Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saint December 3 : St. Francis Xavier Patron of Missionaries; Precious Blood; Navigators; missions; plague

St. Francis Xavier
Feast: December 3

Feast Day:December 3
Born:April 7, 1506, Javier, Navarre
Died:December 3, 1552, China
Canonized:March 12, 1622 by Gregory XV
Patron of:African missions; Apostleship of Prayer; Australia; Bombay, India; China; East Indies; Fathers of the Precious Blood; foreign missions; Goa India; India; Tokyo, Japan; missionaries; Missioners of the Precious Blood; navigators; parish missions; plague epidemics; Propagation of the Faith

Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, 7 April, 1506; died on the Island of Sancian near the coast of China, 2 December, 1552. In 1525, having completed a preliminary course of studies in his own country, Francis Xavier went to Paris, where he entered the college de Sainte-Barbe. Here he met the Savoyard, Pierre Favre, and a warm personal friendship sprang up between them. It was at this same college that St. Ignatius Loyola, who was already planning the foundation of the Society of Jesus, resided for a time as a guest in 1529. He soon won the confidence of the two young men; first Favre and later Xavier offered themselves with him in the formation of the Society. Four others, Lainez, Salmeron, Rodriguez, and Bobadilla, having joined them, the seven made the famous vow of Montmartre, 15 Aug., 1534.
After completing his studies in Paris and filling the post of teacher there for some time, Xavier left the city with his companions 15 November, 1536, and turned his steps to Venice, where he displayed zeal and charity in attending the sick in the hospitals. On 24 June, 1537, he received Holy orders with St. Ignatius. The following year he went to Rome, and after doing apostolic work there for some months, during the spring of 1539 he took part in the conferences which St. Ignatius held with his companions to prepare for the definitive foundation of the Society of Jesus. The order was approved verbally 3 September, and before the written approbation was secured, which was not until a year later, Xavier was appointed , at the earnest solicitation of the John III, King of Portugal, to evangelize the people of the East Indies. He left Rome 16 March, 1540, and reached Lisbon about June. Here he remained nine months, giving many admirable examples of apostolic zeal.
On 7 April, 1541, he embarked in a sailing vessel for India, and after a tedious and dangerous voyage landed at Goa, 6 May, 1542. The first five months he spent in preaching and ministering to the sick in the hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a number, he would take them to a certain church and would there explain the catechism to them. About October, 1542, he started for the pearl fisheries of the extreme southern coast of the peninsula, desirous of restoring Christianity which, although introduced years before, had almost disappeared on account of the lack of priests. He devoted almost three years to the work of preaching to the people of Western India, converting many, and reaching in his journeys even the Island of Ceylon. Many were the difficulties and hardships which Xavier had to encounter at this time, sometimes on account of the cruel persecutions which some of the petty kings of the country carried on against the neophytes, and again because the Portuguese soldiers, far from seconding the work of the saint, retarded it by their bad example and vicious habits.
In the spring of 1545 Xavier started for Malacca. He laboured there for the last months of that year, and although he reaped an abundant spiritual harvest, he was not able to root out certain abuses, and was conscious that many sinners had resisted his efforts to bring them back to God. About January, 1546, Xavier left Malacca and went to Molucca Islands, where the Portuguese had some settlements, and for a year and a half he preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of Amboyna, Ternate, Baranura, and other lesser islands which it has been difficult to identify. It is claimed by some that during this expedition he landed on the island of Mindanao, and for this reason St. Francis Xavier has been called the first Apostle of the Philippines. But although this statement is made by some writers of the seventeenth century, and in the Bull of canonization issued in 1623, it is said that he preached the Gospel in Mindanao, up to the present time it has not been proved absolutely that St. Francis Xavier ever landed in the Philippines.
By July, 1547, he was again in Malacca. Here he met a Japanese called Anger (Han-Sir), from whom he obtained much information about Japan. His zeal was at once aroused by the idea of introducing Christanity into Japan, but for the time being the affairs of the Society demanded his presence at Goa, whither he went, taking Anger with him. During the six years that Xavier had been working among the infidels, other Jesuit missionaries had arrived at Goa, sent from Europe by St. Ignatius; moreover some who had been born in the country had been received into the Society. In 1548 Xavier sent these missionaries to the principal centres of India, where he had established missions, so that the work might be preserved and continued. He also established a novitiate and house of studies, and having received into the Society Father Cosme de Torres, a Spanish priest whom he had met in the Maluccas, he started with him and Brother Juan Fernandez for Japan towards the end of June, 1549. The Japanese Anger, who had been baptized at Goa and given the name of Pablo de Santa Fe, accompanied them.
They landed at the city of Kagoshima in Japan, 15 Aug., 1549. The entire first year was devoted to learning the Japanese language and translating into Japanese, with the help of Pablo de Santa Fe, the principal articles of faith and short treatises which were to be employed in preaching and catechizing. When he was able to express himself, Xavier began preaching and made some converts, but these aroused the ill will of the bonzes, who had him banished from the city. Leaving Kagoshima about August, 1550, he penetrated to the centre of Japan, and preached the Gospel in some of the cities of southern Japan. Towards the end of that year he reached Meaco, then the principal city of Japan, but he was unable to make any headway here because of the dissensions the rending the country. He retraced his steps to the centre of Japan, and during 1551 preached in some important cities, forming the nucleus of several Christian communities, which in time increased with extraordinary rapidity.
After working about two years and a half in Japan he left this mission in charge of Father Cosme de Torres and Brother Juan Fernandez, and returned to Goa, arriving there at the beginning of 1552. Here domestic troubles awaited him. Certain disagreements between the superior who had been left in charge of the missions, and the rector of the college, had to be adjusted. This, however, being arranged, Xavier turned his thoughts to China, and began to plan an expedition there. During his stay in Japan he had heard much of the Celestial Empire, and though he probably had not formed a proper estimate of his extent and greatness, he nevertheless understood how wide a field it afforded for the spread of the light of the Gospel. With the help of friends he arranged a commission or embassy the Sovereign of China, obtained from the Viceroy of India the appointment of ambassador, and in April, 1552, he left Goa. At Malacca the party encountered difficulties because the influential Portuguese disapproved of the expedition, but Xavier knew how to overcome this opposition, and in the autumn he arrived in a Portuguese vessel at the small island of Sancian near the coast of China. While planning the best means for reaching the mainland, he was taken ill, and as the movement of the vessel seemed to aggravate his condition, he was removed to the land, where a rude hut had been built to shelter him. In these wretched surroundings he breathed his last.
It is truly a matter of wonder that one man in the short space of ten years (6 May, 1542-2 December, 1552) could have visited so many countries, traversed so many seas, preached the Gospel to so many nations, and converted so many infidels. The incomparable apostolic zeal which animated him, and the stupendous miracles which God wrought through him, explain this marvel, which has no equal elsewhere. The list of the principal miracles may be found in the Bull of canonization. St. Francis Xavier is considered the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, and the zeal he displayed, the wonderful miracles he performed, and the great number of souls he brought to the light of true Faith, entitle him to this distinction. He was canonized with St. Ignatius in 1622, although on account of the death of Gregory XV, the Bull of canonization was not published until the following year.
The body of the saint is still enshrined at Goa in the church which formerly belonged to the Society. In 1614 by order of Claudius Acquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus, the right arm was severed at the elbow and conveyed to Rome, where the present altar was erected to receive it in the church of the Gesu.

The Catholic Encyclopedia

Today's Mass Readings and Video : #1stSaturday December 2, 2017 - #Eucharist

Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 508

Reading 1DN 7:15-27

I, Daniel, found my spirit anguished within its covering of flesh,
and I was terrified by the visions of my mind.
I approached one of those present
and asked him what all this meant in truth;
in answer, he made known to me the meaning of the things:
"These four great beasts stand for four kingdoms
which shall arise on the earth.
But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingship,
to possess it forever and ever."

But I wished to make certain about the fourth beast,
so very terrible and different from the others,
devouring and crushing with its iron teeth and bronze claws,
and trampling with its feet what was left;
about the ten horns on its head, and the other one that sprang up,
before which three horns fell;
about the horn with the eyes and the mouth that spoke arrogantly,
which appeared greater than its fellows.
For, as I watched, that horn made war against the holy ones
and was victorious until the Ancient One arrived;
judgment was pronounced in favor of the holy ones of the Most High,
and the time came when the holy ones possessed the kingdom.
He answered me thus:

"The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth
different from all the others;
It shall devour the whole earth,
beat it down, and crush it.
The ten horns shall be ten kings
rising out of that kingdom;
another shall rise up after them,
Different from those before him,
who shall lay low three kings.
He shall speak against the Most High
and oppress the holy ones of the Most High,
thinking to change the feast days and the law.
They shall be handed over to him
for a year, two years, and a half-year.
But when the court is convened,
and his power is taken away
by final and absolute destruction,
Then the kingship and dominion and majesty
of all the kingdoms under the heavens
shall be given to the holy people of the Most High,
Whose Kingdom shall be everlasting:
all dominions shall serve and obey him."

Responsorial PsalmDN 3:82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87

R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"You sons of men, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"O Israel, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
"Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever."
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

AlleluiaLK 21:36

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Be vigilant at all times and pray
That you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 21:34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man."

#PopeFrancis "The rosary is a beautiful meditation on the mysteries of faith that are the lifeblood of the Church ..." FULL TEXT to Religious in Bangladesh

Pope Francis is still on his visit in Bangladesh and on Saturday met  with Priests, Religious, Consecrated Men and Women, and Seminarians . 
Please find below the Pope's prepared remarks:
Address to Priests, Religious, Consecrated Men and Women,
and Seminarians
Dhaka, Holy Rosary Church
Saturday, 2 December 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
         I am very happy to be with you!  I thank Archbishop Moses [Costa] for his warm greeting in your name.  I especially thank those who offered testimonies and shared with us their love for God.  I also express my gratitude to Father Mintu [Palma] for composing the prayer that we will shortly recite to Our Lady.  As the Successor of Peter it is my task to confirm you in faith.  But I want you to know that, through your words and presence here today, you also confirm me in faith and bring me great joy. 
         The Catholic community in Bangladesh is small.  But you are like the mustard seed that God brings to fruition in his own time.  I rejoice to see how this seed is growing and to witness first-hand the deep faith which God has given you (cf. Mt 13:31-32).  I think of the dedicated and faithful missionaries who planted and tended this seed of faith for almost five hundred years.  I will shortly visit the cemetery here and pray for these men and women who so generously served this local Church.  As I look out among you, I see missionaries who continue this holy work.  I also see many vocations born in this land; they are a sign of the graces with which God is blessing your land.  I am particularly pleased by the presence, and the prayers, of the cloistered nuns among us.
         It is good that our meeting takes place in this ancient Church of the Holy Rosary.  The rosary is a beautiful meditation on the mysteries of faith that are the lifeblood of the Church and a prayer that shapes our spiritual lives and our apostolic service.  Whether we are priests, religious, consecrated men or women, seminarians or novices, the prayer of the rosary inspires us, in union with Mary, to give our lives completely to Christ.  It invites us to share in Mary’s attentiveness to God at the annunciation, Christ’s compassion for all humanity as he hangs upon the cross, and the Church’s rejoicing as she receives the Risen Lord’s gift of the Holy Spirit. 
Mary’s attentiveness.  In all of history, has there ever been anyone as attentive as Mary was at the annunciation?  God prepared her for that moment and she responded in love and trust.  So too the Lord has prepared us and called each of us by name.  Responding to that call is a lifelong process.  Every day we have to learn to be more attentive to the Lord in prayer, meditating on his word and seeking to discern his will.  I know that your pastoral work and your apostolates demand much of you, and that your days are often long and leave you tired.  But we cannot bear Christ’s name, or share in his mission, unless we remain first and foremost men and women rooted in love, fired by love, through a personal encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and the words of sacred Scripture.  Father Abel, you reminded us of this when you spoke of the importance of fostering an intimate relationship with Jesus, for there we experience his mercy and find renewed strength for our service to others.  
Attentiveness to the Lord allows us to see the world through his eyes and thus to become more sensitive to the needs of those whom we serve.  We begin to understand their hopes and joys, fears and burdens, we see more clearly the many talents, charisms and gifts they bring to the building up of the Church in faith and holiness.  Brother Lawrence, when you spoke of your ashram, you helped us to see the importance of assisting people to satisfy their spiritual thirst.  May all of you, in the great variety of your apostolates, be a source of spiritual refreshment and inspiration to those you serve, and enable them to share their gifts ever more fully with one another in advancing the mission of the Church.
Christ’s compassion.  The rosary draws us into a meditation on the passion and death of Jesus.  By entering more deeply into these sorrowful mysteries, we come to know their saving power and are confirmed in our call to share it by our lives of com-passion and self-giving.  Priesthood and religious life are not a career.  They are not a vehicle for personal advancement.  They are a service, a share in Christ’s own sacrificial love for his flock.  By conforming ourselves daily to that we love, we come to appreciate that our lives are not our own.  It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us (cf. Gal 2:20).
We embody this compassion by accompanying people, especially in their moments of suffering and trial, helping them to find Jesus.  Father Franco, thank you for drawing this to the fore – each of us is called to be a missionary, bringing Christ’s mercy and love to all, especially those on the peripheries of our society.  I am especially grateful for the many ways in which so many of you are engaged in the areas of social outreach, health care and education, serving the needs of your local communities and of the many migrants and refugees coming to your country.  Your service to the wider community, in particular to those most in need, is a precious service to the building of a culture of encounter and solidarity.
The Church’s rejoicing.  Lastly, the rosary fills us with joy in Christ’s triumph over death, his ascension to the right hand of the Father and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our world.  The whole of our ministry is directed to proclaiming the joy of the Gospel.  In our lives and apostolates, we are all too aware of the problems of the world and the sufferings of humanity, but we never lose confidence in the power of Christ’s love to prevail over evil and the Prince of Lies who tries to deceive us.  Never be discouraged by your own failures or by the challenges of ministry.  If you remain attentive to the Lord in prayer and persevere in offering Christ’s compassion to your brothers and sisters, then the Lord will surely fill your hearts with the comforting joy of his Holy Spirit.
Sister Mary Chandra, you shared with us the joy that flows from your religious vocation and the charism of your religious congregation.  Marcelius, you too spoke of the love you and your fellow seminarians have for your vocation to be priests.  Both of you reminded us that we are all asked daily to renew and deepen our joy in the Lord by striving to imitate him ever more fully.  In the beginning, this may seem daunting, but it is fills our hearts with spiritual joy.  For each day becomes an opportunity to begin again, to respond anew to the Lord.  Never lose heart, for the Lord’s patience is for our salvation (cf. 2 Pet 3:15)!  Rejoice in the Lord always!
Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for your fidelity in serving Christ and his Church through the gift of your lives.  I assure all of you of my prayers, as I ask you to pray for me.  Let us now turn to Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, asking that she may obtain for all of us the grace to grow in holiness and to be ever more joyful witnesses of the power of the Gospel to bring healing, reconciliation and peace to our world.

Saint December 2 : St. Bibiana : Patron of hangovers, headaches, mental illness, torture victims

St. Bibiana
Feast: December 2
Feast Day:December 2
Born:4th century in Rome
Patron of:against epilepsy, against hangovers, against headaches, against insanity, against mental illness, epileptics, mentally ill people, single laywomen, torture victims
The earliest mention in an authentic historical authority of St. Bibiana (Vibiana), a Roman female martyr, occurs in the "Liber Pontificalis" where in the biography of Pope Simplicius (468-483) it is stated that this pope "consecrated a basilica of the holy martyr Bibiana, which contained her body, near the 'palatium Licinianum'" (ed. Duchesne, I, 249). This basilica still exists. In the fifth century, therefore, the bodily remains of St. Bibiana rested within the city walls. We have no further historical particulars concerning the martyr or the circumstances of her death; neither do we know why she was buried in the city itself. In later times a legend sprang up concerning her, connected with the Acts of the martyrdom of Sts. John and Paul and has no historical claim to belief. According to this legend, Bibiana was the daughter of a former prefect, Flavianus, who was banished by Julian the Apostate. Dafrosa, the wife of Flavianus, and his two daughters, Demetria and Bibiana, were also persecuted by Julian. Dafrosa and Demetria died a natural death and were buried by Bibiana in their own house; but Bibiana was tortured and died as a result of her sufferings. Two days after her death a priest named John buried Bibiana near her mother and sister in her home, the house being later turned into a church. It is evident that the legend seeks to explain in this way the origin of the church and the presence in it of the bodies of the above mentioned confessors. The account contained in the martyrologies of the ninth century is drawn from the legend.source The Catholic Encyclopedia

Dear Saint Bibiana, through your fasting and prayer you were given the grace to endure suffering and torment at the hands of your persecutors. Intercede for us, dear saint, that we also remember that our Lord is always there to strengthen us and give us the grace to persevere. Amen.