Friday, May 26, 2017

Saint May 27 : St. Augustine of Canterbury : Patron of #England

St. Augustine of Canterbury
APOSTLE OF ENGLAND, ARCHBISHOP
Feast: May 27


Information:
Feast Day:
May 27
Born:
early 6th century, Rome, Italy
Died:
26 May 604, Canterbury, Kent, England
Patron of:
England
Today, May 27, we celebrate the feast of Saint Augustine of Canterbury (sometimes referred to as “Saint Augustine the Lesser,” died 605), called the “Apostle of England,” and the eventual first Archbishop of Canterbury. Not to be confused with his namesake, Saint Augustine of Hippo, the work of Saint Augustine of Canterbury is widely regarded as the birth of conversion in England, beginning the slow process of conversion of Celtic tradition and reconciliation with Rome. Much of what is known of Saint Augustine of Canterbury is taken from letters written by Pope Saint Gregory the Great, and through the written ecclesiastical history of England written by Saint Bede. Little is known about Augustine’s early life.
We join his story as he serves as Prior of a Benedictine monastery of monks in Rome, during the papacy of Pope Saint Gregory the Great. In 596, when historians suggest that Saint Augustine was already past middle age, he was sent by the pope, with a delegation of approximately 40 monks, to England to preach the Gospel.
News of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons, and their treatment of Catholics, was widespread, but with encouragement—and out of obedience—Augustine undertook this difficult and potentially dangerous mission… but not before returning to the Pope and seeking reassurance. Pope Gregory provided encouragement, stating, “Go on, in God’s name! The greater your hardships, the greater your crown. May the grace of Almighty God protect you, and permit me to see the fruit of your labor in the heavenly country! If I cannot share your toil, I shall yet share the harvest, for God knows that it is not good-will which is wanting.” Upon reaching England, following a difficult crossing of the channel, Saint Augustine announced their arrival to King Ethelbert of Kent, telling him they brought the message of eternal life. King Ethelbert was a pagan, although he had married a Christian, his wife, Bertha. On her request, he promised to receive the monks and consider their message. Saint Augustine led the monks in procession to the king, carrying a silver cross and singing litanies to God for the salvation of this people. King Ethelbert allowed them to sit and share the Good News with him, which was unexpected.
When Augustine was finished, King Ethelbert said: “Your words and promises are very beautiful. But because they are new and uncertain, I cannot approve them and leave everything that I along with all my people have followed for so long a time. However, since you have traveled from afar and made a long journey in order to share with us what you deem to be truer and better, I will not place obstacles in your way, but will receive you well and offer what is necessary for your subsistence. Nor will I impede you from bringing to your religion all those whom you are able to persuade.” He allowed them to remain on the isle, providing them a place to live and land on which to build (in what would later become Canterbury), and the opportunity to preach as they wished. Eventually, impressed with the community under the direction of Saint Augustine, King Ethelbert converted and was baptized. Despite the fact that the king did not force his subjects to become Christian, and instead instituted a policy of religious choice, many of his subjects converted to Catholicism (sources place the number at “10,000” subjects). In the midst of this mild success, Pope Gregory cautioned him against pride, writing “fear lest, amidst the wonders that are done, the weak mind be puffed up by self-esteem.”
Augustine, following his initial success in England, traveled to France, where he was consecrated as a bishop, and subsequently returned to Canterbury to establish a vigorous community of religious life. With him he brought a priceless collection of illuminated manuscripts, still present and preserved today. He reconsecrated and rebuilt a church at Canterbury, and founded the monastery of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Outside the Walls (now sometimes known as Saint Augustine’s). He is further credited with founding the King’s School at Canterbury, the world’s oldest school. The remains of some of these early buildings remain near the now famous cathedral, built in later years at Canterbury.
Despite the spread of Christianity throughout England, progress was slow, and Augustine met with considerable failure along the way, reminding us that the lives of the saints are not always easy or joyous. He was met with much opposition and disappointment, and frequently turned to Pope Saint Gregory for encouragement and inspiration. Pope Gregory wisely suggested that Augustine work within the customs of the English people (much like Saint Patrick did in Ireland), purifying rather than destroying pagan temples and customs, transforming pagan rites and festivals into Christian feasts, and retaining local customs whenever possible and appropriate. Pope Gregory wrote:
“The temples of the idols among that people should on no account be destroyed... it is a good idea to detach them from the service of the devil, and dedicate them to the service of the true God. And since they have a custom of sacrificing many oxen to demons, let some other solemnity be substituted ... so that they may learn to slay their cattle in honor of God and for their own feasting . . . If they are allowed some worldly pleasures in this way, they are more likely to find their way to the true inner joys. For it is doubtless impossible to eradicate all errors at one stroke . . . just as the man who sets out to climb a high mountain does not advance by leaps and bounds, but goes upward step by step and pace by pace. It is in this way that the Lord revealed himself to the Israelite people.”
Augustine followed this directive, encouraging his monks to do the same. Even so, by the time of Saint Augustine’s death in 605, the work of evangelization of England had only just begun. It is believed, however, that he lay the groundwork for the eventual spread of Christianity throughout the kingdom.
Augustine was obedient and steadfast, despite meeting many obstacles. He lived the Benedictine doctrine of “presence, not confrontation” in preaching the Gospel. His perseverance, in the face of opposition and difficulty, is inspiring even today. He was a man of humility, who doubted his ability to make small decisions, seeking counsel and writing to Pope Gregory for reassurance and advice. He truly followed the advice of his counselor, who wrote: "He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps." Augustine died after just 8 long years, toiling in England. He was buried in Canterbury, at the monastery he founded. Throughout his life, Saint Augustine of Canterbury realized that he was but one man, who reported to a higher authority. He sought guidance from Pope Saint Gregory during his times of great difficulty, turning to God whenever he met obstacles (which were all too frequent!). The great pope sent many letters of support and spiritual counsel, including the one excerpted here: Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth, because the grain of wheat has fallen into the earth and has died. Christ has died in order to reign in heaven. Not only that: by his death we live; by his weakness we are strengthened; by his passion we are freed from suffering; impelled by his love, we are seeking in Britain brothers whom we do not know; through his help we have found those for whom we were searching, although we were not acquainted with them. Who, dear brother, is capable of describing the great joy of believers when they have learned what the grace of Almighty God and your own cooperation achieved among the Angles? They abandoned the errors of darkness and were bathed with the light of holy faith. With full awareness they trampled on the idols which they had previously adored with savage fear. They are now committed to Almighty God. The guidelines given them for their preaching restrain them from falling into evil ways. In their minds they are submissive to the divine precepts and consequently feel uplifted. They bow down to the ground in prayer lest their minds cling too closely to earthly things. Whose achievement is this? It is the achievement of him who said: My Father is at work until now and I am at work as well. God chose illiterate preachers and sent them into the world in order to show the world that conversion is brought about not by men's wisdom but rather by his own power. So in like manner God worked through weak instruments and wrought great things among the Angles. Dear brother, in this heavenly gift there is something which should inspire us with great fear and great joy.
For I know through your love for that people, specially chosen for you, that Almighty God has performed great miracles. But it is necessary that the same heavenly gift should cause you to rejoice with fear and to fear with gladness. You should be glad because by means of external miracles the soul of the Angles (English) have been led to interior grace. But you should tremble lest, on account of these signs, the preacher's own weak soul be puffed up with presumption; lest, while seeming externally raised aloft in honor, it fall internally as a result of vainglory.
We should remember that when the disciples on their joyous return from their preaching mission said to their heavenly master: Lord, in your name even devils were subjected to us, he immediately retorted: Do not rejoice about this but rather that your names are written in heaven.
The life of Saint Augustine of Canterbury reminds us that we all need the support of those around us, and more importantly, the grace of God to persevere in our daily lives. We are confronted each day with obstacles—many quite small—but some which seem insurmountable. We have ample opportunities to turn from our faith, to give up, to give in. Saint Augustine’s obedience and zeal for his work, accompanied by the patient counsel and encouragement of Pope Saint Gregory, remind us that the Lord provides the support we need to accomplish great things—both in heaven and on earth. We may not always seek that support. We may not even be aware that it exists. Or it may come from the most unlikely of places (like a pagan king intrigued by the Gospel!). When we are lost and confused, we are reminded that we are not alone, and have the Lord to assist us in taking our steps (not leaps) toward the achievement of His lofty goals for each of us!

God, Our Father,
by the preaching of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, you led the people of England to the Gospel. May the fruits of his work continue in your Church. Grant that through his intercession, the hearts of those who err may return to the unity of your truth and that we may be of one mind in doing your will.
Saint Augustine,
Help us to work in a spirit of trust and love, as well as a spirit of prudence and understanding, so that we may grow as God’s faithful. May harmony reign ever among us. Because of your example in living the Gospel, we dedicate ourselves,through your intercession, to live that same Gospel.
Implore on our behalf the favor of an ever-deepening trust in God’s goodness and love. Obtain God’s grace for us that we may grow in faith, hope, love and all virtues. Grant that by imitating you we may imitate our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Watch over us and help us to reach that place where you live with all the saints for ever and ever. Amen.
Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog

#BreakingNews 28 Christians Killed by Terrorists in Targeted attack in Egypt - Please PRAY

Terrorists kill dozens in an attack targeting Christians

According to Fr Greiche, a spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, militants want to "purify Egypt and the Middle East of the Christian presence." The attack on the eve of Ramadan is the "the worst advertisement". It is a sad moment for Egypt and “Muslims who want to live peace". Tonight, prayers and services will be held in memory of the victims.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – Christians are “targeted by terrorists;” this is “a fact. From their distorted perspective, such actions "are an attempt to purify Egypt and the Middle East of the Christian presence,” said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, who talked to AsiaNews about today’s attack against Coptic Christians.
"Different sources give contradictory figures for the number of casualties,” Fr Greiche noted. “Some reports say 23; others, 25; the latest rumours say 26 dead (36 according to others). What is certain is that there are also many children among the victims."
In its initial reporting, Egypt’s state news agency, citing local sources, said that about a dozen men armed with automatic weapons, stopped a bus carrying pilgrims to the monastery of Anba Samuel in Minya Governorate, south of Cairo, then opened fire on the passengers. One apparently taped the slaughter with a smartphone. According to the latest news, “The terrorists attacked at least three vehicles,” Fr Rafic said.
In addition to the dead, dozens of people were wounded, some in serious conditions, by a group of Jihadis, perhaps linked to the Islamic State group, active in the area. Eyewitnesses claim that gunmen were wearing military uniforms.
The pilgrims were travelling to an orthodox monastery in Upper Egypt, about 300 kilometres from Cairo. Many people visit the monastery on week-ends to pray and attend Mass, especially on Friday, which is the day off in Egypt.
"Many people came for the [religious] services,” Fr Greiche said, and were “an easy target for terrorists.” In fact, "Today is the eve of Ramadan, which the terrorists picked for their attack,” he added. “They did the same on 11 December, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. They attack when there are a lot of people. "
In addition to being a “sad moment for Egypt and Egyptians, especially for Muslims who want to live in peace,” this new attack a few hours before the start of the Islamic month of fasting and prayer "is the worst advertisement" terrorists can have. "This evening, we shall pray for the new Christian victims during Mass and other services.”
Today's incident is but the latest in a long trail of blood among Egypt’s Christian minority (10 per cent of the population). At least 75 Christians have been killed by Muslim extremists over the past few months, in last month’s church attacks, in the Palm Sunday bombing, as well as last December’s attack against St Catherine Coptic cathedral in Abassiya, Cairo.
Following these attacks, the Islamic State group (also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh) claimed responsibility for them and threatened more violence against the country’s Christian minority.
The rising violence almost scuttled Pope Francis's apostolic visit to Egypt in late April. The pontiff went ahead anyway and met with Egyptian President al-Sisi, al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayeb, and celebrated Mass in front of tens of thousands of faithful.
Recently, Egypt’s public prosecutor charged 48 alleged Islamic State militants and sympathisers in connection with three attacks against Coptic churches. At present, 31 are in prison, whilst the others are still on the run.
In light of the escalation of violence, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has imposed a state of emergency across the country. Today he chaired a meeting of his security council during which he pledged an all-out war against extremist and Jihadi movements operating in the country. (DS)

#PopeFrancis ".. bear witness with my life that the Lord is risen, He is alive. Memory, prayer, mission." Homily

(Vatican Radio) The Christian’s place is in the world, in order to proclaim Jesus; but his gaze is turned to heaven in order to be united to Him: that was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Friday.
Galilee, the place of the first encounter with Jesus
The Scriptures, Pope Francis said in his homily, give us three words, three points of reference for the Christian journey. The first word is “memory.” The risen Jesus tells the disciples to go before Him to Galilee, and this was the first encounter with the Lord. Each one of us “has his own ‘Galilee,’” where Jesus shows Himself for the first time, where we have known Him and have had “this joy, this enthusiasm for following Him.” In order “to be a good Christian it is necessary to always have this memory of the first encounter with Jesus, or of subsequent encounters.” It is “the grace of memory” which in “the moment of trial gives me certainty.”
A gaze fixed in heaven, our feet in the world
The second point of reference is “prayer.” When Jesus ascended into heaven, the Pope explained, He did not break off His relationship with us: “Physically, yes, but He is always joined to us by interceding for us. He shows the Father His wounds, the price He has paid for us, for our salvation.” And so “we must ask for the grace to contemplate heaven, the grace of prayer, the relationship with Jesus in prayer, that in the moment He hears us, He is with us”:
“Then there is a third [point of reference]: “the world.” Jesus, before He left them—as we heard yesterday in the Gospel of the Ascension—says to the disciples: ‘Go into the world and make disciples.’ Go: the Christian’s place is in the world in order to proclaim the Word of Jesus, in order to say that we are saved, that He is come to give us grace, to bring us all with Him before the Father.”
Memory, prayer, and mission
This, the Pope said, is “the topography of the Christian spirit,” the three points of reference of our life: memory, prayer, mission; and the three words for our journey: Galilee, heaven, the world:
“A Christian must move in these three dimensions, and request the grace of memory: saying to the Lord, ‘Don’t let me forget the moment when You chose me, don’t let me forget the moment we met.’ Then, praying, looking to heaven because He is there, interceding. He intercedes for us. And then, going on mission: that is, not saying that everyone has to go to the foreign missions; [rather] going on mission is living and bearing witness to the Gospel, it is making Jesus known to all people. And doing so through witness and through the Word: because if I tell people about Jesus, and about the Christian life, and then live like a pagan, that won’t do. The mission will not go forward.”
The Christian life is joyful
If, instead, we live in memory, in prayer, and on mission, Pope Francis concluded, the Christian life will be beautiful, and also joyful:
“And this is the final word Jesus speaks to us today in the Gospel: ‘On that day, the day in which you live the Christian life in this way, you will know all things and no one will be able to take your joy away from you.” No one, because I have the memory of my encounter with Jesus; I have the certainty that Jesus is in heaven in this moment and He is interceding for me, He is with me; and I prayer and I have the courage to speak, to go out of myself, and to speak to others and bear witness with my life that the Lord is risen, He is alive. Memory, prayer, mission. May the Lord give us the grace to understand this topography of the Christian life and to go forward with joy, with that joy that no one can take from us.”

Novena to St. Philip Neri and Litany Prayers to SHARE - #Oratory Founder


(This novena has been adapted from the prayers and devotions of Cardinal Newman.) Say 1 Our Father,  1Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be each day of the novenas.
1. Philip, my glorious Patron, who didst count as dross the praise, and even the good esteem of men, obtain for me also, from my Lord and Savior, this fair virtue by thy prayers. How haughty are my thoughts, how contemptuous are my words, how ambitious are my works. Gain for me that low esteem of self with which thou wast gifted; obtain for me a knowledge of my own nothingness, that I may rejoice when I am despised, and ever seek to be great only in the eyes of my God and Judge. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
2. Philip, my glorious Patron, gain for me a portion of that gift which thou hadst so abundantly. Alas! thy heart was burning with love; mine is all frozen towards God, and alive only for creatures. I love the world, which can never make me happy; my highest desire is to be well off here below. O my God, when shall I learn to love nothing else but Thee? Gain for me, O Philip, a pure love, a strong love, and an efficacious love, that, loving God here upon earth, I may enjoy the sight of Him together with thee and all the saints, hereafter in Heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
3. Philip, my holy Patron, teach me by thy example, and gain for me by thy intercessions, to seek my Lord and God at all times and in all places, and to live in His presence and in sacred intercourse with Him. As the children of this world look up to rich men or men in station for the favor which they desire, so may I ever lift up my eyes and hands and heart towards heaven, and betake myself to the source of all good for those goods which I need. As the children of this world converse with their friends and find their pleasure in them, so may I ever hold communion with Saints and Angels, and with the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of my Lord. Pray with me, O Philip, as thou didst pray with thy penitents here below, and then prayer will become sweet to me as it did to them. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 4. Philip, my glorious Patron, who didst ever keep unsullied the white lily of thy purity, with such jealous care that the majesty of this fair virtue beamed from thine eyes, shone in thy hands, and was fragrant in thy breath, obtain for me that gift from the Holy Ghost, that neither the words nor the example of sinners may ever make any impression on my soul. And, since it is by avoiding occasions of sin, by prayer, by keeping myself employed, and by frequent use of the Sacraments that my dread enemy must be subdued, gain for me the grace to persevere in these necessary observances. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
5. Philip, my glorious Advocate, teach me to look at all I see around me after thy pattern as the creatures of God. Let me never forget that the same God who made me made the whole world, and all men and all animals that are in it. Gain for me the grace to love all God's works for His sake, and all men for the sake of my Lord and Savior who has redeemed them by the Cross. And especially let me be tender and compassionate and loving towards all Christians, as my brethren in grace. And do thou, who on earth wast so tender to all, be especially tender to us, and feel for us, bear with us in all our troubles, and gain for us from God, with whom thou dwellest in beatific light, all the aids necessary for bringing us safely to Him and to thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
6. Philip, my glorious Advocate, who didst ever follow the precepts and example of the Apostle Saint Paul in rejoicing always in all things, gain for me the grace of perfect resignation to God's will, of indifference to matters of this world, and a constant sight of Heaven; so that I may never be disappointed at the Divine providences, never desponding, never sad, never fretful; that my countenance may always be open and cheerful, and my words kind and pleasant, as becomes those who, in whatever state of life they are, have the greatest of all goods, the favor of God and the prospect of eternal bliss. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
7.Philip, my holy Advocate, who didst bear persecution and calumny, pain and sickness, with so admirable a patience, gain for me the grace of true fortitude under all the trials of this life. Alas! how do I need patience! I shrink from every small inconvenience; I sicken under every light affliction; I fire up at every trifling contradiction; I fret and am cross at every little suffering of body. Gain for me the grace to enter with hearty goodwill into all such crosses as I may receive day by day from my Heavenly Father. Let me imitate thee, as thou didst imitate my Lord and Savior, that so, as thou hast attained heaven by thy calm endurance of bodily and mental pain, I too may attain the merit of patience, and the reward of life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
8.  Philip, my holy Patron, who wast so careful for the souls of thy brethren, and especially of thy own people, when on earth, slack not thy care of them now, when thou art in Heaven. Be with us, who are thy children and thy clients; and, with thy greater power with God, and with thy more intimate insight into our needs and our dangers, guide us along the path which leads to God and to thee. Be to us a good father; make our priests blameless and beyond reproach or scandal; make our children obedient, our youth prudent and chaste, our heads of families wise and gentle, our old people cheerful and fervent, and build us up, by thy powerful intercessions, in faith, hope, charity, and all virtues. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
9. Philip, my holy Patron, the wounds and diseases of my soul are greater that bodily ones, and are beyond thy curing, even with thy supernatural power. I know that my Almighty Lord reserves in His own hands the recovery of my soul from death, and the healing of all its maladies. But thou canst do more for our souls by the prayers now, my dear Saint, than thou didst for the bodies of those who applied to thee when thou wast upon earth. Pray for me, that the Divine Physician of the soul, who alone reads my heart thoroughly, may cleanse it thoroughly, and that I and all who are dear to me may be cleansed from all our sins; and, since we must die, one and all, that we may die, as thou didst, in the grace and love of God, and with the assurance, like thee, of eternal life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Look down from heaven, Holy Father, from the loftiness of that mountain to the lowliness of this valley, from that harbour of quietness and tranquility to this calamitous sea. And now that the darkness of this world hinders no more those benignant eyes of thine from looking clearly into all things, look down and visit, O most diligent keeper, this vineyard which thy right hand planted with so much labour, anxiety, and peril. To thee then we fly, from thee we seek for aid: to thee we give our whole selves unreservedly.
Thee we adopt for our patron and defender: undertake the cause of our salvation, protect thy clients. To thee we appeal as our leader, rule thine army fighting against the assaults of the devil. To thee, kindest of pilots, we give up the rudder of our lives; steer this little ship of thine, and placed as thou art on high, keep us off all the rocks of evil desires, that with thee for our pilot and our guide we may safely come to the port of eternal bliss. Amen.
LITANY OF SAINT PHILIP NERI
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
 God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
 God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy mother of God,
Holy virgin of virgins,
St. Philip, Vessel of the Holy Ghost,
Child of Mary,
Apostle of Rome,
Counsellor of popes,
Voice of prophecy,
Man of primitive times,
Winning saint,
Hidden hero,
Sweetest of fathers,
Flower of purity,
Martyr of charity,
Heart of fire,
Discerner of spirits,
Choicest of priests,
Mirror of the divine life,
Pattern of humility,
Example of simplicity,
Light of holy joy, Image of childhood,
Picture of old age,
Director of souls,
Gentle guide of youth,
 Patron of thy own,
Who didst observe chastity in thy youth,
Who didst seek Rome by divine guidance,
Who didst hide so long in the catacombs,
Who didst receive the Holy Ghost into thy heart, Who didst experience such wonderful ecstasies, Who didst so lovingly serve the little ones,
 Who didst wash the feet of pilgrims,
Who didst ardently thirst after martyrdom,
Who didst distribute the daily word of God,
Who didst turn so many hearts to God,
Who didst converse so sweetly with Mary,
Who didst raise the dead,
Who didst set up thy houses in all lands,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us. Remember thy Congregation, which thou hast possessed from the beginning.
Let us pray O God, who has exalted blessed Philip, Thy Confessor, in the glory of thy Saints, grant that, as we rejoice in his commemoration, so we may profit by the example of his virtues, through Christ our Lord. Amen. This litany was composed by the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman (1800-1891), who founded the first Oratory in the English speaking world, in Birmingham in 1848.

#BreakingNews ISIS kidnaps Bishop and Kills 9 Catholics - 500 Terrorists hold city hostage - Please PRAY - Marawi, Philippines

Marawi city (Agenzia Fides) - "There are no negotiations. The army is engaged in door-to-door combat to regain the city of Marawi. And military leaders say they do not intend to negotiate with terrorists. We are seriously concerned about Fr. Chito, Fr. Suganob, and the other 15 hostages taken by terrorists. We do not know where they are. I do not think the kidnappers want money, but they intend to use them to save their lives. I fear they will use them as human shields": said to Agenzia Fides Bishop Edwin de la Pena, who heads the territorial prelature of Marawi city, a city on the island of Mindanao (southern Philippines) attacked and taken three days ago by terrorists of the "Maute" Islamic group. The militants broke into the cathedral and kidnapped the vicar of the bishop and the faithful gathered in prayer, then set fire to the building.
The Bishop also confirms to Fides the killing of nine Catholic faithful, who were stopped, tied and then killed at the gates of the city. "They are violent extremists, we do not know what they have in mind. We are in God's hands", he says.
The over 500 terrorists who entered the city have hoisted the black flags of the Islamic State, burned two schools and released prisoners from the local jail. Then they broke into houses, while the Philippine army have begun to lay siege to free the city. Most of the population has been evacuated but some families have locked themselves in their homes.
Meanwhile, the entire Catholic Catholic community has launched a prayer campaign for the release of the hostages. Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, a city also on the island of Mindanao, said: "Let us pray for the salvation of the hostages. We appeal to the kidnappers' conscience not to kill innocent people", he said, also asking for the help of Muslim leaders in Mindanao to try to solve the crisis of the hostages peacefully.
Even the Cardinal of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle, expressed solidarity with the people of Marawi: "There are no words to express the pain and bitterness we feel. Why hurt innocents? We are very worried". The entire Philippine Church with bated breath has launched the appeal "PrayforMarawi" also spread over the social media.
In the meantime the Martial Law proclaimed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte remains in force on the island of Mindanao, which gives special powers to the armed forces to maintain political and social order. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/5/2017)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday May 26, 2017 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest
Lectionary: 295


Reading 1ACTS 18:9-18

One night while Paul was in Corinth, the Lord said to him in a vision,
"Do not be afraid.
Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.
No one will attack and harm you,
for I have many people in this city."
He settled there for a year and a half
and taught the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia,
the Jews rose up together against Paul
and brought him to the tribunal, saying,
"This man is inducing people to worship God contrary to the law."
When Paul was about to reply, Gallio spoke to the Jews,
"If it were a matter of some crime or malicious fraud,
I should with reason hear the complaint of you Jews;
but since it is a question of arguments over doctrine and titles
and your own law, see to it yourselves.
I do not wish to be a judge of such matters."
And he drove them away from the tribunal.
They all seized Sosthenes, the synagogue official,
and beat him in full view of the tribunal.
But none of this was of concern to Gallio.

Paul remained for quite some time,
and after saying farewell to the brothers he sailed for Syria,
together with Priscilla and Aquila.
At Cenchreae he had shaved his head because he had taken a vow. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 47:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (8a) God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He brings people under us;
nations under our feet.
He chooses for us our inheritance,
the glory of Jacob, whom he loves.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE LK 24:46, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
"Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory."
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you." 

Saint May 26 : St. Philip Neri : Missionary and Founder - #Oratory

MISSIONARY AND FOUNDER
Feast: May 26

Feast Day:
May 26
Born:
22 July 1515 at Florence, Italy
Died:
27 May 1595
Canonized:
12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Saint Philip Neri was born in Florence in 1515.  From a very early age, he was attracted to virtue, and was awakened to the love of God through the Dominicans at San Marco, where the memory of Savonarola was still very much alive and the frescoes by the Blessed Fra Angelico still had their vibrant colours. In his late teens, he was sent by his family to live with an uncle in San Germano near the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino, with the understanding that he would become heir to his uncle’s business and great wealth.  But, through prayer, Philip soon discovered that earthly riches could never satisfy his heart. So he renounced the inheritance and left San Germano for Rome, where he arrived probably in 1533, at the age of eighteen.

     Once in Rome, Philip lived as a layman for nearly twenty years. He was given room and board in a family home in exchange for tutoring the children. This gave him much free time to learn about God and to speak familiarly about Him to people of all walks of life.  For a time, Philip attended lectures in theology given by the Augustinians; but his deepest lessons about God came through prayer. It was while he was praying in the catacombs of St Sebastian on the feast of Pentecost in 1544, that the Holy Spirit descended into him as a ball of fire and lodged in his heart. From this time onwards, Philip always felt his heart to be dilated and filled with a great heat. (After his death, an autopsy revealed that his heart had in fact been enlarged and that two of his ribs were broken to make room for it.)

     While still a layman, Philip encouraged the people of Rome to raise their minds and hearts to God. He was instrumental in popularizing the Forty Hours’ Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  And he effectively organized works of charity such as the care of the sick, and lodging and feeding pilgrims who came to Rome. Because of his humility, Philip did not aspire to the priesthood, but in obedience he submitted to his confessor’s wishes and was ordained in 1551.

     As a priest, Philip was able to win more souls for God through the confessional.  He was also able to preach with more authority.  Soon, the informal discourses on the Word of God, which took place in his room, developed into daily sermons in a small chapel which he had built for the purpose. This chapel, called an Oratory, would eventually lend its name to the community of priests who, under Philip, devoted themselves to this apostolate. By the time that this initiative received its first papal recognition in 1575, there were close to forty priests taking part in the afternoon exercises, which featured four talks, interspersed with music.

     One of the remarkable things about Philip’s apostolate was the wide spectrum of people it attracted.  Cardinals and other prelates, priests and religious, nobles and servants, musicians and artists, tradesmen, shopkeepers, soldiers, and people on the edge of respectable society – and sometimes beyond it – could all be found at the Oratory and among Philip’s penitents. Philip’s joyful character was irresistible and his talents for devising paths to holiness were legendary. To keep people away from the sinful excesses of various carnivals, he began a pilgrimage to seven of Rome’s most renowned churches.  He took large numbers of people to the outskirts of Rome to enjoy a picnic in which religious truths were as much a part of the fare as good food and entertainment and Christian charity. And he counselled his penitents to put their faith into practice by visiting the sick in hospitals and helping the poor to find means to better their lot.

     Saint Philip knew that humility was the indispensable requirement for sanctity.   He counselled the mortification of the intellect rather than prolonged fasts and the wearing of hair shirts.  Think little of being thought little of – despise being despised – was one of his oft-repeated sayings, as was the advice to love to be unknown – amare nesciri.

     But Philip’s humility and total dedication of himself to God could not  remain hidden for long. Stories abound of the Saint’s wisdom, insight, and holiness (and miraculous interventions) as he brought people from all walks of life closer to God. The second reading for the Mass in his honour shows the breadth of his imagination in his work for the Gospel:  ‘Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things’  (Phil. 4:8).

     Philip died on 26 May 1595, on the day after the feast of Corpus Christi, just two months shy of his eightieth birthday.  During his lifetime, Philip had counted many canonized Saints among his friends – Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Felix of Cantalice, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Camillus of Lellis, Saint John Leonard, to name just a few. So it is appropriate that he was canonized in 1622 on the same day as four other Saints – Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Saint Isidore the Farmer.

SOURCE Oratory of Toronto