Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saint July 3 : St. Thomas Apostle : Patron of #Blind , #Architects, #India - #Apostle

St. Thomas
Died: 72 in India
Patron of:
against doubt, architects, blind people, builders, East Indies, geometricians, India, masons, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, surveyors, theologians
Little is recorded of St. Thomas the Apostle, nevertheless thanks to the fourth Gospel his personality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve. His name occurs in all the lists of the Synoptists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6, cf. Acts 1:13), but in St. John he plays a distinctive part. First, when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus, "Thomas" who is called Didymus [the twin], said to his fellow disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Again it was St. Thomas who during the discourse before the Last Supper raised an objection: "Thomas saith to him: Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5). But more especially St. Thomas is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles announced Christ's Resurrection to him: "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing down the rebuke of Jesus: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20:29).
This exhausts all our certain knowledge regarding the Apostle but his name is the starting point of a considerable apocryphal literature, and there are also certain historical data which suggest that some of this apocryphal material may contains germs of truth. The principal document concerning him is the "Acta Thomae", preserved to us with some variations both in Greek and in Syriac, and bearing unmistakeable signs of its Gnostic origin. It may indeed be the work of Bardesanes himself. The story in many of its particulars is utterly extravagant, but it is the early date, being assigned by Harnack (Chronologie, ii, 172) to the beginning of the third century, before A.D. 220. If the place of its origin is really Edessa, as Harnack and others for sound reasons supposed (ibid., p. 176), this would lend considerable probability to the statement, explicitly made in "Acta" (Bonnet, cap. 170, p. 286), that the relics of Apostle Thomas, which we know to have been venerated at Edessa, had really come from the East. The extravagance of the legend may be judged from the fact that in more than one place (cap. 31, p. 148) it represents Thomas (Judas Thomas, as he is called here and elsewhere in Syriac tradition) as the twin brother of Jesus. The Thomas in Syriac is equivalant to didymos in Greek, and means twin. Rendel Harris who exaggerates very much the cult of the Dioscuri, wishes to regards this as a transformation of a pagan worship of Edessa but the point is at best problematical. The story itself runs briefly as follows: At the division of the Apostles, India fell to the lot of Thomas, but he declared his inability to go, whereupon his Master Jesus appeared in a supernatural way to Abban, the envoy of Gundafor, an Indian king, and sold Thomas to him to be his slave and serve Gundafor as a carpenter. Then Abban and Thomas sailed away until they came to Andrapolis, where they landed and attended the marriage feast of the ruler's daughter. Strange occurrences followed and Christ under the appearance of Thomas exhorted the bride to remain a Virgin. Coming to India Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor, but spend the money entrusted to him on the poor. Gundafor imprisoned him; but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted. Going about the country to preach, Thomas met with strange adventures from dragons and wild asses. Then he came to the city of King Misdai (Syriac Mazdai), where he converted Tertia the wife of Misdai and Vazan his son. After this he was condemed to death, led out of city to a hill, and pierced through with spears by four soldiers. He was buried in the tomb of the ancient kings but his remains were afterwards removed to the West.
Now it is certainly a remarkable fact that about the year A.D. 46 a king was reigning over that part of Asia south of Himalayas now represented by Afghanistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, and Sind, who bore the name Gondophernes or Guduphara. This we know both from the discovery of coins, some of the Parthian type with Greek legends, others of the Indian types with the legends in an Indian dialect in Kharoshthi characters. Despite sundry minor variations the identity of the name with the Gundafor of the "Acta Thomae" is unmistakable and is hardly disputed. Further we have the evidence of the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, which is dated and which the best specialists accept as establishing the King Gunduphara probably began to reign about A.D. 20 and was still reigning in 46. Again there are excellent reasons for believing that Misdai or Mazdai may well be transformation of a Hindu name made on the Iranian soil. In this case it will probably represent a certain King Vasudeva of Mathura, a successor of Kanishka. No doubt it can be urged that the Gnostic romancer who wrote the "Acta Thomae" may have adopted a few historical Indian names to lend verisimilitude to his fabrication, but as Mr. Fleet urges in his severely critical paper "the names put forward here in connection with St.Thomas are distinctly not such as have lived in Indian story and tradition" (Journal of R. Asiatic Soc., 1905, p. 235).
On the other hand, though the tradition that St. Thomas preached in "India" was widely spread in both East and West and is to be found in such writers as Ephraem Syrus, Ambrose, Paulinus, Jerome, and, later Gregory of Tours and others, still it is difficult to discover any adequate support for the long-accepted belief that St. Thomas pushed his missionary journeys as far south as Mylapore, not far from Madras, and there suffered martyrdom. In that region is still to be found a granite bas-relief cross with a Pahlavi (ancient Persian) inscription dating from the seventh century, and the tradition that it was here that St. Thomas laid down his life is locally very strong. Certain it is also that on the Malabar or west coast of southern India a body of Christians still exists using a form of Syriac for its liturgical language. Whether this Church dates from the time of St. Thomas the Apostle (there was a Syro-Chaldean bishop John "from India and Persia" who assisted at the Council of Nicea in 325) or whether the Gospel was first preached there in 345 owing to the Persian persecution under Shapur (or Sapor), or whether the Syrian missionaries who accompanied a certain Thomas Cana penetrated to the Malabar coast about the year 745 seems difficult to determine. We know only that in the sixth century Cosmas Indicopleustes speaks of the existence of Christians at Male (? Malabar) under a bishop who had been consecrated in Persia. King Alfred the Great is stated in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" to have sent an expedition to establish relations with these Christians of the Far East. On the other hand the reputed relics of St. Thomas were certainly at Edessa in the fourth century, and there they remained until they were translated to Chios in 1258 and towards to Ortona. The improbable suggestion that St. Thomas preached in America (American Eccles. Rev., 1899, pp. 1-18) is based upon a misunderstanding of the text of the Acts of the Apostles (1:8; cf. Berchet "Fonte italiane per la storia della scoperta del Nuovo Mondo", II, 236, and I, 44).
Besides the "Acta Thomae" of which a different and notably shorter redaction exists in Ethiopic and Latin, we have an abbreviated form of a so-called "Gospel of Thomas" originally Gnostic, as we know it now merely a fantastical history of the childhood of Jesus, without any notably heretical colouring. There is also a "Revelatio Thomae", condemned as apocryphal in the Decree of Pope Gelasius, which has recently been recovered from various sources in a fragmentary condition (see the full text in the Revue benedictine, 1911, pp. 359-374).
Text from the Catholic Encyclopedia

#PopeFrancis "...tangible and clear presence of Christ among you is the witness which leads to faith." FULL TEXT - Video


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a video message to the participants in the gathering of the Together for Europe initiative – an initiative that brings together over 300 Christian Movements and Communities of diverse confessions from every part of the Continent. While preserving their independence, collectively they form a network to pursue shared goals, each bringing a contribution specific to their own charism.
Below, please find the full text of the video message, in English
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Dear Friends in Together for Europe,
I know that you are gathered in Munich, Bavaria, from many Movements and Groups, for your meeting called “Encounter – Reconciliation – Future”.
You are right. It is time to get together, to face the problems of our day with a true European spirit.  Apart from some visible walls, other invisible walls are being strengthened which tend to divide our continent.  These walls are being built in people’s hearts.  They are walls made of fear and aggression, a failure to understand people of different backgrounds or faith.  They are walls of political and economic selfishness, without respect for the life and dignity of every person.
Europe finds itself in a complex and highly mobile world, which is ever more globalised and therefore ever less Eurocentric.
If we are aware of these momentous issues, then we must have the courage to say: we need change!  Europe is called to reflect and to ask itself whether its immense heritage, so permeated with Christianity, belongs in a museum or is still able to inspire culture and to offer its treasures to the whole of humankind.
You are meeting so as to look together at these challenges facing Europe and to highlight testimonies of life in society which enable networking, so as to welcome and show solidarity towards those who are weak and disadvantaged, to build bridges and overcome conflicts whether they are open or latent.
Europe’s history is an ongoing encounter between Heaven and earth.  Heaven indicates openness to the Transcendent, to God, which has always been characteristic of European people. Earth represents their practical and concrete ability to address situations and problems.
You too, Christian communities and movements which began in Europe, are bearers of many charisms, which are gifts of God to be made available to others.  “Together for Europe” is a unifying power with the clear aim of translating the basic values of Christianity into concrete responses to the challenges of a continent in crisis.
Your lifestyle is based on mutual love, lived out with Gospel radicalness.  A culture of reciprocity means talking things over, esteeming one another, welcoming one another, helping one another.  It means appreciating the diversity of charisms so as to move together towards unity and enrich it.  The tangible and clear presence of Christ among you is the witness which leads to faith.
Every authentic unity draws on the wealth of diversity which forms it – like a family which grows in unity in so far as its members can fully and fearlessly be themselves.  If Europe as a whole wants to be a family of peoples, it should put the human person back at the centre; it should be an open and welcoming continent, and continue to establish ways of working together that are not only economic but also social and cultural.
God always brings newness.  You have experienced this so often in your lives! Are we open to surprises today too? You, who have answered the Lord’s call courageously, are called to show his newness in your lives and bring to life the fruits of the Gospel, fruits that have grown from Christian roots, which for the last 2,000 years have nourished Europe.  And you will bear even greater fruit!  Maintain the freshness of your charisms; continue to be “Together” and extend it further! Make your homes, communities and cities into workshops of communion, friendship and fraternity, which can bring people together and be open to the whole world.
Together for Europe? Today this is more than ever necessary.  In a Europe made up of many nations, you bear witness to the fact that we are children of one Father and brothers and sisters to one another.  You are a precious seed of hope, so that Europe can rediscover its vocation to contribute to the unity of all.

Wow Thousands at Pro-Democracy march in Hong Kong - Pray for #ReligiousFreedom

Despite fears, the 1 July rally went off without a hitch, except for minor scuffles and three arrests. During the rally, participants highlighted the missing booksellers affair and criticised government policies. Pro-democracy activists wonder march’s effectiveness as young people turn towards more “subversive” methods.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tens of thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong for the annual 1 July protest march marking the 19th anniversary of the city’s return to China. Fears of orchestrated violence by breakaway radicals proved unfounded.
Apart from some scuffles at Government House that prompted police to use pepper spray against protesters, and the arrests of three people accused of carrying offensive weapons outside Beijing’s liaison office, the mass rally was peaceful.
The march started off at Victoria Park and ended in front of Beijing’s liaison office. Like each year since 1997, the event provided Hong Kongers with an opportunity to express their frustrations with social and political issues.
Unlike the annual rally to mark the Tiananmen Square massacre, in Beijing Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demands are deemed more dangerous.
The annual march was organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, which includes a number of groups, including some Catholic organisations. Their demands include universal suffrage to elect Hong Kong’s chief executive and Legislative Council, an end to functional representation and the distortion it generates, and more policy independence from Beijing.
Organisers said that at least 110,000 people took part in the march, up from 48,000 last year. The authorities said only 20,000 people attended.
During yesterday’ march, many were motivated by the case of the missing booksellers. Government policies and management also came in for criticism.
Lam Wing-kee, the bookseller who caused a storm by detailing his eight-month detention on the mainland, was supposed to lead the march, but pulled out at the last minute citing a “serious threat” to his safety.
An ongoing discussion is taking place among intellectuals and activists about the march’s effectiveness. Increasingly, young people have been turning away, moving towards more unconventional and subversive methods. Others are so frustrated that they consider all protest against Hong Kong and mainland authorities as useless.
By contrast, Hong Kong’s chief executive marked the end of British rule by promising more economic development. Leading muted official celebrations as a mark of respect for two firefighters who were killed in an industrial building blaze last month, Mr Leung Chun-ying vowed to uphold the city’s core values.
In a statement, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the central government would support the city’s leader and continue to thoroughly implement the principles of “one country, two systems” and “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong”.
Shared from AsiaNewsIT

#Breaking 20 Hostages Killed in Bangladesh at a Cafe by ISIS - Please PRAY

A 12-hour hostage situation ended with 20 hostages killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Bangladeshi special forces stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery café 12 hours after it was seized by gunmen and the six attackers and two police officers were killed. The cafe was located in the Gulshan district, the restaurant was popular among foreigners employed at foreign embassies.Nine of the victims were Italian, seven were Japanese, one was from India, two were Bangladeshi and one was a U.S. citizen. 
Eleven of the victims were male and nine were female. T The attack began Friday, July 1, 2016 at around 9 pm. Eight or nine gunmen shot their way into the café shouting “Allah is great”.The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for killing 24 “infidels” .
A telegram was released addressed to the ecclesiastical and civil authorities, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Pope Francis :

“Deeply saddened by the senseless violence perpetrated against innocent victims in Dhaka, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt condolences and condemns such barbarous acts as offences against God and humanity. In commending the dead to God’s mercy, His Holiness gives the assurance of his prayers for the grieving families and the wounded.”

Image share Google Images - Dnaindia

#BreakingNews Traditionalist Group rejects Pope Francis' attempts for reunification - Please Pray

The traditionalist group of Catholics called the Society of St. Pius X has rejected  efforts to reunite with Rome. They released a statement Wednesday, June 29, 2016 :
FULL TEXT from SSPX:
Communique from the Superior General


At the conclusion of the meeting of the major superiors of the Society of Saint Pius X that was held in Switzerland, from June 25 to 28, 2016, the Superior General addressed the following communiqué:
The purpose of the Society of Saint Pius X is chiefly the formation of priests, the essential condition for the renewal of the Church and for the restoration of society.
  1. In the great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the Church, the proclamation of Catholic doctrine requires the denunciation of errors that have made their way into it and are unfortunately encouraged by a large number of pastors, including the Pope himself.
     
  2. The Society of Saint Pius X, in the present state of grave necessity which gives it the right and duty to administer spiritual aid to the souls that turn to it, does not seek primarily a canonical recognition, to which it has a right as a Catholic work. It has only one desire: faithfully to bring the light of the bi-millennial Tradition which shows the only route to follow in this age of darkness in which the cult of man replaces the worship of God, in society as in the Church.
     
  3. The “restoration of all things in Christ” intended by Saint Pius X, following Saint Paul (cf. Ep.h 1:10), cannot happen without the support of a Pope who concretely favors the return to Sacred Tradition. While waiting for that blessed day, the Society of Saint Pius X intends to redouble its efforts to establish and to spread, with the means that Divine Providence gives to it, the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
     
  4. The Society of Saint Pius X prays and does penance for the Pope, that he might have the strength to proclaim Catholic faith and morals in their entirety. In this way he will hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we earnestly desire as we approach the centennial of the apparitions in Fatima.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X
Ecône, June 29, 2016
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 The Society of St. Pius X was founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970 opposition to the Second Vatican Council.  Popes have tried to repair relations over four decades. Pope Benedict XVI made the most effort to reunite with the group, lifting the excommunications of four of their bishops in 2009.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the current superior general, rejected a doctrinal statement drafted by the Vatican. Pope Francis met with Fellay for the first time at the Vatican in April.
 The Pope for the Jubilee year of mercy last fall made an attempt at reunification; in a letter to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, he explained that members of the society would be granted faculties during the year to offer absolution of sins "validly and licitly" to those who approach them for confession.
According to statistics of 2014, the fraternity has 589 priests in 37 countries, but performs activities in another 33. Please Pray for reunification with Rome.
 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : #1stSaturday July 2, 2016 - #Eucharist

Saturday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 382


Reading 1AM 9:11-15

Thus says the LORD:
On that day I will raise up
the fallen hut of David;
I will wall up its breaches,
raise up its ruins,
and rebuild it as in the days of old,
That they may conquer what is left of Edom
and all the nations that shall bear my name,
say I, the LORD, who will do this.
Yes, days are coming,
says the LORD,
When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the vintager, him who sows the seed;
The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains,
and all the hills shall run with it.
I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel;
they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities,
Plant vineyards and drink the wine,
set out gardens and eat the fruits.
I will plant them upon their own ground;
never again shall they be plucked
From the land I have given them,
say I, the LORD, your God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (see 9b) The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 9:14-17

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”