Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Saint December 4 : St. Barbara who was Shut in a Tower by her Father and the Patron of Mathematicians, Miners, Military engineers, lightning, Sudden death

  Patron of:
Artillery gunners, masons, mathematicians, miners, military engineers, stonecutters, against lightning, anyone who works at risk of sudden and violent death
 Veneration of the saint was common from the seventh century. At about this date there were in existence legendary Acts of her martyrdom which were inserted in the collection of Symeon Metaphrastes and were used as well by the authors (Ado, Usuard, etc.) of the enlarged martyrologies composed during the ninth century in Western Europe. According to these narratives, which are essentially the same, Barbara was the daughter of a rich heathen named Dioscorus. She was carefully guarded by her father who kept her shut up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. An offer of marriage which was received through him she rejected. Before going on a journey her father commanded that a bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling, and during his absence Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended. When her father returned she acknowledged herself to be a Christian; upon this she was ill-treated by him and dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured and finally condemned her to death by beheading. The father himself carried out the death-sentence, but in punishment for this he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body consumed. Another Christian named Juliana suffered the death of a martyr along with Barbara. A pious man called Valentinus buried the bodies of the saints; at this grave the sick were healed and the pilgrims who came to pray received aid and consolation. The emperor in whose reign the martyrdom is placed is sometimes called Maximinus and sometimes Maximianus; owing to the purely legendary character of the accounts of the martyrdom, there is no good basis for the investigations made at an earlier date in order to ascertain whether Maximinus Thrax (235-238) or Maximinus Daza (of the Diocletian persecutions), is meant.
The traditions vary as to the place of martyrdom, two different opinions being expressed: Symeon Metaphrastes and the Latin legend given by Mombritius makes Heliopolis in Egypt the site of the martyrdom, while other accounts, to which Baronius ascribes more weight, give Nicomedia. In the "Martyrologium Romanum parvum" (about 700), the oldest martyrology of the Latin Church in which her name occurs, it is said: "In Tuscia Barbarae virginis et martyris", a statement repeated by Ado and others, while later additions of the martyrologies of St. Jerome and Bede say "Romae Barbarae virginis" or "apud Antiochiam passio S. Barbarae virg.". These various statements prove, however, only the local adaptation of the veneration of the saintly martyr concerning whom there is no genuine historical tradition. It is certain that before the ninth century she was publicly venerated both in the East and in the West, and that she was very popular with the Christian populace. The legend that her father was struck by lightning caused her, probably, to be regarded by the common people as the patron saint in time of danger from thunder-storms and fire, and later by analogy, as the protector of artillerymen and miners. She was also called upon as intercessor to assure the receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of death. An occurrence of the year 1448 did much to further the spread of the veneration of the saint. A man named Henry Kock was nearly burnt to death in a fire at Gorkum; he called on St. Barbara, to whom he had always shown great devotion. She aided him to escape from the burning house and kept him alive until he could receive the last sacraments. A similar circumstance is related in an addition to the "Legenda aurea". In the Greek and present Roman calendars the feast of St. Barbara falls on 4 December, while the martyrologies of the ninth century, with the exception of Rabanus Maurus, place it on 16 December. St. Barbara has often been depicted in art; she is represented standing in a tower with three windows, carrying the palm of a martyr in her hand; often also she holds a chalice and sacramental wafer; sometimes cannon are displayed near her.
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

Free Catholic Movie : "Grace, Guts and Glory" : Drama of #StFrancisXavier : Stars Karan Kodade

Here is the drama of GRACE, GUTS AND GLORY - The Life of St. Francis Xavier, in English 
A film on the life of Saint Francis Xavier of Goa (1506-1552), the apostle to India, Indonesia and Japan. A great miracle worker (resurrected people from the dead, communicated after death etc.) He died in China. One of the greatest Catholic saints of all times, whose body remains incorrupt (does not disintegrate) since the 16th century and is kept in the Catholic Cathedral in Goa, India. Saint Francis Xavier was Spanish Jesuit, follower of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Modern Pope Francis is also Jesuit.

Pope Francis' Message on Day of Persons with Disabilities ".. I pray that each person may feel the paternal gaze of God, who affirms his full dignity and the unconditional value of his life...." Full Text


On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we renew our gaze of faith, which sees in each brother and sister the presence of Christ Himself, Who considers every gesture of love towards one of His least brothers to have been made to Himself (cf. Gospel of Matthew 25: 40). On this occasion, I would like to recall how today the promotion of the right to participation plays a central role in combating discrimination and promoting the culture of encounter and quality of life.
Great progress has been made towards people with disabilities in the medical and welfare fields, but still today we see the presence of the throwaway culture, and many of them feel that they exist without belonging and without participating. All this calls not only for the rights of people with disabilities and their families to be protected, but it also exhorts us to make the world more human by removing everything that prevents them from having full citizenship, the obstacles of prejudice, and by promoting the accessibility of places and quality of life, taking into account of all the dimensions of the human being.
It is necessary to care for and accompany persons with disabilities in every condition of life, also making use of current technologies but without regarding them as absolute; with strength and tenderness, to take on board situations of marginalization; and to make way alongside them and to “anoint” them with dignity for an active participation in the civil and ecclesial community. It is a demanding, even tiring journey, which will increasingly contribute to forming consciences capable of recognizing that each one of us is a unique and unrepeatable person.
And let us not forget the many “hidden exiles”, who live within our homes, our families, our societies (cf. Angelus, 29 December 2013; Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 12 January 2015). I think of people of every age, especially the elderly who, also due to disabilities, are at times considered a burden, a “cumbersome presence”, and risk being discarded, of being denied concrete job prospects for the construction of their future.
We are called to recognize in every person with disabilities, even with complex and grave disabilities, a unique contribution to the common good through his or her own original life story. To acknowledge the dignity of each person, well aware that this does not depend on the functionality of the five senses (cf. Discussion with the participants in the Convention of the CEI on disability, 11 June 2016). This conversion is taught by the Gospel. It is necessary to develop antibodies against a culture that considers some lives to be “League A” and others “League B”: this is a social sin! To have the courage to give a voice to those who are discriminated against for their condition of disability, since unfortunately in some countries, still today, they are not recognized as persons of equal dignity, as brothers and sisters in humanity.
Indeed, making good laws and breaking down physical barriers is important, but it is not enough, if the mentality does not change, if we do not overcome a widespread culture that continues to produce inequalities, preventing people with disabilities from actively participating in ordinary life.
In recent years inclusive processes have been put in place and implemented, but this is still not enough, as prejudices generate, in addition to physical barriers, also limits to access to education for all, to employment and to participation. A person with disabilities, in order to build himself up, needs not only to exist but also to belong to a community.
I encourage all those who work with people with disabilities to continue with this important service and commitment, which determines the degree of civilization of a nation. And I pray that each person may feel the paternal gaze of God, who affirms his full dignity and the unconditional value of his life.
From the Vatican, 3 December 2019

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 3 December 2019

Catholic Churches in the Philippines open Doors to Victims of Typhoon as over 100,000 are Displaced

‘Tisoy’ makes churches open doors to evacuees

By CBCP News  - December 2, 2019 - Manila, Philippines - As typhoon “Tisoy” barrels towards land, parish churches in the Bicol region have opened their doors to evacuees.

Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi that churches and pastoral halls would need to serve as evacuation centers as the tropical cyclone come closer.

“For those parishes near the designated evacuation centers, kindly offer your parish/public restrooms for the use of our brothers and sisters in the evacuation centers,” he said.

Bishop Baylon also called on the parishes to help prepare for the arrival of the typhoon.

“Let us also join our government agencies, especially those in charge of disaster risk reduction and management, in helping keep our parishioners safe,” he said.

The prelate earlier issued an “obligatory prayer” that “we may be saved from disaster”.

Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres has also invited the public to join in prayers “for the safety of everyone.

State weather bureau PAGASA said that “Tisoy” is expected to make landfall in the Bicol region, specifically Sorsogon, Albay or Catanduanes between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

The typhoon carries a strength with maximum winds of 150 km/h and gustiness of up to 185 km/h, with several areas placed under Signal No. 3, while Metro Manila is already under Signal No. 2.
Full Text + Image Source: CBCP

At Mass, Pope Francis says “The Word of God sings the praises of what is small” in Homily

Pope at Mass: Today the Church praises “littleness”
The Spirit of God can only germinate in a humble heart, Pope Francis says in his homily at the daily Mass. The Holy Father says that God’s revelation always begins with “littleness”, implying trust in God rather than being closed in one oneself.
By Vatican News

In his homily at the daily Mass in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said the day’s liturgy “speaks about little things; we could say that today is the day of littleness”. The first Reading, taken from the book of the Prophet Isaiah begins with the announcement, “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him…”

“The Word of God sings the praises of what is small”, the Pope said, “and makes a promise: the promise of a shoot that will sprout. And what is smaller than a sprout?” And yet “the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him”. Pope Francis explained:

Redemption, revelation, the presence of God in the world begins like this, and is always like this. The revelation of God is made in smallness. Smallness, both humility and so many other things, but in smallness. The great seem powerful — let us think of Jesus in the desert, [and] how Satan appears powerful, the master of the whole world: “I will give you everything, if you…” The things of God, on the other hand, begin by sprouting, from a seed, little things. And Jesus speaks about this smallness in the Gospel.

Make yourself small so that the Kingdom of God might sprout
Jesus rejoices and thanks the Father because He has made known His revelation to the little ones, rather than to the mighty. Pope Francis noted that at Christmas, “We will all go to the Nativity scene, where the littleness of God” is present. And he said forcefully:

In a Christian community where the faithful, the priests, the bishops do not take this path of littleness, there is no future, it will collapse. We have seen it in the great projects of history: Christians who seek to impose themselves, with force, with greatness, the conquests… But the Kingdom of God sprouts in the small thing, always in what is small, the small seed, the seed of life. But the seed by itself can do [nothing]. And there is another reality that helps and that gives strength: “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”

The Spirit cannot enter into a proud heart
“The Spirit chooses the small, always,” the Pope said, “because He cannot enter into the great, the proud, the self-sufficient”. The Lord reveals Himself to hearts that are small.

Pope Francis gave the example of those who study religion, saying that true theology does not mean simply knowing a lot of facts; people like that, he said, could be called “encyclopedists” of theology: “They know everything, but they are incapable of doing theology because theology is done ‘on one’s knees’, making ourselves small”.

Similarly, the Pope said that a pastor, “whether he be a priest, bishop, pope, cardinal, whoever he might be, if he does not make himself small, is not a [true] pastor”, but rather an office manager.

This is true of everyone, he said, “from those who have a function that seems more important within the Church, to the poor old lady who performs works of charity in secret”.

Christian smallness does not mean being fainthearted
Pope Francis then anticipates an objection that might be made: that “littleness” might lead to faintheartedness – that is, being closed in oneself – or to fear. On the contrary, he said, “littleness is great”, precisely because it is not afraid to take risks, since it “has nothing to lose”. He explained that “littleness” leads to magnanimity, because it allows us to go beyond ourselves, knowing that God is the reason for greatness.

The Pope then turned to St Thomas Aquinas, who, in the Summa, explains how Christians, though they recognize their own littleness, must behave in the face of the challenges of the world, so as not to live as cowards. He summarizes St Thomas as saying, “Don’t be afraid of great things” — and notes that the Saint of the Day, St Francis Xavier, shows us the same thing.

“Don’t be afraid, go forward; but at the same time, take into account the smallest things, this is divine”. A Christian always starts from smallness. If in my prayer I feel that I am small, with my limits, my sins, like that publican who prayed at the back of the Church, ashamed, [saying] “Have mercy on me, a sinner”, you will go forward. But if you believe that you are a good Christian, you will pray like that Pharisee who did not go forth justified: “I give you thanks, O God, because I am great”. No, we thank God because we are small.

The concreteness of children’s confessions
Pope Francis concluded his homily by saying how much he likes to hear the confessions, especially those of children. Their confessions, he said, are very beautiful, because they talk about concrete facts. So, for example, a child might confess, “I said this word” — and then repeat it for you. The Pope described this as “the concreteness of that which is small”. This can be an example of how we should approach God: “Lord I am a sinner because I have done this, this, this, this… This is my misery, my littleness. But send your Spirit so that I might not be afraid of great things, not be afraid of you doing great things in my life”.

Source: Full Text VaticanNews.va

New Bishop of Gary, Indiana - Rev. Msgr. Robert McClory Appointed as Bishop - Rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica

Pope Francis Appoints the Rev. Msgr. Robert McClory as Bishop of Gary

November 26, 2019
WASHINGTON— Pope Francis has appointed the Reverend Monsignor Robert J. McClory as Bishop of Gary.

Monsignor McClory is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and currently serves as Rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Michigan. The appointment was publicized today in Washington, D.C, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Monsignor McClory was born October 10, 1963 in Detroit, MI, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit on May 22, 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Communications (1985) from the Oakland University, MI, a Master of Professional Studies in Economic Development (1987) from Columbia University, NY, and a Juris Doctor (1991) from University of Michigan. He practiced civil law for a major firm from 1991 until 1994.

Bishop-elect McClory attended Sacred Heart Major Seminary (1994-1995) where he pursued philosophy studies. He received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology, magna cum laude (1998) from Gregorian University in Rome, and a Licentiate of Canon Law, summa cum laude (2000) from Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum), in Rome. He was named a Chaplain to His Holiness by Pope Benedict XVI with the title of “Monsignor” in 2005.

Assignments after ordination include: Vicar, St. Isidore Parish, Macomb Township; St Therese of Lisieux Paris, Shelby Township (2000-2002); Judge of the Detroit Metropolitan Tribunal (2001-present); Administrative Secretary to Cardinal Adam J. Maida (2002-2003); Instructor in Canon Law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary (2002-present); Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit (2003-2009); Weekend Parochial Vicar at St. Blasé Parish, Sterling Heights (2004-2011); Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, Archdiocese of Detroit (2009-2018); and Pastor-Presentation/Our Lady of Victory Parish in Detroit (2011-2017). Since July 2017, he has been the Rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, MI.

Bishop-elect McClory’s other appointments include: Consultant for the Catholic Leadership Institute; and Priest-Observer, Region VI for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Diocese of Gary is in the state of Indiana and has a total population of 786,661, of which 170,203 are Catholic.

Pope Francis tells Entrepreneurs "... the fact of wanting to transform this world and save it with Christ, can sometimes lead to martyrdom.." Full Text

Clementine Hall
Monday, 2 December 2019

Ladies and gentlemen!
I am pleased to welcome you, company directors and entrepreneurs, who have come from France on a pilgrimage to become more deeply rooted in the faith, in order to bear witness to it in your personal life and professional activity. It is a joy for me to see this desire in you to follow the teachings of the Gospel; in you who hold positions of responsibility in the economic and social spheres, who are aware that you have a role to play in the future of our societies and the world, and who intend to commit yourselves in this regard.
I am well aware that it is not easy in daily life to reconcile the demands of faith and the social teaching of the Church with the needs and constraints imposed by the laws of the market and of globalization. But I believe that the evangelical values that you wish to implement in the management of your businesses, as well as in the many relationships that you have within the framework of your activities, are an opportunity for genuine and indispensable Christian witness. Indeed, for you it is a question of participating, in accordance with your status as lay faithful, in the regal service of Christ, as Vatican Council II explains when it exhorts: “By their competence in secular training and by their activity, elevated from within by the grace of Christ, [the laity] vigorously contribute their effort, so that created goods may be perfected [...] for the benefit of all men [and may they be] more equitably distributed among all men, and may they in their own way be conducive to universal progress in human and Christian freedom” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 36).
May this pilgrimage enlighten your discernment of the choices you must make: it has never been easy to be a Christian and have serious responsibilities. The fact of distancing oneself from the world – in what is contrary to God and His will – the fact of wanting to transform this world and save it with Christ, can sometimes lead to martyrdom, as attested by Saint Peter and Saint Paul. However, these glorious witnesses show us that the Gospel message of which they were bearers, a message apparently weak compared to the worldly powers of power and money, is not a utopia, but, with the power of the Holy Spirit and the support of the faith of courageous missionary disciples, can become a reality, a reality always unfinished, certainly, and to be renewed.
The conflicts of conscience in the daily decisions you have to make are – I imagine – numerous: on the one hand, the need imposed on you – often for the survival of companies, of the people who work there and of their families – to conquer markets, increase productivity, reduce delays, resort to the artifices of advertising, increasing consumption...; and on the other hand, the increasingly urgent demands of social justice, to guarantee everyone the possibility of earning a decent living. I am thinking of working conditions, wages, job offers and their stability, as well as environmental protection. How can we live out these conflicts in serenity and hope, while Christian entrepreneurs are sometimes led to silence their convictions and ideals?
A criterion for discernment may be found in the Constitution Gaudium et spes of Vatican Council II, where, with regard to the laity engaged in temporal realities, it is said: “It is generally the function of their well-formed Christian conscience to see that the divine law is inscribed in the life of the earthly city; from priests they may look for spiritual light and nourishment. Let the layman not imagine that his pastors are always such experts, that to every problem which arises, however complicated, they can readily give him a concrete solution, or even that such is their mission. Rather, enlightened by Christian wisdom and giving close attention to the teaching authority of the Church, let the layman take on his own distinctive role” (43).
In the Encyclical Laudato si', to which I refer you to nurture your prayer and your reflection, a certain evaluation is made of the situation in the world, of certain systems that regulate its economic activities, with their consequences for people and the environment. It is an evaluation which may seem at times severe, but which leads – I believe – to a cry of alarm at the deterioration of our common home, as well as at the multiplication of poverty and slavery which innumerable human beings know today. Everything is connected.
Faced with this reality, and being actors, as far as you are concerned, in the systems in question, you certainly do not have an immediately effective response to give to the challenges of today’s world. In this, you may sometimes feel powerless. And yet you have an essential role to play. Because, even in a modest way, in some concrete changes of habits and style, whether in relationships with your direct collaborators, or even better in the dissemination of new corporate cultures, it is possible for you to take action to change things tangibly and, little by little, to educate the world of work in a new style.
You also have the opportunity to get together, to work together, to make proposals at all levels, to participate in political decisions. As the recent Synod on the Amazon highlighted, it is a question of effecting a “conversion”. Conversion is a process that acts in depth: perhaps a slow process, seemingly, especially when it comes to converting mentalities, but the only one that allows real progress, if implemented with conviction and determination through concrete actions.
Finally, this “ecological conversion” cannot be separated from spiritual conversion, which is its indispensable condition. And everyone must turn to his own conscience and responsibility. “Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption” (Encyclical Laudato si', 222). I invite you, already in your personal life, to commit yourselves to this path of simplicity and sobriety (cf. ibid.); the decisions you have to take in your work can only be freer and more serene, and you yourselves will draw greater peace and joy from them. Because “simplicity … allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack” (ibid.).
Thank you again for your visit. I assure you of my prayers for you, for your families, for your companies and their staff, and I entrust all of you to the care of the Virgin Mary. And I ask you please to pray for me. Thank you!

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Lectionary: 176
Reading 1 IS 11:1-10
On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land's afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra's den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial PsalmPS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
R.(see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 10:21-24
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
"I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
"Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."