Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Saint February 6 : St. Paul Miki & Companions : Martyrs of Japan


Born:

1562, Tsunokuni, Japan
Died:
5 February 1597, Nagasaki, Japana
Canonized:
8 June 1862 by Pope Pius IX
Christianity spread like wildfire in sixteenth-century Japan. By the 1580s, less than forty years after Francis Xavier introduced the faith, the church counted two hundred thousand converts. The growth had proceeded despite the opposition of Buddhist priests and many petty rulers. However, in 1587, Emperor Hideyoshi ordered the banishment of all Catholics, forcing the Jesuit missionaries to operate from hiding. But outright persecution did not break out until late 1596, when Hideyoshi rounded up twenty-six Jesuits, Franciscans, and laypeople and prepared to martyr them.
Among the victims was St. Paul Miki, a Jesuit novice who had just completed eleven years of training. Paul’s noble family was converted when he was a child and at age five he was baptized. Educated by Jesuits, the gifted youth joined their novitiate at age twenty-two. He had studied intensively the teachings of the Buddhists so as to be able to debate their priests. He welcomed his chance at martyrdom, but may have wished just a little that it would be delayed long enough for him to be ordained a priest.
Hideyoshi had the left ears of the twenty-six martyrs severed as a sign of disrespect and paraded them through Kyoto. Dressed in his simple black cassock, Paul stood out among them. Most onlookers realized that this noble young man could have worn the samurai’s costume with two swords on his belt. The whole display had the unexpected effect of evoking compassion from the crowd, some of whom later became converts.
The martyrs were then taken to Nagasaki. They were tied to crosses with their necks held in place by iron rings. Beside each was an executioner with his spear ready to strike. An eyewitness gave this account:
When the crosses were set up it was a wonderful thing to see the constancy of all of them. Our brother Paul Miki, seeing himself raised to the most honorable position that he had ever occupied, openly proclaimed that he was a Japanese and a member of the Society of Jesus. And that he was being put to death for having preached the gospel. He gave thanks to God for such a precious favor.
He then added these words: “Having arrived at this moment of my existence, I believe that no one of you thinks I want to hide the truth. That is why I declare to you that there is no other way of salvation than the one followed by Christians. Since this way teaches me to forgive my enemies and all who have offended me, I willingly forgive the king and all those who have desired my death. And I pray that they will obtain the desire of Christian baptism.”
At this point, he turned his eyes toward his companions and began to encourage them in their final struggle. The faces of them all shone with great gladness. Another Christian shouted to him that he would soon be in paradise. “Like my Master,” murmured Paul, “I shall die upon the cross. Like him, a lance will pierce my heart so that my blood and my love can flow out upon the land and sanctify it to his name.”
As they awaited death the entire group sang the canticle of Zachary (see Luke 1:67-79). The executioners stood by respectfully until they had intoned the last verse. Then at a given signal they thrust their spears into the victims’ sides. On that day, February 5, 1597, the church of Japan welcomed its first martyrs.
Excerpt from Voices of the Saints by Bert Ghezzi ' Image Source - Google Images

Companions of the Cross elected Fr. Roger Vandenakker, CC as General Superior to lead


FR. ROGER VANDENAKKER, CC ELECTED GENERAL SUPERIOR OF THE COMPANIONS OF THE CROSS Detroit, MI – At their General Assembly, the Companions of the Cross elected Fr. Roger Vandenakker, CC as General Superior to lead the community for the next six years.  
This election represents the next chapter for the Companions of the Cross as they build on the legacy of their late founder, Fr. Bob Bedard, CC.   
“Fr. Roger, who was the pastor at St. Timothy’s Parish in Toronto, ON, is one of the founding members of the Companions of the Cross.  He is originally from Ottawa and was ordained priest in 1989. His intense devotion to Mary and his charismatic personality are great assets that will lend themselves well to his leadership.”
Fr. Roger takes over the position from Fr. Michael Scherrey, CC who served in an interim capacity for the past six months. The Community is grateful for Fr. Michael’s commitment to the brotherhood.  
Also, members elected to the Executive Council were Fr. Rob Arsenault, CC Fr. Simon Lobo, CC Fr. Rick Jaworski, CC Fr. David Bergeron, CC.
"I am humbled and honoured to serve our community as our new General Superior. Relying upon the Grace of God, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the support of my brothers, I am very hopeful for the future of our Community as we continue to proclaim Jesus as Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit for the ongoing renewal of the church in our day." -Fr. Roger Vandenakker, CC General Superior

 The Companions of the Cross were founded in 1985 by Fr. Bob Bedard in Ottawa, Canada. It is a thriving community of Catholic priests serving as pastors, professors, university chaplains, travelling missionaries and bishops. They minister in Canada (Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax) and in the United States (Detroit and Houston). The community is currently comprised of 2 bishops, 38 priests and 18 seminarians. 
For further information about the Companions of the Cross and its formation program, please visit:  https://companionscross.org and  https://companionscross.org/vocations   
For further information please contact:
Info@companionscross.org
Edited from combined posts from https://companionscross.org 

Bishops of Nigeria Statement "The Church stands for the sanctity of life...we strongly believe in prayer and in the power of God to save, but we must challenge all those in position of authority...." Full Text


A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF IBADAN ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE AFTER THEIR MEETING HELD AT THE JUBILEE CONFERENCE CENTRE, OKE ADO, IBADAN FROM 3RD-TO 4TH FEBRUARY, 2020.

NIGERIA: STILL IN SEARCH OF AUTHENTIC DEMOCRACY

We, the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Osogbo Dioceses, have met at the Jubilee Conference Centre Oke Ado, Ibadan from 3rd to 4th February, 2020. After prayerful deliberations on matters of importance to our Church in Ibadan Province and Nigeria, we now prayerfully issue the following Communique:

1. New Year, New Hope
The new year 2020 gives all Nigerians another opportunity to echo the now familiar saying that God is good to his people all the time. We acknowledge that even when we as human beings fail in our duties and commitments God remains steadfast and merciful. The life and graces we enjoy at this moment are all evidence that if we do our best to follow his ways and play our part in building his kingdom of peace and justice, our hopes for a better world can still be fulfilled. His kingdom beckons us now to build a better world for the good of all.

2. Worsening Situation of Security of Life and Property
Human life seems to have lost value in Nigeria. At the beginning of last year, we cried out like all Nigerians did against the woeful security situation at that time. We issued a message of hope calling on all Nigerians to work together with the government and security agencies to secure the life and property of all without discrimination. Today, a year later, things have become much worse. Nigeria is in security dire-straits. Only few Nigerians in any part of the country can sleep with two eyes closed. We lament that Nigerians are being slaughtered daily by terrorists, criminals and so-called herdsmen on the roads, in their farms and even in their homes. With the security architecture in Nigeria seemingly on auto-pilot, the country is clearly drifting and needs decisive action to restore professionalism and effectiveness. As Bishops, we strongly believe in prayer and in the power of God to save, but we must challenge all those in position of authority that they simply must wake up and do more than pay mere lip service to the issue of security in our country, Nigeria.

3. The Amotekun Initiative
The Church stands for the sanctity of life. It is a constitutional fact that the primary duty of government is the protection of lives and property. In this regard, we commend the action of the Governors of the Southwestern Region who acted across party and religious lines to set up the South Western Security Network (SWSN), tagged: Amotekun. With this initiative, they have responded to their duty as Chief Security Officers of their States to secure lives and property of all in the Southwestern Region of Nigeria. The security of lives is not exclusive to any organization. So, we urge the Federal Government to support and regulate Amotekun and other such organs in Nigeria as necessary complements to the efforts of the police and other security agencies. The Amotekun outfit is a metaphor for the utmost need for leaders to cater for the welfare of all those who are placed under their care, irrespective of tribe or religion. If well-regulated and groomed, it will surely bring the much-needed improvement to peace and public order in the Southwest of Nigeria.

4. Recent Mindless Murders in Nigeria
A new peak in Nigeria’s sad situation was the beheading of Rev. Lawan Andimi, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Michika Local Government Area in Adamawa State and the killing of a major seminarian, Michael Nnadi. We commiserate with the Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Most Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah and the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) on these sad occurrences. May their gentle souls and the souls of all those who have been killed in similar circumstances, rest in perfect peace. We condole with and pray for all bereaved families and we urge the relevant authorities to wake up to their responsibilities and bring the perpetrators of this and other such dastardly acts to justice.

5. Low Standards for Truth and Falsehood
We are sad to note that more and more, propaganda seems to interfere with policy and concrete action in Nigeria. The fiercely defensive reaction of government officials and spokesmen to even constructive and positive criticisms, often gives the impression that we cherish only positive comments about the government of the day. This is not a healthy sign! Notably, authentic democracy derives its strength from the quality and diversity of the criticisms which it accommodates. We cannot afford to tag every criticism as a negative attack on the government of the day because no country can survive under such paranoia.

6. Sustaining the formation and empowerment of our Youths
Nigerian youths constitute a large part of the country’s wealth and potential. However, we can expect to reap dividends from their talent and future if only we invest in them today. We therefore enjoin the government at all levels, relevant authorities and all stakeholders to invest more resources in the education sector where the youths are formed and empowered for the future. Without redressing the damage already done in this sector, much of the effort being made today to sanitise society will be a waste. We commend those who provide employment opportunities for our teeming population not to relent and we call on well-meaning people to create more employment opportunities for the unemployed among us.

We challenge families and guardians, religious leaders, teachers, formators and political leaders to address the issue of immorality among the youths. Some of this is provoked by some unscrupulous entertainers and artistes who are indiscriminately celebrated by the media. The upbringing and formation of the youths must be taken as the responsibility of all in the society.

7. Congratulations to Osogbo Diocese at 25
We congratulate Most Rev. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin, first Bishop of Osogbo Diocese on his Silver Jubilee as Bishop, Bishop John Akinkunmi Oyejola, the current Bishop of the Diocese, the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo on the Silver Jubilee of the Diocese’s inauguration. Since its establishment in 1995 Osogbo Diocese has grown in leaps and bounds, pastorally, structurally and in spiritual and material graces. May the ongoing celebration which was planned to last for a year and will conclude on 13th May, 2020, bring more development and progress in evangelization and in the mission of the Church within that Ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

8. Celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God
We thank God for the inspiration and leadership of Pope Francis who has established the annual celebration, henceforth, of the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Liturgical Year as the Sunday of the Word of God. The purpose of the celebration, well explained in his apostolic letter: “Aperuit Illis”, (He opened their minds), is to help the faithful rediscover devotion to the study, appropriation and dissemination of the word of God. It is also a call to celebrate ecumenical life and unity in the Church. The occasion was marked with great solemnity for the first time on January 26, 2020, in the Church all over the world. We therefore call on the Clergy, Religious and all Christians to make the word of God the foundation of their unity and life at all times.

9. Conclusion
As we conclude this Communique, we invoke the mercy of God upon our Church and our country, Nigeria, that he may guide us by his mighty hand and Holy Spirit. May he grant divine wisdom to all our leaders that they may do what pleases him and lead God’s people aright. That way God’s favour, already granted to this land flowing with milk and honey, will be more manifest and God’s people shall be filled with his good things (Ps 65:4).

Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin
President
Most Rev. John Oyejola
SecretaryA COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF IBADAN ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE AFTER THEIR MEETING HELD AT THE JUBILEE CONFERENCE CENTRE, OKE ADO, IBADAN FROM 3RD-TO 4TH FEBRUARY, 2020.

NIGERIA: STILL IN SEARCH OF AUTHENTIC DEMOCRACY

We, the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Osogbo Dioceses, have met at the Jubilee Conference Centre Oke Ado, Ibadan from 3rd to 4th February, 2020. After prayerful deliberations on matters of importance to our Church in Ibadan Province and Nigeria, we now prayerfully issue the following Communique:

1. New Year, New Hope
The new year 2020 gives all Nigerians another opportunity to echo the now familiar saying that God is good to his people all the time. We acknowledge that even when we as human beings fail in our duties and commitments God remains steadfast and merciful. The life and graces we enjoy at this moment are all evidence that if we do our best to follow his ways and play our part in building his kingdom of peace and justice, our hopes for a better world can still be fulfilled. His kingdom beckons us now to build a better world for the good of all.

2. Worsening Situation of Security of Life and Property
Human life seems to have lost value in Nigeria. At the beginning of last year, we cried out like all Nigerians did against the woeful security situation at that time. We issued a message of hope calling on all Nigerians to work together with the government and security agencies to secure the life and property of all without discrimination. Today, a year later, things have become much worse. Nigeria is in security dire-straits. Only few Nigerians in any part of the country can sleep with two eyes closed. We lament that Nigerians are being slaughtered daily by terrorists, criminals and so-called herdsmen on the roads, in their farms and even in their homes. With the security architecture in Nigeria seemingly on auto-pilot, the country is clearly drifting and needs decisive action to restore professionalism and effectiveness. As Bishops, we strongly believe in prayer and in the power of God to save, but we must challenge all those in position of authority that they simply must wake up and do more than pay mere lip service to the issue of security in our country, Nigeria.

3. The Amotekun Initiative
The Church stands for the sanctity of life. It is a constitutional fact that the primary duty of government is the protection of lives and property. In this regard, we commend the action of the Governors of the Southwestern Region who acted across party and religious lines to set up the South Western Security Network (SWSN), tagged: Amotekun. With this initiative, they have responded to their duty as Chief Security Officers of their States to secure lives and property of all in the Southwestern Region of Nigeria. The security of lives is not exclusive to any organization. So, we urge the Federal Government to support and regulate Amotekun and other such organs in Nigeria as necessary complements to the efforts of the police and other security agencies. The Amotekun outfit is a metaphor for the utmost need for leaders to cater for the welfare of all those who are placed under their care, irrespective of tribe or religion. If well-regulated and groomed, it will surely bring the much-needed improvement to peace and public order in the Southwest of Nigeria.

4. Recent Mindless Murders in Nigeria
A new peak in Nigeria’s sad situation was the beheading of Rev. Lawan Andimi, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Michika Local Government Area in Adamawa State and the killing of a major seminarian, Michael Nnadi. We commiserate with the Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Most Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah and the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) on these sad occurrences. May their gentle souls and the souls of all those who have been killed in similar circumstances, rest in perfect peace. We condole with and pray for all bereaved families and we urge the relevant authorities to wake up to their responsibilities and bring the perpetrators of this and other such dastardly acts to justice.

5. Low Standards for Truth and Falsehood
We are sad to note that more and more, propaganda seems to interfere with policy and concrete action in Nigeria. The fiercely defensive reaction of government officials and spokesmen to even constructive and positive criticisms, often gives the impression that we cherish only positive comments about the government of the day. This is not a healthy sign! Notably, authentic democracy derives its strength from the quality and diversity of the criticisms which it accommodates. We cannot afford to tag every criticism as a negative attack on the government of the day because no country can survive under such paranoia.

6. Sustaining the formation and empowerment of our Youths
Nigerian youths constitute a large part of the country’s wealth and potential. However, we can expect to reap dividends from their talent and future if only we invest in them today. We therefore enjoin the government at all levels, relevant authorities and all stakeholders to invest more resources in the education sector where the youths are formed and empowered for the future. Without redressing the damage already done in this sector, much of the effort being made today to sanitise society will be a waste. We commend those who provide employment opportunities for our teeming population not to relent and we call on well-meaning people to create more employment opportunities for the unemployed among us.

We challenge families and guardians, religious leaders, teachers, formators and political leaders to address the issue of immorality among the youths. Some of this is provoked by some unscrupulous entertainers and artistes who are indiscriminately celebrated by the media. The upbringing and formation of the youths must be taken as the responsibility of all in the society.

7. Congratulations to Osogbo Diocese at 25
We congratulate Most Rev. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin, first Bishop of Osogbo Diocese on his Silver Jubilee as Bishop, Bishop John Akinkunmi Oyejola, the current Bishop of the Diocese, the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo on the Silver Jubilee of the Diocese’s inauguration. Since its establishment in 1995 Osogbo Diocese has grown in leaps and bounds, pastorally, structurally and in spiritual and material graces. May the ongoing celebration which was planned to last for a year and will conclude on 13th May, 2020, bring more development and progress in evangelization and in the mission of the Church within that Ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

8. Celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God
We thank God for the inspiration and leadership of Pope Francis who has established the annual celebration, henceforth, of the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Liturgical Year as the Sunday of the Word of God. The purpose of the celebration, well explained in his apostolic letter: “Aperuit Illis”, (He opened their minds), is to help the faithful rediscover devotion to the study, appropriation and dissemination of the word of God. It is also a call to celebrate ecumenical life and unity in the Church. The occasion was marked with great solemnity for the first time on January 26, 2020, in the Church all over the world. We therefore call on the Clergy, Religious and all Christians to make the word of God the foundation of their unity and life at all times.

9. Conclusion
As we conclude this Communique, we invoke the mercy of God upon our Church and our country, Nigeria, that he may guide us by his mighty hand and Holy Spirit. May he grant divine wisdom to all our leaders that they may do what pleases him and lead God’s people aright. That way God’s favour, already granted to this land flowing with milk and honey, will be more manifest and God’s people shall be filled with his good things (Ps 65:4).

Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin
President
Most Rev. John Oyejola
Secretary
Full Text Source: https://www.facebook.com/Catholic-Bishops-Conference-of-Nigeria-CBCN-1646539895633842/ - Image Source: Google Images

Pope Francis on Economy says “The main message of hope I want to share with you is precisely this: these are solvable problems, not ones from a lack of resources."


SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE SEMINAR “NEW FORMS OF SOLIDARITY”
ORGANIZED BY THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

Pius IV Casina
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I want to express my gratitude for this meeting. Let us take advantage of this new beginning of the year to build bridges, bridges that favor the development of a solidarity look from banks, finances, governments and economic decisions. We need many voices capable of thinking, from a polyhedral perspective, the diverse dimensions of a global problem that affects our peoples and our democracies.

I would like to start with a factual fact. The world is rich and yet the poor increase around us. According to official reports, this year's global income will be almost $ 12,000 per capita. However, hundreds of millions of people are still mired in extreme poverty and lack food, housing, medical care, schools, electricity, drinking water and adequate and essential sanitation services. It is estimated that approximately five million children under 5 this year will die from poverty. Another 260 million children, will lack education due to lack of resources, due to wars and migrations. This in a rich world, because the world is rich.

This situation has led to millions of people being victims of trafficking and new forms of slavery, such as forced labor, prostitution and organ trafficking. They do not have any rights and guarantees; They can't even enjoy friendship or family.

These realities should not be cause for despair, no, but for action. They are realities that move us to do something.

The main message of hope that I want to share with you is precisely this: these are solvable problems and not lack of resources. There is no determinism that condemns us to universal inequity. Let me repeat: we are not doomed to universal inequity. This enables a new way of assuming events, which allows finding and generating creative responses to the avoidable suffering of so many innocents; which implies accepting that, in not a few situations, we face a lack of will and decision to change things and mainly priorities. We are asked for the ability to let ourselves be questioned, to drop the scales of the eyes and see these realities with a new light, a light that moves us to action.

A rich world and a vibrant economy can and should end poverty. Dynamics capable of including, feeding, healing and dressing the last of society can be generated and stimulated instead of excluding them. We must choose what and to whom to prioritize: if we favor humanizing socio-economic mechanisms for the whole society or, on the contrary, we foster a system that ends up justifying certain practices that all they achieve is to increase the level of injustice and social violence. The level of wealth and technique accumulated by humanity, as well as the importance and value that human rights have acquired, no longer allows excuses. We have to be aware that we are all responsible. This does not mean that we are all guilty, no; We are all responsible for doing something.

If there is extreme poverty in the midst of wealth - also extreme wealth - it is because we have allowed the gap to widen to become the largest in history. These are almost official data: the 50 richest people in the world have an equity equivalent to 2.2 billion dollars. Those fifty people alone could finance the medical care and education of every poor child in the world, whether through taxes, philanthropic initiatives or both. Those fifty people could save millions of lives every year.

I have called the indifference globalization "inaction." Saint John Paul II called it: structures of sin. Such structures find an atmosphere conducive to their expansion every time the common good is reduced or limited to certain sectors or, in the case that brings us together, when the economy and finance become an end in themselves. It is the idolatry of money, greed and speculation. And this reality now added to the exponential technological vertigo, which increases the speed of transactions and the possibility of producing concentrated gains without ever being linked to production processes or the real economy. Virtual communication favors this kind of thing.
Aristotle celebrates the invention of currency and its use, but strongly condemns financial speculation because in this "money itself becomes productive, losing its true purpose which is to facilitate trade and production" (Politics, I, 10 , 1258 b).

In a similar way and following the reason enlightened by faith, the Church's social doctrine celebrates the forms of government and banks - often created under its protection: it is interesting to see the history of the mountains of piety, of the banks created to favor and collaborate - when they fulfill their purpose, which is, in short, to seek the common good, social justice, peace, as well as the integral development of each individual, of each human community and of all people. However, the Church warns that these beneficial institutions, both public and private, can decay into structures of sin. I am using the qualification of Saint John Paul II.

Sin structures today include repeated tax cuts for the richest people, often justified in the name of investment and development; tax havens for private and corporate profits; and, of course, the possibility of corruption by some of the largest companies in the world, not a few times in tune with some ruling political sector.

Every year hundreds of billions of dollars, which should be paid in taxes to finance medical care and education, accumulate in tax haven accounts thus preventing the possibility of decent and sustained development of all social actors.

Poor people in heavily indebted countries bear overwhelming tax burdens and cuts in social services, as their governments pay debts incurred insensibly and unsustainably. In fact, the public debt contracted, in not a few cases to boost and encourage the economic and productive development of a country, can become a factor that damages and damages the social fabric. When it ends oriented towards another purpose.

Just as there is a co-irresponsibility regarding this damage caused to the economy and society, there is also an inspiring and hopeful co-responsibility to create a climate of fraternity and renewed confidence that embraces together the search for innovative and humanizing solutions .

It is good to remember that there is no magic or invisible law that condemns us to freezing or paralysis in the face of injustice. And even less there is an economic rationality that supposes that the human person is simply an accumulator of individual benefits outside their condition of being social.

The moral demands of St. John Paul II in 1991 are surprisingly current today: «It is certainly fair that the debts must be paid. It is not lawful, on the other hand, to demand or claim payment when it would come to impose such political options that would lead to hunger and despair over entire populations. It cannot be pretended that the debts incurred are paid with unbearable sacrifices. In these cases it is necessary - as, for the rest, it is happening in part - to find ways to reduce, delay or extinguish the debt, compatible with the fundamental right of peoples to subsistence and progress ”(Letter enc. Centesimus Annus , 35).

In fact, the Sustainable Development Goals unanimously approved by all nations also recognize this point - it is a human point - and urge all peoples to “help developing countries achieve long-term debt sustainability to through coordinated policies aimed at promoting debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and addressing the external debt problem of heavily indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress »(Objective 17.4).

This must consist of the new forms of solidarity that call us today, which summon us here, if you think about the world of banks and finance: in helping the development of the postponed peoples and leveling among the countries that enjoy of a certain standard and level of development with those unable to guarantee the necessary minimums to their inhabitants. Solidarity and economy for the union, not for the division with the healthy and clear awareness of co-responsibility.
Practically it is necessary to affirm that the greatest structure of sin, or the greatest structure of injustice, is the same industry of war, since it is money and time at the service of division and death. The world loses billions of dollars in armaments and violence every year, amounts that would end poverty and illiteracy if they could be redirected. Truly, Isaiah spoke in the name of God for all mankind when he foresaw the day of the Lord when "with swords they will forge plows and with pruning spears" (Is 2,4). Let's follow it!

More than seventy years ago, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights committed all its Member States to take care of the poor in their land and home, and throughout the world; that is, in the common house, everyone is the common house. Governments recognized that social protection, basic income, medical care for all and universal education were inherent in fundamental human dignity and, therefore, in fundamental human rights.

These economic rights and a safe environment for all are the most basic measure of human solidarity. And the good news is that while in 1948 these goals were not immediately available, today, with a much more developed and interconnected world, they are. Progress has been made on this.

You, who have kindly gathered here, are the financial leaders and economic specialists of the world. Together with their colleagues, they help establish global tax rules, inform the global public about our economic condition and advise the world's governments on budgets. They know firsthand what are the injustices of our current global economy, or the injustices of each country.

Let's work together to end these injustices. When the multilateral credit agencies advise the different nations, it is important to take into account the high concepts of fiscal justice, the public budgets responsible for their indebtedness and, above all, the effective and leading promotion of the poorest in the social framework . Remind them of their responsibility to provide development assistance to impoverished nations and debt relief for heavily indebted nations. Remind them of the imperative to stop man-made climate change, as all nations have promised, so that we do not destroy the foundations of our Common House.

A new ethic means being aware of the need for everyone to commit to work together to close the fiscal lairs, avoid evasions and money laundering that steal from society, as well as tell the nations the importance of defending the justice and the common good over the interests of the most powerful companies and multinationals - which end up suffocating and preventing local production. The present tense demands and demands the passage of an insular and antagonistic logic as the only authorized mechanism for the solution to the conflicts, to another logic, capable of promoting the interconnection that propitiates a culture of the encounter, where the solid bases of a New international financial architecture.

In this context where the development of some social and financial sectors reached levels never seen before, how important it is to remember the words of the Gospel of Luke: "To him who is given much, much will be demanded" (12,39). How inspiring it is to listen to St. Ambrose, who thinks with the Gospel: «You [rich] do not give your thing to the poor [when you do charity], but you are giving him what is his. Well, the common property given in use for all, you are using by yourself »(Naboth 12,53). This is the principle of the universal destiny of goods, the basis of economic and social justice, as well as the common good.

I'm glad your presence here today. We celebrate the opportunity to know ourselves as partners in the work of the Lord that can change the course of history for the benefit of the dignity of each person today and tomorrow, especially for the excluded and for the good of peace. We strive together with humility and wisdom to serve international and intergenerational justice. We have unlimited hope in Jesus' teaching that the poor in spirit are blessed and happy, because theirs is the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5,3) that begins here and now.

Thank you! And, please, I am going to make an order, it is not a loan: Do not forget to pray for me, because this job is not easy for me to do and I on you invoke all the blessings, on you and your work .
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - UnOfficial Translation - 

#BreakingNews Pope Francis removes Argentine Founder of Miles Christi Roberto Juan Yannuzzi from the Clerical State


A statement released by the archbishop of La Plata, Víctor Manuel Fernández reveals that Roberto Juan Yannuzzi has been removed from the clerical state. He is that founder of Miles Christi which was first established as a Public Association of Clerical Faithful in the Archdiocese of La Plata on December 20, 1994. After fulfilling the requirements of the Church, the association became a Clerical Religious Institute on February 2, 1999. Miles Christi is formed of priests, coadjutor brothers, consecrated women and lay associates. According to its website, its mission is the sanctification of the laity, especially young people. The institute’s apostolate focuses on spiritual direction, giving the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, retreats, camps and religious education. According to KNA, Pope Francis was Mr. Yannuzzi's confessor in the 1970's.

FULL TEXT Relase by Archdiocese of La Plata, Argentina:
The archbishop of La Plata, Víctor Manuel Fernández communicates that the Holy Father has ordered the resignation of the clerical state of the priest Roberto Juan Yannuzzi. Pope Francisco's decision is based on the fact that Father Yannuzzi has been found guilty of crimes against the sixth commandment with adults, of acquittal of the accomplice and of abuse of authority.
The accusations, which affected religious who were part of the Miles Christi Institute, of which he was founder and superior, demanded the intervention of the Holy See.
For this reason, in agreement with the new authorities of the aforementioned Institute, the current Archbishop of La Plata sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith a complete report on this case on March 11, 2019. The decision taken by the Holy Father implies that Mr. Yannuzzi will no longer be able to exercise the priestly ministry, either publicly or privately. Nor can he teach in seminars or comparable institutes, in educational centers of lower or higher level that depend on the ecclesiastical authority.
La Plata, Feb. 2, 2020
Source: https://www.arzolap.org.ar/comunicado-del-arzobispado-sobre-la-dimision-expulsion-del-estado-clerical-a-un-religioso-en-la-plata/

Pope Francis explains " "There are three magic words: please, thank you, sorry..that come from poverty of spirit." Full Text


GENERAL Audience

Paul VI Hall
Wednesday 5 February 2020

Catechesis on the Beatitudes: 2. Blessed are the poor in spirit

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We are confronted today with the first of the eight Beatitudes of Matthew's Gospel. Jesus begins to proclaim his way to happiness with a paradoxical announcement: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, because of them is the kingdom of heaven" (5,3). A surprising road and a strange object of bliss, poverty.

We must ask ourselves: what is meant here by "poor"? If Matthew only used this word, then the meaning would be simply economic, that is, it would indicate people who have little or no means of support and need the help of others.

But the Gospel of Matthew, unlike Luke, speaks of "poor in spirit". What does it mean? The spirit, according to the Bible, is the breath of life that God has communicated to Adam; it is our most intimate dimension, let's say the spiritual dimension, the most intimate, that which makes us human persons, the deep core of our being. Then the "poor in spirit" are those who are and feel poor, beggars, in the depths of their being. Jesus proclaims them blessed, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

How many times have we been told otherwise! You have to be something in life, to be someone ... You have to make a name for yourself ... This is where loneliness and unhappiness come from: if I have to be "someone", I compete with others and live in obsessive concern for my ego. If I don't accept being poor, I hate everything that reminds me of my fragility. Because this fragility prevents me from becoming an important person, a rich not only of money, but of fame, of everything.

Everyone, in front of himself, knows well that, however hard he tries, he is always radically incomplete and vulnerable. There is no trick that covers this vulnerability. Each of us is vulnerable inside. Must see where. But how bad you live if you refuse your limits! You live badly. The limit is not digested, it is there. Proud people don't ask for help, they can't ask for help, they don't ask for help because they have to prove themselves self-sufficient. And how many of them need help, but pride prevents asking for help. And how difficult it is to admit a mistake and ask for forgiveness! When I give some advice to the newlyweds, who tell me how to carry out their marriage well, I say to them: "There are three magic words: please, thank you, sorry". These are words that come from poverty of spirit. It is not necessary to be intrusive, but to ask permission: "Does it seem good to do this?", So there is dialogue in the family, the bride and groom are in dialogue. "You did this for me, thank you I needed it." Then you always make mistakes, you slip: "Excuse me". And usually, couples, new marriages, those who are here and many, tell me: "The third is the most difficult", apologize, ask for forgiveness. Because the proud can't do it. He cannot apologize: he is always right. It is not poor in spirit. Instead the Lord never tires of forgiving; unfortunately it is we who tire of asking for forgiveness (see Angelus, 17 March 2013). The tiredness of asking for forgiveness: this is a bad disease!

Why is it difficult to ask for forgiveness? Because it humiliates our hypocrite image. Still, living trying to hide one's shortcomings is tiring and distressing. Jesus Christ tells us: being poor is an opportunity for grace; and shows us the way out of this effort. We are given the right to be poor in spirit, because this is the way of the Kingdom of God.

But there is one fundamental thing to reiterate: we must not transform ourselves to become poor in spirit, we must not make any transformation because we already are! We are poor ... or more clearly: we are "poor" in spirit! We need everything. We are all poor in spirit, we are beggars. It is the human condition.

The Kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. There are those who have the kingdoms of this world: they have goods and they have comforts. But they are realms that end. The power of men, even the greatest empires, pass and disappear. Many times we see in the news or in the newspapers that that strong, powerful ruler or that government that was there yesterday and no longer exists today has fallen. The riches of this world are gone, and the money too. The old men taught us that the shroud had no pockets. It's true. I have never seen a moving truck behind a funeral procession: nobody brings anything. These riches remain here.

The Kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. There are those who have the kingdoms of this world, have goods and have comforts. But we know how they end. Those who know how to love the true good more than themselves truly reign. And that's the power of God.
In what did Christ show power? Because he has been able to do what the kings of the earth do not do: give life for men. And this is true power. Power of brotherhood, power of charity, power of love, power of humility. This did Christ.

This is true freedom: whoever has this power of humility, service, brotherhood is free. At the service of this freedom is the poverty praised by the Beatitudes.

Because there is a poverty that we must accept, that of our being, and a poverty that we must seek, the concrete one, from the things of this world, to be free and to be able to love. We must always seek the freedom of the heart, that which has its roots in the poverty of ourselves.
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française en particulier les jeunes venus de France. Frères et sœurs, reconnaître devant Dieu sa pauvreté et sa faiblesse est la vraie source du bonheur. Notre cœur devient disponible pour ne plus nous rechercher nous-mêmes mais aimer librement les autres et donner notre vie. Que Dieu vous bénisse.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Australia, Vietnam and the United States of America. Upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Ein herzliches Willkommen sage ich den Pilgern aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Wenn wir anerkennen, dass wir klein sind vor Gott und seiner Gnade bedürfen, finden wir die wahre Freude des Herzens und die Freiheit, unser Leben für die anderen zu geben. Der Heilige Geist geleite euch auf eurem Weg.
[I cordially welcome pilgrims from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In recognizing that we are small before God and in need of his grace, we find true happiness of the heart and the freedom to give our life for others. The Holy Spirit guide you on your way.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, venidos de España y de Latinoamérica. Pidamos al Señor que nos dé la fuerza de reconocernos pobres, de aceptar nuestros límites, de sabernos necesitados de otro. Sólo así seremos capaces de acoger el amor que el Señor derrama en nuestros corazones y sentir la dicha de testimoniarlo ante el mundo. Que el Señor los bendiga. Gracias.
Com sentimentos de gratidão e estima, saúdo todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, invocando sobre os vossos passos a alegria do encontro com Jesus: ide até Ele, que sempre vos espera com os braços abertos para vos acolher e perdoar, e assim encontrareis a vida bela e feliz. Desça sobre vós e vossas famílias a Bênção de Deus.
[With feelings of gratitude and affection, I greet all the Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, invoking in your footsteps the joy of meeting Jesus: go to him, who always awaits you with his open arms to welcome and forgive you, and so you will find the beautiful and blissful life. May the Blessing of God descend on you and your families.]

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً القادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، طوبى لفقراءِ الروحِ المتواضعينَ والمتجردينَ والمتكلينَ على الله فإِنَّ لَهم مَلكوتَ السَّمَوات. هم يعرفونَ بأن كلَّ ما هو للآب هو لهم، فيحبونَه في كلِّ شيءٍ وفوقَ كلِّ شيءٍ، وهذا يكفيهِم. ليبارككُم الرب!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, "Blessed are the poor in spirit", the humble, those who experience detachment from the things of the world and totally entrust themselves to God, because of them is the Kingdom of Heaven. They know that everything that is of the Father is also them, therefore they love Him in everything and above all things, and this is enough for them. The Lord bless you!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Jako wierzący, ewangeliczni „ubodzy w duchu”, polegajcie w życiu nie na własnym rozumie, zdolnościach, sile, ani też na posiadanych dobrach. Pokładajcie natomiast bezgraniczną ufność w Bogu, w Jego potędze i miłosierdziu. Bez Niego wszyscy jesteśmy sami, bardzo mali, zagubieni i bezsilni. Bądźcie wierni błogosławieństwu otrzymanemu od Pana. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Like those believers, the "poor in spirit" of the Gospel, trust in your life not in your intellect, in your own strength, not in the talents and not even in the possessions. Instead, count on the boundless trust in God, in his power and in his mercy. Without him all of us are alone, very small, lost and helpless. Be faithful to the blessing received from the Lord. Praised be Jesus Christ.]

* * *

I cordially welcome the Italian-speaking faithful. In particular, I greet the Participants in the Meeting promoted by the priestly Formation Center of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross; and those at the course promoted by the International Missionary Animation Center (CIAM).

I also greet the Banco Farmaceutico Foundation in Milan; and educational institutions, especially that of Sant’Agata di Militello.

Lastly, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. May the Lord, with his Grace, support the purpose of building the Church with our sacrifices, overcoming our selfishness and placing ourselves at the service of the Gospel.
FULL TEXT + IMAGE SOURCE: VATICAN.VA - Unofficial Translation

RIP Sister Margaret Claydon, Death of President Emeritus of Trinity Washington University - 1923-2020


Sr. Margaret Claydon, SNDdeN, ’45
President of Trinity: 1959 to 1975
With heavy hearts Trinity shares the sad news that President Emerita Sr. Margaret Claydon, SNDdeN, Class of 1945, passed away on February 1, 2020, at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati. She was peaceful in her final days and surrounded by the love and care of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, her family and devoted Trinity alumnae in Cincinnati.

The Claydon family, the Trinity Community and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur will gather together on Saturday, February 8, 2020, to celebrate the life and legacy of Sr. Margaret Claydon with a Mass in Notre Dame Chapel at 10:00 a.m. followed by a luncheon. Please help us plan by completing the RSVP form.

Leading an institution of higher education through the tumultuous decade of the 1960’s was no small task for any college president.  But beyond the universal problems of managing the campus during an historic era of social change amid war protests and the movements for civil rights and women’s rights, Margaret Claydon, SNDdeN, had an additional challenge when she took the helm at Trinity College in Washington, D.C. in 1959:  she had to figure out how to keep a traditional small Catholic women’s college relevant and thriving in a world increasingly favoring large coeducational universities.  During her tenure as Trinity’s president from 1959 to 1975, “Sister Margaret” as she was known to generations of students and alumnae led a series of remarkable changes that modernized the college and laid the foundation for the institution known today as Trinity Washington University.

Only 36 years old when she took office, Sr. Margaret was one of the youngest college presidents in America.  Displaying the modern vibe that characterized so much of her career, she immediately called a press conference to announce her plans for promoting women’s education at Trinity.  As Time magazine reported (“Sisterly Advice,” November 2, 1959), Sr. Margaret declared the need for more women to exert public intellectual leadership, saying that, “We’re not in the business of training committee women or bridge players.”

Tribute continues below…

Claydon Sr Margaret 45 800x600
Sr Margaret Kerby Groundbreaking 800x600
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Sr Margaret with Robert Kennedy Commencement 1963 800x600
Sr Margaret with Robert Kennedy on Stage Commencement 1963 800x600
Sr Margaret Symposium Centennial 800x600
Sr Margaret Trinity Center Dedication 2002 800x600 (2)
Sr Margaret Trinity Center Dedication B 2002 800x600
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Sr Margaret with Joan Payden and McGuire Commencement 2003 800x600
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Sr Margaret and Nancy Pelosi '62 Reunion 2007 800x600
Sr Margaret at Commencement 2012 with Pelosi and Kennelly 800x600
Sr Margaret Tribute with Family June 2013 800x600
Sr Margaret and Kendrick Scholars 800x600
Sr Margaret at Payden Groundbreaking 2014 800x600
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Sr Margaret Payden Ribbon Cutting June 2016 800x600
Sr Margaret Reunion 2016 with Kate Ryan Jane Jeanne 800x600
A 1945 graduate of Trinity with a doctorate in English Literature from Catholic University, Sr. Margaret was legendary for her rigorous insistence on academic excellence along with women’s leadership in the public arena.  Just some of the notable graduates of Trinity during her time as president and a member of the English faculty include Barbara Kennelly ’58 who was Trinity’s first member of Congress; Nancy Pelosi ’62 who joined Barbara in Congress and became the first woman ever to be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Kathleen Sebelius ’70 who served as governor of Kansas and Secretary of Health and Human Services; Cathleen Black ’66 who rose in publishing to become chairman of Hearst Magazines; Maggie Williams ’77 who was chief of staff to First Lady Clinton; and current White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway ’89.

Tributes are already pouring in from alumnae who remember Sister Margaret:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ’62 said, in a statement on her website:  “Sister Margaret Claydon was an exemplar of the ideal Trinity Woman: a leader of penetrating intellect, firm faith and inquiring mind, whose keen sense of purpose and courage to question the status quo was an inspiration to all who walked through our school’s halls.  For the women in my class and me, Sister Margaret – with her youth, sophistication and success – was a symbol of strength and empowerment, whose leadership was a reminder that women could become not only a Secretary or Treasurer, but a President – or the Speaker of the House.”

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius ’70 writes: “Sister Margaret was an intellectual and elegant leader who believed that women should be “engaged, involved” and “make a better contribution to American life” … She challenged Trinity students to both learn facts and have opinions, to think for ourselves, a view not widely supported at the time. We were blessed to have Sister Margaret as a great role model and leader at Trinity College.”

Director of Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library Peggy O’Brien ’69 writes: “The impact of her unwavering vision and high expectations has been and will continue to be immense–on me and on thousands of Trinity alums everywhere.”

Firm in her commitment to the central importance of the liberal arts, Sr. Margaret led revitalization and modernization of Trinity’s curricula and pedagogy, adding graduate degrees for teachers and pastoral ministers in the Washington region, and opening the undergraduate program to older women seeking to complete degrees.  Her crowning academic achievement was securing a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society for Trinity, only the second Catholic women’s college in the country to do so.

The controversies of the 1960’s were never far from Sr. Margaret’s thoughts.  In a 1965 speech “Inheriting a Revolution” she spelled out the whole point of a liberal arts education:  “We have to be willing to acquaint our students with controversy and problematic knowledge.  The emphasis cannot be only on the assemblage and mastery of facts, but must be on how to make sense of them in relation to the whole human condition. We have to encourage our students of today to take stands that may be unpopular, that may even expose them to ostracism, debate, controversy.”  And she went on, in a passage that echoes loudly in 2018, “One of the basic rights of free people is to be informed truthfully about public events.  Our students must be taught from the very beginning that this right is theirs, that they have a duty to seek the facts, the right to investigate truth freely.”

The 1960’s were also a period of dramatic change in the Roman Catholic Church as a result of the Second Vatican Council which fostered changes in liturgy, religious life and the Church’s engagement with the world.  Beyond superficial changes in liturgical language and religious clothing, Vatican II also gave rise to change in the governance of Catholic higher education.

With national stature as the first woman president of the college and university department of the National Catholic Education Association, in 1966 Sr. Margaret gave a bold speech at the NCEA meeting calling for substantial change in the governance of Catholic colleges and universities, saying that Catholic colleges “must have autonomy in academic affairs and decisions,” a major change in structure from religiously-controlled governance.  She went on,  “The only criterion for appointment or election to the Board should be competence in a special area … there should be no stipulation regarding status as religious or laity but simply the securing of the best possible leadership available.”  Putting her words into practice, Sr. Margaret led the transformation of Trinity’s board of trustees from all religious to a majority of lay trustees.

Her national stature led to her election as the only female delegate in a convening of Catholic college presidents at the Vatican in 1972.  Years later she could still remember the barriers she faced as the only woman at that meeting:  “I kept raising my hand and wanting to speak, but they wouldn’t call on me,” she said with a wry laugh that was pointed even decades later.  The men were ignoring her.  She confided her frustration to her friend Father Theodore Hesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame.  He came up with a plan:  “He made a point of taking me to lunch.  We walked out of the Vatican at the spot where all the men were getting into their big limousines, and he made a point of introducing me to each of them, and then we walked on together and they saw us talking.  After that, they called on me regularly.”

Under Sr. Margaret’s leadership, Trinity experienced dramatic growth in the size of the student body through the 1960’s.  She expanded integration and diversification of the student body, securing a Carnegie Corporation grant in 1965 for scholarships for students from the city, and starting an Upward Bound program.  She was prominent in national educational associations and D.C. organizations, serving on such diverse boards as the Greater Washington Educational Television Association and Washington Opportunities for Women, among many others.

The campus grew along with the student body, and Sr. Margaret led campaigns and building programs for a new library, fine arts building, and a residence hall; plans for many more buildings were drawn.  But the wave of coeducation at formerly all-male universities proved to be a setback for Trinity and all women’s college, and by the early 1970’s enrollment was in a sharp decline.  Believing that the women’s college was still an important form of education, Sr. Margaret continued to push for innovative changes to keep Trinity competitive in the changing landscape of higher education.  After sixteen years in office, she resigned from the presidency in 1975.

After a sabbatical at Yale, Sr. Margaret returned to Trinity as a professor of English where she continued to teach Shakespeare and her beloved poets Hopkins, Yeats and Eliot.  She was especially fond of quoting T.S. Eliot:  “Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future, and time future contained in time past.”

Susan Margaret Claydon was born on July 19, 1923, in New Rochelle, New York, to George Thomas and Susan Murray Claydon, the oldest of six children. She is survived by her sister, Katherine C. Lightfoot ’53 of Vero Beach, Florida, 13 nephews and nieces including Kathleen Keefe ’78, and dozens of great nieces and nephews. She attended New Rochelle High School. She enrolled as a freshman at Trinity in the fall of 1941, and was part of the generation of college students in Washington in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and through World War II. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1946, teaching Latin at several SND high schools until returning to Trinity in the English Department in 1952. She served as Trinity’s president from 1959 to 1975, and then as a professor of English until her retirement in 2004. She continued to live in the SND community at Trinity until moving to Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati in 2015.
Full Text Press Release https://discover.trinitydc.edu/sr-margaret-claydon/

Powerful Novena Prayer to Saint Agatha - Patron of Breast Cancer, Virgins, Assault Victims


Novena Prayer to Saint Agatha, Virgin Martyr. Oh St. Agatha, who withstood the unwelcome advances from unwanted suitors, and suffered pain and torture for your devotion to Our Lord, we celebrate your faith, dignity and martyrdom.Protect us against rape and other violations, guard us against breast cancer and other afflictions of women, and inspire us to overcome adversity. Pray also, Glorious Saint for the special favor we ask through you? (Here state your request) Oh St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, mercifully grant that we who venerate your sacrifice, may receive your intercession. O God, Who dost make the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant unto Thy people to love that which Thou dost command and desire that which Thou dost promise, that amid the changes of this world, our heart shall there be fixed where true joys may be found. Grant what we ask through the intercession of St. Agatha, we ask it through Jesus Christ Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end.Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be -  Say for 9 days

U.S. Bishops' Chairmen Opposed to Restrictions to Immigration and Family Reunification



U.S. Bishop Chairmen Voice Opposition to Proclamation That Further Restricts Immigration and Family Reunification

February 2, 2020
WASHINGTON — The President issued a proclamation Friday restricting the issuance of immigrant visas to people from Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria. People from Sudan and Tanzania will no longer be eligible for certain visas to come to the United States, commonly called “Diversity Visas.”

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., along with Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA issued the following statement strongly disagreeing with the administration’s latest action:

“The proclamation restricting immigration further undermines family reunification efforts and will make ensuring support for forced migrants in the designated countries more difficult. This proclamation also serves as a painful reminder of the 2017 ban which threatened our country’s founding principle of religious freedom. Over the last three years, waivers to allow visas from current travel ban nations based on undue hardship (such as family illness) were supposed to be available but were almost never authorized. We note with particular sadness and have witnessed firsthand the trauma of family separation that occurs with travel bans, which will only increase with this new proclamation.

“We respect that there are challenges in assuring traveler documentation and information exchange between countries as a means to ensure the safety of citizens. However, we also believe that ill-conceived nation-based bans such as this injure innocent families. As the bishops’ conference president Archbishop José Gomez has stated. . . , ‘Welcoming families has allowed our country to integrate successive immigrant generations into the fabric of American life, allowing them to contribute their faith, values and talents to make this country great.’

“We urge the administration to reverse this action and consider the human and strategic costs of these harmful bans.”
FULL TEXT SOURCE: USCCB

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr
Lectionary: 325

Reading 12 SM 24:2, 9-17

King David said to Joab and the leaders of the army who were with him,
“Tour all the tribes in Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba
and register the people, that I may know their number.”
Joab then reported to the king the number of people registered:
in Israel, eight hundred thousand men fit for military service;
in Judah, five hundred thousand.
Afterward, however, David regretted having numbered the people,
and said to the LORD:
“I have sinned grievously in what I have done.
But now, LORD, forgive the guilt of your servant,
for I have been very foolish.”
When David rose in the morning,
the LORD had spoken to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying:
“Go and say to David, ‘This is what the LORD says:
I offer you three alternatives;
choose one of them, and I will inflict it on you.’”
Gad then went to David to inform him.
He asked:  “Do you want a three years’ famine to come upon your land,
or to flee from your enemy three months while he pursues you,
or to have a three days’ pestilence in your land?
Now consider and decide what I must reply to him who sent me.”
David answered Gad: “I am in very serious difficulty.
Let us fall by the hand of God, for he is most merciful;
but let me not fall by the hand of man.”
Thus David chose the pestilence.
Now it was the time of the wheat harvest
when the plague broke out among the people.
The LORD then sent a pestilence over Israel
from morning until the time appointed,
and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba died.
But when the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it,
the LORD regretted the calamity
and said to the angel causing the destruction among the people,
“Enough now! Stay your hand.”
The angel of the LORD was then standing
at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
When David saw the angel who was striking the people,
he said to the LORD: “It is I who have sinned;
it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong.
But these are sheep; what have they done?
Punish me and my kindred.”

Responsorial Psalm32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R.    (see 5c)  Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R.    Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R.    Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R.    Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R.    Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place,
accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Pope Francis' Video Message to Arab Convention for Fraternity "..I ask Almighty God to bless every effort that benefits the good of humanity..."


Pope Francis welcomes presentation of Human Fraternity Award
Pope Francis sends a video message to participants in the Arab Media Convention for Human Fraternity, which is taking place in Abu Dhabi.
A translation of the Pope’s video message is below:

I greet all of you present, and I greet especially all the people in humanity who help their poor, sick, persecuted, and weak brothers and sisters, regardless of religion, color, or race.

A year ago, my brother, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Aḥmad al-Tayyib, and I signed a document on human fraternity in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi. Today we celebrate the first anniversary of this great humanitarian event, as we hope for a better future for humanity, a future free from hatred, rancor, extremism, and terrorism, in which the values of peace, love and fraternity prevail.

Today, on this first anniversary, I express my appreciation for the support offered by the United Arab Emirates for the work of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity. I thank you for the initiative led by the Abrahamic House, and for the presentation of the Human Fraternity Award.

I am therefore pleased to be able to participate in the presentation to the world of the International Human Fraternity Award, in hopes of encouraging all virtuous exemplars of men and women who in this world embody love through actions and sacrifices made for the good of others, no matter how different they may be in religion, or ethnic and cultural affiliation. And I ask Almighty God to bless every effort that benefits the good of humanity and helps us to move forward in fraternity.

Thank you.