Friday, October 4, 2019

Saint October 5 : St. Faustina Kowalska the Apostle of Divine Mercy and Patron of World Youth Day

1905 - 1938

Also known as: Elena Kowalska; Faustina Kowalska; Helena Kowalska; Maria Faustina Kowalska; Sister Faustina

Saints Day: October 5
Helena Kowalska was born as the third of ten children on the 25th of August 1905 in a small Polish village called Glogowiec. Her parents were Stanilaus and Marianne Kowalski. They were poor, but happy, because they were with God. At home, prayer was connected with work in harmonious way. Her very real feelings for the Lord were very noticeable just like her care for the poor, even when she was a little girl. She started to go to school when she was twelve and when she was sixteen she went into service in order to earn money for her maintenance and to help her parents.
When she was seventeen years old, she recognized her destiny: she wanted to sacrifice her life for service for God in a convent. As a young girl, she preferred to spend all her free time at the Blessed Sacrament instead of with her friends. Being on service, she reserved for herself a possibility to attend in Holy Mass every day and to visit the persons who were sick or dying.
On 1st August 1925, Helena Kowalska entered the Congregation of Our Blessed Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, at 3/9 Żytnia Street. This Congregation was founded in Poland by Teresa Potacka in 1862, for breeding the girls and women who needed deep moral change. In an atmosphere of separation from influences of the world, through prayer and work, the Sisters’ foster-children were rebuilding a sensation of own dignity, they studied a profession in order they could come back to life in the society and to earn money for their maintenance in dignified manner.
In 1926, during the ceremony of the taking of the veil, Helena Kowalska received the name: Sister Maria Faustina, and now she is known in the whole world under this name. In 1928 she took her first vows: of chastity, poverty and obedience, which she repeated during 5 years in order to take perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy.
 Sister Faustina worked in several different homes of the convent, doing jobs such as a kitchen-help, a gardener and a porter. Outwardly she did not differ from her fellow nuns, she was faithful to the rule of the religious order, in which she saw the will of God, she was full of trust to God and an active love of a neighbour. Under commonness, an intense religious life was hidden that impressed many people. Her contact with the supernatural world – meetings with the Lord Jesus, the Holy Mother, the angels, Saints, the souls who were in purgatory – was such real, simply and ordinary as the world perceived by senses. Already, during her firsts weeks in the Congregation, she had a vision of purgatory, then a vision of Heaven and hell. She received many, extraordinary graces, like apparitions, a gift of the ability of the reading in souls of other people, bi-location (it is an ability to be in two places at the same time), hidden stigmata, or so called mystical engagement and marriage with Jesus. The theologians include her into a circle of the most distinguished mystics in the history of the Church. In her spiritual “Diary”, which she wrote on the order of the Lord Jesus, on order of the priests-confessors and because the superiors agreed, she described not only extraordinary meetings with supernatural reality, but also her grey commonplaceness, which became beautiful and rich because of the fact that it was experienced with union with God.
The God picked out her as a secretary and apostle of the Divine Mercy. Through her, He delivered to the Church and the world, great message about the merciful love of God to every person. This great prophetic mission of Saint Faustina started in Plock, Poland on the 22nd February 1931. “When I was in my cell in the evening – she wrote in “Diary” - I saw Jesus dressed in a white robe. A hand was raised up to blessing, and the second hand touched His robe at the level of His heart. From His robe, which was slightly opened, two beautiful rays of light were visible, one was red and the other pale. Silently, I looked at THE LORD. My soul was afraid and yet full of joy. After a very short time, Our Saviour said to me: “Make a statue of Me, exactly as you see Me now, and under this statue you should place the words: 'Jesus, I trust You!' I want this statue to be worshipped, firstly in your chapel and then throughout the world. I promise that a soul who worships this picture, will not die. I promise also that already here, on the Earth the victory over enemies, and especially during the hour of death. I, personally will protect her as My glory” (Diary 47). Sister Faustina said about this to her confessor and he let her to paint this picture in her soul. But when she was going away from a confessional, the Lord Jesus said: “My picture is already in your soul. I desire that a feast of the Mercy will be. I want that this picture which you will paint by brush, was solemnly consecrated during the first Sunday after the Easter, this Sunday will be the feast of Divine Mercy.” (Diary 49). Sister Faustina did not know to paint, other sisters also did not, so a painting of the picture was delaying. And the Lord Jesus assured Sister Faustina that it was very important matter. “You need to know about it – said to her - that if you neglect the matter of painting this picture and the whole work of mercy, you will answer for a large number of souls during the day of the Judgment” (Diary 154).
In such situation Sister Faustina asked God for help. At first, she asked for it that a priest in the name of the Church confirmed that requests which she had heard from Jesus, were really from the God, and they were not any illusion. Such confirmation she received during retreats in 1932, and then a promise of a priest who would help her to fulfil the wishes of the Lord Jesus. The name of the priest was Michal Sopocko, whom Saint Faustina met in Wilno (Vilnius). He after examination that the matter came from God, engaged himself in an realisation of the mission, which mission the Lord Jesus delivered to Saint Faustina. At first, he arranged to do a painting of Merciful Jesus, by painter Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, who lived in the same tenement-house. Sister Faustina gave advices to the painter and asked the Lord Jesus for explanations concerning meaning of some elements of the picture, which her confessor did not understand.  The Lord Jesus said at this moment that His glance from this picture was like His glance from the cross, that in inscription on the picture should be: “Jesus, I trust You” and the rays: pale and red mean water and blood. “These two rays – explained the Lord Jesus – mean blood and water. The pale ray means water, which clears souls; the red ray means blood, which is the life of souls. These two rays went out from the entrails of My mercy at that time, when My dying heart was opened by a spear on the cross. These rays protect souls from My Father’s angry. Happy is the person, who will live in their shadow, because the just God’s hand will not reach him. I desire that the first Sunday after the Easter, be the feast of Mercy”. (Diary 299).
When the painting was painted, Sister Faustina cried, because Jesus on this picture was not so beautiful as she had seen Him. But Jesus answered that not in the beauty of paint is power of this picture, but in His grace.
In the first Sunday after the Easter, in the planned feast of Mercy, the picture of Merciful Jesus was for the first time shown publicly in the Sanctuary of the Holy Mother of Mercy in Ostra Brama. Priest Michal Sopocko preached about Divine Mercy and Sister Faustina saw how many people received graces. When she came back from this feast to the convent, she wrote: “The whole multitude of devils blocked my way, who threatened me with terrible tortures – and it could be heard voices: She took away from us everything, what we worked during so many years. – When I asked them: From where there are such multitude of you? – These malicious shapes answered to me: From hearts of people, do not torment us. Seeing their terrible hatred for me, in this moment I asked the Guardian Angel for help. – And in one moment a bright and radiant shape of the Guardian Angel stood, who said to me: Do not be afraid, My Lord’s betrothed, these ghosts will not do anything wrong to you without His permission. These wrong ghosts disappeared immediately and the faithful Guardian Angel accompanied me in visible way to home.” (Diary 418-419). 
In Wilno (Vilnius) the Lord Jesus dictated prayer to Saint Faustina. We know this prayer as Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It was on 13-14 September 1935. Sister Faustina saw an angel who was to punish the Earth for sins. When she saw this sign of God’ anger, she started to ask the angel to suspend for a few minutes and the world will do penance. However, when she stood in front of the majesty of the Holy Trinity, she did not have courage to repeat this imploration. Only, when she felt the Lord Jesus’ power of grace, she started to pray by words which she heard internal and they were words of the Chaplet and she saw that punishment of the Earth was pushed away. On the second day, the Lord Jesus dictated her once again this prayer: At the beginning you will say 1 Our Father and 1 Hail Mary and 1 the Apostles’ Creed and next, on the beads of Our Father you will say following words: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; on the Hail Mary beads you will say: For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. At the end you will say 3 times these words: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. (Diary 474). During the next apparitions, the Lord Jesus delivered promises which He connected to saying this prayer. He said that by saying this Chaplet, it was possible to ask everything what was concordant with God’ will and He promised also a grace of happy and peaceful death. This grace can receive only these people who will say this chaplet with trust and also dying people, next to whom other people will say this chaplet. “Even if a sinner was the most obdurate – said the Lord Jesus – if he only once will say this chaplet, he will attaine the grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world will get to know My mercy. I desire to give inconceivable graces to souls who trust My mercy”. (Diary 687).    
Also in Wilno (Vilnius) the Lord Jesus returned to the matter of institution of the feast of Divine Mercy, saying the great promises. “during this day – the Lord Jesus was saying – the entrails of My mercy are opened, I pour out the whole sea of graces for a soul who will approach to a source of My mercy. A soul who will confess and receive the Holy communion, will obtain the complete remission of sins and punishments. During this day, all Divine sluices are opened, through which flow graces; let any soul does not be afraid to approach to Me, even if the sins of this soul were like purple”. (Diary 699). As a preparation to this feast is novena, which we do by saying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, during 9 days, beginning on the Good Friday. In order to benefit from the great graces, one needs to be after well done confession, without any attachment to sin, and should receive the Holy Communion during this day and should experience this feast in the spirit of trust to God (with desire of fulfilling His will) and in the spirit of mercy to the neighbours.
In 1935 Sister Faustina heard also the Lord Jesus’ wish connected to an establishment of such congregation, which will proclaim and obtain by prayer, the mercy for the whole world. At the beginning, she was thinking that she needed to set up only one contemplative religious order, but the Lord Jesus gradually got her to know that it did not concern to only one congregation, but it concerned to great work in the Church, which will be done by many, men’s and women’s congregations, the enclosed religious orders and the active religious orders and by the great number of people living in the whole world. All of them will proclaim merciful God’s love through a testimony of life in the spirit of trust to God and an active love of a neighbour, through acts, words and prayer. Each – as wrote Sister Faustina – can belong to this “congregation” and make the merciful God’s love present in the world.
The basic way of proclaiming the messages of Mercy and the whole devotion to Divine Mercy is the attitude of trust in God, it means- fulfilling His will contained in the ten commandments, the duties of the position, the advices and blessings said in the Gospels or the recognized inspirations of Holy Spirit and an active love of a neighbour. “If I demand through you from people an adoration of Divine Mercy – the Lord Jesus was saying to Sister Faustina – it is you who first should be characterised by trust in My mercy. I demand from you the acts of mercy which originate from love to Me. You need to show mercy always and everywhere to the neighbours, you can not retire from it nor excuse yourself from it, nor exculpate. I am telling you three ways of making mercy to the neighbours: the first – acts, the second – word, the third – prayer; in these three steps, the fullness of mercy is concluded and it is the irrefutable proof of love of Me”. (Diary 742).  The next way of proclaiming the messages of Mercy is an act, then a word and prayer. The task of proclaiming the messages of Mercy was gifted a great promise by the Lord Jesus. “souls who propagate the worship of My mercy – He said – I protect them through the whole life, as a tender mother her new-born baby and during the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but I will be the merciful Redeemer.” (Diary 1075). The Lord Jesus gave a special promise to the priests, as He said that when they would say about the merciful God’s love to a person, He would cause that the souls of the obdurate sinners would crush under their words, coming back to life in friendship with Him.
The Hour of Mercy – 15.00. In 1936 Sister Faustina came back to Krakow to spend there the last years of her life. The Lord Jesus appeared to her a next new form of worship of Divine Mercy, which we call the Hour of Mercy. It does not mean that we need to pray during the whole hour, but we need to honour the moment of the Lord Jesus’ death on the cross. The Lord Jesus said to Saint Faustina: “I remind you, My daughter that how many times you will hear as a clock repeats the third hour, dip the whole yourself in My mercy, admiring and praising it; call its omnipotence for the whole world, and especially for the poor sinners, because in this moment mercy is opened broadly for every soul. During this hour you will obtain by prayer everything for yourself and for others; at this hour, the grace for the whole world happened – mercy won justice. My daughter, try to do the way of cross, if your duty will allow you to do it; if you can not do the way of cross, go at least to a chapel for a few minutes and worship My heart, which is full of mercy in the Most Holy Sacrament; and if you can not go to the chapel, sunk in prayer there where you are through few minutes”. (Diary 1572). Prayer at that time (15.00) should be directed to the Lord Jesus and in implorations we need to appeal to the value and merits of His sorrowful Passion. It is the privileged time of each day, during which, by connecting with the Lord Jesus dying on the cross, we can obtain by prayer everything if it is concordant with God’s will and if we ask for it with trust, attaching to prayer the acts of mercy done for our neighbours.                    
The Lord Jesus not only delivered the new forms of worship of Divine Mercy to Saint Faustina (a picture with inscription: Jesus, I trust You, the Feast of Mercy, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Hour of Mercy, a propagation of worship of Mercy) to which He attached the great promises, under the condition of solicitude for attitude of trust (performing the God’s will) and the active love of a neighbour, but also He allowed to know the depth of mystery of the Divine Mercy. Her “Diary” was called by Pope John Paul II: a “Gospel of mercy written in XX century”, as the message is such wonderful way shows the merciful love of God for a person during the whole perspective of the history of the world: since the moment of creating, through incarnation and birth of God’s Son, His life and teaching, Passion, death and Resurrection by the union of the Church, who is the Mystical Body of Christ and invitation to the Glory of Heaven. A cognition of the mystery of Divine Mercy, led Saint Faustina to a discovery of God in her own soul. That is why, she did not look for a God somewhere far, but in the depth of her heart, in order to experience together with Him her commonplaceness. She wrote that she went with Jesus to work, she took a rest with Him, she prayed with Him and suffered with Him. Jesus always kept her company and from a human soul He was driven out only by a mortal sin. “Diary” of Saint Faustina allows to know better the true face of the God and the true faith of a person, created from love and destined to the union of life with God already here on the Earth and through the whole eternity.      
Sister Faustina was also a faithful daughter of the Holy Mother of Mercy. Mary was for her not only the Mother of God’s Son, but also her Mother and the Mistress of spiritual life. She taught her a contemplation of God in her own soul, an attitude of trust in relation to Him, it means- fulfilling His will in a perfect way, cherishing the cross, a love of a neighbour and also a practise of virtues which condition such attitude. A vision of the Holy Mother and Her instructions harmonized with the mission, which the Lord Jesus gave to Saint Faustina. The Most Holy Mother enlightened her, how a great role in God’s plans, the messages of Mercy will play, messages which she received from the Lord Jesus. Holy Mother strengthened her in fulfilling her mission. She said to Sister Faustina: “I gave the Redeemer for the world and you are to say to the world about His great mercy and to prepare the world for His repeated (91) coming, who will come not as the merciful Redeemer, but as just the Judge. O, this day is terrible. It is decided the day of justice, the day of God’s anger, the angels tremble before of this day. Say to souls about this great mercy, by the time of mercy; if you are silent now, you will answer during that terrible day for a great number of souls. Do not be afraid of anything, be faithful by the end, I sympathize with you”. (Diary 635).
In February 1938, several months before her death, Sister Faustina had a vision of The Blessed Virgin Mary: “In a great light, I saw the Holy Mother in white dress, with a golden belt, the stars, also golden ones were on the whole Her garment and the sleeves were covered with gold. The overcoat was sapphire, lightly flung, on the head She had flung a transparent veil, hair were flowing, beautifully arranged and a crown of gold, which had small crosses at the ends. On the left hand She held the Infant Jesus. Such Holy Mother I did not see yet. Suddenly, she looked at me graciously and said:
I am the Priests’ Mother
Then She laid Her child on the ground, raised her right hand to Heaven and said:
God, Bless Poland, bless the priests
And She said again to me:
Tell to the priests what you have just seen.
decided to say about it, at the first opportunity of seeing with a father, but I personally can not understand this vision”. (Diary 1585). 
Sister Faustina in her life left to us the pattern of complete trust to God, about whom she talked that He was Love and Mercy. When she suffered very much, she came in a front of the tabernacle and said: “The Lord, even if you kill me, I will trust You”. In another place she wrote that even if the earth would disappeared under her foot, she will not stop trust Him, because she understood that He was only kindness. She admired of God’s merciful love so much that she wanted to change her life into mercy. During prayer she asked the Lord Jesus to change her eyes, ears, tongue, hands, legs and the first of all the heart in such way, as they could render Him love in other person. She wanted that Divine Mercy would pour out on the whole world, through her life. She prayed and did sacrifices not only for people who were around of her, but also for the whole world and especially for sinners, because they need mercy the most. On the request of the Lord Jesus she gave her life as sacrifice for them, that is she promised to receive all fears and torments which the sinners feel and to give them all her consolations which came from the close communion with God, in order to obtain for them a grace of conversion and to save for eternal life.
Sister Faustina, exhausted by illness (she was sick on tuberculosis), by sufferings which were connected to a prophetic mission of Mercy and the sacrifices done for the sinners, died in the convent in Krakow-Lagiewniki, on 5th October 1938, being only 33 years old. The informative process was started in Krakow Diocese by cardinal Karol Wojtylla in 1965. One year later, worldly remains of Sister Faustina were moved to a convent chapel. After the ending of process in diocese, the documents were sent to Rome and there since 1968 the process of beatification was continued. They investigated a heroism of virtues and miracle attributed to her intercession. On the first Sunday after Easter, on 18th April 1993, Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Faustina and on 30th April 2000 he canonised her and he proclaimed the first Sunday after Easter as the feast of Divine Mercy. At that time, the gift of messages of Mercy he gave to the Church for third millennium.
The convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki, where Sister Faustina lived and died, became the world capital of worship of Divine Mercy. There, in the convent chapel are her worldly remains and there is the miraculous painting of Merciful Jesus, famous in the whole world, on which the words of the Lord Jesus, said to Sister Faustina, were fulfilled: “I desire that this picture be worshipped at the beginning in your chapel and then in the whole world”. People from the whole world pilgrimage to this place, among of them was Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. From this place, the messages of Mercy are spread on the whole world in order to give people a light of hope and to prepare them to the repeated coming of Christ. Only in Divine Mercy – as Pope John Paul II said – “the world will find peace and a person – happiness”.     
Mission:

The mission of Sister Faustina is proclamation of messages about the merciful love of the God to people, by a testimony of life, in the spirit of trust to God and mercy in relation to the neighbours, through acts, words and prayers, especially through a practice of Devotion of the Divine Mercy in forms handed down by her (the picture of Merciful Jesus, the feast of Divine Mercy, Chaplet of Divine Mercy and prayer at the hour of dying the Lord Jesus on the Cross, called the Hour of Mercy). To each of these forms as well as to a proclamation of the Divine Mercy, the Lord Jesus attached the great promises, under the condition that they will be practised well, it means it will be solicitude for an attitude of trust (fulfilling the God’s will) and mercy in relation to the neighbours. 
Text from the Marypages 

Beautiful Consecration of Amazon Synod to Saint Francis of Assisi by Pope Francis with Tree-planting - Full Video


Pope consecrates Synod for the Amazon to Saint Francis of Assisi
During a highly symbolic tree-planting ceremony in the Vatican Gardens on Friday, Pope Francis places the upcoming Synod for the Amazon under the protection of Saint Francis of Assisi.
By Vatican News

The phrase “Everything is connected” recurs often in Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Sì.

During a unique ceremony in the Vatican Gardens on Friday, signs, symbols and songs, ensured that everything really was “connected”.

Saint Francis and ecology
Starting with the timing: 4 October is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, which closes the “Season of Creation” that began on 1 September. This year also marks 40 years since Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed St Francis Patron Saint “of those who promote ecology”. And, in just two days, the Synod for the Amazon will open, the first Synod ever to address the issue of integral ecology.

Organizers and participants
Then there were the participants: the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor, and the Global Catholic Climate Movement organized the event, while various religious congregations and representatives of the indigenous people of the Amazon Region played important roles in providing colour and creativity.

Signs and symbols
The ceremony culminated with the planting of a holm oak from Assisi. The name of the tree is believed to come from the old Anglo-Saxon word for “holly” – “holy”.

Even the soil in which the tree was planted came steeped in significance. There was soil from the Amazon, celebrating the wealth of the bioregion’s cultures and traditions; earth from India, representing countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis, where droughts and floods leave millions devastated; soil representing refugees and migrants, forced to leave their homes because of war, poverty, and ecological devastation. There was earth from places of human trafficking, and from sustainable development projects around the world. And there was more soil from the Amazon, earth bathed in the blood of those who have died fighting against its destruction.

The Canticle of the Creatures
But the tree also stands in soil coming from the places where Saint Francis walked, in and around Assisi: a place of encounter with the Creator, where the Saint composed the first part of his “Canticle of the Creatures”. Written in the 13th Century, it is believed to be one of the first works of literature in the Italian language.  A musical version of this prayer-poem accompanied the tree planting ceremony in the Vatican Gardens.

Celebrating the Season of Creation
The Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is Cardinal Peter Turkson. He too was present at the ceremony, and described how the “Season of Creation” is “not only a time for prophetic gestures…but a time for wisdom”, a season to respond to the ecological crisis”. Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation, said the Cardinal, suggests “a time of change: humanity’s turning a new leaf to save the planet”.
Full Text by Vatican News.va + Image Share from Vatican.va

Pope Francis at Episcopal Ordination Mass says "Love all those whom God entrusts to you with love of father and brother." Full Text + Video


EPISCOPAL ORDER - Pope Francis presides over Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica and confers Episcopal Ordinations on Fr Michael Czerny SJ, and Msgrs Antoine Camilleri, Paolo Rudelli and Paolo Borgia.


HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica
Friday, 4 October 2019

Brothers and children,

let us reflect a little on what a high ecclesial responsibility these brothers of ours are promoted. The Lord our Jesus Christ sent by the Father to redeem men sent the twelve apostles to the world, so that full of the power of the Holy Spirit they would announce the Gospel to all peoples and gather them together under one shepherd, sanctify them and lead them to salvation .

In order to perpetuate this ministry from generation to generation, the Twelve joined collaborators by transmitting to them with the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit received from Christ, which conferred the fullness of the sacrament of the Order. Thus, through the uninterrupted succession of bishops in the living tradition of the Church, this primary ministry has been preserved and the work of the Savior continues and develops up to our times. In the bishop surrounded by his presbyters the same Lord is present among you, eternal high priest.

It is Christ, in fact, who in the ministry of the bishop continues to preach the Gospel of salvation and to sanctify believers, through the sacraments of faith. It is Christ who in the paternity of the bishop increases his body, which is the Church, with new members. It is Christ who in the wisdom and prudence of the bishop leads the people of God on earthly pilgrimage to eternal happiness.

Accept, therefore, with joy and gratitude these brothers of ours, whom we bishops with the laying on of hands today associate with the episcopal college.

As for you, dearest brothers, elected by the Lord, reflect that you have been chosen among men and for men, you have been constituted not for yourselves, but for the things that concern God. "Episcopate" is in fact the name of a service , not of an honor, since the bishop is more competent to serve than to dominate, according to the commandment of the Master: "Whoever is the greatest among you, become like the least. And he who governs, as one who serves".

Announce the Word on every occasion: opportune and not opportune. Announce the true Word, not boring talk that nobody understands. Announce the Word of God. Remember that, according to Peter, in the Acts of the Apostles, the two main tasks of the bishop are prayer and the proclamation of the Word (see 6: 4); then all other administrative [tasks]. But these two things are the columns. Through prayer and the offering of sacrifice for your people, draw from the fullness of Christ's holiness the multiform riches of divine grace.

In the Church entrusted to you, be faithful guardians and dispensers of the mysteries of Christ, placed by the Father at the head of his family, always follow the example of the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep and is known by them and has not hesitated to give them the life. Closeness to your people. The three neighborhoods of the bishop: the closeness with God in prayer - this is the first job -; the closeness to the presbyters in the presbyteral college; and closeness to the people. Do not forget that you have been taken from the flock chosen. Do not forget your roots, those who have transmitted your faith, who have given you identity. Do not deny the people of God.

Love all those whom God entrusts to you with love of father and brother. First of all, the priests and deacons, your collaborators in the ministry; but also love the poor, the defenseless and those who need hospitality and help. Encourage the faithful to cooperate in the apostolic commitment and listen to them willingly.

And be attentive to those who do not belong to the one fold of Christ, because they too were entrusted to you in the Lord. Remember that in the Catholic Church, united in the bond of charity, you are united to the College of Bishops - this would be the fourth closeness - and you must bring within you the solicitude of all the Churches, generously helping those who are most in need of help. Guard this gift that you will receive today for the laying on of the hands of all of us bishops.

Watch with love on all the flock in which the Holy Spirit places you to hold up the Church of God. Watch in the name of the Father, of whom you make the image present; in the name of Jesus Christ, his Son, from whom you are made teachers, priests and pastors; and in the name of the Holy Spirit who gives life to the Church and with his power sustains our weakness.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va

Pope Francis tells Daughters of St. Paul "...revive the gift of faith by always letting yourselves be enlightened by the Word." Full Text


Audience with the participants in the 11th General Chapter of the Pious Institute of the Daughters of Saint Paul, 04.10.2019


At 11.30 this morning, in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the participants in the eleventh General Chapter of the Pious Institute of the Daughters of Saint Paul, taking place in Ariccia from 5 September to 5 October 2019, on the theme “Arise, go on your journey” (Dt 10: 11), trusting in the Promise.
The following is the Pope’s address to those present:

Address of the Holy Father
Dear sisters,
I welcome you who, from the five continents, are participating in the eleventh General Chapter of the Daughters of Saint Paul. And I thank the Superior General for her kind words.
The theme you have chosen for your reflection is “Arise, go on your journey” (Dt 10: 11), trusting in the Promise. A strongly biblical theme, which recalls the experience of Moses, the experience of Abraham, of Elijah, of many, and more generally, the experience of the People of God. The history of salvation, both of the individual person and the population, is rooted in the willingness to depart, to leave, to set out on a journey, not by one’s own initiative, but as the response to the call and trusting in the promise. It is the experience of Grace- Saint Paul would say – that was given to us in Jesus Christ. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jn 15: 16). And this applies not only for the calling, but also for our present and for our future: “Apart from me you can do nothing”, says the Lord (Jn 15: 5).
Dear sisters, in these “delicate and hard” times, as Pope Saint John Paul II said (Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, 13), faith is more necessary than ever. Many say that consecrated life is going through a winter. It may be so, since vocations are scarce, the average age is advancing and fidelity to the commitments made by profession is not always what it should be. In this situation, the great challenge is to get through the winter so as to flourish and bear fruit. The coldness of society, sometimes even within the Church and the consecrated life itself, pushes us to go to the roots, to live the roots. Winter, even in the Church and in consecrated life, is not a time of sterility and death, but a favourable time that allows us to return to the essential. For you: to rediscover the elements of Pauline prophecy, to rediscover the apostolic and missionary itinerancy which cannot be lacking in a Daughter of Saint Paul, so that we can live on the peripheries of thought and on the peripheries of existence.
Born for the Word, to proclaim to all the luminous way of life that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you carry missionary boldness in your DNA. Never let this boldness be diminished, in the knowledge that the protagonist of the mission is the Holy Spirit. This is clear! I hope that the Chapter that you are experiencing will be a good time to ask yourselves: how can we express the Pauline prophecy in response to the calls that come to us in our time?
It is a matter of setting out on the streets of the world, with a contemplative gaze full of empathy for the men and women of our time, hungry for the Good News of the Gospel. To feel part of an outgoing Institute, in mission, putting all your strength at the service of evangelization. Let yourselves be challenged by the reality in which we live, let yourselves be disturbed by reality. Constantly seek ways of proximity, keeping in your hearts the ability to feel compassion for the many needs that surround us. I would like to underline this word, “compassion”. It is a very evangelical word, that the Gospel very often says of Jesus: “He had compassion”. When He sees the crowd, when He sees the daughter of the widow of Nain, when He sees so many situations… “He had compassion, pity”. It is God’s compassion. To be missionary with a witness of life centred in Christ, especially for you, through editorial, digital and multimedia production, and by promoting critical formation via of the media and biblical animation.
All this is impossible without faith: the faith of Abraham who “believed against hope” (Rm 4: 18); the faith of Mary, who even without understanding the mystery that surrounds her, believes and consents: “Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1: 38); the faith of Peter, who says: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6: 68).
In times of fatigue and frustration, God commands Elijah: “Rise and eat” (1 Kings 19: 5). [Addressing the Superior] Mother general, may they eat well! Do not let yourself be obstructed by tiredness or resignation. Resignation is a woodworm that enters in the soul, embitters the heart. When we think of consecrated men and women with that long face… “Ah, that is how things are, unfortunately!” The use of unfortunately, with that attitude… Do not give in to the spirit of resignation. The road you have travelled is long and fruitful. And the road that remains to be travelled is long (cf. 1 Kings 19: 7). Nourish with the bread of the Word, go ahead, in the midst of the lights and shadows of the cultural context in which we live – take risks, take risks – be faithful to the perspective that is proper to you, that is, not primarily a moral judgment, but the search for opportunities to sow the Word, with the “imagination” of communication. Interpreting the thirst and hunger of our contemporaries: thirst for God, hunger for the Gospel. And all this with a discernment and empathy that originate in trust in God, the God of history. In this context I encourage you to revive the gift of faith by always letting yourselves be enlightened by the Word. It is the centre of your personal and community life, in the liturgy and in lectio divina. The Word that keeps the apostolic spirit alive in your Institute. The gifts you have brought me express this charism of yours. Thank you so much!
“Arise, go on your journey”. This verb “to arise” corresponds to the Greek term anastasis, resurrection: “Get up, arise!” It is an Paschal verb. It is also a spousal verb, as it appears in the Song of Songs (cf. 2,10.13). Get up and “set out”, like Mary Magdalene at the dawn of the resurrection (cf. Jn 20: 1-2); like Peter and the other disciple who run to the tomb (cf. Jn 20: 3-4); and first of all like Mary on her visit to Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1: 39ff). Set out, with the boldness that comes from the Spirit and the creativity that has characterized your Founder. Go out, depart in haste, like the Virgin Mary and Saint Paul: in this way you too are called to communicate, through your apostolic life and works, the Good News to the men and women of today. There is no time to waste. “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9: 16).
Dear sisters, may the intercession of the Apostle of the Gentiles always assist you. May you also be accompanied by my blessing, which I cordially impart to you and to all your communities throughout the world. Fifty-five countries, you said? [The Superior answers: “Fifty-two countries”]. All over the world! And a greeting to all the sisters. And please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.
Source: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/10/04/191004d.html

Novena to St. Francis of Assisi - Special Prayers with Litany to the Patron of Animals and Peace

Novena to St. Francis of Assisi

Say once a day for nine days. 

Glorious Saint Francis, who voluntarily renounced all the comforts and riches of thy home to follow more perfectly the life of poverty and abnegation of Jesus Christ: Obtain for us, we pray, a generous contempt of all things in this world, that we may secure the true and eternal things of heaven. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

O glorious Saint Francis, who during the whole course of thy life continually wept over the passion of the Redeemer, and labored most zealously for the salvation of souls: Obtain for us, we pray, the grace of weeping continually over those sins by which we have crucified afresh Our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may attain to be of the number of those who shall eternally bless His supreme mercy. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

O glorious Saint Francis, who, loving above all things suffering and the Cross, merited to bear in thy body the miraculous stigmata, by which thou becamest a living image of Jesus Christ crucified: Obtain for us, we pray, the grace to bear in our bodies the mortifications of Christ, that we may merit one day to receive the consolations which are infallibly promised to all those who now weep. 

"If we be dead with Christ Jesus, we shall live also with Him," says the Apostle; "if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." 

Pray for us, Saint Francis, that we may obtain the graces and favors we ask for in this novena; pray for us, especially, that we may obtain the grace of perseverance; of a holy death and a happy eternity. 

Pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be five times

LITANY IN HONOUR OF
SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI.


Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.  Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, conceived without sin, 
Pray for us.

Holy Mary, special patroness of the three Orders of Saint Francis, 
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, seraphic patriarch,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, most prudent father,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, despiser of the world,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, model of penance,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, conqueror of vices,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, imitator of the Saviour,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, bearer of the marks of Christ,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, sealed with the character of Jesus,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, example of purity,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, image of humility,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, abounding in grace,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, reformer of the erring,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, healer of the sick,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, pillar of the Church,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, defender of the Faith,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, champion of Christ,
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, defender of thy children, 
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, invulnerable shield, 
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, confounder of the heretics, 
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, converter of the pagans, 
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, supporter of the lame, 
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, raiser of the dead, 
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, healer of the lepers, 
Pray for us.

Saint Francis, our advocate, 
Pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, 
Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Pray for us, O blessed father Francis,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let Us Pray

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, 
when the world was growing cold, 
in order to renew in our hearts 
the flame of love, 
imprinted the sacred marks of Thy Passion 
on the body of our blessed father Francis, 
mercifully grant that by his merits and prayers 
we may persevere in bearing the cross 
and may bring forth fruits worthy of penance, 
Thou Who livest and reignest, 
world without end.

Amen
Lord make me  an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, Let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, Joy.
O Divine Master grant that I may Not so much seek to be consoled As to console; To be understood, As to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we are Born to eternal life.
Amen

Vatican Symposium co-hosted by Holy See and USA on Religious Freedom - “Pathways to Achieving Human Dignity"


Holy See and U.S. co-host Vatican Symposium
“Pathways to Achieving Human Dignity: Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations”, is both the title and theme of the one-day Symposium, jointly sponsored by the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.
By Vatican News

It was Pope Saint John Paul II and US President Ronald Reagan who established formal diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the United States in 1984.

35 years of diplomatic relations
The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, recalled that 35th anniversary in his opening remarks at the Symposium. He quoted Pope Francis who, during his 2015 visit to the United States, said: “The aim of our collaboration is to build a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive”.

Religious Freedom
Archbishop Gallagher also referred to the Joint Declaration on Human Fraternity, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar on 4 February in Abu Dhabi. According to that Declaration, “religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism. These tragic realities are a deviation from religious teachings”. The document also calls for the development of “an International network of religious leaders and people of good will to build tolerance, fraternity and healthy pluralism”.

Protecting human rights
Archbishop Gallagher said the “principal emphasis with regard to religious freedom should not be political or ideological. The main concern should be to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms effectively and to promote peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies in which people can express their beliefs freely”.

Human trafficking
Another topic under discussion concerned how faith-based organizations can cooperate in combatting the plague of human trafficking, something Archbishop Gallagher called “one of the darkest and most reprehensible realities in the world today”.

Present at the Vatican symposium were representatives of Catholic organizations that already work for the liberation, rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked victims. “We need brave leaders to take appropriate decisions to fight and gradually defeat this horrible crime against humanity”, said the Archbishop.

Defending human dignity
United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, was also present at the Vatican Symposium. When it comes to defending human dignity, “the stakes today are arguably higher than they were even during the Cold War”, he said, “because the threats to it are more diverse and more numerous”.

The roots of religious repression, he added, lie with authoritarian regimes that “will never accept a power higher than their own”, causing “assaults on human dignity”. Which is why “we must exercise our moral voice to confront them”, he added. The most fundamental issues of human dignity and religious freedom, said the U.S. Secretary of State, “transcend everyday politics”.

Faith-based Organizations
In his closing remarks, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin acknowledged the participation of the faith-based organizations present: the Community of Sant’Egidio, Aid to the Church in Need, the Adyan Foundation, the AVSI Foundation, Caritas Internationalis, and Talitha Kum, thanking them for their contribution.

Global challenges
“Peace, human dignity and social justice, fighting poverty and promoting sustainable development”, said Cardinal Parolin, remain the hallmarks of the Church’s cooperation with states and faith-based organizations.

The Cardinal went on to stress how religious freedom is a fundamental human right and how abuses in this field “remain one of the greatest global challenges”.

Quoting Pope Francis, the Vatican Secretary of State said that “taking away freedom of conscience is the first step to taking away freedom of worship”. The challenges are many and great, he said, “but we face them with faith and commitment. We know that God is with us when we engage to promote human dignity”.

Pathways to human dignity
The United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom is Sam Brownback. He too was at the Vatican Symposium on “Pathways to Achieving Human Dignity”, and spoke to Vatican News about where he believes those pathways are leading.

He also gave concrete suggestions about what local communities can do to promote religious freedom: like “pushing your legislators to stand up for religious freedom”, or following the example of some parishes that have “helped rebuild churches destroyed in Iraq”, or “hosting those who have experienced persecution”.

Moving Heaven and Earth
The Ambassador acknowledged the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the United States, saying: “When you get the U.S. Government and the Catholic Church working together strongly in a particular area, like Pope Saint John Paul and Ronald Reagan did – you literally move Heaven and Earth”.
FULL TEXT Source: VaticanNews.va - Image Source: Facebook U.S. Embassy to the Holy See (Vatican)

#BreakingNews Death Toll rises to 42 Killed during Protests against corruption in Iraq with over 600 Wounded - Please Pray



Iraqi prime minister appeals for calm as mounting protests leave 42 dead (latest update by CBC) and 650 wounded.
Adel Abdel Mahdi, addressed the protesters, claiming to accept their "legitimate demands". A curfew is in force in Baghdad and in southern cities with a Shiite majority. The Kurdish region in the north and the Sunni area in the west are quieter. The protesters promise to continue "until the fall of the government".


The large protests involving thousands of people began Tuesday. The Iraqi Prime Minister has intervened with a (rare) TV speech to the nation to invoke "calm" and "moderation".

The people are demonstrating against corruption and unemployment. Adel Abdel Mahdi used conciliatory tones and said he accepts the "legitimate demands". However, a hard line prevails among the protesters who demand the resignation of the head of government and his executive.

The premier says he wants to respond to the concerns and demands of the population; at the same time, he warns that, to date, there are no "magic solutions" to solve the long-standing problems that afflict the nation and prevent it from recovering after years of conflict and violence. The crisis that began after the US invasion in 2003 and was exacerbated by the rise of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) in 2014, now defeated on the military but not on the ideological level.

A curfew has been in effect since yesterday in Baghdad and in several cities of the country, especially in the south. Only those traveling to and from the capital's international airport are exempted from the provision. Added to these are ambulances and security vehicles, as well as pilgrims traveling for religious reasons.

However, thousands of people continue to challenge the authorities bans and continue with street demonstrations. In his televised speech, the Prime Minister called for the support of parliamentarians and promised the approval soon of a law that would guarantee support for the poorest families.

The protests, which do not seem to have been organized or sponsored so far by political parties, religious organizations or foreign forces, are the most important since Mahdi's rise to power in October 2018. In this regard, the United States and the United Nations have expressed deep concern and they appealed to the Iraqi authorities to use "moderation" in dealing with them.

Security forces blocked Baghdad's most important roads and bridges. In most parts of the country, internet access is limited, if not blocked. Nevertheless, the protesters continue to march, evoking Tahrir Square where in recent days the police used tear gas and bullets to disperse the crowd.

"We will continue until the fall of the government," 22-year-old Ali, one of the many graduates out of work today, told AFP. "I have nothing - he adds - if not the 250 lira [$ 0.20] in my portfolio, while government officials have millions". To date, the protests are concentrated in the capital and in the southern Shiite-majority cities, while the Kurdish region in the north and the Sunni-majority area in the west remains mostly calm.

These protests reflect a widespread feeling of discontent and powerlessness. Iraq is the fourth nation in the world for oil reserves, but 22.5% of its 40 million inhabitants live on less than $ 1.90 a day (World Bank 2014 data). And one in six families experience severe food shortages. Last year the unemployment rate was 7.9%, but among young people the percentage doubles. 17% of the active population is out of work.

For the post-ISIS reconstruction work, at least 88 billion dollars are needed. According to UN estimates, one million people are internally displaced and 6.7 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
Edited from Asia News IT with updates from CBC.ca - Image Source: Google Images

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, October 4, 2019 - #Eucharist - Memorial of St. Francis


Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lectionary: 459

Reading 1BAR 1:15-22

During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed:
"Justice is with the Lord, our God;
and we today are flushed with shame,
we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem,
that we, with our kings and rulers
and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors,
have sinned in the Lord's sight and disobeyed him.
We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God,
nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us.
From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt
until the present day,
we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,
and only too ready to disregard his voice.
And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant,
at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt
to give us the land flowing with milk and honey,
cling to us even today.
For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God,
in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us,
but each one of us went off
after the devices of his own wicked heart,
served other gods,
and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God."

Responsorial PsalmPS 79:1B-2, 3-5, 8, 9

R.(9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name's sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

AlleluiaPS 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 10:13-16

Jesus said to them,
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, 'Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.'
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."