Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saint April 25 : St. Mark Evangelist : Patron of Lawyers and #Prisoners

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St. Mark EVANGELIST, PATRON SAINT OF VENICE Feast: April 25

Information:
Feast Day:
April 25
Born:
1st century AD, Palestine
Died:
April 25, 68 AD, Alexandria
Major Shrine:
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Cairo, Egypt)
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria, Egypt)
Basilica di San Marco (Venice, Italy)
Patron of:
against impenitence, against struma, attorneys, barristers, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people, prelature of insect bites, Ionian Islands, lawyers, lions, notaries, prisoners, scrofulous diseases, stained glass workers, struma patients, Venice
On April 25, we celebrate the feast of Saint Mark (died 57), writer of the Gospel, martyr, and follower of Jesus. Mark, and his family, were among the first Christians of the early Church. His mother, Mary, was one of the women who followed Jesus. Mark was present at the wedding in Cana, tasting the water turned into wine. He is likewise believed to be the young man who carried the pitcher signaling that his home would be used for the Last Supper. Later, that same room housed the disciples when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. On this, the dawning of the Easter season, we look to the courageous life of this saint and writer, as inspiration for our Easter journey. Born into the tribe of Levi, Mark was born in Northern Africa (Gyrene, in modern-day Libya), in the small village of Aberyatolos. As a young Levite, he received a thorough education and was able to read and write multiple languages—a skill he would utilize to its full potential as a preacher and writer. His family moved to Palestine following unrest in Northern Africa, and there he encountered Jesus and His disciples. Given his mother’s affiliation and following of Christ, the family was held in high esteem in early Christian circles. Often, many would meet to pray and preach in their home, and Biblical scholars posit family connections to both Saint Thomas and Saint Peter. In fact, when Saint Peter was freed from prison he went directly to the house of Mark.
It is believed that Peter himself converted Mark to the faith, and following the Ascension of Jesus, Mark accompanied Peter on his subsequent missionary trips. History tells us that Mark’s first convert was his father, who while allowing his wife to become Christian, had resisted the call himself. While traveling with his father to Jordan, the two men were set upon by a hungry lion and lioness. Mark appealed to Christ, praying, “Oh Christ, Save us!” The lions immediately departed, and his father accepted the faith. To this day, the winged lion is considered the symbol of Saint Mark. Mark accompanied Saint Peter to Rome, likely acting as a secretary and interpreter, and is said to have later preached the Gospel in Venice and Aquila. To this day, the citizens of Venice proclaim Saint Mark as their father of faith, and the most famous of Basilicas in that city is named in his honor. When Saint Peter wrote his First Epistle to the churches of Asia, he affectionately joined to his own salutation that of his faithful companion, whom he calls “my son Mark.” The Roman people entreated Saint Mark to put in writing for them the substance of Saint Peter’s frequent discourses on Our Lord’s life. This the Evangelist did under the eye and with the express sanction of the Apostle, and every page of his brief but graphic Gospel so bore the impress of Saint Peter’s character, that the Fathers used to name it “Peter’s Gospel.” Saint Mark traveled subsequently throughout Lebanon, reaching Mount Lebanon, and serving as the first Bishop of Gobayel.
 He then journeyed to Alexandria, and is considered the father of the Egyptian Church and the theological school of Alexandria. This school became the center of Christian learning and culture for several centuries. Holy legend tells us that Saint Mark was martyred in Alexandria around the year 57. He was dragged behind a team of oxen, with a rope around his neck, until his holy death. His relics were translated to Venice in 466, although the Italian government returned many of the relics to Egypt in the mid 1900s. Saint Mark was graced with the gift of writing. Through his Gospels, we are revealed many of the small details of the life of Jesus—His words and actions—that other Gospel writers did not record. As his Gospel, the second Gospel, is a vivid retelling of Saint Peter’s recollections, we can be certain that these writings are the intimate and personal reflections of the first pope. The life and service of Saint Mark—as well as the legacy of discipleship and learning he left in Egypt—remind us that we each are called to play our part in the fullness of the Resurrection. What is the Risen Lord calling you to do today?
Prayer: Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist hast given to thy Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank thee for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
 O Almighty God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrines of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace, that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Text from 365Rosaries Blog


#MIRACLE Conversion Story of Former Satanist now #ProLife Zachary King through Blessed Virgin and Divine Mercy SHARE

 Zachary King, a former satanist, travels around the world telling people the good news about God's mercy. He shares his conversion story. At one time he was a high wizard of a satanic coven and has now become a devout Catholic.Zachary King recently gave a talk at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He told how the Blessed Mother saved him from a 26-year darkness.  As a 12-year-old, King joined a satanic coven and got involved in child pornography. He said he was tricked into it because when he was 11, he was a victim of sexual assault. So, when he joined the coven, the adults who ran it convinced King to participate in child pornography using the logic of empowerment — reasoning that now it was his decision to participate in these acts and it was within his control. "I did this for four years, not realizing at the time that I was being re-victimized each time." King describes the atmosphere of this coven as a sort of youth center. Kids were encouraged to stop by after school if they needed a place to hang out. They could eat there. There was a pool there. The people who ran the coven also went to his church. In fact, he said, 11 of the 12 deacons at his church were members of the coven. He said he would get dropped off at the house on Friday nights by his parents, and the members of the coven would bring him home on Sunday or bring him to church. A member of the coven for 26 years, King said he ascended to the role of "high wizard." He said that during that time, he had not only been involved in pornography, he also assisted in 146 abortions and he helped split up 112 churches. Because he was so high up in the organization, there were a lot of people under him who were also committing serious atrocities, King said. He left the coven when he was 33, married his wife, Katie, moved to Vermont, and managed a jewelry store at a mall. In 2008, a woman by the name of Mary Ann, came into the store to purchase some earrings. She then gave him a small, golden disc, which he realized later was a Miraculous Medal — and she told him, "The Blessed Mother is calling you into her army." Then she told him that the object he was holding was very powerful, so he closed his fist around the object and, as he described, "suddenly, the world around me faded away." He remembers Mary Ann telling him about his past years of satanism and the occult, the magic, the abortions, and the sin. "Then the Blessed Mother appeared and took me by the hand and turned me around, and Jesus was standing behind me. This was what I was looking for," King said. When the Blessed Mother took him by the hand, the Jesus that I saw was Divine Mercy Jesus, he added, referring to the depiction of Jesus in the Divine Mercy Image, which the Lord instructed St. Faustina to have painted in 1931. "I didn't know what the rays meant, but the rays were all around me, going through me." King knew immediately that this was Jesus and that everything that he had done previously was wrong. He soon joined the Church that Mary Ann belonged to and became a Catholic. He became familiar with Divine Mercy, and when he saw the Divine Mercy Image for the first time, he realized that was the image that he had seen when Mary Ann gave him the Miraculous Medal and when the Blessed Mother took him by the hand. He believes that the Lord gave him this image because He wanted him to know that he could be forgiven. "Divine Mercy was my salvation," King said. There are so many people who don't believe that they are worthy of salvation because of their sins, King said. But, he explained, in the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father is merciful. And the story about the workers in the field who go out to labor at different hours of the day, they are all paid the same wage, he added. King said when he met the Blessed Mother in that jewelry store, she told him that his job now was to work to end abortion. He tours the country speaking out against abortion, and he and Katie counsel thousands of people who have been caught up in the occult and who have spiritual warfare issues through their All Saints Ministry. (Text edited from Divine Mercy Site of Stockbridge)

#PopeFrancis "...entrust all our aspirations and our hopes to the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy." FULL TEXT Regina Caeli

Pope Francis
Pope Francis
24/04/2016 13:26


(Vatican Radio) During his Regina Coeli address on Sunday, Pope Francis prayed for the release of those priests and religious held hostage in Syria saying, "may the merciful God touch the hearts of the kidnappers". He also remembered young martyrs killed during the Spanish Civil War who were beatified in Burgos, Spain on Saturday.
Below is an English translation of the Pope's words before and after the Regina Coeli
At the end of this Jubilee celebration, my thoughts turn in a particular to you, dear boys and girls. You have come from Italy and from all over the world to experience moments of faith and fraternal conviviality. Thank you for your joyful and boisterous testimony. Go forward with courage!

Yesterday, in Burgos (Spain), saw the beatification of priest Valentín Palencia Marquina and four of his fellow young martyrs, killed for their faith during the Spanish Civil War. We praise the Lord for these courageous witnesses and to beseech their intercession to free the world from all violence.

I am always concerned about the brother bishops, priests and religious, Catholic and Orthodox, seized a long time ago in Syria. May the merciful God touch the hearts of the kidnappers and grant that our brothers and sisters will be freed as soon as possible and allowed to return to their communities. This is why I call you all to pray, not to mention other people abducted in the world.

Let us entrust all our aspirations and our hopes to the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy.
Following the Regina Coeli
Dear young people, you celebrated the Jubilee: Now return home with the joy of your Christian identity. Standing, head held high, and with your ID card in your hands and in your heart! May the Lord accompany you. And, please pray for me. Thank you.

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#PopeFrancis 'Love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card, the only valid “document” #Homily - FULL TEXT - VIDEO at Jubilee for Teens


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presiding over a Jubilee Mass for Teens in St Peter's Square on Sunday told them "the true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love that shines forth in their way of life." He also told the 13 to 16 year olds that although love is the path to happiness, it is not an easy one and requires effort. He also said, happiness has no price. "It cannot be bought: it is not an app that you can download on your phones nor will the latest update bring you freedom and grandeur in love."
Below find Pope Francis' homily during Sunday's Jubilee Mass for Teens
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).
Dear young friends, what an enormous responsibility the Lord gives us today! He tells us that the world will recognize the disciples of Jesus by the way they love one another. Love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card, the only valid “document” identifying us as Christians. If this card expires and is not constantly renewed, we stop being witnesses of the Master. So I ask you: Do you wish to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to be his disciples? Do you wish to be his faithful friends? The true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love that shines forth in their way of life. Do you want to experience his love? Let us learn from him, for his words are a school of life, a school where we learn to love. Before all else, love is beautiful, it is the path to happiness. But it is not an easy path. It is demanding and it requires effort. Think, for example, of when we receive a gift. It makes us happy, but receiving a gift means that someone generous has invested time and effort; by their gift they also give us a bit of themselves, a sacrifice they have made. Think too of the gift that your parents and group leaders have given you in allowing you to come to Rome for this Jubilee day dedicated to you. They planned, organized, and prepared everything for you, and this made them happy, even if it meant that they had to give up a trip for themselves. To love means to give, not only something material, but also something of one’s self: one’s own time, one’s friendship, one’s own abilities.
Look to the Lord, who is never outdone in generosity. We receive so many gifts from him, and every day we should thank him… Let me ask you something. Do you thank the Lord every day? Even if we forget to do so, he never forgets, each day, to give us some special gift. It is not something material and tangible that we can use, but something even greater, a life-long gift. He offers us his faithful friendship, which he will never take back. Even if you disappoint him and walk away from him, Jesus continues to want the best for you and to remain close to you; he believes in you even more than you believe in yourself. This is very important! Because the biggest threat to growing up well comes from thinking that no one cares about us, from feeling that we are all alone. The Lord, on the other hand, is always with you and he is happy to be with you. As he did with his first disciples, he looks you in the eye and he calls you to follow him, to “put out into the deep” and to “cast your nets wide” trusting in his words and using your talents in life, in union with him, without fear. Jesus is waiting patiently for you. He awaits your response. He is waiting for you to say “yes”.
Dear young friends, at this stage in your lives you have a growing desire to demonstrate and receive affection. The Lord, if you let him teach you, will show you how to make tenderness and affection even more beautiful. He will guide your hearts to “love without being possessive”, to love others without trying to own them but letting them be free. There is always a temptation to let our affections be tainted by an instinctive desire to “have to have” what we find pleasing. Our consumerist culture reinforces this tendency. Yet when we hold on too tightly to something, it fades, it dies, and then we feel confused, empty inside. The Lord, if you listen to his voice, will reveal to you the secret of love. It is caring for others, respecting them, protecting them and waiting for them.
At this point in life you feel also a great longing for freedom. Many people will say to you that freedom means doing whatever you want. But here you have to be able to say no. Freedom is not the ability simply to do what I want. This makes us self-centred and aloof, and it prevents us from being open and sincere friends. Instead, freedom is the gift of being able to choose the good. The free person is the one who chooses what is good, what is pleasing to God, even if it requires effort. Only by courageous and firm decisions do we realize our greatest dreams, the dreams which it is worth spending our entire lives to pursue. Don’t be content with mediocrity, with “simply going with the flow”, with being comfortable and laid back. Don’t believe those who would distract you from the real treasure, which you are, by telling you that life is beautiful only if you have many possessions. Be sceptical about people who want to make you believe that you are only important if you act tough like the heroes in films or if you wear the latest fashions. Your happiness has no price. It cannot be bought: it is not an app that you can download on your phones nor will the latest update bring you freedom and grandeur in love.
That is because love is a free gift which calls for an open heart; it is a noble responsibility which is life-long; it is a daily task for those who can achieve great dreams! Love is nurtured by trust, respect and forgiveness. Love does not happen because we talk about it, but when we live it: it is not a sweet poem to study and memorize, but is a life choice to put into practice! How can we grow in love? The secret, once again, is the Lord: Jesus gives us himself in the Mass, he offers us forgives and peace in Confession. There we learn to receive his love, to make it ours and to give it to the world. And when loving seems hard, when it is difficult to say no to something wrong, look up at Jesus on the cross, embrace the cross and don’t ever let go of his hand. He will point you ever higher, and pick you up whenever you fall.
I know that you are capable of acts of great friendship and goodness. With these you are called to build the future, together with others and for others, but never against anyone! You will do amazing things if you prepare well, starting now, by living your youth and all its gifts to the fullest and without fear of hard work. Be like sporting champions, who attain high goals by quiet daily effort and practice. Let your daily programme be the works of mercy. Enthusiastically practice them, so as to be champions in life! In this way you will be recognized as disciples of Jesus. And your joy will be complete.

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. April 24, 2016 - Readings and Video - 5th of Easter - C


Fifth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 54


Reading 1ACTS 14:21-27

After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news
to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God.”
They appointed elders for them in each church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13

R. (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them make known your might to the children of Adam,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2REV 21:1-5A

Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.”

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.”

AlleluiaJN 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 13:31-33A, 34-35

When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”