Sunday, September 8, 2019

Saint September 9 : St. Peter Claver the Patron of Racism, Slaves and African Americans


The son of a Catalonian farmer, was born at Verdu, in 1581; he died 8 September, 1654. He obtained his first degrees at the University of Barcelona. At the age of twenty he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona. While he was studying philosophy at Majorca in 1605, Alphonsus Rodriguez, the saintly door-keeper of the college, learned from God the future mission of his young associate, and thenceforth never ceased exhorting him to set out to evangelize the Spanish possessions in America. Peter obeyed, and in 1610 landed at Cartagena, where for forty-four years he was the Apostle of the negro slaves. Early in the seventeenth century the masters of Central and South America afforded the spectacle of one of those social crimes which are entered upon so lightly. They needed labourers to cultivate the soil which they had conquered and to exploit the gold mines. The natives being physically incapable of enduring the labours of the mines, it was determined to replace them with negroes brought from Africa. The coasts of Guinea, the Congo, and Angola became the market for slave dealers, to whom native petty kings sold their subjects and their prisoners. By its position in the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena became the chief slave-mart of the New World. A thousand slaves landed there each month. They were bought for two, and sold for 200 écus. Though half the cargo might die, the trade remained profitable. Neither the repeated censures of the pope, nor those of Catholic moralists could prevail against this cupidity. The missionaries could not suppress slavery, but only alleviate it, and no one worked more heroically than Peter Claver.


Trained in the school of Père Alfonso de Sandoval, a wonderful missionary, Peter declared himself "the slave of the negroes forever", and thenceforth his life was one that confounds egotism by its superhuman charity. Although timid and lacking in self-confidence, he became a daring and ingenious organizer. Every month when the arrival of the negroes was signalled, Claver went out to meet them on the pilot's boat, carrying food and delicacies. The negroes, cooped up in the hold, arrived crazed and brutalized by suffering and fear. Claver went to each, cared for him, and showed him kindness, and made him understand that henceforth he was his defender and father. He thus won their good will. To instruct so many speaking different dialects, Claver assembled at Cartagena a group of interpreters of various nationalities, of whom he made catechists. While the slaves were penned up at Cartagena waiting to be purchased and dispersed, Claver instructed and baptized them in the Faith. On Sundays during Lent he assembled them, inquired concerning their needs, and defended them against their oppressors. This work caused Claver severe trials, and the slave merchants were not his only enemies. The Apostle was accused of indiscreet zeal, and of having profaned the Sacraments by giving them to creatures who scarcely possessed a soul. Fashionable women of Cartagena refused to enter the churches where Father Claver assembled his negroes. The saint's superiors were often influenced by the many criticisms which reached them. Nevertheless, Claver continued his heroic career, accepting all humiliations and adding rigorous penances to his works of charity. Lacking the support of men, the strength of God was given him. He became the prophet and miracle worker of New Granada, the oracle of Cartagena, and all were convinced that often God would not have spared the city save for him. During his life he baptized and instructed in the Faith more than 300,000 negroes. He was beatified 16 July, 1850, by Pius IX, and canonized 15 January, 1888, by Leo XIII. His feast is celebrated on the ninth of September. On 7 July, 1896, he was proclaimed the special patron of all the Catholic missions among the negroes. Alphonsus Rodriguez was canonized on the same day as Peter Claver. 

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Pope Francis says "... the expression of God's presence in the midst of his poor..." at "City of Friendship" built on Dumpsters with housing for 25,000 people Founded by his former Student


In its 30 years of activity, the Akamosa Association has helped create housing for over 25,000 people, developing 18 villages, complete with dispensaries and schools that provide education for some 14,000 children.
The founder of the Akamasoa Association, Fr Pédro Opeka, invited Pope Francis to visit the Community, since Jesuit Father Mario Bergoglio had been Fr Pedrò’s theology professor back home in Argentina.
APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO MOZAMBIQUE, MADAGASCAR AND MAURITIUS
(4-10 SEPTEMBER 2019)

VISIT TO THE CITY OF THE FRIENDSHIP OF AKAMASOA

GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER

Antananarivo
Sunday, September 8, 2019


Good afternoon everyone, good afternoon.

It is a joy for me, a great joy to find my old student again. Father Pedro was my student at the Faculty of Theology in the years 1967-68. After he has not continued studying, he has found a love for work, for work. Thank you very much, father.

It is a great joy for me to meet you in this great work. Akamasoa is the expression of God's presence in the midst of his poor people; not a sporadic, circumstantial presence, is the presence of a God who decided to live and always remain in the midst of his people.

This afternoon you are numerous in the heart of this "City of Friendship", which you have built with your hands and that - I do not doubt it - you will continue to build so that many families can live with dignity. Seeing your radiant faces, I thank the Lord who has heard the cry of the poor and who has manifested his love with concrete signs such as the creation of this people. Your cries that arise from the impotence of living without a roof, of seeing your children grow in malnutrition, of not having a job, because of the indifferent look - not to say contemptuous - of so many, have become songs of hope for you and for all who contemplate you. Every corner of these neighborhoods, every school or clinic is a song of hope that denies and silences all fatality. Let's say it hard, poverty is not a fatality.

Indeed, this town has a long history of courage and mutual help. This town is the result of many years of hard work. In the foundations we find a living faith that was translated into concrete acts, capable of “moving mountains”. A faith that allowed us to see possibility where only precariousness was seen, to see hope where only fatality was seen, to see life where so many announced death and destruction. Remember what the apostle James wrote: "Faith, if it has no works, is dead inside" (St 2,17). The foundations of joint work, the sense of family and community made it possible to restore craftsmanship and patient confidence not only in you but among you, which allowed you to be the first protagonists and artisans of this story. An education in values ​​thanks to which those first families who ventured with Father Opeka were able to transmit the enormous treasure of effort, discipline, honesty, respect for themselves and others. And you have been able to understand that the dream of God is not only personal progress but mainly community, that there is no worse slavery, as Father Pedro reminded us, than that of living each one only for himself.

Dear young people of Akamasoa, I would like to send you a special message: never lower your arms to the dire effects of poverty, nor ever succumb to the temptations of the easy path or of locking yourself in yourselves. Thank you, Fanny, for that beautiful testimony you gave us on behalf of the youth of the town. Dear young people: The work done by your elders, it's up to you to continue it. You will find the strength to do it in your faith and in the living testimony that your elders have embodied in your lives. Let the gifts that the Lord has given you flourish in you. Ask him to help you put yourself at the service of your brothers and sisters with generosity. Thus, Akamasoa will not only be an example for future generations, but much more, the starting point of a work inspired by God that will reach its full development as long as he continues to witness his love to present and future generations.

Let us pray that in all Madagascar and in other parts of the world the brightness of this light will be prolonged, and we can achieve development models that favor the fight against poverty and social inclusion from trust, education, work and effort, which are always indispensable for the dignity of the human person.

Thank you, friends of Akamasoa, dear Father Pedro and his collaborators: Thank you once again for your prophetic testimony, and for your hopeful testimony. May God continue to bless you.

I ask you, please, do not forget to pray for me.

Wow 1 Million at Mass with Pope Francis who says “As believers, we must stretch out our hands, as Jesus does with us”. Full Text Homily + Video


Pope's homily at Mass in Madagascar: Full text
Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass before 1 million people in Antananarivo's Soamandrakizay diocesan field on the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Madagascar. The full text of his prepared remarks is below:
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Holy Mass
Antananarivo, Diocesan Grounds of Soamandrakizay
Sunday, 8 September 2019

The Gospel tells us that “great multitudes accompanied Jesus”  (Lk 14:25).  Like the multitudes gathered along his path, you too have come in great numbers to receive his message and follow in his footsteps.  But you also know that following Jesus is not easy.  Today, Luke’s Gospel reminds us of how demanding that commitment can be.
We should realize that Luke sets out those demands within his account of Jesus’ ascent to Jerusalem.  He starts with the parable of the banquet to which everyone is invited, especially the outcasts living on the streets, in the squares and at the crossroads.  And he concludes with the three “parables of mercy”, where a party is celebrated when what was lost was found, where someone who seemed dead is welcomed with joy and restored to life with the possibility of making a new start.  For us as Christians, our sacrifices only make sense in the light of the joyful celebration of our encounter with Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ first demand has to do with family relationships.  The new life the Lord holds out to us seems troubling and scandalously unjust to those who think that entry into the kingdom of heaven can be limited or reduced only to bonds of blood or membership in a particular group, clan or particular culture.  When “family” becomes the decisive criterion for what we consider right and good, we end up justifying and even “consecrating” practices that lead to the culture of privilege and exclusion: favouritism, patronage and, as a consequence, corruption.  The Master demands that we see beyond this.  He says this clearly: anyone incapable of seeing others as brothers or sisters, of showing sensitivity to their lives and situations regardless of their family, cultural or social background “cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26).  His devoted love is a free gift given to all and meant for all.

Jesus’ second demand shows us how hard it is to follow him if we seek to identify the kingdom of heaven with our personal agenda or our attachment to an ideology that would abuse the name of God or of religion to justify acts of violence, segregation and even murder, exile, terrorism and marginalization.  This demand encourages us not to dilute and narrow the Gospel message, but instead to build history in fraternity and solidarity, in complete respect for the earth and its gifts, as opposed to any form of exploitation.  It encourages us to practise “dialogue as the path; mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard” (Document on Human Fraternity, Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019).  And not to be tempted by teachings that fail to see that the wheat and the chaff must grow together until the return of the Master of the harvest (cf. Mt 13:24-30).

Finally, how difficult it can be to share the new life that the Lord offers us when we are continually driven to self-justification, because we think that everything depends exclusively on our efforts and resources!  Or, as we heard in the first reading, when the race to amass possessions becomes stifling and overwhelming, which only increases our selfishness and our willingness to use immoral means.  Jesus’ demand is that we rediscover how to be grateful and to realize that, much more than a personal triumph, our life and our talents are the fruit of a gift (cf. Gaudete et Exsultate, 55), a gift created by God through the silent interplay of so many people whose names we will only know in the kingdom of heaven.

With these three demands, the Lord wants to prepare his disciples for the celebration of the coming of the kingdom of God, and to free them from the grave obstacle that, in the end, is one of the worst forms of enslavement: living only for oneself.  It is the temptation to fall back into our little universe, and it ends up leaving little room for other people.  The poor no longer enter in, we no longer hear the voice of God, we no longer enjoy the quiet joy of his love, we are no longer eager to do good…  Many people, by shutting themselves up in this way, can feel “apparently” secure, yet they end up becoming bitter, querulous and lifeless.  This is no way to live a full and dignified life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit that has its source in the heart of the risen Christ (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 2).

With these demands, the Lord, as he walks towards Jerusalem, asks us to lift our gaze, to adjust our priorities and, above all, to make room for God to be the centre and axis of our life.

As we look around us, how many men and women, young people and children are suffering and in utter need!  This is not part of God’s plan.  How urgently Jesus calls us to die to our self-centredness, our individualism and our pride!  In this way, we can allow the spirit of fraternity to triumph – a spirit born from the pierced side of Jesus Christ, in which we are born as God’s family – and in which everyone can feel loved because understood, accepted and appreciated in his or her dignity.  “In the face of contempt for human dignity, we often remain with arms folded or stretched out as a sign of our frustration before the grim power of evil.  Yet we Christians cannot stand with arms folded in indifference, or with arms outstretched in helplessness.  No.  As believers, we must stretch out our hands, as Jesus does with us” (Homily for the World Day of the Poor, 18 November 2018).

The Word of God that we have just heard bids us set out once more, daring to take this qualitative leap and to adopt this wisdom of personal detachment as the basis for social justice and for our personal lives.  Together we can resist all those forms of idolatry that make us think only of the deceptive securities of power, career, money and of the search for human glory.

The demands that Jesus sets before us cease to be burdensome as soon as we begin to taste the joy of the new life that he himself sets before us.  It is the joy born of knowing that he is the first to seek us at the crossroads, even when we are lost like the sheep or the prodigal son.  May this humble realism inspire us to take on great challenges and give you the desire to make your beautiful country a place where the Gospel becomes life, and where life is for the greater glory of God.

Let us commit ourselves and let us make the Lord’s plans our own.

Official Novena for the Birth of Mary, Blessed Virgin with Plenary Indulgence - Powerful Prayers to Share!

To all faithful Christians who, in private or public, in church or in their own houses, shall keep any of the following Novenas, in preparation for the principal feasts of most holy Mary, Pope Pius VII., at the prayer of several holy persons, granted, by Rescripts issued through his Eminence the Cardinal-Vicar, Aug. 4 and Nov. 24, 1808, and Jan. 11, 1800 (all of which are kept in the Segretaria of the Vicariate) -
i. An indulgence of 300 days, daily.

ii. A plenary indulgence to all who shall assist at these Novenas every day, and who shall afterwards, either on the Feast-day itself, to which each Novena respectively has reference, or on some one day in its Octave, after Confession and Communion, pray to our Lord and to the Blessed Virgin ac cording to the pious intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

 FOR THE FEAST OF OUR LADY’S NATIVITY.


Veni Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur.
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.

Oremus.
Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.

TRANSLATION.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.

V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.
O God, who hast taught the hearts of Thy faithful people by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant us in the same Spirit to relish what is right, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Most holy Mary, Elect One, predestined from all eternity by the Most Holy Trinity to be Mother of the only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, foretold by the Prophets, expected by the Patriarchs, desired by all nations, Sanctuary and living Temple of the Holy Ghost, Sun without stain, conceived free from original sin, Mistress of Heaven and of Earth, Queen of angels:- humbly prostrate at thy feet we give thee our homage, rejoicing that the year has brought round again the memory of thy most happy Nativity; and we pray thee with all our hearts to vouchsafe in thy goodness now to come down again and be reborn spiritually in our souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may ever live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

i. So now whilst we say nine angelic salutations, we will direct our thoughts to the nine months which thou didst pass enclosed in thy mother’s womb; celebrating at the same time thy descent from the royal house of David, and how thou didst come forth to the light of heaven with high honour from the womb of holy Anna, thy most happy mother.
Ave Maria.

ii. We hail thee, heavenly Babe, white Dove of purity; who in spite of the serpent wast conceived free from original sin.
Ave Maria.

iii. We hail thee, bright Morn; who, forerunner of the Heavenly Sun of Justice, didst bring the first light to earth.
Ave Maria.

iv. We hail thee, Elect; who, like the untarnished Sun, didst burst forth in the dark night of sin.
Ave Maria.

v. We hail thee, beauteous Moon; who didst shed light upon a world wrapt in the darkness of idolatry.
Ave Maria.

vi. We hail thee, dread Warrior-Queen; who, in thyself a host, didst put to flight all hell.
Ave Maria.

vii. We hail thee, fair Soul of Mary; who from eternity wast possessed by God and God alone.
Ave Maria.

viii. We hail thee, dear Child, and we humbly venerate thy most holy infant body, the sacred swaddling-clothes wherewith they bound thee, the sacred crib wherein they laid thee, and we bless the hour and the day when thou wast born.
Ave Maria.

ix. We hail thee, much-loved Infant, adorned with every virtue immeasurably above all saints, and therefore worthy Mother of the Saviour of the world; who, having been made fruitful by the Holy Spirit, didst bring forth the Word Incarnate.
Ave Maria.

PRAYER

O most lovely Infant, who by thy holy birth hast comforted the world, made glad the heavens, struck terror into hell, brought help to the fallen, consolation to the sad, salvation to the weak, joy to all men living; we entreat thee, with the most fervent love and gratitude, to be spiritually reborn in our souls by means of thy most holy love; renew our spirits to thy service, rekindle in our hearts the fire of charity, bid all the virtues blossom there, that so we may find more and more favour in thy gracious eyes. Mary! be thou our Mary, and may we feel the saving power of thy sweetest name; may it ever be our comfort to call on that name in all our troubles; may it be our hope in dangers, our shield in temptation, and our last utterance in death. Sit nomen Mariae mel in ore, melos in aure, et jubilus in corde. Amen. Let the name of Mary be honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, joy in the heart. Amen.

V. Nativitas tua, Dei Genitrix Virgo.
R. Gaudium annuntiavit universo mundo.

Oremus.
Famulis tuis, quaesumus Domine, coelestis gratiae munus impertire: ut quibus Beata Virginis partus extitit salutis exordium, nativitatis ejus votiva solemnitas pacis tribuat incrementum.

Oremus.
Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.

TRANSLATION.

V. Thy Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God.
R. Hath brought joy to the whole world.

Let us pray.
Grant to us Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace; that to all those for whom the delivery of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of salvation, this her votive festival may give increase of peace. Through, &c.

Let us pray.


O God, who hast taught the hearts of Thy faithful people by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant us in the same Spirit to relish what is right, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Pope Francis at Angelus says "May Mary Immaculate, whom you love and venerate as your Mother and Patroness, ever accompany the journey..." in Madagascar


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO MOZAMBIQUE, MADAGASCAR AND MAURITIUS
(4 - 10 SEPTEMBER 2019)
ANGELUS
Diocesan Grounds of Soamandrakizay (Antananarivo)
Sunday, 8 September 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, at the conclusion of this celebration, I would like to address a cordial greeting to all of you!
From the heart, I thank Archbishop Razanakolona for his kind words, and with him my other brother bishops present, the priests, consecrated persons, married couples and their families, catechists and all the faithful.
I take this occasion to express my deep gratitude to the President of the Republic and the civil authorities of the country for their generous welcome, as well as all those who have contributed in various ways to the successful outcome of my Visit.  May the Lord reward you and bless all your people, through the intercession of Blessed Raphaël Louis Rafiringa, whose relics are enshrined near this altar, and Blessed Victoire Rasoamanarivo.

And now, let us turn in prayer to the Blessed Virgin on this day that commemorates her Nativity, the dawn of salvation for humanity.  May Mary Immaculate, whom you love and venerate as your Mother and Patroness, ever accompany the journey of Madagascar in peace and hope.
Source: Vatican.va

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. September 8, 2019 - #Eucharist - Readings + Video 23rd Ord. Time - C


Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 129

Reading 1WIS 9:13-18B

 Who can know God’s counsel,
 or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
 For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
 and unsure are our plans.
 For the corruptible body burdens the soul
 and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
 And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
 and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
 but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
 Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
 and sent your holy spirit from on high?
 And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.

Responsorial PsalmPS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
 are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
 the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
 but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
 that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
 that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
 prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Reading 2PHMN 9-10, 12-17

I, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment;
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.

AlleluiaPS 119:135

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
and teach me your laws.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”