Friday, March 8, 2019

Saint March 9 : St. Dominic Savio : Patron of Choirboys, Falsely Accused, #Juvenile delinquents

Canonized:
Feast Day:
March 9
Born:
April 2, 1842(1842-04-02), San Giovanni, a frazione of Riva presso Chieri, Piedmont, Italy
March 9, 1857, Mondonio, a frazione of Castelnuovo d’Asti (today Castelnuovo Don Bosco), Piedmont, Italy
12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:
The Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians in Turin (his tomb)
Patron of:
choirboys, falsely accused people, juvenile delinquents,  Pueri Cantores

MYSTIC, YOUTHFUL CONFESSOR, STUDENT OF ST. JOHN BOSCO
Here is a boy-saint who died at the age of fifteen, was one of the great hopes of St. John Bosco for the future of his congregation, and was canonized in 1954. He was one of ten children of Carlo and Birgitta Savio. Carlo was a blacksmith and Birgitta was a seamstress. When Don Bosco was looking for young men to train as priests for his Salesian Order, his parish priest suggested Dominic Savio. Dominic became more than a credit to Don Bosco's school—he single-handedly organized those who were to be the nucleus of Don Bosco's order.
St. Dominic Savio was twelve when he met Don Bosco and organized a group of boys into the Company of the Immaculate Conception. Besides its religious purpose, the boys swept and took care of the school and looked after the boys that no one seemed to pay any attention to. When, in 1859, Don Bosco chose the young men to be the first members of his congregation, all of them had been members of Dominic's Company.
For all that, Dominic was a normal, high-spirited boy who sometimes got into trouble with his teachers because he would often break out laughing. However, he was generally well disciplined and gradually gained the respect of the tougher boys in Don Bosco's school.
In other circumstances, Dominic might have become a little self-righteous snob, but Don Bosco showed him the heroism of the ordinary and the sanctity of common sense. "Religion must be about us as the air we breathe," Don Bosco would say, and Dominic Savio wore holiness like the clothes on his back.
He called his long hours of prayer "his distractions." In 1857, at the age of fifteen, he caught tuberculosis and was sent home to recover. On the evening of March 9, he asked his father to say the prayers for the dying. His face lit up with an intense joy and he said to his father: "I am seeing most wonderful things!" These were his last words.
Thought for the Day: "I can't do big things," St. Dominic Savio once said, "but I want everything to be for the glory of God." His was the way of the ordinary: cheerfulness, fidelity in little things, helping others, playing games, obeying his superiors. This heroism in little things is the stuff of holiness.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis hears Confessions "...a permanent miracle of divine tenderness, in which once again the Reconciliation of God" Full Text


MEETING WITH THE CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE OF ROME

MEDITATION OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano
Thursday, 7 March 2019


Reconciliation

Good morning to all of you.

It's always nice to meet here every year at the beginning of Lent, for this liturgy of God's forgiveness. It's good for us - it's good for me too! - and I feel a great peace in my heart, now that each of us has received the mercy of God and has given it to others, his brothers. We live this moment for what it really is, like an extraordinary grace, a permanent miracle of divine tenderness, in which once again the Reconciliation of God, the sister of Baptism, moves us, cleans us with tears, regenerates us, gives us back original beauty.

This peace and gratitude that from our hearts rise to the Lord help us to understand how the whole Church and each of her children live and grow thanks to God's mercy. The Bride of the Lamb becomes "without stain or wrinkle" (Eph 5, 27) by the gift of God, her beauty is the point of arrival of a path of purification and transfiguration, that is, an exodus to which the Lord permanently invites her: "Behold, I will lead her into the wilderness and speak to her heart" ( Os 2.16). We must never cease to warn each other of the temptation of self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction, as if we were People of God for our own initiative or our own merit. This withdrawal on ourselves is very bad and will always hurt us: either self-sufficiency in doing or mirror sin, complacency: "How beautiful I am! How good I am! ". We are not God's people by our initiative, by our merit; no indeed, we are and will always be the fruit of the Lord's merciful action: a People of proud made small by the humility of God, a People of miserable - we are not afraid to say this word: "I am miserable" - made rich from the poverty of God, a people of the accursed made righteous by him who made himself the "accursed" hanging on the wood of the cross (cf. Gal 3:13). Let us never forget it: "without me you can do nothing" (Jn 15: 5). I repeat, the Master told us: «without me you can not do anything!». And so it changes the thing, it is not me in front of the mirror that I look at myself, I am not the center of the activities, even the center of prayer, so many times ... No, no, He is the center. I'm in the suburbs. He is the center, it is He who does everything, and this requires us a holy passivity - the one that is not holy is laziness, no, that no - a holy passivity before God, before Jesus above all, it is He who does the things.

This is why this time of Lent is truly a grace: it allows us to relocate ourselves before God, letting him be everything. His love lifts us from the dust (remember that without me you are dust, the Lord told us yesterday), his Spirit blown once again on our nostrils gives us the life of the resurrected. The hand of God, who created us in the image and likeness of his Trinitarian mystery, has made us many in unity, different but inseparable from each other. The pardon of God, which we have celebrated today, is a force that re-establishes communion at all levels: among us priests in the only diocesan presbyterate; with all Christians, in the one body that is the Church; with all men, in the unity of the human family. The Lord presents us to one another and tells us: here is your brother, "bone from your bones, flesh from your flesh" (cf. Gen 2:23), the one with whom you are called to live the "charity that will never end "(1Cor 13.8).

For these seven years of diocesan journey of pastoral conversion, which separate us from the Jubilee of 2025 (we have arrived at the second), I have proposed the book of Exodus as a paradigm. The Lord acts, then as today, and transforms a "non-people" into the People of God. This is his desire and his project also on us.
Well, what does the Lord do when he has to see with sadness that Israel is a "hard-necked" people (Exodus 32: 9), "prone to evil" (Ex 32: 22) as in the episode of the golden calf? Begins a patient work of reconciliation, a learned pedagogy, in which he threatens and comforts, makes aware of the consequences of the evil done and decides to forget the sin, punishes striking the people and heals the wound he has inflicted. Precisely in the text of Exodus 32-34, which you will propose in Lent for the meditation of your communities, the Lord seems to have taken a radical decision: "I will not come among you" (Ex 33: 3). When the Lord closes, he goes away. We have experience of this, in bad times, of spiritual desolation. If any of you do not know these moments, I advise you to go and talk to a good confessor, a spiritual father, because something is missing in your life; I do not know what it is but do not have desolation ... it is not normal, I would say it is not Christian. We have these moments. I will no longer walk in your head; I will send my angel (cf. Ex 32: 34) to precede you on the way, but I will not come. When the Lord leaves us alone, without his presence, and we are in the parish, we are working and we feel employed but without the presence of the Lord, in desolation ... Not only in consolation, in desolation. Think of this.

On the other hand, the people, perhaps out of impatience or feeling abandoned (because Moses was slow to come down from the mountain), had put aside the prophet chosen by God and asked Aron to build an idol, mute image of God, that walked to the his head. The people do not tolerate the absence of Moses, they are in desolation and do not tolerate and immediately look for another God to be comfortable. Sometimes, when we have no desolation, we may have idols. "No, I'm fine, with this I'm arranging ...". The sadness of God's abandonment never comes. What does the Lord do when we "cut him off" - with idols - from the life of our communities, because we are convinced that we are sufficient for ourselves? At that moment, the idol is me: "No, I'm arranging ... Thanks ... Do not worry, I'll do it". And the need of the Lord is not felt, the desolation of the absence of the Lord is not felt.

But the Lord is smart! The reconciliation that He wants to offer to the people will be a lesson that the Israelites will always remember. God behaves like a rejected lover: if you really do not want me, then I'm leaving! And leave us alone. It's true, we can get away with it for a while, six months, a year, two years, three years, even more. At one point this breaks out. If we go on alone, this self-sufficiency breaks out, this self-satisfaction of loneliness. And it breaks badly, it bursts badly. I think of a case of a good, good, religious priest, I knew him well. He was brilliant. If there was a problem in some communities, the superiors thought of him to solve the problem: a college, a university, he was good, good. But he was a devotee of "holy mirror": he looked so much at himself. And God has been good to him. One day he made him feel that he was alone in life, that he had lost so much. And he did not dare to say to the Lord: "But I have arranged this thing, the other one, the other one ...". No, he immediately realized that he was alone. And the greatest grace that the Lord can give, for me it is the greatest grace: that man cried. The grace of crying. He cried for the lost time, he cried because the holy mirror had not given him what he expected of himself. And he started from the beginning, humbly. When the Lord goes away, because we drive him away, we must ask for the gift of tears, mourn the absence of the Lord. "You do not want me, so I go," says the Lord, and over time what happened to this priest happens.

Let's go back to Exodus. The effect is that hoped for: "The people heard this sad news and all grieved: no one wore his ornaments" (Ex 33: 4). It has not escaped the Israelites that no punishment is as heavy as this divine decision which contradicts its holy name: "I am who am!" (Ex 3:14): an expression that has a concrete, not abstract, translatable meaning " I am the one who is and will be here, next to you ". When you realize that He is gone, because you have driven him away, it is a grace to hear this. If you do not notice, there is suffering. The angel is not a solution, rather it would be the permanent witness of the absence of God. This is why the reaction of the people is sadness. This is another dangerous thing, because there is a good sadness and a bad sadness. There must be discerned, in moments of sadness: how is my sadness, where does it come from? And sometimes it is good, it comes from God, from the absence of God, as in this case; other times it is a complacency, too, is not it?
What would we feel if the Risen Lord told us: continue your ecclesial activities and your liturgies, but will I no longer be present and act in your sacraments? Since, when you make your decisions, you are based on worldly and non-evangelical criteria (tamquan Deus non esset), then I totally set myself aside ... Everything would be empty, meaningless, it would be nothing but "dust". The threat of God opens the door to the intuition of what our life would be without Him, if indeed He would always remove his Face. It is death, despair, hell: without me you can not do anything.

The Lord shows us once again, on the living flesh of the unmasking of our hypocrisy, what his mercy really is. To Moses God reveals on the mountain his Glory and his holy Name: "The Lord, the Lord, God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and rich in love and faithfulness" (Ex 34: 6). In the "game of love" brought forth by God, made of threatened absence and redeemed presence - "My face will walk with you and I will give you rest" (Ex 33.14) - God realizes reconciliation with his People. Israel comes out of this painful experience, which will mark it forever, with a new maturity: it is more aware of who the God who freed him from Egypt is more lucid in understanding the true dangers of the path (we could say: more fear of himself than of the serpents of the desert!). This is good: to have a little fear of ourselves, of our omnipotence, of our cunning, of our hiding, of our double game ... A little fear. If it were possible, be more afraid of this than snakes, because this is a real poison. And so the people are more united around Moses and the Word of God that he announces. The experience of sin and God's forgiveness is what has enabled Israel to become a little more the People who belong to God. We have made this penitential liturgy and have experienced our sins; and to say sin is something that opens us to the mercy of God, because sin usually hides. We hide sin not only to God, not only to our neighbor, not only to the priest but to ourselves. The "cosmetics" has gone so far, in this: we are specialists in making up situations. "Yes, but it's not for that matter, you understand ...". And a little 'water to wash yourself from cosmetics is good for everyone, to see that we are not so beautiful: we are ugly, ugly even in our things. But without despairing, because there is God, gracious and merciful, who is always behind us. There is his mercy that accompanies us.

Dear brothers, this is the meaning of Lent that we will live. In the spiritual exercises that you will preach to the people of your communities, in the penitential liturgies that you will celebrate, have the courage to propose the reconciliation of the Lord, to propose his passionate and jealous love.

Our role is like that of Moses: a generous service to the work of reconciliation of God, a "stay in the game" of his love.

It is beautiful the way in which God involves Moses, he really treats him as his friend: he prepares him before he comes down from the mountain warning him of the perversion of the people, he accepts that he acts as an intercessor for his brothers, listens to him while reminding him of the oath that he God has done to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We can imagine that God smiled when Moses invited him not to contradict himself, not to make a bad impression in the eyes of the Egyptians and not to be less than their gods, to have respect for his Holy Name. He provokes it with the dialectic of responsibilities: "Your people, whom you, Moses, have brought out of Egypt", because Moses responds by underlining that no, the people belong to God, it is He who brought them out of Egypt. .. And this is a mature dialogue with the Lord. When we see that the people we serve in the parish, or wherever, have turned away, we have this tendency to say: "It is my people, it is my people". Yes, it is your people, but vicariously, let's say: the people are His! And then go and scold him: "Look at your people what he's doing". This dialogue with the Lord.
But the heart of God exulted with joy when he heard the words of Moses: "If you forgive their sin [...] Otherwise, remove me from your book that you wrote!" (Ex 32.32). And this is one of the most beautiful things of the priest, of the priest who goes before the Lord and puts his face for his people. "It's your people, not mine, and you must forgive" - ​​"No, but ..." - "I'm leaving! I do not talk to you anymore. Delete me". It takes "pants" to talk like this with God! But we must talk like that, like men, not like pusillanimi, like men! Because this means that I am aware of the place I have in the Church, that I am not an administrator, placed there to neatly carry on something. It means that I believe, that I have faith. Try to talk like this, with God.

Dying for the people, sharing the fate of the people no matter what happens, until they die. Moses did not accept God's proposal, he did not accept corruption. God pretends to want to bribe him. He did not accept: "No, I'm not here. I stay with the people. With your people ". God's proposal was: "Let my anger light up against them and devour them. Of you I will make a great nation "(Ex 32,10) - here is the" corruption ". But how? Is God the corruptor? He is trying to see the heart of his pastor. He does not want to save himself, Moses: now he is one with his brothers. Maybe everyone got to this point, maybe! It is bad when a priest goes to the bishop to complain about his people: "Ah, you can not, these people do not understand anything, and so, and so ..., time is thrown away ...". It's ugly! What is missing from that man? So many things are missing, to that priest! Moses does not do this. He does not want to save himself, because he is one with his brothers. Here the Father has seen the face of the Son. The light of the Spirit of God has invaded the face of Moses and has outlined on his face the features of the Resurrected Crucifix, making it luminous. And when we go there to fight with God - even our father Abraham had done it, that fight with God - when we go there we show that we resemble Jesus, who gives his life for his people. And the Father smiles: he will see in us the gaze of Jesus who went to death for us, for the people of the Father, us. The heart of God's friend has now become fully dilated, becoming great - Moses, the friend of God - similar to the heart of God, much greater than the human heart (cf. 1 Jn 3:18). Moses truly became the friend who speaks with God face to face (cf. Ex 33,11). Face to face! This is when the bishop or the spiritual father asks a priest if he prays: "Yes yes, I ... yes, I with the 'mother-in-law' I arrange - the 'mother-in-law' is the breviary - yes, I arrange, I do Lodi, then…". No, no. If you pray, what does it mean? If you put your face for your people before God. If you go to fight for your people with God. This is to pray for a priest. It is not to make the prescriptions. "Ah, Father, but then does the breviary no longer go?" No, the breviary goes, but with this attitude. You are there, before God and your people behind you. And Moses is also the guardian of the Glory of God, of the secrets of God. He contemplated the Glory of the shoulders, heard his true Name on the mountain, understood his love of the Father.

Dear brothers, it is our enormous privilege! God knows our "shameful nakedness". It struck me so much when I saw the original of the [Virgin] Odigitria di Bari: it is not like now, a bit 'dressed in robes that put on the icon Eastern Christians. It is the Madonna with the naked child. I loved it so much that the Bishop of Bari gave me one of these, he gave it to me, and I put it there, in front of my door. And I like it - I say it to share an experience - I like it in the morning, when I get up, when I step in front, tell the Madonna to keep my nakedness: "Mother, you know all my nudity". This is a great thing: ask the Lord - from my nakedness - to ask that he guard my nakedness. She knows them all. God knows our "shameful nakedness", yet he never tires of using us to offer reconciliation to people. We are very poor, sinners, yet God takes us to intercede for our brothers and to distribute to the men, through our hands that are nothing innocent, the salvation that regenerates.
Sin disfigures us, and we make pain with it the humiliating experience when we ourselves or one of our brother priests or bishops falls into the abyss without fund of vice, corruption or, worse still, of the crime that destroys the lives of others. I feel like sharing with you the unbearable pain and pain that cause in us and in the whole ecclesial body the wave of scandals that the newspapers of the whole world are now full of. It is evident that the true meaning of what is happening is to be found in the spirit of evil, in the Enemy, which acts with the claim of being the master of the world, as I said in the Eucharistic liturgy at the end of the Meeting on the protection of minors in the Church (24 February 2018). Still, do not be discouraged! The Lord is purifying his Bride and is converting us all to himself. He is making us experience the test because we understand that without Him we are dust. It is saving us from hypocrisy, from the spirituality of appearances. He is blowing his Spirit to restore beauty to his Bride, surprised in flagrant adultery. It will do us good to take chapter 16 of Ezekiel today. This is the history of the Church. This is my story, everyone can say. And in the end, but through your shame, you will continue to be the shepherd. Our humble repentance, which remains silent between tears in the face of the monstrosity of sin and the unfathomable greatness of God's forgiveness, this, this humble repentance is the beginning of our holiness.

Do not be afraid to play your life at the service of reconciliation between God and men: we are not given any other secret greatness that would give this life so that men may know his love. The life of a priest is often marked by misunderstandings, silent suffering, sometimes persecution. And also sins that only He knows. The lacerations between brothers of our community, the non-acceptance of the Gospel Word, the contempt of the poor, the resentment fueled by reconciliations never happened, the scandal caused by the shameful behavior of some confreres, all this can take away our sleep and leave us in impotence . Instead, we believe in the patient guidance of God, who does things in his time, we enlarge our hearts and put ourselves at the service of the Word of reconciliation.

What we have lived in this Cathedral today, let us propose it in our communities. In the penitential liturgies that we will live in the parishes and prefectures, during this Lenten season, everyone will ask forgiveness to God and to the brothers of sin that has undermined ecclesial communion and has stifled missionary dynamism. With humility - which is a characteristic of the heart of God, but which we make so difficult to make ours - we confess to each other that we need God to repose his life to us.

Be the first to ask forgiveness of your brothers. "To accuse oneself is a sapiential beginning, linked to the fear of God" (ibid.). It will be a good sign if, as we have done today, each of you will confess from a confrere even in the penitential liturgies in the parish, before the eyes of the faithful. We will have a luminous face, like Moses, if with eyes moved we will speak to others of the mercy that has been used to us. It is the road, there is not another one. So we will see the devil of pride fall like lightning from heaven, if the miracle of reconciliation in our communities will happen. We will feel to be a little more the People who belong to the Lord, in the midst of whom God walks. This is the road.

And I wish you good Lent!

Now I would like to add something that I have been asked to do. One of the concrete ways of living a Lent of charity is to contribute generously to the campaign "As in heaven, so on the road", with which our diocesan Caritas intends to respond to all forms of poverty, welcoming and supporting those in need. I know that every year you respond generously to this appeal, but this year I ask you for a greater commitment so that the whole community and all the communities are really involved in the first person.

Card. De Donatis:

A word for the delivery, now, of this booklet: Pope Francis gives it to us. It is the volume that will accompany us in Lent, as a second reading, as we did last year: the same size as the breviary, so we will be helped to have it close. And so the prefects distribute to all these volumes, maybe you can bring it even for those who are not present. Thank you. I, in the name of all, I thank you with all my heart, who came here today, like every year. What I can tell you in the name of all, beyond graces, that we continue to support you with our daily prayer.

Pope Francis:

I need this, I need prayer. Pray for me. One of the things I like about this [booklet] is the wealth of the Fathers: to return to the Fathers. A short time ago, in a parish in Rome a book was presented, "I need paternity" I believe it is called, all texts of the Fathers according to different themes: the virtues, the Church ... Returning to the Fathers helps us a lot because it is a great wealth. Thank you.
 FULL TEXT and Image Release Shared from Vatican va - Unofficial Translation

Pope Francis ''Women make the world beautiful, they protect it and keep it alive.'' on Women's Day to Jewish Committee


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE
Consistory Hall
Friday, 8 March 2019

Dear friends,
I offer you a warm welcome to the Vatican. Your organization has had close contacts with the successors of Peter since the beginning of the official dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism. Already at the Second Vatican Council, when a new direction in our relations took place, among the Jewish observers was the distinguished Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel of the American Jewish Committee. Your commitment to Jewish-Catholic dialogue goes back to the Declaration Nostra Aetate, a milestone in our journey of fraternal rediscovery. I am pleased that throughout this time we have been able to maintain good relations and enhance them further.
Cultivating good fraternal relations is a gift and at the same time a call from God. In this context, I would like to share with you an event that occurred in your part of the world. A young Catholic was sent to the front-line and experienced first-hand the horrors of the Second World War. On returning to the United States, he began to start a family. After much work, he was finally able to buy a bigger house. He bought it from a Jewish family. At the entrance was the mezuzah and this father did not want it removed during the renovations of the house: it had to remain exactly there, at the entrance. He passed on to his children the importance of that sign. He told them, one of whom was a priest, that this little “box” beside the door should be looked at each time when entering and leaving the house, because it held the secret for making a family strong and making humanity a family.
Written there was what every generation must never forget: to love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (cf Deut 6:4). Dear friends, we are called together to create a homely and familial environment, and to choose divine love with all our strength which will inspire respect and appreciation for the religion of others. This is no mere sentiment, it is our future.
Today, 8 March, I would also like to say a few words about the irreplaceable contribution of women in building a world that can be a home for all. Women make the world beautiful, they protect it and keep it alive. They bring the grace of renewal, the embrace of inclusion, and the courage to give of oneself. Peace, then, is born of women, it arises and is rekindled by the tenderness of mothers. Thus the dream of peace becomes a reality when we look towards women. It is not by chance that in the account of Genesis the woman comes from the side of the man while he is sleeping (cf Gen 2:21). Women, that is, have their origins close to a heart and a dream. They therefore bring the dream of love into the world. If we take to heart the importance of the future, if we dream of a future peace, we need to give space to women.
At present, however, a source of great concern to me is the spread, in many places, of a climate of wickedness and fury, in which an excessive and depraved hatred is taking root. I think especially of the outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks in various countries. Today I also wish to reiterate that it is necessary to be vigilant about such a phenomenon: “History teaches us where even the slightest perceptible forms of anti-Semitism can lead: the human tragedy of the Shoah in which two-thirds of European Jewry were annihilated” (Commission for Religious Relations with JewsThe Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable, 47). I stress that for a Christian any form of antisemitism is a rejection of one’s own origins, a complete contradiction. We have to do as that father did, who witnessed many tragic things, yet did not tire of transmitting to his children the foundations of love and respect. And we must look at the world with the eyes of a mother, with the gaze of peace.
In the fight against hatred and antisemitism, an important tool is interreligious dialogue, aimed at promoting a commitment to peace, mutual respect, the protection of life, religious freedom, and the care of creation. Jews and Christians, moreover, share a rich spiritual heritage, which allows us to do much good together. At a time when the West is exposed to a depersonalizing secularism, it falls to believers to seek out each other and to cooperate in making divine love more visible for humanity; and to carry out concrete gestures of closeness to counter the growth of indifference. In Genesis, Cain, after having killing Abel, says: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Before the murder that takes life, there was the indifference that cancels out the truth: yes, Cain, you really were your brother’s keeper! You, like all of us, by God’s will. In a world where the distance between the many who have little and the few who have much grows every day, we are called to take care of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the weak, the sick, children, and the elderly.
In serving humanity, as in our dialogue, young people are waiting to be involved more fully; they want to dream and are open to discovering new ideals. I want to emphasize, therefore, the importance of the formation of future generations in Jewish-Christian dialogue. The shared commitment in the area of educating the young is also an effective means of countering violence and opening new paths of peace with all.
Dear friends, in thanking you for your visit, I extend my best wishes for your commitment to promoting dialogue, enabling a fruitful exchange between religions and cultures, which is so precious for our future, and for peace. Shalom!
 FULL TEXT and Image Release Shared from Vatican va


Top 10 Catholic Women - #WomensDay - SHARE Amazing Stories!


Today, March 8, is International Women's Day. The 1st national "Women's Day" was held on February 28, 1909 in the USA. The International Women's Day was celebrated on March 18, 1911. To celebrate this many hold parades or conferences in honour of women's roles in society. It also serves to call attention to the plight of many women suffering unjustly in many countries world wide.

In honor of women's day; here is a list of
TOP 10 CATHOLIC WOMEN:
1. MARY, MOTHER OF GOD Mary of Nazareth was born before the 1st century AD. Mary was born to Anne and Joachim. She was the mother of Jesus Christ. She conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit and remained a virgin. The angel Gabriel came to her and announced that she would conceive and bear a son who would be Emmanuel. She proclaimed the famous inspired prayer found in the Gospels: "My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. Shall call me blessed: These words are a prediction of that honour which the church in all ages should pay to the Blessed Virgin. Let Protestants examine whether they are any way concerned in this prophecy. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever." (Luke 1: 46)
2. MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. The Bojaxhiu family was of Albanian descent. When she turned 18 she entered the Sisters of Loreto of Ireland. She took the name Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. She taught in a missionary school in India until 1948. While traveling through India she felt God calling her to serve the poorest of the poor. She received permission to leave her order and began to help the poor with volunteers. In 1950, she was given permission from the Vatican to start the order "The Missionaries of Charity".In 1979, she received the Nobel peace prize for her tireless work for the poor. (picture above)
Her order rapidly spread around the world to care for the poor, sick and marginalized in over 120 countries. She spoke of this ministry in her own words, "I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days."
3.  ST. MARY MACKILLOP 
was born in Victoria, Australia, on January 15, 1842 and died on August 8, 1909. She is also known as St. Mary of the Cross. She founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart with Father Julian Tenison Woods. They focus on education for the poor. She was canonized on October 17, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. (Image: SQPN.com) She is the first Australian Canonized Saint. Mary Helen MacKillop was born in Fitzroy, Victoria.
4. ST. HILDEGARD VON BINGEN
was born near the Rhine River, in Germany, in 1098 and died  on September 17, 1179. She was a visionary, musician, doctor, abbess and theologian.  She founded 2 monastaries. Hildegard composed Ordo Virtutem, the 1st passion play. She was taught in a monastery from the age of 8. Later she became an Abbess. She was the youngest of 10 children. Her books include: Scivias and Vita.
5. MOTHER ANGELICA OF THE
Mother Angelica was born in Canton, Ohio, on April 20, 1923, with the name Rita Rizzo. She founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in 1980. She became a novice and then nun with the Poor Clares of Adoration in 1944. In 1962 she founded a house for the Poor Clares in Alabama. Her network has reached over 1 billion viewers world-wide. They run Catholic programming. It also offers a Website and Radio. She Died on March 27, 2016                                 
 6. ST PERPETUA AND ST. FELICITY
were African martyrs from Carthage in 202. Both of them were young mothers when they were killed by the Roman Emperor. Perpetua is quoted as saying: "We were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him: 'Can that vessel, which you see, change its name?' He said: 'No.' I replied: 'Nor can I call myself any other than I am, that is to say, a Christian." Felicity is quoted replying to a guard: "It is I that suffer what I now suffer; but then there will be another in me that will suffer for me, because I shall suffer for him." They and other martyrs were severly tortured; St. Pertua said before death:  "Continue firm in the faith, love one another, and be not scandalized at our sufferings." Their names are mentioned in the Canon of the Roman Catholic Mass. Their feast is on March 7.
7. ST. TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS, born as Edith Stein, was a Jewish woman born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11. She was an academic and worked for a university. In 1917, Edith was converted when visiting a friend; she wrote "This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it ... it was the moment when my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me—Christ in the mystery of the Cross". On 1 January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized. She entered the Carmelite convent of Cologne on 14 October and was clothed in the habit on 15 April 1934.
During the time of Nazi power Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the convent. Her last words to her sister: "Come, we are going for our people". She and her sister were killed in Auschwitz. Her feast day is August 9.
8. ST. ALPHONSA MUTTATHUPADATHU was born on August 19 1910 and died on July 28, 1946. She was a Franciscan Sister. She is the 1st Indian canonized Saint. Alphonsa was from the Syro-Malabar Eastern Rite founded by St. Thomas the Apostle. She was born in Kudamlloor, Kerala, India and spoke Malayalam.  She became a nun in 1936 and though sickly, taught in school for  years. Many miracles are attributed to her. She was canonized on October 12, 2008 and her feast is July 28.
9. ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX was born on January 2, 1873 and died on September 30, 1897. She was born in Alencon, France. Her original name was Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin. She became a Carmelite nun at the age of 15. Her other names were St. Therese of the Child Jesus, of the Holy Face and the Little Flower. She was a sacristan who became ill with Tuberculosis and died at age 24. She and her 5 sisters all became nuns.  Her memoirs entitled Story fo a Soul have become famous. She never left the convent but had an intense prayer life and love of God. She was declared a Doctor of the Church and the patroness of missions. Her feast day is October 1st or 3rd.
10. ST. JOSEPHINE BAKHITA was born in Sudan, Africa, in 1869 and died on February 8, 1947. She was a slave and became a Canossian nun in Italy. She worked for 45 years in Europe. She was born in Darfur to the Daju people; and belonged to a wealthy family. As a young child she was kidnapped by Arab slave traders, severally tortured and enslaved. She was forcibly converted to Islam. After much tortue under her masters she was sold to an Italian Consul who was kind. She moved to Italy with the family and worked in peace for them. She was declared free by an Italian court in 1889. Bakhita was baptised and confirmed in 1890. In 1893 she entered the Canossian Sisters and was welcomed by Pope Pius X. She was cook, sacristan and portress. Her reputation for holiness spread throughout Italy. Her feast is February 8.

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Pope Francis "But don't put make-up on your soul, because the Lord won't recognize you." Homily

Pope at Mass: Lent is an opportunity to be simple and true
Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Friday highlighting the need for believers to be true Christians and shun appearances.
By Linda Bordoni

Taking his cue from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, Pope Francis condemned all forms of hypocrisy and explained the difference there is between objective and formal reality.

Formal reality, the Pope said, is an expression of objective reality, but the two must proceed together, or else we end up living an existence of “appearances”, a life “without truth”.

Show joy while doing penance
The simplicity of appearances, he continued, should be rediscovered especially in this Lenten period, as we practice fasting, almsgiving and prayer.

Christians, the Pope said, should show joy while doing penance. They should be generous with those in need without “blasting their trumpets”; they should address the Father in an intimate manner, without seeking the admiration of others.

During Jesus’s time, he explained, this was evident in the behavior of the Pharisee and the publican; today Catholics feel they are “just” because they belong to such an “association” or because they go to Mass every Sunday, they feel they are better than others.

“Those who seek appearances never recognize themselves as sinners, and if you say to them:  ‘you too are a sinner! We are all sinners’ they become righteous”, the Pope said, and try to show themselves “as a perfect little picture, all appearances”. When there is this difference between reality and appearances, he added, “the Lord uses the adjective: Hypocrite”.

The hypocrisy of everyday life
Each individual is tempted by hypocrisy, Pope Francis said, and the period that leads us to Easter can be an opportunity to recognize our inconsistencies, to identify the layers of make-up we may have applied to “hide reality”.

“Young people”, he said, “are not impressed by those who put on appearances and then do not behave accordingly, especially when this hypocrisy is worn by whom he described as “religion professionals”. The Lord, he said, asks for coherence.

“Many Christians, even Catholics, who call themselves practicing Catholics, exploit people!” he said.

So often, the Pope continued, they humiliate and exploit their workers sending them home at the beginning of summer and taking them back at the end so they are not entitled to a pension.

“Many of them call themselves Catholics, they go to Mass on Sundays... but this is what they do”. This kind of behavior, he said, is a mortal sin!

A simple soul
The Pope concluded his homily inviting the faithful to rediscover the beauty of simplicity, of reality that “must be one with appearance” during this time of Lent.

“Ask the Lord for strength and go forward with humility, doing what you can. But don't put make-up on your soul, because the Lord won't recognize you. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be consistent, not to be vain, not to want to appear more worthy than we are. Let us ask for this grace, during this Lent: the coherence between formality and the reality, between who we are and how we want to appear”.
FULL TEXT Release Shared from Vatican News va

Powerful Ancient Prayer for Lent by St. Ephrem "Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of laziness, discouragement, lust..."

Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of laziness, discouragement, lust of power, and idle talk. Instead grant to me, your servant, the spirit of purity, humility, patience, and love. My Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my own sins and refrain from judging others; for you are blessed forever. Amen. 
 (Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem)
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday March 8, 2019 - #Eucharist


Friday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 221

Reading 1IS 58:1-9A

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
"Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial PsalmPS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 18-19

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before The GospelSEE AM 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.

GospelMT 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."