Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Full Text - US President Trump on Ash Wednesday "We join in prayer with everyone observing this holy day and wish you a prayerful Lenten journey..."


Presidential Message on Ash Wednesday, 2020
Issued on: February 26, 2020

Melania and I wish everyone observing Ash Wednesday a peaceful and prayerful day.

For Catholics and many other Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season that concludes with the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday.  Today, millions of Christians will be marked on their foreheads with the sign of the cross.  The imposition of ashes is an invitation to spend time during Lent fasting, praying, and engaging in acts of charity.  This powerful and sacred tradition reminds us of our shared mortality, Christ’s saving love, and the need to repent and accept the Gospel more fully.

We join in prayer with everyone observing this holy day and wish you a prayerful Lenten journey.  May you grow closer to God in your faith during this blessed season.
Source ' https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/presidential-message-ash-wednesday-2020/

Saint February 27 : St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows the Patron of: Students, Youth, Seminarians and a Passionist Monk

February 27, marks the feast day of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862), the patron saint of young people, students, and young religious. Saint Gabriel’s short life is marked by piety, faith, and obedience to the Lord, and religious vocation at the behest of Our Blessed Mother. While the last six years of his life, spent as a brother in the Passionist Order, were marked by humility, self-denial, and simplicity, Gabriel’s early life was quite the opposite. His complete consecration of his life to the Lord, despite the temptations of the modern world which he so loved, make his sacrifice a vivid example of the Christian love and obedience we should strive for.
Born Francis Possenti, in Assisi, Italy in 1838, Saint Gabriel was the eleventh of thirteen children produced by the union of his parents. His father, a pious man with great political recognition in the area, and his mother, a well-connected religious woman from a respected family, were delighted in their son. He was baptized at the same font that his saintly namesake had been baptized nearly 600 years earlier.
From an early age, Francis demonstrated the potential for thoughtfulness and piety. He encouraged his teacher and siblings to pay more attention to the poor, oftentimes choosing to give some of his portions to those in need. Before he reached the age of four, his mother passed away from a serious illness, as did four of his siblings. Francis, the most sensitive of the family, was severely moved by these losses, increasing his empathy for others and his sensitivity to those in need.
As Francis matured, he developed insight into the fact that he was smart, charming, and attractive. He pursued hedonistic pleasures like art and theater, which he would later write to friends almost “cost him his soul.” He dressed to perfection, paying careful attention to his appearance. Francis excelled at school, and was generally the award-winner in all of his classes. He was chosen to give his commencement address upon graduation from the Jesuit College. Francis embraced the world, and to his classmates and friends, he appeared to have all the tools required for great success. He was the center of attention wherever he went, all the doors of the finest families and establishments open to him throughout the city. And while he was impulsive, prone to anger, and pridefully vain, he was poised to achieve great worldly things.
But Francis felt called in a different direction. Twice, Francis came down with serious illnesses while in school, illnesses he was not expected to recover from. During these times, he prayed to the Lord, promising to become a religious if his life was spared. While a student at the Jesuit College, he had asked permission to enter the Order, and was granted permission from his spiritual director. But Francis delayed entering the Order, finding reasons to wait. He maintained his faith, praying daily in the chapel and receiving the Eucharist, but could not commit to the religious life and give up his worldly enjoyments. As time went on, Francis began to doubt his choice of the Jesuit Order, instead feeling called to become a Passionist, the Order formed by Saint John of the Cross. His spiritual director encouraged him to wait and pray, and see where the Lord led him.
Following the cholera outbreak in 1856, the town rejoiced in thanks to the Blessed Mother, who interceded to save Spoleto. In veneration, a statue of Our Lady was carried throughout the streets. Francis observed the procession, more curious than devoted. As the statue was carried past him, he gazed into the face of the Blessed Virgin, and through the eyes of the statue, Mary pierced his heart with a gaze so strong it felt as a ‘dart of fire.” At the same time, he heard the words deep within in, “Why! thou art not made for the world! What art thou doing in the world? Hasten, become a religious!”
From that moment, Francis’ life changed. He entered the noviatiate of the Passionists, where he would live until his death. The Passionist Order is a strict order, and his family and friends urged him not to commit to such a life. Rather, they suggested he become a priest, or better yet, not become a religious and use his “talents” in the world. Francis was not to be disuaded. After his initial retreat, he was clothed in the robes of the Passionists, and gave up his name for a new name: Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
His days were spent in prayer, chanting, study, and manual labor. The Passionist Order maintains a rule of silence, and speaking was forbidden without permission. Gabriel spent the majority of his time meditating on the Passion of Christ, and praying the Rosary to Our Lady of Sorrows. Despite the rules and strict lifestyle, Gabriel was filled with joy. “My life is a continuous delight; what I experience inside these sacred walls is almost inexpressible; the 24 hours of the day seem to me like 24 short instants; really my life is full of delight.” He looked at each sacrifice as a way in which to polish away his sinful life, his pride, his vanity, and devote his life to Jesus. He wrote, “I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own”
Saint Gabriel looked to the Blessed Mother as his comfort and refuge in times of suffering, of which he had plenty due to illness. He wrote of her to his brother, “Love Mary!… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.” Within a few years of joining the Order, Gabriel was stricken with Consumption. He died a slow and painful death, over the course of two years, during which he maintained a cheerful and joyous disposition, so much so that his brothers in the Order wished to spend their days with him. In his dying moments, he asked for his picture of the Crucifixion, with the Blessed Virgin standing at the foot of the cross. It was well-worn from use. He devoutly kissed it, placed it upon him, folded his hands across it, and began to pray. With indescribable love he began to say aloud: “Oh, my Mother make haste, make haste!”
Many from the Order watched and prayed in his cell with him, as they knew his moment of death was close at hand. They were moved to tears by his devotion, and by the love with which he implored the comfort of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. By their records, Gabriel suddenly turned his eyes to the left and above him, gazing in rapture upon some heavenly vision. With a peaceful smile, he died, never letting go of his beloved picture. Not yest a priest when he died at age 24, Gabriel was buried at the Passionist retreat in Isola di Gran Sasso, Italy.
Since his death, numerous miracles have been reported via his intercession. For exmaple, Saint Gemma (1878-1903), a young woman with numerous ailments including deafness from meningitis, paralysis, abcesses, and curvature of the spine was miraculously cured after praying a novena to Saint Gabriel. In her own words, "I grew in admiration of his virtues and his ways. My devotion to him increased. At night I did not sleep without having his picture under my pillow, and after that I began to see him near me. I don’t know how to explain this, but I felt his presence. At all times and in every action Brother Gabriel came to mind.”
When she was approximately 20, and on her deathbed, Gemma began her novena to Saint Gabriel. While trying to sleep, she heard the rattling of a Rosary and he appeared to her, saying, “Do you wish to recover? Pray with faith every evening to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I will come to you until the Novena is ended, and will pray together to this Most Sacred Heart.” On the last night of the Novena, Gemma was miraculously cured of all her ailments, a scientific impossibility at the time. Saint Gemma went on to be visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary, and bore the stigmata throughout her prayerful life, committed to Jesus.
One of his brothers wrote of him: “In the garden within the monastery walls at Isola stands a large crucifix. A seed fell to the ground before it. A plant sprang up, and twined itself around the cross until it reached the feet of the figure nailed upon it. It then bent outward, as if to behold what was above. A bud formed, swelled, burst into bloom, and gazed in loving awe upon the figure of Christ Crucified. Lo! it was a true flower of the Passion! Its heart was pierced and stamped with the signs of Him Who hung upon the cross. The seed that fell at the foot of the crucifix was Francis Possenti. The plant that grew there from and flowered was Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Passionist.”
Text shared from 365 Rosaries

Pope Francis at Ash Wednesday Mass says "Ashes are sprinkled on our heads so that the fire of love can be kindled in our hearts."


HOLY MASS, BLESSING AND IMPOSITION OF THE ASHES
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Basilica of Santa Sabina
Ash Wednesday, 26 February 2020


We begin the Lenten Season by receiving ashes: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return (cf. Gen 3:19). The dust sprinkled on our heads brings us back to earth; it reminds us that we are dust and to dust we shall return. We are weak, frail and mortal. Centuries and millennia pass and we come and go; before the immensity of galaxies and space, we are nothing. We are dust in the universe. Yet we are dust loved by God. It pleased the Lord to gather that dust in his hands and to breathe into it the breath of life (cf. Gen 2:7). We are thus a dust that is precious, destined for eternal life. We are the dust of the earth, upon which God has poured out his heaven, the dust that contains his dreams. We are God’s hope, his treasure and his glory.
Ashes are thus a reminder of the direction of our existence: a passage from dust to life. We are dust, earth, clay, but if we allow ourselves to be shaped by the hands of God, we become something wondrous. More often than not, though, especially at times of difficulty and loneliness, we only see our dust! But the Lord encourages us: in his eyes, our littleness is of infinite value. So let us take heart: we were born to be loved; we were born to be children of God.
Dear brothers and sisters, may we keep this in mind as we begin this Lenten season. For Lent is not a time for useless sermons, but for recognizing that our lowly ashes are loved by God. It is a time of grace, a time for letting God gaze upon us with love and in this way change our lives. We were put in this world to go from ashes to life. So let us not turn our hopes and God’s dream for us into powder and ashes. Let us not grow resigned. You may ask: “How can I trust? The world is falling to pieces, fear is growing, there is so much malice all around us, society is becoming less and less Christian…” Don’t you believe that God can transform our dust into glory?
The ashes we receive on our foreheads should affect the thoughts passing through our minds. They remind us that, as God’s children, we cannot spend our lives chasing after dust. From there a question can pass into our hearts: “What am I living for?” If it is for the fleeting realities of this world, I am going back to ashes and dust, rejecting what God has done in my life. If I live only to earn money, to have a good time, to gain a bit of prestige or a promotion in my work, I am living for dust. If I am unhappy with life because I think I do not get enough respect or receive what I think is my due, then I am simply staring at dust.
That is not why we have been put in this world. We are worth so much more. We live for so much more, for we are meant to make God’s dream a reality and to love. Ashes are sprinkled on our heads so that the fire of love can be kindled in our hearts. We are citizens of heaven, and our love for God and neighbour is our passport to heaven. Our earthly possessions will prove useless, dust that scatters, but the love we share – in our families, at work, in the Church and in the world – will save us, for it will endure forever.
The ashes we receive remind us of a second and opposite passage: from life to dust. All around us, we see the dust of death. Lives reduced to ashes. Rubble, destruction, war. The lives of unwelcomed innocents, the lives of the excluded poor, the lives of the abandoned elderly. We continue to destroy ourselves, to return to ashes and dust. And how much dust there is in our relationships! Look at our homes and families: our quarrels, our inability to resolve conflicts, our unwillingness to apologize, to forgive, to start over, while at the same time insisting on our own freedom and our rights! All this dust that besmirches our love and mars our life. Even in the Church, the house of God, we have let so much dust collect, the dust of worldliness.
Let us look inside, into our hearts: how many times do we extinguish the fire of God with the ashes of hypocrisy! Hypocrisy is the filth that Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that we have to remove. Indeed, the Lord tells us not only to carry out works of charity, to pray and to fast, but also to do these without pretense, duplicity and hypocrisy (cf. Mt 6:2.5.16). Yet how often do we do things only to be recognized, to look good, to satisfy our ego! How often do we profess to be Christians, yet in our hearts readily yield to passions that enslave us! How often do we preach one thing and practice another! How many times do we make ourselves look good on the outside while nursing grudges within! How much duplicity do we have in our hearts... All this is dust that besmirches, ashes that extinguish the fire of love.
We need to be cleansed of all the dust that has sullied our hearts. How? The urgent summons of Saint Paul in today’s second reading can help us. Paul says: “Be reconciled to God!” He does not simply ask; he begs: “We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20). We would have said: “Reconcile yourselves with God!” But no, Paul uses passive form: Be reconciled! Holiness is not achieved by our efforts, for it is grace! By ourselves, we cannot remove the dust that sullies our hearts. Only Jesus, who knows and loves our heart, can heal it. Lent is a time of healing.
What, then, are we to do? In journeying towards Easter, we can make two passages: first, from dust to life, from our fragile humanity to the humanity of Jesus, who heals us. We can halt in contemplation before the crucified Lord and repeat: “Jesus, you love me, transform me... Jesus, you love me, transform me...” And once we have received his love, once we have wept at the thought of that love, we can make the second passage, by determining never to fall again from life into dust. We can receive God’s forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance, because there the fire of God’s love consumes the ashes of our sin. The embrace of the Father in confession renews us from inside and purifies our heart. May we allow ourselves to be reconciled, in order to live as beloved children, as forgiven and healed sinners, as wayfarers with him at our side.
Let us allow ourselves to be loved, so that we can give love in return. Let us allow ourselves to stand up and walk towards Easter. Then we will experience the joy of discovering how God raises us up from our ashes.


Full Text + Image Vatican.va - official Translation

Top 10 Quotes for the Season of Lent to SHARE "Lent is a season of intense prayer, fasting and concern..."


1. "True fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words, lying, and betrayal of vows." St. Basil

2. "Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life..." -- Pope Benedict XVI

3.  ”Fasting and almsgiving are ‘the two wings of prayer’ which enable it to gain momentum and more easily reach even to God.” St Augustine

4. “Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

5. "Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ; discipline your body; do not pamper yourself, but love fasting.” -- Saint Benedict

6. "Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism." -- Pope Benedict XVI

7. “Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself.” -- St. Peter Chrysologus

8. "As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and believe' Jesus tells us. What are we to repent?  Our indifference, our hardness of heart.  What are we to believe?  Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor -- He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you."  -- St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

9. "Lent is a season of intense prayer, fasting and concern for those in need. It offers all Christians an opportunity to prepare for Easter by serious discernment about their lives, with particular attention to the word of God which enlightens the daily journey of all who believe.” -- St. Pope John Paul II

10. "Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion. It invites Christians to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving." Pope Francis

Faure Gnassingbé has just been re-elected President of Togo in Africa for a 4th term


AFRICA/TOGO - The challenge of democracy in Africa: weak opposition
Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Sokodè (Agenzia Fides) - According to the results released by the Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI), Faure Gnassingbé has just been re-elected President of Togo for a fourth term with almost 72.36% of the votes against 18.37% of the opponent Agbéyomé Messan Kodjo, former Prime Minister and ex-president of the National Assembly, while Jean Pierre Fabre, president of the main opposition party of Togo, the National Alliance for Change obtained 4.35%.
Despite opposition protests that denounced fraud, Internet access was limited on the day of voting and many citizens were unable to vote. "Addressing the challenge of democracy in Africa must not only be a prerogative of existing powers, but also of the opposition. The recent case of Togo is a perfect example of this", wrote Fr. Donald Zagore, priest of the Society for African Missions, missionary in Togo to Agenzia Fides. "Yet - he continues - in Togo, the opposition has made serious mistakes for which it must take responsibility today".
The missionary notes that the opposition campaign was limited in the south and visibly absent in the north of the country. "The opposition had invited its supporters not to participate in the electoral census that took place from 1 to 25 October 2018 - continues Zagore -. By not taking part in the legislative elections of 20 December 2018, it found itself not having a representative in Parliament. In addition, during the election campaign, the main objective was the removal of the current president rather than proposing a solid government program to the Togolese people".
"The weakness of the opposition forces remains a serious problem for democracy in Africa: it undermines African politics, which generally registers the lack of concrete arguments, often preferring a language of violence and armed rebellions to gain access to power", concludes the missionary. (DZ/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 25/2/2020)

Pope Francis says “Lent is a time to disconnect from cell phones and connect to the Gospel,” Full Video- Text at Audience


Pope Francis holds the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Ash Wednesday, reflecting on the coming forty days of Lent.
(Full Text - Unofficial Translation from Vatican.va - replaces summary)

Pope Francis spoke to some 12,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square,  for the General Audience.

St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Catechesis - Lent: enter the desert

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin the Lenten journey, a forty-day journey towards Easter, towards the heart of the liturgical year and of faith. It is a path that follows that of Jesus, who at the beginning of his ministry withdrew for forty days to pray and fast, tempted by the devil, in the desert. Just about the spiritual meaning of the desert I would like to speak to you today. What the desert spiritually means for all of us, even we who live in the city, what the desert means.

Let's imagine we are in a desert. The first sensation would be to find ourselves surrounded by a great silence: no noises, apart from the wind and our breath. Here, the desert is the place of detachment from the noise that surrounds us. It is the absence of words to make room for another Word, the Word of God, which caresses our hearts like a light breeze (cf. 1 Kings 19:12). The desert is the place of the Word, with a capital letter. In fact, in the Bible, the Lord loves to talk to us in the desert. In the desert he gives Moses the "ten words", the ten commandments. And when the people turn away from him, becoming like an unfaithful bride, God says: «Behold, I will lead her to the desert and speak to her heart. There he will answer me, as in the days of his youth "(Hos 2: 16-17). In the desert we hear the Word of God, which is like a light sound. The Book of Kings says that the Word of God is like a thread of sonorous silence. In the desert one finds intimacy with God, the love of the Lord. Jesus loved to withdraw every day to deserted places to pray (cf. Lk 5:16). He taught us how to look for the Father, who speaks to us in silence. And it is not easy to keep silence in the heart, because we always try to talk a little, to be with others.


  
Lent is the right time to make room for the Word of God. It is the time to turn off the television and open the Bible. It is the time to disconnect from the cell phone and connect to the Gospel. When I was a child there was no television, but there was a habit of not listening to the radio. Lent is deserted, it is the time to give up, to detach ourselves from the cell phone and connect to the Gospel. It is the time to give up unnecessary words, chatter, rumors, gossip, and to speak and give "you" to the Lord. It is the time to devote yourself to a healthy ecology of the heart, to clean up there. We live in an environment polluted by too much verbal violence, by many offensive and harmful words, which the network amplifies. Today he insults himself as if he says "Good day". We are inundated with empty words, with advertisements, with subtle messages. We have become used to hearing everything about everyone and we risk slipping into a worldliness that atrophies our heart and there is no bypass to heal this, but only silence. We struggle to distinguish the voice of the Lord who speaks to us, the voice of conscience, the voice of good. Jesus, calling us in the desert, invites us to listen to what matters, to the important, to the essential. To the devil who tempted him, he replied: "Man will not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Mt 4: 4). Like bread, more than bread we need the Word of God, we need to speak with God: we need to pray. Because only before God do the inclinations of the heart come to light and the duplicity of the soul fall. Here is the desert, a place of life, not of death, because dialogue in silence with the Lord gives us life back.

Let's try to think of a desert again. The desert is the place of the essential. Let's look at our lives: how many useless things surround us! We chase a thousand things that seem necessary and in reality are not. How good it would be for us to get rid of so many superfluous realities, to rediscover what matters, to find the faces of those around us! Jesus also sets an example on this, fasting. Fasting is knowing how to give up vain things, the superfluous, to go to the essentials. Fasting is not just for weight loss, fasting is going to the essentials, it is seeking the beauty of a simpler life.

Finally, the desert is the place of solitude. Even today, near us, there are many deserts. They are lonely and abandoned people. How many poor and old people stand by us and live in silence, without making a fuss, marginalized and discarded! Talking about them doesn't make audiences. But the desert leads us to them, to those who, silenced, silently ask for our help. Many silent glances that ask for our help. The path in the Lenten desert is a path of charity towards the weaker.

Prayer, fasting, works of mercy: here is the road in the Lenten desert.

Dear brothers and sisters, with the voice of the prophet Isaiah, God has made this promise: "Behold, I am doing a new thing, I will open a road in the desert" (Is 43,19). The road that leads us from death to life opens up in the desert. “Lent is a time to disconnect from cell phones and connect to the Gospel,” he said, recalling that when he was a child there was no television, but his family would make a point of not listening to the radio.

“It is the time to give up useless words, chatter, rumors, gossip, and talk and to speak directly to the Lord,” he said, it is a time in which to dedicated ourselves to an ecology of the heart.

In a world in which we often struggle to distinguish the voice of the Lord, Jesus calls us into the desert and invites us to listen to what matters, Pope Francis explained. And he recalled that when the devil tempted Him, Jesus replied “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

A place of silence and dialogue with the Lord
Thus the desert, represented by the journey of Lent, he continued, is a place of life, a place in which to dialogue in silence with the Lord who gives us life.

The Pope also reflected on how an important part of our Lenten desert experience is the practice of fasting, which trains us to recognize, in simplicity of heart, how often our lives are spent in empty and superficial pursuits.

“Fasting is being capable of giving up the superfluous and going to the essential. Fasting is not only losing weight, it is seeking the beauty of a simpler life,” he said. The road that leads us from death to life opens up in the desert. We enter the desert with Jesus, we will come out of it savoring Easter, the power of God's love that renews life. It will happen to us as to those deserts that bloom in the spring, making buds and plants suddenly sprout "out of nowhere". Courage, we enter this desert of Lent, we follow Jesus in the desert: with him our deserts will flourish.


Full Text + Image Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation

20 People Die in Clashes in New Delhi, India over Citizenship Law that Discriminates against Muslims


Religious community violence in Delhi, 20 victims: it is 'state terrorism'
The clashes have been raging for four days. Videos show the police standing by without intervening in beatings. Two mosques desecrated. Archdiocese spokesman: "India owes its freedom to non-violent struggle".


New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The toll of religious community clashes in the Indian capital has risen to 20 victims, which continue for the fourth consecutive day. The neighborhoods affected by the protests are those in the north-east quadrant, mostly inhabited by the Islamic population.

The clashes are the result of the new citizenship law, which discriminates against the faithful of Islam. Speaking to AsiaNews A C Michael, a former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, condemns the violence and calls it "state terrorism".

What is happening in the capital, he explains, "can be classified as 'state terrorism'. At first glance, the state machine may not be so visible in these violent incidents. But there is strong and clear evidence that shows that they have the tacit approval of the government or the Minister of the Interior of the Union who is directly responsible for public order in Delhi, given that the police of the capital depend on him. "

Today the areas involved in the clashes resemble a theater of war: destroyed shops, burned cars, bloodstains, fragments of glass and bricks thrown by protesters, piled waste and scrap and set on fire. Yesterday two mosques were also attacked: the first was partially burned and the pages of the Koran thrown into the street; the desecration of the second shows some people trying to tear the crescent from the top of the minaret.

From the amateur footage circulating online, Michael continues, “you can see the police watching the people who are hit, those who shoot and more. The agents allowed supporters of the [anti-Islamic] law to organize their protest close to that of the opponents that was already underway. It is certain that the police agreed with these people, who were thus able to carry guns and swords without difficulty in the places of the protest. "

According to Fr. Savarimuthu Sankar, spokesman for the archdiocese of Delhi, "the right to protest is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Unfortunately, however, all protests and dissent are labeled anti-national and those who participate in the demonstrations are called traitors by Hindutva groups. The violence perpetrated on demonstrators by the police and others is unprecedented. "

The priest recalls that "India has obtained freedom through the non-violent struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi. We appeal to central and state governments to identify and arrest the perpetrators of these horrific violence and provide adequate security for those attending peaceful rallies. " (A.C.F.)


Full Text Source: Asia News IT

Ash Wednesday Mass Online : Readings + Video : Wed. February 26, 2020 - #Eucharist for Ash Wednesday


Ash Wednesday


Lectionary: 219

Reading 1JL 2:12-18
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, "Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?'"

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Responsorial PsalmPS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (see 3a)  Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 22 COR 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.


Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Verse Before The GospelSEE PS 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

GospelMT 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."