Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Saint February 19 : St. Conrad of Piacenza a Franciscan Confessor, Hermit and Patron of Cure for Hernias


Born:







































1290, Piacenza, Province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Died:
February 19, 1351, Noto, Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Patron of:
cure of hernias




CONFESSOR

Hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis, date of birth uncertain; died at Noto in Sicily, 19 February, 1351. He belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life. On one occasion, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to fire some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author. He was imprisoned, tried, and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, made open confession of his guilt; and in order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, was obliged to sell all his possessions. Thus reduced to poverty, Conrad retired to a lonely hermitage some distance from Piacenza, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares. Later he went to Rome, and thence to Sicily, where for thirty years he lived a most austere and penitential life and worked numerous miracles. He is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. In 1515 Leo X permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast, which permission was later extended by Urban VIII to the whole Order of St. Francis. Though bearing the title of saint, Conrad was never formally canonized. His feast is kept in the Franciscan Order on 19 February.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)
Prayer to St. Conrad: 
Almighty God,
You attracted Saint Conrad through his zeal for justice to serve You faithfully in the desert.
Through his prayers may we live justly and piously, and happily succeed in coming to You.
Amen.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as Thou wert pacified by the penance of Blessed Conrad, so we may imitate his example and blot out the stains of our sins by crucifying our flesh. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Catholic Church in India re-elects Cardinal Oswald Gracias as President of Bishops' Conference



Indian Catholic Church re-elects Card Gracias as president, Mgr Machado as secretary general
by Nirmala Carvalho
The Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India ends tomorrow in Bengaluru. “I am at the service of God and the Church,” said Archbishop of Vasai. Dialogue is the "way chosen by God to reveal himself to us".


New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) is currently  holding its plenary assembly (13-19 February) in Bengaluru (Bangalore).

Yesterday it re-elected Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, as its president, as well as elected Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai as its secretary general.

Archbishop Machado, who heads the Office for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), told AsiaNews that he is “at the service of God and the Church. Only doing God’s will gives meaning to my life.”

Between 1999 and 2008, he served as undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in the Vatican. He studied philosophy at the University of Lyon and spent seven years at the Taizé community in France. During that time, he also served for a year in Bangladesh as a volunteer in refugee camps, later earning a Theology degree from Maryknoll College in New York and a doctorate from Fordham.

Speaking about his election, he said that India’s bishops “unanimously pointed to me as ‘a man of dialogue’, and this is a great honour for me from fellow bishops.” Indeed, “God reveals himself through us and the method of dialogue. God never imposes anything upon us; he enters into the dialogue of salvation with us.

“The Church of India wants to trod the path of dialogue all the way and arrive at truth and charity,” noted the new CBCI secretary general. She “has always faced challenges and situations, but we must be faithful to Christ and keep on the path of dialogue. Dialogue means loving people.

“Truth has to be respected, always done in charity, fearlessly proclaimed, but always in charity. This is the dictum of the Church.”

Noting that the assembly’s theme is ‘Dialogue: the way to truth and charity, he explained that “The bishops want me to take up this challenge, together with the leadership, and assist Cardinal Gracias. “

To this end, “We must necessarily follow the path of dialogue. Confrontation, compromise or even political negotiations are not Christian. Dialogue is the sacred path, the path chosen by God to reveal himself to us, and God continues to dialogue with us.”
Full Text Release of AsiaNews.it - Cardinal Gracias speech starts at 13:00 below:

New Coordinator Appointed by Bishops in Italy for Overseas Filipino Workers is Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston -



CBCP News Release
Fr. Gaston now heads pastoral care ministry for OFWs in Italy

February 17, 2020

ROME— The Italian bishops appointed Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston as the new coordinator for the pastoral care of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Italy.

The appointment was announced Sunday by Italian priest in charge of migrants in Rome, don Pierpaolo Felicolo, during a Mass presided over by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Fr. Gaston succeeded Fr. Paulino Bumanglag, SVD, who served the post for around nine years.

The priest has been serving as Rector of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino, the official residence of Filipino priests studying in Rome, since 2010.

Fr. Gaston was ordained a priest for the Manila archdiocese at the Vatican by Pope John Paul II in 1993.

He also served as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family in the Vatican from 2002 to 2007.

In January 2015, Fr. Gaston was also among the Vatican Accredited Media Personnel (VAMP) during Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

In his homily at the Santa Pudenciana, Cardinal Tagle invited Filipinos to be faithful to God’s commandments.

He stressed that God’s commandments “are not meant to burden upon us, but to guide us in our relationship with him and with others.”



“Obeying God’s commandments shows that we are committed to him. But in the first place, his giving us the commandments shows his commitment towards us,” said Tagle, who is also the Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The Vicariate of Rome has designated Santa Pudenciana in 1991 as the Pastoral Center for Filipinos in Rome, also called the “Sentro Filippino”.

Prior to that year, the PCF has served as the de facto Filipino Chaplaincy, with an office at one corner of the PCF building, coordinating perhaps 20 or 30 Filipino communities.

Even earlier, in the 1970s, when more Filipinos started migrating into Italy, three religious congregations initiated Masses for the Filipinos: the Salesians of Don Bosco in Sacro Coure beside Termini, the SVD near Pyramide, and the Irish Pallotine Fathers in San Silvestro, right in Rome City center.

Every Sunday, about 50 to 60 Masses in Filipino, English, Ilocano, Cebuano, and Bicolano are coordinated by the Sentro Filippino in different parishes, convents, and chapels, with PCF priests assisting the Sentro in around 15 to 20 Masses.

The PCF priests also cater to OFW’s in many European countries, especially Switzerland, Greece, Malta, Germany, Spain, Norway, France.
Full Text Release Bishops of the Philippines - CBCP

Pope Francis offers Remedy for Hardness of Heart : "I was hungry, you gave me to eat; I was in prison, you came to visit me; I was suffering and you consoled me....this is compassion.."


Pope at Mass: God asks of us an open heart full of compassion
VaticanNews Report: "The medicine against hardheartedness is memory," says Pope Francis in his homily at Mass Tuesday morning at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. He invites Christians not to forget the grace of salvation that makes the heart sincere and capable of mercy.
By Robin Gomes

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel from St. Mark where the disciples are worried about the shortage of bread in the boat where there was also Jesus.  The Pope pointed out that the concern for a material good had got the better of them.  Jesus rebukes them that their hearts are hardened and they cannot understand.  “Have you eyes and cannot see, have you ears and cannot hear?” he asks them, reminding them of the multiplication of five loaves to feed five thousand, with many baskets full of fragments left over.

When compassion lacks, idolatry and ideology set in
In this episode, the Pope pointed to the difference between a “hardened heart”, like that of the disciples and a “compassionate heart”, like that of the Lord.

Compassion is what the Lord wants in us, the Pope said, adding: "Mercy I want, not sacrifice." The Holy Father said that a heart without compassion is an idolatrous heart. A self-sufficient heart goes ahead sustained by its own selfishness, becoming strong only with ideologies.

Speaking about the four ideological groups of Jesus’ time – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Zealots – the Pope said they had hardened their hearts to carry out a project that was not God's, as there was no place for compassion.

Jesus is a slap to hardheartedness
However, against this hardheartedness, the Pope said, there is a "medicine", and it is memory. This is why, the Pope said, in today’s Gospel and in many other Scripture passages, there echoes the need for the salvific power of memory, a "grace" to be asked for because it "keeps the heart open and faithful".

“When the heart hardens,” the Pope said, “one forgets” the grace of salvation and of gratuitousness. A hardened heart leads to quarrels, to wars, to selfishness and the destruction of the brother and sister because there is no compassion.  The Pope said that the greatest message of salvation is that God has had compassion on us.  And the Gospel often repeats that Jesus had compassion on seeing a person or a painful situation. “Jesus is the compassion of the Father,” the Pope said. “Jesus is the slap to every hardness of heart.”

An open heart
Pope Francis thus underscored the need for asking for the grace of having a heart that is not hardened and full of ideologies, but “open and compassionate” in the face of what is happening in the world.  It is on this, he said, that we will be judged at the Last Judgement, and not by our "ideas" or our "ideologies".

"I was hungry, you gave me to eat; I was in prison, you came to visit me; I was suffering and you consoled me", the Pope said is what is written in the Gospel and “this is compassion, this is not hardness of heart".  And humility, the memory of our roots and our salvation, the Pope said, will help us to keep it that way.

Every one of us, Pope Francis pointed out, has something that has hardened within our hearts.  “Let us remember and let it be the Lord who gives us a righteous and sincere heart where the Lord dwells.”  “The Lord cannot enter hardened and ideological hearts.  He enters hearts that are like His heart: open and compassionate,” the Pope said.
Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

#BreakingNews 22 Civilians Killed including 14 Children after Elections were Deserted - Please Pray


In one of the two English-speaking regions, that of the North West, a massacre of civilians was committed, mostly women and children. The crime was perpetrated on the night of February 14-15 in Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw in the Donga-Mantung department. According to the UN, there are 22 victims, among whom there are 14 children, including 11 girls under the age of 5, a pregnant woman and two women. The secessionist rebels accused the Cameroonian army of being responsible for the massacre, but rejected the accusations. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 17/2/2020)
AFRICA/CAMEROON - "Ballot boxes almost completely deserted by voters", report observers of "Justice and Peace"

Yaoundé (Agenzia Fides) - Peaceful elections but almost entirely deserted by voters. This is what His Exc. Mgr. Abraham Kome, Bishop of Bafang, Apostolic Administrator of Bafia and President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (CENC) reported in a press meeting in which he presented the evaluations of the electoral observers sent by the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in the polling stations for the municipal and legislative elections of 9 February.
The "propensity to abstain was almost general", said Mgr. Kome who brought some examples: "in the Bissono gendarmerie in Sangmelima, there were 85 voters out of 310 registered; in Ngwui par Dschang, 50 voters out of 200 registered; in Batouri the abstention rate was 80.57%; in Bertoua, 70%". "The low turnout undoubtedly means that the basic law of the electoral code that governs the elections in Cameroon must be revised in order to arouse people's enthusiasm in the fulfillment of their civil duty", underline the Bishops in the statement presented by Mgr. Kome.
CENC deployed 262 observers who were deployed in 46 departments across 58 Countries. Mgr. Kome added that due to the insecurity in the North West and South West regions, the 17 CENC observers in these two regions were unable to do their job. An insecurity that "has prevented many citizens from exercising their civil rights", underline the Bishops.
FULL TEXT Press Release: from Fides.org - Image of children killed - Viral photo from https://www.dailynewscameroon.com/ - Facebook

U.S. Bishops’ Statement on Nuclear Disarmament " A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions...everywhere."


Statement from U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace Committee on Nuclear Disarmament 
WASHINGTON — The Committee on International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following statement on nuclear disarmament.
During the recent visit of Pope Francis to Japan, the Holy Father took the opportunity to speak forcefully on the subject of nuclear weapons and the threat that they represent to the world. Speaking at Nagasaki, he emphasized the need for a wide and deep solidarity to bring about security in a world not reliant on atomic weaponry, stating, “A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions of men and women everywhere. To make this ideal a reality calls for involvement on the part of all: individuals, religious communities and civil society, countries that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not, the military and private sectors, and international organizations.” -
 Address of the Holy Father on Nuclear Weapons. . . , Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park (Nagasaki) Sunday, 24 November 2019.
Later that same day, Pope Francis spoke in Hiroshima, the other Japanese city to have known the horror of a nuclear explosion. Addressing the moral implications of nuclear weaponry he stated, “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral …” - Address of the Holy Father, Meeting for Peace, Peace Memorial (Hiroshima) Sunday, 24 November 2019.
The words of Pope Francis serve as a clarion call and a profound reminder to all that the status quo of international relations, resting on the threat of mutual destruction, must be changed. As Bishops of the United States, we have made similar appeals in the past when we stated, “the moral task is to proceed with deep cuts and ultimately to abolish these weapons entirely.” - The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace (1993).  
So too, has the international community recognized the need to move away from the threat of mutual destruction and toward genuine and universal disarmament, as reflected in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Article VI of that Treaty, which dates back to 1968, states each party of that accord will work in good faith for the end of the nuclear arms race by seeking nuclear disarmament based in “…a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
Pope Francis has used his visit to Japan to remind the faithful and all actors, states or non-states, of the moral obligation to re-commit to the work of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and the threat that they pose. That obligation weighs on the consciences of all to find a means for complete and mutual disarmament based in a shared commitment and trust that needs to be fostered and deepened.
The Committee on International Justice and Peace is grateful to the Holy Father for this renewed effort to bring about a world of peace and justice that is not based upon fear or the threat of nuclear annihilation but justice and human solidarity. As such, we also call upon our own government to be part of and indeed renew its primary responsibility in that effort. The nations which have nuclear weapons must take the lead in mutual reduction of their weapons. The non-nuclear nations too must refrain from pursuing them if Article VI of the NPT is to be the effective instrument to bring about the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
“Come, Lord, for it is late, and where destruction has abounded, may hope also abound today that we can write and achieve a different future.” (Pope Francis, Hiroshima, November 24, 2019.)
Members of the Committee for International Justice and Peace:

Most Reverend David J. Malloy, Chairman
Bishop of Rockford
Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton
Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services
Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane
Bishop of Venice
Most Reverend Michael Mulvey
Bishop of Corpus Christi
Most Reverend William F. Murphy
Bishop Emeritus of Rockville Centre
Most Reverend Alberto Rojas
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Most Reverend Abdallah Elias Zaidan
Bishop of Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
Bishop Consultants to the Committee for International Justice and Peace:

Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano
Bishop of Bridgeport
---
FULL TEXT Source: USCCB - Bishops USA

RIP 15 Children Killed due to Fire in Christian Orphanage in Haiti


BBC News reports that Fifteen children have died in Haiti after a fire in an orphanage near the capital.

The cause of the fire was being investigated, but reports citing staff and children said candles were being used instead of electricity.

The orphanage, run by a US-based Christian group, was one of hundreds in Haiti operating without official authorisation.

Authorities are now working to support and re-house the surviving children.

Arielle Jeanty Villedrouin, director of the Institute for Social Welfare, said that, at the time of the fire, about 60 children were living in the unlicensed orphanage, operated by the Pennsylvania-based Church of Bible Understanding.

"We are going to place them [the survivors] in a transit centre while we do research on their family and see if we can reunite them with their parents," she told Reuters news agency.

The fire at the orphanage, located south of the capital Port-au-Prince, began on Thursday evening. Officials said two children were killed in the blaze and 13 others died at hospital as a result of smoke inhalation.

Candles had been lit on the night of the fire because the building's generator was broken, according to reports.

Local judge Raymonde Jean Antoine told AFP news agency the orphanage had not been authorised to operate since 2013.

She said it did not meet basic standards, describing the living conditions there as "truly, truly neglected".

"All we see are children living like animals," she said, adding that there were no fire extinguishers.

Officials inspected the building on Friday
On its website, the Church of Bible Understanding says it opened its first orphanage in Haiti 40 years ago. The organisation said its "primary goal" was to "spread the Gospel to any and all who will receive it".

It has not yet commented on the fire.

Some 30,000 children live in more than 760 orphanages in Haiti, of which 15% are officially registered, according to the charity Lumos, which was founded by author JK Rowling and seeks to end the institutionalisation of children.

An estimated 80% of the children living in Haiti's orphanages have at least one living parent.

Orphanages proliferated in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Poverty and a lack of access to healthcare and education are among the reasons that children with living parents end up being housed in them.
Edited from BBC - Image Source: Google Images

Quote to SHARE by St. Padre Pio "Always remain close to the Catholic Church, because it alone can give you true peace, since it alone possesses Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the true Prince of Peace."


"Always remain close to the Catholic Church, because it alone can give you true peace, since it alone possesses Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the true Prince of Peace."
Saint Padre Pio

Saint February 18 : St. Simeon of Jerusalem, a relative of Jesus and Bishop and Martyr of Jerusalem

St. Simon of Jerusalem
BISHOP, MARTYR
Died:
106 or 107 AD, Jerusalem
=
ST. SIMEON was the son of Cleophas, otherwise called Alpheus, brother to St. Joseph, and of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin. He was therefore nephew both to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin, and cousin to Our Saviour. We cannot doubt but that he was ail early follower of Christ, and that he received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, with the Blessed Virgin and the apostles. When the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser,his brother Simeon reproached them for their atrocious cruelty. St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, being put to death in the year 62, twenty-nine years after Our Saviour's Resurrection, the apostles and disciples met at Jerusalem to appoint him a successor. They unanimously chose St. Simeon, who had probably before assisted his brother in the government of that Church.
In the year 66, in which Sts. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome, the civil war began in Judea, by the seditions of the Jews against the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned by God of the impending destruction of that city. They therefore departed out of it the same year,—before Vespasian, Nero's general, and afterwards emperor, entered Judea,—and retired beyond Jordan to a small city called Pella, having St. Simeon at their head. After the taking and burning of Jerusalem they returned thither again, and settled themselves amidst its ruins, till Adrian afterwards entirely razed it. The Church here flourished, and multitudes of Jews were converted by the great number of prodigies and miracles wrought in it.
Vespasian and Domitian had commanded all to be put to death who were of the race of David. St. Simeon had escaped their searches; but, Trajan having given the same order, certain heretics and Jews accused the Saint, as being both of the race of David and a Christian, to Atticus, the Roman governor in Palestine. The holy bishop was condemned to be crucified. After having undergone the usual tortures during several days, which, though one hundred and twenty years old, he suffered with so much patience that he drew on him a universal admiration, and that of Atticus in particular, he died in 107. He must have governed the Church of Jerusalem about forty-three years.
(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - #Eucharist


Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 336
Reading 1JAS 1:12-18

Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation,
for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life
that he promised to those who love him.
No one experiencing temptation should say,
“I am being tempted by God”;
for God is not subject to temptation to evil,
and he himself tempts no one.
Rather, each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.
Then desire conceives and brings forth sin,
and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

Responsorial Psalm94:12-13A, 14-15, 18-19

R.    (12a) Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD,
whom by your law you teach,
Giving him rest from evil days.
R.    Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it.
R.    Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
When I say, “My foot is slipping,”
your mercy, O LORD, sustains me;
When cares abound within me,
your comfort gladdens my soul.
R.    Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

AlleluiaJN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”