Thursday, December 12, 2019

Saint December 13 : St. Lucy : Patron of Blind; Martyrs; Epidemics; Salesmen, Throat infections

Born:284, Syracuse
Died:304, Syracuse
Major Shrine:San Geremia, Venice
Patron of:blind; martyrs; epidemics; salesmen, throat infections
A virgin and martyr of Syracuse in Sicily, whose feast is celebrated by Latins and Greeks alike on 13 December. According to the traditional story, she was born of rich and noble parents about the year 283. Her father was of Roman origin, but his early death left her dependent upon her mother, whose name, Eutychia, seems to indicate that she came of Greek stock.
Like so many of the early martyrs, Lucy had consecrated her virginity to God, and she hoped to devote all her worldly goods to the service of the poor. Her mother was not so single-minded, but an occasion offered itself when Lucy could carry out her generous resolutions. The fame of the virgin-martyr Agatha, who had been executed fifty-two years before in the Decian persecution, was attracting numerous visitors to her relics at Catania, not fifty miles from Syracuse, and many miracles had been wrought through her intercession. Eutychia was therefore persuaded to make a pilgrimage to Catania, in the hope of being cured of a hæmorrhage, from which she had been suffering for several years. There she was in fact cured, and Lucy, availing herself of the opportunity, persuaded her mother to allow her to distribute a great part of her riches among the poor.
The largess stirred the greed of the unworthy youth to whom Lucy had been unwillingly betrothed, and he denounced her to Paschasius, the Governor of Sicily. It was in the year 303, during the fierce persecution of Diocletian. She was first of all condemned to suffer the shame of prostitution; but in the strength of God she stood immovable, so that they could not drag her away to the place of shame. Bundles of wood were then heaped about her and set on fire, and again God saved her. Finally, she met her death by the sword. But before she died she foretold the punishment of Paschasius and the speedy termination of the persecution, adding that Diocletian would reign no more, and Maximian would meet his end. So, strengthened with the Bread of Life, she won her crown of virginity and martyrdom.
This beautiful story cannot unfortunately be accepted without criticism. The details may be only a repetition of similar accounts of a virgin martyr's life and death. Moreover, the prophecy was not realized, if it required that Maximian should die immediately after the termination of his reign. Paschasius, also, is a strange name for a pagan to bear. However, since there is no other evidence by which the story may be tested, it can only be suggested that the facts peculiar to the saint's story deserve special notice. Among these, the place and time of her death can hardly be questioned; for the rest, the most notable are her connexion with St. Agatha and the miraculous cure of Eutychia, and it is to be hoped that these have not been introduced by the pious compiler of the saint's story or a popular instinct to link together two national saints. The story, such as we have given it, is to be traced back to the Acta, and these probably belong to the fifth century. Though they cannot be regarded as accurate, there can be no doubt of the great veneration that was shown to St. Lucy by the early church. She is one of those few female saints whose names occur in the canon of St. Gregory, and there are special prayers and antiphons for her in his "Sacramentary" and "Antiphonary". She is also commemorated in the ancient Roman Martyrology. St. Aldhelm (d. 709) is the first writer who uses her Acts to give a full account of her life and death. This he does in prose in the "Tractatus de Laudibus Virginitatis" (Tract. xliii, P.L., LXXXIX, 142) and again, in verse, in the poem "De Laudibus Virginum" (P.L., LXXXIX, 266). Following him, the Venerable Bede inserts the story in his Martyrology.
With regard to her relics, Sigebert (1030-1112), a monk of Gembloux, in his "sermo de Sancta Lucia", says that he body lay undisturbed in Sicily for 400 years, before Faroald, Duke of Spoleto, captured the island and transferred the saint's body to Corfinium in Italy. Thence it was removed by the Emperor Otho I, 972, to Metz and deposited in the church of St. Vincent. And it was from this shrine that an arm of the saint was taken to the monastery of Luitburg in the Diocese of Spires--an incident celebrated by Sigebert himself in verse.
The subsequent history of the relics is not clear. On their capture of Constantinople in 1204, the French found some of the relics in that city, and the Doge of Venice secured them for the monastery of St. George at Venice. In the year 1513 the Venetians presented to Louis XII of France the head of the saint, which he deposited in the cathedral church of Bourges. Another account, however, states that the head was brought to Bourges from Rome whither it had been transferred during the time when the relics rested in Corfinium.
SEE Also: 
Novena to St. Lucy - Patron of Blind - SHARE #Prayers to #StLucy
https://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2018/12/novena-to-st-lucy-patron-of-blind-share.html
St. Lucy Crown Recipe - Special Sweet Bread - Easy to make #StLucy - SHARE - #Recipe

Pope Francis at Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe says "Mary is our Mother, she is Mother of our peoples, she is Mother of all of us, she is Mother of the Church..." Full Text


OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
HOLY MASS FOR LATIN AMERICA

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Today's celebration, the biblical texts we have heard, and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that reminds us of the Nican mopohua, suggest three adjectives for her: lady-woman, mother and mestizo.

Maria is a woman. She is a woman, she is a lady, as Nican mopohua says. Woman with the manor of woman. It is presented as a woman, and is presented with a message from another, that is, it is a woman, lady and disciple. Saint Ignatius liked to call her Our Lady. And it is that simple, does not pretend otherwise: she is a woman, a disciple.

Christian piety throughout the ages always sought to praise it with new titles: they were filial titles, titles of the love of the people of God, but they did not touch that woman-disciple being at all.

St. Bernard told us that when we talk about Mary, praise, praise titles are never enough, but they did not touch that humble discipleship of her at all. Disciple.

Faithful to his Master, who is his Son, the only Redeemer, he never wanted to take anything from his Son. He never introduced himself as co-redeemer. No, disciple.

And some Holy Father says that discipleship is more worthy than motherhood. Matters of theologians, but disciple. He never stole anything from his Son, he served it because he is a mother, he gives his life in the fullness of time, as we hear that Son born of a woman.

Mary is our Mother, she is Mother of our peoples, she is Mother of all of us, she is Mother of the Church, but she is also a figure of the Church. And she is the mother of our heart, of our soul. Some Holy Father says that what is said about Mary can be said, in her own way, of the Church, and in her own way, of our soul. Because the Church is feminine and our soul has that ability to receive grace from God, and in a sense the Fathers saw it as feminine. We cannot think of the Church without this Marian principle that extends.

When we seek the role of women in the Church, we can go by way of functionality, because women have functions to fulfill in the Church. But that leaves us halfway.

The woman in the Church goes further, with that Marian principle, that "maternalizes" the Church, and transforms her into the Holy Mother Church.

Mary woman, Mary mother, without another essential title. The other titles — think of the Litanian latanies — are titles of children in love who sing to the Mother, but do not touch the essentiality of Mary's being: woman and mother.

And third adjective that I would say looking at her, she wanted us mixed race, she mixed up. But not only with Juan Dieguito, with the people. He was mixed to be the Mother of all, he was mixed with humanity. Why? Because she mixed God. And that is the great mystery: Mary Mother mestizo, God, true God and true man, in her Son.

When we come with stories that we had to declare this, or do this other dogma or this, do not get lost in nonsense: Mary is a woman, she is Our Lady, Mary is the Mother of her Son and the Holy Mother hierarchical Church and Mary is mestizo, woman of our peoples, but who mestizo, God.

Let him speak to us as he spoke to Juan Diego from these three titles: with tenderness, with feminine warmth and with the proximity of miscegenation. So be it.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe - Powerful Prayers with Chaplet and Special Prayer written by St. Pope John Paul II

Miraculous Prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe
Beautiful Virgin of Guadalupe, I ask you on behalf of all my brothers and sisters of the world that you bless us and protect us. Give us proof of your love and kindness. Oh pure Virgin of Guadalupe, give me through your Son, forgiveness for my sins, blessings for my job, cure for my diseases and needs, and all that you deem necessary I ask for my family. Oh Mother of God, do not disdain the pleas we present to you in our needs. Amen.

Prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe by Pope John Paul II
O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church! You, who from this place reveal your clemency and your piety to all those who ask for your protection; hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.
Mother of mercy, teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love.
We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities, and our sorrows.
Grant peace, justice, and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother.
We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church: Hold us always with your loving hand.
Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the bishops, that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls.
Contemplate this immense harvest, and interced with the Lord that He may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole People of God, and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious, strong in the faith and zealous dispensers of God's mysteries.
Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.
Our hope, lookk upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus and, if we fall, help us to rise again, to return to Him, by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the sacrament of Penance, which gives peace to the soul.
We beg you to grant us a great love for all the holy sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left us on earth.
Thus, most holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which comes to us from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe
First DayDearest Lady of Guadalupe, fruitful Mother of holiness, teach me your ways of gentleness
and strength. Hear my humble prayer offered with heartfelt confidence to beg this favor....
(name your intention)Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Second DayO Mary, conceived without sin, I come to your throne of grace to share the fervent
devotion of your faithful Mexican children who call to you under the glorious Aztec title
of Guadalupe. Obtain for me a lively faith to do your Son's holy will always: May His
will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Third DayO Mary, whose Immaculate Heart was pierced by seven swords of grief, help me to walk
valiantly amid the sharp thorns strewn across my pathway. Obtain for me the strength to
be a true imitator of you. This I ask you, my dear Mother.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Fourth DayDearest Mother of Guadalupe, I beg you for a fortified will to imitate your divine Son's
charity--to always seek the good of others in need. Grant me this, I humbly ask of you.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Fifth DayO most holy Mother, I beg you to obtain for me pardon of all my sins, abundant graces to
serve your Son more faithfully from now on, and lastly, the grace to praise Him with you
forever in heaven.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Sixth DayMary, Mother of vocations, multiply priestly vocations and fill the earth with religious
houses which will be light and warmth for the world, safety in stormy nights. Beg your
Son to send us many priests and religious. This we ask of you, O Mother.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Seventh DayO Lady of Guadalupe, we beg you that parents live a holy life and educate their children
in a Christian manner; that children obey and follow the directions of their parents; that
all members of the family pray and worship togeter. This we ask of you, O Mother.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Eighth DayWith my heart full of the most sincere veneration, I prostrate myself before you,
O Mother, to ask you to obtain for me the grace to fulfill the duties of my state in life
with faithfulness and constancy.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be
Ninth DayO God, You have been please to bestow upon us unceasing favors by having placed us
under the special protection of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Grant us, Your humble
servants, who rejoice in honoring her today upon earth, the happiness of seeing her face
to face in heaven.
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory be

Dearest Lady of Guadalupe, fruitful Mother of Holiness, teach me your ways of gentleness and strength. Hear my prayer, offered with deep-felt confidence to beg this favor...(mention your intentions here).
O Mary, conceived without sin, I come to your throne of grace to share the fervent devotion of your faithful Mexican children who call to thee under the glorious Aztec title of "Guadalupe"--the Virgin who crushed the serpent.
Queen of Martyrs, whose Immaculate Heart was pierced by seven swords of grief, help me to walk valiantly amid the sharp thorns strewn across my pathway. Invoke the Holy Spirit of Wisdom to fortify my will to frequent the Sacraments so that, thus enlightened and strengthened, I may prefer God to all creatures and shun every occasion of sin.
Help me, as a living branch of the Vine that is Jesus Christ, to exemplify His divine charity always seeking the good of others. Queen of Apostles, aid me to win souls for the Sacred Heart of my Saviour. Keep my apostolate fearless, dynamic, and articulate, to proclaim the loving solicitude of Our Father in heaven so that the wayward may heed His pleading and obtain pardon, through the merits of your merciful Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chaplet of Our Lady of Guadalupe
On the Crucifix:Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mystical Rose, make intercession for our Holy Church, protect the sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke you in their necessities, and since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most Holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, of burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.
1 Our Father, 4 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
First Apparition: Our Lady of Guadalupe appears to Juan Diego the first time. Our Lady requests a temple in her honor.
1 Our Father, then Meditation: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Queen and my Mother, I thank you for your first apparition to Juan Diego when you revealed that you are the Most Pure Virgin, Mary. Mother of the true God and Mother of all mankind, I thank you for your requesting a temple to be built where you stood, to bear witness to your love, your compassion, your aid, and your protection for all who would love you, trust you, and invoke your help.
3 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
Second Apparition: Our Lady of Guadalupe appears to Juan Diego a second time.
1 Our Father, then Meditation: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Queen and my Mother, I thank you for your second apparition to Juan Diego when, upon his return from the Bishop's house, he knelt in humiliation and defeat before you since he was unable to accomplish your mission. I thank you for the courage and encouragement you gave to Juan Diego to make a second appeal to the Bishop.
3 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
Third Apparition: Our Lady of Guadalupe promises a sign to Juan Diego for the Bishop.
1 Our Father, then Meditation: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Queen and my Mother, I thank you for your third apparition to Juan Diego when after this unsuccessful attempt to have a temple built, you said to him, "So be it, son. Return tomorrow in order that you may secure for the Bishop the sign for which he has asked. When this is in your possession, he will believe you; he will no longer doubt your word and suspect your good faith. Be assured that I shall reward you for all that you have undergone."
3 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
Fourth Apparition: Our Lady of Guadalupe fulfills her promise by showing herself on the tilma of Juan Diego.
1 Our Father, then Meditation: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Queen and my Mother, I thank you for your fourth apparition to Juan Diego when you ordered him to pick the roses he would find on the summit of the hill and bring them to you. I thank you for arranging them in his tilma when you said, "this cluster of roses is the sign you shall take to the Bishop. You are to tell him in my name that in this he will recognize my will and that he must fulfill it. You are my ambassador, wholly worthy of confidence. Only in the presence of the Bishop shall you unfold your mantle and disclose that which you carry." I thank you for your image printed on the tilma which appeared when the roses were released.
3 Hail Mary's, 1 Glory Be
Closing Prayer: Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother, to you I come, before you I kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Pope Francis on World Day of Peace "It requires us to set aside every act of violence in thought, word and deed, whether against our neighbours or against God’s creation." Full Text


MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE
FRANCIS
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
53rd WORLD DAY OF PEACE
1 JANUARY 2020

PEACE AS A JOURNEY OF HOPE:
DIALOGUE, RECONCILIATION AND ECOLOGICAL CONVERSION

1. Peace, a journey of hope in the face of obstacles and trial
Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family. As a human attitude, our hope for peace is marked by an existential tension that makes it possible for the present, with all its difficulties, to be “lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey”.[1] Hope is thus the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable.
Our human community bears, in its memory and its flesh, the scars of ever more devastating wars and conflicts that affect especially the poor and the vulnerable. Entire nations find it difficult to break free of the chains of exploitation and corruption that fuel hatred and violence. Even today, dignity, physical integrity, freedom, including religious freedom, communal solidarity and hope in the future are denied to great numbers of men and women, young and old. Many are the innocent victims of painful humiliation and exclusion, sorrow and injustice, to say nothing of the trauma born of systematic attacks on their people and their loved ones.
The terrible trials of internal and international conflicts, often aggravated by ruthless acts of violence, have an enduring effect on the body and soul of humanity. Every war is a form of fratricide that destroys the human family’s innate vocation to brotherhood.
War, as we know, often begins with the inability to accept the diversity of others, which then fosters attitudes of aggrandizement and domination born of selfishness and pride, hatred and the desire to caricature, exclude and even destroy the other. War is fueled by a perversion of relationships, by hegemonic ambitions, by abuses of power, by fear of others and by seeing diversity as an obstacle. And these, in turn, are aggravated by the experience of war.
As I observed during my recent Apostolic Journey to Japan, our world is paradoxically marked by “a perverse dichotomy that tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust, one that ends up poisoning relationships between peoples and obstructing any form of dialogue. Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation. They can be achieved only on the basis of a global ethic of solidarity and cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole human family of today and tomorrow”.[2]
Every threatening situation feeds mistrust and leads people to withdraw into their own safety zone. Mistrust and fear weaken relationships and increase the risk of violence, creating a vicious circle that can never lead to a relationship of peace. Even nuclear deterrence can only produce the illusion of security.
We cannot claim to maintain stability in the world through the fear of annihilation, in a volatile situation, suspended on the brink of a nuclear abyss and enclosed behind walls of indifference. As a result, social and economic decisions are being made that lead to tragic situations where human beings and creation itself are discarded rather than protected and preserved.[3] How, then, do we undertake a journey of peace and mutual respect? How do we break the unhealthy mentality of threats and fear? How do we break the current dynamic of distrust?
We need to pursue a genuine fraternity based on our common origin from God and exercised in dialogue and mutual trust. The desire for peace lies deep within the human heart, and we should not resign ourselves to seeking anything less than this.
2. Peace, a journey of listening based on memory, solidarity and fraternity
The Hibakusha, the survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are among those who currently keep alive the flame of collective conscience, bearing witness to succeeding generations to the horror of what happened in August 1945 and the unspeakable sufferings that have continued to the present time. Their testimony awakens and preserves the memory of the victims, so that the conscience of humanity may rise up in the face of every desire for dominance and destruction. “We cannot allow present and future generations to lose the memory of what happened here. It is a memory that ensures and encourages the building of a more fair and fraternal future”.[4]
Like the Hibakusha, many people in today’s world are working to ensure that future generations will preserve the memory of past events, not only in order to prevent the same errors or illusions from recurring, but also to enable memory, as the fruit of experience, to serve as the basis and inspiration for present and future decisions to promote peace.
What is more, memory is the horizon of hope. Many times, in the darkness of wars and conflicts, the remembrance of even a small gesture of solidarity received can lead to courageous and even heroic decisions. It can unleash new energies and kindle new hope in individuals and communities.
Setting out on a journey of peace is a challenge made all the more complex because the interests at stake in relationships between people, communities and nations, are numerous and conflicting. We must first appeal to people’s moral conscience and to personal and political will. Peace emerges from the depths of the human heart and political will must always be renewed, so that new ways can be found to reconcile and unite individuals and communities.
The world does not need empty words but convinced witnesses, peacemakers who are open to a dialogue that rejects exclusion or manipulation. In fact, we cannot truly achieve peace without a convinced dialogue between men and women who seek the truth beyond ideologies and differing opinions. Peace “must be built up continually”;[5] it is a journey made together in constant pursuit of the common good, truthfulness and respect for law. Listening to one another can lead to mutual understanding and esteem, and even to seeing in an enemy the face of a brother or sister.
The peace process thus requires enduring commitment. It is a patient effort to seek truth and justice, to honour the memory of victims and to open the way, step by step, to a shared hope stronger than the desire for vengeance. In a state based on law, democracy can be an important paradigm of this process, provided it is grounded in justice and a commitment to protect the rights of every person, especially the weak and marginalized, in a constant search for truth.[6] This is a social undertaking, an ongoing work in which each individual makes his or her contribution responsibly, at every level of the local, national and global community.
As Saint Paul VI pointed out, these “two aspirations, to equality and to participation, seek to promote a democratic society… This calls for an education to social life, involving not only the knowledge of each person’s rights, but also its necessary correlative: the recognition of his or her duties with regard to others. The sense and practice of duty are themselves conditioned by the capacity for self-mastery and by the acceptance of responsibility and of the limits placed upon the freedom of individuals or the groups”.[7]
Divisions within a society, the increase of social inequalities and the refusal to employ the means of ensuring integral human development endanger the pursuit of the common good. Yet patient efforts based on the power of the word and of truth can help foster a greater capacity for compassion and creative solidarity.
In our Christian experience, we constantly remember Christ, who gave his life to reconcile us to one another (cf. Rom 5:6-11). The Church shares fully in the search for a just social order; she continues to serve the common good and to nourish the hope for peace by transmitting Christian values and moral teaching, and by her social and educational works.
3. Peace, a journey of reconciliation in fraternal communion
The Bible, especially in the words of the Prophets, reminds individuals and peoples of God’s covenant with humanity, which entails renouncing our desire to dominate others and learning to see one another as persons, sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters. We should never encapsulate others in what they may have said or done, but value them for the promise that they embody. Only by choosing the path of respect can we break the spiral of vengeance and set out on the journey of hope.
We are guided by the Gospel passage that tells of the following conversation between Peter and Jesus: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (Mt 18:21-22). This path of reconciliation is a summons to discover in the depths of our heart the power of forgiveness and the capacity to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters. When we learn to live in forgiveness, we grow in our capacity to become men and women of peace.
What is true of peace in a social context is also true in the areas of politics and the economy, since peace permeates every dimension of life in common. There can be no true peace unless we show ourselves capable of developing a more just economic system. As Pope Benedict XVI said ten years ago in his Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, “in order to defeat underdevelopment, action is required not only on improving exchange-based transactions and implanting public welfare structures, but above all on graduallyincreasing openness, in a world context, to forms of economic activity marked by quotas of gratuitousness and communion” (No. 39).
4. Peace, a journey of ecological conversion
“If a mistaken understanding of our own principles has at times led us to justify mistreating nature, to exercise tyranny over creation, to engage in war, injustice and acts of violence, we believers should acknowledge that by so doing we were not faithful to the treasures of wisdom which we have been called to protect and preserve”.[8]
Faced with the consequences of our hostility towards others, our lack of respect for our common home or our abusive exploitation of natural resources – seen only as a source of immediate profit, regardless of local communities, the common good and nature itself – we are in need of an ecological conversion. The recent Synod on the Pan-Amazon Region moves us to make a pressing renewed call for a peaceful relationship between communities and the land, between present and past, between experience and hope.
This journey of reconciliation also calls for listening and contemplation of the world that God has given us as a gift to make our common home. Indeed, natural resources, the many forms of life and the earth itself have been entrusted to us “to till and keep” (Gen 1:15), also for future generations, through the responsible and active participation of everyone. We need to change the way we think and see things, and to become more open to encountering others and accepting the gift of creation, which reflects the beauty and wisdom of its Creator.
All this gives us deeper motivation and a new way to dwell in our common home, to accept our differences, to respect and celebrate the life that we have received and share, and to seek living conditions and models of society that favour the continued flourishing of life and the development of the common good of the entire human family.
The ecological conversion for which we are appealing will lead us to a new way of looking at life, as we consider the generosity of the Creator who has given us the earth and called us to a share it in joy and moderation. This conversion must be understood in an integral way, as a transformation of how we relate to our sisters and brothers, to other living beings, to creation in all its rich variety and to the Creator who is the origin and source of all life. For Christians, it requires that “the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them”.[9]
5. “We obtain all that we hope for”[10]
The journey of reconciliation calls for patience and trust. Peace will not be obtained unless it is hoped for.
In the first place, this means believing in the possibility of peace, believing that others need peace just as much as we do. Here we can find inspiration in the love that God has for each of us: a love that is liberating, limitless, gratuitous and tireless.
Fear is frequently a source of conflict. So it is important to overcome our human fears and acknowledge that we are needy children in the eyes of the One who loves us and awaits us, like the father of the prodigal son (cf. Lk 15:11-24). The culture of fraternal encounter shatters the culture of conflict. It makes of every encounter a possibility and a gift of God’s generous love. It leads us beyond the limits of our narrow horizons and constantly encourages us to a live in a spirit of universal fraternity, as children of the one heavenly Father.
For the followers of Christ, this journey is likewise sustained by the sacrament of Reconciliation, given by the Lord for the remission of sins of the baptized. This sacrament of the Church, which renews individuals and communities, bids us keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, who reconciled “all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20). It requires us to set aside every act of violence in thought, word and deed, whether against our neighbours or against God’s creation.
The grace of God our Father is bestowed as unconditional love. Having received his forgiveness in Christ, we can set out to offer that peace to the men and women of our time. Day by day, the Holy Spirit prompts in us ways of thinking and speaking that can make us artisans of justice and peace.
May the God of peace bless us and come to our aid.
May Mary, Mother of the Prince of Peace and Mother of all the peoples of the earth, accompany and sustain us at every step of our journey of reconciliation.
And may all men and women who come into this world experience a life of peace and develop fully the promise of life and love dwelling in their heart.
From the Vatican, 8 December 2019

Franciscus

 [1] BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi (30 November 2007), 1.
[2] Address on Nuclear Weapons, Nagasaki, Atomic Bomb Hypocenter, 24 November 2019.
[3] Cf. Homily at Lampedusa, 8 July 2013.
[4] Address on Peace, Hiroshima, Peace Memorial, 24 November 2019.
[5] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 78.
[6] Cf. BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Italian Christian Workers’ Associations, 27 January 2006.
[7] Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens (14 May 1971), 24.
[8] Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015).
[9] Ibid., 217.
[10] Cf. SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS, Noche obscura, II, 21,8.

BREAKING 2 Kidnapped Catholic Priests Released in Nigeria - Fr. Joseph Nweke and Fr. Felix Efobi without Ransom






































AFRICA/NIGERIA - Two priests kidnapped on December 6 releasedAbuja (Agenzia Fides) - Two Nigerian priests who had been kidnapped on December 6 while on their way to a wedding have been released. Fr. Joseph Nweke and Fr. Felix Efobi, of the Diocese of Awka, were on their way from the State of Anambra to Akure, the capital of the State of Ondo, when they were blocked by some armed strangers on the Benin-Owo highway. =The priests were part of a motorcade of wedding guests when the bandits blocked only their cars and then dragged them out of the cars to take them to an unknown destination.
According to witnesses, the bandits "just kidnapped the priests and left the others".
The kidnappers then demanded a ransom of 100 million Naira, but within a few days they released the priests.
According to the news sent to Fides the two priests were released along the road on the evening of 10 December. A priest from Owo went to get them. No ransom would have been paid for their release.
The kidnappings of priests and religious in southern Nigeria have been a plague for years. In the State of Enugu alone, 9 priests have so far been kidnapped this year (see Fides, 28/11/2019). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 12/12/2019)

Pope Francis says "...so many times the holiness "of the next door", of those who live near us and are a reflection of the presence of God "


SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE CAUSES OF SAINTS

Sala Clementina
Thursday, 12 December 2019


Dear brothers and sisters,

I am pleased to meet with the great family of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which carries out its work in the service of the universal Church in recognition of the holiness of those who have faithfully followed Christ. I affectionately greet Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Dicastery, and thank him for his words. I greet the Cardinals and Bishops Members; the Secretary Mons. Marcello Bartolucci, the Undersecretary, the Officials, the Consultors and the Postulators.

It is a significant occasion that motivates our meeting today: the Congregation for the Causes of Saints completes this year half a century of life. Indeed, on 8 May 1969 St. Paul VI decided to replace the Congregation of the Sacred Rites with two Dicasteries: the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Congregation for Divine Worship. With this decision he allowed to devote adequate resources of people and work to two clearly distinct large areas, to better correspond both to the ever more numerous requests of the particular Churches and to the conciliar sensibility.

In this half century of activity, your Congregation has examined a large number of biographical and spiritual profiles of men and women, to present them as models and guides of Christian life. The many beatifications and canonizations that have been celebrated in recent decades mean that the saints are not unreachable human beings, but are close to us and can support us in the journey of life. In fact, "they are people who have experienced the daily toil of existence with its successes and its failures, finding in the Lord the strength to always get up and continue the journey" (Angelus, 1 November 2019). And it is important to measure our evangelical coherence with different types of holiness, since "every saint is a mission; it is a project of the Father to reflect and incarnate, at a specific moment in history, an aspect of the Gospel "(Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, 19).

The testimony of the Blessed and Saints enlightens us, attracts us and also puts us in question, because it is "word of God" embodied in history and close to us. Holiness permeates and always accompanies the life of the pilgrim Church over time, often in a hidden and almost imperceptible way. Therefore, we must learn to "see holiness in God's patient patient: in parents who grow their children with so much love, in men and women who work to bring bread at home, in the sick, in elderly women who continue to smile . [...] This is so many times the holiness "of the next door", of those who live near us and are a reflection of the presence of God "(ibid., 7).

Your Dicastery is called to verify the various modalities of heroic sanctity, the one that shines most visible as the most hidden and least striking, but equally extraordinary. Holiness is the true light of the Church: as such, it must be placed on the candelabrum so that it can illuminate and guide the path towards God of all the redeemed people. This is a daily verification carried out by your Dicastery, which since antiquity has been carried out with scrupulousness and accuracy in investigative research, with seriousness and skill in the study of procedural and documentary sources, with objectivity and rigor in the examination and in every grade of judgment concerning martyrdom, the heroic virtues, the offering of life and the miracle. These are fundamental criteria, which are required by the gravity of the subject dealt with, by the legislation and by the just expectations of the people of God, which relies on the intercession of the Saints and is inspired by their example of life.
Following this path, the work of the Congregation makes it possible to clear the field of all ambiguity and doubt, achieving full certainty in the proclamation of holiness. I can therefore only exhort each of you to continue on the path traced and traveled for about four centuries by the Congregation of the Sacred Rites, and continued in the last fifty years by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. I encourage in this the Superiors, the Cardinals, the Bishops Members of the Dicastery, and all the Officials.

The Consultors, in the historical, theological and medical fields, are called to carry out their work with full freedom of conscience, carefully studying the cases entrusted to them and formulating the relative judgments with mature reflection, impartially and without taking into account conditioning, from whatever part they may come. The Regulations and the practice of the Dicastery, as well as the supervision of Superiors, favor a relationship of absolute independence between the drafters of individual vows and those who form or coordinate the particular Congresses. It is a matter of always keeping in mind the specific purposes of the Causes, which are the glory of God and the spiritual good of the Church, and are closely linked to the search for truth and evangelical perfection.

For their part, the Postulators are increasingly aware that their function requires an attitude of service to the truth and of cooperation with the Holy See. They do not allow themselves to be guided by material visions and economic interests, they do not seek their personal affirmation and above all they flee everything that is in contradiction with the meaning of the ecclesial work they carry out. Let there never be less awareness in the Postulators of the fact that the Causes of beatification and canonization are spiritual realities; not only procedural, spiritual. Therefore they must be treated with a strong evangelical sensitivity and moral rigor. Indeed, once, with Cardinal Amato, we spoke of the need for the miracle. It takes a miracle because it is God's finger right there. Without a clear intervention from the Lord, we cannot move forward in the causes of canonization.

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for the diligent service you render to the whole Church. Through your work, you place yourself beside the Bishops to support their commitment in spreading the awareness that holiness is the most profound need of every baptized person, the soul of the Church and the priority aspect of his mission. I entrust your daily work to the maternal intercession of Mary, Queen of Saints, and, as I ask you to pray for me, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, December 12, 2019 - #Eucharist - Our Lady of Guadalupe


Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Lectionary: 690A


Reading 1ZEC 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

OrRV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB


God's temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed."

Responsorial PsalmJUDITH 13:18BCDE, 19

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.

OrLK 1:39-47


Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

And Mary said:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior."