Monday, November 18, 2019

Saint November 19 : St. Mechtilde a Benedictine Nun from Germany who directed choir and had a voice like a nightingale


St. Mechtilde
BENEDICTINE

Born:
1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony
Died:
19 November, 1298

Benedictine; born in 1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony; died in the monastery of Helfta, 19 November, 1298. She belonged to one of the noblest and most powerful Thuringian families, while here sister was the saintly and illustrious Abbess Gertrude von Hackeborn. Some writers have considered that Mechtilde von Hackeborn and Mechtilde von Wippra were two distinct persons, but, as the Barons of Hackeborn were also Lords of Wippra, it was customary for members of that family to take their name indifferently from either, or both of these estates. So fragile was she at birth, that the attendants, fearing she might die unbaptized, hurried her off to the priest who was just then preparing to say Mass. He was a man of great sanctity, and after baptizing the child, uttered these prophetic words: "What do you fear? This child most certainly will not die, but she will become a saintly religious in whom God will work many wonders, and she will end her days in a good old age." When she was seven years old, having been taken by her mother on a visit to her elder sister Gertrude, then a nun in the monastery of Rodardsdorf, she became so enamoured of the cloister that her pious parents yielded to her entreaties and, acknowledging the workings of grace, allowed her to enter the alumnate. Here, being highly gifted in mind as well as in body, she made remarkable progress in virtue and learning.
Ten years later (1258) she followed her sister, who, now abbess, had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta given her by her brothers Louis and Albert. As a nun, Mechtilde was soon distinguished for her humility, her fervour, and that extreme amiability which had characterized her from childhood and which, like piety, seemed hereditary in her race. While still very young, she became a valuable helpmate to Abbess Gertrude, who entrusted to her direction the alumnate and the choir. Mechtilde was fully equipped for her task when, in 1261, God committed to her prudent care a child of five who was destined to shed lustre upon the monastery of Helfta. This was that Gertrude who in later generations became known as St. Gertrude the Great. Gifted with a beautiful voice, Mechtilde also possessed a special talent for rendering the solemn and sacred music over which she presided as domna cantrix. All her life she held this office and trained the choir with indefatigable zeal. Indeed, Divine praise was the keynote of her life as it is of her book; in this she never tired, despite her continual and severe physical sufferings, so that in His revelations Christ was wont to call her His "nightingale". Richly endowed, naturally and supernaturally, ever gracious, beloved of all who came within the radius of her saintly and charming personality, there is little wonder that this cloistered virgin should strive to keep hidden her wondrous life. Souls thirsting for consolation or groping for light sought her advice; learned Dominicans consulted her on spiritual matters. At the beginning of her own mystic life it was from St. Mechtilde that St. Gertrude the Great learnt that the marvellous gifts lavished upon her were from God.
Only in her fiftieth year did St. Mechtilde learn that the two nuns in whom she had especially confided had noted down the favours granted her, and, moreover, that St. Gertrude had nearly finished a book on the subject. Much troubled at this, she, as usual, first had recourse to prayer. She had a vision of Christ holding in His hand the book of her revelations, and saying: "All this has been committed to writing by my will and inspiration; and, therefore you have no cause to be troubled about it." He also told her that, as He had been so generous towards her, she must make Him a like return, and that the diffusion of therevelations would cause many to increase in His love; moreover, He wished this book to be called "The Book of Special Grace", because it would prove such to many. When the saint understood that the book would tend to God's glory, she ceased to be troubled, and even corrected the manuscript herself. Immediately after her death it was made public, and copies were rapidly multiplied, owing chiefly to the widespread influence of the Friars Preachers. Boccaccio tells how, a few years after the death of Mechtilde, the book of her revelations was brought to Florence and popularized under the title of "La Laude di donna Matelda". It is related that the Florentines were accustomed to repeat daily before their sacred images the praises learned from St. Mechtilde's book. St. Gertrude, to whose devotedness we owe the "Liber Specialis Gratiae" exclaims: "Never has there arisen one like to her in our monastery; nor, alas! I fear, will there ever arise another such!" -- little dreaming that her own name would be inseparably linked with that of Mechtilde. With that of St. Gertrude, the body of St. Mechtilde most probably still reposes at Old Helfta thought the exact spot is unknown. Her feast is kept 26 or 27 February in different congregations and monasteries of her order, by special permission of the Holy See.There is another honour, inferior certainly to that of sanctity, yet great in itself and worthy of mention here: the homage of a transcendent genius was to be laid at the feet of St. Mechtilde. Critics have long been perplexed as to one of the characters introduced by Dante in his "Purgatorio" under the name of Matelda. After ascending seven terraces of a mountain, on each of which the process of purification is carried on, Dante, in Canto xxvii, hears a voice singing: "Venite, benedicti patris mei"; then later, in Canto xxviii, there appears to him on the opposite bank of the mysterious stream a lady, solitary, beautiful, and gracious. To her Dante addresses himself; she it is who initiates him into secrets, which it is not given to Virgil to penetrate, and it is to her that Beatrice refers Dante in the words: "Entreat Matilda that she teach thee this." Most commentators have identified Matilda with the warrior-Countess of Tuscany, the spiritual daughter and dauntless champion of St. Gregory VII, but all agree that beyond the name the two have little or nothing in common. She is no Amazon who, at Dante's prayer that she may draw nearer to let him understand her song, turns towards him "not otherwise than a virgin that droppeth her modest eyes". In more places than one the revelations granted to the mystics of Helfta seem in turn to have become the inspirations of the Florentine poet. All writers on Dante recognize his indebtedness to St. Augustine, the Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bernard, and Richard of St. Victor. These are precisely the writers whose doctrines had been most assimilated by the mystics of Helfta, and thus they would the more appeal to the sympathies of the poet. The city of Florence was among the first to welcome St. Mechtilde's book. Now Dante, like all true poets, was a child of his age, and could not have been a stranger to a book which was so popular among his fellow-citizens. The "Purgatorio" was finished between 1314 and 1318, or 1319 --just about the time when St. Mechtilde's book was popular. This interpretation is supported by the fact that St. Mechtilde in her "Book of Special Grace" (pt. I, c. xiii) describes the place of purification under the same figure of a seven-terraced mountain. The coincidence of the simile and of the name, Matelda, can scarcely be accidental. For another among many points of resemblance between the two writers compare "Purgatorio", Canto xxxi, where Dante is drawn by Matelda through the mysterious stream with pt. II, c. ii. of the "Liber Specialis Gratiae". The serene atmosphere which seems to cling about the gracious and beautiful songstress, her virgin modesty and simple dignity, all seem to point to the recluse of Helfta rather than to the stern heroine of Canossa, whose hand was thrice bestowed in marriage. Besides, in politics Dante, as an ardent Ghibelline, supported the imperial pretensions and he would have been little inclined to sing the praises of the Tuscan Countess. The conclusion may therefore be hazarded that this "Donna Matelda" of the "Purgatorio" personifies St. Mechtilde as representing mystic theology.
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis tells Evangelization Volunteers "May your proclamation become a testimony of mercy..." Full Text


SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE SERVICE FOR THE
PARISH CELLS OF EVANGELIZATION

Paul VI Hall
Monday, November 18, 2019


Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

I'm glad you chose to return to Rome to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of your history. I thank Fr Piergiorgio Perini for the tireless work of evangelization he has accomplished in these decades. Now he can admire some fruits that the Lord has granted him with his grace. And I thank you for the testimony of 65 years of priesthood and 90 years of age! I asked him for the recipe: what does it do to be like this?

The Lord Jesus left his disciples with a challenging teaching when he told them: "I have appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide" (Jn 15:16). Go, bear fruit and stay. This is the call to which one cannot escape when one meets the Lord and is conquered by his Gospel. Of course, Jesus did not tell the disciples that they would see the fruits of their work. He only ensured that the fruits would remain. This promise also applies to us. It is human to think that after so much work we also want to see the fruit of our commitment; yet, the Gospel moves towards another direction.

Jesus did not discount his disciples when he spoke of the radical nature with which he must be followed. He told them: "When you have done all that you have been told, say:" We are useless servants. We have done what we had to do "" (Lk 17:10). However, if our effort to proclaim the Gospel is total and always finds us ready, then the perspective changes. Another parable reminds us of this, when Jesus says: "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he returns; in truth I tell you, the garments will be tightened on the sides, he will set them at the table and pass on to serve them "(Lk 12:37). We touch so many times how great and infinite is God's love for us! If we are faithful and vigilant, then He grants us to see also the fruits of our work.

Your history of Evangelizing Parish Cells can easily be inscribed in this context. The fruitfulness of your commitment is reflected in the multiplication of cells that are now present in many parts of the world. Never tire of following the paths that the Spirit of the Risen Lord puts before you. Do not hold back any fear of the new, and do not slow down your steps the difficulties that are inevitable in the way of evangelization. When one is a missionary disciple, then enthusiasm can never fail! In the effort, support the prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter; in weakness, you feel the strength of the community that never allows you to be left to yourself.

Our parishes are invaded by many initiatives, where often, however, there is no deep impact on people's lives. You too are entrusted with the task of reviving, especially in this period, the life of our parish communities. This will be possible insofar as they become, above all, a place to listen to the Word of God and celebrate the mystery of his death and resurrection. Only from here can we think that the work of evangelization becomes effective and fruitful, capable of bearing fruit. Unfortunately, for many reasons, many have moved away from our parishes. It is therefore urgent that we recover the need for the meeting to reach people where they live and work. If we have encountered Christ in our lives, then we cannot just keep it for ourselves. It is crucial that we share this experience also with others; this is the main road to evangelization.

Don't forget: every time you meet someone, you play a true story that can change a person's life. And this is not proselytizing, it is giving witness. It has always happened this way. When Jesus, passing along the shore of the lake, saw Peter, Andrew, James and John who were working, he fixed his eyes on them and transformed their lives (see Lk 5: 1-11). The same thing is repeated also in our days, when the encounter is the fruit of Christian love, it changes life because it reaches the hearts of people and touches them in depth. May your proclamation become a testimony of mercy, with which it is clear that any attention given to one of the youngest is made towards Jesus himself who identifies with them (see Mt 25:40).

I accompany you with my blessing and I ask you please do not forget to pray for me. Thanks.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va

Quote to SHARE by St. Alphonsus Liguori "Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him...as to the dearest and most loving of friends."


"Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends."
St. Alphonsus Liguori

Wow Pope Francis blesses Palace for the Poor a 4-storey Vatican property as new Night and Day Care Center for Homeless - Watch Video


Friday of Mercy: Pope blesses ‘Palace’ for the Poor
Pope Francis inaugurates the new Night and Day Care Center for homeless people near St. Peter’s Square, as part of his Friday of Mercy initiative.
By Devin Watkins

A Palace for the Poor: That’s what Pope Francis blessed on Friday afternoon, just ahead of the World Day of the Poor.

The 4-storey Vatican property sits in a prestigious location right off the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square. It still carries the name of the Roman family that built it in the 1800s: Palazzo Migliori – “Palace of the Best”.

Acquired by the Vatican in the 1930s, the building was recently vacated by a congregation of religious sisters.

Pope Francis personally directed his Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, to turn it into a place where the homeless and poor of Rome can sleep, eat, and learn.

The charitable operation is staffed and run by the Sant’Egidio Community.

Space for all
In a communique, Cardinal Krajewski described how the palace is to be used.

The upper two floors are dormitories where around 50 men and women can sleep, though it is able host more when Roman temperatures plummet and the need is greater.

Those guests are offered breakfast and supper in the refectory on the 2nd floor.

Volunteers will also be able to use the kitchen to prepare hot meals to be distributed in the evenings to the homeless who find shelter at one of Rome’s train stations.

During the day, the bottom two floors provide space for volunteers to teach those in need to use the computer. There is also space for reading, recreation, and psychological counseling.

The construction company that renovated the “Palace of the Best” employed a group of homeless people – at the Vatican’s urging.

The company was so impressed by their work ethic that it hired them!
FULL TEXT Source: VaticanNews.va

#BreakingNews Most Violent Night in Hong Kong as Police trap University Students - links to Tiananmen Square - Please Pray!


Police take PolyU. Student: We don't want another Tiananmen
by Paul Wang
Many students and activists arrested. Clashes took place all night and yesterday. At 2 am this morning, Msgr. Joseph Ha and some democratic parliamentarians tried to get the police and students to talk, but without success. The Hong Kong Supreme Court decrees that the anti-mask law is unconstitutional. The articles of the People's Daily.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - In the early hours of this morning, around 5.30 am, the Hong Kong police entered the PolyU (Polytechnic University) after a day of siege, arresting dozens of students, former students and activists of the anti-extradition movement .

A few hours earlier, a student had told the media: "We don't want to see another 8964 [June 4, 1989, the date of the Tiananmen massacre] here in Hong Kong or even at the PolyU, our second home."

Throughout the day yesterday the police had tried to enter the university occupied by about 500 people, who had also managed to block the traffic of the nearby Crossing Harbor Tunnel, the underwater tunnel that connects the Kowloon peninsula with the island of Hong Kong, one of the most important arteries in the area.

Law enforcement agencies used tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and in some parts deadly bullets. The occupants defended themselves with stones, Molotov cocktails, and in recent days even with arrows and catapults.

Around 2 am, Msgr. Joseph Ha, Auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, together with some parliamentarians from the Democratic group and members of the PolyU tried to dialogue with the police commander to find a peaceful solution to the siege (photo n. 3). But the policemen, blinding them with the spotlights, warned them: "Go away. This is a warning. " The group led by Msgr. Ha tried to enter the university from other entrances, but was always thrown back by the police.

Even members of the social workers' union tried to talk to the police, but it was useless.

The police pointed out that it was not a "raid" on the university, but a "dispersal operation and arrests" against "a large band of rioters" who threw Molotov cocktails against the police and burned objects.

Meanwhile, in these very hours, the Supreme Court of Hong Kong has decreed that the emergency law that prohibits people from wearing masks in public "is unconstitutional": it gives a power to the chief executive that is not provided by the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s the mini-constitution.

The law was introduced last October 5 by the head of the executive Carrie Lam, exploiting a regulation of the colonial time that gave power to the governor in moments of "public danger". The aim was to stop participation in demonstrations, where the demonstrators, in fear of being recognized by the police, wore masks. With it the police had the power to arrest masked people and to fine them. The measure was useless: many demonstrators challenged the ban, marching in the streets and wearing masks of different shapes.

In China, nationalist and anti-Hong Kong propaganda continues. Yesterday the "People's Daily" reported an article stating that what is going on in the territory is now a battle for life or death ", between "subversion and anti-subversion" movements and that it is no longer permissible to stand by and watch as  "Hong Kong drowns".

Today, the same newspaper, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party, says that there is no more room for the "compromise" in the fight against the protests, which it claims aim to destroy the "One nation, two systems" principle.
Full Text Source: AsiaNewsIT

Pope Francis to Group on Interreligious dialogue that there is an "....urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures. "


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCISTO PARTICIPANTS AT THE MEETING PROMOTED BY THE"INSTITUTO PARA EL DIALOGO INTERRELIGIOSO DE LA ARGENTINA" (IDI)
Clementine Hall
Monday, 18 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen:
I am happy to welcome all of you who are taking part in the meeting focusing on the document: “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, signed in Abu Dhabi last 4 February.
I thank all the organizers of this meeting, promoted by His Excellency Mr. Rogelio Pfirter, ambassador of the Argentine Republic to the Holy See, under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and in collaboration with the Institute of Interreligious Dialogue of Buenos Aires.
I am pleased to note that this document, which is universal in nature, is also being disseminated in the Americas. I am convinced that the particularity and sensitivity of different countries and continents can truly contribute to a detailed reading of this Document and to a greater and more effective understanding of the message it conveys.
As I said during the World Conference of Human Fraternity: “There is no alternative: we will either build the future together or there will not be a future. Religions, in particular, cannot renounce the urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures. The time has come when religions should more actively exert themselves, with courage and audacity, and without pretence, to help the human family deepen the capacity for reconciliation, the vision of hope and the concrete paths of peace” (4 February 2019). Our religious traditions are a necessary source of inspiration to foster a culture of encounter. It is fundamental for there to be interreligious cooperation, based on the promotion of sincere and respectful dialogue that goes towards unity without confusion, maintaining identities. But a unity that transcends the mere political pact. Once, at the beginning of last February, a very wise man, a very wise European politician, told me about this document: “it goes beyond the methodology of the pact to maintain balance and peace, which is very good, but these documents go further”. And he gave me this example: “let us think of the end of the Second World War, let us think of Yalta; in Yalta a balance was struck in order to break the impasse, a balance that was weak but possible. The cake was shared, and a period of peace was maintained, but these documents, this attitude that goes towards dialogue among the transcendent, creates fraternity, surpasses pacts, surpasses the political; it is political in that it is human, but it surpasses this, it transcends this, it makes it nobler”. This is the way. And meanwhile, yes, at the political level, doing what can be done, because it is also important.
The world observes us, believers, to see what our attitude is to the common home and to human rights; it also asks us to collaborate among ourselves and with men and women of good will who do not profess any religion, so that we may give effective responses to the many scourges in our world, such as war, hunger, the poverty that afflicts millions of people, the environmental crisis, violence, corruption and moral degeneration, the crisis of the family and of the economy and, above all, the lack of hope.
The intention of the Document is to adopt: the culture of dialogue as a way; common collaboration as conduct; mutual knowledge as a method and criterion. From now on it can be affirmed that religions are not a closed system that cannot be changed, but with their own identity. And this is the key: identity cannot be negotiated, because if you negotiate identity there is no dialogue, there is submission. With their own identity, they are in motion.
Fraternity is a complex human reality, to which one must pay attention and treat with delicacy. When God asks us: “Where is your brother?”, the first question on fraternity that is in the Bible, “Where is your brother?” no one may answer: “I do not know” (cf. Gen 4: 9). Then different questions arise: How can we take care of each other in the one human family in which we are all brothers? How can we nurture a fraternity so that it is not theoretical and so that it translates into fraternity? How can we make the inclusion of the other prevail over exclusion in the name of belonging? What can we do so that religions are channels of fraternity instead of barriers of division? A little history should alarm us: religious wars, Christians, let us think of the last thirty years, even if we just think of Saint Bartholomew’s Eve. If one does not feel a little alarmed inside, one should wonder why.
It is important to demonstrate that we believers are a factor of peace for human societies, and that we will thus respond to those who unjustly accuse religions of fomenting hatred and being the cause of violence. In today’s precarious world, dialogue among religions is not a sign of weakness. It finds its own raison d'être in God’s dialogue with humanity. It is about changing historical attitudes. A scene from The Song of Roland comes to me as a symbol, when the Christians defeat the Muslims and put them all in line in front of the baptismal font, and one with a sword. And Muslims had to choose between baptism or the sword. That is what we Christians did. It was a mentality that today we cannot accept, nor understand, nor can it work anymore. Beware of the fundamentalist groups: everyone has his own. In Argentina too there is a little fundamentalist corner. And let us try, with fraternity, to go forward. Fundamentalism is a scourge and all religions have some kind of fundamentalist first cousin there, which forms a group.
I hope that this Message of Fraternity will be received by the international community, for the good of the whole human family, which must move from simple tolerance to true coexistence and peaceful coexistence. Keep up the good work.
And please do not forget to pray for me, as I need it. Thank you.


Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) new President Archbishop Richard Gagnon


Bishops Elect New CCCB Executive and Bring 2019 Plenary Assembly to a Close
Saturday, September 28 2019

Cornwall, Ontario – The Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) elected the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg, as its next President, and the Most Reverend Raymond Poisson, Bishop of St-Jérôme, as its next Vice President.

Archbishop Richard Gagnon succeeds the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil as President at the conclusion of the 2019 Plenary Assembly. Archbishop Gagnon, was born in 1948 in Lethbridge, Alberta. After seminary studies at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1983 for the Archdiocese of Vancouver. He was named Bishop of Victoria in 2004 and appointed Archbishop of Winnipeg in October 2013. He has served from 2007 to 2008 on the CCCB Permanent Council as the regional representative of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops and from 2017 to 2019 as the CCCB Vice-President.


The newly elected Vice President, Bishop Raymond Poisson, was born in Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Rouville, Québec, on 30 April 1958. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil on 9 December 1983. On 1 May 2012, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Saint-Jérôme and ordained Auxiliary Bishop in Saint-Jérôme on 15 June 2012. On 7 September 2015, he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Joliette and installed on 4 November 2015. On 18 May 2018, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Saint-Jérôme. He assumed the pastoral governance of the Diocese on 20 May 2019.
The incoming Executive Committee also includes two Co-Treasurers: from the English Sector, for a second term, the Most Reverend William McGrattan, Bishop of Calgary, and from the French Sector, for a first term, the Most Reverend Pierre Goudreault, Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière.

As part of the regular proceedings of the meeting, the Bishops were presented with two reports pertaining to the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development and Peace-Caritas Canada (Development and Peace). The reports, one concerning the joint partnership review and the second concerning the organizational review, were received and discussed during the Plenary Assembly. While the reports mark a significant milestone in the process toward the conclusion of these initiatives, the Bishops continue to discern questions related to these reports.

The meeting concluded with the presentations of various reports from, among others, the Canadian Appeal Tribunal, the Regional Assemblies, Northern Bishops, the Eastern Churches, and the Military Ordinariate of Canada.

At the close of the meeting, the bishops agreed to reconvene in one year's time for the 2020 Plenary Assembly from September 21 to 25, 2020.
Source - CCCB

Pope Francis to World Food Programme "...each human being has a right to healthy and sustainable nutrition." Full Text


MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE OPENING OF THE SECOND REGULAR SESSION
OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD OF THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME

To Mr David M. Beasley
Executive Director of the World Food Programme
On the occasion of the opening of the second regular session of the World Food Programme, I am pleased to greet Mr David M. Beasley, Executive Director, and Ambassador Hisham Mohamed Badr, current President of the Executive Board, together with all members and participants.
At the beginning of this new session, you are seeking to formulate practical initiatives aimed at making more effective the fight against hunger in the world. Your many projects include promoting decisive measures to eliminate food waste, a phenomenon that increasingly weighs on our conscience.
In many places, our brothers and sisters do not have access to sufficient and healthy food, while in others, food is discarded and squandered. This is what my predecessor Saint John Paul II called the paradox of abundance, which continues to be an obstacle to resolving the problem of feeding humanity (cf. Address at the Opening of the International Conference on Nutrition, 5 December 1992).
This paradox involves mechanisms of superficiality, negligence and selfishness that underlie the culture of waste. Unless we recognize this dynamic and seek to contain it, it will be difficult to honour the commitments of the Paris Agreement on climate change and realize the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Accomplishing this objective is the responsibility not only of international organizations and governments, but of everyone. Families, schools, and the communications media have an important task in educating and raising awareness in this regard. No one can be considered exempt from the need to combat this culture that oppresses so many people, especially the poor and vulnerable in society.
The World Food Programme contributes to this cause by recently launching its global campaign Stop the Waste, highlighting the fact that food waste damages the lives of many individuals and prevents the progress of peoples. If we wish to build a future where no one is left behind, we must create a present that radically rejects the squandering of food. Together, without losing time, by pooling resources and ideas, we can introduce a lifestyle that gives food the importance it deserves. This new lifestyle consists in properly valuing what mother Earth gives us, and will have an impact on humanity as a whole.
I assure you, in addition, that the Catholic Church is working to foster solidarity among all people and desires to cooperate with the World Food Programme by reaffirming that each human being has a right to healthy and sustainable nutrition.
I would like this campaign to help assist all those who in our time suffer the effects of poverty, and to demonstrate that whenever the human person is put at the centre of political and economic decisions, peace and stability are consolidated between nations, even as mutual understanding, the foundation of authentic human progress, everywhere increases.
May your commitment and dedication awaken in all people of good will the desire to build a new and better world under the banner of fraternity, justice and peace. May God bless all those who walk on this path.
From the Vatican, 18 November 2019
 FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va
Franciscus

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, November 18, 2019 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 497

Reading 11 MC 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63

[From the descendants of Alexander's officers]
there sprang a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes,
son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome.
He became king in the year one hundred and thirty seven
of the kingdom of the Greeks.

In those days there appeared in Israel
men who were breakers of the law,
and they seduced many people, saying:
"Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us;
since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us."
The proposal was agreeable;
some from among the people promptly went to the king,
and he authorized them to introduce the way of living
of the Gentiles.
Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem
according to the Gentile custom.
They covered over the mark of their circumcision
and abandoned the holy covenant;
they allied themselves with the Gentiles
and sold themselves to wrongdoing.

Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,
each abandoning his particular customs.
All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king,
and many children of Israel were in favor of his religion;
they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.

On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev,
in the year one hundred and forty-five,
the king erected the horrible abomination
upon the altar of burnt offerings
and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars.
They also burned incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.
Any scrolls of the law which they found they tore up and burnt.
Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant,
and whoever observed the law,
was condemned to death by royal decree.
But many in Israel were determined
and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean;
they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food
or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.
Terrible affliction was upon Israel.

Responsorial PsalmPS 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158

R.  (see 88) Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Indignation seizes me because of the wicked
who forsake your law.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Though the snares of the wicked are twined about me,
your law I have not forgotten.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Redeem me from the oppression of men,
that I may keep your precepts.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
I am attacked by malicious persecutors
who are far from your law.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Far from sinners is salvation,
because they seek not your statutes.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
I beheld the apostates with loathing,
because they kept not to your promise.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.

AlleluiaJN 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
"Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
He shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!"
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
"Son of David, have pity on me!"
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
"What do you want me to do for you?"
He replied, "Lord, please let me see."
Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you."
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

Feast November 18 : Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul - #Basilica


Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul


The Vatican Church, dedicated in honour of St. Peter, is the second patriarchal church at Rome, and in it reposes one half of the precious remains of the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul. The tombs of the great conquerors and lords of the world have been long since destroyed and forgotten; but those of the martyrs are glorious by the veneration which the faithful pay to their memory.
The body of St. Peter is said to have been buried immediately after his martyrdom, upon this spot, on the Vatican hill, which was then without the walls and near the suburb inhabited by the Jews. The remains of this apostle were removed hence into the cemetery of Calixtus, but brought back to the Vatican. Those of St. Paul were deposited on the Ostian Way, where his church now stands. The tombs of the two princes of the apostles, from the beginning, were visited by Christians with extraordinary devotion above those of other martyrs. Caius, the learned and eloquent priest of Rome, in 210, in his dialogue with Proclus the Montanist, speaks thus of them: "I can show you the trophies of the apostles. For, whether you go to the Vatican hill, or to the Ostian road, you will meet with the monuments of them who by their preaching and miracles founded this church."
The Christians, even in the times of persecution, adorned the tombs of the martyrs and the oratories which they erected over them, where they frequently prayed. Constantine the Great, after founding the Lateran Church, built seven other churches at Rome and many more in other parts of Italy. The first of these were the churches of St. Peter on the Vatican hill (where a temple of Apollo and another of Idaea, mother of the gods, before stood) in honour of the place where the prince of the apostles had suffered martyrdom and was buried and that of St. Paul, at his tomb on the Ostian road. The yearly revenues which Constantine granted to all these churches, amounted to seventeen thousand seven hundred and seventy golden pence, which is above thirteen thousand pounds sterling, counting the prices, gold for gold; but, as the value of gold and silver was then much higher than at present, the sum in our money at this day would be much greater. These churches were built by Constantine in so stately and magnificent a manner as to vie with the finest structures in the empire, as appears from the description which Eusebius gives us of the Church of Tyre; for we find that the rest were erected upon the same model, which was consequently of great antiquity. St. Peter's Church on the Vatican, being fallen to decay, it was begun to be rebuilt under Julius II in 1506, and was dedicated by Urban VIII in 1626, on this day; the same on which the dedication of the old church was celebrated The precious remains of many popes, martyrs, and other saints, are deposited partly under the altars of this vast and beautiful church, and partly in a spacious subterraneous church under the other. But the richest treasure of this venerable place consists in the relics of SS. Peter and Paul, which lie in a sumptuous vault beyond the middle of the church, towards the upper end, under a magnificent altar at which only the pope says mass, unless he commissions another to officiate there. This sacred vault is called The confession of St. Peter, or The threshold of the Apostles (SOURCE:The Catholic Encyclopedia