Friday, February 26, 2016

Saint February 27 : St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows : #Patron of: #Students, #Youth, #Seminarians : Passionist Monk

, February 27, marks the feast day of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862), the patron saint of young people, students, and young religious. Saint Gabriel’s short life is marked by piety, faith, and obedience to the Lord, and religious vocation at the behest of Our Blessed Mother. While the last six years of his life, spent as a brother in the Passionist Order, were marked by humility, self-denial, and simplicity, Gabriel’s early life was quite the opposite. His complete consecration of his life to the Lord, despite the temptations of the modern world which he so loved, make his sacrifice a vivid example of the Christian love and obedience we should strive for.
Born Francis Possenti, in Assisi, Italy in 1838, Saint Gabriel was the eleventh of thirteen children produced by the union of his parents. His father, a pious man with great political recognition in the area, and his mother, a well-connected religious woman from a respected family, were delighted in their son. He was baptized at the same font that his saintly namesake had been baptized nearly 600 years earlier.
From an early age, Francis demonstrated the potential for thoughtfulness and piety. He encouraged his teacher and siblings to pay more attention to the poor, oftentimes choosing to give some of his portions to those in need. Before he reached the age of four, his mother passed away from a serious illness, as did four of his siblings. Francis, the most sensitive of the family, was severely moved by these losses, increasing his empathy for others and his sensitivity to those in need.
As Francis matured, he developed insight into the fact that he was smart, charming, and attractive. He pursued hedonistic pleasures like art and theater, which he would later write to friends almost “cost him his soul.” He dressed to perfection, paying careful attention to his appearance. Francis excelled at school, and was generally the award-winner in all of his classes. He was chosen to give his commencement address upon graduation from the Jesuit College. Francis embraced the world, and to his classmates and friends, he appeared to have all the tools required for great success. He was the center of attention wherever he went, all the doors of the finest families and establishments open to him throughout the city. And while he was impulsive, prone to anger, and pridefully vain, he was poised to achieve great worldly things.
But Francis felt called in a different direction. Twice, Francis came down with serious illnesses while in school, illnesses he was not expected to recover from. During these times, he prayed to the Lord, promising to become a religious if his life was spared. While a student at the Jesuit College, he had asked permission to enter the Order, and was granted permission from his spiritual director. But Francis delayed entering the Order, finding reasons to wait. He maintained his faith, praying daily in the chapel and receiving the Eucharist, but could not commit to the religious life and give up his worldly enjoyments. As time went on, Francis began to doubt his choice of the Jesuit Order, instead feeling called to become a Passionist, the Order formed by Saint John of the Cross. His spiritual director encouraged him to wait and pray, and see where the Lord led him.
Following the cholera outbreak in 1856, the town rejoiced in thanks to the Blessed Mother, who interceded to save Spoleto. In veneration, a statue of Our Lady was carried throughout the streets. Francis observed the procession, more curious than devoted. As the statue was carried past him, he gazed into the face of the Blessed Virgin, and through the eyes of the statue, Mary pierced his heart with a gaze so strong it felt as a ‘dart of fire.” At the same time, he heard the words deep within in, “Why! thou art not made for the world! What art thou doing in the world? Hasten, become a religious!”
From that moment, Francis’ life changed. He entered the noviatiate of the Passionists, where he would live until his death. The Passionist Order is a strict order, and his family and friends urged him not to commit to such a life. Rather, they suggested he become a priest, or better yet, not become a religious and use his “talents” in the world. Francis was not to be disuaded. After his initial retreat, he was clothed in the robes of the Passionists, and gave up his name for a new name: Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
His days were spent in prayer, chanting, study, and manual labor. The Passionist Order maintains a rule of silence, and speaking was forbidden without permission. Gabriel spent the majority of his time meditating on the Passion of Christ, and praying the Rosary to Our Lady of Sorrows. Despite the rules and strict lifestyle, Gabriel was filled with joy. “My life is a continuous delight; what I experience inside these sacred walls is almost inexpressible; the 24 hours of the day seem to me like 24 short instants; really my life is full of delight.” He looked at each sacrifice as a way in which to polish away his sinful life, his pride, his vanity, and devote his life to Jesus. He wrote, “I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own”
Saint Gabriel looked to the Blessed Mother as his comfort and refuge in times of suffering, of which he had plenty due to illness. He wrote of her to his brother, “Love Mary!… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.” Within a few years of joining the Order, Gabriel was stricken with Consumption. He died a slow and painful death, over the course of two years, during which he maintained a cheerful and joyous disposition, so much so that his brothers in the Order wished to spend their days with him. In his dying moments, he asked for his picture of the Crucifixion, with the Blessed Virgin standing at the foot of the cross. It was well-worn from use. He devoutly kissed it, placed it upon him, folded his hands across it, and began to pray. With indescribable love he began to say aloud: “Oh, my Mother make haste, make haste!”
Many from the Order watched and prayed in his cell with him, as they knew his moment of death was close at hand. They were moved to tears by his devotion, and by the love with which he implored the comfort of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. By their records, Gabriel suddenly turned his eyes to the left and above him, gazing in rapture upon some heavenly vision. With a peaceful smile, he died, never letting go of his beloved picture. Not yest a priest when he died at age 24, Gabriel was buried at the Passionist retreat in Isola di Gran Sasso, Italy.
Since his death, numerous miracles have been reported via his intercession. For exmaple, Saint Gemma (1878-1903), a young woman with numerous ailments including deafness from meningitis, paralysis, abcesses, and curvature of the spine was miraculously cured after praying a novena to Saint Gabriel. In her own words, "I grew in admiration of his virtues and his ways. My devotion to him increased. At night I did not sleep without having his picture under my pillow, and after that I began to see him near me. I don’t know how to explain this, but I felt his presence. At all times and in every action Brother Gabriel came to mind.”
When she was approximately 20, and on her deathbed, Gemma began her novena to Saint Gabriel. While trying to sleep, she heard the rattling of a Rosary and he appeared to her, saying, “Do you wish to recover? Pray with faith every evening to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I will come to you until the Novena is ended, and will pray together to this Most Sacred Heart.” On the last night of the Novena, Gemma was miraculously cured of all her ailments, a scientific impossibility at the time. Saint Gemma went on to be visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary, and bore the stigmata throughout her prayerful life, committed to Jesus.
One of his brothers wrote of him: “In the garden within the monastery walls at Isola stands a large crucifix. A seed fell to the ground before it. A plant sprang up, and twined itself around the cross until it reached the feet of the figure nailed upon it. It then bent outward, as if to behold what was above. A bud formed, swelled, burst into bloom, and gazed in loving awe upon the figure of Christ Crucified. Lo! it was a true flower of the Passion! Its heart was pierced and stamped with the signs of Him Who hung upon the cross. The seed that fell at the foot of the crucifix was Francis Possenti. The plant that grew there from and flowered was Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Passionist.”
Text shared from 365 Rosaries

Free Catholic #Movie : #PadrePio Movie with English Subtitles

Padre Pio (2000) TV Movie - 202 min - Biography | Drama - 17 April 2000 (Italy)
The poor Italian peasant boy Francesco already has visions of Jesus and Mary as a child, but the Devil visits him too. He, Francesco, is quite certain that he will become a priest.
 Director: Carlo Carlei Writers: Renzo Allegri (book), Carlo Carlei,
Stars: Sergio Castellitto, Jürgen Prochnow, Lorenza Indovina
Takes a minute or two to load....

#BreakingNews 6 Seminarians Die in Car Crash in #Nigeria - Please Pray

 Six Catholic Seminarians have died in a fatal accident on February 22, 2016. The Catholic Seminarians were of St Joseph Paris, Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa Ibom state, 16 Seminarians, were driving their missionary vehicle, on their way to Community Encounter programme in Enugu state. The driver lost control and the bus somersaulted. They were known as Emmy, believed to be in his late 20’s, and another, Dozie and Okofia Otolo, Nnewi, Anambra state. 10 survivors are now receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital. Edited from Daily Post Nigeria

#PopeFrancis "God is love: charity is his essence, it is his nature." FULL TEXT - Video

Pope Francis meets with participants in a 'Cor Unum' conference - AFP
Pope Francis meets with participants in a 'Cor Unum' conference - AFP
26/02/2016 11:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday met with participants at an international conference organised by the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’ to mark the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical ‘Deus Caritas Est’.
Reflecting on the theme of the conference, ‘Love will never end’, Pope Francis said the message of the encyclical remains timely, especially in this Jubilee year as we celebrate the central belief of our faith, that God is love.
The love which we receive from God and share with others, he said, is “the fulcrum of the history of the Church and of the history of each one of us.” The act of charity, the Pope said, is not simply almsgiving to ease one’s conscience, but rather a “loving attentiveness towards the other” and a desire to share friendship with God.
Even if we turn away from God, the Pope told participants, it is in God’s nature to communicate his love and mercy to us. The mission of charitable organisations is of utmost importance, he said, because, it is not with words, but with concrete love that we can make every person feel loved by the Father. The Pope concluded by thanking all those who daily are committing themselves to this charitable mission which remains a challenge to every Christian. The more we live in this spirit of receiving and sharing God's love with others, he said, the more authentic we all are as Christians.
Please find below the full address by Pope Francis to participants at the conference organised by the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I welcome you on the occasion of the International Conference on the theme: “Love will never end (1 Cor 13:8): Prospects ten years on from the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est”, organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and I thank Monsignor Dal Toso for the words of greetings addressed to me on behalf of all of you.
The first Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI concerns a theme that allows us to retrace the entire history of the Church, which is also a history of charity.  It is a story of the love received from God, to be carried to the world: this charity received and given is the fulcrum of the history of the Church and of the history of each one of us.  The act of charity is not, in fact, simply almsgiving to ease one’s conscience.  It includes a “loving attentiveness towards the other” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 199), which considers the other as “one with himself” (cf. Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 27, art. 2), and desires to share friendship with God.  Charity, therefore, is at the centre of the life of the Church and, in the words of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, is truly the heart of the Church.  Both for individual members of the faithful and for the Christian community as a whole, the words of Jesus hold true: that charity is the first and greatest of the commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength… You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12:30-31).
The present Jubilee Year is also an opportunity to return to this beating heart of our life and our witness, to the centre of the proclamation of faith: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8, 16).  God does not  simply have the desire or capacity to love; God is love: charity is his essence, it is his nature.  He is unique, but not solitary; he cannot be alone, he cannot be closed in on himself because he is communion, he is charity; and charity by its nature is communicated and shared.  In this way, God associates man to his life of love, and even if man turns away from him, God does not remain distant but goes out to meet him.  This going out to meet us, culminating in the Incarnation of his Son, is his mercy.  It is his way of expressing himself to us sinners, his face that looks at us and cares for us.  The Encyclical reads: “Jesus’ programme is ‘a heart which sees’.  This heart sees where love is needed and acts accordingly” (no. 31).  Charity and mercy are in this way closely related, because they are God’s way of being and acting: his identity and his name.
The first aspect which the Encyclical recalls for us is the face of God: who is the God we can encounter in Christ? How faithful and unsurpassable is his love?  “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). All our expressions of love, of solidarity, of sharing are but a reflection of that love which is God.  He, without ever tiring, pours out his love on us, and we are called to become witnesses to this love in the world.  Therefore, we should look to divine charity as to the compass which orients our lives, before embarking on any activity: there we find direction; from charity we learn how to see our brothers and sisters and the world.  Ubi amor, ibi oculus, say the Medievals: where there is love, there is the ability to see.  Only by “remaining in his love” (cf. Jn 15:1-17) will we know how to understand and love those around us.
The Encyclical – and this is the second aspect I wish to emphasize – reminds us that this charity needs to be reflected more and more in the life of the Church.  How I wish that everyone in the Church, every institution, every activity would show that God loves man!  The mission that our charitable organizations carry out is important, because they provide so many poor people with a more dignified and human life, which is needed more than ever.  But this mission is of utmost importance because, not with words, but with concrete love it can make every person feel loved by the Father, loved as his son or daughter and destined for eternal life with him.  I would like to thank all those who daily are committing themselves to this mission which challenges every Christian.  In this Jubilee Year, my intention has been to emphasize that we can all experience the grace of the Jubilee by putting into practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy: to live the works of mercy means to conjugate the verb “to love” according to Jesus.  In this way then, all of us together can contribute concretely to the great mission of the Church: to communicate the love of God which is meant to be spread.
Dear brothers and sisters, the message of the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est remains timely, indicating the ever relevant prospect for the Church’s journey.  The more we live in this spirit, the more authentic we all are as Christians.
Thank you again for your commitment and for what you will be able to achieve in this mission of charity.  May the Blessed Mother always assist you, and my blessing be with you.  Please do not forget to pray for me.  Thank you.

Catholic #Quote to SHARE by #StTherese of Lisieux "Kindness is my only guiding star. In its light, I sail..."

"Kindness is my only guiding star. In its light, I sail a straight route, I have my motto written on my sail: “To live in love.” — St. Therese of Lisieux

#BreakingNews Shooter in #Kansas kills 3 and Injures 14 at workplace - Please Pray...

On Thursday, February 25. Cedric Ford, an employee at Excel, was killed by authorities after shooting over 14 people. Two hospitals are treating 11 patients with 6 serious condition --  Excel Industries, is a lawn care company where the gunman worked and started shooting at least 14 and killing three before he was shot and killed.  All of those killed and all but two of those wounded were around the building. Most of the victims are at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, some others are at Wesley Medical Center.  Hesston, is a small city of about 3,700 people. About 150 people were working at the time in the building. Please Pray for the families...

#BreakingNews Studies Show Abortion Clinics Close at a Record Pace! #ProLife Groups are a Powerful Force

News Report Verifies Operation Rescue's Data that Abortion Clinics are Closing at a "Record Pace"
February 24, 2016

Washington, DC - Today, Bloomberg Business published an article titled, "Abortion Clinics are Closing at a Record Pace." The article begins by noting that "Abortion access in the U.S. has been vanishing at the fastest annual pace on record."
Operation Rescue's own research verifies this claim with numbers that vary slightly from those published in today's Bloomberg article. That trend is continuing strongly into 2016.
"Our annual surveys of abortion clinics produce the most accurate data out there in regard to abortion clinic closures and current numbers," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "This is verifiable evidence that we are solidly on the path to an abortion-free America."
Already in 2016, there have been nine abortion facilities that have closed or announced imminent closures. Even given that two of the closures are expected to be temporary, abortion clinic closures continue on an average pace of one closure per week.
In a report released on December 22, 2015, Operation Rescue documented that 54 abortion facilities closed or halted all abortion services during that calendar year.
Since 1991, surgical abortion clinic numbers have fallen by 81%.
Today, there are 514 surgical abortion facilities and 213 medication-only abortion centers remaining in the U.S.
Reasons for the closures include:
* The retirement of abortionists due to advanced age and declining health.
* New state laws, which have dramatically increased since 2011, that have flushed out many substandard and dangerous operators.
* Declining demand for abortions.
* Continued strong public pro-life support.
* Public exposure of abortion abuses by pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue, which have rightfully eroded public trust in abortion providers.
"New and existing laws are rapidly shutting down abortion facilities that are too dangerous to operate in the first place. This is good news for women whose lives are placed at risk by shoddy conditions and substandard practices that we see all too often at abortion facilities nationwide," said Newman. "The reality is that the Abortion Cartel is imploding due to its own bad behavior."
Read Bloomberg's "Abortion Clinics are Closing at a Record Pace"
Read Operation Rescue's abortion facility closure reports from 20152014,2013.
Press release from Operation Rescue - Image share LiveAction

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Fri. February 26, 2016

Friday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 234

Reading 1GN 37:3-4, 12-13A, 17B-28A

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
“Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
“We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood,” he continued,
“just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright.”
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
“What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial PsalmPS 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Verse Before The GospelJN 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

GospelMT 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.