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Monday, June 30, 2014
Protomartyrs of Rome
Feast: June 30
|Many martyrs who suffered death under Emperor Nero (r. 54-68). Owing to their executions durin the reign of Nero, they are called the Neronian Martyrs, and they are also termed "the Protomartys of Rome," being honored by the site in the Vatican City called the Piazza of the Protomartyrs. These early Christians were disciples of the Apostles, and they endured hideous tortures and ghastly deaths following the burning of Rome in the infamous fire of 62. Their dignity in suffering, and their fervor to the end, did not provide Nero or the Romans with the public diversion desired. Instead, the faith was firmly planted in the Eternal City.|
(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)
Sunday, June 29, 2014
1. Msgr. Victor Henry THAKUR, Archbishop of Raipur (India)
2. Msgr. José Rafael QUIRÓS QUIRÓS, Archbishop of San José de Costa Rica (Costa Rica)
3. Msgr. Giuseppe FIORINI MOROSINI, O.M., Archbishop of the region of Calabria-Bova (Italy)
4. Msgr. Leo W. CUSHLEY, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh (Scotland)
5. Msgr. Jaime SPENGLER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Porto Alegre (Brazil)
6. Msgr. Jean-Luc BOUILLERET, Archbishop of Besançon (France)
7. Msgr. Leonard Paul BLAIR, Archbishop of Hartford (U.S.A.)
8. Msgr. Gabriel ‘Leke ABEGUNRIN, Archbishop of Ibadan (Nigeria)
9. Msgr. Sebastian Francis SHAW, O.F.M., Archbishop of Lahore (Pakistan)
10. Msgr. Franz LACKNER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Salzburg (Austria)
11. Msgr. Thomas Luke MSUSA, S.M.M., Archbishop of Blantyre (Malawi)
12. Msgr. Benjamin Marc Balthason RAMAROSON, C.M., Archbishop of Antsiranana (Madagascar) 13. Msgr. René Osvaldo REBOLLEDO SALINAS, Archbishop of La Serena (Chile)
14. Msgr. Marlo M. PERALTA, Archbishop of Nueva Segovia (The Philippines)
15. Msgr. Emmanuel OBBO, Archbishop of Tororo (Uganda)
16. Msgr. Daniel Fernando STURLA BERHOUET, S.D.B., Archbishop of Montevideo (Uruguay)
17. Msgr. Marco ARNOLFO, Archbishop of Vercelli (Italy)
18. Msgr. Damian Denis DALLU, Archbishop of Songea (Tanzania)
19. Msgr. Romulo T. DE LA CRUZ, Archbishop of Zamboanga (The Philippines)
20. Msgr. Malcolm Patrick McMAHON, O.P., Archbishop of Liverpool (England)
21. Msgr. Paul BÙI VN OC, Archbishop of Thành-Phô Hô Chí Minh, Hôchiminh Ville (Vietnam)
22. Msgr. Wojciech POLAK, Archbishop of Gniezno (Poland)
23. Msgr. José Luiz Majella DELGADO, C.SS.R., Archbishop of Pouso Alegre (Brazil)
24.Msgr. Agustinus AGUS, Archbishop of Pontianak (Indonesia)
Archbishops who won't be present at the ceremony:
25. Msgr. Tarcisius Gervazio ZIYAYE, Archbishop of Lilongwe (Malawi)
26. Msgr. Nicholas MANG THANG, Archbishop of Mandalay (Burma)
27. Msgr. Stephan BURGER, Archbishop of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany)
Pope Pius VI., by a Rescript of July 28, 1778, issued through the Segretaria of the memorials, granted -
i. An indulgence of 100 days to all the faithful who, being contrite, shall say at least once a day the following prayer, with one Pater, Ave, and Gloria, in honour of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
ii. A plenary indulgence, on all Feasts of SS. Peter and Paul, provided that, after Confession and Communion, they shall on such feast-day itself, or one of the nine days preceding it, or eight days following it, visit a church or altar dedicated to those Saints, saying there the following prayer, and remembering the Holy Church and its Sovereign Pontiff.
O blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, I, NN., elect you this day for my special protectors and advocates with God. In all humility I rejoice with thee, blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, because thou art the rock whereon God hath built his Church; and I rejoice with thee too, blessed Paul, because thou wast chosen of God for a Vessel of election, and a preacher of the truth throughout the world. Obtain for me, I beseech you both, a lively faith, firm hope, and perfect charity, entire detachment from myself, contempt of the world, patience in adversity, humility in prosperity, attention in prayer, purity of heart, right intention in my works, diligence in the fulfilment of all the duties of my state of life, constancy in my good resolutions, resignation to the holy will of God, perseverance in Divine grace unto death; that, having overcome by your joint intercession and your glorious merits, the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, I may be made worthy to appear before the face of the chief and eternal Bishop of Souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, to enjoy Him and to love Him for all eternity, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever world without end. Amen.
Pater, Ave, and Gloria
or 1 Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be
Saturday, June 28, 2014
FIRST POPE AND PRINCE OF THE APOSTLES
Feast: June 29
|St. Peter is mentioned so often in the New Testament—in the Gospels, in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Epistles of St. Paul—that we feel we know him better than any other person who figured prominently in the life of the Saviour. In all, his name appears 182 times. We have no knowledge of him prior to his conversion, save that he was a Galilean fisherman, from the village of Bethsaida or Capernaum. There is some evidence for supposing that Peter's brother Andrew and possibly Peter himself were followers of John the Baptist, and were therefore prepared for the appearance of the Messiah in their midst. We picture Peter as a shrewd and simple man, of great power for good, but now and again afflicted by sudden weakness and doubt, at least at the outset of his discipleship. After the death of the Saviour he manifested his primacy among the Apostles by his courage and strength. He was "the Rock" on which the Church was founded. It is perhaps Peter's capacity for growth that makes his story so inspiring to other erring humans. He reached the lowest depths on the night when he denied the Lord, then began the climb upward, to become bishop of Rome, martyr, and, finally, "keeper of the keys of Heaven."|
Our first glimpse of Peter comes at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry. While He was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, casting a net into the water. When He called to them, "Come, and I will make you fishers of men," they at once dropped their net to follow Him. A little later we learn that they visited the house where Peter's mother-in-law was suffering from a fever, and Jesus cured her. This was the first cure witnessed by Peter, but he was to see many miracles, for he stayed close to Jesus during the two years of His ministry. All the while he was listening, watching, questioning, learning, sometimes failing in perfect faith, but in the end full of strength and thoroughly prepared for his own years of missionary preaching.
Let us recall a few of the Biblical episodes in which Peter appears. We are told that after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus withdrew to the mountain to pray, and his disciples started to sail home across the Lake of Galilee. Suddenly they saw Him walking on the water, and, according to the account in Matthew, Jesus told them not to be afraid. It was Peter who said, "Lord, if it is Thou, bid me come to Thee over the water." Peter set out confidently, but suddenly grew afraid and began to sink, and Jesus stretched forth His hand to save him, saying, "O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?"
Then we have Peter's dramatic confession of faith, which occurred when Jesus and his followers had reached the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Jesus having asked the question, "Who do men say that I am?" there were various responses. Then Jesus turned to Peter and said, "But who do you say that I am?" and Peter answered firmly, "Thou art the Christ, son of the living God." (Matthew xvi, 13-18; Mark viii, 27-29; Luke ix, 18-20.) Then Jesus told him that his name would henceforth be Peter. In the Aramaic tongue which Jesus and his disciples spoke, the word was kepha, meaning rock. Jesus concluded with the prophetic words, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock shall be built My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
There seems to be no doubt that Peter was favored among the disciples. He was selected, with James and John, to accompany Jesus to the mountain, the scene of the Transfiguration, to be given a glimpse of His glory, and there heard God pronounce the words, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
After this, the group had gone down to Jerusalem, where Jesus began to prepare his disciples for the approaching end of his ministry on earth. Peter chided Him and could not bring himself to believe that the end was near. When all were gathered for the Last Supper, Peter declared his loyalty and devotion in these words, "Lord, with Thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death." It must have been in deep sorrow that Jesus answered that before cockcrow Peter would deny Him thrice. And as the tragic night unrolled, this prophecy came true. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and was taken by soldiers to the Jewish high priest, Peter followed far behind, and sat half hidden in the courtyard of the temple during the proceedings. Pointed out as one of the disciples, Peter three times denied the accusation. But we know that he was forgiven, and when, after the Resurrection, Jesus manifested himself to his disciples, He signaled Peter out, and made him declare three times that he loved Him, paralleling the three times that Peter had denied Him. Finally, Jesus charged Peter, with dramatic brevity, "Feed my sheep." From that time on Peter became the acknowledged and responsible leader of the sect.
It was Peter who took the initiative in selecting a new Apostle in place of Judas, and he who performed the first miracle of healing. A lame beggar asked for money; Peter told him he had none, but in the name of Jesus the Nazarene bade him arise and walk. The beggar did as he was bidden, cured of his lameness. When, about two years after the Ascension, the spread of the new religion brought on the persecutions that culminated in the martyrdom of St. Stephen, many of the converts scattered or went into hiding. The Apostles stood their ground firmly in Jerusalem, where the Jewish temple had become the spearhead of opposition to them. Peter chose to preach in the outlying villages, farther and farther afield. In Samaria, where he preached and performed miracles, he was offered money by Simon Magus, a magician, if he would teach the secret of his occult powers. Peter rebuked the magician sternly, saying, "Keep thy money to thyself, to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased by money."
With his vigorous outspokenness, Peter inevitably came into conflict with the Jewish authorities, and twice the high priests had him arrested. We are told that he was miraculously freed of his prison chains, and astonished the other Apostles by suddenly appearing back among them. Peter now preached in the seaports of Joppa and Lydda, where he met men of many races, and in Caesarea, where he converted the first Gentile, a man named Cornelius. Realizing that the sect must win its greatest support from Gentiles, Peter helped to shape the early policy towards them. Its growing eminence led to his election as bishop of the see of Antioch. How long he remained there, or how or when he came to Rome, we do not know. The evidence seems to establish the fact that his last years were spent in Rome as bishop. The belief that he suffered martyrdom there during the reign of Nero in the same year as St. Paul is soundly based on the writings of three early Fathers, St. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian. The only writings by St. Peter which have come down to us are his New Testament Epistles I and II, both of which are thought to have been written from Rome to the Christian converts of Asia Minor. The First Epistle is filled with admonitions to mutual helpfulness, charity, and humility, and in general outlines the duties of Christians in all aspects of life. At its conclusion (I Peter v, 13) Peter sends greetings from "the church which is at Babylon." This is accepted as further evidence that the letter was written from Rome, which in the Jewish usage of the time was called "Babylon." The second Epistle warns against false teachings, speaks of the Second Coming of the Lord, and ends with the beautiful doxology, "But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, both now and the day of eternity."
The latest archeological findings indicate that St. Peter's Church in Rome rises over the site of his tomb, as Pius XII announced at the close of the Holy Year of 1950. In the catacombs many wall writings have been found which link the names of St. Peter and St. Paul, showing that popular devotion to the two great Apostles began in very early times. Paintings of later date commonly depict Peter as a short, energetic man with curly hair and beard; in art his traditional emblems are a boat, keys, and a cock.
APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, MARTYR, MISSIONARY, MYSTIC, GREAT THEOLOGIAN
Feast: June 29
|The historic records bearing on St. Paul are fuller than those for any Scriptural saint. We have Paul's own wonderful writings, the fourteen letters included in the New Testament, which outline his missionary journeys, exhort and admonish the various Christian congregations, discuss ethics and doctrinal matters; and in the midst of all this we get a revelation of the man himself, his inner character, his problems and fears. St. Luke's Acts of the Apostles and certain apocryphal books are other sources of our knowledge of St. Paul. Of all the founders of the Church, Paul was perhaps the most brilliant and many-sided, the broadest in outlook, and therefore the best endowed to carry Christianity to alien lands and peoples.|
Born into a well-to-do Jewish family of Tarsus, the son of a Roman citizen, Saul (as we shall call him until after his conversion) was sent to Jerusalem to be trained in the famous rabbinical school headed by Gamaliel. Here, in addition to studying the Law and the Prophets, he learned a trade, as was the custom. Young Saul chose the trade of tent-making. Although his upbringing was orthodox, while still at home in Tarsus he had come under the liberalizing Hellenic influences which at this time had permeated all levels of urban society in Asia Minor. Thus the Judaic, Roman, and Greek traditions and cultures all had a part in shaping this great Apostle, who was so different in status and temperament from the humble fishermen of Jesus' initial band of disciples. His missionary journeys were to give him the flexibility and the deep sympathy that made him the ideal human instrument for preaching Christ's Gospel of world brotherhood.
In the year 35 Saul appears as a self-righteous young Pharisee, almost fanatically anti-Christian. He believed that the trouble-making new sect should be stamped out, its adherents punished. We are told in Acts vii that he was present, although not a participator in the stoning, when Stephen, the first martyr, met his death. It was very soon afterwards that Paul experienced the revelation which was to transform his life. On the road to the Syrian city of Damascus, where he was going to continue his persecutions against the Christians, he was struck blind. On arriving in Damascus, there followed in dramatic sequence his sudden conversion, the cure of his blindness by the disciple Ananias, and his baptism. Paul accepted eagerly the commission to preach the Gospel of Christ, but like many another called to a great task he felt his unworthiness and withdrew from the world to spend three years in "Arabia" in meditation and prayer before beginning his apostolate. From the moment of his return, Paul—for he had now assumed this Roman name—never paused in his labors. It proved to be the most extraordinary career of preaching, writing, and church-founding of which we have record. The extensive travels by land and sea, so replete with adventure, are to be traced by anyone who reads carefully the New Testament letters. We cannot be sure, however, that the letters and records now extant reveal the full and complete chronicle of Paul's activities. He himself tells us he was stoned, thrice scourged, thrice shipwrecked, endured hunger and thirst, sleepless nights, perils and hardships; besides these physical trials, he suffered many disappointments and almost constant anxieties over the weak and widely-scattered communities of Christians.
Paul began his preaching in Damascus. Here the anger of the orthodox Jews against this renegade was so great that he had to make his escape by having himself let down from the city wall in a basket. Going down to Jerusalem, he was there looked on with suspicion by the Jewish Christians, for they could not at first believe that he who had so lately been their persecutor had turned advocate. Back in his native city of Tarsus once more, he was joined by Barnabas, and together they journeyed to Syrian Antioch, where they were so successful in finding followers that a church, later to become famous in the annals of early Christianity, was founded. It was here that the disciples of Jesus were first given the name of Christians (from the Greek <christos>, anointed). After again returning to Jerusalem to bring aid to members of the sect who were suffering from famine, these two missionaries went back to Antioch, then sailed to the island of Cyprus; while there they converted the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus. Once more on the mainland of Asia Minor, they crossed the Taurus Mountains and visited many towns of the interior, particularly those having Jewish settlements. It was Paul's general practice in such places first to visit the synagogues and preach to the Jews; if rejected by them, he would then preach to the Gentiles. At Antioch in Pisidia Paul delivered a memorable discourse to the Jews, concluding with these words (Acts xiii, 46-47): "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord commanded us, I have set thee for a light to the Gentiles, to be a means of salvation to the very ends of the earth." After this, the Jews drove Paul and Barnabas out from their midst, and a little later the missionaries were back in Jerusalem, where the elders were debating the attitude of the Christian Church, still predominantly Jewish in membership, towards Gentile converts. The question of circumcision proved troublesome, for most Jews thought it important that Gentiles should submit to this requirement of Jewish law; Paul's side, the more liberal, standing against circumcision, won out eventually.
The second missionary journey, which lasted from 49 to 52, took Paul and Silas, his new assistant, to Phrygia and Galatia, to Troas, and across to the mainland of Europe, to Philippi in Macedonia. The physician Luke was now a member of the party, and in the book of Acts he gives us the record. They made their way to Thessalonica, then down to Athens and Corinth. At Athens Paul preached in the Areopagus, and we know that some of the Stoics and Epicureans heard him and debated with him informally, attracted by his vigorous intellect, his magnetic personality, and the ethical teachings which, in many respects, were not unlike their own. Passing over to Corinth, he found himself in the very heart of the Graeco-Roman world, and his letters of this period show that he is aware of the great odds against him, of the ceaseless struggle to be waged in overcoming pagan skepticism and indifference. He nevertheless stayed at Corinth for eighteen months, and met with considerable success. Two valuable workers there, Aquila and Priscilla, husband and wife, returned with him to Asia. It was during his first winter at Corinth that Paul wrote the earliest extant missionary letters. They show his supreme concern for conduct and his belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which gives men power for good.
The third missionary journey covered the period of 52 to 56. At Ephesus, an important city of Lydia, where the cult of the Greek-Ionic goddess Diana was very popular, Paul raised a disturbance against the cult and the trade in silver images of the goddess which flourished there. Later, in Jerusalem, he caused a commotion by visiting the temple; he was arrested, roughly handled, and bound with chains; but when he was brought before the tribune, he defended himself in a way that impressed his captors. He was taken to Caesarea, for it was rumored that some Jews at Jerusalem, who falsely accused him of having admitted Gentiles to the temple, were plotting to kill him. He was kept in prison at Caesarea awaiting trial for about two years, under the proconsuls Felix and Festus. The Roman governors apparently wished to avoid trouble with both Jews and Christians and so postponed judgment from month to month. Paul at last appealed to the Emperor, demanding the legal right of a Roman citizen to have his case heard by Nero himself. He was placed in the custody of a centurion, who took him to Rome. The Acts of the Apostles leave him in the imperial city, awaiting his hearing.
It would appear that Paul's appeal was successful, for there is some evidence of another missionary journey, probably to Macedonia. On this last visit to the various Christian communities, it is believed that he appointed Titus bishop in Crete and Timothy at Ephesus. Returning to Rome, he was once more arrested, and after two years in chains suffered martyrdom, presumably at about the same time as the Apostle Peter, bishop of the Roman Church. Inscriptions of the second and third century in the catacombs give evidence of a cult of SS. Peter and Paul. This devotion has never diminished in popularity. In Christian art St. Paul is usually depicted as a bald man with a black beard, rather stocky, but vigorous and intense. His relics are venerated in the basilica of St. Paul and in the Lateran Church at Rome.
Because of the pressure of his work, Paul usually dictated his letters, writing the salutation in his own hand. The most quoted of New Testament writers, Paul has given us a wealth of counsel, aphorisms, and ethical teachings; he had the power of expressing spiritual truths in the simplest of words, and this, rather than the building up of a systematic theology, was his contribution to the early Church. A man of action, Paul reveals the dynamic of his whole career when he writes, "I press on towards the goal, to the prize of God's heavenly calling in Christ Jesus." Although he himself was forever pressing onwards, his letters often invoked a spirit of quiet meditation, as when he ends his epistle to the Philippians with the beautiful lines: "Whatever things are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if there be any virtue, if anything worthy of praise, think upon these things."
According to Reports Meriam and her family are taking refuge at the US Embassy in Sudan while on bail. CSW RELEASE : Christian Solidarity Worldwide has been informed that Meriam Ibrahim and her family are to be released from police custody on bail today. Mrs Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani have been held together with their children, Martin and Maya, at a police station in Khartoum since 24 June.
Earlier today the prosecuting attorney extended the time of detention by 72 hours, after the initial 24-hour investigation window ended without the police concluding their investigation. Mrs Ibrahim’s lawyers successfully appealed the extension, as it violated Sudan’s criminal procedure rules, and the prosecutor accepted that grounds for bail had been established.
The police have charged Mrs Ibrahim with forgery and provision of false information under article 123 and 97 of the 1991 Criminal Code, due to alleged irregularities with her travel documents. Her husband, Daniel Wani, has been charged as an accessory to the alleged offences. The initial accusations were levelled by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), which prompted the police investigation.
The full bail conditions are not yet known, but it is anticipated that they will include the surrender of all travel documentation and will prohibit Mrs Ibrahim and her husband from leaving Sudan.
As part of their investigation, the police have spoken to and received written statements from representatives of the South Sudanese Embassy, who have verified that Mrs Ibrahim’s travel documents were issued by their embassy and that they are legitimate. Furthermore, the family’s lawyers have highlighted the fact that the Sudanese authorities cannot investigate a crime under article 97 which relates to providing false information to a Sudanese official, as opposed to a South Sudanese official.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “We welcome the decision to release Mrs Ibrahim and her family on bail but continue to be deeply concerned about their treatment. Mrs Ibrahim and Mr Wani’s extended detention, despite the provision of credible evidence by relevant officials from the South Sudanese embassy that negates every allegation levelled against them, violates Sudan’s criminal procedures as well as article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Sudan is a signatory. We call for the charges against Mrs Ibrahim and Mr Wani to be dropped and urge the Sudanese government to allow the family to leave the country unhindered.” SOURCE CSW