Sunday, August 26, 2012


St. Monica
Feast: August 27
Information: Feast Day: August 27
Born: 322 at Tagaste (Souk Ahrus), Algeria
Died: 387 at Ostia, Italy
Major Shrine: Sant'Agostino, Rome
Patron of: patience, married women, homemakers and housewives, mothers, wives, widows, alcoholics, difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, and victims of (verbal) abuse
Widow; born of Christian parents at Tagaste, North Africa, in 333; died at Ostia, near Rome, in 387. We are told but little of her childhood. She was married early in life to Patritius who held an official position in Tagaste. He was a pagan, though like so many at that period, his religion was no more than a name; his temper was violent and he appears to have been of dissolute habits. Consequently Monica's married life was far from being a happy one, more especially as Patritius's mother seems to have been of a like disposition with himself. There was of course a gulf between husband and wife; her almsdeeds and her habits of prayer annoyed him, but it is said that he always held her in a sort of reverence. Monica was not the only matron of Tagaste whose married life was unhappy, but, by her sweetness and patience, she was able to exercise a veritable apostolate amongst the wives and mothers of her native town; they knew that she suffered as they did, and her words and example had a proportionate effect.
Three children were born of this marriage, Augustine the eldest, Navigius the second, and a daughter, Perpetua. Monica had been unable to secure baptism for her children, and her grief was great when Augustine fell ill; in her distress she besought Patritius to allow him to be baptized; he agreed, but on the boy's recovery withdrew his consent. All Monica s anxiety now centred in Augustine; he was wayward and, as he himself tells us, lazy. He was sent to Madaura to school and Monica seems to have literally wrestled with God for the soul of her son. A great consolation was vouchsafed her -- in compensation perhaps for all that she was to experience through Augustine -- Patritius became a Christian. Meanwhile, Augustine had been sent to Carthage, to prosecute his studies, and here he fell into grievous sin. Patritius died very shortly after his reception into the Church and Monica resolved not to marry again. At Carthage Augustine had become a Manichean and when on his return home he ventilated certain heretical propositions she drove him away from her table, but a strange vision which she had urged her to recall him. It was at this time that she went to see a certain holy bishop, whose name is not given, but who consoled her with the now famous words, "the child of those tears shall never perish." There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica pursuing her wayward son to Rome, wither he had gone by stealth; when she arrived he had already gone to Milan, but she followed him. Here she found St. Ambrose and through him she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine yield, after seventeen years of resistance. Mother and son spent six months of true peace at Cassiacum, after which time Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. Africa claimed them however, and they set out on their journey, stopping at Civit' Vecchia and at Ostia. Here death overtook Monica and the finest pages of his "Confessions" were penned as the result of the emotion Augustine then experienced.
St. Monica was buried at Ostia, and at first seems to have been almost forgotten, though her body was removed during the sixth century to a hidden crypt in the church of St. Aureus. About the thirteenth century, however, the cult of St. Monica began to spread and a feast in her honour was kept on 4 May. In 1430 Martin V ordered the relics to be brought to Rome. Many miracles occurred on the way, and the cultus of St. Monica was definitely established. Later the Archbishop of Rouen, Cardinal d'Estouteville, built a church at Rome in honour of St. Augustine and deposited the relics of St. Monica in a chapel to the left of the high altar. The Office of St. Monica however does not seem to have found a place in the Roman Breviary before the sixteenth century. In 1850 there was established at Notre Dame de Sion at Paris an Association of Christian mothers under the patronage of St. Monica; its object was mutual prayer for sons and husbands who had gone astray. This Association was in 1856 raised to the rank of an archconfraternity and spread rapidly over all the Catholic world, branches being established in Dublin, London, Liverpool, Sidney, and Buenos Ayres. Eugenius IV had established a similar Confraternity long before.


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: On Sunday, Pope Benedict prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered at the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandalfo. Before the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Holy Father reflected on the day’s readings. The Gospel of the day relates the story of the reaction of Christ’s disciples to the Bread of Life discourse. Many of the those disciples left Jesus, the Pope said, because Christ’s revelation that He was the “living bread which came down from heaven” was incomprehensible to them. They had understood Jesus’ words in a material sense, when in reality they were a revelation of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. The Apostles, however, remained with the Lord. Pope Benedict, quoting Saint Augustine, said the Apostles understood that Jesus had the words of eternal life because they had first believed.

One of those who remained with Jesus, though, did not believe. Judas, expecting a worldly Messiah, felt betrayed by Jesus, and decided to betray Him. Judas’ problem, the Pope said, was that, not believing in Jesus, he nonetheless remained with Him. “The problem is that Judas did not go away, and his most serious fault was falsehood, which is the mark of the devil.” Concluding his remarks, Pope Benedict prayed that Mary would “help us to believe in Jesus, as St. Peter did, and to always be sincere with Him and with all people.”

The full text of Pope Benedict’s Angelus message is below:

Dear brothers and sisters!

In the past few Sundays we have meditated on the “Bread of Life” discourse that Jesus pronounced in the synagogue of Capernaum after feeding thousands of people with five loaves and two fishes. Today, the Gospel presents the disciples’ reaction to that speech, a reaction that Christ Himself knowingly provoked. First of all, John the Evangelist - who was present along with the other Apostles - reports that “from that time many of His disciples drew back and no longer went about with Him” (Jn 6:66). Why? Because they did not believe the words of Jesus when He said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will live forever” (cf. Jn 6,51.54). This revelation, as I have said, remained incomprehensible to them, because they understood it in a material sense, while in these words was foretold the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, in which He would give Himself for the salvation of the world: the new presence in the Holy Eucharist.

Seeing that many of His disciples were leaving, Jesus addressed the Apostles, saying: “Will you also go away?” (Jn 6:67). As in other cases, it is Peter who replied on behalf of the Twelve: “Lord, to whom shall we go? - and we too can reflect: to whom shall we go? - You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and know that You are the Holy One of God" (Jn 6:68-69). On this passage we have a beautiful commentary of St. Augustine, who says in one of his homilies on John 6: “Do you see how Peter, by the grace of God, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has understood? Why did he understand? Because he believed. You have the words of eternal life. You give us eternal life by offering your risen body and your blood, your very self. And we have believed and understood. He does not say we have understood and then we believed, but we believed and then we understood. We have believed in order to be able to understand; if, in fact, we wanted to understand before believing, we would not be able either to understand or to believe. What have we believed and what have we understood? That You are the Christ, the Son of God, that is, that You are that very eternal life, and that You give in Your flesh and blood only that which You are” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, 27, 9). So Saint Augustine said in a homily to his faithful people.
Finally, Jesus knew that even among the twelve apostles there was one that did not believe: Judas. Judas could have left, as many of the disciples did; indeed, he would have left if he were honest. Instead he remained with Jesus. He did not remain because of faith, or because of love, but with the secret intention of taking vengeance on the Master. Why? Because Judas felt betrayed by Jesus, and decided that he in turn would betray Him. Judas was a Zealot, and wanted a triumphant Messiah, who would lead a revolt against the Romans. Jesus had disappointed those expectations. The problem is that Judas did not go away, and his most serious fault was falsehood, which is the mark of the devil. This is why Jesus said to the Twelve: “One of you is a devil” (John 6.70). We pray to the Virgin Mary, help us to believe in Jesus, as St. Peter did, and to always be sincere with Him and with all people.
After the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Benedict pilgrims and visitors from around the world. Speaking to the English speaking groups, the Holy Father offered special greetings to the new American seminarians of the Pontifical North American college. He prayed that we might all “remain faithful to the Lord, even when our faith in His teaching is tested.”
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus prayer. I also greet the new students of the Pontifical North American College. Dear seminarians, use your time in Rome to conform yourselves more completely to Christ. Indeed, may all of us remain faithful to the Lord, even when our faith in his teachings is tested. May God bless you all!


CATHOLIC HISPANIC RELEASE: The Catholic Hispanic Leadership Alliance is a non-profit, nonpartisan 501-c-4 organization whose mission and purpose is to educate the general public on public policy issues and to advocate for the common good through various programs, publications and policies as may be beneficial to our communities and our country.
We are a group of business and professional people, faithful to Catholic Social Teaching, striving to be faithful citizens in this time of great challenge to our first freedom - religious liberty. We are strictly non-partisan and have no relation with, or connection to, to any candidate or party. Our goal is simply to help people of faith take the principles of the Gospel and apply them to their decisions in the public square - and the voting booth.

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Agenzia Fides REPORT - "In these 21 years (since the fall of Siad Barre, ed.) it seems that this is the best time for the rebirth of the Somali State. Certainly we are facing a critical phase in the history of Somalia " says to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu, commenting on the investiture of the new Somali Federal Parliament, which gathered for the first time yesterday, August 20, at the airport in Mogadishu. The previous Somali Parliamentary Assemblies gathered abroad for security reasons (in 2000 in Djibouti and Kenya in 2004).
The new parliament, which will take the place of the institutions of transitions, consists of 275 members appointed by the 135 tribal leaders and whose names are confirmed by a special committee. Among them are several representatives of the Somali Diaspora in Europe and the United States.
The fact that Parliament gathered for the first time in Somalia shows there is some improvement (albeit relative) concerning security conditions in the Country. "In speaking with our Somali partners we feel a new hope and a more positive view of the situation in the country" says to Fides Agency Maria Grazia Krawczyk, head of Caritas Somalia.
Mgr. Bertin warns: "We hope to be able to move ahead without any major hitches along the route taken. Of course it is necessary that the Somali political class carries out its job and that the international community does not think that it has finished its task, because the Somalis still need an accompaniment in a phase that again, seems to be crucial for the future of Somalia. "
Parliament was formed on the basis of the new provisional Constitution approved on 1 August by 825 members of the National Constituent Assembly. The Constitution reaffirms the sovereignty and unity of the Country, including the independent region of Somaliland and the "autonomous" of Puntland. It declares the supremacy of the Shari'ah, and prohibits any law that is against its principles.
The text is divided into 15 chapters. The second is dedicated to human rights and provides that all fundamental freedoms are also protected by law against public authorities. Particular attention is given to the prohibition of using children under 18 in armed conflict and the practice of female circumcision. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 21/08//2012)




by Nirmala Carvalho
Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), appeals to the international community and Pakistan's high commissioner to India. The girl could get life in prison. The GCIC wants her family to be protected and all blasphemy laws used to discriminate against Pakistan's religious minorities abolished.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Sajan George, president of Global Council of Indian Christians (GCI) has appealed for the immediate release of Rimsha Masih and for the protection of her family. He has also called for the repeal of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, once and for all. For the past week, the 11-year-old Christian girl, who suffers from a mental disability, has been locked up in a jail on blasphemy charges and could get life in prison. She is accused of burning the pages of an exercise book used to learn Arabic and the Qur'an.

The event occurred on 17 August in Umara Jaffar (Islamabad), where Rimsha lives with her family. After her action, local imams stirred local Muslims who attacked their Christian neighbours. Some 300 families fled.

"Rimsha Mashi's arrest should serve to draw the world's attention to the abuses committed in Pakistan in the name of the blasphemy laws," George said. "They are used routinely to suppress dissent, harass rivals, and settle petty disputes among neighbours. They are also used for economic and political reasons."

"False accusations of blasphemy have led to violence against Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. Numerous human rights abuses stem from the blasphemy laws. Pakistan must repeal them and this is the right time for the international community to put pressure on Pakistan."

"Besides human rights, and child rights, Rimsha is even being denied legal rights," the GCIC chairman said. "Her lawyer is being denied access to her by prison authorities. Additionally, even though Rimsha is a minor, she was put in an adult jail in the same prison as Mumtaz Qadri, the hero of the Islamists who killed Taseer. The GCIC fears for her life inside the prison."

Punjab Governor Taseer was killed on 4 January 2011 by Qadri, his body guard, for defending Asia Bibi and for his opposition to the blasphemy laws.

In appealing to Pakistan's high commission in India, Sajan George said, "The so-called champions of Islam are wrecking havoc on religious minorities and are further defaming Pakistan and Islam in the world."



Joshua 24: 1 - 2, 15 - 18
1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God.
2 And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `Your fathers lived of old beyond the Euphra'tes, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.
15 And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
16 Then the people answered, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
17 for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed;
18 and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land; therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God."
Psalms 34: 2 - 3, 16 - 21
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked; and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
Ephesians 5: 21 - 32
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,
30 because we are members of his body.
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32 This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church;
John 6: 60 - 69
60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64 But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.
67 Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"
68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;
69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."


ZEPHYRINUS, a native of Rome, succeeded Victor in the pontificate, in the year 202, in which Severus raised the fifth most bloody persecution against the Church, which continued not for two years only, but until the death of that emperor in 211. Under this furious storm this holy pastor was the support and comfort of the distressed flock of Christ, and he suffered by charity and compassion what every confessor underwent. The triumphs of the martyrs were indeed his joy, but his heart received many deep wounds from the fall of apostates and heretics. Neither did this latter affliction cease when peace was restored to the Church. Our Saint had also the affliction to see the fall of Tertullian, which seems to have been owing partly to his pride. Eusebius tells us that this holy Pope exerted his zeal so strenuously against the blasphemies of the heretics that they treated him in the most contumelious manner; but it was his glory that they called him the principal defender of Christ's divinity. St. Zephyrinus filled the pontifical chair seventeen years, dying in 219. He was buried in his own cemetery, on the 26th of August. He is, in some Martyrologies, styled a martyr, which title he might deserve by what he suffered in the persecution, though he perhaps did not die by the executioner. SOURCE: EWTN