Friday, May 10, 2019

Pope Francis to Papal Foundation "May the joy of the resurrection always fill our hearts.."


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO MEMBERS OF THE "PAPAL FOUNDATION"
Clementine Hall
Friday, 10 May 2019

Your Eminence,
Dear Friends
Good morning!
I am pleased to greet you, the members of The Papal Foundation, during your pilgrimage to Rome. It is a joy for me to be with you once again and to express my gratitude for the generous support you offer to me and to the Church in so many parts of the world. During this holy season of Easter, we unite in celebrating the Lord’s victory over sin and death, the gift of a new life and a new creation, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May the joy of the resurrection always fill our hearts, and may your prayerful visit to the tombs of the apostles and martyrs strengthen you in your fidelity to the Lord and his Church.
In the years since your Foundation was established, you have contributed much to the fostering of a spirit of fraternity and peace. Through your support of various educational, charitable and apostolic projects, as well as the scholarships made available to lay men and women, those living the consecrated life and priests, you give witness to the untiring efforts of the Church to promote the integral development of the human family. In a world that is sadly marked by violence and conflict; poverty, both material and spiritual; and all too often the indifference of many, your work helps to bring the Gospel message of hope and mercy to all who benefit from your commitment and generosity. For this I thank you, and I pray that you will be renewed in your purpose to help build the Churchin unity and advance her charitable outreach to the least of our brothers and sisters.

The mission of The Papal Foundation is linked in solidarity with the Successor of Peter. I ask you, then, to continue to pray for me, to pray for my ministry, for the needs of the Church, the spread of the Gospel and the conversion of hearts. I entrust all of you, together with your families, to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in Christ our Risen Saviour.

Pope Francis explains "... the Beatitudes which we too have experienced, that is, the joy of the encounter with God's mercy..." Full Text

MEETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
WITH THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE CONFERENCE OF THE DIOCESE OF ROME

Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano
Thursday, 9 May 2019

Pope Francesco:

Thank you for your intervention and your listening.

The first temptation that can come after having listened to so many difficulties, so many problems, so many things that are missing is: "No, no, we must rearrange the city, rearrange the diocese, put everything in order, put order". This would be looking at us, looking back at ourselves. Yes, things will be rearranged and we will have put in place the "museum", the ecclesiastical museum of the city, all in order ... This means taming things, taming young people, taming people's hearts, taming families; do calligraphy, everything perfect. But this would be the greatest sin of worldliness and of the anti-evangelical worldly spirit. It is not about "rearranging". We have heard [in previous interventions] the imbalances of the city, the imbalance of young people, the elderly, families ... The imbalance of relations with children ... Today we have been called to stand the imbalance. We cannot do something good, evangelical if we are afraid of imbalance. We must take the imbalance in our hands: this is what the Lord tells us, because the Gospel - I believe you will understand me - is an "unbalanced" doctrine. Take the Beatitudes: they deserve the Nobel Prize for imbalance! The Gospel is like this.

The Apostles became nervous when the sunset came and that crowd - only five thousand men - continued to listen to Jesus; and they looked at the clock and said: "This is too much, we must pray Vespers, Compline ... and then eat ...". And they sought the way to "rearrange" things: they approached the Lord and said: "Lord, dismiss them, for the place is deserted: let them go and buy themselves food", in the deserted plain. This is the illusion of the balance of "Church" people in quotation marks; and I believe - I said I don't remember where - that clericalism began there: "Let the people go, let them go, and we will eat what we have". Perhaps there is the beginning of clericalism, which is a beautiful "balance", to fix things.

I took note of the things I listened to and touched my heart ... And then, on this path of "fixing things" we will have a beautiful functionalized diocese. Clericalism and functionalism. I'm thinking - and I say this with charity, but I have to say it - to a diocese - there are several, but I think of one - which has everything functionalized: the department of this, the department of the other, and in each of the departments has four, five, six specialists who study things ... That diocese has more employees than the Vatican! And that diocese, today - I do not want to name it for charity - that diocese moves more and more away from Jesus Christ because it worships "harmony", harmony not of beauty, but of functionalist worldliness. And in these cases we have fallen into the dictatorship of functionalism. It is a new ideological colonization that tries to convince us that the Gospel is a wisdom, it is a doctrine, but it is not an announcement, it is not a kerygma. And many leave the kerygma, invent synods and counter-synods ... which in reality are not synods, are "rearrangements". Why? Because to be a synod - and this also applies to you [as a diocesan assembly] - we need the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit gives the table a kick, throws it and starts again. We ask the Lord for the grace not to fall into a functionalist diocese. But I believe that, according to what I've heard, things are well oriented. And let's move on.

Then, tonight, I would like to better understand the cry of the people of the diocese: it will help us to better understand what people are asking the Lord for. That cry is a cry that we often don't even hear or easily forget. And this happens because we stopped living with the heart. We live with ideas, with pastoral plans, with curiosity, with pre-established solutions; but it is necessary to live with the heart. I was struck by what Don Ben [director of Caritas] tried for that boy [who had seen him take a piece of bread from a dumpster]: he was ashamed of himself, he wasn't able to go and ask him: "What do you think what is your heart like, what are you looking for? If the Church does not take these steps, it will remain firm, because it does not know how to listen with the heart. The deaf Church to the cry of the people, deaf to listening to the city.
I would like to share some thoughts that I have here - that they prepared me and that I "re-stitched" a little -, reflections that illuminate the path for the coming year. We can start with a Gospel passage; then I will recall some passages from the speech I gave to the Italian Church in Florence [10 November 2015], which is precisely the style of our Church. "How nice that speech! Ah, the Pope spoke well, pointed out the way ", and by incense ... But today, if I asked," Tell me something about the speech in Florence "-" Eh, yes, I don't remember ... ". Disappeared. He entered the still of intellectual distillation and ended up without strength, as a memory. Let's go back to the speech in Florence which, with the Evangelii gaudium, is the plan for the Church in Italy and is the plan for this Church of Rome.

We can begin with a passage from the Gospel.

[Reading of Matthew 18,1-14]

Pope francesco:

Keep well in mind and heart that, when the Lord wants to convert his Church, that is, to make him closer to himself, more Christian, he always does so: he takes the smallest and puts him at the center, inviting everyone to become small and "humble himself "- literally says the Gospel text - to become little, as He, Jesus did. The reform of the Church begins with humility, and humility is born and grows with humiliations. In this way it neutralizes our claims to greatness. The Lord does not take a child because he is more innocent or because it is simpler, but because under the age of 12 children had no social relevance at that time. Only those who follow Jesus for this path of humility and become small can really contribute to the mission that the Lord entrusts to us. Whoever seeks his own glory will not know how to listen to others or listen to God, how can he collaborate in the mission? Perhaps one of you, I don't remember who, told me he didn't want to incense: but among us there are so many wrong "liturgists" who have not learned to incense well: instead of incensing the Lord, they incense themselves and live like this. Who looks for his own glory, how can he recognize and welcome Jesus in the little ones who cry to God? All his inner space is occupied by himself or by the group to which he belongs - people like us, so many times - for which he has neither eyes nor ears for others. So the first feeling to have in the heart, to know how to listen, is humility and good guarding from despising little ones, whoever they are, young people suffering from orphanhood or ended up in the drug tunnel, families tried by everyday life or broken up in relationships, sinners, poor, foreigners, people who have lost their faith, people who have never had faith, elderly, disabled, young people who seek bread in the garbage, as we have heard ... Woe to those who look down upon and despise the little ones. Only in one case can we look at a person from the top down: to help her stand up. The only case. In other cases it is not permissible. Woe to those who look down to despise the little ones, even when their lifestyles, ways of reasoning were very far from the Gospel; nothing justifies our contempt. Whoever is without humility and despises will never be a good evangelizer, because he will never see beyond appearances. He will think that the others are only enemies, of the "without God", and will lose the opportunity to listen to the cry they have inside, that cry that is often pain and dream of an "Elsewhere", in which the need for salvation is manifested. If pride and the presumed moral superiority do not dull our hearing, we will realize that under the cry of so many people there is nothing but a genuine groan of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that pushes once again not to be satisfied, to try to get back on the road; it is the Spirit that will save us from this diocesan "reorganization". Which among other things is a Leopardian style: wanting to change everything because nothing changes.
The second trait needed - the first is humility: to listen, you must lower yourself - the second trait needed to hear the cry is disinterest. It is expressed in the Gospel passage of the parable of the shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep. He has no personal interest to defend, this good shepherd: the only concern is that nobody gets lost. We have personal interests, who are we this evening? Everyone can think of us: what is my hidden, personal interest that I have in my ecclesial activity? Vanity? I don't know ... everyone has their own. Are we concerned about our parish structures ?, about the future of our institute ?, about the social consensus ?, about what people will say if we take care of the poor, migrants, Roma? Or are we attached to that little bit of power that we still exercise over the people of our community or our neighborhood? We have all seen parishes that have made serious choices, under the inspiration of the Spirit, and many faithful who went there have moved away because "ah, this parish priest is too demanding, even a little communist", and people it goes. And when there are no complaints to the bishop ... And if the bishop is not brave, if he is not a man who has humility, a disinterested man, he calls the priest and says: "Don't overdo it, you know, a little balance ..." . But the Holy Spirit does not understand the balance, he does not understand it. He understands [...]. Selflessness is the necessary condition for being able to be full of interest for God and for others, to be able to really listen to them. There is the "mirror sin". And we, priests, nuns, lay people with the vocation of working, fall many times into this mirror sin: it is called narcissism and self-referentiality, the sins of the mirror that suffocate us. The Lord listened to the cry of the men he met and was close to them, because he had nothing to defend and nothing to lose, he did not have "the mirror": he had a conscience in prayer, in contemplation with the Father and anointed by Holy Spirit. This is his secret, and for this he went on. Leave the ninety-nine safe and start looking for those who are lost. We, on the other hand, as I have said before, are often obsessed with the few sheep that have remained in the enclosure. And many stop being sheep shepherds to become "combers" of exquisite sheep. And they spend all their time combing them. So many? No. Ten ..., little thing ... It's bad. We never find the courage to look for the others, those that are lost, that go along paths that we have never beaten. Please convince us that everything deserves to be left and sacrificed for the sake of the mission. Leave pride, be humble, leave this well-being, this self-interest. Moses, faced with the mission, was afraid, made a thousand resistance and objections; he tried to convince God to turn to someone else; but in the end, he came down with God among his people and began to listen. May the Lord fill us with the heart of the boldness and freedom of those who are not bound by interests and want to put themselves with empathy and sympathy in the lives of others.

The last part of the heart, necessary to hear the cry and to evangelize, is to have experienced the Beatitudes. Today I was talking to a very friendly rabbi who had come from Buenos Aires and he said to me: "In the Law I find that our starting point for Judeo-Christian dialogue is the law of love: You will love your God with all strength and neighbor as yourself. And in the Gospel, in Christian books, what do you think is a text that can help us so much? " I immediately told him: "The Beatitudes". The Beatitudes are a Christian message, but also a human one. It is the message that makes you live, the message of novelty ... It has always helped me to think that even to the pagan or agnostic people, the Beatitudes arrive. Gandhi himself confessed at the time that it was his favorite text. The Beatitudes: means to have learned from the Lord and from life where there is true joy, that which the Lord gives us, and to know how to discern where to find it and make others find it, without making a mistake. Whoever misses the road or who stumbles, perhaps with the presumption of walking on the path of God, risks making others err and stumble. We see it in some Pelagian movements or in some esoteric, or Gnostic, movements that are among us today: everyone stumbles, everyone, is incapable of going towards a horizon, they go a little forward to get back on themselves; are the self-centered proposals. Instead, the Beatitudes are theocentric, they look at life, they carry you forward, they strip you but make you lighter to follow Jesus. And Jesus speaks of not scandalizing the little ones. Why? Because the scandal is a stumbling block. You did not understand the spirit of the Beatitudes. Let us think of the world of the doctors of the Law: it was a continuous stumbling block for the people. The people knew they had no authority: they were scandalized. And in this way we end up becoming blind guides: we stumble and we stumble who we expect to help. To frail people, wounded by life or sin, to the little ones who cry to God we can and must offer the life of the Beatitudes which we too have experienced, that is, the joy of the encounter with God's mercy, the beauty of a community life of family where you are welcomed for what you are, really human relationships full of meekness. I stop for a while on this. These days I'm a bit obsessed with meekness. It is a word that risks falling out of the dictionary, as the verb "to caress" has almost fallen ... The meekness, tenderness, tenderness of Jesus ... Meekness welcomes everyone as it is. The richness of the very poor means, without special effects ... Today, in the meeting with the Roma, I found Sister Geneviève, who has lived among them for 50 years, even with the circus riders, in a trailer. Simple: pray, smile, caress, do good with the Beatitudes. The very poor means of listening, of face-to-face dialogue, the enthusiasm of working together with courage for justice and peace, mutual help in the moment of hard work or persecution, the daily splendor of contemplating the face with a pure heart of God in the liturgy, in listening to the Word, in prayer, in the poor ... Does all this seem little to you? This is the road.

It is true that the Beatitudes given by God are not our "main course": we must still learn; we must try to offer our fellow citizens the main dish that will make them grow. And when they find it, behold, faith flourishes, takes root, is grafted onto the vineyard which is the Church from which it receives the sap of the life of the Spirit. Do we think we must offer something else to the world, if not the Gospel believed and lived? Please do not shock the little ones by offering the spectacle of a presumptuous community ... I invite you to visit the Apostolic Alms: there, Cardinal Krajewski, who is a little "devil", put a photograph that made a young man photographer of Rome, artist: there is the exit of a restaurant, in winter, a woman of a certain age comes out, almost old, with fur, hat, gloves, very elegant lady, just looking you feel the the smell of the French perfume, all perfect ..., and at the foot of the door, on the floor, another woman, dressed in rags, who holds out her hand; and that elegant lady looks the other way. That photograph is called indifference. Go see it. We do not offend the little ones. We do not fall into indifference. If we offer the spectacle of a presumptuous community - like this photograph -, interested, sad, that lives competition, conflict, exclusion, we deserve the words of Jesus: “I don't need you, you don't use me for anything. Indeed, since you risk doing a lot of damage - Jesus would say - it would be better if you disappeared, throwing yourself into the bottom of the sea ”. Not to be scandalized. Rome is a bit far from the sea, but we can say: "Vatte a butta 'ner Tevere".
In Florence I then asked all the participants of the Conference to take up the Evangelii gaudium again. This is the second starting point of post-conciliar evangelization. Why do I say "second starting point"? Because the first starting point is the largest document released after the Council: the Evangelii nuntiandi [of Paul VI, 8 December 1975]. The Evangelii gaudium is an update, an imitation of the Evangelii nuntiandi for today, but the strength is the first. Take the Evangelii gaudium in hand, return to the path of missionary transformation of the Christian communities that is proposed in the pages of the Exhortation. I ask you the same tonight, addressing in particular a part of the second chapter of the Evangelii gaudium, that of the challenges to evangelization, the challenges of urban culture: the numbers ranging from 61 to 75. I make two underscores, which, in view of the journey of next year, they also represent the two tasks I entrust you with.
1) Exercise a contemplative look at the lives of the people who live in the city. To watch. And to do this, in every parish we try to understand how people live, how they think, what the inhabitants of our neighborhood feel, adults and young people; let's try to collect life stories. Exemplary lives stories, meaningful of what most people experience. We can collect these life stories by friendly questioning the parents of children and young people, or by visiting the elderly, or by interviewing young people in school, in agreement with their teachers. I mentioned the elderly: please don't forget them. Now they are better cared for because, since there is no work and the elderly have a pension, the elderly are better cared for ... But let the old people talk: not to become old-fashioned, no, to have the smell of the roots and to be able to go on rooted. We, with this virtual technology, risk losing our roots, our roots, becoming uprooted, liquid - as a philosopher used to say - or, rather like saying to me, gaseous, without consistency, because we are not rooted and we have lost the root juice to grow, to flower, to bear fruit. Let's talk about the elderly: don't forget about this. A listening to people who are increasingly the cry of children. But above all have a contemplative look, to get closer with this look ... And get closer by touching reality. The touch of the five senses is the fullest, the most complete.
2) Second task: to exercise a contemplative gaze on the new cultures that are generated in the city. We know, the city of Rome is a throbbing organism: we become aware that there, where people live and meet, something new is always produced that goes beyond the individual stories of its inhabitants. In Evangelii gaudium I stressed that urban contexts are precisely the places where a new culture is produced: new stories, new symbols, new paradigms, new languages, new messages (see n. 73). We need to understand them; find them and understand them. And all this produces good and evil. Evil is often under the eyes of all: "half citizens, not citizens, urban leftovers" (ibid., 74), because there are people who do not have access to the same life chances as others and who are rejected; segregation, violence, corruption, crime, drug and human trafficking, child abuse and abandonment of the elderly. In this way unbearable tensions are generated. As you mentioned, there are wars between poor, discrimination, xenophobia and even racism in many neighborhoods of Rome. Today I met five hundred Roma at the Vatican and I heard painful things. Xenophobia. Be careful, because the world cultural phenomenon, let's say at least European, of populism grows sowing fear. But in the city there is also so much good, because there are positive places, fruitful places: there where the citizens meet and dialogue in a solidarity and constructive way, here we create «a connective tissue where people and groups share different ways of dreaming life, similar imaginaries, and new human sectors are formed, invisible cultural territories "(ibid.).
The Lord bless our listening to the city. And then, we meet at Pentecost. It will be for us the encounter with the face of the Lord in the burning bush. We will take off our sandals, veil our faces and tell God our "yes": We follow you as you descend among the people, to hear the cry of the poor.

Thank you!

New Evangelization Summit brings great Speakers in Praise of Pope Francis #NESummit19


This conference brought together speakers - leaders in the New Evangelization to provide inspiration, encouragement, training, practical wisdom and resources on how Catholics can effectively evangelize.

 The annual NES  was held in Ottawa on Saturday, May 4, 2019, and was streamed to 55 host-sites. The broadcasting of the event went around North America enabling many to participate in the Summit. Thus approximately 5000 like minded Catholics from across the continent were united  – to be formed as evangelists and be part of a network of Catholic evangelists. All of the speakers mentioned the Holy Father in a positive way promoting evangelization.
Cardinal Lacroix of Quebec, Canada, gave a powerful opening talk after the celebration of the Mass. He emphasized the writings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. He quoted many citations from Evangelium Gaudium.
Another speaker, Father James Mallon, is the Episcopal Vicar for Parish Renewal and Leadership Support for the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. 
In 2016, Father James also authored the Divine Renovation Guidebook, a step by step manual for transforming a parish. 
Fr. Mallon explained for every adult that joins the Church 6 others leave. He said "Yet, we speak of hope. ..nobody can go off to battle unless he is convinced of victory." 
Fr. James also quoted Pope Francis: "27. I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation."  Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis 

Mallon said "But the Lord can meet us in this place in our desperation." He stated that it is a "Missionary community that Jesus himself established." He also noted that, "The power of the Holy Spirit is what changes our hearts."  He offered 10 things to do to bring you parish to maintenance and mission - maintaining the flock that God has entrusted to you and emphasized that it takes hard work and takes time.  Here is a summary of his 10 points

1. Pray for your parish and pray for you pastor.
2. Encourage - be encouragers - watch and pay attention to that critical spirit
3. Buy in - financial giving - includes offering your talents 
4. Dream 
5. Scratch the itch - ask the Lord to give you Holy discontent - don't be bitter - offer yourself
6. Be filled with the Holy Spirit - power from on high through prayer
7. Influence your sphere - exercise leadership - love people before trying to lead them - inspire hope not negativity - begin by loving people
8. Help implement an evangelization tool - for adult evangelization for those outside and inside the church
9. Give you pastor permission to lead - how your pastor leads - 3 prophet, priest and king - 
10. Be a vision carrier 
Mallon Gave the final words to Martin Luther King, Jr. saying, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Michael Dopp the founder gave a talk saying we need part of the mission that God has.  He explained we needed to give our yes! This is by witnessing our friendship to Jesus.  He noted that everyone experiences fear. At the end of his talk he challenged us to "Go out and be an apostle of the New evangelization!"
Another speaker was Fr. Jon Bielawski – Co-developer, the Genesis Mission Fr. Jon was ordained a Catholic priest in 1990 in the Plymouth Diocese, UK. In 2015, Fr. Jon combined the role of Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation, Catechesis and Schools with running a busy parish. Fr. Jon has been inspired by the phrase, “the church exists to evangelise” and has recognised a huge gap between knowing we should evangelise and how to go about it.
 Michelle Moran and her husband Peter are founder members of Sion Catholic Community for Evangelism and have been involved in full time ministry for over 30 years.Most recently, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has personally appointed Michelle to work on establishing new structures for the service of Renewal and Mission in the Church. She explained "Pray that the breath of the Holy Spirit would blow once again to permeate the entire church." "We are living in the days of the new Pentecost. Create the culture of encounter." "The Lord can do more than we can imagine." She explained that we should "Follow what the spirit is doing." Moran said "Simply begin by saying Come Holy Spirit give us your vision of what the Lord is doing." She highlighted Chapter 5 of Pope Francis' exhortation Evangelii Gaudium asking "Are you living a life of prayer?"
********************************************************************
Donate to Catholic News World which brings the Gospel to over 200 Countries World Wide! Every little bit helps - as a Donor you and your Family will be added to our Mass Prayers - You can add your prayer intention on the Donation site "Donor Wall":

*********************************


 

At Mass Pope Francis say "But charge forward in the depth of prayer, of docility and a heart open to God."


Pope at Mass: St. Paul, hard-headed but not hard-hearted
In his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis invites Christians to be docile to the voice of the Lord, after the model of St. Paul.
Taking his cue from the conversion of St. Paul on the road to Damascus, narrated in the first reading at daily Mass, Pope Francis said the Apostle to the Gentiles was hard-headed but not hard-hearted.

The Holy Father said the moment of his conversion “marked a change in the course of Salvation History”. It exposed the Church’s universality and its openness to “pagans, Gentiles, and those who were not Israelites”, which, the Pope said, the Lord permitted because “it was important”.

Consistency and zeal
Reflecting on St. Paul’s character, Pope Francis called him “a forceful man” who was “enamored with the purity of the law”, saying he was “honest” and “consistent”, though he had “a difficult character”.

“First of all, he was consistent, because he was a man open to God. If he persecuted Christians, it was because he was convinced that God desired it. But how can that be? Never mind how: he was convinced of it. This is the zeal he carried for the purity of the house of God, for the glory of God. A heart open to the voice of the Lord. And he risked all, and charged ahead. Another characteristic of his actions is that he was a docile man – full of docility – and was not hard-headed.”

Docility and openness to God’s voice
Pope Francis pointed out that, even though he was stubborn, St. Paul was not hard-hearted. He was “open to God’s indications”.

He had incarcerated and killed Christians “with a fire inside him”, but “as soon as he heard the voice of the Lord, he became like a child, letting himself be led.”

“All his convictions stayed silent, waiting for the voice of the Lord: ‘What must I do, Lord?’ And he went to that encounter at Damascus, to meet that other docile man, and let himself be catechized like a child and be baptized like a child. Then he regains his strength, and what does he do? He is silent. He leaves for Arabia to pray, for how long we don’t know. Maybe years, we don’t know. Docility. Openness to the voice of God and docility. His is an example for our life.”

Christian charism of the great and small
The Pope said there are numerous courageous men and women today who risk their lives to find new paths for the Church.

“Let us seek new paths; it will do us all good. As long as they are the paths of the Lord. But charge forward in the depth of prayer, of docility and a heart open to God. This is how true change takes place in the Church, with people who know how to fight in the great and in the small.”
The Christian, Pope Francis concluded, must have the charism of the great and of the small.

And he prayed “for the grace to be docile to the voice of the Lord and for a heart open to the Lord; for the grace not to be afraid to do great things and the sensitivity to pay attention to the small things.”
FULL TEXT from Vaticannews.va

Pope Francis "Indeed, to love our neighbours better, we need to know them..." to Biblical Institute


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL INSTITUTE
Clementine Hall
Thursday, 9 May 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,
As the Pontifical Biblical Institute celebrates the 110th anniversary of its foundation, I offer you a warm welcome. I thank the Rector for his kind words. When my Predecessor Saint Pius X founded the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 1909, he entrusted it with the mission of being “a centre of specialized studies in Sacred Scripture in Rome, in order to promote as effectively as possible biblical teaching and related studies, in accordance with the spirit of the Catholic Church” (Apostolic Letter Vinea electa, 7 May 1909: AAS 1 [1909], 447-448).
In these years, the Biblicum has worked to remain faithful to its mission, even in challenging times, and has contributed much to promote scholarly research and teaching in biblical studies and related fields for students and future professors, who now come from some seventy different countries. Cardinal Augustin Bea, long the Rector of the Biblicum before his elevation to the cardinalate, was the driving force behind the conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate, which set interreligious relations, and Catholic-Jewish relations in particular, on a new footing. In recent years, the Institute has strengthened its ties with Jewish and Protestant scholars.
I also greet the participants in the Conference Jesus and the Pharisees: An Interdisciplinary Reappraisal, which addresses a specific issue important for our time, and is a direct result of Nostra Aetate. The Conference seeks to understand the at times polemical treatment of the Pharisees in the New Testament and in other ancient sources. In addition, it examines the history of scholarly and popular interpretations among both Jews and Christians. Among Christians and in secular society, in different languages the word “Pharisee” often means “a self-righteous or hypocritical person”. For many Jews, however, the Pharisees are the founders of rabbinic Judaism and hence their own spiritual forebears.
The history of interpretation has fostered a negative image of the Pharisees, often without a concrete basis in the Gospel accounts. Often, over the course of time, that image has been attributed by Christians to Jews in general. In our world, sadly, such negative stereotypes have become quite common. One of the most ancient and most damaging stereotypes is that of a “Pharisee,” especially when used to cast Jews in a negative light.
Recent scholarship has come to realize that we know less about the Pharisees than previous generations thought. We are less certain about their origins and about many of their teachings and practices. Your Conference’s examination of interdisciplinary research into literary and historical questions regarding the Pharisees will contribute to a more accurate view of this religious group, while also helping to combat antisemitism.
If we look at the New Testament, we see that Saint Paul, before his encounter with the Lord Jesus, counted as a reason for pride the fact that he was “as to the Law, a Pharisee” (Phil 3:5-8).
Jesus had numerous discussions with Pharisees about common concerns. He shared with them a belief in the resurrection (Mk12:18-27) and he accepted other aspects of their interpretation of the Torah. Jesus and the Pharisees must have had much in common, for the Acts of the Apostles tells us that some Pharisees joined the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem (15:5). Acts also presents Gamaliel, a leader of the Pharisees, defending Peter and John (cf. 5:34-39).
Among the more significant moments in the Gospel of John we find Jesus’ encounter with a Pharisee named Nicodemus, one of the leaders of the Jews (cf. 3:1). To Nicodemus Jesus explains that, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). Nicodemus would then defend Jesus before an assembly (7:50-52) and subsequently be present at his burial (19:39). Whatever view one takes of Nicodemus, it is clear that the various stereotypes about “the Pharisees” do not apply to him, nor do they find confirmation elsewhere in John’s Gospel.
Another encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day is reported in different ways in the Synoptic Gospels. It has to do with the question of the “great” or “first commandment”. In the Gospel of Mark (12:28-34), the question is asked by a scribe, otherwise not identified, who initiates a respectful exchange with a teacher. In the Gospel of Matthew, the scribe becomes a Pharisee trying to test Jesus (22:34-35). In Mark’s account, Jesus concludes by saying, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (12:34), thereby showing the high regard Jesus had for those religious leaders who were truly “close to the kingdom of God”.
Rabbi Aqiba, one of the most famous rabbis of the second century and an heir to Pharisaic traditions,[1] pointed to the words “love your neighbour as yourself”(Lev 19:18) as a great principle of the Torah.[2] According to tradition, he died as a martyr with the Shema on his lips, which includes the commandment to love the Lord with all one’s heart, soul and strength (cf. Dt 6:4-5).[3] As far as we can know, then, he would have been substantially in agreement with Jesus and his scribe or Pharisee interlocutor. Likewise, the so-called Golden Rule, albeit in various formulations, is attributed not only to Jesus but also to his older contemporary Hillel, usually considered one of the leading Pharisees of his time. The rule is already present in the deuterocanonical book of Tobit (4:15[16]).
Love of neighbour, then, represents a significant indicator for recognizing affinities between Jesus and his Pharisee interlocutors. It certainly constitutes an important basis for any dialogue, especially among Jews and Christians, even today.
Indeed, to love our neighbours better, we need to know them, and in order to know who they are we often have to find ways to overcome ancient prejudices. For this reason, your Conference, crossing faiths and disciplines in its effort to attain a fuller and more accurate understanding of the Pharisees, will make it possible to present them more appropriately in teaching and preaching. I am certain that these studies, and the new avenues they will open, will positively contribute to the relationship between Jews and Christians, in view of an ever more profound and fraternal dialogue. May your Conference find a broad echo within and outside the Catholic Church, and may your work receive abundant blessings from the Most High or, as many of our Jewish brothers and sisters would say, from Hashem. Thank you.


[1] S. EUSEBII HIERONYMI, Commentarii in Isaiam, III, 8: PL 24, 119.
[2] Sifra Leviticus 19:18; Genesis Rabbah 24:7 on Gen 5:1.
[3] Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berakhot 61b. Original text with Italian translation: Talmud Babilonese, Trattato Berakhòt, Tomo II, a cura di D. G. Di Segni, Giuntina, Firenze 2017, pp. 326-327.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, May 8=10, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide


Friday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 277

Reading 1ACTS 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 117:1BC, 2

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

AlleluiaJN 6:56

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Saint May 10 : St. Antonius of Florence - Patron against Fevers - Died 1459






































ARCHBISHOP, CONFESSOR

1 March 1389 at Florence, Italy
Died:
2 May 1459 at Florence, Italy
Canonized:
31 May 1523 by Pope Adrian VI
Patron of:
against fever
St. Antoninus, or Little Antony, was born at Florence in 1389. His parents, named Nicholas Pierozzi and Thomassina, were noble citizens of that place, and he was the only fruit of their marriage. From the cradle he was modest, bashful, docile, and had no inclination but to piety, being even then an enemy both to sloth and to the amusements of children. It was his only pleasure to read the lives of saints and other good books, to converse with pious persons, or employ himself in prayer, to which he was much given from his infancy. Accordingly, if he was not at home or at school, he was always to be found at St. Michael's church before a crucifix, or in our Lady's chapel there. And whether he applied himself to that holy exercise in his closet or the church, he always kneeled or lay prostrate, with a perseverance that astonished everybody. By the means of a happy memory, a solid judgment, and quick penetration, assisted by an assiduous application, he became an able master at an age when others scarce begin to understand the first elements of the sciences. But his passion for learning was not equal to his ardor to perfect himself in the science of salvation. In prayer, he begged nothing of God but his grace to avoid sin, and to do his holy will in all things. F. Dominic, a learned and holy preacher of the order of St. Dominic, afterwards made cardinal, archbishop of Ragusa, and legate of the holy see, was then employed in building a convent at Fiesoli, two miles from Florence. Antoninus was wonderfully delighted with the unction of his sermons, and never went out of Florence but to converse with that apostolic man, to whom he applied at last for the Dominican habit. The father judging him as yet too young, and his constitution too tender for so strict a life of perpetual abstinence, frequent fasts, long watchings, and other rigors, advised him to wait yet some years, and bid him first study the canon law, adding, that when he should have learned Gratian's decree by heart, his request should be granted. So dry and difficult a task would have seemed to another equivalent to an absolute refusal. However, Antoninus set about it, and joining prayer and severe mortifications with his studies, made an essay of the ]life to which he aspired; and in less than a year presented himself again to the prior of Fiesoli; and by answering his examination upon the whole decree of Gratian, gave him a surprising proof of his capacity, memory, and fervor. The prior hesitated no longer, but gave him the habit, he being then sixteen years of age. The young novice was most exact in complying with every point of the rule, and appeared the most humble, the most obedient, most mortified, and most recollected of his brethren. Being advanced to the priesthood, he augmented his exercise of piety; he was never seen at the altar but bathed in tears. Whether sick or well, he day always on the hard boards; and so perfectly had he subjected the flesh to the spirit, that he seemed to feel no reluctance from his senses in the service of God. He was chosen very young to govern the great convent of the Minerva in Rome, and after that, was successively prior at Naples, Cajeta, Cortona, Sienna, Fiesoli, and Florence: in all which places he zealously enforced the practice of the rule of St. Dominic, and more by his actions than words. Besides his domestic employments he preached often, and with great fruit. The works which he published increased his reputation. He was consulted from Rome, and from all quarters, especially in intricate cases of the canon law. The learned cardinal de Lucca reckons him among the most distinguished auditors or judges of the Rota, though we do not find at what time he discharged that office. He was chosen vicar or general superior of a numerous reformed congregation in his order. He would not remit any thing in his austerities or labors when exhausted by a decay, of which however he recovered. Pope Eugenius IV called him to the general council of Florence; and he assisted in quality of divine at all its sessions, and at the disputations with the Greeks. During his stay at Florence he was made prior of the convent of St. Mark in that city, for which Cosmus of Medicis, called the father of his country, was then building a sumptuous church, which pope Eugenius IV. consecrated. After having established in this house the true spirit of his order, he visited his convents in Tuscany and Naples.

While employed in introducing the primitive discipline of his order in the province of Naples, the see of Florence became vacant by the death of its archbishop. The intrigues of several candidates protracted the election of a successor. But pope Eugenius IV. no sooner named F. Antoninus to the Florentines, as possessed of the qualities they had desired in their future bishop, namely, sanctity, learning, and experience, and his being a native of their own city, than they all acquiesced in his choice. Antoninus, who had then been two years absent from Florence, employed in the visitation of his monasteries, was equally surprised and afflicted that he should have been thought of for so eminent a dignity. And that he might escape it, he set out with the design of concealing himself in the isle of Sardinia; but being prevented in the execution, he was obliged to go to Sienna, whence he wrote to the pope, conjuring his holiness not to lay that formidable burden on his weak shoulders, alleging his being in the decline of life, worn out with fatigues and sickness; enlarging also upon his great unworthiness and want of capacity; and begging that he would not now treat him as an enemy whom he had honored with so many marks of friendship. He could not close his letter without watering it with his tears. The pope, however, was inflexible, and sent him an order to repair without delay to his convent at Fiesoli. He wrote at the same time to the city of Florence, to acquaint, them that he had sent them an archbishop to their gates. The principal, persons of the clergy and nobility, with Cosmus of Medicis at their head, went out to compliment him on that occasion; but found him so averse to the dignity, that all their entreaties to take it upon him were to no purpose, till the pope, being again applied to in the affair, sent him an order to obey, backing it with a threat of excommunication if he persisted in opposing the will of God. After many tears, Antoninus at last complied; he was consecrated and took possession of his bishopric in March, 1446. His regulation of his household and conduct was a true imitation of the primitive apostolic bishops. His table, dress, and furniture showed a perfect spirit of poverty, modesty, and simplicity. It was his usual saying, that all the riches. Of a successor of the apostles ought to be his virtue. He practiced all the observances of his rule as far as compatible with his functions. His whole family consisted of six persons, to whom he assigned such salaries as might hinder them from seeking accidental perquisites, which are usually iniquitous or dangerous. He at first appointed two grand vicars, but afterwards, to avoid all occasions of variance, kept only one; and remembering that a bishop is bound to personal service, did almost every thing himself, but always with mature advice. As to his temporalities, he relied entirely on a man of probity and capacity, to reserve himself totally for his spiritual functions. He gave audience every day to all that addressed themselves to him, but particularly declared himself the father and protector of the poor. His purse and his granaries were in a manner totally theirs; when these were exhausted, he gave them often part of his scanty furniture and clothes. He never was possessed of any plate, or any other precious moveables, and never kept either dogs or horses; one only mule served all the necessities of his family, and this he often sold for the relief of some poor person; on which occasion, some wealthy citizen would buy it, to restore it again as a present to the charitable archbishop. He founded the college of St. Martin, to assist persons of reduced circumstances, and ashamed to make known their necessities, which establishment now provides for above six hundred families. His mildness appeared not only in his patience in bearing the insolence and importunities of the poor, but in his sweetness and benevolence towards his enemies. One named Ciardi, whom he had cited before him to answer certain criminal accusations, made an attempt on his life; and the saint narrowly escaped the thrust of his poniard, which pierced the back of his chair. Yet he freely forgave the assassin, and praying for his conversion, had the comfort to see him become a sincere penitent in the order of St. Francis.

The saint wanted not courage whenever the honor of God required it. He suppressed games of hazard; reformed other abuses in all orders preached almost every Sunday and holiday, and visited his whole diocese every year, always on foot. His character for wisdom and integrity was such, that he was consulted from all parts, and by persons of the highest rank, both secular and ecclesiastical: and his decisions gave so general a satisfaction, that they acquired him the name of Antoninus the counsellor. Yet this multiplicity of business was no interruption of his attention to God. He allowed himself very little sleep. Over and above the church office, he recited daily the office of our Lady, and the seven penitential psalms; the office of the dead twice a week, and the whole psalter on every festival. In the midst of his exterior affairs he always preserved the same serenity of countenance, and the same peace of mind, and seemed always recollected in God. Francis Castillo, his secretary, once said to him, bishops were to be pitied if they were to be eternally besieged with hurry as he was. The saint made him this answer, which the author of his life wished to see written in letters of gold: "To enjoy interior peace, we must always reserve in our hearts amidst all affairs, as it were, a secret closet, where we are to keep retired within ourselves, and where no business of the world can ever enter." Pope Eugenius IV. falling sick, sent for Antoninus to Rome, made his confession to him, received the viaticum and extreme-unction from his hands, and expired in his arms on the 23d of February, 1447. Nicholas IV succeeded him. St. Antoninus having received his benediction, hastened to Florence, where a pestilence had begun to show itself, which raged the whole year following. The holy archbishop exposed himself first, and employed his clergy, both secular and regular, especially those of his own order, in assisting the infected; so that almost all the friars of St. Mark, St. Mary Novella, and Fiesoli were swept away by the contagion, and new recruits were sent from the province of Lombardy to inhabit those houses. The famine, as is usual, followed this first scourge. The holy archbishop stripped himself of almost every thing; and by the influence of his words and example, many rich persons were moved to do the like. He obtained from Rome, particularly from the pope, great succors for the relief of the distressed. Indeed, the pope never refused any thing that he requested; and ordered that no appeals should be received at Rome from any sentence passed by him. After the public calamity was over, the saint continued his liberalities to the poor; but being informed that two blind beggars had amassed, the one two hundred, and the other three hundred ducats, he tool; the money from them, and distributed it among the real objects of charity; charging himself, however, with the maintenance of those two for the rest of their lives. Humility made him conceal his heroic practices of penance and piety from others, and even from himself; for he saw nothing but imperfections even in what others admired in him, and never heard any thing tending to his own commendation without confusion and indignation. He formed many perfect imitators of his virtue. An accident discovered to him a hidden servant of God. A poor handicraftsman lived in obscurity, in the continual practice of penance, having no other object of his desires but heaven. He passed the Sundays and holidays in the churches, and distributed all he gained by his work, beyond his mean subsistence, among the poor, with the greatest privacy; and kept a poor leper, serving him and dressing his ulcers with his own hands, bearing the continual reproaches and complaints of the ungrateful beggar, not only with patience, but also with joy. The leper became the more morose and imperious, and carried complaints against his benefactor to the archbishop, who, discovering this hidden treasure of sanctity in the handicraftsman, secretly honored it, while he punished the insolence of the leper.

Florence was shook by frequent earthquakes during three years, from 1453, and a large tract of land was laid desolate by a violent storm. The saint maintained, lodged, and set up again the most distressed, and rebuilt their houses. But he labored most assiduously to render these public calamities instrumental to the reformation of his people's manners. Cosmus of Medicis used to say, that he did not question but the preservation of their republic, under its great dangers, was owing chiefly to the merits and prayers of its holy archbishop. Pope Pius II. has left us, in the second book of his Commentaries, a most edifying history of the eminent virtues of our saint, and the strongest testimonies of his sanctity. The love of his flock made him decline a secular embassy to the emperor Frederic ill. God called him to the reward of his labors on the 2d of May, 1459, in the seventieth year of his age, the thirteenth of his archiepiscopal dignity. He repeated on his death-bed these words, which he had often in his mouth during health, "To serve God is to reign." Pope Pius II. being then at Florence, assisted at his funeral. His hair-shirt and other relics were the instruments of many miracles. He was buried, according to his desire, in the church of St. Mark, among his religious brethren, and was canonized by Adrian VI. in 1523. His body was found entire in 1559, and translated with the greatest pomp and solemnity, into a chapel prepared to receive it in the same church of St. Mark, richly adorned by the two brothers Salviati, whose family looks upon it as their greatest honor that this illustrious saint belonged to it. Nor is it easy to imagine any thing that could surpass the rich embellishments of this chapel, particularly the shrine; nor the pomp and magnificence of the procession and translation, at which a area number of cardinals, bishops, and princes from several parts assisted, who all admired to see the body perfectly free from corruption, one hundred and thirty years after it had been buried.

The venerable Achard, bishop of Avranches, in his excellent treatise On Self-denial, reduces the means and practice of Christian perfection to seven degrees of self-renunciation, by which he is disposed for the reign of love in his soul. These degrees he otherwise calls seven deserts of the soul. The first is the desert of penance. The second of solitude, at least that of the heart. The third of mortification. The fourth of simplicity of faith. The fifth of obedience. The sixth of the pure love of God. The seventh of zeal for his honor in the salvation of our neighbor. For a man, first, is to renounce sin by sincere repentance. Secondly, the world by solitude. Thirdly, the flesh by the mortification of his senses. Fourthly, though reason is man's most noble excellency, yet this being obscured and often blinded by the passions, easily becomes the seat of pride, and leads into the most dangerous precipices and errors. Man is therefore bound to humble his reason by keeping it in due subordination, and in a certain degree to renounce it by simplicity of heart and sincere humility. And this is so far from being against reason, that it is the sovereign use of reason. Fifthly, a man is moreover obliged to renounce his own will by perfect obedience. Sixthly, he must moreover renounce all that he is by the pure love of God, which ought to have no bounds. Seventhly, none but one who has tasted the sweetness of heavenly contemplation, knows how incomparable an advantage he renounces who deprives himself of it. Yet zeal for our neighbor's salvation, and tender compassion for his spiritual miseries, move the saints sometimes to prefer toils and sufferings to its pure delights and charms. By these rules we see by what degrees or means pious pastors attain to the apostolic spirit of their state, and how heroic their sacrifice is. Source Lives of the Saints Butler- Image source: Google

Saint May 10 : St. Damien of Molokai - Patron of AIDS / #HIV patients and Lepers - Died 1889


St. Damien of Molokai
MISSIONARY PRIEST
Feast: May 10

Feast Day:
May 10
Born:
January 3, 1840, Tremelo, Belgium
Died:
April 15, 1889 (aged 49),        Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii
Beatified:
June 4, 1995, Rome by Pope John Paul II
Canonized:
October 11, 2009, Rome by Pope Benedict XVI
Major Shrine:
shrine Leuven, Belgium (bodily relics), Maui, Hawaii (relics of his hand)
Patron of:
People with leprosy, people with HIV and AIDS, outcasts, the State of Hawaii



Father Damien of Molokai, ss.cc. was born Josef de Veuster on January 3, 1840 in Tremelo, Belgium. His parents were farmers. His father sent him to a college at Braine-le-Comte. Because of a mission he attended given by the Redemptorists in 1858, Joseph decided to become a religious. He entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, SS.CC. at Louvain, taking the name of Damien in his first vows. Following his brother Auguste, he became a Picpus Brother on October 7, 1860. He took the name Bro. Damianus, after St. Damien, an early Christian saint who performed miracles. On March 19, 1864, Damien arrived in Honolulu in the Kingdom of Hawaii as a missionary still in minor orders. There, Damien was ordained to the priesthood on May 24, 1864 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, a church built by his religious order, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Fr. Damien was serving at several parishes on the island of Oahu when he became aware of  the public health crisis in Hawaii. Many of his parishoners were among the Hawaiians who became afflicted by diseases brought to the islands by Europeans, American and other foreign sailors. Thousands were dying from influenza, syphilis and other ailments that never before affected Hawaiians, esp. leprosy, known today as Hansen's Disease.



Hawaiian King Kamehameha IV was afraid leprosy would spread so he segregated the lepers by creating a colony, moving them to an isolated settlement on the island of Molokai. The Board of Health provided them with supplies and food but did not yet have the manpower nor resources to provide proper healthcare to the lepers.
Fr Damien was concerned about the care of their souls if they were to be sent to this desolate area, named Kalaupapa, which was surrounded by an impregnable mountain ridge. Fr. Damien's brother was orignally assigned to be missionary to the lepers but he became ill. Fr. believed that the lepers should at least have a priest to tend to their spiritual needs so he volunteered knowing it was a definite death sentence, so he asked his bishop to be sent to Molokai.
On May 10, 1873, Fr. Damien arrived at the isolated settlement at Kalaupapa. Bishop Louis Maigret, ss.cc. presented Fr. Damien to the 600 lepers as "one who will be a father to you, and who loves you so much that he does not hesitate to become one of you; to live and die with you." Fr. Damien was sent to a morally deprived, lawless colony of death where people fought each other to survive.


His first project was to build the Parish Church of St. Philomena so the people might learn the Catholic faith and have a place to worship Our Lord in the "Blessed Sacrament, (is) indeed the stimulus for us all for me as it should be for you to forsake all worldly ambitions." He taught that "the Eucharist is the bread that gives strength. It is at once the most eloquent proof of His love and the most powerful means to foster His love in us. He gives Himself every day so that our hearts as burning coals may set afire the hearts of the faithful.”
The King of Hawaii didn't plan the settlement to be in chaos but he neglected to provide desparately needed resources, which contributed to the confusion and disorganization in the colony. Fr. Damien changed an impossible situation into a colony of life by teaching, painting grass shacks into painted houses, organizing farms and constructing buildings, chapels and roads. He restored faith in his battered and neglected flock. He showed them that despite what the outside world told them, they were precious in the eyes of God. He taught them to believe in God and showed them that by his genuine acts of charity that what there was purpose in their lives. He restored personal pride and dignity among so many who had given up hope. He organized a band, horse riding and choir.
Fr. Damien worked providing comfort for the people of Kalaupapa for sixteen years. He was not just their priest, but a builder of homes and their doctor, too. He dressed their ulcers, and tended the sick and dying at their bedsides, bringing them meager portions of taro, fish and water and tried to cheer the despairing with sweets.
He built their coffins and dug their graves. He liked praying at the cemetary, “My greatest pleasure is to go there [the cemetery] to say my beads, and meditate on that unending happiness which so many of them are already enjoying.” Fr. grew to love his parishioners as his own children, caring for lepers of all ages, especially for the children segregated in the colony for whom he created an orphanage.
"Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the afflicted of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin and is felt throughout the body." In 1885, he announced, "I am one of you;" he was a leper yet he continued to build hospitals, clinics, and churches, and some six hundred coffins.
Fr. Damien had a chance to leave the island if he wanted to. In the spring of 1873 his superiors sent a letter giving him permission to stay, "You may stay as long as your devotion dictates...." He was overjoyed, he had permission to stay where he was and where he longed with all his heart to be with the people he loved.


His most controversial accomplishment was to take the plight of his Hawaiian to the world raising money for the much needed improvements he needed to improve the standard of living in the colony gaining support from around the world e.g. Anglicans in England at the disapproval of his superiors.
Fr. Damien de Veuster was a priest of profound faith, "Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me. Were it not for the constant presence of our divine Master in our humble chapel, I would not have found it possible to persevere in sharing the lot of the afflicted in Molokai…the Eucharist is the bread that gives strength. It is at once the most eloquent proof of his love and the most powerful means of foster His love in us. He gives Himself every day so hat our hearts as burning coals may set afire the hearts of the faithful,”
He died April 15, 1889 on his beloved Molokai the age of forty-nine. This is the tomb of St. Damien on Molokai. Father Damien was initially buried in Kalaupapa, but his body was later moved to Tremolo, Belgium. But in 1995, his right hand was returned to Kalaupapa.
Saint Damien is the patron of those with leprosy, outcasts, HIV, AIDS and the State of Hawaii. Do not hesitate to call him to help you in your time of need. Source: St. Damien Molokai UK