Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Pope Francis "...prayer, to ask for something, is very noble. God is the Father who has immense compassion for us..." FULL TEXT + Video


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Catechesis on "Our Father": 2. A prayer that asks with trust

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We continue the journey of catechesis on "Our Father", which began last week. Jesus puts on the lips of his disciples a short, bold prayer, made up of seven questions - a number that in the Bible is not accidental, indicates fullness. I say boldly because, if Christ had not suggested it, probably none of us - indeed, none of the most famous theologians - would dare to pray to God in this way.

In fact, Jesus invites his disciples to approach God and to ask him some questions with confidence: first of all concerning Him and then concerning us. There are no preambles in the "Our Father". Jesus does not teach formulas to "ingratiate himself" with the Lord; on the contrary, he invites them to pray to him, dropping the barriers of subjection and fear. He does not say to turn to God calling him "Almighty", "Most High", "You, who are so far from us, I am a miserable": no, he does not say so, but simply "Father", with all simplicity, like children they turn to their father. And this word "Father" expresses confidence and filial trust.

The prayer of the "Our Father" has its roots in the concrete reality of man. For example, he makes us ask for bread, the daily bread: simple but essential request, which says that faith is not a "decorative" issue, detached from life, which intervenes when all other needs have been met. If anything, prayer begins with life itself. Prayer - Jesus teaches us - does not begin in human existence after the stomach is full: rather it lurks wherever there is a man, any man who is hungry, who cries, who struggles, who suffers and wonders "why ". Our first prayer, in a sense, was the wail that accompanied the first breath. In that newborn cry, the destiny of our whole life was announced: our continual hunger, our continuous thirst, our search for happiness.
Jesus, in prayer, does not want to extinguish the human, he does not want to anaesthetize him. He does not want us to dampen the questions and requests by learning to bear everything. Instead, he wants all suffering, every disquiet, to rush towards the sky and become dialogue.

Having faith, a person said, is a habit of shouting.

We should all be like the Bartimaeus of the Gospel (cf. Mk 10: 46-52) - we recall that passage of the Gospel, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus - that blind man who was begging at Jericho. Around him he had so many good people who told him to keep quiet: "But shut up! The Lord passes by. Shut up. Do not disturb. The Master has a lot to do; do not disturb it. You are annoying with your screams. Do not disturb". But he did not listen to those advice: with holy insistence, he demanded that his miserable condition could finally meet Jesus. And he shouted louder! And the polite people: "But no, it's the Master, please! Make a bad impression! ". And he cried out because he wanted to see, he wanted to be healed: "Jesus, have mercy on me!" (V. 47). Jesus gives him back his sight, and tells him: "Your faith has saved you" (v.52), as if to explain that the decisive thing for his recovery was that prayer, that invocation shouted with faith, stronger than " common sense "of so many people who wanted to silence him. Prayer not only precedes salvation, but somehow already contains it, because it frees us from the desperation of those who do not believe in a way out of so many unbearable situations.
Of course, believers also feel the need to praise God. The Gospels bring back to us the exclamation of joy that breaks out from the heart of Jesus, full of amazement with gratitude to the Father (cf. Mt 11: 25-27). The early Christians even felt the need to add to the text of the "Our Father" a doxology: "Because you are the power and the glory throughout the centuries" (Didache, 8, 2).
But none of us is obliged to embrace the theory that someone in the past has advanced, that is, prayer of question is a weak form of faith, whereas the most authentic prayer would be pure praise, that which seeks God without the burden of any request . No, this is not true. The prayer of question is authentic, it is spontaneous, it is an act of faith in God who is the Father, who is good, who is omnipotent. It is an act of faith in me, that I am small, sinful, needy. And this is why prayer, to ask for something, is very noble. God is the Father who has immense compassion for us, and wants his children to speak to him without fear, directly calling him "Father"; or in difficulty saying: "But Lord, what have you done to me?". That's why we can tell everything about it, even the things that in our life remain distorted and incomprehensible. And he promised us that he would be with us forever, until the last days we spend on this earth. Let us pray to our Father, thus beginning, simply: "Father" or "Dad". And He understands us and loves us so much.
Greetings in Various Languages: 
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes venus de Quimper. Alors que nous nous préparons à fêter la venue du Seigneur parmi nous, ne craignons pas, frères et sœurs, de nous adresser à Dieu avec confiance dans toutes les circonstances de notre vie quotidienne. Nous sommes ses enfants, et il nous a promis d’être avec nous, tous les jours jusqu’à la fin de notre vie. Que Dieu vous bénisse.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!
Herzlich heiße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache willkommen. Besonders grüße ich die Delegation der Österreichischen Parlamentarier, die anlässlich des 200-Jahr-Jubiläums des Weihnachtsliedes „Stille Nacht“ gekommen sind. In seiner tiefen Schlichtheit lässt uns dieses Lied das Geschehen der Heiligen Nacht begreifen. Jesus, der Retter, der in Betlehem geboren wurde, offenbart uns die Liebe Gottes des Vaters. Ihm wollen wir unser ganzes Leben anvertrauen. Gesegnete Adventszeit euch allen.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica. De modo especial saludo a los latinoamericanos y a los mexicanos en este día de nuestra Patrona, la Madre de Guadalupe. Que el Señor Jesús nos dé la gracia de una total confianza en Dios, Padre compasivo que nos ama y permanece siempre a nuestro lado. Que Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe nos ayude a entregarnos al amor providente de Dios y a poner en Él toda nuestra esperanza. Muchas gracias.
Uma cordial saudação aos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, particularmente aos fiéis de Braga, Nova Oeiras, São Julião da Barra e aos membros da Orquestra Sinfônica da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, de coração desejo a todos um tempo do Advento cheio de luz, pedindo à Virgem Maria, Mãe de Deus e da Igreja, para ser a estrela que protege a vida das vossas famílias. Que Deus vos abençoe!
أرحب بالحجاج الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من مصر ومن الأراضي المقدسة ومن الشرق الأوسط. إن صلاة "الآبانا" ليست مجرد صلاة يجب علينا حفظها وتلاوتها، ولكنها نموذج يعلمنا كيفية الصلاة والشكر والطلب. يخبرنا القديس بولس: "لا تكونوا في هم من أي شيء كان، بل في كل شيء لترفع طلباتكم إلى الله بالصلاة والدعاء مع الشكر، فإن سلام الله الذي يفوق كل إدراك يحفظ قلوبكم وأذهانكم في المسيح يسوع" (فل 4، 6- 7). ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم من الشرير!‏‏
[Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua araba, in particolare a quelli provenienti dall’Egitto, dalla Terra Santa e dal Medio Oriente. Il “Padre nostro” non è una preghiera che dobbiamo imparare a memoria e recitare a Dio, ma è l’esempio di come dovremmo pregare, ringraziare e chiedere. San Paolo ci insegna: “Non angustiatevi di nulla, ma in ogni cosa fate conoscere le vostre richieste a Dio in preghiere e suppliche, accompagnate da ringraziamenti. E la pace di Dio, che supera ogni intelligenza, custodirà i vostri cuori e i vostri pensieri in Cristo Gesù” (Fil 4, 6-7). Il Signore vi benedica e vi protegga dal maligno!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Matce Bożej z Guadalupe, której wspomnienie dzisiaj obchodzimy, zawierzam was tu obecnych, wasze rodziny, a szczególnie te, które oczekują narodzin dziecka. Święty Jan Paweł II powierzył Jej macierzyńskiej trosce życie i niewinność dzieci, zwłaszcza tych, którym zagraża niebezpieczeństwo śmierci, zanim się narodzą. Madonna z Guadalupe – widać, że jest brzemienna: oczekuje Zbawiciela. Za Jej wstawiennictwem, w tym czasie Adwentu, wypraszajmy dar potomstwa dla bezdzietnych rodzin, szacunek dla poczętego życia i otwartość serc na wartości ewangeliczne. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.
* * ******
I extend a cordial welcome to the faithful of the Italian language.

I am pleased to welcome the pilgrims from the Diocese of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto and the parish groups, in particular those of Apice and of Perito.

I greet the group "Chaminade" of Campobasso, accompanied by the Archbishop, Monsignor Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, the Military of the 2nd Army Aviation Regiment "Sirio", of Lamezia Terme; the Staff of the Police Headquarters of Isernia; the St Petr's Cricket club; the school institutes, in particular that of Altamura, and the group of sick people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity syndrome.

A particular thought I address to the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds.

Today in the liturgical celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe we ask that you accompany us at Christmas and rekindle in us the desire to welcome with joy the light of her Son Jesus, to make it shine more and more in the night of the world.

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe - #Miracle Prayer and #Chaplet - SHARE - #OurLadyofGuadalupe

Miraculous Prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe
Beautiful Virgin of Guadalupe, I ask you on behalf of all my brothers and sisters of the world that you bless us and protect us. Give us proof of your love and kindness. Oh pure Virgin of Guadalupe, give me through your Son, forgiveness for my sins, blessings for my job, cure for my diseases and needs, and all that you deem necessary I ask for my family. Oh Mother of God, do not disdain the pleas we present to you in our needs. Amen.

Prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe by Pope John Paul II
O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church! You, who from this place reveal your clemency and your piety to all those who ask for your protection; hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.
Mother of mercy, teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love.
We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities, and our sorrows.
Grant peace, justice, and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother.
We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church: Hold us always with your loving hand.
Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the bishops, that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls.
Contemplate this immense harvest, and interced with the Lord that He may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole People of God, and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious, strong in the faith and zealous dispensers of God's mysteries.
Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.
Our hope, lookk upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus and, if we fall, help us to rise again, to return to Him, by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the sacrament of Penance, which gives peace to the soul.
We beg you to grant us a great love for all the holy sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left us on earth.
Thus, most holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which comes to us from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe
First DayDearest Lady of Guadalupe, fruitful Mother of holiness, teach me your ways of gentleness
and strength. Hear my humble prayer offered with heartfelt confidence to beg this favor....
(name your intention)Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Second DayO Mary, conceived without sin, I come to your throne of grace to share the fervent
devotion of your faithful Mexican children who call to you under the glorious Aztec title
of Guadalupe. Obtain for me a lively faith to do your Son's holy will always: May His
will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Third DayO Mary, whose Immaculate Heart was pierced by seven swords of grief, help me to walk
valiantly amid the sharp thorns strewn across my pathway. Obtain for me the strength to
be a true imitator of you. This I ask you, my dear Mother.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Fourth DayDearest Mother of Guadalupe, I beg you for a fortified will to imitate your divine Son's
charity--to always seek the good of others in need. Grant me this, I humbly ask of you.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Fifth DayO most holy Mother, I beg you to obtain for me pardon of all my sins, abundant graces to
serve your Son more faithfully from now on, and lastly, the grace to praise Him with you
forever in heaven.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Sixth DayMary, Mother of vocations, multiply priestly vocations and fill the earth with religious
houses which will be light and warmth for the world, safety in stormy nights. Beg your
Son to send us many priests and religious. This we ask of you, O Mother.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Seventh DayO Lady of Guadalupe, we beg you that parents live a holy life and educate their children
in a Christian manner; that children obey and follow the directions of their parents; that
all members of the family pray and worship togeter. This we ask of you, O Mother.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Eighth DayWith my heart full of the most sincere veneration, I prostrate myself before you,
O Mother, to ask you to obtain for me the grace to fulfill the duties of my state in life
with faithfulness and constancy.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Ninth DayO God, You have been please to bestow upon us unceasing favors by having placed us
under the special protection of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Grant us, Your humble
servants, who rejoice in honoring her today upon earth, the happiness of seeing her face
to face in heaven.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be

Dearest Lady of Guadalupe, fruitful Mother of Holiness, teach me your ways of gentleness and strength. Hear my prayer, offered with deep-felt confidence to beg this favor...(mention your intentions here).
O Mary, conceived without sin, I come to your throne of grace to share the fervent devotion of your faithful Mexican children who call to thee under the glorious Aztec title of "Guadalupe"--the Virgin who crushed the serpent.
Queen of Martyrs, whose Immaculate Heart was pierced by seven swords of grief, help me to walk valiantly amid the sharp thorns strewn across my pathway. Invoke the Holy Spirit of Wisdom to fortify my will to frequent the Sacraments so that, thus enlightened and strengthened, I may prefer God to all creatures and shun every occasion of sin.
Help me, as a living branch of the Vine that is Jesus Christ, to exemplify His divine charity always seeking the good of others. Queen of Apostles, aid me to win souls for the Sacred Heart of my Saviour. Keep my apostolate fearless, dynamic, and articulate, to proclaim the loving solicitude of Our Father in heaven so that the wayward may heed His pleading and obtain pardon, through the merits of your merciful Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chaplet of Our Lady of Guadalupe
On the Crucifix:Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mystical Rose, make intercession for our Holy Church, protect the sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke you in their necessities, and since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most Holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, of burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.
1 Our Father, 4 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
First Apparition: Our Lady of Guadalupe appears to Juan Diego the first time. Our Lady requests a temple in her honor.
1 Our Father, then Meditation: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Queen and my Mother, I thank you for your first apparition to Juan Diego when you revealed that you are the Most Pure Virgin, Mary. Mother of the true God and Mother of all mankind, I thank you for your requesting a temple to be built where you stood, to bear witness to your love, your compassion, your aid, and your protection for all who would love you, trust you, and invoke your help.
3 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
Second Apparition: Our Lady of Guadalupe appears to Juan Diego a second time.
1 Our Father, then Meditation: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Queen and my Mother, I thank you for your second apparition to Juan Diego when, upon his return from the Bishop's house, he knelt in humiliation and defeat before you since he was unable to accomplish your mission. I thank you for the courage and encouragement you gave to Juan Diego to make a second appeal to the Bishop.
3 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
Third Apparition: Our Lady of Guadalupe promises a sign to Juan Diego for the Bishop.
1 Our Father, then Meditation: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Queen and my Mother, I thank you for your third apparition to Juan Diego when after this unsuccessful attempt to have a temple built, you said to him, "So be it, son. Return tomorrow in order that you may secure for the Bishop the sign for which he has asked. When this is in your possession, he will believe you; he will no longer doubt your word and suspect your good faith. Be assured that I shall reward you for all that you have undergone."
3 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
Fourth Apparition: Our Lady of Guadalupe fulfills her promise by showing herself on the tilma of Juan Diego.
1 Our Father, then Meditation: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Queen and my Mother, I thank you for your fourth apparition to Juan Diego when you ordered him to pick the roses he would find on the summit of the hill and bring them to you. I thank you for arranging them in his tilma when you said, "this cluster of roses is the sign you shall take to the Bishop. You are to tell him in my name that in this he will recognize my will and that he must fulfill it. You are my ambassador, wholly worthy of confidence. Only in the presence of the Bishop shall you unfold your mantle and disclose that which you carry." I thank you for your image printed on the tilma which appeared when the roses were released.
3 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
Closing Prayer: Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother, to you I come, before you I kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday December 12, 2018 - #Eucharist - Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Lectionary: 690A

Reading 1ZEC 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

OrRV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB

God's temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed."

Responsorial PsalmJUDITH 13:18BCDE, 19

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.

OrLK 1:39-47

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

And Mary said:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior."

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Saint December 12 : Our Lady of Guadalupe : #Guadalupe Miracle Image - Patroness of Americas and Unborn

THE STORY OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE On December 9, 1531, in Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor humble Aztec Indian who had recently converted to the Catholic faith. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him to build a church where she said “I will show and offer all of my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to my people.” Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop asked for a sign that this message was really from Our Lady. Mary granted his request. On December 12, she showed Juan where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in bloom because there was frost on the ground, and the ground was an infertile place where only cactus and thistles grew. After he gathered them, she helped arrange them in his tilma, or poncho, and told him to show them to the Bishop. When he brought them to the Bishop, the Bishop was amazed at the roses, but was even more amazed at what began to happen to Juan Diego’s tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our Lady began to form on the cloth. The picture of Mary was beautiful and the Bishop fell to his knees. He had the church built at her request. The tilma is still intact after 470 years. The colors have not faded and the cloth has not deteriorated. It has been on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for all this time. The manner in which Our Lady appeared on the tilma was very significant to the Aztec Indians. God had her dressed in a way that they would understand who she was. She was dressed in royal clothes that showed that she was very important, perhaps a queen. She also had the symbol of the cross at her neck which was the same symbol the Spaniards had on their ships and in the churches they built. She had a sash tied around her waist which meant that she was with child, for this was the way the Aztec women dressed when they were pregnant. And on her beautiful dress were all sorts of designs and flowers. But there was one flower on her dress that was very significant. It had only four petals. To the Aztecs, the four petal flower was the symbol for the true God, the God above all gods. This flower was located on her abdomen, right over the place where Jesus was growing inside of her. The Aztecs immediately understood that this was the mother of the true God! This appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was very important to the history of our continent. You see, the Aztec Indians and the Spaniards were on the brink of war. The Aztec Indians’ culture and religion were very different from the Spaniards. They worshipped gods, to whom they would offer human sacrifices, often killing 50,000 people a year. The Spaniards, who were Catholic, were naturally disgusted by this. But they were cruel to the Aztecs too, treating them like animals and sometimes killing them for no reason. If a war had occurred, it would have been very brutal and the Spaniards and Christianity would have been totally wiped out. Mary’s appearance changed everything, however. It helped the Indians to embrace Christianity and it helped the Spaniards to treat the Indians with respect and as human beings. In the course of seven years, 6,000,000 Indians converted to the Catholic faith. This was the biggest conversion in the history of the Church! This is why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas. Juan Diego, the humble man to whom she appeared, was canonized in the summer of 2002. Mary’s appearance also put an end to the worship of stone gods and the ritual of human sacrifice. We pray for Mary’s help today to bring an end to the human sacrifice of God’s children through abortion and to convert non-believers. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also called the Patroness of the Unborn.
Shared from the Archdiocese of Baltimore

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe - #Miracle Prayer and #Chaplet - SHARE - #OurLadyofGuadalupe

#BreakingNews Man begins Shooting at Mass in Catholic Cathedral Killing 5 People including Himself - Please Pray

Man kills four and commits suicide during mass in the Cathedral of Campinas
Suspect fired on believers inside church in the central region on the afternoon of Tuesday (11), according to Samu and Fire Department. Four were injured after a crime.

Shooter kills four in the Cathedral of Campinas (SP) and kills himself.

A man killed four people and left four injured during a mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral, in central Campinas (SP), on the afternoon of Tuesday (11), according to the Samu, Fire Brigade and Military Police. The suspect in the shots at the church committed suicide next.

According to the Fire Department, the suspect would have entered the Cathedral with a pistol and a .38 caliber revolver, and if he had been killed in front of the altar after the crimes. He was identified by the Civil Police as Euler Fernando Grandolpho, 49, with (CNH) registered in Valinhos (SP).

The PM even said that the shooter had killed five people. Among the dead are: Sidnei Vitor Monteiro, 39, José Eudes Gonzaga Ferreira, 68, Cristofer Gonçalves dos Santos, 38, and Elpídio Alves Coutinho, 67.

As Mass had begun at 12.15; a man entered the Cathedral at about 1 o'clock; and he sat on one of the pews of the church. At the end of the celebration, he fired about 20 shots; and he killed four men: Sidney Vitor Monteiro, Jose Eudes Gonzaga, Cristofer Gonçalves dos Santos and Elpídio Alves Coutinho; and committed suicide. Four people were shot and injured;
The motivation of the crime is investigated by the police; The wounded were taken to Mário Gatti, Beneficência Portuguesa and HC of Unicamp;
The gunman was identified as Euler Fernando Grandolpho, 49 - he even worked as a prosecutor in the prosecutor's office, but left the agency in 2014
According to the Civil Police, the shooter had been treated for depression, was a recluse, lived with his parents, had a "strange profile" and had no criminal record.

The First District Police Commissioner, Hamilton Caviola Filho, saw images of the security circuit inside the church at the time of the action. He estimates at least 20 shots were fired.

Pope Francis at Mass "...prepare myself for Christmas at least with Peace: Peace of Heart, the Peace of Your presence..." #Advent #Homily

Pope at Mass: Let us allow ourselves to be consoled by God
At the Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis speaks about consolation, which he says should be the normal state for Christians. But in today’s world, he says, the word “tenderness” has effectively been removed from the dictionary.
By Vatican News

The Lord comforts us with tenderness, like mothers who caress their children when they cry. In his homily at the daily Mass, Pope Francis encouraged us to allow ourselves to be comforted by God, and not to put up resistance.

Don’t resist consolation
The first reading, taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (40,1-11), is an invitation to consolation: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God,” because “her guilt is expiated.” This, the Pope explained, refers to the “consolation of salvation,” to the good news that “we are saved.” The Risen Christ, in those forty days after His Resurrection, did just that with His disciples: He consoled them. But, Pope Francis continued, we tend to resist consolation, as if “we were safer in the turbulent waters of our problems.” “We bet on desolation, on problems, on defeat;” the Lord works very hard to console us, but encounters resistance. This can be seen even with the disciples on the morning of Easter, who needed to be reassured, because they were afraid of another defeat.

Tenderness: a word that has been struck from the dictionary
“We are attached to this spiritual pessimism,” Pope Francis said. He described how children who approach him during his public audiences sometimes “see me and scream, they begin to cry, because seeing someone in white, they think of the doctor and the nurse, who give them a shot for their vaccines; and [the children] think, ‘No, no, not another one!’” “And we are a little like that,” the Pope continued, but the Lord says, “Comfort, comfort my people.”

And how does the Lord give comfort? With tenderness. It is a language that the prophets of doom do not recognise: tenderness. It is a word that is cancelled by all the vices that drive us away from the Lord: clerical vices, the vices of some Christians who don’t want to move, of the lukewarm… Tenderness scares them. “See, the Lord has His reward with Him, His recompense goes before Him” – this is how the passage from Isaiah concludes. “Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care.” This is the way the Lord comforts: with tenderness. Tenderness consoles. When a child cries, a mom will caress them and calm them with tenderness: a word that the world today has practically removed from the dictionary.”

Consolation in times of martyrdom
The Lord invites us to allow ourselves to be consoled by Him; and this is also helpful in our preparation for Christmas. And today, the Pope said, in the opening prayer from the Mass, we asked for the grace of a sincere joyfulness, of this simple but sincere joy:

And indeed, I would say that the habitual state of the Christian should be consolation. Even in bad moments: The martyrs entered the Colosseum singing; [and] the martyrs of today – I think of the good Coptic workers on the beach in Libya, whose throats were cut – died saying “Jesus, Jesus!” There is a consolation within: a joy even in the moment of martyrdom. The habitual state of the Christian should be consolation, which is not the same as optimism, no. Optimism is something else. But consolation, that positive base… We’re talking about radiant, positive people: the positivity, the radiance of the Christian is the consolation.

The Lord knocks at the door with caresses
When we suffer, we might not feel that consolation; but a Christian will not lose interior peace “because it is a gift from the Lord,” who offers it to all, even in the darkest moments. And so, Pope Francis said, in these weeks leading up to Christmas, we should ask the Lord for the grace to not be afraid to allow ourselves to be consoled by Him. Referring back to the Gospel of the day (Mt 18,12-14), he said we should pray:

“That I too might prepare myself for Christmas at least with peace: peace of heart, the peace of Your presence, the peace given by Your caresses.” But [you might say] “I am a great sinner.” – Ok, but what does today’s Gospel tell us? That the Lord consoles like the shepherd who, if he loses one of his sheep, goes in search of it; like that man who has a hundred sheep, and one of them is lost: he goes in search of it. The Lord does just that with each one of us. [But] I don’t want peace, I resist peace, I resist consolation… But He is at the door. He knocks so that we might open our heart in order to allow ourselves to be consoled, and to allow ourselves to be set at peace. And He does it with gentleness. He knocks with caresses.
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#BreakingNews Catholic Priest Murdered by Shooting - RIP Fr. John Njoroge Muhia at age 56

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) – A Kenyan priest has been killed in a robbery. The morning of 10 December, Fr. John Njoroge Muhia parish priest at Kinoo, Kiambu, 25 km from Nairobi, was on his way to a bank in the town of Kikuyu to deposit the offerings of the faithful when he was approached by four bandits on motorcycles. On a bumpy road the criminals forced the priest stop and told him to hand over the bag he had in the car. When the priest hesitated one of the robbers pulled out a gun and opened fire shooting through the back window of the car. Some of the bullets reached Fr.Njoroge to the breast. The criminals grabbed the priest’s bag and mobile phone and drove away on their motorbikes. An eye witness in a nearby building site said he heard the shooting and saw two motorbikes make a speedy retreat. The priest was declared dead on arrival at the county hospital. "We are deeply saddened by the killing of Fr. Njorog. Murder of the Lord’s servants is unacceptable” said Fr. Francis Kiarie, who has worked with the priest killed. Fr. John Njoroge Muhia, 56, from Gatitu, was ordained a priest on 30 December 1994 and served at St Peter the Rock Parish in Kinoo. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/12/2018)

Wow Pope Francis makes Surprise Visit to Home for Sick and Challenged Children on Mercy Friday - Watch Video

Pope makes surprise “Mercy Friday” visits to Rome residences for the sick
Pope Francis pays surprise visits to two communities in Rome’s periphery that care for the sick and a group of intellectually challenged children.
By Seàn-Patrick Lovett

Pope Francis began the tradition of making surprise “Mercy Friday” visits during the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. But he has continued making these visits since then as a way of putting in practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

On Friday December 7th he arrived, unannounced, at two live-in health care centres located in Rome’s southern outskirts. There he met with patients, residents and staff.

CasAmica: caring for needy patients and their families
The Pope left the Vatican around 3.30pm accompanied by the President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella. His first stop was the “CasAmica”, a non-profit organization that assists patients needing continuous hospital care, and their families, all of whom face severe economic difficulties. Most come from southern Italy, although the structure also houses patients and families from North Africa and Eastern Europe.

The first surprise visit
Pope Francis himself rang the doorbell and was greeted with amazement by both the staff and guests, some of whom were in the kitchen and others in the games room. The Pope greeted them all, one by one, stopping to play with the children. He then listened to the stories of two young 13 and 11-year old boys who are suffering from cancer and spent time with the other patients and their families.

Il Ponte e l’Albero: caring for the intellectually challenged 
“Il Ponte e l’Albero”, literally, “The Bridge and the Tree”, is so called because it is located near one of the bridges in Rome’s popular Laurentino district. The structure is essentially a therapeutic rehabilitation community caring for twelve intellectually challenged young people who come from particularly difficult family situations.

The second surprise visit
The Pope surprised the young people who were engaged in their afternoon recreational activities, and then sat down to speak and listen to them, answering their questions and hearing their stories.

Three of the boys had written to Pope Francis some months ago, asking him to visit them, telling him of the challenges they face, and describing the progress they are making thanks to the commitment of their doctors and health care operators.

Before leaving, the Pope gifted the community a 10kg (22lb) panettone, a typical Italian sweet bread loaf eaten traditionally at Christmas.

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#BreakingNews 100 Christians Arrested in China who Say "The persecution is a fair price to pay for the Lord".

Chengdu, abuse and police violence after the arrest of 100 Protestant Christians
One faithful arrested this morning. The Early Rain Covenant Church, led by Pastor Wang Yi, counts 500 faithful and 300 sympathizers. Despite being an underground church, members evangelize in the streets, have a seminary and a primary school. Wang Yi had criticized the "cult" of Xi Jinping and the new regulations on religious activities. "The persecution is a fair price to pay for the Lord".

Chengdu (AsiaNews) - About 100 Protestant Christians and seminary students were arrested in Chengdu (Sichuan) between 9 and 10 December. Some of the faithful, later released claimed they were "raped and abused" by the policemen who kept them in custody.

Among those arrested are Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong (photo 2), taken away by the police; two others, Guo Hai and his wife, were dragged away from home, leaving their two children alone.

Others arrested include: Jiang Ruolin, Ge Yingfeng, Zhu Hong, Xiao Hongliu, Ye Yin, Zhang Jianqing, Liu Yingxiu, deacon Zhang Guoqing, Elder Su and his wife, Xiao Yingshan and his wife, Song Engquang and his wife, Xiao Baoguang, Zhou Xiaojuan, Liu Daxuan, and Zhou Yong.

Many were arrested at the community headquarters; others were taken from their homes. The arrests continued even today, when Li Yingqiang, who had hidden himself in the first raid and warned the media, was also arrested.

All the arrested belong to the Church of the First Rain of the Alliance, an unofficial domestic Church, which is not recognized by the government, led by Pastor Wang Yi. Unlike many underground Protestant Churches, Early Rain Covenant Church practices its faith in an open way; publishes sermons and online studies; evangelizes on the streets of the city; has a seminary for future pastors and a primary school for 40 children.

The community has about 500 members and 300 sympathizers. It is not new to arrests and raids. Last June their headquarters was closed because the community had wanted to remember the people killed in the Tiananmen massacre with a memorial service. Some of his members were arrested two months ago because they were evangelizing in the street near the Chengdu station.

Although the police did not want to explain the reasons for the arrests, it is very likely that they are the consequence of the application of the new regulations on religious activities that prohibit unsanctioned gatherings. Pastor Wang Yi, described by many as "the most courageous" religious leader in China, has branded the new regulations as a tool to stifle religious freedom.

Recently, Wang Yi had also raised his voice  against the "cult of Caesar", after the patriotic associations forced Christians to place - often on the altars - the photo of President Xi Jinping.

Before being arrested, Li Yingqiang declared: "“Even if we are down to our last five, worship and gatherings will still go on because our faith is real…Persecution is a price worth paying for the Lord. We would rather live through it than to hide our faith and we hope more Chinese churches will speak up and stand with us.”
FULL TEXT Release from Asia News IT

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday December 11, 2018 - #Eucharist

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 182

Reading 1IS 40:1-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

A voice says, "Cry out!"
I answer, "What shall I cry out?"
"All flesh is grass,
and all their glory like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower wilts,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it.
So then, the people is the grass.
Though the grass withers and the flower wilts,
the word of our God stands forever."

Go up onto a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
Cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial PsalmPS 96:1-2, 3 AND 10AC, 11-12, 13

R. (see Isaiah 40:10ab) The Lord our God comes with power.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The day of the Lord is near:
Behold, he comes to save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
"What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost."

Saint December 11 : St. Damasus I : #Pope : Patron of #Archeologists

St. Damasus I
Feast: December 11

Feast Day:December 11
Born:304 in Rome, Italy
Died:11 December, 384 in Rome, Italy
Patron of:archeologists

Born about 304; died 11 December, 384. His father, Antonius, was probably a Spaniards; the name of his mother, Laurentia, was not known until quite recently. Damasus seems to have been born at Rome; it is certain that he grew up there in the service of the church of the martyr St. Laurence. He was elected pope in October, 366, by a large majority, but a number of over-zealous adherents of the deceased Liberius rejected him, chose the deacon Ursinus (or Ursicinus), had the latter irregularly consecrated, and resorted to much violence and bloodshed in order to seat him in the Chair of Peter. Many details of this scandalous conflict are related in the highly prejudiced "Libellus Precum" (P.L., XIII, 83-107), a petition to the civil authority on the part of Faustinus and Marcellinus, two anti-Damasan presbyters (cf. also Ammianus Marcellinus, Rer. Gest., XXVII, c. iii). Valentinian recognized Damasus and banished (367) Ursinus to Cologne, whence he was later allowed to return to Milan, but was forbidden to come to Rome or its vicinity. The party of the antipope (later at Milan an adherent of the Arians and to the end a contentious pretender) did not cease to persecute Damasus. An accusation of adultery was laid against him (378) in the imperial court, but he was exonerated by Emperor Gratian himself (Mansi, Coll. Conc., III, 628) and soon after by a Roman synod of forty-four bishops (Liber Pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, s.v.; Mansi, op. cit., III, 419) which also excommunicated his accusers.
Damasus defended with vigour the Catholic Faith in a time of dire and varied perils. In two Roman synods (368 and 369) he condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism; he also sent his legates to the Council of Constantinople (381), convoked against the aforesaid heresies. In the Roman synod of 369 (or 370) Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, was excommunicated; he held the see, however, until his death, in 374, made way for St. Ambrose. The heretic Priscillian, condemned by the Council of Saragossa (380) appealed to Damasus, but in vain. It was Damasus who induced Saint Jerome to undertake his famous revision of the earlier Latin versions of the Bible (see VULGATE). St. Jerome was also his confidential secretary for some time (Ep. cxxiii, n. 10). An important canon of the New Testament was proclaimed by him in the Roman synod of 374. The Eastern Church, in the person of St. Basil of Cæsarea, besought earnestly the aid and encouragement of Damasus against triumphant Arianism; the pope, however, cherished some degree of suspicion against the great Cappadocian Doctor. In the matter of the Meletian Schism at Antioch, Damasus, with Athanasius and Peter of Alexandria, sympathized with the party of Paulinus as more sincerely representative of Nicene orthodoxy; on the death of Meletius he sought to secure the succession for Paulinus and to exclude Flavian (Socrates, Church History V.15). He sustained the appeal of the Christian senators to Emperor Gratian for the removal of the altar of Victory from the Senate House (Ambrose, Ep. xvii, n. 10), and lived to welcome the famous edict of Theodosius I, "De fide Catholica" (27 Feb., 380), which proclaimed as the religion of the Roman State that doctrine which St. Peter had preached to the Romans and of which Damasus was supreme head (Cod. Theod., XVI, 1, 2).
When, in 379, Illyricum was detached from the Western Empire, Damasus hastened to safeguard the authority of the Roman Church by the appointment of a vicar Apostolic in the person of Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica; this was the origin of the important papal vicariate long attached to that see. The primacy of the Apostolic See, variously favoured in the time of Damasus by imperial acts and edicts, was strenuously maintained by this pope; among his notable utterances on this subject is the assertion (Mansi, Coll. Conc., VIII, 158) that the ecclesiastical supremacy of the Roman Church was based, not on the decrees of councils, but on the very words of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18). The increased prestige of the early papal decretals, habitually attributed to the reign of Siricius (384-99), not improbably belongs to the reign of Damasus ("Canones Romanorum ad Gallos"; Babut, "La plus ancienne décrétale", Paris, 1904). This development of the papal office, especially in the West, brought with it a great increase of external grandeur. This secular splendour, however, affected disadvantageously many members of the Roman clergy, whose worldly aims and life, bitterly reproved by St. Jerome, provoked (29 July, 370) and edict of Emperor Valentinian addressed to the pope, forbidding ecclesiastics and monks (later also bishops and nuns) to pursue widows and orphans in the hope of obtaining from them gifts and legacies. The pope caused the law to be observed strictly.
Damasus restored his own church (now San Lorenzo in Damaso) and provided for the proper housing of the archives of the Roman Church (see VATICAN ARCHIVES). He built in the basilica of St. Sebastian on the Appian Way the (yet visible) marble monument known as the "Platonia" (Platona, marble pavement) in honour of the temporary transfer to that place (258) of the bodies of Sts. Peter and Paul, and decorated it with an important historical inscription (see Northcote and Brownlow, Roma Sotterranea). He also built on the Via Ardeatina, between the cemeteries of Callistus and Domitilla, a basilicula, or small church, the ruins of which were discovered in 1902 and 1903, and in which, according to the "Liber Pontificalis", the pope was buried with his mother and sister. On this occasion the discoverer, Monsignor Wilpert, found also the epitaph of the pope's mother, from which it was learned not only that her name was Laurentia, but also that she had lived the sixty years of her widowhood in the special service of God, and died in her eighty-ninth year, having seen the fourth generation of her descendants. Damasus built at the Vatican a baptistery in honour of St. Peter and set up therein one of his artistic inscriptions (Carmen xxxvi), still preserved in the Vatican crypts. This subterranean region he drained in order that the bodies buried there (juxta sepulcrum beati Petri) might not be affected by stagnant or overflowing water. His extraordinary devotion to the Roman martyrs is now well known, owing particularly to the labours of Giovanni Battista De Rossi. For a good account of his architectural restoration of the catacombs and the unique artistic characters (Damasan Letters) in which his friend Furius Dionysius Filocalus executed the epitaphs composed by Damasus, see Northcote and Brownlow, "Roma Sotterranea" (2nd ed., London, 1878-79). The dogmatic content of the Damasan epitaphs (tituli) is important (Northcote, Epitaphs of the Catacombs, London, 1878). He composed also a number of brief epigrammata on various martyrs and saints and some hymns, or Carmina, likewise brief. St. Jerome says (Ep. xxii, 22) that Damasus wrote on virginity, both in prose and in verse, but no such work has been preserved. For the few letters of Damasus (some of them spurious) that have survived, see P.L., XIII, 347-76, and Jaffé, "Reg. Rom. Pontif." (Leipzig, 1885), nn. 232-254.
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