Friday, May 24, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 25 ; ST. BEDE

St. Bede
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, HISTORIAN
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:672 at Wearmouth, England
Died:25 May 735
Canonized:1899 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:Durham Cathedral
Patron of:lectors ;english writers and historians; Jarrow
Historian and Doctor of the Church, born 672 or 673; died 735. In the last chapter of his great work on the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" Bede has told us something of his own life, and it is, practically speaking, all that we know. His words, written in 731, when death was not far off, not only show a simplicity and piety characteristic of the man, but they throw a light on the composition of the work through which he is best remembered by the world at large. He writes:

Thus much concerning the ecclesiastical history of Britain, and especially of the race of the English, I, Baeda, a servant of Christ and a priest of the monastery of the blessed apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, which is at Wearmouth and at Jarrow (in Northumberland), have with the Lord's help composed so far as I could gather it either from ancient documents or from the traditions of the elders, or from my own knowledge. I was born in the territory of the said monastery, and at the age of seven I was, by the care of my relations, given to the most reverend Abbot Benedict [St. Benedict Biscop], and afterwards to Ceolfrid, to be educated. From that time I have spent the whole of my life within that monastery, devoting all my pains to the study of the Scriptures, and amid the observance of monastic discipline and the daily charge of singing in the Church, it has been ever my delight to learn or teach or write. In my nineteenth year I was admitted to the diaconate, in my thirtieth to the priesthood, both by the hands of the most reverend Bishop John [St. John of Beverley], and at the bidding of Abbot Ceolfrid. From the time of my admission to the priesthood to my present fifty-ninth year, I have endeavored for my own use and that of my brethren, to make brief notes upon the holy Scripture, either out of the works of the venerable Fathers or in conformity with their meaning and interpretation.

After this Bede inserts a list or Indiculus, of his previous writings and finally concludes his great work with the following words:

And I pray thee, loving Jesus, that as Thou hast graciously given me to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge, so Thou wouldst mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee, the fountain of all wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face.

It is plain from Bede's letter to Bishop Egbert that the historian occasionally visited his friends for a few days, away from his own monastery of Jarrow, but with such rare exceptions his life seems to have been one peaceful round of study and prayer passed in the midst of his own community. How much he was beloved by them is made manifest by the touching account of the saint's last sickness and death left us by Cuthbert, one of his disciples. Their studious pursuits were not given up on account of his illness and they read aloud by his bedside, but constantly the reading was interrupted by their tears. "I can with truth declare", writes Cuthbert of his beloved master, "that I never saw with my eyes or heard with my ears anyone return thanks so unceasingly to the living God." Even on the day of his death (the vigil of the Ascension, 735) the saint was still busy dictating a translation of the Gospel of St. John. In the evening the boy Wilbert, who was writing it, said to him: "There is still one sentence, dear master, which is not written down." And when this had been supplied, and the boy had told him it was finished, "Thou hast spoken truth", Bede answered, "it is finished. Take my head in thy hands for it much delights me to sit opposite any holy place where I used to pray, that so sitting I may call upon my Father." And thus upon the floor of his cell singing, "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost" and the rest, he peacefully breathed his last breath.

The title Venerabilis seems to have been associated with the name of Bede within two generations after his death. There is of course no early authority for the legend repeated by Fuller of the "dunce-monk" who in composing an epitaph on Bede was at a loss to complete the line: Hac sunt in fossa Bedae . . . . ossa and who next morning found that the angels had filled the gap with the word venerabilis. The title is used by Alcuin, Amalarius and seemingly Paul the Deacon, and the important Council of Aachen in 835 describes him as venerabilis et modernis temporibus doctor admirabilis Beda. This decree was specially referred to in the petition which Cardinal Wiseman and the English bishops addressed to the Holy See in 1859 praying that Bede might be declared a Doctor of the Church. The question had already been debated even before the time of Benedict XIV, but it was only on 13 November, 1899, that Leo XIII decreed that the feast of Venerable Bede with the title of Doctor Ecclesiae should be celebrated throughout the Church each year on 27 May. A local cultus of St. Bede had been maintained at York and in the North of England throughout the Middle Ages, but his feast was not so generally observed in the South, where the Sarum Rite was followed.

Bede's influence both upon English and foreign scholarship was very great, and it would probably have been greater still but for the devastation inflicted upon the Northern monasteries by the inroads of the Danes less than a century after his death. In numberless ways, but especially in his moderation, gentleness, and breadth of view, Bede stands out from his contemporaries. In point of scholarship he was undoubtedly the most learned man of his time. A very remarkable trait, noticed by Plummer (I, p. xxiii), is his sense of literary property, an extraordinary thing in that age. He himself scrupulously noted in his writings the passages he had borrowed from others and he even begs the copyists of his works to preserve the references, a recommendation to which they, alas, have paid but little attention. High, however, as was the general level of Bede's culture, he repeatedly makes it clear that all his studies were subordinated to the interpretation of Scripture. In his "De Schematibus" he says in so many words: "Holy Scripture is above all other books not only by its authority because it is Divine, or by its utility because it leads to eternal life, but also by its antiquity and its literary form" (positione dicendi). It is perhaps the highest tribute to Bede's genius that with so uncompromising and evidently sincere a conviction of the inferiority of human learning, he should have acquired so much real culture. Though Latin was to him a still living tongue, and though he does not seem to have consciously looked back to the Augustan Age of Roman Literature as preserving purer models of literary style than the time of Fortunatus or St. Augustine, still whether through native genius or through contact with the classics, he is remarkable for the relative purity of his language, as also for his lucidity and sobriety, more especially in matters of historical criticism. In all these respects he presents a marked contrast to St. Aldhelm who approaches more nearly to the Celtic type.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbede.asp#ixzz1vtN2rpR5

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 25 : ST. MADELINE SOPHIE BARAT

St. Madeline Sophie Barat
FOUNDRESS
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:12 December 1779, Joigny, France
Died:25 May 1865, Paris, France
Canonized:24 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI
Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, born at Joigny, Burgundy, 12 December, 1779; died in Paris, 24 May, 1865. She was the youngest child of Jacques Barat, a vine-dresser and cooper, and his wife, Madeleine Foufé, and received baptism the morning after her birth, her brother Louis, aged eleven, being chosen godfather. It was to this brother that she owed the exceptional education which fitted her for her life-work. Whilst her mother found her an apt pupil in practical matters, Louis saw her singular endowments of mind and heart; and when, at the age of twenty-two, he returned as professor to the seminary at Joigny, he taught his sister Latin, Greek, history, natural science, Spanish, and Italian. Soon she took delight in reading the classics in the original, and surpassed her brother's pupils at the seminary.

After the Reign of Terror, Louis called Sophie to Paris, to train her for the religious life, for which she longed. When he had joined the Fathers of the Faith, a band of fervent priests, united in the hope of becoming members of the Society of Jesus on its restoration, he one day spoke of his sister to Father Varin, to whom had been bequeathed by the saintly Léonor de Tournély the plan of founding a society of women wholly devoted to the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to prayer and sacrifice, and destined to do for girls what the restored Society of Jesus would do for boys. Father Varin had vainly sought a fitting instrument to begin this work; he now found one in this modest, retiring girl of twenty. He unfolded the project, which seemed to satisfy all her aspirations, and she bowed before his authoritative declaration that this was for her the will of God. With three companions she made her first consecration, 21 November, 1800, the date which marks the foundation of the Society of the Sacred Heart. In September, 1801, the first convent was opened at Amiens, and thither Sophie went to help in the work of teaching. It was impossible yet to assume the name "Society of the Sacred Heart", lest a political significance be attached to it; its members were known as Dames de la Foi or de l'Instruction Chrétienne. Father Varin allowed Sophie to make her vows, 7 June, 1802, with Genevieve Deshayes.

The community and school were increasing, and a poor school had just been added, when it became evident to Father Varin that Mademoiselle Loquet, who had hitherto acted as superior, lacked the qualities requisite for the office, and Sophie, although the youngest, was named superior (1802). Her first act was to kneel and kiss the feet of each of her sisters. Such was ever the spirit of her government, November, 1804, found her at Sainte-Marie-d'en-Haut, near Grenoble, receiving a community of Visitation nuns into her institute, One of them, Philippine Duchesne, was later to introduce the society into America. Grenoble was the first of some eighty foundations which Mother Barat was to make, not only in France but in North America (1818), Italy (1828), Switzerland (1830), Belgium (1834), Algiers (1841). England (1842), Ireland(1842), Spain (1846), Holland (1848), Germany (1851), South America (1853) Austria (1853), Poland (1857).

Mother Barat was elected superior-general in January, 1806, but a majority of one vote only, for the influence of an ambitious priest, chaplain at Amiens, wellnigh wrecked the nascent institute. Prolonged prayer, silent suffering, tact, respect, charity, were only means she used to oppose his designs. With Father Varin, now a Jesuit, she elaborated constitutions and rules grafted on the stock of the Institute of St. Ignatius. These rules were received with joy in all the houses, Amiens alone excepted; but Mother Barat's wisdom and humility soon won submission even here. In 1818 she sent Mother Duchesne, with four companions, to the New World; her strong and holy hand was ever ready to support and guide this first missioner of the Society. She called all the superiors together in council at Paris in 1820, to provide a uniform course of studies for their schools. these studies were to be solid and serious, to fit the pupils to become intelligent wives and devoted mother; to give that cultivation of mind. that formation of character, which go to make up a true women; all was to stamped and sealed with strong religious principles and devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Foundations multiplied, and Mother Barat, seeing the necessity of a stronger guarantee of unity, sought it in union with Rome. The solemn approbation was obtained much sooner than usual, owing to a memoir drawn up by the foundress and presented to Leo XII in May, 1826. The decree of approbation was promulgated in December. The society being now fully organized and sealed by Rome's approval, for forty years Mother Barat journeyed from convent to convent, wrote many thousand letters, and assembled general congregations, so as to preserve its original spirit. The Paris school gained European repute; Rome counted three establishments, asked for and blessed by three successive pontiffs. At Lyons Mother Barat founded the Congregation of the Children of Mary for former pupils and other ladies. in he same year (1832), she began at Turin the work of retreats for ladies of the world, an apostleship since widely and profitably imitated. Numerous foundations brought Mother Bart onto personal contact with all classes. We find her crossing and recrossing France, Switzerland, Italy, often on the eve of revolutions; now the centre of a society of émigrés whose intellectual gifts, high social position, and moral worth are seldom found united; now sought out by cardinals and Roman princesses during her vicits to her Roman houses; at another time, speaking on matters educational with Madame de Genlis; or again, exercising that supernatural ascendency which aroused the admiration of such men as Bishop Fraysinous, Doctor Récamier, and Duc de Rohan.
These exterior labours were far from absorbing all Mother Barat's time or energies; they coexisted with a life of ever-increasing holiness and continual prayer; for the real secret of her influence lay in her habitual seclusion from the outside world, in the strong religious formation of her daughters which this seclusion made possible, and in the enlightened, profound, ans supernatural views on education which she communicated to the religious engaged in her schools. She worked by and through them all, and thus reached out to the ends of the earth. In spite of herself she attracted and charmed all who approached her. New foundations she always entrusted to other hands; for, like all great rulers, she had the twofold gift of intuition in the choice of persons fitted for office, and trust of those in responsible posts. Allowing them much freedom of action in details, guiding them only by her counsels and usually form afar. Prelates who now and them ventured to attribute to her the successes of the society, saw that instead of pleasing, they distressed her exceedingly.

Beloved by her daughters, venerated by princes and pontiffs, yet ever lowly of heart, Mother Barat died at the mother-house in Paris, on Ascension Day, 1865, as she had foretold, after four days' illness. She was buried at Conflans, the house of novitiate, where her body was found intact in 1893. In 1879 she was declared Venerable, and the process of beatification introduced. [Note: Mother Barat was canonized in 1925.]

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmadelinesophiebarat.asp#ixzz1vtMnjQtX

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 25 : ST. MARY MAGDALEN DE PAZZI

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC AND HEALER
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:April 2, 1566, Florence, Italy
Died:May 25, 1607, Florence, Italy
Canonized:April 28, 1669, Rome by Pope Clement X
Patron of:Naples (co-patron)
Carmelite Virgin, born 2 April, 1566; died 25 May, 1607. Of outward events there were very few in the saint's life. She came of two noble families, her father being Camillo Geri de' Pazzi and her mother a Buondelmonti. She was baptized, and named Caterina, in the great baptistery. Her childhood much resembled that of some other women saints who have become great mystics, in an early love of prayer and penance, great charity to the poor, an apostolic spirit of teaching religious truths, and a charm and sweetness of nature that made her a general favourite. But above all other spiritual characteristics was Caterina's intense attraction towards the Blessed Sacrament, her longing to receive It, and her delight in touching and being near those who were speaking of It, or who had just been to Communion. She made her own First Communion at the age of ten, and shortly afterwards vowed her virginity to God. At fourteen she was sent to school at the convent of Cavalaresse, where she lived in so mortified and fervent a manner as to make the sisters prophesy that she would become a great saint; and, on leaving it, she told her parents of her resolve to enter the religious state. They were truly spiritual people; and, after a little difficulty in persuading them to relinquish their only daughter, she finally entered in December, 1582, the Carmelite convent of Santa Maria degl' Angeli, founded by four Florentine ladies in 1450 and renowned for its strict observance. Her chief reason for choosing this convent was the rule there followed of daily Communion.

Caterina was clothed in 1583, when she took the name of Maria Maddalena; and on 29 May, 1584, being then so ill that they feared she would not recover, she was professed. After her profession, she was subject to an extraordinary daily ecstasy for forty consecutive days, at the end of which time she appeared at the point of death. She recovered, however, miraculously; and henceforth, in spite of constant bad health, was able to fill with energy the various offices to which she was appointed. She became, in turn, mistress ofexterns--i.e. of girls coming to the convent on trial--teacher and mistress of the juniors, novice mistress (which post she held for six years), and finally, in 1604, superior. For five years (1585-90) God allowed her to be tried by terrible inward desolation and temptations, and by external diabolic attacks; but the courageous severity and deep humility of the means that she took for overcoming these only served to make her virtues shine more brilliantly in the eyes of her community.

From the time of her clothing with the religious habit till her death the saint's life was one series of raptures and ecstasies, of which only the most notable characteristics can be named in a short notice.

* First, these raptures sometimes seized upon her whole being with such force as to compel her to rapid motion (e.g. towards some sacred object).

* Secondly, she was frequently able, whilst in ecstasy, to carry on work belonging to her office--e.g., embroidery, painting, etc.--with perfect composure and efficiency.

* Thirdly--and this is the point of chief importance--it was whilst in her states of rapture that St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi gave utterance to those wonderful maxims of Divine Love, and those counsels of perfection for souls, especially in the religious state, which a modern editor of a selection of them declares to be "more frequently quoted by spiritual writers than those even of St. Teresa". These utterances have been preserved to us by the saint's companions, who (unknown to her) took them down from her lips as she poured them forth. She spoke sometimes as of herself, and sometimes as themouthpiece of one or other of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity. These maxims of the saint are sometimes described as her "Works", although she wrote down none of them herself.

This ecstatic life in no wise interfered with the saint's usefulness in her community. She was noted for her strong common-sense, as well as for the high standard and strictness of her government, and was most dearly loved to the end of her life by all for the spirit of intense charity that accompanied her somewhat severe code of discipline. As novice-mistress she was renowned for a miraculous gift of reading her subjects' hearts--which gift, indeed, was not entirely confined to her community. Many miracles, both of this and of other kinds, she performed for the benefit either of her own convent or of outsiders. She often saw things far off, and is said once to have supernaturally beheld St. Catherine de' Ricci in her convent at Prato, reading a letter that she had sent her and writing the answer; but the two saints never met in a natural manner. To St. Mary Magdalen's numerous penances, and to the ardent love of suffering that made her genuinely wish to live long in order to suffer with Christ, we can here merely refer; but it must not be forgotten that she was one of the strongest upholders of the value of suffering for the love of God and the salvation of our fellow-creatures, that ever lived. Her death was fully in accordance with her life in this respect, for she died after an illness of nearly threeyears' duration and of indescribable painfulness, borne with heroic joy to the end. Innumerable miracles followed the saint's death, and the process for her beatification was begun in 1610 under Paul V, and finished under Urban VIII in 1626. She was not, however, canonized till sixty-two years after her death, when Clement IX raised her to the altars in 28 April, 1669. Her feast is kept on 27 May.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmarymagdalendepazzi.asp#ixzz1vtMclWS2

POPE FRANCIS "ASK OUR LADY TO GIVE US THE GRACE" AND LATEST FROM VATICAN WITH VIDEOS

Vatican Radio report:  “To suffer with patience and to overcome external and internal oppression with love.” That was the prayer of Pope Francis today at the Domus Sanctae Martae during Mass on the feast of Mary Help of Christians.

In his homily, Pope Francis requested two graces: “To endure with patience and to overcome with love.” These are “graces proper to a Christian.” “To suffer with patience,” he notes, “is not easy.” “It is not easy, whether the difficulties come from without, or are problems within the heart, the soul, internal problems.” But to suffer, he explained, is not simply to “bear with a difficulty.”:

“To suffer is to take the difficulty and to carry it with strength, so that the difficulty does not drag us down. To carry it with strength: this is a Christian virtue. Saint Paul says several times: Suffer [endure]. This means do not let ourselves be overcome by difficulties. This means that the Christian has the strength not to give up, to carry difficulties with strength. Carry them, but carry them with strength. It is not easy, because discouragement comes, and one has the urge to give up and say, ‘Well, come on, we’ll do what we can but no more.’ But no, it is a grace to suffer. In difficulties, we must ask for [this grace], in difficulty.”
The other grace the Pope asks for is “to overcome with love”:
“There are many ways to win, but the grace that we request today is the grace of victory with love, through love. And this is not easy. When we have external enemies that make us suffer so much: it is not easy, to win with love. There is the desire to take revenge, to turn another against him ... Love: the meekness that Jesus taught us. And that is the victory! The Apostle John tells us in the first Reading: ‘This is our victory, our faith.’ Our faith is precisely this: believing in Jesus who taught us love and taught us to love everyone. And the proof that we are in love is when we pray for our enemies.”To pray for enemies, for those who make us suffer, the Pope continued, “is not easy.” But we are “defeated Christians” if we do not forgive enemies, and if we do not pray for them. And “we find so many sad, discouraged Christians,” he exclaimed, because “they did not have this grace of enduring with patience and overcoming with love”:“Therefore, we ask Our Lady to give us the grace to endure with patience and overcome with love. How many people – so many old men and women - have taken this path! And it is beautiful to see them: they have that beautiful countenance, that serene happiness. They do not say much, but have a patient heart, a heart filled with love. They know what forgiveness of enemies is, they know what it is to pray for enemies. So many Christians are like that!”The Mass was attended by employees of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications led by the president of the dicastery, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli. And, on the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and a group of priests, religious, seminarians and lay people from China also attended the ceremony. At the end of the prayers of the faithful, the Pope prayed: “For the noble Chinese people: May the Lord bless them and Our Lady keep them.” The Mass concluded with a hymn to the Virgin Mary in Chinese.



shared from Radio Vaticana
POPE RECALLS TRAGEDY OF REFUGEES, REAFFIRMING THAT CHURCH ALWAYS CALLS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY TO BE PROTECTED
Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) - “The trafficking of persons is an ignoble activity, a disgrace to our society that calls itself 'civilized'! Exploiters and clients at all levels should make a serious examination of conscience, within themselves and before God!” These were the Pope's words to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, gathered in Rome to discuss the issue of “The Church's Pastoral Care in the Context of Forced Migration”.
The assembly coincides with the publication of the document: “Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Persons Displaced by Force”, which calls attention to the millions of refugees, displaced, and stateless persons. It also addresses the scourge of human trafficking, which more and more frequently affects children who suffer the worst forms of abuse, including being forced into armed conflicts.
“Today,” the pontiff exclaimed, “the Church renews her strong call that the dignity and centrality of each person be always protected, in respect of fundamental rights … rights that she asks be concretely extended to the millions of men and women in every continent whose rights are not recognized. In a world where there is so much talk of rights it seems that the only one to have rights is money. … We are living in a world ruled by money. We live in a world, in a culture ruled by the fetishism of money.” In this context, the Pope noted that the dicastery responsible for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people is very worried by “situations where the family of nations is called to intervene in a spirit of fraternal solidarity with programmes of protection, often established against the backdrop of tragic events that almost daily are affecting the lives of many people. I express my appreciation and my gratitude and encourage you to continue along the path of service to our poorest and most marginalized brothers and sisters.”
The attention of the Church, who is “mother”, is expressed “with special tenderness and closeness for those forced to flee their country and live in-between rootlessness and integration. This tension destroys a person. Christian compassion—this 'suffering with' [con-passione]—is expressed above all in the commitment to know about the events that force one to leave their country and, where necessary, in giving voice to those who are unable to make their cry of sorrow and oppression heard. In this,” he said to the assembly's participants, “you carry out an important task, as well as in making the Christian communities aware of their many brothers and sisters who are marked by wounds that scar their existence: violence, abuse of power, distance from family, traumatic events, flight from home, and uncertainty about their future in refugee camps. These are all dehumanizing elements and they must compel every Christian and the entire community to a concrete attention.”
However, the Holy Father also invited them to also see in the eyes of refugees and forcibly displaced persons ”the light of hope. It is a hope that is expressed in expectation for the future, the desire for friendly relationships, the desire to participate in the society that is hosting them, even through language learning, access to employment, and education for the youngest. I admire the courage of those who hope to gradually resume a normal life, awaiting joy and love to return and lighten their existence. We all can and must nurture that hope!”
Finally, the Pope launched an appeal to governments, legislators, and the entire international community to face the reality of forcibly displaced persons “with effective initiatives and new approaches to safeguard their dignity, to improve the quality of their lives, and to meet the challenges that emerge from modern forms of persecution, oppression, and slavery. It is, I emphasize, human persons who appeal to the solidarity and support, who need urgent measures, but also and above all who need understanding and goodness. Their condition cannot leave us indifferent.”
“As Church,” he concluded, “we remember that when we heal the wounds of refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking, we are practising the commandment of love that Jesus has left us; when we identify with the stranger, with those who are suffering, with all the innocent victims of violence and exploitation. … Here I would also like to recall the care that every pastor and Christian community must have for the journey of faith of Christian refugees and those forcibly uprooted from their lives, as well as for that of Christian emigrants. They require special pastoral care that respects their traditions and accompanies them in a harmonious integration into the ecclesial reality in which they find themselves. Let us not forget the flesh of Christ, who is in the flesh of the refugees. Their flesh is that of Christ.”
 
SET ASIDE ARROGANCE, LET US BOW BEFORE THOSE WHOM THE LORD HAS ENTRUSTED TO OUR CARE
Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis presided at the profession of faith with all the Italian episcopacy gathered for their 65th general assembly. It was the first time that the Holy Father met with all the representatives of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), whom he greeted personally, one by one.
Below, please find the complete translation of Pope Francis’ remarks: Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

The readings we have heard make us thing. They have made me think a great deal. I have made something like a meditation. For us bishops, and first of all for me, a bishop like you, I share it with you.

It is significant - and I am particularly happy - that our first meeting should be held right here in the place that preserves not only the tomb of Peter, but also the living memory of his witness of faith, of his service to the truth, and of the gift he gave of himself – to the point of martyrdom – for the Gospel and for the Church.

This evening this altar of the Confession becomes our Lake of Tiberias, on the shores of which we listen to the wonderful dialogue between Jesus and Peter, with the question addressed to the Apostle, but which should resound in our own hearts, the hearts of bishops.

“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?” (Cf. Jn 21:15 ff)

The question is addressed to a man who, despite his solemn declaration, was overcome by fear and went back on his word.

“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?”

The question is addressed to me and to each one of you, to all of us: if we avoid reacting too hastily and superficially, it encourages us to look within, to enter into ourselves.

“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?”

He who searches hearts (cf. Rom 8:27) makes himself a beggar of love, and questions us on the only really essential question, the premise and condition for pastoring his sheep, his lambs, his Church. Every ministry is based on this intimacy with the Lord; to live in him is the measure of our ecclesial service, which is expressed in an openness to obedience, to emptying of self, as we heard in the Letter to the Philippians, to total giving (cf. Phil 2:6-11).

Moreover, the consequence of loving the Lord is giving everything - absolutely everything, even one’s very life - for Him: this is what must distinguish our pastoral ministry; it is the litmus test that shows how profoundly we have embraced the gift received in response to the call of Jesus, and how we are joined to the people and the communities that have been entrusted to us. We are not expressions of a structure or an organizational need: even with the service of our authority we are called to be a sign of the presence and action of the Risen Lord, and so, to build up the community in fraternal charity.

Not that this is taken for granted: even the greatest love, in fact, when it is not continuously fed, fades and goes out. Not without reason the Apostle Paul warns: “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son”(Acts 20:28).

The lack of vigilance - we know – makes the Pastor lukewarm; he becomes distracted, forgetful and even impatient; it seduces him with the prospect of a career, the lure of money, and the compromises with the spirit of the world; it makes him lazy, turning him into a functionary, a cleric worried more about himself, about organisations and structures, than about the true good of the People of God. He runs the risk, then, like the Apostle Peter, of denying the Lord, even if he is present to us and speaks in His name; the holiness of the hierarchy of Mother Church is obscured, making it less fertile.

Who are we, Brothers, before God? What are our challenges? We all have so many, each one of us knows his own. What is God saying to us through them? What are we relying on to overcome them?

As it was for Peter, the insistent and heartfelt question of Jesus can leave us saddened and may leave us more aware of the weakness of our freedom, beset as it is by a thousand internal and external constraints, which often cause confusion, frustration, even disbelief.

These are certainly not the feelings and attitudes that the Lord intends to arouse; rather, the Enemy, the Devil, takes advantage of them to isolate us in bitterness, in complaints, and in discouragement.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, does not humiliate us or abandon us to remorse: in Him, the tenderness of the Father speaks, He who comforts and raises up; He who makes us pass from the disintegration of shame – because shame surely causes us to disintegrate – to the fabric of trust; who restores courage, recommits responsibility, and consigns us to the mission.

Peter, purified by the fire of forgiveness, can humbly say, “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17). I am sure we can all say this from the heart. In this Peter, purified, in his first letter exhorts us to feed “the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock”(1 Peter 5,2-3).

Yes, to be pastors means to believe every day in the grace and strength that comes to us from the Lord, despite our weakness, and to fully assume the responsibility of walking in front of the flock, freed from the burdens that hinder a healthy apostolic swiftness, and without hesitation in leading, to make our voice recognizable both to those who have embraced the faith, but also to those who are “not of this fold” (John 10:16): we are called to make our own the dream of God, whose house knows no exclusion of persons or nations, as Isaiah prophetically announced in the First Reading (cf. Is 2:2-5).

Therefore, being pastors also means to be ready to walk in the midst of and behind the flock: capable of listening to the silent story of the suffering and bearing up the steps of those who are afraid of not succeeding; careful to raise up, to reassure, and inspire hope. By sharing with the humble our faith always comes out strengthened: let us put aside, therefore, any form of arrogance, to incline ourselves toward those the Lord has entrusted to our care. Among these, a special place is reserved for our priests: especially for them, our hearts, our hands, and our doors remain open at all times. They are the first faithful we bishops have, our priests. Let us love them! Let us love them from the heart! They are our sons and our brothers.

Dear brothers, the profession of faith that we now renew together is not a formal act, but is a renewal of our response to the “Follow Me” with which the Gospel of John concludes (21:19): allow your own life to unfold according to the project of God, committing your whole self to the Lord Jesus. From here springs that discernment that recognises and takes on the thoughts, the expectations, and the needs of the men of our time.

With this in mind, I sincerely thank each of you for your service, for your love for the Church and the Mother, and here, I place you, and I place myself, too, under the mantle of Mary, Our Mother.

Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory:
that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.

Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.

Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong.
Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity.

Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom.
Amen.
Shared from Radio Vaticana
 
CARDINAL SANDRI TAKES POPE'S GREETINGS TO LEBANON AND JORDAN
Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches will travel to Lebanon from 24 – 28 May, continuing on to Jordan until 1 June. In addition to attending the ordination of the new Maronite Bishops of Argentina and Australia on Sunday, 26 May, he will celebrate Mass at the inter-ritual Shrine of Our Lady of Zahle with the participation of the Melkite Archbishop and other pastors of the local Eastern Churches with their respective faithful. The main intention of the prayer in these circumstances will be the plea for peace in Syria, Lebanon, and the entire Middle East.
In the following days, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches will meet with the Maronite, Melkite, Syrian, and Armenian patriarchs as well as some religious communities, especially the young volunteers of Caritas Lebanon who, along with other humanitarian organizations, are attempting to deal with the enormous tragedy of refugees fleeing Syria.
The visit to Jordan will also be devoted to meeting the pastors and faithful of the various Catholic communities, especially that of the Greek Melkite communities in Petra and Philadelphia and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose territory extends throughout the country. On Thursday, 30 May, the cardinal will attend the inauguration of the University of Madaba, belonging to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan is expected to attend. Before returning to Rome, the Cardinal will visit a camp of refugees who have fled from Syria and other Middle Eastern regions.
To all, pastors and faithful, the government and the peoples of Lebanon and Jordan, reads a press release, “the cardinal will bring the affectionate greeting, sharing in the worries and the sorrows of these regions, of Pope Francis, and imparting the Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of closeness and hope in the Lord for the countries of the entire Middle Eastern region.”
 
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received:
   - His excellency Mr. Marin Raykov Nikolov, prime minister of Bulgaria, with his wife and entourage.
   - His excellency Mr. Trajko Veljanovski, vice president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with his wife and entourage.
   - Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta, O. Cist., archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
 
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father erected the new diocese of Dolisie (area 25,930, population 210,000, Catholics 71,000, priests 32, religious 3) Democratic Republic of the Congo, with territory taken from the Diocese of Nkayi, making it a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Brazzaville. He appointed Fr. Bienvenu Manamika Bafouakouahou as first bishop of the new diocese. Bishop-elect Manamika Bafouakouahou, previously vicar general of the Diocese of Kinkala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, was born in Brazzaville in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1993. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral and diocesan level roles, most recently, since 2004, as episcopal delegate for diocesan Caritas and coordinator of the Sant'Agostino Seminary of Kinkala.
 

NEW MOVIE ON POPE FRANCIS BY CHRISTIAN PESCHKEN IN WORKS - $25 MILLION BUDGET

A NEW MOVIE about Pope Francis is being planned by Producer Christian Peschken. It is entitled Friend of the Poor: The Pope Francis Story. Peschken has secured a $25-million budget for the film.
 Peschken is a native of Germany he has worked in the movie industry for many years. He has worked for EWTN. Peschken is collaborating with noted insiders including Andrea Tornielli, author of books on popes, Antonio Cuadri a scriptwriter and director, and Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Peschken plans to film in Argentina for insight into the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and in Rome. The movie will be filmed in English. It is hoped that filming will start early next year and to screen the movie at the Vatican on Dec. 17, 2014, Pope Francis’ birthday.

Terrorist Attack as British Soldier Hacked to Death on Street in England - RIP Lee Rigby - Age 25

LEE RIGBY, age 25, was hacked to death on a street in London, England on Wed. May 22, 2013. This soldier of the Woolwich Barracks, belonged to the 2nd Battalion of Fusliers.  The community gathered at St Peter the Apostle Church, Woolwich, to offer Mass on 25th May 2013 for him. Bishop Patrick presided at the Mass. Prayers were offered for the Rigby's soul and for his family.
According to the family, "He was a loving son, husband, father, brother, and uncle, and a friend to many". Two men are in custody are suspected of hitting him with a car and then attacking him with a meat cleaver and knives. It is believed that this was a attack motivated by Muslim extremists. Rigby leaves behind his 2-year-old son, Jack and wife. A video by a witness shows an attacker named Michael Adebolajo, with hands covered in blood saying "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day."

Cardinal Pell Launches Catholic Talk in AUSTRALIA

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
24 May 2013

In the final presentation at The Great Grace Conference, the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell launched a new and exciting initiative - Catholic Talk.
Catholic Talk is a group of people who can present views in the media on all issues through a Catholic perspective.
This group comprises a diverse range of Catholics, professional and students, as well as clergy and religious who aim to offer a contribution in the media from the rich Catholic tradition.
Catholic Talk does not speak on behalf of any bishop or diocese but instead seeks to articulate a personal, relevant and clear Catholic perspective in the media.
In launching Catholic Talk Cardinal Pell said it is extremely important the views of Catholics from all walks of life and age groups are represented.
He said; "It can be very difficult to get our views across in the media. We  are all aware of the importance of communication, especially on social networks, blogs and Twitter.  I hope this will provide the opportunity for those who feel they are unrepresented to have the opportunity and platform to have their views heard.
"Also I would like to see Catholic Talk grow into a trusted resource for the media. "
Catholic Talk is a home-grown Australian  response to the call Pope Francis made early in his papacy.
"We need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others."
A website is being developed to support the communications effort of this group. It will also be a hub for an interactive exchange of ideas as well as providing great resources.
"I would like to see Catholic Talk eventually grow and expand. There is a great need for this kind of initiative," Cardinal Pell

2000 Gather at Shrine in China for World Prayer Day

UCAN REPORT
Around 2,000 gather for World Prayer Day for the Church in China
<p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman','serif'; color: windowtext;" lang="EN-US">Catholic laymen carry the statue of Our Lady of Sheshan in the procession on May 24</span></p>

Catholic laymen carry the statue of Our Lady of Sheshan in the procession on May 24
 
Around 2,000 Chinese pilgrims gathered at China’s largest Catholic shrine this morning to observe the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan and the World Prayer Day for the Church in China.
The event at the Sheshan Marian shrine in Shanghai was the first since Pope Francis took office, and the first since the barring of Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, who has not been allowed to enter his Episcopal ministry since July 2011.
Those who gathered today also marked the death last month of Coadjutor Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, who heads the “open” community of the Shanghai diocese.
Pope Francis on Wednesday encouraged Catholics across the globe to join in the World Day of Prayer, which was first declared by his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2007.
He gave special mention to China, where Catholics are growing increasingly frustrated at what they say is interference in the Church by the government.
A recently introduced regulation stipulates that bishops up for election must have approval from the government-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China and demonstrate support for the ruling Communist Party of China.
Bishop Ma offended Beijing when he quit his post at the government-backed Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in July 2011.
“We feel helpless, as the government has paved the way for our Church,” said one elderly Shanghai native. “We can do nothing but pray in silence.”
Church sources said that government officials in Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, strongholds of the unregistered Church community in eastern China, had dissuaded Catholics there from traveling to Sheshan for the event.
SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS

23 Killed and 167 Wounded in Clashes in Lebanon - ASIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT
Death toll reaches 23 with 167 wounded. As life goes on, schools are closed and soldiers patrol the streets. Fuelling fears of Syrian involvement, National News Agency reports Syrian troops fired on a Lebanese army patrol.



Beirut (AsiaNews) - A cautious calm fell over Tripoli, occasionally violated by intermittent sniper fire. This comes after clashes broke out between Sunnis from Bab al-Tabbaneh and Alawis from Jabal Mohsen, that left 23 dead and 167 wounded.
Yesterday was the bloodiest day yet in the clashes, with at least 11 people killed in 24 hours this despite the deployment of Lebanese troops.
Voice of Lebanon radio reported that the army was now preparing to enter Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood.
In the city, life has continued as normal to some extent, but with traffic lighter than usual. Schools closed however, but most shops were still open.
The Syrian conflict is the cause for clashes with local Sunnis, who back Syrian rebels, and Alawis, who side with Syrian President Assad, a fellow coreligionist.
Violence broke out after Syrian forces, reinforced by Hizbollah, attacked the town of Qusayr, on the Lebanese border.
This is raising concerns that the conflict in Syria might spillover into Lebanon.
Putting aside the fact that the presence of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing violence at home is putting pressure on Lebanon, the country itself is deeply divided between Sunnis, who side with the rebels, and Shias, who back Assad.
The division, which is also reflected among political parties and the government, is likely to affect Christians, who in principle are not a party to the conflict.
Making matters worse, the Syrian army reportedly opened fire yesterday on a vehicle of the Lebanese joint border security force that was patrolling the northern town of Wadi Khaled, state-run National News Agency reported. No one was hit.
Also on Thursday, Sunni-dominated Future TV also reported clashes between Hizbullah men and the same border security force. (PD)


TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. MAY 24, 2013

John 10: 22 - 30
22 It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem;
23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.
24 So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me;
26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30 I and the Father are one."

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 24 : ST. VINCENT OF LERINS

St. Vincent of Lerins
MONK AND WRITER
Feast: May 24


Information:
Feast Day:May 24
Born:445, Lérins, France
St. Vincent was of Gaulish extraction, had a polite education, was afterwards for some time an officer in the army, and lived with dignity in the world. He informs us in his Prologue, that having been some time tossed about in the storms of a bustling military life, he began seriously to consider the dangers with which he was surrounded, and the vanity and folly of his pursuits. He desired to take shelter in the harbor of religion, which he calls the safest refuge from the world. His view in this resolution was, that he might strenuously labor to divest his soul of its ruffling passions, of pride and vanity, and to offer to God the acceptable sacrifice of a humble and Christian spirit, and that being further removed from worldly temptations, he might endeavor more easily to avoid not only the wrecks of the present life, but also the burnings of that which is to come. In these dispositions he retired from the crowds of cities, and made for the desired haven with all the sail he could. The place he chose for his retirement was in a small remote island, sheltered from the noise of the world. This Gennadius assures us to have been the famous monastery of Lerins, situated in the lesser of the two agreeable green islands which formerly bore the name of Lerins, not far from the coast of Lower Provence towards Antibes. In this place he shut himself up, that he might attend solely to what God commands us, and study to know him. Vincent reflected that time is always snatching something from us: its fleeting moments pass as quick as they come, never, never more to return, as water which is gone from its source runs to it no more. Our course is almost run out; the past time appears as a shadow; so will that which is now to come when it shall be once over, and no tears, no entreaties, no endeavors, can recall the least moment we have already let slip unimproved. In these reflections the fervent servant of God assures us that he earnestly strove to redeem time,and to be always turning it to the best account, that this invaluable grace might not rise up at the last day in judgment against him. He considered that true faith is necessary to salvation no less than morality, and that the former is the foundation of Christian virtue; and he grieved to see the church at that time pestered with numberless heresies, which sucked their poison from their very antidote, the Holy Scriptures, and which, by various wiles, spread on,, every side their dangerous snares. To guard the faithful against the false and perplexing glosses of modern subtle refiners, and to open the eyes of those who had been already seduced by them, he, with great clearness, eloquence, and force of reasoning, wrote a book, which he entitled, A Commonitory against Heretics, which he composed in 434, three years after the general council of Ephesus had condemned the Nestorians. He had chiefly in view the heretics of his own times, especially the Nestorians and the Apollinarists, but he confuted them by general, clear principles, which overturn all heresies to the end of the world. Together with the ornaments of eloquence and erudition, the inward beauty of his mind, and the brightness of his devotion, sparkle in every page of his book.

Out of humility, he disguises himself under the name of Peregrinus, to express the quality of being a pilgrim or stranger on earth, and one by his monastic state, in a more particular manner, estranged from the world. He styles himself The least of all the servants of God, and less than the least of all the saints, unworthy to bear the holy name of a Christian. He lays down this rule, or fundamental principle, in which he found, by a diligent inquiry, all Catholic pastors and the ancient fathers to agree, that such doctrine is truly Catholic as hath been believed in all places, at all times, and by all the faithful. By this test of universality, antiquity, and consent, he saith, all controverted points in belief must be tried. He showeth, that while Novatian, Photinus, Sabellius, Donatus, Arius, Eunomius, Jovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, and Nestorius expounded the divine oracles different ways, to avoid the perplexity of errors, we must interpret the Holy Scriptures by the tradition of the Catholic church, as the clew to conduct us in the truth. For this tradition, derived from the apostles, manifesteth the true meaning of the Holy Scriptures, and all novelty in faith is a certain mark of heresy; and, in religion, nothing is more to be dreaded than itching ears after new teachers. He saith: "They who have made bold with one article of faith will proceed on to others; and what will be the consequence of this reforming of religion, but only that these refiners will never have done till they have reformed it quite away." He elegantly expatiates on the divine charge given to the church, to maintain inviolable the sacred depositum of faith. He takes notice that heretics quote the sacred writings at every word, and that in the works of Paulus Samosatenus, Priscillian, Eunomius, Jovinian, and other like pests of Christendom, almost every page is painted and laid on thick with scripture texts, which Tertullian also remarks. But in this, saith, St. Vincent, heretics are like those poisoners or quacks who put off their destructive potions under inscriptions of good drugs, and under the title of infallible cures. They imitate the father of lies, who quoted scripture against the Son of God when he tempted him. The saint adds, that if a doubt arise in interpreting the meaning or the scriptures in any point of faith we must summon in the holy fathers, who nave lived and died in the faith and communion of the Catholic church, and by this test we shall prove the false doctrine to be novel. For that only we must look upon as indubitably certain and unalterable, which all, or the major part of these fathers have delivered, like the harmonious consent of a general council. But if any one among them, be he ever so holy, ever so learned, holds any thing besides, or in opposition to the rest, that is to be placed in the rank of singular and private opinions, and never to be looked upon as the public, general, authoritative doctrine of the church. After a point has been decided in a general council, the definition is irrefragable. These general principles, by which all heresies are easily confounded, St. Vincent explains with equal eloquence and perspicuity." His diction is pure and agreeable, his reasoning close and solid; and no controversial book ever expressed so much, and such deep sense, in so few words. The same rules are laid down by Tertullian in his book of Prescriptions, by St. Irenaeus and other fathers. St. Vincent died in the reigns of Theodosius II. and Valentinian III., consequently before the close of the year 456. His relics are preserved with respect at Lerins, and his name occurs in the Roman Martyrology.

St. Vincent observes that souls which have lost the anchorage of the Catholic faith, "are tossed and shattered with inward storms of clashing thoughts, that by this restless posture of mind they may be made sensible of their danger; and taking down the sails of pride and vanity which they have unhappily spread before every gust of heresy, they may make all the sail they can into the safe and peaceful harbor of their holy mother the Catholic church; and being sick from a surfeit of errors, may there discharge those foul and bitter waters to make room for the pure waters of life. There they may unlearn well what they have learned ill; may get a right notion of all those doctrines of the church they are capable of understanding, and believe those that surpass all understanding."


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/V/stvincentoflerins.asp#ixzz1vkQfWBbY