Friday, May 24, 2019

Saint May 25 : St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi : Discalced #Carmelite and Healer


DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC AND HEALER



Born:
April 2, 1566, Florence, Italy
Died:
May 25, 1607, Florence, Italy
Canonized:
April 28, 1669, Rome by Pope Clement X
Patron of:
Naples (co-patron)
Carmelite Virgin, born 2 April, 1566; died 25 May, 1607. Of outward events there were very few in the saint's life. She came of two noble families, her father being Camillo Geri de' Pazzi and her mother a Buondelmonti. She was baptized, and named Caterina, in the great baptistery. Her childhood much resembled that of some other women saints who have become great mystics, in an early love of prayer and penance, great charity to the poor, an apostolic spirit of teaching religious truths, and a charm and sweetness of nature that made her a general favourite. But above all other spiritual characteristics was Caterina's intense attraction towards the Blessed Sacrament, her longing to receive It, and her delight in touching and being near those who were speaking of It, or who had just been to Communion. She made her own First Communion at the age of ten, and shortly afterwards vowed her virginity to God. At fourteen she was sent to school at the convent of Cavalaresse, where she lived in so mortified and fervent a manner as to make the sisters prophesy that she would become a great saint; and, on leaving it, she told her parents of her resolve to enter the religious state. They were truly spiritual people; and, after a little difficulty in persuading them to relinquish their only daughter, she finally entered in December, 1582, the Carmelite convent of Santa Maria degl' Angeli, founded by four Florentine ladies in 1450 and renowned for its strict observance. Her chief reason for choosing this convent was the rule there followed of daily Communion.

Caterina was clothed in 1583, when she took the name of Maria Maddalena; and on 29 May, 1584, being then so ill that they feared she would not recover, she was professed. After her profession, she was subject to an extraordinary daily ecstasy for forty consecutive days, at the end of which time she appeared at the point of death. She recovered, however, miraculously; and henceforth, in spite of constant bad health, was able to fill with energy the various offices to which she was appointed. She became, in turn, mistress ofexterns--i.e. of girls coming to the convent on trial--teacher and mistress of the juniors, novice mistress (which post she held for six years), and finally, in 1604, superior. For five years (1585-90) God allowed her to be tried by terrible inward desolation and temptations, and by external diabolic attacks; but the courageous severity and deep humility of the means that she took for overcoming these only served to make her virtues shine more brilliantly in the eyes of her community.

From the time of her clothing with the religious habit till her death the saint's life was one series of raptures and ecstasies, of which only the most notable characteristics can be named in a short notice.

* First, these raptures sometimes seized upon her whole being with such force as to compel her to rapid motion (e.g. towards some sacred object).

* Secondly, she was frequently able, whilst in ecstasy, to carry on work belonging to her office--e.g., embroidery, painting, etc.--with perfect composure and efficiency.

* Thirdly--and this is the point of chief importance--it was whilst in her states of rapture that St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi gave utterance to those wonderful maxims of Divine Love, and those counsels of perfection for souls, especially in the religious state, which a modern editor of a selection of them declares to be "more frequently quoted by spiritual writers than those even of St. Teresa". These utterances have been preserved to us by the saint's companions, who (unknown to her) took them down from her lips as she poured them forth. She spoke sometimes as of herself, and sometimes as themouthpiece of one or other of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity. These maxims of the saint are sometimes described as her "Works", although she wrote down none of them herself.

This ecstatic life in no wise interfered with the saint's usefulness in her community. She was noted for her strong common-sense, as well as for the high standard and strictness of her government, and was most dearly loved to the end of her life by all for the spirit of intense charity that accompanied her somewhat severe code of discipline. As novice-mistress she was renowned for a miraculous gift of reading her subjects' hearts--which gift, indeed, was not entirely confined to her community. Many miracles, both of this and of other kinds, she performed for the benefit either of her own convent or of outsiders. She often saw things far off, and is said once to have supernaturally beheld St. Catherine de' Ricci in her convent at Prato, reading a letter that she had sent her and writing the answer; but the two saints never met in a natural manner. To St. Mary Magdalen's numerous penances, and to the ardent love of suffering that made her genuinely wish to live long in order to suffer with Christ, we can here merely refer; but it must not be forgotten that she was one of the strongest upholders of the value of suffering for the love of God and the salvation of our fellow-creatures, that ever lived. Her death was fully in accordance with her life in this respect, for she died after an illness of nearly threeyears' duration and of indescribable painfulness, borne with heroic joy to the end. Innumerable miracles followed the saint's death, and the process for her beatification was begun in 1610 under Paul V, and finished under Urban VIII in 1626. She was not, however, canonized till sixty-two years after her death, when Clement IX raised her to the altars in 28 April, 1669. Her feast is kept on 27 May.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Saint May 25 : St. Madeline Sophie Barat : #Foundress of Society of the Sacred Heart


St. Madeline Sophie Barat FOUNDRESS Feast: May 25
Born:
12 December 1779, Joigny, France
Died:
25 May 1865, Paris, France
Canonized:
24 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI
Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, born at Joigny, Burgundy, 12 December, 1779; died in Paris, 24 May, 1865. She was the youngest child of Jacques Barat, a vine-dresser and cooper, and his wife, Madeleine Foufé, and received baptism the morning after her birth, her brother Louis, aged eleven, being chosen godfather. It was to this brother that she owed the exceptional education which fitted her for her life-work. Whilst her mother found her an apt pupil in practical matters, Louis saw her singular endowments of mind and heart; and when, at the age of twenty-two, he returned as professor to the seminary at Joigny, he taught his sister Latin, Greek, history, natural science, Spanish, and Italian. Soon she took delight in reading the classics in the original, and surpassed her brother's pupils at the seminary.

After the Reign of Terror, Louis called Sophie to Paris, to train her for the religious life, for which she longed. When he had joined the Fathers of the Faith, a band of fervent priests, united in the hope of becoming members of the Society of Jesus on its restoration, he one day spoke of his sister to Father Varin, to whom had been bequeathed by the saintly Léonor de Tournély the plan of founding a society of women wholly devoted to the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to prayer and sacrifice, and destined to do for girls what the restored Society of Jesus would do for boys. Father Varin had vainly sought a fitting instrument to begin this work; he now found one in this modest, retiring girl of twenty. He unfolded the project, which seemed to satisfy all her aspirations, and she bowed before his authoritative declaration that this was for her the will of God. With three companions she made her first consecration, 21 November, 1800, the date which marks the foundation of the Society of the Sacred Heart. In September, 1801, the first convent was opened at Amiens, and thither Sophie went to help in the work of teaching. It was impossible yet to assume the name "Society of the Sacred Heart", lest a political significance be attached to it; its members were known as Dames de la Foi or de l'Instruction Chrétienne. Father Varin allowed Sophie to make her vows, 7 June, 1802, with Genevieve Deshayes.

The community and school were increasing, and a poor school had just been added, when it became evident to Father Varin that Mademoiselle Loquet, who had hitherto acted as superior, lacked the qualities requisite for the office, and Sophie, although the youngest, was named superior (1802). Her first act was to kneel and kiss the feet of each of her sisters. Such was ever the spirit of her government, November, 1804, found her at Sainte-Marie-d'en-Haut, near Grenoble, receiving a community of Visitation nuns into her institute, One of them, Philippine Duchesne, was later to introduce the society into America. Grenoble was the first of some eighty foundations which Mother Barat was to make, not only in France but in North America (1818), Italy (1828), Switzerland (1830), Belgium (1834), Algiers (1841). England (1842), Ireland(1842), Spain (1846), Holland (1848), Germany (1851), South America (1853) Austria (1853), Poland (1857).

Mother Barat was elected superior-general in January, 1806, but a majority of one vote only, for the influence of an ambitious priest, chaplain at Amiens, wellnigh wrecked the nascent institute. Prolonged prayer, silent suffering, tact, respect, charity, were only means she used to oppose his designs. With Father Varin, now a Jesuit, she elaborated constitutions and rules grafted on the stock of the Institute of St. Ignatius. These rules were received with joy in all the houses, Amiens alone excepted; but Mother Barat's wisdom and humility soon won submission even here. In 1818 she sent Mother Duchesne, with four companions, to the New World; her strong and holy hand was ever ready to support and guide this first missioner of the Society. She called all the superiors together in council at Paris in 1820, to provide a uniform course of studies for their schools. these studies were to be solid and serious, to fit the pupils to become intelligent wives and devoted mother; to give that cultivation of mind. that formation of character, which go to make up a true women; all was to stamped and sealed with strong religious principles and devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Foundations multiplied, and Mother Barat, seeing the necessity of a stronger guarantee of unity, sought it in union with Rome. The solemn approbation was obtained much sooner than usual, owing to a memoir drawn up by the foundress and presented to Leo XII in May, 1826. The decree of approbation was promulgated in December. The society being now fully organized and sealed by Rome's approval, for forty years Mother Barat journeyed from convent to convent, wrote many thousand letters, and assembled general congregations, so as to preserve its original spirit. The Paris school gained European repute; Rome counted three establishments, asked for and blessed by three successive pontiffs. At Lyons Mother Barat founded the Congregation of the Children of Mary for former pupils and other ladies. in he same year (1832), she began at Turin the work of retreats for ladies of the world, an apostleship since widely and profitably imitated. Numerous foundations brought Mother Bart onto personal contact with all classes. We find her crossing and recrossing France, Switzerland, Italy, often on the eve of revolutions; now the centre of a society of émigrés whose intellectual gifts, high social position, and moral worth are seldom found united; now sought out by cardinals and Roman princesses during her vicits to her Roman houses; at another time, speaking on matters educational with Madame de Genlis; or again, exercising that supernatural ascendency which aroused the admiration of such men as Bishop Fraysinous, Doctor Récamier, and Duc de Rohan.
These exterior labours were far from absorbing all Mother Barat's time or energies; they coexisted with a life of ever-increasing holiness and continual prayer; for the real secret of her influence lay in her habitual seclusion from the outside world, in the strong religious formation of her daughters which this seclusion made possible, and in the enlightened, profound, ans supernatural views on education which she communicated to the religious engaged in her schools. She worked by and through them all, and thus reached out to the ends of the earth. In spite of herself she attracted and charmed all who approached her. New foundations she always entrusted to other hands; for, like all great rulers, she had the twofold gift of intuition in the choice of persons fitted for office, and trust of those in responsible posts. Allowing them much freedom of action in details, guiding them only by her counsels and usually form afar. Prelates who now and them ventured to attribute to her the successes of the society, saw that instead of pleasing, they distressed her exceedingly.

Beloved by her daughters, venerated by princes and pontiffs, yet ever lowly of heart, Mother Barat died at the mother-house in Paris, on Ascension Day, 1865, as she had foretold, after four days' illness. She was buried at Conflans, the house of novitiate, where her body was found intact in 1893. In 1879 she was declared Venerable, and the process of beatification introduced. [Note: Mother Barat was canonized in 1925.]

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis tells Institute "...creating a culture of adoption because abandoned children, alone, victims of war..."


MEETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE HOSPITAL INSTITUTE OF THE INNOCENTS OF FLORENCE

Hall of the Consistory
Friday, 24 May 2019

Greeting of the Holy Father "of the cuff"

Speech of the Holy Father delivered

Dear brothers and sisters,

I had prepared a speech for you, but it is a bit boring to read ... I prefer to say two words and above all greet each other one by one.

You [the President of the Institute] said an expression that is touching: the "culture of the child". Today we have to take it up again. Children's culture. There is a culture of surprise in seeing growth, seeing how they are surprised by life, how they come into contact with life. And we must learn to do the same. This way, this road that we all have made as children, we must take it again. You quoted the Gospel of Mark: "Let the children come ..."; but there are also other passages of the Gospel in which Jesus goes even further: he not only says he welcomes children, and he who welcomes them welcomes him, but goes further: "If you do not become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven". And this is what the child's culture must teach us. We must somehow go back to a child's simplicity and above all the ability to surprise us. The surprises! Our God is the God of surprises, and we must learn this.


FULL TEXT + Image Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation
Thank you for what you said and for that story ...

And I still have to say another thing, which I would like to take back from you: those broken medals ... [half to the child and half to the mother who left him at the Institute]. Today in the world there are many children who ideally have half the medal. They are alone. Victims of war, victims of migration, unaccompanied children, victims of hunger. Children with half a medal. And who has the other half? The Mother Church. We have the other half. We need to reflect and make people understand that we are responsible for this other half and help make today another "home of the innocent", more global, with the attitude of adoption. So many times there are people who want to adopt children, but there is such a big bureaucracy - when there is no corruption of the middle, you pay and ... But help me in this: to sow awareness that we have the other half of that child's medal. Many, many families who do not have children and would certainly have the desire to have one with adoption: moving forward, creating a culture of adoption because abandoned children, alone, victims of war and so on are so many; that people learn to look at that half and say, "I have another one too". I ask you to work on this. And thanks!

Speech of the Holy Father delivered

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome all of you, the leaders and operators of the Istituto degli Innocenti, and to you, boys and girls, who are the protagonists of this institution that has been welcoming, assisting and promoting children for six hundred years. When I came to Florence, in 2015, for the V National Ecclesial Convention, speaking of the beauty of the city, I could not help remembering that much of that beauty was put at the service of charity, and I mentioned the "Hospital of the Innocenti ”as an example. I recalled that "one of the first Renaissance architectures was created for the service of abandoned children and desperate mothers" (Speech at the Ecclesial Convention of Florence, 10 November 2015).

The Institute of the Innocents, with its six centuries of history - a story that is not over, but that looks to the future - speaks to us of a city that has put the best of itself in welcoming children, so that they should no longer be called "abandoned" but welcomed, entrusted to the love and care of the community. That of the Innocents is a story that has much to teach us. Meanwhile, he sees at the origin the generosity of a rich banker, Francesco Datini, who donated the amount with which it was possible to start the realization of this work. Even today, the social and ethical responsibility of the world of finance is an indispensable value for building a more just and united society. The other striking element of this story is that the design was entrusted to Filippo Brunelleschi, the most important architect of the time, who at that time was working on a masterpiece that still today astonishes the world: the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Because the same beauty dedicated to the house of the Lord is also dedicated to the home of less fortunate children. Because for the needy children of reception it was not enough to give the milk of the nurses, there was the desire to make them grow in an environment that was as beautiful as possible.
And for six hundred years, the Istituto degli Innocenti has been concerned to offer its children and girls everything they need to grow in a dignified manner. This is a truth that today must be said with strength: to the poor, to fragile creatures, to those who live in the suburbs, we must offer the best we have. And among the most fragile people we have to care for there are certainly so many rejected children, robbed of their childhood and their future; minors facing desperate journeys to escape hunger or war. Children who do not see the light because their mothers suffer economic, social, cultural conditioning that pushes them to give up that wonderful gift that is the birth of a child. How much we need a culture that recognizes the value of life, especially the weak, threatened, offended, and instead of thinking of being able to put it aside, to exclude it with walls and closures, be concerned with offering care and beauty! A culture that recognizes in every face, even the smallest, the face of Jesus: "Whoever welcomes one child like this in my name, welcomes me" (Mt 18: 5).

The Istituto degli Innocenti is a place of history, but also of stories: smaller stories, but equally fascinating. These are the stories of the hundreds of thousands of children who have passed between those walls. Still speaking at the Florence Conference, I also referred to a particular aspect: the fact that mothers often left, together with newborns, medals broken in half, with which they hoped, by presenting the other half, to be able to recognize their children in better times. «Here - I said -, we must imagine that our poor have a broken medal. We have the other half. Because the Mother Church has in Italy half of everyone's medal and recognizes all its abandoned, oppressed, fatigued children ".

Today the goal we must set ourselves, at various levels of responsibility, is that no mother is in a position to leave her child. But we must also ensure that in the face of any event, even tragic, that may detach a child or a girl from her parents, there are structures and paths of welcome in which childhood is always protected and cared for, in the only way worthy : giving children the best we can offer them. Remembering the words of Jesus who invites us all to become like you, as children, to be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is what the Istituto degli Innocenti teaches us with its centuries-old history, with the thousands of stories it has hosted, and with the stories that today you too, boys and girls, tell with your smiling and joyful faces. And this is what I thank the managers, the operators and all those who contribute to carry out the various activities of the Istituto degli Innocenti. I thank you and I invite you to continue your service with competence and tenderness, professionalism and dedication. I pray for this and I bless you. And I ask you to please pray for me.

World Day of Prayer the Church in China - with Special Prayer by Pope Benedict XVI


Pope Francis express his “special closeness and affection to all the Catholics in China, who, among daily labours and trials, continue to believe, to hope, and to love”. Speaking directly to the faithful in China, the Holy Father said,  “May our Mamma of Heaven help you all to be witnesses of charity and of fraternity, always remaining united in the communion of the universal Church”. He then assured them of his own prayers and his blessing, before leading the faithful in praying the Hail Mary for Chinese Catholics.
An image of Our Lady, Help of Christians, is found in the Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai, and is an object of special devotion to the faithful in China. In May of 2007, in his Letter to Chinese Catholics, Benedict XVI asked that the feast of Mary, Help of Christians – 24 May – be celebrated as a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. The following prayer, published in 2008, was composed by Pope Benedict for the occasion:
Prayer of His Holiness Benedict XVI
to Our Lady of Sheshan
Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians",
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.
When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.
From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.
Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!
Edited from Vatican News.va
SEE ALSO: 

Our Lady Help of Christians a Powerful Intercessor her Short History - Feast May 24 with Novena by St. John Bosco - Miracle Prayers! - https://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2019/05/our-lady-help-of-christians-powerful.html

Pope Francis explains "...ecclesiastical museums are also a resonance of the holiness of the People of God." Full Text to Museums Assoc.


MEETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE ITALIAN ECCLESIASTICAL MUSEUMS ASSOCIATION

Sala Clementina
Friday, 24 May 2019


Words with which the Holy Father greeted the members of the Italian Ecclesiastical Museums Association and delivered the written speech

I thank the Madam President for his words. Goodmorning everyone! Now it's my turn to make a speech, but I have, in the Paul VI Hall, more than 5,000 people to talk to. If I read the speech, they will suffer and I will not be able to greet you ... I would like to greet you one by one. So, I will deliver the speech to the President, then take the photo and begin to greet from the second row, because I greeted the first one.

Speech prepared by the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you, starting with the President, whom I thank for the words with which she introduced our meeting; to the board of directors, to the Director of the national office for ecclesiastical cultural heritage and the cult building of the CEI and to all of you, dear operators and operators, who for various reasons lend your service, even voluntary, to museums in the dioceses religious institutes in Italy.

The history of your Association demonstrates the response to the need to coordinate and bring into dialogue the numerous and varied museums, large and small, that are present in Italy and, thanks to God, are constantly growing. In fact, ecclesiastical museums share the same mission: to document "visibly the path taken by the Church over the centuries in worship, catechesis, culture and charity" (Circular letter on the pastoral function of ecclesiastical museums, 2001).

In the Encyclical Laudato si 'I recalled that the historical, artistic and cultural heritage, together with the natural heritage, is equally threatened. It is part of the common identity of a place and a base for building a habitable city. We need to integrate the history, culture and architecture of a particular place, safeguarding its original identity, making the technical language dialogue with popular language. It is culture understood not only as the monuments of the past, but especially in its living, dynamic and participatory sense (see n. 143). For this reason it is essential that the museum maintains good relations with the territory in which it is inserted, collaborating with other similar institutions. It is about helping people to live together, to live well together, to work together. Ecclesiastical museums, by their nature, are called to foster encounter and dialogue in the territorial community. In this perspective it is normal to collaborate with museums of other religious communities. The works of art and the memory of different traditions and lifestyles speak of that humanity that makes us brothers and sisters.

The museum contributes to the good quality of life of the people, creating open spaces of relationship between people, places of closeness and opportunities to create communities. In large centers it is proposed as a cultural offer and representation of the history of that place. In small cities it supports the awareness of an identity that "makes one feel at home". Always and for everyone it helps to raise the eye to beauty. Urban spaces and people's lives need museums that allow them to enjoy this beauty as an expression of people's lives, their harmony with the environment, the encounter and mutual help (see Laudato si ’, 150).

I know well that for you this work is a passion: passion for culture, history, art, to know and to safeguard; passion for the people of your lands, to whose service you place your professionalism. And also passion for the Church and its mission. The museums in which you operate represent the face of the Church, its artistic and artisan fruitfulness, its vocation to communicate a message that is Good News. A message not for a select few, but for everyone. Everyone has the right to beautiful culture! Especially the poorest and the last, who must enjoy it as a gift from God. Your museums are ecclesial places and you participate in the pastoral care of your communities by presenting the beauty of human creative processes intended to express the Glory of God. For this you cooperate with the various diocesan offices, and also with parishes and schools.
I congratulate you for taking care of your training, to guarantee an up-to-date general preparation also at ecclesiastical study centers, as well as specific preparation in the various sectors of competence. I am thinking, for example, of the course held this year at the Pontifical Gregorian University. But also to the capillary work of information and communication of museums through the media, training days and contributions to specialized magazines. I also encourage the initiatives you carry out together with the archives and libraries, putting together your professionalism and your passion. Together we sometimes go more slowly, but surely we go further!

Many of you are dedicated to dialogue with contemporary artists, promoting meetings, creating exhibitions, training people in today's languages. It is a work of wisdom and openness, not always appreciated; it is a "frontier" work, indispensable for continuing the dialogue that the Church has always had with artists. Contemporary art incorporates the languages ​​to which young people are especially accustomed. We cannot miss this expression and sensitivity in our museums, through the wise research of motivations, contents and relationships. New people can also approach sacred contemporary art, which can be an important place for comparison and dialogue with today's culture.

Dear friends, I extend to you the invitation I made to the whole Church in Italy to walk on the path traced with the Exhortation Evangelii gaudium. And I also think that the more recent Exhortation on the subject of sanctity - Gaudete et exsultate - concerns you in a particular way, because ecclesiastical museums are also a resonance of the holiness of the People of God. This perspective is fascinating! But first of all remind all of us that we are called to become saints, within the holy faithful People of God. Holiness is the truest beauty of the Church. A beauty that gives meaning and full value to your service to the Church and in the Church, which appreciates and thanks you. For this I bless you and encourage you. And you, too, please pray for me.


FULL TEXT + Image Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation

Our Lady Help of Christians a Powerful Intercessor her Short History - Feast May 24 with Novena by St. John Bosco - Miracle Prayers!


Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians
Pope Pius VII, held captive by Napoleon’s forces at Savona, organized a Rosary Novena among the faithful to Our Lady Help of Christians for his liberation. In 1815, Pius VII established the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians in gratitude for his release from captivity.

In 1809, Napoleon's men entered the Vatican, arrested Pius VII and brought him in chains to Grenoble, and eventually Fontainbleau. His imprisonment lasted five years. The Holy Father vowed to God that , if he were restored to the Roman See, he would institute a special feast in honor of Mary. Military reverses forced Napoleon to release the Pope, and on May 24th 1814, Pius VII returned in triumph to Rome. Twelve months later, the Pope decreed that the feast of Mary Help of Christians, be kept on the 24th of May. (Source: Excerpt from PiercedHearts)
Saint John Bosco founded the Salesian order under the Patronage of Our Lady Help of Christians. He composed this Novena to her:
Everyday of the Novena: 
Our Father...
Hail Mary, full of grace…
Glory Be...
V. Pray for us, O Immaculate, Help of Christians
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father, place deep in our hearts the love of Mary, our help and the help of all Christians. May we
fight vigorously for the faith here on earth, and may
we one day praise your victories in heaven. Grant this
in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Amen.
First Day
O Mary, you readily agreed to the Angel’s request when you were asked to be the mother of God’s Son, and throughout your life your one desire was to do the will of your Father in heaven. Help me always to be obedient and humble. May I, like you, always have the generosity to follow Jesus, wherever he calls.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)

Second Day
O Mary, by your visit to your cousin, Saint Elizabeth, you joyfully spread the good news of the coming of Jesus into the world. May many young people generously follow your example, and give their lives totally to the service of your Son as priests, brothers and sisters.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)
Third Day
O Mary, ever since the wedding feast of Cana you have always been the powerful help of all those who have asked your aid and protection. By your prayers, keep me free from all dangers and help me always to rise above my faults and failings.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)
Fourth Day
O Mary, by your presence at the foot of the cross, you comforted and strengthened your son as he offered his life to the Father. Be with me at the hour of my death, and lead me quickly to the joys of your Son’s kingdom in heaven.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)
Fifth Day
O Mary, by your presence in the upper room you strengthened and encouraged the apostles and disciples as they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. May I always be open to the gifts of the Spirit, and may my faith always be deep and living.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)
Sixth Day
O Mary, throughout her long history you have always defended your Son’s Church from the attacks of her enemies. Be with her again in our days. Help each one of us to be her loyal subjects and to work without ceasing for that unity of peace and love for which your Son so fervently prayed.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)
Seventh Day
O Mary, you have always been the special guide and protector of Saint Peter’s successor, the Bishop of Rome. Keep our present Holy Father in your loving care. Defend him from all harm and give him all those gifts he needs to be the faithful shepherd of your Son’s flock.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)
Eight Day
O Mary, the wonderful way you helped Saint John Bosco’s work to grow and spread shows that you have a great love for the young. As you watched over the child Jesus at Nazareth, so now watch over all young people, especially those most in need, and help them to grow daily in love of your Son.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)
Ninth Day
O Mary, you so often showed great courage during your life here on earth. Help all those who are suffering pain and persecution as they try to worship your Son. Obtain for me a deep love of Jesus, so that my life may always be pure, my service of others generous and loving, and my death a truly happy one.
(add in this moment all your personal intentions)
Source: Salesians of St. Don Bosco
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British Prime Minister Theresa May Announces she will step down as Leader on June 7



British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Friday in London that she will step down as the U.K. Conservative Party leader on June 7. A new Conservative leadership contest will begin on June 10, 2019. The U.K. is divided over the Brexit (Britain's split) from the European Union.

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday, May 24, 2019 that she'll step down on June 7, from calls in her governing Conservative Party.
"It is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort," May said.

May was once a reluctant supporter of EU membership who won the leadership following the 2016 Brexit vote. She'll step down with her central pledges unfulfilled.

After announcing her resignation, May became emotional as she said it had been "the honour of my life" to serve "the country that I love" before returning to the prime minister's office.
Edited from CBC News

Argentine Doctor convicted for Refusing to perform Abortion on 23-week old Baby


Irish Times reports that an Argentinian doctor was convicted of refusing to perform abortion. Dr Leandro Rodriguez Lastra, an OB-GYN in Argentina, was found guilty on Monday, May 20, 2019 of having prevented an abortion, after he decided to save the life of an unborn baby whose mother had taken an abortion pill.

After three days of arguments in the Rio Negro Court in Argentina, Judge Álvaro Meynet found Rodríguez guilty of failing to carry out his duty as a public functionary.

In the coming days, the court will announce the sentence, which could range from suspension from practicing medicine to two years in prison.

Rodríguez is the head of the department of gynaecology at the Pedro Moguillansky Hospital in Cipoletti. In May 2017, he treated a 19-year-old woman who was suffering severe pain due to ingesting misoprostol, the first of a two-part abortion pill regimen, which had been administered by an abortion group.

The doctor confirmed that the woman was almost 23-weeks pregnant and the baby weighed more than 1 lb. 2 oz., so in conjunction with the medical team and the hospital board, he decided not to terminate the pregnancy.

Rodríguez stabilised the patient and when the baby reached 35 weeks gestation, labour was induced. Days later, the baby was adopted and will soon be two years old.

However, Rodríguez and Dr Yamila Custillo, who also refused to perform an abortion, were cited by Río Negro legislator Marta Milesi, an advocate for the protocol of non-punishable abortion, which the province had adopted in the case of rape, which the woman alleged.
Please Pray for Dr. Rodriguez

Edited from the Irish Times

BREAKING Narendra Modi wins Re-Election as Prime Minister of India


Landslide victory gives Narendra Modi the seats to rule alone
Asia News Report: The National Democratic Alliance coalition won at least 343 seats, 302 for the prime minister’s party alone. In total, 272 are required for an absolute majority. The Congress is "shocked". Analysts criticise the opposition’s inability to present a credible alternative. The vote is confirmation that "populism is growing".

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially its leader Narendra Modi, have been swept to victory In India’s parliamentary elections.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Mgr Peter Machado, archbishop of Bangalore, said “we wish the BJP government all the best. The Catholic Church will surely be cooperating with the Government in whatever schemes they have for the people through our apostolates especially in education, health care and welfare services.”

The prelate added that the Church expects “the Government to give us freedom to practise our religion” as well as the opportunity “to serve the poor, Tribals, Dalits, women, and children.”

Counting started this morning at 8 am (local time) and is still in progress. But with only a few districts still to report, one thing is certain: Modi will be prime minister for a second time and can govern alone for another five years.

“Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!” Modi said on Twitter.

World leaders sent their congratulations, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, who, in an official statement, stressed the importance China attached to its ties with India and its desire to take their partnership “to a new height”.

According to the latest results by the Election Commission of India, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 343 seats in the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament), 302 for Modi's own party. A majority of 272 seats is needed to govern.

By contrast, the Indian National Congress, the main opposition party led by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, won 50 seats. In coalition with other parties, it took a total of 87.

Rahul Gandhi admitted defeat and congratulated the winners. A Congress party spokesman, Jaiveer Shergill, told the BBC that the results came as a shock. "We didn't expect this defeat," he said. "[We] weren't good communicators about our electoral promises."

The amazing victory was expected based on the first exit polls, which showed that a large majority of voters favoured the Hindu nationalist party. Experts put down Modi’s victory to the opposition's inability to present itself as a credible alternative to govern the country.

The dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir also played a role after the 14 February attack on the Indian military. Modi in fact upped the ante with his anti-Pakistan sabre-rattling throughout the electoral campaign. Analysts now admit that playing up the high-level tensions with Pakistan and acting as a strong man who guarantees security was a winning strategy.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Lenin Raghuvanshi, Dalit rights activist and executive director of the Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) in Varanasi, said that the re-election of the prime minister, who has been accused of discrimination against religious minorities, is confirmation “that populism is growing ".

For A C Michael, a former member of the Delhi Minority Commission and development director for Alliance Defending Freedom-India, a second Modi administration will not change the government's approach to minorities.

The BJP’s “priority is to first address the concerns of the majority, then attend to the needs of minorities. In the list of priorities, we may be placed later but we will still be their list,” he explained.

“Christians will continue to be viewed as the masters of conversions, despite census figure showing that their numbers have been stagnant since independence. But it does not mean we Christian will stop practising our faith as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”

“The people of India have democratically elected a government of their choice,” he added. “Democracy is thriving in our country. This is not some kind of coup. All political parties had the same opportunities to convince people and win over their confidence. BJP successfully did it. Others failed to win the confidence of the people.”

Still, Michael hopes the government in its new mandate will adopt a different approach, reaching out to minorities, who “otherwise will continue to live in fear of the Hindutva agenda”.

(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)
FULL TEXT Release from Asia News IT

Pope Francis says "Sport is a great opportunity to learn to give the best of yourself, with sacrifice..." Full Text


SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE MEETING PROMOTED BY SPORTS DAILY
"THE GAZZETTA DELLO SPORT" AND THE ITALIAN FEDERATION GIOCO CALCIO

Paul VI Hall
Friday, 24 May 2019


Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

I greet you all and thank the President for his kind words. I must now read a five-page speech. Do you say ... Yes or no? Who is it because I don't read it and give this to the President: who is it for no? ... Now, who is it for the yes? ... Listen, it's five pages, you have to be quiet ... Come on.

Seeing you - when I heard that cry [la ola], as if I had marked - it reminds me of what he loved to repeat to his educators Saint John Bosco, the inventor of the speakers: "Do you want the boys? Throw in a balloon and before you touch the ground you will see how many will have come close! ". We can say that behind a rolling ball there is almost always a boy with his dreams and his aspirations, his body and his soul. In a sporting activity not only the muscles are involved but the whole personality of a boy, in all its dimensions, even the deepest ones. In fact, it is said of someone who is working hard, "is giving the soul". All involved in that work, in that sport.

Sport is a great opportunity to learn to give the best of yourself, with sacrifice and commitment, but above all not alone. Feel good this: sport, not alone. We live in a time when, thanks to the massive presence of new technologies, it is easy to isolate oneself, create virtual bonds with many but at a distance. Ties, but alone. The great thing about playing with a ball is being able to do it together with others, passing it in the middle of a field, learning to build game actions, joining together as a team ... The ball becomes a means to invite real people to share friendship, to to find oneself in a space, to look at oneself, to challenge oneself to put one's skills to the test. Dear friends: football is a team game, you can't have fun alone! And if it is lived like this, it can really do good also to the head and the heart in a society that exasperates the subjectivism, that is the centrality of the own self, almost like an absolute principle. Football is a team game, and this is good for all of us.

Many define football as "the most beautiful game in the world". I think the same, [applause] but it is a personal opinion. But we often hear people say: "football is no longer a game!" Unfortunately, we are witnessing phenomena that affect its beauty, even in youth football, on the pitch or on the sideline. For example, you see certain parents turning into ultras fans, or managers, coaches ...

I like to emphasize that your Federation is called the Italian Federation ... Football? No: Football Game: there is precisely the word "game". But sometimes this word is forgotten, and perhaps replaced - secretly - with less coherent ones, if not entirely contrary to the purposes. Instead it is a game and must remain so! Football is a game: we say it together? Football is a game [they all repeat it] Here it is. Don't forget this: football is a game. One day a journalist asked a theologian how one could explain happiness to a child. It is not easy to explain happiness to a child. The theologian replied: "I wouldn't explain it, I would give him a ball to play." This is happiness.

Playing makes you happy because you can express your freedom, compete in a fun way, you live in a free time simply ... why? Why? ... Because you like it, you like to play football, you run after a dream but without necessarily becoming a champion. The Charter of Children's Rights to Sport also reaffirms the right of every child to "not be a champion" (Article 10). It is a right to play, and I have the right not to become a champion, but I have the happiness of playing.

Dear parents, I urge you to pass on this mentality to your children: play, gratuitousness, sociability ... To encourage them in difficult moments, especially after a defeat ... And to help them understand that the bench is not a humiliation, but a opportunity to grow and an opportunity for someone else. That they always have the taste to give their best, because beyond the game there is the life that awaits them.
In this educational task, parents, I invite you to seek an alliance with the sports society of your children, especially with the coaches. Training is a sort of accompaniment, like driving towards something more and better. You train yourself to improve your physical qualities, techniques so as to be able to face challenges. In this adventure, you coaches have an important role, because you find yourself to be authoritative reference points for the kids you train: with you they spend a lot of time, in an activity that they like and gratifies them, and you are figures " others "compared to parents. Everything you say and do, the way you say and do it, becomes a lesson for your athletes, that is, it will leave an indelible mark on their life, for good or for bad.

Someone said that he tiptoed into the field to avoid trampling the sacred dreams of the boys. I ask you not to turn your children's dreams into easy illusions destined to clash soon with the limits of reality; not to oppress their lives with forms of blackmail that block their freedom and imagination; not to teach shortcuts that only lead to getting lost in the labyrinth of life. Instead, you can always be complicit in the smile of your athletes! This is beautiful: to be an accomplice to the smile of our athletes.

One last word - I am about to finish, rest assured - I want to address a last word to the great champions of football, to which these young athletes are inspired. Do not forget where you started from: that suburban camp, that oratory, that small company ... I wish you always to feel gratitude for your history of sacrifices, victories and defeats. And to also feel the educational responsibility, to be implemented through a coherence of life and solidarity with the weakest, to encourage the youngest to grow up inside, and maybe even champions in life. Great in life: this is the victory of all of us, it is the victory of you who play soccer. And to managers: please always keep the "amateurship", which is a spirit ... Let the beauty of football not end in a do ut des of financial affairs.

Thank you very much! I bless you all. And please I ask you to pray for me. Thank you.

Now I will give the blessing. [Blessing]

And thanks!


FULL TEXT + Image Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation

US Bishops' Conference Release - Chairman Applauds Pro-Life Legislation - Full Text


U.S. Bishops’ Chairman Applauds States Passing of Pro-Life Legislation

May 23, 2019
WASHINGTON—The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, has issued a statement regarding states recent passing of pro-life legislation.
The full statement follows:

 “Every single human life has value. The trend of states passing pro-life legislation is a very encouraging move toward ensuring that our society cherishes unborn children and their most basic right to life. The pro-life movement has always had two critical goals: increasing support for mothers and children and eliminating the tragedy of abortion. Our march for justice and human rights for unborn children will not be complete until they are recognized and protected as persons by the law. Our ultimate objective, however, is for abortion to be unthinkable. As we celebrate these pro-life legislative victories, we reiterate our commitment to supporting all mothers with the care and resources they need. The Church stands ready to help and welcome them.”
Full Text Media Release from USCCB - US Bishops' Conference

Joko Widodo Reelected as President in Indonesia - Bishops say accept the vote


ASIA/INDONESIA - Joko Widodo confirmed President, the Bishops: "it is important to accept the result of the vote"
Wednesday, 22 May 2019
Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - "The recent presidential and legislative elections turned out to be the most challenging elections in the nation, as hundreds of members of the electoral committee died due to their excessive workload. Now we must accept the decision of the Electoral Commission: whoever was chosen by the people and will lead the nation, will certainly do his best for the common interest. We want to invite the elected parliamentarians and elected regional representatives to always protect the common good and social justice": says to Agenzia Fides Archbishop Agustinus Agus, at the head of the archdiocese of Pontianak, in the province of West Kalimantan, following the announcement of the results of the vote in the Indonesian nation.
Yesterday, the Electoral Commission of Indonesia announced that President Joko Widodo is the winner of the elections, officially declaring that Joko Widodo and his deputy Ma'ruf Amin obtained 55.5% of the votes, compared to 44.5% obtained by Prabowo Subianto and his deputy Sandiaga S. Uno. About 85.6 million Indonesians voted in favor of Widodo out of about 154 million voters. President Jokowi, 57, officially begins his second term.
The proclamation of the Commission requires the approval of both candidates. But Aziz Subekti, delegate of the candidate Subianto, refused to validate the official result, saying: "We will not surrender in our struggle against injustice, fraud and abuse". There are fears of riots and disputes all over the country, already organized today in Jakarta by Subianto’s party, which has announced an appeal to the Indonesian Constitutional Court. In the aftermath of the vote, the opposition candidate had already declared himself the winner, claiming 62% of the votes, but without providing any credible "legal proof" to support this claim.
Already in 2014, Subianto, defeated by Jokowi, had launched an appeal to the Indonesian Constitutional Court but had lost his legal battle. Now Subianto has chosen the street protest. Among Subianto's supporters there are also groups that promote the so-called "jihadist protest", calling for a popular uprising. Indonesian security forces are monitoring the situation, also to prevent possible terrorist attacks that could destabilize the nation.
In recent weeks most of the political parties that had supported Subianto during the electoral campaign - such as the Democratic Party (PD) chaired by former Indonesian president Yudhoyono, the National Mandate Party (PAN), and the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS ) - have distanced themselves and have not shared this political line, which delegitimizes the result of the vote. (MH) (Agenzia Fides, 22/5/2019)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, May 24, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide


Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 289

Reading 1ACTS 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
"The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
'It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

Responsorial PsalmPS 57:8-9, 10 AND 12

R. (10a) I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn.
R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD,
I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!
R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 15:15B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another."