Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WHAT IS HALLOWEEN? - A CHRISTIAN FEAST DAY

(IMAGE SOURCE; SHOWER OF ROSES BLOG)

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 31: ST. WOLFGANG

 

St. Wolfgang
BISHOP
Feast: October 31
Information:
Feast Day:
October 31
Born:
924 in Swabia
Died:
31 October 994 at Pupping, Linz (modern Austria)
Canonized:
1052 by Pope Leo IX
Patron of:
apoplexy; carpenters and wood carvers; paralysis; stomach diseases; strokes

Bishop of Ratisbon (972-994), born about 934; died at the village of Pupping in upper Austria, 31 October, 994. The name Wolfgang is of early German origin. St. Wolfgang was one of the three brilliant stars of the tenth century, St. Ulrich, St. Conrad, and St. Wolfgang, which illuminated the early medieval period of Germany with the undying splendour of their acts and services. St. Wolfgang sprang from a family of Swabian counts of Pfullingen (Mon. Germ. His.: Script., X, 53). When seven years old he had an ecclesiastic as tutor at home; later he attended the celebrated monastic school on the Reichenau. Here he formed a strong friendship with Henry, brother of Bishop Poppo of Würzburg, whom he followed to Würzburg in order to attend at the cathedral school there the lectures of the noted Italian grammarian, Stephen of Novara. After Henry was made Archbishop of Trier in 956, he called his friend to Trier, where Wolfgang became a teacher in the cathedral school, and also laboured for the reform of the archdiocese, notwithstanding the enmity with which his efforts were met. Wolfgang's residence at Trier greatly influenced his monastic and ascetic tendencies, as here he came into connection with the great reformatory monastery of the tenth century, St. Maximin of Trier, where he made the acquaintance of Ramwold, the teacher of St. Adalbert of Prague. After the death (964) of Archbishop Henry of Trier, Wolfgang entered the Order of St. Benedict in the Abbey of Maria Einsiedeln, Switzerland, and was ordained priest by St. Ulrich in 968.
After their defeat in the battle of the Lechfeld (955), a victory gained with the aid of St. Ulrich, the heathen Magyars settled in ancient Pannonia. As long as they were not converted to Christianity they remained a constant menace to the empire. At the request of St. Ulrich, who clearly saw the danger, and at the desire of the Emperor Otto the Great, St. Wolfgang, according to the abbey annals, was "sent to Magyars" as the most suitable man to evangelize them. He was followed by other missionaries sent by Bishop Piligrim of Nassau, under whose jurisdiction the new missionary region came. After the death of Bishop Michael of Ratisbon (23 September, 972) Bishop Piligrim obtained from the emperor the appointment of Wolfgang as Bishop of Ratisbon (Christmas, 972). Wolfgang's services in this new position were of the highest importance, not only for the diocese, but also for the cause of civilization. As Bishop of Ratisbon, Wolfgang became the tutor of Emperor St. Henry II, who learned from him the principles which governed his saintly and energetic life. Poppe, son of Margrave Luitpold, Archbishop of Trier (1016), and Tagino, Archbishop of Magdeburg (1004-1012), also had him as their teacher.
St. Wolfgang deserves credit for his disciplinary labours in his diocese. His main work in this respect was connected with the ancient and celebrated Abbey of St. Emmeram which he reformed by granting it once more abbots of its own, thus withdrawing it from the control of the bishops of Ratisbon, who for many years had been abbots in commendam, a condition of affairs that had been far from beneficial to the abbey and monastic life. In the Benedictine monk Ramwold, whom St. Wolfgang called from St. Maximin at Trier, St. Emmeram received a capable abbot (975). The saint also reformed the convents of Obermunster and Niedermunster at Ratisbon, chiefly by giving them as an example the convent of St. Paul, Mittelmunster, at Ratisbon, which he had founded in 983. He also co-operated in the reform of the ancient and celebrated Benedictine Abbey of Altach (Nieder-altach), which had been founded by the Agilolf dynasty, and which from that time took on new life. He showed genuine episcopal generosity in the liberal manner with which he met the views of the Emperor Otto II regarding the intended reduction in size of his diocese for the benefit of the new Diocese of Prague (975), to which St. Adalbert was appointed first bishop. As prince of the empire he performed his duties towards the emperor and the empire with the utmost scrupulousness and, like St. Ulrich, was one of the mainstays of the Ottonian policies. He took part in the various imperial Diets, and, in the autumn of 978, accompanied the Emperor Otto II on his campaign to Paris, and took part in the great Diet of Verona in June, 983.
St. Wolfgang withdrew as a hermit to a solitary spot, now the Lake of St. Wolfgang, apparently on account of a political dispute, but probably in the course of a journey of inspection to the monastery of Mendsee which was under the direction of the bishops of Ratisbon. He was discovered by a hunter and brought back to Ratisbon. While travelling on the Danube to Pöchlarn in Lower Austria, he fell ill at the village of Pupping, which is between Efferding and the market town of Aschach near Linz, and at his request was carried into the chapel of St. Othmar at Pupping, where he died. His body was taken up the Danube by his friends Count Aribo of Andechs and Archbishop Hartwich of Salzburg to Ratisbon, and was solemnly buried in the crypt of St. Emmeram. Many miracles were performed at his grave; in 1052 he was canonized. Soon after his death many churches chose him as their patron saint, and various towns were named after him. In Christian art he has been especially honoured by the great medieval Tyrolese painter, Michael Pacher (1430-1498), who created an imperishable memorial of him, the high altar of St. Wolfgang. In the panel pictures which are now exhibited in the Old Pinakothek at Munich are depicted in an artistic manner the chief events in the saint's life. The oldest portrait of St. Wolfgang is a miniature, painted about the year 1100 in the celebrated Evangeliary of St. Emmeram, now in the library of the castle cathedral at Cracow. A fine modern picture by Schwind is in the Schak Gallery at Munich. This painting represents the legend of Wolfgang forcing the devil to help him to build a church. In other paintings he is generally depicted in episcopal dress, an axe in the right hand and the crozier in the left, or as a hermit in the wilderness being discovered by a hunter. The axe refers to an event in the life of the saint. After having selected a solitary spot in the wilderness, he prayed and then threw his axe into the thicket; the spot on which the axe fell he regarded as the place where God intended he should build his cell. This axe is still shown in the little market town of St. Wolfgang which sprang up on the spot of the old cell. At the request of the Abbey of St. Emmeram, the life of St. Wolfgang was written by Othlo, a Benedictine monk of St. Emmeram about 1050. This life is especially important for the early medieval history both of the Church and of civilization in Bavaria and Austria, and it forms the basis of all later accounts of the saint. The oldest and best manuscript of this "Life" is in the library of the Abbey of Maria Einsiedeln in Switzerland (manuscript No. 322), and has been printed with critical notes in "Mon. Germ. His.: Script.", IV, 524-542. It has also been printed in, "Acta SS.", II November, (Brussels, 1894), 529-537; "Acta SS. O. S. Ben.", V, 812-833; and in P.L., CXLVI, 395-422.
ued to feed and defend his flock until it pleased the Supreme Pastor to recompense his fidelity and labors.

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WED. OCT. 30, 2013

Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 482


Reading 1              ROM 8:31B-39

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written:

For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.


No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Responsorial Psalm                 PS 109:21-22, 26-27, 30-31

R. (26b) Save me, O Lord, in your mercy.
Do you, O GOD, my Lord, deal kindly with me for your name’s sake;
in your generous mercy rescue me;
For I am wretched and poor,
and my heart is pierced within me.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your mercy.
Help me, O LORD, my God;
save me, in your mercy,
And let them know that this is your hand;
that you, O LORD, have done this.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your mercy.
I will speak my thanks earnestly to the LORD,
and in the midst of the throng I will praise him,
For he stood at the right hand of the poor man,
to save him from those who would condemn his soul.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Gospel                 LK 13:31-35

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said,
“Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go and tell that fox,
‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.
Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day,
for it is impossible that a prophet should die
outside of Jerusalem.’

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how many times I yearned to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were unwilling!
Behold, your house will be abandoned.
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WED. OCT. 30, 2013

Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 481


Reading 1                ROM 8:26-30

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.

We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

Responsorial Psalm                    PS 13:4-5, 6

R. (6a) My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy.
Look, answer me, O LORD, my God!
Give light to my eyes that I may not sleep in death
lest my enemy say, “I have overcome him”;
lest my foes rejoice at my downfall.
R. My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy.
Though I trusted in your mercy,
Let my heart rejoice in your salvation;
let me sing of the LORD, “He has been good to me.”
R. My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy.

Gospel                  LK 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”

POPE FRANCIS CATECHESIS ON THE CREED AND THE COMMUNION OF THE SAINTS

(Vatican Radio) At his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his series of catechetical reflections on the Creed, focusing this week on the Communion of Saints. In the English-language synthesis of the Holy Father’s remarks read out following the main catechesis in Italian, Pope Francis writes, “The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that the Communion of Saints is a communion “in holy things” and “among holy persons” (No. 948). 

The Holy Father’s remarks go on to say that the Communion of Saints is the deepest reality of the Church, because in Christ, through Baptism, we are made sharers in the communion of life and love which is the Blessed Trinity:

As such, we are united to one another in the Body of Christ. Through this fraternal communion we draw nearer to God and we are called to support one another spiritually. The communion of saints does not only embrace the Church on earth; it also embraces all who have died in Christ, the souls in purgatory and the saints in heaven. 

Pope Francis’s remarks go on to say that that we experience this solidarity between heaven and earth in our intercessory prayer and in the feasts of All Saints and All Souls which we shall soon celebrate. “As we rejoice in this great mystery,” his remarks conclude, “let us ask the Lord to draw us ever closer to Him and to all our brothers and sisters in the Church.”

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

WCC LETTER BY HOLY FATHER TO CARDINAL KURT KOCH

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has called on all Christians to intensify prayer and cooperate in service of the Gospel in a letter to the participants of the Tenth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, currently taking place in Busan, South Korea.

The President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, read the letter to participants on Wednesday. 

Pope Francis told the Assembly all Christians are called "to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our societies and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and the sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack employment."


The full text of the Pope's letter is printed below 


To My Venerable Brother
Cardinal Kurt Koch
President
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

On the occasion of the Tenth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, I ask you to convey my cordial greetings and good wishes to all gathered in Busan, and in a particular way to the General Secretary, Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, and the representatives of the Christian communities present. I assure you of my close pastoral interest in the deliberations of the Assembly and I willingly reaffirm the commitment of the Catholic Church to continuing its long-standing cooperation with the World Council of Churches.

The theme of the Assembly, God of Life, Lead us to Justice and Peace, is above all a prayerful invocation of the Triune God who draws all creation to its fulfillment through the redemptive power of the Cross of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit. Truly, wherever the gift of life is cherished, and justice and peace prevail, God’s Kingdom is present and his sovereign power is already at work.

For this reason, I trust that the present Assembly will help to consolidate the commitment of all Christ’s followers to intensified prayer and cooperation in the service of the Gospel and the integral good of our human family. The globalized world in which we live demands of us a common witness to the God-given dignity of every human being and the effective promotion of the cultural, social and legal conditions which enable individuals and communities to grow in freedom, and which support the mission of the family as the fundamental building-block of society, ensure a sound and integral education for the young, and guarantee for all the untrammeled exercise of religious liberty. In fidelity to the Gospel, and in response to the urgent needs of the present time, we are called to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our societies and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and the sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack employment. 

Conscious that the soul of ecumenism remains authentic conversion, holiness and prayer (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 8), I pray that the General Assembly will contribute to a new impulse of vitality and vision on the part of all committed to the sacred cause of Christian unity, in fidelity to the Lord’s will for his Church (cf. Jn 17:21) and in openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Upon all gathered in Busan I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God, source of all life and of every spiritual gift.

From the Vatican, 4 October 2013, Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi


FRANCIS

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

POPE FRANCIS "JESUS, THE HOPE, RENEWS EVERYTHING"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday explained the true meaning of hope saying it’s much more than simple optimism for Christians, it is constant expectation, it’s a gift from the Holy Spirit, it’s a miracle of renewal that never lets us down.

Speaking at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope reflected on the words of St. Paul in which he says: 'Never disappoint yourself'- Hope never lets you down. Why? Said the Pope: “Because it's a gift from the Holy Spirit”. And he continued: Paul tells us that hope has a name. Hope is Christ. 

Elaborating on the meaning of hope the Pope said that it creates a tension directed towards the revelation of Jesus Christ, towards true joy that is eternal life.


And referring to the virtues of faith, hope and charity, the Pope said that often the virtue of hope is seen as the most humble of the three, because – he said – it is hidden in life. You can see faith – he added – you can feel it, you know what it is. And charity too – we know what that is. But what is hope? What is this attitude of hope? First of all - he said - we can say it is a risk, a risky virtue – as Saint Paul says: it is a virtue of ardent expectation for the Revelation. "It is not an illusion".

And he continued: “Jesus, the hope, renews everything. So hope is a constant miracle. "The miracle of what He’s doing in the Church. The miracle of making everything new: of what He does in my life, in your life, in our life. He builds and He rebuilds. And that is precisely the reason of our hope". "Christ is the one who renews every wonderful thing of the Creation; He's the reason of our hope. And this hope does not delude because He is faithful. He can't renounce Himself. This is the virtue of hope.” 

And Pope Francis concluded reminding all Christians about the Virgin Mary's attitude after her son's death, up until His resurrection on Sunday. 

Hope – he said – is what Mary, Mother of God, sheltered in her heart during the darkest time of her life: from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning. That is hope: she had it. And that hope has renewed everything. May God grant us that grace.”
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 30: ST. ALPHONSUS RODRIGUEZ



St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
CONFESSOR AND LAY BROTHER
Feast: October 30
Information:
Feast Day:
October 30
Born:
July 25, 1532, Segovia
Died:
October 31, 1617
Canonized:
6 September, 1887
Major Shrine:
Majorca

Born at Segovia in Spain, 25 July, 1532; died at Majorca, 31 October, 1617. On account of the similarity of names he is often confounded with Father Rodriguez the author of "Christian Perfection", who though eminent in his holiness was never canonized. The Saint was a Jesuit lay-brother who entered the Society at the age of forty. He was the son of a wool merchant who had been reduced to poverty when Alfonso was still young. At the age of twenty-six he married Mary Francisco Suárez, a woman of his own station, and at thirty-one found himself a widower with one surviving child, the other two having died previously. From thattime he began a life of prayer and mortification, although separated from the world around him. On the death of his third child his thoughts turned to a life in some religious order. Previous associations had brought him into contact with the first Jesuits who had come to Spain, Bl. Peter Faber among others, but it was apparently impossible to carry out his purpose of entering the Society, as he was without education, having only had an incomplete year at a new college begun at Alcalá by Francis Villanueva. At the age of thirty-nine he attempted to make up this deficiency by following the course at the College of Barcelona, but without success. His austerities had also undermined his health. After considerable delay he was finally admitted into the Society of Jesus as a lay-brother, 31 January, 1571. Distinct novitiates had not as yet been established in Spain, and Alfonso began his term of probation at Valencia or Gandia -- this point is a subject of dispute -- and after six months was sent to the recently-founded college at Majorca, where he remained in the humble position of porter for forty-six years, exercising a marvelous influence on the sanctification not only of the members of the household, but upon a great number of people who came to theporter's lodge for advice and direction. Among the distinguished Jesuits who came under his influence was St. Peter Clavier, who lived with him for some time at Majorca, and who followed his advice in asking for the missions of South America. The bodily mortifications which he imposed on himself were extreme, the scruples and mental agitation to which he was subject were of frequent occurrence, his obedience absolute, and his absorption in spiritual things even when engaged on most distracting employments, continual. It has often been said that he was the author of the well known "Little Office of the Immaculate Conception", and the claim is made by Alegambe, Southwell, and even by the Fathers de Backer in their Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus. Apart from the fact that the brother did not have the requisite education for such a task, Father Costurer says positively that the office he used was taken from an old copy printed out of Spain, and Father Colin asserts that it existed before the Saint's time. It may be admitted, however, that through him it was popularized. He left a considerable number of manuscripts after him, some of which have been published as "Obras Espirituales del B. Alonso Rodriguez" (Barcelona, 1885, 3 vols., octavo, complete edition, 8 vols. in quarto). They have no pretense to style; they are sometimes only reminiscences of domestic exhortations; the texts are often repeated; the illustrations are from every-daylife; the treatment of one virtue occasionally trenches on another; but they are remarkable for the correctness and soundness of their doctrine and the profound spiritual knowledge which they reveal. They were not written with a view to publication, but put down by the Saint himself, or dictated to others, in obedience to a positive command of his superiors. He was declared Venerable in 1626. In 1633 he was chosen by the Council General of Majorca as one of the special patrons of the city and island. In 1760 Clement XIII decreed that "the virtues of the Venerable Alonso were proved to be of a heroic degree"; but the expulsion of the Society from Spain in 1773, and its suppression, delayed his beatification until 1825. His canonization took place 6 September, 1887. His remains are enshrined at Majorca.