Saturday, January 11, 2014

SUNDAY MASS ONLINE : JAN. 12, 2014 - BAPTISM OF OUR LORD

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Lectionary: 21

Reading 1                 IS 42:1-4, 6-7

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm PS 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10

R/ (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R/ The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R/ The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R/ The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Reading 2               ACTS 10:34-38

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.”

Gospel                      MT 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 12 : ST. MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
FOUNDRESS, SISTERS OF THE CONGREGATION OF NOTRE-DAME
Feast: January 12 (Canada)


Information:
Feast Day:January 12
Born:17 April 1620, Troyes, France
Died:12 January 1700, Montreal,
Canada
Canonized:31 October 1982, by Pope
John Paul II
Major Shrine:Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours
Chapel, Montreal
Patron:Against poverty, loss of parents, people rejected by religious orders
MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS was born in Troyes, in the province of Champagne (France), on Good Friday, April 17, 1620. She was baptized on the same day in the church of Saint-Jean, a church that was located near her home. Marguerite was the sixth child in a family of twelve. Her parents were Abraham Bourgeoys and Guillemette Gamier, and she was privileged to grow up in a milieu that was middle class and thoroughly Christian.

Marguerite was nineteen years of age when she lost her mother. In the following year, 1640, in the course of a procession held on October 7 in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, she had an unforgettable experience. Her eyes rested on a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and at that moment she felt inspired to withdraw from the world and to consecrate herself to the service of God. She registered, at once, as a member of the extern Congregation of Troyes, an association of young girls devoted to the charitable work of teaching children in the poor districts of the town. While engaged in this apostolate she learned about the foundation of Ville Marie (Montreal) in Canada. The year was 1642, and at that time she sensed a first call to missionary life. This call was rendered concrete in 1652 when she met Monsieur de Maisonneuve, founder and governor of the settlement begun in New France, who was in search of someone who would volunteer her services for the gratuitous instruction of the French and Indian children. Our Lady confirmed the call addressed to her: "Go, I will not forsake you", she said. Thus assured, Marguerite left Troyes in February, 1653, in a spirit of complete detachment. She arrived in Montreal on the following 16th of November, and without delay she set to work to promote the best interests of the colony. She is rightly considered co-foundress of Montreal, with the nurse, Jeanne Mance, and the master designer, Monsieur de Maisonneuve.

In order to encourage the colonists in their faith, she arranged for the restoration of the Cross on Mount Royal after it has been destroyed by hostile Indians, and she undertook the construction of a chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame de Bon Secours. Convinced of the importance of the family in the building of this new country, and perceiving the significance of the role to be exercised by women, she devoted herself to the task of preparing those whose vocation it would be to preside in a home. In 1658, in a stable which had been given to her by the governor for her use, she opened the first school in Montreal. She also organized an extern Congregation, patterned after the one which she had known in Troyes but adapted to the actual needs. In this way, she could respond to the needs of the women and young girls on whom much depended as far as the instruction of children was concerned. In 1659, she began receiving girls who were recommended by "les cures" in France, or endowed by       the King, to come to establish homes in Montreal, and she became a real mother to them. Thus were initiated a school system and a network of social services which gradually extended through the whole country, and which led people to refer to Marguerite as "Mother of the Colony".

On three occasions, Marguerite Bourgeoys made a trip to France to obtain help. As of
1658, the group of teachers who associated themselves       with her in her life of prayer, of heroic poverty, and of untiring devotedness to the service of others, presented the image of a religious institute. The Congregation de Notre-Dame received its civil charter from Louis XIV in 1671, and canonical approbation by decree of the Bishop of Quebec in 1676. The Constitutions of the Community were approved in 1698. The foundation having been assured, Sister Bourgeoys could leave the work to others. She died in Montreal on January 12, 1700, acknowledged for her holiness of life. Her last generous act was to offer herself as a sacrifice of prayer for the return to health of a young Sister. Forty members of the Congregation de Notre-Dame were there to continue her work.

On November 12, 1950 Pope Pius XII beatified Marguerite Bourgeoys. Canonizing her on October 31, 1982, Pope John Paul II gave the Canadian Church its first woman saint.


(Abridged from Vatican News Services)



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmarguerbourg.asp#ixzz1jFxdl3cW

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 12 : ST. BERNARD OF CORLEONE

St. Bernard of Corleone
RELIGIOUS
Feast: January 12


Information:
Feast Day:January 12
Born:
1605, Sicily
Died:12 January 1667, Palermo
Canonized:10 June 2001, by Pope John Paul II
Saint Bernard was born on the island of Sicily in the year 1605. His father was a shoemaker and taught his son the ways of the trade. But it was difficult for the lively youth to interest himself in this work. Upon the death of his father, he immediately left the shop and, led by the love of adventure, he took up fencing. It was not long before he became quite adept at wielding the sword. His unusual vigor qualified him to challenge any comer to a contest.
As a youth and young adult he spent the greater part of his time in training and eagerly seized every opportunity to match swords with his countrymen.
Although this manner of life led him far away from God, nevertheless many noble characteristics were perceptible in St. Bernard. In taking up any quarrel he liked to defend old people and other helpless and defenseless persons against violence. He frequently made devout visits to a crucifix that was highly honored by the people, and provided that a lamp be kept burning before it. Moreover, he cherished great devotion towards Saint Francis of Assisi.
At one point, St. Bernard had been challenged to a duel, in the course of which he wounded his opponent mortally. In order to escape from his avengers, he sought refuge amongst the Capuchin Franciscans.
In order to atone for his sins, he begged for admission among the Capuchins as a lay brother, and on December 13, 1632 he entered the Franciscan novitiate. If in the past St. Bernard had yielded his bodily members to wayward purposes, he now used them as an atoning sacrifice unto salvation. It is reported that seven times a day he scourged himself to the blood. His sleep was limited to three hours on a narrow board, with a block of wood under his head. He fasted for the most part on bread and water. If anything delicious was placed before him, he would carry the food to his mouth so as to whet his appetite, and then lay it down without having tasted it. In spite of his austere life, he still undertook the most unpleasant and annoying tasks as being his due.
St. Bernard had an especially ardent devotion at prayer. St. Bernard cherished a special love for the Blessed Mary, and encouraged others to do the same. The Blessed Mother appeared to him and placed the Divine Child in his arms. Moreover, she gave him knowledge of the day of his death four months in advance. He died at Palermo on January 12, 1667.
His biographers stated that, attracted by the fame of his sanctity, there gathered for his burial so many people who raised their voices in praise of the deceased, that it was less a funeral cortège than a triumphal procession. Numerous miracles occurring at his grave promoted the cause of his beatification by pope Clement XIII in 1767 and subsequent canonization by pope John Paul II in 2001.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbernardofcorleone.asp#ixzz1jFxPXNfE

POPE FRANCIS "WE ARE SINNERS, ALL. BUT IF WE GO TO JESUS CHRIST, IF WE SEEK THE LORD IN PRAYER..."

(Vatican Radio) At his daily Mass on Saturday morning at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke about the priesthood. A true priest, he said, anointed by God for His people, has a close relationship with Jesus. When that relationship is missing, the priest becomes “smarmy,” [unctuous, It: unctuoso] an idolater, a worshiper of the “god Narcissus.”

Pope Francis’ homily was entirely dedicated to the priesthood. Commenting on the passage from first letter of St. John, where the Apostle says that we have eternal life because we believe in the name of Jesus, the Pope asks about the relationship of priests with Jesus, because “the strength of a priest is in this relationship.” When Jesus was growing in popularity, the Pope said, “He went to the Father,” He retreated “to a deserted place to pray.” This is a kind of “touchstone for priests” he said: whether or not we seek to find Jesus. “What is the place of Jesus Christ in my priestly life? Is it a living relationship, from the disciple to the Master, from brother to brother, from the poor man to God, or is it a somewhat artificial relationship... that does not come from the heart?”

“We are anointed by the Spirit, and when a priest is far from Jesus Christ he can lose this unction. In his life, no: essentially he has it... but he loses it. And instead of being anointed he ends up being smarmy. And how damaging to the Church are smarmy priests! Those who put their strength in artificial things, in vanity, in an attitude... in a cutesy language... But how often do we hear it said with sorrow: ‘This is a butterfly-priest,’ because they are always vain... [This kind of priest] does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ! He has lost the unction: he is smarmy.”

Pope Francis continued: 

“We priests have so many limits. We are sinners, all. But if we go to Jesus Christ, if we seek the Lord in prayer – prayer of intercession, prayer of adoration – we are good priests, even though we are sinners. But if we are far from Jesus Christ, we necessarily compensate for this with other, worldly attitudes. And so [we see] all these figures... priest-wheeler dealers, priest-tycoons... But the priest who adores Jesus Christ, the priest who talks with Jesus Christ, the priest who seeks Jesus Christ and who is allowed to seek Jesus Christ: this is the centre of our life. If that is not there, we lose everything. And what will we give to the people?”
“Our relationship with Jesus Christ, a relationship of anointing for the people,” Pope Francis said, “grows in us priests” more and more each day: 

“But it is good to find priests who have given their lives as priests, truly, of whom the people say: “Yes, he’s difficult, he’s this or that... But he is a priest! And people know! On the other hand, when people see priest idolaters, so to speak, priests who instead of having Jesus have little idols... worshippers of the god Narcissus... When people see [priests like this] they say ‘poor guy!’ The relationship with Jesus Christ saves us from worldliness and idolatry that makes us smarmy, preserves us in the anointing [we have received]. And today, this is my hope for you who have been kind enough to come here to concelebrate with me: Even if you lose everything in life, don’t lose this relationship with Jesus Christ! This is your victory. Go forward with this!”

Text from Vatican Radio website 

ECUMENICAL CULTURAL COLLABORATION CELEBRATES 50 YEARS - POPE GREETINGS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday received in audience members of the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The audience was attended by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, who provided the opening remarks. Also present were members of the management committee of the board which comprises the principle benefactors, and scholarship students who are studying in Rome.

“The path of reconciliation and renewed fraternity between the Churches,” said the Pope in his address, “required the experience of friendship and sharing that arises from the mutual understanding between members of different Churches, and in particular the young people initiated into sacred ministry.”

He went on to praise the work of the committee, and thanked the many benefactors who have supported its work. He assured those present that he would remember them in prayer, and asked for their prayers in exchange.

The Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration was established on 27 July 1964 by Pope Paul VI as one of the initiatives aimed at “reestablishing fraternal ties between the Catholic Church and the venerable Eastern Churches”.

The committee promotes the exchange of students between the Catholic Church, Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine tradition and Eastern Orthodox Churches, who wish to study theology or other ecclesiastical disciplines at Catholic or Orthodox institutions.

Please find below a full translation of the Pope’s remarks:
Dear Cardinal,
dear brothersbishops,
dear brothers and sisters,

I meet with you at the beginning of this year which marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Committee for the Cultural Collaboration with the Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. In particular, I greet Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, under whose direct responsibility the Committee acts – and I also thank you for your words – as well as Monsignor Johan Bonny, Bishop of Anversa, president of the Committee.

The Second Vatican Council had not yet concluded when Paul VI instituted the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration. The path of reconciliation and renewed fraternity between the Churches, wonderfully marked by the first historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, required the experience of friendship and sharing that arises from the mutual understanding between members of different Churches, and in particular the young people initiated into sacred ministry.

Thus, on the initiative of the Eastern Section of the then Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity, this Committee was born. This [Committee], then as now, with the help of generous benefactors, distributes academic scholarships to clerics and laity from the Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches who desire to complete their theological studies at academic institutions of the Catholic Church, and supports other projects of ecumenical collaboration.

I express my deep gratitude to all the benefactors who have supported and [continue to] support the Committee. With gratitude, I greet the members of the Management Committee, convened in Rome for their annual meeting. Without your valued contribution this work would not be possible. Therefore, I encourage you to continue in the action that you perform. May God bless you, and may He make fruitful your appreciated collaboration.

A special greeting to you, dear students, who are completing your theological studies in Rome. Your stay in our midst is important for the dialogue between the Churches of today and, above all, tomorrow. I thank God because he has granted me this beautiful opportunity to meet you and tell you that the Bishop of Rome loves you. I hope that each of you can have a joyful experience of the Church and the city of Rome, enriched [spiritually and culturally], and that you do not see yourselves as guests, but as brothers among brothers. I am certain, that for your part, you by your presence you enrich the academic communities in which you study.

Dear brothers and sisters, [be assured that you will be remembered in my prayer, and I ask you to pray for me and my ministry.] May the Lord bless you and the Madonna protect you.

Text from Vatican Radio website 

STATISTICS SHOW MORE CHRISTIANS ARE BEING KILLED FOR THEIR FAITH

OPENDOORS  RELEASE: Nearly twice as many Christians died for their faith in the past year than in 2012, according to Open Doors International's 2014 World Watch List. Open Doors International, a charity that supports Christians under pressure for their faith, said 2,123 Christians were reported to have been killed during the 12 months ending Oct. 31, 2012. That compares to 1,201 during the previous 12 months. During the most recent period, more Christians were killed in Syria alone than were killed globally in the previous year. (Image source http://christianheritagefellowship.com/)
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The World Watch List, which annually monitors the media worldwide for all reported incidents, emphasises that this is the "very, very minimum" count - only those who have been documented as killed.
Estimates of the total number killed range from around 7,000 or 8,000, according to the International Institute for Religious Freedom's Thomas Schirrmacher, to the lofty 100,000 estimate of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.
Beyond those killed, the World Watch List recommends that three more categories of Christians should be considered: Christians whose death is never reported; Christians killed due to increased vulnerability, such as those in conflict areas; and Christians who die due to long-term discrimination.
Taking these into account, as well as those whose deaths are reported by the media, the World Watch List suggests Schirrmacher's estimation is roughly accurate, although the figure may be higher still.
"Christians aren't always directly killed, but are so much squeezed with regulations and vulnerabilities that they just perish - not at once, but in the course of years. If we would include them in the counting, it would be an enormous number of people. However, the precise number of Christians who die due to these factors is very difficult to quantify," according to the World Watch List.
Not surprisingly, Syria heads the list of the countries in which the most Christians were killed for their faith (1,213), followed by Nigeria (612), Pakistan (88) and Egypt (83).
Of the top 10, six are in Africa - with Kenya (20), Angola (16), Niger (15) and the Central African Republic (9) joining Nigeria and Egypt on the list.
The World Watch List states that the number of Christians killed in the Central African Republic is especially likely to have been under-reported because "most analysts still failed to recognise the religious dimension of the conflict". The list says the same is true of North Korea, where "it is extremely difficult to get public information".
 SHARED FROM http://www.opendoorsuk.org/ 

POPE FRANCIS MEETS WITH DISABLED ACTIVIST ILEANA ARGENTIN

(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, has released a statement about the Pope’s audience with Italian disability campaigner Ileana Argentin. Please find the full statement below, in translation from the original Italian.
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“On Saturday morning the Holy Father received in audience Ileana Argentin, who is well-known for her efforts, achievements and expertise as a disability campaigner first with the Rome City Council and now with the Italian Parliament.

The MP had sent Pope Francis a personal letter, asking to speak to him about various disability issues. The Pope promptly replied inviting her to a meeting, which took place this morning in the Apostolic Palace and lasted about half an hour.

Ms. Argentin focused principally on the importance of supporting the parents of seriously disabled people, who live with great anxiety over what may happen to their children after their own deaths, and over the difficulties which their siblings may encounter in taking up the responsibility of care. The meeting also touched on other issues, such as the need to overcome barriers of accessibility to disabled people in public and Church buildings. 

Pope Francis showed great interest in all these issues, and assured his participation and encouragement for all people and campaigns working with increasing dedication to challenge problems relating to disability.”
Shared Text from Vatican Radio website 

JESUITS CELEBRATE 400 YEARS IN VIETNAM - MISSIONARY EVANGELIZATION

ASIA NEWS REPORT: 
The Holy Year ends on 18 January 2015, exactly four centuries after the Jesuits set foot in the country for the first time. In order to mark the occasion, they set up a website listing all major events associated with the anniversary. One of the aims of the commemoration is the spiritual renewal of the members of the Society of Jesus and those who have adopted its charism. 


Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews/EDA) - Vietnamese Jesuits are planning to start the Holy Year, on 18 January, to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Jesuit missionaries in the Asian country. On 18 January 1615, the first members of the Society of Jesus reached Vietnam on ships that docked in the port of Hoi An as part of a delegation of Japanese Christians who had fled their homeland because of an ongoing campaign of persecution against them.
Although not the first missionaries in the country - others had already brought the message of the Gospel to the country - the Jesuits' arrival was a milestone in the history of Vietnam's evangelisation. In order to honour the event, the local chapter of the Society of Jesus is sponsoring a number of activities, including a webpagelisting all the events that will take place during the yearlong celebration. The first will be a solemn Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Saigon by Mgr Paul Bui Von Doc.
One of the first aims of the Holy Year will be to foster spiritual renewal of the members of the Society, and all those who have adopted the charism of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The goal will be to strengthen the missionary spirit in the country and help Christians know (and teach) the history of evangelisation in Vietnam and the contribution of Christianity to its development. Jesuit missionaries settled in the country gradually, starting in January 1615. The first two members of the Society to set foot in Vietnam were Fr François Busomi and Fr Diego Carvalho, accompanied by three Japanese Christians. Other Jesuits followed, making a great contribution in the fields of religion and culture.

One of them, Alexandre de Rhodes, developed the existing writing system of the Vietnamese language (Quoc Ngu) and drafted a version of the catechism for Vietnamese Catholics. Vietnam has a population of 87 million, 48 per cent Buddhists, more than 7 per cent Catholics, 5.6 per cent syncretistic in their religious practice and 20 per cent atheist. As a small, albeit significant minority, the Christian community is particularly active in education, health and social affairs. Conversely, religious freedom has been steadily eroded. Under Decree 92, more controls and restrictions have been imposed on religious practice, increasingly subordinated to the Communist Party and the one-party state.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS