Friday, November 24, 2017

Saint November 25 : St. Catherine of Alexandria : Patron of Educators, Librarians, Mechanics, Nurses, philosophers, secretaries, unmarried

VIRGIN, MARTYR
Feast: November 25
Information:
Feast Day:
November 25
Born:
287, Alexandria, Egypt
Died:
305, Alexandria, Egypt
Major Shrine:
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Patron of:
Aalsum, apologists, craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters, spinners, etc.), archivists, dying people, educators, girls, jurists, knife sharpeners, lawyers, librarians, libraries, maidens, mechanics, millers, nurses, philosophers, preachers, scholars, schoolchildren, scribes, secretaries, spinsters, stenographers, students, tanners, teachers, theologians, University of Paris, unmarried girls, haberdashers, wheelwrights

A virgin and martyr whose feast is celebrated in the Latin Church and in the various Oriental churches on 25 November, and who for almost six centuries was the object of a very popular devotion. Of noble birth and learned in the sciences, when only eighteen years old, Catherine presented herself to the Emperor Maximinus who was violently persecuting the Christians, upbraided him for his cruelty and endeavoured to prove how iniquitous was the worship of false gods. Astounded at the young girl's audacity, but incompetent to vie with her in point of learning the tyrant detained her in his palace and summoned numerous scholars whom he commanded to use all their skill in specious reasoning that thereby Catherine might be led to apostatize. But she emerged from the debate victorious. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death. Furious at being baffled, Maximinus had Catherine scourged and then imprisoned. Meanwhile the empress, eager to see so extraordinary a young woman, went with Porphyry, the head of the troops, to visit her in her dungeon, when they in turn yielded to Catherine's exhortations, believed, were baptized, and immediately won the martyr's crown. Soon afterwards the saint, who far from forsaking her Faith, effected so many conversions, was condemned to die on the wheel, but, at her touch, this instrument of torture was miraculously destroyed. The emperor, enraged beyond control, then had her beheaded and angels carried her body to Mount Sinai where later a church and monastery were built in her honour. So far the Acts of St. Catherine.
 Unfortunately we have not these acts in their original form, but transformed and distorted by fantastic and diffuse descriptions which are entirely due to the imagination of the narrators who cared less to state authentic facts than to charm their readers by recitals of the marvellous. The importance attached throughout the Middle Ages to the legend of this martyr accounts for the eagerness and care with which in modern times the ancient Greek, Latin and Arabic texts containing it have been perused and studied, and concerning which critics have long since expressed their opinion, one which, in all likelihood, they will never have to retract. Several centuries ago when devotion to the saints was stimulated by the reading of extraordinary hagiographical narrations, the historical value of which no one was qualified to question, St. Catherine was invested by Catholic peoples with a halo of charming poetry and miraculous power.
Ranked with St. Margaret and St. Barbara as one of the fourteen most helpful saints in heaven, she was unceasingly praised by preachers and sung by poets. It is a well-known fact that Bossuet dedicated to her one of his most beautiful panegyrics and that Adam of Saint-Victor wrote a magnificent poem in her honour: "Vox Sonora nostri chori", etc. In many places her feast was celebrated with the utmost solemnity, servile work being suppressed and the devotions being attended by great numbers of people. In several dioceses of France it was observed as a Holy Day of obligation up to the beginning of the seventeenth century, the splendour of its ceremonial eclipsing that of the feasts of some of the Apostles. Numberless chapels were placed under her patronage and her statue was found in nearly all churches, representing her according to medieval iconography with a wheel, her instrument of torture. Whilst, owing to several circumstances in his life, St. Nicholas of Myra, was considered the patron of young bachelors and students, St. Catherine became the patroness of young maidens and female students. Looked upon as the holiest and most illustrious of the virgins of Christ, it was but natural that she, of all others, should be worthy to watch over the virgins of the cloister and the young women of the world.
The spiked wheel having become emblematic of the saint, wheelwrights and mechanics placed themselves under her patronage. Finally, as according to tradition, she not only remained a virgin by governing her passions and conquered her executioners by wearying their patience, but triumphed in science by closing the mouths of sophists, her intercession was implored by theologians, apologists, pulpit orators, and philosophers. Before studying, writing, or preaching, they besought her to illumine their minds, guide their pens, and impart eloquence to their words. This devotion to St. Catherine which assumed such vast proportions in Europe after the Crusades, received additional eclat in France in the beginning of the fifteenth century, when it was rumoured that she had appeared to Joan of Arc and, together with St. Margaret, had been divinely appointed Joan's adviser.
Although contemporary hagiographers look upon the authenticity of the various texts containing the legend of St. Catherine as more than doubtful, it is not therefore meant to cast even the shadow of a doubt around the existence of the saint. But the conclusion reached when these texts have been carefully studied is that, if the principal facts forming the outline are to be accepted as true, the multitude of details by which these facts are almost obscured, most of the wonderful narratives with which they are embellished, and the long discourses that are put into the mouth of St. Catherine, are to be rejected as inventions, pure and simple.
An example will illustrate. Although all these texts mention the miraculous translations of the saint's body to Mount Sinai, the itineraries of the ancient pilgrims who visited Sinai do not contain the slightest allusion to it. Even in the eighteenth century Dom Deforis, the Benedictine who prepared an edition of Bossuet's works, declared the tradition followed by this orator in his panegyric on the saint, to be in a great measure false, and it was just at this time that the feast of St. Catherine disappeared from the Breviary of Paris. Since then devotion to the virgin of Alexandria has lost all its former popularity. SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

#PopeFrancis “You give freely and God will do the rest.” #Homiliy

Vatican Radio-Pope Francis on Friday suggested watchfulness, service and gratuitousness as three attitudes that can help us keep clean the temple of the Holy Spirit.  He made the exhortation in his homily at the morning Mass in the chapel of the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta residence. 
The Pope was reflecting on the first reading from the Book of the Maccabees where Judas and his brothers were re-consacrating the temple desecrated by the pagans, and the Gospel reading where Jesus was driving out merchants from the temple, that was transformed into a den of thieves. 
Temple of God - our heart
The Pope pointed out that the most important temple of God is our heart, where the Holy Spirit dwells. 
The Holy Father asked whether we keep watch over this interior temple, and are careful about what happens in the heart, who comes in and who goes out, the feelings, the ideas...  “Do we talk to the Holy Spirit and listen to Him?” the Pope asked and urged all to keep watch over what happens within.
The Pope then explained how this temple can be safeguarded and cared for through service.  The Pope urged Christians to examine their conscience, whether they come forward to help, to clothe and console those in need.  In this regard, he recalled St. John Chrysostom reprimanding those who were making many offerings to decorate the church but were not caring for the needy saying, “This is not good.  First service, then decoration.”  “Purifying the temple means caring for others, the Pope said, adding, “ when we come forward to serve, to help, we resemble Jesus who is inside us.”
The Pope then spoke about how gratuitousness, the third attitude, helps in keeping the temple clean. He wondered, “How many times we sadly enter a temple – a parish, a bishop’s house and so on, not knowing whether were are in the house of God or in a supermarket.”  “There we have business, including the price list for the sacraments – nothing is free!”  But the Pope argued that God saved us freely, without making us pay.
God's providence
In this regard, he asked whether money is needed to maintain building, priests and so on...  And the Pope answered, “You give freely and God will do the rest.”  “God will provide what is lacking,” the Pope said wishing our churches be “churches of service, free churches.”

Free Catholic Movie : The Bells of St. Mary's : Stars #BingCrosby and #IngridBergman

The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) 126 min - Drama | Family - 21 February 1946 (Sweden) At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building. Director: Leo McCarey Writers: Dudley Nichols (screenplay), Leo McCarey (story) Stars: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers | 

#PopeFrancis "Peace to all people and to all nations on earth!" FULL TEXT World Day of #Peace Message + Video

Pope Francis for the 
Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2018
MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES: MEN AND WOMEN IN SEARCH OF PEACE 
1.Heartfelt good wishes for peace Peace to all people and to all nations on earth!  Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night,[1] is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence.  Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees.  Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as “men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.”[2]  In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.
         In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.
         We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others.  Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home.  Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited.  By practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society.”[3]  Leaders have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure, lest they become like the rash builder who miscalculated and failed to complete the tower he had begun to construct.[4]
2.      Why so many refugees and migrants?
         As he looked to the Great Jubilee marking the passage of two thousand years since the proclamation of peace by the angels in Bethlehem, Saint John Paul II pointed to the increased numbers of displaced persons as one of the consequences of the “endless and horrifying sequence of wars, conflicts, genocides and ethnic cleansings”[5] that had characterized the twentieth century.  To this date, the new century has registered no real breakthrough: armed conflicts and other forms of organized violence continue to trigger the movement of peoples within national borders and beyond.
         Yet people migrate for other reasons as well, principally because they “desire a better life, and not infrequently try to leave behind the ‘hopelessness’ of an unpromising future.”[6]  They set out to join their families or to seek professional or educational opportunities, for those who cannot enjoy these rights do not live in peace. Furthermore, as I noted in the Encyclical Laudato Si’, there has been “a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation”.[7]
         Most people migrate through regular channels.  Some, however, take different routes, mainly out of desperation, when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity, and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked or too slow.
         Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and by doing so demeans the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God.  Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.[8]
         All indicators available to the international community suggest that global migration will continue for the future.  Some consider this a threat.  For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace.
3.      With a contemplative gaze
         The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches.  It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.”[9]  These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem.  The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches.  Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it.
         We must also turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, “a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, […] fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice”[10] – in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace.
         When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed.  They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them.  We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.
         A contemplative gaze should also guide the discernment of those responsible for the public good, and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good”[11] – bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each.
         Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth.  Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus turn into workshops of peace.
4.      Four mileposts for action
         Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.[12]
         “Welcoming” calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence.  It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights.  Scripture reminds us: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”[13]
         “Protecting” has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited.  I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement.  God does not discriminate: “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the orphan and the widow.”[14]
         “Promoting” entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees.  Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people.  This will enable them not only to cultivate and realize their potential, but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation.  The Bible teaches that God “loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.  And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”[15]
         “Integrating”, lastly, means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community.  Saint Paul expresses it in these words: “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.”[16]
5.      A proposal for two international compacts
         It is my heartfelt hope this spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees.  As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures.  For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process.  Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference.
         Dialogue and coordination are a necessity and a specific duty for the international community.  Beyond national borders, higher numbers of refugees may be welcomed – or better welcomed – also by less wealthy countries, if international cooperation guarantees them the necessary funding.
         The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has published a set of twenty action points that provide concrete leads for implementing these four verbs in public policy and in the attitudes and activities of Christian communities.[17]  The aim of this and other contributions is to express the interest of the Catholic Church in the process leading to the adoption of the two U.N. Global Compacts.  This interest is the sign of a more general pastoral concern that goes back to very origins of Church and has continued in her many works up to the present time.
6.      For our common home
         Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II: “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.”[18]  Throughout history, many have believed in this “dream”, and their achievements are a testament to the fact that it is no mere utopia.
         Among these, we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in this year that marks the hundredth anniversary of her death.  On this thirteenth day of November, many ecclesial communities celebrate her memory.  This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters.  Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”[19]
From the Vatican, 13 November 2017
Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patroness of Migrants

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday November 23, 2017 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 501


Reading 11 MC 4:36-37, 52-59

Judas and his brothers said,
"Now that our enemies have been crushed,
let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it."
So the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion.

Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month,
that is, the month of Chislev,
in the year one hundred and forty-eight,
they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law
on the new altar of burnt offerings that they had made.
On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it,
on that very day it was reconsecrated
with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals.
All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven,
who had given them success.

For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar
and joyfully offered burnt offerings and sacrifices
of deliverance and praise.
They ornamented the facade of the temple with gold crowns and shields;
they repaired the gates and the priests' chambers
and furnished them with doors.
There was great joy among the people
now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed.
Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel
decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar
should be observed with joy and gladness
on the anniversary every year for eight days,
from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.

Responsorial Psalm1 CHR 29:10BCD, 11ABC, 11D-12A, 12BCD

R. (13b) We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
"Blessed may you be, O LORD,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity."
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
"Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory.
For all in heaven and on earth is yours."
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
"Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor are from you."
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
"You have dominion over all,
In your hand are power and might;
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all."
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

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

GospelLK 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
"It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.
"
And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.

Saint November 24 : St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions : Martyrs of #Vietnam

 
MARTYR
Feast: November 24
Information:
Feast Day:November 24
Born:
1785 in Vietnam
Died:
21 December 1839 in Hanoi, Vietnam
Canonized:
19 June 1988 by Pope John Paul II Vietnamese priest and martyr and companion of St. Peter Thi. Andrew was arrested and beheaded on Dcember 21, 1839, with Peter Thi during the harsh anti-Christian persecutions. He was canonized in 1988.(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints)