Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Saint July 4 : Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati : Patron of World Youth Day and #University Students - #WYD


Feast Day:
July 4
Born:
April 6, 1901, Turin, Italy
Died:July 4, 1925, Turin, Italy


Pier Giorgio Michelangelo Frassati was born in Turin, Italy on April 6, 1901. His mother, Adelaide Ametis, was a painter. His father Alfredo, was the founder and director of the newspaper, “La Stampa," and was influential in Italian politics, holding positions as an Italian Senator and Ambassador to Germany.
At an early age, Pier Giorgio joined the Marian Sodality and the Apostleship of Prayer, and obtained permission to receive daily Communion (which was rare at that time).
He developed a deep spiritual life which he never hesitated to share with his friends. The Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin were the two poles of his world of prayer. At the age of 17, he joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society and dedicated much of his spare time to serving the sick and the needy, caring for orphans, and assisting the demobilized servicemen returning from World War I.

He decided to become a mining engineer, studying at the Royal Polytechnic University of Turin, so he could “serve Christ better among the miners," as he told a friend.

Although he considered his studies his first duty, they did not keep him from social and political activism. In 1919, he joined the Catholic Student Foundation and the organization known as Catholic Action. He became a very active member of the People’s Party, which promoted the Catholic Church’s social teaching based on the principles of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical letter, Rerum Novarum.  
What little he did have, Pier Giorgio gave to help the poor, even using his bus fare for charity and then running home to be on time for meals. The poor and the suffering were his masters, and he was literally their servant, which he considered a privilege. His charity did not simply involve giving something to others, but giving completely of himself. This was fed by daily communion with Christ in the Holy Eucharist and by frequent nocturnal adoration, by meditation on St. Paul’s “Hymn of Charity” (I Corinthians 13), and by the writings of St. Catherine of Siena. He often sacrificed vacations at the Frassati summer home in Pollone (outside of Turin) because, as he said, “If everybody leaves Turin, who will take care of the poor?”
In 1921, he was a central figure in Ravenna, enthusiastically helping to organize the first convention of Pax Romana, an association which had as its purpose the unification of all Catholic students throughout the world for the purpose of working together for universal peace.
Mountain climbing was one of his favorite sports. Outings in the mountains, which he organized with his friends, also served as opportunities for his apostolic work. He never lost the chance to lead his friends to Mass, to the reading of Scripture, and to praying the rosary.
He often went to the theater, to the opera, and to museums. He loved art and music, and could quote whole passages of the poet Dante.
Fondness for the epistles of St. Paul sparked his zeal for fraternal charity, and the fiery sermons of the Renaissance preacher and reformer Girolamo Savonarola and the writings of St. Catherine impelled him in 1922 to join the Lay Dominicans (Third Order of St. Dominic). He chose the name Girolamo after his personal hero, Savonarola. “I am a fervent admirer of this friar, who died as a saint at the stake," he wrote to a friend.
Like his father, he was strongly anti-Fascist and did nothing to hide his political views. He physically defended the faith at times involved in fights, first with anticlerical Communists and later with Fascists.Participating in a Church-organized demonstration in Rome on one occasion, he stood up to police violence and rallied the other young people by grabbing the group’s banner, which the royal guards had knocked out of another student’s hands. Pier Giorgio held it even higher, while using the banner’s pole to fend off the blows of the guards.
Just before receiving his university degree, Pier Giorgio contracted poliomyelitis, which doctors later speculated he caught from the sick whom he tended. Neglecting his own health because his grandmother was dying, after six days of terrible suffering Pier Giorgio died at the age of 24 on July 4, 1925.
His last preoccupation was for the poor. On the eve of his death, with a paralyzed hand he scribbled a message to a friend, asking him to take the medicine needed for injections to be given to Converso, a poor sick man he had been visiting.
Pier Giorgio’s funeral was a triumph. The streets of the city were lined with a multitude of mourners who were unknown to his family -- the poor and the needy whom he had served so unselfishly for seven years.Many of these people, in turn, were surprised to learn that the saintly young man they knew had actually been the heir of the influential Frassati family.
Pope John Paul II, after visiting his original tomb in the family plot in Pollone, said in 1989: “I wanted to pay homage to a young man who was able to witness to Christ with singular effectiveness in this century of ours. When I was a young man, I, too, felt the beneficial influence of his example and, as a student, I was impressed by the force of his testimony."
On May 20, 1990, in St. Peter’s Square which was filled with thousands of people, the Pope beatified Pier Giorgio Frassati, calling him the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes.”
His mortal remains, found completely intact and incorrupt upon their exhumation on March 31, 1981, were transferred from the family tomb in Pollone to the cathedral in Turin. Many pilgrims, especially students and the young, come to the tomb of Blessed Frassati to seek favors and the courage to follow his example.
Text from Frassatiusa

Pope Francis' July Prayer intention for Priests and their Pastoral Ministry "Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord...."

Evangelization prayer intention: Priests and their Pastoral Ministry "Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests."

Amazing History of Catholics in India which Began in 52 AD with the Arrival of St. Thomas the Apostle

Catholic Christianity reached India in AD 52 when Thomas the Apostle reached the Malabar Coast. These Saint Thomas Christians are known as Nasrani, which is a Syriac term meaning Follower of the Nazarene Jesus. St.Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles, who traveled after the Pentecostal experience, to the farthest country then known to proclaim the Good News. In some of their traditional liturgies they still retain Syriac, which is a dialect of Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke. 
St. Thomas set sail to India and landed in Kodungalloor, Kerala in 52 A.D. He preached in different kingdoms all around the Subcontinent and established seven and a half Ecclesial Communities in Malabar, today called Kerala. After 20 years of His mission work, He was martyred at Little Mount near Mylapore, by a fanatic Hindu priest on July 3rd in AD 72. The whole world celebrates the Martyrdom of St.Thomas on July 3rd and it is a day of obligation for the Syro Malabarians.
The Church of the St. Thomas Christians had little contact with the Roman or the other Churches within the Empire. At the same time it maintained communion with the Church of Rome through the Church in the Persian Empire, which later came to be known as the East Syrian or Chaldean or Babylonian Church. It is believed that Christianity in Persian Empire was introduced by the disciples of St. Thomas. 
The arrival of another Thomas (Kynai Thomman) and several Persian families from Cana in 345 AD founded a settlement of Christians in Kottayam, at the behest of the Catholicos of the Assyrian Church of the East. Then the church began to be ruled by East Syrian (Chaldean) bishops. The descendants of this group are called Knananites or Southists. The Indian church however, did not join the East-Syrian Church or priests from India were not made bishops. For some unknown reasons at least from the 8th century until the end of the 16th century the Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church were sent from the East Syrian Church, appointed by the Patriarch of the East Syrian Church.
  With the arrival of the Portuguese explorer, Vasco De Gama to Calicut on the Kerala Coast in 1498 AD, a Latin connection began to take shape.   The Portugese were happy to discover the St.Thomas Christians on the West coast of India in the midst of Hindus and Muslims. (It is noted that the Portuguese burned ancient original Church historical documents of the Syro-Malabar Church that were in Aramaic and Syriac)  The Portuguese soon noticed the differences in liturgy and the connection to East-Syrian Church; they alleged that St.Thomas Christians believed in the Nestorian Heresy as they accepted Bishops from the East Syrian Church which officially had adopted Nestorianism. The fact, however, was not so. The Syro-Malabarians had never accepted Nestorianism even though they had contact with the East Syrians and they were not at all involved in any of the Christological controversies. As they were living at a time soon after the council of Trent in which decision was taken to deal toughly with heretics, they were all out to "reduce the Syro-Malabarians to the Roman obedience." There were also the commercial interests of the Portuguese behind the appointment of Latin Bishops to rule the Syro-Malabarians. As the last Bishop appointed by the East Syrian Patriarch died in 1597 the Portuguese tightened their hold on the Syro-Malabarians and never permitted any more East Syrian Bishops to enter Malabar. The Synod of Diamper (Udayamperur) in 1599 convened by the Latin Archbishop Menezes of Goa thus brought an end to the connection between St.Thomas Christians and East-Syrian Church; it converted St Thomas Christians into a branch of the Latin Church and under Padroado, the colonial power of the Portuguese, making its people accept many customs with which they were not familiar. He also spread the news in Europe that Syro-Malabarians were "reduced to the Roman obedience" and accepted Catholicism as well the authority of the Pope in this Synod. On the contrary, whenever they got a chance they reiterated their allegiance to the Pope and their communion with the Church of Rome. In any case, the rule of the Latin Bishops was never accepted by the Syro-Malabarians and the climax of their protest was what is known in the history as Coonan Cross Oath. The leadership of the St.Thomas Christian community pledged in this oath not to accept any more the rule of the Jesuit missionaries from among whom the Bishops were appointed.
The Coonan Cross Oath in 1653 at the Church of Our Lady of Life in Mattanchery was the culmination of several years of latinization by the Portuguese, and the crowd gathered there took an oath that they would not be subject to the Portuguese Archbishop of Goa, Francis Garcia.  St. Thomas Christians who gathered under the leadership of the Archdeacon to receive a Bishop from Persia, took the oath touching the cross there that they would not obey any more the Jesuits who were the main European Missionaries in India at that time; Coonan Cross Oath was a revolt against the oppressive rule of the Europeans and not against the Pope or the Holy See. After the Oath 12 priests at the instigation of one of them laid hands on the head of the Archdeacon and "ordained him Bishop". There began the division in the Church of the St.Thomas Christians into two major groups: one group continued to recognize the prelates appointed by Rome and the other which broke away from Rome and joined the West-Syrian Jacobite Church of Antioch.   This group came to be known as the Jacobites (Puthankootukar) or Syrian Orthodox Church of India.   The Marthomites separated from the Jacobites in the 19th century due to Anglican Church influence.   The Jacobites were further divided into two groups: Methran Kakshi or the Bishop's group (Syrian Orthodox Church of India) whose Catholicos or supreme head resides at Devalokam, Kottayam and the Bhava Kakshi or Patriarch's Group (Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church of India) whose head is the Antiochene Jacobite Patriach.
After the Coonan Cross Oath, Rome began to take an active interest in the Kerala Christians. Pope Alexander VII sent some Italian Carmelite Vicar Apostolics  to Malabar in 1656, and the Portuguese jurisdiction to the Propaganda Congregation was introduced in Malabar by 1661. Thus St Thomas Christians were placed under dual jurisdiction, under Padroado and PropagandaCongregation which was of concern to Rome. This continued until the 18th century, when Fr. Joseph Kariattil and Fr. Thomas Paremmakkal, two priests from the Church of St.Thomas Christians, went to Rome for mending the situation. Fr.Kariattil was ordained Archbishop of all the  St.Thomas Christians, who owed allegiance to Rome after the Coonan Cross Oath; but he died in Goa, on his way to Kerala in 1786.
In 1787, representatives from 84 churches assembled in Angamaly and drew up a document called Angamaly Padiyola which made a strong demand to Rome for native bishops, citing the sins of omission and commission of the foreign missionaries. The Holy See suppressed the PadroadoSees of Cranganore and Cochin in 1838 and all the faithful of these suppressed sees were entrusted to the Vicar Apostolic of Malabar (under the Propaganda) who used to reside at Verapoly. In 1861, the arrival of a Chaldean Catholic bishop, Thomas Rokkos sent by the Chaldean patriach created more problems. He was excommunicated on his arrival by the Vicar apostolic of Varapuzha, and a schism followed. Another Chaldean bishop, Elias Melus arrived in 1874 and he too met the same fate. The Syrian Christians, popularly known as the Surais, in and around Thrissur who owe allegiance to the Syrian Nestorian patriarch are the followers of the schism Melus created.
It was only in 1886, the Padroado jurisdiction over whole Malabar was suppressed and a Latin hierarchy was established. The very next year, in 1887, Pope Leo XIII finally decreed the separation of Rite of St.Thomas Catholics from that of the Latin Catholics. Two Vicariates apostolic, at Thrissur and Kottayam with two Latin Bishops, Adolf Medlycott and Charles Levigne were erected by the Papal Brief Quod iampridem from Rome. But the Vicars Apostolic appointed for them were foreigners and of the Latin Rite. These Apostolic Vicars would then choose from the Syro-Malabar clergy, a Vicar General each to whom are given special faculties and privileges. The Knanaya Christians who were the endogamous “ purists” came under the Vicariate of Kottayam, and Bishop Lavingne appointed Msgr. Mathew Makil the Vicar General of Knanaya Catholics in 1889.
Continued pleas for native bishops in Malabar finally resulted in Pope Leo XIII ‘s Brief Quae rei sacrae (1896), the two Vicariates were reorganized into the three Vicariates of Changanacherry, Ernakulam and Trichur, and the Syro-Malabar Church received Vicars Apostolic of its own rite: Thrissur, Ernakulam and Changanassery under Indian Bishops John Menachery, Louis Pazheparambil and Mathew Makil respectively. The Knanite Catholics of Kottayam then became the part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Changanachery, headed by Bishop Mathew Makil, a member of Knanaya Community itself. With the efforts of Bishop Makil,  Pope Pius X with the Decree, "In Universi Christiani" on 29th August 1911, erected a fourth vicariate at Kottayam, exclusively for the Southists or Knanites . Knanaya Catholic Bishop of Kottayam has presently got jurisdiction over all the Kananaya faithful within the provinces of Ernakulam , Changanacherry, Trichur and Tellicherry. The auxiliary bishop of Kottayam as Syncellus or representative of the Bishop of Kottayam resides at Kannur in Northern Kerala and looks after the needs of the Kananaya faithful in the Northern Kerala.
 On December 21, 1923 the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy was established by the Apostolic Constitution Romani Pontifices of Pope Pius XI (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 16[1924], pp. 257-262).  Later in the year 1930, a group of Coonan Oath dissidents under the leadership of their archbishop called Mar Ivanios reestablished their lost communion with the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy See accepted it as a separate Catholic Church with the name of Syro-Malankara Church. Since 1950 the Church began to grow out of its base in central Kerala and dioceses were extended to the State's southern and northern parts. From 1962, the Church began to set up mission centers in Northern India, which later became dioceses. The first diocese (suffragan) outside Kerala was Chanda, in Central India, in 1977 and the first diocese (mission) abroad in Chicago in 2001. The Syro-Malabar dioceses that are located outside Kerala are suffragans of Latin archdiocese in each area, except the Mission Diocese in Chicago which is directly under the Holy See.
Ever since the East-Syrian Church began to exercise control over the Indian Christians, the Malabar Church became Syrian in rite with “Syriac” (Aramaic) as the ecclesiastical language. The name “Syro-Malabar” is coined from the words, Syriac and Malabar (now Kerala). The name came into force after it began to be used by the Holy See in its documents from the time indigenous bishops were first appointed in the Church towards the end of the 19th century. Those faithful who remained in communion of Pope after the Coonan Cross Oath later were referred to as the Syro-Malabarian Christians, the name apparently to avoid confusion with the Malabar rite which existed as a part of the Latin Church in the Coromandel coast of India. The Syro-Malabar Church however has always been in communion with Rome, the See of St. Peter and his successors. Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is an Apostolic Church of long history, as old as Christianity itself.
The Holy Catholic Church today is a communion of twenty-two Particular Churches: the Latin Catholic Church and twenty-one Oriental (Eastern) Churches. The Latin Catholic Church is the largest among them. The Churches which originated in the eastern regions came to be known as Eastern Churches. The Syro-Malabar Church is the second largest Oriental Church, Ukranian being the largest. Syro-Malabar Church was erected as a Major Archiepiscopal Church on 16th December 1992 by the Apostolic Constitution Quae maiori of John Paul II (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 85[1993], pp. 398-399). Text Source: Edited from http://syromalabarccc.org

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday July 3, 2018 - #Eucharist


Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
Lectionary: 593 

Reading 1EPH 2:19-22

Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial PsalmPS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

AlleluiaJN 20:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
But Thomas said to them,
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."