Friday, May 1, 2015

Saint May 2 : St. Athanasius : Doctor : Patron of #Handicapped and #Orthodoxy

St. Athanasius
BISHOP, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: May 2


Information:
Feast Day:May 2
Born:
295 at Alexandria, Egypt
Died:2 May 373 at Alexandria, Egypt
Major Shrine:Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt

San Zaccaria, Venice, Italy
St. Athanasius, known as the "champion of orthodoxy," was  born about the year 297, in Alexandria. There is a tradition, related by Rufinus, that he first attracted the notice of Patriarch Alexander as he was playing at baptism on the seashore with other small boys. After watching young Athanasius perform the rite, the prelate called the boys to him and by questioning satisfied himself that the baptisms were valid. He then undertook to have these boys trained for the priesthood. Athanasius received an excellent education, not only in Christian doctrine, but also in Greek literature and philosophy, rhetoric, and jurisprudence. He knew the Scriptures thoroughly, and learned theology from teachers who had been confessors during the terrible persecutions under Maximian. In youth he appears to have formed friendships with several hermits of the desert, especially with the great Antony, whose biography he was to write. He was reader to the patriarch, and in 318 became his secretary. During this period he wrote a discourse, <Against the Gentiles>, in which he attempted an explanation of the Incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity.
In Egypt two strong and often divergent forces had early appeared in the Christian Church: the conservative hierarchy in Alexandria, represented by the patriarch or bishop, and the theologians of the schools, who cared little for tradition and stood for free reasoning on theological subjects. The leaders of the latter party had sometimes been obliged, like the famous Origen, to go into exile. There were also schisms over the distribution of authority in the Church and over doctrinal questions. It was probably about the year 323 that one Arius, a priest of the church of Baucalis, began to teach that Jesus, though more than man, was not eternal God, that he was created in time by the Eternal Father, and could therefore be described only figuratively as the Son of God. The patriarch demanded a written statement of these doctrines. With only two dissenting voices the bishops condemned them as heresy, and deposed Arius, together with eleven priests and deacons of Alexandria. Arius retired to Caesarea, where he continued to propagate his ideas, enlisting the support of Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and other Syrian prelates. In Egypt he had already won over many of the metaphysicians, as well as Meletius, bishop of Lycopolis, and leader of a dissident group. Theology being the topic which most deeply engaged men's minds, the Arian controversy interested all classes of the population. The heretical propositions were publicized in the form of songs set to popular tunes, and these were chanted in the forums and carried by sailors from port to port.
Athanasius, as the patriarch's secretary, took a prominent part in this great Church struggle. It is probable that he even composed the encyclical letter announcing the condemnation of Arius. We know that he was present, as an attendant on Alexander, at the famous Council of Nicaea, summoned by the Emperor Constantine to determine matters of dogma. There the sentence against Arius was confirmed, and the confession of faith known as the Nicene Creed promulgated and subscribed. This gathering of churchmen influenced Athanasius deeply, and, as a modern writer has said, the rest of his life was a testimony to the divinity of the Saviour.
Shortly after this Alexander died, and Athanasius succeeded him, although he was not yet thirty. One of his first acts was a tour of his enormous diocese, which included the great monastic settlements, especially the Thebaid. He ordained a bishop for Abyssinia, where the Christian faith had recently been established. Yet in spite of his best efforts, there was strong opposition. The Meletians made common cause with the Arians, and the movement, temporarily discredited by the Council of Nicaea, was soon again rampant in Asia Minor and Egypt.
In 330 the Arian bishop of Nicomedia, Eusebius, returned from his exile and before long had persuaded the aging Constantine to write to Athanasius, bidding him readmit Arius into communion, in the interests of unity. Eusebius sent an ingratiating letter in defense of Arius, but Athanasius held to his conviction that the Church could have no communion with heretics who attacked the divinity of Christ. Then Eusebius wrote the Egyptian Meletians urging them to impeach Athanasius for personal misconduct. They brought charges that he had levied a general tribute of linen for use in his own church, and made other petty accusations. At his trial before the emperor, Athanasius cleared himself and returned in triumph to Alexandria, bearing with him a letter of approval from Constantinople.
His enemies now accused him of having murdered a Meletian  bishop named Arsenius, and summoned him to attend a council at Caesarea. Knowing that his supposed victim was in hiding, Athanasius ignored the summons. In 335 an order came from Constantinople to appear before another assembly at Tyre, packed by his opponents and presided over by an Arian who had seized the see of Antioch. Realizing that his condemnation had been decided on, Athanasius abruptly left the council and took ship for Constantinople. There he accosted the emperor as a suppliant in the street and obtained an interview. So completely did he vindicate himself that Constantine summoned the bishops to Constantinople for a retrial of the case. Then, for some unexplained reason, he suddenly changed his mind. Before the first letter arrived, a second was sent, confirming the sentence and banishing Athanasius to Treves. During this first exile, Athanasius kept in touch with his flock by letter.
In 337 Constantine died, shortly after his baptism by Eusebius of Nicomedia, and his empire was divided among his three sons, Constantine II, Constantius, and Constans. Many of the exiled prelates were now recalled. One of the first acts of Constantine II, who had sovereignty over Britain, Spain, and Gaul, was to allow Athanasius to return to his see. Two years later Constantine II was to be killed in battle in Aquileia. The patriarch reentered Alexandria in seeming triumph, but his enemies were as relentless as ever, and Eusebius of Nicomedia had completely won over the Emperor Constantius, within whose portion of the empire Alexandria was situated. New scandals were invented and Athanasius was now accused of raising sedition, promoting bloodshed, and keeping for himself corn intended for the poor. A Church council which met at Antioch again deposed him, and ratified an Arian bishop for Alexandria.
In the midst of all this confusion a Cappadocian priest named Gregory was forcibly installed as patriarch of Alexandria by the city prefect, pagans and Arians having now joined forces against the Catholics. Confronted unceasingly by acts of violence and sacrilege, Athanasius betook himself to Rome to await the hearing of his case by the Pope. A synod was summoned, but the Eusebians who had proposed it failed to appear. The result was a complete vindication of Athanasius, a verdict afterwards endorsed by the Council of Sardica. Nevertheless he found it impossible to return to Alexandria until after the death of Gregory, and then only because Emperor Constantius, on the eve of a war with Persia, thought it politic to propitiate his brother Constans by restoring Athanasius to his see.
After an absence then of eight years, Athanasius was welcomed back to Alexandria in 346, and for three or four years there was comparative peace. But the murder of Constans in 350 removed the most powerful support of orthodoxy, and Constantius, once he found himself ruler of both West and East, set himself to crush the man he now regarded as a personal enemy. At Arles in 353 he obtained the condemnation of Athanasius from a council of Gallic bishops, who seem to have been kept in ignorance of the importance of the issues. Two years later at Milan he met with more opposition from the Italian bishops, but when with his hand on his sword he gave them their choice between condemnation of Athanasius and exile, by far the greater number yielded. The few stubborn bishops were exiled, including the new Pope Liberius. He was sent into isolation in Thrace until, broken in body and spirit, he too gave his consent to the Arian decrees. Athanasius held on for another year with the support of his own clergy and people. Then one night, as he was celebrating a vigil in the church of St. Thomas, soldiers broke in. Athanasius was instantly surrounded by his people, who swept him out into the safety of darkness; but for six years thereafter he had to live in hiding. His abounding energy now expressed itself in literary composition, and to this period are ascribed his chief writings, including a <History of the Arians>, three letters to Serapion, a defense of his position to Constantius, and a treatise on the synods of Rimini and Seleucia.
The death of Constantius in 361 was followed by another shift in the situation. The new emperor, Julian, a pagan, revoked the sentences of banishment enacted by his predecessors, and Athanasius returned once again to his own city. But it was only for a few months. Julian's plans for a reconquest of the Christian world could make little headway as long as the champion of the Catholic faith ruled in Egypt; he also considered it necessary to banish Athanasius from Alexandria as "a disturber of the peace and an enemy of the gods." During this fourth exile, he seems to have explored the entire Thebaid. He was in Antinopolis when two hermits informed him of the death of Julian, who, it was later ascertained, at that moment was expiring in distant Persia, slain by an enemy's arrow.
The new emperor, Jovian, a soldier of Catholic sympathies, revoked the sentence of banishment and invited Athanasius to Antioch, to expound the doctrine of the Trinity. Jovian's reign lasted only a year, and his successor in the East, Valens, succumbed to Arian pressure in Constantinople and in May, 365, issued an order banishing again all orthodox bishops who had been exiled by Constantius and restored by his successors. Once more the worn and aged prelate was forced to flee. The ecclesiastical historian, Socrates, tells us that Athanasius hid himself this time in his father's tomb, but a better- informed writer says that he spent the months in a villa in a suburb of Alexandria. Four months later Valens revoked his edict, fearing possibly a rising of the Egyptians, who were determined to accept no other man as bishop. Joyfully they escorted him back. Athanasius had spent seventeen years in exile, but his last years were peaceful. He died in Alexandria on May 2, 373. His body was twice removed, first to Constantinople, and then to Venice.
While the theological controversies which marked this period  may seem both complex and remote, they were an important milestone in the history of the Church, Athanasius rendering an outstanding service. The statement of Christian doctrine known as the Athanasian Creed was probably composed during his life, but not actually by him. In his works there is deep spiritual feeling and understanding, and as Cardinal Newman said, he stands as "a principal instrument after the Apostles by which the sacred truths of Christianity have been conveyed and secured to the world."


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/stathanasius.asp#ixzz1tiEbVSRT

#PopeFrancis devotion to #StJoseph the Worker "... work to use an image ‘anoints’ with dignity"


Pope Francis - AP
30/04/2015 15:22

(Vatican Radio)  To mark International  Labour Day which coincides with the Feast day of  Saint Joseph the worker, Veronica Scarisbrick takes a look at the special devotion Pope Francis has for this Saint. As well as focus briefly on one of the social issues central to his thinking: the dignity of labour.
Let’s begin with his devotion to Saint Joseph as there’s quite a list of things that connect Pope Francis to this saint. Among them the choice of the date for the beginning of his pontificate the 19th of March, Saint Joseph’s feast day, and the choice of the nard flower symbolic of this saint on his coat of arms. Then in July 2013 his decision to consecrate Vatican City State not just to Saint Michael, as had been previously planned, but to Saint Joseph as well. And on a more personal note his admission to cherishing a wooden statue representing a dormant Saint Joseph, dressed  in gold trimmed dark green and red garments according to Hispanic iconography, by which he places prayer requests. Simply because as he mentioned  when he confided to us this personal gesture: “ He’s a carpenter and he gets the job done, even though he sometimes makes you wait”.
As for  what  links Pope Francis to Saint Joseph, International Labour Day and workers why not shine  the spotlight on his words the 1st of May 2013, so the very first year of his pontificate, during his weekly general audience. Words which focus  precisely on work and the figure of Saint Joseph. In a special way on the role played by Joseph as the legal father who teaches his son his skills as a carpenter in the workshop in Nazareth on a daily basis and shares with him, the efforts, the commitment, the satisfactions and problems that come with the job.
On this occasion Pope Francis goes on to remind  us of the dignity and importance of work. The Book of Genesis, he says, tells us that God created man and woman entrusting them with the task of filling the earth and subduing it, which does not mean exploiting it, but nurturing and protecting it, caring for it through their work: “Work is part of God's loving plan, we are called to cultivate and care for all the goods of creation and in this way participate in the work of creation! Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person...it gives you the ability to maintain yourself, your family, to contribute to the growth of your nation. And here I think of the difficulties which, in various countries, today afflicts the world of work and business; I think of how many, and not just young people, are unemployed, many times due to a purely economic conception of society, which seeks selfish profit, beyond the parameters of social justice. I wish to extend an invitation to solidarity to everyone, and I would like to encourage those in public office to make every effort to give new impetus to employment, this means caring for the dignity of the person, but above all I'd like to say do not lose hope; St. Joseph also experienced moments of difficulty, but he never lost faith and was able to overcome them, in the certainty that God never abandons us.And then I would like to speak especially to you young people: be committed to your daily duties, your study, your work, to relationships of friendship, to helping towards others; your future also depends on how you live these precious years of your life. Do not be afraid of commitment, of sacrifice and do not look with fear towards the future; keep your hope alive: there is always a light on the horizon". But while Pope Francis on this occasion shares with us words of encouragemen as we've just noticed he also chooses to highlight some of   the evils of society in the area of work and denounces once again, the practice some companies have of adopting  policies that favour profit over human dignity or even human life. And then uses an image to express how fundamental work is to the dignity of the person:"... work to use an image ‘anoints’ with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God who has worked and still works, who also acts”. One last word perhaps: let’s hope the prayer requests that Pope Francis places by the reclining and dormant figure of  Saint  Joseph are eventually answered…As he once assured us, they always are!

#PopeFrancis to Anglo-Catholics "...our efforts to overcome the obstacles to full communion" Full Text/Video


Pope Francis met on Thursday with members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission - OSS_ROM
30/04/2015 11:17



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Thursday with members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, telling them that the cause of unity is not an optional undertaking. The 18 Anglican and Catholic members of the commission, known as ARCIC III,  are holding their annual encounter this week at an ancient retreat house in the Alban hills, south of Rome. The original Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission was founded in the wake of a historic meeting in 1966 between a Pope and an Archbishop of Canterbury  - the first since the Reformation and the Church of England’s breakaway from Rome. On that occasion, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey inaugurated a dialogue “ founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions” which they hoped would lead to “unity in truth for which Christ prayed”.
Meeting with the members of ARCIC III, Pope Francis noted the current session is studying the relationship between the universal Church and the local Church – a question central to his own reform programme -  with particular reference to difficult decision making over moral and ethical questions.
These discussions, the Pope said, and the forthcoming publication of five jointly agreed statements from the previous phase of the dialogue, remind us that ecumenism is not a secondary element in the life of the Church and that the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable. Despite the seriousness of the challenges, he said we must trust even more in the power of the Spirit to heal and reconcile what may not seem possible to our human understanding.
Finally Pope Francis  highlighted the powerful testimony of Christians from different Churches and traditions who have been victims of violence and persecution. The blood of these martyrs, he said, will nourish a new era of ecumenical commitment to fulfill the last will and testament of the Lord: that all may be one.
Please see below the full text of Pope Francis’ address to the members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1.         It is a pleasure to be with you, the members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.  In these days you are gathered for a new session of your dialogue, which is now studying the relationship between the universal Church and the local Church, with particular reference to processes for discussions and decision making regarding moral and ethical questions.  I cordially welcome you and wish you a successful meeting.
Your dialogue is the result of the historic meeting in 1966 between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey, which gave rise to the first Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.  On that occasion, they both prayed with hope for "a serious dialogue which, founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions, [would] lead to that unity in truth for which Christ prayed" (The Common Declaration by Pope Paul VI and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey, Rome, 24 March 1966). 
We have not yet reached that goal, but we are convinced that the Holy Spirit continues to move us in that direction, notwithstanding new difficulties and challenges.  Your presence here today is an indication of how the shared tradition of faith and history between Anglicans and Catholics can inspire and sustain our efforts to overcome the obstacles to full communion.  Though we are fully aware of the seriousness of the challenges ahead, we can still realistically trust that together great progress will be made.
2.         Shortly you will publish five jointly agreed statements of the second phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue, with commentaries and responses.  I offer my congratulations for this work.  This reminds us that ecumenical relations and dialogue are not secondary elements of the life of the Churches.  The cause of unity is not an optional undertaking and the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable.  Some wish that, after fifty years, greater progress towards unity would have been achieved.  Despite difficulties, we must not lose heart, but we must trust even more in the power of the Holy Spirit, who can heal and reconcile us, and accomplish what humanly does not seem possible. 
  3.       There is a strong bond that already unites us which goes beyond all divisions: it is the testimony of Christians from different Churches and traditions, victims of persecution and violence simply because of the faith they profess.  The blood of these martyrs will nourish a new era of ecumenical commitment, a fervent desire to fulfill the last will and testament of the Lord: that all may be one (cf. Jn 17:21).  The witness by these our brothers and sisters demands that we live in harmony with the Gospel and that we strive with determination to fulfill the Lord's will for his Church.  Today the world urgently needs the common, joyful witness of Christians, from the defence of life and human dignity to the promotion of justice and peace.
Together let us invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to be able to respond courageously to "the signs of the times" which are calling all Christians to unity and common witness.  May the Holy Spirit abundantly inspire your work.

Why is May the Month of Mary - Free Resources - FAQ about Mary

USCCB REPORT
Mary
As the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary has a unique position among the saints, indeed, among all creatures. She is exalted, yet still one of us
"Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved."
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Mary embraces God's will and freely chooses to cooperate with God's grace, thereby fulfilling a crucial role in God's plan of salvation. Throughout the centuries, the Church has turned to the Blessed Virgin in order to come closer to Christ. Many forms of piety toward the Mother of God developed that help bring us closer to her Son. In these devotions to Mary, "while the Mother is honored, the Son, through whom all things have their being and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, is rightly known, loved and glorified and . . . all His commands are observed." The Church honors her as the Mother of God, looks to her as a model of perfect discipleship, and asks for her prayers to God on our behalf.
May as a month of our Lady was strengthened especially by the Rosary Encyclicals of Leo XIII – beginning in 1883 and concluding in 1889, the Pontiff wrote twelve encyclicals and five apostolic letters on the Rosary. The Catholic Encyclopedia discusses the rather recent origin of Mary Month:
“The May devotion [to our Lady] in its present form originated at Rome where Father Latomia of the Roman College of the Society of Jesus, to counteract infidelity and immorality among the students, made a vow at the end of the eighteenth century to devote the month of May to Mary. From Rome the practice spread to the other Jesuit colleges and thence to nearly every Catholic church of the Latin rite (Albers, "Bluethenkranze", IV, 531 sq.). This practice is the oldest instance of a devotion extending over an entire month.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, “Special Devotions for Months”)
Mary Month – Why May?
There was an ancient tradition of connecting May with new life and fecundity, led to a realization that May is very much the month of motherhood – this may be the reason why Mother’s Day is celebrated during May .
Q.Do Catholics Adore Mary? 
Though English words like 'worship' and 'adoration' are occasionally used to signify only veneration, honor or affection, they are generally understood to refer to that highest type of worship reserved for God alone. In this sense, Catholics do NOT adore or worship Mary, or any other created person or thing. 
The Ecumenical Council held at Nicaea in 787 considered the issue of veneration which is not directed to the Divine persons in relation to sacred images. At this Council, the Church taught that the special type of worship called adoration may only be offered to God: Latria from the Greek term for enslavement. However, the Church also acknowledged that certain persons, though only creatures of God, are entitled to honor or veneration of a qualitatively lesser degree than the absolute allegiance owed to God. The Conciliar Fathers termed this lesser devotion:Dulia. Such veneration was proper for Mary and the Saints. In view of Mary's important role in salvation history as Mother of Jesus, the Church recognized that Mary warranted a special degree of honor among the Saints. For this class of devotion, St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) suggested the term hyperdulia
No, Catholics do not worship Mary, if by worshiping is meant adoring. She is not God for us, has never been and will never be. Addressing prayer to Mary is like asking a dear and close friend for help. Do we make a God of our friend when asking him to keep us in his prayers? Do we divinize him/her when asking for his prayerful support in sickness and the trials of life? Believers on earth and in heaven constitute a living community which the major Christian denominations recognize as the communion of saints. The saints in heaven are not dead. Their Christian example of virtuous living and their closeness to God make of them powerful allies for us struggling mortals. They do not take God's place; they are an expression of his grace.
Likewise, there is nothing in Mary that would not have been in God and come from him. She is a pure product of God; this is the essential meaning of Mary's sinlessness. Never forget: if God wanted the exclusively direct relation between him and you and me he would never send Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, never allow scripture to be the foundation of our faith, never encourage his Son to found the Church or institute the sacraments. Christianity is the religion of mediation, essential and foundational in Christ; participative and subordinate in his Church and in varying degrees in the believers. Source: udayton
Q.  Why do Catholics pray to Mary?

A. 1. A saying that is well known among Catholics is, "To Jesus, through Mary." This does not mean, "To Mary, through Jesus." Nor does it mean, "To Jesus and to Mary." This saying affirms that Catholics do not pray "to" Mary as an equal to God. They pray "through" Mary as an intercessor who prays to God on behalf of mankind.

If Catholics were to pray to Mary, this would imply that they are worshipping her as a god. But Catholics do not perceive Mary as a god. (i) They honour the Blessed Virgin Mary. (ii) The view Mary as the holiest of all the Saints. (iii) The accept the fact that Mary is the most successful Saint at obtaining Divine favours through her intercession.

Q.  Is there any Biblical support for the belief of Catholics to call upon Mary to intercede to God on their behalf?

A.  First of all, because Mary was the birth mother of the humanity of Jesus in who "the fullness of the deity (God) was pleased to dwell bodily," [Col. 1:19, 2:9] Catholics recognize the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God.

Secondly, because Mary was "favoured by God" [Lk. 1:30] when she was personally chosen by the Lord to become the mother of Jesus, God incarnated, Catholics believe that they have a greater chance of obtaining God's grace for their daily physical and spiritual needs by asking Mary to intercede on their behalf.

Thirdly, the above mentioned belief is partially based on the fact that Jesus is the King of kings and Mary, as the mother of the King, is the "queen mother." Then, when studying Jewish history, it is discovered that the institution of the "queen mother" was established during the reign of King Solomon.

In the Old Testament, we learn of the favoured position of the queen mother through the following words, "... then the king sat on his throne, and had a throne brought for the king's mother, and she sat on his right. Then she said, 'I have one small request to make of you, do not refuse me.' And the king said to her, 'Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you.'" [1 Kgs. 2:19-20]

Following the reign of King Solomon, many of the kings kept this practice. The mother of the king, through who the king received his throne, was trusted as a confident and advisor. So important was the function of the queen mothers in the days of the Old Testament that their names were listed in the succession records of the kings of Judah. [See 1 Kgs 14:21, 15:13; 2 Kgs. 12:1, 14:2, 15:2, etc...]

Similar to the intercession of the Queen Mother, when a child desires a favour and cannot obtain it from his/her parents, frequently the child will make the request to the grandparent to intercede on his/her behalf, therefore obtaining the favour that was being sought. This does not mean that the child is seeking the parental favour from the grandparent. Rather, the child is seeking the intercession of the grandparents before the parents.

Furthermore, Catholics do not differentiate between the living (in this world) and the dead (those who departed) members of the Body of Christ (the fullness of the Church.) The fullness of the mystical Body of Christ is found in the union of all the saints, past and present, here below and those above in Heaven.

In view of the aforementioned, it cannot be denied that those who were called to Heaven, including Mary, are still alive in spirit in the Kingdom of God that coexists with our world. As some non-Catholics pray through their deceased parents, grandparents or other biological relatives, asking these beloved departed persons to intercede before God on their behalf, Catholics pray through Mary to Jesus, taking advantage of her blessed position as the Mother of God.

This Catholic action affirms the prophetic and Divinely inspired passage that is found in the Holy Bible where it states, "Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed." [Lk. 1:47] All generations could not call Mary blessed if she was not actively involved in the progressive Divine Plan that continues to develop before our eyes.

Indeed, all generations have called the Blessed Virgin Mary blessed, including this one, because she has never stopped interceding on behalf of the world, her intercession obtaining endless miraculous cures and other favours. The role of Mary in the area of obtaining physical miraculous cures is well known and documented in Lourdes, France, this being only one of the many holy places where the grace of God has been manifested through the Virgin Mary at apparition sites.
Many popular devotional practices involve veneration of the saints. The saints have a special place in the Body of Christ, which includes both the living and the dead. Through Christ we on earth remain in communion both with the saints in heaven and with the dead who are still in Purgatory. We can pray for those in Purgatory and ask the saints to pray for us. Through their prayers of intercession, the saints in heaven play an integral role in the life of the Church on earth. "For after they have been received into their heavenly home and are present to the Lord, through Him and with Him and in Him they do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, showing forth the merits which they won on earth through the one Mediator between God and man." The saints, the members of the Church who have arrived at perfect union with Christ, join their wills to the will of God in praying for those in the Church who are still on their pilgrimage of faith.
Besides what the saints can do for us by their prayers, the very practice of venerating the saints does great good for those who are devoted to the saints. By practicing love of the saints we strengthen the unity of the entire Body of Christ in the Spirit. This in turn brings us all closer to Christ. "For just as Christian communion among wayfarers brings us closer to Christ, so our companionship with the saints joins us to Christ, from Whom as from its Fountain and Head issues every grace and the very life of the people of God." Love of the saints necessarily includes and leads to love of Christ and to love of the Holy Trinity. "For every genuine testimony of love shown by us to those in heaven, by its very nature tends toward and terminates in Christ who is the 'crown of all saints,' and through Him, in God Who is wonderful in his saints and is magnified in them."
—From Popular Devotional PracticesBeatification
A canonization today is the Church's official declaration, through the decision of the pope, that a person is a saint, truly in heaven and worthy of public veneration and imitation. The process begins by naming the person "Venerable," a "Servant of God" who has demonstrated a life of heroic virtue. 
The next stage is beatification, by which a person is named "Blessed." This step requires one miracle attributed to the intercession of the Servant of God. 
For canonization, a second miracle is needed, attributed to the intercession of the Blessed and having occurred after the individual's beatification. Miracles are not required for martyrs. The pope may dispense with some of the formalities or steps in the process.

Miracles

108. Why did Jesus manifest the Kingdom by means of signs and miracles?

Jesus accompanied his words with signs and miracles to bear witness to the fact that the Kingdom is present in him, the Messiah. Although he healed some people, he did not come to abolish all evils here below but rather to free us especially from the slavery of sin. The driving out of demons proclaimed that his cross would be victorious over "the ruler of this world" (John 12:31).

Today's Mass Readings : Friday May 1, 2015

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Lectionary: 283

Reading 1ACTS 13:26-33
When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11AB

R. (7bc) You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

#Novena to St. Joseph for Work - #Miracle Prayer - SHARE!



  NOVENA PRAYER FOR WORK
O glorious Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to you we raise our hearts and hands to ask your powerful intercession in obtaining from the compassionate heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace for which we now ask.

(Mention your request)


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O guardian of the Word Incarnate, we feel animated with confidence that your prayers for us will be graciously heard at the throne of God.
(The following is to be said seven times in honor of the seven joys and seven sorrows of Saint Joseph:)

O glorious Saint Joseph, through the love you bear for Jesus Christ, and for the glory of hs name, hear our prayers and grant our petitions.

This novena can be practiced at any time of year. It is particularly effective if done for the seven Sundays prior to the feast of Saint Joseph in honor of his seven sorrows and seven joys. Say this novena nine days in a row.
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OTHER PRAYERS TO ST. JOSEPH



Prayer to St. Joseph, The Worker

O Glorious, St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, after your example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen. --Pope St. Pius X
  St. Joseph, today we honor you as Patron of Workers. We pray for the unemployed, underemployed, those who are working under stress and all those who labor daily. May you be our example of honorable work for God. St. Joseph and Brother Andre, hear our petitions (name them).




The next prayer (To You, O Blessed Joseph) and the Litany of St. Joseph carries a partial indulgence...


To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also. Through that charity which bound you to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holily, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen. 



Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious son of David, etc.
Light of Patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster Father of the Son of God,
Watchful defender of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph, most just,
Joseph, most chaste,
Joseph, most prudent,
Joseph, most valiant,
Joseph, most obedient,
Joseph, most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of workmen,
Glory of home life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the afflicted,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

He made him the lord of His household, and prince over all His possessions.

Let us pray.

O God, who in thy ineffable Providence did vouchsafe to choose St. Joseph to be the spouse of Your most holy Mother, grant we beseech You, that he whom we venerate as our protector on earth may be our intercessor in Heaven. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

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