Friday, November 28, 2014

Saint November 29 : St. Saturninus : Missionary and Martyr

St. Saturninus
MISSIONARY AND MARTYR
Feast: November 29


Information:
Feast Day:November 29
Born:third century, Patras, Greece
Died:257, Toulouse, France
Canonized:Basilique St-Sernin, Toulouse
Patron of:Toulouse, France

St. Saturninus was, says Tillemont, one of the most illustrious martyrs France has given to the Church. We possess only his Acts, which are very old, since they were utilized by St. Gregory of Tours. He was the first bishop of Toulouse, whither he went during the consulate of Decius and Gratus (250). Whether there were already Christians in the town or his preaching made numerous conversions, he soon had a little church. To reach it he had to pass before the capitol where there was a a temple, and according to the Acts, the pagan priests ascribed to his frequent passings the silence of their oracles. One day they seized him and on his unshakeable refusal to sacrifice to the idols they condemned him be tied by the feet to a bull which dragged him about the town until the rope broke. Two Christian women piously gathered up the remains and buried them in a deep ditch, that they might not be profaned by the pagans. His successors, Sts. Hilary and Exuperius, gave him more honourable burial. A church was erected where the bull stopped. It still exists, and is called the church of the Taur (the bull). The body of the saint was transferred at an early date and is still preserved in the Church of St. Sernin (or Saturninus), one of the most ancient and beautiful of Southern France. His feast was entered on the Hieronymian Martyrology for 29 November; his cult spread abroad. The account of his Acts was embellished with several details, and legends linked his name with the beginning of the churches of Eauze, Auch, Pamplona, and Amiens, but these are without historic foundations.

Surprise! Fisherman makes a Miracle Catch in the Water....Share!



Catholic Review A new adoration chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, dedicated to be used in a special way to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, holds a monstrance that was fished from the Loch Raven Reservoir. (Special to the Review | Catholic Review)
Monstrance fished from reservoir centerpiece of new adoration chapel
By George P. Matysek Jr. gmatysek@CatholicReview.org Twitter: @ReviewMatysek
A man fishing at the Loch Raven Reservoir in north Baltimore County some two decades ago was convinced he had snagged a big fish after his line hooked something substantial. After reeling in his haul, the angler had no fish. He had, however, caught something even more remarkable: a large Gothic monstrance used by Catholics to hold the Eucharist for worship.Unsure what the ornate object was, but thinking it looked “churchy,” the man took the monstrance to a local Catholic church. A priest examined the vessel, suggesting that the man take the beautiful brass finding to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, where it subsequently remained in storage for years.During a joyous Nov. 23 Mass that attracted hundreds of people to the historic basilica, Archbishop William E. Lori placed the consecrated host inside the restored monstrance fished from the water and carried it in a solemn procession to the church’s undercroft.There, he placed the monstrance atop a gleaming altar inside a new adoration chapel that he dedicated to be used in a special way to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. "Using a monstrance fished out of a lake, we will ask the Lord to send us new ‘fishers of men,’ ” Archbishop Lori said in his homily prior to dedicating the new chapel, “both here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and in the whole church.”How the monstrance found its way into the reservoir is a mystery, Archbishop Lori said, “but how it found its way here to the basilica is a remarkable sign of God’s providence.”
Full Story...http://www.catholicreview.org/article/home/monstrance-fished-from-reservoir-centerpiece-of-new-adoration-chapel

Pope Francis "...our common spiritual heritage – through interreligious dialogue – helps us to promote..." Full Text - Video in Turkey


Pope Francis at Turkey's Department of Religious Affairs in Ankara - EPA
28/11/2014 02:

(Vatican Radio)  Speaking on the first day of his visit to Turkey, Pope Francis condemned the “barbaric violence” waged by fundamentalists in Iraq and Syria against entire communities, especially Christians and Yazidis, because of their ethnic and religious identity.  His remarks came in a speech to Turkey’s Department for Religious Affairs which is the nation’s highest Islamic authority.  As religious leaders, Pope Francis said, we are obliged to denounce all violations against human dignity and human life and “any violence which seeks religious justification warrants the strongest condemnation.”  
Please find below the English translation of the full text of Pope Francis’ speech to the Department for Religious Affairs:
Mr President, Religious and Civil Authorities, Ladies and Gentlemen,
                I am pleased to meet with you today in the course of my visit to your country.  I thank the President of this distinguished office for his cordial invitation which affords me the opportunity to share these moments with political and religious leaders, both Muslim and Christian.
                It is a tradition that Popes, when they visit different countries as part of their mission, meet also with the leaders and members of various religions.  Without this openness to encounter and dialogue, a Papal Visit would not fully correspond to its purposes. And so I have wished to meet you, following in the footsteps of my venerable predecessors.  In this context, I am pleased to recall in a special way Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to this very same place in November 2006.
                Good relations and dialogue between religious leaders have, in fact, acquired great importance.  They represent a clear message addressed to their respective communities which demonstrates that mutual respect and friendship are possible, notwithstanding differences.  Such friendship, as well as being valuable in itself, becomes all the more meaningful and important in a time of crises such as our own, crises which in some parts of the world are disastrous for entire peoples.                Wars cause the death of innocent victims and bring untold destruction, interethnic and interreligious tensions and conflicts, hunger and poverty afflicting hundreds of millions of people, and inflict damage on the natural environment – air, water and land.                Especially tragic is the situation in the Middle East, above all in Iraq and Syria.  Everyone suffers the consequences of these conflicts, and the humanitarian situation is unbearable.  I think of so many children, the sufferings of so many mothers, of the elderly, of those displaced and of all refugees, subject to every form of violence.  Particular concern arises from the fact that, owing mainly to an extremist and fundamentalist group, entire communities, especially – though not exclusively – Christians and Yazidis, have suffered and continue to suffer barbaric violence simply because of their ethnic and religious identity.  They have been forcibly evicted from their homes, having to leave behind everything to save their lives and preserve their faith.  This violence has also brought damage to sacred buildings, monuments, religious symbols and cultural patrimony, as if trying to erase every trace, every memory of the other.
                As religious leaders, we are obliged to denounce all violations against human dignity and human rights.  Human life, a gift of God the Creator, possesses a sacred character.  As such, any violence which seeks religious justification warrants the strongest condemnation because the Omnipotent is the God of life and peace.  The world expects those who claim to adore God to be men and women of peace who are capable of living as brothers and sisters, regardless of ethnic, religious, cultural or ideological differences.
                As well as denouncing such violations, we must also work together to find adequate solutions.  This requires the cooperation of all: governments, political and religious leaders, representatives of civil society, and all men and women of goodwill.  In a unique way, religious leaders can offer a vital contribution by expressing the values of their respective traditions.  We, Muslims and Christians, are the bearers of spiritual treasures of inestimable worth.  Among these we recognize some shared elements, though lived according to the traditions of each, such as the adoration of the All-Merciful God, reference to the Patriarch Abraham, prayer, almsgiving, fasting… elements which, when lived sincerely, can transform life and provide a sure foundation for dignity and fraternity.  Recognizing and developing our common spiritual heritage – through interreligious dialogue – helps us to promote and to uphold moral values, peace and freedom in society (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Catholic Community in Ankara, 29 November 1979).  The shared recognition of the sanctity of each human life is the basis of joint initiatives of solidarity, compassion, and effective help directed to those who suffer most.  In this regard, I wish to express my appreciation for everything that the Turkish people, Muslims and Christians alike, are doing to help the hundreds of thousands of people who are fleeing their countries due to conflicts. There are two million. This is a clear example of how we can work together to serve others, an example to be encouraged and maintained.
                I wish also to express my satisfaction at the good relations which exist between the Diyanet and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.  It is my earnest desire that these relations will continue and be strengthened for the good of all, so that every initiative which promotes authentic dialogue will offer a sign of hope to a world which so deeply needs peace, security and prosperity. And also after my discussions with the President, I hope that this dialogue becomes creative in new forms.
                Mr President, I renew my gratitude to you and your colleagues for this meeting, which fills my heart with joy.  I am grateful also to each one of you, for your presence and for your prayers which, in your kindness, you offer for me and my ministry.  For my part, I assure you of my prayers.  May the Lord grant us all his blessing. Shared from Radio Vaticana

Pope Francis "...it is essential that all citizens – Muslim, Jewish and Christian...enjoy the same rights..." Full Text/Video in Turkey


Pope Francis at presidential palace in Ankara - AP
28/11/2014 12:14

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has urged more interreligious dialogue to help bring peace and end all forms of "fundamentalism,terrorism and irrational fears." His appeal came in a speech to Turkey’s President Erdogan and other top political leaders on the first day of his pastoral visit to the cities of Ankara and Istanbul.  In his discourse, the Pope also stressed the importance of religious freedom, respect for human dignity and said we must never "resign ourselves" to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. He spoke of his concern over the conflicts in Iraq and Syria along with the "grave persecution" of minorities there and praised Turkey’s "generous" response in welcoming a large number of refugees from these regional conflicts.
Please find below an English translation of the full text of Pope Francis’ address to President Erdogan and other Turkish political leaders:
Mr President,
Distinguished Authorities, Ladies and Gentlemen,              I am pleased to visit your country so rich in natural beauty and history, and filled with vestiges of ancient civilizations.  It is a natural bridge between two continents and diverse cultures.  This land is precious to every Christian for being the birthplace of Saint Paul, who founded various Christian communities here, and for hosting the first seven Councils of the Church.  It is also renowned for the site near Ephesus which a venerable tradition holds to be the “Home of Mary”, the place where the Mother of Jesus lived for some years.  It is now a place of devotion for innumerable pilgrims from all over the world, not only for Christians, but also for Muslims.
                Yet, the reasons why Turkey is held with such regard and appreciation are not only linked to its past and ancient monuments, but also have to do with the vitality of its present, the hard work and generosity of its people, and its role in the concert of nations. 
                It brings me great joy to have this opportunity to pursue with you a dialogue of friendship, esteem and respect, in the footsteps of my predecessors Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  This dialogue was prepared for and supported by the work of the then Apostolic Delegate, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who went on to become Saint John XXIII, and by the Second Vatican Council.
                Today what is needed is a dialogue which can deepen the understanding and appreciation of the many things which we hold in common.  Such a dialogue will allow us to reflect sensibly and serenely on our differences, and to learn from them.
There is a need to move forward patiently in the task of building a lasting peace, one founded on respect for the fundamental rights and duties rooted in the dignity of each person.  In this way, we can overcome prejudices and unwarranted fears, leaving room for respect, encounter, and the release of more positive energies for the good of all.
                To this end, it is essential that all citizens – Muslim, Jewish and Christian – both in the provision and practice of the law, enjoy the same rights and respect the same duties.  They will then find it easier to see each other as brothers and sisters who are travelling the same path, seeking always to reject misunderstandings while promoting cooperation and concord.  Freedom of religion and freedom of expression, when truly guaranteed to each person, will help friendship to flourish and thus become an eloquent sign of peace.
                The Middle East, Europe and the world all await this maturing of friendship.  The Middle East, in particular, has for too long been a theatre of fratricidal wars, one born of the other, as if the only possible response to war and violence must be new wars and further acts of violence.
                How much longer must the Middle East suffer the consequences of this lack of peace?  We must not resign ourselves to ongoing conflicts as if the situation can never change for the better!  With the help of God, we can and we must renew the courage of peace!  Such courage will lead to a just, patient and determined use of all available means of negotiation, and in this way achieve the concrete goals of peace and sustainable development.
                Mr President, interreligious and intercultural dialogue can make an important contribution to attaining this lofty and urgent goal, so that there will be an end to all forms of fundamentalism and terrorism which gravely demean the dignity of every man and woman and exploit religion. 
                Fanaticism and fundamentalism, as well as irrational fears which foster misunderstanding and discrimination, need to be countered by the solidarity of all believers.  This solidarity must rest on the following pillars: respect for human life and for religious freedom, that is the freedom to worship and to live according to the moral teachings of one’s religion; commitment to ensuring what each person requires for a dignified life; and care for the natural environment.  The peoples and the states of the Middle East stand in urgent need of such solidarity, so that they can “reverse the trend” and successfully advance a peace process, repudiating war and violence and pursuing dialogue, the rule of law, and justice.
                Sadly, to date, we are still witnessing grave conflicts.  In Syria and Iraq, particularly, terrorist violence shows no signs of abating.  Prisoners and entire ethnic populations are experiencing the violation of the most basic humanitarian laws.  Grave persecutions have taken place in the past and still continue today to the detriment of minorities, especially – though not only – Christians and Yazidis.  Hundreds of thousands of persons have been forced to abandon their homes and countries in order to survive and remain faithful to their religious beliefs. 
                Turkey, which has generously welcomed a great number of refugees, is directly affected by this tragic situation on its borders; the international community has the moral obligation to assist Turkey in taking care of these refugees.  In addition to providing much needed assistance and humanitarian aid, we cannot remain indifferent to the causes of these tragedies.  In reaffirming that it is licit, while always respecting international law, to stop an unjust aggressor, I wish to reiterate, moreover, that the problem cannot be resolved solely through a military response.
                What is required is a concerted commitment on the part of all, based on mutual trust, which can pave the way to lasting peace, and enable resources to be directed, not to weaponry, but to the other noble battles worthy of man: the fight against hunger and sickness, the fight for sustainable development and the protection of creation, and the relief of the many forms of poverty and marginalization of which there is no shortage in the world today.
Turkey, by virtue of its history, geographical position and regional influence, has a great responsibility: the choices which Turkey makes and its example are especially significant and can be of considerable help in promoting an encounter of civilizations and in identifying viable paths of peace and authentic progress.
                May the Most High bless and protect Turkey, and help the nation to be a strong and fervent peacemaker!  Thank you!

Latest News from Vatican Information Service and Pope Francis - Official Release


28-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 211 

Summary
- The Pope arrives in Turkey, a land able to promote an encounter of civilisations and identify viable paths of peace and authentic progress
- Indulgences for the Year of Consecrated Life
- Notice
Summary
- Serve new wine in new wineskins says the Pope to representatives of consecrated life
- Migrants and the poor, dual challenge of urban pastoral ministry
- To the Pauline family: take the breath of the Gospel to the most diverse cultures and social contexts
- Holy Father's calendar for December 2014 and January 2015
- Christians and Muslims condemn extremism and violence committed in the name of religion
- Audiences
The Pope arrives in Turkey, a land able to promote an encounter of civilisations and identify viable paths of peace and authentic progress
Vatican City, 28 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis began the sixth apostolic trip of his pontificate. His visit to Turkey is essentially of an ecumenical nature, like those of his predecessors; the country has occupied a privileged position in the geography of papal trips ever since the visit of the Apostolic Delegate Angelo Roncalli, referred to by the Turkish authorities as “the first Turkish pope in history” following his election as Pope John XXIII. Turkey was also the destination of Paul VI's fifth apostolic trip in 1967, a corollary of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land and his historic embrace with the Ecumenical Patriarch Atenagoras in Jerusalem. John Paul II continued the tradition with his fourth trip (1979) as did Benedict XVI with his fifth apostolic trip, in 2006.
The Holy Father departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 9 a.m., and reached the Turkish capital Ankara at 1 pm (local time) where he was received by the civil and religious authorities. He transferred by car to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic, the “Father of the Turks” who guided Turkey's radical rupture with its Ottoman past, laying down the foundations of the modern secular state in its 1937 Constitution. Upon arrival the Pope was received by the Commander of the Guard, ascended the Steps of Honour, left a floral tribute and prayed for a moment. He was then accompanied to the nearby “Tower of National Pact”, where he signed the guest book.
He then paid a visit to the Presidential Palace or “Ak Saray” (White Palace), inaugurated just two months ago by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and substituting the historic Cankaya Palace. The Holy Father was received by the president, and the two spoke in private for a few minutes, after which Pope Francis gave his first public address on Turkish soil, addressed to the authorities gathered in the Ak Saray.
“I am pleased to visit your country so rich in natural beauty and history, and filled with vestiges of ancient civilisations. It is a natural bridge between two continents and diverse cultures”, the Pope began. “This land is precious to every Christian for being the birthplace of Saint Paul, who founded various Christian communities here, and for hosting the first seven Councils of the Church. It is also renowned for the site near Ephesus which a venerable tradition holds to be the 'Home of Mary',the place where the Mother of Jesus lived for some years. It is now a place of devotion for innumerable pilgrims from all over the world, not only for Christians, but also for Muslims.
“Yet, the reasons why Turkey is held with such regard and appreciation are not only linked to its past and ancient monuments, but also have to do with the vitality of its present, the hard work and generosity of its people, and its role in the concert of nations. It brings me great joy to have this opportunity to pursue with you a dialogue of friendship, esteem and respect, in the footsteps of my predecessors Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI. This dialogue was prepared for and supported by the work of the then apostolic delegate, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who went on to become Saint John XXIII, and by the Second Vatican Council”.
The Pope reiterated the need for a dialogue to “deepen the understanding and appreciation of the many things which we hold in common. Such a dialogue will allow us to reflect sensibly and serenely on our differences,and to learn from them. There is a need to move forward patiently in the task of building a lasting peace, one founded on respect for the fundamental rights and duties rooted in the dignity of each person. In this way, we can overcome prejudices and unwarranted fears, leaving room for respect, encounter, and the release of more positive energies for the good of all”.
Therefore, “it is essential that all citizens – Muslim, Jewish and Christian – both in the provision and practice of the law, enjoy the same rights and respect the same duties. They will then find it easier to see each other as brothers and sisters who are travelling the same path, seeking always to reject misunderstandings while promoting cooperation and concord. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression, when truly guaranteed to each person, will help friendship to flourish and thus become an eloquent sign of peace.
“The Middle East, Europe and the world all await this maturing of friendship. The Middle East, in particular, has for too long been a theatre of fratricidal wars, one born of the other, as if the only possible response to war and violence must be new wars and further acts of violence. How much longer must the Middle East suffer the consequences of this lack of peace? We must not resign ourselves to ongoing conflicts as if the situation can never change for the better! With the help of God, we can and we must renew the courage of peace! Such courage will lead to a just, patient and determined use of all available means of negotiation, and in this way achieve the concrete goals of peace and sustainable development”.
Addressing the president, the Pope reaffirmed that “interreligious and intercultural dialogue can make an important contribution to attaining this lofty and urgent goal, so that there will be an end to all forms of fundamentalism and terrorism which gravely demean the dignity of every man and woman and exploit religion. Fanaticism and fundamentalism, as well as irrational fears which foster misunderstanding and discrimination, need to be countered by the solidarity of all believers. This solidarity must rest on the following pillars: respect for human life and for religious freedom, that is the freedom to worship and to live according to the moral teachings of one’s religion; commitment to ensuring what each person requires for a dignified life; and care for the natural environment. The peoples and the states of the Middle East stand in urgent need of such solidarity, so that they can 'reverse the trend' and successfully advance a peace process, repudiating war and violence and pursuing dialogue, the rule of law, and justice.
“Sadly, to date, we are still witnessing grave conflicts. In Syria and Iraq, particularly, terrorist violence shows no signs of abating. Prisoners and entire ethnic populations are experiencing the violation of the most basic humanitarian laws. Grave persecutions have taken place in the past and still continue today to the detriment of minorities, especially – though not only – Christians and Yazidis. Hundreds of thousands of persons have been forced to abandon their homes and countries in order to survive and remain faithful to their religious beliefs.
Turkey, which has generously welcomed a great number of refugees, is directly affected by this tragic situation on its borders; the international community has the moral obligation to assist Turkey in taking care of these refugees. In addition to providing much needed assistance and humanitarian aid, we cannot remain indifferent to the causes of these tragedies. In reaffirming that it is licit, while always respecting international law, to stop an unjust aggressor, I wish to reiterate, moreover, that the problem cannot be resolved solely through a military response. What is required is a concerted commitment on the part of all, based on mutual trust, which can pave the way to lasting peace, and enable resources to be directed, not to weaponry, but to the other noble battles worthy of man: the fight against hunger and sickness, the promotion of sustainable development and the protection of creation, and the relief of the many forms of poverty and marginalisation of which there is no shortage in the world today”.
The Pope concluded, “Turkey, by virtue of its history, geographical position and regional influence, has a great responsibility: the choices which Turkey makes and its example are especially significant and can be of considerable help in promoting an encounter of civilisations and in identifying viable paths of peace and authentic progress. May the Most High bless and protect Turkey, and help the nation to be a strong and fervent peacemaker”.
Indulgences for the Year of Consecrated Life
Vatican City, 28 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father, on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life, will concede plenary indulgences, with the customary conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to all members of the institutes of consecrated life and other truly repentant faithful moved by a spirit of charity, starting from the first Sunday of Advent this year until 2 February 2016, the day of the closure of the Year of Consecrated Life. The indulgence may also be offered for departed souls in Purgatory.
Indulgence may be obtained:
- In Rome, in participation in the international meetings and celebrations established in the calendar of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, and pious reflection on for a suitable period of time, concluding with the Lord's Prayer, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate approved form, and invocations of the Virgin Mary;
- In all the particular Churches, during the days devoted to consecrated life in the diocese, and during diocesan celebrations organised for the Year of Consecrated Life, by visiting the cathedral or another sacred place designated with the consent of the Ordinary of the place, or a convent church or oratory of a cloistered monastery, and publicly reciting the Liturgy of the Hours or through a suitable period of time of devout reflection, concluding with the Lord's Prayer, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate approved form, and pious invocations of the Virgin Mary.
Members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life who, on account of ill health or other serious reasons are prevented from visiting these sacred places, may nonetheless receive Plenary Indulgence if, completely detached from any type of sin and with the intention of being able to fulfil the three usual conditions as soon as possible, devoutly carry out the spiritual visit and offer their illness and the hardships of their life to God the merciful through Mary, with the addition of the prayers as above.
To facilitate this access to divine grace by means of pastoral charity, the Apostolic Penitentiary Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who signed the decree, asks that the canons, members of the Chapter, the priests of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and all others able to hear confessions offer themselves willingly and generously to the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and regularly administer Holy Communion to the sick.
Notice
Vatican City, 28 November 2014 (VIS) – Special editions of the VIS bulletin will be transmitted on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 November, on the occasion of Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Turkey.
27-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 210 

Serve new wine in new wineskins says the Pope to representatives of consecrated life
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – The Congregration for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life celebrated their plenary assembly reflecting on the current state of consecrated life in the Church, fifty years after the Conciliar documents “Lumen gentium” and “Perfectae caritatis”. The theme chosen was “New wine in new wineskins”, and Pope Francis, who received eighty participants in audience this morning, based his discourse on the multiple meanings of this phrase.
“In the part of the Lord's vineyard selected by those who have chosen to imitate Christ more closely through the profession of evangelical counsels, new grapes are matured and new wine is obtained”, said the Holy Father. “In these days you have been offered the chance to discern the quality and ageing of the 'new wine' that has been produced during the long season of renewal, and at the same time to evaluate whether the wineskins that contain it, represented by the institutional forms present today in consecrated life, are adequate to contain this 'new wine' and to favour its full maturation. As I have recalled many times, we must not be afraid of setting aside the 'old wineskins': of renewing those habits and those structures that, in the life of the Church and therefore also in consecrated life, we realise no longer respond to what God asks of us today to further His Kingdom in the world: the structures that give us false protection and that condition the dynamism of charity; the habits that distance us from the flock to which we are sent and prevent us from hearing the cry of those who await the Good News of Jesus Christ”.
“You do not hide those areas of weakness that it is possible to find today in consecrated life (such as the resistance to change of certain sectors, the diminished power of attraction, the not insignificant number of those who abandon the vocation, the fragility of certain formative itineraries, concern for institutional and ministerial tasks at the expense of spiritual life, the difficult integration of cultural and generational diversity, and a problematic balance in the exercise of authority and the use of goods), but you wish to continue to listen for signals from the Spirit, that opens up new horizons and leads to new paths, always starting out from the supreme rule of the Gospel and inspired by the bold creativity of your founders”.
The Pope went on to list the criteria to follow for guidance in the “arduous task of evaluating the new wine and testing the quality of the wineskins”: the evangelical originality of the choices, charismatic fidelity, the primary of service, attention to the least and most fragile, and respect for the dignity of every person.
He encouraged those present to “continue to work with generosity and resourcefulness in the Lord's vineyard”, to obtain “that generous wine that will be able to reinvigorate the life of the Church and to bring cheer to the heart of the many brothers and sisters in need of your care”, and he underlined that “even the substitution of old for new wineskins … does not take place automatically, but requires commitment and ability, to offer the suitable space for welcoming and bringing to fruition the new gifts with which the Spirit continues to embellish the Church, His spouse”. He concluded, “do not forget … to carry on the process of renewal that has been initiated and to a great extent accomplished in these fifty years, examining every novelty in the light of the Word of God and in listening to the needs of the Church and of the contemporary world”.
Migrants and the poor, dual challenge of urban pastoral ministry
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the second phase of the International Pastoral Congress on the World's Big Cities, held in Barcelona, Spain from 24 to 26 November. The Holy Father took the opportunity to explore in depth four challenges and possible prospects for urban pastoral ministry. “The places where God is calling us to … and the aspects to which we should pay special attention”.
Firstly, he mentioned the need to “implement a change in our pastoral mentality”. We are no longer in the era “in which the Church was the sole point of reference for culture”. Previously, “as an authentic teacher, she was aware of her responsibility to outline and to impose not only cultural forms but also values”. He continued, “Today we are no longer the only ones who produce culture, nor are we the first or the most listened to. We are therefore in need of a change in pastoral mentality, but not a 'relativist pastoral'”, that in its wish to be part of the cultural mix, “loses its evangelical perspective, leaving humanity to its own devices and freed from God's hand. No, this is the path of relativism, the easy route. This cannot be considered as pastoral ministry! He who acts in this way is not truly interested in man, but instead leaves him to the mercy of two equally grave dangers: concealing both Jesus, and the truth of man himself, from him – a way that leads humanity to solitude and death”. Therefore, the Pope added, “we need to have the courage to carry out an evangelising pastoral ministry, bold and without fear, as men, women, families and the various groups that inhabit the city expect from us, and need for their lives, the Good News that is Jesus and His Gospel”.
As a second challenge, he emphasised “dialogue with multiculturality” and the need for pastoral dialogue without relativism, that does not negotiate its own Christian identity, but that instead seeks to reach the heart of others, of those different to ourselves, and to sow the Gospel there. We need a contemplative attitude, that without denying the contribution of the different sciences in understanding the urban phenomenon – these contributions are important – seeks to discover the foundation of cultures, that in their deepest core are always open to and thirst for God”. To face this challenge, Francis underlined that it would help us greatly to know the “invisible cities, the groups or human territories that are identified by their symbols, languages, rites and ways of narrating life”.
“The religiosity of the people” was the third point he focused on. “We must discover, in the religiosity of our populations, the authentic religious substratum, that in many cases is Christian and Catholic. We must not fail to recognise, or regard with disdain, this experience of God that, although at times dispersed or mixed with other things, needs to be discovered and not constructed. He we find the semina Verbi sown by the Spirit of the Lord”. The Pope also commented on the many migrants and poor people who fill our cities, “pilgrims of life, in search of salvation”, who pose a “dual challenge”: that of “being hospitable to the poor and migrants, not generally the case in the city, which pushes them away, and of recognising the value of their faith”. “The urban poor”, who constitute the fourth point with which the Holy Father concluded his discourse, are “excluded and discarded. The Church cannot ignore their cry, nor can she enter into the game of unjust, mean and self-serving systems that seek to render them invisible”.
The Pope made two proposals for facing these challenges: to reach out to encounter God, “Who lives in the cities and in the poor”, to facilitate the encounter of others with God, making the Sacraments accessible, and to work towards a Samaritan Church, “with concrete witness of mercy and tenderness that endeavours to be present in the existential and poor peripheries, acting directly on the social subconscious, producing guidance and meaning for city life”.
To the Pauline family: take the breath of the Gospel to the most diverse cultures and social contexts
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Pope received in audience the members of the Pauline Family, the group of institutions that encompasses the Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul (Paulines), dedicated to the apostolate through means of communication. Founded by Blessed Giacomo Alberione (1884-1971), the Pauline Family is composed of ten members: five religious congregations, four aggregated institutes and an association of lay collaborators. This year it celebrates the centenary of its foundation and, to commemorate this anniversary, Francis invited them to renew their “commitment to living and communicating faith”, especially through the editorial and multimedia tools typical of their charism.
He also encouraged them to continue the path their founder opened up and which the Family has followed so far, “always keeping your gaze on broader horizons”, adding that we must never forget that “evangelisation is essentially connected with the proclamation of the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ, or have always denied Him. … Everyone has the right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty of announcing it without excluding anyone. This impulse to move towards the people, but also to existential peripheries, this 'Catholic' impulse, is something you have in the blood, in your DNA, for the very fact that your founder was inspired by the figure and the mission of the apostle Paul”.
Francis explained that Blessed Giacomo Alberione saw, in the announcement of Christ and of the Gospel to the masses, the most authentic and most necessary form of charity that could be offered to men and women who thirst for truth and justice”. He added, “you too are called to serve the people of today, to whom the Spirit sends you, with creativity and dynamic fidelity to your charism, identifying the most appropriate ways of announcing Jesus. … The imagination of charity knows no bounds, and knows how to open up ever new roads to bring the breath of the Gospel into the most diverse cultures and social environments”.
“Vatican Council II presented the Church to us as a population on the move … a vision that expresses Christian hope. … Therefore, our being a Church in progress, while it roots us in the task of announcing Christ and His love for every creature, also prevents us from being imprisoned by earthly and mundane structures; it keeps the spirit open and makes us capable of outlooks and demands that find their fulfilment in the beatitude of the Lord.
Holy Father's calendar for December 2014 and January 2015
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside in December 2014 and January 2015:
DECEMBER
Monday 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 4 p.m. in Piazza di Spagna, veneration of the image of Mary Immaculate.
Friday 12: Feast of Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for Latin America.
Sunday 14: “Gaudete Sunday” Third of Advent. At 4 p.m., pastoral visit to the Roman Parish of “San Giuseppe all'Aurelio”.
Wednesday 24: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. At 9.30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
Thursday 25: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. Central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, at12 p.m., “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.
Wednesday 31: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. At 5 p.m. First Vespers and Te Deum, in Thanksgiving for the past year.
JANUARY
Thursday 1: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. 48th World Peace Day. At 10 a.m.in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
Tuesday 6: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
Sunday 11: Sunday after the Epiphany: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. At 9.30 a.m. in the Sistine Chapel. Holy Mass and baptism of babies.
Monday 12 to Monday 19: Apostolic trip in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Sunday 25: Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul. At 5.30 in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Vespers.
Christians and Muslims condemn extremism and violence committed in the name of religion
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – The Centre for Interreligious Dialogue of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue held their Ninth Colloquium of dialogue from 24 to 26 November in Teheran, Iran, under the joint chairmanship of Abuzar Ibrahimi Turkaman, president of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed on the following:
1. Two decades of dialogue between the abovementioned institutions have provided the occasion for better knowledge and mutual understanding;
2. The participants emphasised that Christian-Muslim constructive dialogue plays a crucial role in making a better society;
3. Spirituality is a both a divine gift and the fruit of a human journey leading to truth;
4. A genuine spirituality enables us to recognise God’s presence and action within ourselves and in the world;
5. The media are called to play their distinctive role in the promotion of positive relations between Christians and Muslims;
6. The participants condemned all kinds of extremism and violence, especially committed in the name of religion.
The participants decided to hold the next colloquium in Rome in 2016, which will be preceded by a preparatory meeting 2015.
Audiences
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Michael A. Blume, apostolic nuncio in Uganda;
- Archbishop Ramiro Moliner Ingles, apostolic nuncio in Albania.

Today's Mass Readings : Friday November 28, 2014


Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 507


Reading 1RV 20:1-4, 11-21:2

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven,
holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain.
He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent,
which is the Devil or Satan,
and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss,
which he locked over it and sealed,
so that it could no longer lead the nations astray
until the thousand years are completed.
After this, it is to be released for a short time.

Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment.
I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God,
and who had not worshiped the beast or its image
nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands.
They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it.
The earth and the sky fled from his presence
and there was no place for them.
I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne,
and scrolls were opened.
Then another scroll was opened, the book of life.
The dead were judged according to their deeds,
by what was written in the scrolls.
The sea gave up its dead;
then Death and Hades gave up their dead.
All the dead were judged according to their deeds.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire.
(This pool of fire is the second death.)
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life
was thrown into the pool of fire.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Responsorial Psalm PS 84:3, 4, 5-6A AND 8A

R. (Rev. 21:3b) Here God lives among his people.
My soul yearns and pines
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God.
R. Here God lives among his people.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. Here God lives among his people.
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
R. Here God lives among his people.

Gospel LK 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable.
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
in the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.”