Monday, November 6, 2017

Saint November 7 : St. Willibrord : Bishop : Patron of #Convulsions; #Epilepsy; #Netherlands

St. Willibrord

CONFESSOR, FIRST BISHOP OF UTRECHT
Feast: November 7
Information:
Feast Day:
November 7
Born:
658, Northumbria
Died:
November 7, 739
Major Shrine:
Echternach
Patron of:
convulsions; epilepsy; epileptics; Luxembourg; Netherlands

From his life, written by Alcuin, in two books, the one in prose, the other in verse, together with a homily, and an elegant poem in his honour. Also Bede, l. 5, Hist. c. 11, 12, and St. Boniface, ep. 97. See Batavia Sacra, p. 36, and Mabillon. Annal. Bened. t. 1, l. 18, sec. 4, and Acta Sanct. Ord. S. Bened. Sæc. 3, part 1, p. 601. Calmet, Hist. de Lorraine, t. 3, pr. et t. 1, app. Fabricius, Salutar. Luce Evang. c. 19, p. 442. A.D. 738.
ST. WILLIBRORD was born in the kingdom of Northumberland, towards the year 658, and placed by his virtuous parents, before he was seven years old, in the monastery of Rippon, which was at that time governed by St. Wilfrid, its founder. Wilgis, our saint’s father, retired also into a monastery, afterwards became a hermit, and in his old age founded and governed a small monastery between the ocean and the Humber. He is honoured among the saints in the monastery of Epternac, and in the English calendars. Alcuin has left us an account of his life Willibrord, by carrying the yoke of our Lord with fervour from his infancy, found it always easy and sweet, and the better to preserve the first fruits which he had gathered, made his monastic profession when he was very young. He had made great progress in virtue and sacred learning, when, out of a desire for further improvement, in the twentieth year of his age, he went over into Ireland, with the consent of his abbot and brethren, where he joined St. Egbert or Ecgbright, and the blessed Wigbert, who were gone thither before upon the same errand. In their company our saint spent twelve years in the study of the sacred sciences, and in the most fervent exercise of all virtues. Though his constitution was weak, in fervour and exactness, he outdid the most advanced; he was humble, modest, and of an easy obliging temper; and his whole conduct was regular and uniform. St. Egbert had long entertained an ardent desire of going to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of those unhappy countries, in which barbarism and idolatry still reigned without control, and he had chiefly Friesland or Lower Germany in his eye. But he was diverted from that apostolical design by persons of piety and authority, who engaged him to employ his zealous labours in the islands between Ireland and Scotland, in all which he settled the true manner of celebrating Easter; especially at Hij, where he died a little before Bede wrote his history. St. Egbert is honoured in the English Calendar on the 24th of April. Bede gives a most edifying account of his austere penance, devotion, zeal, and charity. His companion, the holy priest Wigbert, went in the mean time to Friesland; but after staying there two years came back without having met with any prospect of success. This disappointment did not discourage Egbert, and other zealous promoters of this mission; but excited them the more earnestly to solicit the divine mercy with prayers and tears in favour of so many souls, who were perishing eternally. Willibrord, who was then about thirty-one years of age, and had been ordained priest a year before, expressed a great desire to be allowed by his superiors to undertake this laborious and dangerous charge. St. Egbert, by the known zeal and great talents of our saint, and by his cheerfulness, which sufficiently showed him prepared to encounter all difficulties in the prosecution of such a work, doubted not but God had reserved to him the conversion of that nation, and encouraged him in this zealous design. St. Willibrord was joined by St. Swidbert and ten other English monks in this mission. 1 The Frisons, who had formerly occupied a large tract of country on the coasts of the German ocean, crossing the Rhine into Belgic Gaul, had possessed themselves of those provinces about the mouth of the Rhine, which the Catti, who were also originally Germans, then held. 1 Among all the German nations none maintained their liberty against the Romans, with greater success and courage, than the Frisons. Procopius tells us, 2 that some of them came into Britain with the English Saxons: and by their situation they were doubtless the most expert in maritime affairs. St. Ludger 3 mentions that Swidbert, and the rest of these zealous preachers, were desirous to carry the light of the faith to these people, because their ancestors sprang from them. St. Eligius, bishop of Noyon, had preached in part of Friesland, and St. Wilfrid had sown there the seeds of our holy faith in 678. But these seem to have been almost rooted out 4 before St. Willibrord’s arrival in 690 or 691. The authors of Batavia Sacra 5 doubt not but our twelve missionaries landed at Catwic upon the sea, which was at the mouth of the Rhine before it was blocked up with sands, and thither the English were accustomed to export corn, even from the north coasting part of their island; the British tower, as it was called, was built by the Romans at Catwic to defend this harbour. 6 This old channel was not entirely obstructed in 1050, as appears from the Chronicle of Woerden. 7 And Alcuin expressly says, that these missionaries landed at the mouth of the Rhine, and travelled thence to Utrecht, a town built by the Romans at the great passage over the Rhine; whence it was called Trajectum, afterwards Trecht, and lastly Utrecht, (from Outrecht, the Old Passage, and Ultrajectum, or Passage at the town Vulta,) to distinguish it from the ancient town of Maestricht or Passage over the Maese. Pepin of Herstal, or the Big, who was at that time duke of the French, and mayor of the king’s palace, and had lately conquered part of Friesland, received courteously St. Willibrord and his companions. But Willibrord set out for Rome, and cast himself at the feet of Pope Sergius, begging his apostolic blessing and authority to preach the gospel to idolatrous nations. The pope, charmed with his zeal and sanctity, granted him the most ample licenses for that purpose, and gave him a great quantity of relics for the consecration of churches. With this treasure the saint returned with all possible expedition to his province, considering the pressing necessities and dangers of so many souls which called for his compassion and relief. St. Swibert was taken from him and ordained bishop of the Borroctuarians, who seemed to have inhabited the territory of Berg, and the neighbouring country towards Cologne.
 St. Willibrord, with his ten other companions, under the protection of Pepin, preached the gospel with wonderful success, in that part of Friesland that had been conquered by the French; so that after six years, Pepin, by the advice of his bishops, sent the saint to Rome, with strong letters of recommendation, that he might be ordained bishop. His humility made him endeavour that some other should be pitched upon for that dignity; but he was not heard. Pope Sergius, who still sat in St. Peter’s chair, received him with great marks of honour, changed his name into that of Clement, with great solemnity ordained him archbishop of the Frisons in St. Peter’s church, and gave him the pallium with authority to fix his see in what part of the country he should think most convenient. The holy man staid only fourteen days in Rome, being impatient to return to his flock, and regretting an hour’s absence from them, more than was necessary to procure them greater advantages. He came back to Utrecht the same year, 696, and chose that city for his residence, Pepin having bestowed on him the royal castle of Viltaburg, which, as Bede assures us, 8 was at Utrecht, though Cluverius will have it to have been the present Wiltenburg, three miles and a half from Utrecht; but this town itself was called Vulta, or the city of the Vultæ. 9 St. Willibrord built at Utrecht the church of our Saviour, in which he fixed his metropolitical see, says St. Boniface, 10 and that of St. Martin, though this latter he only restored, for it had been a church, but destroyed by the Pagans. 11 Heda and Beka think it had been built by king Dagobert, at the desire of St. Wilfrid. This latter church became afterwards the cathedral, and both were served by colleges of canons. The archbishop’s indefatigable application to the conversion of souls seemed to prove, that with the new obligation he had received at his consecration, of labouring to enlarge the kingdom of his Divine Master, he had acquired fresh strength and a considerable augmentation of his zeal. In the second year after his episcopal consecration, assisted by the liberality of Pepin, and the abbess Irmina, who is said to have been daughter of Dagobert II., he founded, in 698, the abbey of Epternac, in the diocess of Triers, and now in the duchy of Luxemburg, 12 which he governed to his death. Alcuin relates, that the nunnery of Horrea, of which Irmina was abbess, had been delivered from a pestilence by water, blessed by St. Willibrord, and by his saying mass in the church. Pepin of Herstal, before his death put away his concubine, Alpais, by whom he had Charles Martel, and was reconciled to his wife Plectrudis, and in his last will, which is signed by Plectrudis, he recommended to St. Willibrord, his nephews, (without any mention of his natural son Charles,) and bestowed on our saint the village of Swestram, now Susteren, in the duchy of Juliers, near the Mews, with which the holy man endowed a nunnery which he built there. 13 3 Pepin of Herstal died in December, 714. A little before his death, Charles Martel’s son, Pepin the Short, afterwards king of France, was born, and baptized by St. Willibrord, who on that occasion is related by Alcuin to have prophesied, that the child would surpass in glory all his ancestors. Charles Martel in a short time became mayor of the palace, and approved himself equally the first general and statesman of his age. In 723, he settled upon the monastery which St. Willibrord had erected at Utrecht to serve his cathedral, all the royal revenues belonging to his castle there. 14 Of this monastery St. Gregory was afterwards abbot; in succeeding times it was secularized. Several other donations of estates made by Charles Martel to several churches founded by our saint, may be seen in Miræus and others. By a charter, that prince conferred on him the royalties of the city of Utrecht with its dependencies and appurtenances. 15 By such establishments our saint sought to perpetuate the work of God. Not content to have planted the faith in the country which the French had conquered, he extended his labours into West-Friesland, which obeyed Radbod, prince or king of the Frisons, who continued an obstinate idolater; yet hindered not the saint’s preaching to his subjects, and he himself sometimes listened to him. The new apostle penetrated also into Denmark: but Ongend, (perhaps Biorn,) who then reigned there, a monster of cruelty rather than a man, was hardened in his malice, and his example had a great influence over his subjects. The man of God, however, for the first fruits of this country, purchased thirty young Danish boys, whom he instructed, baptized, and brought back with him. In his return he was driven by stress of weather upon the famous pagan island, called Fositeland, now Amelandt, on the coast of Friesland, six leagues from Leuwarden, to the north, a place then esteemed by the Danes and Frisons as most sacred in honour of the idol Fosite. It was looked upon as an unpardonable sacrilege, for any one to kill any living creature in that island, to eat of any thing that grew in it, or to draw water out of a spring there without observing the strictest silence. St. Willibrord, to undeceive the inhabitants, killed some of the beasts for his companions to eat, and baptized three persons in the fountain, pronouncing the words aloud. The idolaters expected to see them run mad or drop down dead: and seeing no such judgment befal them, could not determine whether this was to be attributed to the patience of their god, or to his want of power. They informed Radbod, who, transported with rage, ordered lots to be cast three times a day, for three days together, and the fate of the delinquents to be determined by them. God so directed it that the lot never fell upon Willibrord; but one of his company was sacrificed to the superstition of the people, and died a martyr for Jesus Christ. 4
The saint, upon leaving Amelandt, directed his course to Warckeren, one of the chief islands belonging to Zealand. His charity and patience made considerable conquests to the Christian religion there, and he established several churches. After the death of Radbod, which happened in 719, Willibrord was at full liberty to preach in every part of the country. He was joined in his apostolical labours, in 720, by St. Boniface, who spent three years in Friesland: then went into Germany. Bede says, when he wrote his history in 731, “Willibrord, surnamed Clement, is still living, venerable for his old age, having been bishop thirty-six years, and sighing after the rewards of the heavenly life, after many conflicts in the heavenly warfare.” 16 He was, says Alcuin, of a becoming stature, venerable in his aspect, comely in his person, graceful and always cheerful in his speech and countenance, wise in his counsel, unwearied in preaching and all apostolic functions, amidst which he was careful to nourish the interior life of his soul by assiduous prayer, singing of psalms, watching, and fasting. Alcuin, who wrote about fifty years after his death, assures us, that this apostle was endowed with the gift of miracles, and relates, that whilst he preached in the isle of Warckeren, where the towns of Flessingue and Middleburg are since built, going from village to village, he found in one of them a famous idol to which the people were offering their vows and sacrifices, and full of holy zeal threw it down, and broke it in pieces. In the mean time an idolater, who was the priest and guardian of the idol, gave him a blow on the head with his backsword, with which, nevertheless, the saint was not hurt: and he would not suffer the assassin to be touched, or prosecuted. But the unhappy man was soon after possessed with a devil, and lost his senses. By the tears, prayers, and zealous labours of this apostle and his colleagues, the faith was planted in most parts of Holland, Zealand, and all the remaining part of the Netherlands, whither St. Amand and St. Lebwin had never penetrated; and the Frisons, till then a rough and most barbarous people, were civilized, and became eminent for virtue, and the culture of arts and sciences. St. Wulfran, archbishop of Sens, and others, excited by the success of our saint’s missions, were ambitious to share in so great a work under his direction. St. Willibrord was exceedingly cautious in admitting persons to holy orders, fearing lest one unworthy or slothful minister should defeat by scandal, all the good which the divine mercy had begun for the salvation of many souls. It is also mentioned of him, that he was very strict and diligent in examining and preparing thoroughly those whom he admitted to baptism, dreading the condemnation which those incur, who, by sloth or facility, open a door to the profanation of our most tremendous mysteries. The schools which St. Willibrord left at Utrecht, were very famous. 17 Being at length quite broken with old age he resigned the administration of his diocess to a coadjutor whom he ordained bishop, 18 and in retirement prepared himself for eternity. He died, according to Pagi, in 739; according to Mabillon, in 740 or 741, and according to Mr. Smith, 19 in 745, some adhering to Alcuin, others to Bede, &c. St. Boniface says, that St. Willibrord spent fifty years in preaching the gospel, 20 which Mr. Smith dates from his episcopal consecration; Mabillon, 21 from his coming into Friesland: but others think these fifty years mean only thereabouts. For Alcuin says, he came into Friesland in the thirty-third year of his age, and lived eighty-one years; which account only allows him forty-eight years employed in preaching. But, if St. Boniface comprises the two years in which he preached in Ireland, and the Scottish islands, his Chronology agrees with Alcuin’s dates, and it follows that St. Willibrord died in 738: which is confirmed by the Chronicle of Epternac, compiled from the Necrology and manuscript registers of that monastery. Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus place his death on the 6th of November: but the Chronicle of Epternac, Usuard, Ado, and the Roman and Benedictin Martyrologies commemorate him on the 7th. He was buried, as he had desired, at his monastery of Epternac, and his relics are there enshrined at this day. The portative altar which he made use of for the celebration of the divine mysteries, in travelling through Friesland, Zealand, and Holland, is kept in the Benedictin abbey of our Lady ad martyres, at Triers. 22 St. Willibrord’s Testament in favour of his monastery of Epternac was published by F. Ch. Scribanius, S. J. in his Antwerp, by Miræus, 23 with notes by Boschart; and by Calmet, among the proofs of his History of Lorrain. 24 From Lives of the Saints by Butler

#PopeFrancis "there is always mercy, because He is faithful, He never revokes His gifts." Homily

(Vatican Radio) When God gives a gift, it is irrevocable: He does not give something one day, and take it away the next. When God calls us, that call remains our whole life. Pope Francis began his homily with this reflection, inspired by the theme of our “election by God,” God’s choice of each of us, which is taken from the day’s reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans.


In the history of salvation, the Pope said, there are three “gifts and calls of God to His people”: “the gift of election, of the promise, and of the covenant.” All are irrevocable, because God is faithful. This was the case for Abraham, and it is true for all of us as well:
“Each one of us is elect, chosen by God. Each one of us bears a promise that the Lord has made: ‘Walk in my presence, be irreproachable, and I will do this for you.’ And each one of us makes some covenant with the Lord. You can do it, you can’t will it – it is free. But this is a fact. And also, there must be a question: How do I experience ‘election’? Or do I consider myself a Christian ‘by accident’ [It.: ‘per caso’]? How do I live the promise, a promise of salvation of my path, and how am I faithful to the covenant? Like He is faithful?”
Then, in the face of the constant “faithfulness” of God, it remains for us to ask ourselves: Do we feel His “caress,” His care for us, and His “seeking after” us when we have distanced ourselves from Him?
And yet, Pope Francis continued, St Paul, when speaking about the “election of God” returns again and again to two words: “disobedience” and “mercy.” Where there is one, there is the other, and this is our path of salvation:
“That is to say that on the path of election, to the promise, and the covenant, there will be sins, there will be disobedience, but in the face of this disobedience there is always mercy. It is like the dynamic of our walking journeying toward maturity: there is always mercy, because He is faithful, He never revokes His gifts. It is linked; this is linked, that the gifts are irrevocable; [but] why? Because in the face of our weaknesses, our sins, there is always mercy. And when Paul comes to this reflection, he goes one step further: but not in explanation for us, but of adoration.”
In the face of “this mystery of disobedience and mercy that sets us free,” there is adoration and silent praise. And in the face of “this beauty of irrevocable gifts such as election, the promise, and the covenant,” there is this final invitation from the Pope:
“I think it would do us good, all of us, to think today about our election; about the promises that the Lord has made to us; and about how I live out the covenant with the Lord. And how I allow myself – permit me the word – to receive mercy from the Lord [It. ‘misericordiare’ dal Signore]in the face of my sins, of my disobedience. And finally, whether I am capable – like Paul – of praising the Lord for what He has given to me, to each one of us: to offer praise, and to make that act of adoration. But never forgetting: the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

RIP Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir - age 67 - of Kenya - National Peacemaker and Hero



Nairobi — Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok says Eldoret Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir who died Monday will be remembered as the unsung hero, especially on peace.
In his message of condolences, Nanok who is also the Turkana Governor recalled how Bishop Korir played a key role in restoration of peace in the North Rift during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.
"Bishop Korir, former Chairman of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, was a local and national peacemaker. Among the warring pastoralists' communities in Northern Kenya, he preached inter-tribe harmony while at the national level he was instrumental in stabilising the country during the 1992 tribal clashes in Burnt Forest and 2007/2008 Post Election Violence in Kenya."
"The late Bishop had bequeathed humanity, deep compassion, education, peace and generally caring for the less fortunate in the society. He was an unsung hero whose selfless actions touched many lives; with his passing on, humankind is poorer," he said.
The Eldoret Catholic Bishop died early Monday morning aged 67.
NASA leader Raila Odinga said Bishop Korir has been one of the nation's leading moral lights and voices of reason who also did outstanding work with many communities and through such service, touched the lives of countless Kenyans.
The late Bishop Cornelius Korir of Eldoret diocese will go down in history as a man who fought for peace and unity among people.
His death on Monday shocked many who looked up to him for religious guidance.
Here are a few things to know about the late Bishoip.
1. He was born and raised in Bomet county.
2. His interest in priesthood started while he was still a pupil at Chesoen and Segutiet primary schools between 1959 and 1970.
3. He became a catechist and went to the seminary school at the Mother of Apostles Minor Seminary in Eldoret. He then joined St Augustine Major Seminary in Bungoma in 1976, graduating with a diploma in philosophy and religious studies.
4. In 1982, Bishop Korir attained a Diploma in Theology from Nairobi's St Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, which he followed up with a licentiate degree in sacred theology from St Patrick's College in Maynooth, Ireland, in 1989.
5. Bishop Korir was ordained Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret on June 2, 1990.
6. In 2015, he celebrated 25 years as Bishop. With His Silver Jubilee party held at the Mother of Apostles Seminary in Eldoret
7. Three quarters of his life has been about peace building. He was instrumental in bringing back peace during the 1991 and 1992 clashes due to political violence, and also in the 2007-08 skirmishes.
8. In October, 2013 he founded the Upendo FM radio station that broadcasts from his diocesan office on 89.4 FM in the North Rift.
9. For his peace-keeping and peace-building efforts, Bishop Korir was in 2006 awarded the Moran of the Burning Spear by President Mwai Kibaki and also earned the Milele Lifetime Award in 2009 from the National Commission of Human Rights.
10. In 2012, Moi University conferred upon him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters.

RIP Catholic Priest Fr. Joseph Power at the age of 94 - #Jesuit promoter of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Frederick Joseph Power
Father Frederick Power died peacefully on November 2, 2017 at René Goupil House, in Pickering, ON. He was in his 94th year and in religious life for 75 years. Fr. Power was born in Moncton, NB, and entered the Society of Jesus at Guelph in 1942, following his older brother, John. After novitiate, he studied in Toronto and Regina before being ordained at the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, ON in 1955.
Fr. Power began his life-long apostolate immediately after completing his Jesuit studies, when he was appointed to the office of the Eucharistic Crusade which was a branch of the Apostleship of Prayer. For the next 56 years, he was totally involved in promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was National Director, Editor, and Promoter of the Apostleship of Prayer, The Messenger of the Sacred Heart,and the Sacred Heart Program. Fr. Power managed all of this on a shoestring budget by putting in long hours of steady work.
Fr. Power travelled throughout Canada promoting this devotion and was recognized as a dedicated holy priest fulfilling the mandate given to the Society of Jesus by the Church. He wrote several books on the Sacred Heart, then published a fine series on reading the Old and New Testaments, and later, a seven-part series for igNation, the English Canada Jesuit Province blog called, “Some Thoughts on Praying.”
Once Fr. Power turned over the responsibilities of his mandate to other hands, he moved readily in early summer of 2014 to the infirmary at Pickering. He was appointed chaplain there and regularly oversaw devotions: Saturday rosary; Benediction on First Fridays, and other liturgical events. Blessed with good health during his long life, he was truly an inspiration to many.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday November 6, 2017 - #Eucharist


Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 485


Reading 1ROM 11:29-36

Brothers and sisters:
The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy
because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given him anything
that he may be repaid?


For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To God be glory forever. Amen.

Responsorial PsalmPS 69:30-31, 33-34, 36

R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not."
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They shall dwell in the land and own it,
and the descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

AlleluiaJN 8:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 14:12-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
He said to the host who invited him,
"When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."