Sunday, October 19, 2014

In the Path of ISIS a Seminarian's Story from Iraq

In the Path of IS - a Seminarian's Story from Iraq

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Oct 2014

Martin Barni in the chapel of St Peter's seminary in Ankawa Erbil in Northern Iraq
Bombs fall and the sound of the explosion sends shock and fear into the hearts of the people. Amid the sound of crying and frenzied activity, people pack up what belongings they can carry and make off into the night. In the midst of it all stands Martin Baani, a 24-year-old seminarian.The realisation is dawning on him that this is Karamlesh's last stand.
For 1,800 years, Christianity has had a home in the hearts and minds of the people of this village, full of antiquity. Now that era is about to be brought to a calamitous end; Islamic State are advancing.
Martin's mobile phone rings: a friend stammers out the news that the nearby town of Telkaif has fallen to "Da'ash" - the Arabic name for Islamic State.  Karamlesh would surely be next.
Martin dashes out of his aunt's house, where he is staying, and heads for the nearby St Addai's Church. He takes the Blessed Sacrament, a bundle of official of papers and walks out of the church. Outside a car awaits - his parish priest, Fr Thabet, and three other priests are inside.
Martin gets in and the car speeds off. They leave Karamlesh and the last remnants of the village's Christian presence go with them.
Speaking to Martin in the calm of St Peter's Seminary, Ankawa, it is difficult to imagine he is describing anything except a bad dream.But there is nothing dreamy in Martin's expression. "Until the very last minute, the Pashmerga [the Kurdish armed forces protecting the villages] were telling us it was safe.
"But then we heard that they were setting up big guns on St Barbara's Hill [on the edge of the village] and we knew then the situation was very dangerous."
Taking stock of that terrible night of 6th/7th August, Martin's confidence is bolstered by the presence of 27 other seminarians at St Peter's, many with their own stories of escape from the clutches of the Islamic militants.
Martin and his fellow students for the priesthood know that the future is bleak as regards Christianity in Iraq.
A community of 1.5 million Christians before 2003 has dwindled to less than 300,000. And of those who remain, more than a third are displaced. Many, if not most, want a new life in a new country.
Martin, however, is not one of them. "I could easily go," he explains calmly. "My family now life in California. I already have been given a visa to go to America and visit them."
"But I want to stay. I don't want to run away from the problem."
Martin has already made the choice that marks out the priests who have decided to stay in Iraq; his vocation is to serve the people, come what may.

The teachers and 28 seminarians (Chaldean and Syriac Catholic) in the chapel of St Peter's Seminary in Erbil
"We must stand up for our rights; we must not be afraid." He explains. Describing in detail the emergency relief work that has occupied so much of his time, it is plain to see that he feels his place is to be with the people.
Martin is already a sub-deacon. Now in his final year of theology, ordination to the priesthood is - God willing - but a few months away.
"Thank you for your prayers," says Martin, as I take my leave of him. "We count on your support."
Aid to the Church in Need is committed to supporting Martin and all the seminarians at St Peter's Seminary, Ankawa as they make their journey to the Altar of God and prepare to serve God and their suffering people as priests. 

Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative's launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need's Child's Bible - God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
For more information or to make a donation to help the work of Aid to the Church in Need, please contact the Australian office of ACN on (02) 9679-1929. e-mail: info@aidtochurch.org or write to Aid to the Church in Need PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.
On Line donations can be made at www.aidtochurch.org
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

Catholic Quote to SHARE by Blessed Pope Paul VI "The Eucharistic mystery stands at the heart..."

"The Eucharistic mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy since it is the fount of life by which we are cleansed and strengthened to live not for ourselves but for God and to be united in love among ourselves."

Pope Francis "Mary, Queen of Saints and Mother of the Church, help us to..." Sunday Angelus

Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Mass for the Closing of the Synod and the Beatification of Paul VI
(Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of Sunday’s Mass for the Closing of the Synod and the Beatification of Paul VI, Pope Francis led the faithful in the noonday Angelus.
Here is the complete text of Pope Francis’s remarks:
At the end of this solemn celebration, I want to greet the pilgrims from Italy and various countries, with a respectful thought for the official Delegations. In particular I greet the faithful from the dioceses of Brescia, Milan and Rome, joined in a significant way to the life and ministry of Pope Montini. I thank you all for [your] presence and exhort [you] to follow faithfully the teaching and example of the new Blessed.
He was a staunch supporter of the mission ad gentes; it is the witness above all of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi with which he intended to reawaken the enthusiasm and the commitment of the Church for the mission. And this Exhortation is still relevant, it has great relevance. It is significant to consider this aspect of the Pontificate of Paul VI, especially today, which is celebrated as World Missionary Day.
Before invoking together the Madonna with the prayer of the Angelus, I am pleased to emphasize the profound Marian devotion of Blessed Paul VI. The Christian people will always be grateful to this Pontiff for the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, and for having proclaimed Mary “Mother of the Church,” on the occasion of the close of the third session of the Second Vatican Council.
Mary, Queen of Saints and Mother of the Church, help us to faithfully realize the will of the Lord in our life, just as the new Blessed did.
Angleus Domini…
I wish all of you a good Sunday. I ask you to pray for me. Buon pranzo, andarrivederci!

#PopeFrancis Closing Mass of #Synod and Beatification of Pope Paul VI - Full Text/Video


Pope Francis greets Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI prior to the Mass for the closing of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.
During the Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle.”
Below, please find the complete English text of Pope Francis’s homily for the Mass:

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Closing Mass of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family
and Beatification of the Servant of God Paul VI
Sunday, 19 October 2014
We have just heard one of the most famous phrases in the entire Gospel: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21).
Goaded by the Pharisees who wanted, as it were, to give him an exam in religion and catch him in error, Jesus gives this ironic and brilliant reply.  It is a striking phrase which the Lord has bequeathed to all those who experience qualms of conscience, particularly when their comfort, their wealth, their prestige, their power and their reputation are in question.  This happens all the time; it always has.
Certainly Jesus puts the stress on the second part of the phrase: “and [render] to God the things that are God’s”.  This calls for acknowledging and professing – in the face of any sort of power – that God alone is the Lord of mankind, that there is no other.  This is the perennial newness to be discovered each day, and it requires mastering the fear which we often feel at God’s surprises.
God is not afraid of new things!  That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.  He renews us: he constantly makes us “new”.  A Christian who lives the Gospel is “God’s newness” in the Church and in the world.  How much God loves this “newness”!
“Rendering to God the things that are God’s” means being docile to his will, devoting our lives to him and working for his kingdom of mercy, love and peace.
Here is where our true strength is found; here is the leaven which makes it grow and the salt which gives flavour to all our efforts to combat the prevalent pessimism which the world proposes to us.  Here too is where our hope is found, for when we put our hope in God we are neither fleeing from reality nor seeking an alibi: instead, we are striving to render to God what is God’s.  That is why we Christians look to the future, God’s future.  It is so that we can live this life to the fullest – with our feet firmly planted on the ground – and respond courageously to whatever new challenges come our way.
In these days, during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops, we have seen how true this is.  “Synod” means “journeying together”.  And indeed pastors and lay people from every part of the world have come to Rome, bringing the voice of their particular Churches in order to help today’s families walk the path the Gospel with their gaze fixed on Jesus.  It has been a great experience, in which we have lived synodality and collegiality, and felt the power of the Holy Spirit who constantly guides and renews the Church.  For the Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope.
For the gift of this Synod and for the constructive spirit which everyone has shown, in union with the Apostle Paul “we give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers” (1 Th 1:2).  May the Holy Spirit, who during these busy days has enabled us to work generously, in true freedom and humble creativity, continue to guide the journey which, in the Churches throughout the world, is bringing us to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2015.  We have sown and we continued to sow, patiently and perseveringly, in the certainty that it is the Lord who gives growth to what we have sown (cf. 1 Cor 3:6).
On this day of the Beatification of Pope Paul VI, I think of the words with which he established the Synod of Bishops: “by carefully surveying the signs of the times, we are making every effort to adapt ways and methods… to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society” (Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo).
When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks!  Thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI!  Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!
In his personal notes, the great helmsman of the Council wrote, at the conclusion of its final session: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and saviour” (P. Macchi, Paolo VI nella sua parola, Brescia, 2001, pp. 120-121).  In this humility the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.
Paul VI truly “rendered to God what is God’s” by devoting his whole life to the “sacred, solemn and grave task of continuing in history and extending on earth the mission of Christ” (Homily for the Rite of Coronation: Insegnamenti I, 1963, p. 26), loving the Church and leading her so that she might be “a loving mother of the whole human family and at the same time the minister of its salvation” (Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam, Prologue).

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday October 19, 2014 - 29th Ordinary Time - A

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 145


Reading 1IS 45:1, 4-6

Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus,
whose right hand I grasp,
subduing nations before him,
and making kings run in his service,
opening doors before him
and leaving the gates unbarred:
For the sake of Jacob, my servant,
of Israel, my chosen one,
I have called you by your name,
giving you a title, though you knew me not.
I am the LORD and there is no other,
there is no God besides me.
It is I who arm you, though you know me not,
so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun
people may know that there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, there is no other.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10

R/ (7b) Give the Lord glory and honor.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R/ Give the Lord glory and honor.
For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the LORD made the heavens.
R/ Give the Lord glory and honor.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts.
R/ Give the Lord glory and honor.
Worship the LORD, in holy attire;
tremble before him, all the earth;
say among the nations: The LORD is king,
he governs the peoples with equity.
R/ Give the Lord glory and honor.

Reading 21 THES 1:1-5B

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace.
We give thanks to God always for all of you,
remembering you in our prayers,
unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love
and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ,
before our God and Father,
knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God,
how you were chosen.
For our gospel did not come to you in word alone,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.

Gospel MT 22:15-21

The Pharisees went off
and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.
They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,
"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion,
for you do not regard a person's status.
Tell us, then, what is your opinion:
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?"
Knowing their malice, Jesus said,
"Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?
Show me the coin that pays the census tax."
Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?"
They replied, "Caesar's."
At that he said to them,
"Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God."

Saint October 19 : North American Martyrs : Isaac Jogues and Companions

JOURNEY OF A BISHOP REPORT: French Jesuits were among the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after J. Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland.
John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and after being tortured, they were martyred.

The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649: Goupil in 1642, Jogues and Lalande on October 18 and 19, 1646 in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York; Daniel on July 4, 1648, Brebeuf and Lalemant in March 1649, Garnier and Chabanel in December 1649--all of these five in Huronia, near present-day Midland, Ontario. Ten years after the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village in which he died. These martyrs are co-patrons of Canada.
The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up "New France." Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: "Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives." He had written in his mission report: "These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense."



Isaac Jogues' declaration on leaving France to return to the mission in Canada is heroic:

"My heart tells me that if I have the blessing of being used for this mission, I shall go and I shall not  return; but I would be glad if our Lord should fulfil the sacrifice where he began it, and that the small amount of blood I shed in that land should turn out to be an advance payment for that which I would give from all the veins of my body and heart."

In the Office of Readings we have an excerpt from the mission journal of St. John de Br├ębeuf, who had been a student of the great Jesuit spiritual writer, Louis Lallemant. He wrote:
For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.... I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.... On receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit.... My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it.

[Excerpted and adapted from Enzo Lodi, Saints of the Roman Calendar
In 1999, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter on the Canadian Martyrs to mark the 350th anniversary of the final deaths of these heroic priests in 1649. It may be accessed at: http://www.cccb.ca/site/Files/martyrse.pdf.
SHARED FROM JOURNEY OF A BISHOP