Monday, October 21, 2019

Saint October 22 : St. Pope John Paul II - Born as Karol Jozef Wojtyla the 1st non-Italian Pope in 400 years - #JPII



Saint Pope John Paul II was born and named Karol Jozef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920. He died on April 2, 2005 at the age of 84 years. John Paul II reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978 until his death. He was the only Polish Pontiff to reign. The Pontiff was influencial in the downfall of Communism. He traveled more than any other Pope in history, visiting 129 countries. The Holy Father spoke many languages including: Polish, Italian, Spanish, German, English, Portuguese, Russian, French, Croatian and Latin. He beatified 1, 340 people and canonised 483 Saints. John Paul II was beatified on May 1, 2011 and his memorial is celebrated on Oct. 22.
Karol Wojtyla was born in Poland in Wadowice. He was the youngest of 3 children to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. When Karol was 8 years old his mother(April 13, 1929) died. Olga, Karol's elder sister died in infancy. His only remaining sibling, a brother Edmund, was a physician. Edmund, 14 years older than Karol, died from scarlet fever. (image source:

In 1938, Karol and his father moved to Krakow. He then studied at Jagiellonian University. Here Karol engaged in theatrical works and hard labour. His father died of a heart attack in 1941. Wojtyla began priestly studies in 1942 at an underground seminary. He was ordained a priest on November 1, 1946 by Archbishop Cardinal Sapieha.
Karol then went to Rome to study at the Pontifical International Athenaeum Angelicum. Here he received a licentiate and a doctorate in Sacred Theology. In 1948, he returned to Poland and was head of a local Parish.

Fr. Wojtyla began to teach ethics at the Jagiellonian University. In 1954, he received another doctorate in philosophy. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow in 1958.
Bishop Wojtyla was an active participant of the Second Vatican Council, which occurred in 1962-1965. In 1964, Karol was appointed Archbishop of Krakow. In 1967, Karol was promoted to Cardinal. He was inaugurated Pontiff on October, 22, 1978. Karol took the name John Paul II after the preceding Pope John Paul I who died early in his reign.
He became the 264th Pope to reign at the age of 58. He wrote 14 Papal Encyclicals. He took the motto Totus Tuus in reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He had a special devotion to the Mother of God.
As Pope, John Paul established "World Youth Days", these gathered young Catholics from around the world for a week of prayer and activities. The largest gathering of people, in history, occurred in Manila, Phillipines at the World Youth Day with JPII. Here around 5 million gathered to celebrate the Catholic Faith.



On May 13, 1981 JPII was shot and wounded by Mehmet Ali Agca. This was an assassination attempt by this Turkish man as a member of a fascist group. He underwent extensive surgery and narrowly survived. He thanked Our Lady of Fatima for his survival. In 1983, JPII visited his assassin in prison. (image sources: google)


Pope John Paul II was very influential in ecumenism and met with many religious and political leaders. He is thought to have aided in the fall of Communism.
"True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement." Blessed Pope John Paul II..

Saint October 21 : St. Hilarion of Gaza - an Abbot, who lived in the Desert, and Friend of St. Anthony


St. Hilarion
ABBOT

Born:
291 at Gaza, Palestine
Died:
371 at Cyprus

Hilarion was born in a little town called Tabatha, five miles to the south of Gaza; he sprang like a rose out of thorns, his parents being idolaters. He was sent by them very young to Alexandria to study grammar, when, by his progress in learning, he gave great proofs of his wit, for which, and his good temper and dispositions, he was exceedingly beloved by all that knew him. Being brought to the knowledge of the Christian faith, he was baptized and became immediately a new man, renouncing all the mad sports of the circus and the entertainments of the theatre, and taking no delight but in the churches and assemblies of the faithful. Having heard of St. Antony, whose name was famous in Egypt, he went into the desert to see him. Moved by the example of his virtue he changed his habit and stayed with him two months, observing his manner of life, his fervour in prayer, his humility in receiving the brethren, his severity in reproving them, his earnestness in exhorting them, and his perseverance in austerities. But not being able to bear the frequent concourse of those who resorted to St. Antony to be healed of diseases or delivered from devils, and being desirous to begin to serve God like St. Antony in perfect solitude, he returned with certain monks into his own country. Upon his arrival there, finding his father and mother both dead, he gave part of his goods to his brethren and the rest to the poor, reserving nothing for himself.
He was then but fifteen years of age, this happening about the year 307. He retired into a desert seven miles from Majuma, toward Egypt, between the seashore on one side and certain fens on the other. His friends forewarned him that the place was notorious for murders and robberies, but his answer was that he feared nothing but eternal death. Everybody admired his fervour and extraordinary manner of life. In the beginning of his retirement certain robbers who lurked in those deserts asked him what he would do if thieves and assassins came to him? He answered, "The poor and naked fear no thieves." "But they may kill you," said they. "It is true," said the holy man, "and for this very reason I am not afraid of them, because it is my endeavour to be always prepared for death." So great fervour and resolution in one so young and so tender as our saint was both surprising and edifying to all who knew him. His constitution was so weak and delicate that the least excess of heat or cold affected him very sensibly; yet his whole clothing consisted only of a piece of sackcloth, a leather coat, which St. Antony gave him, and an ordinary short cloak. Living in solitude, he thought himself at liberty to practice certain mortifications which the respect we owe to our neighbour makes unseasonable in the world. He cut his hair only once a year, against Easter; never changed any coat till it was worn out, and never washed the sackcloth which he had once put on, saying, "It is idle to look for neatness in a hair shirt."
At his first entering on this penitential life he renounced the use of bread; and for six years together his whole diet was fifteen figs a day, which he never took till sunset. When he felt the attacks of any temptation of the flesh, being angry with himself and beating his breast, he would say to his body, "I will take order, thou little ass, that thou shalt not kick; I will feed thee with straw instead of corn; and will load and weary thee, that so thou mayest think rather how to get a little bit to eat than of pleasure." He then retrenched part of his scanty meal, and sometimes fasted three or four days without eating; and when after this he was fainting, he sustained his body only with a few dried figs and the juice of herbs. At the same time, praying and singing, he would be breaking the ground with a rake, that his labour might add to the trouble of his fasting. His employment was digging or tilling the earth, or, in imitation of the Egyptian monks, weaving small twigs together with great rushes in making baskets whereby he provided himself with the frugal necessaries of life. During the first four years of his penance he had no other shelter from the inclemencies of the weather than a little hovel or arbour which he made himself of reeds and rushes which he found in a neighbouring marsh, and which he had woven together. Afterwards he built himself a little cell, which was still to be seen in St. Jerome's time; it was but four feet broad and five feet in height, and was a little longer than the extent of his body, so that a person would have rather taken it for a grave than a house. During the course of his penance he made some alteration in his diet, but never in favour of his appetites. From the age of twenty-one he for three years lived on a measure which was little more than half a pint of pulse steeped in cold water a-day; and for the next three years his whole food was dry bread with salt and water. From his twenty-seventh year to his thirty-first he ate only wild herbs and raw roots; and from thirty-one to thirty-five he took for his daily food six ounces of barley bread a day, to which he added a few kitchen herbs, but half boiled and without oil. But perceiving his sight to grow dim and his body to be subject to an itching with an unnatural kind of scurf and roughness, he added a little oil to this diet. Thus he went on till his sixty-fourth year when, conceiving by the decay of his strength that his death was drawing near, he retrenched even his bread, and from that time to his eightieth year his whole meal never exceeded five ounces. When he was fourscore years of age there were made for him little weak broths or gruels of flour and herbs, the whole quantity of his meat and drink scarce amounting to the weight of four ounces. Thus he passed his whole life; and he never broke his fast till sunset, not even upon the highest feasts or in his greatest sickness.
Anyone who considers the condition of man in this state of trial and the malice of the enemy of our salvation will easily conceive that our saint did not pass all these years, nor arrive at so eminent a degree of virtue and sanctity, without violent temptations and assaults from the infernal spirit; in all which he was victorious by the assistance of omnipotent grace. Sometimes his soul was covered with a dark cloud, and his heart was dry and oppressed with bitter anguish; but the deafer heaven seemed to his cries on such occasions, the louder and the more earnestly he persevered knocking. To have dropped the shield of prayer under these temptations would have been to perish. At other times his mind was haunted and his imagination filled with impure images, or with the vanities of the theatre and circus. The phantoms of the enemy St. Hilarion dissipated by casting himself upon his knees and signing his forehead with the cross of Christ; and, being enlightened and strengthened by a supernatural grace, he discovered his snares, and never suffered himself to be imposed upon by the artifices by which that subtle fiend strove to withdraw him from holy prayer, in which the saint spent the days and great part of the nights.
St. Hilarion had spent above twenty years in his desert when he wrought his first miracle. A certain married woman of Eleutheropolis, who was the scorn of her husband for her barrenness, sought him out in his solitude, and by her tears and importunities prevailed upon him to pray that God would bless her with fruitfulness; and before the year's end she brought forth a son, A second miracle much enhanced the saint's reputation. Elpidius, who was afterwards prefect of the praetorium, and his wife Aristeneta, returning from a visit of devotion they had made to St. Antony to receive his blessing and instructions, arrived at Gaza, where their three children fell sick, and their fever proving superior to the power of medicines they were brought to the last extremity, and their recovery despaired of by the physicians. The mother, like one distracted, addressed herself to Hilarion, who, moved by her tears, went to Gaza to visit them. Upon his invoking the holy name of Jesus by their bedside, the children fell into a violent sweat, by which they were so refreshed as to be able to eat, to know their mother, and kiss the saint's hand. Upon the report of this miracle many flocked to the saint, desiring to embrace a monastic life under his direction. Till that time neither Syria nor Palestine were acquainted with that penitential state; so that St. Hilarion was the first founder of it in those countries, as Antony had been in Egypt. Among other miraculous cures, several persons possessed by devils were delivered by our saint. The most remarkable were Marisitas, a young man of the territory about Jerusalem, so strong that he boasted he could carry seven bushels of corn; and Orion, a rich man of the city of Aila, who, after his cure, pressed the saint to accept many great presents, at least for the poor. But the holy hermit persisted obstinately to refuse touching any of them, bidding him bestow them himself. St. Hilarion restored sight to a woman of Facidia, a town near Rinocorura, in Egypt, who had been blind ten years. A citizen of Majuma, called Italicus, who was a Christian, kept horses to run in the circus against a Duumvir of Gaza, who adored Mamas, which was the great idol of Gaza, that word signifying in Syriac, Lord of men. Italicus, knowing that his adversary had recourse to spells to stop his horses, came to St. Hilarion, by whose blessing his horses seemed to fly while the others seemed fettered; upon seeing which the people cried out that Mamas was vanquished by Christ. From the model which our saint set, a great number of monasteries were founded all over Palestine. St. Hilarion visited them all on certain days before the vintage.
St. Hilarion was informed by revelation in Palestine, where he then was, of the death of St. Antony. He was then about sixty-five years old, and had been for two years much afflicted at the great number of bishops, priests, and people that were continually resorting to him, by which his contemplation was interrupted. At length, regretting the loss of that sweet solitude and obscurity which he formerly enjoyed, he resolved to leave that country, to prevent which the people assembled to the number of ten thousand to watch him. He told them he would neither eat nor drink till they let him go; and seeing him pass seven days without taking anything they left him. He then chose forty monks who were able to walk without breaking their fast (that is, without eating till after sunset), and with them he travelled into Egypt. On the fifth day he arrived at Peleusium; and in six days more at Babylon, in Egypt. Two days after he came to the city of Aphroditon, where he applied himself to the deacon Baisanes, who used to let dromedaries to those who had desired to visit St. Antony, for carrying water which they had occasion for in that desert. The saint desired to celebrate the anniversary of St. Antony's death by watching all night in the place where he died. After travelling three days in a horrible desert they came to St. Antony's mountain, where they found two monks, Isaac and Pelusius, who had been his disciples, and the first his interpreter. It was a very high steep rock of a mile in circuit, at the foot of which was a rivulet, with abundance of palm-trees on the borders. St. Hilarion walked all over the place with the disciples of St. Antony. Here it was, said they, that he sang, here he prayed; there he laboured, and there he reposed himself when he was weary. He himself planted these vines and these little trees; he tilled this piece of ground with his own hands; he dug this basin with abundance of labour, to water his garden, and he used this hoe to work with several years together. St. Hilarion laid himself upon his bed and kissed it as if it had been still warm. The cell contained no more space in length and breadth than what was necessary for a man to stretch himself in to sleep. On the top of the mountain (to which the ascent was very difficult, turning like a vine) they found two cells of the same size, to which he often retired to avoid a number of visitors and even the conversation of his own disciples: they were hewn in a rock, nothing but doors being added to them. When they came to the garden, "Do you see," said Isaac, "this little garden planted with trees and pot-herbs? About three years since a herd of wild asses coming to destroy it, he stopped one of the first of them and, striking him on the sides with his staff, said, 'Why do you eat what you did not sow?' From that time forward they only came hither to drink, without meddling with the trees or herbs." St. Hilarion asked to see the place where he was buried. They carried him to a bye place; but it is uncertain whether they showed it him or no; for they showed no grave, and only said that St. Antony had given the strictest charge that his grave should be concealed, fearing lest Pergamius, who was a very rich man in that country, should carry the body home and cause a church to be built for it.
St. Hilarion returned from this place to Aphroditon, and, retiring with only two disciples into a neighbouring desert, exercised himself with more earnestness than ever in abstinence and silence; saying, according to his custom, that he then only began to serve Jesus Christ. It had not rained in the country for three years, that is, ever since the death of St. Antony, when the people in deep affliction and misery addressed themselves to St. Hilarion, whom they looked upon as St. Antony's successor, imploring his compassion and prayers. The saint, sensibly affected with their distress, lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and immediately obtained a plentiful rain. Also many labourers and herdsmen who were stung by serpents and venomous beasts were perfectly cured by anointing their wounds with oil which he had blessed and given them. Though oil be the natural and sovereign antidote against poison, these cures by his blessing were esteemed miraculous. The saint, seeing the extraordinary honours which were paid him in that place, departed privately towards Alexandria, in order to proceed to the desert of Oasis. It not being his custom to stop in great cities, he turned from Alexandria into Brutium, a remote suburb of that city, where several monks dwelt. He left this place the same evening, and when these monks very importunately pressed his stay he told them that it was necessary for their security that he should leave them. The sequel showed that he had the spirit of prophecy; for that very night armed men arrived there in pursuit of him, with an order to put him to death. When Julian the Apostate ascended the throne, the pagans of Gaza obtained an order from that prince to kill him, in revenge of the affront he had put upon their god Mamas, and of the many conversions he had made; and they had sent this party into Egypt to execute the sentence. The soldiers, finding themselves disappointed at Brutium, said he well deserved the character of a magician which he had at Gaza. The saint spent about a year in the desert of Oasis, and, finding that he was too well known in that country ever to lie concealed there, determined to seek shelter in some remote island, and, going to Paretonium in Lybia, embarked there with one companion for Sicily. He landed at Pachynus, a famous promontory on the eastern side of the island, now called Capo di Passaro. Upon landing he offered to pay for his passage and that of his companion with a copy of the gospels which he had written in his youth with his own hand; but the master, seeing their whole stock consisted in that manuscript and the clothes on their backs, would not accept of it; he even esteemed himself indebted to this passenger, who by his prayers had delivered his son, who was possessed by a devil, on board the vessel. St. Hilarion, fearing lest he should be discovered by some oriental merchants if he settled near the coast, travelled twenty miles up the country and stopped in an unfrequented wild place; where, by gathering sticks, he made every day a fagot, which he sent his disciple, whose name was Zanan, to sell at the next village, in order to buy a little bread. Hesychius, the saint's beloved disciple, had sought him in the East and through Greece when, at Methone, now called Modon, in Peloponnesus, he heard that a prophet had appeared in Sicily who wrought many miracles. He embarked and arrived at Pachynus; and inquiring for the holy man at the first village, found that everybody knew him; he was not more distinguished by his miracles than by his disinterestedness; for he could never be prevailed upon to take anything, not so much as a morsel of bread, from anyone.
St. Hilarion was desirous to go into some strange country, where not even his language should be understood. Hesychius therefore carried him to Epidaurus in Dalmatia, now Old Ragusa, the ruins of which city are seen near the present capital of the republic of that name. Miracles here again defeated the saint's design of living unknown. St. Hilarion, seeing it impossible to live there unknown, fled away in the night in a small vessel to the island of Cyprus. Being arrived there, he retired to a place two miles from Paphos. He had not been there three weeks when such as were possessed with devils in any part of the island began to cry out that Hilarion, the servant of Jesus Christ, was come. He expelled the evil spirits, but, sighing after the tranquillity of closer retirement, considered how he could make his escape to some other country; but the inhabitants watched him that he might not leave them. After two years Hesychius persuaded him to lay aside that design and retire to a solitary place which he had found twelve miles from the shore, not unpleasantly situated among very rough and craggy mountains, where there was water with fruit-trees, which advice the saint followed, but he never tasted the fruit. St. Jerome mentions that though he lived so many years in Palestine, he never went up to visit the holy places at Jerusalem but once; and then stayed only one day in that city. He went once that he might not seem to despise that devotion; but did not go oftener, lest he should seem persuaded that God or his religious worship is confined to any particular place. His chief reason, doubtless, was to shun the distractions of populous places that as much as possible nothing might interrupt the close union of his soul to God. The saint, in the eightieth year of his age, whilst Hesychius was absent, wrote him a short letter with his own hand in the nature of a last will and testament, in which he bequeathed to him all his riches, namely, his book of the gospels, his sackcloth, hood, and little cloak. Many pious persons came from Paphos to see him in his last sickness, hearing he had foretold that he was to go to our Lord. With them there came a holy woman named Constantia, whose son-in-law and daughter he had freed from death by anointing them with oil. He caused them to swear that as soon as he should have expired, they would immediately commit his corpse to the earth, apparelled as he was, with his hair-cloth, hood, and cloak. His distemper increasing upon him, very little heat appeared to remain in his body, nor did anything seem to remain in him of a living man besides his understanding, only his eyes were still open. He expressed his sense of the divine judgments, but encouraged his soul to an humble confidence in the mercy of his Judge and Redeemer, saying to himself, "Go forth, what cost thou fear? go forth, my soul, what cost thou apprehend? Behold, it is now threescore and ten years that thou hast served Christ; and art thou afraid of death?" He had scarcely spoken these words but he gave up the ghost, and was immediately buried as he had ordered.
St. Hilarion died in 371, or the following year, being about eighty years of age; for he was sixty-five years old at the death of St. Antony. Hesychius, who was in Palestine, made haste to Cyprus upon hearing this news and, pretending to take up his dwelling in the same garden, after ten months found an opportunity of secretly carrying off the saint's body into Palestine, where he interred it in his monastery, near Majuma. It was as entire as it was when alive, and the cloths were untouched. Many miracles were wrought, both in Cyprus and Palestine, through his intercession, as St. Jerome assures us. Sozomen mentions his festival to have been kept with great solemnity in the fifth age. See his life written by St. Jerome before the year 392.
If this saint trembled after an innocent, penitential, and holy life, because he considered how perfect the purity and sanctity of a soul must be to stand before him who is infinite purity and infinite justice, how much ought tepid, slothful, and sinful Christians to fear? Whilst love inflames the saints with an ardent desire of being united to their God in the kingdom of pure love and security, a holy fear of his justice checks and humbles in them all presumption. This fear must never sink into despondency, abjection, or despair; but quicken our sloth, animate our fervour, and raise our courage; it must be solicitous, not anxious. Love and hope must fill our souls with sweet peace and joy, and with an entire confidence in the infinite mercy and goodness of God, and the merits of our divine Redeemer. SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

#BreakingNews Synod's Our Lady of the Amazon Stolen from a Church near Vatican and thrown in Tiber River - Watch Video


The Amazon Synod’s Carved Figures were stolen and thrown into the Tiber River A video has emerged on  YouTube on Oct. 21, 2019 which shows two men taking several wooden figures of the primitive artwork of Our Lady from the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, with the exhibition, “Amazon: Common Home.” It is located near the Vatican. They threw the artwork into the Tiber River. 
 These figures used at many events of the Vatican’s Amazon Synod. Some have considered them as images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and others say they depict the indigeneous religious figure “Pachamama.” 

A Vatican spokesmen have characterized them as symbols of “life.” They were stolen from the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina. The Church is in the immediate area of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica and has been the location of events. 

In the video the men throw the figures from the side of the Sant’Angelo Bridge into the Tiber River. At a news conference Oct. 21, Paolo Ruffini, head of Vatican communications, said it was a “stunt.”  Ruffini also said that throwing the statues “is a gesture that seems to me to contradict the spirit of dialogue that should always animate everything.” “I don’t know what else to say. It was a theft...”
 In the caption beneath the second video, it says the action was taken “for only one reason: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his Blessed Mother and everybody who follows Christ are being attacked by members of our own Church. We do not accept this!...”  the caption continues.  The Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazon Region is a meeting on ministry of the Church in the Amazon. It is taking place at the Vatican until Oct. 27. 

Latest from the Amazon Synod - Presentation of the draft of the Final Document - Theme of integral Ecology - Full Video


Amazon Synod: Presentation of the draft of the final document
The 14th General Congregation of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region took place on the morning of Monday, 21 October, in the presence of Pope Francis. One hundred eighty-four Synod Fathers were in the Hall for the session. The Synod concludes on Sunday, 27 October.
By Vatican News

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the Relator General, presented the draft of the final document of the Synod for the Amazon to participants in the Synod Hall on Monday morning. The text, which gathers together the fruits of the interventions presented during the work, will now go to the small groups for discussion in a “collective manner”.

The program for the coming days
Amendments will be inserted into the final document by the Relator General and the Special Secretaries, with the help of experts. Then the text will be revised by the editorial committee; and on Friday afternoon, the document will be read in the Hall on Friday afternoon, in the course of the 15th General Congregation. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, at the 16th General Congregation, the Synod Fathers will vote on the document.

The homily of Archbishop Héctor Cabrejos Vidarte
Monday’s session began as usual with Mid-Morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. The homily was delivered by Archbishop Héctor Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, Mexico, who also serves as President of CELAM (the Latin American Episcopal Council). He invited those present to look to the example of Saint Francis and his “Canticle of the Creatures”. “For St Francis”, Archbishop Trujillo said, “beauty is not a question of aesthetics, but of love, of fraternity at any cost, of grace at any cost”. The Saint of Assisi, he said, “embraces all creatures with a love and a devotion never seen, speaking to them of the Lord and exhorting them to praise Him. In this sense, Francis came to be the originator of the medieval sentiment for nature”.

To know, to recognise, restore
Archbishop Trujillo said that three words – “to know, to recognise, to restore” – have marked “the rhythm” of the spiritual journey of the Poor Man of Assisi; that is, to know the Supreme Good, to recognise his benefits, and render praise to Him. If for Saint Francis, sin is an appropriation “only of the will but also of the good” that the Lord works in human beings; praise, on the contrary, means restitution. “Human beings”, Archbishop Cabrejos Vidarte said, “are unable to praise God as they should, because sin has wounded the filial relationship” with the Lord.

God, the Father of all persons, and all things
It is for creatures, then, as St Francis states in the “Canticle”, to carry out the work of mediation to bring praise to God. In fact, creatures can fill the void created by human beings, who are unable, on account of sin, to worthily offer praise. “Saint Francis discovers in God the place of Creation,” the Archbishop said, “and restores Creation to God, because he sees in Him not only the Father of all persons, but also the Father of all things”.

The morning session was closed by a special guest who focused on the theme of integral ecology, particularly in relation to climate change. Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

“Pact of the Catacombs” Renewed by group of Synod Fathers in Catacombs of Domitilla - Pact of the Poor and Servant Church


A group of Synod Fathers renews the “Pact of the Catacombs”
Following in the footsteps of some of the Council Fathers in 1965, a group of participants in the Synod on the Amazon goes to the Catacombs of Domitilla to reaffirm the preferential option for the poor.
By Vatican News

On 16 November 1965, just a few days before the closing of the Second Vatican Council, forty-two Council Fathers celebrated Mass in the Catacombs of Domitilla, to ask God for the grace “to be faithful to the spirit of Jesus” in the service of the poor. After the celebration of the liturgy, they signed the “Catacombs’ Pact of the Poor and Servant Church”. Later, more than 500 Council Fathers added their names to the pact.

Following in the footsteps of the Council Fathers, tracing out new paths
More than 50 years later, the legacy of those Council Fathers was taken up by a group of participants in the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region, which is focused on the theme “New paths for the Church and for an integral ecology”. Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the General relator for the Synod, presided at Mass in the catacombs, after which the Synod Fathers present signed a new “Pact of the Catacombs for the Common Home. For a Church with an Amazonian face, poor and servant, prophetic and Samaritan”.

Cardinal Hummes: the Synod is a conciliar fruit
In his homily, Cardinal Hummes recalled that the Catacombs were ancient cemeteries where Christians buried their martyrs: "This", he said, "is truly holy ground". This place, he added, reminds us of the early times of the Church: difficult times, marked by persecution but also by much faith. The Church, Cardinal Hummes said, "must always return to its roots here and in Jerusalem".

The Synod, the Cardinal then affirmed, is a fruit of the Second Vatican Council. New ways are being sought to carry out the mission of proclaiming the Word. The great evils of the world, he then stressed, are due to the money that feeds corruption, conflict, lies. The Church, Cardinal Hummes concluded, must always be "praying".
The Pact of the Catacombs for the Common Home
In the document signed on Sunday, the participants of the Synod on the Amazon recall that they share the joy of living among many indigenous peoples, inhabitants of river banks, migrants and suburban communities. With them, they experienced “the power of the Gospel that works in the smallest”. “The encounter with these peoples”, the document says, “challenges us and invites us to a simpler life of sharing and gratuitousness”. The signatories of the document commit themselves to “renewing the preferential option for the poor”, to abandoning “every type of colonist mentality and posture” and to proclaiming “the liberating novelty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. They also undertake to recognize “the ecclesial ministries already existing in the communities” and to seek “new paths of pastoral action”.

Other commitments in the "Pact of the Catacombs for the Common Home" include pledges "to walk ecumenically with other Christian communities" and "to assume before the avalanche of consumerism a happily sober lifestyle". The signatory fathers also promise to recognize "the ecclesial ministries that already exist in the communities" and to seek "new paths of pastoral action".
"Aware of our frailty, of our poverty and smallness in the face of such great and serious challenges", the signers state, "we commit ourselves to the prayer of the Church".
Full Text + Image Source: VaticanNews.va 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, October 21, 2019 - #Eucharist


Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 473

Reading 1ROM 4:20-25

Brothers and sisters:
Abraham did not doubt God's promise in unbelief;
rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God
and was fully convinced that what God had promised
he was also able to do.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
But it was not for him alone that it was written
that it was credited to him;
it was also for us, to whom it will be credited,
who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
who was handed over for our transgressions
and was raised for our justification.

Responsorial PsalmLUKE 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R.(see 68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

AlleluiaMT 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
"Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me."
He replied to him,
"Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?"
Then he said to the crowd,
"Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one's life does not consist of possessions."

Then he told them a parable.
"There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, 'What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?'
And he said, 'This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, "Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!"'
But God said to him,
'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?'
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God."