender of Christian unity, Archbishop Prendergast was educated at, and has taught Scripture in,
ecumenical theological centres and as a priest and bishop served on the Anglican-Roman Catholic
Dialogue. He was one of the first bishops to welcome into the Catholic Communion members of an
Anglican Rite parish on April 15, 2012, as provided for by Pope Benedict three years before. He also
cherishes his association with local interfaith bodies and his friendship with leading members of the
Jewish and Islamic communities.
He said he knows Archbishop Damphousse “will cherish his episcopal ministry in Ottawa-Cornwall,” and
with him as the archdiocese’s new shepherd, Archbishop Prendergast said he is “confident that God’s
universal Church in Ottawa-Cornwall is in good hands.”
The new archbishop’s ministry will be inaugurated during a Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica on
December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast day is of
significance to both the former Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, Archbishop Damphousse’s first
episcopal appointment, and to the former Archdiocese of Ottawa.
Archbishop Damphousse called it “a joy and a privilege to be called to serve as the second Archbishop of
Ottawa-Cornwall.”
Archbishop Prendergast, whose career includes work as a professor, a prolific writer, and twice a
university Chancellor, intends to remain active as Archbishop Emeritus through pastoral ministry and as
an author.
Source: Press Release Archdiocese Ottawa-Cornwall and Vatican

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : 1st Friday, December 4, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



Friday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 179
Reading 1
IS 29:17-24
Thus says the Lord GOD:
But a very little while,
and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book;
And out of gloom and darkness,
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.
(Mass Starts at 4:10 Mark)

 
Therefore thus says the LORD,
the God of the house of Jacob,
who redeemed Abraham:
Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of,
nor shall his face grow pale.
When his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall keep my name holy;
they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
and be in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 27:1, 4, 13-14
R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.


Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
MT 9:27-31
As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
“Son of David, have pity on us!”
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
“Do you believe that I can do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him.
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
And their eyes were opened.
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.”
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
Prayer to Make a 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 December 4 : St. Barbara who was Shut in a Tower by her Father and the Patron of Mathematicians, Miners, Military Engineers, Lightning, Sudden Death


VIRGIN AND MARTYR
  Patron of:
Artillery gunners, masons, mathematicians, miners, military engineers, stonecutters, against lightning, anyone who works at risk of sudden and violent death
 Veneration of the saint was common from the seventh century. At about this date there were in existence legendary Acts of her martyrdom which were inserted in the collection of Symeon Metaphrastes and were used as well by the authors (Ado, Usuard, etc.) of the enlarged martyrologies composed during the ninth century in Western Europe. According to these narratives, which are essentially the same, Barbara was the daughter of a rich heathen named Dioscorus. She was carefully guarded by her father who kept her shut up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. An offer of marriage which was received through him she rejected. Before going on a journey her father commanded that a bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling, and during his absence Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended. When her father returned she acknowledged herself to be a Christian; upon this she was ill-treated by him and dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured and finally condemned her to death by beheading. The father himself carried out the death-sentence, but in punishment for this he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body consumed. Another Christian named Juliana suffered the death of a martyr along with Barbara. A pious man called Valentinus buried the bodies of the saints; at this grave the sick were healed and the pilgrims who came to pray received aid and consolation. The emperor in whose reign the martyrdom is placed is sometimes called Maximinus and sometimes Maximianus; owing to the purely legendary character of the accounts of the martyrdom, there is no good basis for the investigations made at an earlier date in order to ascertain whether Maximinus Thrax (235-238) or Maximinus Daza (of the Diocletian persecutions), is meant.
The traditions vary as to the place of martyrdom, two different opinions being expressed: Symeon Metaphrastes and the Latin legend given by Mombritius makes Heliopolis in Egypt the site of the martyrdom, while other accounts, to which Baronius ascribes more weight, give Nicomedia. In the "Martyrologium Romanum parvum" (about 700), the oldest martyrology of the Latin Church in which her name occurs, it is said: "In Tuscia Barbarae virginis et martyris", a statement repeated by Ado and others, while later additions of the martyrologies of St. Jerome and Bede say "Romae Barbarae virginis" or "apud Antiochiam passio S. Barbarae virg.". These various statements prove, however, only the local adaptation of the veneration of the saintly martyr concerning whom there is no genuine historical tradition. It is certain that before the ninth century she was publicly venerated both in the East and in the West, and that she was very popular with the Christian populace. The legend that her father was struck by lightning caused her, probably, to be regarded by the common people as the patron saint in time of danger from thunder-storms and fire, and later by analogy, as the protector of artillerymen and miners. She was also called upon as intercessor to assure the receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of death. An occurrence of the year 1448 did much to further the spread of the veneration of the saint. A man named Henry Kock was nearly burnt to death in a fire at Gorkum; he called on St. Barbara, to whom he had always shown great devotion. She aided him to escape from the burning house and kept him alive until he could receive the last sacraments. A similar circumstance is related in an addition to the "Legenda aurea". In the Greek and present Roman calendars the feast of St. Barbara falls on 4 December, while the martyrologies of the ninth century, with the exception of Rabanus Maurus, place it on 16 December. St. Barbara has often been depicted in art; she is represented standing in a tower with three windows, carrying the palm of a martyr in her hand; often also she holds a chalice and sacramental wafer; sometimes cannon are displayed near her.
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis says "I strongly reaffirm the right of persons with disabilities to receive the sacraments, like all other members of the Church." for Day of Persons with Disabilities - FULL TEXT



MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

 Dear brothers and sisters,

This year’s celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an occasion to express my closeness to those experiencing situations of particular difficulty during the crisis caused by the pandemic. All of us are in the same boat in the midst of a turbulent sea that can frighten us. Yet in this same boat, some of us are struggling more; among them are persons with serious disabilities.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Building Back Better: Toward a Disability-inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable post-COVID-19 World. I find the expression “building back better” quite striking. It makes me think of the Gospel parable of the house built on rock or sand (cf. Mt 7:24-27; Lk 6:46-49). So I take this special occasion to share some reflections based on that parable.

1. The threat of the throwaway culture

In the first place, the “rain”, the “rivers” and the “winds” that threaten the house can be identified with the throwaway culture widespread in our time (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 53). For that culture, “some parts of our human family, it appears, can be readily sacrificed for the sake of others considered worthy of a carefree existence. Ultimately, persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected, especially when they are poor and disabled” (Fratelli Tutti, 18).

That culture affects especially the most vulnerable, among whom are the persons with disabilities. In the last fifty years, important steps forward have been taken on both the civil and ecclesial levels. Awareness of the dignity of each person has grown, and this has resulted in courageous decisions to promote the inclusion of those experiencing physical and psychological limitations. Yet, on the cultural level, much still stands in the way of this trend. We see it in attitudes of rejection, due also to a narcissistic and utilitarian mentality, that give rise to marginalization that ignores the inevitable fact that frailty is part of everyone’s life. Indeed, some with even severe disabilities, despite great challenges, have found the way to a beautiful and meaningful life, whereas many “able-bodied” people feel dissatisfied or even desperate. “Vulnerability is intrinsic to the essential nature of humanity” (Address to the Conference “Catechesis and People with Disabilities”, 21 October 2017).

Consequently, it is important, on this Day, to promote a culture of life that constantly affirms the dignity of every person and works especially to defend men and women with disabilities, of all ages and social conditions.

2. The “rock” of inclusion

The present pandemic has further highlighted the disparities and inequalities widespread in our time, particularly to the detriment of the most vulnerable. “The virus, while it does not distinguish between people, has found, in its devastating path, great inequalities and discrimination. And it has only made them worse” (Catechesis at the General Audience of 19 August 2020).

For this reason, inclusion should be the first “rock” on which to build our house. Although this term is at times overused, the Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) continues to be timely. Along the road of life, we often come across wounded people, and these can include persons with disabilities and particular needs. “The decision to include or exclude those lying wounded along the roadside can serve as a criterion for judging every economic, political, social and religious project. Each day we have to decide whether to be Good Samaritans or indifferent bystanders” (Fratelli Tutti, 69).

Inclusion should be the “rock” on which to build programmes and initiatives of civil institutions meant to ensure that no one, especially those in greatest difficulty, is left behind. The strength of a chain depends upon the attention paid to its weakest links.

As for ecclesial institutions, I reiterate the need to make available suitable and accessible means for handing on the faith. I also hope that these can be made available to those who need them, cost-free to the extent possible, also through the new technologies that have proven so important for everyone in the midst of this pandemic. I also encourage efforts to provide all priests, seminarians, religious, catechists and pastoral workers with regular training concerning disabilities and the use of inclusive pastoral tools. Parish communities should be concerned to encourage among the faithful a welcoming attitude towards people with disabilities. Creating a fully accessible parish requires not only the removal of architectural barriers, but above all, helping parishioners to develop attitudes and acts of solidarity and service towards persons with disabilities and their families. Our aim should be to speak no longer about “them”, but rather about “us”.

3. The “rock” of active participation

To help our society to “build back better”, inclusion of the vulnerable must also entail efforts to promote their active participation.

Before all else, I strongly reaffirm the right of persons with disabilities to receive the sacraments, like all other members of the Church. All liturgical celebrations in the parish should be accessible to them, so that, together with their brothers and sisters, each of them can deepen, celebrate, and live their faith. Special attention should be paid to people with disabilities who have not yet received the sacraments of Christian initiation: they should be welcomed and included in programmes of catechesis in preparation for these sacraments. No one should be excluded from the grace of these sacraments.

“In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples. All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization” (Evangelii Gaudium, 120). People with disabilities, both in society and in the Church, also wish to become active subjects of our pastoral ministry, and not simply its recipients. “Many persons with disabilities feel that they exist without belonging and without participating. Much still prevents them from being fully enfranchised. Our concern should be not only to care for them, but also to ensure their ‘active participation’ in the civil and ecclesial community. That is a demanding and even tiring process, yet one that will gradually contribute to the formation of consciences capable of acknowledging each individual as a unique and unrepeatable person” (Fratelli Tutti, 98). Indeed, the active participation of people with disabilities in the work of catechesis can greatly enrich the life of the whole parish. Precisely because they have been grafted onto Christ in baptism, they share with him, in their own particular way, the priestly, prophetic, and royal mission of evangelizing through, with and in the Church.

The presence of persons with disabilities among catechists, according to their own gifts and talents, is thus a resource for the community. Efforts should be made to provide them with appropriate training, so that they can acquire greater knowledge also in the areas of theology and catechesis. I trust that, in parish communities, more and more people with disabilities can become catechists, in order to pass on the faith effectively, also by their own witness (cf. Address to the Conference “Catechesis and People with Disabilities”21 October 2017).

“Even worse than this crisis would be the tragedy of squandering it” (Homily on the Solemnity of Pentecost, 31 May 2020). For this reason, I encourage all those who daily and often silently devote themselves to helping others in situations of fragility and disability. May our common desire to “build back better” give rise to new forms of cooperation between both civil and ecclesial groups and thus build a solid “house” ready to withstand every storm and capable of welcoming people with disabilities, because built on the rock of inclusion and active participation.

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 3 December 2020

 

Franciscus

Wow Ancient Chant that will Touch your Soul "Vox clara ecce Intonat" for #Advent Sung by Heavenly Abbey Choir


Vox clara ecce intonat is a Latin hymn used traditionally in the Liturgy of the Hours at Lauds during Advent. Originated in the 6th century or earlier possibly by St Ambrose,
It speaks of the preaching of John the Baptist, announcing the coming of Christ in Luke's Gospel.
 Latin
  Vox clara ecce intonat
 1 VOX clara ecce intonat, obscura quaeque increpat: procul fugentur somnia; ab aethere Christus promicat.
 2 Mens iam resurgat torpida quae sorde exstat saucia; sidus refulget iam novum, ut tollat omne noxium.
 3 E sursum Agnus mittitur laxare gratis debitum; omnes pro indulgentia vocem demus cum lacrimis, 4 Secundo ut cum fulserit mundumque horror cinxerit, non pro reatu puniat, sed nos pius tunc protegat.
 5 Summo Parenti gloria Natoque sit victoria, et Flamini laus debita per saeculorum saecula. Amen.
 1 Hark! a herald voice is calling: 'Christ is nigh,' it seems to say; 'Cast away the dreams of darkness, O ye children of the day!' 2 Startled at the solemn warning, Let the earth-bound soul arise; Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling, Shines upon the morning skies. 3 Lo! the Lamb, so long expected, Comes with pardon down from heaven; Let us haste, with tears of sorrow, One and all to be forgiven; 4 So when next he comes with glory, Wrapping all the earth in fear, May he then as our defender Of the clouds of heaven appear. 5 Honour, glory, virtue, merit, To the Father and the Son, With the co-eternal Spirit, While unending ages run.[11]

Pope Francis’ December Prayer Intention: "For a life of prayer" FULL TEXT + Video



Pope Francis’ December prayer intention: For a life of prayer
Jesus Christ: a live marked by prayer
The Pope explains, “By praying, we change reality. And we change our hearts,” he says in the Video.
Today, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, which releases the prayer intentions, connects millions of Catholics around the world from many countries, cultures, and social and ecclesial contexts, through prayer.
The Video this month ends with Pope Francis’ invitation to prayer, and observes a  moment of silence, during the Audience with the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network on its 175th anniversary.
Fr. Frédéric Fornos, S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. 
DECEMBER INTENTION: FOR A LIFE OF PRAYER
The full text of the December 2020 prayer intention:

The heart of the Church’s mission is prayer.
Prayer is the key for us to be able to enter into dialogue with the Father.
Every time we read a short passage from the Gospel we hear Jesus speaking to us.
We have a conversation with Jesus.
We listen to Jesus and we reply.
And this is prayer.
By praying, we change reality.
And we change our hearts.
Our heart changes when we pray.
We can do many things, but without prayer, it does not work.
We pray that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.
In silence, everyone, each one in heartfelt prayer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, December 3, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church





Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Lectionary: 178
Reading 1
IS 26:1-6
On that day they will sing this song in the land of Judah:
“A strong city have we;
he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.
Open up the gates
to let in a nation that is just,
one that keeps faith.
A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
in peace, for its trust in you.
”Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 118:1 AND 8-9, 19-21, 25-27A
R. (26a) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This gate is the LORD’s;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


Alleluia
IS 55:6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call him while he is near.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
MT 7:21, 24-27
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
Prayer to Make a 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 December 3 : St. Francis Xavier a Jesuit Priest Missionary and Patron of Missionaries; Precious Blood; Navigators; Missions; Plague


JESUIT PRIEST AND GREAT MISSIONARY Feast: December 3
Born:
April 7, 1506, Javier, NavarreDied:
December 3, 1552, China
Canonized:
March 12, 1622 by Gregory XV
Patron of:
African missions; Apostleship of Prayer; Australia; Bombay, India; China; East Indies; Fathers of the Precious Blood; foreign missions; Goa India; India; Tokyo, Japan; missionaries; Missioners of the Precious Blood; navigators; parish missions; plague epidemics; Propagation of the Faith
Prayer to St. Francis 
O devoted Servant of God, Saint Francis Xavier, your heart was burning with love for Jesus. Impelled by his love, you went from country to country and spent yourself unto death to proclaim the name of Jesus and the good news of salvation. That is why the Father filled you with glory in heaven and preserved your body from corruption here on Earth. Filled with joy for these unique gifts, we join you in praising the Father.

And Now we ask your intercession for ourselves. ( Each one makes ones’s intention silently ) We ask you to obtain for us the fulfilment of these desires if they are pleasing to the Father. And for everything together with you we praise the Father, through Jesus in the Spirit. Amen.
Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, 7 April, 1506; died on the Island of Sancian near the coast of China, 2 December, 1552. In 1525, having completed a preliminary course of studies in his own country, Francis Xavier went to Paris, where he entered the college de Sainte-Barbe. Here he met the Savoyard, Pierre Favre, and a warm personal friendship sprang up between them. It was at this same college that St. Ignatius Loyola, who was already planning the foundation of the Society of Jesus, resided for a time as a guest in 1529. He soon won the confidence of the two young men; first Favre and later Xavier offered themselves with him in the formation of the Society. Four others, Lainez, Salmeron, Rodriguez, and Bobadilla, having joined them, the seven made the famous vow of Montmartre, 15 Aug., 1534.
After completing his studies in Paris and filling the post of teacher there for some time, Xavier left the city with his companions 15 November, 1536, and turned his steps to Venice, where he displayed zeal and charity in attending the sick in the hospitals. On 24 June, 1537, he received Holy orders with St. Ignatius. The following year he went to Rome, and after doing apostolic work there for some months, during the spring of 1539 he took part in the conferences which St. Ignatius held with his companions to prepare for the definitive foundation of the Society of Jesus. The order was approved verbally 3 September, and before the written approbation was secured, which was not until a year later, Xavier was appointed , at the earnest solicitation of the John III, King of Portugal, to evangelize the people of the East Indies. He left Rome 16 March, 1540, and reached Lisbon about June. Here he remained nine months, giving many admirable examples of apostolic zeal.
On 7 April, 1541, he embarked in a sailing vessel for India, and after a tedious and dangerous voyage landed at Goa, 6 May, 1542. The first five months he spent in preaching and ministering to the sick in the hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a number, he would take them to a certain church and would there explain the catechism to them. About October, 1542, he started for the pearl fisheries of the extreme southern coast of the peninsula, desirous of restoring Christianity which, although introduced years before, had almost disappeared on account of the lack of priests. He devoted almost three years to the work of preaching to the people of Western India, converting many, and reaching in his journeys even the Island of Ceylon. Many were the difficulties and hardships which Xavier had to encounter at this time, sometimes on account of the cruel persecutions which some of the petty kings of the country carried on against the neophytes, and again because the Portuguese soldiers, far from seconding the work of the saint, retarded it by their bad example and vicious habits.
In the spring of 1545 Xavier started for Malacca. He laboured there for the last months of that year, and although he reaped an abundant spiritual harvest, he was not able to root out certain abuses, and was conscious that many sinners had resisted his efforts to bring them back to God. About January, 1546, Xavier left Malacca and went to Molucca Islands, where the Portuguese had some settlements, and for a year and a half he preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of Amboyna, Ternate, Baranura, and other lesser islands which it has been difficult to identify. It is claimed by some that during this expedition he landed on the island of Mindanao, and for this reason St. Francis Xavier has been called the first Apostle of the Philippines. But although this statement is made by some writers of the seventeenth century, and in the Bull of canonization issued in 1623, it is said that he preached the Gospel in Mindanao, up to the present time it has not been proved absolutely that St. Francis Xavier ever landed in the Philippines.
By July, 1547, he was again in Malacca. Here he met a Japanese called Anger (Han-Sir), from whom he obtained much information about Japan. His zeal was at once aroused by the idea of introducing Christanity into Japan, but for the time being the affairs of the Society demanded his presence at Goa, whither he went, taking Anger with him. During the six years that Xavier had been working among the infidels, other Jesuit missionaries had arrived at Goa, sent from Europe by St. Ignatius; moreover some who had been born in the country had been received into the Society. In 1548 Xavier sent these missionaries to the principal centres of India, where he had established missions, so that the work might be preserved and continued. He also established a novitiate and house of studies, and having received into the Society Father Cosme de Torres, a Spanish priest whom he had met in the Maluccas, he started with him and Brother Juan Fernandez for Japan towards the end of June, 1549. The Japanese Anger, who had been baptized at Goa and given the name of Pablo de Santa Fe, accompanied them.
They landed at the city of Kagoshima in Japan, 15 Aug., 1549. The entire first year was devoted to learning the Japanese language and translating into Japanese, with the help of Pablo de Santa Fe, the principal articles of faith and short treatises which were to be employed in preaching and catechizing. When he was able to express himself, Xavier began preaching and made some converts, but these aroused the ill will of the bonzes, who had him banished from the city. Leaving Kagoshima about August, 1550, he penetrated to the centre of Japan, and preached the Gospel in some of the cities of southern Japan. Towards the end of that year he reached Meaco, then the principal city of Japan, but he was unable to make any headway here because of the dissensions the rending the country. He retraced his steps to the centre of Japan, and during 1551 preached in some important cities, forming the nucleus of several Christian communities, which in time increased with extraordinary rapidity.
After working about two years and a half in Japan he left this mission in charge of Father Cosme de Torres and Brother Juan Fernandez, and returned to Goa, arriving there at the beginning of 1552. Here domestic troubles awaited him. Certain disagreements between the superior who had been left in charge of the missions, and the rector of the college, had to be adjusted. This, however, being arranged, Xavier turned his thoughts to China, and began to plan an expedition there. During his stay in Japan he had heard much of the Celestial Empire, and though he probably had not formed a proper estimate of his extent and greatness, he nevertheless understood how wide a field it afforded for the spread of the light of the Gospel. With the help of friends he arranged a commission or embassy the Sovereign of China, obtained from the Viceroy of India the appointment of ambassador, and in April, 1552, he left Goa. At Malacca the party encountered difficulties because the influential Portuguese disapproved of the expedition, but Xavier knew how to overcome this opposition, and in the autumn he arrived in a Portuguese vessel at the small island of Sancian near the coast of China. While planning the best means for reaching the mainland, he was taken ill, and as the movement of the vessel seemed to aggravate his condition, he was removed to the land, where a rude hut had been built to shelter him. In these wretched surroundings he breathed his last.
It is truly a matter of wonder that one man in the short space of ten years (6 May, 1542-2 December, 1552) could have visited so many countries, traversed so many seas, preached the Gospel to so many nations, and converted so many infidels. The incomparable apostolic zeal which animated him, and the stupendous miracles which God wrought through him, explain this marvel, which has no equal elsewhere. The list of the principal miracles may be found in the Bull of canonization. St. Francis Xavier is considered the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, and the zeal he displayed, the wonderful miracles he performed, and the great number of souls he brought to the light of true Faith, entitle him to this distinction. He was canonized with St. Ignatius in 1622, although on account of the death of Gregory XV, the Bull of canonization was not published until the following year.
The body of the saint is still enshrined at Goa in the church which formerly belonged to the Society. In 1614 by order of Claudius Acquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus, the right arm was severed at the elbow and conveyed to Rome, where the present altar was erected to receive it in the church of the Gesu.

The Catholic Encyclopedia - Prayer Source: http://bomjesus.org/

Pope Francis says "...God’s grace changes lives: He takes us as we are, but He never leaves us as we are" and Prays for Victims in Nigeria - FULL TEXT + Video



GENERAL AUDIENCE

Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, 2 December 2020

 

Catechesis on prayer - 17. The blessing

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we will reflect on an essential dimension of prayer: blessing. We are continuing the reflections on prayer. In the creation accounts (see Gn 1-2), God continually blesses life, always. He blesses the animals (1:22), He blesses the man and the woman (1:28), finally, He blesses the Sabbath, the day of rest and the enjoyment of all of creation (2:3). It is God who blesses. On the first pages of the Bible, there is a continual repetition of blessings. God blesses, but men give blessings as well, and soon they discover that the blessing possesses a special power that accompanies the person who receives it throughout his or her entire life, and disposes the person’s heart to allow God to change it (see Second Vatican Council Const. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 61).

At the world’s beginning, therefore, there is a God who “speaks well”[1], who blesses. He sees that every work of His hands is good and beautiful, and when He creates man, and creation is complete, He recognizes that he is “very good” (Gn 1:31). Shortly thereafter, the beauty that God had imprinted within His work will be altered, and the human being will become a degenerate creature, capable of spreading evil and death in the world; but nothing will ever take away God’s original imprint of goodness that God placed in the world, in human nature, in all of us: the capacity of blessing and of being blessed. God did not make a mistake with creation nor with the creation of man. The hope of the world lies entirely in God’s blessing: He continues to desire our good[2], He is the first, as the poet Péguy said,[3] to continue to hope for our good.

God’s greatest blessing is Jesus Christ; His Son is God’s greatest. He is a blessing for all of humanity, He is the blessing that saved us all. He is the eternal Word with which the Father blessed us “while we were yet sinners” (Rm 5:8), St Paul says: the Word made flesh and offered for us on the cross.

St Paul proclaims with emotion God’s plan of love. And he says it this way: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph 1:3-6). There is no sin that can completely erase the image of Christ present in each one of us. No sin can erase that image that God has given us – the image of Christ. Sin can disfigure it, but not remove it from God’s mercy. A sinner can remain in error for a long time, but God is patient till the end, hoping that the sinner’s heart will eventually open and change. God is like a good father, He is a Father, and like a good mother, He is a good mother as well: they never stop loving their child, no matter what he or she may have done wrong, always. What comes to my mind is the many times that I have seen people in line to go into a prison, how many mothers are there in line to see their imprisoned child. They do not cease to love their child and they know that the people passing by on the bus are thinking: “Ah, that is the mother of a prisoner…”. They are not embarrassed about this. Yes, they are embarrassed but they go ahead. Just as their child is more important than their embarrassment, so we are more important to God than all of the sins that we can commit. Because He is a Father, He is a Mother, He is pure love, He has blessed us forever. And He will never cease blessing us.

What an impressive experience it is to read these biblical texts of blessing in a prison, or in a rehabilitation group. To allow these people to hear that they are still blessed, notwithstanding their grave errors, that the heavenly Father continues to desire their good and to hope that they will open themselves in the end to the good. Even if their closest relatives have abandoned them – many abandon them, they are not like those mothers who wait in life to see them, they are not important, they abandon them – they have abandoned them since they by now judge them to be irredeemable, they are always children to God. God cannot erase in us the image of sons and daughters, each one of us is His son, His daughter. At times we see miracles happen: men and women who are reborn because they find this blessing that has anointed them as children. For God’s grace changes lives: He takes us as we are, but He never leaves us as we are.

Let us think about what Jesus did with Zacchaeus (see Lk 19:1-10), for example. Everyone saw evil in him; instead, Jesus spots a glimmer of good, and from that – from his curiosity to see Jesus – He allows the mercy that saves to pass through. Thus, first Zaccaeus’s heart was changed, and then his life. Jesus sees the indelible blessing of the Father in the people who are rejected and repudiated. He was a public sinner, he had done so many awful things, but Jesus saw that indelible sign of the Father’s blessing and because of that, He had compassion. That phrase that is repeated often in the Gospel, “He was moved with compassion”, and that compassion leads Him to help him and to change his heart. What’s more, Jesus came to identify Himself with every person in need (see Mt 25:31-46). In the passage about the final protocol on which all of us will be judged, Matthew 25, Jesus says: “I was there, I was hungry, I was naked, I was in prison, I was in hospital, I was there”.

To the God who blesses we, too, respond by blessing – God has taught us how to bless and we must bless – through the prayer of praise, of adoration, of thanksgiving. The Catechism writes: “The prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing” (n. 2626). Prayer is joy and thanksgiving. God did not wait for us to convert ourselves before beginning to love us, but He loved us a long time before, when we were still in sin.

We cannot but bless this God who blesses us; we must bless everyone in Him, all people, to bless God and to bless our brothers and sisters, to bless the world – and this is the root of Christian meekness, the ability of feeling blessed and the ability to bless. If all of us were to do this, wars would surely not exist. This world needs blessings, and we can give blessings and receive blessings. The Father loves us. The only thing that remains for us is the joy of blessing Him, and the joy of thanking Him, and of learning from Him not to curse, but to bless. Here, just one word for the people who have the habit of cursing, people who always have a bad word, a curse, on their lips and in their hearts. Each one of us can think: Do I have this habit of cursing like this? And ask the Lord the grace to change this habit because we have a blessed heart and curses cannot come out of a heart that has been blessed. May the Lord teach us never to curse, but to bless.



[1]Translator’s note: the Italian word for bless is benedirebene (well or good), dire (to speak), which literally corresponds with the English word benediction .

[2]Translator’s note: literal translation of the Italian expression volere bene: volere (to desire or wish), bene (well); this expression is used often in Italian to say “I love you”.

[3] The Portico of the Mystery of the Second Virtue; first edition, Le porche du mystère de la deuxième vertu, published in 1911.


Special Greetings

I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful. On our Advent journey, may the light of Christ illumine our paths and dispel all darkness and fear from our hearts. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!


APPEAL

I want to assure my prayers for Nigeria, where blood has unfortunately been spilled once more in a terrorist attack. Last Saturday, in the northeast of the country, more than one hundred farmers were brutally killed. May God welcome them in His peace and comfort their families, and convert the hearts of those who commit similar atrocities which gravely offend His name.

Today is the fortieth anniversary of the death of four North American missionaries killed in El Salvador: the Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorthy Kazel and the volunteer Jean Donovan. On 2 December 1980, they were kidnapped, raped and assassinated by a paramilitary group. They were serving in El Salvador within the context of the civil war. With evangelical dedication, and running great risks, they were bringing food and medication to the displaced and were helping poorer families. These women lived their faith with great generosity. They are an example for everyone to become faithful missionary disciples.


Diocese in Trier, Germany Unites in Prayer as 5 People Killed when Driver Rams Car into Pedestrians including Father and Baby






On Tuesday afternoon (December 1, 2020) 5 people were killed and many injured in a rampage in downtown Trier, Germany. Bishop Stephan Ackermann: "I am deeply shocked by the rampage that almost happened on our doorstep. We still know little about the circumstances or the background, but the incident shakes people far beyond the city of Trier. The cathedral is already there open to prayer; our emergency chaplains are on duty. " People who need to talk can contact the telephone counseling service on 0800-1110111. (It has been released by various media that the driver a 51-year-old local man, was drunk and has been arrested. The suspect drove for 1km killing: three women, aged 25, 52 and 73 and a 45-year-old father with his baby. The wife and one-year-old son were injured and admitted to hospital.)
 People can come to prayer in the cathedral without registering, the contact details are recorded on site. The cathedral is open for prayer and remembrance. A memorial site has been set up in front of the side altar. It is also possible to set up or put down candles or flowers there to commemorate. A condolence book was also laid out.
The city is united in prayer. On their website they wrote:
We mourn the victims of the rampage in downtown Trier on December 1st, 2020 02.12.2020. A minute of silence - bells will ring on Thursday, December 3rd, the bells of Trier Cathedral and the inner city churches will ring at 1:46 p.m. - exactly two days after the rampage - to commemorate the victims and those affected and as an invitation to silent prayer. The Mayor of Trier Wolfram Leibe had called for a minute of silence. The parishes of the diocese are invited to join the minute of silence and the ringing of bells.  Stunned and sad at the brutal act of violence, more than 100 people pray in the cathedral for the victims of the rampage After a car driver went amok with five dead and several injured in downtown Trier, on the evening of December 1st, more than 100 people prayed in Trier Cathedral for the victims of the crime and their relatives, for the almost 700 emergency services and rescue workers and all those affected . Bishop Stephan Ackermann and Jörg Weber, Superintendent of the Evangelical Church District Trier, had invited to the ecumenical prayer. 
Edited from : https://www.bistum-trier.de/home/triertrauert/ - Update on victims from BBC

Pope Francis' Video Message on the Presentation of the Roman Missal for Zaire, Africa "...commit yourselves in the same way to the whole ritual of the Sacraments..."



VIDEO MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE VOLUME PUBLISHED BY LEV
"POPE FRANCIS AND THE ROMAN MISSAL FOR THE DIOCESE OF ZAIRE"

I am delighted to be able to connect with you in this very important event for the Church in Africa. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to join this event of the presentation of the volume on the Congolese Rite of the celebration of Mass. One year after the celebration of the Holy Mass which I presided in the Congolese Rite in St. Peter's Basilica , the Vatican Publishing House publishes a volume on the event. The volume is edited by Sister Rita Mboshu Kongo and has as its subtitle “A promising rite for other cultures". Precisely this subtitle indicates the fundamental reason behind this publication: a book that is the testimony of a celebration lived with faith and joy. The spiritual and ecclesial significance and the pastoral purpose of the Eucharistic celebration in the Congolese Rite were the basis of the drafting of the volume. The principles of the need for scientific study, adaptation and active participation in the Liturgy, strongly desired by the Council, have guided the authors of this volume. Being the first and only inculturated rite of the Latin Church approved after the Second Vatican Council , the experience of the Congolese rite of the celebration of Mass can serve as an example and model for other cultures. One of the main contributions of the Second Vatican Council it was precisely that of proposing norms for adapting the disposition and traditions of various peoples. I urge you - as Saint John Paul II said to the Bishops of Congo on their visit ad limina Apostolorum on April 23, 1988 - to commit yourselves in the same way to the whole ritual of the Sacraments and the sacraments that you have in sight to complete this Rite.

Let us recall what we explicitly said in Querida Amazonia : “to collect in the liturgy many elements of the experience of the indigenous people in their intimate contact with nature and to stimulate native expressions in songs, dances, rites, gestures and symbols. The Second Vatican Council had already requested this effort to inculturate the liturgy in indigenous peoples, but more than 50 years have passed and we have made little progress in this direction "( n. 82 ).

The Congolese rite of the Eucharistic celebration enhances the different languages, colors, movements of the body, which interact by leveraging all the dimensions of the personality of the faithful, always taking into account the specific values ​​of each people.

This publication, dear brothers and sisters, reminds us that the true protagonist of the Congolese Rite is the People of God who sing and praise God, the God of Jesus Christ who has saved us all. I hope this publication will help in making progress in this regard. Thanks!