Thursday, June 25, 2015

Saint June 26 : St. Josemaria Escriva : Founder #OpusDei : Patron of Diabetics and Ordinary Life

St. Josemaria Escriva
Feast: June 26

Feast Day:June 26
9 January 1902, Barbastro, Aragon, Spain
Died:26 June 1975, Rome, Italy
Canonized:6 October 2002, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:Our Lady of Peace, Prelatic Church of Opus Dei, in Rome

A bright and cheerful home

Josemaría Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain, on 9 January 1902, the second of six children born to José Escrivá and María Dolores Albás. His parents were devout Catholics and he was baptised on 13 January that year and received from them – first through the example of their life – a firm grounding in the faith and the Christian virtues: love for frequent Confession and Holy Communion, a trusting recourse to prayer, devotion to Our Lady, helping those in greatest need.

Blessed Josemaría grew up as a cheerful, lively and straightforward child, fun-loving, good at study, intelligent and with an observing eye. He had a great affection for his mother and a trusting friendship with his father, who encouraged him to feel free to open his heart and tell him his worries, and was always ready to answer his questions with affection and prudence. It was not long before Our Lord began to temper his soul in the forge of sorrow. Between 1910 and 1913 his three younger sisters died and in 1914 his family suffered financial ruin. In 1915 the Escrivás moved to Logroño, a nearby town, where their father found a job with which to keep his family.

In the winter of 1917-18 something happened which was to have a decisive influence on Josemaría Escrivá’s future. The snow fell very heavily that Christmas in Logroño, and one day he saw some frozen footprints in the snow. They had been left by a discalced Carmelite. Josemaría found himself wondering: If others sacrifice so much for God and their neighbour, couldn’t I do something too? This was how God started to speak to his heart: I began to have an inkling of what Love is, to realise that my heart was yearning for something great, for love. He did not yet know what precisely God wanted of him, but he decided to become a priest, thinking that it would make him more available to fulfil God’s will.

Priestly ordination

Having completed his secondary education, he started his priestly studies at the Seminary of Logroño, passing on, in 1920, to the Seminary of Saragossa, at whose Pontifical University he completed his formation prior to ordination. At his father’s suggestion and with the permission of his ecclesiastical superiors, he also studied Law at the University of Saragossa. His generous and cheerful character and his straightforwardness and calm approach to things won him many friends. His life of piety, respect for discipline and endeavour in study were an example to his fellow seminarians and in 1922, when he was but twenty years of age, he was appointed an inspector or prefect in the Seminary by the Archbishop of Saragossa.

During that time he spent many hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament. His spiritual life became deeply rooted in the Eucharist. Each day he would also visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar, asking Mary to request God to show him what He wanted him to do. As he recalled on 2 October 1968: Since I felt those inklings of God's love, I sought to carry out, within the limits of my smallness, what he expected from this poor instrument. (…) And, with those yearnings, I prayed and prayed and prayed, in constant prayer. I kept on repeating: Domine, ut sit!, Domine, ut videam!, like the poor fellow in the Gospel, who shouted out because God can do everything. Lord, that I may see! Lord, that it may come to be! And I also repeated (…) filled with confidence in my heavenly Mother: Domina, ut sit!, Domina, ut videam! The Blessed Virgin has always helped me to discover her Son's desires.

On 27 November 1924 his father, José Escrivá, died suddenly and unexpectedly. On 28 March 1925, Josemaría was ordained a priest by Bishop Díaz Gómara in the church of the Seminary of St Charles in Saragossa. Two days later he celebrated his first Solemn Mass in the Holy Chapel of the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar and on 31 March he moved to Perdiguera, a small country village, where he had been appointed assistant regent to the parish.

In April 1927, with the consent of his Archbishop, he took up residence in Madrid to study for his doctorate in Civil Law, a degree which at that time was only granted by the Central University in the Spanish capital. In Madrid, his apostolic zeal soon brought him into contact with a wide variety of people: students, artists, workers, academics, priests. He spent many hours caring for children, and for sick and poverty-stricken people in the outer suburbs of the city.

At the same time he taught law to earn a living for himself and his mother and sister and young brother. For a good many years the family were in serious financial difficulties, which they bore with dignity and courage. Our Lord blessed Fr Josemaría with abundant graces, both ordinary and extraordinary. They found a fertile reception in his generous soul and produced much fruit in the service of the Church and souls.
The foundation of Opus Dei

Opus Dei was born on 2 October 1928. Blessed Josemaría was spending some days on retreat and, while doing his meditation on some notes regarding the inner motions he had received from God in the previous years, he suddenly saw – to see was the term he always used to describe the foundational experience – the mission the Lord wanted to entrust to him: to open up in the Church a new vocational path, aimed at spreading the quest for holiness and the practice of apostolate through the sanctification of ordinary work in the middle of the world, without changing one’s place. A few months later, on 14 February 1930, God made him understand that Opus Dei was to spread among women also.

From that moment onward, Blessed Josemaría devoted all his energies to the fulfilment of his foundational mission, fostering among men and women from all areas of society a personal commitment to follow Christ, to love their neighbour and seek holiness in daily life. He did not see himself as an innovator or reformer, for he was convinced that Jesus Christ is eternally new and that the Holy Spirit is constantly rejuvenating the Church, for whose service God has brought Opus Dei into existence. Fully aware that the task entrusted to him was supernatural by nature, he proceeded to dig deep foundations for his work, based on prayer and penance, on a joyous awareness of his being a son of God and on tireless work. People of all sorts began to follow him and, in particular, university students and teachers, among whom he awakened a genuine determination to serve everyone, firing in them a desire to place Christ at the heart of all human activities by means of work that is sanctified, and sanctifies both the doer and those for whom it is done. This was the goal he set for the initiatives of the faithful of Opus Dei: to lift up to God, with the help of grace, each and every created reality, so that Christ may reign in everyone and in everything; to get to know Christ Jesus; to get Him known by others; to take Him everywhere. One can understood why he was able to declare that The divine paths of the earth have been opened up.

Apostolic expansion

In 1933, he started a university Centre, the DYA Academy, because he grasped that the world of human knowledge and culture is a key to the evangelisation of society as a whole. In 1934 he published Spiritual Considerations, the first version of The Way. Since then there have been 372 printings of the book in 44 languages and its circulation has passed the four and a half million mark.

While Opus Dei was thus taking its first steps, the Spanish Civil War broke out. It was 1936. There were serious outbreaks of religious violence in Madrid. To these Fr Josemaría responded heroically with prayer, penance and apostolic endeavour. It was a time of suffering for the whole Church, but also a time of spiritual and apostolic growth, and for strengthening hope. By 1939, with the war over, the Founder of Opus Dei was able to give new vigour to his apostolic work all over the Spanish peninsula. In particular he mobilised many young university students to take Christ to every area of society and discover the  greatness of the Christian calling. At the same time, with his reputation for holiness growing, many Bishops invited him to preach to their clergy and to lay people involved in Catholic organisations. Similar petitions came to him from the superiors of religious orders; he always said yes.

In 1941, while he was preaching a retreat to priests in Lerida, in the North of Spain, his mother who had been a great help to him in the apostolates of Opus Dei, died. God also let him become the butt of harsh misunderstandings. The Bishop of Madrid, Bishop Eijo y Garay gave him his fullest backing and granted the first canonical approval to Opus Dei. Blessed Josemaría accepted these difficulties with a prayerful and cheerful attitude, aware that all those desiring to live piously in Christ Jesus will meet persecution (2 Tim 3:12) and he recommended his spiritual children, in the face of these attacks, to forgive ungrudgingly: don’t answer back, but pray, work and smile.

In 1943, through a new foundational grace he received while celebrating Holy Mass, there came to birth – within Opus Dei – the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, in which priests proceeding from the faithful of Opus Dei could be incardinated. The fact of all the faithful of Opus Dei, both laity and priests, belonging fully to Opus Dei, with both laity and priests cooperating organically in its apostolates, is a feature of the foundational charism, which the Church confirmed in 1982, when giving Opus Dei its definitive status in Church Law as a Personal Prelature. On 25 June 1944 three engineers were ordained to the priesthood. One of them was Alvaro del Portillo, who would eventually succeed the Founder as the head of Opus Dei. In the years that followed, close on a thousand laymen of Opus Dei reached the priesthood at the encouragement of Blessed Josemaría.

The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, which is intrinsically united to the Prelature of Opus Dei, also carries out, in close harmony with the Pastors of the local Churches, activities of spiritual formation for diocesan priests and candidates to the priesthood. Diocesan priests too may belong to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, while maintaining unchanged their status as clergy of their respective dioceses.
A Roman and universal spirit

As soon as the end of the world war was in sight, Blessed Josemaría began to prepare apostolic work in other countries, because, as he pointed out, Jesus wants his Work from the outset to have a universal, Catholic heart. In 1946 he moved to Rome, in order to obtain papal recognition for Opus Dei. On 24 February 1947, Pius XII granted Opus Dei the decretum laudis, or decree of praise; and three years later, on 16 June 1950, the Church’s definitive approval. Since then it has been possible to admit as Cooperators of Opus Dei men and women who are not Catholic and not even Christian, but who wish to help its apostolic works, with their work, alms and prayer.

The headquarters of Opus Dei were fixed in Rome, to emphasise even more clearly the aspiration which is the guiding force of all its work, to serve the Church as the Church wishes to be served, in close union with the see of Peter and the hierarchy of the Church. On several occasions, Pius XII and John XXIII sent Blessed Josemaría expressions of their affection and esteem; Paul VI wrote to him in 1964 describing Opus Dei as "a living expression of the perennial youthfulness of the Church".

This stage too of the life of the Founder of Opus Dei was characterised by all kinds of trials. Not only was his health affected by many sufferings (for more than ten years he had a serious form of diabetes, from which he was miraculously cured in 1954), but also there were financial hardships and the difficulties arising from the expansion of the apostolic works worldwide. Nevertheless, he kept smiling throughout, because True virtue is not sad or disagreeable, but pleasantly cheerful. His permanent good humour was a constant witness to his unconditional love for God’s will.

The world is little, when Love is great: his desire to flood the earth with the light of Christ led him to follow up the calls that many Bishops made to him from all over the world, asking Opus Dei to help them in the work of evangelisation with its apostolates. Many varied projects were undertaken: colleges to impart professional training, schools for agricultural workers, universities, primary and secondary schools, hospitals and medical centres, etc. These activities, which he often compared to a shoreless sea, originate at the initiative of ordinary Christians who seek to meet specific local needs with a lay mentality and a professional approach. They are open to people of all races, religions and social backgrounds, because their unmistakably Christian outlook is always matched by a deep respect for the freedom of consciences.
When John XXIII announced his decision to call an Ecumenical Council, Blessed Josemaría began to pray and get others to pray for the happy outcome of this great initiative of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, as he wrote in a letter in 1962. As a result of the deliberations of the Council, the Church’s solemn Magisterium was to confirm fundamental aspects of the spirit of Opus Dei, such as the universal call to holiness; professional work as a means to holiness and apostolate; the value and lawful limits of Christian freedom in temporal affairs; and the Holy Mass as the centre and root of the interior life. Blessed Josemaría met numerous Council Fathers and experts, who saw him as a forerunner of many of the master lines of the Second Vatican Council. Profoundly identified with the Council’s teaching, he diligently fostered its implementation through the formative activities of Opus Dei all over the world.

Holiness in the midst of the world

Heaven and earth seem to merge, far away, on the horizon. But don’t forget that where they really meet is in your heart as a son of God. Blessed Josemaría preached constantly that interior life is more important than organising activities. In The Way he wrote that These world crises are crises of saints. He insisted that holiness always requires prayer, work and apostolate to be intertwined in what he called a unity of life, and practised this himself with cheerful perseverance.

He was utterly convinced that in order to attain sanctity through daily work, one needs to struggle to be a soul of prayer, of deep inner life. When a person lives this way, everything becomes prayer, everything can and ought to lead us to God, feeding our constant contact with Him, from morning till night. Every kind of work can become prayer, and every kind of work, become prayer, turns into apostolate.

The root of the astonishing fruitfulness of his ministry lies precisely in his ardent interior life which made Blessed Josemaría a contemplative in the midst of the world. His interior life fed on prayer and the sacraments, and expressed itself in a passionate love for the Eucharist, in the depth with which he lived the Mass as the centre and root of his own life, in his tender devotion to the Virgin Mary, to St Joseph and the Guardian Angels, and in his faithfulness to the Church and the Pope.

The definitive encounter with the Most Holy Trinity

During the last years of his life, the Founder of Opus Dei undertook a number of catechetical journeys to countries in Europe and Latin America. Wherever he went, there were meetings, which were always simple and familiar in tone, even though often those listening to him were to be counted in thousands. He would speak about God, the sacraments, Christian devotions, the sanctification of work, and his love for the Church and the Pope. On 28 March 1975 he celebrated his priestly Golden Jubilee. His prayer that day was like a summing up of his whole life: Fifty years have gone by, and I am still like a faltering child. I am just beginning, beginning again, as I do each day in my interior life. And it will be so to the end of my days: always beginning anew.

On 26 June 1975, at midday, Blessed Josemaría died in his workroom, of a cardiac arrest, before a picture of Our Lady which received his last glance. At the time, Opus Dei was present in all five continents, with over 60,000 members from 80 nationalities. His books of spirituality (The Way, Holy Rosary, Conversations with Mgr Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, Friends of God, Love for the Church, The Way of the Cross, Furrow, The Forge) have reached millions of copies.

After his death, many people asked the Holy Father for his canonisation. On 17 May 1992, in Rome, His Holiness Pope John Paul II raised Josemaría Escrivá to the altars, in a beatification ceremony before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. On 21 September 2001, the Ordinary Congregation of Cardinal and Bishop members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, unanimously confirmed the miraculous character of a cure attributed to Blessed Josemaría. The decree regarding this miracle was read before the Holy Father on 20 December. On 26 February 2002, John Paul II presided over an Ordinary Public Consistory of Cardinals and, having heard the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops present, he established that the ceremony for the Canonisation of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá should take place on 6 October 2002.


Wow 93 year old Twin Sisters celebrate 75th year as Nuns in #NewOrleans - SHARE

Sister Canice Lastrapes, SSF, and Sister Canisius Lastrapes, SSF, are twins and belong to the Sisters of the Holy Family order. They celebrated their 75th year as nuns. A portrait of the order's founder, Henriette Delille, hangs on the wall above them Friday, June 19, 2015. Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --Ninety-three-year-old identical twins, Sisters Canice and Canisius Lastrapes of the Sisters of the Holy Family seemed born to their destiny.  Growing up in Opelousas, the youngest of 12 children and they say they’ve never had a second of regret. Seventy-five family members came from around the country to the order’s motherhouse on Chef Menteur Highway. “They’ve just been an enormous inspiration to so many people over the years,” said Jude Lastrapes, a great-nephew. “All you have to do is look at them and you see so much love and energy. … It’s like they were born to be nuns.” Born in Arnaudville, the twins grew up in Opelousas, where they were taught by nuns from kindergarten to high school, Sister Canice said. “We had sisters in our lives all along the way,” she said. “They were always so nice. It was just natural, I guess, that we would want to be like them.”  Sister Canice took her vows in September 1940 at the “old motherhouse” of the Holy Family order at 717 Orleans Ave then her twin sister Canisius made her final vows two months later.   “If I have one regret, it’s that it’s gone by so fast,” said Sister Canice. “That’s what happens when you love what you do. It has seemed like 75 days. When you don’t like what you’re doing, times does not seem to move at all.” To be sure, the twin sisters loved teaching and working with the poor. “I taught mostly chemistry and I took care of babies,” Sister Canice said, mostly teaching in Louisiana. “I spent a little time in Texas,” Sister Canice said, but not long. And even when the two sisters were separated, they stayed in touch. “We would be in contact with one another most of the time,” Sister Canisius said. They talk alike, they look alike. “They even dress alike … black and white habits,”. The Sisters Lastrapes returned together to the Holy Family order’s motherhouse on Chef Highway into which they moved in 1955. In December, the sisters moved into the order’s nursing home, the Lafon Nursing Facility. They love to sew and knit: “Things for anybody who needed or wanted them,” Sister Canice said. “You know what they say about idle hands,” she said. “Got to stay active.” Before the move, they tended a beautiful garden at the motherhouse, and picked up refuse around the grounds. “This is one of their big concerns,” said Sister Greta Jupiter, SSF, the congregational leader. “We feed the poor. A lot of people come to the door for food, and in the course of walking back to the highway, they drop plastic utensils and Styrofoam containers.  “I think some people were just not used to using a giant trash can and they threw things on the ground and pushed it under the bushes. That means when we’d go to clean up, we’d have to get down on our hands and knees and crawl under the bushes to pick up the paper.” Spending time with visitors recently in the lobby of the nursing home, Sister Rosalind Barbeneaux, SSF, cracked open a story about the nuns’ “Great Escape” from Hurricane Katrina. Sister Canisius knew what was coming and her face lit up in a smile. “The state troopers came to evacuate everybody, but Sister Canisius wouldn’t go without her dog, named Precious, and a parrot named Juana,” Sister Greta said. “That parrot couldn’t speak,” Sister Canice said. “But she understood. We used to speak to her like a little person … and she understood.” Confronted by the determined Sister Canisius, the state troopers had no choice but to make room for Precious and Juana when they evacuated the sisters. “They put them on a plane and flew them to El Paso,” Sister Rosalind said. “Once there, we had to go get them. And the mayor of El Paso heard we were looking for them, so he went personally to get them.” Eventually, the sisters returned to the motherhouse, where they lived in trailers for a while as the devastated complex was rebuilt. In time, Katrina became a bad memory, and Precious and Juana passed away and were buried on the motherhouse grounds. The clock ticked on, and the identical twin sisters sewed and knitted and cleaned the grounds and remembered the days of long ago, of Holy Ghost School in Opelousas, and all the other nuns and religious. “Sisters Canisius and Canice are my great-aunts,” Sister Rosalind said. While she is not related to Sisters Canice and Canisius by blood, she is related by marriage. “They influenced me to follow in their paths long, long ago,” she said. “Staying active,” Sister Canice said, as though that phrase is the capper for any life well lived. “That’s the key to it all. Staying active.” And, as a parting gift, all those kinfolk from around the country pledged a $20,000 scholarship endowment to St. Mary’s Academy in the name of Sisters Canice and Canisius.
Edited from Theneworleansadvocate - Photo share from John McCusker

#PopeFrancis "The great know how to listen..." #Homily at #Vatican

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the chapel in Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
25/06/2015 13:13

(Vatican Radio)  Words, actions and the ability to listen: those are the three factors that determine the good pastor or Christian in whom the faithful recognize consistency and authority.  Pope Francis reflected on this theme in his Homily at Santa Marta in the Vatican Thursday.
Recalling the day’s Gospel reading in which the people marvel at Jesus’s authoritative teaching, Pope Francis said that people today know "when a priest, a bishop, a catechist, a Christian, has the consistency that gives him authority." Jesus, he said, "admonishes his disciples" to beware of "false prophets."
But how to discern the true preachers of the Gospel from the false ones? 
Pope Francis said there are three things to look for:  how do they speak, what do they do and, do they listen?
Speech, action, listen
"They talk, they do, but another attitude is lacking: that is the basis, which is the very foundation of speaking, of doing.  They lack the ability to listen.”
But, the pope said,  “the combination of speaking-doing is not enough ... “ and can often be deceptive.  What Jesus expects of us instead, he said, is to “listen and do – to put into practice:” 'Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice,’ Jesus said, ‘is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock.'
Beware of "false prophets"
Instead, Pope Francis asserted, those who "hear the words but fail to make them their own…do not listen seriously or fail to put them into practice will be like the one who builds his house on the sand."
"When Jesus warns people to beware of 'false prophets', he says: 'By their fruits ye shall know them'. And here, by their attitude: so many words, they speak, they do wonders, do great things but they do not have an open heart to hear the Word of God; they are afraid of the silence of the word of God and these are the 'pseudo Christians', the 'pseudo pastors '. It's true, they do good things, it is true, but they lack the rock. "
Worldly pastors talk too much and listen too little
What such people are lacking, the Pope continued, is "the rock of the love of God, the rock of the Word of God." And without this rock, he warned, "they can’t preach, they cannot build: they pretend [and] in the end everything collapses.”
These are the  “pseudo pastors,” the “worldly pastors…or Christians also, who talk too much,” the Pope added.  “They are afraid of silence;  maybe they do too much.” And, the Pope insisted,  they are not capable of embracing what they’ve heard – [they like the sound of their own voices] - and this does not come from God.”
Highlighting the words, “doing, listening, speaking,” the Pope said, “one who only speaks and does, is not a true prophet, not a true Christian, and in the end everything will collapse: it is not on the rock of God's love - [it] is not as firm as a rock. One who knows how to listen and [takes action on what he’s heard] , with the strength of the word of another, not his own:  that is balance. Even though he is a humble person, that does not seem important - but how many of these great ones are there in the Church! How many great bishops,  how many great priests, how many great faithful who listen and do from listening!”
An example of our days, the Pope said, is Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who "did not speak, and was able to listen in silence" and "has done so much!” Neither she “nor her work collapsed,” the Pope added.   "The great know how to listen and they do from listening because their trust and their strength is [based] on the rock of Jesus Christ." 

#Quote to SHARE by Mother Teresa on #Prayer - "Prayer makes your heart bigger..."

Prayer makes your heart bigger, until it is capable of containing the gift of God himself. Prayer begets faith, faith begets love, and love begets service on behalf of the poor. ― Mother Teresa

Latest #News from #Vatican and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee to SHARE

25-06-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 119 

- The Pope receives B'nai B'rith International and recalls the work of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II to promote friendship between Jews and Christians
- To future Papal representatives: be custodians of truth, not state functionaries
- Telegram for the death of the Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians
- Presentation of the Eighth World Meeting of Families
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
The Pope receives B'nai B'rith International and recalls the work of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II to promote friendship between Jews and Christians
Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – A delegation from B'nai B'rith International (“Children of the Covenant”), a Jewish non-governmental organisation of a philanthropic nature founded in 1843, which opposes anti-Semitism in all its forms and promotes human rights, was received in audience by Pope Francis this morning. B'nai B'rith established contacts with the Holy See following the promulgation of the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate which, as the Holy Father mentioned, “constituted a milestone on the path of mutual knowledge and esteem between Jews and Catholics, based on the great spiritual patrimony that, thanks be to God, we share in common”.
During the last fifty years of regular dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism, great steps have been taken in fostering mutual trust and appreciation. “Respect for life and creation, human dignity, justice and solidarity unite us for the development of society and for securing a future rich in hope for generations to come. In a particular way, we are called to pray and work together for peace. Unfortunately, there are many countries and regions of the world that live in situations of conflict – I think in particular of the Holy Land and the Middle East – and that require a courageous commitment to peace, which is not only to be longed for, but sought after and built up patiently and tenaciously by everyone, especially believers”.
Francis recalled with profound gratitude all those who have worked to promote friendship between Jews and Catholics, and mentioned St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II in particular. “The first saved many Jews during the Second World War, he met with them numerous times, and greatly desired a conciliar document on this theme. Regarding St. John Paul II, his various historical gestures remain very much alive in our memories, such as his visit to Auschwitz and to the Great Synagogue of Rome. With the help of God, I wish to walk in their footsteps, encouraged too by the many beautiful encounters and friendships I enjoyed in Buenos Aires”, the Pope concluded.
To future Papal representatives: be custodians of truth, not state functionaries
Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) - “The mission you will one day be called to carry out will take you all over the world. In Europe, which needs to be reawakened; in Africa, which thirsts for reconciliation; in Latin America, which hungers for nourishment and inwardness; in North America, intent on rediscovering the roots of an identity that does not define itself in terms of exclusion; in Asia and Oceania, challenged by the capacity for transformation in diaspora and by dialogue with the immensity of ancestral cultures”. With these words, Pope Francis received in audience the students who are about to complete their studies in the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the Holy See institution charged with the formation of the diplomats who will work in the nunciatures and the Secretary of State.
In his address, the Holy Father highlighted various aspects of the path ahead of them, starting with their mission. “You are preparing to represent the Holy See in the Community of Nations and in the local Churches you are destined for. The Holy See is the see of the bishop of Rome, of the Church that presides in charity, that is based not on vain pride but rather on the daily courage of the condescension or abasement of her Master. The true authority of the Church of Rome is Christ's charity. This is the sole force that renders her universal and credible for man and for the world: this is the heart of her truth, that does not erect walls of division and exclusion, but instead forms bridges to build up communion and to recall the unity of humanity; this is her secret strength, that feeds her tenacious hope, invincible despite momentary defeats. It is not possible to represent someone without reflecting their features, without evoking their face. Jesus said, 'Whoever has seen me has seen the Father'. You are not called to be the high functionaries of a State ... welcome in worldly salons, but rather the guardians of a truth that supports those who offer it, and not the opposite. It is important that you do not let yourselves be depleted by continual transfers; instead, it is necessary to cultivate deep roots, to protect the memory of why you embarked on this path, and not to be hollowed out by cynicism nor to lose sight of the face of He Who is at the origin of your journey”.
Likewise, he reiterated that the Academy specifically aims to prepare future diplomats to consider the realities they will encounter and to love them, even with their limitations. “You prepare, indeed, to become 'bridges', pacifying and facing with prayer and in spiritual battle the tendency to regard oneself as above others, the assumed superiority of view that impedes access to the substance of reality, the claim of already knowing enough. To do this it is necessary not to transpose into the field in which you work your own patterns of understanding, your own cultural parameters, your own ecclesial background”.
“The service to which you have been called requires you to protect the freedom of the Holy See, which so as not to betray her mission before God and for the true good of mankind cannot be imprisoned by the logic of cartels, taken hostage by the accounting division of factions, accept the division among consuls, submit to political powers and to be colonised by the current dominant streams of thought or the illusory hegemony of the mainstream. You are called to seek, in the Churches and in the populations among whom you live, and whom you serve, the good that must be encouraged. To best fulfil this mission it is necessary to set aside the attitude of the judge and to don the robes of the pedagogue, of one who is able to release the potential for good that God does not fail to sow in the Churches”.
“I exhort you not to expect to find the terrain ready, but rather to have the courage to plough it with your hands, without tractors or other more effective means which we will never have at our disposal – to prepare it for sowing, awaiting the harvest with God's patience; a harvest of which you may not be the beneficiary. Do not fish in aquaria or farms, but instead have the courage to leave behind the safe margins of what is already known and to cast your nets and rods in less obvious seas”.
Telegram for the death of the Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians
Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolences to the Patriarchal Synod of the Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians, Beirut, for the sudden death of the Patriarch, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, at the age of 75.
The Pope expresses his heartfelt condolences to the faithful of the Patriarchate and recalls his close collaboration with the Patriarch, one of the most prominent consequences of which is the recent declaration of St. Gregory of Narek as a Doctor of the Church.
“I entrust to the merciful Father the soul of this devoted pastor who, as a priest dedicated himself tirelessly to the service of the communities for whom he was responsible, and later, as bishop, carried out his ministry with faith and zeal, first in Alexandria and then as Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. I join in prayer with all those who are affected by his sudden passing and convey my apostolic blessing, in particular to the bishops of the Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians, the family of the deceased and all those who are to attend his funeral”.
Presentation of the Eighth World Meeting of Families
Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A., from 22 to 27 September this year, on the theme “Love is our mission. The family fully alive”. The speakers were Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia with his auxiliary, Bishop John J. McIntyre, and Jerry and Lucille Francesco, a couple from the same archdiocese, now married for fifty years.
Archbishop Paglia emphasised that the Meeting is a valuable opportunity to place the family at the centre of the Church and of civil society. “It is a duty”, he said, explaining that the meeting is about and for families, who are its protagonists and main recipients. “The family builds the Church and sustains society. … During the days of the conference, we will present the results of some international research that has scientifically studied this positive influence. The family constantly asks for help and support in the entire ecclesial community – and in the next few days I will write to all the monasteries of the world to ask them to accompany these very important days with their prayers – and from civil society as a whole, which cannot remain indifferent to such beauty and goodness that is so effective and so viable”.
The prelate went on to highlight the global nature of the event, and the hope that it will be seen and reported on worldwide. “The family is the heritage of all humanity, at every latitude, in every culture; it is blessed by all religions. That is why we wanted a significant presence of other Christian denominations and of major world religious traditions. … We are working so that delegations from around the globe and especially from the world's poorest local Churches will be present. Philadelphia will be a great worldwide celebration of families: in the spectacle, we will be able to get a glimpse, we will have to show the beauty and the possibility of all humanity becoming a single family of peoples. It is the dream of peace; it is God's dream”.
This universality will be enshrined in the final gesture of the meeting: the archbishop revealed that at the end of Mass on Sunday, 27 September, Pope Francis will give the Gospel of Luke, “the Good News of God's mercy, which is Jesus, to families from big cities on the five continents: Kinshasa, Africa; Havana, America; Hanoi, Asia; Sydney, Australia; and Marseilles, Europe. This is a symbolic gesture that will announce the sending of a million copies of this book to the five cities involved. We want the Gospel of Mercy to be announced in the great cities of the world so that they may build bonds of love between them, in the Church and in society”.
The archbishop of Philadelphia gave some data on the Meeting, which more than a million people are expected to attend, and from which representatives of more than a hundred nations have registered. So far 6,100 volunteers have offered assistance of various types and the event organisers intend to make more than 5,000 buses available. More than 1,600 people have signed up to the “Host a Family” programme.
For more information on the events linked to the meeting, see
Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Fra' Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and entourage;
- Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;
- Archbishop Salvador Pineiro Garcia-Calderon of Ayacucho, Peru, president of the Episcopal Conference of Peru, with:
- Archbishop Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, vice president;
- Archbishop Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, vice president; and
- Msgr. Fortunato Pablo Urcey, prelate of Chota, general secretary.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Autlan, Mexico, presented by Bishop Gonzalo Galvan Castillo, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- appointed Bishop Uriah Ashley of Penonome, Panama, as auxiliary of Panama (area 13,275, population 1,769,000, Catholics 1,675,000, priests 149, permanent deacons 56, religious 377), Panama.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. June 25, 2015

Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 374

Reading 1GN 16:1-12, 15-16

Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children.
She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar.
Sarai said to Abram:
“The LORD has kept me from bearing children.
Have intercourse, then, with my maid;
perhaps I shall have sons through her.”
Abram heeded Sarai’s request.
Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan,
his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian,
and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine.
He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant.
When she became aware of her pregnancy,
she looked on her mistress with disdain.
So Sarai said to Abram:
“You are responsible for this outrage against me.
I myself gave my maid to your embrace;
but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy,
she has been looking on me with disdain.
May the LORD decide between you and me!”
Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power.
Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked,
“Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from
and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her:
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.
I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count.
Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you,
God has answered you.

This one shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
In opposition to all his kin
shall he encamp.”

Hagar bore Abram a son,
and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

OrGN 16:6B-12, 15-16

Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power.
Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked,
“Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from
and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her:
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.
I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count.
Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you,
God has answered you.

This one shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
In opposition to all his kin
shall he encamp.”

Hagar bore Abram a son,
and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Responsorial PsalmPS 106:1B-2, 3-4A, 4B-5

R. (1b) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or proclaim all his praises?
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
R. Alleluia.
Visit me with your saving help,
that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
rejoice in the joy of your people,
and glory with your inheritance.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.