Thursday, October 16, 2014

Saint October 17 : St. Ignatius of Antioch : Patron of Throat diseases

St. Ignatius of Antioch
BISHOP, MARTYR
Feast: October 17
Information:
Feast Day:
October 17
Born:
50 in Syria
Died:
between 98-117, Rome
Major Shrine:
Relics are in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
Patron of:
against throat diseases, Church in eastern Mediterranean; Church in North Africa

Also called Theophorus (ho Theophoros); born in Syria, around the year 50; died at Rome between 98 and 117.
More than one of the earliest ecclesiastical writers have given credence, though apparently without good reason, to the legend that Ignatius was the child whom the Savior took up in His arms, as described in Mark, ix, 35. It is also believed, and with great probability, that, with his friend Polycarp, he was among the auditors of the Apostle St. John. If we include St. Peter, Ignatius was the third Bishop of Antioch and the immediate successor of Evodius (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl.", II, iii, 22). Theodoret ("Dial. Immutab.", I, iv, 33a, Paris, 1642) is the authority for the statement that St. Peter appointed Ignatius to the See of Antioch. St. John Chrysostom lays special emphasis on the honor conferred upon the martyr in receiving his episcopal consecration at the hands of the Apostles themselves ("Hom. in St. Ig.", IV. 587). Natalis Alexander quotes Theodoret to the same effect (III, xii, art. xvi, p. 53).
All the sterling qualities of ideal pastor and a true soldier of Christ were possessed by the Bishop of Antioch in a preeminent degree. Accordingly, when the storm of the persecution of Domitian broke in its full fury upon the Christians of Syria, it found their faithful leader prepared and watchful. He was unremitting in his vigilance and tireless in his efforts to inspire hope and to strengthen the weaklings of his flock against the terrors of the persecution. The restoration of peace, though it was short-lived, greatly comforted him. But it was not for himself that he rejoiced, as the one great and ever-present wish of his chivalrous soul was that he might receive the fullness of Christian discipleship through the medium of martyrdom. His desire was not to remain long unsatisfied. Associated with the writings of St. Ignatius is a work called "Martyrium Ignatii ", which purports to be an account by eyewitnesses of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius and the acts leading up to it. In this work, which such competent Protestant critics as Pearson and Ussher regard as genuine, the full history of that eventful journey from Syria to Rome is faithfully recorded for the edification of the Church of Antioch. It is certainly very ancient and is reputed to have been written by Philo, deacon of Tarsus, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, who accompanied Ignatius to Rome. It is generally admitted, even by those who regarded it as authentic, that this work has been greatly interpolated. Its most reliable form is that found in the "Martyrium Colbertinum" which closes the mixed recension and is so called because its oldest witness is the tenth-century Codex Colbertinus (Paris).
According to these Acts, in the ninth year of his reign, Trajan, flushed with victory over the Scythians and Dacians, sought to perfect the universality of his dominion by a species of religious conquest. He decreed, therefore, that the Christians should unite with their pagan neighbors in the worship of the gods. A general persecution was threatened, and death was named as the penalty for all who refused to offer the prescribed sacrifice. Instantly alert to the danger that threatened, Ignatius availed himself of all the means within his reach to thwart the purpose of the emperor. The success of his zealous efforts did not long remain hidden from the Church's persecutors. He was soon arrested and led before Trajan, who was then sojourning in Antioch. Accused by the emperor himself of violating the imperial edict, and of inciting others to like transgressions, Ignatius valiantly bore witness to the faith of Christ. If we may believe the account given in the "Martyrium", his bearing before Trajan was characterized by inspired eloquence, sublime courage, and even a spirit of exultation. Incapable of appreciating the motives that animated him, the emperor ordered him to be put in chains and taken to Rome, there to become the food of wild beasts and a spectacle for the people.
That the trials of this journey to Rome were great we gather from his letter to the Romans (par. 5): "From Syria even to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated." Despite all this, his journey was a kind of triumph. News of his fate, his destination, and his probable itinerary had gone swiftly before. At several places along the road his fellow-Christians greeted him with words of comfort and reverential homage. It is probable that he embarked on his way to Rome at Seleucia, in Syria, the nearest port to Antioch, for either Tarsus in Cilicia, or Attalia in Pamphylia, and thence, as we gather from his letters, he journeyed overland through Asia Minor. At Laodicea, on the River Lycus, where a choice of routes presented itself, his guards selected the more northerly, which brought the prospective martyr through Philadelphia and Sardis, and finally to Smyrna, where Polycarp, his fellow-disciple in the school of St. John, was bishop. The stay at Smyrna, which was a protracted one, gave the representatives of the various Christian communities in Asia Minor an opportunity of greeting the illustrious prisoner, and offering him the homage of the Churches they represented. From the congregations of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles, deputations came to comfort him. To each of these Christian communities he addressed letters from Smyrna, exhorting them to obedience to their respective bishops, and warning them to avoid the contamination of heresy. These, letters are redolent with the spirit of Christian charity, apostolic zeal, and pastoral solicitude. While still there he wrote also to the Christians of Rome, begging them to do nothing to deprive him of the opportunity of martyrdom.
From Smyrna his captors took him to Troas, from which place he dispatched letters to the Christians of Philadelphia and Smyrna, and to Polycarp. Besides these letters, Ignatius had intended to address others to the Christian communities of Asia Minor, inviting them to give public expression to their sympathy with the brethren in Antioch, but the altered plans of his guards, necessitating a hurried departure, from Troas, defeated his purpose, and he was obliged to content himself with delegating this office to his friend Polycarp. At Troas they took ship for Neapolis. From this place their journey led them overland through Macedonia and Illyria. The next port of embarkation was probably Dyrrhachium (Durazzo). Whether having arrived at the shores of the Adriatic, he completed his journey by land or sea, it is impossible to determine. Not long after his arrival in Rome he won his long-coveted crown of martyrdom in the Flavian amphitheater. The relics of the holy martyr were borne back to Antioch by the deacon Philo of Cilicia, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, and were interred outside the gates not far from the beautiful suburb of Daphne. They were afterwards removed by the Emperor Theodosius II to the Tychaeum, or Temple of Fortune which was then converted into a Christian church under the patronage of the martyr whose relics it sheltered. In 637 they were translated to St. Clement's at Rome, where they now rest. The Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius on 1 February.
The character of St. Ignatius, as deduced from his own and the extant writings of his contemporaries, is that of a true athlete of Christ. The triple honor of apostle, bishop, and martyr was well merited by this energetic soldier of the Faith. An enthusiastic devotion to duty, a passionate love of sacrifice, and an utter fearlessness in the defense of Christian truth, were his chief characteristics. Zeal for the spiritual well-being of those under his charge breathes from every line of his writings. Ever vigilant lest they be infected by the rampant heresies of those early days; praying for them, that their faith and courage may not be wanting in the hour of persecution; constantly exhorting them to unfailing obedience to their bishops; teaching them all Catholic truth ; eagerly sighing for the crown of martyrdom, that his own blood may fructify in added graces in the souls of his flock, he proves himself in every sense a true, pastor of souls, the good shepherd that lays down his life for his sheep.

Key Day in the Synod - Latest from #Familysynod as Fathers seek Truth - #Synod2014


Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna speaking at the Synod on the Family
16/10/

(Vatican Radio) Synod participants moved another step closer to the conclusion of their two week meeting on Thursday as the results of their small working groups were made public. Church leaders and lay experts in the 10Circoli Minori, as they’re called, have been poring over the text of a working document on the challenges facing families in the context of evangelisation. Joining Fr Federico Lombardi and his assistants at the press office to explain the next stage of the proceedings was Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn.A “key day” in the life of this Synod was how Fr Lombardi described the discussion on Thursday morning as leaders of the 10 language groups (3 in English and Italian, 2 in French and Spanish) presented the fruits of their labours that have been so closely scrutinised by the world’s press. Each group has worked hard to suggest improvements or amendments to be included in a final Synod document that will be discussed and voted on by the whole assembly on Saturday. While certain parts of the media have been depicting a bitter conflict between the so-called traditional and more reform-minded bishops, Canadian Fr Tom Rosica said the sincere and honest discussions have been a vital part of the Pope’s desire for a reform of the Church’s decision making process.
“What I saw this morning was remarkable….people talked very openly and it was an important part of the renewal of the synodal process…”
But what exactly does that reform mean and will this first Synod of the Francis era lead to substantial changes in the Church’s teaching and practice on marriage and family life? Not changes, said Cardinal Schonborn, but a development of doctrine that has always taken place as the Church struggles to face the new challenges of people living in the modern world. Pope Francis, he said, is inviting us to "pastoral conversion" in a Church that is fast becoming a minority in many European countries, just as it is in other parts of the world. That requires the courage to go out of our churches and into the streets, treating all people with respect and welcome, rather than judging  their domestic arrangements or sexual orientation….
“We first look at the person and not at the sexual orientation………….and when the catechism or the document speaks about accoglienza (welcome) this is a basic human and Christian behaviour. But the respect for every human person does not mean respect for every human behaviour”
Cardinal Schonborn also spoke in very personal terms of his experience of suffering as the son of divorced parents, as well as his admiration for the exemplary love and care shown by a gay couple he knows back in his home city of Vienna. The task of the Church, he reminded journalists, is to seek positive seeds of truth in every situation, not peering anxiously behind bedroom doors, but embracing the love that can found in the living rooms of every family home. Shared from Radio Vaticana

Famous Rock Star becomes a Priest and starts Mission in Africa helping Ebola Victims - Share his Amazing Story!

(Ed. from WGR) Former existential atheist and Australian rock star Themi Adams (Adamopoulos) today is a Greek Orthodox priest, spearheading the Orthodox Church’s apostolic mission in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone in Africa. Although Father Themi could flee the country to avoid a possible infection by the virus, like other NGO employees already did, the Greek-Australian decided to stay This might be the reason than Fr. Themi left his rock star lifestyle behind to find pleasure in helping the poorest of the poor.
For More Breaking News, Novena Prayers, and Free Movies LIKE 
Themistocles Adamopoulos – as is his full name – was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but he was raised in Melbourne, Australia. The priest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, who started the “Paradise 4 Kids” community He shared a stage with the Rolling Stones in the 1960s. But then as he says below “Jesus” found him.
During the 60s, he became a founding member of a Rock n Roll band called ‘The Flies’, gaining intense popularity in Australia.
Teenage fans camped outside his Melbourne home and his sister Mary sold his personal belongings such as socks, toothbrushes and clippings of his hair to the adoring fans, thus taking advantage of her brother’s notoriety.
During these Rock n Roll years, father Themi had what he describes as a “mystical” experience, where he believes he saw Jesus. He started searching for God’s path which eventually brought him to the Orthodox Church.

He completed his studies in the USA at Holy Cross, Harvard Divinity School, while he also holds a Master of Theology from Princeton Divinity School, and a PhD from Brown University.
Watch the video below to learn more about the misfortunes of Sierra Leone, even before the Ebola virus outbreak.

Father Themi, who, runs the Holy Orthodox Mission in Freetown, Sierra Leone which consists of a compound for the disabled, known as Waterloo, a primary school and a teacher’s college. 

The mission provides housing for the disabled and their families, water wells for drinking, cleaning, and growing of fruits and vegetables. A medical clinic and a small school for the children of the disabled are also located on the Waterloo compound.

Since March, Father Themi, has been sounding the alarm about the Ebola threat but, unfortunately, his warnings and the alerts of others were not sufficiently heeded. Now, according to multiple international medical authorities, the Ebola outbreak is out of control. Watch Father Themi talk on the subject below:
Interviewed from his residence in Freetown on August 14th, Father Themi said, “This is the worst period of the crisis. I’m hoping that within a few weeks the epidemic will be lessened, but right now we are in the worst part of the storm. Nurses and doctors have run away from the hospitals. There are very few clinics you can go to now and seek any type of medical treatment unless you have a large amount of money.”
The Ebola crisis has the potential to reach North America and Europe. “While many of the international air carriers have stopped flying to West Africa, there are still flights from Sierra Leone to other African cities. The potential exists for people who have the disease and may not know it yet to fly to London or New York and then become symptomatic. When the symptoms are present, the disease is spread quite easily through routine human contact.”
Ebola is not transmitted by air, but rather through bodily fluids like blood and saliva. The virus is also not transmitted through water or food, but it can remain on objects, such as needles or even clothing, for an extended period of time after the infected person comes in contact with that object. There is no known cure for Ebola (other than experimental drugs) and no inoculation against the disease. The death rate for those infected with the Ebola virus can be as high as 90%.
Despite the pleas from many of his friends and supporters urging him to leave Sierra Leone and seek safety in Australia, Father Themi stayed on saying, “Our Lord Jesus has taught that the shepherd of the flock does not run away when danger or an enemy approaches but remains to protect the sheep. The hireling runs away. ‘But he that is a hireling and not the shepherd … seeing the wolf coming leaves the sheep and flees….the hireling flees because he cares not for the sheep. (St. John 10. 12-13). 
Father Themi is always in need of resources to support his mission, but particularly so now. Funds are desperately needed by the Holy Orthodox Mission to purchase food and non-prescription medical supplies (gloves, face masks, chlorine disinfectants, etc.). Anyone wishing to assist Father Themi and the Holy Orthodox Mission in Sierra Leone can donate through Paradise4kids.com. Every dollar raised helps Father Themi take practical steps to protect people, particularly the less fortunate, from the Ebola threat in Sierra Leone. (Edited from WorldGreekReporter)

Pope Francis "Our name is in God’s heart, is in God’s bowels, just as the baby is inside its mother.'


Pope Francis dedicated Thursday morning's homily to giving praise to God
16/10/

(Vatican Radio) It’s easy to pray for a grace, it’s far more difficult to pray in praise of the Lord, but this is the prayer of true joy, said Pope Francis at Mass Thursday morning in Santa Marta.
Reflecting on St Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, which joyfully elevates a prayer of blessing to God, the Pope noted that this is something “we don’t normally do”: Instead giving "praise to God is pure gratuity" and in doing so we enter into "a great joy".
"We know very well how to pray when we want to ask for things, even when we want to thank the Lord, but a prayer of praise is a bit more difficult for us: we are not used to praising the Lord. We can do this better by remembering all of the things that the Lord has done for us in our lives: 'In Him - in Christ - He chose us before the creation of the world'. Blessed are you, Lord, because You chose me! It is the joy of a paternal and tender closeness”.
"Prayers of praise" - he continued - bring us this joy, [the joy of ] being happy before the Lord. Let’s make a real effort to rediscover this!”. However, continued Pope Francis the "starting point" is "remembering” this choice: "God chose me before the creation of the world”.
"This is impossible to understand or even imagine: The fact that the Lord knew me before the creation of the world, that my name was in the Lord’s heart.  This is the truth! This is the revelation! If we do not believe this then we are not Christian!  We may be steeped in a theist religiosity, but not Christian! The Christian is a chosen one, the Christian is someone who has been chosen in God’s heart before the creation of the world. This thought also fills our hearts with joy: I am chosen! It gives us confidence".
"Our name - said the Pope - is in God’s heart, is in God’s bowels, just as the baby is inside its mother. Our joy lies in our being elected". Pope Francis continued that we cannot understand this with our head alone. [We cannot understand this] even with our heart. To understand this we must enter into the Mystery of Jesus Christ. The Mystery of His beloved Son: 'He has poured out his blood for us in abundance, with all wisdom and intelligence, making known to us the mystery of His will'. And this is a third attitude to have: entering into the Mystery ":
"When we celebrate the Eucharist, we enter into this Mystery, that one cannot fully understand: the Lord is alive, He is with us, here, in His glory, in all His fullness and gives His life for us once again. We must learn this attitude of entering into the Mystery every day. The Christian is a woman, a man, who endeavors to enter into the Mystery. The Mystery cannot be controlled: this is the Mystery! I enter [into it]".
A prayer of praise – concluded the Pope - is therefore first and foremost a "prayer of joy", then a "prayer of remembrance: ‘How much the Lord has done for me! How tenderly He has accompanied me, how he has lowered Himself: like a father bows down over a child to help him walk”.  And finally a prayer to the Holy Spirit that we may receive the grace “to enter into the Mystery, especially when we celebrate the Eucharist". (Emer McCarthy)

Latest Vatican Information Service News

15-10-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 178 
Summary
- General audience: the final destination of the People of God
- Pope's letter for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila
- Other Pontifical Acts
General audience: the final destination of the People of God
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The final destination of the People of God was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience. The Holy Father began by recalling St. Paul's words to the Thessalonians, when with anxiety they asked what would become of them – “we will be with the Lord forever” – remarking that it was one of the most beautiful phrases of the Sacred Scripture, and inviting those present in St. Peter's Square to repeat it three times.
He went on to comment on how, in the Book of Revelation St. John, returning to the intuition of the Prophets, describes the final and definitive dimension in terms of “a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”. And this, then, is who the Church is: she is the people of God following the Lord Jesus and who prepares herself, day by day, for the encounter with Him, like a bride with her groom. And it is not simply a turn of phrase: it will be a true espousal. Yes, because Christ, who made Himself man like us, and making us one with Him, by His death and resurrection, truly took us as His spouse. And this is none other than the fulfilment of the plan of communion and love, woven by God throughout history, the history of the People of God and the history of each one of us”.
There is another element that further consoles us and opens our heart: John says that in the Church, bride of Christ, the “new Jerusalem” is visible. This means that the Church, aside from being a bride, is called to become a city, the quintessential symbol of co-existence and human relations. How beautiful it is to already be able to contemplate, according to another evocative image from Revelation, all the peoples and populations gathered together in this city, as if they were all under the same roof, in God's home. And in this glorious setting there will be no more isolation, abuse or distinctions of any type – social, ethnic or religious – but we will all be one in Christ”.
“In the presence of this unprecedented and wonderful scene, hope cannot but be strongly confirmed in our heart”, he added, since “Christian hope is not simply a wish, a hope; for a Christian, hope is awaiting, fervently and with passion, the final and definitive fulfilment of a mystery, the mystery of God's love, in which we are reborn and which we already live. And it is the expectation of someone who is about to arrive: the Lord Christ who is ever closer to us, day after day, and who comes to finally introduce us to the fullness of His communion and His peace”. Pope Francis underlined that the Church therefore has “the task of keeping hope alight and clearly visible, so that it may continue to shine as a sure sign of salvation and may illuminate for all humanity the path that leads to the encounter with the mysterious face of God”.
Pope's letter for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, whose feast day is celebrated today. In his letter, Pope Francis mentions the joy the saint often spoke of “in encountering the suffering of work and pain”, and how she affirmed that “the Gospel is not a bag of lead that trails heavily behind us, but rather a source of joy that leads the heart to God and urges us to serve our brethren”: St. Teresa emphasised the importance of cheerful perseverance and prayer. For her, contemplative prayer was “a close sharing between friends; … taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us”.
The Pope remarks that this advice is “perennially valid”: “In a culture of the temporary”, he says, “to live faithfully 'forever and ever and ever'; in a world without hope, to show the fruitfulness of an enamoured heart; and in a society with many idols, to give witness that 'only God is enough'”. A path that, the Holy Father reiterated, we cannot walk alone; we must do so together and, as the Saint said, with Christ. “Teresa of Jesus recommended three things: to love each other, to free each other, to free oneself of everything, and to aspire to true humility”.
“It is this Teresian realism”, writes the Pope, “that demands works instead of emotions, love in the place of dreams, and the realism of humble love instead of eager asceticism”. He concludes, “Let us hope that everyone may be infused by this holy impulse to travel the roads of our own time, with the Gospel in our hand and the Spirit in our heart!”.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Bishop Antonio Fernando Brochini, C.S.S., of Jaboticabal, Brazil as bishop of Itumbiara (area 21,152, population 313,000, Catholics 244,000, priests28, permanent deacons 2, religious 26), Brazil.
- appointed Rev. Fr. Vittorio Francesco Viola, O.F.M., as bishop of Tortona (area 2,350, population 281,310, Catholics 274,640, priests 175, permanent deacons 20, religious 409), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Biella, Italy in 1965, gave his solemn vows in 1991, and was ordained a priest in 1993. He has served in a number of roles, including definitor or the Seraphic Province of Friars Minor in Umbria, custodian of the convent and the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli alla Porziuncola, guardian of the convent at St. Clare's Basilica in Assisi, head of the Liturgical Office for the region of Umbria, head of the diocesan office for Education, Schools and University in Assisi, and head of the diocesan Caritas. He was recently appointed as custodian of the protoconvent and shrine of Porziuncola. He also teaches at the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome, in the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, in the Theological Institute of Assisi, and the Institute of Religious Sciences, Assisi. He succeeds Bishop Martino Canessa, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

Today's Mass Readings : Thursday October 16, 2014

Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 470

Reading 1EPH 1:1-10

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
to the holy ones who are in Ephesus
and faithful in Christ Jesus:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In Christ we have redemption by his Blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favor
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6

R. (2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

Gospel LK 11:47-54

The Lord said:
“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets
whom your fathers killed.
Consequently, you bear witness and give consent
to the deeds of your ancestors,
for they killed them and you do the building.
Therefore, the wisdom of God said,
‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles;
some of them they will kill and persecute’
in order that this generation might be charged
with the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!
Woe to you, scholars of the law!
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.