Monday, May 27, 2019

Saint May 28 : Blessed Margaret Pole : Catholic Royal Countess Martyred by King Henry VIII in 1541 #England

The life of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was tragic from her cradle to her grave.l Nay, even before she was born, death in its most violent or dreaded forms had been long busy with her family—hastening to extinction a line that had swayed the destinies of England for nearly four centuries and a half. Her grandfather was that splendid Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the mighty King-maker, who as the "last of the Barons," so fittingly died on the stricken field of garnet, and whose soldier's passing gave to Shakespeare a theme worthy of some of his most affecting lines. Her father was the George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV, whose death in the Tower in January, 1478, has been attributed to so many causes. The murdered "Princes in the Tower," Edward V and his little brother, the Duke of York, were her first cousins, while her only brother, Edward, Earl of Warwick, was judicially murdered by Henry VII to ensure his own possession of the Crown.
The list of tragedies in the family of the Blessed Margaret is still far from complete, but sufficient instances have been given to justify the description we have given of her whole career. Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, was born at Farley Castle, near Bath, on 14th August, in or about the year 1473. Her mother, Isabel, daughter of the above-mentioned "King-maker," died 22nd December, 1476, and her father in the Tower nearly two years later. During the reign of Edward IV, little Margaret and her brother were brought up at Sheen, with the children of her uncle, King Edward IV. At his death, Margaret and Edward, after a short stay at Warwick Castle—their ancestral home—resided for a short time at the Court of Richard III. When the crook-back King's son died, the youthful Earl of Warwick became de jure heir to the Crown, and Margaret, his sister, in the same way, Princess Royal. These short-lived honours, however, ended in 1485, when the victory of Bosworth gave the Throne to the Tudor Adventurer who, as Henry VII was to introduce a new dynasty and the oldest and most repulsive form of Oriental despotism into the realm!
England, as the late Mr. J. M. Kerr shows in his well-known Elements of Public Law, was as practically free in 1485 as she was in the nineteenth century. By the time of the death of Harry Tudor's appalling son, the country had become as abject and prostrate as any of the dominions of contemporary Sultans or Rajahs! In 1491, when Margaret was about eighteen years of age, she was married by the King, Henry VII, to a distant relative and thorough-going supporter of his own, Sir Richard Pole. The Order of the Garter was conferred upon this gentleman, who hailed from Buckinghamshire, and in 1486, on the birth of Prince Arthur, the King's eldest son, he received the high position of Governor to the Prince of Wales.
 Lady Pole, as she was now, appears to have been happy in her union. Five children were born of the marriage, and both she and her husband stood high in the favour of the cold and calculating King. But one dark cloud hung ever over her. All this time her unhappy brother, the true heir to the Crown, lay in the Tower, his only "crime," of course, being that summed up in the phrase, "the right of the first-born is his!" Secluded from all society, and most shamefully neglected, the poor young Earl of Warwick grew up in almost total ignorance and simplicity, so as not to know, as men said, "a goose from a capon." Once, to expose the Lambert Simnel pretensions by the most convincing of all proofs, Henry caused the unhappy youth to be paraded through London, and this show duly over, the royal captive was again consigned to his lonely prison.
Then in 1499, came his alleged attempt to escape, together with another claimant, the plebeian Perkin Warbeck, and the cruel and selfish despot had a plausible pretext for bringing the "last of the Plantagenets to the scaffold." This was one of the most brutal and callous State murders in the whole of English history, and the absence of any sort of protest either from the servile hierarchy or the upstart lords that bowed down before Henry's throne, shows how deeply the nation had already sunk in political and social slavery! The decapitated corpse of the young and perfectly innocent Earl, thus foully done to death, was interred at Bisham Priory, near Maidenhead, a place where his grief-stricken sister was to find a home nearer the end of her own sorrow-laden and tragic life. When the sickly Arthur married Catharine of Aragon, and went to keep his short-lived Court at Ludlow Castle, Lady Pole became one of the ladies of the Princess of Wales. The appointment must have carried with it poignant reflections on both sides. For Catharine herself believed—and was later bitterly to make her foreboding known—that no good could come of her union with the scion of the Tudor House, since that union had been brought about by the price of innocent blood! For the "most Catholic"—and most calculating—King Ferdinand VII, her father, had made it one of the conditions of his daughter's nuptials, that there should be no claimants to the English Crown. His royal brother of England had forthwith nobly obliged by presenting to the Monarch of Castile and Aragon, the head of the innocent Warwick on a charger—and "all went merry as a marriage-bell"—for a time! Catharine on her side, soon conceived a great affection for the sister of one so cruelly sacrificed to make smooth her own matrimonial path. She did all she could to forward the interests of the Pole family, notably after the death of Sir Richard in 1503.
There can also be little doubt that when, in November, 1513, Parliament reversed the infamous Act of Attainder passed on her murdered brother and restored to Margaret's family the title and estates, forfeited on that iniquitous occasion, the excellent Queen Catharine again proved herself a friend at Court, and facilitated by her influence the partial undoing of this hideous murder by statute. When the Princess Mary, afterwards Queen, was baptized in the Church of the Franciscan Observants at Greenwich, the Countess of Salisbury—as Lady Margaret Pole had now become, owing to the reversal of her brother's attainder, and the restoration of the ancestral honours—held the child at the font. Nine years later, she was nominated Governess of the Princess, and appointed to preside over the Court of the little royal lady at Ludlow Castle, one of the official residences of the Princes and Princesses of Wales. Meanwhile the children of the Lady Salisbury were growing up, and the most interesting of them was undoubtedly Reginald, the future Cardinal and last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. Endowed by Providence with great personal beauty and rare mental gifts, he possessed what was greater than these, that sense of principle, and that elevated moral standard which were so conspicuously lacking to the ruling and upper classes throughout the Tudor period. A boy Bachelor of Oxford at the age of fifteen, he had afterwards studied the Canon Law at Padua. The world, indeed, was at the feet of this singularly gifted youth. Henry was to think of making him Archbishop of York after the death of Wolsey, and still later was even more intensely to think of having him assassinated! Meanwhile, as a most winsome and delectable youth, he was a decided "catch" from the matrimonial point of view, and good Queen Catharine, ever eager to serve a family that had suffered so much through her, but surely not by her, had ideas of marrying the Princess Mary to the brilliant son of her almost lifelong friend.
The "future" of the much-discussed Reginald, however, was settled, and settled finally by the complications and menaces of the royal divorce question which became acute about 1527-8. A little later, the French Ambassador Castillon, horrified at the well-nigh weekly slaughter that had become almost a mere incident in the life of England at this period, exclaimed: "I think few Lords feel safe in this country!" Reginald Pole, to whom the King looked for learned and moral support at this crisis, was certainly one of the majority, so to save his head, he prudently withdrew to the Continent, under the pretext of pursuing his theological studies. The immediate effect of the King's divorce and subsequent marriage with Anne Boleyn, was to deprive the Countess of Salisbury of her post of Governess to the Princess Mary, and, indeed, to cause her forcible separation from her charge to whom she had become tenderly attached. Robbed thus of the friends of her youth—doomed to see many of them die in prison or on the scaffold—herself declared illegitimate and deprived of her just rights—is it any wonder that Mary learnt to loathe the very name of the "Reformation?" For from the first, its aiders and abetters ever showed themselves the thick and thin supporters of despotism—the despotism that plundered the church and the poor—cynically gave the "people" a Bible which most of them could neither read nor understand—and filled the whole country with nauseating phrases and catchwords redolent of cant and hypocrisy! All this has to be borne in mind in judging of the Queen of "bloody" memory.
After the breaking up of the Princess Mary's household, Lady Salisbury went to live for a time at Bisham, close to her murdered brother's "last long home." The greater Abbeys, as is well-known, were not suppressed till 1539, but for many months before this, it was generally understood throughout England that the Religious Houses were doomed. Henry's prodigality was enormous, and his meretricious Court and the host of extravagances its pleasures—noble and ignoble—entailed, made him cast envious eyes on the age—long monastic Foundations and their material possessions. This was quite apart from their known dislike of his schismatical policy, and so the fate of Abbeys and Priories was soon sealed. The Priory of Canons Regular of St. Augustine at Bisham was dear to Lady Salisbury and her family, apart from its sacred character, and the fact that the remains of their murdered relative, the ill-fated Earl of Warwick, lay buried within its precincts. For it had been founded by William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, in the reign of Edward III, and so might almost be regarded as a quasi possession of the house. Lady Salisbury now advised the Prior not to resign the Priory unless the inevitable occurred, when, of course, all would be able to see that the dissolution had been made by force. The said Prior was ejected to make way for the notorious William Barlow, who shortly afterwards "surrendered" the House to the King. The year that saw the passing of Bisham and the rest of the abodes of "the Monks of Old," was the year of the appearance of Reginald Pole's treatise De Unitate Ecclesiastical The book gave the lie to almost every one of Henry's recent declarations on the subject of the Church, and in arraigning him at the bar of ecclesiastical history and Catholic doctrine, exposed him to the condemnation of Europe. The rage of the royal Nero, of course, knew no bounds. In vain did he command Pole to return to England without excuse or delay so as to lose his head! Equally in vain did he instruct Sir Thomas Wyatt and other of his agents abroad, to have his daring relative assassinated.1 Pole was now a Cardinal and busy pushing forward the initial negotiations and arrangements that were to prepare the way for the Council of Trent. His office as Legate to the Low Countries was all in the same direction—to make peace between the Emperor and France, and so facilitate the opening of the Council that was to do so much to heal the wounds of Holy Church. He was not, as Lingard shows (History, vol. v., chap. ii.), engineering a crusade against the Tudor Monster, though, no doubt, the thought of such a movement was uppermost In many minds. Unable either to get the Cardinal in his toils or murdered out of hand, Henry struck at his kinsfolk and acquaintances. In November, 1538, Henry Lord Montague, Sir Geoffrey Pole, Sir Edmund Neville, the Marquis of Exeter, and Sir Nicholas Carew, were lodged in the Tower on the usual charge of "Treason." Historic accuracy compels us to admit that Cardinal Pole, like Lord Stafford in 1680, was not "a man beloved of his own relatives," at least in this crisis. His own mother had seen the danger likely to arise from his book and had even spoken of him as "a traitor." His brother, Lord Montague had likewise written letters of remonstrance to him. Needless to say all this was largely pro forma to divert Henry's fatal wrath, but whatever was the object all was in vain, and this crowd of noble personages, except Sir Geoffrey Pole, were done to death after the usual judicial mummery on Tower Hill, 3rd January, 1539.
 Before being officially murdered, Lord Montague asked for absolution for having taken the Oath of Supremacy, and this fact is said to have sealed his fate. The "execution" of these gentlemen, as usual, caused universal horror, and Henry was widely compared to the worst of the persecutors in the days of pagan Rome, though that heathen city, at least, had the advantage of a Pretorian Guard to deliver its citizens from their tyrants when these got past all bearing. While her family was being prepared for the slaughter—to make a Tudor holiday—the now aged Countess of Salisbury was living in retirement at Warblington, near Havant in Hampshire. She was arrested there by Fitz William, Earl of Southampton, and Goodrich, Bishop of Ely, 13th November, 1538, and almost immediately removed to Cowdray, Sussex. Here she remained several months, being treated by the Earl of Southampton, her jailer, with great harshness. Her trunks and coffer were searched, and in one of these was found a tunic or "vestment," embroidered with the Five Wounds. It looks as if an ordinary tabard adorned with one of the devices of the Plantaganets, Margaret's ancestors, had come to light, but Cromwell and his Master affected to see in this old raiment a traitorous connection with the "Pilgrimage of Grace," the banner of which was a representation of Our Lord's Wounds. Another murder by Act of Parliament, of course, went forward, and on 28th June, 1539, the Countess of Salisbury, her eldest son, the Marquis of Exeter, and a number of other persons of lesser degree, including three Irish priests "for carrying letters to the Pope," were added to the "attainted" victims of the King. The news of his dear mother's condemnation greatly affected the Cardinal. "You have heard, I believe, of my mother being condemned by public Council to death, or rather to eternal life," he wrote on 22nd September, of the same year. "Not only has he who condemned her, condemned to death a woman of seventy—than whom he has no nearer relative, except his daughter, and of whom he used to say there was no holier woman in his kingdom—but at the same time her grandson, son of my brother, a child, the remaining hope of our race.1 See how far this tyranny has gone, which began with priests, in whose order it only consumed the best, then [went on] to nobles, and there, too, destroyed the best." (Epistolae Poli, ii, 191.) On the very day that the obsequious Divan, misnamed Parliament, passed the Bill of Attainder, Margaret was transferred from Cowdray to the Tower. There for two years, she suffered much from cold and neglect, for she had been hurried to London without any time to make the necessary preparations. At last it was resolved to add her venerable name to those of the other martyrs of the Faith. She was sacrificed out of hatred to her son, the great champion of the Church, whose discourses and writings had done so much to expose to the world the villainies of the Tudor Tiberius and his Sejanus, Thomas Cromwell, and make all just men shrink with horror at the very mention of the names of these two oppressors of the human race. The Countess of Salisbury was taken to East Smithfield early in the morning of 28th May, 1541, and there beheaded on a low block or log in the presence of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and a few other spectators. The regular headsman was away from London at the time, and his deputy, an unskilful lout, hacked at the blessed Martyr in such a way as to give some foundation to the story afterwards made current by Lord Herbert of Cherbury, that she had refused to lay her head on the block and was, therefore, struck repeatedly by the executioner till she fell dead. Before her death, she prayed for the King, Queen (Catherine Howard), Prince of Wales (later Edward VI), and the Princess Mary Her last words were: "Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice' sake for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." The body of the Blessed Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, was interred in the Tower, in that Chapel dedicated to St. Peter's Chains, whose illustrious dead and historic associations are enshrined in Macaulay's memorable lines. She was declared Blessed with many of the rest of the English Martyrs by Leo XIII, 29th December, 1886. Others than her co-religionists, no doubt, like to reflect that a life, so marked by piety, and so full of griefs ever heroically borne, has after the lapse of nearly four centuries been thus honoured, and that the last direct descendant of the Plantaganet line has her place in the Hagiography of the Church so long associated with their sway. Endnotes 1 Two ruffians nearly carried out the King's benign intention concerning his kinsman, but Pole magnanimously forgave the would-be murderers, and merely sent them to the galleys for a few days. But after this he increased his bodyguard which then formed part of every Cardinal's household, at least in Italy. 2 This "remaining hope of our race" was Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who after a captivity of sixteen years in the Tower, was among the prisoners released by Queen Mary immediately after her accession, 1553. Had he been "possible," there is little doubt but that the Queen would hare married him, and so saved all the odium and trouble that followed from the highly unpopular "Spanish match." Courtenay, who had probably been ruined in character by neglect and imprisonment, soon left the country, and ended his unworthy life at Padua, 1556. (Taken from Vol. V of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler, (c) Copyright 1954, Virtue and Company, Limited, London.)

Pope Francis' Message for World Day of Migrants "...the Church’s mission to all those living.." Full Text


Pope’s message for 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees: Full text
Pope Francis releases his message for the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is commemorated on Sunday, September 29, 2019.
The full text of the message is below:
"It is not just about migrants"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Faith assures us that in a mysterious way the Kingdom of God is already present here on earth (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 39). Yet in our own time, we are saddened to see the obstacles and opposition it encounters. Violent conflicts and all-out wars continue to tear humanity apart; injustices and discrimination follow one upon the other; economic and social imbalances on a local or global scale prove difficult to overcome. And above all it is the poorest of the poor and the most disadvantaged who pay the price.

The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media, is producing a “globalization of indifference”. In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion. In addition to the hardships that their condition entails, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills. That attitude is an alarm bell warning of the moral decline we will face if we continue to give ground to the throw-away culture. In fact, if it continues, anyone who does not fall within the accepted norms of physical, mental and social well-being is at risk of marginalization and exclusion.


For this reason, the presence of migrants and refugees – and of vulnerable people in general – is an invitation to recover some of those essential dimensions of our Christian existence and our humanity that risk being overlooked in a prosperous society. That is why it is not just about migrants. When we show concern for them, we also show concern for ourselves, for everyone; in taking care of them, we all grow; in listening to them, we also give voice to a part of ourselves that we may keep hidden because it is not well regarded nowadays.

“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” (Mt 14:27). It is not just about migrants: it is also about our fears. The signs of meanness we see around us heighten “our fear of ‘the other’, the unknown, the marginalized, the foreigner... We see this today in particular, faced with the arrival of migrants and refugees knocking on our door in search of protection, security and a better future. To some extent, the fear is legitimate, also because the preparation for this encounter is lacking” (Homily in Sacrofano, 15 February 2019). But the problem is not that we have doubts and fears. The problem is when they condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even – without realizing it – racist. In this way, fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord (cf. Homily at Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 14 January 2018).

“For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?” (Mt 5:46). It is not just about migrants: it is about charity. Through works of charity, we demonstrate our faith (cf. Jas 2:18). And the highest form of charity is that shown to those unable to reciprocate and perhaps even to thank us in return. “It is also about the face we want to give to our society and about the value of each human life... The progress of our peoples... depends above all on our openness to being touched and moved by those who knock at our door. Their faces shatter and debunk all those false idols that can take over and enslave our lives; idols that promise an illusory and momentary happiness blind to the lives and sufferings of others” (Address at the Diocesan Caritas of Rabat, 30 March 2019).

“But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight” (Lk 10:33). It is not just about migrants: it is about our humanity. Compassion motivated that Samaritan – for the Jews, a foreigner – not to pass by. Compassion is a feeling that cannot be explained on a purely rational level. Compassion strikes the most sensitive chords of our humanity, releasing a vibrant urge to “be a neighbour” to all those whom we see in difficulty. As Jesus himself teaches us (cf. Mt9:35-36; 14:13-14; 15:32-37), being compassionate means recognizing the suffering of the other and taking immediate action to soothe, heal and save. To be compassionate means to make room for that tenderness which today’s society so often asks us to repress. “Opening ourselves to others does not lead to impoverishment, but rather enrichment, because it enables us to be more human: to recognize ourselves as participants in a greater collectivity and to understand our life as a gift for others; to see as the goal, not our own interests, but rather the good of humanity” (Address at the Heydar Aliyev Mosque in Baku, 2 October 2016).

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father” (Mt 18:10). It is not just about migrants: it is a question of seeing that no one is excluded. Today’s world is increasingly becoming more elitist and cruel towards the excluded. Developing countries continue to be drained of their best natural and human resources for the benefit of a few privileged markets. Wars only affect some regions of the world, yet weapons of war are produced and sold in other regions which are then unwilling to take in the refugees produced by these conflicts. Those who pay the price are always the little ones, the poor, the most vulnerable, who are prevented from sitting at the table and are left with the “crumbs” of the banquet (cf. Lk 16:19-21). “The Church which ‘goes forth’... can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast” (Evangelii Gaudium, 24). A development that excludes makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. A real development, on the other hand, seeks to include all the world’s men and women, to promote their integral growth, and to show concern for coming generations.

“Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all” (Mk10:43-44). It is not just about migrants: it is about putting the last in first place. Jesus Christ asks us not to yield to the logic of the world, which justifies injustice to others for my own gain or that of my group. “Me first, and then the others!” Instead, the true motto of the Christian is, “The last shall be first!” “An individualistic spirit is fertile soil for the growth of that kind of indifference towards our neighbours which leads to viewing them in purely economic terms, to a lack of concern for their humanity, and ultimately to feelings of fear and cynicism. Are these not the attitudes we often adopt towards the poor, the marginalized and the ‘least’ of society? And how many of these ‘least’ do we have in our societies! Among them I think primarily of migrants, with their burden of hardship and suffering, as they seek daily, often in desperation, a place to live in peace and dignity” (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 11 January 2016). In the logic of the Gospel, the last come first, and we must put ourselves at their service.

“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). It is not just about migrants: it is about the whole person, about all people. In Jesus’ words, we encounter the very heart of his mission: to see that all receive the gift of life in its fullness, according to the will of the Father. In every political activity, in every programme, in every pastoral action we must always put the person at the centre, in his or her many aspects, including the spiritual dimension. And this applies to all people, whose fundamental equality must be recognized. Consequently, “development cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be well-rounded; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man” (SAINT PAUL VI, Populorum Progressio, 14).

“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19). It is not just about migrants: it is about building the city of God and man. In our time, which can also be called the era of migration, many innocent people fall victim to the “great deception” of limitless technological and consumerist development (cf. Laudato Si’, 34). As a result, they undertake a journey towards a “paradise” that inevitably betrays their expectations. Their presence, at times uncomfortable, helps to debunk the myth of a progress that benefits a few while built on the exploitation of many. “We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved. They are an occasion that Providence gives us to help build a more just society, a more perfect democracy, a more united country, a more fraternal world and a more open and evangelical Christian community” (Message for the 2014 World Day of Migrants and Refugees).

Dear brothers and sisters, our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration can be summed up in four verbs: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. Yet these verbs do not apply only to migrants and refugees. They describe the Church’s mission to all those living in the existential peripheries, who need to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated. If we put those four verbs into practice, we will help build the city of God and man. We will promote the integral human development of all people. We will also help the world community to come closer to the goals of sustainable development that it has set for itself and that, lacking such an approach, will prove difficult to achieve.

In a word, it is not only the cause of migrants that is at stake; it is not just about them, but about all of us, and about the present and future of the human family. Migrants, especially those who are most vulnerable, help us to read the “signs of the times”. Through them, the Lord is calling us to conversion, to be set free from exclusivity, indifference and the throw-away culture. Through them, the Lord invites us to embrace fully our Christian life and to contribute, each according to his or her proper vocation, to the building up of a world that is more and more in accord with God’s plan.

In expressing this prayerful hope, and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Way, I invoke God’s abundant blessings upon all the world’s migrants and refugees and upon all those who accompany them on their journey.

From the Vatican, 27 May 2019

FRANCIS
FULL TEXT + Share from VaticanNews.va - Official Translation

#BreakingNews Another Attack on Catholic Church with 4 People Killed at Mass in Burkina Faso - Please Pray


On Sunday, May 26, 2019 another four people were killed at a Catholic church in northern Burkina Faso. This is the fourth in a series of attacks on Christian targets in the region, according to a bishop of the area and a security source.

"The Christian community of Toulfe was the target of a terrorist attack which gathered for Sunday prayers. The attack left four of the faithful dead," the Bishop of Ouahigouya, Justin Kientega, said in a statement.

"Heavily armed individuals attacked the church... as the faithful were celebrating Sunday mass" in the town of Toulfe, the source had said.

A local resident contacted by phone by AFP said the attack "caused panic in the village and many residents sought to seek cover in their homes or in the bush."

Last week gunmen killed four Catholics in a religious procession, the day after a priest and five parishioners were murdered at mass.

Burkina Faso's population is around two-thirds Muslim and one-third Christian.

Jihadist groups have been attacking Christian clerics as well as Muslim who are not as radical.

France has deployed 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help local forces.
Edited from Vanguard- VaticanNews- Aljazeera
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Conservative Marine Le Pen wins in EU Elections over President Macron in France


Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally won a first-place finish in the European Parliamentary elections in France, beating President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance list. National Rally, the renamed party of Le Pen's National Front party, won about 24 percent of the vote, compared with roughly 22.5 percent for Macron's centrist-liberal party. Conservatives were projected to gain as much as one-third of seats in the European Parliament.

Polls in Germany showed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats came first, with fewer seats than last time.
Italy’s right League, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, also won the most votes with between 27-31 percent, as indicated by exit polls. This means that the EU must now give another direction to its policies regarding social issues, economy and migration.
The EU-wide was estimated at 51 percent, the largest in 20 years. There are over 200 million citizens within the 28-nation bloc who voted in this poll. The EU has a 751-seat assembly — and Green parties also rose in western Europe.

President of Argentina and Government officials Join in Te Deum of Country to God


AMERICA/ARGENTINA - Te Deum for the nation: Cardinal Poli calls for a Great National Pact in favor of the poor
Monday, 27 May 2019
 Buenos Aires (Agenzia Fides) - The Archbishop of Buenos Aires and primate of Argentina, Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, said that "it is time for a Great National Pact" with a "preferential option for the third of the Argentine population currently living under the poverty line". This is what the Archbishop said in the annual Te Deum ceremony celebrated on May 25, a national holiday that commemorates the revolution of 25 May 1810, which began the process of creating the Argentine state. "Isn’t this a moment to go towards a ‘Great National Pact’ with a wide and generous view, one which is neither functional nor circumstantial, leaving aside narrow sectarian interests?" asked Cardinal Mario Poli, before a packed cathedral including President Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, and other state authorities. "A proposal that should involve all the big names in Argentine politics, who must be open to “creating a culture of encounter, with intelligence, creativity and imagination, gathered at a dialogue table that accentuates the commonalities and not so much the differences, with clarity, affability, safety and prudence". The note sent to Fides informs that the Argentine Primate stressed that this year "the nation's leadership will be renewed through the polls". Poli sketched the realities of a political season, saying "candidates will be defined, parties will make their proposals, there will be budgets for campaigns, speeches, electoral promises", and a propaganda machine will "invade the daily life and even the peace of homes". In his homily, Cardinal Poli quoted some statements by Pope Francis related to politics and his service to the common good, as well as texts of Blessed Monsignor Enrique Angelelli and of St. Pope Paul VI. Before concluding the Te Deum, President Macri thanked all those present and representatives of other religious confessions. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 27/05/2019)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, May 27, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide


Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 291

Reading 1ACTS 16:11-15

We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace,
and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We spent some time in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river
where we thought there would be a place of prayer.
We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.
One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth,
from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened,
and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention
to what Paul was saying.
After she and her household had been baptized,
she offered us an invitation,
"If you consider me a believer in the Lord,
come and stay at my home," and she prevailed on us.

Responsorial PsalmPS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 15:26B, 27A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 15:26—16:4A

Jesus said to his disciples: 
"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

"I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you."

Saint May 27 : St. Augustine of Canterbury who is the Patron of England and Died in 604

St. Augustine of Canterbury
APOSTLE OF ENGLAND, ARCHBISHOP
Feast: May 27


Information:
Feast Day:
May 27
Born:
early 6th century, Rome, Italy
Died:
26 May 604, Canterbury, Kent, England
Patron of:
England
Today, May 27, we celebrate the feast of Saint Augustine of Canterbury (sometimes referred to as “Saint Augustine the Lesser,” died 605), called the “Apostle of England,” and the eventual first Archbishop of Canterbury. Not to be confused with his namesake, Saint Augustine of Hippo, the work of Saint Augustine of Canterbury is widely regarded as the birth of conversion in England, beginning the slow process of conversion of Celtic tradition and reconciliation with Rome. Much of what is known of Saint Augustine of Canterbury is taken from letters written by Pope Saint Gregory the Great, and through the written ecclesiastical history of England written by Saint Bede. Little is known about Augustine’s early life.
We join his story as he serves as Prior of a Benedictine monastery of monks in Rome, during the papacy of Pope Saint Gregory the Great. In 596, when historians suggest that Saint Augustine was already past middle age, he was sent by the pope, with a delegation of approximately 40 monks, to England to preach the Gospel.
News of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons, and their treatment of Catholics, was widespread, but with encouragement—and out of obedience—Augustine undertook this difficult and potentially dangerous mission… but not before returning to the Pope and seeking reassurance. Pope Gregory provided encouragement, stating, “Go on, in God’s name! The greater your hardships, the greater your crown. May the grace of Almighty God protect you, and permit me to see the fruit of your labor in the heavenly country! If I cannot share your toil, I shall yet share the harvest, for God knows that it is not good-will which is wanting.” Upon reaching England, following a difficult crossing of the channel, Saint Augustine announced their arrival to King Ethelbert of Kent, telling him they brought the message of eternal life. King Ethelbert was a pagan, although he had married a Christian, his wife, Bertha. On her request, he promised to receive the monks and consider their message. Saint Augustine led the monks in procession to the king, carrying a silver cross and singing litanies to God for the salvation of this people. King Ethelbert allowed them to sit and share the Good News with him, which was unexpected.
When Augustine was finished, King Ethelbert said: “Your words and promises are very beautiful. But because they are new and uncertain, I cannot approve them and leave everything that I along with all my people have followed for so long a time. However, since you have traveled from afar and made a long journey in order to share with us what you deem to be truer and better, I will not place obstacles in your way, but will receive you well and offer what is necessary for your subsistence. Nor will I impede you from bringing to your religion all those whom you are able to persuade.” He allowed them to remain on the isle, providing them a place to live and land on which to build (in what would later become Canterbury), and the opportunity to preach as they wished. Eventually, impressed with the community under the direction of Saint Augustine, King Ethelbert converted and was baptized. Despite the fact that the king did not force his subjects to become Christian, and instead instituted a policy of religious choice, many of his subjects converted to Catholicism (sources place the number at “10,000” subjects). In the midst of this mild success, Pope Gregory cautioned him against pride, writing “fear lest, amidst the wonders that are done, the weak mind be puffed up by self-esteem.”
Augustine, following his initial success in England, traveled to France, where he was consecrated as a bishop, and subsequently returned to Canterbury to establish a vigorous community of religious life. With him he brought a priceless collection of illuminated manuscripts, still present and preserved today. He reconsecrated and rebuilt a church at Canterbury, and founded the monastery of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Outside the Walls (now sometimes known as Saint Augustine’s). He is further credited with founding the King’s School at Canterbury, the world’s oldest school. The remains of some of these early buildings remain near the now famous cathedral, built in later years at Canterbury.
Despite the spread of Christianity throughout England, progress was slow, and Augustine met with considerable failure along the way, reminding us that the lives of the saints are not always easy or joyous. He was met with much opposition and disappointment, and frequently turned to Pope Saint Gregory for encouragement and inspiration. Pope Gregory wisely suggested that Augustine work within the customs of the English people (much like Saint Patrick did in Ireland), purifying rather than destroying pagan temples and customs, transforming pagan rites and festivals into Christian feasts, and retaining local customs whenever possible and appropriate. Pope Gregory wrote:
“The temples of the idols among that people should on no account be destroyed... it is a good idea to detach them from the service of the devil, and dedicate them to the service of the true God. And since they have a custom of sacrificing many oxen to demons, let some other solemnity be substituted ... so that they may learn to slay their cattle in honor of God and for their own feasting . . . If they are allowed some worldly pleasures in this way, they are more likely to find their way to the true inner joys. For it is doubtless impossible to eradicate all errors at one stroke . . . just as the man who sets out to climb a high mountain does not advance by leaps and bounds, but goes upward step by step and pace by pace. It is in this way that the Lord revealed himself to the Israelite people.”
Augustine followed this directive, encouraging his monks to do the same. Even so, by the time of Saint Augustine’s death in 605, the work of evangelization of England had only just begun. It is believed, however, that he lay the groundwork for the eventual spread of Christianity throughout the kingdom.
Augustine was obedient and steadfast, despite meeting many obstacles. He lived the Benedictine doctrine of “presence, not confrontation” in preaching the Gospel. His perseverance, in the face of opposition and difficulty, is inspiring even today. He was a man of humility, who doubted his ability to make small decisions, seeking counsel and writing to Pope Gregory for reassurance and advice. He truly followed the advice of his counselor, who wrote: "He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps." Augustine died after just 8 long years, toiling in England. He was buried in Canterbury, at the monastery he founded. Throughout his life, Saint Augustine of Canterbury realized that he was but one man, who reported to a higher authority. He sought guidance from Pope Saint Gregory during his times of great difficulty, turning to God whenever he met obstacles (which were all too frequent!). The great pope sent many letters of support and spiritual counsel, including the one excerpted here: Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth, because the grain of wheat has fallen into the earth and has died. Christ has died in order to reign in heaven. Not only that: by his death we live; by his weakness we are strengthened; by his passion we are freed from suffering; impelled by his love, we are seeking in Britain brothers whom we do not know; through his help we have found those for whom we were searching, although we were not acquainted with them. Who, dear brother, is capable of describing the great joy of believers when they have learned what the grace of Almighty God and your own cooperation achieved among the Angles? They abandoned the errors of darkness and were bathed with the light of holy faith. With full awareness they trampled on the idols which they had previously adored with savage fear. They are now committed to Almighty God. The guidelines given them for their preaching restrain them from falling into evil ways. In their minds they are submissive to the divine precepts and consequently feel uplifted. They bow down to the ground in prayer lest their minds cling too closely to earthly things. Whose achievement is this? It is the achievement of him who said: My Father is at work until now and I am at work as well. God chose illiterate preachers and sent them into the world in order to show the world that conversion is brought about not by men's wisdom but rather by his own power. So in like manner God worked through weak instruments and wrought great things among the Angles. Dear brother, in this heavenly gift there is something which should inspire us with great fear and great joy.
For I know through your love for that people, specially chosen for you, that Almighty God has performed great miracles. But it is necessary that the same heavenly gift should cause you to rejoice with fear and to fear with gladness. You should be glad because by means of external miracles the soul of the Angles (English) have been led to interior grace. But you should tremble lest, on account of these signs, the preacher's own weak soul be puffed up with presumption; lest, while seeming externally raised aloft in honor, it fall internally as a result of vainglory.
We should remember that when the disciples on their joyous return from their preaching mission said to their heavenly master: Lord, in your name even devils were subjected to us, he immediately retorted: Do not rejoice about this but rather that your names are written in heaven.
The life of Saint Augustine of Canterbury reminds us that we all need the support of those around us, and more importantly, the grace of God to persevere in our daily lives. We are confronted each day with obstacles—many quite small—but some which seem insurmountable. We have ample opportunities to turn from our faith, to give up, to give in. Saint Augustine’s obedience and zeal for his work, accompanied by the patient counsel and encouragement of Pope Saint Gregory, remind us that the Lord provides the support we need to accomplish great things—both in heaven and on earth. We may not always seek that support. We may not even be aware that it exists. Or it may come from the most unlikely of places (like a pagan king intrigued by the Gospel!). When we are lost and confused, we are reminded that we are not alone, and have the Lord to assist us in taking our steps (not leaps) toward the achievement of His lofty goals for each of us!

God, Our Father,
by the preaching of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, you led the people of England to the Gospel. May the fruits of his work continue in your Church. Grant that through his intercession, the hearts of those who err may return to the unity of your truth and that we may be of one mind in doing your will.
Saint Augustine,
Help us to work in a spirit of trust and love, as well as a spirit of prudence and understanding, so that we may grow as God’s faithful. May harmony reign ever among us. Because of your example in living the Gospel, we dedicate ourselves,through your intercession, to live that same Gospel.
Implore on our behalf the favor of an ever-deepening trust in God’s goodness and love. Obtain God’s grace for us that we may grow in faith, hope, love and all virtues. Grant that by imitating you we may imitate our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Watch over us and help us to reach that place where you live with all the saints for ever and ever. Amen.
Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog