Thursday, December 18, 2014

Saint December 19 : Blessed Urban V : Pope

Bl. Urban V
POPE
Feast: December 19


Information:
Feast Day:December 19
Born:1310 Grizac, Languedoc, France
Died:December 19, 1370 Avignon, France
Guillaume de Grimoard, born at Grisac in Languedoc, 1310; died at Avignon, 19 December, 1370. Born of a knightly family, he was educated at Montpellier and Toulouse, and became a Benedictine monk at the little priory of Chirac near his home. A Bull of 1363 informs us that he was professed at the great Abbey of St. Victor at Marseilles, where he imbibed his characteristic love for the Order of St. Benedict; even as pope he wore its habit. He was ordained at Chirac, and after a further course of theology and canon law at the universities of Toulouse, Montpellier, Paris, and Avignon, he received the doctorate in 1342. He was one of the greatest canonists of his day; was professor of canon law at Montpellier, and also taught at Toulouse, Paris, and Avignon; he acted successively as vicar-general of the Dioceses of Clermont and Uzès, was at an unknown date (before 1342) affiliated to Cluny, became prior of Notre-Dame du Pré (a priory dependent on St. Germain d'Auxerre), and in 1352 was named abbot of that famous house by Clement VI. With this date begins his diplomatic career. His first mission was to Giovanni Visconti, Archbishop and despot of Milan, and this he carried out successfully; in 1354 and 1360 he was employed on the affairs of the Holy See in Italy; in 1361 he was appointed by Innocent VI to the Abbacy of St. Victor at Marseilles, but in 1362 was once more dispatched to Italy, this time on an embassy to Joanna of Naples. It was while engaged on this business that the abbot heard of his election to the papacy. Innocent VI had died on 12 Sept. The choice of one who was not a cardinal was due to jealousies within the Sacred College, which made the election of any one of its members almost impossible. Guillaume de Grimoard was chosen for his virtue and learning, and for his skill in practical affairs of government and diplomacy. He arrived at Marseilles on 28 Oct., entered Avignon three days later, and was consecrated on 6 November, taking the name of Urban because, as he said, "all the popes who had borne the name had been saints". The general satisfaction which this election aroused was voiced by Petrarch, who wrote to the pope, "It is God alone who has chosen you".
On 20 November King John of France visited Avignon; his main purpose was to obtain the hand of Joanna of Naples, ward of the Holy See, for his son Philip, Duke of Touraine. In a letter of 7 November Urban had already approved her project of marriage with King James of Majorca, a king without a kingdom; by so doing the pope safeguarded his own independence at Avignon, which would have been gravely imperilled had the marriage of Joanna, who was also Countess of Provence, united to the Crown of France the country surrounding the little papal principality. The letter written by Urban to Joanna on 29 Nov., urging the marriage with Philip, was probably meant rather to appease the French king than to persuade the recipient. The betrothal of the Queen of Naples to James of Majorca was signed on 14 Dec. The enormous ransom of 3,000,000 gold crowns, due to Edward III of England from John of France by the treaty of Bretigny, was still in great part unpaid, and John now sought permission to levy a tithe on the revenues of the French clergy. Urban refused this request as well as another for the nomination of four cardinals chosen by the king. John also desired to intervene between the pope and Barnabò Visconti, tyrant of Milan. He was again refused, and when Barnabò failed to appear within the three months allowed by his citation, the pope excommunicated him (3 March, 1363). In April of the same year Visconti was defeated before Bologna. Peace was concluded in March, 1364; Barnabò restored the castles seized by him, while Urban withdrew the excommunication and undertook to pay half a million gold florins.
The Benedictine pope was a lover of peace, and much of his diplomacy was directed to the pacification of Italy and France. Both countries were overrun by mercenary bands known as the "Free Companies", and the pope made many efforts to secure their dispersal or departure. His excommunication was disregarded and the companies refused to join the distant King of Hungary in his battles with the Turks although the Emperor Charles IV, who came to Avignon in May, 1365, guaranteed the expenses of their journey and offered them the revenues of his kingdom of Bohemia for three years. War now broke out between Pedro the Cruel of Navarre and his brother Henry of Trastamare. Pedro was excommunicated for his  cruelties and persecutions of the clergy, and Bertrand Duguesclin, the victor of Cocherel, led the companies into Navarre; yet they visited Avignon on their way and wrung blackmail from the pope. The Spanish war was quickly ended, and Urban returned to his fomer plan of employing the companies against the Turk. The Count of Savoy was to have led them to the assistance of the King of Cyprus and the Eastern Empire, but this scheme too was a failure. Urban's efforts were equally fruitless in Italy, where the whole land was overrun with bands led by such famous condottieri as the German Count of Landau and the Englishman Sir John Hawkwood. In 1365, after the failure of a scheme to unite Florence, Pisa, and the Italian communes against them, the pope commissioned Albornoz to persuade these companies to join the King of Hungary. In 1366 he solemnly excommunicated them, forbade their employment, and called on the emperor and all the powers of Christendom to unite for their extirpation. All was in vain, for though a league of Italian cities was formed in September of that year, it was disolved about fifteen months later owing to Florentine jealousy of the emperor.
Rome had suffered terribly through the absence of her pontiffs, and it became apparent to Urban that if he remained at Avignon the work of the warlike Cardinal Albornoz in restoring to the papacy the States of the Church would be undone. On 14 September, 1366, he informed the emperor of his determination to return to Rome. All men rejoiced at the announcement except the French; the king understood that the departure from Avignon would mean a diminution of French influence at the Curia. The French cardinals were in despair at the prospect of leaving France, and even threatened to desert the pope. On 30 April, 1367, Urban left Avignon; on 19 May he sailed from Marseilles, and after a long coasting voyage he reached Corneto, where he was met by Albornoz. On 4 June the Romans brought the keys of Sant' Angelo in sign of welcome, and the Gesuati carrying their branches in their hands and headed by their founder, Blessed John Colombini, preceded the pope. Five days later he entered Viterbo, where he dwelt in the citadel. The disturbed state of Italy made it impossible for Urban to set out to Rome until he had gathered a considerable army, so it was not till 16 Oct. that he entered the city at the head of an imposing cavalcade, under the escort of the Count of Savoy, the Marquess of Ferrara, and other princes.
The return of the pope to Rome appeared to the contemporary world both as a great event and as a religious action. The pope now set to work to improve the material and moral condition of his capital. The basilicas and papal palaces were restored and decorated, and the Papal treasure, which had been preserved at Assisi since the days of Boniface VIII, was distributed to the city churches. The unemployed were put to work in the neglected gardens of the Vatican, and corn was distributed in seasons of scarcity; at the same time the discipline of the clergy was restored, and the frequentation of the sacraments encouraged. One of Urban's first acts was to change the Roman constitution, but it may be questioned whether "the sacrifice offered to the Pontiff as the reward of his return was the liberty of the people" (Gregorovius).
On 17 October, 1368, the emperor joined the pope at Viterbo. Before leaving Germany he had confirmed all the rights of the Church, and Urban hoped for his help against the Visconti, but Charles allowed himself to be bribed. On 21 Oct. the pope and emperor entered Rome together, the latter humbly leading the pontiff's mule. On 1 Nov. Charles acted as deacon at the Mass at which Urban crowned the empress. For more than a century pope and emperor had not appeared thus in amity. A year later the Emperor of the East, John V Palaeologus, came to Rome seeking assistance against the infidel; he abjured the schism and was received by Urban on the steps of St. Peter's. These emperors both of West and East were but shadows of their great predecessors, and their visits, triumphs as they might appear, were but little gain to Urban V. He felt that his position in Italy was insecure. The death of Albornoz (24 Aug., 1367), who had made his return to Italy possible, had been a great loss. The restlessness of the towns was exemplified by the revolt of Perugia, which had to be crushed by force; any chance storm might undo the work of the great legate. At heart, too, the pope had all a Frenchman's love for his country, and his French entourage urged his return to Avignon. In vain were the remonstrances of the envoys of Rome, which had gained "greater quiet and order, an influx of wealth, a revival of importance" from his sojourn; in vain were the admonitions of St. Bridget, who came from Rome to Montefiascone to warn him that if he returned to Avignon he would shortly die. War had broken out again between France and England, and the desire to bring about peace strengthened the pope's determination. On 5 Sept., 1370, "sad, suffering and deeply moved", Urban embarked at Corneto. In a Bull of 26 June he had told the Romans that his departure was motived by his desire to be useful to the Universal Church and to the country to which he was going. It may be, too, that the pope saw that the next conclave would be free at Avignon but not in Italy. Charles V joyfully sent a fleet of richly adorned galleys to Corneto; the pope did not long survive his return (24 Sept.) to Avignon. His body was buried in Notre-Dame des Doms at Avignon but was removed two years later, in accordance with his own wish, to the Abbey Church of St. Victor at Marseilles. Miracles multiplied around his tomb. His canonization was demanded by King Waldemar of Denmark and promised by Gregory XI as early as 1375, but did not take place owing to the disorders of the time. His cultus was approved by Pius IX in 1870.
Urban V was a man whose motives cannot be called in question: his policy aimed at Eurpoean peace; shortly before his death he had given orders that preparations should be made to enable him personally to visit and reconcile Edward III and Charles V. He had shown great zeal for the Crusade. On 29 March, 1363, Pierre de Lusignan, King of Cyprus and titular King of Jerusalem, appeared at Avignon to appeal for assistance against the Turks, and on 31 March (Good Friday) Urban preached the Crusade and gave the cross to the Kings of France, Denmark, and Cyprus; the chivalrous King John, who was to have been chief commander, died a quasi-prisoner at London in 1364, and though the King of Cyprus captured Alexandria (11 Oct., 1365), he was unable to hold the city. The crusading spirit  was dead in Europe. In an age of corruption and simony Urban stood for purity and disinterestedness in church life: he did much for ecclesiastical discipline and caused many provincial councils to be held; he refused to bestow place or money on his relatives, and even caused his own father to refund a pension bestowed on him by the French king. His brother, whom he prompted to the cardinalate, was acknowledged by all to be a man most worthy of the dignity. The pope's private life was that of a monk, and he was always accessible to those who sought his aid.
But Urban was a patriotic Frenchman, a defect in the universal father of Christendom. He estranged the English king by the help given to his rival, and aroused hostility in Italy by the favour shown to men of his own race whom he made his representatives in the States of the Church. He was a great patron of learning, founded universities at Cracow (by a Bull of 1364) and at Vienna (by a Bull of 1365), and caused the emperor to create the University of Orange; he revised the statutes of the University of Orléans; and gave great assistance to the universities of Avignon and Toulouse. At Bologna he supported the great college founded by Albornoz and paid the expenses of many poor students whom he sent thither. He also founded a studium at Trets (later removed to Manosque), but his greatest foundations were at Montpellier. His buildings and restorations were considerable, especially at Avignon, Rome, and Montpellier. He approved the orders of Brigittines and Gesuati, and canonized his godfather, St. Elzéar of Sabran.

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Today's Mass Readings : Thursday December 18, 2014

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 194


Reading 1JER 23:5-8

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.”

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”;
but rather, "As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north”–
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.

Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,


which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

Breaking News Boko Haram Kidnaps 185 more Women and Children - Please PRAY

Boko Haram has kidnapped over 185 women and children, and killed 32 people in northeastern Nigeria on Sunday Dec. 14, 2014. They were taken in trucks after their village of Gumsuri was attacked with bombs and burnt. An official explained "They gathered the women and children and took them away in trucks after burning most of the village with petrol bombs," Communications towers were disabled in earlier attacks. Boko Haram began its terrorism in Nigeria, Africa in 2009. In April, Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls, they have said they were sold into slavery. US government research indicates that over 5,000 people have died due to Boko Haram.
PLEASE PRAY FOR AN END TO THIS VIOLENCE - Jesus Mercy!

Saint December 18 : St. Winebald : Benedictine Abbot and Missionary


St. Winebald
BENEDICTINE ABBOT AND MISSIONARY
Feast: December 18


Information:
Feast Day:December 18
Born:Wessex, England
Died:18 December 761 at Heidenheim, Germany
Winebald is one of those amazing English missionaries who evangelized Europe, leaving behind a flourishing Catholicism and a number of monasteries and laying the beginnings of Christianity in what is now Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
St. Winebald was the son of a West Saxon nobleman, St. Richard, and the brother of St. Willibald. With his father and brother he made a pilgrimage to Rome in 721. His father died in Italy, and Winebald remained in Rome for further study, like his countrymen before him, St. Wilfrid and St. Benedict Biscop. He returned to England and brought back to Rome some of his relatives to begin a monastic life in the holy city.
When St. Boniface came to Rome in 739, he recruited Winebald for the German missions, ordained him a priest, and put him in charge of churches in Germany and Bavaria. His brother, Willibald, who was now bishop of Eichstatt, asked Winebald to found a monastery for the training of priests and as a center of learning. Their sister, St. Walburga, came from England to found a convent, and both the monastery and the convent were founded at Heidenheim.
He established the rule of St. Benedict in his monastery, and Heidenheim became an important center of learning in the missionary territory. Because of illness, Winebald was not able to carry on the missionary work that he desired and yearned to end his days at Monte Cassino.
In 761, Winebald visited St. Boniface's shrine at Fulda and on the way home to  Heidenheim became very sick. When he reached Heidenheim, he became weaker and weaker and after giving his monks a few last words he died on December 18, 761. His tomb became a local shrine and the site of pilgrimages.

Novena for Christmas : Day 2 : Official - Plenary Indulgence - SHARE



Opening Prayer:

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.


Glory be to the Father and to
the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be, world without
end.

Amen. 

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Day 2 Prayers

The Visitation.
O most sweet infant Jesus, who by means of your
Virgin Mother, visited St. Elizabeth, and filled your
servant, St. John the Baptist, with the Holy Spirit,
sanctifying him from his mother's womb.
Amen.
Day 1: http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2013/12/official-novena-for-christmas-day-1.html
Day 9: http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2013/12/christmas-novena-day-9-plenary.html 
FROM THE RACCOLTA OFFICIAL
NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. -
i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and -
ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on  any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.

Latest News from Vatican Information Service - Report on Women Religious


16-12-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 223 

Summary
- Presentation of the Final Report of the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America
- Other Pontifical Acts
Presentation of the Final Report of the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America
Vatican City, 16 December 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Final Report of the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America.
The speakers in the conference were Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life; Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the same congregation; Mother M. Clare Millea, A.S.C.J., director of the Apostolic Visitation in the United States; Sister. Sharon Holland, I.H.M., president of the “Leadership Conference of Women Religious” (LCWR); Sr. Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., coordinator of the “Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious” (CMSWR), and Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., assistant to the Visitation Committee.
Cardinal Braz de Aviz explained that the Visitation was initiated “because of our awareness that apostolic religious life in the United States is experiencing challenging times. Although we knew that any initiative of this magnitude would have its limits,we wished to gain deeper knowledge of the contributions of the women religious to the Church and society as well as those difficulties which threaten the quality of their religious life and, in some cases, the very existence of the institutes.
“Our final report on the Apostolic Visitation is addressed to the women religious of the United States as well as to the Church’s Pastors and faithful. In addition to publishing this general report, our Dicastery will send individual reports to those institutes which hosted an on-site visitation and to those institutes whose individual reports indicated areas of concern. We will also send letters of thanks to those institutes which participated in the first two phases of the Visitation. … We are aware that the Apostolic Visitation was met with apprehension by some women religious as well as the decision, on the part of some institutes, not to collaborate fully in the process. While this was a painful disappointment for us, we use this present opportunity to express our willingness to engage in respectful and fruitful dialogue with those institutes which were not fully compliant with the Visitation process”.
The cardinal went on to remark that Pope Francis had asked the dicastery, in close collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops, to update the curial document Mutuae Relationes regarding the collaboration among bishops and religious, “in accord with the Church’s resolve to foster the ecclesial communion which we all desire”. He concluded by expressing his joy at Pope Francis' many recent statements about “the indispensable and unique contributions of women to society and the Church. I assure you that this Congregation is committed to collaborate in the realisation of Pope Francis’ resolve that 'the feminine genius' find expression in the various settings where important decisions are made, both in the Church and in social structures. We will continue to work to see that competent women religious will be actively involved in ecclesial dialogue regarding “the possible role of women in decision-making in different areas of the Church’s life”.
Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M, secretary of the Congregation, then went on to present an overview of the final report. He explained that the dicasteries of the Apostolic See regularly authorise Apostolic Visitations, which involve sending one or more visitors to evaluate an ecclesiastical entity in order to assist the group in question to improve the way in which it carries out its mission in the life of the Church. “In some ways, however, this Apostolic Visitation was unprecedented. It involved 341 religious institutes of women religious which engage in apostolic ministry and which have a generalate, provincialate and/or initial formation program in the United States. Both diocesan and pontifical right institutes, to which approximately 50,000 women religious throughout the United States belong, were part of the Visitation. Each province of institutes which had more than one province in the United States was considered a separate unit, for a total of 405 entities involved in the Visitation. Our dicastery appointed a woman religious from the United States, Mother Mary Clare Millea, A.S.C.J., as Apostolic Visitator, granting her the faculties to design and carry out the Visitation. She, in turn, chose a core team of American religious who assisted her throughout the process”.
“The Visitation took place between 2009 and 2012 and was divided into four phases. In the first phase, 266 superiors general (78% of their total number)voluntarily engaged in personal dialogue with the Visitator. Subsequently, all major superiors were asked to complete a questionnaire requesting empirical data and qualitative information regarding the spiritual, community and ministerial life of the individual institutes. On-site visits were then conducted in a representative sample of 90 religious institutes, representing about half of the apostolic women religious in the United States. In the final phase of the Visitation, the Visitator submitted to our dicastery a final general report on the major issues and trends in women’s religious life in the United States. While these trends cannot be presumed to apply to each of the institutes, they were significant enough to warrant mention in her report”.
“The document we are presenting today is our Congregation’s response to the Vistitator’s general report. Following a brief introduction, it describes the rationale and offers an overview of the Visitation process. It then briefly treats the principal issues evaluated during the Visitation process: empirical data, charism and identity, vocations and religious formation, Christ-centred prayer, community life and ministry, governance and financial stewardship, collaboration in the evangelising mission of the Church and ecclesial communion. On each of these topics, a point of reference is given in the form of a brief statement of current Church teaching on the issue being reviewed. This is followed by a summary of the Visitator’s overall evaluation of the reality. The third part of each section contains the Congregation’s recommendations to all religious institutes regarding that issue”.
Archbishop Rodriguez Carballo added that “any oral summary of the Apostolic Visitation during this press conference would risk impoverishing its content. The full text of the Report will be made available for consultation at: www.vatican.vawww.uisg.org,www.vidimusdominum.orgwww.lcwr.orgwww.cmswr.org, and www.usccb.org) and will be sent to all the participating religious institutes.
The Visitator, Sr. M. Clare Millea, A.S.C.J., remarked that the Visit had provided many opportunities for “reflection, dialogue and communion among women religious in the United States as well as with the Church's pastors and lay faithful. Congregation leaders, including those who at first expressed resistance to this initiative, have shared that the process has yielded surprising positive results, such as honest confrontation with the transformative power of the Word of God, deep spiritual conversations with our sisters about the life, witness and message of our foundresses and founders, earnest delving into Church documents about consecrated life, increased solidarity among women religious and renewed desire to move beyond attitudes which prevent us from being in communion with one another, a wonderful outpouring of loving gratitude expressed to women religious by bishops, clergy and laypersons, which has sparked new energy and resourcefulness among us and awakened a renewed interest in the promotion of vocations to the religious life”.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 16 December 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Samson Shukardin, O.F.M., as bishop of Hyderabad (area 137,386, population 22,309,840, Catholics 47,242, priests 30, religious 89), Pakistan. The bishop-elect was born in Hyderabad, Pakistan in 1961, gave his solemn vows in 1991 and was ordained a priest in 1993. He holds a diploma in theology from the National Catholic Institute of Theology in Karachi and a licentiate in civil law from the Sindh Law College, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish vicar in Gujrat, procurator of the Franciscan province, and custodian of the Franciscan Order and president of the Conference of Major Superiors in Pakistan. He is currently parish priest of the “St. Elizabeth” parish in Hyderabad, diocesan director of the Commission of Justice and Peace, and vicar general of the diocese of Hyderabad. He succeeds Bishop Max John Rodrigues, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

Pope Francis "That God walks with us, that God makes history..." Homily

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
18/12/2014 12:
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday invited the faithful to rely on God even in the darkest hours, even if sometimes we do not understand how He is working, because he always walks with us in the history of Salvation.
The Pope’s words came during his homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta.
"God’s will has been to save us in history" - the Pope said - our Salvation "is not sterile, as in a laboratory. No! It’s history. He has walked through history with his people. "Therefore – he said - "there is no salvation without history. And to get to the point: history goes back a long time":
"And so, step by step, history is made. God makes history, we make history; and when we fail, God makes adjustments and sets history back on course, walking with us all the time. If this is not clear to us, we will never understand Christmas! We will never understand the Incarnation of the Word! Never! It’s a story that goes forward in time. 'Father, is history over with the story of Christmas?'; 'No! The Lord continues to save us in history. And he walks with his people. '"
In this story - Pope Francis continued – there are those chosen by God, those people that He chooses "to help his people to move forward," like Abraham, Moses, Elijah. For them "there are some bad times", "dark moments, awkward moments, bothersome moments". Perhaps they are people who just want to live peacefully, but "the Lord inconveniences them. The Lord inconveniences us to make history! So often he puts us on roads that we don’t want to walk". So much so that Moses and Elijah, at a certain point, would rather die, but then they trust in the Lord.
The Gospel of the day speaks of "another bad moment in the history of salvation", that of Joseph who discovers that his betrothed, Mary, is pregnant: "He suffers, he sees the village women chatting in the market; and he suffers. ‘This is a good one, I know her! She is a woman of God. What has she done to me? It’s not possible!” If he accuses her, she will be stoned. But that is not what he wants to do, even although he does not understand. He knows that Mary "is incapable of being unfaithful." "In difficult moments such as these" - the Pope said - "those chosen by God to make history, must take the problem on their shoulders, without understanding." Like that – he said - "the Lord makes history."
"That’s what Joseph does. The man who in the worst moment of his life, the most obscure, takes the problem upon himself. And he takes the blame in the eyes of others in order to protect his bride. A psychoanalyst could perhaps say that this dream of Joseph’s is the condensation of anxiety, which seeks to be expressed... let them say what they will. But what did Joseph do? After awaking from the dream he took Mary as his bride. 'I do not understand, but the Lord spoke to me and said she will give birth to a son who will appear to be my son!'".
"To make history with His people - the Pope said – for God means to walk and to put his chosen ones to test." In the end He saves them: "Let us always remember, with confidence, even in the worst moments, even in times of illness, when we realize we have to ask for the Last Rites because there is no way out, to say: 'Lord, history did not start with me and will not end with me! You go ahead, I am willing to come with you'. And to put ourselves in the hands of the Lord. "What then do those who are chosen by God teach us?
"That God walks with us, that God makes history, that God puts us to the test and that God saves us in the worst moments, because He is our Father. And according to Paul He is our daddy. May the Lord help us to understand this mystery of Him walking with His people in history, of testing His elected ones, as well as the greatness of their hearts as they take upon themselves the pains, the problems, even the blame for our sins – Let us walk forward with Jesus across history. "

(Linda Bordoni)