Thursday, December 31, 2020

Holy Mass Online : Fri. January 1, 2021 - #Eucharist on Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in Your Virtual Church - Christmas Tide



 Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Lectionary: 18
Reading 1
NM 6:22-27
The LORD said to Moses: 
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: 
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, 
and I will bless them.”
 
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
R/ (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
   may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
   among all nations, your salvation.
R/ May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
   because you rule the peoples in equity;
   the nations on the earth you guide.
R/ May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
   may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
   and may all the ends of the earth fear him! 
R/ May God bless us in his mercy.
 
Reading 2
GAL 4:4-7
Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law, 
to ransom those under the law, 
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons, 
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, 
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son, 
and if a son then also an heir, through God.
 
Alleluia
HEB 1:1-2
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel
LK 2:16-21
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message 
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen, 
just as it had been told to them.
When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.
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 January 1 : Solemnity of Mary Mother of God - a Title of Mary Ratified during the Council of Ephesus in 431


Saint January 1 : Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - 
Formally a Holy Day of Obligation but due to the pandemic, it is not possible to attend Mass in some cases.   
The title “Mother of God” is a western derivation from the Greek Theotokos, which means “God-bearer”.
The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God is celebrated on January 1st and is a Holy Day of Obligation; meaning Catholics must attend Mass except during the time of the pandemic or other illness. The Solemnity falls exactly one week after Christmas, the end of the octave of Christmas. The object of this feast is to commemorate the dignity of the Mary as Mother of God. Mary is truly the Mother of Christ, who in one person unites the human and divine nature. This title was solemnly ratified by the Council of Ephesus, 22 June, 431.
This feast was established by Pope Paul the VI in his 1974 document Marialis Cultis
In that document he writes:

In the revised ordering of the Christmas period it seems to us that the attention of all should be directed towards the restored Solemnity of Mary the holy Mother of God. This celebration, placed on January 1 in conformity with the ancient indication of the liturgy of the City of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the "holy Mother...through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life."(17) It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels (cf. Lk. 2:14), and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace. It is for this reason that, in the happy concurrence of the Octave of Christmas and the first day of the year, we have instituted the World Day of Peace, an occasion that is gaining increasing support and already bringing forth fruits of peace in the hearts of many. (MC 5, 1974)

In the Bible, this is noted, when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth she says:

Luke 1:39-45, Mary Visits Elizabeth 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?"


 The hymns used in the office of the feast also allude to Mary's dignity as the spiritual mother of men. The love of Mary for all mankind was that of a mother, for she shared all the feelings of her son whose love for men led Him to die for our redemption (Hunter, Dogm.Theo. 2, 578).At present the feast is found in the universal calendar of the church.
 The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, falling on New Year's Day, is also designated the World Day of Peace. 
Text edited from the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Vatican Document Marialis Cultus

Don't Drink and Drive! Most Powerful Drunk Driving Ad - SHARE you might Save a Life - VIRAL with 19 Million Views

The holidays are here, and it is a time for parties & for some time off work. It is a time for enjoying ourselves, having a drink with family & friends. This five minute video of the road safety campaigns produced by the TAC over the last 20 years have been compiled for this powerful message. According to the statistics 38,000 people died in traffic crashes in 2019 in the United States, with an over 10,000 people who died from drunk driving crashes.
PLEASE WATCH & Share, & maybe, just maybe, you might save a Life....

Pope Francis' Homily for Vespers "May your mercy always be with us, in you we have hoped". In you is our trust and our hope." as Read by Cardinal Re - FULL TEXT + Video


 

FIRST VESPERS OF THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY HOLY MOTHER OF GOD (Image from last year's Vespers)

AND TE DEUM OF THANKSGIVING FOR THE LAST YEAR

FULL TEXT HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

St. Peter's Basilica
Thursday, 31 December 2020
 

Homily of the Holy Father, read by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re ]

Cardinal Re read the text that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, had prepared for this occasion. Due to his sciatica the Holy Father was unable to preside at the Vespers but provided the homily. 

Dearest brothers and sisters!

This evening celebration always has a double aspect: with the liturgy we enter the solemn feast of Mary Most Holy Mother of God; and at the same time we conclude the solar year with the great hymn of praise.

The first aspect will be discussed in the homily tomorrow morning . Tonight we give space to thanks for the year that is drawing to a close.

« Te Deum laudamus », «We praise you, God, we proclaim you Lord…». It might seem forced to thank God at the end of a year like this, marked by the pandemic. My thoughts go to families who have lost one or more members; let us think of those who have been sick, those who have suffered loneliness, those who have lost their jobs ...

Sometimes someone asks: what is the point of a drama like this? We must not be in a hurry to answer this question. Not even God responds to our most distressing “whys” by resorting to “superior reasons”. God's response follows the path of the incarnation, as the Antiphon at the Magnificat will soon sing : "For the great love with which he loved us, God sent his Son in the flesh of sin".

A God who sacrificed human beings for a great design, even if it were the best possible, is certainly not the God who revealed Jesus Christ to us. God is father, "eternal Father", and if his Son became man, it is through the immense compassion of the Father's heart. God is Father and shepherd, and which shepherd would give even one sheep lost, thinking that in the meantime he has many left? No, this cynical and ruthless god does not exist. This is not the God whom we "praise" and "proclaim Lord".

The good Samaritan, when he met that poor half-dead man on the side of the road, did not give him a speech to explain the meaning of what had happened to him, perhaps to convince him that it was really good for him. The Samaritan, moved by compassion , bent over that stranger, treating him as a brother and took care of him doing everything in his power ( cf.Lk 10 : 25-37).

Here, yes, perhaps we can find a "sense" of this drama that is the pandemic, as of other scourges that affect humanity: that of arousing in us compassion and provoking attitudes and gestures of closeness, care, solidarity, of affection.

This is what has happened and is also happening in Rome in recent months; and above all for this, tonight, we give thanks to God. We give thanks to God for the good things that happened in our city during the lockdown and, in general, in the time of the pandemic, which unfortunately is not over yet. There are many people who, without making any noise, have tried to make the weight of the test more bearable. With their daily commitment, animated by love for their neighbor, they realized those words of the hymn Te Deum : "Every day we bless you, we praise your name forever". Because the blessing and praise that God most pleases is brotherly love.

Health care workers - doctors, nurses, nurses, volunteers - are at the forefront, and for this they are particularly in our prayers and deserve our gratitude; as well as many priests, male and female religious, who did their utmost with generosity and dedication. But tonight our thanks extend to all those who strive every day to keep their families going in the best possible way and to those who are committed to their service to the common good. Let us think of school administrators and teachers, who play an essential role in social life and who have to face a very complex situation. We also think with gratitude of the public administrators who know how to enhance all the good resources present in the city and in the territory, who are detached from private interests and also from those of their party. Because? Because they truly seek the good of all, the common good, the good starting from the most disadvantaged.

All this cannot happen without grace, without God's mercy. We - we know this well from experience - in difficult moments we are led to defend ourselves - it is natural - we are led to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to protect our interests … How is it possible then that so many people, with no other reward than that of doing good, find the strength to worry about others? What drives them to give up something of themselves, of their own comfort, of their time, of their possessions, to give it to others? After all, even if they themselves do not think about it, the force of God pushes them, which is more powerful than our egoisms. For this reason, this evening we give praise to him, because we believe and know that all the good that is done day by day on earth comes, in the end, from him, comes from God. And looking to the future that awaits us, we again implore: "May your mercy always be with us, in you we have hoped". In you is our trust and our hope.

Gain a Plenary Indulgence on New Year's Eve with these Powerful Prayers -

Plenary Indulgences for 31 December 
The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum 26 indicates that we can gain plenary indulgences on the 31 December. 
(See Video Below)
A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, recite or sing the Te Deum
Under the usual conditions, a plenary indulgence can be gained:
1. Sacramental confession within eight days
2. A prescribed good work (for Dec. 31 the recital of the Te Deum)
3. Sacramental Holy Communion within eight days.
4. Prayers for the intentions of the Roman Pope (usually 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be)
5. Detestation of venial sin 

TE DEUM PRAYER in Latin and English
Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.O God, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates;To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,The glorious choir of the Apostles,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,the wonderful company of Prophets,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,Holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge Thee:
Patrem immensae maiestatis:the Father of infinite Majesty;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.Thou overcame the sting of death and hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.Thou sitest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance!
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te.V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yea, forever and ever.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.R. O Lord, in Thee I have hoped; let me never be put to shame.

Vatican Announces that Pope Francis Suffers from Painful Sciatica and Therefore will not Preside at 1st Vespers for the Solemnity of Mary



FULL TEXT Announcement from the Holy See: 
Due to painful sciatica, this evening’s and tomorrow’s mornings celebrations at the Altar of the Chair in the Vatican Basilica will not be presided over by the Holy Father Francis. 
 This evening’s First Vespers and Te Deum, 31 December 2020, will be presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals, while Holy Mass tomorrow, 1 January 2021, will be presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State. Tomorrow, 1 January 2021, Pope Francis will, however, lead the recitation of the Angelus from the Library of the Apostolic Palace, as planned.

RIP Bishop Andrew Han Jingtao - Death of Beloved Chinese Underground Bishop who spent 27 Years in Labor Camp at Age 99



Asia News reports that Bishop Andrew Han Jingtao, a ‘giant of culture and faith’ of the underground Church, has died.
The biographical report by Bernardo Cervellera, found below, is from Asia News.
A great scholar, he spent 27 years in a forced labour camp, and later taught at a university. He was also appreciated by prison authorities. Upon becoming bishop in 1982, he divided his time between academic and pastoral work. After 1997 he was under constant police surveillance. He was a supporter of the Legions of Mary and founder of the Women's Congregation of Mount Calvary.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Mgr Andrew Han Jingtao, underground bishop of Siping (Jilin), passed away last night at 11pm (Beijing time). He was 99 years old.
Described by some faithful as “a giant of culture and faith” of the unofficial community, Bishop Han was a great scholar from an early age.
His first studies took place under the direction of Canadian missionaries from Quebec, to whom the apostolic vicariate was entrusted.
His great culture was even recognised by the authorities of the forced labour camp where he spent 27 years (1953-1980) for refusing to join the “independent and autonomous” Church, following Mao Zedong’s directives.
Once free, the authorities hired him to teach English at Changchun University. A few months later he became associate professor at the Institute for the History of Ancient Civilisations at Northeast Normal University.
He taught undergraduate, master and doctoral students, and introduced many Chinese to the study of classical cultures and languages (Latin and Greek).
In 1987 he retired from teaching, but not from his Church and missionary work. Even before his imprisonment, he had focused on educating the laity through the Legions of Mary, pushing them to pray, proclaim and engage in charity work. At the same time he had started a congregation of nuns, later called “Mount Calvary”.
He said that in the 1950s, the regime tried to “get rid of the Pope's interference and expel foreign missionaries. At that time, I realised that the Church was facing a great challenge and needed great strength to resist; otherwise, she would not be able to stand up. This is why I decided to establish a religious congregation.”
In 1982 he was appointed bishop of Siping, but his ordination took place in secret in 1986. For several years, he had to divide his time between pastoral work and university commitments.
In the early 1980s, the government unified all ecclesiastical districts in Jilin province into a single diocese, that of Jilin. The Diocese of Siping, still recognised by the Holy See, coves sections of Jilin province, Inner Mongolia and Liaoning.
Starting in 1997, his home came under constant surveillance making his ministry difficult. Even the congregation of nuns he founded went through a difficult time: convents shut down, members dispersed, secret reopenings, members living in various underground communities.
According to the latest figures, the diocese has about 30,000 members, including 20,000 in the unofficial Church and 10,000 in the official one, with 20 priests and a hundred religious Sisters.
The diocese also offers some social services, including an orphanage and a medical centre.
Full Text Source: Asia News.it

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, December 31, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church


The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 204
Reading 1
1 JN 2:18-21
Children, it is the last hour; 
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared. 
Thus we know this is the last hour. 
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us. 
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. 
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge. 
I write to you not because you do not know the truth 
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

 

Responsorial Psalm
PS 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
R.  (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day. 
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
 
 
Alleluia
JN 1:14A, 12A
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
JN 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. 
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light, 
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God, 
to those who believe in his name, 
who were born not by natural generation 
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision 
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, 
“This was he of whom I said, 
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me 
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, 
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, 
has revealed him.  

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 December 31 : St. Sylvester the Pope who Converted and Baptized Constantine and Miraculously Cured him of Leprosy


Feast Day: December 31
Died:31 December 335 at Rome, Italy
Patron of:Feroleto Antico, Italy
Saint Sylvester I, also spelled Silvester (born , Rome [Italy]—died 335, Rome; Western feast day December 31, Eastern feast day January 2), pope from 314 to 335, whose long pontificate saw the beginnings of the Christian Roman Empire. 
A presbyter when elected to succeed Pope St. Miltiades (Melchiades), Sylvester was consecrated on Jan. 31, 314. The most important event of his reign was the Council of Nicaea (May 325), which condemned the Alexandrian Christian priest Arius, founder of Arianism, a heretical doctrine teaching that the Son was neither equal with God the Father nor eternal. While the Roman emperor Constantine I the Great favoured Christianity and was a major controller of its ecclesiastical affairs, neither he nor his immediate successors gave any official recognition to papal primacy over the church. Thus, it was a rare and significant exception when Sylvester was accorded a preeminent role in the Arian crisis. Although invited, he did not attend the Council of Nicaea personally but was represented by two legates, who were treated with great honour and respect yet did not preside at the debates. According to subsequent legend, Sylvester converted and baptized Constantine, who was the first Roman emperor to become a Christian, and miraculously cured him of leprosy, for which the emperor allegedly gave him the Donatio Constantini (Donation of Constantine), a grant of spiritual supremacy over the Eastern patriarchates and over all matters of faith and worship as well as temporal dominion over Rome and the entire Western world. The Donation is now universally admitted to be an 8th-century forgery, but it was important in the development of the medieval theory of church and state. Sylvester is believed to have built at the Cemetery of St. Priscilla on the Via Salaria a church, where he was buried. His relics were transferred in 762 by Pope St. Paul I to the Church of San Silvestro in Capite, now the national church of English Catholics in Rome. Text source Britannica

LISTEN to the Beautiful Christmas Concert in the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris the Cathedral's 1st Concert since the Fire



Notre-Dame Choir sang inside its cathedral for first time since their devastating fire in April of last year.  Choir members had to wear hard hats, as they performed inside the Notre-Dame cathedral due to the danger of the damaged structure. "Notre-Dame is a bit like our home," Henry Chalet, conductor of the Notre Dame Choir told the Paris BFM TV station. The conductor said he was "excited" to be able to enter the cathedral again after a year and a half. The choir has sung at the Paris church for 850 years. On Christmas Eve, 20 singers, two soloists and an organist performed a beautiful concert. There was no live audience in the cathedral itself, due to strict coronavirus protection measures, but it was broadcast live and you can watch it below. 

Pope Francis says "For us Christians, thanksgiving was the name given to the most essential Sacrament there is: the Eucharist." FULL TEXT + Video





POPE FRANCIS at GENERAL AUDIENCE

Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, 30 December 2020



Catechesis on prayer - 20. The prayer of thanksgiving

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, I would like to focus on the prayer of thanksgiving. And I take my cue from an episode recounted by the Evangelist Luke. While Jesus was on the way, ten lepers approached Him who begged him: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (17:13). We know that those who had leprosy suffered not only physically, but also from social marginalization and religious marginalization.  

 

 They were marginalized. Jesus did not back off from meeting them. Sometimes, He surpassed the limitations imposed by the law and touched, embraced and healed the sick person – which was not supposed to be done. In this case, there was no contact. From a distance, Jesus invited them to present themselves to the priests (v. 14), who were designated by law to certify healings that had occurred. Jesus said nothing else. He heard their prayer, He heard their cry for mercy, and He sent them immediately to the priests.

Those ten lepers trusted, they did not remain there until they were cured, no: they trusted and they went immediately, and while they were on their way, they were cured, all ten were cured. The priests would have therefore been able to verify their healing and readmit them to normal life. But this is where the important point enters in: only one in the group, before going to the priests, returned to thank Jesus and to praise God for the grace received. Only one, the other nine continued on their way. And Jesus points out that that man was a Samaritan, a sort of “heretic” for the Jews of that time. Jesus comments: “Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (17:18). This narrative is touching.

 

 This narrative, so to speak, divides the world in two: those who do not give thanks and those who do; those who take everything as if it is owed them, and those who welcome everything as a gift, as grace. The Catechism says: “every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving” (n. 2638). The prayer of thanksgiving always begins here: to recognize that grace precedes us. We were thought of before we learned how to think; we were loved before we learned how to love; we were desired before our hearts conceived a desire. If we view life like this, then “thank you” becomes the driving force of our day. And how often we even forget to say “thank you”.

For us Christians, thanksgiving was the name given to the most essential Sacrament there is: the Eucharist. In fact, the Greek word, means precisely this: thanksgiving, eucharist: thanksgiving. Christians, as all believers, bless God for the gift of life. To live is above all to have received. To live is above all to have received: to have received life! All of us are born because someone wanted us to have life. And this is only the first of a long series of debts that we incur by living. Debts of gratitude. During our lives, more than one person has gazed on us with pure eyes, gratuitously. Often, these people are educators, catechists, persons who carried out their roles above and beyond what was required of them. And they provoked us to be grateful. Even friendship is a gift for which we should always be grateful.

This “thank you” that we must say continually, this thanks that Christians share with everyone, grows in meeting Jesus. The Gospels attest that when Jesus passed by, He often provoked joy and praise to God in those whom He met. The Gospel accounts are filled with prayerful people who are greatly touched by the coming of the Saviour. And we too are called to participate in this immense jubilation. The episode of the ten lepers who are healed also suggests this. Naturally, all of them were happy for having recovered their health, allowing them to end that unending forced quarantine that excluded them from the community. But among them, there was one who experienced an additional joy: in addition to being healed, he rejoices at meeting Jesus. He is not only freed from evil, but he now possesses the certainty of being loved. This is the crux: when you thank someone, give thanks, you express the certainty that you are loved. And this is a huge step: to have the certainty that you are loved. It is the discovery of love as the force that governs the world – as Dante said: the Love that “moves the sun and other stars” (Paradise, XXXIII, 145). We are no longer vagabonds wandering aimlessly here and there, no: we have a home, we dwell in Christ, and from that “dwelling” we contemplate the rest of the world which appears infinitely more beautiful to us. We are children of love, we are brothers and sisters of love. We are men and woman who thank.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us seek to remain always in the joy of encountering Jesus. Let us cultivate joyfulness. The devil, instead, after having deluded us – with whatever temptation – always leaves us sad and alone. If we are in Christ, there is no sin and no threat that can ever prevent us from continuing joyfully on our way, together with many other companions on the road.

Above all, let us not forget to thank: if we are bearers of gratitude, the world itself will become better, even if only a little bit, but that is enough to transmit a bit of hope. The world needs hope. And with gratitude, with this habit of saying thank you, we transmit a bit of hope. Everything is united and everything is connected, and everyone needs to do his or her part wherever we are. The path to happiness is the one Saint Paul described at the end of one of his letters: “Pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thes 5:17-19). Do not quench the Spirit, what a beautiful project of life! Do not quench the Spirit that we have within leads us to gratitude. Thank you.


Special Greetings

I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful. May each of you, and your families, cherish the joy of this Christmas season and draw near in prayer to the Saviour who has come to dwell among us. God bless you!


APPEAL

Yesterday, an earthquake in Croatia caused victims and caused serious damage. I express my closeness to the wounded and to those who have been affected by the quake and I pray in particular for those who have lost their lives and for their families. I hope that the country’s leaders, helped by the international community, might be able to quickly alleviate the suffering of the dear Croatian people.


Summary of the Holy Father's words:

Dear brothers and sisters: As part of our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now turn to the prayer of thanksgiving. Saint Luke tells us that of the ten lepers healed by Jesus, only one came back to thank the Lord. This passage reminds us of the importance of gratitude. It shows the great difference between hearts that are thankful and those that are not; between people who see everything as their entitlement and those who receive everything as grace. As Christians, our prayer of thanksgiving is inspired by gratitude for the love of God revealed in the coming of Jesus, his Son and our Saviour. The Gospel accounts of Christ’s birth show us how the coming of the Messiah was welcomed by hearts that trusted and prayed for the fulfilment of God’s promises. May our celebration of this Christmas season be marked by fervent prayer of thanksgiving for the outpouring of God’s redemptive grace upon our world. May these prayers enlarge our hearts and enable us to bring the hope and joy of the Gospel to all around us, especially to our brothers and sisters most in need.

Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot Vatican.va

Saint December 30 : St. Egwin - a Royal Bishop of Worcester and Famous Founder of Abbey at Evesham



Third Bishop of Worcester who died on the 30 December, 717. He was famous as the founder of the great Abbey of Evesham. It appears that either in 692, upon the death of Oftfor, second Bishop of Worcester, Egwin, a prince of the Mercian blood royal, who had retired from the world and sought only the seclusion of religious life, was forced by popular acclaim to assume the vacant see. His biographers say that king, clergy, and commonalty all united in demanding his elevation; but the popularity which forced on him this reluctant assumption of the episcopal functions was soon wrecked by his apostolic zeal in their discharge.

The Anglo-Saxon population of the then young diocese had had less than a century in which to become habituated to the restraints of Christian morality; they as yet hardly appreciated the sanctity of Christian marriage, and the struggle of the English Benedictines for the chastity of the priesthood had already fairly begun. At the same time large sections of England were more or less permanently occupied by pagans closely allied in blood to the Anglo-Saxon Christians. Egwin displayed undaunted zeal in his efforts to evangelize the heathen and no less in the enforcement of ecclesiastical discipline. His rigorous policy towards his own flock created a bitter resentment which, as King Ethelred was his friend, could only find vent in accusations addressed to his ecclesiastical superiors. Egwin undertook a pilgrimage to seek vindication from the Roman Pontiff himself. According to a legend, he prepared for his journey by locking shackles on his feet, and throwing the key into the River Avon. While he prayed before the tomb of the Apostles, at Rome, one of his servants brought him this very key — found in the maw of a fish that had just been caught in the Tiber. Egwin then released himself from his self-imposed bonds and straightway obtained from the pope an authoritative release from the load of obloquy which his enemies had striven to fasten upon him.

It was after Egwin's triumphant return from this pilgrimage that the shepherd Eoves came to him with the tale of a miraculous vision by which the Blessed Virgin had signified her will that a new sanctuary should be dedicated to her. Egwin himself went to the spot pointed out by the shepherd (Eoves ham, or "dwelling") and to him also we are told the same vision was vouchsafed. King Ethelred granted him the land thereabouts upon which the famous abbey was founded. As to the precise date of the foundation, although the monastic tradition of later generations set it in 714, recent research points to some year previous to 709. It was most probably in 709 that Egwin made his second pilgrimage to Rome, this time in the company of Coenred, the successor of Ethelred, and Offa, King of the East Saxons, and it was on this occasion that Pope Constantine granted him the extraordinary privileges by which the Abbey of Evesham was distinguished. One of the last important acts of his episcopate was his participation in the first great Council of Clovesho. Edited from the Catholic Encyclopedia and Dates from Franciscan Media

Large Earthquake Hits Central Europe with Epicenter in Croatia leaves $6 Billion of Damage, 7 People Killed and more Missing



On Tuesday, December 29, 2020 a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck central Croatia. Rescue teams spent the night searching for survivors. Central European countries that were affected include: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czechia, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Austria. Some people are still missing and others are injured. Aftershocks are preventing some Croatians from staying in their homes. In total reports say that there is 6 Billion Dollars of damage due to the quake. Source: BBC - National Post

A 12-year-old girl was killed in Petrinja. Also, five people died in the nearby town of Glina, as reported by authorities. Another victim was found in the rubble of a church in Zazina.  
Details of the quake show that a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near Petrinja, Croatia, about 30 miles southeast of the capital of Zagreb, on December 29, 2020 at about 6:20 am Eastern Time (12:20 pm local time). Seismic instruments indicate the earthquake originated at a depth of about 6 miles (10 kilometers). This is the largest earthquake to occur in Croatia since the advent of modern seismic instruments. An earthquake of similar size occurred in 1880 near Zagreb and three magnitude 6 and larger earthquakes have occurred within 125 miles (200 kilometers) of the December 29, 2020 earthquake since 1900. A magnitude 5.6 earthquake on November 27, 1990, about 110 miles (175 kilometers) to the southeast, injured 10 people. Source: https://www.usgs.gov/news/magnitude-64-earthquake-croatia

Saint December 30 : St. Sabinus and his Companions, Martyrs - a Bishop who Cured a Blind Boy



December 30.—ST. SABINUS, Bishop, and his Companions, Martyrs.

THE cruel edicts of Diocletian and Maximin against the Christians being published in the year 303, Sabinus, Bishop of Assisium, and several of his clergy, were apprehended and kept in custody till Venustianus, the Governor of Etruria and Umbria, came thither. Upon his arrival in that city he caused the hands of Sabinus, who had made a glorious confession of his Faith before him, to be cut off; and his two deacons, Marcellus and Exuperantius, to be scourged, beaten with clubs, and torn with iron nails, under which torments they both expired. Sabinus is said to have cured a blind boy, and a weakness in the eyes of Venustianus himself, who was thereupon converted, and afterward beheaded for the Faith. Lucius, his successor, commanded Sabinus to be beaten to death with clubs at Spoleto. The martyr was buried a mile from that city, but his relics have been since translated to Faënza.

Reflection.—How powerfully do the martyrs cry out to us by their example, exhorting us to despise a false and wicked world!

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894], p. 390.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Wednesday, December 30, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 203

Reading 1
1 JN 2:12-17
I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.
Do not love the world or the things of the world. 
 
 If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world. 
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. 
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 96:7-8A, 8B-9, 10
R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity. 
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
 

 

Alleluia  
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
LK 2:36-40
There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. 
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. 
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. 
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth. 
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
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 December 30 : Bl. Eugenia Ravasco who was Dedicated to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Foundress of Sisters of the Sacred Hearts

Bl. Eugenia Ravasco
FOUNDRESS

Born:
4 January 1845 in Milan, Italy
Died:
30 December 1900 in Genoa, Italy

Eugenia Ravasco was born on 4 January 1845 in Milan, Italy, the third of Francesco Matteo and Carolina Mozzoni Frosconi's six children. When she was three years old her mother died and her father moved to Genoa where his two brothers lived, taking with him his eldest son, Ambrose, and the youngest daughter, Elisa. Eugenia remained in Milan with her Aunt Marietta Anselmi, who became a second mother to her and carefully educated her in the faith.
In 1852, the family was reunited in Genoa and following her father's death in March 1855, Eugenia went to live for some time with her uncle Luigi Ravasco and her aunt Elisa and their 10 children. Luigi Ravasco was careful to give his nephews and nieces a Christian upbringing. He was well aware of the anticlericalism on the rise in Italy at the time and of the efforts of the Freemasons, and was especially worried about Eugenia's brother, Ambrose, who had come under the influence of this spreading problem.
From early adolescence, Eugenia was deeply influenced by her uncle's responsible Christian example and his generosity towards the poor. Unlike her shy younger sister, Elisa, Eugenia was expansive and energetic and loved to serve others. Eucharistic worship, together with devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, became an essential part of her spirituality.
On 21 June 1855, Eugenia made her First Communion and Confirmation in St Ambrose's Church and from that day on, whenever she passed a church she would enter it to pray. God was preparing her for greater things.
In December 1862, her Uncle died, leaving Eugenia with the responsibility of caring for the family. With the help of God and the advice of Canon Salvatore Magnasco, she valiantly faced the problems caused by her brother. Aunt Marietta joined Eugenia to help the family. Both made every effort to rescue Ambrose, but without success.
Although her aunt wanted her to marry, Eugenia prayed that the Lord would show her the path to take, since she felt a growing inner call to religious life. On 31 May 1863 she received an answer as she entered the Church of St Sabina to pray. Fr Giacinto Bianchi, an ardent missionary of the Sacred Heart, was celebrating Mass. When she heard him say to the faithful, "Is there no one out there who feels called to dedicate themselves to doing good for love of the Heart of Jesus?", Eugenia understood that God was speaking to her, calling her to him through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Eugenia found a spiritual director to help her discern what she was feeling, and shortly thereafter she began to teach catechism in the parish church to the disadvantaged young girls of the city. Her aunt and those close to her were against this, especially because these girls were unmannered and street-wise. But Eugenia persevered, accepting with patience the humiliations that she received from all sides. Little by little, she won the young girls over, organizing day trips and games for them and gaining their trust. She reached out to the most uneducated, neglected girls who, left to themselves, were in danger of going down the same errant path as her brother Ambrose.
As time went on, Eugenia felt that God was calling her to found a religious order that would form "honest citizens in society and saints in Heaven". Other young women had also joined her in this effort. On 6 December 1868, when she was 23 years old, she founded the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Canon (later Archbishop) Magnasco had prepared her carefully and she continued, together with the sisters, to teach catechism and to open schools.
Despite open hostility towards the Church and the activity of the Freemasons, Mother Eugenia opened in 1878 a school for girls to give them Christian instruction and to prepare "Christian teachers" for the future. She proved courageous in the face of the persecution and ridicule she received from the local press. She also gave particular attention to the dying, the imprisoned and those away from the Church.

Notwithstanding her poor health, she travelled around Italy and to France and Switzerland, opening new communities and attracting religious vocations.
In 1882 the Congregation received diocesan approval and in 1884, together with her sisters, Mother Eugenia made her perpetual profession. She guided the foundations and her sisters with love and prudence, giving them as model the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Her apostolic ideal in life was "to burn with the desire to do good to others, especially to youth", and to "live in abbandonment to God and in the hands of Mary Immaculate". Mother Eugenia Ravasco died on 30 December 1900 in Genoa, consumed by illness. And in 1909 the Congregation she founded received Pontifical approval.
Today the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (also known as the "Ravasco Institute") are present in Albania, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Africa and the Philippines. They continue their work in schools, parishes and missions and are especially dedicated to serving youth and the needy and to promoting the dignity of women.

(Taken from Vatican website)

Free Movie : Becket : Drama on St Thomas Becket


In honor of the Feast of St. Thomas Becket here is the film BECKET. 
St. Thomas Becket

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND MARTYR

Feast: December 29
1118 - 1170 AD
Becket was in conflict with King Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral.

#BreakingNews Catholic Bishop in Nigeria is Kidnapped by Armed Gunman - Please Pray for the Release of Bishop Moses



A Catholic Bishop was Kidnapped in Imo State, Nigeria.  
Most Rev. Moses Chikwe, the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Imo State, was kidnapped. The 53 year-old priest was kidnapped along with his chauffeur near his residence on Sunday night, 27 December. The Owerri archbishop, Most Rev. John Victor Obinna, called for prayers “for Chikwe’s safety and quick release.” “According to eyewitnesses, the Auxiliary Bishop was kidnapped in the night of Sunday 27th December 2020. “An anonymous source said that the Bishop and his driver were kidnapped close to his house, while his car and official regalia were abandoned at the premises of the Assumpta Cathedral. 
The Archbishop of Owerri, Victor Obinna confirmed the kidnap in a statement made available to Vatican News, on his behalf by the Archdiocesan Chancellor, Msgr.Alphonsus Oha. “His Grace, Most Rev. Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna, the Archbishop of Owerri painfully informs Christ’s faithful and God’s people at large that Most. Rev. Moses Chikwe, Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri was kidnapped late evening of Sunday 27 December 2020. The said incident took place around Site and Services, New Owerri, Imo State,” Msgr. Oha announced. 
Bishop Chikwe “was kidnapped two days ago as he was returning from a visit to his residence in Owerri, a mile or two away from the city of Owerri, where he has his residence. Kidnapping has, of course, been going on in Nigeria, in different parts of Nigeria. That it has happened to my Auxiliary Bishop shows that the security situation in Nigeria is very bad. The protection, the security that the people ought to have is not very effective. We have periodically raised the alarm about the state of insecurity in which we find ourselves …..The Church is not far removed from the people. We are not insulated from the suffering of the people. We take it as part of our testimony that we have to bear,” Archbishop Obinna told Vatican News. Police have teams looking for the Bishop According to Nigerian media, Bishop Chikwe’s car and episcopal vestments were abandoned by the criminals near the Assumpta Cathedral premises of Owerri.
The kidnapping of the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri comes just a week after the abduction in the State of another Catholic religious priest, Fr Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu, abducted on 15 December by armed men while on his way to his father’s funeral. The priest was later released on 16 December. Bishop Chikwe, 53, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri in October 2019. 
Edited from Vatican News

US President Trump Issues Proclamation on 850th Anniversary of St Thomas Becket for Religious Freedom and Mentions Cardinal Zen - FULL Official Text



Proclamation on 850th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket
Issued on: December 28, 2020

Today is the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket on December 29, 1170. Thomas Becket was a statesman, a scholar, a chancellor, a priest, an archbishop, and a lion of religious liberty.
Before the Magna Carta was drafted, before the right to free exercise of religion was enshrined as America’s first freedom in our glorious Constitution, Thomas gave his life so that, as he said, “the Church will attain liberty and peace.”
The son of a London sheriff and once described as “a low‑born clerk” by the King who had him killed, Thomas Becket rose to become the leader of the church in England. When the crown attempted to encroach upon the affairs of the house of God through the Constitutions of Clarendon, Thomas refused to sign the offending document. When the furious King Henry II threatened to hold him in contempt of royal authority and questioned why this “poor and humble” priest would dare defy him, Archbishop Becket responded “God is the supreme ruler, above Kings” and “we ought to obey God rather than men.”
Because Thomas would not assent to rendering the church subservient to the state, he was forced to forfeit all his property and flee his own country. Years later, after the intervention of the Pope, Becket was allowed to return — and continued to resist the King’s oppressive interferences into the life of the church. Finally, the King had enough of Thomas Becket’s stalwart defense of religious faith and reportedly exclaimed in consternation: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”
The King’s knights responded and rode to Canterbury Cathedral to deliver Thomas Becket an ultimatum: give in to the King’s demands or die. Thomas’s reply echoes around the world and across the ages. His last words on this earth were these: “For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.” Dressed in holy robes, Thomas was cut down where he stood inside the walls of his own church.
Thomas Becket’s martyrdom changed the course of history. It eventually brought about numerous constitutional limitations on the power of the state over the Church across the West. In England, Becket’s murder led to the Magna Carta’s declaration 45 years later that: “[T]he English church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired.”
When the Archbishop refused to allow the King to interfere in the affairs of the Church, Thomas Becket stood at the intersection of church and state. That stand, after centuries of state-sponsored religious oppression and religious wars throughout Europe, eventually led to the establishment of religious liberty in the New World. It is because of great men like Thomas Becket that the first American President George Washington could proclaim more than 600 years later that, in the United States, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship” and that “it is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”
Thomas Becket’s death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty. It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs.
As Americans, we were first united by our belief that “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God” and that defending liberty is more important than life itself. If we are to continue to be the land of the free, no government official, no governor, no bureaucrat, no judge, and no legislator must be allowed to decree what is orthodox in matters of religion or to require religious believers to violate their consciences. No right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions. As I declared in Krasiński Square in Warsaw, Poland on July 6, 2017, the people of America and the people of the world still cry out: “We want God.”
On this day, we celebrate and revere Thomas Becket’s courageous stand for religious liberty and we reaffirm our call to end religious persecution worldwide. In my historic address to the United Nations last year, I made clear that America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts. I also stated that global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life, reflecting the belief held by the United States and many other countries that every child — born and unborn — is a sacred gift from God. Earlier this year, I signed an Executive Order to prioritize religious freedom as a core dimension of United States foreign policy. We have directed every Ambassador — and the over 13,000 United States Foreign Service officers and specialists — in more than 195 countries to promote, defend, and support religious freedom as a central pillar of American diplomacy.
We pray for religious believers everywhere who suffer persecution for their faith. We especially pray for their brave and inspiring shepherds — like Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Pastor Wang Yi of Chengdu — who are tireless witnesses to hope.
To honor Thomas Becket’s memory, the crimes against people of faith must stop, prisoners of conscience must be released, laws restricting freedom of religion and belief must be repealed, and the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed must be protected. The tyranny and murder that shocked the conscience of the Middle Ages must never be allowed to happen again. As long as America stands, we will always defend religious liberty.
A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith cannot endure — because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 29, 2020, as the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket. I invite the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches and customary places of meeting with appropriate ceremonies in commemoration of the life and legacy of Thomas Becket.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
DONALD J. TRUMP