Sunday, September 21, 2014

Novena for Feast of the Archangels St. Michael - St. Gabriel - St. Raphael


September 29th is the Feast of the Archangels. Here are three novenas to the archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael.

Novena to St. Michael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value on my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).

St. Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy Will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, St. Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.


Novena to St. Gabriel the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the "Angel of the Incarnation," because God has specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a tender and devoted Mother, more like your own.

I venerate you also as the "strength from God," because you are the giver of God's strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God's faithful and to teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions, renew my courage, comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in His agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.

St. Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (Mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God-Made-Man and for His blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, if it be God's holy Will.

Pray for us, St. Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray. Almighty and ever-living God, since You chose the Archangel Gabriel from among all the Angels to announce the mystery of Your Son's Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who honor him on earth may feel the benefit of his patronage in heaven. You live and reign for ever. Amen.



Novena to St. Raphael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

Holy Archangel Raphael, standing so close to the throne of God and offering Him our prayers, I venerate you as God's special Friend and Messenger. I choose you as my Patron and wish to love and obey you as young Tobiah did. I consecrate to you my body and soul,all my work, and my whole life. I want you to be my Guide and Counselor in all the dangerous and difficult problems and decisions of my life.

Remember, dearest, St. Raphael, that the grace of God preserved you with the good Angels in heaven when the proud ones were cast into hell. I entreat you, therefore, to help me in my struggle against the world, the spirit of impurity, and the devil. Defend me from all dangers and every occasion of sin. Direct me always in the way of peace, safety, and salvation. Offer my prayers to God as you offered those of Tobiah, so that through your intercession I may obtain the graces necessary for the salvation of my soul. I ask you to pray that God grant me this favor if it be His holy Will: (Mention your request).

St. Raphael, help me to love and serve my God faithfully, to die in His grace, and finally to merit to join you in seeing and praising God forever in heaven. Amen.

Sunday Mass and Readings September 21, 2014 - 25th Ordinary Year A


Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 133


Reading 1IS 55:6-9

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18

R/ (18a) The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R/ The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R/ The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R/ The Lord is near to all who call upon him.

Reading 2PHIL 1:20C-24, 27A

Brothers and sisters:
Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.
If I go on living in the flesh,
that means fruitful labor for me.
And I do not know which I shall choose.
I am caught between the two.
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better.
Yet that I remain in the flesh
is more necessary for your benefit.

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Gospel MT 20:1-16A

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Novena to St. Matthew - SHARE this Prayer - Patron of Money, Bankers and Tax Collectors

Author unknown.
Opening Prayer
God of mercy you chose a tax collector, Saint Matthew, to share the dignity of the apostles. By his example and prayers help us to follow Christ and remain faithful in your service. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Amen.
Day One
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:3)
Dear Jesus, I have sinned against God and you.  I have gone against you and hurt you with each and every sin I have committed.  I am not worthy of your love, but you are my only hope.  Please save me, and please forgive me, for I am lost without you.
Saint Matthew, as you were one of the lucky twelve who walked the Earth with Jesus by your side, you were continually made aware of your own nothingness before his greatness and saw many evidences of God’s immense grace.  Help me to be so poor in spirit that I acknowledge my own nothingness before God on a moment-by-moment basis, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Two
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
Dear Jesus, even though I have committed such grave offenses against you and God, you still loved me enough to give your life for me so I could be free in Heaven.  With all my heart, please forgive me for ever having offended you.  I know it was my sins that condemned you to die.  I love you more than I love myself, and can do nothing without you.  All that I am and all that I hope to be is solely because of your grace and mercy and nothing else.
Saint Matthew, as a former tax-collector, you were considered one of the worst sinners, but Jesus called you anyway to be one of his apostles.  Help me to truly mourn for all the sins I have committed and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST). 
Amen.
Day Three
Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.”(Matthew 5:5)
Dear Jesus, I know that I can do all things through you who gives me strength, but not according to my will, but yours.  Therefore, I submit my will totally to you.  Although evil may seem to triumph, these are temporary triumphs indeed, because the meek, not the wicked, shall inherit the Earth.
Saint Matthew, you gave up a life of worldly pleasures to follow God’s word made flesh in Jesus, trusting that he would take care of all your needs.  This must not have been easy, since you came from a life of privilege.  Please help me to have the quality of meekness before God constantly being produced within me, relying on his strength for every move I make and every action I take, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Four
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
Dear Jesus, I want to be just like you.  Please lead and guide me so I can live my life completely in conformity with the will of God, going contentedly wherever his will takes me.  Help me to do everything just as you would.
Saint Matthew, you left behind a very financially lucrative career and the ways of the world to follow Jesus’s way instead.  Help me to constantly hunger and thirst for righteousness just as you did, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST). 
Amen.
Day Five
Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Dear Jesus, thank you for the mercy you have shown me time and time again, even when my actions have not merited it.  Thank you for comforting me in times of sickness and trouble.  Help me to look at everyone I come across with a tender heart, truly feeling in my heart the pain and suffering of others.  Help me to always make the effort to ease the pain and suffering of others, with an ever ready, always affectionate, and joyful heart.
Saint Matthew, as an apostle, you were an extension of Jesus in the world.  You got to see his kindness and mercy displayed firsthand and then were asked to emulate it.  Help me to emulate Jesus by demonstrating true kindness and mercy to others, just as Jesus did, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Six
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”(Matthew 5:8)
Dear Jesus, I have so often let you down because of my impure heart; please forgive me.  Help me to be pure in my imagination, in my thoughts, in my words, in my decisions, and in my desires.  Help me to think how God thinks, desire what God desires, hate what God hates, and love only what God loves.  Please make my heart completely free of all evil thoughts.
Saint Matthew, I know you understand what it means to struggle with maintaining a pure heart because you were a man and struggled with the desires of the flesh just as I do.  Help me to remain truly pure in heart, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Seven
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Dear Jesus, first and foremost, help me to find peace with God, for only then can I find true peace with others.  Help me to do whatever it takes to create peace wherever I go, although my efforts may often meet with failure.  Help me to love, desire, and delight in peace.  Forgive me for all of the times my actions have resulted in discord and dissention, whether intentional or unintentional.
Saint Matthew, you made your peace with God through Jesus, now please help me to make mine.  Help me also to sow peace wherever I may go, just as you did, as a witness to Jesus Christ, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Eight
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
Dear Jesus, please show me how to persevere in this struggle for things which are holy and honorable, because I fall down and grow weak so often.  Help me to be faithful to you in all things, so that your will may be done in and through my life.  Help me to be bold in my steady struggle for faith and unwavering in my commitment to all Godly things.
Saint Matthew, please guide me to be courageous like you in standing on the side of God’s truth, even in the face of being persecuted for righteousness, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Nine
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”(Matthew 5:11)
Dear Jesus, as the times in which we live become darker and darker, living by your ways and following you is branding me in such a way that invites persecution and insult, just as it did you.  If I live by your ways and love you with my whole being, I live by the light and provide a target for those who do not live by the light.  Sinning is what gives most people pleasure, but I can no longer live that way, because I am aware of how much you sacrificed for me in love by dying on the cross.  For all that you have done for me, I no longer desire to live in the darkness.  Each time I receive an insult for belonging to you, please help me to bear it with great patience.
Saint Matthew, in being given the awesome honor of being chosen to be an apostle, you were persecuted just as Jesus was persecuted.  You felt, however, the persecution you experienced was also a great honor, because Jesus was not just a man, but he was indeed God.  Help me to be strong enough to love Jesus’s light and to run from the darkness of sin and then, when persecution comes, to be strong enough to handle that as well.  And please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.

Pope Francis meets Inter-religious Leaders and Vespers Full Text/Video


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with leaders of the different religious communities in Albania on Sunday afternoon, insisting once again that no-one can use the name of God to commit violence. Speaking at the Catholic University of Tirana, the Pope said “Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence….To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman.”
Noting that religious freedom cannot be guaranteed by legislation alone, the Pope urged his listeners to promote attitudes of respect and cooperation in the service of the common good.  When a person is secure of his or her own beliefs, he said, there is no need to impose or put pressure on others.
Please find below the full text of the Pope’s meeting with leaders of other religions and Christian denominations in Albania
Dear Friends,
It is a great pleasure to be here at this meeting which brings together leaders of the main religious confessions present in Albania. With deep respect I greet each one of you and the communities that you represent; and I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to Archbishop Massafra for his words of introduction. It is important that you are here together: it is a sign of the dialogue which you experience daily, seeking to build among yourselves bonds of fraternity and cooperation for the good of the whole of society.
Albania sadly witnessed the violence and tragedy that can be caused by a forced exclusion of God from personal and communal life. When, in the name of an ideology, there is an attempt to remove God from society, it ends up adoring idols, and very soon men and women lose their way, their dignity is trampled and their rights violated. You know well how much pain comes from the denial of freedom of conscience and of religious freedom, and how from such a wound comes a humanity that is impoverished because it lacks hope and ideals to guide it.
The changes that have come since the 1990’s have had the positive effect, among other things, of creating the conditions for an exercise of authentic religious freedom. This has made it possible for each community to renew traditions which were never really extinguished, despite ferocious persecution. With this religious freedom has come also the possibility for every person to offer, according to their own religious convictions, a positive contribution; firstly, to the moral reconstruction of the country and then, subsequently, to the economic reconstruction.
In reality, as John Paul II stated during his historic visit to Albania in 1993, “Religious freedom […] is not only a precious gift from the Lord for those who have faith: it is a gift for each person, because it is the basic guarantee of every other expression of freedom […]. Only faith reminds us that, if we have one Creator, we are therefore all brothers and sisters. Religious freedom is a safeguard against all forms of totalitarianism and contributes decisively to human fraternity” (Message to the Albanian People, 25 April 1993).
He immediately then added, “True religious freedom shuns the temptation to intolerance and sectarianism, and promotes attitudes of respect and constructive dialogue” (ibid.). We cannot deny that intolerance towards those with different religious convictions is a particularly insidious enemy, one which today is being witnessed in various areas around the world. All believers must be particularly vigilant so that, in living out with conviction our religious and ethical code, we may always express the mystery we intend to honour. This means that all those forms which present a distorted use of religion, must be firmly refuted as false since they are unworthy of God or humanity. Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence! No one must use the name of God to commit violence! To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman.
Seen in this light, religious freedom is not a right which can be guaranteed solely by existing legislation, although laws are necessary. Rather religious freedom is a shared space, an atmosphere of respect and cooperation that must be built with everyone’s participation, even those who have no religious convictions. Allow me to outline two attitudes which can be especially helpful in the advancement of this fundamental freedom.
The first attitude is that of regarding every man and woman, even those of different religious traditions, not as rivals, less still enemies, but rather as brothers and sisters. When a person is secure of his or her own beliefs, there is no need to impose or put pressure on others: there is a conviction that truth has its own power of attraction. Deep down, we are all pilgrims on this earth, and on this pilgrim journey, as we yearn for truth and eternity, we do not live autonomous and self-sufficient individual lives; the same applies to religious, cultural and national communities. We need each other, and are entrusted to each other’s care. Each religious tradition, from within, must be able to take account of others.
The second attitude which fosters the promotion of religious freedom is the work done in service of the common good. Whenever adherence to a specific religious tradition gives birth to service that shows conviction, generosity and concern for the whole of society without making distinctions, then there too exists an authentic and mature living out of religious freedom. This presents itself not only as a space in which to legitimately defend one’s autonomy, but also as a potential that enriches the human family as it advances. The more men and women are at the service of others, the greater their freedom!
Let us look around us: there are so many poor and needy people, so many societies that try to find a more inclusive way of social justice and path of economic development! How great is the need for the human heart to be firmly fixed on the deepest meaning of experiences in life and rooted in a rediscovery of hope! Men and women, inspired in these areas by the values of their respective religious traditions, can offer an important, and even unique, contribution. This is truly a fertile land offering much fruit, also in the field of interreligious dialogue.
Dear friends, I encourage you to maintain and develop the tradition of good relations among the various religious communities in Albania, and to be united in serving your beloved homeland. Continue to be a sign for your country, and beyond, that good relations and fruitful cooperation are truly possible among men and women of different religions. And pray also for me. May God bless you all.

VESPERS WITH POPE FRANCIS IN TIRANA CATHEDRAL
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis told Albania’s priests, religious and lay movements that despite their many difficulties, they must have the courage to go out and serve those most in need. Speaking at Vespers in Tirana’s Catholic cathedral, the Pope recalled those pastors who paid a huge price under the atheist regime, experiencing prison and persecution in order to remain faithful to Christ.


When love for Christ is placed above all else, Pope Francis said, then we are able to move outside of ourselves, of our personal or communal pettiness, and move towards Jesus who, in our brothers and sisters, comes to us. His wounds are still visible today, the Pope said, on the bodies of so many men and women who are hungry and thirsty; who are humiliated; who are in hospital or prison. What people are looking for today, the Pope concluded, is not experts, but rather humble witnesses of the mercy and tenderness of God.
Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ homily to Priests, Religious, Seminarians and Members of Lay Movements in the Cathedral of Tirana.
Dear brothers and sisters,
It is a great joy for me to meet with you in your beloved homeland; I thank God for the opportunity and I thank you for your hospitality! Here in your midst, I can better express my closeness to your task of evangelization.
Since the moment your country has been free from dictatorship, the ecclesial communities in Albania have begun again to journey onward and to organize themselves for pastoral work, looking to the future with hope. I am particularly grateful to those Pastors who paid a great price for their fidelity to Christ and for their decision to remain united to the Successor of Peter. They were courageous in the face of difficulty and trial! There are still priests and religious among us who have experienced prison and persecution, like the sister and brother who have told us their story. I embrace you warmly, and I praise God for your faithful witness that inspires the whole Church to continue to proclaim the Gospel with joy.
Treasuring this experience, the Church in Albania can grow in its missionary and apostolic zeal. I know and appreciate the effort you make to oppose those new forms of “dictatorship” that threaten to enslave individuals and communities. If the atheist regime sought to suffocate the faith, these new forms of dictatorship, in a more insidious way, are able to suffocate charity. I am referring to individualism, rivalry and heated conflicts: these are worldly mentalities that can contaminate even the Christian community. We need not be discouraged by these difficulties; do not be afraid to continue along the path of the Lord. He is always at your side, he gives you his grace and he helps you to sustain one another; to accept one another as you are, with understanding and mercy; he helps you to deepen fraternal communion.
Evangelization is more effective when it is carried out with oneness of spirit and with sincere teamwork among the various ecclesial communities as well as among missionaries and local clergy: this requires courage to seek out ways of working together and offering mutual help in the areas of catechesis and catholic education, as well as integral human development and charity. In these settings, the contribution of the ecclesial movements that know how to work in communion with Pastors is highly valuable. That is precisely what I see before me: bishops, priests, religious and laity: a Church that desires to walk in fraternity and unity.
When love for Christ is placed above all else, even above our legitimate particular needs, then we are able to move outside of ourselves, of our personal or communal pettiness, and move towards Jesus who, in our brothers and sisters, comes to us. His wounds are still visible today on the bodies of so many men and women who are hungry and thirst; who are humiliated; who are in hospital or prison. By touching and caring for these wounds with tenderness, it is possible to fully live the Gospel and to adore God who lives in our midst.
There are many problems that you encounter every day. These problems compel you to immerse yourselves with fervour and generosity in apostolic work. And yet, we know that by ourselves we can do nothing: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain” (Ps 127:1). This awareness calls us to give due space for the Lord every day, to dedicate our time to him, open our hearts to him, so that he may work in our lives and in our mission. That which the Lord promises for the prayer made with trust and perseverance goes beyond what we can imagine (cf Lk 11:11-12): beyond that which we ask for, God sends us also the Holy Spirit. The contemplative dimension of our lives becomes indispensable even in the midst of the most urgent and difficult tasks we encounter. The more our mission calls us to go out into the peripheries of life, the more our hearts feel the intimate need to be united to the heart of Christ, which is full of mercy and love.
Considering the fact that the number of priests and religious is not yet sufficient, the Lord Jesus repeats to you today “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest,” (Mt 9: 37-38). We must not forget that this prayer begins with a gaze: the gaze of Jesus, who sees the great harvest. Do we also have this gaze? Do we know how to recognize the abundant fruits that the grace of God has caused to grow and the work that there is to be done in the field of the Lord? It is by gazing with faith on the field of God that prayer spring forth, namely, the daily and pressing invocation to the Lord for priestly and religious vocations. Dear seminarians, postulants and novices, you are the fruit of this prayer of the people of God, which always precedes and accompanies your personal response. The Church in Albania needs your enthusiasm and your generosity. The time that you dedicate today to a solid spiritual, theological, communitarian and pastoral formation, is directed to serving adequately the people of God tomorrow. The people, more than seeking experts, are looking for witnesses: humble witnesses of the mercy and tenderness of God; priests and religious conformed to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who are capable of communicating the love of Christ to all people.
Together with you and the entire Albanian people, I want to give thanks to God for the many missionaries whose activity was decisive for the renewal of the Church in Albania and which continues to be of great importance to this day. These missionaries have offered significant contribution to the consolidation of the spiritual patrimony that the Albanian bishops, priests, consecrated religious and lay persons have preserved in the midst of difficult trials and tribulations. Let us acknowledge the great work done by the religious institutes for the revival of Catholic education: these efforts are worth recognizing and sustaining.
Dear brothers and sisters, do not be discouraged in the face of difficulties. Following the footsteps of your fathers, be tenacious in giving testimony to Christ, walking “together with God, toward the hope that never disappoints”. In your journey, rest assured that you are accompanied and supported by the love of the whole Church. I thank you from the heart for this meeting, and I entrust each one of you and your communities - your plans and your hopes - to the holy Mother of God. I bless you from my heart and I ask you please to pray for me.

Pope Francis "May peace be in your homes! May peace reign in your hearts! Peace in your country!" Full Text/Mass Video

Pope arrives in Mother Teresa Square to celebrate Mass
21/09/
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday encouraged the people of Albania to cultivate hope and involve the young generations, opening their hearts to Christ and fulfilling their roles in the Church and in society.
In his homily during Mass in Tirana’s Mother Teresa Square, Pope Francis recalled the witness of the Albanian martyrs and the terrible suffering of persecuted Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims.
Commenting on the fact that the Albanian population is a young one, he urged all Albanians not to forget the wounds of the past, but to go forward and fly high on the wings of hope for a great future.
Please find below the full text of the Pope’s homily:
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Holy Mass in Mother Teresa Square
 (Tirana, 21 September 2014)
Today’s Gospel tells us that, as well as the Twelve Apostles, Jesus calls another seventy-two disciples and that he sends them to the villages and cities to announce the Kingdom of God (cf. Lk 10:1-9, 17-20).  He comes to bring the love of God to the world and he wishes to share it by means of communion and fraternity.  To this end he immediately forms a community of disciples, a missionary community, and he trains them how to “go out” on mission.  The method is both clear and simple: the disciples visit homes and their preaching begins with a greeting which is charged with meaning: “Peace be to this house!”.  It is not only a greeting, but also a gift: the gift of peace.  Being here with you today, dear brothers and sisters of Albania, in this Square dedicated to a humble and great daughter of this land, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, I wish to repeat to you this greeting: May peace be in your homes! May peace reign in your hearts! Peace in your country!    
In the mission of the seventy-two disciples we see a reflection of the Christian community’s missionary experience in every age: the risen and living Lord sends not only the Twelve, but the entire Church; he sends each of the baptized to announce the Gospel to all peoples.  Through the ages, the message of peace brought by Jesus’ messengers has not always been accepted; at times, the doors have been closed to them.  In the recent past, the doors of your country were also closed, locked by the chains of prohibitions and prescriptions of a system which denied God and impeded religious freedom.  Those who were afraid of the truth did everything they could to banish God from the hearts of men and women and to exclude Christ and the Church from the history of your country, even though it was one of the first to receive the light of the Gospel.  In the second reading, in fact, we heard a reference being made to Illyria, which in Paul’s time included the territory of modern-day Albania.
Recalling the decades of atrocious suffering and harsh persecutions against Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims, we can say that Albania was a land of martyrs: many bishops, priests, men and women religious, and laity paid for their fidelity with their lives.  Demonstrations of great courage and constancy in the profession of the faith are not lacking.  How many Christians did not succumb when threatened, but persevered without wavering on the path they had undertaken!  I stand spiritually at that wall of the cemetery of Scutari, a symbolic place of the martyrdom of Catholics before the firing squads, and with profound emotion I place the flower of my prayer and of my grateful and undying remembrance.  The Lord was close to you, dear brothers and sisters, to sustain you; he led you and consoled you and in the end he has raised you up on eagle’s wings as he did for the ancient people of Israel (cf. First Reading).  The eagle, depicted on your nation’s flag, calls to mind hope, and the need to always place your trust in God, who does not lead us astray and who is ever at our side, especially in moments of difficulty.
Today, the doors of Albania have been reopened and a season of new missionary vitality is growing for all of the members of the people of God: each baptized person has his or her role to fulfil in the Church and in society.  Each one must experience the call to dedicate themselves generously to the announcing of the Gospel and to the witness of charity; called to strengthen the bonds of solidarity so as to create more just and fraternal living conditions for all.  Today, I have come to encourage you to cultivate hope among yourselves and within your hearts; to involve the young generations; to nourish yourselves assiduously on the Word of God, opening your hearts to Christ: his Gospel will show you the way!  May your faith be joyful and bright; may you demonstrate that the encounter with Christ gives meaning to human existence, meaning to every man and woman.
In the spirit of communion among bishops, priests, consecrated persons and laity, I encourage you to bring vitality to your pastoral activities and to continuously seek new ways of making the Church present in society: do not be afraid to respond generously to Christ who invites you to follow him!  In a priestly or religious vocation you will find the richness and the joy of offering yourselves to the service of God and your brothers and sisters.  How many men and women await the light of the Gospel and the grace of the Sacraments!
To the Church which is alive in this land of Albania, I say “thank you” for the example of fidelity to the Gospel!  So many of your sons and daughters have suffered for Christ, even to the point of sacrificing their lives.  May their witness sustain your steps today and tomorrow as you journey along the way of love, of freedom, of justice and of peace.  Amen.

Pope Francis arrives in Albania - Video Ceremony and Text

Pope Francis in Albania
21/09/
(Vatican Radio ) This Sunday, September 21st  Pope Francis is in Albania’s capital city Tirana on a day long Apostolic journey to this Balkan nation, his fourth abroad and his first to a European nation outside of Italy. The theme of this visit is ‘Together in God’ . 
Pope Francis was welcomed warmly in this majority Muslim nation where Catholics number around 15%, and Orthodox around 10% and celebrated Holy Mass in Tirana's Mother Teresa Square, making his way there in his open top white jeep, the  same one he uses in Rome for public audiences in Saint Peter’s Square.
During his homily at Holy Mass Pope Francis encouraged Albanians to cultivate hope, calling younger  generations to open their hearts to Christ and to fulfill their roles in the Church and in society. He also thanked the people of this nation for having kept the faith  during times of harsh persecution. 
Commenting on the fact that the Albanian population is a young one, he also  remarked how while  Albanians must  not forget the wounds of the past they should go forward and fly high on the wings of hope for a great future.
Intermittent, sometimes heavy rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the tens of thousands of Albanians who turned out for the Papal Mass on Sunday morning in Tirana.
The theme of hope has been prominent during this journey: the hope for peace, the hope for a better future, the hope for a new springtime for the Catholic Faith in Albania. It’s a hope that you can feel in the air – and it was that spirit of hope that inspired Pope Francis’ remarks in his homily that that people of Albania are a young people. The Albanians who came out to greet Pope Francis, whether young or old in years, gave the impression of a young people going forward in hope.
That youthful attitude is something Pope Francis has called for throughout his pontificate, and it was clear Sunday morning that the Holy Father saw in the crowds here in Tirana the evangelical missionary spirit he has called for so often.
But if it is a young nation, it is also a country with a history, a sad history that has likewise played a great role in Pope Francis’ voyage. The legacy of almost 50 years of communist oppression has left its mark on the land and the people. “Those who were afraid of the truth,” the Pope said, “did everything they could to banish God from the hearts of men and women, and to exclude Christ and the Church from the history of your country.” Their attempt was frustrated, and the atheistic regime was only able to produce an army of martyrs, one more glorious chapter in the history of the Church in Albania.
A young people with a long history. A people going forward, with God, in hope. It’s no surprise that Pope Francis sees in Albania a model for the world.

Pope Francis "The secret to a good life is found in loving and..." at center for disabled in Albania


Pope Albania
21/09/

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has visited a residential centre for disabled and needy children run by an Italian charity in the Albanian capital, Tirana.  It was the final engagement of his one-day visit to Albania on Sunday.  In his address at the Bethany Centre the Pope spoke of how faith, working through charity, can dislodge indifference, disbelief and  apathy. He also said goodness offers infinitely more than money which only disappoints and warned against measuring everything in terms of power and money. Please find below a translation into English of the Pope’s address during his meeting with children at the Bethany Centre and representatives of other charitable organisations in Albania:
“Dear Friends,           
I thank you from my heart for your joyful welcome!  Above all, I wish to thank those of you who, each day, offer to so many children and youngsters in need of care, tenderness, a serene environment and friendliness.  May you be also true educators, giving good example in the way you live and the way you offer support. 
                In places such as this we are all confirmed in the faith; each one is helped in his or her belief, because we see the faith visibly expressed in practical acts of charity.  We see how faith brings light and hope in situations of grave hardship; we observe how faith is rekindled in hearts touched by the Spirit of Jesus who said, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (Mk 9:37).  This faith,  working through charity, dislodges the mountains of indifference, of disbelief and of apathy, and opens hands and hearts to work for what is good and share this experience.  Through humble gestures and simple acts of service to the least among us, the Good News that Jesus is risen and lives among us is proclaimed.
This Centre, furthermore, shows that it is possible to live together peacefully and fraternally as people of different ethnicities and followers of various religious confessions.  Here differences do not prevent harmony, joy and peace, but rather become occasions for a greater mutual awareness and understanding.  The variety of religious experiences reveals a true and reverential love of neighbour; each religious community expresses itself through love and not violence, and is never ashamed of showing goodness!  The persons who nourish goodness in their heart, find that such goodness leads to a peaceful conscience and to profound joy even in the midst of difficulties and misunderstandings.  Even when affronted, goodness is never weak but  rather, shows its strength by refusing to take revenge. 
               
Goodness is its own reward and draws us closer to God, who is the Supreme Good.  It helps us to think like him, to see our lives in the light of his plan of love for each one of us, and enables us to delight in life’s daily joys, helping us in difficulties and in trials.  Goodness offers infinitely more than money, which only deludes, because we have been created to receive the love of God and to offer it, not measuring everything in terms of money or power.
            Dear friends, in her greeting, your Director recalled the steps taken by your Association and the works that were inspired by the founder, Mrs Antonietta Vitale, whom I cordially greet and thank for her welcome.  Your Director also spoke of help given by benefactors and described the progress of various projects.  She noted too, how many children have been lovingly welcomed and cared for.   Mirjan spoke, on the other hand, of a personal experience, of wonder and gratitude for an encounter which was life-changing for him, and which opened new horizons, offering opportunities to make new friends, and particularly one Friend who is greater than all the others, namely, Jesus.  Mirjan said something very poignant in regard to those volunteers who offer their help; he said, “For fifteen years now they have sacrificed themselves joyfully out of love for Jesus and for us”.  This phrase reveals how making a gift of oneself for the love of Jesus gives birth to joy and hope, and it also shows how serving one’s brothers and sisters is transformed into an experience of sharing God’s kingdom.  The words of Mirjan-Paolo might seem paradoxical to many in our world who are slow to grasp their meaning and who frantically seek the key to existence in earthly riches, possessions and amusements.  What these people discover, instead, is estrangement and bewilderment.
               The secret to a good life is found in loving and giving oneself for love’s sake.  From here comes the strength to “sacrifice oneself joyfully”, and thus the most demanding work is transformed into a source of a greater joy.  In this way, there is no longer any fear of making important choices in life, but they are seen for what they are, namely, as the way to personal fulfilment in freedom.
               May the Lord Jesus and his Mother, the Virgin Mary, bless your Association, this Bethany Centre and the other centres which love has initiated and providence has built.  May God bless all the volunteers, benefactors and the children and adolescents who have been welcomed here.  May your patron, Saint Anthony, accompany you along the way.  I encourage you to continue faithfully serving the Lord Jesus in the poor and abandoned, and to pray to him so that the hearts and minds of all may be opened to goodness, to charity shown in works, which is the source of real and authentic joy.  I ask you also kindly to pray for me, and from my heart, I bless each one of you.”