Thursday, March 7, 2019

Saint March 8 : St. John of God : Patron of Alcoholics; Publishers, Dying; Sick


Born at Montemoro Novo, Portugal, 8 March, 1495, of devout Christian parents; died at Granada, 8 March, 1550. The wonders attending the saints birth heralded a life many-sided in its interests, but dominated throughout by implicit fidelity to the grace of God. A Spanish priest whom he followed to Oropeza, Spain, in his ninth year left him in charge of the chief shepherd of the place, to whom he gradually endeared himself through his punctuality and fidelity to duty, as well as his earnest piety. When he had reached manhood, to escape his master's well-meant, but persistent, offer of his daughter's hand in marriage, John took service for a time in the army of Charles V, and on the renewal of the proposal he enlisted in a regiment on its way to Austria to do battle with the Turks.
Succeeding years found him first at his birthplace, saddened by the news of his mother's premature death, which had followed close upon his mysterious disappearance; then a shepherd at Seville and still later at Gibraltar, on the way to Africa, to ransom with his liberty Christians held captive by the Moors. He accompanied to Africa a Portuguese family just expelled from the country, to whom charity impelled him to offer his services. On the advice of his confessor he soon returned to Gilbratar, where, brief as had been the time since the invention of the printing-press, he inaugurated the Apostolate of the printed page, by making the circuit of the towns and villages about Gilbratar, selling religious books and pictures, with practically no margin of profit, in order to place them within the reach of all.
It was during this period of his life that he is said to have been granted the vision of the Infant Jesus, Who bestowed on him the name by which he was later known, John of God, also bidding him to go to Granada. There he was so deeply impressed by the preaching of Blessed John of Avila that he distributed his worldly goods and went through the streets of the city, beating his breast and calling on God for mercy. For some time his sanity was doubted by the people and he was dealt with as a madman, until the zealous preacher obliged him to desist from his lamentations and take some other method of atoning for his past life. He then made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, where the nature of his vocation was revealed to him by the Blessed Virgin. Returning to Granada, he gave himself up to the service of the sick and poor, renting a house in which to care for them and after furnishing it with what was necessary, he searched the city for those afflicted with all manner of disease, bearing on his shoulders any who were unable to walk.
For some time he was alone in his charitable work soliciting by night the needful supplies, and by day attending scrupulously to the needs of his patients and the rare of the hospital; but he soon received the co-operation of charitable priests and physicians. Many beautiful stories are related of the heavenly guests who visited him during the early days of herculean tasks, which were lightened at times by St.Raphael in person. To put a stop to the saint's habit of exchanging his cloak with any beggar he chanced to meet, Don Sebastian Ramirez, Bishop of Tuy, had made for him a habit, which was later adopted in all its essentials as the religious garb of his followers, and he imposed on him for all time the name given him by the Infant Jesus, John of God. The saint's first two companions, Antonio Martin and Pedro Velasco, once bitter enemies who had scandalised all Granada with their quarrels and dissipations, were converted through his prayers and formed the nucleus of a flourishing congregation. The former advanced so far on the way of perfection that the saint on his death-bed commended him to his followers as his successor in the government of the order. The latter, Peter the Sinner, as he called himself, became a model of humility and charity.
Among the many miracles which are related of the saint the most famous is the one commemorated in the Office of his feast, his rescue of all the inmates during a fire in the Grand Hospital at Granada, he himself passing through the flames unscathed. His boundless charity extended to widows and orphans, those out of employment, poor students, and fallen women. After thirteen years of severe mortification, unceasing prayer, and devotion to his patients, he died amid the lamentations of all the inhabitants of Granada. His last illness had resulted from an heroic but futile effort to save a young man from drowning. The magistrates and nobility of the city crowded about his death-bed to express their gratitude for his services to the poor, and he was buried with the pomp usually reserved for princes. He was beatified by Urban VIII, 21 September, 1638, and canonized by Alexander VIII, 16 October, 1690. Pope Leo XIII made St. John of God patron of hospitals and the dying. (See also BROTHERS HOSPITALLERS OF ST. JOHN OF GOD.)
Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Top 10 Quotes for the Season of Lent to SHARE "Lent is a season of intense prayer, fasting and concern..."


1. "True fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words, lying, and betrayal of vows." St. Basil

2. "Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life..." -- Pope Benedict XVI

3.  ”Fasting and almsgiving are ‘the two wings of prayer’ which enable it to gain momentum and more easily reach even to God.” St Augustine

4. “Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

5. "Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ; discipline your body; do not pamper yourself, but love fasting.” -- Saint Benedict

6. "Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism." -- Pope Benedict XVI

7. “Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself.” -- St. Peter Chrysologus

8. "As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and believe' Jesus tells us. What are we to repent?  Our indifference, our hardness of heart.  What are we to believe?  Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor -- He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you."  -- St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

9. "Lent is a season of intense prayer, fasting and concern for those in need. It offers all Christians an opportunity to prepare for Easter by serious discernment about their lives, with particular attention to the word of God which enlightens the daily journey of all who believe.” -- St. Pope John Paul II

10. "Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion. It invites Christians to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving." Pope Francis

Pope Francis "At the beginning of Lent, it would be good for all of us to ask...to preserve the memory of everything the Lord has done in my life..." Homily


Pope at Mass: Preserve the memory of what the Lord has done
Preserving the memory of the history of salvation: When you “turn away” your heart, you risk having a “heart without a compass”. That was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
By Debora Donnini

Pope Francis’ homily focused on three key expressions from the day’s first Reading, taken from the book of Deuteronomy. To prepare them to enter the Promised Land, Moses places before them a challenge, which is also a choice between life and death. “It is an appeal to our liberty”, Pope Francis explained, as he focused on three key expressions used by Moses: “if you turn away your hearts”; if you “will not listen”; and “are led astray and adore and serve other gods”:

When your heart is turned away, when you take the road that is not right – either going the wrong way or taking a different road, but not going along the right road – you lose your sense of direction, you lose your compass, with which you should go forward. And a heart without a compass is a public danger: it’s a danger for the person himself, and for others. And a heart takes this wrong path when it does not listen, when it allows itself to go astray, carried away by [other] gods, when it becomes an idolater.

Often, though, we are not capable of listening, the Pope said. Many people are “deaf in the soul” – and “we, too, at various times become deaf in the soul, we do not hear the Lord.” Pope Francis warned against the “fireworks” that call us back, “the false gods” that call us to idolatry. This is the danger we face along the path “towards the land that was promised to us: the land of the encounter with the risen Christ”. Lent “helps us to go along this path”, the Pope said.

The second word, “not listening to the Lord” – and the promises He has made us – means losing our memory. The Pope said that when we lose memory “of the great things the Lord has done in our lives, that He has done in the Church, in His people”, we then get used to going on alone, with our own strength, with our self-sufficiency. For this reason, Pope Francis calls on us to begin Lent by asking for “the grace of memory”. This, he says, is what Moses exhorted the Israelites to do in the first reading, to remember all that the Lord had done for them along the way. On the other hand, when all is well, when we are doing spiritually well, there is the danger of losing “the memory of the journey”:

Well-being, even spiritual well-being, has this danger: the danger of a certain amnesia, a lack of memory. I feel good like that, and I forget what the Lord has done in my life, all the graces He has given us, and I believe that it is my own merit, and I go on like that. And then the heart begins to turn away, because it doesn’t listen to the voice of the heart itself: memory. The grace of memory.

Pope Francis recalls a similar passage, from the Letter to the Hebrews, which exhorts us to remember “the former days”. “Losing memory is very common”, the Pope said; “even the people of Israel lost their memory”. This kind of memory loss is selective, he explained: “I remember what is convenient to me now, and I don’t remember something that threatens me”. For example, the Israelites in the desert remembered that God had saved them; they “could not forget Him”. But they began to complain about the lack of water and meat, and “to think about the things they’d had in Egypt”. The Pope notes that this is a selective memory, because they forgot that the good things they had in Egypt were eaten at “the table of slavery”. In order to go forward, we must remember, we must not “lose history: the history of salvation, the history of my life, the history of Jesus with me”. The Pope said we must not stop, we must not turn back, we must not let ourselves be carried away by idols”.

Pope Francis insisted that idolatry does not just mean “going to a pagan temple and worshipping a statue”:

Idolatry is an attitude of the heart, when you prefer to do something because it is more comfortable for me, instead of the Lord – precisely because we have forgotten the Lord. At the beginning of Lent, it would be good for all of us to ask for the grace to preserve memory, to preserve the memory of everything the Lord has done in my life: how he loved me so much, how he loved me. And from that memory, to go forward. And it would also do us good continually to repeat the advice of Paul to Timothy, his beloved disciple: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead”. I repeat: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead”. Remember Jesus, Jesus who has accompanied me up to now, and will accompany me until the moment when I must appear before Him in glory. May the Lord give us the grace to preserve memory”.
FULL TEXT Release from Vatican News va

#BreakingNews Cardinal Barbarin of France Resigns after receiving a 6 months Sentence for covering an abuse case

EuroNews reports: Barbarin resigns after receiving suspended prison sentence over abuse allegation neglect

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was accused of failing to report a priest

Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, has been handed a six month suspended prison sentence for failing to act on sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic church.

A French court convicted him on Thursday of failing to report allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts that took place in his diocese in the 1980s and early 1990s, by a priest who is due to go on trial later this year.

The cardinal was Archbishop of Lyon since 2002.

The 68-year-old had always denied the allegations. “I never sought to hide, even less to cover up these horrible acts,” Cardinal Barbarin said at his trial.

The alleged victims of Father Bernard Preynat, who has admitted sexual abuse of underage boys in the 1980s and 1990s, believe Church officials knew of the abuse as early as 1990 when Preynat was moved to a different parish.

Barbarin has been condemned for taking months in 2015 to follow a Vatican directive to remove Preynat from any duties which would put him in contact with children.


The prosecutor had not sought punishment for the cardinal or the five other church officials accused alongside him. The court did not find them guilty.

However, the verdict in Barbarin’s case was incriminating. “Philippe Barbarin made the conscious choice, to preserve the institution to which he belonged, to not pass on (information) to the legal authorities,” AFP reported the judgment as saying.

The court found that “by wanting to avoid scandal”, the cardinal had risked preventing many other cases of abuse from being revealed, to the detriment of the victims.

Lawyers for Barbarin have said they intend to appeal against the conviction.
Edited from EuroNews
Image Source: Google Images

Death Toll from Alabama Tornadoes at 23 People Killed including Children with 8 Missing and 50 Injured


Seven members of one family were among the 23 victims identified after an outbreak of tornadoes devastated the US state of Alabama.

Every victim, including four children, was found close to their homes, rescue crews say.

The victims range in age from six to 89.
Up to eight people remain missing, officials say, and there are fears the death toll could rise.


The tornadoes struck eastern Alabama on Sunday, levelling homes and carving a path of at least a half mile (0.8km) wide in some parts of the state.

About 50 structures have been reduced to rubble.

On Monday, a tornado hit Lee County to EF-4 with wind speeds of 170 mph (275km/h).

Almost 50 people were injured and numerous homes and businesses were reduced to rubble as multiple tornadoes touched down in south-east Alabama and Georgia.

During Tuesday's briefing, an official with the National Weather Service said the deadliest tornado had travelled for about 70 miles, and another nearby travelled for 29 miles.
Edited from BBC News
Vatican News released the condolences of Pope Francis: 

Below please find the full text of the telegram sent by the Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State, 
Pietro Parolin on behalf of Pope Francis: 
 The Most Reverend Thomas J. Rodi Archbishop of Mobile Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and the injuries caused by the tornado which struck Alabama in recent days, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt solidarity with all affected by this natural disaster. He prays that Almighty God may grant eternal rest to the dead, especially the children, and healing and consolation to the injured and those who grieve. Upon all who are suffering the effects of this calamity, the Holy Father invokes the Lord’s blessings of peace and strength.
 Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, March 7, 2019 - #Eucharist


Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 220

Reading 1 DT 30:15-20

Moses said to the people:
"Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

Responsorial PsalmPS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (40:5a)  Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Gospel LK 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all,
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?"