Thursday, October 29, 2020

#BreakingNews 3 People Killed while Praying in Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France by Terrorist - Pope Prays for Victims - FULL TEXT



Three people, two women and a man, were killed and several more wounded in a knife attack carried out by a man, apparently a radical Islamist. The attack took place at Nice’s Notre Dame de L'Assomption Basilica around 9 am. First, a woman had her throat cut inside the basilica, and a man was fatally wounded. A third victim was killed in a bar in front of the basilica where she was hiding after fleeing the Church. The police arrested the attacker who was wounded. He is in hospital in very serious condition and he repeatedly shouted "Allahu Akhbar!" (God is greatest!). 
 Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, said that this points to " to a "terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica" by a supporter of “Islamofascism”. This is after a teacher was recently beheaded after showing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in class.
Vatican News reported the Pope was informed of the situation and is close to the mourning Catholic community. He prays for the victims and their loved ones, so that the violence may cease, so that we may return to look upon ourselves as brothers and sisters and not as enemies, so that the beloved people of France, united, may respond to evil with good".
PRESS Release from Diocese of Nice:
It is with the greatest emotion that I have just learned of the tragedy which strikes this morning in the Christian community of the Alpes-Maritimes. And once again the city of Nice.
As I write these lines, it appears that three people have been the victims of a heinous terrorist act within and around the walls of Notre Dame Basilica, days after the savage murder of Professor Samuel Paty.
Only a few weeks after the devastating passage of the storm Alex, my emotion can only be strong after this new tragedy which mourns our diocese.
My sadness is infinite as a human being in front of what other beings, called humans, can do.
At this time, all the churches in Nice are closed until further notice, and placed under police protection.
All my prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones, the law enforcement agencies on the front lines of this tragedy, priests and faithful wounded in their faith and hope.
May Christ's spirit of forgiveness prevail in the face of these barbaric acts. 
Press Release from the Bishops of France: 
The murders perpetrated this morning in Nice in the Basilica of Notre-Dame plunge the Conference of Bishops of France into immense sadness. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the injured, their families and loved ones. It was because they were in the Basilica that these people were attacked, murdered. They represented a symbol to be destroyed.
These assassinations remind us of the martyrdom of Father Jacques Hamel. Through these horrific acts, our entire country is affected. This terrorism aims to instill anxiety throughout our society. It is urgent that this gangrene be stopped as it is urgent that we find the indispensable brotherhood that will hold us all upright in the face of these threats.
Despite the pain that grips them, Catholics refuse to give in to fear and, with the whole nation, want to face this treacherous and blind threat.
Wherever possible, the death knell for the churches of France will sound today at 3 p.m. Catholics will be invited to a prayer for the victims.
Source: https://eglise.catholique.fr/espace-presse/communiques-de-presse/507635-malgre-douleur-faire-face-a-cette-menace-traitre-aveugle/

Bishops of Poland make Appeal for Fasting and Prayer for Peace - Reminding Everyone of St. Pope John Paul II's Defense of Unborn


 

APPEAL

OF THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE POLISH BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE
ON PROTECTION OF LIFE AND SOCIAL PEACE

  1. Today, as a wave of street protests sweeps through our country, pope Francis addressed important and meaningful words to Poles during the General Audience. In them, he recalled St. John Paul II, who “always called for special love for the weak and defenseless and for the protection of every human life from its conception to its natural death.” These words are part of the Church’s constant call for protection, including legal protection, of the life of every human being, including the unborn, in accordance with the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”.
  2. Pope Francis asked God “to awaken in everyone’s hearts respect for the lives of our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and defenseless, and to give strength to those who accept and care for them, even when it requires heroic love.” The commandment of love imposes on us an important duty of caring, helping, and giving mothers and families who receive and raise sick children the protection they need. We thank all communities and institutions that have been doing this for years, and we appeal to parishes, Catholic movements, and other church organizations to undertake specific initiatives to meet those who need and will need both individual and institutional help. The Church will always stand for life and support initiatives that protect it.
  3. We observe with great pain the escalation of social tension and aggression. The vulgar language used by some of the protesters, the destruction of social property, the devastation of churches, the profanation of sacred places, or prevention of the liturgy there are also disturbing. We call on everyone to engage in meaningful social dialogue, to express their views without resorting to violence, and to respect the dignity of every human being. We ask politicians and all participants of the social debate, at this dramatic time, to thoroughly analyze the causes of the situation and look for ways out, in the spirit of truth and for the common good, without instrumentalizing matters regarding the faith and the Church.

We thank the pastors and all the lay faithful who are courageously defending their churches. Nobody can defend the Church and sacred objects better than the community of believers. We also thank the security services. The Church wants to remain open to all people, regardless of their social and political affiliation.

  1. We are also going through an exceedingly difficult time because of the restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. This is an enormous challenge for all of us. In the name of care for safety and health, we constantly appeal for solidarity and compliance with the sanitary safety regulations. We express our gratitude to all medical agents for their work and heroic dedication.
  2. We also ask all believers to fast, to give alms, and to pray for social peace, with the intention of protecting life, putting an end to the ongoing crisis, and ending the developing pandemic. We will present the text of the prayer prepared for this time.

We bless all our compatriots.

The Members of the Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference

28th October 2020

FULL TEXT Release: https://episkopat.pl/appeal-of-the-permanent-council-of-the-polish-bishops-conference-on-protection-of-life-and-social-peace/

RIP Cardinal Anthony Fernandez - Death of the 1st Cardinal of Malaysia at Age 88 - Biography



Obituary
His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez
22nd April 1932 – 28th October 2020
Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese
It is with profound sorrow that the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur announces the demise of Malaysia’s first cardinal, His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez, who has peacefully passed on Wed, 28th October at 12.35pm at St Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly in Cheras.
His Eminence, who was the second archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, was diagnosed with tongue cancer in November 2019 and had been receiving palliative care at the St Francis Xavier Home, where he had been residing since 2013.

Due to restrictions under the CMCO, the Funeral Mass will not be opened to the public
but will be live streamed from ArchKL YouTube Channel - https://Tv.ArchKL.org

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Revd Fr Michael Chua
Chancellor
Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur

BIOGRAPHY of His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez
Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese
Date of Birth: 22nd April 1932
Ordained as Priest: 10th Dec 1966
Appointed Bishop of Penang: 29th Sept 1977
Ordained Bishop: 17th Feb 1978
Appointed Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur: 30th
July 1983
Installed as Archbishop: 10th Nov 1983
Retired as Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur: 24th May
2003
Designation to the College of Cardinals: 9th Oct 2016
Elevated as Cardinal: 19th Nov 2016
Departed: 28th Oct 2020
Early Life
Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez was born in Sungei Petani, Kedah, and had his early education in Klian Pauh Convent, Taiping from 1940 to 1941. His studies were disrupted by World War II. At the end of the war, he continued his education at St Theresa School and
Ibrahim School in Sungei Petani.
Following the demise of his father in 1946, he had to put aside his studies and assume the role of bread winner for the family. His main priority was to care for his mother and ensure that his younger brother would get a proper and uninterrupted education. He worked as a
Hospital Assistant from 1947 to 1954.
At the encouragement of the late Monsignor I.J. Aloysius and the late Archbishop Dominic Vendargon, he was led to discern the priesthood. He joined the minor seminary in Singapore in 1958 at the age of 26. He completed his priestly formation at College General in 1966 and
was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Dominic Vendargon at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Penang on Dec 10 of the same year.
Life as a Priest
His first assignment after ordination was as assistant priest and later parish priest at the Church of St Louis in Taiping where he served for three years. He was subsequently sent for further studies at the International Training Institute for World Churchmen and the East Asian
Pastoral Institute in Manila, Philippines. In 1972, he attended the Intensive Training Institute at the National Biblical Catechetical-Liturgical Centre in Bangalore, India. 

Upon his return, he visited parishes and schools in the diocese to share his knowledge and to form catechetical groups in various areas. In 1973, he was appointed as a professor in College General to initiate students into the priestly life. When the post of rector became vacant in 1975, he was appointed rector.
Episcopate
Following the elevation of Bishop Gregory Yong of Penang as the Archbishop of Singapore,
Pope St Paul VI appointed Fr Soter as Bishop-elect of Penang on Sept 29, 1977 and he was consecrated as Bishop of Penang on Feb 17, 1978.
On Nov 10, 1983, Bishop Soter was given the honour of stepping into the shoes of his mentor, Archbishop Vendargon, as the second archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. He tendered his resignation on May 24, 2003 due to ill health at the age of 71.
Upon his retirement, His Eminence served as spiritual director at College General Seminary in Penang from 2005 to 2012 and then returned to Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese to take up residence and serve as chaplain at the St. Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly (Little Sisters of the Poor) in Cheras.
Anthony Soter Fernandez was raised to the rank of a Cardinal by Pope Francis on 19th
November 2016.
Ministry
His concern for the direction of the Catholic Church in Peninsular Malaysia was evident in the
early years of his priesthood. He was one of the architects of the 1976 Aggiornamento
(pastoral renewal of the local church). That one-month gathering involving clergy from the
three dioceses of Peninsular Malaysia produced a new pastoral thrust for the local church
which identified the need for Christ-centred communities along with four related needs: unity
among the faithful, formation, dialogue between Christians and those of other faiths and
integral human development of the poor.
His Eminence was an advocate and pioneer in promoting the use of the National Language in
the local church. He exhorted Malaysian Christians to use Bahasa Malaysia as widely as
possible, “not merely because our children are more proficient in that language, but as a sign
of our commitment to and love for our country.” He also pointed out that the Church must
pay more attention to the local language and culture if it is to remain faithful to the postVatican Council II idea of inculturation. For this reason, he was the first bishop to use Bahasa
Malaysia in his episcopal motto, ‘Keadilan dan Keamanan’ (Justice and Peace) when he was
ordained Bishop of Penang. 

His episcopal motto is powerfully reflected in his pastoral priorities and projects. He took up
justice and peace issues both within the church as well as in the larger society. This led him to set up of the Justice and Peace Commission in the Penang diocese. Recognising his contribution in this area, he was elected Chairman of the Office for Human Development of
the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference in 1984.
Known to be a champion of human rights and an advocate for the poor and the marginalised, he promoted social justice programmes under National Office for Human Development
(NOHD). This work eventually led to detention of several church workers and volunteers
during Operation Lallang in 1987. His Eminence was a courageous and outspoken critic of
preventive detentions without trial under draconian laws.
His Eminence put great emphasis on the creation of BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), on
Family Life and inter-religious dialogue and ecumenism. He took concrete steps to make BECs
foundational to parish life.
Other notable initiatives undertaken by His Eminence during his tenure as Archbishop include:
• Establishment of Archdiocesan Single Adults & Youth Office (ASAYO).
• Establishment of Sri Seronok Retirement Village.
• Inaugurating the HERALD, the Catholic Weekly Newspaper.
• Establishment of the first private Catholic school, Sekolah Menengah Stella Maris.
• Establishment of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute.
Many lay movements and associations found their proper place in the Archdiocese. He had a special interest for the marginalised. He reached out to the Orang Asli communities and made frequent visits to be with his people in the rural areas. The Deaf, the Blind and those with
disabilities always had a special place in his heart. He was especially close to the residents of Asrama Cahaya, Bukit Nanas.
When he was elected as the President of the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism,
Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism in 2001, His Eminence expressed his hope for unity and understanding among the religions. He said, “The fabric of our nation is composed of rich
cultures and of various religions. Any religion that imposes its teachings with less respect for
other religions destroys the very fabric itself. Thus it is the sacred duty of all members of the MCCBCHS to collaborate with all religions to uphold truth and justice to all.” Therefore, it is no surprise that His Eminence’s life-long friends include people of other faiths and Christians from other denominations.

Saint October 29 : Blessed Chiara Badano of the Focolare

Focolare.org report: There was nothing extraordinary or unusual about the life of Chiara Badano (known as Chiara Luce). And yet for this girl who loved swimming, skiing, listening to music and being with friends, God was always present, beginning with her birth for which Ruggero and Maria Teresa Badano had been praying for eleven years. Then, to their surprise, it happened and Chiara was born on 29 October 1971 in Sassello, in the inlands of Savona, Italy.
Clare was a tenacious girl, someone “outside the box” and always attentive to the “least” among people. In 1981, when she was nine years old, she attended the “FamilyFest” which is a large gathering of the Focolare Movement. It was a revelation for her. She wrote to Chiara Lubich: “I’ve rediscovered the Gospel in a new light. Now I want this book to be the sole purpose of my life!”
Soon, however, Chiara Luce also experienced suffering, especially when despite her effort she had to repeat the first year of high school because of a misunderstanding with a teacher. It was the first time she felt that she could offer God not only her joys, but also the sufferings. She wrote to a friend: “I wasn’t able to give this suffering to Jesus right away. It took a little time to recover.”
When she was seventeen years old, while playing tennis, she felt a stabbing pain in the shoulder. Soon afterwards she made the tragic discovery: osteosarcoma, one of the most ruthless forms of tumour.
It was a hard verdict. When she returned home after the first cancer treatment, Maria Teresa was waiting: “Chiara, how did it go?” But she didn’t even look at her mother and throwing herself on her bed, she remained for a long time gripped by an interior struggle. Only after twenty-five minutes did she return with her usual smile: “Mum, you can talk to me now.” Chiara had said her yes to God and would never turn away from it: “For you, Jesus . . . if you want it, I want it too!” As the treatments became more painful her offering remained firm. Chiara never lost an opportunity to love. “At first we felt like we were going to visit her in order to support her,” a friend recounts, “but quite soon we noticed that whenever we went into her room, the feeling came over us that we were being projected into the splendid adventure of God’s love. And yet, Chiara didn’t say any extraordinary words, she didn’t write pages and pages of diary. She simply loved.”
The more the illness progressed, the more the experience intensified for Chiara. At one point she refused morphine because “It takes away my lucidity” and “I can only offer my pain to Jesus. It’s all I have left.”
Finally, on 7 October 1990, her “departure”. One last smile for Ruggero and then a goodbye for Maria Teresa: “Mamma, be happy, because I’m happy!” There was a huge crowd at the funeral and, as she had requested, Chiara Luce was buried in a white dress, “like a bride going to Jesus”.
Shortly before dying, Chiara Luce exclaimed: “The youth are the future. I can no longer run, but I’d like to pass the Olympic torch on to them. The young people have only one life and it’s worth it to spend it well!” The 25,000 young people who attended her beatification ceremony in Rome on 25 September 2010, demonstrate that Chiara Luce Badano has given witness to a model of holiness that can be lived by everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, October 29, 2020 - In Your Virtual Church


Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
 Lectionary: 482  
Reading 1 EPH 6:10-20
Brothers and sisters: Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must. 

Responsorial Psalm
144:1B, 2, 9-10
R. (1b) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock! Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war. 
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock! My mercy and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, My shield, in whom I trust, who subdues my people under me.
 R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock! O God, I will sing a new song to you; with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise, You who give victory to kings, and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword. 
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock! 
 Alleluia 
See LK 19:38; 2:14
 R. Alleluia, alleluia. 
Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 13:31-35
Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’ “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned. But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint October 29 : St. Narcissus of Jerusalem a Bishop who Blessed Miraculous Oil and Died 215 AD


St. Narcissus
BISHOP - Born:  99
Died: 215

St Narcissus was born towards the close of the first century, and was almost fourscore years old when he was placed at the head of the church of Jerusalem, being the thirtieth bishop of that see. Eusebius assures us that the Christians of Jerusalem preserved in his time the remembrance of several miracles which God had wrought by this holy bishop, one of which he relates as follows. One year, on Easter-eve, the deacons were unprovided with oil for the lamps in the church, necessary at the solemn divine office that day. Narcissus ordered those who had care of the lamps to bring him some water from the neighbouring wells. This being done, he pronounced a devout prayer over the water; then bade them pour it into the lamps, which they did, and it was immediately converted into oil, to the great surprise of the faithful. Some of this miraculous oil was kept there as a memorial at the time when Eusebius wrote his history. The veneration of all good men for this holy bishop could not shelter him from the malice of the wicked. Three incorrigible sinners, fearing his inflexible severity in the observance of ecclesiastical discipline, laid to his charge a detestable crime, which Eusebius does not specify. They confirmed their atrocious calumny by dreadful oaths and imprecations; one wishing he might perish by fire, another that he might be struck with a leprosy, and the third that he might lose his sight, if what they alleged was not the truth. Notwithstanding these protestations, their accusation did not find credit; and some time after the divine vengeance pursued the calumniators. The first was burnt in his house, with his whole family, by an accidental fire in the night; the second was struck with a universal leprosy; and the third, terrified by these examples, confessed the conspiracy and slander, and by the abundance of tears which he continually shed for his sins, lost his sight before his death.
Narcissus, notwithstanding the slander had made no impression on the people to his disadvantage, could not stand the shock of the bold calumny, or rather made it an excuse for leaving Jerusalem and spending some time in solitude, which had long been his wish. He spent several years undiscovered in his retreat, where he enjoyed all the happiness and advantage which a close conversation with God can bestow. That his church might not remain destitute of a pastor, the neighbouring bishops of the province after some time placed in it Pius, and after him Germanion, who dying in a short time was succeeded by Gordius. Whilst this last held the see, Narcissus appeared again, like one from the dead. The whole body of the faithful, transported at the recovery of their holy pastor, whose innocence had been most authentically vindicated, conjured him to reassume the administration of the diocese. He acquiesced; but afterwards, bending under the weight of extreme old age, made St. Alexander his coadjutor. St. Narcissus continued to serve his flock, and even other churches, by his assiduous prayers and his earnest exhortations to unity and concord, as St. Alexander testifies in his letter to the Arsinoites in Egypt, where he says that Narcissus was at that time, about one hundred and sixteen years old. The Roman Martyrology honours his memory on the 29th of October.
If we truly respect the church as the immaculate spouse of our Lord, we will incessantly pray for its exaltation and increase, and beseech the Almighty to give it pastors according to his own heart, like those who appeared in the infancy of Christianity. And, that no obstacle on our part may prevent the happy effects of their zeal, we should study to regulate our conduct by the holy maxims which they inculcate; we should regard them as the ministers of Christ; we should listen to them with docility and attention; we should make their faith the rule of ours, and shut our ears against the language of profane novelty. SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia 

Pope Francis says "We never pray alone, we always pray with Jesus" at Audience and Prays for Victims of Attack in Cameroon - FULL TEXT + Video



GENERAL AUDIENCE

Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Catechesis on prayer - 12. Jesus, man of prayer

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today, in this audience, as we have done in the previous audiences, I will stay here. I like to come down and greet each one of you, but we must keep our distance, because if I come down, then a crowd forms to greet me, and this is contrary to the measures and the precautions we must take in order to face “Madame Covid”, and it is harmful to us. Therefore, please excuse me if I do not come down to greet you: I will greet you from here but I hold you in my heart, all of you. And you, please hold me in your heart, and pray for me. From a distance, we can pray for each other … and thank you for your understanding.

In our itinerary of catechesis on prayer, after travelling through the Old Testament, we now arrive at Jesus. And Jesus prayed. The beginning of His public ministry takes place with His baptism in the river Jordan. The Evangelists are in agreement in attributing fundamental importance to this episode. They narrate how all the people came together in prayer, and specify that this gathering had a clearly penitential nature (see Mk 1:5; Mt 3:8). The people went to John to be baptised, for the forgiveness of sins: it is of a penitential character, of conversion.

Jesus’ first public act is therefore participation in a choral prayer of the people, a prayer of the people who went to be baptised, a penitential prayer, in which everyone recognises him- or herself as a sinner. This is why the Baptist wishes to oppose it, and says: “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?” (Mt 3:14). The Baptist understands that it was Jesus. But Jesus insists: His is an act of obedience to the will of the Father (v. 5), an act of solidarity with our human condition. He prays with the sinners of the people of God. Let us keep this clearly in mind: Jesus is the Righteous One, He is not a sinner. But He wished to come down to us, sinners, and He prays with us, and when we pray He is with us, praying; He is with us because He is in heaven, praying for us. Jesus always prays with His people, He always prays with us: always. We never pray alone, we always pray with Jesus. He does not stay on the opposite side of the river - “I am righteous, you are sinners” - to mark His difference and distance from the disobedient people, but rather He immerses His feet in the same purifying waters. He acts as if He were a sinner. And this is the greatness of God, Who sent His Son and annihilated Himself, and appears as a sinner.

Jesus is not a distant God, and He cannot be. Incarnation revealed Him in a complete and humanly unthinkable way. Thus, inaugurating His mission, Jesus places Himself at the forefront of a people of penitents, as if He were responsible for opening a breach through which all of us, after Him, must have the courage to pass. But the road, the journey, is difficult; but He goes ahead, opening the way. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that this is the newness of the fullness of time. It says: “His filial prayer, which the Father awaits from His children, is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in His humanity, with and for men” (no. 2599). Jesus prays with us. Let us keep this clear in our mind and in our heart: Jesus prays with us.

On that day, on the bank of the river Jordan, there is therefore all of humanity, with its unexpressed yearning for prayer. There is, above all, the population of sinners: those who thought they were not beloved by God, those who did not dare cross the threshold of the temple, those who did not pray because they did not consider themselves worthy. Jesus came for everyone, even for them, and He begins precisely by joining them. At the forefront.

The Gospel of Luke, in particular, highlights the climate of prayer in which the baptism of Jesus took place: “Now when all the people were baptised, and when Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, the heaven was opened” (3:21). By praying, Jesus opens the door to the heavens, and the Holy Spirit descends from that breach. And from on high a voice proclaims the wonderful truth:“Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased” (v. 22). This simple phrase encloses an immense treasure; it enables us to intuit something of Jesus’ ministry and of His heart, always turned to the Father. In the whirlwind of life and the world that will come to condemn him, even in the hardest and most sorrowful experiences He will have to endure, even when He experiences that he has no place to lay His head (see Mt 8: 20), even when hatred and persecution are unleashed around Him, Jesus is never without the refuge of a dwelling place: He dwells eternally in the Father.

This is the unique greatness of Jesus' prayer: the Holy Spirit takes possession of His person and the voice of the Father attests that He is the beloved, the Son in whom He fully reflects Himself.

This prayer of Jesus, which on the banks of the river Jordan is totally personal - and will be thus for all His earthly life - in Pentecost becomes the grace of prayer for all those baptised in Christ. He Himself obtained for us this gift, and He invites us to pray as He prayed.

Therefore, if during an evening of prayer we feel sluggish and empty, if it seems to us that life has been completely useless, we must at that moment beg that Jesus' prayer also become our own. “I cannot pray today, I don’t know what to do: I don’t feel like it, I am unworthy… In that moment, may your prayer to Jesus be mine”. And entrust yourself to Him, that He may pray for us. He in this moment is before the Father, praying for us, He is the intercessor; He shows the wounds to the Father, for us. Let us trust in this, it is great. We will then hear, if we are trustful, we will then hear a voice from heaven, louder than the voice rising from the depths of ourselves, and we will hear this voice whispering words of tenderness: “You are God's beloved, you are a son, you are the joy of the Father in heaven”. Just for us, for each one of us, echoes the word of the Father: even if we were rejected by all, sinners of the worst kind. Jesus did not descend into the waters of the Jordan for Himself, but for all of us. It was the entire people of God who went to the Jordan to pray, to ask for forgiveness, to receive that baptism of penance. And as that theologian said, they approached the Jordan with a “bare soul and bare feet”. This is humility. It takes humility to pray. He opened the heavens, as Moses opened the waters of the Red Sea, so that we could all pass behind Him. Jesus gave us His own prayer, which is His loving dialogue with the Father. He gave it to us like a seed of the Trinity, which He wants to take root in our hearts. Let us welcome him! Let us welcome this gift, the gift of prayer. Always with Him. And we will not err. Thank you.


APPEAL

I participate in the suffering of the families of the young students barbarically killed last Saturday in Kumba, in Cameroon. I feel great bewilderment at such a cruel and senseless act, which tore the young innocents from life while they were attending lessons at school. May God enlighten hearts, so that similar gestures may never be repeated again and so that the tormented regions of the north-west and south-west of the country may finally find peace! I hope that the weapons will remain silent and that the safety of all and the right of every young person to education and the future can be guaranteed. I express my affection to families, to the city of Kumba and to the whole of Cameroon and I invoke the comfort that only God can give.


Special Greetings

I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors who join us for today’s Audience. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!

Quote to SHARE by St. Faustina "I am not alone, because Jesus is with me, and with Him I fear nothing"




"I am not alone, because Jesus is with me, and with Him I fear nothing" 
by St. Faustina 

9 People are Closer to Becoming Saints as Pope Francis Approves Decrees and Recognizes 3 Miracles



Pope Francis has brought nine people closer to becoming Saints.
The Holy Father approved decrees for four women and five men. This brings them closer to Canonization.
On Wednesday, October 28, 2020 the Pope met with Cardinal-elect Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Promulgation of Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, 28.10.2020

On 27 October 2020, the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Excellency Monsignor Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the same Congregation to promulgate the decrees concerning:

- the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Giustino Maria Russolillo, Priest, Founder of the Society of Divine Vocations and of the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Vocations; born on 18 January 1891 in Pianura di Napoli (Italy) and died there on 2 August 1955;

- the miracle, attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Maria Lorenza Requenses in Longo, Foundress of the Hospital of the Incurables in Naples and of the Capuchin Nuns; born in about 1463 in Lleida (Spain) and died in Naples (Italy) on 21 December 1539;

- the miracle, attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Elisabetta Czacka (born Rosa), Foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters Handmaids of the Cross; born on 22 October 1876 in Bila Tserkva (Ukraine) and died in Laski (Poland) on 15 May 1961;

- the martyrdom of the Servants of God Leonardo Melki and Tommaso Saleh, professed priests of the Order of the Capuchin Friars Minor; killed in hatred of the Faith in Turkey in 1915 and 1917;

- the martyrdom of the Servant of God Luigi Lenzini, diocesan priest; killed, in hatred of the Faith, in Crocette di Pavullo (Italy) on the night between 20 and 21 July 1945;

- the martyrdom of the Servant of God Isabella Cristina Mrad Campos, Lay Faithful; killed in hatred of the Faith in Juiz de Fora (Brazil) on 1 September 1982;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Roberto Giovanni, professed brother of the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ; born on March 18, 1903 in Rio Claro (Brazil) and died in Campinas (Brazil) on January 11, 1994;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Teresa of the Heart of Jesus (born Celia Méndez y Delgado), Co-founder of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Divine Heart of Jesus; born on 11 February 1844 in Fuentes de Andalucía (Spain) and died in Seville (Spain) on 2 June 1908.

Source: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/10/28/0558/01295.html

Historic Louisville Catholic Church Vandalized but Suspect is Caught by Security Guard



According to reports a Louisville man was arrested after allegedly causing damage to a historic church.

The pastor of Saint Martin of Tours Church said a man broke into the sanctuary late Sunday, October 25, 2020 and caused extensive damage to the altar.

An security guard was able to detain the suspect until officers arrived. Police have not identified the suspect.
The pastor and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz will be working with the archdiocesan insurance company on repairs.

Archbishop Kurtz released this statement about the vandalism:

“I thank and praise Father Paul for his strong pastoral leadership, and I am grateful to Saint Martin’s security guard and to the Louisville Metro Police Department for their prompt response. I offer my prayers for healing for the parish and for the offender.”
The pastor wrote:
Dear parishioners,
I am pleased to announce that the church will reopen today at 11:30am, that noon Mass will occur, and Adoration will resume immediately following Mass. Let us all join in thanksgiving for our police, for healing of those who suffer from mental illness and addiction, the clean up crew and all the others who were able to get the sanctuary usable in short order. Join me and Fr. David today in prayers for peace and swift restoration of our
beloved church.
In Christ,
Fr. Paul Beach
Pastor

Cardinal Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch, Defends Pope Francis saying He "never spoke of a possible integration of homosexuals into a natural marriage" in Francesco Film Controversy



ASIA/IRAQ - Fides report: Chaldean Patriarchate denies rumors of the Pope's “opening” to marriage for homosexual couples 
Tuesday, 27 October 2020 Iraqi Christian appointed at the top of the National Investment Authority Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) -
 It is completely false to say that Pope Francis expressed his approval for same-sex marriage, modifying the doctrine of the Catholic Church. 
The Chaldean Patriarchate, led by the Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, clearly underlines this in an official statement released by the Chaldean Patriarchate. The Patriarchate's press release refers to misleading reports that are also circulating in Iraq and refer to some passages in the documentary "Francesco", by Russian-born US citizen and director Evgeny Afineewsky, which was shown at the Rome Film Festival on 21 October. The Catholic Church and other Churches - the statement reads - recognize that only natural marriage between male and female "is according to divine plan", and thus in the eyes of the Church only the marriage between a man and a woman respects the law of God and can be raised to the dignity of a sacrament. In Western countries - the Patriarchate adds - Churches are separate from the State, and civil governments also enact laws that do not conform to the Church's doctrine, such as those that decriminalize or legalize abortion. 
Also in the documentary, which serves as a pretext for the supposed opening of the Pope to so-called "homosexual marriages", the statement of the Chaldean Patriarchate of the points out that in reality, even in the extracts taken from an old interview, Pope Francis "does not use the term" 'marriage' in reference to homosexuals. The Pope invites civil society and families to embrace love and protect homosexuals, and he is not saying that they have the right to form a family ".
 In conclusion, the declaration of the Chaldean Patriarchate emphasizes once again that the Pope "never spoke of a possible integration of homosexuals into a natural marriage recognized by the Church" and repeatedly emphasizes what the Catholic Church teaches in this regard, as marriage only recognizes "permanent union between a man and a woman". (GV) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 27/10/2020)
SEE ALSO: FULL TEXT Release from the Chaldean Patriarchate

On what was reported in the media about Pope Francis' stance towards homosexuals

On what was reported in the media about Pope Francis' stance towards homosexuals

Notify the patriarchate

Social media and some satellite channels reported news that the Pope had approved same-sex marriage and changed the belief of the Catholic Church. This is not true at all. The Catholic Church and other churches consider the natural marriage between male and female of divine determination, and it is the only legal marriage, which the Church considers a sacrament of its seven sacraments.

The Church in the West is separated from the state. And the western countries are secular and its rulings are secular and civil. For example, the Church prohibits abortion, while many Western countries legalize it.

 The film about the life of Pope “Francesco”, which covers the activities of Pope Francis, includes a clip in which he says: It is civil society that decides the union of homosexuals.

The Pope never uses the term "marriage" for homosexuals. The Pope called on civil society and families to care for, love and protect homosexuals, and he did not say that they should form a family. As for his saying that all are children of God, this is due to the fact that God created man, and therefore he is his son. And God alone is the judge and no one else.

 The Pope did not discuss the incorporation of homosexuals into a natural, ecclesiastical marriage. On the contrary, he stresses the Catholic Church's belief that marriage is a lifelong partnership between one man and one woman. 

We wish the media to be accurate

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Saint October 28 : St. Jude Apostle the Patron of the Impossible and Hospitals


APOSTLE
Major Shrine:
Saint Peter's, Rome, Rheims, Toulouse, France
Patron of:
lost causes, desperate situations, hospitals
SEE ALSO : 

Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus Apostle : #Patron of #Impossible - #Prayer #Miracles



Saint Jude (1st century C.E.), also known as St. Judas or Jude Thaddeus, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, who is sometimes, the author of the Epistle of Jude. Mark and some manuscripts of Matthew identify him as "Thaddeus." Luke names him as Judas, son of James, or in the King James Version: "Judas the brother of James" (Luke 6:16). Biography St. Jude was born into a Jewish family in Paneas, a town in Galilee later rebuilt by the Romans and renamed Caesarea Philippi. In all probability he spoke both Greek and Aramaic, like almost all of his contemporaries in that area, and was a farmer by trade. St. Jude was a son of Clopas and his wife Mary, a cousin of the Virgin Mary. Tradition has it that Jude's father, Clopas, was murdered because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ. Tradition holds that Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. 
He is also said to have visited Beirut and Edessa, though the latter mission is also attributed to Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Seventy. He is reported as suffering martyrdom together with Simon the Zealot in Persia. The fourteenth-century writer Nicephorus Callistus makes Jude the bridegroom at the wedding at Cana. Though Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited as the "Apostle to the Armenians," when he baptised King Tiridates III of Armenia in 301 C.E., converting the Armenians, the Apostles Jude and Bartholomew are traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, and are therefore venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. 
Linked to this tradition is the Thaddeus Monastery. Symbol of his martyrdom According to the Armenian tradition, Saint Jude suffered martyrdom about 65 C.E. in Beirut, Lebanon together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected. Their acts and martyrdom were recorded in an Acts of Simon and Jude that was among the collection of passions and legends traditionally associated with the legendary Abdias, bishop of Babylon, and said to have been translated into Latin by his disciple Tropaeus Africanus, according to the Golden Legend account of the saints. Saints Simon and Jude are venerated together in the Roman Catholic Church on October 28. Sometime after his death, Saint Jude's body was brought from Beirut, Lebanon to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter's Basilica which is visited by many devotees. According to popular tradition, the remains of St. Jude were preserved in a monastery on an island in the northern part of Issyk-Kul lake in Kyrgyzstan at least until mid-fifteenth century. Iconography 
St. Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand or close to his chest, denoting the legend of the Image of Edessa, recorded in apocryphal correspondence between Jesus and Abgarus which is reproduced in Eusebius' History Ecclesiastica, I, xiii. According to it, King Abgar of Edessa (a city located in what is now southeast Turkey) sent a letter to Jesus to cure him of an illness that afflicts him, and sent the envoy Hannan, the keeper of the archives, offering his own home city to Jesus as a safe dwelling place. The envoy either painted a likeness of Jesus, or Jesus, impressed with Abgar's great faith, pressed his face into a cloth and gave it to Hannan to take to Abgar with his answer. Upon seeing Jesus' image, the king placed it with great honor in one of his palatial houses. After Christ had ascended to heaven, St. Jude was sent to King Abgar by the Apostle St. Thomas. The king was cured and astonished. He converted to Christianity along with most of the people under his rule. Additionally, St. Jude is often depicted with a flame above his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles. Edited from New Encyclopedia

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Wednesday, October 28, 2020 - In Your Virtual Church



 Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
Lectionary: 666
Reading 1
EPH 2:19-22
Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God, 
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 19:2-3, 4-5
R. (5a) Their message goes out through all the earth.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
 
 
Alleluia 
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
LK 6:12-16
Jesus went up to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint October 28 : St. Simon the Apostle - Known as the Zealot and Patron of Curriers and Sawyers


St. Simon - APOSTLE - Born: Cana or Canaan  Died: 
Abyssinians claim he was crucified in Samaria; Lipsius says he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia; Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Iberia; many locations claim to have relics including Toulouse, France, and Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy
Major Shrine:
relics claimed by many places, including Toulouse; Saint Peter's Basilica
Patron of:
curriers; sawyers; tanners
Prayer to St. Simon

O Glorious St. Simon, you were a cousin of Jesus and a devoted follower as well. You were called "the Zealot," indicating that you were willing to give your life for your religion and your freedom as a human person. Obtain for us the grace to be willing to give our lives for Christ and to labor for the freedom and peace that only God can give. Help us to spend ourselves for God on earth and be received by him in eternal bliss in heaven.

St Simon is surnamed the Canaanean or Canaanite, and the Zealot, to distinguish him from St. Peter, and from St. Simeon, the brother of St. James the Less, and his successor in the see of Jerusalem. From the first of these surnames some have thought that St. Simon was born at Cana, in Galilee: certain modern Greeks pretend that it was at his marriage that our Lord turned the water into wine. It is not to be doubted but he was a Galilean. Theodoret says, of the tribe either of Zabulon or Nepthali. Hammond and Grotius think that St. Simon was called the Zealot, before his coming to Christ, because he was one of that particular sect or party among the Jews called Zealots, from a singular zeal they possessed for the honour of God and the purity of religion. A party called Zealots were famous in the war of the Jews against the Romans. They were main instruments in instigating the people to shake off the yoke of subjection; they assassinated many of the nobility and others in the streets, filled the temple itself with bloodshed and other horrible profanations, and were the chief cause of the ruin of their country. But no proof is offered by which it is made to appear that any such party existed in our Saviour's time, though some then maintained that it was not lawful for a Jew to pay taxes to the Romans At least if any then took the name Zealots, they certainly neither followed the impious conduct nor adopted the false and inhuman maxims of those mentioned by Josephus in his history of the Jewish war against the Romans.
St. Simon, after his conversion, was zealous for the honour of his Master, and exact in all the duties of the Christian religion; and showed a pious indignation toward those who professed this holy faith with their mouths, but dishonoured it by the irregularity of their lives. No further mention appears of him in the gospels than that he was adopted by Christ into the college of the apostles. With the rest he received the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, which he afterwards exercised with great zeal and fidelity. If this apostle preached in Egypt, Cyrene, and Mauritania, he returned into the East; for the Martyrologies of St. Jerome, Bede, Ado, and Usuard place his martyrdom in Persia, at a city called Suanir, possibly in the country of the Suani, a people in Colchis, or a little higher in Sarmatia, then allied with the Parthians in Persia; which may agree with a passage in the Acts of St. Andrew, that in the Cimmerian Bosphorus there was a tomb in a "rot, with an inscription importing that Simon the Zealot was interred there. His death is said in these Martyrologies to have been procured by the idolatrous priests. Those who mention the manner of his death say he was crucified. St. Peter's Church on the Vatican at Rome and the Cathedral of Toulouse are said to possess the chief portions of the relics of SS. Simon and Jude.
SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis' Letter on Europe "A land open to transcendence, where believers are free to profess their faith in public..." FULL TEXT



 LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

ON EUROPE

The following is the letter addressed by the Holy Father to His Eminence the Secretary of State on the 40th anniversary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the European Union, and the 50th anniversary of the presence of the Holy See as Permanent Observer at the Council of Europe.

To coincide with these anniversaries, a visit by Cardinal Parolin to Brussels was planned for the days 28 to 30 October, but has been cancelled due to the worsening of the health emergency. It is expected that the meetings with the authorities of the European Union and the members of COMECE can be held by video connection.


 

To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

This year the Holy See and the Church in Europe celebrate several significant anniversaries.  Fifty years ago, cooperation between the Holy See and the European institutions that arose in the period following the Second World War took concrete form by the establishment of diplomatic relations between the then European Community and by the Holy See’s presence as an Observer at the Council of Europe. In 1980, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Communities (COMECE) was founded, composed of delegates from the Bishops’ Conferences of all the member states of the European Union, for the sake of promoting “closer cooperation between those episcopates with regard to pastoral questions related to the development of the areas of competence and activities of the Union”.[1] This year also marked the seventieth anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, an event of capital importance that inspired the gradual process of the continent’s integration, making it possible to overcome the animosity resulting from the two world wars.

In the light of these events, you are planning in the near future to make significant visits to the authorities of the European Union, the Plenary Assembly of COMECE and the authorities of the Council of Europe. In this regard, I consider it important to share with you some reflections on the future of this continent so dear to me, not only because of my family’s origins but also because of the central role that it has had, and, I believe, must continue to have, albeit with different accents, in the history of humanity.

That role is all the more pertinent in the context of the pandemic we are now experiencing. The European project arose from a determination to end past divisions. It was born of the realization that unity and cooperation make for strength, that “unity is greater than conflict”[2] and that solidarity can be “a way of making history in a life setting where conflicts, tensions and oppositions can achieve a diversified and life-giving unity”.[3] In our own days, which “show signs of a certain regression”,[4] a growing tendency for all to go their own separate ways, the pandemic has emerged as a kind of a watershed, forcing us to take a stand. We can either continue to pursue the path we have taken in the past decade, yielding to the temptation to autonomy and thus to ever greater misunderstanding, disagreement and conflict, or we can rediscover the path of fraternity that inspired and guided the founders of modern Europe, beginning precisely with Robert Schuman.

As the experience of Europe in recent months has shown, the pandemic has made this increasingly evident. On the one hand, we have witnessed the temptation to go it alone, seeking unilateral solutions to a problem that transcends state borders. Yet thanks to the great spirit of mediation that distinguishes the European institutions, we have also seen a determination to set out on the path of fraternity, which is also the path of solidarity, unleashing creativity and new initiatives.

The steps taken thus far need, however, to be consolidated, lest centrifugal forces regain their strength. Today, the words of Saint John Paul II in the European Act of Santiago de Compostela remain as timely as ever: Europe, “find yourself, be yourself”.[5] An age of rapid change can bring with it a loss of identity, especially when there is a lack of shared values on which to base society.

To Europe, then, I would like to say: you, who for centuries have been a seedbed of high ideals and now seem to be losing your élan, do not be content to regard your past as an album of memories. In time, even the most beautiful memories fade and are gradually forgotten. Sooner or later, we realize that we ourselves have changed; we find ourselves weary and listless in the present and possessed of little hope as we look to the future. Without ideals, we find ourselves weak and divided, more prone to complain and to be attracted by those who make complaint and division a style of personal, social and political life.

Europe, find yourself! Rediscover your most deeply-rooted ideals. Be yourself! Do not be afraid of your millenary history, which is a window open to the future more than the past. Do not be afraid of that thirst of yours for truth, which, from the days of ancient Greece, has spread throughout the world and brought to light the deepest questions of every human being. Do not be afraid of the thirst for justice that developed from Roman law and in time became respect for all human beings and their rights. Do not be afraid of your thirst for eternity, enriched by the encounter with the Judeo-Christian tradition reflected in your patrimony of faith, art and culture.

Today, as many in Europe look to its future with uncertainty, others look to Europe with hope, convinced that it still has something to offer to the world and to humanity. The same conviction inspired Robert Schuman, who realized that “the contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations”.[6] It is a conviction that we ourselves can share, setting out from shared values and rooted in the history and culture of this land.

What kind of Europe do we envision for the future? What is to be its distinctive contribution? In today’s world, it is not about recovering political hegemony or geographical centrality, or about developing innovative solutions to economic and social problems. The uniqueness of Europe rests above all on its conception of the human being and of reality, on its capacity for initiative and on its spirit of practical solidarity.

I dream, then, of a Europe that is a friend to each and all. A land respectful of everyone’s dignity, in which each person is appreciated for his or her intrinsic worth and not viewed purely from an economic standpoint or as a mere consumer. A land that protects life at every stage, from the time it arises unseen in the womb until its natural end, since no human being is the master of life, either his or her own life or the lives of others. A land that promotes work as a privileged means of personal growth and the pursuit of the common good, creating employment opportunities particularly for the young. Being a friend to others entails providing for their education and cultural development. It entails protecting the weakest and most vulnerable, especially the elderly, the sick in need of costly care, and those with disabilities. Being a friend to others entails defending their rights, but also reminding them of their duties. It means acknowledging that everyone is called to offer his or her own contribution to society, for none of us is a world apart, and we cannot demand respect for ourselves without showing respect for others. We cannot receive unless we are also willing to give.

I dream of a Europe that is a family and a community. A place respectful of the distinctiveness of each individual and every people, ever mindful that they are bound together by shared responsibilities. Being a family entails living in unity, treasuring differences, beginning with the fundamental difference between man and woman. In this sense, Europe is a genuine family of peoples, all different yet linked by a common history and destiny. The experience of recent years and that of the pandemic in particular have shown that no one is completely self-sufficient, and that a certain individualistic understanding of life and society leads only to discouragement and isolation. Every man and woman aspires to be part of a community, that is, of a greater reality that transcends and gives meaning to his or her individuality. A divided Europe, made up of insular and independent realities, will soon prove incapable of facing the challenges of the future. On the other hand, a Europe that is a united and fraternal community will be able to value diversity and acknowledge the part that each has to play in confronting the problems that lie ahead, beginning with the pandemic and including the ecological challenge of preserving our natural resources and the quality of the environment in which we live. We are faced with the choice between a model of life that discards people and things, and an inclusive model that values creation and creatures.

I dream of a Europe that is inclusive and generous. A welcoming and hospitable place in which charity, the highest Christian virtue, overcomes every form of indifference and selfishness. Solidarity, as an essential element of every authentic community, demands that we care for one another. To be sure, we are speaking of an “intelligent solidarity” that does more than merely attend to basic needs as they emerge.

Solidarity entails guiding those most vulnerable towards personal and social growth, enabling them one day to help others in turn. Like any good physician, who not only administers medication, but also accompanies the patient to complete recovery.

Solidarity involves being a neighbour to others. In the case of Europe, this means becoming especially ready and willing, through international cooperation, to offer generous assistance to other continents. I think particularly of Africa, where there is a need to resolve ongoing conflicts and to pursue a sustainable human development.

Solidarity is also nurtured by generosity and gives rise to gratitude, which leads us to regard others with love. When we forget to be thankful for the benefits we have received, we tend increasingly to close in upon ourselves and to live in fear of everything around us and different from us.

We can see this in the many fears felt in our contemporary societies, among which I would mention uneasiness and concern about migrants. Only a Europe that is a supportive community can meet the present challenge in a productive way, since piecemeal solutions have proved to be inadequate. It is clear that a proper acceptance of migrants must not only assist those newly arrived, who are often fleeing conflict, hunger or natural disasters, but must also work for their integration, enabling them “to learn, respect and assimilate the culture and traditions of the nations that welcome them”.[7]

I dream of a Europe marked by a healthy secularism, where God and Caesar remain distinct but not opposed. A land open to transcendence, where believers are free to profess their faith in public and to put forward their own point of view in society. The era of confessional conflicts is over, but so too – let us hope – is the age of a certain laicism closed to others and especially to God[8], for it is evident that a culture or political system that lacks openness to transcendence proves insufficiently respectful of the human person.

Christians today have a great responsibility: they are called to serve as a leaven in reviving Europe’s conscience and help to generate processes capable of awakening new energies in society.[9] I urge them, therefore, to contribute with commitment, courage and determination to every sector in which they live and work.

Your Eminence,

These few words arise from my pastoral concern and my certainty that Europe still has much to offer to the world. My words are meant solely to be a personal contribution to the growing call for reflection on the continent’s future. I would be grateful if you could share these thoughts in the conversations you are to hold in coming days with the European authorities and with the members of COMECE, whom I ask to cooperate in a spirit of fraternal communion with all the Bishops of the continent gathered in the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE). I ask you to bring my personal greeting and a sign of my closeness to each of them and to the peoples they represent. Your meetings will certainly be a fitting occasion for consolidating relations between the Holy See and the European Union and the Council of Europe, and to confirm the Church in her evangelizing mission and her service to the common good.

May our beloved Europe continue to enjoy the protection of her holy patrons: Saint Benedict, Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saint Bridget, Saint Catherine and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), men and women who for love of the Lord tirelessly served the poor and worked for the human, social and cultural development of all the peoples of the continent.

I commend myself to your prayers and to the prayers of those whom you will encounter in the course of your travels. To all of them I ask you to bring my Blessing.

From the Vatican, 22 October 2020, Memorial of Saint John Paul II

 

Franciscus

 

[1] COMECE Statutes, Art. 1.

[2] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 228.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020), 11.

[5] 9 November 1982, 4.

[6] Schuman Declaration, Paris, 9 May 1950.

[7] Address to Participants in the Conference “(Re)thinking Europe” (28 October 2017).

[8] Cf. interview for the Belgian Catholic Weekly “Tertio” (7 December 2016).

[9] Address to Participants in the Conference “(Re)thinking Europe”, op. cit.