Monday, August 18, 2014

Saint August 19 : St. John Eudes : Promoter of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

  

Information:
Feast Day:
August 19
Born:
November 14, 1601, Ri, France
Died:
August 19, 1680, Caen, France
Canonized:
1925 by Pope Pius XI
French missionary and founder of the Eudists and of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity; author of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; b. at Ri, France, 14 Nov., 1601; d. at Caen, 19 Aug., 1680. He was a brother of the French historian, François Eudes de Nézeray. At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity. After brilliant studies with the Jesuits at Caen, he entered the Oratory, 25 March, 1623. His masters and models in the spiritual life were Fathers de Bérulle and de Condren. He was ordained priest 20 Dec., 1625, and began his sacerdotal life with heroic labours for the victims of the plague, then ravaging the country. As a missionary, Father Eudes became famous. Since the time of St. Vincent Ferrer, France had probably not seen a greater. He was called by Olier "the prodigy of his age". In 1641 he founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, to provide a refuge for women of ill-fame who wished to do penance. The society was approved by Alexander VII, 2 Jan., 1666. With the approbation of Cardinal de Richelieu and a great number of others, Father Eudes severed his connection with the Oratory to establish the Society of Jesus and Mary for the education of priests and for missionary work. This congregation was founded at Caen, 25 March, 1643, and was considered a most important and urgent work.
Father Eudes, during his long life, preached not less than one hundred and ten missions, three at Paris, one at Versailles, one at St-Germaine-en-Laye, and the others in different parts of France. Normandy was the principal theatre of his apostolic labours. In 1674 he obtained from Clement X six Bulls of indulgences for the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart already erected or to be erected in the seminaries. He also established the Society of the Heart of the Mother Most Admirable -- which resembles the Third Orders of St. Francis and St. Dominic. This society now numbers from 20,000 to 25,000 members. Father Eudes dedicated the seminary chapels of Caen and Coutances to the Sacred Hearts. The feast of the Holy Heart of Mary was celebrated for the first time in 1648, and that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1672, each as a double of the first class with an octave. The Mass and Office proper to these were composed by Father Eudes, who thus had the honour of preceding the Blessed Margaret Mary in establishing the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. For this reason, Pope Leo XIII, in proclaiming his virtues heroic in 1903, gave him the title of "Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary". Father Eudes wrote a number of books remarkable for elevation of doctrine and simplicity of style. His principal works are:--"Le Royaume de Jésus"; "Le contrat de l'homme avec Dieu par le Saint Baptême"; "Le Mémorial de la vie Ecclésiastique"; "Le Bon Confesseur"; "Le Prédicateur Apostolique"; "Le Cœur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu". This last is the first book ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. His virtues were declared heroic by Leo XIII, 6 Jan., 1903. The miracles proposed for his beatification were approved by Pius X, 3 May, 1908, and he was beatified 25 April, 1909.






Pope Francis gives Flowers from Little Girl to Our Lady in Rome

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis arrived at Rome’s Ciampino airport a little before 6 p.m., local time, on Monday, bringing to a close his first apostolic journey to South Korea.
The Pope brought with him a bouquet of flowers, which a seven-year-old Korean girl, named Mary Sol, had given him before his flight departed from the Seoul Air Base at 1 p.m., local time. According to a report by the Osservatore Romano, the Pope had promised the girl he would give these flowers as a gift to Our Lady. Upon his arrival, the Pope was driven from Ciampino airport to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where he is said to have placed these flowers at the foot of the Marian statue of Salus Populi Romani. There, he offered prayers of thanksgiving to Our Lady for his trip to South Korea. The Pope had visited the basilica prior to his trip and had entrusted his journey to Mary. 

Pope Francis “The level of mankind’s cruelty at this moment is a little frightening.” Interview during Flight

Pope Francis on his visit to South Korea.
18/08/2014

(Vatican Radio) From the possibility of the unification of the Koreas to the idea of “just war", from the situation of persecuted minorities in Iraq to the Pope’s upcoming journey to Albania: on the flight back from Korea to Rome, Pope Francis answered questions put to him by journalists travelling with him aboard the papal plane.
In what has become a traditional impromptu press conference aboard the papal plane, journalists spent more than an hour questioning the Pope about his recent visit to Korea for the 6th Asian Youth Day, about issues raised during the journey, his take on the ongoing violence against Christians and other minorities in Iraq, and about plans for future foreign trips.
The first question, put to him by a Korean journalist, concerned his closeness to family victims of the Se-Wol ferry disaster, in which more than 300 people lost their lives. There is much anger in Korea regarding the government’s response to that tragedy and Pope Francis was asked whether he was worried his attitude could be politically exploited.
“When you find yourself face-to-face with pain and sorrow, you must do what your heart tells you to do,” the Pope said. He pointed out that he is a priest and he feels close to those who suffer. His closeness, he explained, brings consolation, not solutions; and he recalled that when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was there to bring comfort to the many victims of two terrible disasters (in a discotheque fire, which killed 193 young people, and in a train accident, which killed 120). In Korea, when someone pointed out he continued to wear the yellow ribbon of solidarity for the victims of the ferry disaster. he answered: “You cannot be neutral before the pain of your brothers and sisters”.   
Answering questions regarding the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by fundamentalists of the Islamic State (IS), the Pope said that “it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor”. And he underlined the word “halt” pointing out that does not mean to “bomb”. He said the methods used to halt the aggressor are to be evaluated. The Pope also pointed out that in these cases we must not forget “how many times with the excuse of halting the unjust aggressor (…) have powerful nations taken possession of peoples and waged a war of conquest!” A single nation, he said, cannot judge how to stop an unjust aggressor, and he pointed to the United Nations as the right venue to discuss the issue. Pope Francis also pointed out that persecuted Christians are close to his heart but he underlined the fact that there are also other minorities suffering persecution, and they all have the same rights.
Regarding his availability to travel to Kurdistan to be with the fleeing refugees, Pope Francis said he is ready to do so if it is deemed a good thing to do. At the moment, however, he pointed to the various initiatives undertaken by the Vatican, such as sending Cardinal Fernando Filoni, writing to the UN Secretary General, and writing a personal communiqué that was sent to all the nunciatures and governments in the area.      
When asked about progress in dialogue with China, Pope Francis said he happened to be in the cockpit when the plane was about to enter Chinese airspace. He said he “prayed intensely for that noble and wise people”. He said his thoughts turned to the Jesuits and to Father Matteo Ricci and expressed his love for the Chinese people. He also referred to the letter written by Benedict XVI regarding relations with China and said this letter is still very up-to-date and it is good idea to read it again. “The Holy See," he said, "is always open to be in touch, because it has true esteem for the Chinese people”.
Speaking about his upcoming visit to Albania, he pointed out that he is not going there, as some have surmised, because it is in his style to start with “the periphery”. He explained that he is going to Albania for two important reasons: first, because it has a government of national unity, which gathers Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics, thanks to an Inter-Religious Council that works and gives balance. And this, he said, is good: “The presence of the Pope is to tell all peoples that it is possible to work together!” The second reason he pointed to refers to the history of Albania, which was unique among the communist nations in that its Constitution foresaw practical atheism. “If you went to Mass, it was anti-constitutional” he said. And he recalled that 1820, churches were destroyed in Albania. So, today he feels the need to go there.
Pope Francis also mentioned his desire to travel to Philadelphia next year for the World Meeting of Families and said he has received a “shower” of invitations from across the world including New York, Mexico and Spain. But, he said, nothing has been decided yet.
Asked about his relationship with Benedict XVI, Francis said he visited him before his departure for Korea and they discussed theological questions. The Pope also said he considers Benedict’s resignation a noble, humble and courageous gesture. And he said that should conditions be such, he would pray but he would consider doing the same: “He opened a door which is 'institutional' not 'exceptional' ”.
Asked if he were planning to visit Japan and pray for that country’s “hidden Christians”, who historically suffered similarly to Korea’s Christians, the Pope said that yes, he had been invited by the Japanese government and the Bishops and that such a trip would be "wonderful". 
Speaking about the historic suffering of Korea and the divisions afflicting it today, the Pope said: “The Korean people have not lost their dignity. (The Korean people) have been invaded, humiliated, suffered wars, and (are) now divided with much suffering.”  Recalling his brief meeting at Monday’s Mass in Seoul with aged, so-called “comfort women” (women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II and who have been seeking an official apology), Pope Francis marveled that “they have not lost their dignity”.  
“To think that in that invasion they were hauled away as girls to the barracks to be taken advantage of,” he said. The suffering of these women, martyrdom and other kinds of suffering, the Pope said, are “fruits of war” 
“Today,” he continued, “we are in a world at war – everywhere!” Pope Francis then remarked on a comment someone once made to him that we are witnessing the Third World War.  “It is a world at war where these cruelties are carried out,” he said.
He then highlighted “cruelty” and “torture” as hallmarks of the kind of war we see today. “Today, children don’t count. Once, one spoke of conventional warfare. Today, this doesn’t count.  I am not saying conventional warfare is a good thing, no.  But today a bomb goes off and you have an innocent killed with the guilty one, the child, with the woman, with the mother… they kill everyone.”  “The level of mankind’s cruelty at this moment is a little frightening.”
The Pope said “today, torture is one of the most – I’d say – ordinary methods of behavior of the intelligence services, of judicial process.  And torture is a sin against humanity; it is a crime against humanity. And to Catholics, I say: to torture a person is a mortal sin; it is a grave sin!”
Asked if his schedule has been too tiring for him so that he has had to cancel some appointments,  Pope Francis said he has taken some vacation time at home where he read an interesting book about being “happy to be neurotic".  
“I have some neuroses,” he quipped, “and you need to treat them well.”  One of his neuroses, the Pope admitted, is that “I am a bit too attached to life.”  The last time he had taken a vacation with the Jesuit community outside Buenos Aires, he added, was in 1975.  When he takes time off now from his busy schedule, he says, “I sleep more, read the things that I like, listen to music, pray more…In July and part of August I did this and it’s ok.” Remarking on his cancellation of several appointments, including a last-minute cancellation of a June visit to Rome’s Gemelli hospital, the Pope said those were “very busy days” and that he needed to be “more prudent.”
Asked how he perceives his “intense popularity”, Pope Francis said he “thanks the Lord that His people are happy” and for “the generosity of the people.”  “Inside,” the Pope added, “I try to think of my sins and my mistakes so as to not believe that [….], “because I know that this will not last long, two or three years, and then, to the House of the Father.”
Asked what he does every day apart from his working schedule while in the Vatican and the Santa Marta guesthouse, the Pope answered, “I think I’m free…There are the office, the work appointments… Sure, I’d like to be able to go out, but it’s not possible, not possible.”  Within Santa Marta, he said, “I have a normal life of work, rest, chatting.”  Pope Francis acknowledged that there are reasons for some of the constraints though “some walls have fallen.”
Asked about an encyclical on the environment long-said to be in the works, the Pope confirmed it has been written with much collaboration from Cardinal Peter Turkson (President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace) and others, and it is still being revised. He revealed that it is “one-third longer than ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ and that it posed many difficult questions, because, he said, it is possible to discuss the stewardship of creation and ecology with clarity “only to a certain point, but then scientific hypotheses come into play, some feasible, and others perhaps not”. He pointed out that an encyclical that must adhere to the Magisterium must be based only on certainties.
Speaking about the suffering caused by the division between North Korea and South Korea, Pope Francis said he is bringing back with him a crown of Christ’s thorns made with the barbed wire that marks the boundary. “A gift that speaks of the suffering caused by separation, the separation within a family.”  And he reiterated he is praying for the end of that suffering.
To a question regarding the cause for the beatification of Bishop Oscar Romero, the Pope confirmed it had been put on hold “for reasons of prudence”, but is now going forward.
And speaking about the Invocation for Peace in the Holy Land that recently took place in the Vatican in the presence of the leaders of Palestine and Israel, Pope Francis said “it was not a failure”. He said the event sprung from the political leaders themselves, who could not find the right place to do it. He revealed that initially they wanted to organize it when the Pope was in the Holy Land in May in a neutral venue like the Nunciature. But that would have posed problems as the president of the State of Palestine would have had to enter Israel and it was not easy. So they said to me: “Let’s do it in the Vatican!” the Pope said. They are both men of peace, he said. They are convinced that the only way forward is the way of negotiation and dialogue. “And today that door is still open, he said, were there to open the door of prayer. Peace, Francis said, is a gift and it was important to show humanity that the way of negotiation and dialogue is important, and it is not possible without prayer. Today, the Pope said, we cannot see that door through the smoke of the bombs, but it is open.
Pope Francis concluded his chat with the journalists saying that upon his return to Rome he will be dropping in at the Basilica of St. Mary Major to thank Our Lady. The posy of flowers he will bring her as a gift, he said, were given to him by a little girl in Korea before his departure.

Pope Francis reaches to China while in Flight sends 2 telegrams

Pope Francis and Xi Jinping’s "new line" and the Chinese young people in Korea 
by Bernardo Cervellera
Pope Francis sends another telegram to China. Still no answer, but Xinhua today published an article on the trip. The pontiff’s "olive branch" in line with missionary work of Matteo Ricci, missionaries in China, of previous popes. No emphasis on diplomatic relations. Beijing’s hampering Chinese youth in attending Asian Youth Day. An overview of the "new line" for China, in the hope that the young people are not arrested or persecuted. 


Rome (AsiaNews) - Returning to the Vatican, Pope Francis sent another telegram to the new President Xi Jinping: "Returning to Rome after my visit to Korea, I wish to renew to your excellency and your fellow citizens the assurance of my best wishes, as I invoke divine blessings upon your land ". It appears that the first telegram, sent during his flight to Seoul, did not arrive "for technical reasons" and thus no response was issued. The second seemed destined to meet with the same fate until mid-morning, several hours after it was sent. Xinhua did not report on it even though it made global headlines. It should be said however that Xinhua, which thus far had failed to publish a single article on the Papal trip to Korea, this morning published a small piece on the conclusion of the visit and one million faithful attending the beatification of the Korean Martyrs.
The question now on everyone's lips is whether Pope Francis' "olive branch" to China marks a "new line" in relations between the Holy See and Beijing.
Speaking yesterday to the Asian bishops, the pontiff frankly stated that he "earnestly" hopes that "those countries of your continent with whom the Holy See does not yet enjoy a full relationship may not hesitate to further a dialogue for the benefit of all" adding in unscripted remarks: "I'm not speaking here only about political dialogue, but a fraternal dialogue. These Christians do not come as conquerors, they are not trying to erase our identity".
The desperately outstretched hand and tendency to walk without defences and in friendship, has provoked some to comment that finally, with this Latin American Pope, the pontiff is no longer presented "an expression of Western power." Maybe ... But maybe it is worth remembering that John Paul II set himself against the entire Western world in his opposition to the war in Iraq against of Saddam Hussein and that Benedict XVI, in his famous speech in Regensburg, lashed out against a Western culture that seeks to dominate the world with rationalism and technology.
No, I believe that there is a continuity in the Pope's actions: His offering the Churches' experience in healing humanity's wounds and helping to bring the cultures of the peoples to self-realization, by being open, defenceless and unarmed.  This is the path of Matteo Ricci and the many missionaries of the past and present in China. If there is something new in what Francis is doing then it is the patience with which he once again offers a brotherly friendship to a people and its leaders. In addition there is also his relativizing of the political dialogue, these long sought diplomatic relations, as if the future of the Church in China depended solely on these.
To see if Beijing will also embark on a "new line" we will have to wait a few days maybe sooner: its not a question of whether Xi Jinping responds to the (second) papal telegram, but if the young people who participated in the Asian Youth Day in Korea will be persecuted.
Until last February, their participation was taken for granted. When the Pope announced that he would go to Korea, especially from July onwards, there was a systematic attempt by the United Front, Religious Affairs Bureau, provincial and local authorities to persuade, threaten, and prohibit those who wanted to participate. The authorities exerted pressure on their families, employers, school and college principals to ensure that young people would not go to the Asian Youth Day, "encounter the pope and receive instructions from him". Some members of the government have even accused the young people of want to participate in "illegal religious activities".
These young Chinese boys and girls went to Korea, overcoming a slalom of prohibitions and received "instructions from the Pope," that of "fraternal dialogue" and charity and friendship towards all.  I ask, are these "crimes" punishable by arrest?

I believe that any "new line" of China will be measured by how China treats these young people. If they encounter trouble, imprisonment, problems at work and in school - as they fear - then, there is still an "old line" in China, even if Xi Jinping responds to the Papal telegram.

Today's Mass and Readings : Monday August 18, 2014


Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 419

Reading 1EZ 24:15-23

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, by a sudden blow
I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes,
but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears.
Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead,
bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet,
do not cover your beard, and do not eat the customary bread.
That evening my wife died,
and the next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Then the people asked me, “Will you not tell us what all these things
that you are doing mean for us?”
I therefore spoke to the people that morning, saying to them:
Thus the word of the LORD came to me:
Say to the house of Israel:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul.
The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you:
all that he did you shall do when it happens.
Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
You shall do as I have done,
not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread.
Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet.
You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another.

Responsorial Psalm DT 32:18-19, 20-21

R. (see 18a) You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you.
You forgot the God who gave you birth.
When the LORD saw this, he was filled with loathing
and anger toward his sons and daughters.
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
“I will hide my face from them,” he said,
“and see what will then become of them.
What a fickle race they are,
sons with no loyalty in them!”
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
“Since they have provoked me with their ‘no-god’
and angered me with their vain idols,
I will provoke them with a ‘no-people’;
with a foolish nation I will anger them.”
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.

Gospel MT 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself
.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

Official Announcement next Asian Youth Day in Indonesia 2017

Pope at Asian Youth Day in Korea
17/08/2014

(Vatican Radio) The 7th Asian Youth Day will be held in Indonesia in 2017. The annoucement was made by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and President of the Federation of the Asian Bishops' Conference at the end of the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis to conclude the 6th Asian Youth Day that has taken place in Korea.
Please find below the text of Cardinal Gracias' address to Pope Francis during the Mass in Haemi, Korea:
Most Holy Father,
            It is my privilege to convey to you the sentiments of the tens of thousands of our youth assembled here.
            How happy we felt as you led us in this concluding Eucharist of the 6th Asian Youth day here in Daejeon, Korea. How inspired we felt with your message to us: Asian Youth, Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines on you!  How thrilled we are on realizing that we are entrusted with the challenge of transforming society. How enthusiastic we feel as we carry the joy of the Gospel to the ends of Korea, to the ends of Asia and to the ends of the world.
            We have spent five days of excitement, joy and playfulness – but also of deep prayer, serious reflection and earnest exchange. We have been awakened from the soporific slumber that engulfed us because of certain values that infected us. In this slumber our eyes were closed to the joy of the Gospel, our minds clouded from seeing the beautiful vision of the Kingdom of God, and our hearts dulled to experience the warmth of Jesus’ love for us.
            But now after these five days in Daejeon we have rekindled our passion for the Gospel, revitalized our youthful spirit, and understood more deeply our baptismal consecration and the meaning of true discipleship.
And so ‘No’ to an economy of exclusion, ‘No’ to an economy of selfishness, without ethics, ‘No’ to the spirit of materialism. ‘No’, ‘No’, ‘No’. And a ‘yes’ to a personal encounter with Jesus whom we want to carry always with us. ‘Yes’ to the cry of the poor, the needy and the lonely and ‘yes’ to the world that eagerly waits for us.
            We leave the place with memories of Daejeon and Korea. We are grateful to you Most Holy Father for having been a true, loving and gracious father to us. Grateful to our leader, Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario, CSC, who guided us right through from the preparatory stage. Grateful to the main organizer, Fr. Patrick Gomes and his big team; Grateful to the FABC which inspired the whole Youth Day celebration and Grateful to the Korean Church – the Bishops, Priests, Religious and people, Grateful to our hosts, Grateful to Korea. We have been so privileged to be here. Thank you Korea. Thank you. God bless you.
            And so now we joyfully,  gloriously and proudly carry the cross of Jesus on our shoulders, in our hearts and in our lives as we march forward and prepare to meet for the next Asian Youth Day in 2017 in Indonesia.
            And so once again thank you Holy Father, thank you Korea. We love you.
  Oswald Cardinal Gracias 

Pope Francis "How much more when an entire people raises its heartfelt plea to heaven!" Closing Mass Video/Full Text


Pope Francis in Korea
18/08/2014


(Vatican Radio) On the final day of his visit to Korea, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for peace and reconciliation in Seoul’s Myeong-dong cathedral during which he prayed for the grace of healing and unity on the divided Korean peninsula. At the beginning of the Mass the Pope also had special words of support for a group of elderly ‘comfort women’ forced into prostitution for the Japanese military during the Second World War.
In his homily Pope Francis recalled the divisions and conflict that has lasted for over sixty years since the Korean war in the 1950s and he urged all followers of Christ in Korea to reflect on their own contribution to the building of a truly just and humane society.
The Pope said God’s promise to his people challenges us to examine our commitment to those less fortunate and less prosperous than ourselves. It also challenges Christians in Korea to firmly reject a mindset shaped by suspicion, confrontation and competition and instead to shape a culture formed by the teaching of the Gospel and the noblest traditional values of their country. The infinite power of Christ’s cross, Pope Francis said, can bridge every division and heal every wound.
Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ homily:
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis at the Mass For Peace And Reconciliation
Seoul, Myeong-dong Cathedral, 18th August 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As my stay in Korea draws to a close, I thank God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon this beloved country, and in a special way, upon the Church in Korea. Among those blessings I especially treasure the experience we have all had in these recent days of the presence of so many young pilgrims from throughout Asia. Their love of Jesus and their enthusiasm for the spread of his Kingdom have been an inspiration to us all.
My visit now culminates in this celebration of Mass, in which we implore from God the grace of peace and reconciliation. This prayer has a particular resonance on the Korean peninsula. Today’s Mass is first and foremost a prayer for reconciliation in this Korean family. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us how powerful is our prayer when two or three of us join in asking for something (cf. Mt 18:19-20). How much more when an entire people raises its heartfelt plea to heaven!
The first reading presents God’s promise to restore to unity and prosperity a people dispersed by disaster and division. For us, as for the people of Israel, this is a promise full of hope: it points to a future which God is even now preparing for us. Yet this promise is inseparably tied to a command: the command to return to God and wholeheartedly obey his law (cf. Dt 30:2-3). God’s gifts of reconciliation, unity and peace are inseparably linked to the grace of conversion, a change of heart which can alter the course of our lives and our history, as individuals and as a people.
At this Mass, we naturally hear this promise in the context of the historical experience of the Korean people, an experience of division and conflict which has lasted for well over sixty years. But God’s urgent summons to conversion also challenges Christ’s followers in Korea to examine the quality of their own contribution to the building of a truly just and humane society. It challenges each of you to reflect on the extent to which you, as individuals and communities, show evangelical concern for the less fortunate, the marginalized, those without work and those who do not share in the prosperity of the many. And it challenges you, as Christians and Koreans, firmly to reject a mindset shaped by suspicion, confrontation and competition, and instead to shape a culture formed by the teaching of the Gospel and the noblest traditional values of the Korean people.
In today’s Gospel, Peter asks the Lord: “If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” To which the Lord replies: “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy times seven” (Mt 18:21-22). These words go to the very heart of Jesus’ message of reconciliation and peace. In obedience to his command, we ask our heavenly Father daily to forgive us our sins, “as we forgive those who sin against us”. Unless we are prepared to do this, how can we honestly pray for peace and reconciliation?
Jesus asks us to believe that forgiveness is the door which leads to reconciliation. In telling us to forgive our brothers unreservedly, he is asking us to do something utterly radical, but he also gives us the grace to do it. What appears, from a human perspective, to be impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant, he makes possible and fruitful through the infinite power of his cross. The cross of Christ reveals the power of God to bridge every division, to heal every wound, and to reestablish the original bonds of brotherly love.
This, then, is the message which I leave you as I conclude my visit to Korea. Trust in the power of Christ’s cross! Welcome its reconciling grace into your own hearts and share that grace with others! I ask you to bear convincing witness to Christ’s message of forgiveness in your homes, in your communities and at every level of national life. I am confident that, in a spirit of friendship and cooperation with other Christians, with the followers of other religions, and with all men and women of good will concerned for the future of Korean society, you will be a leaven of the Kingdom of God in this land. Thus our prayers for peace and reconciliation will rise to God from ever more pure hearts and, by his gracious gift, obtain that precious good for which we all long.
Let us pray, then, for the emergence of new opportunities for dialogue, encounter and the resolution of differences, for continued generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to those in need, and for an ever greater recognition that all Koreans are brothers and sisters, members of one family, one people.
Before leaving Korea, I wish to thank the President of Republic, the civil and ecclesiastical authorities and all those who in any way helped to make this visit possible. I especially wish to address a word of personal appreciation to the priests of Korea, who daily labor in the service of the Gospel and the building up of God’s people in faith, hope and love. I ask you, as ambassadors of Christ and ministers of his reconciling love (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-20), to continue to build bridges of respect, trust and harmonious cooperation in your parishes, among yourselves, and with your bishops. Your example of unreserved love for the Lord, your faithfulness and dedication to your ministry, and your charitable concern for those in need, contribute greatly to the work of reconciliation and peace in this country.
Dear brothers and sisters, God calls us to return to him and to hearken to his voice, and he promises to establish us on the land in even greater peace and prosperity than our ancestors knew. May Christ’s followers in Korea prepare for the dawning of that new day, when this land of the morning calm will rejoice in God’s richest blessings of harmony and peace! Amen.

Pope Francis meets Religious Leaders “We must continue walking together”,


Leaders of South Korea's Christian and other faith communities
18/08/2014


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Monday morning with leaders of the different Christian Churches in Korea, together with the heads of the other main religious communities. The encounter was held in Seoul’s Catholic cathedral, just ahead of a concluding Mass which marked the final event on a packed, five day, papal programme.
Our correspondent in Korea for this papal visit is Sean-Patrick Lovett  - he reports on this significant ecumenical and interfaith meeting.Pope Francis had an opportunity to meet briefly this morning with Korea’s religious leaders, before going on to celebrate his last Mass in the country at Myeong-dong Cathedral.
Standing in front of a painting representing the recurring leitmotif of this visit, the Korean martyrs, the Pope greeted, one by one, among others: the Anglican Bishop of Seoul, the President of the Lutheran Church and the head of the Presbyterian churches in the country. Korea’s Buddhist leaders and representatives of other Christian communities were also present, along with the Orthodox Archbishop, who presented the Holy Father with a byzantine cross. The Pope appeared to be particularly pleased with this gift, promising to use it to impart the final blessing at the Mass.
And that’s exactly what he did.
The Pope’s improvised remarks in Spanish at the end of the encounter were translated for him by Fr John Che-chon Chong SJ – the newly-appointed Jesuit Provincial for Korea (and now familiar friendly face) who has been seen at the Holy Father’s side ever since he left Rome.  
“We must continue walking together”, Pope Francis told the ecumenical gathering, “walking with God and going forward together. Pray for me”.
Religious observers in this country say that relations among the different confessions in Korea are cordial (at least on the surface) and rarely subject to many of the tensions experienced elsewhere in the world.
What they won’t say is if this is the result of praiseworthy religious tolerance – or growing religious indifference. A recent survey on the subject revealed that nearly half the population in Korea professes no religious belief whatsoever.
That’s why it is so easy to understand much of Pope Francis’ appeal to them: his is the new face in a faithless void.
In Seoul, I’m Seàn-Patrick Lovett.  

Saint August 18 : St. Helena : Mother of Constantine

  

Information:
Feast Day:
August 18
Born:
248, Drepanum, Bithynia, Asia Minor
Died:
328, Constantinople, Roman
Major Shrine:
The shrine to Saint Helena in St. Peter's Basilica
Patron of:
archeologists, converts, difficult marriages, divorced people, empresses, Helena, the capital of Montana
The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage; St. Ambrose, in his "Oratio de obitu Theodosii", referred to her as a stabularia, or inn-keeper. Nevertheless, she became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus. Her first and only son, Constantine, was born in Naissus in Upper Moesia, in the year 274. The statement made by English chroniclers of the Middle Ages, according to which Helena was supposed to have been the daughter of a British prince, is entirely without historical foundation. It may arise from the misinterpretation of a term used in the fourth chapter of the panegyric on Constantine's marriage with Fausta, that Constantine, oriendo (i.e., "by his beginnings," "from the outset") had honoured Britain, which was taken as an allusion to his birth, whereas the reference was really to the beginning of his reign.

In the year 292 Constantius, having become co-Regent of the West, gave himself up to considerations of a political nature and forsook Helena in order to marry Theodora, the step-daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius, his patron, and well-wisher. But her son remained faithful and loyal to her. On the death of Constantius Chlorus, in 308, Constantine, who succeeded him, summoned his mother to the imperial court, conferred on her the title of Augusta, ordered that all honour should be paid her as the mother of the sovereign, and had coins struck bearing her effigy. Her son's influence caused her to embrace Christianity after his victory over Maxentius. This is directly attested by Eusebius (Vita Constantini, III, xlvii): "She (his mother) became under his (Constantine's) influence such a devout servant of God, that one might believe her to have been from her very childhood a disciple of the Redeemer of mankind". It is also clear from the declaration of the contemporary historian of the Church that Helena, from the   time of her conversion had an earnestly Christian life and by her influence and liberality favoured the wider spread of Christianity. Tradition links her name with the building of Christian churches in the cities of the West, where the imperial court resided, notably at Rome and Trier, and there is no reason for rejecting this tradition, for we know positively through Eusebius that Helena erected churches on the hallowed spots of Palestine. Despite her advanced age she undertook a journey to Palestine when Constantine, through his victory over Licinius, had become sole master of the Roman Empire, subsequently, therefore, to the year 324. It was in Palestine, as we learn from Eusebius (loc. cit., xlii), that she had resolved to bring to God, the King of kings, the homage and tribute of her devotion. She lavished on that land her bounties and good deeds, she "explored it with remarkable discernment", and "visited it with the care and solicitude of the emperor himself". Then, when she "had shown dueveneration to the footsteps of the Saviour", she had two churches erected for the worship of God: one was raised in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem. She also embellished the sacred grotto with rich ornaments. This sojourn in Jerusalem proved the starting-point of the legend first recorded by Rufinus as to the discovery of the Cross of Christ.

Her princely munificence was such that, according to Eusebius, she assisted not only individuals but entire communities. The poor and destitute were the special objects of her charity. She visited the churches everywhere with pious zeal and made them rich donations. It was thus that, in fulfilment of the Saviour's precept, she brought forth abundant fruit in word and deed. If Helena conducted herself in this manner while in the Holy Land, which is indeed testified to by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, we should not doubt that she manifested the same piety and benevolence in those other cities of the empire in which she resided after her conversion. Her memory in Rome is chiefly identified with the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme. On the present location of this church formerly stood the Palatium Sessorianum, and near by were the Thermae Helenianae, which baths derived their name from the empress. Here two inscriptions were found composed in honour of Helena. The Sessorium, which was near the site of the Lateran, probably served as Helena's residence when she stayed in Rome; so that it is quite possible for a Christian basilica to have been erected on this spot by Constantine, at her suggestion and in honour of the true Cross.

Helena was still living in the year 326, when Constantine ordered the execution of his son Crispus. When, according to Socrates' account (Church History I.17), the emperor in 327 improved Drepanum, his mother's native town, and decreed that it should be called Helenopolis, it is probable that the latter returned from Palestine to her son who was then residing in the Orient. Constantine was with her when she died, at the advanced age of eighty years or thereabouts (Eusebius, Life of Constantine III.46). This must have been about the year 330, for the last coins which are known to have been stamped with her name bore this date. Her body was brought to Constantinople and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles. It is presumed that her remains were transferred in 849 to the Abbey of Hautvillers, in the French Archdiocese of Reims, as recorded by the monk Altmann in his "Translatio". She was revered as a saint, and the veneration spread, early in the ninth century, even to Western countries. Her feast falls on 18 August. Regarding the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helena, see CROSS AND CRUCIFIX.