Monday, December 30, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT : DEC. 31 : ST. SYLVESTER - POPE

St. Sylvester
POPE
Feast: December 31

Information:
Feast Day:December 31
Died:31 December 335 at Rome, Italy
Patron of:Feroleto Antico, Italy
St Sylvester, whom God appointed to govern his holy church in the first years of her temporal prosperity and triumph over her persecuting enemies, was a native of Rome and son to Rufinus and Justa. According to the general rule with those who are saints from their cradle, he received early and in his infancy the strongest sentiments of Christian piety from the example, instructions, and care of a virtuous mother, who for his education in the sound maxims and practice of religion, and in sacred literature, put him young into the hands of Charitius, or Carinus, a priest of an unexceptionable character and great abilities. Being formed under an excellent master, he entered among the clergy of Rome and was ordained priest by Pope Marcellinus, before the peace of the church was disturbed by Diocletian and his associate in the empire. His behaviour in those turbulent and dangerous times recommended him to the public esteem, and he saw the triumph of the cross by the victory which Constantine gained over Maxentius within sight of the city of Rome, on the 28th of October 312. Pope Melchiades dying in January 314, St. Sylvester was exalted to the pontificate, and the same year commissioned four legates, two priests, and two deacons to represent him at the great council of the Western church, held at Arles in August, in which the schism of the Donatists, which had then subsisted seven years, and the heresy of the Quartodecimans were condemned, and many important points of discipline regulated in twenty-two canons. These decisions were sent by the council before it broke up, with an honourable letter, to Pope Sylvester, and were confirmed by him and published to the whole church. The general council of Nice was assembled against Arianism in 325. Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret say that Pope Sylvester was not able to come to it in person on account of his great age, but that he sent his legates. Gelasius of Cyzicus mentions that in it "Osius held the place of the Bishop of Rome, together with the Roman priests Vito and Vincentius." These three are named the first in subscriptions of the bishops in the editions of the acts of that council and in Socrates, who expressly places them before Alexander, patriarch of Alexandria, and Eustathius, patriarch of Antioch. St. Sylvester greatly advanced religion by a punctual discharge of all the duties of his exalted station during the space of twenty-one years and eleven months; and died on the 31st of December 335. He was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla. Pope Sergius II translated his body and deposited it under the altar in a church dedicated to God in his memory. Mention is made of an altar consecrated to God in his honour at Verona, about the year 500; and his name occurs in the ancient Martyrology called St. Jerome's, published by Florentinius, and in those of Bede, Ado, Usuard, &c. Pope Gregory IX, in 1227, made his festival general in the Latin church; the Greeks keep it on the 10th January.

After a prodigious effusion of Christian blood almost all the world over, during the space of three hundred years, the persecuting kingdoms at length laid down their arms and submitted to the faith and worship of God crucified for us. This ought to be to us a subject of thanksgiving. But do our lives express this faith? Does it triumph in our hearts? It is one of its first precepts that in all our actions we make God our beginning and end, and have only his divine honour and his holy law in view. We ought, therefore, so to live that the days, hours, and moments of the year may form a crown made up of good works, which we may offer to God. Our forgetfulness of him who is our last end, in almost all that we -do, calls for a sacrifice of compunction at the close of the year; but this cannot be perfect or acceptable to God unless we sincerely devote our whole hearts and lives to his holy love for the time to come. Let us therefore examine into the sources of former omissions, failures, and transgressions, and take effectual measures for our amendment and for the perfect regulation of all our affections and actions for the future, or that part of our life which may remain.



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/S/stsylvester.asp#ixzz1iF2KhU00

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : MON. DEC. 30, 2013

The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 203


Reading 1                  1 JN 2:12-17

I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Responsorial Psalm                   PS 96:7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Gospel                    LK 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

CHURCH SET ON FIRE BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN NEPAL - ASIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
by Cristopher Sharma
The attack took place in Dhading district, a few kilometres from Kathmandu, on 23 December. The homes of four converts to Christianity were also set on fire. Radical Hindu groups are thought to be behind the attack, but Nepali officials downplay the incident.


Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - A group of nine people, still unknown to the authorities, set fire to the Protestant church in the village of Kichet, in Dhading District, on 23 December, a few kilometres from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Soon after, the homes of four local residents who had converted to Christianity were also torched.
Members of the congregation, who were away for Christmas holiday, reported the incident after they went to Sunday Mass yesterday and found the church had been burnt down.
"We were very surprised to see our church destroyed. Then, we realised what had happened," said Rima Tamang, a local Christian woman. "Some residents said they had tried to stop the attackers, but were beaten. The government must now stop those responsible and punish them."
The torched houses belonged to Ganga Lama Tamang, Lama Bahadur Tamang, Lama Bokta and Bikram Lama, all converts to Christianity.
Some residents believe Hindu fundamentalists set the fire as a warning to those thinking of converting.
"The authorities are reluctant to meet our requests and are ignoring cases when the victims are Christian. Things like this should not happen in a secular nation," said Rev C.B. Gahatraj, a Protestant clergyman, who urged the government to act.
Nepali government spokesman and Information Minister Madhav Poudel downplayed that the incident, dismissing claims that it was caused by an organised group.
Speaking about the incident, he said, "Our investigation is underway and soon we will soon release more information about the incident. We have not given all the information right away because it would interfere with the investigation. We are trying to figure out if the culprits were in contact with organised groups."
After the monarchy was abolished in 2008, the government made Christmas a national holiday in 2011 to revive tourism.
Christians can now exhibit images and sacred ornaments in stores and outside churches and homes.


At present, there are some 10,000 Catholics in the country, 4,000 more than in 2006, the year when the state became secular. Other Christians number about 100,000.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

TODAY'S SAINT : BLESSED EUGENIA RAVASCO

Eugenia Ravasco (1845-1900) 
Bl. Eugenia Ravasco
FOUNDRESS
Feast: December 30
 


Information:
Feast Day:December 30
Born:4 January 1845 in Milan, Italy
Died:30 December 1900 in Genoa, Italy

Eugenia Ravasco was born on 4 January 1845 in Milan, Italy, the third of Francesco Matteo and Carolina Mozzoni Frosconi's six children. When she was three years old her mother died and her father moved to Genoa where his two brothers lived, taking with him his eldest son, Ambrose, and the youngest daughter, Elisa. Eugenia remained in Milan with her Aunt Marietta Anselmi, who became a second mother to her and carefully educated her in the faith.
In 1852, the family was reunited in Genoa and following her father's death in March 1855, Eugenia went to live for some time with her uncle Luigi Ravasco and her aunt Elisa and their 10 children. Luigi Ravasco was careful to give his nephews and nieces a Christian upbringing. He was well aware of the anticlericalism on the rise in Italy at the time and of the efforts of the Freemasons, and was especially worried about Eugenia's brother, Ambrose, who had come under the influence of this spreading problem.
From early adolescence, Eugenia was deeply influenced by her uncle's responsible Christian example and his generosity towards the poor. Unlike her shy younger sister, Elisa, Eugenia was expansive and energetic and loved to serve others. Eucharistic worship, together with devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, became an essential part of her spirituality.
On 21 June 1855, Eugenia made her First Communion and Confirmation in St Ambrose's Church and from that day on, whenever she passed a church she would enter it to pray. God was preparing her for greater things.
In December 1862, her Uncle died, leaving Eugenia with the responsibility of caring for the family. With the help of God and the advice of Canon Salvatore Magnasco, she valiantly faced the problems caused by her brother. Aunt Marietta joined Eugenia to help the family. Both made every effort to rescue Ambrose, but without success.
Although her aunt wanted her to marry, Eugenia prayed that the Lord would show her the path to take, since she felt a growing inner call to religious life. On 31 May 1863 she received an answer as she entered the Church of St Sabina to pray. Fr Giacinto Bianchi, an ardent missionary of the Sacred Heart, was celebrating Mass. When she heard him say to the faithful, "Is there no one out there who feels called to dedicate themselves to doing good for love of the Heart of Jesus?", Eugenia understood that God was speaking to her, calling her to him through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Eugenia found a spiritual director to help her discern what she was feeling, and shortly thereafter she began to teach catechism in the parish church to the disadvantaged young girls of the city. Her aunt and those close to her were against this, especially because these girls were unmannered and street-wise. But Eugenia persevered, accepting with patience the humiliations that she received from all sides. Little by little, she won the young girls over, organizing day trips and games for them and gaining their trust. She reached out to the most uneducated, neglected girls who, left to themselves, were in danger of going down the same errant path as her brother Ambrose.
As time went on, Eugenia felt that God was calling her to found a religious order that would form "honest citizens in society and saints in Heaven". Other young women had also joined her in this effort. On 6 December 1868, when she was 23 years old, she founded the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Canon (later Archbishop) Magnasco had prepared her carefully and she continued, together with the sisters, to teach catechism and to open schools.
Despite open hostility towards the Church and the activity of the Freemasons, Mother Eugenia opened in 1878 a school for girls to give them Christian instruction and to prepare "Christian teachers" for the future. She proved courageous in the face of the persecution and ridicule she received from the local press. She also gave particular attention to the dying, the imprisoned and those away from the Church.

Notwithstanding her poor health, she travelled around Italy and to France and Switzerland, opening new communities and attracting religious vocations.
In 1882 the Congregation received diocesan approval and in 1884, together with her sisters, Mother Eugenia made her perpetual profession. She guided the foundations and her sisters with love and prudence, giving them as model the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Her apostolic ideal in life was "to burn with the desire to do good to others, especially to youth", and to "live in abbandonment to God and in the hands of Mary Immaculate". Mother Eugenia Ravasco died on 30 December 1900 in Genoa, consumed by illness. And in 1909 the Congregation she founded received Pontifical approval.
Today the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (also known as the "Ravasco Institute") are present in Albania, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Africa and the Philippines. They continue their work in schools, parishes and missions and are especially dedicated to serving youth and the needy and to promoting the dignity of women.

(Taken from Vatican website)


Shared from EWTN