Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Saint May 9 : St. Pachomius - #Bishop - Died 348

St. Pachomius
ABBOTT AND BISHOP
Feast Day:
May 9
Born:
292, Thebes, Egypt
Died:
9 May 348, Egypt
Though St. Antony be justly esteemed the institutor of the cenobitic life, or that of religious persons living in community under a certain rule, St. Pachomius was the first who drew up a monastic rule in writing. He was born in Upper Thebais about the year 292, of idolatrous parents, and was educated in their blind superstition, and in the study of the Egyptian sciences. From his infancy, he was meek and modest, and had an aversion to the profane ceremonies used by the infidels in the worship of their idols. Being about twenty years of age, he was pressed into the emperor's troops, probably the tyrant Maximinus, who was master of Egypt from the year 310; and in 312 made great levies to carry on a war against Licinius and Constantine. He was, with several other recruits, put on board a vessel that was falling down the river. They arrived in the evening at Thebes, or Diospolis, the capital of Thebais, a city in which dwelt many Christians. Those true disciples of Christ sought every  opportunity of relieving and comforting all that were in distress, and were moved with compassion towards the recruits, who were kept close confined, and very ill-treated. The Christians of this city showed them the same tenderness as if they had been their own children; took all possible care of them, and supplied them liberally with money and necessaries.

Such an uncommon example of disinterested virtue made a great impression on the mind of Pachomius. He inquired who their pious benefactors were, and when he heard that they believed in Jesus Christ the only Son of God, and that in the hope of a reward in the world to come, they labored continually to do good to all mankind, he found kindled in his heart a great love of so holy a law, and an ardent desire of serving the God whom these good men adored. The next day, when he was continuing his journey down the river, the remembrance of this purpose strengthened him to resist a carnal temptation. From his infancy he had been always a lover of chastity and temperance but the example of the Christians had made those virtues appear to him far more amiable, and in a new light.
After the overthrow of Maximinus, his forces were disbanded. Pachomius was no sooner returned home, but he repaired to a town in Thebais, in which there was a Christian church, and there he entered his name among the catechumens, or such as were preparing for baptism; and having gone through the usual course of preliminary instructions and practices with great attention and fervor, he received that sacrament at Chenoboscium, with great sentiments of piety and devotion. From his first acquaintance with our holy faith at Thebes, he had always made this his prayer: "O God, Creator of heaven and earth, cast on me an eye of pity: deliver me from my miseries: teach me the true way of pleasing you, and it shall be the whole employment, and most earnest study of my life to serve you, and to do your will." The perfect sacrifice of his heart to God, was the beginning of his eminent virtue. The grace by which God reigns in a soul, is a treasure infinitely above all price. We must give all to purchase it. To desire it faintly is to undervalue it. He is absolutely disqualified and unfit for so great a blessing, and unworthy ever to receive it, who seeks it by halves, or who does not esteem all other things as dung that he may gain Christ.
When Pachomius was baptized, he began seriously to consider with himself how he should most faithfully fulfil the obligations which he had contracted, and attain to the great end to which he aspired. There is danger even in fervor itself. It is often an artifice of the devil to make a novice undertake too much at first, and run indiscreetly beyond his strength. If the sails gather too much wind, the vessel is driven ahead, falls on some rock and splits. Eagerness is a symptom of secret passion, not of true virtue, where it is wilful and impatient at advice. Pachomius was far from so dangerous a disposition, because his desire was pure, therefore his first care was to find a skilful conductor.
Hearing that a venerable old man named Palemon, served God in the desert in great perfection, he sought him out, and with great earnestness begged to live under his direction. The hermit having set before him the difficulties and austerities of his way of life, which several had already attempted in vain to follow, advised him to make a trial of his strength and fervor in some monastery; and, to give him a sketch of the difficulties he had to encounter in the life he aspired to, he added: "Consider, my son, that my diet is only bread and salt: I drink no wine, use no oil, watch one half of the night, spending that time in singing psalms or in meditating on the holy scriptures, and sometimes pass the whole night without sleeping." Pachomius was amazed at this account, but not discouraged. He thought himself able to undertake every thing that might be a means to render his soul pleasing to God, and readily promised to observe whatever Palemon should think fit to enjoin him; who thereupon admitted him into his cell, and gave him the monastic habit. Pachomius was by his example enabled to bear solitude, and an acquaintance with himself. They sometimes repeated together the psalter, at other times they exercised themselves in manual labors (which they accompanied with interior prayer,) with a view to their own subsistence and the relief of the poor. Pachomius prayed above all things, for perfect purity of heart, that being disengaged from all secret attachment to creatures, he might love God with all his affections. And to destroy the very roots of all inordinate passions, it was his first study to obtain the most profound humility, and perfect patience and meekness. He prayed often with his arms stretched out in the form of a cross; which posture was then much used in the church. He was in the beginning often drowsy at the night office. Palemon used to rouse him, and say: "Labor and watch, my dear Pachomius, lest the enemy overthrow you and ruin all your endeavors." Against this weakness and temptation he enjoined him, on such occasions, to carry sand from one place to another, till his drowsiness was overcome. By this means the novice strengthened himself in the habit of watching. Whatever instructions he read or heard, he immediately endeavored fervently to reduce to practice.
One Easter-day Palemon bade the disciple prepare a dinner for that great festival. Pachomius took a little oil, and mixed it with the salt, which he pounded small, and added a few wild herbs, which they were to eat with their bread. The holy old man having made his prayer, came to table; but at the sight of the oil he struck himself on the forehead, and said, with tears: "My Saviour was crucified, and shall I indulge myself so far as to eat oil?" Nor could he be prevailed upon to taste it.
Pachomius used sometimes to go into a vast uninhabited desert, on the banks of the Nile, called Tabenna, in the diocese of Tentyra, a city between the Great and Little Diospolis. While he was there one day in prayer, he heard a voice which commanded him to build a monastery in that place, in which he should receive those who should be sent by God to serve him faithfully. He received, about the same time, from an angel who appeared to him, certain instructions relating to a monastic life.. Pachomius going back to Palemon, imparted to him this vision; and both of them coming to Tabenna, built there a little cell towards the year 325, about twenty years after St. Antony had founded his first monastery. After a short time, Palemon returned to his former dwelling, having promised his disciple a yearly visit, but he died soon after, and is honored in the Roman Martyrology on the 11th of January.

Pachomius received first his own eldest brother John, and after his death many others, so that he enlarged his house; and the number of his monks in a short time amounted to a hundred. Their clothing was of rough linen; that of St. Pachomius himself often haircloth. He passed fifteen years without ever lying down, taking his short rest sitting on a stone. He even grudged himself the least time which he allowed to necessary sleep, because he wished he could have been able to employ all his moments in the actual exercises of divine love. From the time of his conversion he never ate a full meal. By his rule, the fasts and tasks of work were proportioned to every one's strength; though all are together in one common refectory, in silence, with their cowl or hood drawn over their heads, that they might not see one another at their meals. Their habit was a tunic of white linen without sleeves, with a cowl of the same stuff; they wore on their shoulders a white goatskin, called a Melotes. They received the holy communion on the first and last days of every week. Novices were tried with great severity before they were admitted to the habit, the taking of which was then deemed the monastic profession, and attended with the vows. St. Pachomius preferred none of his monks to holy orders, and his monasteries were often served by priests from abroad, though he admitted priests, when any presented themselves, to the habit, and he employed them in  the functions of their ministry. All his monks were occupied in various kinds of manual labor: no moment was allowed for idleness. The saint, with the greatest care, comforted and served the sick himself. Silence was so strictly observed at Tabenna, that a monk, who wanted any thing necessary, was only to ask for it by signs. In going from one place to another, the monks were ordered always to meditate on some passage of the holy scripture, and sing psalms at their work. The sacrifice of the mass was offered for every monk that died, as we read in the life of St. Pachomius. His rule was translated into Latin by St. Jerome, and is still extant. He received the sickly and weak, rejecting none for the want of corporal strength, being desirous to conduct to heaven all souls which had fervor to walk in the paths of perfection. He built six other monasteries in Thebias, not far asunder, and from the year 336, chose often to reside in that of Pabau, or Pau, near Thebes, in its territory, though not far from Tabenna, situated in the neighboring province of Diospolis, also in Thebais. Pabau became a more numerous and more famous monastery than Tabenna itself. By the advice of Serapion, bishop of Tentyra, he built a church in a village for the benefit of the poor shepherds, in which for some time he performed the office of Lector, reading to the people the word of God with admirable fervor; in which function he appeared rather like an angel than a man. He converted many infidels, and zealously opposed the Arians, but could never be induced by his bishop to receive the holy order of priesthood. In 333, he was favored with a visit of St. Athanasius at Tabenna. His sister, at a certain time, came to his monastery desiring to see him; but he sent her word at the gate, that no woman could be allowed to enter his enclosure, and that she ought to be satisfied with hearing that he was alive. However, it being her desire to embrace a religious state, he built her a nunnery on the other side of the Nile, which was soon filled with holy virgins. St. Pachomius going one day to Pane, one of his monasteries, met the funeral procession of a tepid monk deceased. Knowing the wretched state in which he died and to strike a terror into the slothful, he forbade his monks to proceed in singing psalms, and ordered the clothes which covered the corpse to be burnt, saying: "Honors could only increase his torments; but the ignominy with which his body was treated, might move God to show more mercy to his soul; for God forgives some sins not only in this world, but also in the next." When the procurator of the house had sold the mats at market at a higher price than the saint had bid him, he ordered him to carry back the money to the buyers, and chastised him for his avarice.
Among many miracles wrought by him, the author of his life assures us, that though he had never learned the Greek or Latin tongues, he sometimes miraculously spoke them; he cured the sick and persons possessed by devils with blessed oil. But he often told sick or distressed persons, that their sickness or affliction was an effect of the divine goodness in their behalf; and he only prayed for their temporal comfort, with this clause or condition, if it should not prove hurtful to their souls. His dearest disciple, St. Theodorus, who after his death succeeded him in the government of his monasteries, was afflicted with a perpetual headache. St. Pachomius, when desired by some of the brethren to pray for his health, answered: "Though abstinence and prayer be of great merit, yet sickness, suffered with patience, is of much greater." He chiefly begged of God the spiritual health of the souls of his disciples and others, and took every opportunity to curb and heal their passions, especially that of pride. One day a certain monk having doubled his diligence at work, and made two mats instead of one, set them where St. Pachomius might see them. The saint perceiving the snare, said, "This brother hath taken a great deal of pains from morning till night, to give his work to the devil." And, to cure his vanity by humiliations, he enjoined him, by way of penance, to keep his cell fire months, with no other allowance than a little bread, salt, and water. A young man named Sylvanus; who had been an actor on the stage, entered the monastery of St. Pachomius with the view of doing penance, but led for some time an undisciplined life, often transgressing the rules of the house, and still fond of entertaining himself and others with buffooneries. The man of God endeavored to make him sensible of his danger by charitable remonstrances, and also employed his more potent arms of prayer, sighs, and tears, for his poor soul. Though for some time he found his endeavors fruitless, he did not desist on that account; and having one day represented to this impenitent sinner, in a very pathetic manner, the dreadful judgments which threaten those that mock God, the divine grace touching the heart of Sylvanus, he from that moment began, to lead a life of great edification to the rest of the brethren; and being moved with the most feeling sentiments of compunction, he never failed, wheresoever he was, and howsoever employed, to bewail with bitterness his past misdemeanors. When others entreated him to moderate the floods of his tears, "Ah," said he, "how can I help weeping, when I consider the wretchedness of my past life, and that by my sloth I have profaned what was most sacred? I have reason to fear lest the earth should open under my feet, and swallow me up, as it did Dathan and Abiron. Oh! suffer me to labor with ever-flowing fountains of tears, to expiate my innumerable sins. I ought, if I could, even to pour forth this wretched soul of mine in mourning; it would be all too little for my offences." In these sentiments of contrition he made so "real progress in virtue, that the holy abbot proposed him as a model of humility to the rest; and when, after eight years spent in this penitential course, God had called him to himself by a holy death, St. Pachomius was assured by a revelation, that his soul was presented by angels a most agreeable sacrifice to Christ. The saint was favored with a spirit of prophecy, and with great grief foretold the decay of monastic fervor in his order in succeeding ages. In 348 he was cited before a council of bishops at Latopolis, to answer certain matters laid to his charge. He justified himself against the calumniators, but in such a manner that the whole council admired his extraordinary humility. The same year, God afflicted his monasteries with a pestilence, which swept off a hundred monks. The saint himself fell sick, and during forty days suffered a painful distemper with incredible patience and cheerfulness, discovering a great interior joy at the approach of the end of his earthly pilgrimage. In his last moments he exhorted his monks to fervor, and having armed himself with the sign of the cross, resigned his happy soul into the hands of his Creator in the fifty-seventh year of his age. He lived to see in his different monasteries seven thousand monks. His order subsisted in the cast till the eleventh century: for Anselm, bishop of Havelburgh, writes, that he saw five hundred monks of this institute in a monastery at Constantinople. St. Pachomius formed his disciples to so eminent a degree of perfection chiefly by his own fervent spirit and example; for he always appeared the first, the most exact, and the most fervent, in all the exercises of the community. To the fervor and watchfulness of the superior it was owing that in so numerous a community discipline was observed with astonishing regularity, as Palladius and Cassian observe. The former says that they ate with their cowl drawn so as to hide the greatest part of their faces, and with their eyes cast down, never looking at one another. Many contented themselves with taking a very few mouthfuls of bread and oil, or of such like dish; others of pottage only. So great was the silence that reigned among them while every one followed his employment, that in the midst of so great a multitude; a person seemed to be in a solitude. Cassian tells us, that the more numerous the monastery was, the more perfect and rigorous was regular observance of discipline, and all constantly obeyed their superior more readily than a single person is found to do in other places. Nothing so much weakens the fervor of inferiors as the example of a superior who easily allows himself exemptions or dispensations in the rule. The relaxation of monastic discipline is often owing to no other cause.
SharedfromSource: Lives of the SaintsbyAlbanButlerEditedPost/saints/Stpachomius

Free Catholic Movie : Saint Catherine of Sienna - Drama - FULL Movie - with English Subtitles





She was the youngest but one of a very large family. Her father, Giacomo di Benincasa, was a dyer; her mother, Lapa, the daughter of a local poet. They belonged to the lower middle-class faction of tradesmen and petty notaries, known as "the Party of the Twelve", which between one revolution and another ruled the Republic of Siena from 1355 to 1368. From her earliest childhood Catherine began to see visions and to practise extreme austerities. At the age of seven she consecrated her virginity to Christ; in her sixteenth year she took the habit of the Dominican Tertiaries, and renewed the life of the anchorites of the desert in a little room in her father's house. After three years of celestial visitations and familiar conversation with Christ, she underwent the mystical experience known as the "spiritual espousals", probably during the carnival of 1366. She now rejoined her family, began to tend the sick, especially those afflicted with the most repulsive diseases, to serve the poor, and to labour for the conversion of sinners. Though always suffering terrible physical pain, living for long intervals on practically no food save the Blessed Sacrament, she was ever radiantly happy and full of practical wisdom no less than the highest spiritual insight. All her contemporaries bear witness to her extraordinary personal charm, which prevailed over the continual persecution to which she was subjected even by the friars of her own order and by her sisters in religion. She began to gather disciples round her, both men and women, who formed a wonderful spiritual fellowship, united to her by the bonds of mystical love. During the summer of 1370 she received a series of special manifestations of Divine mysteries, which culminated in a prolonged trance, a kind of mystical death, in which she had a vision of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, and heard a Divine command to leave her cell and enter the public life of the world. She began to dispatch letters to men and women in every condition of life, entered into correspondence with the princes and republics of Italy, was consulted by the papal legates about the affairs of the Church, and set herself to heal the wounds of her native land by staying the fury of civil war and the ravages of faction. She implored the pope, Gregory XI, to leave Avignon, to reform the clergy and the administration of the Papal States, and ardently threw herself into his design for a crusade, in the hopes of uniting the powers of Christendom against the infidels, and restoring peace to Italy by delivering her from the wandering companies of mercenary soldiers. While at Pisa, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, 1375, she received the Stigmata, although, at her special prayer, the marks did not appear outwardly in her body while she lived. Text Source: Youtube

Saint May 8 : Blessed Catherine of St. Augustine : Missionary - Augustinian in Canada

Blessed Catherine of Saint Augustine (Catherine de Longpré, 1632-1668) “Think only of His Service” Feast Day: May 8 Her Life Catherine of Saint Augustine was born on May 3, 1632, in Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, Normandy, France. She was raised primarily by her maternal grandparents. They made a practice of offering hospitality to the poor and sick, and taught Catherine the virtue of charity. As early as age three, she expressed a strong desire to do God’s will. She always remembered the lesson of a Jesuit who told her that “it is certain that one does God’s will more in affliction, humiliation, and suffering than when one has everything one wants.” At age five, she had strong mystical prayer experiences where she felt direct contact with God. When she was only eight, she understood that the Holy Spirit was calling her to be a saint, and at age 10 she wrote a note giving herself to “Lady Mary”. Catherine was a witty and attractive and had a naturally cheerful character and a pleasant voice. She was also determined and liked to show off and be noticed. She was attracted by pretty things, but despite her enjoyment of worldly life, when she was 12 she decided to enter the community of Hôtel-Dieu of Bayeux, which was directed by Augustinian nuns, Hospital Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus. She entered their novitiate on October 24, 1646, taking the name in religion of Catherine of St. Augustine. When she was 15, she offered herself for the Canada mission and promised “to live and die in Canada if God would open its door” for her. She made solemn profession as a nun at age 16 on May 4, 1648, in Nantes and set sail for Canada on May 27. The ship arrived in Quebec on August 19. Catherine set about learning the languages of the First Nations people, and looked after the sick. In the spring of 1649, she adopted as her model Saint Jean de Brébeuf, who had just been martyred. Between 1654 and 1668, she filled one after the other the offices of treasurer, director of the hospital, and novice director for her community. Sister Catherine continued to experience deep prayer and at the same time, inner temptations caused her great turmoil. She often had health difficulties. In 1654, she promised to remain in Canada, and, in 1658, she offered herself in a spirit of reparation for the salvation of New France. Therefore, she is considered a co-founder of the Church in Canada. In 1665, she promised to work for “everything that I know to be most perfect and for the greater glory of God.” She fell sick and died on May 8, 1668, at 36 years of age. At the time of her death, she had a reputation as a holy person in both Canada and France. Three years later, Father Paul Rageneau, S.J., published a memoir on her life and her spiritual combats, based on her correspondence and on the journal she wrote at the request of her spiritual directors. She was beatified on April 23, 1989, by Pope (now Saint) John Paul II. Her Spirituality As early as three years of age, Catherine de Longpré showed a precocious inclination to follow the will of God absolutely. This characterizes her entire spiritual journey. A Jesuit helped her understand how accepting suffering as God’s will has a redemptive value for the Church. Her spirituality was marked by her times. She was influenced by the rigour of the Jesuits and Saint John Eudes, who emphasized the demands of divine justice. In this spirit, she offered herself as a voluntary hostage of divine justice for the salvation of the people in New France: “I offered myself to the Divine Majesty to serve him as a victim whenever it pleased him; I took no care for my life or my possessions. I only want God to dispose of them according to his holy will.” Catherine was very sensitive to the evil of sin and felt solidarity with sinners: “I found myself overwhelmed by the intolerable weight of all the crimes I witnessed. … I let it draw me into being helpful to souls.” She prayed for an end to the sale of alcoholic beverages in Quebec, because of the violence it gave rise to among First Nations people. She offered her suffering to Jesus with a prayer it would evoke God’s mercy on the colony. Catherine’s personal prayer conformed to the movement of the liturgical seasons and their great feasts: Easter, the Ascension, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, All Saints’ Day, Christmas. “On June 12, 1664, the eve of Pentecost,” she wrote, “I saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a heavy cloud which only wanted to empty itself.” She had a particular devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, the main source of her strength against temptation, and to the Virgin Mary, to Saint Joseph, and to her protector, the Jesuit martyr Jean de Brébeuf. Catherine was extremely discreet about her trials and her intense prayer experiences. She was a decisive woman of action, and, with great tenderness, she spread joy and consolation among the people she looked after. Her writings reveal her common sense, clear judgment, openmindedness, frankness, generosity and detachment. She could be firm and she could look at things objectively. She loved her land of adoption and vowed to die there, should it be God’s will for her to do so. She wanted to remain in Canada to serve the sick and the poor, even if the other nuns returned to France. Saint François de Laval, Quebec’s first Bishop, was well aware of Catherine’s inner life, her trials, and her gifts. When she died, he said, “I don’t need to see any extraordinary signs from her to be convinced of her holiness, because her virtues made me perfectly aware of it.”
Source: CCCB.CA

Pope Francis warns Don't Dialogue with the Devil in Mass Homily at Vatican


Pope at Mass: Don't dialogue with the devil, the great liar
At Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Tuesday morning, Pope Francis talked about how to deal with the devil who though defeated and dying is still dangerous.
  By Robin Gomes
Vatican News
Never approach the devil nor talk to him: he is "defeated" but dangerous because he seduces and, like a chained angry dog, bites if you go to pat him.  Pope Francis offered this advice in his homily at Mass, Tuesday morning, in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.   Commenting on John’s Gospel where Jesus says “the ruler of this world has been condemned," the Pope spoke about the seduction of the devil and how to deal with him.
The Pope said that even though the devil is defeated and dying he has a great power and capacity to seduce.  He promises many things, bringing us beautifully packed  gifts, without revealing their contents. 
Dying but dangerous
The Pope compared the devil to a dying crocodile, who hunters advise not to approach because it can still strike you dead with its tail.  Hence the devil is very dangerous, his proposals are all lies and we foolishly believe him. 
The Pope described the devil as the father of lies, saying he speaks well, he can sing in order to deceive and he is loser who moves about like a winner.  His light dazzles like the fireworks but does not last. Instead the light of the Lord is "gentle and permanent".
Never dialogue with the devil
The devil, the Pope said, knows how to seduce us in our vanity and curiosity and we buy everything, falling into temptation.  Knowing that a thought, a desire or move is dangerous and we still go there, it is like approaching the devil who is like a chained angry dog that can still bite.  
Unlike Eve who thought herself  a “great theologian” and fell, the Pope said we must never dialogue with the devil because he wins, he is more intelligent than us. On the contrary, Jesus in the desert responds to the devil with the Word of God, hunts down demons, sometimes asking his name but doesn't dialogue.
Pray, watch, fast
Recalling the advice of Jesus to watch, do penance and fast, Pope Francis said we too must do so but never enter into dialogue with the devil. And in moments of temptation we must approach the mother, like frightened children do.  According to the Russian mystics, in times of spiritual upheavals, take refuge under the mantle of the great Mother of God, the Pope said. FULL TEXT from Vatican News

Our Lady of the Rockies - One of the Tallest Statues of Our Lady in the World - Brief History

One of the tallest statues of Our Lady is found in Montana, USA in the city of Butte. Its sits on the East Ridge overlooking the city as the third-tallest statue in America. This 90-foot-tall homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, set 3500 feet above the valley floor, is known as Our Lady of the Rockies.
In 1979 Butte resident Bob O’Bill's wife was nearing death from cancer. O’Bill, who worked as electrician in one of Butte’s surface mines, prayed that his wife be healed, and promised to build a 5-foot statue of Mary in his yard if God answered.
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When his wife made a full recovery, O’Bill and his friends tried to fulfill the promise, but the plan soon developed to building a huge statue on a mountain.

The statue of Our Lady was finished in 1985. 

 Leroy Lee,  designed and welded the statue’s three pieces.
Almost every piece of the project was donated: the land on top of the East Ridge, the heavy machinery needed to cut a road up the mountain itself, the cement base for the statue, and the labor.
As more men lost their jobs due to the recession, they freely donated their time to the project. Even the volunteers’ families held benefit dinners and bake sales to make up for any intermediate costs. The placing of the three-piece, 60-ton statue atop the mountain, requiring a National Guard unit and Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane, was given to them.
  • the fuel needed was costly but, miraculously, every tank was found to be completely filled with gas.
  • Each one of Leroy Lee’s welds when constructing the statue were inexplicably perfect, as he recounts in the documentary made last Christmas.

Pope Francis Releases Video Message Against “organized crime and the illegal trafficking of human beings..."


Pope Francis sends video message to forum on 'modern-day slavery'
Pope Francis has called for concerted effort on the part of all actors of society to address the root causes of human trafficking - which he describes as a crime against humanity - and to promote integral human development in building a renewed soceity based on freedom, justice and peace.
VATICAN NEWS Report: By John Waters >
Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event is being hosted by the Orthodox Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, and co-sponsored by the Patriarch Athenagoras Institute in Berkely, California. The forum brings together experts from many different walks of life, such as scholars, policymakers, peacekeepers and theologians, in order to address the issue of modern day slavery and propose solutions to the problem. The forum is a continuation of the work begun by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, who is the leader of the Orthodox Churches, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The two church leaders convoked a similar conference in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2017.
Pope Francis’s message began with an illustration of the scale of the problem facing the participants. After listing some of the forms of slavery in today’s world, such as human trafficking, exploitation of workers through debt and sexual exploitation, the Pope presented a startling image to the participants.

Startling statistics

“According to some recent statistics, there would be more than 40 million people, men, but especially women and children, who suffer slavery. Just to make us an idea we can think that if they lived in a single city, it would be the largest megalopolis on our planet and would have, more or less, four times the population of the entire urban area of Buenos Aires and Greater Buenos Aires.”

Crime against humanity

Describing the practice of modern day slavery as a crime against humanity, Pope Francis called for the “Veil of indifference” to be broken. Namely for everyone to be made aware of the extent of the problem and the suffering it causes, whether they work within the criminal gangs themselves, or consume the commercial goods produced through slavery or make financial profits as a result of the practice.

Root causes

The Pope also insisted that the key to solving the problem of slavery lies in addressing the root causes and improving the situations of countries where slavery is common-place.
“It is not enough that some States and International Organizations adopt a particularly harsh policy in order to punish the exploitation of human beings, if afterwards the causes are not addressed, the deepest roots of the problem. When countries suffer extreme poverty, suffer violence and corruption, neither the economy, nor the legislative framework nor the basic infrastructures are effective; they fail to guarantee security or assets or essential rights. In this way, it is easier for the perpetrators of these crimes to continue acting with total impunity.”

Need for integral human development

Pope Francis further re-enforced his point, stating that “organized crime and the illegal trafficking of human beings choose their victims among people who today have little means of subsistence and even less hope for the future. To be more clear: among the poorest, among the most neglected, the most discarded. The basic response lies in creating opportunities for integral human development, starting with a quality education: this is the key point, quality education from early childhood, to continue generating new opportunities for growth through employment. Education and employment.”
While reminding the participants of the forum that the work of ending modern day slavery will be long, requiring courage, patience and perseverance, the Pope also recommitted the Churches to helping in this work, calling the work of ending slavery a valuable aid for the construction of a renewed society oriented towards freedom. FULL TEXT from Vatican News 
Pope Francis addresses Int.l Forum on modern day slavery

#BreakingNews MET Museum's Gala draws Controversy but Art from Vatican receives Praise by Cardinal Dolan

The Met Gala, hosted anually by Anna Wintour and celebrity co-chairs, is a fundraising effort with all proceeds going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which is the only curatorial department at the museum that funds itself. Tickets to the event can cost $30,000 each, with a table running a whooping $275,000. Several Hollywood Stars were at the Gala in Catholic-inspired costumes that drew controversy on social media.
 Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, spoke at the press preview for the event on Monday. “In the Catholic imagination, the true, the good and the beautiful are so personal, so real, that they have a name: Jesus Christ who revealed himself as the way, the truth, and the life,” Dolan explained. Dolan admitted that, he had his own reservations. “In the Catholic imagination, the truth, goodness, and beauty of God is reflected all over the place, even in fashion. The world is shot through with his glory and his presence. That’s why I’m here. That’s why the Church is here,” he added.
 The exhibition, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” opens on Thursday and runs through October, includes 40 masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy. Some of these have never been outside of the Vatican. MET President and CEO Daniel Weiss, said that the collection - will enable visitors to go on “a veritable pilgrimage.” Dolan praised the exhibition as “radiant,” adding that the pursuit of the true, the good and the beautiful motivate all of Catholic life. “That’s why we have great schools and universities that teach the truth. That’s why we love and serve the poor to do good, and that’s why we’re into things such as art, poetry, and music, literature, and yes, even fashion, to thank God for the gift of beauty,” said Dolan. The curator of the Met Museum’s Costume Institute, Andrew Bolton, said the costumes are displayed at the Met alongside religious artwork in order to provide context. (Rihanna, left, Katy Perry, center, Madonna, right)

#BreakingNews Irish Catholic Missionary Priest Shot twice in Peru by Attackers - Please Pray

Fr Gerard Desmond, age 73, was attacked after returning from the bank to pay bills and salaries in his slum parish in Peru.
The Irish Columban missionary was shot and wounded in both of his legs by three armed men at his residence in Peru. Fr Gerard then tackled his attackers in a bid to save his parish workers’ wages.
He was in the slum district of San Juan de Lurigancho, outside of the Peruvian capital, Lima.
But as of Monday, the priest, she said was walking and planned to go ahead with his holiday, despite his ordeal.
The Columban missionary had withdrawn the equivalent of US$2,000 from the bank. He drove back to his parish and as he got out of his car to open the gate, a car stopped behind him, and three men, two with guns drawn.
Fr Gerard refused to hand over the money so they hit him with the revolver butt on the head and shot him in both legs below the knee.
In addition to being treated for his leg wounds, the priest got nine stitches in the side of his head but was released from hospital.
“The entire parish was talking about it and there were posts on Facebook with loads of prayers and good wishes; the whole parish was really upset and concerned.”said missionary Sr Maura.
The Columban Sister explained that both she and Fr Gerard arrived in the parish on the same day 22 years ago.
“The poorer people live on the hills, and the parish of Cristo Liberador is enormous with up to 140,000 parishioners,” explained Sr Maura.
Fr Gerry Desmond grew up in Swords, Co Dublin. He was ordained a priest in 1969 and worked in Korea between 1974-1979. He also worked in Canada from 1979-1987, and has served in Peru since 1996.
Edited from CatholicIreland.net

#BreakingNews Vladimir Putin Inaugurated for 4th Term as President of Russia

Vladimir Putin inaugurated for fourth term as president
"We have revived pride in our fatherland," Putin said during the ceremony held in the Kremlin. Two days ago, protests were held in 19 cities against "Tsar Putin" with thousands of arrests. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was briefly detained.


Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Against the background of the gilded walls and crystal chandeliers of the Kremlin’s Andreyevsky Hall, Vladimir Putin today swore on the Russian constitution, taking his fourth oath of office as president of Russia (picture 1, video).
Right after the national anthem, he gave a short speech in which he promised to "multiply the strength and prosperity of Russia”.
Noting that “We have revived pride in our fatherland," Mr Putin added that in the past Russia had risen again from setbacks, "like a phoenix".
Vladimir Putin has been in power for 18 years, either as president or as prime minister, so much so as that his adversaries call him "Tsar Putin".
Two days ago, protests were held against "the tsar" in Moscow and other Russian cities. After some clashes with the police, thousands were arrested in 19 cities, in particular young people who accuse the Russian government of corruption and lack of democracy 
Putin’s best-known opponent, Alexei Navalny, tried to hold a protest in central Moscow, and was briefly taken into custody 
Some feared possible demonstrations today to coincide with the president's oath of office, but so far, nothing has happened.
Putin was re-elected president last March with more than 76 per cent of the votes.
FULL TEXT source: Asia News IT

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday May 8, 2018 - #Eucharist

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 292

Reading 1ACTS 16:22-34

The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
"Do no harm to yourself; we are all here."
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved."
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8

R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
and give thanks to your name.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia SEE JN 16:7, 13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord;
he will guide you to all truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 16:5-11

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me;
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned."

Saint May 8 : St. Peter of Tarantaise - Archbishop - Died 1174


St. Peter of Tarantaise ARCHBISHOP Feast: May 8
Feast Day: May 8
Born: 1102, Saint-Maurice-l'Exil near Vienne, a town ot the Rhône-Alpes
Died: 1174, Bellevaux Abbey
Major Shrine: 1191 by Pope Celestine III
He was a native of Dauphine. A strong inclination to learning, assisted by a good genius and a happy memory, carried him very successfully through his studies. At twenty years of age he took the Cistercian habit at Bonnevaux, a monastery that had been lately filled by a colony sent by St. Bernard from Clairvaux. They employed a great part of the day in hewing wood, and tilling the ground in the forest, in perpetual silence and interior prayer. They ate but once a day, and their fare was herbs or roots, mostly turnips of a coarse sort. Four hours in the twenty-four was the usual allowance for sleep; so that, rising at midnight, they continued in the church till it was morning, and returned no more to rest: which was the primitive custom of that order. Peter practiced the greatest austerities with fervor and alacrity: he was most exactly obedient, obliging to all, humble, and modest. His pious parents, after the birth of four children, lived in perpetual continency, and the practice of rigorous abstinence, prayed much, and gave large alms: their house they seemed to turn into a hospital, so great was the number of poor and strangers they constantly entertained, whom they furnished with good beds, while they themselves often lay on straw. The father and his two other sons at length followed Peter to Bonnevaux and the mother and daughter embraced the same order in a neighboring nunnery. The year after Peter had taken the monastic habit, his example was followed by Amedeus, nearly related to the emperor Conrad III., and sixteen other persons of worth and distinction. Amedeus, indeed, having there made his solemn profession with the rest, by the advice of persons of great virtue and discretion, spent some time at Cluni, the better to superintend his son's education, in the school established there for the education of youth: but he returned after some time to Bonnevaux; and made it his request, at his readmission, that he might be enjoined the lowest offices in the house. To this the abbot, for his greater advancement in humility and penance, consented. The earl of Albion, his uncle, coming one day to see him, found him in a sweat, cleaning the monks' dirty shoes, and, at the same time, so attentive to his prayers, as not to perceive him. The earl remembering in what state he had seen him in the world, was so struck and so much edified at this spectacle, that he ever after retained the deep impression which it made on his mind, and published it at court. Amedeus built four monasteries of his order: among which was that of Tamies, or Stomedium, in the desert mountains of the diocese of Tarentaise, of which he procured his intimate friend St. Peter, not then quite thirty years of age, to be appointed the first abbot, in 1128. Amedeus worked himself with his spade and mattock in building some of these monasteries, and died at Bonnevaux, in the odor of sanctity, in 1140. His son Amedeus, for whose education in piety he had always the greatest concern, after having spent part of his youth in the court of his kinsman the emperor, became a Cistercian monk under St. Bernard, at Clairvaux, and died bishop of Lausanne. The monastery of Tamies seemed a house of terrestrial angels; so constantly were its inhabitants occupied in the employment of angels, paying to God an uninterrupted homage of praise, adoration, and love. St. Peter, by the help of Amedeus III., count of Savoy, founded in it a hospital to receive all the poor sick persons of the country, and all strangers; and would be himself its servant to attend them. In 1142, the count of Savoy procured his election to the archbishopric of Tarentaise, and he was compelled by St. Bernard and the general chapter of his order, though much against his own inclinations, to accept of that charge. Indeed, that diocese stood extremely in need of such an apostolic pastor, having been usurped by a powerful ambitious wolf, named Idrael, whose deposition left it in the most desolate condition. The parish-churches and tithes were sacrilegiously held by laymen; and the clergy, who ought to have stemmed the torrent of iniquity, contributed but too often to promote irregularity by their own wicked example. The sight of these evils drew tears from the eyes of the saint, with which he night and day implored the divine mercy upon the souls intrusted to his care. He directed all his fasts, his prayers, and labors, for the good of his flock: being persuaded that the sanctification of the people committed to his charge was an essential condition for securing his own salvation. He altered nothing in the simplicity of a monastic life, and looked on the episcopal character as a laborious employment rather than a dignity. His clothes were plain, and his food coarse; for he ate nothing but brown bread, herbs, and pulse, of which the poor had always their share. He made the constant visitation of his diocese his employ; he everywhere exhorted and instructed his whole charge with unwearied zeal and invincible patience, and besides, he provided the several parishes of his diocese with able and virtuous pastors. When he came to his bishopric, he found the chapter of his cathedral full of irregularities, and the service of God performed in a very careless manner; but he soon made that church a pattern of good order and devotion. He recovered the tithes and other revenues of the church that had been usurped by certain powerful laymen; made many excellent foundations for the education of youth, and the relief of the poor; repaired several churches, and restored everywhere devotion and the decent service of God. The author of his life, who was the constant companion of his labors, and the witness of the greatest part of his actions after he was made bishop, assures us he wrought many miracles in several places, chiefly in curing the sick, and multiplying provisions for the poor in times of great distress; so that he was regarded as a new Thaumaturgus. The confusion his humility suffered from the honors he received, joined to his love of solitude, made him resolve to retire from the world; and accordingly, in 1155, after he had borne the weight of the episcopal character thirteen years, having settled his diocese in good order, he disappeared on a sudden; and made his way to a retired monastery of Cistercians in Germany, where he was not known. In the mean time, his family and diocese mourned for the loss of their tender father. Strict inquiry was made in all the neighboring provinces, especially in the monasteries, but in vain; till, after some time, divine providence discovered him by the following accident. A young man, who had been brought up under his care, came to the monastery in which he lay concealed, and upon observing the monks as they were going out of the church to their work, he knew his bishop, and made him known to the whole community. The religious no sooner understood who he was, but they all fell at his feet, begged his blessing, and expressed much concern for not having known him before. The saint was inconsolable at being discovered, and was meditating a new escape, but he was so carefully watched, that it was not in his power; so that he was forced to go back to his diocese, where he was received with the greatest demonstrations of joy. He applied himself to his functions with greater vigor than ever. The poor were always the object of his peculiar care. He was twice discovered to have given away, with the hazard of his own life, in extreme cold weather in winter, the waistcoat which he had on his back. For three months before the harvest he distributed general alms among all the inhabitants of the mountains, provisions being always very scarce there at that season. He founded hospitals on the Alps, for the entertainment of poor travellers; because, before that time, many perished for the want of such a succor. To preserve in his heart the spirit of devotion and penance, he continued to practise, as much as possible, all the austerities and other rules of his order, only commuting manual labor for the spiritual functions of his charge. By his conversation with the God of peace, he imbibed an eminent spirit of that virtue, and learned, by humility and charity, to be truly the man of peace; having also a singular talent for extinguishing the most implacable and inveterate enemies. He often reconciled sovereign princes when they were at variance, and prevented several bloody wars. The emperor Frederic I. set up Octavian, a schismatical pope, under the name of Victor, against Alexander III. St. Peter was almost the only subject of the empire who had the courage openly to oppose his unjust attempt, and he boldly defended the cause of justice in presence of the tyrant, and in many councils. The emperor, who banished others that spoke in favor of that cause, stood in awe of his sanctity: and Peter, by his mild counsels, frequently softened his fierceness, and checked the boisterous sallies of his fury, while, like a roaring lion, he spread terror on every side. The saint preached in Alsace, Burgundy, Lorraine, and in many parts of Italy; and confounded the obstinate by numberless miraculous cures of the sick, performed by the imposition of his hands and prayer. He was ordered by the pope to go into France and Normandy, to endeavor a reconciliation between the kings of England and France, who had made peace in 1169, but quarrelled again the next year. Though then very old, he preached wherever he went. Louis VII. sent certain gentlemen of his court to meet him at a great distance, and received him with the greatest marks of honor and respect; but honors and crowds were of all things the most troublesome to the saint. The man of God restored the use of sight to one blind in the presence of the count of Flanders, and many other noblemen, who were at that time with the king of France: who, being also himself an eye-witness, examined carefully all the circumstances, and declared the miracle to be evident and incontestable. The saint went from Paris to Chaumont, on the confines of Normandy, where Henry II., king of England, met him: and when he arrived in sight of the holy man, alighted from his horse, and coming Up, fell at his feet. The people stole the cloak or hood of St. Peter, and were going to cut it in pieces to divide the scraps, being persuaded that they would perform miracles. But the king took the whole cloak for himself, saying: I have myself seen miraculous cures performed by his girdle, which I already possess." In his presence, the saint restored the use of speech to a girl that was dumb. On Ash-Wednesday, in 1171, St. Peter being at the Cistercian abbey of Mortemer, in the diocese of Rouen, the king of England came thither with his whole court, and received ashes from his hands. The archbishop prevailed on the two kings to put an end to their differences by a treaty of peace, and to procure councils to be assembled in their dominions, in which Alexander's title should be solemnly recognised. The holy man hereupon returned to his church, but was some time after sent again by the pope to the king of England, to endeavor to compose the difference between him and his son: but his journey had not the desired effect. He fell sick on his return, and died the death of the just, at Bellevaux, a monastery of his order, in the diocese of Besancon, in 1174, being seventy-three years old. He was canonized by pope Celestine III., in 1191. See his life written nine years after his death by Geoffrey, some time his companion, and afterwards abbot of Hautecombe, by the order of pope Lucius III. See also Le Nain, t. 2, p. 83.Source Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler