Friday, January 2, 2015

Holy Name of Jesus Feast : Prayers - Litany - Novena to the Holy Name - SHARE

Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of JESUS. This is celebrated on different dates depending on the rite. However, the 8 days after Christmas signify the date of the Circumcision of Jesus. On that day Jesus was given His name as foretold by the angel. The monogram signifying the Holy Name of Jesus consists of the three letters: IHS. In the Middle Ages the Name of Jesus was written: IHESUS; the monogram contains the first and last letter of the Holy Name. (IMAGE SOURCE/SHARE GOOGLE)
NOVENA TO THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS
O Merciful Jesus, Who didst in Thy early infancy commence Thy office of Savior by shedding Thy Precious Blood, and assuming for us that name which is above all names; we thank Thee for such early proofs of Thine infinite love. We venerate Thy sacred name, in union with the profound respect of the Angel who first announced it to the earth, and unite our affections to the sentiments of tender devotion which the adorable name of Jesus has in all ages enkindled in the hearts of Thy Saints.

Animated with a firm faith in Thy unerring word, and penetrated with confidence in Thy mercy, we now most humbly remind Thee of the promise Thou hast made, that where two or three should assemble in Thy name, Thou Thyself wouldst be in the midst of them. Come, then, into the midst of us, most amiable Jesus, for it is in Thy sacred name we are here assembled; come into our hearts, that we may be governed by Thy holy spirit; mercifully grant us, through that adorable name, which is the joy of Heaven, the terror of Hell, the consolation of the afflicted, and the solid ground of our unlimited confidence,
all the petitions we make in this novena.

Oh! blessed Mother of our Redeemer! Who didst participate so sensibly in the sufferings of thy dear Son when He shed His Sacred Blood and assumed for us the name of Jesus, obtain for us,through that adorable name, the favors we petition in this novena.

Beg also, that the most ardent love may imprint on our hearts that sacred name, that it may be always in our minds and frequently on our lips; that it may be our defense and our refuge in the temptations and trials of life, and our consolation and support in the hour of death. Amen.
 
LITANY OF THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS





Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy


God our Father in heaven
have mercy on us
God the Son,
have mercy on us
Redeemer of the world
have mercy on us
God the Holy Spirit
have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God
have mercy on us
Jesus, Son of the living God
have mercy on us
Jesus, splendor of the Father
have mercy on us
Jesus, brightness of everlasting light
have mercy on us
Jesus, king of glory
have mercy on us
Jesus, dawn of justice
have mercy on us
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary
have mercy on us
Jesus, worthy of our love
have mercy on us
Jesus, worthy of our wonder
have mercy on us
Jesus, mighty God
have mercy on us
Jesus, father of the world to come
have mercy on us
Jesus, prince of peace
have mercy on us
Jesus, all-powerful
have mercy on us
Jesus, pattern of patience
have mercy on us
Jesus, model of obedience
have mercy on us
Jesus, gentle and humble of heart
have mercy on us
Jesus, lover of chastity
have mercy on us
Jesus, lover of us all
have mercy on us
Jesus, God of peace
have mercy on us
Jesus, author of life
have mercy on us
Jesus, model of goodness
have mercy on us
Jesus, seeker of souls
have mercy on us
Jesus, our God
have mercy on us
Jesus, our refuge
have mercy on us
Jesus, father of the poor
have mercy on us
Jesus, treasure of the faithful
have mercy on us
Jesus, Good Shepherd
have mercy on us
Jesus, the true light
have mercy on us
Jesus, eternal wisdom
have mercy on us
Jesus, infinite goodness
have mercy on us
Jesus, our way and our life
have mercy on us
Jesus, joy of angels
have mercy on us
Jesus, king of patriarchs
have mercy on us
Jesus, teacher of apostles
have mercy on us
Jesus, master of evangelists
have mercy on us
Jesus, courage of martyrs
have mercy on us
Jesus, light of confessors
have mercy on us
Jesus, purity of virgins
have mercy on us
Jesus, crown of all saints
have mercy on us


Lord, be merciful
Jesus, save your people
From all evil
Jesus, save your people
From every sin
Jesus, save your people
From the snares of the devil
Jesus, save your people
From your anger
Jesus, save your people
From the spirit of infidelity
Jesus, save your people
From everlasting death
Jesus, save your people
From neglect of your Holy Spirit
Jesus, save your people
By the mystery of your incarnation
Jesus, save your people
By your birth
Jesus, save your people
By your childhood
Jesus, save your people
By your hidden life
Jesus, save your people
By your public ministry
Jesus, save your people
By your agony and crucifixion
Jesus, save your people
By your abandonment
Jesus, save your people
By your grief and sorrow
Jesus, save your people
By your death and burial
Jesus, save your people
By your rising to new life
Jesus, save your people
By your return in glory to the Father
Jesus, save your people
By your gift of the holy Eucharist
Jesus, save your people
By your joy and glory
Jesus, save your-people


Christ, hear us
Christ, hear us
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer
Lamb of God, you take away

the sins of the world
have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away

the sins of the world
have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away

the sins of the world
have mercy on us

Let us pray.
Lord, may we who honor the holy name of Jesus enjoy his friendship in this life and be filled with eternal joy in the kingdom where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint January 3 : St. Genevieve : Virgin : Patroness of Paris



Information:
Feast Day:January 3
Born:
422 at Nanterre near Paris, France
Died:500 at Paris, France
Patron of:Paris
Her father's name was Severus, and her mother's Gerontia: she was born about the year 422, at Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris, near the famous modern stations, or Calvary, adorned with excellent sculptures, representing our Lord's Passion, on Mount Valerien. When St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, went with St. Lupus into Britain to oppose the Pelagian heresy, he lay at Nanterre in his way. The inhabitants flocked about them to receive their blessing, and St. Germanus made them an exhortation, during which he took particular notice of Genevieve, though only seven years of age. After his discourse he inquired for her parents, and addressing himself to them, foretold their daughter's future sanctity, and said that she would perfectly accomplish the resolution she had taken of serving God, and that others would imitate her example. He then asked Genevieve whether it was not her desire to serve God in a state of perpetual virginity, and to bear no other title than that of a spouse of Jesus Christ. The virgin answered that this was what she had long desired, and begged that by his blessing she might be from that moment consecrated to God. The holy prelate went to the church of the place, followed by the people, and, during long singing of psalms and prayers, says Constantius,[1] that is, during the recital of None and Vespers, as the author of the life of St. Genevieve expresses it,[2] he held his hand upon the virgin's head. After he had supped, he dismissed her, giving her a strict charge to her parents to bring her again to him very early the next morning. The father complied with the commission, and St. Germanus asked Genevieve whether she remembered the promise she had made to God. She said she did, and declared she would, by the divine assistance, faithfully perform it. The bishop gave her a brass medal, on which a cross was engraved, to wear always about her neck, to put her in mind of the consecration she had made of herself to God; and at the same time, he charged her never to wear bracelets, or necklaces of pearls, gold or silver, or any other ornaments of vanity. All this she most religiously observed, and considering herself as the spouse of Christ, gave herself up to the most fervent practices of devotion and penance. From the words of St. Germanus, in his exhortation to St. Genevieve never to wear jewels, Baillet and some others infer that she must have been a person of quality and fortune: but the ancient Breviary and constant tradition of the place assure us that her father was a poor shepherd.

About fifteen years of age, she was presented to the Bishop of Paris to receive the religious veil at his hand, together with two other persons of the same sex. Though she was the youngest of the three, the bishop placed her first, saying that heaven had already sanctified her; by which he seems to have alluded to the promise she had already made, in the presence of SS. Germanus and Lupus, of consecrating herself to God. From that time she frequently ate only twice in the week, on Sundays and Thursdays. Her food was barley bread with a few beans. At the age of fifty, by the command of certain bishops, she mitigated this austerity so far as to allow herself a moderate use of fish and milk. Her prayer was almost continual, and generally attended with a large flow of tears. After the death of her parents she left Nanterre, and settled with her grandmother at Paris, but sometimes undertook journeys upon motives of charity, and illustrated the cities of Meaux, Laon, Tours, Orleans, and all other places wherever she went, with miracles and remarkable predictions. God permitted her to meet with some severe trials; for at a certain time all persons indiscriminately seemed TO be in a combination against her, and persecuted her under the opprobrious names of visionary, hypocrite, and the like imputations, all tending to asperse her innocency. The arrival of St. Germanus at Paris, probably on his second journey to Britain, for some time silenced her calumniators; but it was not long ere the storm broke out anew. Her enemies were fully determined to drown her, when the Archdeacon of Auxerre arrived with <Eulogies>, or blessed bread, sent her by St. Germanus, as a testimony of his particular esteem for her virtues, and a token of communion. This seems to have happened whilst St. Germanus was absent in Italy in 449, a little before his death. This circumstance, so providentially opportune, converted the prejudices of her calumniators into a singular veneration for her during the remainder of her life. The Franks or French had then possessed themselves of the better part of Gaul, and Childeric, their king, took Paris. During the long blockade of that city, the citizens being extremely distressed by famine, St. Genevieve, as the author of her life relates, went out at the head of a company who were sent to procure provisions, and brought back from Arcis-sur-Aube and Troyes several boats laden with corn. Nevertheless, Childeric, when he had made himself master of Paris, though always a pagan, respected St. Genevieve, and, upon her intercession, spared the lives of many prisoners, and did several other acts of clemency and bounty. Our saint, out of her singular devotion to St. Dionysius and his companions, the apostles of the country, frequently visited their tombs at the borough of Catulliacum, which many think the borough since called St. Denys. She also excited the zeal of many pious persons to build there a church in honour of St. Dionysius, which King Dagobert I afterwards rebuilt with a stately monastery in 629. St. Genevieve likewise performed several pilgrimages, in company with other holy virgins, to the shrine of St. Martin at Tours. These journeys of devotion she sanctified by the exercises of holy recollection and austere penance.

King Clovis, who embraced the faith in 496, listened often with deference to the advice of St. Genevieve, and granted liberty to several captives at her request. Upon the report of the march of Attila with his army of Huns, the Parisians were preparing to abandon their city, but St. Genevieve persuaded them, in imitation of Judith and Hester, to endeavour to avert the scourge, by fasting, watching, and prayer. Many devout persons of her sex passed many days with her in prayer in the baptistry; from whence the particular devotion to St. Genevieve, which is practiced at St. John-le-rond, the ancient public baptistry of the church of Paris, seems to have taken rise. She assured the people of the protection of heaven, and their deliverance; and though she was long treated by many as an impostor, the event verified the prediction, that barbarian suddenly changing the course of his march, probably by directing it towards Orleans.

Our authority attributes to St. Genevieve the first design of the magnificent church which Clovis began to build in honour of SS. Peter and Paul, by the pious counsel of his wife Saint Clotilda, by whom it was finished several years after; for he only laid the foundation a little before his death, which happened in 511 . St. Genevieve died about the same year, probably five weeks after that prince, on the 3rd of January, 512, being eighty-nine years old. Some think she died before King Clovis. The tombs of St. Genevieve and King Clovis were near together. Immediately after the saint was buried, the people raised an oratory of wood over her tomb, as her historian assures us, and this was soon changed into the stately church built under the invocation of SS. Peter and Paul. From this circumstance, we gather that her tomb was situated in a part of this church, which was only built after her death. Her tomb, though empty, is still shown in the subterraneous church, or vault, betwixt those of Prudentius, and St. Ceraunus, Bishop of Paris. But her relics were enclosed by St. Eligius in a costly shrine, adorned with gold and silver, which he made with his own hands about the year 630, as St. Owen relates in his life. The author of the original life of St. Genevieve concludes it by a description of the basilic which Clovis and St. Clotilda erected, adorned with a triple portico, in which were painted the histories of the patriarchs, prophets, martyrs, and confessors. This church was several times plundered, and at length burnt, by the Normans. When it was rebuilt, soon after the year 856, the relics of St. Genevieve were brought back. The miracles which were performed there from the time of her burial rendered this church famous all over France, so that at length it began to be known only by her name. The city of Paris has frequently received sensible proofs of the divine protection through her intercession. The most famous instance is that called the miracle of Des Ardens, or of the burning fever. In 1129, in the reign of Louis VI, a pestilential fever, with a violent inward heat, and pains in the bowels, swept off, in a short time, fourteen thousand persons, nor could the art of physicians afford any relief. Stephen, Bishop of Paris, with the clergy and people, implored the divine mercy, by fasting and supplications. Yet the distemper began not to abate till the shrine of St. Genevieve was carried in a solemn procession to the cathedral. During that ceremony many sick persons were cured by touching the shrine, and of all that then lay ill of that distemper in the whole town, only three died, the rest recovered, and no others fell ill. Pope Innocent II coming to Paris the year following, after having passed a careful scrutiny on the miracle, ordered an annual festival in commemoration of it on the 26th of November, which is still kept at Paris. A chapel near the cathedral, called anciently St. Genevieve's the Little, erected near the house in which she died, afterwards from this miracle, though it was wrought not at this chapel, but chiefly at the cathedral, as Le Beuf demonstrates, was called St. Genevieve Des Ardens, which was demolished in 1747 to make place for the Foundling Hospital.[3] Both before and since that time, it is the custom in extraordinary public calamities to carry the shrine of St. Genevieve, accompanied by those of St. Marcel, St. Aurea, St. Lucan martyr, St. Landry, St. Merry, St. Paxentius, St. Magloire, and others, in a solemn procession to the cathedral; on which occasion the regular canons of St. Genevieve walk barefoot, and at the right hand of the chapter of the cathedral, and the abbot walks on the right hand of the archbishop. The present rich shrine of St. Genevieve was made by the abbot, and the relics enclosed in it in 1242. See the " Ancient Life of St. Genevieve," written by an anonymous author, eighteen years after her death, of which the best edition is given by F. Charpentier, a Genevevan regular canon, in octavo, in 1697. It is interpolated in several editions.

SOURCE: EWTN.COM

Full Text Pope Francis World Day of Peace Message of 2015 "all people of good will for the advancement of harmony and peace..."


Pope Francis signs an interfatih declaration against modern slavery on December 2nd 2014 - AFP
31/12/2014 03:


(Vatican Radio) On January 1st each year the Church marks the World Day of Peace, a tradition begun by Pope Paul VI who held the first such observance in January 1968. This year Pope Francis has chosen to focus his second World Peace Day message on the theme of modern slavery and trafficking, with the title “Slaves no more, but Brothers and Sisters”.  
The annual message is drawn up with the help of the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council, whose officials present the message at a press conference in December. Given the pioneering work that religious women around the world have been doing to combat trafficking, speakers presenting this year’s message also included sisters who’ve been on the front line of the Church’s battle against slavery for the past two decades. Full text below:
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE  WORLD DAY OF PEACE
1 JANUARY 2015
NO LONGER SLAVES, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS
1. At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to every man and woman, to all the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious leaders. In doing so, I pray for an end to wars, conflicts and the great suffering caused by human agency, by epidemics past and present, and by the devastation wrought by natural disasters. I pray especially that, on the basis of our common calling to cooperate with God and all people of good will for the advancement of harmony and peace in the world, we may resist the temptation to act in a manner unworthy of our humanity.
In my Message for Peace last year, I spoke of “the desire for a full life… which includes a longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced”.[1] Since we are by nature relational beings, meant to find fulfilment through interpersonal relationships inspired by justice and love, it is fundamental for our human development that our dignity, freedom and autonomy be acknowledged and respected. Tragically, the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man gravely damages the life of communion and our calling to forge interpersonal relations marked by respect, justice and love. This abominable phenomenon, which leads to contempt for the fundamental rights of others and to the suppression of their freedom and dignity, takes many forms. I would like briefly to consider these, so that, in the light of God’s word, we can consider all men and women “no longer slaves, but brothers and sisters”.
Listening to God’s plan for humanity
2. The theme I have chosen for this year’s message is drawn from Saint Paul’s letter to Philemon, in which the Apostle asks his co-worker to welcome Onesimus, formerly Philemon’s slave, now a Christian and, therefore, according to Paul, worthy of being considered a brother. The Apostle of the Gentiles writes: “Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother” (vv. 15-16). Onesimus became Philemon’s brother when he became a Christian. Conversion to Christ, the beginning of a life lived Christian discipleship, thus constitutes a new birth (cf. 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Pet 1:3) which generates fraternity as the fundamental bond of family life and the basis of life in society.
In the Book of Genesis (cf. 1:27-28), we read that God made man male and female, and blessed them so that they could increase and multiply. He made Adam and Eve parents who, in response to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, brought about the first fraternity, that of Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel were brothers because they came forth from the same womb. Consequently they had the same origin, nature and dignity as their parents, who were created in the image and likeness of God.
But fraternity also embraces variety and differences between brothers and sisters, even though they are linked by birth and are of the same nature and dignity. As brothers and sisters, therefore, all people are in relation with others, from whom they differ, but with whom they share the same origin, nature and dignity. In this way, fraternity constitutes the network of relations essential for the building of the human family created by God.
Tragically, between the first creation recounted in the Book of Genesis and the new birth in Christ whereby believers become brothers and sisters of the “first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29), there is the negative reality of sin, which often disrupts human fraternity and constantly disfigures the beauty and nobility of our being brothers and sisters in the one human family. It was not only that Cain could not stand Abel; he killed him out of envy and, in so doing, committed the first fratricide. “Cain’s murder of Abel bears tragic witness to his radical rejection of their vocation to be brothers. Their story (cf. Gen 4:1-16) brings out the difficult task to which all men and women are called, to live as one, each taking care of the other”.[2]
This was also the case with Noah and his children (cf. Gen 9:18-27). Ham’s disrespect for his father Noah drove Noah to curse his insolent son and to bless the others, those who honoured him. This created an inequality between brothers born of the same womb.
In the account of the origins of the human family, the sin of estrangement from God, from the father figure and from the brother, becomes an expression of the refusal of communion. It gives rise to a culture of enslavement (cf. Gen 9:25-27), with all its consequences extending from generation to generation: rejection of others, their mistreatment, violations of their dignity and fundamental rights, and institutionalized inequality. Hence, the need for constant conversion to the Covenant, fulfilled by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, in the confidence that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more… through Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:20-21). Christ, the beloved Son (cf. Mt 3:17), came to reveal the Father’s love for humanity. Whoever hears the Gospel and responds to the call to conversion becomes Jesus’ “brother, sister and mother” (Mt 12:50), and thus an adopted son of his Father (cf. Eph 1:5).
One does not become a Christian, a child of the Father and a brother or sister in Christ, as the result of an authoritative divine decree, without the exercise of personal freedom: in a word, without being freely converted to Christ. Becoming a child of God is necessarily linked to conversion: “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). All those who responded in faith and with their lives to Peter’s preaching entered into the fraternity of the first Christian community (cf. 1 Pet 2:17; Acts 1:15-16, 6:3, 15:23): Jews and Greeks, slaves and free (cf. 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:28). Differing origins and social status did not diminish anyone’s dignity or exclude anyone from belonging to the People of God. The Christian community is thus a place of communion lived in the love shared among brothers and sisters (cf. Rom 12:10; 1 Thess 4:9; Heb 13:1; 1 Pet 1:22; 2 Pet 1:7).
All of this shows how the Good News of Jesus Christ, in whom God makes “all things new” (Rev 21:5),[3] is also capable of redeeming human relationships, including those between slaves and masters, by shedding light on what both have in common: adoptive sonship and the bond of brotherhood in Christ. Jesus himself said to his disciples: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:15).
The many faces of slavery yesterday and today
3. From time immemorial, different societies have known the phenomenon of man’s subjugation by man. There have been periods of human history in which the institution of slavery was generally accepted and regulated by law. This legislation dictated who was born free and who was born into slavery, as well as the conditions whereby a freeborn person could lose his or her freedom or regain it. In other words, the law itself admitted that some people were able or required to be considered the property of other people, at their free disposition. A slave could be bought and sold, given away or acquired, as if he or she were a commercial product.
Today, as the result of a growth in our awareness, slavery, seen as a crime against humanity,[4] has been formally abolished throughout the world. The right of each person not to be kept in a state of slavery or servitude has been recognized in international law as inviolable.
Yet, even though the international community has adopted numerous agreements aimed at ending slavery in all its forms, and has launched various strategies to combat this phenomenon, millions of people today – children, women and men of all ages – are deprived of freedom and are forced to live in conditions akin to slavery.
I think of the many men and women labourers, including minors, subjugated in different sectors, whether formally or informally, in domestic or agricultural workplaces, or in the manufacturing or mining industry; whether in countries where labour regulations fail to comply with international norms and minimum standards, or, equally illegally, in countries which lack legal protection for workers’ rights.
I think also of the living conditions of many migrants who, in their dramatic odyssey, experience hunger, are deprived of freedom, robbed of their possessions, or undergo physical and sexual abuse. In a particular way, I think of those among them who, upon arriving at their destination after a gruelling journey marked by fear and insecurity, are detained in at times inhumane conditions. I think of those among them, who for different social, political and economic reasons, are forced to live clandestinely. My thoughts also turn to those who, in order to remain within the law, agree to disgraceful living and working conditions, especially in those cases where the laws of a nation create or permit a structural dependency of migrant workers on their employers, as, for example, when the legality of their residency is made dependent on their labour contract. Yes, I am thinking of “slave labour”.
I think also of persons forced into prostitution, many of whom are minors, as well as male and female sex slaves. I think of women forced into marriage, those sold for arranged marriages and those bequeathed to relatives of their deceased husbands, without any right to give or withhold their consent.
Nor can I fail to think of all those persons, minors and adults alike, who are made objects of trafficking for the sale of organs, for recruitment as soldiers, for begging, for illegal activities such as the production and sale of narcotics, or for disguised forms of cross-border adoption.
Finally, I think of all those kidnapped and held captive by terrorist groups, subjected to their purposes as combatants, or, above all in the case of young girls and women, to be used as sex slaves. Many of these disappear, while others are sold several times over, tortured, mutilated or killed.
Some deeper causes of slavery
4. Today, as in the past, slavery is rooted in a notion of the human person which allows him or her to be treated as an object. Whenever sin corrupts the human heart and distances us from our Creator and our neighbours, the latter are no longer regarded as beings of equal dignity, as brothers or sisters sharing a common humanity, but rather as objects. Whether by coercion or deception, or by physical or psychological duress, human persons created in the image and likeness of God are deprived of their freedom, sold and reduced to being the property of others. They are treated as means to an end.
Alongside this deeper cause – the rejection of another person’s humanity – there are other causes which help to explain contemporary forms of slavery. Among these, I think in the first place of poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion, especially when combined with a lack of access to education or scarce, even non-existent, employment opportunities. Not infrequently, the victims of human trafficking and slavery are people who look for a way out of a situation of extreme poverty; taken in by false promises of employment, they often end up in the hands of criminal networks which organize human trafficking. These networks are skilled in using modern means of communication as a way of luring young men and women in various parts of the world.
Another cause of slavery is corruption on the part of people willing to do anything for financial gain. Slave labour and human trafficking often require the complicity of intermediaries, be they law enforcement personnel, state officials, or civil and military institutions. “This occurs when money, and not the human person, is at the centre of an economic system. Yes, the person, made in the image of God and charged with dominion over all creation, must be at the centre of every social or economic system. When the person is replaced by mammon, a subversion of values occurs”.[5]
Further causes of slavery include armed conflicts, violence, criminal activity and terrorism. Many people are kidnapped in order to be sold, enlisted as combatants, or sexually exploited, while others are forced to emigrate, leaving everything behind: their country, home, property, and even members of their family. They are driven to seek an alternative to these terrible conditions even at the risk of their personal dignity and their very lives; they risk being drawn into that vicious circle which makes them prey to misery, corruption and their baneful consequences.
A shared commitment to ending slavery
5. Often, when considering the reality of human trafficking, illegal trafficking of migrants and other acknowledged or unacknowledged forms of slavery, one has the impression that they occur within a context of general indifference.
Sadly, this is largely true. Yet I would like to mention the enormous and often silent efforts which have been made for many years by religious congregations, especially women’s congregations, to provide support to victims. These institutes work in very difficult situations, dominated at times by violence, as they work to break the invisible chains binding victims to traffickers and exploiters. Those chains are made up of a series of links, each composed of clever psychological ploys which make the victims dependent on their exploiters. This is accomplished by blackmail and threats made against them and their loved ones, but also by concrete acts such as the confiscation of their identity documents and physical violence. The activity of religious congregations is carried out in three main areas: in offering assistance to victims, in working for their psychological and educational rehabilitation, and in efforts to reintegrate them into the society where they live or from which they have come.
This immense task, which calls for courage, patience and perseverance, deserves the appreciation of the whole Church and society. Yet, of itself, it is not sufficient to end the scourge of the exploitation of human persons. There is also need for a threefold commitment on the institutional level: to prevention, to victim protection and to the legal prosecution of perpetrators. Moreover, since criminal organizations employ global networks to achieve their goals, efforts to eliminate this phenomenon also demand a common and, indeed, a global effort on the part of various sectors of society.
States must ensure that their own legislation truly respects the dignity of the human person in the areas of migration, employment, adoption, the movement of businesses offshore and the sale of items produced by slave labour. There is a need for just laws which are centred on the human person, uphold fundamental rights and restore those rights when they have been violated. Such laws should also provide for the rehabilitation of victims, ensure their personal safety, and include effective means of enforcement which leave no room for corruption or impunity. The role of women in society must also be recognized, not least through initiatives in the sectors of culture and social communications.
Intergovernmental organizations, in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, are called to coordinate initiatives for combating the transnational networks of organized crime which oversee the trafficking of persons and the illegal trafficking of migrants. Cooperation is clearly needed at a number of levels, involving national and international institutions, agencies of civil society and the world of finance.
Businesses[6] have a duty to ensure dignified working conditions and adequate salaries for their employees, but they must also be vigilant that forms of subjugation or human trafficking do not find their way into the distribution chain. Together with the social responsibility of businesses, there is also the social responsibility of consumers. Every person ought to have the awareness that “purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act”.[7]
Organizations in civil society, for their part, have the task of awakening consciences and promoting whatever steps are necessary for combating and uprooting the culture of enslavement.
In recent years, the Holy See, attentive to the pain of the victims of trafficking and the voice of the religious congregations which assist them on their path to freedom, has increased its appeals to the international community for cooperation and collaboration between different agencies in putting an end to this scourge.[8] Meetings have also been organized to draw attention to the phenomenon of human trafficking and to facilitate cooperation between various agencies, including experts from the universities and international organizations, police forces from migrants’ countries of origin, transit, or destination, and representatives of ecclesial groups which work with victims. It is my hope that these efforts will continue to expand in years to come.
Globalizing fraternity, not slavery or indifference
6. In her “proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society”,[9] the Church constantly engages in charitable activities inspired by the truth of the human person. She is charged with showing to all the path to conversion, which enables us to change the way we see our neighbours, to recognize in every other person a brother or sister in our human family, and to acknowledge his or her intrinsic dignity in truth and freedom. This can be clearly seen from the story of Josephine Bakhita, the saint originally from the Darfur region in Sudan who was kidnapped by slave-traffickers and sold to brutal masters when she was nine years old. Subsequently – as a result of painful experiences – she became a “free daughter of God” thanks to her faith, lived in religious consecration and in service to others, especially the most lowly and helpless. This saint, who lived at the turn of the twentieth century, is even today an exemplary witness of hope[10] for the many victims of slavery; she can support the efforts of all those committed to fighting against this “open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ”. [11]
In the light of all this, I invite everyone, in accordance with his or her specific role and responsibilities, to practice acts of fraternity towards those kept in a state of enslavement. Let us ask ourselves, as individuals and as communities, whether we feel challenged when, in our daily lives, we meet or deal with persons who could be victims of human trafficking, or when we are tempted to select items which may well have been produced by exploiting others. Some of us, out of indifference, or financial reasons, or because we are caught up in our daily concerns, close our eyes to this. Others, however, decide to do something about it, to join civic associations or to practice small, everyday gestures – which have so much merit! – such as offering a kind word, a greeting or a smile. These cost us nothing but they can offer hope, open doors, and change the life of another person who lives clandestinely; they can also change our own lives with respect to this reality.
We ought to recognize that we are facing a global phenomenon which exceeds the competence of any one community or country. In order to eliminate it, we need a mobilization comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself. For this reason I urgently appeal to all men and women of good will, and all those near or far, including the highest levels of civil institutions, who witness the scourge of contemporary slavery, not to become accomplices to this evil, not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity. Instead, may we have the courage to touch the suffering flesh of Christ,[12] revealed in the faces of those countless persons whom he calls “the least of these my brethren” (Mt 25:40, 45).
We know that God will ask each of us: What did you do for your brother? (cf. Gen 4:9-10). The globalization of indifference, which today burdens the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters, requires all of us to forge a new worldwide solidarity and fraternity capable of giving them new hope and helping them to advance with courage amid the problems of our time and the new horizons which they disclose and which God places in our hands.
From the Vatican, 8 December 2014
FRANCISCUS

[1] No. 1.
[2] Message for the 2014 World Day of Peace, 2.
[3] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 11.
[4] Cf. Address to Delegates of the International Association of Penal Law, 23 October 2014: L’Osservatore Romano, 24 October 2014, p. 4.
[5] Address to Participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements, 28 October 2014: L’Osservatore Romano, 29 October 2014, p. 7.
[6] Cf. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE, Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection, 2013.
[7] BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 66.
[8] Cf. Message to Mr Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization, on the occasion of the 103rd Session of the ILO, 22 May 2014: L’Osservatore Romano, 29 May 2014, p. 7.
[9] BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 5.
[10] “Through the knowledge of this hope she was ‘redeemed’, no longer a slave, but a free child of God. She understood what Paul meant when he reminded the Ephesians that previously they were without hope and without God in the world – without hope because without God” (BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, 3).
[11] Address to Participants in the Second International Conference on Combating Human Trafficking: Church and Law Enforcement in Partnership, 10 April 2014: L’Osservatore Romano, 11 April 2014, p. 7; cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 270.
[12] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 24 and 270.

Free Catholic Movie : St. Augustine : Full Film in English

Augustine was born in 354 in Thagaste (now Souk Ahras, Algeria) Roman Africa. His mother, Monica, was a devout Christian; his father Patricius was a Pagan who converted to Christianity on his deathbed. Augustine converted to Christianity and became Bishop. This is an excellent movie on his life....
















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Statistics for 2014 - over 90,000 Killed in Iraq and Syria - Please PRAY for Peace

Asia News report: Death toll in Syria and Iraq more than double in 2014
More than 90,000 people were killed last year: more than 76,000 in Syria and 15,000 in Iraq. However, activists say the actual figure is likely much higher because of the lack of verifiable statistics from areas under the control of the Islamic State.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - Data from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Iraqi government indicate that 2014 was particularly deadly year with more than 90,000 people killed, more twice the number of 2013.
In Syria, where just under half of the 76,021 people killed were civilians, the 2014 death toll was more than double that of 2013, which stood at 33,278.
In August, the United Nations estimated the total number of people killed since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011 at 191,000. However, local sources say the actual figure is much higher.
In Iraq, the Interior Ministry reported on Thursday that figures compiled by the country's Health, Interior and Defence ministries put the number of people killed in Iraq in 2014 at 15,538. This figure is double the 6,522 people reported killed in 2013.

In both Syria and Iraq, the real death toll is likely far higher, particularly given the lack of verifiable statistics coming out of areas under ISIS's control. Shared from Asia News IT

Today's Mass Readings : Friday January 2, 2015

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
Lectionary: 205


Reading 11 JN 2:22-28

Beloved:
Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
I write you these things about those who would deceive you.
As for you,
the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you.
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false;
just as it taught you, remain in him.

And now, children, remain in him,
so that when he appears we may have confidence
and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

Responsorial PsalmPS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

AlleluiaHEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.