Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Saint January 20 : St. Sebastian : #Martyr : #Patron of #Soldiers and #Athletes


Information:
Feast Day:
January 20
Died:
288
Patron of:
Soldiers, plagues, arrows,  athletes
Roman martyr; little more than the fact of his martyrdom can be proved about St. Sebastian. In the "Depositio martyrum" of the chronologer of 354 it is mentioned that Sebastian was buried on the Via Appia. St. Ambrose ("In Psalmum cxviii"; "Sermo", XX, no. xliv in PL, XV, 1497) states that Sebastian came from Milan and even in the time of St. Ambrose was venerated there. The Acts, probably written at the beginning of the fifth century and formerly ascribed erroneously to Ambrose, relate that he was an officer in the imperial bodyguard and had secretly done many acts of love and charity for his brethren in the Faith. When he was finally discovered to be a Christian, in 286, he was handed over to the Mauretanian archers, who pierced him with arrows; he was healed, however, by the widowed St. Irene. He was finally killed by the blows of a club. These stories are unhistorical and not worthy of belief. The earliest mosaic picture of St. Sebastian, which probably belongs to the year 682, shows a grown, bearded man in court dress but contains no trace of an arrow. It was the art of the Renaissance that first portrayed him as a youth pierced by arrows. In 367 a basilica which was one of the seven chief churches of Rome was built over his grave. The present church was completed in 1611 by Scipio Cardinal Borghese. His relics in part were taken in the year 826 to St. Medard at Soissons. Sebastian is considered a protector against the plague. Celebrated answers to prayer for his protection against the plague are related of Rome in 680, Milan in 1575, and Lisbon in 1599. His feast day is 20 January.

Actress Patricia Heaton and Stephen Colbert have a Catholic Competition on Air - SHARE


Patricia Heaton and Stephen Colbert had an amazing competition on air to see who is the most Catholic in Hollywood. They are both practicing Catholics. Questions included; “How many places did Mary appear?” and “As a Catholic, how do you sell your house faster?” They also brought up some  catechism questions. Colbert asked; “What’s the thing called with the thing with the radiant lines you hold the host in, it’s got a little glass thing, and you carry it around…” Heaton cut him off saying“the monstrance.” Heaton then asked: “Fill in the blank: Whosoever wears this … shall never endure the fires of hell,” Colbert answered “scapular!”. There competition ended in a tie. Other questions included: Whose family includes more kids? Who has a sister who is a Dominican nun? How many places did the Virgin Mary appear after she was assumed into heaven? Watch the clip below, you might learn some Catholic trivia and have a laugh. SHARE

Saint January 20 : Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi : Nigerian Priest



Information:
Feast Day:January 20
Born:September, 1903, Aguleri, Anambra, Nigeria
Died:January 20, 1964, Leicester, England
Beatified:March 22, 1998 by Pope John Paul II
Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 in Igboezunu, at the edge of: the forest near the ancient city of Aguleri in southern Nigeria. His parents, Tabansi and Ejikwevi, were Igbo farmers who practised the "traditional religion" and gave him the name Iwene at birth. In 1909 he was sent to the Christian village of Nduka, where he was baptized three years later by Irish missionaries and given the name Michael. His peers described him as studious and very demanding with himself, with a precocious personality and deep piety. At the age of 16 he received his first school leaving certificate, which qualified him for teaching. He taught at Holy Trinity Primary School in Onitsha for three years and served for a year as headmaster at St Joseph School in Aguleri. In 1925, against the wishes of his family, he entered St Paul's Seminary in Igbariam. After finishing his philosophical and theological studies, he was ordained a priest in the cathedral of Onitsha on 19 December 1937 by the missionary Bishop Charles Heerey. The second indigenous priest of Onitsha and the first in the Aguleri region, he began his pastoral ministry in the parish of Nnewi. In 1939 he was appointed parish priest of Dunukofia (Umudioka region), where he courageously tackled immoral customs and destroyed the harmful myth of the "cursed forest", which weighed heavily on the peace of consciences and families. To combat premarital cohabitation, he set up marriage preparation centres where girls and young women could be sheltered and receive Christian formation. For the moral education of young people he also established the League of Mary, with remarkable success. On foot or bicycle, Fr Tansi went from village to village preaching, catechizing and setting up prayer centres that eventually became parishes. He spent hours and hours hearing confessions, even until late at night. His zeal, shining example and life of prayer and penance transformed the people into a true Christian community resulting in so many vocations to the priesthood and religious life that his parish held the diocesan record. The same energy characterized his years as parish priest of Akpu, where he served from 1945 until his transfer to Aguleri in 1949. On an unspecified date between 1949 and 1950, during a priests' day of recollection, Bishop Heerey expressed the desire that one of his priests would embrace the monastic life so that he could later establish a contemplative monastery in his Diocese. Fr Tansi immediately said he was willing. Bishop Heerey contacted the Trappist Abbey of Mount St Bernard in Leicestershire, England, which was willing to receive him for a trial period as an oblate. In the summer of 1950 he led his parishioners on a pilgrimage to Rome for the Holy Year and left from there for Mount St Bernard. After two and a half years as an oblate, he was admitted to the novitiate on the vigil of the Immaculate Conception, taking the name Cyprian. One year later he took his simple vows and was solemnly professed on 8 December 1956. For the next seven years he lived a hidden life of prayer and work, humility and obedience, in faithful and generous observance of the Cistercian rule. In 1963, after 13 years of valuable experience as a Trappist, the time now seemed ripe for establishing a monastery in Nigeria. However, political tensions led his superiors to choose neighbouring Cameroon for the foundation instead. This was a hard blow for Fr Cyprian, who had been appointed novice master for the African monastery. It was the only time in 13 years of monastic life that he ever lost his temper, but he quickly regained control and accepted God's will with supernatural heroism. In January 1964 he began experiencing intense pain in one of his legs. Diagnosed as having thrombosis, the following morning he was found unconscious and was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Leicester, where examination revealed an aortic aneurysm. He died the following morning, 20 January 1964. He was buried at Mount St Bernard on 22 January. Present for the funeral liturgy were several Nigerian priests living in London, including his spiritual son, Fr Francis Arinze, the future Archbishop of Onitsha, Cardinal and President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. His body was exhumed in 1988 and reburied in the priests' cemetery near the cathedral of Onitsha, where he had been ordained a priest 51 years earlier. After the beatification ceremonies, his remains will be buried in the parish church of his  native village, Aguieri.
Shared from Ewtn

#PopeFrancis "... there is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future”. #Homily - Video - Text

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
19/01/2016 13:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says God looks beyond appearances and into the heart. He was speaking on Tuesday morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
Drawing inspiration from the First Reading of the day that tells of the choice of the young David as king of Israel, the Pope pointed out that even in the lives of the saints there are temptations and sins, as demonstrated by the life of David.
The Lord – he said - rejected Saul "because his heart was closed", he had not obeyed Him, and He decided to choose another king. 
The Pope pointed out that the choice He made was far from human standards since David was the youngest son of Jesse, he was only a boy.
But – he continued – the Lord made it clear to the prophet Samuel that he looks beyond appearances: “the Lord looks into the heart”:
"We are often the slaves of appearances and allow ourselves to pursue appearances: ‘But God knows the truth’. And that is so in this story... Jesse’s seven sons are presented and the Lord does not choose any of them, he lets them pass by. Samuel is in a bit of difficulty and says to Jesse: ‘The Lord has not chosen any of them, are these all the sons you have? And Jesse replied that there was still the youngest, who is tending the sheep’. To the eyes of man this boy did not count”.
He did not matter to men, but the Lord chose him and ordered Samuel to anoint him and “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David” and from that day on “the whole of David's life was the life of a man anointed by the Lord, chosen by the Lord” the Pope said.
So – Pope Francis asked – “Did the Lord make him a saint?” No, is the answer – he said: “King David is saint King David, this is true, but he became a saint after living a long life” a life during which he sinned:
"A saint and a sinner. A man who managed to unite the Kingdom, he was able to lead the people of Israel. But he fell into temptation ... he committed sins: he was also a murderer. To cover up his lust, the sin of adultery… he commissioned a murder. He did! Did saint King David commit murder? When God sent the prophet Nathan to point this reality out to him, because he was not aware of the barbarity he had ordered, he acknowledged his sin and asked for forgiveness.”
Thus – Pope Francis continued – “his life went on. He suffered personally following the betrayal of his son, but he never he never used God for his own purpose”.  And he recalled that when David was forced to flee from Jerusalem he sent back the ark and declared that he would not use the Lord in his defense. And when he was insulted – the Pope said – David would say to himself: “It’s what I deserve”.
And then, Francis noted, “he was magnanimous”: he could have killed Saul “but he did not do so.” Saint King David, a great sinner, but a repentant one. “The life of this man moves me” – the Pope said - it makes us think of our own lives.
“We have all been chosen by the Lord to be Baptized, to be part of His people, to be saints; we have been consecrated by the Lord on the path towards sainthood. Reading about this life, the life of a child – no… not a child, he was a boy – from boyhood to old age, during which he did many good things and others that were not so good. It makes me think that during the Christian journey, the journey the Lord has invited us to undertake, there is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future”.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. January 19, 2016


Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 312


Reading 11 SM 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel:
“How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
But Samuel replied:
“How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me.”
To this the LORD answered:
“Take a heifer along and say,
‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
“Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”
He replied:
“Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
“The LORD has not chosen this one either.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There–anoint him, for this is he!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

Responsorial PsalmPS 89:20, 21-22, 27-28

R. (21a) I have found David, my servant.
Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth.”
R. I have found David, my servant.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R. I have found David, my servant.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
And I will make him the first-born,
highest of the kings of the earth.”
R. I have found David, my servant.

AlleluiaSEE EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

#PopeFrancis "...bear witness to Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of unity." #Ecumenical delegation FULL TEXT

Pope Francis - AFP
Pope Francis - AFP
18/01/2016 10:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday welcomed an ecumenical delegation from the Lutheran Church of Finland, marking the Feast of St. Henrik.
The Nordic country of 5 ½ million people is mostly Lutheran, but 1.1% is Orthodox Christian. The Catholic population numbers a little over 12,000 people.
“Your ecumenical pilgrimage is an eloquent sign of the fact that, as Lutherans, Orthodox and Catholics, you have recognized what unites you and together you wish to bear witness to Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of unity,” Pope Francis said.
“In our dialogue, differences still remain in doctrine and in practice,” he continued.
This must not discourage us, but instead spur us along our journey towards ever greater unity, not least by working to overcome old ideas and suspicions,” said the Holy Father. “In a world frequently torn by conflict and marked by secularism and indifference, we are called to join in professing our faith in Jesus Christ, and thus to become ever more credible witnesses of unity and promoters of peace and reconciliation.”

The full text of Pope Francis’ prepared remarks are below

Greeting of the Holy Father
to an Ecumenical Delegation from Finland
Monday, 18 January 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
                I offer you a cordial welcome, as once again this year you visit the Bishop of Rome in the course of your traditional pilgrimage for the feast of St. Henrik.  I thank the Lutheran Bishop of Helsinki, Irja Askola, for her kind greeting on your behalf.
                Your ecumenical pilgrimage is an eloquent sign of the fact that, as Lutherans, Orthodox and Catholics, you have recognized what unites you and together you wish to bear witness to Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of unity.
                In a special way, we can thank the Lord for the fruits of the dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics.  Here I think in particular of the common document on Justification in the Life of the Church.  Building on these foundations, your dialogue is making promising progress towards a shared understanding, on the sacramental level, of Church, Eucharist and Ministry.  These steps forward, made together, lay a solid basis for a growing communion of life in faith and spirituality, as your relations develop in a spirit of serene discussion and fraternal sharing.
                The common calling of all Christians is brought out well by the biblical text for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins today: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Pet 2:9).
                In our dialogue, differences still remain in doctrine and in practice.  This must not discourage us, but instead spur us along our journey towards ever greater unity, not least by working to overcome old ideas and suspicions.  In a world frequently torn by conflict and marked by secularism and indifference, we are called to join in professing our faith in Jesus Christ, and thus to become ever more credible witnesses of unity and promoters of peace and reconciliation.
                Dear brothers and sisters, I am also appreciative of your shared commitment to the care of creation, and I thank you for the symbolic sign of hospitality which you have offered me in the name of Finnish people.
                In the hope that this visit will strengthen ever greater cooperation between your respective communities, I invoke upon all of you God’s abundant graces and I cordially offer you my blessing.

Saint January 19 : St. Canute IV : #King of #Denmark and #Martyr



Information:
Feast Day:January 19
Born:
1043, Denmark
Died:July 10, 1086, Odense
Canonized:1101
Major Shrine:Saint Canute's Cathedral, Odense
Patron of:Denmark
Martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; d. 10 July 1086, the third of the thirteen natural sons of Sweyn II surnamed Estridsen. Elected king on the death of his brother Harold about 1080, he waged war on his barbarous enemies and brought Courland and Livonia to the faith. Having married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Count of Flanders, he had a son Charles, surnamed the good. He was a strong ruler, as is proved by his stern dealing with the pirate Eigill of Bornholm. The happiness of his people and the interests of the Church were the objects he had most at heart. To the cathedral of Roskilde, still the royal burying-place, he gave his own diadem. His austerity was equalled by his assiduity in prayer. An expedition to England, in favour of the Saxons against William the Conqueror, planned by him in 1085, failed through the treachery of his brother Olaf. His people having revolted on account of the cruelties of certain tax-collectors, Canute retired to the island of Funen. There, in the church of St. Alban, after due preparation for death, the king, his brother Benedict, and seventeen others were surrounded and slain, 10 July, 1086. His feast is 19 January, translation, 10 July; his emblems, a lance or arrows, in memory of the manner of his death.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

#PopeFrancis meets with Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of #Monaco

Pope Francis with Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene. - AFP
Pope Francis with Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene. - AFP
18/01/2016 13:12


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday received Prince Albert II of Monaco, who was accompanied by his wife, Princess Charlene. Subsequently, the Prince met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States.
A statement from the Holy See Press Office called the talks “cordial,” and said they highlighted the good bilateral relations between Monaco and the Holy See, and reference was made to the historical contribution of the Catholic Church in the life of Monaco.
Other issues of common interest that were discussed included environmental protection, humanitarian aid, and the integral development of peoples.
Finally, the parties considered some issues affecting the international community, including peace and security, the reception of migrants, and the general situation in the Mediterranean region, as well as the Middle East.
Prince Albert II gave Pope Francis a food basket – containing fruit, vegetables, and cheeses – as well as the Monaco edition of the encyclical Laudato si’, and a medal.
Pope Francis gave the couple a Pontifical Medal and a copy of Evangelii gaudium.

#PopeFrancis "May the Lord grant us the grace of an open heart, of a heart open to the voice..." Homily

Pope Francis preaches during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis preaches during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
18/01/2016 11:36


(Vatican Radio) Christians who stop at “it’s always been done that way” have hearts closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. They are idolaters and rebels will never arrive at the fullness of the truth. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass on Monday morning at the chapel in the Casa Santa Marta.
In the first reading, Saul was rejected by God as King of Israel because he disobeyed, preferring to listen to the people rather than the will of God. The people, after a victory in battle, wanted to offer a sacrifice of the best animals to God, because, he said, “it’s always been done that way.” But God, this time, did not want that. The prophet Samuel rebuked Saul: “Does the Lord so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord?” Jesus teaches us the same thing in the Gospel, the Pope explained. When the doctors of the law criticized Him because His disciples did not fast “as had always been done,” Jesus responded with these examples from daily life: “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
“What does this mean? That He changes the law? No! That the law is at the service of man, who is at the service of God – and so man ought to have an open heart. ‘It’s always been done this way’ is a closed heart, and Jesus tells us, ‘I will send you the Holy Spirit and He will lead you into the fullness of truth.’ If you have a heart closed to the newness of the Spirit, you will never reach the full truth. And your Christian life will be a half-and-half life, a patched life, mended with new things, but on a structure that is not open to the voice of the Lord—a closed heart, so that you are not able to change others.”
This, the Pope emphasized, was the sin of Saul, for which he was rejected. “It is the sin of so many Christians who cling to what has always been done and who do not allow others to change. And they end up with half a life, [a life that is] patched, mended, meaningless.” The sin, he said, “is a closed heart,” that “does not hear the voice of the Lord, that is not open to the newness of the Lord, to the Spirit that always surprises us.” This rebellion, says Samuel, is “the sin of divination,” and obstinacy is the sin of idolatry:
“Christians who obstinately maintain ‘it’s always been done this way,' this is the path, this is the street—they sin: the sin of divination. It’s as if they went about by guessing: ‘What has been said and what doesn’t change is what’s important; what I hear—from myself and my closed heart—more than the Word of the Lord.’ Obstinacy is also the sin of idolatry: the Christian who is obstinate sins! The sin of idolatry. ‘And what is the way, Father?’ Open the heart to the Holy Spirit, discern what is the will of God.”
Pope Francis noted that in Jesus’ time, good Israelites were in the habit of fasting. “But there is another reality,” he said. “There is the Holy Spirit who leads us into the full truth. And for this reason he needs an open heart, a heart that will not stubbornly remain in the sin of idolatry of oneself,” imagining that my own opinion is more important than the surprise of the Holy Spirit.
“This is the message the Church gives us today. This is what Jesus says so forcefully: ‘New wine in new wineskins.’ Habits must be renewed in the newness of the Spirit, in the surprises of God. May the Lord grant us the grace of an open heart, of a heart open to the voice of the Spirit, which knows how to discern what should not change, because it is fundamental, from what should change in order to be able to receive the newness of the Spirit.”