Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Saint February 5 : St. Agatha : Patron of Breast Cancer; Bakers; Nurses; Rape victims; Single laywomen; Sterility


Born: Catania or Palermo
Died: 251, Catania
Patron of:
bellfounders; breast cancer; bakers; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wetnurses
One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, put to death for her steadfast profession of faith in Catania, Sicily. Although it is uncertain in which persecution this took place, we may accept, as probably based on ancient tradition, the evidence of her legendary life, composed at a later date, to the effect that her martyrdom occurred during the persecution of Decius (250-253). Historic certitude attaches merely to the fact of her martyrdom and the public veneration paid her in the Church since primitive times. In the so-called Martyrologium Hieronymianum (ed. De Rossi and Duchesne, in Acta SS., Nov. II, 17) and in the ancient Martyrologium Carthaginiense dating from the fifth or sixth century (Ruinart, Acta Sincera, Ratisbon, 1859, 634), the name of St. Agatha is recorded on 5 February. In the sixth century Venantius Fortunatus mentions her in his poem on virginity as one of the celebrated Christian virgins and martyrs (Carm., VIII, 4, De Virginitate: Illic Euphemia pariter quoque plaudit Agathe Et Justina simul consociante Thecla. etc.). Among the poems of Pope Damasus published by Merenda and others is a hymn to St. Agatha (P.L., XIII, 403 sqq.; Ihm, Damasi Epigrammata, 75, Leipzig, 1895). However, this poem is not the work of Damasus but the product of an unknown author at a later period, and was evidently meant for the liturgical celebration of the Saint's feast.
SEE ALSO: 

Novena Prayer to Saint Agatha - Patron of Breast Cancer, Virgins, Assault Victims - Share! - https://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2019/02/novena-prayer-to-saint-agatha-patron-of.html

 Its content is drawn from the legend of St. Agatha, and the poem is marked by end-rhyme. From a letter of Pope Gelasius (492-496) to a certain Bishop Victor (Thiel. Epist. Roman. Pont., 495) we learn of a Basilica of St. Agatha in fundo Caclano, e.g., on the estate of that name. The letters of Gregory I make mention of St. Agatha at Rome, in the Subura, with which a diaconia or deaconry was connected (Epp., IV, 19; P.L., LXXVII, 688). It was in existence as early as the fifth century, for in the latter half of that century Rieimer enriched it with a mosaic. This same church was given the Arian Goths by Rieimer and was restored to Catholic worship by Pope Gregory I (590-604).
Although the martyrdom of St. Agatha is thus authenticated, and her veneration as a saint had even in antiquity spread beyond her native place, we still possess no reliable information concerning the details of her glorious death. It is true that we have the Acts of her martyrdom in two versions, Latin and Greek, the latter deviating from the former (Acta SS., I, Feb., 595 sqq.). Neither of these recensions, however, can lay any claim to historical credibility, and neither gives the necessary internal evidence that the information it contains rests, even in the more important details, upon genuine tradition. If there is a kernel of historical truth in the narrative, it has not as yet been possible to sift it out from the later embellishments. In their present form the Latin Acts are not older than the sixth century. According to them Agatha, daughter of a distinguished family and remarkable for her beauty of person, was persecuted by the Senator Quintianus with avowals of love. As his proposals were resolutely spurned by the pious Christian virgin, he committed her to the charge of an evil woman, whose seductive arts, however, were baffled by Agatha's unswerving firmness in the Christian faith. Quintianus then had her subjected to various cruel tortures. Especially inhuman seemed his order to have her breasts cut off, a detail which furnished to the Christian medieval iconography the peculiar characteristic of Agatha. But the holy virgin was consoled by a vision of St. Peter, who miraculously healed her. Eventually she succumbed to the repeated cruelties practised on her. As already stated, these details, in so far as they are based on the Acts, have no claim to historical credibility. Allard also characterizes the Acts as the work of a later author who was more concerned with writing an edifying narrative, abounding in miracles, than in transmitting historical traditions.
Both Catania and Palermo claim the honour of being Agatha's birthplace. Her feast is kept on 5 February; her office in the Roman Breviary is drawn in part from the Latin Acts. Catania honours St. Agatha as her patron saint, and throughout the region around Mt. Etna she is invoked against the eruptions of the volcano, as elsewhere against fire and lightning. In some places bread and water are blessed during Mass on her feast after the Consecration, and called Agatha bread. (Text- The Catholic Encyclopedia)

Faith in Football - the Chiefs Win the SuperBowl but also Show that Prayer is Important in Life - #SuperBowl


The Kansas City Chiefs are world champions after winning Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Florida, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31 - 20 on February 2, 2020.
After the win, Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said, "I want to thank the Lord for blessing us with all these incredible people to bring this trophy home."
 Players from both teams are open about faith and how it helps them with their careers and keep things in perspective.
CBN reported that after a Bungee Jump nearly left him paralyzed Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was named MVP of the Super Bowl, carrying the ball into the end zone on his own for one of the Chiefs' crucial touchdowns. He's one of the most dynamic players in the league and he says his faith in God is the source of his success. "Doing what I do every single day, and then knowing that as long I'm doing everything the right way, the way that He'd want me to do it, then I can walk off the field with my head held high and be able to be the man that I'm supposed to be. It's given me a lot of blessing in my life and I'm trying to maximize and glorify Him in everything I do," said Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes Faith and Family Message

  Fox reports that  The Chiefs weren't initially sure if there would be an extra plane ticket for the team's Catholic chaplain. But, Fr. Richard Rocha the team chaplain did perform the Mass at night for the team. Fr. Rocha, has a football background - He played football at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and coached high school and college football before joining the seminary. He also serves as the Royals' Catholic chaplain.
****** According to Sports Spectrum the Kansas City Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt: 'My identity is my faith in Christ' Clark Hunt, chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Kansas City Chiefs may be one win away from their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years, but Chiefs owner/CEO Clark Hunt has other goals in mind beyond athletic success. “We want our employees to develop spiritually,” Hunt said in October. "My identity is my faith in Christ.”
 
 Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, is very open on social media and in public about his love of the Church—particularly for Sacred Liturgy.  Butker describes how experiencing Masses at the university’s Catholic Center gave him a new view of Catholicism. “There was reverence,” he said, “It didn’t feel like we just made this up. There is tradition in our liturgy. It is set apart from the world.” Butker also says his new appreciation of the faith was influenced  the preaching and ministry of Father Joshua Allen, the Georgia Tech campus chaplain. “He didn’t shy away from Catholic truths,” Butker said. “He spoke in a charitable way, but in a way that made you hear the truth. You heard what the Catholic Church teaches and why.” . Harrison Butker said, “The summit of our faith is the Eucharist. That’s what makes us Catholic. You become Catholic because you believe in the Real Presence. A priest who celebrates the liturgy well believes what he is doing.” Butker is beginning his third season with the Chiefs and, along with his wife Isabelle and their newborn son, James, with St. Mary’s as his parish.
During the football season, Butker is not always able to attend Sunday Mass in a parish setting, but he has been working with the Chief’s chaplain, Father Richard Rocha, to provide more beautiful and well-prepared Masses for the Catholic coaches and players each Saturday evening at the team hotel. Butker hopes to continue to promote the Sacred Liturgy in the Kansas City area, but as a new father,  “You can witness through your life, but you also need to witness through catechesis, which comes through education,” he said. “And, as the father of the family it’s my responsibility to pass on the truths of the faith to my children.”

#BreakingNews Famous Healing Filipino Priest Dies Suddenly - RIP Fr. Fernando Suarez - Ordained by Companions of the Cross


ABS-CBN News MANILA reports that the Filipino Catholic healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez passed away on Tuesday at the age of 52. Suarez was playing tennis at the Alabang Country Club when he collapsed.

He was brought to the Asian Hospital Medical Center where he was declared dead at around 3 in the afternoon.

 Fr. Fernando Suarez, collapsed and died of a heart attack, massive heart attack while he was playing tennis. This was during a yearly tournament for priests. All priests were participants.
According to Lifestyle, He first  realized  that he had the gift of healing when he was sixteen and he prayed over a lame woman he saw in sta. Cruz church. The woman sitting by the church door  and Fernando asked if she wanted to be prayed over. He laid his hand on her head and prayed for healing. When he opened his eyes, he was shocked to see the woman walking away. He kept this gift to himself afraid that people would think his crazy until he was ordained a priest in Canada where he entered the Congregation of the Companions of the Cross.
“My gift of  healing is from  God,” he would always tell the devotees. “I am but his instrument.”

When  he was informed of the decision of the Vatican to absolve him of the malicious accusations of sexual assault on two young boys supposedly committed six years ago in Illing, Mindoro, his reaction was, “God be praised!”  It was the Vatican’s  Congregacione per la Doctrina Della Fedde’s decision to declare him “Not Guilty.” The doctrine was signed by its secretary, Gacomo Morandi, Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri.

Suarez was survived by his mother and four siblings.

Though the priest had gout, Suarez had no history of heart problems, Siytangco said.
Unknown to many, Fr. Suarez has helped a group of rehabilitated ex-prisoners form a monastic congregation in Davao to help them spiritually. They are now known as the Contemplative Brothers of the Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation.

Suarez became popular in the Philippines and other countries for his healing Masses, attended by thousands who hope to be cured of their illnesses.

Despite his popularity, several bishops banned him from performing healing Masses in their respective dioceses for various reasons.

Aside from skepticism from bishops, Suarez also faced sexual abuse allegations. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' National Tribunal of Appeals submitted the complaint to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on May 8, 2019. But the Vatican, in January, found him "not guilty" of these accusations.

"They should lift my ban," Suarez told ABS-CBN News. "Kung alam mo lang (If you only knew) what I went through," he added, citing the "ordeal of mental torture, calumny, gossips, especially among... bishops and priests."

 Edited from ABS-CBN News Philippines

In Homily, Pope Francis says Confession, is not like “going to the Dry Cleaners” - God says "Don’t kill yourself, please. I died for you”.


VaticanNews.va reports on the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday.
By Vatican News

“My son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you!” This was the anguished cry of David, weeping at news of the death of his son. The Second Book of Samuel tells of the end of the long battle Absalom had waged against his own father, King David, in order to replace him on the throne. Pope Francis described how David had had to flee Jerusalem, “barefoot, his head uncovered, insulted by some, while others threw stones at him, because all the people were with this son who had deceived the people, had seduced the heart of the people with promises”.

David’s sorrow shows us the heart of God
Tuesday’s reading shows David waiting for news from the front, and tells of the arrival, finally, of a messenger, who tells him that Absalom had died in the battle. David was shaken at this news, and trembling and weeping, cried out, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you!” Those who were with him were amazed by this reaction, the Pope said:

“‘But why are you weeping? [they asked.] This person was against you, he had denied you, he had denied your paternity, he had insulted you, he had persecuted you. But celebrate, rejoice that you have won!’ But David [said] only, “My son, my son, my son,” and wept. This weeping of David is an historic fact, but it is also a prophecy. It makes us see the heart of God, what God does when we turn away from Him, what the Lord does when we destroy ourselves with sin, [when we are] disoriented, lost. The Lord is a Father, and He never denies this paternity, [but says] ‘My son, my son’.”

Pope Francis continued by noting that we encounter this weeping of God when we confess our sins. Confession, he said, is not like “going to the dry cleaners” to take away a stain; rather, “it is going to the Father who weeps for me, precisely because He is a Father”.

God never denies His Fatherhood
David’s words — “If only I had died instead of you, Absalom my son” — are prophetic, the Pope said. They show what God actually did. God’s love is the love of a Father, to the point where God Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity, died in our place:

“He became man and died for us. When we look at the crucifix, we think of this: ‘He died instead of you’. And we hear the voice of the Father who in the Son says to us, ‘My child, my child’. God does not deny His children, He does not reject His paternity”.

In Jesus, God dies in our place
The love of God is so great that the Son of God, Who is God, was sent by the Father to give His life for us. Pope Francis said:

It would be good in the difficult moments in our lives — and we all have them — in moments of sin, in moments when we feel far from God, to hear this voice in our hearts: ‘My son, my daughters, what are you doing? Don’t kill yourself, please. I died for you”.

Pope Francis recalled the verse from the Gospel where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Jesus weeps for us, the Pope said, “because we don’t let Him love us”. Pope Francis concluded his homily with an invitation: “In the moment of temptation, in the moment of sin, in the moment when we are far from God, let us try to hear this voice: ‘My son, my daughter, why?’”
Source: VaticanNews.va

Coronavirus Death Toll reaches 427 as Pope Francis donates 600,000 health Masks to China to fight the Virus


The world-wide death toll from the Coronavirus reaches 427 with two reported dead outside mainland China and infection of  over 20,500 people, according to Aljazeera News. 21.558 cases are still suspected.
AsiaNews reports that the military is supervising the distribution of basic necessities in supermarkets. Hospitals are running out medical supplies, whilst the Red Cross is sitting on full warehouses.
VaticanNews reports that  Pope Francis donated 600,000 medical masks to China to fight the coronavirus The masks are a gift from the Holy See and the Chinese Christian communities in Italy. Card. Konrad Krajewski, the papal almsgiver; director of the Vatican pharmacy, Fr. Thomas Binish; Fr. Vincenzo Handuo, vice-rector of the Pontifical Urbanianum College in charge of organisation. The masks will be distributed in Hubei, Zhejiang, Fujian. China Southern Airlines took care of transporting them for free to China. Pope Francis has donated 600,000 health masks to China to fight the coronavirus epidemic that is spreading in the country.
Asia News reports that since January 27, four batches of medical masks have been collected by the Vatican pharmacy and Chinese Christian communities in Italy, China Southern Airlines has taken charge of transporting them for free to Wuhan (Hubei), the epicenter of the epidemic, and in Zhejiang and Fujian.
 The Holy See and the Chinese Christian communities in Italy paid for the masks; the Vatican pharmacy organized the collection and shipment. Yesterday the third batch of the masks arrived in China. The parcels have the coat of arms of Pope Francis inside .. On January 26, the Pope, addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, prayed for people who were sick because of the virus that has spread in China. "May the Lord - he added - welcome the deceased in his peace, comfort families and support the great commitment already put in place by the Chinese community to combat the epidemic".

Quote to SHARE by Saint Mother Teresa on Kindness “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier..."


“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” 
Saint Mother Teresa

Pope Francis gives Special Message on 150th Anniversary of Rome “Rome speaks to the world of brotherhood, harmony and peace”


MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
FOR THE 150th ANNIVERSARY OF ROME AS CAPITAL OF ITALY

Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to join, as Bishop of Rome, in the opening of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Rome Capital which, on the initiative of the Mayor of Rome, Hon. Virginia Raggi, today begin in the presence of the President of the Republic. Remembering the event of Rome Capital, on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Montini said: “It seemed like a collapse; and for the pontifical territorial dominion it was [...]. But Providence, as we now see well, had arranged things differently, almost dramatically playing in the events”.[1] The proclamation of Rome as Capital was a providential event, which at the time caused controversy and problems. But Rome, Italy and the Church itself changed: a new history began.
Over these 150 years, Rome has grown and changed greatly, “from a homogeneous human milieu to a multiracial community where, in addition to the Catholic view of life, there coexist views inspired by other religious creeds and even by non-religious concepts of existence” (Saint John Paul II, Address during visit to the Capitoline Hill, seat of Rome’s municipal government, January 15, 1998). The Church, in this affair, has shared the joys and sorrows of the Romans. I would like, almost as an example, to recall at least three moments of this rich common history.
My thoughts turn to the nine months of the Nazi occupation of the city, marked by so much pain, between 1943 and 1944. From 16 October 1943, the terrible persecution for the deportation of the Jews developed. It was the Shoah experienced in Rome. At that time, the Church was an asylum for the persecuted: ancient barriers and painful distances fell. From those difficult times, let us first of all draw the lesson of the everlasting fraternity between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community, which I reaffirmed in my visit to the Major Temple in Rome. We are also convinced, with humility, that the Church represents a resource of humanity in the city. And Catholics are called to live the life of Rome with passion and responsibility, especially its most painful aspects.
I would like to recall, secondly, the years of Vatican Council II, from 1962 to 1965, when the city welcomed the Council Fathers, ecumenical observers and many others. Rome shone as a universal, Catholic, ecumenical space. It became a universal city of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, of peace. One saw how much the city meant for the Church and for the whole world. Because, as the German scholar Theodor Mommsen recalled at the end of the nineteenth century: “one is not without cosmopolitan intentions in Rome”[2] .
The third moment that I would like to remember is typically diocesan, but it touched the city: the so-called conference on the “evils of Rome” in February 1974, at the behest of the then-Cardinal Vicar Ugo Poletti. In well-attended assemblies of the people, the expectations of the poor and the peripheries were heard. There, it was a question of universality, but in the sense of the inclusion of the peripheries. The city must be home to everyone. It is a responsibility today too: today’s suburbs are afflicted by too many miseries, inhabited by great loneliness and poor in terms of social networks.
There is a demand for inclusion written in the lives of the poor and those who, as immigrants and refugees, see Rome as a port of salvation. Often their eyes, incredibly, see the city with more expectation and hope than we Romans who, because of the many daily problems we face, look at it in a pessimistic way, as if it were destined to decline. No, Rome is a great resource of humanity! “Rome is a city of unique beauty” (Celebration of First Vespers of Mary, Mother of God, 31 December 2013Insegnamenti I, 2 [2013], 804). Rome can and must renew itself in the twofold sense of openness to the world and the inclusion of all. The Jubilees also stimulate this, and that of 2025 is no longer far away.
We cannot live in Rome “with our heads down”, each in his own circuits and commitments. On this anniversary of Rome Capital, we need a common vision. Rome will live its universal vocation, only if it becomes an increasingly fraternal city. Yes, a fraternal city! John Paul II, who loved Rome so much, often quoted a Polish poet: “If you say Rome, Love answers you”. It is that love that does not make people live for themselves, but for others and with others.
We need to gather around a vision of a fraternal and universal city, which is a dream proposed to the younger generations. Such a vision is written in the chromosomes of Rome. At the end of his pontificate, Saint Paul VI said: “Rome is unity, and not only of the Italian people, but heir to the ideal typical of civilization as such and as the centre, still today, of the Catholic Church, that is, universal” (Angelus, 9 July 1978: Insegnamenti XVI [1978], 541). Rome will be a promoter of unity and peace in the world, inasmuch as it will be able to build itself as a fraternal city.
Let us celebrate 150 years of Rome Capital, a long and significant history. Often forgetfulness of history is accompanied by meagre hope for a better tomorrow and resignation in building it. Taking on the memory of the past inspires us to live a common future. Rome will have a future if we share the vision of a fraternal, inclusive city, open to the world. On the international scene, full of conflict, Rome could be a city of encounter: “Rome speaks to the world of brotherhood, harmony and peace” - said Paul VI (ibid.). With such feelings and hopes, I express my fervent wishes for the future of the city and its inhabitants.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 3 February 2020

FRANCIS

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - #Eucharist


Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 324 Reading 12 SM 18:9-10, 14B, 24-25A, 30–19:3
Absalom unexpectedly came up against David’s servants.
He was mounted on a mule,
and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large terebinth,
his hair caught fast in the tree.
He hung between heaven and earth
while the mule he had been riding ran off.
Someone saw this and reported to Joab
that he had seen Absalom hanging from a terebinth.
And taking three pikes in hand,
he thrust for the heart of Absalom,
still hanging from the tree alive.
Now David was sitting between the two gates,
and a lookout went up to the roof of the gate above the city wall,
where he looked about and saw a man running all alone.
The lookout shouted to inform the king, who said,
“If he is alone, he has good news to report.”
The king said, “Step aside and remain in attendance here.”
So he stepped aside and remained there.
When the Cushite messenger came in, he said,
“Let my lord the king receive the good news
that this day the LORD has taken your part,
freeing you from the grasp of all who rebelled against you.”
But the king asked the Cushite, “Is young Absalom safe?”
The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king
and all who rebel against you with evil intent
be as that young man!”
The king was shaken,
and went up to the room over the city gate to weep.
He said as he wept,
“My son Absalom!  My son, my son Absalom!
If only I had died instead of you,
Absalom, my son, my son!”
Joab was told that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom;
and that day’s victory was turned into mourning for the whole army
when they heard that the king was grieving for his son.

Responsorial Psalm86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.    (1a)  Listen, Lord, and answer me.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God.
R.    Listen, Lord, and answer me.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R.    Listen, Lord, and answer me.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R.    Listen, Lord, and answer me.

AlleluiaMT 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to him,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.