Monday, January 6, 2014

FREE CATHOLIC MOVIES : THE WOODCARVER WWJD II


The Woodcarver (2012)
  -  Drama  -  5 March 2012 (Canada)

Director:

 Terry Ingram

Writers:

 Thomas MakowskiJack Nasser

Stars:

 John RatzenbergerDakota DaulbyWoody Jeffreys |

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A troubled youth vandalizes a church and winds up in a close association with the woodcarver whose work he destroyed.



TODAY IS ST. JOAN OF ARC'S BIRTHDAY - MAID OF HEAVEN


Portrait of Saint Joan of Arc by Frank Dicksee602 YEARS 1412 - 2014
Maid of Heaven release:

Joan of Arc's birth was not officially recorded in the small town where she was born however the people of her town remembered that she was born on Epiphany, or Twelfth-night, which is January 6. The Epiphany celebrates the revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ and part of the celebration commemorates the arrival of the three "Wise Men" who were led to the baby Jesus by a star in the sky above Bethlehem. It is very significant that Saint Joan was born on Epiphany because she not only led her people to freedom in this world but she ultimately led them, and generations since, to the true freedom that is only found through Jesus Christ.
Saint Joan of Arc is truly a "brilliantly shining light" of the Kingdom of Heaven and will forever point the way to God. (Read Ben D. Kennedy's paper "Saint Joan of Arc: A Brilliantly Shining Light of God" written to celebrate Joan's 600th birthday)
Jehanne d'Arc
Born January 6, 1412
Died May 30, 1431

"It was during the night of the Epiphany of Our Lord (January 6, Twelfth Night), when men are wont most joyfully to recall the acts of Christ that she first saw the light in this mortal life. And, wonderful to relate, the poor inhabitants of the place were seized with an inconceivable joy. And though ignorant of the birth of the Maid, they rushed hither and thither in search of what might be the new event. Their hearts as one were conscious of a new gladness." --Lord Perceval de Boulainvilliers, writing to the Duke of Milan in 1429 about Joan's birth.

Saint Joan was born in Domremy, a little village in a part of Eastern France known as Lorraine. At her trial of rehabilitation several of the people from Domremy remembered her birth and childhood in the following ways:

"From my childhood I knew Joan the Maid who was born at Domremy to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle, husband and wife, honest and decent farmers and true Catholics of good repute. I know this because I was often in company with Joan, and being her friend I went to her father's house.  .  .  .Joan was a good, simple and sweet-natured girl, she went often and of her own will to church and the sacred places and often she was ashamed because of people remarking how she went so devoutly to church. I have heard the priest who was there in her time say that she often came to confession. Joan busied herself like any other girl; she did the housework and spun and sometimes, I have seen her, she kept her father's flocks."     Hauviette - childhood friend of Joan

Joan of Arc as a child painting by Virginie Demont-Breton

"Jeannette, whom this concerns, was born at Domremy and baptized at the Church of St. Remy, a parish of that place. Her father was called Jacques d'Arc and her mother Isabelle, farmers, during their lifetime, at Domremy. From what I saw and knew they were faithful Catholics and hard workers, of good repute and decent conversation, according to their condition; for several times I spoke with them. I was myself one of Jeanne's godfathers.  .  .  .Jeannette in earliest youth, was well and properly brought up in the faith and good conduct and so much so that nearly all the inhabitants of Domremy loved her.  .  .  ."     Jean Morea - farmer who knew Joan as a child

"Joan was of my wife Jeanne's kinsfolk. I knew Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle well, the parents of Joan the Maid, good and true Catholics, and of good repute, and I believe that Joan was born in the town of Domremy and that she was baptized at the font of St. Remy in that town. Joan was of good behavior, devout, patient, going readily to church, willingly to confession, and gave alms to the poor when she could, as I witnessed, both in the town of Domremy and at Burey, at my house, where Joan resided during a period of six weeks. Willingly did she work, spinning, ploughing, keeping the cattle, and did other work suitable for women."     Durand Laxart - Joan's uncle

Holy Card showing Joan of Arc as a young women in prayer

"Joan the Maid, in the time of her youth until she left her father's house, was a good, chaste and simple girl, modest in manner, taking not the name of God nor of His saints in vain, fearing God. She went frequently to church and frequently confessed. The cause of my knowing this is that I was, in those days, churchwarden at the church of Domremy and often did I see Joan come to church, to Mass and to Compline. And when I did not ring the bells for Compline, Joan would catch me and scold me, saying that I had not done well; and she even promised to give me some wool if I would be punctual in ringing for Compline.  .  .  ."     Perrin Drappier - churchwarden of Domremy in Joan's childhood

"I was brought up with Joan the Maid next door to her father's house. I know that she was good, simple, pious, fearing God and his saints; she went often and of her own will to church and to sacred places, caring for the sick and giving alms to the poor; this I saw myself, for when I was a child I myself was sick and Joan came to comfort me.  .  .  ."     Simonin Musnier - farmer and childhood friend of Joan

"My father's house joined the house of Jacques d'Arc: so I knew her well. We often spun together, and together worked at the ordinary house-duties, whether by day or night. She was a good Christian, of good manners and well brought up. She loved the Church, and went there often, and gave alms from the goods of her father. She was a good girl, simple and pious so much so that I and her companions told her she was too pious."     Mengette - childhood friend of Joan. 

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POPE FRANCIS EPIPHANY MASS "...MAY WE SEEK THE LIGHT AND KEEP THE FAITH" VIDEO/TEXT

(Vatican Radio) Against the majestic surroundings of St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the feast of the Epiphany. On this the day when the Church remembers the revelation of Jesus to humanity in the face of a child, the Pope began the celebration by kissing a statue of the Baby Jesus which was put pride of place in front of the alter.
At the heart of the Holy Father’s Homily, was the message that we must never be blinded by the forces of darkness but instead be transformed by the light of Christ.

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The Pope was referring to the journey the Magi made, whose path was illuminated by a star which brings them in search of the great light of the Lord Jesus.
These three wise men, continued Pope Francis were able to overcome the darkness of King Herod, and his fear of a fragile child’s birth because they believed in the scriptures.
The Holy Father also noted that we as Christians need to be spiritually astute just like the Magi were. They, he said were able to use a light of awareness to avoid the danger of Herod’s dark palace on their way back from visiting the Christ child. 
The Pope then went on to underline the importance of what we can learn from these three Kings saying, “ they teach us how to defend ourselves against the darkness that seeks to envelope our lives”, they also teach us not to settle for “a mediocre life”, but aim for a life that is fascinated by good, truth, and beauty. 
Concluding his Homily, Pope Francis urged Christians to follow the example of the Magi and search for the great light of Christ with our little lights.
Below is the English language translation of the Pope's Homily during Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany.
Lumen requirunt lumine”. These evocative words from a liturgical hymn for the Epiphany speak of the experience of the Magi: following a light, they were searching for the Light. The star appearing in the sky kindled in their minds and in their hearts a light that moved them to seek the great Light of Christ. The Magi followed faithfully that light which filled their hearts, and they encountered the Lord.

The destiny of every person is symbolized in this journey of the Magi of the East: our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognize in Jesus, the Light of the World. Like the Magi, every person has two great “books” which provide the signs to guide this pilgrimage: the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture. What is important is that we be attentive, alert, and listen to God who speaks to us, who always speaks to us. As the Psalm says in referring to the Law of the Lord: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). Listening to the Gospel, reading it, meditating on it and making it our spiritual nourishment especially allows us to encounter the living Jesus, to experience him and his love.

The first reading echoes, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, the call of God to Jerusalem: “Arise, shine!” (Is 60:1). Jerusalem is called to be the city of light which reflects God’s light to the world and helps humanity to walk in his ways. This is the vocation and the mission of the People of God in the world. But Jerusalem can fail to respond to this call of the Lord. The Gospel tells us that the Magi, when they arrived in Jerusalem, lost sight of the star for a time. They no longer saw it. Its light was particularly absent from the palace of King Herod: his dwelling was gloomy, filled with darkness, suspicion, fear, envy. Herod, in fact, proved himself distrustful and preoccupied with the birth of a frail Child whom he thought of as a rival. In realty Jesus came not to overthrow him, a wretched puppet, but to overthrow the Prince of this world! Nonetheless, the king and his counsellors sensed that the foundations of their power were crumbling. They feared that the rules of the game were being turned upside down, that appearances were being unmasked. A whole world built on power, on success, possessions and corruption was being thrown into crisis by a child! Herod went so far as to kill the children. As Saint Quodvultdeus writes, “You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart” (Sermo 2 de Symbolo: PL 40, 655). This was in fact the case: Herod was fearful and on account of this fear, he became insane.

The Magi were able to overcome that dangerous moment of darkness before Herod, because they believed the Scriptures, the words of the prophets which indicated that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. And so they fled the darkness and dreariness of the night of the world. They resumed their journey towards Bethlehem and there they once more saw the star, and the gospel tells us that they experienced “a great joy” (Mt 2:10). The very star which could not be seen in that dark, worldly palace. 

One aspect of the light which guides us on the journey of faith is holy “cunning”. This holy “cunning” is also a virtue. It consists of a spiritual shrewdness which enables us to recognize danger and avoid it. The Magi used this light of “cunning” when, on the way back, they decided not to pass by the gloomy palace of Herod, but to take another route. These wise men from the East teach us how not to fall into the snares of darkness and how to defend ourselves from the shadows which seek to envelop our life. By this holy “cunning”, the Magi guarded the faith. We too need to guard the faith, guard it from darkness. Many times, however, it is a darkness under the guise of light. This is because the devil, as saint Paul, says, disguises himself at times as an angel of light. And this is where a holy “cunning” is necessary in order to protect the faith, guarding it from those alarmist voices that exclaim: “Listen, today we must do this, or that...”. Faith though, is a grace, it is a gift. We are entrusted with the task of guarding it, by means of this holy “cunning” and by prayer, love, charity. We need to welcome the light of God into our hearts and, at the same time, to cultivate that spiritual cunning which is able to combine simplicity with astuteness, as Jesus told his disciples: “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Mt 10:16). 

On the feast of the Epiphany, as we recall Jesus’ manifestation to humanity in the face of a Child, may we sense the Magi at our side, as wise companions on the way. Their example helps us to lift our gaze towards the star and to follow the great desires of our heart. They teach us not to be content with a life of mediocrity, of “playing it safe”, but to let ourselves be attracted always by what is good, true and beautiful… by God, who is all of this, and so much more! And they teach us not to be deceived by appearances, by what the world considers great, wise and powerful. We must not stop at that. It is necessary to guard the faith. Today this is of vital importance: to keep the faith. We must press on further, beyond the darkness, beyond the voices that raise alarm, beyond worldliness, beyond so many forms of modernity that exist today. We must press on towards Bethlehem, where, in the simplicity of a dwelling on the outskirts, beside a mother and father full of love and of faith, there shines forth the Sun from on high, the King of the universe. By the example of the Magi, with our little lights, may we seek the Light and keep the faith. May it be so. 


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CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE HEAD WRITES TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR RELIEF FROM HHS

USCCB Logo

USCCB RELEASE:
Archbishop Kurtz Asks President Obama For Temporary Relief From Burdensome Fines Against Ministries Of Service To The Poor, Sick And Vulnerable
December 31, 2013
Urges temporary relief from HHS mandate while courts decide
Highlights other exemptions, extensions granted for economic, administrative reasons
Mandate’s penalties to hurt, rather than help, shared goal of expanding coverage


WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has asked President Obama to temporarily exempt religious institutions from crippling fines if their insurance plans exclude sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives.

Archbishop Kurtz also asked the President to consider that the U.S. Supreme Court already has agreed to hear two cases related to the mandate created by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At least 90 cases have been brought to federal courts by individuals and institutions objecting to the imposition of the HHS mandate. Most of the decisions to date have favored those bringing suit.

Archbishop Kurtz’s request comes as the Administration has offered exemptions to numerous people and organizations having difficulty in implementing the ACA. Individuals who faced penalties for not meeting deadlines for enrollment have had deadlines extended. Businesses with 50 or more employees will not be fined if they drop or otherwise do not offer health insurance at all for 2014. After 2014, if these businesses do not offer a health insurance plan, they face a fine of $2,000 a year per employee.

Meanwhile, beginning as early as January 1, 2014, organizations such as church-sponsored universities, hospitals and social services, face a fine of $100 per day ($36,500 per year) per employee if they provide health coverage that does not include contraceptives, including abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization.

“The result is a regulation that harshly and disproportionately penalizes those seeking to offer life-affirming health coverage in accord with the teachings of their faith,” Archbishop Kurtz said. “The Administration’s flexibility in implementing the ACA has not yet reached those who want only to exercise what has rightly been called our ‘First Freedom’ under the Constitution.”

“I understand that legal issues in these cases will ultimately be settled by the Supreme Court,” he added. “In the meantime, however, many religious employers have not obtained the temporary relief they need in time to avoid being subjected to the HHS mandate beginning January 1. I urge you, therefore, to consider offering temporary relief from this mandate, as you have for so many other individuals and groups facing other requirements under the ACA.”


The entire letter follows.

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the Catholic bishops of the United States, I wish you and your family every blessing in this New Year. The bishops pray regularly that you and our other public officials will have renewed strength to fulfill the duties of your office with integrity, justice and compassion.

In this regard, your Administration recently relaxed the rules governing individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act, so Americans whose current plans have been canceled may claim a “hardship exemption” from some requirements. This is the latest in a series of actions to advance the ACA’s goal of maximizing health coverage, while minimizing hardships to Americans as the Act is implemented. For example, the ACA exempts small employers from the mandate to offer health coverage, and you have suspended this mandate for all employers through 2014.

One category of Americans, however, has been left out in the cold: Those who, due to moral and religious conviction, cannot in good conscience comply with the HHS regulation requiring coverage of sterilization and contraceptives. This mandate includes drugs and devices that can interfere with the survival of a human being in the earliest stage of development, burdening religious convictions on abortion as well as contraception. To date, at least 90 lawsuits representing almost 300 plaintiffs have been filed to challenge this mandate, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear two of these cases in its current Term. Most lower courts addressing the issue have found merit in the plaintiffs’ claims and granted at least temporary relief, while some courts have denied relief or have yet to act.

Many Catholic and other nonprofit institutions caring for those in need through education, health care and other services are not exempt from the contraceptive mandate. For reasons articulated by the courts, the Administration’s final rule of July 2013 does not alleviate the burden on their religious freedom.

Please consider, then, the result of your Administration’s current policies. In the coming year, no employer, large or small, will be required to offer a health plan at all. Employers face no penalty in the coming year (and only $2000 per employee afterwards) for canceling coverage against their employees’ wishes, compelling them to seek individual coverage on the open market. But an employer who chooses, out of charity and good will, to provide and fully subsidize an excellent health plan for employees – but excludes sterilization or any contraceptive drug or device – faces crippling fines of up to $100 a day or $36,500 a year per employee. In effect, the government seems to be telling employees that they are better off with no employer health plan at all than with a plan that does not cover contraceptives. This is hard to reconcile with an Act whose purpose is to bring us closer to universal coverage.

The result is a regulation that harshly and disproportionately penalizes those seeking to offer life-affirming health coverage in accord with the teachings of their faith. The Administration’s flexibility in implementing the ACA has not yet reached those who want only to exercise what has rightly been called our “First Freedom” under the Constitution.

I understand that legal issues in these cases will ultimately be settled by the Supreme Court. In the meantime, however, many religious employers have not obtained the temporary relief they need in time to avoid being subjected to the HHS mandate beginning January 1. I urge you, therefore, to consider offering temporary relief from this mandate, as you have for so many other individuals and groups facing other requirements under the ACA.

Thank you for considering this urgent plea. Again, be assured of my continued prayers in the coming year as you seek to serve the American people.   

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
Archbishop of Louisville
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

ANGELUS WITH POPE FRANCIS "JESUS IS THE EPIPHANY"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis greeted tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered on a bright crisp day in St. Peter’s Square Monday for the recitation of the Angelus Prayer and to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany with the Holy Father. In his address, the Pope referred to Pope Benedict Emeritus’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives” which he said “magnificently” recounts the biblical coming of the Maji from the East to Bethlehem to pay homage to the Christ Child. The Epiphany, Pope Francis said, marks the first “manifestation” of Christ to the people and as a consequence, points to the universal salvation brought by Jesus.

In today’s feast, we see a “dual movement,” the Pope noted: of God who comes “towards the world, towards humanity” and of men who seek closeness to God: “the religions, the search for truth, the way of people towards peace, justice, liberty.”

For his part, God loves us: “we are His children; He loves us and He wants to liberate us from evil, from sickness, from death, and take us to His home in His Kingdom.” We too, the Pope said, are attracted by “goodness, truth, life and happiness and beauty.” 

And as the two sides attract, Jesus, the Pope stressed, is our point of encounter with the Lord as His love incarnate.

Had the Maji not seen the Star pointing them to Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem, they would never have left, the Pope mused. “Light precedes us, the truth precedes us, beauty precedes us. God precedes us: it is grace; and this grace appears in Jesus. He is the Epiphany, the manifestation of God’s love.”

Departing from his prepared remarks, the Pope appealed “sincerely” and “respectfully” to those who “feel far from God and from the Church” and to “those who are fearful and indifferent: the Lord is calling you too.” The Lord is calling you to be a part of His people and He does it with great respect and love.”

“The Lord does not proselytize; He gives love,” reaffirmed the Pope. “And this love seeks you and waits for you, you who at this moment do not believe or are far away. And this is the love of God.” 

Pope Francis prayed that “all the Church” may be steeped in “the joy of evangelizing” invoking the aid of the Virgin Mary so that “we can all be disciple-missionaries, small stars that reflect His light.”

Following the recital of the Angelus, Pope Francis gave greetings to the Churches of the East who tomorrow will celebrate Christmas. He prayed that all will be “reinforced in faith, hope and charity” and the Lord will “give comfort” to Christian communities and to the Churches undergoing “trial.” 

The Pope recalled that the Epiphany is the missionary Day for children organized by the Pontifical office for Holy Childhood and thanked young people and children whose “gestures of solidarity” towards other children “widen the horizons of their fraternity.”


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TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 6 : ST. ANDRE BESSETTE


St. André Bessette
RELIGIOUS
Feast: January 6


Information:
Feast Day:January 6
Born:
9 August 1845 near Montreal, Canada
Died:6 January 1937
Beatified:23 May 1982 by Pope John Paul II
Historico-Liturgical Note

This Holy Cross Brother, known as "Frere Andre," has been credited with thousands of cures. He was the founder of St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Canada, perhaps the world's principal shrine in honor of St. Joseph. When he died at the age of 91, it was estimated that close to a million people came to the Oratory to pay their last respects. He was beatified in 1982.
Andre was the eighth child in a family of 12 and at baptism he was given the name Alfred. Orphaned at the age of 12, he tried his hand at various trades but was not successful in any of them. He could barely read and write and was sickly most of his life. At the age of 15 he became a Brother of Holy Cross but was rejected at the end of the novitiate. At the insistence of the bishop of Montreal, however, Brother Andre was allowed to make religious profession. For forty years he worked as porter at the College of Notre Dame, until he was needed full time at the shrine of St. Joseph. People from all over Canada came to him for cures or for spiritual direction. The Oratory that he built in honor of St. Joseph was solemnly dedicated in 1955 and raised to the rank of a minor basilica.

Message And Relevance

The Opening Prayer of the Mass describes two characteristics of the spirituality of Brother Andre: his deep devotion to St. Joseph and his "commitment to the poor and afflicted. " For many years he gathered funds to replace the primitive chapel with a suitable church, even cutting the hair of the students at five cents each. His concern for those who needed spiritual healing and support led him to spend 8 to 10 hours a day receiving clients. He became so well known that secretaries had to be assigned to answer the 80,000 letters he received annually.
If one were to seek the outstanding virtue of Brother Andre one would have to say that it was his humility. He once said: "I am ignorant. If there were anyone more ignorant, the good God would choose him in my place. " And when the power of healing was attributed to him, he responded: "It is St. Joseph who cures. I am only his little dog."
The significance of the life and works of Brother Andre for today's Christian is the fact that this humble Brother, who could scarcely read or write, was chosen by God as an instrument for good. As we read in the Preface for Martyrs, God reveals his power shining through our human weakness.
Opening Prayer Lord our God, friend of the lowly, you gave your servant, Brother Andre, a great devotion to St. Joseph and a special commitment to the poor and afflicted. Through his intercession help us to follow his example of prayer and love and so come to share with him in your glory.




SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/blandrebessette.asp#ixzz1ifzT6vP0