Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pope Francis "...there is a God in heaven Who loves us like no-one on this earth has ever done or will ever be able to do." Full Text + Video at Audience

Catechesis of the Holy Father
Greetings in various languages

This morning’s General Audience took place in two distinct phases. At 9.10, in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francis received the participants in the pilgrimage from the archdiocese of Benevento.
At 9.45, in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and all over the world.
In his address in Italian the Pope continued his cycle of catechesis on the Lord’s Prayer, focusing on the theme “Our Father Who is in heaven” (Bible passage: Isaiah, 49: 14-16).
After summarising his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father addressed special greetings to the groups of faithful present.
The General Audience concluded with the recitation of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

Catechesis of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today’s audience takes place in two places. First I met with the faithful of Benevento, who were in Saint Peter’s, and now with you. And this is due to the delicacy of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, who did not want you to get cold: let us thank them, they did this. Thank you.
Let us continue the catechesis on the Lord’s Prayer. The first step of every Christian prayer is the entry into a mystery, that of God’s paternity. We cannot pray like parrots. Either you enter into the mystery, in the awareness that God is your Father, or you do not pray. If I want to pray to God my Father the mystery begins. To understand the measure to which God is Father, let us think of the figures of our parents, but to some extent we have to “refine” them, purify them. The Catechesism of the Catholic Church also says so: “The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God” (2779).
None of us has had perfect parents, no-one; just as we, in turn, will never be perfect parents or pastors. We all have flaws, all of us. Our relations of love are always lived in terms of our limits and also of our selfishness; therefore they are often contaminated by desires to possess or manipulate the other. For this reason, at times declarations of love transform into sentiments of anger and of hostility. But look, these two loved each other so much last week, today they mortally hate each other: we see this every day! It is for this reason, since we all have bitter roots inside, that are not good and at times come out and do harm.
This is why, when we speak about God as a “father”, while we think of the image of our parents, especially if they have loved us, at the same time we must go beyond. Because God’s love is that of the Father “who is in heaven”, according to the expression that Jesus invites us to use: it is the total love that we in this life taste only in an imperfect way. Men and women are eternally mendicants of love – we are mendicants of love, we need love – they seek a place where they can finally be loved, but they do not find it. How many disappointed friendships and how many disappointed loves are there in our world; so many!
The Greek god of love, in mythology, is the most tragic one of all: it cannot be understood if he is an angelic being or a demon. The mythology says that he is the son of Poros and Penía, that is, of astuteness and poverty, destined to carry within himself a little of the features of these parents. From this we can think of the ambivalent nature of human love: capable of flourishing and of overbearing living at one time of the day, and immediately afterwards fading and dying: that which it grasps, always flees from it (cf Plato, Symposium, 203). There is an expression of the prophet Hosea which outlines pitilessly the congenital weakness of our love: “Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears” (6: 4). This is what our love often is: a promise that we struggle to maintain, an attempt that soon dries up and evaporates, a little like when in the morning the sun comes out and takes away the night-time dew.
How often we men love in such a weak and intermittent way. We all have the experience: we have loved but then that love falls and or becomes weak. Desiring to love, we then come up against our limits, with the paucity of our forces: incapable of maintaining a promise that in the days of grace seemed easy to fulfil. In the end, even the apostle Peter was afraid and had to flee. The apostle Peter was not faithful to Jesus’ love. There is always this weakness that makes us fall. We are mendicants who on the journey risk never completely finding that treasure we seek from the first day of our life: love.
However, there exists another love, that of the Father “who is in heaven”. No-one must doubt that they are the recipient of this love. He loves us. “He loves me”, we can say. If not even our father and mother loved us – an historic hypothesis – there is a God in heaven Who loves us like no-one on this earth has ever done or will ever be able to do. God’s love is constant. The prophet Isaiah says: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (49: 15-16). Today tattoos are in fashion: “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands”. I have made a tattoo of you on my hands. I am in God’s hands, in this way, and I cannot remove this. God’s love is like the love of a mother, who can never forget. And if a mother were to forget? “I will not forget you”, says the Lord. This is the perfect love of God, in this way we are beloved by Him. If all our earthly loves were to disintegrate and nothing were to remain in our hands but dust, there is always for all of us, ardent, the unique and faithful love of God.
In the hunger for love we all feel, let us not seek something that does not exist: this is instead the invitation to know God Who is the Father. The conversion of Saint Augustine, for example, took place through this path: the young and brilliant rhetorician simply sought among the creatures something that no creature could give him, until one day he had the courage to look up. And on that day he know God. God Who loves.
The expression “in heaven” is not intended to express distance, but a radical diversity of love, another dimension of love, a tireless love, a love that will always remain, rather, that is always within reach. It is enough to say, “Our Father Who is in heaven”, and that love comes.
So, do not be afraid! None of us is alone. If even by misfortune your earthly father were to forget about you, and you resented him, the fundamental experience of Christian faith would not be denied to you: that of knowing that you are a beloved son of God, and that there is nothing in life that can extinguish His impassioned love for you.

Greetings in various languages
I cordially greet French speakers, especially the young people from France and the pilgrims from Switzerland and Munich. I invite you, on the occasion of your pilgrimage to Rome, to relive the experience of this immense fatherly love that God has for us, to enable it to be discovered by others. God bless you!
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!
A warm welcome to German-speaking pilgrims. To be a child of the Father of heaven means to love one’s neighbour and to be close to those who are alone and in difficulty. For this testimony of divine mercy, may the Lord gives to you and your families His Paraclete and His grace.
I cordially greet Spanish-speaking pilgrims from Spain and Latin America, in particular the seminarians of the diocese of Getafe accompanied by their bishop, Msgr. Ginés García Beltrán, who celebrate 25 years of the creation of this centre for formation. Welcome.
May the Lord grant us the grace not to be afraid and to know that we are not alone, because there is nothing in this life that can separate us from our Father’s love.
God bless you all. Thank you.
With great affection I greet Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, hoping that you may all always realize that truly life is a wonderful gift. May the Virgin Mary watch over your path and help you to be a sign of trust and hope among your brothers. May God’s blessing descend upon you and your families.
I extend a cordial welcome to Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Jordan, the Holy Land and the Middle East. The restless heart of man finds his peace only in God’s faithful love. Indeed, only the love of God the Father is able to fill our insatiable hunger for love. May the Lord bless you and always protect you from the evil one!
I cordially greet Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, never forget that we are beloved children of God, and that there is nothing that can extinguish His impassioned love for us. May the prayer to our Father Who is in heaven fill every lack of love in the life of each and every one of you. God bless you!
I address a cordial welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims.
I am pleased to welcome the Sisters of Mary Help of Christians and the parish groups, especially that of Sant’Arcangelo of Romagna.
I welcome the faithful from San Giorgio Lucano: I gladly bless the image of Our Lady of the Angels, which is venerated in the local Shrine.
I greet the Lazio Regional Committee of the Italian Football Federation-National Amateur League; the group of staff from the Campobasso Police Headquarters; the families of the Paediatric Oncohaematology Ward of the Salesi Hospital of Ancona; students of the anticorruption master’s course from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and school institutes.
And I wish to remind you from Campobasso of a curious historical fact that affects you. I am from the South, near the Antarctic. You know that the first chaplain who went to the Antarctic was one of your fellow countrymen, born in Campobasso. Compliments for this honour!
I address a special though to the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.
Next Friday we will celebrate the feast of the Cathedra of Saint Peter the Apostle. Pray for me and for my ministry, and also for Pope Benedict, in order that I may confirm brothers in the faith always and everywhere.

#BreakingNews Christian Father of 5 Killed by Beheading for his Faith in India - Please Pray

Orissa, a Christian beheaded for his faith
The man's name was Anant Ram Gand and he was the father of five children. He was dragged away from his house before his son's eyes. He was baptized two months ago in the Evangelical Church, but his conversion was opposed by the village radicals. President of Persecution Relief: "We want freedom of worship".
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - A Christian evangelical man was beheaded in Orissa because of his faith. Shibu Thomas, founder of the Persecution Relief network that deals with defending discriminated Christians in India, denounces it to AsiaNews.
The victim was called Anant Ram Gand, he was 40 and was the father of five children. Thomas says that he "had converted to Christianity nine months ago and had been baptized for only two months. His conversion has aroused the ire of the villagers, mostly Hindu fanatics. They armed the Naxal [Indian Maoist guerrilla, ed] who physically committed the murder ".
The Christian leader then declares: "As president of the group, I ask the prime minister and the Chief minister of the State to please order a probe. The government should provide compensation to the family and five small children. They should speak clearly against persecution of Christians and to protect freedom of worship. Enough is enough!". The murder took place on 11 February in the village of Raigarh Tehsil, in the district of Nabarangapur. The news was released yesterday by Persecution Relief, after a meeting with the Christian's family. The group reports that on the day of the murder of Sukbati (38), wife of the victim, went to the nearby village together with her four daughters (aged 13, 11, 3 and 2), while Anant, in the company of the son of 6 years in the name of Purno, he had remained at home.
The child said he woke up at the sound of three men knocking at the door and shouting at his father. Then they tied his hands behind his back and dragged him away. The murderers did not stop even before the crying of the little one chasing them: drove off with ferocity, the three men told him not to follow them. At that point the child reached his uncle's house nearby and raised the alarm. Anant's body was found in the middle of a road, in broad daylight, beheaded. Previously, the skull had been smashed with a stone. The murderous fury was triggered by his conversion to Christianity nine months ago, followed by that of the whole family. According to the locals, the Hindu radicals of the village never accepted it, and used the Naxals to carry out the murder.
In fact, in the past the man had expressed sympathy for the Maoist guerrillas. Thomas reveals: "He was never a part of the fighters, but the Hindus made the Naxals believe that the Christian would reveal their secrets to the police. Instead Anant Ram was no enemy of anyone".
According to the Christian leader, the faithful was not a threat to anyone. On the contrary, he was threatened by the inhabitants, who "discriminated against him and did not allow him to collect water from the public well". After the conversion, the man had been banned from the village and had moved about a mile away.
Anant belonged to the Indian Evangelical Team, (Ied). "Being a Christian today in India - Thomas says - means being harassed every day: if you pray in the family you are beaten, if you pray in a domestic church you are beaten, in the streets you are beaten. Article 25 of the Constitution [which protects the freedom of belief and the spread of the faith, ed.] Is not applicable for Christians in India. We want to be protected. Now the Christians of the villages live in fear".
FULL TEXT Shared from Asia News IT

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - #Eucharist

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 337

Reading 1GN 8:6-13, 20-22

At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark,
and he sent out a raven,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth.
Then he sent out a dove,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,
and it returned to him in the ark,
for there was water all over the earth.
Putting out his hand, he caught the dove
and drew it back to him inside the ark.
He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark.
In the evening the dove came back to him,
and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!
So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.
He waited still another seven days
and then released the dove once more;
and this time it did not come back.

In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life,
in the first month, on the first day of the month,
the water began to dry up on the earth.
Noah then removed the covering of the ark
and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up.

Noah built an altar to the LORD,
and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird,
he offered burnt offerings on the altar.
When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself:
“Never again will I doom the earth because of man
since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start;
nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done.
As long as the earth lasts,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
and day and night
shall not cease.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R.  (17a)  To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
 How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia SEE EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Saint February 20 : Saints Jacinta and Francesco of Fatima - History with Special Prayers

Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908 – April 4, 1919) and his sister Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910 – February 20, 1920),  together with their cousin, Lúcia dos Santos (1907–2005) were from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal. They saw three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. They reported visions of Our Lady of Fatima.  The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto were Francisco and Jacinta. They were illiterate and they worked with cousin Lucia, tending sheep. Francisco preferred to pray alone, as he said "to console Jesus for the sins of the world". They saw terrifying vision of Hell at the third apparition. All three children practiced prayer and penance for sin as the lady asked. Jacinta told her parents ‘Oh, Mother! I saw Our Lady today!’. On 13th August, The Administrator, Santos, ‘kidnapped’ the children to prevent them going to the next Apparition, and threatened them with a cauldron of boiling oil. On Sunday, 19th August, the children witnessed their fourth Apparition. 
At the Apparitions in 1917 Francisco heard nothing and had to rely on Lucia and Jacinta to tell him what was said by the Lady. Jacinta and Francesco became very ill during the Spanish Influenza epidemic in October, 1918.  The priest heard Francisco’s confession on the evening of 2nd April and brought Communion to him the next morning.Opening his eyes, he asked: ‘When will you bring me the Hidden Jesus again?’ This was what he said when talking of the Host in the Tabernacle. 
Jacinta developed pneumonia and then tuberculosis. She died in hospital just before her 11th birthday. Visitors who saw Jacinta in her open coffin exclaimed that she seemed to be alive, with the loveliest colour. When Jacinta’s coffin was opened on 12th September, 1935 and her face was seen to be perfectly incorrupt. 

 Jacinta's relics and those of Francisco lie in the Basilica at Fatima, with the simple inscription: “Here lie the mortal remains of Francisco and Jacinta to whom Our Lady appeared.” Jacinta and her brother Francisco were beatified- declared ‘Blessed’, by Pope John Paul II on 13th May, 2000 at Fatima. 

Our Lady of Fatima:
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee. O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners. The Angel's Prayer is an Act of Reparation to The Holy Trinity.
Edited from “The Message of Fatima” by Fr. Martindale, S.J. and other sources. (All Images Google )


Pope Francis lifts Suspension of Sick Elderly Priest who “accepted the canonical punishment" at age 94

Pope lifts suspension on Nicaraguan priest Fr. Ernesto Cardenal
Pope Francis has lifted sanctions on Fr. Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua. The 94-year old priest was suspended from his priestly ministry and duties in 1984 by St. John Paul II because of his militancy and for being a minister in the government of Daniel Ortega.
By Robin Gomes

Pope Francis on Sunday lifted the sanctions “a divinis ” on Nicaraguan priest, Father Ernesto Cardenal, who was suspended from his priestly ministry 35 years ago because of his political militancy and for joining the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega as Minister of Culture.

“With benevolence”, Pope Francis has granted Father Ernesto Cardenal absolution from "all canonical censorships" which he incurred in 1984, said Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag, the Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua, in a note.

When St. John Paul II visited Nicaragua in 1983, he sternly reprimanded Fr. Cardenal publicly at Managua airport. "You must fix your affairs with the Church," the Polish pope told him sternly.  A year later on Feb. 4, Pope John Paul suspended him "a divinis ".

Canon law (No. 285) forbids clerics from assuming public offices, an act that entails participation in the exercise of civil power.

However, in 1994 Cardenal abandoned the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), criticizing what he interpreted as an authoritarian drift of the party.

Archbishop Sommertag said the 94-year old priest “accepted the canonical punishment imposed" on him at that time, keeping "always to it", "without carrying out any pastoral activity", having abandoned "for many years all political commitment".

The blessing of Pope Francis
Archbishop Sommertag concelebrated Holy Mass with Father Cardenal in the hospital of Managua, where the priest has been in poor health since early February.   It was the first Eucharistic celebration by the priest in more than 30 years.  The apostolic nuncio communicated to him the measure of his full reintegration by the Holy Father, conveying to him the blessing of the Pope so that he may live this moment of his life in peace with the Lord and with the Church.

Visibly happy and serene, the elderly priest expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father and to the nuncio.

Nuncio’s initiative
Several times in recent weeks, Archbishop Sommertag visited the ailing priest and theologian, who is regarded as a poet throughout Latin America and beyond.   Fr. Cardenal is also known for his literacy drive in the 80s, in which at 500,000 Nicaraguans learned to read and write.

On February 2, Archbishop Sommertag went to meet Fr. Cardenal at his home Managua, during which the priest expressed the desire to "be readmitted to the exercise of the priestly ministry".  After hospitalization, the papal representative visited him in hospital on 11 February, on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick.  He visited him again on February 17, when he conveyed to him the decision of Pope Francis.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican News va - Image Source Google Image of Fr. Cardenal

Wow Catholic FSSP Priest goes for Gold in Skiing while Playing Bagpipes - FULL Video to SHARE will make you laugh!

This Roman Catholic Priest, Fr. Daniel Nolan, FSSP, is skiing for a different kind of gold – the kind of gold needed to build a new parish church. Fr. Nolan is assistant pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, an apostolate in Denver, but he was previously assigned to St. Joan of Arc,  in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. According tot the FSSP website, "To raise funds for St. Joan of Arc’s building project, he invented a possible new Olympic sport: skiing and bagpiping…at the same time. (Editor’s Note: Potential names include Ski Piping, Alpine Piping, Alpiping and, when done on a snowboard, the Fullpipe)."
Here they suggest you can donate: If you would like to contribute to this worthwhile endeavor, or you are simply impressed with Father’s ability to play the bagpipes while skiing, click here ( to donate to St. Joan of Arc’s fundraising project!

Pope Francis "Let us consider that the Lord is pained in His heart, and let us draw near to the Lord and speak to him..." Homily

Pope at Mass: ‘Cost of war weighs on the weak’
In his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, Pope Francis reflects on the cost of war, calling it a ‘modern-day flood’ whose price is paid by the poorest among us.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis compared the Biblical flood of Noah’s time to the many wars being waged in today’s world.

Reflecting on the day’s reading from Genesis (6:5-8;7:1-5,10) in his homily, the Holy Father said there is a golden thread running through the story of the flood and modern-day conflicts.

He said we must ask God for the grace to cry and lament when faced with the world’s calamities and the victims of war, many of whom are starving children, orphans, and the poor who pay the highest price.

God has feelings
Faced with these realities, Pope Francis invited us to have a heart like God’s – capable of anger, pain, and closeness to others – one that is both human and divine.

The Pope highlighted God’s suffering when He sees the evil of men and women, and noted that God “regretted” having created people so much that He decided to erase us from the face of the earth.

This is a God with feelings, said Pope Francis, “who is not abstract” and who “suffers”, calling this “the mystery of the Lord”.

“[These are] the feelings of God, God the Father who loves us – and love is a relationship. He is able to get angry and to feel rage. It is Jesus who comes and gives us the path, with the suffering of the heart, everything… But our God has feelings. Our God loves us with the heart; He doesn’t love us with ideas but loves us with the heart. And when He caresses us, He caresses us with His heart, and when He disciplines us, like a good father, He disciplines us with His heart, suffering more than we do.”

Listen to our report
Our times are no better than those of the flood
Pope Francis said our relationship with God is one “of heart to heart, of son to Father who opens Himself, and if He is capable of feeling pain in His heart, then we, too, will be able to feel pain before Him.” The Pope said this is not sentimentalism, but the truth.

Our times, he said, are not so different from those of the flood. There are problems and calamities, poor, hungry, persecuted, and tortured people, “people who die in war because others throw bombs as if they were candy”.

“I don’t think our times are better than those of the flood; I don’t think so. Calamities are more or less the same; the victims are more or less the same. Let’s think about the example of the weakest: children. The many hungry children and children without education cannot grow in peace. [Many are] without parents because they have been massacred in war… child soldiers… Let us just think about those children.”

Cry as Jesus did
Pope Francis said we need to ask for the grace to have “a heart like the heart of God – one made in the likeness of God” that feels pain when witnessing others suffer.

“There is the great calamity of the flood; there is the great calamity of today’s wars, where the price of the party is paid by the weak, the poor, children, and those who have no resources to carry on. Let us consider that the Lord is pained in His heart, and let us draw near to the Lord and speak to Him, saying: ‘Lord, observe these things; I understand you.’ Let us console the Lord: ‘I understand you, and I am with you. I accompany you in prayer and intercede for all of these calamities which are the fruit of the devil who wants to destroy the work of God.’”
FULL TEXT Shared from Source Vatican News va

#BreakingNews Historic visit to North Korea by President of Catholic Bishops and Religious Leaders - Please Pray

ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - The President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference visits the North with a delegation of religious and civil leaders 
Seoul (Agenzia Fides) – To establish relationships of trust and launch various projects and cooperation in various areas such as tourism, culture, religion, education, sport, art with exchanges among students, educators: with this purpose yesterday, 12 February a delegation of religious leaders, government officials and representatives of civil society associations crossed the border and reached North Korea for a joint event on the occasion of the New Year. The delegation, made up of about 250 South Koreans, arrived at Mount Geumgang on the east coast of the north for a two-day stay. Leaders of the main religions of South Korea took part, as well as members of civil groups representing women, young people, agricultural communities, economy, environment, university, and peace movements.
As confirmed to Fides sources in the Korean Church, among them was Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, President of the Episcopal Conference of Korea, and other leaders engaged in inter-Korean reconciliation movements. As Agenzia Fides learns, this is the first cross-border event of 2019 and is the result of meetings between members of the Northern Government and the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, active in the government of Seoul. As announced by the Ministry of Unification in Seoul, South Korea has approved more than a thousand requests of its citizens since mid-2017, giving permission to have contacts with North Korea, increasing cross-border contacts in the sports, cultural and religious sectors.
Kim Hong-gul, at the head of the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, stressed the importance of dialogue and cooperation in the process of rapprochement between the two nations. The Council aims to support the policy of involvement and reconciliation already started in 2000 by former President Kim Dae-jung.
Several exchanges and meetings of inter-Korean civilians took place in 2018, when Presidents Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un met three times in April, May and September. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 13/2/2019)

RIP Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Costello who Served Diocese of Syracuse, NY for 65 years - age 89

FULL TEXT Official Obituary from Diocese: Most Rev. Thomas J. Costello

Saturday, February 16, 2019 - Syracuse, NY
Most Rev. Thomas J. Costello, retired Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse, died on Friday, February 15, 2019, at the age of 89 years old. Bishop Costello served the people of the diocese as a Roman Catholic priest for nearly 65 years as well as serving as the auxiliary bishop for over 40 years.

A native of Camden, New York, Costello was the son of James and Ethel (Dupont) Costello. As an only child, he shared his vocation to the priesthood with his parents. His father’s response was, “If that is what you want to do, be a good one.” That was his father’s blessing and he lived up to that charge his entire life.
He graduated from St. Aloysius Academy in Rome, New York before continuing his studies at Niagara University, St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, Theological College in Washington, DC and Catholic University of America, School of Canon Law, in Washington, DC.  

He was ordained a priest on June 5, 1954, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by Most Rev. Walter A. Foery, D.D. He was appointed an assistant pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Syracuse where he served from 1954-1959. He served as a secretary in the Diocesan Tribunal for one year before being named superintendent of Catholic Schools from 1960-1975. In 1975, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Syracuse where he served until 1978. He was named vicar general of the diocese in 1978 and served in that role until 2009.

Costello received many papal honors, including being named a papal chamberlain with a title of monsignor in 1965, elevated to honorary prelate in 1971 and Titular Bishop of Perdices and Auxiliary Bishop of Syracuse in 1978. He was appointed by Pope Paul VI and ordained auxiliary bishop on March 13, 1978 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse, choosing his Episcopal motto to be “As One Who Serves.”

Bishop Costello served on many boards in the community and across the country, including Jubilee Homes, Le Moyne College, the then Syracuse Interreligious Council, WCNY, Loretto and more. He was very active on the national scene, belonging to many committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including time as chairman of the Communications Committee. 

Bishop Costello’s legacy will most notably be being a man of deep faith and a man of the people. He had no tolerance for any injustice. He was in the forefront of speaking against racism, poverty, inequality, violence and more. He marched in Selma, Alabama, with Dr. Martin Luther King, fought for employee rights, spoke against the death penalty, promoted the respect and dignity of all life, encouraged interfaith dialogue and equality for all. He very much believed that we are called to be peacemakers and he strived to live his life emulating that belief.

Bishop Costello will also be remembered for being a passionate preacher with a booming voice and being the man to get things done in the diocese and the greater community. He was a scholar who was consistently approachable to all.

Bishop Costello submitted his resignation as auxiliary bishop on his 75th birthday in 2004 and remained vicar general until 2009. In his retirement, he continued to serve the people of the diocese, confirming young people, offering spiritual direction and always taking a call from people in their time of need. He was a man who loved rooting for the Orange, both women and men. But most of all, Bishop Thomas Costello was a man who lived his faith each and every day, celebrated being a child of God and lived out every word of his motto, “As One Who Serves.”

He is survived by cousins, Sister Ruth Cecilia Dowd, CSJ, Sister Helene Daniel Courtney, CSJ, Sister Celine John Courtney, CSJ and Anne and John Scott of Texas; as well as very close friends whose company he thoroughly enjoyed. 

The Diocese of Syracuse is grateful for the tremendous care of Bishop Costello by St. Joseph’s Hospital, Loretto and Francis House.  
Reception of the body will take place on Thursday, February 21 at 4 p.m. in The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at which time the vigil service will take place.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 22 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Burial will follow at St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery in Rome, New York.

Contributions in his name can be made to the Light a Child’s Future Fund, which provides tuition aid to Catholic school students in the diocese.

FULL TEXT Source: Diocese of Syracuse, NY

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - #Eucharist

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 336

Reading 1GN 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10

When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth,
and how no desire that his heart conceived
was ever anything but evil,
he regretted that he had made man on the earth,
and his heart was grieved.

So the LORD said:
“I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created,
and not only the men,
but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air,
for I am sorry that I made them.”
But Noah found favor with the LORD.

Then the LORD said to Noah:
“Go into the ark, you and all your household,
for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just.
Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs,
a male and its mate;
and of the unclean animals, one pair,
a male and its mate;
likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs,
a male and a female,
and of all the unclean birds, one pair,
a male and a female.
Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth.
Seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth
for forty days and forty nights,
and so I will wipe out from the surface of the earth
every moving creature that I have made.”
Noah did just as the LORD had commanded him.

As soon as the seven days were over,
the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

Responsorial PsalmPS 29:1A AND 2, 3AC-4, 3B AND 9C-10

R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
 The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

AlleluiaJN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Monday, February 18, 2019

Saint February 19 : St. Conrad of Piacenza : Patron of Cure for Hernias

1290, Piacenza, Province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

February 19, 1351, Noto, Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Patron of:
cure of hernias


Hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis, date of birth uncertain; died at Noto in Sicily, 19 February, 1351. He belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life. On one occasion, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to fire some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author. He was imprisoned, tried, and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, made open confession of his guilt; and in order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, was obliged to sell all his possessions. Thus reduced to poverty, Conrad retired to a lonely hermitage some distance from Piacenza, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares. Later he went to Rome, and thence to Sicily, where for thirty years he lived a most austere and penitential life and worked numerous miracles. He is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. In 1515 Leo X permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast, which permission was later extended by Urban VIII to the whole Order of St. Francis. Though bearing the title of saint, Conrad was never formally canonized. His feast is kept in the Franciscan Order on 19 February.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)
Prayer to St. Conrad: 
Almighty God,
You attracted Saint Conrad through his zeal for justice to serve You faithfully in the desert.
Through his prayers may we live justly and piously, and happily succeed in coming to You.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as Thou wert pacified by the penance of Blessed Conrad, so we may imitate his example and blot out the stains of our sins by crucifying our flesh. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

#BreakingNews Spanish Missionary Catholic Priest Killed in Burkina Faso by Jihadis - Please Pray

A Spanish Catholic priest, aged 72-years-old. was killed by jihadis in Burkina Faso, Africa.
Antonio Cesar Fernandez, a Salesian missionary priest, was killed in a jihadi attack.
A Spanish priest and four customs officers were killed during an attack by alleged jihadists in Burkina Faso, sources said.
"The Spanish Salesian Antonio Cesar Fernandez was assassinated during a jihadist attack between Togo and Burkina Faso," the Salesians of Don Bosco order said in a statement posted Friday on Twitter.

Four customs officers killed along with the priest.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Saturday on Twitter
 "all my affection for the family and colleagues of missionary Antonio Cesar Fernandez and all the victims of the terror attack in Burkina Faso".

A local security source said the attack was performed by "a group of around 20 gunmen who then fled into a wooded zone".
Over 300 people have been killed in the country in four years of jihadist attacks, according to AFP.

#BreakingNews Vatican Releases Details on Abuse Summit - Abp. Scicluna says "...silence unacceptable" - FULL Video

Protection of Minors: Abp. Scicluna says silence unacceptable
A Press Conference at the Holy See Press Office presents the “Protection of Minors in the Church" Meeting, which will take place in the Vatican, between 21 and 24 February 2019.
Vatican News - By Barbara Castelli

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna is Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and a member of the Organizing Committee for the “Protection of Minors in the Church" Meeting. During Monday’s Press Conference to present the Meeting, he made it clear that the event is part of a journey the Church undertook some time ago. It is important it create the right conditions for there to be a concrete "follow up", he said.

The Bishops will return to their dioceses to continue the work, drawing up "procedures", being more aware of their responsibilities. When it comes to "protecting innocence", insisted the Archbishop, "we must not give up": we need to seek ever more adequate solutions to the problem, so that "the Church may be a safe place for everyone, especially children". Archbishop Scicluna also spoke of the "expectations" around this meeting, specifying that they need to be "reasonable". Not all the problems can be solved in three days, he said. Answering journalists’ questions, the Archbishop said it is important we move away from “the code of silence”, because silence is unacceptable, he added.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich is Archbishop of Chicago, and also a member of the Organizing Committee. He too replied to questions from the many journalists at the press conference, speaking of a "new dawn as far as transparency is concerned". The Cardinal made it clear that the Bishops present, for the most part Presidents of Episcopal Conferences, must clearly understand their responsibilities in this regard, and that a precise "program of safeguarding" can prevent a repetition of what happened in the past. Cardinal Cupich pointed out that many of those who will be taking part in the Vatican Meeting have met with victims, as requested by Pope Francis himself, and that each one carries “the wounds" of those who have suffered abuse by members of the Church, in their heart.

A global response
Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ is President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation and Moderator of the Vatican Meeting. During the Press Conference, he illustrated how the three days of discussion will each be devoted to a specific topic: “Responsibility, Accountability, and Transparency”. The 190 participants present in the Vatican Synod Hall will hear three reports a day, from Thursday through Saturday. Three of these will be given by women, and all nine interventions will be followed by a question and answer session. Participants will also be broken up into working groups according to language. There will be testimonies from survivors and moments of prayer, at the beginning and end of each day. Pope Francis will open the Meeting with an introductory speech on Thursday morning, and close it on Sunday with a discourse after Mass. The Eucharistic celebration will take place in the Sala Regia at 9.30 am and Archbishop Mark Coleridge, President of the Australian Bishops' Conference, will preach the homily.

A Penitential Liturgy will take place on Saturday afternoon, and will be broadcast live by Vatican News, as will the Mass on Sunday. According to Fr. Lombardi, members of the Organizing Committee will also meet privately with representatives of the victims and survivors’ associations.

Information on the Meeting
The official website of the “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting is and will remain active even after the Meeting is over, as a "tool for developing future initiatives". Fr. Hans Zollner SJ is President of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He is also a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the contact person of the Organizing Committee. At the Press Conference, he illustrated the website, which he said will be updated regularly. Finally, Sr. Bernadette Reis, Assistant to the interim Director of the Holy See Press Office, presented the digital press kit that has been made available to support and assist journalists and media representatives with their work.
FULL TEXT Release from Vatican News va
Video Conference Starts at 10:30