Friday, January 31, 2014

TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 1 : ST. BRIDGID OF IRELAND

St. Bridgid of Ireland
VIRGIN, PATRONESS OF IRELAND
Feast: February 1


Information:
Feast Day:February 1
Born:
451 or 452 at Faughart, County Louth, Ireland
Died:1 February 525 at Kildare, Ireland
Patron of:babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; mariners; midwives; milk maids; newborn babies; nuns; poets; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen
Born in 451 or 452 of princely ancestors at Faughart, near Dundalk, County Louth; d. 1 February, 525, at Kildare. Refusing many good offers of marriage, she became a nun and received the veil from St. Macaille. With seven other virgins she settled for a time at the foot of Croghan Hill, but removed thence to Druin Criadh, in the plains of Magh Life, where under a large oak tree she erected her subsequently famous Convent of Cill-Dara, that is, "the church of the oak" (now Kildare), in the present county of that name. It is exceedingly difficult to reconcile the statements of St. Brigid's biographers, but the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Lives of the saint are at one in assigning her a slave mother in the court of her father Dubhthach, and Irish chieftain of Leinster. Probably the most ancient life of St. Brigid is that by St. Broccan Cloen, who is said to have died 17 September, 650. It is metrical, as may be seen from the following specimen:

Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
Ni bu huarach im sheire Dé,
Sech ni chiuir ni cossens
Ind nóeb dibad bethath che.

(Saint Brigid was not given to sleep,
Nor was she intermittent about God's love;
Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for
The wealth of this world below, the holy one.)

Cogitosus, a monk of Kildare in the eighth century, expounded the metrical life of St. Brigid, and versified it in good Latin. This is what is known as the "Second Life", and is an excellent example of Irish scholarship in the mid-eighth century. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Cogitosus's work is the description of the Cathedral of Kildare in his day: "Solo spatioso et in altum minaci proceritate porruta ac decorata pictis tabulis, tria intrinsecus habens oratoria ampla, et divisa parietibus tabulatis". The rood-screen was formed of wooden boards, lavishly decorated, and with beautifully decorated curtains. Probably the famous Round Tower of Kildare dates from the sixth century. Although St. Brigid was "veiled" or received by St. Macaille, at Croghan, yet, it is tolerably certain that she was professed by St. Mel of Ardagh, who also conferred on her abbatial powers. From Ardagh St. Macaille and St. Brigid followed St. Mel into the country of Teffia in Meath, including portions of Westmeath and Longford. This occurred about the year 468. St. Brigid's small oratory at Cill- Dara became the centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed St. Conleth as spiritual pastor of them. It has been frequently stated that she gave canonical jurisdiction to St. Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, but, as Archbishop Healy points out, she simply "selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction", and her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose St. Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superioress general of the convents in Ireland.
Not alone was St. Bridget a patroness of students, but she also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which St. Conleth presided. From the Kildare scriptorium came the wondrous book of the Gospels, which elicited unbounded praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to this twelfth- century ecclesiastic, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the "Book of Kildare", every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes a most laudatory notice by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the  colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill". Small wonder that Gerald Barry assumed the book to have been written night after night as St. Bridget prayed, "an angel furnishing the designs, the scribe copying". Even allowing for the exaggerated stories told of St. Brigid by her numerous biographers, it is certain that she ranks as one of the most remarkable Irishwomen of the fifth century and as the Patroness of Ireland. She is lovingly called the "Queen of the South: the Mary of the Gael" by a writer in the "Leabhar Breac". St. Brigid died leaving a cathedral city and school that became famous all over Europe. In her honour St. Ultan wrote a hymn commencing:

Christus in nostra insula
Que vocatur Hivernia
Ostensus est hominibus
Maximis mirabilibus
Que perfecit per felicem
Celestis vite virginem
Precellentem pro merito
Magno in numdi circulo.

(In our island of Hibernia Christ was made known to man by the very great miracles which he performed through the happy virgin of celestial life, famous for her merits through the whole world.)

The sixth Life of the saint printed by Colgan is attributed to Coelan, an Irish monk of the eighth century, and it derives a peculiar importance from the fact that it is prefaced by a foreword from the pen of St. Donatus, also an Irish monk, who became Bishop of Fiesole in 824. St. Donatus refers to previous lives by St. Ultan and St. Aileran. When dying, St. Brigid was attended by St. Ninnidh, who was ever afterwards known as "Ninnidh of the Clean Hand" because he had his right hand encased with a metal covering to prevent its ever being defiled, after being he medium of administering the viaticum to Ireland's Patroness. She was interred at the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, and a costly tomb was erected over her. In after years her shrine was an object of veneration for pilgrims, especially on her feast day, 1 February, as Cogitosus related. About the year 878, owing to the Scandinavian raids, the relics of St. Brigid were taken to Downpatrick, where they were interred in the tomb of St. Patrick and St. Columba. The relics of the three saints were discovered in 1185, and on 9 June of the following year were solemnly translated to a suitable resting place in Downpatrick Cathedral, in presence of Cardinal Vivian, fifteen bishops, and numerous abbots and ecclesiastics. Various Continental breviaries of the pre-Reformation period commemorate St. Brigid, and her name is included in a litany in the Stowe Missal. In Ireland today, after 1500 years, the memory of "the Mary of the Gael" is as dear as ever to the Irish heart, and, as is well known, Brigid preponderates as a female Christian name. Moreover, hundreds of place-names in her honour are to be found all over the country, e.g. Kilbride, Brideswell, Tubberbride, Templebride, etc. The hand of St. Brigid is preserved at Lumiar near Lisbon, Portugal, since 1587, and another relic is at St. Martin's Cologne.
Viewing the biography of St. Brigid from a critical standpoint we must allow a large margin for the vivid Celtic imagination and the  glosses of medieval writers, but still the personality of the founder of Kildare stands out clearly, and we can with tolerable accuracy trace the leading events in her life, by a careful study of the old "Lives" as found in Colgan. It seems certain that Faughart, associated with memories of Queen Meave (Medhbh), was the scene of her birth; and Faughart Church was founded by St. Morienna in honour of St. Brigid. The old well of St. Brigid's adjoining the ruined church is of the most venerable antiquity, and still attracts pilgrims; in the immediate vicinity is the ancient mote of Faughart. As to St. Brigid's stay in Connacht, especially in the County Roscommon, there is ample evidence in the "Trias Thaumaturga", as also in the many churches founded by her in the Diocese of Elphim. Her friendship with St. Patrick is attested by the following paragraph from the "Book of Armagh", a precious manuscript of the eighth century, the authenticity of which is beyond question: "inter sanctum Patricium Brigitanque Hibernesium columpnas amicitia caritatis inerat tanta, ut unum cor consiliumque haberent unum. Christus per illum illamque virtutes multas peregit". (Between St. Patrick and St. Brigid, the columns of the Irish, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many miracles.) At Armagh there was a "Templum Brigidis"; namely the little abbey church known as "Regles Brigid", which contained some relics of the saint, destroyed in 1179, by William Fitz Aldelm. It may be added that the original manuscript of Cogitosus's "Life of Brigid", or the "Second Life", dating from the closing years of the eighth century, is now in the Dominican friary at Eichstätt in Bavaria.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

NEW ORDER RECOGNIZED BY VATICAN MISSIONARIES OF GOD'S LOVE IN AUSTRALIA

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
31 Jan 2014

Priests of the Missionaries of God's Love will celebrate their official recognition next Saturday in Canberra
A milestone in the life of the Catholic Church of Australia will be celebrated at St Christopher's Cathedral, Canberra on Saturday, 8 February when Archbishop Christopher Prowse will preside over the inauguration of the Missionaries of God's Love (MGL) Religious Institutes of Diocesan rite.
Founded by Father Ken Barker in 1986, the MGL congregation has been formally recognised by the Pontifical Congregation of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life to become one of only a tiny handful of Catholic religious congregations in Australia that has not evolved or a part of a European or other overseas religious order.
Even congregations in Australia that operate independently from their founding order, nevertheless retain close links to these religious institutions along with their traditions as well as their shared history.
Over the past 175 years or more, there have only be two or three religious congregations that been founded in Australia by Australians. The most famous of these is the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart which was founded by St Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison-Woods in 1866 and approved and recognised by the Vatican in 1874.
"There have been one or two other religious congregations for men, I believe that were established in Australia and which the Vatican formally recognised, but I understand these have died out," Fr Ken says.
The Moderator as well as founder of MGL, Fr Ken says recognition of the Missionaries of Love by the Vatican was given almost two years ago. But the formalities at Canberra's St Christopher's Cathedral had to be delayed after the Most Rev Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn was appointed Archbishop of Brisbane and his successor, the Most Rev Christopher Prowse was not installed as the seventh Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn until just over two months ago.

MGL founder Fr Ken Barker
The MGL brotherhood was established by Fr Ken Barker when three fellow members of Canberra's  Disciples of Jesus Covenant community approached him independently, expressing a call to the priesthood while also wishing to remain part of the community.
Ordained as a priest in 1974, Fr Ken later attended the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, graduating with a PH.D in religious education. Returning to Australia he visited old friends and came into contact with Australia's charismatic covenant communities.
"I was impacted by the way this charismatic renewal and commitment was being lived on in people's lives, whether they were single, married or consecrated, and after hearing a testimony from a priest who told me how his life had changed, I realised this was the way I wanted to be involved with the Church and with God," he says.
But when the young men from the Disciples of Jesus Covenant community, told him they wanted to become priests, Fr Ken and the three would-be priests agreed to pray together for a year. For 12 months the four prayed together before the Blessed Sacrament, as well as individually seeking direction from the Lord and His plans for them.
Through prayer and in particularly through the communal prayers of the four men, it gradually became clear to Fr Ken and the others that the Lord wanted him to form a Brotherhood to evangelise young people, preach the Gospel with passion and joy and to help and live among the poor.
An MGL fraternity house was established in Canberra where the brotherhood sought to live the Gospel in a radical manner by imitating Jesus in his poverty, and developing a strong life of prayer.
From the start, the brotherhood had a strong commitment to contemplative prayer, adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and charismatic worship which empowered and enabled them to bring God's love to others, especially the marginalized and alienated. Through the grace and outpouring of the Holy Spirit the brotherhood was also determined to enable people to know Christ personally.
"The importance of knowing Jesus personally was something I had never come across before," says Fr Chris Ryan of his first contact with MGL in 1992. "No one had explained it to me before. And when I learned about this, it had a very big impact on me."
Today Fr Chris Ryan is an MGL priest and Director of Mission at MGL's John Paul II Formation House in Melbourne. But at the time he first discovered the importance of knowing Christ personally, he was in his final year at school and had been taken on a retreat by one of his teachers who was also a member of the Disciples of Jesus Covenant community.
Joining the MGL brotherhood in 1994, Fr Chris was ordained a priest in 2002, and is well known to  thousands of Australians as the young priest in charge of the WYD Cross and Icon and the 12 month journey he made to every corner of Australia in the lead up to World Youth Day in 2008.

Fr Chris Ryan
Embracing MGL's mission to live a radical life for God of evangelisation and helping people, especially young people, find God in their lives, Fr Chris says the most memorable moments of his life continue to be the chance to talk with, listen to and pray with young people, and help them in some way encounter the love of God.
"That's what gets me out of bed in the morning and what brings me the most joy in life," he says.
While priestly vocations have decreased among some traditional religious congregations, MGL continues to expand. More than 28 years since MGL was founded, the congregation has more than 60 members, 19 ordained priests, one ordained deacon, one who is about to be ordained a deacon and a third who is a consecrated brother.
In addition there are 18 men nearing the end of their priestly studies at John Paul II Formation House and a further 15 novitates and pre-noviates in initial formation in Canberra.
MGL also has missions not only in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne but in Darwin where chaplaincies minister to Indigenous communities and in Manila where MGL priests and brothers live amongst the desperately poor in the squatter settlements of North Quezon City.
Next month MGL will celebrate a further milestone when a second overseas mission will be established in Indonesia.
At the Mass at St  Christopher's Cathedral next Saturday MGL's priests and brothers will make their perpetual vows public and a similar number will renew their initial vows.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

POPE FRANCIS SPEAKS TO CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday addressed participants at the Plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, saying their task is to ensure that people receive the faith in its purity and its entirety.

Quoting from his Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis said right from the earliest times of the Church there has been a temptation to consider the doctrine in an ideological sense or to reduce it to a series of abstract and crystallized theories. But in reality, he said, the doctrine’s sole role is to serve the life of God’s people and is meant to ensure a solid foundation to our faith. There is a great temptation, he continued, to take control of the gifts of salvation that come from God to domesticate them, maybe even with good intentions, according to the views and spirit of the world. 

However, safeguarding the integrity of the faith, the Pope went on to say, is a very delicate mission entrusted to them, always in collaboration with local Pastors and with the Doctrinal Commissions of the Episcopal Conferences. It serves to safeguard the right of all the people of God to receive the depository of the faith in its purity and entirety. In their work, he said, there is always a need to maintain a constructive, respectful and patient dialogue with the other parties and show charity and fraternal help. 

The Pope concluded his address by thanking the participants for their work in handling serious crimes, especially cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by clergy. He urged them to think of the wellbeing of children and young people, saying they should always be protected and sustained in their human and spiritual growth. The Pope said in this regard they are studying a possible link between the work done by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the special Commission for safeguarding children which he has set up and which is intended to be an example for all those wishing to promote the wellbeing of the young. 


Text from  Vatican Radio website 

WAYS TO STOP BULLYING - TECHNIQUES EXPLAINED BY DR. NEUFELD

Bully
INSTITUTE OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY RELEASE:
Renowned Vancouver-based developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld spoke to the IMFC about the importance of healthy attachment between children and parents. In part two, he spoke further about the nature of child development. In part three, he spoke about bullying.
Why are some kids such bullies? How can they change? And what should schools be doing about this terrible problem? Dr. Gordon Neufeld gets to the heart of the matter in this video interview. The good news is that bullies can change. They can even be transformed into protectors. The bad news is that we've been going about it the wrong way. We're battling the symptoms instead of getting to the root of the problem. Most often, a bully's own parents aren't even aware that their child bullies. But there are signs that parents can and should watch for. We hope that you will enjoy this final installment of our video interview with Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Better yet, share it with other parents, teachers and school principals. Because essentially, the problem of children bullying can only be addressed through adult intervention.
SHARED FROM INSTITUTE OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

62 KILLED AT A CHURCH SERVICE IN NIGERIA AFRICA

CISA NEWS REPORT:
At-Least-62-Killed-by-Gun-Men
YOLA January 28, 2014 (CISA) -Suspected insurgents armed with guns and explosives killed at least 62 people in northeast Nigeria, including at a church service, in a region where Islamist sect Boko Haram is resisting a military crackdown, witnesses said on Monday January 27.
They killed 22 people by setting off bombs and firing into the congregation in the Catholic church in Waga Chakawa village in Adamawa state on Sunday January 26, before burning houses and taking residents hostage during a four-hour siege, witnesses told Reuters.
On Monday January 27, a separate assault by suspected members of the shady sect killed at least 40 people in Kawuri village, in remote northeastern Borno state, security officials said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for either attack.
President Goodluck Jonathan is struggling to contain Boko Haram in remote rural regions in the country’s northeast corner, where the sect launched an uprising in 2009.
Boko Haram, which wants to impose sharia law on a country split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims, has killed thousands over the past four and a half years and is considered the biggest security risk in Africa’s top oil exporter and second largest economy after South Africa.
Its fighters’ favourite targets have traditionally been security forces, politicians who oppose them and Christian minorities in the largely Muslim north.
The spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, Reverend Fr Raymond Danbouye, confirmed 22 people killed in the church were buried at a funeral on Monday.
Waga Chakawa is near the border with Borno state, in which the second attack occurred that killed at least 40 people.
“The whole village has been razed by Boko Haram and there were still loud explosions from different directions as I left, with bodies littering the village,” said resident Bulama Kuliri, who narrowly escaped.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS

LATEST FROM VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE

- TO AUSTRIAN BISHOPS: CHRISTIAN COMMITMENT IS NOT PHILANTHROPY
- PRESENTATION OF YEAR FOR CONSECRATED LIFE: AWAKEN THE WORLD WITH PROPHETIC WITNESS THAT RECALLS THE WITNESS OF YOUR FOUNDERS
- IMPLEMENTATION OF DUE DILIGENCE TO IMPROVE MANAGEMENT FOR BAMBINO GESU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL AND CASA SOLLIEVO DELLA SOFFERENZA FOUNDATION
- HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE BULLETIN ANNOUNCED ON TWITTER
- AUDIENCES
- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
POPE RECEIVES CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, ANNOUNCES POSSIBILITY OF PLACING COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS UNDER ITS RESPONSIBILITY
Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – “To promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world” is the duty that John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus” assigns to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This morning, at the end of their plenary session, Pope Francis received in audience the members of the dicastery.
The Holy Father emphasized that, “from the earliest days of the Church, there has been a temptation to understand doctrine in an ideological sense or to reduce it to a set of abstract and fossilized theories. In fact, doctrine has the sole purpose of serving the life of the People of God and seeks to ensure a firm foundation to our faith. Great indeed is the temptation to commandeer the gifts of salvation that come from God, to acclimate them—maybe even with the best intention—to the world's viewpoints and spirit.”
The task of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should “also always seek to keep in mind the needs of constructive, respectful, and patient dialogue with the authors. If truth demands precision, this always grows in charity and fraternal assistance for those called to deepen or clarify their beliefs.” Likewise, the Pope noted that the Congregation's method of working is distinguished “by its practice of collegiality and dialogue. Effectively, the Church is a place of communion and, at all levels, each of us is called to cultivate and promote communion, each one with the responsibility assigned to us by the Lord.”
Then, mentioning their plenary session that was dedicated to the relationship between faith and marriage, he stated that “it is a reflection of great importance. It arises in the wake of the invitation already formulated by Benedict XVI regarding the need to question more deeply the relationship between personal faith and the celebration of the sacrament of marriage, especially in the changed cultural context.”
“On this occasion, I would also like to thank you for your efforts in dealing with sensitive issues regarding the most serious crimes, in particular, the cases of the sexual abuse of minors by clerics. Think of the welfare of children and the young, who in the Christian community must always be protected and supported in their human and spiritual growth. In this sense, the possibility is being looked into of connecting the specific Commission for the Protection of Minors, which I have established, to your dicastery. I hope it will be an example for all those who wish to promote the welfare of children.”
TO AUSTRIAN BISHOPS: CHRISTIAN COMMITMENT IS NOT PHILANTHROPY
Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday, Pope Francis received prelates of the Austrian Bishops' Conference at the end of their "ad limina" visit, delivering the speech that the extracts below are taken from. In his speech the Holy Father recalled the kindness of the Austrian Church for the Successor of Peter that was concretely expressed in the cordial reception given to Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to the Shrine of Mariazell in 2007, despite the difficult years for the Church in following years, a difficulty marked, among other factors, by the decline in the number of Catholics. He writes, however, that this trend “should not find us inactive, but should encourage our efforts for the new evangelization that is always needed.”
Pope Francis affirmed that being the Church “doesn't mean administration, but going out, being missionaries, bringing people the light of faith and the joy of the Gospel. Let us not forget that the momentum of our commitment as Christians in the world is not a philanthropic idea, not a vague humanism, but a gift from God, that is, the gift of being sons and daughters that we have received in Baptism. This gift is, at the same time, a task. God's children do not hide; rather they bring their joy as children of God to the world.”
“The Church,” the Pope continued, quoting the Second Vatican Council, “'embraces in its bosom sinners'. But the council says in the same passage that we should not resign ourselves to sin, that is … the holy Church is always in need of being purified. That means that we must always be committed to our purification, in the sacrament of Reconciliation. … As pastors of the Church we want to assist the faithful with tenderness and understanding in this wonderful sacrament, to make them feel the Good Shepherd's love precisely in this gift. I ask you, therefore, not to tire of inviting people to encounter Christ in the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.”
“An important area of our work as shepherds,” the Pope noted, “is the family. It is located at the heart of the evangelizing Church. … The foundation upon which you can develop harmonious family life is mainly marital fidelity. Unfortunately, in our times we see that the family and marriage, in countries in the Western world, have suffered an profound interior crisis. … Globalization and post-modern individualism promote a lifestyle that makes the development and stability of interpersonal relationships much more difficult and that is not conducive to promoting a culture of the family. Here a new missionary area is opened to the Church, for example, in family groups that create space for relationships between persons and with God where true communion, which welcomes each equally without confining them in elite groups, can grow.”
“The Church's concern for the family begins with good preparation and proper accompaniment of the bride and groom, as well as a faithful and clear presentation of Church doctrine on marriage and the family. As a sacrament, Marriage is a gift from God and, at the same time, a commitment.”
From the family, the Pope moved on to the parish, “the large field that the Lord has entrusted to us to make fruitful with our pastoral work. Priests, pastors should always be aware that their task of governing is a deeply spiritual service. It is always the pastor who leads the parish community, relying on the help and valuable contribution of the various co-workers and of all the faithful laity. … Each is called; each is sent out. It is not a given, however, that the place of the call be just the parish centre … God's call can reach us … in the places of our everyday lives.”
“Speaking about God,” he concluded, “bringing people the message of God's love and salvation in Jesus Christ, [a message] for all people, is the duty of every baptized person. This duty includes not only speaking with words, but with our whole way of acting and doing. … It is precisely in our time, when we seem to become the 'little flock', that we car called, as disciples of the Lord, to live as a community that is 'salt of the earth' and 'light of the world'.”
PRESENTATION OF YEAR FOR CONSECRATED LIFE: AWAKEN THE WORLD WITH PROPHETIC WITNESS THAT RECALLS THE WITNESS OF YOUR FOUNDERS
Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Press Office of the Holy See, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the same congregation, presented the Year for Consecrated Life 2015. It was called for by Pope Francis at the end of his meeting with 120 superior generals of male institutes, at the suggestion of the heads of the aforementioned congregation on having heard from many of the consecrated.
“First of all,” Cardinal Braz de Aviz said, “this Year dedicated to consecrated life has been prepared in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and, more specifically, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the conciliar decree on the renewal of consecrated life 'Perfectae caritatis'. … Because we recognize these 50 years that separate us from the Council as a moment of grace for consecrated life, as marked by the presence of the Spirit that leads us to live even our weaknesses and infidelities as an experience of God's mercy and love, we want this Year to be an occasion for 'gratefully remembering' this recent past. This is the first objective of the Year for Consecrated Life.”
“With a positive look at this time of grace between the Council and today, we want the second objective to be 'embracing the future with hope'. We are well aware that the present moment is 'difficult and delicate' … and that the crisis facing society and the Church herself fully touches upon the consecrated life. But we want to take this crisis not as an antechamber of death but as … an opportunity to grow in depth, and thus in hope, motivated by the certainty that the consecrated life will never disappear from the Church because 'it was desired by Jesus himself as an irremovable part of his Church'.”
“This hope,” he concluded, “doesn't spare us—and the consecrated are well aware of this—from 'living the present passionately', and this is the third objective for the Year. … It will be an important moment for 'evangelizing' our vocation and for bearing witness to the beauty of the 'sequela Christi' in the many ways in which our lives are expressed. The consecrated take up the witness that has been left them by their respective founders and foundresses. … They want to 'awaken the world' with their prophetic witness, particularly with their presence at the existential margins of poverty and thought, as Pope Francis asked their superior generals.”
For his part, Archbishop Rodriguez Carballo explained the initiatives and events that will take place during the Year for Consecrated Life, which will begin this October to coincide with the anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar constitution “Lumen Gentium”.
The Year's official inauguration is planned with a solemn celebration in St. Peter's Basilica, possibly presided by the Holy Father, which could take place on 21 November, the World Day 'Pro orantibus'. Still this November, it would be followed by a plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the theme of which would be “The 'Novum' in Consecrated Life beginning from Vatican II”.
Various international events are also planned for Rome, among which would include a meeting of young religious and novices, those who have professed temporary or final vows for less than ten years, a meeting for spiritual directors, an international theological conference on consecrated life dedicated to “Renewal of the Consecrated Life in Light of the Council and Perspectives for the Future”, and an international exhibit on “Consecrated Life: The Gospel in Human History”.
For the conclusion of the Year for Consecrated Life another concelebration presided by Pope Francis is planned, probably for 21 November 2015, 50 years after the decree “Perfecta caritatis”. Every four months throughout the year, the dicastery will publish a newsletter on themes related to consecrated life, the first of which will come out on 2 February of next year, entitled “Be Glad” and dedicated to the Magisterium of the Holy Father on consecrated life. In response to the Pope's wishes, the Antonianum Pontifical University in Rome will host a symposium on the management of economic goods and capital by religious from 8 to 9 March. There will be a series of initiatives planned particularly for contemplative religious, including a world Chain of Prayer among monasteries.
Archbishop Rodriguez Carballo also spoke of several documents that the dicastery is preparing. To that end, in close collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops and following a mandate by the Holy Father, the document “Mutuae relationes” on the relations between bishops and religious in the Church is being drawn up. Also, always on the mandate of the Pope, the instruction “Verbi Sponsa”, which deals with the autonomy and cloistering of entirely contemplative religious, is being revised. Another document in preparation will deal with the life and the mission of religious while a fourth one will touch on the question of how consecrated manage goods in order to offer some guidelines and direction in the complex situations that arise in that area.
Finally, during the Year of Consecrated Life, it is hoped that the Holy Father will promulgate a new apostolic constitution on contemplative life in place of “Sponsa Christi”, which was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
IMPLEMENTATION OF DUE DILIGENCE TO IMPROVE MANAGEMENT FOR BAMBINO GESU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL AND CASA SOLLIEVO DELLA SOFFERENZA FOUNDATION
Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Study and Guidance of the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, in collaboration with the Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital and the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Foundation, have mandated the institution of a “due diligence” of economic, administrative, and management processes of the two hospitals for the purpose of being able to correctly complete the overall picture of financial data and organizational aspects of the entities that refer to the Holy See.
The Commission will use the data obtained to propose appropriate recommendations for improving the models of management and ensuring transparency and efficiency in fulfilling the noble mandate of protecting and safeguarding human health and life.
A bidding process was announced for the “due diligence”, which resulted in the task being assigned to PWC for Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital and to Deloitte for Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Foundation
HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE BULLETIN ANNOUNCED ON TWITTER
Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – The Press Office of the Holy See has announced the launch of a new Twitter account, @HolySeePress, to give notice when the Bulletin—which gives information in the various official languages of the Holy See on the important events occurring in the Vatican—is published daily. The notifications will also have a link to the Bulletin's webpage on the Vatican site.
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain, with Dr. Javier Maria Prades Lopez, rector of the San Damaso Ecclesiastical University in Madrid,
- Archbishop Bruno Musaro, titular of Abari and apostolic nuncio to Cuba,
- Archbishop Vincent Gerard Nichols of Westminster, England,
- Fr. Ferdinando Neri of the Nomadelfia Community, and
- Dr. Franco Miano, national president of Italian Catholic Action.
This afternoon he is scheduled to meet with Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:
- appointed Msgr. Stefano Manetti, of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy, as bishop of the Diocese of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza (area 1,068, population 73,177, Catholics 69,508, priests 61, permanent deacons 3, religious 19), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Florence, Italy in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1984. Since ordination he has served in various pastoral and diocesan roles, most recently as coordinator of the Presbyteral Council. He has been a member of the College of Consultors since 2009.
- appointed Fr. Antonio Mura, of the clergy of the Diocese of Alghero-Bosa, Italy, as bishop of the Diocese of Lanusei (area 2,349, population 68,713, Catholics 67,954, priests 51, permanent deacons 8, religious 23), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Bortigali, Italy in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1979. Since ordination he has served in various pastoral and diocesan roles, most recently as director of the diocesan weekly and regional director of the Cultural Project for the Italian Bishops' Conference. He succeeds Bishop Antioco Piseddu, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- appointed Archbishop Franco Coppola, previously apostolic nuncio to Burundi, as apostolic nuncio to Central African Republic.

POPE FRANCIS "WHEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD DIMINISHES, ONE OF THE SIGNS IS THAT YOU LOSE THE SENSE OF SIN"

(Vatican Radio) When the presence God is not felt among men, "you lose the sense of sin," and so others end up paying the price for our "Christian mediocrity ." That was the message behind Pope Francis’ homily at this morning’s Mass at the Santa Marta guesthouse here in the Vatican. 

All too often today, the Pope observes, grave sin such as adultery is declassified as simply a "problem to be solved ." That’s what happens in today’s reading in which King David falls in love with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his generals. Taking up this story, Pope Francis says David took her for his own and sent her husband to the front lines of battle where the man was killed. In actual fact, the Pope stressed, David also committed murder. And yet, having committed both grave sins, the King is not moved. Despite committing a grave sin, the Pope observes, David does not feel pity and fails to ask forgiveness. He only considers how he can resolve a problem.


This can happen to any of us, the Pope says, and observes “When the Kingdom of God diminishes, one of the signs is that you lose the sense of sin."


Conversely, you also lose the "sense of the Kingdom of God" and in its place, reflects the Pope, there emerges an “all-powerful anthropological vision," that leads us to believe we “can do anything.”


The Pope confesses that even he himself can fall into the trap of losing a sense of sin. But a commitment to daily prayer, he stresses, can counter the injustices perpetrated out of human pride and stop so many from falling victim to “Christian mediocrity” and our “unrecognized sins.” 


Text from Vatican Radio website 

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. JAN. 31, 2014

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
Lectionary: 321


Reading 1           2 SM 11:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel,
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told,
“She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam,
and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite.”
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived,
and sent the information to David, “I am with child.”

David therefore sent a message to Joab,
“Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers,
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.”
Uriah left the palace,
and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him,
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed
among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
“Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.”
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab,
some officers of David’s army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.

Responsorial                  Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6A, 6BCD-7, 10-11

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Gospel             MK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

FREE CATHOLIC MOVIES : DON BOSCO - STORY OF ST. JOHN BOSCO

Free Catholic Movies: DON BOSCO
This is the story of Don (Father) Bosco, also known in the Catholic church as St. John Bosco. This 19th century Italian priest worked in the city of Torino (Turin). He founded the Salesian order dedicated to teaching and youth work. That work continues worldwide today.
Don Bosco (1988) 108 min - Drama | History - 30 September 1988 (Italy)
Director: Leandro Castellani
Writers: Corrado Biggi (dialogue adaptation for dubbing), Silvano Buzzo (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Patsy Kensit, Karl Zinny

POPE FRANCIS "ESSENTIAL IN THIS REGARD IS THE UNCOMPROMISING WITNESS OF CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES..." TO NOTRE DAME

RADIO VATICANA: January 30, 2014: Pope Francis on Thursday met with a delegation from the University of Notre Dame (USA) on the occasion of the inauguration of the University’s “Rome Center.” In his address to the delegation, the Holy Father said he was “confident that the new Center will contribute to the University’s mission by exposing students to the unique historical, cultural and spiritual riches of the Eternal City, and by opening their minds and hearts to the impressive continuity between the faith of Saints Peter and Paul, and the confessors and martyrs of every age, and the Catholic faith passed down to them in their families, schools and parishes.”


Pope Francis spoke about the “outstanding contribution” Notre Dame has made to the Church in the United States “through its commitment to the religious education of the young and to serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue,” and thanked the University for its commitment “to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary school education throughout the United States.” 

The Pope also spoke about the vision of Notre Dame’s founder, Father Edward Sorin, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, calling it “central to the University’s distinctive identity and its service to the Church and American society.” Referring to the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, he spoke about “the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship,” which “ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities.” “Essential in this regard,” he continued, “is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.” Pope Francis said, “It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.”

Pope Francis asked the members of the delegation to pray for him in his ministry and assured them of his prayers. He concluded his address with his Apostolic Blessing.
Text from page  Vatican Radio website 
(Vatican Radio) Below, please find the complete English text of Pope Francis’ address to the delegation from the University of Notre Dame (delivered in Italian): 

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to greet the Trustees of Notre Dame University on the occasion of your meeting in Rome, which coincides with the inauguration of the University’s Rome Center. I am confident that the new Center will contribute to the University’s mission by exposing students to the unique historical, cultural and spiritual riches of the Eternal City, and by opening their minds and hearts to the impressive continuity between the faith of Saints Peter and Paul, and the confessors and martyrs of every age, and the Catholic faith passed down to them in their families, schools and parishes. From its founding, Notre Dame University has made an outstanding contribution to the Church in your country through its commitment to the religious education of the young and to serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue. Conscious of the critical importance of this apostolate for the new evangelization, I express my gratitude for the commitment which Notre Dame University has shown over the years to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary school education throughout the United States.

The vision which guided Father Edward Sorin and the first religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross in establishing the University of Notre Dame du Lac remains, in the changed circumstances of the twenty-first century, central to the University’s distinctive identity and its service to the Church and American society. In my Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions. This commitment to “missionary discipleship” ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life. Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!

Dear friends, I ask you to pray for me as I strive to carry out the ministry which I have received in service to the Gospel, and I assure you of my prayers for you and for all associated with the educational mission of Notre Dame University. Upon you and your families, and in a particular way, upon the students, faculty and staff of this beloved University, I invoke the Lord’s gifts of wisdom, joy and peace, and cordially impart my Blessing.


Text from  Vatican Radio website 

HUMILITY, FAITHFULNESS AND PRAYER ARE THE 3 SIGNS OF A CHRISTIAN...

(Vatican Radio) Humility, faithfulness and prayer are the three signs of a Christian who belongs to the Church. That was the theme that Pope Francis chose for his homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, urging his listeners to really “feel with the Church”.

The Pope said the first fruit of our Baptism is to make us a part of the Church, a member of the people of God. Recalling the words of Pope Paul VI, he said it’s absurd to claim that we love Christ without the Church, that we listen to Christ but not the Church, that we are with Christ but on the margins of the Church. The Gospel message, Pope Francis said, comes to us through the Church and our path to holiness must be found within the Church.

Speaking of the three pillars which underpin our sense of belonging to the Church, the Pope said the first is humility and the realization that the story of salvation does not start or end with us. A person who is not humble, he said, cannot feel with the Church but only feels what he or she desires. Instead, humility helps us understand that we are just a small part of the great people of God, that is following the way of the Lord.

The second pillar, Pope Francis said, is faithfulness to the teachings and doctrine of the Church. Quoting again from his predecessor Paul VI, he said we receive the Gospel as a gift and we must pass that gift on to others in faithfulness, rather than seeing it as something that belongs to us.

Thirdly, the Pope said, we must remember to pray with and for the Church in all parts of the world. Do we really pray for the Church, he asked, not just at daily Mass but also when we are at home? May the Lord help us, he concluded, to follow this path, to deepen our sense of belonging and feeling with the Church.


Text from Vatican Radio website 

POPE FRANCIS CONFIRMATION CONFIRMS OUR BOND WITH CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

(Vatican Radio) Confirmation is a sacrament that completes our bond with Christ and His Church: that’s what Pope Francis told tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered Wednesday for the weekly General Audience. 

The Pope, bundled up in a white winter coat on this frigid and overcast day, continued his catechesis on the seven Sacraments, telling the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square that Confirmation is “linked inseparably to Baptism.” These two sacraments, together with the Eucharist, the Holy Father said, “form a unique salvific event: Christian initiation” in which we become living members of the Church.

Through our anointing with the sacred chrism, Confirmation strengthens and “confirms” us in the grace of our Baptism, uniting “us more firmly to Christ.” Confirmation “completes our bond with the Church,” he noted, and “grants us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith, to confess the name of Christ and to never be ashamed of his cross.” 

The working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, he noted, is reflected in the seven spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. 

Departing from his prepared remarks, Pope Francis several times urged families to ensure their children receive the sacrament of Confirmation, without which, he stressed, they’ve only come “half-way.”

When we welcome the Holy Spirit in our hearts, Christ Himself becomes present in us and takes form in our lives, the Pope said. Through us and our actions, it will be He "who prays and forgives, gives hope and consolation, serves our brothers, helps those in need," and helps spread communion and peace.

In remarks following his catechesis, Pope Francis challenged authorities to make employment, “a source of dignity, everyone’s central concern.” He also condemned all forms of usury, saying that when families cannot eat because they have to pay off loan sharks, “it is not Christian; it is not human.”


Text from Vatican Radio website