Thursday, December 5, 2019

Saint December 6 : Saint Nicholas the Patron of Children, Sailors, Prostitutes, Thieves - The Real #SantaClaus




BISHOP, PATRON OF CHILDREN
Born:
270, Patara, LyciaDied:
6 December 343, Myra, Lycia
Major Shrine:
Basilica di San Nicola, Bari, Italy.
Patron of:
Children, sailors, fishermen, merchants, the falsely accused, pawnbrokers, prostitutes, repentant thieves, many cities.
Prayer: O blessed Saint, we honor you, 
 On this great festal day. Hail Nicholas the faithful say, Apostle of the Way. As you helped those who round you came; 
 May we your presence feel, As our commitment is the same Answering Love's appeal.
The father poor, the three young girls, 
Young men to life restored. Sailors can rest, the sea is blessed, Your miracles record.
In prison dark, your faith was strong; Help those who suffer wrong, We heed your words, the gospel call, To hail Christ, Lord of all.
As Bari's pilgrims make their way To sing of your great name, The wonder myrrh of Myra still Proclaims your loving fame.
Lead us dear saint, in joy and peace,
Your prayers we now implore, As we praise God, the Father, Son And Spirit blest adored. 
 Today, December 6, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (died 346), the inspiration for many of our current secular Christmas traditions. This great saint is the most frequently depicted saint in art (only Our Blessed Mother surpasses him), and the veneration and honor he is given throughout the world are testimonials to his holiness and of the glory which he enjoys with God.
Little is known about the life of Saint Nicholas. That which is most reliable comes from a monk, Saint Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who wrote a biography of Saint Nicholas approximately 500 years after his death. In his “life,” Saint Methodius tells us that that "Up to the present the life of this distinguished Shepard has been unknown to the majority of the faithful." He then describes the extraordinary events of the life of Saint Nicholas. The truth of many of these legends is unknown, but each speaks to a man of great faith.
From this and other works, we know with certainty that when the See of Myra lost it’s bishop, Nicholas was chosen to fill the vacancy. There, he was recognized for his extraordinary piety, apostolic zeal, and became famous for working astonishing miracles.
Nicholas was born at Patara in Lycia (Asia Minor), and demonstrated great piety and faith from an early age. For example, we are told that he fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays, taking only nourishment in the evenings. Per his biography, "He was exceedingly well brought up by his parents and trod piously in their footsteps. The child, watched over by the church enlightened his mind and encouraged his thirst for sincere and true religion".
Sadly, Nicholas’ parents died when he was still young, and taking his considerable inheritance, devoted himself to works of charity. One of his most “famous” charitable acts is thought to have inspired the giving of Christmas gifts: A citizen of Patara, where he lived, had lost all of his money. This honorable man had three daughters to support, and could not find suitable husbands because of their poverty. Upon hearing of this situation, Nicholas took a bag of gold, and in the night, threw the bag in the open window of the man’s house. (Some say that the gold—also sometimes referred to as gold balls, rather than bags, landed in the socks and shoes of the family, drying before the fire. This led to the tradition of hanging stockings to be filled.) The man, using the money as dowry, promptly found a suitable suitor for his eldest daughter, who was married. Nicholas repeated the act twice more, once for each remaining daughter. However, the man kept watch, and upon recognizing Nicholas, was overcome with gratitude and thanks. From this, we see Saint Nicholas as a holy man, charitable, and giving of himself to others.
Nicholas soon departed Patara, traveling to the city of Myra where his uncle was the Archbishop. There, he was ordained, and appointed the Superior of a monastery. Upon the death of his uncle, Nicholas was appointed the new bishop by the people, who were certain that he had been chosen by the Lord. Around that time, the Diocletian persecutions of Christians were beginning, and "As he was the chief priest of the Christians of this town and preached the truths of faith with a holy liberty, the divine Nicholas was seized by the magistrates, tortured, then chained and thrown into prison with many other Christians. But when the great and religious Constantine, chosen by God assumed the imperial diadem of the Romans, the prisoners were released from their bonds and with them the illustrious Nicholas, who when he was set at liberty returned to Myra." Saint Nicholas protected his flock against the heresies common in that time. He was likely present at the Council of Nicaea, where some legend tells of him striking Arius (the originator of the Arian heresy) and being imprisoned, only to be freed by visions of Jesus and Mary. Saint Nicholas also fought valiantly against paganism, destroying pagan temples throughout the region with “evil spirits fleeing, howling before him.” But Saint Nicholas did not limit himself to the spiritual affairs of his people. He served as protector and guardian, advocating for prisoners, and famously freeing three innocent men wrongly condemned to death by the governor, Eustathius. Upon freeing the men, Nicholas incessantly reproached the governor—in front of a large crowd—until he admitted his wrong-doing and became sincerely penitent. Saint Nicholas later miraculously freed three men from a distance, appearing to Emperor Constantine and demanding their release in a dream. The next morning, when the imprisoned men called upon the name of Saint Nicholas for intercession, the emperor freed them, sending them back to the great saint with a letter asking for no more threats, but for peace in the world. For this, Saint Nicholas is regarded as the patron of prisoners and captives. Additional miracles reported at the intercession of Saint Nicholas include the raising to life three young boys who were killed and hidden in pickling barrels to avoid detection (For this, he is the patron and protector of children), and the calming of stormy seas by his word upon voyages to the Holy Land. It is this latter miracle—during which he appeared to frightened sailors off the coast of Lycea, that led his patronage of sailors. Sailors in the Aegean and Ionian seas, following a common Eastern custom, had their "star of Saint Nicholas" and wished one another a good voyage in the phrase "May Saint Nicholas hold the tiller.”
Under the rule of Emperor Diocletian, Nicholas was imprisoned for his faith, but refused to recant, and was eventually freed upon the death of the Emperor. He is recorded as makinga "glorious confession" of the faith to his jailors, converting many.
Saint Nicholas died at Myra, and is buried there in the basilica named for him. At Myra "the venerable body of the bishop, embalmed as it was in the good ointments of virtue exuded a sweet smelling myrrh, which kept it from corruption and proved a health giving remedy against sickness to the glory of him who had glorified Jesus Christ, our true God." During the Saracen occupation, the relics of Saint Nicholas were translated to Bari, Italy. The translation of the relics did not interrupt this phenomenon, and the "manna of St. Nicholas" is said to flow to this day. This “manna”-- a unique relic which forms in his grave, is a liquid substance said to have healing powers. It was one of the great attractions which draws pilgrims to his tomb from all parts of Europe.
An anonymous Greek wrote in the tenth century that, "the West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him. Wherever there are people, in the country and the town, in the villages, in the isles, in the furthest parts of the earth, his name is revered and churches are built in his honor. Images of him are set up, panegyrics preached and festivals celebrated. All Christians, young and old, men and women, boys and girls, reverence his memory and call upon his protection. And his favors, which know no limit of time and continue from age to age, are poured out over all the earth; the Scythians know them, as do the Indians and the barbarians, the Africans as well as the Italians."
As a bishop, Saint Nicholas, was first and foremost a shepherd of the people, caring for their needs. His active pursuit of justice for his people was demonstrated when he secured grain in time of famine, saved the lives of three men wrongly condemned, and secured lower taxes for Myra. He taught the Gospel simply, so ordinary people understood, and he lived out his faith and devotion to God in helping the poor and all in need. Regardless of the accuracy of the legends and miracles reported in his name, the life and deeds of Saint Nicholas, and the attitude with which he praised the Lord, make him an inspiration to us today. As we move through Advent, toward Christmas, let us emulate Saint Nicholas in our care and concern for the welfare of others.
O God, Who didst adorn blessed Nicholas,
the bishop, with miracles unnumbered, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayer we may be delivered from the fire of hell. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Text Shared from 365Rosaries Blog

Pope Francis' December Prayer Intention for "The future of children...especially the future of children who are suffering today."


Pope's December prayer intention: for "The future of the very young".
In his prayer intention for the month of December 2019, Pope Francis calls "Let us to pray that every country decides to take necessary measures to make the future of children a priority, especially the future of children who are suffering today."

The full text of the Pope's intention:
Every child who is marginalized, abused, abandoned, without schooling, or
without medical care, is a cry that rises up to God.

In each of them is Christ, who came to our world as a defenseless child; it is
Christ who looks at us through the eyes of each of these children.

Let us prayer that every country decides to take necessary measures to make the
future of children a priority, especially the future of children who are suffering.
Source: VaticanNews.va

#BreakingNews 2 Priests Killed in Car Accident and 2 other Priests Critically Injured in South Africa


On December 3, 2019 two priests were killed and two injured in a car accident.
Fr Owen Wilcock and Fr Sibusiso Zulu, were killed in a car accident on the N1 on December 3. Fr John Masilo Selemela and Fr Ricardo Smuts were injured in the crash.

Rev. Fr. Owen Wilcock, (pic left) of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth, was ordained on the 3rd of December 1995. He commenced at St. Jean Vianney Seminary on January 2018 and was the Finance Administrator & Moral Theology Lecturer. 
Rev. Fr. Sbusiso Francis Zulu, of the Diocese of Eshowe, was ordained on the 15th of December 2001. He commenced at SJV on October 2017 and was the Dean of Students & HOD of Pastoral Department. (Source: http://sjv.ac.za/formators/)


The Secretariat of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Fr Masilo Selemela, rector of St John Vianney Seminary, was “critically injured”, together with Fr Ricardo Smuts.


 Sr Hermenegild Makoro CPS, the secretary-general of the bishops’ conference had the fiduciary duty to relay the sad news to the bishops.

May the souls of Fr Sibusiso Zulu and Fr Owen Wilcock rest in peace.
May Fr Ricardo Smuts and Fr Masilo Selemela find healing that only God can give.
Report information from the Southern Cross

At Mass, Pope Francis explains "Changing my life requires changing the foundations of my life, that is, finding the Rock that is Christ" in Homily


Pope at Mass: We base our lives on Christ, not on appearances
In his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis reminds us that our lives are built upon the “eternal Rock”, who is the Lord, and in Him we find happiness.
By Vatican News

Taking his cue from the Gospel at Mass on Thursday (Mt 7:21), Pope Francis urged Christians to sink the foundations of their lives into Christ, rather than relying on the shifting sands of appearances.

In the Gospel, Jesus compares the wise person who built his house on rock with the fool who built his house on sand. Those who listen to the words of the Lord are wise, while those who refuse to do so live like fools and base everything on appearances, the Pope said.

The Lord is the eternal Rock
Pope Francis said these two contrasting attitudes regard our hopes and dreams, adding that we need God’s grace to discern where we sink our foundations.

“The Rock. That’s what the Lord is. Those who entrust themselves to the Lord will always remain safe, because their foundations are sunk into the Rock. That’s what Jesus says in the Gospel. He speaks about a wise man who built his house on rock, that is, on trust in the Lord and on serious things. And this trust is a noble thing, because the foundation of this building of our lives is sure and strong.”

Appearances disappear
The wise man, continued the Pope, built on the rock, while the fool chose “the shifting sands” and is blown away by winds and rain.

“Even in our own lives it can happen, when my foundations are not strong. The storm comes – and we all have storms in our lives, all of us – and we are unable to stand firm. Many say: ‘No, I’ll change my life.’ They think making life changes is like putting on makeup. Changing my life requires changing the foundations of my life, that is, finding the Rock that is Christ. ‘I would like to renovate this building because it’s extremely ugly, so I would like to make it a little more beautiful and strengthen the foundation.’ But if all I do is put on makeup, then things won’t go far; it will fall. Christian life falls when based on appearances.”

Discern between rock and sand
Jesus, said Pope Francis, is the only sure foundation, while appearances are of no assistance.

He gave the example of the confessional. Only those who recognize they are sinners, weak, and in need of salvation, he said, show that their life is built on rock, and that they believe and trust in Jesus as the source of salvation.

So Pope Francis urged us to convert our lives to what does not crumble and blow away.

“We cannot build our lives on passing things, on appearances, on acting like everything is going fine. We go to the rock, where our salvation awaits. And there we will all – each one of us – be happy.”
Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va 

Wow 5,000 people in Sydney, Australia walk in Eucharistic Procession and Archbishop proclaims Jesus is Substantially present - Video

The Catholic Weekly reported that thousands of Catholics took to the streets of Sydney to participate in the annual Walk with Christ.
Image : The Walk With Christ by Photo: G Portelli, The Catholic Weekly
This year’s annual Eucharistic procession – held to coincide with the Feast of Christ the King – drew a crowd of more than 5000 faithful.

Many of the city’s streets came to standstill as the large procession led by the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, made its away along the 1.5km route from St Patrick’s Church Hill to St Mary’s Cathedral for benediction with hymns, incense and prayers to bless all inhabitants of the city.


Eucharistic processions are an ancient and revered sacramental devotion within the Catholic faith.

The practice of devotion in the Sydney Archdiocese was resurrected in the early 2000s and has been a positive and popular source of unity for the Sydney Catholic community ever since.

Usually held to coincide with the Feast of Corpus Christi, this year’s procession was delayed until today, due to the Australian bishops being in Rome in June for the ad limina.


As the huge crowd made its way along Pitt Street up to Hunter Street they loudly prayed the rosary and sang hymns as passersby stopped to watch.

One participant, Bernice Wong with her children from St Francis Assisi School Paddington, said it was a fabulous occasion and great to witness for Catholics coming together in such huge numbers and proclaiming the faith as one.

“I think it’s a great experience for our children to witness the faith here,” said Ms Wong.


Friends Angela Finnigan and Jill Dillon, from the Lay Carmelite community in Ashfield described it as a wonderful positive demonstration of our faith.

“I think the Blessed Sacrament walking through this city is a blessing for this country and city,” said Ms Finnigan. “It is not a negative story but a positive demonstration of our faith.”

“We want to show the city that so many people still love Christ and the Church,” said Ms Dillon.

Archbishop Fisher re-iterated the power of the Eucharist as the fulcrum of the Christian faith in his homily to the faithful in the Cathedral forecourt.

“The Blessed Sacrament is no mere theory, word, symbol, or custom – important as those things are – no it is a person: Jesus Christ, our Universal King; really, substantially present to us, body and soul flesh and blood humanity and divinity,” he said.

“[Christ in the Eucharist] is the centre from whom the whole of our faith and life flows with ever increasing centrifugal force. This is why we gather every year with Christ and take him out into the streets of Sydney and bless the city with his presence.

“We turn to Him in this time in the history of our church in Australia – where Christianity is threatened in many ways.

“It is this sacrament that marks Christianity out from all other faiths, philosophies and ideologies – that God is really with us; as one of us and for us; a whole and entire well spring of love for which out identity and mission and endeavours flow.”

David James Marthana of St Joseph’s Riverwood, a devoted attendee since the Walk with Christ inception, spoke on the message of Christ in the Eucharist being a message of peace.


“The Eucharistic procession here today is a message of peace – peace to the world. The message of Jesus is of peace,” Mr Marthana said.


“In society now it is frowned upon for to express your faith- especially for young people like myself- so its motivating to share the faith here with friends,” said Miss Jee.

It is certain that many blessings for Sydney will ensue.
Edited from the Catholic Weekly of Australia

Pope Francis says the Nativity "...is a genuine way of communicating the Gospel, in a world that sometimes seems to be afraid to remember what Christmas really is.." Full Text


GREETINGS OF THE HOLY FATHER
TO THE DELEGATIONS WHO DONATED THIS YEAR’S
CHRISTMAS TREE AND NATIVITY SCENE IN SAINT PETER'S SQUARE
Paul VI Audience Hall
Thursday, 5 December 2019

Dear brothers and sisters!
I am pleased to welcome you on the day on which the Nativity display and the Christmas tree, set up in Saint Peter’s Square, are presented, bound together by the common memory of the storm last autumn that devastated many areas of the Triveneto. I greet all of you, beginning with my brother bishops, whom I thank for their words. I express my deep gratitude to the civil authorities, who have supported the gift of these two Christmas religious symbols. They express the affection of the people of the provinces of Trent, Vicenza and Treviso, in particular of some localities located in the territories of the dioceses of Trent, Padua and Vittorio Veneto.
Today’s meeting offers me the opportunity to renew my encouragement to your people, who last year suffered a devastating natural disaster, with the destruction of entire wooded areas. These are events that alarm us, they are warning signs that creation sends us, and that ask us to take effective decisions immediately for the protection of our common home.
Tonight the lights that adorn the tree will be switched on. It will remain next to the Nativity display until the end of the Christmas holidays, and both will be admired by the many pilgrims from all over the world. Thank you, dear friends, for these gifts, and also for the smaller trees destined for other areas of the Vatican. I have learned with pleasure that, in place of the plants removed, 40 firs will be replanted to replenish the forests seriously damaged by the storm of 2018. The spruce you wished to donate represents a sign of hope, especially for your forests, so that they may be cleaned up as soon as possible to enable the work of reforestation to begin.
The Nativity display, made almost entirely of wood and composed of architectural elements characteristic of the Trentino tradition, will help visitors to enjoy the spiritual richness of the Nativity of the Lord. The wooden trunks from the areas affected by the storms, which serve as a backdrop to the landscape, underline the precariousness in which the Holy Family found itself on that night in Bethlehem. The artistic nativity scene of Conegliano, located in the Paul VI Hall, will also help us to contemplate the humble grotto where the Saviour was born.
As you know, a few days ago I was in Greccio to visit the place where Saint Francis made the first nativity scene. From there I published a Letter on the Nativity display, which is a simple and wonderful sign of our faith and is not lost: indeed, it is good that it is handed down from parents to children, from grandparents to grandchildren. It is a genuine way of communicating the Gospel, in a world that sometimes seems to be afraid to remember what Christmas really is, and erases the Christian signs, keeping only trivial and commercial images.
Dear friends, I wish with all my heart that you, your fellow citizens and all the inhabitants of your Regions, will spend the Nativity of the Lord in serenity and fraternity. May the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Son of God into the weakness of human nature, help us to contemplate Him in the face of those who suffer, and may she support us in our commitment to be in solidarity with the weakest and most fragile people. I bless you from the heart, and I ask you please to pray for me. Thank you!

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 5 December 2019

Important International Conference on Persecution of Christians in Hungary which shows 250 million Christians are victims today


Budapest hosted a gathering of over 600 people with Christian clerics as well as politicians for a “world congress,” the second one the Orbán government organized. The Hungarian government claims that today 250 million Christians are victims of persecution and oppression worldwide, including in Europe. Here are a few comments from the speeches of Hungarian politicians and experts on the state of Christianity in the world. 
According to Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, “one needs courage to openly talk about the fate of Christians,” and those who accepted the invitation to the congress showed “extraordinary courage.” Szijjártó recalled that in the past year 2,625 Christians were arrested without any legal grounds. Attacks on Christian churches numbered more than 1,200. 
From Szijjártó’s speech it became clear that the Orbán regime defines “Christian phobia” and “hatred of Christians” in the broadest possible sense.  Hungarian politicians consider intolerance of the Christian set of religious beliefs to be “persecution.” Most of the speeches of Hungarian politicians indicated that the Hungarian government’s latest foray into the defense of Christianity includes a large dose of criticism of Western Europeans who refuse to join Hungary in its effort to eradicate Christian persecution at home and abroad.
How can this task be achieved?
  Gergely Gulyás had formulated an answer saying: “Understanding the impact of the persecution of Christians on society as a whole, in space and in time, required the work of knowledgeable, highly qualified scientists and practitioners, exploring geopolitical and religious diplomacy, and finding appropriate solutions.”
Naturally, Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister and the chief spokesman of the interests of the Hungarian Catholic Church, was present. The persecution of Christians “begins when in the West a teacher is being vilified because she wears a small cross.” There is only “one Christian persecution, which has more sophisticated and more brutal forms.” The vilification of the teacher is thus just as much persecution as is the murder of a Christian because of his faith. Semjén pointed out that in Hungary “it is the duty of all state organs to defend Christian culture, which by now is stated in the new constitution.” Semjén also noted that in the last ten years the Hungarian state built or renovated 3,000 churches, and he promised that “not one church will become a shopping center or a mosque” as far as Hungary is concerned.
In the keynote speech by Viktor Orbán, he claimed that “our language is unique; our songs, our literature, and our dances are peculiar to us.” 

Pope Francis to Academies speaks on "... how Mariology is a necessary presence of dialogue between cultures, capable of nurturing fraternity and peace." Full Text


MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE XXIV SOLEMN PUBLIC SITTING
OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES



To the Venerable Brother
Cardinal GIANFRANCO RAVASI
President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
and of the Coordinating Council of Pontifical Academies

I address you on the occasion of the 24th Solemn Public Session of the Pontifical Academies, a circumstance that characterizes, thanks to the reform desired by Saint John Paul II in 1995, the journey of the seven Academies gathered in the Coordinating Council, chaired by you, and which finds in the awarding of the Prize a not secondary moment of their commitment to the service of theology, culture and pastoral life of the Church. I offer my cordial greetings to the Cardinals, the Bishops, the Ambassadors, the members of the Academies and all the friends present.

The Academy is a place where knowledge becomes service, because without a knowledge that comes from collaboration and results in cooperation there is no genuinely and integrally human development. The Academy is, in its own field, an experience and a model of synodality. It is also a force of evangelization, which belongs to the present of the Church and of her mission (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 83). And the award that I have the pleasure of giving today is intended as an invitation to celebrate the ever fruitful bond between the Gospel and culture.

This XXIV edition was organized by the Pontifical Academy Mariana Internationalis, which this year celebrates the 60th anniversary of its establishment, by Saint John XXIII, on 8 December 1959. I am delighted with Rev. P. Stefano Cecchin and the respective Academics, for their commitment in promoting Mariological science and fostering authentic Marian piety. This Academy thus becomes a similar place to the "House of Mary", where Jesus grew "in age, wisdom and grace" (Lk 2:46), and where the Virgin, as a welcoming mother and caring bride, teaches to be a Living "cenacle".

The theme chosen for this Public Session, "Mary, the way of peace between cultures", ideally summarizes the journey of these sixty years. The dramatic experience of the two world wars led Pius XII to show, in the sign of the Assumption, a beacon of peace to restless and frightened humanity. The Second Vatican Council, then, indicated in the Mother of the Lord the model of a Church "teacher in humanity", to serve the deepest aspirations of the human heart.

In St. Paul VI the bond between the Blessed Virgin and the believing people resonates loud, clear, conscious and exciting. Thus he wrote in the Marialis cultus: "To the contemporary man, not infrequently tormented between anguish and hope, prostrated by the sense of his limits and assailed by aspirations without boundaries, troubled in the soul and divided in the heart, with the mind suspended by the enigma of death, oppressed by loneliness while tending towards communion, prey to nausea and boredom, the Blessed Virgin Mary, contemplated in her evangelical history and in the reality she already possesses in the City of God, offers a serene vision and a word reassuring: the victory of hope over anguish, of communion over solitude, of peace over disturbance, of joy and beauty over boredom and nausea, of eternal perspectives over temporal ones, of life over death "(n. 57).

Saint John Paul II made sure that the Mother of the Redeemer became a motive and inspiration for a renewed encounter and a renewed fraternity as ways of access for the Church and the world in the new millennium. For this reason, he wanted Mariology to have the due role in university theological education and in the dialogue between knowledge. He also hoped that Mariology would enter into the crucial questions of our time.

Finally, Benedict XVI urged scholars to further investigate the relationship between Mariology and theology of the Word. "From this - he said - it will be of great benefit both for the spiritual life and for theological and biblical studies. In fact, what the intelligence of faith has thematized in relation to Mary is placed in the most intimate center of Christian truth "(Esort. Ap. Postsin. Verbum Domini, 27).

The Pontifical Academy Mariana Internationalis accompanied the universal Magisterium of the Church with the research and coordination of Mariological studies; with the International Mariological-Marian Congresses, of which the 25th will be celebrated next year; collaborating with various ecclesiastical and lay study centers; and, finally, through cooperation with various academic institutions. These commitments are a clear testimony of how Mariology is a necessary presence of dialogue between cultures, capable of nurturing fraternity and peace.
Wishing, therefore, to promote and encourage theological research, and particularly that aimed at studying Mariological themes in greater depth, I am pleased to award the Prize of the Pontifical Academies, ex aequo, to Dr. Carme López Calderón, for the work Grabados de Augsburgo for a cycle emblemático portugués. Los azulejos de la iglesia of the convent of Jesús de Setúbal, and to the Reverend dr. Ionuț-Cătălin Blidar, for the study entitled Immaculate humanity of Mary - icon of the logos of God, fulfillment of the chosen lineage and fruit of the tree of the cross. An ecumenical approach to the Greek-Latin immaculatist Mariology (II-XIV century). Furthermore, I am pleased to award the Medal of the Pontificate to the Croatian Mariological Institute.

I entrust each of you to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Tenderness, to accompany you on your personal and academic journey. With all my heart I impart a special Apostolic Blessing to all of you and your families and communities.

From the Vatican, 4 December 2019

Francis

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, December 5, 2019 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 178
Reading 1IS 26:1-6
On that day they will sing this song in the land of Judah:

"A strong city have we;
he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.
Open up the gates
to let in a nation that is just,
one that keeps faith.
A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
in peace, for its trust in you."

Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.
Responsorial PsalmPS 118:1 AND 8-9, 19-21, 25-27A
R.(26a)  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This gate is the LORD's;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaIS 55:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call him while he is near.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 7:21, 24-27

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined."