Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saint September 23 : St. Pio of Pietrelcina - #PadrePio

Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione) was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, in the small farming town of Pietrelcina, Italy on May 25, 1887. Although the Forgiones were poor in material goods, they were certainly rich in their faith life and in the love of God.
Even as a young boy, Francesco had already shown signs of extraordinary gifts of grace. At the age of five, he dedicated his life to God. From his early childhood, he showed a remarkable recollection of spirit and a love for the religious life. His mother described him as a quiet child who, from his earliest years, loved to go to church and to pray. As a young boy, he was able to see and communicate with, not only his guardian angel but also with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In his simplicity, Francesco assumed everyone had the same experiences. Once a woman who noticed his spiritual demeanor asked him, “When did you consecrate your life to God? Was it at your first Holy Communion?” and he answered, “Always, daughter, always.”
When Francesco was fifteen years old, he was admitted to the novitiate of the Capuchin Order of the Friars Minor in Morcone, Italy. He was admired by his fellow-students as well as by his Superiors for his exemplary behavior and his deep piety. One of the novices stated, “There was something which distinguished him from the other students. Whenever I saw him, he was always humble, recollected, and silent. What struck me most about Brother Pio was his love of prayer.”
On August 10, 1910, at the age of twenty-three, Padre Pio was ordained to the priesthood. The celebration of the Holy Mass was for Padre Pio, the center of his spirituality.  Due to the long pauses of contemplative silence into which he entered at various parts of the Holy Sacrifice, his Mass could sometimes last several hours.  Everything about him spoke of how intensely he was living the Passion of Christ. The parish priest in Pietrelcina called Padre Pio’s Mass, “an incomprehensible mystery.” When asked to shorten his Mass, Padre Pio replied, “God knows that I want to say Mass just like any other priest, but I cannot do it.”
His parishioners were deeply impressed by his piety and one by one they began to come to him, seeking his counsel. For many, even a few moments in his presence, proved to be a life changing experience. As the years passed, pilgrims began to come to him by the thousands, from every corner of the world, drawn by the spiritual riches which flowed so freely from his extraordinary ministry. To his spiritual children he would say, “It seems to me as if Jesus has no other concern but the sanctification of your soul.”
Padre Pio is understood above all else as a man of prayer. Before he was thirty years old he had already reached the summit of the spiritual life known as the “unitive way” of transforming union with God. He prayed almost continuously. His prayers were usually very simple. He loved to pray the Rosary and recommended it to others. To someone who asked him what legacy he wished to leave to his spiritual children, his brief reply was, “My child, the Rosary.” He had a special mission to the souls in Purgatory and encouraged everyone to pray for them. He used to say, “We must empty Purgatory with our prayers.” Father Agostino Daniele, his confessor, director, and beloved friend said, “One admires in Padre Pio, his habitual union with God. When he speaks or is spoken to, we are aware that his heart and mind are not distracted from the thought and sentiment of God.”
Padre Pio suffered from poor health his entire life, once saying that his health had been declining from the time he was nine years old. After his ordination to the priesthood, he remained in his hometown of Pietrelcina and was separated from his religious community for more than five years due to his precarious health.  Although the cause of his prolonged and debilitating illnesses remained a mystery to his doctors, Padre Pio did not become discouraged. He offered all of his bodily sufferings to God as a sacrifice, for the conversion of souls. He experienced many spiritual sufferings as well. “I am fully convinced that my illness is due to a special permission of God,” he said.
Shortly after his ordination, he wrote a letter to his spiritual director, Father Benedetto Nardella, in which he asked permission to offer his life as a victim for sinners. He wrote, “For a long time I have felt in myself a need to offer myself to the Lord as a victim for poor sinners and for the souls in Purgatory. This desire has been growing continually in my heart so that it has now become what I would call a strong passion. . .It seems to me that Jesus wants this.” The marks of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, appeared on Padre Pio’s body, on Friday, September 20, 1918, while he was praying before a crucifix and making his thanksgiving after Mass. He was thirty-one years old and became the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. With resignation and serenity, he bore the painful wounds in his hands, feet, and side for fifty years.
In addition, God endowed Padre Pio with many extraordinary spiritual gifts and charisms including the gift of healing, bilocation, prophecy, miracles, discernment of spirits, the ability to abstain beyond man’s natural powers from both sleep and nourishment, the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues (the ability to speak and understand languages that he had never studied), the gift of conversions, the grace to see angelic beings in form, and the fragrance which emanated from his wounds and which frequently announced his invisible presence. When a friend once questioned him about these charisms, Padre Pio said, “You know, they are a mystery to me, too.” Although he received more than his share of spiritual gifts, he never sought them, never felt worthy of them. He never put the gifts before the Giver. He always remained humble, constantly at the disposal of Almighty God.
His day began at 2:30 a.m. when he would rise to begin his prayers and to make his preparation for Mass. He was able to carry on a busy apostolate with only a few hours of sleep each night and an amount of food that was so small (300-400 calories a day) that his fellow priests stated that it was not enough food even to keep a small child alive. Between Mass and confessions, his workday lasted 19 hours. He very rarely left the monastery and never took even a day’s vacation from his grueling schedule in 51 years. He never read a newspaper or listened to the radio. He cautioned his spiritual children against watching television.
In his monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo, he lived the Franciscan spirit of poverty with detachment from self, from possessions, and from comforts. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity, and his behavior was modest in all situations and with all people. In his lifetime, Padre Pio reconciled thousands of men and women back to their faith.
The prayer groups that Padre Pio established have now spread throughout the world. He gave a new spirit to hospitals by founding one which he called “The Home for the Relief of Suffering.” He saw the image of Christ in the poor, the suffering, and the sick and gave himself particularly to them. He once said, “Bring God to all those who are sick. This will help them more than any other remedy.”
Serene and well prepared, he surrendered to Sister Death on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. He died as he had lived, with his Rosary in his hands. His last words were Gesú, Maria – Jesus, Mary – which he repeated over and over until he breathed his last. He had often declared, “After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death.”
In 1971, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the superiors of the Capuchin order, said of Padre Pio, “What fame he had. How many followers from around the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the stigmata of Our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering.”
In one of the largest liturgies in the Vatican’s history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio on June 16, 2002. During his homily, Pope John Paul recalled how, in 1947, as a young priest he journeyed from Poland to make his confession to Padre Pio. “Prayer and charity–this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio’s teaching,” the Pope said.
Drawing approximately eight million pilgrims each year, San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Pio lived and is now buried, is second only to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in its number of annual visitors.
St. Pio’s whole life might be summed up in the words of St. Paul to the Colossians, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.”
St. Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us.
Biography shared from padrepiodevotions.org

Pope Francis to Youth "The encounter with Christ, with his word, with the Eucharist, reminds us that it makes no difference..." FULL TEXT in Lithuania


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA
[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]
MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Square in front of the Cathedral (Vilnius, Lithuania)
Saturday, 22 September 2018
[Multimedia]


Good evening to all of you!
Thank you, Monica and Jonas, for your witness.  I listened to it as a friend, as if we were sitting close to one another in some bar, telling one another about our lives as we drink a beer or a girá after going to the jaunimo teatras.
But your lives are not a piece of theatre; they are real and concrete, like those of everyone else gathered here today in this beautiful square situated between two rivers.  Perhaps all this helps us to think back on your stories and to find in them the footprint of God… for God is always passing through our lives.  He is always passing by.  A great philosopher said: “I am afraid when God passes by!  Afraid that I do not notice him!”.
Like this Cathedral, you have times when you think you are falling apart, fires from which you think you can never rebuild.  Think of all the times this Cathedral went up in flames and fell apart.  Yet there were always people ready to start rebuilding; they refused to let themselves be overwhelmed by hardship: they never gave up.  There is a lovely Alpine song that goes like this: “In the art of climbing, the secret lies not so much in not falling down, but in not staying fallen down”.  Always start over again, always, and that’s how you will climb. Just like this Cathedral.  The freedom of your nation, too, was won by men and women who did not flinch before terror and misfortune.  Monica, your father’s life, his condition and his death, and your illness, Jonas, could have been devastating for you.  Yet here you are, sharing your experience, seeing it with the eyes of faith, and helping us to see that God gave you the grace to be strong, to lift yourselves up and to keep moving forward in life.
I ask myself: how was it that God’s grace was poured out on you?  Not from the air, not magically; there is no magic wand for life.  This happened through persons whose paths crossed your lives, good people who nourished you by their experience of faith.  There are always people in life who give us a hand to help  us pick ourselves up.  For you, Monica, your grandmother and your mother, and the Franciscan parish, were like the confluence of these two rivers; just as the Vilnia flows into the Neris, you let yourself be carried along by that current of grace.  Because the Lord saves us by making us part of a people.  The Lord saves us by making us part of a people.  He places us within a people, and our identity in the end, will be through our belonging to a people.  No one can say, “I am saved on my own”.  We are all interconnected, we are all “networked”.  God wanted to enter into this web of relationships and he draws us to himself in community; he gives to our lives the deepest sense of identity and belonging (cf. Gaudete et Exsultate, 6).  Jonas, you too found in others, in your wife and in the promise that you made on your wedding day, the reason to keep going, to fight, to live. 
So don’t let the world make you believe that it is better to do everything on your own.  On your own, you never get there.  Yes, you can get to have success in your life, but without love, without companions, without belonging to a people, without that beautiful experience of taking risks together.  You can’t move forward on your own.  Don’t yield to the temptation of getting caught up in yourself, in watching your belly, in the temptation to end up selfish or superficial in the face of sorrow, difficulty or temporary success.  Let us say once again, “Whatever happens to others happens to me”.  Let us swim against the current of that individualism which isolates us, makes us egocentric and makes us become vain, concerned only for our image and our own well-being.  Concerned with our image, with how we look.  Life in front of the mirror is no good, it is no good.  On the other hand, life is beautiful with others, in our families, with friends, with the struggles of my people… That’s how life is beautiful! 
We are Christians and we want to aim for holiness.  Aim for holiness through your encounters and your fellowship with other people; be attentive to their needs (ibid., 146).  Who we really are has to do with our being part of a people.  Identity is not the product of a laboratory; that does not exist; it is not concocted in a test tube;  a “pure blood” identity: this does not exist.  The identity does exist of walking together, of struggling together, of loving together.  The identity does exist of belonging to a family, to a people.  The identity does exist that gives you love, tenderness, being concerned with others… The identity does exist that gives you the strength to struggle and at the same time the tenderness to caress. Each one of us knows how beautiful it is to belong to a people, but also how tiring it is – it is great that young people get tired; it is a sign they are working – and even, at times, painful; you know this.  But that is the basis of our identity; we are not rootless.  We are not rootless people!
The two of you also spoke about your experience in a choir, praying in the family, Mass and catechism, and helping those in need.  These are powerful weapons that the Lord gives us.  Prayer and song keep us from getting caught up in this world alone: in your desire to know God you went out from yourselves and were able to see what was going on in your heart through God’s eyes (cf. ibid., 147).  In embracing music, you became open to listening and the interior life; in this way, you developed sensitivity, and that always opens the way to discernment (cf. Instrumentum Laboris, Synod for Youth162).  Prayer can certainly be an experience of “spiritual warfare”, but it is in prayer that we learn to listen to the Spirit, to discern the signs of the times and to find renewed strength for proclaiming the Gospel each day.  How else could we fight the temptation to become discouraged by our frailties and our difficulties, and those of others, and by all the dreadful things that happen in our world?  What would we do if prayer did not teach us to believe that everything depends on us, when we are alone and wrestling with adversity?  As Saint Alberto Hurtado used to say, “Jesus and I are an absolute majority!”  Don’t forget this; a saint used to say it!  The encounter with Christ, with his word, with the Eucharist, reminds us that it makes no difference how strong the opponent is.  It makes no difference whether Žalgiris Kaunas or Vilnius Rytas [applause, laughter] are in first place… By the way, let me ask you: which one is in first place? [more laughter].  It does not matter who is first, what matters is not the result, but the fact that the Lord is at our side.
Both of you also found support in life through the experience of helping others.  You realized that all around us there are people experiencing troubles even worse than our own. Monica, you told us about working with children with disabilities.  Seeing the frailty of others gives us perspective; it helps us not to go through life licking our wounds.  It is no good to live by complaining, it is no good.  It is no good to live licking our wounds.  How many young people leave home for lack of opportunities, and how many are victims of depression, alcohol and drugs!  You know this well.  How many of the elderly are lonely, without anyone to share the present, and fearful that the past will return!  You, young people, can respond to these challenges by your presence, by your encounter with others.  Jesus invites us to step out of ourselves and to risk a face-to-face encounter with others.  It is true that believing in Jesus can often demand taking a leap of blind faith, and this can be frightening.  At other times, it can make us question ourselves, and force us to abandon our preconceptions.  That can involve anguish and we can be tempted to discouragement.  But stand firm!  Following Jesus is a passionate adventure that gives meaning to our lives and makes us feel part of a community that encourages us, a community that accompanies us, and commits us to the service of others.  Dear young people, following Christ is something worthwhile, it is worthwhile!  Do not be afraid to take part in the revolution to which he invites us: the revolution of tenderness (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 88).
If life were a theatre piece or a video game, it would be limited to a precise time, and have a beginning and an end, when the curtain falls or one team wins the game.  But life measures time differently, not with the time of a theatre piece or a video game; it follows God’s heartbeat.  Sometimes it passes quickly, while at other times it goes slowly.  We are challenged to take new paths; things change.  We grow indecisive mostly out of fear that the curtain will fall, or that the stopwatch will eliminate us from the game or prevent us from advancing.  But life always involves moving forward, life moves forward, it does not stand still; life always involves moving forward, seeking the right way without being afraid to retrace our steps if we make a mistake.  The most dangerous thing is to confuse the path with a maze that keeps us wandering in circles without ever making real progress.  Please, as young people, don’t let yourselves get trapped in a maze, but follow a path that leads to the future.  No maze; moving forward!

Don’t ever be afraid to put your trust in Jesus, to embrace his cause, the cause of the Gospel, the cause of humanity, of human beings.  Because he never jumps off the ship of our life; he is always there at life’s crossroads.  Even when our lives go up in flame, he is always there to rebuild them.  Jesus gives us plenty of time, lots of room for failure.  Nobody has to emigrate from him; he has a place for everyone.  There are many people out there who want to capture your hearts.  They want to sow weeds in your field, but if, in the end, we entrust our lives to the Lord, the good grain will always prevail.  In your testimony, Monica and Jonas, you spoke of your grandmother, your mother…  I would like to say to you – and here I will stop, don’t worry! – I would like to say to you: don’t forget the roots of your people.  Think of the past, speak with the elderly: it is not boring to speak with the elderly.  Go and find the elderly and let them tell you about the roots of your people, their joys, their sufferings, their values.  In this way, by drawing on your roots, you will carry your people forward, the history of your people to your greater profit.  Dear young people, if you want a people who are great and free, take up the roots of your past and carry them forward.  Thank you very much!

FULL Official Text Translation by Vatican.va + Image Share from Vatican.va

#BreakingNews Provisional Agreement between Vatican and China - FULL Communique

Provisional Agreement between Holy See and China
Today in Beijing, a Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops was signed by the Holy See and the People's Republic of China, in the hope that it will contribute positively to the life of the Church in China, the good of the Chinese people and peace in the world.
  Communiqué
concerning the signing of a Provisional Agreement
between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China
on the appointment of Bishops

Today, 22nd September 2018, within the framework of the contacts between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China that have been underway for some time in order to discuss Church matters of common interest and to promote further understanding, a meeting was held in Beijing between Msgr Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and H.E. Mr Wang Chao, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, respectively heads of the Vatican and Chinese delegations.

During that meeting, the two representatives signed a Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops.
The above-mentioned Provisional Agreement, which is the fruit of a gradual and reciprocal rapprochement, has been agreed following a long process of careful negotiation and foresees the possibility of periodic reviews of its application. It concerns the nomination of Bishops, a question of great importance for the life of the Church, and creates the conditions for greater collaboration at the bilateral level.
The shared hope is that this agreement may favour a fruitful and forward-looking process of institutional dialogue and may contribute positively to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the common good of the Chinese people and to peace in the world.
FULL TEXT from Vatican News 

Pope Francis "The Mother of Mercy, like every good mother, tries to bring her family together." FULL Official Text + Video

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA
[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]
VISIT TO THE MATER MISERICORDIAE SHRINE
PRAYER OF THE HOLY FATHER
Shrine of the Mother of Mercy, Vilnius (Lithuania)
Saturday, 22 September 2018
[Multimedia]


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are standing before the Gate of Dawn, the only remnant of the defensive walls of this city, which served to defend it from all danger and threat. In 1799, the invading forces razed that wall, leaving only this gate. Even then, it sheltered the image of the Virgin Mary “Mother of Mercy”, the holy Mother of God who is always ready to help us, to come to our aid.
From that time forward, Mary has sought to teach us that we can defend without attacking, that we can keep safe without the unhealthy need to distrust others. This Mother without Child, radiant with gold, is the Mother of everyone. She sees in every person who comes here what we ourselves fail so often to see: the face of her Son Jesus impressed on our heart.
Because the image of Jesus is impressed on every human heart, every man and every woman make it possible for us to encounter God. When we close our hearts for fear of others, when we build walls and barricades, we end up depriving ourselves of the Good News of Jesus, who shares in the history and the lives of others. In the past, we built all too many fortresses, but today we feel the need to look one another in the face and acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters, to walk side by side, and to discover and experience with joy and peace the value of fraternity (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 87).
Here each day crowds of people from numerous countries come to visit the Mother of Mercy: Lithuanians, Poles, Belarusians and Russians; Catholics and Orthodox. Today this is possible, thanks to ready communications and the freedom of circulation between our countries. How good it would be if this ease in moving from one place to another could be accompanied by ease in establishing points of encounter and solidarity, so that we can share generously the gifts we have freely received. So that we can go out and give ourselves to one another, receiving in turn the presence and the diversity of others as a gift and a source of enrichment in our lives.
At times it might seem that openness to the world draws us into the ring of competition, where, “man is a wolf to man”, and there is room only for conflict that divides us, tensions that exhaust us, hatred and enmity that get us nowhere (cf. Gaudete et Exsultate, 71-72).
The Mother of Mercy, like every good mother, tries to bring her family together. She whispers in our ear: “Look for your brother, look for your sister”. In this way, she opens to us the door to a new dawn, a new day. She brings us to its very doorstep, like that of the rich man in the Gospel (cf. Lk 16:19-31), where today children and families with bleeding wounds await us. Their wounds are not the wounds of Lazarus in the parable; they are the wounds of Jesus, and they are altogether real. In their pain and darkness, they cry out for us to bring to them the healing light of charity. For charity is the key that opens to us the door of heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters, in crossing this doorstep, may we experience the power that purifies our way of dealing with our neighbours. May Mary our Mother grant that we may regard their limits and faults with mercy and humility, thinking ourselves superior to no one (cf. Phil 2:3). As we contemplate the mysteries of the Rosary, let us ask Mary that we may be a community capable of proclaiming Jesus Christ our hope. And that, in this way, we can build a country capable of accepting everyone, of receiving from the Virgin Mother the gifts of dialogue and patience, of closeness and welcome, a country that loves, pardons and does not condemn (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 165). May we be a country that chooses to build bridges not walls, that prefers mercy not judgment.
May Mary always be the Gate of Dawn for this whole blessed land.
Allowing ourselves to guided by Mary, let us now pray a decade of the Rosary, contemplating the third joyful mystery.

FULL Official Text Translation by Vatican.va + Image Share from Vatican.va

Pope Francis in Lithuania "Through dialogue, openness and understanding, you can become a bridge..." FULL Official Text in Lithuania + Video

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA
[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]
MEETING WITH THE AUTHORITIES, WITH CIVIL SOCIETY AND WITH THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Square in front of the Presidential Palace (Vilnius, Lithuania)
Saturday, 22 September 2018
[Multimedia]


Madam President,
Members of Government and of the Diplomatic Corps,
Representatives of Civil Society,
Distinguished Authorities,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a source of joy and hope to begin this pilgrimage to the Baltic countries in Lithuania, which is, in the words of Saint John Paul II, “a silent witness of a passionate love for religious freedom” (Welcome Ceremony, Vilnius, 4 September 1993).
I thank you, Madam President, for your cordial words of welcome in your own name and that of your people.  In addressing you, I wish to greet in the first place the entire Lithuanian people, who today open to me the doors of their homes and of their homeland.  To all of you I express my affection and sincere gratitude.
This visit takes place at a particularly important moment in your life as a nation, for you celebrate this year the centenary of your declaration of independence.
It has been a century marked by your bearing numerous trials and sufferings: detentions, deportations, even martyrdom.  Celebrating the hundredth anniversary of independence means taking time to stop and revive the memory of all those experiences.  In this way, you will be in touch with everything that forged you as a nation, and thus find the key to assessing present challenges and looking to the future in a spirit of dialogue and unity with all those who dwell here, careful to ensure that no one remains excluded.  Each generation is challenged to make its own the struggles and achievements of the past, and to honour in the present the memory of all those who have gone before.  We do not know what tomorrow bring, yet we do know that each age has the duty to cherish the “soul” that created it and helped it to turn every situation of sorrow and injustice into opportunity, preserving alive and healthy the roots that nurtured the fruits we enjoy today.  Truly, this people has a strong “soul” that enables it to hold fast and to keep building!  This is the prayer voiced in your national hymn: “May your sons draw strength and vigour from your past experience”, so as to face the present with courage.
“May your sons draw strength and vigour from your past experience”
Throughout its history, Lithuania was able to shelter, receive and accept peoples of various ethnic groups and religions.  All found a place to live in this land – Lithuanians, Tartars, Poles, Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Germans … Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Old Catholics, Muslims, Jews – lived together in peace until the arrival of totalitarian ideologies that, by sowing violence and lack of trust, undermined its ability to accept and harmonize differences.  To draw strength from the past is to recover those roots and keep alive all that continues to be most authentic and distinctive about you, everything that enabled you to grow and not succumb as a nation: tolerance, hospitality, respect and solidarity.
If we look at the world scene in our time, more and more voices are sowing division and confrontation – often by exploiting insecurity or situations of conflict – and proclaiming that the only way possible to guarantee security and the continued existence of a culture is to try to eliminate, cancel or expel others.  Here you Lithuanians have a word of your own to contribute: “welcoming differences”.  Through dialogue, openness and understanding, you can become a bridge between Eastern and Western Europe.  This is the fruit of a mature history, which you as a people can offer to the international community and to the European Community in particular.   You have suffered “in the flesh” those efforts to impose a single model that would annul differences under the pretence of believing that the privileges of a few are more important than the dignity of others or the common good.  As Benedict XVI rightly pointed out: “to desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity … The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them” (Caritas in Veritate, 7).  All conflicts presently emerging will find lasting solutions only if those solutions are grounded in the concrete recognition of [the dignity of] persons, especially the most vulnerable, and in the realization that all of us are challenged “to broaden our horizons and see the greater good which will benefit us all” (Evangelii Gaudium, 235).
In this sense, to draw strength from the past is to pay attention to the young, who are not only the future but also the present of this nation, if they can remain attached to the roots of the people.  A people in which young persons can find room for growth and for employment, will help them feel that they have a leading role to play in building up the social and communitarian fabric.  This will make it possible for all to lift their gaze with hope to the future.  The Lithuania of which they dream will depend on tireless efforts to promote policies that encourage the active participation of young people in society.  Doubtless, this will prove a seed of hope, for it will lead to a dynamic process in which the “soul” of this people will continue to generate hospitality: hospitality towards the stranger, hospitality towards the young, towards the elderly, who are the living memory, towards the poor, and, ultimately, hospitality towards the future.
I assure you, Madam President, that you can continue to count on the efforts and the cooperation of the Catholic Church, so that this land can fulfil its vocation as land that serves as bridge of communion and hope.

 SOURCE - VATICAN.VA

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday September 22, 2018 - #Eucharist


Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 448

Reading 11 COR 15:35-37, 42-49

Brothers and sisters:
Someone may say, "How are the dead raised?
With what kind of body will they come back?"

You fool!
What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.
And what you sow is not the body that is to be
but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind.

So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.
It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious.
It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.

So, too, it is written,
"The first man, Adam, became a living being,"
the last Adam a life-giving spirit.
But the spiritual was not first;
rather the natural and then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth, earthly;
the second man, from heaven.
As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly,
and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.

Responsorial PsalmPS 56:10C-12, 13-14

R. (14) I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.
Now I know that God is with me.
In God, in whose promise I glory,
in God I trust without fear;
what can flesh do against me?
R. I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.
I am bound, O God, by vows to you;
your thank offerings I will fulfill.
For you have rescued me from death,
my feet, too, from stumbling;
that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
R. I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.

AlleluiaSEE LK 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 8:4-15

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
"A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold."
After saying this, he called out,
"Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
"Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

"This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance."