Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Pope Francis explains "This is the mystery of Christian prayer...dialogue of love of the Most Holy Trinity." Full Text + Video


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Catechesis on the "Our Father": 16. Wherever you are, invoke the Father

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we conclude the cycle of catechesis on the "Our Father". We can say that Christian prayer is born of the audacity to call God with the name of "Father". This is the root of Christian prayer: saying "Father" to God. But it takes courage! It is not a question of a formula, but of a filial intimacy in which we are introduced by grace: Jesus is the revealer of the Father and gives us familiarity with Him. "He does not leave us a formula to be mechanically repeated. As with any vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father "(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2766). Jesus himself used different expressions to pray to the Father. If we read the Gospels carefully, we discover that these expressions of prayer that emerge on the lips of Jesus recall the text of the "Our Father".

For example, on the night of Gethsemane Jesus prays in this way: "Abba! Father! Everything is possible to you: remove this cup from me! But not what I want, but what you want "(Mk 14:36). We have already recalled this text of the Gospel of Mark. How can we fail to recognize in this prayer, however brief, a trace of the "Our Father"? In the midst of darkness, Jesus invokes God with the name of "Abbà", with filial trust and, while feeling fear and anguish, asks that his will be fulfilled.

In other passages of the Gospel Jesus insists with his disciples, so that they may cultivate a spirit of prayer. Prayer must be insistent, and above all it must bring the memory of the brothers, especially when we live difficult relationships with them. Jesus says: "When you begin to pray, if you have something against someone, forgive, because even your Father who is in heaven forgive you your faults" (Mk 11:25). How not to recognize in these expressions the assonance with the "Our Father"? And the examples could be numerous, even for us.

In the writings of Saint Paul we do not find the text of the "Our Father", but his presence emerges in that stupendous synthesis where the invocation of the Christian is condensed into a single word: "Abbà" (see Rom 8:15; Gal 4 , 6).

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus fully satisfies the request of the disciples who, seeing him often secluded and plunge into prayer, one day decide to ask him: "Lord, teach us to pray, as also John - the Baptist - taught his disciples" ( 11.1). And then the Master taught them the prayer to the Father.

Considering the New Testament as a whole, it is clear that the first protagonist of every Christian prayer is the Holy Spirit. But let's not forget this: the protagonist of every Christian prayer is the Holy Spirit. We could never pray without the strength of the Holy Spirit. It is He who prays in us and moves us to pray well. We can ask the Spirit to teach us to pray, because He is the protagonist, the one who does true prayer in us. He blows in the heart of each of us, who are disciples of Jesus. The Spirit enables us to pray as children of God, which we really are for Baptism. The Spirit makes us pray in the "furrow" that Jesus dug for us. This is the mystery of Christian prayer: by grace we are attracted to that dialogue of love of the Most Holy Trinity.

Jesus prayed like this. Sometimes he used expressions that are certainly very far from the text of the "Our Father". Think of the opening words of Psalm 22, which Jesus pronounces on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46). Can the heavenly Father abandon his Son? No, certainly. Yet the love for us, sinners, has brought Jesus to this point: to the point of experiencing the abandonment of God, his distance, because he has taken upon himself all our sins. But even in the anguished cry, the "my God, my God" remains. In that "mine" there is the nucleus of the relationship with the Father, there is the nucleus of faith and prayer.

This is why, starting from this nucleus, a Christian can pray in every situation. He can assume all the prayers of the Bible, especially of the Psalms; but he can also pray with so many expressions that in millennia of history have gushed from the hearts of men. And to the Father we never cease to tell of our brothers and sisters in humanity, because none of them, especially the poor, remain without a consolation and a portion of love.

At the end of this catechesis, we can repeat that prayer of Jesus: "I praise you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned and revealed them to the little ones" (Lk 10:21 ). To pray we must make ourselves small, so that the Holy Spirit may come into us and let him guide us in prayer.
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je suis heureux de saluer les pèlerins venus de France et d’autres pays francophones, en particulier des paroissiens d’Hérouville-Saint-Clair et de Roanne et des jeunes de divers collèges de France, ainsi qu’un groupe de pèlerins du Cameroun. Dans les situations de joie et de peine, que l’Esprit Saint nous aide à entrer dans la prière de Jésus, et avec lui, par lui et en lui, comme des enfants pleins de confiance, à prier “Notre Père”. Je voudrais aujourd’hui faire mémoire avec vous de Sœur Inès Nieves Sancho, âgée de 77 ans, éducatrice des jeunes filles pauvres depuis des années, qui a été tuée de manière barbare en Centrafrique, à l’endroit même où elle enseignait aux jeunes filles à coudre. Une femme de plus qui donne sa vie pour Jésus dans le service des pauvres. Prions en silence - [silence puis Ave Maria…] Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Belgium, Tanzania, New Zealand, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Canada and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!
Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache, insbesondere die Theologiestudierenden der Universitäten Innsbruck und Salzburg. Bitten wir den Heiligen Geist, uns in unserer Beziehung zum himmlischen Vater zu führen und zu stärken, indem wir seinem göttlichen Sohn Jesus, dem Herrn, treu folgen.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica, como también a los peregrinos de la diócesis de Ebibeyin, Guinea Ecuatorial, acompañados por su Obispo. A todos los animo a que pidan al Señor la gracia de ser hombres y mujeres de oración, y que recuerden ante el Padre a todos nuestros hermanos y hermanas, especialmente a los más necesitados y abandonados, para que a ninguno falte consolación y amor. Que Dios los bendiga.
Dirijo uma cordial saudação aos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, nomeadamente ao grupo da “Rádio Renascença” e aos diversos grupos de brasileiros. São muitos hoje! Neste mês dedicado à Virgem Maria, buscai contemplar mais intensamente a face do Senhor Jesus com a oração do Terço, para que Ele seja o centro dos vossos pensamentos, das vossas ações, da vossa vida. Queria também saudar o Cardeal Falcão, Arcebispo emérito de Brasília, que está festejando o septuagésimo aniversário de ordenação sacerdotal! Um belo exemplo! Obrigado, Eminência, pelo seu testemunho.
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، أشجّعكم على أن تتوجّهوا إلى الله كأب يحبنا ويأتي إلى لقائنا. لا نتعبّنَّ أبدًا من التضرّع إليه لأنّه وكأب صالح يأتي ليشفي جراحنا ويعيد إلينا فرح أن نكون أبناءه. ليبارككم الرب!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to turn to God as a Father who loves us and comes to meet us. Let us not grow tired of invoking Him, because He, as a good Father, comes to heal our wounds and give us back the joy of being his children. The Lord bless you!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, ożywieni przez Ducha Świętego i zachęceni przykładem naszego Pana Jezusa Chrystusa, z dziecięcą ufnością i oddaniem módlmy się do Ojca niebieskiego za nas, za nasze rodziny, za Kościół i za całą ludzkość, aby dla wszystkich wypełniała się Jego zbawcza wola. Zawierzam was i waszych bliskich matczynej opiece Maryi Wspomożycielki wiernych i z serca wam błogosławię.
Сердечно вітаю українських паломників, а особливо групу військових, які брали участь у щорічному Національному Військовому Паломництві до Люрду.
Постійно молю Воскреслого Господа, щоб наповнив серця українців любов'ю та спокоєм і дарував свій мир усій Країнi. Нехай Господь Бог Благословить усіх Вас!
[I cordially greet the Ukrainian pilgrims, especially the group of soldiers who participated in the annual National Military Pilgrimage in Lourdes. I continually pray to the Risen Lord, so that he fills the hearts of the Ukrainians with love and serenity and gives his peace to the whole country. God bless you all!]
* * *
I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

I am pleased to welcome the participants in the meeting promoted by the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations; and the Sisters of Our Lady.

I greet the parish groups, in particular those of San Giuseppe Vesuviano and Vaglio di Basilicata; the Congolese Catholic Community of Rome; the Kairòs multisetting missionary association; the Italian Sports Center of Latina; and educational institutions, especially that of Giulianova Lido.

I am particularly interested in young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.

Saint Rita of Cascia, of which today is the memory, was a woman, wife, mother, widow and nun of her time. Today's women, on her example, can express the same enthusiasm for life and, at the same time, be capable of the same love that she reserved for everyone unconditionally.


Next Friday, May 24, we will celebrate the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Help of Christians", particularly venerated in China at the Shrine of "Our Lady of Sheshan", near Shanghai.

This happy occasion allows me to express special closeness and affection to all Catholics in China, who, between daily trials and trials, continue to believe, to hope and to love.

Dear faithful in China, our Heavenly Mother will help you all to be witnesses of charity and fraternity, keeping you always united in the communion of the universal Church. I pray for you and I bless you.

Let us pray together with Our Lady: Hail Mary ...

BREAKING Louisiana Senate passes Pro-Life Amendment to protect Unborn

Live Action News reports that the Louisiana Senate has passed the Love Life Amendment, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Katrina Jackson. The Amendment, if passed, will clarify that the Louisiana constitution in no way protects a right to abortion or requires that abortion be funded.
 As previously reported by Live Action News, the bill would need a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to pass, and then it would be added to the November 16th ballot in 2019. The bill must now must go back to the House for passage again because, as ABC News pointed out, of “a Senate change that added language declaring lawmakers reserve the right to regulate and pass laws about abortion. Senators included the language to ensure they can enact exceptions to abortion limits to protect the life of a pregnant woman or for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.” ABC News reported that the vote was 31 in favor to four opposed.
“The legislation, backed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and the majority-GOP Legislature, would come into play if the U.S. Supreme Court ever reverses the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion,” said ABC. Pro-life lawmakers have been frequently by abortion supporters of seeking to harm women with legislation protecting preborn humans. But Rep. Jackson, who has been vocally pro-life, pointed out that this isn’t the case. ABC News said that Jackson was “surrounded by a half-dozen female lawmakers,” when she said, “I’m here to say that I’m pro-woman, I’m pro-life because abortions hurt more women than anything else.” As Live Action News previously mentioned, “Louisiana already has a “trigger law” which would make abortion illegal in the event that Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.”
Source: Live Action News

#BreakingNews Shooting in Front of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Mexico leaves 2 youths Killed

AMERICA/MEXICO - Shooting in front of the church: Bishops call for respect for the sacredness of life and fundamental values
Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Veracruz (Agenzia Fides) - "With deep sorrow, we express our sadness and consternation, in the face of the acts of violence that took place outside the rectory of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Fortín de las Flores in Cordoba, Veracruz. We join Mgr. Eduardo Patiño, Bishop of the Diocese of Córdoba, parish priest Jorge Montero, and especially the families who were victims of this intolerable attack": this is what the Mexican Bishops’ Conference writes in the text sent to Fides condemning the violent attacks of Sunday evening 19 May, in which two young people were killed just before starting mass for a 15-year-old party.

In fact, according to a strong Latin American tradition, when a girl turns 15, a big party is organized that brings together the whole family, together with friends and neighbors. The party in Mexico begins with a mass, to thank God for the gift of life.

On Sunday evening a group of men arrived at the churchyard of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the intention of taking a person hostage. Seeing the reaction of the young people present, who were about to enter the church, the criminals fired many shots, killing two young men and injuring two others seriously. The next day, 4 more people were killed in Veracruz, in the municipality of Minatitlán.

Delinquency prevails in the area with its violent acts: in the municipality of Vega de Alatorre (also Veracruz) on May 16, 4 lemon sellers were killed. According to the statement of the Public Security office in Veracruz, all security members have mobilized to find those responsible and stop the wave of armed violence that has already caused 6 deaths in less than two days.

The Bishops' text thus concludes: "The violence we are experiencing in our cities and communities, as in many parts of the country, generates a social decomposition that has profoundly deteriorated the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of our society. We ask society to recover the sense of the sacredness of life and the essential values of the person. We ask the authorities, once again, to thoroughly investigate, until the facts have been clarified, to act in accordance with truth and justice".

"Only a short time ago, holidays and holy places were respected by all. Now the criminals do not even stop in front of the authorities or the police (the police station is in front of the church of Guadalupe), they do not respect anything, not even the church", comments a Mexican on Facebook. (CE) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 21/5/2019)

Pope Francis opens Italian Bishops' Assembly "...based on the unconditional love witnessed by Jesus on the cross..." Full Text + Video



Synod Hall
Monday, May 20, 2019

Dear brothers,

I thank you for this meeting that I would like to have a moment of help for the pastoral discernment on the life and mission of the Italian church. I also thank you for the effort you offer every day in carrying out the mission that the Lord has entrusted to you and in serving the people of God with and according to the heart of the Good Shepherd.

Today I would like to talk to you again about some of the issues that we discussed in our previous meetings in order to deepen them and integrate them with new questions to see together where we stand. I will give you the word later to address to me the questions, the perplexities and the inspirations the criticisms, all that you carry in the heart. There are three points I would like to talk about.

1 - Synodality and collegiality

On the occasion of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, held on 17 October 2015, I wanted to clarify that "the path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church of the third millennium [...] is a constitutive dimension of Church ", so that" what the Lord asks us, in a certain sense, is already all contained in the word synod ". [1]

Also the new document of the International Theological Commission, on the synodality in the life and mission of the Church, during the Plenary Session of 2017, states that «synodality, in the ecclesiological context, indicates the specific modus vivendi et operandi of the Church People of God which concretely manifests and realizes its being communion in walking together, in gathering in assembly and actively participating in all its members in its evangelizing mission ". And it continues as follows: "While the concept of synodality recalls the involvement and participation of the whole People of God in the life and mission of the Church, the concept of collegiality specifies the theological meaning and the form of exercise of the ministry of Bishops at the service of the Particular Church entrusted to the pastoral care of each one and in the communion between the particular Churches within the one and universal Church of Christ, through the hierarchical communion of the Episcopal College with the Bishop of Rome. Collegiality, therefore, is the specific form in which the ecclesial synodality is manifested and realized through the ministry of the Bishops on the level of communion between the particular Churches in a region and on the level of communion between all the Churches in the universal Church. Every authentic manifestation of synodality requires by its very nature the exercise of the collegial ministry of the Bishops ". [2]

I therefore welcome the fact that this assembly wanted to study this topic in more depth, which actually describes the medical record of the state of health of the Italian Church and of your pastoral and ecclesiastical work.

It could be helpful to address in this context of any lack of collegiality and participation in the conduct of the CEI Conference both in determining pastoral plans and in economic-financial planning commitments.

On synodality, even in the context of a probable Synod for the Italian Church - I have heard a "noise" lately about this, it has arrived as far as Santa Marta! -, there are two directions: synodality from the bottom up, that is the need to take care of the existence and good functioning of the Diocese: the councils, the parishes, the involvement of the laity ... (see CIC 469-494) - start from the dioceses: you cannot make a great synod without going to the base. This is the movement from the bottom up - and the evaluation of the role of the laity; and then the synodality from the top down, in accordance with the speech I made to the Italian Church in the V National Convention in Florence, 10 November 2015, which still remains in force and must accompany us on this journey. If someone thinks of making a synod on the Italian Church, we must start from the bottom up, and from the top down with the Florence document. And this will take, but you will walk on the safe side, not on ideas.

2 - Reform of marriage proceedings

As you well know, with the two Motu proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus and Mitis et Misericors Iesus, published in 2015, the matrimonial processes were reorganized and established, establishing three types of process: ordinary, brief and documentary.

The need to streamline procedures has led to simplifying the ordinary process, with the abolition of the mandatory double compliant decision. From now on, if there is no appeal on time, the first sentence declaring the nullity of the marriage becomes enforceable. Then there is the other type of process: the short-term one. "This form of process is to be applied in cases where the accused nullity of the marriage is supported by the joint request of the spouses, obvious arguments, since the evidence of nullity of marriage is a quick demonstration. With the request made to the Bishop, and the trial prepared by the judicial Vicar or by an instructor, the final decision, of declaration of nullity or referral of the case to the ordinary process, belongs to the Bishop himself, who - by virtue of his pastoral office - is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and discipline. Both the ordinary process and the short-term one are processes of a purely judicial nature, which means that the nullity of the marriage can be pronounced only if the judge achieves moral certainty on the basis of the documents and evidence gathered ". [3]

Thus, the short-term process introduced a new typology, namely the possibility of addressing the Bishop, as head of the Diocese, asking him to express himself personally on some cases, in the most obvious cases of nullity. And this because the pastoral dimension of the Bishop includes and also demands his personal function as judge. This not only manifests the proximity of the diocesan pastor to his faithful, but also the presence of the Bishop as a sign of Christ the sacrament of salvation. For this reason the Bishop and the Metropolitan, with an administrative act, must proceed to the erection of the diocesan tribunal, if it has not yet been constituted, and in the case of difficulties, they can also access a diocesan or interdiocesan adjoining tribunal. This is important.

This procedural reform is based on proximity and gratuitousness. Proximity to wounded families means that the judgment, as far as possible, is celebrated in the diocesan Church, without delay and without unnecessary prolongation. The term gratuity refers to the evangelical mandate according to which gratuitously one is received and gratuitously must be given (cf. Mt 10: 8), for which it requires that the ecclesiastical pronouncement of nullity does not amount to a high cost that poor people are unable to sustain . This is very important.

I am well aware that you, in the 71th General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and through various communications, [4] have provided an update on the reform of the administrative regime of ecclesiastical courts in matrimonial matters. However, I regret to see that the reform, after more than four years, remains far from being applied in the great part of the Italian Dioceses.
I reiterate clearly that the Rescript I gave, in December 2015, abolished the Motu Proprio of Pius XI Qua cura (1938), which established the Regional Ecclesiastical Tribunals in Italy and, therefore, I sincerely hope that the application of the two aforementioned Motu You find your full and immediate implementation in all the Dioceses where you have not yet done so.

In this regard, dear confreres, we must never forget that the reforming thrust of the canonical marriage process, characterized - as I have already said above - by the proximity, speed and gratuitousness of procedures, is aimed at showing that the Church is mother and cares for good of one's children, which in this case are those marked by the wound of a broken love; and therefore all the operators of the Court, each for its part and its competence, must act in order for this to be realized, and consequently not to place anything else that can prevent or slow down the application of the reform, of any nature or interest. be.

The success of the reform necessarily passes through a conversion of structures and people; and therefore we do not allow the economic interests of some lawyers or the fear of losing the power of some Judicial Vicars to hold back or delay the reform.

3 - The relationship between priests and bishops

The relationship between us Bishops and our priests is, unquestionably, one of the most vital issues in the life of the Church, it is the backbone on which the diocesan community is based. I quote the wise words of His Eminence Cardinal Bassetti when he wrote: "If this relationship were to break the whole body would be weakened. And the same message would end up fading ". [5]

The Bishop is the pastor, the sign of unity for the entire diocesan Church, the father and the guide for his priests and for the whole community of believers; he has the imperative task of caring primarily and carefully for his relationship with his priests. Unfortunately, some Bishops are struggling to establish acceptable relationships with their priests, thus risking to ruin their mission and even weaken the mission of the Church itself.

The Second Vatican Council teaches us that presbyters constitute a single presbytery with their bishop, although destined for different offices (see Const. Lumen Gentium, 28). This means that there is no Bishop without his presbytery and, in turn, there is no presbytery without a healthy relationship cum episcopo. Even the conciliar decree Christus Dominus states: "All priests, both diocesan and religious, in union with the Bishop participate in the one priesthood of Christ and therefore are constituted providential cooperators of the episcopal order. [...] Therefore they constitute one presbytery and one family, of which the Bishop is the father "(n. 28).
The solid relationship between the Bishop and his priests is based on the unconditional love witnessed by Jesus on the cross, which represents the only true rule of behavior for bishops and priests. In reality, priests are our closest collaborators and brothers. I'm the next neighbor! It is also based on mutual respect which manifests fidelity to Christ, love for the Church, adherence to the Good News. Hierarchical communion, in truth, collapses when it is infected by any form of personal power or self-gratification; but, on the contrary, it is strengthened and grows when it is embraced by the spirit of total abandonment and service to the people of God.

We Bishops have a duty of presence and closeness to the Christian people, but in particular to our priests, without discrimination and without preferences. A true pastor lives in the midst of his flock and his presbyters, and knows how to listen and welcome everyone without prejudice.

We must not fall into the temptation to approach only the sympathetic priests or flatterers and to avoid those who, according to the bishop, are unpopular and outspoken; to hand over all responsibilities to available priests or "climbers" and to discourage introverted or mild or timid priests, or problematic priests. Being the father of all his priests; take an interest in and look for everyone; visit all; always know how to find time to listen whenever someone asks or needs it; to make everyone feel valued and encouraged by his Bishop. To be practical: if the bishop receives the call of a priest, answer within the day, at most the next day, so that priest will know that he has a father.

Dear confreres, our priests continually feel under mediatic attack and often ridiculed or condemned because of some mistakes or crimes of some of their colleagues, and they need to find in their Bishop the figure of the elder brother and the father who encourages them in difficult times; it stimulates them to spiritual and human growth; it encourages them in times of failure; corrects them with love when they make mistakes; it comforts them when they feel alone; he raises them when they fall. This requires, first of all, closeness to our priests, who need to find the Bishop's door and his heart always open. Requires to be Bishop-father, Bishop-brother!

Dear brothers, I wanted to share with you these three topics as points for reflection. Now I leave the word to you and I thank you in advance for your sincerity and frankness. And thank you very much!

[1] AAS 107 (2015), 1139.
[5] “Il rapporto tra il vescovo e i suoi preti per servire il popolo di Dio”: L’Osservatore Romano, 7 marzo 2015.

Novena Prayer to St. Rita the Patron of Impossible Cases - a Miracle Prayer to Share!

O holy protectress of those who art in greatest need, thou who shineth as a star of hope in the midst of darkness, blessed Saint Rita, bright mirror of God's grace, in patience and fortitude thou art a model of all the states in life. I unite my will with the will of God through the merits of my Savior Jesus Christ, and in particular through his patient wearing of the crown of thorns, which with tender devotion thou didst daily contemplate. Through the merits of the holy Virgin Mary and thine own graces and virtues, I ask thee to obtain my earnest petition, provided it be for the greater glory of God and my own sanctification. Guide and purify my intention, O holy protectress and advocate, so that I may obtain the pardon of all my sins and the grace to persevere daily, as thou didst in walking with courage, generosity, and fidelity down the path of life. [Mention your request.]
Saint Rita, advocate of the impossible, pray for us.
Saint Rita, advocate of the helpless, pray for us. 
Pray each day of the Novena : 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, and 1 Glory Be

Also See Today's Saint: ST. RITA

Vincent Lambert's Life upheld by Courts in France - Vatican issues statement in Support - Full Text

Life News reports that in 2008, Lambert was in a motorcycle accident that caused brain damage. In 2015, his wife petitioned the court to have all treatment and care ceased including food and water. His parents urged that their son be transferred to a rehabilitation center. Though his parents are fighting for his life, his wife and some other family members believe he has no quality of life and should be taken off food and water. 

Before the newest court ruling, which upholds Lambert's life, the process of starving Lambert to death began: Doctors started switching off his life support at the Sebastopol Hospital in the northern French city of Reims following a final judicial ruling to halt nutrition and hydration. Without these, he could die “within days”, said medical sources.

Pope Francis on Monday also said that “those who live with severe illness” should have life protected until “its natural end”. “We pray for those who live with severe illness,” the pope tweeted. “Let us always safeguard life, God’s gift, from its beginning until its natural end. Let us not give in to a throwaway culture.”

 Macron’s office is currently tabulating calls for or against saving Vincent. Call +33142928100 and say “Je téléphone pour sauver la vie de Vincent Lambert.”

 Last spring, Pope Francis also spoke out on behalf of Lambert and Alfie Evans, a British toddler who died after a hospital removed his life support against his parents’ wishes. “I entrust to your prayer persons such as Vincent Lambert in France, little Alfie Evans in England, and others in several countries who live, sometimes for a long time, in a state of grave illness, assisted medically for their primary needs,” the pope said.

The Guardian reported:
The court ordered authorities “to take all measures” to keep alive Vincent Lambert, a 42-year-old quadriplegic with severe brain damage who has been in a vegetative state for a decade, pending a review by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Lambert’s mother, Viviane, 73, hailed the ruling as “a very big victory” in her struggle to maintain vital medical care for her son.

On Monday, his mother told AFP: “They were starting to eliminate Vincent! This is a very big victory. They are going to restore nutrition and give him drink. For once I am proud of the courts.”
Edited from Life News

The Vatican Issued a declaration Full Text:

In full agreement with the affirmations of the Archbishop of Reims, H.E. Msgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, and the auxiliary bishop, H.E. Msgr. Bruno Feillet, in relation to the sad case of Mr. Vincent Lambert, we wish to reiterate the grave violation of the dignity of the person that the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration would constitute. Indeed, the “vegetative state” is certainly a burdensome pathological state, which however does not in any way compromise the dignity of those people who find themselves in this condition, nor does it compromise their fundamental rights to life and to care, understood as the continuity of basic human assistance.

Nutrition and hydration constitute a form of essential care, always proportionate to life support: to nourish a sick person never constitutes a form of unreasonable therapeutic obstinacy, as long as the person is able to receive nutrition and hydration, provided this does not cause intolerable suffering or prove damaging to the patient.

The suspension of such care represents, rather, a form of abandonment of the patient, based on a pitiless judgment of the quality of life, expression of a throwaway culture that selects the most fragile and helpless people, without recognizing their uniqueness and immense value. The continuity of assistance is an inescapable duty.

We therefore hope that solutions may be found as soon as possible to protect Mr. Lambert’s life. To this end, we assure the prayer of the Holy Father and all the Church.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 287    

Reading 1ACTS 15:1-6

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
"Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved."
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question.
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law."

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5

R.(see 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 15:4A, 5B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Saint May 22 : St. Rita of Cascia the Patron of Impossible Causes, Marriage Problems and Abuse Victims



Born: 1381, Roccaporena, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Died: May 22, 1457, Cascia, Perugia, Umbria, Italy Canonized:
May 24, 1900, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Feast Day:
May 22
Patron of:
Lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, mothers
The Precious Pearl/The Story of Saint Rita of Casica (Abridged) by Michael DiGregorio, OSA
Antonio and Amata Lotti, natives of Roccaporena, a tiny village in the Umbrian Hills of the republic of Cascia, were well-respected peacemakers in their town who welcomed their only child, Margherita in 1381.  In the local dialect, her name meant “pearl” and she was known as Rita.  Baptized in the church of St. Augustine in Cascia, Rita became acquainted with the local Augustinian nuns of St. Mary Magdalene and was attracted to their way of life.  But her parents arranged a marriage for her in order to provide safety and security, and so Rita obediently married Paolo Mancini with whom she had two sons.  In the climate of the times, there was often open conflict between families, and her husband Paolo was murdered.  Her sons were young, but the expectation would be for them eventually to avenge the murder of their father to defend family honor.  Rita, influenced by the peacemaking example of her parents, pledged to forgive her husband’s killers.  She faced a steep challenge, however, in convincing her sons to do the same.  Tradition has it that she often pointed out to them the image of the crucified Christ and the fact that he forgave those who killed him.  Within a year, however, both sons succumbed to a deadly illness leaving Rita not only a widow, but also childless.  Following these tragedies, Rita placed her trust in God, accepting them and relying on her deep faith to find her way.  After eighteen years of marriage, Rita felt called to a second but familiar vocation, to religious life in the Augustinian convent.

But the sisters were hesitant and refused her request; however, Rita was not discouraged, convinced that she was called to the contemplative community.  The sisters even more firmly refused, citing that although Rita had forgiven her husband’s killers, her family had not.  There were members of the rival family in the convent; her presence would be detrimental to community harmony.  And so, inspired by her three patron saints (Augustine, Nicholas of Tolentino and John the Baptist), Rita set out to make peace between the families.  She went to her husband’s family and exhorted them to put aside their hostility and stubbornness.  They were convinced by her courage and agreed.  The rival family, astounded by this overture of peace, also agreed.  The two families exchanged a peace embrace and signed a written agreement, putting the vendetta to rest forever.  A fresco depicting the scene of the peace embrace was placed on a wall of the Church of Saint Francis in Cascia, an enduring reminder of the power of good over evil and a testament to the widow whose forgiving spirit achieved the impossible.
At the age of 36, Rita finally was accepted into the Augustinian convent.  She lived a regular life of prayer, contemplation and spiritual reading, according to the Rule of Saint Augustine.  For forty years she lived this routine lifestyle, until fifteen years before her death, on Good Friday 1442, she had an extraordinary experience.  In contemplation before an image of Jesus that was very dear to her, the Jesus of Holy Saturday or, as it is also known,the Resurgent Christ, she was moved by a deeper awareness of the physical and spiritual burden of pain which Christ so freely and willingly embraced for love of her and of all humanity.  With the tender, compassionate heart of a person fully motivated by grateful love, she spoke her willingness to relieve Christ’s suffering by sharing even the smallest part of his pain.  Her offer was accepted, her prayer was answered, and Rita was united with Jesus in a profound experience of spiritual intimacy, a thorn from his crown penetrating her forehead.  The wound it caused remained open and visible until the day of her death.
Toward the end of her life, Rita progressively weakened physically.  Several months before her death, she was visited by a relative from Roccaporena who asked if she could do something for her.  Rita at first declined, but then made a simple request to have a rose from the garden of her family home brought to her.  However, it was January, the dead of winter in the hills of Umbria.  But upon her return home, the relative passed Rita’s family garden and found to her astonishment a single fresh rose in the snow-covered garden on an otherwise barren bush.  She immediately returned to the convent where she presented it to Rita who accepted it with quiet and grateful assurance.  For the four decades she had spent in Casica’s convent she had prayed especially for her husband Paolo, who had died so violently, and for her two sons, who had died so young.  The dark, cold earth of Roccaporena, which held their mortal remains, had now produced a beautiful sign of spring and beauty out of season.  So, Rita believed, had God brought forth, through her prayers, their eternal life despite tragedy and violence.  She now knew that she would soon be one with them again.
Rita died peacefully on May 22, 1457.  An old and revered tradition records that the bells of the convent immediately began to peal unaided by human hands, calling the people of Cascia to the doors of the convent, and announcing the triumphant completion of a life faithfully lived.  The nuns prepared her for burial and placed her in a simple wooden coffin.  A carpenter who had been partially paralyzed by a stroke, voiced the sentiments of many others when he spoke of the beautiful life of this humble nun in bringing lasting peace to the people of Cascia.  “If only I were well,” he said, “I would have prepared a place more worthy of you.”  With those words, Rita’s first miracle was performed, as he was healed.  He fashioned the elaborate and richly decorated coffin which would hold Rita’s body for several centuries.  She was never buried in it, however.  So many people came to look upon the gentle face of the “Peacemaker of Cascia” that her burial had to be delayed.  It became clear that something exceptional was occurring as her body seemed to be free from nature’s usual course.  It is still preserved today, now in a glass-enclosed coffin, in the basilica of Cascia. Text from St. Rita Shrine

Pope Francis tells Missionaries "Evangelization is a testimony of Jesus Christ..." Full Text to PIME


Hall of the Consistory
Monday, May 20, 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you with joy at your Assembly. I thank the Superior General and cordially greet all of you, missionaries and missionaries.

With you I give thanks to the Lord for the long journey that your Institute has made in almost 170 years since its foundation, which took place in Milan, as a Seminar for Foreign Missions. We remember the protagonist of the beginning: Archbishop Angelo Ramazzotti, at the time Bishop of Pavia. He received a wish from Pope Pius IX and had the happy idea of ​​involving the Bishops of Lombardy in the foundation, on the basis of the principle of co-responsibility of all the dioceses for spreading the Gospel to the peoples who do not yet know Jesus Christ. At that time it was a novelty, preceded only by the foundation of the Institute of Foreign Missions of Paris. Until then the missionary apostolate was totally in the hands of religious Orders and Congregations. With the Institutes of Paris and Milan it begins to be taken over by the particular Churches, which are committed to opening up to the whole world to send their priests beyond their borders.

Over the years, PIME has had its own independent path, and in part has developed like other religious congregations, without identifying with them. In fact, you do not take vows like the religious, but you consecrate yourself for the whole life to the missionary activity with a definitive promise.

Your first mission fields were in Oceania, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Hong Kong and China. The seed hidden under the earth has produced so many fruits of new communities, of dioceses born from nothing, of priestly and religious vocations germinated for the service of the local Church. After the Second World War you have expanded your presence in Brazil and the Amazon, in the United States, in Japan, Guinea-Bissau, the Philippines, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Thailand, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Algeria and Chad.

Your story is marked by a luminous trail of sanctity in so many of its members, in some officially recognized by the Church: we remember the martyrs Sant’Alberico Crescitelli, Blessed Giovanni Battista Mazzucconi, Blessed Mario Vergara; and the confessors Blessed Paolo Manna and Blessed Clemente Vismara. Among your missionaries there are 19 martyrs, who gave their lives for Jesus on behalf of their people, without reservation and without personal calculations. You are a "family of apostles", an international community of priests and lay people who live in communion of life and activity.

The words that St. Paul VI spoke in Manila in 1970 have a special echo for you and summarize the meaning of your life and your vocation. He said: "Yes, I feel the need to announce Jesus Christ, I cannot keep silent [...]. I must confess his name: Jesus is the Christ, Son of the living God [...]. I would no longer end up speaking of Him: He is the light, it is the truth, [...]; He is the Bread, the source of living water for our hunger and our thirst; He is the Shepherd, our guide, our example, our comfort, our brother ". Thus Paul VI. In fact, it is only from Christ that our life and our mission make sense, because "there is no true evangelization if the name, teaching, life, promises, the Kingdom, the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, let them not be proclaimed "(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22).

Evangelizing is the grace and vocation proper to your Institute, its deepest identity (see ibid., 14). This mission however - it is always good to emphasize - does not belong to you, because it springs from the grace of God. There is no school to become evangelizers; there is help, but it is another thing. It is a vocation that you have from God. Either you are an evangelizer or you are not, and if you have not received this grace, this vocation, you stay at home. It is a great thing that carries you forward. "The first word, the true initiative, the true activity, comes from God and only by entering into this divine initiative, only by imploring this divine initiative, can we also become - with Him and in Him - evangelizers" (Exhortation ap. Evangelii gaudium, 112).
This year 100 years have passed since the Apostolic Letter Maximum illud by Pope Benedict XV. As you know, to celebrate this anniversary I announced the Extraordinary Missionary Month, next October, with this theme: "Baptized and sent: the Church of Christ on a mission in the world". The aim of this initiative is "to reawaken awareness of the missio ad gentes and to resume the missionary transformation of life and pastoral care with new enthusiasm" (Letter of indiction, 22 October 2017). And you missionaries are the protagonists of this anniversary, so that it may be an opportunity to renew the ad gentes missionary zeal, so that your whole life, your plans, your work, your own structures draw from the mission and the proclamation of the Gospel lifeblood and renewal criteria. There is a danger that comes up again - it seemed to be out of date but to come back -: to confuse evangelization with proselytism. No. Evangelization is a testimony of Jesus Christ, dead and risen. It is He who attracts. This is why the Church grows by attraction and not by proselytism, as Benedict XVI had said. But this confusion arose somewhat from a political-economic conception of "evangelization", which is no longer evangelization. Then the presence, the concrete presence, so they ask you why you are so. And then you announce Jesus Christ. It is not looking for new partners for this "Catholic society", no, it is showing Jesus: that He shows himself in my person, in my behavior; and to open spaces with my life to Jesus. This is evangelization. And this is what your founders had in their hearts.

Precisely in the context of preparation for the Extraordinary Missionary Month, you have gathered here in Rome for your XV General Assembly, on the theme "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel: people, places and ways of the mission for the PIME of today and tomorrow ". You are trying, as far as possible, to put the mission at the center, because it is precisely the missionary urgency that founded your Institute and continues to shape it. You are convinced of this, and you have chosen the expression of Saint Paul: "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel" (1 Cor 9:16), as a guide and inspiration. The passion and urgency for the mission, which St. Paul feels as his own vocation, is what you want for all of you. Therefore, in the light of this Keyword, you have worked to understand again, in your Institute and in today's world, the mission ad gentes; to reaffirm the primacy of the one missionary vocation both for the laity and for priests; to choose the areas of the mission; to set vocation animation as a mission activity; to verify your being a community and rethink the organization of today's and tomorrow's PIME.

For this reason I say to you: "We are not afraid to undertake, with confidence in God and much courage, a missionary choice capable of transforming everything, so that customs, styles, schedules, language and every ecclesial structure become an adequate channel for 'evangelization of the current world' (Letter calling for the Extraordinary Missionary Month 2019).

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for this meeting and above all for your work in the service of the Gospel. May the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, grant you to do it always with joy, even in toil. And on this I allow you to recommend the latest issues of Evangelii nuntiandi. You know that the Evangelii nuntiandi is the largest pastoral document of the post-Council period: it is still recent, it is still in force and has not lost strength. In the last few numbers, when he describes how to be an evangelizer, he speaks of the joy of evangelizing. When St. Paul VI talks about the sins of the evangelizer: the four or five last numbers. Read it well, thinking of the joy he recommends to us.

I bless you and pray for you. And you promised, at least the Superior General promised to pray for me. Do it, please. Thank you!
Text Source: - Unofficial Trans. - Image source:

#BreakingNews Catholic Priest Killed who ran Institute for the Blind - RIP Fr. Landry Ikwel

AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Congolese priest who ran the institute for the blind was killed in Beira
Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Beira (Agenzia Fides) - "In the face of the death of our brother Landry Ibil Ikwel, in the hospital of Beira (Mozambique) following a brutal attack in the community house in Beira, we join our hearts to those of our brothers and sisters in Africa in pain, in prayer and in trust in the one who died violently on the cross forgiving his aggressors, we ask the Lord that wherever death seeks to prevail, life prevails instead". This is the statement of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, sent to Fides, on the tragic death of Fr. Landry Ibil Ikwel, 34, killed on May 19 in Beira.
The priest was stabbed in his community, taken to the hospital where he died due to his wounds. Investigations are underway.
Of Congolese nationality, Fr. Landry entered the novitiate in 2008 and was ordained a priest three years ago, on 7 February 2016, in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was the director of the Institute of the blind in Beira (IDV-B), a structure whose mission is formation, rehabilitation, education, social integration of children, young people and blind adults from all over the country, ensuring everyone an adequate education according to individual abilities, and thus making them emerge from the marginalization to which the society relegates them.
On presenting the Institute, Fr. Landry wrote: "We believe that the Congregation has made an excellent choice in accepting the management of IDV-B. Our presence responds to our charism, mission and spirituality. It is an eloquent testimony of our "preferential option for the poor". We work as part of human promotion, of social inclusion of the poor. Molokai is everywhere. The missionary dynamic today invites us to go to the margins. We believe that the work of the Congregation at IDV-B is a concrete response to this call. This work is a great challenge for today's mission". (SL) (FULL TEXT Source: Agenzia Fides, 21/5/2019)

Pope Francis explains - Living in peace with Jesus is having this experience within, which remains during all trials.. in Homily

Pope at Mass: The peace of Jesus is like the calm of a deep sea
In his homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the gift of peace promised by Christ to His Apostles as He prepared to leave them. That peace does not come from the world, but from the Holy Spirit. It remains during trial, and even gives us courage to go forward with a smile in our hearts.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis’ homily considered the question of how we can reconcile the “tribulations” and persecutions suffered by St Paul, related in the first reading; with the peace that Jesus promised to His disciples in His final words during the Last Supper, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you”, which are recorded in the day’s Gospel.

“Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you”
Although a “life of persecution and tribulations seems to be a life without peace”, Pope Francis recalled the last of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account”.

The peace of Jesus goes with this life of persecution, of tribulation. A peace that is deep down, deep down, very profound to all these things. A peace that no one can touch, a peace that is a gift, like the sea that deep down is tranquil, while on the surface there are waves. Living in peace with Jesus is having this experience within, which remains during all trials, all difficulties, all “tribulations”.

The Christian carries the burdens of life without losing peace
This, the Pope said, is the only way we can understand how so many saints lived their final moments without losing peace, to the point that witnesses would say they went to their martyrdom “like guests to a wedding”. This is the gift of the “peace of Jesus”, he said, that we cannot obtain through human means, like going to a doctor or taking anti-anxiety drugs. This peace is something different, which comes from “the Holy Spirit within us”, and that brings with it “strength”.

Pope Francis gave the example of a hard-working man he met who, because of an illness, had to give up all his plans, but managed to remain at peace. “This is a Christian”, the Pope explained.

Peace, the peace of Jesus, teaches us to go forward in life. It teaches us to endure. To endure: a word we don’t understand well, a very Christian word, it means to carry a burden. To endure, to carry the burden of life, the difficulties, the labour, everything, without losing peace; but rather bearing the burden and having the courage to go forward. This can only be understood when there is the Holy Spirit within, who gives us the peace of Jesus.

On the other hand, Pope Francis said, if we get caught up in a kind of “fervent nervousness” and lose this peace, “there is something that isn’t working”.

Peace doesn’t mean losing a sense of humour
The Holy Father encouraged us to face the greatest difficulties of life with this “gift promised by Jesus”, instead of that false peace that comes from the world, or from having money in the bank. Going beyond the day’s readings, Pope Francis invited us to go forward in life with an even greater capacity, the ability to “make the heart smile”.

The person who lives this peace never loses their sense of humour. They know how to smile at themselves, at others, even when things are dark they know how to smile at everything… this sense of humour which is very close to the grace of God. The peace of Jesus in daily life, the peace of Jesus in tribulations and with that little sense of humour that helps us breathe easier. May the Lord grant us this peace that comes from the Holy Spirit, this peace that comes precisely from Him, and that helps us to endure, to carry, the many difficulties in life.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican News va

#BreakingNews US Bishosps' say "We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S..." on Equality Act.”

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Respond to U.S. House Vote on Equality Act

May 17, 2019
WASHINGTON—Five chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have responded to the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Equality Act (H.R. 5) on May 17, 2019. The Act would add the new terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” as well as “pregnancy […] or a related medical condition,” to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws; expand the types of entities covered under those laws; and exempt itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Upon the bill’s passage by 236 to 173 in the House, the bishops said:
“Our faith calls us to uphold every individual’s dignity and rights against unjust discrimination – including in employment, housing, and services – regardless of characteristics or background. Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights. The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate. We must pursue justice and equality for anyone denied it; but this is a regrettable approach. We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S. House.”
The statement was jointly issued by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; some of whom had sent or cosigned letters to Members of Congress in opposition to the Equality Act in the months leading up to Friday’s vote.
FULL TEXT Release from USCCB - US Catholic Bishops' Conference